Chapter 1: A chance encounter
Harry Potter is tired of being the chosen one. He’s tired of people watching and analyzing his every move. Tired of having everything just given to him when he’d rather work for it. Tired of reaching for his wand every time someone shouts his name in a crowded street. Tired of the nightmares. Any one of these things is enough to drive a person mad, but when you’re 18 and just trying to get by, the weight of it all is crushing. This is what led to Harry Potter, the chosen one, saying “fuck it” and moving out of Grimmauld place and into a shitty little flat in Muggle London.
There, no one knows him. No one looks at him funny when he doesn’t use magic to cook or clean or for any other simple tasks. No one calls his name in the streets asking for autographs, or for the secret of how he did it all. He is able to leave the house without getting ambushed by reporters asking him what’s next for The Boy Who Lived?
He can make mistakes, and run to the grocery store in his pajamas at 3am for a bag of crisps and milk with no one questioning his sanity. He’s able to get a laptop and a cell phone and actually use them because the only magic he’s surrounded by is his own.
Harry Potter can finally breathe.
* * *
Harry wakes up to the sound of an alarm going off on his phone. Though it was him that had set the alarm, he still groans and swears as if it was someone else's phone.
He rolls over and smushes his face into his pillow, letting the alarm go off for about a minute or so before finally getting up and out of bed, shutting off the alarm as he goes.
He eats a quick breakfast alone at his small kitchen bar, nothing like the hustle and bustle of the great hall, then speedily throws on clothes before heading out the front door. There he pauses and murmurs a few security spells that ensure that no one can get into his flat, or even find it’s location, without his say so. Content that they’ll hold until that night, he apparates into the Ministry of Magic.
As soon as he appears in the building his feet are moving quickly, keeping up with the flow of the other ministry workers alongside him.
He keeps his head down and lets his slightly longer hair hang in his face, hoping that he remains unbothered by those around him. Fortunately, just as he began hearing people shout his name and a quickening of steps, a familiar arm jostles his own.
Harry looks up quickly, relieved. “Hey Ron.”
Ron smiles slightly and rubs the sleep out of his eyes. He looks like he’d gotten off to a slow start this morning too. They walk in comfortable silence, and head to the ministry Auror training center together.
Now, it’s completely pointless for Harry to attend these training sessions. The instructor had said it himself on the first day of class, chuckling like it was some great joke, that he was Harry Potter. And that meant that he certainly didn’t need to be here.
Harry had felt this was incorrect, stuttering out a list of the many reasons why he must take the course. But, the professor had insisted, no one who had defeated the Dark Lord belonged in a class with a bunch of beginners and had promptly filed the paperwork that would put Harry on record as a certified Auror.
Now that Harry is a registered Auror, he could begin work immediately if he chose, but being the contrary little shit that he is, he refuses to go into the field without Ron by his side. This leads to Harry stubbornly sitting in on the uncomfortably long lectures, taking notes (no matter how messy), participating in lessons, and doing all the work. All done just so he can prove that he actually deserves his certification.
Ron had rolled his eyes in the beginning but seems happy enough now to have Harry sit through the boring lectures with him.
However, on this particular day, Harry is having trouble focusing due to the increasing wave of panic and anxiety that has taken up residence in his chest. He isn’t quite sure what had caused it, just that being in this class right now is too much, too overwhelming.
He glances at Ron before leaning over and whispering, “I’ve got to go.”
Ron’s eyes are glazed over as he listens to the monotone voice of the guest speaker, but they quickly focused on Harry when Ron catches sight of his intense gaze and processes what Harry had just said.
“Is that such a good idea mate?” Ron shakes his head and rephrases the question, “Do you need me to come with you?”
Harry felt his heart squeeze a little at Ron asking if he needed him, but shakes his head.
“Nah I’ll be alright, I just need some air, I’ll text you and Hermione later.”
Ron nods and claps Harry on the shoulder before turning back to the front with a disinterested look at the guest speaker.
As Harry gets up, all eyes turn to him, but he ignores them. He’s getting quite good at ignoring the stares.
Apparating directly into his flat is impossible with the spells and wards that he had set up, so Harry lands right outside his front door and hopes that he hasn’t caught the attention of any muggles.
With shaky hands he takes out his key and unlocks the flat door. He collapses on the other side, sliding down the door until he sits on the floor with his knees drawn up to his chest. He can hear his racing heartbeat, as well as a voice that sounds suspiciously like Voldemort’s in his ear.
Harsh whispers about how he will never be enough, after all he didn’t even use magic to open his front door, he can’t survive on his fame forever. What will he do when the awe at the Boy Who Lived finally wears off?
Harry presses the base of his hands to his eyes and black dots swam into his vision. He attempts to focus on his breathing, and most importantly slowing it down. It could have been minutes or hours or days, but gradually Harry feels his heart beat slow and his breathing even out.
Dully he notes that his cell phone is ringing. It’s set to some new single from the Weird Sisters that Harry usually finds quite enjoyable, but right now just leaves him feeling annoyed. With movements that seemed slightly separated from his body, he stumbles to his night table where he had left his cell that morning.
“Hello?” he says closing his eyes tiredly while waiting for a response.
“Harry, how are you? Ron says you left the Ministry early today?”
Hermione’s voice is a normal occurrence in his ear, so it helps Harry orient himself with the here and now.
“Ya, it was just a bit much today.”
Hermione hums slightly in his ear, and he can tell she desperately wanted to pry but is holding back for his sake. They sit in silence for a few moments, Harry gathering comfort from Hermione’s steady breathing on the other end of the phone. Abruptly, Hermione started talking again.
“Have you thought anymore about going to see Luna?”
Harry slowly opens his eyes and picks at a loose thread on his jeans, searching for a way to answer the question without sounding like he most decidedly has not thought about it. Hermione has asked him about this before, and he knows it’s her way of making sure he’s all right.
His close friends had understood when he had abruptly moved to Muggle London, but that doesn’t mean that they never worry.
“I’ve had other things on my mind Hermione, Auror business and all that.”
Hermione scoffs in his ear and Harry winces slightly, but waits to hear what she has to say anyways.
“Oh piss off Harry, you don’t even need to be there if you don’t want to be. Talking to someone who has training to help you after a particularly scarring event is perfectly normal in the muggle world, I’m not sure why you’re kicking up such a fuss.”
Harry knows this and decides that pointing out that they aren’t in the muggle world will not be to his advantage.
“Hermione,” he starts, “it’s just that it’s Luna. She’s my friend and she's friends with everyone I'm close to, I just don’t feel comfortable baring my soul for her alright?”
There’s silence on the other end of the line for a moment before Hermione says, “Harry, you know full well Luna would never tell anyone what you tell her, and she did receive training on counselling and dealing with PTSD, magical or otherwise.”
Harry lets those words float around in his head for a bit before shaking them off and saying, “Tell me about Hogwarts.”
Hermione sighs at the change in subject but indulges him anyways.
After the war, Hermione was one of the few people in Harry’s circle of friends that decided to go back to school. As far as he knew, she is the only one in his year to have gone back. Most of the students are either too messed up psychologically to consider it, or had had good enough grades that their partially completed 7th and 6th years were good enough. The wizarding world embraced them all and created special training or new jobs for the students that couldn’t or wouldn’t go back.
Harry misses Hogwarts with an all encompassing sort of pain, but he also knows that he can’t go back. Not yet anyways. He isn’t ready to see the place where so many people died. He follows this train of thought for a while before realizing that Hermione had asked him something.
Hermione sighs like talking to him is the biggest chore in the world, rather than chatting with a good friend.
“I said, do you want to come over to Ron and mine’s place tonight, Mrs. Weasley sent us leftovers from whatever big meal she had last.”
Harry considers for a moment before saying,
“Maybe another night Hermione. I’m gonna spend some time alone and work on some things.”
“Alright, if you change your mind you know where to find us.”
With that Harry agrees, hangs up the phone, and closes his eyes. He loves and appreciates Ron and Hermione, and he knows they’re only hovering because they’re worried about him, but he wishes that people would stop treating him like he is either going to break, or suddenly become the next Minister of Magic.
He needs time to be just Harry, without all the fame and glory, whoever that is. Sighing, Harry gets up and grabs his laptop, phone, and wand and heads out of his apartment. He needs coffee and free wifi. Luckily enough he is within walking distance of both of those in the form of a Starbucks downtown.
Harry walks quickly, head down and jacket pulled tight around him to combat the cold wind that is cutting its way through the London streets. It is that time of year where a winter jacket is too hot, but only a jumper leaves you too cold.
People bustle around him, but Harry makes good time and pushes the Starbucks door open. It is warm inside, and the air smells like pumpkin spice, which has Harry thinking longingly about Hogwarts pumpkin juice for a moment.
He gets in line and orders his regular tea before walking towards the back of the building for a quieter place to sit and work undisturbed.
As he is walking, a familiar glint of white blonde hair catches his eye. Harry stops short. Surely it couldn’t be who he thought it was. It was only wistful thinking, his mind had been full of Hogwarts and pumpkin juice, and was grasping for something familiar. Surely he would never deign to set foot in a muggle restaurant, let alone something as common as a Starbucks.
Yet, Harry squints and is greeted with the same pale skin and face made for sneering. About the same height from what he can tell of the person sitting down. Just slightly taller than him. The hair is uncharacteristically rumpled though, as if the owner had spent a lot of time running his hands through it in frustration. And he looks less put together than he normally does, wearing an old knit jumper with the sleeves pushed up to the elbows as he stares at his laptop in focus.
Harry shakes his head, not believing what he is about to do. Harry takes a couple more steps, and with a smirk that rivals that of the Weasley twins, flings himself into a seat across from the boy.
“What’s up Malfoy?”
Chapter 2: The Phone Call
“Potter,” Malfoy sneers, his fine brows tugging together at the centre “What the hell are you doing here?”
Harry grins a little at that. Trust Malfoy to treat you like your’re worth nothing more than a sneer and an insult.
“I could ask you the same thing Malfoy, does the manor not have tea up to your satisfaction?”
Malfoy’s eyes narrow but he says nothing in response to the manor jab.
“I’m doing homework Potter, so if you could piss off that would be fantastic.”
Malfoy looks down at his laptop in aggravation and looks for all intents and purposes like he is going to keep on working and ignore Harry altogether. Harry slowly slides his hand across the table and pushes Malfoy’s laptop shut. The lights along the side dim and shut off. Huffing in frustration, Malfoy looks up again, eyes wide.
“What are you five!? Not getting enough attention so bothering the first person you can find?”
Harry smiles at that and says, “Something like that, what are you doing homework for?”
Malfoy looks at him suspiciously, as if not quite sure why Harry is bothering talking to him, let
alone taking an interest in what he’s doing.
“We can’t all coast by in life on fame you know, it’s potions homework.”
Harry jolts somewhat, “You’re went back to Hogwarts?”
Malfoy stares at Harry like he was a complete idiot. “Yes Potter, I’d have thought Granger would have told you that. We have all our classes together.”
Harry tries not to look like this is all new information to him and fails spectacularly. Malfoy rolls his eyes at this and reopens his laptop, the fan whirring to life and the screen lighting up. Harry stares for another few minutes before reaching into his bag and propping his own laptop up.
“What are you doing?”
Harry looks at Malfoy quickly and then down at his laptop, his cheeks colouring in embarrassment. “Working, Malfoy.”
“Here? At my table? You can’t find your own?”
Harry shakes his head and continues silently tapping away at his laptop. Malfoy sighs as if Harry’s presence greatly inconvenience him, but allows him to remain where he is. Neither boy comments on how different the situation would be if they were at Hogwarts. Glaring at each other across the Great Hall from rival houses. Instead, they simply type away in harmony, each focusing on their own task. After a couple of hours Malfoy begins packing up.
“Where are you going?”
Malfoy scoffs and rolls his eyes. “Yes because that’s totally your business Potter, and we always share where we are going and who we’re meeting?”
Harry shrugs and Malfoy shoulders his bag and begins to walk out of the restaurant.
“Will I be seeing you around here again Malfoy?” Harry shouts to Malfoy’s retreating figure.
Without turning around Malfoy shouts back, “You wish Potter!”
Harry laughs at that and goes back to working on an essay for his Auror training, shaking his head at the weird turn his day took, but nonetheless feeling a little bit more centered.
Malfoy and Harry continue to meet up at Starbucks for a few weeks. They never mention the fact that they hate each other, nor do they ever actually arrange to see each other, but whenever one of them is at the shop an empty seat tends to be saved for the other at their table.
It gets to the point where Harry finally says, “Will you just take my number, that way I’ll know if I need to save you a seat or not.”
Malfoy scoffs but takes his phone out and waits patiently for Harry to rattle off his number. With that done Malfoy starts to pack up.
Malfoy slides his eyes in Harry’s direction and says, “Obviously. I’m meeting my mother for dinner tonight at the manor. I need to get ready.”
Harry nods at this, and decides to stay a little while longer to work on his homework some more. Malfoy walks out the door fiddling with his phone. A few seconds later a text pings through on Harry’s phone. He takes it out expecting Hermione or Ron, but laughs when he sees an unsaved number with a text reading “Hey Scarhead it’s Malfoy.”
Chuckling, Harry saves the number in his phone and decides that he’ll head over to Ron and Hermione’s for dinner. Packing up his things, he phones Ron. For some reason his call goes straight to voicemail. Sighing he phones Hermione and she answers on the first ring.
“Hey Hermione, I was thinking of coming over for dinner tonight if that's alright with you? I kinda skipped out of Auror training today and need to grab some notes.”
“Ya of course! When were you thinking of coming over?”
Harry feigns thinking about this question before finally saying, “Now? I was just gonna apparate from the shop I’m in.”
“Right, ya that’s fine I’ll see you in a few then.”
Harry hangs up the phone and apparates directly into Hermione and Ron’s living room. Hermione isn’t in there but Harry can hear her in the kitchen bustling away. He sets his bag down and makes his way into the spacious kitchen.
Hermione and Ron’s flat is much nicer than his own. Lot’s of natural sunlight and modern appliances as well as moving pictures hanging all over the walls. Harry's favourite is one of the three of them on the last day of first year. Hagrid had taken it. Harry smiles fondly at the memory.
At first, the flat had been a sort of summer home for Ron and Hermione, but Hermione had gotten permission from McGonagall to live there throughout the year and use the floo network to get to and from Hogwarts each day.
She says it’s pointless for her to stay in the dormitories alone, but Harry knows it’s because she’s worried about Ron and him. Either way he’s grateful. Hermione is such a permanent fixture in his day to day life that having to go months without seeing her would have been incredibly difficult. He knows Ron feels the same, probably even more so. As he enters the kitchen, Hermione’s back is to him so he clears his throat and greets her so that she can hear him over the noise of the cooking food, and the fan over the stove.
As predicted she jumps and reaches for her wand, but relaxes when she sees it was Harry.
“Hey yourself.” she says, crossing the kitchen to give him a hug. “I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages.”
Harry smiles at that, it’s only been a couple of days, but he feels the same way.
“I called Ron before calling you, and he sent me to voicemail, any reason why?”
Hermione pauses in her stirring of a pot, thinking.
“As far as I know he just had normal training today and was coming straight home. He probably just has his phone in his bag, or it isn’t working in the ministry. You know it normally doesn’t.”
Harry nods, realizing that that explanation makes perfect sense. He switches topics.
“You never told me that Malfoy went back to Hogwarts.”
It comes out accusingly but he doesn’t mean it to. Hermione stops what she’s doing and turns to look at him.
“Why would I have told you? It’s not like you and Draco were great pals at Hogwarts Harry. You were obsessed and constantly convinced he was up to something-”
“And he was!” Harry interrupts crossly.
They’re both silent for a moment, remembering astronomy towers and vanishing cabinets. Harry shakes his head, he didn’t want to fight with Hermione about Malfoy of all people.
“I’m sorry,'' he says. “I didn’t mean for it to turn into a fight, I was just curious.”
Hermione nods. “Well he is in all of my classes. We’re the only two eighth years, so we have pretty much all the same classes together. It’s nice to have someone as bright as him to bounce ideas off of. He even takes muggle studies now.”
Hermione says this last part lightly, as if trying to prove that Malfoy had changed a great deal.
Harry supposes that he must have for Hermione to tolerate him, hell even he has started to enjoy meeting him at Starbucks. It’s nice to have someone for company who doesn't look at him with the twinkly eyes of fame, even if that someone normally looks at him with a raised eyebrow and a sneer. Harry mulls this over for a while, Hermione content to let him sit in silence while she works on some recipe from Mrs. Weasley that she’s been aching to try.
Finally, he says, “Does Ron know you’re at school with him?”
Hermione turns and looks at Harry consideringly. “No he doesn’t. And I’d like to keep it that way for the time being. You know that he wanted Draco locked up? I don’t need him constantly baraging me with messages while I’m at school to make sure I’m okay.”
Harry does indeed know that Ron had wanted Malfoy locked up. They’d argued about it before his trial. Harry had disagreed saying that Malfoy was just a boy like them, who had had a fucked up family. Ron saying that him and Harry had both made conscious decisions about right from wrong and so had Malfoy. Harry maintained the idea that Malfoy was merely trying to survive just like the rest of them, and had told the court that. Harry wonders idly if Malfoy knows that Harry had provided testimony against his imprisonment. Probably not.
Hermione has turned back to the bubbling pot on the stove. Harry decides he doesn’t want to talk about this anymore and has just opened his mouth to ask her about her lessons when Ron apparates into the kitchen. He looks stressed and upset.
“What’s wrong?” Hermione and Harry say immediately.
“It’s Ginny.” He replies sinking into a chair beside Harry.
Harry feels his heart sink in his chest. Harry and Ginny had broken up after about a month of being back together after the war. It was too much, she said. It was her not him, she said. But finally one morning she looked him in the eye and told him that every time she looked at him, everytime he walked into a room, she saw Fred lying lifeless in the Great Hall.
Harry had nodded, understanding because that’s what he sees whenever he looks in the mirror. He can't help but picture everyone who had died; Remus, Tonks, Mad Eye, Collin. The difference is that Ginny doesn’t have to live with that and Harry does.
They still see each other around the Burrow, but Harry makes sure not to hover or pry. He averts his gaze and strikes up a conversation with any of the other Weasleys. How they all stand his presence he’s still trying to figure out. He glances at Ron when Hermione starts talking.
“What happened, is she okay?”
“Admitted to St. Mungos.” Ron signs “Mom says that she thought Ginny had been losing weight and not sleeping, but then she found her unconscious on the staircase this morning.”
Harry and Hermione gasp, but Ron shakes his head quickly.
“No no, she didn’t like throw herself down the stairs. The healers are saying that she likely fainted due to lack of nutrition and all that. Grief related.”
The last sentence is barely breathed. All the air seems to be sucked out of the room. Harry holds his breath not wanting to take in more than his fair share.
Finally Hermione breaks the silence. “Should we go to the hospital tonight.”
Ron breaths in finally and says, “No Mom says that she can’t have guests until tomorrow,” he hesitates for a second, darting his eyes to Harry and then Hermione before adding, “Ginny says she doesn’t want you to come Harry.”
Ron doesn’t look at Harry when he says this, but Hermione does and her gaze is filled with sympathy.
“That’s alright.” Harry says. What else was there for him to say? “I expected as much.”
Ron nods silently. Hermione keeps looking at him, searching for the cracks in his calm facade. He wishes she wouldn’t.
“Let’s eat.” Hermione says finally, breaking the tension.
Harry has never felt so awkward in a room with his best friends.
Gratefully, Ron and Harry fall over themselves helping Hermione set the table for the three of them. They talk for awhile about a lot of things, all of them far far away from Ginny. A couple hours in, they’re feeling much better and sitting in the living room when Harry’s phone rings.
At first Harry doesn’t realize it’s his because the only two people he ever phones are sitting in the room with him. His heart lurches thinking it might be Ginny, but when he looks at it the screen reads “Incoming call from Amazing Bouncing Ferret.” Harry laughs silently to himself at the name before answering.
“Wow calling already? I can’t say I’m shocked, I am a delight-”
For the second time that night he’s cut off mid sentence.
“Potter are you busy right now?” Malfoy’s voice sounds tight and stressed in his ear.
Harry immediately stops teasing and leans forward to focus on the call.
“I’m at Hermione and Ron’s place, why?”
Harry ignores Ron’s eyes on him while he waits for Malfoy’s reply. It comes a short breath later in a tense voice.
“Nevermind, it’s not important.”
Before he can hang up Harry interjects. “It clearly is, or you wouldn’t be calling me. I can meet you at the Starbucks in literal seconds if it’s important.”
Malfoy’s silent for a second before saying
“Aim for the apartment above the Starbucks, I'll adjust the wards to let you in.”
The phone clicks off and in the next second Harry is pulling on his jacket and trainers.
“Who was that Harry?” Hermione demands, she sounded scared.
Harry looks at her and Ron for a second and debates whether or not to tell them the truth. On the one hand it would be good to have two people know where he is in case it’s a dangerous situation, on the other, for some reason, he’d rather not have Hermione and Ron know he has been spending time with Malfoy. The latter feeling wins the battle in his head, so he lies.
“It was one of my muggle neighbours, they’re saying they need to talk to me about something. I’ll see you later.”
Knowing his lie won’t hold up under intense scrutiny, Harry apparates right away, not allowing Hermione or Ron to get a word in edgewise.
Harry ends up on the fire escape by the window of the bathroom of the flat above the Starbucks. Harry peers in, wand out, and sees Malfoy lying huddled on the floor, his back up against the bathtub. Harry knocks lightly on the window and Malfoy’s head shoots up and his wand hand raises. Seeing that it’s Harry he lowers his head and closes his eyes, but waves his hand in a way that encourages Harry to enter through the window.
After a bit of stumbling, cursing, and fighting with the tricky latch, Harry makes his way into the bathroom and sits down beside Malfoy.
They sit in silence for a moment until the shaking and quick breaths next to him become unbearable.
Malfoy laughs weakly and says, “I’m in the middle of a panic attack and it only gets worse when I’m alone.”
Harry thinks for a second before saying, “So you called me? Weren’t you supposed to be having dinner with your mom tonight?”
Malfoy breathes in shakily before responding. “Yes, but she cancelled and majority of the people who I used to consider friends can’t stand me. You were one of the only options available in town.”
Malfoy spits this all out within a matter of seconds. He seems to be trying to convince himself rather than Harry judging by the vulnerable look in his eyes.
Harry sits with this for another moment, thinking that Malfoy might be just as messed up as him. After all, he has a reputation as well, it just isn't the kind that prompts starry gazes and autographs.
He pauses before gently saying, “Do you know what caused it? Can I do anything besides sitting here to make it easier?”
Draco looks at him for a second before turning his head to rest on his arms again.
“Probably the fact that my mother cancelled dinner.”
Harry waits for him to elaborate but no answers seemed forthcoming. Harry tries again.
“You only answered one of my questions Malfoy, can I do anything to make it easier.
Malfoy glares at him rather pathetically before spitting out, “Typically pressure makes it easier, but I’m not about to ask you to hug me.”
Harry rolls his eyes and somewhat aggressively drapes his arm over Malfoy’s shoulders.
“Quit being a fucking martyr Malfoy, I apparated half way accross town. And I missed dessert. I’m not going to just sit on your bloody bathroom floor and do nothing.”
Malfoy sits tense and shaking under Harry’s arm, but eventually after what must have been an hour, the shaking stops. It’s at this point that Harry realizes that Malfoy is slumped snoring against his side. The git is asleep. Harry snorts, and withdraws his arm from Malfoy’s shoulders. Malfoy wakes up at the jostling and gazes bleary and confused up at Harry. He runs a tired hand through his rumpled hair.
“Come on,” Harry says finally, “Get up, let’s get you to bed.”
Malfoy nods and clambers to his feet.
“You can go Potter.”
Harry shakes his head and says, “Don’t be stupid, I know what it’s like right after an episode like this, I can wait for a bit.”
Malfoy nods again and they leave the bathroom. Malfoy then leads Harry into a living room/ bedroom combination. There’s a bed and two couches arranged somewhat artfully around the room. Malfoy stands self consciously at the edge.
“Seriously Potter, you can go I’m just going to sleep.”
“Sleep then,” says Harry as he flops onto one of the couches, “I’ll sleep here, I’m not going home this late, I’ll end up splinched.”
Malfoy scoffs and slides into his own bed.
“Some wizard you are.” he mumbles.
Harry smiles into his pillow at this, before falling into one of the first peaceful sleeps he’s had in a long time.
When Harry wakes up the next morning it takes a few seconds for his brain to figure out where he is. His face is pressed into the softness of a couch that is far too expensive to call his own, and the curtains hanging from the window are not the grey that Hermione had picked out when he’d moved in.The panic that follows is minor in comparison to the other times in his life, but it still leaves him sitting and panting on the couch looking around and eventually recalling the surprising events of last night. Malfoy is still passed out in the bed, wrapped tightly in his grey and black duvet, purple socked feet sticking out the bottom. Sunlight streams in through one of the many windows, showing off a line of drool escaping Malfoy’s open mouth. Harry snorts quietly, before getting up and slowly making his way to the kitchen so as not to wake Malfoy. He opens the fridge with one hand, and scratches his messy bedhead with the other. He then searches the cupboards and gathers together the rather pathetic amount of food he manages to find: some stale crackers and a pitcher of milk that’s due to spoil any day now. With that he makes his way out the front door to get some real food.
After 20 minutes of scouring the aisles looking for things he hopes Malfoy will like, and then battling with the debit machine and a tired looking cashier, Harry gets back to the flat with bagfuls of groceries. Malfoy is still passed out in his bed. He’s changed positions though and is now spread out on his bed like some sort of starfish. Harry shakes his head again, wondering how Malfoy can sleep through Harry’s comings and goings. Harry then sets about the kitchen making a much larger breakfast than is necessary for two people. The clatter of dishes and scent of bacon must have been enough to rouse Malfoy because he stumbles into the kitchen squinting and rubbing his hands across his face and through his hair, last night’s clothes wrinkled on his body.
“Morning Malfoy.” Harry smirks, adding more eggs to the sizzling pan.
“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing in my kitchen Potter? Where did this food come from?”
Harry laughs at the confused half-awake look in Malfoy’s eyes before answering.
“Well Malfoy, your shock explains the lack of food in the house. There are these things called grocery stores where food is bought. Surely even rich wizards like yourself need grocery stores.”
Harry holds up a box of strawberry pop tarts and Malfoy sneers, though the effect is ruined slightly when he yawns halfway through.
“I know what a grocery store is Potter, I just don’t have a desire to cook for myself. I’m also at Hogwarts for five days of the week and can get by on coffee and biscuits on the weekend.”
Harry rolls his eyes at that and pushes a heavily laden plate of food in Malfoy’s direction.
“Eat it all, if Mrs. Weasley were here she would say you look peaky.”
“Is that why there’s enough food for ten people?” Malfoy questions “The Weasley’s are all coming here to to mock me.”
Harry would have bristled slightly and stood in saunch defence of the Weasley’s if Malfoy hadn’t sounded so worried that they were actually going to appear.
“Don’t be stupid Malfoy, the Weasley’s wouldn’t come near you with a ten foot pole.”
Malfoy seems to deflate at those words so Harry tries again.
“Besides, they don’t even know I’m with you so if they were to show up anywhere it would be to my flat and I’m not there so the wards would keep them out anyways.”
Malfoy doesn’t say anything to that but starts shoveling the food off his plate and into his mouth at such an astonishing pace that Harry counts it as a win.
After a significant portion of the food has been shared by the two boys, Harry packs up the rest and puts it in Malfoy’s fridge with express instructions for him to eat the rest the next day. Malfoy rolls his eyes and mutters something about the chosen one needing a new hobby, but Harry figures Malfoy will do as he said judging by the way he had eaten four pieces of french toast. As he and Malfoy finish up the dishes, Harry decides that he doesn’t want to go home yet and would much rather both Malfoy for the rest of the day. With this new purpose he flops rather dramatically onto the same couch he had fallen asleep on the night before. Malfoy looks up from where he’s sitting reading the Daily Prophet by the window.
“Potter aren’t you gone yet?”
“Nope,” Harry says popping the p aggressively, “I’m bored and you’re easy to irritate.”
Malfoy scoffs, rolls his eyes and then looks back to his paper. Harry watches Malfoy for only a few seconds before Malfoy slams the paper down onto the table, stalks over to the other couch and throws himself into it furiously.
“Well that was dramat-”
Draco cuts him off again. “Potter what do you want? I called you last night, and I appreciate all you did, but you can leave now. We aren’t super good friends or anything.”
“Aren’t we?” Harry feigns shock, “But I gave you my number and only my closest friends get that.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes again, Harry wonders if they ever get tired.
“Seriously Potter, what do you want?”
Harry isn’t quite sure, so he decides to just pepper Malfoy with questions for the time being.
“Why are you living in this flat? I never pictured you as a muggle London type.”
Harry refrains from saying that where he really pictures Malfoy living is a gothic manor surrounded by a moat filled with dangerous creatures for sacrifice. He’s incredibly proud of himself for his self restraint. Malfoy seems hesitant to answer, but also seems to know that Harry won’t leave him alone until he tells the truth.
“I was living at the manor with mother after the war,” he starts and Harry stops fidgeting to listen. “But with father in prison and so many people lined up outside the manor, it made living impossible. So much blood and dark magic were split in the halls that all the shadows seemed sinister and the wind was like whispers or screams.”
Malfoy has a dark far away look in his eyes that makes Harry sit up finally and look at him. Malfoy shakes his head.
“Anyways, I left the manor at night when no one would be looking for me and went about looking for wizard flats. No one wanted to rent to me because of who I am so I ended up here.”
Harry looks at Malfoy at a loss for words. Malfoy shrugs.
“It’s better this way. The Muggles aren’t scared of me and wizard press doesn’t think to come looking in muggle London for ex death eaters. I can come and go as I please and just be without every single person watching me.”
Harry nods in perfect understanding before saying, “How could you go back to Hogwarts?”
Malfoy gives Harry a funny look, so he elaborates. “Hogwarts is the only place on earth that has ever felt like a home to me. It’s the first place for a lot of good things, but for me the death and war overshadow it. I want to go back but I can’t. Is it not just as bad, if not worse for you considering your reputation?”
Malfoy looks at him again like he’s an idiot.
“Ya it’s bad Potter, but the teachers respect the fact that I’ve come back and most if not all know that I’m no longer living in my family's home. Hogwarts was a lot of bad for me, but it’s also the only chance I’ve ever had at a life not painted with my family’s mistakes. I can’t succeed in the world as I am now, my only chance is getting good references and a proper education.”
Harry nods, but is a little angry. How is it fair that all Harry wants in the world is to do the work himself and go back to Hogwarts, and all he gets is the exact opposite. For a second he’s jealous of Malfoy, but only for a second. When he looks up at Malfoy again, Malfoy is already staring back.
“You could go back you know.”
Harry looks at Malfoy in confusion.
“Yes to Hogwarts you blithering idiot. If you don’t want to be an auror, or at least not yet, are your ghosts the only thing that’s stopping you? Granger is there and so is McGonagall. So you could get alternative lesson plans or altered schedules to fit your needs. Hell, I’m even there if you really wanted it.”
The last part is said as if a throwaway comment but Harry can see it was almost physically painful for Malfoy to say.
“It’s too late in the year though-”
“It’s the first week of October Potter,” Malfoy interrupts. “It’s not that late. Besides Granger and I already have altered coursework to make up for the fact that we have a whole year of magical experience on the others. It wouldn’t be hard to alter yours.”
“Do you want me to come to Hogwarts Malfoy?” Harry teases with a smirk, trying to mask the sincerity in his voice.
“Do you want to go to Hogwarts is the real question here, Potter.” Malfoy responds neatly sidestepping Harry’s question.
Harry takes a few seconds to think about it. “I’m not sure. It might be too hard.”
Malfoy sneers a little at that. “Seriously? The boy who defeated the dark lord is saying school might be too hard? Let me alert the media as to how retirement is softening their hero.”
“Shove off Malfoy.” Harry says, suddenly irritated.
Malfoy laughs and gets up to go to the washroom, leaving Harry to think about what he wants more. To be an Auror or to go back home to Hogwarts. Being an Auror has been his dream for what seems like forever, but realistically, he already has his accreditation and Hogwarts won’t always be there for him. No matter what Dumbledore had told him all those years ago, Hogwarts can’t always welcome him home. Not if he’s thirty and has three kids. Harry texts Hermione quickly.
Harry Potter<10:30 am
“Should I go back to Hogwarts?”
Hermione answers almost immediately,
“If it’s what you want, I’m sure Mcgonagall could make some adjustments to your curriculum and I could help you catch up probably.”
Harry sits with this for a moment and another text rings through from Hermione.
“Ron says that you might like it more than you currently like Auror training, and that the training would always be there for you after if you decide to come back to it.”
A third text rings through.
“Are you gonna tell us where you apparated to last night?”
Harry shakes his head a little and laughs at Hermione’s single mindedness, but then puts his phone down without answering. Harry has a decision to make. He knows what the smart answer is, but the pure logic is murder on his brain. He knows that if he makes the decision too quickly without further thought he might regret it later. Typically, he leaves the decision making in his life to Hermione, or Dumbledore or some other adult. After all, he’s been pushed around on quests and missions since he knew how to cast his first spell. But, he knows that this decision has to belong to him, or he’ll never be truly happy with it. On the one hand, he has his Auror certification, could go into the field immediately and live up to society’s expectations of him. Or, for once he could do what his heart wants, go back to school with Malfoy and his other classmates. He can practically smell the pumpkin pie drifting from the great hall, and hear the victorious cheers from the quidditch pitch… It would certainly prove more exciting and enjoyable than auror training. Draco stomps back into the living room, his footsteps slamming on the hardwood floor.
At the sight of Harry still lounged across his sectional, Malfoy throws his hands up in exasperation, “Oh my God Potter, why aren’t you gone yet?”
Harry laughs before saying, “Come on, let’s go to Hogwarts.”
Draco jerks back, shocked by Harry’s abrupt decision.
“It’s the weekend,” protests Malfoy. “Literally one of my two days off from that place, and you want me to go back so you can tour the place you’ve been attending school for the past 7 years?” he draws in a breath, “Merlin, I’ve changed my mind, you shouldn’t go back, my life is difficult enough without having to tutor the boy who lived on top of everything else-”
“Don’t call me that.” Harry says, the words falling from his mouth before he could stop them.
Malfoy looks at him from where he was pulling on a high collared wool coat, fair brows raised in question.
“I get enough of that from the press,” Harry murmurs, “I don’t need it from you too.”
Malfoy snorts and holds out his arm for Harry to grab onto. “Alright, but a boy can only have so many problems Scarhead.”
Chuckling, anger forgotten, Harry grabs the plush grey fabric of Malfoy’s arm, and together they apparate to Hogwarts.
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Their feet slam into semi frozen ground, and dry leaves swirl past them. Malfoy curls his hands into his sleeves for warmth. Harry recognizes the outskirts of Hogsmead and as he lets go of Malfoy’s arm his mind unhelpfully supplies a barrage of memories including caterwaul charms, gripping a dying Dumbledore’s arm and a large black dog bounding towards him with a newspaper in its mouth. Harry closes his eyes against the onslaught of grief that overcomes him at the last memory. Maybe it’s too soon, maybe this is a bad idea. Trying to get a hold of himself he turns to Malfoy who is squinting into the mid morning sun.
“Why are we here Malfoy?”
“You’re the one who wanted to go to Hogwarts Potter.”
“Ya the castle, I didn’t want to have to walk in from the village.”
Distantly Harry hears the jingle of a store bell as the door opens, he silently hopes there’ll be butterbeer in his future.
Malfoy rolls his eyes. “You really don’t pay attention to wizard news do you?”
He doesn’t wait for Harry to reply but begins walking down the street towards the various Hogsmead shops. Harry scrambles to follow before saying,
“What do you mean? I keep up with the important things.”
Malfoy snorts, “Clearly not, or you’d know that the only way to get to Hogwarts for the time being is by walking in from the Village. If you tried to apparate directly to the front gates or to the train platform, you’d be rebounded immediately.”
“That’s really smart.”
“Isn’t it?” Malfoy manages to somehow make this comment sound insincere. Harry glances at him before responding.
“If walking is the only way in how come Hermione is able to floo in?”
“Well she and I have special permission from Mcgonagall, it was a big thing with the ministry and I almost didn’t get one. Granger and Mcgonagall vouched for me though so I ended up getting it.”
Harry interjects hotly “If you have floo access, why in the bloody hell are we walking? Hogwarts is so much farther north than London, I’m freezing!”
Malfoy rolls his eyes and shakes his head, before explaining, with the air of talking to someone quite a bit stupider that he is. “Obviously, there are restrictions on when I’m able to use the floo network into the castle. Weekends are only allowed if I ask Mcgonagall first. Besides,” he says turning to look ahead, “I figured a nice leisurely stroll down memory lane is just what you need to convince you to stay in you boring ministry training.”
With that he picks up his pace before stopping abruptly in front of a small fogged steam window. With some horror it dawns on Harry where they were.
“Ah yes,” Malfoy says grinning at whatever expression made its way onto Harry’s face, “Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop. I do believe this is where you and one Miss. Chang went on what I heard described as a disastrous date?”
Harry stands looking at Malfoy with his mouth hanging open.
“How the hell do you know about that?”
Malfoy laughs and takes a step towards the door.
“It was impossible not to know what was going on in Potter’s dating life at Hogwarts. Rumors fly.”
Malfoy raises his hand to open the door, and grins evilly over his shoulder. Harry lunges and grabs Malfoy’s arm, dragging him away from the shop.
“No Malfoy, I’m not setting foot in that place. Madam Puddifoot probably still remembers me as that awful bloke who made his date scream at him on Valentine’s day.”
Malfoy’s howling by this point.
“Potter,” he says between gasping breaths, “I would pay good money to have seen Chang demolish you in public.”
Harry visibly grimaces at the memory, he could still feel the stares of his fellow customers as they eagerly watched Cho tear into him.
Looking down, Harry drops Malfoy’s arm and half laughing replies, “It happened enough times, I’m surprised that you didn’t.”
Malfoy continues laughing, but eventually grabs Harry’s arm to steer him in a new direction. They continue walking, well past the path that leads up to the school. Harry isn’t concerned though. For some reason he finds that he trusts Malfoy. Or at least trusts him not to lead them into danger. Then Harry recognizes the path they’re on.
“Malfoy where are you taking me?”
