Title: Happily Ever After?
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco (some Harry/Ginny)
Summary: When Harry tries to turn his back on the wizarding world he runs into an unexpected reminder of the past.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Deathly Hallows compliant? Set between the main body of DH and the Epilogue, leaving the question of Epilogue compliancy well alone!
Word Count: 3,220
Author’s Notes: With thanks to my lovely betas for keeping me in the same tense and person, all mistakes are my own *g* Happy endings aside I hope you have a very happy hd_holiday!
Harry stared at the small pile lying on his desk. It wasn’t much, some sickles and knuts, his official Auror badge and robes, and underneath it all, the up-to-date paperwork for all his cases.
“It’s now or never.”
Saying the words out loud seemed to galvanise him and, taking a deep breath, he placed his wand on top of the pile and left.
As he walked from the Auror officers and through the main lobby of the Ministry he felt, oddly, as if the few people still there at 11 o’clock at night should realise there was something strange taking place and yet he got no more than the usual cursory glances.
He walked out onto the streets of muggle London and, pausing for just a moment to look back at the telephone box that hid an entrance to a whole world, he took another deep breath and smiled.
He was free. Out here nobody gave him even a half-glance and there were certainly none of the double takes he had become so used to. He walked through the dark streets, still bustling with people as the Christmas season approached, and revelled in the feeling of complete anonymity.
As he walked he could feel his step lightening and his back straightening, as if a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders, and he looked around with as much amazement as his original trip to Diagon Alley had given him all those years ago.
As he walked, the major avenues gave way to smaller streets and eventually, just at the entrance to a narrow alleyway, he ducked inside a bar. With the muggle money he’d quietly kept in a box in the flat he shared with Ron, he bought himself a pint and sat at the bar nursing it.
He supposed he ought to have felt lonely or guilty or afraid or half a dozen other things, but all he was aware of was a great sense of relief. He was tired of the paperwork and the mindless cases - after the first year there had been few Death Eaters still to capture and minor crimes seemed petty. After all, he had experience.
More than anything, though, he was tired of being Harry bloody Potter. The adoration annoyed him as much as, if not more than, the hatred that the few Death Eater sympathisers directed his way. He was sick of being recognised, sick of being always questioned, sick of being praised for everything right, and blamed for everything wrong with the post-war world the wizards had entered.
As he downed the end of his drink and motioned for the barman to pour him a second, Harry considered how they would all react when they realised he was gone. His boss would be mad of course; his colleagues half-afraid and half-angry he had left his work to them; Ron and Hermione would wonder why on earth he had left without a goodbye; and Ginny… Harry paused.
Ginny would understand and that was the worst of all. He had assumed that, with Voldemort dead, they would fall into each other’s arms and he would get the happy ending and the family he so longed for. Oddly, he thought that was exactly what he had got, and yet the more Ginny understood and sympathised and gave him the space or support he needed, the more he felt himself returning to the uncertainty of that long, last year of the war.
Eventually the bar started to empty and he realised he would have to leave. Suddenly he wished he had bothered to find a place to stay before he’d started drinking, but it hadn’t seemed important.
“Hey!” Harry stumbled into someone standing just outside the door of the bar. “You want to watch where you’re going kid.”
“Sorry I…”Harry began to apologise but stumbled as he met his victim’s gaze.
There was silence for a moment as Harry’s green eyes met with the inscrutable expression in Draco’s grey ones.
The sneer was still there in both their voices, but Harry felt disoriented at this sudden recognition in an unfamiliar place.
“So what,” Draco’s voice was full of loathing, “is the great Harry Potter doing in a dive like this?”
Harry felt Draco’s gaze travel over his dishevelled clothes and his weary face.
“I take it you haven’t been sent to find me, I’ve kept strictly within the terms of my exile.”
“I…” Harry’s voice faltered again as he realised he wanted to tell the truth. “I left.”
Draco snorted and stared at Harry, clearly disbelieving him, but as the silence between them grew his eyes widened and his face twitched until suddenly a bark of laughter escaped him.
