hd_hols (hd_hols) wrote in hd_holidays,
hd_hols
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Happy H/D Holidays, loveless_x

Author: dumbys_baby
Recipient: platformnine
Title: Hidden
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Hermione/Ron implied, past Harry/Ginny implied, Draco/other woman implied.
Summary: Some people hide who they truly are using masks or veils. Others hide behind arrogance and disdain.
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): none
Deathly Hallows compliant? Set between the last chapter and the epilogue. It’s also epilogue compliant.
Word Count: circa 6,000
Author's Notes: Special thanks to my betas, RA for the late night editing and DH for the emergency beta. I owe you both so much chocolate.



*~*

The place was buzzing. As Diagon Alley’s only 24-hour establishment, ‘Carpe DM’ had become the place to be for any witch or wizard of age in just the few short months since its opening night. By day, it was a classy café and cocktail bar. By night, it was transformed to a high energy nightclub. And it was Draco’s, every square inch of it.

There were rumours that he had come by it by any other means apart from honest, and he was happy to fan those rumours. Reports of his family’s collapse in fortune were at best outright wrong; the Ministry had no power to confiscate any of the Malfoy property as recompense for crimes. This was the popular gossip that the Ministry did nothing to dispel; it had to be seen to have done something. The Malfoy family lawyers had done their jobs well, though. When Lucius Malfoy was released from Azkaban, he retired to the Manor where his wife had managed the estate that had long been transferred to his son’s name.

Sunday nights had unofficially become the night where gay and lesbians of the wizarding community came to the club. By unspoken agreement, most people stayed away and allowed the minority freedom to play. Coincidentally, it was the night that the club made its best earnings and because of that Draco liked to oversee the night’s activities personally.

Standing by a corner of the bar, Draco looked out over the crowd. Christmas wasn’t far off, just a few weeks before the holiday shutdown period, and everyone was obviously determined to go into Christmas thoroughly partied out. Aside from the occasional rustling of a Christmas tree in the corner or intimate moments under mistletoe, the rest of the place was almost deserted bar one area. The dance floor was moving like a single entity, such was the press of people on it.

Continuing his perusal, Draco noticed a figure who was becoming increasingly familiar. There wasn’t much about the chap that made him stand out. With non-descript brown hair, average height and average build, the guy was the poster child for mediocrity. Ridiculously enough though, Draco’s eyes were drawn to him time and time again.

There was another figure who was also becoming familiar and he was always disturbingly close to the first. Mediocre Boy’s companion was constantly by his side. A definite looker if ever there was one. Whenever Draco met his eyes, however, no lights were on. No one was home. The term ‘pretty but dumb’ immediately came to Draco’s mind and there was no competition in that. It was now up to Draco to make sure that Mediocre Boy knew the difference between ‘pretty but dumb’ and ‘gorgeous and brilliant’.

*~*

Draco wasn’t really in the habit of partaking of a quickie, and a quickie in a stall of the loo at that. It has been said, however, that men think about sex every twenty-eight seconds and Draco was, after all, a man. So, after seeing Mediocre Boy lose the pretty young thing, Draco decided to make his move.

Following him into the bathroom, before he had the chance to close the stall door, Draco slid in behind him. They made eye contact and knew exactly where this was going.

The guy was watching him warily and backed himself against the wall. Draco moved closer, put his hands on either side of the guy’s head and leant his body in so that the entire length was flush with the brunette.

The guy was nervous, Draco knew it as sure as he drew breath and, instead of feeling pity for him, it gave Draco a rather large amount of satisfaction and a considerable feeling of power.

Knowing he would have to make the new guy trust him before anything could progress to where he wanted it, Draco decided slow and steady was the way to go.

Reaching up, Draco put both hands on either side of the guy’s face and bought their mouths close, but not touching. The guy’s hands came up and circled Draco’s waist very comfortably.

Pausing there, Draco looked directly into his eyes and was caught by a fleeting moment of recognition. He quashed it immediately. He had better things to think about right now. Such as seducing this guy like he had never been seduced before.

"What’s your name?" Draco whispered against his lips.

"Ha - ." The guy licked his lips. The sight of that tongue did spontaneous things to Draco’s nethers.

The guy's chest brushed Draco’s as he took a breath and closed his eyes.

