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The More Things Change

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Harry Potter scrawled a dark red ‘F’ on the top of the parchment, above the incomprehensible, horribly crowded scratching that constituted the hand writing of the assignment. His own notoriously messy writing looked uncharacteristically legible in comparison. “Morrison,” he wrote, “I have to be able to read the bloody assignment in order to grade it. Scribbling twelve inches of nonsense will not save you. One more like this, and I’ll be Flooing your father.” He underlined father so emphatically the nib of his quill pierced the parchment. He turned it over and slammed it, upside down, on the blotter of his desk on top of a small stack of already graded assignments. A headache began to pound behind Harry’s left eye.

Pushing back his chair in defeat, Harry stretched with a yawn, then rolled his head from side to side. He ran his hand up through his thick, messy hair absently, and grimaced. A spot on his side pulled where fifth year Marcellus Treavor had managed a rather more direct hit with a stinging hex than his professor had intended. He couldn’t really fault the kid; Marc had performed the hex brilliantly. Harry was actually proud of that, and proud he’d managed to contain a whimper when the pain streaked down his ribs to the top of his hip. It wouldn’t have done for the Defense against the Dark Arts prof to cry during class, but it was a near thing. It reminded him far too much of the feeling when Hermione had hexed him effectively in the face during the war, and he didn’t doubt that the skin under the jumper and jeans, his typical wardrobe under his teaching robes, was a lovely mottled red and purple. Standing slowly, he didn’t bother to contain his wince of pain; there wasn’t anyone there to see it anyway. Yet. But there would be, and then he’d hear about it, he had no doubt.

Wondering how to hide the hex mark from his very observant partner, and to avoid listening to the snide remarks about ‘losing his touch’, he briefly considered Flooing Hermione to see if she knew a way to heal it more quickly. Shaking his head with a rueful smile, he realized he simply wasn’t vain enough to go to the trouble to avoid his husband’s entertained nagging. Besides, the rubdown he’d receive with Draco’s healing salve was worth the current discomfort. If the man didn’t hide the stuff and dole it out like he was sharing the world’s greatest medicinal secret, Harry would put some on himself. But Draco did hide it, probably because it was the only way he could be sure Harry would come to him for healing. Harry sighed and shook his head. Draco did enjoy delivering a lecture.

He crossed the large sitting room, glanced at the clock on the mantle and flicked his wand toward the large fireplace to light the Floo. There was still time to take the chill out of the room, and Draco always bitched about how cold it was in the old professor’s quarters. It wasn’t that cold, but Harry didn’t mind making the space a bit cozier. It was actually one of the larger two bedroom quarters, up a short flight of stairs from the DADA classroom. Harry remembered when Remus lived there, and smiled slightly, wondering what his old friend would think of Harry being a professor, living in the rooms he’d occupied. He probably wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest, Harry thought with a slight smile. It was Remus who had taught him the Patronus spell to begin with, something that had been ‘far above a third year level’.

What Remus might have been surprised by was Harry’s marriage. More surprising, Harry was certain, would have been the idea of Harry and Draco fathering not one but two children, all due to Harry’s wild magic and Draco’s sheer determination. Parenting James and Narcissa healed something in Harry he’d not been able to put a name to, and watching the kind, gentle father Draco was only reinforced how much Harry loved him. Harry was a member of the Wizengamot during those early years, trying to change wizarding law and tilting at windmills. Draco called it beating his head against stone, and over time Harry grudgingly began to agree with him. He stayed in politics for a decade and a half, while Jamie grew up and went to Hogwarts, then Cissa after him.

Then a newborn was left on their doorstep, and Harry reinvented himself. Draco had been the stay at home parent with both Jamie and Narcissa but when Benji arrived at their door he’d already founded his own laboratory and medical testing facility, working on cures for a number of devastating wizarding illnesses. His work was too important for him to abandon, and Harry had been ready for a change. They adopted the newborn baby boy, and he resigned the Wizengamot to become the stay home father. He dealt with the runny noses and scraped knees, supervising bath times and bed time stories, jubilantly realizing what he was doing at home was vastly more important than anything he’d managed in government.

