His heart races and for a moment he can't remember where he is. He's been so used to the business of the Burrow, and before that months of camping, to wake alone in a dark bedroom seems strange. But as his heart slows and he slips his glasses on his face, he knows he's back at Hogwarts, in his own room in the Eighth Year dorms. He's safe.
But the dream had tried to convince him otherwise, dredging up memories of the horrors he had witnessed in the school's corridors only a few short months ago. His friends strewn dead on the cold and bloody flagstones, cries and howls in the air, ash and salt on his tongue.
He squeezes his eyes shut and tries to shake it off, but it's always with him, lingering like smoke saturated into fabric.
He wouldn't want to forget, he knows that, he wouldn't want to disrespect those he loved by banishing them from his mind. But he hopes one day he might be able to tuck their memories away somewhere safe, somewhere away from his nightmares. He can't remember the last time he had a good night's sleep.
Resigned to his wakefulness, he swings his legs out of bed, finds his slippers and wand, and heads out the door to take a piss. Maybe after that he can hang out in the common room, if none of the other Year Eights are there. He doesn't feel like talking much, he'd rather just be alone with his thoughts.
This is scuppered though when he pushes open the boys' shared bathroom, and sees a pair of legs sticking out of the nearest shower cubicle. Someone was sat down, and after all he'd been through, it took Harry less than a second to taste the tang of coppery blood in the air.
He races over, grabbing either side of the cubicle walls to steady himself for the sight that greats him upon looking down. "Alright Potter?" slurs Draco Malfoy.
Harry sucks in a breath and drops to his knees. Draco's shirt is undone, revealing a glimpse of a toned chest, and he's barefoot below his jeans. His skin is startlingly white against the blackness of his shirt, and his eyes are bloodshot. He has a mostly drunk bottle of fire whisky in his right hand, and he salutes Harry with it before clattering it down next to a bloody razorblade discarded by his hip. On his left forearm, above his wrist where his Dark Mark tattoo rests, there are several careful cuts, slowly dripping crimson onto the white tiles of the shower floor.
"Fuck, Malfoy!" Harry cries, seizing his hand and pointing his wand tip at the gashes. "Episkey!"
Malfoy just smirks drunkenly at him as the cuts heal. "Relax Potter," he says, taking another swig from his bottle, apparently not fussed that Harry caught him self-harming. "Not trying to off myself, just-" he wiggles his arm in front of Harry's face. "Making some improvements."
Harry catches his wrist again to inspect Draco's skin closer. There are several healed over lines on top of the tattoo where he has obviously done this before, and Harry lifts his eyes to look into Draco's. They're grey beneath the bloodied lines. He's not sure he really knew that before.
"Don't do this," he says, and for some unfathomable reason runs his fingertips over the textured skin under the mark, feeling the old razor scars.
Draco blinks and looks down at where Harry is touching him. "Makes the pain stop," he says thickly, and Harry suspects that the bottle in his hand had been pretty much full when he'd started on his bender.
Harry swallows, and closes his hand around the tattoo. "I know you're hurting," he says. "I know you've been through a lot. But this…this can't be good."
Draco smirks and leans in. "Are you worrying about me Potter?" he asks with a hint of smugness.
"There's been enough blood," Harry replies evasively. "Enough pain. I know we're not…Well, we're us. But I don't want to see you hurting yourself anymore." He means it, he's a little surprised to realise. Draco Malfoy's been through enough.
During his trial over the summer, Harry came to understand the misery his former school rival had been forced to endure, the pressure he'd been under to save his family from Voldemort just as much as the rest of them had fought to save the ones they loved. Harry feels like he sees a lot more in Malfoy now, which is probably why he's still holding onto his arm, rubbing his fingers over the scars.
Malfoy smiles sadly. "I'm always hurting," he says with a resigned heaviness. "But that's okay. It should hurt. Don't you hurt?" And he surprises Harry by reaching out and touching his fingers to Harry's chest, where his heart sits under his t-shirt.
Harry looks down at the hand. He should swat it off, but he finds he doesn't want to. "Yes," he says softly. "All the time."
Malfoy sags back down, removing his hand to grasp at the bottle again. "See," he says, downing another mouthful. "We're not so different after all."
Harry gives him a tight smile. "Maybe not," he sighs. "Okay, I think we should probably get you to bed, even if you're not bleeding anymore you're still freezing."
"Not sleepy," Malfoy argues, a large yawn betraying him.
Harry crouches and slips his arm around Malfoy's back, under his shoulders, and hefts him up. "Come on," he says, encouraging Malfoy reluctantly up.
"Can I keep the bottle?" he asks.
"Sure," Harry lies, hoping once he's tipped Malfoy into his bed, he'll pass out and Harry can stash the stuff somewhere out of reach.
They make their way shakily out the door, back into the corridor of the boys' dormitories. Harry considers waking Blaise Zabini, thinking Malfoy might be less humiliated in the morning if he had a friend to put him to bed, but then he remembers that he's dealing with former Slytherins and that would probably just make things even worse.
So Harry carries on down the hallway, until he reaches Malfoy's room, and eases the door open. "Come on Malfoy," he says, shuffling him inside towards the bed. But Malfoy stumbles, unsurprisingly considering how much he's had to drink, and trips down onto the bed, bringing Harry with him to land in a tangle of limbs, the fire whisky slamming on the wooden floor with a thump.
"Mmm hello," says Malfoy saucily, and touches Harry's face.
Harry jerks back in shock. What just happened? "You're drunk Malfoy," he says, pulling away.
"So?" he replies, letting his hand fall and rest on Harry's bicep. "I got you into bed, not gonna let you go now."
Harry blinks. Is Malfoy…hitting on him? "You don't know what you're saying," he says slowly. "You're drunk, you'll be embarrassed in the morning."
Malfoy shrugs. "Maybe. Maybe just relieved. Maybe sore and well fucked." He grabs Harry's t-shirt and yanks him closer, but Harry is sober and stronger so rips free, staggering back to his feet.
Malfoy sighs and looks up at him with big, silvery eyes. "Sorry," he says. "Bit drunk, shouldn't have done that."
"Yeah," agrees Harry, his mind whirling. "It's okay though, I won't tell anyone, we can forget about it."
Draco angles himself up onto his elbow. "Don't care who you tell," he says. "And you can forget if you want, I figured you wouldn't feel the same – a man's gotta try, hasn't he?" He falls back into his pillows and closes his eyes. "Life's too short Harry."
Well, he isn't wrong, life is most definitely too short, life can be plucked from you at any moment. But Harry isn't sure how to feel about another man coming on to him, let alone Malfoy. He's not repulsed though, which is a bit surprising.
"Go to sleep Draco," he says, trying out the name, but from Draco's breathing, he might already be out.
