Title: Twelve Seemingly Insignificant Moments That Change Everything
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Harry/Ginny, implied Draco/Astoria, implied Ron/Hermione, Scorpius/Rose
Summary: Simple moments that might seem inconsequential are the building blocks of a greater whole.
Rating: Hard R
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Implied Het, Non-Evil!Ginny, distinct scenes spanning twenty-five years
Epilogue compliant? Yes
Word Count: ~5,600
Author's Notes: I had a devil of a time with this one. It wasn't quite what I intended, but I hope florahart likes what finally came out in the end. I tried to include as many of the likes that florahart mentioned as I could (and let me tell you, it was a challenge to fit in furniture mishaps). Her one word prompts of gravity, berries, drive, spark, barefoot, column were the impetus of my choices for several of the scenes. Much gratitude to my nameless betas. Some of you may recognise the words at the beginning. I've shortened the passage and tweaked the tense, but I'd never claim it wasn't originally Jo's.
"I'd want some peace and quiet if it were me," Luna says.
"I'd love some," Harry replies.
And then she's distracting those around them with tales of a Blibbering Humdinger out the window and he's slipping under his invisibility cloak so he can move through the Great Hall without interference to look for his two best friends.
As Harry searches, he spots the three Malfoys, huddled together as though unsure whether or not they're supposed to be there. Sitting slightly away from the rest of the survivors, Draco's bracketed between his parents, Narcissa almost collapsed against his chest while Draco cradles her gently. Lucius has a protective arm across Draco's back, his hand clasped tightly on his wife's shoulder where she leans against her son. They're the only people in the hall who show fear mixed in with the joy and relief.
Harry's conscious mind barely notes them, their presence insignificant next to the events of the past few hours, immaterial next to the row of dead lying motionless in the middle of the hall. However, years later when Harry remembers this moment he will understand that this is the beginning. In these few seconds, Draco Malfoy makes the final shift from a two-dimensional Slytherin git to a complete person with a myriad of traits. He becomes yet another student whose seventh year was stolen from him. One among many who mourn family or friends lost to the war.
It didn't go too badly considering it was his first time. Head Auror Ringgold had asked Harry to plan and lead the raid on the black-market potions ring they'd uncovered. Having never been in charge before, Harry's rather proud of the fact that not only was the mission successful, but they'd got in and out without anyone being hurt.
"Didn't they tell you that only the bad guys are supposed to end up injured?" a familiar voice asks. "Are you in much pain? Do you need a potion?"
Harry looks up at the man who's just arrived and stares at him blankly. He's completely dumbfounded for a moment until a faint memory pushes its way to the forefront of his consciousness. He can recall quite clearly Hermione's excited see-we're-really-making-progress tone as she raved on about changes to St Mungo's hiring policy. He'd been mostly ignoring the details until the words 'Draco Malfoy' and 'healer' had come together in a one sentence. Ron didn't disappoint, launching into the expected tirade. Harry had rolled his eyes fondly at both of his friends and promptly put the entire exchange from his mind. It's just that it hadn't really occurred to him that he'd ever have to be treated by Malfoy.
Harry realises that Malfoy is watching him patiently and waiting for an answer. "Um, I ... I can handle it," he finally responds and cringes inwardly at the sound of defiance in his voice.
Malfoy looks away, his face drawn and tired. "I can get you another healer if you'd like."
Harry wants to scream Of course I'd like! What in the bleedin' hell do you think? but he's sure that's what Malfoy's expecting. It dawns on him that Malfoy must have suspected he'd be turned away before he ever approached Harry and yet he came to offer his services anyway. That others have probably refused to be treated by him and yet he's still trying.
Taking a deep breath, Harry steadies himself and replies, "No, it's fine. I trust you." He's only mildly surprised that he means it.
Harry's sure he's done for when Ginny discovers his porn collection less than two weeks after their wedding. Not that he thinks she'll object to the scantily clad witches in the stack, but he fears the magazines boasting Hot Gay Wizards at play! might be a bit much. Harry's stomach clenches tightly when he finds her thumbing through one of the said magazines.
