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Moving Forward

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“Am I running away or moving forward?”
― Doug Cooper


Harry smiles as he makes his way through the room, nodding to this witch, shaking that wizard’s hand. How he let Hermione talk him into coming to this function, he doesn’t have a clue. It’s large and it’s loud, and it’s everything Harry’s run from over the past ten years.

Oh, yes, he remembers now. It was Hermione’s incessant nagging. Something about a good cause, and how Harry needed to get out more. Ever since he came back from Romania he’s been sulking…blah blah blah. Sometimes it’s just easier to give in.

He scans the room for Hermione and spots her standing with Ron, looking very much the competent diplomat. Hermione, that is. As for Ron, well. At least his tux isn’t wrinkled.

Harry sighs. He knows he’s being a twat, and he really needs to make more of an effort to see his best friends; but the fact is, he’s not quite acclimated to being back in wizarding London after ten years spent trapping and training dragons. He’s finding it quite difficult going from being virtually alone all the time to having people fawn all over him again.

How he hates to be fawned over. Harry forces his gritted teeth into a smile and accepts the champagne handed to him by a gushing woman he vaguely remembers from Hogwarts.

Hermione catches his eye and smiles, and Harry smiles back, true fondness breaking his face into a full-on grin. The moment’s broken when Ron spills his drink down the front of Hermione’s dress.

Harry can’t stifle the laugh that emerges at the look on Hermione’s outraged face, and he turns and walks away in order to hide it. He hadn’t realized how much he missed his friends until he was with them again.

In the adjoining room, someone’s giving a toast, and Harry stops dead in his tracks just outside the archway, head tilted, listening intently.

That voice--he’d know it anywhere. He detects something different about it from what he remembers, however. It’s less pompous, more warm and…human.

Intrigued, Harry makes his way through the throng of people snacking from tiny plates and chattering about inconsequentialities and stands in the archway looking into an even larger room where two long buffet tables are decked out with food.

Harry has to blink twice before he can fully take in the scene. Draco Malfoy stands in the midst of the crowd, arm wrapped around Ethan Gerard (a Gryffindor!), eyes alight with what Harry can only call mirth.

Harry’s never seen that particular emotion on Malfoy’s face, at least without the accompaniment of disdain. A wide smile that shows all Malfoy’s white, even teeth creases his face and his grey eyes twinkle in a way that does something odd to Harry’s insides.


Harry turns to find Angelina…Somebody…standing behind him, her face alight and a glass of champagne in her hand.

“I haven’t seen you since the Battle! Where have you been?”

Harry clears his throat and pastes a smile on his face. He tries to remember her last name, but the years spent pushing thoughts of Hogwarts and the Battle out of his head have effectively driven it away.

“I’ve been in Romania, training dragons. It’s nice to see you, Angelina.”

She seems pleased enough that he remembers her first name and moves a little closer to him. She’s grown up well—very attractive with curves in all the right places; but that doesn’t help Harry much. It wasn’t a month after the Battle that he realized he was bent. Too many lost erections in bed with Ginny.

That brings to mind the first bulleted point on the list Hermione left him entitled Things Harry Needs to Face Up to Now That He’s Home.

Ginny is happily married to Dean Thomas now, but the thought of facing her after the way Harry left things is daunting. He’s sure everyone thinks him a coward for running away like he did, and that doesn’t sit well with Harry, in spite of the fact that it’s true.

“Isn’t it time you stop backing down from things you don’t relish doing?” Hermione had demanded just yesterday as she’d stood in the middle of the mess in 12 Grimmauld Place, hands on hips and a sour expression pinching her pretty face.

“I defeated Voldemort,” Harry had calmly replied. “and then decided to put away my need to do everything right.”

“Uh, huh.” Hermione had shaken her head and tossed the list onto the bureau before proceeding to pull a shrunken tux from her bag.

Harry wears the tux now, and the looks Angelina Whatshername is giving him seem to suggest he looks very good in it. He’s aware that the years spent wrangling dragons have sculpted his once somewhat skinny frame into a powerhouse of muscle and energy, and normally he doesn’t mind a little female attention, futile as it may be; but when Angelina’s hand snakes around and tweaks Harry’s arse, he can’t hold in the unmanly squeak that shoots from his lips as he jumps backward and out of her reach.

He glances around to see who might have heard and finds Malfoy’s eyes on him, grey as a stormy morning, only…maybe not so stormy now. Harry frowns. Figures Malfoy has retained the ability to sense out Harry’s most uncomplimentary moments.

“Harry!” the smile that splits Malfoy’s face jolts Harry like a hex, and he just barely resists the urge to turn to see if perhaps another Harry—an evil Slytherin Harry---stands behind him. Since when has Draco Malfoy ever been happy to see Harry Potter? Or called Harry by his first name, for that matter?

Draco moves out of the loose embrace of Ethan Gerard and walks smoothly across the room, smiling and nodding at this and that person along the way while still managing to hold Harry’s gaze.

“Angelina, you’re looking lovely,” Draco says when he arrives next to them, eyes finally dragging from Harry’s to glance over Angelina’s form. Harry watches in disbelief as Angelina simpers and bats her long lashes at Draco as he takes her hand and kisses it.

“Draco, you look so dashing in your tux,” she says, and Harry can’t help but notice it, too. The smooth lines of the tux accentuate every line of Malfoy’s long, lithe body. He looks exceptionally handsome—the ten years since Harry last saw him have wrought only good changes: his features are less sharp and more even, and his lovely angel-white hair has grown to his shoulders, which have broadened considerably, and is tied at the nape of his neck. Harry’s eyes roam over Malfoy’s slim waist and long legs before coming back to rest on those eyes, which again stare at Harry, this time in amusement.

“And how are you, Harry? It’s been an awfully long time.”

Harry again? Malfoy’s never called Harry by his first name in his life. Harry doesn’t know what Malfoy’s playing at, but he’s playing at something. Harry gathers the emotional guard he’s spent years cultivating and straightens his back.

“What are you doing here, Malfoy?” Harry asks, and Angelina frowns at Harry’s rudeness. It seems in the time Harry’s been gone everyone’s forgotten who Malfoy is, and it’s frankly unsettling.

Malfoy’s lips turn down just a bit, and Harry feels triumphant at forcing an expression out of him Harry actually recognizes.

“I’m here to support the cause, as is everyone else,” Malfoy says. “I assume that’s why you’re here as well.”

“Since when do you support Muggle-born rights?” Harry asks. “If I remember correctly, you always referred to them as Mudbloods.”

The corners of Malfoy’s mouth turn down farther. Angelina seems to have disappeared into the crowd.

“Harry, that was a long time ago.” Malfoy glances over his shoulder. “Ethan and I work very hard to make needed changes. Surely Hermione’s told you—“

“She hasn’t mentioned you,” Harry says, which is true, but probably only because Harry’s barely exchanged ten consecutive words with her in the past eight years since he left Charlie to venture out on his own. He’s moved about so much in Romania and the surrounding principalities that Hermione hasn’t had a solid address for him in years. No one has. Hermione’s early letters had been too full of worry and entries for him to return home to friends and family to mention the goings-on Harry was missing.

Family. Not like he actually has any. Harry knew that Molly and Arthur Weasley had expected him to marry their daughter, and after he broke things off with her, he felt sure they didn’t want his face as a constant reminder of how he hurt her.

Malfoy seems to be at a loss for words, which suits Harry just fine. His body tingles with adrenalin from the confrontation. He hasn’t felt this good in---ten years.

“May I have your attention?” Hermione’s voice rises above the dense chattering of the crowd. Ron raises his crystal glass and begins thrashing it with a fork. The glass shatters, of course, and Hermione gives Ron a dour look before spelling up the mess as the hubbub dies down.

“Ladies and Gentlemen! Thank you for being here to lend your support to Muggleborn rights. The next issue of Witches and Wizards Weekly will feature an article on Special People United against Narrow-minded Cowards—“

“Or Spunc,” Ron puts in helpfully to the general titters around the room.

Harry’s amused to find that Hermione evidently hasn’t lost her affinity for unsuitable acronyms.

“—that will outline just what tonight’s donations will do for our cause. So for now, please enjoy the bountiful buffet and the company of others who, like you, care about the wizards and witches in our community who have had to struggle for many of the same rights you have simply because of the circumstances of their birth. Oh—and before you do that, I would like to take a moment to thank a few wonderful individuals without whom this event would not have been possible. Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy, and Ethan Gerard.”

Hermione leads in the applause, and Harry spots Luna and Neville across the room, standing close together. He believes someone said that Luna and Neville had gotten married. He thinks they look good together.

A knot of annoyance tightens in Harry’s chest as he watches Draco give a small nod of acknowledgment to the applause.

“Oh, you must just be eating this up,” Harry says to Malfoy when the noise dies down.

Draco turns to him, surprise in his eyes. Calculated surprise, Harry is sure, as he reminds himself that everything Malfoy says and does is calculated.

“All these people praising you for all your good deeds,” Harry says, leaning casually against the archway.

“Harry, I know we weren’t exactly the best of friends in school, but I’d like to get past that animosity if we can.”

White hot anger causes Harry to forget where he is for a moment and raise his voice.

“Oh, that’s rich, Malfoy. You can couch it any way you like, but we were enemies plain and simple, and for good reason. That Hermione can stand up there and say your name is a testament that the world’s gone mad!”

Several people standing nearby stare as Harry turns and walks away, out of the main dining room and toward the back lifts of the hotel Hermione rented out for the evening. She booked Harry his own room, telling him it will do him good to get out of the “dark, stinky hell-hole” that is 12 Grimmauld Place, and Harry wants nothing more than to get to that room and lock himself in.

Harry’s gotten very good at forgetting the past; however, seeing Malfoy has tripped a trigger, and he finds himself shaking, visions of his tortured and long-dead friends flashing before his eyes as he blindly makes his way to the lifts.

As he stands, shifting feet, waiting for the doors to open, a hand grabs his arm and swings him around.

“Why won’t you just give me a chance?” Malfoy’s face is red from either emotion or from chasing Harry down the long hallways. “Why can’t you admit that I’ve changed?”

“You’ll never change, Malfoy.” The doors to the middle lift slide open, and Harry steps on, Malfoy right behind him. “Will you sod off?”

“No, I bloody well won’t, you over-blown, pompous arse!” Malfoy says between clenched teeth, and everything slots comfortably back into place. This is the Draco Malfoy Harry remembers. “What is your problem, Potter?”

“I don’t have a problem, other than having you in my face,” Harry moves to the other wall. Malfoy’s chest expands with every breath until he looks a bit like a rooster about to crow, and that satisfies Harry like nothing has since he returned from Romania.

“You!” Malfoy pushes off the wall, body suddenly so close to Harry’s that Harry can smell the spicy cologne Malfoy’s wearing along with the minty scent of his toothpaste. “You think you’re so above the rest of us --that you can come back after ten fucking years to judge me!”

Harry narrows his eyes but says nothing. He can see the tiny dark specks in the pure grey of Malfoy’s eyes and has the incongruent thought that they’re really quite lovely.

“You’ve never liked me, never gave me a chance from the very beginning when you rejected my handshake when we were eleven-years-old.” Malfoy trembles with ire and, in spite of himself, Harry is inexplicably turned on.

He reminds himself who he’s talking to and spits out, “You were a ponce! You insulted my friend—the first friend I ever had.”

“Maybe so, but I was a kid, and I’ve changed. Obviously, you have not.”

“Oh, give it a rest. I don’t for a minute believe you’ve changed.”

Harry lifts his hands and pushes Malfoy away, hard, so that Malfoy's back hits the other side of the lift. Harry smashes the button for his floor and stands heaving and glaring as the lift jerks upward.

“You bastard,” Malfoy hisses, standing and adjusting his tux and robes.

“That’s more like it.” Harry's tone is smug. “I recognize you now, Malfoy; you may be fooling everyone else, but I know you. An Augurey can’t change its feathers, nor can a Thestral hide its wings.”

“And a troll can’t conceal its stupidity,” Draco shoots back just as the lift doors open.

Harry strides off, sure that Malfoy’s following him. It doesn’t matter; he wants him to follow—wants more of this fucking marvelous feeling that’s come over him since laying eyes on Malfoy again.

With a touch of his wand, Harry opens the door to his room and strides in. When he turns, Malfoy stands seething in the open doorway.

“What do you want from me, Potter?”

“That’s right--- You can drop the niceties; it’s just the two of us now. Show me the man I know you really are.”

Malfoy steps forward and slams the door. “You fucking bastard! How dare you demean me in this way!”