“The Shrieking Shack, I wanted to remind you of that time you almost got expelled.”
Harry hears him say those words, but his mind has already run down the path of seeing Snape die, Lupin transform, Sirius getting injured. With a hurclean amount of strength and effort he pulls himself out of his own head and shakily follows Malfoy up the frosty hill.
When they get to the top Malfoy looks over at Harry expectantly, as if waiting for a laugh or smile. Harry is too deep in his memories though. And although the events of the year before should have been at the forefront of his mind, the memories that present themselves more clearly are the ones from third year. He remembers Ron’s broken leg, him standing wobbly on it when he thought Sirius would try to kill Harry. He remembers Sirius’s laugh when it was revealed that Peter had really been the on to betray Lily and James. He remembers Hermione’s shaky voice when she realized they had attacked Snape. But mostly, he remembers the feeling when Sirius asked him to come live with him. Desperately Harry wishes he could live in that moment again. He misses Sirius with an all encompassing sort of grief. For a moment his thoughts turn to Dumbledore and how he had let so many awful things happen to Sirius before helping him. The old anger rears its head, and for a moment he would like nothing more than to destroy something. Abruptly, he’s shaken out of those thoughts when Malfoy’s hand comes down on his arm and squeezes.
“Seriously Potter, I’m growing concerned that perhaps Hogwarts really isn’t the best place for you? If the sight of a run down shack sends you this far into a spiral of grief, how will you handle Hagrid’s hut?”
Harry snarls at Malfoy slightly, but its a weak snarl as he’s almost grateful that Malfoy stopped his train of thought. There’s no use being angry with the dead. Malfoy had dropped his hand from Harry’s arm and moved away slightly to allow Harry to compose himself. After getting his grief and anger fully under control he sidles up right next to Malfoy so that their arms were touching. Harry would never admit it, but the physical touch grounds him a bit too. Malfoy raises and eyebrow in silent question.
“So why was it you brought me here again?”
Malfoy rolls his eyes, “Simply to remind you of the time when you illegally snuck into Hogsmead and went on to torture Crabbe, Goyle and I by throwing ice and mud at us while under that blasted invisibility cloak of yours.”
Harry laughs slightly at the memory, remembering Malfoy’s shocked face and scream when he realized that Harry was the one doing it.
“You should have seen your face Malfoy. It was priceless.”
“I’m sure it was! It’s not everyday that you see you nemesis’s disembodied head floating around where it shouldn’t be!”
Harry snorts at the use of the word nemesis but lets it slide.
“Alright where to next Malfoy? I think I need more convincing as to why it was a bad idea for me to come back.”
The rest of the day proceeds in much the same way. Malfoy brings Harry to some area on or around Hogwarts’ grounds and Harry faces the grief and memories that come with it, but ends up laughing with Malfoy in the end. They go into all the shops in Hogsmeade and stop at the Three Broomsticks for lunch before heading to the grounds and castle. Whenever they go into a shop Harry notices that Malfoy keeps his head down and only speak when Harry prompts him to. He can’t believe the change in behaviour, comparing what Malfoy is now to the swaggering, loud boy he had been not too many years ago. Harry knows that only the treatment of others could have wrought the change in behaviour, and Harry is filled with anger for a moment as well as understanding. After all, he does the exact same thing when entering a wizard filled area. Head and eyes down, only speak when spoken to. It’s how he survives.
He expects and braces for being mobbed by witches and wizards who see them in the shops, yet so far no one has approached them. Even in the Three Broomsticks, although he knew Madam Rosmerta recognized him, given the extra helping of potato soup he received that he hadn’t ordered, even she didn’t gush. For a while he can’t figure out what it is until he watches Malfoy head back to their table from the bathroom. Witches and wizards shrink back from him. Melting into the shadows as if afraid he’ll look or speak to them. Harry marvels at the effect Malfoy has, and feels a little sorry for him. After all, it must be a lonely existence to have no one speak to you and everyone fear or hate you. Harry thinks this but doesn’t bring it up. It’s unlikely that Malfoy needs a reminder of how awful his reputation is in the wizarding world.
“Where to next Malfoy?”
Harry pays for his food, and Malfoy his before making their way towards Hogwarts.
They walk in comfortable silence until they reach the quidditch field. Harry hasn’t flown since he pulled Malfoy onto his broom in the room of requirement, and it’s only in this moment that he realizes how much he misses it. The feeling of racing through the air on his Firebolt is incomparable to everything else, and his whole body aches with want to do it just one more time. Glancing at Malfoy, Harry sees that there’s longing on his face too.
“You seeker for Slytherin this year?”
Malfoy looks at him and snorts. “No, I got kicked off the team in 6th year, and the season hasn’t even been created for this year yet since so few of the senior quidditch players came back.”
Harry frowns. That doesn’t seem right to him. Quidditch was one of his favourite things about Hogwarts and he knows that it would probably help a lot of people relax and get used to being surrounded by good magic again. Without a word to Malfoy he heads to the broomshed behind the dressing rooms. It isn’t locked because all that is in there are the old school brooms. Even if it had been Harry would have found a way to spell it open. He hears Malfy come up behind him and Harry blindly thrusts a battered cleansweep seven into his hands.
“What are you doing Potter?”
“You mean what are we doing?” Harry turns to look at Malfoy before answering his question. “We’re gonna do some flying and reminisce about all the times I was better than you and almost knocked you off your broom.”
Without a backward glance Harry mounts his broom and shoots off into the sky. He hears a muffled curse from Malfoy, but it isn’t long before the other boy joins him in the air. Harry lets out a whoop of joy and pulls the broom handle up, urging it to go higher and faster. It’s certainly no firebolt, this broom is old and slow and wonky, but it’s still flying and with the wind stinging his eyes he realizes, that’s enough for him. He manages to pull off a few decent loop de loops before he hears a laugh from Malfoy below and looks down.
“Training for the ballet Potter?”
Harry laughs and flies directly at Malfoy, so the other boy has to dodge out of his way.
“Watch it Malfoy, or I’ll knock you off that broom.”
Malfoy lets out another laugh and shoots off to the other end of the pitch. Harry follows. He feels that he could spend forever training on the familiar pitch. For the first time in a while, he isn't thinking of the traumatizing maze that he navigated here, he’s thinking of the aggravating smirk on Malfoy's face as they race above the stands. But, when the sun starts sinking in the sky Malfoy announces that it’s time to go to the castle.
Harry’s hands are freezing, and he fumbles as he locks the broomshed up. Fooling around on the pitch had kept his blood pumping and his body warm, but as the boys landed, the outdoor air had finally gotten to Harry. As he and Malfoy turn towards the castle, Harry takes a deep breath. Preparing himself for what was surely going to be the most difficult part of the day.
He feels Malfoy’s eyes on him, and when he turns to look at the other boy Malfoy gives a funny twitch of the mouth that could be his attempt at a comforting smile. Harry nods slightly, and they begin making their way past Hagrid’s darkened hut towards the brightly lit doors of the school.
Their shoulders jostle together as they walk and when they reached the courtyard, Harry grabs Malfoy’s arm, making him pause. Malfoy jerks to a stop, and turns so that he’s directly in front of Harry and blocking his view of where so many people died. Harry’s breath is speeding up, and Malfoy starts talking.
“Listen to me,” he whispers, stepping closer. “This is something that is going to be incredibly difficult, but it is also something that you need to do. Those people didn’t die for you. They died to kill the Dark Lord. And if you think about it, plenty of good things have happened in this courtyard.”
“Like what?” Harry gasps.
Malfoy looks blank for a second before straightening and saying, “Granger punched me in the face when I was being a giant twat over there.”
Harry turns to look in the direction Malfoy is pointing, and the memory floods his head. A smile cracks across his face. That had been a perfect thing to happen. And just like that he’s back in his own mind. Malfoy seems to know this and steps so that he’s beside him again. Their shoulders are touching, but Harry doesn’t make any move to step away from him. He needs the support. Without giving himself a second to reenter the headspace that he was just in, Harry starts forward with Malfoy to enter the great hall.
Harry is shocked by the lack of security but Malfoy doesn’t seem phased. Admittedly, he already has his head and eyes down, trying to go unnoticed. Harry wonders again what life is like at Hogwarts for Malfoy. He imagines Malfoy focused, and walking through the halls, robes swaying at his feet, desperately trying to avoid sneers and gales of laughter, and at the same time trying to prove that he’s better than his father. He lets this train of thought carry him to distraction as he and Malfoy walk through the dining hall. Heads turn and voices are raised saying hi, but Harry doesn’t acknowledge any of them, he can’t. When they draw level with the Gryffindor table, cheers start up suddenly, and it has Harry reaching for his wand, his heart racing. Malfoy’s hand comes out of nowhere and wraps around Harry’s wrist, forcing the wand down before it has a chance to come up.
“Don’t kill any of your housemates Potter, they likely wouldn’t appreciate it and I’d get the blame.” Malfoy murmurs this so only Harry hears.
Surely enough whispers and hateful conversations are also coming from the Gryffindor table directed towards Malfoy. Malfoy drops Harry’s wrist and they hurry out of the Great Hall and towards Mcgonagall’s office. Harry makes to turn into her old office before realizing that she’s headmistress now. As they make their way through the winding corridors, something settles in Harry. It’s like entering a building and realizing that it’s actually your home that you had left ages before. Everything’s the same, but it’s coated with a layer of dust.
He glances over at Malfoy to see that the lack of people in the halls had restored Malfoy to the version of himself that he had been out on the quidditch pitch. Not necessarily relaxed, but collected. This thought had barely entered his mind when a group of Gryffindor students he somewhat recognizes catch up and converge on them. Malfoy makes to step away at the first sign of people, but Harry twists his hand into Malfoy’s coat sleeve and holds him in place at his side. Harry does his best to encourage them to leave, and get back to Gryffindor tower but it does no good. He can feel his heart rate beginning to pick up as well as sweat beginning to gather on his lower back and palms. He also notes that Malfoy is beginning to look less and less kept together. He worries for a moment that both of them are going to end up cursing these fourth years away when a familiar voice sounds from above them on the staircase.
“Potter, Malfoy my office now.”
For the first time in Harry’s fairly long life dealing with professor Mcgonagall he is pleased to hear those words. Without saying goodbye to the students, he pushes through them after the Headmistress, dragging Malfoy along with him.
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Chapter 5: I gotta get back to Hogwarts
When Harry finally sits down in his old chair in Mcgonagall’s office, all he can focus on is how different Dumbledore and Mcgonagall decorate their offices. Fawkes’ old perch is gone, as is the table of trinkets that Harry had smashed during his fifth year. In the trinkets place is a teapot patterned with smokey gray cats moving across the glass, sitting next to it is what Harry suspects to be a tin full of biscuits. Much to Harry’s amusement there is also a lovely cat perch that Harry thinks Mcgonagall must use when in her feline form. All of these things provide enough distraction that Harry doesn’t have to look at Dumbledore’s picture hanging behind Mcgonagall’s head. His focus is pulled in that direction though when Mcgonagall clears her throat.
“Although I am delighted to see you Potter, is there a reason that you have decided to visit without announcing yourselves? You do know I only knew you two were here because of the ruckus you caused in the great hall as well as the fact that the broomshed was broken into?”
Her eyes dart somewhat accusingly in Malfoy’s direction before returning back to Harry’s face.
“Professor, I would hardly call opening the doors of a shed breaking in.” Harry replied, not ready to admit the real reason he was there.
Mcgonagall exhales through her nose and shakes her head slightly. Harry laughs a little before working up the nerve to blurt out the answer to her first question.
“I’m thinking of coming back to Hogwarts.”
This gets Mcgonagall’s full attention rather quickly.
“But Potter, you already have your Auror accreditation. What more could we teach you?”
Harry breaks eye contact and looks at his knees, trying to figure out a way to say he misses the castle too much to not come back, and that Auror training is not at all like he was expecting. But Malfoy ends up finding an answer for him.
“Excuse me, Professor, but he really doesn’t want to be an Auror.”
Both Mcgonagall and Harry turn their heads in Malfoy’s direction, with almost identical looks of confusion on their face. When Malfoy catches sight of Harry’s face turned towards him he rolls his eyes and sighs.
“Seriously Potter?” He turns his attention back to Mcgonagall before continuing. “He hasn’t worked it out yet, but he wants to come back to Hogwarts because being an Auror is too much like the war. Ya he’s good at it, but he’d rather be doing something else. He just doesn’t want to let people down because he’s their ‘Chosen One’.”
Mcgonagall looks amused by Malfoy’s speech.
“And how is it that you’ve come to know that Mr. Malfoy when Potter here still seems rather confused by your conclusion.”
Malfoy shakes his head again, as if tired of pointing out obvious things.
“Anyone who spends literally any time with him can tell he’s not happy in what he’s doing. He’s missed Auror training for over a week, and doesn’t seem the slightest bit torn up about it.”
Mcgonagall nods once before looking back to Harry.
“Is this true Potter? You’d like to come back to Hogwarts to maybe try for a different profession?”
Harry thinks for a moment before answering. “I’m not quite sure what I want to be honest Professor. I just know that I need to come back to Hogwarts to figure it out.”
Mcgonagall nods again before saying,
“Well you’d have some catching up to do. And we’ll have to modify your course load and schedule to reflect the extra year of magic you’ve got. It might be easiest to match your schedule up with Mr. Malfoy’s here.”
Harry cuts in quickly, “What about Hermione?”
He can feel Malfoy’s eyes on him, and for a moment he feels guilty at the implication that he doesn’t want to work with Malfoy. He tries to shake it off. Mcgonagall raises an eyebrow at him.
“Surely Miss Granger told you that she tested out of everything? She was finding the work too easy. She’s finishing off the rest of the year as a teaching assistant for Professor Flitwick.”
Both Malfoy and Harry stare back at Mcgonagall in confusion before Malfoy says, “She never told me she was testing out! I have like three group projects with her.”
Mcgonagall chuckles quietly then fixes her stare on Malfoy saying, “Well I guess it’s a good thing you’ve now got Potter here with you.”
Malfoy scoffs slightly and crosses his arms.
“He’s no Granger.”
Mcgonagall smiles thinly before turning her gaze back to Harry.
“Now, I’ll get to work on getting your classes in order, for the time being just attend class with Mr. Malfoy. Additionally, now that there are two of you, you’re more than welcome to stay in the castle if you so choose. There are rooms available in the staff quarters that can be arranged to sleep you two. If not, Potter you’ll have to floo in from Malfoy’s house each morning as I’m at my limit for floo connections into the castle this year.”
Malfoy and Harry stare back quietly and in shock before Harry answers.
“So we wouldn’t stay in the dormitories?”
Mcgonagall answers back right away.
“Well you’re more than welcome to, I just figured private quarter would keep you away from more people.” gently she adds “It might be easier for the two of you.”
Her gaze lingers on the hand that had been fisted in Malfoy’s jacket not that long ago. Harry averts his eyes quickly, and feels colour rise to his cheeks, though he isn’t quite sure why.
With the silence stretching on for a while, Mcgonagall finally says, “You two don’t have to decide now. You can go home and let me know when you two get here Monday.”
Malfoy answers this time.
“Alright, thank you Professor, we’ll think about it.”
Mcgonagall nods before standing up. Malfoy follows suit and Harry scrambles to do the same.
“You boys can use the floo network to get home. It’s a long walk back to the village and it’s rather late.”
They both nod and step towards the fire place in the corner of the room. Malfoy goes first, shouting his address before disappearing in a swirl of green flames. Harry makes to follow when he feels a hand on his shoulder.
“So, you and Mr Malfoy are friends now Potter?”
Harry thinks for a moment, not entirely sure of the answer.
“I’m not sure Professor.” he says finally. “He just gets it, he doesn’t hold me on a pedestal or treat me like glass. It’s a nice change.”
Mcgonagall nods once before saying, “Alright Potter, you’d better get going or he’ll think you got lost somewhere along the network. I’ve been told it’s happened before.”
Harry starts forward again, and gets a handful of floo powder before Mcgonigall interrupts once again.
“Oh and Potter,” Harry looks over her shoulder at her, she had moved to be behind her desk. Dumbledore’s portrait seems to be trying to catch his eye, but he focuses stubbornly on Mcgonagall. “It’ll be good to have you back.”
He’s treated to one of Mcgonagall’s real smiles, the one she normally saves for when one of her students masters a tricky charm, or transfigured for the first time, for when she feels proud.
Harry smiles back before turning back to the grate, dropping the floo powder and shouting Malfoy’s address.
As Harry tumbles out of the fireplace, Malfoy’s couch enters his line of sight and he stumbles towards it. Sinking into the cushions and leaning his head back against the soft fabric, Harry thinks about how the flat is already beginning to feel familiar, and Harry isn’t sure how he feels about that. Malfoy provides a sort of escape that no one else can give him. The other boy doesn’t expect anything from Harry, and despite all the bickering and snide remarks they share, Malfoy makes him feel grounded and calm in a way he hasn’t felt in months. Though the circumstances were less than ideal, Harry is glad it was him that Malfoy had called yesterday night with his panic attack. As Harry comes back to his senses and out of thought, he realizes Malfoy has said something.
“Honestly Potter, I’m surprised you landed on your own two feet. I’ve heard Weasley mention that you’ve made a wrong turn before.”
Harry sputters at the memory. That’s the second time it had been mentioned in the last ten minutes, apparently his clumsiness is universally known.
Malfoy continues blabbering on and Harry notices out of the corner of his eye that Malfoy has floo dust tangled in his fine blonde locks.
“You have floo dust in your hair.” he mentions, cutting of Malfoy abruptly.
The other boy flushes and immediately runs his fingers through his hair in an effort to remove the dust.
He stomps frustratedly toward the kitchen, and laughing Harry follows. As they enter, bickering, into the kitchen, Malfoy flings the fridge door open and peers inside. No new groceries had materialized since breakfast sadly. Malfoy turns and looks at Harry expectantly.
“What?” Harry asks, his mouth full with a strawberry pop tart he had meant to eat that morning.
Draco looks at him with a bit of disgust before saying, “You’re cooking right? If you’re going to bother me for the rest of the year I’m gonna need my strength, and that requires food that I don’t have to make.”
Harry rolls his eyes before handing Malfoy his coat off the back of a chair.
“Fuck that Malfoy, let’s go to Starbucks and get tea and sandwiches.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes, but good naturedly shrugs on his coat and gestures for Harry to lead the way.
Even though the Starbucks is directly below Malfoy’s apartment, Harry is glad to enter the warm interior. Rubbing his hands together for warmth, he looks at the sandwich selection in the display case, as well as the drink menu. Malfoy sidles up beside him.
“Do you reckon that a pumpkin spice latte tastes anything like pumpkin juice?”
Malfoy snorts, “I doubt it Potter. It’s warm and caffeinated and not pumpkin juice.”
Harry frowns. “We should have stayed at Hogwarts for dinner.”
Malfoy laughs before saying, “You could barely stand the attention for ten minutes how would you have handled dinner?”
“I would have managed, it would have been practice for the rest of the year.”
Malfoy snorts again, Harry idly thinks he might change Malfoy’s name in his phone to the amazing snorting ferret.
“Why Potter, are we taking the room at Hogwarts now? Gonna eat every meal there?”
“Why not?” Harry asks, turning to look at Malfoy.
They had reached the cash register, but Malfoy still turns and looks at Harry, ignoring the barista asking if she could help them.
“What, you want to room with me now?”
Harry ducks his head slightly and shrugs. “I don’t know, it seems silly to commute there and back each day and travel is expensive.”
Malfoy scoffs. Harry looks up to see Malfoy already staring at him in something that looks like confusion.
“What?” Harry asks.
“You’re ridiculous.” Malfoy mutters before finally turning back to the barista and placing his order.
“Wait,” says Harry waving the Barista off when she asks what he wants. “Is that a yes to living together?”
Malfoy groans slightly and tilts his head back to stare at the ceiling, as if praying for patience, “I suppose Potter, but I warn you I’m going to be miserable to live with.”
“That’s alright,” Harry says grinning now. “I’m pretty much used to your miserableness.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes and wanders off to the side to pick up his order, and then heads to their normal table at the back of the shop. Still grinning, Harry turns back to the barista and places his order.
Just as he turns to go towards the pickup area she says, “You guys are adorable by the way, wish my relationship was like that.”
“Thanks?” Harry says confusedly. “He’s a good friend to have, insufferable as all get out but what can you do?”
He quickly picks up his drink and sandwich, heading back to Malfoy and completely missing the confused look the barista sends their way.
Chapter 6: The Breakfast Table
After Starbucks Harry says goodbye to Malfoy and starts walking back to his flat. After settling down a bit, and seeing that there was nothing good on the telly, he decides to call Ron and Hermione to let them know his plan for the school year. Ron’s phone rings for so long that Harry worries he might be forwarded to his voicemail.
Luckily, after what seemed like an eternity Ron picks up.
“Harry mate, we thought you had died.”
Harry snorts, and sat up suddenly comforted by Ron’s familiar tone, “Ron I was literally texting Hermione this morning.”
“That’s a fairly large window mate, and we don’t know where you’ve been. You could’ve been kidnapped for all we knew.”
Harry rolls his eyes and laughs at how dramatic Ron is being.
“Alright Ron, I get it, you’d like to put a tracker on me so you and Hermione can know where I am at all times. Speaking of,” he says cutting in again before Ron can, “Is Hermione with you? I need to talk to you guys about something.”
Ron grunts that Hermione is indeed home, she just needs a minute to get changed into her pajamas.
“Alright mate, you’re on speaker.”
“Hey Hermione,” Harry smiles at how happy she sounds to be talking to him, it is reassuring to know that with all the changes going on in his life right now, he can always count on these two.
“I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m going back to Hogwarts starting Monday.”
There’s a beat of silence before both Ron and Hermione start talking at once.
“Mate you’re leaving me alone in Auror training?”
“Harry that’s wonderful, I’ll be able to help you get caught up!”
Harry smiles at both of their reactions before getting into it. “Ron you’ll be fine, I haven’t been to training for over a week and you’ve managed to survive. And Hermione, from what Mcgonagall says you’re gonna have a lot on your plate, what with being a teaching assistant for charms and all.”
What follows is utter silence on the other end of the phone, and Harry feels the need to kick himself after the slip up he’d just made. Surely, Hermione would have liked to surprise Ron with her assistant position. Harry can practically hear hermione mentally scolding him through the phone.
“What do you mean teaching assistant Harry? Hermione what’s he talking about?”
Harry hears Hermione sigh before answering. “It was going to be a surprise before Harry ruined it. I’ve tested out of everything already so I’m helping Professor Flitwick with his charms classes until the end of the year. Just marking and stuff.”
Ron gives a victorious whoop and Harry hears movement on the end that suggested Ron had pulled her in for a hug. Hermione murmurs something to Ron and Ron murmurs something back. It suddenly felt as though Harry was third wheeling on an intimate moment. He absentmindedly picks at a splinter in his hand that must have been from flying earlier while he waits for them to tune back in. After another minute Hermione’s voice comes through the phone again.
“I suppose Professor Mcgonagall told you did she?”
“Yep she’s pretty proud of you from what I can tell,” and without thinking he adds, “You have some explaining to Malfoy to do though, he was right pissed when he heard you’d abandoned him on those projects.”
The silence on the other end at those words appears incredibly tense, and that’s when Harry realizes his misstep.
“What do you mean Malfoy’s pissed off? He hasn’t been at school with you has he Hermione?”
Ron’s voice has a protective edge to it, one that he knew wouldn’t go over well with Hermione. She’s many things, but she isn’t someone who needs to be defended.
The silence that follows from Hermione is as good as a confession, Harry tries to soften the blow, who knows how Ron might react with Malfoy of all people sharing classes with his girlfriend, let alone projects.
“He’s changed Ron, he-”
“And what the bloody hell do you know Harry? He’s scum and you’re, you’re blinded by whatever obsession you seem to have in redeeming people.” Ron shouts this and before either him or Hermione can get a word in he starts up again, “You’re not going back to that school Hermione. Not while he’s there. I don’t give a rats arse about how he’s somehow redeemed himself. He can be redeemable there and you can be safe here.”
He’s breathing heavily by the end of this and seems to think that’s the end of the argument when Hermione calmly says, “I appreciate that you are concerned about my safety, but Draco and I have been working together all term-”
Ron attempts to cut in and Hermione just talks louder over him, repeating herself.
“Draco and I have been working together all term. He’s had plenty of opportunities to hurt me and he hasn’t. I’m going back to school, and you can figure out your anger on your own time Ronald.”
Harry stays quiet and he hears someone on their end get up and leave. A door slams somewhere in the apartment.
Hermione’s shaky voice, fills his ear much closer than before. She must have taken it off speaker phone.
“Sorry you had to hear that Harry.”
“No, Hermione I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to tell him about Malfoy it just slipped.”
Sighing shakily Hermione says “It’s alright he needed to find out eventually, he just needs to cool down a bit.”
Harry nods even though Hermione can’t see it, and waits quietly for her to say something.
Finally, after what seemed like ages, she says, “How is it that you know that Malfoy was pissed about this Harry?”
Harry freezes, and for some reason the impulse to just hang up and shut Hermione out wells up very strongly within him. However, he knows he has to be mature about it, so he answers in the simplest was possible.
“Well he was with me when Mcgonagall told me about your promotion.”
This does not satisfy Hermione’s curiosity. If anything it provokes it. Her voice has a laughing edge to it as she says, “And why was he with you Harry?”
Gritting his teeth, Harry prepares for the worse.
“Because he’s the one who convinced me to come back to Hogwarts. I’ve been hanging out with him for close to a month.”
There’s silence on the phone for a moment, “Hanging out as in what exactly?”
“I don’t know Hermione! We get coffee and insult each other while we do our homework.” sighing and rubbing his eyes with his free hand he adds, “I suppose we’re sort of friends now.”
Hermione snorts, “Friends right.” then after a moment, “was it him you apparated to meet last night?”
“Yes Hermione.” Harry says his eyes closed, trying to summon patience.
“Hmm, interesting.” Hermione says, and Harry can hear the smirk in her voice.
Harry opens his eyes and listens for whatever is going to come out of her mouth next but nothing does for a moment.
“How are you going to be getting to Hogwarts each day?”
Shocked at the change in topic, but clinging to it desperately he says, “Mcgonagall said I can stay at Hogwarts, so I’m gonna do that.”
He leaves out the sharing with Malfoy part, not wanting to turn the conversation in that direction again, though he feels that somehow Hermione will find out eventually.
“That’ll be good.” Hermione says seemingly content to talk about Hogwarts itself. “Give you lots of opportunities to use the library and everything.”
“I was thinking more quidditch and the feasts, but sure, we can pretend I was thinking about the study benefits too.”
Harry can practically hear Hermione rolling her eyes and smiling when she starts laughing.
“Harry Potter, I will not be able to save you this year when you ultimately fail your classes for not studying.”
Harry laughs again, before replying that he’s pretty sure that he can manage just fine on his own thank you very much. This has Hermione laughing and they continue talking about classes, and feasts, and the revolving door of defense against the dark arts teachers for hours. Just like it usually is, Harry’s mind is swimming with memories of Hogwarts. But, for the first time in a long time he isn’t recalling the corridors littered with bodies and rubble, or the quidditch pitch going up in flames. He is reminded of simpler times like pumpkin juice at breakfast and studying for hours in the library with Hermione and Ron for a test he will forget about in the morning.
Hermione’s voice is beginning to slur with the edges of sleep, and Harry is struggling to keep his eyes open so with a promise to talk again soon, they each say goodnight and hang up.
Smiling, he lays back in his bed and thinks about how in just two days time he’ll be in his bed at Hogwarts. With this happy thought in his head he drifts off into sleep, and for the second night that week has no bad dreams.
Monday morning dawns bright and early and Harry is awake and in his robes by 6am. Making sure he has enough spare shirts, trousers and other necessities packed to hold him off until he returns to his flat for Christmas. He double checks that he’s remembered his extra tie, then apparates into Malfoy’s bedroom.
The sharp crack of his apparation startles a semi conscious Malfoy, which results in him falling off his bed, hopelessly entangled in the blankets and thrashing around for his wand, his socked feet sticking out the end. Harry laughs as Malfoy tries to compose himself.
“Would you calm down Malfoy it’s just me.”
With that, Harry leaves the room and as he enters the kitchen he swears he hears Malfoy grumble, “I never should have adjusted the wards, you’re getting far too comfortable in my apartment.”
Harry smiles and checks inside the fridge. All the food that he’d made a few days ago is gone, which means that Malfoy actually ate something good this weekend. Harry closes the fridge and walks back into the living room where Malfoy seems to have fallen back asleep on the floor, huge comforter wrapped around his fair hair.
Harry strides over and nudges him with his foot.
“Malfoy wake up, it’s almost time to go.”
In a whining voice Malfoy responds, “Potter, it’s six o’clock in the morning, I most certainly don’t need to be up until 8.”
With that Malfoy rolls over in his blanket nest so that he is facing away from Harry. Frowning Harry moves to the other side of the room and then with an evil smile summons Malfoy’s blankets to him.
“Accio Malfoy’s blankets!”
The nest of blankets quickly unravel around Malfoy and deposit him not so gently onto the ground. Swearing Malfoy clambers to his feet and lunges towards Harry to grab his blankets back. Harry deftly steps out of the way, and laughs when a bed-headed, confused Malfoy hits his couch face first.
Groaning, Malfoy looks at Harry and then says, “You do know that we’ll be living together right? Torturing me this early is only going to make your life miserable in the long run.”
Smiling Harry says, “Ya ya, you’re evil and all that, get up and we can get breakfast at Hogwarts.”
“Potter, what makes you think that I’m even packed?”
Harry looks at Malfoy like he’s an idiot and says, “You are literally one of the most pompously organized blokes I know, you’re definitely packed.”
With that Harry extends his hand to Malfoy who considers it briefly before taking it and having Harry pull him to his feet. Their shoulders crash together slightly and Malfoy stumbles into Harry before righting himself.
“Alright, I am packed and we can go in a bit, I just want to grab a shower.”
With that Malfoy stalks off in the direction of the bathroom, already tugging his grey t-shirt up his torso, his overlarge socks gently slap the floor with each step. Harry watches him go before the bathroom doors slams shut.
What feels like hours later, but in reality is probably only about twenty minutes. Malfoy emerges from the bathroom fully dressed and ready to go.
Harry teases him in the kitchen about how much product he must use to get his hair to look just right, and Malfoy fires back that, “At least I’m not stuck with greasy hair like yours Potter.”
They use the floo network and shoot out one after the other into Mcgonagall’s office. Harry’s trunk knocks painfully against his legs as he stumbles towards Mcgonagall’s desk, and he scowls at Malfoy when he sees him laughing.
Mcgonagall looks surprised to see them.
“You’re here rather early boys?”
Malfoy mutters something that sounds suspiciously like “You’re telling me” and Harry steps in front of him, casually kicking him in the shins as he does so.
“That’s on me Professor, I wanted to eat breakfast here, and-”
Gasping slightly he glares back at Malfoy who just kicked Harry’s ankle in retaliation to the shin kicking, but Malfoy is looking at Mcgonagall as if nothing is wrong. Harry turns back to Mcgonagall, and catches Malfoy smirking out of the corner of his eye.
Gritting his teeth, he continues, “I also figured it would be good to tell you that we’ll be taking the room. It’ll be nice to live at Hogwarts again.”
Mcgonagall looks amused by this, as if she knows full well that Harry is dying to kick Malfoy in
the shins one more time.
“Are you sure this is what you want boys?”
“Yes Professor.” Malfoy and Harry answer at the same time. Harry looks at Malfoy in a little bit of shock, sure that he would never admitted to wanting to room with him, but Malfoy ignores him.
Once again, Harry turns to look at Mcgonagall who is smiling at them both.
“Alright boys. Potter I think it’ll be best for you to just take all the same classes as Malfoy, so you can just follow him for today and get the book lists from his as well. For now, I’m sure that you can share books, as you’ll mostly be working independently together.”
Harry nods at this and glances at Malfoy out of the corner of his eye. Malfoy seems uninterested in the whole conversation as is picking at his nail beds.
“Is that all Professor?” drawls Malfoy.
“Yes Mr. Malfoy, I suppose that is all, you may go and I’ll send one of the house elves to show you to your room at the end of the day.”
Interjecting quickly, Harry says, “Professor, I can ask Kreacher to show us to our room, he’s been in the kitchens since I left Grimmauld place so I should probably check in with him anyways.”
Mcgonagall nods at this and says “Very well Potter. Get on your way, both of you, I need to get ready for my morning classes.”
At this Malfoy turns on his heel and walks out of the office, leaving his trunk behind. Harry scrambles to follow him, ensuring that his wand is in his pocket and thanking Mcgonagall as he goes.
By the time he’s down the stairs Malfoy is already a ways ahead of him. And Harry jogs to catch up.
“Where are you going in such a rush Malfoy?”
“Breakfast Potter. I’ve been up for hours and still haven’t had a cup of tea thanks to your incessant nagging. I’m desperate.”
“Aw, is Malfoy not a morning person?” Harry teases.
Malfoy rolls his eyes and fixes his glare on Harry, “Honestly, who would want to be?”
Harry laughs and then stops when he sees they’re about to enter the great hall. Although he knows that the first day back is always hard, he hasn’t really prepared for the onslaught of questions he knows that he’s going to receive. Malfoy glances his way before grabbing his shoulder briefly and heading in. Harry, anxious about being left behind, follows him closely.
As they enter, a wave of familiar breakfast sounds hit them and Harry soaks in the feeling of being home. Malfoy doesn’t seem to care and walks quickly past the Ravenclaw table. Harry comes to a stop at the Gryffindor table and makes to turn in when he notices that Malfoy is still walking. Ignoring the wave of noise now at his back as the Gryffindors realize who he is, Harry grabs Malfoy’s sleeve.
“Where are you going Malfoy?”
Malfoy looks at him in confusion and mild panic as the noise behind Harry’s back grows.
“To my table Potter, you didn’t think that we’d be able to eat breakfast together did you?”
Harry shrugs before saying, “Why not? Who cares?”
Malfoy looks at him with something akin to pity. “Everyone would care Potter, everyone.”
With that Malfoy pulls out of his grip and heads to the Slytherin table on his own, head down and eyes forward.
Harry remains standing and watches as Malfoy takes his seat. “This is stupid” he thinks to himself, and he turns to go sit down when he notices that even the Slytherins at the table are avoiding Malfoy. They’ve turned their bodies away, and shifted down the benches so that Malfoy is fully alone. His head hangs down towards his plate and his longer blonde hair hides most of his face. Harry has never seen Malfoy like this, what happened to the boisterous, arrogant, attention seeking boy that Harry knew so well?
Sighing, Harry turns back around and marches in the direction of the Slytherin table. Cries from his fellow Gryffindors follow him, but he ignores it. He ignores them all. The questions, sneers, stares, everything. He ignores everything until his sinks onto the Slytherin bench across from Malfoy.
Malfoy’s silver eyes look up at Harry questioning.
“What are you doing?” he hisses, lowering himself even more on the table.
The other Slytherins have noticed Harry’s presence and are leaning in listening to Malfoy’s and his conversation.
“Eating breakfast Malfoy.” Harry replies, scooping some eggs onto his plate.
“At my table?”
Harry smiles somewhat at the question before looking Malfoy right in the eye and saying.
“Yes at your table Malfoy, you looked rather sad without my glowing warm presence next to you.”
This seems to make some of the tension in Malfoy’s shoulders ease, and he sneers, “I don’t need your pity Potter.”
“Have some eggs Malfoy.”
Harry is too busy scooping porridge into his bowl to notice the genuine smile growing on Malfoy’s face.
Chapter 7: Hermione Seems to know Something
Harry is a dumb bitch, but then again when isn't he?
Of course, breakfast is the best part of the morning. The sausages and porridge he eats distract Harry from the fact that he has literally no clue what any of the professors are saying. He understands some of it, but is struggling to remember his lessons from sixth year. It certainly doesn’t help that Malfoy and him sit by the window each class. Harry can see the quidditch pitch and Hagrid’s hut all morning. Both of which he would much rather be at than in History of Magic.
Why Malfoy continued taking this class Harry will never know, all he knows is that he dropped it after fifth year for a reason and desperately wishes it had stuck. He couldn’t care less about the centaur treaties of the past hundred years, yet he is surrounded by his classmates who seem to be taking notes with their colour coordinated quills.
Malfoy himself proves just as distracting as the window situation. First off, he is constantly taking notes and moving. Harry barely lifts his quill in Binns class, but Malfoy never puts his down. His leg shakes relentlessly and he is constantly biting his lip in focus.
This provides an excellent distraction from the quidditch pitch.
Soon after Harry starts watching Malfoy, Malfoy notices that Harry is watching him and silently sneers and leans over to whisper to Harry, “Potter, I’m only going to help you if you actually try and take notes.”
Harry leans in so his mouth is right next to Malfoy’s ear, “I. Can’t. Focus. In. This. Class.”
Harry leans back to see Malfoy’s face and notices that a faint flush has appeared on Malfoy’s cheekbones. It makes Harry happy to know how easy it is to annoy Malfoy. Malfoy shakes his head slightly and turns back to the front of the classroom without responding. Disappointed that Malfoy has gone back to focusing Harry resorts to staring out the window and desperately waiting for the double history period to end.
After History of Magic, they head to lunch and Harry resolutely follows Malfoy to the Slytherin table again. Malfoy does not seem pleased by this at all.
“You’re drawing even more attention to me than I already get.” he hisses sitting down beside Harry on the crowded bench.
“Oh shove off Malfoy. Barely anyone notices.”
With that being said Harry definitely notices heads craning in his and Malfoy’s direction. He subconsciously shifts closer to Malfoy in an attempt to shield him from the various stares and sneers. Malfoy looks at Harry in some confusion as their thighs press together but doesn't make a move to shift away. Out of nowhere a shout cuts across the hall.
Harry doesn’t turn, used to the constant talking at this point, and ducks further down in his spot.
“Potter it’s Granger.” Malfoy snaps, waving Hermione over with smile that Harry never thought would be directed at Hermione of all people.
“Oh.” Says Harry sitting up straighter and helping himself to some more food. He waits for Hermione to show up and sit down on his other side before turning to her.
“Hey Hermi-” Harry is cut off by the force of her hug.
“I’ve been looking for you all morning, and when I didn’t see you at the Gryffindor table I assumed you had decided not to come after all. But, then I heard some fourth years gossiping about how you were sitting at the Slytherin table and decided to check it out. Why are you sitting here?”
