Harry's hands shook. He hadn't meant for this to happen, hadn't planned on bringing up their past. He'd only meant to thank Draco for being there for his son when Harry hadn't been.
When he'd overheard that James had kissed Draco, James's Quidditch manager, Harry's heart had stopped. He'd felt like he couldn't breathe, like nothing in the world made sense any longer. Not only because it was inappropriate for his son to be taking up with his boss and a man twice his age, but because of the past he and Draco shared. A past that nobody but the two of them knew about. A past that still had Harry referring to the man as Draco, instead of Malfoy, if only in his head.
It had taken every last ounce of his willpower not to barge into the room and demand that James tell him exactly what had happened between them. Luckily Harry had stayed to listen instead, because James had explained everything to his siblings and cousins, clarifying that it had been a mistake and entirely one-sided. He'd admitted that Draco had been offering support because James had been upset, and then James had gone and made an arse out of himself by drunkenly snogging his mentor. Harry had sagged against the hallway wall in complete relief. He knew, then, that he had to see Draco.
It had been nearly twenty-five years since they'd last spoken, since Draco had walked out of Grimmauld Place and out of Harry's life. But all of that was ancient history. Harry hadn't meant to bring any of that up; he'd only wanted a fresh start. Draco was James's boss, and somebody who James admired and respected. Not to mention the fact that Albus was best friends with Draco's son, Scorpius. Frankly, it was shocking that Harry and Draco had managed to last so long without having to be in the same room. They couldn't count on that lasting forever, and Harry didn't want their first words in two decades to be exchanged with an audience.
Harry should have left once he'd thanked Draco for supporting James. He should have shook Draco's hand and walked away, but Harry was reluctant to leave Draco's office so soon. Instead, he found himself opening his mouth, words bubbling up out of his throat that he had no business voicing.
"I just...I wanted to say that I'm sorry for—for everything. I told myself that it was for the best, that you didn't care. But I think, deep down, I knew that wasn't true."
Draco closed his eyes and took a deep breath, his crisp, white shirt pulling attractively across his chest before his quiet exhale. "I appreciate the sentiment, Potter, but it's all in the past. There's no point dredging it all up now. Besides, it was for the best. It would have never worked."
Harry didn't know why those words made him feel like he'd been hit with a Stinging Hex. "Do you really believe that?"
Draco gave a sardonic smile, and it made Harry's breath catch. He looked away as Draco continued. "I guess we'll never know, now will we? But I was hardly wasting away from heartbreak, and it seems rather obvious that you weren't exactly pining after me, either. You made your choice and we both moved on. I was never angry at you for choosing her, anybody in your place would have made the same decision. I can't imagine you regret it." Draco spoke calmly, his tone matter of fact. Harry felt his heart squeeze uncomfortably with his words.
"I don't, I can't. I loved Ginny, and she gave me my children. Nothing could make me regret any of the decisions I made that brought them into this world. But that doesn't mean I haven't wondered. That I haven't seen your picture in the paper and thought about what could have been." He didn't regret it, but he'd always hated that the cost of his family had been losing Draco.
"Loved?" Draco said, his voice a rough whisper that made something low in Harry's stomach clench tight.
Harry wrinkled his nose before his eyes widened in realisation. "Love. Love, of course. You know what I meant." Of course he still loved Ginny. He'd always love Ginny. Sure, things had been less than ideal between them for the past few months—the past few years, really—but that didn't mean he didn't still love her. Even though sometimes, in the dead of night, he wondered if maybe that wasn't enough. If maybe whatever spark that had sustained them through three children and over twenty years had finally gone out. But this wasn't the time or the place for those traitorous thoughts. "And that was hardly the point. I mean, we were seeing each other almost non-stop for more than a year, and then it was over. We broke it off and I never saw you again. I—I missed you."
Draco sneered, though he didn't quite manage to hide the glimmer of pain in his hypnotic eyes. "Oh, poor Harry Potter, can't have his cake and eat it too. What did you expect? We were fucking in secret. Nobody even knew we had been spending time together, and you seemed to be under the impression that none of your friends would understand us being friendly acquaintances, let alone more. There was no reason for us to ever see each other again, and I think it was better for both of us that we kept our distance."