Harry remains silent, watching Malfoy closely. His pale hair, usually perfectly coiffed, is mussed-- several strands hanging into his eyes, which flash with fury and indignation. His lips are parted and pink, and his chest heaves, a thin sheen of sweat showing above the V of his open shirt. Harry isn’t sure when Malfoy loosened his tie, but the ends hang loosely over his shoulders.

“How dare you…you…” Malfoy looks around as if the words he seeks might be scattered about the room. “…you steal everything I’ve worked for and just trample on it!”

Harry shrugs. “I haven’t done anything of the sort. You know who you are, Malfoy, no matter what kind of charade you’ve been playing while I’ve been gone.”

Malfoy lets out a stifled groan. “You unmitigated, arrogant tosser!”

“If you’re through throwing your hissy fit, I’d like to get some sleep.”

“No, I’m not through!” Malfoy steps forward, pointing a long, pale finger. “You think you can just waltz in here after ten years and take over. You know nothing about me, Potter. You never have!”

Harry chuckles.

“Oh, I think I do.” He certainly knows how to rile Malfoy up, that’s for sure. He’s inordinately pleased that he hasn’t lost that ability. “You’re a pureblood jackass who thinks he’s better than everyone else. The fact that I found you here schmoozing with people you used to deem unworthy of wiping your expensive leather boots can only mean that you’re using them for something.”

Years of working with unpredictable dragons have honed Harry’s senses, and he just manages to sidestep Malfoy’s fist as it flies toward Harry’s face, the blow glancing off Harry’s shoulder instead. Malfoy falls, reeling, into a chair. He turns and glares at Harry with bitter hatred, long hair falling loose from its tie at his nape.

“Still want to be friends?” Harry asks, hand to his throbbing shoulder.

“Fuck you, Potter.”

Malfoy suddenly launches at Harry, and they go sprawling to the floor in a tangle of limbs. They aren’t seventeen anymore, and the hard lines and obvious muscle of Malfoy’s body come as a bit of a surprise to Harry, in spite of the admiring once-over he’d given Malfoy earlier in the dining room.

Harry may loathe Malfoy with all his being, but his traitorous body rather likes the feel of his old enemy writhing over him.

With a calculated twist, he turns Malfoy onto his back and straddles him. Bringing his face within inches of Malfoy’s, Harry growls, “We’re a bit too old for wrestling on the floor, don’t you think? At least the type of wrestling we used to do.”

“We’re a bit too old for a lot of things, Potter!” Malfoy tries unsuccessfully to buck Harry off. “But you wouldn’t accept my offer of a truce!”

The warm scent of Malfoy’s sweat rises to Harry’s nostrils, bringing back memories of another sort—heated exchanges of hateful words spurred on by teenage hormones and high emotion. Harry’s blood tingles in his veins with a high similar to that he got taking on wild dragons. Fitting, Harry thinks, given the meaning of Draco’s name.

“You know, I’ve taken quite a liking to riding dragons,” Harry says when Malfoy bucks up again, a jolt of pleasure buzzing through Harry’s groin. He grinds down, and Malfoy’s face suddenly stills.

“Get off me, Potter.”

“I don’t think so.” Harry grinds down again, this time more fiercely, catching Malfoy’s wrists and holding them firmly to the carpet. Harry wants something from Malfoy, and Malfoy’s damn well going to give it to him.

Harry’s body tingles with lust and the satisfaction of having his old rival pinned underneath him. As he stares down at Malfoy, noting the darkening grey of Malfoy’s eyes and the high colour in his normally pale cheeks, Harry’s muscles relax just enough for Malfoy to suddenly surge up and knock Harry backward.

“You bastard! What were you going to do, rape me?” Malfoy scrambles away, breathing hard. He pulls his robes tightly around himself.

“No need to act all prissy,” Harry says, taking off his own robes. “I wouldn’t have to rape you, Malfoy.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I felt it. You’re hard for me.”

“No harder than you are for me.” Malfoy’s eyes are defiant, and Harry wants to laugh at the typical school-boy come-back.

“Touché. The difference is, I can acknowledge it and do something about it.” Harry grins suggestively. “What do you say about a fuck between two old enemies?” Just saying the words makes Harry harder than he’s ever been in his life.

Malfoy’s eyes grow wide. “What? What…Potter, you can’t be serious. You’re having me on!”

Harry reaches down to crudely palm his burgeoning erection. “Does it look like I’m having you on?”

“But…but…I’m with Ethan! And you—you---you’re too…”

“What? I’m too nice to propose such a thing?” Harry laughs bitterly. “Malfoy, you haven’t seen me in a while. I threw off my hero’s cape a long time ago.”

“People don’t change that easily.”

“So you admit that.”

“It wasn’t easy for me!” Malfoy clenches his fists. “I’ve worked hard at becoming a better person!”

“And I’ve worked hard as not letting every little injustice in the world send me into a tizzy of self-righteous anger.”

Malfoy swallows. “Well, good for you. Good for you, Potter, because being a self-righteous prig must’ve been really difficult to maintain all those years.”

Harry laughs out loud, the sound bubbling up straight from his belly. It feels good to laugh again. He gets to his knees and crawls predatorily across the carpet toward Malfoy.

“Oh, I’ve rather missed that droll sense of humour of yours. Come on; tell me you don’t want this, Malfoy. Tell me you don’t want the hero of the wizarding world to fuck you senseless.”

“I don’t, I’m with—“ Harry swallows Malfoy’s weak protestations in a kiss. He takes Malfoy’s mouth like it’s his to own, and in some ways it feels to Harry like that’s true. After a brief moment of seeming deliberation, Malfoy kisses Harry back, surging forward to grasp Harry by the hair, pulling him closer until they topple over, Harry’s body again straddling Malfoy’s. And this is good. This is right.

Their tongues duel-- a better solution than their wands, Harry thinks as he loses himself in the warmth and taste of Malfoy’s mouth and the way Malfoy’s suddenly gripping Harry’s arse like he’s kneading dough. With a gasp, Harry scrambles to get Malfoy’s clothes off. When that proves too difficult, he banishes them along with his own with an impressive display of wandless magic that has Malfoy staring with a satisfyingly hungry look on his face.

When their naked bodies collide, Malfoy lets out a low groan. Harry revels at the feel of Malfoy’s cock against his, rigid and needy.

“You want me to fuck you, don’t you?” Harry says into Malfoy’s mouth, and Malfoy groans again, thrusting up against Harry in a way that makes Harry’s balls tighten. Malfoy’s fingernails scour the planes of Harry’s back and his legs move apart.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

Moving back, Harry raises first one and then the other of Malfoy’s ankles to his shoulders while Malfoy’s steady gaze from under half-closed lids continues to burn him. Harry runs his hands over the long, pale legs covered in fine blond hair.

“Accio lube!” Harry says, and the bottle shoots straight from his suitcase to his hand. Harry pours some on his fingers. “I’ll get you ready for me. Don’t want to split you apart.”

Malfoy gives a derogatory laugh slightly softened by the lustful look on his face. “Think much of yourself, Potter?”

Harry only grips his engorged cock, drawing Malfoy’s gaze to it, before moving to rub the pad of his index finger over Malfoy’s entrance. Malfoy closes his eyes and moans when Harry pushes inside. He glides it in and out a few of times before adding a second finger.

“You like that, yeah? That’s nothing like you’re going to get.” Harry twists his wrist, causing Malfoy to jerk beneath him.

“We should have done this a long time ago,” Harry curls his fingers just to feel Malfoy’s legs tremble. “Maybe it would have changed things. Added a bit of fun to dreary times.” He scissors the digits, and Malfoy gasps. “Jeez, Malfoy, you’re tight. I can’t wait to get in there.” He watches Malfoy’s pale, flat belly quiver as Harry moves his fingers over the small bundle of nerves, but Malfoy remains infuriatingly silent. Harry wants more.

Shaking, Harry pulls his fingers out and coats his cock with lube, pumping it several times before lining it up. He pushes steadily in, watching Malfoy’s expression change from obvious pain, to discomfort, to bliss, back arching off the floor.

“Beautiful,” Harry murmurs. Malfoy’s white hair is spread out on the floor around his aristocratic face, his broad, hairless chest and smooth belly so tempting. Harry stares at the long, pink cock bouncing deliciously with every one of Harry’s thrusts and suddenly wishes he’d taken the time to suck it.

Malfoy still doesn’t speak, just whimpers and moans, hands clutching Harry’s arms.

Finally, “Please…please…”

“Please what, Malfoy?” Harry’s blood burns in his veins to see his old enemy begging for him this way.

Malfoy groans.

“That’s it, take it.” Harry clenches his teeth together and speeds up his thrusts.

Malfoy writhes; quick pants coming from his parted lips, body curled and face pink with exertion. His feet hug Harry’s neck as Harry moves in and out of him, body undulating almost gracefully. Harry’s good at this—he knows he is, and he derives no small amount of satisfaction in seeing the obvious bliss on Malfoy’s face. Turning his head, Harry bites gently at the side of Malfoy’s elegant, pale foot before running his tongue over the arch, and Malfoy cries out, fingers digging into Harry’s biceps and cock spurting over Harry’s stomach and chest. The intense squeeze around him undoes Harry, and he grinds in hard, swiveling his hips, lights flashing behind his eyes as pleasure shoots from his balls up his spine to explode in his brain, whiting out his vision.

After, they lie on the floor, panting, bodies covered in sweat.

“Not bad, Malfoy,” Harry says as casually as he can when his heart’s pounding hard. “Thanks for that.” Harry wonders if he can possibly find the energy to get up and into the bed.

Malfoy winces and rolls over. “Where are my clothes?”

“Oh, —I banished them.” Harry sighs with repletion and scratches his stomach. That feeling he gets--where it seems he's too big for his skin and he just has to do something about it--has left him. He yawns.

“That’s just great, Potter, now what am I going to do?” Malfoy sits up. “Fuck, Ethan’s got to be looking for me.”

“Wait, let me think.” Harry turns onto his side. “I used to know a charm for getting back banished clothing—came in handy more than once.”

Malfoy scowls. “I’m going to go wash up. You’d better have my clothes when I get back.” Malfoy heads for the bathroom, and Harry watches his arse as he goes.

After a moment of contemplation Harry remembers the charm, and by the time Malfoy comes out of the bathroom, Harry has his clothes laid out on the bed waiting for him.

Lounging in a chair, still nude, Harry lights a cigarette and watches Malfoy gets dressed.

“Disgusting habit, Potter.”

“It’s one of the magical variety—no bad health effects or aftertaste,” Harry says. “Nothing like a cigarette after a good fuck. Would you like one?”

He gets a sneer for an answer, and Harry shrugs. Taking another drag, he thinks about how satisfying the sex was.

“Hell, Malfoy, I wonder if it would be as good the second time around.”

“Fuck off.” Malfoy straightens his tie. Harry finds himself daydreaming of shoving it into Malfoy’s mouth and taking him from behind. Amazingly, his spent cock stirs between his legs.

“Come on—you have to admit it was fantastic. If I’d known shagging my enemy could set my dick off like a rocket—“

“Shut up, Potter! Just shut the hell up!” Malfoy’s face is red and enraged, and Harry’s taken aback. “Don’t you get it? I’m with Ethan! I just fucking cheated on a man I’ve been with for five years!”

Harry’s eyes widen. Five years?

“I didn’t force you to let me fuck you, Malfoy,” he says reasonably.

“Merlin, you’re a prick!” Malfoy grabs up his robes and heads for the door. Harry notices Malfoy’s walking a bit carefully and can’t help but smirk.

“You might want to straighten out that gait before you see Gerard, Draco,” he calls just before Malfoy slams the door.

Merlin, Harry feels good. He finishes his cigarette and heads for the shower. But by the time he’s clean and between the hotel sheets, Harry’s high is fading and the familiar, restless feeling has set in again. Not only that, but his conscience is beginning to niggle at him.

“Fuck it,” Harry grumbles, rolling over and punching his pillow.

It takes him a very long time to get to sleep.








“So, we’re okay?” Harry asks as Ginny pours him another cup of tea. It’s been two months since the charity dinner, and Harry’s just now getting around to the list Hermione gave him.

Ginny gives him a tight smile and sits back down. “I hope we will be--I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you, too,” Harry says, which is partly true; he misses the young people they once were. He does not miss the awkward interlude when they had tried to be lovers. A scene flashes in his brain of him and Ginny in her bedroom at the Burrow. She was the first he’d ever been naked with, and he vividly remembers her pale skin and freckles, and how she’d tried so hard to please him, to no avail.