She says this all in one big breath, he bushy curls tickling his neck, but her hug is comforting nonetheless. Harry takes a moment to finish chewing before answering her. However, before he can open his mouth Malfoy jumps in.
“He’s taken me on as his charity case, and won’t leave me be for a single moment. Basically, he’s decided that I look far too sad enjoying my meal in quiet and need to be surrounded by noise and his adoring fan club at all times.”
To highlight his point a group of first year Gryffindors come giggling up to the table to ask for his autograph. Malfoy sneers and rolls his eyes in response, while Hermione hides a laugh behind her hand and Harry tries to politely decline. The Gryffindor’s finally turn away after Malfoy threatens to use them as his next transfiguration project. After this is dealt with Harry turns back to Hermione.
“In my defence Hermione, you should have seen him. He looked completely pathetic sitting here by himself. Scowling down at his eggs as if they personally offended him.”
Malfoy turns to Harry with a disbelieving look on his face and shoves his shoulder in retaliation. Harry nearly plants his elbow in his macaroni salad. He turns back to get even, but not before catching a slight smirk on Hermione’s mouth as she looks at where Malfoy had pushed Harry’s shoulder. Wondering what that’s about, he turns back to Hermione to ask her why she’s looking at him and Malfoy like that, when she abruptly gets up.
“Well I’ll see you in charms later this afternoon, have a good rest of the day boys.”
With that she’s gone and Harry is left alone with Malfoy to eat lunch.
“Wonder what that was about.” Harry says turning back to his plate.
“What?” asks Malfoy, already scooping pasta onto his.
“Well Hermione never runs off like that anymore, I wonder why she left so quickly?”
Malfoy shrugs, uninterested in the mystery of Hermione’s abrupt departure, but Harry can’t get that mischievous look out of his head, or figure out the reason behind it.
Maybe he smeared pasta on Malfoy’s shoulder when he pushed him, maybe that was what the amused expression was for. He looks over at Malfoy, but he doesn’t seem the least bit confused. Sitting at the table eating his macaroni, with the same vigor he ate Harry’s homemade breakfast.
He’s got a charms book out in front of him, too tattered and worn to decipher the title. But his eyebrows are drawn in with focus, and a stray hair has fallen out of place where he leans forward to read. Harry has the sudden urge to smooth the stray hair back with the rest of them. Malfoy slams the book shut and picks up his fork, shaking Harry out of his thoughts.
“So, are you gonna try out for the Quidditch team?” he says in between mouthfuls of salad, “I saw you in class, staring at the pitch like it was the prettiest girl at the Yule ball.”
Harry snorts at this and starts shoveling his own food into his mouth.
“I’m not sure,” he says between mouthfuls, “Would I be captain again as I’m the only remaining member? I’ll have to talk to McGonagall. What about you?”
Malfoy shrugs and pushes his clean plate away.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure I’d be allowed to play, or if anyone would even want me to be on the team.”
“They’d be stupid not to.” Harry says.
Malfoy looks at him and says “Oh and why is that Potter?”
Harry shrugs and swallows some more pasta salad before answering.
“You’re a great seeker when you’re not cheating and jumping on the end of other people’s brooms Malfoy.”
Malfoy scoffs and mutters, “That was one time Potter.” But looks pleased as he does so.
Harry smiles and looks back to his plate. Malfoy lets Harry finish his food in silence before dragging him to their next class. Harry is pleased to see that they just have charms and then a spare period between them and the end of the day. Although he really hasn’t done that much, Harry is ready to collapse into his bed.
The rest of the day passes in a blur. Charms is wonderful because Hermione basically spends the whole lesson talking to Harry and Malfoy. They seventh years they’re mixed in with are learning a charm that Harry knows already, so he pays little attention to what Flitwick is saying. They cast a muffliato charm and spend the class teasing each other. Harry was worried at first about how Malfoy and Hermione might mix, but they are completely at ease with each other, after the month they’ve spent at school with no one else their age to talk to.
After charms, Malfoy and Harry head to the library to spend some time catching Harry up on everything he’s missed over the last month. Malfoy is not a patient teacher, and snaps every time Harry asks him a question, but then again Harry grew up with Hermione so he’s used to it at this point.
As Malfoy lectures him about various lessons in History of Magic, Harry finds his mind drifting. His attention gets snagged by the sun glinting off of Malfoy’s fair hair and putting a glowing ring around his head like a halo. He only realizes he’s staring when Malfoy snaps his fingers in Harry’s face.
“Potter have you listened to a thing I’ve said?”
Harry shakes his head and moves his eyes to Malfoy’s face. “There are other things I’m more interested in focusing on Malfoy.”
Malfoy flushes, and begins packing up his books. “Fine Potter. If you’re struggling to focus there’s no point in me lecturing you. Let’s meet Granger for dinner.”
Startled by Malfoy’s abrupt change in attitude, Harry hurries to pack up his things. On their way out of the library Madam Pince glares in their direction. Harry sighs and sidles up closer to Malfoy’s side.
“What is it now Potter?”
“Madam Pince has always hated me and I just don’t get why. Ya sure, I admit I’ve snuck in and stolen books from the library once or twice, but honestly who hasn’t?”
Malfoy laughs and looks at Harry without turning his head, “Not everyone has to like you Potter, I think the fame and glory might be giving you a big head.”
“That’s rubbish.” Harry scoffs and then jostles Malfoy’s shoulder with his own, “After all you were supposed to hate me and now I’m like your best friend.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes and snorts. “I despise you Potter, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
Grinning, Harry replies, “Absolutely no one believes that Malfoy.”
“Believes what?” says a voice behind Harry and Malfoy.
Harry springs away from Malfoy’s side and whips around with his wand raised, only to see Hermione looking at him with one eyebrow raised.
“Jesus Granger.” Malfoy gasps, his own hand retreating from his pocket where his wand is stored, “You can’t just sneak up on people like that.”
Hermione laughs, “It was hardly sneaking, you guys are just so caught up in each other that you don’t notice anyone else. So, I repeat, what would no one believe Harry?”
Harry had been watching Malfoy’s reaction to Hermione and taking note that he had flushed when she accused him of being oblivious to other people. He wonders why Malfoy gets so upset about people calling him oblivious. He then realizes that Hermione had asked him a question and turns to answer her.
“Oh, just that Malfoy hates me, and I told him absolutely no one believes that anymore.”
“Oh,” scoffs Hermione, finally drawing level with the two boys, “Ya absolutely no one would believe that Draco.”
Malfoy looks pained and mutters, “I despise you both, I have a reputation to uphold.” Before gesturing that they should continue making their way to the dining hall, "Shall we?"
As they walk, Hermione fills them in on how her day went. Talking about how many lessons she has planned, and how much marking she has to do already. Malfoy asks about what lessons she is responsible for teaching and makes suggestions on how she could make the lessons more fun or entertaining for the younger students.
Harry mostly listens in silence, soaking up the fact that he is back at Hogwarts with people he cares about. His mind snags a little on the fact that Malfoy is now someone he cares about, and he catches himself looking at Malfoy as the three of them sit down at the Slytherin table. Malfoy sees him looking and raises a pale eyebrow at him before turning back to talk to Hermione. Harry is about to say something to get Malfoy’s attention again when a shout cuts through the great hall.
“Oi! Malfoy get away from Hermione!”
Swiveling in their seats, Malfoy, Harry and Hermione take in the tall figure cutting his way through the crowded hall. Harry feels Malfoy tense beside him, and hears Hermione mutter a curse before preparing to stand up. A sense of dread fills Harry’s stomach as he realizes who it is.
A very angry Ron Weasley is making his way towards the Slytherin table, his wand already out and pointed at Malfoy’s heart.
Chapter 8: Socks in Bed
Malfoy freezes, but Harry doesn’t. Somehow, he ends up standing in front of Malfoy, his own wand pointed at Ron his other hand moving back in a sort of protective stance.
“Mate, you need to calm down.” He hears himself say.
Ron looks taken aback for only a moment before his eyes narrow and he sneers at both Harry and Malfoy. “What you’re on his side Harry? He fucking tortured her!”
Ron’s eyes have grown wide with fury and he waves his unoccupied hand, as if to emphasize his point.
Hermione is wearing the expression she normally has when she is about to start arguing why she’s right, but Harry cuts her off before she can even begin, never taking his eyes off his best friend, or moving from his place in front of Malfoy.
“That wasn’t him Ron. Lower your wand and we can have a conversation about this like adults.”
The hall is deadly silent, Harry can’t help but think that the first years are getting quite a show.
"Like adults? Just a few months ago you were saying he was just a kid! You fucking defended him in court because you insisted that all his bad decisions were the poor choices of a neglected child. But now, when worst comes to worst, he’s an adult?"
Ron is fuming, his face so red from anger that Harry thinks for a moment, maybe he just ate one of the twins chicken pox candies, and this is all a dream. But that hope vanishes when out of the corner of his eye Harry sees Malfoy flinch as if Ron has physically slapped him. But after a few seconds his face returns to being emotionless and Harry looks back to Ron.
“Ron, seriously, lower your wand.”
The great hall is so silent that Harry can nearly hear the wax dripping from the candles. Every single pair of eyes is on the four of them. Blankly, Harry notices that there is movement from the head table. He also notes that Malfoy’s hand is fisted in the back of his robes. Whether Malfoy is holding Harry back or grounding himself, Harry isn’t sure. Ron makes no move to lower his wand.
Hermione takes a step towards him, her hands up in a placating gesture. “Ron, I’m fine. Malfoy is harmless.”
Ron rolls his eyes at that, “Hermione, I love you, but get out of the way. You too Harry. This is between Malfoy and I.”
Harry begins to open his mouth in defense when he hears Malfoy reacting behind him.
“You heard her Weasley, I haven’t harmed a hair on your girlfriend's head.” He stands up beside Harry, his hand still twisted in Harry’s robe. “I’d appreciate you lowering your wand, not that you’d be able to hit me even if you tried.”
Ron’s face flushes in anger. Harry sighs and hopes not for the first time that Malfoy will drop the arrogant tone in his voice and also wonders how Malfoy has survived so long. Harry twitches his wand in a familiar action, and Ron’s wand shoots out of his hand before he has a chance to curse Malfoy.
“What the hell Harry?” Ron yelled. “You have no right-”
Ron starts forward in Malfoy and Harry’s direction, his fists balled at his sides in a way that Harry know’s means he is barely controlling himself. Hermione tries to block his path but Ron shoulders past her. Without realizing it, Harry shoves Malfoy away.
“Go,” he says to a confused looking Malfoy, “Get out of here, let me handle this.”
Malfoy hesitates for a second so Harry pushes him again, and with a gentleness he doesn’t normally direct at Malfoy, removes the hand fisted in his cloak. This time the shove takes and Malfoy hurries out of the hall, though he doesn’t look happy about it, his ears tipped pink in frustration. Harry turns back to Ron just as Hermione shrieks and Ron’s fist makes contact with Harry’s nose.
Harry’s head snaps back, and he clutches his free hand to his nose, but thankfully he remembers that he has a wand and casts a spell before Ron can advance further.
His voice sounds thick to his own ears, undoubtedly related to the swollen nose that is gushing blood down his chin and onto his clean robes.
“Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger, Potter, what is the meaning of this?”
Harry turns to see a gobsmacked Mcgonagall looking at the three of them. It appears that the commotion at the front of the room had been a student running to get Mcgonagall. He shrugs in response. Hermione makes a sound in the back of her throat that has Harry and Mcgonagall turning to look at her. She’s crying and looking at Harry and Ron in shock. Harry decides to try another answer.
“It was just an argument that got out of hand Professor, it won’t happen again.”
Hermione nods from where she is now kneeling beside an unfrozen and glaring Ron.
“Yes Professor,” Ron grinds out, not taking his eyes off Harry, “It won’t happen again.”
“Alright, fine. There will be no punishments today since I think the three of you have done enough damage. However, Mr. Weasley, I’d like an explanation for what you’re doing in the castle right now, and why you saw fit to attack one of my students.”
“Yes Professor.” Ron replies, getting to his feet and following Mcgonagall out of the great hall, whispers follow Ron as he exits.
“Harry you’re bleeding.” Hermione says, rushing to his side.
“It’s fine,” replies Harry, mopping up the blood with the sleeve of his robe, “Can you just mend it please?”
Hermione nods tearfully and pushing up her sleeves casts the same charm Tonks used on his nose not that many years ago.
Harry’s nose snaps into place and his eyes water, but the throbbing fades to an ache and the blood slows. It’s then that he notices that everyone is still looking at him.
“Can we get out of here please Hermione?” he mutters under his breath.
She nods and grabs her bag, he notices her discreetly wipe her eyes with the back of her hand. Harry grabs his things as well as Malfoy’s abandoned book and bag. He shoulders it all and gestures for Hermione to lead the way.
“What was that all about Harry?” Hermione asks a they clear the doors and chatter in the hall resumes.
“What was what all about Hermione?” Harry replies, still wiping the excess blood off of his face.
“You know what I mean.” Hermione says, turning to stand in front of him so that he has no choice but to stop and look at her. Her hair is coming loose from it’s tight braid, and her cheeks are slightly flushed.
“No Hermione, I really don’t. Ron’s the one who came in here and started the whole thing, why don’t you ask him.” Harry says impatiently.
“What was the whole defending Draco thing about? You and Ron disagree all the time, but I’ve never seen you push back so hard against Ron about a person before, especially Malfoy.”
Harry rubs the back of his neck absently before answering, “He’s my friend Hermione-”
“Malfoy or Ron?”
“Both?” Harry replies, getting frustrated. “Ron is my best mate, but he’s wrong on this one, and Malfoy doesn’t deserve to pay for the shitty things his family did. By that logic I should be in Azkaban for all the shit the Dursley’s did to me.”
“So that’s all this is,” questions Hermione, “You defending a friend?”
He feels his pulse quicken and he’s not sure why.
“What else would it be Hermione?” Harry shouts, his yell echoes in the empty stone hallway and with effort he brings his voice back down to a normal level. “What else would it be?”
Hermione holds his stare for a moment, she appears to be searching for something in Harry that he can’t identify, before shaking her head, “Nothing Harry, I’ll let you figure this one out on your own. I’m gonna go see why Ron was here.”
With that Hermione turns on her heel and heads towards Mcgonagall’s office, ignoring Harry’s shouts asking her what he was supposed to figure out on his own. Frustrated, Harry takes out his phone, which somehow is still working, and calls Malfoy.
“Ya it’s me,” Harry said, “Where are you?”
“I’m in our room, call Kreacher and he’ll take you.”
“Alright,” Harry says, “I’ll see you in a few.”
Harry hangs up the phone and calls for Kreacher. A loud bang sounds in the deserted corridor and Kreacher appears in front of him. Still sporting Regulus’s locket and a white bath towel, he grins when he sees Harry.
“Master Potter, tis good to see you sir.”
Harry smiles despite himself. “It’s good to see you too Kreacher. Do you mind taking me to mine and Malfoy’s room please?”
“Absolutely master, right his way.”
Still smiling slightly at Kreacher, Harry makes his way to his new room.
Kreacher leads him to an area of the castle that he’s never been before. The corridors seem less worn down, and the decorations are muted. Kreacher stops in front of what seems to be a completely ordinary wooden door.
“Is this it Kreacher?” Harry asks, looking for some sort of tapestry to say a password to.
“Yes master, but the door is spelled to only open for you and Master Malfoy.”
“Blimey, that’s brilliant! Thanks Kreacher, I’ll probably ask for you to come back later with some food if that’s alright?”
“Yes of course Master Harry.”
The house elf shuffles a short ways down the hall then disappears with a loud snap and Harry is left standing by himself in the corridor. Hesitantly, Harry reaches for the handle to find that it feels completely normal and cool in his hand. He opens the door to find Malfoy lounging on a couch and already looking at him.
“Jesus Potter, you’re covered in blood!” Malfoy says, jerking upright and looking at Harry in shock and something that looks like concern.
Self consciously Harry raises his hand to his face. “I thought I had got it all off.” He mumbles, not looking at Malfoy.
“Well you didn’t.” Says Malfoy, his voice sounding much closer than before.
Harry looks up to see a frowning Malfoy pointing a wand at his face. Harry glares, and reaches to push the wand away, but Malfoy tuts and shakes his arm away from Harry.
“Let me clean you up Potter.”
Rolling his eyes, he allows Malfoy to whisper some sort of charm over him. He feels blood peel away from his face and also his robes. It hangs, suspended for a moment, in between Malfoy and Harry before Malfoy whispers another charm and the blood is whisked away.
This leaves nothing for Harry to look at besides Malfoy, which he does. Malfoy is slightly taller than him by about a half inch, but with his pale hair hanging in his grey eyes, and a worried look on his face, he seems smaller, and far less intimidating than he used to. Harry realizes that Malfoy is staring right back. They stand in silence for a moment before Malfoy breaks it.
“What was Weasley talking about when he mentioned my trial?”
He fixes Harry with a perplexed look, and crosses his arms in front of him. Harry looks down and away. He moves towards a bed decked out in an outlandish amount of Gryffindor memorabilia when Malfoy catches his arm.
“Come on Potter,” Malfoy sighs, “What did he mean?”
Harry looks back to see that Malfoy’s pale grey eyes are full of worry. This causes Harry to turn back to face him fully. He looks at Malfoy for another moment, shocked by the sadness that he sees in Malfoy’s eyes before answering.
“I just testified on your behalf at your trial.” Harry mumbles, averting his eyes. “It was no big deal.”
Harry stands looking at the floor for what feels like an eternity before Malfoy squeezes his arm once and says, “Thank you Potter, I’m sure that must have been hard.”
Harry looks up to see Malfoy turning away. Without thinking Harry says, “Don’t be thick Malfoy, saying you weren’t the bad guy wasn’t hard compared to being the chosen one.”
At that Malfoy looks back and smiles, shaking his head.
“Ya, ya, Potter. Whatever. Just unpack so we can do some homework, I know you dozed off in History of Magic .”
Harry looks at Malfoy in shock. “What makes you think I’ll be doing homework tonight when we didn’t get to eat dinner and I lost a gallon of blood defending you.”
“Oh shove off Potter. It was a nosebleed. Calm down, I’m sure you had worse when you were out with your merry men in the forest.”
Scoffing Harry replies, “Of course, but I still got to eat occasionally when that happened.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes again but seems pleased when Kreacher appears with a tray of food for them to share. His eyes shine when he spots the chocolate mousse waiting on the platter and Harry makes a mental note for when he will inevitably have to buy Malfoy groceries. He decides that he’ll introduce him to the wonder that is pudding snack packs.
Dinner is uneventful. The commotion really begins as he and Malfoy start getting ready for bed. Malfoy, the twat that he is, has moved his bed as far away from Harry as he can get. Claiming that, "Sharing a room with Harry is as insufferable as is, he doesn't need to share breathing air with him too."
Harry goes into the bathroom for a couple minutes to change into his pajamas, his sleep trousers covered in little snitches that Mrs. Weasley got him for last Christmas. When he leaves the bathroom it’s to find Malfoy crawling into bed wearing a grey hoodie, a pair of old sweat pants, and to Harry’s surprise and horror, a monstrous pair of fuzzy green socks.
“What are those?”
Malfoy looks up, face already arranged into a sneer, “What the bloody hell are you on about Potter?”
“Why are you wearing socks to bed?”
The socks in question are rather fun, covered in dancing snakes. Leave it to Malfoy to be the one person he knows with personalized house socks. Harry’s own feet dig into the plush carpet underneath his toes.
Malfoy flushes a bit at the question and turns away slightly, “My feet get cold.” And then more confidently, “What’s your excuse for the total abomination that are your pajama pants?”
Harry had grown quite fond of his snitch pants, they even came with a matching jumper, but Harry REALLY doesn’t think it would help his situation if he tells Malfoy about it.
“Sod off or I’ll spell you silent!”
He knows it’s a weak comeback, and Malfoy knows it when he turns to his own bed with a teasing smirk on his face. Harry turns over in his bed and gets the lights.
Mumbling, so he can reclaim at least some of his dignity, Harry says, “The socks are still fucking ridiculous.”
Chapter 9: Make Up and Make Out
Enjoy some more of Harry being BIG dumb
Harry wakes up to morning sunlight streaming directly into his eyes because Malfoy insisted they sleep with the curtains open to “see the night sky.” Harry thinks Malfoy couldn’t care less about the night sky, but he has always delighted in any idea that makes Harry squirm.
He turns over and grumbles in Malfoy’s direction, sleepily pulling his comforter up to his chin, “Tomorrow we’re sleeping with the curtains closed, if you like the night sky that bloody much, I’ll buy you a fucking telescope.”
Malfoy sits up in his bed, hair askew, ready for an argument even at seven o’clock in the morning, “It’s so nice of you to take my hobbies into account Potter, really, thanks for being such a splendid roomie.”
The comment is accompanied by a pillow thrown in his face, and Harry decides it’s time to get up.
As he stumbles around the room, tripping over Malfoy’s discarded socks, Malfoy burrows deeper into his blankets and looks for all intents and purposes like he is never getting out of his bed.
“We’re gonna miss breakfast if you stay in bed too long, it’s Tuesday so they’ll be serving breakfast sausages, those were always Ron’s favourite.”
Malfoy’s next words are muffled slightly by his pillow, “I don’t give a rat’s ass about Weasley and his breakfast, I’m staying in bed for 20 more minutes, Kreacher will be more than happy to bring me my own goddamn breakfast sausages.”
Harry had forgotten about yesterday's argument, but it all comes back to him, the disgust in Ron’s voice and the tears in Hermione’s eyes.
“Come on Malfoy, get up. We need to see how Hermione is doing after yesterday.”
Malfoy raises his head sleepily from his pillow and looks at Harry. “You do know Granger isn’t normally at breakfast right? And even if she is I have no desire to get in another fight with her deranged boyfriend.”
“Well her deranged boyfriend is my best friend and you're my friend too, so I want to fix this.”
Malfoy scoffs, “We’re not friends Potter, I’m just you latest charity case.”
Harry looks up from where he’s pulling up his socks, “What are you talking about Malfoy?”
“I’m talking about how you clearly wouldn’t be here if you didn’t feel bad for me.” Malfoy says, irrefutable.
Harry calls to mind how Malfoy is the only person who has treated him like he always has, most people are either begging for his autograph and swarming him in the streets, or they are insisting there’s no shame in going to therapy. Malfoy has always treated him like any other stupid Gryffindor.
“Malfoy, don’t be ridiculous, of course you’re my friend.” Harry says this, but can’t help but feel like friend isn’t a big enough word for their relationship.
For once Malfoy doesn’t have a witty remark to make. He looks at Harry blankly for a moment before giving Harry one of his rare smiles, “Well come on then Potter, those sausages aren’t gonna eat themselves.”
It takes another thirty minutes before both boys are ready, and by the time they get down to the great hall it’s full and loud as always. Harry leads Malfoy towards the Slytherin table while keeping an eye out for Hermione’s head of bushy hair.
“What do we have on the docket for today Malfoy?” Harry asks, swinging his leg over the bench and sitting down.
Malfoy settles down at Harry’s side and spoons some eggs onto his plate and adding a disgustingly large pile of ketchup before answering, “We have potions this morning, care of magical creatures, lunch and then transfiguration.”
Harry groans slightly and hits his head against the table.
“I hate potions Malfoy.”
Malfoy snorts and rolls his eyes, “Well it’s a good thing I’m great at it, and Professor Slughorn thinks you basically shit gold so you’ll probably get an outstanding regardless of whether or not your true talent lies with potions.”
Harry’s head lolls on the table as he turns to face Malfoy, “And how is it that you know I don’t shit gold exactly?”
Before Malfoy has a chance to answer someone clears their throat behind them. Instantly both Harry and Malfoy have wands in their hands and are pointing them at the person behind them.
Ron looks amused by this display, but still has his own wand out, “Calm down, I’m not gonna curse you. Harry can I have a word?”
Harry looks quickly at Malfoy whose gaze is already settled on him. Harry isn’t sure why, but he suddenly wishes that Ron wasn’t there so he could finish talking with Malfoy.
Malfoy gets bored of looking at Harry and rolls his eyes before turning back to his food, “Go crazy Potter, I’ll meet you in potions if you don’t make it back here before.”
Harry nods and as he stands up to follow Ron out of the hall, he briefly squeezes Malfoy’s shoulder.
Without looking to see Malfoy’s reaction, Harry exits the great hall and follows Ron into an abandoned classroom. Hermione is already in there and stands when Harry and Ron walk in, anxiously smoothing down the front of her robes.
“Alright," Hermione starts hesitantly when neither Harry or Ron start talking, “I figured you two need to talk it out so we don’t have a repeat of fourth year. I can leave or stay if you want me to.”
Harry desperately wishes Hermione would stay, but he nods when Ron asks her to go. Clearly, whatever Ron needs or wants to say is something he’d rather only Harry hear.
“Alright mate,” Ron says, running his hand absently through his hair, “I just wanted to let you know that I’m sorry for hitting you, but I’m not sorry for why I did it. Malfoy is scum Harry.”
Harry makes to interrupt, but Ron holds up his hand, so Harry falls silent again.
“He’s scum Harry,” he repeats. “You used to know that and agree with it, so I’m just wondering what happened to make you change your mind. You hated him for practically seven years, and now suddenly Hermione tells me you two have been having coffee dates or something for over a month? You’re living with the guy now? What the hell is going on, and most importantly, why don’t I know about it?”
Harry waits to make sure Ron is done before starting to talk. He chooses his words carefully.
“First off, they’re not dates,” As Harry says this he can feel his cheeks colouring but pushes onward, “He’s my friend Ron. And honestly I’m not quite sure when that happened either.”
Ron looks skeptical so Harry continues.
“You know how Hermione treats you sometimes after a bad nightmare?” Harry starts.
Ron nods hesitantly, clearly wondering where this is going, Harry helplessly thinks that the acknowledgement of Ron’s all encompassing nightmares is probably not helping the situation.
“Well imagine,” Harry says, pausing to think out exactly what he wants to say, “Imagine that every single moment of every single day, every single person treated you like how Hermione treats you after a bad nightmare. Sure the sentiment is nice, but it’s draining. You can't convince them that you’re okay, and after a while you begin to wonder if you really are.”
Harry stops again to make sure Ron is following before continuing.
“That is what my life is like Ron. Pretty much every single person in my life thinks I’m going to break, and I happened to run into Malfoy on a day where I was pretty sure I was broken. Malfoy didn’t act like I was though.”
Chuckling, Harry adds “Actually, he was just as snobby as ever, and rude. And that’s why I’m hanging out with him, because sometimes he’s just what I need.”
Ron looks like he is about to interrupt, but Harry isn’t done so he holds up his hand to kindly tell Ron to shut up for a little bit longer.
“I know you don’t like him, and I’m not asking you too, I’m just asking you to tolerate him. He isn’t going to hurt Hermione. Honestly, I’m not sure if he's ever going to hurt anyone, I think Malfoy just wants to get through this year with his head down.”
Harry is unsure of what to say next so he stops and looks at Ron, waiting for a response. Ron is looking at Harry contemplatively. Slowly he crosses the room and stops a short distance in front of him.
“I never thought you were broken mate.”
“I know Ron, that’s just how it feels sometimes.” Harry replies, looking down at his feet.
Gruffly Ron replies, “And hanging out with the amazing bouncing ferret makes you feel less broken?”
Harry snorts and looks at Ron, “Grounded is the word I’d use, but sure less broken works too I guess.”
Ron nods before hesitantly saying, “You’re not going to stop hanging out with me and Hermione now are you? Like, we don’t make you that uncomfortable right?”
Harry looks at Ron incredulously and says, “Ron, you and Hermione are sometimes the only reason I make it through a day. No one and nothing could replace you, it’s just nice to have another person to lean on every once and awhile.”
Ron nods again and awkwardly shuffles forward before pulling Harry into a hug. Harry hugs Ron back tightly, extremely glad they’ve made up.
Pulling back Ron says, “I’m not saying I’ll ever like Malfoy, but if you say he’s changed or whatever I guess I can ignore him for now.”
Harry laughs and says, “He’s extremely hard to ignore but I wish you luck.”
Ron gives him a funny look at that, but before Harry can ask what it’s about Hermione knocks on the door.
“Have you two made up yet?” She asks, anxiously looking between them.
Ron rolls his eyes and glances at Harry before replying with an exasperated, “Yes Hermione.”
She smiles and holds her arms out. Both boys go towards her and give her a hug. Harry holds on tight, hoping that this is the last time a fight like this breaks out but knowing it likely isn’t.
Hermione finally breaks away and says, “Come on, let’s go get some breakfast before it’s all gone.”
“Ooh sausages.” Ron says giddily.
The three of them quickly make their way to the dining hall, and Harry’s heart soars at having his two best friends at his side.
Ron explains that he was in Hogsmeade for a house call, dealing with an old wizard who was convinced people were breaking into his shop, and that was the reason he had decided to visit the castle yesterday.
“It’s definitely just some pixies messing with him, but no matter what I said he wouldn’t listen and insisted on having a security charm set in place, I realize people are paranoid after what went down last year, but bloody hell, all this fuss over pixies?”
Harry laughs, and Hermions asks about what spells were used. It’s almost like old times. The only difference is that when they enter the great hall Harry heads to the Slytherin table and Ron and Hermione continue on to Gryffindor. He wishes they would come sit with him and Malfoy, but he knows Ron isn’t quite ready for that just yet.
He throws himself down beside Malfoy, and starts shoveling as much food as he can onto his plate before it all disappears, his eggs mix with his corn syrup, and his breakfast rolls soak up the mess. Malfoy looks at him the same way Harry might look at a hippogriff giving birth. Utter disgust, yet morbid fascination.
“Bloody hell Potter,” Malfoy sneers, hurriedly putting a book away before Harry spills something on it, “Could you be any messier, I feel like I’m dining with a toddler?”
Harry pauses to look at Malfoy, and intentionally shovels more food into his mouth before leaning in closer and saying, “Why, does it bother you?”
Harry swallows and Malfoy looks on with disgust, his eyes following the food down his throat before flitting back to Harry’s eyes.
“Yes actually, a troll has better manners than you.”
Harry grins and quips back, “Eat with trolls often Malfoy? That manor of yours must have been something else.”
Malfoy scoffs and watches again as Harry piles more food onto his plate.
“How’d your talk with Weasley go?” He asks abruptly, tearing his eyes away from Harry’s overladen fork.
Harry shrugs, but swallows his food in order to better answer Malfoy.
“It was good. We made up, he should be leaving you alone now.”
Malfoy sneers, “So all is well with the happy couple?”
“If you’re talking about Hermione and Ron I’m assuming so, if you’re talking about Ron and I, well let’s just say that Ron really isn’t my type, too much like a brother.”
Malfoy makes a choking sound and flushes. Harry grins slightly before eating more food.
“And what exactly,” Malfoy starts hesitantly, “is your type Potter?”
Harry grins over at Malfoy, “Malfoy are we talking about our crushes? We’ve reached that level of friendship?” How exciting, I’ll have to tell my my journal.” He continues on in an eerily high voice, “Dear Diary, today Malfoy and I chatted about the objects of our affection over a glass of pumpkin juice-
“Oh, never mind.” Malfoy snaps and starts getting up from his seat.
Laughing Harry grabs Malfoy’s arm and pulls him down to the bench. Malfoy tumbles into Harry’s side before ripping his arm away and righting himself.
Harry notices that there is a flush high on Malfoy’s cheekbones, his eyes are downcast.
“I’m only teasing Malfoy. Do you really want to know my type?”
“I couldn’t care less.” Malfoy responds, busily looking into his bag for a book.
Harry laughs once more before saying, “They’d have to be good at quidditch, and not act like an idiot around me for starters.”
Malfoy freezes from where he was rooting around in his bag. Unconsciously Harry leans in closer to Malfoy and says, “Smart, good looking, insanely good at magic- like could beat me up if they tried hard enough.”
Malfoy scoffs at that and his face seems to reddin more, if possible. He turns to face Harry, they’re almost nose to nose. Harry hadn’t realized how close they’d gotten but makes no move to pull away.
“Is that all Potter?” Malfoy almost whispers, “That doesn’t seem like that big of shoes to fill.”
Harry rolls his eyes and finds himself looking at Malfoy’s mouth before flitting his eyes back up to Malfoy’s.
“There hasn’t been that many to fill them yet.”
There’s silence for a moment, and Harry feels as if something monumental is happening.
The moment is ruined however, when Malfoy pulls back abruptly and starts searching in his bag again.
“Come on Potter we’ve got potions to get to.”
Harry nods but doesn’t understand why there’s a sudden burst of disappointment in his stomach, nor why he feels like his face is shining brighter than the sun.
Chapter 10: Inside Draco's Head
Take a peek inside Draco's head to see how he's dealing with being the chosen one's latest charity case
Draco has three words bouncing around in his head: WHAT. THE. FUCK?????
He has absolutely no idea how his life got to this point. He had been quite happy living an outcast’s life in muggle London with no contact beside the occasional nagging conversation with Granger.
But then stupid Potter with his stupid hair, and stupid eyes, and stupid smile, and worst of all his stupid hero complex had to come and ruin Draco’s fucking life.
Surely, Draco thought sadly, he had not done anything that bad to deserve being tortured by Harry Potter for the rest of his life? I mean sure, there had been the whole death eater thing, but desperate times call for desperate measures! Couldn’t they boil that all down to teenage angst? Was seven years of pining not enough? Was seeing Harry in ridiculous heterosexual relationships not enough? Merlin, had Draco not paid the price for his stupidity?
Clearly not, Draco thought bitterly as he watched Harry shovel eggs into his mouth, some syrup dribbling down onto his chin. No, clearly, the universe was not done fucking with him.
“You’re disgusting you know.” he hears himself say.
“Ah,” whispers his traitorous mind, “But that doesn’t mean you don’t want to snog him messily in front of everyone, right this second.”
Draco tries with all his might to push this imagery down, but it isn’t helped by Harry leaning in closer to Malfoy to say something. He can feel Harry’s breath on his face and curses his pale complexion for the way he can feel his face heating up.
His stomach leaps for joy whenever Harry so much as looks in Malfoy’s direction with a smirk. It’s a wonder he’s got along this far without shoving Potter against a wall and snogging him senseless.
He can barely stand the close proximity. It’s what made him spell their beds farther apart in the room. Sure, the house elves move it back every day when he and Harry are gone to class, and his resolve weakens every time he has to do it, but do it he will. He’s spent too many nights dreaming about Harry, he really doesn’t need to fuck himself up more by watching him sleep.
The situation is worse than Draco had ever imagined. He is not one to fuck up and say stupid things, yet that’s all that seems to come out of his mouth these days.
Draco finds himself saying the stupidest things around Potter. I mean, for Christ’s sake, he’s dined with the Dark Lord, he knows all about composure and appearance, but one look into those green eyes and he finds all logic going out the window. He inwardly cringes at the memory of this morning, Harry all rumpled and warm, just getting out of bed, inviting Draco to breakfast.
Malfoy blurted out the first sentence his lovestruck brain could supply him with- “Those sausages aren’t going to eat themselves.”
What, and he could not stress this enough, the fuck. He is Draco Malfoy. He writes fucking songs about how much Weasley sucks and has the whole school singing them, yet when the boy he likes is nice to him he is reduced to the bumbling moron of his nightmares.
And worst of all, the ridiculous comment came out sounding like a sexual innuendo! He isn’t trying to make it sexual (not unless Harry starts it)! His mind is just a sea of awkward stammering. Thank god Harry is the least observant bloke he knows and picks up on literally nothing.
Absently, he wonders if Harry is attracted to him, but then tramps that idea down. Harry is clearly not gay or aware that he is driving Malfoy fucking beserk.
Maybe Harry flirts with everyone. Pansy used to be like that, charming boys with her seductive comments, sometimes not even realizing that her smile made people melt.
“Or maybe,” says a hopeful voice in the back of his head, “Maybe he likes you too.”
Draco tries to get that voice to shut up, but it’s getting overwhelming loud with each flirtatious comment and lingering stare Harry sends his way.
It’s fucking screaming at him when Harry comes back from his talk with Weasley. He’s surprised Harry doesn’t hear it when they’re nose to nose, breathing each other’s air.
Draco’s mind short circuits when Harry’s eyes dart down to his lips and then back up to his eyes.
His mind is begging him to lean forward just a little, maybe see what happens. But he isn’t that self destructive and pulls back.
His heart lurches when he sees something like disappointment flit across Harry’s face. For a moment he wishes he was good at occlumency. But he knows Harry is good at protecting his mind.
Draco wishes he were that good at protecting his heart.
When they both stand up to go to potions, Harry jostles Draco’s shoulder with his own.
Draco’s mind hums happily at the contact, but he forces himself to sneer and say, “What, is walking in a straight line to difficult for you Potter?”
Harry replies back with some witty comment, and Draco makes sure to roll his eyes.
That’s another thing about being in love with Harry. Now that he’s finally admitted it to himself, he is finding it harder and harder to call him Potter. He already calls him Harry in his mind and is deathly afraid that he’ll say it out loud and all his emotions will be laid bare for Harry to pick up and examine.
Draco is already convinced that Granger knows. The knowing look she sends his way every time she catches him staring at Harry terrifies him. She doesn’t keep secrets from her friends, and it’s only a matter of time before both Weasley and Harry figure him out.
He doesn’t need the whole school knowing he’s gay. Being an ex death eater is bad enough. Being gay would be the icing on top of the rabid reporter’s cake.
Oh how they’d love to see him fall.
Little do they know how far he’s fallen. His father would disown him if he ever found out. He made sure Draco knew that when he caught Draco kissing Blaise.
It had been nothing. An experiment. Just a way for Draco to figure out what the fuck was going on in his head, to see if it truly was “just a phase” or if it was something more.
His father had walked in and walked back out without saying anything.
Draco had a panic attack, Blaise held him.
Later that night, after Blaise had left, Lucius informed Draco at dinner that if he ever caught wind of Draco doing something like that again he would be out of the house and no longer heir to the family fortune and estate. His mother had sat crying, but said nothing.
Draco just nodded, and said, “It’ll never happen again.”
And so it hadn’t. Blaise had told him he didn’t think he was gay after all, and Pansey had asked him to go to the Yule Ball with her. So he did.
He didn’t mind dancing with Pansey. Sure, she was clearly infatuated with him, but she was harmless. She hid the fact that he was madly in love with Harry Potter.
Blaise knew, of course he did. He said one night around Christmas, when Crabbe and Goyle were asleep, that he knew.
