Draco woke early, having been a light sleeper since the war. While his nightmares had decreased significantly since the final, cataclysmic battle, he still woke at the slightest sound — which could be a problem, as their cat didn’t seem to understand the meaning of quiet.
He scooped up the animal in question and left the bedroom, moving silently and shutting the door behind him.
“I told Harry we couldn’t take in every stray,” Draco whispered to the tabby cat in his arms. “But yet, here you are.”
Gingersnap just purred, looking up at Draco as if to say, “He took you in too.”
Draco glared halfheartedly and put her down on her climbing tree. The sun was starting to stream through the kitchen windows; it wasn’t quite seven, but the morning promised to be bright and chilly. Draco had planned to have a bit of a lie in, as even on Saturday it was rare for both he and Harry to have the day off, but it seemed that wasn’t going to happen.
Yawning, he decided to make breakfast and do something nice to surprise Harry. Since Draco was up, he may as well be productive.
Pancakes were Harry’s favourite, so Draco set about making them, grabbing the ingredients from the pantry and the fridge Harry insisted they had installed in Grimmauld Place. He hummed as he worked, mixing the batter and heating the pan with a flick of his wand. It had taken time, but Grimmauld was now a mix of Muggle and magic, the appliances — thanks to Hermione — able to interact with spells as well as by their switches. Kreacher had, initially, been difficult to convince, but with his now-beloved master Harry Potter and one of the last members of the Black family on the same team, the house elf had eventually come around to the changes.
Draco flipped the pancakes and smiled.
He loved the life they had built, loved who they had become, both separately and together. He loved the acceptance he received from Harry, the safety and comfort he found in their relationship. They were extremely different people, but somehow, it worked.
It may have been the sweet smell in the air, or it may have been Gingersnap sneaking back upstairs and meowing at the door, but it wasn’t long until Draco heard the telltale creaking of the stairs. Harry appeared in the doorway, his perpetually-messy hair even more of a disaster than usual, his glasses crooked on his nose. He was wearing an old pair of jogging bottoms, and as he walked into the kitchen he stretched, his loose shirt pulling up to expose the jut of his hip bones and the beginning of a thick trail of black hair leading down from his navel.
A sudden swooping sensation in Draco’s stomach accompanied Harry’s smile; it was like the first plummet of a Muggle rollercoaster — he would know; Harry had taken him on one for their fifth date. It felt like all the air had been carefully extracted from the room and Draco struggled to retain his composure with the sudden lack of oxygen.
Oblivious to Draco’s inner turmoil, Harry made his way over and wrapped an arm around Draco’s waist, a momentary weight as he pressed a chaste kiss to Draco’s cheek.
“Morning, love,” he said, voice still rough from sleep.
Gingersnap weaved between their legs.
“Good morning,” Draco replied, working to keep his voice steady.
Harry gave him an odd look but didn’t comment.
The feeling had been happening more and more often as of late, and — loath as he was to admit it — it scared Draco. He no longer liked unexpected changes; he liked being in control. He knew that was a result of the war, a result of having so very little control over his life during the Dark Lord’s second rising that he now clung to routines and timetables.
He knew where he stood with Harry. As their relationship had begun, they had open and frequent discussions about their emotions and about what they wanted. Draco had hated it at first, but it was quickly deemed necessary if they wanted the relationship to have a shot of working out.
There had been so much hurt between them, so many wounds from the war, at the beginning it seemed it would taken a miracle to stop the seemingly-inevitable catastrophe that would come and end the relationship. But somehow, they managed to work through it, one conversation at a time.
More than anything, he was scared that this feeling — this swooping, hot flash, heart-pounding feeling — would cause their relationship to change.
He was terse throughout breakfast, and he knew Harry could tell, but after having been together for over a year, Harry knew when to ask about a problem and when to give Draco a bit of space.
Instead, Harry filled the silence with stories of his latest cases; he had excelled in Auror training, and was now — along with Weasley — a Junior Auror. As the newbies, they were often sent on cases no one else wanted, or out to investigate “sightings” that turned out to be nothing. Still, every once in a while, his cases were exciting and dangerous, and after returning home in one piece, he would regale Draco with the tales.
With breakfast finished, Harry used a flick of his wand to clear the table. The dishes stacked themselves in the sink, soapy water already running over them.
“I’m headed up to take a shower.”
Draco nodded, distracted, as Harry went upstairs. A blur of orange followed as Gingersnap raced behind him. He stood, steadying himself against the counter.
It took only a moment of thought before he Apparated to Pansy’s flat, landing with a soft crack.
He had fifteen minutes before Harry would be back downstairs, and he intended to make the most of them.
Pansy turned and raised one elegant eyebrow, acting nonchalant, as if this was an everyday occurrence. To her credit, it wasn’t altogether unusual. Draco knew he had a flair for the dramatics — most third years don’t learn how to sew in order to make a Dementor costume — and over the course of their friendship, he had appeared in her flat at all times of the day (and night).
“What is it, love?” she asked, her voice slightly drawn out and she worked to apply her lipstick. Today, it was purple, staining her lips like a night of too much red wine.
Draco took a step and collapsed onto her bed.
“Is this a ‘I’m in love with Harry Potter’ level problem,” she smirked, “or a ‘the cat we adopted thought my Slytherin tie was a toy’ type of situation?”
“This is real, Pans.”
“Good, you admit those weren’t acceptable reasons to Apparate into my flat.”
Draco just rolled his eyes. She had helped him with both of those problems, albeit a bit grudgingly. It had been two in the morning, one of those times.
Still, Pansy waited. She, like Harry, knew when to ask and when to let him find the words. He heard the kettle whine in the kitchen, and she went to prepare tea, giving Draco a moment alone to formulate his question.
Returning, Pansy handed him a cup, the tea sweet and milky, just as he preferred. She sat back down and took a sip, her gaze expectant.
