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Potions Professor Pursuit

Chapter Text

August 2004

The beginning of another new year at Hogwarts. In a little more than a week, students would arrive, eager to learn new spells, charms and potions. Well, most of them. Harry knew all too well that not all students were cut out for the discipline of a school like Hogwarts. He fondly remembered the Weasley twins in that regard. It was a little easier to recall their mischievous grins these days than it had been in the past. Six years of healing went a long way. Even Molly was able to speak about Fred without breaking down.
Harry walked down the dank hallway toward the dungeons. After two years of teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts, he sometimes still felt odd walking through Slytherin territory. But the new Potions professor was due to arrive the next day and Harry had been charged with helping him along. Professor Slughorn finally retired at the end of last term, but he wasn’t exactly known for his orderly way of doing things.
Over the summer, the Potions room had been cleaned as was every other room in the castle. However, house elves were notorious for doing only what was minimally required. Anything left on the desks or the floor remained. And the cupboard that housed the ingredients was disorderly. Looking inside, Harry scratched his head wondering where to begin.
“Perhaps I’d better leave it to the new professor to decide how to organize this mess,” he said to himself out loud. He knew it was a cop out, but he justified it nonetheless.
Returning to the classroom, he picked up spare books and shelved them, replaced quills and filled the ink pots and vanished any ingredients that had been left out.
Satisfied that it was tidy enough, Harry left for Headmistress McGonagall’s office.
“Did you have a good summer, Harry?” She smiled fondly at him.
“Yes, prof--Headmistress. And you?”
“Please, Harry, we’ve been colleagues for two years now. Call me Minerva.” She motioned for him to have a seat. “I would like to speak to you about the new Potions professor.”
Her face took a slightly serious turn that made Harry a bit uneasy.
“What about him?” he asked as he sat down.
“First of all, I want to assure you that his credentials are in order and those of us on the Board considered his candidacy very seriously before agreeing. Almost unanimously.”
“Almost?”
“Neville Longbottom was the only nay.”
“Oh.” Harry sat with his hands in his lap. “May I ask who it is?”
“I’m sorry to keep you in the dark for so long on this subject, but the approval came just a few days ago,” she explained. “I really wasn’t certain which candidate would succeed.”
She paused, clearly reluctant to tell Harry who would be teaching Potions.
“Draco Malfoy,” she finally said.
Harry stood suddenly. “What? How?”
“Harry please sit. I’ll explain.”
He did as he was told.
“Mr. Malfoy put in his request at the beginning of the summer, as soon as Professor Slughorn announced his retirement. I have his letter if you’d like to read it.” She held it out to Harry, who at first dismissed it.
“What makes him qualified to teach?”
“He excels in potion making,” McGonagall smiled. “Even you have to admit that.”
Harry shrugged.
“However, he also completed courses in advanced potion making, apprenticed with a Master and spent several months student teaching at another wizarding school. Far more than you were required to do,” the Headmistress reminded him.
Harry’s head snapped up. He couldn’t believe she had said that.
“I never asked for special treatment,” he protested.
“And none was given. No one was more qualified when the board approved your hiring. Mr. Malfoy took it upon himself to take extra measures to insure that he would be taken seriously.”
“And . . .you’re all right with him being here?”
“Harry, when was the last time you saw Draco?”
“I don’t know. I’ve seen him here and there over the past few years. Mostly in Diagon Alley, I suppose. Why?”
“I think you’ll find he’s not the same person that he was during the war. Please, read this.” McGonagall handed him the letter again. This time he took it.

Professor McGonagall,
I hope this letter finds you well. I have appreciated your correspondence over the years and regret that I have not returned a letter in quite some time. I have been spending the past four months at Beauxbatons, student teaching Potions classes with Professor Olivier. This brings me to the reason for my letter. I have heard that Professor Slughorn has announced his retirement and I would like to be considered for the position. I realize that, as a former Death Eater, I am not going to be anyone’s first choice. However, I have worked very hard to turn my life around, as you know. All I am asking is for a chance to pay forward the debt I incurred during and after the war. I will not let you down if I am given this opportunity.
Sincerely,
Draco Malfoy, Potions Master

“Malfoy really wrote this?”
McGonagall nodded.
“And you’ve been in touch with him all this time? Why?”
“Because he reached out to me Harry. Because I couldn’t turn my back on a former student in need. Any student, especially one so desperate to turn over a new leaf.”
Harry looked over the letter again. “What debt is he talking about? Money?”
“No, Harry,” she smiled. “I believe he’s talking about you.”
“Me?” Harry frowned.
“And others who fought on the right side. Those of you that fought so that he would have a chance at a better life. He can’t really pay you back for what you’ve done. But he can teach the next generation to appreciate what they have and to stay on the right path.”
“You got all that from this letter?”
Minerva smirked. “I’ve talked to Draco a few times this summer. And I presented him to the board.”
Harry sat silently for a while, thinking about what McGonagall told him. The letter seemed sincere. And if the headmistress kept in touch with Malfoy all these years, perhaps he had changed. But that didn’t necessarily mean that Harry wanted to see him every day or work with him.
“I know it may be difficult at first,” McGonagall interrupted Harry’s thoughts. “But I hope you’ll give him a chance.”
“Of course, Head--Minerva,” Harry sighed lightly.
Harry left McGonagall’s office and headed to his own quarters on the second floor. As he made his way down through the castle, Harry’s mind wandered to Malfoy. He tried the remember exactly when he had seen the Slytherin last.
It must have been a year before Harry began his tenure as a professor at Hogwarts. He was sitting at a cafe, enjoying his lunch with Ron. He had been telling Ron about his dissatisfaction with being an Auror. Harry was growing weary of chasing down rogue Death Eaters and sending them off to Azkaban. Although he was helping to get them out of the wizarding and muggle public, Harry was unhappy with his job. Ron was sympathetic, yet still did his best to convince Harry to stick with it.
That was when Malfoy walked by. They caught one another’s eye, and Malfoy nodded a silent acknowledgement.
Ron narrowed his eyes. “That’s why you should stay in the Auror department. So people like him can’t walk around free as a bleeding bird. I’ll never understand why you defended him in the first place.”
“He wasn’t really a Death Eater,” Harry said. “Sure, he had the tattoo, but even Dumbledore didn’t believe his heart was in it. And he and his mum helped me when they didn’t have to. In fact, they risked their lives to do it.”
Ron managed to convince Harry to give it another year in the Ministry. But then the following year, Harry applied for a position at Hogwarts. The professor who had been teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts for the previous five years was ready to move on. Headmistress McGonagall practically leaped at the opportunity to have Harry back at Hogwarts. And Harry was glad to be back.
Until McGonagall told him that he would be working with Draco Malfoy.
As Harry settled in for bed that night, he chuckled to himself wondering what in Merlin’s name Ron was going to say when he found out. Hermione would have some words of wisdom, Harry was certain. But the next day Harry would be on his own, with Malfoy.

><><><><><><><><><

 

The butterflies were churning in Harry’s stomach as he waited by the gate for Malfoy to arrive. He was scheduled to reach the castle in only a few minutes. Half an hour later, Harry could see him as he approached the gate.
Malfoy looked different from the last time he had seen him. His platinum hair was longer, just past his shoulders and tied loosely into a ponytail. A few stray tendrils blew about in the gentle breeze. He appeared to be a little taller than Harry. But from the distance he wasn’t certain. The man still sported dark and highly fashionable clothing, and he held himself in a manner becoming a wealthy pureblood.
As the new Potions professor drew nearer, Harry could see that one thing had changed drastically--Malfoy’s eyes. No longer a scared young boy, nor a guilty Death Eater, his former rival looked at peace. There was even a glint in his stark grey eyes. He didn’t look away, but kept his gaze on Harry, a small smile on his lips.
“Potter.”
“Malfoy.” Harry nodded. “I would have sent a carriage if I had known you weren’t going to apparate directly to the gate.”
“I enjoy walking. It helps to clear my mind.”
Harry closed the gate and reset the charms, then led Malfoy toward the castle entrance.
Breaking the silence, Malfoy spoke as the entered. “You were expecting me, weren’t you?”
“Yes,” Harry answered. “McGona--Minerva informed me yesterday.”
“And you’re still here,” Malfoy observed. “I wasn’t sure how willing you would be to work with me.”
Harry stopped walking and turned toward Malfoy, ready to retort with a defensive remark about his ability to behave like a professional. However, the expression on the other man’s face was more apologetic than sarcastic.
“Oh, well,” Harry swallowed his pride a little. “I wasn’t sure at first. But . . . if you were willing to put our past behind us, then I guess I should give it a go.”
Draco laughed. “To be honest, I didn’t know you were a professor here until two days ago. I thought you were an Auror.”
“I was,” Harry explained. “Until two years ago. The DADA professor was leaving and I took over.”
“You didn’t like being an Auror?”
“I’d had enough adventure in my youth. I wanted something . . .”
“Safe?”
Harry gave a small chuckle. “That wasn’t the word I was going to use, but, yeah, I guess I did. Hogwarts has always felt like home to me. What about you? What were you doing before this?” Harry asked the question before he’d even realized they had been having the first normal conversation they’d ever had.
“Floundering,” Malfoy answered honestly. “I apprenticed with an apothecary to become a Potions Master. But the prospect of owning my own shop was a bit overwhelming. In the meantime, I needed a job and a place to live. Hogwarts fit the bill.”
So it’s just a job, Harry thought. Well, at least Malfoy was honest.
Of course, there was the matter of the debt Malfoy felt he needed to repay. Harry thought it was best not to bring it up yet. They had been behaving civilly towards each other and he didn’t want to rock the boat.
“Why have we come here?” Malfoy frowned when they reached a door on the sixth floor.
“I thought perhaps you’d like to put your bags in your quarters before going down to see the Potions room.”
“My quarters aren’t in the dungeons?”
“Uh, this is where Slughorn--”
“I assumed I was getting Snape’s office,” Malfoy snapped.
“These quarters are much nicer,” Harry assured him. “The dungeons need a bit of work.”
“I’m sure the ones in the dungeons are satisfactory. I used to live there, you know.”
The old Malfoy seemed to make a brief appearance and Harry was somewhat taken aback. Quickly composing himself, Malfoy continued.
“It would be easier to have an office near the classroom. Don’t you agree? Isn’t your office near your classroom?”
“It’s on the floor above,” Harry answered, but quickly added. “I really think you’ll be more comfortable in here.”
Malfoy didn’t budge from his spot when Harry opened the door.
“If I’m going to be the head of Slytherin, I should be near the students.”
Harry sighed, and desperately tried not to roll his eyes. He closed the door. “Of course.”
The pair walked in silence down to the Potions office. Harry had taken a peek into Snape’s former quarters when he straightened up the classroom. He remembered thinking it would take months to make it livable.
***
When they walked in, Draco’s heart sank. The office looked like it had been ransacked. Dusty books were scattered on the floor. There was a desk, but no chair. Ingredients had been left out, dried up and were now useless. Broken glass and loose papers littered every corner. The living quarters weren’t in much better shape. It looked as though Snape’s belongings had been picked through over the years until all that was left of the former Potions professor were a few boxes of personal items that nobody else felt were worth taking.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said quietly. “I should have warned you.”
Snapping out of his melancholy, Draco picked up a small knick knack and sighed heavily. “You tried,” he said bitterly.
"The classroom isn’t this bad,” Harry said.
“Ever the optimist, Potter,” Malfoy smirked.
Harry gave a sheepish grin but said nothing. He simply turned around and began walking toward the classroom.
Malfoy followed, and seeing that Harry was indeed correct about the room, set about rearranging things as he pleased. Harry stood awkwardly for a few moments before offering his help. Malfoy told him that he preferred to do it himself.
“I’ll take your bags back up to Slughorn’s, I mean, your quarters,” Harry said.
Reluctantly, Draco agreed as there was no way he could get the classroom and Snape’s quarters in order before the students arrived. He would have to settle for the sixth floor for the time being.
Just before Harry was out of sight, Draco called out a quick thanks. “For . . . everything.”

 

***

 

Clicking his heels on the stone floor, Harry swiftly made his way up the stairs from the dungeons to the sixth floor to drop off Draco’s bags. Thinking on how Draco thanked him sincerely, Harry figured he was speaking specifically about welcoming him into the castle and offering to help him get settled in. His former rival’s face said it went much deeper than that.
Harry's mind was racing in a thousand different directions. Malfoy hadn’t been precisely what he was expecting. There were glimpses of his arrogance and attitude. But generally speaking, he was a humbled version of his former self. His gratitude took Harry by surprise, leaving him feeling . . .
Harry wasn’t sure what he was feeling. On one hand, memories of his rivalry with Malfoy surfaced; memories he hadn’t pondered in years. On the other hand, he saw a possible ally, perhaps even a friend, in the man who showed up in the spoiled pureblood’s place. As the youngest professors, and former classmates, it was easy to conceive that they would gravitate towards one another. Their interaction earlier convinced Harry that they would be able to work together.
No, working together would not be the problem, Harry decided. Keeping from ogling the junior Malfoy would be. Harry found himself turning away several times from Malfoy’s gaze. His grey eyes seemed clear enough for Harry to see right into the man’s soul. Or perhaps he was afraid that Malfoy would be able to see into his. The Slytherin always had a certain degree of intensity in his stare, but it was a different sort now. It wasn’t cold any more.
Actually, it was quite hot.
Harry felt himself warm at that thought.
He feared the situation was worse than he originally thought, as he came to the conclusion that he found Draco Malfoy attractive.

***

It took Draco several hours to put the potions ingredients in the cupboard in an order to his liking. He made notes on which items were running low or were unusable. McGonagall told him she would order whatever supplies he needed straightaway.
He stretched and rolled his shoulders to release the tension from hunching over the desk. His stomach rumbled lightly and he wondered if he had been working so late that he missed supper. Pulling out his gold watch, he saw that the staff supper had begun twenty minutes prior. He hurried to the Great Hall hoping he could still get a bite to eat.
Draco felt a sense of nostalgia as he pushed open the overly large doors and stepped inside. The walk to the head table at the end seemed insufferably long. He could feel many pairs of eyes upon him but noticed that Harry was one of the few who didn’t watch him.
McGonagall stood and smiled. “Everyone, may I introduce our newest Potions professor, Draco Malfoy.”
“Thank you, Headmistress,” Draco bowed shallowly.
“Please have a seat before the food is gone,” she motioned for him to take the empty seat next to her. Professor Flitwick nodded politely at him, while Sibyll Trelawney, on the other side of Flitwick, smiled vacantly at him as if she hadn’t recognized him at all.
“Good evening Professor Trelawney,” he attempted a smile. “Professor Flitwick.”
“Have you settled in yet, Mr. Malfoy?” Flitwick queried.
“No. I have not yet been to my quarters,” he replied. “I was in the Potions class room preparing for students.” Draco paused. “And, if you please, Mr. Malfoy is my father. Call me Draco.”
“Hmm,” was Flitwick’s reply.
“Draco?” Trelawney leaned forward. “I thought you looked familiar.”
When Draco angled forward to address her, he caught sight of Harry, who seemed to be staring at him then quickly looked away.
Trying to disregard his heightened awareness of Harry, he smiled at Sibyll. “Yes, I was one of your students. In Harry’s year.” He glanced Harry’s way, but the brunette was busy pushing food around his plate.
“I remember,” Trelawney said. “You seem quite different now.”
“I am, thank you. Thanks to Headmistress McGonagall.” He turned to nod to her.
“You made your own way,” Minerva said.
Draco continued to carry on polite conversation with Professor Flitwick for the remainder of supper. Once in a while he peeked over at Harry, finding him gawking a bit.

 

***

At first, Harry was glad for his position at the table, three down from Draco. But after a while, he found himself leaning forward a bit more than necessary to speak with Professor Trelawney to his left. Harry’s gaze traveled past her on occasion to get a glimpse of Malfoy. Several times, the Head of Slytherin glanced up, catching Harry, who couldn’t avert his eyes fast enough. After the third or fourth time, Harry leaned back in his seat to avoid Malfoy altogether.
After supper, Harry walked alone back to the second floor attempting to convince himself that Draco wasn’t all that attractive. There was no need for Harry to be behaving like a silly school boy. He was almost to his quarters when he heard foot steps behind him.
“Oi, Potter.”
Harry whirled around to find Malfoy ascending the staircase.
“Yes?”
“I, um,” Draco began, seeming embarrassed. “It’s been a while. I . . . I can’t seem to remember where Slughorn’s office was.”
Standing and gaping, Harry was slow to respond.
“Would you mind showing me where it is again?”
“Sure, no problem,” Harry answered. He waited for Malfoy to continue up the staircase. In an attempt to fill the awkward silence, Harry made small talk.
“Did you get the Potions room sorted out?”
“Yes. The room itself wasn’t in bad shape, but the ingredients cupboard was a mess. Slughorn wasn’t very organized. I almost fear what his quarters look like.”
“Oh, they’re quite nice. And roomy. Roomier than mine at any rate. Perfect for entertaining . . . er, that is if you have someone, I mean . . .” Harry rolled his eyes at his own inappropriateness, probing in to Malfoy’s personal life.
A small smirk graced Draco’s face. “Are you trying to find out if I have a boyfriend?”
“No,” Harry answered quickly, blushing. “Slughorn used to host small parties, is all I’m saying.”
The rest of the journey was silent, except for the voice in Harry’s head berating him for being so transparent and disconcerted. Yet Malfoy came across as self-assured and comfortable in his own skin. The door was unlocked and Harry opened it for Draco to walk through.
“Lumos,” Harry said, holding out his wand. The room was dimly lit, but bright enough for Draco to find some candles to light.
Once the room was sufficiently lit, Harry rummaged around in a desk drawer for the key to the room. “Aha, here it is. I think.”
“What’s that?” Draco asked.
“The key to the room,” Harry replied.
“Oh, I was just going to lock it magically,” Draco frowned.
“Slughorn was a bit paranoid. Had it charmed to open only with this. It’s been left unlocked since he left though,” Harry explained. “Here, you may as well keep it if you decide to re-charm the lock.”
He held the key out. Draco stepped forward and reached for it, their fingers touching briefly. Harry noted that Draco’s hands were soft, for a man.
“Thank you, again,” Draco said. “I find myself saying that a lot since I’ve come back here.”
Unsure how to respond, Harry proceeded to show Draco around the room.
“The private bath is through that door,” Harry pointed. “This is the sitting room, obviously. And that door leads to the bedroom. He kept a private ingredients cabinet that I believe is still in there.” He gestured to a door on the other side of the space.
“You seem to know an awful lot about Slughorn’s chambers,” Draco remarked.
“Well, I spent some time here. He’s somewhat of a mentor. I was in the Slug Club, you know--” Harry cut himself off, thinking he sounded like an arrogant prick. “I only meant that I became rather close with him. After Dumbledore, Sirius and Remus were gone, I was a bit lost. Horace helped me a great deal.”
Draco smiled, “You don’t need to explain. I didn’t mean to pry.” After a few silent moments, he said, “I’m completely knackered. I guess I’ll be off to bed.”
“Right,” Harry nodded. “I’ll leave you to it, then. Good night.”
As swiftly as he could without appearing to run, Harry left Draco’s new chambers. He walked briskly down several staircases until finally reaching his own door. He gave the password and entered.
Immediately, he went to a small cabinet where he kept a bottle of firewhiskey and a carafe of mulled mead. He unstoppered the bottle and drank directly from it.
What is the matter with me? he wondered. You’d think I’ve never been attracted to someone before.
But he’d never been attracted to Malfoy before.
Harry was normally a take charge sort of bloke. He went to muggle pubs and had his pick of attractive young men. They’d find somewhere to go--a hotel, or possibly the other fellow’s home-- and shag. Occasionally, he’d find one of them compatible enough to see again. Perhaps even several times. Whatever happened, Harry was always in control.
So why the hell was he all of a sudden tongue-tied and anxious?

Chapter Text

A couple of days passed before Harry had more interaction with Draco, aside from faculty meals. He bumped into him in the library, literally. Draco had been squatting down in search of a book low on the shelves when Harry stumbled right over him. Harry managed to gracelessly catch himself from falling on top of the blond. However, it didn’t save him from embarrassment.
“Oi, what are you doing down there?” Harry asked, flustered.
“I wouldn’t have been down here had I known you walk around without watching where you’re going,” Draco smirked. He stood and brushed himself off. “I was looking for a book, of course.”
Harry blushed lightly. Obviously, Malfoy was looking for a book. They were in the library.
“Right,” Harry muttered. “Um, how is the Potions office coming along?” he asked, changing the subject.
Draco sighed. “Slowly. There’s a lot to go through. Mainly trash, but I need to go through it carefully in case there is something important.”
“Well, my offer still stands,” Harry said.
“What offer was that?” asked Draco.
“If you need help with Snape’s things . . .”
Draco opened his mouth to turn down the offer, but realized that it would take a lot longer to get things in order on his own.
“Thank you. I could probably use a hand.”
Not realizing just how much work there was to do, Harry felt it was more of a token gesture, just to be friendly. Little did he know, he would end up spending the better part of the following few days in the blond’s company.

*****

“What about this?” Harry asked, holding up an old, battered copy of poetry written by some obscure wizard. He was ready to toss it into the trash pile before getting Malfoy’s answer.
“Keep,” the Slytherin Head called out. He was sitting on the other side of the room, mirroring Harry’s actions of throwing items into either the trash, keep or donate pile.
Harry wrinkled his nose at the book. “Really? It smells.”
“I can always spell it clean,” Draco replied. “Keep,” he repeated when he noticed Harry hesitate.
The same actions had been repeated over and over during the prior three days. They started in the middle of the room and worked their way out. Harry was thankful the job was nearly finished, as it was Saturday, and the last thing he wanted to do was clean on the weekend. On the other hand, he and Draco had more constructive conversations in those three days than they had over the past thirteen years.
As they went through Snape’s personal items, one of them usually had some insight about it. Mostly Draco, but occasionally Harry had something to add.
Most of the day had been spent dividing Snape’s belongings and rearranging the things Draco decided to keep. He offered Harry a few trinkets as keepsakes and put the rest in a small box for McGonagall to donate. Before too long, most of the office had been restored to functional, if not comfortable.
“Alohomora. Open. Difindo.” Harry heard Draco in the other corner muttering spells and waving his wand.
“What have you got over there?” Harry’s curiosity got the better of him.
“It appears to be some sort of diary or love letters. Something to that affect,” Draco answered. “But I can’t open it.”
“There’s probably a password. I doubt you’d just stumble upon it.”
Harry straightened up from sweeping the ground. He rubbed his back, which ached a bit from hunching over all day. Draco walked to join him, book in hand.
“You’re probably right.”
“May I?” Harry held out his hand.
Draco shrugged and handed it over.
“For My Love,” Harry read aloud. “It sounds like it’s written for a lover.”
They both instinctively wrinkled their noses, then laughed at the other’s reaction.
“I don’t recall Severus ever speaking of a lover,” Draco offered. “It’ll probably never open.”
Harry stood looking at the book and wondering. He had an idea. He took out his wand and pointed it.
“Lily,” he said. The book lock released.
“How did you do that?” Draco questioned accusingly. “Did you know about this book before?”
“No,” Harry replied, shaking his head. “He was . . . in love with my mother. But I assumed he must have had other romances. Not that he and my mother were ever romantically involved.”
“And her name was Lily? But she died when--” Draco cut himself off, realizing it may be a sensitive subject for Harry.
“They knew each other as children,” Harry explained. “And then at Hogwarts. He’d been in love with her forever. I saw his memories of her.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. “You are full of surprises, Potter.”
Harry shared what he saw in the pensieve, giving Draco a glimpse of Snape’s softer side. Between the two of them, they formed a fuller, more realistic picture of the man they had both grown to admire greatly.
Despite feeling guilty for prying, the former adversaries sat down and read through some of the journal entries meant for Lily Potter. Though, Harry presumed that Snape would never have actually given it to her.
After reading a particularly sensual and detailed description of his mother, Harry had had enough and left Draco to leaf through the rest of it on his own. At one point Harry could have sworn there were tears in Draco’s eyes, and was then cursing himself for stopping. Harry swept up the remaining trash and dust from the floor while Draco finished the journal. He didn’t notice when Draco approached him with the book.
“Your mother must have been quite extraordinary.” He held out the tome for Harry to take. “You should keep it.”
“No, I couldn’t. You were closer to him,” Harry protested.
“You should read more of it. It’s lovely. I never knew Severus was such a romantic. There are only one or two entries that might make you blush again.”
And just like that, their beautiful moment was ruined. As far as Harry was concerned anyway. Pointing out Harry’s embarrassment had been a faux pas.
Reading the diary had been one of the most profoundly intimate activities he’d ever engaged in that wasn’t actually sexual in nature. And he shared it with Draco Malfoy of all people. In the moment before Draco opened his big mouth, Harry felt a deep connection to the Slytherin.
Going about the rest of his business, Draco hadn’t realized he’d said anything wrong.
Harry ended up taking the journal. He decided that he would not have been nearly as mortified if he read it on his own. Intending to leave as quickly as possible, Harry was once again caught off guard by Draco.
“I really appreciate all of your help, Po-- Harry.” Even after working with Harry and seeing him at meals for the past week, old habits were hard to break.
“No problem. I didn’t like the idea of Snape’s things being abandoned without care. I didn’t really understand him until after he died. But, he was a good man.”
Draco looked around at the newly restored office. “Not quite how he kept it . . .”
“But it’s not his office anymore,” Harry said. “It’s yours. And it should be kept how you want it.”
“Thanks. I’d like to repay you for all your help. Perhaps I could treat for supper some time. Although, it hardly seems a fair trade.”
In his mind Harry couldn’t help thinking that cleaning up and moving the Potions supplies down to the dungeons was well worth a night out alone with Draco. He mentally smacked himself for that thought. “Well, are you busy tonight?” Harry asked.
“No,” Draco shrugged.
“It’s about supper time now. Let’s go for a pint or two. I haven’t been to the Leaky Cauldron in ages.”

*****

Draco and Harry went to their respective rooms to change for supper and met back up at the entrance hall.
“I thought we were just going to the Leaky,” Draco said when he saw Harry dressed in a soft button down shirt and nice trousers. Draco wore jeans and trainers as opposed to his usual attire, which was much the way Harry was currently dressed.
“We are,” Harry answered.
“But you look so . . . dressed up.”
“It’s how you usually dress,” Harry shrugged. “Of course these clothes didn’t come from Twilfitt and Tattings,” he chortled.
“Clearly, I no longer shop there,” Draco said as he drew his hands over his outfit to make his point.
“You look great. It’s about time you started dressing like the rest of us. Let’s go,” Harry said before the compliment could register in Draco’s mind.

Once inside the Leaky Cauldron, neither of them cared how they were dressed. The place was dark and filled with people that paid them no mind. They had to wait several minutes for a table and each had a butter beer while they waited.
“It’s funny,” Harry said. “There was a time when I couldn’t go out in public without someone accosting me--thanking me or telling me about their lost loved ones. A few people asked me to bless them.” He laughed out loud.
“Yeah, I had a similar problem,” Draco commiserated. “Except people spat on me, or tried to hex me. Or actually did hex me. A few people told me they wished I’d died in the war.” Draco took a long swig of his butter beer, finishing it.
“I’m sorry. I wish things had been different for you. It wasn’t your fault.”
“It wasn’t yours either.”
A waitress came by to seat them at a table, breaking the melancholy mood they had fallen into. She led them to a corner booth with a candle on it. Harry thought it would have been very romantic if it had been a date. And if there weren’t a bunch of rowdy drunk wizards singing loudly in another corner.
They each ordered a proper beer and a starter of fried cheese.
“So, do you miss it?” Draco started up the conversation again, but this time he would be careful not to bring it down.
“Miss what?”
“The fame, the notoriety.”
Harry shook his head emphatically. “Not at all. Everybody wanted something from me. It was like I was everybody’s saviour---okay, poor choice of words. Maybe I was because of Voldemort, but people wanted more. I like the life I have at Hogwarts much better. What about you?”
“Things are better. As much as I loathe Rita Skeeter, her series of articles completely degrading me downgraded my status from Death Eater to laughing stock. I’ll take laughing stock. At least everyone leaves me alone now.”
Harry smiled.
“What?” Draco frowned.
“Nothing. You took that very well. There was a time when you would have had an all out hissy fit over someone making fun of you.”
“We may be back at Hogwarts, Potter, but we’re no longer children.”
Their fried cheese and pints arrived and they each ordered a main dish from the limited menu. They discussed the curriculums for their classes and speculated what this years crop of first years would be like. Harry filled Draco in on new policies and gave him suggestions on when to give research assignments based on when other professors gave theirs. Draco felt as though he should have been writing some of it down, but Harry assured him that he would be happy to help anytime.
Too many beers sent Draco to the loo in the middle of supper, leaving Harry contemplating the evening on his own. He could scarcely believe how well they were getting on. He wished that some of his proper dates had gone so well.
The waitress came to check on them and Harry ordered more liquor. He thought he may screw up enough courage to suggest to Draco that there could be a real friendship between them. Perhaps even something more.
When Draco returned to the table, Harry dismissed his earlier notion. Draco had his life back in order. He was sophisticated and certainly not lacking for fit admirers. Why on earth would he want to have anything to do with plain old Harry Potter--who hadn’t even the courage to come out yet?

 

*****

 

“Steady there. You’re in no shape to apparate,” Draco said as he grabbed a hold of Harry’s arm, keeping him from falling over. It was well past midnight and he and Harry had been drinking beer and snacking all evening at the Leaky while reminiscing about their youth at Hogwarts.
“I’m fine,” Harry replied. He paused a moment then said, “I think I’m gonna be sick.”
“Well, don’t do it here. I’ll take you back to the castle.”
With his hand still on Harry’s arm, Draco apparated them to the gate outside Hogwarts. He removed the charms in order to open the gate and led Harry inside. After restoring the wards, he guided Harry to his second floor quarters, stopping several times along the way when he thought Harry might gob. He was thankful when they reached Harry’s quarters without incident.
Draco tried the door to find it unlocked. He smirked to himself, thinking that down in Slytherin, he would never have left his door unlocked.
“In you go, Potter.”
Harry stumbled inside and went directly to the door leading to his bed chamber. He struggled with the handle, prompting Draco to help him open the door. Harry tried to sit down in a chair, but was dragged to his bed and gently pushed down into a prone position. Draco lifted his feet up, then sat on the edge of the bed to take off Harry’s shoes.
“You’re still completely pissed,” Draco shook his head. “I didn’t think you had that much more than me.”
Harry grinned. “I did a few extra shots when you went to the loo.”
“Good thing tomorrow is Sunday. You’re going to have one hell of a hangover. I assume I won’t see you at breakfast. Better get some sleep.” Draco patted his shoulder.
Suddenly, Harry sat up. “Where’s my kiss?” he slurred.
“Sorry?” Draco frowned.
“There’s supposed to be a kiss at the end of a date.”
Rendered speechless, Draco sat gaping.
Harry leaned forward, closed his eyes . . . and promptly passed out on Draco’s chest.
Snapping out of his shock, Draco looked down at the messy head of hair resting on him and chuckled softly.
“Lightweight.”
He cradled Harry’s head and leaned him back onto his pillow. He sat observing Harry. Was the Gryffindor always like this when he was drunk? Was he deluded into thinking Draco was some girl?
Draco sighed. He leaned over Harry and whispered, “It was a lovely date.” Then he gently pressed his lips to Harry’s.
On his way back up to his own chambers, Draco thought about what happened in Harry’s room. He hoped Harry really was as out of it as he seemed. The last thing he wanted was for his colleague to know he was harboring a secret crush on him.

 

*****

As predicted, Harry was a no show for breakfast. Draco was admittedly a bit surprised when he showed up for lunch even. Several other professors were not present, leaving a large gap between Draco and Harry’s regular places. During the long walk to the table, Harry contemplated where he should sit. Would it be odd to leave three empty spaces between him and Draco? Or would it be too obvious to sit right next to him? McGonagall made the decision for him.
“We’re a rather small group this afternoon, Harry. Why don’t you sit next to Draco so we can all chat together?”
Avoiding Draco’s eyes, Harry nodded. “Morning,” he mumbled and sat down. Of McGonagall, he asked, “Where is everyone?”
“Oh, Sibyll and Pomona went to Diagon Alley. Of course Professor Binns never eats in the Great Hall.” Minerva glanced at the door as it creaked open. “And here come Professors Flitwick and Sinistra.”
“Does Hagrid no longer work here?” Draco asked, puzzled.
“Oh, he’s participating in an exchange program this year,” Minerva said. “He wanted to work with dragons in Romania. One of their experts came here to teach Hagrid’s class.”
“I see,” said Draco.
Minerva leaned a little closer and lowered her voice. “He stays in Hagrid’s hut most of the time. Not very social.”
Since Harry was already seated next to Draco, he thought it would be odd if he moved to his usual place. The other professors took the two seats to Harry’s right without interrupting their conversation.
As the group ate, conversation was casual among most of them. Draco kept silent, mostly listening. But he occasionally glanced at Harry as he spoke to Minerva. Harry continued to avoid looking at Draco, being embarrassed by his drunkenness the night before. He wondered if he said or did something in his stupor that made Draco so quiet.
After lunch was over, Harry followed Draco out. Instead of stopping on the second floor, he continued on until he caught up with the blond.
“Draco, wait,” he called out.
Draco stopped and turned around, seeing Harry on the steps below him. Harry stepped up and Draco walked down as they met somewhere in the middle.
“What is it?”
“Is everything okay? You were awfully quiet at lunch.”
“Yeah, fine.”
Harry looked around to see if there was anyone wandering nearby. “Look, I know what you did last night,” he said in a hushed voice.
“Uh . . .” Draco was left speechless. He was certain Harry had been unconscious when he kissed him. How could he possibly have known?
“I’m so sorry I put you in a position to have to be responsible for me like that. It was very unprofessional of me to get so pissed,” said Harry.
Draco relaxed a bit when he realized that Harry was only speaking of the way Draco took care of him. “We were out after school hours as friends, not as professors. At least you didn’t throw up on me.”
Harry blushed slightly and smiled. “That’s good to know. I hope I didn’t do anything else stupid.”
“Not at all,” Draco answered. If Harry didn’t remember, he wasn’t about to tell him.

Chapter Text

Students arrived at last, keeping all of the professors busy. Harry and Draco had little time for socializing, and just when Harry thought they were finally making progress towards real friendship. They had bonded over Snape’s memory, each sharing their thoughts and feelings about the man. Though Harry had not looked forward to doing the work necessary to clean up Snape’s office, he was glad for the opportunity it provided to get to know the new Head of Slytherin House.
On his way to the Great Hall, just about a month into the school year, Harry spotted Draco’s blond head above the rest.
“Oi! Malfoy,” he called out.
Several students turned around to look at Harry curiously.
“Professor Malfoy,” he corrected himself. But the other man still didn’t turn around. He tried again, without success to get Draco’s attention.
“Draco!” Harry shouted.
At last, the Slytherin stopped and turned around. Harry could see that he had a thin cord in his ear. He had obviously been listening to his portable Wireless. Draco pulled the tiny earbuds out of his ears.
“Did you call me?”
“Sorry. I didn’t know you were listening to something.”
“Oh,” Draco looked down at the device in his hand. “It was an interview with Gwenog Jones and Finbar Quigley. The Harpies are going against the Bats in a couple of weeks, October 23rd. Should be an exciting game.”
“Still following Quidditch?” Harry asked.
“Who isn’t?” Draco retorted.
Harry smiled. There was one more point of interest the men shared.
“Maybe we could compare thoughts on the Quidditch teams this year,” Harry suggested. “I’ve always been a Puddlemere United fan myself. And, of course, the Harpies as well, because of Ginny.”
“Yes, I’ve actually seen her play.”
“You have?”
“I have season tickets,” Draco said. “It’s one of the few things to which I treat myself. You should come with me to the Harpies/Bats match.”
Nodding fiercely, Harry replied, “I’d love to. I haven’t been to a match in ages.”
“Then it’s settled,” Draco smiled. “Going in to supper?”
The pair resumed walking to the Great Hall. The corridors had thinned out, allowing the men to set a leisurely pace.
“You know, I feel like I still owe you for our trip to the Leaky Cauldron. And now you’ve invited me to Quidditch. Let me make it up to you Saturday night. I promise I won’t get so buggered that you have to apparate me back again.” Harry hoped his invitation sounded casual and unrehearsed, despite that fact that he’d been trying to find a way to get another night out with Draco.
Draco shook his head. “No.”
“Oh,” Harry didn’t know how to respond. He’d just been asked to accompany Draco for an outing. He wasn’t expecting to be turned down.
“I mean, I’d like to, but I already have plans,” Draco elaborated.
“Oh,” Harry said again, relieved that it wasn’t an all out rejection. He looked expectantly at the other man for an explanation.
“I . . . have a date,” Draco answered.
“Oh.” Harry was beginning to wonder if he would ever come up with an intelligent response. Something aside from ‘oh’. “Another time, then,” he said, trying to keep the disappointment out of his voice.
By that time, they had reached the head table and proceeded to take their respective seats. All throughout the meal, Harry wondered what sort of man Draco would be dating. He found himself feeling more than a twinge of jealousy. The two had been getting on so well, and he was sure there was some sort of attraction. Well, there was on his part anyway. But he reminded himself that Draco didn’t even know Harry was gay. And unless the man was a glutton for punishment, he wouldn’t be carrying a torch for a straight man. Harry sighed heavily.
“Everything all right dear?” Sibyll Trelawny asked, her eyes appearing to bug out behind her thick glasses. She placed a sympathetic hand on top of Harry’s. “Trouble with love?”
Harry raised his eyebrows. He’d never had a tremendous amount of faith in her psychic abilities. How could she have known what he was thinking about?
Reading his expression, she said, “No, Harry, I can’t read your mind. It was in your tea leaves, remember?”
“What? Oh, yeah.” Harry recalled humoring the witch before the beginning of the year with a reading of his tea leaves. She told him he would never find true love until he removed the mask he wore to protect his heart, and fully accepted himself as he was. Only then would he find the love of his life. It sounded a bit generic to Harry, although he understood the personal meaning for himself. He thought the advice could apply to just about anyone, and dismissed it.
He smiled at Sibyll. “I don’t seem to have much luck in that department.”
“You will dear. You’re a fine, handsome young man.” She patted his hand and leaned closer. “Any wizard would be lucky to catch you.”
Harry wondered if Trelawny misspoke or if she meant to use the word wizard rather than witch. She often said things that, to Harry, were odd. Before he gave it a second thought, the dishes and food began to disappear, indicating the end of supper.
Harry made his way back toward his chambers afterward. He had planned a floo call with Ron and Hermione that night, but other than that, he had no real plans for the weekend. He wished he had suggested that he and Draco go out that night, since it was Friday. If he suggested it now, he would appear too eager.
As he stepped into his room, he took out one of the books Hermione had given him to read over the summer. He knew she would ask about it, and he wanted to be able to say that he had at least started it.

*****

Harry awoke with a start to Hermione’s voice, calling from the fireplace. He’d fallen asleep reading the book she gave him. To his dismay, he’d only gotten to page twenty-three.
“Hi Hermione.” Harry sat up and spoke into the flames. “You caught me napping,” he chuckled with embarrassment.
“Oh, I see you’re reading The Life and Times of Alfred Woolvington,” Hermione grinned. “How do you like it so far?”
“Um, great,” he lied. Frankly, it was so boring that his mind wandered off into more interesting places. He’d promptly fallen asleep to dream about kissing a certain pair of Slytherin lips.
“He’s fascinating, isn’t he? I can’t imagine how long it took him to identify thirty-one different types of magical ferns,” she said excitedly.
“Oh, well, I haven’t gotten that far yet. I’ve been very busy getting my classroom together and helping Draco with Snape’s old office. And then once the students arrived--”
“Draco? As in Malfoy? Don’t tell me he’s the new Potions professor,” Ron butted in.
“Oh, did I forget to mention that last time we spoke?” Harry played dumb. He knew he didn’t.
“It makes sense Ron,” Hermione chimed in. “He’s always been good at potions and he’s Slytherin.”
“And a Death Eater,” Ron quickly added.
“Ex,” Harry clarified. “He’s really quite different than we remembered him in school. I suppose we all are. Anyway, we have to work together, so it’s in our best interest to get along.”
“And you helped him do something with Snape’s office?” Hermione questioned.
“Yes. It was a mess,” Harry told them. “Professor Slughorn used the sixth floor quarters as his own. Snape’s were pretty much abandoned. Some of it was hard to go through.” He decided for some reason to leave out the journal he and Draco came across. He wanted to keep it private between only them. “I wish I had known the real Snape before he died. I wish I’d thought better of him while I had the chance.”
“Harry, none of us knew. Only Dumbledore did. There was no way we could have known what he sacrificed or how brave he really was,” Hermione pointed out.
“I know.” Harry lowered his gaze. “But it was nice to go through his things with D-Malfoy. He respected the man, and Snape’s possessions meant something to him. It also showed me another side to Draco.” Harry forgot to refer to his formal rival the way they usually did, by his surname.
“Well, watch your back anyway, Harry,” Ron warned.
The three carried on conversation for a few more minutes before Harry realized that he was free the following night. Though he was hoping for a Saturday night out with his coworker, he would gladly settle for time with his best friends.
“Instead of this floo call, why don’t we all meet tomorrow night? I’ve got no plans and it’s been ages since we’ve seen each other in the flesh.”
“Great idea Harry,” Ron said. “Where to? The Leaky Cauldron?”
Hermione wrinkled her nose. “That place is always full of drunks. Can’t we go to The Three Broomsticks or someplace in muggle London?”
Harry smiled to himself at Hermione’s comment. He had been one of those drunks she talked about. “Whatever you want Mione.”
“Three Broomsticks then,” she said. “Say, seven o’clock?”
“Sounds great.”
They ended the call with Harry feeling excited about seeing his friends. It would take his mind off Draco and his date the following evening.

 

*****

 

Nearly falling backward from the force of Hermione’s hug, Harry squeezed her back. When she finally let go, Harry shook hands with Ron and gave him a pat on the shoulder.
“It’s been far too long, Harry,” Hermione said as she sat down at a table across from him and Ron. “We didn’t even go out for your birthday.”
“Birthdays never meant that much to me, Mione. And it’s only been since June.”
“Well, four months is a long time, considering we used to see each other every weekend before you started at Hogwarts,” she pointed out. “By the way, how is it going this year?”
“Good. Not much different from last year. Except for the Potion’s professor, of course.” He wanted to kick himself for opening up the conversation to a subject he was hoping to avoid with his friends. He didn’t want to be in a position to defend his new friend for fear of revealing his true feelings.
“Speak of the devil, literally,” Ron sneered and nudged Harry. Hermione turned around .
Harry looked up to see Draco walking in. Their eyes met briefly before a very tall man with shoulder length brown hair approached Draco and held his hand out to shake. Tearing his gaze from Harry, Draco directed his attention toward the other man, smiling politely. He took the offered hand and was gently pulled forward as the tall brunette kissed his cheek.
“Oh, it looks like Malfoy is here on a date,” Hermione commented.
“Great pick, Hermione,” grumbled Ron.
Rather than take a table, Draco and his date left the pub. Harry was torn between being disappointed at Draco’s exit and being glad he didn’t have to watch him canoodling another man.
“I guess Malfoy’s gotten over the flack about him being queer. And a sick one at that.”
“Ron, you don’t really believe all that rubbish Rita Skeeter wrote about him , do you?” Harry questioned defensively.
“Why not? There were enough men willing to spill their secrets. At least some of it had to be true.”
“Really Ron,” Hermione sighed. “She’s notorious for fudging facts and even outright lying.”
“I’ll bet most of those men didn’t even know Draco,” Harry added.
“All right, all right. The two of you don’t have to gang up on me. I don’t care what the pervert does with other queers.” He took a swig of lager.
Hermione crossed her arms over her chest. “You don’t have anything against homosexuals, do you Ron?”
Laughing, Ron replied. “No. I definitely don’t have anything against them. Not my hands, not my legs, and especially not my arse.” He shivered dramatically. “Why on earth would a bloke want another bloke when he could have a soft, curvy beauty like Hermione.”
She blushed at Ron’s crude compliment.
“She is a beauty,” Harry agreed. “But she’s already got you. The rest of us are out of luck.” He had considered telling his friends about his sexual predilections. But that had been before Ron made his comments. Harry decide to leave well enough alone for the time being.
“You’ll find someone Harry,” Hermione smiled sympathetically. “In fact, there are a couple of young women I work with that might--”
Ron cut her off. “Harry doesn’t need to be set up.”
“When was the last time you had a date?” Hermione questioned. “Even Malfoy seems to be more social than you.”
“Uh, well, I don’t know. I’ve been busy.” Harry wasn’t about to tell them about his latest foray into the world of the muggle bar scene. In reality, it had only been about a month since he had a date. Well, not a date exactly. More like an encounter. But that was all Harry ever had. It had been good enough for him. Up until Draco Malfoy showed up at Hogwarts, Harry didn’t think he wanted any kind of commitment.
“Too busy for love? Harry, you’ll never find a nice girl and have a family if you don’t put yourself out there. Don’t you want a family?”
“I do. I think I do,” Harry replied.
“Let me help you,” Hermione begged. “Who are you going to meet at Hogwarts? You need to be introduced to new people.”
Trying his best to keep the smile from his face at Hermione’s rhetorical question, Harry said, “I’m fine on my own, Mione.” Though he was thinking that he’d met the perfect person at Hogwarts.
“But my friend Althea and you would get along so well. Please? Just go out with her one time.”
“Maybe she won’t want to go out with me,” Harry said.
“Really mate?” Ron raised his eyebrows at Harry’s ridiculous suggestion. “You’re the fucking Chosen One. What bird in her right mind wouldn’t want to go out with you?” He shook his head in disbelief. “You’re too modest for your own good. You could get anyone you wanted.”
Anyone? Harry wondered. Sure, lots of witches were impressed by his heroism during the war. But Draco wasn’t sucked in by the drama. He knew Harry was just a regular bloke deep down inside. A plain, ordinary bloke. No match for the suave, sophisticated pureblood.
“Ron’s correct,” Hermione said. “Besides, I’ve sort of already mentioned to Althea that the pair of you have a lot in common.”
“Mione, why did you do that without talking to me first?” Harry complained.
Looking a bit sheepish, Hermione continued. “After speaking with you last night, the idea just popped in my head. All I’m asking is one evening with her. She’s quite pretty.”
Ron leaned closer to Harry. “Actually, she’s fucking gorgeous. And stacked,” he said in a hushed voice.
Hermione kicked him under the table.
“Ouch! What was that for? I’m trying to talk her up to ‘im.”
“Leave next Saturday free,” Hermione said. Her tone told Harry that it was less a request than an order. He glanced at Ron for support.
“Best to just go with it,” Ron shrugged.
Harry sighed and nodded. “All right.”
The three friends spent the rest of the evening munching on pub grub, beer and lemonade. Harry made sure not to overindulge in order to apparate back to Hogwarts in one piece.
Within an hour of arriving back to his chambers, Harry received Hermione’s owl informing him that he did indeed have a date planned with Miss Althea Bridgewater for the following Saturday at eight o’clock. Hermione chose a muggle restaurant called Blue Fish and provided walking directions from the Ministry, since the restaurant was nearby.
Harry sighed heavily and flopped back on his bed after replying that he would meet the girl. He didn’t want to lead the poor girl on, but Hermione left him little choice.

 

*****

 

Thursday following his night out with Ron and Hermione, Harry was beginning to regret his decision to let Hermione set him up on a date. It had been a long week and the students, particularly the higher years, were getting distracted by a Halloween dance planned at the end of the month. Halloween had always been one of Harry’s favorite holidays at Hogwarts, so he understood. But it didn’t make his job any easier. Worse, the faculty had to chaperone the dance. Harry always felt awkward at dances, the worst having been the Yule Ball Fourth Year. He supposed it must have had something to do with being uncomfortable around girls. And dancing with them was somewhat objectionable.

Glad that his classes were over for the day, he made his way to the Great Hall for supper. He was a little early, but he brought a copy of the Prophet to read in peace before most of the students arrived.
Engrossed in an article about a series of robberies, Harry didn’t notice Draco walk in until he was almost to the table.
“Oh, hi,” Harry said with a small smile.
“I’m not disturbing you, am I?” Draco asked. When Harry shook his head, he sat down next to Harry. “Extra hungry today, Potter?” he joked.
“I just didn’t feel like fighting the crowds tonight. The students are driving me crazy,” he admitted.
“So it’s not just me?” Draco laughed. “All the kids want to learn about is potions to help them with their costumes. Whose idea was it anyway to have a costume party?”
“I guess I don’t mind the party so much,” Harry said. “It’s all in good fun.”
“Well, I think I’m going to need a few shots of fire whiskey at the end of this week.”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed.
After a pause, Draco asked, “How about that pub night you owe me?”
“Pub night?”
“I’m visiting Pansy on Friday night, but I’m free Saturday night. If you can control yourself this time,” Draco teased.
Harry smiled at the prospect. “That’d be brilliant.” Then he remembered that he already had plans. His smile dropped. “I can’t. I forgot I have a . . . date, that night.”
“Oh. I didn’t realize you were seeing anyone.”
“I’m not. Hermione set me up with one of her friends from work,” Harry answered glumly.
“Well don’t look so excited,” Draco chuckled.
Harry sighed. “I know Mione means well, but I think I can choose my own company. I wish she’d just leave it.”
“It must be a girl thing. Pansy’s constantly talking up some bloke or another to me. She says she only wants me to be happy.”
“Aren’t you?” Harry questioned before he could stop himself.
Draco shrugged. “I’m not unhappy,” he answered cryptically.
“What about that fellow from last week?” Harry couldn’t seem to stop asking Draco personal questions.
“Lorenzo? He was only someone from . . .” he trailed off.
“From what?” Harry prodded.
A light blush overtook Draco’s face. “Pansy signed me up for . . . a dating service,” he replied, rolling his eyes.
“Oh.” Harry was surprised. With Draco’s good looks, he didn’t think he ever had trouble finding companionship. “Hermione’s like her own one-woman dating service.”
Draco laughed out loud at Harry’s comment. “I hope she’s better at it than Wand Match for Lonely Wizards.”
“Not really. Lorenzo was no good?
“He was nice enough I guess,” the blond shrugged. “There was no chemistry. No . . . passion. We could barely carry on a conversation.”
Inwardly, Harry was gratified to hear that. He felt guilty for being happy that Draco’s date had been a bust.
“So what’s wrong with the girls that Granger sets you up with?”
What Harry wanted to answer was, lack of a penis. He was certain Draco’s eyes would have bugged out at that response.
He settled for, “Same complaint I suppose. They’re just not right for me.” As much as he wanted to confess his true preference to Draco, he felt he owed it to Ron and Hermione to tell them first.
“I’m curious what sorts of characteristics the Chosen One would require in a partner,” Draco smirked.
If Draco had used the word girl, woman, or wife, Harry would have felt that any answer he gave would be a lie. Because he said partner, Harry allowed himself to indulge.
“Well,” Harry pondered. He didn’t think he’d ever given it specific thought. But it was as good a time as any. “I think a good sense of humor is important.”
Draco nodded in agreement.
“Intelligent. I mean, not necessarily a genius or anything. It’s not as if I’m very smart,” Harry laughed sheepishly. “I’d like someone who has a mind of their own, but is willing to compromise. Definitely someone that doesn’t see me as a hero, but rather as . . . me.”
Raising an eyebrow, Draco said, “That’s a tall order right there. You are everybody’s hero.”
“Not to Ron and Mione. Not to the Weasleys,” Harry told him.
Draco nodded again. He understood that true friends saw the whole picture, not just a few famous, or infamous, actions.
“Fair enough, what else?”
“Passion.” Harry subconsciously licked his lips, causing the blond to smirk.
“That’s always a plus. It’s difficult to get going for someone without it.”
Harry reddened slightly. “Oh, uh, yeah. But what I meant was, um, passion about life. You know, something that keeps you excited, energized.”
“Such as?”
“Anything. Not necessarily the same things I’m passionate about. But something.” Harry shrugged.
“And what are you passionate about?” Draco’s lip curled subtly.
“Quidditch, for one. And I’ve taken to writing.” Harry laughed. “It’s kind of funny. When I was a student, I hated writing essays. Hermione would always be on my case to get them done. Now that I have the time, I’ve discovered that I enjoy writing.”
“Really? What do you write?” Draco’s interest was piqued.
Flustered by the question, Harry evaded.
“Oh, nothing of consequence.”
Draco sensed Harry’s trepidation and temporarily dropped the subject.
“Hmm. So any other special qualities you look for?” He asked, continuing the interrogation.
Thinking a moment longer. “Someone who’s strong, but has a soft side,” he said quietly. “Maybe one that only I get to see.”
Their eyes met briefly as Harry realized that he’d described Draco’s best qualities to a T, prompting him to look away. He felt as though it was so obvious, Draco would know in an instant. However, the blond seemed to remain oblivious.
“Well, I hope your date is all that, then.”
Before Harry could reply, students began noisily filing in. Draco got up and went to his usual seat.
“Yeah,” Harry sighed. “Somehow I doubt that,” he said to himself.

***

Chapter Text

At precisely eight o’clock on Saturday night, Harry arrived at Blue Fish to meet Althea Bridgewater. The witch was already there, in a small waiting area. She stood when she saw Harry, recognizing him instantly.
He held his hand out to the girl. “You must be Althea. I’m Harry.”
“Yes, of course,” she smiled.
Althea was a pretty girl. Ron was right about that. She looked to be a couple of years younger than he. She worked at the Ministry in the Muggle Artifact department, as she was muggle born herself. The witch wore modern muggle clothing and appeared very comfortable in this particular restaurant. In many ways, she reminded Harry of Hermione.
The pair was seated in a dimly lit corner booth of the restaurant. Harry noted that it was quite the romantic atmosphere. He was certain that was why Hermione chose it.
“Nice place,” he commented.
“Yes,” she agreed. “The crab stuffed sole is the specialty.”
“Not blue fish?”Harry asked in all sincerity.
Althea giggled at the joke she thought Harry was making.
After looking over the menu, Harry decided to try the sole, with green beans amandine. Althea ordered the same. They also ordered a bottle of wine, recommended by the waiter. Harry and Althea nibbled on crusty rolls and carried on conversation while they waited for their meal.
“So, Althea, Hermione tells me you work with muggle artifacts. How do you like it?”
“Frankly, it’s rather easy for me, being raised muggle. I’d really like something more challenging, but the department head values my expertise,” she said without sounding at all boastful.
“I understand,” Harry said. “I sometimes find it amusing when wizards are confused by muggle devices.”
She smiled. “We have that in common.”
Harry politely asked her some well rehearsed questions about her job, hobbies and family life. He found that in her spare time, she enjoyed the theater and read voraciously. She had two brothers, one of whom was also a wizard. But he lived mostly in the muggle world as he was very close to the other brother.
When their food arrived, they spoke about Hogwarts. He hadn’t remembered her. She told him that she was a Hufflepuff three years his junior, and she had been rather shy. So she wasn’t surprised that he didn’t know her.
By the time they were halfway through their fish dishes, Harry felt as though he knew everything there was to know about Miss Althea Bridgewater.
“So,” Harry smiled. “Don’t you want to ask me anything?”
Raising an eyebrow, she replied, “You’re Harry Potter. Everyone already knows all about you.”
The smile faded from his lips. “I suppose that’s what most people think.”
“Oh, I didn’t mean any offense. It’s just that there are several books in Flourish and Blott’s about your life. I’ve read two of them. Fascinating. You were so brave through the war.”
Harry frowned, recalling one of his ideal characteristics of a potential partner.
“But those books are only about what I did, not who I am.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “But a person’s actions say a great deal about that person. Someone of lesser character or conviction could not have accomplished all that you did.”
“I always had help.”
“And your modesty also speaks volumes of your character.”
“Still, not about me, personally. Although, it seems you have a high opinion of me.”
“I do have a very high opinion of you,” Althea smiled and put down her fork. “Honestly, Hermione has told me so much about your personal life, I thought it would be disingenuous to ask questions to which I already know the answer.” A light blush filled her face.
“Kind of Hermione to do that. Takes away the bother of getting to know a person,” he joked.
“She didn’t mention your interest in men, however,” Althea commented, taking a sip of her wine. She continued in response to Harry’s blank expression. “Forgive me, but I couldn’t help notice the way you’ve been admiring the young man two tables away.”
“I, uh . . .” Harry hardly knew what to say. He wasn’t exactly prepared to have this conversation with a virtual stranger. And yet, he was almost relieved that someone finally took notice of his behavior.
“As exemplary as you have conducted yourself this evening, it was difficult for me not to observe the way your attention has been split.”
Harry let out a long sigh and finished off his glass of wine. He immediately poured another and drank half.
“But I suspect Hermione didn’t share that piece of information because she doesn’t know herself.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry said, feeling his face warm. Whether from embarrassment or the quick consumption of wine, he wasn’t certain.
“Please forgive my forwardness,” Althea smiled sympathetically. “I didn’t intend to embarrass you. The polite thing to do would have been to keep my observations to myself, thank you for a lovely evening, then tell Hermione it just didn’t work out.”
“No. It’s all right,” Harry said, still flustered. “No one has ever noticed before. Or if they have, they’ve never mentioned it. I think Hermione’s been so hell-bent on finding me the right woman, she’s blind to the truth. And Ron, well, I don’t think anything like that would even cross his mind.”
“I promise I won’t say a word to anyone. Not even Hermione,” Althea assured him.
“Thank you.”
“May I ask you a personal question?”
“After all the questions I’ve asked you tonight, how could I refuse?” Harry chuckled.
“Why would you subject yourself to my company, when you clearly would prefer his?” She gestured subtly to the sandy haired man not far from their table. “If I’m not mistaken, his attention has wandered your way as well.”
Harry could fell himself flush. The young man to whom Althea was referring got up from his table with his party to leave the restaurant. As he did, he glanced back at Harry and smiled. Normally, Harry would have taken that as an invitation to follow. If he hadn’t been with Miss Bridgewater, he just may have.
“Unless, you’ve got someone special already?”
Slowly, Harry met her eyes. He was torn between keeping his privacy and getting his secret off his chest. Not that he would mention Draco by name.
“Well . . . there is somebody, sort of,” Harry confessed. “But he has no idea,” he sighed.
“What are you waiting for?” she asked. “Where’s your Gryffindor spirit? You’re wasting your time with me when you could be with one who truly makes you happy.”
He looked at her hesitantly. Did she mean for him to leave her and go tell Draco how he felt?
“Go on,” she urged and shooed with her hands. “I’ll be fine. Just let me know if it works out,” she giggled.
Standing, and gaining courage, Harry took out money to cover their meals and a tip. “And for the record, meeting you wasn’t a waste of my time at all. You’re perfectly lovely company. I hope you find a nice bloke who deserves you.”
He leaned over and kissed her cheek.
“You too,” she called as he rushed out of the restaurant.

*****

Moving through the castle as swiftly as possible, Harry grew nervous the closer he came to Draco’s quarters. Back at the restaurant with Althea urging him on, he felt much more confident. But he was determined to follow through.
At last he found himself standing in front of Draco’s door. Doubt crept its way into his mind and he faltered for a moment. Then he knocked and waited.
When the door opened, Draco stood, looking somewhat surprised, with his shirt completely unbuttoned and feet bare.
“Potter?”
“Hi,” Harry could barely get the word out, distracted by the glorious sight of Draco’s bare chest.
“Are you all right? Didn’t you have a date tonight?” Draco asked.
“I, uh, came to tell you---”
“Who’s there Dra?” a voice interrupted Harry. A male voice.
Leaning so that he could see out the door, Blaise Zabini sat in an overstuffed arm chair. Harry could see that his tie was loose around his neck and and the top few buttons of his shirt were undone. In his hand, he held a glass of wine.
“Is that Potter?” he asked incredulously, putting emphasis on Harry’s name.
“Shut it Blaise,” Draco called into the room. “What did you come to tell me?” he asked Harry gently.
Taking in the situation--Draco’s state of undress, Blaise in his room sharing wine--Harry’s Gryffindor courage floundered.
“I, um . . .”
He glanced down at the bare chest before him once more, this time noticing several faint scars. Then it dawned on him.
“Oh my God. I did that, didn’t I?” He gestured with a finger.
Draco looked down at himself. “Potter, it’s fine. I--”
“I’m sorry,” Harry blurted out. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t mean to interrupt your evening.”
Harry backed up before Draco could do anything to stop him. He turned and quickly descended the stair case. Mortified on more than one level, Harry mentally berated himself for his foolhardy behavior. Of course Draco would be entertaining a lover on a Saturday night. The fact that it was Blaise Zabini was a bit surprising. Harry was fairly certain he was straight and had been dating one of the Greengrass girls off and on. Then again, anyone asked about Harry would have said he was straight as well.
“Stupid fuck,” Harry said aloud to his mirror as he began to change for bed. “Draco would never pick you, you stupid git. Who in their right mind would want someone who nearly killed him?”
Though it was relatively early for a weekend night, Harry readied himself for bed and fell asleep, mentally exhausted from the evening’s events.
That night he dreamt of the altercation in the prefect’s bathroom that led to the scars on Draco’s chest. In the dream, however, instead of crying in front of a mirror, Draco was snogging Blaise Zabini.

*****

 

Sunday morning, Harry opened his eyes to a bright sunny day. He was feeling anything but sunny, however. How was he supposed to face Draco after practically walking in on him and Zabini?
Harry rubbed his face, trying to erase the humiliation he felt. Luckily, he had some fruit in his room, so he decided to skip breakfast and put off encountering Draco. With any luck, he could avoid him all week.
Unfortunately, by lunch time, Harry was starving. He strolled to the Great Hall hoping to arrive well after Draco. His plan was to go straight to his seat without having to interact with the blond. When he reached the Hall, all but two seats were taken--his and Draco’s.
He couldn’t help feeling a pang of jealousy. His mind immediately imagined that Draco and Zabini had stayed up all night shagging, and were still sleeping in. Grumbling, Harry sat down and began eating. Trelawney must have sensed his foul mood and wisely kept to herself throughout the meal.
Afterwards, Harry thought some fresh air would do him some good. He was out in the courtyard when he wished he had brought a book with him. Instead, he opted for a walk by the lake. The air was cool but the sun warmed his black robes and dark hair. He closed his eyes and turned his face toward the sun. Beginning to feel his mood lift, Harry headed back to the castle.
“Harry,” Suddenly Draco was standing in front of him.
“Oh, hi,” Harry answered awkwardly.
“Listen, about last night--”
“My fault,” Harry interrupted, “I should have owled or something first. I didn’t consider that you may have been . . . um, hosting your, um, boyfriend or whatever.”
He wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible.
“Blaise? My boyfriend?” Draco laughed out loud. “Merlin, is that what you thought was going on?”
“Well, you were undressed and drinking wine . . .”
“I don’t possess much modesty, Potter. Blaise and I were dorm mates for years. I have no qualms about changing in front of him. It does nothing for either one of us. Blaise is most definitely as straight as they come.”
“Oh.” Harry felt foolish for assuming, but secretly glad he was mistaken.
“Actually, I was referring to the scars you saw.”
Harry winced at the mention of them.
“I’m so sorry. I had no idea that spell left permanent marks,” he apologized. “You must have really hated me after that.”
“No,” Draco protested. “I mean, I was upset. I probably had it coming though. Especially considering what I was planning to do.”
Shaking his head, Harry replied. “It was careless use of magic. I shouldn’t have even tried it. It wasn’t until Dumbledore . . .died, that I realized you didn’t want to kill him. You were just scared. If I’d helped you instead of cursing you . . .”
“Nobody could help me,” Draco told him. “Nobody except Snape. He didn’t want to kill Dumbledore any more than I did. He was braver than me. And he saved my life. I deserved what you did to me.”
Instinctively, Harry placed a reassuring hand on Draco’s arm.
“Dumbledore was going to die anyway. Did you know that? He was cursed by one of the Horcruxes. He asked Snape to do it so you wouldn’t have to. Dumbledore really did care about you. So did Snape.”
Draco glanced down at the hand, causing Harry to retract it, thinking the touch was not welcome.
“Thank you for telling me that,” Draco said. “I’ve always felt so guilty about that. And I wondered why he didn’t try to defend himself.”
“I thought you should know,” said Harry quietly. “I really am sorry.”
Waving a hand, Draco told Harry, “The scars don’t bother me. I’ve been told they add a bit of mystery. Sometimes I make up fantastical stories about how I got them,” he laughed. “A couple of blokes thought they were a turn on. They haven’t hurt my sex life any,” he grinned.
Harry still looked unsure.
“Really,” the blond assured him. “Don’t give it another thought.”
“All right,” Harry replied reluctantly. “Well, I’d better go prepare for the week.” He began to walk up to the castle door.
“Wait,” Draco called. “What was it you wanted to tell me last night?”
“Huh?” Harry spun around and stared blankly, desperate to come up with any answer but the truth. “Oh, I was wondering if you would mind helping me with . . . my DADA class,” he lied. It even sounded insincere to himself. Then a brilliant idea came to him. “I thought you could come and talk to the students about your experiences with the Dark Arts. If it wouldn’t be too disturbing for you.”
With brows furrowed, Draco nodded. “Of course. But . . .” He had the feeling that wasn’t the true reason for Harry’s visit. He let it go nonetheless.
“Brilliant,” Harry smiled, pleased with his cover story. “Let me know when you’d be available.”
“I’ll take a look at my schedule.”
As Harry walked away, Draco watched. Though the favor Harry asked was reasonable, he couldn’t shake the feeling that wasn’t at all the motivation for Harry’s visit the night before.
The following week brought a bit of peace for Harry. The inspired favor he had asked Draco on Sunday had proved useful, as the more Harry thought about it, the more he thought it was actually a good idea. The two planned a day for Draco to come to Harry’s DADA class and talk about the dark times when the Death Eaters took over his family’s manor. They both seemed to forget about the uncomfortable encounter at Draco’s door, and things had gone back to the way the were before Harry’s date with Althea. Harry decided to settle for Draco’s company in any form it came. If they were to remain friends, Harry would just have to learn to get over his crush.
Draco certainly didn’t make it easy on him. The man oozed sex appeal and never discouraged Harry’s attention. At times, he even sought Harry out--to get in some flying practice or a game of chess.

*****

 

Harry had just finished speaking to a student requiring some extra help, when he was poked in the ribs from behind. Ready to draw his wand, Harry turned around to find Draco with a large grin on his face.
“Ready for tomorrow, Potter?”
“Tomorrow?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about the Quidditch match. I’ll be heartbroken,” Draco said dramatically. It was saying things like that which kept Harry hoping, despite knowing what a flirt the man was.
“You actually want me to go with you?” Harry asked. “I thought you were being polite. Wouldn’t you rather take Blaise?”
“Oh, if you don’t want to go . . .” Draco trailed off.
“No. I do. If you’re sure you want me along.”
“Of course I’m sure. Besides, Blaise isn’t much of a fan. I thought maybe we could have a friendly wager. I assume you’ll be rooting for the Harpies.”
“It would be traitorous of me not to. What sort of wager?” Harry questioned.
“Betting for money is frowned upon, so I thought perhaps a couple of rounds of fire whiskey or supper would do.”
“You’re on,” Harry said and offered his hand.
Draco took it and the pair shook. Harry couldn’t help notice that the shake seemed to linger a bit longer than necessary. He wasn’t at all certain which of the two of them was responsible for sustaining it. Not that Harry was complaining.

Chapter Text

“That’s another ten points for the Harpies!” the announcer shouted. Harry’s team was winning by thirty points.
Ginny had played well but was hit by the bludger an hour into the game. Though she didn’t seem seriously injured, she had been taken to hospital to be on the safe side.
“I hope Gin’s all right. But I have a feeling you’ll be paying for those drinks,” Harry said. “The Harpies are on fire.”
“Nah, I think Quigley is just warming up. Actually, I think he’s quite hot,” Draco laughed.
“Yeah,” Harry agreed enthusiastically, forgetting himself as he watched the players flying around the pitch.
Draco’s head whipped around. Did he hear Harry correctly? Perhaps Harry misheard him. At that moment, the Harpies scored again and Harry cheered wildly, unaware that Draco was watching him.
The stands grew quieter, and Draco saw an opportunity for conversation.
“So, you never did tell me how your date went last weekend.” After what Harry just said, he wanted to test if it was simply a case of misunderstanding, or if Harry really did think Finbar Quigley was hot. The latter would prove an interesting twist if true. There were little things here and there that Harry did or said that made Draco sometimes imagine he could be bent. But never anything so blatant as calling another man hot.
“It was okay,” Harry had to raise his voice a little over the crowd.
“Just okay?”
“Don’t get me wrong, Althea’s very nice, a lot like Hermione. Maybe too much like Hermione. I liked her, though,” Harry shrugged.
“But not romantically?” Draco queried. “I guess she didn’t have enough of those required qualities you’re looking for.”
“You make it sound as though I have a check list to complete. As a matter of fact, she did possess a lot of those qualities. I usually go for someone less conservative, more laid back, though,” Harry answered.
“Ah. Does that translate into easy?” Draco teased.
“Are you suggesting I shag on a first date?”
“Do you?”
Harry laughed at Draco’s directness. He liked it. “I’d have to say that depends on how the date went.”
“Then I take it you didn’t shag this Althea.”
Harry subconsciously made a face.
Draco was beginning to think he wasn’t going to be able to get the information out of Harry he was looking for.
Out of the blue, Harry volunteered. “Although, going out with Althea made me realize something. I’d rather find a real relationship than shag virtual strangers anyway.” Harry’s countenance became pensive. “Someone who knows me, you know. Not as some silly hero figure, but me, with all my many imperfections. And he loves me anyway,” he said, distracted by the game.
Before Draco’s jaw could drop, or Harry could realize what he’d just said, the Bats’ seeker caught the snitch and the crowd roared to life. Even though it wasn’t his team, Harry stood with everyone and cheered. It was a spectacular catch. Draco appeared to be the only fan who had not risen from his seat. He simply watched Harry.
That time, he distinctly heard him say ‘he’, when referring to his future love. Suddenly, the improbable seemed possible. If only he could find a way into the Gryffindor’s lonely heart.
“Looks like supper’s on me.” Even though he lost the bet, Harry was in good spirits. The game had energized him, and it had been announced that Ginny was not seriously injured and would play in the next match.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t get to meet the players like Ginny offered, but I’m glad she’s all right. I’ll have to send her a get well note. Would you mind if we stopped at an owlry before we eat?”
Still preoccupied by Harry’s subconscious confession, Draco simply nodded his approval.

*****

 

After sending off the note, the two men decided to go once again to the Leaky Cauldron. Harry also managed to persuade Draco to stop at a sweet shop on the way. The blond himself didn’t have a sweet tooth, but Harry had a craving for chocoballs.
They sat in the same corner booth from their first pub night. Harry went on and on about the match, while Draco listened and watched.
“You know, in a way, I’m glad I lost our bet,” Harry said, then took a drink of lager.
“How’s that?”
“Well, I don’t have season Quidditch tickets so I can’t reciprocate. At least I can treat you to supper.” Harry liked the idea of taking Draco out, even if it was only in his mind. “I didn’t realize how much I needed to get away from the castle until we arrived at the match.”
“Yes, it seemed to be a particularly exhausting week. I imagine next week will be worse, what with the Halloween Ball coming up.”
Harry nodded in agreement.
Draco asked, “So, what sort of costume are you wearing to the Halloween dance?”
“What? Professors are expected to dress up?”
“Don’t look in such a panic,” Draco laughed. “Don’t you like to dress up?”
“I wanted to as a child, but not as a grown man,” Harry explained. “Why, do you?”
Draco grinned. “It’s sort of fun, isn’t it? Hiding your identity, wearing a mask? Of course, as professors, we’ll need to be fairly easy to spot, in case a student needs us.”
Wearing a mask. The phrase reminded Harry of Trelawney’s reading. He figured he was already in disguise.
“I haven’t given it any thought,” Harry said. “I only have a week to come up with a costume. How are you dressing up?”
“I’m considering going as a vampire,” Draco told him. “All I need is a black cape and a potion to grow temporary fangs.
“Oh, that’s pretty simple,” Harry frowned. “I’ll have to come up with something simple like that.”
“I wouldn’t mind if you borrow my idea,” Draco smirked. He personally thought vampires were very sensual and he wouldn’t mind seeing Harry dressed that way. “If you promise not to bite.” He chanced a not-so-subtle innuendo.
Hiding behind his tall glass, Harry muttered something about coming up with some idea. He downed the rest of his beer, the thought of biting Draco now stuck in his head.

 

*****

The pair strolled through the gate, reset the wards and made their way into the castle. It was a bit chilly outside, but Harry felt oddly warm. The evening was perfectly lovely. The Quidditch match was brilliant, conversation flowed smoothly, the food was enjoyable and the company was charming. It was the best date Harry had ever been on.
Too bad it wasn’t actually a date.
But if it had been, the part where he got to kiss his date was getting close. The butterflies were churning as he walked up the staircase next to Draco. Harry’s quarters were coming up first and he was trying to think of an excuse to invite him inside.
They stood on the landing outside Harry’s door.
“Well, at least I don’t have to practically carry you into your chambers this time,” Draco chuckled awkwardly.
“Right. Completely sober this time,” Harry replied, equally awkward.
“Um, I’ve got some fire whiskey or Sherry if you’re interested in a nightcap,” Draco offered.
Harry was quick to answer, “All right.” He didn’t want the evening to end, even if it was all in his head. They continued up to the sixth floor.
Opening the door, Draco stood aside and let Harry walk in first.
“Forgot to leave a light on,” Draco mumbled as he took out his wand to cast a few Incendios on the candle sconces about the room.
By the flickering light, Harry could see that the room was different from the way Slughorn used to keep it. Not quite completely Slytherin, there were touches of green. Rich, forest colored curtains hung in the window and through an archway he could see a duvet of mostly silver satin with a paisley green pattern covered his bed. The furniture was simpler than Slughorn’s, more modern and sleeker. And though Draco had cleaned out and organized the Potions office down in the dungeons, he still kept a personal ingredient cupboard in his room.
Draco strode to a liquor cabinet that Harry could see was not very full.
“I have fire whiskey, Sherry, and a bottle of wine.” He picked up the bottle and looked at it. “Actually, it’s champagne.”
Hesitating on his decision, Harry thought about his choices. He could use the courage of fire whiskey, but the champagne was a more elegant choice. But they weren’t really celebrating anything.
“Sherry, please.”
Draco removed two small, long stemmed glasses and unstoppered the bottle. He gave it a sniff before pouring.
As he handed Harry his glass, their fingers touched briefly, giving Harry a quick jolt in the pit of his stomach.
“This is good,” he said, after taking a sip.
“I may not have as much money as I used to, but I still have good taste,” Draco grinned. “Which is why there are only three bottles in my liquor cabinet,” he laughed.
“Quality, not quantity,” Harry nodded and took another sip.
“Indeed,” Draco agreed. The warmth of the liquor soothed and relaxed him. He was feeling less self conscious than he had when they first arrived.
Harry watched Draco as he tipped his head back slightly to get to the bottom of his Sherry glass--his second one of the evening. Draco’s Adam’s apple glided up and down, leading Harry’s eyes to the hollow of his neck. The top button of his shirt was undone, enticing Harry to look further. The candle light further romanticized Draco’s features. And Harry was so caught up in his observations that he hadn’t taken notice that Draco had moved closer until he began speaking.
“You know, I remember something you said that first night we went to the Leaky.”
Harry swallowed the lump that formed in his throat.
“Wha-what did I say?”
“You told me that there’s supposed to be a kiss at the end of a date.”
“I did?” Harry asked breathlessly.
Draco nodded and took a step closer.
“So, I guess, what I want to know is . . .” He took another small step. “Is this . . . a date?” he asked softly.
Harry let out a Sherry sweetened breath that Draco was close enough to feel on his face. He felt pinned in place by Draco’s gaze and remained statue-like.
Closing the very small gap separating them, Draco leaned forward and pressed his lips to Harry’s.
Instantly, Harry’s brain shorted out. Though he’d been pretending the evening was a date in his head, the last thing he expected was for his former rival to make a move on him.
When Draco pulled back, he was horrified to find the expression on Harry’s face was one of shock, not pleasure. There was an excruciatingly long pause before he could speak.
“Fucking hell, you aren’t gay after all. I can’t believe I totally misread you. I thought you . . . wanted . . . but you said he.”
“I am. I do,” Harry said, snapping out of his daze. “You didn’t misread me.” He figured the best way to convince Draco that he had been right about Harry was to kiss him back.
Harry wrapped his hand around the back of Draco’s head and pulled him forward, crushing his lips just a bit too hard. They snogged feverishly, then slowed to a more leisurely pace, sucking and licking at one another’s mouths. The whole while, Harry was still in disbelief that his fantasy had come to fruition.
Finally, breaking apart, the pair stared and smiled goofily at each other.
“I do want you, Draco,” Harry confessed. “I like you, a lot.”
An uncontrollable and uncharacteristic grin crossed Draco’s slightly swollen lips. He sighed with relief. “Good. Because I really like you too. But why didn’t you ever tell me you’re queer?”
Harry blushed. “I don’t know. I didn’t think you’d be interested. And I was afraid. So now what?”
“Now I get to take off your clothes and find out what’s underneath.”
A high pitched squeak escaped Harry’s throat. His fantasy scenario had never gotten past that first kiss, and the thought of moving further, perhaps even all the way, caused an obvious physical reaction.
“Oh Merlin, it’s been so long, I hope I can last ‘til then.”
“Me too,” Draco laughed.
They wasted no time trying to rid one another of clothing. Halfway through disrobing, they fell back into snogging and groping. Draco’s hand snaked its way into Harry’s unzipped jeans to find a cock of granite.
Harry moaned and leaned into the hand, begging for more friction. Draco moved his hand inside Harry’s pants and the skin on skin contact was almost too much for Harry. His moans were muffled by Draco’s mouth.
Knowing it would most likely bring Harry to his climax sooner than desired, Draco continued to stroke his cock as they stood in the middle of the room kissing. The blond enjoyed the noises Harry made, and even more so that he was the cause.
Suddenly Harry broke off the kissing. “Draco stop. I’m gonna cum already.”
“Oh, yeah,” Draco breathed in his ear, continuing to stroke.
Knees buckling, Harry shuddered and cried out. He grabbed tightly onto the other man’s shoulder to steady himself as he came all over Draco’s hand, his own clothes and a bit on the floor. His head fell back in white hot pleasure.
“Fuck. I didn’t mean to do that.” Harry lifted his head to face Draco. “I mean, I did. But not like that.”
“You weren’t kidding, were you?” Draco laughed. “But there was nothing wrong with that. It was sexy.” He flicked his wand at the mess and Vanished it.
“Oh, yes, premature ejaculation is so sexy,” Harry said sarcastically.
“I’d like to think of it more in terms of you finding me so hot, you couldn’t help yourself.”
“That is true,” Harry conceded. “And now that I’m a little more clear headed--no pun intended--I can concentrate on you.”
Harry slipped off the shirt that Draco was barely wearing and let it fall to the floor. He knelt down and finished unbuttoning the fly on Draco’s jeans. He looked up at Draco, his green eyes more intense than ever while he pulled Draco’s cock free of its confinement.
Rather than use his rough hands, Harry wrapped his lips around the pale pink tip in front of him, holding Draco’s gaze as he sucked and took the cock down his throat. Draco closed his eyes and sighed heavily, entranced by Harry’s attention.
“Bloody hell. I may not last any longer than you.”
Hands found their way into the thick mass of dark hair following its movements back and forth. Draco began to thrust his hips in counter rhythm to Harry’s. He lasted longer than Harry, but not much, giving him a warning. Harry responded by sucking harder and speeding up his actions.
When Draco came, he left no mess behind, as Harry swallowed every drop.
“Shite, that was the best blow job I’ve gotten in a long time.”
“A long time? Not ever?” Harry asked, wiping his mouth and standing to face his new lover.
“You’re full of yourself,” Draco teased.
“Actually, at the moment, I’m full of you.”
Draco’s eyes widened. He liked the naughty side of the former Gryffindor goody-goody. Glancing at his mantle clock, Draco yawned. It was past one in the morning.
“I suppose we ought to call it a night,” Draco said reluctantly. “We’ve got the Hogsmeade trip early tomorrow.”
“Oh, right. I almost forgot about that.” Harry zipped up his jeans and began buttoning his shirt.
Wishing he hadn’t suggested the evening end, Draco bent down to retrieve his own shirt, but didn’t put it back on. “You could stay,” he blurted out.
Harry froze for a minute. Things were moving a little faster than he expected.
“Forget I said that,” Draco said when he saw the look on Harry’s face.
“No. I love that you said that. But I . . . I’m sorry, I don’t think I’m ready for---”
“Don’t apologize,” Draco said gently. “I got ahead of myself. We should probably be discreet anyway. The last thing we need is for rumors to get started.”
“You mean, you want to keep it a secret?”
“Don’t misunderstand me,” Draco quickly replied. “I’m not ashamed or anything. But once the staff and students find out, it’ll be in the papers shortly after. You’ve been very careful to keep your personal life out of the press. And being associated with me will probably hurt your reputation.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. It’s been easy for me to keep relationships private. Mainly because I’ve had so few. Ginny was my last public relationship.”
“Yes, I know, which is why it took me so long to figure you out.”
“I’ve only dated muggle men,” Harry confessed. “They don’t go blabbing to Rita Skeeter when things turn sour.”
Harry was referring to Draco’s very public coming out at the hands of a scorned lover. Skeeter splashed the story on the front page of the newspaper for weeks. Past lovers, and some simply looking for fame, came out of the woodwork to dish about Draco’s sex habits and strange fetishes. Most were fabricated but it didn’t matter. The wizarding world lapped it up and Draco had been humiliated.
After that, he was much more selective in the company he kept, so he understood Harry’s preference for muggle men. He wasn’t worried about Harry, however. He had much more to lose than Draco if their relationship made the front page.
“I guess I’d better be going then,” Harry was loathe to agree.
“Best to take a round about route in case someone sees you.”
They paused to look at one another again and grinned. Harry stepped forward to gently kiss Draco goodnight.
“Maybe next time we’ll make it to the bed,” Harry whispered.
“I look forward to it.”
Draco opened up his door and glanced around to see if anyone was in the hallway. It was late enough that all the students should have been in their dormitories. But they both knew all too well that students were often where they weren’t supposed to be.
Slipping out the door, Harry quickly and quietly as possible bounded down the stairs toward his own quarters. He strolled on lost in thoughts of the evening. He couldn’t wait to tell---
“Bloody hell, how am I going to tell Ron I’m seeing Draco?” He voiced aloud.
Maybe he would have to keep it to himself for now. He wasn’t sure if even Hermione would understand, though she was more supportive of Draco becoming a Hogwarts professor. But they hadn’t spent the past two months getting to know the person Draco had become. That would have to be remedied. Harry’s best friends had to be the first to know about the relationship, then he could tackle the wizard community. And even before that, Harry would have to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality.
If Draco’s experience was anything to go by, Harry was in for a rough ride.

