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.i.

Harry stares at the nervous tic in the sharp ridge of Malfoy’s jaw.

“So... You said you needed to talk?”

Malfoy doesn’t answer him. He’s clenching his teeth so hard that Harry can almost hear the dull grinding.

“Are you alright, then? You look a bit--”

Frigid grey eyes snap up to his and Harry hurriedly abandons his statement, pursing his lips and watching Malfoy shred tissue after tissue in staunch silence, the little pile of spontaneous confetti between the salt and pepper shakers and the grimy bottle of HP sauce gradually growing.

Malfoy keeps his gaze on his own hands, his fingers long, skeletally thin and white, nails bitten down to the quick, lunulae standing out starkly in the pink beds. His right knee bounces furiously below the table, a single, hot gust of air blowing out his flared nostrils from time to time. He has his scraggly blond hair pulled back in a tiny ponytail at the nape of his neck, several bunches of the dry, straw-like strands escaping the elastic and framing his thin face, the ends of it just falling past his jaw. His lips are chapped and bright pink, his nose almost unnaturally straight, and his dark blond, fan like lashes flutter as he finally returns Harry’s gaze, just for a beat.

Despite looking downright knackered, his eyes are over-bright, sharp, and they dart about incessantly, never staying on Harry for more than a fraction of a second. Not for the first time, Harry takes in the dark bags under Malfoy’s eyes, the lines of expertly suppressed anxiety etched across his forehead and around his mouth; his faded, slightly baggy clothes, sunken cheeks, and the general unkempt air he carries.

And Harry just cannot understand why he’s unable to keep his eyes off him. Nothing about his current appearance is worth a second glance and yet, Harry sits, trying his hardest not to blink very often so he can stare at him that much longer. There’s a certain grace about Malfoy, a muted glow, and Harry is part confused and part mesmerised by him.

It’s unnerving.

So Harry sighs irritably - loudly. “Malfoy, what am I doing here?” he demands, dipping his head and trying to catch his gaze. “You did owl and ask to meet me, yes?”

Malfoy looks up, tossing aside the last of his shredded tissue, leaning back in his seat, expression shuttered and cool.

“’ere you are, love.”

They both look around as the server bustles over, placing a plate loaded with fried eggs, sausages and tomatoes in front of Malfoy, who immediately hunches over his plate, picking up his knife and fork. Harry wraps both hands around the mug of black coffee set before him, head tilted as he watches Malfoy spear up a slice of tomato and shove it into his mouth before immediately following it up with half a sausage.

“Tea?” the server asks, setting down a little pot of cream next to Harry’s elbow.

Malfoy nods, wiping the corners of his mouth neatly. “Earl Grey, if you have it.”

She tells him they don’t and Malfoy settles for a cup of Darjeeling instead. Harry waits in silence, drinking his coffee and watching Malfoy steadily demolish his breakfast.

“Skipped dinner last night?” he teases lightly, lips quirking up in amusement. Malfoy’s lip, in turn, curls slightly, nostrils flaring again, his expression of haughty disdain so familiar that Harry almost laughs. “I didn’t mean to insult,” he says, stifling a grin. “Go ahead and eat something else if you want; I’ll pay.”

Malfoy abruptly sets his fork down, eyes gleaming with something as he looks up and slowly leans back, mouth slowly ticking up in such a derisive, openly hostile smirk that Harry instantly feels his hackles rise.

Will you now, Potter?” Malfoy asks softly, in that same even, slightly hoarse, voice that he’d ordered breakfast and tea with. “Sniffed me out to be your next charity case, then? Saint Potter,” he adds in a sing-song, mock-grandiose tone, head tilting from side to side.

Harry raises his eyebrows, willing himself not to lose his patience this soon, this easily. “Who was my last charity case?” he enquires politely, pushing his glasses up with one finger.

Malfoy waves a hand carelessly, shrugging one slim shoulder. “Who the fuck knows what the Saviour gets up to in his free time,” he drawls, sipping more tea, posture perfect as he brings the cup up to his mouth instead of bending in towards it. “This is the sort of thing your lot gets up to, though? Funding new hospital wards, rebuilding schools, buying an ex-Death Eater breakfast?”

“I was just being polite,” Harry says calmly. “You’re welcome to pay for yourself.”

“Of course you’d retract the offer,” Malfoy spits, flaring up out of nowhere, “As if you’d spend a single Knut on me!”

“What is the matter with you?” Harry snaps heatedly, keeping his voice low and leaning forward. “You asked to meet me, haven’t said a fucking word since I got here, and now you’re insisting on being a right little shit, picking a fight like we’re still fucking eleven.” Sitting back, Harry rakes a hand through his hair with an irritated huff before digging out his wallet. “Tell me why I’m here or I walk,” he says irritably, thumbing through the bills.

Malfoy’s fists tremble where they’re clenched on the table, eyes narrowing to flaming flints, thin chest heaving. Something about the way he’s slowly swelling up, face draining of all colour, mouth starting to tremble, makes Harry go completely still, the hairs on his arms rising.

He’s still holding his breath when, a few seconds later, Malfoy hisses through grit teeth, “I’m pregnant, Potter – and it’s yours.”

.ii.

That whole evening had felt like a dream to Harry.

He never much enjoyed the ambience of a club – the unrelenting press of strangers’ bodies, the music that, after a point, was just basically noise, the way everyone, everyone, around him seemed so intent on having a good time.

Or maybe it was just Harry. Maybe he was the one who didn’t know how to loosen up and just...be for one evening.

It was Seamus’ birthday and Harry hadn’t been able to refuse, nor been able to wriggle out of there well before he’d gotten truly shitfaced, and so at eleven thirty PM he found himself hazily watching Seamus add a tiny golden pill of something to his enth drink. Seamus had grinned widely, handing him the glass with a loud, “throw it the feck back, ya dope!” and Harry had grimaced and sullenly wished for better friends as he’d obeyed.

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur and Harry remembers it in foggy bits and pieces – Seamus climbing onto the bar and dancing raunchily for a full forty seconds before toppling over and ending up with a shard of glass from his pint bottle embedded in his arm, howling for Dean to save his life before he died on his birthday, Ron following a startled, perm-haired young woman around bellowing Hermione, don’t ignore me! at her the whole time, until a helplessly giggling Neville had dragged him away, apologising profusely to her; Ron and Neville attempting to demonstrate to Seamus, Dean and Harry what a traditional wizarding ball dance looks like while people around them hurried out of the way muttering under their breath as Neville had vigorously spun and dangerously dipped an out of balance Ron.

Harry remembers being so completely out of it that when he’d finally spotted the head of platinum blond, glinting under the multicoloured strobe lights, he’d not given himself more than two seconds to consider it before meandering over, ears ringing and vision swimming. He’d felt like someone he’d never ordinarily be, someone who’d regularly and gleefully throw back drinks with mysterious pills mixed into them, someone who’d find nothing more amusing than bellowing at his friend to climb atop a bar and thrust his pelvis out at the room – he’d felt more reckless than he had in years, had felt exhilarated and free in a way he’d assumed he’d never feel again, and by the time he’d walked up to Malfoy, lounging carelessly against a pillar, Harry had stopped thinking.

Malfoy had looked every bit like the dream Harry was sure he was in the middle of. Pointy as ever, insufferable as ever, Malfoy had been ethereal that night, spellbindingly beautiful to the point where Harry felt discombobulated from it. He’d been arrogant and smug in a way that had made Harry want to ruin him.

Malfoy had smirked and snarked and snapped and scoffed, and had led Harry on a pointless little chase around the place before they’d ended up in a stall right there in the gents’ of that cramped Muggle night club in Wandsworth, Malfoy moaning softly as Harry had pressed him cheek-first to the door and driven into his luscious, wildly jiggling arse with all the force and scorching energy he felt coursing through his veins. He tasted Malfoy’s mouth, his skin, run his hands over the incredible, velvety softness of it; he’d wrapped his fingers around Malfoy’s slender, throbbing cock, had revelled in the sounds Malfoy made as Harry had his way with him, his slim, pale body pliant and willing in Harry’s arms.

And as he’d fucked Malfoy, for the first time in months, for the first time since he’d been bitten actually, he hadn’t thought about the wolf. His mind hadn’t wandered over to the ugly, blotchy pink scar on his left flank. He hadn’t been agonising over the fact that he’s technically a dangerous predator infected with a sickness that couldn’t be cured, and that how if not for his potions, he’d be considered a threat to society.

He’d fucked and fucked and fucked Malfoy into the flimsy plywood door, wringing helpless cries and shameless demands out of him, until they’d both shuddered with orgasm and Harry had spilled into him for so long and with such formidable intensity that he nearly went blind from it.

He doesn’t quite recall much after Malfoy had righted his clothes, thrown Harry an indecipherable, wide-eyed look and slipped out of the stall. He’d woken up in Ron and Hermione’s guest room the next morning, sheepish and mortified, but with every last detail of his spectacular fuck with Malfoy still somehow crystal clear in his painfully thudding head, and had figured...eh, well, shit happens.

And now, a month and half later, he realises okay, well, wow, shit did happen. And how.

.iii.

“How the bloody hell do you know it’s yours?” Ron scoffs, hands on his hips as he frowns intently at the back of Harry’s shaggy head.

“Because he told me it’s mine,” Harry replies, voice muffled from where he’s hunched over Hermione’s desk, head in his arms.

“He’s lying,” Ron says immediately and as though it’s startlingly obvious.

“He’s not lying,” Harry says, straightening up with a sigh and shoving his glasses back on.

“I’m sorry, are we to just...take Malfoy’s word for it?” Ron asks, slowly and incredulously.

“He’s not lying,” Harry repeats more firmly. “Besides, that’s what we’re here to confirm, right?”

“I thought you told him the appointment was to ensure that the foetus and he are doing okay,” Hermione mutters, not looking up from the file she’s perusing.

“Well, yes,” Harry turns to her impatiently, “but you said the paternity test is just a matter of an additional spell, right? And can you please, for the love of fuck, stop calling it ‘foetus’? It’s a baby, ‘Mione. My baby,” he adds, jumping to his feet and pushing both hands in his hair, panic rising at an alarming rate. “How is this even-- I’ve been fucking blokes for seven—he’s a bloke, Malfoy’s a bloke! He’s male.”

Hermione shuts her file, looking more than a little sorry for him. “I... I told you, Harry, male pregnancies aren’t unheard of among wizards. Plus, it’s possible that the wolf in you played a role here.”

“What, I have extra potent sperm now?” Harry deadpans, Ron snorting behind him.

“Yes,” Hermione confirms simply.

“I think I had a great-grand uncle who had a baby with his lover,” Ron suddenly says thoughtfully from where he’s lounging on the little sofa, booted feet hanging over the armrest. “His wife nearly killed him but then the bloke died so they raised the kid.”

“The bloke...died?” Harry gapes at him in shock, “How?”

“Childbirth, most likely,” Hermione answers quietly and Harry whips around to stare at her in mute horror. “Wizard-pregnancy related Healing wasn’t very advanced back then, Harry, we’re talking, two...three centuries, ago?” she adds, tilting her head at Ron.

Ron shrugs. “I suppose, yeah. My great-grand uncle lived to be about a hundred and eighteen, I think. I dunno what happened to his family though.”

“We’re definitely more equipped to handle wizard-pregnancies now,” Hermione says soothingly. “Malfoy’s going to be alright. I told you, we’ll figure this out. What time did you ask him to be here anyway?”

Harry checks his watch with a sigh, pacing restlessly, stomach in painful knots. “Eleven thirty. But of course he’s late. Git.”

“Malfoy, though?” Ron deadpans. “Really, mate?”

“I was... I was just way beyond plastered that night, alright?” Harry snaps, face flooding with colour. “You didn’t—I still don’t know what Seamus added to my drink, that stupid fucking wanker. I swear I’m never going drinking with him ever again.”

“Sure,” Ron sniggers, “It’s Seamus’ fault that you shagged Malfoy ten minutes after running into him for the first time since the War.”

“It was not ten minutes!” Harry says loudly, swelling angrily. “More like...twenty, I dunno,” he mumbles, deflating abruptly. “I dunno, okay, he was just—fuck, I can’t tell you if it was the booze or what but he was—there was something about him that night, okay? I couldn’t...help myself. I had to go over when I saw him, he was bloody gorgeous.”

“I thought you said he looked—” Hermione starts curiously.

“Like shit yesterday, yeah,” Harry nods, “When he walked in, I swear I didn’t recognise him for a few seconds. He looked like he hadn’t slept in days, and as if he hadn’t eaten in a while, and just...ill.”

“Harry, he’s pregnant,” Hermione says briskly. “His body is changing in a way it wasn’t actually made to be, which means his magic is working overtime to help his body accommodate the foetus.”

“The baby,” Harry corrects automatically, his mind on the question he’s been itching to ask for over twenty-four hours now. “Hermione...” he says slowly, not looking directly at her. “Will the... Will it be...you know...?” Hermione’s watching him with a knowing glint in her eyes, but waits patiently until Harry blurts out, “Will it be like me? Will it be infected?”

“No, Harry,” she replies kindly, hands clasped atop the desk. “Your lycanthropy is not innate, and cannot spread through blood or magic. Plus, you’re on Wolfsbane; you’re not infectious, not even if you actually bite someone.”

“Yes, but the baby—” Harry starts desperately, throat closing up.

“Harry, the baby is going to be fine,” Ron cuts in abruptly. He’s sitting up now, elbows on his knees, fingers laced before him as he looks earnestly at Harry. “It’s your baby, mate. And your magic by itself has got to be enough to protect it.”

“And let’s not forget Malfoy’s magical lineage,” Hermione supplies, rifling through another file. “He’s a Pureblood, which is probably how he even got pregnant in the first place. But that’s an added advantage here, meaning that he and his magic are definitely strong enough to endure a chance pregnancy.”

“Oh, so only Pureblood wizards can get up the duff,” Ron says, with a look of dawning realisation.

“No no,” Hermione smiles, glancing up, “There are potions now, of course, that facilitate wizards to bear children if they desire.”

“How come I haven’t seen a single pregnant wizard then, ‘Mione?” Harry asks wearily, rubbing at his forehead.

“Well, they’re not exactly lining up to put themselves through it, are they,” Hermione laughs, “but I think there have been a couple of cases or so in the past decade,” she narrows her eyes thoughtfully, “They’re just not bound to be very public about it, for obvious reasons. I mean, no wizard wants to—” She abruptly breaks off as there’s a low knock at the door, glancing sharply at both of them. Harry instantly looks terrified again and Ron gets to his feet, holding up both hands, eyebrows lifting in a wordless appeal for him to stay calm. “Come in,” Hermione calls out pleasantly, and then Draco Malfoy walks into the room.

He’s wearing robes this time instead of the dull grey trousers and button down shirt he’d been wearing the previous day at breakfast. The hems of his robes are slightly dirty and the cuffs are visibly frayed but Malfoy holds himself with all the characteristic haughtiness that one would expect to see in him. His hair is still dry and dull looking but has been combed back into a ponytail much neater than last time. He looks pale and sunken-cheeked, eyes large and round in his narrow face and his jaw is clenched tightly, lip curled, nose high.

For all the cold derision Malfoy oozes, Harry notices the way his thin fingers clutch at the cloak he’s got draped over his arm. His eyes immediately find Harry’s as he steps in and Harry feels the knots in his belly tighten painfully as their gazes lock and hold for several seconds.

“Hey,” Harry says hoarsely.

“Hello, Malfoy,” Hermione says calmly, getting to her feet. “How’ve you been?”

Malfoy’s lip only curls further at this and he replies to neither of them as he asks the room in general, “What’s he doing here?” while jerking his chin at Ron, without actually looking at him.

“Visiting my wife,” Ron answers flatly. “Not that I need a reason to be here, and not that I need to justify myself to you.”

“Ron,” Harry and Hermione say in unison as Malfoy’s nostrils flare and he takes half a step back towards the door.

Ron huffs, rolling his eyes, but bending down to gather up his uniform from where he’d dumped it on the sofa. “Right, I’m heading back to work, then,” he says blandly. “You dropping by later for the Wentworth case meeting?” he asks Harry.

Harry nods without looking away from Malfoy’s face – the dark pockets under his downcast eyes and the way his mouth is turned down at the corners – and swallows, before croaking, “Yeah, I’ll head over after...after I’m done here.”

“You can fuck off right now for all I care, Potter,” Malfoy says nastily. “You’re not a Healer, as far as my knowledge extends.”

“Yes, but I am the other father of your baby?” Harry retorts, nodding towards Draco’s midriff, hidden behind tightly crossed arms. “Isn’t that what you’re claiming, Malfoy?”

Malfoy flushes angrily. “Fuck off, Potter,” he hisses, baring grit teeth.

Hermione sighs and Ron helplessly glances around at the three of them in turn before clearing his throat. “Right. Well... Er,” he blinks, “Good luck, I guess. See you, love,” he adds to Hermione, exchanging a small smile with her before stepping out into the blindingly lit, stark white hospital corridor.

The door thuds softly shut and there’s a brittle silence.

“Why don’t you sit down, Malfoy?” Hermione offers kindly. “I just have a few questions and then we can move on to the physical examination.”

To Harry’s intense surprise, Malfoy complies without comment, striding forward and folding himself into one of the chairs in front of Hermione’s desk, spine stiff and jaw still clenched.

Harry doesn’t dare to take the seat next to Malfoy’s and is too nervous to sit down anyway, so he hovers awkwardly beside the desk, arms folded. Hermione throws him a comforting little smile as she sits back down, smoothing her lime green robes down neatly.

“So, Malfoy--” she begins softly.

“Aren’t you some sort of nerve...disorder specialist?” Malfoy interrupts suspiciously. “Why am I consulting with you regarding my pregnancy, again?”

“Because Harry requested me to help him out,” she answers calmly, not ruffled in the least. “I’ve been reading up, and I’m fairly confident of my abilities to help. Healer Abigail Penman, one of our senior most Healers, will be more than willing to help, too.” When Malfoy just continues half-glaring at her, she adds, a tad uncertainly, “If Harry and you prefer to consult with anoth--”

“I think we should have Hermione help us with this for the time being, Malfoy,” Harry says quickly, noting the way Malfoy further stiffens, nostrils flaring. “It’s just more convenient this way. She’ll be happy to answer all of our questions and there’s the certainty of discretion with her so...we don’t have to worry about the press or anything for the time being.”

“Healer-patient confidentiality assures you both of complete discretion regardless of whom you consult with,” Hermione says, with a wry smile, “but yes, there’s a certain level of trust here that Harry thought would work well in--”

“Certain level of trust between you both, you mean,” Malfoy cuts in coldly. “I have absolutely no reason to trust you, Granger.”

“If Harry really is the other father of your child then you have every reason to trust me, Malfoy,” Hermione retorts smoothly. “Healer-patient confidentiality or not, I’d never betray Harry. Is that something you can trust?”

Malfoy looks away but remains silent. Harry shifts uneasily from foot to foot.

“Maybe we should just get on with it?” he says rather desperately after a few more beats of silence.

“We should,” Hermione agrees crisply, plucking up a quill and opening up a fresh folder, speedily filling out the patient details. “You’re twenty-six, yes?”

“I will be this June,” Malfoy replies shortly, and when Hermione looks up expectantly, sighs and adds, “Fifth.”

“When did you find out?”

Malfoy shifts a bit in his seat. “Around three days ago. I... I went to the self-help counter at the free clinic in Knockturn Alley.” He rifles around in the folds of his cloak and fishes out a crumpled piece of parchment that he hands to Hermione, who for an instant looks rather pained.

“Are you talking about one of those...magi-scanners that just checks your magical signature before—” Hermione scans the parchment again, “—before spitting out one of these?”

“I just needed to know if something was wrong with me before I sought actual medical help, Granger,” Malfoy responds stiffly.

“But we have a free clinic here at Mungo’s,” Hermione says, a thin line between her brows.

Malfoy’s lip curls. “As much as I’d have loved to come here and be humiliated, I chose not to risk whatever self-respect I have remaining. Besides, it’s a pretty accurate diagnosis, isn’t it?” Malfoy nods towards the scrap of parchment again.

Hermione’s face is cool and empty of expression as she holds it up. “’Possible tumour/foetus’” she reads in a monotone. “’Compromised magical strength’. ‘Prescribed Remedial Potions: Pepper-Up’?” She stares incredulously, voice slightly shrill now. “How was that magi-scanner even medically or legally approved? Pepper-Up for a possible tumour or foetus? Merlin!”

Whether it was the sheer absurdity of the automated diagnosis or Hermione’s nearly hysterical reaction to said diagnosis, Harry doesn’t know, but suddenly he’s stifling a guffaw born mostly of overwhelmed nervousness, earning a furious glare from an already embarrassed looking Malfoy and a silent, but very emphatic ‘I know, right?’ from Hermione, as she slams the parchment down and picks up her quill again.

“You made the right decision, contacting and telling Harry,” she says firmly, but with an almost untraceable hint of sympathy. “At least you didn’t assume it was a tumour and panic.”

“Sure, because I’m not currently panicking or anything,” Malfoy says blandly, earning a half-grin from Hermione and a soft huff of reluctant amusement from Harry, neither of which Malfoy acknowledges, fiddling instead with his cloak again, mouth pursed as he stares into his lap.

“Everything’s going to be all right, Malfoy,” Hermione says gently, before she straightens in her seat, visibly struck. “You... You do intend on keeping it?”

Harry’s swift inhale goes unnoticed as Malfoy’s head snaps up, gaze fiery as it meets Hermione’s. “I’m not here to participate in feticide, Granger,” he says, voice so low and dangerous that Hermione looks rather startled, flushing and spluttering for a moment as she shakes her head.

“Of course, I was merely ensuring that—”

“She was simply making sure that you’re certain about going through with this, Malfoy,” Harry says carefully, though it sounds more like a question at this point. “Whether you’re willing to put yourself thr—”

“I’m having this baby,” Malfoy grits at Harry. “I don’t need your help deciding. I don’t need your help, period. I was merely being polite when I told you about this. I can do this by myself. And I was just being courteous when I agreed to this Healer’s appointment, Potter.”

“Yeah, ‘cause that free clinic at Knockturn would’ve provided all the help you’d’ve needed with a spontaneous pregnancy?” Harry spits back, hands balling up.

Malfoy leaps to his feet, practically vibrating with rage, and Hermione hurries to hers as well. “Malfoy, please sit down. Harry, I’m going to have to insist you leave if you’re going to—”

“Sorry,” Harry says hurriedly, ire abruptly draining out of him at the subtle threat. “I’m—Malfoy...sorry. Just... Just let us help, yeah? Thanks for—thanks for agreeing to see Hermione,” he adds lamely, shoving one hand into his pocket and the other into his hair.

Malfoy’s eyes, still burning with anger, linger for a moment, glancing over Harry’s wild mass of hair, then his scar, before he turns away and sits back down, this time just slumping in on himself and crossing his arms tightly.

Hermione sits down again, picking up her quill and clearing her throat softly. “Morning sickness?” she prods gently. “Bloating? Have you been eating properly? Changes in sleep patterns?”

Malfoy stares at his knees for a long time, expression tight and strained, throat bobbing as he swallows. “It’s not just in the mornings, though,” he finally says softly. “I—I tend to sick up at any damn time of the day.” Hermione’s quill scratching away is the only sound in the room as she nods at him to carry on. “And I’m either ravenous or I want to throw up at the sight of food,” Malfoy adds irritably.

Harry recalls the way Malfoy had devoured his breakfast, barely pausing to draw breath between bites. Suddenly, amidst everything else he’s feeling, he’s hit with a pang of true sympathy and maybe even a hint of guilt for having made him feel conscious.

“Give him something for that, please,” Harry says gruffly, frowning at the floor as they both turn to regard him. “He’s literally growing another human, he needs to eat,” he says, stiffly.

“We’ll get there,” Hermione assures him, no particular inflection in her tone, but that knowing glint back in her eyes. “What else, Malfoy?”

Malfoy shrugs. “I don’t know, that’s pretty much it,” he flushes a deep red, “Just some tenderness, but nothing else I can think of right now.”

Harry wants to ask but decides it’s prudent not to because Hermione simply nods at once and doesn’t prod him further, and Malfoy darts Harry a murderous look that clearly warns him of his impending doom were Harry to choose to ask about the tenderness.

“Right, well, we’ll keep adding notes to your file as we go along,” Hermione gets up and rounds her desk, drawing her wand, “but let’s get that basic physical done first, so we’ll know more.”

She pats the narrow examination table against the far wall. “Up here, Malfoy? Robes open.”

Malfoy’s first, and expected, reaction is to jump to his feet with a hissed, “I’m to disrobe in front of him?”

Hermione grimaces discreetly. “Er... I suppose he should wait outs—”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Harry states flatly.

“Pervert,” Malfoy snarls at him. “You think I’m going to undress in front of you?”

“I have literally been inside your body,” Harry reminds him, voice unintentionally husky.

Malfoy goes brilliantly pink, baring his teeth at Harry again with fisted hands trembling at his sides. “You uncouth piece of—”

Please,” Hermione sighs, “can we reserve the name-calling for another time? Malfoy,” she pats the table again, “if you please. You simply need to undo the buttons over your midriff; you are not required to strip completely.”

“Sorry to disappoint,” Draco sneers at Harry who slaps both hands over his face and turns away with a growl of frustration.

When Harry looks back around, Malfoy is lying down, the pale stretch of his belly visible under Hermione’s elbow as she waves her wand in circles. Malfoy has got his hands clasped over his chest and is staring determinedly at the ceiling, his face and demeanour anxious and oddly soft now, from where Harry watches.

Hermione murmurs under her breath and the room is plunged into darkness, startling both men, before suddenly, there is a rectangular patch of light glowing against the wall, Malfoy’s belly seeming to glow with it. Stepping closer, Harry thinks it looks similar to a Muggle slide projection, but cannot for the life of him make out what he’s supposed to be looking at.

Oh,” Hermione breathes thoughtfully, eyes wide.

“What, what is it?” Harry demands at once, staring between her expression of awed disbelief and the projection on the wall.

“Nothing to worry about,” she replies quickly. “It’s—Malfoy, your womb is a lot stronger and well developed than one might’ve hoped for or expected at this stage of a male pregnancy.”

“Excuse me,” Malfoy splutters, “my womb?”

“That’s a good thing, right?” Harry presses.

“Yes, your womb,” Hermione tells Malfoy, “The provisional womb your body has created to house this baby. And yes, Harry, it’s a very good thing. It’s highly unusual but nothing to cause worry.” Her finger singles out a small, oblong shape somewhere in the centre of the greyish stretch. “There,” she says softly.

“What?” Malfoy and Harry ask in unison, Harry taking a step forward.

Hermione smiles, eyes twinkling. “That’s your baby,” she tells them, pointing once more.

“It looks nothing like a baby,” Malfoy mumbles, frowning, staring unblinkingly at the almost shapeless blob Hermione is indicating to.

“I can’t see it,” Harry complains breathlessly, taking yet another step forward.

“Big surprise,” Malfoy mutters darkly under his breath without looking away.

“As if you can,” Harry snaps irritably.

“I can!” Malfoy spits back hotly, darting him an irritated look.

“Well, congratulations!” Harry half-yells back.

“Shut up, both of you,” Hermione brandishes her wand, “I’m working here. Merlin!”

Exchanging sullen glares, Malfoy and Harry fall silent, Harry staring breathlessly at a small bump he’s finally spotted, tilting his head this way and that, too conscious of Malfoy’s caustic tongue to ask Hermione to confirm whether he’s really looking at his kid or at Malfoy’s incredibly tiny appendix or something.

Hermione is waving her wand again and then there’s a sudden low, speedy thrumming filling the room, at which point Hermione flashes Harry a quick grin. “That’s a nice, strong heartbeat right there, hear that?”

“Tell me where it is again,” Malfoy blurts, and Harry eagerly steps forward as Hermione laughs softly and carefully points out that tiny mass of grey again.

“Your baby is barely larger than a peppercorn, at this point,” she smiles, “there isn’t much to see now, but everything seems to be perfectly in order. You’ll definitely have something more discernable to see in your future scans. It’s the foetus’ heartbeat that people are usually worried about but again, everything seems fine there too, as you can hear.”

Harry stares at Malfoy’s stomach where he now, at this distance, spots the miniscule bump, just below his navel, barely noticeable – Malfoy could pass it off as muscle and nobody would think anything of it.

“I’ll need to scan your signature and require a sample of your blood now, Malfoy,” Hermione ends the projection, causing both men to blink around in the sudden brightness as the lights come back on, “You can sit up and fasten your robes now, if you like.”

Malfoy hurries to do so, doing up the sagging silver buttons on his robes without looking at either of them, legs dangling off the table. He obediently holds out his arm when Hermione extends a hand, before freezing when she pushes his sleeve up to reveal the faded grey skull on his inner arm.

Face red, eyes firm on the floor, Malfoy keeps perfectly still as Hermione, perfectly casual and professional for her part, briskly makes a small incision below the crook of his elbow, collects a small smear of his blood in a vial, and heals the cut with a neat tap of her wand, pulling Malfoy’s sleeve back down after.

Taking a step back she moves her wand in a straight line in front of Malfoy, starting from his forehead down to where his feet swing above the floor, repeating the motion a couple more times before an orb of pale, bluish-silver light appears over Malfoy’s heart, floating serenely towards Hermione.

“I’ll be just a few minutes,” Hermione tells them, carefully collecting the glowing orb on the palm of one hand, and the vial of blood in the other before bustling out of the room.

It’s only many seconds later that Harry realises he’s holding his breath. Releasing it on a loud sigh, he throws himself into the chair Malfoy had vacated – Malfoy who is just sitting there, utterly still and silent, inexplicably filling Harry with panicked restlessness.

Harry turns his chair around halfway, so he’s able to look Malfoy in the face. “Are you alright?” he asks, voice gravelly.

Malfoy simply blinks once, slow and tired, before leaning his head back against the wall, sighing through his nose.

“Malfoy, we... I’m sorry.”

That cool, evaluating gaze slides down to his, Malfoy not moving otherwise as he stares down his nose at Harry. “Go on, then,” he finally drawls. “What’s this one for?”

Harry’s jaw works as he stares back, mind wandering back to that night at the club, the way Malfoy had begged, the way Harry had knotted a hand in his fine, sleek hair and tugged, growling utter filth into his ear through his own broken panting.

“For approaching you that night,” Harry says finally, gaze sliding away. “For not leaving when you asked me to piss off. For...knocking you up...I guess.”

When Malfoy doesn’t answer and Harry eventually looks up at him, he finds him pink cheeked but otherwise impassive. He’s still leaning back against the wall, eyes half-lidded as he appraises Harry.

“Well, shit,” he finally says, a little smirk lifting one corner of his mouth up, “surely you don’t believe that what happened was non-consensual? Surely you’re not that stupid?”

“You consented to being knocked up?”

“I consented to being fucked,” Malfoy snaps, straightening up and placing his hands, palms down next to his thighs. “Don’t bore me with your overabundance of selfless virtuosity, Potter. I was as much a willing participant that night as you were.”

“You asked me to...get the fuck out of your face, as I recall,” Harry swallows hard, “Several times.”

“That doesn’t mean--” Malfoy’s cheeks darken further, “I was simply—did I not seem to want what we did that night, you idiot?”

Harry licks his lips. “You seemed pretty into it, yeah,” he says hoarsely.

“So there,” Malfoy sniffs, looking away with a huff, cheeks still blazing, “Save your apologies for things that actually matter, for things you actually did that warrant an apology.”

“Such as?” Harry demands at once.

Malfoy snorts. “Is that a can of worms you want to open now?”

“Malfoy,” Harry gets to his feet, raking a hand through his hair as he approaches him carefully, “Look, we’re...we’re sort of stuck together now, yeah? We don’t have to discuss the details of it right away but, fuck, we have to learn to get along.” Malfoy’s listening to him intently, eyes narrow, head slightly tilted. Wiping suddenly sweaty palms on his jeans, Harry continues, “I... I want to be as involved in this as possible, alright? I’m not going to...chicken out of this. I’d like to help in any and every way I can but if you’re a right arsehole about it the whole time, it’s not going to be pleasant for either of us.”

“Oh, right, because you’re just such perfectly lovely company,” Malfoy says tightly, lip curling again.

“No, but I’m willing to try,” Harry retorts grimly. “I’m willing to put the past behind us. I’m willing to make a fresh start. I—we owe it to—it’s the least we can do as two fucking adults, Malfoy, come on.”

Sighing through his nose again, Malfoy purses his lips, staring down at the floor between his knees. “I can—I can do this by myself,” he says softly, voice oddly small and uncertain as his lower lip juts out in a familiar, stubborn pout.

“You don’t have to, is what I’m saying,” Harry tells him.

“I don’t need any favours from you,” Malfoy says rudely.

“See, this is what I’m talking about,” Harry barks loudly and Malfoy starts where he sits, looking around at Harry in wide-eyed silence. “Grow up, you’re about to be a fucking parent yourself! And I’m not doing you any favours, Malfoy, I’m doing it for—” Harry abruptly breaks off as Malfoy’s face shutters completely, eyes going dead and cold, expression flattening. “I want to do this,” Harry goes on quietly. “What I meant is I’m not doing it as a favour. I want to help you, I want to be involved. Malfoy,” Harry hesitates for a beat, “It’s...it’s my baby too, right?”

“If that’s your roundabout way of asking whether it really is your kid,” Malfoy sneers, “as much as you’d like me to turn out to be some slag who goes about with his arse on offer to be fucked—”

Harry shuts his eyes against the sudden rush of white-hot fury that burns through his veins and turns his vision red, pushing up his glasses and pressing trembling fingers to his eyes. “That’s not what I meant,” he says shakily with forced calm.

“Sure it is,” Malfoy says blithely, flapping a hand carelessly. “This is a huge responsibility you’re planning to take up, Potter. Harry Potter,” he shoots Harry a sly look, eyes glinting, “Vanquisher of Dark Lords! Why should you get involved if this isn’t even your child? How are you to know if I’ve bent over and let some other guy I ran into at some club fuck me until he’s filling me up wi—” Malfoy’s crude little rant is abruptly cut off as Harry lunges forward and knots a hand in his hair, fist closing over the small, stiff little ponytail at his nape.

Malfoy makes a tiny sound of complete shock but Harry hunches over him, dragging his head back roughly as he holds up a finger to his own mouth.

“Sssshh,” he shushes dangerously, watching Malfoy’s pupils dilate, grey eyes huge and filled with speechless stupefaction, lips parted as he breathes raggedly through his mouth, hands clenched on his own thighs. “Learn when to shut that big mouth of yours, Malfoy,” Harry breathes, standing between his knees and leaning over him, bending Malfoy backwards. “And don’t ever talk about another man even touchi—”

Harry!”

Hermione stands at the door, arms laden with files and several large glass bottles, looking completely aghast. Harry releases Malfoy and jumps back so quickly that he ends up yanking the thin, black elastic in Malfoy’s hair along with him, the pale hair quickly coming loose and falling around Malfoy’s face as he continues staring at Harry with his mouth open, cheeks and neck splotchy with colour, chest heaving, eyes almost imperceptibly glazed.

“I’m sorry,” Harry croaks at Hermione, staring down at the loop of black in his hand, a few strands of blond caught in it. “I’m so sorry, Malfoy,” he repeats, sounding rather blank as he holds out the band to Malfoy.

Malfoy takes it from him but doesn’t make to pull his hair back again, leaving his hair draped in a scraggly mess around his face, the ends just about grazing his shoulders. They both simply stare at Hermione who’s glaring exasperatedly at them both as she walks in and takes her seat behind her desk, arranging the files and bottles before her.

“Sit,” she snaps, and Harry hurries to sit back down, surprised when Malfoy slips into the chair beside him a moment later. “I’d rather neither of you killed the other in my office,” she further bites out. “Really, won’t you two ever just try and be civil? Especially now?”

Both of them remain silent, staring off in opposite directions, Malfoy’s face as pink as his own probably is, bearing the same shock he himself feels. “Sorry,” Harry eventually mumbles again.

Hermione just sighs, shaking her head irritably before opening two different files. “Malfoy,” she starts carefully, “were you going to tell me about...a certain suppressant you’re on?”

When Harry looks around he sees that Malfoy’s face is now bloodless, his breath coming out of him in rattling wheezes. “I—I don’t know what you’re talking about, Granger,” he says after a moment, sounding strained.

“I found traces of syrup of hellebore and bitterroot in your blood, Malfoy,” Hermione calmly informs him, “along with...” she hesitates for a fraction of a second, and Malfoy’s breath leaves him in a rush as she adds, “Veela hair.”

“Shut up, Granger!” Malfoy grits out, shutting his eyes as though to block out her words, his whole body trembling. “I don’t have to tell you anything!”

“Why are you drinking stuff with Veela hair in it?” Harry asks in bewilderment before he can stop himself.

“Would you just shut your face?” Malfoy hisses poisonously.

“Because he’ll need to add in a bit of hair for the suppressant to be successfully introduced into his bloodstream,” Hermione answers, staring curiously at Malfoy, “A bit of his own DNA. Malfoy,” Hermione’s eyes are suddenly bulging a bit, utter disbelief writ across her face. “Malfoy, are you a Veela?”

What?” Harry squeaks shrilly, scrambling around to face Malfoy.

“Are neither of you capable of shutting your goddamn, ugly faces?” Malfoy bellows, face red and, to Harry’s shock, eyes swimming with tears. Then he’s jumping to his feet, sending his chair toppling over as he glares daggers at Hermione. “I’m—I’m going to sue you for this!” he declares furiously, spittle flying.

“For conducting basic blood tests?” Hermione blinks in confusion, Levitating the fallen chair upright, “Malfoy, you’re pregnant, I needed to—”

“You had no right!” Malfoy howls, slamming a fist on her desk, causing her to jump in her seat.

“Malfoy,” Harry leaps up, wrapping a hand around Malfoy’s wrist and giving him a little shake, “Stop yelling. Sit your arse down and tell us what the hell is going on.”

Malfoy shakes Harry’s hand off and follows it up with a rough shove to the chest. “Go fuck yourself!” he yells. “I don’t have to tell you both anything!”

“Malfoy, the pre-natal potions I’m going to be putting you on do not combine well with any sort of suppressant and you’re going to have to go off it,” Hermione says sharply. “Will you please just...calm down? Here.” She gets up and pours out a goblet of water from the pitcher on the sideboard under the window. “Drink this. Breathe.” Malfoy makes no move to take the goblet from her, just glaring hatefully at her with his hands fisted at his sides, chin wobbling. “We’re not your enemies anymore, Malfoy. The only enemy you have in this room is yourself if you don’t let me do my job properly,” she says coolly, gaze flinty, voice hard.

Probably just to test her patience further, Malfoy doesn’t take the goblet from her for several more seconds, finally snatching it from her and sitting back down heavily, glaring resentfully at the water before gulping it down in one go.

“So,” Hermione says slowly, taking her own seat once more as Harry gets up and silently refills the goblet, setting it back down before Malfoy, “When did you—how is this—are you really a—”

Malfoy scoffs pointedly, leaning back and crossing his legs, staring haughtily at her. “Well?” he says expectantly when Hermione doesn’t continue, “Aren’t you going to finish that question?”

“Don’t be a prick, Malfoy,” Harry says impatiently, sitting on the very edge of his seat and turning halfway to look at him properly, “Tell us what’s going on.”

“Nothing,” Malfoy says innocently, trying and failing to feign nonchalance – he’s still shaking, Harry notes.

“So you’re not a Veela?” Hermione asks sceptically.

“I didn’t say that,” Malfoy answers coolly.

“So you are a Veela?” she presses and Harry holds his breath.

Malfoy fidgets vigorously, nostrils flaring and throat bobbing, picks up and drains the goblet of water once more, before scowling at both of them in turn. “Yes,” he answers curtly.

Harry’s breath whooshes out of him and he finds himself back on his feet, hands in his hair as he gapes at Hermione in disbelieving, incredulous confusion. Hermione’s own mouth is pursed tightly and her eyes are slits as she stares thoughtfully at Malfoy.

“So... You were born a Veela?” Harry blurts when Hermione doesn’t move to ask anymore questions.

