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Happy H/D Holidays sugareey!! | Tie My Heart Gently - NC17

Title: Tie My Heart Gently 3/3
Author: jamie2109
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 22,000
Summary: Romance and love were nothing but fairy tales told to small children so that they grew up and had a reason to procreate. It didn’t really exist.

Disclaimer: The lovely JKR own these characters, except for the Trueloves. I made them up and placed them in her world. Just for fun.

A/N: Thanks to my wonderful betas who made such a difference with this.

Merry Christmas sugareey. I really hope that you enjoy this. It’s unashamedly romantic. With a tiny bit of angst and some snogging and hugging as per your prompts. I really tried to get some ties and handcuffs in there, but the boys said that would have to wait until next time. They laughed at me when I tried to tell them that of course their first time having sex with each other could involve handcuffs and ties. Really.




Once home again, Draco quickly settled back into his routine. He sent an Owl to Borgin and Burkes requesting further information on the ‘Lega Mio Amore’, and caught up with any correspondence he had missed while he was away.

That night as he sat in the drawing room sipping a large brandy, with his music playing softly in the background, he wondered how long it would be before Harry arrived on his doorstep again.

Admittedly he had not thought much about Harry while he was away but he would be lying to himself if he said that he hadn’t missed his presence, as he had wished him there at least once. Harry was…He sighed. Harry was just Harry and though he unnerved him every time he kissed him goodbye, he was becoming used to him being around somewhere. And that was dangerous; he couldn’t afford to become dependant on Harry. Not for anything. He was glad that they seemed to have moved past their childish feud and he was flattered that Harry seemed interested in him but he couldn’t count on it lasting.

Still, he would like to see Harry soon.

As the days passed, and Harry didn’t show up, Draco went through a number of different emotions. At first he wasn’t worried; maybe Harry didn’t know he was back. Perhaps he should have let Harry know? Was that too presumptuous of him, assuming that Harry would want to know? After a week, he sent an Owl anyway, told Harry he was back and asked him if he were still interested in letting him see some of the bits and pieces in the Black residence.

There was no reply.

Then after a further week, he began to feel hurt by Harry’s silence. Had he imagined Harry’s interest? Those gossamer light kisses - that hug? Was it all a joke? Had Blaise put Harry up to it? Draco frowned and a growl rumbled in his chest. That would be so like Blaise - plotting and planning in some misguided attempt to drag him from his quiet existence. Everything fit. Potter being at the café, Blaise being so insistent that Draco have dinner with him to prove that he wasn’t lonely…He wondered angrily just what Blaise was going to pay Potter. Why would Blaise do that to him, though, and why would Potter go for it? Unless…

He slammed a few doors as he stormed through the house, needing to go outside and breathe some fresh air. That was it then. Potter had planned everything. Approach Blaise and get him on side to talk him into giving Potter a chance; play with the lonely, reclusive Draco Malfoy’s heart and then just dump him – leave him like everyone else did. Draco saw it all now, in clear colour.

And what was Potter getting out of it? The chance to show the world that perfect bloody saviour Potter would always beat a Malfoy – even a reformed Malfoy. He saw Potter laughing that stupidly nice laugh, a triumphant sparkle in his expressive green eyes - having fun at his expense.

Beaten again.

Draco told himself that it was his own fault. He should have expected it and therefore he should not be hurt by it. He should have thicker skin and just laugh it off - yeah, yeah, very funny, now piss off.

Just goes to show, you don’t trust anyone, he reminded himself. Not even bloody Gryffindors.

So, Draco went back to his work and forced himself to forget about Harry Potter. Or try to. He’d received an answer from Mr. Borgin Jnr about the box and to whom it had been sold, and he had written to them, asking for details of how long they’d had the box and what they had done with it. Hector Humphries, the collector that Lucius had purchased the box from, had also replied and put Draco in contact with the person he had acquired it from. He was quite pleased; he seemed to be making headway into the history of ‘Lega Mio Amore’..

His daily routine returned to normal as well. He took to drinking tea in the morning though, instead of coffee, as he sat and read the paper with only a passing interest in world events, feeling no more than a spectator’s grief reading of a dreadful earthquake in India that involved Wizarding communities as well as Muggle villages.

He’d Owled Blaise a number of times as well, and ascertained that he’d had nothing to do with setting Draco up with Potter. Draco was thankful. At least Blaise wasn’t going behind his back.

Things had returned to normal, the whirlwind of Potter’s stay in Draco’s life was over, the dust had settled.


***


But as is the way of things in life, the dust never really settles it just covers things up. Eventually, the wind returns and blows the dust away.


***


There was a letter waiting on his desk for him one morning. Draco only needed to take one look at it to know it was from Potter. He ignored it and set about answering his other mail, smiling with genuine warmth at a letter from Aubrey asking if it were alright for Ruth and himself to pay Draco a visit the next day.