Chapter Text

Sunday morning, bright and early, students were gathered together in groups to make the trip to Hogsmeade. Older students were allowed to go occasionally on their own, but first and second years went together.
Harry stood with a group of Gryffindors checking their names to a list. He would be escorting six of them on their first trip to the little village.
Looking around, he spotted Draco with a small group of Slytherin Second years. Draco glanced up to find Harry watching him. He gave a small wave, to which Harry smiled. It suddenly occurred to him that he shouldn’t be sharing flirtatious smiles and waves with the Potions professor while in the company of students and staff. It was difficult, though to keep from stealing glimpses of his new lover.
The groups became separated as they all made their way to the shops. Harry took his students inside Dervish and Banges first, while Draco directed his students into Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop. The men caught sight of each other once in a while as people wandered through the old hamlet. Around half-eleven, both Harry and Draco’s groups found themselves at The Three Broomsticks.
“Professor Potter,” Draco greeted them. “Gryffindors.” He nodded to the students.
“Professor Malfoy,” Harry returned. “Are you here for lunch?”
“No, just a short break and something cold to drink before we head back.”
“Us as well,” Harry said. “Perhaps this would be a good opportunity for the Houses to mingle,” he suggested.
“Excellent idea,” Draco agreed, though many of the students grumbled. “Well, go on then. Find a few tables and sit down together.”
The Gryffindors looked at Harry wide-eyed.
“It’s all right. They may be snakes but they won’t really bite you,” he joked.
The students found two large tables next to one another and sat down, Gryffs at one, Slytherins at the other. Harry shrugged. At least they were making somewhat of an effort.
Draco laughed. “It’s more than we would have done.”
The two men sat at a small table and ordered drinks for the students and themselves.
“I could really use something stronger than lemonade,” Harry confessed. “This has been exhausting. They have so many questions. And too much money. It took forever to get out of Honeydukes.”
“My group is rather indifferent,” Draco said. “But I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less from Slytherins. Some things never change.”
“Some things do,” Harry replied softly. He rested his hand on the bench next to him. With his other hand, he picked up his glass to drink.
Draco noticed what Harry had done and casually dropped his hand to his lap, then slid it off and onto the bench next to Harry’s. Harry responded by inching his hand over until it was touching Draco’s. He felt the warmth in his chest, wishing the pair of them were alone. Draco then boldly moved his hand over top of the other. Hearts pounding on the inside, neither looked at the other, and from the view above the table, no one would have known they were interacting at all. To the casual observer, they were simply a couple of coworkers sitting next to one another, having a quick drink and watching over their students.
Wondering exactly how far he could take their clandestine contact, Harry made a move towards Draco’s leg. The Slytherin professor didn’t stop him as Harry’s palm rested on his upper thigh. The warmth then moved to Harry’s groin and he thought if he kept at it, he would not be able to stand up to lead his pupils out for a a while.
“Good afternoon professors!”
Harry was jolted out of calm preoccupation and swiftly withdrew his hand. Draco banged his hand hard on the underside of the table, trying to bring it up in a hurry.
“Fu--” he looked at his students and censored himself. “Gosh, that hurt.”
Harry couldn’t help giggling. “Good afternoon Horace. What brings you to Hogsmeade today?”
“Well, I wouldn’t have come if I’d known about the Hogwarts trip,” Professor Slughorn laughed. “But it’s always good to see you Harry. And how is my successor faring?” he asked Draco.
Still rubbing his hand, Draco answered, “Very well, thank you. Are you enjoying your retirement?”
Slughorn sat down on the other side of the table. “Yes, I’ve been doing some long put off traveling. Venice was magnificent. Clever of those muggles to build it on water. A bit impractical, but lovely.”
“Never been there myself,” Harry told him.
“I have,” Draco said.
“You have?”
Draco nodded. “With my parents. A long time ago. I haven’t done much traveling in the past several years, except to go to France to student teach.”
“Oh, I love Paris,” Horace squealed. He went on and on about his many trips to Paris. He and Draco talked about their favorite places in France and even spoke a bit in French.
Harry watched the two of them, jealous of their common interest. The only traveling Harry had done was on his search for horcruxes. And that certainly wasn’t for pleasure. He was impressed, and more than a little turned on by Draco speaking French. Catching himself staring, Harry cleared his throat and joined the conversation.
“I think I’ll be taking my group back now. I don’t want them to miss lunch.”
“Right,” Draco agreed. “We should be going professor. But it was good to see you.”
“And you boys as well,” Slughorn smiled.
All three men stood and shook hands goodbye.
“Let’s go Slytherins,” Draco called to his group. He turned to Harry with a wavering expression. “Should we . . . leave separately or something?”
With a smile, Harry answered, “I don’t think there’s anything suspicious about two professors walking their students back from Hogsmeade together.”
Draco nodded. “Right,” he smirked.
“Unless you hold my hand again,” Harry whispered. To his students he said, “Come on, you lot. Finish up your drinks. It’s time to go back.”

*****

Having just returned from the school wide trip to Hogsmeade, Harry picked up The Life and Times of Alfred Woolvington in an attempt to make some headway. Hermione kept asking about it. He had the feeling she wouldn’t let up until he was finished and gave his full evaluation of the tome.
Thankfully, a knock interrupted before he could get settled in too deeply.
“Draco,” he said as he opened the door. “What are you doing here? I thought you had lesson plans to write.”
“I couldn’t wait. Screw the lessons plans.”
“I have a better idea,” Harry grinned, looking about the hallway to see if anyone was nearby. “How about you screw me instead,” he said in a hushed voice.
Draco stepped inside and immediately began to snog the other professor. His hands made quick work of the buttons on Harry’s shirt, then moved down to his trousers.
Removing his glasses and tossing them onto the nearest surface, Harry proceeded to undress Draco.
“I’ve been half hard ever since we sat down at Three Broomsticks,” Harry mumbled into the blond’s mouth. “I want you to fuck me.”
Pulling back suddenly, Draco stared at Harry.
“You want me to . . . but you’re . . . one of the most powerful . . . you bottom?”
Harry laughed at Draco’s surprise. Though, he could understand the confusion.
“I feel like I’m always in charge. Sometimes, I like to give up control.” He put his lips close to Draco’s ear and whispered. “Sometimes, I even like to submit. I know a few tricks with magical ropes.”
Draco let out an involuntary moan.
“But for now,” Harry continued. “I think I just need you in me.”
With renewed fervor, Draco stripped the clothing from Harry’s body faster and nudged him backward through the door to Harry’s bed. Harry fell back, clad in only his violet colored pants. As Draco rid himself of the rest of his own clothes, he admired Harry’s fit form, including the impressive outline of his erection.
“I’m going to make love to you like no one else ever has,” the blond breathed, sucking on a rigid nipple.
“Now who’s full of himself?” Harry teased, thoroughly enjoying the attention.
Draco leaned back far enough to look Harry in the eye, his own eyes filled with lust---and something more. He nuzzled Harry’s neck, then nibbled at his ear.
“I know I will. No one else has ever loved you the way I do,” Draco mumbled and moved in for a kiss, but was stopped by Harry’s hand on his chest.
“You what?”
For a moment, Draco stared at him, blinking.
“Did you say that you love me?”
“Fuck, did I say that out loud?”
Harry wriggled beneath Draco and scooted out from under him. He was somewhat speechless. Though he was developing strong feelings for the Potions professor, he wouldn’t say he was in love. Definitely in lust, but not love. It was too soon.
“I didn’t mean to say that,” Draco admitted. “I got caught up . . .”
“So, you don’t love me?”
Draco turned away and sat on the edge of the bed. “Yes, I do. I just didn’t mean to tell you,” he said softly. “I’ve scared you off now, haven’t I?”
Tugging on Draco’s arm so he could face him, Harry smiled. “It’s flattering. A little sudden, but flattering.”
“It’s not sudden. I’ve been in love with you since we were seventeen.” Draco gathered up the courage to look at Harry directly. “But I never dared to hope that you would ever feel the same for me. Until you saved me from the Room of Requirement, I didn’t think we‘d be anything but enemies.”
Harry was quiet, prompting Draco to fill the silence.
“Being here, at Hogwarts with you has brought up all the old emotions. More than that, getting to know you has only reaffirmed my feelings. So, it may seem sudden to you, but for me, it’s been years.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Harry replied.
“Just say I haven’t ruined everything.”
“No, you haven’t ruined anything. But . . . it does change things.” Harry took a deep breath and let it back out. “I think we shouldn’t rush this. I don’t think I’d feel right about you pouring your heart into something that turns out to be a fling.”
“I’m willing to take that chance.”
“I’m not,” Harry said. “We should slow down and really get to know each other better. See what we have here. See if it’s something that will last.”
“You don’t want to have sex? At all?” Draco asked, disbelieving.
“Of course I do,” Harry laughed. “I’m only asking for a little time.” He paused. “To catch up to you.”
Draco looked disappointed.
“Because, if things keep going the way they have been, I think I will. And when we make love for the first time, it will be amazing.”
The corner of Draco’s mouth curled. Harry was willing to put off a quick shag in the hopes of a more meaningful relationship.
“How can I refuse?”
“You can’t refuse me, I’m Harry Potter,” the brunette smirked.

*****

 

Harry looked in the mirror and sighed. He wondered how he could have let Professor Flitwick talk him into the outfit he was currently wearing. At the time, it seemed a fairly benign costume and a good choice. Harry only wanted something easy and comfortable. And while he was physically comfortable, he couldn’t help being self-conscious.
“Well, it’s too late now,” he said to himself.
He noticed the time and forced himself to leave the safety of his quarters for the Great Hall. Chaperones for the Halloween Dance were supposed to be there before students arrived, but Harry dawdled and ended up walking in after the music began. Many of the student were already there.
Trying to sneak in, Harry skirted the perimeter of the room making his way to the refreshment table. His plan was to stand behind the table for the majority of the night.
As luck would have it, Draco was standing right next to the refreshments. His eyes scanned Harry up and down.
“Remind me to send whomever gave you that outfit a fruit basket or something,” he smirked.
Harry blushed. “I knew I shouldn’t have worn this.” He tried to scoot behind the table but Draco blocked his way. Harry backed up, feeling warm from Draco’s proximity.
“On the contrary, you look smashing. I never cared much for kilts before. But it’s starting to grow on me.” He paused. “Well, something is. I’m glad I’m wearing these robes.”
“Shut it, Draco. Someone will hear you.”
“Oh, pshhh,” Draco waved him off. “It’s much too loud in here. No one is paying attention to us.”
Harry tugged at the kilt he was wearing as part of his traditional Highland dress, complete with brogues and hose.
“I look like a prize idiot,” Harry said. “And this skirt is too short.”
Draco laughed. “It’s not a skirt. It’s a kilt. And your legs look quite nice.” He leaned a bit closer. “I’d like to reach up under there to find out if your wearing pants or going traditional.”
Harry let out a small gasp.
“Good evening Professors,” McGonagall appeared out of nowhere.
“Good evening, Minerva,” Draco bowed slightly.
“I’m going to change,” Harry mumbled.
“Nonsense, Harry,” McGonagall smiled. “You look just fine. I’ve always had an affinity for tartan plaids.”
“Why aren’t you in costume?” Harry questioned. She was wearing clothing which closely resembled what she tended to wear daily.
“But I am, Harry. I’m Hesper Starkey,” she smirked and walked away.
“Hmf. No fair dressing like another witch,” Harry grumbled. “That’s not a costume.”
“I suppose I’d better mingle too,” Draco suggested. “Or it might look like we like each other.” He grinned wickedly, showing his newly grown fangs, and walked away into the crowd.
Harry grabbed a cup of punch and went in the opposite direction. He wandered around watching students dance, speaking with a few of them. At times, he forgot how he was dressed, until he noticed one or two of the Seventh Year girls staring at his legs. He quickly fled the area in search of a darker place to hide.
He found himself standing off in a corner with Professors Trelawney and Flitwick. Trelawney had grown butterfly wings, but otherwise didn’t appear much different. Although, Harry thought her large glasses gave her appropriate bug eyes. Flitwick was dressed as some sort of animal-- a dog or possibly a wolf.
“I hate these parties,” Flitwick commented.
“Tell me about it,” Harry agreed. “I didn’t enjoy them all that much when I was a student. What about you, Sibyll?”
“Oh, yes,” she replied. “But there are so many other things I could be doing. I was trying to remember if I watered my plants this morning.”
“I see you took my advice, Harry,” Flitwick said.
“Yes, Filius. However, you neglected to mention how short these skir--er, kilts are.”
“He seems to be having fun, though.” Trelawney gestured toward the dance floor.
Following her line of sight, Harry spotted Draco dancing with several students. It was purely in good fun, but Harry felt a swell of envy. Unlike most of the professors, the young Potions Master was joining in the merriment. And the students, particularly the female ones, enjoyed dancing in close proximity to the handsome professor. They giggled and nudged one another. And though Harry knew Draco had no interest in them whatsoever, he still felt envious.
“Well of course he is,” Filius groused. “He’s very popular with the pupils. Being tall and handsome has its advantages. Not to mention the curiosity about his Death Eater past. It makes him an irresistible mystery to them.”
“Yeah,” Harry said absentmindedly.
“You seem to have become friendly with Professor Malfoy, Harry. Do you find him mysterious?” asked Trelawney.
“Um, he’s really quite open about his experiences with the Dark Lord,” he replied. “I had him come to a couple of classes to speak about it with the older students.”
“Really?” Flitwick was surprised.
“Well, it’s a Dark Arts class, after all,” Harry responded
“I’d say your classes have twice the benefits, with you and Professor Malfoy on staff,” Trelawney remarked. “The pair of you are quite a knowledgeable team.”
She gave Harry a funny look, one he couldn’t quite read. The corner of her mouth rose slightly. “Yes, I think you two make quite a team.”
“Im not feeling so well,” Harry said. “I think I’m going to leave.” He made an excuse to get out of there to avoid Trelawney probing into his personal life. He wasn’t sure if she had some psychic vision of him and Draco together, or if she was simply being observant. Though Harry thought he was careful to not reveal his feelings, he sometimes felt his affection for his coworker was written all over his face. Being one of those times, Harry cursed himself.
As he left the Great Hall, he glanced around for Draco. He didn’t see him, and assumed he was lost somewhere in the middle of the crowd, partying with the students. Harry’s jealousy was getting the better of him, and by the time he reached his door, he was fuming.
How could Draco flaunt himself so in front of the students?
The moment Harry stepped over the threshold, the door slammed shut behind him, startling him. He was thrust up against the wall and accosted by a pair of sharp teeth scraping against his neck.
His gut reactions was to take out his wand. Before doing anything rash, he heard the assailant moan and murmur.
“It was excruciating to watch you and not be able to touch you,” Draco breathed across Harry’s throat.
He flicked his tongue out between the fangs he had grown for the occasion.
“You looked like you were having plenty of fun without me,” Harry remarked, unable to keep the pettiness out of his voice.
Draco pulled away, a small pout on his lips. “I would rather have been dancing with you.”
Harry said nothing, feeling like a berk for having behaved like a possessive girlfriend.
“You can’t really think I would rather have been hanging out with a bunch of young girls. You have nothing to be insecure about. I told you, I’m in love with you. Only you.”
“Draco, I--”
Draco held his finger to Harry’s lips. “Don’t say anything. Just let me love you.”
He took a small vial out of his trouser pocket and uncorked it, downing the purple liquid in one gulp. Slowly, his teeth returned normal. He removed his robes and stood before Harry. Dressed all in black, with his hair gelled back, Draco looked startlingly similar to a much younger version of himself.
Harry took a step forward and ran his fingers through the blond tresses, tousling them.
“There, that’s better,” Harry smiled.
Taking Harry’s hand, Draco led him to the bedroom and gently nudged him down onto the bed. First, he removed Harry’s shoes, the way he had the night Harry got too pissed to do it himself. Then he removed his own. He lay down, scooping Harry close to his body, and wedging a knee between Harry’s legs.
Harry gazed into Draco’s eyes. Removing Harry’s glasses, Draco placed them on the bedside table. He snuggled Harry closer and closed his eyes.
For a moment, Harry lay still waiting for Draco’s hand to wander down his chest, or his knee to press up against his bollocks. But the only move the Potions professor made was to stroke the fringe from Harry’s forehead and kiss it.
“Close your eyes, Harry,” he whispered. “For a little while. I just want to be with you.”
Harry kissed Draco’s chin, then closed his eyes too, enjoying the feel of Draco’s arms around him.

Chapter Text

Stretching and yawning, Harry woke gently from a pleasant dream. The morning sun was streaming through the window and Harry felt refreshed and well rested. Though he had been hoping the night before would end with some sort of physical gratification, Harry was surprised that he found falling asleep in Draco’s arms nearly as fulfilling.
He opened his eyes to see that Draco was no longer in the room. Not that it was unexpected. The other man must have left before the sun rose in order to sneak back to his own quarters unnoticed. Harry never realized how cold and lonely his bed could feel. Now that he had a taste of real companionship in bed, as opposed to the temporary pleasure of a quick shag, Harry wanted to live that way always. His need for Draco’s company was moving beyond a physical attraction. Just the thought of seeing him at breakfast gave him a pleasant warmth and feeling in his chest he couldn’t quite describe.
Anxious to see Draco again, Harry forced himself out of bed and readied himself for the day.
By the time he arrived for breakfast, Draco was already midway through his meal, deep in conversation with Minerva. As Harry walked down one of the aisles, he kept his eyes on the blond. His hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail, as usual. However, he wore, not his customary black, but a pale blue silk three button polo shirt and light tan pleated trousers. Sunday morning breakfasts had been becoming more casual over the years, and some of the professors followed suit.
Harry couldn’t help notice the way Draco’s eyes reflected the color of the shirt. They appeared brighter and more lively than usual. As Harry approached, those eyes flashed his way. Almost quicker than Harry could see, Draco’s right eye winked at him. He could feel himself blush, wondering if anyone else saw.
“Good morning Mr. Potter,” Minerva smiled when he walked past. “Mr. Malfoy and I were having an interesting conversation about some rather unorthodox practices going on.”
“Oh?” Harry raised his eyebrows, coming to a stop. “What sort of practices?”
“Between you and Mr. Malfoy.”
Harry’s face went white.
Seeing the expression on Harry’s face, Draco joined the discussion. “Yes, I was telling her about how you invited me to speak to your DADA classes.”
“Oh,” Harry breathed out. He didn’t really believe Draco would have been calmly telling McGonagall about their affair. But he was relieved to hear it. “Well, I thought hearing about the Dark Arts from someone who--” He looked down at Draco.
“Practiced it?” Draco finished for him.
“That’s not what I was going to say,” Harry protested.
Draco smiled. “I know. That’s why I said it.”
“The students found it very informative,” Harry told Minerva. “There were students who seemed to find the dark magic attractive. After Draco’s presentation, they changed their minds.”
McGonagall nodded. “That was an excellent idea. I had a feeling the two of you would be able to put aside your differences. Dare I say, you seem to have become friends?”
The men looked at each other. Harry felt as though his attraction to Draco was written across his face.
“Yes, we have,” Draco said, nonplussed by Minerva’s observation. Still gazing up at Harry, he added, “You’d better sit down before you miss breakfast altogether, Potter.”
“Uh, yeah. Excuse me.” Harry nodded to McGonagall and took his usual seat. He spooned out some oatmeal for himself and began to eat when he saw Draco get up and leave the Great Hall. For the remainder of breakfast, he wondered why Draco left early. Harry wanted to follow him, but figured it would look suspicious if he left before he finished eating. Shoveling the oatmeal in as quickly as possible, Harry finished and left after a couple of other professors had gone.
He bounded up the staircase straight to the sixth floor. Draco’s door was locked and nobody answered when he knocked. He stood at the door for a moment, disappointed. Figuring that Draco had gone down to the dungeons, Harry considered going there. His desire to see the Potions professor, to touch and kiss him, was nearly strong enough to send him searching all over the castle.
That thought gave Harry pause. He’d never been one to do the chasing. The choosing, yes. But not chasing.
He decided instead, to go back to his own chambers. He had to pull himself together. Clearly, he couldn’t spend all of his free time pining after Draco, who obviously had his own schedule to keep.
When he reached his room, Harry got out his favorite quill and a book of parchment. He’d begun writing for pleasure a few years back when someone suggested he write his memoirs. Whenever he’d sit down to it, his mind wandered to what ifs and ways he would have liked his life to go. Giving up on his autobiography, Harry took to writing stories about a fictional teenage boy and his adventures. The stories were usually character and relationship driven, as the boy’s parents were alive, as well as extended family. Harry often fantasized that it was his own life that he was writing about, with much happier scenarios.
As he sat at his desk, quill in hand, a new adventure came to mind. Unlike the action he normally wrote about, Harry thought it was time his character had a romance. And unlike Harry’s attempts at teenage romance, this boy’s relationship would be successful. The only thing he wasn’t sure about was whether his character would fall for a girl, or a boy.
Hours later, Liam, Harry’s fictional teen, was about to ask a certain blond to accompany him to a school dance. Harry had written the blond in great detail--from the sparkling grey eyes and alabaster skin, to the full pink lips and willowy figure. Deciding no one else would ever read the tome, Harry named the object of Liam’s desires Drake. He went back into the story to fill in the spaces he had left blank to write ‘he’ or ‘she’.
Now that he was committed to telling a gay romance, Harry was excited. He’d never written anything particularly naughty, but he found himself visualizing the things the boys would do. He’d read some books with graphic sexual details, and though they had been heterosexual in nature, he found them arousing. He wondered if writing them would have the same affect.
Just then, a knock came on the door.
Damn it, Harry grumbled to himself. Just when I was getting to the good parts.
He stood, adjusting himself slightly from the affects of his daydreaming and answered the door. An older version of the boy in his story stood before him.
The blond smiled. “What have you been doing in here? You look flushed.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
“Just thinking,” Harry grinned. “Close the door and I’ll tell you all about it.”
“Actually, I came to get you for supper,” Draco replied, yet still closed the door. “I didn’t see you at lunch. Aren’t you hungry?”
“Starved,” Harry answered and pulled Draco into a kiss.
Harry’s warm lips covered Draco’s cool ones, warming them instantly. Their tongues wrestled playfully while they pushed closer up against one another. It didn’t take long for Harry to harden in his trousers as the afternoon’s activities kept him on the verge.
“Mmm, what were you thinking about all day” Draco asked into Harry’s open mouth.
“You,” he replied. “What else?”
Moving his hands down Draco’s body to the front of his trousers, Harry massaged until he felt Draco rise to the occasion.
“What about supper?”
“I’ll eat you instead,” Harry breathed, unbuckling the belt holding up Draco’s trousers. As he unzipped them, he kissed up and down the slender pale neck before him.
“We can always get the House Elves to bring us something later,” Harry suggested. He continued to disrobe Draco, who didn’t protest.
When Draco stood nude, Harry undressed himself quickly, pulling his trousers and pants down together, and his shirt over his head all practically at the same time.
“You’re spectacular,” Harry remarked as he eyed Draco up and down. “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone so much in my life.” He caressed the side of Draco’s face with the back of his hand.
“I wish I felt I deserved that.” The blond looked away.
“You do deserve it, and more. To me, you’re perfect.”
“Then take me, please,” Draco begged. He pulled Harry toward the bed. They toppled over in a tangle of limbs, kissing.
Slowly, Draco tugged Harry on top of him and spread his legs, cradling Harry’s body between them. He ground his hips forward.
“Please,” he requested again.
Harry smiled. “You’re perfect. And you deserve to be loved perfectly. I’m still learning. I’ve never been in love,” he explained.
“Never?”
Harry shook his head. “But I care for you more than any other lover.”
“What about the Weasley girl?”
“Well, I do love Gin. But, not that way. I never felt about her the way I feel about you.”
“Then show me,” Draco grinned.
Sliding down, Harry licked a trail to Draco’s cock and sucked at the throbbing head. Groaning loudly, Draco arched his back, forcing his cock deeper into Harry’s mouth. Accommodating the nonverbal request, Harry took the length as far down his throat he could stand without gagging. While one hand fondled the bollocks, the other slid further down. Harry took a moment to spit on his finger, then gradually pushed it into Draco’s arse.
“Oh, fuck,” cried Draco. “Oh, that’s good.”
Teasing with his tongue, Harry steadily sucked up and down while his finger kept a similar pace in and out. His other hand wandered down to his own cock. The sounds Draco made added to Harry’s arousal, his desire to cum becoming more urgent. He picked up his pace.
“Yes, faster Harry. I’m close.” Draco leaned forward a bit and reached down, rubbing his fingers lightly over Harry’s chest. He caught his nipples, pinching and scratching.
Harry curled the finger in Draco’s arse, searching for the spot that would bring the most pleasure. A long grunt told him when he found it.
Writhing beneath Harry, Draco panted, “I’m gonna fucking cum.” He held his breath for a moment, then called out Harry’s name as he exhaled.
Just as the sweet and salty goodness hit Harry’s tongue, he felt his own orgasm begin.
When it was over, Harry leaned back on his heels. He watched as Draco’s breathing evened out, then grabbed his wand from his discarded trousers to perform a cleansing spell on them.
“Now I’m really starving,” Harry laughed. “Let’s go down to the kitchens and get something to eat.”
Nodding, Draco dragged himself out of bed and dressed.
Just as they were ready to leave, a knock came on the door. Harry answered it, curious as to who would be calling on him.
“Professor McGonagall,” he started.
“Good evening Harry. I noticed you were absent from lunch and supper earlier.”
“Um, yeah. I lost track of time working on something. Everything is fine.”
“Okay. I just thought I’d check on my way up to my chambers.”
“Thank you. But it really wasn’t necessary,” Harry smiled nervously.
McGonagall nodded. “Must be my maternal instincts. I suppose it isn’t really necessary to check on Draco then, ” she chuckled. “He wasn’t at supper either.”
Stepping out from behind the door, Draco greeted the Headmistress.
“Oh, Draco. I wasn’t expecting to see you here.”
Harry quickly came up with an excuse. “Draco here was helping me with another lesson.”
“I see,” McGonagall said. She looked back and forth between them. The expression on her face was largely unreadable to Harry.
“Um, we were about to go to the kitchens to get something to eat,” Harry informed her.
“I’m sure the house elves would happy to serve you,” Minerva said. Harry got the impression that the Headmistress was displeased.
“Or we could quickly apparate to London for a bite,” Harry offered. “If you prefer we not bother the house elves.”
“Of course not. Please feel free to use the kitchens.” She paused, then asked, “Is there anything else?”
“No, ma’am.”
The disappointed look was back. “Then I’ll take my leave of you boys and allow you to get your supper.”
They all bid one another good night, and Harry and Draco made their way down to the kitchens.

*****

“Master Harry Potter!” a small elf called out when she saw him. “What can Minke do for Master Harry and Master Draco?”
“We’d just like a little something to eat, Minke. We missed supper. Is there anything left over?” Harry asked.
“Oh, no! Left overs would never do for Masters Harry and Draco. Minke will whip up something new.”
“Really,” Harry said. “Anything will do.”
Minke took them each by the hand and led them to a small table to sit.
“Please, Minke would loves to serve Masters.”
“Something tells me if we don’t sit and let her serve us, she’ll get reinforcements to force us to sit,” Draco joked.
“All right,” Harry agreed.
When they sat down across from one another, Harry got a good look at Draco’s hair. He giggled.
“What’s so funny?” Draco asked.
“I didn’t see that side of your hair before. It’s coming out of the ponytail. It’s kind of sexy,” Harry grinned.
Suddenly Harry gasped.
“Bloody hell, your shirt is inside out.”
“What?” Draco looked down at himself. “Shit. Do you think McGonagall noticed?”
Harry recalled the look on her face earlier. “Maybe. Usually you’re so neat and tidy. Now that I look at you, you do look like you’ve been having a hump.” He grinned widely.
Draco, in turn, gave Harry the once over. His hair was disheveled a bit, but it normally looked that way. He shrugged. “Your hair is a little messy.”
“Oh.”
“And . . .”
“What? What is it?”
“Your shirt is buttoned wrong. You have an extra hole at the top and your collar is crooked.”
Harry held out the tails of his shirt and saw that they were indeed uneven.
“It’s not that noticeable on you,” Draco said, then realized how it sounded. “Um, I mean, on that sort of shirt.”
“Because I usually look unkempt?” Harry quirked an eyebrow.
“No, I didn’t say that. That’s not what I think,” Draco stammered.
Harry smiled and reached his hand across the table to place over Draco’s. “I know. But it’s still true.”
“You’re not unkempt. You’re . . . carefree.” Draco bit his lip. “I like that about you. Most people consider me too fussy.”
“I prefer the word sophisticated,” said Harry. “I like that about you. I guess opposites really do attract.”
Minke approached the pair with two plates she was barely able to handle. Each plate was filled with chicken stew and dumplings. The aroma of the hot food wafted up, making Harry’s stomach growl. He had almost forgotten he was hungry, he was so engrossed in conversation with Draco. Now that food was in front of him, he picked up a fork and eagerly began eating. As he shoveled in a second forkful, he glanced up to see Draco doing the same. He had been expecting to see him daintily taking small, proper bites. When Draco noticed him watching, he froze mid-chew.
“What?” he asked with his mouth mostly closed to keep the food in.
Laughing, Harry told him, “For some reason, I was surprised to see you eating as heartily as me.”
Draco swallowed his mouthful. “You seem to be under the impression that being unusually tidy makes me a girl. Like most of what I do, I eat like any other man.”
“Oh Draco, you are most definitely not like any other man,” Harry said.
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“You should,” Harry smiled.
The plates were cleaned in short order leaving them full and satisfied.
“Thank you very much Minke,” Harry called to the house elf.
“Oh, it’s Minke’s pleasure to serve Master Harry Potter. And Master Draco Malfoy as well,” she bowed. “Minke shall bring some pudding.”
“I don’t think I could eat another bite,” Draco said. “It was wonderful, as usual.”
The pair thanked the elves once more and left the kitchens. Once out, Draco scanned the hallway for anyone else, then removed his shirt.
“What are you doing?” Harry asked, stirred by the sight of Draco’s bare chest.
“I can’t very well walk around with my clothes inside out.”
“Oh. Right,” Harry replied, a touch of disappointment in his voice.
“Really Potter? Game for another go already? I swear, you are the most oversexed man I’ve ever known.”
Feeling slightly insulted, Harry proceeded to re-button his own shirt. “Forgive me for finding you irresistible,” he said mockingly. “I’ll try to control myself.”
Draco grabbed onto his arm as Harry tried to walk away. “I was only kidding. I guess I’m not very good at it. I’ll try to be more thoughtful.”
“No. Don’t change for me. I like you the way you are. I was being oversensitive.”
Figuring no one would be wandering around the kitchens at night, Draco chanced a small kiss. “Thank you for finding me irresistible.”
Harry closed his eyes for a moment before his confession. “I can’t help it.” He laughed. “In fact, I almost ran about the castle looking for you after breakfast.”
“Really?”
“Yes. I went up to your quarters but you weren’t there,” Harry explained. “I wanted to see you so badly that I considered searching for you.”
“I was only in the dungeons helping a student.” A smile grew on Draco’s face. “If you recall, I did come looking for you. I find you equally irresistible.” He kissed Harry again.
They began walking up the staircase to their chambers. Rather than stop on the second floor, Harry continued to walk up.
“Night cap?” Draco questioned.
“Um, I thought I’d go talk to McGonagall,” answered Harry. “Would it be all right if I told her about us?”
“It’s fine. Are you sure you want to do that?”
Harry sighed. “I’m not certain, but I think maybe she suspected something.”
“Do you want me to go with you?”
“No. I’ll talk to her alone if you don’t mind.”
Draco nodded, glad to be off the hook, and left the staircase at the sixth floor. Harry continued up to McGonagall’s office.

 

*****

 

Knocking on the Headmistress’ door, Harry began to get nervous. He wasn’t sure why he was there. He only knew their last conversation didn’t sit right with him.
“Harry, what are you doing here? Is everything all right?”
“Yes. I wanted to speak with you, if it’s not too late.”
McGonagall stepped aside. “Of course. Come in.”
Anxiously, Harry walked inside and sat in the chair across from the desk. He looked around the office. Things were a little different from when it had been Dumbledore’s office, but generally, it was familiar and comfortable.
“What can I do for you?”
“I wanted to talk to you about earlier.”
“Oh?” McGonagall wasn’t giving away anything.
“I thought maybe you noticed that Draco and I have been spending a lot of time together.”
McGonagall sat quietly and nodded once.
“And, um, earlier, when you came to my room . . .” he blushed, having a much harder time talking about it than he anticipated. “Draco and I . . . well, we’re . . . dating.”
“And you felt the need to hide it?”
“I haven’t told anyone else. Not even Ron and Hermione. I wasn’t sure what you’d think. You seemed to notice something was going on and disapproved.”
“Not disapproval, Harry, disappointment. I had hoped you’d be honest with me.”
Harry cast his eyes downward. She was right. He shouldn’t have lied about working with Draco.
“Harry, I would never judge you.”
He looked up. “So, you’re okay with me and Draco seeing each other?”
She smiled. “It’s not for me to decide who you see. Can I tell you a secret?”
Harry nodded.
“Dumbledore was gay. I’ll bet you didn’t know that.”
“No ma’am.” He glanced up at his former mentor’s sleeping portrait, then back at McGonagall.
“I don’t think he would mind me telling you. Especially under the circumstances. I also think you’ll find that people are more accepting than you believe.”
“But you won’t say anything to anyone, will you?”
“Of course not.”
Harry looked up at the portrait again. If he had known about Dumbledore when he was younger, he may have been able to ask his advice. The confusing feelings going on in his teens probably would not have taken so long to sort out if he had had some guidance.
“Thank you Minerva.” He stood and went to the door. “Draco and I will be discreet.”
“Remember, Harry, my door is always open,” the Headmistress told him as he left.
He made his way back to his chambers with a spring in his step. Now that he had told his secret to McGonagall, Harry was almost ready to tackle his best friends. He decided to invite them to visit soon, so he could tell them. At the very least, it would stop Hermione from trying to set him up on dates with her friends.

Chapter Text

After knocking on Draco’s door, Harry frowned and began to walk away. He spotted Draco on another staircase coming up.
“Oi, Draco. Where have you been?”
The Potions professor sighed. “In the Potions lab, with a student.”
The pair met along the hallway.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked. “Is it that same one?”
Nodding, Draco replied, “Yes. The last two potions he made in class were unacceptable. I’m trying to give him a chance to raise his grade, but . . . “
“That bad, huh?”
Draco shook his head. “He’s the worst I’ve ever seen. Worse than Finnigan even.”
Harry laughed. “That is awful. Is there anything I can do to help?”
“No. I can handle it.” Draco paused. “In a way, he reminds of myself when I was young.”
“How’s that? You were brilliant at Potions.”
“He keeps telling me that needs to pass or his father will punish him. He’s been begging for help.”
“Are his potions really that bad?” Harry asked.
“If it were just his potion making skills, I would pass him. But he plagiarized one essay and handed in total crap on another. I don’t think he’s stupid. Just lazy. But then he acts so frightened of his father that I feel compelled to help him.”
“Perhaps you ought to talk to McGonagall about him.”
“Perhaps.” Draco smiled. “Were you coming from my room?”
“Yes,” Harry tried to hide his own smile. “I feel like I’ve barely seen you this week, except for meals. You’re never in your quarters.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Good thing the weekend is only a day away. What do you want to do Saturday?”
A student passed them, reminding the pair that they were out in the open, for all to see.
Smirking, Draco said, “You don’t need to look so nervous. We’re just talking in a hallway.”
Harry chuckled. “You’re right. But maybe we should call it a night anyway.” He wanted so badly to kiss the man goodnight. Obviously that was out of the question.
“You never answered me,” Draco said. “Saturday?”
“Supper in London?” Harry asked. “During the day, I promised to help Professor McFarlane.”
“Who?” Draco raised an eyebrow.
“Hagrid’s replacement. He asked for help with some of his paperwork. Apparently, he can’t read Hagrid’s handwriting,” he laughed.
“That’s all right. I have to go to Diagon Alley to replenish the Potions supplies. Shall we meet in your room around five o’clock?”
“Perfect. I’ll let Minerva know we’ll be out in case she needs us.” Harry almost leaned forward for a kiss, then caught himself.
“Good night, then,” Draco nodded.
“Good night.”
As Harry walked away, he thought about how frustrating it was to try and keep their relationship a secret. He longed to be free to show his feelings whenever he wanted. He decided then and there to contact Ron and Hermione to have them come visit. Harry had already spent too much time hiding.

 

*****

 

The following Sunday, Draco knocked on Harry’s door armed with a new book he was sure Harry would find appealing. Over a month into their relationship, it had become routine for the pair to spend Sunday afternoons in one of their chambers reading together by the fire. The challenge was to actually get through a book, or even part of book. They’d either end up snogging or falling asleep.
But this day, Draco brought a book about the most amazing Quidditch matches in history, according to the title. It described in vivid detail the longest, closest or even bloodiest matches. He defied Harry to doze during that.
Harry opened the door and let Draco inside.
“How many times do I have to tell you, you don’t have to knock.”
“How would it look to someone walking by if I just strolled into your private quarters?”
“It would look like you’re coming to make a booty call,” Harry joked and pulled Draco against him.
The blond gave him a small kiss. “Let’s not get distracted already. I haven’t even shown you what I’ve brought.” He proudly held up the book he borrowed from Blaise.
“Oh, thank goodness it’s not more poetry,” Harry said.
“I thought you liked the poetry,” Draco frowned.
“I do. Some of it. Just not a whole book. But this looks brilliant,” Harry said of the Quidditch publication. “We’d better get started on it, though. Ron and Hermione are coming over later.”
Draco pouted. “I was hoping we could stay in all day and maybe get some supper from the house elves.”
“I’m sure I mentioned their visit,” Harry said. “I’m planning on telling them today.”
An eyebrow raised, Draco asked, “About?”
“Us, of course. Or at least me. I may have to ease into us,” Harry admitted. “I suppose it will depend on their reaction.”
“And if their reaction is negative?”
“I don’t know. I can’t imagine Hermione, with her muggle, wizard and house elf rights convictions so strong, would turn away from me simply because I love your cock,” Harry laughed.
“What about Weasley? I don’t think he’ll fancy the part about my cock.”
“That’s because he hasn’t seen it,” Harry grinned.
“Nor will he ever,” Draco said resolutely.
Harry smiled and took the book from Draco’s hand and walked to the sofa. “Do you want to be on top or bottom?”
They had taken to lying on the couch together, one cradled in the other’s arms as they read. Normally, whoever took the lower position held the book up for both to see and read aloud.
Draco went to the couch and lay down with his head on the high arm rest. He held his arms open wide inviting Harry to join him. Harry nestled himself between Draco’s legs and lay back on his chest. It was a ritual to which they both looked forward all week.
As Draco began to read about the legendary match between Puddlemere United and the Haileybury Hammers, Harry wriggled and settled in deeper. The Slytherin Head had a pleasant voice and just the right inflection, making the statistical prose sound like poetry. Harry often thought that Draco’s future children would be lucky to have a father like him to read bedtime stories to them. Having never been read to as a child, Harry was envious of the make-believe children.
As interesting the stories were, Draco had only read two before he heard the soft, rhythmic breathing that signaled Harry’s unconsciousness. He gently raked his fingers through Harry’s thick hair, then removed his glasses, trying not to wake him. Harry stirred, but didn’t awaken. Draco lay the book on the floor and wrapped his arms around his love, closing his eyes. He couldn’t wait for the day they could sleep that way together every night, all night long. Yawning, he allowed himself to drift off, dreaming of that day.

*****

 

Stirring from his slumber, Harry slowly opened his eyes.
Shit, he thought. I fell asleep again.
He could hear the quiet sounds of Draco’s snore. Normally, it was he that woke Harry from his post-reading nap. Harry felt warm and comfortable in his lover’s arms and was loathe to wake him. But Harry had been dreaming and had woken up quite a bit randy.
Bit by bit, Harry rolled in his spot until he came face to face with Draco. The small amount of friction was enough to bring his cock to life. He planted a kiss on Draco’s neck. When that didn’t wake the blond, he sucked on the skin, nipping just slightly.
Draco moaned in protest and opened his eyes.
“You just woke me from a wonderful dream,” he said. “A handsome man was giving me the most wonderful blow job,” he smirked.
“Hmmm,” Harry hummed against Draco’s throat. “I can make that dream come true. No pun intended.” He ground his hips, and hard bulge, into Draco’s groin.
Lifting his head up, Harry captured Draco’s lips as the pair rubbed against one another until Draco was as hard as Harry. Draco wrapped his legs around Harry’s waist, pulling him even harder against him. They snogged and ground in a frenzy, oblivious to a peculiar soft clicking sound and muffled voices.
Draco suddenly broke the kissing and breathlessly asked, “Aren’t Granger and Weasley supposed to come over?”
“Later,” Harry answered into his mouth.
“I think maybe they’re here now,” Draco whispered back.

*****

 

“It’s just how I remember it,” Hermione said as she and Ron wandered through the halls of Hogwarts.
Headmistress McGonagall indulged them an unescorted walk when they arrived that Sunday afternoon to visit Harry. The three sat in her office and reminisced for a bit beforehand. While Hermione was interested in the rebuilt and expanded library, Ron wondered about the Room of Requirement. McGonagall informed Hermione that Flourish and Blotts made a large donation in her name and the Headmistress saw fit to name the new section after Hermione.
“I don’t know, Mione. It doesn’t seem nearly as scary as it did back then,” Ron commented as they walked down to the fifth floor past some of the statues. “I was terrified of this one,” he pointed.
“Could we please stop at the library on the way down to Harry’s chambers?” Hermione begged. “We’re still a little early.”
“Then I want to go down to the kitchens to see if the house elves will give us a snack.”
“But we’re going to eat with Harry,” Hermione whined.
Ron crossed his arms over his chest. “Fine. But I get to pick where we go, then.”
Hermione opened her mouth to protest, then conceded. “All right.”
He took her hand and they walked down the stairs to the fourth floor. Hermione was pleased to see that not only were lost books replaced, but there was a new section of muggle books in the library. There was a small plaque above the alcove that read Granger Library of Muggle History. Hermione beamed.
Indulging his girlfriend for a good half hour, Ron finally became antsy.
“Come on Mione. You have many of those books already. I’m getting hungry.”
“Oh, all right. It’s just so exciting,” she giggled.
She replaced the book she was holding and joined Ron in making the trip down to Harry’s second floor quarters, becoming nostalgic about the portraits, corridors and ornamentation about the castle.
As they approached Harry’s door, Ron didn’t hesitate to simply turn the handle and stroll in. He took only a few steps in, when he stopped short, causing Hermione to bump into him.
“What--” Hermione began to question. Until she saw what Ron did.
Harry was on his sofa with someone else. And they were snogging heavily. Harry’s body was obscuring their vision of the other person as he was in a superior position.
Hermione and Ron were rendered speechless while they stared, unsure what to do. Should they announce their presence or simply back up and leave?
As they hesitated, Ron whispered, “Those feet, wrapped around Harry’s waist . . . they’re awfully big, aren’t they?”
“Uh, Ron . . .” Hermione tugged on his shirt, trying to get him to leave with her.
They heard unintelligible whispering. And the snogging suddenly ceased.

 

*****

Harry was frozen in place. Did Draco just say he thought Ron and Hermione were there? In the room?
Leaning slowly to his left, Draco peeked around Harry and locked eyes with Ron. The redhead’s eyes were as large as saucers. His mouth hung open, as did Hermione’s. Draco gave the slightest of waves and leaned back to face Harry.
“Moment of truth,” he said with a small smile and unwrapped himself from around Harry.
Taking a deep breath, Harry pushed himself up and off the sofa. Fortunately, the sudden appearance of his friends jolted Harry out of his aroused state. He took another breath and turned to face his friends.
For what seemed like an eternity, The four of them stared at one another and said nothing. Ron was the first to finally speak.
“What the fuck?” His voice held more confusion than malice.
“Perhaps I should let the three of you talk,” Draco offered and made a move to leave.
“No,” Harry said. “Stay. Please.”
Draco walked toward a chair further away from the others and sat quietly.
“Harry, you don’t need to explain,” Hermione said. “I think Ron and I can figure out what’s going on.”
“Like Hell he doesn’t have to explain,” Ron disagreed.
“Ron--”
“No. Hermione, he’s right. I do need to explain.”
Ron sat down on the arm of the couch and crossed his arms over his chest. Hermione sat down on a cushion and gazed up expectantly at Harry.
“Well,” Harry started. “First off . . . I suppose you’ve figured out for yourselves that I . . . I’m queer.”
“No shit,” Ron said dryly.
“Ron.” Hermione slapped his leg.
“What? I’m agreeing. Yeah, we’ve got that part.”
“But what about Ginny?” Hermione asked. “And Cho and that girl, um, what was her name, Claire?”
“Well, Claire is just a friend,” Harry started. “And as far as Ginny goes, we broke up mutually. I do love her . . . like a sister. I tried to get involved with girls when I was younger. It never worked out. This must seem sudden to you, but I just never mentioned any of the boys I was interested in.”
Ron put up a hand. “Don’t need to tell who, mate.”
Chuckling, Harry answered, “I wasn’t going to tell you. I never acted on any of my feelings until after Ginny and I broke up. And now I know for sure. I’m definitely gay.”
“Okay, so you’re a shirt lifter. That I can handle,” Ron said matter-of-factly. He glanced over at Malfoy. “But him? There have to be a thousand blokes you could choose over him.”
Hermione looked between Ron and Harry a few times, curious as to Harry’s response.
Feeling the need to defend Draco, Harry replied, “Draco and I have spent the past couple of months getting to know one another. Really talking, sometimes about things that happened during the war. I understand him a lot better now. I understand why he did the things he did, what his life was truly like, and how much he regretted--”
“That’s all well and good,” Ron interrupted. “We all did things we regret. But how can you forget? He called Hermione mudblood for years.”
She winced at the word.
“He’s different now. And he’s sorry.”
Ron glared at Draco, who considered echoing Harry’s sentiments, but thought it best to keep quiet. Instead, he looked away.
“Are you?” Hermione asked, prompting Draco to look at her.
“Would saying I’m sorry take away the way I made you feel?”
She shook her head.
“Then an apology would be ineffectual.”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Ron questioned.
“I think what Draco means is that he is sorry, but simply saying it won’t make up for it. And we’ve gotten past all the shit we did to each other over the years. I hope you can too.”
“And if Hermione and I can’t?”
Harry frowned. “I hope you do. I want us all to be friends.”
“Friends,” Ron said. “Go ahead and have your fling, Harry. But I don’t think I’ll ever be friends with him.”
“It’s not a fling, Ron,” Harry insisted. “I love him.”
“What?” Ron cried.
“What?” Draco slowly rose from his place.
“Oh my,” Hermione brought her hand to her mouth and let out a small sigh.
“I’m sorry, Draco. This isn’t how I wished to tell you,” Harry said. He smiled, “But I do.”
Standing still but only a moment, Draco swiftly approached Harry and, placing his hands to either side of his head, kissed his lover gently on the lips.
Forgetting they were in the company of Harry’s friends, Draco and Harry kissed more deeply.
“I love you Harry,” Draco professed when they parted.
“You know what this means, don’t you?” Harry asked.
“We finally get to fuck?”
Harry laughed, “Yes, but I meant that I’m out. Officially, now that Ron and Hermione know. It doesn’t matter to me who else knows.”
Slowly, Hermione rose from her seat, a pleased grin on her face. Ron’s nose was wrinkled and his brow furrowed. He let out an “Ugh.”
Jabbing him in the ribs, Hermione said, “Shhh.”
“Don’t tell me you approve of this?” Ron asked her.
“Well, it wouldn’t have been my first choice for Harry, but . . . don’t we always say we just want our friends and family to be happy? Harry looks happier than I’ve seen him in a long time.”
Draco still had his hands on Harry’s head and had pulled their foreheads together. And he was grinning.
“I’ve never seen Malfoy so happy--come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happy at all,” commented Hermione.
Ron pursed his lips. It was a losing battle if Hermione was on their side. He was odd man out in this particular situation.
“Well, don’t expect me to be happy about it,” Ron grumbled.
Breaking away from Draco, Harry turned to Ron. “I don’t expect you to. I am hoping you’ll accept it though. And maybe, eventually, you’ll be happy for us.”
“I believe this calls for a celebration,” Hermione said. “We were planning to go out anyway. Let’s make it a foursome.”
“Thanks Mione.” Harry hugged her tightly. Knowing that Ron would follow her lead, he was grateful for her favorable reception.
“Yeah, thanks Hermione,” Ron said sarcastically under his breath.
“And, if it means anything at all,” Draco addressed her. “I truly am sorry for the way I treated you. The way I treated all of you.”
“We gave as good as we got,” Hermione smirked.
“Yes,” Draco agreed. “You’ve got quite a punch. I’ll be sure to stay on your good side from now on.”
Even Ron had to laugh at the memory of Hermione punching Malfoy square in the face.
“Just don’t give me a reason to hit you again,” She warned. Her tone said she was teasing, but Draco could see from the look in her eyes that he’d better not do anything to hurt Harry, or he would have to answer to her.
Draco nodded solemnly.
“Then it’s settled. We should go to The Three Broomsticks,” Hermione said.
“Oh, no you don’t,” Ron spoke up. “You said if we went to the library, I’d get to pick the restaurant. And I want to go to the Leaky Cauldron.”
“How about a nice muggle place?” Hermione suggested.
“Actually, I wouldn’t mind going to Diagon Alley,” Draco chimed in. “I need a few things at the stationery store.”
“Nobody asked you,” Ron mumbled. Then he realized that Malfoy was agreeing with him. It gave him an idea. “Er, yeah, we could go check out Obscurus Books, and maybe stop in to see Georgie.”
Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes at Ron.
“I haven’t seen George in a while,” Harry added. “Come on Mione, Draco and I have gone there a couple of times. It’s not so bad. The food has improved.”
“All I need is a stiff drink,” Ron said, shaking his head.

Chapter Text

The Leaky Cauldron seemed more crowded than usual for a Sunday late afternoon as Harry, Draco, Ron and Hermione walked in. Suddenly, Harry was second guessing his indifference to the wizarding world’s reaction to his coming out. He froze at the entrance for a moment, as though the crowd would instantly know he and Draco had been carrying on an intimate relationship, despite the fact that they had been seen together many times before in public.
“Are you all right?” Draco asked from behind him.
Nodding, Harry continued to follow Hermione to the bar. Draco side-stepped Harry and caught up to Hermione, speaking close into her ear.
“I think Harry is having second thoughts.”
She turned around to observe Harry. He gave a tentative smile.
“We don’t have to stay, Harry, if you’re not comfortable.”
“No, it’s fine.”
She turned to face Ron. “I don’t think Harry wants to be here.”
“What? Why not?”
While she was busy trying to convince Ron to leave, Draco was trying his best to show the proper amount of concern for Harry without appearing too familiar.
“Clearly, you’re ill-at-ease here,” Draco said. “Why don’t we go somewhere else.”
“I told you I’m fine.”
“Yes,” Draco smiled. “But you’re a terrible liar.”
Harry glanced around. “I thought I was ready,” he said glumly.
“It’s all right, Harry. I don’t mind going back to Hogwarts,” Draco smiled sympathetically.
“But I don’t want to just leave with my tail between my legs.”
“Harry, there’s no shame in keeping your private life private.”
Harry looked around the pub. Some of the same wizards were there that had been in the pub when Harry and Draco had supper after the Quidditch match. “I had no problem coming here with you before. I don’t know why it’s different.”
Hermione approached the pair with Ron in tow.
“Why don’t we go to a muggle place?” she suggested. “It’s kind of noisy here anyway.”
Sighing, Harry replied, “You don’t have to make excuses for me. I know I’m just a big puss.”
A waitress holding menus stopped in front of Harry and smiled. “Would you like your usual table? You can fit four.”
“No, we’re--” Hermione began.
“Yeah, that’d be great,” Harry interrupted.
“All right,” the waitress winked. “Give me a minute to get that couple moving. They’ve been there forever.” She rolled her eyes.
“Are you sure?” Draco asked.
Nodding, Harry assured him, “Yes.”
When the table was cleared, the two couples sat in Draco and Harry’s corner. Harry preferred to face the crowd, so Ron and Hermione sat with their backs to the door.
“Can I get you some drinks?” the server asked.
“I’ll have a double shot of fire whiskey,” Harry said.
“Same,” said Ron.
“A butter beer for me,” Hermione answered.
Draco opted for a sparkling water.
When the waitress left, Hermione immediately began her questioning.
“So, how long has this been going on? And why didn’t you ever tell us, Harry? And why did you let me set you up with my friends? And, oh, poor Althea.”
“Mione, stop. You’re making me dizzy,” Ron grumbled.
Harry laughed. “First of all, I had a very nice time with Althea. But she won’t be at all surprised when you tell her about me.”
“What?”
“Apparently, I’m not all that good at hiding my interest in men. The two of you must not be as observant as I thought.”
“That’s hardly fair, Harry,” Draco smirked. “It took me a while to be sure. And I spent a lot of time watching you.” He glanced at Harry’s friends. “That made me sound like a bit of a stalker, didn’t it?”
The expression on Ron’s face didn’t make Draco feel any better.
“Don’t be angry that I didn’t tell you earlier,” Harry continued to tackle Hermione’s questions. “I wasn’t sure how you’d take it. I can see that Ron is bothered.”
“Mate, I’m not bothered by your being queer,” Ron addressed him. “I’m bothered by Malfoy. Okay, maybe I’m not completely at ease with you being a shirtlifter.”
“Ron, shush!” Hermione chided.
“I’m sorry I kept it from you,” Harry said. “I should have trusted you.”
“Yes, well, it’s done now,” she replied. “And I suppose I can stop playing match maker.”
“Perhaps you could convince Pansy as well,” Draco interjected.
While Harry laughed, Ron and Hermione remained expressionless.
“I have to go to the loo,” Ron abruptly said, and got up from the table without waiting for any sort of response.
The three remaining wizards glanced awkwardly at one another. In the mean time, the server brought their drinks. Harry downed his almost immediately. The server left, saying she would return to take their food order.
Finally, Harry broke the silence. “I know you have something to say, Mione. You always do.”
“The two of you appear to be smitten, but I’m having a hard time believing that Malfoy is sincere,” she said bluntly.
“I understand,” the man in question answered. “But I am. I don’t know how I can prove to you--”
“You don’t have to prove anything to her,” Harry interrupted. “You’ve already proven yourself to me.”
“May I finish?” Draco raised an eyebrow. It was a subtle gesture, but Harry knew it meant that Draco wished to fight his own battles.
Draco cleared his throat. “As I said, I don’t know how to prove to you that I am sincere with regard to my feelings for Harry. But I’ll answer any questions you have. I invite you to spend time with us. Anything that will put your mind at ease.”
“Did I miss anything?” Ron asked as he approached the table.
“Malfoy has just offered himself up to our scrutiny,” Hermione answered.
“Oh.”
“Oh? That’s all you have to say?” Her brow furrowed.
Ron merely shrugged and drank his double shot of fire whiskey.
“Well, since you’ve offered, I do have some questions,” Hermione continued, directing her attention toward Draco. “What are your intentions?”
“Hermione!” Harry cried. “You’re not my bloody father. You make me sound like some virginal young girl. And his intentions are none of your business.”
Putting a subtle hand on Harry’s arm, Draco responded calmly. “It’s all right. She’s simply looking out for you.” He turned his attention to Hermione. “My intentions are simple. I want Harry to be happy. I’d like to be responsible for that.”
“Really,” she said skeptically. “All you want is for Harry to be happy? You want nothing out of this for yourself?”
Giving Harry a sideways glance, then purposely avoiding his gaze, Draco explained, “You’re right, of course. I do want something for myself. I want to spend all my time with him. I want to . . . live with him, for the rest of my life, if he’d have me.”
“I have a question,” Ron spoke up. “What if Harry decides to break up with you?”
Trying his best to maintain a composed demeanor at that thought, Draco replied, “I suppose I would have to return to my life, such as it was, grateful to have had the time with Harry that I did.” He was proud of himself for his perfectly rational and unemotional response.
“Uh-uh. Try again,” Ron said with eyes narrowed, shaking his head.
Finding it harder to keep his emotions in check after Ron’s accusatory tone, Draco reacted more fervently. “I’d be devastated, all right. Is that what you want to hear, that I would be miserable for the rest of my life, knowing what I could have had? Do you want to hear that I’ve been in love with him for seven years, and will be for the rest of my life? So if he leaves me, I’ll never be truly happy.” He paused. “Are you going to try and convince Harry to break up with me then? Do you still hold that much contempt for me after all these years?” He tried to hold Ron’s glare, but his eyes began to tear, and he had to blink repeatedly to keep them from escaping.
Hermione and Harry sat, taken aback by the exchange. Harry looked about to see if anyone overheard Draco’s rather loud reaction.
The waitress, in her extremely poor sense of timing, showed up to take their orders. She had the good sense to realize it was an inopportune moment and began to back away.
“I’ll have the fish and chips,” Ron called to her before she got far.
“Ron,” Hermione shoved him lightly. “What’s the matter with you?”
“We came to eat, didn’t we?”
“I’m not hungry,” Draco mumbled, staring down at the table.
“I think we’d better be going,” Harry said. “Come on, Draco.”
“Sit down, Harry,” Ron requested. To the waitress, he said, “Give us a bit more time, yeah?”
“Ronald Bilius--” Suddenly Hermione’s mouth was covered by Ron’s.
Utterly confused, Harry and Draco sat across from them and watched as Ron gently kissed his girl. Harry shrugged his shoulders, at a loss when Draco gave him a questioning look.
Pulling away, Ron smiled at Hermione.
“What was that for?” she asked, breathless.
“I don’t show it enough,” he said. “But that’s exactly the way I love you. I’ve been in love with you forever, and I’d be lost without you.” He turned to Draco. “Sorry to put you on the spot like that,” he said, somewhat insincerely. “Must be the Auror in me. But I needed to know if you really meant it.”
Draco didn’t say anything, but nodded slightly.
“That was a hell of a way to ask him.” Harry was still upset by Ron’s use of Auror tactics. Harry was very familiar with Ron’s methods. Somehow the man could get a confession with a simple look or gesture, or a seemingly benign question. Harry had always suspected Ron of using wandless magic to make himself more intimidating.
“To answer your question, Malfoy, no, I’m not going to try to get Harry to break up with you.”
Draco visibly relaxed, though he was still a bit wound up after his rant.
“So, you’re all right with this?” Harry asked timidly. Even being a twenty-four year old independent man, he still sought the approval of his friends.
“Let’s just say, I accept it. I wouldn’t want anyone trying to tell Hermione she shouldn’t be with me. So I shouldn’t do the same to you.” He pointed a finger at Draco. “But don’t give me any reason to intervene.”
“I would never do anything to hurt Harry.”
Harry wanted to speak up. He wanted to tell Ron to stop treating him like a child who needs protection, and to stop treating Draco like a criminal. But his best friend and his lover seemed to have come to an understanding, on their own. And he thought it best to leave it alone for the time being. He waved to the server, who hesitated before walking over.
“I think we’re ready now,” he smiled. He was specifically speaking about ordering food, but it seemed to be applicable to his relationship with Draco as well. He turned to him. “What would you like, love?”
Draco peeked up at the waitress. “Um, just a Caesar salad, I guess.”
“I’ll have a roast beef sandwich,” Harry told her.
“Chips?”
“No thanks. But can I have cole slaw?”
“Sure thing. And for you?” she asked Hermione.
“Roast beef sandwich sounds good to me, too. Cole slaw on the side, please.”
“Be back in a jif,” the server grinned, looking down at Draco again.
After she left, Draco said, “Harry, I think she knows. Why did you call me that in front of her?”
“What? Love? It’s not as if I’ve never called you that before.”
“But not in public.”
“I’ve never kissed you in public before either,” Harry said, leaning in before Draco realized what he was doing.
It was a relatively tame, yet heartfelt kiss, but the pub got noticeably quieter by the time it was done. Not everyone had seen, but those who had were quick to inform the rest.
“Harry,” whispered Draco. “Everyone’s watching.”
“I don’t care,” Harry answered, but still blushed.
Slowly, chatter began to fill the pub again. The foursome didn’t have to guess what the topic of most conversations would be.
The server came back with another round of drinks, and a smile she couldn’t hide.
“We didn’t order these,” Hermione said as the drinks were put down in front of them.
“These are on the house.”
“You read my mind,” Ron commented and picked up his shot.
“I thought you might need something stronger than sparkling water.” As the waitress put down a shot for Draco, she winked. “I had a feeling about the two of you when you came in before.”
“You did?”
“You make a very handsome couple.”
“Thank you.” Draco picked up his shot and downed it as well. He turned to Harry. “Well, there’s no turning back now. I hope you’re ready for it.”
Laughing, Harry picked up his drink and raised it toward his friends. “I hope so, too.”
“Ah! There he is!” A voice called from the front of the pub.
Hermione and Ron turned in their chairs as Harry and Draco gaped at the woman weaving her way through the tavern toward them. On her head, she wore a hat the size of a bird cage. At second look, one could see that it actually was a bird cage. She was followed by a man carrying a camera.
“Fuck. I thought I’d at least get to eat first,” Harry muttered as Rita Skeeter reached the table.

Chapter Text

“Harry Potter,” Rita Skeeter smiled. She held out her hand to shake. He simply looked at it. She chortled and withdrew her hand, giving a fake pout. “Not happy to see me?”
“Is anyone ever happy to see you?” Ron sneered.
“And Mr. Malfoy, I hope there are no ill feelings between us,” Skeeter smirked. “Coincidence that you are once again in the middle of a sex scandal?”
Ron stood, looming over the reporter. “Since when is being gay a scandal? You print one word harming Harry in any way, the Ministry will come down on you so hard, you’ll never crawl back out.”
Waving a dismissive hand, Rita turned her attention to the former Chosen One. “I only want the truth.”
“Ha!”Hermione spat. “You wouldn’t know the truth if it bit you on your arse.”
Harry’s eyebrows raised. It wasn’t often that Hermione used colorful language.
“Harry has nothing to say to you,” Ron interjected.
Sitting quietly in his seat, Harry was glad this time for Ron’s intimidating ways. Rita Skeeter looked at each one of them. Each of them glared back, except for Draco, who was afraid if he looked at her, he may actually get up and punch her.
The server began bringing meals to the table, not so gently shoving the reporter aside.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said, in a tone that was clearly insincere. She placed Harry’s sandwich down, along with Hermione’s. Another waitress, beside her, placed Draco and Ron’s food down.
“Anything else I can get you?” the server asked. “Maybe I could take the trash away?” She looked pointedly at Rita.
“You can’t make me leave. This is a public place.”
“But it’s my public place,” a tall, burly man called from the bar. “And I have the right to toss out on their arse anyone who is disturbing the peace here.”
“Silas,” Rita batted her eyelashes. “You wouldn’t really make me leave, would you?”
“Does a bear shite in the woods?”
Gasping dramatically, Skeeter said, “I will not stand here and listen to such language.”
Her four inch stilettos clicked quickly on the floor as she walked out of the tavern in a huff.
Harry and Ron laughed out loud at the expression on Skeeter’s face, while Hermione sat pleased by the pub owner’s support of Harry.
Draco sat staring into his salad. He slammed his fist on the table, then got up and went to the loo.
“What’s his problem?” Ron asked.
“I’d better go talk to him,” Harry said.
After Harry left, Hermione addressed Ron’s question. “Malfoy’s been humiliated by the woman. And now the attention is back on him, along with Harry. Can’t you see how he’d be upset?”
“I guess. I never thought of Malfoy as having any feelings before.”
“But he does. Apparently, very strong ones for Harry. Even so, he just sat there. He didn’t speak up for Harry. You did.”
“Oh, should I have not done that?” Ron questioned. “We’ve always stood up for each other.”
“I don’t think you did anything wrong, Ron. But maybe Malfoy is upset that he wasn’t the one who stood up to Rita Skeeter.”
“Then he should have said something himself.” Ron took a bite of his fish.
“I wonder why he didn’t,” Hermione mused.
“Cause he’s a bloody coward,” Ron muttered.
Harry and Draco came back to the table and sat down at their places.
“I think we’re going to have our food wrapped up and go back to Hogwarts, if you don’t mind,” Harry told his friends.
“Of course,” Hermione smiled sympathetically.
“You’ve never let anyone run you off before,” commented Ron.
“I’m not running off,” Harry insisted. “We’re just tired. And people are still staring. You two should enjoy your meal in peace.”
“Aw, who cares what everyone--”Ron began.
“I do!” Draco snapped. “I mean, not for me. But I don’t want to bring Harry down with me.”
“You’re not bringing me down,” Harry said. He caressed the side of Draco’s face and gave him a small kiss.
The pub quieted slightly, not to the extent it did before. Harry thought perhaps the crowd was already getting used to the idea of their saviour shagging another man.
Harry waved to get their waitress’s attention and asked to have their meals boxed up.
“And thank you for trying to get rid of Rita Skeeter.”
“Any time,” she winked.
Harry took some money out of his pocket to cover all of their meals plus a generous tip. Handing it to her, he said, “You’ve served us so many times, and I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s Mel.” She held out her hand to shake.
“Short for Melanie?”
“No,” she winked. “Melvin,” Mel said proudly.
Harry’s eyes went wide as he took the hand, noticing for the first time that it was nearly as large and wide as his own. And though the nails were polished, it was definitely more masculine than any woman’s hand he’d shaken.
“You’re an inspiration to us all,” Mel said. “And this . . . well, to find out that our hero is gay . . . that a hero can be gay, it’s just so vindicating."
“I had no idea you were a--”
“Man? Only my long time regulars know, er, knew. I suppose a lot of them know now,” Mel laughed and looked around. “People see what they want to see. Or rather, they don’t see what they don’t want to see.”
Harry glanced at his friends, who gave sheepish grins. Ron and Hermione didn’t see any of the signs Harry showed. Even though he consciously tried not to, he couldn’t always help himself from appreciating a male form. And more than a few times he caught himself saying something a straight man probably wouldn’t say.
Mel smiled and removed the colorful scarf she wore around her neck. “Of course, I did my best to keep up the illusion, so I can’t fault the unobservant.”
Harry squinted a little, examining Mel more closely. He noticed her distinct Adam’s apple and the firm jawline. There were other, subtle sings as well. “I can see it now. Now that I’m really looking.”
Mel pursed her lips. “I don’t like wearing glamours.” She shrugged, “But I enjoy being a girl.” She retied her scarf.
Sensing Draco behind him, Harry cut the conversation short. Another waitress was handing Draco their boxes of food.
“We should get going now,” Harry told Mel. “Thank you.”
“No. Thank you,” Mel smiled.
Draco rolled his eyes, making no moves to hide it.
“Harry,” he said quietly, urging Harry along.
It was ironic that when they first arrived, Harry was nervous and unsure, and Draco at ease. Now their roles were reversed.

 

*****

 

Quietly coming to a stop in front of Harry’s door, the pair regarded each other.
“Are you coming inside?” Harry asked,
“I don’t think so,” Draco answered.
Harry held up the bag with food he had taken from Draco at some point during their trip back. “Aren’t you hungry?”
“Not really.”
“Well, why don’t you come in for a while anyway?”
Sighing, Draco asked, “What for?”
“Maybe your appetite will pick up,” Harry suggested.
His own had picked up greatly, but the only thing on his menu was Draco. “Did you forget something?”
Draco looked at him questioningly.
Taking a few steps forward, Harry whispered, “I love you.”
Instead of having the desired affect, Harry’s declaration seemed to depress Draco.
“I don’t see how. Not after the cowardly way I behaved tonight.”
“You weren’t cowardly,” Harry replied. “I thought you showed great restraint not hexing Rita Skeeter’e big fat arse.” Harry smiled, but Draco was unmoved.
“Your friends stood up for you. And I just sat there, like a Malfoy, cowering in the corner. And now I’ll probably be splashed all over the front page of the Prophet again.”
“She has no story. No one talked to her. Her photographer didn’t even get a photo.”
“Weasley all but confirmed it.”
Harry paused. “What do you mean?”
“What he said to Skeeter about how being gay isn’t a scandal. You know she took that as confirmation. And obviously someone who saw you kiss me contacted the Prophet. They’ll tell what they saw.”
“But Draco, I meant what I said before. I don’t care what anyone else thinks,” Harry said. “At least come inside and eat with me.”
After a long look and a sigh, Draco agreed. Though sex was forefront on Harry’s mind, he didn’t bring it up again. The way Draco had glossed over his hints earlier and his melancholy mood made it clear that the pair would not be consummating their relationship that night. Much to Harry’s disappointment.
They ate quietly, speaking occasionally about anything but what happened at the Leaky Cauldron. Quidditch and a new spell or hex Harry learned as an Auror took Draco’s mind off his worries and lifted his spirits. By the time he left Harry’s chambers for the night, he had been more relaxed and affectionate. But Harry decided not to push the issue and let him leave with just a few tender kisses.
Arriving back at his own chambers, Draco felt better and thought perhaps he had blown the situation out of proportion. He slept rather well that night, despite the events of the evening, remembering that Harry told him that he loved him.

 

*****

 

Monday morning brought a new sense of excitement for Harry. It was literally the dawn of a new era for him. One in which he no longer hid in the closet. He made his way toward the Great Hall after several minutes of debating with himself over whether or not to go up to Draco’s room to get him. He wasn’t sure how the Slytherin was feeling, and so decided to play it cool. He was nearly at the bottom of the stairs when he spotted Draco out of the corner of his eye making his way down.
“Hey,” Harry said quietly.
“Hey,” Draco returned. “Sorry about last night.”
“Don’t worry about it. It was Skeeter’s fault.”
Draco looked away. “No, I meant, about my gloomy mood afterward. I know you wanted to--” He cut himself off when a student approached, then walked past. Then he lowered his voice. “I know you wanted to shag last night. I purposely didn’t let on that I picked up on that.”
Harry smiled. “I know. And it’s okay. I want it to be right for both of us. Let’s just eat breakfast and get through the day. I’ll talk to McGonagall later to tell her what happened, in case someone from the Prophet tries to get a story out of her.”
Neither of them suspected what would happen when they walked through the threshold of the Great Hall.
Though they walked in the same way they always did, no closer, no further apart, the entire Hall silenced and watched them.
The sight of hundreds of pairs of eyes on him gave Draco a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. “What’s going on?” he whispered.
“I don’t-- oh, no,” Harry saw a student looking over a copy of the Prophet.
“What?”
“Just keep walking,” Harry said, tugging on his sleeve.
As they made their way to the head table, students stared up at them. Draco finally saw the newspapers and grabbed one off the Ravenclaw table.
“She printed a story anyway? That bitch.”
“Maybe it’s not that bad,” Harry said hopefully.
“The way everyone’s looking at us, I’m guessing not.”
“Mr. Malfoy. Mr. Potter,” McGonagall nodded. “I trust you have seen this morning’s edition.”
“Not yet Headmistress.” Harry frowned at the way she had addressed the pair formally, but returned the gesture.
Her expression softened slightly. “I’m not one to believe everything Rita Skeeter prints, but I can’t control other’s reactions.”
Harry sat down as she handed him her copy. Draco stood and read his.
As usual, Skeeter took what very few pieces of factual information she had and embellished greatly. There was an older photo of Harry and Draco, from Draco’s trial, where they briefly acknowledged one another. The headline under it read Potter Gets Malfoy Off Again. She reported that Harry had been in the Leaky Cauldron with Draco, and that witnesses said they kissed. However, the truth ended there. Skeeter had the pair not only snogging furiously, but groping one another in the company of Harry’s friends and nearly shagging right there on the table for all to see. She also exaggerated Draco’s lack of chivalry in standing up for the Chosen One when she confronted him. She painted Draco as a submissive partner, going even so far as to insinuate that he was acting as a slave to Harry, alluding to her previous articles chronicling Draco’s love life. The article went on to drag Ron into a love triangle, considering the way he defended Harry.
Growing more and more enraged, Harry slammed the paper down.
“It’s not true, Professor!” he called across the table. “She made this up.”
“But you told me yourself that you and Mr. Malfoy are involved.”
Harry lowered his head. “Yes, but all that stuff she printed didn’t really happen that way. We barely even spoke with her. And it was only one little kiss.”
With that, Draco tossed his paper on the table and left, humiliated as he was before. While the Prophet article was embarrassing for Harry, it was totally emasculating to Draco. He couldn’t stand the scrutiny of the entire staff and student body a second longer.
Harry got up and began to follow, but McGonagall stopped him with a gentle hand on his arm.
“Harry, this column could be very damaging to your reputations.”
“But I told you, it’s not true,” Harry protested.
“Unfortunately, the harm may have already been done.”
Shaking his head, Harry stormed off. It wasn’t fair. People would judge them based on what Rita Skeeter wrote, without any substantiating facts. Even if they didn’t buy into everything she wrote, they would believe that there must be some truth in it. Even Ron believed that her previous articles about Draco must have had some basis in fact.
He realized that it could compromise their positions at Hogwarts, if the Board thought it would lessen the school’s reputation. He had to find a way to fix the situation.
Regrettably, classes were about to start and Harry had to go to his classroom. Throughout the day, he endured stares, giggles, and sneers. Harry wondered what Draco was going through. Was it worse for him? Probably, Harry decided.
By the end of the day, Harry had lost any patience for his students and the last unfortunate class of the day was relegated to writing an essay on the immorality of using Dark Magic. He sat at his desk, head in hand as the students wrote in silence. All he could think about was talking to Draco.

 

*****

 

Harry approached Draco’s door and turned the knob. He had gotten used to letting himself in over the past month or so, as long as no one was watching. But Draco’s door was locked.
He stood a moment, and was about to knock, when a small house elf came out with a tray of half-eaten food.
“Master Harry Potter,” the elf smiled. “Can Minke get a tray of food for Master Harry?”
“No thank you Minke. I’m going to eat in the Great Hall,” he returned the smile. “Is Draco inside? Did you bring him some food?”
Shaking her head slowly, Minke frowned. “Master Draco is not well. Minke has brought Master Draco lunch and supper. Minke was asked to bring all meals to this room.”
Harry frowned. He didn’t like the idea of Draco hiding in his room, but he understood.
“Thank you, Minke.” Harry stepped into the room and closed the door once the elf left. “Draco?”
“What are you doing here?” Draco walked out of his bedroom.
“I came to see if you were all right. I didn’t see you at any meals, or in the hallways.”
Draco shrugged. “Why wouldn’t I be all right. Once again, I’m the laughing stock. My students can’t concentrate on the lessons I’m teaching. Oh, and Professor McGonagall has offered to give me some time off.”
“What do you mean by time off?”
“What do you think it means?” Draco snapped. “She’s probably going to sack me.”
“But it’s not your fault. I told her none of it is true.”
“And do you think your students believe that? Mine certainly don’t. The younger ones don’t seem to understand or care. But the Sixth and Seventh Years . . . well, let’s just say, they know things I didn’t when I was their age.”
“I’m so sorry,” Harry pulled Draco close. “This is all my fault. I had to go and out myself in the Leaky Cauldron of all places.”
“No, it’s not your fault,” Draco sighed. “If I had protested more about those articles Skeeter wrote years ago about me, this wouldn’t have been such a big deal now. At the time, I figured it would all blow over and be forgotten. And, you know, too much denial only makes a person look more guilty.”
“She’s gone too far this time. I’m going to fix this.”
“No, Harry. Let it go. I’m sure no one really believes Weasley is a ponce. And what she said about you wasn’t that bad. They’re too busy laughing at me anyway. Let it go. You should cut your losses.”
Harry pulled back. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means, I wouldn’t blame you if you break up with me. I’ll probably be asked to leave Hogwarts, so you won’t have to see me around. Maybe the new Potions Professor will be fit,” he gave a weak chuckle.
“I’m not breaking up with you. And you’re not leaving Hogwarts,” Harry said. “And I am going to fix this.”
He kissed Draco firmly on the lips and walked out, determined to do as he said.

Chapter Text

Harry arrived at the front door of the Prophet at seven in the evening. Most of the lights were out, indicating little activity. He knocked loudly on the door until, after several minutes, someone came to answer. The door opened just a crack, and the face of an older gentleman appeared.
“We’re closed,” he grumbled. “If you want to place an advertisement, you’ll have to wait ‘til tomorrow.”
“I’m not here for an advertisement,” Harry told him. “I’m here to speak with Ms. Skeeter.”
“She’s not here. You’ll have to come back tomorrow.” The man began to close the door, but Harry stopped it with his foot.
“Then I’ll speak with the editor.”
“He’s not here either.”
“Really,” Harry said skeptically. “Nobody’s here? All deadlines have been met? I find that hard to believe.”
“I don’t care what you believe,” the man spat. “Now get your foot out of the way or I’ll cast a Severing charm.”
Harry pushed his hood off his head and cast a Lumos charm so the man could get a good look at his scar.
“All right then, if nobody here wants to speak to Harry Potter, then I suppose I can find another paper who’d like an exclusive.”
He removed his foot from the door and turned to walk away.
“Wait! Wait!” The man opened the door fully. “I may have been wrong. Let me check if they’re here. Please come in Mr. Potter.” The man gave Harry a smile so creepy, it rivaled Filch’s.
Harry strode inside and stood with arms crossed, trying to look as intimidating as he could. Within a minute or two, both Rita Skeeter and her new editor appeared. She hesitated when she noticed that Harry’s wand was out.
“I’m not going to hex you, if that’s what you’re worried about,” Harry said with a smirk. “While that would give me personal satisfaction, it won’t solve my problem.”
“Which is?” the editor asked.
Harry turned his attention on the man. “You, for one. Her, for another. Writing sensational stories to sell papers is one thing, but making up shite and ruining reputations is another.”
Raising and eyebrow, Rita said coolly, “I gave you an opportunity to tell your side yesterday.”
“And because I didn’t grant you an interview in the middle of my supper, that gave you the right to fabricate--”
“I have witnesses. Even your best friend admitted that you prefer the company of men over women,” she interrupted.
“You have witnesses that saw one kiss. One very small kiss.” Harry clenched his fists. Arguing was going to get him nowhere. “Look, I have a proposition for you. I’ll give you an interview. An exclusive interview.”
Rita’s eyes lit up, while her editor began to practically salivate.
“Don’t get overly excited,” Harry warned. “I have conditions.”
“Of course,” the editor nodded. “Such as?”
“He’ll want me to retract the original story,” Rita guessed.
“Absolutely,” Harry said. “You’ll not only apologize for this latest slander, but you’ll also apologize for those series of articles you wrote about Draco a few years back.”
“What? I can’t do that. Besides, I had real witnesses for that,” Rita told him.
“Well, you’re going to say that those so-called witnesses have all since admitted to lying,” Harry ordered.
“You’re asking an awful lot,” the editor said. “What do we get in return?”
“I’ll answer almost anything you want to know,” Harry said. “Provided I get the questions in advance, and you ask only those questions. My intimate relationship with Draco is off limits, except what I choose to say about it.”
“So, you’ll talk about the war? Your friends? Your family?”
Harry nodded.
The editor licked his lips and held out his hand. “It’s a bargain.”
“Wait,”Rita said. “I haven’t agreed.”
The man turned and gave her a look that Harry wouldn’t have wanted to be on the receiving end of.
Harry held out his hand. “I’ll want all of this in writing. No offense Mr. . . .”
“Wyndam. Bertram Wyndam. You can call me Bert.”
“I’ll want a contract signed by the pair of you outlining exactly what will happen.”
“Of course,” Wyndam said, grinning. The thought of getting an interview with the Chosen One after all these years made him a bit giddy. Harry had stopped giving interviews once the first couple of biographies had come out. He felt he had said all that he planned to by then and was adamant about returning to a normal, peaceful life. Which he had managed to do until this latest fiasco.
Wyndam left to retrieve a standard contract.
Smirking, Skeeter sat down in a chair nearby. “I must really have hit a nerve this time.”
Harry refused to engage in conversation with the woman. At least not until she had signed a contract with clear guidelines.
She continued on without him. “I never thought I’d see the day when you would be defending the honor of Draco Malfoy.”
Harry couldn’t help himself. “I defended him at his trial, if you recall.” He knew full well that she did. The photograph on the day’s issue came directly from the trial.
“Yes. That’s right.” She touched her index finger to her chin. “Hmmm. I wonder now if there was something brewing between the two of you back then.”
Opening his mouth to speak at first, Harry quickly shut it. “Save it for the interview.”
Wyndam returned with parchment and quill in hand. He sat down with Harry going over details of their arrangement, while Rita began a list of questions to ask Harry.
After about an hour, the three of them had come to an agreement. The interview would take place the following evening, after a notary wizard had witnessed and bound the contract.
Bert and Harry shook hands. Harry forced himself to nod to Skeeter. He wasn’t completely convinced that hexing her was a bad idea.

