Title: No Happy Ending
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Harry/Ginny, implied Draco/Astoria
Summary: If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it. But what if one person loves two people?
Rating: NC-17 to be safe
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): non-linear, random switching PsOV and tenses (including flagrant abuse of 2nd person), brief infidelity, rimming, implied polyamory, wee bit o’ dirty talk, smidgen of het, angst, bisexual!Harry
Epilogue compliant? I’d say this was epilogue-ambiguous, but the next-gen kids do exist.
Word Count: 4,700 approx
Author's Notes: celandineb, it was a pleasure to write this for you. It was also a complete departure from anything I’ve ever written before, but I took your requests for polyamory and ‘at least one of them to be genuinely bisexual’ and this was the result. If you were to ask me to describe this story I would say, ‘It’s like scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and though some may be missing or incomplete you can still see what the whole picture looks like.’ I can only hope you like what you see.
Major thanks go out to my wonderful beta! *squishes* Any remaining mistakes are mine, not theirs.
“Please, Harry. Don’t go.” Her brown eyes are filled with tears and the words catch in her throat.
For a moment, Harry doesn’t answer; he just stands frozen to the spot, watching a stray tear he knows she tried so hard to stop roll down her flushed cheek.
“Gin,” he says softly, as though this beautiful, stubborn, strong woman might shatter before him if he says the wrong thing, “I won’t be long.”
She flicks her head, her ruby hair whipping about her face in the wind, and suddenly the fierce Ginny he knows – and loves – is back.
He turns to leave.
“Why?” Her voice no longer trembles as she calls out after him. “Why now? It’s been years, Harry. He obviously doesn’t need it.”
Her words are harsh and defiant and they hit him harder than she could ever really know. He doesn’t turn around; he’s afraid his own eyes will betray him, that he’s the one that’ll break.
“I’m only giving him back what belongs to him. That’s all.” And with a soft pop, he’s gone.
He leaves her standing in their front garden, stomach just beginning to swell with a life they’ve created together and a fresh batch of tears clouding her brown eyes. “I know,” she whispers to the empty space, “that’s the problem.”
Slamming him up against the wall doesn’t feel as good as it should, as it used it, but you’re angry. You’re livid, a fuming ball of fury, and his grey eyes are mocking, challenging. You never could resist a challenge. The words you spit at him aren’t clear even to your ears, but when he speaks, his voice is sharp. It cuts through your consciousness and for a moment you forget to breath.
“You want to kiss me, Potter.” A hand tightens around a throat but you’re not sure whose.
“I can tell by the look in your eyes,” he laughs, and even that is pointed. “It’s a look I’m used to; I’ve seen it many times.”
“Fuck you, Malfoy!”
“Now you’re just getting ahead of yourself, Potter.”
“What’re you doing here, Potter?”
“Do you love her?”
It’s not the answer I expect. It’s not even an answer, just another question about as unanswerable as the one I asked him, I suppose. So I don’t. I don’t answer him; I just stand there, watching him watch me with his bright green eyes. His eyes are still green. I don’t know why I expected that to change, but somehow that fact makes everything so much harder.
He doesn’t ask again and I don’t speak. After all that time we spent talking to each other, words are no longer necessary. The mask of my face tells him all he needs to know.
“What about me?” he asks, and suddenly I’m furious. Suddenly I want to scream, HOW DARE HE? He’s a fucking hypocrite. Still the same old double standards; one rule for him, another for the rest of the pitiful world.
But I don’t. He moves towards me, presses one hand against my chest, right above my heart, and for a moment I think he’s going to kiss me. And I forget to breathe. But he just looks at me and I can feel something long and hard against my chest, beneath his palm. I want to speak but I guess my silence is the answer he was looking for because I see it in his eyes then – the exact moment he gives up.
“This belongs to you.”
It’s not until he’s gone that I realise I’m clutching at my chest in the place his hand was, and, although it’s been over for a long time, it’s ten inches of Hawthorn and unicorn hair that truly spells the end of whatever we are. Were.
“There’ll be no happy ending for us, you know?”
They’re a tangled mess of hand and lips and teeth. Two sweat drenched bodies pressed close, so close, together in the darkness. One hisses as the other palms his cock - hard swollen flesh, a stark red against the pale softness of his hand - and holds it against his own painful arousal. His rhythm is frantic, and the other thrusts back against it, desperate for more, harder, faster. It’s wrong and they both know it. This not meant to happen, but neither can seem to stop it.