“You watched him all night,” he said. “You know where he is and what he’s doing at all times. You like him Draco.”
Draco had almost cried. Instead he had said, “Please don’t tell anyone Blaise, I’ll do anything.”
He had never felt so powerless and pathetic, nor been so grateful for Blaise.
Blaise had said nothing at first, but he had hugged Draco silently.
“I don’t need anything from you Draco, your secret is safe with me.”
Now Blaise was on the other side of the world. He had gotten out. Gone to Canada, or somewhere equally as ridiculous. He was the only person in the world who knew who Draco was, and he was gone.
Sure Blaise was a little stupid, and could be cruel to those who weren’t useful to him, but he was a good friend to Draco when Draco had no one. And he could really use a friend right now.
After a day that felt like an eternity, he slips out of the room as Harry gets ready for bed, pulling on his ridiculous snitch pajamas that make Draco’s heart warm. Harry looks at him questioningly but Draco waves him off, holding up his phone to indicate he is making a call.
When he reaches the hallway, he dials Blaise’s number. It rings for a while before a groggy voice answers.
“Blaise,” Draco breathes, silently sliding down the wall, and clutching his phone tighter in his hand.
“Is everything okay?” Blaise asks, still sounding as though he is half asleep.
“Ya,” Draco starts, “there’s just a problem.”
Blaise sighs, before saying much more clearly, “What is it Draco?”
Draco tilts his head back against the wall and swallows.
Blaise laughs quickly before saying, “When isn’t it?”
Draco smiles at that because Blaise is completely correct, and he’s missed hearing a kind, familiar voice.
“It’s worse this time. We’ve become friends and are now sharing a room a Hogwarts.” His voice cracks on the last word, and he rests his head against the cool brick, hoping it will ease his mind.
Blaise is silent on the other end. Draco picks absently at the carpet while he waits for Blaise to respond.
“That’s stupid, even for you Draco.”
Draco winces slightly but says, “I know. What should I do?”
“Is there anything you can do?” Blaise asks, not unkindly.
“I think,” Draco whispers, scared to voice this thought in case it makes it unreal, “I think that maybe he likes me too.”
Blaise is silent for the longest time yet, and Draco pulls his phone away from his head just to check that Blaise is still on the line.
He is and he whispers, “Well Draco if that’s the case, what are you waiting for?”
Draco is silent, and before he can think of a response Blaise says softly, “I’ve got to go, I have work in the morning. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
The line goes dead. Draco sits in the hallway for what feels like forever. He clutches his phone tightly in his hand and closes his eyes.
Suddenly there’s a nudge at his ankle. He startles awake, lashing out but not hitting anyone. He looks up to see Harry standing in front of him in his stupid too short snitch covered pajamas.
“Hey,” Harry says softly, tilting his head slightly. “Are you coming back to the room soon?” His voice is groggy, a half whisper. His eyes crinkled from sleep and lacking their usual glasses.
Draco nods and makes to get up when Harry’s hand is suddenly in front of him offering to pull him up.
He hears Blaise’s voice in his head asking him what he’s waiting for, and he takes Harry’s hand.
It’s all skin to skin, hot and tempting.
It’s just a hand, he thinks stubbornly to himself. But he doesn’t stop himself from falling in towards Harry, their shoulders clashing against one another. He holds Harry’s hand longer than is strictly necessary. But Harry doesn’t seem to mind.
Draco swears Harry can hear his heart pounding in his chest.
“But maybe,” a quiet voice in his head says, as Harry’s face flushes slightly, “Maybe his heart is pounding too.”
Chapter 11: Hermione Gets Tired of Being the Only One Who Knows Things
Weeks pass. The school gets used to Harry’s presence like they always do, the awe eventually fading away to normalcy. Harry drops out of the History of Magic class after begging Mcgonagall to let him, and spends that free period helping Madam Hooch coach flying lessons.
It’s hard at first, the first years worship him worse than the other grades, and they remind him forcibly of a young Colin Creevy. Young, innocent and naive.
After the first class, Harry rushes back to his and Malfoy’s room and pukes into their toilet. Malfoy finds him lying on the floor hours later and wordlessly sits at his side.
Harry closes his eyes after seeing it’s just Malfoy, but they shoot back open when Malfoy’s hand rests on his head and smooths down his hair.
Malfoy’s hands are cool and a little rough from years on a quidditch broom. He runs his hand through Harry’s hair. It’s a soothing, repetitive gesture which soon has Harry relaxing again and falling asleep.
After that, an unspoken agreement seems to have been reached. Where before they would hesitantly offer support, now they do it without thinking. A hand on the arm, fingers twisted in robes, shoulders pressed together.
It’s more often than not that Harry and Malfoy are touching in someway. Oddly enough, Harry has begun to miss the contact when they aren’t.
Harry thinks about this while he is lying in bed one morning. Malfoy is still asleep, his soft snores fill the other side of the room (the house elves keep moving their beds closer together) the sunlight streaming through the open curtains, and glinting off his hair.
They’d had a row about the bloody curtains in the third week, which resulted in Malfoy doing a tricky little charm that kept the curtains open indefinitely. Harry hasn’t really tried to reverse it, and has even gotten used to it.
He’s gotten used to Malfoy too. He’s gotten used to his snark, the twist of his mouth when Harry says something he thinks is funny but doesn’t want to admit to. He’s memorized what makes Malfoy’s anxiety act up, and knows which dessert he likes best (chocolate mousse).
He realizes that he knows more little things about Malfoy than he does about anyone else, but he pushes that thought to the back of his mind.
“Oi Malfoy,” he says, throwing a pillow in the blonde’s direction, “Come on we’ve got quidditch tryouts today.”
Malfoy groans audibly, and cracks one eye open to glare in Harry’s direction.
“Who says I’ll be attending Potter?”
“Me.” Harry says simply, and tosses the silver and green quidditch robes that were crumpled at the bottom of their wardrobe onto Malfoy’s head.
Muffled curses are thrown at Harry’s back and he smiles silently as he heads into their bathroom.
When he emerges five minutes later Malfoy is sitting up on the bed with his robes half on and his eyes drifting shut, head falling forward.
“Malfoy, come on.” Harry says, gently shoving Malfoy’s shoulder and sitting next to him on the bed.
Malfoy startles slightly and thrashes in his robes. Harry patiently waits for him to calm down.
When he does and looks more awake with a scowl in place, Harry gently leans against him. Malfoy stills, before looking at Harry.
“Why exactly did we agree to be the captains this year, Potter? Have I not suffered enough?”
Harry rolls his eyes before saying, “Clearly not, now come on you get to torture some anxious Slytherine’s this morning, won’t that be fun?”
Malfoy rolls his eyes, and sighs but pulls his arms through his robes and then runs his hand through his hair, he hasn’t put any product in it yet and it keeps falling in his eyes. Harry finds that he likes it better that way.
Harry catches himself watching Malfoy’s hand, but only after he notices Malfoy staring at him with one of his fine brows raised.
“Come on,” Harry says haltingly, tugging on Malfoy’s sleeve “Breakfast.”
Sighing again, Malfoy gets up and follows Harry to breakfast.
Once in the great hall, Harry begins spooning food onto his own plate, and when he notices that Malfoy is just sitting and staring into the distance, he puts some food onto his plate as well.
“Come on Malfoy, you’ve got to eat at least a little.”
Malfoy looks at Harry without moving his head, his eyes moving slowly to look at Harry.
“Last I checked you aren’t my mother, Potter. Stop acting like it.”
Malfoy’s eyes slide back to staring at nothing and Harry sets the serving spoon he had been holding down. There’s ice in his tone that hasn’t been there for a long time, Harry almost chalks it up to nerves about quidditch, but he knows Malfoy too well now, and knows that this won’t be about just anything.
“What’s wrong?” he asks softly, leaning his head closer to Malfoy’s and giving him a light push with his shoulder, hoping it will warm the other boy.
“If you must know, Potter, I’m not really all that eager to boss around a bunch of younger students.”
A chuckle escapes before Harry has the chance to reign it in. “Come on Malfoy, you boss me around every day, you’ve certainly never been shy about telling me exactly what you think.”
Malfoy finally turns to face Harry for the first time today, that’s when he notices the twinge of fear in his eyes. It’s not like Malfoy to let himself look so vulnerable, and Harry feels like he’s been given something he can’t quite name.
“That’s different Potter.” He lets out a deep breath before continuing quietly, “ You’ve known me since we were 11, you’ve had an idea in your head about who I am for years now. These first years hardly know me, this is my chance to make a good impression. I know it sounds silly but these students are the future of our school and I don't want everyone to think of me as just another death eater.”
Harry feels an urge to hug Malfoy but hesitates. Instead he scoots closer into Malfoy’s space, their thighs pressed together.
“If your basis for not being nervous around me is that I’ve known you for so long, just know that I hated you for seven years and you won be over in the span of a few weeks.”
“That’s different.” Malfoy mumbles.
“No it’s not,” says Harry fiercely. “If anything you have a better chance of winning these people over because they don’t have a build up of hatred to get over.”
Malfoy eyes Harry consideringly, before turning away and saying quietly, “Did I really win you over?”
Harry thinks this is an incredibly important question and gently turns Malfoy’s face towards him before breathing one word in answer.
Malfoy looks into Harry’s eyes for another moment before turning away and saying, “Fine Potter, just know that you’ve motivated me to beat your ass out on the pitch now.”
Harry grins at that and turns back to his food. And if he grins the whole way down to the pitch, well, Malfoy doesn’t give him a hard time about it.
Tryouts are every bit as awful as Harry remembers them being. Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs both show up just to fuck with them, and some first years who have only ridden a broom during the class sessions with Harry and Madam Hooch concuss themselves by flying headlong into the stands.
Malfoy fares only a little better, and that’s only because every single person trying out for his team is scared shitless of him.
Harry grins at Malfoy’s side when one obnoxious fifth year demands to know why, “Fucking Potter is at our goddamn tryouts?”
Malfoy handles it with incredible grace by replying that, “Potter is here because I fucking want him here, and I get what I want. Right now I want you off my pitch. Go.”
After that there are far fewer questions and a lot more listening.
The Gryffindor’s take their cues from Harry and don’t comment on Malfoy’s presence, but Harry is sure to dock points from anyone who sneers or stares too long in Malfoy’s direction.
By the end of the day there is a pile of muddy Gryffindors who Harry is pleased with, and enough Slytherins that Malfoy says, “Will do.”
They take quick showers in the change room and head back to the castle.
“Granger called. Twice.” Malfoy remarks.
Harry checks his phone quickly and sees four missed calls and two texts.
Hermione Granger> 9:30
“Rons coming to the castle for lunch”
“Hello?? Meet at charms room?”
“For fucks sake Harry why are you and Draco not answering your phones???”
“Bloody hell.” Harry mutters before phoning Hermione.
“Hello?” Hermione says, sounding breathless in his ear.
“Hey Hermione, what’s up?” Harry says, shifting his phone to his other ear while he holds his hand out to grab Malfoy’s bag.
Malfoy looks at him questioningly before Harry points to Malfoy’s untied trainer. Sighing, Malfoy drops his bag into Harry’s hand, and bends down to tie it. Harry stands in place watching while Hermione responds.
“Ron and I were just in Hogsmeade shopping when I remembered that there were some charms papers that I had to mark this weekend that I’d left behind. Anyways, we popped up to the castle and figured we could have lunch with you and Draco?”
“Ron knows about this little lunch meet?”
“Mhm.” Hermione’s answer comes through the phone.
“And he’s cool with it?” Harry responds, confusion dripping from his voice
“Of course, don’t be silly Harry.”
Harry didn’t think he was being particularly silly, but didn’t feel like arguing with Hermione about it.
“Okay, I guess we’ll meet you in the charms classroom in a few.” Harry says, and hangs up, depositing Malfoy’s bag into his open palm.
“What was that about?” Malfoy asks, jostling Harry with his shoulder as they walk.
“Ron and Hermione are here and want to have lunch with us apparently.”
Malfoy’s eyebrows draw together in confusion and his eyes crinkle at the corners, “Why in the bloody hell are Weasel and Granger interested in a lunch date with me?”
A smile lights on Harry’s face and his voice carries a teasing tone, “Don’t flatter yourself Malfoy, they want to have lunch with me, you’re just lucky enough to be my plus one.”
He steps away to avoid the scandalized look and push that come his way. But Malfoy’s hand still makes contact with his shoulder, and Harry thinks he enjoys it way more than he should.
“I’ll have you know many people would consider it an honour to have lunch with me.” Malfoy fires back and raises his chin in arrogance.
“Oh ya and who would that be? The merpeople? Yes, it must be nice to dine with you when they can’t understand anything you’re saying.” Harry laughs through his reply and knows he’s in for it.
“You take that back Potter, take it back now!”
He and Malfoy are still laughing and pushing each other, hands pulling at each others robes, when they reach the entrance to the charms room. Hermione meets them outside the door when she hears their voices and she raises an eyebrow at Harry’s hand still holding on tightly to Malfoy’s tie. He slowly retracts his grip and looks to the ground, fighting a blush that he’s becoming all too familiar with.
“Right.” Hermione says, still looking at Harry’s hand. “Draco, you and Ron can head down to the hall, I just need Harry’s help with something and then we’ll meet you there.” She accompanies this with a thin smile that does nothing to reassure Harry that everything is alright.
Malfoy’s eyes dart nervously to Harry’s and Harry finds himself stepping closer to him.
“Hermione, can’t Malfoy stay?”
Hermione looks at him and replies in a tone that brokers no arguments, “No. I need your help with something and I’d rather not involve Draco or Ron.”
Harry looks back helplessly to Malfoy, who appears to be frozen for a moment before pulling himself up to his full height and smoothing all emotion off of his face.
“It’s fine Potter, we’ll meet you downstairs.”
Ron appears in the doorway and grins at Harry clapping him on the shoulder. He glances in Malfoy’s direction and manages to keep any disgust from showing on his face, though it’s a close call.
Malfoy turns to go, not looking any happier about the situation, and Ron makes to follow him but Harry catches his arm.
“Please try to play nice Ron, for me?”
Ron scans Harry’s face with a quick searching look, before scoffing and shaking his arm out of Harry’s grip, “I always do mate, calm down.”
He meets Hermione’s eye one last time before leaving, and they seem to have a silent conversation that ends with Ron grinning and turning on his heel to go.
Ron hurries to catch up with Malfoy, and Harry distinctly hears, “Oi, amazing bouncing ferret, hold up!”
Harry can picture the glare Malfoy throws back at Ron in response.
He makes to go after Ron, sure that Malfoy’s resolve won’t hold, when he feels Hermione’s hand grip his arm and is dragged into the empty charms classroom.
When Harry turns to look at Hermione, she appears amused.
“What?” He asks, straightening his robes and tie, “What do you need help with.”
Hermione sighs and looks up at the ceiling as though looking for some divine entity to grace her with the patience needed to have a conversation with Harry.
The action sparks a memory in Harry’s mind of Malfoy doing a very similar gesture. It had been one afternoon when they were working on some potions homework, and Harry had said something daft that he can’t remember anymore, but he still thinks of the teasing look on Malfoy’s face. His mind goes down a rabbit hole of thinking about what he could have possibly said to warrant Malfoy praying for patience when Hermione snaps her fingers in front of his face and brings him back to reality.
“Jesus Harry. Can’t you focus for one second on something that isn’t Malfoy?”
Harry looks at Hermione in confusion and she laughs somewhat meanly.
“Harry, I think it’s time we had a little chat.” She has that look on her face that she gets when she knows something you don’t.
“A chat that has to happen without either Ron or Malfoy present?” Harry asks slowly.
“Well,” says Hermione shrugging, “Ron knows all this, I just needed to talk to you without Malfoy. You two are bloody well inseparable. Ron said he’d rather not have this talk with you and would like a few minutes of unblocked access with Malfoy.”
Harry makes to stand up at the last bit of that sentence but Hermione makes a frantic soothing gesture with her hands, “Calm down Harry, he’s only joking.”
Harry looks back to Hermione again, “Seriously what is this about?” He asks, a hint of desperation entering his voice.
“Tell me about you and Malfoy.” Hermione says, sitting down across from Harry with her arms crossed.
Harry leans back in the chair he’s sitting in, “What about me and Malfoy, Hermione?”
Hermione, looking pained, pinches the bridge of her nose. “Harry come on, isn’t there anything you maybe want to tell me and Ron about you and Draco?”
Harry searches his mind for something that Hermione needs to know and comes up blank, Malfoy is his roommate, his friend, his partner in quidditch training, but none of this is news her.
“Hermione, I really, really don’t know what you want from me… maybe you should just tell me what you want and we can go from there?”
Hermione laughs and mutters, “God you’re oblivious Harry.” she shakes her head and lets out a short laugh. “I thought maybe that auror training might have brought you more in tune with your surroundings, but it appears not.” She looks at him in silence, at her wits end.
“Oblivious about wh-”
Harry is cut off mid sentence by Hermione blurting out, “You’re in love with him.”
Harry freezes in his seat and looks at Hermione with his mouth hanging open.
“Harry you’re in love with Draco Malfoy. Literally everyone can see it. You and Draco seem to be the only ones who don’t know.”
“Hermione,” Harry says, laughing, “You’re off your rocker. Me and Malfoy? No I think-”
He’s cut off once again by a hand gesture from Hermione.
“You spend every single day with him. You’re happier when you’re together and when you’re apart you’re just thinking about the next time you’ll get to see him. You know more about him than anybody else at this bloody school, and you can’t wait to tell other people about the latest admirable thing Malfoy has done, and yet you claim you don’t love him?”
Harry looks at her incredulously. “Hermione you’re literally describing being a friend.”
Hermione waves him off dismissively before adding, “You even went searching in the grocery store for that chocolate pie-”
“Mousse.” Harry says without thinking, “It’s chocolate mousse that he likes.”
Hermione stares at him for a moment, her hand still raised mid gesture, and Harry feels himself flush red. He looks down but not before seeing her mouth slowly transform into a grin.
Much more gently than before, Hermione says, “I’ll just ask you this Harry, if this is just friendship, what's Ron’s favourite dessert?”
Harry feels panic well up inside of him when he realizes he doesn’t know the answer.
“Ron’ll eat anything Hermione.” he mumbles, not wanting to look at her. “Besides,” he adds much more clearly, “I’m not gay.”
This statement hangs between them for a moment before Hermione says softly, “I’m not saying you are, Harry. What I am saying is that you’re in love with Draco. I’ve never seen you like this before, if only you could see the way your face lights up when he walks into a room, it’s like everything else around you fades away.”
Harry stays quiet for a moment before saying, “Ginny-”
Hermione cuts him off straight away. “You loved her Harry, I don’t deny that. I’m just not sure you loved her like this. All consuming.”
He remembers this morning with the sunlight in Malfoy’s hair, and the wicked twist of his mouth when he was on the quidditch pitch. He thinks of the casual touches that maybe weren’t so casual, and the ever closer beds. His mind finally lands on the morning where they he had been discussing crushes and how his eyes had darted down to Malfoy’s lips.
Excruciatingly, he remembers the way Malfoy pulled away when he’d noticed Harry’s attention.
Harry looks up to Hermione and shakily says, “You may be right about me Hermione. But I don’t think you’re right about Malfoy loving me back.”
Hermione looks at him and he notices that there’s a slight twitch at her lips before she says, “Harry, he’d be mad not to love you.”
Harry looks at her once and shakes his head. But before he can say anything Hermione says, “You know, Ron said he would be here if I needed his backup, but really I think he was glad to get to spend time with Draco.”
When Harry looks at her questioningly, Hermione supplies, “Ron said to me the other day, out of the blue that he knew you and Draco had a thing for each other but he didn’t know if Malfoy was good enough for you. He thinks the world of you Harry. And he’s willing to give Malfoy a chance because he makes you so happy.”
Harry barely has a chance to let this sink in before Hermione adds, “Also the fact that neither one of them have come back up here either means that they’re both dead or are getting along for once in their lives. I call that progress.”
Distantly Harry hears himself laugh, and he gets up and hugs Hermione, he tries to ignore the prickling of emotion behind his eyes..
“I love you, Harry, and Ron does too. We’ll always love you.”
Harry nods into her hair, and lets himself take a breath. His heart is still racing and he can only think of one person who might be able to calm him down.
“Let's go get lunch.” Harry says.
Hermione quickly agrees, and they leave the classroom. When they get to the great hall, Harry scans the Slytherin table and feels his heart leap when he doesn’t see Malfoy’s blond hair, dear god what if him and Ron are dueling it out on the lawn?
It slows though when he hears a familiar voice call out, “Scarhead we’re over here.” From the direction of the Gryffindor table.
Malfoy and Ron are sitting across from one another, and appear to have been studiously ignoring each other before the arrival of Harry and Hermione.
Ron catches Harry’s eye as Hermione squeezes onto the bench next to him, and Harry gives him a quick close lipped smile before lowering himself onto the bench next to Malfoy.
Harry catches himself twisting his hand in Malfoy’s robe in an attempt to slow his heart. He hesitates to continue when he catches both Ron and Hermione’s eyes dart in their direction.
“What did Granger want?” Malfoy asks quietly after making sure Ron and Hermione have started their own conversation, bringing Harry’s attention back to him.
Harry shrugs noncommittally and mumbles a quick, “Later.” out of the corner of his mouth.
Malfoy leans in a little closer. “Potter, is everything okay?”
Harry nods again and Malfoy looks at him for another few seconds before turning back and talking to Hermione.
Absently, Malfoy places his hand on Harry’s thigh underneath the table.
Harry quickly loses track of any conversation going on between Malfoy and Hermione as his mind laser focuses on Malfoy’s hand.
One thought is running through Harry’s head though, and that thought is, “Shit, shit, shit.”
He feels like he is hyper fixated on Malfoy’s every action. The hand on his thigh, the delicate movement of his wrist as he gathers food onto his fork, the quirk of his mouth that hints at a grin when he tries not to laugh at a joke Ron makes. How has he not realized this before, that the person that occupies the majority of his thoughts is Malfoy?
I mean for Christ sake, the hand on his thigh feels like a bloody brand and his skin feels hot all over. If this is how he reacts to casual touch how is supposed to make it through the next week with the newfound knowledge of his attraction?
Harry dares to think about the possibility that Hermione is right, that Malfoy does return his feelings.
This is too much, he can feel his face burning. Harry stands up from the table abruptly and Malfoy’s hand falls away, his friends seem startled and Hermione catches a glass before it can spill.
“Alright there mate?” Ron asks.
Harry jerks his thumb all over his shoulder, “Gotta ask Binns about the History of Magic homework from last night.”
He begins to walk away.
“Potter, what are you on about? You dropped Binn’s class weeks ago.” Malfoy says skeptically.
Curse Malfoy and his observational skills.
“I meant transfiguration.” He stutters out. Harry has to get out of here before he starts writing poems about Malfoy’s smile.
“Well in that case I can help you with the homework.” Malfoy makes to stand up, but Harry is already leaving.
“No don’t bother, finish your lunch.” He attempts to tack on a smile so as not to worry Malfoy.
By the time he makes it to their room his heart is racing and he feels hot all over, the only person that could calm him down is the only person he can’t talk to.
He tries to slow his racing heart and stop thinking of the sensation of Malfoy’s hand on his leg. “Fuck. I’m in trouble.”
He never should have tried this, never should have tried coming back to school so soon, now he’s in deeper than he thought. His mind catches on the only other place he feels safe. He’s summoning Kreacher and apparating away before he even has time to think of the consequences.
Chapter 12: Oh my God They Were Roomates
Harry slumps down onto the floor, Kreacher perching at his side.
“Is Master okay?” Kreacher asks in his gravelly voice, looking uncertainty at Harry.
Harry nods, closes his eyes and rubs his temples. Vaguely, he registers that his flat is freezing but he doesn’t really care right now, the cool air calms him down and makes him feel less panicky.
How had he let his life get to this point? When had Malfoy become the sun to his solar system, and why was he only just realizing it?
He feels his phone buzz in his pocket but ignores it, instead reaching for his wand. Hesitantly, he adjusts the wards barring Ron and Hermione from apparating directly in. He loves them but right now he doesn’t need to see them. He needs to think.
“Kreacher,” Harry starts, “Would you mind warming this place up and getting some food started please?”
Kreacher nods and waddles into the kitchen, leaving Harry on the floor.
Harry drops his wand at his side when he feels his phone buzzing in a manner suggesting he’s getting a phone call. He takes it out and sees Malfoy’s profile staring back at him.
Harry doesn’t accept the call but doesn’t cancel it either. He lets it ring out and stares at the picture of Malfoy. It had been taken on one of their coffee dates and shows Malfoy glaring directly into the lens of the camera, a hint of a smirk showing on his lips, hair falling onto his forehead.
Harry smiles slightly despite himself and sets his phone down. He almost wishes Malfoy were here. He’s not sure what good that would do for him. He’d likely just make a fool of himself and make Malfoy even less interested than he already is.
He wonders why fate has to make all the people he cares about in his life unavailable. First his parents, then Sirius, then Ginny, and now, Malfoy. Surely the chosen one deserves a break too?
Harry shakes his head and scolds himself for thinking he deserves any better than what he’s got. He survived and that should be enough, right? But he can’t help wanting more.
While he’s contemplating this, Kreacher wanders back into the living area and informs Harry that dinner is ready.
Harry nods once again and pulls himself to his feet. Kreacher has made warm potato soup and informs Harry that he’s working on treacle tart as well for dessert.
He hadn’t expected such a filling meal on such short notice. The word dessert makes Harry’s heart beat faster as he remembers the conversation with Hermione, and who it was about. But, he forces himself to calm down and eat some soup, ignoring all thoughts of chocolate mousse staining Malfoy’s lips.
He finishes the bowl quickly, and inhales some treacle tart to distract himself. When that’s done, he goes to the sitting room and turns on the telly. The only things on are reruns of Muggle shows called 𝘍𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘴 and 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘖𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘦, so he puts on the weather channel and allows himself to zone out to the bland announcer’s voice and the calming music indicating light rain tonight.
Hours later when a new episode of 𝘋𝘰𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘞𝘩𝘰 is being aired, Harry hears the sharp crack of someone apparating into his kitchen.
This has him on his feet with his wand in hand in an instant, prepared to cast an expelliarmus if need be. He hears mumbled cursing, a couple chairs screech and what sounds like a bag dropping to the ground.
Not Kreacher then. But that doesn’t make sense, the only two people who should be able to get inside his wards are himself and Kreacher.
Before the person has the chance to get the jump on him, Harry throws himself around the corner and shouts, “Petrificus totalus!”
“Protego!” the intruder shouts back almost at the same time Harry casts his own spell, and as a result he is forced to take a few steps back.
A very disheveled Draco Malfoy is standing in his kitchen, tie loosened around his neck, hair looking like it’s been tugged and pulled. It’s an entertaining sight.
“What the hell Potter?” You can’t just fucking disappear on me like that.”
Harry looks at him blankly before saying, “How’d you get past my wards?”
A strange look crosses Malfoy’s face before he says, “Potter you adjusted them ages ago to let me in.” At Harry’s confused look he continues, “Right around the time we had our third coffee date... you insisted I come over afterwards to give my input on what colour you should paint your kitchen?”
The word ‘date’ strikes a chord in Harry’s heart, but he doubts Malfoy is using it in the romantic sense. He smacks his hand to his forehead and rubs lightly, wondering how he’d forgotten to adjust the wards to keep Malfoy out. He wonders idly if his brain intentionally made him forget that detail in the hopes that Malfoy might come looking for him.
Malfoy has removed the spell between them, and has crossed the kitchen towards Harry. His hand reaches for Harry’s robe, and Harry allows himself to be pulled in closer to Malfoy.
“I’ve been looking for you for hours.” he growls, “Mind telling me why you didn’t answer your bloody phone?”
Harry shrugs, not ready to tell Malfoy what happened, and how he’d become panicky at any prospect of falling for him. Malfoy looks at him for another beat before scoffing and shoving Harry away.
“Do you have any idea how worried I was, how scar-.”
“Did Hermione talk to you?”
Harry cuts him off abruptly not in the mood to hear Malfoy explain how worried he was, it would only get his hopes up that Malfoy cares in a more than platonic way.
Malfoy looks at him from where he’s peering into the fridge, where he finds only empty shelves save for the little treacle tart Harry hasn’t finished. He shakes his head. “I demanded to know what Hermione said to you, but Weasel told me to sod off and talk to you instead.”
Sighing he closes the fridge and adds, “I searched the whole castle, Hogsmeade, then my place, Starbucks and then I came here on the off chance you came back to this dump.”
Malfoy looks around the flat distastefully before turning his attention back to Harry.
“I’ll have you know I’m quite fond of this dump, thank you very much.” Harry says hotly, crossing his arms over his chest.
He had loved how simple and mundane the apartment was and had put an offer in the first time he came to look at it. It was strange that in the midst of everything, a place that is was so startling ordinary gave him such comfort. He hopes they continue talking about his shitty flat, maybe it will distract from the main issue at hand.
But Malfoy rolls his eyes and sneers, “It’s clearly decorated by someone who spent most of their formative years inside a cupboard, so it’s not shocking that it’s awful, just sad that Weasel and Granger haven’t fixed it yet.”
Harry lets out a short laugh, “Bit rich coming from you Malfoy when your place looks like it's hardly lived in. Tell me how much did those couches cost that you don’t even sit on?”
“That’s what you come up with, Potter?” Malfoy snapped, “That my place is too posh? Your imagination knows no fucking bounds for insults does it?”
Harry knows this argument is only avoiding the real issue. But still, he forcefully pokes Malfoy in the chest, suddenly aware of how close they’ve gotten before saying, “Oh because you’re bloody Shakespeare when it comes to words Malfoy, you’re just a fountain of eloquent language!?”
Malfoy grabs Harry’s hand and doesn’t let go, “I’m better than you at least.”
Harry scoffs and rolls his eyes, but doesn’t argue. This close, he is reminded of their difference in height. The mere inch and half that Malfoy has always had over him. They both remain silent, Malfoy’s eyes filled with fury.
“What are we even fighting about?” Malfoy asks, looking at Harry full in the face.
Harry shrugs again, and makes no move to pull away from Malfoy. He’s enjoying these final moments of casual touch where he can get them, because as soon as he tells Malfoy what Hermione said, he knows Malfoy will want nothing to do with him.
“What did Granger say, Potter?” Malfoy asks again, tugging gently on Harry’s tie.
“I’d rather not tell you.” Harry says simply.
Malfoy looks at him questioningly before saying slowly, “Why not?”
Sighing, Harry pulls away and walks towards the living room. Malfoy lets him go easily, he seems to have let go of his intimidation tactics and now just hopes to pester Harry until he gives him what he wants.
“Because it will undoubtedly make you hate me, and I rather like having you around.”
“I already hate you Potter.” Malfoy says quickly, following Harry into the living room.
Harry rolls his eyes at that and says, “That’s what I told Hermione, but she seems to think differently.”
Malfoy is leaning against the doorframe between the kitchen and living room when he says, “Would you stop being so fucking cryptic? What did she say? Was it something about my family, or the classes we’re taking-”
Harry let’s Malfoy list off items he thinks Hermione could have said for almost a comical length of time, but when he hears Draco say, “- or the fact that the broomsticks my father bought in second year weren’t ethically sourced-” he thinks he’s had quite enough.
“Malfoy would you shut up!?” Malfoy closes his mouth and focuses his wide eyes on Harry. “Hermione wanted to talk to me because she felt it was time that someone explained to me how crazy I am about you, because apparently I couldn’t figure it out myself!” He flings his arms out dramatically when he finishes.
The words hang in the silence, and Malfoy stands frozen mouth hanging open.
Panic rears its head in his chest and he starts talking again.
“I know you don’t feel the same way, and I’m fine if you don’t want to room together-”
“Seriously, I can drop out if it makes you uncomfortable, I’d understand-”
“I just thought it was right that you knew,” Harry says firmly, “But, I can disappear from your life if you want me too. I’d get it.”
When Harry looks up, he’s shocked to see that Malfoy is standing right in front of him.
He opens his mouth to say something else, but before he can Malfoy mutters, “God you’re thick.” Grabs his tie, and kisses him.
Harry is shocked, and stands frozen for a moment while his brain catches up with what's happening. Malfoy starts to pull away when he realizes that Harry isn’t kissing him back, but Harry finds himself making a noise in his throat and putting his hands on Malfoy’s waist, twisting the fabric off his robes in his fingers and pulling him closer.
"𝘐𝘵'𝘴 𝘰𝘥𝘥," Harry thinks, as Malfoy’s tongue sweeps into his mouth, "𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵."’
This train of thought is promptly derailed when Malfoy pushes Harry backwards onto the couch. Harry looks up at him, startled. He and Malfoy have certainly gotten physical before when their arguments have gotten too intense, but Malfoy has never pushed him quite like this, with a fiery look in his eyes, and his lips red from where Harry has been kissing them.
“You have no idea,” Malfoy pants, “How long I’ve wanted to do that.”
Harry grins up at him and starts to respond, but Malfoy crowds back into his space and soon enough his mouth is on Harry’s again.
He’s warm and real in Harry’s hands. A solid weight in his lap, and Harry wonders how he could have missed this for so long.
He pushes his hands into Malfoy’s hair like he wanted to do this morning and is pleased when Malfoy sighs happily into his mouth.
Malfoy has discarded the gel he so often uses in his hair and right now it’s hanging down his forehead and is thoroughly messed from Harry pulling his fingers through it. Harry pulls back to fully look at and admire Malfoy the way he’s always wanted to.
Malfoy’s stormy grey eyes are accompanied by a flush high on his cheekbones contrasting against his pale skin. And there’s a light freckle right near his hairline that you can only see if you’re right up close.
Malfoy seems dissatisfied with the lack of kissing and attempts to chase Harry’s lips with his own, “Bloody hell Harry, why’d you stop?”
He can hear the smile in Malfoy’s voice, Malfoy bites his bottom lip and Harry feels his own smile appear.
There’s one small thing about what Malfoy just said that makes him feel especially warm, “Harry, huh?”
This time it’s Malfoy who pulls back “What the bloody hell are you talking about?” He has an incredulous look on his face, eyebrows drawn together, nose scrunched up.
He moves back in to continue their kissing, but Harry stops him with a hand on his chest.
“Harry, you just called me Harry, for the first time like… ever.” He can tell he’s smiling, a great big shit eating grin that he can’t seem to get rid of.
“What? No I didn’t, you’re absolutely delusional.” Malfoy’s blush comes back full force as he says this and Harry can’t help but laugh.
“Alright Malfoy,” Harry says grabbing Malfoy’s hand and bringing it to his lips. “Whatever you say.”
Malfoy looks at Harry for another moment, his cheeks flushed pink and his hair a mess before kissing him soundly on the lips.
Harry smiles into it, and pulls Malfoy down onto the couch with him, happier than he’s been in a long time.
Chapter 13: Draco and Harry are the Last to Know
Some cuteness and Draco forcing our boi Harry to think and talk about his emotions
When Harry wakes up the next morning he doesn’t want to open his eyes. It was a dream he knows. A dream prompted by the conversation with Hermione, and nothing more.
He lets out a tired groan, he rarely has good dreams, so he doesn’t want to open his eyes and forget about it just yet. Malfoy’s hair between his fingers, his lips pressed clumsily to Harry’s collarbone.
When his mind catches up and starts to really wake up, he realizes there is a rather solid weight on his chest. This realization makes him go still and crack one eye open.
Malfoy is asleep on his chest, one arm draped lazily around Harry’s middle, mouth open and drooling onto Harry’s shirt.
Harry smiles at the sight, normally Malfoy drooling on anybody would be fuel for weeks of teasing, but all Harry feels is a small warmth growing in his chest.
Harry gently moves one hand up to Malfoy’s head and runs his fingers through Malfoy’s fair hair. It’s just as soft as Harry remembers from the night before, and no less lovely.
Malfoy’s head turns imperceptibly towards Harry’s hand, craving the touch Harry is giving. He grumbles and nuzzles against Harry’s chest, eyes still closed.
“It’s 7 o’clock in the bloody morning Potter, I thought a midnight snogging session would hold you off until 9:30 at the very least.”
Harry grins and makes a fist in Malfoy’s hair, “Well I guess you thought wrong Malfoy.”
Malfoy opens one eye and manages to fit a whole lot of glaring into it before closing it again and bringing the hand that had been draped over Harry’s side up to detangle Harry’s fingers from his hair and link them with his.
It’s unbearably soft, and Harry had to look away for a moment to handle it.
He never would have guessed that an infinite amount of soft moments have been stored up in Malfoy for months, just waiting to be used on Harry.
“I think we need to talk about this, Malfoy.”
Malfoy glances up from Harry’s chest and uses his unoccupied hand to prop his head up.
“I thought we’d at least have tea before this chat, Potter. You know, warm me up a little before we dive into the horrifyingly serious topic of emotional confrontation.”
He cocks his one eyebrow up in a way that makes Harry jealous of his abilities.
Harry rolls his eyes and laughs, “You and your bloody beverages, are they all you ever think about?”
Malfoy smiles lazily, “It takes up about thirty percent of my brain, Potter. So no, I wouldn't say that’s all I think about.”
“And the other seventy percent?” Harry asks, squeezing Malfoy’s hand.
Malfoy goes still for a moment before smirking and saying, “Like I said, breakfast first Potter.”
Harry rolls Malfoy off of him and stands up from his bed, “I’ll do you one better.” he sticks out his hand.
After the’ve both showered (separately, Harry blushes at the mere thought of that) the two boys make their way down the familiar path down the street. After he convinces Malfoy to get out of bed, he promises him a good breakfast. And since Harry isn’t exactly a tour guide of muggle London, he settles on taking Malfoy to Starbucks, the only place he knows really.
Thinking about Starbucks makes him smile. Starbucks is where it all started. All it took was a familiar glare across the cafe and an entirely new relationship had begun. Now, 4 months later they had spent the past night snogging until their lips were sore. Harry can’t believe it took them so long to get their shit together, but then again, he could be quite oblivious. It’s a good thing he’s got friends like Hermione and Ron.
Just as they are leaving the apartment Harry stops to put on his socks and trainers. It’s a whole process that involves sitting on the floor and painstakingly doing up the laces.
Malfoy watches in inpatient silence until declaring with a smirk, “We wouldn’t be taking this long if you had just slept with your socks on last night.”
Harry throws a teasing “Fuck off Malfoy,” before taking Malfoy’s hand up and pulling him out the door.