"Do you love me?" Ginny asks calmly.
His response is immediate. "Very much so."
"But you like men as well as women?"
"Yes," Harry answers, his face burning. "I mean, I think so. I've never done anything but buy magazines."
What follows is a discussion that includes spells and magical items Harry hadn't even known existed and the suggestion that they go out on Friday to explore Muggle London's Soho region.
By 1am on Saturday morning they've hit their fourth gay bar, having spent most of the night ogling men and comparing their favourites. They've also had more than their fair share of drinks. Swaying a bit as he heads back to the table from the loo, Harry catches a glimpse of unmistakable white-blond hair out of the corner of his eye.
During their Hogwarts years, Harry had vaguely wondered if Malfoy might be gay - six years spent glaring at someone meant that even Harry was bound to notice a few things. It's just that in the six years since then Malfoy's moved in Harry's perceptions from known enemy to rather good healer and potions expert. So, while the surprise at finding Malfoy in a gay bar is minimal, the incongruity of seeing him backed up against the wall in the passageway to the gents, his usually immaculate hair tousled and sweaty, his face flushed with exertion, causes Harry's mouth to fall open in shock.
The scene unfolding before him has Harry frozen in the middle of the hallway. He knows he should keep walking, knows he's being rude and risking discovery. Besides, Harry's breaking his one cardinal rule of never staring at anyone. But he's unable to tear his eyes away from Malfoy's bare leg wrapped around the waist of some Muggle bloke, shoe missing, sock slipping nearly off his foot as he shifts it impossibly higher up his partner's back. Following the movement of the leg is a mistake because it draws Harry's gaze up to the exquisite line of Malfoy's pale throat as he arches back further and gasps.
Harry's never seen anything more erotic.
His jeans are rapidly becoming too tight and for a brief moment Harry considers whether or not he can cast a Disillusionment charm on himself without breaking any Muggle secrecy laws. Instead, he strides purposefully back to Ginny and holds out his hand to her.
"Come on," Harry says. "How would like to try out that new strap-on?"
While Harry will never admit to it, sometimes in the quiet of a Sunday when he's sitting with a nice cup of tea and browsing through the Daily Prophet, he'll give a look at Glenda's Gossip of the Glittering and Glamourous. He assures himself that he's not interested in such rubbish, that he's merely glancing through to make sure the rumours about the Potter-Weasley Clan are kept in check. However, this sunny morn it's neither name that catches his eye.
... A little bird told Glenda about two rather momentous events at Malfoy Manor this past week. Last Sunday there was a small ceremony as the once-powerful Lucius Malfoy was interred in the family crypt on the Manor grounds. My, how times have changed! To think at one time Mr. Malfoy was such an influential force in politics his death would have warranted a Ministry funeral with mourners from all walks of the wizarding world. Instead, he's barely cold in his grave before his widow and only son have another private function at the Manor, this one the wedding of Draco Malfoy to Astoria Greengrass. Not that Glenda thinks Mr. Malfoy deserves respect from anyone after his shameful role in the last war, but one would think a family as old as the Malfoys would follow the traditional mourning period instead of behaving in such a crass manner...
Harry knew about Lucius' death of course. It wasn't as if the Aurors had forgot about him after he was released from Azkaban a few years ago. But the marriage is news to him. He finds himself strangely outraged on the Malfoys' behalf. Harry may not know a lot about wizarding traditions, but he's absolutely sure the timing of the wedding was done out of necessity, not disrespect.
He chuckles quietly to himself when he realises he's defending Draco Malfoy in the privacy of his own head. How times have changed, indeed.
Al has just turned seven when Harry takes him on the Wizard Scouts' father and son camping trip. Despite wanting to spend more time with his middle child, Harry's dreading the weekend. The intervening years since the death of Tom Riddle haven't really lessened the gawking and the whispers. And though Al's troupe is used to having them around, this camping excursion will include a handful of other troupes from around the region and Harry's pretty sure it'll be two days of wide eyes and hearty handshakes.
