Title: Life Isn’t a Fairy Tale - Part 2/2
Harry managed to avoid having any meaningful contact with Draco for the next few weeks. It wasn’t easy, but he was very motivated. He made sure never to be caught alone, and when approached by his new obsession, Harry would immediately bring up school issues or discuss their shared students until he had a convenient excuse to end the conversation and flee.
Xavier still dogged Harry’s footsteps, but it was easier to deal with the child than with his father. Harry let Xavier help him grade multiple choice tests and sort papers, and he was always at Harry’s Quidditch sessions, running around the field to fetch dropped quaffles or offer water to the players when Harry called a break. They often flew together afterward, and Harry often thought that he’d been right to call the boy Snidget. He was fast and agile, even on his child’s broom that had built-in height restrictions and safety charms. Xavier would be a formidable Seeker when he was older, and he hoped he’d be around to see him play when the time came. Harry found himself caring for the boy very much, and he halfway wondered if the Malfoy men had some special powers that enabled them to charm him despite himself. No, he decided, remembering Lucius with a scowl. Not all Malfoy men had that effect on him.
Soon Halloween was upon them, and Harry was introduced to the wonders of trick or treating and other American celebrations. He couldn’t believe that people let their kids dress up and go begging for candy from strangers, but his students all insisted that it was a time honored tradition that must be upheld. Accordingly, he would be chaperoning any of his students that chose to go, and almost all of the eighth graders had signed up. At ages thirteen and fourteen, this would be the last year most of them would indulge in this childhood activity, and they wanted to make the most of it. After that there would be a party, which mercifully would end at 10pm for his charges. He did not envy the sponsors for the older classes, as they’d be on chaperone duty until midnight.
Naturally, as co-sponsor of the eighth grade, Draco would be accompanying him for trick or treating while Abagail stayed behind to set up for the party afterward. Fortunately, Xavier would be there too, and Harry was hoping he’d serve as a distraction and a barrier between himself and Draco. Xavier would be dressing as Superman, and had been trying to convince Harry to agree to cast Wingardium Leviosa on him so he could “fly” in his cape and suit on the big night. Teachers had to dress up too, but Harry had no idea what to wear. He had no experience with this sort of thing whatsoever, so he eventually let Xavier decide for him. The boy had decided that his grownup friend was a hero with dark hair, so he should be Woody from Toy Story. He’d even loaned Harry his copy of the movie so he’d know how to act. Carolyn had asked the Transfiguration teacher to see to all the staff costumes, so he was all set on that front.
Harry felt a bit silly in a big cowboy hat and a cowhide vest, but he couldn’t help but feel the excitement and high spirits of his charges. He stood in their designated area of the dining hall, checking off students on his list, when he was tackled from behind and almost knocked over.
“Hey, Snidget,” he said, knowing who it was without turning around. “Ready to go get all sugared up?”
Xavier let go of him and started dancing around him in a circle, chanting “Trick or treat! Trick or treat! Trick or treat!”
Harry heard laughter from behind him and turned around. At the sight of Draco, he almost forgot how to breathe.
Draco was wearing eyeliner. It made his gray eyes seem intense as they fixed on Harry. He had a short, stubbly beard and a mustache, both also darkened. His hair was darkened and it was now halfway down his back, with a thin braid on the side at his temple. He had a scarf wrapped across his forehead, tied on the back of his head. His billowy white shirt was open to his waist, showing a toned, hairless chest and several gold and beaded necklaces. He had on a black belt that hung low around his hips, barely holding up tight black pants. They were tucked into knee high black boots with a wide, folded over cuff. He had a sword hanging in a scabbard at his waist, and a huge gold hoop in his left ear. Various beads and bracelets jingled up and down his arms.
Draco was a fucking pirate. Had he done this on purpose?
A few years ago, Hermione had decided that she would never take Ron to the movies again. The wizard born and raised man couldn’t stop talking back to the screen or asking embarrassing questions that drew the attention of the Muggles around them, so Harry was pressed into service as Hermione’s date for the cinema when there was something she wanted to see. The two friends had seen Pirates of the Caribbean together several years ago and had harbored a secret pirate fetish ever since. Who could help having a crush on Jack Sparrow when Johnny Depp played him? Orlando Bloom wasn’t bad to look at either, and Harry had thoroughly enjoyed seeing all three installments. He’d even bought them on DVD, even though he couldn’t use a TV or DVD player at Hogwarts.
Now his crush was dressed like a sexier, blonder version of Harry’s cinematic fantasies, and he’d have to deal with it all night long. God help him.
Draco mistook his silence for disapproval. Frowning slightly, he crossed his arms defensively and said, “What? Xavier picked it out.”
“Have you seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Harry?” asked Xavier excitedly.
“A time or two,” answered Harry, in a slightly strangled voice. He was actually grateful for the hat now, as he took it off and casually held it in front of his crotch to hide his reaction to Draco and his costume.
Fortunately they were interrupted at that point by the arrival of the last remaining students in their group. Draco pulled on a sleeveless waistcoat that hung down to his knees and hid most of his costume, making Harry realise that he had yet to see him in those pants from the back. He didn’t know whether to be grateful or disappointed.
They finally set off on their rounds once everyone was ready. It was quite a bit more fun that Harry had expected, and he enjoyed watching the children as they examined their loot and traded candy in between stops. Xavier was beside himself with glee, collecting fun sized candy treats as if they were gold bars and celebrating each new acquisition with a “Dad, Mr. Harry, look what I got!”
Draco seemed less than thrilled with his son’s excitement, but he carefully examined each treat and complimented Xavier on his manners with the homeowners who were handing out the candy.
“Don’t you want him to enjoy this?” asked Harry quietly as Xavier hurried to a doorway to stand in line for his turn.
“It’s a Muggle celebration, Potter,” Draco answered. “I’m being a blood traitor by even allowing him to mix with these people, let alone take candy from them and follow their traditions.”
“Why are you doing it then?”