"Aaron."

"Aaron,’ Draco repeated at barely a whisper. "Are you ready for this, Aaron?"

The nod was barely perceptible, but the flush across his face was all the permission Draco needed.

First, Draco assaulted Aaron’s neck, working all the points that, from his considerable experience, Draco knew would send Aaron into a frenzy. For his part, Aaron made the most amazing noises and carded his hands through Draco’s hair. Ignoring the feelings he was getting from these responses, Draco moved on to Aaron’s chest.

As Draco undid each button on Aaron’s shirt, he kissed the smooth and lithe flesh left bare. Once open, Draco attacked Aaron’s nipples with gusto, leaving Aaron rutting against Draco in attempt to find the glorious friction he obviously craved. And Draco, strangely enough, desperately wanted to give him that.

There was a belt that needed undoing before pants could be unzipped. This gave the most glorious looking cock Draco had ever seen relief from its confines. Taking the beautiful shaft in one hand while teasing and kneading Aaron’s balls with the other, Draco drew a line underneath the length with his tongue and felt his own erection pulse in response to the new raft of noises this elicited from Aaron.

Teasing the head with every trick he knew, Draco abandoned Aaron’s testicles in order to attend to his own needs. The mew of disappointment from Aaron shot a pang straight to the pit of Draco’s stomach and it was everything he could do to not go back and do what Aaron wanted.

Draco took Aaron into his mouth, relaxing his throat as he did so. Aaron was too perfect, too wonderful. He tasted amazing, filling Draco’s mouth with his velvety hardness. It was sublime.

The heat was building, Draco could feel it. Building up from his groin until it spread all over consuming him, willing him on. Striving to push Aaron as far has he had pushed anyone and by the sounds spilling from Aaron’s lips, he was succeeding. With a firm hand to the base of Aaron’s cock, he worked his tongue around the head with great fervour and skill all the while keeping that constant suction which Draco knew was bound to send his conquest over the edge. Aaron was thrusting into Draco’s mouth and a hand grabbed at his hair tugging tightly, surprising Draco with the rough demanding treatment. This only turned Draco on more and he too felt carried along for the ride. As the pace increased, Draco matched the speed with firm strokes to his own weeping cock. He could hear Aaron thumping his head against the cubical wall in time with each pass of Draco’s lips over this magnificent manhood in front of him. Then Aaron stilled and Draco felt him tense. Breaking one of his own rules he looked up and their eyes met. Deep passionate eyes bored into his soul. Slamming his own eyes shut Draco lost all his control. Draco heard a hiss then his mouth was flooded with Aaron’s sweet flavour and he greedily drank him down, savouring the reward for his efforts.

Draco looked down at his own flagging erection. That was the most intense experience he had ever had. There was no way he was going to let that show. He came in for a quickie, and he got one.

Getting up from the stall floor, Draco zipped himself up, opened the stall door and walked out of the bathroom being careful to not look at Aaron. To do so might make the connection real, and he didn’t want it to be.

Running his fingers through his hair, Draco headed straight for the bar.

*~*

Irrespective of the fact that it was one of the best blow jobs he had ever given, Draco could not rid himself of thoughts that revolved around Aaron, regardless of how hard he tried. For God’s sake, it was just a blow job for a bloke who obviously had little to no experience and a quick one off the wrist for Draco. Theoretically, it should have meant nothing, another notch on Draco’s very scratched belt.

Somehow, Aaron already meant more to him than others of his acquaintance. He had crept under Draco’s skin without his permission and now there were feelings he had never had before. How it happened, Draco had no idea, given that he was not prone to self reflection, so it wasn’t an idea he was about to puzzle out soon.

One idea that had endeared itself to Draco was Aaron’s comparisons on any future sexual partners. They would have an awful lot to live up to. It was a very satisfying thought and it was the only thought that kept him going throughout the week. It was the one thought that didn’t send him down the road to uncomfortable introspection territory.

The last night before the Christmas shutdown saw the club more packed than ever before. If Draco thought last week was an unbridled success, he definitely hadn’t banked on the triumph of this week. Thankfully, there was no such thing as ‘patron limits’ otherwise ‘Carpe DM’ was in very great danger of breaking any number of fire and safety regulations.