Malfoy looks at him like he simply cannot believe how stupid a person can be. “Of course I was, Potter! What, you thought I was bitten by one?” he adds with a cruel little smirk that promptly falters as he notes the way Harry just sighs resignedly and looks away.

“Yes, I was born a Veela,” he says quietly, looking away to somewhere over Hermione’s bushy head. “It skipped about six generations in my family and they thought the gene had died out but...apparently not.” Malfoy bites his lip, throwing Harry a swift, innocuous glance before flicking some imaginary lint off his robes.

“This pregnancy actually makes so much more sense now,” Hermione says, “We thought Harry’s wolf element played a role seeing as he’s a Half-Blood but still managed to impregnate you. It’s likely your Veela genes that supported the pregnancy more than anything else. It’s also what helped develop and secure your womb this soon in a male pregnancy. While male Veela are incredibly rare,” she tells them, “pregnancies among them are very much the norm.”

“So, this wasn’t because of my...wolf thing?” Harry mutters to her.

“Well, it may well have been a contributing factor, Harry,” she says, nodding. “We can’t rule it out.” She falls silent for a beat, watching Malfoy closely. “Why the suppressant?” she asks.

“Why do you think, Granger?” Malfoy rolls his eyes, “So I could lead a normal fucking life. You think it’d have been easy for me to get through Hogwarts if I walked around attracting slobbering idiots the whole time?”

“Oh, I think your dazzling personality would’ve more than kept all and any idiots away, Malfoy,” Harry informs him coolly, leaning against the wall behind Hermione’s chair and pushing his hands into his pockets.

Malfoy glares at him. “I know what you probably think, Potter,” he sneers, “but contrary to anything you both might believe, I have no regrets of having lived my life like this so far. I’ve been on that potion ever since I was five and while at a fete with my parents, had a gnarly old coot grab me up and declare that he was going to keep me forever before proceeding to publicly duel my father.”

Hermione lifts a hand to her mouth, eyes round with shock, and Harry pushes himself off the wall, jaw tightening automatically. “Who was he?” he asks, rage seeping into every pore of his being.

Malfoy looks genuinely bewildered. “How am I to know that? Some doddery old pervert. Hopefully, he’s dead by now.”

“Harry?” Hermione’s voice sounds very far away and Harry realises Malfoy’s watching him with an odd look on his face.

Blowing out through his mouth, Harry settles back against the wall, forcing calm as he asks, “So the potion just keeps you looking...normal?”

Malfoy shrugs. “To put it very crudely, yes; it keeps me looking normal.”

“But that night—” Harry starts, Malfoy’s gaze locking with his before they both colour slightly.

“I’d... I hadn’t taken my dose that day,” Malfoy admits tightly, not elaborating further.

“No wonder,” Harry mutters under his breath, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck.

There’s a sudden giggle from Hermione before she arranges her face into suitable seriousness as Harry and Malfoy stare. “Yes, well, I’m...sorry, Malfoy, but you’re going to have to discontinue the suppressant,” she says mildly, rearranging some of the sheets of parchment. “Like I said, it doesn’t mix with the pre-natal potions you’ll be starting hereon, and we don’t want to risk anything, do we?” Malfoy looks quietly furious but, for once, doesn’t talk back. “You need to take a spoonful of this every day,” Hermione continues gently, pointing out the tall, green glass bottle on her desk. “It’s a comprehensive mix of vitamins supplements, calcium, folic, and immunity boosters; it’ll also help your magic replenish itself faster because you’re going to be spending a lot of your magic on this baby, Malfoy. Would you like me to prescribe an additional energy supplement as well?”

Malfoy fidgets again, sighing. “Whatever you see fit; as if I know what I’m doing.”

“Okay, well, I’ll give you these for the time being, and you can come back if you think you need something more to keep you up and running through the day,” she nods, “This is for your nausea, by the way, just a basic anti-nausea,” she points to the second, blue glass bottle.

“Yes, that’s what I’ve been taking,” Malfoy mumbles. “Got myself a few vials at Slug and Jiggers.”

“Good, good,” Hermione nods again, “Here are some pamphlets you can go through at your own convenience – basic do’s and don’ts, dietary requirements and restrictions, frequently asked questions and such. Is there anything you’d like me to clarify right now?” she adds gently.

“I don’t know,” Malfoy sounds a tad bit lost as he thumbs through the brightly coloured pamphlets. “I didn’t come with a prepared questionnaire, you know,” he says, scowling.

“You could, next time, if you like,” Hermione smiles, “Take care of yourself, Malfoy. Please don’t hesitate to reach out at any given time.”

“Thanks,” Malfoy mumbles, getting up and abruptly looking over at Harry, face clear of any resentment or hostility for the first time since he walked in. “See you around, Potter.”

“When?” Harry blushes slightly, but steps forward anyway, “I’d like to keep in frequent touch, Malfoy, I’d like to be around in case you—just to make sure you have everything you need and to— I mean, I don’t intend to get in your way, of course, but I think it’d be prudent of us to—” Harry babbles blindly as one pale eyebrow slides slowly up Malfoy’s high forehead.

“I’ll owl if I at all need anything from you, Potter,” Malfoy says, unexpectedly polite.

“Right,” Harry says lamely. “Okay, I guess... Oh! I’ll come drop you off now, I’m on my way to the Ministry anyw—”

“That won’t be necessary,” Malfoy says quickly, collecting the potions from Hermione’s desk. “I know my way home, Potter, thank you.”

“It’s no problem, really, I—”

Thank you, Potter, but I’m okay,” Malfoy interrupts firmly. “I’ll owl.”

“Okay...” Harry says bleakly, watching rather helplessly as Malfoy struggles for a moment with the doorknob, the potion bottles clinking quietly against each other in his arms, before he lets himself out and leaves without looking back.

“He’ll be alright, Harry,” Hermione says softly and for the enth time. “Malfoy and your baby are going to be okay.”

“It is mine, right?” Harry asks, swallowing past the dryness in his throat, feeling awfully guilty even asking out loud.

“It is,” she affirms quietly. “I didn’t want to tell you in front of—”

“No no, of course not,” Harry turns to her with a wry smile, “He’d have blown up the place, the touchy prat.”

“Hmm,” Hermione hums, fixing him with a peculiar little look.

“What?” Harry, absurdly enough, feels his face heat at once, “What’s that look supposed to mean?”

“Nothing,” Hermione replies serenely. “I’m just...” she smiles warmly, “I’m just happy for you.”

“Oh, sure,” Harry scoffs, “Unplanned parenthood with Draco fucking Malfoy – there’s a cause for celebration, right there.”

“I thought you really wanted to be a father some day?”

“Yes, but some day!”

“Now’s a good time as any,” Hermione says shortly. “Besides, it’s not as if you have much choice. Might as well find all the happiness you can in this situation – at least for the baby’s sake.”

“Merlin, of course!” Harry bursts out. “You think I’ll let the little thing lack for anything? I—I want this baby. I’ll make sure it has everything it’ll ever need or wish for, ‘Mione, Malfoy too!”

Hermione seems rather pleased. “Really?”

“Well, yeah,” Harry mumbles, waving a hand. “He’s... He’s doing something so brave, fuck, literally risking his life. He—I owe him so much, I owe him everything he can ask of me.”

“And after the baby comes?”

“...Yeah?” Harry prompts, confused.

“Well... Would you still look out for him after he’s given you what you want?” she questions tentatively, and Harry just stares at her, speechless and so openly horrified, that she instantly looks guilty. “I didn’t mean—” she starts.

“He’d still be my child’s other parent,” Harry says hoarsely. “Of course I’d still look out for him. I’m not just going to take the baby away or something.”

“I just don’t know what your feelings are about Malfoy and his...past, Harry,” Hermione says, getting to her feet.

“What’s to feel about his past?” Harry shakes his head impatiently, “It’s his past. We all have one. I’ll...learn to deal with it.”

“And how d’you feel about...Malfoy?” Hermione asks carefully, leaning her hip against the desk, arms folded.

Harry splutters wordlessly for several seconds. “What?” he eventually bleats.

“Will you deal with how you feel about him too?” she asks simply.

Harry blinks. “I don’t feel anything about him. I don’t even know him.”

Hermione’s crooked little smile is uncomfortably telling. “Yet.”

.iv.

This can’t be it, Harry thinks as he stares at the derelict building in front of him, with its grimy windows and filthy, peeling plaster, the front door hanging off one hinge. A wizened old witch with a shock of grey hair around her wrinkled face sits at her window in the ground floor flat, picking at her yellowing teeth with one, deadly looking discoloured nail. A large, grey cat sits on the windowsill before her, scratching its face on one of the dead plants there.

Harry just takes it all in rather blankly, looking down Diagon Alley on his left and Knockturn Alley on his right before turning around on the spot once, feeling completely lost.

“Who you lookin’ for, dearie?” the old witch eventually asks Harry in a quavering voice.

“Erm...” Harry, scratches his ear, more than certain that he has the wrong place. “A... A friend – Draco Malfoy? I don’t think I have the right place, though.”

The witch nods, pointing upwards with one crooked forefinger. “Second floor.”

Harry’s mouth drops open, stomach tightening in shock. “Draco Malfoy?” he asks weakly. “Really?”

“Rude, blond thing,” the witch nods, “Did go and find Marvin when he slipped out once, though,” she says, scratching her cat’s ears.

Harry swallows and nods awkwardly. “Thank you,” he says, trotting up the cracked front steps and pushing the broken door further open. The stairs creak beneath his feet as he climbs up, wondering if he’s walking into a trap of some sort because Malfoy cannot be living in this sort of—

Harry pauses on the second floor landing, looking between the flat on his left and the sheet of tarpaulin hanging over the doorway on his right to where another flat should’ve been. There’s loose rubble and several slabs of brick and concrete sticking out from beneath the tarpaulin, the place clearly undergoing repair or remodelling.

Clearing his throat, Harry raises his fist and knocks on the door to his left, holding his breath, one hand closing around his wand in his coat pocket.

There’s faint clattering and then Malfoy – Veela Malfoy – is standing before him, peering around the door at Harry, pale eyes bugging out and face draining of all colour.

Instantly, Harry is transported back to that night. This is the Malfoy he saw in that club; this is the Malfoy he fucked in that club – luminous skin and ridiculously shiny hair, lips berry-pink and moist, eyes sparkling with vitality.

The fact that this Malfoy has to live in such a place brings Harry crashing back to that tiny landing, shock and distress wiping his mind blank.

“Potter,” Malfoy says vacantly.

Malfoy?” Harry chokes out.

Perhaps it’s Harry’s expression, or his disbelieving tone, or maybe it’s the sympathy that’s unintentionally pouring off Harry in waves, but suddenly Malfoy’s perfect, white teeth are bared at him and he looks terrifyingly angry. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

“Malfoy, is this where you live?” Harry asks, making to step inside.

Malfoy nearly shuts the door in his face but ends up slamming it into Harry’s booted foot instead. “Get out!” he bellows.

“Let me come in,” Harry insists, pushing at the door.

“Get the fuck out of here!” Malfoy tries desperately to kick Harry’s foot out of the way, but Harry shoves his shoulder into the door and forces his way in, glaring right back at Malfoy as he glowers at Harry, rubbing his elbow where the door had knocked into it.

Harry’s wildly hammering heart slows very slightly when he sees that although tiny, Malfoy’s flat – sparse but clean – is not as bad as he’d envisioned on his way upstairs. The walls are bare and what little paint remains is peeling. There’s a rather cluttered little desk under the sole, square window, and Harry immediately spots the letter he’d sent Malfoy that morning. A small, tidy kitchenette lies to his left, a single bed, neatly made, against the wall on the far right. There’s an old wardrobe, the dark wood faded and scratched, and, across from it, an overstuffed, rather comfortable looking winged armchair, a small patch of the upholstery torn and leaking fluffy cotton on one of the armrests. A large trunk sits beside the armchair, several books stacked neatly on it along with a steaming mug of what Harry can smell is tea. There’s a bathroom on the right, a little off the foot of the bed, the door slightly ajar, and Harry can just about spot the porcelain of a stained sink with a cracked, dirty little mirror above it.

“How dare you,” Malfoy says, voice quiet but shaking with rage. “You have absolutely no right, Potter--”

“I hadn’t heard from you in over two weeks and I got worried,” Harry snaps, finally looking at him, heart fluttering as he once again registers Malfoy’s extreme beauty. “You didn’t answer my owl today either.”

So?” Malfoy grits furiously. “You’ll come barging into my house? Have you not a modicum of respect for a person’s privacy?” Suddenly, and to Harry’s shock, Malfoy looks as though he might cry.

“Malfoy, I got worried,” Harry says, taking half a step towards him. “I just—I told you I want to be... I want to stay in touch, right? I just...got worried,” he repeats, staring desperately at Malfoy whose striking features are stained blotchy red with anger. “I’m sorry I forced my way in, alright? I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.”

“Well?” Malfoy yells, gesturing to himself, “Here, look! I’m fucking fine! I’m alive and still growing your offspring inside me; now can you fuck off?”

“No,” Harry says calmly, looking around once more, just because he cannot bear to look at Malfoy for too long – the urge to touch him rises inside Harry like a tidal wave.

“Potter, how did you find me?” Malfoy asks suddenly, eyes narrowing to slits, head tilting slowly. “Nobody knows where I--” he breaks off, realisation dawning, “You tracked that owl,” he hisses.

Harry fidgets, still not meeting Malfoy’s eye. “Like I said, I got worried...”

“You absolute bastard!” Malfoy suddenly darts towards his desk, snatching up his wand and pointing it at Harry, hand trembling, eyes flashing, “Get out,” he repeats, voice shaking with furious embarrassment.

“Malfoy,” Harry says, carefully lifting both hands in front of him, “Calm down. Put your wand away. I just want to talk for a bit. I’m sorry, alright? I’m sorry I tracked my owl. But I was worried and needed to check that you were doing alright. Just...put your wand away.” Harry waits, watching the way Malfoy’s lower lip wobbles, Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows loudly. “Lower your wand, Draco,” Harry tries again calmly, “before you accidentally take one of my balls or something.”

Startlingly enough, Malfoy snorts, lowering his wand and wiping his nose with the hand still holding it. “I’ll take a lot more than just your balls, Potter,” he mutters darkly, his eyes widening then as he promptly blushes, summoning a swarm of manic bees to buzz around inside Harry’s belly. “What do you want?” he crosses his arms, scowling heavily.

“Can we just...” Harry looks around again, “talk?” he finishes, slightly hopeless and sure that Malfoy is going to insist that he leave.

Malfoy’s glare slowly dissipates into just pure, resigned exasperation, and he throws his wand back down with a weary sigh. “I’ll put the kettle on,” he murmurs, ambling over to the kitchenette. He’s wearing pyjamas bottoms that ride a few inches above his ankles, and a long, faded, soft looking yellow t-shirt with a picture of a bowtruckle on the front, his glossy hair up in a small, messy knot, his creamy nape exposed and causing Harry’s mouth to flood with saliva. His perfectly arched feet are bare and soundless against the wooden floor as he fills the kettle and sets it on the hob, lighting it wandlessly. “I only have teabags,” he mumbles over his shoulder.

“Perfectly adequate, Malfoy,” Harry answers lightly, floorboards creaking under his feet as he slowly walks around the cramped room. “How—how long have you lived here?”

Malfoy stiffens where he’s hunched over the kettle, and Harry hears him draw a deep, seemingly calming breath. “About five years, give or take.”

Harry stares at a framed photograph of Malfoy and his mother that sits on the desk. He’s no older than fifteen in it, tall and bony as he puts an arm around Narcissa’s shoulders and slants Harry an appraising smile. Narcissa, Harry observes, is smiling rather vapidly at nothing in particular.

Malfoy clears his throat softly and Harry hastily looks away, glancing up at Malfoy spooning sugar into two mugs, before turning away and walking up to the armchair, and the trunk piled with books. “There’s some tea here too,” Harry reminds him lamely.

“Vanish it, it’s probably gone cold anyway,” Malfoy replies vaguely without turning.

Snorting under his breath, Harry obligingly Vanishes the contents of the chipped, blue mug, his eyes straying to the books around it; it’s a mixed jumble of Muggle and magical literature, worn hardbounds and dog-eared paperbacks, and Harry’s gaze slides over them unseeingly until a brand new, pristinely white book catches his eye, the front cover bearing a cherubic little baby with a gummy grin and bright blue eyes.

Chest tightening, Harry is just about to reach down and nudge a copy of a book of poetry off of it so he can read the title when Malfoy clears his throat again, this time much louder and much more pointedly. Harry jumps around guiltily and Malfoy is standing there holding two mugs, eyes narrowed.

“Thanks,” Harry mumbles sheepishly, as Malfoy holds out one mug and then nods at the armchair, inviting Harry to sit down. Harry accepts the mug and watches Draco pull out the rickety chair at the desk, steadying it before sitting down. “Sit here,” Harry says quickly, moving out of the way and pointing at the armchair.

Malfoy blinks up at him a moment before getting up, rolling his eyes, and walking over to the armchair, sitting down and immediately drawing his legs up, curling up primly and holding his mug on his knees. Harry stands there a moment, staring down at him; the mildly sweet, but somehow shockingly exotic scent of Malfoy had assaulted his senses the second he’d walked into the ramshackle old building, but it’s not until just now, when Malfoy had brushed past him that Harry properly registers it again.

Suddenly he can see Malfoy smirking at him under those strobe lights in the club, can hear Malfoy’s helpless, breathy moans, the way he had sucked over Malfoy’s pulse point, unable to get enough of his scent. It’s a scent he has imprinted to memory, and as he stands there, Harry wants nothing more than to bury his face against that slender neck again and scent him; inhale him until he can smell nobody and nothing else.

“Potter?” Malfoy sounds wary and yet, Harry hears the trace of smug knowingness in his voice, “Don’t just stand there. You wanted to talk, you said?”

“Yeah,” Harry says gruffly, striding over and sitting down on the desk chair, hurriedly catching himself and his mug of tea when it wobbles precariously under him. Malfoy grins but hides it by sipping some tea. “Why are you living here, Malfoy?”

“It gets cold out on the streets,” Malfoy deadpans.

Harry rolls his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“Do I?” Malfoy raises an eyebrow, “I’m not sure, Potter. What do you mean?”

“Why live in a dump like this when you’re rich enough to buy this building and half a dozen others?” Harry asks pointedly, feeling oddly guilty when Malfoy bites his lip and flushes.

“Is this somehow related to my pregnancy, Potter?” he asks, cool and polite. “Because if not, I don’t see how it’s any of your business.”

“Yes, actually,” Harry says irritably, “This building looks like it might crumble in on itself any bloody second. There’s some sort of renovation going on across the hall and it’s incomplete and bound to get even messier soon. You’re too close to Knocturn Alley and I don’t even want to think about the sort of crowds that frequent it and the front door downstairs is broken. Is this building even magical? Because I’m unable to detect a single trace of it in the walls or anywhere else.”

Malfoy looks flustered and angry again by the time Harry finishes, glaring at him with his lip curled. “Typical,” he hisses. “So what are you going to do about all that, Potter? Repair the whole building? Infuse it with some of your own excessive magic, perhaps? Obliterate Knockturn in its entirety?” His eyes flash for a moment before he sets his mug down. “Or perhaps you’ll throw me a bag of Galleons if I just got on my knees for you? Bent over for you, maybe?”

Harry feels his face burn – and horrifically, his cock stir.

“I thought we’d agreed to try and be civil to one another,” he growls through grit teeth, glaring hotly at Malfoy.

“I agreed to no such thing,” Malfoy replies looking away, his face set in an obstinate moue.

“Malfoy,” Harry presses his fingers to one suddenly aching temple, “please tell me what it’ll take for you to just...stop being like this. What would you have me do in exchange for being just a little less obnoxious, a little less arrogant? How long d’you intend to be this way? Forever? Do you seriously have the energy to be such a complete piece of shit forever?”

Malfoy stares at him, bright eyed and straight faced, for several, lengthy beats. And then, to Harry’s utter shock, Malfoy bursts out laughing.

Genuine, merry, belly laughter that has Harry staring transfixed, helpless and breathless.

“The fuck is so funny?” he snipes grumpily, thumping his tea onto the desk. “Malfoy,” Harry leans forward, blurting out without thought, “move in with me.”

Malfoy is still grinning widely as he stops laughing and stares at Harry, shining eyes widening slightly. He tilts his head expectantly, face still open and smiling as he seemingly waits for Harry to laugh as well. “What?” he finally says blankly, when Harry just waits nervously.

“Move in with me,” Harry repeats. “Move into Grimmauld Place with me.” Malfoy still looks like he’s waiting for the punchline, so Harry hurries to continue, “There’s plenty of room, Malfoy, and I have an elf who cooks and cleans and you’d not want for a thing over there.”

“Are you feeling quite alright, Potter?” Malfoy asks quizzically. “Move in with you? Why, because I’m pregnant with your child? Because it’s something akin to what’s proper? What’s next? A proposal?”

Harry’s cheeks burn hot but he sets his jaw tightly. “Yes, because you’re pregnant with my child,” he says firmly. “And because it’s my responsibility to make sure you’re well cared for during this time. And because this is no place for you to be living in anyway!”

“Just so we’re clear,” Malfoy holds up a long finger, “You took this responsibility upon yourself. I haven’t asked for a single thing from you.”

“Did I in any way imply that you have?” Harry asks exasperatedly. “Malfoy, if I was worried enough to illegally track an owl to find out where you live, so just imagine how much more annoying I’m going to get as this pregnancy proceeds.”

Malfoy’s slightly wry expression suddenly vanishes to be replaced by flat frustration as he lets Harry’s words sink in. “Merlin, Potter,” he says irritably.

“Wouldn’t it just be easier all around if you lived with me?” Harry beseeches. “I’d be able to keep an eye on how you’re doing; I’ll be on hand for you to order around! I’ll be your damn personal butler if you want, Malfoy, I know you’d just love that. And—and it...it just makes sense.”

“Because we’re going to have baby?” Malfoy sneers sarcastically.

“Because we’re going to have a baby,” Harry nods, swallowing as he steps forward a few paces. “Because we’re going to be parents, Malfoy – together. We’re bound in a way you can’t deny nor back out of anymore. Just,” Harry looks around the small, sad little flat again rather forlornly, “please, Malfoy.”

Malfoy licks his lips and bites on the lower one, one foot bouncing as his gaze darts restlessly around the room. “I dunno,” he murmurs. Harry sighs dejectedly and Malfoy’s grey gaze flickers up to meet his, Malfoy’s mouth opening and closing soundlessly several times.

Then Malfoy sighs too. “I’ll...think about it,” he says softly.

.v.

Malfoy doesn’t move in for another two weeks or so.

Every morning, Harry would wake up and go straight to his desk, writing Malfoy a note asking whether he’s made up his mind yet and owling it to him, even before he’d had his coffee or taken a piss. And without fail, Malfoy responded: ‘Do sod off, Potter’, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Potter’, ‘It’s 7AM, Potter, go the fuck back to sleep, ‘I will strangle your owl, Potter’.

But Harry wasn’t about to give up on the idea; after he’d left Malfoy’s decrepit place that evening, despair and sympathy bubbling up inside him, he wondered rather wildly if he ought to just go back and simply throw Malfoy over his shoulder and bring him to Grimmauld, kicking and screaming.

But he wanted to do it properly, and so every day, Harry wrote to him, and once in three days, Harry would go back to his flat. Malfoy eventually stopped opening the door for him so Harry stood there and pounded on his door for ten minutes and eventually left, promising to come back in a couple of days. He felt mildly embarrassed and very much like the crazy stalker Ron informed him he was being, but it all ended up being more than worth it when two weeks later, on a Saturday morning, Harry’s owl came back with a one-word reply:

‘Fine’.

~*~

Harry picks up Malfoy and his luggage, that one single trunk packed with seemingly everything he owns, on Sunday morning. Malfoy’s waiting for him, wearing robes again, this time in a soft cream, which, coupled with his peaches-and-milk skin tone, spun gold hair and heavenly scent, nearly sends Harry keeling over down the stairs when he opens the door.

“You’re late,” he snaps at Harry, blushing faintly when Harry gapes at him for a few seconds without coming in.

“What, no I’m not,” Harry replies blankly, “I’d said ten thirty and it’s ten thirty.”

“It’s ten thirty-two,” Malfoy says haughtily.

“Then you’ll just have to forgive me my tardiness, Malfoy,” Harry tells him blandly, stepping in and taking a look around. The wardrobe hangs open, empty, and the bed is bare. The desk bears nothing but a broken quill and a few crumbs of owl treats, and Malfoy’s trunk sits in the middle of the room. “Ready?” Harry asks, unable to hold back a smile – he doesn’t know how he’s going to handle living with Malfoy but for some mad reason he cannot wait.

“Whatever, Potter,” Malfoy sighs, bending down and picking up the trunk by one ear, “You’d better have more than one bedroom.”

Harry darts forward, easily picking up the trunk with both hands. “Didn’t I mention? You’re going to be sleeping on the sofa.”

Malfoy’s gaze, fixed on the way Harry’s holding up his trunk, snaps up to his in a flat glare. “That better be a fucking joke, Potter,” he says dangerously.

Harry grins. “Loosen the fuck up, you tosser,” he laughs, “I’ve already had a room prepared for you but I have twelve other bedrooms you can pick from if you want. Now come here and hold my arm so I can Apparate us.”

Malfoy huffs but stalks over without further comment, curling both hands around Harry’s bicep and pointedly looking away as his soft cheeks once again slowly blot pink. Harry tries not to stare too long at the way Malfoy’s hair falls onto his face and catches on his lashes, and with a deep breath, turns on the spot.

Malfoy remains staunchly silent as they Apparate onto the front porch of Grimmauld and make their way inside, Harry babbling away as he leads them upstairs, pointing out the rooms that lie in between. Malfoy simply follows him wordlessly, expression inscrutable as he takes in the curiously staring portraits and the spasmodically moving landscapes in their gilded frames.

“There used to be this disgusting collection of elf-skulls that I got rid of the second I moved in,” Harry says with a lame chuckle, Malfoy merely glancing at the empty pedestals Harry indicates to. Harry sighs, firming his grip on the trunk, and trudges on in silence.

The moment he opens the double doors and leads Malfoy into his appointed room, he turns around to see Malfoy’s reaction, pleased at the way Malfoy’s eyes go huge and his pink lips part, the wonder on his face making Harry’s stomach flutter happily.

He’d picked one of the biggest bedrooms and suspects it used to be Sirius’ parents’. The walls are a rich cream, gold paint highlighting the mouldings. An enormous four-poster — fluffy white and incredibly inviting, complete with gauzy bed-hangings stands right across the door — is flanked on either side by broad, square windows that go all the way up to the ceiling, hung with sheer, white day-curtains, and thicker drapes in deep, emerald green. Under the window on the left sits a lovely, carved writing desk, already equipped with a stack of parchment, a stand full of quills and three pots of ink, and beneath the window on the right is a large, ostentatious Victorian chaise lounge upholstered in silver and green.

There are vases full of thick, colourful bunches of luscious, fresh flowers everywhere; on both nightstands, on the desk, on the little glass-topped table near the chaise, and on the mahogany vanity against the wall across from the bed, there’s a wide, silver bowl heaped with a variety of brightly wrapped Honeydukes sweets. The windows are wide open and the room is bright, airy, sweet smelling and flooded with sunlight.

This is my room?” Malfoy asks, voice no louder than a whisper, disbelief laced with uncertainty. He takes everything in with wide eyes as he walks in, running long fingers over the high, glossy vanity, poking at the bowl of chocolates. “Potter, I—I don’t...require all this space,” he says weakly, tracing the carved patterns on the gigantic, ceiling-to-floor length wardrobe.

Harry rolls his eyes, setting Malfoy’s trunk down with a thunk. “Kreacher will unpack this for you later,” he says. “Have you eaten breakfast?”

“I spent all morning throwing up,” Malfoy replies distractedly as he peers into the en suite, eyes bulging at the sight of the, frankly, obscenely large claw-foot tub, scrubbed spotlessly white and gleaming.

“So you haven’t eaten anything yet?” Harry stares incredulously. “Right. Meet me downstairs in the kitchen. I might as well get a fry-up going, I can’t find Kreacher anyway. Malfoy,” he calls out with a sigh when Malfoy doesn’t look up from where he’s sniffing at the rose-scented hand soap and smoothing a hand over the stack of fluffy towels on the sink counter. When Harry calls out, Malfoy looks around, expression still rather shocked. “You remember where I pointed out the kitchen downstairs, right?” Harry asks and Malfoy nods. “Come down and eat breakfast,” he tells him, and Malfoy nods again, shrugging one shoulder.

Fifteen minutes later, Harry is just adding buttered toast to plates piled with rashers of crisp bacon, fried eggs browned around the edges, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, when Malfoy walks in, biting his lip and glowering to himself as he takes a seat at the table without looking at Harry.

Harry frowns slightly but doesn’t comment either, setting Malfoy’s plate before him wordlessly, making a second trip for the cutlery. When Malfoy still doesn’t look up at him, Harry asks softly, “Earl Grey?”

Malfoy finally looks up at him, looking angry and bewildered and wary all once. “What’s your game, Potter?” he asks, low and upset.

Harry blinks. “Um...”

“You beg and beg me to move in with you, and then you give me a room like that,” Malfoy points behind him, “And you behave like it’s nothing. Is this just so you can gloat about how you live in a fucking palace compared to the gutter you plucked me out of? Because I think there’s something more to it.”

Harry sighs, untying his apron and flinging it over the back of one chair. “Do tell,” he invites wearily.

“You want something from me,” Malfoy blurts, hands trembling, “You... You’re going to use all this as a way to take something from me. What is it, huh? Money?” he lets out a derisive laugh, “You think if I had money, I’d have been living in that hovel? What then, sex? You want to keep me here as some sort of sex-slave? Or is it just plain and simple, petty revenge? Is this you serving up retribution for my past?”

“No, this is me serving you breakfast, Malfoy,” Harry says irritably, jabbing a hand towards the plate of food. “I’d like to leave the past as far behind us as possible and I definitely don’t want your money.”

“So I’m to be your sex slave?” Malfoy demands hotly, leaping to his feet, face red and hair flying.

Harry feels his own face heat. “Are you insane? Are you just completely mental?”

“Answer the question, Potter!” Malfoy yells. “Tell me the truth!”

“No!” Harry shouts back. “I didn’t bring you here to be my sex slave! Merlin, listen to yourself, Malfoy! Don’t you realise how fucking imbecilic you’re being?”

“I’ve seen the way you look at me!” Malfoy accuses.

“Yes, well, if you looked in the mirror, you’d know it’s not something I can help!” Harry bellows, causing Malfoy to splutter wordlessly at him, his blush spreading right up to his delicately rounded ears.

Merlin!” he exclaims. “Have you no sense of tact, Potter?”

“You wanted the truth,” Harry retorts flatly. “Sit your perfect arse down and eat your stupid breakfast, Malfoy,” he says, turning away, ignoring him as he splutters some more.

And then, just as Harry is pulling down the tin of tea, Malfoy speaks again, soft and almost breathless with fevered suspicion. “It’s the baby, isn’t it?” he says, voice quavering. “You want to take this baby away from me. You want to keep it for yourself and throw me back in that hole. You want to take it away and have me thrown in Azkaban so I’m completely out of the way!”

Harry whips around so fast that he sends one of the empty mugs set on the counter flying. It crashes into the wall near the door and Malfoy flinches as the ceramic splinters into a hundred shards. Harry can’t see or hear anything through the high pitched ringing in his ears as he advances on Malfoy who hurriedly takes a step back only to fall back in a sprawl into his chair, chest heaving as he pants loudly.

“You want to say that again?” Harry murmurs, voice deceptively soft, expression so frigidly minacious that Malfoy instantly fumbles for his wand.

“St-stay back, Potter,” he stammers, pointing his wand square at Harry’s face.

Harry walks right up to him, snatches the wand out of his hand and tosses it across the room, grabbing Malfoy by the wrist and drawing him up flush against him, noses inches apart as he whispers, “Say it again. Say it to my face, Draco.”

“Let me go!” Malfoy yells, panicked and enraged, face twisted lividly but still unfairly beautiful.

“Look me in the eye and tell me how you think I’m going to take this baby away from you,” Harry grits, fingers tightening around Malfoy’s wrist until he feels the bones grinding together. “You fucking bastard. I’m doing all this, everything I can possibly think of, for you! To make your life easier as you go through this; because it’s likely dangerous and I don’t want you to be alone at any point! You goddamn ingrate!”

Malfoy’s eyes, still spitting sparks at him, suddenly fill with tears. “Let me go,” he repeats, voice breaking, and when Harry’s hand tightens even further, cries out, “you’re hurting me, you piece of shit!”

Harry releases him as though burnt, stumbling back with a shuddering exhale, watching Malfoy rub his wrist and bare his teeth at Harry. “I’m—I’m sorry,” he breathes, raking a hand through his hair. “I’ll Heal that for you. I’m really sorry, Malfoy.”

“I’m fine,” Malfoy says stiffly, glaring at the floor with his jaw tightly clenched.

And then, with no warning, Malfoy dissolves into tears. He sinks down into the chair, drops his face into his hands and with a quiet sob, starts to cry, shoulders shaking. Heart in his throat, Harry walks carefully up to him, one hand hovering over Malfoy’s back before he just throws himself into the chair beside him, pushing a hand back into his hair again.

“Malfoy,” he croaks, helplessly, guilt burning through him like acid, “Malfoy, I’m so, so sorry. Please—Please don’t cry? I’ll—Tell me what I can say or do to convince you that I’m not a threat.”

“I kn-know you’re not a threat,” Malfoy hiccups, voice hoarse and wet, muffled by his hands.

“Then why are you still suspicious of me?” Harry demands weakly. “I’m—I’m your...friend, Malfoy.”

Malfoy snorts messily, voice thick with snot and tears as he scoffs, “Friend – friend who wants to fuck me.”

“Anybody who sees you would want to fuck you,” Harry admits morosely. “I’m sorry I stare, alright, I’ll try not to.”

“I don’t care that you stare,” Malfoy declares at once, emerging from his hands, face and hands wet with tears.

Harry attempts a watery smile as he quickly hands him the apron. “Still,” he says as Malfoy grimaces at the apron before wiping his face with it, “I’m sure I’ll...get used to the way you look...eventually.”

Startlingly enough, Malfoy smirks, gorgeous despite his puffy eyes and cunning smile. “You can try,” he drawls and Harry can’t help the laugh that escapes him.

“Fuck, you’re damn near impossible,” he shakes his head, watching Malfoy blow his pinkened nose into the apron, “Are you alright?” he adds quietly.

“I’m fine,” Malfoy says at once, but when he looks up at Harry, his lip trembles again. “I’m... I’m a fucking woman; look at me crying in your bloody kitchen.”

Harry tilts his head with a wry smile. “Because...men don’t usually possess tear ducts?”

“Fuck off, Potter,” Malfoy snaps, impatiently wiping more tears that streak down his cheeks. “Yesterday I cried at the thought of leaving that hell-hole I used to live in. When in reality I couldn’t wait to get out of there! You cry for absurd reasons and then tell me you don’t feel like a right twat.”

“It’s...hormones or something,” Harry says awkwardly. “Nothing to be ashamed of... Hey, I cry all the time too, you know?”

“Is that right?” Malfoy sniffs, raising an eyebrow sceptically. “What’d you last cry about? When did you last cry?”

“I—this morning,” Harry lies smoothly.

“And what was it for?”

“I...ran out of aftershave,” Harry invents quickly.

Malfoy pins him with a look, mouth turned down at the corners as he stares flatly. Suddenly, he lets out a grainy cackle, managing to look incredibly lovely even as he snorts through his laughter and slaps his knee crudely. Harry grins helplessly, watching him chortle and hoot with mirth when Malfoy’s face crumples again and he buries it into the apron with a huge sob.

“What the fuck,” Harry blurts. “Malfoy, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing!” he insists creakily, emerging red-faced again, “I’m—I’m really hungry.”

“Malfoy, eat!” Harry squeaks hysterically, jumping to his feet and vigorously pointing at the plate of food. “Please eat as much as you want! I’ll—if you tell me what kind of foods you like I’ll let Kreacher know and he’ll make them for you! Or you could tell him yourself! You’re half-Black, he’ll listen to you!”

Malfoy looks up now, eyes still swimming with tears, but expression bewildered. Harry points to the food again and Malfoy draws his chair up, wiping his nose one last time before handing the apron back to Harry.

“Er...” Harry takes it from him but gently catches his forearm before he can pull away. Malfoy’s red-rimmed eyes are cold and suspicious as they instantly narrow. Rolling his eyes, Harry draws his wand and taps Malfoy’s wrist where a faint blue bracelet of bruises is starting to form. “I’m really sorry,” he says guiltily, releasing his arm before Summoning Malfoy’s wand and placing it next to his plate.

Malfoy slants him another smirk, pocketing his wand and picking up his knife and fork. “I’ll forgive you if and when I feel like it, Potter,” he says lazily, instantly looking much more like his old self.

“I’ll wait with bated breath,” Harry drawls back, turning away and going to fetch Malfoy’s tea and his own breakfast.

Malfoy laughs around a mouthful of eggs and Harry purses his lips, blatantly ignoring the fluttering in his belly.

 

 

.vi.

It’s an absolute nightmare, living with Potter, honestly.

Only two weeks since he’d moved in with him and Draco is already more comfortable and at home than he’d ever been in that filthy hole he’d lived in all these years. Potter doesn’t get in his way and never pries when Draco keeps to his room, but when Draco does deign to make an appearance in the sitting room or for his meals Potter seems ridiculously pleased and more than happy to spend a while in Draco’s company.

Draco absolutely loves his room; it reminds him of his quarters at Malfoy Manor, as does the brilliant library on the second floor that Draco spent a solid three hours browsing around in on the very first day of his arrival at Grimmauld. He’d run into Potter on his way back to his room and the git had beamed at him before insisting on relieving Draco of his armload of books and carrying them for him.

Potter, the courteous, hospitable bastard – always doing little things for Draco just to drive him up the wall.

Two days after Draco had moved in, Potter had disappeared for about an hour or so and when he’d returned, it was with an obscenely large sack full of Honeydukes candy – boxes and boxes of Cauldron Cakes and chocolate fudge, slabs of nutty, unimaginably succulent chocolate, enormous Chocoballs filled with strawberry mousse and clotted cream, Chocolate Dragon Eggs (each as big as a real dragon egg) filled with caramel and crushed hazelnuts, dozens and dozens of Chocolate Frogs and Peppermint Toads, little yellow and pink cartons of crystallised pineapple, jars of Pink Coconut Ice,  packets of Ice Mice, Fizzing Whizzbees and Glacial Snow Flakes.

Draco had simply stared at the gigantic, bright purple bag of sweets when Potter had heaved it onto the sofa beside Draco before looking back up at Potter in blank shock, at which point Potter had just shrugged and blushed and mumbled something about how Draco had finished most of the sweets in the bowl in his room before hurrying away.

The very next day, at breakfast, Draco had unthinkingly mentioned his broken sleep patterns to Potter over breakfast. That evening, after dinner, Draco had found Potter hurrying out of Draco’s room and had angrily bellowed after him about invasion of privacy before going inside and discovering an ornate musical box sitting on his bedside table. After staring at it in wary confusion for ten minutes, Draco had opened the lid, and out popped a miniature Swedish Short-Snout, flapping its silver wings and opening its jaws wide to emit a soft, euphonious tinkling that had instantly lulled Draco into deep, undisturbed sleep. He’d woken up feeling well-rested and supremely sheepish, not to mention guilty, for having yelled at Potter.

It’s really difficult to hate him, Draco thinks grumpily now as Potter sidles into the room and ambles over to Draco who’s lounging across the sofa, to hand him a large mug of warm honey-milk. Damn him — how is one supposed to succeed at sincerely hating him?

“Thanks,” Draco grunts, drawing his legs back and sitting crossed legged so Potter can sit down.

“I thought you went to bed,” Potter says.

