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To Those Who Wait

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Harry’s come is trickling out of my arse as I say ‘I do’ and promise to love and cherish Blaise in sickness and in health. It makes a wet spot in the seat of my pants as I slide the platinum ring we’d picked out together onto his finger. A larger spurt of it dribbles out when I step forward to kiss him for the first time as his spouse.

The ache in my arse stabs dully through me as I walk back down the aisle hand in hand with my new husband, confetti raining down on us, jaw cracking grin plastered onto my face.

The love of my life is preparing to leave the country as I smile for photographs.

The excruciating agony of my heart shattering nearly brings me to my knees on what ought to have been the happiest day of my life.

 


 

On his first mission, Harry hadn’t returned for two months.

It had taken a week’s worth of self-counselling and forcefully reassuring mirror-talks, but I’d gotten through it.

He’d returned with a deep scratch across one cheek and a hairline fracture in his right wrist but he’d been alive and practically vibrating with verve. He’d fucked me with a wild energy and a nearly crazed glint in his vivid green eyes.

I’d fallen even deeper in love with him seeing him like that.

And he’d remained like that – thrumming with a reckless confidence, unflinchingly sure of his skills, his magic nearly dangerously powerful.

He’d remained like that for the first three years.

And then he’d been gone for six whole months, the longest he’d ever been gone at a stretch – six months of nauseating worry on my end and absolutely nothing, just the static of white noise on his.

I’d had to be hospitalised twice; once with ulcers in my stomach, from the sheer intensity of the stress and worry, and the second time for a sudden nervous breakdown. I’d turned morbidly thin and had eventually grown dependent on Sleeping Draughts.

Harry had returned a week before my birthday, and it was as if the fire in his eyes had been doused overnight.

He’d collected three bullet wounds along his left flank, had bruises covering most of his back and walked with a pronounced limp for nearly two whole weeks after his return.

He’d stayed home, not letting me out of his sight, holding me pressed to himself, keeping his face buried in my hair or in my neck or his cheek pressed to my chest.

I’d ached to imagine what he must have seen, or what he’d been ordered to do that had seemingly sucked the life out of him like that. I’d begged him to talk to me, to tell me what had happened, promised him that I wouldn’t tell a soul, that I’d never jeopardise his cover like that. But he’d remained frustratingly, heart wrenchingly silent.

He’d had a month before his next mission, a month during which we’d barely ventured outdoors, made intense, fervent love as often as we could and promised each other that no matter what, we’d make it.

That we’d hold on.

 


  

The club is deafeningly loud and Pansy is in her absolute element. I keep taking off the ridiculous, bedazzled ‘GROOM’ tiara she’s bought me and she insists on jamming it back on my head every single time.

I put up a weak argument that I’d look like shit at the wedding tomorrow if she continues forcing neat tequila down my throat and she promptly yanks me down by my hair and pours two more shots into my mouth.

Then she thrusts a tall glass of a dark, truly horrible drink into my hand, something that the bartender calls The Sewer Dweller and I want to ask him if it is meant to actually taste like he’d really drawn it out of the sewers, but three sips of the awful concoction and I’m seeing double and lewdly winking at strangers.

Pansy is possibly the most wretched ‘Best Man’ ever and I cannot stop laughing after a point as we sway dangerously on the packed dance floor, Pansy hanging off my neck and screaming to random strangers that, I, her arsehole best friend am getting married the next day.

I feel an odd sensation buzz through me along with the alcohol – it’s vaguely familiar and I’ve to wade through my booze soaked brain to put a finger on it.

I think it is happiness. I can’t be sure.

Still, I convince myself that it is as I twirl a merrily shrieking Pansy around.

It lasts three minutes, this ‘happiness’.

If I’d known I had but a measly three minutes before my insides imploded, before a fucking bomb went off in my head, I’d have grabbed Pansy, turned tail and fled.

But I’m still trapped amidst hundreds of dancing bodies as I feel the pull in my lower belly – how long has it been since I last felt it? Four years? Five?

Pansy’s hand slips out of my grasp and she’s instantly swept away by a shirtless, sweat soaked brunet, and I’m left pressing a hand to my stomach and gasping for air, looking around wildly.

I fight my way through the mass of undulating bodies until I can gulp in the lukewarm air near the bar, standing on tip toe, my neck protesting sharply as I feverishly turn my head this way and that, looking around, searching...

The effect is instantaneous when I find what I’m looking for.

The green eyes gleam as they meet mine and the precious little air that I’ve managed to gather in my lungs disappears, my mind clearing up as if I’d just downed a double-vial dose of Sober-Up Potion.

Harry turns and exits the club and I’m drawn, like the proverbial fucking moth to its flame; I follow him out at once, instinctively knowing where to find him once I’m outside, gratefully breathing in huge mouthfuls of the cool night air as I make my way around to the back.

He’s leaning casually against the emergency exit, lighting a cigarette with swift fingers as I approach him, feasting my eyes – his hair is shorter, but still just as thick and untamed as ever; he’s got a fucking tattoo up the left side of his neck, there’s a patch of recently burned skin, shiny and pink, peeking out from under his collar right below the ink.