Harry shuts the door quietly, but before he goes back to his own room he stops by the bathroom again. A quick flick of his wand washes away the traces of blood, and he picks up the razorblade from the shower floor, turning it over in his fingers. He decides that instead of throwing it away, he's going to hold on to it. It's silly, Malfoy could probably just get another one, but Harry places it on his bedside cabinet when he finally returns to his room, and looks at it glinting in the sliver of moonlight slicing through his curtains as his eyes droop, sleep claiming him once more.
The dream that had ensconced him though clouds his consciousness, and he still feels like his fingers are running through blond hair. "Mmm," he whispers to himself, hand finding his stiff cock, massaging it slowly as he realises he's alone in his room. But he still imagines a hot mouth, soft lips and wet tongue as he begins to pump himself, cock slickening with pre-cum deliciously.
He thinks of Draco kneeling on the bed below him, taking Harry deep into his throat, moaning in pleasure at swallowing him down. Harry grips the bed sheet with his left hand, speeding up the right, mumbling to himself. "Yes, like that," he utters, biting his lip. He is awake enough now to appreciate the fact that there isn't anyone else in the room trying to sleep, not like the old days when he'd have to mute his gasps as he built to a climax. Unless someone has their ear pressed to the door, he can be as noisy as he likes.
He can say whatever he likes too.
"Oh Draco, yes," he breathes, imagining those silvery eyes looking hungrily up at him. He slows, wanting to take his time, letting his mind drift unabashed. He wonders what it would be like to go further, would Draco fuck him, could he fuck Draco? He seemed so keen those few nights ago, pulling him into his bed. Would he ask again?
Harry's breathing increases and he clamps his jaw down, feeling the pressure build. What is Draco's cock like? he muses. What does it taste like? Harry licks his lips, unable to stop himself speeding up again. He's teetering on the edge, grunting as he begins to come. "Yes don't stop," he rasps, gripping the sheets, wishing it was fine blond hair as he reaches his climax and arches in the bed with a cry.
Panting, he drops back down, stars dazzling in front of his eyes. Minutes trickle by as his heart slows and his breathing evens out. What the fuck did he just do?
He completely lost himself wanking into oblivion, his thoughts only for Draco Malfoy. Of his hot mouth drinking down Harry's cum. Of his solid cock fucking Harry in the arse. What the hell?
Well, he reasons, wank banks are supposed to be full of random stuff. He once got off thinking about Ginny fingering herself in the restricted section of the library. Another time about one of the Hufflepuff girls from the year below spanking him with a broom. Surely getting a blow job isn't that strange? A blow job from a man though, from Draco Malfoy? He's right back there in Draco's room the other night, wondering why he isn't more disturbed he's being hit on by a bloke.
Is this something he's into now, is this okay? Or is it just because Draco was giving him the drunken come-on?
And since when is he Draco! Oh Merlin he's in trouble he realises as he fishes his wand from the nightstand and cleans himself up with a quick spell. His eyes find the razorblade, still sat next to him, and wonders if Draco had ever wanked thinking about him.
The thought sends a flurry through his chest.
Oh yes. He is maybe a little bit in trouble.
The dream of death at Hogwarts grips him again, and he fights to slow his breathing. He likes to think they're getting easier, less heart-breaking, but if it's not Fred, it's Tonks. If it's not Snape, it's Colin. Sometimes Neville doesn't get the sword out of the flaming sorting hat quick enough, and he's reduced to a smouldering pile of bones. Sometimes it's not Molly who gets in the killing shot, but Bellatrix.
And sometimes, Draco loses his grip on Harry and slips from the broom, getting swallowed up by the flames in the Room of Requirement, his screams resonating in Harry's ears.
This is the vision he's trying to shake now, but nausea grips him too, not just fear, and he can't seem to free himself. "Draco's fine," he mummers to himself. "He's alive, he's okay."
It's been weeks since the incident in the bathroom, and Harry understands now he can't shift this gnawing sensation growing in his heart. He and Draco are civil in lessons and at meal times, but they haven't really spoken and Harry isn't sure how much he remembers from that drunken haze. But Harry remembers everything, as does his cock, which now wakes him regularly with wistful thoughts of soft blond hair and pale pink lips.
Maybe they should talk. But how would he start a conversation like that? Harry argues with himself. "Hey – you know how you said you wanted to get me into bed? Well now I can't stop wanking over you." Hmm.
He gets up, seeing the time is just gone two in the morning. He finds his slippers and his wand before putting his glasses back on. The nights are chillier now, so he throws on a jumper too over his pyjamas, and creeps quietly outside. He checks the bathroom, pretending he isn't hoping to see a pair of legs sticking out of the shower cubicle again. He doesn't like the idea of Draco hurting himself in the slightest, but he'd be lying if he said he wasn't half hopeful of recreating their solitary rendezvous.
He takes a piss, washes his hands and splashes water on his face, before wandering down to the common room. He thinks of possibly sourcing some food from the House Elves, maybe curling up in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate.
The Eighth Years had been given their own, new section on the fourth floor for a unified house, and Harry still found having everything on one floor strange after Gryffindor's spiralling tower. But there was a sense of comradery here that made him glad they hadn't all been put back in the regular four houses. The couple dozen of them that had wanted to come back to school to study for their NEWTs shared something important; they were survivors, and Harry finds after everything that his old house loyalty and pride seem a bit defunct when they all literally fought for their lives together this summer. He guesses he's still a Gryffindor at heart, but he's happier now that they all seem to just refer to themselves as 'Eighth Years'.
The best aspect of their new common room is that it has large, glass doors which open out onto a wide balcony that overlooks the school grounds. Before he goes on the hunt for something to eat or drink, Harry decides to step out and look at the night sky for a while, maybe clear his head from thoughts of lost friends or the now-persistent longing for Draco Malfoy.
This might have worked, if Draco Malfoy hadn't already been standing on the other side of the doors.
Harry stands there in shock, hand on the glass pane as he stares dumbly at Draco leaning on the stone railing. Should he leave? Has he seen him?
"Stalking me, Harry?" Draco asks, answering his questions.
He's not sure what to say, how to defend himself when he's sure his guilty thoughts are splashed all over his face. "Sorry," he stutters, moving away. "I just-"
"Relax, I'm teasing," he says, finally turning around. "I'm not very good at it," he adds with a roll of the eyes. He's dressed the most casually Harry's ever seen him; navy joggers and a grey long sleeved t-shirt that he's rolled up to the elbows. His blond hair ruffles in the wind glancing off the great lake stretched out below them, and his angular face has a softness to it that Harry doesn't remember from their years together at school.
"Oh," says Harry a little stupidly. "Did you want to be alone?"