“Well... I haven’t,” Draco replies blandly and Potter rolls his eyes.

“Still having trouble sleeping?” he asks casually.

“No,” Draco sets his mug down on the end table and shuts his book, “but I’m not sleepy yet; napped earlier.”

“Oh.” Potter fidgets with a hole in his horrible, clichéd Gryffindor t-shirt, staring down at the book Draco had bought himself on the way back from his first appointment with Granger. The baby on the cover has a perfectly round head and looks incredibly happy as it beams toothlessly and Draco honestly doesn’t know whether reading about sensitive nipples, swollen feet and the eventual increase in flatulence is helping him wise up about the pregnancy or simply fuelling actual nightmares.

“I—that musical box helped,” Draco acknowledges awkwardly when the silence stretches on. “Thanks.”

Potter grins happily and it really shouldn’t have the effect it does on Draco. “Really?” Potter asks eagerly. “I dunno, it was just something Hermione suggested. And I,” he scratches his neck, “I thought you might like the dragon, I dunno.”

“Stop fishing for compliments.” Draco frowns playfully. “I already said thank you. I love it.”

Potter snorts. “Malfoy, why on earth would I expect a compliment from you? I doubt you find very many things about me pleasing.”

Draco scowls, trying to gauge whether Potter is trying to manipulate him into actually paying him a compliment or two, only to realise that the git looks genuinely content as he sits there smirking at Draco, like he really believes Draco would never in his right mind find anything pleasing about him. For a moment, he considers just agreeing with him out of spite, rudely informing Potter that he has no pleasing qualities.

He’s not able to bring himself to.

Because to Draco’s quiet horror, nearly everything about Potter pleases him. The very sight of him lights something inside Draco up – the way Potter carries himself, careless and yet graceful, his smile, warm and crinkly, his stupid fucking hair, frighteningly, endearingly messy. The fact that he seems nearly incapable of having an ulterior motive for doing something; his almost frustrating transparency, his brutal honesty.

In all the years that he’d known and hated Potter before the War, it was this quality of his that Draco had resented and despised the most – the fact that Potter really is as noble and kind as people praise him for being, that he actually deserves all the love and admiration that he’s constantly showered with. Draco hates that he knows this now, hates that he can’t simply carry on mindlessly hating the fit bastard.

Oh, and that’s the other thing – the fact that Potter is fit as all holy fuck.

Draco isn’t stupid – he’d spent way too long guiltily fantasising about Potter in his teens to have turned him away that night at the club. Potter had been drunk off his mind and indecently charming and Draco had been four cocktails down himself, (besides, he never has had much self-control). So he’d savoured every brutal, jarring thrust of Potter’s spectacular cock up his arse that night and gone home on wobbly legs with a gloriously sore arse.

But he’d never imagined a scenario where he’d be living with Potter and seeing him in joggers that sit too low on his hips and ripped jeans that cling to his rock hard arse and t-shirts that stretch too snugly across his broad chest and on one blessed occasion, in nothing but his fluffy, white towel.

It had been the day after Draco had moved in and Draco had come out of the bathroom to find an absolutely hideous, wrinkled old creature making his bed and had shrieked embarrassingly loudly before realising that it was actually a bloody house-elf. The stooped old thing had still been yelling in affronted indignation at Draco in its grating, bullfrog like voice a few seconds later when Potter had barrelled into the room with his glasses slipping down his nose, wand drawn, wearing nothing but a thick, terry towel wrapped firmly around his hips.

Draco had stared helplessly at the expanse of damp, bronze skin and hard rolling muscles as Potter had looked wildly around the room and put two and two together, grinning amusedly at Draco before introducing him to Kreacher. Draco had seen the sparse sprinkling of dark hair trailing downwards from his navel, the sharp ridge of his collarbones, and when Potter had turned to leave with a soft chuckle, Draco had spotted the pale, gruesome looking scars on Potter’s left hip, half hidden under the towel.

But not even the werewolf aspect puts Draco off. He watches Potter gag over his lightly smoking vial of vivid blue Wolfsbane after breakfast every day, notes how he takes his meat far rarer than Draco, how he seems to be able to smell and hear things Draco can’t, how he sometimes almost vibrates with an impossible amount of pent-up energy; Potter’s uncomfortable intensity, his incredible, careless strength – it ought to put Draco off, all of it. Everything about Potter should ideally turn Draco the fuck off; it’s what someone would expect of Draco Malfoy.

Instead Draco now lives with Potter, spends most of his waking hours struggling to maintain his frigid facade in the face of Potter’s easy charm and genuine kindness, and his nights and his showers pulling himself off to a variety of Potter-related fantasies.

And now he’s supposed to sit here and successfully convince Potter that he finds nothing about him pleasing. Right.

“See now,” Draco says airily, “you assuming that I’m an arsehole who’d never pay you a compliment really makes you the arsehole, not the other way around.”

Potter grins crookedly, leaning back against the armrest and throwing an arm across the back of the sofa. “Go on, then,” he challenges, “pay me a compliment, Malfoy.”

Draco glares at him, fidgeting with the book in his lap. “If you expect me to compliment you while you’re sitting there being a smug little shit, you can think again.”

Potter laughs, head thrown back, Adam’s apple bobbing, shoulders bouncing; then Potter’s arm slides off the back of the sofa and his hand, warm and heavy, lands on Draco’s knee. “You know I’m teasing, right?” He cocks a brow, expression playful, eyes bright. “You can go ahead and insult me a few times if you like, I don’t mind.”

Draco’s heart is galloping furiously up into his throat as he becomes more and more aware of Potter’s touch – Potter’s continued touch; he isn’t moving his hand off Draco’s knee and Draco does not know what to do.

With monumental effort, he maintains his cool. “Because you’re just that wonderful,” he deadpans with a sigh, narrowing his eyes as Potter grins. “And I’m just that nasty.”

“I don’t think you’re nasty,” Potter says, smiling but disarmingly honest.

“Shut up, Potter,” Draco mumbles, biting the inside of one cheek as Potter chuckles and gives Draco’s knee an affectionate rub. “I’ve... I’ve been meaning to thank you, actually,” he admits quietly. Potter doesn’t say anything to that (nor does he move his hand) so Draco continues. “You...didn’t have to put me up here, didn’t have to make such an effort to make me feel comfortable. You’re...a good person,” he adds, slightly lamely, but resentfully sincere as he says it. Potter just smiles, looking a bit bemused. “I owe you a lot already, Potter,” Draco scowls, “and now this. Can you stop doing me favours already?”

Potter’s eyes twinkle and he tilts his head slightly, regarding Draco carefully for a few seconds. “I didn’t help you as a favour, Malfoy,” he says slowly.

“No, you did it for the baby, I get that,” Draco replies tightly, looking away. Potter’s hand on his knee tightens until Draco looks back at him.

“I did it because I wanted to,” he says quietly. “Not because I had to, or wanted to prove something to someone. I helped you because I wanted to. And— and not just because of the baby either.” Leaning forward a bit, Potter lifts his hand off Draco’s knee to take one of his hands instead.

Draco blinks, looking down at their joined hands in silence, feeling his cheeks slowly colour as he bites his lip and looks back up at Potter. “You wanted to help me,” he says, voice shaking but tone flat.

“Yes,” Potter replies, just as flatly.

“But not because of the baby,” Draco says softly, derision barely masked.

“Malfoy,” Potter says airily and with a deceptively sweet smile, “what if you weren’t pregnant and I’d offered to help? Offered to let you move in? Would you have accepted? How many owls would I’ve had to have sent before you’d agreed to let me help? Be honest.”

“What does that have to do with anything?” Draco asks, half-bewildered, half-irritated.

“Just answer me.”

“If I hadn’t been pregnant...?”

“Would you have accepted my help, yes,” Potter repeats, with a nod.

Draco fidgets, frowning as he gives it genuine thought – he pictures his old flat, the dingy, cramped little space he’d lived in for so long, stomach plummeting with humiliation at the very memory of Potter’s expression as he’d discovered him there. Would he have let Potter help him for no reason at all but for the goodness of Potter’s heart? Even with the baby it had taken Draco days to finally relent to Potter’s incessant wheedling, promising himself that it was only because of the baby and that he’d go out and find a better place of his own soon enough.

He supposes it would’ve been a whole other thing if he and Potter had been...together. The very thought of it makes Draco slightly dizzy – Potter and he, an actual couple; Potter finding out that Draco lived in that godawful little shithole and gently persuading Draco, his boyfriend, to move in here with him. Potter and he sleeping in the same bed and living like an actual couple, Draco never once feeling like he doesn’t belong here.

Come to think of it, Draco hasn’t felt like he doesn’t belong here even though Potter and he aren’t together. He’s never once felt unwelcome, and between Potter’s numerous little gestures and honest warmth, Draco’s felt perfectly at home for days now.

“Malfoy.”

Draco starts in place, blinking around at Potter who’s watching him with a gentle little smile. “Even though this is a better place for you to live in while pregnant,” he says softly, “I swear I’m not doing it just for the baby. Nobody deserves to live the way you were living, Malfoy. And I’m so happy you agreed to move in here. Even though it probably killed you just a little bit to let me help,” he adds with a knowing chuckle.

“It killed me a lot,” Draco says wryly. “I really am grateful, Potter. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” he acknowledges with a tip of his messy head. Then a brief look of hesitation flickers across his face but Potter doesn’t say anything further.

Draco sighs. “What?”

“What?” Potter blinks.

“You want to ask me something, so go ahead.”

“No no, I--”

“I’m living under your roof and steadily eating my way through your pantry, Potter,” Draco drawls with a self-deprecating snort. “The least I can do in return is answer some of your questions. What is it?”

Potter grins slightly but it’s only after several more beats of painful hesitation that he speaks. “Why...were you living in that—living there, Malfoy?” he asks carefully. “How did you land up there?”

Draco had expected the question days, if not weeks, ago but even so, his stomach clenches with embarrassment along with a faint hint of dread at the prospect of mentally reliving his past, however briefly. Potter almost seems to be holding his breath and for some reason, this eases the knot in Draco’s belly just a little.

“I...met a guy,” Draco says eventually, “It was about a year after the War; we were both taking the same diploma course – Potions,” he adds when Potter frowns enquiringly. “Richard and I—well, it was new for me, he was my first relationship and he was rather irresistibly charming and well...I slipped, I guess.”

Draco drifts for a moment as he recalls the bright blue eyes, the dimpled grin, the way he’d play with Draco’s hair – when he looks up Potter is watching him with a rather dead expression, gaze half-lidded and unamused.

Draco blinks and waits but when Potter’s silence continues, he goes on. “After we completed the course, Richard asked me to move in with him – he’d been talking of renting a place in London for weeks, was so excited about it. And well,” Draco’s insides twist uncomfortably as he says it, “I thought we were in love.” Potter’s expression hasn’t changed at all and his flat stare is starting to unnerve Draco. “Father didn’t approve of us,” he blurts out hurriedly, now wanting to just be done with it. “Wanted me to break it off with him and Mother wasn’t exactly offering any kind of support either so I—Well, I was nineteen and stupid, alright? I left the Manor and moved in with Richard and—and things were alright for a bit. We started apprenticing under William Gnopf – have you heard of him? Brilliant potioneer, Professor Snape hated him,” Draco smiles softly to himself for a moment, “About a year in I found out that Richard had been sleeping with one of the other apprentices, a Julio someone,” he says quietly, even the back of his neck burning now, his insides roiling with mortified shame. “It took me all of two hours to pack and leave, and...that place was the best I could find if I didn’t want to spend the night in a Knockturn back alley with my Shrunken trunk in my pocket.”

“Did he know about the Veela thing?” Potter grunts suddenly and Draco just stares at him for a beat.

“No, I stayed on my suppressant and didn’t tell him,” he admits. “I came close a couple of times though...”

“What happened to that twat?” Potter barks and Draco actually rears back a bit.

“Well, I’d made the mistake of trashing his flat before I left,” Draco shakes his head, rubbing his forehead, “Just about ruined everything he owned. So he went to Gnopf and—well, in retaliation he made up a load of tripe about how I’d been selling rare potions on the side, making a bunch of my own Galleons, and well, Gnopf knew about my...you know,” he gestures to his left arm, “so it wasn’t hard to sell that story and...I was given the boot.”

“That piece of shit!” Potter shouts, spine ramrod stiff and hands clenched, barely aware of the startled look Draco gives him.

“Yes, well, I broke his grandfather’s antique Pensieve,” Draco snorts. “Frankly, I’m surprised he didn’t make up a more vicious story.”

“Still,” Potter says angrily, “Why didn’t you eventually move into a better place?”

“Word spreads, Potter,” Draco says quietly. “Gnopf is well known and he didn’t bother keeping mum about it.”

“So you...couldn’t get another job?” Potter still looks furious.

“I never did manage to beat the rumours and get there first,” Draco smiles mirthlessly, “Anywhere I went, they already seemed to know. It’s okay, though,” he says quickly as Potter’s face darkens further, “I managed to keep afloat. Slug and Jiggers – the apothecary on Diagon? – my grandfather was one of the investors when it first opened so I was able to pull some strings. Helped out when they needed an extra hand, even brewed for them – they had fixed rates but they always paid me on time. I...” he swallows past the sudden knot in his throat, “I had to sell the watch I was gifted when I came of age but it did bring me a neat sum, so, I won’t—So, I won’t complain.” Draco swallows again and pauses a second, staring hard at the plush cream upholstery of the sofa. “Plus I have my personal vault at Gringotts,” he finally adds, blinking and noiselessly sighing through his nose.

“Not enough to--?”

“To get a better place? No,” Draco says shortly, looking up at him. “I still have a sizeable amount left in it but I’ve been very careful about spending from it. I used it primarily to pay for the monthly supply of my suppressant. I’d—I’d have brewed it myself but the ingredients are bloody rare and really hard to find – even Slug and Jiggers didn’t stock half of them and they’re London’s primary apothecary.”

“Why didn’t you just move back in with your parents?” Potter asks after a pause, gentle but oddly desperate.

Draco instantly feels his throat close up, eyes starting to ache as he fights to keep his chin up, spending several seconds deliberating before opting to be honest. “I tried,” he says tightly. “I owled. I apologised – several times. When they didn’t respond and I was desperate enough, I went to the Manor. It—It was locked.” Draco’s voice quavers on the last word and he looks away, the room blurring before him as his eyes fill up, jaw clenched painfully tight.

“Wait, what?” Potter looks completely thrown. “What do you mean locked?”

“They weren’t there,” Draco says, sounding choked as he frantically tries to swallow his tears. “I got past the gates but I’d been warded out of the house and one of the elves finally opened the doors to tell me that I wasn’t allowed in because Mother and Father weren’t there anymore — that they’d m-moved.”

“Moved where?”

“I don’t know, Potter!” Draco yells as the tears finally spill. “I don’t fucking know! My owls always come back unopened and I don’t know if they’re getting the letters and sending them back or if the birds simply can’t find them. I don’t fucking know and I have no way to find out. I don’t know if they’re even alive. Alright? Anymore questions for me?”

Potter doesn’t say a word and when Draco tries to get up, he realises their hands are still wound together. When he tries to pull back, Potter’s grip tightens.

“I’m going to bed,” Draco says coolly, brushing his cheeks with his free hand and not looking at Potter’s burning, open expression.

“Malfoy.”

“Let go of my hand, Potter.”

“Malfoy.”

“Potter, I’m serious, I—”

“Draco.”

Draco looks up now, half wanting to just backhand Potter across his stupid, handsome face, to break that expression of calm understanding and unfeigned compassion. Potter opens his mouth to speak and Draco braces himself for Potter’s fucking empathy.

“I’m really sorry, Draco,” Potter whispers, squeezing Draco’s hand gently. “I’m sorry.”

“Okay,” Draco replies coldly. “I’m going up to bed now.” Potter releases his hand slowly and Draco scrambles to his feet, picking up his book and the mug of milk Potter had brought him before striding away.

“Draco,” Potter calls softly and despite himself, Draco pauses. “Thank you for telling me.”

Draco doesn’t turn around, just standing there in silence for a long time, his insides churning with a dozen emotions as he tries to find some energy to snap something unpleasant. “Goodnight, Potter,” he murmurs instead, sweeping out without waiting for a reply.

.vii.

The next morning, sometime just before 9AM, Draco is sitting up in bed with the Wireless he’d brought to his room from the library on softly and a book in his lap, when a low, hesitant knock sounds. Draco considers snapping at Potter to fuck off, to leave him alone and not irritate him with more questions, but the burning humiliation of the previous night’s conversation withstanding, Draco is unable to find it in himself to resent Potter for it; Potter hadn’t forced him to tell him those things. Draco had willingly told him, and with a whole array of details and he’d spent twenty minutes crying about his parents before he went to sleep, but he feels not a shred of anger or resentment towards Potter.

“Come in, it’s unlocked,” Draco calls out and Potter slowly edges into the room, still in his grey joggers and Gryffindor t-shirt from the night before, hair an abominable mess that made Draco wonder if he rolled about like a dog in bed.

“’morning,” Potter says softly, wary and slightly anxious as he surveys Draco still tucked under the covers, leaning back against the headboard.

“Good morning,” Draco replies, calm and pleasant. “Sleep well?”

“I—yeah,” Potter seems surprised, “You?” His gaze slips to the music-box on Draco’s bedside table. Smirking, Draco nods and Potter immediately returns his smile, eyes flaring with something akin to careful hope behind his smudged, lopsided specs, before he looks worried again. “Are you...not feeling well?” he asks, taking one step forward.

“I feel fine, why?” Draco asks, genuinely confused.

“You—Kreacher mentioned you requested he bring you your breakfast in here so...” Potter scratches his shaggy head a moment, “I thought if you’re unwell, I’d call ‘Mione over or—”

“I feel fine, Potter,” Draco hurries to say. “No need to call on Granger.”

Potter grins, eyes crinkling up, dimples begging to be filled by Draco’s thumb-tips. “I could call on another Healer if you like, Malfoy—”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“—but we have an appointment with ‘Mione tonight, anyway, so—”

“Wait, what?”

“Yeah, we’re several days overdue actually,” Potter informs him. “It’s been over a month since your last check-up. Hermione actually reminded me last week but—” he flushes lightly, “I dunno, I wanted to wait until you’ve settled in a bit before...”

Draco stares as Potter trails off, looking slightly sheepish but still mostly determined as he looks around Draco’s room once as if to draw some confidence out of the walls. “Okay,” Draco says.

“Oh. Er... Good,” Potter nods, turning away, “See you at...lunch, I guess.”

“No, I’ll come downstairs now,” Draco calls out. Potter halts and looks back at Draco in surprise, a tiny smile playing about his mouth. “Tell the elf not to bring up a tray. I’m feeling okay, I’ll come down now.”

“Great!”

Five minutes later, Draco is still thinking about the grin Potter had given him as he’d left his room. He’s waiting for him, Potter, his breakfast still untouched as he flips through the sports section of the Prophet, the daily news and gossip sections laid out next to Draco’s plate as usual.

Steadfastly ignoring the paranoia mixing into the warmth in his belly, Draco sits down and throws Potter a little smile of his own when he lowers the paper at once and draws his chair up like Draco, watching rather happily as Draco digs into his omelette and sausages.

“Who won yesterday’s game?” Draco asks lightly.

“Harpies lost to the Magpies, two hundred and thirty to one hundred and ninety,” Potter looks oddly amused as he speaks, buttering his toast briskly. “Man, Ginny is going to be in a mood for the rest of the week.”

Draco’s breakfast suddenly tastes slightly bitter in his mouth. “Well, your girlfriend should’ve scored more goals, then,” he snaps, before looking up quickly to see Potter blinking at him with a rather stupid expression. “I just meant,” Draco goes on quickly, his own face flooding with heat, “I mean, you played professionally for a bit, Potter, you know the importance of scoring as many goals as possible before the Snitch is caught.”

Potter nods thoughtfully, taking a bite of toast. “Yeah,” he says, voice muffled as he sprays crumbs across the table, “I used to let the team gain a head start of at least ten goals before I looked for the Snitch in earnest; used that time to watch the opponent Seeker and note flight patterns and stuff.”

“Yes, well, that’s all I meant,” Draco says at once, shovelling in forkfuls of bacon and cheese omelette, cheeks bulging by the time he stops for a sip of pumpkin juice. When he finally does look up, Potter is chewing slowly with a rather faraway look on his face. “Potter?”

“Yeah?” Potter replies at once, leaning forward attentively as he comes around.

“Nothing,” Draco gives him a crooked, rather lame smile, before suddenly blurting, “Do you miss it?” and when Potter shows no signs of understanding, adds, “Playing professionally. You were...rather good. Do you miss it?”

He’s bracing himself for Potter to look sad if not angry but Potter just shrugs one shoulder, mouth curling up on one side as he pushes his scrambled eggs around his plate. “I mean, sure,” he says carelessly. “I loved Quidditch right from the very first time I learnt how to play. It’s one of the few things I was naturally good at,” he adds, chuckling when Draco narrows his eyes playfully at him across the table.

“Is that why you took to coaching after—” Draco breaks off quickly, looking down at his plate.

But Potter doesn’t seem offended at all. “Yeah, I mean, I didn’t want to commit full time, because, well...staying out of the spotlight and all,” he waves a hand impatiently. “So I coach under contract, a few months at a time; it’s just a way to keep in touch with the sport.” He shrugs once more, looking thoughtful again. “It was actually my decision to stop playing. Puddlemere wanted me to stay on after recovery.”

“Then why’d you retire?” Draco asks curiously.

Potter smiles wryly. “Can’t you imagine what the common consensus would’ve been had I, Merlin forbid, not caught the Snitch? Even for one match?” Draco bites his lip and gives him a weird, jerky nod. “It’s died down now, all the press around my wolf thing, but—” He leans back, crossing his arms, staring off again, “I dunno if you remember how it was back when—you know, when I was bitten. I mean,” he laughs rather derisively, “Puddlemere had just won at Nationals – they barely acknowledged that – and it was barely a week after that when I was—”

“Five days,” Draco murmurs, dropping his gaze when Potter looks around in surprise, stomach turning with embarrassment. “It was five days after you won at Nationals. You caught the Snitch barely fifteen minutes in.”

Potter is looking at him steadily, his expression more interested than surprised now. “You followed it, then?” he asks casually. “The tragic saga of The Boy Who Lived getting bitten while helping on a case when he wasn’t even an official Auror; it was covered endlessly — did you read all about it then?”

“Yes,” Draco admits quietly because Potter doesn’t look or sound like he’s mocking Draco for it. When Potter doesn’t reply, Draco looks up to find him staring at Draco like he’s trying to figure him out while waiting for him to continue. “I...wasn’t happy or excited about what happened to you, Potter, if that’s what you’re thinking,” he suddenly bites out. “I’m not thrilled about the life you’re living now, the things you have to go through on a daily or monthly basis.” Potter just raises his eyebrows, thick forearms, bulging with veins under a smattering of dark hair, still crossed. Feeling oddly defensive, Draco blurts, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what happened to you, alright? You—you of all people didn’t deserve to suffer through that – don’t deserve to continue suffering through it.”

Draco wants to stand up and flip the whole table because out of nowhere he feels a lump rise in his throat and he is fucking fed up of these sudden, completely random — not to mention bafflingly drastic — mood swings and fierce rushes of emotion. Potter’s soft, genuinely touched expression doesn’t help one bit, and so Draco shoves the rest of his omelette into his mouth and then angrily stabs the grilled sausage on his plate, stuffing half of it into his mouth, determinedly chewing and swallowing intermittently to force down the tears with eggs and meat.

He’s still masticating like a cow, choking a bit every few seconds as he swallows, moist eyes fixed on the painted bowl of wildflowers placed at the centre of the table, when Potter leans in and closes one startlingly warm hand over Draco’s, which is still curled in a death grip around his fork. Cheeks bulging, lips gleaming with grease, Draco looks up, finally horrified at how he must probably look like a very blond chipmunk on the verge of violently barfing and then bursting into tears.

Potter either ignores, or doesn’t seem to notice, any of that. “Thank you,” he says softly, almost in a whisper, looking at Draco with wide, shiny eyes, expression tender and almost disbelieving. “That...means a lot Ma—Draco. Thank you.”

Mouth still too full to answer, Draco nods vigorously, hair falling onto his face, cheeks red with mortification even as he tries to return Potter’s watery little smile. Squeezing his hand once more, Potter finally releases it, leaning back to pick up his fork again, shooting bright little smiles at Draco as he slowly finishes chewing half a plateful of food at once.

Mostly just trying not to sick up after that, Draco sits there and slowly sips tea as Potter eats his breakfast, the silence between them surprisingly light, more comfortable than Draco would’ve expected it to be after the topics of conversation they’d covered in the immediate and recent past. Potter continues to dart glances at Draco, something that the Veela in him is used to by now, except Potter seems to be...looking at Draco rather than just admiring him.

Potter sets his fork down and wipes his mouth before neatly folding up the sports section, throwing Draco yet another quick smile. They both glance down at the headline stating the Harpies’ loss to the Magpies when Potter sets the paper down, and then suddenly Potter looks back up at Draco with a little frown.

“You know that Ginny isn’t my girlfriend, right?” he asks out of the fucking blue.

Draco immediately feels his lip curl. “And I’d care, why?” he drawls.

Potter narrows his eyes a bit before rolling them. “No,” he says, “Why would you care?” They stare at each other a beat. “I was just clarifying. Earlier you said—”

“I know what I said, Potter,” Draco snaps.

“Yes, well, we’re not an item,” Potter responds irritably. “Merlin, I spent the first two years after the War screaming about that to anyone who asked and you—” he sighs, looking weary, “I know you don’t care but I was just clarifying. That’s all.”

Draco opens his mouth to declare that his life would’ve gone on just the same even if Potter hadn’t clarified, but just then Potter’s fossil of an elf trots over and thrusts a familiar looking vial of pellucid blue potion at Potter, who takes it with that slightly nauseous expression Draco finds amusing and piteous all at once.

Pulling the stopper out with a pop, Potter ignores the plume of smoke that rises from the vial and throws the contents down his throat, shuddering slightly as he face crumples and he grabs the edge of the table, Draco looking on rather helplessly.

“Can’t you...take it before you eat?” Draco asks quietly, handing over his napkin when Potter fumbles for and drops his.

Potter buries his face in Draco’s napkin with a small burp, shaking his head. “No, then I end up skipping breakfast altogether,” he croaks, eyes watering slightly. “And then that makes me dizzy because the potion is too strong to be had on an empty stomach or something.”

“I thought Wolfsbane is only consumed during the week leading up to the full moon,” Draco says enquiringly.

Nodding, Potter takes a small sip of the water his elf comes up and pours him. “That’s how it used to be done,” he says, clearing his throat and dabbing at his streaming eyes. “That’s how I did it for the first two years actually. But a smaller, daily dose of it has proven more effective, apparently.”

“And if you miss a dose?” Draco asks, unconsciously holding his breath.

Potter gives him a little grin. “I won’t spontaneously turn into a wolf and kill anyone if I miss a dose, Malfoy.”

Draco scowls, huffing when Potter chuckles softly. “I know.”

“Nothing happens if I miss a dose,” Potter says easily. “One time I developed a slight fever but it broke overnight. The other time I forgot, I was just really worked up and jittery by the end of the day. ‘s nothing uncontrollable; werewolves survived years without Wolfsbane, and then several more years with consuming it just a few days a month. I’ve got it easy, really,” he says airily. “People like Remus had it far worse and it bodes well to remember that, I guess.”

Draco doesn’t realise he’s giving Potter an incredulous, slightly pained look until Potter’s smile slowly vanishes and he leans forward, looking wary and worried all at once. Draco clears his throat and looks away, altering his expression into one of easily accessed impassivity.

“Only you can claim being a werewolf is not a big deal and get away with it, Potter,” Draco studies his fingernails with an air of exaggerated nonchalance before glancing up at Potter who’s grinning rather exasperatedly at him, “The Werewolf Who Cries When He Drinks His Medicine,” Draco adds with a smirk that’s more jocose than anything else.

Potter tosses his head back and barks out a loud, tickled laugh, twinkling at Draco. “I’m going to let you have a taste tomorrow,” he says with wicked intent.

“No, thank you,” Draco says hurriedly in horror, picking up and throwing a wildflower at Potter when he laughs at him. “I’m pregnant, Potter, you’d never risk something like that,” he says smugly.

Potter sobers up so quickly that Draco inadvertently stiffens in his seat. “No,” Potter says seriously, “I’d never risk something happening to you both, especially for a stupid joke. I’m so sorry.”

“Merlin, I was joking myself,” Draco says in bewilderment. “For heaven’s sake, Potter, lighten up. Fuck, trust you to sour a light situation,” he adds bitterly, glaring daggers.

Potter licks his lips, holding back a smile. “Our appointment’s at six-thirty today, okay?”

Our appointment is at six-thirty, okay?” Draco scrunches his face up and mocks, getting up and irritably pushing his plate away, just to hear it clatter noisily against the scratched wood.

Potter just sniggers as Draco stomps off, shaking his head and looking at him in a way that can only be called fond.

.viii.

Granger stares at him with her mouth open for a full thirty seconds and Draco comes very close to standing up and clobbering her over the head with his chair.

It’s Potter who clears his throat pointedly and taps his knuckles against the table to regain her attention. Granger blinks, promptly goes brilliantly pink, and starts tearing feverishly through a folder in front of her.

“So, Malfoy,” she says, voice rather high, “How are we doing? Any new symptoms you want me to make note of or address? Excessive fatigue? Backache? Muscle cramps? Heartburn? Constipation?”

Draco splutters loudly and squeezes his eyes shut. “For fuck’s sake,” he grits out and Granger looks a little confused as she looks up. Draco doesn’t have the stomach to look at Potter. “I’m—I’m fine. My lower back aches in the morning just after I wake up, but that’s probably because of the way I sleep. It loosens up over the day; otherwise, I’m fine. Those potions take care of things.”

Granger is scribbling away as she nods. “No fluctuating appetite now, I hope? Your nausea should be more or less receding by this point.” Draco nods. “Good. Any cravings? Mood swings?”

“Yes and yes!” Draco bursts out at once, leaning forward slightly, feeling slightly deranged. “Give me something to keep the mood swings down. I can’t be crying everyday for the rest of this pregnancy!”

Next to him, Potter stifles a snort and when Draco whips him a glare, dips his head between raised shoulders, hurriedly rearranging his face. When he turns, Granger is looking between the two of them with a small, twinkly-eyed smile. A little flustered, Draco reaches out and grabs a little sugar toffee out the pink, glass bowl on Granger’s desk, unwrapping it and sticking it in his mouth before carelessly dropping the wrapper into Potter’s lap. Potter catches it gives him a little grin.

“What have you been craving?” he asks Draco, who rolls his eyes.

Draco sucks idly around the sweet. “Did Potter tell you he bought Honeydukes?” Draco asks Granger who looks even more amused. “He bought me about twenty-five kilos of chocolate, Granger.”

“Half of which he’s already eaten,” Potter points out, yelping when Draco smacks his bare forearm sharply with long, bony fingers.

“I wasn’t particularly craving that much sugar when he did but now I do,” Draco grouses. “All the fucking time.”

“Hence, all the chocolate I keep bringing you,” Potter sulks, rubbing the bright red prints Draco has left on his arm, “Merlin, Hermione, give him a sedative of some sort, would you?” He shies away, laughing lightly, as Draco gives him a half-lidded, haughty glare. “What else have you been craving?” he asks again eagerly.

“Shut up, Potter,” Draco sighs, crunching on the sweet.

Granger is practically beaming at the pair of them now, hands clasped on her file, gaze flicking between them like she’s watching tennis. When they both stop and look at her, she lets out a loopy little sigh and looks back down.

“Alright, so,” she thumbs through the pages again, “Your weight gain looks normal – you’re a little under actually, but your urine, blood and magical-signature scans look healthy enough so it’s nothing to worry about. I am going to be starting you on some additional pre-meal potions, though, just a preventative so your digestion and bowel movements remain normal.” She pauses and lifts wry eyes when Draco splutters again, smacking a hand onto his face. “Relax, Malfoy. Your blood pressure is a tad high and you need to avoid stressing.”

“You know who I’m staying with right?” Draco asks drily, “I wonder why my blood pressure’s high.”

Potter looks genuinely worried. “Isn’t there something we should be doing about that?” he demands of Granger. “Is it going to--?”

“Harry, Malfoy’s blood sugar and pressure levels are going to vary over the next few months,” Granger interrupts calmly, shutting the file and picking up her wand. “Don’t you think I’d have told you if it was something to be worried about? You need to avoid stressing too, because Malfoy here is relying on you in several little ways beyond just his supply of chocolate.” She stands, smiling and pointing wordlessly to the examination table with a little nod at Draco.

“What does that mean?” Potter asks breathlessly, tripping over the leg of his chair as he joins Draco and Granger near the examination table. Draco remains silent as he undoes his robes and lies down but mostly because he’s dying to know what she meant himself. “How else is he relying on me? Tell me so I don’t—”

Granger is pressing a warm hand over the little swell of Draco’s belly; next to them, Potter is ogling openly, mouth open and eyes wide as he stares at the bump. Draco stares at him until Potter’s eyes automatically meet his, and they both look away at once, cheeks warming.

“Hmm?” Granger only seems to register Potter’s question now. “Oh, I just meant that he’ll inadvertently be seeking emotional support from you – it’s natural to expect it from your partner when you’re in a physically and emotionally compromised state, really.” She draws her wand, snorting at the way Draco is scowling at her explanation. “Additionally, he’s going to be relying on your magic as well.”

Both of them open their mouths at once, questions on the tips of their tongues, but then Granger is waving her wand over Draco’s stomach again and a few seconds later the lights dim and the same flare of light appears on the wall once more.

He and Potter gasp in unison – there is a distinctly human shaped form wiggling faintly in the centre this time. Draco can see the large, round head, the vague, almost shapeless limbs; when he squints, Draco thinks he can see the little arms, held up against its chest, hands meeting over the heart, waving around, and so he just watches the little thing wave for a while.

It’s only several beats later that Draco remembers that he’s growing that little thing inside him; that the blurry little shape he’s seeing is his actual baby that’s currently residing inside him and isn’t just a grey shape on the wall of Granger’s office.

It’s stupefying and utterly terrifying a realisation and Draco doesn’t quite understand why his heart seems to be swelling rapidly and gleefully.

When he looks around, Granger is smiling again, watching the ultrasound before looking down at Draco kindly, and when he glances, he sees Potter gulping furiously, eyes transfixed and suspiciously shiny.

“You’re almost at ten weeks and this is around the time that the foetus starts rapidly developing,” Granger tells them, voice quiet and unobtrusive. “The vital organs have started to grow and function, and although you can’t see it,” she points out the miniscule fingers and toes, “even the nails have started to form.”

“The head is enormous,” Draco blurts. “Why does it have such a big head?”

Granger seems on the verge of giggling. “The head actually measures half the length of its body,” she says, pointing out with her forefinger again. “Your baby is no bigger than a kumquat right now,” she beams, “but he seems pretty happy in there, doesn’t he?” She turns, still smiling widely, to Potter, who is still just standing there, arms akimbo, lips turned inwards, jaw clenched and eyes over-bright.

“He’s perfect,” Potter croaks suddenly. “Or she. I don’t care either way. It’s perfect.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Draco says rather weakly, his heart racing frantically now. “It’s mostly head right now. Although, seeing as it’s half you, I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a fat head forever.”

Potter sniffles softly, giving Draco a tremulous little chuckle and throwing an arm around Granger’s shoulders. “Shut up, Draco,” he says with a decent approximation of a playful sneer and Draco just looks away and back at the blob on the wall, biting his lip over a smile.

“Again, very strong womb,” Granger says approvingly, pointing around the shape of the baby at something neither he nor Potter seem to be able to discern. “Discontinuation of the suppressant clearly helped. Excellent maturation.” Unaware of their bewilderment, she addresses them jointly, “And I really was serious about the magical dependency. Veela genes or not, Draco’s magic will eventually need to be bolstered because the little one is going to be drawing most of it for itself. Here’s where your Alpha magic will come in handy, Harry; I doubt you’ll even feel any of the strain that comes with sharing magic.” She ends the spell and walks back to her seat as the lights come back on. Draco holds his breath as Potter and he stare at each other a beat, gazes wide and somehow loud, before Draco wrenches himself free from it, righting his robes and slipping off the table.

“I’ll help in any way I can, of course,” Potter says quietly, slipping back into his seat and covertly dragging Draco’s seat out for him.

Pretending not to notice, Draco sits down too, drawing his chair up close. “You said something just now,” he says flatly, “Alpha magic. What does that mean?”

Granger looks up from her scribbling after a beat, frowning vaguely at Draco before turning to Potter, who, Draco notices, is almost purple in the face and staring straight ahead. “You...are aware of Harry’s...condition?” Granger asks slowly, when Potter doesn’t even blink.

“Of course I am,” Draco says quickly, slightly irritated. “Merlin, how uninformed would you take me to be to ask me that. What about it?”

“You haven’t told him?” Granger turns to Potter again, looking exasperated. “Harry, I don’t understand why you pretend like it’s not a big deal.”

“What’s not a big deal?” Draco asks at once.

“Because it’s not, it’s a load of shit,” Potter says tightly, still staring out the window.

What’s a load of shit?” Draco presses.

“How could you say that?” Granger’s laugh is incredulous, “This is something you should be so grateful for, Harry,” she snaps.

“I am,” Potter mutters, now looking at the ceiling, one knee bouncing restlessly.

“If one of you doesn’t—” Draco begins loudly.

Granger silences him with a loud sigh. “Harry’s an Alpha wolf,” she says bluntly, darting Potter another frown before dipping her quill into the inkpot and resuming her scribbling.

“Those aren’t a thing,” Draco says after a dazed pause. “Alpha wolves...beta, omega...they—those aren’t a thing.”

Granger smirks. “You’re right about the beta and the omega wolves, I suppose, but Alpha wolves very much do exist,” she says without looking up. “They’re very rare but there’s one sitting right next to you.”

“What the fuck does that even mean?” Draco barks, still completely in disbelief.

“It doesn’t—” Potter starts resignedly.

“It means that being a werewolf doesn’t deprive Harry of anything,” Granger talks over him, “It means that Harry’s magic, his physical strength, even his senses, they’re all actually augmented by the lycanthropy – which is decidedly not the way it is for others infected with lycanthropy,” she adds, narrowing her eyes a bit at Potter.

“Of course you’d want to show off—” Draco starts, more out of shock than actual derision, but Granger interrupts again.

“Oh, this isn’t something he chose, Malfoy,” she snipes and Draco glares at her. “You think if it were a choice, everyone who’s ever bitten wouldn’t choose it? The Alpha gene is innate; Harry was born an Alpha and was one even without the lycanthropy.”

Draco mouths like a goldfish at her for several seconds, deliberately not looking Potter’s way. “But...what does it even mean?” he asks once more, voice rather thin.

“It just makes him an advanced model, I suppose,” Granger laughs, ignoring Potter’s irritable tongue-click. “He’s got stronger bones, richer blood, sharper senses compared to other werewolves—”

“Richer blood?” Draco squawks.

“Oh, yes,” Granger nods proudly, “Harry’s blood would prove most efficient at helping other werewolves in need of blood transfusions. No, he can’t pass his Alpha gene on through blood transfusions,” she says just as Draco opens his mouth to ask. “Like I said, that trait is innate.” She shuffles some parchments, throwing Potter a fond, if rather tired smile. “Harry doesn’t like to talk about it because he thinks it shouldn’t be blown out of proportion; he thinks people would have the exact same reaction you just did – that they’d all conclude that Harry Potter chose to be an Alpha wolf because he’s just that arrogant,” she sighs, rolling her eyes.

“What else can he do?” Draco blurts, feeling rather helpless suddenly.

“I don’t have superpowers or something, Malfoy,” Potter says tetchily, “There’s nothing I can do or can’t do; it’s not like that—”

“Haven’t you wondered about the monthly transformations?” Granger asks Draco, frowning lightly at Potter again.

“What about them?” Draco asks hoarsely.