Harry couldn't hide his small flinch at Draco's words, even if they were true. They'd both made mistakes back then, they'd both hurt each other more than they'd been willing to admit at the time. Was it really so hard for Draco to admit that they'd had something? "So you didn't miss me at all?"
"I—" Draco paused, collecting himself with a slow intake of breath. "What does it matter? Nothing has changed."
Harry noticed that Draco hadn't answered the question. "Of course things have changed. We've grown up. Just because we have a complicated history, doesn't mean we can't try and be friends now."
Draco laughed, the sound low and bitter. It scraped across Harry's ears uncomfortably, even as Harry's eyes eagerly travelled over the exposed column of Draco's throat. "Friends? How many times do I have to tell you? We could never be friends."
"Give me one good reason why not," Harry challenged, head raised defiantly. They weren't little boys anymore, terrified of themselves and the world. He'd always regretted letting Draco walk out of his life. It was his most shameful, cowardly act, one that nobody but Draco had ever been privy to. Harry wasn't going to live with that regret twice.
"Because you're a good person, an honorable one." Draco's voice sounded almost mocking. "And I'm not."
"That's a load of rubbish. You aren't a bad person, Draco."
"No, not like my father was, or like the many wizards you've come across as an Auror, I'm sure. But…" He tipped his glass, staring at the liquid as the light sparkled through the crystal. Harry wished he'd taken Draco up on his offer when he'd first come into the office. He wouldn't mind a drink right about now. "I don't care about people the way you do. I'd do anything for my family, my friends, for those I love, but that circle is fairly small."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
Draco stood up, stretching out the long lines of his body before coming around to lean against the front of the desk. Harry couldn't help but admire the way his robes clung to his form. It had been decades, but Draco was still beautiful. Flickering light reflected off of Draco's blond hair, and Harry's fingers fairly itched with the desire to reach out and run his fingers through the silken strands. He wondered if it would feel any different than it had the last time Harry'd had an excuse to touch. Draco cleared his throat. "That's the reason."
"Do you know how you look at me? It’s how I’m looking at you now." Draco's eyes were hot and hungry, and Harry blushed furiously. He wanted to deny it, wanted to claim ignorance to the heat he saw there, but he couldn't bring himself to say the words.
"Do you see? You sit there in your form-fitting Auror robes and look at me as if you want me, and if we start socialising, sooner or later something is going to happen. You'll try to resist, but eventually you're going to give in. You're going to let me bend you over this desk and fuck you like you've only been dreaming about for the past two decades." Draco leaned towards him, his body a predatory curve as Harry gaped at him. Harry's breath came in shallow pants as vivid images of Draco fucking him over that big, mahogany desk zinged through his head. Draco's velvet voice continued, "I'll blow your mind, and afterwards you'll be be racked with guilt. You'll feel compelled to come clean, the whole mess will blow up in both our faces, and at the end of the day, you'll blame me." Draco held up his hand to stave off Harry's incoming protest. "Oh, you'll blame yourself plenty, too, but you'll know that I wanted it, that I encouraged it, maybe even manipulated things to get what I wanted, and you'll blame me for that." Draco looked at Harry, something soft and almost sad about his expression. "I'm too old to get dragged into your orbit again, Harry Potter."
He stood up and cupped Harry's cheek gently before sliding a thumb across one of his cheekbones.
"Go home to your wife." Draco pulled away and walked back around his desk to sit down, before resuming his earlier paperwork. He very pointedly did not look up.
Harry wanted to scream and shout, wanted to shake Draco just to get a reaction. Draco had been terrible at hiding his emotions back when they were kids. He'd pretended he was cold, but he'd never been able to master that pure-blood iciness he'd strove for. Draco wasn't that boy anymore though, and it seemed like twenty-five years had been more than enough time for him to finally grasp the art of shutting down. Harry fidgeted for a moment before nodding to himself and standing. There didn't appear to be anything more to say.
He walked to the door slowly, pain and confusion flooding his body, radiating out through his limbs. Harry paused for only a moment at the doorway.
"Goodbye, Draco," he choked out, before opening the door.
This time it was Harry that did the leaving.