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When Push Comes to Shove

Chapter Text

It starts after Scorpius Malfoy starts visiting more often over summer break, the hot summer days bleeding seamlessly into the next to give an impression that all this time has been one long day. Scorpius is so often a gleeful presence in the Potter house that Harry very nearly forgets he’s not his. He wouldn’t mind it if he was.

Draco drops him off during the day before he heads to work at the Ministry (normally with Harry and Hermione and Ron in tow), and picks him up in the evenings; on particularly late nights in the office, Scorpius sometimes stays the night, and Harry even invites Draco to eat dinner with them. Draco makes the effort to accept every time, but maybe it’s because Harry’s a fantastic cook.

Ginny seems okay with it. Wholeheartedly agrees, even, when Harry makes suggestions for the three of them to spend more time in one another’s company. She’s civil when she greets him when he Floos; asks him if he’d like seconds at dinner (he usually does).

It’s the Daily Prophet that begins it all, a situation the bleeds distrust and encourages uncertain conclusion-jumping. Ginny find the ad a couple of months before Albus’ 7th year in Hogwarts, a barely visible little moving square in the bottommost corner of a boring middle page. It reads (Harry notices as Ginny skips with a gleeful smile a purposely path toward the fireplace),

Aunt Glavos’ Psychic Readings
Help Wanted. Will train any determined Witch in the art of Psychic reading.
M T T F, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Walk-ins welcome.

Harry has always noticed his wife’s interest in such a magical theory, and in truth, it isn’t really odd enough to fret over when she arrives hours later in from the fireplace, hair frizzy and sticking to her head from the heat and humid air, with a smile of triumph over her lips.

 

“Harry, hun, I’ve gotta be at Glavos’ in thirty-seven minutes. I suspect – envision – that she’ll hang me from my toes if I’m late again.” Ginny states urgently as she hurries about the kitchen, towel-drying her wet orange hair with enough ferocity to rub her scalp raw. She doesn’t sit to eat, nor does she even prepare a plate, but she does pluck a piece of round sausage from a warm skillet to drop down her gullet. She continues this same maneuver – quick as usual, what with the delicate time she has before work – but with the crispy bits of bacon and warm slices of toast. It’s the sort of thing you’d see from a comedy show, Harry muses absent-mindedly as he watches from the island. He almost expects her to follow the toast down with a few squirts of the squeezable jam left open on the counter, but she doesn’t. Instead, she washes down the dry crumbs and grease with a small glass of orange juice.

Harry’s still watching her hurry about, unused to the very scene even as he’s lived it almost every day for two weeks, when she turns abruptly on her heel and kisses him chastely on the lips. “I’ll be going now, dear. Tell Albus he, Lily, and Scorpius can order out tonight before you leave – don’t wait up.”

And like that, the bright-eyed wife and mother of his children has disappeared in a rush of green smoke, the Floo network presumably pulling her through to a place in Diagon Alley.

It isn’t 5 minutes – and several cleaned dishes on Harry’s part – later that he hears the fireplace erupt in a colored blaze once more, but even in Harry’s most oblivious moments, he can’t convince himself that that pretentious gait and snapping heels belongs to Ginevra Weasley; especially when there are two sets of somewhat similar footfalls echoing to the kitchen. “Draco,” Harry greets lightly when the prominent pair of steps pause in the doorway of the kitchen, the second, lighter steps disappearing at an excited run down the hall. Harry doesn’t turn, but simply dries another cup. He’s nearly finished when a taller figure appears, mature and a bit brooding, at his elbow.

The outline of the man doesn’t verbalize his greeting, but does reach around Harry to retrieve one of the few dishes that Harry hasn’t managed to dry yet. With a second drying rag (even when both men are clearly capable wizards with wands at the ready), he silently begins the ministrations Harry has nearly completed. “I take it Ginny has already left?” Draco states, a slight uplift insinuating his question, and the brunette’s head bobs a bit.