Draco looked Harry in the eyes before answering plainly, “This is my life now, the life I can give him. It’s not worthy of him, but it’s all I have.”
He turned away and watched from the street as his son giggled with the older kids and waited for his turn to say trick or treat. “He doesn’t know this is all beneath him. He has no idea of his legacy as a Malfoy, that our line is pure going back almost a thousand years. He is completely unaware that no Malfoy has ever before associated with Muggles, Muggle-borns, half-bloods or traitors, or that I’ve disgraced the family name by allowing him to do so. He just knows that it’s Halloween and he is having the time of his life trick or treating with the kids he looks up to.”
“If that’s really what you think, what the hell are you doing here?” asked Harry angrily.
“Later, Harry,” said Draco as Xavier received his treat and ran toward them to show it off. “Maybe tonight you’ll stop avoiding me and we’ll sit down for that long talk we’ve been putting off.” He didn’t look at Harry s he left the street and went to meet his son on the driveway.
Harry stared guiltily at Draco’s back as he walked toward his excited son. It never even registered that Draco had used his given name.
Ten o’clock was upon them, and it was time to round up their charges and get them to bed. Harry was exhausted, and he had no idea how these kids could still be so wound up. Surely he had never had that much energy when he was that age?
Xavier had been allowed to stay up for the party, but he was now flagging. Harry could tell the boy was sleepy, as he was allowing his father to carry him. Harry reached out to smooth the hair on his forehead, and Xavier smiled gently, laying his head down on Draco’s shoulder.
“Go ahead and take him home. I’ll get the kids back to their dorms,” Harry said.
“Are you sure?” Draco asked.
“Yeah, between Abagail and me it should be fine,” he replied. “Just go get that mini superhero to bed.”
“Thank you,” said Draco gratefully, shifting his burden slightly in his arms. He started to turn towards the door, but hesitated. “Come by my suite after you’re done?”
Harry took a second to breathe before replying. “Yeah, I’ll come by.”
Draco nodded, and then left. Harry and Abagail gathered their students and gradually herded them back to their rooms. Once he was sure everyone was settled for the night, he returned to his own room and changed into some flannel sleep pants (one of his favorite finds in America) and a long sleeved t-shirt. Throwing on a hooded sweatshirt and his trainers, he decided he was as ready as he’d ever be to face the other man.
He went into the corridor and walked down to Draco and Xavier’s suite. Taking a deep breath, he knocked softly on the door. Draco answered the door almost at once.
Fortunately, he had changed out of his pirate costume and was wearing basically the same thing as Harry. He didn’t think he could have handled trying to have a serious conversation while Draco was still in that outfit.
Draco invited him to sit down and offered him tea. Once they both had cups in hand, there was silence.
“Did it take Xavier long to fall asleep?” Harry finally asked, desperate to break the silence before it became too stifling.
“About thirty seconds,” said Draco with a smile. “He insisted on wearing his cape over his pajamas and having his candy bag on the nightstand where no one would steal it, but once he lay down he was out.”
“He really is a great kid,” Harry said.
“Thank you. I think so too.” Draco answered. “It’s amazing really, considering…”
“Considering what?” Harry asked, when it became obvious Draco wasn’t going to continue.
Setting down his teacup, Draco dragged a hand through his back-to-normal short hair and stood up to pace in front of the fireplace.
“Did Severus ever tell you what happened after we left Hogwarts the night… that night?” he finally asked.
Harry shook his head. “No, there wasn’t time. He resurfaced just in time to give me the last Horcrux, and then we had the final battle two days later.”
Draco stopped pacing and stood in front of the fire, his eyes vacant as they reflected the flames. “Once we were past the Hogwarts wards, he grabbed me and Apparated us to this some nasty little Muggle house. I don’t remember too much; I think I was in shock. He shoved a money bag at me and told me to leave the country immediately. He said it was my only chance. He promised to get my mother and try to get her out too, but I didn’t trust him to do it.”
He swallowed hard before continuing. “I Apparated to the Manor instead of to an international Floo station in Knockturn Alley, like Snape had told me to. When I ran into Mother’s sitting room, my Aunt Bellatrix was already there. She stunned me and took us both to the Dark Lord, who had taken up residence in the Manor.”
“That fucking bitch,” Harry said vehemently.
“What happened to her anyway?” asked Draco.
“Neville killed her,” said Harry flatly.
“Never knew Longbottom had it in him,” mused Draco. “I should owl him a thank you note.” He sat back down on the sofa and drank a bit more of his tea before continuing.
“The Dark Lord was not happy with me,” he said.
“But the task was done,” Harry interrupted. “Wasn’t that good enough?”
“Of course not. His orders had been disobeyed, and this would not be tolerated,” said Draco bitterly. “Snape got a Cruciatus right off the bat for interfering, and he was the reason the deed was done at all.”
“If he was Crucioed for eliminating Voldemort’s biggest threat, I can imagine what he did to you,” Harry said with compassion.
“He didn’t kill my mother straight off. He kept her around to torture while I watched,” Draco said, clenching his hands in his lap. “My father was killed right away. The first time I received a tray in my cell under the Manor, I removed the lid to find my father’s severed head.”
Harry was horrified. Unconsciously, he placed his hand on top of Draco’s clenched ones as the man continued his gruesome story, instinctively trying to offer some sort of comfort.
“Some time later, he decided he’d had enough fun with my mother and he killed her in front of me. Then he raised her as an Inferius. Each time he summoned me for more torture, he’d have her there beside him, inanimate, staring at nothing with dead, milky eyes…” Draco trailed off, lost in the painful memory. After a few moments, he continued.
“I don’t know how long I was there, held captive in my own home. Well, it didn’t seem like home because all I saw of it was the dungeons. I’d never seen them before.” Draco laughed bitterly. “I’d always begged my father to show them to me, and he had always refused.”
How did you survive and escape?” asked Harry gently. He still didn’t realise he was holding Draco’s hand.