As they navigate the busy sidewalks, full of people grabbing breakfast and running to work, Malfoy clutches the worn sleeve of Harry’s jumper so as not to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the crowd. It makes Harry feel all warm inside that now Malfoy reaches for his arm without a second thought, when a year ago he would have recoiled at Harry’s touch.
Malfoy had insisted that they get dressed to go pick up the food because he didn’t think the people in Starbucks would take too kindly to seeing two very disheveled boys showing up in clearly slept in clothing. Malfoy didn’t have any clothes with him that weren’t rumpled from sleep as he hadn’t brought an overnight bag when he apparated to Harry’s flat, and because he is an absolute twat that refuses to go out in public in slept in clothing, he had almost refused to come. But then Harry had tossed a pair of his own joggers and a jumper in Malfoy’s direction and with a muttered “fine” he'd gotten dressed.
This chain of events leads to a very pleased Harry privately thinking that seeing Malfoy dressed in his clothes, looking all tired and comfortable, is almost better then the whole snogging thing. He doesn’t dwell on this too long, not wanting to think about what this revelation means about his feelings for Malfoy.
The building is tucked away at the end of Harry’s street. It’s one of the less busy Starbucks in town but still offers a cozy break from the cold for countless university students. As they walk through the door, Harry’s senses adjust to the clicking of computer keys and the smell of both pumpkin spice and cleaning chemicals.
“Why don’t you grab us a seat and I’ll get us some breakfast and that drink full of sugary foam shit you like.” Harry motions for Malfoy to grab them chairs by the fire.
“Alright thanks, Potter.” Malfoy says, squeezing Harry’s hand slightly and knocking his shoulder against Harry’s before retiring to their usual chairs at the back of the shop.
Harry smiles stupidly at Malfoy’s retreating figure before shaking his head and making his way to the counter.
One of the regular baristas greets him. She’s a face he sees often during his late night work sessions here. She’s one of those artistic types with pale silvery blue hair and a septum piercing in her nose. She’s probably only a little older than him, and judging by the copious amounts of eyeliner being used to hide the enormous bags under her eyes, is probably a college student just trying to keep up.
“Hey Harry, just the usual?”
Harry scans the menu up top before answering. “Actually Marissa, can I please get a regular cranberry white chocolate mocha and two of your breakfast sandwiches, as well as my regular cappuccino please.”
While she punches this all in, Harry scrambles to have his wallet out on time and fails miserably.
As Marissa waits for him to find his debit card, her eyes drift over in Malfoy’s direction.
“So I see you finally made a move.” She announces quietly with a chuckle.
Harry’s eyes fly wide. “What?”
“Sorry mate, I don’t mean to offend, but you two have been coming here for months together and I’ve just been waiting to see how it would play out. I have a bet with another girl going on if you’d confess your love or remain dudebros. And judging from the fact that he’s wearing clothing that I’ve seen you wear on multiple occasions, it finally happened and I’m going to make quite a bit of money.”
Harry’s heart catches on the words “confess your love,” but he remains speechless, trying to process everything that the girl is saying to him.
“You made bets on us?” He asks faintly, glancing over at Malfoy who’s toying with his phone.
“You two are cute together. Ready to pay yet mate?”
Harry hurriedly taps his card and waits for their food. Grabbing it and hastily thanking Marissa he makes his way over to Malfoy. How is it that the entire world realized that they had feelings for each other before they did?
It’s too early for this, Harry needs caffeine.
“Did you get my drink?” demands Malfoy, snapping Harry out of his thought spiral.
“Yes, Malfoy. I said I would, didn't I?” Harry responds irritably.
“You said you’d get my drink, but that doesn’t mean you ordered it correctly. You seem like the kind of person who might purposely mess up a blokes drink when he’s done nothing to deserve it." Malfoy makes grabby hands for his beverage, taking the lid off his cup and inspecting it’s contents.
He mutters a little 'thank you' under his breath and Harry counts it as a win.
Harry takes his own lid off his cup to let the drink cool off a little bit. He watches as Malfoy unwraps his breakfast sandwich and carefully peels off the egg before reassembling the sandwich and taking a bite.
“Malfoy,” Harry starts, “I say this with the utmost respect, but what the fuck?”
Malfoy rolls his eyes and swallows, “I don’t like eggs Potter, is that a problem?”
“You eat eggs at breakfast all the time?”
“Yes, scrambled eggs.” Malfoy says as if whatever he means by this is obvious and Harry is dumb.
Harry shakes his head and picks up his own sandwich, not really in the mood to bother figuring out Malfoy’s complex relationship with eggs. He’d much rather focus on Malfoy’s complex relationship with him.
“So about last night-” Harry starts, letting the sentence trail off in the hopes of Malfoy picking it up.
Malfoy doesn’t do this, instead he takes another bite of his sandwich and looks at Harry expectantly.
Harry sighs. He had gotten rather good on not analyzing his emotions, and talking about them was probably his least favourite thing.
“I had a good time last night,” He starts hoping to find the end of his sentence along the way, but is stopped by Malfoy jumping in.
“God, you’re such an emotionally stunted 𝘣𝘰𝘺 Potter!” Malfoy scoffs before adding, “You had a good time? Just say if you want this to be a thing or not.”
Harry is briefly taken aback by Malfoy’s forwardness, but realizes that there really is no point in beating around the bush.
“Yes, Malfoy.” Harry says firmly. “I haven’t gotten everything figured out yet, but I don’t want to stop kissing you as of right now.”
“How sweet of you, I'm utterly charmed.” Malfoy sneers, though his pink ears give away that he isn’t as emotionally detached as he wants to seem.
Harry reaches across the table for Malfoy’s hand, and Malfoy lets him take it.
“I don’t want to tell anyone yet.” Harry says. “Not until I figure out who I am and things settle down a little bit.”
Malfoy looks at him for a moment, face carefully blank. “What do you mean figure out who you are?”
“I just, I don’t,” Harry leans in closer to Malfoy, “I’m almost one hundred percent sure that I’m not gay, but I do really want to kiss you so I need to figure out what that means for me.”
“So I’m an experiment for you?” Malfoy asks, pulling his hand away and once again having no emotion show on his face.
“No, no, no.” Harry says quickly, grabbing Malfoy’s hand again. Why did he have to be so bad at communicating? “I’m sure about you, but we have to be sure about us before anything goes public because as soon as anyone catches wind of it it’ll be everywhere.”
Malfoy looks at him silently for a moment, and Harry squeezes his hand hopefully. He notices that his hand is sweating.
“Fine, Potter. It’s not like I have anyone to tell anyways.” Malfoy says finally, looking away and taking a sip of his drink.
Harry grins, and before he can stop himself leans in and kisses Malfoy on the cheek.
“What happened to keeping it a secret?” Malfoy hisses, raising a hand to his cheek.
Harry shrugs. “We’re in muggle London, no one we know is gonna see us here.”
Malfoy laughs at that, “Well in that case-”
Malfoy pulls him in for a kiss. It’s short and sweet and Malfoy’s mouth tastes like white chocolate. Harry thinks he could get used to this.
Malfoy pulls away first and rests his forehead against Harry’s, a slight smile on his lips. Harry thinks he might be dragging his jumper through his eggs.
“Wanna go back to the castle?” Harry asks.
Malfoy nods silently and stands up, taking Harry’s hand as he does.
Harry grabs his drink and follows Malfoy’s lead as they head out the door. Harry glances at the counter to see Marissa grinning widely and giving him an exaggerated thumbs up. Harry rolls his eyes in response and gives her a quick wave.
Seriously how was he the last one to find out?
Chapter 14: A List of Good and Bad
Another peek into Draco's head!
Draco is losing his mind.
It's the only possible explanation for why he agreed to let this thing with Harry continue. Why on earth would he torture himself more than he already has? Just so he can fool around with a boy who isn’t even sure if he likes boys?
What will his parents think. His mother might support him with his father out of the house, but it’s not like she had been his staunch defender when his father had made it clear what would happen if he found out Draco was kissing any other boys.
He looks over at Harry who is swinging their hands between them as they make their way back to his flat. The cold has turned his cheeks rosy, and he’s droning on about one of the chasers on his team. His unoccupied hand is waving around as he mimics the movements of the chaser.
Draco looks away before Harry catches him watching and thinks some more.
Honestly it’s not the fact that Harry’s experimenting, hell Draco had experimented with Blaise to figure his own shit out, it’s the fact that he’s absolutely infatuated with Harry so if Harry decides this isn’t for him, Draco's heart is going to break.
But when Harry had looked at him with those big stupid eyes in that stupid Starbucks he was stupidly done for. And honestly, he would take whatever Harry was willing to give. He had tasted his lips once, and now doesn’t know if he could go without.
Draco couldn’t actually believe that last night had happened at all. How often does one end up making out and spending the night with their longtime schoolboy crush? And how often does that crush look delighted to see you in the morning? Draco has been imagining waking up next to Harry for the better part of his teen years. He's daydreamed it down to the finest detail.
Staying over had probably been a mistake, Draco realizes. Nodding his head absently to whatever Harry is saying. He knows he made a fool of himself when he accidentally called Harry, “Harry” out loud. There was too much want inside him at that point, and even someone as stupid as Harry had to realize it. He had shown his hand too soon, he should have waited until Harry had made a more obvious play.
Staying the night had been dumb.
But after the makeout session, it had been so nice to just lay there, listening to Harry’s heart. And when Harry had finally gotten up from the couch to move to the bed and Draco had tried to reposition himself without Harry’s extra warmth, Harry had grabbed his shirt and sleepily tugged him in the direction of the bed too.
Now Draco isn’t an idiot. He knows that that could have been the actions of a half conscious person, but he had wanted so damn much to stay with Harry, so he had. Now that he’s thinking about it, he isn’t even certain he didn’t imagine Harry asking him to move to the bed.
Oh what a clusterfuck he’s thrown himself into.
When they get back to Harry’s flat, Harry quickly calls Kreacher who appears instantly and does not seem at all surprised to see Draco there, nor shocked by the fact that the two boys are holding hands.
Draco wonders if Kreacher is the one moving the beds closer together in Hogwarts.
Before he has time to ask, he’s swept up by Kreacher apparating them back to Hogwarts. He lands with knee buckling grace in their room and moves to sit on his bed, noticing that they have been pushed back to the original closeness. He doesn’t think he’ll mind this time around.
Harry lands with much less grace and falls on his arse, then he attempts to stand up and trips on the corner of the comforter sticking out off the bed. Finally, he pulls himself up to sit beside Draco on the bed.
He can’t believe this is the doofus Gryffindor that his heart has decided it wants.
It’s still early morning and all he really wants to do is grab Harry’s hand and drag his clumsy arse under the covers. The bed wasn’t very comfortable last night, two teenage boys sharing one horrendously lumpy double bed (seriously, Draco would have to teach Potter how to furniture shop at some point).
Yet, despite the stiff mattress and goddamn pokey springs, Draco would take that bed with Harry over his family manor any day.
He knows realistically that the reason he’s so tired isn’t because of laying on a stiff mattress all night, or even because of the early Starbucks trip. It’s because he was steamily snogging the chosen one into the wee hours of the morning, and displaying an extreme level of vulnerability. Seriously, who would have guessed that after all the fights and arguments they’d had that he and Harry would get together- even if only for a moment.
Draco wants a time turner so that he can go back to his fourteen year old self and explain to him that all his feelings were valid. That eventually he would end up with Potter, who somehow doesn’t mind his snark and stupid drink orders.
Draco almost wants the room to himself for a moment so he can do a little happy dance, but that would mean Harry leaving and he’s sure he doesn’t want that.
The chosen one has fallen onto Draco's bed and has his face smushed into his pillow, arms stretched loosely in front of him curled around the cushion.
“This pillow smells like you.” Harry mumbles offhandedly, turning his head slightly but still having his voice muffled by the pillow.
Draco’s cheeks flush. Harry doesn’t notice.
“Well obviously, Potter. It’s my bed. Speaking of which, get out! I’ve had enough of your morning breath to last me for today, thank you very much.” It sounds weak even to Draco’s ears, so he punctuates it by hitting Harry with a pillow.
Harry groans and cracks one eye open and in direct resistance to Draco’s command shimmies under the thick blanket.
Draco’s heart beats a little faster at the smirk playing around Harry’s mouth, but refuses to let it show on his face.
“Come on Potter. We are not wasting the day in bed. We have homework to finish and Quidditch practices to plan for tonight.”
“Both of which can wait until later Malfoy.” Harry says lifting the blanket slightly, inviting Draco to climb under.
Draco’s resolve is rapidly crumbling. He would like nothing more than to slide under the blankets and snog Harry for a few hours, days, years. But he also knows that Harry doesn’t know what he wants, and if Draco allows himself to get used to this domestic side of the relationship he will be ruined in the end.
Boys like Harry don’t end up with boys like Draco.
Harry, the golden boy. People talk about his greatness, huddled in groups as he walks by, praise follows him wherever he goes. Every Christmas he returns to the Weasley house with the welcoming atmosphere and boisterous activities, he has a family who accepts him unconditionally. Ministry workers and teachers talk to him like an old friend, they seek him for advice. He’s the center of so many universes.
Draco, the broken boy. When he walks by people huddle and talk, but it’s not in the way he’d like. They gossip about his involvement with the death eaters, and the latest news of his father in Azkaban. Most Christmas vacations he packs a duffel and returns to the manor for the most grueling holiday of the year, filled with long silences across stressed dinner tables. Though this year he’ll probably stay at Hogwarts, he might enjoy the time alone in the castle, as opposed to being hit with flashbacks every time he turns a corner in his home. Ministry workers deny his resumes and teachers grudgingly deal him good grades.
He wishes he was the center of someone’s universe.
Draco isn’t the type to get a happily ever after love story, and this is the thought that enables him to refuse Harry’s invitation for a nap.
He fixes Harry with the most withering glare he can muster before standing up.
“Potter, us snogging does not change the fact that we have homework that needs to be done. I’ll be in the library when you’re ready to start acting like a sane person again.
With that Draco stands up, grabs his book bag from the end of the bed and walks out of the room without looking back.
He makes it to the library and heads towards a dark corner with comfortable chairs, and pulls out his potions essay and transfiguration questions. He makes it about five minutes before feeling his phone buzz in the pocket of his robe.
Sighing he pulls it out to reads a text from Harry that simply says:
Harry Potter>11:34 am
“Alright you’ve convinced me to take my education more seriously. Where are you?”
Draco looks at it for a moment before setting his phone face down on the table without answering. Harry will find him soon enough. He just needs time to sort through his feelings and compartmentalize a little bit.
He starts to make a list in his head of the pros and cons of allowing this thing with Harry to go any farther than it has.
Good things about snogging Potter:
- Checks item off the bucket list
- Feels good
- Fulfills a dream that’s been in the making for four years
- Proves Blaise no everybody wrong
- Is a secret for just us
Bad things about snogging Potter
- If he gets tired of you you’ll break
- Seems to be mostly physical for Harry
- Father would kill me
- The wizarding world would hate me even more than they already do
- Has to be secret
The lists do little to help him make up his mind as they are exactly the same length, and it leaves him feeling a little more upset than he already was.
He closes his eyes and slides his hands into his hair, pulling at the roots.
Why can’t anything ever be easy?
Just as this thought enters his head, a hand gently brushes along the back of his neck. He jolts and whips around only to see Harry sliding into the chair next to him.
“Could you have made yourself any more difficult to find?” Harry says lightly, before pressing his foot against Draco’s under the table.
Draco recognizes the move as one of Harry’s common ways for grounding Draco for when he thinks Draco is going into a panic attack. It’s then that he notices how fast he’s breathing and how tight his chest is feeling.
With difficulty he grits out, “Libraries are where most people do homework Potter, I thought your two brain cells were capable of figuring out where I’d gone without written instructions.”
Harry just rolls his eyes before saying, “With my track record you honestly thought I could do something on my own?”
The joke startles a short involuntary laugh out of Draco and Harry looks pleased.
“So what are we working on, Malfoy?”
The abrupt change in subject and presence of Harry calms Draco down enough to focus his attention back on the essay.
“Potions, Potter. Essay is due in two days.”
Harry groans and mumbles something about how much he hates potions and starts digging in his bag.
While waiting for Harry to get ready Draco allows himself to think about them for another moment.
For Draco every single interaction is hard. He doesn’t want to get his heart broken, and as a result he won’t let himself indulge in the little things. Kissing Harry had taken all the bravery he had in his stores and now he is left entirely depleted and defenseless.
But Harry isn’t known for being afraid, he has nothing but courage apparently. He doesn’t flinch from small gestures and kind words.
Draco once again wishes that he knew what Harry was thinking, and that he hadn’t been so careless with his heart.
But even amongst this dread and confusion Draco allows himself a moment of hope.
He isn’t foolish enough to believe in a happy ending for himself, but maybe Harry is foolish and brave enough to dream of a happy ending for both of them.
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Chapter 15: Quidditch and Broom cupboards
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Quidditch practice that night goes about as well as Harry expects it to go. Yes, he has an excellent team, but none of them were nearly as good as everyone else he had played with before and he finds himself having to consciously not call out his old teammates names.
It also doesn’t help that the Slytherins are on the other side of the pitch which distracts both Harry and his team, though for completely different reasons.
His team hates the Slytherins and demands to know why they have to share the pitch. A fiery redhead who reminds him of Ginny demands that they switch the practice schedule. Harry waves her off irritably and tells them all to focus on catching a ball instead of bitching to him.
His eyes follow Malfoy as he gestures dramatically, running plays with his team.
He attempts to run drills as well. He halfheartedly gives out instructions and comments, but his mind is elsewhere.
Specifically, his mind is focused on Malfoy who is currently stalking across the pitch towards him with a sneer on his face.
Harry turns grinning to face him, and reaches out a hand to clap Malfoy’s shoulder.
“What the hell are you doing, Potter?” Draco hisses, shrugging Harry’s hand off his arm.
Vaguely, Harry notes that his players have paused in the drill that he’s running to focus on his and Malfoy’s conversation, but can’t find it in himself to look away from Malfoy.
“What do you mean, Malfoy? I’m just running my practice.”
Malfoy leans in closer, having noticed the 6 players eavesdropping on their conversation, “You’re the one who wants this thing a secret, so you’d better stop staring at me instead of your players.”
Harry laughs brightly before saying, “Come off it Malfoy. You honestly think I’m more focused on you than quidditch?”
Malfoy’s eyes dart down to Harry’s lips before slowly making their way up to his eyes again, a smirk playing at his mouth. Harry feels himself swallow and breaks eye contact.
Malfoy’s mouth is very close to his ear when he whispers, “I know for a fact that I’m what you’re thinking about right now.”
Harry’s eyes flit back to Malfoy’s and he feels his cheeks reddening, even though nothing had really been said.
It’s at this precise moment when Harry is staring into Malfoy’s face that he remembers the 12 players on the field who are undoubtedly watching this exchange.
He takes a step back from Malfoy, and something flits across Malfoy’s face before it’s schooled back into his regular sneer.
“Alright Malfoy,” Harry says walking backwards with his hands raised, “You may be right. What about a scrimmage?”
Malfoy looks shocked for a mere second, before seemingly realizing that Harry is trying to cover up the reason for their exchange.
His eyes glitter as he says, “Alright, but it’s your funeral.”
Harry grins and turns back to his team. “Alright, we’re gonna scrimmage with the Slytherins, don’t do any serious harm or you’ll sit out the first game got it?”
“Are you serious, Potter?” One of the chasers asks, “You want us to play those scumbags-”
Harry raises a hand to cut her off, “Lose the attitude, McElroy. The best way to figure out how we work as a team is to play a game as a team. The Slytherins are here and would also benefit from this as they have a whole new team as well. So get in the air, I don’t want to hear anymore complaints.”
Grumbling, the team mount their brooms and get into position in the air. Harry turns to find Malfoy already grabbing the ball crate and he grins at him.
“I don’t think we should release the snitch.” Malfoy says, his eyes on Harry. “It’s almost dark and we can watch their dynamics better from the ground, right?”
Harry smiles and shrugs, “You’re the boss Malfoy.”
Malfoy scoffs before turning and relaying the information to the players in the air and releasing the bludgers and quaffle.
Harry waits for him before turning and walking towards the stands and sitting down. Malfoy sits on his left and brings out a pad of paper to take notes on. After a moment Harry grabs his own and watches his team.
Even though they don’t play well, they play better than expected. There are only a few times where the teams have to be spelled apart by Malfoy or Harry, and by the end, both teams are laughing and seem to be having a good time.
Harry calls for the end of practice and sends his team to the showers, saying that they’ll discuss his notes next practice.
As the two teams trudge off to the showers, Malfoy leans in closer to Harry so that they’re touching from shoulder to foot. They're completely covered in thick quidditch robes, but still Harry feels that this moment isn't all that innocent.
He smiles slightly, before turning his head to press a kiss to Malfoy’s neck. Malfoy’s breath hitches, and Harry’s smile widens.
Malfoy grabs Harry’s hand and squeezes once before turning to move.
“Come on, let’s get back to the castle for dinner.” Malfoy says, extending a hand to Harry.
Harry nods and allows Malfoy to pull him up, holding onto his hand for much longer than necessary.
* * *
After showering Harry meets Malfoy at the Slytherin table for dinner. Malfoy’s hair is pushed back and still wet from the shower but he doesn’t seem to care as he is pouring over the notes he had taken at practice.
Harry closes Malfoy’s notepad while slinging his leg over the bench to sit down, using Malfoy’s shoulder to assist him with balance. It’s unnecessary but Harry wants an excuse to put his hands on Malfoy, even if only for a brief second.
“I think that went well, don’t you?” Malfoy asks, his eyes darting to the side to look at Harry before piling food onto his plate.
Harry smiles at the realization that Malfoy had been waiting to fill his plate so that he and Harry could eat together. He decides not to mention it.
“Ya, I think it went pretty well. If Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw are down I’m gonna ask them to scrimmage with us too.”
Malfoy grimaces at this but nods, “Ya they’ll probably be fine to practice with your team.”
Harry lowers the fork full of food that was half way to his mouth, he lowers his voice “We can ask together Malfoy. If they see that we’re working together they shouldn’t have a problem scrimmaging with your team as well."
“I suppose.” Malfoy sighs, before adding more food to his plate.
“What’s the sigh for Malfoy?” Harry asks.
“Nothing, Potter. Don’t worry about it.”
“Well I’m worrying anyways, tell me.” Harry says irritably, he moves to put his hand over Malfoy's but thinks better of it when he remembers how many eyes there are in the hall.
Malfoy rolls his eyes before turning slightly to face Harry, his knees press into Harry’s thigh.
“You keep expecting people to be okay with being around me just because you say so. Your Chosen One Personality is making an appearance. And I say that with great affection.” Malfoy pauses to pat Harry’s thigh kindly before continuing with, “But I hate to break it to you, not everyone is going to listen to you just because you’re Harry Potter.”
Malfoy makes to turn away but Harry’s feeling reckless and loves to prove Malfoy wrong so he grabs Malfoy’s elbow and leans in to whisper in his ear, “I think you’ll find that I can be pretty convincing Malfoy.”
Malfoy snorts and rolls his eyes, “Going to seduce the whole school are we, Potter?”
Harry laughs, but takes note of the pale flush on Malfoy’s cheekbones.
“I just might Malfoy, you don’t know me.”
Malfoy looks amused by this and quirks and eyebrow up, “Go ahead then, Potter, seduce away.”
Malfoy gentures vaguely to the tables full of students who are chattering away, oblivious to the two boys arguments.
Harry looks around and grinning like an idiot makes to stand up, but Malfoy’s unruffled facade cracks and he grabs Harry’s sleeve forcing him to sit down again.
"Bloody hell, Potter, sit the hell down before you make a scene!" He whispers harshly.
“Ohh not so fond of that idea are we, Malfoy?” Harry grins, leaning in towards Malfoy, shoulders clacking together.
“Oh shove off, Potter. “ Malfoy responds cheeks pink, “I just didn’t want you to draw even more attention to me than I already get.”
“And that’s all it is, Malfoy?” Harry asks, cheekily sliding his hand up Malfoy’s thigh under the table.
Malfoy jolts at the touch and stands up abruptly, causing the other Slytherins at the table to look over in varying degrees of confusion and interest.
“I’ll just-” Malfoy starts and then stops, cheeks and ears pink. In lieu of finishing his sentence he gestures vaguely with his hand, almost tripping on his robe in his haste to get away from the table.
Harry grins and waits a few seconds before getting up and going after him.
He sees Malfoy up ahead of him in the charms corridor, and rushes to catch up to him. Harry catches Malfoy’s sleeve and Malfoy spins around and shoves Harry bodily up against the wall.
There’s no one in the corridor with everyone at supper, but Malfoy still pitches his voice low when he says to Harry, “Teasing isn’t nice, Potter.”
“Mmmm,” muses Harry, content in their current position. “If I can’t tease you, what’s left, Malfoy?”
“Putting your money where your mouth is would be a good start.”
“And how do you suggest I do that Malfoy?”
Harry watches as Malfoy scans the hallway, before his eyes land on a storage cupboard not that far away.
“I have a few ideas.”
Harry allows Malfoy to move him into the cupboard with minimal protesting.
“Filch is gonna find us in here, Malfoy.” Harry protests.
“Oh who cares.” Malfoy says, pulling the door closed behind them and casting a quick spell under his breath to lock it.
After this task is completed Malfoy’s hands are back on Harry’s shoulders, pushing him none too gently towards the back wall. This results in Harry tripping and nearly pulling Malfoy and a shelf full of cleaning supplies to the ground with him.
Harry scrambles up, “Bloody hell, Malfoy! Could you not.”
“Could you not?” Malfoy shoots back, crowding into Harry’s space, “Didn’t you grow up in a broom cupboard? Shouldn’t you know your way around it?”
“Jesus christ, Malfoy.” Harry groans, “Shut up.”
And then Malfoy’s kissing him.
This kissing is different than last night, it’s deliberate and deep and leaves Harry a bit breathless.
Tilting his head up to catch his breath, Malfoy starts kissing his neck and Harry wonders how he ever thought he didn’t like Malfoy like this. Harry tilts his head to give Malfoy more room.
Harry finds himself sliding his hands up under Malfoy’s shirt and between buttons. He contemplates ripping it off but doesn’t think Malfoy would appreciate that. Shakily, he starts trying to undo the buttons in the dark.
“Potter,” Malfoy says against his mouth, “Stop focusing on the buttons and focus on kissing me.”
Harry ignores this and pulls back to look at Malfoy.
It’s nearly impossible to see anything in the dark, but through the cracks lining the door some light enters, and it’s enough to see Malfoy’s hair is rumpled much like his robes and shirt. His eyes are half lidded and his lips swollen and currently pouting.
“Looked your fill yet, Potter?” Malfoy snipes.
“Not quite.” Harry responds, gently pushing Malfoy’s hair out of the way.
Malfoy rolls his eyes before pulling Harry in by the tie for a bruising kiss. He seems to be trying to say something to Harry, and Harry wants to figure out what, but he is quickly distracted by Malfoy undoing his tie and pulling Harry’s shirt off over his head.
“Not fair, Malfoy.” Harry says, going back to trying to get Malfoy’s buttons undone.
“Life’s not fair.” Malfoy replies, though he pauses to help Harry undo the rest of the buttons on his shirt.
They stand for a moment looking at each other, before Harry pulls Malfoy towards him by the sway of his waist so their chests are flush against one another.
It’s all skin to skin, hot and tempting. And Harry thinks that he’s never felt like this before and wonders if he’ll ever feel like it again.
Malfoy is kissing a path down his neck and onto his chest, pausing to plant a featherlight one across the scar left by the horcrux before sinking to his knees.
“Malfoy you don’t have to-”
“Oh shut up, Potter.” Malfoy says as he ghosts a kiss across Harry’s hipbone.
Harry’s mind goes blissfully, wondrously, perfectly blank.
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Chapter 16: Sleepy Cuddles and Deep Thought
As Harry lays in his bed that night looking across the bedroom at a sleeping Malfoy, he takes a second to consider what has happened.
His mind focuses on mundane things from the past hour, Malfoy’s dilated pupils, swollen lips, cheeks flushed red. Who knew you could slowly fall in love with the way a person smiles?
He knows, realistically, that nothing has changed, so he can’t pinpoint why it feels like something monumental has happened.
After the storage cupboard, Harry and Malfoy had tumbled out and into the abandoned hallway. Malfoy’s hair looked a mess, and he wouldn’t stop smiling at Harry whenever he thought Harry wasn’t looking.
Harry wishes he knew what that smile meant.
If anything the display in the cupboard only proves that Malfoy is interested in the pure physicality of the relationship, after all, they were currently sleeping in separate beds. If Malfoy wanted anything romantic, surely he would have crawled into bed with Harry by now, not to recreate their aggressive making out in the broom cupboard, but for something softer.
Something like cold ankles tangled underneath the covers of his Gryffindor sheets, Malfoy’s breath fanning comfortingly across his neck as they both fall asleep.
But the smile gives Harry pause. The secretive smiles when no one is looking and the bruising kiss in the cupboard suggest to Harry that there is something more to Malfoy’s affections than just messing around.
Harry props himself up on one arm to look get a better look at Malfoy. The moonlight from the open window throws Malfoy’s face into shadow, his pale hair gleaming softly.
A powerful feeling is welling up in Harry’s chest, and it terrifies him. He flops on his back but turns his head to look at Malfoy some more.
This thing with Malfoy has introduced a whole load of foreign feelings into Harry’s life. He’d liked Cho and her calm affection. He’d even loved Ginny and the familiarity he felt from being around her, but he thinks that Hermione may have been right about him not loving either of them enough.
When he thinks of Malfoy it doesn’t feel calm or familiar, it feels like he is stepping onto the quidditch pitch for the first time. Loud nerves, adrenaline and enthusiasm, but most of all a wild race in his heart whenever he thinks about it.
He wonders if maybe he loves Malfoy enough, but honestly the idea of loving Malfoy terrifies him. What would people say? The wizarding world would turn against him, and even though he has Hermione and Ron in his corner he really doesn’t want to ostracize himself from the only world that he’s ever been able to call home.
Harry finally looks away from Malfoy and flops around to face the other wall.
Even though loving Malfoy would certainly make certain people in the wizarding community hate him, he’s also sure that people will find reasons to hate him regardless. His mind flashes back to fifth year when the whole school and wizarding public decided he was a liar and mad.
If Malfoy is going to be the thing that causes the hate, at least he won’t have to go through it all alone. He can almost imagine it, revealing their relationship, the questioning looks that would follow.
It wouldn’t even be that they’re both boys, people didn’t even bat an eye when Dean and Seamus showed up as a couple to Hermione’s birthday together. It would be that fact that the savior of the wizarding world was cuddling under the comforters with an ex death eater. The headlines that Rita Skeeter would write would be hilarious, and he knows that Malfoy would likely handle it all with a sneer and fake confidence.
The mere thought of Malfoy makes his heart speed up. He lolls his head to the side to stare in Malfoy’s direction once more.
Harry thinks he might be fine with the world knowing he loves Malfoy, but only if Malfoy loves him back. He needs to talk to him and figure out what’s going on inside his head.
Resolutely, he turns back to facing the wall and decides to mention it to him in the morning.
* * *
Harry doesn't get the chance to really talk to Malfoy the next morning.
They both wake up late and Malfoy is in a pissy mood because Harry takes too long in the bathroom for Malfoy’s liking.
“What even took so long?” He sneers, pushing past Harry to get to the bathroom. “It’s not like you style your hair or anything.”
Harry takes the high road and decides not to respond, but even if he had wanted to his answer would have been cut short by Malfoy slamming the door in his face.
Breakfast doesn't present much of an opportunity for conversation either as Malfoy shovels forkfuls of scrambled egg into his mouth at an astonishing rate and edits a potions paper due that morning with the other hand.
When he does pause for a breath, Harry tries to speak but Malfoy holds up one hand and says a short, “Not now, Potter.”
Harry nods at this and turns back to his food. He’ll have to try talking to Malfoy after potions when he’s less stressed. As he reaches this decision and starts to butter some toast, a large barn owl swoops down and lands on Harry’s plate knocking a glass of orange juice over in the process.
Malfoy swears and snatches his essay up while Harry quickly unties the letter from the bird. The owl takes a moment to drink from another Slytherins cup before spreading its wings and swooping off.
Harry is puzzled by the letter for a brief moment before he recognizes Andromeda’s shaky handwriting on the front. He tears into the letter eagerly hoping for some more recent pictures of Teddy, instead he finds a quick letter asking if he’s free for the weekend to watch Teddy.
Harry thinks for a moment before grabbing a spare bit of parchment and quill from his bag and scrawling out a response that he’d love to watch Teddy, and would it be okay if the babysitting happened at his apartment. He asks a nearby person to borrow the school owl that had just dropped off the mail and then sends it on it’s way.
After this he turns to see Malfoy looking at him questioningly.
Harry shrugs once before saying, “I have babysitting duty this coming weekend, want to join?”
Malfoy snorts and says, “Ya right, Potter.”
When Harry doesn’t say anything Malfoy looks at him again and says, “You weren’t serious right? You aren’t actually babysitting are you? Who do you even have to babysit?”
Harry chooses to answer only the last question, “My godson, Teddy.”
The answer is short and sharp, and a painful memory of Lupin and Tonks lying lifeless in this very hall floods his mind. Malfoy’s hand on his arm brings him out of his head before he goes too far in. It’s the softest Malfoy’s been with him all morning.
“Since when are you entrusted with the lives of children?”
Harry laughs at this before saying, “I’ll have you know that I spent quite a bit of time watching Teddy during the summer.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes and says something along the lines of, “Sure entrust the man who grew up in a cupboard to know what’s good for children.” But Harry isn’t really listening anymore.
After the end, Harry had been unreachable for a while. Too many people had wanted pieces of him, but he really wasn’t ready to give them up. He was sharp edges and a mean mouth. Unapproachable, yet people insisted on trying to get closer. Ron and Hermione were truly the only people who he could stand to be around, and even then, he preferred to be on his own.
But being on your own isn’t always great for someone who is spiraling. He stopped eating and barely slept. His mind was too busy with thoughts of bodies littering the corridors for simple things like food or sleep.
Days would pass him by and he would have only a hazy realization that it was happening. It got to the point where Kreacher found him one morning lying in bed unable or unwilling to get up. Harry still isn’t sure which it was.
Without a word the elf had apparated away and about ten minutes later returned with Andromeda and Teddy in tow. Teddy was crying after the apparation, but Kreacher calmly took him in his arms and into the kitchen, leaving Andromeda with Harry.
She asked him how he was, and Harry honestly has no idea what he said, but whatever it was caused a flash of alarm to cross her face before a more determined look replaced it and she was at his side.
She moved him into her home temporarily, insisting that is was no hassle and that she would enjoy the company. Mostly she let him be, but slowly she started asking him to help with Teddy. Running the bath water, mixing up his baby carrots. The small tasks interrupted his dark thoughts, and it was difficult to hate the world when a perfect smiling baby laughed up at you, hair the colour of violets, grass, or sometimes the night sky.
The darkness didn’t go away, but he was able to learn to work around it and be present for small daily things. Andromeda let him stay for the second half of May and most of June after the war, and in August he started auror training with Ron.
Harry isn’t sure what would have happened to him had Andromeda and Teddy not forced their way into his life, but he’s eternally grateful they did.
“Potter are you listening to a word I’m saying?”
Malfoy’s whiny voice brings Harry out of his head, and Harry turns to take Malfoy in.
He’s pouting slightly, and Harry can’t help but laugh and wish he were kissing him. Instead he lays his head briefly on Malfoy’s shoulder and says, “Please come with me on Friday?”
Malfoy doesn’t answer for a moment but his hand finds Harry’s under the table and squeezes tightly before saying, “Alright Potter, but I’m not changing dirty diapers.”
* * *
Harry decides not to bring up his question for Malfoy until the weekend. Malfoy is too stressed to be much help in a conversation throughout the week, and they’ll actually be alone on the weekend with no one listening in on their conversations.
With the pressure of school getting to Malfoy, and Hermione shooting them questioning looks whenever they’re in her line of sight, Harry is desperate for the weekend to come.
The only bright light throughout the week are the brief moments at the end of the day when Malfoy kisses Harry desperately, feverishly, worshipfully. It’s mindless and calming. Everything and nothing. Harry thinks about it constantly.
Thursday night draws to a close and finds Harry and Malfoy tangled up in Harry’s bed. Malfoy’s head on his chest and playing with a loose thread on the arm of Harry’s sweater. Harry absently runs his fingers through Malfoy’s hair. It’s entirely too domestic for their non-relationship, but Harry is happy to let it happen.
“Are you ready to meet Teddy tomorrow?” Harry asks.
Malfoy’s hand stills for a moment on Harry’s arm before continuing to play with the loose thread.
“You’re sure about me coming with you?”
Harry’s hand drifts down to Malfoy’s face. Running his fingers along Malfoy’s jaw he says, “Why wouldn’t I be?”
Malfoy turns his head and presses a kiss to Harry’s wrist before crossing his arms over Harry’s chest and turning to rest his chin on them. “Andromeda has never met me before, and I fought for the side that left her husband and daughter-less.”
Harry cups Malfoy’s face. “She’s wonderful Malfoy, and one of the most forgiving people I know. Besides, I want you to know Teddy. He’s important to me.”
“𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶'𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘦.” He wishes he could say.
Malfoy looks silently into Harry’s eyes for a few moments before turning his head to rest on Harry’s chest again. Lacing his one hand with Harry’s he says, “Alright, Potter.”
Harry smiles and closes his eyes, allowing himself to think that this could be his forever.
* * *
The next day passes in a blur. One moment they’re having breakfast, the next they’re packing their bags and pulling on some muggle clothes, Malfoy looks dashing in dark wash skinny jeans. They use the floo network in Mcgonagall’s office to get to Andromeda's house.
As Harry tumbles out of the grate, Andromeda appears and pulls him into a bone crushing hug.
“How are you, sweetheart?” She asks, smoothing the hair out of Harry’s face.
“I’m grand Andromeda, how are you and Teddy doing?”
“He’s growing like a weed and getting smarter everyday. I had to put some childproof spells on the cupboards because he’s crawling around like mad and opening everything-”
It’s at this moment that Malfoy comes tumbling out of the grate. He catches his balance by grabbing Harry’s arm and keeps it there when he notices Andromeda looking at him.
Silence permeates the room and neither Malfoy or Andromeda appear as though they are going to break it.