Harry hasn’t been with a woman since and has never wanted to be. He used to think that perhaps it had been his youth and inexperience, and that maybe if he were to see Ginny again, things would be different; but sitting here with her now, Harry knows that they wouldn’t be. He doesn’t feel even the tiniest spark of attraction to her. And when Dean comes through on his way to work and kisses Ginny on the cheek, Harry does not feel jealous nor resent it in the slightest. He feels only the hole of discontent that has been his constant companion since the war.

“We should get it out in the open, Harry, or we’re never going to be able to get past it.” Ginny looks at him with frank, hazel eyes.

Harry fiddles with his teacup. “What?”

“You weren’t attracted to me in the bedroom because you’re gay. That’s why you broke up with me.”

“Oh.” Harry rubs his eyes with his finger and thumb. “I didn’t mean to hurt you, Ginny. I didn’t really...” he leaves off, unsure of what to say.

“Once I figured out why you’d rejected me, I was okay. I just wish you would have told me yourself.”

“I don’t think I’d really worked it out yet,” Harry says. “It took a while. And I felt really inadequate not being able to---live up to your expectations.”

“I get that Harry; I really do, but I had to hear it from my brother. That really hurt.”

Harry imagines that it did. He’d never given it much thought. Once he’d left, he’d liked to imagine that his old life didn’t exist anymore, and it was pathetically easy to do it. Only Hermione’s persistent letters ever reminded him of what he’d left behind, and a few sporadic moves took care of that. He squirms a little in his seat at Ginny’s unwavering gaze. Only Hermione, and Ginny and Molly Weasley have ever been able to make him feel like he’s five-years-old again.

Ginny sighs, relenting. “It’s okay, Harry. I’m happy now. Dean and I were meant to be together—I really believe that.”

“I’m glad,” Harry says. And he is.








“That’s one thing crossed off the list,” Harry tells Ron over a pint.

“Ginny hasn’t been angry with you in years, mate.”

“I think you’re wrong about that. She seemed pretty intense, but once it was out in the open, we were okay and had a good visit. I’m glad it’s over.”

Ron shakes his head. “First my sister, then my brother. Who you going for next, my mum?”

Harry spurts beer out his nose. Reaching for a napkin, he gives Ron a disgusted look.

“Fuck, Ron! What’s wrong with you, saying something like that?”

Ron shrugs. “Well, it’s not like you think of her as a mother figure anymore.”

Harry stares. “Why do you say that? Of course I do! Your mum’s the closest I’ve ever had to a mother!”

“Well, you wouldn’t know it by the way you’ve ignored her for the past ten years! A birthday present with a generic note once a year doesn’t cut it.”

Realising that Ron’s making a point and isn’t really insinuating that Harry could ever have the hots for Molly, Harry settles back in his seat. “She and your dad were always in my thoughts.”

“Well they aren’t mind-readers. Even when you were with Charlie, you didn’t write much.”

“I was embarrassed,” Harry says, looking away. He knows he's lucky Ron's still talking to him after all this time. He's lucky any of them are.

“Why? Because you figured out you liked blokes and were shagging her son?”

“Well, yes, if you want to know the truth! You know they were heartbroken when I didn’t stay with Ginny.”

Ron leans back in the booth and shakes his head. “You’re something else, you know that? Your ability to avoid issues is only surpassed by your oblivious ignorance of the way people feel about you. Mum loves you, Harry. She doesn’t give a damn who you’re shagging. And Ginny’s happy with Dean.”

Harry can’t meet Ron’s eyes. He knows he’s right, of course.

“I’ll go see her. It’s on my list, anyway.”

“I’m glad you came to the charity event,” Ron changes the subject, like the good friend he is.

“Did I have a choice?” Harry raises a brow and Ron laughs. “Hermione even bought me a tux, Ron.”

“She can be a force of nature, that one.”

Harry fiddles with his cocktail napkin. “Don’t take this the wrong way, mate, but I’m kind of surprised you’re still together. I mean, you working at your brother’s shop and her so involved in politics. Plus, you used to fight all the time.”

“Yeah, well. For a while things weren’t going so good, and then suddenly something clicked, and it just works, you know?”

Harry nods, even though he doesn’t know. All his relationships turned to dust, the one he had with Charlie being the longest. He thinks now that Charlie just put up with him because he had a fondness for Harry. Things had been mediocre between them at best. Since then, it’s been short, sporadic affairs that have mostly been about sex. Harry likes sex; he’s good at it, and it makes him feel spectacular. His mind wanders to the hotel room with Malfoy, cock twitching. He wonders where Malfoy’s been since, and if Gerard found out about it.

When Ron leaves, Harry has another beer. And another. He doesn’t look forward to going home to his dank, musty house. Cleaning it up is number five on Hermione’s list, and Harry hasn’t lifted a finger on that yet. He decides to take a walk to clear his fuzzy head, and leaves the pub, starting off at a brisk pace.

It’s autumn and the leaves are falling, the chilly night breeze sending them spiraling across the pavement. Harry pulls up the collar of his jacket and walks with his head down, unmindful of where he’s going. People part for him, and he watches as his feet hit the pavement again and again, the rhythm of his steps pounding in his ears.

When he suddenly slams into someone, Harry staggers for a moment before looking up.

Familiar grey eyes, surprised and then wary, stare back at Harry.


Malfoy takes a step back, expression cold.

“Potter. If you’ll excuse me.” Malfoy continues walking in the opposite direction from Harry, and Harry turns and walks after him.

“Malfoy, wait up.”

Malfoy’s face tenses. “Go away.”

“Why?” Harry falls into step with him, feeling suddenly cheerful.

“I don’t want to talk to you, Potter.”

“I don’t see why not. You’re not with anyone.”

Malfoy stops and stares at him. “And whose fault is that?”

“What do you mean?” Harry frowns. “I don’t dictate who you walk with.”

“No,” Malfoy says distinctly. “I mean the fact that I’m not with anyone anymore. Ethan broke things off with me when I told him what we did.”

“What the hell did you tell him for?” Harry asks, cock hardening at the thought of what they did.

Malfoy huffs and resumes walking. “Go away.”

“Why don’t you lighten up, Malfoy?” Harry catches up to him again. “I mean, if you’re really this changed man and all. You sure don’t seem like it to me.”

“I don’t have to prove myself to you, Potter.”

“You were right before—you should call me Harry, and I’ll call you Draco.”

Draco stops so abruptly this time that Harry bumps into him.

“So that’s the way it is. You’re going to be nice to me now that you think you can fuck me whenever you want to.”

Harry rolls his eyes. “You make it sound so awful.”

“It is awful, Potter! There was a time you would have known that! Did your soul die or something during your time in Romania?”

“Harry. Call me Harry.” Harry knows he’s getting under Malfoy’s—Draco’s—skin, and he likes it. He’s always liked it.

He reaches out and takes Draco’s hand, which Draco immediately tries to snatch back, but Harry holds fast to it. Draco’s fingers are long and surprisingly soft, and Harry suddenly wants to feel them on his skin. On his cock.

“Come on—let’s go back to your place for a drink. We’ll hash out our differences. That’s what you wanted, right? To straighten things out between us?”

Draco’s eyes narrow suspiciously, and he stops trying to wrest his hand away. “You weren’t interested in that before.”

“Yeah, well, now we’ve gotten a little closer, and I’ve been hearing nice things about you. It seems you really have tried to do a few good deeds.” That’s an understatement, really, but Harry doesn’t want to admit as much. The amount of positive things he’s heard about Draco Malfoy over the past few weeks has been eye-opening, to say the least.

“You’re trying to get back into my pants, aren’t you, Potter?”

“Harry. And would that be so bad? We had a good time, didn’t we? Now, where do you live?”

Twenty minutes later Harry’s sunk deep into Draco, feeling even better than he did the last time. Draco’s sprawled out on black satin sheets, hair glowing, face enraptured, arse tighter than hell around Harry’s cock, and Harry’s so fucking blissed out, he can barely thrust properly.

“So good, so fucking good, Ma-Draco. Yeah, like that. Take all of me.”

Draco’s fingers circle around the spools of the headboard as Harry rams into him faster and faster, hips snapping. Harry knows Draco will be sore in the morning, and he wants him to be. Draco whimpers and squirms just like Harry remembered from the hotel, and it’s hotter than hell.

“Take my fucking cock, Draco, that’s it.” One, two, three more thrusts and Harry’s there. As soon as his head clears, he pulls out of Draco and wraps his lips around Draco’s stiff cock, sucking until Draco cries out and spills down Harry’s throat.

While Harry smokes a cigarette, Draco lies beside him, face unreadable.

“Why don’t you tell me what you’ve been up to since I left?” Harry suggests. His body’s so relaxed, he could easily fall asleep, but he doesn’t want to do that here, even though a Draco who’s warm and sated beside him feels oddly comforting.

Draco licks his lips, and Harry finds himself staring. Draco’s got a beautiful mouth. He blinks, realizing he’s lost the first part of Draco’s story.

“—so I went to work for him, and then things just seemed to start falling into place. I don’t work anymore, of course. I made my fortune back threefold. That experience with Flaggart, though, makes me wish I’d learned earlier to be a bit more accepting.”

Harry can’t help but snort. “Not like I didn’t try to tell you that a million times back at school.”

“If you’re referring to your sanctimonious bitching—“

“Hey! I resent that.”

“Fuck you!”

Harry banishes the cigarette, suddenly turned on again by their bickering. “Roll over.”


“You heard me—roll the fuck over!”

Draco’s eyes flash with annoyance, but he moves to his stomach, and Harry straddles his legs. “Up on your knees, Draco.”


Harry!” Harry slaps Draco’s arse, liking the way it jiggles a bit, and Draco gasps, but he gets to his knees. “That’s better. Now say, ‘Fuck me, Harry.’”

“You’re out of your m-“

Harry slaps Draco’s arse again. A red handprint surfaces on one of the snow-white globes and Draco reaches down to take hold of his cock.

“Ouch, you fucker! That hurts!” But Harry can see that Draco's getting hard.

Harry rubs his hand over the redness, soothing the burn before pressing a kiss there. Moving down a bit, he then blows a puff of warm breath over Draco’s hole, making Draco squirm and pull at himself.

“Like that, do you? How about this?” Harry lowers his face and runs his tongue over the pucker. Draco gasps.

“Po-Harry, shit!”

Harry begins lapping at Draco’s furled hole, fascinated by the way it quivers at his touch. Draco is utterly delicious—a mixture of clean skin and Harry’s spunk. Pointing his tongue, Harry fucks Draco with it, holding onto Draco’s hips and moving forward with Draco as he moans and squirms up the bed. When Draco’s legs start to shake, Harry presses one last kiss to Draco’s hole before moving to put his cock in him.

“You’re entirely too mouthy, you know that, Draco? Except during sex. I like to hear you when I’m fucking you.” Harry would like to wait for Draco to beg for it, but he can’t; he has to be inside that tight heat. The feeling inside Harry is growing-like a beast that wants out. He slowly slides in, and Draco lets out a groan that tightens Harry’s balls.

“That’s it. Tell me you like it,” Harry says, beginning to thrust, and Draco buries his face in the pillow.

Harry slaps Draco’s flank, delighted at the way it makes Draco moan. “I said I want to hear you!”

“Good…it’s so good,” Draco gasps, hand moving faster over his cock.

“How good? Better than Gerard?” Harry suddenly really wants to know. “Answer me!” He smacks Draco’s bum again. Draco keens.

“I—I don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know? Don’t try to convince me you went five years with the bloke and never had sex.” Harry runs his fingers up and down Draco’s back, watching goose flesh appear on the pale skin.

“We did.” Draco’s voice is a low murmur.

“What did you say?” Harry thrusts harder, reaching around with both hands to pinch the sweet peaks of Draco’s nipples. Draco responds by pushing his arse back into Harry. “You kinky fuck. You like me pounding your arse, don’t you, Draco?”

Draco nods.

“Say it!” Harry twists the small buds.

“I like you pounding my arse!” The hoarseness of Draco’s voice inflames Harry even more.

Harry forgets about his line of questioning as sensation takes over. He plows Draco like he’s never done another man, pushing him down into the mattress, legs spread, fucking him as deeply as Harry can get until Draco’s finally begging.

“Harry, please…uh, uh, uh…”

“Please, what?” Harry bites at the tip of Draco’s ear and continues hammering him, their skin slick. Squelching noises fill the room along with the scent of Harry and Draco’s sweat.