Granger gets up and pours him a goblet of water again. “Harry doesn’t go through the transformations during the full moon,” she says calmly, sitting back down and placing the goblet before Draco. “That is something he can choose, actually. I mean, he does still have to be on Wolfsbane to suppress certain symptoms – that uncontrollable, aggressive rage, insomnia, tremors; there’s a list of those – but his Alpha gene means he can control the wolf in him enough that he doesn’t have to go through the transformations at all.”

His mind feels wiped blank as Draco sits there, completely stunned and still teetering on disbelief. Next to him, he can feel Potter’s careless impatience, his sheepishness, and a hint of anxiety as Draco’s peripheral vision detects him turning to stare at Draco.

Calmly sipping some water, Draco remains silent for a while longer, Granger watching him with an expectant, shrewd look on her face and Potter seemingly on the verge of bursting as he shifts towards Draco.

“Well, he failed to mention any of this to me, Granger,” Draco says steadily; next to him Potter lets out a loud whoosh of air and Grangers mouth ticks up on a smile.

“I’m not entirely surprised, actually,” she says with a sardonic slant of her mouth. “Don’t be angry with him about it, though. He likely wouldn’t have told Ron and me either, had I not been his Healer and had access to all his medical information. Hell, some of Ron’s family doesn’t even know yet.”

“Just Charlie and Percy, and I barely talk to them,” Potter mumbles.

“You’re practically family, Harry,” Granger sighs, adding the new sheets of Draco’s medical information into his file and shutting it. “D’you think you can pick up your pre-meal potions if I write you a prescription, Malfoy? I have a home-visit to get to.”

“Sure,” Draco says, still not looking back at Potter.

They pick up the potions from the kiosk on the ground floor and then Floo back to Grimmauld, Draco immediately taking off his cloak and heading upstairs to his room, Potter staring after him, helpless and morose. He’s barely just taken a piss and washed up for dinner when the awaited knock sounds and Draco opens the en suite door and waves his hand from near the sink to let Potter in instead of just answering out loud.

He meets Potter’s eye unblinkingly as the idiot stands there, shifting from foot to foot, scowling at the floor and looking as sullen as he looks sheepish.

“Look, it’s not like it’s a big deal, alright?” he finally says, and Draco snorts, hanging up his towel and walking out, unbuttoning his cuffs and rolling his sleeves up, shucking his socks and oxfords to slip his feet into the soft, self-warming slippers Potter had bought him one evening. When he crosses his arms and just stands there expectantly, Potter huffs loudly and turns away with a growl before whirling back around. “What do you want me to say?” he snaps. “Did you want me to give an interview about this added detail?”

Draco doesn’t really react but for a smooth lift of one shapely eyebrow. “Because telling me and telling the whole world is the same thing?” he drawls.

No,” Potter sighs, shoulders slumping and his chin dropping to his chest. “I just—I didn’t think you’d even care, okay? I knew you’d think it to be some...I dunno, display of superiority or something equally obnoxious and I thought it was just a conversation we could skip.”

“I thought you wanted to...try to get along with me?” Draco says slowly, as he takes a few steps towards him.

Potter blinks. “Of course I do!” he takes a step forward too, “And...we have, right? We have been getting along.” When Draco purses his lips, Potter gives him a hint of a swift grin. “I mean, relatively,” he adds, waving a hand around, “like, compared to how nightmarish this could’ve been.”

“Right, and we’ve been doing it because...” Draco steps closer, arms still crossed, frowning thoughtfully at the ceiling, “...this whole thing will be easier if we’re on at least semi-friendly terms.”

“Exactly.”

“But of course...you didn’t even tell your friends about it, so,” Draco shrugs, “as a semi-friend, and, oh, as the man carrying your child, I suppose have no right whatsoever to expect you to tell me about these rather important details of your life.”

Potter shoves his hands back into his pockets, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet with a slowly spreading, completely goofy beam on his face. “We’re semi-friends?” he asks softly and Draco wants to repeatedly bang his own head against a wall.

Harry Potter, the man who saved the world, the man who’d saved Draco and then years later knocked him up, a fucking Alpha werewolf, likely the only one of his kind in the last century...stands there with all the sweet hope and excitement of an eight year old at the prospect of being friends with Draco.

If Draco shuts his eyes he can still picture Potter’s thin, pinched eleven year old face, guarded yet firmly set as he informs Draco that he can tell the wrong sort for himself. A decade and a half later, it still stings and Draco wants to throw it back in Potter’s face.

Draco wants to but, damn it all, he can’t dream of ever actually doing it.

“I dunno,” he narrows his eyes at Potter, “can you still tell the wrong sort for yourself, Potter?”

A fleeting moment of bewilderment and then Potter bursts out laughing, face lighting up at the memory. “You were a right arse back then, Malfoy, don’t you deny it,” he says, smiling widely and Draco rolls his eyes as he feels his own mouth twitch.

“Right, and as it turns out,” Draco can feel the colour flood his own cheeks but continues anyway, “apparently all I had to do was show you my arse for you to want to be friends.”

Potter goes beet red and splutters at Draco for several seconds, finally hacking loudly into one fist. “To be fair,” he mumbles after clearing his throat noisily, “it’s the least we can be considering all that we’ve already done.”

His face warming further, Draco emits a sharp bleating sound before breathing deeply. “Oh come off it, Potter, it was twenty minutes with a reeking toilet for company.”

Potter doesn’t seem to be able to help the slightly lascivious leer he throws Draco’s way and horrifyingly enough, Draco isn’t even a little bothered by it – flustered and a tiny bit aroused, perhaps, but definitely not bothered.

“Well, had you not left in such a hurry,” Potter shrugs, taking one exaggerated step towards him, “I think we’d definitely have had another round – likely on a bed and likely lasting way longer than twenty minutes.”

“Can you shut up?” Draco laughs, unable to hold it back any longer, face so hot now that he can feel his hair sticking to his sweaty forehead. “Such a cockwomble, I swear.”

Potter chortles along with him, eyes soft as he regards Draco. “Are we really friends, then, Malfoy?” he finally asks when Draco finally looks back at him.

“Well, now that I know your big, horrifying secret,” Draco says, and Potter snorts again, “I’d say you don’t have much choice.”

“I’d have been your friend even if I did have another choice,” Potter says earnestly.

“Really?” Draco pauses as Potter nods, “Then why didn’t you tell me?”

Potter’s face falls again, guilt and a slight hint of resignation creeping in. “I didn’t think it would matter to you beyond the sheer absurdity of it.”

“It does,” Draco says quietly. “For what it’s worth, Potter, I am glad that you have all these little...perks with regard to your condition. If anyone deserves to be discounted from the horrors of lycanthropy, it’s you.” He doesn’t smirk or taunt Potter in any way as he speaks and Potter is looking at him with that same soft, touched disbelief from that morning.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner,” Potter eventually replies and Draco nods before blinking down at the hand Potter offers. “I mean...since we’re semi-friends and all,” Potter says airily, crooked smile back in place.

Rolling his eyes, Draco smiles back and takes Potter’s hand, firmly pumping it once before watching in astonishment as Potter lifts their joined hands and kisses the back of Draco’s, keeping their gazes locked together as he does.

His insides lurch violently and he can only stare with his lips parted as Potter slowly lowers and then gently drops Draco’s hand. He’s blushing too, but doesn’t seem ruffled or awkward about what he’d just done. The part where Potter’s warm, damp lips had touched Draco’s hand is all Draco can focus on as he ogles at him.

“Well,” Potter swings his arms energetically at his sides, “guess I’ll see you at dinner?”

After Potter leaves, Draco stands just stands there, his insides still surging with a rather hysterical swarm of butterflies, Potter’s expression of calm surety as he’d kissed his hand still bright in Draco’s mind.

.ix.

Draco wakes up on June fifth with an obscenely large bouquet of colour-changing roses, delicate and filling the room with a lush sweetness. When he gets out of bed and checks the card, he’s barely able to read Potter’s illegible scrawl: Happy birthday, Malfoy, initially misreading ‘Malfoy’ as ‘Maltoy’.

Draco squints, lips turned inwards as he tries to stem the wild surges of excitement and warmth that are filling him up as he watches the darling little buds shift from snow white to bright bubblegum pink to pale lilac to a maroon so rich and deep that it’s almost wine red before flashing a pretty, butter yellow.

He props the card up on the vanity next to the newly filled bowl of chocolates, which Draco pauses to note, are from La Maison du Chocolat in Paris that he barely just remembers mentioning in passing to Potter a few weeks earlier.

Potter, he thinks, staring at himself in the mirror, lips parted, colour high on his cheeks, eyes unnaturally bright.

“Let me guess,” he says lightly as he joins a rather nervous looking Potter for breakfast fifteen minutes later, “You’re trying to buy your way back into my pants?”

Potter blushes but is barely able to hold back a smile. “Shut up, Malfoy,” he replies just as lightly, nudging a present wrapped elaborately in bright gold paper and dancing ribbons that’s sitting beside Draco’s plate – upon which sit two crisp, perfectly golden, enormously puffed pain au chocolat, the ends dipped in molten chocolate – towards Draco.

“Merlin,” Draco blushes slightly himself, gaze sliding from the chocolatines on his plate to the ostentatious little square box next to it, “is this paper made of real gold, Potter? Do they make it especially for you? Do these ribbons talk as well or just dance?”

Potter rolls his eyes but leans back and crosses his arms with a small smile. “Just open it.”

“You shouldn’t have,” Draco mumbles, tugging at the ribbons so they flutter daintily to the table. “I don’t even care about any of my birthdays anymore, really. I don’t need anything more from you, Potter. I’m already way too deeply indebted to you.”

“First of all, no you’re not,” Potter says quietly, watching as Draco peels off the fancy golden paper with trembling fingers. “Secondly, it’s not even something new, so just shut it.”

Draco scoffs the best he can with his heart in his throat as the too familiar, gleaming mahogany box is revealed, instantly making his insides clench painfully. He stares at the bright brass clasp for several beats too long before he’s lifting it up and flinging the box open, one hand flying to his mouth as he sees the white gold watch he’d sold off to Garrick and Graeme’s in Diagon Alley about a year after moving into that dingy flat when he’d returned from yet another failed job interview.

He doesn’t even realise he’s crying until suddenly Potter is standing next to him with a hand on his shoulder, the hot weight of it making Draco’s chest clench even tighter. He blinks and finally becomes aware of the tiny, stifled sobs sounding from behind the hand still clasped over his mouth. Swallowing hurriedly, he wipes his cheeks with the back of his hand before slowly lifting the watch out with both hands, the metal cool and somehow welcoming in Draco’s grasp. When he turns it over, the white-silver lines of the name engraved on the back, Septimus Malfoy, gleam up at him as if in recognition.

“Why?” Draco chokes out, more tears blurring his vision as he stares down at it, throat aching with suppressed emotion. “Potter, you giant arse, why would you...”

Giving his shoulder a little squeeze, Potter goes back to his seat. “That’s a family heirloom, Malfoy,” he says softly, expression gentle and pleased. “The bloke at the shop – he almost didn’t want to sell it to me – said it’s a Pureblood relic. I think he was hoping to sell it to the Department of Magical History and Artefacts eventually; or at least he muttered something that sounded like that,” Potter says, narrowing his eyes in thoughtful bewilderment.

“You didn’t have to,” Draco says hoarsely, peering closely at the face of the watch, the bright gold roman numerals shimmering through the glass, the serpent shaped hands wiggling as Draco runs a thumb over it. Wiping his cheeks with his napkin, Draco sets the watch down, his hands too unsteady suddenly. “I—I can’t take this from you,” he says weakly, shaking his head and pushing the box a few inches towards him.

“Malfoy, I’m just returning something that’s already yours,” Potter says gently, pushing the box right back.

“Something you likely paid for through your nose,” Draco says sharply, mopping his eyes again. “I can’t have you spending that kind of money on me.”

“Why?” Potter asks calmly.

“Because you can’t let me stay with you rent-free, buy me exotic sweets every week and pay for a watch that likely cost you half your vault!” Draco rants forcefully, his napkin caught in one tightly clenched fist.

“I have several vaults!” Potter shoots back before smacking a hand into his own face, looking enraged with himself as Draco just glares at him in a mixture of exasperation and disbelief.

“What I meant to say is,” Potter says slowly with a deep breath, “I don’t really care about money. I’d have paid double—triple the amount I paid for it, but I’d have bought it for you either way; that’s not something you should part with, Malfoy,” he gives Draco that same soft smile, “I still wear the one I got when I came of age and it’s a Prewett hand-me-down; I’d never part with it. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for you to sell yours. This is honestly the least I could’ve done for you on your birthday.”

“I—I intended to buy it back someday,” Draco says, sniffling loud and thick, “I wanted to buy it back myself. You—you shouldn’t have been the one paying for it.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” Potter says matter-of-factly, eyes twinkling, “When you’re stinking rich again someday—”

“Awfully sure about that, are we?” Draco deadpans. “So confident I’m going to have significant wealth to my name again, eventually?”

“You’re Draco fucking Malfoy,” Potter says emphatically, dipping his head to stare flatly at Draco, glasses slipping down his nose as he grins crookedly. “Of course you’re going to be rich again someday. And when you are, you can buy me something fancy as fuck and we’ll call it even; you can buy me a dragon, maybe!”

Draco hiccups over his chuckle, pinching his nose between the folds of his napkin. “You’d like a pet dragon?” he asks wryly, one blond eyebrow lifting expertly. “Did Hagrid put that idea in your head?”

Potter grins. “You have to admit that it’d be cool as hell,” he laughs. “Tell me it wouldn’t.”

“You wouldn’t be able to handle a dragon, Potter,” Draco drawls and Potter’s eyes suddenly flash with a knowing gleam.

“Oh, I think I’d do just fine,” he replies, smirking slowly at Draco. “Try it on,” he adds, nodding at the watch.

Nodding and swallowing past another infuriating lump that rises in his throat, Draco picks up the watch again, fastening it around his left wrist with a faint click. Successfully holding back more tears, Draco stares at it for a long time before finally looking up and giving Potter a watery smile, cheeks blotchy and eyes red-rimmed.

“Thank you,” he whispers.

“You are so welcome, Malfoy,” Potter says happily. “Did you see the chocolate I put in your room? These are from that shop too,” he adds, gesturing to the pain au chocolat. “They’re still warm, you should enjoy them now. Although Kreacher did also make us a fry-up,” he says, lifting one of the shiny, oblong, silver cloches to reveal a large platter filled with fresh, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, eggs, bacon, sausages and golden slices of buttered toast. “And in case you want to go all out.” Potter smiles mischievously and lifts the second cloche off a plate piled high with more pain au chocolat. “Happy birthday, Malfoy,” he says grinning stupidly.

“Right, so, you want me to get fat,” Draco says flatly, taking a huge bite of the pastry and sagging into his chair with a rather lewd moan. When he glances up, Potter is staring at him, rather wide-eyed.

“Er...” he looks away quickly, pouring Draco’s tea, “No, actually, Hermione said you’re underweight, remember?”

Draco scoffs, a fountain of crumbs spraying out his mouth, before taking another shamelessly large bite; Potter doesn’t even seem to notice the way Draco is stuffing his mug like a starved Erumpet.

“She said the kid is doing fine, though, so you can stop trying to kill me,” Draco picks up the second roll on his plate and after only a moment’s hesitation eats half of it in a single bite, shutting his eyes and sighing as he chews. “Good god, Potter, you have to try one,” he says feverishly, licking chocolate off the corners of his mouth.

The teacup rattles noisily on its saucer as Potter sets Draco’s tea beside his place. “Um,” Potter’s voice is rather high, “That’s okay, Malfoy. I got them for you. Kreacher said he’d put a Stasis over them so they’d stay fresh for however long it takes you to finish them.”

Draco thrusts the last bite of the chocolaty pastry at Potter, fingers smeared with chocolate, chin lifting as though extending a challenge. Potter stares at Draco, not even looking at what he’s being offered before slowly extending an arm out to him.

“You have some...” he murmurs, and without even thinking about it, Draco leans forward. Potter’s thumb swipes over his lower lip, wiping off the streak of chocolate on it which Potter then promptly licks off.

“Oh,” Draco says stupidly, stomach flipping over.

“’s good,” Potter says gruffly, gently grabbing Draco’s wrist and guiding the proffered bit of pastry into his own mouth, his tongue dragging over Draco’s fingertips for the briefest second. “Oh, yeah, that’s really good,” Potter agrees as he chews, holding Draco’s wrist for another beat before letting go.

Unable to form words yet, Draco sips some tea, staining the handle with chocolate before he instinctively licks his fingers clean, right over where Potter’s tongue had touched him, warm and very wet. Across the table, Potter inhales sharply.

Neither of them talks for a while, Potter seemingly as shocked by his temerity as Draco is. Draco eats a helping of the grilled vegetables and a slice of toast before pushing his plate away and pulling his tea towards himself again. Potter eats steadily until he’s eaten a bit of everything before reaching for the dreaded vial of vivid blue potion next to his plate.

“To the birthday boy,” Potter raises the vial to Draco with a rather pained expression before throwing down the contents in one go as usual, hacking violently until Draco pushes a glass of water at him, “Thanks,” he mutters, eyes watering as he chugs it down. There’s silence again as Potter catches his breath, and then, “So...er...I thought we’d go to dinner.”

Draco freezes, staring at Potter in shock. “We...meaning?”

Potter is as red as Draco’s own face feels as he coughs once more, tugging at his earlobe. “Um, you and me, I guess,” he mumbles. “It’s fine if you don’t want to,” he adds hastily. “It’s just...you never get out of the house and it’s your birthday, after all, so I thought...” he trails off, slumping slightly. “It’s fine if you don’t want to,” he repeats.

Draco is not going to be the one to ask the question that’s looming between them like a fucking shiny-arsed unicorn.

“Thank you, that’d be nice,” he says lightly, tipping his head with an awkward smile. “Where are we going?”

“Um... Le Sept,” Potter says, mispronouncing the word, “in Paris?”

Draco splutters into his tea, blinking as flecks of it spray across his own face. Wiping them off roughly, cheeks burning even more hotly now, he throws a glare Potter’s way. “You’re taking me to Paris for dinner?” he asks incredulously.

“You...you said it’s your favourite city to visit!” Potter replies defensively.

“Yes, as it is to probably a million other people in the world!” Draco shouts irritably. “Honestly, Potter! Stop fucking waving your galleons in my face, alright, I get it – you’re very, very rich.”

“I’m not waving anything in your pointy face, Malfoy!” Potter retorts sullenly.

“My face is pointy?” Draco asks, sidetracked.

Potter blushes again. “No! I mean, it was, you know, in your...human form,” he adds in a mumble under his breath.

Soft, amused laughter bubbles out of Draco before he can help it. “Why are you such an utter tit?” he asks with weary exasperation as Potter grins back. “I don’t—Let’s just go somewhere...not so fancy, Potter,” Draco says evenly, eyes on his finger as it traces the rim of his tea cup.

“I bought you new dress robes; they’re upstairs in your wardrobe,” Potter blurts out, looking mulish as Draco throws him a rather nasty glare. “I didn’t pick them out, so you don’t have to start about my appalling fashion sense or something,” he snaps before Draco can open his mouth. “The assistant at the store did and she said they’re currently...‘in’,” Potter says, making air-quotes.

“I know your plan now, Potter,” Draco says calmly, tossing his napkin down, pushing his chair back, gathering the mahogany box up and rising. “You’re just going to keep spending money on me until I am so deeply drowned in debt that I’d have no choice but to submit to your every wish.”

Potter leans back and crosses his legs, gazing steadily at Draco as he picks up his own cuppa. “I think you’d submit to me either way,” he quips, mouth quivering before he takes a sip, eyes locked with Draco’s.

Instantly turning hot all over, Draco almost hurls the wooden box at him before turning away with a huff as a grin of mortified thrill spreads across his face. “Completely uncivilised!” Draco shouts as he marches out.

“Portkey’s at seven,” Potter calls out after him, not even bothering to hide his laughter.

.x.

One of the many, many joys of being a pregnant Veela-wizard (along with the tender nipples, bloated feet, sudden skin sensitivity, extreme, hormone-fuelled mood swings, near-loss of bladder control with each increasingly frequent urge to urinate and the nearly permanent, burning hunger resulting sometimes in delightfully shameless two AM binges in front of the television) were the random shifts in sleep patterns. Draco finds himself wide awake most nights, regardless of the music-box Potter brought him and sometimes regardless of being genuinely tired.

He wakes up one evening sometime after six PM, after having fallen asleep post lunch, with a backache and, of course, a raging boner.

Because Draco is now also desperately randy – all the time.

Just over five months pregnant, he’s showing now, plainly and clearly visible through his clothes, and Potter simply does not take his eyes off him. This means that when Draco is in the room with him, Potter just watches him, staring with that same unabashed, heated intensity that had overwhelmed Draco the night at the club (which in turn means that Draco is nearly always hard in Potter’s presence); but it also means that when Potter is not around Draco, he comes looking for Draco – because Potter, apparently, is convinced that Draco might trip over his own swollen feet and land on his protruding belly, or accidentally set himself on fire or something. And so despite (not so) secretly thrilling at the raw hunger with which Potter watches him, Draco comes very close to hurling whatever he can get his hands on across the room every time Potter’s untamed head pokes into the room, vivid green eyes wide and anxious behind those stupid fucking glasses.

They’ve visited Granger for two more scheduled visits since their second and on the last one, two days ago, they’d watched their now significantly larger baby wiggle and squirm around as Granger had pointed out each new development, the flexing fingers and toes, the longer limbs, the stronger spine, the way it pulled little faces, and the way it seemed to just move so much in there, Draco finally seeing what he’d been feeling inside him for several days.

Potter, the enormous prat, had choked back tears again and Draco had been quick to take the mickey simply because it helped staunch Draco’s own horrifying rush of some more of those emotions he’s always feeling now. It’s only with some effort that Draco managed to retain his mask of impassivity in front of Granger and Potter during these appointments, and he hasn’t yet mentioned to either of them that he reads to the baby every night now. He supposes he ought to feel guilty for not offering to let Potter engage with the baby too, but he’s not sure he’d be able to sit there and watch the git gush at his belly with his sparkling eyes and excited grin without, well, jumping him (and snogging him unconscious).

Potter had touched Draco’s belly at this appointment after silently seeking permission with an entreating tilt of his head to which Draco had responded with a single nod. Potter’s large, slightly rough hand had rested warmly on Draco’s stomach, just to the side of his navel, and they’d, along with Granger, watched as the baby had responded to the touch nearly instantly with a surprisingly strong kick, prompting Potter to yelp and pull back his hand as though bitten, Draco trying to glare at him through their shared, exhilarated laughter as he’d rubbed the spot on his belly where he’d felt it.

Granger had only just asked them, with a mysterious little smirk, whether they’d like to know the gender of the baby when her stupendously oafish husband had barged into the office, freezing at the sight of Draco with his belly out, and had almost fallen backwards out the door when Draco had begun bellowing expletives at him, Potter hurrying out after him with an apologetic grimace.

But he’d gratefully grabbed the moment and mentioned his increasingly unbearable randiness (phrased in a more genteel manner, of course) to Granger then, after he’d righted his robes and sat down with her. He’d murmured through grit teeth, and Granger, to her credit, hadn’t even cracked a smile as she’d nodded and assured him that it’s perfectly normal —although her eyes did take on the aggravatingly meaningful glint they often did, when Potter had hurried back into the room a few seconds later. Draco had blushed furiously and squirmed in his seat, almost convinced that Granger knew he was half-hard just from that sudden fresh burst of Potter’s earthy scent filling the room.

He blinks blearily around his room now, the sunset painting the room ochre yellow through the crack in the curtains, his brand new eagle owl — yet another gift from Potter — blinking at him from his perch on Draco’s desk, a scroll attached to his leg. He kicks himself free from the embrace of the long, oddly shaped but incredibly comfortable pillow that Potter had bought him and sits up, wincing at the twinges of pain shooting up from his tailbone, and wearily cupping his cock through his rumpled pyjamas.

“Don’t you judge me,” Draco snaps sleepily at Cairo when the bird’s huge, amber eyes land on Draco’s hand between his legs. “You’re not pregnant and permanently desperate for cock.”

Potter’s cock, his mind immediately supplies with relish, and Draco sways to his feet with a growl and marches over to untie Granger’s letter. They’ve been writing for a few days now, exchanging gift ideas for Potter’s birthday and he’s already mentally set aside a neat sum in his vault that he rather desperately wants to spend on that generous arsehole.

Draco hadn’t wanted to write her back when her first letter arrived but she’d mentioned something about giving Potter a book and Draco had wanted too much to make fun of her for that, so he’d responded informing her how little she seemed to know her best friend who mostly spends his time poring over Auror case-files that Weasley owls him twice a week, going out for runs that last hours and unblinkingly watching shockingly tacky soap operas on TV.  She’d responded clarifying that it’s a book detailing some of the most interesting cases the DMLE had seen, and Draco had to grudgingly agree that it did sound like the sort of literature that consulting-Auror Harry Potter would devour.

Some of the other ideas they’ve traded so far have been a new house-elf (Draco’s) , yoga lessons to help control his, albeit rare, bursts of rage (Granger’s), a pair of freshly hatched peachicks (Draco’s), bespoke dress robes (Granger’s), the sword of Gryffindor — a replica if not the original — (Draco’s), monogrammed, personalised Quidditch gear for his coaching sessions (Granger’s), and a lifetime supply of Sleekeazy’s (Draco’s). He’s convinced his ideas are some of the best he’s ever had but Granger is a particularly annoying specimen and has rejected them all (while also informing him that it was Potter’s grandfather who had, in fact, invented the whole range of Sleekeazy products and that they just happen to never work at all on Potter’s hair anyway).

Hunching over his desk, Draco writes back now telling Granger how stupid her idea of giving Potter some Muggle device called a computer (whatever that’s supposed to be) is, and how Draco has been considering boots made of pure dragon hide and dusted with finely ground diamonds so they’d never need to be polished — on top of being indestructible. He then watches the owl fly away knowing full well that Granger will insist that the shoes will be too ostentatious a gift for someone as unpretentious as Potter.

Draco doesn’t care, frankly; he mostly just wants to see Potter’s mouth drop open when he unwraps Draco’s gift. It’s time that bastard learnt to take it like he dishes it, Draco thinks irritably as he hobbles towards the bathroom, his cock now pressing against the underside of his belly through his pyjamas.

He wanks, pees, showers, and dresses for dinner. He’d placed an owl order for a few sets of clothes with Extension Charms sewn into them and had noted the look of slight disappointment on Potter’s face when the package had arrived, prepaid for by Draco.

“What?” Draco had slanted him a wry smile, “Why d’you look so offended that I bought myself clothes, Potter?”

“I asked you last week if I should book you an appointment at Madam Malkins,” Potter had said, shrugging and muting the television but not looking at Draco. “You said you’d tell me when you needed new clothes.”

“Potter, you don’t have to buy me things all the time.” Draco had tried to sound snappish but it came out sounding more consoling and rather wearily fond. “I’m not completely broke yet, you know?”

“There’s nothing wrong with me buying you things,” Potter said quietly. “I like taking care of you.”

Draco hadn’t replied, exchanging a long, inscrutable look with him, something – the baby probably – doing cartwheels inside his belly, before leaving to go try on his clothes, cartwheels still in full swing.

One of the many things about Potter that Draco is fast beginning to...appreciate, is how earnestly caring he is. He does take care of Draco, and in dozens of different ways, but never in a way that asks to be noticed or thanked. Low, cushioned stools have sprung up everywhere in the house for Draco to rest his feet on where he sits; an elaborate kit of Muggle lotions and skin care products was left on Draco’s bathroom counter one evening after he’d gone to breakfast earlier that day with mild rashes down his neck, grumbling about the dry, itchy skin on his belly; crates of more books and a brand new Wireless waited for Draco in the library one morning, and the batty old house-elf dutifully loads Draco’s plate with fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

Draco has gotten so used to just taking from Potter that he’s begun actively suppressing all and any thought of the future, refusing to even hope that it might all last, hope for something resembling relationship with him. He feels as though it might be obvious, where things are headed, or rather where things ought to head, but he’s learnt from the past not to be complacent about such things. Besides, Potter still hasn’t made to touch Draco the way Draco has been fervently wishing (sometimes signalling) for him to for weeks now anyway.

Damn the chivalrous bastard.

Dressed, Draco heads downstairs to the main sitting room where Potter usually is found at this time of the day, making it all the way up to the doorway before stopping dead in his tracks at the sight before him.

Potter has a guest – a very handsome young man indeed, dressed in a Muggle suit and sitting entirely too close to Potter on the sofa as Potter, barefooted and dressed in a loose, sleeveless grey muscle t-shirt and blue jeans, leans over the coffee table, signing several sheets in a file full of official looking documents.

Potter is talking distractedly without looking up at the other man but Draco doesn’t hear what he’s saying. Draco watches the other man, the way his brown eyes are soft and brimming with shy, awed admiration, the way they traverse up Potter’s bare, muscular arms; the way his eyes light up when Potter chuckles vaguely at something, the way he bites his lip when Potter slants him a crooked grin.

He has a dimple on his right cheek, the man, not quite deep as Potter’s own twin dimples (which always seem to make him appear even more attractive whenever he laughs, damn him), but there it is, flashing at Potter as he straightens up, clicks his Muggle pen and hands it over along with the file.

Neither of them has spotted Draco skulking behind the doorframe yet and so Draco carefully stays put, barely breathing for the terror that suddenly fills him making him instinctively grab the curve of his belly, his mind blank but echoing with a panicked shrieking of some kind.

His wand suddenly in his hand, Draco decides that if Potter kisses, or even touches, the man he’s is going to kill them both.

Potter doesn’t kiss the man and when the little shit reaches up, mid-sentence, and runs a hand down the contours of Potter’s bicep with a sly little laugh, Potter immediately eases away. For some completely illogical reason, this infuriates Draco further.

He waits until Potter has waved the man through the Floo before stepping into the room, stowing away his wand and walking in soundlessly, Potter’s back is still turned to him as he stands with his hands braced on the mantel, head hanging between his shoulders.

“Upset that you didn’t get to fuck him?” Draco bites out before he can think or come up with a less something not quite so transparently jealous, but the anger seeping through him now is blistering and poisonous, his heart galloping as his brain almost burns out from the need to viciously lash out.

Potter turns at once, eyes large and very dark, shoulders tense and high. “Sorry?” he asks voice rough, and what appears to be genuine confusion creasing his face.

“Well, go on then,” Draco waves his hand at the Floo with forced nonchalance. “Floo him back in or go over to his or whatever,” Draco can feel the rage bubbling up his chest and feels almost ill with it, “Go fuck him, Potter. Fuck him all damn night. Hell, knock him up too. Then you can move him in here as well and give him another fancy bedroom in this mansion of yours and buy him sweets and clothes and—and—” He inhales deeply, his palms and temples starting to bead with sweat, his gut twisting with the way his insides burn scorching hot. “Go knock up a whole bunch of people, Potter! Start a fucking collection of us, why don’t you? A collection of one-night-fucks! Then we’ll all gather in here every night and sing songs about the wonder that is Harry Potter with his super magical, Alpha sperm!”

“What is the matter with you?” Potter asks slowly, standing perfectly still, his wary gaze razor-sharp and fixed on Draco. “What brought this on?”

Shut up!” Draco screams, drawing his wand again, because he’s not about to stand here and be honest and tell Potter how much the sight of him with another man made him want to burn the whole place down. “I don’t even know what I was expecting from you, Potter. Of course you’re fucking him! You’re fucking anybody who looks your way! Do you have dozens of kids born out of wedlock all over London? Does it thrill you that people spread their legs for you as they drown in their own drool because the Saviour is paying attention to them?” Draco’s face is twisted into an ugly sneer as he shouts, spittle flying and eyes flashing.

“Lower your wand,” Potter says calmly, face empty of all expression, mouth a straight, very thin line. “Draco,” his nostrils flare slightly, gaze intensifying, “lower your goddamned wand.”

Fuck you!” Draco howls, jabbing his wand randomly so that a blast of red light explodes and takes a small chunk off the mantel behind Potter.

Potter, who doesn’t even blink, leave alone flinch or yelp.

“You know what,” Draco stuffs his wand back in with a pathetically trembling hand, “I don’t need this. I’m leaving. I’m fucking leaving. You can fuck whoever you want to in this house of yours but I’m fucking leaving!”

Draco spins around on one heel, juvenile glee coursing through him at the prospect of making a dramatic exit—

—when the double doors slam shut and, with a series of grim clicks, lock themselves.

When Draco turns, Potter is standing there with his hands casually stuffed into his pockets; his chin high in the air as he stares flatly down his nose at Draco, jaw bunched tight, his whole form seeming to crackle with barely suppressed, white-hot fury, the badly masked ferocity in his expression making Draco erupt in gooseflesh.

“Are you, perchance, under the impression that I was on...a date of some sort just now?” Potter asks politely – dangerously.

Draco glowers, his heartbeat thundering in his ears now. “Let me out of here,” he hisses, teeth grinding together.

“Answer me.”

“I don’t care about your personal life!” Draco spits rudely. “I don’t care if that was a date!”

“It was not,” Potter says, still unnervingly steady and calm as he prowls closer. “That was Timothy McGraw; he’s the manager for the Holyhead Harpies.” Draco is rooted to the spot, almost certain that he’s been stealthily Body-Bound, when Potter finally stands inches away. “He brought over my contract to sign; I’m coaching the team for three months.” There’s a pause as Potter’s eyes narrow, his head slowly tilting. “Do you genuinely believe I’m attracted to him?” he asks softly, his tone making it clear that he believes Draco to be fantastically stupid.

Draco can hardly keep his hard mask in place – can hardly stand in place – for the multitude of reactions exploding within him, sheepish relief being the strongest, and breathless, helpless arousal (for Potter really is standing way, way too close now) rushing for second place right behind.

“I...I don’t care,” Draco sneers again, voice quavering as he gulps, one hand discreetly cupping his stomach as a there’s a wild tumble inside. “It’s none of my business, Potter,” he says, voice hardening again, nose rising haughtily, “It’s none of my business whom you’re romantically involved with. You owe me no explanations; I know that, so rest easy.” He makes to turn away again, this time just so he can pull himself together more than anything else, but Potter reaches out and curls one hand around Draco’s forearm.

His grip is unbreakable but not because it’s that tight, but because in the brittle silence between them, that hot, calloused hand around Draco’s arm seems to be comforting him and asking him a dozen questions. When he looks from Potter’s hand on his arm up to his face, he notes the same enquiring glint in his eyes – Do you really not care? Do you really not want me to explain? Are you really that obtuse?

“I don’t like him,” Potter says softly, but Draco can’t relax because Potter’s whole form is still alarmingly tight with displeasure, his face still drawn and carrying a slight hint of betrayal. “He’s not the one I like.”

Draco scoffs loudly.

Then he scoffs again because that’s seemingly all he can do at this point.

So he just stands there with his mouth slightly open because he’s actively starting to have a silent meltdown. Potter doesn’t say another word but his words hang between them, flashing like a vivid, multicoloured neon sign, their implication as undeniable as unbelievable.

And then Potter moves forward, but it’s not with the intent of touching Draco, apparently, for he just strides in, crowding Draco, backing him up against the double doors and, well, then he is touching Draco – and it’s more than just a friendly hand on the shoulder this time.

They’re wedged together, the wood smooth and cool through the thin linen of Draco’s button down, Potter’s body a stiff, unbudgeable weight against Draco’s front, Potter’s hands suddenly bracketing his hips. Potter’s midriff is a gentle press against Draco’s belly and his thumbs caress the curve of it and making Draco break out into light shivers.

“What—what do you think you’re doing?” Draco blurts when several seconds later, neither of them have spoken and Potter’s face, barely two inches away from Draco’s, is still flat and sour.

“Did you,” Potter breathes, bringing one hand up, “really believe,” his fingers curl around the back of Draco’s neck, inching towards his ponytail, “that I want to fuck him,” Draco’s hair tumbles down his back as Potter eases the thin elastic off, “when all I can think about, day and night,” Potter brings a section of the glossy, flaxen hair over Draco’s shoulder, lifting it and dipping his head to bury his nose in it, “is you?” Potter inhales loudly, breathing in deeply for a long moment before emitting a soft, rolling growl that sends a shudder up Draco’s spine.

Potter’s own full head of hair is right there and his left hand is still on Draco’s hip and his eyes are shut as he smells Draco’s hair and Draco is so painfully hard that he’s on the very verge of actual tears. So it’s not something he’s able to stop himself doing when he yanks Potter’s head up and crashes their mouth together, flinging his arms around his shoulders.

To Draco’s smug satisfaction, Potter, despite the fact that they’d been standing pressed as close as possible with a pregnant belly between them, had not expected the kiss. He lets out a little gasp into Draco’s mouth that prompts Draco to only deepen the kiss at once, slanting his face and slotting their mouths together, lunging forward into the kiss as their teeth clack and lips smack.

Draco isn’t smug for too long though because in just a few seconds, Potter has both hands in Draco’s hair, clenched into tight, unforgiving fists, and is just completely ravaging Draco’s mouth, emitting loud snarls and using way too much teeth and tongue.

It’s fucking incredible and Draco feels a bit insane and he knows, he just knows, that he’s going to come from this, just literally this – kissing Potter.

As though reading Draco’s mind and spontaneously deciding to drive Draco further round the bend, Potter drags his hands down Draco’s bowed back and firmly grabs his arse, filling his hands with the round cheeks and lifting Draco to the tips of his toes with his grip, making him gasp around Potter’s tongue.

As though emboldened further just by that gasp, Potter drives his tongue deeper into Draco’s mouth, his hands squeezing Draco’s arse cheeks, massaging them apart in maddening circles through his trousers. Potter’s mouth tastes citrusy and strangely smoky and Draco isn’t even able to enjoy it as much as he’d like to because Potter is now brazenly jiggling handfuls of his bum, kissing Draco hard enough to send his head cracking back against the door and make his balls pull up painfully tight against his body.

Whimpering pathetically, Draco just comes in his pants like a fucking teenager, thrashing as he stands on the tips of his toes and claws at Potter’s back, the kiss turning increasingly feral. Potter is now growling continuously into Draco’s mouth, his hands slipping under Draco’s clothes to touch him properly, to find the soft fleshiness of Draco’s arse and knead as he ruts the hard bar of his erection against the firmness of his bump.

Crying out softly, Draco wrenches himself out of the kiss, desperately gasping in shrill wheezes for air, squirming and disentangling one hand from Potter’s hair to reach back and tug weakly at one of Potter’s, shuddering every few seconds just from the ravenous want in Potter’s touch.

“Pot—” Draco has barely even caught his breath when Potter’s mouth clamps around his once more with yet another hair-raising snarl, Potter using his grip on Draco’s arse to grind them closer, his denim covered erection sliding across Draco’s belly. Powerless and dizzy, Draco kisses him right back, opening his mouth wide and tasting as much of Potter’s mouth as his tongue can reach, breaking away for air whenever Potter’s mouth relents for a beat, trying to push him away by the face but only managing to send his glasses flying instead.

For Potter is nearly uncontrollably ferocious now, his snarled growls barely human, his nails digging into the plumpness of Draco’s recently filled out arse, his body convulsing so hard he’s practically vibrating against Draco. One hand flying back up to yank Draco’s head back by the hair, Potter wrests their mouths apart and stares – no, glares – at Draco, panting loudly into his face, both of them completely short of breath.

Draco doesn’t have much choice but to meet Potter’s flat, almost entirely black gaze because Potter still has Draco’s hair in his grip, fist tightening very close to the scalp so Draco can do no more than just about blink without risking having a chunk of his hair torn out. He wants so desperately to be angry, to feel humiliated, at being manhandled this way, but fuck, all Draco can do is tighten his arms around his neck and stare desperately at Potter, gaze flicking between his fiery gaze and spit-slicked mouth, and whimper softly as his half-hard cock twitches excitedly within the smeared mess of his come in his pants.

“Potter,” Draco whispers when Potter simply continues staring at Draco, eyes flickering over his flushed, helplessly upturned face.

“Tell me again how you don’t care,” Potter murmurs, voice barely rising above Draco’s own whisper.