“Um,” Harry clears his throat. “Andromeda this is Mal- Draco Malfoy. He’s a friend of mine and is going to help me out with Teddy this weekend.”
Andromeda eyes the hand twisted in Harry’s sleeve before saying, “A friend?”
Harry looks at Malfoy entreatingly, practically begging him to introduce himself. Malfoy seems to get the hint because he takes a small step forward and holds his hand out to Andromeda.
“Hi I’m Draco. We haven’t met, but I do believe that you’re my aunt.”
Andromeda doesn’t move, and Harry is suddenly sure this was a mistake, but then she pulls Malfoy into a hug.
“I’m so glad to meet you sweetheart.”
Malfoy’s body is tense but he slowly raises his arms to hug Andromeda back. After a few more seconds the hug breaks and Malfoy steps back to Harry’s side and presses his shoulder against his.
At this moment Teddy cries from the other room.
“I’ll just go grab him and then you boys can be on your way.” Andromeda says over her shoulder as she exits the room.
In the silence that follows, Harry reaches for Malfoy’s hand and squeezes. Malfoy squeezes back but releases quickly before Andromeda enters the room.
Teddy is handed to Harry with little fanfare and before the group knows it, they’re standing on Andromeda’s front porch with a diaper bag and an infant. Harry never thought that he would live to see Malfoy holding baby formula in his hands.
Malfoy looks vaguely terrified at the notion of a baby being in his presence, but soon enough he has another thing to distract him.
“We’re taking a train back to London?”
“What did you expect, Malfoy? There’s a reason I told you to put on muggle clothes.” Harry says, bobbing in place with Teddy as he hands the diaper bag to Malfoy. He doesn’t mention the jeans and the level of satisfaction they bring him. “He hates apparating and the floo network will make him sick. Flying is definitely out of the question as he’s a literal infant. There’s only so many options.”
Malfoy scowls slightly but good naturedly walks with Harry in the direction of the train station. They make it onto the train with no issues except for Malfoy having trouble with the concept of an escalator, (“Muggles have moving staircases too?”).
They find an empty carriage for the three of them. Malfoy sits beside Harry even though there’s an entire other bench he could sit on. Harry finds that he really doesn’t mind as Malfoy’s thigh presses against his.
“Do you want to hold him?” Harry asks, shifting Teddy into a more comfortable position.
Malfoy shakes his head. “No, not here anyways. I don’t trust myself to hold him just yet.”
Harry nods and tries to get comfortable without waking Teddy. Pretty soon his eyes are drifting shut with the warm weight of Teddy on his chest and Malfoy’s head on his shoulder. Before falling asleep completely, he catches Malfoy’s hand reaching up and holding Teddy’s small hand, a small smile playing on his lips.
Smiling himself, Harry leans his head against Malfoy’s and drifts into a peaceful sleep.
The rocking of the train wakes Harry up. He takes inventory of the still sleeping Teddy on his chest and also Malfoy standing above him.
“I was just about to wake you, our stop is next.”
Harry nods and rubs his unoccupied hand across his face. Teddy wakes suddenly and his hair changes from brown to a pale pale blonde.
“Hey baby boy. How are you?” Harry asks holding Teddy slightly above his head.
Teddy gurgles back, his eyes shifting to match Harry’s green. Harry smiles and pulls him back down to his chest and catches Malfoy looking at him shocked.
“Did that baby’s hair just change colour, or am I having a stroke?”
Harry laughs and holds his hand out for Malfoy to grab hold of. “Yes Malfoy, he’s a metamorphmagus.”
Malfoy grabs Harry’s offered hand but drops the diaper bag and pulls Teddy’s hood up to hide his hair. Grabbing the bag and then catching Harry’s questioning glance he scoffs and says, “We really don’t need every single muggle in London to see the baby’s appearance change right in front of their eyes.”
Harry smiles, “I suppose you’re right, Malfoy.”
As they clamber off of the train, Harry is quite glad that Malfoy had pulled Teddy’s hood up. It’s gotten significantly colder and is doing a weird sort of rain and snow mixture. It’s actually beginning to look like Christmas which in and of itself is ridiculous when it was only late November.
The two boys hurry along to Harry’s apartment, being careful so as not to slip on the slush filled walkway.
By the time they reach the steps they are holding hands again, which must have been the reason for Harry’s neighbour’s question.
“Hiya Harry! Haven’t seen you around here lately?”
Harry tries to adjust Teddy in his arms without dropping Malfoy’s hand. “Ya I decided to go back to school for another year, so I’m mostly just here when I decide to get away for the weekend.”
The woman nods happily but stops when she sees the face of the baby he’s holding, “Oh I thought that was wee Teddy with you, but it can’t be, is this your boyfriend’s child?”
Harry feels Malfoy freeze slightly at his side before he drops Harry’s hand. Harry glances to him questioningly while trying to answer the question, “No no, he’s just one of my friend’s kids.”
Malfoy takes a small step away from Harry’s side and Harry wants to ask why but his neighbour is still trying to talk.
“Listen Christine, I’d love to catch up but I need to feed Eugene here and it’s awfully cold out. I’ll talk to you later.”
Without waiting for a response, Harry grabs Malfoy’s hand again and drags him up the stairs to his third floor flat.
They have to pause at the door for Harry to find his key, but Malfoy just rolls his eyes and goes to spell the door open.
“Wait.” Harry says, grabbing Malfoy’s wrist, “‘What was that about?”
“What was what about, Potter?” Malfoy says twisting his arm out of Harry’s grip.
“Why’d you get so weird when Christine was asking about us?”
“I didn’t, Potter?”
“You did!” Harry says, his voice pitching up slightly. “As soon as she asked if Teddy was yours-”
“It wasn’t about Teddy.” Malfoy says swiftly moving to unlock the door again.
“Then what was it about?” Harry asks, moving to stand in front of Malfoy’s wand.
Huffing, Malfoy glares at him for a moment. Maybe trying to get Harry to drop it. When he sees that Harry won’t, he throws his hands up in exasperation.
“It’s because she called me your boyfriend.”
“So I’m not your boyfriend am I, Potter?” Malfoy continues, looking down at the floor.
Harry is stupefied for a moment but then snaps out of it. “Malfoy I-”
“Don’t worry about it, Potter.” Malfoy says stepping past him, “It’s not a big deal.”
Malfoy finally unlocks the door and steps inside. Harry stands for a moment in the hall, wondering how he fucked that situation up so entirely, before Teddy makes a crying sound and Harry follows Malfoy into the flat.
Once inside, Kreacher greets the two boys and informs them that supper is nearly ready, and that he has Teddy’s food prepared. Harry gratefully lets Kreacher take Teddy from him while he shrugs out of his coat and boots.
Afterwards Harry goes in search of Malfoy. He finds him in the bedroom, looking uncertainty at one side of the bed and holding his bag.
“You’re staying in here with me tonight right?” Harry asks, leaning against the door frame.
Malfoy jumps slightly but turns to look at Harry calmly. “Do you want me in here with you?” It feels like this simple question holds a lot of weight.
“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t.”
Malfoy seems slightly stunned by this response but doesn’t say anything as he sets his bag down. Harry watches this all happen and desperately wants to talk to him but knows that now is not the time.
“Come on.” He says, holding his hand out to Malfoy. “Lets eat some dinner and play with my stupidly adorable kid.”
Malfoy rolls his eyes but takes Harry’s hand and lets himself be pulled into the kitchen.
Kreacher has the table set and food served and is trying his best to get Teddy to eat but so far it doesn’t seem to be working. More food seems to be smeared on Teddy’s face and highchair table than in the bowl. He’s crying and reaches for Harry when he sees him.
“I can handle this Kreacher, thank you so much. You can go back to the castle if you want.”
Kreacher nods and disappears to the castle without another word. Caring for crying babies doesn’t seem to be his forte.
Harry lowers himself into the chair across Teddy and picks up the bowl and spoon. Teddy looks at him with big crocodile tears in his eyes, and Harry tries a spoonful of food.
“Potter, are you not eating?”
Harry flits his eyes to Malfoy before saying, “I will, but he needs to eat first. It’s almost his bedtime. That’s why he’s so fussy.”
There's silence across the kitchen so Harry starts doing food train motions to get Teddy to eat. This goes marginally better than it had for Kreacher, and Harry’s so caught up in it that he doesn’t notice Malfoy settle down at his side.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been around a baby for this long.” Malfoy murmurs.
Harry looks at Malfoy for a moment before scoffing, “It’s not much different than hanging around with you to be honest, Malfoy.”
Malfoy shoves his shoulder lightly and says, “Piss off, Potter.”
“No seriously, Malfoy,” Harry laughs spooning another mouthful into Teddy’s mouth, “You’re whiny, food driven and hate it when the attention isn’t on you. Pretty much the definition for baby.”
“Not true.” Malfoy says shaking his head, “I’m a delight to be around.”
“So’s a baby.” Shoots back Harry as Teddy takes the final bite of food.
Malfoy scoffs as Harry stands up to get a washcloth for Teddy. Harry looks back at him but Malfoy is busy looking at Teddy. Teddy is looking right back and starts giggling for no apparent reason. Malfoy’s mouth twitches up in one corner and he raises his hand for Teddy to grab on to. Teddy complies and Malfoy is stuck with a baby holding his hand and covering it in what Harry has determined is squash baby food.
Harry smiles at the sight but says nothing. He comes back to wipe Teddy’s face and hands before bringing him to his room to be changed. After that he changes him into a onesie to sleep in and puts him down in the playpen he has set up for when he spends the night at his place.
After this is done, supper is eaten, and the dishes are clean, he finds Malfoy sitting in the living room. He flops down next to him, laying his head on his shoulder.
“Hey yourself.” Malfoy says, sliding an arm around Harry’s shoulder.
“What do you think of Teddy?” Harry asks, fisting his hand in Malfoy’s sweater and snuggling imperceptibly closer.
Malfoy accommodates this new arrangement with minimal complaining, “He’s the best baby I’ve ever met.”
“You literally told me you’ve never met a baby before.”
“That’s true,” Malfoy says, brushing Harry’s hair out of his eyes, “But just think of what all other babies have to live up to now.”
Smiling, Harry kisses Malfoy’s neck. “I really like you Malfoy.”
Malfoy’s arm tenses around Harry slightly before he says, “I really like you too.”
Harry knows that this is the moment to ask Malfoy what this thing means to him, so he sits up slightly and pulls out from under his arm a little.
“I need to talk to you about something.” Harry starts, looking over to Teddy in the corner of the room.
Malfoy sits up straighter and tenses somewhat, removing his arm from around Harry completely. “Okay.”
“I’m bloody crazy about you Malfoy.” Harry starts, his palms already sweating, “Like a stupid amount. And I thought that maybe it was just a physical thing or whatever. But I don’t think that’s the case.”
He takes a breath and looks Malfoy in the eye, “I want everything with you. I want to go on stupid dates with you and I want people to know you’re mine and that I’m yours. I’m not suggesting that we go crazy and tell everyone just yet, but I want my friends and my family to know what you are to me.”
He grabs Malfoy’s hand, and continues. “You’re one of the most important people in my life right now, which sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s true.”
He looks at Malfoy again, whose just staring at him with his mouth open.
“I don’t know what you want,” Harry says softly, “But I want you.”
Harry waits in silence for what feels like forever when Malfoy finally answers.
It seems to take quite a bit of effort, but Malfoy grits out, “I want you too, Potter.”
Harry’s heart seems to stop in his chest.
“You do?” He says hopefully.
Malfoy looks physically pained. “I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t.”
Harry laughs happily. He isn’t sure who leans forward first, all he knows is that suddenly Malfoy’s mouth is on his and it’s good as it always is, but this time it has the added wonderfulness of Harry knowing that Malfoy is his.
With some guidance from Malfoy’s hands, Harry finds himself straddling Malfoy’s lap and kissing his neck.
“God, why did this take so long?” Malfoy groans.
Harry can’t help but smile and kiss Malfoy’s neck one more time before looking at him in the face.
“I don’t think that’s entirely my fault.”
“Oh it definitely is,” Malfoy starts, leaving kisses along Harry’s jawline and neck, “I would have had you in fourth year, but you had to go and date fucking Cho Change and ruin everything.”
“How was I supposed to know that, Malfoy?” Harry asks, pulling away from Malfoy’s mouth. “You were a huge twat and acted like you hated me.”
“I do hate you.” Malfoy reminds him before kissing him soundly on the mouth.
Harry would have stayed there all night had Teddy not started crying.
“He needs his bottle,” Harry says into Malfoy’s mouth, “You have to let me get up.”
Harry starts to pull away and Malfoy squeezes his hips and bites lightly on his bottom lip.
“Seriously Malfoy, he won’t stop crying otherwise.”
“Ugh fine,” Malfoy says releasing his grip on Harry and standing up with him, “Let’s feed the brat.”
Harry shoots him a look but allows the comment to slide. He grabs one of the bottles from the fridge and heads to Teddy’s bed.
He’s looking up at Harry and Malfoy with tears in his eyes but no longer crying because he sees them coming for him. He lifts his arms up for Harry to pick him up and Harry obliges, handing the bottle over to Malfoy and snatching one of the blankets up to wrap him in while he’s drinking.
They settle back down onto the couch with Harry resting against Malfoy’s chest as Teddy rests on his. After the bottle is done, Teddy wants to cuddle for a while so Harry holds him and rubs his back soothingly.
Harry wakes up when Malfoy shakes his shoulder lightly.
“Come on, Potter. Teddy’s asleep and my back is killing me from this torture device you call a couch.”
Harry rolls his eyes but stands up and slowly lowers Teddy into the playpen. Malfoy gently grabs his hand after a moment of watching Teddy and guides him to the bedroom.
They change into their pajamas quickly and burrow under the covers, Malfoy’s head finding its place on Harry’s chest. Harry’s hand burrows into Malfoy’s hair, and softly plays with the strands. Malfoy presses a kiss to Harry’s chin and closes his eyes.
After a while, when Harry is almost certain that Malfoy is asleep, and he himself is starting to drift off he says, “I really, really like you Draco.”
There’s nothing but silence for a moment, but right before he falls asleep for real he hears, “I like you a lot too, Harry.”
Harry falls asleep with a smile on his face, glad Malfoy feels the same.
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Harry wakes up the next morning to an empty bed. He slides his hand across the place that Malfoy had been last night and finds it cold. Confused, he sits up listening for either noises from Malfoy or from Teddy. He hears nothing, so he gets up to go and investigate.
As he exits the room a ridiculously adorable sight meets his eyes. Malfoy is asleep on the couch with Teddy curled up against his chest. Teddy looks around at the sound of Harry entering the room and makes a screeching noise, his hair turning blue, he startles Malfoy awake. Malfoy tenses for a moment but relaxes when he realizes where he is and what’s on his chest.
“Morning boys.” Harry says, walking to the couch to pick up Teddy.
Malfoy rubs his eyes blurrily and grunts something that sounds like “Hello,” but really could have been any number of words. He runs his hands through his hair and stares at Harry through one cracked eye. Harry smiles and pets Malfoy’s hair once while passing him on the way to the kitchen.
“You can go back to sleep in the bed if you want,” Harry calls over his shoulder, “I don’t mind. We don’t have plans until later anyways.”
Malfoy grunts his consent from the other room and Harry hears him shuffle towards the bedroom with the door clicking shut behind him.
“Did you wake him up, Teddy?” Harry asks, looking seriously at the baby.
Predictably, Teddy offers no explanation besides babbling and an attempt to eat his own hand.
Harry sighs and says, “Well I guess we’ll find out when Malfoy wakes up won’t we?”
Teddy flails his arms in agreement and Harry decides it’s time for breakfast. He sets Teddy in his high chair and dumps a handful of cheerios in his tray for him to gnaw on while he decides which baby food he’ll attempt to feed him today. He lands on banana baby food and some sort of fruit and yogurt concoction. He also preheats a bottle for afterwards when Teddy will inevitably want one.
“Alright,” Harry says, turning to look at Teddy with his filled bowls, “Let’s give this a shot shall we?”
Although Teddy fusses at first, not wanting to give anything new a try, he eventually starts enjoying the banana baby food and tolerates the fruit and yogurt one. Harry, although happy that he got Teddy to eat it, sighs when he sees the banana that got into Teddy’s hair.
He realizes that he’ll likely have to clean him in the sink as he doesn’t have a bathtub at his house and wonders how a seven month year old baby is going to fit into his kitchen sink. It’s while he is contemplating this issue that his phone rings.
“Hey Harry, it’s Ron.”
“Oh. Hi mate.” Harry says, not really certain of how to talk to Ron or Hermione as he hasn’t really spoken to them since the intervention.
“Hermione and I were wondering what you were up to this weekend? I know you’re probably busy at school and all but we feel like we haven’t seen you in ages, and we didn’t like how things left off after the whole talk thing.”
“Ya,” says Harry, stalling for time, “I definitely need to see you guys soon. I have Teddy this weekend though so maybe when I get back to Hogwarts?”
“I mean we can pop over if you guys are at the apartment, we haven’t seen Teddy in ages! He’s probably getting so big.”
Harry looks over at Teddy who is munching on some of the cereal he hadn’t gotten to beforehand and thinks. As much as he wants Hermione and Ron to see Teddy he kind of wants to spend the weekend with his boy and his boyfriend. It’s when he comes to this realization that he makes a split second decision.
“Not this weekend Ron, Malfoy is here with me and I really just want to have a weekend with him and Teddy.”
There’s silence on the line for what seems like an eternity but in reality is probably only a few seconds that Ron takes to process what was just said.
“Malfoy’s with you? Does that mean you guys have everything sorted.” He says this with a very nonchalant air, but Harry can tell this is a question that both he and Hermione are dying to know the answer to.
Harry pinches the bridge of his nose sighing, before tilting his head up to look at the ceiling and saying with a huge amount of exasperation, “Yes Ron, we sorted it out. He’s my boyfriend.”
“Nice mate! We were rooting for you two.”
“Bloody hell, Ron.” Harry groans, “Can we please not make a big deal of this?” Harry feels his cheeks heating slightly.
“A big deal has already been made.” Ron says, laughing, “You two were ridiculous, it’s only fair that Hermione and I get to tease you about it now.”
“We were not ridiculous!” Harry protests, “If anything we were completely rational and normal about it all.”
“Harry. Mate. No.” Ron says, cracking up, “Bloody hell, next time I see you I’m forcing you to go through all my memories of the sexual tension and innuendos we had to endure this year in the pensieve. You’ll see just how ridiculous you two were.”
“Okay,” says Harry, laughing. “Whatever you say Ron.”
It’s then that Harry notices Malfoy standing in the doorway watching him with his eyebrow quirked up.
“Alright Ron, I’ve gotta go. I’ll text you later.” Harry says, already focusing on Malfoy instead of the conversation.
“Alright mate, talk to you soon. And Harry,” Ron adds just before they hang up, “I’m really glad you told me about Malfoy. And I’m honestly happy for you.”
Harry feels is heart squeeze at the emotion in Ron’s voice and he says, “Thanks Ron, I’m glad I told you too.”
After the phone is hung up, Malfoy crosses the kitchen and stops directly in front of Harry.
“Hi.” Harry says back, amused by the weirdness of Malfoy, “Sleep well?”
Malfoy rolls his eyes slightly and turns to look at Teddy who waves a chubby baby fist in their general direction. “It was fine until the little bugger started crying and you didn’t wake up.”
“And instead of waking me, you decided that cuddling with Teddy was your burden to bear?” Harry snorts, using his hand to turn Draco’s face back towards him.
“Someone had to do it.” Malfoy responds hauntingly.
Harry laughs and kisses Malfoy briefly on the mouth.
“You’re ridiculous.” he mutters.
“Mhmm. Kiss me more about that.” Malfoy responds, eyes half closed.
“Maybe later.” Harry says, his lips brushing against Malfoy’s slightly before he pulls away, “Teddy needs a bath and I want to do something fun with him today.”
He brushes past Malfoy and picks Teddy out of his chair. When he turns to look at Malfoy again, he’s in the spot Harry left him with a pout on his face.
“You’re no fun.” Malfoy says, crossing the kitchen to pluck Teddy out of Harry’s arms. “Isn’t that right Teddy? Who’s boring? Is it Harry?”
Teddy gurgles back at Malfoy delightedly, and Malfoy transfers him to his hip.
“Teddy agrees with me.” He says smugly, his point seemingly proven when Teddy’s eyes change to match Malfoy’s cold grey ones.
Harry laughs. “He’s just playing nice because he thinks you’re gonna play with him.”
“And who says I won’t?” Malfoy asks, looking around the apartment for some sort of book or toy, “I’ll be the fun uncle who appears randomly and showers him in attention and toys.”
“I say you won’t.” Harry says firmly, taking Teddy out of Malfoy’s arms. “He needs a bath… so do you for that matter.”
“Care to join, Potter?” Malfoy asks, his mouth smirking and eyes teasing.
Harry can feel himself blushing and stammers out, “I don’t think so Malfoy. I’ve got a baby to take care of.”
He turns to find Teddy’s bath stuff when Malfoy catches his arm.
“I’m only teasing you. And stop calling me Malfoy.”
Harry turns back to face him, “And what would you prefer I call you?”
Malfoy steps infinitesimally closer, “You could call me Draco. You did last night.”
Harry smiles slightly, “I don’t recall that happening.”
“Oh it happened.” Malfoy assures, “You can pretend it was sleep talk but I know what really happened.”
“Okay,” Harry says looking up, “I’ll stop calling you Malfoy, but only if you stop calling me Potter.”
Malfoy looks at him consideringly for a moment, before leaning down so that his forehead rests against Harry’s.
“Okay.” he breathes, angling his head so their lips almost touch.
Harry takes a breath, waiting, but the moment is ruined when Teddy lets out an ungodly screech and flails his fist hitting them both in the face.
Laughing, Draco takes a step away. “Christ, you’d think he was ignored every single moment of his life with how he’s acting.”
“It certainly seems that way doesn’t it.” Harry says, gently lowering Teddy to the floor so that he can crawl around while he looks for his bath things from the summer.
“What’re the plans you have for today?” Draco asks, leaning against the counter after grabbing a soda from the fridge and popping it open.
Harry crosses the kitchen and takes the pop out of Draco’s hand and replacing it with a bottle of orange juice. Draco scowls slightly but lets it happen.
Harry stands beside Draco against the counter so that their shoulders are touching and says, “I was thinking we could go out to a park or something for him to play, and maybe dinner too.”
“Dinner in muggle London? You’re not worried about anyone seeing us this close to Diagon Alley?”
Harry turns his body to lean against Draco’s chest, and Draco’s arms immediately go up to wrap around him.
“Frankly, I don’t care if anyone sees us. I’ve told Ron and Hermione and they’re the people I care amount most.”
There’s silence for a moment and Harry relishes in the fact that he can say these things and Draco will keep holding him.
After a while Draco finally does speak.
“Okay.” He murmurs into Harry’s hair. “If you don’t mind being seen with me, I definitely don’t mind being seen with you.”
“Okay.” Harry says into Draco’s neck.
They stand like that for a few more minutes, just breathing each other in, before Draco finally pushes Harry gently to the side.
“Teddy needs a bath, and if we’re going out, I’m gonna need a shower.”
“Okay.” Harry says again, kissing Draco’s cheek as he goes to find Teddy. “Make yourself pretty.”
As he exits the kitchen he hears Draco snort and say, “I’m always pretty.”
Harry rolls his eyes and finds Teddy on the floor near his playpen playing with a bucket of blocks. He picks the baby up, returns to the empty kitchen, and grabs the bucket of baby shampoo and body wash from under the sink. He runs the warm water and puts the plug in, stripping Teddy while the sink fills and then sets him in.
He cleans Teddy quickly and wraps him in his baby towel, the little chicken hood pulled over his head. He dresses Teddy in a little pair of jeans and a sweater with the word “Ninja” stamped across the front. Teddy starts to fuss so Harry grabs the bottle off the counter and hands it to him while he sits on the blanket with his toys.
Harry leaves him be and heads into his bedroom to get dressed. He throws on a pair of old jeans and with some hesitation one of Draco’s jumpers that had been thrown on the floor the night before when Draco was rooting around for his pajamas. It smells faintly of Draco and Harry tries not to think about how long he’s known what Draco smells like.
He leaves the bedroom pretty quickly after that to sit on the floor with Teddy as he finishes his bottle. That’s where Draco finds them after his shower. He lowers himself onto the floor beside Teddy and Harry and leans gently against his side.
“Pretty sure that’s my sweater, Potter.”
“Harry.” Harry corrects him, smiling and looking at him out of the corner of his eye. “And how am I supposed to tell the difference between what’s mine and yours when your stuff is just thrown all over my room?”
“Well,” Starts Malfoy, rolling a toy car in Teddy’s direction, “My clothing is much nicer than yours, so anything you think is high quality is probably mine.”
“Jesus,” Harry snorts, “You’re ridiculous.”
Draco smirks and picks Teddy up from the floor and stands up. “Let’s go Potter, the park isn’t gonna come to us.”
Harry smiles at that and takes Malfoy’s offered hand up.
* * *
The muggle park is practically empty, parents probably not willing to walk around with their kids in the cold weather, but this just means the swings are wide open for Teddy to enjoy. Draco and Harry take turns pushing Teddy, and chat about where they want to go for dinner. Draco wants to go somewhere fancy, but Harry points out that somewhere fancy may not be best for having a 7 month year old baby whose mood and appearance change at random. Draco concedes that that is a good point, and agrees to go to somewhere less fancy but still a sit down dinner.
That’s how a few hours later they end up at some restaurant called The Wolseley, and Harry looks around wondering how Draco managed to convince him that this wasn’t fancy. It’s incredibly expensive and Harry wonders why they couldn’t have gone to a place with chicken strips for him and macaroni for Teddy.
Harry adjusts Teddy’s hat to be sure it’s covering the bright blue hair, and catches Draco looking over the menu at him.
“Quit worrying, Potter. Everything is fine.”
“I thought you said that this place was casual?”
Draco looks confused, “What do you mean? This is hardly fancy.”
“Your ridiculously posh upbringing is showing.” Harry murmurs, looking for literally anything that Teddy can eat.
Draco looks back down at the menu, seemingly noticing for the first time both the prices and lack of edible food for babies.
“‘Shit.” He mutters, before looking anxiously at Harry, “Let’s go before the waiter tries to take our order.”
Harry smiles and grabs Teddy quickly, laughing as Draco takes his hand and dashes out the door. Laughing more they lean against the outside of the building and Draco kisses him quickly.
“What was that for?” Harry asks breathlessly, transferring Teddy to his hip.
“I just can’t believe you.”
“What?” Harry says, grabbing Draco’s hand and leading him down the street.
Draco just shakes his head and offers no other explanation, following Harry as he leads them down random streets in the hopes of finding a restaurant that serves plain pasta for Teddy to eat.
This leads to them a few hours later standing outside a chip truck waiting on some chips for him and Draco as he fishes out his emergency stash of cheerios for Teddy to eat before they head home.
“I can’t believe we’re getting our first dinner together at a chip truck.” Draco says, taking Teddy out of Harry’s arms, so Harry can search in the depths of the diaper bag he brought.
“I mean, I don’t know what else you were expecting.” Harry says finally emerging from the diaper bag with cheerios and a banana. He decides the banana will be easier to feed Teddy without a tray or highchair, and begins to peel it.
“I suppose you’re right.” Draco says, taking the piece of banana from Harry’s hand and trying to hand it to Teddy.
Harry takes this moment of distraction on Malfoy’s end to sidle up closer and hook his chin over Malfoy’s unoccupied shoulder.
“It’s fucking freezing out. Whose idea was this?” Harry mutters, pressing his cold nose into Draco’s neck.
Draco hisses at the contact but says, “Language around the brat, Potter. And I’m pretty sure you’re the one who suggested dinner and freezing.”
Harry hums but doesn’t give an actual answer, content to just stand with Draco and wait for their food.
“Oi, mate you’re chips are ready, we added some mushy peas on the side for your kid.”
Harry startles at the voice but hurries over to the truck, excited to have warm food in his hands.
“Thanks so much.” Harry says, adding a larger tip to the jar outside of the truck before turning back to Draco and Teddy.
Draco is holding a half gummed banana in his hands and seems to be desperately looking for a place to set it down. Harry laughs and hands him a napkin from the truck and throws it out for him as Draco hoists a fussy Teddy onto his chest. As they turn to find somewhere to sit, a voice cuts through the street reaching Harry’s ears.
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Harry doesn’t jump like he would have a few months ago, but he does somewhat throw himself in front of both Draco and Teddy, reaching for his wand and finding his pocket empty. Panic rears its head, but a steadying hand on his arm from Draco brings him back to the street outside the chip truck facing down two of his friends.
“Harry?” Neville says again, taking a step closer, Luna trailing serenely behind him. “You good mate?”
Neville’s eyes dart over to Draco quickly and then back to Harry, and Harry knows he’s asking if Harry needs a quick rescue. Harry swallows, and knowing he’s going to have to explain himself a little, steps to be beside Draco and twists their hands together.
“Na, I’m great Neville, Luna. How are you two going.”
There’s silence for a moment as both Neville and Luna look at them. Neville with his mouth hanging open and Luna with an expression of vague interest. It’s Luna who breaks the silence first.
“We’re grand actually! Neville had the night off from his apprenticeship and thought we could spend it catching up, shopping for his girls birthday and grabbing dinner with a couple of other people from school. What are you and Draco up to?”
Harry breathes a sigh of relief. Luna is going to act as if this situation is completely normal and Harry couldn't be more glad.
“We’re good. Decided to take the weekend off from Hogwarts and spend some time with Teddy.”
“Wait a second, Harry,” Neville starts, “What are you doing with Malfoy?”
For once in his life Draco apparently has nothing to say and squeezes Harry’s hand to get him to talk. Harry decides that he’ll pretend that him dating Draco is common knowledge.
“Well Andromeda needed a break for the weekend, so Draco and I thought we’d take the weekend off and spend it with Teddy.”
Luna nods and takes a few steps towards them, “He’s gotten so big!”
She raises her one hand up to play with Teddy’s hand. Draco looks vaguely shocked that anyone would come near him, but Harry knew that Luna will be the most kind to him out of everyone.
Harry lets himself be distracted by Draco gingerly handing Teddy over to Luna and Luna starting a quiet conversation with Draco. Sadly this distraction can’t hold as Neville wants answers.
“Seriously Harry…. What’s going on?” He whispers the words under his breath, eyes darting to where Malfoy and Luna are talking about baby food.
Harry turns his attention back to Neville and takes a couple of steps towards him, letting go of Draco’s hand in the process. “What do you need to know Neville?”
“Umm there are quite a few things to be honest!” His eyebrows have darted up in a confused manner, ever fantasy Harry had about him and Malfoy being accepted without consequence has been shattered.
Harry sighs, and runs a hand through his hair distractedly, glancing at the cute picture of Draco trying to hide a smile at Luna cooing to Teddy.
He turns his attention back to Neville and decides to be completely and utterly blunt. “We’re dating.”
“What?” Neville says again, “You and Malfoy are dating?”
“Yes.” Harry says simply.
“Why?” Neville asks looking lost, “Why would you date that arsehole? Of all the people you could have had- you were literally dating Ginny! Why him?”
“He’s not an arsehole.” Harry trying to reign in his defensive tone, he wishes he didn’t have to have this conversation, “And Ginny and I don’t work anymore. It was good before the war, but both of us need different things from a relationship, and honestly neither of us were healed enough to be with another person.”
Neville makes to say something again but Harry cuts in first, “I’m not asking you to like him, he’s a hard person to like, but I am asking that you accept that I’m with him.”
Neville seems to struggle for a moment but finally nods. “Alright Harry, you’ll have enough explaining to do at the next Gryffindor reunion dinner, you don’t need to explain to me too.”
Harry smiles and claps Neville on the shoulder. He turns back to find Draco sitting on a street bench with Luna and Teddy, attempting to feed Teddy some of the peas while Luna holds him. Harry smiles at the sight.
“Seriously mate, you could have had literally anyone, at least half the girls in our year- and a fair number of guys for that matter- have been dying for a chance with you since you got your acceptance letter.” Neville mutters, seemingly not able to refrain from asking. “So, why him?”
Harry takes a moment to think, and doesn’t look at Neville for a moment, too focused on looking at Draco and wondering what it is about him that’s different.
In his heart he knows that it’s because Draco doesn’t expect him to be some fantastic, world saving, intelligent, emotionally mature hero. Draco takes Harry as is. Panicking, unsure, lost, afraid and sometimes breaking. None of it scares Draco away because it isn’t like he’ll ever be disappointed by Harry being his most true self. It’s almost good that he and Draco didn’t get along for so long, Draco has no reason to believe he was any different than he is now. He supposes it might also have to do in part to the fact Malfoy is now babbling at Teddy and making flying car noises as he scoops food into teddy’s mouth. Harry catches himself staring in pure admiration.
Harry realizes that that’s too much to say to Neville, especially when he hasn’t said half as much to Draco. He’s beginning to suspect that this relationship is a much bigger deal than he is making it out to be. Before he lets himself wander too far down that rabbit hole he glances back to Neville and says a much more condensed version of what was going on in his head.
“He just gets it Neville. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that.”
Without waiting for a response, he takes the last few steps needed to sit beside Draco. Their thighs are pressed together and Harry casually leans closer to him so that they’re touching ankle to shoulder, his one arm draped along the back of the bench. Draco glances at him quickly but doesn’t say anything, still focused on getting food into an overtired Teddy.
This whole scenario is oddly deceiving. To an outsider Draco and Harry are just two young men, in the blossoming stages of a relationship, still figuring out how they work. Still blushing when their hands touch, and sharing kind smiles when no one is looking. Maybe to an outsider, they look like 4 friends who got together for dinner after a long day at the office. Maybe to an outsider Teddy is a rambunctious toddler who got into a mess with some kool-aid hair dye.
It would be so easy to blend in here, he could lead a happy life. Waking up early on Saturdays to take Teddy to the park, sharing bites of a pop tart with Malfoy, lazy kisses over the coffee pot.
But in his heart he knows it wouldn’t be like that, he is still in the wake of the final battle. Still wakes up shaking, parseltongue and killing curses echoing in his mind. He still shudders when he walks past the forbidden forest after quidditch practice. Healing will take time.
Draco squeezing his knee brings him back to the present “-getting fussy maybe we should head home.”
It dawns on him that Malfoy had been in the middle of a sentence. “Sorry I didn’t catch what you said.”
“I was just saying to Longbottom and Luna that Teddy’s getting kind of fussy, and he’s managed to get peas in his hair so we should probably head home.”
The fact that Malfoy just called his apartment ‘home’ makes butterflies float lazily somewhere near his rib cage. Harry nods his head in approval and the four classmates stand up for hugs.
“Catch you later Harry, I’ll see you at the reunion in a couple weeks.” Neville says, his eyes hint that there will definitely be more dating interrogation in the future. Regardless, Harry him in for a tight one armed hug.
After he and Draco have both hugged Luna goodbye- Draco after some hesitation- the two pairs head in opposite directions, but before Harry and Draco get far, Harry notices that Luna has left her clutch on the bench where her and Draco where feeding Teddy.
“Draco stop for a sec, Luna forgot her bag.”
Malfoy turns around with Teddy in his arms “Okay I’ll wait for you here, you run and give it to her. She and Longbottom couldn’t have gotten very far yet.”
Harry nods and starts jogging in the direction that the other pair had been heading. The Muggle streets are crowded with the dinner crowd, but sure enough he spots Luna’s bright head of hair right outside the door of some restaurant called The Elgin.
“Luna!” he calls.
She turns in his direction and smiles, waiting for him to catch up. When he gets there he hands her the smooth leather clutch she’d been holding.
“Oh thanks Harry! I hadn’t even realized I’d forgotten it. This is my favourite one, of course it’s fake leather, I’m all about keeping animals out of the fashion industry.” she exclaims softly.
Harry smiles in return. “It’s no problem, but I should probably get back to Teddy and Malfoy, have a great night.”
As he turns to leave, Luna pulls him in for one last hug. He feels her lips next to his ear as she whispers so only they can hear “I don’t know if Hermione’s mentioned it but I’m always here to talk Harry, you know I’ve received the proper training and you’re one of my closest friends. It wouldn’t be a burden, no matter what your brain is telling you.”
She pulls away from their hug and plasters a smile on her face, her pale eyes wide. “Right well have a good night Harry, give Teddy a kiss for me.”
And with that she walks into the restaurant where Neville is holding the door for her, and what looks like Hannah Abbott and Parvati Patil stand waiting just inside.
Harry stands for a moment outside the restaurant, a light mist has begun to fall as he makes his way back to Malfoy and Teddy. He contemplates Luna’s words and Hermione’s suggestion. Maybe he should talk to someone, maybe it would lessen the night terrors and paranoia. Maybe, just maybe, it might make that fantasy with Draco and Teddy just a little bit more achievable.
He allows this thought to nestle in the back of his mind but doesn't want to spend any longer on it tonight. He has his favourite baby and his boyfriend waiting for him. It can wait a little longer.
He rounds a corner and sees Draco standing under the awning of a shop doing his level best to shield Teddy from the rain and cold. Harry smiles at the sight. To think that literally yesterday Draco had been hesitant to hold Teddy and now his first instinct is to protect him. It just shows how much good is inside Draco, how much good was probably there all along.
Draco’s catches sight of Harry and shouts across the street, “Oi Potter, some time today please!”
Harry laughs and jogs across the street, getting under the awning just before the rain intensifies. He reaches for Teddy and Draco hands him over willingly, trading the baby for the diaper bag.
“Can we just apparate home?” Draco asks, his teeth chattering in the cold, hair falling in his face, damp from the rain.
Harry steps closer to him to share the little warmth he has before saying, “We probably shouldn’t. Teddy really really hates it.”
“I understand that,” Says Draco, grabbing Harry’s free hand and clutching it tightly in his own freezing one, “But it’s freezing, and we’re at least a kilometer from home.”
Harry things for a moment and adjusts a now sleeping Teddy into a more comfortable position. He finally decides that even though it would be faster, the fuss Teddy kicks up afterwards really isn’t worth it.
“We’ll walk Draco. We can use warming spells and spells to keep the rain off, you have your wand right?”
Draco sighs but pulls his wand out, and looking around to check that no one is watching, spells them warm and dry.
Putting his wand away he mutters, “I can’t believe we’re walking home in this, I survived the war just to catch pneumonia.”
Harry snorts but wraps his free arm around a shivering Draco’s waist. “I’m sure you’ll survive, let’s just go home.”