“It’s not funny!”
A wave of indignation rose in Harry’s chest, but as he watched Draco, doubled over with laughter, he found hysteria overtaking him too.
Neither of them could stop laughing now they’d started. Harry wasn’t sure what was so funny and he didn’t know if Draco knew either, but it felt so good to laugh until his sides ached and he was gasping for breath.
“You left?!” Draco tried to swallow his hysteria. “The golden boy fucking left the wizarding world and bumped straight into public enemy number one!”
He creased up with laughter again, tears forming in the corners of his eyes, and Harry shook his head and grabbed at Draco’s shoulder to hold himself up.
Harry wasn’t really aware of moving from the alleyway. He was still pleasantly fuzzy from the beer and the laughter seemed to have wiped all critical faculties from his brain. Somehow he and Draco had stumbled toward Draco’s flat around the corner and up his stairs.
As Draco fumbled with his keys, still shaking slightly with suppressed laughter, it suddenly occurred to Harry that he had no idea what he was walking into. Every instinct, natural and those honed in Auror training, shouted that he should turn and run. Draco, after all, was not an innocent. It was nearly three years now since the trial that had sentenced Draco and his parents to 5 years exile from the wizarding world and the forfeiture of most of their estates. Harry happened to know that after the sentence had been passed Draco had vanished completely. Even the Malfoys didn’t seem to know where he was and yet he was here.
Draco finally got the door open and turned back to Harry. He seemed to have sobered up at the same moment as Harry and his expression was now carefully blank and closed.
Harry stepped forward.
Harry was dimly aware that the flat was nice, not richly furnished, but not bad for a flat in central London. There was silence between them again, and Harry could feel Draco’s eyes on him as he stepped into the room.
Draco’s voice was quiet this time but full of a menace that made a shiver pass down Harry’s spine. He stared at a picture on the wall opposite, unwilling to turn and face Draco.
“I left.” The picture, showing a figure with its head on its arms, was as grey as Draco’s eyes were. “I couldn’t stay anymore, I…” Harry stumbled again. “All that expectation. As if everything had changed, as if I’d make everything alright again and I…”
Harry swallowed hard and stared at the painting, it looked so peaceful.
“You changed enough.” Draco’s tone was not friendly.
Harry shook his head, not trusting his words anymore, and turned to face Draco. To his surprise there seemed to be tears in Draco’s eyes again. His expression was fixed and fierce but the brightness of his eyes and the flush on his cheeks made him look absurdly young.
“You changed everything”
Harry shook his head again and stepped forwards.
“You destroyed my life.”
“No.” Harry barely whispered the word, but he was now standing barely inches from Draco’s face. “No I didn’t. You did that for yourself. You had a choice.”
With an exclamation of frustration Draco tried to turn away, but Harry grabbed his wrist and held it tightly.
“Let go.” Draco’s breathing was ragged now and Harry could hear the effort it took for him to keep his voice steady. “It’s too late to take my hand. You made that choice long ago.”
“You’re still…” Harry tightened his grasp so that he was sure he must be bruising Draco’s flesh. “We were eleven, I was a child! You can’t blame it all on me you coward.”
“What did you call me?!”
Draco’s head snapped up, his eyes flashing with hatred.
“You heard me. You’re a coward and you’re blaming me for your own mistakes and I’m not your bloody scapegoat.”
With a sudden burst of anger Draco pushed Harry hard, winding him and knocking him to the wooden floor. As he fell, Harry kept hold of Draco’s wrist so that he fell too, landing in a sprawling heap on top of Harry.
Draco yanked his arms free and attacked Harry with a passion that seemed, to Harry, to be made up of nearly eleven years of hatred and anger. They grappled with each other, hands tearing at the others’ skin, elbows jamming into ribs and sides, heads bumping and legs kicking hard.