Little Leia was left at Colin’s Home for Children by a potion addicted mother who’d signed over her parental rights and disappeared. It took several weeks to ween her from the potions she’d been born with in her system, but once she was well she joined the Potter-Malfoy family, too. It had been a joyous time, Jamie and Cissa out of Hogwarts and happily settled with loving partners and Benji and Leia filling old Grimmauld Place with child-bright laughter and joy. Harry had never been happier, or Draco more fulfilled. It was a good life.

But as is bound to happen, Benji and Leia grew up, too. Much before their adopted fathers were ready Benji was off to Hogwarts, then Leia behind him and the old mansion settled into waiting silence once again. A silence Harry hated. When Neville Longbottom, current Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, appeared in the Floo to offer Harry the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, his heart leapt at the chance. But as he told Neville, he couldn’t do anything without talking to Draco about it first.

“And why exactly are you hesitating?” Draco said when Harry told him. Harry gave him an exasperated look.

“Well, this decision does impact you, you know. I wanted your input.”

“As flattered as I am that you’d consider my feelings on the subject,” Draco said, “don’t be an idiot. You’ve been moping around here for months. This would certainly give you something to do. Plus,” he shrugged nonchalantly, “you’d be a brilliant Defense Professor.”

That endorsement pleased Harry more than his husband would ever know, but there was more to it than that. “It’s not just Defense though, Draco. We’d have to move into quarters . He wants me to take over as Gryffindor Head.”

Draco sighed heavily. “Of course he does.” He thought about it for a long moment, then shrugged. “So, we close up the house and move into Hogwarts. It’s no more a hardship to travel by FlooFloo from there than it is from here.”

And just like that, the decision was made. Benji and Leia were thrilled to have their dads so close by, and Harry returned to the first place he’d ever thought of as home. In the years since Harry had taken over DADA, James and his pretty wife Karina had made them grandparents twice over and Cissa once. Benji finished Hogwarts with seven outstanding NEWT’s and went right into Auror training, and Leia, now a sixth year Ravenclaw with an educational emphasis on Divination, was tall and willowy with waist length strawberry blonde hair and brilliant cornflower blue eyes. Every straight sixth- and seventh-year boy at Hogwarts had his eyes on her, and Draco had threatened to emasculate each and every one of them with a rusty teaspoon if they came anywhere near her. Harry planned to keep him from knowing any of the boy's names.

Harry slipped off his outer robe and was laying it over the end of the sofa when the Floo flared brilliant green. He turned in time to see his husband step through the flames, and the sight of him still made Harry’s breath catch and his heart swell. Draco so handsome he still turned heads everywhere they went. His white blond hair, admittedly perhaps more white than blond now, was neatly combed without a strand out of place, and his immaculately cut dark suit accented his tall, lithe frame. The lack of his usual white jacket with his name on the pocket reminded Harry that it was the day he’d met with his board of directors, and it either went well or spectacularly badly. Harry searched Draco’s large, silver gray eyes as he stepped in to kiss his husband in greeting.

“Hello,” he murmured against Draco’s lips.

Draco returned his kiss, lingered over it for a moment. “Mm, hello to you, too.”

Harry smiled slightly, feeling the loose relaxation in his husband’s frame. “I gather your meeting went okay?”

Draco shrugged as he stepped back, a small smirk twisting his full lips. “They’re all still alive.”

“Well, that’s a good start, at least.”

“And they approved funding for the new study.” He said it lightly, but Harry knew how important this study was to Draco; Malfoy Laboratories had cured juvenile Dragon Pox years before, but the version that infected adults was proving more difficult to nail down. The newly approved funding would make continued research possible, and Harry knew they were in an especially tricky phase with several versions of potion.

“That’s wonderful,” he said with feeling, catching Draco’s hand and squeezing it. His husband squeezed back.

“It’s a start,” he said. “At least it makes it so that we can keep going. So, how was your day?”

To lie or not to lie, Harry thought. Knowing Draco would figure it out sooner or later, he opted not to lie.

“Morrison wrote another indecipherable essay on the Stinging Hex,” Draco snorted and headed for their bedroom to change. Harry followed him. “Then Marcellus Treavor did him one better and hit his professor with one.”

Draco stopped mid step and turned, his brows raised. “I beg your pardon?”

Harry sighed inwardly. “One of my fifth years hit me in the side with a stinging hex.”

“Did you go see Ginny?”

Ginny Weasley had replaced Madam Pomfrey as the resident Healer in the Hogwarts hospital wing nearly fifteen years before, something that had delighted her Headmaster husband.