Breaking safety regulations was not the reason behind Draco’s unsettled temperament at the moment, regardless of how hard he tried to convince himself otherwise. He was desperate to see Aaron again and kept looking toward the club door time and time again to see if he had arrived.

It was quite late into the evening, but still early for the club, when Draco finally spied Aaron walk through the door. Such was his focus on Aaron that it took Draco a moment to realise the Pretty Young Thing wasn’t there. Aaron was alone.

Motioning to Jack behind the bar, Draco didn’t remove his eyes from his prey. He watched as Aaron searched the club for whomever he was looking for. With a pang of something akin to jealousy, Draco wondered if he was looking for the Pretty Young Thing.

This unhappy thought was interrupted by a tap on the arm from Jack, who had just put a small glass of something extremely alcoholic and faintly smoking down on the bar beside Draco.

Picking it up and knocking back its contents in one go, Draco made up his mind. He’d just have to make Aaron forget who he was looking for.

*~*

In his half awake state, Draco couldn’t tell where he stopped and his lover started. Arms and legs were in a tangled heap, light from a bright Winter morning was on his face and the satisfying aroma of coffee caressed his olfactory sensors. Squiky, his house elf, must have put the coffee on.

Heaving a contented sigh, Draco wriggled a little lower under the duvet feeling safe and comfortable in Potter’s arms.

Draco’s eyes flew open. Potter’s arms. What the fuck was that all about? When did that guy at the club, Aaron, become Potter? What kind of sick joke was this?

A heavy weight started to press on Draco’s chest and it wasn’t his playmate from the evening before. It was panic. How was he going to extricate himself from this one, both metaphorically and literally?

"Fuck, fuckity, fuck, fuck," Draco heard from somewhere in the vicinity of his navel. Obviously, his companion had awoken.

Since pretending nonchalance had not led him astray so far, now was not the time to change it.

"Morning Potter. I trust you slept well."

Potter started and leapt from the bed. Unfortunately for him, the sheets were feeling uncooperative. Instead of what Draco thought could have been a spectacular leap from the bed, Potter’s movements were actually a struggling roll onto the floor with the impact cushioned by his face.

"Malfoy. Hi." Potter was a fabulous shade of red. If Draco remembered his Astronomy lessons correctly, there was every chance that Potter was about to go nova.

"Care to tell me what happened to Aaron?"

Potter ran his hand through his hair which left it even more dishevelled and looked at the floor.

"Well, you see Malfoy, I am Aaron." He looked at Draco then and he was grinning. Why was he grinning? "Surely you knew that last night."

"Why would I know that?" Draco was beginning to get cranky now.

"The bathroom stall," Harry said as if it explained everything.

"What about it?"

Potter suddenly went pale. "You didn’t look up or turn around. Oh shit."

And he fell on the bed and rested his head in his hands.

"What are you talking about, Potter? Are you always so comprehensible in the mornings?" Draco sat up fully now, hands clenched. All this confusion was doing nothing for what was beginning to be a spectacular hangover.

"I can’t keep it up," Potter said into his hands.

"I beg to differ. You managed quite fine last night."

Potter turned to look at him over his shoulder. "Not that, you muppet. The glamour I use so that I can go to places like the club and not bring attention to myself. It’s temporary. It goes when I come."

As puerile as it was, that last comment sent both Draco and Potter into fits of giggles. It was very disarming and the mischievous grin that came across Potter’s face after a moment made Draco’s groin region take notice.

Crawling up the bed, eyes fixed on Draco’s own, Potter lay on top of him and began to do the most spectacular things to his neck before working his way down lower and lower and lower…

There, right there. That spot. Draco made noises he didn’t know he could make, felt things he didn’t know he could feel. Have the biggest, longest and most euphoric orgasm he had ever experienced.

"Sweet Circe! Where the hell did you learn to do that, Potter?"

"I wasn’t always gay, Malfoy. Women are a lot harder to please than men." Harry lay on his back beside Draco.

Looking over, Draco could see that Harry was smirking. Smirking! How dare he smirk? Draco smirked – he was the king of smirking. Potter had no right to look that smug. Oh wait, hang on. There was that thing he did when – and then that other thing …

Just thinking about it made Draco hard again. He banged his head against the pillow and grunted in frustration. Talent like that just shouldn’t be allowed!