Draco’s reply is garbled as he ejaculates, cock pinned against the bed and arse pushed flush to Harry’s groin. Harry breathes through the clenching around his cock, then speeds up and comes with a groan, grinding his hips. He leans back, cock still inside Draco, and watches his shaft slide slowly in and out, spunk overflowing and dripping onto the sheets. Pulling out, Harry replaces his cock with his index finger, moving it about in the hot wetness and making Draco squirm and shudder as Harry milks Draco’s prostate until Draco comes again with a small groan.

Exhausted and satisfied, Harry rolls off Draco and onto the mattress. Taking a strand of Draco’s soft hair between his fingers, Harry tugs gently at it.

“You didn’t answer me,” he says sleepily, watching Draco’s eyes fall shut and open again, lying as Harry left him, legs wide and Harry’s spunk dribbling out of him. “Did I fuck you better than Gerard did?”

“Ethan never fucked me,” Draco says, turning and stretching out like a cat. He reaches for the blanket, pulling it up to his shoulders as his eyes flutter shut. Harry has to strain to hear Draco’s next words.

“I always fucked him.”







Over the years, Harry’s become a master at escaping his conscience. In fact, one could say that he and his conscience are not on speaking terms. It may succeed in getting to Harry occasionally, but Harry’s a pro at pushing it aside; because somewhere between defeating Voldemort and leaving for Romania, Harry decided he was going to please himself for a change.

And it’s worked. For the past ten years, Harry’s lived his life the way he’s wanted to. He may have had to give up a few things along the way, such as his friends and his savior complex, but he’s gained control over himself.

Until now.

Harry finds himself thinking more and more about Draco Malfoy, and that doesn’t sit well with him. All the feelings he’s had when with Draco—residual emotion from Hogwarts or whatever—have been way too intense for Harry’s comfort. After years of seclusion and self-protection, he finds those feelings frightening—they open up raw places in Harry that he’d rather leave closed.

So Harry avoids Draco like the plague. Not that Draco’s knocking down his door or anything, but nowadays it’s easier to run into him than it used to be. Draco seems to be friends with everyone, and Harry finds himself slipping out a side door on more than one occasion when a flash of blond hair catches his eye. And then Draco seems to sort of disappear, and Harry breathes a sigh of relief, although a part of him balks when he considers that Draco might have gotten back with Gerard.

Draco’s admission that he’s never bottomed for Gerard hit Harry like a speeding broom. Why, Harry isn’t sure, but something about their second time together changed Harry, and Harry doesn’t like it. He thinks it might have to do with that last, early morning fuck before Harry left Draco's flat, when Harry eased into a warm and pliant Draco, taking him slowly, forehead pressed to Draco's shoulder. It had been a little too intimate for Harry's liking.

An occasional light-hearted fuck is all he requires, but the problem with that is that somehow, since Draco, fucking blokes just isn’t the same anymore.

Harry hooks up with old school chum Seamus Finnegan, spending an evening in a pub reminiscing about old times. Afterward, Harry takes Seamus back to a partially cleaned-up Grimmauld Place where Harry’s managed to plow a clear path from the front door up to his bedroom, lighting the way with extra sconces and sewing up the curtains over the cursing portrait of Walburga Black.

“Er, nice place you’ve got here,” Seamus manages to say before Harry rips the clothes off him and throws him onto the bed. Harry’s left his bedroom dark for a reason; piles of junk hidden by blankets throw shadows on the walls that loom over them like specters, and the floor is slippery with dust.

Seamus sneezes a few times before they get down to business.

Harry quickly finds that fucking Seamus just isn’t as pleasing as fucking Draco, particularly when Seamus cries when Harry pinches his nipples.

“What’s happened to you, Harry?” Hermione asks one night over a game of chess. She and Ron spent the afternoon helping Harry gut the parlour so they can paint it, and Ron lies exhausted and snoring on the old sofa.

“What do you mean?” Harry asks, directing his pawn to the next square.

“I mean, where’s the human side of you? Why are you so hard and bitter?”

Harry stares at her. “Hard and bitter?” He laughs. “I don’t know what you mean.”

Hermione crosses her arms over her chest and sits back. “Yes, you do. You went away to Romania and left part of my best friend there when you came back.”

“Hermione…” Harry remembers Draco’s comment about Harry’s soul dying, and stops.

“Don’t try to gloss over it, either. Yes, I know you’ve become quite the smooth-talker while you’ve been away. You don’t seem to think about anybody but yourself anymore, and you avoid us.”

“I’m with you right now.”

“Only because we came over here with brooms and buckets of paint. I saw Theo Nott leaving here the other morning before dawn.”

“You’re spying on me?” Harry asks, eyes going wide.

“Only for your own good. Harry—Theo Nott? Really? He’s had every bloke in a fifteen mile radius.”

“Yeah, well, now I’ve had him,” Harry says before thinking it through.


“If you’re going to spy, you might as well know the facts.” To be truthful, Harry’s night with Theo hadn’t been all that great. Theo had been a reluctant bottom, and there’d just been something missing between them. The sex had been mechanical.

Hermione presses her lips together and flares her nostrils. “I know what you did to Draco.”

Harry jerks involuntarily, whether at Draco’s name or the thought of what exactly Hermione might know, he isn’t sure. Visions of fucking Draco, fingers leaving red prints on his hips, fill Harry’s mind, and he suddenly finds himself very hard.

“You seduced him, and Ethan left him.”

“It’s hardly my fault that Draco agreed to have sex with me.”

“Do you hear yourself?” Hermione leans forward. “Of course it’s your fault! You initiated it! If you hadn’t done that, it never would have happened!”

“You’re acting like Draco had no say in the matter. If he was so into Gerard, why did he cheat?”

“Maybe because he’s al—“ Hermione stops.

“He’s what?” Harry asks.

“Nothing.” She sighs.

“Hermione, it was just the heat of the moment. You know things have always been intense between us.”

“And what about the second time?”

Harry reels back. “How the fuck did you know about that?”

“I have my sources.”

Harry doesn’t doubt it. “It just happened, like the first time. That was weeks ago, and it hasn’t happened again.”

“Because you’re avoiding him.”

“I’m not! I was, maybe, but I haven’t been lately. He just isn’t around.” Harry’s actually been entertaining the idea of going round to see Draco again. Maybe hooking up with him one last time just to dispel the crazy idea that’s formed in Harry’s mind that it’s so much better with Draco. Because it isn’t.

It can’t be.

“I know it’s difficult for you to believe, Harry, but Draco’s done his time and reparations for his earlier deeds. He was a child with a monster in his house! I’ve forgiven him—You should forgive him, too.”

Harry doesn’t know what to say to that, so he doesn’t say anything. Instead he asks as casually as he can, “Has he gotten back with Gerard?”

Hermione’s eyes narrow to suspicious slits. “Why?

Harry shrugs, but Hermione has always been able to read him like a book.

“No, he hasn’t. Invite him over, Harry. Get to know him a little bit. Without fucking him.”

“Why do you care so much?”

“Because you’re both my friends, that’s why.”

Harry sighs. “Okay. Is that all?”

“Honestly, Harry,” Hermione turns her attention to the chess board and moves one of her knights, “you act as though I’m always telling you what to do. By the way, how’s the list going?”






Harry owls Draco, and it seems to take forever to get a reply. Harry begins to think that perhaps Draco doesn’t want to be friends with him, which is ridiculous, really. If anyone should be wary of this friendship, it’s Harry.

Finally, a sleek eagle owl flies through Harry’s open kitchen window and drops a note on his table before flying out again.

“Even his owl’s rude,” Harry mutters as he opens the note.








Thank you for the invitation. If it’s acceptable to you, I will come on Saturday for afternoon tea at four o’clock.



“Well, since you didn’t wait for a reply, I guess that will have to be acceptable.”

On Saturday Harry has his newly acquired (freed, of course) house elf, Miffy, fix tea and scones, and Draco arrives precisely at four PM. Thanks to Ron and Hermione, the parlour is now a soft blue rather than a sickly yellow, although why Harry should care what Draco Malfoy thinks, he doesn’t know.

Draco looks around. “I like what you’ve done with the place,” he says, expression bland.

“Ha, ha. It’s a process. Here, sit.”

Harry pours the tea and looks Draco over. “You look good,” he says.

“Er, thanks.” Draco looks surprised at the compliment. Very surprised.

“What? I can be nice.”

“Not to me,” Draco says.

Harry smirks. “I can be very nice to you.”

“I thought this wasn’t about sex.”

“Did I say that?” Harry raises a brow.

“Hermione did.” Draco makes to get up, but Harry waves him back down.

“Okay, okay. This isn’t about sex. Let’s talk. How are your parents?”

“My father is dead, and my mother’s in an institution for the emotionally disturbed.”

“Oh, I’m…sorry.”

“Are you?”

“Sort of. About your mother, at least. She was always pretty nice. I guess.”

Draco huffs and drinks his tea.

“When did all this happen?”

“Father died shortly after he did his three years in Azkaban. Heart attack. Mum…well, she just couldn’t recover from it.” Draco suddenly sounds so forlorn, Harry’s heart clenches for him.

“I really am sorry. I know what it’s like to be alone.”

Draco doesn’t say anything for a moment. The old Draco would have told Harry he didn’t need his pity, and Harry realizes with some surprise that Draco’s learned to accept sympathy. As he watches Draco eat and sip his tea, Harry reflects that there’s something underlying the handsome glow that Draco’s projecting—as though Draco’s cast a charm to cover up something.

“Have things been going all right? I haven’t seen you around.”

“You mean you haven’t had to slip out the side door lately?” Draco asks. “Yes, Harry, I am quite aware you’ve been avoiding me. Why you have been, I’m not so sure. You’re the one who initiated things between us, not I.”

Harry can feel himself blushing. He hasn’t done that in a while.

“I just didn’t want things to be awkward.”

“Well, they aren’t. They’re fine, and now that we’ve had our tea together, I’ll go, and we can both tell Hermione that we made nice.” Draco stands and suddenly tilts, one hand coming up to cover his face and the other reaching to find the back of his chair. Harry is immediately there beside him to hold him up.

“Hey, maybe you’d better sit back down for a minute.” He guides Draco back to the chair.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“You didn’t look fine when you almost fell over.”

Draco brings his head up and for a moment the charm wavers and Harry sees dark circles beneath his eyes.

“Draco, seriously. You don’t look well.”

Draco straightens, somehow managing to stay on his feet this time, and stalks to the door.

“Thank you for the tea, Harry.”

And then he’s gone.







Harry can’t stop thinking about it. He sends his owl the next day to inquire over Draco’s health and receives a terse reply that everything is fine.

A month goes by. One day Harry Apparates into the lobby of St. Mungo’s with Ron after an enthusiastic game of Quidditch at the Burrow ends with Ron falling off his broom and breaking several bones. Holding onto Ron, Harry catches sight of Draco from the back walking down a far hallway and around the corner, and wonders again if Draco’s ill.

Harry spends some time on number two and five on his list: namely, trying to make things up to Molly Weasley, and cleaning up Grimmauld Place.

The more sunshine Harry lets into his house, and the more time he spends at the Burrow, the more like his old self Harry feels. He doesn’t entirely welcome it, but it’s not exactly something he can help. There are differences; Harry’s a man now, and he’s learned what he needs and wants, and part of that is to return to wizarding London and the people he left. He has to admit it’s nice to have Molly fussing over him again, and he does his best to let her know that he’s sorry for the way he’s acted and truly cherishes her in his life.

When Christmas rolls around, Harry finds himself pinned between Fleur and Ginny on the old sofa at the Burrow, talking about—of all things-- baby clothes. Harry’s tired from playing Quidditch with the Weasley brothers, including Charlie, who arrived that morning from Romania. Their reunion had been luke-warm, and Harry’s avoided talking to him, which is how he winds up in the middle of the argument over vests versus onesies. His mind blanks out for a few minutes, and once again Harry finds himself thinking of Draco. Harry went by Draco’s flat a week ago, and Draco had been gone--a neighbor said out of town. Molly told Harry she invited Draco to the Burrow for Christmas, but Draco had said he probably wouldn’t be able to attend.

“Of course, labour is always more difficult for a man,” Fleur says loudly enough to break Harry out of his reverie. She’s looking at Harry like he should be paying attention.

Oh, Merlin, it’s gone from baby clothes to labour, Harry thinks glumly.

“I feel sorry for—“ Fleur begins, but Ginny cuts her off with an odd look toward Harry.

“What?” Harry asks.

“You don’t want to hear us talking about delivery, do you?” Ginny asks. She’s currently four months pregnant, and Harry can’t think of anything less appealing than imagining his ex-girlfriend whom he couldn’t get it up with squeezing a baby out of her vagina.