 

*****

 

Again, Harry found himself locked out of Draco’s room. He knocked and waited.
“Harry, what are you doing here so late?”
“It’s not that late. I wanted to talk to you. Can’t I come in?”
Draco opened the door, allowing Harry to go inside.
“McGonagall got some of the other professors to cover my classes tomorrow,” Draco said.
“Maybe that’s not such a bad idea,” Harry offered. “Take a break.”
Eyes wide, Draco responded, “Even you think I shouldn’t be teaching?”
“No, I didn’t say that. But if the students are distracted, they won’t be learning what you’re trying to teach them anyway.”
Draco pursed his lips, but said nothing.
“Anyway, that’s not what I came to tell you. I’m going to do an interview with Skeeter to set the record straight.”
“You can’t. She won’t be any more fair than before.”
“Yes, she will. I’ve drawn up a contract with the editor. It will be all right.”
“Harry, they’ll find a way to get around a contract. They’ve done it before. To my mother. Please, just let it go.”
“I can’t.”
“You’re going to make it worse,” Draco murmured. “Please don’t do it.”
“I have to. You could come with me, if you’d like.”
“No, I can’t witness that train wreck.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way,” Harry said. “I’m doing this for you. For us. So we can get back to normal.”
“If you truly mean that, you won’t do the interview.”
The two men stared at one another. Harry grew less confident in his decision.
“I haven’t signed the contract yet,” Harry told him.
Visibly relaxing, Draco gave a small smile. “Then it’s not too late. You don’t have to go. Screw them. Screw everyone. I’ll bounce back. I always do. Even if I have to leave here to do it. We could go somewhere else and start over.”
“We shouldn’t be chased from our home,” Harry said.
“Then we’ll stay and just stick it out. It’ll blow over eventually.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Harry nodded.

*****

 

While Harry made it through another day of stares, giggles and sneers, Draco did Potions research in his room. He kept expecting McGonagall to come in to tell him he’s been sacked. Minke continued to bring him meals in his room throughout the day as he was still too embarrassed to face the rest of the staff.
On the other hand, Harry attended meals and classes as usual. He refused to let the Prophet article bring him down. And the more he thought about it, the more he thought Draco was wrong to back down. Historically, the Malfoys weren’t ones to stand up to opposition well. But Draco and his mother’s actions at the end of the war proved they could. At least, in a passive-aggressive way.
By the end of the day, Harry had decided to keep his interview with the Prophet after all. He hoped Draco would understand.

*****

 

Arriving on time at the Prophet offices, Harry came prepared with answers to Rita Skeeter’s questions. She would be allowed to ask a query, then one follow up after Harry had answered. Though the original questions were written down, the follow-ups couldn’t be anticipated because they depended on the answers Harry gave. He’d had the foresight to reserve the right to not answer those questions.
Harry sat down across a table from the reporter, confident that he had protected himself well, despite Draco’s warning. He vaguely recalled the interview Narcissa gave, but he knew it didn’t paint Draco’s mother in a favorable light. Being well prepared gave Harry the advantage, as far as he was concerned.
“Well, Harry, shall we begin?” she asked.
“I’m ready,” he smiled smugly.
Bert had joined them, to serve as a witness, as requested by Harry. A witch who called herself Duchess also joined them to scribe.
Not that I don’t trust Rita to keep accurate notes, Harry thought to himself sarcastically.
“Rita Skeeter here, speaking with the elusive Harry Potter in his first interview since Nineteen ninety-nine. So, tell me Harry, why now? Why are you finally breaking your silence to give me this exclusive interview?”
“Because of the slanderous article you just wrote. I want to set the record straight.”
Rita turned to Duchess. “Don’t write that.” To Harry she implored, “Can’t we at least be civil?”
“I am being civil,” Harry told her. “Believe me, that answer is toned down.” He addressed Duchess. “Write it down.”
“Move on Rita,” Bert interrupted. “You agreed not to censor him.”
“Fine,” she said curtly, smoothing out her skirt.
Rather than ask a follow up to that, she dove right in.
“As reported by me in yesterday’s Prophet, you have been seen in the company of Draco Malfoy, a Death Eater, in a compromising position. Would you care to comment on that?”
Harry frowned. “That isn’t how you worded that question on my list.” He saw Bert slump in his chair and sigh heavily, probably out of frustration. If the two of them nitpicked every detail, the interview was going to take hours. Harry decided as long as he was able to explain himself fully, it didn’t matter how she worded the questions.
“Fine,” he said. “Yes. I would. Draco and I work together as professors at Hogwarts. We became friendly over the course of the past few months. Recently, we have begun dating. But we weren’t caught in a compromising position, as you put it. I gave him a small kiss, that was it. Any credible witnesses will corroborate that. I would also like to clarify that he is not a Death Eater.”
Rita leaned forward slightly and gave a half smile. “Draco Malfoy carries the Dark Mark, does he not?”
“Yes, but--”
“Next question,” Rita interrupted.
“Wait, I want to finish answering,” Harry protested.
“It was a yes or no question,” she replied, smirking. “Asked and answered. Next question.”
Stewing inside, Harry was beginning to think Draco had been right about not doing the interview. It was too late for second-guessing, though. He would have to make sure his answers didn’t leave her much leeway from then on.
“Why hide your homosexuality? Are you ashamed?”
“No, I’m not ashamed. I try to keep my private life private. You of all people know that. I simply saw no reason to announce it. Did you have to announce that you are heterosexual to the world?”
“That’s not the same. Heterosexuality is normal.” Rita glanced at Duchess. “Scratch that. Shit.”
Bert rolled his eyes. “Just ask your next question.”
Letting out a grunt, and a curse word, Rita continued the interview.
“How long have you and Mr. Malfoy been dating?”
The query was boring, but readers would want to know.
“About a month now.”
“Is that all? But you’ve been seen at the Leaky Cauldron several times together since September.”
“We’ve shared a few meals there, as friends.”
“I see. Then where was your first date?”
“I suppose technically it was the Harpies versus Bats Quidditch match. And then we went to the Leaky.”
“Ah, so it’s become your place, as it were.”
Harry shrugged.
“Readers can’t read a shrug, Harry,” Rita said.
“I didn’t hear a question. Besides, you’ve already asked a follow up to the date question.”
The rest of the interview went similarly. Rita would pose a question, Harry would answer as carefully as possible, then Skeeter would ask her chaser. Sometimes she caught him off guard. Sometimes he left very little room to lead him. Overall, Harry felt good about the interview. And provided they printed everything he said and didn’t use creative editing, he thought Draco would approve.
Toward the end of the interrogation, after Skeeter had asked Harry about his experiences directly after killing Voldemort, she asked about a former interview.
“During your last formal interview, you were quoted as saying, The Malfoys certainly haven’t redeemed themselves completely. As an Auror, I will make it my business to know the comings and goings of all Death Eaters. I don’t believe they can be trusted.” Rita smirked. “It sounds to me like a bit of a conflict. How do you justify your relationship if you don’t trust him?”
In his notes, the question didn’t include a quote. Harry couldn’t be expected to remember every interview he gave. He didn’t particularly recall those exact words, putting him to a disadvantage. He directed his attention to Bert Wyndam.
“That’s unfair. I can’t defend a quote I don’t recall making.”
“She’s done her research,” Bert told him. “The quote is accurate. Sorry.”
Harry took a moment to think. Skeeter was hoping to fluster him, no doubt, and to make him look like a hypocrite. Perhaps she was hoping he would try to backpedal his way out of it and appear foolish. Instead, he gave Rita what she never would have expected, being incapable herself. He humbled himself and told the truth.
“I don’t remember saying those particular words. But I also don’t deny saying them. It is the sort of thing I would have said shortly after the war. I was only nineteen when I gave the last interview. I was a bitter and tired young man. Though, I felt ancient. Being an Auror seemed my only option at the time, and I embraced it fully. I thought redemption was beyond the Death Eaters despite evidence to the contrary. I think deep down, I wanted to punish anyone who didn’t stand up to Voldemort. No matter which side they were on.”
Rita sat, uncharacteristically quiet, waiting to see if Harry would continue. She was about to ask her final follow up question when he spoke again.
“I was wrong. I was wrong to make generalizations about Voldemort’s followers, the way purebloods are wrong about muggle borns. I understand now, the fear and manipulation Tom Riddle used to control people. And I’ve matured enough to recognize that a person’s character should be judged by his own actions, and not by those around him.”
“Guilt by association?”Rita raised an eyebrow.
“Exactly,” Harry said. “More than that, the war was a time of extremes. A time when people did what they had to do to survive. I had no right to fault the Death Eaters for wanting to survive, any more than my friends. And not all of them were willing participants.”
“Draco Malfoy, for example?” Rita questioned. “Is that what you’re implying?”
“Not implying, saying. Draco was caught up in his family’s involvement but his loyalty did not lie with Voldemort. I have gotten to know Draco on a personal level, far removed from the duress of war. The kindness, friendship and affection he has shown me has touched me deeply. And I love him for it.”
“Are you saying that you’re in love with Draco Malfoy?”
Nodding once, Harry answered, “With all my heart.” He paused. “I believe that concludes our interview.” He decided not to bring up the fact that Rita had asked an extra question. He was happy to answer that one.
“Oh, but you can’t leave the readers hanging like that. They’ll want details,” Skeeter exclaimed.
“They won’t get any. I’ve already given too much.”
Harry stood and held out his hand to Bert Wyndam. “I trust this will be printed up properly.”
Harry didn’t need to say it, as the contract bound Wyndam to print only what Harry said, word for word. The article would be complete and accurate.
“Miss,” Harry turned to the girl who transcribed the interview.
“Duchess,” she corrected.
Harry held out his hand. “If you please?”
She waved her wand over the parchment. “Imitari.” Duchess handed Harry the conjured duplicate copy.
“Not to worry, Mr. Potter,” Wyndam smiled. It was fake and practiced.
Rita gave Harry a cursory nod and left the room. Though she got her exclusive, it wasn’t quite what she was hoping for. Wyndam followed her out.
“You’re brave to put yourself out there,” Duchess commented. “There will be a lot of people who don’t understand.”
“I didn’t have much of a choice after that other article,” he said. “I only wanted people to know the truth. Hopefully, I’ve not done more damage.”
“What you said was lovely,” she smiled. A genuine, warm smile unlike Wyndam’s.
Harry hoped Draco would be of the same opinion.

Chapter Text

It was rather late by the time Harry arrived back at Hogwarts, so instead of visiting Draco in his quarters, he went to his own and got ready for bed.
As he settled in with a book to help relax, he heard a knock at his door.
Harry grinned as he opened the door to see Draco standing there.
“Where have you been all night?”
The grin quickly disappeared.
“I came here three times tonight looking for you.” Draco crossed his arms over his chest. “And no one I asked had seen you.”
“Draco, don’t be angry,” Harry pleaded.
“You gave the interview, didn’t you? You told me you wouldn’t.”
“I never said that I wasn’t going to. I just said maybe you were right about being careful. But I was,” Harry insisted.
“No. You made it sound as though I was right about not doing the interview at all. They’ll find a way to twist whatever you said.”
“The contract--”
“I told you, the editors at the Prophet can always find a way around contracts,” Draco snorted.
Harry placed his hands gently on Draco’s shoulders. “Trust me.”
“I did,” Draco said squirming out of Harry’s grasp. “You did the interview anyway.”
Trying his hardest not to roll his eyes, Harry sighed. He could see that Draco was hurt, but frankly, he thought Draco was being unreasonable.
The blond stood a moment longer, staring at Harry.
“What?” Harry finally asked.
Draco turned on his heel and left in a huff. It wasn’t much of an argument, but it was their first. Well, their first as a couple. Afterward, Harry felt badly about it.
In hindsight, he thought he should have at least apologized for the misunderstanding. He wasn’t sorry about doing the interview. Harry decided that once Draco read it, he would be more forgiving, and Harry would apologize then.

 

***

 

The following morning, Harry was a little later to breakfast than usual. As he was walking in, Draco was walking out. The smile on Harry’s face faded when he saw the scowl Draco wore.
“What’s wrong? Did you read the article?”
“Oh, yes. She made you look like a fool on the very first question. I couldn’t bear to read any more. Now, not only will people be snickering at my supposed fetishes, but she’s reminded them that I still carry the Dark Mark. How in the name of Merlin did that make things better for us?”
Harry opened up his mouth to answer but Draco kept talking.
“It doesn’t. Of course, you won’t be any worse for wear, I’m sure.”
“Draco, you need to read the whole thing,” Harry said. “And it’s not as if I came out looking like an angel. I was honest, and it wasn’t always flattering. But I’m glad I did the interview.”
“Even if it hurt me?”
“Draco,” Harry sighed.
“I could feel everyone watching me at breakfast. Same as yesterday. Nothing’s changed. Except now they’re all thinking about the Dark Mark and wondering if I’m still a Death Eater in secret or something.”
“I am truly sorry about that part. I wish she hadn’t brought that up. Please believe me, the rest of the interview went much better.”
Harry took hold of Draco’s hand. Before either of them could say more, students began to pouring out of the Great Hall.
“I have to go,” Draco said, and walked toward the staircase.
Harry let out a low growl of frustration. Not only was Draco angry with him, he had missed breakfast. He trudged up the stairs to his classroom, hoping not to take his frustrations out on the students.
The following few days went similarly. Draco was curt, but at least he was speaking to Harry. He could be grateful for that, he supposed. Though he still thought his lover-- almost lover -- was being somewhat childish.
After supper on that Friday, Harry was walking past a large picture window. He’d noticed a few snowflakes falling earlier but thought nothing of it as it was a bit early in the year for a real snowfall. Now he was surprised to see several inches covering the Hogwarts grounds. Harry smiled as he recalled some happy memories as a boy, playing in the snow with his friends. He hadn’t been sledding in ages and thought perhaps that was just the sort of fun he and Draco needed. Briefly, he wondered if the Slytherin had ever gone sledding.
Determined, Harry went to his room to change out of his robes into jeans and a warm jumper. He toyed with the thought of using a warming charm, then decided it would be better to get chilled so they could warm each other up. It felt like forever since Harry had seen any real action. In reality, it had been less than two weeks. He was anxious to get up to Draco’s room to fetch him.
Dressed in his jumper, jacket, scarf and gloves, Harry opened his door to go up to the sixth floor.
He gasped, not expecting to see the man standing there.
The Slytherin Head looked him up and down.
“Going somewhere?”
“Actually, I was hoping to drag you out into the snow,” Harry told him.
“For what?” Draco asked, a distressed look on his face.
“Sledding,” Harry grinned.
“Sledding? Seriously?”
“Yes, sledding. Have you ever been?”
“Of course, I’ve been sledding,” Draco said indignantly.
“Then let’s go.”
Draco stood his ground and crossed his arms over his chest. “I didn’t come here to go sledding.”
“What did you come here for?”
“To tell you I finally read the whole article,” replied Draco.
Harry felt a knot form in the pit of his stomach.
“And?” His mouth became dry, and the feeling in his stomach grew as he waited for a response.
Draco stepped into the room, closing the door behind him, and forcing Harry to back up. Reaching out, Draco grabbed at the scarf around Harry’s neck and pulled.
“I loved it,” he whispered, tugging the Gryffindor closer.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and barely had time to take another breath before Draco’s lips were on his.
They snogged for a few minutes until Draco became frustrated by the amount of clothing Harry was wearing. He unwound the scarf from Harry’s neck, then pulled off the jacket, tossing it aside.
“I thought you were angry with me,” said Harry, pulling his jumper over his head.
“You look disappointed,” Draco smirked. “Were you hoping I would spank you?”
“Kind of.”
Draco stared at Harry. He wasn’t quite sure if he was joking or not.
Finally, Harry whispered, “Perhaps another time, then.”
Their lips crashed together in a bruising frenzy. Almost a week after declaring his love, and too many nights wanking alone, Harry was eager to let Draco shag him. And he was in no mood for tenderness.
“Fuck me, Draco. I want you to fuck me hard.”
The words alone were enough to arouse Draco’s cock to its full potential. The pair couldn’t remove their clothes fast enough, tossing them carelessly about. Harry sifted through the pile to find his wand and performed a charm on himself.
When Draco raised an eyebrow in question, Harry offered an explanation. “A spell to get myself ready. Saves time. And you’re not getting out of it this time.” He pulled the drawer to his side table and groped for his bottle of lube.
Cock throbbing in anticipation, Draco pushed Harry onto the bed and crawled over top of him.
“I’ve wanted this for so long,” Draco breathed. “Although, I always thought our positions would be reversed.”
“I’ll top next time,” Harry promised. “Now come on and fuck me.” He handed Draco the bottle.
Draco nudged Harry’s legs apart with his knee. He reached down, teasing the bollocks before continuing on to Harry’s arse. One well-lubricated finger slid easily inside. Draco could tell that Harry was quite experienced. A second, then third finger glided in, making Harry groan.
“Please, Draco.”
Complying, Draco removed his fingers and guided his cock in their place. Both men grunted and moaned as Draco buried himself to the hilt. Slowly sliding back out, then in again, the Potions professor leaned forward to kiss his lover.
“You feel better than anything ever has.”
Draco kept his movements slow and steady, wanting the lovemaking to last as long as possible. He’d been fantasizing for years about this night. And he would milk it for all it was worth.
“Harry,” Draco murmured. He sucked at Harry’s neck, lost in his scent, while Harry gently rubbed circles on Draco’s back.
After a while of soothing rhythm and slow, deep kisses, Harry was ready for more.
“Let’s switch places,” he suggested. “I want to ride you.”
Draco had to force himself to stop what he was doing and disengage himself. He lay down next to Harry and let him climb on. As Harry’s bum came in contact with his bollocks, the pair moaned in pleasure.
In the new position, Draco’s cock sat deeper into Harry and the Gryffindor enjoyed having more control. He leaned back a bit. Partly to see more of Draco, partly to get Draco’s cock to rub against his insides just the way he liked. In time, Harry would teach Draco precisely what would bring him the most pleasure. But for their first time together, Harry took it upon himself to hit that sweet spot.
“Oh, yeah. Oh yeah,” Harry panted. “Touch me, Draco.”
With one hand, Draco grasped Harry’s bouncing cock. With the other, he raked his fingernails over Harry’s chest.
Harry slammed himself down onto Draco over and over. His head fell back, and his mouth gaped open. The bed creaked loudly, leading Draco to briefly wonder if anyone could hear them. The thought was quickly dismissed when Harry’s moaning became louder and higher. After having pleasured Harry with his hand or mouth many times, Draco knew well the sound that signaled his lover’s imminent orgasm. He pumped his hand hurriedly.
“Cum, love. Cum.”
With a resounding cry, Harry spilled his creamy jizz onto Draco’s chest. The pair temporarily stopped moving to watch as Harry came.
Leaning forward to kiss Draco, Harry said, “Fuck, that was brilliant. Where do you want me?”
“Can I cum in you?” Draco was painfully close to orgasm.
The corner of Harry’s mouth rose. How many men had released themselves into Harry’s arse, he couldn’t count. Not one had ever asked permission. Though to be fair, most had worn condoms for that purpose. But none of those who hadn’t, had considered Harry’s sensibilities the way Draco had.
“Please,” answered Harry. “I want all of you.”
Grabbing onto Harry’s hips, Draco gazed up at him.
“Hold still,” he ordered as Harry straddled him.
Draco thrust his hips upward, slowly at first, then swiftly and forcefully.
“Fuck. Ah, fuck,” Draco grunted. “Harry, you’re perfect.”
Harry smiled, thinking the same thing about the man beneath him. Transferring his weight to his left arm, Harry used his right to tweak Draco’s firm nipples. It pushed the Slytherin prince over the edge.
Almost as if taken by surprise, Draco gasped loudly when he came. He continued to pump into Harry through load after load, until he was completely spent.
He heard Harry whimper and was pulled out of his reverie.
“Your hands,” Harry said gently.
Draco hadn’t realized how tightly he had been gripping his lover until then. He immediately released him.
“I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?”
“No,” Harry smiled.
But Draco could see the red marks of his fingertips on Harry’s skin. He tenderly rubbed the spots.
“I’ll have to make that up to you.”
“I like you holding onto me so tightly,” Harry told him. “I don’t want you to ever let me go.”
They stayed in position for a moment, until Draco’s waning cock slipped out of Harry, along with a generous amount of Draco’s cum.
“I suppose we ought to clean ourselves up,” Draco suggested.
“Shower?” Harry grinned.
“Bath,” Draco countered.
Harry used a cursory cleaning spell on them and went to fill the tub. While he was at it, he lit several candles and spelled some music to play softly.
Meanwhile, Draco lay in the afterglow of their lovemaking. He loved Harry so much his heart ached. He decided then and there that nothing--not Rita Skeeter, not his or Harry’s friends, not even his insecurities--was going to keep them apart.
He heard that the tub water had stopped flowing, and their bath was ready. He got up and walked to the bath to find Harry already in the water, surrounded by dim candlelight. It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.
Harry gestured for him to sit between his spread legs. He did, resting his back on Harry’s chest while the Gryffindor stroked his hair.
“I could stay here forever,” Draco murmured.
“You could,” Harry replied dreamily.
“I don’t think that would go over so well with McGonagall,” Draco chuckled. “As far as I know, no unmarried couple has ever shared quarters before.”
Harry’s hand stopped stroking abruptly.
“You mean, you would actually want to move in with me?”
“Oh, um,” Draco tried to back pedal. “I didn’t mean . . . it was just a . . . silly thought. I’m just so happy here with you,” he stammered.
“It isn’t silly,” Harry assured him. “But you’re right about McGonagall.”
The unspoken words were deafening. But it was much too soon for either of them to suggest marriage.
Fearing that he’d gone too far, Draco’s mind reverted back to self-doubt. The awkward silence was too much for him, despite the promise he had just made to himself in the bedroom but a few moments earlier. He was about to get up, when Harry finally spoke.
“What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, though,” he laughed quietly. “And it’s only Friday. We can stay in here ‘til Sunday if we want.”
Draco relaxed and let a smile cross his face. Harry always knew exactly what to say. He leaned back and turned so he could face Harry.
“I love you,” he said, attempting to restrain his emotions that threatened to make a fool of him.
“I love you, too.”
Harry kissed him and let his hands roam. Draco turned around, already preparing for round two . . .

Chapter Text

Sunday morning, the sun streamed through the heavy window pane, waking Draco from a peaceful slumber. He yawned and opened his eyes, already smiling in anticipation of seeing Harry’s face. Harry was still sleeping, somewhat in shadow.
Draco watched his chest rise and fall and fall slowly for a bit, then his gaze traveled up Harry’s body to his neck, which was sporting the blush of a love bite left by Draco. Black stubble covered his upper neck and chin, as the DADA professor hadn’t bothered to shave since Friday morning. Draco found the roughness a sexy contrast to Harry’s usual boy-next-door good looks.
Continuing up Harry’s face, Draco followed the curve of his lips and the contours of his nose. He found that he could stare all day and never tire of memorizing each and every line and shadow.
Even closed, Harry’s eyes were extraordinary. The black fringe of lashes, slightly curled, were thick and shiny like his hair. The bulge of his eyelids hinted at the large, green orbs that lay just beneath.
Draco sighed, feeling somewhat sappy for his sentimentality. But he was smitten, completely and utterly under Harry’s spell. He didn’t even care if he looked a fool, because Harry was with him, letting him hold him, kiss him and fuck him senseless. Harry was in love with him too.
Harry Potter was in love with Draco Malfoy. It was there in black and white. Draco chuckled to himself as he thought perhaps he’d have that page of the Prophet framed.
“What’s so funny?” a voice asked softly.
“I am,” Draco answered, grinning at Harry.
“Hmm. Then you’re the first Malfoy to be so,” Harry smiled back.
“I think it’s because I’m the first Malfoy to be happy.”
Harry leaned in and gave Draco a quick, tight-lipped kiss, not particularly wanting to share his morning breath.
“Me too,” he said. “What should we do today?”
“What’s wrong with what we’ve been doing?”
Harry laughed. “Nothing. But my arse is beginning to protest. Five times in thirty-six hours has to be some sort of record. Well, for me it is.”
Leaning close, Draco whispered, “You could have me instead.”
Though Harry usually preferred to bottom, he had to admit the thought of reversing their positions caused him to harden under the sheets.
Before they could progress any further, a knock came on the door to Harry’s quarters.
“Bollocks! Who the hell is calling on you this early on a Sunday morning? Don’t they know we’re going for a shag record?”
Harry snickered, reluctantly getting out of bed. He slipped on a bath robe to answer the door. It was a surprise to see McGonagall on the other side.
“Minerva, this is unexpected,” Harry said uneasily. He smiled, despite thinking her visit was not going to be a pleasant one.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, but I’ve been looking for Draco.” She paused uncomfortably. “I had a feeling he might be here.”
Harry opened up the door to let her in. As she walked in, she glimpsed into Harry’s open bedroom door to see Draco lying in his bed, half covered by the sheet.
“Oh, fuck,” he muttered, quickly pulling up the covers.
Silently, Harry went to the door and closed it, giving Draco the opportunity to get out of bed and dressed without giving McGonagall the full monty. He and Minerva stood awkwardly, waiting for Draco to emerge.
“Minerva,” Draco said, nodding respectfully when he came out dressed in wrinkled clothing from Friday. “You were looking for me?”
“Yes,” she replied. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m afraid your mother has had an accident.”
“Mother?” he gasped. “Is she all right?”
“She’s in St. Mungo’s being taken care of.”
“What happened?” Harry asked.
“She was at yesterday’s Quidditch match and . . . fell from her seat in the stands.”
The way she paused made Draco think that it wasn’t quite the accident it appeared to be.
McGonagall continued. “She’s suffered a broken leg and a concussion. She’s been asking for you.”
Turning to Harry, Draco said, “I have to go. With my father still in Azkaban, she’ll need me. I’m sorry.”
“You should probably go freshen up and change before you go,” Harry suggested.
Putting a reassuring hand on Draco’s shoulder, McGonagall told him, “I’ve arranged to have your classes covered for the next week so you may tend to your mother. Draco, she’s expected to make a full recovery in time.”
“Thank you, professor.” Again, he directed his attention to Harry. “I’ll floo call you later to let you know what’s going on.”
He glanced at Minerva, then stepped forward and briefly kissed Harry, whispering, “I love you.”
“Me too,” Harry whispered back. “We’ll work on that record another time.”
One more nod to the Headmistress, and Draco left. After he was gone, McGonagall cleared her throat. Harry knew she had something to say and was probably trying to figure out how to say it tactfully. He beat her to the punch.
“Draco spent the weekend here with me. I know you’ve seen the interview in the Daily Prophet, so you know the nature of our relationship. Is this going to be a problem?”
“No, Harry, your relationship with Draco is not a problem. I rather prefer it to the way you boys used to behave towards one another.”
Harry visibly relaxed.
“However,” she went on. “I can’t say that I am thrilled with the state I found the pair of you in this morning.”
“With all due respect, professor, these are my private quarters.”
“Yes, well, be that as it may, you are still the Heads of Slytherin and Gryffindor. Therefore, you must make yourselves available to students, even on weekends. What if I had been one of your students coming to call?”
“Oh, uh, I guess I hadn’t thought of that.”
“And what if one of Draco’s students was looking for him? Would he or she know where to look?” She paused. “On second thought, as the two of you aren’t married, the students should not think to look here.”
“So, you’re suggesting that Draco and I not have a personal life outside--or rather, inside, of Hogwarts?”
“It’s a delicate situation. Surely you can agree to that.”
“But you have to concede that by now, most of the students have read my interview and know that Draco and I are dating.”
“Dating is one thing, Harry. Finding your professors in bed together is quite another.”
“I see your point,” Harry said. “Draco and I will be more discreet from now on. But Minerva, has there ever been a couple teaching together at Hogwarts before?”
“Yes, a few. But most of them were married couples.”
“Oh.”
“Just make sure the two of you are more conscientious in the future. I don’t want to have to add sex education to the curriculum,” she smirked.

 

***

 

“How is your mother doing?”
“The same,” Draco told Harry. “Now that she’s home from St. Mungo’s, she’s much happier, though.”
“How much longer do you think you’ll stay there?” Draco shrugged. “I’m not sure. Perhaps another week. Not that I don’t trust the house elves to care for Mother, but I would feel better knowing that her injuries are healing well before I leave.”
“I understand,” Harry said. “I miss you.”
“I miss you too,” Draco said from the floo. “How is my replacement working out?”
“He’s not your replacement. He’s a temporary substitute. But he’s okay I guess. The students haven’t complained.”
“Good. As long as he’s not buggaring up my classroom.”
Harry could hear a voice calling Draco from beyond the floo.
“That’s Mother,” Draco said. “I’ve got to go. I’ll call again soon. Love you.”
“Love you too.”
Harry sighed as Draco quickly disappeared. He’d been lonely ever since Draco left the school to tend to his mother. And with the weekend fast approaching, he was feeling particularly solitary.
Sitting down at his desk, he took out the essays his Fourth Years had written that week and began to grade them. He was in the middle of reading the second one when someone knocked on his door.
“Professor Knox, what can I do for you?” Harry asked wearily.
“Please, can we drop the professor part? Just call me Knox.”
Harry smiled, but really wasn’t in the mood to hold the substitute’s hand. Figuratively speaking.
“Okay. Knox, what can I do for you?”
“Well, it’s about one of the students, Casper Montague. Do you know him?”
“Yes. He’s been doing poorly in Potions. Draco has been giving him extra help to try and get him ready for his O.W.L.s.”
“Oh, that explains it. His Confusing and Befuddlement Draught was a bit of a mess. I gave him a grade for it, but not a good one,” Knox said. “He said something about trying again. But I told him no. He looked like he was about to cry,” he laughed.
“He isn’t a bad student overall. He’s simply impatient with his potion making,” Harry explained. “He does well in my class, and most of the others. If you give him another chance to make--”
Knox cut Harry off. “It sounds like Malfoy is being too lenient with the boy.”
“Professor Malfoy is doing a splendid job with a student who would otherwise fall through the cracks,” Harry defended.
“Well, my philosophy is to toughen students like that up. If he can’t keep up in a school environment, how is he supposed to make it in the wizarding world?”
Harry couldn’t necessarily disagree with the other professor. But he didn’t want to say anything to suggest that he wasn’t one hundred percent behind Draco.
“Anyway, it’s about supper time. You going down?” Knox asked.
Looking at his mantle clock, Harry nodded. “I didn’t realize it was that time already. I’ll walk with you.”
As the pair made their way toward the Great Hall, Knox made small talk about the castle and some of the other professors.
Harry furrowed his brow. “You didn’t attend Hogwarts, did you?”
“I did for my first and second years. But then my parents got transferred to America for several years so I attended the Alse Young School for Wizards in Connecticut.”
“You lived in America? What was it like?”
Knox shrugged. “It was actually nice. The weather there is so different than here. It got very cold and there was a lot of snow. But in the summer, it was hot enough to go to beach every day. And the colors of the trees in the fall were amazing.”
Harry couldn’t help smiling along with Knox as he reminisced.
“Was your school much different than Hogwarts?”
“Oh, yeah, much more disciplined there. Almost military. But I got an excellent education. Until . . . “
“Until what?” Harry asked.
“The final battle of course,” Knox replied.
“You mean against Voldemort? Were you here for that?”
“No, I was at Alse Young. We may not have been fighting the Dark Lord personally, the way you did here. But we had Death Eaters of our own to fight. There was a coordinated effort in several countries. I lost two friends when the entire facade of the building came down.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry said solemnly. “I guess I hadn’t realized there were battles in other places. I suppose it makes sense that they would try and take down as much of the establishment as possible at one time. I was so caught up in what was happening here that I never considered what was happening all over the world,” Harry added.
“I guess it wasn’t quite as newsworthy, seeing as nobody else had to fight you know who.” They stopped in front of the door to the Great Hall. “It’s amazing that you did that when you were so young. You’re a real hero. I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times.”
“That was a long time ago. I’m just a professor now. An ordinary wizard.”
Harry walked in just as food began to appear on the tables, followed by Knox.
“You keep telling yourself that, Harry,” Knox mumbled to himself. He smiled as he watched the Gryffindor Head stroll away.
Harry took his usual place, while Knox sat in Draco’s spot, and began dishing out beef stew.
“Any word on Narcissa Malfoy?” McGonagall asked him.
“She’s home,” Harry replied. “Draco is going to take care of her for another week. I believe he is planning to floo call you about it.”
“Well, it looks as though Professor Knox will be joining us for an extended stay,” she said. “That is, if you’re available.”
Glancing at Harry, Knox answered. “I’m definitely available. I would love to stay on until Professor Malfoy returns.”
Harry continued to eat, avoiding Knox’s eyes, which seemed to be constantly looking in Harry’s direction. The way the man answered McGonagall’s question about his availability made Harry a bit uneasy. Then he shrugged it off, assuming he was being paranoid.
Through the rest of the meal, conversation took many twists and turns, including Christmas break. A good number of the professors had made excuses for not staying at Hogwarts over the week-long leave. Most believed they had paid their dues in the past by supervising students over the holiday and thought the newest professors should take on that duty this year.
Joining in on the discussion, Harry volunteered. “I wouldn’t mind at all staying here to supervise. I don’t have family to visit, as most of you do. I’m sure Professor Malfoy wouldn’t mind either.”
“I’ll bet the two of you would rather enjoy having the castle all to yourselves,” Trelawney said. Coming from her, Harry wasn’t offended. She was often oblivious of her wording. It was the snickering from Flitwick and Sinistra that got to him. He glared at them but said nothing.
McGonagall cleared her throat and gave the professors a stern look.
“Thank you, Harry. I very well may take you up on your offer,” she said.
“If Professor Malfoy is still home taking care of his mother, I’d be happy to fill in for him over Christmas,” Knox piped up.
“Oh, I’m sure Draco will be back long before then,” Harry told him. “His mother’s injuries aren’t that severe.”
Knox shrugged a shoulder. “Perhaps. But keep it in mind.” He continued to eat nonchalantly.
Between the substitute professor’s thinly veiled attempts to get in Harry’s good books, and the other professors tittering about his relationship with Draco, Harry’s mood was falling. He couldn’t wait for his lover to return.

Chapter Text

Making it through the second week had been difficult for Harry. Besides missing Draco terribly, Professor Knox always seemed to have something he needed to discuss with him. If he wasn’t complaining about Casper Montague, he was asking Harry for advice on books to read, or gossiping about the other professors. Harry tried to tune him out most of the time, but he wished he’d paid more attention when he talked about Flitwick. If he had, he wouldn’t have been completely taken by surprise when McGonagall made her announcement.
“Everyone! Everyone!” McGonagall stood at the podium during Thursday evening’s supper and addressed the staff and students. “I have an announcement to make.”
The room hushed, and Harry got a sinking feeling in his stomach when Knox smiled and winked at him.
“As some of you may have known, Professor Flitwick had intended to retire at the end of this term.”
Murmurs were heard throughout the hall. It wasn’t a great secret, but there was never any official notification. Harry suspected many of the students didn’t know about it.
“However,” she continued. “Professor Flitwick has elected to end his tenure upon Christmas break.”
Harry turned to Filius. “When did this happen?”
“Well, Harry, I’m not getting any younger,” Flitwick answered. “I’d like to do some traveling. Maybe even to America. It just seemed like a good time.”
Narrowing his eyes, Harry directed his attention toward Knox, who was beaming up at McGonagall as she pressed on.
“Fortunately, we already have someone to fill his position here at Hogwarts. May I present the new Charms professor, Professor Knox.”
She turned and urged him to stand while the students and staff applauded. Harry joined in, half-heartedly. It all seemed very suspect to him that Filius decided to retire early, and Knox happened to be ready to fill his spot. And it was all the more suspect by Flitwick’s remark about going to America, of all places.
Not that Knox had really done anything wrong. He was personable. Most of the students liked him. With the exception of Montague, Harry supposed. And he’d never truly made any overtures toward Harry. Harry couldn’t point to a specific reason the man shouldn’t take over the Charms classes.
Of course, there was the bit about Knox’s criticism of the way Draco dealt with Casper in Potions. Again, Harry couldn’t actually find fault in that. He sighed. Well, there were worse people McGonagall could have chosen.
After the meal, Harry congratulated Knox on his appointment. Rather than continue on to his own second floor temporary quarters, Knox paused at Harry’s door with him.
“So, it looks like we’ll be true colleagues, then,” Knox said awkwardly.
“Uh, yeah.” Harry wasn’t sure where Knox was going with his conversation.
“I was just wondering, do you think I’ll be able to keep the quarters I have now rather than moving up to Flitwick’s? I mean, it doesn’t seem to make sense that the Charms class room is on the second floor, but the office is on the seventh.”
Frowning, Harry had to agree. “True. But Flitwick’s quarters are very nice. Actually, I always thought it was ironic that the smallest professor had one of the biggest suites. You might want to reconsider.”
“But I like the second floor.”
“I suppose it is more convenient,” Harry conceded. “You should probably talk to Minerva.”
“I will, thanks.” Knox stood a moment longer, then walked down the hall to his room.
Harry gave the password and entered his room. Just one more night, then Draco would be back. Though they spoke through the floo network most days, it wasn’t the same. And maybe, once he’d seen Harry and Draco together, Knox would stop making subtle comments and gestures designed to engender Harry’s affection.
Knox could try all he wanted, Harry thought. Draco was the only man for him.

 

***

 

Harry restrained himself for as long as he could after removing the wards from the entrance gate. The moment Draco crossed the threshold, Harry replaced the wards and rushed at him. Taking Draco by surprise, he nearly knocked the Slytherin over, hugging him.
“You act like you missed me or something,” Draco smirked.
“Terribly,” Harry whispered in his ear. “I can’t wait to get you back to my room.”
“Hmm, and what will McGonagall say about that?” Draco couldn’t keep the grin from his face.
Harry picked up one of Draco’s bags while he picked up the other, and they began to walk to the castle entrance.
“Nothing,” Harry said as they walked.
“What?”
“McGonagall will say nothing,” Harry told him. “I’ve got us covered. For the weekend anyway.”
“How do you mean?” Draco questioned.
“The new bloke is sort of ‘on call’. After I thought about it a while, it made sense that maybe the professors should take turns being on duty for the weekends.”
“That’s brilliant,” commented Draco. “And the other professors went for it?”
“With all of us taking turns, we’ll only each have duty every twelve weekends. Madam Pince and Madam Pomfrey won’t take duty. Neither will Filch, obviously.”
The two laughed about Filch.
“Could you imagine if he was in charge of students?” Harry asked.
Draco shook his head. “That’s a frightening thought. Even as an adult.” He paused. “So, we have the night all to ourselves?”
Wriggling his eyebrows, Harry answered, “And I haven’t wanked in a week.”
They approached Harry’s door, and he gave the password.
Draco brushed past him as he walked in. “Then this is going to be one quick reunion,” he joked. “I haven’t wanked in two.”
Within minutes, Harry had Draco stripped down to a pair of Slytherin green pants, pinned beneath him on the bed. Rutting against one another like a pair of randy teens, they barely had time to snog before Harry was reaching for the lube and spreading it sloppily over his arse. Without using fingers for prep, Draco entered Harry.
“Oh, fuck. It feels like ages since we did this,” Harry groaned.
Chuckling between grunts and thrusts, Draco replied, “Considering that we fucked every few hours that weekend before I left, it has been ages.”
Harry tugged furiously at his cock while Draco pounded him. In an embarrassingly speedy manner, both men came, and collapsed in a sweaty heap.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said, out of breath. “That was so fucking fast. I couldn’t help myself.”
“Who’s complaining? I came when you did.” Draco kissed him, his heart rate finally slowing down. “It’ll last longer next time ‘round,” he grinned.
“Oh, are we trying again for that record?”
“I assumed.”
Harry drew gentle circles over Draco’s back as they lay together. He knew he missed his lover, but he hadn’t realized exactly how much until he was back. Grateful it was only Friday, Harry planned on not letting Draco out of his sight the entire weekend. Or possibly the rest of his life.
“How is your mother?” Harry broke the comfortable silence.
“Much better. Her leg is completely healed. Rather than setting it, the healers removed the broken bone and grew a new one. It was quite painful, but better in the long run.”
“And her head?”
“She still gets occasional headaches, but that’s to be expected. She’ll go back to St. Mungo’s in another week to have herself checked out. Should be good as new,” Draco said cheerfully.
Hesitating, but unable to control the Auror in him, Harry had to ask, “Draco, has there been an investigation into the accident?”
“Mother couldn’t really remember much. It seemed pointless to bring it to the Aurors.”
“Hmm.”
“What? You think we should have?” “How likely is it that your mother merely fell? She doesn’t strike me as particularly clumsy. In fact, just the opposite.”
“Stop.”
“Stop what?”
“Stop playing Auror,” Draco smirked.
Sitting up, Harry said, “I was thinking . . . maybe I could give Ron a call. He doesn’t have to make it an official case. At least, not until he finds something.”
“And Weasley is going to do this out of the goodness of his heart?”
“Well, no. But he’ll do it for his best friend’s boyfriend,” Harry grinned. “Please. It’s worth a look. If it wasn’t an accident . . .”
“What are you saying? Do you really think my mother is in danger?”
“I don’t know Draco. But it’s a possibility.”
Draco frowned. He’d been willing to write it off as an accident. His mother was getting older, and it was plausible that she could have simply lost her footing. But now Harry was putting ideas into his head.
“I didn’t mean to worry you. It’s probably nothing.” He paused. “Let me talk to Ron, just in case.”
“All right,” Draco relented. He acted as though he was doing Harry a favor, but truthfully, he was glad. His mother had made light of the situation, however, in the back of Draco’s mind, he had doubts.

***

 

The following morning, Harry and Draco were awakened by a tapping at Harry’s door. They tried to ignore it, seeing as neither of them were on duty. But the knocking persisted.
Harry groaned. Lack of sleep the night prior left him groggy.
“Go away,” Draco mumbled into his pillow.
“I’d better get that. It may be McGonagall again,” Harry said, dragging himself out of bed and throwing on a pair of pajama bottoms.
Draco peered up at him as he walked out of the bedroom and giggled. One side of Harry’s hair was plastered to his head, most likely with dried cum.
Good, he thought to himself. I hope whoever it is figures out what’s in Harry’s hair and realizes they’re interrupting two weeks worth of shagging in two days.
Harry swung the bedroom door closed behind him, just in case.
Opening the door, Harry stood in disbelief. “Seriously?” he asked.
“Sorry for the early morning call,” Knox said. “But I had a question about the day’s detentions.”
“And you couldn’t think of anyone else to ask?” Harry grumbled.
“Well, um, I thought because we were getting so, um, friendly that you would be the best person to ask.”
Harry sighed heavily. “I’m sorry. You’re right. Some of the other professors can be a bit intimidating. What’s the problem?”
Knox held out a list to Harry. “I have a list of students. Well, it’s only two really. But I don’t know what to do with them. It doesn’t say.”
Harry laughed. “Whoever heads up detention decides the punishment.”
“Really? Like what?”
“Well, McGonagall likes to make students write essays on what they did wrong and why, and what lessons they learned. One time, when I was a student, I had to clean out Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. Without magic.”
“Eeew.”
“Oh, there are worse things as punishments,” Harry chuckled. “But, why don’t you simply have them write essays? It’ll be easier on you. You can even take them to your office and get some work done.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll do that,” Knox smiled genuinely. “Thanks loads.”
Harry’s bedroom door opened suddenly, and Draco spilled out wearing the bed sheet wrapped around his waist. He’d been trying to listen through the door and couldn’t hear everything clearly. He could tell it wasn’t McGonagall, though, and decided the visitor had overstayed his welcome.
“So, you’re the new bloke,” Draco said.
“Draco this is Knox. Knox, this is---”
“Knox? Knox?” Draco asked incredulously. “I thought you went to America or wherever.”
“Wait, you know each other?”
Knox stood sheepishly, avoiding Harry gaze.
“Knew,” Draco said. “He’s my father’s second cousin or something like that. Or is it third cousin?”
Turning to Harry, Knox explained, “Draco’s great grandmother and mine were sisters. Our grandfathers were cousins. And so on. You get the picture.”
“Why didn’t you mention that you were related to Draco? Or that you at least knew him?”
“We haven’t seen each other in years,” Draco said, looking the other man up and down, in a contemptuous manner. “Since we were, what twelve and fourteen, when his family moved away.”
“We saw one another occasionally at family gatherings--weddings, funerals, matriarchal birthday parties,” Knox added.
Harry looked between the two. “I take it, you didn’t care much for each other.”
“Hmmph.” Harry wasn’t at all certain which one of them made the noise.
“What was the problem?” Harry asked.
Knox laughed it off. “Oh, just some good old fashioned rivalry.”
“In your dreams,” Draco scoffed. “You were hardly my rival.”
Knox smirked. “Oh, yes, that’s right, Harry was your rival.”
Draco’s smug expression dropped. He didn’t need to be reminded of how he and Harry had fought against one another. Fortunately, Harry stepped in.
“That’s all in the past. And hopefully, the two of you can put your past behind you as well.”
The other two men glared at each other a moment. Feeling the need to gain the upper hand, Draco moved closer to Harry and picked at his hair.
“Well, clearly you’ve interrupted. And we need to bathe now.” He leaned and kissed the side of Harry’s neck, never taking his eyes off Knox’s. He wanted to make it quite clear that Harry was his, and his alone.
“Right,” Knox looked away. “Thanks Harry. I’ll take your advice. I’ve got to get off to detention duty anyway.”
Trying to smooth things over, Harry called out, “No problem. I’m happy to help.”
Draco slammed the door shut.
“What?” Harry asked.
“You’re happy to help?”
“He is a new professor. We should all be working together---”
“Are you bloody blind?”
“What do you mean?” Harry questioned, but he couldn’t hide his discomfort with the situation.
“You know what I mean. He’s after you. Surely you’ve picked up on that.”
“He simply had a question about detention duty,” Harry brushed it off.
“And how many other times has he shown up at your quarters for questions?”
“Draco, haven’t I proven that I want you? Even if Knox does have a little crush on me, it doesn’t matter. It’s you I want to be with.”
“So, you admit you know he wants you.”
“He’s never made a move on me. I swear,” Harry promised. “I figured if I ignored it, eventually he would lose interest.”
Pulling Harry close, Draco said softly, “Once you get under someone’s skin, you’re pretty hard to shake loose. Believe me, I know. I spent years thinking you hated me, and it didn’t lessen my feelings for you.”
Harry opened his mouth to speak, but Draco interrupted.
“I’ll fight for you, with everything I have.”
“You won’t need to,” Harry assured him. “I love you. Nobody is going to take me away from you.”

Chapter Text

“Thanks for meeting me, Ron. I know you’re busy,” Harry said.
“No problem, mate. I’m glad to get out of the office for lunch for a change. Is everything all right?”
A server appeared as Ron sat down to join Harry at the Hog’s Head tavern.
“Yeah,” Harry answered. “Butter beer?”
“No thanks. Still on duty. I’ll have a pumpkin juice,” he said to the server.
“I’ll be back to take your food order in a sec,” she smiled.
“So, what’s up?”
“Well, I wanted to talk to you about Narcissa Malfoy’s accident.”
Ron raised an eyebrow. “Really? What about it?” He scratched his head.
“I don’t think it was an accident.”
“That’s serious, Harry. What makes you say that?”
Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s the bit of Auror left in me. I’m just suspicious.”
“Why didn’t they come to us?”
“She couldn’t remember any details. And they were willing to write it off as an accident,” Harry explained.
“But you’re not. Well, you’re instincts aren’t usually wrong. Hit me.”
“I don’t know Draco’s mother well, but I’ve watched her enough to know she’s a woman of purpose. She’s always carried herself just so. Even through the trials. She certainly never struck me as clumsy.”
“She a little older now, Harry.”
“Not that much. She’s not some feeble old woman. Narcissa’s not yet fifty.”
“Narcissa, huh?” Ron smirked. “I guess she became Narcissa when you started seeing Malfoy.”
“Will he ever be Draco to you?”
“I don’t know, mate. Isn’t it enough that I’m not throwing up in my mouth a little right now?” Ron laughed.
Harry couldn’t help join in. “But really, Ron. I’d like it if you tried to call him Draco. And not the way we used to say it,” Harry said, smirking.
“I’ll try.”
The server came by bringing drinks, and took their order.
“I’ll have a . . . salad with grilled chicken. Light dressing on the side.” Ron gave an embarrassed smile. “Hermione says I’m starting to get a belly from too much butter beer.”
“I’ll have the same,” Harry told the waitress.
“Why do you need a salad?”
“Draco is so naturally thin, I’ve gotten into the habit of eating less so I’m not a big blob next to him.”
“Harry, you’re as fit as ever.”
“How do you think I stay fit?” Harry chuckled. “And thanks for noticing.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
Ron scowled. “That’s not what I meant,” he said, slightly flustered.
“I’m only teasing, Ron.”
“Well, do you want me to help Malfoy or not?”
“All right, all right. I’ll stop.” Harry tried to suppress his grin. Ron was much too fun to tease, still being as uncomfortable with homosexuality as he was. However, he did want Ron’s help. “So, can you look into it for me?”
“Yeah. You said she fell at the last Quidditch Match?”
“Uh huh.”
“Shouldn’t be too hard to find some witnesses. Should I talk to Malfoy’s, er, Draco’s mum?”
“I told you, she doesn’t seem to remember any details. She hit her head pretty hard.”
“Do you have any theories?” Ron asked.
“Nothing solid,” Harry said. “But I thought maybe it has something to do with Lucius trying to make a bargain for early release.”
“How did you find out about that?”
“Draco told me. His father sent a cryptic message telling Draco that his sentence may be shortened. I . . . asked Billings about it.”
“Billings? Harry, that was a little underhanded.” Ron frowned. “I can’t believe the old git told you about Malfoy’s deal. You know he can’t keep a secret.”
“Yeah, I know. That’s why I asked him,” Harry laughed. “He probably forgot I’m not an Auror anymore. It’s true then? Lucius is going to give up some more Death Eaters? After all this time, do you really think he has relevant information?”
Ron shrugged. “Who knows?” “And why now?”
“Strategy. He’s only got three years left on his sentence. He’ll be bargaining to have the rest of it commuted. If he had offered information years ago, he wouldn’t have gotten much in return. Everyone was trying to make a deal.”
“Will Kingsley go for it?” Harry asked.
“Probably,” Ron answered. “But don’t tell Malfoy. Um, I mean, Draco.”
“I won’t,” promised Harry. “As long as you take Narcissa’s case seriously.”
“Of course.” Ron paused. “So, how’s that going, by the way? You and Mal--Draco.”
“Do you really want to know, or are you being polite?”
“I really want to know,” Ron told him genuinely.
“Everything is great,” Harry said. “Except . . .”
“Except what?”
“Well, there’s a new professor and, Draco thinks he has a crush on me or something,” Harry blushed.
Ron raised an eyebrow.
“It’s nothing. He’s harmless. There’s nothing going on, I swear. I don’t even know if he’s gay.”
“Harry, you’re doing an awful lot of protesting, considering I didn’t even say anything,” Ron commented.
“Draco’s a bit jealous. He’d never admit it, but he is. And it turns out Knox is distantly related to him.”
“Knox? Sounds sort of posh,” Ron chuckled. “And what, Draco told you to stay away from him?”
“You called him Draco,” Harry grinned. “And you didn’t even make a face.”
“Ha. Ha,” Ron said sarcastically. “I notice you didn’t answer my question.”
“Actually, no, he didn’t. He’s been trying hard to ignore the little jabs Knox pokes at him.”
Ron chuckled. “That sounds surprisingly mature. Especially for him. But Harry, maybe you ought to stay away from the other bloke anyway.”
“I told you, he’s harmless. And we have to work together.” “Yeah, that’s what I thought about Dorian Brewster,” Ron coughed. “You know her?”
“No. I have a feeling you shouldn’t either.”
“She’s a young Auror. Nice girl, but I never thought anything of her. She flirted a bit,” Ron shrugged. “I don’t even notice anymore. It’s funny, back in school I couldn’t get any girl to look at me, ‘cept Lav. And Hermione. Not that I knew at the time--”
“Focus, Ron,” Harry interrupted.
“Right. Well, Dorian needed a mentor. So Shacklebolt assigned me. Next thing I knew, she had me pinned up against the bookcase, and she was hikin’ up her skirt.”
“What did you do?” Harry asked, wide-eyed.
“Nothing. I couldn’t have gotten my plonker up for anything. She was terrifying.”
“I assumed you didn’t do that. I mean, what happened?”
“I learned a lesson, mate. Mione warned me about Dorian, but I said she was harmless. I steer clear of the single ladies now. If Mione knew what that girl did, she’d blame me and have my bollocks.”
Harry sighed. “That’s not going to happen to me. Draco’s all I want. I love him.”
Ron grimaced, though he tried not to.
“I told you that.”
“It’s only been little more than a month, Harry. I’m still getting used to the idea of you and . . . Draco.”
Harry smiled. “Not everyone takes seven years to fall in love. And I can’t explain it. Maybe Draco and I were destined to be together. We just went about it the wrong way at first.”
“They say there’s a thin line between love and hate,” Ron raised his glass to toast. “I suppose you and Ma--, damn it, Draco, have proven that.”
“And you and Mione have proven that opposites attract.” Harry raised his as well. “To love.”
As they clinked glasses, Ron added, “And marriage.” He drank quickly.
Instead of drinking, Harry put his glass down. “Ron, you didn’t.” He grinned.
“Not yet, mate. I’m taking Hermione to her favorite muggle restaurant tonight. Then on a carriage ride.” Ron reached into his pocket and pulled out a small box.
“The ring? Can I take a peek?” Harry asked.
Ron nodded.
“It’s lovely,” Harry said as he opened it. “It’s exactly what I could picture Hermione wearing. Ron, brilliant choice.”
“Thanks. I didn’t want to ask Hermione to marry me until I could give her the perfect ring. But I was lucky, I found this right away.”
“So, you just decided? Why now?”
“Actually,” Ron gave a sheepish grin. “It was Malfoy.”
“Draco? What did he have to do with it?”
“Remember when we were at the Leaky Cauldron? And I asked him what he would do if you broke up with him. I have to admit, what he said made me realize that I would be lost without Mione. But I was making her wait for me and it wasn’t fair. I needed to ask her to marry me before she realizes she could do a hell of a lot better than me.”
“Never,” Harry grinned. “You’re the best. Congratulations,” Harry beamed.
“Don’t congratulate me yet. She hasn’t said yes,” Ron laughed.
“She will.”

***

 

“I’m sorry professor,” the Slytherin boy said, for about the fifth time.
“Yes, you’ve said that already,” Draco sighed. “Just get on with your potion.”
“All right.”
Casper Montague poured the flobberworm mucus into his potion slowly, as Draco directed.
“Slower, even,” Draco warned. “Now take your wand and wave it over the cauldron clockwise. Gently, now. You don’t want it to splash about.”
Casper did as instructed. “Hey, it’s turning bright green,” he smiled.
“Good.” Draco smiled as well. “If you could do this in class, we wouldn’t have to keep coming to the lab after hours. This is my time too, you know.”
The boy lowered his head in shame. “I’m sorry professor.”
“Well, at least you’ve been handing in your own papers. And they were quite good.” Draco turned to him. “They have been your own papers, haven’t they? You’re not---”
“No sir. I swear.” Casper swallowed. “The first one wasn’t. But I just . . . well, every time I went to the library before . . . well, I was distracted.”
“You’re lucky I haven’t gone to the Headmistress.”
“I know. I appreciate your help.”
“I’d be able to help you better if I understood why you have so much trouble in class, yet do well enough when it’s just the two of us.”
The boy remained silent.
“Casper? You want to tell me what’s going on?”
Casper looked up at the Potions professor, then sighed. “All right. But it’s a secret. You can’t tell anyone.”

 

***

 

“Hello, sexy.” Draco kissed the back of Harry’s neck as the DADA professor sat at his desk.
“Oh, I didn’t hear you come in,” Harry said. “Where have you been?”
Draco flopped onto the sofa. “I was in the Potions room.”
“By yourself?”
Draco’s brow furrowed. “No. I was helping Montague.”
“Again?”
“What’s wrong? I’m sorry I wasn’t here sooner. I thought you were spending the day with Weasley.”
“His name is Ron. I’ve asked him to call you by your first name. I expect you to do the same.”
Draco got up and walked to Harry, putting his hands on his shoulders. “All right. It’s just habit. I’ll try.” He bent down and hugged Harry. “Are you upset with me?”
Harry looked up at him, into his eyes. He smiled. “No. But I wish you didn’t have to spend so much time in the Potions room.” Harry reached up to return the hug and changed the subject. “I talked to Ron about your mother.”
Releasing Harry, Draco once again retreated to the sofa. But now his insecurities were getting the better of him. Though Harry said he wasn’t upset, Draco couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d done something wrong. Harry seemed distant when he first arrived. But now he didn’t, so Draco forced himself to put it aside.
“What did he say?” Draco asked.
“He’s going to look into it.”
“Does he really think there’s more to it than an accident?”
Harry nodded. “It’s a possibility. I suggested there may be a connection to your father’s note.” He didn’t say anything more, as he promised Ron. But he felt a little dishonest not mentioning the rest of the conversation. Then he thought of the other news.
“Ron’s going to propose to Hermione tonight.”
“Finally getting over his fear of commitment?” Draco joked.
Harry didn’t laugh.
“They have been dating quite a long time.” Draco bit his lip. “I’m sorry. He isn’t my friend. I guess I shouldn’t make fun.”
Harry relaxed. “No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be so touchy. You’re right. In fact, I said something to that effect to Ron myself.”
Still unsure, Draco attempted a smile. Harry stood and walked to him.
“And I’d like to change that you don’t think Ron is your friend.” He took Draco’s hand in his. “Maybe you’re not friends now, but I hope that you will be. We should spend more time together, all of us. Would you like that?”
Draco nodded.
“I’d like to get to know your friends better, too.”
“Blaise and Pansy?” Draco laughed. “Hanging out with Harry Potter? After what she tried to do to you, why would you want to?”
“That was a long time ago. We were children, in the middle of fighting for our lives,” Harry said. “I think I’m well over it.”
“I suppose if you can forgive my sins, you can forgive anything.”
“Draco,” Harry admonished.
“I know, I know. We’re past all that.”
“Are we?” Harry questioned, gently pulling on Draco’s chin to face him. “I mean, I am. But you have to let it go. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“I love you, Harry. Sometimes, I still can’t believe you love me.”
Harry kissed him.
“Believe it. Or do I have to prove it to you?”
Grinning, Draco played coy. “I may need a lot of convincing.”
Then he pulled Harry over the back of sofa on top of himself. He attacked the Gryffindor’s neck, sucking and biting. All the while, Harry struggled to unbutton his shirt in the tight space between them. Once he did, he shrugged it off and began working on Draco’s shirt. Before long, Harry had divested them both of all their clothing.
“There’s not enough room here,” Harry said. “Bedroom.”
He got up and sashayed to the bed, purposely swaying his hips to entice Draco to follow. It wasn’t necessary. Draco would follow Harry to the ends of the Earth.
Harry lay face down on the bed. Draco started to lie down with him, but Harry stopped him.
“Wait. Get your wand.”
“My wand? Why?”
“So I can prove to you that I love you. And trust you.”
Draco did as he was asked. Nervous and excited at the same time, he questioned, “What do you want me to do?”
“Conjure some rope. Tie my hands to the head board.”
He repeated the order when Draco hesitated. Harry held his arms out in front of him, high enough for Draco to easily capture.
Licking his lips, Draco pointed his wand and bound Harry’s hands to the head board. He went to place his wand on the bedside table.
“Don’t forget my feet,” Harry said.
“What? No, I can’t. You’ll be helpless.”
“I know.”
“Harry, you don’t have to prove anything to me. You don’t have to do this.”
Harry looked over his shoulder, then spread his legs. “What if I want to?”
“Oh, fuck,” whispered Draco. As he held out the wand, his hand trembled. First he bound one leg in place, then the other. He stood, gazing at Harry, tied and completely at Draco’s mercy. His cock twitched. He felt as though he could cum just standing there.
Harry glanced over his shoulder again. “Well?”
Slowly, Draco crawled onto the bed. He ran a hand up Harry’s right leg and cupped his arse.
“What do you want me to do?”
“Whatever you want. Spank me, fuck me, anything. Everything. I’m yours.”
Draco did want to do everything. He kissed Harry all over his body. Unlike himself, Harry’s body was athletically built. Thin, but well-muscled. Draco enjoyed tracing over each muscle with his fingers, and tongue.
Harry smiled to himself at the tenderness in Draco’s touch. He knew Draco wouldn’t hurt him, but he thought he might be tempted to engage in a little S & M. According to Rita Skeeter, that was how Draco liked it. The blond denied it, but Harry sort of hoped it was a little true.
“Can you lift your hips a little?” Draco asked.
Thinking that Draco was ready to fuck him, Harry raised his arse as high in the air as possible, under the circumstances. Draco reached around to his front finding Harry hard already. He massaged him while fondling a nipple as best he could.
Harry chuckled. “You’re supposed to be doing what makes you feel good.”
“I am,” Draco responded. “Making you feel good, makes me feel good.”
“Then you should feel fabulous right now,” joked Harry. He moaned, and moved his hips to meet Draco’s stroking.
“I want to be in you now.”
“Yes.” Harry hissed.
Draco began to move away to retrieve the lube.
“I don’t need it. Just do it. Do it now. Please.”
Hoping there was enough pre-cum from his leaking cock to make things smooth, Draco pushed Harry’s arse cheeks apart. He guided his cock in slowly, apologizing every time he felt resistance.
He pulled back out, and reached again for Harry’s cock.
“Why did you stop?”
“I’m getting some lube,” Draco whispered behind him. He tugged at Harry with renewed fervor. With all the attention Harry had gotten to arouse him, it didn’t take long for him to spill out onto the bed and Draco’s hand. Draco scooped up as much of the jit as he could and rubbed it on his erection.
“Mmm.” This time, Draco slid inside easily. “That’s better,” he murmured.
Unable to help himself, Draco pumped away, pounding into Harry with each thrust. He wanted to cum quickly. He needed to cum quickly, he’d been so thoroughly turned on by Harry’s acquiescence. Rita Skeeter may have made up those tales of his sexual escapades. But damn, if she wasn’t onto something.
“Fuck. I’m cumming,” Draco announced. Harry squeezed his muscles and Draco cried out again in pleasure.
Afterward, Draco lay on top of Harry, breathing heavily and limp from exhaustion. He rolled off, grabbed his wand, and Vanished the ropes.
Harry turned onto his back and rubbed his wrists.
“Let me do that,” Draco said. He caressed and kissed the reddened areas. “Did I hurt you?”
“No. It was . . . stimulating,” Harry smirked. “Did you like it?”
“I’d be lying if I said no. But you didn’t have to prove anything to me, Harry.”
“I want you to believe me when I say I love you, and that I trust you completely.”
“I do.”
“And, I want you to believe you deserve it.”
They gazed at one another, until Draco finally looked away.
“In time,” Harry said. He leaned closer and snuggled up to his lover.
“Shit.” Draco glanced at the clock. It was nearly ten o’clock.
“What’s wrong?”
Draco sighed. “I just realized that it’s Sunday night. I probably shouldn’t stay.”
“Probably not. We may not get much sleep.”
“And I have duty next weekend,” Draco pouted. “I won’t see you much.”
“That’s okay. Knox and I are--”
Draco stiffened at the mention of the new professor. “You’re what?”
“Nothing. We’re going to Diagon Alley. I’m just going to introduce him around. Show him the best places for supplies and such.”
“Oh.”
“You’re not jealous, are you?” Harry teased.
“Of course not,” Draco replied. “He’s been here for over three weeks now, though. Why does he still need so much mentoring? Is he daft or something?”
“Draco, I’m really not spending that much time with him. I didn’t mention the trip to Diagon Alley because I knew you had duty and wouldn’t be able to go.”
Trying to be reasonable, Draco said, “You don’t have to keep things like that from me for fear of hurting my feelings. It just makes me more wary of him.”
Harry kissed his cheek. “You have nothing to worry about.”
“Okay. I’d better go.” Draco got out of bed to find his clothes.
Harry watched his tiny arse switch as he walked. One of these days, he was going to have that arse. In the meantime, he sensed that Draco needed to be in control. Not that he minded a few more shag sessions like the one they just had.
“See you at breakfast?” Draco peeked his head into the bedroom after dressing.
“Yeah. Goodnight, luv.”
“Goodnight.”
Draco was one flight up when he glanced down at the hallway from which he just came. It was no surprise to see Knox making his way toward Harry’s room.

***

Chapter Text

Monday morning, Harry and Draco sat at breakfast with McGonagall and most of the rest of the professors.
“So, what did you do after I left last night?” Draco asked subtly.
“I went to bed shortly after. I was completely knackered,” Harry leaned in and whispered. “How about you?”
“I went straight to bed. It’s been a long few weeks and I haven’t been sleeping well.”
“You haven’t?” Harry was concerned.
Knox strolled in and nodded. “Morning gentlemen, Minerva.”
“Good morning Knox,” Minerva smiled. “Ready to begin your second full week of classes?”
“Yes. Thanks to Harry. He’s been a big help.” Knox sat in the vacant seat, third down from the Headmistress, next to the DADA professor and winked at him.
“I’m so pleased at the way you young professors have come together.”
Draco suddenly stood and bowed slightly to the Headmistress. “Excuse me. I just remembered a matter which requires my attention.”
He walked swiftly past the student tables and out of the Great Hall. Before long, he heard footsteps coming up behind him.
“Draco, wait.” It was Harry.
Draco turned to face him. “When did lying come so easy to you?”
“What?”
“I saw Knox go to your room after I left.”
Harry frowned. “I didn’t lie. Well, I didn’t mean to lie. It wasn’t important enough to mention.” He sighed. “He only popped by for a second to borrow some ink until he can get some in Diagon Alley.”
“All this talk about how much you trust me,” Draco said, defiantly crossing his arms over his chest. “I never even questioned whether or not I should trust you.”
“You don’t trust me? After what I did for you last night?”
Draco relaxed his stance, and let his arms fall to his sides.
“Yes. Of course I trust you. It’s him I don’t trust.” Draco didn’t have to specify which him he was talking about.
“How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not interested in Knox.” Harry sighed heavily. “If you truly trust me, it shouldn’t matter who I’m with. Just like it doesn’t matter who you spend time with.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means you have to get over this jealousy.”
Draco opened his mouth to retort. But Harry was right. He didn’t even know why he was jealous. Perhaps because Knox’s branch of the family tree hadn’t brought shame to it. Knox’s father wasn’t in Azkaban, and never once tried to do harm to Harry or his friends. Knox wasn’t spoiled, though his family had money. He was good-looking enough, and projected a clean cut version of Draco himself. Draco wondered if Harry noticed any family resemblance. It was probably the thing Draco hated most about Knox.
As a child, Draco overheard Knox’s great grandmother talking about how the two of them could pass for brothers. She had gone so far as referring to Draco as the evil twin. He knew it was what they all thought of him on that side of the family. The fact that Lucius had been a suspected Death Eater only fueled the rivalry.
Draco was relieved when Knox’s family moved to America, and his great grandmother passed away. He attended the funeral with a fair amount of guilt, thinking he wished her dead. Childhood fears are often unreasonable and difficult to outgrow.
As adults, Knox and Draco no longer shared many of the physical traits they had as children. While Draco’s hair remained almost translucent, the blond in Knox’s hair dulled to dirty. And though they were nearly the same height, Knox carried several pounds more. No, at first glance the family connection wasn’t obvious. But it was there.
It was his eyes. Grey, like Draco’s. And nearly the same shape. It was still like looking into a mirror for Draco. He was desperately afraid that Harry would look into those eyes and see the best of what Draco could be. Without all the baggage.
“Draco?” He had no idea how long he’d been standing there lost in thought.
“I’m sorry,” Draco shook his head. “I know I’m not an easy person to be around.”
“You are for me. Look, I don’t know what the issue is between you two. But whatever it is, it doesn’t have anything to do with us. You can’t let it come between you and me.”
Harry reached up and touched Draco’s loose hair. It was getting longer but was still soft as ever.
“Hermione sent me an owl this morning. She wants us to get together this coming weekend. At Hogsmeade, or somewhere else. It doesn’t matter.” Harry smiled. “She says she has news. I guess Ron didn’t tell her I knew about the proposal.”
“Good,” Draco nodded. “You haven’t seen her in a while. It’ll be good for you.”
“We were both invited, Draco.” Harry paused. “Don’t look so surprised.”
“I have duty, remember?”
“Then I’ll have them come here. We can have the house elves make us supper. Or they can bring take away. Please say yes.”
“All right. If you’re sure they want around me, too.”
“Hermione made a point of it,” Harry reassured him. “And Ron’s coming around. Really.”
Students began streaming out of the Great Hall.
“I’ve got to go,” said Draco. “I’d like to get to class before the students. See you later.” He gave a genuine smile before he left.
As he walked to the dungeons, he thought perhaps Harry was right. It was silly for him to be jealous. Harry could have had his pick of any wizard he wanted. Probably a good number of straight ones included. But he chose Draco. Knox didn’t have anything particularly special to offer Harry.
He was feeling a little better about the situation and began laying out the ingredients for the day’s potion. By the time he was finished, most of the students were seated and ready for class.
“Good morning,” Draco addressed the group.
“Good morning professor,” many said in unison.
“Today’s class is strictly potion making. We have a double period, so you’ll have plenty of time. If you’ve taken proper notes, this potion will go smoothly. If not,” he glanced at Casper Montague. “Warn your neighbor. Or better yet, ask for help.”
Casper averted his eyes, appearing a bit panicked.
“First, though, I’m assigning new seats,” Draco announced.
He paired Casper with a boy he knew to be meticulous, hoping it would rub off on the boy.
Throughout the period, Draco walked about the room, peering into cauldrons, inspecting technique, and occasionally advising, in order to avoid disaster. To his surprise, Montague’s potion didn’t explode or take on a life of its own. It actually seemed to work.
“Montague,” Draco said, leaning over the boy’s cauldron.
Casper looked up and blinked.
“Good job.”
The boy beamed and let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you, professor.”
Alastair, the student next to Casper, nudged him when Draco walked away. “Oi, when did you suddenly become a swot?”
Montague shrugged. “I don’t know.” He didn’t want to tell anyone he’d been getting private tutoring.
Alastair narrowed his eyes. “Well, you’d better keep it up if you’re going to be my partner.”
As the professor made his way around the room, Casper watched. When Draco stopped at Penelope Pipshaw’s cauldron, he glanced over at the boy and smiled. Blushing, Casper looked down and pretended to study his notes.
All in all, the Draught of Peace was a success. Draco was pleased, with his Fifth Years, at least. The Seventh Years were slacking, but he still had time to whip them into shape before the N.E.W.T.s.
The situation with Casper Montague being managed, Draco felt the stress ease up. Perhaps there would be no more private potion making. Ron was investigating Narcissa’s accident, and there was little Draco could do to help there. He was free to concentrate on his relationship with Harry more diligently.

***

Saturday, after supper, upon returning from Hogsmeade with Knox, Harry bound up the staircase to Draco’s room.
“Well, this is a surprise,” Draco said as he opened his door. “I didn’t think I’d see you tonight.”
“I have something for you.”
“Hmm. I suppose if we’re quick enough we could fit it in,” Draco grinned.
Harry laughed and held out a small bag. “I brought you some toffee and fudge.” He knew Draco didn’t indulge in sweets very often, but when he did, those were his favorites.
“Thank you,” Draco smiled. He took the bag, avoiding eye contact. “And, um, how was the trip?”
“It was fine,” Harry said as he sat down on the settee. “I got some new parchment, and a book for tomorrow. We can still read together tomorrow, can’t we?”
“Yes, but it will have to be here. I’m sorry. I know your sofa is much more comfortable.”
“That’s okay. As long as we still spend the day together.”
“No shagging, though.”
“Damn,” Harry smirked. “I guess I’ll have to find someone else, then.”
By the look on Draco’s face, Harry could tell his little joke had not gone over well.
“I’m kidding. Draco, you know I’m kidding.”
“I know.”
Harry was unconvinced. But a knock on the door distracted him from carrying the conversation further. Grateful, Draco walked to the door to find a familiar face.
“Casper. Is everything all right?”
“Yes professor. I just wanted to thank you for today. For everything really.”
“You made your potion on your own. You can thank yourself,” Draco replied. When the boy hesitated, Draco prodded. “Was there something else?”
“Um, I was hoping for a little advice actually. For my friend.”
“Oh?” Draco quirked an eyebrow.
Montague opened and closed his mouth several times before any words came out. “Well, how do I . . . I mean, how would my friend go about . . . letting someone else know how he feels about them?”
“You’re asking me advice about your love life?”
The boy blushed. “No. I said my friend,” he added quickly.
“Casper, aren’t you a bit young to have a love life?”
“Oh, Professor Malfoy, you have no idea how much I -- oh, Professor Potter.”
“Good evening, Casper.” Harry appeared in the doorway next to Draco.
“Good evening. Uh, well, never mind . . . I guess,” Casper stammered. “Good night.” He turned on his heel and bounded down the staircase as fast as his legs would carry him.
“What was that all about?” Harry asked.
“He’s a bit high strung. It’s nothing,” Draco answered vaguely. Casper had specifically requested Draco not share their last conversation with anyone. And as much as he wanted to share everything with Harry, it wasn’t his place to talk about the boy’s woes.
“Did I hear you say something about his love life?” Harry raised an eyebrow.
“He just wanted some advice.”
“I’m sure,” Harry replied, a sarcastic tone in his voice.
Draco slumped his shoulders. “I promised I wouldn’t tell.”
They regarded one another for a few moments, then Harry relented.
“All right. I suppose if he confided in you, you shouldn’t breach his trust.”
“It’s nothing, really,” assured Draco. “Are you planning on staying tonight?” He kissed Harry’s neck, giving it a small nibble. His hand wandered to the front of Harry’s trousers.
“McGonagall made it very clear that we are not to be found in one another’s quarters after hours when we’re on duty.”
“I’m already half hard. We can make it a quick one,” Draco whispered against Harry’s skin.
“You just had a student come to your door. What if another one comes calling?”
“We can make it a threesome,” Draco joked.
Harry pulled away. “That’s not even remotely funny.”
“Come on, Harry, I was only joking.”
“I don’t suppose you’d think it was funny if I said something like that about Knox.”
“Thank you. That was more effective than a cold shower,” Draco said. “And you did earlier, by the way.”
“What? When?”
“When you said you’d have to find someone else to shag.” Harry shook his head in disbelief. “I didn’t say anything about Knox. I was kidding. I wasn’t even thinking about him.”
After a long silence, Harry turned to leave.
“I’m sorry. Don’t go. You’re right. It’s just my imagination conjuring up the worst.”
“How many times do I have to tell you? Knox is simply a colleague. I don’t find him appealing. It doesn’t matter what he says or does, I’m not interested. I love you.”
“At least now you admit he’s after you.”
“I admitted no such thing. I’m not even convinced he’s gay. And he’s never propositioned me or done anything inappropriate.”
“For crying out loud, Harry. I could tell he was bent when we were children. You can’t really be that naive as to miss all of his innuendos and suggestive comments. I’ll give him credit for not being overbearing, but Knox has definitely been trying to seduce you.”
“Go ahead, call me naive. But you’re being obtuse.”
“Obtuse?”
“Yes. Get it through that cynical, Slytherin brain of yours . . . I’m not interested in him!” Harry yelled. It was the first time he could remember shouting at Draco in anger since they began working together, or dating. “You’re being ridiculous.”
“And you’re being a tease.”
With that, Harry turned to leave. “Let me know when you’re ready to grow up.” He stormed out, leaving Draco to fume on his own.
Draco stood where he was for a few minutes, convinced that Harry would be back to continue their discussion. Hopefully, they’d be able to speak more calmly about the situation.
When five minutes had passed, Draco realized that Harry wasn’t coming back. He flopped down onto the settee and began mentally berating himself.
The whoosh of his fireplace cut short his pity party.
“Oi, Draco! You there?” It was Blaise, and his impeccable timing.
“Not now Zabini.”
“Uh oh. Trouble in paradise?”
“Fuck off,” Draco spat.
“Well, I would, but Daphne’s out tonight,” Blaise grinned. “What’s happened, mate?”
Sighing heavily, Draco replied, “Exactly what you told me would happen. He’s too good for me. And now someone better has come along.”
“He broke up with you?”
“Not yet. But if I can’t control my jealousy, he will.”
“Who’s the bloke?” Blaise questioned. “Or is it a bird?”
“It’s a bloke. And you’ll never guess who. Do you remember that whiny little shit, Knox?”
Blaise furrowed his brow. “Not really.”
“He was two years behind us. I don’t even know how he made it into Slytherin. You must remember him. Back then, he looked a bit like me.”
“Oh, yeah,” Blaise laughed. “The one we called Knockers? I forgot all about him. He’s a cousin, right?”
“Very distant,” Draco corrected. “Now he’s back here, teaching Charms.”
“And he’s caught Potter’s eye?”
“Other way around. So Harry says. The git has been coming on to him since he got here. And Harry is either too Gryffindor to see it, or he sees it and . . . “
“Likes it?” Blaise asked. “What does Potter say?”
“He denies it, of course. Says it’s all in my head.” Draco crossed his arms over his chest and narrowed his eyes at Zabini’s expression. “What?”
“Not that I’m an expert or anything, but maybe you ought to take Potter at his word.”
“Traitor,” Draco quipped.
“If you’re not careful, you’ll drive Potter right into that other bloke’s arms. Sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Draco relaxed his stance. “You think so?”
“Whenever Daphne gets too clingy, it only makes me want to take off.”
Giving it some thought, Draco paused. “I have been acting like a clingy girl,” he admitted. “Should I apologize?”
“Shite, you must really have it bad for Potter. You don’t apologize for anything,” Blaise chuckled.
Draco bowed his head. “I do,” he said quietly. “Fuck it all. I do.”
“I thought that once you had a taste, you would have gotten him out of your system,” Blaise said. “All these years, I figured it was just lust after something you couldn’t have. But you really love him, don’t you?”
Nodding, Draco replied, “Yes.”
“Then you should back off, mate. If he says nothing’s going on, maybe nothing’s going on.”
“Maybe you’re right,” Draco agreed. “Who’d have ever thought I’d be taking advice on love from Blaise Zabini,” he laughed.
“Chump,” Blaise grinned. “How about I take you to lunch tomorrow? Take your mind off Potter for a while.”
“Can’t. I have duty all this weekend. The professors have been taking turns being available on weekends to students and heading up detentions. This is my weekend. Harry has next weekend. How about then?”
“All right. Sounds great,” Blaise said. “In the meantime, don’t be such a pussy. Potter’s never going to find a better shag than you,” he winked.
“Damn right.”
“Ta,” Blaise called out disappeared.
Draco sat on his settee for a while, considering his conversation with Blaise. He didn’t want to be a pussy, as Blaise put it, but he decided a quick trip to Harry’s room was in order.
Harry was clearly surprised to see Draco at his door when he opened it. Draco’s first thought was that perhaps he was hoping it would be Knox. Then he shook that thought from his head.
“Before you say anything, I’m sorry,” Draco began. “I trust you. And if you tell me there’s nothing for me to worry about, then I believe you.” It was most difficult for him to swallow his pride. But more difficult for him to imagine losing Harry.
Harry smiled. “I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have trivialized your feelings.”
“I shouldn’t have been so jealous.”
“No, you shouldn’t.” Harry stepped closer and drew Draco into a hug. “You have no reason to be. I love you.”
Draco bit his lip and tried to peek inside the room.
“He’s not here, Draco,” Harry chuckled. “Stop looking for trouble.”
“Oh.” He pulled away. “I’ll work on that, I promise.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever known someone so cocky and yet so insecure at the same time,” Harry smirked.
“I’ve good reason to be both.”
“Well, you’ve good reason to be cocky,” Harry wiggled his eyebrows. “I wish I could take advantage of that right now.”
“Merlin, so do I. But I should go back to my quarters. With my luck, McGonagall will be looking for me.”
Harry gave him a gentle kiss. “See you tomorrow, then?”
“Are Granger and Weasley coming?” Draco caught himself too late. “I meant Hermione and Ron.”
Laughing, Harry told him, “At least you’re trying. They’re coming around six o’clock. We’ll bring supper to your room, if that’s okay.”
“What about tomorrow morning?” Draco asked shyly.
“I told you I bought a new book. Did you think I was that angry I’d cancel? It’s gonna take a whole lot more than one little fight to get rid of me.”
Feeling better, Draco walked back to his own room. By the time he got into bed that night, he was actually looking forward to their supper with Ron and Hermione. He decided Blaise didn’t need to know about that.