Harry turned to look at him, eyebrows raised. He then looked down at Draco’s burgeoning erection and a very knowing, self-satisfied smile slid across his face.

In the time it took Draco to draw breath enough to tell Potter exactly what he thought of the smug smile, Harry had shifted to loom over him again and start trailing lanuginous tongue-filled kisses down his neck and torso.

*~*

Sitting in his office above the nightclub, Draco welcomed the distracting tapping on the window. Handling the actual gold was fun and it was greatly satisfying to know exactly how much he was worth regarding the fruits of his labour, but having to balance accounting books and number-wrangling just wasn’t his bag.

He looked up from the books to see an owl on the sill, a note tied to its leg. Since he wasn’t expecting any correspondences, he only knew of one person to whom this particular owl could belong. Not that he was hoping for a letter, of course.

Inexplicably, a knot seemed to form in Draco’s stomach. The sudden lump in his throat became very hard to swallow around, and it wasn’t the kind of lump he was used to.

Telling himself he was being ridiculous, Draco got up and let the owl in. It landed on top of his books with a haughty expression and held out its leg. Draco untied the note and with an impatient hoot, the owl flew off.

Realising that the shaking of his hands was definitely a figment of his suddenly overactive imagination, Draco looked at the note. It was short and to the point.

Meet me in Le Café de la Grenouille, at 10pm, tomorrow. H.P.


Draco spent the rest of the day and evening debating whether or not he should go.
Why should he go? He’d had Potter several times during their last encounter, if his fuzzy memories were anything to go by, and that wasn’t including that first time in the bathroom. The last thing he wanted, no needed, was a pleading and desperate Potthead to make his life awkward.

One thing did make him curious - the note itself. There were no platitudes, pleas or any other kind of submissive language. It was succinct and commanding. Potter obviously did not expect a reply or he would have told his owl to wait. He just assumed Draco would be there and, although he would never admit it, Draco found that kind of dominance an incredible turn on.

Draco got himself into such a spin that around lunch he succumbed to the inevitable and asked Pansy for advice. He’d disguise it, of course, by pretending that he wanted to have lunch with her. It was the perfect excuse, or so Draco thought. Pansy, however, saw right through it.

"So, what did he say?" Pansy asked as soon as she sat at the table.

"Who?" Draco was shocked. He had no idea she would cotton on so quickly. Best play dumb.

"Potter, you dunderhead. You’ve spoken of nothing else for days. What did he say?"

"Potter has said several things, Pans, not all of which were anything riveting. If you’re talking about our mid-coital conversation, I confess I wasn’t really concentrating on his words. If you’re referring to the weird hissing he does when he comes, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s Parseltongue and, as we established in our second year, I am no Parselmouth. Of course if you’re referring to our pillow talk in the morning, I assure you he was rather uncomfortable with the situation and I was having too much fun at his expense."

Pansy saw right through his attempts at deflecting her from what they both really wanted to talk about. She always did. One day, he’d catch her out, but that day was not today.

"Fine. Play it that way. If I wasn’t dying of curiosity, I’d let you have your little games. He must have contacted you or you wouldn’t have asked me out for lunch." When she saw his eyebrows rise, she added, "You have this habit of asking me to lunch whenever you have boy problems. Now, spill."

The jig was up. He’d have to tell her everything. Maybe he could try to string it out a bit, make her work for her lunch.

"Damn you and the broom you rode in on. That nose of yours has always poked itself far too readily in other people’s affairs."

Or maybe not.

"Don’t give me that tosh. You asked me to lunch. Besides, I kindly ask you never to bring my old nose into the conversation again." Pansy leaned her elbows on the table and looked at Draco directly. "What are you going to do about Potter?"

Draco sighed. It was going to be a long and painful lunch. Pansy was going to extract every ounce of feelings, thoughts and insecurities from him before lunch was through. Best get it out and over with.

~*~

It was at least ten minutes after their scheduled meeting time. Draco made sure he was late. He must be seen to be making an entrance and not appear eager. Besides, Draco waited for no one.

All of these best laid plans went out the window, however, when Draco realised Potter wasn’t there.