Harry figures that's why he feels oddly grateful that Malfoy and his son are there. It's not as if the two families are friendly or anything, but Malfoy and Scorpius certainly understand what it's like to be stared at by strangers and are unlikely to react to Harry or Al with awe.
It's hard for Harry to wrap his brain around the concept of Malfoy as a father, at least the doting parent kind. So, for the first part of the weekend, Harry doesn't really. Instead, he categorises their relationship as that of a benevolent lord and his heir apparent. It seems to fit, as the pair are unerringly polite and slightly formal with one another, which is so far out of Harry's experience of family it just doesn’t begin to translate.
It's not until later, as they're all gathering around the large campfire, that Harry grasps that he's read them completely wrong. He and Al are already settled on one of the large benches when Harry notices Scorpius and his father headed towards them.
"Malfoy," Harry greets him, gesturing to the space on the bench next to
Al, "Have a seat."
"Thanks," responds Malfoy. "Don't you find-"
But before Malfoy can finish whatever he intended to say another scout pushes past Scorpius causing him to fall. Malfoy tenses visibly and for a moment Harry's sure he's going to hex the older boy. But he doesn't and even manages to restrain himself as Scorpius struggles to his feet, valiantly holding back tears though his hands and knees are badly scrapped.
Scorpius barely has a chance to right himself, however, before Malfoy has scooped him up onto his lap with a quiet, "Here, let me heal those."
Watching them, Harry's image of an austere, distant relationship between them disappears in an instant. There's no question that, as reserved as the two Malfoys have appeared all day, they have a close bond and are quite used to physical interaction.
"There," Malfoy says with a gentle kiss on the crown of Scorpius' head and the boy reluctantly scrambles off of his father's lap to sit beside Al.
"What scout badge are you working on?" asks Al, and soon the two of them are talking animatedly.
Yet when a large log shifts, crackling loudly and throwing a bright spray of sparks skyward, Scorpius flinches and presses closer to his father. Harry catches a subtle movement of Malfoy's wand and suddenly both boys are leaning forward and laughing delightedly as sparks transfigure into fiery butterflies and glide among the flames.
Harry makes a mental note to ask Malfoy about the spell later. He knows Lils will love it.
Ron's injury isn't severe. After all, it was only a small-time thief they'd been chasing. Still, Harry wonders if Malfoy will want to keep Ron overnight for observation.
He hopes not.
Ron will resist for one thing, and Harry needs him in the office for another. However, Malfoy had that look just before Harry began to get fidgety from waiting so long and Malfoy sent him off for a cup of hospital tea. It's a look Harry recognises after innumerable visits to St Mungo's as a result of Auror duty.
Malfoy's very thorough and he never takes chances with an Auror who's been injured on the job. When Harry had complained about Malfoy's caution one time, Malfoy had grimly responded that he had firsthand knowledge of the kind of thing that someone who wasn't afraid to use a little dark magic could do. Harry has never questioned him since.
Just down the hall from where Malfoy's examining Ron, Harry happens on a Healer's Assistant tearing strips off an Assistant in training.
"Though it's not wrong to ask questions, that response was uncalled for. The Healer's word is final. You're still a trainee, he deserves your respect and grati- What did you say, Trainee Whitehall?"
"He'll never be worthy of my respect, he's a Malfoy and a Death Eater!" The vehemence of the retort surprises Harry. He'd thought after nearly fifteen years Malfoy has more than proven himself.
There's a moment of deafening silence before the Healer's Assistant responds with a voice that could freeze the River Styx solidly enough you could ice skate on it without fear of falling through to the muddy waters. "I think perhaps you're mistaking him for his father, Trainee Whitehall. Healer Malfoy is one of the finest at St Mungo's, and often requested for consultations from all parts Europe. Do you think it's an accident that he's working on Auror Weasley? That he's always the one called in if Head Auror Potter is injured? Most trainees would be thrilled for a chance to study under him. However, since you dislike him so, I'll make sure you'll never have to work with him again. As a matter of fact, I'll put in an immediate recommendation that you be removed from training within St Mungo's altogether so your delicate sensibilities aren't offended."