Chapter Text

As Harry readied himself for his and Draco’s Sunday reading-- sometimes shagging-- ritual, he glanced at the bound book of parchment. He’d been writing only sporadically since he and Draco began dating, but the newest story was nearly complete. He was ready for Draco to read and critique it. The story had been particularly fun to write, especially the sexy parts. Though Harry himself was twenty by the time he had sex for the first time, Liam, his character was fairly active at sixteen.
He grabbed the book of parchment along with the title he purchased in Diagon Alley. He strolled up the staircase, looking forward, not only to cuddling on the couch with Draco, but their supper with Ron and Hermione. He had purchased a special bottle of wine to serve in celebration.
Draco pulled Harry into a hug and a lingering kiss the moment he opened the door.
“You’re late.”
“Sorry. I had to get a couple of things done first.” Harry kissed his neck.
“I’ve got to have you,” Draco whispered.
“What about McGonagall?” Harry breathed back.
“The old bat can find her own man to shag.”
Harry chuckled, then moaned as Draco’s hand found his crotch. Without giving it a second thought, Harry ground against it, soon becoming hard.
“Draco, we shouldn’t,” his words said. However, his body screamed shag me now.
“I know. I thought about you all night,” Draco told him. “I wanted to wank but I held off. It won’t take long.”
“We really shouldn’t,” Harry repeated, unzipping his fly and dropping his trousers. He bent over the arm of the settee.
“I know. Accio lube,” Draco shouted quickly before Harry changed his mind.
A swift swipe over Harry’s arse and his own cock, and Draco plunged in. Harry cried out from the force.
“Ah, yes, fuck me hard. Hurry. Hurry.”
Slamming his hips into Harry’s arse repeatedly, Draco panted and groaned. As he leaned farther against Harry, he pinned him to the arm rest. The more Draco rocked them, the more friction Harry felt on his cock.
“Good. Good,” Harry murmured. “Faster.”
Draco obeyed gladly. They lurched and reeled together, picking up speed until Harry let loose. Pearly white cum pooled on the couch in front of him while he whimpered.
Not far behind him, Draco came hard. “Oh, fuck, Harry.”
They stood, still and panting, for as long as they dared, knowing there was a possibility someone could come by at any moment.
“We shouldn’t have,” Harry sighed. “But that was bloody brilliant.”
A simple Scourgify, and they zipped up trying to make themselves look presentable. Harry lay back on the settee and patted his chest for Draco to lean on.
Draco looked up and grinned. “That was . . . exciting. Wondering if any minute someone would knock and catch us.” A small shiver went through his spine.
“Are you sure Rita Skeeter made up all that stuff about you? You seem to like it a bit kinky,” Harry said.
“Yes, it seems I do. But you’re the one who dropped his trousers first. Not to mention the ropes . . .”
“I didn’t hear you complaining,” Harry said.
“Oh, I’m not. I merely find it amusing that the Gryffindor appears to be corrupting the Slytherin.”
Harry laughed and wrapped his arms around Draco. “Funny you should mention that.”
“Why’s that?”
“Because the book I brought today is a novel about a man who seduces a younger, virtuous man and turns his life upside down.”
“A novel, eh? Got tired of reading about Quidditch matches and history?” Draco asked.
“We were falling asleep in the middle of reading more than we were shagging,” Harry laughed. “I figured a change of reading material was in order.”
“Then we’re doing this a bit arse about face, aren’t we? Unless you’re planning another go ‘round.”
Harry was about retort when a knock came on the door.
“Fuck. I hate being on duty,” Draco grumbled and got up from the couch to answer the door.
“Yes?”
“Professor Malfoy, come quickly,” a fair-haired girl in a Ravenclaw jumper begged.
“What’s wrong?”
“Joseph Albright is stuck in a painting.”
“Stuck in a pai-- how the bloody hell did he do that?”
“I don’t know. I was walking past and he called out to me. Please help us.”
Suddenly, Harry appeared at Draco’s side. “You’d better go and see. Shall I come with you?”
“No, that’s all right. I think I can manage.”
Harry nodded. “I’ll be in my quarters then. Don’t forget about supper later.”
“Okay.” To the student, Draco said, “Come on, Rhonwen, show me which painting the berk is in.”
Harry and Draco went separate ways down different corridors. Back in his quarters, Harry got down to grading papers. He had quite a bit of time to kill before Ron and Hermione were scheduled to arrive.
Joseph Albright was successfully retrieved from the painting after a several hours, and received quite a scolding for it from the original inhabitants. Draco found out that several student had been playing a game of hide and seek in the castle. Joseph panicked when he was about to be caught and in a desperate attempt to cast a disillusionment spell on himself, he accidently banished himself into the painting.
“You’re lucky Rhonwen came by,” Draco shook his head in disapproval. “You could have been stuck in there for a very long time. And you’re lucky I was able to get you out at all. It’s tricky business.”
“Yes sir,” Joseph said. “But I had to do something, or Dirk would have found me.”
“So?”
“Well, the losers have to act as servants of the winners.”
“And that was worth risking spending the rest of your life playing cards with this lot?” Draco asked.
“Hmph!” One of the prickly old men at the card table scoffed. “He should be so lucky.”
“Off with you, now. You’ve made me miss lunch, and supper isn’t for another hour and a half. Try to stay out of trouble until then.”
“Yes, professor,” the student replied, his head hung in embarrassment. He left and headed for the Ravenclaw dormitories.
Draco went back to his quarters, disappointed that Harry wouldn’t be there. But he and his friends would be arriving later with food. When Draco got back, he picked up a green apple from his fruit bowl to tide him over until supper. It was then that he noticed the book of parchment on the side table next to the novel Harry brought.
He sat down on the settee and leafed through the book. Harry didn’t mention it, but he must have wanted Draco to read it. Settling back on a pillow, Draco started at the beginning and read.

 

***

 

Knock, knock, knock.
Draco’s eyes flew open.
“Shit.”
“Draco? Are you there?”
The book slid off Draco’s chest and landed on the floor with a thud.
“Shit.”
“Draco?”
“Coming,” Draco called. “Just a minute.”
He hadn’t intended to fall asleep. It wasn’t that Harry’s story wasn’t interesting. It was habit to fall asleep while reading on the sofa with Harry, and it seemed that habit was fairly ingrained at this point.
Draco got up and walked straight to the mirror.
“Fucking hell,” he said, trying to smooth out his hair. He grabbed a tie and quickly put it back into a ponytail.
He straightened his shirt and pulled his jeans up a little higher. He didn’t have time to make himself more presentable and it was killing him. When he opened the door, Harry appeared a little put out.
“Sorry,” Draco mumbled. “I fell asleep. Come on in.”
After closing the door behind Ron and Hermione, he tried to casually pick up a few stray items on the floor, including Harry’s book of parchment. He felt at a disadvantage, but it was his own fault. He knew that.
“We brought take Chinese take away,” Ron said. “Do you like that?”
Looking to Harry, Draco shrugged.
“You’ve never had it?” Harry asked.
“No. My parents never ordered muggle take away, of course. And since I’ve been on my own, I’ve only tried pizza and cheeseburgers. That never looked particularly appetizing.”
Ron’s mouth drew into a small frown.
“But I’ll give it a try,” Draco added. “Shall I expand this table?” he asked Hermione, mainly.
“Why don’t we just sit on the floor around the coffee table?” She suggested.
“Good idea,” Harry said. He and Ron put the food and plates down.
Hermione smiled as she skewered a dumpling with a chopstick. “Ron didn’t want to try it at first, either. Now he loves it.”
“Same here,” Harry said. “Especially this stuff,” he grinned as he scooped out some lo mein onto his plate.
Draco’s nostrils flared slightly in disgust for the slimy looking brown noodle dish.
“Here,” Harry said holding a noodle between a pair of chopsticks. “Try it.” He dangled it in front of Draco’s mouth.
Glancing at Ron, then Hermione, Draco questioned Harry. “Do you seriously expect me to let you feed me in front of . . .” he trailed off.
“Yes,” Harry grinned. He wiggled the noodle and let it brush against Draco’s lower lip. “Come on,” he teased, giving a pleading, puppy dog look.
Draco rolled his eyes and reluctantly opened his mouth. The noodle was just out of reach, and he had to use his tongue to catch it. He watched Harry as he did. He noticed that Harry’s mouth was slightly mimicking his own. Playing it up, Draco attempted to wrap the noodle around his tongue, then sucked it between his lips with a loud slurp. When the end of the noodle finally whipped around, splashing a bit of sauce on Draco’s face, Harry was staring at him as though he were the meal.
A quick glance over at Ron and Hermione told Draco they had been watching him as well. While Hermione seemed to actually enjoy the show, Ron looked a bit ill.
Harry however, leaned forward and licked the sauce off Draco’s lips, nearly knocking him off balance. The Potions professor gently pushed him back.
“Harry,” he said, mortified at Harry’s behavior in front of his friends.
“You had a bit of sauce,” Harry grinned and pointed to his own lip.
“You could have just told me.”
“After that performance? Not a chance.”
Draco blushed. He had momentarily forgotten Ron and Hermione were in the room when he teased Harry with his noodle eating skills. He thought perhaps he had taken it a little too far.
Ron cleared his throat. “Uh, dumplings?” He held out the carton to Harry.
Taking it as a sign that his friend was less than comfortable, Harry took the food container and put a dumpling on Draco’s plate. He then continued to put samples of everything for him to try.
“How am I supposed to eat this?” Draco asked.
“Chopsticks,” Hermione smiled. She clicked them together in her hand.
Sighing, Draco admitted that he’d never used them before.
“No problem,” she said. “Here, you hold them between these fingers.”
Hermione placed the chopsticks in Draco’s hand and showed him how to move his hand to open and close them. As she did, he glanced down at her hand.
“That’s lovely,” he commented.
“Oh Merlin! I almost forgot,” she laughed. “The whole reason we wanted to come see you, Harry.” She held out her left hand for him to see.
“The crazy girl said yes. Can you imagine wanting to be a Weasley?” Ron chuckled.
Draco suppressed a snort. He could, in fact, not imagine wanting to be a Weasley.
“She’s practically been one for years,” Harry said.
“It’s a beautiful setting,” Draco commented. “May I see it?”
Puzzled that a man would truly be interested in an engagement ring, Hermione held her hand up for him.
He gently took her hand and turned it this way and that.
“White gold or platinum?”
“Uh, white gold,” Ron replied.
“Unusual setting,” Draco said, looking more closely. “Looks to be about a third of a carat? The filigree detailing on the side is exquisite. And this . . . is this a pink sapphire hidden on the side there?”
“Yeah,” Ron said slowly, his brow furrowed.
“How do you know so much about jewelry?” Hermione asked, impressed with Draco’s knowledge.
“I’m a pureblood. It was my job to know these things. Present a woman with the wrong ring and you’d get a slap on the face rather than a yes, and be a laughing stock.”
The other three exchanged glances.
“Of course, I learned all that useless stuff before I officially came out. Besides, anyone can appreciate fine jewelry,” he added defensively.
“By the wrong ring, you mean inexpensive,” Ron scoffed.
“Not necessarily,” Draco corrected him. “Though to some, price is all that matters. Mother taught me that jewelry should suit the person wearing it, regardless of worth.”
“That’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?” Hermione questioned.
“You’d think. Like I said, price is a factor. But you probably wouldn’t want a garish two carat blue diamond set in yellow gold. Your hands are small and delicate. A ring like that would overpower you. A man asking for your hand should know what suits you.”
“And?” Hermione queried, holding up her hand again, wiggling her fingers.
Harry held his breath, unsure of Draco’s response.
Draco smiled. “It suits you perfectly.”
Ron let out a sigh, and Harry realized he wasn’t the only one holding his breath.
Standing, Harry held his arms wide. “Congratulations you two.”
Hermione and Ron enveloped Harry in a familiar three-way hug. Sitting in his place on the floor, Draco began to feel more and more awkward, so he stood. When the trio broke apart, Draco offered his own congratulations.
He held his hand out to Ron.
Looking at the offered hand, Ron hesitated. Never had he imagined shaking hands with a family enemy. Harry once again found himself holding his breath.
“Congratulations, We-Ron.”
“Thanks,” Ron answered, taking the hand. He gave two quick, firm pumps, then let go.
Draco turned awkwardly toward Hermione. In his circles, congratulations weren’t offered to the girl. She was the prize, won by the gentleman. Therefore, the congratulations went to him for his successful wooing.
Besides, he wasn’t quite so sure congratulations were in order for catching a Weasley.
“Best wishes, Hermione,” Draco said easily enough. He found it a smoother transition from Granger to Hermione than Weasley to Ron. “You’ll make a lovely bride.”
He held out his hand to her, but when she returned the gesture, he brought it to his lips and kissed it.
Hermione giggled. “Who knew you were such a gentleman?”
“Oh, damn,” Harry said suddenly. “I forgot the wine. I bought wine for our dinner. I’ll just go and fetch it quickly.”
“Uh, I’ll go with you,” Ron said and hurried to catch up with him. He caught the look on Hermione’s face as he abandoned her. He knew he’d pay for it later.
Alone with Draco Malfoy since . . . since never, she realized. Hermione sat back down at the coffee table, prompting Draco to do the same.
“Have you made any plans yet?” he asked, poking at some lo mein.
“You mean wedding plans? Not really.”
“You must have some idea what sort of wedding you want,” he prodded.
“Well . . . I have always wanted a Christmas wedding,” she replied shyly. For some reason she was embarrassed to admit she had been dreaming of her wedding day. “There’s something about new fallen snow and all the beautiful lights. It just makes a wedding more festive.”
Draco nodded. “I’ve been to a few Christmas weddings. But don’t you think the holiday would overshadow your special day? And your anniversary ever after that?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. Ron and I haven’t even discussed it much anyway. This Christmas is much too soon, and I don’t want to wait a whole year. What about you? Have you thought about your wedding some day?” she asked. She deftly picked up a piece of sauce covered shrimp with her chopsticks.
Taken by surprise, Draco had to think about it. “I . . . did when I was young, and idealistic.”
“What do you mean?”
“Back when I thought my life was going to be that of an ordinary pureblood, and I would be doing all the things that were expected of me,” he replied. “I thought I would marry a wealthy pureblood girl, have a few children. Perhaps get a job in the Ministry. Those were the things I thought I would be doing, when I was too young to recognize the true nature of my life.”
Hermione shifted in her spot uncomfortably. She figured he was speaking not only about his homosexuality, but of his involvement in the war.
“How . . . old were you when you did realize?” she asked tentatively.
Draco raised his eyebrows at her question, surprised by the personal nature of it. The corner of his mouth rose slightly at the memory.
“I had always suspected I was different from other boys. But it wasn’t until my first kiss that I knew for certain. I suppose I should say, my first almost kiss.”
Hermione smiled shyly. It was strange to hear Draco talk about ordinary, sweet things like first kisses.
He paused. “Do you actually want to hear the story?”
“Yes, I would. I’m quite curious now.”
“It’s not really much of a story. It was at a wedding. I had just turned eleven. A few weeks before coming to Hogwarts. My mother noticed that I wasn’t socializing and she encouraged me to dance with the other children. I did, reluctantly. But then the music slowed down and we all just sort of looked at each other. The adults began pairing together or walking off the dance floor. I heard someone ask me if I wanted to dance. She was a pretty girl a little older than me. We danced, very awkwardly I might add. At the end of the song, she led me to the balcony.”
Hermione seemed on the edge of her seat, waiting to hear what happened next. It sounded incredibly romantic. However, she knew it couldn’t have ended well, seeing as Draco wasn’t interested in girls.
“Did she kiss you there?” she asked.
“No,” Draco laughed. “She practically pounced on me. I suppose I could have been kinder to her. But I pushed her away, hard, and wiped my mouth rather dramatically, even though she’d barely managed to touch my lips.”
Holding her hands up to cover her smile, Hermione said, “Oh, no. What did she do?”
“She called me a little pouf and stormed off. At first, I was angry that she called me that. Basically, I hid in a corner for the rest of the reception. But near the end, an older boy came over to me and asked if what the girl said was true. I didn’t know what to say.”
“And?” Hermione prodded. She was looking for a happy ending.
Smiling, Draco satisfied her curiosity. “He kissed my cheek and told me I was adorable.” He blushed and glanced down at his fidgeting fingers.
“That’s all?” Hermione pouted.
“I was eleven. What did you think was going to happen? I told you it wasn’t much of a story.” He wavered. “But the way I felt watching him walk away . . . it made me realize that the girl was right. I was definitely a pouf.”
They sat in silence for a moment.
“I’ve never told anyone that story,” he said softly.
“Harry’s right,” Hermione said. “You have changed. Well, at least how we perceived you has changed.”
“No, I have actually changed in many ways.” He laughed. “But Harry can tell you, in some ways I am exactly the same. I’m still the jealous sort.”
“And what do you have to be jealous of?” she questioned. She meant it to be a light hearted query. She couldn’t image that he would be jealous of anyone. He was rich, handsome and dating the most famous wizard of their generation.
“Harry has many admirers,” he commented somberly. “Most without an undesirable past.”
“Are you talking about someone in particular?”
Draco’s silence told her he was.
Trying to reassure him, she said, “I’ve noticed the way Harry looks at you, and the way he speaks about you. He’s happy, truly happy. I believe it’s because of you.”
“I’d like to think so. Can I ask you a question?”
“Certainly.”
“What the devil is this thing?” He held up a piece of fried tofu. “It looks like a sponge.”
She burst out laughing, thinking that he was going to ask her something a bit more personal.

***

 

“Hermione’s going to kill me for leaving her with Malfoy,” Ron said, for the third time.
“Maybe not. He doesn’t bite, you know,” Harry said. “At least not that hard,” he grinned.
“Ugh. I don’t want to hear about it, mate.”
Harry laughed as the two friends made their way down to Harry’s quarters to get the wine Harry had gotten to celebrate.
“Oh, hi Harry.” Suddenly, Knox appeared coming the other way.
“Hey,” Harry nodded, intending to walk on by.
Knox stopped, partially blocking Ron’s way.
“Aren’t you . . .”
“Knox, this is my friend Ron.”
“Ron Weasley?” Knox looked him up and down. “Wow, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He held out his hand to shake. “Harry has told me some amazing stories about you. About all of you.”
“Um, thanks. You’re new here?”
“Yes, the new Charms professor. Knox is the name.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Well, we should get moving,” Harry said.
“Having a visit, just the two of you?” Knox asked.
“No, our friend Hermione is here as well.” Harry chuckled. “I mean fiancée. Ron and Hermione got engaged last weekend and we’re celebrating with some wine and Chinese take away.”
“Oh, my school in America was near this great muggle Chinese restaurant. We used to sneak out and go there occasionally,” Knox said.
“Are you on your own tonight?” Harry asked him.
“Yeah,” Knox answered, a hopeful expression on his face.
Sensing that Harry was about invite the other man to their private party, Ron interrupted. “We’d better get that wine before Mione and Draco wonder where we are.” He deliberately made sure to use his former enemy’s first name.
“Right,” Harry said. “Well, see you later, Knox.”
“Bye Harry.” Knox watched them walk away.
Ron held his tongue as long as he could, until they stepped into Harry’s room.
“Was that the bloke you told me about?”
“What bloke?” Harry walked to his liquor cabinet.
“You know what I’m talking about,” Ron said sternly.
Harry sighed. “Ron, it’s nothing. He’s just a nice fellow.”
“You were going to invite him up to Malfoy’s room, weren’t you?”
“No,” Harry replied, trying to sound indignant.
“Yes you were. You were totally going to, if I hadn’t stopped you.”
“I felt sort of bad for him. He’s all alone tonight.”
“What about the other professors who are all alone tonight. Were you going to invite them, too?”
Harry rolled his eyes.
“Can I give you a bit of advice, mate?” Ron asked, but didn’t wait for Harry’s reply. “I think you need to decide if you’re really committed to Malfoy, or if you want to play the field still.”
“I told you--”
“Yeah, I know. You’re in love. But you’re flirting with this other bloke. You may not think so, but you’re leading him on. He was hoping you’d ask him to join us. It was written all over his face.”
Harry was about to protest. However, deep down, he knew Ron was right. “I . . . I’m just trying to be friendly. Draco says the same thing about Knox. I thought he was jealous.”
“Does he have anything to be jealous about?” Ron asked pointedly.
“Absolutely not,” Harry said firmly. “I do suppose Knox could be taking it all the wrong way, though.”
“I can’t believe I’m siding with Malfoy on this,” Ron rolled his eyes. “If you’re not careful, you could drive him away. Jealousy is a relationship killer.”
Raising his eyebrows, Harry commented, “Why, Ron, are you actually encouraging my relationship with Draco?”
Pursing his lips, Ron replied, “I have to admit, you are happier than I’ve seen you in a long time. If it’s his doing, then, yes I’m encouraging it.”
Harry threw his arms around Ron. “Thank you.”
“You didn’t need my approval, Harry.”
“But it means a lot to have it.”
Ron nodded. He made a mental note to make an effort to get to know the new Draco Malfoy and put aside their past.
“I wonder what Mione and Mal-- I guess I’d better get used to calling him Draco-- have been doing all this time,” Ron said. “She’s probably going to have my head. Merlin! I hope they haven’t started hexing each other or anything.”
“Relax, Ron. They’ve probably been politely waiting for us. I wonder if they came up with something to talk about.”
Harry opened his door to find Hermione in Draco’s arms, being dipped as they danced. The pair of them stopped in their tracks and stared.
“What the fuck is this?” Ron demanded.
“Draco has offered to teach us how to dance for our wedding. He’s quite good,” Hermione said, looking at Ron from her upside down position.
Draco quickly righted her and bowed. She giggled and curtsied back.
“I guess they found something to talk about,” Harry shrugged.
“Good thing he’s queer or I’d have to punch him,” Ron muttered.
“Watch out for that jealousy, Ron,” Harry smirked. He walked to Draco and took Hermione’s place.
“Will you teach me to dance too? I don’t remember anything from the Yule Ball.”
“It will be a pleasure,” Draco replied, pulling Harry flush against him. “I may show you a few different moves, however.”
In that moment, Harry was very glad for Ron’s intervention earlier. His friend was right. Harry needed to stop leading Knox on, however unintentional it may have been. His heart beat a little faster as Draco kissed his lips. This was all he wanted.

Chapter Text

After decimating the Chinese food, Ron, Hermione, Harry and Draco lounged with full bellies. Ron lay down on the settee while Hermione sat on the floor in front of him, leaning her head against his leg. Harry had pulled a few pillows from Draco’s bed and the two of them were lying side by side on the floor facing the other two.
“I can’t believe how much we ate,” Hermione hiccuped.
“You mean how much Ron ate,” Harry laughed.
“Hey, I didn’t eat any more than you,” Ron protested. “Maybe more than Malfoy, definitely more than Mione, but not more than you.”
“You did eat a lot, Harry,” Draco said, leisurely twirling a lock of Harry’s hair.
“Traitor,” Harry joked. “Did you like the food?”
“Some of it, yes. I liked the noodle dish, and the shrimp. Not the dumplings. Or that strange omelet thing in gravy.”
“You didn’t like the egg foo young?” Ron asked. “That’s one of my favorites.”
Hermione picked up two fortune cookies and tossed them to Harry and Draco. She handed one back to Ron.
“What’s this?” Draco asked of the cellophane wrapped treat.
“A fortune cookie,” Harry answered. “I don’t really like to eat them, but they have a fortune inside.”
“I’m guessing by fortune, you don’t mean money,” Draco smiled.
“Oh man, mine is always stupid,” Ron grumbled.
“What does it say?” Hermione asked.
He held it up. “Feeding a cow with roses does not get extra appreciation.”
“What does that mean?” Draco questioned.
“How the bloody hell should I know? I never get anything that makes sense.”
“Every flower blooms in its own sweet time,” Hermione read aloud.
“Of course, yours makes sense,” Ron said with his mouth full of cookie.
Harry turned to Draco. “Read yours.”
Draco cracked open the hard cookie and took out the small piece of paper. He frowned a little, then read, “You cannot love the life you live until you live the life you love.”
“Ooh, that’s telling,” Hermione chuckled.
“They don’t really mean anything Mione,” Ron said.
“Oh, you’re just a party pooper because you didn’t like yours. What’s yours say Harry?”
“Okay. Your first love has never forgotten you.”
“Does that mean the first person you were in love with, or the first person to fall in love with you?” Ron questioned. “You gonna eat that?” He indicated the cookie.
Harry tossed Ron the two cookies halves. “I don’t know. I suppose it could be interpreted either way. But seeing as I’ve only ever been in love once . . .” he smiled at Draco. “That means I’ll never forget you.”
Hermione giggled at seeing Harry so openly affectionate. He’d always been so reserved about his feelings in matters of love. Even with Ginny.
“Or maybe,” Harry gave Draco a small kiss on the cheek. “It means you have never forgotten me, and never will.”
“You think Draco is the first person to fall in love with you, Harry?” Ron laughed. “I’ll bet there were lots of girls that thought they were in love with you while we were still in school.”
“And at least one boy,” Draco muttered.
“Oh,” Hermione sat up straighter. “Are you saying you really did have feelings for Harry back during the war?”
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” Harry said.
Ignoring Harry and still addressing Draco, Hermione continued. “So, when you said at the pub that night that you’d been in love with him for a long time, you weren’t exaggerating just for drama. You literally meant that you’ve been in love with him all these years. Since when?”
“Hermione, you’re embarrassing him,” Harry scolded.
“It’s all right, Harry,” Draco put a hand on Harry’s. “Maybe it will make them feel better to know that this isn’t just a passing fancy for me.” He looked at Hermione. “I don’t exactly when I began to see Harry differently. Probably during Sixth year, when I learned first-hand what it meant to be forced to play a role on a war I didn’t start.”
“You were supposed to kill Dumbledore,” Hermione said solemnly.
At first surprised she knew, Draco nodded. “Of course, you would have told them.”
“He also told us you couldn’t do it,” she said. “Is that when you started having feelings for Harry?”
“No. Actually, I was still pissed off at him for the hex. But I respected him. Something I hadn’t done before that. That was why I didn’t identify him when he was brought to the manor.”
“That was very helpful,” Hermione commented.
“I realized that I was on the side that wouldn’t be winning,” Draco said. “Wait, it was more than that. I was on the side that shouldn’t win. I knew that, and I wanted Harry to win. I know my actions didn’t always reflect that. But it was necessary to keep up appearances in order to stay alive. I couldn’t even trust my friends. As you can all attest.”
“The fiendfyre,” Ron grunted.
Draco nodded. “But then, you did the unimaginable.” He looked at Harry. “You saved me, when you could have gotten rid of me forever. I guess that was when I saw what a truly amazing person you are.” He focused on Hermione. “Whatever happened to me and my family, I knew Harry needed to win. So did my mother.”
“Your mother. That’s right! I almost forgot to tell you,” Ron exclaimed. “I did some investigating. It’s looking more and more like your mother’s accident wasn’t an accident at all.”
Draco sat up straighter. “Really? You’re sure?”
“Your father told you about him possibly testifying in exchange for early release, yeah?”
Draco nodded.
“Did he also tell you he received threatening letters about it?”
“No.”
“The letters were unsigned. But we have a few leads and suspects we’d like to go after. Did your father give you any idea who he was planning to name as a Death Eater?”
“Sorry, no.”
“It would really help,” Ron said, as though he thought Draco was holding out on him.
“I really don’t know. He didn’t tell me,” Draco told him. “Believe me, if I could do something to protect my mother, I would. Even if it meant ruining Father’s deal.”
“I just hope he makes that deal before something else happens,” Ron said absently.
“Perhaps I should take a leave and go stay with her until this is all settled,” Draco mused aloud.
“That’s not necessary. There are Aurors on rotating duty keeping an eye on her. Plus, the wards around the manor have been fortified,” Ron informed him.
Draco’s brow drew together. “The Ministry would do that? My mother was involved with Death Eaters herself.”
Ron shrugged. “She was cleared years ago. Now she’s an ordinary citizen in need of protection.” Ron gave Harry a sideways glance. “Of course, it doesn’t hurt that her son is dating the Chosen One.”
Pursing his lips, Draco looked at Harry. “I know you don’t like to use your status that way.”
“I’ll make an exception, if it will help your mother and put your mind at ease.”
“Thank you,” Draco said to Ron. “What about my father?”
“He’s safe where he is. But we’d like to have this wrapped up quickly. If you could persuade your father to make a deal as soon as possible . . . “ Ron trailed off.
“I don’t understand. I thought that was what got him threatened in the first place. Why wouldn’t he want get on with it?”
Ron sighed. “Yes, rumors of him turning snitch is what seemed to prompt the letters and attack on your mother. But the demands he’s made are too unreasonable for the Minister to come to an agreement. I think the deal on the table is fair.”
“And you want me to convince him to take it.”
“Frankly, yes. The faster we get a name, or names, the faster we can get them off the streets. The sooner your mother is safe. And you.”
Harry perked up. “What? Do you think Draco is in danger as well?”
Reluctant to elaborate, Ron hesitated. “I didn’t really want tell you this, but as it affects you too . . . the letters weren’t just vague threats against Lucius or the Malfoy family. The last letter specifically mentioned you and Draco. I didn’t say anything before because Hogwarts is the safest place for the two of you to be,” Ron explained. “And the Aurors have been checking in here every so often.”
Draco snorted. “Ah, now it makes sense.”
“What? What makes sense?” Hermione asked.
“My father is trying to use Harry as a bargaining chip.”
“To put it bluntly, yes,” Ron replied. “He’s got the Minister by the bollocks.”
“Kingsley won’t give in because of me, will he?” Harry asked. “What is Lucius demanding anyway?”
“Well, for starters, he wants out of prison now. Which, really isn’t a problem, if it ended there.”
“I’m afraid to ask what else,” Draco groaned.
“He wants his conviction overturned.”
“What?” Harry cried. “No. He’s mad if he thinks he can get away with it.”
“Ron, isn’t it worth it if Draco and his mother are safe and another Death Eater is behind bars?” Hermione asked.
“You don’t understand Mione,” Harry said. “If he gets his case overturned, he can bring a case against the Ministry for wrongful incarceration. He could ask for compensation.”
“What sort of compensation?”
“Technically, if his conviction is overturned, the search and seizure the Aurors performed on the manor would be illegal. He could claim back anything taken at the time,” Harry said. Being a former Auror, he knew what was at stake if Lucius Malfoy were to get his way. “Including dark items.”
Ron put his hands up. “Now, that’s a worst-case scenario. He could try to get those things back, but he probably wouldn’t.”
“It’s the principle of the whole thing.” Harry crossed his arms over his chest. “This is ridiculous. At twenty-four, I’m still just a pawn in someone else’s game.”
“I’m going to go see him,” Draco stood.
“You can’t go now, Draco,” Harry said, holding out his hand. “Sit back down. Why don’t we put in a floo call to Azkaban tomorrow and make an appointment together to see him.”
“You would go with me?” Draco slowly sank back down into the pillows with Harry. “He won’t exactly be welcoming.”
Harry laughed. “No, I would think not. But it affects me too. And if I can help you and Narcissa, I will.”
“Thank you, Harry.” Draco smiled and kissed him. “You’re still my saviour,” he snickered.

 

***

A few days after Ron and Hermione’s visit, Draco was feeling pretty good about the way things were going. He felt he made real progress toward friendship with the pair. Plus, he was able to relax knowing that the Ministry was taking the threats against his mother seriously. He’d slept better in the past couple nights than he had since Knox became the Charms professor.
The conversation was all about the upcoming Quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor at the lunch table. Though their Houses were rivals, Harry and Draco were trying not to be overly heated in their debate over which team would win. Knox, not being head of a particular House, pretended to remain neutral.
“I don’t know, Malfoy, the Gryffindor Seeker is pretty quick. I saw her practicing the other day. My money-- er, if I was to bet, which I never would, is on Gryffindor.”
“But, you’re a former Slytherin,” Draco pointed out.
“You have to know when to back the right horse,” Knox smirked.
Draco’s jaw clenched. The insult was thinly veiled. “Have you no loyalty?”
“I was in Slytherin for two years. Hardly worthy of my loyalty. I’m merely rooting for the team I think is better. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing good talent.”
“You shouldn’t dismiss the Slytherin team this year, though,” Harry said to Knox. “Their Keeper has the best record.”
“And our Chasers have excellent form,” Draco added, happy that Harry was defending his team.
“Yeah, but everyone knows, it’s all about the Seeker. Whoever has the best Seeker, wins.”
“We’ll see,” Draco muttered. It was supposed to be all in good fun, but as usual, Knox was sucking the fun right out. To Harry, he said, “Speaking of Quidditch, we’d better get out there right after classes before it gets too dark. The days are so short now.”
“Right,” Harry agreed. “My last class ends at three.”
“Mine too. See you out there then. I’ve got to set up for a lab,” Draco smiled and got up from the table to go to the Potions Room for his next class.
“Hmm,” Knox mused.
“What?” Harry took the bait.
“I was only wondering how that Fifth Year fellow was doing. You know, the one I told you was failing Potions?”
“What?” McGonagall interrupted the conversation. “I’m sorry, did you say that someone is failing Potions?”
“Oh, well, I’m sure he’s doing better by now,” Knox said.
“He isn’t failing, Professor McGonagall,” Harry clarified. “He never was. Draco was tutoring him privately, but I think he’s back on track now.”
“Still, a student who requires private tutoring should have been brought to my attention,” the Headmistress said.
“I’m sure Draco didn’t want to bother you with something so minor, when he could take care of it himself.” Harry stood and nodded to the other professors. “I’m off to class.”
When Harry was out of earshot, Knox said to McGonagall, “I spoke out of turn. I’m not the substitute Potions professor anymore.”
“So, you saw first-hand this student’s difficulties? Who is it?”
“Casper Montague. But like Harry said, he’s probably doing fine by now.”
“Hmm.” Minerva pursed her lips.
“Perhaps it would ease your mind if you spoke to Professor Malfoy yourself,” Knox suggested.
“Thank you for bringing this to my attention Professor Knox. I will.”
Knox grinned to himself as the Headmistress left the Great Hall. He didn’t have any more classes that afternoon, and he knew just how he wanted to spend it.

 

***

 

Draco’s footsteps echoed through the hallway as he ran toward the door. By the time he’d gotten halfway to the Quidditch Pitch, he could see two figures coming toward him, laughing.
He stopped and watched as Harry and Knox walked in his direction, covered in dirt and dripping with sweat. And, oh, was Harry a sight. If Draco hadn’t been so angry about missing his practice time with Harry, he would have been moved to take him right there on the field.
“Oi, Draco, there you are. What happened?” Harry asked.
Standing in full Quidditch gear, Draco answered, “McGonagall came down to the dungeons to talk to me. She asked how Casper Montague was doing in Potions.” He glared at Knox. “Now I wonder what prompted her to do that.”
Harry looked at Knox.
“Did you say something to her?” Draco asked the Charms professor.
“No, I was talking to Harry. It’s not my fault she was listening in.”
“I told her that you had everything under control, Draco,” Harry said, trying to smooth things over.
“Well, evidently, she didn’t believe you. She wanted to see all of his scores and my reports on the tutoring sessions. It took bloody forever. And now you’ve gone and practiced with him.”
Draco was getting angrier by the minute.
“But I didn’t know where you were. When you didn’t show, I figured you got hung up with a student,” Harry defended his actions.
“And Knox just happened to come by. In Quidditch gear.”
Harry looked at Knox again. This time, he had a guilty sort of look on his face.
“You’re right. I should have come looking for you,” Harry said. He knew it was suspect for Knox to have shown up, and that Draco didn’t. But Knox heard them talking about practicing at lunch time. “Thanks for the game,” he said to Knox. “Come on Draco. Let’s go.”
Draco snorted. At first, he stood his ground, scowling at Knox. But a nudge from Harry attracted his attention.
“You know he set me up,” Draco said as they walked away.
Harry nodded. “It is a fantastic coincidence,” he smirked.
“And you’re just going to let him get away with it?”
Harry leaned into Draco as they walked through the door into the castle.
“Get away with what? He didn’t really get anything out of it. Except maybe working me up into needing a good, long, hot shower.” Harry said each word slowly for emphasis.
“Oh,” Draco said quietly. They walked the rest of the way up the stairs in silence. Now that he had calmed down a bit, he was able to fully appreciate the state Harry was in.
His hair was slick with sweat, yet somehow still sticking up in places. He had shrugged off the robe and his shirt was stuck close to his body. A smudge or two of dirt across Harry’s face gave him a rugged look he didn’t often sport.
But his scent, when he stood close, was what really caught Draco’s attention. He could feel himself becoming aroused the closer they got to Harry’s quarters. In need of adjusting himself beneath his own robes, Draco refused to give Harry the satisfaction. Though, the smirk on Harry’s face told him that Harry already knew the affect he was having on Draco. Harry didn’t even try to hide the fact that he was feeling the same way, and tugged at his trousers.
“Oh, Merlin,” Draco said, as they fell into Harry’s room.
Upon entering, Harry’s mouth was on Draco’s. They kissed deeply while attempting to disrobe one another.
“Fuck it,” Draco said, pulling away. He threw off his robe, then quickly unbuckled his arm and shin guards.
As if it were a race, and perhaps it was, Harry followed suit. The pair watched one another as they stripped.
Gloves and shoes came off next, followed by jerseys and trousers, with Draco slightly in the lead. When he was completely nude, he stepped toward Harry to help with his trousers and pants, which were the last to go.
Running a hand across Harry’s chest, Draco breathed, “You’re so hot when you’re all sweaty.”
“You’re so hot,” Harry grinned back at him. “All the time.”
Draco grabbed Harry’s hand and pulled him into the private bathroom. Without letting Harry go, he turned on the water.
“Let me wash you,” he pleaded.
“All right,” Harry growled.
They got into the shower, facing each other. Reaching around Harry, Draco took a flannel and poured some liquid soap on it. Harry tilted his head back as Draco rubbed the flannel over his chest. Draco’s hand moved up and down slowly, wiping sweat and grime away and leaving fresh, clean skin behind.
“Mmm,” Draco involuntarily groaned. He was finding it increasingly difficult to control his desire to pounce on Harry.
“Can I use this on your hair?” he whispered.
“Yes. All of it,” he answered.
Draco glanced down. “Oh, I will get to all of it.”
He continued to clean Harry, opting to use his fingers rather than the flannel for his hair. He leaned forward and around Harry again for the soap, this time making sure there was full body contact.
“Hurry up and get to it,” Harry groaned.
“Patience, my love.”
Harry closed his eyes while Draco’s fingers massaged his scalp. One hand moved down his body to the other patch of dark hair. But Draco was more interested in the hard cock waiting for him than cleaning anymore. In a swift move, he reversed them and pushed Harry under the spray.
“I have to have you now,” Draco sighed.
“Use the body oil,” Harry suggested.
Draco raised an eyebrow.
“I use it after I shower to keep my skin from drying out,” Harry laughed. “But I don’t see why it won’t work for my arse too.”
Not questioning it, Draco retrieved the bottle and poured some in his hand, then rubbed his cock.
“This will do,” he said. “Turn around.”
Complying, Harry turned and backed up toward Draco, then bent over. Draco poured more of the oil on his fingers and pushed two of them up Harry’s arse.
“Ah,” cried Harry.
“Sorry. Too much?”
“Fuck no. Shove ‘em in. Another one.”
Draco added a third finger and pumped them in and out. His other hand snaked around to Harry’s front, rubbing his torso from nipples to cock.
“Oh, yeah,” Harry murmured. “I’m ready for you. I want you, Draco.”
He spread his legs wider in anticipation.
All at once, Draco’s fingers were out and his cock was in. His hips thrust forward and backward while Harry countered his movements. The sound of wet skin slapping skin echoed throughout the room, drowned out occasionally by Harry’s calling out of profanities.
“Yes, there!” Harry exclaimed when Draco pulled Harry to a more upright position. He stroked himself in time with their rhythm.
“Harry,” Draco whispered in his ear. “I love you.”
“Yes, I love you too.” He grunted, “I’m cumming.”
Harry’s body jerked and spewed out onto the shower wall. Draco hadn’t stopped driving into him and was close to climaxing. If he didn’t pass out first.
“Fuck. Fuck.” Draco gasped and came hard into Harry, his knees weakening. “Oh, ffffuck.” He leaned forward onto his lover for support.
“You all right?”Harry asked.
“Brilliant.” He hugged tightly.
They rinsed and dried off, then fell into Harry’s bed.
“It’ll be supper soon,” Harry said.
Looking over at the clock, Draco corrected, “It’s supper time now.”
“Good. I’m starved. Let’s get dressed and go.”
“All I have here is my Quidditch uniform. I’ll have to go up to my quarters to change,” Draco said. “I’ll be back down soon.”
He got up to dress. Harry remained on the bed watching.
“I was thinking,” Harry said, drawing circles on the bed sheet with a finger. “Maybe you could, I don’t know, keep some things here.”
Pulling his jersey over his head, Draco smoothed out his wet hair. “What things? What do you mean?”
“Like, clothes or something.”
Draco stopped. “You want me to keep some clothes here?” The corner of his mouth raised.
“Yeah. And maybe a pair of pyjamas, some toiletries. A toothbrush, at least.”
“Well, that sounds like commitment,” Draco teased.
“I am committed,” Harry said in a serious tone. “I love you. They’re not just words to me.”
“All right.” Draco sat down on the bed. “I love you too. I’d be happy to keep some things here. And you can keep some things in my room.”
Harry smiled. “I’d like that.”
“I’ll be right back.” Draco kissed Harry and raced out of the room, as if he thought Harry would change his mind if he took too long.
Harry laughed, then realized he and Draco had just taken a big step in their relationship. Bigger than either of them had ever taken. His stomach fluttered. He wondered, if he was this nervous about a few personal items, how Ron must have felt proposing marriage to Hermione.

Chapter Text

Draco grasped Harry’s hand and squeezed, taking a deep breath.
“Thank you for coming with me,” he said staring straight ahead at the entrance of Azkaban.
Harry turned to look at him. “Where else would I be?” he smiled.
Draco didn’t look back at Harry, but smiled himself.
The large door opened, revealing a burly man with wand drawn. Neither Harry nor Draco made a move.
“Name,” the man asked, looking at a log book.
“Draco Malfoy.”
The burly man snorted.
“And Harry Potter.”
The man suddenly looked up. “Oh. Mr. Potter, I . . .”
“We’re here to see Lucius Malfoy,” Harry said. “We have an appointment.”
Looking back into the log book, the man nodded. “Yes, I see. Come this way.”
He lead them to a reception area, with another man sitting behind a desk. There was a wall of compartments to the rear of the room.
“Good afternoon gentlemen,” the wizard sitting down greeted them. “Welcome to Azkaban. I’m Virgil Treadway.”
Virgil held out his hand to them.
Harry reached out to shake it, but Virgil laughed and shook his head.
“I’m sorry, I assumed you were aware of the procedures. I’ll need your wands.”
“Oh,” Harry said, slightly self-conscious. “Of course.”
“They’ll be stored here and protected with charms until you are ready to leave.”
Draco hesitated, but Harry turned his over.
“I assure you, they’ll be quite safe,” Virgil said, still holding out his hand.
Reluctantly, Draco handed him his wand, and gave Harry a worried look. They watched the other man open a compartment numbered 24. He waved his own wand over it after he’d placed the wands inside.
“Cyril will show you to the holding room where you can meet with your guest,” Virgil said.
“Guest?” Draco raised an eyebrow.
Smiling, Virgil explained. “A lot of people who visit don’t like to be reminded that their loved ones are criminals in prison.”
“I don’t know how they could forget,” Draco commented.
Cyril, the burly man, gestured for them to follow. The three of them walked down the dull hallway, heels clicking at various paces. At one point, all three walked in time with one another, but only briefly. Draco wondered why he found that so amusing. It was merely something to distract him from his first meeting with his father since he began dating Harry. He’d never been supportive of Draco dating men in general. But he did seem to tolerate it, in order to maintain a relationship with him.
They stopped in front of a grey metal door with a large number 2 on it.
“Lucius Malfoy will be in here,” Cyril told them. “You’ll have half an hour.”
Harry reached out to hold Draco’s hand. It was trembling.
“It will be all right,” Harry reassured him. “Remember, we’re here to help him. And your mother. If anything, that should keep him somewhat hospitable.”
“You’d like to think,” Draco replied.
“There are charms preventing any physical contact,” Cyril said. “So don’t try to touch him, or you’ll get a jolt. And there will also be two guards in the room should things get out of hand.”
“What do you think is going to happen in there?” Draco asked.
“You never know. I’ve seen it all. Good luck,” Cyril nodded, then opened the door.
Draco stepped over the threshold first, eliciting the faintest of smiles on Lucius’ face. Then Harry.
The scowl was there in an instant.
“You dare bring him here?” Lucius stood. The guards behind him took a step forward.
“Stand down, Malfoy,” one of them ordered.
Lucius gave a sideways glance and complied. He knew better than to give the guards any excuses to use magic against him. As he sank back into his chair, he kept his glare on Harry.
“Where are my manners?” Lucius asked sarcastically. “Please sit.” He gestured as he would a guest in his home.
Without a word, Harry and Draco sat.
After a few moments of silence, Draco spoke.
“Father, why aren’t you taking the deal the Ministry has offered?”
“Cutting right to the chase,” Lucius commented. He leaned forward in his seat. “Because I can do better.”
“Better than immediate release? Better than being home to protect Mother from the danger you’ve put her in?”
“That wasn’t my fault,” Lucius spat.
“No, of course not,” Harry interjected. “But you have an opportunity to make certain no more harm comes to her.”
“I wasn’t talking to you,” Lucius sneered.
“Mr. Malfoy, if you’re going to use me as a bargaining chip, then I think I have the right to speak my mind,” Harry returned.
“Hmmph.”
“I have a solution that may satisfy everyone involved,” Harry continued. “You publicly support Draco’s relationship with me, and I’ll publicly support your release and,” he coughed, “your rehabilitation.”
Lucius’ lips curled and his nostrils flared. “How am I suppose to support this lifestyle you have? I find it disgusting. Screwing other men. Acting as another man’s bitch.” He snorted. “You’re so feminine, you may as well be a woman.”
“I fuck men, Father. What’s feminine about that? I’m strong enough to handle a male lover, a male companion. You need a soft, pliable woman to control. I’d say you sound more like a sissy than me.”
Harry held his hand up. “Draco, please. Lucius, we’re not here to argue.”
Harry decided that he needed to address Draco’s father as an equal, rather than a respected elder.
“Whatever you might think of me personally, I can help you. The longer you reject the offer the Ministry has made, the more danger Narcissa is in. Right now, she is practically a prisoner in her own home. And despite your distaste for Draco’s lifestyle, I know you love him. You have the power to keep them safe. Give the Ministry the names of the Death Eaters, and you can be free in a matter of days.”
“And then what? So much has been taken from us. Lost time, items of great value, respect in the Pureblood community.”
“You gave away the respect, Father. And in regards to wealth, there is plenty left. I haven’t touched any of it. You, of all people, can find a way to acquire more.”
Lucius glared at Draco. Never had his son spoken to him in such a manner as this day.
“Lucius,” Harry said, diverting his attention. “I will publicly support you. I may not be able to make up for lost time, however, I am still a highly respected member of wizarding society. I still have influence. The Aurors will still patrol your home. And perhaps I can convince Minister Shacklebolt to return some of your more sentimental items--as long as they don’t contain any Dark magic.”
Draco looked back and forth between his father and Harry. Harry’s offer was more than generous. Especially in light of the fact that Harry was loathe to use his celebrity status for personal gain.
The staring contest between Harry and Lucius dragged on far longer than any of them expected.
Harry sighed and pushed his chair back, ready to admit defeat.
“I’ll consider your offer,” Lucius said quietly.
“Your conviction will not be overturned. You understand that?” Harry asked.
“Yes. I don’t see that I have much choice in the matter,” Lucius answered bitterly.
“For Merlin’s sake, Father. You’re getting more than you deserve. It’s a gift. Be grateful.”
“A gift?”
“Yes, a gift. From Harry. I’m sure the Ministry is ready to tell you to go to Hell. But Harry is stepping up.” Draco turned to look at Harry. “That’s how much he cares for me. He’s willing to help you to keep my mother safe. I think he cares more about Mother’s safety than you.”
“How dare you--” Lucius got up out of his chair.
“Draco,” Harry interrupted. “May I speak to your father? Alone?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Please?”
Reluctantly, Draco left the room and waited in the hallway. He supposed it was going to get ugly and Harry didn’t want him to see. He paced back and forth waiting for Harry to come out.
“There are still guards watching,” Lucius said. “So if you think you can get away with some sort of wandless magic--”
“I wasn’t planning on it,” Harry smirked. “Although, I know several spells I doubt the guards would even detect. Being a former Auror does have its perks.”
For a moment, Lucius looked a bit wary.
Harry chuckled, which didn’t ease Lucius’ tension at all.
“I only wanted to ask-- beg, if I must, a favor.”
“For what?” Malfoy questioned.
“Despite Draco’s hostile attitude toward you today, he still wants your approval. He always has.”
“Don’t presume to tell me about my own son.”
“I know him well. In many ways better than you,” Harry said. “You haven’t seen him, aside from his visits. Out there, in the real world, Draco has turned his life around. He’s a respected professor at Hogwarts. He makes his own way without relying on the Malfoy fortune. You would be proud of him.”
“For being a pushover and fodder for Rita Skeeters’s rag?”
“He’s risen above that. Skeeter is notorious for stretching the truth, even outright lying. You’re a fool to give her any credibility.” Harry sighed. “Look, we both want the same thing-- for Draco to be safe and happy.”
“You still haven’t told me what you want from me,” Lucius pointed out. “Aside from the terms that have already been laid out.”
“I want you to make peace with him. When you say that you support him, I want you to mean it. Not just as part of a deal. I want you to accept our relationship for what it is.”
“And what is it?”
“I love him.”
Lucius snorted, much the same way Draco did at times, Harry noted.
“I love him very much, and I will do whatever it takes to make him happy. That’s the only reason I’m willing to help you. I love him enough to put aside my differences with you.”
“Are you implying that you love him more than I do? Because you don’t.”
“Perhaps not more,” Harry conceded. “But differently. Without condition. Can you say the same? Or will you only let him know how much you really care if he is the man you think he should be?”
Lucius glared at him.
“How about being the man he needs you to be for a change?” Harry’s demeanor softened. “He wants to reconcile. He loves you very much. Don’t waste the time you have left worrying about who your son fucks,” he said, strictly for shock value. “I would give anything to have even one day with my father. Don’t piss your days away. Please.”
Though he would never admit it, Lucius was moved by Harry’s words. Like Draco, pride prevented him from acting. He wanted nothing more than to have his family back by his side.
“Draco certainly doesn’t act as though he wants to reconcile.”
“You’ve been openly opposing his homosexuality.”
Lucius snorted again.
“It’s sort of like not accepting him because his hair is blond.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Lucius said.
“I agree. Draco can’t change that about himself any more than he can change the fact that he’s gay. Oh, he could dye his hair, but that’s just a cover up. The same way he was covering up when he dated girls. You need to accept him the way he is. And I’m sure he will do the same for you.”
Lucius remained stubbornly silent.
Harry stood. “That’s all I had to say. I’ll inform the Ministry of the terms to which we agreed.”
“I haven’t agreed yet. I’m supposed to believe you will tell the truth?”
“You have my word.” He paused. “But I suppose you’ll just have to trust me.”
Harry gave a quick nod and walked out of the holding room. The worried look on Draco’s face prompted a hug.
“What happened?” Draco asked.
“Nothing. We just talked.”
“I’ll bet he had some vile things to say. I wish he had never started all of this. My mother doesn’t need him. We don’t need him.”
“Draco.” Harry grabbed his hand and held it up to kiss. “He loves you. In his own way. He simply doesn’t know how to react to . . . us. You, with men. He doesn’t understand.”
“Why would you defend him?” Draco questioned. “He treated you horribly.”
“Because he’s your family. And family is important.”
They walked down the corridor to the reception area to retrieve their wands. Quiet until they left the building, Draco finally spoke, looking out at the ocean view.
“He looked so small.”
Harry had to blink back tears for the pain in Draco’s voice. But it also gave him hope that father and son could find some common ground.

 

***

 

The next several days had Draco on edge. His father still hadn’t been brought into the Ministry to give his testimony. And it would take some time while they debated the validity of his information once he did. He didn’t know how his father would react if the Minister decided not to honor the deal after all.
To add to his anxiety, Knox, or Ob-Knox-ious, as he’d taken to calling him behind his back, was still up to his passive aggressive games. Harry appeared to be effectively ignoring them. But the man grated on Draco’s nerves.
In a restless mood, Draco took the Sherry from his ill- supplied liquor cabinet and poured a glass. He settled onto his settee and opened the parchment book Harry had given him.
He hadn’t gotten very far the first time he tried to read it. But soon, he was immersed in the tender love story between Liam and the object of his affection, Drake.
Draco hated to put it down, but it was supper time and he was hungry. Hungry for the first time in days, it seemed.
When he got down to the Great Hall, most of the other staff were already there, and the food had appeared only moments earlier.
He sat down, giving Harry a squeeze on his shoulder as he did.
Harry smiled. “You seem to be a little more relaxed.”
“I had a quiet afternoon with Liam and Drake,” he winked.
Draco’s words caught the attention of Knox.
“Who? Are they students?” he asked.
Draco and Harry looked at each other and just giggled, leaving Knox to wonder. Unhappy with that reaction, he tried another tactic.
“So, I hear your father’s turning snitch,” he said to Draco, loud enough for others at the table to hear. Rumors had leaked out from the Ministry, and Knox wanted to make sure everyone had heard them.
“He’ll be giving valuable information to the Ministry,” Draco corrected.
“Not exactly out of the goodness of his heart,” Knox smirked.
“The Aurors often trade for information. Sometimes, it’s the only way to get the information we need. Or rather, they need,” Harry said, correcting himself. Sometimes he still got caught up in Auror business. “If it gets more Death Eaters into Azkaban, then I’m all for it.”
“Sounds like trading one Death Eater for another is all it is.” Knox picked up his pumpkin juice and took a sip.
A few of the other professors nodded.
Once more, Draco’s mood became tense.
“Hardly,” Harry said. “Draco’s father has served seven years of his sentence already. And the Malfoy family helped me in the end.”
“You don’t have to make excuses, Harry,” Draco said. “The Ministry accepted the terms. It’s really none of anyone’s concern.”
“Except for anyone who’s crossed your father,” Knox commented casually.
A hand over his own kept Draco from lashing out. He glanced at Harry, who whispered, “Let it go.”
They continued to eat without any more discussion on the subject. But the damage had been done. Draco was anxiously thinking about his father’s fate.
After finishing, most of the professors got up and began making their way out of the Great Hall. Harry and Draco had only gotten a few steps when McGonagall called Harry back.
“I’ll be up soon,” Harry called. “Go on.”
Draco nodded and proceeded up the stairs. Knox was ahead of him, moving slowly to allow Draco to catch up. He turned and blocked Draco’s path.
“Out of my way Knox,” Draco said wearily.
“I don’t understand what he sees in you.”
“I don’t give a shite.” Draco attempted to skirt around him, but the other man took a few steps up backward and again blocked his way.
“He’s too good for you.”
“He’s too good for anyone. But he’s chosen me,” Draco smirked.
“He’ll figure that out when the infatuation has worn off,” Knox said, ignoring Draco’s comment. “When he’ll realize that you aren’t all that good looking after all. When your Dark Mark reminds him constantly that you’re a Death Eater. When you do something you shouldn’t do--something he doesn’t approve. And you will.”
Draco stood glaring. “I have nothing to hide from Harry. He knows all the intimate details of my life, and he still wants to be with me. You’ve always been jealous of me. You always wanted what I had. You haven’t changed a bit.”
“And I suppose you think you have,” Knox laughed. “You’re the same cowardly brat you always were. You let Harry talk to your daddy for you. You didn’t have the bollocks to stand up to him on your own. You’re still afraid of your own father.”
“I am not,” was all Draco could come up with. And he wasn’t. Not precisely afraid, but intimidated. “At least my father cared enough about me not to leave me in America all alone.”
“I chose to stay there after they came back,” Knox insisted.
“That’s not the way I heard it. I always thought there was something off about your parents that they would come back to London and make a new life while leaving their only child across an entire ocean.”
“I told you, it was my choice. And stop trying to make this about my parents. Your father is the one in question. And your mother’s family-- blimey, the whole lot of them is Dark as they come. And so are you. You’ll never be good enough for Harry.”
“Shut up, you little wanker.” Draco cocked his arm back and balled his fist.
“Draco!” Harry was bounding up the steps. “What are you doing?”
Letting his arm fall to his side, Draco let out a heavy breath and shook his head. Once again, he fell for Knox’s goading.
“I wasn’t actually going to hit him.”
“Yeah, right,” Knox said. “You saw, Harry.”
Draco whirled around. “Fine. I was going to hit him. But he deserved it.” He turned back and stomped up the stairs without waiting to hear what Harry had to say.
He slammed the door behind him when he reached his quarters. No sooner had it closed, than it opened again.
“Draco, what were you thinking?” Harry asked.
“I was thinking his konk needed breaking.”
“You could get sacked for that,” Harry said. “Why do you let him get to you? Is it what he said about your father? Because, I don’t think many of the professors agreed with him.”
“I don’t care about that. My father is nothing more than a snitch looking for personal gain.”
“Then why would you risk everything you’ve worked for?”
Draco sat down and rested his head in his hands.
“I don’t know,” he said wearily. “It’s all too much. This whole business with my father. Worrying about my mother. Worrying about you.”
“You don’t have to worry about me, Draco. Nothing is going to happen to me.” Harry sat down next to him and put his arm around his shoulder.
“Except maybe you’ll be taken away.”
Harry sighed. “That again? It’s getting old.”
“Well, excuse me for feeling extremely vulnerable right now.”
Harry rolled his eyes, without letting Draco see, of course.
“I’m sorry. I know you are. But what else can I do to show you how much you mean to me?”
“Stay away from him,” Draco said. “Just don’t go anywhere near him.”
“How am I supposed to do that? We’re colleagues. We have staff meetings with him. We share information about our students.” Harry threw his arms up, exasperated. “For the last time, I am not interested in Knox.”
They sat in silence. Draco knew he was being unreasonable, asking Harry to stay away from Knox completely.
“What did he say to you?” Harry finally asked.
“Just the truth,” Draco answered, sounding resigned. “The same thing he’s been saying all along - that you will eventually figure out that I’m no good.”
“He said that to you?” Harry’s mouth was drawn tight. He stood and walked to the door. “He’s wrong.”
Draco lifted his head, intending to stop Harry. But he was glad that maybe Harry was finally seeing Knox for who he was.

 

***

 

The broad smile on Knox’s face faded as he took in Harry’s expression. At first, he thought perhaps Draco and Harry had fought, and the object of his crush was coming to him for comfort. But the thin-lipped frown on Harry’s face told him that was not the case.
“Harry. Is everything all right?” Knox asked, on the off-chance Draco was the reason for the scowl.
“May I come in?”
With a small amount of hope, Knox opened his door further and allowed Harry in.
“Would you like a--”
Harry cut him off. “I know you and Draco don’t like each other. And as much as I’ve tried not to notice your infatuation, it has still caused problems between me and him.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
“Yes, you did. And I’ve allowed you to be successful. That’s my fault. I know that. I should have made my intentions regarding you more clear.”
“You have intentions regarding me?” A small smile crept across Knox’s face.
“I intended to be your friend. We work together well, and . . . I enjoy our conversations. I enjoy your company--as a friend and colleague.”
“I enjoy your company too, Harry,” Knox said. “More than anyone’s.” Encouraged, he took a step toward Harry.
“But . . . “ Harry said, stopping Knox in his tracks. “I love Draco. I intend to be with him for a very long time. I like you, as a friend. But I can’t be your friend if you persist with your flirting. And more importantly, you need to stop undermining Draco. Don’t you dare ever tell him again that he’s not good enough for me.”
“Harry, I . . . I’m sorry. If you gave me a chance, I know I would be good for you.”
Harry shook his head. “No. I’m in love with Draco. He and I have a long and complicated history. I really feel it’s fate. And even if for some reason, we don’t last, I can’t change my heart. I already gave it to him. I can’t give it to you. I can’t feel more than friendship for you.”
Knox frowned. “I thought maybe you were feeling some of what I was feeling. And that you just didn’t want to hurt him.”
“I don’t want to hurt him,” Harry said. “And that’s why I can’t be your friend. Not unless you give up on the idea of you and me.”
“I can’t change my heart either,” Knox told him. “I can’t make myself not fall for you.”
“Then that’s it. We’ll be acquaintances and colleagues, but nothing more. No more knocking on my door late at night, no more Quidditch practice, no more pub lunches.”
“What about the project McGonagall has us working on?”
“We’ll work on it. In the library only.”
“Harry please don’t,” Knox begged. “You’re the only real friend I have here. I won’t try to win you over anymore. I’ll be satisfied just being your friend.”
Harry crossed his arms over his chest. “You have to promise. Draco probably still won’t be happy about you and me being friendly. If you make him feel uncomfortable again, or have him doubting my feelings for him--”
“I won’t. I promise. Just don’t cut me off, please,” Knox begged.
Against his better judgement, Harry agreed. “I’ll give you another chance. But I’m telling you, we’re friends and nothing more.”
“All right.”
“And it wouldn’t hurt for you to try and be nicer to Draco. I’ll try to get him to be nicer to you too. You’re family. You should get along better.”
Knox was disappointed by the turn of events. He was certain that Draco nearly punching him would have made Harry see that the Potions professor didn’t deserve someone like Harry. Feeling lucky that Harry was willing to stay friends with him, Knox relented.
“Okay. I’ll try,” he said. “Thank you, Harry. I won’t let you down.”

 

***

 

Draco stood when Harry walked back into the room.
“What happened?”
“I had a talk with Knox,” Harry told him. “He’s going to back off.”
“That’s it?”
Harry sat down on Draco’s settee. “I made it clear that there will never be anything between me and him. He’s going to stop trying to make you look bad--especially to me. If he doesn’t, then I won’t have anything more to do with him.”
“So, you’re still going to be friends with him.” It wasn’t a question. Clearly dissatisfied, Draco sighed.
“We all have to work together. And like it or not, he is part of your family.”
“Barely.”
Harry smiled. “You know, the two of you might find you actually like each other if you give it chance. I didn’t like the eleven-year-old you much either.”
Draco couldn’t help but smile. “I was a prat, wasn’t I?”
“Will you try? For me?” Harry patted the seat next to him.
Sitting down, Draco looked into Harry’s eyes. There wasn’t anything he would deny Harry.
“For you? Anything. I’ll try to get along with the git. But if he steps out of line, I really will punch him.”
“Don’t worry. If he steps out of line, I’ll punch him,” Harry said.

Chapter Text

“Good morning.”
Draco smiled, unable to keep up the pretense of sleep, and opened his eyes. “Good morning.”
“I could get used this,” Harry sighed. “Waking up with you. How do you look so damned good first thing in the morning?”
He stroked Draco’s hair. It was past his shoulders by an inch or two now.
“You never have bed head,” Harry commented.
Reaching up to ruffle Harry’s hair, Draco said, “You always have bed head. But I love it.”
“Plans today?” Harry asked.
“Hmm. I thought we’d fuck in the shower. Maybe go have breakfast. Fuck on your sitting room floor. Grade some papers. Then fuck in bed until you can’t walk.”
Harry grinned. “Sounds great. But why don’t we just start out in bed?”
“I already have,” Draco growled and pressed himself up against Harry’s side. His erection was hard as Harry’s hip bone as he rocked on it.
“Don’t get too far without me,” Harry pouted. He turned on his side away from Draco, offering up his arse, which Draco gladly took as a substitute for his hip.
Draco spooned Harry’s body and rubbed gentle circles around his nipples, teasing but not quite getting close enough. He kissed the back of Harry’s neck, tasting the skin.
“I don’t think we’re going to make it to the shower,” Draco whispered. His hand wound down Harry’s body, skirting his cock, but cupping his bollocks.
Harry groaned. He was close enough to the edge of the bed to reach the bottle of oil he always left on the side table. Passing it over his shoulder, Harry said, “Fuck me this way.”
“I thought you liked to look into my-- what did call them, stormy-- eyes,” Draco chuckled.
“I think I said tempestuous,” Harry breathed back, grinding his backside into Draco’s cock. “Come on, do it.”
Draco flipped open the lid of the bottle with his thumb and poured some of the oil onto his fingers. He teased Harry’s opening, drawing a finger over the spot lightly.
“Uh,” moaned Harry.
As he slid a finger inside, Draco gently squeezed Harry’s bollocks until his cock rose to full mast. He playfully swatted Harry’s hand away when it tried to grip his erection.
“Not yet,” Draco whispered.
“Tease,” Harry snickered.
Draco continued massaging Harry’s bollocks while inserting another finger. Then another. He lifted Harry’s leg, and replaced his fingers with his cock.
Harry moaned and reached for his own cock. Again, Draco pushed it aside.
“Don’t be impatient,” Draco gently admonished. “I’ll make you cum.”
Lifting Harry’s leg a bit higher, Draco propped himself on his elbow to gain some thrusting leverage.
Harry moaned, and turned his head toward Draco, who kissed him.
“I like this more than I thought I would.” He didn’t usually request being taken from behind because he thought it a less intimate position. His mind changed when he realized they could still snog.
For a while, they leisurely rocked together, kissing and touching. A few times, Harry made a move toward his own cock, laughing lightly when Draco grabbed his hand away and held it above Harry’s head.
“What’s your hurry?” Draco whispered. “I want to fuck for as long as we can.”
“I do too, but my bollocks are turning blue,” Harry joked.
Draco reached down and gave them a squeeze. “They look just fine to me. But if you must cum . . .”
He scooted down, adjusting his position slightly, and began thrusting his hips faster.
“Oh,” Harry shuddered. “Oh, Draco. Right there.”
“You like that, do you?”
“Fuck. Yes. I think that’s going to make me cum.” Harry submissively left his hand up over his head where Draco had put it.
Draco’s hand wandered to Harry’s chest and lightly raked his fingers across. He pinched a nipple. Harry made a steady stream of grunts and groans, urging Draco on.
“Harder,” Harry panted. “I’m gonna cum. I’m gonna cum.”
Keeping up his pace, Draco peeked over Harry’s shoulder to watch as Harry’s cock twitched and spurted out its load.
Harry cried out loudly, gripping the headboard. He leaned his head back into Draco. “Merlin, that was . . . I can’t think of a good word.”
“Amazing? Brilliant? Incredible?” Draco offered.
“Those words have been overused.”
“Like your cock?” Draco laughed. “Now my bollocks really are turning blue.”
“You haven’t cum? Why did you stop?” Harry asked.
“I was enjoying watching you too much.”
Harry reached his hand down and eased Draco out of him. He turned in place and gripped the erection purposefully. Draco rolled onto his back and closed his eyes. He came within a few minutes with a gasp and a curl of his toes.
“That was reserved,” Harry commented.
“But no less enjoyable,” Draco said. “In fact, it was spectacular.”
Harry smiled. “Spectacular. Good word.” He rolled over half on top of Draco and rested his head on Draco’s shoulder. “Maybe a few more minutes before we get up.”
He closed his eyes and sighed contentedly, falling back asleep shortly after.

 

***

 

“Now it’s time for that shower,” Harry said with a yawn. “I’m so glad you don’t have to go back to your room to do that.”
Draco smiled. “I do enjoy that.”
Reluctantly, they got out of bed to ready themselves for the day. As they stood side by side at the bathroom sink, Harry grinned, trying not to let toothpaste dribble out of his mouth. Draco leaned forward to spit as Harry bent down to rinse.
“Fuck. I’m sorry,” Draco said, embarrassed for spitting in Harry’s hair. “Maybe we should take turns in the bath.”
Harry looked into the mirror at him.
“No. I’d rather get toothpaste in my hair occasionally than do this alone. Weekdays are so lonely now.”
Staring back at him, Draco smiled.
“Yeah. But do you think McGonagall knows?”
Harry shrugged. “If she does, she’s looking the other way.” He put his toothbrush back in the cup holder. “As long as neither of us is on duty, I don’t see why she should care anyway. The entire English-speaking wizarding world, including the students, knows we’re together.”
Draco put his toothbrush back and turned the spigot for the shower on.
“God, I wish I hadn’t been so impatient this morning.” He eyed Harry up and down. “I really like to fuck in the shower.”
“Tomorrow morning for sure,” Harry said. “Let’s hurry up and shower now, though. I’m starving. And besides, I want you good and randy so I can try that little trick on you tonight.”
Draco shuddered. “You want to fuck me?”
“I know it’s not your preference, but--”
“Yes,” Draco replied quickly.
A slow grin grew on Harry’s face. “I never brought it up before because I thought you didn’t like to bottom.”
“I don’t. Not with other men. But you’re different. I completely trust you.”
“Good. Tonight, then,” Harry said, stepping into the shower stall.
Draco stepped in behind him, purposely brushing against him. “Great. I’m going to have a permanent hard on all day just thinking about it.”
They showered together, though only washing themselves. Neither one trusted himself with touching the other’s body. Breakfast would be over before they got to the Great Hall if they had another shag.
Walking hand in hand, they had almost arrived at breakfast when Knox came walking out. Subconsciously, Harry let go.
“Good morning, Knox,” Harry said.
“Good morning.”
“Did we miss breakfast?”
Knox shook his head. “No, I left a little early. On my way to meet friends at Hogsmeade.”
“Oh. Brilliant,” Harry smiled. It gratified him to know that Knox had taken an interest in pursuing friendships outside of Hogwarts. “Have fun, then.”
Harry and Draco walked past him and continued on their way. Had either one of them turned around, they would have seen Knox watching them go, and the scowl on his face as Harry reclaimed Draco’s hand.

 

***

 

“Why did you do that?”
“What?” Harry asked. “I’m not going to walk right past him and not say hello.”
“No. I’m talking about letting go of my hand.”
“What?”
“You let go of my hand as soon as we saw Ob-Knox-ious coming.”
Harry sighed. “Do you really have to call him that? He’s left us alone since I had that talk with him. And he even said he’s meeting other friends.”
“I still don’t trust him. He can’t have turned off his feelings for you that quickly.”
“All the more reason not to rub it in his face,” Harry said. “You know, you weren’t happy when he was trying to get my attention. And you’re not happy now that he’s not. What do you want from him?”
“To go away?” Draco gave him a guilty sideways glance.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen. So, you’ll just have to be satisfied that he’s leaving me alone.”
“I am. But I wish McGonagall hadn’t asked you to work with him on the new Charms curriculum for next year.”
Harry held up Draco’s hand and kissed the back of it. “It’s just research. It’s you I have a date with later.”
With that reminder, Draco’s cock twitched.
“That was cruel. I have to walk into the Great Hall like this.”
Draco indicated the slight protrusion of his half hard cock.
“It’s barely noticeable,” Harry chuckled.
“Thanks a lot, you wanker.” Draco swatted Harry’s shoulder in jest. “Go on, I’ll catch up in a second.”
Watching Harry’s hips switch as he walked into the Great Hall didn’t help his situation any. He tried desperately not to think about how it would feel to have Harry inside him. He spotted Knox coming back down the stairs and stepped back into an alcove. The last thing he needed was for Knox to see him trying to talk down his woody.
Fortunately, the sight of his current nemesis did the trick and as soon as the man was out of sight, Draco strolled into breakfast.

 

***

 

For the rest of the day, Draco and Harry enjoyed a rare interrupted Saturday. Though there were some papers to grade, Draco had time to relax. Several of his classes were in the middle of a large research project. So, he spent much of class time babysitting and catching up on much needed ingredient inventory taking.
Harry, on the other hand, had been helping Knox in some of his free time. McGonagall decided Professor Flitwick’s Charms curriculum was in need of some re-vamping and enlisted Harry to assist. To his surprise, Knox had been behaving himself and the pair retained the rapport they had begun to build when Knox first turned up at Hogwarts.
Even Christmas break had been uneventful, save for one small incident involving mistletoe. One of the students conjured it in hopes of catching the girl of his fancy underneath it. However, when Harry found himself standing under the kissing plant, he awkwardly laughed it off before Knox could get any ideas. And the rest of the holiday passed without incident.
Harry was glad that Knox had gone with friends to Hogsmeade for most of the day. At least he and Draco spent it together, playing chess, flying and reading.
After a relatively short post-supper session in the library with Knox, Harry walked into his room to find Draco napping on his bed. The corner of his mouth rose as he watched Draco’s chest rise and fall, accompanied by a small snore.
He pulled his jumper over his head while he walked into the bedroom. He tossed it aside and stood over Draco, smiling. After removing his shoes, he unbuttoned his trousers and let them fall to his ankles before stepping out of them.
As gingerly as possible, Harry crawled onto the bed and hovered over his lover on all fours. Draco took in a sharp breath but didn’t open his eyes. He shifted slightly in his sleep.
For a moment, Harry just gazed at Draco. His platinum hair was splayed out around his head and his rose bud lips were closed. He had certainly grown into a handsome man--manly, with a hint of feminine features, such as his fine cheek bones and slender neck. Draco’s Adam’s apple was prominently displayed, so Harry decided he would start there.
Harry leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on Draco’s neck. Another sharp intake, but this time grey eyes opened. Draco grinned at the sight of Harry poised over him.
“Mmm. Is it time for our date?”
“What gave it away?” Harry smirked.
Reaching for Harry’s crotch, Draco replied, “The large protuberance in your pants might have given me a hint.”
“I can’t wait to have you,” Harry breathed. He leaned over again and kissed the side of Draco’s neck. Then he began to nibble on his ear.
Sitting back and straddling Draco’s legs, Harry unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it open revealing Draco’s pale, hairless chest with several small, faint scars.
Draco once told him the scars hadn’t hurt his sex life any. But it still bothered Harry to know he put them there.
He kissed each one he found, and when he kissed them all, he moved to Draco’s light pink nipple.
Draco gave a low chuckle ending in a growl.
“How do you want me?” he asked.
“How do you want it?”
“I want to see you. I don’t want you behind for the first time,” Draco told Harry.
“All right.”
Still straddling Draco’s thighs, Harry pulled Draco’s arms out of his sleeves and slid his shirt out from under him. He scooted back and undid the trousers. In order to remove them, Harry reluctantly got up and allowed Draco to pull off his own trousers and pants. He took off his pants at the same time, never taking his eyes off his lover.
Once fully nude, Harry reclaimed his spot straddling Draco. He rocked his hips forward and back, rubbing their erections together lightly.
“Are you sure you want me in you?” Harry asked. “I could just hop on.”
“No, fuck me, Harry. I really want you to fuck me,” Draco answered earnestly. His cock was weeping a healthy amount of pre-cum.
“Hand me the lube.”
Draco reached over to the side table and picked up the small bottle. Instead of handing it to Harry, he opened it and poured some on his hand. He took Harry’s cock in his hand and coated it generously. He swiped the excess on his own arse, poking a finger inside.
“Let me do that,” Harry said, holding his hand out for the bottle.
He readied Draco’s arse with his fingers to accommodate his cock eventually. When he felt he was ready, he moved into position and began to push his way in.
Draco closed his eyes and willed himself to relax. Although he wanted this, it had been quite a while since he’d bottomed and he was anxious. He groaned as the head of Harry’s cock slipped past his opening.
“All right?” Harry questioned.
Draco nodded without opening his eyes. “Keep going.”
Harry took his time, making sure Draco was comfortable before proceeding further. When at last he was fully enveloped, he leaned over and kissed Draco.
“I forgot how good this feels,” Harry said. “I can’t remember the last time I topped.”
“Good,” Draco smiled. He opened his eyes. “It feels even better if you move.”
Harry laughed. “I’m getting to it.” He took his thumb and forefinger, and gently squeezed the head of Draco’s cock.
“I thought you were going to try and make me cum without touching.”
A more serious expression came over Harry’s face.
“I don’t know if I can do that. I think maybe I ought to stick to what I know,” Harry said.
“I’ll help you. Start moving.”
Harry braced himself on his arms and pulled his hips back, then thrust forward. He repeated his movements and fell quickly into rhythm, with Draco countering his thrusts.
“Put my legs over your shoulders,” Draco directed.
Harry complied and continued to pump. He rose to his knees for better leverage, holding Draco’s legs in place.
“A little . . . higher.”
Lifting Draco’s bottom off the bed, Harry pulled his legs up and scooted closer.
Draco gasped. His cock twitched.
“Is that good?” Harry asked.
“Perfect. Harder. Right there.”
Instead of instructing Harry, Draco touched his own nipples, scratching at them rapidly with his well-manicured nails.
“Oh, fuck. I’m close.”
All Harry could do was watch and try desperately not to cum himself. He lost control when Draco cried out again, shooting a load of thick cum forward onto his own chest. His cry was so loud that Harry was sure the entire castle must have heard. Though normally rather vocal himself, Harry came with a heavy breath and a whimper.
“Bloody hell, that was intense,” Draco panted, grabbing at his cock to squeeze out the last few drops. “I don’t think I’ve ever cum just from being fucked.”
“So I make a decent top after all?”
“You make a brilliant top,” Draco replied. “You can fuck me any time.”
Harry grinned, pleased with his performance, and Draco’s praise.
“Seriously,” Draco said. “Any time you want. I thought I was doing you a favor because I never liked to bottom particularly. But that was so different from any other time.”
“Because I love you,” Harry said. “And you love me. Shagging is so much better when you’re in love.”
Harry sighed and lay down next to Draco.
“You’re still such a Gryffindor,” Draco laughed.
At first Harry pouted, then laughed as well. “That was fairly sappy, wasn’t it? Do you see what you do to me?” He shoved at Draco’s shoulder with his own in good humor.
In a rare moment of faith, Draco answered, “I do.” He smiled and kissed Harry. He performed a quick clean up spell and covered them both with a blanket.

***

 

As they fell asleep in each others’ arms, another person lay in his bed alone. The entire castle may not have heard Draco’s cries of passion, but Knox did, from his room next door.
He frowned as he listened to the sounds coming from Harry’s room. Draco didn’t deserve the former hero. It wasn’t fair. He tried to block it out and fall asleep, but his body betrayed him, becoming aroused by the muffled voices and creaking bed.
Pissed off more at himself than either of the men next door, he wanked himself into a frenzy, cumming nearly at the same time as Draco.
Body satisfied, but mind greatly disturbed, Knox cleaned himself up and curled on his side. He still wanted Harry so badly, he could practically taste it. He’d backed off the way Harry asked. But playing it cool had gotten him nowhere. The Head of Gryffindor treated him as dispassionately as he did any other professor. It was time to take a different approach . . .

Chapter Text

Harry snapped his fingers in front of Knox’s face. “Hello? You still with me?”
“What? Oh. Yeah, sorry,” Knox sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked. “You’ve been distracted the whole time we’ve been here.”
The pair sat in the library, looking up new and interesting ways for the students to practice charms and spells for the following year’s curriculum. Knox didn’t mind the work at all, as it gave him the opportunity to sit with Harry occasionally--without Draco hanging about.
If he was being honest, he wasn’t trying too hard so the project would take longer. But they’d been working on it for over a month and Harry had said he felt they had come up with enough new spells to spice up the classes.
Knox needed something else to keep Harry’s attention.
“Just boy trouble,” Knox sighed.
“Oh.” Harry’s reply was noncommittal.
“Yeah,” Knox went on. “I don’t know if it’s going to work out. He’s sort of clingy. He always wants me to reassure him that I’m having a good time with him.”
“Have you been dating long?” Harry asked politely.
“Burt and I? Well, we’re not dating exclusively or anything. We’ve gone out a few times. He’s nice but . . .”
“No sparks?’
Knox shrugged. “It’s not so much that, as like I said before-- he’s clingy. How do you stand it?”
Harry blinked blankly. “What do you mean?”
“I mean Malfoy. He’s that way, isn’t he?”
“No. Draco isn’t clingy. He’s . . . affectionate.”
Knox smirked. “Oh. Okay,” he said sarcastically.
“Well, I guess sometimes he needs me to give him a little encouragement and assurance. But that’s normal isn’t it? Everyone has doubts, don’t they?”
“Oh, sure,” Knox said. “It’s the constant whinging and uncertainty that gets annoying. You know, I think I’d like Burt a lot more if he showed some confidence. Confidence is sexy. Don’t you think?”
Harry nodded.
“Not too much, though. I don’t find cockiness attractive at all.”
“It can be a fine line between confidence and cockiness,” Harry said.
“You seem to have mastered it,” Knox commented.
Harry laughed. “It’s not that I’m so confident, so much as I don’t give a fuck what people think of me anymore.”
Knox shared a few ‘invented’ facts about his friend Burt, prompting Harry to open up about his relationship with Draco. Burt was actually a friend, but he was a straight friend. He and Knox never shared more than a casual friendship. However, in his attempt to get closer to Harry, by playing on his sympathies, Knox embellished quite a bit.
Every so often, Harry would say he understood Knox’s situation. He cited Draco’s lack of self-assurance in certain areas. He told Knox about the difficulties with Draco’s father. Even after Harry prostrated himself before the man, he still hadn’t lived up to his end of the bargain. Lucius hadn’t publicly acknowledged his son’s relationship with Harry or reached out to him.
Unfortunately, Knox took all the information Harry shared as a sign that things were strained between the pair. Harry was merely venting a little since he didn’t want to further burden Draco with his feelings about Lucius. He figured Draco didn’t talk about his father for a reason.
When Harry and Knox parted ways, Harry suggested that Knox could write up the proposal for the new curriculum on his own. Disappointed, Knox agreed. But he’d find a reason to get together with Harry alone somehow.
Before going back to his chambers, Knox decided to take a quick trip to the kitchens for a snack. As he walked down the corridor in the dungeons, he heard hushed voices. Creeping nearer to the Potions room, he realized the sounds were coming from the classroom. Stealthily peeking in, he spotted Draco with his arms around Casper Montague. The boy was clutching at the Potion professor’s robes.
“You should probably go back to your room now, before somebody sees you,” Draco said softly.
Casper shook his head, which was buried in Draco’s chest. “Everyone will see that I’ve been crying,” he said, his voice muffled.
Draco gently pushed the boy back and lifted his chin up. “You don’t look so bad. Why don’t you go into the lavatory and splash some water on your face? You need to pull yourself together.”
“I know you think I’m silly,” Casper pouted. “But I’m dead serious. It’s love, and I’ll never feel this way about anyone else. Ever.”
Knox covered his own mouth to keep from gasping aloud.
“Casper, you’re young--”
“Don’t treat me like a child. I’m old enough to know how I feel.”
“Fine,” Draco said, losing patience. “You’re in love. I don’t know what you expect me to do about it.”
“You could be a little more sympathetic,” Casper jutted out his chin.
“I think I’ve already given you far too much leeway.” Draco placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. His demeanor softened. “Believe me, Casper, I understand your feelings more than you know. But unfortunately, sometimes our feelings are not returned.”
Casper’s bottom lip began to quiver again.
“Now don’t start crying again,” Draco said. “I know you don’t want to hear this, but you will get over it. And in the meantime, you have to keep up your studies. Especially in my class. I can’t show you any more favoritism.”
Casper nodded and sighed. “All right professor. I’ll try not to be so distracted from now on. I don’t want you to get into trouble because of me.”
“I’m not going to get in trouble. Go on to bed.”
Knox quickly hid in the shadows as Casper walked past on his way to his House.
“I knew it,” Knox whispered to himself.
Now all he had to do was get Harry alone so he could tell him about the encounter he’d just witnessed. Surely, it would be enough to make Harry see that Draco was still just a low life Death Eater, preying on a young boy. He was no good for Harry. Knox had to play it right, though. As the messenger, he didn’t want to get hexed for his troubles.