He’d been bulky with sleek, whipcord tight muscles even back then but now – he’s nothing but brawn; he seems adamantine. He’s broadened, filled out even further and looks frighteningly strong and for the first time ever, I’m a tad bit afraid of him as he stands there in his long black trench coat. The scar across his cheek is a faint white line under the light stubble and there’s a smattering of premature grey at his temples. There’s a hard edge around the fiery green eyes, a grim set to his pink mouth; it’s new and uncharacteristic and it unnerves me. He holds himself like he’s impenetrable, like he could kill you with a lazy flick of his little finger while he’s half asleep. He probably really could.

And yet, the look in his eyes is of a man who’s died a thousand deaths.

The need, the nearly unendurable, soul searing need to touch him, hold him, be held by him, makes me want to scream and tear at my own hair like a lunatic. I want to stride right up to him, into his arms, back into his life.

But I don’t. I walk until I’m stood a safe ten feet away and wait, and the distance between us is punishing.

“Congratulations,” he murmurs, smoke curling up around his face, his eyes flicking from the gaudy fake crown on my head to the ring on my left hand. “Blaise Zabini.” He tilts his head.

Of course he knows. He likely knows how much my wedding suit cost, where the designer had procured the leather for my bespoke new oxfords, the colour of Blaise’s mother’s fucking undergarments--

Harry knows every last thing about every-fucking-body – but especially about me and my life. It’s how he knew where to find me tonight.

“You look well,” I say calmly, swiping the tiara off my head. My stomach burns and I know that I’ll be throwing up violently the second Harry is out of sight.

“I’m sorry, Draco.”

I close my eyes, nearly fall to my knees – the bastard is too late.

“I am too,” I say and my voice shakes and I want to throw myself at him and sob endlessly into his grey button down.

“You don’t have to marry him, you know,” he says casually, eyes lowered as he drops his cigarette into a puddle, watching the bright orange tip go out with a silent hiss.

I breathe in sharply and that’s when I realise that it’s not just the alcohol that’s got my insides in flames – it’s pure, unadulterated fury; mindless rage that’s making my ears ring.

“I do, actually,” I say, and I’m proud of the way my voice barely shakes this time, balling my hands into knuckle cracking fists. “You see, I, unlike some people I know, believe in honouring my commitments.”

“Draco." His voice is a low, heavy rumble and I stand up a little straighter to hide the shiver that prickles up my spine.

“I’m glad you’re alive,” I say honestly. “But please, don’t come looking for me again, Harry.”

“I--” He leans forward slightly, shrugging off the door, a frown creasing his scarred forehead.

“Please,” I rush to interrupt. I need to rush now, I cannot stand here a second longer. I’m not strong enough. I never was, I never will be.

Not when it comes to Harry.

I’m turning around to leave when he speaks quietly, “Do you hate me?”

It’s downright idiotic, that question. As if I could. As if I ever could.

“No,” I answer and it’s a cross between sudden laughter and a sob. “No, I don’t hate you--” I pause, taking in his closed expression, wondering if I should say it, whether it would make me seem foolish and weak. And then I say it anyway, “--but it hurts too much to be around you.”

He doesn’t say anything to that, but his eyes finally flicker away from mine, and I can see the way his jaw clenches, the way his lips tighten.

I turn around and a part of me is desperately willing him to call out to me.

He doesn’t. I walk away and he doesn’t call me back. At least not out loud.

But the constant pull in my belly is nearly painful for the rest of the night, and I don’t sleep a wink.

 


  

It had been three months since I saw Harry and I’d temporarily moved in with Pansy simply because I couldn’t bear coming home to an empty flat every evening.

Out of a completely random urge that hit me out of the blue one night, I’d walked through a torrential downpour without so much as a raincoat, leave alone an umbrella or an Impervius Charm, and let myself into the flat Harry and I had moved into two years previously.

Shivering and immediately dripping a puddle onto the floor, I’d stood there silently for a whole minute in the dark, breathing in shallow, soundless puffs of stale air because... Something— someone—

“Have you any idea how worried I’ve been?”

I’d screamed; I hadn’t been able to hold it back. It had been a hoarse explosion of fright, mingled halfway through with unfathomable relief.

I’d bolted down the hallway towards the still, straight backed figure that had appeared, his feet planted firmly apart, hands clenched at his sides.

Harry’d lifted me right up off my feet, and drenched to the skin, I’d clung to him, wrapping all four limbs around him, sobbing with no sign of restraint into his neck until his grip around me had gotten downright painful.

“You’re back, you’re alive, when did you get back?!

“Earlier this evening. And you’d been gone so long I couldn’t trace any residue of your magic to find you and I thought... I thought they’d--” He’d pressed his face into the crook of my neck and squeezed me so tightly that I’d cried even harder.

“I’m sorry, I moved in with Pansy last month, I hated being alone--”

“I thought I’d lost you,” he’d whispered, and I’d understood what he meant; the only worry he’d ever had since he’d gone undercover was that he might unintentionally slip up and somehow, someone might trace him back to London – back to me.