Swallowing, Draco gathers what little bravado lingers in him. “I...don’t care who—who you fuck,” he breathes, punctuating it by digging his nails into Potter’s soft nape.

“Alright, then,” Potter says, expression and tone deceptively mild.

He finally releases Draco’s hair but before he’s had a moment to process that, Draco is being spun around and pinned firmly to the door, Potter, on his knees behind him, ripping Draco’s trousers and pants down to his ankles. Yelping and scrabbling to maintain balance, Draco lets his legs be shoved wider apart and cranes his neck to look behind him with a shrill wheeze of disbelief when Potter roughly pries his arse open with both hands and plunges his face in.

Heaving for breath, Draco finds himself instantly shoving his arse back into it, not even bothering to spend an extended moment to register the utterly glorious fact that Potter is rimming him, that he’s on his knees with his whole face squeezed in between Draco’s arse cheeks, his tongue painting sopping wet strokes over his arsehole while groaning blissfully into Draco like eating him out is the ultimate luxury life could provide him with. And Draco, in turn, moans like a dying walrus, reaches back to hold Potter’s head in place with a handful of mangy hair and pushes his hips back as much as Potter’s rigid hold on him allows, gasping and cussing against the polished oak of the door.

Fingers tightening in the softness of Draco’s arse, Potter yanks him even wider open, a rather frightening, animalistic sound ripping out of him as he spits noisily and then proceeds to just ram his tongue into Draco, pushing his face in harder when Draco squeals helplessly and tears at his hair.

“Potter, yes!” Draco kicks at the door, bouncing his hips and clenching his arse as he eagerly rides Potter’s stiff tongue, “Yes! Fuck! That; do that!” he cries as Potter starts vigorously fucking him with it. Hurriedly releasing Potter’s hair to reach down and fold his fingers around his cock, now hard and straining impatiently up against his belly, Draco starts to frantically pull himself off, gasping and crying out with every jab into his arse.

“Fuck, Malfoy,” Potter abruptly snarls through grit teeth, his voice muffled in Draco’s crease, and Draco whines as one, numb arse cheek is released.

Only for Potter to lift his hand and bring it down with an incredibly sharp, resounding smack against Draco’s arse. Gasping loudly, eyes bugging out, Draco actually arches into the stinging ache, hips canting high and spine bowing inwards, shaking right down to his toes as he squeezes his prick with a broken moan, biting his lip until it threatens to break open just so he doesn’t outright beg for more. Potter doesn’t spank him again, though, instead just roughly grabbing the tender cheek again and shoving it sideways so he can sink his face back in.

He laps, crazed and barely seeming aware of Draco’s mewling cries, from Draco’s steadily tightening balls up to his tailbone, slathering his crease with saliva before spreading Draco even wider, wide enough that Draco winces and moans, and firmly sticks his tongue back in, thrusting it in and out, his whole body lunging back and forth with it, frequently knocking into the backs of Draco’s already buckling knees.

Draco is...barely conscious; he’s in a whole other world – one where nothing exists Potter’s ravenous, deadly mouth assiduously prising his arsehole open so that it’s soft and leaking spit, and Draco’s own hand, flying over his copiously seeping cock with loud squelches bunching the foreskin down and smoothing his palm over the glans and teasing the ridge underneath until he’s suddenly almost knocked backwards, right over Potter’s head, by his orgasm.

He’s finishing for the third time since he woke from his nap but this one is, by far, the most ferocious. Draco’s whole body seizes up, his bare, sweaty legs locking, fingers clamping cruelly tight under his cockhead, his arse clenching madly around Potter’s tongue. He’s mouthing silently, his throat bobbing as he tries to swallow, his eyes rolling back into his head as he clutches his stomach with his free hand and arches into the door.

And that’s when Potter smoothly slides two fingers into Draco, pressing them in, in, in,  hooking them down so that the last second Draco’s orgasm is drawn out into an agonisingly brilliant eruption of pleasure that has him shrieking and clawing at the door, his spent cock twitching damply against his thigh while Potter massages his prostate with an insistent press that nearly renders Draco unconscious.

Please!” Draco howls when Potter’s fingers don’t stop and his mouth descends once more to lick at Draco’s stretched rim around his fingers. “Potter, I—I need a—please, one second, please!”

With a sigh of what sounds like satisfaction, Potter drags his fingers out, making sure to widen them just inside the rim so he can swiftly plunge his tongue back into Draco’s arse as it contracts uncontrollably from the intrusion.

Sobbing, Draco helplessly presses back into it all over again. “Potter,” he whispers, shuddering as Potter latches his mouth around his opening and starts to suck wetly. “Oh god,” Draco’s head falls back and his clammy hands slip over the door, “Potter, you fucking—Potter, I’ve—I’ve finished.”

Potter hums into him, the bastard, and Draco’s right knee promptly gives away. Hurriedly grabbing one polished brass door handle to hold himself up, Draco flails, reaching back intending to push Potter’s head away but instead wrapping Potter’s hair around his fingers and grabbing.

“Potter, I n-need to sit down, you fucking fiend,” Draco says weakly, grinding into Potter’s mouth, his heart thudding so hard that his whole body seems to thrum with the vibrations of each beat. “Potter... AH!” Draco thrashes as Potter finds the thin skin of his loosened, moistened rim and bites. “Please!” Draco sobs, both knees buckling turn by turn, his fingers tightening to the point where several strands of Potter’s hair come free, “Oh god, I can’t come again already—” Draco gasps as there’s a wild kick from inside him to top it all. “Potter, you do remember I’m with child, yes?”

Then suddenly, quite literally in the span of a single second, Potter is scrambling away with a wild, horrified gasp, his hands and feet slapping onto the floor as he crawls backwards. When Draco turns around, startled and more than a little rueful at the abrupt disappearance of that greedy mouth, he finds Potter staring up at him with something akin to unbridled panic.

“What just hap—?” Draco, still panting noisily, turns and leans most of his weight on the door, feet slipping forward as his legs nearly give away. Potter appears terrified as he gapes at Draco’s stomach and after a moment it hits Draco. “No, what I meant was—” Draco starts, throat rasping dryly as he pulls in lungfuls of air.

“I’m sorry!” Potter wheezes, grabbing up his glasses and shaking his head frantically. “I’m so sorry!”

“No, I’m fine!” Draco shouts at once, curling his fingers around the cool brass of the handle again, pushing himself up to full height. “I—I meant that I’m too fat to remain standing after two back-to-back orgasms,” he says quickly, pairing it with a wry smirk and a quirked brow.

Potter looks stricken as leaps to his feet, shoving his glasses back on and pushing his hands into his knotted hair, face bloodless and writ with shameful guilt. He just shakes his head again wordlessly, one trembling hand coming to close over his reddened, glossy mouth. Draco steps forward at once, almost tripping over the tangle of his pants and trousers, and just as he bends down to drag them back up there’s a crash as the doors fly open. He looks around, startled, and watches Potter hurtle away down the stairs without a backward glance.

A few beats later, the front door slams shut and the thick silence around Draco is absolute.

~*~

The Tempus he casts in his state of semi-consciousness informs him that it’s just past six AM and Draco immediately tears himself out of bed, swaying on the spot for a moment as his body struggles to register that he’s awake. He slams open his bedroom door and, stumbling only twice, marches down the corridor to Potter’s room — Potter’s back home, he can tell from the way the very walls of the house buzz with his magic.

Without waiting to think, Draco bashes his fist into the door on a thunderous beat. “Open the fucking door!” he bellows, now pounding with both hands. “Open up, you rotten shit! POTTER!”

Potter, to his credit, looks as hangdog and remorseful as Draco had furiously hoped he would. He barely meets Draco’s eye as he yanks the door open and hangs his head, chewing on his lip and scuffing a toe into the floor. He looks utterly worn out, dark bags of exhaustion under his eyes evident even in the weak light filtering in from the window at the end of the corridor, shoulders slumped inwards and general countenance bearing an air of utter resignation.

And he’s dressed in nothing but joggers.

So naturally, the sight of this soft, apologetic and rather lost looking Potter who is also half-naked, throws Draco into a rage even worse than the one he’d fallen asleep in four hours earlier. Potter seems to have no fight in him and Draco can’t stand it.

“Where,” Draco rasps slowly, “the actual fuck did you fuck off to last night? Potter!” he snaps sharply so that the weary, virescent gaze lifts to meet the cold flints that Draco’s eyes have narrowed into. “If you think I’m going to let you treat me that way—”

Potter sighs. “Treat you what way?” he asks, voice thick and grainy with fatigue – it has an entirely undesired effect on Draco and his incorrigible cock.

Not paying it any attention, Draco takes a threatening step forward, pleased when Potter’s hand drops from where it was curled around the door and he stumbles back, head dipping again. “Where did you run off to last night?” Draco hisses menacingly.

“Nowhere,” Potter mumbles, scratching his head and looking miserable.

Draco snorts. “Right,” he says nastily. “Mind telling me why you bolted out of here like were possessed? Right after we’d...done that, no less,” Draco spits, barely mindful of the heat flooding his face. “You can’t fucking behave like that, Potter, not when I have no idea where to go looking for you!” Draco yells, stepping forward and shoving roughly at Potter’s chest. “Not without telling me what’s wrong!” He shoves him again. “So tell me what the fuck went wrong!” Draco shouts right into his face before abruptly lowering his voice to a trembling murmur. “You regret what happened, is that it?”

No!” Potter bursts out, finally looking at him again. “Jesus, Malfoy! That’s your first assumption?”

“I don’t know what to assume,” Draco replies coldly.

Potter turns away with a sigh, rubbing his face with both hands and pushing his hair back. “I...didn’t mean for us to...like that, alright?” he says without looking at him.

Draco glares even though his stomach plummets with disappointment. “That’s what I meant when I asked if you regret what happened, Potter.”

“I don’t regret what happened,” he says at once, quiet and firm, turning around with his hands on his hips. “I’ve been dying to touch you for weeks, Malfoy, and I’ve hardly been discreet about it.” Potter pauses then, rubbing one eye tiredly, appearing not to notice Draco blushing as he just stands there. “I didn’t mean to...I dunno, be so rough,” Potter finally continues, sighing again. “To hurt you.”

Hurt me?” Draco’s voice rises incredulously, “You—I’d never let you hurt me, Potter, that’s ridiculous. What the fuck gave you the impression that I’m that easy to hurt?” He nearly bites down on his tongue when he realises that there’s more than one way to construe his words and Potter just looks at him levelly.

“You’re pregnant,” he finally says softly. “And I wasn’t in control of myself last night. It was the full moon,” he adds smoothly before Draco can respond. “I was already on edge. It’d have been really hard for me to reign myself in and there was a chance I really might’ve hurt you had I not left.”

Draco feels like the most selfish idiot alive as he simply stands and gapes at Potter, at the masked pain and turmoil in his face, the hard set of his jaw and the undeniable self-loathing in his eyes. Draco’d even spent several minutes gazing at the damn full moon the previous night, watching wispy cloud after cloud drifting lazily across the creamy orb as he’d recalled the way Potter had held his face in place and kissed him like a dying man, shivering lightly despite the night outside being sticky and still, his insides roiling with worry and humiliation at the way Potter had bolted.

Deliberately, Draco walks forward, noting the wary apprehension that Potter eyes him with as he comes to stand before him, close enough that he can feel the warmth of his bare chest through the soft cotton of his pyjamas; close enough that he smell the rich, earthy scent of Potter’s skin.

“I didn’t realise,” Draco says, voice low, staring somewhere over Potter’s right shoulder, “I—I knew that, but I...forgot I guess. I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to apologise for,” Potter says lightly, not seeming offended in the least that Draco hadn’t paid attention to something that was such a vital part of Potter’s life. “Not your fault.”

“But still,” Draco murmurs, shaking his head, “I saw the m—I mean, I noticed and it still slipped my mind.” He pauses a moment, gaze shifting to Potter’s as he tilts his head thoughtfully. “I’ve lived here more than one moon cycle,” he says slowly. “How come I’ve never noti—how come you haven’t—?”

“What, jumped you and then rushed out before I accidentally broke a few of your bones or something?” Potter smiles crookedly, “I usually just leave for the evening,” he shrugs, “Tell you I have a meeting or something. You never do ask many questions,” he adds, sounding a touch rueful.

Draco fidgets a bit, feeling oddly guilty suddenly. “I don’t like to pry,” he says awkwardly. When Potter just shrugs a shoulder like it doesn’t matter, “It’s not like I don’t care about you, Potter,” he says without looking away. “I just don’t want to...invade your privacy. I’m already living in your house, rent-free; I don’t want to be someone you have to check-in with every time you leave the house or...justify going out to.” He finally looks away, Potter’s gaze on his face way too intense now. “I’m used to spending a lot of time indoors; I never did have too much reason – or money,” Draco adds with a tilt of his lips, “– to go out much, or people to go out with. You do, and you have no obligation to give me any explanations before doing so.”

“I don’t mind checking in with you,” Potter says after a beat of silence. “I don’t really go out much, myself,” he says quickly when Draco shakes his head. “Just running and meetings and lately...you know, shopping for stuff.”

“You don’t have to explain,” Draco insists.

“It makes me anxious to be away from you for too long,” Potter says abruptly, voice slightly gruff. Heart flipping over excitedly, Draco just stares at him in silence. “Even more so lately,” Potter adds softly, eyes sliding down to the swell of Draco’s bump, a sliver of skin visible where the buttons on his pyjama top strain slightly.

“I...was really worried last night,” Draco whispers fiercely, not caring what it means to admit it out loud, his heart currently leaping its way up to his throat anyway. “Don’t ever do that again, Potter.”

Potter covers the few inches between them, planting his right hand on Draco’s belly and bringing his left up to cup Draco’s jaw. “I’m sorry,” he breathes earnestly, his expression soft and beseeching. “I should’ve told you before we—I’m sorry. It won’t—I won’t leave like that again.”

Potter’s hands are like twin brands on Draco and suddenly the idea of not touching Potter is absurd. So Draco threads both hands through his hair, sighing out loud as he coils his arms around Potter’s shoulders, sighing rather dreamily as Potter kisses him over both eyes before gently bringing their mouths together.

Their lips touch, part, and then touch again before slotting together, soft but firm, moving in sync on a deep, slick kiss. Draco angles Potter’s head the way he wants and Potter lets him, his hand never leaving Draco’s stomach, his other hand now curling gently around Draco’s neck, thumb feathering up his jaw.

There's none of the crazed urgency of the night before – Potter’s hands don’t once turn rough or demanding on Draco – but there’s a sort of unfiltered, insatiable hunger in their kiss, in the way they touch each other, and Draco can do no more than just give into Potter’s mouth, slanting his head and winding their tongues together in a slippery tangle, helplessly drowning in the terrifying euphoria filling him.

Brushing Draco’s hair off his face, Potter carefully cups his cheeks as they kiss, their lips smacking wetly as he further deepens it, sighing over the soft rumble that sounds from the depths of his chest. Draco almost wishes that the Potter from the night before would make a reappearance, the one who had yanked at Draco’s hair and grabbed at him like he intended to devour him whole – Draco hadn’t been given much time or opportunity to process any of that while it happened; he’d just let Potter have his way with him and blissfully revelled in it. But now, this achingly tender way Potter is stroking Draco’s cheeks, sighing against his lips as he lets Draco greedily claim his mouth is somehow agonising to deal with.

Because Draco is not about to let himself hope, to daydream about the possibilities – to open himself up to heartbreak.

They don’t pull away when they break apart, staying pressed close and breathing each other’s air as they pant, brows pressed together. Potter’s eyes are shut and Draco’s are slightly crossed as he peers at him, watching the way his lashes flutter. They’re both hard, Potter’s need an insistent press against Draco’s hip, Draco’s cock twitching a damp spot in his pyjamas.

Potter is the one who’s half naked under Draco’s questing hands but it is still Draco who’s almost choking with the need to feel more of Potter against him, to feel the press of his body atop him, to taste some more of him. Boldly, he reaches down and strokes the flat of his palm over the ridge of Potter’s cock, the fleece of his joggers soft and worn beneath his hand. Potter shudders against Draco, pink mouth falling open as he exhales on a short huff, grabbing Draco’s hips and pulling them together in a slow grind.

“Malfoy,” he murmurs warningly against Draco’s temple, somehow still sounding rather plaintive.

“Finish what you fucking started yesterday, Potter,” Draco says snidely, grazing his teeth up the taut chords of his neck, laying a wet lick beneath his ear. “It’s the least you can do after abandoning me and our unborn offspring the way you did last night.”

Potter laughs breathlessly, his face finally lighting up again, young and handsome as he gazes, eyes bright and shiny, at Draco. His hands slowly edge towards Draco’s arse and so Draco kisses him again, nipping and sucking on his lower lip, growling softly until Potter finally catches on and starts steering them towards the bed.

Draco moans softly just from having Potter press him down on his bed, arching and rutting up against him until he finally pulls away swollen lips to sit up and drag Draco’s pyjama bottoms off, Draco hurriedly tearing the top off over his head, his hair promptly falling out of the clumsy knot it had been up in. Potter tries to kiss him again but Draco turns away, pointedly reaching down to pluck at the elastic of Potter’s joggers and biting his lip when Potter smirks but sits back up to take them off. Draco watches hungrily as Potter strips bare, gulping at the sight of his heavy, bobbing erection, sighing as Potter leans back in for a demanding kiss.

Potter seems hesitant to lay directly on top of Draco, as evidenced by the way he resists Draco’s clutching fingers as he tries to pull Potter between his thighs. Instead he lies next to him, pressed as close to him as possible, returning all of Draco’s starved, breathless kisses.

Potter also doesn’t seem to be able to stop touching Draco’s belly; one or both hands constantly smooth over the hard bump, stroking down the curve of it and caressing it with what can only be described as reverence. He seems to be almost in disbelief that he’s touching Draco, touching his stomach, as is clear by the way he keeps breaking the kiss to gaze down between them at his own hands working gently over the bump.

Helpless to do much else but writhe and try not to erupt into spontaneous orgasm again, Draco runs both hands feverishly across every bit of Potter he can reach, his smooth, undulating back, his taut arse, his hard, chiselled chest, his flat, fluttering abdomen, his damply jutting cock. Potter shudders and whines against Draco, pressing into his hands and rutting against his flank, finally pulling his mouth away to bury his face in Draco’s neck with a groan.

“Please,” Draco pants, hips bucking uselessly as he tries to gain some kind of friction on his own cock. “Potter, please.”

Running the flat of his tongue from Draco’s clavicle up to his wet mouth, Potter murmurs quietly, “What do you want?” He licks into Draco’s mouth, sucking on his lips for a moment. “What can I— What should I do?”

“Fuck me,” Draco says at once and with an abject lack of shame. “Put your cock inside me, Potter. Fuck me.”

Potter’s body quakes, a rough sound leaving him as he shuts his eyes and drops his face back into Draco’s neck. “Fuck,” he mutters, stopping his mindless grinding with what seems to be a huge effort.

“That’s the bloody idea,” Draco breathes, tugging impatiently at Potter’s hair. “Can you get on with it?”

There’s a soft snigger against his throat but it’s immediately followed by a slow, hard suckle, Potter slurping his way down Draco’s neck as if determined to leave as many marks as possible. Draco can’t bring himself to complain and so tilts his head as far back as he can on Potter’s downy pillow, moaning softly with each biting lap, staying pliant and soft but for the light shivers zinging up his spine.

That is, until Potter reaches the hard beads of his nipples. He closes his mouth around one right away, not bothering with slow teases, and sucks, and Draco nearly sends Potter toppling right off the bed.

He rears up with a screech, one hand shoving Potter’s head away, the other reaching down to ruthlessly squeeze his cock until the sudden, overwhelming urge to come all over himself subsides. Potter is sitting up beside him, lips parted slightly as he stares down at a desperately panting Draco in apparent bewilderment.

“’m really sensitive there,” Draco informs him weakly, his nipple still gleaming with Potter’s saliva.

With a little grin, Potter bends back over him. “Does it hurt?” he asks curiously, blowing over the wet nipple, pausing when Draco cries out and arches towards his mouth.

“No,” Draco admits shakily, knowing full well what’s to follow. And sure enough, Potter’s mouth descends right back down, lips smacking around the vivid pink, pebbled skin, pulling at it on a leisurely suck, finding Draco’s wrists as he scrabbles wildly and holding them pinned to the pillows.

“Fuck!” Draco thrashes, high keens ringing around the room, “I’ll—I’ll come!” he threatens loudly, “I’ll fucking come, you idiot!”

Potter’s teeth scrape over his nipple and Draco throws his head back and howls, quivering as he catches his breath and blinks down at him in heaving shock to find him slanting Draco a sly little look. “So come,” Potter says simply, teasing the peak of his nipple with the very tip of his tongue.

“Can we—fuck!” Draco twists with another drawn out cry when Potter suddenly shifts to take the other one into his mouth, “Can we reserve this torture for another time? Merlin, one would’ve thought you’d be eager to put your cock in me.”

“I am,” Potter says calmly, finally moving away to kiss his way down Draco’s sternum, pausing over his belly with a sigh of awed adoration. “Can’t believe...” he murmurs, against the rounded curve, either not finishing his sentence or else speaking too softly for Draco to hear the rest.

He begins pressing soft, open-mouthed kisses all over, his hands bracketing the smooth globe of Draco’s belly. He licks the faint brown line that runs down the centre, starkly standing out against the paleness of Draco’s skin. He whispers words, his eyes sparkling incredibly happy and green, into the stretched skin, fingertips stroking and dancing over it. At one point, as he’s kissing around Draco’s navel, there’s a series of little answering kicks from within, and Potter laughs delightedly, nuzzling at him.

Painful erection momentarily forgotten, Draco just watches him, squirming when the baby kicks, his hands still lying next to his head where Potter had briefly pinned them down. He feels, absurdly enough, like he’s intruding on an extremely private moment; it’s a sight he isn’t sure how to deal with, Potter with his worshipful gaze and touch.

That is until Potter looks up, still beaming, and reaches for Draco’s hands, holding them pressed flat over his own stomach. “Do you feel that?” he breathes as the baby moves in a slow tumble.

Draco rolls his eyes, pursing his lips over a smile. “No,” he deadpans. “I can’t. It’s not as though it’s literally happening inside me or anything.”

Potter laughs again, coming back up to kiss him, slow and deep and lasting long enough that Draco is breathless and almost blind with arousal by the time he pulls away. It’s only when he hears the click of a tube that Draco looks around, vision blurred, to see Potter squeezing lube onto his fingers.

“Loosen you up a bit,” he says roughly without looking at Draco.

Draco simply nods, licking his lips and spreading his legs as Potter reaches down and prods at his arsehole, slicking up the tight furl thoroughly before he starts edging a finger in. And as he slips in the first finger, Potter chooses to look up, gaze burning into Draco’s as he works his finger in and out, and just that is enough to make Draco arch with a whimper and squeeze his eyes shut.

Potter doesn’t dawdle now though — two and three fingers in quick succession, scissoring them inside Draco until he’s a shaking, drooling mess, and then Potter is swiftly slicking his cock up, sitting back on his heels and lifting Draco’s arse and placing it on his thighs. There’s a cool, slippery press against his arsehole as he lines the tip up, and then Potter leans over him once more, one hand braced next to Draco’s shoulder, his breathing ragged and hot in Draco’s ear.

“Ready?” he murmurs, and Draco just turns his face to land a biting kiss on his mouth in reply, squeezing Potter’s hips with his thighs in answer and winding his arms around his shoulders. Potter kisses him back, edges closer between Draco’s thighs and presses into him.

It’s a single, seemingly unending slide into Draco that has him lifting off the sheets until he’s quivering under Potter with just his shoulders pressed to the bed, gasping shrilly against Potter’s shoulder as he curses through grit teeth into Draco’s hair. He’s pressed so deeply into Draco that Draco can feel the edge of Potter’s hip bones pressed up against his arse cheeks, can feel every twitch of his cock inside him.

Draco keeps his eyes shut, his chest tight and painful as he tries to breathe in fully. He’s so close to what he knows is going to be a completely devastating orgasm that he’s teetering on the edge of consciousness just from the anticipation. His arse aches exquisitely around Potter, convulsing pathetically as though trying to force him back out. His own cock pressed flat along the curve of his belly under Potter and Potter’s cock is pressed solidly against his prostate and Draco wants to murder him for just lying there and not fucking him.

“I really have to move,” Potter chokes out just then, after trembling over Draco in unmoving silence for a full minute and a half.

“Then move!” Draco bursts out, bending his knees to shove his heels into Potter’s back. “Move! For Merlin’s sake, fuck me!”

Potter doesn’t need further encouragement, apparently, because with a groan of relief he draws his cock out and fucks back into Draco, free hand cradling Draco’s arse he saws in and out of him on a wild, rather uncontrolled rhythm. Draco is screaming his throat out, scrabbling at and raking his hands down Potter’s back, pressing his heels into Potter’s tailbone and savagely nipping at his clammy throat, Potter’s hips pistoning away frantically, crashing roughly into Draco’s groin.

“More,” Draco pants, sharply slapping one hand down onto Potter’s flexing bum and dragging him closer. “More! Please!” He’s sobbing now, eyes rolling around madly, his climax just right there so that when he slides a hand between them and grips his cock, he’s instantly exploding into a spectacular orgasm, messily coming all over the place with several wild bucks up against Potter.

Groaning and sinking his teeth into Draco’s neck, Potter follows, his arm buckling as his hips shudder heavily and finally still, his cock pressed impossibly deep, the hot gush of his release making Draco moan tremulously as he rides out the last of his own orgasm.

“Sorry,” Potter pants hoarsely into Draco’s shoulder. “Wanted it to last—thought I’d last longer but—fuck, you’re so tight,” he whimpers, abruptly lifting up to grab Draco’s lips in a kiss, grinding their mouths together, tongues lashing and teeth clacking.

“Shit,” Draco wheezes when he finally manages to wrench his mouth free, gasping up at the ceiling. Potter is still inside him though his body is angled awkwardly so that he’s half on his side and half on Draco, carefully avoiding Draco’s belly, and he presses small, wonderfully ticklish kisses along Draco’s throat.

Shuddering, Draco stirs feebly, stretching his legs out as his cock plops in a sticky mess onto his thigh. Potter lifts his head to peer down at him and then yelps as he’s promptly dragged back down by the hair so Draco can sink his teeth into his lower lip.

“You okay?” he asks breathlessly, carefully brushing some of Draco’s hair out of his eyes. “Too rough? Did I—?”

“You didn’t hurt me,” Draco interrupts loudly, scowling up at him. “Do you mind maybe not ruining it every single time?”

“I didn’t ruin it the very first time,” Potter sniggers against Draco’s jaw, nipping lightly, “Hell, I barely remember the first time,” he adds as an afterthought, sounding rather morose about it.

“You were plenty rough the first time,” Draco informs him blandly, quirking an eyebrow at him when he pulls back. “And I survived just fine.”

“You weren’t knocked up then,” Potter says, pulling out carefully. Draco jerks, his arse clenching instinctively as Potter slides out, biting his lip when Potter’s gaze heats. Then he merely drops a kiss to Draco’s mouth and flops onto his back beside him with a sigh, stretching out his back by arching off the bed until his spine clicks.

“Yes, well, you took care of that,” Draco grumbles, using his pyjama top to wipe the spunk off his belly.

Potter laughs softly, rolling onto his side and propping his head up in one hand. “Unintentional, but I don’t have it in me to apologise for it now,” he says softly, running his hand over Draco’s stomach once more, expression soft and stupidly sappy.

Devoid of the energy to rag him for it, Draco just sighs and looks around Potter’s room. The curtains are drawn haphazardly, and with the sun rising, there are broken shafts of deep vermillion light slanting into the room, dancing with clouds of dust motes. There’s a desk in a corner with several Auror case files strewn around on it, and a large, stuffed armchair by the window. The wardrobe on the other side of the room hangs slightly open and Draco can just about spot the sleeve of the set of black and gold dress robes Potter had worn to Paris on Draco’s birthday. There’s a chest of drawers next to the en suite and atop it are several framed photographs – Draco thinks he recognises a familiar bushy brown head as well as several heads of bright red.

Though not spick and span, Potter’s room is reasonable tidy and, surprisingly, isn’t as fancy as Draco’s. The walls are a plain yellow and the furniture unpolished. His bed, though a full king-size, isn’t a four poster with gauzy drapes like Draco’s is. At the single window, the curtains are simple cotton ones in a pretty floral print, and are clean but faded. There are no vases of fresh flowers or bowls of chocolate anywhere. When he tilts his head to look up the wall behind the bed, he finds, to his bewilderment, three different posters of Muggle motorbikes and one, rather unnerving, poster of a half-naked Muggle woman.

“Er...” he twists around slightly to blink up at the unmoving pictures, “What in the world...?”

Potter follows his gaze and lets out a bark of laughter. “Yeah, didn’t have the heart to get rid of all of them,” he says, genially rueful. “This used to be Sirius’ room,” he explains when Draco looks at him in confusion. “There were literal dozens of posters – all Muggle – around the room,” he shakes his head, dimples flashing as he grins, “Most of them had Permanent Sticking Charms on them; took me weeks to fight them down. I’d have left them up but they’d turned mossy and smelt godawful. I left these up to honour Sirius,” he adds waving his hand at the posters above their heads. “Cleaned them up best I could. Wanted to keep a bit of him around,” he says wistfully, blinking myopically around the room with one hand still on Draco’s belly.

“It’s...” Draco thinks for a moment, “not as fancy as mine,” he says rather lamely.

Potter gives him that crooked half-grin that makes Draco want to jump him, and leans in close. “Yeah, well,” he nuzzles Draco’s temple, “I’m not as fancy as you are, you git.”

Draco smacks his arm, then he kisses him – because he can now.

Potter smiles into the kiss, the tips of his hair glowing golden against the morning sunlight as he pulls back and combs his fingers through Draco’s hair spread out across the pillow. Draco takes in the bags under his eyes once again, the bloodshot puffiness of his eyes.

“Where did you go last night?” he asks quietly, gently untangling Potter’s hair with his fingers.

Potter darts him a look and then just shrugs. “Had a few whiskeys at the Leaky, rode the tube for a couple of hours.” he smiles sheepishly. “It helps to just...stay on the move; keep doing something.”

“What...does it feel like?” Draco asks tentatively.

“What, transforming?” Potter asks softly.

Draco stifles a gasp. “No!” he says too quickly and then colours deeply when Potter raises his eyebrows wordlessly, expression rather impassive. “I mean, that probably feels like taking the Cruiatus—” he starts.

“Oh, much worse, really,” Potter says airily, stroking Draco’s cheek with his knuckles.

Draco stares, holding his breath. “So you’ve...?”

“Well, it took a while to learn how to overpower the wolf,” he chuckles, gently fiddling with Draco’s earlobe. “I went through my share of transformations, yeah; almost a year’s worth.”

“How’d you realise that you could...you know...?”

Potter tilts his head back with a deep exhale, looking pensive and calm. “It was...similar to shaking off the Imperius, I guess.” When Draco just blinks at him he adds, “Well, I was in there the whole time; me, Harry. So, it was just the matter of holding onto that bit of my consciousness and with each transformation...that bit of me got stronger and—” he suddenly snorts playfully. “It’s like taming a pet,” he says, grinning and looking rather proud of his ridiculous analogy.

“So every full moon you feel the urge to...?” Draco feels excited and also rather guilty at the way he’s shamelessly prodding for information.

Potter, however, looks completely unruffled. “Yeah, something like that,” he says, nodding as he watches his own hand slide down Draco’s flank. “It’s stressful, physically and mentally. I’m basically overpowering the most significant part of lycanthropy – it’s taxing.” Then his face falls again. “Even though I do stay human, some of the wolf’s more savage instincts do creep up. That’s why last night I—”

“Stop,” Draco says firmly. “Last night you nothing. Nothing even happened.” When Potter continues to stare in silence, quiet and subdued, Draco rolls his eyes. “Other than you eating me open until I couldn’t stand; that happened,” Draco is blushing and he knows it and Potter, the fucking creep, gets a rather wicked gleam to his eyes, “but nothing you need to justify or apologise for,” Draco says, face virtually on fire. “Can you be any smugger right now? Merlin!”

“I can try, I guess?” Potter laughs, catching Draco’s hand when he hits him on the shoulder, “I mean, I can try and be smugger the next time I eat you open until you can’t stand? I’d just have to eat you out really hard.”

“You did,” Draco mumbles, rubbing his face to hide it.

“Yes, well, you’re rather delicious,” he replies huskily, bursting out laughing again when Draco splutters.

“Beyond uncouth,” Draco declares heatedly. “I don’t even have words—”

“Shut up, then,” Potter says warmly, cupping his jaw and planting a wet smack to his mouth.

Draco pauses as he automatically follows his mouth. “Did you...say something about the Imperius just now?” he asks slowly, thinking back a few minutes.

Frowning slightly, Potter nods. “Yes, I said that fighting the wolf off is like—”

“How d’you know what it’s like to fight off the Imperius?” Draco demands, one eyebrow slowly sliding up his forehead.

“Well, I’ve fought it off,” he says, looking and sounding rather blank.

Draco lifts up onto one elbow, forcing himself to stay expressionless. “What like during Auror training?”

“Yeah, then too.”

Draco remains silent for so long that Potter starts to fidget. “When else have you fought it off?” Draco asks quietly. “During the—Did He...you know?”

“Once,” Potter says calmly. “But I’d fought it off before that so I was able to when he did.”

“You...fought off the Imperius Curse when the Dark Lord cast it on you?” Draco asks slowly, equal parts sceptical and disbelieving.

“Yeah,” Potter says simply.

When?” Draco blurts.

Potter sighs, raking a hand through his hair but still not looking irritated or disinclined to answer. “After the Third Task. The Triwizard Tournament,” he adds when Draco just gapes.

“Fourteen,” Draco whispers; he feels rather empty with shock. “You could...at fourteen?”

Potter shrugs and pulls a face, pushing his face back into the crook of Draco’s neck. “Stop calling him ‘Dark Lord’,” he murmurs, lapping gently over Draco’s jugular. “He’s literally a wispy bag of bones buried under multiple wards somewhere off the North Sea; nothing dark about him anymore.”

“I hate you,” Draco breathes blankly, burying both his hands into the wild mane of ebony again. “You’re such a prick.”

Potter huffs out a laugh that sounds more like a sigh as he settles against him, tangling their legs together. “Because I’m asking you to stop calling him that?”

“Because you’re trying to behave like it’s not a big deal!” Draco realises he sounds decidedly hysterical now. “Like you’re not a big deal.”

“I thought you believed that too,” Potter says snidely, before tweaking one of Draco’s nipples.

Draco slaps his hand away with a squawk, his cock automatically twitching against his thigh. “Stop it, you fucker!”

“Why?” Potter does it again, licking along the curve of Draco’s ear as he gently plucks at his nipple, “You seemed to like it earlier.” He sniggers quietly when Draco whimpers, sliding down to curl his tongue around the tightened bud.

“Potter,” Draco gasps, cradling his head. “Merlin, you’re such a right bastard.”

“Yeah, but you begged for my cock anyway,” Potter reminds him smoothly, ducking out of the smack Draco aims at his head before dipping his head back over his chest. “Not that I’m complaining...”

“Never again,” Draco moans, arching into his mouth, “never begging again.”

“Really?” Potter sucks harder and Draco’s cock is suddenly at full mast.

“No, I’m just going to order you around from now on,” Draco manages to choke out, writhing powerlessly under Potter’s teeth and tongue. “Like a master would his slave. Please!” he cries when Potter’s hand finds and fondles his cock.

“Sounds like begging to me,” he says amusedly, moving over to nibble on Draco’s other nipple.

“Stop talking and put your cock in me,” Draco drags Potter’s head up with a grunt. “Slave,” he adds, nipping at his lip again.

If anyone could make servitude appear smug, it’s Harry Potter. Draco can’t even bring himself to resent him for it, though.

.xi.

As it turns out, several rounds of vigorous sex on a daily basis stands a definite chance of improving the quality of a pregnant wizard’s life.

Draco feels slightly guilty that he’s only now starting to enjoy his pregnancy so much. Although he attributes a majority of the enjoyment to the innumerable orgasms Potter has started giving him every day, he believes it also has something to do with the relief that has come from the elimination of all that tense uncertainty that hung around them every time they were in a room together. Potter is open and very giving with his affection and while this is very convenient in the face of Draco’s raging libido, it also means that Draco isn’t as lonely as he’d been for months – years, in fact.

He thrills in the element of domesticity that’s now bled into his life. No longer does he restlessly wait for mealtimes so he can see Potter, or carefully time how long he’s spent around Potter before he starts seeming too eager. He doesn’t have to mindfully keep his distance from Potter and can touch the sexy bastard as much and as often as he fancies. It also helps that Potter genuinely is fantastic company.

They don’t officially share a bed yet, though. On the nights they fuck in either one of their beds, neither of them makes to return to their own room, falling asleep together comfortably enough. But on the nights Potter is out and isn’t back by the time Draco falls asleep, he does wake up alone (and disgruntled).

And when they’re not frantically fucking or desperately snogging, he and Potter take walks together, go to the cinema, go out to brunch or dinner, or very simply, just stay home reading or watching television – together; always together. Draco doesn’t think he’s spent this much quality time with anyone in the past, whether he was sleeping with them or not. It’s fascinating and also rather terrifying; fascinating because he actually finds himself enjoying it, all of it, not just the sex, but just being with Potter in general.

Terrifying because he finds himself enjoying all of it, for they still haven’t actually talked about, or in any way addressed, what they are now.

Despite how forthright and honest a person Potter is, Draco doesn’t quite have the guts to broach the subject because he’s too busy enjoying the blissful little bubble that they’re both living in and he doesn’t yet want to risk popping it.

By the time July rolls to an end, it’s blisteringly hot and nearly always threatening to break into an epic thunderstorm. They don’t venture out much during the day, preferring to stay indoors, sucking on ice lollies in varying states of undress with the Cooling Charms on. Potter doesn’t go out by himself very often either, attending a lot of his meetings via Floo calls or not at all, spending most of his free time with Draco desperately writhing under him.

The evening of Potter’s birthday finds them both in the pleasantly cool living room on the second floor, surrounded by baby books, most of them, shockingly enough, Potter’s. Draco had found stacks of them on Potter’s bedside tables, volume after volume of rare, wizard-pregnancy books and several more books about Veela and Veela mating.

“Selfish of you, keeping these all to yourself,” Draco had remarked with a scowl.

“Oh, please,” Potter had scoffed, turning to him, “Like you’d have accepted them without a barbed comment or two.”

“Yes, but I would have accepted them.”

“Fine, I’ll offer you the next new book I purchase.”

“Can you even read or does your elf read them to you?”

“And that’s why I didn’t bring these to you.”

“Don’t be such an ultra sensitive arse, Potter.”

“I believe yours is the only ultra sensitive arse here, Malfoy.”

Draco doesn’t remember the rest of that evening very well – Potter had fucked him until he had passed right out and then Draco had woken up sometime around four AM, ravenous and demanding to be fed anything containing pickled onions.

He’s half-hard as he watches Potter now, both of them lounging on the sofa in nothing but their boxers, with Draco’s bare, swollen feet in Potter’s lap. Potter distractedly reaches down to squeeze Draco’s feet every few minutes, engrossed in The Pregnant Wizard’s Countdown – Nine Months of Advice, Tips and Truths. Draco isn’t even pretending to read the book in his own lap – The Pureblood’s Guide to Parenthood – instead moving his right heel in sinuous circles over Potter’s crotch, biting his lip as Potter squirms involuntarily, barely even acknowledging his stirring cock.

“You’re not allowed to fly during your third trimester, okay?” Potter says absently, pushing his glasses up his nose and turning a page before lifting Draco’s foot off his cock.

“Well, fuck,” Draco drawls, promptly shifting his foot back there, “as someone who currently flies every single day, I am so fucking disappointed right now. I believe I’m about to throw a huge strop about it.”