"From other people," he states. "Yes. But like I said the other night, I don't mind you so much."
He grins lopsidedly, and Harry feels his insides flutter. "You remember that then," he says, coming out to stand next to the balcony edge as well, a few feet away from Draco. "I wasn't sure, you didn't say anything."
Draco shrugs. "Neither did you, I didn't want to push it."
Harry feels his courage swell, and the tingling in his lower regions propels him a step closer. "And what is 'it' exactly?" he asks.
Draco leans on the stone lip again and looks up at him through his hair. It's got a bit longer since the summer, and it adds to this new softness Harry's seeing more and more of. "Don't worry," Draco assures him. "'It' doesn't have to be anything. Like I said, I was drunk, I maybe acted rashly, but I don't regret it. So you don't have to say anything if you don't want, I'd be happy carrying on with this arrangement we now have of not killing each other."
Harry wonders if that's the longest and most pleasant thing Draco's ever said to him. Probably. And the fact he's giving Harry a pass, not pressuring him, it's a shift in personality as well. The aggression that laced his every action seems to have melted somewhat, and he's more approachable because of it.
Harry doesn't want a pass to forget what happened. He wants to know more.
"Yeah," he agrees. "Not killing each other is good, but – you were trying to pull me into bed, I didn't make that up right?"
"No, you did not," Draco replies evenly. "But I can see how you'd be disgusted with the idea, so if you're not interested, that's fine. But I'm not really up for any personal attacks on my moral standing."
"I don't care if you're gay," Harry says quickly and decisively.
Draco arches an eyebrow. "How refreshing," he drawls. "But that's not exactly what I meant." He brandishes his Dark Mark, his fist closed defensively below it. "Surely you see how ridiculous it is for me to want you, after the way I've treated you, and your friends, this whole school even. I'm not fool enough to think that wouldn't be stacked against me."
Harry takes in the mark. If he's cut on himself again, he's done a better job of healing the wounds than before. He can't help but hope that instead he just hasn't replaced the razorblade that Harry still has sitting on his bedside cabinet.
He thinks about what he wants to say, how he wants to say it. "I spoke at your trail," he starts.
"I noticed," Draco quips, and Harry glares at him to be quiet.
"I think I understand what you went through a lot better than you realise," he carries on, holding Draco's gaze until the other boy breaks and studies his tattoo instead. "You were in an impossible situation with Voldemort" – Draco winces but he ignores it – "A situation your father put you in. And now you're free, you've got your life back, and it isn't hard to see you're trying to make the most of it. You've come back to school, and that can't be easy, people haven't been kind to you."
Draco shakes his head. "Let them," he said firmly. "I did help put them in danger. I made a lot of fucked up decisions and I can't blame them all on my father, I have to live with them, move on, make amends where I can or just forget." He looks back up at Harry, determination blazing behind his pupils. "I promised myself before I came back here I was only going to move forward from now on, and never let anybody play me the way either of them did. I'd rather die. So I don't care if people like me or not, I don't care what they think of what I did. I'm my own person for the first time in my life, and no one's going to carve my destiny but me."
He exhales, his breath slightly misty in the night air, the look on his face challenging Harry to disagree with him. "Good," he says to him instead. "Because this new Draco's alright. I'd hate for that other twat to come back."
Draco laughs. "So I'm Draco now?" he says, apparently relieved that Harry believes him when he says he's changed.
Harry shrugs. "I'm Harry, so it seems," he tells him. "Besides, new you – new name. It works for me."
Draco shakes his head and leans his back on the stonework, lacing his fingers in front of him. "Okay," he says slowly. "So, Harry, you want to talk about my behaviour the other night in my room? Because I feel like you do."
Harry tilts his head; he's right, he does want to talk about it, he needs to understand where this insatiable lust has come from, what Draco has awoken in him. "It just took me by surprise, I guess," he says honestly.
Draco sniggers. "Yeah, I guess it would have been a bit of a surprise for you, you always have been a bit oblivious."
Even though Harry responds with a "Hey!" he knows there's no malice behind Draco's words. "I should have figured it out before?" he clarifies.
Draco runs his tongue over his teeth, and something hot pools in Harry's belly, wishing it were his tongue instead. "I don't know, I am pretty cunning," Draco jokes. "A Slytherin fooling a Gryffindor is hardly unprecedented," he adds with a wink.
The hotness tugs at Harry, urging him a bit nearer. "So you're telling me you've fancied me for a while."
"Merlin you're narcissistic," Draco cries dramatically. "Yes, alright. I, Draco Malfoy, have been pretty keen on shagging you, Harry Potter, for a rather long time."
"How long?" Harry asks in little more than a whisper.
Draco smirks. "Why do you think I was such an insufferable fuck to you all those years?" he asks. "You didn't have any pigtails to pull, so I tried to get you expelled and killed instead. I can't believe you didn't suss out my true intentions." His tone is self-deprecating enough, Harry could almost take his words as an apology. In fact, he does.
"Wow," he says, swallowing and processing the fact that Draco has actually fancied him, all these years.
Draco picks at his immaculate fingernails. "I'd rather you didn't spread that around," he says heavily. "But it's up to you. If you and your mates want to have a good old laugh at me, that's fine, I'll accept that."
"I don't think this is funny, Draco" Harry rasps, his heartbeat quickening. "And I'm not going to tell anyone either."
"Not even your little Weaslette girlfriend?" he asks, and Harry doesn't miss the hint of vulnerability behind the words.
He moves a step closer again, shaking his head. "Not my girlfriend," he states. "After everything, the war, Fred, we just…lost what we had."
"Okay," said Draco, brushing over his comments about Ginny a little too quickly. Was that hope on his face? "Well, thanks, I'd rather people didn't know. They already have enough reason to hate me, and if this was common knowledge, that a traitor like me had a crush on The Boy Who Lived…" he trails off, biting his lip. "That might just break me."
"I told you," Harry says. "You've been hurt enough." He rallies his courage and reaches his fingers out to brush over the Dark Mark again. Draco freezes and watches his hand intently.
"I don't want to play games, Harry," he says softly, a slight tremor in his voice.
Harry steps closer again. He's right in front of Draco now. "Me neither," he says, still caressing the textured skin. "I was taken by surprise the other night," he admits. "But…I've thought about it since. A lot."
"And what have you been thinking?" Draco asks.
"I wish I'd let you have your way."
He looks up, and waits for Draco to slowly raise his eyes and meet his. The two of them are still like that for what feels like an age. Draco's jaw is clamped, his breathing through his nose deep and shaky, his eyes wide with fear and anticipation. Harry tries to reign in his thumping heart, the blood in his ears is so loud it's deafening. He waits.