Harry avoided Draco’s narrowed eyes. “She had bigger issues to deal with today. The Hufflepuff keeper ran into one of the rings during practice and broke his shoulder. I wasn’t going to go take attention away with a minor hex burn.”

Draco huffed. “We’ll see how minor it is. Off with it.” He gestured to Harry’s dark gray jumper, then stopped, hands going to his hips. “Is that mine?”

“Might be.”

“Potter, I swear to Merlin…”

“I like it. It fits better than any of mine.”

“That’s because I buy clothes to fit me, then you force that brutish chest of yours into them so everyone can admire how fit you are.”

“Brutish chest?” Harry chuckled. “And you think I’m fit?” Harry tried for a charming smile.

“I’m endeavoring not to finish what Treavor started by hexing you in the balls.”

Harry grimaced. “Fuck, Draco. That was unnecessarily brutal, don’t you think?”

“I think you won’t be fucking anything if you keep wearing my clothes. Now take the jumper off.”

Harry shook his head, but crossed his arms to pull the jumper off over his head. They’d been having this argument for as long as they’d been together; they’d probably never stop having it, as Harry had no intention of not wearing Draco’s cashmere jumpers. He could buy some of his own, but he always pulled the sweaters out of the laundry after Draco had worn them. That way, he could smell his husband on them all day. He was amazed Draco never seemed to pick up on that fact. As he pulled the soft fabric off over his head it caught on his side and Harry hissed at the resulting pain.

Draco grimaced. “Jesus, Harry.”

Harry looked down, his eyebrows shooting up. He’d known the hex hurt; he’d had no idea it was anything like what he saw running from just below his pectoral muscle to disappear into the inch of dark pants that shown above his jeans. It was ugly, mottled and red, and looked like it was weeping clear fluid in a couple of places.

“A fifth year did that,” Draco said, coming closer, bending to study the burn. He gently spread his hand over Harry’s flat stomach.

“I may have to give him extra credit.” Harry flinched when Draco’s fingers skimmed the furled edges of the burn.

“I may have to find him and threaten him with your old girlfriends patented bat bogey hex if he maims my husband. ” He tutted and shook his head, then turned and continued on into the bedroom. Harry started to toss the jumper aside.

“Do not throw my clothes on the furniture,” Draco said without looking back. “And don’t think for a moment I didn’t see your robes on the sofa. There is a purpose for hangers, you know. Now get in here so I can treat that burn.”

Harry made a childish face at the back of Draco’s head, but he followed him.

Draco was standing next to their wardrobe removing his suit jacket, and he hung it neatly on a hanger as Harry took the jumper to the hamper in the corner. He deposited it inside and turned back, admiring Draco’s slender body as he loosened his tie. He was wearing a white button down and black braces, and Harry felt a low hum of arousal. He didn’t know what it was about Draco in button downs and braces, but the sight always made Harry want to take them off of him.

“Lie down,” Draco said sharply, and Harry’s brow shot up.

“If that’s your idea of propositioning me, you should know better by now.”

Draco’s gave him his patented ‘we are not amused’ look, and Harry rolled his eyes. He kicked off his trainers and stretched out on the plush four poster Draco had insisted they bring with them from Grimmauld. More than once Harry had appreciated the fact they’d replaced the old, sagging bed with this one. One good shag would have ended that one; they’d been fucking happily on this one for two decades without affecting the cushioning spells a bit. He listened while Draco went into their ensuite, looking toward the leaded windows across from the bed. He could see the lights on the dock over in Hogsmeade far in the distance, reflecting off of the night darkened black water of the lake. A thin strip of dark lavender spread across the horizon visible between the craggy mountains, the last dying vestiges of the sunset. He’d bet it was a beautiful night, but probably balls-shrinkingly cold. The older he got, the more he felt the temperature changes here in Northern Scotland, but figured it was a small price to pay for surviving the war. But as he and his friends got older, he was amazed at how much more slowly wizards aged than Muggles; Molly and Arthur were in their mid-nineties and still hale and hearty, thankfully. They looked younger than Vernon and Petunia had the last time he’d seen them.