Harry struggled hard as Draco tried to smash his head back against the hard floor. His legs hooked around the shorter man’s and he twisted, depositing Draco on the floor underneath him. Realising he had lost control, Draco lunged up, butting his head against Harry’s chin and tore at Harry’s chest trying to scratch him.
Now that he was on top, Harry found it easier to control the fight, his long Auror training finally paying dividends as he pinned Draco to the floor, his arms stretched above his head.
“Stay still you fucking lunatic!”
Harry pressed down with all his weight against Draco who struggled and squirmed between his legs.
“Take it back!” Draco wouldn’t stop. “I’m not a coward, take it back now you Muggle loving freak!”
Harry shook his head and made sure of his hold over Draco, leaning down low over him.
“Watch your mouth.” Harry’s voice was low in Draco’s ear.
Draco let out a wordless scream of frustration and anguish and then, just as suddenly as he had attacked, he stopped and his head fell back with a thud.
“I’m not a coward.”
Warily Harry watched as Draco’s chest heaved as if he were crying, though there were no tears visible now. There was silence in the room again and Harry became slowly aware of a clock ticking on the mantelpiece above them. He was afraid to let Draco up but he was aware that they were pressed so close now that he could feel the rapid beating of his heart.
“I’m not…” Draco turned his face away from Harry’s gaze. “What could I do? He would have killed them.”
The words were said with such a dull certainty that Harry felt his chest contract. With a sudden clarity he remembered seeing the three Malfoys after that awful battle, their fair heads bent towards each other as if there were no world outside.
Slowly he relaxed his grasp on Draco’s arms and knelt back. Draco seemed to take a moment to realise he had been freed, but eventually he propped himself up on his arms and slowly moved to kneel opposite Harry.
Neither of them spoke as they watched each other, unsure of how to proceed. Harry realised with a jolt that the feeling of freedom he had experienced as he left the Ministry was still with him, in fact he felt the blood coursing through his veins in a way he’d almost forgotten. He was studying Draco’s face, looking for some clue as to why Malfoy of all people escaped that association Harry had come to make between the wizarding world and the numbness of the war.
“Who gave you that scar?”
The question startled Harry out of his reverie, his confusion clear on his face.
“Those marks,” almost of it’s own will Draco’s hand reached out to where Harry’s shirt was hanging open and touched the four, small, crescent shapes on his chest. His fingers were warm against Harry’s skin and his touch was gentle and questioning.
Draco looked up, as if expecting a joke.
“In the forest, after Voldemort killed me she,” Harry paused, wondering if Narcissa Malfoy had ever told her son this story. “He asked her if I was alive and as she reached down she whispered to me, she asked if you were alive.” Harry found himself unable to tear his eyes away from Draco’s steady gaze. “When she realised you were, her nails… she told him I was dead.”
Draco nodded slowly, never breaking eye contact as Harry felt his fingers stroking across the faded marks and then, as Draco’s palm flattened against his chest, he found himself leaning in to the heat of Draco’s body.
Their lips met and for a moment they held there, barely touching, and then suddenly the kiss deepened. Harry felt himself being pulled in closer as Draco’s free hand fisted in the loose fabric of his shirt and he responded by cradling the back of Draco’s head, increasing the pressure of the kiss until it was almost painful.
Again their hands began to tear at each other’s clothes and they struggled for mastership as they lowered themselves to the floor. Harry pulled at the soft hair at the nape of Draco’s neck, exposing white skin that he proceeded to kiss and bite and mark whilst Draco’s hands moved lower and removed the remainder of Harry’s clothes.
Harry was on top, Draco stretched out beneath him and writhing again, but this time he didn’t seem eager to escape. As Harry bit down hard on the pale skin below him, he felt Draco’s whole body arch up into his touch.
They pressed against each other, trying desperately to come even closer together. As they kissed, trying to climb inside each other and yet gasping for breath, their cocks rubbed against each other creating a beautiful friction.
Draco’s gasping words made Harry laugh with exhilaration and he reached between their sweat-slicked bodies to take hold of their cocks.