“Um, not really.”

“Well, go on outside, then.” Ginny shoos him away, and Harry doesn’t have to be told twice.

Out near the barn, Harry lights a cigarette and takes a deep inhalation.

“Mind if I bum one?” The voice startles Harry, and he turns to find Charlie standing behind him.

“Er, sure.”

They smoke together for a while in silence.

“I get the feeling you’re avoiding me, Harry,” Charlie finally says. “You know, I don’t hold any bad feelings toward you. Things just didn’t work out between us.”

Harry hangs his head. He’s been thinking about this a lot since he’s been back, particularly after he stopped fucking everything with legs and a dick.

“I don’t think I gave you everything I should have, Charlie,” Harry says.

A group of Weasley grandchildren run past, two belonging to Bill and Fleur and one to George and Angelina, and Charlie turns to open the barn door. If things had been different, Harry thinks, his own children might be running with them. The thought is both sobering and depressing.

“Privacy,” Charlie says, beckoning Harry into the barn and taking a seat on a bale of hay. “And you gave me what you could, Harry. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You were going through a lot back then.”

“So were you, and I don’t think I gave that a thought. I’m sorry.” Harry sits down beside him.

“Apology accepted.”

Harry can’t help but smile when he realizes he just took care of number three on the list—Face Up to Failed Relationship with Charlie (that Hermione’s an intuitive one)—without even planning it out.

“You’re looking really good,” he says, taking in Charlie’s tan, which is really more like the connection of hundreds of freckles, and the small crinkles fanning out from his smiling eyes.

“Thanks. So are you, Harry.” Charlie’s gaze roams over Harry’s body, and Harry immediately recognizes the offer.

They don’t even kiss, which is okay with Harry. Charlie shucks off the blue sweater with the giant C on it and throws it behind him into the hay, and Harry does the same with his H sweater before they tumble together behind the hay bales.

It doesn’t take long for Harry to remember one of the major problems between them: Charlie does not bottom, and Harry doesn’t like to. Before, Harry used to give in to it, but he finds himself unwilling to do so now. Their brief tussle settles with Charlie’s mouth around Harry’s cock. Harry leans back, moaning low in his throat. It isn’t going to take long, because Harry’s not been with anyone in a while, and Charlie’s very good at this.

A sound at the door alerts Harry’s lust-laden brain to a presence in the barn, and he stiffens, trying to sort it all out as his body flies toward impending release. Judging by the way Charlie’s going to town on Harry’s dick, he hasn’t noticed anything, and before Harry can say a word or try to move, a figure walks around the hay bales and stops short.

“Draco—“ the word leaves Harry’s lips just as his orgasm hits, and he gasps, closing his eyes for a moment. When he opens them again, Draco is gone.

“What’s your hurry?” Charlie asks as Harry scrambles to get his jeans zipped.

“I need to talk to Draco.”

“So what if he saw us, Harry?” Charlie wipes off his mouth with his sleeve. “He’s bent, too, isn’t he? Last time I was here, he was practically married to Ethan Gerard.”

Had it been that serious between Draco and Gerard? He knows they’d been together five years, but somehow Harry had hoped it had been a casual thing. Harry finds himself inexplicably jealous at the thought that Draco and Gerard might have been headed for the altar. And what he saw of Draco just now both confuses and upsets him. He finds his sweater in the hay and pulls it over his head, swearing he’ll get to the bottom of it if he has to follow Draco home to do so.

“It’s important,” Harry tells Charlie and exits the barn, looking about outside.

“Have you seen Draco anywhere?” he asks Bill, whom he finds lounging on the low brick wall watching the children play. The sky’s spitting snow, and a layer of it coats Bill’s red hair.

“Not since he got here about fifteen minutes ago. I heard Mum tell him you were in the barn. I didn’t know he was coming---have you talked to him, Harry?” Bill’s face is definitely guarded, and Harry now knows why. Merlin.

“No, but I’m about to if I can find him.”

Harry walks around the house and out toward the pond where he can barely make out a figure on the far side where the dock is.

“Draco,” Harry approaches him from the back, a little out of breath from the long walk. Draco sits on the dock, legs stretched out in front of him and weight on his arms, a weather-blocking charm around him. From the back, he looks just like he always does.

“Go away, Harry.”

“You seem to say that a lot.” He sits down beside Draco, using his wand to expand the charm around him, gaze falling to the large swell of Draco’s belly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Why? It isn’t yours.” Draco doesn’t look at Harry.

“Oh, yes it is.”

Draco frowns at the pond. “Why do you say that?”

“Because you didn’t bottom for Gerard. You told me.”

“I might have once. Or I might have been with someone else.”


“Fine. It’s yours. Are you happy? Now leave me alone.”

“Again…why didn’t you come to me? Tell me?”

“I don’t feel like being the receptacle for your cum while I carry your spawn, thank you very much.”

Harry guesses he deserves that.

“I’m not a monster, you know.” Harry looks down at his hands. Maybe he has been a bit of a monster.

Draco looks at him. “You could have fooled me. You used to be a much nicer person, Harry.”

Harry clears his throat uncomfortably. “When’s it due?”

“I don’t know. I’ve only been to the doctor once to confirm it.”

“What the hell? Draco, you have to take care of yourself!”

“Of your spawn, you mean.”

“Would you stop calling it that?”

“What else am I supposed to call it? Your baby? The child we made together when you bent me over and fucked me like a prostitute?”

“I didn’t—you liked it!”

It’s Draco’s turn to look away.

“Don’t you have to be somewhere? Like back in the barn so Charlie Weasley can finish blowing you? Glad to see the two of you have patched things up.”

“That was…” Harry sighs. What was that, exactly? “We aren’t back together.” Something occurs to Harry—Ginny’s interruption of Fleur’s statement about pregnant wizards…

“Wait a minute. Does everyone know about this except for me?”

“Pretty much.”

“And you had a concealing charm over you when you came for tea, didn’t you?”

“Very good, Potter. You figured it out.”

“Harry. And what about when you almost collapsed—Draco, you need to see a Healer. What did they say when you went?”

“Congratulations, you’re pregnant, and here are some vitamins.”

“Well, I hope you’ve been taking those, at least.”

“Yes, I have, now I really need to be going. Coming here was a mistake.” Draco begins struggling to get up and finally has to accept Harry’s help.

“Merlin, Draco, how far along are you? This must have happened the first time we were together.”

“I suppose,” Draco admits. “Male pregnancies are different, aren’t they? I assume that’s why I look big as a house.” Draco begins walking back toward the Burrow, and Harry can’t help but think it’s a little adorable the way he wobbles. Something catches in Harry’s throat. He once looked forward to having children, back when he didn’t know he was gay and he wasn’t so mixed up. And now it’s really happening.

It’s incredible.

Harry catches up to Draco and tries to take his arm, but Draco shakes him off.

They arrive at the house and walk in together. Heads turn, some surprised, some breaking into smiles.

“Well, it’s about time,” Ron says.

“How long have you known about this, Ron?” Harry latches suspicious eyes on his friend.

Ron looks cornered.

“I wasn’t allowed to tell! Was I, Hermione?”

“No, you weren’t, Ronald.” Hermione pats his arm.

“Why has no one seen that Draco’s gone to a doctor?” Harry asks. “Draco, I’m making you an appointment right after the holidays. Here, come sit down.”

“Don’t pretend you care about me when it’s been all about sex for you,” Draco says, and all eyes turn on Harry. Harry can feel his face warming at the disappointed looks.

“Draco,” Luna says, patting the space beside her on the worn love seat. “Come sit by me.”

Draco does, lowering himself with difficulty, and Molly fetches him some hot chocolate. Harry can’t take his eyes off the way Draco’s large enough to place his cup and saucer on his belly.

“I really think you’re farther along than you think, Draco,” Hermione says. “Are you sure it’s Harry’s and not Ethan’s?”

Harry’s stomach drops, and he realizes how very much he wants this child to be his.

“I’m positive,” Draco says. “I can’t be more positive, in fact. Perhaps this child simply has a head as big as Harry’s.”

Everyone laughs. Charlie, who’s been standing in the back, comes forward a bit sheepishly.

“I didn’t know…I mean, I just got into town. Harry?”

“Don’t worry about it,” Draco says, scowling. “Harry is free to do as he wishes.”

Harry’s beginning to feel just a little bit bashed, but he supposes he deserves it. Before, he’d likely walk out, but now he’s not about to leave. His world, so long tilted lopsided, seems to have magically righted itself.

“What’s he talking about, Harry?” Hermione asks, eyes shrewd.

“Erm, nothing.” Harry goes to take a seat beside Ron on the sofa.

An hour later, while Harry’s in the bathroom, Draco takes off.

“Why did you let him leave?” Harry asks Hermione.

“What am I supposed to do, sit on him?” Hermione asks. “He’s his own person, Harry. And I suspect he was tired. I didn’t think he would come today, but he evidently took my advice that he should talk to you. Too bad he had to find you in the barn with Charlie---yes, Charlie told me. Harry, what were you thinking? Can’t you keep it in your pants for a change?”

Harry’s face warms. He seems to be blushing a lot lately. “I can’t believe you kept me in the dark.”

“It wasn’t my secret to tell.”

“Draco should have told me.” Now that Draco isn’t there in front of him with his ripe belly and gorgeous face, it’s easier to be angry with him. Harry crosses his arms over his chest.

They stand in the alcove at the foot of the stairs, one of the few places at the moment where there isn’t a crowd of people. Someone bangs Christmas tunes out on the old piano in the parlour, and Harry recognizes Ginny’s soprano along with Arthur’s booming bass. Upstairs, sounds of children squealing and floor boards creaking add to the commotion.

“What kind of a person keeps a baby a secret from the other parent?” Harry demands.

“The kind of person who didn’t want to be rejected. He doesn’t want your pity, Harry.”

“Pity! It’s my child, too!”

“He’s been reeling from the breakup with Ethan.”

“Oh, he didn’t love Gerard.” Harry flicks that idea away with his hand as though it were a bug hovering about his face.

“How do you know that?”

“If he did, he wouldn’t have jumped into bed with me. I know you think I’m some sort of letch, but I didn’t exactly twist Draco’s arm.”

“I don’t think you’re a letch, Harry.” Hermione watches Harry’s face closely.


“Have you given any thought to why a man who’s been with someone for five years might give it all up for a shag with another man?”

“Er…because he’s horny?”

“No!” Hermione smacks Harry’s arm, hard. “Because maybe that other man is someone he’s always had a thing for.”

“Okay, now I’m just confused. What are we talking about?”

“Harry, it was really important to Draco to make a good impression on you when you came back from Romania. Did you give him a chance to do that?”

“Depends on what you consider a good impression,” Harry says. “We had very good sex.”

With a growl, Hermione pushes Harry backward. “Don’t talk to me!” She walks away.

“I’m getting that a lot lately,” Harry mutters, rubbing his arm where it hit the banister.

“Harry.” Charlie comes down the stairs, a grim look on his normally jovial face. “That was just not on, what you did to Draco. I would never have sucked you off had I known.”

I didn’t know, Charlie! Until I saw Draco there in the barn, no one had told me about the baby.”

“You ever think that maybe there’s a good reason for that, and it all has something to do with you?”

“To be honest, no, but I suppose it’s something to think about?”

Charlie makes a face as he pushes past Harry to the landing.

“I know, I know. Don’t talk to you.” Harry watches him go.




Harry begins work on the guest room at 12 Grimmauld Place—the one right beside his room. He has it fumigated because he’s pretty sure Buckbeak used to sleep there, if the stray feathers are any indication. Then he paints it a mint green.

Harry makes an appointment at St. Mungo’s for Draco, and Harry’s name must still hold some weight because they find him a slot that week. Harry then Floo Calls Draco.

As Harry sticks his head through the emerald flames to speak to Draco in his flat, he immediately notices how exhausted Draco looks.

“Aren’t you sleeping well?” Harry asks.

“Not really.” Draco runs his hand through his long hair, which hangs loosely about his shoulders.

“Do you want to come over?”

“Let’s see, Potter. Do I want to come over there where it’s dirty and disgusting, or do I want to stay in my nice, clean flat? Hmm. What a choice.”

“You don’t have to get sarcastic, and it’s Harry, remember? We established that even before the baby.”

Draco huffs a little and then seems to visibly deflate. “Whatever, Harry. I’m going back to bed.”

Harry grabs up some Floo powder and steps into the Floo. He finds Draco in his bedroom. Now that Harry’s not looking at it through the narrow vision of arousal, he can see that Draco’s flat is light and comfortable, and his bedroom spacious. He can’t blame Draco for choosing it over dank and dreary Grimmauld Place.

