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Fourth of July

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Dear Harry,

It was the fourth of July. I don’t know if you still remember that day, it’s been so many years since then, after all. I guess for you it was but another Independence Day among the others but for me it was the only one I’ve ever celebrated and you were there too, infuriating and ready to point out all my faults. You’ve got no idea how much I hated you at first, I hated you so much that I have no idea how the things ended up going the way they did.

After I left back for Britain I thought I’d forget you easily. You’d be but a memory from my teenage years, a wild adventure in my horribly proper and boring life. At first I thought it was normal that my thoughts kept going back to your stupid smile when I looked into the mirror and thought I saw you there like I did that day at your relative’s house. Just standing there with that wicked glint in your green eyes while you watched me wash my hands.

After we’d done it.

Then I thought it was a little weird when I kept seeing your face when I woke up in early summer mornings only to realize that you weren’t there next to me or that the knock at my door wasn’t your godfather wondering where you’d disappeared last night but my own mother, asking me if I was getting ready for a meeting with my father.

I realised something was definitely wrong the moment I kept seeing your face when I slept with my fiancé. Her blue eyes were suddenly your sharp green, closing as you reached the climax, her blonde hair your messy black and I kept wondering why I wanted to see her bite her lip until I remembered that that was what you used to do. Every time.

I’m supposed to be getting married, Harry. In a month. But all I keep seeing everywhere I go, after five bloody years, is you. We didn’t even know each other for that long and yet I feel like I lost a part of myself when I left Colorado. I want it back, you stealing git. I wonder if you can even give it back or if you’ve just forgotten me by now.

I don’t know what’s going on in your life, not at all. I know what you’re thinking, it’s my fault. And I might admit it, it indeed was me who refused to exchange addresses or any kind of contact info. But I was proud and scared and aware of my duties. One of which is sitting in the next room, planning our wedding while I’m here in my office, sometimes looking out to the British countryside and trying to tell you how I feel. Sometimes I feel guilty thinking about my fiancé but then again, we were never meant to marry for love. It was arranged, the whole thing. It eases the guilt a little and I might be able to look her in the eye after I send this letter and probably never hear of you. After all, I hurt you. Didn’t I? And I bet you’re quite eager to forget me again.

But please, listen to this, if you’ve read this far. I need you to remember so I won’t be all alone with this feeling. Yes, I’m being selfish again. I know. I can only imagine how you’re cursing me to the deepest hell and wishing me dead or worse, escorting me down the aisle and leaving me alone with my future wife to produce heirs. If you need to get your revenge, please, don’t let it be that. I’d rather stand there with you by my side than with you leaving me, either smiling for my health and happiness or wishing me bad luck in my marriage. Both would hurt.

So before you do that, remember the fourth of July, 1997. It was close to the end of my time as an exchange student and my final celebration with my temporary family. I’d never seen the American celebration of the Independence and even though I kept thinking that it was quite tasteless to celebrate such an important date outside, I kept enduring. The Granger family wanted to go to celebrate it with their family friends, your godfather Sirius Black and his husband Remus Lupin. That meant you were there too.

I first saw you when you hugged Hermione, laughing and ignoring me like I wasn’t even there. You only paid attention to me once you’d gotten enough sharing news with her and that tall ginger bloke, Ronnie, or whatever his name was. Hermione introduced us and you smiled at me, politely. It pissed me off right away. I could see from your eyes what you thought about the way I was dressed and observed you – I remember that you confirmed this to me later that day.

The second time I saw you that day was when you were laughing to something that tall ginger bloke’s as ginger little sister said to you. You had dimples and muscles that showed under your t-shirt as you picked her up like she weighed nothing and threw her into a pool. Back then I thought your happiness was disgusting, now I realized I was jealous. I didn’t know you then but you looked striking. In other word you were just my type, a little wild and mysterious yet easy to read and open enough to say hi to me whenever we passed each other at the table full of drinks.

