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It Never Occurred to Me That I Would Fall in Love With a Frenchman

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On a scale from “a tiny little bit awkward” to “very, very awkward”, this kiss no doubt rated “the most awkward ever; how can such a thing even happen?”

They were in a supermarket in West London and everything was going well enough. They were in the canned vegetables aisle and, for once, Draco was being careful to use a heavily accented voice when he asked inane questions about concentrated tomatoes. Being a quirky foreigner always worked better with the Muggles than being a crazy weirdo with a stick.

Draco was commenting on how much a certain part of Harry’s anatomy could sometimes be as red as these processed tomatoes, and the delicious teasing tone and French accent were increasinglyflustering to Harry.

And because he was a free man in a free country, and the hell with public places, Harry leaned in and kissed Draco full on the mouth (partly to shut him up and partly because he really, really wanted to).

When he heard someone clear his throat behind him, Harry genuinely thought they were just taking too much space in front of the canned goods. He detached his mouth from Draco’s, stepped to the right, and turned to offer an apology when he was greeted by the most fearsome yet ridiculously recognisable moustache ever.

For the next few seconds, Harry didn’t feel like he was still able to blink or breathe—and much less talk—anymore, but his mouth seemed to resent his brain’s and body’s inabilities and decided to just run with it.

‘Hi, Uncle Vernon, how’s it going?’ he heard himself say before realising that Aunt Petunia was there too and that she was unnaturally white—contrasting vividly with Vernon’s excessive redness—but above all that they had just seen him kissing a man.

Neither Uncle Vernon nor Aunt Petunia reacted to his greetings in any way and, seriously, it wasn’t as if Harry expected them to. He hadn’t expected himself to greet them, after all.

‘’Ello, my name is Drrago,’ Draco finally said, cutting through the silence like a slashing hex. ‘I am a friend of ’Arry’s. A very good friend, yes.’

Harry didn’t know if he was turned on by the fake French accent, if he wanted to hit Draco very hard in the leg for his satisfied smirk, or if he just wanted to laugh very loudly and uncomfortably at the saucy wink.

‘You’re one of those too, then,’ Uncle Vernon said, looking straight at Harry and ignoring Draco completely.

‘Er, it depends what “one of those” is, I guess,’ Harry said.

‘A gay,’ said Aunt Petunia harshly. Though, the hatefulness of her tone was balanced by how hilariously constipated she looked.

Normally, Harry would have answered this by “no”; he would have said—like he’d told every Sunday rag in the whole wide Wizarding world—that not only did he loathe labels, he wasn’t gay but bisexual. Even if Draco was more than enough for him and he never planned on leaving him for a woman, Harry felt he owed it to Ginny, who, despite being his only girlfriend to date, he had loved very much, and had lovedhaving sex with, too. Though most of the sex with Ginny consisted of pegging, which most people didn’t even consider to be very heterosexual.

But that really wasn’t the point. And his relatives didn’t really care for an answer on that front anyway.

‘Is he one of your kind, too?’ asked Vernon, with a finger rudely pointed at Draco.

‘Er…is he gay?’ Harry figured that if they’d guessed about Harry, they could guess about the bloke he’d been kissing, too.

‘No!’ Aunt Petunia whisper-screamed, ‘is he a…a wizard?’ She said “wizard” the same way some people said “Voldemort”, quietly and as quickly as one removes an old band-aid. Harry was half a mind to ask her to repeat it, just because of the humorous way her face was pinched when she was disgusted.

‘But of course, I am, Madame!’ Draco answered very seriously and very pompously, fake accent still firmly in place. He took her right hand between both his own and started shaking it enthusiastically. ‘I’m very delighted to finally meet wiz you! ’Arry ’as talked so much about you!’

And that was when Harry realised the deep crap he was in. Because no, he hadn’t talked so much about his relatives. He hadn’t talked about them at all and he doubted Draco even knew he had any before meeting them in Sainsbury’s.