“Draco, let me help you. Have you eaten?”

Draco grunts from the bed.

“Is that a yes or a no?”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Yet you have to eat. I’ll make some soup.”

Harry busies himself in the kitchen, which is rather a joy to cook in compared to Harry’s kitchen. An orange and white cat pokes its head out from under the table.

“Well, hello,” Harry greets it. The cat meows and comes out to slide against Harry’s legs. Harry finds a tray and takes the soup and a glass of milk to Draco in bed.

“Sit up, sunshine.”

“What happened, somebody put a Cheering Charm on you?” Draco gingerly pushes himself up against the pillows.

“Very funny. Perhaps I’m just in a good mood.”

“Expecting some sex tonight?” Draco’s brow goes up.

“No.” Harry takes a seat beside Draco, careful not to jar the bed. “I’m not all about sex, you know.”

“Could have fooled me.” Draco takes a spoonful of soup.

“Do you have any other symptoms other than being tired?”

“I ache all over. And I’m having trouble concentrating.” Draco takes a few more bites before pushing the bowl away. “I can’t eat anymore.”

“You didn’t even eat half of it.” Harry looks at it with disappointment.

“Please take it away, Harry. I can’t stand the smell of it.” When Harry removes the tray, Draco lies down again with a moan. Small beads of sweat gather on his upper lip, and Harry thinks he looks paler than usual.

Worried, Harry heads back to the kitchen and finds a piece of parchment and a quill. He scribbles out a note and calls Draco’s owl over, attaching the rolled parchment to its foot. He sets the owl out the window before turning his attention to the dishes.

He’s almost got the kitchen in order when the bell on the Floo rings and Susan Bones steps through with her medical bag.

“Harry! It’s so nice to see you. I got a glimpse of you at the charity event, but I couldn’t get close enough to speak to you before you disappeared.”

“Nice to see you, too, and thanks for coming so quickly.”

“You say that Draco is pregnant? I didn’t know that. I heard that he and Ethan split up. The poor thing…”

“It’s my baby, Susan.”

Susan looks nonplussed.

“Oh. Okay.”

“Draco hasn’t had any prenatal care,” Harry continues. “I only just found out about the pregnancy, and I have an appointment for him with a Healer on Thursday. But he isn’t feeling well. He’s lethargic and doesn’t want to eat…well, I’ll let him tell you.” Harry guides Susan down the hall to the master bedroom.

“Harry? Did I hear the bell?” Draco blinks groggily.

“Hello, Draco,” Susan pulls a chair up to the bed.

“Susan? What are you doing here?”

“Harry called me. He’s concerned about you. Tell me what’s going on.”

After shooting an irritated look at Harry that tells him as clearly as words that Draco really doesn’t appreciate the interference, Draco lists his maladies. A pen and a floating pad of paper from Susan’s bag jot down the information as Susan lifts her wand to take Draco’s vital signs.

“Let’s see what we’ve got here,” she says when Draco’s finished talking. “Can you pull up your t-shirt? I just want to feel your belly.”

Harry watches as Susan runs her hands over Draco’s swollen stomach, pushing with her fingers. Next, she listens to it with what Harry believes is a muggle stethoscope, or something very like it.

“Approximate date of conception?” Susan looks between Draco and Harry.

Draco gives her two dates, weeks apart, and Harry’s a bit surprised that Draco remembers so clearly when they were together. But then again, Draco probably tried to figure out the date of conception long ago.

“And you’re certain it couldn’t have happened before then?”

Draco colours. “I never…Ethan and I never…”

“Draco never bottomed for Gerard,” Harry says.

“I see.” Susan bites her thumbnail. “Well, without scans I can’t say for certain, but even if conception occurred on the first date, there has got to be more than one baby in there.”

“What?” Draco and Harry speak at the same time.

“Yes, definitely. You are much bigger than you should be with one fetus, Draco, even considering the fact that you’re a male with less hip room to carry. Much bigger. It’s no wonder you’re so uncomfortable. I would feel better getting you to St. Mungo’s right away.”

“But why?” Draco’s eyes widen in fear, and Harry puts a hand on Draco’s shoulder. If his feelings about Draco weren’t complicated enough before Harry found out Draco was carrying his child, they’re definitely complicated now. Harry finds himself wanting to protect Draco and their baby…babies…and make things right. For the first time since the Battle of Hogwarts ended, Harry has purpose.

“Male pregnancies can be very difficult, Draco,” Susan explains. “And if you have multiple babies, it’s important that we have you checked out. I’m not saying you’ll need to stay there, but you must be examined. Harry? Can you help Draco get a few things together for a night’s stay?”

Harry nods and looks to Draco for direction.

“Just…some things out of those drawers over there,” Draco says, pushing the covers off. He’s been sweating, and his shirt and boxers are stuck to his skin.

“I think you’ve had a fever,” Susan says. “That can be dangerous for the fetuses.”

Harry heart jumps. He has to be strong for Draco, but as soon as he gets to the hospital, he’s going to send word to Ron and Hermione. He’s going to need back-up.

It’s with a sting of regret that Harry realizes he’s been completely out of reach of his friends for so long, that if they’d needed him, he was unavailable. And now he expects them to come running to his aid, and he knows they will because they’re good people. Hermione was right when she said he’s only thought of himself.

“Ready?” Harry helps Draco out of the bed and into a pair of sweat pants. Susan gives the Floo address for St. Mungo’s, and within fifteen minutes they have Draco settled comfortably in a room.

“This is Healer Pendleton,” Susan introduces a short woman with merry eyes and a German accent. Holding her wand over Draco’s belly, Healer Pendleton murmurs an incantation and a blurry picture appears in the air.

“Extraordinary! One, two, three. Twins and an extra.”

“Three babies?” Draco looks terrified. “This is your fault, Potter! You and your saviour-sperm!”

Harry leans down and whispers, “Calm down, Draco.”

“Don’t tell me to calm down, you bastard! You aren’t carrying three babies!”

“This is highly irregular in a male pregnancy,” the healer states, and Susan Bones nods her agreement.

“I’ve never heard of more than two babies, and even that’s rare.”

“Well, why don’t you two just slide me under a microscope, if I’m such an anomaly?” Draco’s at his snide best, and Harry has to suppress a smile. It’s rather funny when it’s not directed at him.

“Um, can I have a moment alone with Draco, please?” he asks.

“Certainly.” Both witches walk out, chattering away.

“They’re discussing me as though I'm a spot in a petri dish,” Draco mumbles, but Harry sees the tears shining in Draco’s eyes.

“Everything will be fine.”

“Easy for you to say. Your work is done. You got me up the duff, now you can just fuck right off.”

“Draco, I have no intention of fucking off. These are my babies, too. I want them.”

Draco sniffles but doesn’t say anything. Finally, he murmurs, “If I die giving birth to them, will you swear to raise them yourself? I don’t trust anyone else, even if you are a complete tosser. You’re their father, and no one will ever love them like you will.”

Harry’s eyes fill. “You are not going to die, Draco.”

“Swear that you'll do it.” Draco’s eyes meet Harry’s, implacable in their insistence.

“All right. I swear. But that’s not going to happen, okay?”

There’s a knock.

“Can we come in?” Ron asks, poking his head around the door. Harry nods.

Seeing Draco’s tear-streaked face, Hermione rushes over to the bed. Harry spends a moment examining the windowsill while he gets his emotions under control.

“What’s happened?” Hermione asks as Ron’s hand comes to rest on Harry’s shoulder.

“Triplets,” Draco says.


“Three, Harry,” Ron says in wonder. “Wow.”

“Wow, indeed.” Harry suddenly grins from ear to ear.

“You’re completely daft,” Draco says, shaking his head before burying his face in Hermione’s shoulder.




Draco’s released late the next day with bottles of potions and a brace for his back that wraps under his belly to help hold it up.

“He mustn’t be left unattended,” Healer Pendleton warns Harry. “Not ever.”

“I’ll bring my house elf over,” Harry promises. “And I’ll stay with him, too.”

“And you must bring him in for weekly visits. When he gets farther along, I’ll have to come to you. For now, feed him properly, get him out in the sunshine, and make sure he takes those potions. If he misses, his magic could drain within moments and he’ll slip into a coma.”

Properly scared, Harry takes Draco back home.

“I’m moving in,” he tells him, and the fact that Draco doesn’t put up much of a fuss tells Harry just how worried Draco is.

Harry doesn’t even go for the pretense of sleeping in the guest room. That night, he gets into bed with Draco, lying beside him and eventually fidgeting with Draco’s loose hair while Draco reads.

“Potter, what are you doing?”

Harry clears his throat, and Draco sighs.

“Harry, then.”

“Your hair’s lovely,” Harry says.

“Salazar, I’m not a girl.” Draco frowns.

“Accio mirror.” The hand mirror flies from the dresser to Harry’s hand and he holds it up.

“Merlin’s nightgown, what have you done?”

Harry grins. He’s plaited Draco’s hair over his shoulder. He thinks it looks nice.

“You are really certifiable. And what’s with all the wandless magic? When did you learn it?”

“I studied with a Romanian elf a few years back. He taught me a lot of wandless magic. Would you like me to teach you?”

Draco looks intrigued, so Harry spends some time teaching him how to bring simple things to his hand from a reasonable distance away. By the time Draco’s mastered this, he’s out of breath.

“Here, lie back,” Harry says. “Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. You’ve strained yourself.”

When Draco can breathe more normally, he says, “Stop fussing. I know it’s all pretense with you.”

“What do you mean?” Harry frowns.

“I mean that you never wanted this friendship in the first place. You didn’t want these babies, and you certainly don’t want me.”

Draco turns away from Harry, situating a pillow between his legs. “So why pretend that you do? We were enemies then, and we’re enemies now. The only difference is we’re going to be parents. Now, if you want to be helpful, put a pillow behind my back.”

Harry gets the pillow and then lies staring at the ceiling. He does want the babies, and if he’s honest with himself, he wants Draco, too. He hasn't had that feeling that he's too big for his skin in a long while, and he thinks Draco has a lot to do with it. But he supposes Draco isn’t going to take him at his word, not the way Harry’s treated him. He’ll just have to show him.

Harry turns out the light and replaces the pillow at Draco’s back with his own body. He feels Draco stiffen in reaction, but after Harry lies there quietly for a while, forehead pressed between Draco’s shoulder blades, Draco begins to slowly relax. Before long, they both fall asleep.

Thus begins a routine. Miffy brings them breakfast in bed every morning, Harry coaxes Draco to eat, and they dress and go for a walk. Sometimes they eat lunch out, and on those days, Harry finds himself feeling proud to have Draco on his arm—quite literally, for Draco can hardly walk without the help of Harry’s arm anymore. Draco is a very handsome man, but pregnancy seems to do something more for him. His face is fuller and flushed, and his grey eyes shine brightly. Plus, there’s just something about Draco being ripe with Harry’s children that Harry finds very appealing.

Harry finds that he enjoys taking care of Draco. It's as though all the years he spent being selfish have gotten old, and he's happy to be thinking of someone other than himself again.

Harry introduces Draco to Muggle movies, for which Draco must wear a Disillusionment charm, and Draco sits enthralled through at least one film a week. His favourites are action films, and he gets ridiculously excited when he hears there’s one playing, sometimes dragging Harry away from whatever he’s doing to take him to the theatre.

On weekends, Harry and Draco usually go to the Burrow, where Molly makes certain Draco eats plenty of food.

Ginny, farther ahead in her pregnancy than Draco but much smaller and still able to move about easily, giggles at the way Harry has to heft Draco out of chairs and how he packs pillows behind Draco’s back and sides when he sits on the sofa.

“Very funny, Ginevra,” Draco says. “I hope you bust your buttons in your third trimester. Why don’t you go have another slice of that strawberry pie you like?”

“Merlin, what are you going to look like in your third trimester?” George asks, and Harry glares daggers at him. He’s unwilling to admit that sometimes he wonders that himself. How much bigger can Draco get?

Sometimes Harry catches Hermione smiling softly at him, and he wonders if he’s finally doing something right for a change.

“You’re fond of Draco,” she says to him one night when she and Ron come to dinner. Ron sits in the living room with Draco while Harry and Hermione do the dishes.

“He’s okay,” Harry says, running water into the sink and avoiding Hermione’s gaze.

Hermione elbows him in the side. “He’s more than that. You really like him.” With a flick of her wand, she sets a towel to drying the dishes as she finishes washing them. "I've seen the changes in you, Harry. You're finally healing, and I think Draco has everything to do with that."