“She has, she has. Hasn’t been able to shut up about the place since she started there; says she’s well on her way to being a ‘psychic’.” Harry replies with all the excitement of a child who’s been stood up by their parent. “It’s ruddy annoying’s what it is. She thinks she can read my mind, even when I tell her she’s wrong.”

A smirk appears on Draco’s face, one that anyone can agree belongs there. Quite an odd picture, the two of them likely are; two powerful Aurors with the ability to take down the most perilous of criminals, doing the dishes by hand. It’d be funny if it weren’t so oddly therapeutic, relaxing in a way only lackadaisical productivity can be.

“Jealous that she can, and you can’t?” Draco jokes with a competitive edge to it, and it brings back the nostalgia of Hogwarts. It’s a nice reminiscence, but then Harry’s eyebrows furrow.

He shakes his head. “No, I’m serious. That Glavos character’s got Gin convinced she’s a psychic. Nothing I say makes her believe otherwise, whether she’s ‘reading my mind’ or not.”

The smirk drops, mostly to hide his slight disappointment that his bait hadn’t worked. It’s one thing to bring up Hogwarts; bring it back is a whole other story. “Have you considered that maybe, as is your nature, you’re being too paranoid? Not that paranoia has kept you from danger before, mind you.” Draco suggests, and it’s almost light, almost flippant, almost uncaring, but Harry glances up to see the Malfoy staring at him like he’s just given the best advice ever.

Harry sighs lowly. “Perhaps you’re right, Draco.” He states. “Though I wouldn’t put it past a witch to curse a vulnerable girl.”

Draco nearly snorts at the ridiculousness of the statement. “Do you often use words with such degrading meaning to describe women? Explains why you were never really very popular when it came to relationships. Lucky one stuck, huh?” Draco teases harmlessly, and Harry very nearly laughs aloud at this.

“Ah- dad? You better hurry or you and Draco’ll be late,” Albus calls from the kitchen entry, then lazily enters to swipe a couple of drinks for him and Scorpius. “Scorpius says ‘see ya’.” The kid states to no one in particular. Harry and Draco meet eyes, two pairs of gems in Slytherin colors exchanging words that needn’t be spoken aloud.

“We should go, then.” Harry says, because, honestly, he can’t catch social cues.

Chapter Text

More and more often, the longer she learns under Glavos, she seems to catch little things that appear… off. For a friendship, she means. The slightly lingering looks that seem to speak a thousand words, the exchanging of small, intimate smiles… Ginny begins to develop her own suspicions, and almost regrets her decision to apply for a job if it meant Harry would spend less time with her and more time with an attractive bachelor he still has chemistry (if only from rivalry) with.

She approaches Harry the next time they see one another in the kitchen. Albus is asleep on the couch and Scorpius has just left with Draco, and Harry is blissfully drinking a cup of soothing tea. “Harry.”

Harry glances up at his wife with a warm smile. “Ginny?” The smile falters when it is returned with a grimace.

“You’re cheating on me, aren’t you,” Ginny states, voice deadpanned and face void of any sort of emotion. It’s alarming to see the face he’s said “I love you” to a thousand times so grim and despairing, and his heart constricts at her words; so convinced that he could disregard such an important concept to hurt her.

Harry’s eyes widen in horror. “What? No! Why would you think that?”

“You’ve been hanging out with Draco a lot.”

“Ginny,” He says slowly. “I work with him. And his son is our son’s best friend. It isn’t a…” He seems to realize her implication and blushes horribly. “Wait – Draco?! Why-?! Ginny… I’m straight. And Draco and I are barely friends.”

“You don’t have to be friends to have an affair.”

“I’m not cheating!” He insists, anger starting to spark in his stomach. To have someone he trusts so much display this sort of attitude… “I love you. You. I would never hurt you like that.”

Ginny seems unconvinced, but nods anyway.

Chapter Text

The next time she brings it up, they’re at Hermione Granger’s parents’ house for Hermione’s birthday (albeit belatedly – they’d had one in London, too, with Molly and Arthur on the actual day of). It’s a little dinner for family and close friends, and even the kids – Rose, Hugo, Lily, James, and Albus – are unevenly distributed amongst Draco and Molly Weasley. The dinner consists of turkey and gravy, as well as a sweet apple pie and fresh green beans. It tastes exquisite, as if from the hands of professional chefs themselves, and the pie is tooth-rottingly sweet – ironically enough in a house of dentists.