Harry doesn't try to hide his amusement at the sputtered protests that follow the sharp clack of the Healer's Assistant's footsteps as they fade down the hall.
Though Harry is perfectly aware that Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy have become fast friends, he's still flabbergasted to see Hermione and Draco Malfoy sitting under a tree in the Weasley's back garden laughing together.
It's Rose's birthday today and Harry's horridly late collecting Al and Lily from her party. He'd expected all the other children to be gone by now and hoped Hermione wouldn't be too cross with him. It turns out only his two and Scorpius are left. They're busy helping Hugo and Rose devour the rest of the birthday treats.
Harry stands awkwardly for a few moments, trying to decide if he should interrupt the pair under the tree, or just join in with the eating. He's just concluded that food is the safer option - perhaps there's cake left - when his nephew spots him.
"Hi, Uncle Harry!" Hugo calls out. "Sorry, you're too late for cake. Want some ice cream with berries instead?"
Before he can answer, Hermione pipes up. "Oh, Harry, you finally made it." She beckons him over. "Come sit with us in the shade."
As soon as Harry settled on the grass, Hermione confides in a low voice, "Draco was just telling me about his impending divorce."
"I figured I should let Scorpius' friend's parents know before it the news get splashed across Glenda's Gossip of the Glittering and Glamourous," Draco affirms, then adds in a nasal falsetto, "A little bird told Glenda about the shocking details of the Malfoy divorce. It seems Astoria Malfoy has left her husband of 13 years to marry another man! Obviously Draco couldn't keep her satisfied. That doesn't really surprise Glenda. She could have told you that all the money in the Malfoy vaults still won't compensate for a husband who has a penchant for cock."
"Draco," Hermione scolds, "Keep your voice down. What if the children hear you?" She can't be too scandalised though, since she's laughing.
"Sorry, Malfoy," Harry mutters.
But Malfoy waves him off, "Don't be. Astoria and I had a marriage of convenience. I needed an heir and her family wanted some of father's connections. It was a sound match. We're good friends, but we haven't slept together since before Scorpius was born. Now she's found love and I'm not going to keep her from it."
As Hermione quizzes Malfoy about how Scorpius is coping, Harry realises that the more he learns about this enigmatic man, the more he's intrigued.
Taking another swallow of his drink, Harry surveys the club.
"I'm going to get another mojito. Would you like anything from the bar?" Ginny queries as she slides out of the booth.
Harry smiles, catching her double meaning. "I'm good for now, but if you find anyone interesting, by all means bring him along."
They've not been in this Muggle nightclub before, but they've heard good things about it. There's apparently an invite-only dungeon downstairs that Ginny's interested in. Harry's not as into the pain and bondage thing - he deals with too much of that in his job for there to be anything sexual about it - but he's happy to try new things if Ginny wants. After all, she's been very obliging over the years regarding Harry's attraction to men. Not that he ever has sex without Ginny, though she's wanted to watch him and a bloke a few times. However they've picked up someone to share in a threesome too many times to count. Harry wonders what the Wizarding world would think if they knew just how kinky their Head Auror and his childhood sweetheart really are.
Glancing over at the dance floor, his gaze is caught by a lithe body undulating to the beat. He's neither as young as most of the other dancers, nor as provocatively dressed, but in Harry's opinion, he's the sexiest thing in the entire club. He moves with a sure grace that speaks of experience and refinement. And Harry can't help but imagine what it would feel like to have that body writhing against his own.
He's just contemplating joining him on the dance floor when the man's movements bring his face into Harry's view. His eyes are closed as he sways to the music, however Harry knows their exact colour - slate grey.
For a moment Harry speculates about whether Draco would accept an invitation and what that would mean to the friendship that's been burgeoning between the two of them over the last year, but he discards the idea quickly. Somehow he knows he'd never be able to spend just one night with Draco, and Harry and Ginny have never invited anyone into their bed more once.
His musings are interrupted by Ginny's return. She has a twenty-something strawberry-blond in tow. He's not the man Harry really wants in his bed tonight, but he'll do.
Harry greets Ginny's questioning smile with an approving nod and slides out of the booth to join them.