“How did you know you were attracted to Luna?”
Pansy blinked, clearly surprised, and gave Draco her full attention. There was a soft smile on her lips as she spoke about her girlfriend.
“Have you seen her? She’s incredibly kind, and beautiful, and doesn’t give a fuck what anyone thinks.” Pansy shrugged one shoulder. “How could I not be attracted to her?”
Picking at a loose thread on her duvet, Draco chose his next words carefully.
“How did you know you were sexually attracted to her?”
Pansy gave Draco a shrewd look, not fooled for a moment by his sudden interest in the more sordid details of her relationship.
“Are you telling me Slytherin’s favourite asexual is curious about sexual attraction?”
“Possibly,” Draco hedged.
“Darling,” Pansy breathed, moving to the bed to sit next to him. “Are you okay?”
She was there when he first realised he was asexual, way back at Hogwarts. Sexuality was not spoken about in pure-blood families. It was not discussed, and for all intents and purposes, anything beyond cishet didn’t exist. No one spoke openly of being queer in Slytherin, though there were always rumours. Draco had overhead a couple of Hufflepuffs talking about labels and identities and queer politics, and had hid behind a dusty bookshelf in the library for over an hour piecing together what he could from their furtive whispers.
He had returned to the common room, shaking with nerves and carrying a new label for himself: Asexual. Pansy and Blaise had been by his side and they returned to the library, poring over the one, frayed book the Hogwarts library had on sexuality. They couldn’t check it out, too scared of anyone — even Madam Pince — knowing what they were up to.
It was before the war, before the Vanishing Cabinet, it was just Draco and his friends realising who they were.
There were two lines printed about asexuality, and Draco clung to them. Reading it felt like his first burst of accidental magic, or the Sorting Hat calling out Slytherin. It felt like coming home.
Now, Draco reached out and grasped Pansy’s hand, its warmth provided him the same level of comfort as the old library book or the black and green bed curtains from their dormitory. Pansy had always been there for him: it was why he came to her with this.
“I,” Draco paused. “Well, I don’t know. Harry came downstairs in joggers today, Pansy. Joggers! And I just felt all,” he squirmed on the bed. “All, you know, hot and bothered and I wanted more, in that moment. More than what we’ve been doing.”
She laughed at his phrasing. “Hot and bothered? Merlin, are you still reading those bad romance novels we used to filch from the Hufflepuffs?”
He couldn’t quite help but find humour in the situation, and laughed with her. “Remember how Blaise used to steal them from us? Pretended he hated when we went on and on about them, but he secretly loved the whole series.”
“He’s always been too stoic for his own good,” Pansy said, shooting Draco a sad smile.
She and Blaise had dated briefly, after the war, though nothing good had come from it. Broken hearts all around, but with time, the three of them were once again close as could be, thick as thieves and willing to do anything to protect the others.
Draco squeezed her hand before letting go.
“Back to you. What’s the problem?” Draco didn’t have to look at her to know she was rolling her eyes. “Identities are fluid, they can change. Look, Luna’s the expert, she knows a whole lot more about this all than I do. But she mentioned the term ‘demi’; I think you should look into it.”
Demi. Draco filed it away to research later. “Pansy, what if he doesn’t like me anymore?”
Heedless of the warm cup of tea still balanced precariously on Draco’s lap, she shoved him. Forcefully.
“What was that for?” Draco snapped. “I’m suffering! If I wanted to be shoved into sense, I’d have gone to Greg.”
“Draco. Listen to me, very carefully. Harry is crazy about you. He has been since you were brought in to consult on that illegal potions smuggling case, or whatever it was, back when he was just a trainee.” Her gaze became sad, for a moment. “Maybe even longer ago than that, but you were both too preoccupied —” Draco let out a snort “— at Hogwarts for a relationship to stand a chance. You could do just about anything and his feelings for you wouldn’t change.”
“But what if I tell him I want — potentially want — more, then change my mind.” He slumped back into the pile of pillows on Pansy’s bed. “I don’t want to get his hopes up.”
Pansy shook her head and gave him a sharp look. Draco’s not sure when she — when any of them, really — became so grown-up, but she looked so capable, even sitting with her makeup half finished and her black bob slightly mused. They’d been friends for as long as he could remember, brought together at pure-blood parties long before they were sorted into Slytherin at Hogwarts.
He held out his hand, and she reached for it, once again interlocking their fingers.
“Love, you just need to talk to him. Tell him what you’re potentially interested in. Think about it. Talk some more. Harry’s never pushed you past where you’re comfortable, unless you haven’t told me something.”
“No, he would never —”
“Then why would that change now? Tell him what you’re okay with, and he’ll listen. You’re not ‘getting his hopes up’; that makes it sound like he’s missing out on something now.”
“I’m just,” Draco paused, hating the weakness in his voice as he got choked up. “I’m always so scared that he’s going to get bored — get bored of me — and leave.”
Pansy pulled him by the hand, until he was resting in her arms.
“No one, least of all Harry Potter, will ever get bored of you. He knows you Draco, and he loves you. That won’t change.”
Draco hummed, contemplating her words.
“And now that you’ve made me —” Pansy pulled out her wand to cast a Tempus “— extremely late, I really must be going. Do see yourself out, once you’ve stopped being so mauldin.”
She leaned down to kiss his cheek before casting a spell, her hair and makeup suddenly impeccable. She was the youngest section editor The Daily Prophet had ever seen, having replaced Rita Skeeter when the old crow finally retired. Draco was inordinately proud of her.
He knew he should be getting back to Grimmauld Place — he had definitely been gone for more than fifteen minutes — but no stag Patronus had shown up yet, so Harry couldn’t be too worried. Draco busied himself with straightening up Pansy’s flat, flattening the wrinkles from the duvet he was sitting on and bringing their empty tea cups into the kitchen.