I guess it was that time when I got enough of your niceness and poured some alcohol to my cup without caring if anyone saw me. You looked horrified, bloody proper golden boy you were, but I looked you straight in the eye as I drank it. You took it as a challenge and drank too. Bloody moron, you were. Are you still as stupid and easy to manipulate as back then? If you are, tell me. I’d love to get to another drinking battle with you again, now that we both actually can drink legally.

I guess the first time I admitted myself you were a good looking bloke was when we wandered further away from the party, avoiding our families to hide we’d been drinking. The sun was still setting and you started to laugh at something I’d said. I can’t remember what it was for I saw nothing but the way you looked happy, because of me. This sounds stupid and sappy but I guess I fell in love with the way you showed your happiness so easily for me. I’m a distant person, not many are ready to be so open with me right away. You were. Despite me calling you with many names that are not proper enough to be repeated on paper. You were quite ready to beat me in the game of name calling and came up with pretty creative words yourself.

I guess that’s one more reason for me to love you. You never hesitated with your words.

That night is not much more than a blur to me anymore but I remember that we spent the night together, wrapped around each other in your bed while the others tried to look for us, knocking on your door. We kept quiet, laughed together under the covers and kissed. I still remember the way you kiss but I wonder if it’s just the way my memory wants to make everything seem brilliant or if it’s, after all, real. I want to find out and it pains me to realize that I might never know.

So Harry, I guess all I want to say is thank you. You showed me something I never believed I’d see. It’s July now and I wonder if you’re thinking of me too as you lay down to your cold bed, wondering why there’s someone else beside you other than me. Maybe, when you walk down the road in summer nights, you hear us talk about future, guess what we enjoy the most, if we have anything in common at all. Back then we both liked football – yes, football, not soccer like you always insisted, you uncivilized moron – as well as the way water closes around us when we swim. Do you still like both? Maybe you still remember how you pushed me playfully and I dragged you with me, maybe you remember it was you who kissed me first, tasting like alcohol and mint. You passed me the gum inside your mouth – I bet you were bloody waiting to kiss me, you pervert.

And right now I can remember how’d you smile at me for saying something like that and then make fun of me like we’d known each other forever.

I’m sorry I left you. That I didn’t leave anything for you or didn’t ask for your address or phone number. It was that, I knew you cared about me. Like I said, you’re easy to read. Your eyes lit up every time I got closer to you, every time we met that summer while we stayed with your godfather. You stayed behind even though your parents left earlier. I knew you wanted me every night as we lay silently, drawing pictures with fingers to each other’s skin. I could feel you smile against my shoulder, whisper words of your happiness.

And I got scared. Got so scared and I thought I could forget you. You were so much, something so much greater than what I was and I wasn’t used to that. I was always something greater than anyone and then you messed up my life. Back then I thought that what I did was right thing to do. Now, years later, I realize I can never be happy without you and that I’ve ruined everything.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to gain with this letter. Maybe I want you back even though I know it’s close to asking, being on my knees and pleading. I love you, Harry Potter, after all these years and I want you back. I just want you to know that even if I’ve hurt you too much and you never want to meet me again.

I got your address from Hermione. I invited her to the wedding, that’s how I got it. I told her that I needed your address or phone number to invite you too. She seemed to hesitate, I bet you told her what I did, but in the end gave me your address. I’m not sending you my invitation for it’d hurt me too much to see you sitting there, watching me bind myself to someone I thought I could be happy with. But I’m giving you my number and I hope you will call me. If you don’t, I know you’ve moved on and then I will too. Not entirely, not ever, but I will marry and I will leave you alone. After all, I just hope you’re happy. Even if that’s a lie and I want you, I’ll be happy if you’re and I won’t bother you ever again.

I love you.