Potter slants him an exasperated grin, playfully digging his fingers into the arch of Draco’s foot. “You never mentioned wanting to go flying,” he says vaguely, peering at an illustration of a heavily pregnant wizard stowing away his broom and then patting his bump. “Tell me if you’d like to; I still have access to every stadium in England and Scotland and have about fourteen new brooms still in their casing.”

“Such a fucking show off, Potter.”

“Stop saying fuck in front of the baby,” he says at once, scratching his toned stomach with his thumb without looking up from the book.

“Excuse me?” Draco asks incredulously.

Potter looks up, pushing those stupid glasses up his stupidly handsome face again. “What?” he asks stupidly. “Haven’t you read?” he gestures to the mini-library of baby books around them, “All of these mention how the baby can hear us by now; recognise our voices even!”

Hear, not understand,” Draco says flatly.

“Well, we can still try not to say fuck so much,” Potter says lamely, frowning a bit. “At least not in front of the baby.”

“I am always in front of the baby!” Draco says hotly, pointing to his stomach. “God, you’re an idiot of elephantine proportions. The baby doesn’t know what ‘fuck’ means!”

Potter grins at him and Draco wants to stick the tip of his tongue into those dimples on his cheeks. “Just as well,” he says, twinkling at Draco. “You have a shockingly filthy mouth, Malfoy.”

Draco flings his book aside and promptly crawls over to him, smirking as he hears Potter’s breath catch, that charming grin of his slowly evaporating as Draco slips off the sofa and kneels between his legs and runs his hands through the sprinkling of soft, dark hairs on Potter’s thighs.

“Doesn’t stop you any from fucking it as often as you do,” Draco murmurs, leaning down and pressing moist, open-mouthed kisses up the inside of one thigh, Potter’s legs immediately falling open. “Don’t try to convince me that you don’t just love my filthy mouth, Potter,” he quips, pressing his tongue flat against the smooth softness and licking all the way up to the edge of Potter’s bright green boxers.

“Never—never claimed otherwise,” Potter says breathlessly, lifting his bum obligingly when Draco drags his pants down and throws them back over his shoulder. “Fuck, should you be sitting on the floor like that? Do you want a...cushion?” he trails off at the cool, half-lidded glare Draco shoots him.

“No, I don’t want a fucking cushion,” Draco says gruffly, wrapping one hand around Potter’s heavy cock and using his other hand to press Potter’s thighs even wider apart. “You keep your fucking cushions, Potter.”

The cracked groan of pleasure Potter lets out as Draco’s mouth descends around him is quite enough for Draco to go fully hard. Potter’s cock lengthens and hardens further in the insistent, hot suction of Draco’s mouth, the soft foreskin stretching and peeling off the head. Draco hums as the lets the crown slip into his throat for a moment, smirking around the hard thickness when Potter cries out and drops a hand into Draco’s freshly washed, still damp hair. Potter leaves his hand there, loose and undemanding, as Draco bobs his head steadily, slicking Potter’s cock up thoroughly, leaving it gleaming with spit when he sucks off to lick hungrily into the slit.

“Fuck,” Potter breathes, his head falling back and his hips canting out when Draco pushes his thumb into the slit and massages until a clear dribble of precome oozes out.

“Language,” Draco mocks pointedly. “Baby in the room.”

“Malfoy,” Potter growls, finally twisting some of Draco’s hair around his fingers and bucking up, leaving a smear of slick on Draco’s cheek as his cock slides up his face.

Draco smirks. “Yes, Potter?” he teases, running the tip of his prick along the insides of his mouth but not licking or sucking.

Potter moans, tossing his head back again and straining towards Draco’s mouth, his feet slapping in muffled thuds against the carpet. Draco sips delicately at the slit when another stream of precome trickles out and then hungrily swallows it all the way down, sighing through his nose at the choked scream from Potter.

He pulls off again when he starts to get dizzy, licking up along the bulging veins and pulling the foreskin down hard towards the base, fluttering little sucking kisses over the shaft when Potter whimpers and writhes. Holding his cock by the base with one hand, Draco reaches for and gently tugs at Potter’s balls, lifting the heavy sac on one palm and rolling it around, closing his fingers around it on a teasing squeeze every now and then.

God!” Potter holds him by the hair and bucks when Draco squeezes the glans with his throat; gagging softly, Draco lifts off an inch or two. “Sorry! I’m so sorry,” he gasps, loosening his fist a bit and patting Draco’s head clumsily before shuddering at the way Draco just takes him back down his throat. “Christ.”

Draco can tell that he’s close; his cock twitches vigorously in his hand with every punishingly hard suck Draco slurps around the head, spurting out thick strings of precome into Draco’s mouth as his balls tighten steadily in his hand.

“Want to dirty my mouth up some more, Potter?” Draco murmurs inhaling into the thatch of curls above his straining cock. “Want to come down my throat?”

“Yes,” Potter wheezes at once. “Oh, fuck, yes. Mal—Draco, please.”

Draco shivers and spares a quick moment to free his own cock; Potter and his tendency to use Draco’s given name on the brink of climax nearly always resulted in Draco himself coming first, just like that.

“Going to swallow it all down, Potter,” Draco promises lewdly, starting to fist a hand up the long shaft, angling the bulbous, almost purpled head back into his mouth.

His hand bumps into his own chin as he works Potter’s cock at a furious pace, sucking loudly until his cheeks hollow. Jaw aching and lips swollen, Draco shuts his eyes when Potter finally cries out hoarsely and shoves Draco’s head down with both hands. He presses his cock into Draco’s throat as it twitches and pulses out ribbon after salty ribbon of warm spunk that Draco eagerly gulps down while feeling like an absolute slut, whining and whimpering as he grinds his own erection against the front of the sofa, staining the rich upholstery with precome.

“Please!” Potter groans helplessly when Draco continues to suckle at his weakly twitching cock, licking the runaway trickles of come off his balls, sucking wetly into the nook from where they hang.

Draco shushes him softly, leaving his cock with a final, long lick up the shaft, and then kissing his way up that faint line of hair leading to his navel. He presses greedy hands all over Potter, stroking his thighs, his heaving stomach, reaching up to tweak dark nipples. Potter is blissed out and boneless under Draco’s hands and mouth, squirming slightly when his navel is tickled. Grazing his teeth across the flat expanse of his midriff, Draco mouths his way to the large, grisly bite mark on Potter’s hip. He can just about make out where razor sharp teeth had sunk in – those marks are paler than the rest of the twisted scar. The healed skin feels fragile and wrinkled under Draco’s tongue as he laves gently over the entirety of the scar.

Gently dragging Draco’s head back with a fistful of hair, Potter pants down at Draco, eyes wide and dark behind his glasses and lower lip bitten red and plump. It’s not the first time Draco is seeing, touching or even tasting that ruined patch of flesh and skin on Potter’s flank, but Potter still looks as surprised, as shocked, as he had the first time Draco had done it.

Now Potter’s eyes are heated, his expression intense, and Draco stares back helplessly. “Happy birthday, Potter,” he says softly, squeezing Potter’s back with both hands.

Potter bends down and kisses him hungrily, sucking on Draco’s mouth before shoving his tongue in and licking around, one hand still firmly fisted in his hair, the other cupping his cheek. Draco leans in, standing up on his knees and dragging Potter closer by the hair to kiss him harder, gasping as Potter reaches down and practically lifts Draco onto his lap.

“Thank you,” Potter murmurs, wet mouth ticking up on a slow smirk, one thumb running along Draco’s lower lip as he strokes his bump and then reaches for Draco’s cock with his free hand.

“Potter,” Draco moans before sucking Potter’s thumb into his mouth, slurping loudly around it as Potter fondles his throbbing cock, slipping the foreskin all the way down before squeezing under the head. Draco scrabbles wildly, rutting into his fist and letting his eyes fall shut, still sucking on Potter’s thumb until he growls and yanks Draco into another kiss, wild and fervent.

“Suck,” he rasps, wrenching away and stuffing two fingers into Draco’s mouth, fucking them in and out in time with his fist on Draco’s cock. “Want them inside you?” he whispers against Draco’s cheek and Draco shudders, balls jumping up; Potter immediately squeezes around the base and Draco howls in protest.

“Please!” he screams, thrashing frantically, cock slipping through Potter’s fingers, now damp with precome. Potter just sticks his fingers back in and Draco whimpers around them, licking them thick with spit and pressing beseechingly against Potter.

Releasing Draco’s cock for a moment, Potter shoves Draco’s boxers down the curve of his arse, pulling his fingers out of Draco’s mouth and bringing them, dripping wet, to his crease. Draco is soft and loose from when they’d fucked before lunch and Potter’s fingers slip right in with a shameful ease, his palm pressed up against Draco’s cleft as he digs around and immediately locates his prostate.

Loud, broken cries of pleasure being wrenched out his throat, Draco arches back as Potter’s free hand finds his cock again. Riding his fingers, completely off rhythm, and fucking his fist, Draco comes hard, mewling and bucking, nearly uncontrollable in Potter’s lap.

“So fucking sexy when you’re like this,” Potter licks his way up Draco’s throat, pinching little bits of skin between his teeth. “That’s it. Come all over me, Malfoy.”

Spurting out another pulse of come onto Potter, Draco sags against him, breathing heavily through his mouth, his lower back now throbbing. “Fuck,” he whimpers weakly when Potter drags his fingers all the way to the tips before scissoring wide just inside the rim.

Chuckling quietly, Potter pulls them out, popping his hole teasingly and dipping his head to kiss him again, tweaking a nipple with come smeared fingers. Draco simply shudders again, moaning softly against Potter’s neck, batting half-heartedly at his hand.

“What time does your fan club arrive?” he asks drowsily, nuzzling at Potter’s jaw before he finally pulls away and sits back.

Potter tucks Draco’s hair behind his ear, his other arm tightening around his back. “I believe Hermione said they’d be here around seven,” he blinks, tilting his head, “Why?”

Draco just shrugs. “I just didn’t want to be in the way when they all arrive,” he says, dragging both hands down Potter’s chest. “I’ll be in my room. The elf can bring me a tray there.”

“Wait,” Potter grabs one of his hands, frowning lightly, “You’re not going to be here?” When Draco gives him a flat look, he clicks his tongue impatiently. “It’ll be fine! Why d’you want to hide?”

“I won’t be hiding,” Draco laughs. “Potter, do you really see me in the same room as your whole gang of Gryffindors as they gather around you and chant prayers on this holy day?”

Potter rolls his eyes but his mouth twitches in amusement. “It’s just Ron and Hermione,” he says calmly. “The only ‘big birthday bash’ I’ve ever had was my twenty first and Seamus ended up starting an enormous fire that took half his hair with it. It’s just those two tonight,” he says again, kissing Draco’s cheek. “Stay.”

“Some party it’ll be,” Draco snorts, “The Golden Trio and an exonerated, pregnant Death Eater.”

“You were never a Death Eater, Malfoy,” Potter replies smoothly. “Sorry to break it to you, but it takes more than an ugly tattoo to be one of those.” Without even blinking, Potter lifts Draco’s left arm and pointedly kisses the shrivelled scar of his Dark Mark.

Draco jerks back his arm, mouth open as he stares in shock at Potter who in turn refuses to let go of his arm, pressing more kisses over the Mark and then continuing up his arm, licking into the soft crook of his elbow and biting teasingly at his bicep before nuzzling his shoulder.

“You’re... I can't stand you,” Draco says breathlessly, roughly cupping his face and squeezing it, pressing their noses together.

Potter, with his cheeks bent out of shape under Draco’s hard grip, simply blinks serenely, eyes twinkling again. “Don’t be rude, Malfoy,” he says, voice slightly muffled. “’s my birfday.”

“I won’t be held responsible for anything I might say to Weasley,” Draco informs him, releasing his face and rubbing his knuckles over the dark, scratchy stubble there.

“Ron can take care of himself,” Potter chuckles. “It’s not like he’s the kind who’ll shut up either.”

“And Granger is not to bore me with her Healer nonsense,” Draco snaps.

“She rarely likes to talk about work during her off time, so I’m sure it’ll be alright.”

“What the hell is the plan?” Draco presses irritably. “It’s your birthday, Potter; you should be going out and celebrating. You took me to fucking Paris for my birthday.”

Potter laughs. “And, if I recall correctly, you did have a good time.”

Draco sniffs but doesn’t deny it. “You really want to spend your birthday just sitting in here with three people and an elf that might drop dead any second?”

“I don’t really care anymore,” Potter says honestly. “I never did, to be honest. I mean, it was never a big deal when I was younger so I guess I’ve never really known what it’s like to have a big party or whatever.” When Draco doesn’t reply, he smiles. “The Muggle relatives I stayed with weren’t the most affectionate people. It really is okay, though. I’d take an evening with Ron and Hermione over some loud party any day,” he hesitates for a beat, cheeks turning pink, “and I’m really glad you’re here this year too. So...”

Potter carefully avoids Draco’s eye, biting his lip and scratching his neck. Draco wants very much to kiss him.

“Will you tell me about them sometime?” he asks instead. Potter looks up at him in confusion. “Your Muggle relatives,” Draco says quietly. “Will you tell me about them sometime? I mean...” he licks his lips, shrugging one shoulder, “only if you feel comfortable telling me.”

“I’ll tell you,” Potter says simply, sweet and earnest. “Do you want to hear about them now?”

“No, it’s your birthday,” Draco says quickly, scowling a bit. “Don’t think about them on your birthday.”

Potter huffs a laugh but nods. “You won’t go hide in your room tonight, right?” he asks.

Draco sighs, carefully backing out of his lap and standing, Potter still holding him by one hand as though worried he might fall backwards, crash through the coffee table and die or something. He kicks away his boxers still tangled around one foot and pins Potter with a mild but firm look.

“They can’t know, alright?” Draco indicates between the two of them, “They can’t know we’re fucking now.”

A faint line appears between Potter’s thick eyebrows and his mouth tightens a touch. “Why?” he asks quietly.

“You mean you were going to tell them?” Draco asks at once, crossing his arms.

“No, but I hadn’t planned on denying it in case they inferred,” Potter ticks him a small, casual smile. “Why don’t you want them to know about this?”

Because I don’t know what ‘this’ is yet, Draco wants to say. Instead he just regards Potter in fixed silence, finally just shrugging nonchalantly. “There’s nothing to gain from telling them and they have nothing to lose from not knowing,” he says crisply. “And I can do with a while more before I’ve to deal with Weasley’s taunting and Granger’s smugness.”

Potter looks very much like he wants to argue but he just mirrors Draco’s shrug, still with that tight-lipped smile before looking away and pursing his lips. Draco looks at him a few beats more, biting his lip when Potter determinedly doesn’t look back.

“I’ll go get cleaned up then,” he finally says, swinging his arms awkwardly. “Need another shower,” he adds lamely, wiping at the drying tackiness on his stomach and attempting a smile Potter’s way.

Potter just nods, gaze lingering briefly on Draco’s bump before shifting away once more.

Draco is incredibly tense when comes back over an hour later, although he realises only after Potter immediately beams at him that he’d been tense not about their guests for the evening but because of the mood he’d left Potter in earlier.

Smiling back in relief, anxiety slowly dissipating, Draco walks in and halts a few steps into the room; Weasley and Granger have already arrived and are staring rather avidly at Draco. They aren’t even dressed like one would expect them to for a birthday gathering – Weasley is wearing jeans and a horrible, vividly orange Chudley Canons t-shirt that clashes nauseatingly with his hair, and Granger has what appears to be an old, flannel shirt that probably belongs to Weasley for it’s far too loose on her over black leggings that have faded from too many washes, with her hair up in a messy, half-arsed bun. Potter himself in dressed in jeans and the same white t-shirt he’d hurriedly pulled on the previous evening to go buy Draco a tub of Fortescue’s salted caramel swirl; he’s pretty sure there’s still a smear of ice cream inside one of the sleeves from where Draco had twisted his fingers and tried to drag the t-shirt off afterwards.

Potter still looks unbelievably sexy though, and nowhere as sloppy as his sidekicks – but then, Draco thinks, he may be a tad biased.

He smoothes his hands down his sides, feeling rather self-conscious in his neatly pressed trousers and formal button down, and sends an awkward nod around the room to nobody in particular. Granger is curled up neatly in the sofa chair with a glass of white wine, bright-eyed as she smiles at Draco and her husband is sat on the floor in front of her and leaning back against the chair, expression moronically vapid as he stares fixedly at Draco’s stomach, arms resting on bent knees, one hand wrapped loosely around the neck of his cold pint. Potter is watching Draco nervously from where he stands behind Granger; he isn’t nursing a drink, the fool, and Draco suspects that it’s only because Draco can’t drink.

“Hey,” he says, tugging on an earlobe before abruptly stepping forward and pointing eagerly behind Draco. “Look! That’s Ron and ‘Mione’s gift; neat, right?”

The gift turns out to be a tall, well polished crib, creamy white and with an enormous, red bow tied to the front panel. There are exquisite, elaborate carvings across both panels as well as around the base, and the rungs are smooth and rounded. The white mattress inside is shimmering lightly under layers of Protective Charms and looks wonderfully soft, and there’s a little pile of fluffy blankets in a neat stack to one side.

Draco swallows hard, staring at it unblinkingly for far too long before hurriedly snapping out of it. “Oh, wow,” he mocks, thinking quickly for something clever to say, cheeks slightly pink and heart doing an odd double beat in his chest – the crib really is rather lovely and he does not want to admit it. “Some trick it’s going to be, Potter, squeezing yourself to fit in there,” he says dryly, darting him a glance, raising an eyebrow.

“It’s for the baby,” Weasley says loudly and unnecessarily.

“You don’t say,” Draco replies blandly, lip curling into an expression that he hopes is efficient enough to convey his thoughts on that bit of information.

“Harry repeatedly claimed he didn’t want anything,” Granger says laughingly, “so we thought why not give him something that he’s going to be buying in a few months anyway.” She speaks with genuine kindness and warmth and Draco somehow can’t bring himself to snap at her with any sort of conviction.

“Well, I gave him diamond dusted dragon hide boots,” Draco says loftily, suddenly feeling embarrassedly materialistic as he says it out loud. Sullen and a bit resentful, Draco sneers before turning around with a flourish; his low ponytail whips around his neck and slaps him across the face. Weasley snorts and makes an odd choked heaving noise and Granger nudges him with one bare foot. Draco glowers.

“Such a fittingly pretentious gift from the most pretentious ponce to ever exist,” Weasley says rudely, looking mighty smug.

“At least Potter can use my gift now,” Draco spits, swiping his hair back roughly. “He’s going to wear them next week when he starts coaching the Harpies; did you know your sister can’t play for shit, Weasely?”

“Oh, because you’re such a star athlete,” Weasley grits out at once, hand clenching around his bottle as his eyes flash.

Draco sneers. “I can confidently claim that even as an amateur player, I was indeed better than she is – or ever will be,” he adds with relish.

“You didn’t catch the Snitch once, you slimy—” Weasley starts to bellow.

“Ron,” Potter and Granger say in unison, Granger rolling her eyes wearily, Potter looking slightly panicked.

Weasley cranes his neck to glare at both of them. “Ginny plays Chaser, what does he even know ab—”

“Yes, well, I don’t have to be a Flobberworm to know that it’s a completely useless creature, either,” Draco drawls, his own neck starting to prickle with irritation just because of the look Potter gives him – party disapproving and partly beseeching.

Weasley springs to his feet and Potter is instantly at his side.

“Ron and I are going to go and pick up dinner,” he declares, taking Weasley by the arm and yanking. When Draco takes a step forward with his eyes bugging out of his head in incredulity, Potter just looks rather desperate.

“We can just sit here and not even look at each other if you prefer that, Malfoy,” Granger says wryly, sipping at her wine and not even looking a tiny bit offended that Draco is on the very verge of throwing a tantrum at the prospect of being left alone with her.

Potter pointedly turns the television on and Granger laughs. “We won’t be long,” he promises sheepishly, looking Draco straight in the eye with a small nod; in the absence of their present company, Draco imagines Potter might’ve squeezed his hand reassuringly or maybe gently stroked his cheek.

Draco flushes and returns the nod with a slightly jerky one of his own, walking forward and sinking onto the sofa with his legs spread wide, propriety be damned. Potter playfully hustles Weasley out, grinning at Granger as he follows; at the doorway, he slants Draco a small, private smile that’s almost a touch on the cheek by itself.

Neither Granger nor he move to pick up the remote and switch channels, so they end up watching the football match Potter had been watching for a good while in surprisingly comfortable silence. When Granger gets up to refresh her drink, she fetches Draco a bottle of butterbeer from the cooler.

“Thank you,” Draco murmurs as she curls up again in the plushy chair.

“Mhmm,” she hums serenely, sipping delicately on her wine, watching the breakfast cereal commercial playing on the TV.

“No,” Draco nods to the crib when she looks around. “Thank you,” he repeats, low but earnest. She smiles, leaning her head back and regarding him with a pleasant sort of curiosity. “Is this really all you two could plan for his birthday?” Draco blurts exasperatedly, unable to help himself.

She laughs that easy laugh again. “Harry really doesn’t care, Malfoy,” she tells him. “Does he even seem the sort to throw sprauncy parties on his birthday?”

“No, but still,” Draco mumbles. “You could’ve done something nicer. After the extravagant display you planned for my birthday, I mean it’s the le—”

“For your birthday?” When he looks over he sees Granger frowning at him in puzzlement. “What’re you talking about?”

“The dinner you planned for us at Le Sept on my birthday,” Draco explains. “The restaurant in Paris?” he adds when Granger simply tilts her head, still looking confused.

“I...” Granger’s eyes suddenly clear and her mouth ticks up briefly before she bites her lip. “I didn’t plan that; Harry did. It took him over a week to.” Her eyes narrow slightly when Draco just gapes in breathless silence. “He told you I planned it?”

Draco tries to speak for several seconds but only manages to produce odd, choking noises. “He— It was all very nice,” Draco finally murmurs, mind still blank with shock. “I mean...private table out in the balcony with a view over the Seine, the floating lights and the...” he trails off, face scorching hot as Granger merely watches him in meaningful silence. “He told me it was you.”

“Well, it was all him,” she replies idly, bouncing one foot against the floor. “He was very keen to ensure you had a lovely birthday.”

Draco doesn’t respond anymore, sitting in still silence for several minutes, his brain feeling sluggish and overworked suddenly as he recalls, in intricate detail, the astonishingly perfect evening they’d had on his birthday. Potter had planned and taken Draco out on a Parisian date for his birthday and Draco doesn’t know what the appropriate reaction to this revelation is except that it probably involves a lot of hysterical screaming.

“How are you?” Granger asks softly several minutes later, and Draco jerks slightly, hurriedly closing his mouth where it had been sagging open, licking dry lips and breathing deeply to collect himself, the fairy lights and Potter in his stark black robes still dancing behind his eyes. Granger, however, seems more than willing to let the topic of his birthday go by without further comment and Draco is absurdly grateful.

“Oh, you know,” he says with forced airiness, shakily twisting the cap off his butterbeer. “Growing in every direction and waddling around on feet that won’t fit into any of the shoes I own anymore.” Granger laughs merrily and Draco finds himself grinning back despite everything. “I’m doing okay,” he adds with a shrug, drinking some of the creamy beer and licking it off his lips, heart still jumping in his chest.

“How is it going with Harry?”

Draco jumps slightly, slopping some butterbeer onto the sofa; he Vanishes the stain and takes another sip. “It’s going okay, I think,” he says, looking straight ahead at the TV. “Last week, he saw me eat a plateful of pickled onions topped with peanut butter; I think he might’ve cried a bit in disgust.”

Granger chuckles again but doesn’t reply for a while. “Well, you look great,” she finally says. “And I can tell Harry’s been spending time with you because you don’t appear to be struggling for magical assistance or anything.”

“What do you mean?” Draco blurts defensively. “I—We spend—Our lives are independent of each other, Granger!” he says quickly.

Maybe too quickly for Granger suddenly looks as though a firm suspicion has finally been confirmed; she nods thoughtfully, eyes sharp and gleaming. “I meant nothing by it, Malfoy,” she says blandly. “I wasn’t implying anything.”

Draco knows he should just shut the fuck up, but his mouth doesn’t seem inclined to obey his brain. “The hell you weren’t!” he says hotly, back ramrod straight. “You—you think something is going on between Potter and me!”

“I think you and Harry live together and are about to have a baby.” Granger speaks levelly and without a ruffle in her careful composure but even then, seems to be suggesting, prompting, something of Draco.

“Yes,” Draco says at last. “That’s—that’s all there is between us.” When Granger just continues to stare flatly, he fidgets with a scowl. “Plenty of people raise a child together while not being...together,” he says unsteadily. “Save your judgement for someone who might value it, Granger,” he snaps, suddenly slumping where he sits and taking an angry chug of butterbeer.

“No judgement, Malfoy,” she says liltingly, one arm hanging loosely over the armrest as she drinks her wine, posture and manner completely relaxed, face impassive as she turns back to the TV. “My opinion here hardly matters.”

“And what is your opinion?” Draco asks tightly.

Granger smirks slyly and it’s so uncharacteristic an expression on her that Draco is rather taken aback. “We both know you’re a smart man, Malfoy,” she says, still sitting slouched and at ease. “I think you know what my opinion is. Or do you just want to hear it said out loud?”

From downstairs, there’s the sound of the front door opening and slamming shut, Potter’s voice carrying easily as he calls for Kreacher and requests him to bring plates and forks to the upstairs living room, Weasely’s heavy tread sounding on the stairs with Potter’s falling in step a moment later.

Granger never looks away and it’s Draco who finally breaks eye contact, his heart racing and his head filled with some kind of hoarse hollering.

.xii.

Roughly towelling his hair dry, Harry knocks and pushes into Malfoy’s room without waiting for an answer, padding over to where Malfoy is sitting up in bed with a little bit of a struggle and then leaning back against the headboard.

“When did you get back?” he asks as Harry crawls on and throws himself next to him, immediately placing a hand over his tummy.

“’bout half an hour ago,” Harry says distractedly, waiting until there’s a familiar jerk against his hand. He beams at Malfoy who simply shakes his head, rolling his eyes with a reluctant, beautiful little smile that makes Harry stare at him.

Malfoy’s hair has grown rapidly in the few months since he’s stopped his suppressant and hangs past his shoulder blades in a shiny sheet. His cheeks are flushed from the heat, despite the chill of the full strength Cooling Charms he has up, and he’s wearing just a pair of flimsy, cotton pyjama bottoms. Harry’s gaze rakes up over his pale, half-naked form, hungrily taking in the pearlescent sheen of his skin, the jut of his collarbones, the way his neck arches gracefully as he tips his head back and gathers his hair with his thumbs, bringing it over one straight shoulder and leaning further back. He doesn’t look away even when Malfoy catches him staring and smirks knowingly.

“Have you eaten?” Harry asks, voice rough.

Malfoy nods, eyes glinting wickedly. “Have you?” he asks softly. Harry nods as well, his hand still on the smooth bump of Malfoy’s stomach. “How was it today? What’s it like trying to train a bunch of mediocre players who won’t stop trying to grope you?” Malfoy’s tone is one of lilting nonchalance, but Harry sees the way his eyes narrow.

“Nobody gropes me,” he says with a chuckle. “None of them is even my type. There’s a certain lack of cocks on the team seeing as the Harpies is an all-women team,” he adds quickly as Malfoy lifts a brow haughtily.

He just shrugs and looks away, Malfoy, muttering under his breath, and Harry catches a vague, “—even have a type,” at the end.

 “What was that?” he asks, gently digging an elbow into Malfoy’s side.

Squirming, Malfoy shoves at him with a scowl, Harry laughing as he pulls back a bit. “I said as if you even have a type,” he says irritably. “You’re the sort to fuck anything that moves.”

“Am I?” Harry asks, genuinely surprised. “Is that the impression I give?”

“I don’t know,” Malfoy mumbles, “anything that moves and is remotely decent looking, probably.”

“That would explain why I fuck you so much,” Harry says with a lewd grin. “You definitely fall into the ‘remotely decent looking’ category.”

Malfoy shoves him again but he’s laughing this time. “We both know that’s why you approached me in that club, Potter,” he drawls, reaching out to brush his fingertips down Harry’s bare chest. “If I hadn’t been reckless enough to skip my suppressant that day, I’d have blended right in with the crowd and you’d probably be sitting here with some other unsuspecting bastard carrying your offspring.”

Harry doesn’t reply for a long time as he just sits and regards Malfoy steadily, noting the way the sardonic smirk slowly fades off Malfoy’s startlingly handsome face. “Do you regret it, Malfoy?” he asks quietly when Malfoy finally starts to fidget. “Do you regret kissing me back and letting me drag you into the gents’?”

Now Malfoy stares at him in silence. “No,” he says firmly after a beat, seemingly unaware of the way his hands cradle his stomach. “I wanted you too,” he says in a very low voice, licking his lips and looking somewhere next to Harry’s ear.

Harry swallows the saliva that floods his mouth just from looking at Draco’s pink, moistened lips. “You know,” Harry reaches out and tucks a strand of impossibly soft, pale golden hair behind Malfoy’s delicately rounded ear, “I don’t remember much of that night at all. Seamus slipped something into my drink when I was already sozzled,” he rolls his eyes when Malfoy smirks again, “and I suspect that contributed to me retaining almost nothing of what happened – except the way I felt while fucking you,” he says slowly, catching Malfoy’s gaze and holding it firmly.

After a pause, Malfoy clears his throat softly. “What—what does that— what you mean?” he asks and seems to be holding his breath.

Harry shrugs. “I don’t talk about it much, do I? The wolf thing,” he specifies with a smile when Malfoy tilts his head questioningly. “It’s always on my mind, Malfoy. It’s who I am now and it’s not something that can be cured and...” Harry feels the familiar pit of despair growing inside him but presses on anyway, “Despite everything else that—despite everything else that I’ve done, it’s...all that people seem to want to talk about when they hear my name.” Harry is rather shocked with himself for saying out loud the things he hasn’t even voiced to Ron or Hermione yet. “So anyway,” he continues hurriedly, “that night, I dunno whether it was whatever I was floating around on thanks to Seamus or whether it was the fact that you were the most beautiful fucking thing I’d ever laid eyes on, but I wasn’t thinking about...that, for the first time in...well, ever, I think. And I’ve thought about it a lot since that night, feeling as free as I did then...”

Harry can’t at Malfoy by the time he trails off and he sits very still in the ensuing silence. Malfoy doesn’t speak for a while but his gaze on Harry is like a white-hot brand. Harry turns and leans back against the headboard like Malfoy, sitting beside him in silence and staring straight ahead.

There’s a slight rustle of bedclothes as Malfoy resettles next to Harry, somehow pressed closer to him now. “Do you, perchance, think people have forgotten everything you’ve done for them and instead only focus on the fact that you’re a werewolf now?” Malfoy asks smoothly in a single breath.

Harry swallows again, this mouth and throat suddenly dry, his cheeks slowly flooding with heat. “It doesn’t matter, really,” he replies, shrugging. “People will think what they want to think.”

“Well, if it helps at all,” Malfoy reaches out slowly and lays a tentative hand on Harry’s arm, “nobody’s forgotten what you did. I doubt people could forget even if they tried. Your name is synonymous with the peace and security our world is currently thriving in, Potter. There’s a reason every generation henceforth will learn about you, study you, and all your foolishly heroic acts.” When Harry snorts and looks at him, Malfoy is smiling a crooked but genuinely warm smile at him. “It’s because of the status you hold that people want to know all the grisly details of your life – it’s obscene and horribly invasive, but then they wouldn’t care at all if you weren’t who you are.”

This time the silence stretches on a lot longer than before until Harry gives into the nagging urge to lean over and press a kiss to Malfoy’s peachy cheek. “Thanks,” he says. “You’re alright, you know, Malfoy?”

“How dare you,” Malfoy retorts at once, narrowing his eyes playfully and pretending to elbow him in the neck. “Don’t you dare insult me like that again, Potter, I have a reputation to uphold.”

Harry laughs and grabs him lightly, kissing him full on the mouth this time, sighing when Malfoy melts into it. Cupping one soft cheek carefully, Harry deepens it, feathering his thumb up Malfoy’s cheekbone and slowly sinking his tongue into his mouth. Malfoy makes a small sound of satisfaction, his nails digging into Harry’s thigh where he’s gripping it, and then abruptly pulls away, blinking at Harry with pleasure-glazed eyes.

“I have another birthday gift for you,” he blurts suddenly, mouth still hovering inches from Harry’s.

“You’ve already given me a birthday gift,” Harry says in surprise. “And they fit like a dream and don’t get any dirt on them. And also, my birthday was over a week ago,” he adds casually, grinning as he leans forward to nibble along Malfoy’s jaw.

Breath catching audibly, Malfoy pulls away a bit, frowning at him. “Do you want this gift or not?” he asks flatly. “Limited-time offer, Potter.”

Harry laughs against Malfoy’s cheek, kissing it once again before pulling back. “Let’s see it,” he says cheerfully, turning to face him once more and settling cross-legged.

Malfoy leans over and plucks up the hardbound book he’d been reading when Harry had entered the room – Morgana’s Saga: Lovers Reunited – and thrusts it at Harry.

“Er...” Harry stares in utter bewilderment at the book before looking up at Malfoy, waiting for an explanation. “Um, I don’t want to read about who Morgana fucked, Malfoy,” he says lamely, when Malfoy just stares back impassively.

“First of all, this isn’t about the actual Morgana,” Malfoy says, rolling his eyes exaggeratedly. “This is about a witch who’s separated from her—” He blushes faintly when Harry grins and raises his eyebrows. “Put away your teeth before I knock them in, Potter,” he snaps irritably. “I can’t possibly have you read me Babbitty Rabbitty or something absurd like that; I’d likely tear all my hair out.”

“What?” Harry asks, completely lost now.

“I—” Malfoy fidgets vigorously now, “I read to...it, alright? Every night – every night that I’m alone,” he hurries to clarify. “I just read whatever I’m currently reading because it’s not as if it can understand anyway.” Malfoy sighs when Harry just gapes at him with his mouth wide open. “It’s alright if you don’t want to, Potter. I just thought you might like to—”

“I’d love to!” Harry bursts out, reaching out and grabbing Draco by the wrist. “Malfoy,” he swallows desperately at the lump rising up his throat, “you—you really won’t mind?” he asks hopefully, not daring to believe him yet.

“Do you know me to be the type of person who’d make such an offer unless I was completely okay with it?” Malfoy asks blandly, crooking Harry a little smile.

Harry stares blankly down at the book, the cover a rich maroon with gold lettering, the pages creamy and stiff between his fingers as he flips a few. “Thank you,” he says hoarsely, nodding feverishly. “Thank you. It—it really does mean a lot, Malfoy.” Harry stares rather desperately into Malfoy’s lovely face, grey eyes soft and, for once, unshuttered, rosy mouth curved in a gentle, friendly smile. It’s only when he slowly closes a hand over Harry’s that Harry realises he’s touching Malfoy’s belly again.

“Don’t get snot and tears on me now, Potter,” he ribs, eyes twinkling. “Page two hundred and fourteen, if you please?” he adds, nodding towards the book. “I think there’s going to be a particularly randy love scene in a couple of pages.” Malfoy winks saucily and makes a show of settling down comfortably in the nest of pillows.

But Harry places the book aside, firmly brackets Malfoy’s face with both hands and kisses him again, not pulling away for long, breathless minutes until they’re both red in the face and sprawled out flat. Wordlessly, Harry works Malfoy’s pyjamas off and circles his cock with one hand, swallowing Malfoy’s soft moan as he works his fist over it on torturously slow, leisurely pulls that soon have Malfoy’s hips arching high off the bed.

“Potter,” he whispers shakily, letting his head fall back to let Harry lick long strokes up his neck, sucking up a little bruise every now and then.

Harry is now more than familiar with the feel of Malfoy’s long, nimble fingers combing through his hair but when Malfoy’s hands push into it, Harry shivers and presses his face harder into the soft crook of his neck, biting into the curve.

Malfoy keens softly, grinding into Harry’s hand, gasping with each little mark he’s bitten, crying out sharply when Harry’s mouth closes eagerly around one, tightly peaked nipple. He’s wracked with shudders then, his body undulating under Harry’s relentless mouth, his hands pushing and pulling at Harry’s head all at once. When Harry lifts off the swollen bud, Malfoy sobs softly, only to cry out again when Harry simply moves over to nibble at the other one.

“Please,” Malfoy chokes out, rutting his cock in increasingly fevered strokes through the rigid circle of Harry’s hand, twisting and jerking each time Harry teases his cock under the glans and pinches the slit to squeeze out a drop of precome. He moans and flails under him, thighs falling wider and wider open, chest and swollen belly heaving with his laboured breathing, and when Harry finally crouches between his thighs and replaces his hand with his mouth, Malfoy screams hoarsely and immediately fucks deep into Harry’s throat. “Fuck! Potter, fuck!” Malfoy’s voice is cracked and sounds like it’s been wrested out his chest. “Please, god, yes!”

Ruthlessly resisting the temptation to find friction against his own erection, Harry lets Malfoy hold his head in place and fuck his face, keeping up steady suction throughout. He teases the sensitive crown each time he pulls off, sucking hard on the slit and running the tip of his tongue under the ridge of the rosy head. One hand he keeps curled around the base of his cock, ignoring the way Malfoy desperately claws at it from time to time. With his other hand, he strokes the incredible softness of Malfoy’s sac, thumbing the delicate, silken skin and rolling around his tightening balls with gentle little tugs.

Malfoy is nearly incoherent by this point, yelling expletives or simply keening deafeningly, but when Harry reaches down and eases the tips of two fingers just past the furled ring of his arsehole, he emits a rough yowl and suddenly explodes in Harry’s mouth, flooding it with come and thrusting uncontrollably into his throat, whimpering each time his cockhead is squeezed as Harry swallows without complaint.

When he lets Malfoy’s sticky, half-hard cock slip out of his mouth and looks up at him, he finds him heaving for air in a flushed, sweaty sprawl, limbs askew and hair spread out across his pillow in an exotic mess. Harry leans forward and presses an achingly gentle kiss to the lower curve of Malfoy’s belly and Malfoy looks down, winding careful fingers through his hair again, expression slightly dazed as Harry presses a more kisses up the dark line that runs up the middle of his bump.

He squirms with a wet chuckle when Harry whispers sweet nonsense against his navel, giving him a loopy grin when he looks up and then sighing softly when Harry rolls him onto his left side and lifts his leg up.

“Yeah?” Harry confirms softly, bringing slick fingers to Malfoy’s arsehole, petting the velvety divot. When Malfoy nods eagerly, Harry slips one finger in right down to the last knuckle, grinding the knob of it against Malfoy’s rim as he feels around inside. He hums quietly when he finds the sensitive little nub, Malfoy’s whole body lurching, massaging it with the tip of his finger, watching the way Malfoy gasps into his pillow, one arm curled around the thigh Harry has in the air, his other hand clenched in the sheets. As Harry slips a second finger in, Malfoy moans and squeezes his eyes shut, clamping tightly around his fingers. “Fuck, Malfoy, look at you,” Harry murmurs feverishly, scissoring his fingers with every inward plunge.

“Shut up and fuck me,” Malfoy groans, his toes curling where his foot flops in midair, his hips now moving in time with Harry’s fingers, thighs trembling. “Damn it, Potter!” he sobs, spine pulling inwards as Harry works in a third finger and twists them inside him.

“Want you so much,” Harry whispers, his cock now properly painful where it’s straining against the front of his boxers, “Going to fuck you so good, Malfoy.”

“Yes, fuck please, please!” Malfoy sounds strangled and completely out of breath, and when he reaches down and grips Harry’s wrist with his nails digging into the thin skin there, Harry relents and pulls his fingers out with a final little wiggle.

Tearing his pants off, Harry licks a hard kiss to the inside of Malfoy’s thigh as he hooks it over his shoulder and straddles his other thigh on the bed, holding his cock tightly and walking forward on his knees until he can line up against his gleaming wet, furiously winking arsehole, his mouth watering at the sight. Pushing the tip in, Harry inches forward until the head is seated inside the rim; then he’s shuddering and reaching frantically for control because Malfoy’s insides clench around his cockhead and then continue to massage him in a steady, truly evil press-and-release, making him hurriedly pull out just stave to off his suddenly looming orgasm.