It’s three whole hours before you notice that she’s gone. There were no signs, but you suppose the fact you didn’t notice the signs is a sign in itself. You know where she is and you follow her. You’ll always follow her. Loving one person so desperately doesn’t cancel out your love for another. They’re different, and you understand that, and you do love them both – equally. In body and mind. But you made your choice and you haven’t betrayed her. You’ll never do that again.
She’s angry, she’s hurt, she’s not surprised, and you plead with her. “Please, Ginny. I swear nothing happened. I just gave it back to him. That’s all. I promise.”
She says she believes you but she just can’t, she can’t live like this anymore. She can’t stand the look in your eyes whenever his name is mentioned or the way everyone watches you both whenever you’re in the same room together. She can’t stand the sadness she knows you feel, can’t bear the burden of it. She can’t carry on constantly looking over her shoulder, just waiting, waiting for it to happen again, feeling suspicious and angry and hurt, even though she believes you when you say it’ll never happen again. She can’t forget and it’s eating away at her. And she just can’t.
And it doesn’t matter what you say, beg, promise or plead. She thinks it’s best if you move out.
The feel of her mouth against yours is so familiar, yet it seems like something from a dream; like you’re seeing it through a thick curtain of smoke. Smoke and flame - the remnants of another dream. A nightmare, one you’ve lived through. Her hand slips into yours, skin so soft as her fingers wrap around yours. Screams echo in your ears – not her screams of grief but screams of desperation, of bone-chilling fear. Suddenly you can’t breathe; you’re pulling away, coughing, choking out words you never wanted to say again. Sorry and can’t and not now.
“Draco, you should know there’s no such thing.”
“It’s ok, Harry,” she reaches out, hand sliding across the frayed wooden tabletop to touch his. He flinches, and she pulls back. “Really, I understand.” And she does, more than she’ll even admit to herself. “You need time. To... adjust,” she pauses, tucking her hair behind her ear. “We all do. It’s only been a month.”
“I... yeah,” Harry finally speaks. “You’re right.”
“I love you, Harry. And I’ll wait - for as long as it takes.” She stands up to leave, eyes already burning with tears. She wants to kiss him goodbye, her body aches for him. For him to hold her, to make everything all right, to take the pain away. But she knows he can’t, that he needs to heal himself first. So she leaves, and that’s that. It’s not until the door of the pub swings closed behind her that Harry says, “I love you, too, Gin.”
He’s not sure why he keeps coming back. At first it’s through sheer stubbornness, because he was there first and because he will never back down. Not to Malfoy. Then it’s because he looks so drawn, because his skin is like thin parchment stretched tight over his bones and stained with the blue ink of his veins. Nobody expected Malfoy to return to Hogwarts when it re-opened, least of all Harry, and especially not after what happened to his father. Harry no longer really holds any ill feeling towards the younger Malfoy; he even testified in his defence at the end of the war, but he’s never attempted to hide his hatred for the boy’s father. Still, he’s not sure he deserved to be kissed.
It only happened three weeks before term started, and yet here’s Malfoy – seemingly unaffected by it, apart from his fragile appearance – back at school like nothing has happened. Except perhaps that isn’t entirely true, and - as they both sit there, night after night, in what Harry can only describe as comfortable silence (well, perhaps not comfortable, but bearable at least) – Harry often wants to ask him why he comes out here every night. But Harry is struggling to answer that question himself. The original reason he’d decided to escape the noise and brightness of the common room to come and sit by the Black Lake, with only the moonlight and a faint Lumos for company suddenly escapes him.
First it’s stubbornness, then it’s morbid fascination, then it’s because Malfoy doesn’t want anything from him, doesn’t expect anything from him. He doesn’t even seem to want to fight him anymore; he barely acknowledges him at all. And Harry can’t explain how that’s a good thing, and yet it enrages him and makes him feel slightly sad, all at the same time. Then one day Harry asks him. Asks him the question that has been perched on the tip of his tongue for over a month.
“Why do you come out here every night, Malfoy?”
At first Harry doesn’t think he’s going to answer, but then he turns his head ever so slightly and Harry catches a glimpse of something in his stormy grey eyes.
“I’m either trying desperately to hold on to something, or to let something go. You decide.”
That’s all he says, even after Harry presses him for more; to explain what he means, exactly. And why Harry has the sudden urgent desire to know, he can’t explain.
So he’s not sure why he keeps coming back, but perhaps it’s because the next night Draco asks him the same question. And Harry finds himself giving a truly honest answer, for the first time in such a long time. Or perhaps it’s because Malfoy has things to say, and so does he. And he realises Malfoy is listening. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because he knows that this is the start of something.
