Admittedly, Harry should have known that Ron wouldn’t take the news of Draco moving in with him well. Hermione of course, was delighted. After all, she had suggested it, way back in January. It had been weird then, when Draco and Harry had barely got to know each other.
They knew each other well now. Harry felt like he could tell Draco anything. And maybe his feelings towards the blond man were more than simply platonic. He was truly happy that Draco had come back into his life.
Ron was a different story altogether.
“Look, I get that you two have been all chummy, and Malfoy’s alright, but surely this is all too fast? I mean you guys have barely known each other properly a year! And now he’s living with you?” Ron exclaimed.
“Ron!” Hermione was trying to get him to shut up, glancing at Draco with concern.
“I’m sorry ‘Mione. I know this was your idea but surely this is too far?! It’s not exactly as if they were best buds a year ago! Now they’re all buddy-buddy?” Ron turned to Harry. “I mean next you’ll bloody tell me you two are shagging!”
“Ron!” Harry shouted. He felt Draco go rigid beside him.
“Look Harry, you know Percy likes blokes, and if anyone gave him trouble for it, I’d kick their arse. If you liked blokes, I’d do the same thing for you. But come on! It’s Malfoy for god’s sake!” Ron gestured to Draco, who was already up and storming out of the room.
“Ronald Weasley!” Hermoine shouted, and Harry was already up and chasing after Draco.
Draco ran up the stairs, putting his hands on his head once he reached the corridor.
“Draco, ignore him. He’s just surprised,” Harry said gently. He didn’t dare reach out to comfort Draco, knowing he might just flinch away and it would make things worse.
“Weasley’s right. It’s all too fast, I’m intruding,” Draco muttered softly. His expression was taut, and his voice almost shaking.
“No it’s not, you’re not. He’s just being an idiot. It’s Ron for god’s sake.” Harry moved so he was beside Draco. “He doesn’t really think we’re together or anything.” He tried not to let his voice show that he very much would like for them to be together.
Beside him, he felt Draco stiffen and then turn away.
“I’m gay, Harry.”
Harry tried to ignore the rising hope in his chest, and the way his heart rate increased. The hope was quickly crushed by guilt. He should have said more to defend Draco, should have been harsher with Ron.
It took him a moment to realise that Draco was still staring at him. Draco looked about ready to bolt again.
“That’s great Draco.” Harry smiled at him with what he hoped was a kind, accepting smile.
Draco looked up sharply. It seemed like whatever reaction he was expecting, it wasn’t that. “What?”
“I said, that’s great! Thank you for telling me!” Harry chirped.
“You don’t- you don’t think it’s wrong?” Draco whispered. Harry barely caught the words, and when he heard them, he melted a little.
“Oh Draco, of course not.” Harry moved a little closer to try and comfort Draco. Surprisingly, Draco hugged him.
“Thank you. Thank you,” Draco murmured it into his shoulder over and over again, before stepping back and running his hand through his hair. “We should go back.”
“Do you need a minute?” Harry asked softly.
“No.” Draco shook his head. “I’m sure he will have calmed down.”
When they went back down, Ron was standing in front of Hermione. Hermione had her hands folded over her just-beginning-to-show pregnancy bump.
“Harry, Malfoy, I’m sorry. I overreacted. I went too far. I’m glad you’ve got somewhere to stay, Malfoy,” Ron said sheepishly. He kept his hands behind his back, looking down. Harry knew Ron well enough to know he wasn’t entirely sorry, but he would come around.
Hermione walked over. “And with that, we’re going.” She gave Draco a long hug, meeting eyes with him quickly, and giving him a look Harry couldn’t decipher.
When Ron and Hermione left, Harry looked over at Draco. “You alright?” He inquired.
“I’m fine. Are you alright? I’m sure it wouldn’t have been easy hearing Weasley accuse you like that,” Draco muttered. He was tense, standing away from Harry.
“I don’t give a damn if Ron thinks we’re together! I don’t give a damn if he thinks I’m gay!” Harry shouted. “Goddamnit I don’t think I’m straight anyway!” Harry slapped his hands over his mouth, realising what he had said.
Draco looked over at him sharply. “Pardon?!”
Harry stilled. “I said, I think I’m not straight.”
“But you and the Weasley girl? I thought you were together?” Draco asked, the shock evident on his face.
“Well, we were. But we’re kind of on a break, and I realised I like men too. I think I have the potential to like anyone. Guy, girl, in between,” Harry admitted. He looked over at Draco, who had gone completely still.