The room showed signs of Luna, though they weren’t living together as of yet. Radish-print tea towels were sitting on the counter and a windchime made of broken sea glass hung in the bay window. If anyone had told Draco back at Hogwarts that he would have a soft spot for radishes because they reminded him of Luna, he probably would have cursed them.
Funny how things had changed.
He took a final look around, revelling in how comfortable he felt there, before Apparating home.
The next few weeks were uncomfortable, to say the least. Draco felt overwhelmed, off-balance. He knew, logically, that he needed to talk to Harry, but it was terrifying. He could communicate quite effectively with scowling, angry looks and the occasional caustic comment, and when needed, he had the power to command a room. But typically, he avoided long conversations fraught with emotion, especially when he wasn’t yet clear on what he was feeling or how to verbalise it.
Situations like the one he was currently in. He didn’t know what he wanted, only that he wanted something. Something more. So even after his initial conversation with Pansy — and several subsequent ones — Draco hadn’t brought his feelings up to Harry.
When he was young and first figuring out his identity, Draco thought that coming out would be relatively easy, a once-and-done situation.
But ‘coming out’ never seemed to end. He told Pansy and Blaise he was ace. He told them he was attracted to men. And that revelation seemed to take priority. It was easier to use the label ‘gay’ than to claim ‘ace.’ People understood gay. They knew what it meant, and even if it felt like using someone else’s wand when he identified with the term — even if it felt just on the wrong side of strange — Draco did.
When he was still at Hogwarts, he told Vince. Greg. Theo. Now, his parents knew he was in a relationship with Harry, though they had never talked about labels and identities.
Harry and the rest of the Golden Trio knew he was ace. It had been important for him to be honest with Harry from the start, and more than that, he didn’t want Harry to have to keep anything from his friends. It was enough that the Golden Boy and the Prince of Slytherin were trying to date; Draco didn’t want any secrets to come between them.
But now, he didn’t know how to be honest. Truthfully, he didn’t know what was happening well enough to explain it to himself. But knowing his identity was fluctuating, changing, or maybe he was just better learning his own mind — it was scary.
Draco knew he was being weird. He couldn’t help by shy away when Harry went to touch him, because even casual brushes of skin against skin left Draco feeling like the world was tilting.
He should have known Harry — a Gryffindor to the core — would grow tired of the growing tension and confront the issue.
Draco was already irritable; it had been a long day at the potions shop where he was apprenticing, and when Harry placed a hand on the small of his back, Draco flinched away. Violently.
“Okay,” Harry said, holding his hands up like a suspect. “I need you to talk to me.”
Draco nodded, not trusting himself to speak.
“Draco,” Harry said, his voice quiet. “I’m here. Whatever it is, I’m here for you, but something’s clearly bothering you. I don’t know if I did something, or if this is about you, but I need you to tell me.”
He nodded again, and moved to sit at the kitchen table.
Harry busied himself preparing the tea, the soft sounds of cupboards being opened helping to relax Draco somewhat.
“Okay,” Harry said, setting a cup of steaming hot tea in front of Draco a few minutes later. “What’s going on with you?”
“You didn’t do anything,” Draco said, needing Harry to know that. He took a deep breath. “ I just —”
The Floo flared, and the sound of Weasley’s voice interrupted.
“Harry? Harry, are you there?”
Harry stood, motioning at Draco to stay, before running to the Floo. “Yeah, Ron. I’m here.”
“Mate — where’s your galleon? We’ve been called in, you need to get here immediately.”
Harry summoned his Auror robes and the galleon, adapted from Hermione’s idea in fifth year, then paused. One step away from the entering the Floo, he hesitated, before rushing back to Draco and pulling him into a hug.
Draco pressed a chaste kiss to his cheek. “Go, Harry. They need you.”
Harry nodded, still unwilling to step into the flames.
“I’ll be here when you get back, I promise.”
That was all the reassurance necessary. Harry smiled, and disappeared into the green flames.
Draco returned to the table, sighing as he sat down, and drank his lukewarm tea. Three cups later, he was lost in thought, but the tapping of a Ministry owl against his window pulled him back to reality.
The note was short and to the point, Harry’s chicken-scratch even harder to read than it usually was.
Death Eater safehouse discovered. I’ll be gone a few days, at least. Please let Hermione know too — no time for more notes.
I love you.
He would never stop Harry, never ask him to leave the Aurors, but Draco couldn’t help the feeling of dread that filled him whenever Harry was called in to work. Even as a junior Auror, there were times like these wherein everyone was needed and everyone was placed in danger.
It was how he and Hermione had first bonded. She was — rightfully so — cautious about him initially, but she too knew the pain of watching her significant other put on the maroon Auror robes and go to fight yet another battle.
Getting out a handful of owl treats, Draco fed them to the bird before tying another missive to its leg. He told Hermione as much as he knew, which really, wasn’t much at all.
Feeling sentimental, and willing to indulge himself while Harry was out of town, Draco cleaned up from their interrupted afternoon tea and headed upstairs to their bedroom with Gingersnap weaving through his legs. He and Harry hadn't been dating for long before Draco had moved in — desperation to no longer live in the Manor had won out against his pride, and at the time, he was switching back and forth between Pansy and Blaise's less-than-comfortable couches. They had done a lot for him, and all three for each other, over the course of their friendship.
He had been living there for several months now, and it was still a comfort to have a home. Like in the Manor, he could walk up the stairs of Grimmauld in the dark, could hear a creak in the night and know if it was Harry stepping on the loose floorboard or if Gingersnap was up to trouble. Unlike the Manor, Grimmauld held no ill memories for him — there was no memory of the war here. Draco didn't walk into a room and remember seeing the blood, the bodies. He had never watched Nagini eat a victim at the kitchen table here.
He didn't want to lose that.
