Title: It is the Moonlight, It is the Rain
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, background Harry/Ginny and Draco/Astoria
Summary: It is always dark and raining when he arrives; it is always cold and uncomfortable when he goes.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): general dark atmosphere, infidelity
Epilogue compliant? Of course!
Word Count: ~2,000
Author's Notes: Thanks to N for the beta and to B for the extra and much-appreciated assistance. mijeli, I used two of your exact-worded prompts for this story, so I hope you enjoy. This definitely became more of a case study on Harry's mental neuroses after the war than anything about Draco internally, but you said to go with dark and lyrical, so I ran with it. *grin*
It’s always dark and raining when he arrives. Weatherbeaten, a sopping mess of tangled hair and traveling ghosts, he stands at the door without knocking. It is possible that he doesn’t even remember how he got here. He is unresolved, like books half-completed, salvaged as much as one can salvage dust rushing through the cracks of broken things.
He says that he is still healing, that some part of the war never left him, that he carries blood and names with him like he carries the breath in his lungs. He explains the tremors away with laughter, the nightmares with stories, the lust with obligations.
He says I cannot do this and then does it anyway.
It’s always dark and raining when he arrives, and tonight is no different. Draco doesn’t expect it to be.
Harry is a man of many scars and few words. Draco maps the scars, remembers them when he is alone, fixates on them when they are together. That, Harry can forgive; it's the questions he loses patience with. Excuses fly.
I have a family, a wife, three kids...
I don’t have time for this, Malfoy...
We don’t even like each other.
Draco knows that only one of these things is true, but he never argues. He says, all right and I’m not your keeper in low-bitten tones, waves Harry off with practised impatience but marvels at all the unresolved messes left cluttered between them. There is so much of it that Draco sometimes think they never touch anymore—they are just wilted things arched desperately towards one another but bent backwards to winds beyond their control.
And so it goes on.
And so Draco comes to despise the dampened knocks at his door at three in the morning, the bit bruises at the arch of his bony shoulders, the loneliness that claws through his insides, the whispers behind his back, the chatter in his head that has only crescendoed through the years instead of muted.
Sometimes, when he is not thinking clearly, he misses Harry. Most of the time, he just aches for something more than what his life has become.
The first time, there was a laugh in Harry’s kiss. It said, I shouldn’t be here and oh God, we can’t while their tongues lapped and they both lost the ability to protest. In those early moments, it was fun and mischievous, sneaking kisses at Ministry functions to speed from reality like a barreling train catching steam. They were propelled by curiosity and desire, itching to scratch and bite and fuck the life out of one another because Merlin knew neither of them had ever felt anything like it, and there was never enough time in one day to play spy and sneak around and ache for someone to catch them and be glad nobody ever did.
Those first few times, it was fun and they caught each other grinning between the sheets. That didn’t last.
At first, it was excusable, a tryst, a fling, something simple and well-defined that Draco could keep in a box if he wanted to see the boundaries and limits. There was an unspoken this won't last in every touch. That, Draco could live with. It was easy. There were rules. Now he catches Harry staring from across the room at every party and function and he knows and knows and knows and it is unforgivable, the things Harry hides from the world, the ghosts and the monsters and the secrets left unsaid through the years. All the little bits and pieces of broken remnants left scattered through Harry's inability to put an end to it.
Draco thinks back to the very first time, the first kiss. Heated mouths, parted lips, clumsy tongues, angry fingers welting bruises on upper arms and chins and throats just to grip as much as possible, to break and bend and fuck and unite and connect and breathe and feel.
Then came marriage. Children. Responsibility. The sting of growing old, the realisation of mortality. Then came distance and frowns and the dread of having Harry at his door at all hours with that look on his face and his trousers too tight and all the ghosts nipping at his heels like restless hounds in the night.
Now, Draco knows. Harry is made of all the dark things in life, the things Draco wishes to forget and the things he has broken. Harry is shadow in light, the cramped spaces in wide and empty rooms, a reminder that even in heroism there is decay and second guessing and fear. Harry is the damaged and the beyond repair.
Harry needs mending, and Draco is incapable.
He knows this even as Harry pins him to the wall and growls and groans and grunts and splits his lip biting it too hard, biting it just how Draco asks him to.
The tang of blood has begun to turn them both on, the scene of it in the air visceral, a reminder that they have beating hearts and oxygen-filled lungs and moving parts stuffed with souls. Harry needs to remember that Draco is alive, that they are both alive, because that is the point of all this, the point of sneaking out of his comfortable house at all hours, leaving his sleeping children unaware, drugging his wife with a light dose of sleeping draughts, of hiding in the shadows just to see a man he doesn't even like, he says. The point is not to be in secret—the point is feeling Draco's pulsing heart and catching the blood from his lip and fucking him and feeling the hot pulse of adrenaline that beats I'm alive, I'm alive, I'm alive in his chest like a scalding litany of honest feeling.