 

***

 

Harry walked into his room and glanced around. Though it was mid-week, he was hoping to find Draco there. He was finding it more and more lonesome during the week when his lover wasn’t with him. The pair had even taken to staying in one another’s quarter on weekends they had duty. Not that Harry had been trying to actively go against McGonagall’s rules. He simply found that he was much less distracted with Draco by his side than he was thinking about the man when he wasn’t.
A knock came on the door.
“You don’t have to knock,” Harry said when he opened the door and saw Draco on the other side.
“I didn’t want to catch you doing anything obscene,” Draco smirked.
Harry gave a fake pout. “You didn’t? Then why are you here?”
“You’re incorrigible.” Draco stepped closer. “I truly have never met anyone who could wear me out the way you do. But I only came to say good night.”
“Oh.” Though Harry sounded a bit disappointed, he thought Draco’s gesture was very sweet. “By the way, Hermione owled. They want to get together this weekend. Do you have plans?”
Furrowing his brow, Draco replied, “What plans would I have without you?”
Harry’s expression mimicked Draco’s. “Draco, you don’t have to spend all of your time with me, you know. You don’t turn down other things for me, do you?”
Glancing away, Draco shrugged. “Not really.”
“I don’t want to keep you from doing things you want to do.”
“You aren’t.”
“You haven’t mentioned Blaise or Pansy in a while. Weren’t you going to invite them here so I could get to know them?”
Draco scratched his head. “I don’t know. You and Blaise might get on all right. But Pansy’s a pill.”
“I want to get to know your friends, the way you’ve gotten to know Ron and Hermione. I want you to be part of your life, not take it over.”
Sensing that Harry was inwardly rolling his eyes at him, Draco was regretting visiting Harry. He wasn’t looking for a chiding.
“You’re not taking over my life. I’m choosing to spend it with you,” Draco responded. “If you’d rather not spend so much time with me--”
“I didn’t say that,” Harry cut him off and pulled him closer in order to kiss him. “It would be so easy for us to shut ourselves off from everyone else. I could spend the rest of my life locked in the bedroom with you.”
Draco couldn’t help but smile.
“But,” Harry continued. “Like it or not, we need to live in the real world. We need our friends. We need other people, including family.”
A frown replaced Draco’s smile. “If you’re talking about Knox--”
“I’m talking about your parents.”
“You want to spend time with my parents?”
“They’re part of you. I want to be part of your whole life.”
“You know my father disdains you.”
Harry nodded. “Perhaps your mother would be more accepting. What if we went to visit her this weekend instead of getting together with Ron and Hermione?”
His brow still knit together, Draco thought about Harry’s suggestion. “You’re serious?”
“Yes. I want your parents and friends to accept us. What do you say? Shall we visit the manor for the weekend?”
“For the whole weekend? I don’t think so,” Draco chuckled. “How about tea on Saturday? An hour or two may be all we can take of Mother.” Draco paused. “Are you sure you want to do that?”
Nodding and smiling, Harry answered, “Yes. I’m sure. I’ll owl Hermione and tell her they’ll have to take a raincheck.”
“No, don’t do that. We can still see them Saturday night. Or Sunday.”
A slow grin grew on Harry’s face. “You like them. You actually like them.”
“Don’t get sappy on me again, Gryffindor,” Draco teased.
In truth, he did like them. Hermione in particular. But Ron wasn’t as stupid as he’d always assumed. After all, he managed to catch the brightest witch of their age. He worried that his sentiments weren’t returned, though, and looked forward to doing his best to make a favorable impression. The last time they visited, he had been taken off guard, having fallen asleep before tidying his room and dressing to impress.
Draco didn’t suppose Blaise and Pansy would be as open to a friendship with Harry. They would be curious, for certain. However, it would take a great deal of effort on Draco’s part to bring them together.
“You don’t know how happy that makes me. I couldn’t bear it if my best friends and my love didn’t get along,” Harry said. “And I’ll make every effort with your friends and family.”
“I’ll send Mother a message tonight.”
“Brilliant.” Harry leaned forward and kissed Draco. “I can’t wait.”
“I’d better be off,” Draco said. “Good night.” Which is what he came to say in the first place.
He walked back to his quarters a little less optimistic than Harry but looking forward to proving to his mother that Harry was right for him. Though more open-minded about his sexual orientation than his father, his mother had been skeptical that a relationship with Harry Potter would work out. Still, Harry was willing to give Narcissa the benefit of the doubt and reach out to her. Draco sighed. It didn’t matter if his mother didn’t accept his relationship with Harry. Nothing could keep him from falling even more in love with the man.

***

 

Holding hands, Harry and Draco apparated to the front gate of Malfoy Manor.
“It’s not too late to back out,” Draco said.
Harry smiled to himself. “I don’t want to back out. Do you?”
“Yes,” Draco answered. He turned to Harry. “I’m not nearly as brave as you.”
“I don’t think it’s bravery so much as stupidity,” Harry chuckled. “Come on. I see Jenkins on the grounds. He must be the Auror on duty.”
Draco raised his hand at the gate. It took on an ethereal appearance as he stepped through. It became solid though, once he crossed the threshold. Harry remained on the other side, hand still joined with Draco’s through an opening in the wrought iron design.
“What the devil?” Draco muttered.
The Auror hurried toward them.
“Oi! How’d you get in here?” he called as he did. As he drew nearer, he recognized Draco.
“Oh, Mr. Malfoy. I didn’t know you were coming today. Hi Harry,” the man smiled.
“Why can’t I get him in?” Draco asked.
“The wards were strengthened,” The Auror told him. “Only a Malfoy or a select few Aurors can get through.”
“But Harry and I are having tea with my mother. Can you change them so he can come in?”
“No, but I can make a temporary hole for him. He’ll need the same to get back out, so come look for me when you’re ready to leave,” Jenkins said.
The Auror held up his wand and whispered an incantation. The front gate shimmered. And when Draco felt the change around his hand, he pulled Harry through.
“Thanks Jenkins,” Harry smiled and waved, then continued to walk hand in hand with Draco to the front door of the Manor.
As Draco reached for the doorknob, he felt Harry stiffen.
“Are you nervous?” he asked.
Harry nodded. “A bit.”
“Because of meeting my mother, or being in the house.”
Smiling sheepishly, Harry replied, “A bit of both, I suppose.”
“Inside, the Manor looks quite different from when the Dark Lord took over. Mother has done some renovations. I still wouldn’t call it cheery. But it’s not nearly as creepy as it was.”
Harry relaxed and nodded, prompting Draco to open the door. As they walked in, Harry marveled at the transformation. No longer dank and dark, the large entrance way was predominantly blue. Windows charmed to stream in sunlight, even on a rainy day, made the room bright. Ironically, cheery was the word that came to Harry’s mind.
“Mother?” Draco called out.
A small house elf suddenly appeared in front of them.
“Master Draco,” she bowed. “It is good to be having you home again.”
“Thank you Clara. Where is Mother?”
“Mistress Narcissa be waiting in the gardens,” Clara answered. The elf kept glancing up at Harry with large grey eyes. “Clara be taking Master Draco and . . . Mister Harry Potter to her.”
She led them through the Manor, past the dining room that once hosted dinners and meetings for Voldemort. The furniture had all been replaced and the room painted a soft yellow color. A vase of colorful flowers was placed in the middle of the table.
“Damn, I meant to bring my mother something,” Draco muttered.
“Like what?”
“A peace offering?” Draco laughed.
“You could conjure some flowers,” Harry suggested.
“No, she likes real ones. Somehow, she knows the difference.”
Stepping out onto the paved patio, Harry could see why Draco didn’t bother conjuring flowers. Surrounding the terrace were rose bushes of every color imaginable, delphiniums and petunias and lavender orchids. He gazed around in awe.
“It’s the middle of winter,” Harry whispered. “How does she grow all these? Magic?”
Draco pointed up. “The glass keeps it warm in here all year round. Mother has Clara tend to the plants meticulously. Perhaps there is some artificial sunlight, but basically, these are muggle flowers.”
“Beautiful,” Harry said.
“Thank you,” Narcissa replied, standing up out of her chair. She startled Harry, who hadn’t notice her.
“Mother.” Draco smiled. “You look well.”
“Thank you, dear.” She held out her arms to him and enveloped him in a hug. “I’m feeling much better,” she said, once they pulled apart.
“No word from Father yet?” he asked.
She shook her head, then glanced at Harry. “It’s been a long time, Mr. Potter.”
“Please, call me Harry,” he smiled and held out his hand. When she took it loosely, she gave it one quick shake and released.
Harry waited for her to instruct him on how to address her, but she didn’t. She merely sat back down and motioned for him and Draco to join her.
“Clara, we’ll have tea now.”
The house elf blinked away and was back in a flash with a tray. She poured out for the threesome and placed a small platter of biscuits in the middle of the small round table.
Nervously, Harry stirred his tea, waiting for it to cool enough to sip. He was anxious for someone to start a conversation, and feared the longer they sat in silence, the more awkward the meeting would go.
Finally, Draco spoke. “I don’t like yellow for the dining room.”
“Psh, you never did like yellow,” Narcissa said. “What’s wrong with it?”
“I thought you were going with the red.”
She shrugged. “I decided to go with red for the sitting room instead.”
Draco made a noncommittal nod and took a sip of tea. Suddenly, he looked over at his mother. “You didn’t change my room, did you?”
“Your room? Draco, you haven’t lived here for several years.”
“But it’s still my room,” he said. “You have plenty of others to play with.”
She gave a teasing smile. “No, I didn’t change your room. It’s still pink and purple.”
Harry raised his eyebrows.
“It is not pink and purple,” Draco said to Harry with a snort. “It’s blush and mauve. And it’s mostly dark cherry wood anyway.”
Narcissa giggled behind her tea cup. Harry couldn’t help grin. But he didn’t dare laugh at Draco.
Eventually, Draco himself grinned. “Father nearly had a heart attack when I picked those colors.” He looked to Harry. “I think that was how I came out him.”
Narcissa put on her best ‘Lucius face’ and imitated him, “Boy, you can’t have a pink room. People would think you’re queer or something.”
“And then I said, anyone who would be in my bedroom would already know that.” Draco laughed. “Or something along those lines.”
Harry was amused by the interaction between Draco and his mother. For some odd reason, he assumed she wouldn’t have much of a sense of humor.
“What did your father say to that?” Harry asked.
“I believe Lucius had a drink. Or four. Actually, he may have finished the entire bottle of fire whiskey,” Narcissa said.
Draco snorted again, then took a sip of his tea.
“How old were you, Draco?”
“Almost fifteen. Before all the shit went down here. My room was the last one redecorated . . .”
Harry reached out his hand to Draco’s subconsciously. “Is that why you didn’t want your mother to change it? Because it reminds you of how things were before Voldemort took over?”
A small gasp escaped Narcissa’s lips. It was still disconcerting for her to hear the Dark Lord’s name spoken aloud.
Trying to remain unemotional about it, Draco glanced at Harry, then his mother, then down into his teacup.
“Darling, why didn’t you ever tell me that?” Narcissa asked. “I would never have teased you about it. Why do you think I wanted to remodel in the first place? We’d all like to forget.”
She downed the last of her tea and put her cup down. Clara was immediately by her side, refilling it.
“So, it seems you have some insight into my son’s sensibilities after all, Mr. Potter.”
Harry didn’t correct her that time.
“And what does that mean, Mother?”
“Ever since you told me about the two of you, I’ve been trying to figure out what you could possibly have in common,” she said. “Frankly, I couldn’t think of two people less suited to one another.”
“May I also be frank?” Harry questioned. He continued when she nodded. “All that you think you know of me, most likely comes from books, newspaper articles written by Rita Skeeter, or legend. Some of which is true. But much of it is exaggerated, or out and out lies.”
Narcissa held up her hand to stop Harry.
“Please don’t take my skepticism personally.”
“Mother will never find anyone good enough for her little boy,” Draco snickered. “Not even the man who sacrificed his life and saved the entire wizarding world. If anything, Mother, I’m not good enough for him.” He paused and dropped his smile. “Or is that what you were getting at?”
She opened her mouth but hesitated to speak. Draco folded his hands in his lap while Harry looked uncomfortably between the pair.
“No, that wasn’t what I was getting at,” Narcissa said slowly. “But since you brought it up . . .” She turned to Harry. “Do you think Draco is good enough for you?”
Sitting up straighter, Harry answered, “Yes, of course. It’s not a matter of being good enough, anyway.”
“No?” Narcissa questioned.
Harry smiled at Draco. “Who wants good enough when you can have perfect?”
Draco grinned back. His mother sipped her tea, then took a biscuit from the platter.
“You think Draco is perfect?” Narcissa questioned.
Blinking, Harry was about to respond positively. Instead, he admitted, “No.”
A little shocked by his response, Draco swiftly turned and looked at Harry. He saw his mother’s smirk out of the corner of his eye and began to get up.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“I’m not going to sit around while you manipulate Harry into saying---”
“Sit down,” she instructed him. “You haven’t even had a biscuit. And I had Clara make your favorites.”
Harry put a gentle hand on Draco’s arm. He sat back down and made a show of putting a biscuit on his plate, though he didn’t eat it.
“Nobody’s perfect,” clarified Harry. “But Draco’s perfect for me. The more we get to know each other, the more I realize that. It’s rare to find someone who knows all about you-- the good and the bad-- and still wants to be with you.” He looked at Draco as if he were studying his face but seeing his soul. Though he kept his gaze on Draco, Harry addressed Narcissa. “When I’m with him, he makes me feel . . . normal.”
“How flattering,” Draco deadpanned.
Harry laughed. Perhaps at first thought, it wasn’t all that flattering.
“Do you know how many people have tried to put me on a pedestal, and keep me there? That’s not where I want to be. All I’ve ever wanted was a normal life, doing normal things, with normal friends. It’s why Ron and Hermione are practically my only friends. And you, of course. I don’t have to live up to any expectations with you, other than being a good boyfriend, which I hope I am.”
“You are,” Draco said quietly.
“Mrs. Malfoy, what else can I do to convince you that we are suited to one another?”
“Nothing.”
Again, Draco stood. “Mother, if you’re not going to support--”
She held up her hand once more. “Nothing,” she repeated. “I am convinced.”
Slowly, Draco sat back down.
“Anyone who looks at my son the way you do, Mr. Potter, deserves a chance.”
“Please, then, call me Harry.”

Chapter Text

Ron and Hermione laughed as Harry recounted the story Draco and his mother told about Draco’s coming out to his father.
“Too bad heterosexuals don’t have to come out and announce that they’d like to have sex with the opposite gender,” Draco commented.
“Yeah, mate. I can’t imagine,” Ron sympathized.
“Well, I had a similar experience,” Hermione said.
“What?” Ron questioned.
Draco sat up a little straighter. “Ooh, this sounds scandalous.”
“I said similar, not the same,” she clarified. “I had to come out, for lack of a better term, as a witch to my family.”
“I never thought of that,” Ron said.
“Being born into pureblood wizarding families, I suppose that’s something Ron and I didn’t have to think about,” Draco said.
Harry noted how his lover used Ron’s name with ease, then chuckled. “I guess I was outed on both accounts, then.”
“Do your aunt and uncle know you’re gay?”
“I don’t know,” Harry shrugged. “Probably. I talked to Dudley a couple of years ago and told him. Once he moved out of his parents’ home, he changed a little. He is my cousin, after all, so I’ve made attempts to stay in touch with him over the years.”
“What did the oaf say?” Ron asked.
“Oaf?” Draco questioned.
“You never met Dudley. He was a big bully when we were children,” Harry told him. He turned to Ron. “He’s a bit more humbled these days. He laughed and told me he always thought I was queer. But it was more teasing than mean spirited. I don’t know if we’ll ever be real friends, but I feel like we can be family.”
Draco narrowed his eyes at Harry’s less than subtle remark.
“What about your aunt and uncle?” Hermione asked.
“I’m afraid my relationship with them is beyond repair.”
“So, Hermione, how did your family take your news?” Draco changed the subject.
“My mother’s parents were actually rather excited about it,” she told them. “They had so many questions and wanted to know what sorts of things I could do. My grandmother still expects me to display my talents as a witch whenever I visit.”
“It’s a good thing people don’t want me to display my talents as a gay man when I visit,” Draco laughed.
“But you’re very talented,” Harry grinned.
Hermione giggled while Ron’s eyes grew big. He was still not completely comfortable with Harry and Draco’s innuendo and displays of affection.
“My father’s family was less accepting,” Hermione continued. “We don’t talk about it with them. I think they like to pretend I’m not a witch at all.”
Suddenly, the fireplace roared to life.
“Oi, Harry? Is Ron there?” Jenkins’ face appeared in the flames.
“He’s right here,” Harry told him and gave Ron a questioning look.
“I told them to floo call if there was any news about Malfoy.” Ron got up and moved closer to the hearth. “What’s going on?”
Draco had also moved closer.
Jenkins saw him and hesitated. “Well, I suppose you have a right to know. Malfoy finally signed the deal. He’s going to spill the beans tomorrow morning at half-nine.”
“Can I be there?” Draco asked.
Ron turned to face him. “Sorry, no. You can see him just after. But the inquiry is a closed session. We don’t want anything to influence him one way or another.”
“I understand,” Draco nodded.
“I’ll be there,” Ron told Jenkins.
“Does my mother know?”
“I’ve sent an urgent owl. The Aurors on duty will inform her.”
“Thank you.” Draco moved back, nearer to Harry.
“That’s good news,” Harry smiled. “I’m sure your mother will be relieved.”
Ron and Jenkins closed the call, and Ron sat back on Harry’s sofa with Hermione. He picked up a slice of pizza and took a bite nearly half the size of it.
“I wonder what he’s going to say tomorrow,” Hermione mused. “Any idea what name Malfoy is going to give, Ron?”
He shrugged. “There are lots of suspects out there. And probably even more that we don’t know about.”
“What happens if it turns out my father is wrong?” Draco asked.
“If there’s strong evidence and it’s an honest mistake, the Ministry will honour the agreement. But if he’s simply trying to stick it to someone he doesn’t like . . .”
“I wouldn’t put it past my father.”
“Let’s hope everything goes as planned,” Harry said optimistically.

***

 

After saying their goodbyes with Ron and Hermione, Harry and Draco were left alone.
“That was fun,” Harry sighed. “I never knew you were so good at Spades.” He cocked his head. “It’s funny to think that there are still things we don’t know about each other.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Everything,” Harry said. “I want to know all the little things, like your favorite book, what toys you played with as a child, or your favorite color.”
“Well, my favorite book is whatever we’re reading on a Sunday morning,” Draco began. He unbuttoned his shirt and draped it over the back of the sofa. “I played the usual games-- exploding snap, gobstones and traded chocolate frog cards with my friends.”
“I didn’t really have toys myself,” Harry said. “Once in a while, when Dudley was very bored, he would play a game with me. Of course, I always had to let him win or he would toss the board and make me clean it up.”
As they talked, they stripped down to pants and made their way to Harry’s bedroom. Harry asked questions about favorite foods and places to go. He wanted to hear more stories about Draco’s childhood away from Hogwarts.
“Harry, we have a long time to get to know all the little things about each other. You don’t need to know it all instantly,” Draco said, resting his head on Harry’s shoulder as they lay in bed. “That’s half the fun, isn’t it? Discovering things bit by bit. Besides, I’d rather take you to the places I enjoy than tell you about them. I want to know all about you too. But, for now, I’m tired.” He yawned.
“Okay,” Harry said, stroking Draco’s silky hair. “But you never did tell me your favorite colour.”
Opening one eye and smirking, Draco replied, “Purple. I hope to show you the exact shade next time we’re at the manor.”

***

 

“Are you sure you wouldn’t rather be at the Ministry?” Harry asked Draco as they settled on the sofa together.
Draco shook his head. “I would only get to see Father briefly. He’s going to be taken right back to Azkaban after the inquiry.”
“I’m sorry.”
“It’s all right. If the information he gives is useful, he’ll be out soon enough.” Draco patted his chest. “Come on. Lean back. What book have you got today?”
“Oops, I left it on the sideboard,” Harry said, getting back up. He spotted his own manuscript sitting open. “Have you been reading this?”
“Yes. You asked me to,” Draco said.
“I know, but I figured it was rubbish and you’d given up on it long ago.”
“Not at all. I’m enjoying it. Even with the shocking lack of sex scenes,” Draco joked.
“Oh, well, then you didn’t read far enough,” Harry told him.
“Bring it over,” Draco motioned. “I want you to read it to me.”
“But I’d rather listen to you read. You’re so much better at it than me.”
Draco smirked and settled back into place. Harry grinned and brought the book of parchment to the sofa and lay down. He relaxed as Draco’s smooth voice brought his story to life.
A while later, after reading many pages, Draco paused.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked. “Why did you stop?”
“This Gregory character. Is he supposed to be Knox?”
“What? No.”
Draco was unconvinced. “So, Liam just happens to have a cousin that he doesn’t get along with? And he thinks he likes his boyfriend? It’s a little obvious, don’t you think?”
“He’s not supposed to be Knox,” Harry protested. “I was thinking more about Dudley when I added Gregory.”
“Well, I think you should take him out. I really like the story up until the drama with the cousin,” Draco said.
“The story needs a little drama. Every story does,” Harry said, smiling.
Draco wasn’t smiling. “But this is our story. It’s complicated enough without the drama.”
Trying to keep the mood light, Harry replied, “You are a bit of a drama queen.” He reached up and stroked Draco’s chin.
Nearly pushing Harry off and on to the floor, Draco sat up. “I’m glad my insecurities amuse you,” he pouted.
Harry’s shoulders slumped. “Draco, I just . . . why are you still so insecure? Don’t I show you how much I love you? Do I not say it enough?”
Draco turned away. “Yes, you do,” he said quietly.
“But?” Harry prodded.
“Forget it. You already think I’m ridiculous.”
“I don’t think you’re ridiculous. I think you’re jealous, and full of self-doubt, regardless of what you’ve accomplished. And I don’t know how to convince you that Knox, or anyone else, isn’t going to come between us. It’s tiresome.”
Draco opened his mouth to snap back, but he knew Harry was right. He was jealous. And despite his apparent cockiness and somewhat confident manner, he couldn’t help wondering when the novelty would wear off. For the time being, Harry was enjoying his rebellious streak, thumbing his nose at a society that simultaneously took him for granted and idolized him. Announcing his homosexuality and relationship with one of the Dark Lord’s chosen peons was the ultimate ‘fuck you’.
“I’m sorry,” Harry said. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
“No, you were being honest. I’m certain it is tiresome to have to constantly quell my anxieties.”
“I didn’t mean it like that. I have a hard time understanding why you don’t believe me when I say I love you, and only you.”
“How can you love me? I don’t even like myself,” Draco stood and walked to the window, looking out at the gray day. Harry remained at the edge of the sofa. “The things I did,” he said softly.
“The war--”
“I can’t use that as an excuse for everything I’ve done. I acted like a prick before I even knew there was a war.” Draco turned, not realizing that Harry had made his way over.
“You’ve changed,” Harry smiled. “For the better. The fact that you regret some of your past makes you no different than anyone else. I told your father, when I spoke to him alone, that he should be proud of you.”
Draco snorted.
“The truth is, it doesn’t matter if he’s proud of you. You should be proud of yourself.”
Reaching up, Draco patted Harry’s hair down in one spot and ran his hand along his cheek. “I didn’t do it for myself. I did it for you, in hopes that someday you would see me as worthy.”
Harry kissed him gently. “You are worthy.”
To prove it, Harry spent the rest of the afternoon with Draco, sharing tales of his own less than proud moments in life. The Potions professor was surprised to hear about regrets that his hero had. He’d assumed that Harry was the kind of person that always did the right thing. Though, he enjoyed hearing about the things Harry and his friends got away with.
They ordered food from the house elves to eat in Harry’s quarters. Minke was more than happy to serve them and brought enough at lunch time to sustain throughout the day. Neither man saw any point in leaving Harry’s bedroom.
By the end of the evening, Draco had gotten word that his father had given his testimony and been taken back to Azkaban. Ron remained tight-lipped about any name or names brought up in the inquiry. And Draco was told not to expect any other reports before the end of the week, while the Ministry investigated Lucius’ claims. When pressed, Ron admitted he thought it was a long shot, but assured Draco that he would see to it personally that his father’s case received the same attention as any other.
Draco would spend the following week keeping himself distracted while he waited for more news.

 

***

 

Draco rubbed his eyes and stretched. He’d been in his room working on a lesson plan for what seemed like forever after supper. All he had left to do was go to the library and reserve the necessary books for his students. He yawned. Though he didn’t feel like going to the library at the moment, he wanted to get it over with and have the rest of the weekend free. It was Friday, and neither he nor Harry had duty that weekend.
“Madam Pince,” he nodded. “I’d like to put aside some books for my Fourth Years. May I do that?”
The painfully thin looking librarian allowed what Draco thought was meant to be a smile but appeared more of a sneer.
“You may, Professor Malfoy,” she replied. “Please place the volumes you wish to set aside here.” She patted the large desk next to her own. “And write down the titles. I’ll put them on a shelf reserved only for your students.”
“Thank you, Madam Pince.”
He ventured into the library to pull books, mainly from the Herbology section. He glanced back at the librarian. She looked much the same as she did when he was a student. However, she was much more agreeable. Perhaps she always was, and it was he who had changed, he thought. He shrugged and went about his business.
After gathering what he needed and writing a list for Pince, he wandered into the Restricted Section to find some recreational reading for himself. He paused when he heard Harry’s voice quietly speaking to someone else. Turning toward it, he peeked through the shelves to see Harry sitting with Knox.
Draco knew he should either reveal himself or walk away. His insecurities got the better of him, though, and he remained where he was, watching and listening.
“It seems to me that he’s projecting his own guilt onto you,” Knox said.
Draco didn’t need three guesses to know who he was talking about.
“Guilty about what?” Harry questioned.
“You’re joking, right? Draco has certainly done plenty in his life to feel guilty about. Not the least of which his inappropriate behavior with that boy, Montague.”
“Most of what you’re talking about happened because of the war. He was merely trying to survive. Even McGonagall believes he is remorseful. That’s why she hired him.”
“And in no time, he’s caused a scandal in the Daily Prophet and been caught in a compromising position with a student.”
Draco quickly covered his mouth with his hand to smother a gasp. What the fuck was Knox talking about?
“The scandal was my fault, not Draco’s. And he’s not been caught doing anything,” Harry defended.
“They were embracing. And they were alone in the Potions room, but they weren’t working on a potion. The boy said he was in love with him,” Knox insisted. “I’m not making it up. I’ll submit my memory to the Pensieve if you want. You know for yourself how much time he’s spent with the boy.”
“I trust him,” Harry said.
“It doesn’t sound as though he trusts you,” Knox pointed out.
“I shouldn’t have told you any of that. I was only venting my frustrations.”
“Then why are we here in a section of the library no one goes? Hiding out. Why not tell him I still needed help with this project?”
Harry looked at his fidgeting hands in his lap. Draco waited with bated breath for Harry to defend his actions. Or to tell Knox to buggar off. But he said nothing.
“Is it because deep down, you finally realize he’s not right for you? Oh, he’s made a good go of it, becoming a professor and all. But are you certain he hasn’t cheated on you? His guilt and jealousy seems to be taking its toll.”
Knox reached up and tentatively took Harry’s chin between his fingers, forcing him to look at him.
“You deserve someone truly trustworthy. Someone who won’t turn on you for every perceived indiscretion.”
Harry gazed at Knox’s eyes. They were remarkably like Draco’s. Yet Harry never noticed before.
“Like me,” Knox whispered, just before he kissed Harry.

Chapter Text

Draco’s mouth dropped open as he watched Knox make his move. Harry’s hand reached up and fisted Knox’s shirt. Feeling as though he may vomit, Draco turned and walked swiftly out of the library.
“Oh, Professor Malfoy,” Madam Pince called. “I’ll just leave these--”
“Fuck off,” he muttered as he went past. He regretted it but couldn’t worry about her feelings at the moment. He was desperately trying not to cry, going up the staircase to his quarters.
Once inside, he flopped directly onto his bed and began to sob. The sight of Knox’s mouth covering Harry’s played over and over in slow motion in his head.
Draco could see it coming, standing there in the library watching them. He was powerless to stop it. He was frozen in place, as well as if someone had placed a body bind curse on him.
After crying for an undetermined amount of time, Draco lifted his head and wiped his eyes. He spotted the binding containing Harry’s stories, grabbed it and tossed it across the room. Parchment flew about in all directions. He got out of bed, kicking a few papers out of his way.
Feeling dejected and more than a little sorry for himself, Draco opened his paltry liquor cabinet and took out a bottle of Sherry. He reached for a glass.
“Oh, fuck it.” He unstopped the bottle and tipped it back.
The liquor was warm going down his throat. It felt good and he drank nearly a quarter of the bottle before he stopped. He fell onto the sofa, resting his head back. His intention was to get drunk enough not to care that Harry was probably taking that twat Knox back to his room and let him fuck him.
Draco laughed aloud. “No fucking way is Knox a top.”
He started to cry again but hugged himself and straightened up.
“Get a hold of yourself Malfoy. You knew it wasn’t going to last.”
He drank from the bottle again, finally feeling tipsy enough to relax a little. For a moment, he considered going out to a pub and seducing some unsuspecting muggle. That would show Harry. He could get anyone he wanted. He was Draco Malfoy, goddamnit.
Standing up, he swayed, then plopped back down. He wasn’t quite drunk enough not to realize he was in no shape to go out, much less apparate anywhere.
Draco closed his eyes, trying to forget the evening’s events. He was almost asleep when a knock on his door jarred him awake.

 

***

 

Harry walked into his room alone, heart pounding from adrenaline. He paced.
What have I done? he thought.
He stopped and looked at himself in the mirror. His lip was slightly swollen from Knox nipping him. But he didn’t look as bad as Knox.
“I have to talk to Draco,” he said to himself.
Harry debated putting on a glamour to hide his lip, then thought better of it. He was going to be completely honest and up front with Draco.
He must have stood in front of Draco’s door for a full five minutes before gathering up the nerve to knock. When he did, the sight that greeted him was not at all what he was expecting.
“Draco?”
“What,” the blond sneered. “Finished already? That was fast.”
He turned from the door, bottle still in hand and sat down hard onto the sofa.
“What happened here? Are you drunk? Did something happen to your mother?”
“My mother? What are you talking about?” Draco was only half listening to Harry.
“I don’t know. I’m just trying to figure out why you’ve been drinking alone in ---” Harry glanced down. “Are those my papers? Is that my story all over the floor? Draco, what the Hell is going on?”
“I should be asking you that,” Draco said angrily. “Have a good time in the library tonight?”
The color drained from Harry’s face. “You were there?”
“Yeah. I was there,” Draco slurred slightly. “Did he give you a hand job under the table?”
“What? No, of course not.”
“Oh, then I guessed you fucked in your room, then. Too many thens,” Draco said absently.
“No, Draco.”
“You expect me to believe you only kissed him?”
Draco lifted the bottle to his lips, but Harry grabbed it and tossed it across the room.
“Listen to me. Knox did . . . kiss me but I didn’t want him to. I came here to tell you everything. I came to tell you that you were right about him.”
“Oh, I’m so relieved,” Draco said sarcastically. “You don’t know how happy that makes me to know that the man living next door to you still wants to fuck your brains out. And you’re practically bending over for him.”
Trying his hardest to keep his temper in check, Harry explained. “He did tell me he wants me. And he kissed me. But apparently you didn’t stick around long enough to see me punch him for it.”
“Huh?”
“I gave him a pretty good right hook. I didn’t even take the time to draw my wand,” Harry said. “I grabbed his shirt to hold him in place and gave it to him.” He thought Draco would be pleased, but the blond stood expressionless.
“Still,” Draco said, the effects of the Sherry lessening. “Something must have made him think it was all right to kiss you. He worships you the way people used to. I think you miss the attention.”
“I never encouraged Knox.”
“You didn’t discourage him enough either. He’s constantly talking about your heroic past. The way he looks at you so adoringly. You act so modest, but I think you love it.” Draco covered his mouth and gasped. “Wait, I didn’t mean that,” he said quickly, but too late. His sluggish brain hadn’t been able to stop his mouth.
“You’re just jealous. You’ve always been jealous of me. You could have chosen to fight on the right side. Maybe if you hadn’t been such a coward . . . Merlin, even Snape turned out to be a hero!” Harry regretted it the second it left his lips. Draco had hit perhaps a little too close to home, and Harry lashed out. He had come to confess the kiss and apologize, not start an argument.
“I may have been a coward during the war, but at least I never cheated on my boyfriend,” Draco calmly said in response.
Harry flinched, as if the insult were a physical strike.
“No clever comeback? I’m who I always was. I never pretended to be more. I thought you accepted that. Ever since Knox came into the picture, you’ve acted like I was being unreasonable, like I was a paranoid, insecure prat. And after all your protests, you were unfaithful. Some hero.”
“It was only one kiss,” Harry said. “And I didn’t even kiss him back.”
“You shouldn’t have even gotten yourself in a position where that was a possibility. I can’t believe you’re defending this.”
“It was nothing, I swear. And besides, what about you and Casper Montague?”
Draco frowned. “What are you implying?”
“Knox saw you in the potions room with him.”
“So? I told you that I’ve been tutoring him.”
“Tutoring? Knox saw you embracing.”
Draco crossed his arms over his chest. “Was he spying on me?”
“No, he happened to walk by and saw the two of you---”
“Talking. Nothing more. He’s fifteen for Merlin’s sake. That’s disgusting.”
“But Knox said . . . “
“And you believed him.” Harry’s heart nearly broke at the hurt in Draco’s voice. “Not that I should have to explain myself, but . . . I did hug the boy. It was only because he was crying over a girl-- his former Potions partner. Turns out, he got tongue-tied and nervous around her. That’s why he was screwing up all the time. And why he could make the potions when he was working with only me. I know a thing or two about deep, unrequited crushes, so I was sympathetic to him. I can’t believe you really thought I was carrying on behind your back with an underage boy.”
“I . . . I don’t know what to say. He seemed so genuine.”
“You thought I cheated on you, so you cheated back? You know, if you preferred him, why not just tell me? Why string me along?”
“I don’t prefer him. For Merlin’s sake, would you listen to me? I came here to tell you what happened and that I’m sorry.” Harry’s voice grew louder. “I’m tired of fighting with you about him. I’m so tired of fighting, period.”
Draco crossed his arms over his chest and waited for Harry to beg forgiveness so they could make up. He’d be happy to forgive Harry, if he promised to stay away from Knox for good. Though he put up a good front, Draco was terrified that Harry was going to tell him that he was leaving him for Knox. They stared at one another so long, Draco nearly gave in and apologized to Harry for being petty and jealous over such a small incident, when Harry sighed heavily and shook his head.
“And I’m tired of the doubt,” Harry sighed. “There’s only one thing to do then. I’m going to talk to McGonagall. You may as well start packing.”
“What?” Draco was suddenly completely sober.
“We can’t go on like this. This is intolerable.” With that, Harry stormed out.
Draco stood, stunned for several minutes before sinking down to sit on the sofa. He cradled his head in his hands.
“Why did I have to push it? Why didn’t I just let him say he was sorry and leave it at that? What have I done?”

 

***

 

The following morning, Draco woke up on his sofa with a pounding headache and sour stomach. An empty bottle of champagne lay a few feet away on the floor.
“Fuck,” he murmured.
He had half hoped the events from the night before were just a bizarre dream he’d had under the influence of alcohol. Gingerly, he slid off the sofa and made his way to his liquor cabinet. Though he didn’t drink himself into oblivion often, Draco kept a hangover potion or two, just in case. He downed the vile liquid and lay back down until it began to take effect.
Once it had, Draco walked down to Harry’s room and knocked.
“Harry?” he called through the door. “Harry?”
He glanced at the door just down the hall several times. He couldn’t bear the thought that perhaps Harry had gone to Knox’s room after leaving him the night before. Draco was thankful that the prat didn’t come out of his room to boast. Then he remembered that Knox had detention duty that weekend and was probably somewhere in the castle making students do some mundane chore or another.
Feeling dejected, Draco went back to his own quarters. Breakfast was still being served, but he wasn’t hungry. And he didn’t want to face any of the other professors in case they’d heard about Knox and Harry’s encounter in the library. He especially didn’t want to see Madame Pince. He vaguely recalled telling her to fuck off.
Upon returning to his own room, Draco walked to the fireplace several times before finally grabbing a handful of floo powder. He floo called the only person he could think of who might be willing to help him where Harry was concerned.
“Draco? Is that you? Did you mean to call me?” Hermione questioned.
Draco nodded. “I’m afraid I’ve . . . is Harry there with you?”
“No. Why? What’s happened?”
“I think . . . Harry’s left me.” Draco bit his lip to keep from crying yet again.
A voice from behind Hermione called out accusingly, “What have you done?”
“I guess I didn’t forgive him fast enough. I was just being jealous again. Don’t worry about it.” Draco turned away to end the call.
“Wait,” Hermione said. “Forgive him for what?”
“Knox kissed him. And Harry said he was sorry---”
“That son of a bitch,” Ron yelled. “I told Harry to stay away from him.”
“You did?” Hermione asked. “When?”
“The first time I met him. I could see he was trouble a mile away.” Ron snorted. “Well, we’ll have the last laugh.”
“Ron, don’t do anything stupid,” Hermione warned.
“If Harry doesn’t want to be with me anymore, you can’t force him,” Draco said.
“I can try,” Ron laughed. “Just kidding, Mione. As much as I hate to admit it, Draco, you’re the best thing to happen to Harry in a long time. He’d be a complete wanker to give that up for someone like Knox.” He narrowed his eyes at both Hermione and Draco. “Don’t ever tell Harry I said that.”
Draco sighed. “It doesn’t matter what we all think. Harry’s gone and I don’t know where.” He paused. “He told me to pack my things. I think he’s having me sacked.”
“Oh, no, Harry would never do something like that. He’d leave himself before he would put you out.”
“Mione, I don’t think you’re making him feel any better,” Ron said in a hushed voice.
“Maybe he just needed to cool off,” Ron suggested. “You had a row, right? Give him some time to get over it. I’m sure he’ll be back. I can’t see him leaving Hogwarts. He loves it there.”
“Ron’s right,” Hermione smiled. “He’s probably trying to sort out what’s happened before talking to you again.”
“Do you really think so?” Draco sniffed. He’d been trying so hard not to cry during their conversation that he was beginning to get a headache.
“Yes,” she said with certainty. “He’ll probably be back in a little while to make it up to you.”
They ended the call, and Draco took another potion for the pain in his head. He dearly wished there was a potion for the pain in his heart. But Hermione’s words gave him hope.

***

 

For two days, Draco had been waiting to talk to Harry. They were the longest two days of his life. The Gryffindor seemed to be nowhere. He was never in his room, never in the Great Hall for meals. At least, not that Draco could see when he peeked inside. If he was in the castle at all, he was doing an excellent job of evading Draco at every turn. At Sunday’s supper, he finally got up the nerve to sit down with the rest of the professors, especially McGonagall, whom he had been avoiding.
“I haven’t seen Harry lately,” he mentioned casually.
“No, I imagine not,” McGonagall said.
Draco frowned at her cryptic answer.
“Since he has been off Hogwarts grounds for the past two days,” she clarified.
“Right,” Draco muttered. “And . . . did he . . . speak to you, about . . . us?”
“Yes,” she said, putting a forkful of mincemeat pie into her mouth. “It’s been approved. Though, I can’t say it’s the way I would have liked it.”
Draco looked away, ashamed of clearly disappointing the Headmistress. He excused himself and went back to his quarters. He had half-heartedly begun packing his things, hoping that Harry would change his mind before he got too far into it. After hearing McGonagall talk, he decided just to get it over with.
With the aid of magic, Draco’s belongings were packed and shrunk. All that remained were some things that belonged to Harry. Draco sat and leafed through the book of parchment that he had put back together for Harry. In the story, the two boys shared intimate moments and talked about their future together. It was too painful for Draco to think about plans that he and Harry had made. Plans that would never happen.
Wiping his eyes, he gathered the book, a photograph, and a flowering plant Harry had given him. He couldn’t bear to look at the thing and decided to return it. He slowly made his way down to Harry’s room. Surely, Harry would have returned to Hogwarts by nine o’clock on a Sunday evening.
Taking a deep breath, Draco knocked on the door.
“Draco,” Harry sounded surprised. “How did you know I was back?”
“I didn’t. I came to give you back some of your things.” Draco walked through the doorway and placed the items on Harry’s desk. As he turned, he noticed that many of Harry’s things were boxed up. “Are you packing?”
“Of course.”
“Harry, please don’t do this. I’ll go, if that’s what you want. But don’t give up teaching because of me.”
Harry tried to suppress a smile. “I’m not giving up teaching. And neither are you.”
Draco’s brow furrowed. “I don’t understand. Did you find me another job?”
Harry reached out his hand to take Draco’s but restrained himself. “I am so sorry. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you. I asked you over and over to trust me and I betrayed that trust.”
“But Knox--”
“I can’t blame anyone but myself. You were right. I got caught up in the adulation of a man that didn’t respect our relationship. It didn’t matter that he kissed me. I shouldn’t have put myself in a position where he thought that was okay.”
“Harry, I drove you to it with my jealousy.”
Harry took Draco by the shoulders. “No, you didn’t drive me to do anything. I didn’t want Knox to kiss me. I was never interested in him that way. I only wanted friendship from him. I was being a tease. Not consciously, but still . . .” He averted his eyes and stepped back, not being able to take the scrutiny of Draco’s stare.
“Then, what’s going on?” Draco asked, still confused.
“I don’t deserve your trust anymore. Probably not your forgiveness either. But I’m going to do everything I can to earn it. I need to prove to you that I’m committed, to only you.”
“By leaving?”
“I’m not leaving. I’m moving up to Flitwick’s old quarters. And you’re moving in with me,” Harry smiled. “If you choose to, that is. I suppose I should ask.”
“You’re asking me to move in with you?” A smile grew tentatively on Draco’s face.
Harry took Draco’s hands in his and drew a deep breath. “I’m asking you to marry me.”
Draco’s mouth dropped open. He was no less confused than when he first entered Harry’s quarters.
“For months I’ve been telling you how much I love you. And maybe it seems too soon--”
“Not for me,” Draco interrupted.
Smiling, Harry continued. “It’s time for me to stop telling you and show you.” He looked around his chambers. “This isn’t exactly the venue I had planned for this. But there it is.”
“Really?” Draco blinked back tears. “I thought . . . you were going to break up with me. You were gone all weekend. I thought you were looking for a new place to live.”
“I had some errands to run,” Harry explained. “First, I went to Azkaban to see your father.”
“Why?”
“It’s customary for purebloods to get permission from their fathers before marrying, isn’t it?”
“Dear Merlin! What did he do to you?”
“He took it surprisingly well actually. Not that he had much choice. I think our first meeting sort of softened the blow. He was able to get used to the idea of you and me, especially once he realized the advantages of having the Chosen One in the family.”
Draco rolled his eyes.
“Your mother was a different story.”
“You talked to Mother too? Do I even want to know what she said?”
Harry grinned. “She said very little. She hugged me, then cried. Or maybe it was the other way around. She said she noticed that you have been much happier since we got together.”
Eyes wide, Draco shook his head. “I can’t believe you spoke to my parents about us. I don’t even talk to my parents about us.”
“Then I had to go to Gringott’s. For this.” Harry held up a gold ring with a small ruby set in the middle of a simple carved design. “It has been in my father’s family for a few generations. I know it’s Gryffindor colors, but I could spell the stone green if you prefer.”
Suddenly, Draco felt a flutter in his belly and his mouth grew dry. “Is this for real?”
Harry laughed. “Oh, I almost forgot.” He knelt down on one knee. “This is definitely for real, Draco. You have to say yes to get the ring, though. So, will you marry me?”
Draco also dropped to his knees, overwhelmed by Harry’s proposal. “Yes,” he choked out. “Fuck, yes.”
Their lips smashed together in a frenzy of emotion. Draco had been on such a roller coaster for the previous few days, he went limp in Harry’s arms before long.
“Draco? Are you all right?”
“Never better,” Draco said through tears.

Chapter Text

Draco’s hand trembled as Harry slid the ring on his finger. It was a bit too loose, so Harry took out his wand to shrink it to size.
“Don’t cry again,” Harry said as Draco stared at the ring.
“I wasn’t going to,” he said, wiping away a tear or two.
“I know I’ve sent you into emotional chaos since . . . well, probably since this term began,” Harry laughed. “But I don’t ever want to make you cry again.”
“But these are happy tears,” Draco protested. He leaned forward and kissed Harry. “I’ve never been happier.”
“Me too,” Harry smiled. But he could see the effects of Draco’s emotional ups and downs. There were faint circles under his eyes and he appeared to be thinner. No one else may have noticed the difference, but of course, Harry could see it. It pained him greatly.
“Hey,” Draco said softly. “You’re not going to cry now, are you?”
Harry swallowed and blinked away any potential tears. He smiled. “It would only be because I’m happy,” he fibbed.
“Oh, Harry, I love you so much.” Draco hugged Harry tightly. “Make love to me again,” he whispered.
Without waiting for an answer, Draco began to unbutton Harry’s shirt. Harry watched his face as he concentrated on each button, then slid the shirt off his shoulders. He was the most uniquely handsome man Harry had ever seen. He smiled, examining one of his most favorite of Draco’s features-- his long, white-blond eyelashes. One almost had to be this close to Draco to see them.
Draco took off his own shirt, while Harry took in the show.
Still kneeling on the sitting room floor, Draco unzipped Harry’s fly in order to take down his trousers.
“Wait,” Harry said. He stood up and held a hand out for Draco to take. When Draco stood, Harry scooped him up in his arms. Though slightly taller than Harry, Draco felt light as a feather as Harry carried him into the bedroom. He placed him on the bed, then proceeded to take off his own trousers and pants.
Draco pried off his own shoes and tugged at his socks. He then quickly unzipped his trousers, pulling them off.
Harry rolled Draco over onto to his belly. He ran his hands down the length of his body, caressing his pale, baby soft skin. When he began to pull down the pants, Draco lifted his bottom to assist. As the undergarment glided over the rise of his arse, Harry hardened with anticipation.
Without being asked, Draco reached for the lube and reached behind his back to hand it to Harry. Harry wasted no time putting it to good use. Within a few minutes, he had himself buried deep within Draco.
Draco groaned with the first of the trusts but became accustomed quickly. Harry rocked slowly in and out.
“Are you all right?” Harry asked.
Draco nodded.
Harry was beginning to regret their position. “I can’t reach you this way. I want to touch you.” He eased out, intending to roll Draco over onto his back.
Instead, Draco got to his knees and held onto the headboard, allowing Harry free access to his cock. He spread his legs a little wider in invitation.
Slipping back inside, Harry hugged Draco to his chest.
“Oh, Draco,” he whispered, kissing the blond’s neck and nuzzling his hair. He pumped his hips with more vigors and reached around to grasp Draco’s erection.
Draco let out a cry at the contact. He arched his back, further pushing his arse up to meet Harry’s thrusts. His legs began to tremble when Harry’s cock rubbed his insides just so.
“Yeah, oh that’s good.”
“Yes, it is,” Harry agreed. His eyes fluttered shut. “Fuck, I’m too close.”
“Don’t stop,” Draco begged. “Don’t slow down. I’m right there.”
Harry let out a whimper, then a loud grunt as he came, still pushing his hips steadily into Draco’s arse. The Potions professor soon followed, spilling himself onto the headboard in front of him, as well as Harry’s hand. His legs gave out a moment later and he collapsed back into Harry.
Gently, Harry eased them both back onto the bed. He kept his arms wrapped around his lover as they lay spooning.
“Draco? Are you okay?”
“Brilliant,” Draco answered softly. “Perhaps a little tired, though. It’s been a long day.”
“You should stay.”
“But it’s Sunday. I should go back to my own quarters.”
“No, you should stay. You’re exhausted,” Harry said, stroking his hair. He reached over to the bedside table for his wand. After a quick clean up spell, he covered them both with the blanket and settled back into position. By the time Harry’s arm draped back over Draco, the blond was lightly snoring despite the relatively early hour.
As he listened to Draco’s deep, even breaths, Harry thought about the events of the past couple of days. He supposed he could have gone about things differently, so as not to worry Draco. The poor thing spent the weekend thinking Harry was leaving him. Harry rolled his eyes at himself. He would have to work on his methods of surprising his lover. Eventually, Harry also fell into deep sleep to dream about the new life that lay ahead.

 

***

 

Draco sighed heavily as he lay with Harry, spent, sweaty and covered in cum and lube. He had woken up early and decided to take advantage of his morning wood. Harry didn’t seem to mind in the least.
Laughing, Harry nudged him with his shoulder. “That’s about the sixth time you’ve sighed.”
“I’m just so relieved. I really thought you were going to break up with me.”
“I can’t believe I made you feel that way.” Harry closed his eyes. “I was so angry about what happened, mainly with myself. I tried to lay the blame on Knox, but it was really all my fault.”
“No, it wasn’t.”
Harry smiled and opened his eyes. “Thanks for saying so, but it was. I should have realized how my friendship with Knox was making you feel. I knew he was never a threat to our relationship. I understand now why you thought he was.”
Draco remained quiet. As long as Harry finally saw Knox for who he truly was, he didn’t need to rub it in.
“I promise that’s never going to happen again,” Harry swore.
“You can’t promise that,” Draco countered. “You’re too trusting. And friendly. There are bound to be more people who want to be your friend, or more. And you won’t see it, because you like to see only the good in people.”
“I am not too trusting,” Harry protested. “I didn’t trust Rita Skeeter.”
Draco leaned up on his elbow. “Don’t get me wrong, Harry, your trusting nature has surely benefitted me.”
“Well, I do trust you. With my life, and my heart. I hope . . . you feel that you can trust me again.”
“I do. I wouldn’t have agreed to marry you if I didn’t,” Draco said. “But I’m still not going to trust any man that gives you a second look. In fact, right now, I think Ron is the only man I do trust around you.”
“Ron,” Harry sat up. “I haven’t told him and Hermione about us yet. We should give them a floo call.” He began to get up.
“Harry, it’s not even seven in the morning. We can’t call this early. Let’s do it before supper tonight.”
“Okay.” Harry leaned up to kiss him. “I just want to tell everyone. But I want to tell them first.”
“Me too. I suppose we may as well get up and get ready for classes though.”
“It’s a bit early. My first class isn’t until 10 today.”
Draco climbed over Harry to get out of bed. “I have an errand before my nine o’clock class.”
“What errand?” Harry questioned.
“I, uh . . . need to speak with someone,” Draco replied.
“Who?”
Draco’s face flushed a little as he stammered. “The night . . . um, in the library . . . I sort of told Madam Pince . . .” he mumbled unintelligibly at the end.
“What?” Harry leaned closer.
“I may have told her to fuck off.”
Harry’s face went blank as Draco’s words registered, then he laughed hysterically.
“It’s not bloody funny!” Draco pouted.
“Sure, it is,” Harry replied. “I’ve been wanting to tell her to fuck off for years.”
“Harry,” Draco frowned. “She’s not that bad.”
“What are you talking about? She used to put spells on the books to make sure we brought them back on time.”
“So? As students, none of us were very diligent in returning books properly.”
“One of my books was spelled to pass gas, loudly, when it was overdue,” Harry said.
At that, Draco laughed. “I’ll bet that book was returned quickly.”
Harry couldn’t help giggling himself. “I was in the middle of trying to talk to Cho. Do you remember her? She was a year ahead of us. Anyway, I was asking her to go on a date with me when the book in my bag farted.”
Draco fell back on the bed.
“I explained that it wasn’t me, but it was so awkward.”
“Merlin, what did she say?”
“She actually went out with me. The date was just as awkward, though. I was always so awkward with the girls.”
“Then why did you try?” Draco asked.
Harry shrugged. “Because I was supposed to, I guess. If I only knew then what I know now. You and I could have been together all this time.”
“No, we wouldn’t,” Draco said, turning serious. “Even if we found each other attractive enough to shag, it wouldn’t have lasted. I changed because of the things that happened during and after the war, mostly the bad things. I know it sounds terrible not to wish them away, but I don’t.”
“No, you’re right. We are who we are because of the past. Still, I would change a few things if I could.”
Draco nodded. They both knew there was no point in wishing. After a brief silence, Draco got back to the original subject.
“Well, I wish I hadn’t told Madam Pince to fuck off. She’ll never let me reserve books for my students again.”
He got up and walked to the bath. Harry sighed as he watched him, thankful to get another chance. One thing he would definitely change, would be his entire relationship with Knox. As Harry lay listening to the shower running, he wondered what was going to happen when Knox and Draco saw one another face to face. He wouldn’t blame Draco for any retaliation he might have planned, but he hoped his lover would take the high road.
Harry chuckled to himself. “Yeah, right,” he said aloud.

 

***

 

Draco took a deep breath, then cleared his throat.
“Relax,” he said to himself, realizing that he was holding the book in a death grip. He cleared his throat again.
Madam Pince looked up from behind her desk.
Not certain what to do first, Draco held out the book to her. She glanced at it curiously, then peered at him over her glasses.
“This is for you,” he finally said. “It’s a first edition.”
“You’re making a donation to the library?” she asked.
“No,” he paused. “It’s for you.”
She reached out for the book to examine, turning it over in her hands, running her fingers over the binding.
“Why I didn’t Die When The Augurey Cried,” the librarian read aloud. “Where in Merlin’s name did you get a first edition of this? It was published in 1824. We have a copy here in the library, but . . .”
“Madam Pince, please accept my apologies,” Draco lowered his head. “When I dashed out of here on Friday night, I was distraught. I didn’t mean to . . . I can’t tell you how sorry I am that I took it out on you.”
“Yes, you did rather storm out,” she said. “I was in the middle of speaking to you.”
“Yes, I know. And, again, I am truly sorry I let my temper get the best of me. I didn’t mean to say that to you. I was angry with someone else.”
“And so, you decided to give me this rare book to make up for it?” Her expression was unreadable to Draco, for she almost always wore the same one, even when she was being kind.
He blushed. “Well, I had hoped it would.”
Madam Pince opened the book carefully, a hint of a smile on her face as she gently leafed through it. She closed it again and held it out to him.
“I’m afraid I can’t accept this.”
Draco rubbed his forehead. “Please, Madam, I . . .”
“Whatever you said couldn’t possibly be worth all the Galleons this book is worth.”
Draco stood dumbstruck.
“You see, I’m a little deaf in my right ear,” she explained. “What did you say to me, anyway?”
The color drained from Draco’s face. It was bad enough what he’d said to her. But she didn’t even hear it, and now he was in a position to have to say it to her again. His mind raced, trying to come up with an alternative. However, she already knew it must have been offensive enough for him to bring a gift in apology.
“Professor Malfoy?”
“Can’t you just accept the book and pretend this conversation never occurred?” he laughed nervously.
She shook her head.
Draco’s shoulders slumped. “I . . . I told you to,” he wasn’t sure if he could say it to her face.
“You told me to what?”
He closed his eyes. “I told you to fuck off.”
After a brief silence, the librarian laughed. Draco’s eyes sprang open. He had never heard so much a light chuckle escape her lips. He stood with his mouth gaping, unsure what to make of her reaction.
“Madam Pince?”
“My dear boy, you really are naive if you think you’re the first person to tell me to fuck off. Professor Snape used to say it to me regularly. Of course, I got my own digs in with him. He was just a prick when it came to following my rules around here.”
Still speechless, Draco closed his mouth.
“I must say, though, that I don’t think I deserved it from you.”
“No, of course not. It wasn’t meant personally. I probably would have said the same thing to McGonagall if she were there.”
“Oh, thanks goodness she wasn’t. She doesn’t have much tolerance for that sort of language.”
Draco quickly scanned his memory for incidents of swearing in front of the Headmistress. He knew he swore under his breath around her, at the very least.
“Good to know,” he nodded. He hesitated. “So, does that mean you accept my apology?”
The hint of a smile was back. “Obviously,” she replied. “But not the book.”
“No, I insist. It’s been sitting on my shelf gathering dust. It would please me to know that someone who truly appreciates it has it.” He placed it on her desk.
She licked her lips and eyed the book, clearly coveting it. She made no move to return it.
“Do you still want to reserve those books?” she asked, gesturing to the volumes she had set aside for him.
“Yes, please. My Fourth Years and I will be coming in at half-eleven today.”
“Very well.”
He stood awkwardly for a moment, then nodded. “Good day.”
Just before he reached the entrance, Madam Pince called out. “Professor Malfoy, next time, speak to me in my left ear. Unless, of course, you wish to say something truly vulgar. Then make sure it’s the other one. Otherwise, I may own your entire personal library.”
Draco blushed and walked out.

 

***

 

Harry did a double take as he walked down the stairs toward the Great Hall. He could have sworn he saw Ron rounding a corner. Curiosity getting the better of him, Harry investigated.
“Oi, Ron!” he called out when he spotted the ginger hair up ahead.
Ron turned in response.
“Got a secret rendezvous?” Harry joked. “Were you going to visit and not tell me?”
“I’m not here for a visit, Harry,” Ron said. “I’m here on official Ministry business.”
“What sort of business?”
“Technically, you know I can’t tell you,” Ron said. He glanced around. “But if you just happen to be there when I take my witness into custody . . .”
“Witness to what?” Harry asked while they walked up the staircase. “Never mind. I know you can’t tell me.”
“Well, I can tell you that Draco’s father is out of prison.”
“So, the information he had was valid?”
“The two names he gave turned out to be a couple living in Hampshire. The man has the Dark Mark, but the woman doesn’t. I guess old Voldemort was a bit of a chauvinist, considering that most of his followers with the mark were men.”
“Either that, or he was a closet queen,” Harry laughed.
“Eew,” Ron wrinkled up his nose. “The thought of anyone shaggin’ that disgusting monster . . . it gives me the chills.”
“Does the couple have anything to do with Narcissa’s accident?”
Ron bobbed his head in hesitation. “I can’t really talk about any evidence we have, Harry.”
“I’ll take that as a yes, then,” Harry grinned. “Draco will be pleased.”
They stopped in front of a door.
“Ron, why are we here?”
“I told you, I’m taking a witness into custody. A witness I hope that, for your sake, doesn’t turn into a suspect.”
Ron knocked.
“Hi Harry,” Knox said tentatively as he opened the door. He winced as he tried to smile, splitting his lip open again slightly. The purple and yellow discoloration around his left eye was unmistakably the result of being punched. “Oh, Mr. Weasley,” Knox frowned.
Ron held up his Auror badge and had his wand drawn. Harry hadn’t even noticed him take it out.
“Fernwood Knox?”
“Yes. You know I am.”
“Fernwood?” Harry murmured under his breath. No wonder he went by Knox.
“The Ministry of Magic formally requests that you accompany me to make a statement.”
Knox swallowed. “A statement about what? What is this about?”
“Will you cooperate?” Ron asked.
“Not until you tell me what’s going on. You can’t just whisk me away against my will.”
“Yes, actually, I can.” Ron said dispassionately.
“Knox, it’s best to cooperate,” Harry said gently. He knew Ron would not be there on a whim. Official Ministry business was something to be taken seriously.
“Ron, maybe if I went with him . . .”
“Stay out of it, Harry,” Ron warned. “This doesn’t concern you. Especially in light of recent events.”
“What recent events?”
“Draco called us,” Ron explained. He glanced at Knox’s face. “Is this his handy work?”
“No, it’s . . . it’s mine.” Harry avoided both Ron’s and Knox’s eyes.
Ron raise an eyebrow, then looked at Knox.
“I’m not going to press charges or anything, if you were going to ask.”
Nodding, Ron said, “All right then. Professor Knox, all I want is a statement and to ask you a few questions. Don’t make this more difficult.”
Knox looked to Harry, who nodded.
“All right,” he finally agreed.
“Come on, we’ll use McGonagall’s floo.”
“Ron, wait.” Harry tugged on Ron’s sleeve and pulled him a few feet away. “As long as you’re here, I’ve got something to tell you.”
“If it’s that you left Draco for this piece of sh---”
“No,” Harry laughed. “Nothing of the sort. I asked Draco to marry me.”
Ron literally shook his head in confusion. “Sorry?”
“We’re getting married. You were all right about Knox. And I did something stupid, or rather, I let something stupid happen.”
“Yeah, we know.” Ron scowled back at Knox standing by his door.
“But Draco and I are fine. I gave him a ring and everything. We’re moving in together this week. Not sure when we’ll actually get married.”
“Fuck, you’re serious.”
“Yeah,” Harry grinned. “I never thought I would get married.”
“Congratulations, mate.” Ron hugged him. “Should I tell Mione, or wait for you? Who the fuck am I kidding? You know I’ll tell her before you get a chance to,” Ron chuckled.
“That’s all right,” Harry said. “Go ahead and tell her when you get back to the Ministry. I won’t get a chance until tonight. Frankly, I don’t think I’ll be able to hold it in around here. But I wanted you and Mione to be the first to know.”
“Sweet Merlin, do you realize what you’re getting yourself into?”
“Probably not,” Harry laughed.
Jerking a thumb in Knox’s direction, Ron said, “Don’t give this one a second thought. He’s not worth the aggravation.”
Harry nodded.
Ron led Knox away, leaving Harry to wonder what the man had done, or knew about. With no other recourse, he went down the staircase and proceeded to the Great Hall for lunch once more.
He found Draco sitting in his usual seat, but McGonagall wasn’t there. She was, no doubt, in her office waiting to send Ron and Knox on their way.
“Hi Harry,” Draco smiled brightly as Harry approached.
“Hi. You seem in a good mood,” Harry noted.
“I am. All is right with the world today.”
“It is?” Harry couldn’t help smiling in response to Draco’s beaming face. “And why is that?”
Draco put down his fork. “Do you really have to ask?” he said in a hushed voice. “Or did you forget already?”
Leaning closer, Harry whispered, “Forget fucking my fiancé until he was nothing more than a puddle in my bed?”
“You were nothing more than a puddle in my arse,” Draco blushed. “That alone is enough to make this a momentous day. But I have to admit, the other news is nearly as satisfying.”
“What other news?”
“Didn’t you hear? Knox’s parents were taken into custody. My father named them as Death Eaters. There was an owl waiting for me this morning.”
“What? Is that why Ron took Knox away for questioning? Is he suspected as well?”
Draco shrugged. “Hasn’t got the bollocks as far as I’m concerned.” He picked his fork back up.
“Draco, how can you be so flippant?’
“Easy. The prat was trying to take you away from me for months. I’m not going to suddenly sympathize simply because his parents have been arrested.”
Harry opened his mouth, most likely to put his foot in it. But he looked into Draco’s eyes. Those beautiful grey eyes that seemed to have new life in them.
“I suppose not,” Harry said. He didn’t blame Draco in the least for the way he felt.
Sighing, Draco asked, “You’re worried about him, aren’t you?”
Harry kissed him and smiled. “The only thing I’m worried about is whether or not your arse will be up for another shag session tonight.” He took hold of Draco’s chin. “Nothing is more important to me than you.”
Draco closed his eyes and kissed Harry slowly.
A throat clearing startled the pair. Blushing deeply, Draco moved his seat further away from Harry’s. Harry, however, smiled widely at Professor McGonagall.
“Sorry Minerva. I couldn’t help kissing my fiancé.”
Trelawney and some of the others perked up.
“Fiancé? Harry, did you call Draco your fiancé?” Professor Sinistra asked.
“Yes,” Harry answered, placing his hand atop Draco’s. “We’re moving into Filius’ old quarters.”
“When is the wedding?” Trelawney asked. “I could do a reading for you, to pick the best time.”
“The best time would be as soon as possible,” Draco answered.
A few of the other professors giggled at his dreamy expression.
“I agree,” said Harry. “We should go to the Ministry this weekend.”
“You can’t just decide on a whim to get married. Besides, you have to fill out the paperwork to marry, the same as in the muggle world,” Madam Hooch told him.
“The weekend after, then,” Harry suggested.
“We can’t get married that soon.”
“Why not?”
“We have to plan something. I want . . . at least a small wedding,” Draco admitted.
“I didn’t know you cared about that sort of thing.”
Draco’s face turned pink. “Maybe a little.”
“I truly never thought I would get married,” Harry said. “So, I haven’t thought about it much. But I suppose we ought to do something to celebrate.”
“Oh, my, yes,” Madam Pomfrey added. “The marriage of our hero is definitely something to celebrate. The entire wizarding world will be interested.”
“No, I want to keep the ceremony quiet and small,” Harry said. “In fact, if we could keep this within Hogwarts walls until we can make an announcement in the papers, that would be ideal.”
“Of course, Harry,” McGonagall said. “None of us will say anything.”
“Thank you.” Harry turned to Draco. “I guess we have a wedding to plan.”
“If Mother hasn’t planned it out already.” From his vantage point, Draco noticed his ungainly student, Casper, get up from his seat and slowly walk to the Ravenclaw table.
“Oh, shit. What’s he doing?” he mumbled.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked.
“Oh, nothing. Just that Montague is about to make a fool of himself in front of the prettiest girl in Ravenclaw.”
He excused himself and quickly made his way to intercept the boy. Draco was too late, though, and by the time he got there, Casper was knelt down in front of Penelope Pipshaw. The girl’s eyes were large as saucers as Casper stuttered out his request.
“P-P-Penelope?”
“Yes?” she answered very slowly, tucking a golden lock of hair behind her ear.
“Would you . . . will you . . . um.”
“Casper,” Draco smiled and placed his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Stand up. What are you doing?”
“I’m asking Penelope to the Valentine Dance.”
The girl looked nervously between Draco and Casper, her perfect rosebud lips agape.
The Potions professor leaned down to speak in Penelope’s ear. “Let him down gently, yeah? You have no idea how long it’s taken him to gather the nerve.”
She nodded. He chuckled and walked away, leaving the boy to his fate.

Chapter Text

Harry knocked on the bathroom door. “Draco, hurry up.”
“Just a minute.”
“It’s been half an hour already. We’re going to be late.”
“Just a minute.”
Harry sighed and plopped down on the sofa. He glanced at the clock again. Fourteen minutes after eight o’clock. He sighed again. He hated being late, even if it was only to chaperone a dance.
“You’re going to wrinkle your dress robes sitting like that,” Draco said, coming out of the bath.
Harry stood and tried to smooth out his clothes. He turned around.
“Well, I wouldn’t have been sitting there if--”
Draco quirked an eyebrow.
“Okay, that’s worth the wait,” Harry said quietly. “Do we have to go to the dance?”
Laughing, Draco took Harry’s arm and began to lead him out the door.
“You’re staring,” Draco smirked as they walked down the staircase.
“You look . . . so handsome,” Harry said, sounding somewhat star struck. “Not that you don’t always, but . . .”
“It’s just a haircut,” Draco told him. He looked down. “And new dress robes. And a manicure.” He held out his hands to show Harry, who took hold of one.
“It’s so soft and smooth. Especially compared to my hands.”
“If you think it feels soft on your hand, wait ‘til you feel it on your cock.”
Harry visibly shuddered. “Now I really don’t want to go to this dance.”
They continued to walk toward the Great Hall for the Valentine dance. As they approached, Knox walked into the large foyer. He stopped and appeared to vacillate between running away and crying.
Draco loosened his grip on Harry’s hand, but Harry held tight.
“Hello Harry. Malfoy,” Knox said, standing his ground after all, yet looking a bit beaten down. His physical wounds were long healed. But his emotional ones were still very much fresh. Losing Harry, or rather not being able to win him over in the first place, was bad enough. Finding out his parents were not the people he thought they were, had left him shellshocked.
Harry glanced quickly at Draco before speaking. “How are you holding up, Knox?”
The man shrugged. “All right. I’ve had to go in for questioning a few times, but I think that’s over now.” He paused. “I had no idea. I’m not a Death Eater. I thought my parents were here fighting on the right side.” He looked at Draco. His reaction would have been laughable if the situation weren’t so sad. Clearly, he hadn’t noticed Draco’s new look before as he had been focused on Harry.
“I’m sorry about what my father did to your mother,” Knox said sincerely.
“She’s fully recovered now,” Draco said, not exactly accepting the apology but acknowledging it at least.
Knox nodded.
“Shall we go in?” Draco asked Harry. “I don’t want to miss any more dances with my fiancé.”
“Fiancé?” Knox’s mouth dropped.
“Yes,” Harry answered. “Draco and I will be getting married soon. We’ve taken over Flitwick’s old quarters.” He held up his hand, the one holding Draco’s, to show Knox the ring. “You didn’t hear?”
“No, I’ve been . . . out of the castle a bit the last two weeks. Mostly to the Ministry.”
“Oh, right. Are you chaperoning the dance?” Harry asked, noticing that he was in dress robes, though, not haute couture, as Draco’s were.
“I was, but . . . I’m not really feeling well. If you wouldn’t mind giving my excuses to McGonagall.”
“Of course not,” Harry said. He smiled sympathetically. Though he would not be drawn into friendship again with the man, he did feel sorry for the turn his life suddenly took. “Good night then.”
“Good night.” Knox turned and walked back up the staircase to his quarters.
“That was awkward,” Harry commented. “But you behaved exemplary.”
“I didn’t see the point of kicking the man while he was down.”
“Well, you did a little bit, calling me your fiancé,” Harry smirked.
“And you didn’t, by showing him the ring?” Draco smirked back.
Harry shrugged sheepishly. “Come on, then. Let’s show you off.”
They made their entrance in the middle of a particularly raucous musical number and went largely unnoticed. Sybill walked by and smiled absently on her way to the refreshment table, where McGonagall was keeping watch.
“Thirsty?” Harry asked.
“Not for what they have here. But I’ll make do.”
“Good evening Minerva,” Harry said when they got there. He picked up two cups of punch and handed one to Draco.
“My, don’t you boys look handsome,” she commented. “I rather like your hair shorter, Draco. I feel less inclined to call you Mr. Malfoy.”
Draco laughed. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“I’ll miss the long hair,” Harry said. “But I like this shaven part in the back.” He ran his fingers along the nape of Draco’s neck.
Draco swatted his hand away. “You can mess it up later, Potter.”
Instead of disapproving the innuendo, as Harry thought she might, McGonagall gave a small giggle.
“It is good to see the two of you content,” Minerva explained. “There were times my heart went out to each of you for the harsh turns life brought you. I feared neither one of you would find the peace you deserved.”
“Especially with each other, I’ll wager,” Harry said.
“Indeed,” she nodded.
“By the way, Professor Knox wanted me to let you know he wasn’t feeling well, and won’t be here this evening.”
“A shame about his parents,” Minerva said. “He must be devastated.”
Harry and Draco remained silent on the subject.
“I should be making my rounds, now. Enjoy the party, boys.”
“Hm, I would have volunteered for rounds if I knew it would get me out of chaperoning,” Draco said, taking a sip of punch.
“Please,” Harry chuckled. “I think you were looking forward to this more than some of the students.”
Draco’s lip curled slowly into a smile. “Dance with me.”
Not giving Harry a choice, he took him by the hand and led him into the crowd just as the music slowed down. Harry glanced around uncomfortably.
“You’re not losing your Gryffindor courage now, are you?” Draco said, his face very close to Harry’s. “It’s not like the Halloween dance. Every knows now.”
Harry wrapped his arms around Draco’s neck, spurring Draco to hold him around his waist. They swayed back and forth to the music, inching closer to one another until their foreheads were touching.
Slowly, Harry tilted his head, and their lips connected. They danced and kissed a while, until someone bumped into them, and they realized the music had switched once again. Bouncing students nearby jostled the couple.
“That’s my cue to leave the dance floor,” Harry said. “But you stay. They want you to join in.” He gestured to a small group of Seventh Year Slytherins calling Draco over.
Draco flashed a bright smile. He did enjoy dancing. And Harry seemed to enjoy watching just as much.
Hanging back near the refreshment table, Harry spoke to some of the other professors, and occasionally students who came to quench their thirst. It was quite a different experience from the first dance. No longer jealous of the students, but rather pitying them for their youth, Harry was confident that he and Draco belonged together.
Harry smiled to himself as he noticed Professor Trelawney bobbing up and down slightly to the beat of the music at the other end of the table. He picked up a cup of punch and brought it to her.
“Enjoying yourself Sybill?”
“Ah, yes,” she answered. “Thank you.” She accepted the cup. “It brings back memories.”
“So, they had dances like these when you were a student?”
“Dances, yes. But not quite like these. There were very strict rules.”
Harry cocked his head. “What sort of rules?”
“The chaperones would spell the wands with a minor repelling charm. When placed between a couple dancing, it would automatically push them the requisite six inches apart,” she told him. “And students would never have been allowed to kiss on the dance floor.”
Blushing, Harry took a sip of punch. Perhaps he and Draco hadn’t set the best example.
Sybill smiled at him. “I’m glad you finally took the tea leaves’ advice.”
“Sorry?”
“Your reading. The one I did for you just before the term started.”
“Oh, yes, of course.”
“The tea leaves are never wrong, Harry.”
While he doubted that, he had to admit that once he had accepted himself and came out, he did find true love.
Another slow song began and students flocked to the punch bowl. Harry moved out of the way to avoid them. Draco walked up and took Harry’s cup from him, downing it in one gulp. He flipped his fringe out of his face, and Harry’s heart skipped a beat. He liked the new style, he decided. The spiky, long fringe and shorter layers in the back gave him an almost anime appearance.
“Do you want to dance again?” Harry asked.
Draco shook his head. “I’m still a little out of breath. I need another drink.”
Harry just stared.
“Potter, you’re staring again.”
“What? Oh, heh.” Harry blushed. “I was thinking this is how you’ll look later on tonight.”
One eyebrow raised, Draco leaned closer. “You mean hot, sweaty and panting?”
“Mm.”
Draco turned to get more punch after the way cleared a bit.
“I don’t believe it,” he mumbled.
“What?” Harry asked.
He jerked his head in the direction of the small group of students still on the dance floor.
“Montague. He’s dancing with Penelope Pipshaw.”
Harry’s eyes scanned the room, not spotting them right away. “Oh, I thought you said she was way out of league.”
“She is,” Draco said absently. He caught Casper’s eye as the pair slowly spun and nodded.
Casper grinned.
Near the end of the dance, Casper and Penelope left the dance floor. They approached Draco and Harry.
“Good evening professors,” Casper said with a smile.
“Good evening.”
“Penelope, would you like a drink?” the boy asked.
She nodded and smiled. “Yes, thank you.”
Casper began to walk away, then stopped and turned back around. “Can I get either of you a drink as well?” he asked Harry and Draco.
“No, thank you,” Draco answered for both of them.
Casper continued on to the crowded refreshment table.
“Enjoying the dance?” Draco asked Penelope.
“Yes, professor.”
“It really was kind of you to accompany Montague.”
“Sir?” She cocked her head.
“I’m sure you must have had invitations you turned down in order to come here with him.”
“No, professor, I didn’t.” She looked up at Draco with a sort of sadness. Tucking a strand of her golden locks behind her ear, she regarded him with deep, forest green eyes that rivaled Harry’s for beauty. And yet, they were still not her most striking feature. Her perfect peaches and cream complexion competed with the soft, pink pouty lips beneath her delicately upturned nose. She was one of the most beautiful girls Draco had seen. At fifteen, she hadn’t even come close to reaching her full potential.
Draco smiled at what he assumed was her modesty. “I find that hard to believe.”
She glanced down. “No, really. I’ve never been invited to a dance before.”
Draco frowned. “Why not?”
Penelope shrugged. “I’ve been told by boys that I’m . . . unfriendly. But really, I’m just a little shy.”
Casper walked up at that moment with drinks in hand. He held one out to Penelope.
“Thank you,” she smiled sweetly, and sipped.
A few other Ravenclaw girls approached the small group.
“Penelope, we’re going back. Are you coming with us?” one asked.
“All right.” She looked to Casper. “Thank you for a lovely evening.”
“Any, any time,” he stuttered.
“Okay,” she replied.
They stood gazing at one another for a moment, uncertain how to end the night. Casper looked around self-consciously.
“Good night, then, Penelope.”
“Good night.” She leaned forward and place a small kiss on his cheek, then quickly retreated with her housemates.
Standing in a daze, Casper put his hand up to his cheek.
“She kissed me,” he said slowly. “Penelope Pipshaw kissed me.”
Harry grinned at the boy’s reaction. His disbelief was similar to his own when Draco first kissed him.
“I guess that means she likes you,” Harry said.
“I still can’t figure out how you managed to be the first one to ask her to the dance when you waited so long to do so,” Draco commented.
Casper shrugged. “Everyone assumed she had been asked weeks ago, when the dance was first announced. But no one I asked said they were going with her. So, I figured it was worth a shot.”
“Indeed,” Draco said. “More than a shot, I’d say. It appears she does like you.”
“She told me that none of the boys talk to her. They think she must be a snob or something. Some of the girls don’t like her, because the boys all do. But she’s really nice.”
“Sounds like a bit of prejudice and jealousy,” Harry said. “People making assumptions about her without really knowing her.”
Draco looked to Harry. “We know a bit about that ourselves, don’t we. Well, it looks like the other boys’ loss is your gain, Montague. I hope this doesn’t mean that you’ll be even more distracted in class.”
“No, sir.” Casper paused. “I hope not, anyway,” he said sheepishly.
The music had long stopped playing and most of the students had cleared the Hall.
“Time for you to head back to Slytherin.” Draco smiled. “But it was awfully Gryffindor of you to gather the nerve to ask her out.”
“Yes, professor.”
Harry leaned toward Casper. “That was supposed to be a compliment, I think.”
Casper grinned and left with several other students from his House.
“Time for us to leave as well,” Draco said.
“Do I get to mess up your hair now?” Harry shuddered.
“You can mess up whatever you want, now.”
Much to Harry’s frustration, Draco insisted on hanging his new dress robes neatly in the wardrobe before beginning any sort of romantic activities. Harry hung his as well, avoiding a lecture about wrinkling his clothes again.
“I’ve been dying to run my fingers through your hair since you first walked out of the loo,” Harry said, doing just that.
The inch or so that was shaved at the nape felt like velvet against his hand. The rest of it was long enough not to be considered short, but a good five inches had been trimmed off. Harry found it most attractive.
“What made you cut your hair?” Harry asked.
“I was tired of people telling me how much I look like my father.”
“Isn’t that part of the reason you were letting your hair grow in the first place?”
Draco nodded. “I thought if I looked more like him, he would accept me more readily. But that doesn’t make sense, does it? Expecting to be accepted for who you are, if you’re simply imitating someone else.”
“Well, you certainly don’t remind me of your father. Even before the haircut,” Harry said. “Besides, I think your father accepts you as well as he can, but not because you look like him. When I spoke to him about marrying you, his reaction wasn’t quite what I thought it would be.”
“How so?”
“He sneered at first, which I did expect. But I suppose that was directed more at me personally, for not being a pure blood. His objections to our marriage were mostly his concerns about my sincerity.”
“Your sincerity? The king of the Gryffindors?” Draco joked.
“He found it difficult to believe that I have left the past where it belongs. And that, the person you are now, is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. But I told him that I’ve changed too. And if I hadn’t, you probably wouldn’t want to be with me.”
Draco opened his mouth to protest.
“You know I have. I admit, for a while, I enjoyed being a hero. That is to say, I enjoyed helping people, not necessarily the celebrity that went along with it. That was why I became an Auror in the first place. I felt almost obligated to play the paragon. But that wasn’t who I really am. I’m really just a man who wants a simple life, and a job helping people. In this case, children.”
“Is that all?” Draco asked in a low voice.
“And amazing sex with the most handsome man ever to grace these halls.”
“What, are you having an affair with Gilderoy Lockhart?” Draco smirked.
Harry shoved his shoulder lightly. “That old scaredy cat? He wasn’t even that good looking. Besides, I wouldn’t fancy a visit to ward 49 at St. Mungo’s,” he laughed. “I’m talking about you, of course. Impossibly, you look even more handsome with your hair this way.”
He stroked it and smoothed the front out of Draco’s eyes.
“There’s another reason I cut my hair, you know,” Draco ran his tongue over Harry’s neck.
“Hm?”
“I want to look nice for our wedding. We are still getting married, aren’t we?”
Harry pulled away and frowned. “Yes, why wouldn’t we be?”
“We haven’t planned a thing yet, and we’ve been living here together for almost two weeks,” Draco pouted. He went back to licking Harry’s neck.
“All right,” Harry said. “Let’s choose a date.”
“Okay,” Draco said, switching sides. “When?”
“Well, today is the fourteenth. How about Saturday in two weeks? That would be . . . the twenty-eighth?”
“Mm,” Draco hummed against Harry’s throat. “February? That’s a dreadful month to get married. Besides, two weeks isn’t enough time.”
“Then how much time do you need to plan?”
“A month at minimum. Preferably two.”
“Two months? You just got finished complaining that we weren’t married yet.”
Draco snickered. “No, I was complaining that we hadn’t made any plans. And I wasn’t complaining.”
“Oh,” Harry smirked. “I see. All right, then. Two months from today? Does that work for you?”
“April?” Draco kissed Harry’s jaw. “That’s doable.”
“Second Saturday in April. Done,” Harry said.
“Good. Now we can concentrate on tonight.” Draco covered Harry’s mouth with his own, kissing him hard, in contrast to the gentle kisses he’d been planting before.
Harry responded in kind, pressing his body into Draco’s. They slowly made their way into the bedroom, where Harry pushed him onto the bed. Dressed only in their pants, it was clear that both were more than ready to make love.
Pulling down Draco’s bright red briefs, Harry suddenly stopped in his tracks.
“Bloody hell,” he muttered. “That’s fucking brilliant.”
Draco raised his head. “You like it?”
“I love it. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love it.” Harry stared at Draco’s cock as it stood, at full attention and surrounded by clean shaven skin.
“I thought as long as I was getting rid of hair,” Draco shrugged. “I’ve never gone completely bare before.”
Harry bent over and gave the area a close inspection. He ran his fingers over Draco’s smooth skin.
“Did you do this with magic?”
“Of course. It’s a modified Evanesco. You don’t think I would let someone with a blade near my knob, do you?”
“You’d better not be letting anybody near it, with or without a blade,” Harry replied. “It’s all mine.” He gave a lick to Draco’s bare bollocks.
Harry sat up and swiftly removed his own pants. “Do me.”
“I intend to,” Draco leered. He pushed Harry onto his back, with a hand on his chest.
“No, I mean, do the spell on me. I want to go hairless, too.”
Draco smirked. “Hairless Harry?”
The brunette rolled his eyes.
“All right. I suppose I wouldn’t mind getting the hair out of my way.” Reaching for his wand on the side table, Draco prepared to do the spell on Harry. “Wait,” Harry said. “Just the hair right? Everything else stays.”
Draco laughed. “It’s perfectly safe. Believe me, I would be just as upset as you if your dick disappeared.”
“I doubt that.”
“Do you want me to do this or not?” Draco asked.
“Yeah, all right.” Harry scrunched his eyes shut.
Waving the wand at Harry’s nether regions, Draco whispered an incantation. He grinned at the results.
“Done.”
Harry opened his eyes. “Brilliant.”
“Yes, it is.” Draco tossed his wand aside and descended on Harry’s cock.