Sighing softly, Draco went to the old armoire in the corner of their room and dug through until he found what he was looking for. The box he pulled out had been a gift from him to Harry. It was large, with undetectable extension and filing charms on it, to make it larger and keep the contents organised.
He lifted the midnight blue, star-covered lid and reached inside, feeling for the photographs he knew to be within. The oldest ones predated him; they were from immediately after the war, capturing Harry's desolation in black and white. Draco withdrew those, but left them alone — he had no need to revisit that time, no need to see once more the overwhelming sorrow everyone carried with them in those first months.
Instead, he reached forward in time, pulling out a stack from when he and Harry had just started becoming friends. The had first run into each other at a park, a few years after the war. It was February, still a bit chilly — Draco and Pansy were taking a stroll, purposefully avoiding Wizarding London.
It seemed the Golden Trio was doing the same.
They had picnic blankets spread out despite the dreary weather and a chubby toddler running between them. They had seen each other, briefly, when Draco was at his Wizengamot-mandated meetings with an officer of the DMLE, and Harry would be at the Ministry doing whatever it was the Saviour of the Wizarding World did in that time after the war. There had been no snarky comments, no sneers or wands drawn. Just quiet head nods as they passed each other.
Harry still looked like the war, when they first met, still hollow and gaunt. His rough edges were more visible than they ever had been at Hogwarts; the Golden Trio may have won the war, but it was clear that a part of Harry had been lost somewhere along the way.
But by the time they met in the park, it was back — Harry was laughing with his friends and letting Teddy jump into his lap. He looked happy.
Draco paused for a moment too long, and when Pansy turned to see who he was looking at, the three Gryffindors had noticed them.
To everyone’s surprise, Pansy made the first move. She smiled at Draco, and with a death grip on his wrist, went to say hello. Hermione shoved Weasley over, leaving space on the blanket for Pansy and Draco. His arms were soon full of a squirmy child — his mother had reconnected with Andromeda after the war, and Draco spent a fair amount of time with the family he had remaining.
After that first, incredibly awkward afternoon, things progressed. Their respective friend groups slowly stopped ignoring each other when they ended up at the same pub, and slowing started to say hello when they passed by each other in Diagon or the Ministry.
Just as Hogwarts had been rebuilt after the war, one brick added into Ravenclaw Tower at a time, Draco and Harry started to build a tentative friendship.
He smiled, thinking about it now.
There weren’t any photographs of them together at the park, but there was a roll of film from that day solely dedicated to Teddy; Muggle photographs capturing the life in his eyes and magic ones, the photographs looping to show him running, giggling, playing. Living.
There had been a long time where Draco wasn’t living.
He thumbed through the photographs slowly, images of Teddy standing out amongst the others. Harry’s friends, of course, dominated in the black and white images, photos of Hermione and Weasley, others with the extended Weasley family.
The first photograph of Draco wasn’t taken until their second date — before that, Harry had been sheepish when he pulled out his camera around Draco. It was obviously important to him, but it was also exceedingly clear that Harry didn’t want to talk about the sentimental value of it. Not then; not right away.
After flipping through a few more, Draco found the photograph he was looking for: himself, sleeping in Harry’s bed, hair mussed and wearing one of Harry’s oversized shirts. That night, that date, had been an incredible step for both of them.
h p & d m
Draco told Harry he was ace on their second date.
He thought about bringing it up on the first, but he was too busy trying to convince himself the date was a fluke — Harry couldn’t really like him — and by the time Harry pressed a chaste kiss to his cheek, whistling to himself as he left Draco on the bottom step leading to Pansy’s flat, where he was staying, Draco hadn’t drummed up the nerve.
But on the second date, when Harry invited him in for a nightcap after dinner at a Muggle restaurant, Draco was ready. He had planned what he would say, was ready to leave if the situation became uncomfortable.
The speech, of course, was unnecessary. They had a drink each, and when Harry slowly leaned close, when his fingers brushed at the short hairs on the nape of Draco’s neck, Draco blurted it out.
Harry’s eyes widened, but he didn’t pull away. Softly, as if not to spook Draco, he whispered, “Am I making you uncomfortable?”
“No?” Draco answered, sitting stock-still and wondering why Harry wasn’t pulling away, why his fingers were still running through Draco’s hair.
Harry did move back slightly, just enough that Draco didn’t need to be cross-eyed to see him properly.
“I know what ace is,” he said. “But I know that it’s a broad term and different for everyone.”
Draco nodded, heart pounding against his chest.
“What does it mean for you? What are your boundaries, Draco?”
“I’ve had sex,” Draco blurted, cursing his mouth. There was something about being a few scant inches from Harry that, apparently, made it impossible for him to think before speaking.
“Okay,” Harry said, letting out a soft smile. “Is that something you enjoyed?”
Draco pulled at a loose thread on Harry’s couch, working to unravel it until Harry’s calloused palm rested against his hand, stilling his movement.
He shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. “Was it consensual?”
“Yes?” The response came out more like a question than Draco had intended. “I was always drinking, but I never said no.”
That was enough for Harry to move back, fully out of Draco’s space. Draco missed the contact — the presence of him — immediately.
“The absence of ‘no’ isn’t ‘yes,’ Draco.”
His voice was sad, but that version of Harry looked like the one from the war, too — albeit in a very different way. His green eyes were full of righteous anger, and Draco could feel his earnestness coming off in waves, his infuriating need to do whatever necessary to help.
Draco would be lying if he said having that look directed at him wasn’t intimidating as hell.
Embarrassed, Draco bit back the tears that threatened to fall. “I needed to feel something, after the war.” He took a deep breath, scared to admit the rest, but something about Harry made him want to. “I let it happen. I was drunk, at clubs where everyone else was hooking up.”
He could see the pity in Harry’s gaze, could see Harry’s jaw clench as he fought back a retort.