He called Pippy and gave her instructions to prepare his best guest suite and then replied to the letter suggesting that they stay the night. It was the least he could do to return their hospitality. In all his anxiety over the situation with Potter, he’d slept even less than usual, so he’d used their sleeping potion and found it better than the one he normally used. It still left him feeling not quite normal and he still hated to use it but it was better than his usual one and excellent for occasional use.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t put off opening Potter’s letter forever. He could, of course, throw the damned thing away but his curiosity and, if he were truthful, a tiny sliver of hope that it had all been some mistake, wouldn’t let him.

Annoyed, he flicked open the seal and unrolled the parchment.



Draco,

I’ll be round tomorrow after work. Can’t wait to see you again.

Harry




“What the…?” Draco muttered, incensed. What made Potter think that Draco wanted to see him again after all this time with no word? Not bloody likely. Draco picked up a quill and made short work of his reply, pressing so hard with the quill as he was writing that he almost ripped the parchment and broke the nib.



Potter,

Don’t bother.

D. Malfoy




He was so angry that it almost took the joy out of the thought of seeing Aubrey and Ruth again.

If Potter showed up tomorrow, he’d hex him.


***


At 3pm the following afternoon, Draco was waiting by the Floo for his guests. He was still angry with Potter presuming that he could just turn up here and all would be forgotten. Three long weeks and he had not replied to Draco’s owl, not made any other effort to contact him. Well, the bastard had better not show up and create a scene while the Trueloves were here.

Aubrey stepped through first smiling, and then turned to help Ruth through. Draco aimed a cleaning charm at them both and then moved forward to hug Ruth and shake Aubrey’s hand.

“How are you both?” he asked. “It’s terrific to see you again.”

“We are well, Draco, dear,” Ruth responded, her sharp gaze catching the lines around Draco’s eyes. He’d not slept at all the previous night. Stupid really, to let Potter affect him like this, but there it was. “You, however, look like you didn’t sleep last night. Did you run out of the potion? We’ve bought along some more for you in any case. Never hurts to have a handy supply.”

Draco leaned in and kissed Ruth’s cheek, shyly, amazed at how perceptive she was, as Draco thought he usually hid visible signs of tiredness well under careful grooming. “Thank you for caring. No, I have plenty of the potion left.”

He turned to include Aubrey in his look. “Welcome to my home. Pippy will take your bags to your room. You can either freshen up now, or we can go into the drawing room and have some afternoon tea.”

“A cup of tea would be great, I’m a bit parched,” Aubrey said. “Someone,” he made eyes at Ruth, “let the dogs in while I was about to drink my tea and the next thing I know, the cup and contents were being slurped by a drooling dog,” Aubrey laughed and Ruth covered her mouth, trying not to.

Draco grinned and led them into the drawing room, where Pippy had tea laid out. He poured the tea, added the milk, and then handed out the cups before sitting back. “It really is good to see you both again. I’ll show you around the Manor later if you’d like to see it.”

“We’d like that, son,” Aubrey smiled while Draco stilled at the term of endearment. Then he looked at them both and gave a tiny smile; a vast difference to what he was feeling inside where he was beaming at the burst of warmth in his chest.

Draco sipped his tea and wondered just why he felt so comfortable with these people. The conversation turned to other things and Aubrey brought him up to speed on how his latest experiments were going, while Ruth mostly watched them speaking, adding one or two comments along the way. Draco could feel though that her attention was mostly on him. Damn, he must look worse than he thought.

As they finished, Aubrey raised a question.

“Do you think we could see the ‘Lega Mio Amore’, Draco?”

“Of course, of course,” Draco said, standing. “Silly of me to forget that, I’ll be just a moment.”

He ducked quickly out to the library. As he was picking up the box, Pippy appeared next to him.

“Master Draco, sir, Mister Potter is at the front door, requesting to see you.”

Draco scowled. “Send him away, Pippy. I do not want to see him, today or any other day.”

“Yes, Master. Pippy will tell Mister Potter to not come back any more,” the elf nodded, a sad look in her eyes. She disappeared and Draco sat down heavily in his chair. Damn you Potter, why did you have to ignore my Owl? Again.

Sighing, he picked up the box and went back to the drawing room and placed it on the table for them both to look at.

“It really is beautiful isn’t it?” Ruth said.

“Yes, look at the craftsmanship on those roses. Exquisite,” Aubrey agreed.

“Well, I should have the rest of the information soon I hope. Then we can settle on a price and it will be all y…”

Draco stopped, as there was a commotion at the door that led to the entrance hall. Raised voices carried quite clearly to where the three of them were sitting.

“What do you mean he won’t see me?”

“Mister Potter, no, you cannot come inside! Master Draco has told Pippy…”

“I’m sorry Pippy, but I must see him and I won’t leave until I have.”

It was Potter’s voice and Draco ground his teeth. Did he have to do this now when Draco had guests? Pippy tried valiantly, but Draco could hear Potter’s footsteps coming closer.