“So, Ginny, it’s been awhile since we’ve talked. What’s new?” Hermione asks brightly, hair cut brilliantly short to expose to the world that she does, in fact, have shoulder, ears, and a neck, unlike her Hogwarts-era hair suggested. She has twinkling blue earring chimes that make special sounds when approaching magical creatures, a sound that’s so beautifully serene you feel it to your toes, she says.

The tension between Harry and Ginny is fine but there, a metaphysical line that literally splits them apart from one another; it’d been a week and a half since their discussion, but Harry has no idea how to better explain why he hasn’t cheated. Isn’t loving her enough? Ginny looks up, and the glint in her eye makes Harry want to either hide or stop her from speech. He does nothing. “Nothing, really. I’m enjoying learning how to be a psychic – makes me learn a lot about a person,” She gestures roughly with her chin at her husband. “Such as, Harry has been having an affair.”

Hermione spits a misty spray of ice water across the table, nearly soaking him. He swallows thickly and irritably. “I have not done!” Ron’s eyes are livid as they land on Harry. He tries to explain, but-

“Save it, dear.”

“I haven’t cheated on you! Why won’t you believe me?”

Ginny shakes her head angrily. “A psychic just knows.” She glares.

“You aren’t psychic!” Harry practically shrieks this part, silverware slamming against wood on either side of his plate. Ginny rubs her face in frustration.

“I am! I am, and you’re cheating on me!”

“Okay, Ginny. Since you’ve brought Ron and ‘Mione into the mix,” Harry begins condescendingly, “why don’t you explain who you think I’m having an affair with.”

Ginny makes a series of angry noises. “Who else?! Draco Malfoy, of course!”

“There you go.” Harry deadpans, looking between Ron and Hermione’s shell-shocked expressions. “I’m apparently, without my knowledge, sleeping with Draco.”

Ron blinks rapidly. He almost laughs at the absurdity of the accusation. “Ginny-“

“This is silly.” Hermione adds, and the couple give each a look before returning their gaze upon the Potters. “Why would you jump to those conclusions?”

Ginny’s brows furrow together. “You should see it! Harry never looks at me the way he does Draco.”

“With suspicion?”

“No, Ron,” Ginny grinds out, annoyed, then sighs. “I’m done. Goodnight, everyone.”

After she’s well out of earshot, Harry sends them both a look. “She hasn’t hardly talked to me in two weeks.”

Chapter Text

The next is in the presence of Draco himself. Harry argues with Ginny, Draco watches with an odd sense of confusion and almost-amusement, mostly at the idea that Ginny thinks her Golden Boy would risk an affair with an ex-death eater. It’s ridiculous and not even worthy of a response, even when Ginny starts sobbing and throwing things (although the amusement is replaced with concern).

Once Ginny has escaped to her room with a slam of the door, Harry looks wide-eyed and horrified at Draco. “This has going on for nearly a month, now. She’s convinced she’s a psychic and that I’m cheating on her. What has gotten into her?”

Draco sips at a cup of tea. “Wish I’d known we’d been sleeping together for weeks,” He teases lightly, “else I may have dressed better when picking up Scorpius.”

Harry chokes on a laugh, rubbing the bridge of his nose with one hand. “Would you like to join us for Christmas dinner at the Burrow? Albus really wants Scorpius there so he can give him his present the day of.”

Draco gives him the side-eye, almost as if he’s about to decline. Instead, he shrugs. “I suppose it wouldn’t end too badly.”

Chapter Text

Except, Ginny is pissed at the very idea. “I will not bring your affair to my parents’ home! You’re my husband, Harry, have a little respect!”

Harry grinds out something about ‘respect’, not even bothering to begin the former argument again. It’s gotten them nowhere, arguing, but neither has talking; Ginny has no sense of self-doubt, even with no forthcoming evidence or even a solid hunch on her side. Harry heavily rolls his eyes.