“I wasn’t going to try to have sex with you tonight; that’s not why I invited you in,” Harry said, after a moment. “But after this, after you trusted me with that, I’d really like it if you stayed the night.”
Draco looked up in surprise. He expected Harry to see him as damaged, expected nothing more than empty condolences as he was shown to the Floo.
Harry’s grin was sheepish as he loosely grabbed Draco’s hand. “If you’re comfortable, I’d love for you to stay and sleep — just sleep.”
Draco woke in the morning to a soft click, and opened his eyes to find a sheepish-looking Harry sitting cross-legged on the bed, slowly lowering an old film camera.
“I hope you don’t mind,” Harry said, his voice gentle in the light of day. “Your blond hair, spread against the sheets, just the hint of a collarbone — you looked so peaceful.”
“And if I do mind?” Draco drawled. Even sleep-rumpled and wearing one of Harry’s sleep shirts, Draco knew he cut an intimidating figure.
“If you do, then I’ll give you the negative as soon as the film is developed. Someone deserves to see it though, even if it’s just you.”
“Relax, Potter. I don’t mind.” Draco smiled. “I think I’d rather like to see it.”
Draco raised an eyebrow.
Harry blushed, the red staining his cheeks. “If you’re waking up in my bed, you might as well call me by my first name.”
h p & d m
Draco didn’t mean to lose himself in the memories, but when he woke in the morning and saw the pile of photographs still scattered at the edge of the bed, he couldn’t help himself. And after that, he stopped trying.
He came back to the photographs day after day, digging through the pile, through the memories. It was a good distraction from his worry about Harry, who — with the exception of the initial owl — had yet to be in touch. It was also a helpful way to process his newfound feelings; he and Harry had been through so much, they had fought on opposite sides of a war, and yet they were still able to draw out the best in one another.
It gave Draco hope. The photographs reminded him of what they had built, together, and they cemented in him the need to talk to Harry as soon as the mission finished.
The next photograph Draco pulled from the stack was the first he had taken with Harry’s camera. It was a few weeks after the second date, a few weeks after Harry hadn’t kissed him and after Draco’s confession. They’d been taking things slow since that first night.
Harry was, well, brilliant. He was smart, and kind, and too bloody good for Draco, but Draco didn’t mind. Harry also completely, wholeheartedly respected Draco’s identity.
After that first evening together, they had talked a lot about boundaries, allowing Harry to learn what Draco was and wasn’t okay with. Sex in any form was off the table; Draco laid that out quite clearly when the discussion started. He’d had sex before and it wasn’t something he wanted again.
Kissing was okay, as long as they took it slow. And anything in between, Draco knew they could figure out together. Harry didn’t push. He worked to understand, and he allowed Draco to take the lead, never doing something Draco hadn’t explicitly stated was okay.
It was strange, with their history, to have Harry — to have the Saviour of the Wizarding World — so cautious and caring with Draco’s boundaries. It showed just how much they’d both grown since the war.
They’d gone on a few more dates — a Muggle cinema, a Seeker’s game, even an amusement park — and it had been more than Draco could have hoped for. They had both survived the war, and it became evident to Draco over the beginning of the relationship just how rare, how beautiful, it was that they were still alive.
The photograph showed Harry sprawling, limp on the bed, glasses askew and smiling softly up at the camera, up at Draco. His hair was spread out from his head like a halo and his dark skin stood out against the cream-coloured sheets. It was out of focus — Draco hadn’t yet learned how to work the camera — but it was beautiful nonetheless.
h p & d m
It was after dinner, after a beer for Harry and a glass of wine for Draco. They hadn’t so much as kissed since Draco had told Harry he was ace, and Draco was ready for that to change.
They were in the living room, facing each other on the couch. Harry’s gaze was slightly unfocused, the only sign the alcohol was having any effect on him. When Harry drained his beer and placed it on the coffee table, Draco placed his half-finished glass of wine next to it, before inching himself closer to Harry, their knees bumping.
“Harry,” Draco murmured. “Don’t move.”
They were close enough that Draco could feel Harry’s sharp inhale of breath, close enough that he could see the flecks of gold in Harry’s eyes.
He nodded his consent, and Draco closed the distance.
It had been a while since he had kissed anyone, long before he had sat with Harry and their friends in the park. It had been even longer since he had kissed someone he cared about.
Harry’s lips were soft against his, and he felt — for a moment — Harry move beneath him as he tried to deepen the kiss, but he stopped himself. Draco brushed his lips against Harry’s, just a bit of movement, before he pulled back.
It took him a moment to regain his breath, and when he opened his eyes, it was to find Harry already staring at him.
“That was . . .” Harry started.
Draco nodded. No words were needed: It was everything.
Draco enjoyed the closeness that came with kissing. For him, it wasn’t necessarily sexual; it wasn’t even necessarily romantic. Kissing was its own subset of affection, of feeling, and he liked the warmth that kissing brought with it. He enjoyed the curling of his toes that a good kiss could bring, the promise in a hint of tongue.
But he liked to build up to that, and he knew, he knew, they had time.
Time or not, once they started — once Draco had a taste of Harry — it was hard to stop. They kept kissing, slowly moving closer, and closer, until Draco’s hand found its way to Harry’s waist, thumbing at the thin strip of skin visible between his Henley and his jeans, and Harry’s hand ended up caressing the back of Draco’s neck. Their kisses were soft, just a brush of lips as they learned how the other liked to be touched.
Soft kiss after soft kiss, and even though they were gentle, Harry’s lips slowly became a bit swollen and his hair was mussed from Draco’s fingers running through the thick strands.
When they eventually separated, pulling back enough that Draco could once again see Harry’s beautiful eyes, Harry only sat still for a moment before standing and pulling Draco to his feet.