Draco gasped again and thrust into Harry’s closed hand, beyond words now. Harry could feel his body tightening, and his whole world seemed focussed on the movement of his hand and the body beneath him, all sharp corners with red marks marring the pale skin.
Suddenly he felt Draco’s whole body tense and then he was coming all over Harry’s hand. The warm stickiness on Harry’s chest and belly made him gasp but Draco was claiming his mouth again for a kiss. Moments later, mumbling unintelligible words into Draco’s mouth, Harry came harder than he had done since he was a horny teenager.
The light stealing in through a high window was the next thing Harry knew. He stared at the golden sun flickering across the floor towards him and smiled.
He felt warm and safe and he turned over to reach for his glasses.
As he put them on and blinkingly registered the world around him, he realised that this wasn’t his flat and, with a dawning horror, he remembered the events of the night before.
They seemed to have somehow made it to a bed, Draco’s bed he assumed, and Harry realised he was naked under the bedclothes.
He sat up, a sick feeling rising in his chest as he remembered the pile left on his desk and the worry he must have caused. He wondered just what he had been thinking to abandon all of his responsibilities and friends and his home. Guiltily, he looked down at the sleeping man next to him.
“Mmmm…” Draco stirred next to him and sleepily opened his eyes. “It can’t be morning already.”
There was a smile playing at the corners of Draco’s mouth and Harry slowly registered that he looked really rather good lying there. As he opened his mouth to say something, however, he saw Draco’s barriers suddenly come down with a crash and his eyes narrowed.
“The showers down the hall and your clothes are there.” Draco gestured to a chair. “There’s a café just across the street if you want breakfast.”
Harry realised with horror that Draco must have seen the look on his face and assumed it was regret about what had happened.
“Draco I’m so…”
“Save it.” Draco turned and sat on the edge of the bed, facing away from Harry. “I know The-Boy-Who-Lived isn’t going to stick around for morning cuddles and,” Harry could see him straighten his shoulders with a wrench, “I wouldn’t want them even if he did. I’m no Hufflepuff.”
“Draco…” Harry reached across the bed but Draco flinched away from Harry’s touch and, grabbing a dressing gown, he stalked out of the room.
Harry grabbed his clothes and headed to the bathroom. Standing under the spray of a hot shower he tried to think of how to apologise to Draco, to make him understand that the horror hadn’t been about what they’d done, but as he tried to think of the words, Harry’s mind skittered all over the place.
He tried to picture Draco as he had been last night, remember how he had felt and the way Draco had moved beneath his hands, but it all seemed to be washing down the drain with the suds of the borrowed shower gel.
Why did he need to apologise anyway? Clearly Draco didn’t want him there; it had only been a night of madness to him anyway, and why should Harry think differently?
Stepping out of the shower and looking into the mirror, Harry thought again of how his friends would react when they found his wand on his desk, of how much it would worry them, and he wondered why on earth he was standing here in Draco Malfoy’s bathroom instead of rushing home.
An image of Ginny’s face came into his mind, flushed from Quidditch practice and smiling just for him, and he imagined her unquestioning certainty and the way she had quietly stuck with him through everything. The freewheeling craziness of last night came back to him, the hysteria and the fighting and the uncontrollable lust, and he realised that he had walked away from his happy ending, his family and only found an uncertain and confusing experience. An experience which Draco clearly thought was a one-off.
As he dried himself off and began to dress, Harry’s hand brushed against the white half-moon shapes on his chest, the scars he’d forgotten he even had before last night. His heart seemed to leap and his chest constricted at the half-remembered sensation, and Harry pulled his hand away as if stung.
It was no decision at all, Harry thought, and he hurriedly finished dressing.
Draco was sitting in the living room, staring at the picture over his mantelpiece and cradling a cup of coffee. For a moment his eyes met Harry’s, but both their expressions were guarded now, and Draco merely nodded and then looked away again.
Outside the door of Draco’s flat, Harry took a deep breath and started back towards his happy ending.