Draco checked his watch again. He was definitely late which meant that Potter planned to keep him waiting, damn him.

Casting dispersions on Potter’s parentage, sexual proclivities and pet goats, Draco sat himself at a booth. He wasn’t waiting for Potter; he was at the café, so might as well enjoy a coffee or something while he was there. Waiting was a pastime Draco never indulged in. He was to be waited on and waited for, not doing the actual waiting.

Just as Draco had decided he had had enough, he was going to leave, Potter walked through the door, shaking snow from his head. He grinned when he spied Draco at the booth and made his way over.

Draco’s stomach clenched. How he had not noticed before how attractive Potter was he had no idea but he was very cognizant of that fact now.

Carefully keeping his face blank, Draco nodded as Potter sat down.

"Sorry I’m late," Potter said.

Even raising an eyebrow didn’t get Draco a further explanation. It was all he was going to get apparently.

The silence sat heavy on the table. Potter appeared to be going out of his way to make sure Draco broached the subject of their tryst first. That wasn’t going to happen. Draco had all the time in the world to discover Potter’s motives. Let him sweat it out for a while. It would be good for his soul.

"What did you want to talk about?" Draco eventually asked. He couldn’t bring himself to look into those impossibly green eyes, so he stared at the table instead, picking at a join with his thumb.

"Us, obviously."

At that, Draco looked up. "There is no ‘us’, Potter. We shagged, that’s all."

"That is not all, Malfoy and you know it." Potter leaned his forearms on the table. "Look, I don’t play games. I will not begin to deny that I felt something more going on between us than a mere shag. I realise it may be a bit premature –"

"Neither of us have a problem with being premature, Potter."

"- but I know I’m not about to go on like we used to," Potter persisted, although there was mirth in his eyes and an upturn to his mouth. "I cannot pretend to hate you anymore. We’re getting too old for that shit."

Potter may not play games but Draco did. He wasn’t even about to admit to himself that he felt something for Potter, so he certainly wasn’t going to say anything to him about it.

Potter signalled for the waitress. It wasn’t until that point that Draco realised he hadn’t ordered yet. It had nothing to do with anxiety about meeting Potter or his preoccupation with the ponce. Nothing at all.

"So, what do you propose we do?" Draco asked, then cursed inwardly. He had not meant to use ‘we’. To do so would imply he had a vested interest in the matter. And he didn’t. Not one jot.

"Get to know each other, for a start. It’s been years since school."

A shadow formed itself across Potter’s features that greatly unsettled Draco in many ways, the least of which was that it reminded him of a phase in his life he would much rather forget.

In what was perhaps the timing of the decade, the waitress arrived. While they ordered, Draco had time to recompose himself. He suspected Potter was doing the same.

Idle chit chat about the weather and Quidditch ensued until their drinks arrived.

"What are you doing with yourself now, Draco?"

It took all of Draco’s self control not to scoff. Firstly, hearing his first name come out of Potter’s mouth was faintly disturbing. Secondly, of all the inane questions for Potter to come out with, that had to be the worst of them all.

"I own the club. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that."

Potter had the grace to blush. As an Auror, of course he knew what Draco did, just as Draco knew what Potter did. The wizarding community in Britain was so small, everyone knew of everyone else, at the very least.

Another silence sat between them, this one just a little more awkward. Again, Potter was the one to break it.

"I heard you got married and had a son."

"Yes."

"What does your wife say about, well…"

"About me being as gay as a box full of streamers?" Draco finished for him. "I’m not about to go into a long exposition into the Malfoy family dynamic but suffice to say, the family line is secure. That’s the important lesson for today."

The light that suddenly seemed to turn on in Potter’s head could have lit the entire dance floor of the club.

To forestall any proclamations that he was sure would arise, Draco continued, "I thought you got married and had two kids."

Potter seemed to deflate a little which cheered Draco up no end. He was starting to wrest control of this conversation away from Potter. It was an added bonus that Potter blushed again.

"It’s complicated."

Draco gave Potter the splendor of his patented satisfied smirk and lazily called the waitress over for another round. The evening just took turn for the better.

"You know, Potter, I never had you pegged for a fag. I was sure you only had eyes for the girl Weasley." Draco was enjoying every minute of this. Potter was literally squirming.