It had terrified him, the very thought of it, and when he was home between missions, I’d witnessed the nightmares that came with the fear. He’d wake up thrashing and screaming, hands desperately reaching out, searching for me, yanking me to himself, whimpering into my hair about  how he’d dreamed that he’d been searching for me under a pile of skeletons, or, that he’d come home to find me dead in a pool of blood.

I could never do anything more than hold him and assure him that none of it would ever really happen while silently praying that I was right.

“I live in fear of losing you,” I’d breathed in reply. “I love you,” I’d reminded him vehemently, as he’d pressed me into the sofa and closed his mouth over mine. I’d grabbed at his hair as I’d kissed him back before my fingers had slipped over something and I’d wrenched my mouth away from his.

I’d pulled back to look at him properly and in an absurdly dramatic flash of lightning from the French windows, I’d caught sight of the gash, angry red and raw, terribly painful looking, along the side of his head, hair shaved off the stitched strip of scalp. There’d been dried blood crusted on his collar, and the whole length of his left cheekbone had been bruised and swollen, shiny and discoloured.

“It’s fine, I’m fine,” he’d murmured at once as I’d wheezed out a gasp. “Draco, love, please." He’d tried to kiss me again as I’d held back, staring in horror, my fingers hovering anxiously over the wound. “Please. Look at me, look at me, Draco.”

Shaking my head wildly like a child in a strop, I’d simply buried my face in his shoulder once more, shaking with breathless sobs.

“How do you expect me to be alright with any of this, Harry?! You look worse each time and you won’t even tell me anything--”

“I’m sorry, Draco, you know I’m sorry for what I put you through--” He’d torn at my drenched clothes, his hands trembling, the garments slapping wetly onto the floor.

“I can’t bear it, Harry, I don’t know what I’d do if--” I’d arched off the cushions as he’d fingered slick into me.

“I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

“Oh my god!” My cry had rung through the still, dust ridden house as Harry had pushed into me, his soft groan raising gooseflesh all over me, my mouth frantically seeking his.

“Draco." He’d pressed his forehead into mine and I don’t know if it was his tears or mine that I’d tasted. “I love you - more than I can ever properly convey. Tell me you know that.”

“I know that,” I’d panted at once into his mouth, ripping his shirt open and pressing my hands into his skin, hungrily touching him. “I know, Harry.”

“I need to know that you’re safe when I’m away." He’d thrust in slow, patient strokes and I’d whined impatiently, pressing into him, gripping his hips with my thighs. “I’ll go insane otherwise, Draco, I can’t lose you. Not ever.”

“Harry, please!” I’d thrown my head back, clenching around him, sliding my cock against his hard belly.

He’d run a gentle tongue up my neck. “Bond with me.”

My breath catching painfully in my chest, I’d opened my eyes to stare at him with my mouth agape, nearly forgetting my urgently beckoning orgasm for a moment.

“Bond with me, Draco,” he’d pleaded, moist green eyes boring into mine.

He didn’t have to ask a third time. “Yes." I’d nodded wildly, pulling him in for a kiss. “Yes.”

 


 

My fingers fumble infuriatingly as I button up my shirt, trembling and slipping over the miniscule knobs of silver. I purse my lips and clench my hands tightly for a few seconds, my nails leaving white crescents in my palms, before I try again.

The Glamour I’d cast to mask the shadows under my eyes is already wearing off, I realise, staring at my reflection in the enormous standing mirror with its carved mahogany frame, the sun glinting off the polished surface and throwing bands of brilliant white light on the cream walls.

The whole Manor smells of freshly cut roses and freesias, spring sunshine and terribly expensive, gourmet food. I can hear the clink of china and delicate glassware being sorted out and levitated to the grounds where I know numerous little round tables, covered in snow white damask tablecloths are being set. The champagne is probably being spelled to the optimum temperature and is being stored under a strong Stasis. Mother must have had the house elves take out the Malfoy jewels, the heirlooms waiting in their velvet cases to be slipped onto her ivory skin. Father, I’m sure, has replaced the silver snake head on his walking stick with the diamond encrusted miniature dragon figurine.

I, meanwhile, feel like my insides have been carved out.

The grief that fills me is so intense, I can barely even stand. I clutch the back of a chair, knees buckling, and simply stare blankly into the mirror, wondering how this can all really be happening.

How am I supposed to marry Blaise? How am I supposed to just accept that this is my life?

It can’t even be called a life if Harry isn’t in it.

Pansy had breezed out of the room ten minutes ago in a swirl of billowing coral skirts with a brisk, chop chop, darling, mustn’t keep everyone waiting thrown over her shoulder, and I haven’t even managed to finish getting dressed since then.

Fighting the impulse to simply curl into a ball on the floor, I reach for my waistcoat, frowning down at my incessantly shaking hands, and pull the garment on, turning back to the mirror to fasten the buttons.

A scream rises and then promptly dies in my throat.

Harry stands behind me, still in the grey shirt and black trousers from last night, shirt tails hanging half out, his hair wilder than I’ve ever seen, his eyes over-bright, frantic, his chest rising and falling rapidly.