With Draco pulled close like this, one of his hands clutching on Harry’s jacket, Harry almost thinks the rain is worth it.
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The walk home isn’t as miserable as it would have been if they hadn’t had magic to protect them, but as they did, it’s a fine walk. Harry is pretty sure that Draco is pretending to be colder than he is just so Harry will keep his arm around him, but Harry isn’t going to complain.
They reach the front steps of his flat complex, and Harry hurriedly withdraws his arm from around Draco to adjust the hood on a sleeping Teddy’s head so that all his hair is covered. Draco looks around at the empty street and rolls his eyes at Harry’s jumpiness, but for once doesn't say anything.
They walk up the stairs in companionable silence, and enter the warm flat to find that Kreacher has left some hot chocolate out for them. Harry silently sends up a prayer of thanks for house elves and their ability to predict his needs so accurately.
With the promise of warmth shortly, Harry quickly switches a semi conscious Teddy into his pjs and warms up a bottle for him to drink should he wake up. Afterwards he stumbles into the living room in a pair a flannel pajama bottoms and a thermal grey pj shirt. He looks around for Draco, having noticed his absence from the bedroom, and finds him swaddled in what appears to be five separate blankets on the couch.
Harry scoffs, and this causes Draco to peek his head out from under the blankets.
“Care to join me, Potter?” He says voice only sounding slightly muffled.
Harry notices the use of Potter, but decides not to mention it for now. Instead, he joins Draco in his blanket pile, allowing Draco to pull him down so his head is resting on his chest.
Harry can feel Draco shivering beneath him, and he looks at him incredulously.
“How are you still cold? You’re literally under five blankets and also me, and we had warming spells on us on the way back.”
“I’m a cold person.” Draco mutters, pushing the tip of his cold nose into Harry’s neck.
Harry yelps and jerks away from Draco, but not far enough that Draco doesn’t manage to slip his cold hands under Harry’s shirt and pull him back down to him.
“Torture!” Harry yells, laughing and struggling to pull away, “I’m being tortured!”
Harry feels Draco smile against his neck, and hears him say, “Oh stop being such a big baby, you’re fine.”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Harry says, stopping the struggle and letting himself relax against Malfoy, “I’m pretty sure the cruciatus curse was less painful than this.”
Harry says it jokingly, but feels Draco tense beneath him, the smile slipping from his mouth.
“Not funny, Potter.”
Harry pulls back to look at Draco, but he won’t meet his eyes.
“It was a joke Draco, I’m just kidding.”
“Well it wasn’t funny.” Draco says, still refusing to look at Harry but keeping his hands firmly on Harry’s back.
Harry isn’t quite shocked by Draco’s reaction, but he desperately needs him to explain why this is bothering him so much.
“Draco, talk to me.”
At this Draco looks up finally and meets Harry’s eyes, “I just know what the cruciatus curse is like and I don’t really think it’s laugh worthy material.”
At first Harry doesn't realize what Draco is saying, but with a fair amount of horror Harry realizes that Draco is saying he knows what the cruciatus curse feels like.
“Draco,” he says slowly, carefully putting his one hand on Draco’s side and the other one cupping his face, “Who-”
Draco seems to anticipate his question with the answer falling from his lips quickly, “You Know Who and Bellatrix.”
Harry winces and opens his mouth, but Draco cuts him off.
“I lived with the Dark Lord for a year, Potter.” Shrugging his one shoulder, he says, “It was inevitable that it would happen at some point.”
Harry tucks this information away and says, “I’m sorry that happened to you.” He runs his finger along Draco’s cheek, “It should never have happened to you.”
Draco turns his head into the touch and kisses Harry’s palm.
“We all have to go through things, Potter.” He breathes, closing his eyes and leaning his head back to rest on the arm of the couch.
Harry looks at him for another few seconds before laying down and tucking his face into the crook of Draco’s neck and saying, “Maybe, but I wish you didn’t have to.”
There’s silence for a few moments, but Draco is rubbing small circles onto Harry’s back, so he thinks they’re probably okay.
The silence is broken by Draco.
“It was odd seeing Longbottom and Lovegood in Muggle London wasn’t it?”
“Hmm, a little but not too weird.” Harry says, his lips brushing against Draco’s neck as he speaks. “They still have some trouble with crowds and other wizards approaching them. It’s just easier to go out in muggle London if you want a peaceful night. And from what I gathered Luna was helping Neville shop for his girlfriend.”
“Hmm.” Draco says, clearly thinking. The silence stretches on for a longer amount of time but is again broken by Draco. “They seemed to take the news well.”
Harry props his head up to look at Draco’s face for this conversation. “It seems that way, ya.”
“I didn’t think anyone would take the news well.” Draco says, he face not betraying any emotion.
“Hmm,” Harry replies, before kissing Draco on the cheek. “I honestly don’t care if anyone else reacts well. Ya, it would be nice for my friends to support me, but you can't have everything in life.”
After saying this, Harry tucks his head back into the crook of Draco’s neck and closes his eyes.
Draco presses a kiss to his forehead and mumbles, “Point taken, Potter.” While wrapping his arms tighter around Harry.
* * *
Harry dreams that he’s drowning.
He’s in the Forest of Dean again and in the pond, but instead of Ron coming to save him the locket twists tighter, and the water gets colder. He. Can’t. Breathe. He kicks his feet harder against the water but he feels himself being pulled down into the inky pond. His toes touch slimy plants at the bottom-
Suddenly the dream switches.
Instead of being in the pond, he’s in the lake. The locket is still twisting around his neck and he can’t tell up from down, but he can see movement below him.
He starts to panic, somehow knowing that what’s coming will be so much worse that what he’s already experienced. He kicks desperately, but finds that his body is incapable of movement.
He clenches his eyes shut in the dream, hoping to block out whatever is coming, but knowing it’s unlikely that he can.
Suddenly the point of view is switched and he can see himself. Drowning, motionless. Well known faces appear around him. Sirius, Lupin, Tonks, Cedric, his parents, Fred. It’s them, but they’re rotten and wrong and here to hurt not help.
Harry tries to get away, or the conscious part of Harry does, but his movement draws the attention of the creatures. He starts to swim, desperately, frantically. He feels a hand wrap around his ankle and looks down only to see the semi rotten face of Draco looking back at him with glassy, unknowing eyes.
He bolts upright in his bed, his sheets twisted around him completely, and the scar from the horcrux burning. He hurriedly pushes the sweaty sheets and blankets away from him and swings his feet down to rest on the floor.
He tries to slow his breathing, focusing on the in and out. He subconsciously presses his hand to the scar, rubbing it slightly in hopes of easing the fiery pain that he’s sure is imagined.
“Harry?” A sleepy voice says from behind him.
He lashes around for his wand and is on his feet in a matter of seconds. He registers the shock on Draco’s face before anything else. His mind is telling him to lower his wand but his body won’t listen.
Draco slowly pushes back the blankets and moves with careful precise movements to sit on the edge of the bed in front of Harry.
“It’s just me, Potter. You had a nightmare. The war is done. You’re safe.”
That’s all Draco says. He sits there silently while Harry works through the terror in his heart and the facts that Draco laid out for him.
At a glacial pace Harry lowers his wand, and steps forward towards Draco. Draco stands up, looking unsure. Harry takes another step and then rests his head on Draco’s shoulder, face turned in towards his neck. After a few seconds, Draco’s arms come up around him. Feather-light, and easy to knock off if he felt like it. Instead, Harry just presses in closer and wraps his own arms around Draco’s torso.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Draco whispers into the hair above Harry’s ear.
Harry shakes his head without removing it from it’s position in Draco’s neck.
“Okay.” Draco whispers again, his one hand smoothing up and down Harry’s back, “Okay.”
Harry focuses on slowing his still speeding heart, and isn’t really sure about how long that takes. All he knows is that Draco doesn’t complain once and holds him and rubs circles on his back until Harry finally looks up and takes a step back.
Immediately, Draco’s arm drops in an attempt to give Harry space if he needs it. Harry just shakes his head, and crawls back into bed. He looks back, confused when Draco doesn't immediately follow him.
“I can take the couch.” Draco says, gesturing with his thumb to the living room.
“Don’t be thick.” Harry says, his voice sounding hoarse to his own ears, he must have screamed at some point during the nightmare.
He holds his hand out and Draco grabs hold of it and crawls into bed. Harry pushes Draco lightly to get him to lie on his side. He tucks himself up behind Draco and loops his arms around him, holding him close.
“Thank you.” He murmurs into the soft hair at the base of Draco’s neck.
In response Draco grabs one of Harry’s hands and kisses it. “Go to sleep, Harry.”
Harry closes his eyes and hopes for sleep.
* * *
Harry doesn’t fall asleep again, but he dozes slightly, keeping his arms around Draco the whole time. He only gets out of bed when he hears Teddy stirring from the other room. It isn’t time for Teddy to wake up yet, but Harry is tired and still drained from the nightmare, so he goes to the living room to cuddle with him anyways.
He fiddles with his phone while Teddy plays on the floor with some blocks. He looks at Luna’s contact in his phone and thinks about maybe calling her. He isn’t sure if talking with her will help his nightmares, but he doesn't think it could make them any worse. Before he can make a decision on the matter, he hears movement from the bedroom.
He hastily puts his phone in his pocket and slides onto the floor beside Teddy. He doesn’t want to worry Draco any more than that nightmare probably has, so he tries to look as unruffled and calm as ever.
“You look terrible, Potter.”
Harry looks up at Draco, who is now standing over Teddy and him. Draco has bags under his eyes but doesn't appear to be any more anxious than he normally appears.
“I don’t look that bad Draco.”
Draco looks at him for a moment, his eyes tracking all over his face before saying, “You’re not the one looking at you. You look awful.”
As he says this he bends at the waist to pick up Teddy. “Has he had breakfast yet?”
Harry just shakes his head no and slowly stands up to follow the pair into the kitchen.
“I can ask Kreacher to come and make us some food.” Harry says as he watches Draco wrestle Teddy into his highchair and dump a handful of cheerios onto the tray.
Draco looks at him quickly. “Don’t be silly, Potter. I can make something. Just sit down, okay?”
Harry nods and sits in the chair beside Teddy, resting his head on his one hand.
Without meaning to, he starts thinking about the nightmare again. It was one of his regular ones. Drowning. He hadn’t been afraid of drowning before, but apparently his subconscious has latched onto that particular trauma. His eyes drift to the back of Draco’s head, and the blank stare of the dead Draco from his dreams flits in front of his eyes.
He sits back and rubs his eyes, not wanting to reenter the bad head space but knowing he hadn’t really gotten out of it. He hasn’t had a nightmare like this in a while. And he certainly hasn’t had one that’s woken Draco up before.
“Potter.” Malfoy’s voice says, sounding like it’s coming from a great distance.
With effort Harry looks back up at Draco and notices that Teddy isn’t in his high chair anymore. Food is sitting in front of him but he has no recollection of it getting there. There are dishes in the sink that weren’t there before.
“Where’s Teddy?” Harry asks, moving to get up but Draco sets a light hand on his arm and that prompts him to stay seated.
“He’s in the playpen with some books and blocks, he’s alright.” Draco says, sitting down beside Harry and digging his knees slightly into Harry’s thigh.
“Harry it’s okay to have bad days.” Draco starts, setting his one socked foot on top of Harry’s bare one. “This is a bad day and I can listen if you want to talk about it.”
Harry waits for a second, debating whether or not he should say anything. He’s used to telling people about his nightmares but not since the war ended. But Draco’s looking at him with steady grey eyes, and his knees are pressed unhesitatingly into his thighs. He hadn’t even blinked last night when Harry had pointed his wand at him. Harry realizes that Draco may be strong enough to listen to this without being crushed under the weight, but he wonders if it’s fair to expect him to.
“I was drowning.” Harry starts, looking down at the point of contact between their legs rather than Draco’s face. “I was drowning and you were dead, and everyone else was dead and I couldn’t do anything to help you or myself.”
It’s a condensed version, not really expressing the terror he felt, but it’s all he can say without feeling like a burden.
“Okay.” Draco says, clearly not knowing how to help with this one but doing his best. “The thing is, you can’t help everyone all the time Potter. That’s not your job, and even if it was it’s wildly unrealistic. Besides,” He says shifting slightly and grabbing Harry’s hand to lace their fingers together, “I’m right here and I’m completely capable of saving myself.”
“I know.” Harry says, looking up at Draco’s eyes, “The fact that I know that doesn’t change what happens in my dreams though.”
Draco nods and seemingly with great hesitation starts talking again. “Lovegood mentioned the other day to me that she helps with counselling or some other type of Muggle treatment… have you considered it at all?”
Harry swallows, “I was thinking about it, and especially after last night I was thinking about it a little bit more. I don’t know enough about how the mind works to figure out how to stop these nightmares on my own. Potions and spells haven't worked so far so I’m kind of out of options.”
Admitting this is incredibly difficult for Harry but he realizes that it probably isn’t anything Draco doesn’t already know.
Draco squeezes Harry’s hand and says, “I don’t think it could hurt you anymore than you’re hurting now.”
Harry just nods and says, “I’ll think about it.”
Draco nods once. “Eat your food Harry, we need to take Teddy back home soon.”
Harry squeezes Draco’s hand one more time before letting go and turning his attention to the plate of food in front of him. Breakfast isn’t as good as it would have been if Kreacher had made it, but the fact that Draco made it for Harry more than makes up for the sub-par taste.
He eats as quickly as he can, not really hungry but knowing that his body needs the food, and washes the dishes in the sink. Draco is in the other room getting Teddy dressed and packing up the diaper bag and Teddy’s toys.
When Harry enters the room, Draco shoves a bundle of what appears to be Draco’s jumper and a pair of sweatpants into his chest, and gently shoves Harry in the direction of the bathroom.
Harry showers quickly and dresses in the clothing Draco had given him and hurriedly pulls on his coat and boots when seeing Draco sitting patiently on the couch with a fully dressed Teddy.
“My bags.” Harry says, heading to the bedroom to grab his things.
“I’ve packed everything up already.” Draco says, standing up. “And I sent it to Hogwarts with Kreacher. We just have to get Teddy home.”
After saying all this, he holds his hand out for Harry to hold. Harry obliges, gently leading them towards the train station and out of the apartment, putting the old wards back in place as he goes.
It had been a good weekend up until the end, but Harry can’t pretend that he isn’t shaken by the dream, and anxious to get back to Hogwarts and classes.
On the train he leans his head against Draco’s arm and holds Teddy close to his chest. He doesn't want to sleep, not with his mind still occupied with the nightmare, but can rest easy with the constant motion of the train and Draco’s even voice reading to Teddy. He closes his eyes.
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Chapter 21: Tricky Decisions
Before Harry knows it, Teddy is back in Andromeda's arms and he and Draco are tumbling out of the grate into McGonagall’s empty office. They head back to their room, Harry clutching Draco’s hand tighter when the other boy goes to drop it. Draco shoots him a look, but as there is no one in the corridors, says nothing.
When they get back to their room, Harry goes to pull out a charms essay that he needs to have done for Hermione and Flitwick, but Draco takes it out of his hands.
“What are you playing at, Malfoy?” He says sitting on the end of his bed and rubbing a hand through his hair. He knows he sounds tired an irritable and that Malfoy doesn’t deserve that. But he can’t help it, his brain is still a little foggy with lack of sleep.
“You are in no state to work this afternoon.” Draco says, tossing the essay carelessly onto a nearby chair.
“And what am I supposed to do instead?” Harry sighs, not really wanting to do anything.
“I have a few ideas.” Draco says, standing in front of Harry and holding out both hands for him to grab onto.
Harry sighs again, but takes Draco’s offered hands and stands up. “I really just want to go to bed Draco.”
“I know.” Draco responds, ghosting a light kiss across Harry’s cheek. “But I also know that you’re still not in a good head-space, and going to sleep when you’re like this is a really bad idea.”
Draco makes to pull Harry along, but Harry pulls him back into a kiss, and wraps his arms about Draco’s middle. Draco’s hand comes up to cup Harry’s face, and Harry allows himself to forget everything for a moment while he’s kissing Draco.
When Harry finally does break the kiss, he takes a deep breath and presses his forehead to Malfoy’s, eyes still closed.
“What was that for.” Draco says, a little breathless.
Words rise up in Harry that he knows he cannot and most definitely should not say, so instead he says, “I’m just really really glad I have you, and am glad that you were with me this weekend.”
Draco looks at him for a moment before smiling slightly, a mere quirk of the lips. “Come on, Potter. I have something planned.”
Harry follows Draco out of the room without looking back.
* * *
What Draco has planned ends up to be flying. It’s freezing and snowy and honestly should be miserable. But the adrenaline soon has Harry feeling much better. And if they kiss midair and Harry imagines the stands roaring their approval? Well who's going to mention it?
Next, Draco sends Harry off to visit Hagrid while he “Runs and grabs something.” Which turns out to be wonderful. Harry hadn’t realized how much he misses Hagrid until he’s directly in front of the man. A bone crushing hug and a few inedible rock cakes later, Draco knocks on the door to whisk Harry away and back up to the castle. Hagrid gives Harry what Harry is sure is supposed to be a subtle, but significant look, but in reality is much more confused and obvious. Draco pretends not to notice and Harry waves goodbye to Hagrid over his shoulder while twisting his hand together with Malfoy’s.
Back at the castle, Harry expects Draco to lead him to the Great Hall. Instead they walk right past the open doors and instead head for an old classroom that Harry has never been in.
When he sends Draco a questioning look, Draco just shrugs and says, “I figured the Great Hall might be too much for tonight.”
Warmth fills Harry’s chest and he squeezes Malfoy’s hand. Draco just smiles and gestures to one of the desks that has some of Harry’s favourite foods on it.
“Thank you.” Harry says, “You didn’t have to do this.”
Draco just waves a hand, “Consider it payback for when you missed dessert for me.”
Harry laughs, “Alright Malfoy.” And sits down.
After dinner, they make their way back to the room. Slowly meandering through the halls, holding hands and talking in low voices, Harry realizes that he feels much better.
But when Draco asks if Harry wants him to sleep in the same bed as him, hesitation flitting across his face for the first time that day, Harry isn’t going to say no. That’s how they end up lying in bed and sharing kisses while murmuring about stupid inconsequential things. The upcoming quidditch match between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, a vacation Draco went on when he was younger, the time Ron, Fred and George saved Harry with the flying Ford Angela.
Everything and nothing, that’s what they talk about. And Harry wouldn’t want it any other way.
He begins to drift off, Draco’s hand threading softly through his hair and lips brushing lightly along his neck. The words rise up again in his throat, but he pushes them down. Instead turning his head to kiss Draco’s forehead.
He has no bad dreams that night.
* * *
Harry wakes up the next morning to the sound of whispers at the door. At first he wants to jolt out of bed, but when he notes the absence of Draco in the bed he relaxes, knowing it’s probably just him, and keeps his eyes closed, half listening to the conversation at the door and half trying to drift off again.
“So tell me again why Harry can’t come to class.” A hissing whisper asks. Harry recognizes the voice as Hermione’s instantly having been whispered at furiously by her on many occasions.
“Because I said so, Granger.” Draco snaps, barely keeping his voice at whispering level. “He had a really bad day yesterday. We’re taking today off.”
“I’m almost 100% sure that you guys aren’t allowed to do that.” Hermione hisses again. Harry hears a noise that sounds like Hermione trying to get passed the door and being rebuffed by Draco. He smiles lightly.
“Granger. I talked to Mcgonagall already. We’re taking the day off. And if you don’t shove off I’ll whisk Harry away for a week and not tell you where he is. Goodbye.”
“No Draco. He’s my best friend tell me what’s up with him… or at least let me talk to him myself.”
“Not. Now. Granger.” Malfoy grits out. Harry can hear the frustration in his voice. “He’s asleep. I’m not waking him up just so you can force him into a conversation that he’s not ready to have.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I know you’ve brought up Muggle counselling multiple times.” Draco says quickly, his voice pitching lower. “He needs to decide to do it on his own or it won’t work.”
Hermione makes to interrupt, but Draco starts talking over her before she can get very far. Harry wonders how the two ever worked together when they’re both so used to getting the last word.
While thinking this, Harry misses whatever Hermione says back but tunes in to hear Draco say, “I’m his boyfriend Hermione.”
“So what? You know him better than Ron and I now?” Hermione says, a mean tint entering her voice.
“Don’t be stupid.” Draco says immediately, but he follows it up with, “But I am right about this. Let me be with him today Hermione without any of yours and Weasley’s bloody interference.”
There’s silence for a moment and if Harry didn’t know Hermione as well as he did, he’d think she was gone.
Finally, she says, “Fine. But when he falls behind it’ll be your problem to fix.”
“What do you think I’ve been doing all year?” Draco mutters, and shuts the door.
Draco crawls back into bed and says, “I know you’re awake, Potter.”
“Barely.” Harry groans, stretching slightly before wrapping his arms around Draco. “What was that about?”
Draco tucks himself into Harry’s side like a comma while saying, “I had to tell the lovely Miss Granger that we weren’t doing class today. She took that as a personal offence and decided to show up at our door.”
“We’re not doing class today?” Harry asks, his thumb brushing along the base of Draco’s spine.
“No.” Draco says, closing his eyes, “And I won’t accept arguments.”
Harry laughs and closes his eyes, “You won’t find any arguments here.”
“Well that’s a first.” Draco mutters.
Harry snorts but doesn’t respond, more interested in falling back asleep.
The two boys wake up some time later, and blearily pull on sweats. Draco’s hair is an absolute disaster, but for the first time ever he doesn’t seem to care. Harry runs his hand appreciatively through the mess and Draco’s eyes close, clearly enjoying the feeling.
Before long though, Draco is ordering Harry put on his coat and boots while stuffing mittens and a hat in his general direction. Harry, ever the boy who obeys orders, does as he is told. Draco takes Harry’s mittened hand as soon as Harry is fully dressed and they walk out of the room.
“Where are we going?” Harry asks, not really concerned, just curious.
“We are taking what I’ve heard Muggles call a ‘mental health day.’” Draco says, adding air quotes without letting go of Harry’s hand.
Harry smiles at the attempt but says, “And why is that?”
Draco stops short and looks at Harry incredulously, “Because you were on the verge of a breakdown yesterday?”
Harry shrugs and looks at the ground. “So?”
“So?” Draco repeats, looking at Harry in confusion, “So, you don’t have to just power through that Harry. You’re allowed a break every once in a while.”
Harry doesn’t see the point in arguing with Draco, especially when he suspects that he’s probably right. But even so he can’t quash the feeling that he should just be going to class. Draco seems to sense this and just squeezes Harry’s hand once before pulling him along.
The end up walking down the well worn trail to Hogsmead, Draco swinging their linked hands between them. He’s talking about nothing important, perhaps the weather? Harry is listening but the words aren’t processing in his brain. He’s too busy noticing how pretty Draco looks with the sun turning his hair silver, the cold making his cheeks and nose a rosy pink. The blue sky is stunning and clear and frames Draco in a way similar to that of a beautiful painting set to a plain backdrop.
“-Right?” Draco asks.
Harry tunes back in a second too late and can’t stop himself from saying, “What?”
Draco rolls his eyes and mutters, “And you say you don’t need a mental health day.” Before saying more clearly, “The shops are probably open by now, right?”
Harry shrugs non-committedly, and Draco sighs and mumbles, “You are absolutely no help whatsoever.”
God, how does Draco expect him to be any help when he looks like this? A soft gray beanie tugged over his distractedly perfect hair, making his eyes stand out in the best possible way.
It’s wildly unfair when Harry thinks about it. Harry has to restrain himself constantly from pushing Draco up against every available surface for a snog because Draco looks like some sort of greek god, and Draco just has to look at Harry, who dresses like a house elf most days and has the hair of a manic pixie.
But Draco is still holding his hand. And that has to count for something.
This is the thought that is rattling around in his head when Draco pushes the door of Zonko’s open. There is no one else in the shop besides the owner, who looks pleasantly surprised at the sight of Harry, less so at the sight of Draco, and even more so at the sight of the them holding hands.
Harry squeezes Draco’s hand tighter, and Draco’s eyes dart over to him, his expression giving little away. The shop owner’s mouth seems to tighten, reminiscent of the way Aunt Petunia used to purse her lips, but says nothing.
Harry is grateful, even though he could have done without the disapproval, the shop owner still sells his goods to them and says nothing about Draco or his dark mark, visible where his sleeves have ridden up when they pay for their candy.
“That went well.” Draco sighs as they walk out the door, rubbing his free hand over his face.
“Better than expected, love.” Harry says, absently squeezing Draco’s hand and making to walk towards the next stop.
He’s stopped in his tracks when Draco stops and pulls Harry’s arm so that he’s facing him. “What did you just call me?”
Harry feels his face heating up and shrugs one shoulder trying to avoid the question, “I don’t remember.”
Draco’s face is bright with a huge smile, “Oh no, you definitely do.” He pulls Harry in a little closer and Harry laughs trying to twist out of his reach.
“Shove off, Malfoy! I didn’t say anything.”
“Malfoy now, is it?” Draco laughs.
“Yes. Malfoy.” Harry says, attempting to look aloof and disinterested.
Draco just rolls his eyes and holds his hand out for Harry.
Harry can feel himself blushing but doesn’t say anything. However, as Draco tugs on his hand and pulls him into Madame Rosemerta’s he does notice the adorable pet name that rolls off his tongue.
“We can grab some butterbeer and then head back up to the castle. Sound alright, love?”
And Merlin, there it is that cocky grin and raised eyebrow, Malfoy is going to use this nickname any chance he can if it continues to make Harry blush like this.
As a waitress comes over to take their order Malfoy pulls his hand out of Harry’s where they had been grasped on the table. On the one hand, Harry’s is almost glad that Draco pulled his hand away. This is a crowded building with familiar faces, and one of the first things he learned at Hogwarts is that gossip spreads like fiendfyre.
But at the same time, Draco has been Harry’s rock these past few weeks. Smiling at him over a coffee cup at breakfast when he’s had a rough night, playing footsies with him under the table when they are studying for their classes, meaningless baby talk with Teddy this weekend.
These are all things you do with someone you love, someone you’re dating.
Harry looks across the tavern and sees a witch and wizard, maybe a couple years older than him and Draco. The boy leans over to whisper something in the girls ear, and they both fall over laughing, hands clasped, foreheads touching.
He wants that for him and Malfoy. He wants late nights, and drinks with friends, all while calling Draco his boyfriend. Without fear of judgement.
But it’s hard to feel hopeful when the Daily Prophet still picks apart his every move. When his ex-girlfriend now attends therapy 2 times a week. When Harry can barely get 8 hours of sleep without waking up at least once, plagued by Voldemort’s eerie taunting and Fred’s body on the floor of the Great Hall. Is someone as ruined as him even meant to have love?
The waitress brings him and Malfoy their butter beers and a basket of chips. They didn’t order chips but the waitress claims it’s protocol for the ‘savior of the wizarding world’.
That night, when Harry wakes up tangled in his Gryffindor sheets, screaming from a nightmare. Draco pulls his gasping body closer to him, and Harry makes a decision.
He doesn’t want to allow these dreams to plague him anymore. The war has controlled too much of his life, he doesn’t want to give it any more power over him.
Still breathing heavily and not willing to move out of Draco’s arms just yet, Harry reaches blindly for his cell phone. When he finds it, he searches through his contacts and hits a relatively new number.
The phone rings for what seems like ages before a light calm voice says, “Harry?”
“Hi Luna,” Harry starts, trying to calm his still racing heart and heavy breaths, “Could I come talk to you tomorrow?”
Chapter 22: Counseling and Other Small Truths
Hold onto your butts fam
Sitting in a little carpeted waiting room in a wing in St. Mungos the following morning, Harry wonders if he’s made the right decision. His hands are sweating and he’s alone. Dressed in a rumpled jumper, that he’s pretty sure belongs to Draco, he wanted to avoid attention.
Draco had left about ten minutes ago to get back to Hogwarts for his classes. He’d wanted to stay, but Harry had insisted that class was more important than this. Draco had argued and kicked up a fuss, but had ended up doing as Harry asked when he said "But who’s going to take notes?"
Before leaving though, Draco had looked around the waiting room and finding it empty, pulled Harry in for a soft kiss.
“Call me when you’re done, okay?” he’d said, thumbing the corner of Harry’s mouth before adding, “I’ll come and get you.”
Harry had agreed at the time and was now spending his time waiting to see Luna by remembering the feeling of Draco’s lips on his and trying to breathe through the panic of having to talk about things that he’d much rather forget or pretend hadn’t happened.
Just as he’s deciding that this is a mistake and that he’ll leave, Luna opens a door and says, “Hey Harry, you can follow me.”
Wiping his hands on his legs, he stands up and follows Luna to a little room. At least at first it appears to be a little room, but then it’s like his mind refocuses and suddenly he’s sitting in what appears to be a replica of Professor Lupin’s old office. The memory calms him slightly.
“Luna,” He says slowly, looking around, “Where are we?”
“Oh,” Luna says calmly, taking a seat in a chair that Harry is sure wasn’t there before, “We’re just in my office, but I have a charm that enchants the room to appear as wherever the client will feel most comfortable.”
Harry takes a seat in a chair opposite to Luna and notes that although it appears to be the wooden seats from Hogwarts, it feels like an old armchair from Gryffindor tower.
“This is messing with my brain.” He says offhandedly.
“I can disable the charm for now if you want Harry. Or you can tell me where we are and we can go from there.”
She looks at him with her wide eyes and calm face and Harry is suddenly very much at ease. He’s comfortable and calm despite knowing that he’s going to have to talk about things that are very uncomfortable and certainly not calming. He thinks it mostly has to do with Luna. When he talks to Hermione she always analyzes the situation. Ron takes ever conversation with bold enthusiasm and teasing. But Luna has always been there to listen.
“It looks like Professor Lupin’s old office.”
Luna makes a note in a notepad and says, “Interesting, would you say you felt safe there?”
Harry shrugs and says, “Honestly, I’ve never thought about it before… it certainly felt safe at the time.”
Harry looks around the room and notices and empty grindylow tank and smiles sadly, thinking about third year and all the years after it.
“Lupin was one of the few adults in my life who would do anything for me without expecting anything in return. So ya I guess his office would make me feel safe.”
Luna nods and they sit in silence for a couple minutes, Harry content to look around the room and be in Luna’s calming presence.
Before long though Luna breaks the silence by saying, “Before we begin our actual session Harry, I was wondering if you could fill out this sheet for me? It’s just a baseline so I know what we should focus on in these sessions.”
She hands him a sheet and reads it over quickly. It asks questions of insomnia, diet, fatigue, bursts of anger or other strong emotions, nightmares, medication, potions or charms he’s tried, current methods of coping and a few other columns as well.
Harry starts filling it out, trying to be as honest as possible. Luna stands up and Harry looks at her questioningly.
“I was just going to boil water for some tea,” She says stepping away from the chair, “Would you like some?”
Harry says sure, and goes back to filling out the sheet. It makes him slightly uncomfortable to be so honest, especially when he’s pretty sure the answers he’s giving can’t amount to any good conclusions. But when he hands it back to Luna her face is impartial as she tally’s up some sort of score, and she gives him an indecipherable smile afterwards.
“So,” She starts, taking a sip of her tea, “Why don’t we start with you telling me what caused you to call me last night.”
Harry hesitates before answering, not really sure if he’s ready to talk. But then, images of grey eyes swim in his mind and the ghost of strong arms wrapped around him spur him onwards. He may not want to do this for him, but he will do it for Draco and everyone else he cares about.
It’s slow going. Harry not really sure what to say or how to say it. But Luna is patient and understanding, never prodding or demanding more. More often than not, she asks Harry what he thinks it means, and he’s forced to analyze his own emotions. It’s painful and makes Harry’s throat go tight and hands get sweaty. He’s close to tears multiple times. But he’s determined to work through this. He’s wants to be the only thing that controls his life.
After and hour, Luna looks at a watch on her wrist and says, “Well Harry, our time is up for today I’m afraid, but I think it’ll be good for you to come see me once a week for a while. Is there any day that works best for you?”
Harry looks at Luna, for a second. Shocked by the abrupt end to the session, and even more surprised that he has to come back once a week.
“Weekends I guess?” He says after a minute, not really wanting to miss more school or ask Draco to.
She searches in her calendar for a moment before saying, “Excellent. How about Saturdays at 1:30-2:30?”
“Sure.” He says, realizing that he doesn’t really have much of a choice if he wants to get better.
“Great.” Luna says, smiling as she stands up, and gesturing for Harry to follow her.
As they leave the office, suddenly the regular noises of the hospital reappear. Harry hadn’t noticed they were missing while he was in the room until right this second. As he marvels at the amount of spell work Luna must have done to make the room feel safe for her clients, Luna’s hand wraps around his upper arm, forcing his attention to her.
“I just wanted to tell you how pleased I am that you called me, Harry. I know you went through a lot and are expected to bear a lot, but I’m glad you’ve realized you don’t have to do it on you own.”
Before he can respond, Luna’s eyes flit over Harry’s shoulder and she smiles softly while saying, “Hello Draco, good to see you again!”
Harry whips around and finds himself reaching for Draco’s hand before even fully realizing that it’s Draco standing in front of him.
“What are you doing here already?” Harry demands, the outrage ruined somewhat by how tightly he’s holding Draco and the smile on his face.
Draco smiles softly at Harry and says, “I went to class but it was a spell I already knew so asked if I could be excused.” Breaking eye contact with Harry he looks at Luna, “Hello Lovegood, good to see you too. Thank you for last night.”
Luna just nods and says, “Anytime Draco. Anyways, I have another client coming in, so I have to go. But I’ll see you next weekend Harry, and I hope to see you again soon Draco.”
She briefly squeezes Harry’s shoulder and smiles at Draco before turning on her heel and disappearing down the hallway.
Harry watches her retreating figure for a moment before turning back to Draco.
“How’d it go?”
Harry shrugs and starts walking out of the counselling wing, “About as well as I expected. It’s hard.”
Draco nods, seemingly content with this answer. “Do you want to grab lunch at the Leaky Cauldron or something before we head back?”
Just as Harry is about to answer he hears the shutter of a camera to his right and an obnoxiously familiar voice say, “Harry Potter?”
Harry turns slowly to see Rita Skeeter standing not too far from him, her quick quotes quill already speedily writing at her side.
“What are you doing here Rita?” Harry asks, a little pissed that she managed to find him in a sea of sick witches and wizards.
“Well you know dear, I saw Mr. Malfoy here coming in and he’s been so elusive and not around his estate and I just wanted to see if he wanted to have a quick chat.”
Draco is as stiff as a board next to him and staring dead ahead, not even looking in Skeeter’s direction. Harry tightens his grip on Draco’s hand and turns slightly so that he’s standing directly in front of Draco and somewhat blocking Rita’s view of him.
“He doesn’t want to chat, Rita.” Harry bites out, “Besides, I thought Hermione told you to quit writing.”
“Only for a year.” Rita says quickly, “And I’d be more than happy to talk to you instead Harry dear.”
Her eyes are focused on Harry’s and Draco’s linked hands. Draco makes to pull their clasped hands closer to his body and out of sight, but Harry refuses to let him. If he was any other person he wouldn’t get hounded or bothered like this. He doesn’t want to have to hide what he and Draco have, but he doesn’t think the public deserves an explanation either.
“You know what Rita, I think I’m good.” Harry says, starting to walk away, “Come on Draco, let’s go.”
“Draco now is it, Harry?” Rita says, hurrying to keep up, he heels clicking obnoxiously against the floor, “If I remember correctly you two weren’t this close before the war, what changed? Are you so damaged that you’re actually attracted to those who once fought against you? And here I was thinking you were the golden boy of the public, when really you have much darker tastes.”
Harry tries to tune her out, but Draco’s hand is sweating in his and he really hates being talked about.
“Rita if I give you a ten second statement that you cannot alter in any way, shape, or form will you please leave us alone?”
Draco squeezes his hand and shakes his head slightly in warning, but Rita is already pulling out a normal quill and looking expectedly at Harry.
Harry thinks for a moment before glancing at Draco who looks scared but resigned. Harry takes a deep breath and turns back to Rita.
“While I know many of you have been questioning where I’ve been, I was not ready to tell you all that I had returned to Hogwarts to finish off my eighth year. I thank you for your support and will not be answering any follow up questions at this time”
Rita looks vaguely disappointed by the contents of her statement and says, “Well that was a waste of parchment Harry. Why don’t you tell us why you’re out with the Death Eater's most beloved son?”
Harry looks at Draco quickly and without asking, apparates them out of the hospital and into the Leaky Cauldron.
“Well that was a mistake.” Draco breathes, sliding into a booth pulling his hair at the roots.
Harry slides in next to him, “I’m sorry, I panicked and I didn’t want our relationship getting out to the public through Rita Skeeter’s quill.”
Draco takes a deep breath and turns to look at Harry incredulously, “She has pictures of us, Potter. Pictures of us holding hands. It will get out either way.”
“Is that a such a bad thing?” Harry asks, switching gears to calm Draco and reaching for his hand again.
Before he can reach it Draco takes it off the table and clasps his hands together in his lap.
“Harry. I’m happy to be with you. But you’ve barely told your friends, the majority of them still don’t know about us. Are you really prepared to have the entire wizarding world writing you demanding you have your head examined, on top of having to explain things to your family and friends? And like you just said, it’s Rita writing it, it won’t be a nice article on young love. It will be an attack on my personality and your sanity.”
Harry’s heart skips at Draco using the word love to describe their relationship, but is sinks immediately when he takes in everything Draco just said.
“I have to tell all the Weasley’s before this gets out.”
Draco looks at him with some semblance of pity in his eyes, “I think you’re going to be too late Harry. She’ll probably go to everyone you’re close to for statements.”
“I have to at least talk to Ginny first.” Harry says somewhat desperately, he stands up and holds his hand out to Draco, “Come with me?”
Draco looks at him hesitatingly, “Harry. I cannot, in good conscience, show up to the Weasley's house. My family made their lives hell, and they lost a son in the war because of the side I fought on. If you’re going today, it’ll have to be alone.”
Harry looks at Draco and realizes that he is absolutely correct. He might be willing to forgive and move past everything that Draco and his family have done, but it’s unfair to expect the Weasley's to do the same right off the bat.
“You’re right.” He says finally, he pulls Draco in for a bruising kiss, not caring if anyone sees, “I’ll see you back at the castle. I need to do this.”