Ginny’s eyes flash in the face of silence, and James, Albus, and Lily all cower from it. Harry has long since stopped caring that Ginny openly discusses his supposed “affairs” in front of their children; the three of them don’t especially believe her, anyway. There’s an assortment of shrieks from Ginny, but with dull eyes, Harry ignores every word and avoids every hit.

A flash of green smoke erupting from the fireplace in front of them is their only warning of a visitor, and out two Slytherins come, blonde hair and light eyes complementing in the face of the Malfoy house. “Have we missed anything?” Draco asks coolly, avoiding Ginny’s glaring daggers.

“Only that apparently I’m still cheating on my wife.” Harry grumbles in annoyance, brushing past said woman to reach for the floo powder. “The Burrow!”

 

All through dinner, Ginny placed pointedly across from Harry where Draco was meant to sit (the two had silently traded spots), Harry’s wife watches him with the deadliest of stares. Harry, pointedly, ignores the entire endeavor, instead finding himself speaking with Draco and Hermione about Auror work. Every so often, Ginny will make a suggestive comment about something Draco says, and she and Harry exchange horribly tense glares. Every time this happens, smiles around the table slowly fade from the guests’ faces until someone – usually one of the twins or kids – says something that severs the atmosphere. What they can’t succeed in is severing the tension between Ginny and Harry, whom seem to need it the most.

“Alright, I’ve had enough,” A maternal, stern voice cuts through the imposing silence, perhaps the second or third time it’s happened. She gives her daughter and son-in-law a look that causes flushes of shame to rise upon their cheeks, and they stare determinedly at their plates of hardly-touched-food. “What in Merlin’s name has gotten into the two of you?”

Harry sighs, knowing what’s coming, but instead of the ensuing yelling match he’s sure will happen, Ginny promptly bursts into horrible, choked off sobs. Harry’s eyes fly open as wide as they can go – and the glasses propped onto his nose allude to a much larger magnification – in alarm. “G-Ginny?”

“Why do y-you not want me anymore…” She sobs, rubbing at her red face, and Harry shifts uncomfortably.

“Ginny, you’re the one mentally fabricating this idea that I don’t. I really, honestly have no clue where you got the idea, and I have no other way of explaining that you’re totally wrong.”

She shoots a watery glare at her husband, as if his denial pains her physically. Maybe it does. “Then why do you only spend time with him anymore!” She shouts, jumping to her feet in a manner suggesting she’s reclaiming authority over the conversation. Veins lighting in a burning sensation of fury, Harry jumps up, too, his chair skidding with a screech against the floor.

“Because you can’t stand to be around me, obviously!” Harry insists with perhaps the perfect amount of spitting venom. Ginny’s face contorts to something with an unattractive amount of contempt, confirming Harry’s suspicion. He flinches away. Lowly, he approaches with another tactic. “I’m tired, Ginny. I’m so, so tired of being put down for being unfaithful when I haven’t been. I’ve done everything possible to try and convince you – I took Veritaserum, gave you an arsenal of memories for the pensieve. Nothing I do helps. If you still think, after everything, that I’m sleeping with Draco, then that’s on you, but I’m not going to falsely plead guilty.” By the end, Harry’s face has cleared of any sort of pain, a blank slate that looks even sadder than the one before. He turns away from the table and heads to the door to leave.

“Dinner tasted lovely as usual, Molly, but I think I should take… a walk.” He states, even after tasting none of the food on his plate, before exiting the dining room.

The minute the door swings shut, Ginny’s eyes stare unseeingly at Draco. “This is all your fault.”

Draco swallows, not sure how to respond; he can’t imagine anything rude would settle any score, and neither, he finds, does he want to. “If it will console you any, Ginny, I will take the brunt of the blame for this situation. Maybe I should talk to Harry-“

“You will do no such thing,” Ginny bites out in a cruel, unforgiving whisper that hisses loud and clear through the room. “This is your fault! You’ve corrupted him, you filthy, disgusting death eater! I hate you!“

“Ginevra Weasley,” Molly begins, so low and mortified by her daughter’s behavior, and Draco stares at his hands in his lap in an attempt to hide the impact the accusations, how deep they cut. Draco swallows thickly, but can’t hide how audible it is. “Stop it right this minute. Do not lash out on others for mistakes you have made. You upset Harry, not Draco. I expect you to apologize right now.”