He gave an apologetic glance to Aubrey and Ruth. “I’m sorry, I think I’ll have to deal with this.”

“Don’t worry, dear, we’ll take a walk through your lovely gardens while you sort out your young man,” Ruth answered, smiling at him.

Gratefully, Draco led them to the French doors and opened them. “Thank you so much, I appreciate it. I’ll make it up to you.”

“No need, son,” Aubrey said, patting him on the shoulder. “We’re quite capable of entertaining ourselves for a while.”

“Thank you.”

Draco closed the doors after them and turned around just as Potter entered the drawing room. Damn he looked good.

“How dare you enter my house after you have been expressly told that you are not welcome here,” Draco said, his voice cold and controlled. “Get out. Now.”

“No. Not without some answers.”

“You don’t deserve answers, Potter.” Draco folded his arms and glared at him.

“What happened to you? Why won’t you see me? What did I do?”

“Nothing happened to me, I just wised up. I don’t want to see you anymore. That’s all there is to it.” Keep your cool, Draco, he told himself.

“Not good enough, Draco. The last time I saw you I hugged you, and you hugged me back. I thought we were making progress. Now, I come here and you’re back to hating me again? It doesn’t make sense.”

Draco was trying very hard to avoid Potter’s confused, pained eyes.

“And how long ago was the last time you saw me?”

“About four weeks ago but…”

“Four weeks ago. Four weeks and not even a word.”

“I know but…”

“You think you can just show up here after four weeks of nothing. After not answering my Owl, after…”

“Draco…”

“Shut up Potter, I’m not finished.” Draco snarled. He was shaking now and he knew that the pain in his chest was going to bring him undone unless he stopped and took a few deep breaths.

“I want to know, before I have you removed from my house once and for all,” Draco continued, his voice steadier now, “did you have fun at my expense? Did you sit around laughing at me?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve been…”

“No, you don’t get to speak here. In fact I don’t want to speak anymore. You can leave now, content in the knowledge that once again, you got the better of Draco bloody Malfoy, you sucked him in and mmnngh…”

Potter had lunged towards him, gripping his shoulders and pressing his lips to Draco’s forcefully. As Draco’s mouth was half open in speech, Potter’s tongue swiped across it, entered, and brushed against his own. For the briefest moment Draco felt like he was flying – the warm press of lips on his and Potter’s strong arms now sliding around his waist, pulling him close, was perfect.

No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was close.

No, it wasn’t even that. Reality crashed around him and he pushed Potter away angrily, leaving himself panting, chest heaving from the kiss and the sudden rush of adrenalin through his body.

“How dare you?” he snarled. “Get out, get out, GET OUT!”

“No, now it’s your turn to shut up and listen to me.” Potter replied in a tone that Draco forgot to argue with. “I know I haven’t been able to contact you for the time I was away but I would have thought that working with the rescue teams outweighed your needs. As soon as I got home yesterday, I Owled you.”

“Wait, you said rescue teams?” Draco asked, not understanding what Potter was talking about.

“Yes, the rescue teams.”

“What rescue teams?”

“In India. How can you have no idea where I was? The Hospital notified all staff members’ families when we were called away suddenly the day you were expected back. I told them specifically to Owl you, as I have no family. Don’t tell me they didn’t?” Potter looked anguished, now and he hung his head when Draco replied in the negative.

“I didn’t receive anything from the hospital. You were there the whole time?”

Potter nodded, earnestly. “I wanted to contact you myself but International Owl is virtually non-existent in India. And we were in an extremely isolated area helping to shift rubble and move earth slides.”

Draco felt terrible now; it really had all been a mistake. Harry hadn’t been playing with him, setting him up, after all. It all sounded ridiculous in Draco’s head now, Harry didn’t have it in him to be that cruel. He’d been working for the last month saving the lives of thousands of people he didn’t even know - Muggles most of them.

Could he let go of the hurt of the past four weeks, now? He’d barely been able to admit that it had hurt him deeply. But he didn’t do relationships and he didn’t believe in love and yet, before his trip, he’d thought that maybe he might chance a relationship; had found himself wanting to slip into one. With Harry. If he let go now, would there always be these misunderstandings, would he always be hurt, or expecting to be hurt? Would he be safer not even attempting some sort of relationship?

And yet there’d been times when he was with Aubrey and Ruth and seen them looking at each other, that he’d recognised the look, because he’d caught Harry looking at him like that occasionally and, maybe stupidly, he’d let himself be drawn in. Could he forget about Harry if he ended this – whatever this was – now?

“You didn’t forget about me then?” Draco asked in a whisper. He didn’t want to ask the question but he had to know and he didn’t want to sound like a sappy fool; his voice was just not cooperating.

Harry walked closer and took his hand. “No. You’ve made an impression on me, Mr. Malfoy. You can be rather unforgettable when you want to be.” Harry was smiling, like he was teasing Draco. Oh, how he had misjudged Harry.