I whip around and fumble for the chair again, clinging on for dear life as I sway dangerously on unsteady feet. Across from me, Harry’s hands come up as if trying to steady me from over there, before dropping back down to his sides. The burn below his tattoo has been Healed, and I can see the fresh skin, translucent, lighter than the rest of his skin. The top two buttons on his shirt are undone and his stubble is darker, thicker; he looks dishevelled, exhausted and Christ, he’s gorgeous and I can hardly breathe.

“Harry." It comes out as a choked exhalation.

“I’ve come to take you away,” he says through grit teeth. “Come away with me, Draco, please. Don’t do this.”

I mouth at him in shocked silence, shaking my head slowly. “What are you even—No, I- I can’t.”

“Yes, you can,” Harry snaps impatiently. “You’re never going to be happy with him, you’re going to be miserable, you know that.”

“Get the fuck out of my house.” I meant it to come out an enraged hiss but it’s a panicked whisper. I don’t even want to know how Harry got in through the wards and past all the dozens of people currently roaming the halls of the Manor.

“I love you,” Harry replies pointedly, eyes wide and ablaze. “And you love me. I’m yours, and you belong to me. You can’t even try to deny th--”

“I’m not.” I break out into full fledged shudders at his words. Of course I belong to him, I couldn’t be anyone else’s even if I wanted to. “I’m not going to deny it. But I’m not going away with you. I can’t go back to that life, not again.”

“That’s the thing,” Harry says calmly. “I’m leaving.” He pauses at my frown of confusion. “For good. I’m getting out. I’m done. I’m leaving.”

My gut clenches with dread. Honestly, I’m going to be married soon, why does it even matter?

Oh lord, he can’t leave, not again, he’s only just fucking come back--

“Wh-where are you going?”

“Where do you want to go?” he asks softly. “We could go anywhere in the world, baby, just come with m--”

“Stop it!” I desperately swallow the lump in my throat, my hand tightening on the back of the chair. “Stop it, please. Harry, I can’t—You can’t ask me to—How dare you come here and ask this of me?! Now?! Today?!”

“Draco, I didn’t know,” he whispers, and the unbreakable assassin from last night is suddenly nowhere to be seen – Harry looks utterly and completely broken and the very sight devastates me like nothing else. “I was in the continent; I only found out last week--”

“Don’t give me that!” I scream, the blinding rage that I’d felt last night bubbling up again. “You’ve come back after five years! Five years! Do you know what it was like for me when you-- when you--”

“Draco, won’t you at least let me tell you why?”

You severed the bond, Harry!” I don’t know what god sent strength is keeping me standing but I manage it and Merlin, I’m proud. My heart is sprinting and my throat is so tight that I can barely speak but I still furiously throw the words, the words I’ve kept tightly boxed up within me for half a decade, right in his ruggedly handsome face.

Harry looks pained, weary, like he’s simply going to sag to the floor any second.

Then he lifts his hands and begins unbuttoning his shirt and I stand rooted to the spot with my mouth open and my eyes wide and fixed on the tanned skin being revealed.

And then I’m stumbling back in horror, my shoulders hitting the mirror, my arm flying across my mouth as I let out an involuntary cry that sounds like a shrill gasp run into a hurriedly tamped down shriek.

Harry’s torso, his whole front, right from his shoulders, across his firm, muscled chest and flat, rock-hard stomach, upto his sharply jutting hip bones, is covered in thin, long scars, each healed wound, each curving lesion placed so close together and so many in number that I know it’s pointless trying to count. He looks like someone had used him to sharpen knives and I vaguely hear myself repeatedly emitting low, tormented groans.

“Harry... Harry, oh my god.” I can barely believe my eyes and I can’t take them off his scarred skin, and before I can even register that I’m moving, I’ve walked forward towards him in careful, measured steps until I’m standing close enough to be able to feel the warmth emanating from his beautifully sculpted, cruelly maimed body.

“I fucked up,” he says simply, lifting his shoulders in a small shrug and I feel my skin crawl with rage and distress at the sight of the wounds gouged into his flesh. “Blew my cover. And I had only seconds– mere seconds– to sever the bond, Draco. They’d have figured it out, they’d have detected it, they had my wand; I-- I had to." He’s leaning forward so that we’re nearly touching.

“Oh my god,” I repeat under my breath, and my fingers are right there, almost touching him, the tips trembling just a hair’s breadth way.

“I couldn’t let them find you,” he continues. “That was the only risk the bond left us with, didn’t it? Someone tracking you down through it...” He reaches out as if to touch me, stroke my face, and I hold my breath, everything in me screaming at me to lean into his hand. “I had no choice. If they’d gotten to you—If you’d been—” He breaks off, looking distraught for a second, before his face softens into a smile. “Well, let’s just say I’d have had to kill a hell of a lot more of them than just the four that I did.” I stare in shocked silence. “I couldn’t come back until I knew I was done for good; until I could be sure that there are no loose ends.”

I simply stand there, feeling like I’m standing on a precipice, at the very edge, of something incredibly vast, something so dangerously deep that I know I’d never be able to surface from it if I fell in.

Everything fibre of my being is begging me to jump.

“You thought I left,” he whispers, moving in even closer and yet, still not touching me.