Yours,
Draco Malfoy

~*~*~*~

Harry didn’t realize he was holding his breath as he folded the papers, pulling out a small card. For a moment he stared at the numbers printed on it and then looked up to the silent kitchen. The sunlight lit up the room, reminding Harry of a completely different time that he’d once forced himself to leave behind. It’d been summer, he’d been young. Harry put down the card and buried his face into his hands.

Somewhere there was a shuffle of fabric and a red head peeked into the kitchen. Harry forced himself to relax as he smiled up to Ginny. The girl didn’t seem to notice anything as she shuffled with the bags hanging from his shoulders, making last minute checking.

“About to go then?” Harry asked. His fingers found the corners of the letters filled with curvy writing. He swallowed, closing his eyes.

“Yeah,” she smiled but then looked grave as she misread Harry’s tenseness. “I’m sorry, Harry. I know I promised last time that I wouldn’t do this again but you know how it is. Work.”

“Yeah, work.” He nodded, getting up to hug and kiss her cheek. She tried to plant one on his lips but Harry’s stomach churned, confusion making him retreat. Hurt shone from her eyes but Harry couldn’t do it. In his mind he was sixteen again, rolling in the grass with a blond boy next to him, shaking with uncontrolled laughter. His heart sped up as he thought of the letter, then he saw the one he was supposed to spend his life with and he backed away once again.

Ginny hesitated for a moment. She never hesitated, she always just left, leaving Harry alone into the kitchen while she shone with excitement for the next soccer… football game that waited for her. He was happy for her. But things could be different and Harry could not be alone.

She flashed him a wavering smile. “I’ll see you next week then.” She stepped towards the door as he smiled and nodded but the stopped again, a hand on the handle. “We’re… we’re okay, right?

Harry opened his mouth and tried to say something. Nothing came out. Understanding smoothed Ginny’s face and a sad smile tugged her lips. She nodded, swallowing. “I see.”

“Gin.”

“We’ll talk later, okay?” She tried to look brave and a part of Harry wanted to get closer again, tell her everything was okay and he was just being stupid. But the other part, the bigger part, knew what he’d always wanted since the fourth of July, 1997, when he’d seen the side of life he’d never even known existed.

He hesitated too long, stood just far enough from Ginny that told more about the distance they’d created since they got together than any words they could share. Maybe Harry’d never been fully in with what they had going on, maybe he’d left that important part of himself to that summer and Draco Malfoy who’d taken it with him when he’d returned home. It’d hurt like hell, after all, when he’d ripped that piece off as a souvenir. But he’d written Harry, told that he didn’t want to get married and left his phone number. Harry could call him, talk to him and if not take him back then at least hear his voice for a while. Had his voice changed since then? Was it still the same?

Maybe Ginny saw this as she didn’t say another word and finally opened the door and closed it softly, disappearing outside. She was gone once again but this time Harry didn’t feel lonely. He felt guilty as he picked up the card and realized he wasn’t even thinking about Ginny anymore. They were already drifting apart, he told himself. This is not because I’m thinking of someone else.

He dialled the number, a finger hesitating on the call button. He weighed the situation and his cell, thinking what was the worst that could happen.

He guessed the worst pain had already passed and what would follow was only a faint sting of after-pain. As he pressed the green button he guessed that what would hurt more was staying in one place without moving forward and not let the change do its work. When he waited, a hand shaking next to his ear, he realized that he’d waited to read those words for all these years, just trying to live without living while being stuck to that July night. But when a smooth, a very familiar voice he’d thought he’d already forgotten answered and he let out a surprised breath, he knew that all this time he’d been waiting. He’d been getting ready to give his life to this one man he’d loved since he’d laid his eyes on his styled blond hair, storm grey eyes and a mischievous smile that promised more trouble than he could ever be ready for.

Someone shuffled on the other side of the line. “Hello?”

He smiled to the voice.

“Hey, Draco.” The line went silent for a second. He laughed breathlessly. “I remember too.”

His life could start now if he wanted. And he did. More than anything.

~*~*~*~

Written on February 21, 2018