Shakily, he raised his free hand to Harry’s face, and fleetingly stroked his cheek. “You’re rather hard to forget, yourself, Mr. Potter.”

“I’m sorry the hospital fucked things up about notifying you. I wouldn’t…”

Draco stopped Harry by moving his fingers to cover his mouth. “Shh…it’s not your fault.”

“Draco?”

“Hmmm?” Draco was busy watching Harry’s face, seeing himself reflected in Harry’s green eyes, studying the way his fingers moved across Harry’s mouth and thrilling at the little puffs of expended air that blew across them when Harry spoke his name.

“If I kiss you, will you push me away again?”

It was like Harry’s lips were kissing Draco’s fingers. Draco blinked and then smiled.

“If you don’t kiss me again I might throw you out.”

Almost before the words were past his lips, he was in Harry’s arms again and being kissed to within an inch of his life. His hands moved into dark messy hair and his body melted into Harry’s as he was being held so close. Draco thought he might always remember this kiss as their first. It was the first time that Draco had actively kissed Harry back and this time it really did feel perfect. Harry’s tongue was dancing with his own, tasting and sliding against each other, their lips met and moved and Draco was surprised to hear the sound of a soft moan escape his lips.

Harry smiled at that and held him tighter; pressing closer and letting his hands slide down to cup Draco’s arse and, with a gasp, the kiss suddenly turned from the perfect snog into a heated prelude for something more. Their bodies pressed tightly together and Draco could feel something hard digging into his thigh and then it was his turn to smile into the kiss as he rocked his own hips into Harry’s, making sure that Harry was completely aware of just how aroused Draco was becoming, too.

When they finally broke for air, both were breathing heavily. “I really missed you,” Harry said, peppering Draco’s face with small wet kisses. Had it been anyone else, Draco would have reprimanded them for the sloppy mess they were making of his face but it was Harry and it made him feel cherished, instead.

Draco nodded but Harry’s words had reminded him that he still had guests. “I have guests, Harry, I have to…”

“Can’t you get rid of them?” Harry said nuzzling his cheek, making Draco’s insides melt.

“I can’t and no, I don’t want to, either. It’s the Trueloves. Stay and meet them?” Draco breathed, almost helpless with desire.

Reluctantly, they parted - taking deep breaths to compose themselves.

“You look like you’ve been thoroughly snogged,” Harry chuckled.

“As do you,” Draco quipped back.

Harry Potter with red kiss-swollen lips and face lightly flushed with arousal was a beautiful sight, Draco admitted to himself. Maybe he could do relationships after all.

They headed out into the rose garden to look for Aubrey and Ruth, and found the couple sitting on the terrace looking out over the formal gardens.

“Ruth, Aubrey, this is Harry Potter,” Draco smiled at them, pulling Harry forward. “Harry, this is Ruth and Aubrey Truelove,” he said.

Harry bowed over Ruth’s hand. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“Likewise, Harry,” Ruth responded, glancing over at Draco, giving him a smile and a slight nod in approval.

Aubrey stood and took Harry’s outstretched hand, a pleased smile on his face. “An honour to meet you, Harry,” he said.

“Nice to meet you, too, sir. I’ve used your potions many times. You do good work,” Harry replied, respectfully, returning his handshake.

Sitting back down again, Aubrey acknowledged Harry’s compliment and Draco was reminded that Harry had the same sleeping problem that he had. “Harry, Aubrey has been experimenting with a new sleeping potion that’s much better than the one we’ve been purchasing.”

“Really?” Harry turned to Aubrey. “You’ll have to tell me all about it.”

The two began a discussion about the new potion, its side effects, or lack of them, what the ingredients were and the benefits of an all natural potion. Draco was interested but it was becoming too technical for him to follow. However, the two of them looked so intrigued by their conversation that he didn’t have the heart to change the subject.

Ruth leaned into his side and spoke quietly. “I see the two of you have made up, then.”

Draco nodded. “All a misunderstanding,” he replied, as Harry’s hand reached for his and held it, without breaking his attention to what Aubrey was telling him. Draco gave it a quick squeeze and let it go. Public displays of affection were not something that he was ready for. But he gave Harry a reassuring smile when he looked at him questioningly.

“He’s a good man,” Ruth continued. “We’ve had to send a lot of potions to India in the last month, since the earthquake, and we’ve been getting regular reports from the Authorities over there, so we can make sure we send the right things, and there is a lot of quiet talk about how tireless he has been in getting people to safety and giving help where it was needed. He even sent himself out into the remotest areas in order that the media didn’t focus on him instead of the rescue efforts. I don’t think they even knew he was there.”

“I can imagine that’s just how he’d be,” Draco agreed, looking at him thoughtfully. “He always did have a hero complex.” Though that wasn’t entirely true now he knew Harry better. Harry did have a thing about saving people, but Draco had always thought it was because he was after the fame. Now he knew Harry better, that opinion had altered somewhat.