“Snape. After the beatings, the torture, he’d do what he could to heal me without making it obvious that he was interfering. He told me to hold on, that he’d get me out eventually.”
“And you trusted him,” Harry said.
“I had to. If I’d only trusted him in the first place, I wouldn’t have been in that predicament.” Draco sighed, turning his hand so that his palm was against Harry’s and entwining their fingers. Harry finally noticed the intimacy, but he didn’t pull away.
“One day he came to me and said it was time. He filled me full of healing potions and performed I don’t know how many healing spells. Once I was restored to some semblance of health, he handed me a Portkey and a bag of Muggle money, saying it would be enough to get me started somewhere else. He said it would take me to Belfast, and from there I should go to somewhere no one would ever suspect.”
“So you did,” Harry surmised.
“So I did,” Draco agreed.
“Where does Xavier come in?” asked Harry.
At this, Draco disengaged his hand from Harry’s and once again stood to pace.
“You do know how sadistic and twisted the Dark Lord was, don’t you?” he asked. When Harry nodded, Draco said “He was especially… creative when devising ways to punish me for my ‘weakness’, as he called it.”
“What did he do to you, Draco?’ Harry asked, almost whispering. He was almost afraid to find out.
“He said I was pretty, like a girl, so he made me into one,” Draco finally answered.
“I – I don’t understand,” said Harry, confused.
Draco turned back toward Harry, visibly bracing himself for the reaction to his revelation. “He made me a hermaphrodite.”
Harry sat there, staring in shock at the other man. He had heard the words, but they just didn’t make sense. “How…?”
“With a spell. I don’t know what it was, but it hurt like a Crucio to the bollocks. I guess that’s what it was, in a way,” Draco answered.
“He removed your…?” Harry asked as delicately as he could.
“No, thankfully. He didn’t take anything away, he just added new features. It was a great source of hilarity amongst the Death Eaters, and a great many of them made liberal use of my new attributes,” he said, staring at a point over Harry’s head, as if he were afraid to meet his eyes.
Harry finally understood what Draco was really saying. “So, Xavier… you’re actually his mother?” he breathed, amazed.
“Yes. Turns out I was pregnant when I escaped from the dungeons,” Draco confirmed.
“That’s…” Harry tried to express his feelings, but words failed him.
“Disgusting? Abnormal? Sick? Freakish? Disturbing? Wrong? Against all laws of man and nature? Abhorrent?” Draco shot off in quick succession.
“No. No!” Harry reassured him quickly, going to stand by Draco’s side and taking his hand again. “It’s amazing, and miraculous, and all sorts of things, but not any of those bad ones,” he insisted.
Draco looked at him in disbelief. “I just told you that I, a man, bore a child, and you think there’s nothing wrong with that?”
“You didn’t choose to be changed and become pregnant, Draco,” Harry said firmly. “It’s certainly… unusual, but it’s not wrong or bad.”
“How can you say that?” asked Draco, pulling away.
“Because it’s true,” Harry insisted. “Xavier is a great kid, regardless of how he got here. Even if the original intent was evil, what Voldemort did made it possible for you to bring him into the world. That’s a wonderful thing.”
Harry eventually convinced Draco that he was really ok with it. He did have questions though, and since they were being so open, he went ahead and asked once they’d settled back on the couch with more tea.
“Do you know who his father was?” Harry asked, trying to be as delicate as he could.
“No, I don’t. I was so out of it much of the time that I don’t even know exactly who raped me. There were too many,” Draco was matter-of-fact when discussing the details of his ordeal. Harry wondered if it helped him cope.
“How did you decide to keep the baby knowing he was conceived that way?” Harry inquired.
“Abortion isn’t unheard of in pureblood families, believe it or not. There have always been women who lay down with the wrong man and found themselves carrying a lover’s baby instead of the heir, or those who became pregnant before the contracts were signed and all the arrangements made. I almost chose to end the pregnancy,” he admitted. “I did always want to have a child though, and I’d wondered how I’d have them since I was gay. This was an opportunity to have something I’d always wanted but thought I couldn’t have, and in the end I just couldn’t give that up.”
“Can you get pregnant again?”
“I assume so. I can’t actually give birth naturally, since I still have a male anatomy with a man’s pelvis and all that, but whatever allowed me to get pregnant in the first place is still there.” Draco answered.
“How did you explain things to the healers that cared for you and delivered him?” Harry asked.
“I told them my partner had died, and that he was a researcher in obscure, ancient spells. I said he’d died before he could explain all the details to me, and that all of his notes burnt up in the fire that killed him. They’re actually trying to recreate the spell to use it as an option for gay men, or couples where the woman cannot physically carry a child. Apparently it would be a great breakthrough in the area of Wizarding fertility,” Draco shared wryly.
“Even under pressure you still lie and scheme with the best of them,” said Harry, impressed despite himself.
“Naturally,” Draco said, raising one eyebrow. “I’m a Malfoy and a Slytherin. We hone our cunning from birth onward.”
“Does Xavier know that you’re his mum?”
“Yes. He doesn’t know all the details, but he knows I’m different than other men and he seems to accept it. He also knows it’s a private thing between us, so if anyone asked about his mum he just says that he doesn’t want to talk about it,” said Draco.
“How do you deal with dating and all that?” asked Harry, unable to restrain his curiosity.
“Do you mean how do I get laid by Muggles without them knowing I’m different?” asked Draco archly, and Harry blushed in response. “I use a glamour charm on my bits and I always top. It’s not too hard to get around having them notice something’s there that shouldn’t be if I’m careful.”
“Amazing,” said Harry, unable to get the imaginary images of Draco in the throes of passion out of his head. He was mentally editing out the other men, like the man from The Cellar, and just picturing Draco alone, writhing on a bed, stroking himself and calling out for Harry…
“Potter!” Draco interrupted his thoughts. “Where did you go?”
“Um, sorry,” Harry apologised, turning very red.
Draco seemed to notice something was amiss, but he let it go.