Eventually, Draco pushes himself away from the balcony edge, closer to Harry, his wrist still being loosely held in Harry's hand. He reaches out with his own free right hand, and traces feather light fingertips down the side of his face.
Harry's skin erupts in goose bumps, his whole body feels electric. He's spent the past few weeks day-dreaming himself silly at the idea of Draco touching him, and now he is. It's real. Draco gradually leans down, covering the distance between their faces inch by inch, painfully slowly until…
Harry breaks. He launches his mouth at Draco's, crashing their lips together and forcing his tongue in to meet the other boy's. He moans, sliding his hands up Draco's back, seizing him, moulding their bodies together as Draco runs his own hands through Harry's hair.
"Fuck," he gasps when they eventually pull apart for air. "Fuck, oh Merlin, fuck!" He studies Harry with disbelief. "You kissed me. You kissed me."
"Well you were being too slow," growls Harry hungrily, diving back in for another go. He is rock hard as they press against each other, and through the thin material of their trousers he can feel Draco is too. The friction of their cocks rubbing together is like nothing he's even experienced before, and a small part of the back of Harry's brain suggests maybe this was what had been missing from his flings with Ginny and Cho.
Draco suddenly stumbles backwards, pulling Harry with him back into the dimly lit common room, yanking him down on top of him as he falls into a sofa by the fire, its flames warming them deliciously as their bodies gyrate. "Ah," Harry cries out, overwhelmed, but Draco isn't done with him yet. His hand snakes between them and grabs Harry's cock, sucking the breath clean out of him and making him stutter and cough. Draco only graces him with a minute to recover before his lips are back attacking Harry's, kissing with such force it wipes all other thoughts clean from Harry's mind.
He realises Draco's hand shifts slightly, tugging at Harry's pyjama bottoms, getting his hand under the fabric and onto the taught skin of Harry's dick. "Oh Potter," Draco breathes in ecstasy. "What a lovely cock you have."
Harry may be two seconds away from losing his mind, but if Draco was going to get a good grope of him, he wants his fair turn too. He lifts himself up slightly to work his own hand in between them, delving straight under Draco's joggers, delighted to find that he's neglected to wear boxers.
His prick is slightly longer and slimmer than Harry's, it feels strange but good in his hand after years of only ever pleasuring himself. Draco's head drops back with a cry, and Harry strokes firmly, loving knowing that it's what he's doing to Draco is making his face look like that. He's delectable, lost in his revelry, and Harry wants more.
Draco knows what to do though, he's in charge, leading the way further than Harry has even gone with anyone else before. He pushes Harry off him and worms his way up the couch. "Blow me Harry," he hisses, angling his erection under Harry's face, running his hands through his hair. "Please, please I've wanted this, so long."
Harry thought he might have been more squeamish, but when presented with it, he wants nothing more than to swallow Draco's length down, to keep that incredible look of want on his face. The taste is salty but it's more the warmth that strikes Harry as he wraps his lips and tongue around the shaft, sliding down half way and pulling up again. He's not sure if he's doing it right, but Draco seems to be enjoying it, guiding him with the hand thrust into his hair, so he carries on until his jaw begins to lock.
Draco is obviously peaking, but he pulls away suddenly. "No, wait, hang on," he says, slipping down the sofa a bit as he pulls Harry up to meet him, kicking and pulling their trousers down further. Their groins meet and Harry gasps. No longer with clothes and the added slickness of their pre-cum and Harry's saliva, the sensation is mind-blowing. He kisses Draco with a fierce urgency, his own climax building easily. "I'm gonna," Draco grunts, digging his fingers into Harry's arms and bucking his body.
Harry speeds up, wanting to come at the same time, trying to keep his voice down when all he wants to do is scream. In no time at all he explodes internally, unleashing his orgasm all over Draco's t-shirt. But seeing as Draco's doing the exact same thing to him, he figures it's okay as he flops down on top of him, panting and grinning.
"Wow," he whispers, kissing Draco again, slower and more tender than before though. "Was that worth waiting for?"
Draco can't seem to focus. He blinks a few times before coming back to reality and grins at Harry, stroking his naked arse. "No," he says, and for a split-second Harry's stomach drops. "I can't believe we didn't do this earlier, we have got some serious work to catch up on."
Harry's insides pick themselves back up again and fizz with anticipation. "Does that mean you want to do this again?" he asks.
Draco arches an eyebrow. "Are you kidding?" he asks. "I'm pretty sure you're going to have a hard time keeping me off you Potter." He kisses Harry, slowly, luxuriously. "I've got you now. There's no escape."
For once, it's not his nightmares that have pulled him from his sleep, but he still takes a moment to orient himself in Draco's room. He'd snuck in there after the others had finally gone to bed, but this was the first time he'd not gone back to his own room, or Draco to his. They are trying to be discreet, and that means not getting caught leaving the other's bedroom in the morning. He can't say he's disappointed though to have snuggled up next to him post-coitus and drifted off; somehow that's more intimate than the hours he's so far dedicated to memorising every inch of Draco's body (and he's been a very good student).
As a hand thumps into his stomach, he's pulled back into the here and now. He realises what woke him was not his own nightmares, but Draco's. He's whimpering in his sleep, limbs twitching, mouth grimacing as whatever is happening in his mind torments him.
"Shh," Harry says urgently, pulling him into a tight hug and rocking him back and forth. "Hey, hey, Draco, it's okay, it's just a dream. I'm with you, you're okay."
Gradually, Draco surfaces from his fitful sleep, panting and grabbing onto Harry's arms. "Bad dream," he grunts.
Harry strokes back some of the blond hair that has stuck to his head. "I know, it's over now."
Draco takes a while to calm, but Harry keeps hugging him, planting little kisses on his neck and jaw, massaging his shoulders. He lets Draco unravel the dream on his own, guessing if he wants to talk about it he will, but if he's like Harry, he probably doesn't.
"You stayed," Draco says after a while.
Harry nuzzles into the back of his neck. "Sorry," he says. "Fell asleep. I can go in a minute."
Draco's grip squeezes down with a jolt on Harry's arms. "No," he rasps. "Don't go."
Harry's not sure he's thought this through. "I'll stay a little longer," he assures. "But you don't want anyone to see me leaving here, do you?"
Draco lifts Harry's hand and kisses the back of it. "Don't give a fuck," he says. He's still sleepy, unable to quite rip himself from the nightmare. "Dreamed you died again, can't – I won't-" He's tearful and Harry agrees in that moment he gives no fucks either.
"Shh," he soothes, turning Draco around to face him to he can hold his face and kiss his lips. "I'm right here, I'm fine, I'm not going anywhere and I'm certainly not dying."
Draco nods, his breathes shaking, but he manages a weak smile. "You can go in a bit if you want," he says after a while. "I understand if you don't want to be seen with me."