“Don’t let him get away,” she added, so quietly that Draco wasn’t sure he’d heard. He looked at her.

“How do you mean?”

Ruth stood and motioned Draco to follow her. The two of them walked further along the path in the rose garden.

“You’ll have to forgive me for speaking so bluntly, but in the few days you stayed with us, we feel that we got to know you fairly well and I can see that you are holding back from your young man.”

“How do you mean?” Draco asked, aware that he was repeating himself.

“Harry is like my Aubrey. Neither of them can hide what they are feeling, and his feelings for you are written all over his face. You keep your feelings tightly held to yourself, as I do. We are alike, you and I, I think,” Ruth said, studying Draco’s face.

He could only agree. “It’s very clear to see what Aubrey feels for you, I agree. And you think Harry is like that?”

“Oh, come on, you know he’s interested. Even I can see that in your body language.”

“That may be but that doesn’t mean that I have to bare my soul to him in return. I…I don’t…” Draco stopped. He didn’t do relationships, he didn’t do intimacy, he didn’t do love…it was all too close, too damned close and it made him defensive and vulnerable and afraid and…it was all too frighteningly real.

Ruth smiled. “Let me see if I’ve got this right. You don’t trust anyone. I was the same. I couldn’t see anyone wanting me for anything other than a brief fling; I was not wife material, as I could not have children so I was never going to be an asset to any man. Don’t look at me like that,” she smiled, nudging him playfully when he gave her a look that said he doubted that very much. “Back when I was a girl that’s how men looked at women. So, because you don’t trust anyone, you don’t believe in love – not for yourself anyway – because love involves complete trust.”

“You’re almost right,” Draco allowed. “I told you a bit about my family already but…” Draco paused. Confiding in people was difficult, and his father had always taught him to be completely self-sufficient. A Malfoy never allows anyone to see a weakness, never. Malfoys never ‘confided’ in anyone; they never needed anyone and they never asked for advice. It was the one thing that had enabled him to survive when he lost everything. Finding a way to live through the aftermath of the war and rebuild his life was only possible because of those teachings of his father’s. It was the one good thing he ever did for Draco.

But now he’d come to the conclusion that maybe Blaise was right, maybe he did lock himself away from the world more than was good for him. Maybe it was time to let some people in. And Ruth had offered her private feelings and told him of her vulnerability. Maybe it was alright to speak with her.

He started again. “That lack of trust was the only reason I survived losing them along with everyone and everything else. It was how I was brought up; Malfoys were above all that ‘needing’ people or being exposed by their attachments to people. I don’t know how to like him and not leave myself open to having to go through the pain of losing him.” Draco gave a silent snort of wry laughter; Blaise had said something about Draco not knowing how to like Harry.

“Do you know what sort of man he is?”

Draco nodded. His opinion of Harry had changed dramatically since school, but that was hardly surprising. Even though Draco had mocked him mercilessly for his attitude ever since he had known him, he always secretly admired the strength of character Harry showed.

“Do you think that he would deliberately hurt you?”

No, despite the last four weeks where Draco had thought just that, he’d really been using it as an excuse to hide his own hurt reaction at not hearing from Harry. “No, I don’t think he would.”

“Then you have a choice,” Ruth said, solemnly. “And it’s simple. Do you want to go back to the way your life was before he was in it? If you don’t, you know you have to make some changes. He seems determined, if his entrance was any indication as to his character but even the best man won’t wait forever.”

“I know. I’ve wondered why he persists with me,” Draco said, wondering if he was strong enough to let Harry in.

“Draco, take a look at yourself,” Ruth admonished him, though she was smiling. “You are a very handsome young man, as well as intelligent and personable – well worth the hard work.”

Draco laughed. “High maintenance, in other words?”

Ruth’s answering laugh joined his. “But of course.”

“Thank you,” Draco turned serious again, and hugged her. “I really can’t tell you just how much having you and Aubrey in my life means to me.” The Trueloves had been easy to like, easy to talk to and had treated him like he was important to them.

“We liked you from the first moment we saw you, Draco. For some reason it seemed as if you were already a part of our family. Perhaps your mother’s box has other mysterious ways of bringing people together,” Ruth hugged him back and her words made Draco think.

Ever since he had discovered the ‘Lega Mio Amore’ box and begun to research it, his life had changed, bringing with it two new friends and a possible – no, a definite – lover. It was just a coincidence, Draco was sure but, nevertheless, his outlook had certainly changed in the last couple of months. Instead of just accepting that one day would be much the same as the next and being quite happy about accepting it, Draco had moved to being excited about what the next day would bring. He’d begun to look forward to catching up with Aubrey and Ruth…and Harry.

Harry. Draco sighed. He didn’t know if things with Harry would be short term or long term but Ruth was right, Harry was not going to wait forever. And if he got hurt along the way; he now had Ruth and Aubrey, who he was sure would be there for him, to help him through.