 

***

“We’re all set,” Draco said. “Mother approved the date, though she wasn’t exactly pleased with the short notice.”
“You said two months was fine,” Harry frowned.
“It is. She’s just being dramatic. But the date is set in stone. April tenth.” He stared at Harry uneasily.
“What’s wrong?” Harry asked.
“Nothing’s wrong.”
“Draco?”
“We’re having it at the Manor.” Draco shrank back a step.
Harry bit his lip.
“You said whatever we planned would be fine. You said you didn’t care.”
“Yes, but the Manor?” Harry sighed. “How can I expect my friends to come?”
“You’ve seen it. It’s not the same as it was. We can get married in the garden,” Draco said. “Mother is already planning to have new rose bushes planted.”
Harry stroked his chin. “The garden was beautiful. But the glass house is not very big.”
“Not a problem for wizards,” Draco smirked. “And we can have a celebration afterward in the ballroom.”
“There’s a ballroom in the Manor?”
“Of course.”
“Well, I suppose it would be all right to get married in your family home,” Harry relented.
Draco threw his arms around him. “Oh, thank you, Harry. It will be perfect. But we must send out owls this afternoon. I brought the invitations Mother had made. She’s sent them out to my family and their circle of friends. I have a list of friends, which is very short, actually. So, you just need to decide who you’d like to invite. I’ll help you.”
“Well, I have no family. Perhaps Dudley. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon wouldn’t come anyway. All the professors here. And of course, all of the Weasleys,” Harry listed.
“What about your other friends? Longbottom or Finnigan?”
Harry hesitated. He knew Neville had voted against hiring Draco. “I don’t know. I haven’t really been in touch with many of my mates from school. No, just the Weasleys. Shite, I haven’t told Ron and Hermione the date yet, it’s happened so fast.”
“Ron will be your best man?”
“Yes. What about you?”
“It’s got to be Blaise. I owled him of our engagement, but I haven’t told him the date yet either.”
Harry sat down at his desk. “We’d better get to these straightaway.”
The pair were nearly finished addressing the invitations when their floo roared to life.
“Hermione! I was just about to send you something,” Harry brightened when he saw her face.
“Me too,” she smiled. “I’ve got news.”
“So do we.”
“You first,” she offered.
“No, no, go ahead. You called me.”
“Well, it’s about our wedding,” she began. “We’ve decided not to have a Christmas wedding after all.”
“No? I thought you said you’ve always dreamed of a Christmas ceremony,” Draco said.
“Yes, I know I said that. And Ron was willing to wait all the way until then. But once Molly and I started to plan . . . well, we just got so excited about the whole thing, we decided to push it up.”
“That’s brilliant,” Harry said. “When is it?”
“I hope it’s not too short notice, considering you’ll be performing the best man duties. It’s April the tenth. Molly has been quickly sending out invitations and we’ve secured a Minister.” She paused. “What’s wrong?”
Harry and Draco looked at one another. Neither one wanted to be the one to break the news. However, Harry felt it was his duty.
“Hermione, I don’t know how to tell you this . . . but, that’s the day we’ve chosen.”
“What? When did you pick a date? Why didn’t you tell us?”
“It happened so fast. We only decided two days ago. We’re making out the invitations now, actually.”
Hermione let out a breath. “Oh, then it’s not too late for you to change.”
“I’m sorry, Hermione, but it is,” Draco said. “Mother has already sent out the information to family and her friends. It would be humiliating for her to have to rescind it. I know it sounds silly to you, but in pure blood society, it simply isn’t done. As it is, having to announce that your son is marrying another man . . .” he trailed off.
“No, I understand,” Hermione said. “You had no idea we’d changed ours. But I don’t think we can change ours. The Weasleys aren’t high society, but it may be embarrassing for them as well. Besides, we were very lucky to secure a Minister at all. It’s Easter that weekend.”
“It is? Did you know?” he asked Draco.
Draco nodded. “Yes, Mother had to settle for a public officiant for the ceremony.”
“So . . . what are we going to do?” Hermione questioned.
“I don’t know,” Harry answered. He looked to Draco, clearly distraught.
“I’ll talk to Mother. Perhaps, we can change it after all,” Draco offered.
“Don’t worry, Hermione, we’ll figure something out.” Harry tried to sound positive.
“All right,” she sounded doubtful. “I’ll let Ron know what’s going on.”
“I’ll-- we’ll floo call you as soon as we’ve worked it out.”
“I’m really sorry, Harry.”
“Don’t be. You and Ron got engaged first. You should get married first.”
After ending the call, Harry turned to Draco. “What are you going to do? You said it was set in stone.”
“Mother has had to learn to lower her standards a bit since the war. I suppose she’ll have to lower them a little more.”
“I’m so sorry,” Harry told him.
Draco kissed the side of Harry’s head. “The important thing is that we’re together.”

Chapter Text

“Are you ready Harry?” Hermione asked, walking up to him and straightening his bow tie.
He nodded. “Wow, Hermione, you look . . . well, you’re about the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.”
“Thank you,” she blushed. “You look quite handsome yourself.”
Music began to play, cueing them to walk down the aisle. Harry held out his elbow for her to take hold. “Shall we?” he asked.
They walked slowly toward the altar, past guests seated on either side of them. When they reached the end, Hermione turned toward Ron. He stared with his mouth open.
The minister began to speak. “Friends and family, we are here today to celebrate the marriage of these young people. Of all my duties, the one that gives me the most pleasure is to unite a man and woman as partners in love and life.”
Harry cleared his throat subtly.
“Right,” the minister said. “To unite two people as partners in love and life.”
The small wedding party listened as the minister went on about commitment and respect, with a healthy dose of reverence for marriage. Though not particularly religious, Hermione had wanted a Christian ceremony to please her muggle parents. Luckily, this minister was also a wizard. And Ron simply wanted to be married. He didn’t care if a goblin performed the ceremony.
Soon enough, the preaching was over, and the vows began. Ginny handed Hermione Ron’s ring, and Harry handed Hermione’s ring to Ron. The pair exchanged rings and repeated the words spoken by the minister. By the time Ron had managed to choke out the words “I do”, Molly had gone through several tissues.
“Do we get to kiss now?” Ron whispered to the minister.
“Not yet,” an officiant from the Ministry of Magic told him. “I haven’t performed my part of the ceremony yet.”
Ron pursed his lips in disappointment.
“Don’t worry, I’ll be quick,” the officiant laughed. “As a representative of the muggle courts, as well as the Ministry of Magic, it is my honor to perform today’s second ceremony. Who has Harry’s ring?” he asked.
“Oh, me,” Ron said, pulling it out of his pocket. He handed the plain gold band over to Draco.
“Harry and Draco have decided to recite their own vows at this time. Draco, you first.”
Draco cleared his throat. He was much more nervous than he expected to be. With hundreds of eyes on him, and ears hanging on his every word, his voice cracked several times before he was able to begin. Behind him, best man Blaise gave him a reassuring pat on his shoulder.
“Harry, I give you this ring today as a symbol. It’s not only a symbol of our commitment to each other, but a representation of our relationship. We have come full circle, starting out together at Hogwarts.” He chuckled. “Though not exactly as friends.”
Several guests laughed along with them.
“You saved my life back then, in more ways than I can name. And now, you’ve helped me give it meaning and purpose.” He paused. “I love you. And I intend to spend the rest of my life making you as happy as you’ve made me.”
He slipped the ring onto Harry’s finger, and sniffed ever so softly. Harry paused a moment to gaze at it before he began.
When he looked up to recite his own vows, Draco’s bottom lip was quivering, and tears were streaming down his face. He reached out and wiped away what he could, cupping Draco’s cheek afterward.
Harry took a deep breath and smiled. “I would place a ring on your finger and talk about what it means to me, to give you a piece of my family history, and how proud I am to have you wear it. But you refused to take it off once I gave it to you. So I guess I’ll skip that part.” He tapped his family ring on Draco’s finger.
A few giggles could be heard throughout the room.
“Instead, I’ll just tell you that before you and I were once again thrown together by fate, I was going through the motions. I had no idea what I’d been missing until you showed me. You say I saved your life, but I think it was the other way around. And I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you.” His voice wavered. “Those words are easy to say, and perhaps said too often, but not meant enough. I hope to show you, in every way, how very much I love you. So, you’ll know, even if I don’t say the words.”
Draco returned the favor of wiping away a tear or two from Harry’s eyes.
“Harry and Draco, Ron and Hermione, you have declared your intentions in front of family and friends, and exchanged rings as symbols of your commitment to one another. So, by the power vested in me by the Ministry of Magic--”
“And the Church of England,” the minister interrupted. “We now pronounce you husband and wife. And, husband and husband.”
The officiant announced, “You may kiss your spouse.”
Ron swiftly scooped Hermione into his arms and kissed her passionately enough to make Ginny blush next to them. Harry and Draco kissed tenderly, finishing long before Ron released Hermione.
The guests clapped and cheered for all the newlyweds, rising to their feet.
Lucius Malfoy placed his wand against his neck and performed a Sonorus charm.
“Ladies and gentlemen, please join Narcissa and myself in the ballroom for refreshments before the reception,” his voice bellowed over the crowd.
Narcissa nudged him and nodded toward the Weasleys.
“Forgive me. I meant to say Narcissa, myself, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley” he begrudgingly corrected.
His wife nudged him again.
“And Mr. and Mrs. Granger.”
Narcissa smiled at the other couples, though they didn’t appear altogether pleased.
After removing the spell, Lucius complained to his wife on the way to the ballroom.
“It’s our home. I don’t see why we should have to include them.”
“Because, it’s the gracious thing to do. Besides, the Grangers did provide a fair amount of food. And Molly Weasley prepared the wedding cake. And they all helped to decorate.”
Lucius scoffed. “Poor man’s fare and a lopsided cake? It’s hardly fitting for my son’s wedding reception. And I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the trimmings were all knitted.”
“The Grangers aren’t poor, darling. In fact, I believe they’re fairly well off.”
As they entered the ballroom, Narcissa gasped. Floating above the tables appeared to be balloons filled with candles. Every table was covered in satin cloth in shades of silver and gold. The centerpieces, which were tall vases of white gladiolus Narcissa had ordered herself, were each tied in either royal blue or rich maroon ribbon.
A server walked by, then realizing he’d bypassed the hosts, turned around and offered a bite from the tray.
“What is it?” Lucius wrinkled his nose.
“A petite goat cheese puff with apricot glaze.”
Narcissa took one. “Thank you.”
“It doesn’t look appetizing.”
While Lucius was still deciding whether or not to sample it, she had eaten hers. She didn’t hesitate to pick one up and pop it in her husband’s mouth.
“Shut up and eat it, darling.” She addressed the server again. “Is this from the house elves?”
“I believe Mrs. Weasley made these,” he replied. “If you’ll excuse me, I should circulate the room.”
“Of course,” Narcissa answered, and took another before he left. “Admit it, Lucius. It was delicious.”
He rolled his eyes. “It was . . . good.”
“And the decor is simply beautiful. It goes beautifully with my flowers.”
Several of their guests came up to give their congratulations on a lovely wedding, and elegant party. The Parkinsons and the Clayworths both told them their house elves had outdone themselves. Lucius was happy to leave it at that, but Narcissa insisted on giving the Weasleys and Grangers their due credit.
While their guests were enjoying hors d’oeuvres, Harry, Draco, Ron and Hermione were busy in the garden getting their photographs taken.
“Are my eyes still red?” Draco asked.
“No, you look wonderful,” Harry answered.
“As if you’re a good judge,” Draco smirked.
Ron rubbed at his face. “Am I good?”
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“For goodness sake, I think the three of you cried more than Molly.”
“Did not,” protested Ron.
“I think it’s sweet,” Hermione softened. She kissed his cheek.
The couples stood in front of the dazzling display of roses, posing for countless photos. While Hermione was sat on a stool, getting photographed alone, Ron gaped, oblivious to all else.
“She really is stunning,” Draco commented.
“Yeah,” Ron said absently. “What the fuck is she doing with me?”
Harry and Draco laughed.
“I’ve been asking myself that same question for years,” Harry joked.
“What?”
“I’m only kidding. But you don’t know how frustrating it was for me to watch the pair of you slowly fall in love and do nothing about it. And now you’re finally married.” Harry smiled.
“I kept thinking she was going to meet someone and realize she could do better than her childhood crush,” Ron said.
“But she would never find a better man, or someone who knows her the way you do. The pair of you really do complement each other.”
Ron nodded. “I only hope our kids look like her, though. We’ve got enough gingers in this family.”
“A non-ginger Weasley? Is that possible?” Harry laughed.
“I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
“What does that mean?” Harry asked.
Ron leaned close. “It’s one of the reasons we moved up the wedding. She’s two months up the duff. Of course, we didn’t tell Mum that.”
“Congratulations, Ron. That’s wonderful.” Harry hugged Ron.
Draco held out his hand to shake. “Wow, children already,” he said.
“Yeah, I guess it’s coming a little sooner than I thought. But Hermione and I have been together for six years. We’re ready.”
“You’ll be great parents,” Harry smiled.
“I suppose the two of you will be waiting, seeing as you’ve only been together a short while,” Ron commented offhandedly.
“Children?” Draco looked cautiously to Harry. “I never fancied myself a father.”
“Oh. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that,” Ron said.
“Ron, come here. They want pictures of the pair of us,” Hermione called.
Ron walked over to her, happy to be out of that conversation. If Harry’s face was any indication, he and Draco didn’t necessarily agree on the subject of children.
Harry frowned. “I guess we should have talked about that before we got married.”
“Do you regret it already? We haven’t even made it into the reception.”
“No, of course I don’t regret it. I’m merely saying that we should have gone into it, having discussed our future expectations more thoroughly.”
Draco bit his lip. “Does it disappoint you that I’m not so certain I ever want children?”
“I’m not certain either,” Harry replied. “I mean, I’ve been looking after Teddy occasionally during the summers. He’s quite a handful. I don’t know if I could do it full time, though. As much as I love him.”
Draco frowned. “It’s just something I thought wasn’t in the cards for me. Unless someone has invented a pregnancy spell for wizards,” he said. He paused and glanced over at Ron and Hermione. “I’m realizing that there is much more we don’t know about each other, than we do.”
“And we’ll have years to discover it all,” Harry smiled. “As far as children go, I feel far too young to be a father. Even though my own parents were only twenty when I was born.”
“Merlin, and I thought my parents were young at twenty-six.”
“The point is,” Harry said, taking Draco’s hands in his own. “Neither of us is ready now anyway. And we’ve got plenty of time to decide together, whether or not we want to raise a family.”
Draco nodded. “I just don’t want you to regret rushing into this with me.”
“The only thing I regret when it comes to you, is how much time I wasted.”
They kissed until they heard the clicking sounds of a camera.
“Ugh,” Harry groaned.
“I want that framed,” Draco smirked.
Hermione giggled. “It’s time to make our entrance.”
“Yeah, before all the food is gone,” Ron said. “And I could use a drink.”
The foursome made their way to the ballroom. When the band leader saw them in the doorway, he stopped the light jazz music they had been playing.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, addressing the guests. “Please direct your attention to our newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Weasley, and, uh . . .”
Draco and Harry looked at each other. Apparently, no one took them seriously when they said they were planning to hyphenate their names.
“The Potter-Malfoys,” Harry shouted to the band leader.
“Quite right,” he answered. “Mr. and Mr. Potter-Malfoy.”
Harry rolled his eyes. He wondered if things were always going to be so complicated.
“If you will take your places on the dance floor.” The band leader raised a baton and the band began to play the selection chosen for the first dance. The photographer had followed them from the atrium and clicked away as they danced.
“This is worse than when I was young,” Harry said in Draco’s ear. “I’ve always hated getting my picture taken.”
“You’ll be glad when have a lovely album to share with family and friends. Besides, you should be focusing on me, not the camera.”
He kissed Harry, who normally shied away from too much public affection. Seeing as it was their wedding day, Harry made an exception and kissed him back with enthusiasm.

 

***

Between the second and third course of dinner, the newly married couples mingled with guests. Harry was thrilled to see Hagrid there. He dearly missed him during the past school year. They spent a great deal of time catching up while Draco made the rounds with the other pureblood families.
Ron and Hermione remained glued to one another’s side, visiting with their former professors, as well as Charlie and Percy, who’d both been out of the country for the past year.
As Lucius preened for some of the wealthier pureblood aristocrats, his wife joined the Weasleys.
She held her hand out to them. “Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.”
“Oh, please, call us Molly and Arthur.”
“Of course,” she smiled. “The ballroom looks incredible. It’s always been impressive, but the decor is perfect. I especially love the floating balloons.”
“That’s Georgie’s. He made up a special charm for them.”
“Well, everything is just lovely. And the goat cheese puffs-- delicious.”
“Molly has always been an exceptional cook.” Arthur put his arm around his wife and gave her a squeeze. “Thank you so much for hosting. It meant so much for Ron to have his and Hermione’s ceremony with Harry’s. And, um, Draco’s, of course,” he added.
“Our pleasure,” Narcissa smiled. “When Draco came to me with his wedding dilemma, and the solution of a double ceremony, I couldn’t refuse him. I’ve never seen him so happy as he is with Harry.”
“And, you know, Harry’s as good as our own son, so we’re practically in-laws,” Molly beamed.
Narcissa had to hold back the laugh, as she considered what Lucius’ reaction to that would be.
“Practically,” she said.
“Speaking of in-laws, we’d better go mingle with the Grangers, dear,” Arthur said.
“Oh, yes,” Molly said. She nodded to Narcissa and left with Arthur.
Narcissa looked around the room. She was a little disappointed to see that the guests had formed smaller cliques throughout, rather than branching out and mingling. She supposed she couldn’t expect people such as the Parkinsons to interact with Hermione’s muggle relatives. She sighed and weaved through the guests looking for her son.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come back into the Auror program, Harry?” Kingsley Shacklebolt asked. “You could rejoin as an interrogator. You did a great job on the Malfoy case.”
Harry laughed. “Thanks, but no thanks. I was highly motivated in that case.”
“Fair enough,” Kingsley said.
“Besides, Draco and I just got settled into our new place at Hogwarts not long ago. I’m very happy there.”
“It shows. Congratulations, Harry.”
The pair shook hands, and Harry went off to find Draco. They’d been separated far too long. On his way, he ran into Narcissa.
“Harry, I’m looking for Draco.”
“Me too,” he replied.
“It was a beautiful ceremony.”
“Thank you. For all of this,” he said. “I know it couldn’t have been easy to open your home to . . . um, people you wouldn’t normally entertain.”
She smiled. “As Draco likes to remind me, I’ve had to alter my expectations since the end of the war.”
Harry nodded and shifted on his feet.
Narcissa reached out to him. “Please don’t take offense. This may not have been the wedding I’ve always imagined for my son, but I couldn’t be any more delighted with the way it’s turned out. Especially, his choice of spouse.”
Harry smiled brightly. “Thank you. That means the world to me.”
They shared a hug, and were interrupted by Lucius.
“Darling, they’re beginning to serve the main course. Come, sit with me.” He looked Harry up and down, still seeming to disapprove. “Draco is waiting for you at your table,” he said curtly.
“Thanks,” Harry replied.
After Harry left, Narcissa chastised her husband. “You should be nicer to him. He’s your son-in-law now.”
“Don’t remind me,” Lucius groaned. “Do you have any idea how many times I’ve had to endure comments about Draco’s sexual orientation. Followed by, oh, but there’s nothing wrong with that, of course.” He sneered.
“Well, there is nothing wrong with it,” Narcissa told him. “Did any of their homely daughters snag a prize like Harry Potter? No, only our Draco. Only he is good enough for the Chosen One.”
Lucius contemplated her words. He held his head up and escorted his wife to their table. “You’re right. Fuck ‘em.”

***

 

Ron reluctantly approached Harry and Draco on the dance floor.
“I hate to interrupt, mate,” he leaned in. “But, um, Mione and I are ready to cut out of here.”
The pair stopped dancing but held their position.
“Oh, all right,” Harry said. “You didn’t really need to say goodbye yet. We’ll see you in the morning, yeah?”
“Um, well, didn’t come to say goodbye,” Ron admitted. “I haven’t the foggiest idea where our bloody room is.”
Harry laughed. “It is a big place.” He turned to Draco. “I’d show him, but I still don’t have the layout down myself.”
“I’ll be happy to escort them,” Draco offered. “Besides, I wouldn’t mind getting out of here myself.”
“But most of the guests are still here,” Harry said.
“I think they’ll understand if we leave,” Draco smiled. “It is our wedding night.”
Harry glanced around then settled on Draco’s hopeful expression.
“Okay.”
“Brilliant,” Ron said, tugging Harry off the dance floor with Draco in tow. “Mione feels all right tonight so far, so we’d better hurry up.”
Frowning, Harry asked, “What do you mean?”
“Morning sickness. Or in her case, all the time sickness,” Ron answered.
“Bad luck,” Draco snickered. One more reason to enjoy being a gay man.
“Oh, Harry, thank goodness.” Hermione stood waiting at the bottom of the grand staircase. “We got lost.”
“Clara,” Draco called. The house elf popped in front of him. “Do you know where Mr. and Mrs. Weasley’s room is?”
Clara bowed and nodded. “Clara has readied the blue guest room for them.” She wrung her hands. “Is Master Draco finding that satisfactory?”
“Yes.” He patted her head. “Thank you.”
“Shall Clara be showing them to their room?” she asked, then bowed again.
“No, that’s all right. It’s just down the hall from my room. Harry and I will take them.”
“Yes, Master Draco.” She glanced up at Harry. “And Mister Harry Potter.”
“That’s Mister Potter-Malfoy,” Harry smiled at her.
“But, Master Harry will do,” Draco said. “You’re dismissed Clara.”
Though she didn’t say anything, Hermione appeared less than pleased with the entire exchange with the house elf. She let it go, not wanting to spoil the mood.
“Well?” Ron asked anxiously.
“Right,” Draco nodded. “Follow me.” He grabbed Harry’s hand and led them all up the staircase.
Ron and Hermione giggled most of the way, when they weren’t stealing kisses. Every so often, Draco glanced back at Harry, who was always gazing up at him. He walked them up the stairs, down a dim hallway, then up a second set of stairs and down another dim hallway.
They stopped in front of a large, heavy, wooden door. Draco turned the knob and opened it.
“This is your room.”
Ron gently pushed Hermione through. It was already alight with candles, and it smelled of fresh flowers.
“Blimey, you could fit two of my bedrooms at the Burrows in here,” Ron said, mouth agape.
“There’s a private bath through that door,” Draco pointed. “And a small balcony past the sitting area.”
“If you need anything, you can call for Clara. Or Wort. But I don’t recommend him, he’s rather grumpy.”
Harry stepped forward and put his hand on Draco’s shoulder, while peeking inside the room. “Looks like your overnight bags are in here as well.”
“It was really very kind of your parents to let us stay here tonight,” Hermione said to Draco.
“My parents are nothing if not gracious hosts.”
“It would have been odd to stay at the Burrow,” she added.
“I think the word your looking for is intrusive,” Ron grumbled.
“Shall the four of us apparate there together tomorrow morning?” Harry asked.
“Um, yeah, about that,” Ron began. “I think my mum may have invited Draco’s parents to Easter brunch as well.”
Draco raised an eyebrow. His mother hadn’t mentioned it to him. Then he thought perhaps she was planning on springing it on his father at the last minute. It was probably better that way.
“That should be interesting,” Harry said. His hand moved from Draco’s shoulder to the small of his back.
“At least Mione and I leave for our honeymoon right after,” Ron said.
“Oh, we’ll have ours in the summer,” Harry smiled. He lowered his hand to Draco’s arse as the two couples stood facing each other. “So we’ll have to make tonight count.”
Draco struggled to keep his composure as Harry’s fingers stealthily traced the curve of his arse.
“Yes. And I’m sure the pair of you don’t--” Draco gasped a little when a finger poked the fabric between his cheeks. He cleared his throat and finished. “You don’t want to be wasting your time talking to us.”
“No offense,” Ron said.
“Thank you for everything,” Hermione started to move towards Harry to hug him.
“Oh, no you don’t.” Ron pulled her back. “You’re not stepping foot out of this room.”
She giggled as he grabbed her by the waist and shut the door.
“That was cruel,” Draco breathed.
“They were just anxious to get started,” Harry grinned.
“Not them, you. I’m quite certain Hermione noticed the tent my trousers have now become.” He blushed. “You’re lucky our room is just down the hall, or I’d take you right here and now.”
Draco grasped Harry’s hand and pulled him to a room at the top of the stairs. He opened the door and before it even closed again, he had Harry’s trousers unzipped and halfway to the ground.
“Fuck, I need you right now,” Draco whimpered, dropping his own trousers and pants. He pushed Harry toward the bed from behind. Fortunately, it was only a few feet, as they could barely walk with their trousers still wrapped around their feet.
Harry mumbled a lubrication spell they had recently learned and leaned over with his hands bracing him on the mattress.
In a fever, Draco guided himself in, and once there reached around for Harry’s cock.
“Oh, Harry,” he whispered. Harry groaned in response.
Just a few hard strokes in, Draco cursed loudly.
“God fucking damnit.” He stilled and squeezed Harry tightly. His forehead rested on Harry’s back. They remained in position, shirts and jackets still on, bent over the bed, for a few moments.
“I’m sorry. That had to have been the fastest honeymoon fuck in history.” He slipped out of Harry and turned him around. Harry’s cock was still hard and throbbing. “I’ll take care of that for you.”
Draco lowered to his knees and took Harry into his mouth. It took little time before Draco was happily swallowing Harry’s load.
Harry smiled down at him. “Reminds me of our first encounter. Except that time, it was me that couldn’t hold out.” He snickered. “As I recall, you said I gave you one of the best blow jobs you’d received.”
“I didn’t want to feed your ego too much,” Draco teased. “But it was actually by far the best.” He stood and kissed Harry. “I’m sorry.”
“There’s nothing to apologize for. We’ve officially consummated our marriage.” Harry grinned. “I’m certain round two will last much longer.”
“It was completely your fault, you know. Teasing my arse right in front of them.”
“Yes, I rather enjoyed watching you try and act like nothing was going on,” Harry chuckled.
“How about a bath?” Draco suggested.
“Brilliant.” Harry glanced around and he removed his clothing. “This is your bedroom, isn’t it?”
“Was,” Draco corrected. “I suppose it always will be. This is where I stay when I visit.”
Harry giggled. “It really is pink and purple.”
Somehow, it wasn’t insulting coming from Harry.
“Blush and mauve,” Draco smirked. “Come on,” he said as he finished stripping. “I think you’ll like the bathroom better.”
Harry gasped when he walked in. Not only was it much larger than his former bedroom at Hogwarts, it was furnished better. The countertops were black marble, to match the toilet and bidet. The glass shower appeared to have real gold fixtures. And the bath, also black marble, was large enough to accommodate a minimum of three people. But what struck Harry the most was the artwork on the walls. He stood and turned around in place.
“Wow,” he said absently. “Where did you get all these?”
Draco laughed. “Collecting nude art was somewhat of a hobby in my post- Hogwarts years, before I became serious about a career and moved out.”
“This seems sort of familiar,” Harry said. “But I don’t think I’ve ever seen it. I haven’t really seen much art.”
“That’s one of the few female nudes. It’s a print by a muggle called Klimt,” Draco told him. “I’m sure you must have seen his most famous work, The Kiss.”
Harry shrugged.
“I only bought this one because I thought they were lesbians. It’s called Girlfriends.”
“It’s very colorful,” Harry noted. He glanced at a black and white photograph hanging over the toilet. “Who is that?”
Draco smiled. “One of my favorites. Rudolf Nureyev. He was a gay ballet dancer, one of the best in the world.”
“How ever do you manage to piss in here, looking at that? He’s quite fit. And hung.”
“I suppose I’m rather indifferent towards them now.” Draco blushed before admitting, “However, I spent a great deal of time wanking in here between lovers.”
“I can imagine,” Harry said. There were several magical pornographic photos throughout the room, bumping and grinding, a few to completion.
Harry was, by no means a prude, but the proliferation of sexual stimulation on the walls gave him pause.
“Are you sure Rita Skeeter exaggerated her stories about you?” he teased.
“Hm, did I say that?” Draco smirked and bent over to turn on the faucet for the tub, something that only added to Harry’s arousal. “Lemon lavender, oatmilk calendula, or ambergris?”
“I have no idea what you just said,” Harry stood dumbfounded.
Draco chuckled. “I wanted to know what scent bubbles you’d like.”
“Oh,” Harry laughed at himself. “Whatever will turn you on the most.”
“Ambergris it is.” Draco poured a generous capful into the running water. “Not that I need it. Pouring you into the bath will have a much stronger affect.”
He dimmed the lighting, stepped into the tub and held his hand out for Harry. They settled into a corner as the water rose around them.
“Mm. This does smell good,” Harry said, scooping up a handful of bubbles.
He smiled at Draco, then saw the expression on the Potions professor face.
“What’s wrong?”
Draco shook his head. “Nothing. I just can’t believe this is happening.”
“We’ve taken a bath together before.”
“Not as husbands. Not here in my room, where I’ve . . . always hoped you’d find your way into. I want this to last forever.”
“It will. I promise. I want it too.”
They lay in the tub, making plans for their honeymoon, and their future beyond that. Round two did indeed last longer than the first. As did round three. After that the pair slept soundly for what was left of the night, in Draco’s pink and purple room.

Chapter Text

Draco awoke with a wide yawn. He sighed it out contentedly and opened his eyes. His husband was still fast asleep lying next to him. Even in his unconscious, disheveled state, Harry was a thing of beauty. His hair was covering part of his face, but Draco could still see the thick fringe of dark eyelashes.
The newly married Mr. Potter-Malfoy smiled, remembering the day-- and especially the night-- before. He recalled the urgency with which he had taken Harry as they tumbled into their wedding chamber. He reveled in the memory of sex by candlelight in the over-sized bath tub. His heart leapt, thinking about how he had been moved to tears when Harry tenderly made love to him. They fell asleep wrapped in one another’s arms just before dawn.
The clock read eleven twenty-three.
“Shit,” he said.
“Hmm,” Harry groaned in response.
“Morning love,” Draco grinned and leaned over to kiss the side of Harry’s head.
“Fuck, is it morning already?”
“Yes my love,” Draco cooed. “And I’ve got a bit of a problem that needs solving.”
“Didn’t we take care of that several times last night?”
“Well, you know, these sorts of problems arise all the time. They need proper attention or they’ll fester.” Draco kissed Harry’s neck, nipping at it gently. “We’re newlyweds, we’re supposed to shag a lot.”
“I’m still exhausted. And my arse needs some recovery time,” Harry smirked.
Draco pouted. “Fuck. Just a little one?” He held up his index finger and thumb in a pinching gesture.
“No, and we have only about half an hour ‘til we have to be at the Burrow,” Harry replied.
“Double fuck.”
Laughing, Harry tugged at Draco’s arm. “Come on, we need to shower. Desperately.”
Draco resisted, but Harry was firm.
“We should be on our bloody honeymoon,” Draco grumbled. “Not attending what’s sure to be the most uncomfortable family brunch ever.”
Reluctantly, he allowed Harry to pull him along to the loo.
Looking around, Harry bit his lip. “Don’t look at the walls. We don’t have time to shag.”
“Surely we could be a little late,” Draco smirked.
“At this point, we’re already going to be late,” Harry said, gently shoving the nude man into the shower. He turned the water on, accidentally dousing Draco with a shot of cool water.
“Bollocks! You did that on purpose.” Draco jumped out of the stream.
“I really didn’t,” Harry laughed. “But it worked. And see, the water’s warming up already.”
With great difficulty, they restrained themselves from having sex in the shower. Though there was a bit of gratuitous touching under the guise of helping each other clean.
Dressed nicely, yet not in their Sunday best, Harry and Draco arrived at the Burrow twenty minutes late. Draco was more than a little surprised to see his parents there. He was certain they would make their excuses, seeing at it was a holiday.
“Mother? Father?”
Narcissa smiled and held her arms out to him.
“Darling.” She kissed his cheek and squeezed his hands when he approached, then turned to Harry. “I wasn’t sure if the two of you could tear yourselves away from each other long enough to come here.”
Lucius cleared his throat uncomfortably.
“Draco, what on earth are you wearing?” he asked.
“It’s called a jumper, Father.”
“I know that. Why aren’t you in robes? Please don’t tell me you attended services in that.”
Draco glanced at Harry. They’d had a discussion earlier that morning about proper attire. Harry had assured him that the Weasleys were casual, down to earth sorts, and that Draco’s jumper was proper attire. Most of the Weasleys themselves were dressed similarly.
“You know I haven’t attended services since I was a school boy,” Draco retorted. It was an unspoken challenge for his hypocritical father to criticize him.
Lucius simply snorted.
Draco knew his father was hardly reverent. He simply wanted to appear that way as a means to repair his reputation. And, as usual, he was looking to his son to accomplish that for him.
“Lucius,” Harry said, holding out his hand, diffusing the tension between father and son, and taking it upon himself.
Obligated to return the greeting, Lucius took his hand gingerly. “Potter.”
Harry smiled. “Potter-Malfoy,” he corrected.
Inwardly, Draco beamed. Harry had taken his name proudly and wasn’t letting Lucius get the better of him. It gave Draco the strength to do the same.
As they stood politely, Molly pushed her way out of the kitchen into the sitting room, a big grin on her face.
“Oh, Harry, I’m so glad you came. It’s been so long since you’ve come to a family meal.” She hugged him tightly.
“I know. I’ve just been really busy.”
“Well, you’ll have to try and make it again soon. You’re still part of the family, you know.”
Harry nodded.
Standing awkwardly off to the side, Draco was regretting that he and his parents agreed to such a ridiculous invitation. The families were able to pull together enough for the wedding, but it was too much to ask in such a small, intimate setting. And so out of the Malfoy element.
“And you, of course,” Molly said, interrupting Draco’s reverie.
“Sorry?” he was embarrassed to ask, as he wasn’t paying attention.
“You’ll come with Harry,” she repeated.
“Oh. Of course,” he blinked.
“You’re family too, now,” Molly smiled gently.
If he hadn’t been in the middle of the strangest crowd of wizards he’d ever found himself, he may have been in danger of becoming a teary mess. He blinked away the evidence of how much he was moved by Molly’s four simple words. It didn’t matter that some of the faces in the crowd didn’t share her sentiment. She was, for all intents and purposes, Harry’s mother. And though Narcissa had accepted Harry as Draco’s husband, he knew she didn’t think of him as a son.
“Thank you,” he meant to say, but it only came out as a whisper.
Luckily, Bill and his wife Fleur walked in the front door, drawing everyone’s attention.
“There are my darlings,” Molly beamed.
Victoire Weasley ran to her Grammy, arms wide. The little blonde was the spitting image of her mother. Her younger sister, Dominique, who appeared more Weasley than Delacour, held tight to her matching ginger father.
“Come now, Nikki,” Bill said gently. “Say hello to Grammy.”
Dominique shook her head and pressed her face into Bill’s neck.
“We are a bit overwhelming,” Arthur laughed. “Give the wee one a little time to warm up to us.”
Harry and Draco stood back, away from the hug fest that ensued.
“How many of them are there?” Draco asked in a hushed voice.
“There were seven. But Fred . . . died in the last battle,” Harry answered.
Draco nodded. He knew one of the children had perished, but wasn’t sure which one.
“Bill is the oldest. I haven’t seen him since before Victoire was born. Maybe five years ago,” Harry explained. “I think Dominique is about two.”
As Charlie hugged his brother, Harry pointed him out. “That’s Charlie. He’s next oldest. He works with dragons in Romania. Next is Percy. You might remember him from school.”
“Yes,” Draco replied. “Always seemed to have a stick up his arse.”
Laughing, Harry agreed. “But he’s loosened up a bit since then. His wife is Audrey. And I know you remember George and Angelina. They were only two years ahead of us.”
“I do. He’s the twin, right?”
Harry nodded sadly.
“All right, now that everyone is here, let’s eat,” Molly announced.
The dining room had been temporarily expanded to accommodate the extra guests. It had been quite a while since all of the Weasley children and their families were under the same roof. Charlie, being the only unmarried of the Weasley men, popped by his parent’s home more often than Bill or Percy, or George, who still lived nearby. However, even Charlie didn’t visit as often as Ron.
Molly was in her glory, cooking for her clan and doting on her first two grandchildren, Victoire and Dominique. Though George and Percy had both been married for several years, neither had yet begun a family. Ginny still lived at the Burrow, but was getting quite serious with her boyfriend.
“Lucius.” Arthur smiled politely. “Would you like to have a seat at the head of the table?” he asked graciously.
Lucius glanced at Narcissa, who shot him a look of warning. She had spoken to him earlier about being on his best behavior. He bowed his head respectfully. “Thank you.” He sat down in the seat Arthur had pulled out.
Narcissa sat to Lucius’ left. Draco sighed and assumed it would be best for him to sit next to his father to spare anyone else the unpleasant task. The Weasleys filled in the other spots from the opposite end of the table, leaving a place for Harry beside Draco.
Arthur took a few a pancakes from a large platter and began to pass it around. There was homemade lemon curd and raspberry jam to spread, along with rich and creamy Devonshire cream. Soon, dishes of bangers, bacon, potato hash and eggs were passed from one end of the table to the other.
“Mum, I can’t believe you made eggy bread,” Charlie commented. “You never make that.”
“It’s a special day,” Molly explained. “I made all of Ron’s favorites, including the tomatoes.”
“I like the tomatoes, too,” George said. “You never make them for me.”
“Maybe I would if you came ‘round once in a while,” Molly smirked.
“I’m busy, Mum. The shop can’t run itself.”
Ignoring that excuse, Molly looked to her new daughter in law. “Hermione dear, aren’t you hungry?”
“What? Oh, yes. Um . . .” she looked to Ron. He leaned and whispered in her ear. Hermione simply nodded.
“Okay,” Ron stood. “Right, well, we weren’t going to say anything just yet, but . . . I’m afraid poor Mione might hurl if Mum makes her eat something. So . . . we’re going to have a baby.” Ron waited for the inappropriate comments, particularly from George, about how he and Hermione put the cart before the horse.
Molly couldn’t get out of her chair fast enough to hug them. Arthur raised a glass to the couple.
“To our third grandchild,” he grinned proudly.
“Fourth,” Percy interrupted.
“What?” Molly questioned.
“Well, I guess it depends,” Percy said. “When are you two due?”
Ron pursed his lips. It wasn’t as if he and Hermione hadn’t enough attention in the past several months. But it would have been nice if Percy had waited a little bit, at least.
“Mione’s due at the beginning of November.”
Percy smirked smugly. “End of September.”
“Oh, it doesn’t matter,” Molly exclaimed. “Just keep them coming.”
Looking across the table, Draco noticed a melancholy smile on his mother’s face. He didn’t need to strain himself figuring out why. As if there weren’t enough Weasleys, two new family members would be added before the end of the year. The paltry Malfoy family may or may not grow, and may even end with Draco. Not only that, there were precious few Blacks as well. The other side of his ancestry was down to himself and Teddy Lupin.
The conversation during the meal was dominated by babies, pregnancy and birth -- a subject which made more than one man at the table uncomfortable. After most of the food had been eaten, Molly began packing up some things for each of her children to take with them. She handed Harry a small package of eggy bread for him and Draco to take back to Hogwarts. While the women mostly stayed in the kitchen helping Molly or chatting, the men retired to the sitting room.
“What are we doing now?” Draco whispered to Harry. “Can’t we leave?”
“Molly hasn’t brought out tea and pudding yet,” Harry answered. “Besides, the conversation in here won’t be all about babies and such.”
Draco sighed heavily.
“Come on, it will only be a little longer.” Harry batted his eyelashes. “And Ron and Hermione are still here. I’m sure they’d rather be off on their honeymoon.”
“A little while longer.” Draco resigned himself to his fate.
The only bright spot was that his parents were saying their farewells. He wouldn’t have minded his mother staying, but it was best that his father left before he was able to embarrass Draco. Lucius was more cordial than Draco thought he could be, and Narcissa graciously accepted the package of homemade crumpets Molly handed her. The younger Malfoy wondered if it would make it into their kitchen before it was tossed.
After their goodbyes, Harry took Draco’s hand and led him into the sitting room. Arthur was in his favorite armchair, with his older sons on the sofa. George and Ron sat on the floor near the coffee table, and Harry joined them. Draco took a seat in a comfy chair off in the corner.
“Dad,” Percy approached his father. “Audrey isn’t feeling well. We’re going to leave.”
Arthur stood and gave him a hug. “Don’t be strangers.”
“We won’t. But Audrey’s healer recommended she not apparate while pregnant. So we use muggle transport nowadays. It takes so much longer.”
“Just come when you can, then,” Arthur smiled. “You know how your mother gets when the house is empty for too long. She misses the big Sunday suppers.”
Percy nodded. “We’ll try.”
In the meantime, George and Charlie were having a lively debate about Quidditch. George was a Puddlemere United fan, like Harry, while Charlie rooted for the Chudley Cannons. Harry mentioned that he and Draco had seen Ginny play the Ballycastle Bats in autumn-- the game in which she had been injured slightly. It started a lively debate as to whether Finbar Quigley was one of the best Beaters ever to play the game. Harry enthusiastically agreed that he was.
“Perhaps you misunderstood Harry,” George chuckled. “We’re talking about his skills on the Quidditch pitch, not how well he wanks.”
Harry laughed at the good-natured teasing. “I don’t see why it can’t be both.”
Like Ron and Hermione, the rest of the Weasleys accepted Harry’s announcement of his homosexuality in stride. Though they enjoyed teasing him from time to time, George in particular, it was never meant to be hurtful.
Draco watched and listened from his place in the corner. It seemed whenever his family brought up the subject, there was always a hint of disgust or disappointment, especially from his father. Rita Skeeter’s articles about him didn’t help any. As he sat, apart from the others, he wondered if Harry’s adopted family had read those articles and had a good laugh at Draco’s expense.
He was beginning to get a headache when he realized his jaw was clenched and he was scowling.
No wonder no one wants to talk to me, he thought.
Forcing himself to relax, he was about to get up and make himself a drink when a small ginger haired child toddled over to him. He smiled in spite of himself.
The little girl thrust a book at him and proceeded to try and crawl up into the chair with him. Apparently, Draco was the only adult not engaged in conversation, and was therefore available to read to her.
“Um . . . Harry?” Draco called, at a loss. “What do I do?”
Harry chuckled at Draco’s discomfort. “She’s brought you a book. Read to her.” He smiled. “I wonder how she knew you were excellent at reading aloud.”
“Dominique honey, leave the man alone.” Bill stood to retrieve his daughter.
“No,” Draco said. “It’s all right.” It occurred to him that if he was busy reading, he wouldn’t be asked to join in with the rest of the men.
He moved over, thankful that he was lithe enough to fit the girl next to him. He picked up the book and saw that it was one of his childhood favorites. Draco hadn’t read it since he was a young boy.
It was a story about a baby dragon who got separated from his mother and set off to find her. The words were simple, but the illustrations were remarkable. The dragon’s wings sparkled and were raised from the surface of the page. Draco gently ghosted his fingers over the image on the cover. Dominique mimicked him with her chubby fingers. He’d almost forgotten that the toddler was sitting next to him.
He opened the cover and began to read.
“High in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, a dragon was born. His mother named him Verde, for he was the most brilliant shade of green.”
Draco glanced up to Harry, who was speaking animatedly about something with Ron. He smiled to himself, thinking about he’d have to give more thought to the connection between the dragon in the book and Harry’s eyes. Perhaps there had been more than one reason Draco had been captivated by them.
He turned the page, amazed that the child beside him sat still, perusing the page with her eyes.
“Every morning, Verde and his mother went out to the grassy land near Lake Bucura. There, they caught their breakfast of mice or fish.”
During a lull in the chatting, Harry’s eye wandered to his love. Draco looked up briefly as he read, returning the smile on Harry’s face. He continued the story in his melodic tone, changing his voice for the different characters. His voice was entertaining yet soothing, and little Nikki had soon sunk herself into Draco’s side. By the time he had reached the end of the book, the toddler had fallen fast asleep.
Molly appeared in the archway from the kitchen.
“Pudding!” she called out.
Nearly the entire group of men in unison whispered, “Sshhh.”
“We don’t want to wake the little princess,” Arthur told her in a hushed voice.
“The darling,” Molly cooed.
Startled by Molly’s original shout, Nikki’s eyes sprang open. Before Bill could even make a move to get her, Draco put a protective arm around her. He whispered a gentle shush, encouraging the girl to fall back asleep. Her head bobbed briefly, then dropped into Draco’s chest.
In a quiet voice, Bill said, “I’ll have Fleur come get her.”
“Let her sleep,” Draco said. Then it occurred to him that Bill Weasley might not want his daughter sleeping cradled next to a former Death Eater. “Unless you’d rather she didn’t.”
Bill appeared to give it some thought, then glanced at Harry. “If you’re certain it’s not an imposition.”
Draco shook his head.
“I’ll get you something from the kitchen,” Harry sprang up and offered Draco.
When he and Bill were out of Draco’s earshot, Harry said, “Thank you.”
“For what?” Bill asked.
“I know it must be difficult for all of you to have Draco and his parents here.”
Bill grunted noncommittally.
“So, I appreciate you not making a fuss over Draco sitting with your daughter. He really is a changed man.”
Nodding, Bill agreed. “He’s been nothing but a gentleman today. Even his father wasn’t as much of a prick as I thought he’d be,” he laughed.
“Oh, he’s still a prick,” Harry snickered. “But he was on his best behavior.”
“Well, I didn’t really want to wake Nikki anyway. She can be a real bugger when she hasn’t had enough sleep.” Bill paused. “And I hate to admit that she seemed to take to him. Nikki doesn’t warm to strangers easily. Hell, it takes her a while just to let Mum give her a hug. I suppose he’ll make a decent father someday.”
Harry sighed. “I don’t know if that will ever happen.”
“You’re not planning to start a family? Mum will never have it. She expects grandchildren from all of us, you included,” Bill told him.
“The logistics are a bit more complicated for us.”
“But there are options.”
“I know. It’s not only logistics, though. Draco doesn’t think he wants to be a father. Ever.”
“Oh.” Bill furrowed his brow. “And what about you?”
“Maybe not now, but I always thought someday I’d like to have children. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with Teddy over the years.”
“Well, it would be a shame if you didn’t get a chance to be a father. My girls are my joy. In fact, Fleur and I are planning to have another in the next year or two.”
“That’s wonderful,” Harry said. He tried to sound enthusiastic, but deep down he was a little sad. And jealous.
Bill picked up a plate to help Victoire choose some treats, while Harry loaded up a plate for Draco and himself to share. Draco didn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but Molly had made a cinnamon crumb cake he thought Draco would like.
“How’s it going in there?” Hermione appeared beside him.
“Fine,” he answered.
“Really?” She glanced around. “Is he a bit overwhelmed?”
Chuckling, Harry replied, “Probably. But that’s not why he didn’t come into the kitchen. Dominique fell asleep in his lap and he didn’t want to wake her.”
Her eyebrows rose sharply. “Nikki? On Draco’s lap? She’ll hardly sit with Ron. Although, I suppose Ron is so uneasy around children that she senses the fear,” Hermione laughed.
“I thought Draco would be too. But he seemed quite content reading to her. He’s very good at reading aloud.”
Hermione gave him a questioning look.
“We read to each other on Sunday mornings. It’s become a routine.” Harry blushed, omitting the second part of that Sunday routine, which usually ended in some sort of shagging.
“That sounds lovely,” she sighed. “I’m afraid Ron would just fall asleep. He’s not very bookish.”
Nodding, Harry went on. “I confess that I did as well, until Draco began picking out books about Quidditch or something else of interest to both of us. Occasionally, he still reads poetry or romantic novels-- or at least he tries. His voice is so calming, I still fall asleep sometimes.” He played with the hem of his shirt and lowered his voice. “Or it sounds so erotic, it makes me randy. Either way, we don’t get much read.”
Hermione giggled and covered her mouth. “I’ll try to get books on Quidditch,” she said. “But I might try the poetry, too.” She nudged Harry.
“I imagine the two of you don’t need help in that department.”
She giggled again, still in the clouds from the wedding, and placed her hand over her belly. “No, I suppose not.”
“Well, I’d better get back to him.”
When Harry walked into the sitting room, George and Charlie were having a quiet discussion about the new dragons that were born only two months ago. Arthur was listening, munching away on pumpkin bread. Ron was doing the same, resembling his father more than ever before.
Harry smiled at his adopted family. He felt as much a Weasley as any of them, even without the ginger hair. Taking a step toward Draco with his plate, he stopped for a moment. Draco hadn’t noticed him, and was tenderly smoothing the hair away from Dominique’s face. Their positions had changed slightly from when Harry left the room, and the toddler was now siting fully on Draco’s lap with her head cradled in the crook of his arm.
Setting the plate down, Harry crouched in front of the pair.
“She looks so sweet,” he whispered.
Draco nodded. “I almost hate to give her back,” he said, so softly, Harry barely heard him.
For a brief moment, Harry imagined this same scenario, but with their own child. His heart suddenly ached for something he was never sure he wanted in the first place. The moment was ruined when Victoire ran into the room screaming about wanting more cream on her pie. Fleur followed closely behind, scolding her.
Dominique startled awake, took one look at Draco and began to cry. Fat tears rolled down her cheeks as her eyes shut tightly. The look of panic on Draco’s face may have been funny under different circumstances.
“Oh, poor baby,” Fleur said, temporarily forgetting her eldest daughter’s tantrum. “Mummy’s so sorry.”
She scooped Nikki into her arms and gave Draco an apologetic look. Bill strode into the room to take the toddler while Fleur finished scolding Victoire.
“Looks like that’s our cue to leave,” Bill said. “It’s time for Victoire’s nap. If only we could get these two on the same schedule.”
He turned to Draco, who was standing up to finally stretch his legs.
“Thank you. I’m sorry for the imposition,” Bill said, holding out his hand.
Draco took it and shook. “My pleasure. You have beautiful children.”
“Thanks. Oh, and congratulations again. Harry,” Bill turned to him for a handshake.
“Take care Bill. Lovely to see you Fleur,” Harry called to her as she ushered Victoire out the door.
“Bye all!” she called out, clearly in a hurry to get the still screaming child out of the house.
Draco walked up behind Harry and put his arms around his waist. He whispered in his ear, “Can we go now, too?”
“Yes. We can go now,” Harry replied.
They said their goodbyes to those who were left, and took the eggy bread, plus some sweets with them. When they got back to Hogwarts, most of the students were still on break, as well as some teachers, and the whole building seemed quiet.
“You were absolutely amazing today,” Harry said.
“Was I?” Draco smirked. “I think your standards of amazing have fallen a bit. All I did was sit in a corner and read a children’s book.”
“You did much more than that and you know it.”
“Enlighten me,” Draco smiled.
“You only won over the entire Weasley clan with your charm. Not to mention keeping your father in check.”
“Well, I seem to have won over the youngest member of the clan, at any rate.”
“Not only her,” Harry said, pulling Draco close and putting his arms around his neck. “You heard Molly. You’re now a family member. And I’m pretty sure Bill and Fleur weren’t the only ones impressed with your nanny skills.” Harry’s demeanor became serious. “I told you that you would be a wonderful father.”
Attempting to break from Harry’s hold, Draco dismissed the compliment. “Reading to a child and letting her sleep in my lap doesn’t make me a good father. Or a father of any sort. Perhaps I’d be an adequate babysitter . . .” He broke free.
“You won’t give it some thought?”
“We just got married yesterday. The only thoughts I’m having right now involve ropes and a dildo,” Draco said. He meant to lighten the mood, but sounded more annoyed to Harry.
“But . . .” Harry sighed heavily. “You looked like you . . . longed for it. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought you were envious of Bill and Fleur.”
“Except that you do know better. If anything, I was envious of the child. My parents didn’t read to me. I read that very book to myself as soon as I learned how. My parents were too busy being secret Death Eaters and hosting high society in our home. I wouldn’t know the first thing about being father. I had no good role model.”
Draco’s hands were clenched by his side, and Harry could see that the conversation was going nowhere. He could have pointed out that he himself was raised by a horrid man, but it wasn’t going to stop him from being the best father he could be. But Harry didn’t want to push Draco.
“All right,” Harry said gently. “We don’t have to talk about it. You’re right, it’s much too soon to even think about. We need time to be together. Just you and me.”
Draco allowed Harry to put his arms back around him. They hugged for a long time. Harry thought he should have realized what a stressful day it had been for his husband. While Harry was very much at home in the Burrow, Draco felt a stranger-- someone who was being judged. On top of that, he had to head off his father’s comments before they turned to insults. Though Lucius most likely thought himself perfectly charming.
It had taken Draco years to accept that perhaps he was good enough for Harry Potter. Harry wondered how long it would take for him to realize he was good enough to raise their children.
“I’m sorry,” Draco said when they pulled apart. “I’m just trying to be completely open and honest with you. You deserve that.”
“We both do,” Harry said. He leaned forward and kissed Draco, quickly building to a fevered pace. “So, about those ropes . . .”

Chapter Text

“Oh, fuck! Harry, please,” Draco begged.
“I’m almost there,” Harry answered, breathless.
The headboard banged against the wall, keeping time with Harry’s thrusts. Each one ending in a pointed grunt. Draco, still not quite used to being bottom, whimpered and moaned as Harry raked his prostate. His hands were bound with a soft velveteen rope he’d transfigured from the ones Harry produced from his wand, while his ankles rested on Harry’s shoulders. Normally, Harry enjoyed submitting. But when Draco offered to change positions, Harry carefully tied his hands above his head.
The sight of his lover so vulnerable and trusting made Harry want to devour him. He was afraid he would cum before they had a chance to get too far into it. They’d been at it for nearly an hour, though. Thanks to the cock rings Harry conjured, their orgasms kept at bay. However, from Draco’s begging, Harry knew too much longer would be uncomfortable, to say the least.
Ordinarily, the pair would have cast a spell to soundproof their room. But with the castle mostly empty, they didn’t bother. On the contrary, Harry was turned on even more by the thought of being heard by any staff that may be around.
“I’m ready,” Harry groaned.
Using a wandless spell, he loosened the rings surrounding his and Draco’s cock and bollocks. Draco immediately cried out, shooting his load hard into the air. Harry joined him, buried deep inside his husband.
After hugging together while they caught their breath, the newlyweds lay in post orgasmic bliss. Harry untied the ropes, freeing Draco’s hands. Once flaccid, Draco easily slipped off the ring and handed it to Harry.
“I have to say, once in a while those muggles do come up with something brilliant.”
“Yes they do,” Harry agreed. He Evanescoed the rings and snuggled up. “I love you.”
“I love you.” Draco rubbed his hand lightly over Harry’s skin. “I’ve been thinking. We should travel this summer. I’d love to take you to Paris and show you all of my favorite places.”
“I’d like that,” Harry replied. “I was there a couple of times, but on official Auror business, not on holiday. Actually, I’ve been a lot of places on business that I’d like to see for leisure.”
Draco grinned. “It’ll be our extended honeymoon. We can fuck in a different city every week. How about if I get a few travel books and we can plan it all out?”
“Perfect.”
Pulling Harry closer, Draco said dreamily, “It will be perfect. Just you and me traveling the world, going to all the places I thought would have been terribly romantic if only I’d had someone special at the time. And new places too. I’ve never been to America. Have you?”
Harry shook his head. “No, I haven’t. But I’ve seen photos of a place called the Grand Canyon.”
“Yes, I’d like to see that too,” Draco said. “We should take advantage of our summers off and travel somewhere different every year.”
Nodding against Draco’s shoulder, Harry agreed. The two lay quietly, each contemplating Draco’s plan.
Harry was excited by the idea of spending the summer with Draco exploring the world. He was envious that Ron and Hermione wouldn’t have to wait for their honeymoon. They were leaving for Italy that very night. Hermione had been learning Italian and chose Rome so she could practice what she had learned. Ron didn’t care much either way. He just wanted time away with her alone before they began their family.
It wasn’t lost on Harry that the sorts of vacations Draco was planning wouldn’t be possible if they had small children. Perhaps Draco was right, at least for the time being. Children didn’t yet fit into their lifestyle. And they needed time to be alone for a while.
“I’m famished. Is it supper yet?” Draco’s voice cut through Harry’s daydreaming.
“Just about. Do you want to shower or should I just cast a Scourgify?”
“Scourgify is good enough for now.”
Harry cleaned the cum from Draco’s chest and the bedsheets, and used his specially gentle charm for Draco’s arse. They dressed and made their way down to the Great Hall.
A handful of students who stayed behind for the break sat together at the Ravenclaw table. More than half of the professors remained and were seated at the High Table.
“Harry. Draco. I thought you wouldn’t come back until tomorrow,” McGonagall said, surprised to see them.
“We’ll take a honeymoon over the summer. We wanted to get a head start on lesson plans for the next several weeks, since the students won’t be back until Tuesday,” Harry explained.
“Admirable, but you should relax and enjoy the time off,” she said. “By the way, the ceremony was lovely. And your family home, Draco, is magnificent.”
“Thank you,” Draco replied. “My mother has spent a great deal of time and effort renovating it.”
Harry briefly glanced Knox’s way, knowing that he was the only professor to whom they didn’t extend an invitation. Not that the rest all attended. Some of them needed to remain to supervise the small group of students. And others went to spend the holiday with their families. Still, he felt a bit guilty.
“Congratulations,” Knox nodded and smiled weakly.
“Thank you,” Harry said. “Did you enjoy your Easter holiday?”
“I, um, stayed here. My . . . um, my family . . . isn’t . . .” Knox stammered.
“Oh, Knox, I’m terribly sorry. I wasn’t thinking,” Harry apologized. “Are you all right?”
Knox nodded. “My parents’ trial begins in two weeks. I’m not certain what the delay was, but they’ve been in prison all this time.”
“I’m sorry,” Harry reiterated.
“I’m expected to testify.”
Harry bit his lip. “For or against?”
“Both, actually. Although, I don’t know how I’ll be of any help either way. I was in America for the important parts.”
“Who is the Interrogator? Do you know?” Harry asked.
“Madge-- Madget, something like that.”
“Madgest? Frank Madgest?”
“Yes, I think.”
“He’s a good man. Fair and honest. He’ll give your parents a fair trial,” Harry assured him. “What about the defense?”
“A man called Pucey. Do you know him? I believe he went to Hogwarts around the same time as you.”
Harry nodded. “He was a couple of years ahead. But he was Slytherin. Draco would know him better than me.” Harry turned back to Draco, who was still speaking with McGonagall. “Draco, love, do you remember much about Adrian Pucey?”
“Pucey? Why do you ask?”
“He’s representing Knox’s parents in their upcoming trial. I thought you might have some insight.”
Draco leaned forward to make eye contact with Knox. Though the man was no longer any sort of threat to him, and perhaps never was, Draco still didn’t like him. But he appeared to be a shell of a man these days, and Draco wasn’t without sympathy.
“He was a competent student I suppose,” Draco offered. “However, he cheated when he could have earned good grades. I would say more out of laziness than lack of intelligence. I had heard that he was studying law. He’s got as good a chance as any to keep your parents out of prison.” Draco threw him a bone.
“But I don’t want them to get away with what they’ve done,” Knox said. “I was sort of hoping you’d tell me he was a dolt.”
Draco’s eyebrows rose sharply. “Maybe there’s hope for you after all,” he said.
“Draco,” Harry nudged him.
“What? Where would I be today if I had continued to blindly support my father? Knox is finally growing some bollocks.” He turned to Minerva and blushed. “Pardon my language.”
She merely gave a grunt.
“But you didn’t turn your back on him,” Harry retorted.
“No, but I don’t let him control me anymore. Believe it or not, Harry, I understand what Knox is going through. His parents just hid it better than mine did. They manipulated him to keep up appearances. I’m not saying that he should wish his parents ill. I’m only saying that it’s not his responsibility, whatever happens to them.”
Knox said, “Thank you. I think you’re right. No matter what the outcome of their trial, I’ve decided to make a fresh start. That’s why I will be leaving Hogwarts at the end of the term.”
“Professor?” McGonagall questioned. “Your family’s activities during the war don’t reflect badly on you. There’s no need to leave.”
“I understand, headmistress. But there are other reasons . . .” Knox glanced at Harry. “I’ve begun applying to other schools. I was planning to pen you a letter this week.”
“Don’t be too hasty,” she told him.
“No, I’ve been considering it for some time,” he said. “I think it’s best.”
“We’ll be sorry to see you go,” Minerva said.
“Thank you,” he replied sadly, noticing that Harry hadn’t chimed in.

hdhdhdhd

“You’re awfully quiet,” Draco commented as he and Harry walked back to their quarters.
Harry shrugged.
“You’re not an Auror any more. Stop trying to fix Knox’s problem’s in your head.”
Harry smiled. “How do you read me so well? And I know I’m no longer an Auror. I wish there was a way to help him without getting too involved.”
“You can best help him by not getting involved at all,” Draco said. “Clearly, he’s trying to get over you by leaving. Let him leave.”
“I wasn’t going to convince him to stay. I just feel badly for him.”
“I do too.” Draco rolled his eyes at Harry skeptical expression. “I do. When my family’s freedom was at stake, I had been a, well, perhaps not a willing participant, but I was a participant nonetheless. I knew there was a chance that we would all go to prison, and I was able to prepare myself for that. Knox was clueless. I’m not a totally heartless bastard.”
“It’s ironic that he’s leaving when you’ve finally found some common ground,” Harry said.
“Don’t misunderstand. I feel sorry for him, but not enough to forget our entire past. I think he’ll be fine. A fresh start is what he needs. It worked out pretty well for me,” Draco smirked.
“Me too.” Harry took Draco’s hand as they walked up the staircase.
Draco gave Harry a furtive glance as they walked. The faint smile on his husband’s face made him wonder what he was thinking about. Draco himself recalled his first day back at Hogwarts. The first day of his fresh start. He remembered walking up the long pathway to the gate and seeing Harry standing there waiting. The man was just as handsome as he’d been in school and seemed just as unaware of the fact.
A smile came to Draco’s face.
“What’s got you grinning?” Harry asked.
“I was thinking about our first meeting when I came to teach here. I remembered being surprised that you were so personable with me. We actually carried on a normal conversation for the first time.”
“I sort of surprised myself,” Harry laughed. “I was amazed I could talk at all. You took my breath away.”
“I did? That first day?”
Harry nodded. “I have a confession to make. I nearly wanked thinking about you that night.”
Draco feigned a gasp. “Scandalous.” He hesitated before making his own confession. “Well, as long as we’re divulging secrets . . . I kissed you after we went to the Leaky the first time.”
“What? I don’t remember that.”
“You had passed out by then.” A grin grew on Draco’s face at the memory. “But you had asked for a kiss, so I felt obliged.”
“Hmm. Sorry I missed it,” Harry said. “Do you have any other secrets I should know about?”
They continued walking in silence for a few more minutes.
“I did wank that night.”
A giggle escaped Harry’s lips as he opened the door to their quarters.
“What shall we do the rest of the night?” Draco asked, leaving Harry to wonder if he was serious about the wanking.
“Oh, I thought we were going to work on lesson plans.”
“McGonagall was right. We should relax. It’s still our wedding weekend. We can work on lessons tomorrow.”
“Well . . . I could think of a thing or two to do,” Harry grinned.
“It’s always all about shagging with you, isn’t it Potter?” Draco said affectionately.
“It is our wedding weekend,” Harry pointed out. “By my count, we’ve only done it five times. That’s not even our shag record for a regular weekend.”
“Yes, but those weekends usually include Friday night and all day Saturday. We’ve only had last night and today.”
“There’s plenty of time to get two more shags in.” Harry glanced at the clock. “It’s only half-seven.”
Draco walked to Harry and kissed his neck. “If you insist,” he smiled against it.
Reluctantly, Harry broke away. “Actually, that wasn’t what I was really talking about.”
Draco’s brow furrowed.
“You know the stories I wrote? The ones about the boy called Liam? Well, I was thinking about cleaning them up a bit and trying to get them published. What do you think? Would you want to help me?”
“I’m not a writer.”
“But you’re a reader. You know what’s good and what’s not.”
“You could probably get them published as is. Any publisher would snap up Harry Potter’s stories in an instant.”
“That’s Potter-Malfoy now. And I don’t want to use my name. I’d like to see if they’re worth anything on their own, not simply because they’re mine.”
Draco stepped back and cocked his head. “You’re serious about this.”
Harry nodded.
“All right. I’d be happy to help. But, like I said, I’m not a writer. Nor am I an editor.”
“Draco, if anyone is particular enough to critique my work, it’s you. I know you said you liked the stories before, but that was when we were shiny and new. I need you to be brutal now.”
Smirking, Draco said, “All right. But you have to promise not to take any of it personally. I don’t want it to cause any tension between us.”
“Agreed.”
“So, what prompted this all of a sudden?” Draco asked.
“It’s not all of a sudden. I told you before that I might want to do something with them down the road,” Harry said. “But to be honest, it was watching you read to Dominique. I wondered what it would be like to listen to you read about Liam’s adventures.”
Draco smiled. “We didn’t have a chance to read this morning. Shall we take up our place on the sofa?”
“Now?” Harry asked.
“Why not?” Draco paused. “Oh, do you not have them in order yet from when I tossed them? I’m so sorry about that. I can help you--”
“No, they’re all in order. Don’t feel badly about that. I didn’t blame you one bit for being angry with me. I’m lucky you didn’t burn them. Anyway, that’s all behind us.”
“Then join me.”
Draco lay down first with Harry settling between his legs. He leafed through toward the end of the parchment book, and found what he was looking for. He cleared his throat.
“Wait, you’re starting with the last story?” Harry questioned. “That one is just for you and me.”
“Yes, I know,” Draco smirked. “I figured we could multitask. I’ll read and get us in the mood to meet our weekend goal.”
Harry shifted from side to side, pressing his back into Draco’s front.
“Not yet, I haven’t even started reading.”
“I was thinking we could act it out instead,” Harry suggested.
Draco paused and pursed his lips in thought, then tossed the book onto the floor.
“Good plan.”

Chapter Text

“The Unintentional Hero, by Mary Harper Tolftoy,” Draco read aloud. “What’s this?” He turned the roughly bound book over in his hand.
“My manuscript,” Harry answered. “I finally came up with a name.”
“Mary Harper Tolftoy?” Draco raised an eyebrow.
“It’s an anagram. For my name.”
“Yes, I gathered that. But . . .”
“You hate it,” Harry pouted. “You know, it wasn’t easy coming up with something. There are a lot of awkward letters in my name now, thank you very much.”
“Is Tolftoy even a name? It’s rather odd.”
Harry shrugged. “You try then.”
Draco’s brow furrowed as he stared at the name on the cover of the manuscript. He gave up quickly.
“I’ll think of something later. I actually wanted to show you a brochure for one of the places I’d want to take you this summer.” He handed Harry the pamphlet.
“Italy? I thought you wanted to go to Paris.”
“I want to take you everywhere. But we have to start somewhere. Do you not like it?”
“No, I do.”
“I think we should go to Venice first,” Draco said excitedly. “There are so many lovely places to go along the canals. And gondola rides are very romantic.”
“But I don’t speak Italian,” Harry said. “Or French, or any other language, for that matter.”
Draco reached out playfully and pulled Harry close by the waist. “You speak the language of love,” he said seductively.
“Draco,” Harry whinged. “You know what I mean. You’re so sophisticated and I’m just going to be a tourist.”
“Then let’s go somewhere we’ll both be tourists,” suggested Draco. “Where do you want to go?”
Harry pursed his lips, trying to think. Then a slow smiled grew on his face.
“How about something neither of us has done before? Something we didn’t get to do as children.”
“I’m afraid to ask.”
“Have you ever been to Thorpe Park?”
“Absolutely not.” Draco released Harry and stepped back, crossing his arms over his chest.
“Why not?”
“Because . . . it’s full of muggles with children. And we are not children anymore. I want to take you to see museums and operas. Places with beautiful landscapes. I know a lodge in the Alps that has a hot tub overlooking a snowy mountain. I’ve thought of making love to you there since our first kiss.”
Harry’s expression turned melancholy.
“What’s wrong? I thought that was a nice thing,” Draco sighed.
“It is. But it makes me think you’ve taken somebody else there before.”
Looking away, Draco admitted, “I have. It’s not the same. Harry, you have to understand. Before you, I had a long string one-offs and boy toys, who were only in it because I could afford to treat them to spas, dinners and vacation spots. Most of the time, the company was lacking. I hope you’re not saying that you won’t go anywhere I’ve been with another man.”
“Well, that’s why I want to go to Thorpe Park.”
Draco groaned. He wanted to please Harry. However, the thought of going to a crowded, garish amusement park full of loud, obnoxious muggles was none too appealing. He just knew Harry would love the places he wanted to take him.
Then he thought about what Harry told him about his childhood. The city zoo was probably the most exciting place his aunt and uncle had ever taken him. Draco sighed.
“All right. I’ll go to Thorpe Park with you. If you say you’ll let me take you to Venice. It’s not as though we won’t have time this summer.”
Harry smiled broadly and kissed Draco’s cheek. “You’ll love it. I promise.”
The pair began to make plans, first to go the amusement park and sight-see in London, then a week in Venice and another in the Swiss Alps.

***

The end of the term came and went. Harry could scarcely believe the year was over as he and several other professors saw the students off on the Hogwarts Express. He smiled to himself, watching Casper Montague walking shyly with Penelope Pipshaw. The girl was clearly as smitten with him as he was with her. It had been a good year for love, Harry thought. He glanced at the ring on his finger, unaware of the goofy grin on his face.
“Harry?” a voice startled him.
“Knox. How are you?”
“I’ve gotten a position at my alma mater, Alse Young. I’ll be moving to America in a few weeks.”
“Congratulations,” Harry offered. “I hope you’ll be happy there,” he said sincerely.
“I think I will. I need to get away from my family. Someday, I will be able to forgive them, perhaps. But not right now.”
Harry merely nodded.
“I suppose there will be a new Charms professor next year,” Knox said, making small talk.
“Yes. Although I haven’t heard of any prospects yet.”
They stood silently a while, watching the students file onto the train.
“Harry,” Knox turned to him. “I . . . just wanted to say that I’m sorry. I never meant to cause you any . . .” he trailed off.
Deciding to accept Knox’s apology, Harry said, “You didn’t. Draco and I are better than ever. We’re finally taking our honeymoon in a few weeks.”
“You deserve it. Well, I’d better be going.”
Knox hesitated, then turned and boarded the Express. It appeared to Harry that he may have been looking for more closure, perhaps in the form of a hug. But Harry couldn’t bring himself to betray Draco with even the slightest inappropriate contact.
He stayed to watch the train depart, then walked to catch a carriage. He stroked the neck of the thestral before getting in alone. During the ride back, Harry became more excited about the prospect of spending a lot of quality time with his husband, without the pressures of Hogwarts life.
When he arrived back at their quarters, Draco was already busy packing away his teaching materials for the summer. He had set aside a couple of books that he placed on the coffee table.
Harry picked up the one on top.
“Snape’s diary? I forgot all about this.” He leafed through the brittle pages.
“You really should finish reading it.”
Blushing, Harry put the diary down. “I don’t know how appropriate that would be. It was just strange to read about his . . . less than platonic thoughts about my mother.”
“Yes, I suppose I might feel differently if it were my own mother’s attributes that were being compared to a blushing rosebud,” Draco snickered. “But actually, I was more specifically referring to the later entries. Some of them were about you.”
“Me?” Harry frowned.
Draco walked over and picked up the journal. “I think you may be pleasantly surprised.” He handed the book to Harry.
“All right. But I think I’ll get my things packed up first. I haven’t started to clean up my classroom either.”
“I tidied up a bit in the Potions room,” Draco said. “But I plan on doing some experimenting, so I don’t want to put everything away.”
“I knew you wouldn’t be able to give it up for the summer,” smiled Harry.
“I need to keep up my skills,” Draco said. “I still hope someday to run my own apothecary.”
“What about teaching?”
“I enjoy teaching. For now. But I became a Potions Master in order to go into business for myself. I thought you knew that.”
Harry frowned. “I guess that makes sense. But I don’t like the idea of being here without you.”
“You taught here for two years before I came.”
“That was different. That was before I knew what it was like to be here with you.”
Draco stopped putting his books in the box. “I’ll be here a few more years at least. I’m not ready to open up a shop yet.” He paused. “You don’t look reassured.”
“I just didn’t think that far ahead. There seem to be a lot of things we didn’t think of before we got married.”
“Are you sorry?”
“No, of course not. That’s not what I’m saying.” Harry stepped forward and took Draco’s hand. “I’m only realizing that there may be more changes than we anticipated. I assumed we would be living here for many years. Possibly our entire lives.”
“I thought you wanted children. I’ve never heard of anyone raising children in the castle.”
“Me neither, but . . . I suppose you’re right.”
“Harry,” Draco smiled, trying to ease the crease that formed between Harry’s brow. “We’re young. Too young to think about children, in my opinion. Or to be tied down to a business. Let’s enjoy our lives. Who knows how we’ll feel in five years? We can’t worry about that now. We’ve only been married for two months.”
“Ron and Mione will have a baby by the end of the year.”
“But they’ve been together forever,” smirked Draco. “And babies seem to be the Weasley way. It doesn’t have to be our way. Not yet anyway.”
“Does that mean you’ll consider children in the future?”
“Like I said, who knows how we’ll feel in a few years? Maybe I’ll be ready by then.”
Harry pulled Draco close. “Thank you. That’s all I ask, that you’ll allow for the possibility.”
“I want to make you happy, Harry. I love you.”

***

“If one more person bumps into me, I’m going to turn them into a toad,” Draco grumbled as he and Harry walked through the crowd at Thorpe Park.
Harry laughed. “It’s not that bad. At least everyone’s happy.” He paused. “Everyone but you, that is.”
“I’m sorry, but you know I didn’t want to come here in the first place.”
“And you seem determined to hate it.”
They continued to walk in silence among the chatter of the crowd, and music playing over the loudspeaker.
It was true that Draco made it quite clear that this was not the sort of place he would enjoy, but Harry was certain that once there, he would loosen up. Harry suddenly stopped walking.
“You know what? Let’s just go. You’re sucking the fun out of it anyway. And if you’re going to be miserable, I’d rather leave.”
Draco stopped and turned around. Rather than the look of satisfaction Harry was expecting, his mouth was agape in dismay.
“What?” Harry snapped. “I thought that would make you happy.” He sighed. “There’s no pleasing you!”
As he stood, another person bumped into Draco, but he seemed not to notice.
“Making you unhappy does not make me happy. I’ll try to stop complaining.”
Harry took Draco’s hand and pulled him out of the path of other patrons after getting bumped into again.
“I don’t want you to pretend to be having a good time for my sake. I want you to enjoy this.”
“I’m sorry Harry. It’s just so loud and garish. And frankly, the concession workers are frighteningly friendly, and the people in costume freak me out a bit.”
Harry laughed. “I’ll give you that. But we can avoid them. Just come on a couple of rides with me. If you hate them, I promise I won’t drag you on anymore. There are a few shows you might enjoy, sort of like theater.”
“I survived the Death Eaters taking over my home, I should be able to get through a day at an amusement park,” Draco said, ashamed of his behavior thus far.
Leaning forward, Harry kissed him.
“Thank you. Come on.”
They weaved their way through the park, Harry walking with purpose as he pulled Draco along. When they finally stopped, Draco’s expression once again fell.
“Is this the line? How long will we have to wait?”
“The sign a little way back said it was an hour from that point. So, I’d guess from here it’s about forty minutes.”
Draco’s shoulders slumped. “What are we going to do for forty minutes?”
Harry’s lip curled. “I could think of a thing or two.”
“We’re in public. Are you mad?”
“I could use a glamour. No one would ever know,” Harry grinned.
“There’s no glamour strong enough to cover up two people having . . . um,” Draco glanced around to see if anyone was paying attention, then lowered his voice further. “In a compromising position.”
“You underestimate me,” Harry said smugly. “I may be bollocks at potions, but I excelled in charms in Auror training. Once, I cast a glamour on myself and Ron right in front of Shacklebolt, so we could finish our lunch.” Harry chuckled. “Kingsley thought we were hard at work behind my desk.”
“Really? I had no idea that could be done, much less that you could do it.”
“Aurors don’t like to advertise all of the training they go through. That glamour is especially useful during stakeouts.”
“Can all Aurors do that? Hide more than one person that well?”
“Well, no.” Harry scratched his head. “I was the only one who could make it work with more than one person,” he answered humbly.
The muggles in line before them moved up about a meter and a half.
“Look, we’re already moving up,” Harry said optimistically. “That sign up ahead says the wait is thirty minutes.”
“Plenty of time,” Draco said, licking his lips.
“Are you suggesting that you actually want me to use the glamour so we can . . .”
“You know how much it turns me on when you show off your powers.”
Harry’s grin widened. “Then you’re about to cream your pants. I can do this one without even taking my wand out of my pocket all the way.”
Draco let out an involuntary moan, then whispered, “Do it.”
Slipping his hand into his secret pocket, Harry mumbled a rather complicated spell, closing his eyes for a moment. Draco stared at his lover intently until he felt the shimmer of the glamour take effect. He’d done simple glamours on himself, but he’d never felt the buzz of power he did at the moment.
“That is the sexiest fucking thing,” Draco whispered.
Harry laughed. “You don’t have to whisper. They can’t hear us.” He stopped laughing when he saw the look of pure lust in Draco’s eyes. He gasped when Draco palmed his crotch.
“I wasn’t sure you’d trust my spell,” Harry said.
“When are you going to learn, Potter? I trust you with everything, with my very life. And my most prized possession.”
“Your dick?”
“Quite right.”
“Come on, we have to move up in line or it’ll look suspicious.” Harry noticed that the line had moved again. They’d have to keep their heads about them to keep up the guise. As they stepped forward, Draco kept his hand firmly in place.
When they stopped, Draco quickly unzipped the fly of Harry jeans and popped the button. He slipped his hand inside. Harry groaned when Draco’s fingers wrapped around his half hard cock.
“I’ve never done this in public before,” Harry breathed. “It’s rather exhilarating.”
Returning the favor, he groped for the buttons on Draco’s trousers.
“Yes, it is,” Draco agreed.
Somehow, they managed to move their place in line again, while stroking one another off. Harry was the first to pop, shooting his load onto Draco’s trouser leg.
“Fuck. I’m sorry.”
“Forget about it. Just keep going,” Draco urged.
Harry grinned, watching his lover’s head fall back as he came with a rather loud moan. Draco jerked his head up and gasped, forgetting for a moment that no one could hear them. He blushed, on top of the flush that accompanied his climax.
“That was lovely,” Harry said. “It’s not often I get to see you flustered. And look, we’re nearly there.”
He removed his wand for a spot clean up. Draco hurriedly buttoned his trousers, still a bit unnerved by what he and Harry had done, right in front of a crowd of muggles.
“Relax, Draco. No one has any idea,” Harry said as if reading his mind. “Now hold still a moment. I’m going to remove the glamour. It feels a little weird as the magic conforms to your shape before dissolving.”
Suddenly, the crowd invaded Draco’s ears. He hadn’t realized that they were muffled while the glamour was in effect. He glanced around at the people nearby. None were giving him or Harry suspicious looks, and he finally began to relax.
“Sometimes, I can’t believe you weren’t sorted into Slytherin,” he commented. “That was brilliant use of Auror training.”
“To be completely honest, I wasn’t entirely certain it would work. When I’ve used it before, we stayed in one place,” Harry confessed.
“Even more Slytherin.” Draco pulled him close and kissed him on the lips.
“Stop kissing and move up,” a young boy behind them called. “Ew.”
The pair laughed and moved up to their place in line. Only a few others were ahead of them.
“So, what is this ride anyway?” Draco asked.
“It’s called Colossus.”
Draco’s eyes followed one of the cars on the track as it whipped around and went upside-down, spiraling ten times before the ride was over.
“You expect me to get on that? Is it safe?”
“Of course it’s safe,” Harry assured him. “These things are inspected all the time.”
Draco appeared unconvinced.
Leaning closer, Harry whispered to him, “Don’t forget, if something does go wrong, you and I can disapparate away.”
“True. But . . .”
“You’ll love it,” Harry said. “It’s like flying. But faster.”
His eyes shone with excitement.
Reluctantly, Draco climbed into the small seat in the train when it was their turn. The ride operator lowered the restraints and made sure they were buckled in safely.
“You owe me for this Potter.”
Harry gave him a wink as the ride began to lurch forward in jerky movements. “How many times do I have to correct you? It’s Potter-Malfoy. And after this, you can have anything you want.”
The ride inclined sharply, and Draco gave Harry a worried look. Harry did feel badly that Draco was clearly nervous, so he took hold of his hand. Draco squeezed it so tightly, the circulation in Harry’s fingers was cut off.
“Fuck. I don’t like this Harry,” Draco shouted, closing his eyes shut.
Harry only laughed.
“Open your eyes Draco. You’re missing it.”
The blond forced himself to look as they crested a hill. He gasped at the sight. Taller than any of the trees, the ride briefly offered a wide view of the park.
Just a few moments after that, the ride was over.
“That’s it? It’s done already?” Draco asked.
“The beauty of roller coasters is that if you hate it, it doesn’t last long.”
“I didn’t hate it,” Draco admitted, climbing out of the train.
Smirking, Harry followed him out.
“See, I told you you’d like it.” He nudged Draco with his shoulder.
“I don’t know if I’d go that far. It’s a good thing I didn’t eat before we got on,” Draco said. “But it was sort of like flying for a bit.”
“Come on,” Harry smiled, grabbing Draco’s hand. “I know one you’ll like better.”
He led them to another roller coaster line. The wait was a little bit shorter, and the ride was more of a tall spinning sort.
Draco seemed more relaxed getting on the second ride and even kept his eyes open the whole time. He wore a grin as he stepped out of his seat.
“Now that one I liked. It was even more like flying, but spinny.”
“I knew you would,” Harry said, smiling at Draco’s excitement. “I’m thirsty. Let’s stop for lunch.”
They ordered two portions of fish and chips, and two Cokes, then sat down at a small picnic table. The food was greasy and overpriced, but they enjoyed it nevertheless.
“I’m sorry I was such a prat before,” Draco said between bites. He glanced up at Harry.
“I know this isn’t the sort of place you would normally go. We don’t have to stay if you don’t want to.”
“Actually . . . it’s fun. I’ve never done anything like this. And, if I haven’t ruined it for you, I’d like to stay. I want you to be happy.”
“Seeing a smile on your face makes me happy.”
They stayed a few more hours, going on rides and catching a Spiderman show. Harry even won a very large stuffed animal for Draco at one of the carnival games. But he swore he didn’t use magic.
“Thank you, Harry.”
“For what? The stuffed bear?” Harry pursed his lips. “Okay, I used a wee bit of magic.”
Draco laughed. “Well, yes, this as well,” he said as he hoisted the cumbersome toy onto a shoulder. “But I meant to thank you for the whole day. I’m very glad we didn’t leave when I wanted to.”
“So, maybe next time I suggest doing something that you think you won’t like, you won’t give me such a hard time?”
“Don’t press your luck,” Draco smiled. “But I’ll try to be more open minded. I had a great time, but would you mind if we left now?”
“I’m a little knackered myself.”
“Not too knackered, I hope.” Draco raised an eyebrow. “You told me if I went on that ride, I could have anything I want.”
They walked, grinning, hand in hand toward a row of trees and disapparated.