"Harry, I think you've had enough," Hannah chides, but Harry disagrees. He hasn't passed out yet, which means his alcohol to blood ratio isn't high enough.
Before he can argue the point a smooth voice interrupts. "Here, why don't you let me take you home?"
Harry's livid at the thought that someone is already trying to bed him. There can't possibly be a soul in the wizarding world who doesn't know about Ginny's death. The horrifying details of her accident were splashed all over the press for days.
She's been gone less than two weeks. A bit over twelve days to be exact. Because, though Harry may not know what day of the week it is, and he may have consumed more alcohol than food in the time since he buried his wife, he can tell you, almost down the minute, how long it's been since she drew her last breath.
With mounting fury he rounds on the unfeeling bastard who propositioned him and ... stares in confusion. The abrupt change in motion and intent has him swaying dangerously.
"Careful, Potter," Draco cautions, steadying him with a hand. "I think gravity's going to win if you try to stay standing much longer." As light and almost playful as Draco's being, Harry can see the worry underneath. "Come on, let's go."
Shaking his head, Harry slurs, "Can't go home. There's no one there. Too quiet. 'm staying here at the Leaky."
Draco's expression shifts, but Harry's too drunk to decipher the meaning behind the pinched brow and grim mouth. His grip tightens on Harry's arm momentarily before he turns his gaze to Hannah.
With a nod Hannah answers the unspoken question, "He's in room 3. At the end of the corridor to the left up the stairs."
There's a lot of stumbling and swearing on Harry's part as Draco helps him to his room and into bed.
"Get some rest, Harry," says Draco softly.
Harry catches the gentle hand that brushes back his fringe. "Stay?" he whispers. It's only after he feels the mattress dip from the weight of someone sitting that he's able to lose himself to blessed oblivion of sleep.
Harry's knows he's finally getting used to single fatherhood when Al's announcement at the beginning of the Easter break doesn't throw him for a loop. It turns out that the fourth years are studying Avebury Circle and Al and Scorpius can get extra points if they do a field report over the hols. With all the Muggles around the site, someone has to drive them. Since Draco doesn't own a car, that leaves Harry.
For over twenty years Harry's managed to avoid the inside of Malfoy Manor despite his children's friendship with Scorpius and now his own with Draco. The Manor rates second only to the Forbidden Forest in places he'd rather not experience again. Somehow, Draco seems to understand this, so Harry has blithely assumed he'd be able to stay away from it indefinitely. However, when he and Al bring Scorpius home from their excursion to Avebury, Scorpius invites them in for tea and Al answers, "Oh yes, please" before Harry even has a chance to process the question.
Leading them through the house to his father's study, Scorpius orders tea for four from a house-elf that appears by his side. Draco's curled up in a large armchair reading when they enter the room. He smiles a greeting as he looks up from his book. The slight widening of his eyes is the only indication that the extra guests have caught him by surprise. Draco's the consummate host though and after a few stilted moments the four of them are drinking Earl Grey and eating scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
The most astounding thing about this bizarre experience is that instead of being assaulted by memories of Dobby's last heroic deeds or Hermione's tortured screams, Harry can't focus on anything except Draco's bare feet. He's never seen Draco without shoes on and it seems oddly intimate to watch him curl his toes in the plush carpet. Harry can't seem to shift his gaze away, and he knows that it won't be long before someone notices.
He stands abruptly and starts pacing. "You know, some of this furniture is rather remarkable," babbles Harry and reaches towards the cabinet to Draco's left.
"Mr. Potter," Scorpius says with alarm, "You really shouldn't touch that it might -" And suddenly Harry is sprawled on the carpet with Draco on top of him "- attack."
Since when does furniture attack? thinks Harry, but a look at the somewhat charred spot where he was standing moments before stops him from asking the question aloud.
"Archaic security charm. Sorry, should have warned you. I don't usually have guests in this room," Draco says from far too close.
Harry doesn't turn, because he's afraid if he does that Draco will recognise the growing desire that must be written across his face. They're still entangled on the floor and it's taking considerable effort on Harry's part to keep from pulling Draco properly into his arms. He wonders if Draco would mind if he did.