Draco’s heart tightened in his chest. Was he really going to throw himself into a relationship with Harry? Oh God, he was. He had to, or else…and the trite phrase ‘better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all’ flashed into his head.

“God,” Draco breathed, hugging Ruth, “wish me luck?”

“Of course, dear, though I hardly think you’ll need it,” Ruth said, pulling back and linking her arm through his. “Now, I think Aubrey and I need a rest before dinner. That will give the two of you some time to talk.”

“No, you’ve only just arrived. I would be a terrible host if I just disappeared on my guests,” Draco protested, as they strolled back to Aubrey and Harry.

“Nonsense, Draco. We’ll have plenty of time with you but I think young love should never wait.” She had a cheeky smile on her face and Draco laughed.

“It’s not love, Ruth, but perhaps it’s something more than a simple attraction,” Draco said.

As they rounded the bend, he saw Harry up ahead, sitting deep in discussion with Aubrey and he watched as the late afternoon sunshine threw golden light over his profile. How could anyone be so unaffectedly beautiful? Harry did it unconsciously. Draco carefully cultivated his looks; meticulously prepared himself and always tried to make the most of what he had been born with. Harry did it artlessly, guilelessly, without even trying.

Then Harry turned and smiled at him and it took Draco’s breath away. Beside him, Ruth squeezed his arm. “You may not think so but he does,” she whispered. Both men stood as Ruth approached, and she let go of Draco’s arm and moved to Aubrey’s side, where she whispered something in his ear. He gave a quick glance at Harry and with a knowing look at Draco, stood.

“Ruth tells me, she needs a rest before dinner, Harry, so if the two of you will excuse us, we’ll retire to our room. We’ll see you both at dinner, perhaps,” he chuckled.

“It’s been lovely to meet you, Harry,” Ruth smiled and extended her hand.

“The pleasure has been all mine,” Harry smiled and as he bent over her hand. “I’ll look forward to dinner.”

Draco called Pippy to show the Trueloves to their room and they left, Ruth giving Draco a final quick hug and whispering, “Have fun and, if you forget the time, I’m sure Pippy will look after us.”



***


Once they had gone, Draco wasn’t quite sure about what to say. Harry was though.

“Did they leave to give us time to talk?”

Draco nodded.

“They’re really nice people. You must be glad that the box is going back to them, and not some collector who is only after it for its monetary value.”

In truth, when Draco had first started researching it, he hadn’t cared where the box went but now it seemed fitting that the Trueloves would have it. “As soon as I know the whole history of the box, I’m going to give it to them, not sell it to them. They’ve given me something worth far more than money.” Draco was shocked to realise that it was true. In the few days he’d spent with them and the numerous owls that had traveled back and forth, they’d given him a sense of family, a sense of belonging, just the feeling that he wasn’t alone anymore.

And they’d given him the courage to be open to Harry and invite him into his life.

Harry moved to stand alongside him. He took Draco’s hand. “That’s a lovely thing to do. I can see that there’s some sort of connection between you all and that is amazing to see. There’s a big softie inside the cold hard Draco Malfoy after all,” Harry teased.

Draco’s eyes narrowed. “If I am so cold why are you still here? Why have you persisted with me?”

Harry sat on one of the garden benches and pulled at Draco’s hand until he sat beside him. “Do you want the truth?” he asked.

“No, Potter,” Draco rolled his eyes. “I want you to lie to me. Of course I want the truth.”

Harry ran his thumb along the back of Draco’s hand, as he looked off towards the gardens and spoke. “That day I saw you in the Apothecary, I will admit, I really just wanted to rile you up. I followed you inside,” he gave Draco a quick apologetic glance and then looked away. “But then you blushed when our hands brushed and, I don’t know, it made you human. I think it was then I realised that I didn’t know you at all – that under all the bluster and the abuse there was probably a bloke just like me. So, I pestered you until you said you’d have dinner with me. I thought that after one dinner I’d be able to tell if I wanted to get to know you more.”

“I’m amazed you didn’t run a mile, most people usually do,” Draco answered.

“Oh, I thought of it,” Harry laughed. “I almost didn’t follow you home after you disappeared out of the car.”

“So, why did you?”

Amazingly, Harry blushed and Draco was fascinated by the pink tint to his cheek that traveled down his neck. It made Draco want to lick it.

“Because having you in my lap and your hand where it was…by the time you sat up, I was as hard as a rock.”

Draco untangled his hand from Harry’s and ran his fingers through the curls of dark hair that was falling over his ear.

“That’s very flattering, so why did you not push it? All the times you’ve been here and you never pushed things further than a kiss goodbye.” Draco was trying to keep things light. It was a delicate discussion and he was not ready for serious life-altering admissions, just yet.

“Are you kidding?” Harry replied, leaning into Draco’s fingers and closing his eyes. “I wanted to, but every time I got close or accidentally touched you, you looked like a deer caught in headlights and I didn’t want to scare you off.”