“I think it’s time to call it a night,” he said.
“All right, said Harry, rising from the sofa. He crossed to the door, followed by Draco.
Harry reached for the doorknob, but paused when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning, he saw that Draco was looking at him intently.
“Thank you, Harry,” Draco said, his face serious and his eyes locked on Harry’s. “You have no idea what it means to me to be able to share all of my past with someone, with you.”
Before Harry could react, Draco leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss on his lips. Harry was stunned, speechless. He didn’t know how to respond.
“Goodnight,” Draco said, reaching past him to open the door. He gently ushered Harry out and closed the door behind him.
Harry returned to his own rooms in a daze. Despite all that he’d learned that night, all he could think about was Draco’s kiss. He could still feel the gentle pressure of the other man’s lips on his, and the way Draco had looked just before he’d kissed him was burned into his mind.
Could Draco want him? He certainly wanted Draco, if his fantasies were anything to go by. He had a crush, that was undeniable, but could he actually have feelings for his former enemy? Could they possibly develop into more, something that might be returned?
Despite his exhaustion and the late hour, it was a long time before Harry slept that night.
Autumn soon turned into winter, and Harry and Draco developed a tentative bond. That kiss hadn’t been repeated, much to Harry’s disappointment. He was afraid to act on his own growing feelings for the other man, fearful that he would ruin the blossoming closeness that he was enjoying so much. Draco as a friend was funny, interesting, and companionable – in short, everything Harry could want in a partner. They worked together on coaching the students in Quidditch, even going so far as to have a few Seeker’s matches to show off for the kids. Xavier was their biggest fan, cheering madly for them both and refusing to take sides.
It was at the end of one of those matches that Harry realised he’d fallen in love with Draco.
It was mid-December, a few days before the children would be leaving for the Christmas break. The air was cold and crisp, with the heavy scent of snow promising that a white Christmas was on the way. The teams had pleaded for a Seeker’s Match after their own practices, and since Harry and Draco enjoyed them so much it didn’t take much to talk them into it. The two teachers had been looking for the snitch for about 20 minutes, spotting it a few times and losing it in the midst of trying to stop each other from getting to it first. They were down by the goalposts, taunting each other with well worn insults form their school days, when the snitch whizzed right in between them. Immediately they were both off after it, pushing and shoving each other, battling with well placed elbows and knees. They were too competitive to let their friendship get in the way of a good fight for the snitch, and they were both playing a little dirty. It was exhilarating, and Harry never wanted it to end.
Eventually the snitch took a quick swerve to the right, and Draco was able to snag it from under Harry’s fingertips. It was the first time he’d won against Harry in all their years of playing against one another, and he was ecstatic. Unlike the Malfoy of old, Draco was genuinely pleased with his own achievement instead of thinking of it as a score over Potter. He sat on his broom 30 feet in the air, beaming, his cheeks reddened from the wind, his hair mussed. They sun was setting behind Harry, casting a golden glow over Draco and making him look incandescent. He was beaming with happiness, grinning at Harry with that same breathtaking smile he loved to see on Xavier, and Harry suddenly realised that he loved him. Harry Potter was in love with Draco Malfoy. The realisation made him dizzy with both fright and happiness, and he had to descend to the ground and dismount his broom. Draco followed, unaware of his inner turmoil.
“What’s the matter, Harry? Surely you’re not upset that I finally won against you?” Draco said, his eyes sparkling.
He was so beautiful Harry could hardly bear to look at him.
“No, you deserved it. Congratulations,” he said, sticking out his hand. Draco looked at him curiously before taking it and shaking hands. Smiling again, he slapped Harry on the back with his other hand.
“How about the loser buys the winner a pint down at The Cellar later?” he asked with a smirk.
“You’re on,” said Harry, immediately wondering if he should take the opportunity that night to tell the other man how he felt. Maybe Draco felt the same? Maybe not. Harry hadn’t been back since that night he’d run into Draco there, but that didn’t mean Draco hadn’t been there. The idea of it made his heart clench.
Harry’s mind was spinning all through dinner, and he barely noticed what he was eating or who he was talking to at the teacher’s table. Before he knew it, he was standing in front of his closet in a towel, trying to figure out what to wear on his non-date. He finally settled on a dark gray cashmere jumper that Tonks had given him last Christmas and jeans, with black dragonhide boots. He was debating between Sirius’ leather jacket and his black wool pea coat when there was a knock at his door.
Swallowing nervously and wiping his suddenly sweaty palms on his jeans, he answered the door.
“You clean up well, Harry,” said Draco, appraising him with a smile. “Are you ready? Xavier is all settled at Jennifer’s, and Abagail says she’s fine holding down the fort for the evening.”
Harry just stared at the other man, hardly hearing what he was saying. Draco was beautiful; there really was no other word for it. Harry didn’t even notice what Draco was wearing. All he could see was Draco’s face, his lips, his eyes…
Yeah. He had it pretty bad.
“Well, are you going to stand there and stare at me all night, or are you coming?” said Draco.
“Sorry, just thinking about something. Let’s go,” he answered.
The two men walked to the edge of the grounds, where the wards ended, and then Apparated to an alley about a block away from the club. Once inside, they settled at the bar with two pints, paid for by Harry.
He was trying to act normally, but he was still coming to terms with the realisation that he was in love with the man in front of him. Should he tell him? Did Draco have feelings for him too? Harry was rubbish at figuring out things like that, and he didn’t know what to do.
“What’s wrong?” Draco asked, finally tiring of carrying on a stilted conversation. “Are you upset that I beat you?” He looked worried, and Harry found it endearing,
“No, not at all. It’s been a long time coming,” answered Harry reassuringly. “Most of the times I’ve beaten you, even back in school, luck was really the deciding factor.” He drained his pint and signaled for another.
“My, in a hurry tonight?” said a voice at his elbow. “I’ll get your next round, but don’t get too drunk. I have plans for you later, and they don’t involve vomit or whiskey dick.”