He won't, though. There are far too many ways for things to go wrong. Besides, Harry's had more than his share of happiness in this life already. He has his children and his friends. He doesn't need to complicate things by adding a lover.
As Draco helps him to his feet, Harry ignores the niggling thought that perhaps it's fear that's stopping him. Fear of opening up to Draco, of needing him and then losing him somehow.
"You all right, Harry?" asks Draco softly, his hand still resting on Harry's arm.
"Yeah. Fine," Harry responds gruffly, easing away.
Draco lets his hand drop.
Oddly enough, or maybe appropriately, it's Rose who confronts him one late summer evening as he gazes at the stars.
"We've been talking," she begins.
Harry smiles. "Who's 'we'?"
"Al, Lily, Scorpius and I," Rose tells him. "Anyway, we've decided it's about time for you to start dating."
"Yes, You remember, that's when you ask some nice lady to go out to dinner with you." Rose grins impishly. "Or some fit bloke."
Harry narrows his eyes at her. "I seem to recall something about that from my distant youth. With ladies, that is," he responds dryly.
Rose chews on her lower lip for a moment. It's a sure sign she's nervous. "Lils and I think you should ask Mr. Malfoy out."
"Oh you do, do you?" Harry has to strive to keep his voice light. "And what do the boys think?"
"Al says that, though he wants you to do whatever you need to be happy, he refuses to think of his dad shagging another man."
"Fair enough," Harry laughs. "And what about Scorpius?"
Rose's expression softens. "Scorp says that after his father inadvertently let slip to my dad that Scorpius and I were dating before Mum or I had a chance to break it to him, that Scorpius and Mr. Malfoy have agreed never to talk about each other's love lives again."
Harry was there when Draco had accidentally informed Ron about Rose and Scorpius. It hadn't been a pretty thing. Harry can certainly understand how the ban came about.
"He did mention to me, though," Rose continues, "that he's seen the way his father watches you. He said he'd be tempted to say Mr. Malfoy is pining, but Malfoys never pine."
Harry's heart stutters. The idea of Draco longing for him is bewildering and incredibly arousing. For years now Harry has carefully refrained from thinking about Draco as anything more than a friend. Rose's words have unwittingly released a flood of emotion that Harry didn't even known was there. Suddenly he's awash with images he's refused to allow himself to consider before now.
"She wouldn't mind you know," Rose's quiet voice breaks into his thoughts. "She'd want you to be happy."
Confused, Harry asks, "Who wouldn't mind? Your mother?" He's not sure why he didn't anticipate her response, but he didn't and it's a bit like a bludger to the stomach.
"Aunt Ginny," says Rose earnestly. "You know she wouldn't want you to spend the rest of your life alone."
And the irony is Rose is right. Ginny wouldn't want that, but Harry's always been rather rubbish at relationships. He relied heavily on Ginny's understanding and advice. With her gone, Harry's doubly lost.
It's been a wonderful Christmas so far, Harry reflects.
The Burrow's so packed with people it's hard to wedge them all in. Movement by the fireplace draws his attention and he smiles as he watches Rose bouncing her baby cousin on her lap. Little Esmé is clapping her chubby hands and laughing as Scorpius and Albus transfigure butterflies and tiny dragons from the sparks.
This is the first Christmas the two Malfoys have spent with them, and it's likely to be the first of many. Rose and Scorpius aren't officially engaged, but it's a mere technicality at this point.
"Draco," Molly calls from the kitchen, "What's the best way to serve this lovely dessert you brought?"
Draco rises from his chair. "Let me help."
There's a warning on Harry's lips when he sees the mistletoe shimmer into existence at the top of the doorway just as Draco starts to go through. However he doesn't even have a chance to get the first word out before an invisible barrier stops Draco.
"What the- ?" Draco bites of the exclamation.
Harry doubts that anyone in the room needs to look at the ribbon on the sprig to know that it bears the distinctive Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes logo. Remembering with dismay Ron's excitement about the latest feature to the gag Christmas decoration, Harry wishes it was anyone but Draco trapped underneath it. He's almost certain he doesn't want to see the result.
