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How I Know I Love You

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“After the war, when it was so clear I’d been so wrong about absolutely everything in my entire life, I found comfort in certainty. I chose only the clear right path, carefully calculating the risk every decision carried, questioning the outcome to every situation I found myself in, in the hopes of avoiding ever being put in the position I found myself in then. But soon enough, I found a question I had no way of knowing the answer to.”

“Though I dearly wanted a relationship, I never believed that the death eater who defied his family and refused to salvage his name in pure-blood society would ever find someone in the wizarding world willing to give him another chance, so I never planned for one. I never thought about how I would handle the interest of another, let alone an actual offer of a partnership. But suddenly, my carefully constructed world of certainty was completely threatened by a speccy git who was as reckless as his hair was wild.” 

“I was completely blindsided. Completely at a loss as to which way was right, which decision was best, which way promised continuing happiness and security and right, but for my own peace of mind I needed to try and figure it out, no matter how much my traitorous heart demanded his attention. I needed to know choosing to try and have the relationship I so desperately wanted wasn’t going to ruin everything I’d fought so hard for in the years following the war. Love, I knew, was meant to be eternal, meant to be a power that could conquer any force. Indeed, it’s the entire reason that both of us are alive. But I needed to know, was what we had actually love? Was it just infatuation? Or stupidity? Or a fling? To me, the only way I thought I would know, was if I knew the answer to the question ‘What does love feel like?’”

“As a child I knew I was loved. My mother hugged me often, sent me gifts, made time for me, and my father, when it mattered, risked everything for me. So I knew what it felt to be loved, and I knew what it was to love my parents. To keenly miss my mother, and worry for her even before the war. But that was the love between a parent and a child, and I knew romantic love was meant to be so different. According to everyone I spoke to, it was meant to be full of butterflies, and fireworks, and shy glances, and giggles, and giddiness. But though I felt happy with you more happy than I’d ever been in my entire life I didn’t feel any of those things. And that was terrifying.”

“I knew in my heart that I needed this. I needed to be close to you, to wake up beside you every morning, to insult your atrocious taste in clothing every day, but until I knew, with as much certainty as possible, that this was love, I was lost, unable to let myself commit to something so risky, after working so hard. Today I want to apologise for allowing my insecurities to almost cause us to break up before we even really started, and tell you that you owe us to two incredible women, who I was fortunate enough to have on hand for advice; Ginny and Pansy.”

“When they realised what was happening, Ginervra whacked me so hard I can still feel the bump she left, and Pansy insulted me until she almost passed out from lack of oxygen. And whilst I was anything but grateful at the time, together, they helped me find the answer to my question. And, though I hate cliches with a passion, I can’t think of a better day to tell you what I learned than here and now, when I can finally call you my husband (assuming I don’t chicken out of course, openness and vulnerability are not traits commonly associated with Malfoy’s afterall. Even Malfoy-Potter’s).”

“Harry James Malfoy-Potter. Loving you feels like wishing you’re with me everywhere. It’s wanting to see your face as soon as I wake up, and needing it to be the last thing I look at before I fall asleep. It’s knowing I’m safe with you, and happy, and loved, and never bored, even if all we’re doing is sitting in a room together. It’s being so used to always having your hand in mine that it feels empty when you’re not holding it, and missing it’s warmth and you in general so much it hurts. It’s adding to a never ending list of things to do with you because when we finally do spend time apart, I can’t stop thinking about how you’d love to be there. It’s having to use every ounce of self-control I have to stop myself from apparating on the spot to come and get you. It’s promising to show the places you missed as soon as I can.”

“Loving you feels like time slows down when we’re together, making every moment endlessly complete. No matter how busy life gets, how stressed we are, somehow, you always help me relax. When I’m around you, it’s like after holding my breath for what feels like hours, I can finally breathe again. Suddenly, all the pressure fades away and doesn’t matter anymore. With one smile, one laugh, instantly I calm down. I stop feeling like every second that passes is a knife in my side, torturing me until I finally finish my task. Deadlines don’t scare me as much. The weight comes off my shoulders, and I know that nothing is more important than us than you. Loving you means life is actually about living.”

“Loving you feels like wanting to be a better man because that’s exactly what you deserve. It’s choosing to be open and vulnerable with you, rather than protecting my pride, shutting you out or hurting you when we argue, because it’s so painful when we fight. It means I willingly choose to make compromises even though I really want it my way , because my happiness is worthless if you’re not happy too. It means I want to learn to do things that make you happy, spend time with people you love, and don’t care if I make a complete arse of myself in the process, because at the end of the day, seeing your smile makes it all worth it.”

“Loving you feels like I can say as long as I have you, I can cope with anything, even if I have nothing else. If everything we owned, our house, our jobs, our possessions, everything was to be taken from me tomorrow, as long as I had you, Harry, I feel like we’d manage. You’ve shown me how worthless it is for a person’s happiness to depend on physical things, and proved to me again and again just how much of a difference good company can make. You’ve made memories that are more valuable to me than my parents most prized possession with just a blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. You’ve brought us through stressful times with just your sense of humour and a well-timed takeaway. And you’ve given me more than money could ever buy just by being with me. Loving you feels like being complete, in a peaceful yet fierce way, knowing somehow, everything will always be okay as long as we’re together.”

“Loving you, Harry, feels like everything I could ever want, and everything I could ever need. It feels like the easiest thing in the world, the thing I was made to do, my entire reason for being. Loving you is the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I just hope that I can spend the rest of my life showing you how much you mean to me, because words are simply not enough. I love you, Harry.”

With tears in his eyes, Harry stared at the faded parchment he’d accidentally unearthed whilst tidying their bedroom, frozen as his heart beat too fast and not quick enough at the same time. 

He hadn’t seen this before, despite the day in question being almost 10 years ago now. Draco had made a speech—they both had—and it had been moving, and lovely, and snarky in true Draco style, and Harry had been careful to quickly store the memory of it for safe-keeping. But it certainly hadn’t been this. 

As the sounds of Draco humming downstairs drifted lazily to him, suddenly every fibre of his being propelled him forwards. He had a husband to kiss.