“Here. I should’ve given it back to you ages ago. But well, it never seemed like the right time.”
“And it is now, is it? Now that we’re best buds all of a sudden?”
“I- no- well... yes. I mean... not best buds, but yeah, I like to think we’ve become friends. Sort of.”
“Oh, sort-of friends with the Boy Who Lived. I’m honoured. Truly. How can I ever repay you, oh mighty one?”
“For fuck’s sake, Draco, what’s up with you tonight? Yes, we’re friends. Alright?”
“Yeah... so, here.”
“I don’t want it.”
“I’m giving it back to you.”
“You keep it.”
“But it belongs to you.”
“I’m giving it to you.”
“For safe keeping.”
I didn’t expect this. Not after I’d turned up on his doorstep and nearly declared my undying love for him. Not after my reply to his letter. A house-elf announced his arrival and for a second I thought the old creature had been at the sherry again. Until he came shuffling into the drawing room, eyes downcast and looking thoroughly worse-for-wear. But still himself, still Harry. Just like the time I’d turned up unannounced at his home, he didn’t give me a chance to utter a proper greeting. Except this time it was because he had me pressed up against wall within seconds and was kissing me furiously.
I have no idea why he’d suddenly decided to turn up – more than a month later – but at that precise moment I couldn’t find it in me to care. Perhaps he’d finally accepted that it was really over between him and the Weaslette, even if we both knew that would never really be true. It could never really be over between those two, just like it could never really be over between us. Even when it was.
So she wouldn’t take him back, so he decided to settle for second best? Even that couldn’t stop me wrapping my arms around him and kissing him back like my life depended on it. In a way it did. Because he had always been like a drug to me, since those early days by the Black Lake, and it had been such a long time since I’d had my last fix. So right at that moment, all that mattered was that he was there, and that I had what I wanted – however fleeting that time turned out to be – and that he was mine, then.
Was this the reason all along? Was this why you pushed her away? It can’t be. You’re—you’re not... You can’t be. But you must be. Because it’s happening. His mouth, his tongue. His. Male. Him. Of all people. But oh isn’t it glorious? Like something from a dream. A dream you feel like you’ve been having every night for months without ever remembering it. Until now. Until this moment. The moment he pushes you back against the grass, the moment he straddles your body with a natural grace. The moment he pauses, looks into your eyes, as though looking for an answer. And it’s yes yes yes. How could it not be? His lips are warm and softer than you expected – not that you expected this (Or did you?) – and his tongue slides like silk to moisten, to part, to ask permission. You grant it willingly and there’s no denying it then – Draco Malfoy is kissing you and you’re enjoying it.
And you’re kissing back.
It just happens one night. You stay up late, just talking, laughing, reminiscing about the good times. You’re surprised to find that there were more than you thought. Amongst the misery and horror, there were still those sunlight days that you spent together. It’s nice to remember and you find yourself wondering what’s keeping you apart; you’re not sure you remember any longer. The image of a pale face and even paler hair flashes through your mind but you push it away; you’re not going to think about that. Him. It’s over, and that’s that.
She yawns and rests her head on your shoulder and it feels so natural for you to put your arm around her, to run your fingers through her hair. She makes a soft contented noise and sighs, “time for bed.”
Suddenly your pulse is racing; every muscle in your body is tense and you can feel the heat radiating from hers. You swallow audibly; she lifts her head and turns to the side at the same time as you, until your faces are inches apart. Your lips meet and suddenly everything fast forwards. Before you know it she’s naked and panting beneath you. And it’s a new beginning.
I found out that he’d separated from the Weasley girl and foolishly I thought... well, I don’t know what I thought. But I hoped. That maybe there was a chance for us after all. So I turned up on his doorstep one evening, my old hawthorn wand tucked into my pocket as a physical reminder. And you know, I had it all planned out it my head, everything I was going to say but that plan was swiftly shot-to-pieces, along with any hope I had, when he opened the door and started speaking before I got a chance to even say hello.
“No, no, no. Please, Draco,” he pleaded. “Please. I can’t, I just can’t. Not now. I’m sorry, but please just don’t. It’s too hard. I can’t do it, I can’t deal with it. Not now. Please. Just leave me alone.”
It’s funny, you know, but in the split second before he slammed the door in my face I had the sudden urge to tell him that I loved him; that I probably always would.