“I thought you left.” My eyes are fixed on the laceration over his heart, curved into nearly a full circle, like someone had tried to cut it out of him and my lip trembles.

“But you didn’t break it.”

“I didn’t break it.” I touch the scar, my fingers barely skimming his skin, and Harry’s breath shudders out of him, muscles dancing under my hand.

“Even though...”

“Even though.” I press my palm firmly over his chest and shut my eyes before the tears escape, savouring the feel of his heart thudding, the feel of him being alive, under my hand.

“Draco.”

And then I have one rough, broad hand cupping my face, holding it in place, and another in my hair, and I have a searing hot mouth on mine, and I’m eagerly opening my mouth, and I’ve dived blindly off the edge and I’m falling, falling-- and Harry’s catching me-- he’s caught me, and we’re plunging in together and— hell, I know I’m done for.

He’s got me up against the wall and I have the rounded edge of a delicate corner table digging into my back, the vase on it tipping precariously and honestly, who gives a flying fuck, I’m kissing Harry after several lifetimes of nothing but misery and I’m never going to stop. I mewl into his mouth, nipping at his lips, letting his tongue push its way in and wrestle my own.

His beard scratches me, grazes my skin, as he buries his face into the side of my neck and I tilt my head so he can lick broader, longer strokes. I grab his arse and pull, lifting onto the tips of my toes and deliberately thrusting our trapped cocks together, biting firmly into the dark, rounded lines and the elaborate whorls of the strange sigil tattooed on his neck.

He shudders bodily. “Draco, oh god.” Harry, enormously broad, terrifyingly strong, is pressed into me so forcefully that my chest tightens painfully when I draw in air, my ribs protesting against the pressure. “So beautiful, always so beautiful.” He cups my face with both hands and drags his mouth across my skin, kissing my eyes, my forehead, down along my cheek bones, my nose.

“Kiss me,” I whimper, reaching up, blindly running my hands over his magnificent form. “Merlin, kiss me; fuck me— right here, now, Harry, fuck me now—”

He’s got my trousers down before I’ve even finished with the mindless pleading, thumbing open the silver buttons, pushing the shirt off my shoulders, his hands desperately roaming over my body, lips frantically moving from my mouth to my neck to my mouth to my shoulders and back to my mouth before licking down to gnaw at my nipple.

“Need you now, need you inside me, Harry... Harry--”

“Missed you so much, love you so much, Draco, fuck, you’re perfect--”

He’s finally got my pants off and his flies open and I’m gasping because he’s easily lifting me up with one burly forearm hooked under the curve of my arse, as if I weigh nothing.

Then there’s that fluent murmur followed by the cool spread of lube up my channel and the ensuing damp nudge against my arsehole is so achingly familiar that I’m sobbing shamelessly with my head thrown back, my legs wrapped around tapered hips, my hands in his hair.

“Harry,” I moan into his cheek as he finally slides in fully, his balls warm against my arse, his cock a thick, rigid weight, scorching hot and heavenly inside me.

“Still so tight,” he breathes, pulling out and slamming back in, making me arch off the wall with a cry. “Does he touch you? Does he fuck you, Draco?”

Merlin!

“Do you think of me when he does?” He slopes his hips forward, effortlessly keeping me trapped between him and the wall, leaning back to run both his hands down my chest, tweak my nipples, tickle my navel, trace my hipbones.

Always... God, every single time, always you, Harry, only you--”

“How can you marry him when you belong to me?” he whimpers into my throat, hands squeezing my arse, his hips bucking, cock moving in relentless thrusts. “You’re never going to be his; never going to be anyone else’s--”

“Nobody else’s.” I gasp as he stabs into my prostate. “There! Oh god, there—So close already, so close--”

We kiss again, hard and messy and unrestrained, and Jesus Christ, I’m supposed to be getting married in fifteen minutes but all I can do now is gasp for air as Harry’s thumb traces the rim of my arsehole around his hefty cock, teasing, briefly pushing in alongside.

“Harry!” My hands scrabble hopelessly over his skin. He sighs my name in reply and it’s beautiful and makes another lump rise in my throat; I jerk out of my trance long enough to open my eyes and run my hands gently over his skin, shoulder to hips, feeling the marred tissue. “Look at what they did to you,” I sob out in a whisper.

“It’s nothing." He presses his mouth to my forehead, his thrusts slowing. “Barely stung. I shut my eyes and thought of you and pictured that beautiful fucking smirk of yours, the one that brings out this dimple--” He kisses my right cheek warmly, “--and it was over before I could open my eyes.”

I wail tremulously at the agonising mental picture his words create, clutching his face, pressing our foreheads together, shaking against him. “Don’t-- don’t tell me, I can’t stand it, please--”

“Draco." He mouths up my jaw, one hand releasing my arse to push firmly against my skin, along my thigh, upto my groin, curling gently around my leaking cock.

I thrust into his hand, tightening around his cock, sweat pouring down my face, down along my neck, Harry licking it away as he loses control and pounds savagely into me.

And then there’s another sensation building within me; it’s not new but it’s something that startles a scream out of me anyway.