And one could argue that perhaps moving in with somebody without telling them about your atrocious childhood’s experiences wasn’t such a good idea, but Harry liked that Draco didn’t really care about his tragic past. He liked that his boyfriend refused to read the bazillion unauthorized Harry Potter biographies and magazine articles about him. ‘I don’t want to inflate your head even more than it already is,’ Draco would say before specifying which kind of head was infinitely more important to him.

So yeah, Harry had never told him about Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, about the closet under the stairs, and about Dudley chucking him into a skip. And maybe Hermione would regularly tell him that it wasn’t a good basis for a relationship, but Draco was a self-centered git anyway and hadn’t asked either, so it was his fault too. And when had seven years of schoolboy rivalry and being on opposite sides of a war been a good basis for a relationship anyway?

After what seemed an eternity, Draco finally let go of Petunia’s hand and took hold of Vernon’s, his face beaming fakely. ‘And you, my good Sir! It is such a great ’onour to be able to shake your ’and.’ Harry knew the devious look on Draco’s face like he knew the I must not tell lies on the back of his hand and could tell this wouldn’t end well. ‘’Arry and I would be so ’appy if you both were to come to dinner wiz us zis Friday night.’

What?

Harry’s heart skipped a beat. He knew he’d have to endure Draco’s wrath for not telling him about his relatives, but he’d expected nothing more than a bit of embarrassment in the supermarket, a lot a whining at home, and a few demands for sexual favours. Not the disaster of epic proportions this proposition promised to be.

And maybe it was Harry’s fault: because if he’d told Draco about the Dursleys, the prat would never even have the idea of inviting them ’round for dinner. But never in hell would Vernon accept an invitation from a quirky gay magical foreigner, would he? He hated magic, disliked foreigners, seemed so far to despise gays, and most of all, loathed quirky.

Harry only had a beat to feel confident that everything would turn out okay before he distinctly heard Vernon say, ‘Why, yes, of course, Friday, we’ll be there.’

WHAT?

Draco was still holding Vernon’s hand in his and Vernon didn’t look like he wanted to let go either, and was his boyfriend Imperiusing his uncle? These sorts of things only happened in cheesy wireless-novels, though, didn’t they? And there was no way Draco was using an Unforgivable in a Muggle shop. Not only was the git not stupid enough to attempt it, but Harry was pretty confident he was a good enough Auror to notice it if that was the case.

Maybe it was the fake French accent? The fake French accent had the capacity to do very weird stuff to Harry’s insides, maybe it worked on the Dursleys too…

Harry must have tuned out longer than he’d thought, because when his mind went back to the conversation at hand, Draco had given away their address, a time to arrive and which wine would be better with the meal he was planning.

It was very, very strained, but Vernon was kind-of smiling while he and Petunia were walking down the canned goods aisle and towards the cashiers.

It was completely, surreal and if it was a dream, Harry never had such a vivid dream since Voldemort had left the building. He had to do something though, he couldn’t let such a horrible thing as dinner with the Dursleys at a flat he shared with Draco Malfoy happen.

‘He’s not even really French!’ Harry called out desperately.

Petunia just glanced at him with an annoyed and puzzled look on her face, and went on walking. This dinner would definitely be happening, and Harry was doomed.

Once they were alone again, Harry didn’t manage to get a word out of his gobsmacked self before they were in the car park, ready to Apparate back home.

‘You didn’t Imperius my uncle, though, did you?’

Draco rolled his eyes, and Harry thought he wasn’t even going to grace his question with an answer.

‘Of course I didn’t, you knob,’ he said as he grabbed Harry by the hips, ‘I just let him feel the tip of my wand from under my sleeve, that’s all.’

Harry felt a hook pulling at his navel, and they were gone.

 

ooo

 

 

 

‘You do know, Harry, that, despite his nickname, this child is actually not a teddy bear?’

Andromeda was giving Harry her sternest look and he suddenly felt ten times more uncomfortable than he already did, kneeling on Draco’s priceless—but itchy as hell— Persian rug and his head in the Floo, trying not to inhale any smoke.

‘Of course I know that! Why would you even say that?’

‘It just happens that you have a strong tendency to use him just like a child would use his comfort blanket: holding it tight and hiding behind it when you’re scared of something.’