“What are you doing?” Malfoy grits, baring his teeth and lifting onto his elbow, glaring dangerously at him. “Did you come?”

No, you little shit,” Harry whimpers, squeezing his cock with both hands to force his climax back.

“Can you put it back inside me, please?” Malfoy demands loudly, irritably slamming his heel against Harry’s shoulder blade and grabbing his renewed erection to lazily fist it a couple of times.

“Christ, would you keep your gob shut and give me a second?” Harry hisses, finally releasing the punishing grip around his cock and lining up once more.

“No,” Malfoy says at once, smirking and dragging Harry closer by the leg he has over his shoulder. Shaking his head in exasperation, Harry bends forward and pushes in, cleaving his way inside on a single slide until his pelvis hits Malfoy’s bump, Malfoy’s thigh trembling where it’s pressed between them. “Potter,” Malfoy exclaims, sounding rather choked as he reaches out to slap a hand onto Harry’s pectoral and dig his nails in.

Harry can barely even focus on anything besides the incredible, slick tightness of Malfoy’s arse twitching around his cock. He’s pressed in all the way, leaning in with his eyes shut, as his hips push into Malfoy, his balls already throbbing agonisingly where they’re pulled up against his body. Holding his breath, Harry forces his eyes open, gulps in several deep breaths and starts moving.

Malfoy is silent save for whimpered little mewls of overwhelmed pleasure, his nails tearing down Harry’s chest from time to time when Harry thrusts in and grinds. His other hand slips on the headboard where it’s clenched, a small patch of drool spreading on the pillow beneath his cheek. Harry watches his kiss-swollen lips tremble open on soft moans as he drives his cock in over and over into the sucking heat, Malfoy’s spine bowing each time Harry unerringly lands on his prostate.

Eventually though, Malfoy reaches for his cock again, his hips swivelling and dancing with increasing fervour as Harry picks up the pace. Whipping his hips, Harry knocks aside Malfoy’s hand and folds his fingers around his bobbing prick, twisting them under the head and pulling the foreskin down on a sharp tug the way he knows Malfoy loves. With a broken cry, Malfoy spills over Harry’s knuckles, gravelly grunts of pleasure muffled into the pillow with each thrust of his hips, his arse rapidly convulsing around Harry’s cock.

Almost dizzy with the need to come now, Harry gently brings Malfoy’s leg off his shoulder and eases himself behind Malfoy, hooking his elbow under his thigh and holding it up so he can continue pressing deep into his contracting arse.  Malfoy moans softly when Harry feathers kisses up his clammy nape, turning his head to kiss him hungrily, reaching back and fisting a hand in Harry’s hair.

“Draco,” Harry says on an exhale, feeling like he’s about to fly apart.

“Come on, Potter,” Malfoy pants under his breath. “Do it now, come now— come inside me—”

Harry’s pained shout of release is broken against Malfoy’s open mouth, their lips moving slickly as Harry vigorously works his climax into him, pressing one foot into the bed to gain leverage, his arm tightening around Malfoy’s long, white thigh, his hips slapping loudly into the dampness of his sweaty lower back.

Their bodies gleaming with perspiration, they lie there slumped on their sides, catching their breath with noisy wheezes. Releasing Malfoy’s thigh and gently pulling out, Harry brings his hand back up to cradle his belly, running his fingers along the underside as he grazes his teeth lightly across Malfoy’s shoulder. Other than sighing softly now and then, Malfoy is completely silent, and from the way he drowsily burrows his face into his pillow, already on the brink of sleep.

“’was really good, Potter,” he mumbles with another little sigh. “Thousand points to you.”

Harry laughs quietly, sifting his free hand through Malfoy’s hair, dragging it along the damp roots. Despite the deep exhaustion he can sense settling around his very bones, his thighs and back screaming from overexertion, his head still lightly throbbing from the tinny whistle he’d been blowing as he’d coached all evening, Harry feels wide awake. He feels around behind himself and finds the smooth edge of the book. Just as he’s guiltily contemplating disturbing a half-asleep Malfoy, he stirs against Harry, glancing around over his shoulder and then rolling onto his back, smiling at Harry.

“Still want to read to it?” he asks quietly, voice thick and grainy with sleep.

Harry smiles back sheepishly. “Yeah...” he admits, and then frowns a bit. “Doesn’t it feel weird calling the baby ‘it’?”

“Didn’t we decide to hold off on knowing whether it’s a he or she?” Malfoy replies, eyes already falling shut again. “Read to your offspring, Potter; pick any other book you like. I’m likely going to be asleep before you open it anyway.”

Harry laughs quietly as Malfoy sighs once more and tucks himself into Harry’s side, his breathing evening out in seconds to the deep, steady pulls of sleep.

.xiii.

Harry is pushing the Harpies through a third set of cross-crunches when he notices the lone figure sitting in the deserted stands on the far end of the stadium, the glint of platinum-blond hair unmistakable. Despite the tension that’s been building all day in the pit of his stomach, Harry grins broadly.

“Alright, take five and then I’m timing you lot for ten goals,” Harry says and gets much groaning in response. “If it takes you any longer than twenty minutes, I’ll have all of you flying laps until midnight.” He chortles and catches the water bottle that Ginny chucks at him with a scowl from where she’s lying spread eagled on the wet, manicured grass. “Just for that, you’re playing defence,” he tells her, throwing the bottle back at her. It nearly hits her in the stomach and she squawks, rolling over as she hits the bottle away like one would at volleyball. “Stretch; I’ll be right back.”

He grabs up his own bottle of water and drains it in one gulp before he jogs lightly towards Malfoy, the ground soft from the rains earlier, the air cool and dense with moisture. It takes Harry a practiced burst of control not to sprint towards the stands at full speed like a maniac but it wouldn’t do to startle him and everyone else present — as it is, his feet seem to barely hit the ground but by the time he reaches the stands, he’s trembling with the pent up energy his body is demanding he spend.

Malfoy sits with his back very straight, hands clasped in his lap. He’s bundled up in a cloak, his hair swept into a tight knot behind his head and he barely returns Harry’s smile, seeming preoccupied as he watches the Harpies over Harry’s shoulder.

“This is a pleasant surprise,” Harry says warmly, taking off his specs and lifting his t-shirt to wipe the sweat and dirt off his face. Malfoy’s eyes are instantly raking up his exposed skin, expression still rather empty but gaze dark and hungry. “You done ogling?” Harry teases and laughs when Malfoy’s cheeks darken further. “I didn’t think you’d come.”

“You’ve been asking me to come and watch you train for over a week now,” Malfoy drawls.

Harry flings himself beside him, expecting him to grimace and pointedly pull away and claim he reeks, but Malfoy just turns in place to regard him closely, remaining pressed close. “I never thought you’d actually come, though,” Harry says quietly, still smiling at him. “I’ve been inviting you to the Burrow for months now; you never come.”

Now Malfoy grimaces. “Two completely different kinds of invitations, Potter,” he says sourly. “I’m not very inclined to come and be poisoned at Weasley’s ancestral dump.”

“None of the Weasleys are ever going to harm you, Malfoy,” Harry says frowning as he rolls his eyes.

“Not even Ginevra?” Malfoy instantly shoots back, narrowing his eyes at the cluster of loudly cackling women in the middle of the enormous, oval field.

“Why would Ginny want to poison you?” Harry asks calmly, reaching over to gently buff a knuckle across his soft cheek. Malfoy just stares flatly at him like he’s an imbecile. “Malfoy, she and I dated ten years ago,” Harry says with a sigh, clenching his hands as another bout of tremors surge through him.

Malfoy just huffs derisively and fastidiously adjusts his cloak to cover himself more thoroughly. “As if I give a damn,” he mutters, twitching out the hem and draping it over his lap.

“Can you take it easy with the cloak?” Harry snaps irritably. “You’re wearing robes, and anyway, nobody’s going to be able to see your bump from way over there!” Harry gestures wildly across the field. “Just cast a Cushioning Charm and sit comfortably, for heaven’s sake. I’ll be done in about half an hour and then we can go home.” He stands up and stomps down the stands, shaking his head vigorously to throw off the familiar, restless buzzing that fills it.

“Are you even going to be home tonight?” Malfoy asks behind him and Harry turns to catch the meaningful look he gives him. Almost simultaneously, they both turn to observe the sky – the vivid colours of dusk are masked by the opaque, grey clouds gathering, and the air around them is already crackling in anticipation of the heavy showers forecasted. Harry estimates that the moon won’t be out for at least another hour but his insides seem to shrivel already with that instinctive sense of dread.

“I’ll, at least, escort you back,” he replies shortly, not meeting Malfoy’s eyes. “If I feel well enough to stay, I’ll stay.” He marches away without looking back.

Soon, he’s up in the air with a large, bright golden Tempus timed to count down twenty minutes hanging above his head so every one of the players can see it. Most of the team plays offence while the Seeker, Elena Kross, Ginny, and one of the backup Chasers serve as defence, mainly just trying to intercept the Quaffle as frequently as they’re able to. He blows his whistle in sharp bursts every time the players take too long to pass the Quaffle or when they break formation. When the Keeper, Ava D’Mello - a tall, wiry young woman with the propensity to violently lose her temper if she ever missed a save - starts bellowing at Evelyn Greene, one of his more experienced Chasers, Harry blasts a particularly strong Shield Charm between them and barks irritably at them to get a move on. To his surprise, it’s nineteen year old Emilia Thatcher, his newly recruited Chaser, who scores some of the quickest goals — followed by Ginny, who is ruthless in her defence. They score the assigned ten goals with just under fifteen seconds to spare and Harry waves off the Tempus with a pleased grin, blowing a single, long note on the whistle to indicate the end of the day’s practice.

Back on the ground, the players cluster around him as usual, and a quick glance across the stadium tells him that Malfoy is still in the stands. He has a word with a few players, including Ava who’s incredibly sheepish when Harry playfully tells her to reign in her temper tantrums, and reminds Elena to come in early the next day so he can time her with a fresh Snitch.

“So your boyfriend’s going to come watch us from now on?” Ginny murmurs slyly, jostling him with her shoulder. The dwindling light is fast starting to fade now as the clouds get denser, and the rest of the team trudge gratefully to the locker rooms, their brooms on their shoulders, all of them tired and drenched with sweat. Harry blushes slightly but laughs as he returns Ginny’s shove, elbowing her lightly.

“Shut it, you bint,” he says fondly. “Go shower; you smell like a Hippogriff.”

“He doesn’t look pregnant,” Ginny says, squinting across the field, almost going cross-eyed. “Are you sure he’s not faking it?”

“He’s basically a speck from over here, you’re not going to be able to see much,” Harry deadpans. “And yes, I’m sure. Merlin, Gin.”

“Why does he look like he’s swallowed Bubotuber Pus?” she continues, still peering over at Malfoy. “Why’s his face like that?”

“You can’t possibly tell anything about his expression from here!” Harry laughs, looking over to the stands once. “And there’s nothing wrong with his face – just the opposite, in fact. He’s really handso—” he breaks off and looks away determinedly, neck starting to prickle with embarrassment.

“Fuck, you’re whipped, aren’t you?” she says pulling a face and punching his shoulder with a grin. “Of literally all the blokes you could’ve knocked up and fallen for, it had to be Malfoy.”

“Will you shut up?” Harry mumbles, face burning. “I’ve not— It’s not— Oh, shut up!” he repeats, grabbing her around the neck and roughly messing up her short, sweat-clumped red hair. Ginny shrieks and shoves her elbow into his chest, following it up with a head-butt that sends Harry flying back onto his bum purely out of surprise. “Gerrof!” he laughs breathlessly, struggling as she straddles his chest and tries to force feed him handfuls of moist grass that she plucks up with both hands.

“It’s because he’s a sexy Veela, isn’t it?” Ginny’s laughing too, poking the grass in between Harry’s tightly pressed lips and wiping squelchy dirt on his face, “He has a nice round arse that sparkles, doesn’t he? Do you suck his cock every time he flips his hair at you?” Harry guffaws loudly and throws her off. “Have you written over all your money to his greedy arse yet?” she asks on a throaty giggle.

Harry, spitting out grass, tries to frown at her through his laughter. “Shut up, he’s not like that,” he says jumping to his feet and shaking more grass out of his hair. “Don’t make me regret telling you about him.”

“Oh, please,” she huffs, getting up as well, “Like I wouldn’t have bullied it out of you either way.”

“He’s different now, alright?” he says quietly, resisting the temptation to steal another glance at Malfoy. “It didn’t end for him after the War. He’s been through some shit.”

“I mean, it’s the least he could’ve expected,” Ginny says flatly, wiping her cheek with the back of one hand and leaving a huge smudge of mud on it. “Didn’t exactly fight alongside us, did he?”

“We’ve all done shit we regret,” Harry says, slightly plaintively. When Ginny just snorts and Summons her broom, he adds, “Mine was dating you.” He laughs and dodges neatly when she hisses like a pissed off Kneazle and aims the broom handle at his crotch.

“Turns out we both have a thing for blonds, anyway,” she sighs, hefting her broom across the shoulders and slinging her arms over it. “Not to mention the gay thing.”

Harry grins, Summoning his own little duffle bag and pulling out his towel. “Give Luna my love,” he says, wiping his messy face. “Haven’t caught up with her in ages. Tell her to drop by sometime if she likes.”

“What, and I don’t get to come along?” Ginny narrows her eyes, “Scared I’ll set off your pet Veela?”

“Yes,” Harry says flatly, stuffing the towel back in and slinging the bag over his shoulder, shaking his head as Ginny grins evilly. “Don’t be a shit. I gotta go. Go get some carbs for dinner.”

“Hey, you take care tonight,” Ginny says softly, reaching out and cupping his cheek before gently wiping off the streak of dirt she’d smeared. “Don’t land up drunk in a ditch somewhere, yeah?”

“Thanks, mom,” he says dryly, leaning down and pecking her cheek quickly. “I’ll be fine. Not my first full moon,” he adds over his shoulder with a smile as they start walking in opposite directions.

“’night, Harry,” she calls.

“’night, Gin.”

It’s nearly dark now, faint rolls of thunder sounding in the distance as he sets off towards the stands. Malfoy is still and unmoving where he sits and Harry breaks into a run over the last hundred metres or so. That familiar feeling of something savage and ravenous trying to claw its way out of him is slowly intensifying but for some reason, the thought of being with Malfoy, spending the evening with him, seems to help; he somehow finds it easier to control the gnawing ache under his skin.

When he reaches the stands, however, he stops short. Malfoy is rising slowly to his feet, his face stark white and bloodless, cold grey eyes almost flashing sparks as he glares at Harry with a vicious sort of hatred.

“Are you okay?” Harry asks at once, stepping closer and peering through the fading light.

“Oh, I’m fine.” Malfoy’s voice is nonchalant and slightly high pitched, his cloak swishing about his feet as he comes down, his hand trembling where it’s clenched around the handrail.

“What’s wrong?” Harry asks warily as Malfoy comes to stand before him, chin high and nostrils flaring, his whole form shaking with the sort of tightly suppressed fury that’s likely to wreck utter havoc when it, inevitably, explodes.

“Nothing,” he says at once, mouth curving into a dead, thin-lipped smile that makes the hair on Harry’s nape stand up. “I can find my way back just fine if you have plans with your girlfriend.”

Harry snorts with a dry smile, stepping forward to try and kiss the glower off Malfoy’s face. But Malfoy takes a neat step back and with hardly half a spin, Disapparates with a crack that actually startles Harry in his current state of hypersensitive awareness.

Heart pounding in his ears, he follows, landing with a slight stumble outside Grimmauld, the front door hanging open but Malfoy nowhere in sight. Leaping up the front steps, Harry storms in, throwing his bag onto the floor and roughly kicking his new boots off before he takes the stairs three at a time, loud, obnoxious stomping thudding from above. Barely pausing for breath, Harry catches up with Malfoy as he’s stalking down the corridor to his room, grabbing him by the arm and spinning him around.

Malfoy bares his teeth as Harry yanks at him, his cloak whirling around and catching on his arm before he wrenches it free and then uses both hands to shove forcefully at Harry’s chest, a growled yell leaving him as he pushes.

Don’t touch me!” he roars and then follows it up with another shove, face maroon with rage, his hair falling out of its knot. Outside there’s a ear-splitting crack of thunder, and a blinding fork of lightning lights up the sky outside the window at the end of the corridor.

The sky breaks open and rain starts hammering against the pane of glass and Harry’s ears are jangling warningly as his temper spikes dangerously. “Do you even realise how dangerously you just Apparated?” he asks through clenched teeth, deliberately drawing deep, full breaths. “You could’ve splinched yourself, Malfoy.”

And why do you care?” Malfoy screams, tearing off his cloak, bundling it up and throwing it down where the clasp clangs loudly against the floorboards. “Oh, wait, because I’m pregnant?”

“Very good,” Harry says coldly, his hands twisted into claws by his sides, his throat dry and painful. “Yes, because you’re pregnant. You’re not even allowed to Apparate in a few weeks, Malfoy. I don’t know what the fuck this is about, but don’t you dare do something like that again.”

“You’re nobody to tell me what to do,” Malfoy says slowly and with emphasis. “Don’t you dare talk to me as though I’m being insane, you goddamn bastard. That red-haired harlot you were practically fucking on that field out in the open might’ve tolerated your patronising lectures but if you ever speak to me like that again I will throw an Unforgivable at you.” Malfoy’s chest rises and falls as he seethes, his rough pants filling the still silence between them.

“Ginny and I are nothing but friends,” Harry says, keeping his voice low and tone gentle. “I’m really sorry th—”

“I. Don’t. Care,” Malfoy says, his teeth showing with his exaggerated pronunciation of each word. “We just fuck, Potter, you and I. I can respect that.” He crosses his arms, his gaze glacial as his mouth slowly twists into a nasty little smirk. “And I’m willing to bet you’d show me the same courtesy, were I to go out there and find myself a juicy little pull for the night. Noble hero like you would be more than accommodative, no?”

Harry’s insides feel liquefied by the blistering fury that instantly tears through him, his skin burning red-hot, his head feeling like it might just burst. Full-body shudders leave him momentarily unable to do much besides try and catch his balance but, try as he might, he’s unable to draw in a full breath.

“You’ve got to believe me on this,” he says, silently pleased that he manages to sound rather steady. “Ginny and I are nothing but friends; she’s family. I’d never— I could never feel that way about her.”

“No need to justify, Potter,” Malfoy says with mock sweetness. “You’re an adult. It’s your life. I’m just an unfortunate obligation you’ve been saddled with. Don’t worry, though. You’re still free to live as you like.”

“Malfoy, you’re being downright absurd.”

“But I’m still free to live as I like too.”

“Malfoy.”

“I’m free to Glamour this,” Malfoy gestures to his rotund bump, “and find someone who wants to take me home and pound my arse all night.”

Harry presses the heel of his hand to his temple, his breath huffing out him choppily, something gradually tearing itself free inside him. “Malfoy, I really need you to stop talking right now,” he whispers, staring somewhere near his own feet.

“And you’re free to roll around and eat grass with that half-bald wench,” Malfoy sneers, eyes narrowed to slits. “Go on, then, go back to her. Go back and laugh at me and gossip about me some more, like I’m sure you were just now. I’m just going clean up a bit and head out for the night.” He turns around and strides away, light, flowy robes billowing out behind him.

Harry’s breath is leaving him in rattling wheezes now, his whole body vibrating, shrill static filling his head as rational thought evaporates and leaves behind nothing but the fiery need to take, to have, to claim. He stares at the milky stretch of Malfoy’s nape as he walks away, frail strands of blond curling onto it, the delicate skin unblemished and inviting.

Malfoy storms into his room and slams the door hard enough to make the framed painting of a haughty looking witch rattle from side to side. She clutches at her pearls and then shoots Harry a glare. Harry gives her a flat stare and then slowly turns to look at where Malfoy disappeared behind that door.

Then he’s bolting forward, crossing the space between where he stands and Malfoy’s room in less than a beat and watches as the door flies open for him. Malfoy, halfway across the room, whirls around with a hoarse yelp of shock.

Get out!” he yells at once, stalking towards him, his voice cracking slightly. But Harry has already pounced.

He’s aware of the last remaining dregs of his control leaving him; he’s aware of the fiery rage coursing through his bloodstream and setting every nerve ending aflame, making everything around him blindingly vivid; he’s aware of Malfoy’s garbled babbling as he wrestles him onto the bed, Malfoy plucking one of the gauzy bed-hangings down in his momentary struggle. Harry flips him onto his hands and knees and hikes his robes up, throwing the hem over his back and ripping his boxers down, tearing it off one leg and leaving them tangled around his ankle. It’s not until he smells Malfoy’s arousal, thick and unmistakable, that he realises Malfoy is moaning under him, squirming on his elbows and knees, working his erection against the sheets and lifting his arse high.

“Potter, you bastard—” Malfoy’s long back dips inwards, a keening gasp sounding from where his head hangs between his shoulders when Harry pries his arse open and lays a firm lick up the crease with the flat of his tongue. “Potter!” he whimpers, spreading his knees wider and pressing his arse into Harry’s face with a delightful lack of shame until Harry stills him with a bruising smack to one bouncing cheek. Malfoy moans even louder, arse lifting further as he yanks his robes off over his head, his hair spilling messily down his back, some of it hanging into his face.

Gritting out a snarl, Harry spears his tongue through the fluttering, wrinkled ring of Malfoy’s arsehole, squeezing the plump arse cheek bearing a bold red handprint while freeing his own cock with his other hand, yanking it out and holding it by the base as it twitches wildly and spits out a long spool of precome onto the back of Malfoy’s thigh. His mouth waters at Malfoy’s tantalising scent, the clean, inviting taste of him, how his flesh quivers happily under Harry’s hands, his ivory skin gloriously silken and unblemished.

Hold still!” he growls when Malfoy thrashes under Harry’s frantic hands and mouth, reaching back to clutch at Harry’s hair.

“Please!” Malfoy shouts back, bucking his hips backwards, one cheek pressed into the pillow as he peers desperately over his shoulder, eyes glazed and hungry.

Harry doesn’t remember Summoning the lube but when the tube smacks into his face, knocking his glasses off, he straightens up at once, squeezing out an unholy amount straight onto his cock and lining it up against Malfoy’s glinting arsehole, watching it fall open easily as he presses the tip in. He can hear his own panting, torn and rumbling out of his chest, and the sight of Malfoy trembling in front of him, with his pale, round arse raised in wanton offering, soft, pink hole greedily sucking Harry in, sends his mind hurtling through a void where there’s no careful control, no self-restraint; just Malfoy and his perfect, stunning arse and Harry’s indomitable need to simply claim.

With another hair-raising snarl, Harry is shoving all the way in, and Malfoy’s back bows with the force of it, his knees skidding across the bed as he’s thrown forward. Harry doesn’t pause; he’s dragging his cock back out and thrusting right back in, snapping his hips as hard as he’s able to, his snug joggers slipping down his thighs, his balls slapping loudly against the rounded curve of Malfoy’s arse, both of them exhaling in grunted bursts, the bed frame crashing loudly into the wall.

The rain never lets up outside, roaring in its intensity, and despite the chill it’s brought with it, they’re both soaked with sweat, Malfoy’s clammy hands slipping fruitlessly on the slats of the headboard, his hair clinging in damp bunches to his gleaming back, low, broken sounds of pleasure escaping him through bitten, reddened lips.

“This how you planned for your night to go, Malfoy?” Harry ‘s voice doesn’t even sound like his own as he murmurs against Malfoy’s throat, hunching over his back. “Is this how you pictured a fucking stranger pounding you open,” he curls an arm around Malfoy’s ribcage and hauls his stomach carefully off the bed before fucking him even more savagely, his hips bouncing off Malfoy’s arse, “while you’re pregnant with my child?” he spits, clinging to him.

“Potter,” Malfoy’s voice comes out a breathless whisper, his arse tightening around Harry’s cock as he shudders and gasps. “Fuck, please, Potter—”

“Please what?” Harry presses, his own limbs breaking out in gooseflesh at the way his voice comes out a cruel croon; his cock is an aching weight inside Malfoy, his hips and back aching with how hard he’s pistoning in and out of him.

“So close,” Malfoy whimpers, winding an arm beneath himself; his shoulder bounces as he starts wanking himself and Harry leans his weight on his knees, lifts his free hand from where it was braced on the jolting bed and yanks at Malfoy’s hair, wrapping the strands around his knuckles and tugging his head back.

“You going to come for me?” he breathes against Malfoy’s flushed, sweat streaked cheek. Malfoy, trying to keep balance on both hands, moans and nods, his arse now rhythmically clamping around Harry, his cock slapping loudly onto the swell of his bump, precome flying everywhere. Harry reaches down and twists his palm over the weeping slit and Malfoy screams. “Do you want to come for me?” he asks roughly, hand tightening in Malfoy’s hair as he noses his way down his cheek to his throat, licking broad swathes through the salt there.

“Yes,” Malfoy whines at once. “Fuck, Potter, so good—please! Please, fuck, please, I want to come—”

“For whom?” Harry hisses poisonously, his thighs trembling now, balls pressed tight against his body, his whole form now thrumming with a preternatural force of some sort. For a moment, Harry feels a streak of fear amidst the blind, possessive hysteria that he’s bursting with. “For whom?” he roars suddenly, releasing Malfoy’s cock and pressing his palm against his warm, swollen belly just as there’s a wild jerk from within.

Please! For you!” Malfoy shrieks, beginning to convulse as Harry feels warm spunk splatter over his wrist and hand, his arse going impossibly tight. “Harry!” he cries on a sob, head still tilted back where Harry is pulling on it, back dipped low.

“That’s fucking right,” Harry grits out, straightening up, firming his grip in Malfoy’s hair, and riding him brutally hard, reaching down to pluck ruthlessly at his nipples turn by turn. Malfoy flails, reaching back and clawing at Harry’s hip with a yelled stream of profanities interspersed with long, debauched moans of encouragement.

Harry can’t hear him; he can’t hear anything. His chest aching, Harry can feel panic creeping into him now. His cock hurts, actually hurts, the base feeling heavy and too tight. He cries out in pain and alarm when he tries to stop but finds he can’t, his hips seemingly moving quite out of his control even though he’s now simply grinding his prick into Malfoy’s contracting channel without pulling out.

Malfoy tries to look around, his movements jerky and strained, and Harry quickly pulls his hand out of the tangled mess of blond, grabbing Malfoy’s hips and staring down at where their bodies are joined. His cock is nearly purple and darkened drastically at the base where Harry can see the skin stretched too tight.

“Draco,” Harry chokes out, falling forward, one hand scrabbling for the headboard, the other securely cupping Malfoy’s stomach, his orgasm slamming into him so hard that he blacks out completely, simply squeezing his eyes shut and hurtling over the edge.

“What’s happening?” Malfoy cries out weakly, bewildered and frightened – and Harry can feel it too. He can feel his prick growing, thickening impossibly wide at the base, can feel the way Malfoy’s rim is stretching wide around it, tensing around him and squeezing.

Unable to move his hips anymore, Harry simply presses in as deep as possible and empties into Malfoy, crying out in broken snarls, his clothes drenched in sweat at sticking to his helplessly quivering body. Malfoy’s back arches upwards as he stiffens, his head dipping low, and Harry opens his eyes to dimly find himself with his nose pressed into Malfoy’s soft, sweat-soaked nape. Tilting his head, Harry clamps his teeth into it, Malfoy’s yowl sounding from somewhere very far away as he locks his jaw and surrenders to the nothingness that envelops him.

There’s the faint, rattling breath of something inhuman echoing around the room when he crawls back into consciousness, a feeble croak sounding every now and then. He’s way too hot, his skin feeling scalded, and his insides feel wrung out. He’s shaking against something very warm and pliant, his cock compressed in gripping, wet heat that further tightens around him every few seconds. His whole being feels wrecked, as though he’d gone out into a hurricane unprotected, got violently thrown about, and has to now pick himself back up even as the storm still lingers, looming right over him.

Malfoy stirs weakly against him and that’s when he realises the feeble croaking is Malfoy calling out his name over and over.

“Potter? Potter.”

“I’m sorry,” he slurs, stifling a whimper as that familiar pressure from within pushes against the barricades he automatically puts up. With a Herculean effort, he wrenches his eyes open, seeing nothing but a colourless blur. “Are you okay?” he rasps. “M-Malfoy? Shit—oh god—” Panic rising all over again, Harry frantically gropes the taut swell of Malfoy’s stomach that his hand is latched around.

“I’m fine,” Malfoy snaps shakily, grabbing his wrist but not pulling his hand off. “What’s—what happened to—?” he whimpers brokenly, his arse convulsing around Harry’s prick again.

Harry shudders and immediately pulls out – or tries to anyway. He’s...not able to.

His prick twitches inside Malfoy as he looks down, lifting onto one arm where he’s curled around Malfoy, both of them lying on their sides; his groin is pressed firmly against Malfoy’s bum, and his cock is apparently stuck inside Malfoy.

Shuddering again, this time with cold realisation, Harry wonders about the best way to tell someone that you’ve knotted them. He’s able to feel where his cock has thickened inside Malfoy, just around the base, and Malfoy hisses through his teeth when Harry pulls against the clutch of his stretched rim.

“What did you do?” Malfoy asks roughly, squeezing a hand between them; Harry can feel his fingers slipping over where he disappears into Malfoy’s arse.

Harry decides to just say it. “I’ve knotted you,” he says very quietly, closing his eyes again as his head spins violently. He lowers back onto the bed and curls around Malfoy, moving his hips inwards so he’s not straining Malfoy’s arsehole, and waits in resigned silence for Malfoy’s explosion of fury and disbelief.

There is none. Malfoy is so quiet and for so long that Harry automatically starts rubbing his stomach in slow circles in what he hopes is an apologetic fashion.

“Did you hear me?” he asks softly, his nose in Malfoy’s hair; it smells of fresh sweat but there’s the lingering sweetness that Malfoy seems to carry about his person all the time.

“Yes,” Malfoy whispers.

“I’m so sorry.”

“Why? Did you do this deliberately?”

“No,” Harry says at once, voice grainy and tired. “I don’t know how it— it’s never happened before.”

There’s another long pause. “Really?” Malfoy turns his head so Harry can see one pink cheek and a heavy-lidded grey eye trained curiously on him.

Harry leans forward and nuzzles him. “It’s never happened with anyone else,” he confirms and then watches Malfoy’s cheek colour further. “I’m really sorry, Malfoy.”

Malfoy’s shoulder moves in something resembling a shrug. “Well, you didn’t mean to, so...” he trails off and sighs before slowly settling one hand over Harry’s on his stomach as there’s a slow, tumbling roll inside.

“Not that.” Harry swallows hard, his fingers automatically tightening a bit as the baby moves. “I mean, yes, for— for knotting you too, I guess, but also, before that—” he breaks off as a there’s a surge of something wild inside him and he hurriedly tamps it down with the usual, carefully practised control. “For— I could’ve hurt you so bad. I— I barely even remember some of it... Nearly lost control altogether, I could’ve—”

“You didn’t hurt me,” Malfoy interrupts wearily. “You didn’t force me either.”

Harry feels a huge, freezing ball of fear settle in his throat. “What if it’d transformed?” he whispers, voice cracking.

“Don’t be absurd,” Malfoy scoffs softly. “All these years without incident and you lose control simply because I threatened to sleep with someone else?” There’s a hint of a smirk to Malfoy’s tone now and Harry’s jaw aches with how hard he grits his teeth.

“I don’t share well,” he admits shortly.

“You’re literally the most irritatingly generous person I know.”

“Let me rephrase that,” Harry says gruffly. “I’m not likely to share you well.” The silence that follows is thick with hope and seemingly infinite, Malfoy still enough against Harry that he knows he’s holding his breath – almost as though he’s waiting for Harry to continue, to say something further about how Harry feels about him.

Harry nearly does; he opens his mouth, on the very verge of saying something completely foolish and something he’s consciously refused to dwell on for several weeks now, but reigns it back in at the very last moment, the baby shifting vigorously under their hands.

“I only said those things to instigate you,” Malfoy finally says, sounding a bit subdued.

“Try not to instigate me on a full moon night, please?” Harry requests exasperatedly. Malfoy snorts and shifts against him, both of them hissing at the sharp tug between them.

“How long is this likely to last?” Malfoy asks, his voice rather thin, his arse going vice-tight around Harry.

“Hopefully not long...” Harry murmurs sheepishly, wincing and stroking Malfoy’s hip. “It won’t happen again, not unless we...during the full moon; sometimes not even then. I read about this way back when I’d just been infected – I didn’t even really believe any of it.” When Malfoy just clicks his tongue wearily, Harry sighs. “I’m really sorry.”

“Stop apologising,” Malfoy says irritably, and then squirms awkwardly. “I mean... Whatever. We’ll read up about it, I suppose.”

“I’m going to ask Hermione to squeeze in a quick appointment tomorrow.”

“I don’t think we need to be that concerned about it, Potter, don’t be ridic—”

“No, I need to know that you’re okay,” Harry interrupts, lacing their fingers over his stomach again.

“Potter, let me make it very clear to you that I will not be coming along so we can ask your friend to examine me just because we fucked a bit rough,” Malfoy snaps in a rush. “You’re just going to have to take my word for it that I’m fine.”

“Aren’t you worried that I might’ve—?”

“What, given the baby a concussion?”

Harry grins despite himself. “You’re insufferable, Malfoy.”

“Thanks. How’re you feeling?” Malfoy asks calmly.

The urge to snap at that question is almost an instinct by this point but Harry simply breathes deeply, exhaling slowly against Malfoy’s neck. “I’m fine,” he murmurs, watching the fine, gold hair part under his breath before something catches his eye. Lifting Malfoy’s hair out of the way, Harry gasps and rears back a bit, Malfoy yelping as his arsehole is jostled.

He’s left a large, horribly vivid red bite mark on Malfoy’s nape. It oozes lightly, the skin only just broken so that the punctures are already clotting rather than bleeding freely. It’s purpling around the edges of where Harry’s canines sunk in and the skin all around the bite is bright pink.

“Fuck,” Harry breathes, something pushing him to lean in and lap gingerly over the whole patch. Malfoy stiffens and whines under his breath. “I didn’t realise—I’m so sorry,” Harry beseeches, continuing to paint careful strokes with his tongue over Malfoy’s mangled, horribly painful looking nape.

Malfoy shivers and reaches back to twist gentle fingers into Harry’s hair. “’s fine,” he sighs, dipping his head and baring his nape some more. “I’ll Heal it tomorrow.”

“I’m just sorry about the whole evening,” Harry says, hopelessly morose. “The whole Ginny thing, manhandling you like that, fucking knotting you and now this—”

Malfoy is suddenly sniggering, wiggling his hips as he draws his knees higher and curls up contently. “I, personally, think it’s been a particularly enjoyable evening, Potter,” he says snidely. “I think we should fuck every full moon.”

“What?” Harry asks, baffled, but Malfoy is blushing again now, right down to his ruined nape.

“Whatever,” he replies flatly. “Nothing you need to apologise for; that’s all I was trying to say.”

“Are you really alright?” Harry asks, low and worried. “Shall I Floo Hermione in, just in case?”

“Should we bunny-hop over to the Floo together with your knotted cock still in me?”

“Please, Malfoy,” he says, starting to shake with helpless laughter.

“Or would you rather we crawl like an octopod?”

“God, how long is this going to take?” Harry groans, still shaking with mirth. “I need a cold shower before I lose control again.”

“Right now, I don’t know if you mean sexually or wolf-wise,” Malfoy replies blandly, scratching idly at his thigh.

“Both,” Harry supplies, lapping over the bite mark again, “and I’m surprised you’re letting me touch you right now; I’m fucking filthy.”

“Mmm,” Malfoy hums, dragging a hand along Harry’s thigh, up to his hip and then back down, stroking him with proprietary familiarity, bringing his other hand to curl loosely around Harry’s wrist against his stomach, sighing contentedly through his nose.

“How are you so calm about this?” Harry asks after a beat, his lips moving in shapeless patterns over Malfoy’s glowing skin.

“About what?”

“About everything that just happened.”

“Would it help soften the knot if I panicked and thrashed about?” When Harry starts laughing again, Malfoy slants him a smirk over his shoulder. “I’m just learning not to be surprised about all these impossible feats only you seem to be capable of pulling, Potter.”

“To be fair, I didn’t know I was about to pull this feat tonight.”

“I’m not very surprised, either way. Spontaneous pregnancy with Harry Potter, who just happens to be an Alpha werewolf, who then moved me into his best bedroom and bought me everything galleons can buy before unwittingly knotting me – this is just my life now.”

Harry gently presses a wide smile to Malfoy’s shoulder. “I’m still not over the Veela thing, though,” he murmurs warmly. “It’s still overwhelming.”

“Of course you’re not over it,” Malfoy drawls sleepily. “You’re very easy to...overwhelm.” He sighs and wiggles a bit once more. “Wake me up when your cock slips out of my arse, hm? I could do with some dinner.”

“Will do,” Harry whispers, nuzzling the bite mark tenderly, stroking a hand slowly up Malfoy’s side, over and over, as the quiet settles around them again.

His gaze tilts up when there’s a creamy flash at the window behind the folds of the thick curtains. The moon floats lazily, blurred behind the sheet of rain but full and round in its brilliant whiteness, mocking Harry with its deceptively serene presence in the agitated firmament. For once, for the first time in years, Harry doesn’t find himself seething with resentment at the sight of it, doesn’t find himself glaring hatefully before wrenching his gaze away because he’s trembling so hard.

The smell of Malfoy’s sweat and arousal is slowly fading to the background as the fruity sweetness of his scent rises up into the air again, mingling pleasantly with the smell of damp earth. Harry breathes in deeply as Malfoy’s soft snores start to sound, Harry’s clothes feeling cool against his grimy, overheated skin, his cock noticeably lighter around the base already. The savage, demanding force within him is stirring weakly, trying to fight its way back to the forefront even as an effervescent calm builds somewhere around his heart and slowly seeps through him, filling him up, and the control he’d nearly completely lost earlier is right back where he wants it.

Harry stares unblinkingly at the moon, and with Malfoy right there in his arms, he doesn’t feel quite so at its mercy.

.xiv.

Harry comes home from training late Halloween evening to find Malfoy with his nose pressed against the living room window.

“Potter, Muggles have the most atrocious sense of fashion,” he declares tightly, looking out into the street.

“Those kids are in costume,” Harry informs him, peering over his shoulder to see a small group of children run up to the house directly opposite 12 Grimmauld Place. “You never went trick-or-treating on Halloween as a kid?”

“No, it’s a stupid Muggle tradition,” Malfoy sneers. “I had all the candy I could ever ask for. I didn’t need to go beg for it.”

“It’s fun,” Harry says, smacking his arse lightly as he moves away, Malfoy yelping softly. “Or so I’ve heard.”

“Did those foul Muggles you lived with never take you out to beg for chocolate?” Malfoy asks with that same murderous look he gets in his eyes every time they talk of the Dursleys ever since Harry told him about them.

“No, but Dudley usually let me have any fruit-flavoured candy he got.” Harry grins. “He hated them. I had my fun, Malfoy, don’t worry.”

Malfoy instantly looks aloof. “I’m not worried.” He turns away stiffly to resume staring out the window, absently rubbing his stomach with one hand as he watches a kid dressed as an astronaut screech as he fights over a large slab of chocolate with another little girl dressed as a witch. “Why do Muggles think that witches are green-skinned?” he demands flatly, glancing around and frowning at Harry who’s sitting and pulling his boots and socks off. “That’s the third little girl I’ve seen in a simply dreadful emulation of wizarding robes. Ugh, and her hat is plastic. But why is she green?”

Harry grins, tugging his sweaty, mud stained t-shirt off and mopping his face with it. “I think it’s just a general consensus among them that witches have wrinkly, green skin and are fatally averse to water.”

Malfoy looks flabbergasted. “How do they think we clean ourselves?”

“I dunno,” Harry says laughingly, standing up and coming over once more, “magic?” He kisses Malfoy gently, pressing his hand over the curve of his now enormous bump.