“I did not, I was just surprised, that’s all!” Draco huffed, knowing he had indeed panicked and was scared but admitting that to Harry wasn’t something that came easily. But Harry turned to him, cheek filling Draco’s palm completely, and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh, alright, I was scared. I don’t…people don’t often touch me. I wasn’t used to it,” Draco admitted. “And I wasn’t sure of your motives, either. I didn’t trust you.”

Harry nodded. “I know. I spoke to Blaise for a little while before you arrived that day and…”

“Wait, you spoke to Blaise about me?” Draco asked quietly, withdrawing his hand from Harry’s cheek. All his doubts were coming back. Had they spoken about how lonely he was, were they full of pity for him in his solitary existence? He pursed his lips and stood, folding his arms across his chest, back turned to Harry.

“Draco, no, please…?” Harry stood and Draco could feel him behind. “I only told him that I was interested and wanted to ask you out. All he said was that if I were truly interested, then I shouldn’t rush you because we had a lot of bad history between us.” Harry’s hand was on his shoulder now. “And I could see for myself that you didn’t trust me.”

How many times was he going to misjudge Harry? How many times would he doubt his intentions before Harry finally gave Draco up as too much work? He’d have to learn to trust Harry or else he’d lose him.

Suddenly, Draco didn’t want to talk any more and he turned in Harry’s arms and claimed his mouth hard in a bruising kiss. “I’m not scared anymore,” he whispered when he pulled away. It was not entirely truthful; he was actually petrified, but he saw the smile of relief and need on Harry’s face and it gave him courage.

He grabbed Harry’s hand and led him inside through the drawing room, intent on taking Harry up to his bedroom. “So, what are your motives, Mr. Potter,” he asked in an attempt at casualness, giving Harry a smirk as if he knew the answer.

Harry surprised him by stopping and standing still, thinking for a moment, causing Draco to frown - he wasn’t having second thoughts was he?

“I probably can’t explain them so you will believe me, but I can show you,” Harry said, and before it had really registered with Draco what he meant, he’d walked over to the table where the ‘Lega Mio Amore’ was, opened it and pulled out a perfect heart shaped ruby. “And I can tell you that from the very first time I kissed you, I knew you and I were something special and now I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I won’t imagine a life that doesn’t have you in it.”

Draco was paralysed with shock; his mouth had dropped open and he stared at the ruby in Harry’s hand. No! It couldn’t be, could it? He didn’t believe in that box - but Harry must - and the ruby was there, and it was only supposed to work if it were real and true love and it’s only been two months and - oh my god - what was he to do now?

His eyes moved up to Harry’s face, frightened, almost panicked and hopeful all at the same time. As he expelled the breath he’d been holding, a small whimper escaped. Draco vaguely noticed that Harry dropped the stone on the table and then he was in front of him, holding him, kissing him as deeply and possessively as Draco could ever have wished for. He meant it, he really meant it.

Draco’s blood was pounding in his ears, and his hands went to Harry’s tie. It had to go, as did his shirt and trousers and whatever underwear Harry wore. Draco needed to feel Harry’s skin, wanted to know what it felt like to slide against that warmth, to be taken and claimed by his Harry. His Harry. Draco whimpered again and Harry kissed fire down his throat as he removed Draco’s shirt. Draco was impatient to get their clothes off and he was almost sobbing by the time they were naked, but…oh… how glorious it was to feel that smooth skin against his. How perfectly incredible it was to feel how hard Harry was.

Harry gripped Draco’s cheeks with his hands and kissed him. “Draco, Draco, patience. I’m not going anywhere, not ever,” Harry breathed into his mouth. Draco swallowed and raised his hands to cover Harry’s, nodding and kissing him back.

“I know. It’s just been a while and I want you. Rather badly,” Draco admitted, pushing Harry back toward the couch, turning at the last minute and dropping down, pulling Harry on top of him.

“You want to do this here?” Harry asked, arranging himself so he was between Draco’s legs and that magnificent erection was pressed against him and, in answer, Draco rolled his hips, allowing his own hardness to slide along Harry’s. A fierce glow of pride rushed through him as Harry moaned.

“I don’t think I could make it to the bedroom, Harry. Please…?” Draco wound his arms around Harry’s neck and pulled him down for a deep kiss, lips bruising, teeth crashing and tongues thrusting. It was wet and messy and Draco was thrilled that Harry was becoming as just as desperate as himself.

Harry’s hand slid between them and wrapped around Draco’s cock and he moaned and rocked his hips into it, a shiver running through him as he felt Harry’s hot breath on his neck. Teeth nipped at his throat, and whimpering softly, Draco’s fingers dug into Harry’s shoulders.

“We need lube,” Harry panted.

Draco groaned, still fighting the rush of pleasure from the hand on his cock. “Don’t you know a spell or something?”

Tiny kisses showered his face. “This is not something I do everyday. I’ve not needed one before.”

Draco stilled. “You’re not…you haven’t…?”