‘I resent that! I’m a Gryffindor, and…’

‘And I’m a Slytherin. What exactly is your point?’ She cut in with the kind of naked wisdom that sometimes frightened Harry.

‘I’m not scared per se. And I don’t want to use Teddy as a teddy bear. I just thought that if there was a child there, people would maybe act less…er, rude maybe?’

Andromeda gave him her patented unimpressed look, and even if it made him want to swallow back what he’d just said, he chose to stand by it. Wanting Teddy there at a family reunion was totally legitimate, after all.

‘Harry,’ she began with not-quite-a-sigh, ‘I love you very much, and you know that never in any world would I dream of keeping Teddy away from you, don’t you?’

Harry nodded slowly, and it seemed to satisfy Andromeda well enough for her to continue:

‘But there is no way I’m letting my grandson in the vicinity of these people, knowing what they did to the last magical orphan they encountered.’

‘Come on, they weren’t…’

The glacial look Andromeda shot him kept Harry from finishing his sentence. So yeah, maybe the Dursleys were that bad, and maybe after all the Voldemort crap he’d been in, Harry had a tendency of relativising his childhood a bit too much, (and maybe this was one of the reasons he hadn’t talked about it to Draco yet, even after the fight they’d had coming back from the supermarket), but that wasn’t the point right now. Not at all.

‘All right, forget that I said anything,’ Harry finally replied. ‘But if I don’t survive this dinner, you’ll be the one doing the explaining to Teddy.’

‘Goodbye, Harry,’ Andromeda said with a fond smile.

 

ooo

 

 

 

Harry had tried everything, everything.

The third time he’d begged Hermione to procure him a Time Turner, she threatened to report him to the Ministry. The shine in her eyes had been most serious, and he knew that even ten years of friendship wouldn’t stop such an annoyed Hermione.

He thought seriously about getting sick or breaking a limb, but that would just force him home and Draco would have no problem healing him anyway. Getting sent on a mission abroad seemed undoable at such short notice, and getting kidnapped by a Dark Wizard was a very difficult thing to plan ahead of time.

One day passed and then another, and things with Draco weren’t tense (they still had sex and laughed at each other’s jokes and Harry still saw the whole world in Draco’s eyes), but they avoided the subject of Friday night’s dinner enough to make it the big blue-spotted Erumpent in the room every time they had a conversation about more than whose turn it was to Vanish the trash.

Harry really wanted to talk about it, though. Not only because it might dissuade Draco to go on with this hellish dinner, but just to get it off his chest. To talk about it with somebody else and have someone tell him that the hole in his chest and the irremediable sadness he felt when he thought about it were normal. He wanted to not be so ashamed of his childhood anymore.

The problem was that he really did not want to be pitied about it. He could feel it sometimes: when he was at Andromeda’s and she noticed that he didn’t really understand something as simple as reading a bedtime story to Teddy; when he was helping Ron and Hermione with some menial work and Hermione’s eyes would linger on Dudley’s old clothes he still wore on occasion; when Molly sometimes looked at him with wetness in her eyes and he suddenly felt like the ten year-old boy who didn’t know what it really was like having parents. Harry hated this feeling.

And above all, he didn’t want Draco to pity him. One of the first and main reasons he liked Draco (or maybe loved, but that was too scary a thing to comprehend right now), after all, was that he didn’t care for any of Harry’s bullshit and would never, ever mollycoddle him. Draco didn’t hero-worship him nor did he care for him like an orphan. He treated him as an equal despite the history between them and the whole Saviour thing. There were not a lot of people who he hadn’t already been friends with before the war who were able to do this.

Harry liked him because, despite being a sneaky bastard, Draco was always true to him. He never hid his emotions where Harry was concerned, and Harry hated that he was the one keeping secrets in their relationship. But he wouldn’t be able to stand it if Draco ever had a reason to find him weak.

And everything about the Dursleys made him feel weak. Especially now that he had more perspective and realised what they had really done to him, and how wrong it had been.

Harry had really not wanted the Dursleys to see him kissing a man in a supermarket. He had really not wanted to see them ever again.

And then Friday arrived.

