Title: Constant Change
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Hermione/Cormac McLaggen (mentioned) Hermione/Ron (one-sided)
Summary: A recluse; scared of everyone and everything because he did not want his life to change. But, Harry realized, change was a part of life and the only constant that anyone could ever count on.
Rating: PG-10. Not quite PG-13 but not quite PG
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Word Count: 3,330 words
Author's Notes: Because I was having trouble getting started, I decided I might as well have a bit of fun along the way… So I went though a bunch of AWDT prompts and picked my favorites. I do believe that almost every one since the beginning of the year (2007) is in here along with a few others. The AWDT prompts along with the Cliché’s given to me by yodels were the perfect combination to make this. I do hope you enjoy it.
It was no use pretending. He was scared. Harry could not believe Hermione had done this, all because he hadn’t had a decent boyfriend or girlfriend in a few months, or, okay maybe a few years but that didn’t mean anything! He should have known that as soon as the determined glint appeared in her eyes that he was going to regret it. And now, as he stood staring down at his personal advert in the newspaper he was beginning to regret telling her all over again. Smashing the orange into the juicer, he angrily twisted it growling under his breath.
“What are you doing with those oranges?” Hermione sounded scandalised but Harry refused to acknowledge her presence. He instead continued his brutal assault on the unsuspecting oranges pouting the whole while.
“Oh Harry.” Hermione sat down in a chair at the small kitchen table, grabbing one of the oranges from Harry’s assault. “I was only trying to help!”
“I’m not speaking with you.”
“I understand I’ve buggered up, but Harry!” He ignored her. “Harry, you go to work then come back to your quarters and refuse to leave it unless it is to see me or Ron or any of the other Weasleys. We’re all worried about you.” She sighed. “You don’t even come up to High Street anymore to meet me while I shop.”
He turned and faced her, eyes trained on her face. “I’m not like everybody else, Hermione. I just want peace.”
“Even if that peace means being alone for the rest of your life?”
“Yes.” He bit the word out as it was a knife and glowered at her. She blushed but looked worried and saddened at the same time. “Most people only want me for my name and fame. I can make my own happiness.”
“Harry,” she began again, “sometimes the happiest you’ll ever be is when falling in love.” With a soft sigh she looked away, hands fiddling with the orange and Harry felt himself deflating slightly. Despite giving Ron numerous opportunities and pretty much telling him flat out how she felt, he had never returned Hermione’s feelings and she had yet to get over the fact that the man she loved was never going to love her back. Gradually they all had gone their own ways, Harry was a teacher at Hogwarts, Ron worked for his brothers and was a general ‘ladies man’ and Hermione was busy with her job as a Magical/Muggle relations specialist for the Ministry.
“Why can’t we just be miserable together?” He asked, a whiney tone overcoming everything else in his voice.
She cracked a teary smile and stood, wrapping her arms around him in a hug. “Because you deserve happiness more than anyone I know. I thought by inserting that advert in the newspaper you might be asked out a couple of dates by nice, clean boys or girls. But, I see now that that is impossible because of who you are.”
Nodding, he held her at arms length and stared deep into her eyes. “You deserve happiness too.” She loved how intuitive he had become and how he always placed her happiness before his own. It was only then that she allowed herself to cry and she collapsed against him, sobbing for everything she had ever wanted and everything she had never received. Harry simply held her and tried to take away some of her pain.
From the doorway, where he had remained unseen for the extent of the conversation, stood Draco Malfoy. He had come up to Harry’s quarters to inquire about three students whom he had caught planning a prank to play on the other teacher and he had wanted to know if he should punish them or allow Harry the privilege. As soon as he heard what they had been speaking about he had remained silent and eavesdropped instead. He knew he shouldn’tve but he was curious and he knew that his curiosity would only become bothersome if he hadn’t listened in.
He hadn’t realized that Potter had isolated himself so much from the public but now, so much of his recent attitude made sense. Not wanting to go with the rest of the teachers down to the Hog’s Head from a drink after the students had left for Spring Holiday. Refusing to leave the school when Quidditch scouts came to the games and turning down almost every invitation to dinner he received unless it was from Hermione, Ron, any of the other Weasleys or Lupin.