"Shut up," Harry snaps, catching his mouth for a fervent kiss. "I don't want to complicate things, but I think we both know I'm not going anywhere, so they'll have to get used to it eventually. If they see me, they see me. If they don't..." he smiles shyly. "Maybe we could sit together for lunch tomorrow?" The Eighth Years had their own table, but so far the Slytherins and the Gryffindors had stubbornly stayed either ends of it. He appreciates if Draco's not ready to take that step, but to his delight he smiles back and runs his fingers through Harry's hair.
"It's a date," he says warmly.
Though he's not entirely sure how he was asleep in the first place, the din is so loud in the bustling common room. He yawns and swallows, trying to get rid of the post-nap fuzziness in his mouth, then sits up, rubbing the crick in his neck. "Hello sleeping beauty," Draco quips, and Harry realises he fell asleep on his shoulder whilst they were working on their potions homework.
"Oh," says Harry, looking around the room. A few people have obviously been paying attention to them, but no one storms over to inform Harry's he's lost his mind. Draco though is grinning like the cat that got the cream. "You don't mind?"
"Well," Draco says. You were snoring, made working out calculations quite difficult."
"I wasn't," Harry cries in horror, and Draco smirks.
"No," he admits. "But you're too easy to tease."
Harry looks around again. Although the two of them have been hanging around more in public, they hadn't exactly broadcast their relationship, certainly not confirmed it with anyone. Falling asleep on someone though sent a blaringly clear message of closeness and intimacy, and Harry wasn't sure he was happy about accidently outing Draco.
But he didn't seem bothered, in fact he was still smiling at Harry. "What?" he asks. "Am I drooling, was there drool?"
"No," laughs Draco, shaking his head and ruffling Harry's hair. "You were just…so cute."
Harry huffs. "I'm not cute," he argues. "I'm the saviour of the wizarding world."
"And you dozed off in a room full of people in my lap," Draco points out pointedly.
Harry pushes some of the parchment in front of them around. "It wasn't your lap," he corrects. "Aren't you upset? Everyone saw."
Draco takes his hand, and despite all the nakedness there's been over the past month or two, this hitches Harry's breath in coy delight. "They've got to have worked out we're more than friends," Draco says, nodding at Blaise, Pansy, Ron and Hermione. "We spend all our time together now, we smile at each other, we go off and play Quidditch and always try and partner up in lessons. If they don't realise something's up, then they're idiots and they deserve a good shock."
Harry laughed. Draco had a unique way of making him laugh, like he had permission to be himself, nothing to hide. "What kind of shock did you have in mind?" he asks. They're on one of the corner sofas, not many people in their direct vicinity, however a couple of people were definitely raising their eyebrows as the boys linked hands.
"Hmm," said Draco playfully. "Maybe something like this?"
He leans over, and brushes a chaste kiss on Harry's cheek. It's nothing vulgar, no more than friends do in greeting, but like the hand-holding Harry feels like there's a spotlight shining down on them both, and everyone is watching gobsmacked.
When Draco pulls back, he does see that some people are staring incredulously, some are whispering furiously, and some are frozen in shock. He swears Blaise passes Pansy a Galleon. Ginny gives him a thumbs up.
"Right," Harry says and clears his throat. "I think I've had enough of being a spectacle for one afternoon. Shall we…?"
"Find somewhere more private?" Draco leers, and Harry bats him with his rolled up charms essay. "What!" he protests. "Like that wasn't exactly what you were thinking!"
He's in a large sitting room, a Christmas tree twinkling in the corner and the sound of carols drifting gentling in from another room. He remembers with a jolt; he's at Malfoy Manor, it's December 25th, he and Draco have just had lunch with his mother Narcissa.
"Oh good," says Draco, dropping the book in his hands unceremoniously to the floor. "I was getting bored. He bounds over from his armchair to the sofa Harry must have nodded off on and clambers over him, forcing his way between Harry and the couch to be the big spoon, snuggling under the blanket that had come from somewhere.
"Sorry," Harry mumbles, rubbing his eyes. As well as putting a blanket over him, Draco had taken off his glasses. He can make them out on the carpet below them. "Your mum'll think I'm rude."
"She adores you," he says into his hair, rubbing his nose against the back of his head. "She'll soon work out you're a total dork, don't worry."
"Hey," Harry cries, swatting haphazardly behind him and getting a satisfying yelp in response from Draco.
Draco continues to hug Harry while he wakes up. "Mmm dinner was too good, I ate too much, my body shut down," Harry says dramatically, but still feeling guilty about passing out on his first official visit to Draco's home.
Draco had made a point of emphasising that this was Harry's first visit, the unspoken agreement that they would forget the terrible event that had occurred in spring. Harry hadn't forgotten though, the moment where Draco had denied knowing him and saved his life, but he understood if he didn't want to hash over it any more.
Besides, Harry had been so blind-sided when he'd introduced him to Narcissa as his boyfriend. "What?" Draco had said when Harry shot him a look the minute she turned her back. "You are aren't you?"
It was so typical of him to just announce something like that, rather than ask, but Harry couldn't deny he'd felt such pride that he was sure was still glowing through his skin hours later. Boyfriend. He rolls the word around on his tongue as Draco carries on cuddling him, playing with his hair and the collar of his shirt. He was dressed a little too formally to have comfortably fallen asleep in, yet somehow he had managed it. Even if his belt was now digging into his hip.
They'd had a lovely day the three of them. No mention was made of Draco's father Lucius, and that seems like the best way to deal with the whole thing. They had drank champagne and eaten an enormous turkey with all the trimmings, before playing a string of board games. Harry would never have pinned the Malfoys as a family who could let lose, but watching Draco and Narcissa get more and more competitive at charades, their mimes becoming wilder and wilder in a desperate bid to win had not only left Harry in stitches, but also with a new found respect for them both.
They would stay the night in Draco's bedroom, something that makes Harry a little nervous for some reason. They've been sharing a bed for over three months now, but the fact that this is where Draco has spent his whole life falling asleep in, it resonates with Harry. He imagines all the thoughts that must have passed through his head over the years as he stared at the ceiling, falling asleep.
Draco brings him back to the present though by poking him in the ribs. "What time do you want to leave tomorrow?" he asks.
Harry feels a flutter of nerves. "Um," he says. "Well I with thinking we could Floo over at about tenish, but, I was thinking, if you don't want to, we can just stay here-"
Draco sighs and hefts himself up so he can look down at Harry. "They're your family. We did today here, and we'll do tomorrow there, and then after that we can find somewhere quiet to run away to and recover."