 

ooo

 

 

 

Draco’s voice woke Harry up a good half hour before the time he usually emerged on training days.

‘Merlin’s wrinkled arse, Potter! What have you done?’

Harry blearily blinked the sleep out if his eyes.

‘What are you talking about?’ he mumbled, sitting up in the bed.

Draco was already dressed but not yet groomed, and he looked absolutely furious. ‘Don’t play the innocent Boy Who Was Manipulated By Everything And Everyone. This definitely is your doing. Do you even realise how events are likely to unfold tonight?’

You’re the one who invited the Dursleys! Why the hell am I supposedly responsible for the hellish dinner from hell we’re gonna live tonight?’

‘Well, maybe you had not realised exactly why I’d invited your relatives to dinner,’ Draco said as he began pacing at the foot of the bed with his hands flying in front of him, giving the scene way too much drama for this early in the morning. ‘But my intention was to spook them a bit, to act a bit too extravagantly and, in the whole, to make them as uncomfortable as possible…’

Draco went on ranting, but Harry’s weak morning brain function wasn’t able to process further than that. Because this sounded weirdly like one of Draco’s light revenge plans worked. And if he’d decided to enact one of those, maybe it meant he knew more about Harry’s life with the Dursleys than Harry had thought…

Harry felt his heart starting to beat a tiny bit more quickly than usual, and his palms began to sweat. Draco couldn’t know about his childhood, though. He’d have mentioned it before, he wouldn’t start this kind of scheme before talking to Harry first, would he?

Draco was no longer the kind of sneaky bastard who’d do that. He was still a sneaky bastard, mind, but not this kind.

‘Seriously, Harry. These people are supposed to be your family—and all right, they’re just Muggles, you can’t expect too much from them—but did you see the way they were looking at you?’

Well, it wasn’t really different from the way they’d always looked at me, Harry thought, and, given the way Draco was already fuming, he wasn’t sure he wanted to say it out loud.

‘Just because you had the audacity to kiss a man in public. I hate this sort of raging homophobes. I hate how they forget all about being family just because of whom you like to rub your genitals against.’

Such a passionate Draco talking about genitals was getting a bit too hard for Harry to resist, and he really needed his boyfriend to come to his point if he wanted to be on time to work.

‘Your family isn't supposed to leave you hanging just because you don’t fit the perfectly perfect plan they had for you!’

Oh. Was it what it was all about? Harry had tried to talk to Draco about what had happened with his parents, but it was a subject he categorically refused to discuss. Harry had no idea how a family who’d done so much for each other could fall apart like that, and mostly what Lucius and Narcissa could have done for Draco to reject every single attempt they made at contacting him.

‘Draco, you know your parents didn’t…’

‘What I know is that my parents are coming to dinner too,’ Draco cut in.

What? At this, Harry just drew a blank. Draco was looking at him accusingly and Harry had sincerely no idea how that came to be.

Andromeda Owled,’ Draco elaborated. ‘She said my parents had heard about us having a little family reunion, and that they wanted so much to meet their son’s potential in-laws… This is entirely your fault, Potter.’

It was true that without Harry telling Andromeda about the dinner, the Malfoys certainly would never have learnt about it, but as far as it all being Harry’s fault… Harry had learned quite early in his relationship with Draco that it was rare a time when a Malfoy wanted to do something and didn’t find a way to do it, whatever the circumstances.

Harry let himself fall back down in bed and let out a deep breath. ‘Please tell me you don’t hate me right now, because I really need someone who doesn’t hate me there tonight.’

Harry angled his head just enough to see a half-smile form on Draco’s face and belie the aggravated sigh that followed. ‘Don’t be melodramatic, Potter.’—and wasn’t that a pot and kettle situation?—‘I obviously don’t hate you,’ he said softly, ‘and my parents can in no way afford to, either,’ he went on more darkly. ‘And I seriously doubt your relatives hate you. They might be Muggles, but you did save them too, Mister Vanquisher of the Dark Lord. You taking it up the arse certainly can’t change that, can it?’