"I cannot talk about this right now." Was it Draco’s imagination, or was Potter starting to sweat.

"She doesn’t know, does she?" It felt good to be right.

Potter put his head into his hands and mumbled a pitiful ‘no’.

Draco leaned back in his seat. "Then we be discreet." Where did that come from? When did he make these sorts of decisions?

The look Potter gave him was like Draco had just saved him from something. What did he just get himself into?

*~*

It had been a few months since Draco first hooked up with Harry. It was more like seven or eight. Actually, it was eight months, two weeks, four days and sixteen hours but no one was counting, really. It wasn’t like he and Harry were exclusive or anything. The understanding was that if they needed to see other people, they could, no dramas. It was just that Draco didn’t feel the need to see other people. They just didn’t interest him anymore. As far as Draco was concerned, his hunt was over.

The hunt was over for Harry to, it would seem. Both he and Draco had had a ‘talk’ the day prior and decided to come clean to Potter’s wife. It wasn’t a smooth conversation by any stretch of the imagination, but they had come to a conclusion that sat nicely with both of them.

"What are you going to do about the Weaselette?" Harry gave him a look that was not friendly in the slightest. "What?"

"Don’t. She is the mother of my children and I will not have you speak of her like that." It was said quietly, but the threat was clear. So clear, Draco developed goosebumps.

Now, Draco found himself relegated to the kitchen of the She-Weasel while Harry spoke privately with the soon-to-be-former-Mrs Potter.

Patience was never Draco’s strong point, so he went to the hall by the lounge room in the hopes he might overhear something.

It was quiet in there. Far too quiet, which meant it was the calm before the explosion he knew would come. Draco moved to stand by the lounge room door and caught some of the conversation. He noticed they were standing in the middle of the room.

"… too well."

"Would you rather I rant and rave at you?" Ginny asked.

"Yes," Harry replied with pitiable honesty.

Ginny moved suddenly, standing almost uncomfortably close. She glared up at him, her voice a low and menacing growl.

"Of all the conniving, self-serving idiocies I’ve seen from you, Harry James Potter, this has got to be the best. You couldn’t just be gay. Oh no – you had to go and be gay with Draco Malfoy! Did you even begin to think how this would make me look? My reputation is now shot to pieces!" Ginny moved closer still, accentuating her words with jabs to his chest, her voice steadily rising. "What will Mum and Dad say? They’ll have lost another son! Don’t forget Ron and Hermione! You know how they feel about Malfoy and how he feels about them! Getting them in the same room would be a disaster!"

Ginny took a deep breath and returned her voice to the menacing growl. "Did you even think about the kids?"

She stayed where she was, continuing to glare up at him and it was all he could do not to look away.

The tension in the room palpably eased as Ginny took a step back and smiled up at Harry. "Is that better?" Draco was relived to see the smile was genuine and contained real affection.

"Yes." Harry’s grin was contagious and he enveloped her in a hug.

It wasn’t until they turned toward him that Draco noticed he had made any noise. In his relief he had gasped out loud and slumped against the doorframe.

Harry started to release his hold of Ginny and made a move to go toward him. Realising how completely not cool this would look and feeling a need to scrape together a little bit of dignity after that shocking display emotion, Draco held up a hand and shook his head to stop Harry in his tracks.

"No, don’t move. It’s too ‘happy families.’ I can’t let you ruin the moment. Stay where you are, I’m going to get the camera. We need to remember this for prosperity."

Ginny looked positively gob smacked as Draco turned and left the room. His sense of ease increased when Harry barked out a laugh.

"I’ll allow it on one condition." Draco re-entered the room on this pronouncement. Conditions were never a good thing. Ginny had recovered her composure quickly, it would seem.

"Allow it? What do you mean allow it?" Harry was incredulous.

Ginny smiled wickedly. "Honestly, Harry, I thought you would have been more worried about the condition."

Draco sniggered. It would seem that both he and Harry were close to women who were too cunning to be good to anyone. Hang on. Maybe that fact wasn’t so snigger worthy after all.

"All right. What’s the condition?"

"I want you to give me a baby girl."

Both Harry and Draco choked.

"Come again?" Draco asked.