Chapter Text

Harry stood on the balcony of their Italian villa, overlooking the Maritime Alps, near the French border.
“You were right, Draco. This place is breathtaking.”
“You’re breathtaking,” Draco replied, still lying on the bed, covered in soft white satin sheets. Harry had left the French doors to the terrace wide open, allowing Draco to take in the view of the mountains in addition to Harry.
They had stayed at the Palazzo Cloisters the night before, after a week in Venice. Draco decided not to take Harry to the place in Como, where he had gone with other lovers. Though he had visited the area of Italy in which they were currently, Draco had not stayed at this particular villa. There were only three more days of their official honeymoon.
“I wish we could stare at this view forever.”
“So do I,” Draco leered.
Harry turned around and grinned.
“You’re impossible.” He plopped himself on the bed. “So what shall we do today? What sorts of entertainment does this little town of Triora offer?”
“Well, it’s definitely known for its cuisine. Do you like pesto?”
Harry shrugged.
“There are a couple of wonderful restaurants close by, if you insist on leaving our private little retreat.”
“All right. But we can’t eat the whole time we’re here.”
“Right you are. Pasta goes straight to my waist,” Draco said rubbing his belly. “We’ll have to do something to work it off.”
Ignoring Draco’s innuendo, but smiling, Harry said, “The caretakers mentioned something about a city with a casino not too far.”
“San Remo,” Draco said. “I’ve been there, but I was too young to gamble at the time. Actually, that might a nice diversion. We can dress in our finest tonight and I can make everyone jealous with you on my arm.”
“What about during the day?”
Draco sat up and traced a finger around one of Harry’s nipples.
“I’d prefer to stay right here in bed, but if you really want to go out, there are natural pools with falls and lush greenery. Very romantic.”
“I like the sound of that.” After a pause, Harry asked, “Have you gone there with anyone?”
“Now Harry, you can’t be jealous of everyone I’ve gone anywhere with. I don’t ask you about every man you’ve ever been with, do I?”
Harry frowned. “No. Now that you mention it, you’ve never asked about my past love life.”
“No, and I won’t. Partly because it truly doesn’t matter. Partly because, if I don’t know who they are, I can’t hex them.”
Harry laughed.
“You think I’m joking.”
Harry laughed harder. “No. I believe you’re quite serious. I’ll stop asking you about yours, then. You’re right, what matters is that we’re together now.”
They spent the remainder of their time in Italy exploring Triora, eating, and making love. As lovely as the vacation was, though, they were happy to get back to Hogwarts. Draco spent a fair amount of time reworking potions while Harry revised his story.
By the end of August, the first tome was ready to be sent out to local wizarding publishers and agents for consideration. Harry sent out his queries before the new school year began so he could concentrate on his curriculum, as he knew it would be weeks, if not months before he got any feedback.

***

The school year got off to a busy start and November seemed to arrive quickly. The new Charms professor was a woman who taught at Beauxbatons for twenty-six years before moving to Hogwarts for a change of pace. Draco had remembered her from his days of student teaching, but didn’t know her well. Harry was just thankful that the new professor was a woman, with no designs on either of them.
Two weeks earlier than expected, Harry and Draco found themselves sitting in chairs at St. Mungo’s, anxiously awaiting the birth of Ron and Hermione’s first child, along with several members of the Weasley clan.
George arrived, with tea in hand for Molly and Arthur.
“Any word yet?”
“Not yet,” Molly groused. “Not one word. And we’ve been here almost two hours.”
“These things take time, dear,” Arthur said, sipping his tea.
“Would you like me to get you something to eat from the cafe, Molly?” Harry offered.
He stood, preparing to leave when Ron burst through the doors, breathless.
All eyes were on him as they waited for him to speak.
“I’m a father,” he muttered.
Molly was the first to throw her arms around her son.
“Well, is it a girl or a boy?” she asked.
“Uh . . .”
“You did ask, didn’t you?” George laughed.
“I think I’m still a bit in shock, but I did remember to ask.” Ron paused. “It’s a girl.”
“When can we see her?” Molly immediately asked.
“They’re still cleaning her up and tending to Mione.”
“How is the poor dear?”
“Exhausted, but good. I’ll let you know when you can come back to the room,” Ron said, then disappeared behind the doors again.
Molly beamed, “Another girl. It’s so nice that the cousins will be able to play together.”
“Kind of ironic, isn’t it?” George began. “All your boys are having girls.”
“And after so many generations of Weasley boys,” Arthur added. “I guess Ginny started a trend.”
“What trend?” Ginny asked as she walked into the waiting room. She kissed her mum’s cheek. “Is there news?”
“Yes. It’s a girl,” Molly replied.
“Serves Ron right,” Ginny laughed. “What did they name her?”
“Oh, we didn’t even ask,” Molly said.
Ginny turned to see Harry and Draco sitting together.
“Harry, I didn’t know you’d be here,” she smiled.
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” he replied, standing to greet her.
She went to hug him, but stopped short. “What’s wrong?” she asked quietly.
“Nothing.”
“Harry Potter, don’t you lie to me. I can see that something is bothering you.” She let out a small gasp. “Is the baby all right?”
“Yes, Gin, the baby’s fine. As far as we know. Ron didn’t give too many details.”
“Then what is it?” Ginny quickly glanced at Draco, who was busy reading a book. She took Harry’s elbow. “Come on, let’s take a walk to the cafeteria. I haven’t eaten since lunch.”
Harry leaned over Draco. “I’ll only be a little while. Do you want anything?”
“No, I’m fine.” He gave Harry a reassuring smile. “I’ll come get you if Ron comes back.”
“Thanks love.” Harry kissed his temple and walked with Ginny.
“Is everything all right with you two?” she asked the moment they were out of earshot.
“Yes, things are great. Really, Gin. Draco and I are very happy together.”
“But there is something bothering you.”
He sighed. “I guess I’m feeling left out.”
“Of what?”
“Everyone else is starting families.”
“Not me,” Ginny laughed.
“But you’re not even married yet,” he pointed out.
“Not yet,” she said smiling.
“Ginny, did you get engaged?”
“No, but we’ve been talking about it. Owen is four years older than me. He said he’s ready to settle down. And he loves my family.”
“Your family is easy to love.”
Ginny placed a hand on Harry’s arm. “This isn’t about me, though. I want to know how you’re feeling?”
“I told you, it’s nothing. Just a little jealous, I suppose.”
“You don’t have to be. You and Draco can have a family too.”
Harry remained quiet the rest of the way to the cafeteria. Once there, the two parted ways to gather up snacks for the others, and a sandwich for Ginny. They met back up at the cashier to pay for their items. Ginny patiently waited for Harry to speak on the way back to the waiting room.
Finally, about halfway there, Harry admitted, “Draco doesn’t think he wants a family.”
“Oh. And did you not know this before you got married?”
“We didn’t really talk about it. I just assumed that was what most people wanted, eventually. I suppose I should have realized Draco could have a different outlook on the subject, considering his own family life.”
“You’re both still young. Maybe he’ll change his mind,” she suggested.
“Maybe. He did say that he would think about it, at least.”
“There’s always hope, Harry.”
He smiled, but he knew she couldn’t really understand. “You’re right,” he said, mainly to placate her.
When they arrived back at the chairs, everyone but Draco was gone.
“They all just went back to look at the baby,” he told them. “I was about to look for you.”
Harry and Ginny dumped the bags full of snacks on a couple of chairs and began to walk through the double doors to the maternity ward. Draco fell in line with them.
Up ahead, they could see heads pressed up against the large glass window. On the other side was a mediwitch holding up a small swaddled baby with a pink cap.
“Oh, she’s beautiful. Just beautiful,” Molly exclaimed.
“Mum, you can barely see her tiny little face peeking out,” George said. “For all I can tell, she might be the ugliest baby I’ve ever seen.”
“Shut it, George,” she admonished.
Just then, the baby yawned, garnering coos and grins, even from George.
Harry stared at the brand new person with awe. He, too, thought she was perfect. A perfect piece of both Ron and Hermione, created out of pure love. He felt a hand slip into his and turned his head to find Ginny, rather than Draco belonging to the hand.
“Some day, Harry,” she whispered encouragingly.
He smiled weakly back at her, then looked back at baby Rose. Ginny couldn’t possibly comprehend the obstacles he and Draco faced, even if they did decide to have children.
They could love and care for a child the same as anyone else. But they would never have a child that was equal parts Harry and Draco. Only one of them could be blood related to their child. Logically, Harry knew they could adopt and the child would be theirs regardless of blood ties. However, seeing the miracle that was Rose Weasley was a bittersweet moment for him. Another piece of his dream for a family faded. And once again, Harry would have to readjust his expectations for his future.

***

Draco walked into the quarters he shared with Harry, loosening his tie and plopping himself down on the sofa.
“Damn, I’m glad this week is over. The First Years are the most unruly bunch.”
Harry remained quiet, sitting at his writing desk.
“What do you want to do tonight?” Draco asked. “It’s our last free weekend for two weeks. I have duty next weekend and you have it the weekend after.”
He turned around to face Harry, who hadn’t responded.
“What’s wrong?”
Harry shrugged. “Nothing.” He held up a parchment. “Another rejection letter.”
“I’m sorry, love.” Draco’s brow furrowed. He shrugged off his robes and walked over to Harry, placing his hands gently on Harry’s shoulders. “I know you’re disappointed. But someone will have the good sense to pick up your book.”
Harry smiled sadly. “Thanks. But I’ve heard from nearly every agent I queried. Maybe it’s just no good.”
“Now that’s not true,” Draco assured him. He chuckled a little. “Maybe after your real life adventures, the agents are all jaded. They’re looking for something bigger than life. You’re a tough act to follow.”
“Surely, people are tired of the “boy fights the Dark Lord” bit by now,” Harry grumbled.
“What about the muggle agents? They’ve never heard of Harry Potter.”
“I didn’t query any muggle agents. I sort of wanted to keep our lives in the wizarding world,” Harry replied.
“Oh. Well, has anyone given you any feedback?”
Harry sighed. “Only one. And she said just what you suggested— my story needs more action.”
Draco leaned down, close to Harry’s ear. “Maybe you ought to give it to them. The one about Liam and Drake has plenty of action.”
Turning his head, Harry’s lips brushed Draco’s cheek. “I don’t think that’s the sort of action they’re looking for.”
“Ah, but I am,” Draco whispered. “In fact, I’ve decided what we should do tonight.” He turned so his lips could meet Harry’s.
Draco was able to coax Harry out of his melancholy with a few well-placed kisses as he pulled him into their bed chamber . . .

***

“Mm, so what shall we do for the rest of the weekend?” Draco stroked Harry’s sweat soaked hair as they lay together.
“I was kind of hoping to visit Ron and Hermione. Rose is already a month old and we’ve only seen her once since she was born.”
“It’s not like you’re missing much,” Draco snickered. “What can she possibly do besides sleep and shite?”
“Babies don’t shite. They poop,” corrected Harry. “I just want to see her. I want to be part of her life. I am her Godfather, after all.”
“All right. Why don’t you floo call them tomorrow and see if we can visit.”
“I can go by myself if you don’t want to.”
“Harry, I do want to go with you. Just because I’m not quite thrilled with infants the way everyone else is, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be social with you and your friends.”
Harry pursed his lips. “I was hoping by now you’d consider them your friends too, not just mine.”
“Well, I do but . . .”
“But nothing. They are your friends.”
“Then I will definitely go with you,” smiled Draco.
The following morning, they floo called Ron and Hermione, who were more than happy to receive guests. In fact, they seemed almost eager.
“Harry, Draco, so glad to see you,” Ron greeted them at their front door, practically hugging them both. “Come on in.”
Draco glanced at Harry with a raised eyebrow as they entered the house. Somewhere, behind a closed door, a baby cried. Loudly.
“How is everything going?” Harry asked. He didn’t want to say it, but Ron looked like shite.
“Great. Just fuckin’ great,” Ron smiled uneasily.
“Really?”
“No, of course not. We haven’t slept in two weeks.” Ron tugged at his hair. “She cries all the bloody time. The doctor said it’s something called colic.”
“What’s that?”
“I don’t fucking know. Whatever it is, it makes babies cry. And we’re part of the lucky twenty percent that get it,” Ron answered sarcastically.
“How about if I make some tea?” Draco offered, and headed for the kitchen.
“I’m sorry,” Ron slumped. “Things started off so great. She was a doll. And then, all of a sudden she started crying a couple of weeks ago.” He looked in the direction of the wailing. “At least I get to go to work during the week. Mione’s stuck here twenty-four, seven.”
As if on cue, Hermione walked out of the nursery, baby Rose swaddled in her arms.
“You take her,” she grunted at Ron. “Harry, good to see you.”
He gave her a hug. “I’d ask how you’re doing, but Ron’s already filled me in.”
“I’m sure he’s painted quite the grim picture,” she rolled her eyes. “She cries a lot, but not all the time. He doesn’t have any tolerance for it.”
They both looked at Ron, who was rocking the baby clumsily.
Hermione leaned forward and whispered, “He tries. He really does. But he’s pants at the whole baby soothing thing.”
Carrying a tray with a steeping pot of tea and four small handleless cups, Draco entered the drawing room.
“Hello,” he smiled pleasantly, as though Rose’s crying wasn’t bothering him in the least.
“Oh, thank you Draco,” Hermione said, appreciative of the refreshment.
“I’ll be back with some milk and sugar,” he said.
“No, sit. I’ll get it,” she insisted.
Meanwhile, Harry was eyeing Ron and his daughter.
“Why don’t you spell Ron for a while,” Draco said. “You know you’re dying to.”
Harry smirked, knowing Draco was right, and walked over to Ron. He held his arms out for the infant. Ron didn’t hesitate to hand her over.
Even bawling, Harry thought Rose was perfect. He shifted her up so her head rested on his shoulder, and her crying temporarily abated.
Ron frowned. “How’d you do that?”
“She doesn’t cry every minute of the day, Ron,” Hermione said, bringing another tray with milk, sugar and almond biscuits into the room.
Harry patted her bottom. “I think she’s got some wind. Either that, or she’s pooped.”
“I’ll change her,” Hermione said, and took her back into the nursery.
Draco began to pour our tea. “Have you tried a dummy?” he asked.
Ron shook his head. “Hermione’s parents said it’s not good for the teeth or the, um . . .” He pointed inside his mouth. “Here.”
“The roof of her mouth?” Harry questioned.
“The palate,” Draco clarified.
“Yeah, that.” Ron pointed at Draco. “A dummy might mess that up. But they’re dentists for Christ’s sake. They should be able to fix that sort of thing, right?”
Harry shrugged. “Can’t you use magic to make her stop crying? Or cast a silencing charm on her?”
“Do you think I didn’t try that the first time she cried?” Ron threw up his arms. “Hermione was furious with me.”
Just then, Hermione came back with a freshly changed Rose, who, for the moment, seemed content.
“And rightly so, Ron,” she said. “Babies’ cries mean different things. If you silence them, you won’t know what the baby needs.”
“May I?” Harry asked, impatiently.
He took the baby and sat in a rocker, while the others sat down on the sofa to have tea.
The four of them chatted and passed the baby when she got fussy. Even Draco took a brief turn. Though, it was almost worse for Harry to see him with an infant in his arms.
They made plans to gather together at the Weasley’s for Christmas, as Harry usually did. The entire clan would be there. Harry was looking forward to seeing Percy’s new daughter, Molly. And he was secretly hoping Dominique would once again affix herself to Draco’s side, and perhaps weaken his resolve.

During the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, Harry received his last two rejection letters.

Chapter Text

During the Christmas holiday, Harry and Draco split their time between Malfoy Manor and The Burrow. The difference in households was night and day. While they had tea by the fire in the Manor with Narcissa and Lucius, they had lively debates and raucous card games with the Weasley siblings.
Percy’s daughter, though only two months older than Rose, seemed to have grown a distinct personality already. She smiled easily, and took in the world around her with wonder. But Harry had a special place in his heart for Ron and Hermione’s daughter, and he suspected no other little girl would be able to wiggle her way in, no matter how adorable.
Rose wasn’t crying as much these days. However, Ron still hadn’t figured out the secret to soothing her. Occasionally, Hermione didn’t have any better luck. Christmas day was one of the baby’s good days, though, and everyone was happy to take a turn holding the seven week old.
Dominique, it seemed, had forgotten all about her personal narrator from Easter, and hid behind Bill when she saw the tall blond. Harry was disappointed, as he was hoping she would bring out Draco’s fatherly tendencies again.
“I guess it’s been too long for her to remember you,” Bill said to Draco, a bit embarrassed by the girl’s reaction.
“Quite all right,” Draco smiled. “Clearly, I’m not one of the clan, and she senses that. Children are very perceptive.”
Bill nodded. “Come Nikki, let’s go find Grammy.”
Fleur kissed each of Draco’s cheeks as she greeted him. “Lovely to see you,” she said.
“Likewise,” he returned.
Beside him, Harry grinned. After saying their hellos to him, Bill and Fleur had received Draco without hesitation. When the Weasleys accepted someone into their lives, they did it whole-heartedly.
“And what are you grinning at so goofily?” Draco asked.
“I’m happy,” Harry answered. “Isn’t that a good enough reason?”
“For most people,” Draco smirked.
“Here.” Harry held out Rose to him. “I have to go to the loo. Can you hold her?”
“See, I knew there was something.” But Draco took the baby nonetheless.
She was beginning to fuss and working her mouth. He suspected that Harry simply didn’t want to deal with a potential crying fit. Her lip curled and she began to whimper.
“Thanks, Harry,” he muttered to himself.
Putting a finger to her mouth, he noticed an almost desperate attempt on her part to get it. He immediately sought out Hermione, who was sitting at the kitchen table peeling potatoes with Ginny.
“I’m afraid Rose appears to be hungry. Not much I can do to help her there.”
“I’m surprised she’s lasted this long,” Hermione said. “She should have eaten almost an hour ago. Come on baby,” she cooed as she took Rose out of Draco’s arms. Hermione disappeared up the stairs for some privacy.
“Looks like you’ve just volunteered for potato duty,” Ginny laughed, holding out a peeler.
Draco scratched his head, unsure whether or not she was serious. After a moment, he shrugged and sat down in the chair vacated by Hermione.
“I confess that I’ve never done this before,” he told Ginny.
“It’s easy. Just swipe the blade over the skin until it peels off.”
“Why don’t you do this with magic?” he asked.
“Because it tastes better if you have to work for it,” Molly said.
Still unsure if they were teasing him, Draco got to work peeling. Before long, twenty pounds of cut up potatoes were on the stove, boiling in a large pot. Draco was fascinated by some of the other food preparation going on and stayed in the kitchen to watch.
When they all finally sat down to dinner, he passed the bowl of whipped potatoes to Harry.
“I helped with these,” he whispered. He picked up a forkful and put it in his mouth, a slight frown of concentration on his face. He glanced up to see that others were watching him chew very slowly. After finally swallowing his bite, he announced, “I think they do taste better when you have to work for it.”
Molly and Ginny were the only ones who burst out laughing. Everyone else seemed to think it was simply an odd comment.
Feeling the need to explain, so Draco wasn’t embarrassed, Molly said, “Draco helped us peel and cut the potatoes. He asked why we didn’t use magic to do it. I told him they taste better when you do things by hand.”
“That’s how you get the love in there,” George said. “Mum puts it in everything she does,” he told Draco.
Draco nodded and looked over the spread on the table. “She must love you a lot.” He blushed at the ensuing laughter at his innocent comment.
Harry leaned over. “They’re not making fun. It’s just that Molly has a reputation for going a bit over the top.”
“A bit?” Ron raised an eyebrow.
During dinner, Draco and Harry told them all of their honeymoon visits. Arthur was especially fascinated by the amusement park. He had all sorts of questions about how the rides worked. But everyone else was more interested in the city on the water or the private villa.
Harry talked them through each day of their visit, adding his observations and opinions about the people and places they saw. He described the gondola rides, tours of the major attractions and the fresh seafood they ate daily in mouthwatering detail.
“I ate eel for the first time,” he told them. “And they have this crumbly almond cake sort of thing, freg-a-la-tto,” he sounded out slowly.
“Fregolotta,” Draco corrected, in a spot on Italian accent.
“Oh, right. Anyway, if you can ever get there, I highly recommend the trip. It’s very romantic,” Harry said.
“Harry, that was all very entertaining,” Ginny said. “I never knew you had such a wonderful way of telling a story.”
“He’s a wonderful story teller,” Draco began, until Harry nudged him with his knee. Getting the point that Harry wasn’t quite ready to announce his aspirations, he added, “Harry has told me about his many adventures while at Hogwarts, some that most people have never heard, I reckon.”
Later on, when they arrived back at Hogwarts, Draco asked why he wanted to keep his story writing a secret.
“Because I tried it, and it hasn’t panned out,” Harry explained. “I don’t want to advertise that I’m a failure.”
“You’re hardly a failure, Harry. How many queries did you send out? Ten? Twelve?”
“Eight.”
“Eight? That’s hardly trying. I’ve read that some of the muggle best sellers had been rejected dozens of times before they were picked up. You just need to find the right agency.”
“Well, that’s the muggle world. There are only so many English speaking wizarding publishers.”
“Then send out to the muggles,” Draco suggested.
Harry shrugged. He was hesitant after his rejections.
Not one to take no for an answer, or no answer at all, Draco took control instead.
“Where is one of your manuscripts?”
“Why?” Harry asked.
“Because I’m going to re-edit. And then you’re going to do some research on muggle agencies and write a new query letter. And, you’re going to use your real name.”
“But . . .”
“Like it or not, you’ve got a great name. It’s simple and easy to remember. It’s likable. And if it helps to sell your book, why not use it?”
“I, uh . . .”
“I’ll not have you moping around,” Draco said firmly. “You’re Harry Potter, dammit. You’re a Gryffindor, you don’t just give up.”
Shocked at first by Draco’s reprimand, Harry smiled. It was probably the kick in the arse he needed after feeling sorry for himself for so long.
“All right. But this time I want you to really be brutal. I think you went easy on me the last time you helped me edit.”
Nodding, Draco agreed. “I already have some ideas.”
Harry frowned.
“Oh, don’t look so worried. It’s going to be great.”

***

Harry sat in the Great Hall, speaking with McGonagall during dinner. Draco told him to go ahead without him as he was offering extra practice to some of his Fifth Years preparing for OWLs.
“And this year’s dance may prove to be an even bigger hit than last year,” McGonagall went on. “I’ve put some of the Seventh Year girls in charge of decorations, and they’ve come up with some wonderful ideas.”
“Minerva, any chance that Draco and I can beg off chaperoning this year, since we did it last year? It is Valentine’s Day, after all.”
She smiled. “Well, seeing as it’s your first as a married couple, I think I could arrange for other professors to chaperone this year.”
He nodded. “Thank you.”
“Do you have special plans?’ she asked.
“I was hoping to do something a little more unorthodox,” Harry answered vaguely. “I want it to be very special.”
“Sorry, I’m late,” Draco said, sitting down. “I didn’t expect to be this long.”
“Your students just not getting it?” Harry questioned.
“On the contrary. The ones who stayed after class today are some of my top students.”
“Is there a problem, Draco?” asked Minerva.
“Yes, I seem to have a few Hermiones on my hands.”
“What do you mean?”
Harry laughed. “I think he means they’re a little too enthusiastic about their schoolwork. Am I right?”
“Yes. O.W.L.s aren’t for another four months. And yet these students are already stressing over them. Not that any of them need to. So far, they’ve all got Outstandings for the year. Was Granger, er, Hermione this bad?”
“She was always on about how Ron and I should have been studying harder,” Harry said. He paused. “Speaking of them . . . I’ve offered to babysit Rose so they can go out. They haven’t had much opportunity since she was born.”
Draco put down his fork, and regarded Harry. “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
“Well, I was hoping we could babysit her together.”
“Mhm.” Draco arched an eyebrow, waiting for Harry to continue.
“On . . . um, Valentine’s Day.” Harry bit his lip. “I know. It’s our first one since we got married. But it’s Ron and Hermione’s too. And they don’t get to go out the way we can. And nobody else offered . . .”
Draco sat with his mouth open. “Babysitting? That’s how you want to spend Valentine’s Day?”
“It’s just a day, Draco. Made up as a holiday by someone. Simply think of it as just February fourteenth. We can go out the next day.”
“The fourteenth? Oh, damn,” muttered Draco. “I hadn’t even made the connection.”
Harry frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“You’re not going to believe this, but that’s the day of my father’s review.”
“What review?”
“One of the stipulations of his release last year was a hearing to review his case. A sort of parole hearing, if you will. It should be just a formality as my father has adhered to all of the conditions placed on him. But, the date they’ve chosen is February fourteenth.”
“When were you going to tell me you need the day off?” Minerva smirked.
“Oh, I won’t. I’ve asked that the hearing begin after my classes that day so I can accompany my father to court.”
Harry pouted. “So not only can you not help me babysit, we couldn’t have gone out anyway?”
“Harry, you just said yourself that it’s just a day. We can go out on Saturday. Any place you’d like.”
Harry shrugged. He knew Draco didn’t understand his motives. And Harry didn’t exactly want to explain them. He was hoping that the pair of them, alone, caring for a child, would spark some sort of yearning in Draco. It frustrated Harry that Draco seemed to have some innate ability with children that he was blind to. Dominique, Rose and Percy’s daughter, Molly all responded to him positively. Not to mention the students at Hogwarts. He was very popular, and not just for his dashing good looks. He had a patience with them that he hadn’t ever displayed as a youth himself.
Draco’s soothing voice disrupted Harry’s thoughts.
“It shouldn’t take too long. Why don’t I go to Ron and Hermione’s flat afterwards. I can bring supper.”
“All right,” Harry replied. It was better than nothing.

 

***

“May I have your wand, Lucius?” the Interrogator asked.
“My wand? What for?”
“We’re going to test it for Dark Magic.”
“Father,” Draco whispered. “Just hand it over. Protesting will make it look as though you’ve got something to hide.”
“But I don’t have anything to hide,” Lucius snorted. He removed his wand from his pocket and handed it over.
“Thank you.” The man walked away and went into another room.
“Mr. Malfoy, just a few more questions.” Another Interrogator sat at a table with two other members of the Wizengamot, while the Chief Warlock presided at a large desk that loomed over the others. As it was simply a hearing, and not a trial, the full Wizengamot was not present. Draco sat by Lucius’ side in the middle of the room. They’d been questioning Lucius for nearly an hour already.
“There is the small matter of your Gringotts accounts,” one of them said.
“I have only one account at Gringotts,” Lucius said. “My wife and son have separate accounts.”
“I see. That would explain why you haven’t claimed them as assets.”
“I was told that only my own property, or property owned jointly with my wife were subject to investigation,” Lucius said.
“True. When did you open the account for your son?”
“Upon his birth. It was held in trust until his eighteenth birthday, when he gained sole control over it.”
“There is an awful lot of money in that account,” the Interrogator said, not exactly accusing but hinting at impropriety.
One of the other Interrogators nudged him and nodded in agreement.
“I didn’t hide my money there, if that’s what you’re insinuating.”
The Interrogator smiled insincerely, “I wasn’t insinuating anything. I was merely pointing out that it was a rather large sum of money. But . . . now that you mention it, transferring money into your son’s or wife’s account would be a good way to avoid losing your money, should the courts decide it was obtained illegally.”
The sole Interrogator in the room representing Lucius finally spoke up.
“That is something that should have been ascertained during his trial and initial sentencing, which, I believe, was. It has no bearing on his actions of the past year. That is all this hearing is about.”
“Very well. I agree,” the Chief Warlock said. “Move on.”
The bald man in the middle stood.
“Have you left the country since your release?”
“No.”
The man leaned forward as if to drive his point further. “Mr. Malfoy, it is imperative that you answer these questions with one hundred percent honesty.”
“Yes, I understand that,” Lucius replied.
“So, I’ll ask again. Have you left the country, for any reason, since your release from Azkaban?”
“No, I have not.”
Looking at a parchment in front of him, the man pursed his lips. “I have information here indicating a Mr. Malfoy traveling in Venice, Italy. There are hotel records as well as restaurant receipts. Also, the same for Triora, Italy during a consecutive time period.”
Draco raised his hand. “Excuse me. That was me, not my father.”
“Hmm. Is that so?” The man was skeptical.
Another man at the table spoke up. “Easy for you to say. Can you prove it?”
“I wasn’t aware that I was the subject of this hearing,” Draco said. “The burden of proof is not on me.”
Lucius glared at his son’s impertinence.
“However, if your records were thorough,” Draco continued. “You would see that the name registered for those hotels is not Lucius Malfoy, but rather Draco.”
A shuffling of parchment at both tables gave Lucius a moment to speak to his son quietly.
“They seem to have it in for me.”
“They want to make certain this deal doesn’t come back to bite them in the arse. I just hope I actually did register at one of those hotels using my first name.”
“You mean, you were bluffing?”
“I see nothing to prove your claim Mr. Malfoy,” the Wizengamot member said. “Do you have anything to add?”
After a lengthy pause, Draco said, “Oh, were you speaking to me or my father?”
“You. You claim to be the one traveling,” the interrogator said, most annoyed.
Draco smiled condescendingly, “Forgive me. I was confused. Or perhaps you are. Mr. Malfoy is my father. I am Mr. Potter-Malfoy. My husband and I were traveling on our honeymoon in July of last year.”
One of the Interrogator’s cleared his throat. “Right. Um, I think we can move on.”
“Unless you’d like me to drag my husband in to testify . . .”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“He won’t be happy about it, but I’m sure Harry would be willing to take time out of his busy schedule to come in and corroborate my claim.”
Draco could practically see the lightbulbs go on over the other Wizengamot’s heads as they murmured amongst themselves. He glanced over at the Interrogator for his father, who gave him a wink and a smile.
Lucius whispered to his son, “I never thought I’d be happy that you took Potter’s name. Do you think he’d be willing to testify?”
“He won’t have to. I just wanted to remind them who’s family they’re trying to fuck with.”
Lucius wasn’t able to suppress a smile.
Clearly, Harry’s efforts to keep their marriage and private life private had proven successful. Of course, rumors were always circling about. But Rita Skeeter did not get an exclusive interview about the wedding and all she had was speculation. Neither Harry nor Draco’s names had appeared in print in months. Draco suspected that the higher-ups in the Ministry didn’t pay much attention to the gossip columns anyway.
Just then, the man who had taken Lucius’ wand returned.
“It’s clean.”
“Give it back to him then,” The Chief Warlock said. He turned to the three Interrogators. “Do you have anymore questions for Mr. Malfoy?”
They all glanced at one another, and then their parchments. One spoke for all of them.
“No, sir. We recommend that Mr. Lucius Malfoy has satisfied the requirements of his release and should be free to go.”
Lucius’ Interrogator stood. “Free and clear. He is no longer bound to the terms of the agreement.”
“He still has to obey the law,” the Chief Warlock reminded him.
“Of course. But he is free to travel, conduct his business and live as any other free wizard.”
The Chief Warlock banged his gavel and declared it so. Lucius and Draco stood as the members of the Wizengamot exited the room.
“Well played,” Lucius’ Interrogator said. “Not that it was really necessary. There was nothing in those parchments that could have kept the hearing from ending any other way.”
“That certainly didn’t stop them from trying,” Draco pointed out.
The man held out his hand and smiled. “You’re a free man, Mr. Malfoy. Congratulations.”
“Thank you.”
“And, don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I never see you in here again.”
“You won’t,” Draco answered for his father.
The pair left the Ministry and apparated back to Malfoy Manor. Narcissa greeted them with champagne.
“Well, since you’ve both returned, I suppose the champagne won’t go to waste.”
“Father is as free as any man,” Draco picked up a flute and held it up in toast.
“Clara has been holding supper for us. Draco, you must stay,” Narcissa said.
“I’m sorry, Mother. But it’s Valentine’s Day and I want to spend what’s left of the evening with Harry. The two of you have some celebrating of your own to do,” Draco smirked.
Without her usual protesting, Narcissa kissed his cheek. “Give him our love, darling.”
“To be sure,” he raised an eyebrow.
He downed his glass and headed for the front door. The wards around the house were still strong, and he had to step outside to disapparate. First, he went to Harry’s favorite cafe in Diagon Alley to pick up a late supper, then made a quick stop at Hogsmeade to get chocolate roses from Honeydukes. Finally, he went to the Three Broomsticks for butterbeer. Armed with the goodies, he used the floo to travel to Ron and Hermione’s flat.

Chapter Text

Harry was nearly in tears when he heard the roar of the fireplace. He turned to find, not Ron and Hermione, but Draco coming out.
“What’s wrong?” Draco asked. “I’m sorry I’m so late. But I brought food.” He held up his packages.
Watching Harry’s bottom lip quiver, he immediately dropped the bags and went to hug him.
“Where’s Rose?”
“In her cot. Crying.”
Draco frowned. He heard no crying. “She must have fallen asleep.”
“No. I . . . I used a Silencio. I’m a terrible person.”
“You’re not a terrible person. Come on, let’s check on her.”
“I tried everything, Draco. I changed her nappies, changed her outfits, gave her bottles, put her in the swing . . . nothing worked. She just cried.”
“Babies cry,” Draco shrugged. “Didn’t they say she had that colic?”
“They told me she was over it by now.”
They opened the door to the nursery to find Rose in a silent scream.
“Take off the spell, Harry, and we’ll figure out what’s wrong.”
Their ears were immediately assaulted by her high-pitched wails. Harry picked her up and rocked her. He patted her bottom.
“She doesn’t feel wet.”
“Is she hungry?”
Harry shook his head. “No, she ate two hours ago. She shouldn’t be hungry.”
“Try holding her more upright,” Draco suggested, recalling a time Harry was able to calm Rose that way.
Harry shifted her and bounced her while Draco gently patted her back. Suddenly, she burped and Harry’s shoulder was covered in thick, yellow mucous.
Draco wrinkled his nose. “That’s fairly disgusting.”
“Get me a flannel or something.”
While Draco looked around for something to wipe up the mess, Harry continued to pat her. She burped again, and Harry felt warm liquid running down his back.
“Ugh. Draco hurry.”
“I’ll need something bigger.” Draco picked up a blanket and tried his best to blot up the spit up.
“Just do a Scourgify,” Harry said impatiently. “It feels sticky. And it’s getting cold now.”
Draco laughed. “I thought you thought everything she did was adorable. Hold still.”
He waved his wand and cleaned up both Harry and the baby.
“That was most definitely not adorable,” Harry said. “That’s worse than poop.”
“Harry?”
“What?”
“She’s asleep.”
“She is? Thank Merlin,” Harry whispered. “Do you think I should try to put her down?”
Draco nodded. “Carefully.”
They both held their breath as Harry ever so slowly lowered her down into the cot. When it appeared that she would remain asleep, they tiptoed out of the room and closed the door behind them.
Harry sighed, his shoulders slumping in defeat. “I am pants at babysitting.”
“You’re inexperienced,” Draco corrected. “I’ll help you clean up and then we’ll eat. All right?” he smiled gently. “By the way, what happened in here?” He picked up two outfits from the ground.
The pair walked around the drawing room picking up clean nappies, dirty nappies, clean clothes, dirty clothes and just about every toy from Rose’s nursery. While Harry took the empty bottles into the kitchen, Draco quietly crept into the nursery to put the toys away, and to check on Rose.
He froze in place as she took in a deep shuddered breath. He placed the toys on the floor in the corner and silently left the room.
When he returned, Harry was biting his lip, sitting on the sofa.
“Is she all right?”
“She’s fine. Sleeping like a baby.” Draco retrieved the bags he brought. “I picked up some Yorkshire puddings, but I think you need this more.” He took out a butterbeer and handed it to Harry.
“Thank you,” Harry said gratefully. “How did your father’s hearing go?”
Draco smiled. “Very well. He’s been declared free. No more checking up. Or so they say.”
“The Ministry never stops checking up,” Harry said. “But as long as Lucius stays on the up and up, they’ll leave him alone.”
They chatted a while and ate, which Harry hadn’t done since breakfast. When they finished the Yorkshire puddings, Draco gave Harry the bag with the chocolate roses inside.
“But I don’t have anything for you,” Harry said. “I mean, I do, but not here.”
“It’s nothing really Harry.”
Harry peeked inside. “Chocolate is never nothing,” he grinned. “Thank you, for all of this. You always know what I need. You take such good care of me.”
“That’s a husband’s job.”
“I hope I take good care of–”
Rose’s cries interrupted Harry.
“Well, at least we got to eat first,” he said, feeling much more relaxed since Draco arrived.
“Sit. I’ll get her,” Draco offered.
Harry was getting a bit worried as Rose’s wails continued, but Draco had not brought her out yet. He was about to get up when Draco returned.
“That’s not what she was wearing when we put her down.”
“Her other clothes had shite, um, poop all over them. So I chose something else from her layette.”
“You changed her?”
“Was I not supposed to?” Draco asked.
“I’m the one who offered to babysit. I didn’t expect you to do it,” Harry said. “She’s still fussy. Maybe she’s hungry again. I’ll get a bottle.”
Draco followed Harry into the kitchen, bouncing the baby. He spoke to her in a gentle voice while Harry readied her meal.
“She’s quite pleasant when she’s not screaming,” Draco noted.
“She really seems to respond to your voice,” Harry said. “You sound different when you talk to her.” He took a moment to admire the two of them.
“Why don’t I clean up while you feed Rose,” Draco suggested. He handed her to him and went into the drawing room.
Harry sat at the kitchen table thinking back on the evening. It hadn’t gone exactly as planned. Rose looked up at him as she drank. She was beautiful and sweet. And a lot more work than he thought she’d be.
He heard voices coming from the drawing room. Hermione walked into the kitchen and gave Harry a huge smile.
“Look at the two of you. Harry, you’re a natural.”
“Hi Mione. Did you have a good time?”
“It was wonderful,” she said. “We went to dinner at one of my favorite muggle restaurants, then we saw a movie. Ron was such a good sport. It wasn’t the sort of movie he would have preferred.”
“I’m glad you had a nice night. You deserve it.”
“I hope Rose didn’t give you too much trouble.”
“Not at all,” he lied. “Actually . . . I have a confession to make.”
“What is it?”
“I’m not very good at babysitting. I would have completely fallen apart if it weren’t for Draco.” Sighing, Harry admitted, “I used Silencio on her. I’m so sorry.”
Hermione pursed her lips and brushed a stray hair from Rose’s forehead. “Well, it isn’t as if Ron has never done that.”
“I was at my wit’s end. Nothing I did worked.”
“She looks content now.”
“She only slept a little while, though. And only after she spit up all over me.”
Covering her mouth, Hermione tried to stifle a giggle. “Oh, I’m so sorry. She does that sometimes. I’ll take her now and put her down. We really appreciate you looking after her for us.”
Harry followed her out of the kitchen and into the drawing room, where Ron and Draco were having a conversation about Lucius’ hearing. He smiled to himself, thinking never once during his days at Hogwarts would he ever have believed that someday they would be friends. Draco turned when he noticed Harry.
“Ready to go love?”
Harry nodded.
“She’s exhausting, isn’t she?” Ron laughed. “So when will you be ready for one?”
Harry glanced at Draco. “I don’t know. Maybe never. At this point I don’t know if I’m cut out for it.”
Ron clapped him on the back. “Never say never, mate.”

***

Loosening his tie as he entered the quarters he shared with Harry, Draco seemed lost in thought.
“What’s wrong? Did Ron say something about your father to upset you?”
“No,” Draco shook his head. “He said basically the same thing you did. But I shouldn’t be surprised that the Ministry keeps tabs on former criminals.”
“Then what’s got you looking so pensive?” Harry asked.
“Just trying to decide where to fuck you,” Draco said absently, then grinned.
“Why do you have to choose? Let’s do it everywhere,” Harry said. “But first I want to give you a present.”
He went to the roll top desk and took out a neatly wrapped thin box. As he handed it to Draco, he said, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“You didn’t need to get me anything. It’s not really a gift giving holiday. Besides chocolates.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
Inside the box were a pair of exquisitely handcrafted dragon hide gloves. They were a soft grey to match Draco’s overcoat and lined with puffskein fur.
“Harry, how did you know I wanted these?” Draco immediately took them out of the box and tried them on. They fit perfectly.
“Hermione overheard you talking to Charlie at Christmas. You said you wanted a pair, but dragon skin items were so hard to come by these days.”
“Where did you find them?” Draco asked, holding his hands out to admire the gloves.
“Charlie. When one of their dragons dies, they sell it. Apparently, the manufacturers get into a bidding war over them. That’s what funds a good deal of Charlie’s projects,” Harry told him. “Anyway, he’s got some pull, so he special ordered a pair for me.”
“They’re . . . just lovely. Thank you.” Draco frowned. “But I don’t have such a gift for you.”
“I don’t care. You brought me dinner and chocolate roses,” Harry smiled. “And you saved me from tearing my hair out tonight at Ron and Hermione’s.”
“Hardly seems even,” Draco said, still looking at the gloves.
“Love isn’t about what’s even. And besides, you do so much for me.”
Draco took off the gloves and put them aside.
“Shower,” he said.
“What?”
“I’ve decided to fuck you in the shower. Come on,” Draco ordered, taking Harry by the hand. “We’ve still got thirteen minutes of Valentine’s Day to celebrate.”
They stripped, and Draco uncharacteristically left his clothing in a pile on the bathroom floor, along with Harry’s.
Snogging and groping, they waited for the water to warm then stepped in the shower. Draco turned Harry around to better reach his arse. Harry widened his stance in response. Reaching for the special oil they kept in the shower for such occasions, Draco generously coated his fingers. He poked one inside Harry while his other hand ran over the mound of smooth flesh of Harry’s bottom.
“You have the finest arse I have ever seen,” he whispered in Harry’s ear.
He put a second finger in.
Harry reached around his back for Draco’s cock, but the angle was odd and he groped air instead. Draco had purposely moved back and out of the way.
“No, no,” he said. “Let me concentrate on you.”
A third finger slipped inside Harry, making him groan. The warmth of the water along with Draco’s ministrations was relaxing after the harrowing ordeal of babysitting. He was slow to harden, but they had all the time in the world.
Draco tenderly attended every inch of Harry’s body until neither could stand the teasing no more. He bent Harry low and moved them forward so Harry could brace his hands against the wall. Taking Harry in quick, hard thrusts, Draco progressed toward his climax swiftly.
“Fuck. Harry, I’m too close.” He slowed and smoothed his movement only to have Harry complain.
“No. Keep fucking.” Harry’s hand stroked his cock with breakneck speed. “Harder.”
“But I’m . . . shit. I have to slow-”
“No. Don’t.” Harry pushed his hips back to meet Draco’s more forcefully.
Draco nearly lost his footing, his orgasm hit him so hard. “Oh, Harry.” He lurched forward, pushing Harry against the wall. “Damn,” he cursed himself.
“Keep fucking, keep fucking,” Harry urged. Draco would not stay hard much longer.
“I . . . I can’t.” Draco slowed then stopped completely. The warm shower and steam had hastened his deflation. “I’m sorry.”
“Fuck.” Harry released his mostly flaccid cock.
“I’m so sorry.”
Harry shook his head. “It’s not you.” He leaned against his forearm on the wall for a few moments.
“What’s wrong?” Draco finally dared to ask.
“I . . .” Harry let out a small chuckle. “I kept expecting to hear a baby cry. I had a hard time concentrating.” He turned to face Draco. “How pathetic is that?”
“Pathetic isn’t the word I would use. Perhaps, frustrating. But Harry, there are no babies within kilometers of Hogwarts.”
“I know. I guess the whole evening has gotten to me.”
Draco turned off the shower and grabbed a couple of towels for them. He wrapped his around his waist and went to the liquor cabinet. He opened a shiny new bottle of Sherry and poured two small glasses.
“Here.”
“I’m sorry. I feel like I ruined our evening,” Harry said, taking a sip.
“Oh, you haven’t ruined anything. The evening is not over, as far as I’m concerned,” Draco grinned.
“Ah, plying me with alcohol?”
“Is it working?”
“Well, I do feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”
“Do you feel up to making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside?” Draco leered. “But you have to promise to stop thinking about babies, and concentrate on me,” he smirked.
“I wasn’t thinking about babies, so much as my own ineptitude.”
“Well, I won’t have you thinking about yourself either. Not when you should be giving me your undivided attention,” joked Draco. He dropped his towel.
“You have it.”
“Good. Now let’s see what we can do to raise your spirits.”
“I think you’re raising them already,” Harry leered.
He followed Draco into the bedroom where Draco climbed onto the bed and crouched on all fours, arse up in the air.
“Still concentrating on me, aren’t you?” Draco turned his head to look at Harry. He wiggled his hips, so his bollocks swung like a pendulum.
“Mmm. Hypnotizing,” Harry said.
“Accio lube,” Draco called, without his wand.
“You’ve been practicing,” Harry noted.
“Only for the important things, like lube.”
While Harry watched, Draco smeared the lube on his own arse, then placed a finger inside.
“Holy shite, that’s hot. I could just wank to that and die a happy man.”
Draco placed another finger in. “Don’t make me fuck myself,” he pouted.
“Not a chance.” Harry clambered onto the bed and rubbed his cock over the crack of Draco’s arse, coating it lightly in lube, before sliding it inside.
They found a rhythm, not too slow, not too quick, of thrusting and stroking. Draco came first and urged Harry on.
“Why don’t you lie down. I’ll ride you,” Draco offered, knowing his husband was exhausted from the evening.
“No. I can do it,” Harry panted. “Turn over, though. I want to see you.”
He disengaged just long enough for Draco to roll onto his back, then continued on. When he leaned forward to kiss him, Draco reached around and squeezed Harry’s arse. His fingers moved toward the relaxed hole until he could put his cum covered fingers inside.
“Oh, yeah, Draco. That’s good.” Harry spread his legs a little to accommodate. “Just a bit more to the left . . . your right.”
With a burst of energy, Harry thrust quickly, fucking Draco while Draco’s fingers fucked him. He came with a whimper and a satisfied moan, then collapsed on top of Draco.
Harry sighed. “I feel like I was so much work for you tonight.”
“Oh, yes. You really sentenced me to hard labor,” Draco said sarcastically. “I just hate having to fuck and cum twice in one night.”
Harry shoved his shoulder. “You know what I mean. First, you had to come to my rescue at Ron and Hermione’s, then you practically had to jump through hoops to get me to cum.”
“Seems like it all worked out to me.”
“You really take good care of me.” Harry kissed his cheek. “Do I do enough for you?”
“You love me. That’s enough for me.”
Harry gave him a doubting look. “In other words, no.”
Sitting up, Draco began to hold up fingers to count off the things Harry did for him.
“You love me. You allow me to indulge in immature behavior occasionally without scolding. You helped me mend my relationship with my father. You’ve introduced me to new friends and family. You’ve helped me succeed here at Hogwarts.”
When he started on the next hand, Harry stopped him.
“Okay, I get the point.”
“The things you do for me are intangible, valuable beyond measure. I am happy. And that is no small thing to me.”
“Would you tell me, should you . . . become unhappy?”
Draco regarded Harry, and the seriousness of his question. “As difficult as it would be to do so, yes. Will you?”
Harry blinked as if it were an absurd question. Why on earth would he not be happy with Draco?
“I can’t see myself ever not being happy with you.”
Draco looked disappointed.
“But that’s not what you want to hear,” Harry said, understanding. “You want to know that I love you enough to risk hurting your feelings, or getting mine hurt, in order to keep our marriage strong.”
The corner of Draco’s mouth rose in approval.
“That will do.”

***

Draco plopped Harry’s manuscript on the desk.
“Done,” he proclaimed.
Harry looked down at the binding. Skinny strips of parchment were sticking out on all sides from the many pages inside.
“What are those?” Harry asked.
“Those are the bookmarked places that need to be revised.”
“There are so many of them. I didn’t realize how bad the book was. Why weren’t you honest with me in the first place?”
“I was. And it’s not a bad book. I’ve only made suggestions on details to add. And an occasional grammatical mistake.”
Looking dejected, Harry leafed through the manuscript. Something caught his eye and he paused.
“You want me to put in that Liam and his friends play a life-sized wizards chess game in order to move through the mansion they were stuck in? And find a key to a locked door from hundreds of flying keys? Draco, you know those things really happened to Ron, Hermione and me.”
“Yes, I do know.”
“But I don’t want to write a story about myself.”
“Simply because you use elements of your real life doesn’t lessen the story,” Draco said. “People draw on their personal lives for inspiration all the time.”
“But . . .”
“And those things you told me about aren’t necessarily common knowledge. Stay away from the obvious or well known, like the Tri-Wizard Tournament, if it makes you feel better.”
Harry shrugged. “It’s not very creative if I’m just writing stuff that happened to me.”
“Harry, I listened to you tell the Weasleys about our trip to Italy. I went with you, and I was still entertained by the way you told it. So was everyone else. You have a way with words, especially when you’re not thinking about it. And no one can tell your story better than you.”
He closed the manuscript. “But it’s only my suggestion. Maybe it’s a little selfish on my part,” Draco said. “I would like to know more details about your exploits. I have a feeling they could fill several books.”
Harry laughed. “A book for every year at Hogwarts?”
“Why not?” Draco questioned.
“But what about poor Liam?” asked Harry.
“Poor Liam? As I recall, his story had a very happy ending.”
Draco rubbed Harry’s shoulders. “Just give it some thought.”
“I will. but right now, I have to get these research papers graded. O.W.L.s begin in just a few weeks, and I have to get to my planning.”
“Yes, so do I. Reviewing five year’s worth of Potions in three weeks isn’t nearly enough. Hopefully, the students have been studying for a while now. Except for the Tri-Miones. I don’t have to worry about them.”
“The, who?”
Draco laughed. “The three students who have been staying after for extra practice and studying. I’ve taken to calling them my Tri-Miones.”
Harry laughed. “Have you told Hermione about that?”
“No, and don’t you dare.”
“Oh, don’t forget that I’ve got duty this weekend,” Harry reminded him.
“Right. I was planning to go see my parents.”
“I’m glad,” Harry smiled. “I hated seeing you at odds with your father.”
“Things are far from perfect. But they’re much better.”
“I wish I could go with you. I’ve grown quite fond of your mother. And Clara serves the best biscuits.”
“I’ll bring some biscuits back for you,” offered Draco. “You ready for supper?”
Harry looked at his pile of research papers. “Well, you’ve already distracted me. I may as well take a proper break.”

***

Draco returned from his parents’ home on Saturday afternoon. He knew Harry would be monitoring detention for another hour or so before supper began, so he took out the latest novel he had been reading and settled on the sofa.
Before he had finished an entire page, the fireplace roared to life.
“Harry, are you there?” Hermione called.
“No. Just me,” Draco answered, closing the book and moving closer. “Harry has duty this weekend.”
“Oh, damn.”
“What’s wrong?”
“It’s Arthur. There was an accident at the Ministry today and he was injured. I know Harry would want to know.”
“What happened?” Draco asked.
“A Dark item released a powerful spell when they tried to open it. Arthur wasn’t even supposed to be there, but one of the Auror’s was convinced it was as simple muggle device and called him to help.”
“How was he injured?”
“It was some sort of cutting spell. The others weren’t injured too badly. But it hit Arthur’s leg in a bad spot. He’s lost a lot of blood.”
Draco subconsciously rubbed his chest.
“I’ll find Harry and tell him straightaway. We’ll meet you at St. Mungo’s. I’m sure someone will cover his duty.”
“I won’t be there. I’m not allowed to bring Rose to that part of the hospital. But the rest of Ron’s family is there,” Hermione told him.
“You should be there, more than I. Do you want me to watch Rose for you?”
“I couldn’t ask-”
“You’re not asking. I’m offering,” Draco said. “Actually, I’m insisting. I’ll tell Harry, then be at your flat shortly.”
He didn’t give her a chance to protest. He immediately left and headed for the detention room.
McGonagall herself covered Harry’s duty and he flooed to St. Mungo’s while Draco left for Ron and Hermione’s.

***

“Where’s Rose?” Ron asked when he saw Hermione walk through the doors to the waiting area.
“Draco is with her. He insisted.”
Ron hugged her to him. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Any news?”
“He’s still in surgery. They found another bleeder.” He shuddered. “This brings up bad memories.”
Hermione squeezed him. “He’ll be fine. Just like before.”
Harry arrived shortly after Hermione and sat next to Ron, feeling he could do little more than rest a reassuring hand on his arm.
It seemed forever before the healer came out to give them an update. Molly stood, fearful of the news.
“We’ve stopped the bleeding,” the healer said. “And we’re giving him blood replenishing potion. I’d like to keep him here overnight, and possibly tomorrow night as well. But he’s going to be fine.”
Molly collapsed into her chair, sobbing at the good news. Ginny sat beside her for support.
“When can we see him?” Ginny asked for the group.
“We’re going to move him to a recovery room after he gets cleaned up. I’ll have a mediwitch let you know when you can go in two at a time.”
The healer hurried out of the room, leaving the Weasleys to hug one another and finally breathe a sigh of relief. Harry felt the sting of tears in his own eyes for the man who had been a surrogate father to him.
“That’s such good news, Ron,” Harry said, giving him a few pats on the shoulder. “I’m sure you feel so much better now.”
“Yeah. I think I’m getting my appetite back,” Ron replied. “Mione and I didn’t get a chance to eat. But I didn’t feel like it before.”
“I missed supper too,” said Harry. “Would you like me to go pick you up something from the cafeteria?”
“I’ll go with you,” Hermione offered.
No one else was in a mood to eat, as they were anxious to see that Arthur was all right for themselves. Hermione and Harry took the lift down to the cafeteria by themselves.
“I didn’t realize how hungry I was until smelled the food,” Harry laughed as he sat down with his tray. “Oh, I just realized that Draco probably didn’t get a chance to eat either. I should get him something and bring it to him.”
“I should go,” Hermione said. “In case things aren’t going well with Rose.”
‘Yeah, I guess it would be better if you went. I don’t think I’d be much help. I’m not so good with the little ones.”
“What are you talking about? You’re wonderful with Teddy.”
“As his godfather. That’s like being fun uncle. And I didn’t take care of him when he was an infant. Andromeda did all the work. Besides, I don’t get a chance to see him as much since I took the job at Hogwarts.”
Hermione’s brow drew together. “Is there something else?”
Harry shrugged. “I didn’t think I’d be quite so bad at taking care of a baby.”
“But that was months ago, Harry.”
“Still, it’s made me think.”
“About?”
“I’m beginning to think Draco is right. Not every couple has to have children. No one has ever raised them in Hogwarts. There would be no other children to play with. And Draco plans to open an apothecary someday. We’ll be too busy.”
“Sounds like you’re trying to talk yourself out of it,” Hermione said. “Is that really how you feel?”
He shrugged again. “I don’t know any more. I do know that I don’t want to try and do it on my own. If Draco truly doesn’t want children, then I think it’s best that we don’t.”
“And you don’t think he’ll come around?”
Harry shook his head. “If I have to choose between Draco and children, I choose Draco. I know I’m happy with him. I can’t say for certain I’d be happy as a parent.”
She put a hand over his. “Families come in all forms.”
“I think I’ll be okay with it. And I get to be fun uncle to all of your children. Just so you know, I plan on spoiling them,” he smiled.
“Would you mind taking this sandwich back to Ron for me?” Hermione asked. “I’ll take this one to Draco and relieve him of Rose duty,” she chuckled. “He’s been with her for nearly three hours, the poor thing.”
“Good luck.” He kissed her cheek and got into the lift.
Hermione made her way to the hospital lobby to apparate home.

Chapter Text

When Hermione popped into her drawing room, she nearly disapparated away. For a moment, she thought she was in the wrong home.
The flat was quiet. And clean. A lot cleaner than Hermione left it. Blankets were folded and draped over the sofa, dishes were cleared, and toys put away.
She quietly made her way toward the nursery, where she began to hear a soft voice. When she opened the door, Draco was sitting in the rocker with Rose on his lap. He had a picture book open, pointing to the illustrations and speaking in a gentle voice. The baby’s eye lids were heavy as she rested her head against Draco’s chest.
He put a finger to his lips upon seeing Hermione. She backed away before Rose could see her, and silently closed the door. Shaking her head, Hermione went to the kitchen to put up a pot of tea and place Draco’s sandwich on a plate. By the time she was finished with the preparations, Draco had found his way into the kitchen after putting Rose in her cot.
“I brought you a sandwich. Harry said you hadn’t eaten.”
“Thank you. How is Arthur?”
Nodding and smiling, she answered, “He’ll be fine. But he’ll stay in hospital for another day or two. Tea?”
“Please.” Trying his best to be polite, yet very hungry, Draco took a large bite of the sandwich.
Unable to stay her curiosity any longer, Hermione asked, “How did you do that?”
Not wanting to talk with a full mouth, Draco merely cocked his head in question.
“Rose, I mean. How did you manage to straighten the drawing room and keep her happy? Much less get her to take a nap.”
He shrugged, then swallowed his bite. “She seemed to enjoy being jostled around a little in my arms as I moved about the room.”
“She does like to be rocked rather forcefully,” Hermione laughed. “Did she drink her bottle all right?”
“No problems. She must have been very hungry, though. She downed it in no time. So, I gave her a bit of the next one. I hope that was okay.”
“Yes. Fine.”
“Are you certain?” he questioned.
“Yes.”
“You don’t look certain,” he said, and tentatively took another bite of his sandwich.
“Can I be frank with you?” Hermione asked.
“Of course.”
“Harry tells me you’re not interested in having children. But you’re wonderful with them. Mary Poppins herself wouldn’t make a better babysitter.”
“Who?”
“Never mind,” she waved her hand. “What I mean to say is that I think you would make such a good father. It’s a shame not to.”
Draco smiled. “Thank you. But as I told Harry, I didn’t have the best role model. And babysitting for an hour or two hardly compares to the daily chores of parenting.”
“True, Rose can be a handful,” she admitted.
“Do you truly enjoy it?” he asked. “Or is it something you thought was expected of you? You’ve had to give up your career for a family.”
“I haven’t given it up. Merely put it on hold.”
“Don’t you miss it?”
Hermione paused, giving the question some serious thought.
“No,” she finally answered. “I find my time with Rose to be precious. Of course, I like to hear what’s going on over at the Ministry from time to time. But would I rather be there? Absolutely not.”
“And, if it hadn’t been unexpected, would you still have chosen to start a family so soon after marrying?”
Hermione laughed. “Probably not. I don’t know if it’s fate or just the Weasley genes’ need to carry on that caught us by surprise. But it was a happy surprise. And sometimes nature chooses for you.”
“Nature will always choose for Harry and I to remain childless,” Draco said.
Hermione’s smile faded. “A lot of couples need a little help in that department. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have children.”
“There are those that would disagree. I’ve heard that squibs are nature’s way of telling a wizard couple they shouldn’t procreate.”
“A pureblood theory, no doubt.”
Draco smirked. “No doubt. But I have one more question.”
“Yes?”
“I realize that Harry is an only child because his parents passed before they could have another, but why is it so many wizarding couples have only one? I am an only child, as are you, and several of our former classmates. If childrearing is so wonderful, why doesn’t everyone have seven children, like the Weasleys?”
Hermione opened her mouth, then frowned. She’d never really thought about it before, but he was right. Luna, Neville, Cedric Diggory, Susan Bones, Seamus and possibly Lavender were all only children, in addition to herself and Draco. She surmised there must have been students in the other Houses that were only children as well.
“I’m afraid I don’t know,” she replied. “I do know that Ron and I are planning to give Rose a baby brother or sister in the next couple of years. I suppose every couple is different.”
“Or perhaps raising a family is much harder than everyone says,” Draco chuckled. He yawned. “As much of a dear as Rose is, I should be off.”
“Thank you again for watching her.” Hermione kissed his cheek. “I do wish you’d give parenthood some more thought. I don’t think anyone who shows as much patience and caring as you do, should let it go to waste.”
“It doesn’t go to waste. Just ask Harry,” he winked. He walked out of the kitchen toward the fireplace and picked up a handful of floo powder. Instead of going home, he called out his parents’ address.

***

“Draco, what are you doing back? Is everything all right?” Narcissa asked, concerned.
“Yes, well, it is now. Arthur Weasley was taken to St. Mungo’s this afternoon, but he’s recovering. But that isn’t what I came to talk about.”
Narcissa furrowed her brow. “Something is troubling you.”
“Why did you have me?”
She laughed until she realized it was a serious question.
“There are all sorts of reasons,” she told him.
Looking at her expectantly, Draco waited for her to elaborate.
She sat and gestured for him to do the same.
“I suppose part of it was human nature, an instinctual need to carry on.”
“To continue the bloodline? That’s what Father wanted, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, partly.”
“What’s the other part?” Draco asked.
“It’s less . . . tangible, and difficult to explain. When you’re in love, you want to share it, grow it. Children are an expression of love, in a way. I don’t know if I’m putting it into the right words. It’s just something we felt.”
“Instinct,” Draco said dryly.
“You say it like it’s a science project. Your father and I love you very much.”
“Then why didn’t you have more children? Why didn’t you read to me when I was a child? Why didn’t you and father play with me? Eat with me? Spend any damn time with me at all?” His voice had risen with his anger.
He wasn’t planning on becoming emotional. He didn’t even recognize his own voice in speaking to his mother.
“Forgive me,” he said quietly.
“Oh, Draco, I had no idea how affected you were.” Narcissa buried her face in her hands. “I didn’t think you remembered.”
“Remembered what?”
“Your father and I did plan to have more children. In fact, you were about to become an older brother when I fell ill.” She reached out her hand to him. “I’ll tell you the whole story.”
He moved closer and took her hand.
“You had just turned four. And I did read to you, nearly every night. But I suppose you were too young to remember it. I was pregnant. Very pregnant. I was having difficulty sleeping at night and was exhausted during the day. My healer prescribed a potion.” She paused. “The apothecary had made a mistake in brewing it. I, along with several others, became ill from the poisoned potion. I lost the baby.”
Draco squeezed her hand. “I didn’t know any of this.”
“You were too young to understand what was happening, and my health was precarious for quite a while. I fell into a coma. My body began to shut down. I was lucky though. One man died.”
Narcissa took a deep breath and continued.
“Your father was distraught. Apparently, he sat by my side every day, going home to check on you at night. The house elves were put in charge of taking care of you.”
“How long?” Draco asked.
“Nearly a year.”
He gasped quietly.
“Slowly, my body healed itself and by your fifth birthday, I had come out of it. My body was healed, for the most part, but my mind and heart were still very much broken. Learning that I had not only lost your sister, but that I was advised not to bear any more children sent me deep into depression.”
“Is it her in the family cemetery? The headstone that simply reads Beloved Daughter?”
Narcissa nodded. “Your father had to deal with that on his own. We hadn’t decided on a name at the time. And so, he left it at that.”
“I’m so sorry.” Draco felt the sting of tears for a sister her never knew he had. He steeled himself though, in order to hear the rest of the story. “What happened when you woke up?”
“St. Mungo’s transferred me to the Janus Thickey Ward temporarily. I hadn’t actually lost my mind, but they feared I would hurt myself, and kept a close watch on me. Eventually, with counseling, and your father’s dedication, of course, I left the hospital and came home. Lucius doted on me and cared for me. If it weren’t for him, I don’t know if I would have ever truly recovered.” She looked at Draco. “But you paid the price, didn’t you?”
“You were more important to him than I was.”
“Not more important. More needy. He worried about you. But the house elves were there to take care of your needs and he thought you would be fine.”
“I remember you spending a lot of time in a sitting room,” Draco said absently. “I was always told not to disturb you. I was only allowed in if I was quiet, so I made sure to find something to do. Usually reading. Father was always asking if you needed anything, covering you with a blanket, or stroking your hair. Things I wished he’d done for me. All he ever did was make me practice potions.”
Narcissa rubbed her forehead. “Oh, it all makes so much sense now.”
“What does?”
“You were so independent, we didn’t think . . . you were just trying to be a good boy. We thought you didn’t need us.”
“But I did.”
She nodded. “We let you down. And it’s caused the animosity between you and your father all these years, along with your need to prove yourself, the demands you’ve made of him, and his willingness to spoil you. I can almost see that there are two sides to you; the independent man who has hardened himself, and the child still seeking approval.”
Draco turned away. He didn’t appreciate being psychoanalyzed. When he turned back, his mother was softly crying.
“Mother,” he whispered. “Please don’t cry. I didn’t come here to make you feel guilty. I only wanted to understand . . .”
“Things should have been so different. We love you very much. You should have felt that every day.”
He smiled. “I know you do. I love you, too.”
She wiped away a tear and composed herself. “So, what brought this on in the first place?”
“I, um . . . nothing in particular,” he told her. “Thank you for being honest with me. It must have been very difficult to talk about.”
“We shouldn’t have kept it from you.”
Draco nodded and stood.
“Draco, you should speak to your father about this. I think there are many things you have to say to one another.”
“Yes,” he agreed. “Another time, though. I need to get back to Harry.”
“Of course.”
“I . . . I mean, we’ll visit soon.”

***

“Are you just getting back from watching Rose?” Harry asked. “Hermione left a while ago.”
“I stopped back at my parents’ house,” Draco said.
“Why? Is everything all right?”
“Yes, I just needed to figure some things out,” Draco said. “Which, I think I have,” he smiled.
“Me too,” Harry said.
“Oh?”
“Yes. I’ve realized that you’re right. I like our life the way it is. You are all I need to be happy.”
Draco frowned. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I’ve come around to your way of thinking. We don’t need children to be a family. We’re already a bit unconventional,” Harry chuckled. “And apparently, I’m not good with babies.”
“So, you no longer want one?”
“I knew you’d be relieved. I won’t be badgering you anymore.”
“Are you certain?” Draco was still subconsciously frowning. “You seemed so . . . ready before.”
“Yes. I wasn’t really considering the plans we have for the future. I think you’d be great running your own potions shop.”
“Harry, my aspirations shouldn’t supersede yours.”
“They’re not. It’s compromise.”
Draco opened his mouth to protest, but Harry cut him off. “We’ll both have to compromise to make this work. Besides, I don’t see how I could be any happier than I am right now,” Harry grinned. “Plus, I’ve decided to take your advice and write my own story. Well, a version of it. There are some things I’ll leave out. So, what was it that you figured out?”
“Oh, um . . .” Draco hesitated. “My mother and I had a nice talk. She explained some things about my father. I feel I have a better picture of who he was when I was a child.”
Harry waited for further explanation.
“Did you want to hear about it?”
Nodding emphatically, Harry answered, “Yes. Of course. Draco, I want to hear about everything, always. Especially when it’s something good.
Draco gave Harry the shorthand version of the story his mother told. Underemphasizing the part about his sister.
“So, how does all that make you feel?” Harry asked as he rubbed Draco’s shoulder.
Stroking his chin, Draco replied, “Logically, I understand my father’s motives and actions. But it doesn’t change what happened, or how it shaped me.”
“No. But I asked you how you feel about it.”
“I suppose . . . I feel . . . disappointed.”
“In what way?”
“That my father didn’t handle the situation better. That he couldn’t care for his wife and his child. And that my parents kept the truth from me, then tried to make up for it by spoiling me with things and turning me into someone . . .” He clenched his jaw.
“Someone who . . .what?” Harry pressed.
“Someone you didn’t want to be friends with. Someone who acted like an arse all through school.”
“You sound more angry than disappointed,” Harry pointed out.
“It wasn’t all their fault.”
“It’s still okay to be angry. I was angry, for a long time, at Dumbledore, for the things he kept from me. I understood it was all for the greater good. But it didn’t make me feel any better.”
“How did you get over it?”
“Time, and remembering all the good things Dumbledore did and said to me. Plus, realizing that if I had known from the beginning what was expected from me, things may have turned out differently. Not for the better.” Harry smiled. “But you have an opportunity I didn’t have. You can talk to your father. You can tell him how you felt, how you still feel. And he can offer his own account, or feelings.”
Draco snickered. “You think my father will talk about his feelings?”
“He may,” Harry chuckled. “Or not. The main thing is you getting it off your chest, so you can let it go. That’s what will help.”
“Maybe,” Draco shrugged a shoulder. “My father isn’t the only one who behaved less than exemplary. I wish I had known . . . I wish I could do things over differently.”
“No. You can’t wish away the bad without wishing away the good,” Harry said. “Everything that happened to us, lead us here, to right now.”
Draco smiled. “You’re right.”
“The future is what we should concentrate on. And I’ve been thinking about this summer, and where I’d like to travel.”
“Where’s that?” Draco asked, pulling Harry in by the waist. “Have you thought of another public place we can shag?”
“Well, I don’t know about public shagging, but I thought we might go to Greece.”
“Greece? Why Greece?”
“They have a number of . . . nude beaches,” Harry told him.
Draco pulled back. “Sweet Merlin, you expect me to expose my pale bum to the sun? Not to mention my bits.” He subconsciously covered the front of his trousers with his hand.
“There is such a thing as sunscreen,” Harry smirked.
“Does it protect against unanticipated . . . excitement?”
Harry laughed. “Do you often get aroused at the beach?”
“No. However, I do get aroused by the sight of you. In fact, I think it’s about to happen right now.”
“You’re not tired after spending the evening babysitting and speaking with your mother?”
“A little. But I’m more tense. Perhaps a massage would do me well.”
Harry grinned. “Happy to oblige.”
Draco pulled Harry’s hand to his crotch. “I’m particularly tense right here.”
“Let me kiss it then, and make it all better.” Harry sank to his knees to unzip Draco’s trousers. He kissed the hard cock through the pants.
“Mm. As lovely as that is,” Draco began with a moan. “Perhaps you could massage that with your arse instead. Over to the bed.”
In no time, both had stripped down. Harry climbed on after a quick lube spell. Normally, he would have taken time to lavish attention on Draco’s magnificence. But, despite Draco’s claim to the contrary, Harry could see that the day had taken its toll on his love. A quick shag and a good night’s sleep seemed in order.
As he raised and lowered himself, Harry watched Draco’s face relax, his eyes closed and his mouth slack. He was still staring when Draco opened his eyes.
“What?” whispered Draco.
“You’re even more handsome now than you were when we were younger.”
“I don’t look like a ferret anymore?”
Harry stopped moving. “Uh, I was hoping you’d forgotten about that.”
“It wasn’t much of an insult,” Draco said. “Ferrets are rather cute and fuzzy.”
Resuming his movements, Harry replied, “Maybe I fancied you back then, but didn’t know it.”
“That would explain a lot,” Draco smiled, then inhaled sharply. “I’m getting close.” He ran his hands over Harry’s sides and hips.
Harry sped up, cock bobbing up and down. When Draco made a move for it, he gently pushed his hand away. “I’m taking care of everything tonight. Just enjoy it.”
“But I do enjoy touching you.”
“Hard to argue with that,” Harry grinned and allowed Draco to stroke him.
They moved together in relative silence, save for their labored breathing and occasional grunts.
Leaning back, Harry angled himself to get Draco’s cock to hit him just where he liked.
“Draco, let go. I don’t want to cum before you.”
“No danger there,” Draco breathed. His body tensed and he clutched at Harry’s hips, pulling him down hard. “Oh fuck, Harry.”
Harry cried out, spewing between them. He stroked himself to finish, then kissed Draco.
“I needed that,” Draco chuckled. “But now I’m really knackered.”
“Me too. I’ll clean us up, and we can go to sleep. At least tomorrow is Sunday,” Harry said. “Are you all right?”
“I don’t know,” Draco answered honestly. “I’m confused about a lot of things right now. And I’m not sure how to feel about any of them.” He gave a sad smile. “Except you. I need you more than ever.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” Harry assured him.
Though exhausted, Draco lay awake long after Harry had fallen asleep, thinking about everything that had happened that day. He had many questions for his father, and he felt that his future depended upon the answers he got.

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Harry asked. “You don’t want to take some time to sort out your feelings first?”
“No. I need to talk to him before I sort out my feelings.”
Harry nodded and took Draco’s hand before throwing the floo powder into their fireplace.
Narcissa was waiting for them in the sitting room. As was Lucius.
Stopping short before crossing the threshold, Draco looked around. He suddenly realized the room was different from the room he’d spent time in as child. Hs mother had redecorated, but it was more than that.
“Come in, dear,” Narcissa said gently.
With Harry following, Draco went in and kissed his mother’s cheek. He nodded to his father.
“Harry, you’re looking well,” Narcissa smiled.
“And you look as lovely as ever,” Harry returned, giving her a hug. He turned to Lucius with his hand outstretched. “Lucius.”
“Harry.” He faced Draco. “Are you sure you want to rehash the past, considering that we seem to have come to an understanding?”
Draco simply stared.
For an awkward moment, no one moved or said anything else, until Narcissa broke the silence.
“Harry, would you like to have tea with me in the garden?”
He glanced at Draco, then began to answer. “I would love-”
“No. I’d like Harry to stay with me,” Draco interrupted.
“But-” Lucius frowned.
“Anything you and I have to say to each other can be said in front of him.”
Narcissa walked to the door. “You know where I’ll be if you need me.”
Once she left, Lucius gestured to the sofa for Draco and Harry to sit. He took a seat in the armchair across from them, then sighed heavily.
“All right then. Where should we begin?” Lucius asked.
“Mother has filled me in, regarding what she remembers, or was told. I’d like to hear your side,” Draco said.
“My side? There is only one side,” Lucius said. “What happened, happened. They are facts, not my view or opinion.”
“But only you knew what happened while Mother was lying in a coma.”
Lucius averted his gaze, obviously affected by the memory.
“You have no idea,” Lucius said softly, just when Draco was beginning to think his father had nothing to say. “I had just lost a child. I was in danger of losing my wife. I was helpless.”
“But you had me,” Draco said, his voice edged with anger.
“Draco,” Harry whispered, and placed his hand over his husband’s.
“I could hardly look at you,” Lucius confessed.
“They were lost to you, so you just tossed me aside?”
“No, that’s not what I meant.”
“I should think that, if anything, you would have clung tighter to what you had left,” Draco said. “But you left the house elves to deal with me. And I never even understood why.”
“You were too young.”
“You never even tried. I was five or six when I used to come in here, simply to be around Mother. Surely, a six-year-old would understand something of what happened.”
Lucius stood and began pacing. “I wanted to put it behind us. And you never asked about the baby. I thought to leave well enough alone.”
“What about Mother? Did I ever ask about her when she was in hospital?”
“Yes. Incessantly. I . . . made up a story about her visiting relatives,” Lucius admitted.
“Why didn’t you just tell me the truth? You could have taken me to see her. I would have understood that she was ill.”
“I didn’t want you there.”
“The hospital is a difficult place for children,” Harry said to Draco. “Remember, Hermione couldn’t bring Rose yesterday.”
“Rose is a baby. I could have handled it.”
“But I couldn’t,” Lucius said.
“But you didn’t try. Maybe I could have—”
“You don’t understand, Draco. It was you I couldn’t handle.” Lucius’ voice cracked as it raised. “Yes, you probably would have been able to comprehend what was going on. But I couldn’t be around you. I couldn’t look at you. Everything about you reminded me of what I’d lost.”
“That was just an excuse to shirk your responsibilities,” Draco spat.
“You don’t know anything!” Lucius shouted. “You didn’t have to look at her. You didn’t have the healer place her body in your arms. You didn’t have to bury her. You didn’t have to look upon your face every day and see her.” His face was red as he yelled. Then he hung his head.
Draco’s eyes were large and wide while his father yelled at him. He felt like a child being disciplined. He snorted and took in a breath, but before he could speak a word, a hand gripped his arm.
He looked to see Harry subtly shaking his head. Harry’s eyes darted to Lucius then back again.
Though his gut reaction was to shout back at his father, Draco took another deep breath and tried to calm himself. Harry’s gentle rub of a thumb on his arm helped a great deal. At that moment, Draco was glad he insisted Harry stay.
By then, Lucius had also calmed down a bit. “You don’t know what it’s like to lose a child. Or your wife.” He glanced at Harry. “Or your husband.”
Draco also looked to Harry. No, he couldn’t imagine losing him.
“I know I should have done better. I should have been stronger. But I was alone. Your mother’s sisters were of no help. And my family . . .” He laughed humorlessly. “I think they reveled in our misfortune. I tried to make it up to you.”
“With things,” Draco said.
“The only way I knew how. I thought that giving you the things you wanted would make you happy.”
“What I wanted was for you to spend time with me.”
“I did.”
“Pft. Drilling potions,” muttered Draco.
“Yes, drilling potions. So it wouldn’t happen to you,” Lucius said.
“I wanted you to take me flying or play wizards chess.”
“And I wanted to protect you. It was an overreaction, yes. But I thought if you learned to make your own potions, and make them well, you would never be at the mercy of a slipshod apothecary.” Lucius sighed. “I even began looking into Dark-” he cut himself off, and practically held his breath.
“I’m no longer an Auror,” Harry offered. “Whatever you say to Draco won’t leave this room by my mouth.”
“It’s beside the point anyway,” Lucius said.
Draco remained quiet, biting his bottom lip.
“What do you want me to say, Draco? That I was a terrible father? That I wasn’t a strong enough man? That I made dangerous choices for our family? I admit that to you. There are too many reasons to go into for why I made those choices. At the time, I thought they were the right choices.”
“What possible reasons could you have for throwing in with . . . you know who.” Draco still had trouble saying the name occasionally.
“Promises made that you probably wouldn’t understand. And even if I explained them all, what would it change? I did my time in Azkaban. But I still don’t have my daughter and you still hate me. That is a prison from which I will never escape.”
As he leaned against the desk, Lucius bowed his head and rubbed his forehead, the way Draco had been known to do from time to time.
“I don’t hate you,” Draco barely whispered.
A tear dropped as Lucius lifted his head, a look of surprise, or perhaps hope, on his face.
Harry leaned close to Draco and whispered, “Tell him.”
Draco’s chin quivered a moment. “I only wanted you to love me as much . . .” He had difficulty getting the words out. “As much as I . . . love you.” He didn’t make any attempt to hide his tears.
“But I do.” Lucius crossed the room to Draco.
Harry swiftly vacated his seat to allow him to sit next to his son. Wordlessly, Draco leaned against his shoulder. It was the first time, in a long time, that the pair shared more than a cursory handshake.
“I’m sorry, son.” Lucius put his arm around Draco. “I’m so sorry for everything.”
“So am I.”
They sat a few minutes while Harry watched from his place on the other side of the room. Draco cleared his throat and sat straighter, moving away from his father.
“I think I have a clearer perception of . . . how things are,” he said.
“Meaning?” asked Lucius.
“I forgive you.” Coming from anyone else, the words would have sounded arrogant. But under the circumstances, forgiveness was exactly what Lucius needed. “If you’ll forgive me. I know I’ve said and done things to hurt you. Some of them purposefully.”
Lucius’ eyes darted to Harry.
“I’ll not apologize for him, though,” said Draco, catching the look. “I didn’t marry him to hurt you. I love him.” He paused. “I will admit to taking some joy in your disgust, however.”
Nodding, Lucius smirked. “I have come to accept your choices.”
Though Draco didn’t consider being gay a choice, he decided to let the comment pass, for the time being. That was an entirely different conversation. And he and his father had finally found some common ground beyond polite tolerance.
“Well, I believe a strong drink is in order.” Lucius said, opening a small liquor cabinet. “Romanian fire whiskey.”
Harry was still standing back out of the way. While his father poured three glasses, Draco went to him.
“Thank you.”
“For what? I didn’t do anything.”
“You were the voice of reason. You calmed me down when I wanted to fight. And you let my father comfort me when I know you wanted to do that yourself.”
Harry smiled. “Are you all right?”
“Yes. I think things are going to get better between me and my parents.”
Lucius handed them each a small glass of golden liquid. “This will put some hair on your chest,” he grinned.
“Harry already has some,” Draco said, wriggling his eyebrows.
Lucius’ face reddened a bit and he quickly went back for his own glass.
Laughing, Harry held up his glass in cheers. “Well, I suppose it’s not going to happen overnight.”