Draco was back to getting ready for work and Harry was glad he didn’t have to find an answer to that question. He didn’t know if the Dursleys hated him less now than they did when he was ten, but he was sure that what Vernon would refer to as his abnormal sexuality certainly hadn’t sweetened the situation.

‘Please refrain from mentioning my arse during dinner tonight!’ He cried out just before hearing the telltale sounds of Draco Flooing away and laughing way louder than he should.

 

ooo

 

 

 

They hadn’t talked a lot about what exactly dinner with the Dursleys would entail, mainly because Harry didn’t want to talk about it at all, and if Draco wanted so much to invite them, he’d be the one to organise and cook and decide which one from Firewhiskey or elvin wine would offend them the least (or the most, depending on what he was aiming for). The only rule Harry had given him was strict: no magic in front of the Dursleys. None whatsoever.

The problem was they hadn’t had time to share this golden rule with the elder Malfoys. To say Harry had worried all day about how disastrously the Dursleys/Malfoy meet and greet would go was not an exaggeration at all.

When Harry had entertained the thought of introducing Draco to his Muggle relatives for the first time—back when it’d been such a hypothetical idea that there had been no reason for Harry to actually fear it—he’d always imagined he’d begin easy. Have Draco and Dudley casually meet in a neutral environment, for not more than an hour, former bully to former bully, and have the conversation concentrate on how sorry they were for what they’d made Harry endure.

But even if Dudley had become a bit less of an obnoxious bastard with adulthood, there was a reason Harry had not felt ready to introduce him to Draco yet. And if he wasn’t ready for that, then he was definitely not ready for the Dursleys to meet Lucius and Narcissa (Largely because he suspected it would result in the Apocalypse).

So, of course, because Harry’d wanted to come home early enough to have a nice relaxing bath and psychologically prepare himself for the evening, he got stuck in a stake out for two hours with Wiggins, who spent the whole time describing every symptom of his Niffler’s oedema in excruciating detail.

Life was not good right now, and Harry really hoped, after everything was said and done, he’d at least get laid for all his troubles. He crossed his fingers for the Malfoys not to upset their son like they always did these times. Harry didn’t know what had exactly happened between them, but it manifestly was far from resolved if Draco’s reaction to his parents’ coming tonight was anything to go by.

It always saddened Harry to think about how the Malfoys got from sacrificing everything for each other like they did in the War to a “childish intergenerational feud” as Andromeda usually called it. She didn’t know what it was all about either, and Harry didn’t want to force anyone, especially not Draco, to talk about anything they weren’t comfortable with, especially his fight with his parents. It had nothing to do with Harry wanting to keep his own secrets too. Nothing at all.

Harry came home to three different voices shouting. He left his cloak on the coat rack, counted to ten, took a big breath in and entered the living room.

‘I really didn’t think a man of your waist-size could afford to criticize a nobleman’s appearance!’ Lucius was snarling loudly, right into Uncle Vernon’s face.

‘What do you mean, a man of my size?!’ Vernon roared, his face positively purple.

‘STOP IT VERNON, THEY HAVE MAGIC STICKS!’ Petunia shrieked as she pulled on Vernon’s jacket-sleeve in vain.

Harry spared a look to Narcissa, who was tranquilly sipping her white wine as if nothing could disturb her ever (and maybe nothing could).

No one acknowledged Harry’s arrival, and he wondered if he should signal it by clearing his throat or just leave and hope no one had noticed he’d been there at all.

As soon as he’d thought it, this plan was promptly annihilated, as Draco came in with a plate of smoked salmon on toast and a huge grin on his face.

‘’Arry! You’re ’ere at last! We’ve all been impatiently waiting for you!’ His voice was unnaturally high and so loud it even drowned out Aunt Petunia’s hysterical screaming. Or maybe everybody had just shut up. Harry just hoped no one had cast Silencio on anybody.

Draco set down the plate he was carrying on the coffee table between Vernon and Lucius and threw his arms around Harry’s neck as if they hadn’t seen each other for several months. He then proceeded to thoroughly snog Harry like his life depended on it.