He’s re-igniting the bond, reaching into me and tugging at the thread, at the miserable little string that’s been fluttering hopefully since it was snapped free five years ago, weakly seeking out the anchor at its other end. He’s pulling it back towards himself and I can already feel it flaring back to life, I can feel my magic surging up inside me and then shooting out of me and into Harry, even as his own white-hot power burns its way into me - burns its way home, thundering through me.

I can feel the warm lines of the bond curling up over my skin, twisting into the familiar patterns of silver ink that I can see gleaming over Harry’s body now, the designs sinking into his sun kissed skin at the same time that I feel the combined magic enter my own bloodstream.

Then the thread is pulled taut and firm and I’m sobbing again because now, after years, I can finally tug back, and I do, I pull fiercely and Harry cries out, hips faltering, leaning into me as he feels the hook jerking in his belly, letting me gleefully test the bond, letting me call out to him despite him being right here, pressed so tightly into me.

He hitches me higher up the wall, further tightening his vice like grip on me, draws nearly all the way out and then begins battering my prostate, gently tugging back so that the growing pool of heat in my belly combined with the tender pull of his magic makes me keen and shudder with paralysing pleasure.

Harry!” And then I’m coming, my back leaving the wall, shoulders pressing into it, nails digging into Harry’s back, eyes squeezing shut.

I remain silent, I can’t bring myself to make a sound – I’m selfish and I want to savour it, keep it all to myself, not share a second of it.

So I hold Harry close and I come, his fingers bruising me as he lurches sideways to bend me backwards over the ebony sideboard, neatly knocking the crystal decanter of scotch to the floor as he comes inside me with a breathy moan, and Harry is my world – he always has been.

We’re panting in tandem, desperately drawing in air, Harry still inside me and my come is cooling over my stomach as we continue to exchange gentle, teasing pulls on the now ferociously powerful link of our renewed bond.

But then I crash back down into reality, landing with bone breaking force.

I blink open my eyes and wait for it to come to me – the solution to this, the way out of this – anything.

There are three hundred people gathered downstairs and my fiancé, one of my closest friends, is on his way to wait for me under the exquisite arch made of gorgeous, fresh white roses, while Harry, the only man I’ve ever truly loved - loved with a self-destructive vengeance - presses kisses up my neck as his cock softens inside me, and tells me to say the word, begs me to give him permission to whisk me away from all of it.

“Put me down,” I whisper and I feel Harry stiffen before he slowly moves off of me, our chests sliding together, sticky with my come. He pulls out and dear lord, it’s painful and gloriously so.

“Draco,” he murmurs as I limp slowly past him, picking up my clothes and leaning against the wall for support as I slowly pull them on.

“You should go.” I don’t look him. Really, it’s a miracle nobody’s walked in on us yet.

“Draco, why are you doing this?” he asks tiredly, doing up his flies and combing his hands through his hair.

“It’s too late, Harry.” I glare at him with one leg in my trousers, my hands crushing the material as I will them to stop shaking.

“It’s not, just come wi--”

“I can’t just walk out of this, I won’t,” I holler and he jerks back, the hurt on his face piercing its way through me.

“So...” He drifts off and then lets out a derisive chuckle. “So you’re saying this is it?”

“This was it five years ago.”

He turns away angrily, striding up to the window and cleanly punching his huge fist through the thick glass.

I wince but quickly drop my gaze and finish buttoning up my shirt. I still smell of Harry.

“Fine.”

I look up, taken aback, and he’s standing there with his hand bleeding onto the marble tiles, wearing an expression of utter calm. “What?” I ask blankly.

“If this is your way of getting even with me for not returning sooner,” he says slowly, “if doing this will gratify your need to punish me, then go ahead.” He buttons up his shirt and then looks right into my eyes. “But then come back to me. Forgive me, and come back to me.”

He walks forward, and I just stand there shivering as he takes my face in his hands and kisses me deeply, lovingly, pulling back to repeat, “Come back to me, Draco. You know how to find me.” Then he releases me, takes two steps back and smiles a small, sad smile. “I’ll never stop waiting for you.”

And then he’s gone – not with the sharp pop of Disapparation – but just vanishing into thin air, and if it hadn’t been for the smear of his blood on my face, the wet tingling on my lips, the blunt throbbing in my arse and the incessant twinge in my belly, I’d have seriously wondered if I’d dreamt it all.

 


  

Harry and I had been together just over five years when it happened.

I’d felt the bond snap in my sleep. I’d woken up with a gasp and scrambled up in bed, an intense, scorching streak of pain lancing through my stomach and I’d known instantly what had happened.

I’d just sat there, alone and trembling in shock, in terror, covered in sweat despite the steadily thickening blanket of snow on the ground outside. I’d thought that I might, quite literally, simply cease to exist – just like that.

Because Harry was dead and really, what reason did I even have left to live?

The next couple of days had passed in a dazed, catatonic state, until I’d felt it.

For the first time since the bond had been cut loose from Harry’s end, I’d felt it – a weak, but unmistakable tug in that spot below my navel. Like the first moment you touch a Portkey – except more intense, more real, almost tangible.

Merlin, he was alive!