It is always dark and raining when he arrives; it is always cold and uncomfortable when he goes.
If he could, he'd set fire to the roof and watch the ghosts within burn. It is what Harry thinks about sometimes, when the boys are playing in the garden, when Ginny is teaching Lily how to fly. The ghosts are what keep him up at night. They are beneath his pillow when he rests, at his heels when he walks, in his chest when he breathes, in the chill of fresh air when he steps outside. From the moment he died to this day, Harry has always been haunted; it is a symptom but not the disease.
The disease is something more complicated, something dark and secret that he holds close to his heart as he smiles and pretends nothing is wrong. Because he smiles, he is excused. Ginny does not ask; Hermione cannot see; Ron does not look. Clueless, life goes on. Harry tries to be a part of it, but the ghosts are there, tugging his heart in opposing directions, strangling his will and his affections.
He thinks of the fire, the ghosts gone, the haunted memories naught but ash. Then Albus asks him to come and play, and he tosses the Quaffle around for hours without ever being present. His mind is away, up the air, lost to the clouds and already miles beyond their small cottage house, to a place he sneaks off some nights, when it is cold and raining.
Harry knows Draco better than he knows himself, knows when Draco says, I'm not your keeper, he means fuck me against the wall until I can't breathe, that when Draco dismisses his stupid, pleading denials, Draco really understands why it's a mess that's uncleanable. There is understanding when their mouths touch, affection in the lingering hesitation between their bodies before the first thrust, and undeniable passion when the sheets are stained and filthy afterwards.
Draco does not come to him; he waits, forces Harry's decision for him when it's three in the morning and all Harry can think is how bad he needs it, like a drug off the street to pulse straight through his veins. His body sings want, need, mine in feral, unhearable beats. Harry knows Draco will be waiting, a cigarette between his pale fingers, his son asleep down the hall, so blissfully unaware and innocent to his father's sins.
Harry wonders what would happen if anybody found out. He wonders what Ginny would think, what his kids would say. The boys are old enough now that they would comprehend what their father is doing all those nights when he can't sleep, when he sneaks out with muted spells and choked ghosts. James and Albus would hate him, more even than he hates himself because he can't stop.
If the guilt doesn't eat him alive, his childrens' flying accusations and spite will do.
Sometimes, when Harry is laying beside Ginny, he whispers admissions to her in her sleep. She never remembers, kisses him just the same the next morning, and it never helps but he does it again and again and again until the time Ginny wakes and asks if he is all right. She says, what's the matter, Harry? like she's seen a ghost, and maybe she has, because living this way has made him a pale companion for her. It is not fair to Ginny, to the kids, to Draco, to Astoria—there are casualties in this war they wage, but Harry can't bring himself to end it.
Every time, it is the sight of Draco that ails him. Draco, with his slender body that has slimmed with age, the pointed features Harry has memorised, with the cigarette dangling from his lips and his smooth drawl dampened by the patter of rain and muted with his sneer when he says, come in with a chuckle like he knows and knows and knows everything inside Harry that nobody else can see.
It is that moment, when the locks click in place, that Harry moves. Forward, because he can't go the other way, clashing Draco into the wall so hard that some items clutter off the shelves. It is then that Draco hisses shhh and it is only their breathing that fills the space between them. It is then when they both think they hear Astoria moving or Scorpius rousing. It is then that they know they are caught and only moments later when they know they are safe because the house is silent.
It is the adrenaline, the rush, the heat, the passion that brings Harry back, but it is Draco that yields for him time and again. Draco, who forces this side from Harry's chest like a well-kept secret. Draco, who has made him this way, who sees the things that no one else can, who hunts Harry's ghosts down with weathered patience and sets them free beneath the dark evening's bliss.
Harry does not think he has any right behaving like this. He has no right to fuck Draco, to bite his skin and leave bruises, to want him beyond sex, beyond an affair. Harry has no right to feel this way, no right to be gay, not after what he's done and who he's become.
When it's over, Draco is limp and soft beneath him. Their bodies are sticky with sweat and other things. Maybe Harry has left bites on his skin, bruises at his hips; maybe it is just a trick of the moonlight spilling over Draco's prone form. Whatever it is, Harry kisses Draco and feels the ache he does not deserve somewhere between knowing what is wrong and what feels right.
It is moonlight or it is the rain; Harry only knows what it feels like, not how to name it.