"I want Harry to give me a baby girl." Ginny held up a hand to forestall any interruptions. "Before you start protesting the injustice of giving you my blessing then demanding you make me pregnant, there are means of conception other than the conventional."

Harry was frowning in blatant confusion. "You mean potions or a spell of some kind?"

"You can be a bit thick, you know that? For someone raised with Muggles, you should think outside the square more often." Ginny sighed in exasperation when she saw the look of utter incomprehension on both their faces. "Let me put it to you in words of one syllable and as crudely as possible: you, Harry, wank into a cup, I insert it - turkey basters are the tool of choice, I’m told - and hopefully in a few weeks we’ll know if it takes. If not, we repeat until it does. I’m sure that wouldn’t be too hard for you." She rested a hand on Harry’s shoulder and looked at him with pity.

"I guess growing up with Fred and George had to have consequences," Harry grinned.

"Yes. Speaking of consequences, I need to make a fire-call. Hermione just lost the bet."

"There was a bet?" Draco asked.

"You didn’t?" Harry asked at the same time.

Ginny’s wicked grin was back. "Oh, yes, there was and I did." She planted a chaste kiss on Harry’s cheek. "I had an inkling something like this was in the cards, so I bet Hermione. She said you were going through a phase in that annoyingly know-it-all way she gets sometimes."

"What was the bet?" Draco was almost afraid to ask. He realised he had grossly underestimated the conniving power of the former Mrs Potter.

"She gets to stand on one foot, wearing one of her awful beanies, singing ‘Come ye merry Hippogriffs’ on the front steps of Gringott’s." With that, Ginny left the room, humming carols to herself.

*~*

Draco didn’t need to read every word of the letter to know what it said. His wife was taking his son away to live on their own. Draco knew it would only be a matter of time before that happened and that they couldn’t live on the estate forever, but he had hoped they could. Sometimes his mother and father could be a bit much. It didn’t hurt any less, however, even though Scorpious was off to Hogwart’s in a just few years.

It took a full month for Draco to get around to saying anything to Harry and even then it was only because he had agreed to help Sabine move.

"When is she moving out?" Harry asked, coming up behind Draco and rubbing his shoulders.

Draco shrugged Harry off and moved to the opposite side of the room. "Today."

"Today? Why so soon?" Draco could tell Harry was confused, but quite frankly, he didn’t care. His wife was about to move away with his son and all Harry could do was worry about semantics.

"She told me a month ago, all right?" Draco snapped.

Harry took a literal step back. "You’ve known about this for weeks and you kept it from me? It must have hurt you, Draco. I could have helped."

"It’s none of your business."

"That’s bullshit and you know it. Of course it’s my business. I’m supposed to be your partner, Draco. You’re supposed to let me support you with things like this. Why won’t you ever let me in?"

"As I said, it’s none of your business."

The flash of anger across Harry’s face would have quailed lesser men. This wasn’t the first time they had had this argument. Draco knew it was taking all of Harry’s self control not to throw a punch at him right then and there. Instead, he walked over to the couch, took his coat off the back of it, and stormed out the door.

Epilogue

Letting Harry go was the single biggest mistake of his life. Considering the mistakes he had made over the course of the years, that’s saying something. He was too young, too immature, to realise the good thing he had in Harry. And too stupid to acknowledge his own feelings. That was one of many faults that was a constant wedge between he and Harry.

For too long, he thought people were there for his own use, to take what he needed when he needed it and to hell with what anyone thought about it. Harry was different, should have been treated different, deserved to be handled differently. Whenever Harry gave, he gave absolutely, no holds barred, no reservations. Draco took all Harry had to give and took still more, without actually giving anything back in return. He pushed Harry constantly until one day Harry, justifiably, refused to be pushed any more.

Seeing Harry standing a way down the platform, laughing and loving his family and friends, Draco felt cramps in his stomach that had become far too familiar in the intervening years since Harry walked out. Realising it was rude to stare, Draco turned back toward his son.

He felt eyes on him and looked back. Harry was looking at him and gave him a nod, an acknowledgement.

Draco felt his wife’s fingers threading through his and it gave him the strength to nod back. Looking away again, he used his free hand to straighten an already straight collar.
Tags: [fic], epilogue compliant, rated: nc-17, round: winter 2007
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