Draco could see the lust in Harry’s eyes, and for a moment, he felt panic set in, but Harry continued speaking before it could take root.
“I want to continue kissing, just like this, on a bed, then I want to have you next to me when we fall asleep.”
“I can do other things too, you know,” Draco said, a bit of snark in his tone. He might not feel sexual attraction, but there were other things he was okay with doing.
Harry sat back on the couch and raised his eyebrows, waiting for Draco to continue.
“I can watch you as you wank,” Draco whispered. He could feel his cheeks turning red, but it didn’t stop him. “I can watch you get off, be there as you get closer and closer to coming —”
Next to him, Harry made a strangled noise, his eyes wide and his cheeks flushed. “You can’t just say things like that!”
Draco smirked. “You’d like that?”
Harry nodded. “As long as you’d be comfortable with it,” he whispered.
“Yes,” Draco breathed. “But not tonight. Maybe not soon. But we’ll work up to it.”
They took the stairs slowly, Harry never letting go of Draco’s hand.
Once in Harry’s room, Draco grabbed a pair of Harry’s joggers and an old t-shirt before going to the en suite, taking a moment to change and to compose himself. It was easy for him to feel overwhelmed, and because he and Harry had still not discussed all of his boundaries, he worried that Harry would end up — even accidentally — pushing him past his limits.
Draco knew the things he was and wasn’t okay with could seem like arbitrary limits to someone else, but to him, they were important. He took a deep breath, working to calm himself before he spiralled. Harry had been nothing but understanding so far; they would find time to talk.
Having taken a moment to breathe, Draco reemerged and climbed on the bed, where Harry was already sprawled. The camera, Harry’s old film camera, was sitting on the nightstand, and before he could question himself, Draco picked it up.
He cupped Harry’s cheek for a moment, before holding the camera up to his eye and pressing the shutter.
Harry laughed. “You have the advance the film — here, let me show you.” Harry reached for the camera and sat up slightly, making sure Draco could follow his movements. “The film’s already in the camera, okay? I’ve been taking photos with this roll, the exposure counter tells you how many. But you have to pull this, here,” he said, gesturing to a lever on the top of the camera. “This pulls the film in the back of the camera, so the light will expose a new piece of the film.”
Film ready, Draco took the camera back and pushed Harry so he was lying on the bed, one hand resting behind his head. He looked happy, well-kissed, and Draco smiled as he snapped the photograph.
“It was Colin’s, you know,” Harry said, as Draco placed the camera back on the nightstand and curled himself around Harry. “His younger brother pulled me aside at the funeral and gave it to me. Said Colin would want me to have it.”
Draco vaguely remembered Colin; he knew him as nothing more than the Gryffindor with the camera who was obsessed with Harry Potter. Draco had probably laughed when Colin was petrified by the Basilisk. He didn’t know what to say.
“He wasn’t supposed to be at the Battle,” Harry said, and Draco could hear the tears, the guilt, in his voice. “But he wanted to fight.”
There was nothing to say. He held Harry tighter, and they drifted off to sleep.
h p & d m
The camera still sat on Harry’s nightstand. He had taught Draco how to use it, and several ruined rolls of film later, Draco thought himself an adequate photographer. He’d never have the love for it that Harry did, never capture such heartbreaking moments, but he had taken some decent photos since learning.
That night, the kisses and the camera, it was the first time he truly believed they stood a chance. By that time, the papers were already making a mockery of their relationship — Draco avoided The Daily Prophet like the plague, but it seemed to be as much a part of Wizarding society as wands, and was therefore impossible to fully avoid.
Draco was used to being villainized. He was used to the looks, the casual hexes cast at him if he dared to enter Diagon Alley. Even years after the war, wounds ran deep.
But if Harry was able to overlook the press, ignore what everyone was saying, then Draco would too.
Draco remembered that night, remembered the overwhelming feeling of safety that he woke with, wrapped in Harry’s arms.
Gingersnap purred, and Draco laughed. “Yes, love, I know I’m being soppy. Just don’t tell Harry,” he whispered, stroking her back as she butted into him.
“She doesn’t have to.” Harry’s voice came from the doorway where he was leaning, Auror robes thrown over his shoulder.
“You could have given me a heart attack!” Draco yelled, though any anger in his voice was belied by the way he stood and rushed to embrace Harry. “Why didn’t you tell me you were done with the case?”
“I just wanted to come here,” Harry replied, wrapping his arms around Draco’s shoulders and burying his head into the crook of Draco’s neck. “I wanted to be home; I didn’t want to take the time to send an owl.”
He sounded tired. There was day-old stubble on his face and his clothes were torn in places, neat rips indicating where curses had sliced through the fabric.
“Well, you’re here now. It’s over.”
“No, Draco — that’s the problem. It’s never going to be over. The war was years ago,” Harry said, sounding weary as he pulled his head from Draco’s neck. “And we’re still chasing Death Eaters. We caught one, tonight. But there’s more. And there’s neo-Death Eaters gathering, if the chatter we’re hearing is to be believed.
“It doesn’t end. It’s never going to end.”
Draco didn’t need to look at his arm to see his own Dark Mark. “There will always be evil in the world, Harry. You know that.”
“I’m just so tired of fighting,” Harry whispered, as he allowed Draco to start moving them into the room, towards the bed in the centre.
“You can stop anytime. Let the others take the reins; you don’t have to be an Auror.” Draco took off his shirt and stripped Harry of his.
“I don’t know what else I would do.”
Draco removed his trousers and helped Harry take off his jeans. “That’s not a reason to stay.”
With a whisper, the Lumos from Draco’s wand plunged the room into darkness, and they both shuffled into bed. Draco could hear Harry’s breathing, was closer enough to feel the erratic beat of his heart.
“I meant to come home and talk to you — about whatever it is that’s going on. I didn’t mean to make this all about me.”