***

“Would you like some company?” Harry asked, stepping out onto the patio.
Narcissa had been sipping her tea, and watching the albino peacocks meander on the lawn. She smiled and gestured for Harry to sit.
“You’re still in one piece,” she snickered. “Are the other two?”
“They needed a bit of time on their own. They were talking potions, and I think they were planning to brew something. Not my forte,” Harry laughed.
“Please, sit.”
Harry sat down, and Narcissa called for Clara.
“Yes Mistress. Hello Master Harry,” Clara bowed.
“Hello Clara. Lovely to see you.”
“Clara, please fetch another place setting and some almond biscuits,” Narcissa said.
“Yes, Mistress.” The house elf disappeared.
“Will you and Draco stay for lunch?” Narcissa asked.
“I’m not certain. I suppose it depends on how Draco and Lucius are getting on,” he chuckled.
Narcissa nodded. “Thank you for that.”
“You’re thanking me?”
“Yes. I don’t think Draco would have been as open to this conversation with his father if you hadn’t already pushed him toward resolving their differences.”
“You give me too much credit,” Harry said. “Any changes you see in Draco, he made himself, before we met back up at Hogwarts.”
She nodded, bat added, “Surely, you realize he made those changes for you.” She smiled at the look of surprise on Harry’s face. “He confessed certain feelings to me when he was younger. I never thought he would act on those feelings, or that you could possibly return them. But if that was what motivated him to become a better man, who was I to question it?”
“Then as long as you’re doling out credit, Draco deserves some for changing me for the better as well. I never wanted to settle down before. I was wasting my time on one offs-” He blushed, then tried to put it more delicately. “I wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship. Didn’t think I needed one. There was nobody who could understand me, nobody I could really talk to. Except for Ron and Hermione. And, well, neither one of them was for me,” he chuckled.
“You never wanted a family?” she asked.
“I . . . don’t know. I suppose I should say yes. However, the way in which I was living my life wasn’t exactly conducive to raising a family.”
Narcissa agreed. “Right. And now?” She paused, but not long enough for Harry to answer. “When Draco was younger, he would tell Lucius that when he had a son, he wasn’t going to put him on display to be seen and not heard. He was going to be a better father. Of course, he said it just to piss Lucius off,” she laughed. “And it worked.”
“Draco and I have decided not to have any children,” Harry told her.
“What?”
“He said he’s never wanted them. And I have to agree,” Harry added quickly, not meaning to blame Draco for the disappointed look on Narcissa’s face. “We’re happy with our life the way it is. We have plans and aspirations. Children would complicate things.”
“Oh. I see. Then it seems that my branch of the family tree comes down to Teddy.” She picked up her tea and sipped delicately.
Harry sat uncomfortably for a moment, unsure what to say. Like himself, Narcissa has mostly likely had to alter her expectations over the years. Though sympathetic, Harry couldn’t worry about her feelings. He had to concentrate on Draco. It was him Harry wanted to please.
“Ah, here they are,” Narcissa said.
“Darling, your son is brilliant,” Lucius said as he sat down. “He brewed the potion in half the time it normally takes. And I’ll wager it works better too,” Lucius gushed.
“It’s just a pepper-up potion,” Draco rolled his eyes, and took a seat next to Harry.
“Tell that to someone who’s sick and waiting for their potion,” countered Lucius.
“I was about to order lunch for later,” Narcissa said. “Will you and Harry be staying?” she asked Draco.
“I would love to, Mother. But I’ve neglected some work at school this weekend. We should really be getting back. Another time?”
“Of course.”
“There is something else I’d like to talk to you about, though.”
“What is it?”
“I’m not sure if it’s appropriate,” Draco glanced at his father, who nodded. “I was thinking that it might be . . . cathartic, for all of us, if we publicly acknowledged . . . my sister.”
Narcissa’s brow furrowed. “We didn’t try to hide her existence.”
“I didn’t mean to imply that you did.” Draco reached out to put his hand over his mother’s. “I only meant that perhaps we could arrange to unveil a new headstone. One with a name on it. I know you told me you hadn’t settled on a name and that was why Father did what he did. But perhaps . . .”
Narcissa looked to Lucius. “There was a name. I suppose it’s the one I think of when I think of her.”
“What is it?” Draco asked eagerly.
“Druella,” she replied. “It was my mother’s name. And I liked the idea of all our children’s names beginning with the same letter.”
“I’m sorry,” Draco said, at his mother’s melancholy expression. “I shouldn’t have brought it up.”
“Draco, I think about her often enough without anyone bringing up the subject.” She attempted a smile. “And I think it’s a good idea. But I don’t think we should make a spectacle of it. It should just be our family. Just the four of us.”
Draco frowned at first, until he realized she was including Harry. He squeezed her hand. “I can make the arrangements if you’d like,” he offered.
“Thank you, dear. But I’d like to do that myself. With your father, of course.”
“I understand.”
“We’ll let you know when plans are made,” she said. “I’m glad you brought it up.”
Draco stood, and bent over to kiss his mother’s cheek. “We should be getting back now. Owl me.”
“I will.”
Harry followed suit, but only shook Lucius’ hand, whereas Draco hugged him. The two flooed back to their quarters.

***

Draco sighed as he sat at his desk, grading papers after supper that night. Harry came up behind him to rub his shoulders.
“Are you all right? It’s been quite a weekend.”
“Yes. Exhausting,” Draco replied.
“Why don’t you put those off for now? Your students can wait an extra day to get their grades,” suggested Harry.
“Perhaps you’re right.”
“Do you want to talk about anything?”
Shrugging, Draco allowed Harry to drag him to the sofa.
“You’ve had a lot to deal with. I don’t want you to have to go through it alone.”
“I can’t help wonder how different things would have been,” Draco said softly. “How different my family would have been. Growing up, I often wished to have a brother, or several. But never a sister. And now I find myself mourning the loss of someone I never knew.”
“It’s a reasonable response,” Harry said. “I don’t remember my parents, yet I’ve missed them my whole life.”
“But you always knew you had them,” Draco pointed out.
“True.”
“It’s strange to me that I can miss something I never had. I can’t let myself get caught up in the ‘what ifs’, though. I need to concentrate on now.”
“That’s the spirit,” Harry said. “You and your father seem to have made great strides.”
Nodding, Draco said, “We have. I can’t imagine being in his place. If something like that happened to you . . .”
Harry smiled. “It won’t. I’m married to the best potion maker around.”
“I think I would do anything to save you, too.”
“What did your father tell you?” Harry asked curiously. When Draco hesitated, he continued. “You don’t have to tell me. That’s between you and Lucius.”
Draco shook his head. “No, I don’t want there to be secrets. He just explained that he looked into Dark objects as a way to cure my mother. He’d also been searching for something called a resurrection stone, in hopes of bringing my— Druella, back to life. He was in a desperate state. It was simply a myth some Death Eater used to suck him back in. What?”
Harry sat with his mouth open.
“Harry, what?”
“It was real,” Harry answered. “I . . . had it for a time. But it wouldn’t have done what your father thought. I used it to see my parents one last time, when I went into the woods to . . . die.”
Draco frowned. “But . . . the Deathly Hallows is just a legend. You’re saying that it was real and my father could have brought Druella back?”
“No. I mean, sort of. It wouldn’t have been a real life. And I don’t think she would have grown. It may have been even worse than her death.”
“What did you do with it?”
“I dropped it in the woods somewhere. I purposely didn’t take note of where. Dumbledore was the only one, besides Ron and Hermione, that knew I had it,” Harry admitted.
“You simply dropped it.” The frown on Draco’s face turned to a smile. “After so long, you’re still full of surprises.”
Harry chuckled. “I had the Elder Wand and the cloak too.”
“You did not,” Draco laughed, shoving Harry’s shoulder a bit.
“In fact, I still have the cloak. It’s in my vault at Gringotts.”
“Now there’s a story for you to write,” Draco said. “Harry Potter, Master of Death. All right, you’ve pulled me out of my mood. You can stop teasing me now.”
“Draco, I’m not teasing you,” Harry said, the smile dropping.
“Merlin, you’re serious. You really are full of surprises.”
“I don’t mean to keep things from you. I don’t always remember what’s common knowledge about me and what’s not.”
Draco put his arms around Harry’s neck. “I’m not upset. I enjoy hearing your stories. That’s why I’ve encouraged you to write it.”
Harry kissed him.
“But you may want to leave out the bit about the cloak. Unless you want your vault raided.”
“Only by you,” Harry chuckled.

Chapter Text

With final exams behind them, the students of Hogwarts could finally relax. As a special treat, McGonagall had the house elves prepare a picnic supper by the lake for students and staff. As the end of the term approached, spirits were high.
Harry sat on a blanket watching Draco play a game of fanged frisbee with a group of Slytherins. The Potions professor had a smile on his face as he tucked his long fringe behind his ears. Harry briefly wondered if Draco was planning to grow out his hair like his father’s once more. He couldn’t complain either way. The man was handsome no matter how he wore his hair.
When pudding appeared on the large buffet tables, the Slytherin students abandoned the game, and Draco with it. He sauntered over to Harry with a lightness in his step Harry had noticed ever since his heart to heart with Lucius.
“It turned out to be a lovely day,” Draco remarked as he sat down next to Harry.
“Yes,” Harry snickered.
“What?”
“Nothing. I do enjoy seeing you like this.”
“Like what?” Draco questioned, leaning his face close to Harry’s, but not close enough to touch, grinning all the while.
“Carefree,” Harry replied. “I’ve seen you happy. And I’ve seen you content. But there’s always been a . . . solemnness about you. I mean, it’s still sort of there, but you’re able to really let go for a bit now.”
Draco sighed. “I do feel as if a weight has been lifted.” he chuckled. “I should say another weight. I feel lighter every day I’m with you.” He leaned forward and kissed Harry softly on the lips.
“Draco,” Harry blushed. “There are students around.”
“It’s not as though they don’t know we’re married. I think it would be more odd for us to act as though we’re mere acquaintances.”
“You really have changed a lot.” Harry intertwined his fingers with Draco’s, deciding he was right.
“Yes, I certainly have.”

***

“Do we really have to go?” whinged Draco. “I’d really rather spend today with only you.”
“Sorry. Weasley tradition. You’re one of us now, and you have to celebrate your birthday with the family,” Harry told him. “Besides, Molly was horrified that she missed it last year and she wants to make up for it.”
“Merlin, she didn’t invite my parents again, did she?”
“I think so. But things went fairly well last time,” Harry reminded him cheerfully. “This time should be even better.”
“I suppose there’s no getting around it. I’m ready.” Draco slipped his fringe behind his ears. “Let’s go.”
They apparated to the Burrow and were greeted by Fleur and Victoire, playing outside with a white dog.
“New puppy?” Harry asked.
“We couldn’t resist,” Fleur giggled. “Victoire fell in love with her in Diagon Alley. We were looking to get a new owl when she saw this little white fur ball in a window.”
“Adorable,” Harry said, bending down to pet the dog. “Do you like dogs Draco?”
“We’ve kept dogs at the manor. But they were closer to watchdogs than pets,” he replied. He, too, bent down to pet the dog. “They’re not so bad.”
“You’re Uncle Harry’s husband,” Victoire announced. “I saw you get married.”
“Yes, I am. And you are as lovely as your mother.”
Victoire grinned.
“We should go in,” Fleur suggested. “Supper will be ready soon. And I think little Babette here needs a nap. Come on girl.” She slapped her thigh a couple of times to coax the puppy. “Come Victoire.”
The four of them, and the puppy, went into the house. Draco’s parents were sitting on the sofa listening to Arthur tell them about a muggle device he’d come across recently.
“But when I put a fork inside and turned it on, it quite literally blew up,” Arthur laughed.
“It sounds like a dangerous contraption,” Lucius said.
“It’s not meant to be dangerous. I’m told muggles use them all the time to make quick meals. Almost as fast as magic.”
“Are you talking about a microwave oven?” Harry asked.
“Why, yes, Harry. Have you used one?”
“Yes, of course. But most muggles know not to put anything metal inside.”
Arthur laughed again. “I’m afraid I found that out the hard way.”
Narcissa stood. “Happy birthday, darling.” She kissed Draco’s cheek and handed him an envelope.
He stood awkwardly, not knowing if he should put the envelope in his pocket or open it. In his younger days, he would have eagerly torn into it to see his gift.
“Aren’t you going to open it?” Harry asked.
“Oh. All right,” Draco said hesitantly. He carefully opened the envelope to find a certificate to Twilfitt and Tattings for a sizable amount.
“I thought you could treat yourself to some new clothes for your upcoming holiday,” Narcissa smiled.
“Mother, this is much more than necessary for a week long trip.”
“Then you can treat Harry, too.”
“Mother-”
“It’s done. You may as well enjoy it.”
“Thank you. And you, Father.”
“Happy birthday son. Twenty-six. I was twenty-six when you were born,” Lucius commented, but said nothing more about the subject.
“Oh, there you are,” Molly squealed as she came into the sitting room. “The birthday boy is finally here. We can eat. Everyone else is already in the kitchen.”
Draco blushed for the attention but followed Molly into the kitchen where a feast was waiting. The table had been expanded even further from the Easter before last, to accommodate two more highchairs.
Once again, Arthur offered Lucius the head of the table.
Though Draco was still a little wary of his father saying something inappropriate, the gathering went well. With so many Weasleys at the table, conversation never ran dry. Topics ranged from dragons, as always, to children, potions, and the new puppy, as well as Harry and Draco’s upcoming holiday
“Oh, I would love to go to Greece,” Hermione said. She smoothed the light hair out of Rose’s eyes. “Someday we’ll travel again. But right now, we’re concentrating on our family.”
“Draco and I are planning to go somewhere new every summer,” Harry said. “It won’t be difficult for me because I haven’t traveled much at all. But Draco’s been all sorts of places.”
“Yes,” confirmed Lucius. “We tried to expose Draco to all sorts of cultures. We’ve been to Italy and Japan. And we’ve traveled to several countries, such as France, Monaco, and Belgium so Draco could practice his French.”
“You speak French?” Fleur asked excitedly. She began speaking in French to him before he had a chance to answer. He replied in French with a simper.
“Fleur, that’s rather personal,” Bill blushed, having learned to speak a decent amount of French over the years.
“What did she say?” Harry asked Draco.
He blushed himself a bit.
“I asked if he speaks French to you when you make love,” Fleur said. “And does it fill you with passion as it does my Bill?”
Harry admitted, “It is rather sensual.”
Draco glanced at his father, who appeared mortified by the topic of conversation, as did Ron.
“You’ll have to forgive Fleur,” Bill said. “They have a different perspective on the matters of love where she’s from.”
“Pas de problem,” Narcissa smirked, and winked at Fleur.
Draco’s eyes widened, and Arthur cleared his throat, to steer the conversation back on its course. “So, why Greece, Harry?”
After the previous talk, Harry had a difficult time coming up with answer besides his original reason for wanting to go. And he couldn’t very well say that he wanted to go to a nude beach with Draco. Fortunately, Draco intervened.
“For one, it’s a place I’ve never been,” he said. “And the Mediterranean is supposed to be breathtaking. Plus, Harry wanted to try authentic Greek food, as opposed to the inferior fare we’ve gotten in London.”
They continued to talk about places they’ve all been to, or hoped to visit in the future, while they stuffed themselves with Molly’s good cooking and the wine the Malfoys brought. Later, the men retired to the sitting room, as seemed to be customary, while the women remained gathered around the kitchen table.
Draco managed to make the other men look bad however, by offering to help clear and clean the dishes. Ginny recruited Harry and Ron to help as well. In the meantime, Molly brought out a large cake and several plates of biscuits and pastries.
Following an embarrassingly bad rendition of the birthday song, cake was passed around. Still a bit overwhelmed by the attention, Draco sat in the corner chair again and listened to everyone else talk.
Hermione bounced Rose in her arms until the girl fell asleep.
“Damn, I have to go to the loo. Where’s Ron?” she asked no one in particular.
“I think he went out with the girls and their new puppy,” Percy replied. “George and Harry, too.”
“I’ll take her for you,” Draco offered. “I’m just sitting here anyway.”
“Oh, thank you. I’ll only be a moment,” Hermione said gratefully. She lay Rose in Draco’s arms carefully so as not to wake her.
When she stirred, he knew precisely how to pat her to get her back to sleep. Hermione returned to take her back, but Draco insisted she let the baby sleep. He sat for an uncomfortably long time, having to use the loo himself before handing Rose over to Molly.
He was secretly disappointed that Molly refused to give her up and instead took Rose into the kitchen to feed her. By then, Narcissa and Lucius had gone, and Harry was still off somewhere with Ron. Babette was fast asleep in the corner of the room, completely knackered from chasing sticks and balls. Dominique was in a similar state.
Draco returned to his increasingly favorite chair with a cup of tea and a small plate of biscuits. He had just taken a bite of a chocolate one when a young blonde girl appeared in front of him. She stared at him with her hands behind her back.
“Yes?” he asked.
“You’re a boy,” she said.
“Yes.”
“But you were holding the baby.”
“Yes.” He was puzzled by her statement.
“The other boys don’t want to hold the babies,” Victoire noted.
Draco had no response.
She pulled a book from behind her back and handed it to him. They stared at one another, each trying to force the other into talking first. Draco could see that she was too stubborn to ask him to read to her. But he wasn’t about to volunteer. He could be equally stubborn.
After what seemed like an extraordinarily long time, Victoire squeezed herself into the chair next to Draco, forcing him to move over.
“Read,” she said, opening the book.
“I beg your pardon?” He gave her a stern look, causing her eyes to go wide, and Draco thought perhaps she was rethinking her request.
“Can you read this?” she asked timidly.
“Can I read this, what?”
“Can you read this, sir?”
Draco laughed out loud. “You call Harry, Uncle Harry, but you call me sir?”
“What should I call you?” she asked genuinely.
“You may call me Draco. And I was looking for a please.”
She cleared her throat. “Can you read this please, Draco?” Her demeanor had changed quite a bit from she first approached him. Not quite compliant, but respectful.
“Yes, I can.” He smiled, trying to put her at ease.
He opened the book, a fairy tale, about unicorns and a princess. He snorted when he realized it was a muggle book, but began to read anyway.

***

“It’s been too long, mate,” Ron said. “Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But I need to get away once in a while.” He nudged Harry with his elbow. “Let’s sneak off to the Leaky.”
“Ron, I can’t leave Draco here by himself at his birthday celebration.”
“I know,” Ron grumbled. “Mione would kill me, too. But you and I don’t get to bum around enough. I miss you being at the Ministry.”
“Yeah,” Harry agreed. “We should make it a point to get together more often. I’ve been trying to encourage Draco to spend more time with Blaise and Pansy.”
“Ugh. Zabini and Parkinson.” Ron made a face.
“They’re not so bad,” Harry laughed. “I haven’t gotten to know them nearly as well as Draco has gotten to know you and Hermione. But they’ve been good friends to him. Even through all the changes he’s gone through.”
“Yeah, I guess he has. But crikey, that story you told me about his family. No wonder he was the way he was.”
Harry frowned. He knew Draco had been a prat and a bully when they were young. But he almost considered Malfoy a completely different person from the Draco he got to know and grew to love as an adult.
“I didn’t mean anything by it,” Ron said.
“I know.” Harry’s expression softened. “You’re right. As messed up as the whole situation was, I think Draco was glad to know his father’s motives. They’ve gotten closer than they’ve ever been.” He sighed.
“Isn’t that a good thing?” asked Ron.
“Yeah, of course.”
“But?”
Harry and Ron walked back from the marsh in silence. As an Auror, Ron knew when to ask questions and when to keep quiet to get information out of someone. Though Harry wasn’t a witness or a criminal, the tactics worked on him as well.
Ron paused at a patch of wildflowers and picked some to bring in the house.
“And you thought Draco had changed,” Harry laughed. “Never thought I’d see the day Ron Weasley collected flowers in a field.”
Pursing his lips, Ron tried not to smile. “Mione loves ‘em. I guess being a husband and father had changed me a bit. Which is why I need time with my mates. There are some things I can only talk about with you.”
A small smile crosseds Harry’s lips. “You forget I used to be an Auror. Classic manipulation of your subject.”
Looking just slightly guilty, Ron asked, “Did it work?”
Harry hesitated, then answered, “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to get it off my chest.” He glanced around to make sure no one else was around to hear. “I’m over the moon that Draco and his father have reconciled, don’t get me wrong. But, now that Draco knows the whole truth, his reasons for not wanting a family aren’t really valid anymore.”
“Like what?”
“Well, he said he didn’t want to be a father because his father wasn’t . . . the most attentive. And the stories about his grandfather weren’t any more flattering. He figured it was genetic or something. Malfoy men simply didn’t make good fathers. So not only did he not want to become one, he didn’t want to pass the genes down to the next generation.”
“And now?”
“We haven’t talked about it since I told him I don’t want children anymore.”
“You did what?” Ron questioned. “When did you decide that? You were always going on about a family when Hermione was up the duff. You even volunteered to babysit, which I thought was completely bonkers.”
“That was before I knew how bad at it I am,” Harry gave a little chuckle. “I was only a year when my father passed away. He didn’t really have a chance to be a father. Maybe it’s the Potters, not the Malfoys who are pants at fatherhood.”
“Not a chance,” Ron said. “If I can be a decent dad, surely you can. But it sounds like you may have told a little white lie to your husband. If you really believed you’d make a poor father, you wouldn’t be upset that Draco doesn’t want kids.”
Harry shrugged. “I told him what I thought he wanted to hear. And I suppose I have to live with my decision. Maybe we’ll get a puppy,” he laughed.
“Maybe you should tell him how you really feel.”
“He’s been through a lot lately. I don’t want to make waves. And we truly are happy. I feel . . . never mind.” Harry gave an embarrassed little laugh.
“What? If you can’t tell me, who can ya tell? I’m picking wildflowers for Merlin’s sake. How can I judge?”
Harry sighed. “I feel like we’re more in love than ever. He kissed me in front of students and didn’t care. He’s finally free of the past. I love him so much.”
Ron laughed. “Maybe you should pick some wildflowers, too. What the bloody hell has happened to us? When did we become such saps?”
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m gay,” snickered Harry. “Come on, we’d better get back. Draco is probably ready to throttle me for being gone so long.”
“I’m sure my father has been droning on about microwaves or sewing machines, or some other muggle device he’s obsessed with,” Ron shook his head.

***

“Oi, what’s going on in here?” Ron asked as he and Harry stepped through the back door into the kitchen. Molly, Ginny, Hermione and Fleur were all standing in the archway between the kitchen and the sitting room. “Spying on someone, are we?”
“Shush,” Molly scolded. “We’re trying to listen,” she whispered.
Ginny turned around and smiled sadly at Harry. “We shouldn’t be spying,” she said softly to the rest of the women.
Reluctantly, they began to walk back into the kitchen.
“What are you looking at?” Harry asked. He peeked around the corner to find Draco sitting in his usual chair. Beside him sat Victoire. On one knee was Dominique, and on the other was Rose. A large storybook was opened before them as they quietly listened to Draco read.
A feeling, like a stab to the heart, overtook Harry while he watched. He glanced around the room, noting that not only the girls, but the men in the room seemed to be enraptured by Draco’s voice.
Harry turned and quickly walked out the back door.
“Harry,” Ginny called after him. She caught up with him on the lawn. “Harry,” she said sympathetically.
“Let it go, Gin. I know what you’re going to say.”
“I have no idea what to say.”
“Because there isn’t anything to say. Draco and I have made our decision. He’s a wonderful uncle to the girls. And that’s that.”
“I’m sorry.” She put her arms around him for a hug.
He let Ginny hug him for a while. Her scent was comforting and familiar. And soon he found himself back from the edge of tears. He pulled back slightly and kissed her cheek.
“Thank you,” he said. “Especially for not trying to cheer me up.”
“Everything all right?”
Harry turned to see Draco standing in the doorway, a slight frown on his face. “Yeah. Ginny and I were just . . . catching up.”
“Are you ready to go?” asked Draco.
“Absolutely.” Harry put a hand on Ginny’s shoulder. “Next time we get together with Ron and Hermione, you and Owen should join us.”
“We will,” she smiled. “Happy birthday,” she called out to Draco.
“Thank you.”
Draco grabbed Harry’s arm as he tried to go back into the house. “I’ve said our goodbyes already. If you don’t mind.”
Though he did want to say goodbye himself, especially to Molly and Arthur for hosting, Harry nodded. Draco’s demeanor told him that his husband may have been upset by the exchange with Ginny.
“Of course,” Harry smiled and kissed him. “I love you.”
“I know.”
When they apparated back home, Harry wondered if Draco didn’t want him to go back in the house because he didn’t want anyone to tell him about Draco reading to the children. The more he thought about it, the more certain he became that was the case. He chose not to let on that he saw but would treasure the memory for himself.

Chapter Text

“I’m almost packed,” Harry said excitedly. “This is going to be even better than our honeymoon. Did you confirm our reservations?”
“Yes. We’re all set. First, one night at the Charly Hotel in Milan, then three days at Electra Palace for a bit of art and culture in Athens. And finally, four days at the Myconian Ambassador for fun and sun,” Draco grinned.
“And loads of sunscreen.”
“You really plan on dragging me to a nude beach?”
“I want to make everyone jealous,” Harry said. “Except Ron and Hermione. I feel badly that they can’t take a holiday this year. But with Rose still so little, it would be more work than a holiday. At least we won’t have to worry about that.”
Harry went to his chest and pulled out a few more pairs of pants to put in his suitcase. He looked over at Draco to make an innuendo about not needing any pants but held his tongue. Draco seemed lost in thought. A common sight as of late.
“Are you finished packing?” Harry asked.
“What? Oh. No, not yet.” Then the lightness returned to Draco’s face. “Don’t forget to pack some nice clothes. I want to make some people jealous as well. There are some very fine restaurants I’m told. Though I’m quite certain you’ll be the best dish.”
Harry rolled his eyes playfully. “You’re sure Greece is the place you want to go?”
“Of course. It sounds fabulous. I can’t wait until tomorrow. Why?”
“I don’t know. You looked unsure for a moment.” Harry bit his lip. “I was only kidding about the nude beach. Sort of. I mean, I’d definitely go to one. But if you’re uncomfortable . . .”
“You know I’m not exactly demure. And I can always cast a spell to protect my . . . assets. Can’t say I’m thrilled with the thought of men and women ogling you, however. I suppose they’ll do that whether you’re clothed or not.”
“They’ll be too busy watching you.”
Draco laughed. “Then we’ll have to stay in our room the whole time.” He pulled Harry close and kissed him. “Let’s finish packing so we can get down to supper. I’m famished.”
Though Harry was hoping for a diversion, Draco was right. They had both cleaned and organized their classrooms for the summer and tidied their quarters, and by half five, they were tired and hungry.
Because so many professors left Hogwarts at times during the summer, only a handful of them were at any given meal. McGonagall was there, along with Professor Margeaux Bissette, who replaced Knox as Charms professor, and Madame Pomfrey.
“You’re going to love Greece,” Poppy told them. “The Mediterranean Sea is just glorious.”
“When do you leave?” Professor Bissette asked.
“Tomorrow morning,” Harry replied.
“I’m surprised you’ve never been to Greece, Draco,” Margeaux commented. “Didn’t you tell me that your family has traveled quite a bit?”
“Yes. Mostly in western Europe. I was a child when I went to many of those countries, and I scarcely remember them. I’m looking forward to this trip.”
“We’re traveling by muggle means,” said Harry excitedly.
“Egads, you’re not getting on one of those aeroplanes, are you?” Madame Pomfrey questioned.
“No, no, we’re taking trains and a ferry boat,” Harry told him. “We’ll apparate to London and take the Eurostar from there to Paris, then Milan, where we’ll stay overnight. Then another train all through Italy where we’ll catch a ferry for the overnight ride to Greece.”
“It all sounds so romantic,” Professor Bissette remarked.
“Yes, that’s why I picked it over apparating from place to place or portkey. Brooms were out of the question.”
“It sounds like a lovely trip,” Minerva said. “Travel safely. I must get a little more work done tonight before I begin my relaxing weekend. If you’ll excuse me.” She stood and bowed her head slightly before leaving the Great Hall.
“We should probably get back as well,” Draco said. “Make sure we have everything packed and ready to go. Then early to bed. Though I’m sure the excitement will make sleep difficult.”
The Professor Bissette and Madame Pomfrey wished them a wonderful holiday, and Harry and Draco left to finish preparing for the trip.
“Are you really excited about the trip?” Harry asked while they walked up the stairway to their quarters.
“Why do you keep asking me?” Draco questioned. “Have I given you reason to think I don’t want to go?”
“Not really. You seem a little preoccupied sometimes. Not unhappy, just . . . preoccupied.”
Draco opened the door to their quarters and held it open for Harry. He leaned against the door after he’d closed it.
“Harry, we need to talk,” Draco took a deep breath.
“I don’t think I like the sound of that.”
“You said we shouldn’t have any secrets between us. But . . . I’ve been . . . lying to you. Keeping something from you, to be more accurate.”
“Lying? About what?”
Ignoring the query, Draco continued. “And I’m not sure what to do about it. Confess, obviously, but I don’t know how you’ll react.”
“Draco, you’re scaring me.” Harry could see the worry in his husband’s eyes. “Come, sit with me on the sofa.” He sat down and patted the velvety cushion.
It took Draco several moments to move from the door to the love seat.
“Is it about the trip?” Harry asked. “Because, we don’t have to go. We can pick someplace different-”
Shaking his head, Draco replied, “No. It’s not the trip. I want to go. But not until I’ve told you the truth. You’re right, I’ve been distracted.”
“All right,” Harry said softly. “Tell me.”
They sat in silence while Harry waited patiently for Draco to begin. His palms were getting sweaty, so he rubbed his hands on his trousers. The wait was excruciating.
Finally, the corner of Draco’s mouth raised in a sort of half smile. He didn’t look into Harry’s eyes as he spoke, but rather into an unseen distance.
“I’m afraid I’ve . . . fallen in love with someone. Quite unexpectedly. And it’s awakened feelings I didn’t think I had.”
Harry’s brow immediately scrunched tightly and he felt like the wind was knocked from his lungs, leaving him unable to speak. But Draco continued.
“I’ve been so incredibly happy with you, Harry, that I didn’t think I needed anyone else.” He added, “Until her.”
“Her?” Harry’s first attempt to talk came out as a whisper. So he cleared his throat and tried again. “Who?”
Draco turned to Harry. “Rose.”
“Rose is a baby. How can you be in love-” Harry paused, trying to grasp what Draco was saying.
Draco watched as his fingers fiddled nervously. “She’s stolen my heart. I find myself thinking about her often. And wondering when we’ll get together with Ron and Hermione so I can see her again.”
“Draco, what are you talking about?”
“I realize I can’t have Rose,” Draco chuckled lightly. “But I think perhaps I could feel this way about another baby. Maybe, your baby.” He looked into Harry’s eyes. “I know you said you’ve changed your mind about wanting a family. And if I’ve missed the opportunity, that’s my own fault.”
Harry threw his arms around Draco’s neck and squeezed.
“Harry, I can’t breathe,” Draco choked out.
“Sorry.” Harry loosened his hold but didn’t let go. “Do you . . . did you . . . really change your mind?”
“I must sound fickle.” Draco pulled back from Harry. “When you told me that you came around to my way of thinking, I was having doubts about my own convictions. But I figured if you were having second thoughts about a family, perhaps it was fate. I pushed my doubts aside, because I thought it was what you wanted.”
“I only changed my mind because it was what you wanted,” Harry said. “If I had to choose between you and children, I’d choose you.”
Allowing a sad smile, Draco said, “You shouldn’t have to choose. I shouldn’t have been so pig-headed. And now I feel foolish for wanting a family so badly I can feel it . . .” He put a hand to his chest.
Harry hugged him tightly again. “I feel it too. I shouldn’t have tried to hide my feelings from you.” They pulled apart and chuckled. “We’re a sorry lot,” Harry said. “We could have gone on not knowing the other wanted the same thing and missed out completely.”
“We need to be honest with one another.”
Harry nodded. “You once told me that you would tell me if you were unhappy, even at the risk of arguments and hurt feelings. You’ve kept your end of the bargain. But I have failed.”
“Only because you wanted to make me happy,” Draco pointed out. “However, in the long run, you probably would have become resentful.” He held up his hand to keep Harry from interrupting. “I know you don’t think so now. But, my love, how can we make each other happy if we’re unhappy ourselves?”
Smiling, Harry caressed Draco’s cheek. “You are brilliant. I’m sorry. I promise not to keep things from you anymore.”
“Good. Now we have a bigger problem.”
“What?” Harry frowned.
“Last time I checked, wizards can’t carry babies. We’re going to need help.”
“I know just the person. Nobody is better at research than Hermione.” Harry got up and walked to the fireplace.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m going to floo call her,” Harry said.
“I have a better idea,” Draco said. “Let’s keep it to ourselves and talk it out on holiday. Then we’ll know what we want to do before we talk to anyone else.”
“Plus, it’ll be fun to have our own secret again for a while,” Harry said. “Remember how exciting it was before everyone found out about us?”
Draco laughed. “I remember it being frustrating, not to be able to touch you whenever I wanted.”
He leaned forward and kissed Harry sweetly.
“Is this truly what you want?” Harry asked. “You really do want to start a family with me?”
Nodding slowly, Draco replied, “More than anything. It just took me a while to realize it.”
Harry pushed Draco back onto the sofa, kissing him feverishly. While they snogged, Draco let his hands wander down to Harry’s arse and pulled him flush against himself. They groaned as their cloth covered erections rubbed together.
“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted you more,” Harry breathed.
“Then have me.”
Draco struggled to unbutton his trousers, made difficult by Harry lying on top of him. He gave up and began to undress Harry instead. Suddenly, Harry stood and pulled Draco with him to the bedroom, taking out his wand to Vanish their clothing.
“Now, why didn’t I think of that?” Draco smirked.
They fell together onto the bed, hands groping, tongues probing, and hips grinding. Harry stroked a bit of pre-cum out of Draco and rubbed his finger in it. He pulled a tiny arse cheek aside and slipped the finger in.
“Accio–” Draco gasped, unable to finish the spell.
“Lube?” Harry snickered.
“Yes. Lube. Accio Lube.” Draco forgot to hold his hand out to catch the small bottle and it hit him in the shoulder before rolling between them.
Harry quickly scooped it up and squirted some on his cock, Draco’s cock, and his own fingers. He tossed the bottle away and moved swiftly to prepare Draco to be invaded.
Willingly lifting his leg higher, Draco got to work spreading the lube on their cocks.
When the third finger was in, Draco was ready. “I want to ride you,” he told Harry, and rolled them so Harry was on his back.
Only having bottomed a handful of times, Draco tentatively climbed onto Harry and positioned himself over the weeping hard on waiting for him.
“Are you nervous?” Harry asked, no sign of sarcasm or teasing in his voice.
“No, not nervous. I’m just not sure how good at this I’ll be.”
“You’ll be brilliant. Go slowly. You’ll like having control.”
As Draco lowered himself onto Harry, he closed his eyes and hummed.
Harry had to restrain himself from thrusting his hips and allow Draco to set the pace. He gazed up at his love, gliding up and down gracefully, the way Draco did everything. Sometimes, he couldn’t believe how lucky he had been in catching the Potions professor. Running his hands up and down Draco’s sides, Harry smiled.
“I told you you’d be brilliant.”
Leaning forward, Draco braced his hands on Harry’s chest. He rolled his hips back and forth, grinding himself as far down Harry’s cock as he could get. They both groaned.
“I could get used to this,” Harry breathed.
“Mm.”
Draco resumed sliding up and down, while Harry stroked him in the same rhythm. Gazing at one another, they each sped up their actions, reading the unspoken need of the other.
As Draco came, his muscles clenched tightly around Harry, bringing him along. They kept eye contact through their climaxes, feeling closer than ever before.
They lay in each other’s arms talking, farther into the night than either of them planned.
“You know, we could skip the holiday and get started on the adoption process right away,” Harry said, yawning.
“And miss out on the nude beaches?” Draco smirked. “Besides, if all goes well, this will be our last holiday alone for a while.”
“True,” Harry conceded. “I am looking forward to seeing your little bum all tanned. But really, I don’t see why having children should stop people from going on holiday. We’ll just choose places that are kid friendly.”
“Like the amusement park?”
“Admit it, you enjoyed that more than you thought you would.”
“I enjoyed waiting in line, at any rate,” Draco smirked.
“I could think of tons of places to take our child,” Harry said excitedly.
“Like where?”
“Well, the amusement park for one, but probably not until he’s a bit older. There’s always the zoo, and parks, and Quidditch matches. Picnicking in the countryside, skiing in the Alps, and maybe we’ll even get to the Grand Canyon in America someday.”
Draco smiled. “All excellent ideas. And I want to go to each and every one with our family. But for now, let’s concentrate on making this trip memorable.”
“Draco, everything I do with you is memorable.”

Chapter Text

“Harry! Draco!” Hermione squealed when she saw their faces through the floo network. “Come through, come through. I can’t wait to hear all about your trip.”
She stepped aside and allowed them in.
“Ron. Harry and Draco are back,” she called out.
Looking confident and at ease, Ron walked into the sitting room with a chubby Rose on his hip, while he carried a butter beer in one hand.
“Look at you, juggling a baby in one hand and a drink in the other,” Harry joked. “Fatherhood’s finally agreeing with you.”
“Look at you all tanned and relaxed. Crikey, even you got some color, Draco,” Ron laughed.
“Yes. All over,” muttered Draco.
“Well, you both look wonderful,” Hermione said. “Positively glowing. You must tell us all about Greece.”
“Can I get either of you a butter beer?” Ron offered.
Harry and Draco both answered yes, and Ron began to hand Rose over to Hermione.
“I’ll take her,” Draco said eagerly.
Without waiting for a response, he plucked the baby out of Ron’s arms.
“Hello sweetheart,” he cooed, bouncing her slightly. She tugged at his hair and pulled his nose into her drool filled mouth.
“Careful there, she’s teething,” warned Ron. He went into the kitchen to retrieve the butter beers.
“Sorry about that. I’ll take her if you’d like,” said Hermione.
“No, that’s all right.” Draco wiped his nose and tucked his hair behind his ears in an attempt to keep it from Rose’s fingers. He took a seat on the sofa, speaking to her in melodic tones.
Harry just watched, smiling. Being her observant self, Hermione narrowed her eyes at the pair.
“What’s going on boys?”
“What do you mean?” Harry questioned, but couldn’t stifle a giggle. Draco ignored her altogether.
“Harry, did something happen while you were on holiday?
“Well, we do have news, but I’ll wait ’til Ron comes back,” he replied, looking as though he were about to burst.
The moment Ron crossed the threshold, Hermione demanded to know.
“What news? What happened while you were in Greece?”
“Draco and I decided, well, actually, we decided before we left . . . but we talked about it a lot while we were away.”
“What? What did you decide?” Hermione was literally on the edge of her seat.
“We’re ready to start a family of our own,” Harry grinned.
Springing out of her seat, Hermione nearly knocked Harry over with a hug.
“I knew it. I just knew it,” she said. “You have no idea how difficult it’s been to see the two of you seeming to want children, but holding my tongue.”
“To you, anyway,” Ron chuckled. “She’s been talking my ear off about how you two would make such good parents. Congratulations. At least I think so. You’re in for a lot of sleepless nights.”
“We know it’s going to be a lot of work,” Harry said.
“It’s worth it,” Hermione told him.
“Yes, she is,” Draco said, allowing Rose to probe his mouth with her chubby fingers.
Harry thought it was funny how Draco would allow Rose and himself to invade his personal space and spill bodily fluids on him, albeit, very different kinds, yet no one else could get close.
“So, how can we help?” Hermione asked.
Relieved that she offered, Harry answered, “We’re not sure where to start. Obviously we can’t just shag and-–” he blushed.
Ignoring his embarrassment, Hermione pushed forward. “You have several options available to you. It only depends on whether you want to adopt, or have a biological child.”
“That’s the thing. We’re not completely sure. I would love to have a child that looks like Draco. But he pointed out that Rose isn’t related to either one of us and we couldn’t love her more if she were our own.”
“We could rent her out to you,” Ron joked.
Hermione shot him a look that said he wasn’t helping. He sipped his butter beer.
“So, in other words, you’re open to possibilities. Good. I’ll do some research on the pros and cons of adoption versus surrogacy and we can go from there. Oh, this is so exciting.”
“Boy, am I glad you gave her a project to work on,” said Ron. “She’s been going stir crazy not working for the past eight months.”
Hermione went to her desk to retrieve some parchment and a quill.
“I’ll need to go to the business offices at the Ministry,” she said to no one in particular. “They’ll have a listing of agencies that deal in adoption and surrogacy. Then I’ll try St. Mungo’s. They may also be able to help. If we have to, we could always explore the muggle world.”
She glanced up for a response.
“I think that would be a last resort,” Harry said. “Having our own squib would be one thing. But purposely adopting a child that would find it difficult to live in the wizarding world may be more than we can handle.”
“Understandable,” Hermione nodded.
“We’d like a witch or wizard, but . . . it doesn’t have to be a pureblood,” Draco said, finally joining the conversation. “Or even a half blood.”
Smiling with approval, Hermione said, “Then we’ll just start with the Ministry and see what happens. I’ll get right on this. I just need to find something to do with Rose.”
“I’ll watch her,” Draco offered. “Er, we’ll watch her. It’s the least we can do if you’re helping us.”
They made plans to return the next day, so Hermione could accompany Ron to the Ministry. Being an employee on leave, she would still have access to records and information. It would be a lot quicker than Draco, or even Harry to request the information they needed.
“Um, before we go,” Harry hesitated. “I have another request.”
“Anything Harry,” Hermione smiled.
“I’ve decided to finally write my memoirs. Sort of.”
“Oh?” Her brow furrowed.
“Do you think I shouldn’t?” asked Harry.
“No, not at all. It’s just that you’ve always wanted to keep your private life as private as possible. I’m simply surprised.”
“Yeah,” Ron agreed. “Besides, there have already been several books written about you.”
“It’s not an autobiography,” Draco interjected. “He’s going to write it as a fiction novel. For muggles.”
“Muggles?” Hermione gasped. “Harry that’s brilliant. But, what’s your request?”
He scratched the back of his neck. “I wanted to ask if it was all right with you two if I write about you.”
Ron snickered. “No one’s ever asked our permission before.”
“Well, I think it’s important,” Harry said. “If you don’t want me to write about your personal lives, I won’t.” He paused. “But you have to admit, you two do have a cute little love story.”
Hermione blushed. “Of course you can write about us. We’re part of your story. But what about . . .” She glanced at Draco, “the less flattering details of your relationships?”
Draco smiled. “Harry and I fully recall the nasty things we’ve done to each other. Not writing about it isn’t going to make us forget. We’re well past it. And besides, it’s supposed to be a work of fiction. So Harry can change any details he wants. Perhaps he can make me less of a prat.”
Ron laughed. “Only if he makes me less of a dolt sometimes.”
“Well, I won’t ask you to glamorize me, Harry,” Hermione said. “You can keep in all of my imperfections.”
“What imperfections?” Ron asked. “You’re perfect.”
Hermione drew in a breath to retort Ron’s sarcastic remark. But he kissed her before she could utter a word.
“In every way,” he said sincerely. “Harry, don’t you change a thing about Mione.”
Harry grinned at his friends, practically in love since age eleven and still going strong.
“I promise I’ll let you read it before I send it out. You sure you’re okay with this?”
Ron nodded. “I want everyone to know she was the brightest witch of her age. Still is.”

***

A few days later, Hermione showed up in the castle, parchments in hand.
“This is all so complicated. How do we choose?” Harry scratched his head.
“Here, I’ve broken it down by cost, time and rate of success.” Hermione pulled out another parchment with a chart drawn on it.
“Cost isn’t an issue,” Draco said.
“Surrogacy can be quite expensive.”
“I have an account at Gringott’s that I haven’t used in years. It contains a sizable amount.”
“I thought you didn’t want to use your family money,” Harry said.
“For this, I will. Besides, I no longer feel the need to stick it to my father by rejecting my inheritance.”
Hermione continued. “Just remember that the most costly method isn’t necessarily the best for you.”
Harry hugged her. “Thank you. We’ll look all of this over and come up with a plan.”
“I’m more than happy to help. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do. I should be going now. Molly is at our place watching Rose, and I said I would bring lunch back with me.”
Another hug for each of them and she was off.
Poring over parchments, Harry asked, “What do you think?”
Draco leaned over, next to Harry. “Well, none of these are particularly speedy. Even if there are babies waiting to be adopted from this agency, there seems to be quite a lot of paperwork involved, and waiting time. Finding a surrogate will likely take even longer. Then, of course, we’ll have to wait the nine months.”
“But it will at least be one of our, biologically,” Harry pointed out. “If we’re willing to wait.”
Nodding Draco questioned, “Can there really be only one wizarding adoption agency? It seems the odds of finding a match anytime soon are long. It says here the average time from petitioning to receiving a child is even longer than a year. Could be two.”
Harry pouted. “Two years? It takes that long to get a baby?”
“Unless you’re the Chosen One,” Draco smirked.
“If there are no babies to adopt, being the Chosen One won’t matter. This is going to be harder than we thought,” Harry sighed.
“Are you giving up already?”
“No. But it’s just not fair. Everyone else gets to have a shag and nine months later—boom.”
Snickering, Draco said, “Well that’s what you get for falling for another man. Think of it this way though, all those times our friends don’t want to have a baby, they have to use some sort of birth control. We can shag anytime we want without worrying.”
“I suppose. In the meantime, we have to figure this out.”
“So, let’s visit this agency,” suggested Draco. “And get started on our search.”
“When?”
“Now’s as good a time as any.”

***

Sitting at a small table with Draco, Harry scratched his head.
“These questions are all geared toward heterosexual couples. Which one of us is the mother?” he laughed.
“Just cross out mother and write in father,” Draco suggested. “This one is easy. We won’t be using our own eggs.”
“Why do they care what jobs we have or where we live?” Harry asked. “It’s not as though regular couples have to get the okay before they have children.”
“They want to make sure we can pay the fee, most likely. It won’t be a problem.” Draco frowned, glancing down at the next question. “Perhaps we should have gone with a muggle agency after all.”
“Why?”
Draco pointed at the parchment. “It asks about past trouble with the law. They could deny us because I’m a Death Eater.”
“Were,” Harry emphasized. “And you were never formally arrested. What if we simply answer no.”
“We have to be honest, Harry. They would definitely turn us down if they find out we’ve lied on the application.”
“You’re probably right.”
They finished filling out the multitude of paperwork and waited for the selection coordinator. After waiting more than thirty minutes, a woman finally came in.
“Hello,” a short, fair-haired witch smiled as she walked in. “I’m Ms. Singleton.”
She took a seat across from them and spun the pile of parchment toward herself. Harry and Draco sat nervously while she looked over the application.
“How long have you been married?” she asked without looking up.
“Um, almost a year and a half,” Harry answered. “Is that long enough?”
“Oh, there’s no set time requirement. Some couples are ready earlier than others. However, we’d like a reasonable reassurance that the marriage will last.”
“It will,” said Harry.
The woman laughed. “All newlyweds believe that Mr. . .” She shuffled back to the first parchment. “Oh, Mr. Potter.” She looked up.
“Mr. Potter-Malfoy,” he corrected. “But, please, call me Harry.”
Ms. Singleton turned her gaze toward Draco.
“Then you must be Mr. Malfoy,” she said warily.
“That’s Potter-Malfoy,” Harry repeated impatiently. He was tired of people refusing to use their hyphenated names.
“Of course. My apologies,” she said somewhat insincerely, in Harry’s opinion.
“Will you be able to help us have a child?”
Ms. Singleton pursed her lips. “Helping couples have children is what we do, through science and magic. However, the wizarding community is small compared to the muggle world. It’s finding a suitable surrogate that may be a problem.”
“Why?’ Harry demanded.
“This is a volunteer operation, Harry. I have my doubts about finding one willing to carry a Death Eater’s baby.”
Harry clenched his fists. He was ready to let the little witch have it, when Draco stood and calmly said, “Thank you for your time. Good day.” He nodded and began to walk toward the door.
“Wait, Mr. Malfoy.” Ms. Singleton glanced at Harry. “I mean, Mr. Potter-Malfoy. I didn’t say we wouldn’t help you. I only wanted to give you a realistic idea of what you’ll be up against.”
“It was unnecessary. I have been up against prejudice most of my adult life.”
The selection coordinator smiled. “Perhaps if the donor knows it’s your husband’s child she would be carrying . . .” She didn’t bother to finish. Both Harry and Draco caught her meaning.
“Naturally,” said Draco.
“No,” Harry protested. “I want the baby to be yours.”
Ignoring his pleas, Draco continued. “When can we begin?”
“Well, since you’ve filled out all the paperwork, the next step is ours. We’ll take your preferences into account but we may not find a perfect match. Then Harry can come in to give his specimen.”
“Did you hear me?” Harry asked. “I said I want the baby to be Draco’s.”
“Harry, I assumed all along that any baby we conceived would be yours, genetically.”
“But I assumed it would be yours. You have parents, biological grandparents for our child.”
Draco’s brow furrowed. He couldn’t deny Harry’s logic. However, he could counter it.
“You are the greatest wizard of our generation. Your legacy should be preserved and passed down.”
“A legacy that will be impossible to live up to,” Harry said. “That’s a burden I wouldn’t want to put on anyone.”
“Well, you both can argue until you’re blue in the face,” the coordinator said. “But I can’t move forward until you make a decision.”
Harry and Draco both sat stubbornly silent.
“What if your parents won’t accept a grandchild without blood ties?” Harry finally asked.
The corner of Draco’s mouth rose. He had him. “If my parents can accept the Weasleys as in-laws, they will accept your child as their grandchild. And Ms. Singleton is right. We’ll have a much better chance of finding a witch willing to carry the Chosen One’s baby.”
“As long as she realizes it’s also your baby.”
“His name will be on the forms, the same as yours,” Ms. Singleton told Harry. “But, of course, yours will be the selling point.”
“All right, then,” Harry said quietly in defeat.
Smiling triumphantly, Draco said to the election coordinator, “We’ll expect to hear from you soon.”

***

 

As predicted, there was no shortage of witches willing to be the mother of Harry Potter’s child. For a price, including the chance to meet the elusive wizard.
Ms. Singleton lined up several interviews with potential candidates within a few weeks. And Harry and Draco found themselves once again in the offices of Progeny by Proxy. They’d met several witches, all with similar physical and less tangible qualities that Harry and Draco were looking for.
The first sneered the moment she laid eyes on Draco. Harry immediately ruled her out in his mind. The second reminded them very much of Luna Lovegood, which put her in either the yes or no column, depending on who was deciding. The third was clearly only in it for the money, as she was unimpressed by Harry’s pedigree, and only wondered aloud if there was anything she could do to earn extra money in the process. Last was a young woman who confessed to lying a bit on her application.
“So, you’re not proficient in potions?” Draco asked her.
“Oh, I didn’t lie about that. I mean, I’m not a master yet. But I’ve been apprenticing with an apothecary for two years.”
“And why would you want to do this?”
“Well, frankly, I’d like to open up my own shop somewhere when I complete my apprenticeship. But I don’t have much saved. My position doesn’t pay well.”
Harry cleared his throat. “Then, what did you lie about?”
The girl glanced away. “I’m not a half blood. I’m a muggle born.”
“Why lie about that?” questioned Harry.
“Well, I’d been passed over a couple of times because of an old witch’s tale. It claims that squibs are more likely to come from muggle borns.”
“Is that true?’ Harry asked.
“No,” she answered. “Nobody knows why there are squibs. Same as no one knows why some muggle couples can have a magical child.”
“It’s pureblood propaganda,” Draco interjected. “I remember hearing that growing up. A long time ago, a pureblood healer put that notion in people’s heads, without any credible research. But the purebloods used it as a reason to try and rid the wizarding world of muggle borns.”
“That’s terrible,” Harry frowned. “Well, you shouldn’t have lied, but I can understand why you did. Is there . . . anything else you lied about?”
The young woman appeared embarrassed. “My, um, hair color. I’ve been coloring it blonde since I was a teenager.”
Harry laughed. “Hardly a capital offense.”
“Is there anything else you’d like to add?”
She sat and thought a moment. When it looked as though she didn’t, Draco stood to end the interview.
“I think it’s great how you turned your life around,” she said.
“Excuse me?”
“Not that I actually believed Skeeter’s articles. But the rest of it. Everyone deserves a second chance. You’re one of the few who . . . isn’t in prison, or on the run, or–” She stopped short at Draco’s glare.
But Harry smiled. “Thank you for saying that.”
“I believe we have one more candidate,” Draco said, ignoring the other two.
They both stood as well, and Harry shook her hand.
“Thank you. We’ll let you know.”
She nodded, leaving Harry and Draco alone in the room.
“We don’t have any more potentials to talk to.”
“I know,” Draco said.
“I like her,” Harry said cheerfully.
“I don’t.”
“What? Why not?”
“She lied on her application.”
Harry frowned. “But you said before that you didn’t care about blood status.”
Draco snorted. “If she admitted to lying about those couple of things, she’s probably lied about more. For all we know, she could be a serial killer.”
“You’re being ridiculous. I suppose you liked the one before her.”
“She was sensible, and forthright,” Draco said.
“And not very personable,” remarked Harry. “What about the second one?”
“Looney Lovegood’s doppelgänger?”
Snickering, Harry said, “So, it wasn’t just me? I half expected her to start talking about some invisible creatures living in the Black Forrest. I won’t even bother bringing up that first witch.”
“Then it looks as though it’s a toss-up between the last two potentials,” Draco said. “And we don’t agree. So, how do we solve this?”
Harry sighed. “All right, then. Let’s go back and look at their applications. Maybe we could list pros and cons?”
“That would seem the logical way to go about it. Except that your preference admitted to lying. How are we going to evaluate her application?”
“She admitted to lying about her hair color, Draco.”
“And blood status,” Draco pointed out.
Nodding, Harry conceded, “That is a little more serious. But if we weren’t choosing based on blood status anyway, I don’t think it should affect our decision.”
Reluctantly, Draco agreed with Harry’s point, but still maintained his wariness over her applications. After making a list of positive factors for each witch, Harry’s original choice prevailed. Barely.
However, to get things moving, Draco agreed that she would most likely be more pleasant throughout the pregnancy. And they wanted to be kept informed as it progressed.
Harry picked up the folder with the blonde woman’s profile and application in it, and he and Draco walked down the hall to Ms. Singleton’s office.
“Ah, finally,” she said. “Have you made your choice?”
“Yes,” Harry replied happily. “This one. Belinda.”
Singleton smiled. “Just out of curiosity, what made you choose her?”
“She didn’t mind at all that we are two men, for one. And she was sympathetic to Draco. I don’t think she had a problem at all having a child for him. I don’t know that I could say the same of all the others.”
“Very well. Let me just take a look at her cycle and we can schedule a time for you to come in.”
Both Harry and Draco appeared slightly uncomfortable at the mention of female matters, though it was all part of the process.
After looking over Belinda’s profile, the selection coordinator looked up and smiled.
“You’re in luck. She’s due for her menses in three days.” Singleton chuckled at the discomfort on the men’s faces. “We’ll be able to start treatment in about two weeks. We’ll have you come in to make your deposit, we’ll do our magic in the lab and implant by the beginning of September.”
“That’ll bring us to June,” Draco said, quickly doing the math. “Perfect timing.”
“So, when should I come in?” Harry asked.
“I’d say you’ll have a window of August twenty-eighth to September fourth. Be prepared to come in on short notice.”
Nodding, Harry answered, “All right.”
The pair left, excited that their journey to parenthood had officially begun.

Chapter Text

“Wonderful news,” Ms. Singleton announced through the floo. “Your surrogate witch is right on schedule and ready to receive your specimen.”
“When?” Harry asked.
“There’s a very small window in terms of artificial insemination. We’d like you to come in tomorrow morning.”
“But our students are due to arrive then. What about the day after?”
Singleton frowned. “You could take a chance, I suppose, but tomorrow morning would be most ideal.”
Not wanting to take even a tiny chance at losing their opportunity, Harry swiftly agreed. “We’ll be there first thing in the morning. Thank you!”
Moments after the floo call ended, Draco stepped out of the loo, towel drying his hair.
“Did I hear you talking to someone?”
“Yes, Ms. Singleton called while you were showering. She wants us to come in tomorrow for the procedure.”
“But, the students . . .”
“I know. But if we miss it, we may have to wait another month,” Harry said. “It won’t take long. We can go there and be back before the sorting ceremony with any luck.”
“McGonagall will never go for it, Harry. She won’t want two heads of House gone. Perhaps you should go alone.”
“No, I need you to be there. I’ll talk to Minerva. I’m sure she’ll understand. She always has some long winded speech to make before the sorting begins anyway.”
Draco laughed. “Don’t put it like that to her. If she says it’s all right, I’ll go. But be prepared for her to say no.”

***

Harry received permission from the Headmistress for Draco and himself to leave Hogwarts briefly on September first. Though she wasn’t thrilled at having them both gone, she understood how important it was for Harry to have Draco by his side. She confided to him that she was looking forward to being the first Headmistress to welcome a family into the castle.
Draco and Harry woke early in anticipation that morning. They stood on the doorstep of the Progeny by Proxy a full seventeen minutes when the door finally opened at half nine.
“Eager, are we?” the girl who answered the door giggled.
“We need to get back to school as soon as possible,” Harry explained.
She handed Harry a small plastic cup with a lid. “You can use that loo right there,” she pointed. “There are magazines and photos to help you.”
The girl walked back behind the desk and sat down to do some paperwork, leaving Harry and Draco both embarrassed.
“Um, I guess I’ll wait out here,” Draco stammered.
“No, you have to help me,” Harry pleaded. “What if I get too nervous or something and I can’t . . .”
“You’ve never had trouble wanking before,” smirked Draco.
“There’s never been someone’s life depending on it.”
Rolling his eyes, Draco took Harry’s arm and pulled him into the loo. He locked the door behind them.
Immediately, Harry latched his lips onto Draco’s, kissing him feverishly. His hands groped and squeezed Draco’s arse while he ground against him.
“Harry,” Draco said, gently pushing him back. “You need to relax.” He caressed the side of Harry’s face with the back of his hand. “You don’t want to remember our child’s beginnings as a rushed encounter in a sterile office loo, do you?”
Harry shook his head, then took a deep breath.
Moving forward, Draco kissed Harry gently and leisurely as though they had all the time in the world. His hands touched Harry’s bare arms softly, causing gooseflesh to rise.
“Je t’aime,” he whispered in Harry’s ear. He unzipped the fly on Harry’s trousers and slipped his hand inside.
Harry moaned, and quickly covered his mouth. “Do you think she heard that out there?”
“It’s not as if she doesn’t know what’s going on in here,” Draco countered.
Before long, they were both caught up in the moment, nearly forgetting there was a purpose to jerking in a public lavatory. Harry had returned the favor and was stroking Draco along with him.
“I’m getting close,” Harry said. “Are you?”
“Yes.”
“I need the cup.” With his free hand, Harry picked up the specimen cup and held it at the ready.
“Harry, let go of me. We need to concentrate on you making it into that cup.”
“Don’t worry. I know what I’m doing. I can multitask.” Harry tightened his grip on Draco.
“Fuck, Harry,” Draco grunted and sped up his movements on Harry’s cock, trying to get him to cum before himself.
“I’m ready,” murmured Harry. “Cum with me.”
Draco closed his eyes and allowed himself to get carried away. As his own orgasm neared, he opened his eyes to watch Harry.
But when Harry began to spill his seed, he moved the cup away, leaving it to fall to the floor.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked frantically. At that point, he was powerless to stop himself from releasing.
Swiftly moving the cup into place, Harry caught most of Draco’s load.
“Why did you do that?” Draco was clearly upset, despite the sexual escapade.
Screwing the cap on the bottle, Harry answered, “You know why.”
“But you tricked me.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” Yet Harry didn’t look particularly sorry.
“I won’t let you use it.”
Harry frowned. “But you have to. Otherwise we’ll have to wait another month.”
Draco turned away as he zipped up his trousers. “I . . . you took it from me,” he said quietly. “I feel . . .”
“You feel what?” Harry asked. Slowly his jaw dropped. “Violated?”
“I didn’t say that,” Draco replied, but still didn’t meet Harry’s eye.
“Oh, Draco, I’m so sorry.” Harry took the cup and walked to the rubbish bin.
“Wait!” Draco stopped him from tossing it in.
“This wasn’t my intention,” Harry said. “This can’t be how our child’s life begins. Can you please forgive me? I just wanted so badly for you to be the father.”
He stepped on the small pedal to lift the lid of the bin.
“You really want me to father our baby? You weren’t just being humble?”
Harry chuckled. “No. I genuinely do. I know I agreed to doing it, because, well, one of us had to give in. Then I had this daft idea.”
Draco looked at the cup Harry was about to drop into the trash.
“If you really mean that, we can use it.”
“Are you certain?”
Nodding, Draco answered, “I’m certain. But if you have any doubts . . .”
“I don’t. We’d better get this off to the lab straightaway,” Harry said.
“But Harry, the lab is going to think it’s your sample. What if there’s something wrong with mine?”
“You’re perfect. What could be wrong with it?”
Harry grinned and kissed Draco. He grabbed his husband’s hand and pulled him out of the loo, toward the lab. They submitted their sample and apparated back to Hogwarts, missing the sorting of only two students.

***

“Hello, what’s this?” Draco grinned, walking into their quarters to find Harry sitting on the sofa with a spread of cheeses, fruit and champagne.
“We’re celebrating,” Harry told him. “Come, sit down.”
Draco dropped his satchel by the door and joined Harry.
“And what are we celebrating?”
“Actually, a couple of things.” Harry picked up a fluted glass and handed it to the Potions professor. “First off, I’ve finished the first draft of my book. I’ve sent it to Hermione for some editing and critiquing. Not to mention, she and Ron may recall some details better than I have.”
“That’s brilliant, Harry. You wrote that awfully quickly.”
“It wrote itself, really. The story was all there. I simply had to get it out is all.”
“But still, in just a few months. I don’t think I would have been able to do that. Well done.”
Draco gave him a lingering kiss.
When he pulled back he asked, “And what’s the other thing?”
“It’s official. We’re pregnant. Ms. Singleton floo called while you were in class.”
Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, Draco hugged Harry fiercely. He ended up doing both.
Wiping away a tear, Harry said, “Don’t worry, I did the same thing. I’m so happy. I knew it would work.”
“When . . . when will he . . . she . . ?”
“The baby is due June fifteenth.”
“Perfect. Term will be over by then.” The smile seemed plastered to Draco’s face.
Harry nodded. “Belinda is feeling very poorly. But Ms. Singleton said that was perfectly normal. It’s actually better than if she showed no symptoms. A strong reaction means a strong child.” Harry laughed. “She probably made that up to make me feel less guilty.”
“And you still don’t have any regrets that this baby is mine?”
“Absolutely not,” Harry said emphatically. “Maybe, if we decide to have another, we can contract Belinda again, and I’ll be the donor. That way they’ll at least be half siblings.”
“I’d like that Harry. Very much. I don’t know how I got so lucky,” Draco said softly.
“You mean, how we got so lucky. I never would have imagined any of this two years ago.”
“That’s an understatement,” Draco snickered. “Two years ago Pansy was still setting me up with pretty boys and you weren’t even out yet. And now look at us, about to be parents.”
Harry leered. “You’re going to be the sexiest father ever.”
“That would be you,” Draco retorted. He took a sip of champagne. “I think we need to continue celebrating in the bedroom. We’ll have to get in all the fucking we can before the baby is born.”
He stood, holding out his hand for Harry to take. Wordlessly, they strolled to the bed, beginning to undress as they did. They made love, simply, emotionally, and oblivious of the rest of the world.

***

Harry jumped in his chair in the library when Draco burst through the door out of breath. He had been staring at a parchment for the previous ten minutes in disbelief. The paper had floated to the floor, landing at Draco’s feet.
“Harry,” Draco panted. He glanced down. “What’s this?” he asked, bending down to pick it up.
“It’s— wait, what were you going to say?”
Quickly scanning the letter, Draco gasped. “Harry, this is wonderful. When did you get this?”
“An owl came about fifteen minutes ago,” Harry replied.
“But this is a muggle publisher. It came by owl?”
“I gave a false address to the post office. Someone from the Ministry owlery picks up mail and sends it out to wizards’ real addresses.”
“Oh, I didn’t know there was such a service,” Draco said, then grinned. “I can’t believe they’re going to publish your book.”
“I know. I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon.” Harry stood and pointed at the bottom of the parchment. “And look, they want to make it a series.”
Draco kissed Harry. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Thank you. But if it weren’t for your encouragement, I never would have done it.”
Then Harry suddenly remembered. “Why are you here? Don’t you have a N.E.W.T. study session?”
“Oh, Merlin, I nearly forgot, I was so excited about your news.” He braced Harry’s shoulders and grinned. “It’s time. McGonagall took a floo call from St. Mungo’s. She told me to come get you and leave. She’ll find someone to cover study sessions and proctoring for us as long as we need.”
Harry stood in shock. “It’s too early.”
Shaking his head, Draco assured Harry, “The healer said it could be this early, remember? It’s only a week and a half. Everything will be fine.”
Harry began to gather up his papers, but fumbled with them. Madame Pince took pity on him. “Are you all right Harry?”
“We’re going to be parents today,” Draco told her.
“Go. I’ll hold these for you,” she smiled.
“Thank you!”
“Congratulations, boys,” she called after them.
As they hurried away, Harry chuckled. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile before.”

Chapter Text

Draco sat in a rocker by the window gazing down at the tiny bundle in his arms. A small pink cap covered the baby’s head, leaving a few stray blonde hairs peeking out.
He’d been too overwhelmed to speak when the mediwitch placed the baby in his arms. All he could do was stare. He knew Harry was standing nearby, equally anxious, but he couldn’t take his eyes off his precious newborn daughter.
The mediwitch came back into the room with a smile.
“You have your first visitors, if you’re ready,” she said. “Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.”
Harry leaned down to Draco, his eyebrows raised. “You ready?”
Draco nodded and lifted his chin, silently asking for a kiss. Harry was happy to oblige.
“Please, let them in,” Harry told the mediwitch.
Tentatively, Hermione and Ron walked through the door. Having a child themselves, they knew to enter a room quietly. Harry walked over to them, a blanket-swaddled infant in his arms.
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione whispered. “Congratulations. You two must be so happy.”
“Over the moon,” he replied.
Ron leaned in for a closer look. “Finally, someone’s had a boy in the family. Poor little thing, he’ll be hen pecked for certain by his cousins,” he laughed.
“And his sister,” Draco added from the rocker across the room.
“What?” Hermione whirled around and gasped. “You didn’t say anything about twins.”
“We wanted it to be a surprise,” Harry said.
“Well, it certainly is.” She walked over to Draco. “And they were born last night?”
“Actually this morning. Just past midnight,” Harry told her. “So they share a birthday with Draco.”
“Bummer,” Ron said.
“To tell the truth, I rather like it this way,” Draco admitted. “Your mother can concentrate on celebrating their birthday instead of mine.”
“Not a chance, mate,” Ron snickered. “I can almost see the cake now. Three tiers— one for each of you.” He gently touched the blue cap on Harry and Draco’s son. “Twins in the family again.”
“Are you all right, Ron?” Harry asked softly. “Is this going to be difficult for everyone?”
Ron shook his head. “No. Everyone will be thrilled. It’s a double blessing for you.”
“Either that, or they’ll be double trouble,” Harry chuckled.
“What are their names?” Hermione asked, stroking the baby’s hand.
“We had a bit of trouble deciding, but I think we’ve finally settled.” Harry glanced at Draco, who nodded back. “Our son is Scorpius James Potter-Malfoy.”
“And this beautiful young lady is Lily Druella,” Draco said.
“Oh, those are lovely names,” Hermione said. “May I please hold one of them? It’s been so long since Rose was this little.”
“I’ll hand you Scorpius,” Harry offered. “I don’t think Draco is ever going to give up Lily.” He paused. “Lily. I think my mother would be pleased.”
“Your mother would be honored,” Hermione said as she took Scorpius from him.
Reluctantly, Draco gave up Lily when he could put off using the loo no longer. He started to hand her to Ron, but he begged off.
“I didn’t even hold Rose at ten hours old,” he chuckled.
Harry gladly took his daughter. Walking over to Harry, Hermione held the boy near his sister.
“I think they resemble each other,” she commented. “And Draco, if I’m not mistaken.”
Harry nodded. “You’re not. He’s their father.”
“Lily’s blonde hair sort of gave it away,” Hermione confessed.
“What about Scorpius then?” Harry gently lifted the blue cap to reveal a head of orange fuzz.
“Oh, my,” Hermione exclaimed.
“He really is a Weasley,” Ron laughed. “How the bloody hell did that happen?”
“The mum is ginger. She’d been coloring her hair blonde though,” Harry explained. “We thought it was a strong possibility that one or both of them would be a head red. He’ll fit right in at family gatherings.”
“Of course they will,” Hermione said. “No matter their hair color. I know Molly and Arthur will consider them grandchildren the same as Rose and the other girls.”
Draco walked back into the room. “My parents will be on their way a little later. No doubt Mother wants to pick out the best layette for them. And I’ve flooed Headmistress McGonagall.” He turned to Ron. “If you wouldn’t mind passing the news on to the rest of your family.”
“I’m sure Mum will be happy to contact everyone,” Ron said.
“But, Harry,” Draco’s demeanor took a serious turn. “There are reporters in the lounge. I don’t think they know what’s going on, but they saw me. One of them tried to ask me questions. Apparently, he saw the pair of you walk in as well.”
“Right,” Harry sighed. “I suppose we weren’t going to be able to keep this a secret very long.”
“Perhaps an official press release,” Hermione suggested. “Something that announces their birth and gives enough information to satisfy some curiosity. But then you won’t have to field any questions in person.”
Nodding, Harry said, “That’s sounds like a good idea.” He yawned.
“Have either of you gotten any sleep?” asked Hermione.
“We dozed off a bit while the babies were in their cots. But once they were up for a feeding, we couldn’t put them down,” Harry said sheepishly.
“Ron and I would be happy to look after them while you rested.”
Harry politely declined at the look of panic on Ron’s face.
“Thanks, but it won’t be necessary. The mediwitch will take them to the nursery for us. They won’t come home until tomorrow.”
“We’ve paid for the room until then, so we can stay close,” Draco explained. “The woman who gave birth to them has been moved to a different wing.”
Hermione’s brow furrowed.
Shaking his head, Ron whispered, “It’s none of your business.”
“I didn’t say anything,” she protested.
“It still doesn’t sit well with you, doesn’t Mione?” Harry questioned.
“What if someday, the babies want to meet their birth mother? She won’t even remember they exist.”
“That’s the way she wanted it, Mione.”
“And she was paid handsomely,” Draco added. “We depleted quite a bit of our funds to get these two. But they were definitely worth it.”
“I just don’t know how someone could give up their child,” she said gently, gazing down at Scorpius.
“Lucky for us, they do,” Harry said. He gave a concerned look to Hermione. “Do you think it’s wrong, that they won’t have a mother?”
“Oh, Harry, I didn’t mean it that way. I know you and Draco will be all they need. You’ll make fine parents.”
Draco yawned widely. “As much as I hate to admit it, I’m rather tired. Perhaps we should call for a mediwitch. We won’t get much opportunity for sleep once we get them home.”
Nodding, Harry agreed.
A mediwitch brought a portable cot and placed the babies side by side to wheel them into the nursery to stay with the other babies born recently.
After Ron and Hermione said their goodbyes, Harry transfigured the single bed to accommodate both him and Draco. They climbed in, exhausted from being mostly awake for the past twenty-seven hours.
Snuggling close, Draco smiled at Harry, his lids heavy.
“I . . .” He burst into tears.
“Draco, what’s wrong?” Harry smoothed the hair off Draco’s forehead.
“Nothing,” Draco sniffed. “I’m happy. And a bit emotional.” He buried his face in Harry’s neck.
“It’s all right. I’d probably cry too, except I’m too knackered.”
In moments, both were fast asleep, not knowing it would be the last time they would get to sleep together for quite a while.

***

“Draco, what are you doing?” Harry asked.
“I thought I heard Scorpius crying.”
“He’s fine. You can’t get out of bed every time one of them cries. Look at you, you’re done in. You need sleep.”
“I just want to help,” Draco pouted.
Nudging Draco back to the bedroom, Harry said, “You can help by getting some sleep. I’m going to put up a silencing charm so you can’t hear them.”
“No, don’t do that. Then I’ll imagine they’re crying constantly, and I’ll get up to keep checking.”
Harry sighed heavily. “Don’t you trust me with them?”
“Yes, of course . . .”
“But?”
Draco’s eyes flashed to Lily as she began to fuss on a blanket on the floor.
“Draco, you have to stop being such a control freak. It’s all right to let someone else take care of them once in a while.”
“But I’m the one who’s not teaching right now. McGonagall gave me leave so I could take care of the babies.”
“During the day, yes,” Harry said gently. “I’m here to care for them after hours.”
“I don’t want you to resent me because you’re working and taking care of the twins.”
Harry laughed. “Is that what you’re worried about? I thought maybe you were resentful of me because you have to spend all your time with Scorpius and Lily, and I get a break from them. After all, I’m only holding study sessions. It’s not as though I’m teaching anything new. And proctoring a few N.E.W.T.s and O.W.L.s is hardly work.”
Harry picked up Lily and rocked her while putting a dummy in her mouth.
“I thought Hermione’s parents frowned upon using a dummy,” Draco said. “Won’t Lily’s teeth grow in crooked?”
“Well, they’re not her grandparents, are they?” Harry snickered. “And Lily isn’t anywhere near teething. Go back to bed, love. I’m all right with them. I was getting ready to warm a couple of bottles and then put them down. I’ll come to bed as soon as I get them settled.”
But Harry knew, most likely, he would end up sleeping on the sofa again for fear of waking Draco if he got into bed.
“I’ll get them when they wake up, then,” offered Draco.
“Okay.” Harry kissed Draco’s cheek. “Only a few more days and the term will be over. And we’ll have all summer with them. Now go to bed.”
Reluctantly, Draco walked back toward their bedroom. He turned before going inside.
“I miss sleeping with you. I feel like it’s been ages.”
“Me too. It’ll get better.”

 

***

 

Harry and Draco strolled through Diagon Alley hand in hand. They each carried a baby in a papoose strapped to his chest. Lily slept soundly against Harry’s chest, while Scorpius gazed up at Draco, occasionally glancing at a passerby.
Hermione waved to them from her table at one of the cafes. Ron sat there too, with Rose playing with colorful round cereal at a highchair. The two families were meeting for lunch before the new term began at Hogwarts.
“You look surprisingly well rested,” Hermione remarked.
“After almost three months, they’re finally on the same schedule” Draco said. “Well, nearly,” he joked, looking at his sleeping daughter.
“She only fell asleep because all she had to stare at was my boring face,” laughed Harry.
“I could stare at your face all day long,” Draco smiled.
Ron subconsciously rolled his eyes while Hermione sighed.
“It’s so difficult to keep the romance alive once the little ones come along,” she said. “How do you do it?”
“Lily and Scorpius aren’t the only ones on a schedule,” Draco smirked.
“You keep a schedule for . . .” blushed Ron. “Kinda takes the romance out of it, doesn’t it?”
“So does not doing it at all,” chided Hermione.
Ron blushed again, awkwardly looking away. Hermione turned her attention to Draco and began a conversation about which nappies were best, in her opinion.
Leaning over to Ron, Harry whispered, “Nap times work best.”
“What if she isn’t in the mood?” Ron whispered back.
“Then you need to put her in the mood. Light a few candles, put silky sheets on the bed, maybe a few toys . . .”
“Harry,” Ron blushed furiously and glanced at Hermione while she continued to speak with Draco.
“There’s no time to be coy when you have limited alone time,” Harry laughed. “Just put a little effort into it. I promise you, it’ll pay off.”
Though he was clearly embarrassed by the conversation, Ron appeared to be giving it some thought.
“So, have you found a nanny yet?” Hermione asked. “I’d be happy to refer you to the agency we used. Veronique is wonderful with Rose. She’s only with us part time for now. But I think I’ll be going back to work full time after Christmas.”
“We won’t be needing a nanny,” Draco told her. “I’ve decided to continue my leave from Hogwarts to care for the twins myself.”
“Oh, that’s brilliant,” she said. “Spending the first year with Rose was the best thing I could have done.”
“Of course, we may need a change of plans,” Draco said casually. “Harry’s been too modest to tell you himself, but his agent has found a publisher for his book, The Philosopher’s Stone.” As a side note, he added, “Did you know that they’ve heard of Nicolas Flamel in the muggle world?”
“They have?” Ron questioned.
“Yes, but they don’t know he was a wizard. And, of course, they consider his story to be apocryphal.”
“But Harry, you’re getting published, that’s great,” Hermione said.
“We’ll all be famous,” grinned Ron.
“Ron, we’re already famous,” Harry laughed.
“Yeah, but not in the muggle world.”
Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron. “So, what change of plans do you need?”
“Well, they want me to sign a multi book contract, possibly even seven, one for each year,” Harry said. “My agent said something about a movie deal.”
“And he may need to stop teaching in order to write,” explained Draco. “So, I may need to work after all.” He looked disappointed.
“You know, if Harry’s book is successful, neither one of you may need to go back to teaching,” Hermione said. “And muggle movies are big business. You could become quite wealthy.”
“Really?” Draco queried. “I had no idea books were so lucrative. You’d think the owner of Obscurus Books would dress a little better.”
“Well, not so much here in the wizarding world,” she told him. “But muggle best selling books can reach millions of readers. They get translated into several languages. Yes, you could quite well.”
“Hm,” Draco mused. “When I encouraged you to write, I thought it would just be a pleasurable diversion, not a way to make a living.”
“It would be ideal, though, wouldn’t it?” Harry said. “We could both be home with Scorpius and Lily. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll stick to the plan we have for now. After all, I did write the first book while teaching.”
“Yes, but that was before the twins,” Draco pointed out.
“Don’t worry. The books won’t take priority over them,” assured Harry. “Nothing is more important than our family.”
“Providing for them is equally important. If your books can do that, I’ll support you however I can. Even if it means going back to my position as Potions Professor.”
“That’s why I love you,” Harry smiled.
Draco gazed lovingly at him, and sighed.
Food was served and the twins dozed off again in their papooses while Rose ate a plate of macaroni and cheese with her fingers. Ron told the group about a few of the cases he’d wrapped up recently. Ten years after the war, the Ministry was confident that any threat of a new rise of the Death Eaters was finally shut down. Most of the cases Ron and the other Aurors worked on were more mundane. Still, occasionally, Ron would come upon a gruesome murder scene. Ordinary wizards were getting increasingly creative with their hexes.
While Ron talked, Harry looked at his son and daughter, two people who weren’t even part of his imagination a few short years ago. Not to mention his husband, who had been considered a rival back then.
When he gave up being an Auror to join the staff at Hogwarts, he had no idea just how much he would gain. And it all began with a Potions Professor pursuit.