That’s the point further realisation had dawned on me. The bond hadn’t simply broken, it had been severed – more specifically, by Harry.

Intentionally.

He’d cut it loose, set free the strain of my magic that I’d woven into him when we’d bonded, so that I was no longer in him, with him; so that I could no longer call out to him, feel him. I could feel his energy ebb and flow within me, a little bit of him inside me that would still allow him, at any point from anywhere, to reach out, find his own magic still laced into me, and call me. But he’d left me with nothing to hold onto him by.

Regardless, I’d desperately tried to call out, reaching through the bulb of his magic still firmly knotted inside me – but it didn’t go through. It was like screaming into your phone long after the line on the other end had already gone dead.

It had been at Pansy’s Christmas party a few weeks later that I’d gotten blind drunk and had ended up taking Blaise home with me.

I’d had my excuses for that first time – too much alcohol, grief that rendered me incapable of feeling anything else, a nearly unbearable yearning for Harry, for any sort of intimate physical contact.

Blaise had been delighted. I’d been politely rejecting his tentative advances since Hogwarts, and he’d never quite understood what Harry and I had, considering I barely allowed myself to speak about Harry to anybody, lest I revealed too much. And after that night we fucked for the first time, instead of brushing it off as a drunken mistake like I’d hoped, Blaise had pursued me, asked me out on formal dates, told me he wanted it to turn into something real between us.

What was my excuse for agreeing to all of that? I’d actually believed that Harry was gone. That he’d left me.

That he’d let go.

 


  

Blaise still has that look of blank puzzlement on his face that he’d gotten when I’d told him, mid-kiss, that I want a divorce.

He’d been halfway through undressing me, tugging me towards the bed, whispering about how he still couldn’t believe we were actually married. And I’d pulled away, taken a deep breath and calmly informed him that I need for our half-a-day long marriage to end.

His mouth had lifted in one corner in a bemused smile and he’d sat down at the foot of the bed, waiting for me to elaborate.

I’d started packing instead.

And now, as I shrink my trunks, pocket them and swing on my cloak, he’s still watching in expressionless confusion.

“I- I don’t understand,” he finally says, as I take my wedding ring off and place it carefully on the bedside table. “Is this— are we role playing or something?”

I almost laugh but then decide that it would be cruel. And I’m already being cruel. I could have spared him all this. I should have just taken Harry’s hand this morning and I’d have been half a world away somewhere right now. Harry and I both knew I’d do this sooner than later.

At that point, I hadn’t realised just how soon I’d be doing this. I’m such an idiot, such a fucking moron. Harry said he’d never stop waiting for me and both of us know that I won’t keep him waiting for too long. We’d never do that to each other.

We’ve done our waiting; whether patiently or fretfully, we’ve waited. And now we’re to reap the rewards.

It’s grossly unfortunate that Blaise has to suffer for my momentary uncertainty, for my temporary hesitance. I’m not proud of it.

“I know you don’t understand,” I say kindly, going up to him and gently touching his face with one hand. “And I need it to stay that way, because the less you know, the less you’ll tell people.”

“What do y--?”

“I’m leaving, Blaise,” I interrupt softly. “I have to go. I have to leave. I know you don’t really understand why. And maybe someday I’ll be able to come back and explain. But until then, will try to find it in you to forgive me?”

He’s staring at me with his mouth slightly open and a mixture of hurt and bewilderment in his dark eyes, not saying a word as he searches my face for something, some hope.

“Where are you going?” he asks eventually, when he realises I’m not laughing it all off as some elaborate, nonsensical joke I'm playing on him as part of our wedding night festivities.

I sigh, leaning forward and pressing my mouth to his forehead in a chaste kiss before walking away a few feet.

“I’m going home, Blaise,” I answer simply. And then I reach out for Harry, find an answering tug almost instantly, calling me, guiding me.

I smile, and Disapparate.

 


  

In Muggle cinema, when the hero and his lady love finally make their escape from the cruel world, they’d always be found in a breathtakingly beautiful, sun drenched spot by the sea. They’d have each other, a little home to call their own, and their life together would seem almost obscenely blissful.

In the months following the War, I’d craved that sort of life. I’d desperately wanted to be with someone - someone whom I loved more than life itself, and someone who, without room for doubt, loved me back just as intensely. Someone with whom I could run away, build a life with in a little known place by the sea somewhere, wake up to sparkling blue waters and white sand, safely ensconced in a pair of strong arms.

At that time, when I was nearly overwhelmed by all the cold glares and hateful jibes and spiteful, cruel words written about my family and me even after we’d been cleared of all charges, that kind of life, with its beatific anonymity, and with the reassuring presence of that person I imagined alongside me, had seemed flat out impossible.

I’d never actually hoped for that life, I’m a practical man – I’d simply filed it away as my safe haven, a place to visit in my head when things got unbearable.

And then the phase had passed. Father managed to redeem himself by throwing money at the Ministry for post War rehabilitation and I’d worked hard until I found myself ranking somewhere among the top three realtors in Wizarding London.

It had helped that, along the way, I’d become reacquainted with the boy whom I’d hated for most of my childhood, who then, miraculously enough, turned out to be my soulmate.