He wrote to me two days later – a rambling scrawl about how he’s sorry, sorry if he’s hurt me. That he loves me, he does, but he loves her too and she’s having his baby and he needs to stand by her. He wants to. That he’s always wanted a family, a family with her. That it doesn’t matter how much it hurts, how desperately he wants it – he can’t have both of us. So he’s had to choose, and please can I try to understand? He wants me to be happy, even if it kills him inside to think of me with someone else, he knows he has no right to be angry or hurt and he truly hopes I can be happy with Astoria.
My reply was either cruel and petty or an act of kindness. It was only five words; five words I feared I’d said too late but I said them nonetheless.
No, I don’t love her.
I knew he’d go back to her. How could I not? He always did. And this time she had something I could never give him – a part of himself, a life, a new beginning. The night he received the news that she was in labour, he rushed off in a whirlwind of apologies and hurried kisses. I knew he wouldn’t be back, but I wondered if he knew. If he knew that that last desperate, lingering kiss we’d shared at the front gates of the Manor before he’d Apparated to St. Mungos would really be the last. I guess the owl that arrived the next day saying that he was sorry and that he had to try and make it work with her - for his son’s sake - gave me my answer.
Three months later he moved back home and the announcement of their engagement in The Prophet suddenly made the five months he’d spent in my bed, in my arms, feel dirty and cheap.
“You still love him don’t you?” The question is whispered in the darkness.
“I- Gin, don’t do this. Please.”
“I hear you talking in your sleep sometimes, you know?
“No, you sound so happy. And I know you’re dreaming about him.”
“I am happy. Here. With you.”
“But if you could, if you had a choice--”
“I made my choice. I want to be here, with you and James and the little one on the way. That’s all that matters, Gin.”
“Yes, but if you could, if could have both of us, would you?”
The screaming and crying and flying crockery is almost a relief. You’re so, so truly sorry, and you deserve it. You deserve everything she has to give. She knew about you and him, of course. Draco had taken care of that back in school. She was shocked, of course she was. The whole school was. But she’d accepted it, she realised that perhaps it was just something you needed to do, after the war - to heal or something. And she was just glad that you’d found your way back to her, in the end. You never stopped loving him, though, but you don’t tell her that, of course. You didn’t need to tell her anything, but the guilt was eating away at you and you couldn’t lie to her.
Perhaps it was selfish of you, but as she screams and cries and throws things at you, you know you’ve done the right thing. There’s no way you could’ve gone on with this secret hanging over your head. And you’re confused, too. You never expected to find yourself back in his bed, and you’re terrified because all the feelings are still so raw and intense. Time hasn’t healed, in this case, and when you fell into bed with him you realised the feelings were never going to go away. And you don’t know what you want; you love them both, want them both, need them both. You can’t make a choice.
“How could you? How could you, you fucking bastard?” she screams and pounds her fists against your chest. And the next words out her mouth make your choice for you. “I’m fucking pregnant, you bastard! I’M FUCKING PREGNANT!”
The grass is slightly damp against your naked back, and you’re trembling, but the warm summer breeze tells you it’s not from the cold. In all the months you’ve spent out here, talking, teaching each other to laugh again and just really getting to know each other (and somewhere along the line you think he actually became the person that knows you the best), you never imagined it would lead to this. And then he’d kissed you, and everything had changed and it’s about to change again. You’re scared, you realise, nervous. You’ve never done this with anyone, least of all with a guy. Back before the war, with Ginny, there’d been some touching, but nothing like this. And you try not to think about her.
You’re finding it harder and harder to think about anything but his warm lips against your skin, pressing soft kisses to your neck. His tongue traces the shell of your ear, sending a shiver through your whole body and you moan loudly as he grinds his hips, pressing your erections together through the fabric of your trousers. He sits up, his lips momentarily breaking contact with your skin and you protest the loss with a soft whimper. Then he’s pulling his t-shirt over his head, slowly exposing inch after inch of pale flesh and you have the sudden urge to run your tongue along every line and contour.
Until you notice it. The slightest silvery line, shining in the moonlight, that slices his torso from collarbone right down to his navel. You gasp, shocked by the ugly reminder of your past but he just smiles and you pull him down into a harsh, needy kiss – an apology, for something that happened what seems like a lifetime ago. He kisses back, his body thrusting against yours until the barrier of clothes is too much to bear and he fumbles for his wand, whispers a spell, and they’re gone. You cry out at the sudden sensation of flesh against flesh and his lips find your skin again, pressing kisses across your chest. Then his tongue finds your nipple and you hiss and buck your hips as he sucks it into his mouth, his teeth gently grazing the hard nub before moving on to the other.