From the corner of his eye, Harry could see Lucius’s irritation, Narcissa’s indifference and the Dursleys’ outrage, and he didn’t know if it was despite or because of them, but he sneaked his arms around Draco’s waist and returned his frantic kissing at once.

When they finally detached their mouths from each other’s, the Dursleys had sat back down and Lucius was munching forlornly on a piece of toast.

‘Zis is what your people call Frrrench kissing, I think,’ Draco finally said with one of his stupid winks.

Harry could feel his cheeks burning and fixed his stare on his shoes. He definitely didn’t want to know how disgusted the Dursleys looked or how irritated the Malfoys must be by their son’s French accent, because it certainly wouldn’t bode well for anybody.

Harry sat in one of the armchairs, and while he thought Draco would take the other one, Harry soon found himself with a lapful of blond git.

It was making everybody uncomfortable, and Harry did not have to wonder long to guess it was exactly Daco’s intention. Harry simply didn’t know if making himuncomfortable was a part of Draco’s ploy too.

‘These toasts are very good, Draco,’ Narcissa said after clearing her throat. She’d definitely been the one the least bothered by Draco’s antics, and Harry knew Draco wouldn’t let her get away with it. ‘It appears the old House-Elf Andromeda tells me you’re using is less useless than we thought.’

Harry could almost feel the Dursleys’ faces blanching at the word Elf, and the satisfied smile it gave Draco.

‘Oh it wasn’t Krrrreacher,’ Draco said lightly. ‘I did the ’ole meal all by myself, wiz my own ’ands.’

Harry didn’t think he’d live the day he saw Narcissa Malfoy splutter. The Malfoys’ faces turned white as fast as the Dursleys’ had. And while the latter seemed momentarily relieved to find out that no mythical creature had had their hands on their food, Draco added: ‘Wiz my ’ands and my magic wand also, of course.’

Harry would have laughed, he really would have, except there were four murderous stares turned to his boyfriend, and he really, really didn’t want things to degenerate.

‘Er, maybe we should just take our seats, and start dinner, then?’

Draco seemed to take it as an invitation to snog him again, after exclaiming, ‘What a wonderful idea, ’Arry!’ Harry was suddenly very glad that Aunt Petunia’s wish of being magical like her sister was never granted, because her eyes were screaming Avada Kedavra at both of them.

‘He’s not really French, you know,’ Harry felt the need to specify when Draco leapt to his feet and showed them to the salle à manger. Nobody seemed to care.

 

ooo

 

 

 

The eating of Draco’s snails (‘We call zem escargots in my country’) entrée was spent in almost silence except for Draco’s prattle about how lovingly he’d cooked the whole dinner with his bare hands and his very powerful and very magical wand.

Harry intellectually knew that it was all utter crap, and that Kreacher’s mark was scattered all over the food. Perhaps everyone knew it, the same way they knew Draco’s closest French ancestor had died in the late eighteenth century, but it was still absolutely fascinating how Draco managed to upset his parents and to completely freak the Dursleys out at the same time.

Draco’s mission of shocking two absolutely opposite sets of people at the same time, without giving any of them any respite, had obviously been accomplished. The question now was if he’d be able to keep it up right until dessert, but Harry wasn’t worried. Draco’s stamina definitely was one of his forte.

Draco’s subtlety, on the other hand...

‘Yes, I really like cooking snails for my dear ’Arry. Zey say it is aphrodisiac food, after all, and ’Arry and I love aphrodisiac foods.’

Harry was kept from answering coherently by Draco’s foot on the inseam of his trousers, but he didn’t think anybody actually noticed.

The Dursleys’ faces were doing a quite lovely variation on the colour red, and Narcissa seemed to be trying to hold her head as high as possible, lest she had to acknowledge her son’s clearly un-Malfoy-ish rudeness. Harry also suspected her of being tempted to take a sip of the calming draught he’d seen her slip Lucius.

All in all, Harry was having way more fun than he’d anticipated, and felt incredibly comforted in his foolish idea of pursuing a romantic relationship with Draco Malfoy.

‘So, um,’ Narcissa uttered, struggling to keep her poise. ‘How do you, um, non-magical people, like to travel? I hear aero—airplanes are quite...ingenious.’