He sighed and retraced his steps silently, going back to the portrait and knocking loudly. It opened again on its own accord and he made his way up the steps to the apartment.
“Potter?” he called out loudly, waiting for a moment before he was answered.
“In the kitchen.”
When he poked his head around the frame for the second time, the two were sitting at the table, the paper in-between them, a tea kettle resting at Hermione’s elbow and three cups waiting to be filled.
“Draco,” Harry said in greeting and gestured to the empty chair and the ex-Slytherin sat.
“Would you like tea?” Hermione asked, smiling thinly. Her words seemed to be rehearsed and her body was stiff and Draco suddenly felt bad. She hadn’t been finished crying when he had interrupted their moment.
“Are you alright?” He asked suddenly, his question surprising even himself.
She looked at Harry, then back at him. “I will be.” Silence lingered until she rubbed her hands together. “You were here for Harry?”
“Oh, yes. I caught Finn Morrison, Brett Freeman and Aaron Smith planning on playing a prank on you.”
Harry leaned forward, elbows catching on the table, head resting on his hands. “What kind of prank?”
“A humiliating one.” He reached into the pocket of his robes and withdrew the plans, handing them over to Harry, who read through them. He blanched and dropped them onto the table, disgusted. Hermione picked them up and read though, her facial expression changing to utter shock.
“Have you punished them?” she asked.
“No, I thought I’d let Potter do it.”
They both glanced at Harry, who was leaning back in his chair, hands on his stomach. “I just don’t understand how kids can be so cruel. What did they plan to do? Expose my private life to the media? It’s already there. Out me to the other professors? I was incredibly open about my sexuality before I even got this job. What was the point?”
“I have no idea.”
“I’m glad you brought this to my attention. When will I be seeing the boys?”
“Tomorrow right before breakfast.”
Harry nodded and Draco stood. “I’ll let you get back to what you were doing.”
As Draco walked away he smiled to himself. He now knew what he had to do.
The next day, Harry sighed and dressed slowly, dreading the confrontation with the boys. He hated dealing with overzealous children and knew now, from first hand experience, how hard it must have been for his professors to deal with him.
The knock on the door had him jumping and he wandered to it, dressed only in trousers.
“Who is it?”
Opening the door, he leaned in the frame. “Can I help you?”
Draco felt his mouth dry. Harry was so comfortable around people he didn’t consider a threat, something Draco had worked very hard to obtain for himself.
“Draco?” He leaned forward, “Are you alright?”
“Yes. I’m fine.” Pink splotches appeared on his cheeks and he turned away. He fretted for a moment and it seemed that he was ready to bolt until, at the last second turned to face Harry again. “Do you want to go to dinner sometime?”
“Is this a staff thing again?” he asked, skeptical.
Draco shook his head, afraid to speak for that he say something idiotic.
Harry sighed and thought back to the deal he had made with Hermione. If he promised to take more chances and try to be happy, she would too. She would stop holding onto the hope that Ron would change his mind and become her husband and instead begin dating again.
Scuffing his foot against the carpet he nodded, “Alright.”
Exhaling, Draco smiled and left Harry wondering if he had just agreed to a date with Draco Malfoy and surprised over the fact that it didn’t bother him.
Draco slid into his high backed chair and shot a glance around his office before spelling the door closed and locked. He couldn’t believe he had just done that -- asked Harry out even if Harry didn’t view it as a date. It was one step closer to gaining what he had wanted practically his whole life.
Reaching into his topmost drawer he pulled out a piece of parchment and began to write a letter to his mother, detailing the latest occurrences in his life for her amusement. She has always thought the fact that as a Malfoy he could not get something he wanted was amusing and he knew that she would find out sooner than later that he had finally took a step forward.
After penning the letter to his mother, he planned out dinner and wrote a note to the other man detailing the date and time they should meet.