Harry tries not to look at him. He loves the Weasleys dearly, but Harry was almost dating Ginny not so long ago, and the clan of red-heads aren't always best known for their tact. He's worried what they might subject Draco to, and, if he's really honest, after seeing the splendour of Malfoy Manor at its finest, he's ashamed to say he's worried Draco will judge the Burrow, the place he considers his home as much as Hogwarts.
"We can do it next year," he begs, pulling at Draco's shirt button.
Draco rolls his eyes. "You're worried I'm going to insult the people you love?" he states brazenly, and Harry feels himself redden.
"I just," he stammers, eyes firmly on the button. "I know how different you all are, I don't want anyone to feel uncomfortable."
"Oh I'm sure it'll be as awkward as arse," scoffs Draco. "But I swear I won't say anything to hurt your or their feelings, and as much as they baffle me I know Ron and Hermione will protect you until the ends of the Earth as, even if it is from the rest of their own kind." He grins and rubs the back of Harry's neck. "Plus, once the drink kicks in everyone will get over themselves, that's how Christmas works."
Harry smiles in the smallest amount of relief. "I really appreciate this," he says. "But you really don't have to."
"Yes, I do," Draco sighs.
"Because I love you."
Harry freezes, staring up at him in disbelief. "You…what?"
"Love you," Draco says again, biting his lip and caressing the back of Harry's neck with light fingertips. "So yes, I will suffer anything your crazy adoptive family wants to throw at me, so long as I can hold your hand and know you're mine."
Harry can't seem to find a single word to say, he feels dizzy, like he's floating. "Oh," he says, then feels very stupid. "I mean, that's lovely – I mean…" He takes a deep breath to steady himself. "I love you too."
Draco's face breaks into such a beaming grin it's almost blinding. He drops down to smother Harry with a hug, kissing his neck between laughs, which has Harry laughing too. "You really mean that?" he asks quietly, lifting his head just enough to look Harry in the eye.
He thinks about it, about the boy that used to vex him, the horrors he's been through and the man he's become. "Yes," he says with affirmation. "Yes I do."
Draco is poking him. "Harry," he whispers. "Harry are you asleep?"
"Mmmm," he whines. "Yes I am."
Draco though pulls out the big guns and starts tickling Harry's ribs, making him snap awake as he jerks away with a very manly shriek. "Oh good, you are!" Draco exclaims.
Harry picks up his pillow and thumps Draco with it, but that just eggs him on, and he fights back, trying to tickle Harry again, rolling them around their bed.
And it is their bed. Upon coming back from the Easter holidays, Draco announced, as he was want to do, that he was tired of traipsing between their two rooms (at opposite ends of the boys dormitories, naturally) and that Harry should just move in with him, because Draco had the better room and more stuff. Harry had protested their rooms were exactly the same sizes and he had just as much stuff as him, but Draco had pouted, and then bribed him with a spectacular blow job, and within the hour Harry's room had been stripped and unpacked back into Draco's room.
Harry had complained, loudly, but he loved that Draco wanted to organise their wardrobe together, and that he proudly put Harry's toothbrush in the holder by his own. There is now photos of them stuck to the wall, and all their books and coursework are arranged side by side on the desk in the corner.
It's the middle of the night though now, and they've got lessons first thing. After all he's lived through Harry can't really muster the energy to truly worry about his exams – he's got a job waiting for him in the Auror's office when he leaves no matter what he gets. But he likes the idea of achieving good grades after everything, he feels like it's respectful to his teachers for putting up with all the craziness he's brought down on them over the years.
"Dra-co," he grumbles, pinning him down. "I actually was asleep," he chides him, kissing up the scar on his chest. It should really be a sore spot for them, a bad memory of when Harry almost accidently killed Draco, but in fact it's his favourite part of him. To Harry, it will link them always; two lost boys at one of their lowest points. He loves the scar, because it represents how far they've come.
"Why did you so rudely wake me up?" he asks as he reaches the top, then starts nibbling along his collar bones.
"This is why," Draco says, rubbing his body against Harry's. "This is our first room together, and as of tomorrow there's not going to be much chance for fun until exams are done. So I wanted some fun now, I wanted to celebrate."
The look in his eye is downright criminal, and Harry smoulders under his gaze. "What did you have in mind?"
They're only wearing boxers as is usual, but Harry still shivers as Draco runs his hands over Harry's arse. He can never get enough of Harry's backside, he's always stroking it when they're cuddled up together and smacking it as he walks passed, catching Harry off guard. But this…there's something different about this touch, something urgent. "Can we try something new?" he asks, and although he's being playful, he's also a bit nervous.
Harry immediately wants to alleviate his worries. "Of course," he says, kissing along his jaw and running his fingers through his hair. "Anything, I trust you."
"It's just," says Draco, testing the waters. "You know, there's more we could be doing." He caresses Harry's arse again, and kisses him. It seems to be a good way to avoid talking. But Harry likes where this is going, so he pushes it.
"Language Potter!" Draco pretends to chastise, predictably giving his arse a smack, before moving in for more kissing. Oh yes, definitely stalling. But Harry is patient, and waits for him to break away and talk again. This takes a couple of attempts and some lip biting, before Draco finally opens up again. "You know what I mean?"
Harry could take the piss, but he knows Draco would respond badly to that right now. "Yeah, I think so," he says. "I mean, I had an idea, before-" Back during those weeks where he was wildly fantasising about them being together whilst he jacked off. "Then, um, Hermione got me this book…"
"Of course she did," Draco says, dissolving into giggles that Harry can't help but join in with. But he still sees the nerves, so he works slowly, carefully, kissing lips gently and stroking skin softly.
"I want to," Harry says, looking Draco in the eye. There's not much light in their room spilling in around the edges of the curtains, but enough that Harry can see Draco is giving him his full attention.
Draco inhales deeply. "You realise I am talking about proper fucking," he says, and Harry snorts in laughter. Draco scowls and slaps him on the arm, the sting of which brings him back to his senses.
"Yes," Harry says, calming. "Yes, sorry, alright, of course I know that's what you mean. I -" He's such a liar, he's just as bloody nervous as Draco is. "I really want to, I've been thinking about it for a while."
Draco chews on his lip. "I've never done this before," he admits.
"Me either," says Harry, running his hand up and down Draco's arm. "But we'll do it together, we'll figure it out, we're not going to do anything the other doesn't like, right? We can just stop if something's wrong."
Draco closes his eyes in relief. "I love you," he breathes, and Harry cups his face with his hand, letting Draco nuzzle into it.
"I love you too," he says.
Draco opens his eyes and covers Harry's hand with his own. "Okay," he says shakily. "Do you, um, I mean…do you have a preference, of what you'd like to try first?"
"Do you?" Harry replies. He really does have a preference, but he wants to see if Draco does too.
Draco, however, obviously has the same idea. "No, I want to do what you want," he insists, so Harry decides to bite the bullet.