The Dursleys seemed as taken aback by this question as Harry, and he had the morbid curiosity of someone watching a broom accident in seeing how this conversation would unfold.

‘What are you insinuating?’ Uncle Vernon asked suspiciously, and—seriously?—what was there to be suspicious about in this question? There was paranoid, and then there was paranoid.

‘Come on, Narcissa, refrain from asking the monkeys any questions. Isn’t it enough that we have to witness this man feeding his facial hair?’ Lucius mumbled. Maybe the calming draught had worked, but it certainly had done nothing to inhibit Lucius’s obnoxiousness.

‘I forbid you—!’ Vernon had thrown his napkin on the floor and was already half standing up, his face as red as ever, and the vein in his temple beating furiously.

‘Vernon!’ Petunia was whispering as loudly as she dared. ‘Vernon, don’t! They have magic wands!’

Vernon freed his arm from her grip with one ample gesture and his chair clattered on to the hard wood floor.

‘Stop with the magic wands rubbish, Petunia. I know these people have laws too, and a ministry and everything, and they certainly won’t dare harming us!’

‘See if I care about the Ministry, you two-footed Muggle pig!’ Lucius said under his breath at the same time Draco exclaimed loudly, ‘Yes, zey do ’ave a ministry and employees entrusted of implementing the law! And my beautiful ’Arry is the best of zem all, aren’t you?’

Harry could without a doubt pinpoint the moment Vernon got exactly what Draco was implying. The colour visibly drained from his face and Harry knew he was thinking back of all these times he’d pushed Harry around a little bit, and how even if Harry had made it clear he himself had no intention of making anybody pay, he still was on the ideal side of the law if he wanted to just let it happen.

Vernon almost forgot to pick up his chair when he sat back down and Draco snorted loudly enough to make him know they’d all noticed. There was a real shade of pain on Uncle Vernon’s face, and Harry couldn’t really muster feeling guilty about not sympathizing with him.

‘Very well,’ Draco broke the silence with a cheery, ‘I’ll go get the vol-au-vents, then!’, and left them in a most awkward silence, especially for someone who wasn’t having as much fun as Harry was.

‘He really isn’t French, though,’ Harry said as seriously as he could manage.

 

ooo

 

 

 

There were three different dishes and Draco insisted to serve everyone himself. He was quite used to doing things the Muggle way, after all. He’d repeated this enough times that Lucius was completely gone by now. He was downing his fifth glass of wine, and Narcissa wasn’t event trying to stop him anymore.

The effects of mixing alcohol and calming draught promised to be quite entertaining.

The Dursleys had literally kept their head down ever since Draco had left for the plat de résistance, and the effect was rather comical.

Harry was feeling better and better by the minute, and by the looks Draco was giving him, the fun wasn’t going to end with their families’ departure.

Plus, vol-au-freaking-vents were absolutely delicious. The flaky pastry formed a kind of cylindrical pot in which you put the meat and its creamy sauce and the mix of flavours and textures was absolutely divine.

‘Do you want more meat in your ’ole, ’Arry? I know you do like it verrrry much...’ Draco said way too loudly.

‘Enough, Draco! That’s enough!’ Narcissa suddenly screamed, and when Harry detached his gaze from Draco’s tantalizing mouth, he could see it was her turn to stand up.

Harry could grant Narcissa that she’d done it with way more finesse than Vernon, though. Lucius was looking at her with a sudden lust that could have made Harryvery uncomfortable if he hadn’t been too shit-faced to talk, let alone act on it.

‘How dare you? We’ve accepted your little games with the silly accent and persona, but we do not deserve this, Draco. I understand why you’d have the desire to punish them, after what they’ve done, but it was clear for us that we had gone past our slight disagreement a while ago. So don’t be a child, and start behaving a bit more respectfully, please.’

She’d sat back down almost right away and was ready to go on eating in her most dignified way, but it seemed Draco was having none of it.