Yawning, Harry glanced up at his clock in his office where he had fallen asleep grading essays and cursed. He was late for his dinner with Draco and the other man probably believed that he wasn’t going to show up. Throwing a traveling cloak over his trousers and jumper, he hurried out of his office, running a hand though his hair and adjusting his glasses as he went. As he neared the stairs he looked down and saw Draco sitting on the steps, his posture dejected.
“Draco!” he called out and the other professor looked up at him as he rushed down the steps. “I am so sorry. I fell asleep grading papers.” He ran a hand through his hair again and adjusted his jumper under his cloak and Draco couldn’t help but smile at him.
“It’s alright. Is that what you’re wearing?”
“Yes, you get what everyone gets.” He commented, laughing and holding out his arms. Draco nodded and they slowly wandered down the path from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade.
“Where are we going?” Harry asked, hands in his pockets.
“It’s a surprise.”
He bit his lip, “I’m not really big on surprises.”
He scuffed the dirt, “I’ve never had a good one.
“Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything.”
They reached the gates and Draco grabbed Harry’s arm, and Apparated them off the school grounds. They appeared with a loud snap behind a London restaurant and Draco led Harry around to the front and into the restaurant, where they were quickly seated.
“When was the last time you had a relationship?” Draco asked once their food was resting in front of them. Harry blushed red and looked down at his food.
“Is there any other kind?”
“I’ve had a few relationships that I don’t consider a ‘relationship’.”
“Because most people only want to date me because I’m famous.”
“Will you listen to yourself? You don’t give yourself any hope.”
“Why should I have hope? Most people I’ve dated are very good at deceiving me and I end up with my heart broken. I’m tired of it. Do you think I’m stupid? I know what people want from me and it isn’t me.”
Draco grew silent. He knew what Harry meant and was embarrassed that he brought it up.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be rude. But, I’m just tired of it, you know?”
He nodded. “Who do you consider your real relationship with?”
“So tell me about it.”
“I don’t know. There isn’t much to tell. We didn’t have the best relationship in the world. I believed I was jealous when we were sixteen and my jealously took advantage of the situation. We broke up at the end of our sixth year and separated while I went on to fight Voldemont. We got back together but it never felt right to me. And then she kissed me and I hated it. I pushed her away and she slapped me. That was the end of our relationship. We don’t even really speak anymore and her mother is disappointed that I did not end up marrying her daughter but,” he shrugged, “I really don’t care. I’m happier now than I ever was before, even if it doesn’t seem like it. What about you?”
“I’ve been in a few, nothing too important.”
Harry nodded, “But what about back at Hogwarts, you had a horrible reputation.”
“I made out with one girl and she completely spread it around that I was some kind of ‘play boy’ I want to say. Plus, it was a dare.”
“I see. And I’m sure you didn’t help it at all.”
“Who me?” Draco said, smirking and Harry laughed.
It was a few hours later, when they were walking back from Hogsmeade in compatible silence, walking a bit closer than they had previously. “We should do this again sometime.” Harry said suddenly, shyly.
Entering the school, they nodded at each other.
“Well, goodnight.” He glanced at Draco above his glasses and turned to walk away, making his way up the stairs to his quarters. He paused at his door and leaned against it, unbelieving that a simple dinner with the other man had induced such feelings. He blushed again just thinking about it and went to bed, only to remain awake and unable to sleep. He stood from his bed and slipped on the shirt to his pajamas before stuffing his feet into slippers and leaving for a walk.
"I suppose you think you look hot in those penguin pajamas."
Harry spun and blushed under Draco’s gaze, an act he was getting quite good at. He picked at the flannel material of the long sleeves. “They were a Yule gift from Hermione. Really warm.” He said, and then blushed again before berating himself and wondering why he was like this around Draco so suddenly. It was then that he realized he had been like this around Draco for a while, only he had gotten better at hiding it and now, suddenly, it was as if he couldn’t hide anything from the blond.
“Do you wander the school often?” he asked, hoping to loose some of the colour in his cheeks by transferring the attention from himself to Draco.
“It feels like it’s night after night that I get up and wander but I know that isn’t true.”
Harry sighed, “I understand what you mean.”
They walked in silence for a while.
“Did you hear about the dance that the Headmistress decided to put on over the holidays?”