He swallows. "Can I try bottoming?" he asks, feeling selfish, but the way Draco's face lights up he knows he's okay.
"Is that what you really want?" he asks.
"If it's okay with you?" Harry says. Fucking hell. For two stubborn, battle hardened men, they certainly knew how to dance about an issue.
Draco's eyes search him. "You're not just saying that?" Draco clarifies. "Because that really, really works for me."
That's it, decision made. "Oh Salazar," Harry exhales. "Draco please fuck me, please."
Draco attacks him. There's no other word for it. He kisses him like there's been a sudden shortage of lips announced, and he needs to mine Harry's for all they're worth. Harry wiggles until he's mostly on his stomach and starts pulling at Draco's boxers. "Be more naked please," he manages to utter. He's been promised his first, full on shag, and he's now quite gagging for it.
Draco makes short work of both their briefs, and again he throws himself back into a good snog, massaging Harry's backside, skirting around the creases, becoming bolder with each pass. Harry arches into him, encouraging him. His cock is so engorged it's almost painful to lie on, but he doesn't shift his weight just yet, wanting Draco to make a move first.
"Hang on," he breathes, reaching back behind him into the drawer, rattling the razorblade Harry has placed on the bedside cabinet out of habit. He pulls out the lube they normally use for frottage and hand jobs, and pumps a few squirts onto his left hand.
"Oh, no, wait," he says, and grabs his wand with his unfamiliar right hand, swishing some non-verbal magic that makes Harry gasp. It's like he's just been washed out from the inside with menthol.
"What the-" he blinks.
Draco looks bashful. "Cleaning spell," he admits. "More enjoyable for everyone."
Harry laughs. He knows it's the nerves but he can't help it. "Good thinking," he admits, lying back down and giving Draco his best Come-Fuck-Me eyes. It works.
Draco snuggles beside him, gently dipping his cool, slick fingers between Harry's checks, making him hiss through his teeth. He knew they were only just getting going, and already Harry was a mess. He screwed up his eyes and slowed his breathing; he wanted this to last as long as possible. "Okay?" Draco asks.
"Incredible," Harry answers unabashed.
Carefully, Draco begins caressing his entrance, encouraging Harry to open up. He's wrapped a pillow up in his arms, burying his head into it as he begins to gradually unravel under Draco's touch. And then he pushes a single finger, slipping inside Harry with such ease he cries out.
"Fuck," snaps Draco. "Is that alright?"
"If you stop," Harry snarls. "I swear you won't even know what's hit you."
Draco laughs softly, and leans over to kiss the side of Harry's neck, gingerly pulsing his finger up and down. "Do you like that?"
"Fuck yes," Harry breaths. He opens his eyes briefly to look at Draco watching him, but it's too much and he has to shut them again and just concentrate on the sensation.
"This is what I wanted," Draco murmurs in his ear. "I wanted to see you like this. So perfect, so perfect."
With the next push in, he adds a finger and Harry moans, biting the pillow for the first couple of thrusts, getting used to the fullness. How can he be so lucky, how does Draco not want this? Maybe next time, he'll let Harry try and do the same for him, he has to know how incredible this feels, how-
Fuck! Draco gives him a third finger, and although it burns a little, it's good, so good, and he moves against the push and pull, helping Draco pleasure him in a way he could never have fully imagined, although he's tried. "Yes," he whimpers. He never wants this to end.
Except, he does, he wants what comes next. "Stop," he mumbles, pulling away. "Hang on." Draco looks at him fearfully as he turns and extracts the fingers, no doubt worrying something is wrong, but Harry wastes no time explaining as he dives down Draco's body; he's got some catching up to do.
He takes him in his mouth the way he's done a hundred times before, but now it's different. Now he only wants to tease him a little, get him hot and wet, before pulling back and kissing him fiercely. "I'm ready," he says, he begs. He drops back down to the bed and spreads his legs, shivering in anticipation as Draco manoeuvres behind him, guiding his cock towards Harry's well worked hole, pushing inside him with only a little resistance.
"Ahh," Harry can't help but moan. Even after the fingers, it's still a bit much, but at the same time it's beyond anything else he's ever felt before, and he pushes eagerly against the hold Draco has on his hips. He clenches, and Draco gasps, pulling slowly back, before easing even further in. "Yes," utters Harry. "Yes like that, more."
Draco is happy to oblige.
He starts rocking, becoming comfortable with the pace, and Harry can't help but raise his body, giving him a better angle and also to free his own hard cock so he can reach down and start stroking it in time with Draco's thrusts.
"Potter you filthy bitch," Draco gasps. "Does that feel good?"
Harry can barely swallow let alone talk he's so dizzy with arousal. "Amazing," he admits, and Draco slams into him even harder. He jerks off, hand drenched with pre-cum that just makes it impossible to hold the impending orgasm for much longer. "I think I'm going to-"
"Wait," Draco begs, speeding up, and Harry just grips his cock tightly for a moment, breathing out, relaxing, calming so Draco can catch him up. It only takes a few more pushes though, before his tell-tale cries start to sound, and Harry frees himself, allowing himself to ride the wave up and up and-
He can't control it anymore, he's mashing his face into the pillow and screaming as he's overpowered by sensation, squirting hot cum into the sheets as Draco lets out a mangled cry and buries himself as deep as he can into Harry's arse.
They slump, boneless, into the mattress, panting and waiting for vision to return to them. Eventually, Draco slips out of Harry and they both gasp, and Draco wastes no time grabbing his wand again to cast a quick cleaning spell on them and the sheets. "Are you okay?" Draco asks, pulling the duvet up from where it's slipped down, and cuddling up to Harry, turning him over so they're chest to chest again.
"Okay?" Harry repeats, practically asleep again already. "Draco that was fucking miraculous. I'd say you have to try it but I want it every time, all the time." He smirks and rubs his fingers along Draco's jaw and into his damp hair. "You're brilliant, thank you so much, I love you."
"You're delirious," Draco whispers, but Harry can tell he's made up, that he loved it, but he loves it even more because Harry loved it.
"Yup," Harry agrees, passing out more by the second. "Do it to me again tomorrow."
There's a thunderstorm raging outside and the flickers with a spectacular flash of lightning, illuminating the stacks of unpacked boxes still littering the bedroom. Draco, of course, is somehow sound asleep, but Harry is wide awake now and won't be drifting off at least until the storm had passed.
So he eases carefully off the bed and picks his way through the boxes, into the hallway and out into the living room, rubbing his arms against the slight chill. He just stands there a while, imagining what it's going to look like when everything's unpacked, when he and Draco tumble their lives together in one, lovely flat.