Looking up, Harry realised it was one of his previous one nighters, the one he’d been trying to avoid the night he’d met Draco there. Darren, Derek, Darnell… what the hell was his name again? Damien, that was it. The sex had been okay, but Damien was a little too into pain for Harry’s liking, and he had barely stopped bragging about his band long enough for them to shag.
Damien draped himself across Harry’s shoulder and proceeded to start tonguing his ear while dragging his hands down Harry’s torso. Harry was mortified, and tried to subtly wiggle free.
“Hey, Damien,” he said weakly, grabbing the hand that was about to reach his crotch.
“Old friend, Harry?” said Draco, sneering at the newcomer.
“Yeah, Draco, this is Damien, an old friend. Damien, this is Draco,” Harry said, still battling to get free from Damien’s grasp.
Damien finally got the hint and separated himself from Harry, at least by a few inches.
“Who’s he?” he asked, gesturing towards Draco before sliding his hand up Harry’s thigh.
“His boyfriend, “answered Draco icily. He reached over and smacked Damien’s hand loudly. “I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your hands to yourself,” he said with a glare.
Harry was almost too surprised to go along with the ruse. He jumped slightly as Draco put an arm around his waist and pulled him close.
“Come on, Harry, let’s dance,” Draco said, ushering Harry off his stool and turning him towards the dance floor. “So nice to have met you,” he snarked, and steered Harry away.
“Bye!” called Harry over his shoulder, grateful to have been rescued.
“Nice friends you have. Was he part octopus, by any chance?” Draco asked with a smirk, as he found them a spot on the dance floor and began to dance closely with Harry.
“Uh, we’re not really friends,” Harry admitted. “We’re just sort of, um…”
“Fuck buddies?” filled in Draco helpfully, placing his hands on Harry’s hips and swaying to the music.
“Not even that, really. It was just one night…” he trailed off helplessly, having a hard time carrying on a conversation when Draco was dancing so closely with him.
“And you’ve been trying to avoid him ever since, right?” Draco guessed. At Harry’s nod, he sighed in his ear. “I know the type. We’ll just put on a good show and he’ll bugger off. Guys like that don’t like competition,” Draco said.
“Put on a show?” said Harry, confused.
Draco smiled wickedly and pulled their hips flush together. “A good show. Now act like you’re mad for me. He’s watching.”
They continued to dance, with Draco making up for Harry’s lack of skill. Draco put everything he had into it, grinding and groping and leaving occasional kisses along Harry’s jaw. It was amazing, and Harry could only give in to the way it made him feel. Harry was being handed the opportunity he’d wanted for so long on a silver platter, so he decided to enjoy every moment. He put his arms around Draco’s waist, running his fingers up under the edge of Draco’s shirt to touch the skin just above his waistband. He leaned forward and nuzzled Draco’s neck, first kissing and then licking that spot just above his collar. When Draco gave a tiny moan, Harry insides turned to jelly. He attacked Draco’s neck with open mouthed kisses, reaching up to unbutton another two buttons so he could expose more of his throat for his attention.
Meanwhile, Draco’s hands had traveled, with one firmly twined in Harry’s hair and one gripping his arse. He had thrown back his head in order to give Harry more access to his neck, and when Harry paused to look, he thought Draco was the hottest thing he’d ever seen.
Draco brought his head back down and looked at Harry for what felt like eons. Then, in one movement, he ground his hips against Harry’s and leaned in to join their mouths. This wasn’t the soft, gentle, feather light kiss of a few weeks ago. This was a full on assault, with tongues tangling and teeth occasionally nipping at each other’s lower lips when they needed to separate for a second to catch their breath. It seemed to go on forever.
When they finally parted, panting, they stood pressed against one another and looked into each other’s eyes.
“This isn’t just a show for you, is it?” asked Draco breathlessly.
“No, it’s not,” answered Harry honestly. “Please tell me it’s not just an act for you either?” he almost begged.
“God, no, Harry. I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anyone.” Draco answered fervently.
“Let’s go,” said Harry determinedly, grabbing Draco’s hand and leaving the dance floor. They claimed their coats from the coat check and headed into the night, hurrying for the alley so they could Apparate back to the Institute campus. They only stopped holding hands when they entered the dormitory, managing to maintain some semblance of decorum in case they encountered a student. Draco’s rooms were closer, and the moment they were inside they fell upon each other again.
The two men blindly made their way to the bedroom, kissing wildly and losing clothing along the way. Finally they fell on the bed, naked, locked in a skin on skin embrace. It was almost surreal for Harry, to have what he’d been fantasising about for all these months.
They explored each other for the rest of the night. Harry had never experienced anything like it before. He’d had plenty of sex in the past, but he’d never felt such a connection with his lover, not just physically but emotionally. As he lay in the rumpled bed and watched Draco sleep, he realised that there was nothing he wouldn’t do for this man. As dawn approached, he came to a decision. Kissing Draco softly on the temple, Harry slipped out of bed. He found some paper in Draco’s desk and left a short note:
There’s something I have to do. I’ll be back as soon as I can.
Please tell Xavier I’m sorry we can’t get a tree today. I’ll make it up to him when I get back.
He left it on the pillow opposite where Draco was sleeping. Looking down on his sleeping love, he couldn’t resist kissing him softly one more time.
“Bye, Draco. I love you,” he whispered, and left Draco’s rooms. The sound of the door disturbed Draco slightly, and he rolled over in his sleep and flung out one arm, knocking Harry’s note off the pillow, where it slid down and fell behind the bed.
When Draco awoke, Harry was nowhere to be found. He was surprised and a little hurt. Showering and dressing, he went down to claim his son and the two went down to breakfast.
“Dad, do you think Santa will bring me a Spongebob TV like I asked for? I’ve been pretty good this year, haven’t I?” Xavier asked anxiously.
“We’ll find out on Christmas morning, and not a moment before,” answered Draco, smiling at his son. “I think you’ve been good, but I don’t know if you’ve been good enough for that. Only Santa knows for sure.”