“Yes, I think it’s an awful idea.”
“Don’t like dances either?”
Harry shook his head, “No.”
“What do you like?”
“Quidditch. Being a teacher. Hermione. Ron. My other friends. This school.”
Draco pouted, “What about me?”
Smirking to himself, he shrugged, “I guess I like you.”
“You guess?! How can you not like me?”
“Do you want the short list or the long one?”
Stomping his foot against the stone floor, Draco turned away from Harry, “Fine.”
Laughing Harry stepped closer to Draco. “Of course I like you, Draco.”
“Well, the more you speak like that, the less I like you.”
Harry yawned loudly and scratched his arm. “I guess I’m tired enough now. Thank you for the company.”
“It was nothing.”
They separated from one another again and Draco watched Harry walk away, some of the penguins on his pajamas dancing around in circles. He smiled and shook his head before heading to bed for himself.
Gradually, over the next few weeks they had more dinners; more midnight walks and generally spent more time together getting to know each other. It was one evening, a few weeks later that Harry first noticed the way Draco looked at him while they were together but told himself to not think anything of it and to not get his hopes up.
But it wasn’t until he was speaking with Hermione again that it all came to him.
“I feel like I’m at the edge of reality.” Harry commented to Hermione as they wandered up High Street together. She smiled up at him but he wasn’t paying attention, “I mean… maybe it’s the newness of it all but... I don’t know. It’s strange.” She had been pleasantly surprised when he showed up to shop with her as simple company and had yet to stop smiling and he had yet to stop talking about his past few weeks.
“Maybe you feel this way because you’re happy,” she said, offhandedly and Harry stopped, frozen.
He looked up at her, “You really think so?”
“That I feel this way because I’m happy?”
He nodded at her and reached down onto the market stand closest. “What did you say this was?”
She laughed, “A grapefruit.”
He stared at it intently, as if it held all the answers in the universe and smiled widely, tossing the grapefruit from one hand to the other. He placed it in her hand cart and tossed a few sickles at the lady selling them.
“Now, it's my turn for news. I’ve met someone.”
“Really?” Harry asked, general excitement lighting up his eyes. “What’s his name?”
She nodded shyly.
He sighed, “Does he treat you well?”
“We’ve only gone on a few dates but yes, he’s been the perfect gentleman. Completely different than the way he was at school.”
“Does he make you happy?”
“Then you have my blessing Hermione.” He bent and kissed her on the forehead. “I’ve got to go. I’ve just realized that I’m needed somewhere.”
She smiled at him and let go of his arm. “Good luck.”
He turned and disappeared from her sight and she smiled at where he used to be, happy that they were finally getting what they deserved.
He appeared with a pop at the edge of the school, startling a few third years on their way to town.
“Have any of you seen Professor Malfoy?” he asked one of the Slytherin girls.
“He has detentions all day.”
“Thanks.” He rushed in the opposite direction and she was left staring at his back, curious.
He slowed to a walk as soon as Draco’s classroom was in sight and ran his hands over his clothes, as if to make sure they were still in place. Leaning against the wall, he ran his hand though his hair and wondered why he was doing this. He hadn’t been this reckless since he was seventeen and now, ten years later, he couldn’t believe who he had become. A recluse; scared of everyone and everything because he did not want his life to change. But, Harry realized, change was a part of life and the only constant that anyone could ever count on. He smiled to himself, promising that he’d be more like the way he used to be. Reckless and outgoing and afraid of almost nothing. With a smirk he quickly decided his first action as the old new Harry and entered the classroom.
“Can I speak with you?”
Draco nodded and ordered the boys, Finn Morrison, Brett Freeman and Aaron Smith, to keep on doing what they had been before leaving the classroom with Harry. The ex-Gryffindor reached out and gripped Draco around the waist, kissing him smoothly on the lips. The blond melted into the slightly taller man, winding his arms around Harry’s neck and kissing back passionately.
They separated and Harry smiled at Draco, holding him tightly. “And one more for luck.” Harry leaned in and pressed his lips against Draco’s, feeling more content than ever before.