“What? Oh, no,” Harry smiled, nipping his jaw and thrusting against him. “I’ve done this a lot, just not for a while and not so…spontaneously. I never needed one.”

In annoyance, Draco’s head flopped back onto the couch. “There’s something to be said for women, you know – self lubricating and all that.”

“Yeah, but women don’t have this lovely, hard, hot cock that you do,” Harry said, sitting back on his heels, running his hands down the inside of Draco’s thighs and up to hold his hips steady while he leant down and licked from the base of Draco’s cock to the tip.

“Oh…” Draco moaned, squirming under Harry’s hands, trying to lift himself up and get more of that tongue. He didn’t want to stop to get lube, but he wanted, oh how he wanted Harry inside him. “Wait…” he said, putting his hand on Harry’s head holding it still. “Pippy!” Draco called, and the small elf appeared, eyes widening fractionally at the sight of the two of them naked on the couch.

“Bring me the lubricant that’s in the drawer by my bed.” He gasped as Harry began to mouth the head of his cock. “And hurry up.”

“Yes, Master Draco,” the little elf said, and gave what Draco was sure was a little squeal of delight before she disappeared, returning within moments with said tube.

Draco flipped open the lid and squeezed some lube onto his hand, then passed the tube to Harry. He wrapped his hand around his erection, closing his eyes and moaning at the contact and the slight squelch of the lube as he stroked himself.

Soon there was a cold finger at his entrance and he lifted his legs, spreading himself wider. He heard Harry exhale deeply and he opened his eyes to see Harry watching him, eyes dark with need, and to feel his finger slipping inside him.

“My God, you’re beautiful like this, Draco,” Harry said as his finger moved around inside.

Draco was feeling no discomfort at one finger. “More,” he panted as the praise clenched his heart. There was little pain at two fingers and soon, Harry was rapidly moving them in and out, making sure Draco was well relaxed and stretched. All Draco could do was to writhe under the attention, muttering encouragement.

When Draco had taken all he could stand and he was panting and gasping and had to stop stroking himself so he didn’t come, he reached down and removed Harry’s hand. “Inside me, now! Please?”

Harry chuckled, but it was a deep, throaty, needy sound. “So impatient aren’t you? Just as well I can’t wait any longer, either.”

He slathered his cock in more lube and Draco watched his face as he slowly pushed inside, past the tight ring of muscle that made Draco gasp and wince. He wanted to see Harry’s face the very first moment that he entered him; wanted to watch Harry taking him. As he felt his muscles relax and Harry slip further inside, he thought he could come just from the look of complete awe on Harry’s face. Not to mention the feeling of being filled; like all his lonely places, and all his aching doubts could shrivel up and die under the onslaught of Harry’s possession.

Draco’s frantic need slipped away then and he was left with a lump forming in his throat as he watched this beautiful man above him, claim him with every thrust. His legs moved up to wrap around Harry’s waist and his dug his heels in, drawing him in further. When Harry shifted a little his next thrust hit Draco’s prostate and he moaned and arched up, begging for him to do it again.

The spiral of his need grew as he clung to Harry, hands digging into Harry’s shoulders, back arching, toes curling. Harry drove harder and faster and in a moment of complete clarity before he fell shuddering into an orgasm that wrenched all the breath from his body, Draco quite clearly heard Harry growl “Mine!” as he came.

When Draco could breathe again, he lay under Harry’s weight, holding on tightly, tiny tremors still rippling through him. And he wasn’t shocked at all to find one lone stray tear had trickled down the side of his face.

“I mean it,” came Harry’s soft but determined voice from the region of Draco’s collarbone. He shifted and Harry pulled gently out of him to flop beside him on the couch.

“I know,” Draco replied quietly and tucking himself into Harry’s side, resting his head on Harry’s chest. “Good.”

He thought perhaps he should be reflective and actually think about what all this meant, or the fact that there were going to be some awful stains on the couch, but he was too satiated and happy and content just lying here in Harry’s arms to even bother about anything. He just wanted to savour the euphoria.

Turning his head to look at Harry to say thank you or something equally profound, he saw Harry was dozing. He smiled at that and spent a few moments looking at the face of the man that loved him; really truly loved him. He looked so peaceful and there was a curve to his lip that made Draco want to smooth over. He could get used to waking up to that face every morning.

His stomach lurched at that thought; some of the old fears, the uncertainty surfacing again. He sighed and rested his head back on Harry’s chest. He had no idea how long this would last – according to the box it should be forever, but Draco knew better than to trust in something like that. However long it did last for, though, Draco was going to take it and live it – fears, doubts, uncertainty and all.

His eyes caught the ruby heart on the table and the late afternoon light glinted off it, making it look alive. “Lega Mio Amore,” Draco whispered, and looked back at Harry’s face. “Tie my heart gently, Harry.”


FIN.
Tags: [fic], [long/chaptered fic], rated: nc-17
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