“Do you plan on incorporating this shameful Muggle tradition with this one?” Malfoy asks, briefly closing his hand around Harry’s on his stomach and narrowing his eyes.

“I’m not very fond of this holiday, Malfoy.” Harry hesitates before going on. “My parents were killed Halloween night, so...” Malfoy pales so fast that Harry instantly regrets bringing it up.

“I—I forgot,” Malfoy says, voice hushed and eyes very wide, his face a stark white. “I’m sorry, Potter, I meant no disrespe—”

“Don’t be stupid,” Harry says at once, kissing him once more. “And even if I don’t take him trick-or-treating, you can, right?” he asks, grinning wickedly and tickling the sides of his stomach.

Malfoy’s mouth thins and he sniffs. “I won’t be indulging it such pointless frivolities, Potter,” he says loftily. “And stop calling it a ‘he’.”

“Well, you wouldn’t let me ask Hermione about the gender,” Harry says sullenly. “It’s really rude calling the baby ‘it’.”

“So why not call it a ‘she’?” he snaps before huffing and throwing himself carelessly onto the sofa, giving Harry a mild aneurysm. “The rate I’m growing, you likely won’t have to wait very much longer,” he mutters darkly, glaring down at his stomach where it’s protruding threateningly, practically a separate entity by itself. “I’m done housing it, Potter. I want this to be over.”

“Are you in pain?” Harry asks anxiously, immediately hurrying over. “Is the baby coming?”

Malfoy looks at him like he’s genuinely doubtful Harry has a brain. “No,” he says slowly and with emphasis, “But I’m exhausted, Potter, I’m tired all the time. I’m hideously massive, my back hurts nonstop, this kid never stops kicking and my feet can no longer hold me up for more than five minutes at a time.” He gets increasingly louder as he talks and is glowering hatefully at Harry by the end.

Harry fidgets for a beat, nervous and trapped in the coolly expectant silence. “You’re um...glowing,” he tries lamely. Malfoy looks like he wants to shred Harry apart with his bare hands. “You really are,” Harry says desperately.

“I’m always glowing, I’m a Veela,” Malfoy replies arrogantly, putting his feet up and shoving a cushion behind his back.

“I’ll massage your back for you tonight,” Harry promises kindly, reaching down to throw the quilt slung over the back of the sofa over Malfoy’s lap.

“You can just ask if you want to eat me out, Potter,” Malfoy sighs, badly hiding a smirk as he adjusts the quilt over himself. “You don’t have to make up excuses for it.”

Harry grins lewdly. “That’ll come after the massage,” he says, reaching down quickly tweaking Malfoy’s nipple through his shirt; Malfoy squawks and slaps Harry’s hand sharply. “Speaking of eating, I’m fucking starving,” Harry tells him, grabbing his discarded t-shirt and bag. “I’m going to shower and see if dinner’s ready. You ready to eat?”

“Yes, because I’m also permanently hungry,” Malfoy drawls, sounding rather morose. “I’m always ready to eat.”

Ten minutes later, Harry clatters downstairs, skin still damp and warm after his shower. It’s getting increasingly nippy by the day now and he sighs gratefully as he enters the kitchen which is wonderfully bright and warm, the huge fire crackling cheerfully behind the pot of stew Kreacher is stirring.

Deciding to just carry up a tray to the living room instead of making Malfoy climb up and down the stairs, Harry starts pulling down bowls and forks when he hears a hoarse yelp from Kreacher and turns to find him lifting the heavy pot off its hook, the fire now green with an incoming Floo call.

A moment later, Ron’s head pops in, his hair a complete mess and his face drawn. “Harry?” he calls out before he spots Harry hurrying over. “We found them. They’ve been taken in.”

“What?” Harry asks, throwing himself onto his knees and hunching forward, “Who?”

Ron’s mouth is a straight line as he meets Harry’s eyes. “Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy,” he says grimly. “They were holed up in an old, unregistered mansion in Valencia, shit loads of Pureblood warding around the place.”

Harry’s heart throws itself painfully against his ribcage. “But why were they taken into custody?” he demands at once, voice going shrill with shock. “Ron, I just asked you to get some feelers out there! Just ask around about them!”

“Yes, well, they happened to have violated the terms of their acquittal,” Ron says grimly. “They weren’t supposed to leave the country for at least a decade, Harry.”

“The DMLE didn’t even know they’d left the country until I told you about this,” Harry hisses through clenched teeth. “This isn’t even a chargeable offence as of now; not until they’ve been found guilty of performing actual Dark Magic of some sort in the last ten years.”

“They were—” Ron abruptly breaks off and sighs, looking harassed. “It was that Paulson guy – the rookie I’m training.” He looks guilty now under the frantic glare Harry shoots him. “Look, I told him to keep it confidential but the kid studied their files and when he realised they’re out of the country, he went and brought them into custody the moment he sniffed them out.”

“For fuck’s sake, tell me this hasn’t got out,” Harry leans in and snarls. “D’you even know what might happen if he were to find out his parents were immediately taken in the moment they were found?”

“Can you unknot your fucking knickers, mate?” Ron says exasperatedly. “It hasn’t got out and I’ve got them in a warded holding cell here. Nobody knows but Paulson and me, and I’ll release them after I’ve had their wands scanned.” He looks slightly disappointed as he stares at Harry. “Didn’t think you’d stick up for Lucius Malfoy, to be frank,” he says lowly.

Harry runs a frantic hand through his still wet hair, rolling his eyes. “I don’t give a flying fuck about the bastard, and you know it,” he says flatly. “I can’t risk putting Draco through any kind of stress at this point. Just make sure they get back to that Manor of theirs by tonight and get them to lower the wards. I’ll drop in tomorrow and ask them to owl their fucking son. Draco doesn’t have to know about any of this.”

“You’d better hope I don’t find traces of even a simple Class Two hex on either of their wands, Harry,” Ron says seriously. “A single wisp of Dark Magic is all I need to have them Portkey’ed to Azkaban tonight. And Merlin knows Lucius Malfoy would deserve it.”

There’s a dull, grating sound of wood on flagstones behind Harry and when he whips around, Malfoy is standing there, clutching hard at a chair he’s dragged out for support, grey eyes huge and filled with horrified fury, face whiter than parchment.

Ron mutters a contrite shit under his breath before disappearing with a pop and Harry feels like he’s been sealed to the floor which feels like a sheet of ice beneath him.

“Malf—” he starts, voice barely audible, before falling silent as Malfoy raises one pale, long-fingered hand in an imperious gesture for silence.

“You’re having my parents sent to Azkaban?” he asks softly, his tone so frighteningly frigid that the ball of dread slowly unravelling inside Harry’s stomach is suddenly exploding all at once, his blood turning cold in his veins.

“No!” Harry almost shouts, scrambling to his feet and taking a step towards him, stopping dead when Malfoy’s eyes flash warningly. “Malfoy, you’re misunderst—”

“I understand that you don’t give a flying fuck about my father,” Malfoy says, voice trembling with rage and raw loathing as he seethes at Harry. “I understand that you believe he deserves Azkaban.”

“I did not say that,” Harry says at once, short of breath for some reason, his head filled with deafeningly jangling of warning bells. “Malfoy, I knew you were worried about them and so I asked Ron to keep an ear out for their whereabouts.”

And to arrest them if he found them?” Malfoy’s scream fractures the brittle air in the enclosed, stone kitchen, no trace of warmth in the space despite the fire.

Harry shivers lightly. “No, I—Malfoy, please—”

Malfoy seems slightly insane as he looks around wildly before grabbing an empty mug off the table and flinging at Harry with a burst of shocking strength. “I can’t believe I ever trusted you!” he bellows as Harry ducks and the mug explodes against the hearth.

“Malfoy, they haven’t been arrested!” Harry says loudly, taking another step towards him. But Malfoy is spinning on his heel, his hair flying around him, and almost running for the stairs, the shine of tears on his cheeks unmistakable in the bright orange flare of the fire. “MALFOY!” Harry immediately lurches forward.

And then Malfoy is turning and drawing his wand in the same move, turning around while slashing it through viciously the air, sending Harry flying back and crashing against the wall behind, his head swimming from how hard it hits the wall, his glasses flung off from the force of his landing. He slumps down, eyes crossing momentarily, before he shakes the shock off vigorously, clutching the back of his head with one hand and desperately feeling around the floor for his specs. Kreacher turns up out of nowhere and hurriedly presses Harry’s glasses into his scrabbling hands.

“Master Draco is being leaving!” he yells into Harry’s face, his jarring bullfrog croak serving to further jerk Harry out of his daze.

“What do you mean leaving?” Harry stares at him for a moment before jumping to his feet, swaying for a second as his head spins.

“He is being leaving by the living room Floo,” Kreacher tells him, jabbing a skeletal arm at the ceiling. “He is being gone.”

~*~

The old building is even grottier and more derelict that Harry remembers it being and he realises in hindsight that he ought to have checked this place first thing, three hours ago. Ignoring the grizzly old witch on the ground floor, sitting at her window and staring curiously at him, Harry flings open the rickety front door, nearly pulling it right off the single hinge it’s hanging dismally from, and hurtles up the stairs.

The door to Malfoy’s old flat is ajar as Harry reaches it, the single light bulb in there about to die out by the way the weak yellow light flickers incessantly. It’s freezing inside and when Harry pushes in and glances around he sees that the window’s been broken, the glass glinting in jagged, dangerous looking shards. The floorboards are filthy and there’s a vile, putrid stench that gets stronger with every step he takes into the tiny room.

Malfoy is sitting on the dirty, stained mattress, hunched over hugging himself, his hair curtaining his dipped head. He’s looking right at Harry as he walks in, his face dripping with tears, eyes swollen and bloodshot, and his nose pink and blocked by the sound of his thick sniffles. He looks absolutely devastated, and the relief Harry feels upon seeing him is quickly overpowered by the heart-wrenching guilt and despair that fill him.

“You’re here,” Harry whispers stupidly, his throat constricting, his eyes beginning to ache just from looking at Malfoy, so broken and beautiful. “I was so fucking wor— Malfoy, are you okay?”

Malfoy just continues staring at him, his expression oddly empty. A huge shudder wracks him and he hunches over some more, his arms tightening around himself. Harry is in front of him in an instant, crouching onto his haunches and cupping Malfoy’s damp face, pressing fervent kisses across it and fully expecting to be shoved away any second. But Malfoy just remains still and unmoving, and when Harry pulls back and stares desperately into his eyes, he just blinks slowly, sniffling.

“I was so worried,” Harry says hoarsely, his own lip starting to tremble now. “Malfoy, please, I’m so sorry about—I’m really sorry.” Malfoy’s eyes instantly brim over again but his blank stare is suddenly sharpening into a glare again. “They’ve been released,” Harry blurts at once, pulling Malfoy closer and wiping his face with the heel of one hand. “Ron just sent me a Patronus half an hour ago. They’ve been released and escorted to Malfoy Manor. No new charges have been pressed.”

“Too bad, eh?” Malfoy rasps, his voice trembling. “I bet you’d have loved for them to have been escorted to Azkaban instead.”

“That’s not true and you know it,” Harry says at once, firm but soft. “I spoke in favour at your trials—”

“Not at my father’s, you didn’t,” Malfoy spits at once, baring his teeth for a moment but still somehow managing to look unbearably lovely.

“Your father is a war criminal,” Harry retorts calmly, tightening his hold on Malfoy when his lips pull back in a snarl. “But I knew that speaking in favour of you and your mother would be enough to clear his name too, simply by association.” Harry cups his face again and holds it tightly, staring right into his eyes. “I’ve fought your father; I’ve seen him actively engaged in service to Voldemort. But I would still not let him be thrown into Azkaban; not now. Not when—” he breaks off when Malfoy’s eyes widen slightly, lips parting and breath catching. He stares at Harry for a long moment, chest heaving in quick pants as his gaze, hopeful and expectant, flicks between Harry’s eyes.

Harry wants to do it, to bring life to what he’s been feeling for way too long now by saying the words out loud; and it should’ve been easy to do it with the way Malfoy’s looking at him, all traces of anger and hatred replaced by the sort of softness Harry only ever saw in his eyes when they were being intimate.

The words are right there, on the very tip of his tongue, but that snide voice inside his head that was strongest during the full moon is suddenly piping up, derisively informing him that it would be the biggest mistake of his life to bare himself to Malfoy now, at a point when he’s most likely to rip Harry’s heart apart and gleefully hand its corpse back to him, and it’s only too easy for Harry to succumb to that niggle of fear and doubt.

“They’re not going to Azkaban,” Harry says without looking at him, throat scratchy and dry. “Not your father and most definitely not your mother. Come on.” He stands up and holds out his hand. “Let’s go home.”

When Malfoy doesn’t move at all, Harry drags his gaze back to him to find Malfoy staring up at him, chagrined and resigned, almost as though he hates himself for having laid his hopes on Harry.

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” he murmurs without rancour, seeming to suddenly wilt with exhaustion as he averts his gaze. “I want to go to the Manor.”

“I’ll take you,” Harry says at once, nodding when Malfoy looks back up at him. “I’m taking you there, but not now. You’re cold and tired and need to eat something and take a warm bath. You need rest; you need to sleep. Come home now. I’ll take you to your parents tomorrow after breakfast.”

Malfoy is quiet for a very long time, still ignoring Harry’s proffered hand. Then, “I suppose I’ll need the time to pack my things,” he says softly, his expression hardening.

Harry feels like his insides are about to fall through the dirty floor.

“What?” he asks, and his voice is as empty as his mind suddenly is.

Malfoy, his face devoid of any emotion or expression now, stands, ignoring Harry’s hand. “Let’s go,” he says shortly, wiping his face on his sleeve and stepping around Harry, making for the door with his usual easy grace, one hand on his swollen stomach, and the other clenched into a tight fist at his side as he walks away from Harry without looking back.

.xv.

Harry keeps his word and leads Malfoy to the Floo after breakfast the next morning to take him to see his parents.

Malfoy in turn keeps his word and brings his fully packed and shrunken trunk with him, barely looking at Harry, having hardly spoken a word to him since the previous night. He’s dressed in neat, voluminous robes in a sombre grey and wears his hair in a severe knot at his nape, his face worn and tired, mouth tightly pressed into a thin line.

They hadn’t slept in the same bed last night – a habit they’d seamlessly fallen into since the night Harry had knotted him. And now Harry cannot bear to think that it might’ve been the last night they’d ever spend under the same roof, not to mention his last chance to have held Malfoy as they slept.

They Floo out into a formal parlour in Malfoy Manor, and beside Harry, Malfoy exhales with a hard shudder as he looks around, his chin trembling again before he purses his lips and thrusts his nose high. The air, despite the three open French windows, smells stale and musty, and it’s only after a few seconds that Harry notices the small, floppy-eared house-elf vigorously dusting a spindly-legged table upon which a large, painted, porcelain vase tips around precariously.

“They’ve taken the wards down,” Malfoy whispers shakily under his breath, appearing almost dizzy with relief. “Tilly,” he raises his voice a bit and addresses the house-elf.

The little creature jumps in place before turning, sending the vase crashing to the floor. It squeaks in horror, one hand clamping over its mouth before hurriedly snapping its fingers and restoring the repaired vase onto the table, tugging its ears a few times as it turns anxiously to Malfoy.

“Is being the young Master,” it says, shrill and breathless. “Master and Mistress being arrived yesterday,” it adds, wringing its hands.

“I’m aware,” Malfoy says stiffly. “Announce my arrival to them, please, and tell them I’ll meet with them in here. You’ll serve tea for four.”

The elf bows low and vanishes with a crack.

“It accepted orders from you,” Harry says softly. “That’s a good thing, right?” He reaches for Malfoy’s hand.

Pulling out of reach, Malfoy strides forward, critically eyeing the long sofa upholstered in silver and blue before neatly sitting down, clasping his hands in his lap and studiously ignoring Harry as he pulls out his shrunken trunk and places it out of the way next to the sofa before tapping it with his wand to expand it back to full size.

The sight of that trunk, along with Malfoy’s aloofness, is enough to have Harry’s heart sinking lower than where it’s been since the previous night. He just stands there and stares longingly at Malfoy, too many thoughts buzzing around his head for him to be able to focus on one and do something to rectify this situation.

“If you’re staying, sit,” Malfoy orders tonelessly. “Otherwise, you can leave. I’ll see you on Wednesday at Mungo’s.”

“I’m staying,” Harry says at once, walking over and sitting next to him, deliberately close enough that their sides are pressed together lightly. Malfoy slants him a long, cool look but remains silent and in place. “Please don’t do this,” Harry whispers, looking straight ahead; through the floor length windows, he can see the expansive grounds outside, gleaming wetly from the weak drizzle, the weather cold and miserable, and oddly apt for the way Harry’s feeling.

“Don’t do what?”

“Don’t leave Grimmauld to come live here.”

“This is my home,” Malfoy says, still using that same flat voice. “These are my parents. This is where I belong. Why would I live with you anymore?”

The challenge in Malfoy’s tone is unmistakable and Harry wonders if this is his last chance to salvage things.

But then the heavy double doors are swinging open and Lucius Malfoy is sweeping in, black robes billowing around him, dull, grey hair pulled into a limp ponytail, his expression one of trained inscrutability, although his eyebrows do nearly disappear into his hairline when he notices Harry sitting there. His wife is right behind him, although she does not appear as carefully put together as Lucius. Her eyes are already wet, a small tuft of hair escaping her neat French twist, and she looks around a little wildly as she hurries in.

“Draco!” Her voice carries a definite quaver to it and when Harry quickly steals a glance, he notices Malfoy’s face crumpling as he jumps to his feet and approaches Narcissa who’s holding her arms out for him. “Darling, I’ve missed you.” Narcissa’s sobbed whisper carries easily and Harry rises to his feet slowly, gaze locked with Lucius’.

“I’ve missed you too, Mother,” Malfoy murmurs and Lucius shifts his gaze to watch his wife and son, expression still bland. As Harry watches, Draco steps away rather abruptly, Narcissa looking a bit bewildered as she stares around Draco’s midriff, carefully concealed behind his robes.

“You look well, son,” Lucius finally drawls. “Would you care to explain why I have this specimen in my parlour?” he enquires, jerking his chin towards Harry without looking at him.

“I think Draco has a few questions he’d like answered first,” Harry says softly, offering Narcissa a small, tight-lipped smile when she looks at him. She smiles back, delicately wiping her eyes with one knuckle. “Good morning, Mrs. Malfoy.”

“Hello, Harry,” she replies graciously. “I hope you’re well?”

“I am.”

“Off our suppressant, are we, boy?” Lucius remarks suddenly, steely eyes carefully perusing Draco’s inordinate beauty, his glowing skin and bright hair.

“I have some news,” Malfoy answers calmly, still standing very close to his mother, her hand curled around his arm. “Let’s sit down, Mother?”

To Harry’s pleasant surprise, Malfoy makes his way back to sit down beside him once more. Narcissa sits in the sofa chair adjacent to Malfoy, reaching out to cup his knee at once, and Lucius sits down on the sofa opposite Harry and Malfoy, tossing one leg over the other and regarding them with a hard, expressionless sort of curiosity.

“When did you both leave?” Malfoy demands right away, his chin trembling for a beat before he firms it. “Why did you both leave? Where did you both go?”

“We owe you no explanation, Draco,” Lucius answers coolly. “Not after you’ve gone and lived in sin with that charva you claimed you were in love with.”

“Lucius.” Narcissa turns to him with a rather imploring look. “We’re seeing our only son after nearly seven years. Surely you can be kinder?”

“Oh, I can,” Lucius replies, not needing to continue to make it clear that he won’t.

Harry’s knuckles crack from how hard he clenches his fists.

“It was foolish of you to leave, Lucius,” Harry says, unable to keep the sneer out of his voice. “You’re lucky you weren’t immediately thrown into Azkaban upon being found violating the terms of your acquittal.”

Lucius’ nostrils flare, his jaw working frantically as he glares in open dislike at Harry. Next to him, Malfoy shifts nervously in place but doesn’t comment.

“Seeing as you’re no longer officially employed with the DMLE, Potter,” Lucius spits, “I suggest you keep your—”

“Lucius, please,” Narcissa interrupts sharply. “We knew all along that there would be trouble for us if we were found to be living in the continent.”

“Why did you leave?” Malfoy blurts out, leaning in helplessly towards his mother, his voice cracking. “Mother, why did you just—?” he breaks off suddenly on a dry sob, biting his lip and staring at the floor. Narcissa claps his hand with both of her own, her eyes filling again.

“It was so hard for us here, Draco,” she whispers brokenly. “For your father, especially. We couldn’t leave the Manor without a wand being pointed at us, a hex being flung our way. And with you gone, it just seemed so dismal, living all by ourselves in this house.”

“I owled you,” Malfoy says, swallowing desperately. “I owled you dozens of times after I broke up with—” This time when he breaks off, Malfoy stares fixedly at his own feet, his cheeks slowly colouring. Across from them, Lucius’ mouth curls into a small smirk.

“So,” he says loudly, chest puffing out, smugness emanating off of him in waves. “You tried to contact us after that beggar you fooled about with kicked you out.”

I left him,” Malfoy replies sharply, and Harry, trembling with barely suppressed rage, draws a deep breath, Malfoy’s harsh tone somehow comforting in the moment in the fact of Lucius’ arrogant superiority. “But that doesn’t even matter because you both still left the country without even informing me first,” he continues, his tears this time clearly those of resentment. “I may have gone against your wishes when I moved in with Richard but I’m still your son. You warded me out of the Manor!” He’s very loud by now, his hurt and anger blindingly apparent in the way he’s leaning forward and almost screaming, face red and eyes burning.

Lucius is no longer smiling, instead looking off somewhere to one side; Narcissa is sobbing quietly into one hand. Malfoy is panting softly and Harry gives into the urge to reach over and firmly clasp his hand.

Without looking at him, Malfoy laces their fingers together and squeezes, and Harry’s exhale of shocked delight is a sharp puff of air.

Lucius, his eyes fixed on their joined hands, slowly leans forward. “Draco.” His voice is a menacing hiss. “Why is Potter here?”

“I’ve been living with him,” Malfoy answers brashly, sticking his chin up when Lucius’ eyes bulge, sighing after a moment and turning to Narcissa. “Mother, don’t. Don’t cry,” he murmurs gently, patting her knee until she wipes her face and looks up, her face blotchy and eyes red.

“Are you lovers?” Lucius asks incredulously.

Malfoy flushes but glares back defiantly at his father. “What we are doesn’t matter,” he says crisply, “What matters is that Harry found me when I wasn’t quite doing very well for myself and very kindly took me in.” There’s a single beat before, “He saved me.”

“What do you mean?” Narcissa looks absolutely horrified. “What do you mean by that? Where did you go after you left that boy? Draco, we thought you were working – earning?”

“I lost that job,” Malfoy tells her very blandly. “I had a lot of trouble finding another. And since I was warded out of the family property, I was informed I had no claim to the family vaults either,” he continues, glaring daggers at his father.

“You disgraced yourself, this family’s reputation, the moment you walked out of this house to live with that foul cretin whose charms you fell for!” Lucius rages in one breath, spittle flying, eyes popping alarmingly.

“Oh, I think you ruined your family’s reputation plenty when you pledged your services to a genocidal madman, Lucius.” Harry speaks clearly and very calmly; all his restless anger at Lucius’ apparent disregard towards his son after all these years is slowly being replaced by a serene yet unwavering need to simply knock Lucius Malfoy off his pedestal.

Lucius is maroon in the face now, one eye twitching furiously, mouth curled into an ugly grimace as he tries to come up with a retort. Malfoy is staring rather vapidly at Harry, and Narcissa sniffles before sighing loudly.

“Lucius, we were both upset when Draco left,” she says with a small frown, “but warding him out of his own home was cruel and you know it. I begged you not to; I pleaded with you to let me inform him of our plans to leave.” Her face is set in a hard mask, bloodshot eyes flinty as she regards her husband. “Draco was just a boy when he left but we let him down as his parents doing what we did. This is the last of your ill-tempered goading that Draco or I will be tolerating. He will be welcome in this house again, no further questions asked.”

Lucius doesn’t reply at once, staring at his wife in wounded silence for a few beats. “I want to know why he’s here,” he finally says slowly, pointing at Harry as though it needs clarifying that he’s talking about him, “or I want him out of this house.”

“He’s here with me,” Malfoy says softly, his hand still in Harry’s. “I told you I have news.”

“Is it that the hero is now a werewolf?” Lucius smirks and Harry rolls his eyes in genuine exasperation, “Because we already know that, Draco. News travels across the continent too.”

“I’m incredibly flattered that you made sure to stay up-to-date from Spain, Lucius,” Harry drawls with bored sigh.

Malfoy is rigid and palpably incensed, and Narcissa looks utterly aghast. “That’s not what we’re here to talk about, Father,” Malfoy’s voice is low and full of warning, “and it is not a topic open for discussion either.”

Lucius scoffs loudly. “Very well, very well,” he sighs, flapping a hand carelessly. “Go on then, son, do share. Does this news somehow explain why you’re off your suppressant?” he mocks with a nasty little smile.

“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Malfoy shoots back airily with a mirthless smile of his own. “You see, Father, I’m—”

For one heart-stopping instant, Harry braces himself for Malfoy to simply blurt it out. They hadn’t spoken about this – about telling Malfoy’s parents about them, about the baby – what with the sudden turn of events since Ron’s Floo call and Malfoy’s complete refusal to talk afterwards. Harry has no idea suddenly of how Malfoy intends to do this, and while he has nothing to fear, not really, he finds himself holding his breath as he looks from Lucius’ hyper-suspicious glare to Narcissa’s keen, slightly confused expression.

“Darling?” she says softly, and Malfoy jerks, wiping sweat off his upper-lip and darting Harry a quick, unreadable look. “What is it? Is something wrong?” She suddenly looks alarmed. “Are you unwell? Is that what you meant when you said Harry saved you?”

Malfoy sighs and lets Narcissa take his hand again. “I’m quite well, Mother,” he assures her, patting her hand once. “I’m—You see, a few months ago...” He trails off and clears his throat again, slowly going pink in the face once more. Lucius is very still where he sits, barely blinking as he stares at Draco. “I met Harry in a club one evening when I’d skipped my—”

“Draco is pregnant,” Harry says plainly, shocking himself even as he speaks. Malfoy’s neck clicks with how fast he turns to glare at him with his teeth bared and his eyes bugging out much like his father’s had a minute ago.

Narcissa is staring at Malfoy’s midriff again, her eyes very round and her mouth hanging open, realisation dawning across her face, and Lucius is suddenly rising to his feet, his face chalk-white, his long form trembling with shock and fury.

“What is wrong with you?” Malfoy hisses at Harry with a wrathful glower, almost crushing his fingers.

“Draco?” Narcissa whispers, one hand pressed to her chest, her breathing laboured.

“Do not,” Lucius begins slowly in a low rumble, “tell me that the child is his.” He takes a step forward and Harry springs to his feet, wand in hand. Malfoy yelps in shock and struggles to his feet at once, grabbing Harry’s arm in a painfully tight grip and attempting to drag him back down.

“You will not touch him,” Harry rumbles warningly, looking straight at Lucius as the air around the room starts to crackle with magic. “You will not touch Draco.”

“Darling?” Narcissa sounds decidedly hysterical now. “Is it true?”

“I think you know it is, Mother,” Malfoy sighs, resignedly flopping back onto the sofa and dragging a hand through his hair. “Father, sit down and we’ll explain—”

“I do not need an explanation!” Lucius roars suddenly. “I need to know if this child is his!”

Harry opens his mouth but Malfoy beats him to it. “Yes, it is!” he says forcefully, with not a trace of shame or hesitation, his hand coming to rest on his stomach for the first time since they’d arrived, his robes folding in around the round bump. Narcissa lets out a small gasp, her hands flying up to cover her mouth and Lucius looks absolutely stupefied as he stares.

The silence stretches on and on, turning strained and unbelievably tense. When the same house-elf from earlier pops in with a crack, bearing a large tray, elaborately laid with tea and cake, all four of them — Harry included — flinch. The elf squeaks but when none of them move or say a word, scuttles forward and sets the tray down on the coffee table. Then, as though thinking better of serving tea, it backs away and disappears with another resounding crack.

Lucius staggers back and collapses onto the sofa once again, looking slightly green in the face. Narcissa has tears silently coursing down her face, her eyes shining with what Harry thinks may be happiness as she stares at Malfoy’s stomach. Malfoy himself is just sitting there with his head resting on the back of the sofa, looking tired and irritable more than anything and when Harry sits back down, Malfoy promptly slants him a dark scowl.

“When—when are you due?” Narcissa suddenly asks, hiccupping over a small sob.

Malfoy straightens up, smiling softly at her and taking the hand she reaches out with. “Next month,” he says quietly.

“Is it why you had to go off your suppressant?” she asks in a hushed voice, leaning forward to cup Malfoy’s face, “Because you’re with child? You’re so beautiful, my darling. I’d forgotten just how lovely you are. My beautiful boy—”

“Mother, kindly stop,” Malfoy mumbles, blushing slightly but letting her drag his head in so she can kiss his cheek.

“It means he wasn’t on the suppressant when he dallied with Potter,” Lucius mutters distastefully, one hand clutching the armrest very tightly. “Were you that desperate to redeem yourself Draco? Is that what it was? Is that why you put yourself in danger by going off your suppressant? To seduce Potter?” he spits, face scrunched up in revulsion.

“For Merlin’s sake, Father,” Malfoy starts exasperatedly.

“Pardon me a moment,” Harry cuts in smoothly, finding Malfoy’s hand once more and squeezing, “but tell me, Lucius. Why is the idea of being associated with me so horribly objectionable in your eyes?” he asks with an air of genuine interest. “Do you, perchance, think that the Malfoy name will be sullied when word gets out that your grandchild is part Potter?” And then without a trace of modestly, Harry adds, “Have you forgotten who I am?”

There’s a small flurry of movement from Malfoy next to him but Harry never takes his eyes off Lucius who’s looking as though he might just pass out from anger. His lips are pressed together in a white line and the thin line of his wrinkled jowl is quivering as he glares scorching hot draggers at Harry.

“Always did know you were a hubristic wretch, Potter,” Lucius seethes, “Just like your father, from what I remember of that Mudblood-loving swine.”

Harry smiles at him, fiddling pointedly with his wand. “I’ll take that as a wonderful compliment, old man,” he says, tipping his head courteously. When he looks around, Malfoy is watching him intently, the reluctant amusement in his eyes unmistakable, his pink mouth soft and twitching as he holds back a smile.

“Are you happy, Draco?” Narcissa asks anxiously, looking between the two of them as they break free of the long look exchanged. “I know what you boys were like in school. Are you both happy with each other?”

“An interesting question you bring up, my dear.” Lucius leans back once more, fingers steepled over his chest, a strange glint of triumph in his eyes. At Narcissa’s enquiring look, he turns to her with an overtly patient sigh. “Cissa, don’t you see? Draco is here because he wishes to move back in. He’s obviously not interested in living with Potter a second longer than strictly necessary.” He gestures with one thin hand to Malfoy’s trunk and Harry feels his stomach twist sharply. “Potter is here to drop him off, Cissa. He’s no longer responsible for Draco now that we’re back. Isn’t that right, son?”

Harry’s hand is shaking around his wand, his other hand clammy where he’s gripping Malfoy’s hand – Malfoy, who suddenly looks absolutely shattered. Harry stares at him, throat dry and chest aching, until those grey eyes, unshuttered and slightly desperate, finally meet his.

“Draco?” Narcissa’s voice is a tremulous, her tone requesting immediate answers.

Harry can feel the derisive satisfaction oozing out of Lucius, can sense Narcissa’s disappointment. He can feel Malfoy trembling like a leaf beside him, can hear the way his breathing is choppy and strained as he stares at Harry with equal measures of tentative yearning and accusatory hopelessness.

“Draco is not moving back in here.” Harry’s voice sounds loud and deep in the silence that had fallen; there’s a flicker of disbelief in Malfoy’s eyes and Harry suddenly can’t go on any longer without telling literally anybody who would listen about how he feels. “Draco is coming back with me. He’s coming home with me.” He never looks away from Malfoy as he says it. “Why would the man I love stay anywhere else?”

Malfoy makes a muted, choking sound, his fingers grinding Harry’s knuckles together as he squeezes, his whole face and neck going brilliantly pink as he gapes at Harry, mouthing soundlessly. Harry, despite their audience and the fact that he’d just bared his heart in front of them, feels more self-assured and resilient than he thought one might in a moment like this.

And then with a gulp that sounds like he’s un-sticking his throat, Malfoy manages to speak. “This is the moment you pick to say it?” he asks weakly and an enormous balloon of warm, undiluted happiness bursts inside Harry’s chest, flooding him with such intense joy that he’s leaned in and kissed Malfoy square on the mouth before he can reconsider the sudden raging need to, and when he feels Malfoy lean into it after a soft squeak of mortification, he cups his cheek and kisses him harder.

When he pulls away, he wastes no time in throwing Lucius the biggest, most smug grin he can muster, pointedly kissing Malfoy’s hand while doing so. Narcissa is smiling wryly, shaking her head as she wipes a fresh tear. Malfoy is red in the face, biting his lip over an enormous smile, and looks like he wants to murder Harry before snogging him some more.

“I assume there’s to be a wedding, then?” Lucius grits out icily. “Surely there’s no honour to the Potter name if your first child is a bastard, Potter?”

“I don’t give a fuck, to be honest,” Harry says flatly. Narcissa makes a soft sound of disapproval and Harry’s cheeks warm slightly. “Er. Sorry...” Malfoy is now grinning at him, shoulders shaking with mirth and Harry feels the exhilaration bubbling up inside him as well, biting down on inward-turned lips to stem his sudden laughter.

“There could be a wedding, sure,” he says with a shrug and when Malfoy snorts, he rolls his eyes. “I mean, I’m sure we’ll talk about it eventually, if we haven’t murdered each other by then. I’m afraid it might not be possible before this one is born, though,” he adds, grazing a knuckle gently over Malfoy’s stomach, his heart fluttering in time with the movements from within. “Maybe before the next one!” he says brightly, rearing back a bit at the sudden dangerous glower Malfoy instantly shoots him.

Deeming Harry suitably cowered, Malfoy turns back to his parents. “Potter and I have a lot to discuss and marriage is only one of those matters.” He quirks another smile at Harry before going on, “I think I’ll reconsider my decision to move in here for the time being. And to answer your earlier question, Mother,” he blushes slightly as he steadily meets his mother’s gaze, “I’m...happy.” He looks back at Harry with bright eyes and Harry’s heart swells to five times its size. “I think we both are.”

 

Epilogue

Draco turns just as Harry comes lumbering into the room, looking like he might burst into tears any second as he slumps facedown onto the bed with a sobbed groan.

“Harry,” Draco strides forward, clutching a bunch of socks in both hands. “Harry, listen. I don’t have a single matching pair of socks.”

From down the corridor, comes the sound of Lily’s shrill, furious screeching interspersed with long, throaty wails.

“She won’t get dressed,” Harry says, his voice muffled against the pillows. “She’s refusing to get dressed. I can’t do it, I just can’t.”

“Are you listening to me?” Draco hisses. “Why don’t I have any socks? What the fuck am I supposed to do without a pair of clean, matching socks?”

Harry garbles something into the bed and Draco turns around with a snarl of frustration, stopping dead as Scorpius comes sauntering into the room, crooked smile of self-satisfaction directed at Draco as he holds his little arms out and spins in place, green eyes shining with excitement, jet black hair in a horrid, hopeless pile on his head.

“I dressed myself,” he says proudly and Draco can only produce croaked sounds of horror for the next several seconds.

“What did you do?” he wheezes, reaching forward and grabbing a handful of his son’s ludicrous, neon purple and vomit green robes, “How did you change them? Harry!” he screeches, turning around and flinging a handful of socks at Harry’s head. “Did you leave your wand lying around again?”

“What.” Harry emerges from under the socks, spluttering as he takes in Scorpius’ robes and snorting with laughter. “How’d you manage that?” he giggles, standing up and walking over.

“Is this really funny to you?” Draco asks in a low, minatory growl. “We paid nine hundred galleons for those robes. They were black and silver. Change them back!” he yells. Harry winces, hurrying forward and, after a brief scuffle, extricates his wand out of Scorpius’ sleeve.

Outside, Lily’s crying grows deafening and Draco abandons the rest of his socks before heading to the nursery. Lily is lying facedown on the plushy, yellow carpet, sprawled out much like her other father was a few minutes ago, and is sobbing loudly, blond curls in a loose mess around her head. She has on a diaper, one frilly pink sock and not much else and her small body heaves with each guttural sob.

“What is it, Lily?” Draco asks softly, walking over and picking her up. She screeches hysterically at once, kicking at Draco’s chest and pounding her tiny fists into his throat as he walks over to the polished rocking chair by the window, Summoning the bottle of warm milk from the dresser as he sits down. “You’re hungry,” he tells her pointedly, stuffing the rubber nipple into her mouth and watching as she instantly begins sucking ravenously. “You wouldn’t be so miserable if you’d just eaten your breakfast.”

Eventually, Lily’s hiccups die down, her red little face softening as Draco wipes it carefully and tickles her belly, grinning as she squirms happily, green eyes just like Harry’s and Scorpius’ crinkling warmly. Harry walks in after a few minutes, his t-shirt still bearing signs of Lily’s breakfast, and looks oddly guilty at the sight of Draco sitting there holding the bottle to Lily’s mouth.

“Crisis averted,” he announces with a little grimace. “Ron just picked Scorp up – I fixed his robes by the way.” Draco just rolls his eyes with a reluctant huff of laughter. “Sorry,” Harry murmurs softly, picking up the tub of toys that’s been upended – likely by their raging daughter – and collecting its contents with a wave of his wand. “I know you were supposed to start getting ready forty minutes ago. I could take her if she’s calmed down a bit?”

“She’s two, it’ll be a few years before she calms down,” Draco replies blandly, setting aside the empty bottle and picking her up to hand over. “Let’s just get her dressed. Mother can do her hair when we get there. We have just enough time to get our robes on and get going, Merlin.”

“Somehow, I feel like nobody really expects us to be on time,” Harry grunts, grabbing Lily as she immediately tries to wriggle out of his arms with a giggle. “We haven’t slept in six years; I think we’ve earned the right to be tardy once in a while.” He wrestles Lily’s other sock and both shoes on as Draco deftly slides her delicate, floaty white and pink robes over her head.

“I don’t think they’re wrong in expecting the grooms to be on time for their own wedding, Potter,” Draco sighs, managing to smooth her robes down once before she struggles free and sets off at an unsteady scamper out the room. “We should not have got her white robes,” he mutters, staring after her. “Fifty galleons says she’s going to get cake on it – even before we’ve cut it.”

“That’s not a fair deal,” Harry laughs, suddenly grabbing him by the arm and dragging him closer. “We both know she’s going to face-plant into that cake the moment she sees it.”

“Is this what you had in mind when you asked me to marry you?” Draco asks snidely, scratching some dried oatmeal off Harry’s faded t-shirt. “This complete clusterfuck of a day?”

“I didn’t think this far,” he replies seriously, eyes twinkling. “I actually thought you’d say no,” he murmurs, brushing his lips down Draco’s cheek and nipping at his earlobe.

“Damn it,” Draco breathes, pushing his hands into Harry’s knotted mane, finding more oatmeal there, “I knew I should’ve refused.”

“Too late,” Harry says brightly, kissing him with a loud smack. “Chop chop, Malfoy; time to get hitched.”

Draco scowls. “Why am I suffering through this again?”

“Because you love me,” Harry answers at once.

Do I?” Draco smirks wickedly, “Are you completely sure about that?”

“You bet your perfect, Veela arse, I’m sure,” he growls, immediately grabbing said arse.

Draco shakes his head, his reluctant grin getting wider by the second. “Try not to do that at the altar, please?” he requests politely.

“I make no such promise,” Harry says stubbornly.

“Actually, there’s a whole bunch of promises we’re going to have to make today,” Draco says dryly.

Harry’s bright grin turns, if possible, even warmer as he stares at Draco. “Those I’ll gladly keep.”

~end~