Harry felt the mattress sag at his side and Draco was there, tie gone, white shirt open at the throat and rolled up at the cuffs. He leaned close to examine the burn once again, and a swath of pale hair fell over his forehead. Gods, he was beautiful still, his long throat unlined, the pale skin stretched taut over his jaw and his cheekbones. There were a few, slight lines around his eyes, and he cursed them but Harry loved them. To him, those were the echoes of the smiles they’d shared over the years , and he valued each and every one.

Draco unscrewed the lid on the jar of the mystery healing salve, and Harry exhaled softly in relief as he spread the cooling gel carefully over the burn.

“Tell me you aren’t doing any practicals on something that might permanently maim you.” He pursed his full lips, a small line between his brows in concentration. “I’d just as soon not have to tolerate you regrowing a limb.”

Harry couldn’t stop the grin that pulled at his lips. “I imagine Gin would have me over night if anything was every actually hexed off.”

Draco shook his head. “You didn’t answer my question,” he paused, shooting Harry a sour look, “Professor.

“You say that as if you doubt my qualifications.”

“I doubt your sanity, is what I doubt. Stinging hexes? Really?”

“They’ve got to learn some time, Draco. Better with me than on a sibling.”

Draco snorted. “Depends entirely on the sibling, I would think. And I don’t remember you being required to put your person in jeopardy for this job.”

“It was an accident, if it makes you feel any better.”

Draco shook his head. “Not particularly.”

He screwed the lid back on the jar, then set it on the bed side table. “How does that feel now?”

Harry stretched cautiously, then with more freedom. “I don’t know what’s in that stuff, but it’s miraculous.”

“Of course it is,” Draco said smugly. “I made it myself.”

Harry reached up and tenderly pushed back Draco’s fringe. “Of course you did.” He slid his fingers slowly to Draco’s jaw, his thumb stroking beneath his lower lip. “Have I told you how grateful I am for you? Totally notwithstanding that huge ego of yours.”

Draco smirked slowly. “It’s not ego if it’s justified, you know.”

“Really. That’s how it works.”

“That’s how it works.” Draco slowly encircled Harry’s wrist, stroking along his pulse. It quickened under his touch. Harry stroked down the pale throat, over Draco’s Adams apple.

“Kiss me,” Harry murmured, slipping his hand around his nape beneath the pale hair.

Draco stiffened slightly. “I will not. You’re covered in goo.”

Harry laughed. “Your goo.”

Draco grinned. “That sounded faintly obscene.”

Harry wiggled his brows. “I can make it more obscene, if you like.”

“Oh, I know. I think I’ve heard all of your lines.” Draco slid his hand up, over Harry’s right pectoral. Draco loved Harry’s chest; it was one of the reasons he still flew when the quidditch teams were practicing. Gripping the broom with his hands and thighs did wonders for his muscle tone. “Not that they don’t still work, mind you.”

“Good to know. I’d hate to think I’ve gone stale.”

“Not hardly.” Draco leaned forward, his fringe swinging loose again as he gently kissed Harry’s nipple.

Harry inhaled in pleasure. “You up for a shag, Mr Malfoy-Potter?”

Draco hummed against his skin. “Might be, if you shower that goop off, Mr Potter-Malfoy.” He lifted his head and met Harry’s gaze. He ran his finger down the center of Harry’s chest. “I could, possibly, be persuaded to join you.”

“Is that right?” Harry caught Draco’s hand and pressed his lips to the inside of his wrist. “Well, then clearly I need to shower. Because, something rather pressing has come up.” Harry took Draco’s hand and slid it slowly down until his palm was pressed against the front of Harry’s jeans where his cock was plumping behind his flies.

Draco clucked, his tongue behind his teeth. “There’s one of those lines.”

“Still working?”

“Oh, yes.” He gave Harry a lingering squeeze, then sat up and grabbed his hand. “Now, come along. The burn is gone and you need a shower.”

Harry pushed himself up and leaned forward, nipping at the base of Draco’s throat, right in the open vee of his collar. “Oh, baby,” he murmured. “The burn is anything but gone.”

Draco pushed him back and rolled his eyes. “Okay, that line you can retire. You sound like a bad come on in a bar. If you ever want to get fucked again, you’ll bin that one.”

Harry laughed. “I promise. Immediately.”

“Good.” Draco stood up and yanked him to his feet. “Now move your arse. We aren’t getting any younger.”

Harry allowed himself to be pulled across the room to the bath, grinning the whole way.

He didn’t feel like they were getting any older, either.