Xavier continued to natter on about Santa and how he might quantify the naughty and nice lists as they made their way into the dining hall. Draco looked around for Harry, but was disappointed when he wasn’t there.
“Hey, where’s Harry?” asked Xavier, frowning. “He was gonna let me help him get a Christmas tree for his room today.”
“I don’t know,” answered Draco. “Maybe we’ll find him after breakfast.”
Harry never appeared during the meal, and Draco was starting to worry. Carolyn stopped him and Abagail as they were leaving the dining hall.
“I wanted to let you know that Harry has left for winter break a few days early,” she told them. “I told him I was sure the two of you could handle the Eighth Graders in your wing without him for a few days.”
“Where did he go?” asked Draco, stunned.
“He didn’t say specifically,” Carolyn answered. “He just said that something had come up and he needed to take a few personal days to deal with it.”
Draco was stunned. He had thought that what had happened between them had meant something, been the beginning of a real relationship. He had never expected it, but Harry had become more and more important to him over the past few months. His presence in Draco’s life felt right, and he welcomed the happiness Harry brought into his life and Xavier’s.
It was one thing to leave Draco, but how dare Harry walk out on Xavier like that? He knew the child adored him, and that Xavier would be terribly hurt by the hasty exit with no explanation.
‘Fucking Harry Potter, always finding a way to hurt my family,’ Draco thought bitterly as he went to claim his son from the student table where he’d been sitting. He’d find a way to explain away Harry’s absence for Xavier’s sake, but it would still hurt the boy.
Xavier took the news about Harry’s exit as well as could be expected. He was very disappointed, even crying a bit, but Draco soon had him distracted with wrapping gifts for his caregivers and the staff. Xavier declared that Harry would be back, and placed his wrapped gift in a place of honor under their tree.
“He’ll be back for it, Daddy. I know it,” he said.
Draco wished he could have that kind of faith.
Harry had been gone for ten days already, and it was Christmas Eve. Draco and Xavier gathered with the staff and students that had remained behind to enjoy some caroling and a small party afterward.
“Dante, you sing so well,” said Emily, ladling out a healthy portion of eggnog for both Malfoy men. “Did you have lessons?”
Draco almost choked on his eggnog. “Hardly. Music wasn’t a worthwhile pursuit for a Malfoy heir,” he said snootily, putting his nose in the air and causing his son to giggle madly. Draco ruffled his hair and sent him off to play with the other children.
“I do forget about that whole name thing,” Carolyn said, sipping her own drink. “I hope you don’t mind, but you’ll always be Dante Mallory to me.”
“Well, at least I chose that name for myself instead of having it thrust upon me,” said Draco.
“What do you mean?” asked Emily.
“Being a Malfoy is a huge responsibility,” he explained. “We’re one of the oldest, purest families in Britain. As the heir, I needed to be able to manage the estate in its entirety, as well as further myself politically and advance the family fortune.”
“Sounds like you were one of those rich little snots with more money that sense or balls,” Frank commented.
Draco snorted. “You’re not far from the truth, even if I don’t like to admit it. I am proud of my family heritage, but I can’t say that being away from it hasn’t been good for me.” He smiled sadly. “With my parents dead and me here in the States, I don’t know that there’s much heritage left.”
“Does Xavier know about your family, how storied and influential the name is?” asked Emily.
“Somewhat. He’s never seen the Manor, or any of our heirlooms. There are some lovely tapestries with the Malfoy and the Black family trees that he would probably find fascinating. Both families go back almost a millennium.”
“Black?” asked Carolyn.
“My mother’s family,” Draco clarified. “They’re about as old and as pure as the Malfoys. In fact, the family motto is ‘Toujours Pur’, which means ‘Always Pure’. I don’t have much from Mother’s family though. Ironically enough, I think Harry inherited most of the Black estate from my cousin, the Black heir. He was Harry’s godfather,” Draco said.
“I’m sure Harry would let you have anything you wanted for Xavier,” Emily stated. “He adores that boy.”
“Anyone want more eggnog?” Draco asked, rising from his seat. He had to get away from there before he got caught up in thoughts of Harry. He’d worked so hard to force the memories of their night together to the back of his mind, and now here he was bringing him into a conversation with his colleagues.
“Speak of the devil,” said Frank, setting down his glass and crossing the room to the doorway.
Draco turned abruptly, almost knocking over the cauldron full of eggnog, and saw Harry standing just inside the door. He was still wearing his cloak, and he clutched a sheaf of parchment in his hands. Frank slapped him on the back and Harry returned the greeting without ever taking his eyes off of Draco. He was smiling brightly.
Draco turned away, and Harry’s smile dimmed. He crossed the room and took his lover’s arm, but Draco pulled away.
“Stop it,” Draco hissed.
“What’s wrong?” said Harry, hurt and puzzled.
“I have nothing to say to you, Potter,” Draco said venomously, glaring. “Stay away from me.”
“HARRY!” came a shout, and a blur of boy launched itself at Harry and clung to his midsection. Laughing, Harry picked Xavier up and swung him around.
“You left! We were supposed to get a Christmas tree, but you went away!” Xavier accused, his face clouding over.
“I’m sorry, Snidget,” Harry said, putting him down and smoothing the hair from the boy’s forehead. “I had to do something really important.”
“More important than Christmas?” Xavier asked, disbelieving.
“No, not more important than that, and not more important than you,” Harry answered. “It couldn’t wait though, so I had to go right away. I did bring you a present,” he added, shifting his papers into one hand and reaching into his pocket to withdraw several shiny packets.
“Thank you,” Xavier accepted the gift politely, and then examined the packets closely. “What are they?
“That’s a Chocolate Frog,” answered Draco stiffly as his son tore open one of the packages. “They’re Wizarding candy from Britain.”
“Cool,” proclaimed Xavier, catching the frog mid-hop and biting off its leg.
“There’s a card inside that you can keep,” Harry said, glancing at Draco.