Without waiting for a response Harry turns on his heel, and before he knows it, is staring down the laneway at the crooked old house he knows and loves.
* * *
Harry knocks on the door and hears murmuring on the other side of the door stop, and the sound of someone coming to the door start.
The door cracks open and Mrs. Weasley’s face peers out. It’s more lined than it was before the final battle and she’s lost weight, but when she throws the door open and pulls him in for a hug it feels the exact same.
For some reason he can feel tears pricking at the back of his eyes, but he shoves it down and squeezes her back tightly.
“It’s so good to see you Harry, dear.” She says finally, pulling back to look at him, “You’re still too thin, would you like a snack?”
“Actually Mrs. Weasley,” Harry says stepping into the house and closing the door. “I was wondering if Ginny’s home?”
Molly stills and turns to look at him from where she was rooting around for some food to give him.
“She is here dear,” She says slowly, “But I’m not sure if she’s ready for visitors.”
Harry knows Mrs. Weasley is just saying visitors to spare his feelings, when really she doesn’t want to see him, but Harry can’t wait.
“Mrs. Weasley, I know she doesn’t want to see me, but I really need to talk to her. It’s important, otherwise I wouldn’t ask.”
Molly hesitates for a second longer, teetering on the edge, before making her way towards the stairs and gesturing for Harry to follow her. The go up the first flight of stairs and Harry waits for Molly to knock gently on the door and have a brief conversation with her daughter. After a few moments Molly leaves and Ginny is standing in the door looking at Harry.
After hearing what had happened to Ginny he expected her to be bedridden, and thin. Or at least as thin as she was when they broke up. Instead, she’s standing before him looking healthy with a shadow of her old steely glint in her eyes.
“Hello Harry.” She says, stepping back and allowing him to follow her into her room.
He steps in and looks around, noticing a few more pictures of her with friends and her brothers than there were before, as well as some plants that he recognizes from the Lovegood’s house. He turns to face her only to find her still standing by the door and watching him look around.
“How are you feeling?” He asks finally, taking a seat on the chair sat at her desk.
She rolls her eyes, “I was hoping you’d be the one person who didn’t ask me that.”
Harry chuckles a little and rubs the back of his head, “Sorry, I know. I hate being asked that too.”
She looks at him for a second and says, “I’m doing okay. I’m seeing someone to help with the whole grief thing, and I started flying again so the Holyhead Harpies have asked me to tryout for their lineup in the spring.”
“That’s awesome, Ginny!” Harry says, truly meaning it, he almost moves in for a hug, but then thinks better of it.
There’s silence for a few seconds. Harry wonders when they stopped knowing how to talk to one another. Finally, Ginny speaks, quieter than her normal steely voice.
“‘Listen Harry, what do you want? It’s not that I’m not pleased to see you…”
She lets the sentence trail off and Harry understands that what she’s saying is that she really could have gone without him showing up unannounced. He decides to not beat around the bush.
“Rita Skeeter got pictures of me out with someone, and she’s going to publish them, and I thought it would be best for you to hear it from me first.”
She looks shocked for all of a second before her face returns neutral and she says, “We’re not together anymore Harry… you don’t owe me an explanation.”
She goes to stand up from where she’d been sitting on the bed, absentmindedly clutching a stuffed rabbit. He wonders if one of her brothers gave it to her. If Fred gave it to her. Harry holds his hands out begging her to listen for another second.
“You deserve one when it’s him.”
She looks at him, appraising, before saying, “Him?”
“Draco.” He all but whispers, “I’m dating Draco.”
Silence. But then, “Draco? As in Draco Malfoy?”
She looks shocked again and her face is going red in anger, frustration or just from being upset. He looks at her and tries to think of a way to explain why.
But how is it possible to explain to Ginny how when he is with Draco all the fragments of his broken life come together to make a clear picture? How when he’s with Draco he actually can think of a future where he’s happy?
“I know… it doesn't make sense.” Harry starts, anxiety becoming a pit in his stomach. He rings his hands in front of him. Luna says it’s a nervous habit. He actively wishes Draco were here with him, “But it’s the truth. And I don’t want to have to lie to you when the story comes out, or have you hear about it from someone else when the story breaks.”
“Who else knows?” She breathes.
“Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville… probably others but those are the people we’ve told.”
“God.” She says, pinching the bridge of her nose and closing her eyes, “It had to be him? You couldn’t have picked some other bloke? There are probably plenty of guys who would be happy to help you with your gay self-discovery, and you had to pick the one who helped You Know Who?!”
The last part is yelled, ringing in the big room. He tries to not take Ginny’s rage too personally, after all she’s working through a lot too. He looks at her and then down at the floor, “No Gin. It had to be him. It is him.”
“Oh my god.” She says in such a tone that Harry is forced to look up at her, “Oh my god, are you in love with him?”
And there’s the million dollar question. Harry hasn’t told Draco this, and he’s not ready to tell Draco this, but he can’t deny Ginny the truth when she so clearly already knows the answer. And he can’t lie about Draco, has never been able to lie about Draco.
“Yes.” He says simply, meeting her eyes once more. “Yes, I love him.”
She looks at him shocked for all but a moment before saying, “Okay. I don’t need the details. I’m not ready to forgive him, but you don’t need to explain anything more to me. You’ll have enough trouble explaining to the rest of the family.”
Harry nods, “Thank you. I’m sorry Ginny.”
She just shakes her head and crosses the room, pulling him up and into a hug, and it finally, finally, feels like they are meeting on some sort of even ground. “Don’t apologize. Just make sure you’re sure about him, and be ready to defend it.”
Harry just nods, sure that she can feel it. He holds her tight, thankful that he has her back in his corner. The hug breaks and Harry leaves the room, closing the door behind him. And although Ginny had said she didn’t need an explanation now, when he hears something being thrown across the room, he’s sure she’ll need one later.
Sighing, Harry heads down the stairs, preparing himself for telling the rest of the Weasleys and praying they still love him after.
Chapter 23: Still Tryin' Figure It Out
Sorry for the late post today friends! I'm just starting reading week and Brek has a pretty full plate. Hope y'all enjoy this chapter<3
It’s loud in the kitchen. George walks through the door and Ron apparates in not long after. It’s hectic. Molly is desperately whipping up some food for everyone to eat, Arthur is discussing changes in the Auror lineup with Ron, George is sitting silently at the table, tracking conversations with his eyes but barely contributing. Ginny is still in her room.
Suddenly, as if they share one mind, the kitchen falls silent and everyone is sitting looking at Harry. Harry absently wipes his hands on his jeans, Arthur and Molly are looking at him from across the table and Ron claps Harry gently on the shoulder.
“It’ll be okay, mate.” He murmurs, low enough that the Weasley’s know not to respond but Harry can still hear.
Harry is desperately grateful for Ron’s presence at his side. He’d texted him a quick, “I’m about to tell your family about Draco and I.” And Ron had responded instantly with “On my way. Wait for me.”
So Harry had. And now the majority of the Weasley’s are sitting in the kitchen and looking at him expectantly.
Harry sends up one last prayer to anything that’s listening and says, “So I wanted to tell you all that I’ve started dating someone. And the press got a picture of us together… I didn’t want you guys to find out in the gossip columns so here I am.”
There’s silence for a moment before Molly says, “Well that’s wonderful Harry dear,” She’s smiling, “We were worried it was bad news! Now who is she?”
Harry takes a deep breath and looks down at his lap and then over at Ron who nods and squeezes his shoulder again.
“He,” Harry starts pausing to make sure they all heard, “Is Draco. Draco Malfoy.”
Silence once more. Then all at once talking.
“Harry dear, I’m sure you-”
“Have you lost your mind Harry?”
“He’s a Malfoy for christ sake!”
Above it all though Ron’s voice raises above them, “Everyone quiet!” He glares at everyone until they’re all looking at him before continuing, “I know you lot are upset and confused by Harry’s announcement. Hell, I’ve known longer than you and I’m still confused. But Harry is still Harry. He’s not being tricked or blackmailed. He hasn’t been put under a curse. Believe me I’ve checked.”
That earns a chuckle from the group, Harry included, and Ron’s eyes dart over to him before saying, “Somehow, Harry sees something in the smarmy bastard that is Malfoy. I’m not going to pretend to understand it, but I do know that he’s the happiest that I’ve seen him in a long time when he’s with him.”
Ron seems to be finished speaking and looks around the table. Harry isn’t sure he feels safe looking at anyone else so decides to look at his hands folded in his lap. They’re shaking. But when he hears Molly speak he can’t stop his head from jerking up.
“Well, he’s certainly not who I would have picked for you to be with, but as long as you’re happy dear, I can be happy for you.”
“Here, here!” Mr. Weasley adds.
Harry feels a weight come off his chest and he looks over to George only to see him staring back already. When George finally does speak, his voice sounds hoarse from disuse.
“Harry, you’re one of my best mates. And I want to be happy for you, but I can’t just yet. Malfoy is one of the people who fought for the wrong side, and if less people had done that, Fred would still be here.”
The air is sucked out of the room at that but George doesn’t seem to notice and keeps talking, “Like I said, I’m trying to be happy for you. But I just can’t. Give me some time. I need some time with this.”
With that George gets up from the table and starts making his way up the stairs towards Ginny’s room. Harry hears Ginny’s door open, low voices and then the snick of it being shut again. There’s silence in the kitchen.
“Well Harry, I must get to work on supper.” Molly says finally, breaking the silence and the horrible airless spell in one go. “Are you sure you won’t stay dear?”
Harry shakes his head and stands up too, “No I really have to get back the castle. I shouldn’t have been gone for the whole day anyways.”
Mrs Weasley nods once and pulls Harry into another bone crushing hug, “You’ll always be another one of our boys, Harry. Everything will be okay.”
Harry can feel the tears welling up in his eyes again, and this time he just squeezes his eyes shut and hopes no one can tell when he pulls away. Arthur shakes his hand before turning to go change out of his robes. Ron follows Harry out to the front lawn.
“That went better than I expected honestly.” Ron says.
Harry looks at him quickly before saying, “George and Ginny don’t like it.”
“Ya, but can you blame them?” Ron asks.
Harry goes to respond hotly but Ron is already holding his hands up in a placating gesture, “All I meant by that is they lost a lot- no. We lost a lot in the war. They don’t get to see you operating with Malfoy. Give them time Harry. They’ll come around because they love you.”
Harry takes a deep breath, “Okay. You’re right.”
“I know,” Ron says, shrugging, “I’m right quite a lot of the time actually.”
Harry snorts, “Ya okay.”
Ron grins, “What about you and Malfoy come over for dinner some time this week?”
Harry is a little taken aback by Ron’s suggestion, but knows that Ron is doing it to ease the sting of George and Ginny’s reactions.
“I’ll have to talk to Draco,” He says slowly, “But we should be able to swing it, I’ll just have to let you know what our schedule is.”
“Alright,” Ron says moving in to hug him goodbye, “We’ll see you then. And don’t stress too much about this Harry. My family adores you, their love is not something you need to worry about.”
Harry just nods, his throat feeling too tight to speak, and claps Ron on the shoulder before disapparating into Hogsmead.
* * *
When Harry finally does make it back to the castle night has fallen. He isn’t really sure where the day went, and honestly, he doesn’t really want to think about most of it. His mind is still stuck on the look on Ginny’s face when he came clean. The quickly masked hurt on George’s face.
He peeks his head into the Great Hall and doesn’t see Malfoy’s distinctive hair, so he continues towards their room, yawning and stretching his arms above his head.
When he almost reaches the door, Draco steps out of the room, phone held to his ear.
“Ya I know.” Draco says stiffly, catching sight of Harry and waving with one hand before leaning back against the wall and focusing back on the phone call.
He waits a beat, clearly listening to whatever the person on the other end of the line is saying.
“Well that’s what we were thinking. You haven’t heard anything yet though?”
Silence again before finally Draco says, “Alright thanks Pansy. I appreciate it.”
He hangs up not long after that and looks the Harry who's watching him with a raised brow.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“Why were you calling Pansy?” Harry asks, careful to keep anything accusatory out if his voice.
Draco looks at him for a moment clearly weighing his options for what to say. “She works for the Daily Prophet as an editor. So I thought I’d ask if she had seen anything concerning our little situation at Mungo’s. So far nothing’s crossed her desk.”
Draco looks down at the floor and Harry nudges his foot with his own. Harry keeps his eyes trained on his shoes “Did you tell her about us?”
“Yes. I told a few people actually.” Draco says, finally raising his head to meet Harry’s eyes. Their’s something defensive in his tone, it seems that Draco is as protective of his Slytherin friends as Harry is of his Gryffindor ones .
“Well I called Blaise first, just to tell him about the news breaking. He already knew about us.”
At those words a faint flush appears on Draco’s cheekbones. Harry is once again curious about how long they were both hiding ginormous behind sneers and teasing.
“I needed his opinion on if I should tell my mother or not. He said I should, so I went to the manor to tell her as well.”
“How’d that go?” Harry asks,finally looking up, worried that Draco went back there by himself and absently playing with the end of Draco’s tie.
“Not fantastic, but as well as I expected.”
Harry looks at Draco sharply, “What does that mean?”
“It means,” says Draco, maneuvering Harry so that he’s standing directly in front of Draco with only a few centimeters between them, “That I knew her and my father weren’t crazy about me being gay, but that she could have said worse things than she did.”
“What did she say?” Harry asks, brushing a lock of hair out of Draco’s eyes.
“Essentially, that she wasn’t surprised she just wished that I had picked someone that wasn’t you.”
“Ya.” Draco breathes, “But like I said, that was expected.”
Harry nods, “And Pansy?”
Draco shrugs, “Not happy about it, but not upset either. I think she was more surprised than anything. And she told me she’d give us a heads up if anything crosses her desk.”
“Okay.” Harry says, closing his eyes and resting his forehead against Draco’s, “We’re gonna be okay.”
Draco’s hands come up to grip the back of Harry’s elbows, as Harry’s hands are still playing with Draco’s tie.
“How’d it go with the Weasley’s?”
Harry takes a breath and steps away from Draco, taking his hand and walking in the direction of the Great Hall. “It could have gone better, but not the worst possible reaction.”
Draco squeezes Harry’s hand once but doesn’t ask for details, knowing that Harry will tell him when he’s ready. And Harry doesn't really want to talk about it anymore, he’s done enough talking and emotions for today. He just wants to eat food and go to sleep and have some semblance of a normal night with his boyfriend.
“Ron and Hermione want us to come for dinner this week.” Harry says instead.
“Merlin,” Draco groans, “Of course they do.”
* * *
A month passes with no release of the photos from the hospital. Pansy informs Draco that she hasn’t even heard whispers about them. While Draco seems slightly comforted by this, it only serves to make Harry more paranoid. But with Christmas coming, he has other things that warrant his attention. Namely, projects and tests that various professors want done before break.
He’s been having a hell of a time with one of his essays. It’s supposed to be a comparison between two healing potions, but he keeps misspelling their names. He's begged Hermione to write his thesis for him but she insists that she had too much work to mark from Flitwick’s class. Harry then turns to Draco and pleads for him to help him. It turns out that now that him and Draco are dating he has far more tools at his disposal (Malfoy will agree to almost anything if Harry gives him cuddles and agrees to sneak them out to the quidditch pitch under his cloak).
Yet, as they sit in the library while Malfoy corrects his essay, feet tangled under the table Harry’s mind is preoccupied with thoughts of what gifts to get for his friends and family. Hermione and Ron are easy to shop for during the holidays, having had experience shopping for them before. Hagrid he’s thinking of getting a cool grooming kit for Hippogryphs he thinks he’ll like, and Luna and Neville will be delighted with a couple oddly shaped succulents.
He’s struggling the most with Draco, Andromeda and Teddy. Teddy is only difficult because Harry wants to get him something, namely a broom. But, he doesn’t want Andromeda to think he’s an irresponsible godfather, so he makes a note to run it by her first.
But what will he get Andromeda? What do you get a grandma figure who helps pull you out of your occasional bouts of spiraling depression? He’s honestly clueless, and may need to ask Hermione for some help.
But Draco is the worst of all. He has everything he could possibly want, and the only thing that seems to bring him actual joy is teasing Harry and warm sugary drinks from Starbucks. So Harry is stumped.
He has another week before Christmas though, and tonight he and Draco are going home to Draco’s flat where they’ve agreed to spend the holidays together. Harry had suggested his place, but Draco had flat out refused saying that he was not spending what little time off he had sleeping on the world's most uncomfortable bed.
This had led to a short argument about Harry’s questionable tastes in furniture, which had in turn been resolved by a lengthy snogging session on the aforementioned furniture.
After apparating into the flat, Harry tosses his bag carelessly onto the ground and flops face first onto the couch.
“God,” he said, his voice muffled, “I’ve missed this couch.”
He hears Draco snort, and then feels his fingers card gently through his hair. “Do you want to go out tonight?”
Harry pauses, he and Draco hadn’t actually gone on a date since the night out with Teddy, and he desperately wants to. But he’s also exhausted.
“Depends on where you were thinking of going.”
Draco sighs and stops moving his hand through Harry’s hair. Harry makes a noise of protest and Draco’s hand immediately is back in Harry’s hair.
“I was thinking we could go out for dinner together. Like actual dinner, not just a chip truck.”
“Somewhere that involves me not wearing sweats you mean?” Harry asks without removing his face from being smushed into the cushions.
“Ideally, yes.” Draco says, “I have a ton of nice clothing that I never get to wear anywhere.”
“Oh poor you Draco, your life is so hard.” Harry says, finally turning his head to look at Draco while they talk.
Draco nods, taking his hand out of Harry’s hair to lie down on the other couch “It is quite strenuous, I won’t lie.”
Harry snorts and says, “I don’t have anything posh to wear out Draco-”
“You can borrow something of mine.”
Harry squints at Draco, “You’re really desperate to go out tonight, aren’t you?”
Draco sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose, “I just want a break. And want to go somewhere that isn’t Hogwarts or Starbucks, I’m getting quite tired of pumpkin themed beverages.”
“Fine.” Harry says, knowing that he was going to say yes all along, “We can go out, but I expect an excellent snog for it later.”
“Ya whatever.” Draco says, already standing up and moving to get dressed.
Harry scoffs and watches Draco riffle through his dresser and wardrobe but makes no move to get up himself.
What seems like only minutes later, Draco is unceremoniously dumping a pile of clothing on Harry’s head.
At this Harry sits up and rakes his eyes over what Draco’s decided to wear. It’s not what Harry was expecting. Draco is wearing dark form fitting jeans that do wonders for his arse, a stylish light grey jumper that looks incredibly soft while also appearing incredibly expensive, and over it, he has a leather jacket that Harry recognizes as dragon leather.
Harry can feel his mouth hanging open but makes no effort to hide it. Draco smirks and does an obnoxious little twirl. “Looks good right?”
Harry scoffs, “Sure Draco.” And stands up with the pile of clothes Draco gave him in his hands. “You don’t look any better than usual.”
Draco rolls his eyes and steps closer to Harry, “I’m calling your bluff, Potter.”
“Okay.” Harry says, smiling and leaning in towards Draco, “Call it then.”
Draco smiles and kisses Harry softly and pulls away much too soon. Harry makes a noise of protest and moves to follow Draco, but a hand on his chest stops him.
“Harry, I said a snog after dinner. Get dressed.”
Groaning Harry takes a step away from Draco, “Fine. But I hope you know I’m gonna complain the whole time.”
Rolling his eyes again, Draco says, “I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
* * *
They end up in a restaurant that Draco insists is muggle run, but is close enough to Diagon Alley that witches and wizards frequent it. Harry is unsure about going there, but Draco reminds him that Rita already has pictures of them that could drop at any moment, so it doesn’t really matter. Harry almost drops Draco’s hand when they first enter out of habit, but realizes that he doesn’t have to and squeezes Draco’s hand tighter.
Draco raises an eyebrow but says nothing.
In the end, Harry is glad they came here. The food is delicious, and no one seems to care that Harry is clearly infatuated with the man sitting across from him. Their hands are clasped together on the table in plain sight, and still, no one says anything.
They’ve had wine and it’s causing Draco’s cheeks to flush the light pink that Harry loves so much, and it makes Draco’s smile come more frequently. Harry loves that smile and keeps leaning in to say things that will make it stay.
As he leans in to whisper something, his lips close to Draco’s ear and Draco’s hair falling lightly against his face he hears a camera go off. At first Harry doesn't care, intent on talking to Draco and aware that tons of people have been taking pictures together all night. But then a voice punctures the little bubble he and Draco are living in.
“Ah Mr. Potter, Draco. Fancy seeing you here.”
Both boys look up. Harry, with some effort, focuses on the person standing at the end of their table. He must have had more wine than he thought. Draco stiffens imperceptibly and all remnants of his loose smile are gone. Instead his cold facade is back in place, unruffled and uncaring. He moves to take his hand out of Harry’s grasp, but Harry holds on tighter and shoots him a look.
“I’m sorry, do we know you?” Harry asks, his words, to his horror, sounding slurred.
Draco shoots him another look and squeezes his hand in warning. He then begins talking.
“Potter, this is a friend of my fathers, Mr. Sallow. He’s known my family for some time.”
His words are precise, clipped and uncaring. Harry’s heart squeezes at the sound of that voice even though it’s not directed at him.
“Nice to meet you. I guess.” Harry says, not risking standing up, but holding his hand out to the man regardless.
Mr. Sallow eyes his hand with disgust, and ends up ignoring it, focusing his eyes back on Draco.
“Is this the company you now keep, Draco?” His eyes flit over to Harry, “There have been whispers of course, after you moved out of the manor. You always held so much promise, the Dark Lord’s very own chosen student. What would your father say about this? I doubt he’d approve of you stumbling about with so little regard for your reputation”
Draco looks down and sits silently. Harry is rather tired of people being so shitty to Draco and tiptoeing the fuck around him when he is right there.
“Well,” Harry says loudly, Draco’s head shoots up, as do half the customer’s in the bar “Since his dad is locked is Azkaban and been pretty shit to him his whole life, we don’t really care what good ol’ Lucius has to say.”
Sallow’s face turns to Harry filled with disdain before looking back to Draco, “You’re going to let this boy speak for you?”
The emphasis on the word boy makes Harry dislike this man quite a bit. And he goes to open his mouth to say so when Draco cuts in.
“Yes, Sallow. I do believe I am.” Draco squeezes Harry’s hand and stands up. Harry scrambles to follow and grabs his coat.
“We’ll be going now, Sallow. Have a good night.” Draco throws a wad of cash on the table, large enough that the tip for the waitress would be huge, and leads Harry out of the restaurant.
“Fuck.” Draco says, dropping Harry’s hand to lean against the building and press his hands to his eyes, “Shit.”
“Hey,” Harry says, stepping to stand in between Draco’s legs, suddenly feeling very sober, “It’s okay, it’s all gonna be okay.”
Harry gently takes Draco’s hands away from his face and kisses the knuckles. Draco watches him and then tips his head back against the wall and closes his eyes.
Harry laughs and Draco’s eyes open to watch, “It wasn’t that bad, Draco. Admittedly, I could have gone without jerk-face Sallow coming along at the end, but it’s been a good night.”
“I’m pretty sure he got pictures of us.” Draco breathes, his breath showing in the cold air. “It will definitely get out now.”
Harry shrugs, and leans in towards Draco stopping a breath away from his lips to say, “I cannot emphasize enough how much I do not care anymore.”
Maybe it’s the alcohol that’s giving him all this courage, but Harry suspects it actually has more to do with the fact that Draco makes his heart race more than anything else ever has.
Draco laughs, though it sounds like a sob and grabs Harry’s face, pulling him in for a rough kiss.
When they pull apart, Draco’s face is wet and Harry wipes the tears, “Let’s get out of here.”
Draco kisses Harry’s hand and then grabs it with his own to walk into Muggle London.
When they get back to the flat hours later, they make out messily on the landing outside of the door, until a neighbour walks past and mutters that they should “Get a room.”
After that, they stumble into the flat without breaking apart, clothes coming off with every step. Harry’s shirt gets stuck coming off and Draco growls something that sounds sort of like ‘fucking nuisance’ before ripping it off carelessly and throwing it onto the back of the couch.
Harry laughs once, loud and bright, before Draco pulls his mouth back to his and they stumble blindly for the bed.
It’s nothing new. Nothing that they haven't done in the weeks leading up to this point. But twisted in the sheets with Draco and his stupid fucking socks Harry can’t help feeling like this is the best moment of his life. And frankly he would die to stay in it forever.
* * *
The next morning, Harry wakes up to the sound of a phone ringing incessantly. He cracks one eye open and immediately regrets it with how bright the room is.
“Uhgh,” he groans, taking inventory. He is very very hungover. The Weird Sisters are ringing from a phone somewhere in the room, and there is a very naked Draco still asleep pressed along his side, and he very much wishes he were still asleep.
He decides to ignore the ringing for now and closes his eyes. It’s at that moment that another phone starts ringing too.
Groaning even louder, he throws the blankets off and stumbles towards the sound of one of the phones. His eyes are barely open and he searches blindly through a pair of pants and fishes out a phone.
“Hello?” He says quietly, trying not to cause his own headache to worsen or wake up Draco.
“Draco?” A stressed voice that Harry doesn’t immediately recognize says.
“Er, no.” Harry responds, sitting down and rubbing his eyes, “This is Harry, Draco is still asleep.”
“Shit,” The voice says, “Shit, Potter it’s Pansy, you need to wake Draco up now.”
That forces Harry’s eyes open, and clears his head of the buzzing. “The photos got out today didn’t they?”
The silence on the other end is all the confirmation Harry needs. He barely registers moving across the room to wake Draco.
“Hey, love,” He says, gently shoving Draco’s shoulder. Draco makes a very undignified sound, but stills at Harry’s next words, “Pansy is on the phone for you.”
Without another word, Draco’s hand shoots out and grabs the phone. While Draco handles that call, Harry goes in search of his own cell, which has been ringing non-stop this whole time.
He finally finds it stuck in the crack of one of the sofas. He fishes it out, and without looking at the name answers.
“Harry,” Ron’s voice says over the speaker. “Mate, where are you and Malfoy now?”
“At his flat, Ron. Why?”
“Hermione and I are coming over, what’s the address.”
“Shit, Ron do not apparate right this second.” Harry says, stumbling to his feet and lobbing a pair of trackie bottoms in Draco’s general direction, “Draco and I just woke up and aren’t even dressed yet.”
There’s silence on the other end, “So you haven’t seen the Daily Prophet yet?”
“No, Harry says, struggling into a pair of boxers from the floor, “But we know the pictures are out, so what?”
Silence again, “Harry it’s not just pictures, it’s like a whole expose on your relationship. And it says a bunch of nasty shit about Malfoy and you.”
“Fuck.” Harry swears, pausing in his search for a jumper to look at Draco, who's still very naked and very still listening to whatever Pansy is saying to him on the phone. “Fuck.” he says again, turning his attention back to clothing. “Give us ten minutes and then you can come over, I’ll send you the address.”
With that he hangs up the phone and stumbles back to the bed, still pulling a jumper over his head. He crawls up next to Draco and sits patiently while Draco listens silently, lips pursed.
Finally, Draco says, “Okay, thanks Pansy. Let me know if anything else comes out.”
With that he hangs up the phone and looks at Harry. “We’re royally fucked, Potter.”
Harry’s heart skips in his chest but he pulls Draco in for a tight hug, “Everything is gonna be okay.”
He wishes his voice wouldn’t shake.
Chapter 24: The Fallout
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Ron and Hermione show up exactly ten minutes after the phone call with Harry ended. Harry has managed to get Draco into a pair of jogging pants and a jumper, and wrapped in a blanket on the couch. He settles in beside him. Draco is shivering, but Harry doesn’t think it’s because of the cold.
Hermione looks at them both with sympathy, and if she notices the wrecked bed and clothes strewn around the flat she doesn’t mention it. Ron crosses the room with a tray of drinks from Starbucks and hands one to Draco who takes it robotically.
Harry stands up to give Ron and Hermione a hug.
“How bad is it?” he asks into Hermione’s hair.
“Well it’s certainly not good.” She says back stepping back to sit down on the other couch, wordlessly moving a discarded pair of jeans.
Ron sits beside her while saying, “They somehow have pictures of you two from more than just St. Mungos.”
Harry’s heart drops to somewhere near his stomach, “Just ones from our dinner last night probably, right?”
Hermione shakes her head sadly, “No, they have pictures of you with Teddy, and shots from what looks like Hogsmead as well.”
“Shit,” Harry says, his hand groping for Draco’s under the blanket, “That’s all they have though right? Pictures?”
To his surprise, it’s Draco who answers. “No Potter. It’s a bunch of bullshit that is an attack on me for corrupting you.”
“What?” Harry says blankly.
Draco shrugs his shoulders, and silently takes a sip of his drink. Harry turns to look at Hermione and Ron, and Hermione holds out a paper.
“We brought our copy from home,” She says miserably, “We figured you guys hadn’t seen it yet.”
Harry takes it wordlessly and reads it. Phrases like, 𝘜𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘭𝘶𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬 𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘪𝘤, 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥, 𝘢 𝘤𝘳𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱, and many others blurred together in Harry’s mind until all that he could hear was white noise.
“Did you want to-” Harry starts handing the paper to Draco, but Draco shakes his head.
“Pansy read it to me over the phone. I’d rather not read it again.”
“Okay,” Harry says looking back to the article, his eyes catching on one particularly awful paragraph.
"𝘖𝘯𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 “𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱” 𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥. 𝘞𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘰𝘺 𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘓𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦, 𝘪𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘋𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘰 𝘔𝘢𝘭𝘧𝘰𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘢𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘥. 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘪𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘨𝘰 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘥, 𝘴𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘯𝘬 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘴 (𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘸𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘴) 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘭𝘧𝘰𝘺’𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳, 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘢𝘥𝘥𝘦𝘳-𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘗𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘷𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘵 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯."
Beneath this paragraph is a moving photo taken from outside one of the shops they had gone to last night. They’ve caught the picture in such a way that Harry is whispering something into Draco’s ear, already smiling, lips moving wordlessly along Draco’s neck and Draco’s face appears completely blank up until Harry pulls back to look at him, and then a smirk that other people would interpret as smug, but Harry knows is actually laughing at their private joke flits across his face.
Harry looks at it in horror, knowing this appears one sided, when in reality Draco’s hand had been splayed across Harry’s lower back beneath the coat. That Draco, had just said something incredibly vulnerable and sweet and that Harry was just responding in kind.
“All these pictures are completely out of context.” He says finally, looking up at Hermione and Ron handing the newspaper back, while his other hand drifts to Draco’s thigh beneath the blanket. “Seriously, nothing they’ve said there is true.”
“We know that, Harry.” Hermione says softly, her eyes sad as they focus on a still silent Draco. “But I don’t think everyone will believe that.”
“How did they even get all of those pictures?” Harry says, scrubbing his free hand across his face. “We were in Muggle London pretty much every time. Do they have photographers following us somehow?”
“Well you are the The Boy Who Lived, Potter.” Draco says, breaking his silence but not looking at Harry, “I’m not sure why you’re surprised.”
The room is quiet, but then Ron breaks the silence.
“What do you want us to do, Harry?”
Harry laughs helplessly, and feels Draco’s hand twist in the jumper he’s wearing, “I don’t know Ron. There isn’t much we can do is there?”
Ron says nothing, but Hermione starts talking slowly, “Well you could ignore it, or you could give an interview to the Quibbler again and clear the air.”
“I don’t want to do that Hermione.” Harry says, closing his eyes for a second before continuing, “The wizarding world doesn’t deserve every single detail of my life just because of who I am.”
There’s silence again and Draco leans his head against Harry’s shoulder. As much a comforting weight as it is a way for Draco to take comfort himself. Harry watches Ron track the movement of Draco’s head, before flitting his eyes back to meet Harry’s.
“You’re right mate.” he says simply, throwing his arm around Hermione, “This is shit. I’m sorry it’s happening to you.”
Harry shrugs and turns his head to press his lips to Draco’s hair. It’s softness that they don’t normally do in front of an audience. But Harry is upset, and can tell that Draco needs this too.
Finally, Harry turns to look back at his friends. Hermione looks sad, and Ron looks unhappy. “What should I do?” He says simply.
“For now, I don’t think you need to do anything.” Hermione says, Ron nods in agreement. “You’ll just have to expect a ton of mail from angry witches and wizards.”
Harry shrugs, “I feel like I get that anyway.”
Draco snorts but says nothing. After a little bit Ron and Hermione end up leaving, saying that they have some work to do back home, but beg Harry to call if he needs anything. Harry agrees, while gently pushing them both out the apartment door.
When he turns back, Draco has stood up from the couch still wrapped in a big blanket and is looking at Harry with sad, tired eyes. Harry smiles sadly, and crosses the room, pulling Draco against his chest and into a hug.
Against Harry’s neck, Draco mumbles, “This is absolute shit.”
“I know.” Harry says, whispering it into Draco’s messy hair.
“Not a word of it is true.” Draco says, seemingly trying to convince Harry.
“I know.” Harry says, pressing a kiss to the shell of Draco’s ear.
“You wore boxers for the entirety of this serious conversation with your friends, and we didn’t even pick up our clearly torn off clothing from last night before they got here.”
“I know.” Harry says grinning and laughing slightly.
“I think that’s the worst part.” Draco says, pulling back and looking like he’s about to laugh.
“What’s the worst?” Harry asks, calmly brushing a stray lock of hair out of Draco’s face.
“That your friends came over to comfort us and you were in your bloody boxers.”
Harry laughs and kisses Draco quickly, “That was the worst part? Not the fact that apparently we’ve been followed on almost every single one of our dates?”
“Who cares about that?” Draco says, pulling Harry back over to the bed, “I didn’t need both of your friends knowing that we rip our clothes off like madmen before going to bed.”
Harry grins and laughs, “They were bound to find out eventually.”
“No, Harry. No they most certainly were not.”
They spend the rest of the day in bed. They ignore their phones most of the time, Harry going so far as to shut his off completely. Draco turns all his notifications off but rushes to pick up the phone when he sees that Blaise is calling.
It’s a short call, in which Draco is mostly silent. His cheeks tint pink at something Blaise says, and he mutters a quick, “Shut up, Blaise.” But otherwise his answers are either yes, no or sporadic grunts of confirmation.
When he hangs up, he throws his phone onto one of the couches, and tucks himself into Harry’s side.
“Everything okay?” Harry asks, twisting his hand in the fabric of Draco’s shirt.
“Mhmm,” Draco says, voice vibrating across Harry’s chest, “Blaise was just asking if I was alright.”
“Okay.” Harry says, popping a strawberry into his mouth from off the plate Kreacher made for them an hour ago, before rolling so that Malfoy is on his back and Harry is straddling his waist.
“Why hello.” Draco says breathlessly, looking up at Harry with a soft smile on his face.
“Hi.” Harry says, before leaning down and kissing Draco.
The kiss is all consuming, mind numbing, perfection. Harry wishes he could live in this kiss and never leave. A feeling wells up in his chest. Painful and beautiful and strange. He thought he knew this feeling, had Dumbledore tell him his whole life it was his strength, but really it had taken Draco kissing him and being with him for him to figure out how strong this feeling could be.
When they break apart, breathless, hands roaming each others bodies, Harry rests his head against Draco’s and says, “I have to tell you something.”
Draco’s hands pause where they were trying to pull Harry’s shirt up over his head. “Okay.”
Draco sits up so that they’re face to face and hardly a breath apart. Harry kisses Draco once more, softly. He’s not worried about telling Draco. He’s known how he feels for a while, he just hopes Draco feels the same way.
“What, Potter?” Draco asks, running his fingers along Harry’s jaw, tracing his lips.
“I’m in love with you.”
Draco’s hands still, his eyes darting to Harry’s. His mouth is hanging open.
Harry looks down at where his hands are still twisted in Draco’s shirt. “I just think it’s time I told you something I’ve known for a while now… you don’t have to say it back.”
Draco makes a choking disbelieving sound that forces Harry to look back up at him.
“God, you’re thick.” Draco mutters before pulling him in for a kiss.
Harry allows it, but almost pulls away, but then Draco mutters against his lips, “I love you too, Scarhead.”
Harry smiles against Draco’s mouth and allows himself to be pulled down, pushing his hands under Draco’s shirt.
* * *
The next morning dawns before either of the boys are ready for it. They fell asleep some time before three, both of their phones still buzzing with notifications.
Draco’s socked feet are pushed into Harry’s thigh when he wakes up to a tapping at his window. There’s an owl, Harry gets up to let her in and unties it. He recognizes Mrs Weasley’s handwriting and sits on the edge of the bed to read the letter.
It’s a quick note, the ink blotching in places from how quickly she must have been writing. All it says it, “We love you, Harry. Bring Draco round for dinner tonight.”
Harry turns the page over looking for more and finding it blank. Draco is still asleep, so Harry goes to the kitchen to make something to eat. He tries his best to quietly make pancakes without waking Draco, but soon enough the other boy is standing in the doorway.
His hair is a mess and he has huge bags under his eyes, but he doesn’t look as upset as he had the day before. Harry crosses the kitchen and holds his arms up. Draco walks into them immediately, wrapping his own arms around Harry’s middle and tucking his face into Harry’s neck.
“Morning to you too, Malfoy.” Harry says, squeezing tighter for a moment before releasing him and turning back to his pancakes on the grill.
Draco takes a seat at one of the kitchen stools and reaches for Harry’s mug of tea. Harry pushes it to him absently, flipping a pancake with his other hand before turning and looking at Draco across the counter.
Draco is sipping away at Harry’s tea, but sets the mug down when he catches Harry’s eye.
“What is it, Potter.”
“Mrs. Weasley wants the two of us to come for dinner tonight. Her note does not encourage argument.”
“Both of us?” Draco asks, pushing the mug in Harry’s direction.
Harry takes a drink before nodding and saying, “Yes. It looks like you’ll be meeting the whole Weasley clan tonight.”
“They’re gonna hate me.”
“Don’t be stupid.” Harry says, knowing that what Draco is saying is probably true. “They won’t hate you when they get to know you.”
“Not everyone gets off on being insulted, Potter.” Draco snaps, his eyes flashing before looking down at hands.
“Draco, come on.” Harry says taking a few steps and twisting Draco’s hands with his own. “They love me. And I love you. They might not like you but they’ll tolerate you for my sake.”
His words don’t seem to sway Draco, so Harry adds, “Hermione and Ron will be there.”
This seems to sway Draco a little.
“Fine.” He says, stealing the almost empty mug back from Harry, “But I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
“Noted.” Harry says, taking the now empty mug from Draco and putting it in the sink.