“I knew in fifth year,” Draco confessed. “But I didn’t have the words for it for a long time. Not until after- after everything. But I knew what liking someone was, and what loving someone was. I just didn’t have the words to describe myself. Being the only son of a pureblood family, loving anyone but the opposite gender was frowned upon.”
Harry nodded, he could guess as much. “So what, you’re expected to marry a pureblood girl? Are you going to?”
Draco laughed mirthlessly. “That’s what they expect. It’s one of the things that meant I had to leave home after Christmas, among other topics. I’ve said it before, I’m not my family, and I’m certainly not going to live my life how they expect me to.”
“Yeah, that’s good. Live your life how you want to Draco.” A thought struck Harry. “That day in the pub, with that girl who gave you her number!” He exclaimed. “That’s why you looked so uncomfortable!” He burst out laughing.
Draco grinned. “Yeah. I was trying to let her down easily but damned Weasley kept pushing it!” He laughed. “Merlin, the poor woman.”
“Poor woman indeed, barking up the wrong tree!” Harry grinned as Draco gave him a questioning look. “Muggle expression.”
“What about the Weasley girl, did you tell her?” Draco asked pointedly.
Harry sighed. “No. I didn’t realise until she went off travelling. Figured I didn’t need to, since we took a break. Well, that’s what she told me anyway. I think with everything that’s happened, we both want a bit of a fresh start, and not to be together,” he explained.
“Understandable.” Draco seemed half serious, half teasing, so Harry gave him a smile.
“Right, that’s enough soppy talk, let’s go start dinner.” Harry got off of where he had been leaning on the couch and went to the kitchen, Draco trailing behind him.
They didn’t talk about it much after that. Harry tried to ignore the hope in his heart every time Draco smiled at him. He had known he had feelings for Draco since not long before the disastrous get-together for the anniversary of Hogwarts. He hadn’t properly accepted it until just before Draco’s birthday, back in June. Harry still remembered the way Draco smiled at him with fondness.
To be fair, he had only just realised that the feelings had started developing into love. It was terrifying and wonderful at the same time. He wanted things to be good with Draco, and if that meant he had to hide his feelings, so be it. He was just happy everything was working out.
And now it was the beginning of December, and they were living together. If you’d told Harry a year ago that he’d be living with Draco Malfoy, that he’d asked Draco to live with him, he would have laughed. But he was so glad it had happened.
A couple weeks later, both seeking a break from the rush of preparing for Christmas, Harry and Ron met up in a pub (“ A muggle pub” Ron had insisted. “ We don’t need to be bothered if we don’t have to.” ) to catch up. Draco was working, and Harry thought Ron looked secretly relieved when he saw that Draco wasn’t there. They both hugged hello and sat down.
It was good to see Ron again, but Harry knew he had to tell Ron the truth about how he felt about Draco, so Ron wouldn’t make anymore insensitive comments. He was trying to keep himself calm and not look nervous.
Ron was in the middle of going on about how much Hermione was running herself ragged preparing for the baby (“ Honestly mate, you’d think she was due any day now! ”) when Harry blurted out; “You were right.”
Ron looked at him curiously. It was unlike Harry to interrupt, so he knew it was important. “Right about what?”
Harry steadied himself. “Well, you were kind of right. About Draco and I.”
Ron’s head tilted a little and he leaned back. “Honestly mate, I was out of line. I know that.”
“I’m in love with him,” Harry admitted. There. It was out in the open.
Ron moved forward sharply. “What? Sorry, I mustn't have heard you right. It just sounds like you said you were in love with Malfoy .” Ron’s expression was incredulous.
“I am. And I know you’re not happy about it, I know it will take you a while to come around, but I thought I should tell you, and now I have,” Harry said firmly, trying to sound more confident than he felt.
“I’m going to get another drink.” Ron groaned and went up to the bar, bringing them back two whiskeys.
“Ron-” Harry began. Ron held up a hand.
“We’re talking about something else now,” Ron said, and that was the end of it.
The rest of the catch up went well, and both men had a good time.
When Harry got home, he heard a soft swoosh , which announced a letter. It was addressed to Draco, and, upon further inspection, from Hermione. Draco walked in, and it seemed like he rushed to the letter after seeing Harry next to it. “Work stuff,” Draco mumbled. “How was your day with Weasley?”
Harry shrugged. “It was good, I told him I’m queer.” He glanced over at Draco to see his reaction.
“Oh? Did it go well?” Draco inquired.