“Harry, love — it’s okay,” Draco whispered, reaching out and running his hand across Harry’s chest. “Sleep. We’ll talk in the morning.”
The bed was soft, and for the first time in a little over a week, Harry was there with him.
They both slept well.
When morning came and the light shined through the curtains, Draco rose quietly and stretched. After the previous evening, and after the mission itself, Draco was unsurprised to find Harry still sleeping. Slowly, he made his way downstairs, Gingersnap once again at his feet.
Walking into the kitchen, deciding to surprise Harry with breakfast, Draco was left with a weird feeling of déjà vu. But instead of panicking, instead of running away — or Apparating to Pansy’s flat — like he had done the last time he left Harry in bed and wanted to make breakfast, Draco stayed. He was done running, he was done trying to avoid the inevitable conversation.
Whatever was going to happen, well, it was going to be okay.
He walked towards the pantry, intending to get out the ingredients, but stopped short. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of his favourite photograph sitting on the mantle above the fireplace, next to the Floo powder.
It was taken at the park where he and Harry had seen each other for the first time since the war. They had planned a picnic — a proper one — as winter melted into spring. Pansy, Luna and Blaise had come with Draco, while Harry brought Hermione, Weasley and Teddy to complete the group.
Draco doesn’t know when, exactly, Hermione had snapped the photograph, but he had loved the image ever since they discovered it after developing the rolls of film.
h p & d m
There was a large oak tree a little ways away from where the group had spread their blankets. Harry and Draco were relaxing in its shade, and Draco’s fingers traced the pattern of the leaves across Harry’s skin, the branches overlaid on his veins.
They were too caught up in themselves, in that moment, to pay attention to anyone else.
The weather was too cold for short sleeves, but Harry had been running around with Teddy and ditched his hoodie earlier in the afternoon. Draco’s fingers ran down his arm, to his wrist, where they stopped over his pulsepoint.
He loved feeling Harry’s heartbeat, feeling it speed up when they kissed or slow down when they slept, Harry’s chest pressed to Draco’s back, curled around each other.
“Move in with me,” Harry murmured, eyes closed as he leaned against the oak. “I know it’s too soon, I know we’re not ready, but I hate being in Grimmauld when it’s empty and I hate waking up to a cold bed.”
“Harry, I —”
“I know you want to say no, so don’t, just don’t say anything,” Harry implored, turning to look at Draco, green eyes meeting grey.
Draco couldn’t help but laugh, the sound escaping his lips sounding happier than he thought he was capable of. “I was going to say yes. You’re right, it’s too soon, but I hate staying at the Manor and Pansy and Blaise’s couches are only comfortable for so long.”
Harry let out a whoop of joy, his crooked smile out in full-force. “Grimmauld is junk, you know. Warming charms don’t work, Kreacher insists on helping but he’s completely useless, the second floor —”
“Harry,” Draco interrupted. “I know.”
And he did. Since they started dating, Draco had spent the majority of his time in the dusty old house, whether Harry was there or not. He knew that however much Harry complained, his feelings for it ran deep. Harry couldn’t bear to give Grimmauld up, because Sirius had left it to him — but he couldn’t bear to live in it as it was, because Sirius had hated it with such passion. The only option was to tear the house apart and start, basically, from scratch.
In the time after the war and before Draco, Harry had taken to renovating Grimmauld Place. The house elf heads were removed, the portrait of Draco’s great aunt taken down (and the wall along with it). Sirius and Regulus’ bedrooms remained untouched, and the troll leg umbrella stand still stood by the front door, for some reason that Draco was yet to fathom, only knowing the sight of it caused Harry to smile softly and remember Tonks.
One of the early alterations was a darkroom in the basement, bringing purpose into the darkness and giving Harry space to work on his photography.
That house had been a physical embodiment — a reminder — of the evil the Blacks had stood for. But just like he restored the tapestry, Harry restored the house, bringing in light and removing the dark.
Draco couldn’t put into words how much that meant to him.
Strong arms pulled him up, back to reality. Harry was still grinning, a stupid, love-drunk smile lighting up his whole face, and Draco couldn’t help but lean in and press a kiss to his cheek.
“C’mon,” Harry laughed. “We gotta tell everyone the news.”
And so they did.
h p & d m
This time, Draco didn’t hear the creaking of the stairs; he was too lost in thought to notice Harry’s entrance. A pair of strong arms wrapped around his waist and a solid chest pressed against his back, and he startled at the sound of Harry’s voice in his ear.
“That’s one of my favourites, too.”
“Merlin, Harry — learn to make some noise!” Draco twisted in Harry’s grasp and pressed a quick kiss to his lips, before looking over his shoulder. Trying to appear haughty, he drawled, “I missed you, you know.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Harry’s soft smile, the one reserved just for him. “I know.”
“I . . .” Draco forced himself to continue. “I’ve been feeling differently towards you lately.”
Harry’s arms tightened around his waist, almost like a reflex, before they loosened and Draco realised how Harry had taken his comment.
“Good different,” he rushed to say, finally meeting Harry’s eyes. There was confusion there, and a little bit of hurt. “I’ve always been attracted to you, even at Hogwarts. Romantically, aesthetically, and I enjoy the things we do. But I’ve just been confused lately.”
“That’s why you went to see Pansy,” Harry said, comprehension dawning. “Draco, that was weeks before I even left for the mission.”
“Don’t. Whatever you’re thinking, stop. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but I’ve identified as ace for years. You know I don’t like change. Harry, I’ve been questioning my entire identity and I just needed some time to figure it out before I talked about it.”
“You talked to Pansy about it,” Harry said, petulantly.
Draco laughed, easing the tension. “I don’t live with Pansy. She can’t dump me, or throw me out.”
Harry smiled. “How have you been feeling? What do you mean by different?”
“Well,” Draco said. “I think I may, possibly, be feeling a bit of sexual attraction towards you.”