“He doesn’t deserve my apology! He’s stealing my husband right under my nose!”

Draco stands nearly silently. His statement is simple, concise, clean cut. “I have had no such intention. You’re running him off with these silly assumptions-“

“But I saw a vision!” She shrieks, tears welling in her eyes again. “If he would just admit to his unfaithfulness, we could go back to normal!”

“I’m not sleeping with your husband.”

“I don’t fucking believe you! You would take him from me at the drop of a hat and you know it!”

Draco looks astonished at such an idea. “You really think me so low?” He pauses, then looks enormously disapproving of Ginny. “You think Harry so low? You’ve been married for, what – 15 or so years – and you knew him all through Hogwarts, yet you honestly believe he would be so disloyal?” He then snorts his amusement. “Or, better yet, that he’d be disloyal to you with me of all people?”

Ginny stares at him for a long time appraisingly, as if trying to find the double-meaning in his words. “But you would if he wasn’t married, wouldn’t you? Snatch him right up.”

Draco blinks, shifting uncomfortably under that gaze and the sudden change in conversation. She starts prowling around the table, coming closer to Draco with every step; his skin begins to crawl. “I- don’t understand. I see no correlation.” He’s genuinely confused. What’s going on? She circles all the way around the table and pauses next Draco for a moment. Suddenly, one of her freckled hands rest against his shoulder, and she leans onto her toes to whisper in his ear.

“Yes, I can imagine that you’d want him. That you do want him. Have you ever touched him before, Draco? It’s truly magical in a way witches and wizards are unused to. You’d never forget, never want to.” She pauses to lick her dried lips, and Draco’s eyebrows furrow in concentration; she’s speaking so softly, he can hardly pick up her voice. “Oh, I bet Harry would let you fuck him if you asked sweetly enough, maybe with a ‘please’. He makes this sound when you touch the very nape of his neck, where the curls are stuck to his sweat-soaked skin; it’s so deliciously wonderful when you catch him off guard, carding your fingers through that patch of hair.” Draco suppresses a shiver, but can’t avoid the negative correlation of his eyebrows rising on his forehead and his cheeks flushing pink.

“I bet you’d be the kind of guy who’d want to lick every inch of his skin, so tan, so mesmerizingly fit… Or maybe you’d make it fast, Vanish his clothes and suck him off quick and mercilessly.” Draco can’t suppress the shiver of delight at the words this time, but it isn’t horribly obvious. He’s frozen in place, and can’t even summon the will to move away from the tantalizing words spilling from her lips. He thinks of anything and nothing, trying to will away the unwelcoming waves of arousal coursing through his veins, but Ginny is not making it easy on him. “And… oh, how slow and torturous he’d fuck you given half the chance. He’d leave you writhing before he even had his cock inside you, have you beg for it like a dying man begging for water. It’d be such a relief to be fucked that you’d almost come the minute his cock entered you, but that’d be horribly slow, just fast enough to keep you on edge. He’d have your hands pinned away from your own cock, not allowing even a bit of friction, and in the end, he’d make you come untouched – just as he grazed your sweet spot—“

Draco jumps away suddenly, as if burnt, his face as hot as the arousal in his bloodstream. He thanks Salazar that his jeans are tight enough to hide the straining of his pants, and turned on his heel to leave. “I have to – go – I –“

“You could never handle Harry, Draco. Just stop whatever you’re doing with him.”

Draco pauses at the door, back to Ginny. “It seems you’re the one who can’t quite handle him, Ginny.” He replies slowly, glancing over his shoulder. “And if you don’t start trusting him, you’re going to lose him.”

“He won’t want you-“

“Not to me.” Draco interrupts forcefully. “You’ll lose him, period.”