“He needed a minute, but it went well. It went better than I thought it would,” Harry admitted.
That evening, Harry got a text from Ron. It read; I can’t say I’m 100% happy about it, but if he’s the one you want then you bet I’ll help you.
Harry smiled about it for the next few days.
Nothing really happened after that. It felt like Draco and Harry were dancing around something important, but neither of them could quite figure out exactly what they were dancing around. Every time all four of them got together, Ron not-very-subtly wiggled his eyebrows at Harry when Draco wasn’t looking. Ron had come around quite quickly, all things considered, though they had both agreed telling Hermione might be a recipe for disaster.
Draco had grown a lot more confident, and Harry was proud of him. There were setbacks sometimes, but everyone had those. Draco had come a long way.
Something was missing, and Harry couldn’t figure out what.
The next major occurrence happened in March.
Harry had invited a whole bunch of their friends over. Even Seamus and Dean had turned up (together, no less. Ron had looked at them pointedly to Harry), and Neville stole a day off from Hogwarts. Luna had been in the country so she had come too.
Somehow, someone had suggested playing spin-the-bottle.
They couldn’t even blame it on alcohol, because Hermione had insisted that if she couldn’t drink, no one could. Harry didn’t blame her. Being the only sober one when the rest of them were drunk wasn’t fun.
Harry had glanced over at Draco, to make sure he was alright. He recalled vividly the mistletoe incident that first Christmas.
But Draco was fine. He laughed and jokingly kissed people, Ron even begrudgingly allowed Draco to kiss him on the cheek when he had spun the bottle and it had landed on Draco.
Draco had responded to that gleefully, grinning and placing an exaggerated kiss on Ron’s cheek. They had all laughed and Ron had pulled a face.
Then Harry had spun the bottle, and it had landed on Draco. The room had seemed to go silent for a split second. Draco glanced at Hermione in a look that Harry couldn’t decipher. Ron looked at Harry with a grin.
Draco looked over to Harry and gave a minute nod.
Harry leaned in to kiss Draco, and pressed his lips to Draco’s lightly. He was prepared to pull away when Draco placed his hand behind Harry’s head and pulled him closer.
Harry, surprised by this, had responded by doing the same. They stayed like that, just kissing. He felt incredible happiness, and that tiny hope that he had tried to suppress for the last several months burst like a bonfire in his chest.
When they pulled apart, everyone cheered. Ron, though he would never admit it, shouted “About bloody time!”
It wasn’t until their foreheads were pressed together and Harry gave Draco a small smile that Draco seemed to realise what had happened. He was up and running out of the room before Harry could say anything.
“Draco!” Harry shouted as he raced up to follow him.
When Harry finally found Draco, he was in the room that he had moved into not even five months before.
Draco was throwing his belongings across the room. When he moved, Harry saw a suitcase on the bed.
Draco , Harry realised with a jolt, was packing .
“Draco-“ Harry began, and Draco looked up with such a broken expression it was like Harry had hit him.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m leaving. Please just let me leave.” Draco took a step back as Harry took one forward, trying to comfort him. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I was wrong, it was wrong. I’m sorry.”
“Draco-“ Harry started again, and this time Draco started moving his belongings more frantically, as if he expected them to be taken, as if he expected to be thrown out.
It hit Harry too late that that was exactly what Draco was expecting.
Harry decided to bite the bullet and moved forward. He grabbed Draco’s hand, which was moving an ornament off a shelf. Draco jolted back and slammed against the wall. It was clear he was expecting to be struck.
“I’m not throwing you out, Draco. I would never do that.” Harry took a step forward gently. Sorrow twisted in his heart as Draco braced himself, expecting a blow. “I’m not going to hurt you,” Harry whispered gently. “I will never hurt you.”
Draco looked up. “You don’t have to pity me. I’ll leave and you’ll never see me again. I won’t cause any trouble, I swear,” he begged.
“I don’t pity you, Draco,” Harry murmured.
“Yes you do!” Draco insisted. “You pity me, you always have. Poor Malfoy, stupid little death eater, let’s make friends. Poor Malfoy all alone, let’s invite him to live with me. Poor Malfoy, head over heels in love with me, let’s give him a pity kiss. Why bloody not?!” Draco slammed his hand against the wall, and Harry took a step back.
Then Harry processed what Draco had said.
“Head over heels in love with me?” He asked quietly, almost disbelieving. He didn’t believe it. Surely Draco would never return the feelings Harry had for him?