“And that sent you running to Pansy?”
“We’ve all walked in on her and Luna,” he said as he smacked Harry’s arm. “She’s the expert on sexual attraction, and she’s also my best friend. I just wanted her thoughts before I told you.”
“How long has this been going on?”
Draco glanced back up at the photograph on the mantle. “Maybe since around the time I moved in, but I didn’t know how to interpret the feelings.”
“That was ages ago!”
“I know. But after you asked me to stay, after I realised you were truly serious about me, about us; well, something changed. Our relationship — starting when we were eleven — it’s always been rocky. Even when we started dating, I kept feeling like something would go wrong and you’d realise you could do better than an ex-Death Eater.”
“Stop. You never gave me a reason to worry, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t something I thought about. I have the Dark Mark. I’m also ace. I never thought I’d be able to have a normal, healthy relationship.”
“But we do,” Harry implored. “You know that you can talk to me about anything, right?
“That’s what I’m doing now, isn’t it?” Draco let out a small laugh. “Trying to, at least. Labels and identities can just be so overwhelming. Pansy thinks I might be demisexual,” he said, trying out the word.
“Let me make tea, then we’ll sit down and talk,” Harry reassured, smiling softly
He puttered about in the kitchen for a few minutes, putting the kettle on and pulling out Draco’s favourite tea. Draco told the break as a chance to figure out what he wanted to say, and what he needed to hear. He sat down and ran through a couple of the breathing exercises his Mind Healer had taught him right after the war, when the nightmares and the panic attacks were at their height.
Draco looked up as Harry reentered. “How did you find a label that fit?”
“Well,” Harry said slowly, sitting down on the couch next to Draco. “I identified as straight for the first nineteen or so years, until I realised there were other options available. Ginny and I had just broken up, and with my recently-discovered attraction to men, I first started calling myself gay.” Harry ran his fingers through his hair, tugging at the knotted strands. “That wasn’t right though. Then I thought pan, or bi, and Hermione gave me a book talking about all the different options — I probably still have it around here somewhere. It talked about the difference between sexual and romantic attraction, and explained how there are spectrums within identities.
“It was a lot to take in,” he said, pausing for a moment as he shrugged. “That’s when I started identifying as queer. I’m attracted to who I’m attracted to; that’s enough for me. I see the benefit in labels, and I’m glad that other people can use them to identify as something more specific, but I like the broadness of ‘queer.’”
Draco nodded. “I like having a label. I thought,” he paused to take a breath and rub his eyes, embarrassed to become so emotional. “I thought I had it figured out. No sexual attraction. And now, well, I’m not sure.”
Harry scooted closer, resting a hand on Draco’s knee. “It doesn’t matter — not to me. I’m here to help you find a label that fits, if that’s what you want, but you finding a new term to describe yourself doesn’t need to change our relationship unless you want it to. You can identify as ace, or demi, or anything else on the spectrum and I’ll help you figure it out.”
Draco sniffed, the tears starting to flow. Gingersnap took her chance to jump on the couch, kneading Draco’s thighs. He took comfort in her soft fur and the steady weight of Harry’s hand.
“You’re still you, and I still love you. A label doesn’t change that; it just helps you to understand yourself better.”
“I feel like I don’t understand myself at all, right now,” Draco laughed, though the sound was choked.
“Let me find that book, okay?”
Draco nodded, and Harry squeezed his knee before standing and making his way to Grimmauld’s library. It was one of the first rooms they had renovated together, adding cosy chairs and throw pillows, spending hours removing the cursed books and allowing Hermione to add some of her recommendations.
Not only was Draco grateful for Harry’s reassurance and willingness to find resources, he was also grateful for the momentary reprieve. Trying to examine himself and his identity so thoroughly was exhausting, but he hated crying in front of anyone — even Harry. He took the chance to compose himself, to take a few deep breaths and wipe his eyes.
It wasn’t long before Harry returned, his search through the library having yielded a thick, brightly-coloured book.
“Hermione practically threw this at me, when she realised I was questioning my sexuality.” Harry laughed at the memory. “Apparently my questions and constant whingeing got to be a little much.”
Draco picked up the proffered book, flipping halfheartedly through its pages.
“Your questions aren’t though,” Harry said, then clarified at the look of confusion on Draco’s face. “They aren’t too much. If you want to look through the book, that’s great, but you also have me. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Are you happy in a relationship without sex? As happy as you would be in a relationship with sex?”
Harry paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. He worried his lower lip, and Draco reached out, soothing the abused skin.
Smiling, Harry took the opportunity to intertwine their hands, laying them in his lap.
“Yes. Draco, I don’t know where I identify on the spectrum of romantic and sexual attraction. I’ve had sex, I’ve liked it — but it’s never been something I’ve needed. I’m happy with what we have; I’ve never felt like our relationship is lacking.”
“But what if we try to do more, and I decide I don’t like it?”
“Then we don’t do it again.”
“You make it sound so simple,” Draco said, holding back a smile as he squeezed Harry’s hand.
“That’s because it is. Look, I love the way you kiss, I love the way you fit with me when we lie in bed together. But that’s not why I love you,” Harry implored. “I’m in love with your smile, the way you steal my tea in the morning and how your warming charms are the best I’ve ever experienced. I’m in love with the way you are with Teddy, the way you’ve grown since you were a snobby eleven year old.”
He took a deep breath before continuing. “You make me better. That’s what I truly love about you. Sex between us could be great — I doubt it’d be anything less than earth-shattering — but I love you whether that’s a part of our relationship or not.”
And at that, that declaration of such love, Draco couldn’t stop the tears. He felt them flowing down his cheeks, and he let them. Even with the people he cared for, even with Harry, he had a hard time letting himself be emotional.
But he knew he was safe. He knew it was okay.
They’d figure it out, together.