“Hey, it's you!” said the boy, holding it aloft for all to see. He rushed off to show it to the other kids, while Harry rubbed his neck and looked embarrassed.
“You’re even on a Chocolate Frog card now? That’s just wonderful,” Draco spat. He tried to walk past Harry, but Harry wouldn’t let him.
“What is your problem, Draco?” Harry asked, beginning to get upset.
“What could possibly be my problem?” Draco sneered, looking around and lowering his voice. “You shagged me and then immediately disappeared without a word for over a week. What could possibly be wrong with that?”
“But I left you a note,” Harry said, gripping Draco’s arm.
“No you didn’t!” insisted Draco.
“Yes, I did,” said Harry just as insistently.
The two men stood and looked at each other for a long moment.
“We need to talk privately,” Harry finally said. “I have some really important things to tell you. I was going to try and wait until tomorrow and give you a surprise on Christmas morning, but maybe you need to hear all of this now.”
Indicating that Draco should wait where he was, Harry went to Jennifer and asked if she’d keep an eye on Xavier, who was happily playing with her son. Then he returned to Draco and steered him out of the party, waving at Carolyn and some of his other colleagues, but not slowing down or stopping.
Once they were in Draco’s rooms, Harry threw off his cloak and set his papers on the coffee table. He pulled Draco down on the sofa and sat next to him.
I went back to Britain when I left,” he said with no preamble.
“I guessed that much,” said Draco, crossing his arms defensively. “It still doesn’t explain why you left so suddenly and without warning.”
“I told you, I left a note!” insisted Harry. “It was on the pillow, right next to you.”
He stalked out of the room, into the bedroom. Draco got up and followed him, and entered the room to find Harry on his hands and knees under the bed with his arse hanging out.
A-ha!” he called out, backing out form under the bed with a small scrap of paper in his hand. He thrust it at Draco, who took it and sat on the edge of the bed to read it.
He looked up at Harry. “You really left a note?”
“Of course I did,” Harry said, sitting next to him and taking his hand. “It’s not that I wanted to leave you, but that I needed to go.”
“Why, Harry? Why right then, just when everything had changed?” asked Draco, and Harry could see the pain that he’d been hiding behind the anger.
“I needed to go because everything had changed,” Harry, bringing up a hand to stroke the side of Draco’s face gently. Raising his wand, Harry summoned the packet of papers he’d been carrying. Opening them, he rifled through them until he found what he wanted and handed it to Draco.
“What’s this?” Draco asked, glancing at the paper. It seemed like a legal document of some sort.
“It’s your pardon,” Harry said simply.
Draco stared at him in disbelief. Harry nodded. “It’s true, read it for yourself.”
Draco read it, his hands shaking as he led the paper up. Then he looked at Harry again, stunned.
“How did you do this? Why?”
“As I lay there, watching you sleep, I realised that you deserved it, and that I could give it to you.” Harry said. “I went back to London and gave a statement to Kingsley on what Snape told me about the plot to kill the Headmaster. I also spoke to Dumbledore’s portrait, and he was able to provide some details that I didn’t have, and corroborate others for me.”
“Portraits can’t give testimony, Harry,” said Draco, shaking his head.
“Well, it seems that certain people still have a lot of faith in Albus Dumbledore’s word, even in his current form,” Harry said with a laugh. “Between my statement, the Headmaster’s portrait and some diaries he’d kept that he told me to share with the Aurors, it was enough to get a hearing at the Wizengamot.”
“Amazing,” breathed Draco, caressing the parchment in his hand. “He knew all along?”
“Yeah, he did,” said Harry ruefully. “Not much got past Dumbledore, despite that barmy old codger act he had. He wanted to give you a chance to turn away from Voldemort, and didn’t want you to be in any more danger than you were already, so he didn’t interfere.”
“He offered me mercy, that night on the tower,” Draco said sadly. “If the others hadn’t burst in at exactly the wrong moment, I might have taken it.”
“You would have,” said Harry firmly. “I was there, and I saw you lower your wand.”
“You were? How?” began Draco. “Wait, the second broom! Were you there under that damned Invisibility cloak?”
He swore softly when Harry nodded his head. “Unbelievable.”
“I was able to testify that you had lowered your wand and seemed to be accepting the offer of asylum when the Death Eaters came in,” Harry added. “That was more evidence that you are willing to take a second chance if it’s given now.”
“What are the rest of those papers? What else happened over there? Why were you gone so long?” Draco suddenly had dozens of questions for Harry.
“Slow down!” Harry laughed, leafing through the rest of the papers and finally just handing the whole sheaf over to Draco. “These are papers from the law wizards and Gringotts. It’s a good thing that the Wizarding world doesn’t have the same privacy requirements as the Muggle world, or I’d never have been able to get anything done.”
“This is a vault statement,” said Draco, looking at one of the papers.
“Well spotted, Draco,” Harry teased, earning a scathing look form his lover. “There are a lot of financial papers there, not that I could make heads or tails of them. It’s all about the state of the Malfoy Trust and all that.”
“I have a trust?” said Draco, confused. “I thought the Ministry confiscated all of my family’s money and holdings?”
“No, not at all,” said Harry. “I don’t really understand it all, but I guess that with your parents dead and you missing and presumed dead, everything went into a trust administered by the Ministry. The goblins did most of the work, of course, but the estate is intact. There was no clear heir to fight for any of it, and with all the disappearances and everything from the war they made it mandatory for someone to be gone 10 years before declaring them dead, so it’s all been sitting there, doing whatever it is estates do when no one is there to deal with them on a daily basis.”
“With my father being Marked, and the Manor being the Dark Lord’s headquarters for a while, I assumed the Ministry would take everything as war reparations,” Draco said.
“No, even when someone was convicted as a Death Eater, the Ministry couldn’t take their money. Sirius still had access to his vaults when he was on the run after escaping Azkaban, even if he had to send Crookshanks to do his business.” Harry shared. “Besides, from what Kingsley told me, nobody could really do much with the Manor. It somehow sealed itself after the final battle, and only house- elves can get in or out.”