Yes, I know, I’m actually using the word soulmate. Like I said, I’m a practical man.

 

~Epilogue~

 

The sun beats down on me so fiercely that I have to put down the paintbrush for a second and renew the charms on my skin so I don’t burn.

I lift up my straw hat, wipe the sweat off my forehead and then look around as I hear a joyous whoop from somewhere in the back garden, my face splitting into a grin when I see the source of it walking towards me, a merry tug sparking behind my navel.

Harry has the wicker laundry basket under one arm and is batting away the washing that he’s just dried out on the lines, clumsily fighting his way past one of his own shirts that’s flapping in the wind. He’s clutching a fistful of something vividly yellow as he bounds forward towards me, grinning from ear to ear. He’s shirtless and brown as a berry - Harry’s always taken well to the sun - and his teeth gleam bright white against his tanned skin as he waves what appears to be a handful of lemons at me.

“Look!” he says excitedly, dropping the basket and coming to kneel down next to me, getting mud on his khaki cargo shorts as he holds out four large lemons in his wide hands, two of them with their bright green stalks still attached. I look from the lemons to my husband’s face and swallow a fond laugh – he’s one of the most dangerously skilled, formidably powerful wizards in the world and it’s borderline ridiculous, not to mention incredibly endearing, just how absurdly proud he looks of himself for having successfully cultivated a bunch of lemons.

“That’s smashing, love.” I lean forward and kiss him soundly on the mouth. When I draw away, he’s got a smear of pale blue paint on his chin. I swipe at my own chin and then laugh, wiping away the paint on his face.

“It looks great!” he tells me warmly, putting an arm around my shoulders as he looks around at our picket fence I’ve spent all afternoon painting.

“Better than the white?”

“Loads." He kisses me again before fetching another brush and helping me with the last remaining stretch of fence.

He squeezes some of the lemon over the fresh fish that he grills for our dinner, and we eat sitting out front on the porch, cradling glasses of chilled wine, sighing as the heat of the day gradually settles, chatting idly; about the wrinkled old lady at the local grocery store who insists on kissing us wetly on each cheek when we go by, and whether the grumpy teen who brings us our eggs and bread everyday is stealing from us; considering waking up before sunrise for an early dip, and if we ought to get a hammock for the garden. The sea sighs and heaves in front of us and our fingers occasionally brush, quite without our own conscious volition, under the wrought iron table, the bond quietly testing itself with easy pulls.

We linger, darkness falling lazily as the sun sets in a furious explosion of chaotic colour, fireflies twinkling to life around us as the moon rises and throws shimmering bursts of silver over the unruffled expanse of water. The empty wine bottles crammed with fairy lights that I’ve strung up around the porch at random, suddenly flicker prettily to life with a casual nod of Harry’s messy head, the light dancing over our skin in fuzzy flecks of gold.

Later, we leave the windows open to coax in some of the cool, salt laden night breeze, Harry moving over me in patient, torturously slow undulations, his cock brushing my prostate every now and then in a teasing flick, my heels digging into his firm arse cheeks, my mouth gasping open under his.

“Harry,” I whisper, cradling his face with both hands, letting my lips flutter over his skin. “Please...”

“You’re my whole world,” he says abruptly, soft and breathless. “Did you know that?”

I can’t help but smile. “I had a vague inkling,” I tease gently and I kiss his laughing mouth, moaning softly as he picks up the pace.

His hands roam idly over my sides, stroke down along my thighs and hook themselves firmly under my knees, lifting my legs higher, holding them wider apart as he fucks deeper into me with long, thorough strokes.

Afterwards, we lie entwined, naked and damp with cooling sweat, the covers thrown carelessly away, Harry’s warm breath tickling the nape of my neck, his thigh heavy in the dip of my waist, chest flush with my back, the wind-chimes he’d handmade with bits of broken glass and shell tinkling sweetly in the breeze.

I stare unblinkingly out of the window, at the moon, for a long time before I realise I’ve spent the last several minutes thinking about absolutely nothing. I play with Harry’s fingers linked through mine, our matching gold bands glinting softly, and I quietly revel in the peace of it.

I hadn’t hoped for it, honestly - this life; neither of us had dared to hope.

Harry and me and our little stone cottage with its freshly painted picket fence, right on the white sandy beach in this sleepy little village that has no name; our dreams now filled, not with skeletons and bloody corpses, but with gorgeous sunsets and sand between toes and bowls filled with cream and pink seashells, catching the light on a sun warmed windowsill; one day running into the next, each one filled with dimpled laughter and lingering kisses – it would have been silly to have even wished for something as absurdly exquisite, as painfully lovely, as this.

Because with the interminable months spent apart and the soul eating anguish, the despairing anxiety and the constant, unfading fear of losing each other, we’d have been fools to wish for something so impossibly perfect, so devastatingly beautiful.

And I firmly believe that’s why we’ve got all this now, because of that sense of pragmatism that we’d held on to - in return for it. All those years spent with our hearts in tatters, and the universe now finally concedes that we both deserve more love, more happiness, than we know what to do with.

Needless to say, we’re both abjectly grateful.

 

~end~