“The man is carrying my children, Hermione.” Harry’s unsure where she’s going with this. “Draco and I can put aside our differences for the duration of this pregnancy.”

Hermione raises a brow and crosses her arms over her chest. “And after?”

Harry hasn’t really thought about after.

“We’ll work something out.”

“So you aren’t interested in Draco, even though you had sex with him twice and now you’re having three children with him.”

An uncomfortable feeling envelopes Harry, and he remains silent.

Hermione straightens and sighs. “I suppose I can tell Ethan Gerard that.”

Harry jerks his head to look at her. “Why would you do that?”

“Ethan’s been asking me about Draco. If you and he are together.”

“And what did you tell him?”

“The truth. That you’re staying with him because of the pregnancy, even though I really thought there was something more to it. I’m a little disappointed to hear otherwise.”

Harry stares at the sudsy water. “Gerard can just stay away. I don’t want Draco upset.”

“What makes you think he’ll upset Draco? They were very close for five years, Harry.”

Harry bites back the reply that he doesn’t want Gerard within ten feet of Draco. He can feel Hermione looking at him and wishes she’d mind her own business.

That night in bed, Harry plays with Draco’s hair. He’s found that it relaxes Draco so that he can go to sleep, and of course, Harry loves it, too. The soft, white strands feel like silk between Harry’s fingers.

“Have you spoken to Gerard lately?” Harry asks.

“Ethan? No, why?”

“Just wondering. He’s surely heard about your condition.”

“Which is probably why I haven’t heard from him.”

“Does that upset you?” Harry asks.

Draco doesn’t answer, and Harry doesn’t know how to get the truth out of him.

He scoots closer to Draco in the bed, pressing his front to Draco’s back.


Just the feel of Draco’s arse pressed against Harry makes Harry hard. The Healer said that they could have sex until she told them otherwise, and at this moment, Harry would very much like to have sex. Draco’s hormones are running high, and Harry’s suspected he’s been wanking quite a lot. He runs his hand up Draco’s leg, moving it around to cup Draco’s cock beneath his pyjama pants.

“Come on, Draco,” Harry whispers into Draco’s ear, “you know it’ll feel good.”

Draco makes a grunting sound, but doesn’t push Harry’s hand away.

Harry can feel Draco’s cock growing beneath his hand, and he runs his tongue over the rim of Draco’s ear before kissing down his neck. Draco turns his head just a little and Harry kisses Draco possessively as he moves his hand under Draco’s pants to tug on his cock.

After a few moments of snogging, Harry pushes Draco’s pants down his legs and takes Draco’s erect cock into his mouth.

“Fuck, yes, Harry.” Draco lets out a breath, his hands coming up to skim through Harry’s hair. Harry bobs over him, sucking lightly and running his tongue under the ridge of Draco’s cock. Draco tastes good, and Harry moans, fingering Draco’s balls and then his perineum before seeking out his hole.

Draco bucks up, pushing Harry’s head down until the tip of his cock hits the back of Harry’s throat. Harry fights his gag reflex and swallows, finger breaching Draco’s hole, and Draco comes with a helpless cry.

Harry moves behind Draco, relishing the taste of him in his mouth, and whispers a lubricating spell, lifting Draco’s leg up over Harry’s hip. Draco is loose and pliant, and Harry easily pushes in.

Draco grabs hold of the headboard. Harry tries to be gentle, he really does, but it’s difficult with the tight heat and the noises Draco’s making. The sight of Draco’s extended belly full of Harry’s children turns Harry on like he’d never thought possible, and he presses a kiss to Draco’s shoulder before beginning to pump.

“Ah, so good, Draco, so good.” The babies’ movements have recently become apparent, and Harry can see them scrambling around under Draco’s skin as Harry fucks him.

Draco moans, and Harry thrusts harder, holding onto Draco’s bent leg.

“Draco, your arse was made for my cock.”

Draco continues to squirm and moan, and Harry’s vision blurs as his body tingles with building pleasure. Gripping Draco’s leg, Harry pours his release into Draco’s body with a hoarse shout.

Draco’s so tired after, he lies sprawled on the bed, lightly snoring. Harry watches him, wondering how he’ll ever get used to life on his own again after the babies come.





“Draco, you don’t have to go. I’ll go for the both of us, and Miffy will stay with you. I can be back here within seconds if you need me.”

“This event is possible because of months of work on Ethan’s and my part to save the bowtruckles,” Draco says. “I’m not about to not make an appearance. Now please help me put these shoes on…I keep missing.”

Harry obediently pushes the shoes closer to Draco’s feet, which Draco can no longer see, and holds them there while Draco slips them on.

“Thank you. Shall we go?”

Draco tries to stand but can’t, so Harry wraps an arm around his back to help him up. Draco presses his lips together.

“Back hurting?”

Draco only nods. He never complains, which is another major change Harry’s discovered from the young Draco Harry remembers from their Hogwarts days. But Harry’s learned to recognize the signs of Draco’s discomfort: a tightening of his lips, the flare of his nostrils, an almost inaudible grunt.

“How do I look?” Draco asks. “I look like a billiard ball, don’t I?”

And that’s something that hasn’t changed about Draco—he’s still vain.

“You look marvelous,” Harry says. “We’ll have to Floo there, as you can’t Apparate anymore.”

The healer has nixed Apparition, sex, and a number of other activities for the duration.

Once they step into the ballroom, Harry looks around. The place is full, and frankly, that makes him nervous. What if something should happen, and the crowd makes it difficult for Harry to get Draco to St. Mungo’s?

“Harry, Draco, you’re here!” Hermione appears beside them. “And don’t you two look dashing.”

“He looks dashing,” Draco corrects, “I look comical at best.”

“Nonsense.” Hermione kisses Draco on the cheek. “You look wonderful. Every pregnant person thinks they look bad when in fact they simply glow.”

Draco turns to Harry as soon as Hermione’s out of earshot. “Did you hear that? Glow! As if I’m a lantern or –a giant orb.”

Harry just smiles and shakes his head. “Would you like to dance?”

“You’re barmy,” Draco says. “You really think that would work? If I can’t see my own feet, I certainly can’t see yours. Just sit me down somewhere.”

Harry finds them a table along the edge of the dance floor so Draco can at least watch the dancers.

“Go on with you,” Draco shoos Harry away. “Just because I can’t dance doesn’t mean you can’t.”

“I don’t like leaving you alone.”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Harry, I’ll be fine. Stop hovering over me so much!”

Harry sighs, gets Draco a drink, and then goes off to mingle a little. He doesn’t particularly want to dance, so he makes his way to the buffet table where he can surreptitiously watch Draco while pretending to fill a plate. He finds himself standing next to Cho Chang, whom he hasn’t seen since the Battle of Hogwarts.

“Harry, how are you?” Cho smiles at him. She’s gotten a bit chunky, Harry notices.

“I’m good, Cho. You?”

Cho launches into a long explanation of how she married a Muggle and now runs a toy store in Muggle London. “But I’ve always been a sucker for the bowtruckles. I really believe in this cause. I heard you’ve been in Romania, Harry. When did you get back?”

“Months ago,” Harry says.

“Why haven’t I seen you anywhere? I’ve attended a few wizarding events.”

“I was at the Muggle-born rights charity event in September.”

“Oh, I didn’t make it to that one.” Cho looks around. “Are you here with someone?”

“Actually, yes. I’m here with Draco Malfoy.” Harry turns to indicate the table where Draco sits and is annoyed to see Ethan Gerard sitting beside Draco, talking earnestly with him.

“Oh! Wow, but I thought Draco was with Ethan? And he looks very pregnant…”

“With my babies,” Harry says a little more forcefully than he means to.

Cho’s eyes widen. “Really? But, how…”

“Excuse me, Cho. I have to take care of something.”

Harry stalks across the room, eyes never leaving Draco, who is bending close to Gerard, listening intently and nodding his head.

“Draco,” Harry says when he reaches the table, “I bet you’re tired. Why don’t I take you home?”

“Nonsense, Harry, we just got here!” Draco indicates Gerard. “You remember Ethan from school, don’t you Harry? And who wouldn’t remember the hero of the wizarding world?” Draco rolls his eyes at Ethan.

“Hello, Harry.” Gerard’s tone is cool.

Harry gives him a nod. “Draco really shouldn’t be out and about. He’s carrying three babies, you know. We’re having triplets.”

“That’s usually what three babies are called,” Gerard says and stands. “And you certainly don’t have to rub it in my face that you got him pregnant when he was with me.”

“Actually, we’re not sure if he got pregnant that time or the next time.” Harry smiles a little smugly.

“Gentlemen,” Draco says.

“I suppose you think you’re a big man waltzing back here and taking advantage of Draco’s feelings for you.”


“His feelings?” Harry asks. “What feelings? If you mean the animosity that’s always been present between us, it did rather spur on the marvelous, angry sex we had in my hotel room. But it doesn’t exactly cover what happened at his flat a few weeks later…” Harry’s aware he’s being an arse, but he doesn’t like the way Gerard was sitting so close to Draco a moment ago, and he doesn’t appreciate the proprietary way the man’s hovering over Draco right now.

“Well, why don’t one of you just piss on me and mark your territory?” Draco snaps, trying to stand.

“Sit, Draco, you shouldn’t walk about,” Gerard says, putting a hand on Draco’s shoulder, and that’s all Harry can take. He smacks the offending hand away.

“Keep your hands to yourself, pal.”

Gerard looks like he could spit nails. “I was with Draco for five years. Five years! How dare you!”

“Well, I’m with him now, so you can just shove off!”

Harry’s aware Draco’s looking at him in confusion, and Harry doesn’t even know himself what’s come over him. All he knows is he wants Gerard as far away from Draco and his unborn babies as Harry can get him.

“Look here, Potter,” Gerard says, stepping closer to Harry, and Harry swears if Gerard moves another inch, he’s going to find himself sprawled over the table.

“Harry…” Draco pulls at Harry’s tuxedo jacket.

You look here, Gerard. You can just fuck right off, we don’t want you here.”

“Don’t you think Draco can decide that for himself?” Gerard asks.

“Harry.” Draco pulls at him again, but Harry isn’t about to let Gerard insinuate himself back into Draco’s life, and he waves Draco away.

“Everyone knows you won’t stay around after these babies are born,” Gerard has the balls to tell Harry.

“You fucking bastard.” Harry pulls back his fist, ready to swing, when Hermione cries out.

“Harry!” She points, and Harry turns, forgetting all about Gerard when he sees Draco slumped onto the table. Pandemonium breaks out around them as Harry kneels beside Draco and tries to rouse him.

“Draco? Draco?” Harry can feel Gerard hovering over them.

“We’ve got to get him to St. Mungo’s.” Harry’s voice comes out a croak. Fuck! Why hadn’t he paid attention?

“Let me take him, mate,” Ron says. “You look like you’re going to fall over yourself.” Ron heads to the Floo with Draco. Hermione Disapparates with Harry, and to Harry’s annoyance, Gerard follows.

“Where are they? Where the hell did they go?” Harry demands, turning around in the hospital lobby, alarmed not to see Ron and Draco.

“Harry, calm down. I’ll find out what’s going on.” Hermione heads for the front desk.

Harry suddenly spots Ron down the hallway and heads that way.

“Where’s Draco?”

“They’re examining him, Harry. You’ll have to wait.” Ron tries to lead Harry toward the lobby again.

“I don’t want to wait; I want to know what’s happening.” Harry breaks away and turns the corner in the direction Ron just came.

“Harry!” Ron takes off after him.

Harry needs to know what’s going on, and nobody’s going to stop him. He opens one door after another, trying to find where they’ve taken Draco.

“Mate,” Ron grabs Harry by the arm, but Harry shakes him off.

“Come on, now, stop opening doors. I’ll show you were they took him.”

Harry follows Ron down another hall and they stop in front of a door.

Harry peers through the small, square window at the top. There are several people, including Healer Pendleton, gathered around a bed where Harry can just make out the white-blond of Draco’s hair.

Harry opens the door and goes inside.

“What…ah, Mr. Potter,” Healer Pendleton says. “I don’t suppose it will do any good to tell you to wait outside.”

“No good at all. What’s happening?”

“It appears the scenario we hoped to avoid has occurred. Mr. Malfoy has fallen into a coma, undoubtedly from the drain on him physically, which is great in a male pregnancy, coupled with the drain on his magic. We are working now to heighten his magical levels, and then we will give him the physical support he needs by replenishing his fluids.”

“Is he going to be okay?”