“I have no idea why it would do that. I wonder if it would let me in?” wondered Draco, beginning to laugh.
“How about we find out this summer, while the Institute is on vacation?” asked Harry cautiously.
“I can go back home, to Britain?” asked Draco.
“Yeah, to Britain and to the Manor, if that’s what you want,” said Harry.
“With you,” added Draco.
“With me,” Harry affirmed. “If you want. You don’t have to…”
He was cut off when Draco’s mouth suddenly captured his own. The kiss soon became heated, and they ended up lying on the bed, tangled together.
“Yes, I want you with me at the Manor, and everywhere else,’ said Draco breathlessly.” I love you, Harry.”
“I love you too, Draco,” said Harry, gasping as Draco slipped his hand down the back of his pants and grabbed him.
The passionate snog soon became heated lovemaking. It wasn’t the long, drawn out exploration they’d engaged in last time, but an intense, furious coupling that satisfied their immediate need to experience that connection again.
Satiated for the moment, they lay beneath the sheet holding each other. They occasionally spoke in whispers, but mostly communicated in caresses and kisses. They were just getting sleepy when the outer door slammed and they heard a voice calling, “Daddy!”
They sat up quickly, and Harry fumbled for his wand. He cast a quick cleaning charm while Draco summoned their clothes. Unfortunately, they didn’t have time for anything else.
“Dad, are you in here?” Xavier called, bursting into the bedroom. He stopped short, his eyes wide and questioning.
“Xavier, what have I told you about knocking?” Draco asked calmly, as Harry tried to sink into the bed.
“Why are you in bed?” Xavier asked.
“We’ll discuss it in a minute. Please go out into the sitting room and we’ll be out there shortly,” Draco responded.
Giving them another curious look, Xavier obeyed. He left the room, closing the door behind himself.
The lovers took a second to sit, silently, and then burst into muffled laughter. When they finally calmed down, they parted with a soft kiss and scrambled out of bed to dress. When Harry began putting on his clothes again, Draco rummaged through a bureau drawer and tossed him a pair of sleep pants.
“What are these for?” he asked.
“Don’t you plan on staying?” Draco asked in return, quirking an eyebrow.
“I’d love to, “said Harry, “but what about Xavier?”
“We’ll deal with that right now. After that you’re coming back to bed with me, and we’ll all have Christmas together in the morning.”
Harry smiled goofily, kissed his lover, and put on the pants and a t-shirt Draco supplied. Once they were dressed appropriately, they held hands and left the bedroom.
Xavier was on the sofa, playing with his new Chocolate Frog cards. Draco sat on one side of him, and indicated for Harry to sit on the other.
“I’m sorry I didn’t knock,” said Xavier, snuggling into his father’s side. He looked at Harry. “Why is he wearing your pyjamas?”
“Harry’s going to sleep over tonight,” Draco answered, cuddling his son.
“Is that okay?” asked Harry uncertainly.
“That’s good,” answered Xavier seriously. “We have a present for you, so it’s better that you’re here because you can open it as soon as you wake up instead of having to wait until later. Waiting isn’t fun.”
Harry smiled at his earnestness, and his heart clenched. Somewhere along the line he had fallen in love with Xavier too.
“Xavier, how would you feel about Harry moving in here with us?” Draco asked, startling Harry.
“Really?” asked Xavier, sitting up straight and smiling brightly.
“Really,” said Draco, looking over his head at Harry.
“Do you want to live here with us, Harry?” asked Xavier hopefully.
“Nothing would make me happier,” answered Harry honestly. Draco reached around Xavier and took his hand. He and Xavier turned the same breathtaking smile on him at once, and it was wonderful.
“Does that mean Harry is going to be my dad now, too?” Xavier asked.
“Would you like that?” asked Harry, afraid to hope.
“Yeah, it would be great. Then I’d have two parents to play with me and help me with stuff.” Xavier answered happily.
“Well, we’ll give that a try then,” said Draco, kissing his son on his head.
So why were you two in bed, naked?” asked Xavier, yawning.
Before Harry could stammer out an answer, Draco jumped in. “Because that’s what parents do sometimes. Now,” he said, deftly changing the subject,” I think it’s time you get to bed so Santa can come.”
He made to pick up his son, but Xavier asked, “Can Harry carry me?”
Harry carefully picked up his charge, and carried him to bed. He and Draco tucked the boy in and kissed him goodnight before retiring to what would now be their room and climbing into bed.
“I can’t believe he accepted us so easily,” Harry said, scooting towards the middle and entwining his limbs with Draco’s.
“He loves you, Harry,” Draco said, sliding his arm over Harry’s middle and up under his borrowed shirt. His burgeoning plans were thwarted when Harry gave a huge yawn.
“Well, looks like Xavier isn’t the only one who needs to get some sleep,” he said amusedly.
Harry smiled sheepishly and rolled over to face him. ”Sorry. That whole International Portkey thing is really tiring,” he apologised.
“It’s all right,” Draco sighed, reaching over to turn off the bedside lamp. “Life isn’t a fairy tale, so the romance was bound to die eventually.”
“Hey!” protested Harry, trying to sit back up. Draco shushed him and pushed him back down. “I believe in happily ever after,” Harry said.
“Do you really?” asked Draco curiously.
“Yeah, I do,” said Harry sleepily. He scooted closer to his love and snuggled down further under the covers. "We will live happily ever after, but it won't be a fairy tale. You'll always be a snarky, spoiled, poncy pureblood, after all. They never write the princess that way in the books."
"Fuck you, Potter, you arse," Draco replied, yawning and snuggling down himself. "If there's a princess in this twisted tale, it's definitely you.”
Harry snorted and threw an arm around Draco's waist, spooning his side. "Whatever, Malfoy." He could afford to let it go for now. They had all the time in the world to argue from now on. The thought made him smile as he drifted off to sleep.