Draco nodded slowly. “Since fifth year. But I didn’t realise, not properly until seventh year. Not seeing you, it made me realise how much I missed you. And then at the manor, I knew that I could never let you die.” Draco ran a hand through his hair and Harry took a step forward, kneeling next to Draco.
“And then-“ Draco took a shuddering breath. “Then at the battle, you were dead. You were dead and I could never talk to you again. Never tell you I was sorry , never tell you that I-“ Draco’s voice broke and he wiped away a tear quickly.
Harry lay a hand gently on Draco’s shoulder, and surprisingly, Draco didn’t flinch away. “I’m here Draco, I know it now,” Harry reassured him.
Draco nodded, letting out a shuddering breath. “Then you got up, and I knew everything would be alright. Because if you were there, everything would be alright.”
Harry didn’t say anything, just letting Draco speak. He could see how overwhelmed Draco was. He could see that Draco had been holding this in for a long time. They had never really spoken about the battle of Hogwarts, except in May, and Harry had never thought about how Draco must have felt, seeing Harry supposedly dead. Hermione hadn’t let him out of her sight for weeks, and Ron had seemed to stay by his side for just as long a time.
Harry had never thought that Draco could have been that scared too.
“And then at Christmas, seeing you again. There was so much I wanted to say, so much that I didn’t say. But it got better. I never expected you to even let me in your house, let alone attempt at being kind.” Draco still had his eyes down, not looking at Harry.
A thought struck Harry. “The mistletoe. Hermione made you kiss me under the mistletoe, and you were hesitant at first. I wasn’t going to do it, then you did. Was this why?” Harry asked gently.
“Yes. I figured it was the only time I’d ever get to. And Hermione knew, knows , I have feelings for you. She thought she was being helpful,” Draco explained.
“Wait, Hermione knows?” Harry was surprised by it. To his knowledge, something like that would be something that Hermione would tell him. But he knew that she cared about Draco too, she had been the first of them to defend him.
“Yes. She figured it out, long ago. I don’t know when or how, but she confronted me when we first started working together about it. I never denied it, not to her. There was no point,” Draco admitted. He fiddled with his hands nervously.
“You held onto my hand when we shook hands,” Harry recalled almost absently.
“I thought it would be the only time I’d get to. Just like the only time I’d get to kiss you would be in some silly game.” Draco moved his head even further down.
Harry traced his finger underneath Draco’s chin, attempting to put his head up, but Draco resisted, so Harry just left his hand on the side of Draco’s face. “I didn’t push you away, Draco,” Harry reminded him.
Draco glanced sharply up. “You don’t mean that. You don’t know what you’re saying,” he said firmly, moving his head away.
“I mean it Draco.” Harry stroked the side of Draco’s face. Draco didn’t meet his eyes. “I feel the same Draco, I do.”
Draco laughed mirthlessly. “You don’t need to do this, I can take rejection, Harry.” The tears in his eyes said otherwise. Harry realised that it would take a lot of convincing to get Draco to believe him.
“Draco, I have feelings for you too, I promise,” Harry said softly.
Draco looked at him hesitantly. “You don’t understand. I’ve had these feelings for you for so long . If this is just some kind of pity, I don’t want it. It would destroy me if you said all this and didn’t mean it,” he confessed, his voice thick with emotion.
“Draco, I mean it. I mean it, and I’ll say it as many times as you want. I have feelings for you. I want to hold you, your smile is wonderful. You’re kind, and perceptive, and I love spending time with you. And I- I think I’m in love with you. Have been since- since you moved in, I think.” Harry tilted Draco’s head so they met eyes and this time Draco did not resist.
Draco’s eyes were shining with tears. “I love you too. I’ve been wanting to hear that since seventh year.” It struck Harry then just how much this meant to Draco. If Harry has felt like he was drowning in his longing for Draco, he couldn’t comprehend how much Draco must have wanted this.
“Can I kiss you?” Harry asked gently.
“You want- you want to -“ Draco couldn’t even formulate the words.
“Of course,” Harry reassured him gently. Draco nodded minutely.
Harry leaned in and pressed his lips to Draco’s. This time, there was nothing hesitant about it. Everything that they had been feeling, all the fear, all the hurting, all the longing, all the love was expressed in that kiss.
Ah , Harry realised, that was what had been missing .
And Harry felt complete when they moved back and Draco smiled at him.
Draco leaned forward and held Harry tight, as if he feared Harry would disappear if he let go.
“I’m here, Draco, I’m not going anywhere.”