“At the moment there’s no reason to think he won’t be, although this is a crucial point. We do know that the babies are fine. It‘s a bit early to bring them into the world, so if we can just keep Mr. Malfoy physically and magically stable until the time is right, everything should be fine.”

“Should be?”

“This is unprecedented territory, Mr. Potter.”

“Is there anything I can do?” Harry asks, disturbed at how pale and still Draco is.

“Not at the present time.” Pendleton herds Harry toward the door, her small frame stronger than it looks. “Please, Mr. Potter, we need quiet and concentration if we are to help your partner.”

Harry finds himself out in the hall again where Ron stands leaning against the wall.

“Everything all right?”

“I’m not sure.“ Harry repeats as best he can what the healer told him. A frustrated looking Hermione walks briskly down the corridor toward them, Gerard right behind her.

“Harry, if you’d waited--The nurse told us what’s going on.”

“I didn’t want to wait; I wanted to see him for myself.”

“How did he look?”

“Unconscious.” In a surge of helpless anger, Harry slams his fist against the wall, then instantly regrets it.

“Watch it, mate, or you’re going to find yourself on the fifth floor re-growing bones.” Ron shakes his head at Harry while Hermione casts a few spells over Harry’s aching hand.

Gerard steps forward, eyes pinned to Harry’s face. “At any time while you were fucking my boyfriend, did you ever stop to consider contraception? Don’t you know how dangerous a male pregnancy is, or were you born under a rock?”

“I was raised in a Muggle household, thanks, so no—I didn’t know. And as for the contraception, Draco and I were a little too caught up in the moment to think that through.” This was the truth. With his other sexual partners, Harry had always cast a protection charm, both for std’s and for pregnancy. He just never stopped to think about it when with Draco.

Gerard’s face, already reddened with anger, turns a purplish colour, and Hermione tugs him away, talking quietly to him. Uncharitably, Harry wonders what she could possibly come up with to make Gerard feel any less dumped.

“Harry, can you dial down on the smug and triumphant look? It doesn’t particularly suit you.” Ron’s looking at Harry like an adult looks at a child who doesn’t know how to act in public, and Harry immediately feels the role reversal and sobers.

“Better,” Ron says. “Shall we find a place to wait things out, then?”

Harry nods, and they go in search of the waiting room.




The wait is too long by far, and when Healer Pendleton calls for Harry, her homely face is grim.

“What is it?” Harry clenches his fists nervously.

“Mr. Malfoy is doing better physically now that we’ve replenished his fluids, but his magical levels are fluctuating wildly. We can’t seem to stabilize them. I’m afraid you need to give some thought to something very unpleasant, Mr. Potter.”

“What?” Harry asks, his stomach already in a knot and his heart on the floor.

“It may come to the point where you’ll have to make a choice between saving Mr. Malfoy’s life or saving the lives of your children.”

“What?” Harry takes a step backward, and he would have toppled if he hadn’t run into Ron’s solid chest. Two hands grip Harry’s upper arms, grounding him.

“If we’re lucky, it won’t come to that,” Healer Pendleton says.

“Lucky?” Harry’s incredulous. “This is a fucking hospital, why are you relying on luck?”

Ron’s hands tighten their grip on Harry’s arms.

“Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all we have left,” Pendleton says. “You may sit with him if you’d like.” The healer leaves, and Ron escorts Harry to Draco’s room and gives him a small nudge through the door.

Draco looks like he’s just sleeping, and Harry hopes that by now he is, rather than still sunk in a coma from which he’s unable to awaken.

“Draco,” Harry says quietly as he pulls up a chair beside the bed.

Draco doesn’t move.

Gingerly, Harry puts a hand on the huge, rounded belly that’s housing his children. Three children. More than Harry’s ever hoped for, and soon he might have to make a choice…

He can’t even fathom the thought of letting them go. But when he looks up at Draco’s face, Harry knows he can’t imagine a world without Draco in it. It seems he’s always been there, even in the early years when Harry hadn’t met him--certainly in the Hogwarts years, where Draco was a constant reminder to Harry that he couldn’t be complacent. Draco was a challenge—a challenge that Harry always relished, no matter how much he complained about the arrogant git.

Harry now knows how empty his time in Romania was. He’d thought he was living the way he wanted to, but Harry wasn’t really living at all. He’d stopped feeling, and he didn’t feel again until he saw Draco at the charity dinner. It was as though Harry’s vital signs, long dormant, had suddenly restarted. And now Draco’s giving Harry what he’s always wanted—children-- and risking his life to do it.

Sometime after finding out Draco was pregnant, Harry realized that Draco didn’t have to keep the babies; he could have ended the pregnancy without even telling anyone about it. The healer who confirmed he was pregnant had surely told Draco how dangerous it was, and if she didn’t, Draco would have known, just as Gerard had, from being raised as a pure-blood. But Draco had chosen to continue the pregnancy. Why?

Harry moves his hand to the bed and takes Draco’s, squeezing it.

“Draco, I’m here. I’m not leaving you, even after the children are born. I—well, we have a lot to talk about. Right now I just want you to concentrate on opening your eyes. Can you do that for me? Can you open your eyes and look at me?”

Harry waits. Draco doesn’t open his eyes, but Harry feels the minutest movement of Draco’s fingers. He smiles. It will have to do for now.




“I would choose Hermione any day,” Ron says, chair tipped back and head resting against the wall with its mint green paint that Harry’s come to hate. He’s going to have to repaint the nursery at Grimmauld Place, because he’s never going to be able to look at it without thinking of St. Mungo’s.

“I can’t live without her. And as much as I would love our unborn babies, I couldn’t do it without Hermione there with me.” Ron looks over at Harry where he’s slouched on the vinyl couch. “But I know things are different for you, mate. You aren’t in love with Malfoy.”

Harry looks down at his hands. “What’s it feel like to be in love, Ron?”

Ron looks off into the distance. “Like you never want to be with anyone else. Like you can’t get enough of them. Like they hold your world in their hands.”

Harry doesn’t say anything, and silence engulfs them.

Hermione walks in with coffee, Gerard at her heels like a puppy.

Gerard’s already threatened that if Harry lets Draco die, Gerard will kill Harry with his bare hands. Harry had been too upset to say anything. He can still feel Draco’s fingers moving against his palm, letting Harry know that he’s aware.

The healer is with Draco now, and Harry feels like the ax is about to fall. If he has to make the decision, what will he say? Can he just let his children die? But he knows he can’t lose Draco. He just can’t.

Harry gets up and leaves the room, hearing Hermione stop Ron from following him. Harry’s grateful; he needs to be alone.

Stepping outside into the cold mist, Harry lights a cigarette and leans against the wall, thinking of sex with Draco, hot and passionate; cuddling with Draco, the scent of him surrounding Harry and entering his dreams; verbally sparring with Draco, feeling more alive than when he’s with anyone else; quiet moments reading with Draco or doing crossword puzzles, surprisingly content to simply be in the same room with him.

Harry has a feeling that this is love, what he has with Draco, with or without the babies. And Harry just knows that it isn’t something to be repeated in his lifetime. If he lets Draco go, he’ll never have a love like this again. He will, of course, have three little children, each a part of him and of Draco, the thought of which makes Harry’s heart turn over. But he’d be raising them alone—without anyone else who feels the same way about them that he does, and no one to share their milestones with. He wonders what they look like. If they look like him, or Draco, or a little bit of both.

Putting his cigarette out, Harry knows what he has to do. It will be the hardest thing he’s ever done—even harder than facing and defeating Voldemort—but he will do it.

When he walks inside, Hermione’s coming to look for him, face strained. “The healer wants you.”

Harry rushes into Draco’s room and stops in his tracks, a pair of dove-grey eyes staring back at him.

“Draco,” he says on a breath, and falls into the seat beside the bed.

Draco’s lips twitch, but Harry can see how weak Draco is.

“I’ve been explaining what’s happened to Mr. Malfoy,” Healer Pendleton says. “His magic is still erratic, but it’s a good sign he’s awakened.”

“Harry,” Draco licks his lips.

Harry takes Draco’s hand, surprised at the strength with which Draco squeezes his fingers.

“You have to save our babies,” Draco says.

Harry shakes his head. “Draco, I can’t do this without you.”

Draco’s eyes cloud. “No, Harry, you have to save our babies and let me go.”

Healer Pendleton quietly slips out of the room.

Harry keeps shaking his head, watching tears well up in Draco’s eyes.

“I need your word, Harry.”

“I can’t.” Harry bites his lip to keep it from trembling. “Draco—“

They stare at one another, hands clasped, until Draco finally looks away.

“Draco, how would you feel if the situation was reversed and it was me in that bed?” Harry asks. He suddenly realizes that Draco might very well save the babies over him. He has no idea how Draco feels about him.

But Draco squeezes his eyes shut, the last of his tears slipping out to run down his cheeks.

“I couldn’t let you die either.” Draco reaches down and places his hands on his swollen stomach. “But Harry, we can’t lose them.”

Harry leans over to kiss Draco’s belly before lightly laying his head there, gazing up at Draco. He gets a small, answering kick to his ear. “Then we won’t. We just won’t.”

Draco’s eyes deepen to a smoky grey, and he runs a shaky hand through Harry’s hair.





Three months later.

Harry holds the kitchen door of the Burrow open for Draco to pass through. The sun shines in Draco’s hair, and he looks fit and handsome, if exhausted.

Harry’s exhausted, too. If they aren’t feeding one of the triplets, they’re feeding another, or changing a nappy or wiping away baby sick, and sleep is a thing of the past. Which is why they’re bringing the babies to Molly to take care of for the night.

“There they are, my little dumplings!” Molly cries, running to put her hand on each of the little heads poking out of the carriers Harry and Draco have strapped to their chests. Arthur comes out of his study to help unstrap them.

“Harry, I swear, the boys look just like you,” Arthur says, pulling Scorpius from his wrappings. “Other than the grey eyes, of course.”

Freed from his tiny burden, Harry reaches over to help Molly pull James from his carrier and then he takes Cissily into his arms. Naming the boys had been easy, but when it came to their daughter, Harry and Draco had thought Narcissa Lily a bit of a mouthful. As they’d wrestled with the names, they’d managed to come up with the derivative and been satisfied with that.

“Oh, her hair is growing in blond,” Molly smiles at Cissily in Harry’s arms. “She’ll be a real stunner.”

“Like her father,” Harry grins rather sappily at Draco. He’s unable to hide his feelings for the father of his children any longer—everyone knows he’s head over heels in love. And amazingly, Draco feels the same for Harry. Hermione finally admitted to Harry what she and Gerard knew but he didn’t—that Draco had been in love with Harry for years. Draco had told Hermione as much after they became friends about a year after Harry left for Romania, saying that the hurt he’d always felt over Harry’s rejection had fueled his animosity over the years. And Draco had also admitted as much to Gerard, which is why they never married and Gerard broke things off with Draco when Harry returned.

Scorpius and James are identical twins, Harry’s dark, unruly hair and Draco’s grey eyes a striking combination on them. Cissily’s eyes are large and blue. Draco had pouted when it became apparent that none of the babies had Harry’s green eyes, and Harry had reminded him they could always have more. Draco promptly shut up.

Draco puts bottles in the refrigerator and Harry hands Arthur a list of instructions.

Molly rolls her eyes. “Like I don’t know anything about babies.”

Harry considers the fact that Draco and the babies all survived the pregnancy and birth a true testament to his and Draco’s combined determination. Once they decided that no one would die, it was as though they’d made it true by force of will alone. Looking at Draco and his children now, Harry can’t imagine a life without any one of them.

Finally, Harry and Draco are back at their house, alone. Harry ended up selling the house at 12 Grimmauld Place and he and Draco found a nice sunny home with enough room for a family of five.

Exhausted, they fall onto the bed.

“Do you think we’ll ever have sex again?” Draco asks Harry, rolling to his side.

“I think we most certainly will. Right after a nap.” Harry leans in and gently kisses Draco’s mouth, tongue exploring. They’ve been talking of marriage, and Harry has never been happier in his life. That Harry had to run away and then come back home to find this happiness is odd, but Harry accepts it. Cuddling up to Draco, he pulls the covers over them, breathing in deeply and lacing his fingers with Draco’s.

“You saved me,” he whispers into Draco’s neck. It’s true; Harry was a shell of his former self when he returned from Romania. Draco reminded him how to feel again.

Draco’s breathing is even and deep, and for a moment Harry thinks Draco is asleep.

“You’re such a sappy Gryffindor,” Draco murmurs into the quiet and squeezes Harry’s hand.

Harry smiles and closes his eyes, happy for that to be true.