‘We haven’t gone past our “slight disagreement”, as you put it, Mum. We haven’t gone past it, at all,’ Draco growled. ‘You think you’re so much better than them, do you?’ he asked with his whole arm thrown towards the Dursleys—and what did he actually know about the Dursleys? It worried Harry a lot. ‘You really are not. ‘Because if you had known about me...if you had known as early as the Dursleys had known about Harry’s magic, don’t tell me you would have treated me better than they did him.’

Harry felt like he’d been kicked in the throat. If Draco knew...why did he...? How did he...? And his parents...what was it really all about?

‘If you had known about me earlier, would you still have lied to the Dark Lord for me? Would you still have saved Harry?’ Draco went on, with something deeper than hurt in his voice.

Harry really didn’t want to be part of this conversation, he wanted to be far away from here and not have to witness something so painful. And he really wanted to take Draco with him.

Narcissa’s expression wasn’t giving anything away. As far as Harry could tell, she was likely to burst into tears, bolt, or slap Draco in the face. She sneaked a glance at Harry, and suddenly it was obvious that she knew pretty well what Draco was referring to when he’d mentioned the Dursleys’ treatment of Harry.

It’d been quite stupid for Harry to believe it could have been kept a secret from anyone, even people he knew for sure had never set eyes on any of his unauthorised biographies. Even from Draco.

‘Maybe this is a discussion we should be having a bit more privately, Draco. You seem to be making Harry uncomfortable.’ There was a kind of viciousness in Narcissa's tone, and yes this conversation was making him uncomfortable, and he hated that it was Draco who’d started it, but there was no way he was going to side with her on that.

Draco’s hand squeezing his thigh reassuringly under the table comforted him on this stance. It comforted him about everything. He settled his hand on Draco’s and squeezed, and knew in that moment that whatever secrets they’d kept from each other, what they had was stronger.

‘Maybe most people at this table should realise that, to get past an issue, apologising is often strongly needed, Mum.’

This sentence was clearly not only addressed to Narcissa, and the Dursleys perked up. Lucius let his head fall in his arms next to his plate and began snoring.

‘Mr and Mrs Dursley, is there anything you wish to say to Harry ?’

Vernon and Petunia were watching Draco with rounded eyes and pinched faces, their mouths opening and closing like a fish’s, and Harry gripped Draco’s hand tighter in his, as he felt his heart start beating faster.

No way. There was no way the Dursleys would apologise to him. Harry’s brain couldn’t fathom the idea.

‘Did you know, Harry,’ Draco said conversationally, his gaze still on his mother, ‘that the only reason my parents deigned to speak to me after learning I was of the homosexual persuasion—after telling me they didn’t wish for me to be their son anymore—was because I was dating you? Because they wanted to use our relationship to get back into Wizarding high society.’

Harry’s mouth became dry as he felt the guilt starting to make its way inside his chest. He understood now why Draco had been so stubborn in not answering his parents’ incessant Floo calls, and why he didn’t want to burden Harry with the knowledge of what had really happened.

‘They only just said that they wished to forget our disagreement, but they never apologised, did they?’

There was something strongly resembling shame on Narcissa’s face, and Harry couldn’t help being glad for it.

‘When we met your relatives in the Muggle shop, Harry, the first thought that came to my mind was that they’d never apologised to you either. I mostly knew about what they did to your childhood because I asked Granger after hearing you talking in your sleep once, but I don’t think I need to know more. I didn’t want my parents to infiltrate this dinner, but I’m kind of glad, now. The Muggles think they’re so much better than magical folks, and the Pureblood think they’re so much better than Muggles. Let’s see who are the biggest arseholes and who will dare ask forgiveness for treating their flesh and blood like utter crap.’

Harry didn’t think the silence that followed would ever end.

He still had Draco’s hand in his and when he looked him in the eyes, he understood. He understood that Draco would do anything for him, that Draco would never hold the Dursleys against Harry, that he would never dare pitying him.

Maybe the Dursleys would never apologise and never say thank you. Maybe the Malfoys would never be willing to admit their wrongs. Maybe Harry would always have this little hole inside his heart, and maybe Draco had one too.

But it didn’t really matter because Harry had Draco and Draco had Harry, and there were éclairs for dessert.

 

fin