"George, it's not working," whispers Ron.
"Don't be so sure, little brother. He's a Malfoy, he probably occludes in his sleep," George mutters in return. "He just needs prompting."
Al must have been listening to his uncles' conversation, since he turns to Scorpius, his face the picture of innocence and asks, "Didn’t you mention that you thought there was someone your father wouldn't mind catching under the mistletoe this year?" Both Malfoys glare at him, but the question has the intended effect of producing a name written in the air in front of Draco.
Harry blinks in surprise.
Even though there's a pink tinge to his cheeks, Draco's voice is cocky. "Well, Potter, are you just going to sit there gawking, or are you going to take me up on my unintentional invitation?"
Harry intends for it to be nothing more than a chaste kiss, but the brief caress of Draco's lips on his is intoxicating and he can't stop himself from taking this opportunity to steal another.
He wants to ignore Charlie's wolf-whistle when Draco's fingers tangle in his hair, mouth soft and pliant against Harry's. However Draco pulls back slightly, breaking the kiss.
"Maybe we should continue this at another time," He suggests, his breath fluttering across Harry's cheek. "Perhaps without the avid audience."
It takes all Harry's will power not to draw him back in for another kiss. "Yeah. Yeah, we should."
"I have to admit, Potter, you've managed to impress even me," Draco comments as they leave the restaurant. "But I don't believe for a second that Gordon Ramsey is a Muggle. The food was far too good. Restaurants with three Michelin stars are never ordinary establishments."
"Well, I wouldn't be surprised if he is a wizard or has some connections, anyway. They did seem a lot more eager to help me when they learned my name. That just isn't something that happens in the Muggle world." Harry catches Draco's hand as they walk along Royal Hospital Road.
Looking pleased, Draco gives Harry's fingers a squeeze. "Shall we head on over to the Thames to see the New Year's fireworks? It's only eleven, so we've plenty of time."
"I've a better idea," Harry says, pulling Draco into a small alleyway. "All the kids are staying at Ron and Hermione's tonight. Let's Apparate to mine and make some fireworks of our own."
"Honestly, Potter, we really need to work on your pick-up lines." Draco's tone turns serious. "Are you sure? You don't need to rush things."
Harry laughs. "We've known each for over a quarter of a century, Draco. I don't think anyone would call it rushing."
Cupping Harry's cheek, Draco kisses him softly. "Yes, Harry, as long as you're positive about this. I'd like very much to be alone with you."
His lips are on Draco's the moment they've finished Apparating. Harry's wanted this for so long, longer than even he realised. The knowledge that Draco wants this too is both exhilarating and terrifying.
Harry can't seem to stop kissing Draco and he thinks he probably ought to so they can talk about what this is and were they it's going. But when Draco makes a soft broken sound and pulls Harry closer, Harry gives up on the idea of discussion altogether and starts dragging Draco to the bedroom instead. This takes longer than it should and by the time they reach the room Harry's wearing nothing but his boxers and Draco's clad only in his shirt.
The feel of Draco's bare chest against his own is almost too much. Harry hasn't really been with anyone since Ginny died. Sure, he's had a few handjobs with blokes he's picked up in Soho, but though they were nice enough chaps, the sex was rather perfunctory.
Draco's spread out on the bed, skin flushed, breath ragged. He's writhing under Harry's lips as he kisses along his ribs, his hipbone, his thigh. Harry's forgotten the power of this. The sheer beauty of sharing something so intimate with another.
When Harry pushes slowly into Draco, he knows he is lost, realises that he loves this man with an intensity that astounds him. Yet, as vulnerable as Harry feels, he wouldn't trade this for anything.
Harry shifts above Draco, sliding a hand between them and angling each stroke, until Draco's mewling a litany of "ohmygodHarryHarrygodHarryloveyouHarrylo
As Harry's drifting off to sleep, Draco's arm thrown possessively across his chest, he thinks that of all the many changes throughout his life, this one has been the most gradual. Perhaps that is why it also feels like the most complete.