You can hardly believe what is happening as he continues to move lower, caressing your body with lips and teeth and tongue. He pauses when he reaches it - hard against your stomach - and you don’t even realise you’re holding your breath as his ghosts across the shaft of your cock. Then he moves lower, pushing your legs apart, spreading them wide as his tongue slides across your balls and lower still. Until it’s right there and Oh god, he’s not. Surely he’s not going to?
And then he does. He runs the flat of his tongue across your hole, presses his lips to it, sucks, licks, penetrates it. And all you can think other than oh fuck and this is wrong, this is dirty and fuck yes, oh Merlin, fuck, is he’s done this before; he must’ve done this before. And then you don’t care because the initial disgust has been taken over by the intense sensation, of his tongue thrusting into you and his hand now gripping your swollen prick, squeezing, stroking, in time with his thrusts.
You’re not sure when it is that one slicked finger replaces his tongue or when he slips another in beside it, but you recognise the pain as the head of his cock pushes into you and you panic, your hole clenching around it. He stops, pulls out, asks you if you want him to stop. You realise you don’t, tell him to ‘just go slow’. He nods, tells you to relax, smears some more oil on his cock, spreads your legs wider.
This time he’s looking at you, trying to gauge your reaction as he slides into you slowly. It hurts, it does, but he’s gentle and your body starts to relax, to accommodate and the pain is slowly overshadowed by a new sensation - an incredible one. Then he starts to move, slowly at first, leaning over you so his hands are pressed against the ground either side of your head and he can lean down and kiss you at the same time.
Before you know it he’s moving faster, harder and he’s crying out oh fuck, Harry, you feel so good, fuck, I’m gonna come, I’m gonna come inside you, Harry, Harry, FUCK, Harry! Then he tenses, stills, and you can feel him warm and sticky inside you. He pulls out, kisses you once more before suddenly moving down your body again, until his lips are wrapped round the head of your still rock hard cock. You throw your head back against the ground and he takes you in deeper, sucking and sucking until you’re crying out his name and coming in his mouth. Afterwards, he moves to lie next to you, slinging one arm across your chest and burying his face in the crook of your neck. You almost fall asleep like that. Until you suddenly remember where you are, and what time it is, and what if Ron wakes up and sees you’re not in your bed? So you dress quickly, sneak back into the castle under the cover of your invisibility cloak and kiss him goodnight at the entrance to the dungeons.
“What are you doing here, Draco?”
“I heard the happy news. Congratulations! So our children will be at school together.”
“I guess. Look, Draco, please don’t start. Ginny and the boys are only in the front room.”
“I didn’t come to cause trouble, just to give you this. A gift.” He holds out a long, thin, wooden box.
“What is it?”
“Potter, it’s customary for one to open a gift in order for one to find out what it is.”
Harry grabs the package from Draco, struggling to open it with one hand, the other keeping the door closed tight around him.
“Yours. It has been since the day you tried to give it back to me. Before even.”
“Draco, what’re you doing? I told you, I can’t.”
“Yeah, I know. But I want you to know... that it’s still yours. That I want you to keep it. For as long as it takes.”
“Harry?” Ginny’s voice behind him in the hallway cuts off whatever Harry is about to say. He feels her hand on his shoulder, and then she’s pulling the door open wide.
Harry shoves the wand back into Draco’s hands. “Gin, it’s not what you think. Malfoy is just leaving.”
“No. He’s not,” she says, shifting a wriggling James from one hip the other.
“What? Ginny, what’re you doing?”
“Come in... well, I guess I should call you Draco.” Ginny ignores Harry’s question, turning to face Draco. He smiles weakly at her, his eyes flitting to Harry’s bemused face, as if looking for some sort of explanation. But Harry doesn’t have a clue. She’s tried to talk to him about this, many times since they got back together, but he always brushes it aside, pretends that everything is fine. But it’s not, and she knows it. She also knows that Harry does love her, and – as much as she’s tried to deny it – that he loves Draco, too. She thinks she finally understands that. Now that she has two beautiful children, she finally understands how someone can love more than one person so fiercely they’d give up their life for them in heartbeat. It’s different, of course, but, in the end love is love. And she does love Harry, as much as she loves her children.
And when you love someone you want them to be happy. Completely and truly. Whatever it takes, whatever sacrifices you must make. It’s what her marriage vows mean to her. And she intends to honour them.
“Come in,” she repeats, “I think the three of us need to talk.”
“Because, a happy ending all depends on where you choose to end your story.”
A/N: The words “If two people love each other, there can be no happy end to it.” do not belong to me. There are, in fact, borrowed from Ernest Hemingway.
Similarly, the final line of this story is inspired by the following quote from Orson Welles:
“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”