It's different to the room they shared at Hogwarts, and even the wing Narcissa had very kindly let them have at the Manor. This was all their own. It isn't the biggest flat, but Harry had wanted somewhere in Muggle London where he and Draco could both enjoy a certain degree of anonymity, and they'd decided not to throw away their fortunes on too much rent. So this cosy little place in Clapham had been the result, and Harry couldn't be happier as he runs his hands over the kitchen counter before going to stand at the window.
The railway line is just visible over the roof tops, and Harry watches a long freight train trundle slowly past, lugging its never-ending cargo behind it. There's something so light and fluttery on his chest it's almost akin to panic, but he knows it's really just giddiness. He's never felt so free in his whole life; no Voldemort looming over his shoulder, no battles to face, but most importantly, he feels content now he and Draco are carving out their lives together. They have their own space to come home to everyday, no one else to please once the door closes behind them. They are building an empire of two, and it's safe and warm and Harry just wants to burst with happiness and the prospect of all the possibilities before them.
He feels no pressure from Draco, he realised that pretty early on in the relationship. Although he went about it in the most appalling manner initially, Draco has always loved Harry for who he is. To him, he's not the Boy Who Lived, or The Saviour. He's just…Harry.
He knows now he was scared that day on the train, when he'd insulted Ron and behaved like a first class wanker. Harry wishes he had just been a bit nicer, so that he could have accepted his handshake and saved them both a lot of trouble. But, as someone wise once told him, if wishes were horses they'd all be eating steak. There's no sense musing on what could have been, because that would be jeopardising where they've ended up now, and Harry wouldn't trade this little flat or the rumbles from the rail line for the world. He's sure there's damp in the bathroom, and Draco complained miserably about the lack of storage space, the floorboards creak and he's pretty sure their landlady is a crook.
But they'd made it this far together, such an unlikely pair, and they were going to carry on together. Harry realises that as he looks out the window into the night's sky, and he smiles. He's in this for the long haul.
"What are you doing?" Draco's voice mumbles sleepily as he comes behind Harry and wraps his arms around his waist, resting his head on the side of Harry's.
Harry folds his arms over Draco's, and rubs his thumbs over Draco's knuckles. "Thinking about how I'm stuck with you now, and there's nothing anyone can do about it."
"Damn straight," Draco agrees, and kisses his neck.
The bright sunshine is streaming through the open windows, and even though there's a spell cooling the room, Harry can taste the humidity on the foreign air as it drifts through. Draco isn't beside him, and Harry assumes that the jetlag has got the better of him, so he jumps out of bed to find his flip-flops and glasses, pulls on a pair of brightly coloured shorts, and bounds out of their wooden villa into the holiday complex nestled in the jungle.
There are other huts around them, but they're so hidden Harry could almost believe they were on their own island, hidden away from all the world. He and Draco have been on holiday many times before, but Thailand is the furthest he's even been, and despite only arriving less than twenty-four hours ago he's already in love with Phuket.
Draco is sat at the small table and chairs on the decking that runs alongside the villa, a platter of sticky, glistening fruit pilled in front of him…and a bottle of cold champagne. "Bit early for a drink isn't it?" Harry asks playfully, but Draco jumps a mile in the air, scrambling to his feet and looking guilty.
"I thought you were still asleep," he says, and Harry sees there's clearly something wrong. He's tense and evidently been chewing his lip; he runs his hand through the back of his hair and tries to smile at Harry, but it just comes off as a sort of grimace.
"Draco, what's wrong," Harry panics, running through all kinds of crazy scenarios in his mind. Is someone sick back home, has some disastrous case broken at work that means they need to leave? Or is it something simpler, maybe the hotel has messed up their booking or something? He knows how Draco frets when things aren't perfect. He darts over and holds his shoulders. "Tell me," he says urgently.
Draco exhales and gives him a shaky laugh. "No, it's okay, I promise, I just…" He fidgets, rocking from foot to foot. Like Harry, he's also wearing Bermuda shorts and nothing else, so it's easy for Harry to slide into a hug and press his cooler body against Draco's sun-warmed one.
"Baby relax," he says. "Whatever it is, we'll fix it, don't worry."
Draco laughs again, and Harry can feel his muscles loosening under him. "Yeah," he says. "You're right, it's okay. It's just-" He pulls back to smile reproachfully at Harry. "I had this whole big plan sorted out for this evening, and I woke up and I can't do it, I can't last that long, I'm going crazy."
"Draco," says Harry calmly. "What on Earth are you talking about?"
Draco swallows visibly and takes a slow, deep breath. In a sudden decisive movement, he reaches into his pocket…
…and gets down on one knee.
Harry is pretty sure the whole entire world grinds to a halt.
Draco's opened the box to reveal a simple gold band, and he's looking at it with genuine terror on his face. "I had this whole speech too," he ploughs on, a clear tremor in his voice. "About how much I've always loved you and can't believe I'm lucky enough that you love me too, and how I want to spend the rest of my life with you, but none of it seems to be enough, and-"
"DRACO!" Harry shouts, startling him out of his rambling and getting him to look up at him grinning like a fool. "Please ask me to marry you already."
"Harry James Potter," Draco says quickly, not blinking. "Please will you marry me?"
"Yes," Harry laughs and yanks him up on his feet so he can kiss his face off. "Yes you prat, of course I will, why would you ever doubt it?"
Draco is crying and Harry feels he's not far off. "Because," Draco manages, as Harry gently wipes the tears away with the back of his thumb. "You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, you're too good for me, and I keep telling myself one day you're going to finally realise that."
Harry kisses his wet, salty lips and hugs him close. "I don't mean to sully this beautiful moment," Harry says quietly. "But you're a fucking idiot."
Draco bursts out into wobbly laughter, and thumps Harry on the arm. "Potter," he berates.
"Malfoy," Harry scorns back. "You also happen to be the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I can promise you I'm not going anywhere." He pulls back and looks pointedly at the ring still in its box, Draco realises what he's asking and gives himself a shake, easing the ring out from where it's nestled, and slips it on Harry's finger.
"Perfect," he breathes with a sigh of relief. Harry rubs his thumb over it, trying to absorb what it all means, one simple little circle. It seems silly to think it will change everything, nothing's changed really, but to Harry it has. The little bit of jewellery symbolises so much.
"I love it," he says, taking Draco's hands. "Can we get you one too?" he asks before thinking. "I don't know how guys are supposed to do it, but, I want you to have one too, I want everyone to see you're mine."
Draco bites his lip as he smiles, looking a little sheepish. "There might be one to match," he admits. "But in silver."
"Perfect," Harry tells him, resting their foreheads together. "Now let's pop that champagne. We've got an awful lot of people to fire call."
Draco isn't there, but he's not supposed to be. That doesn't stop the flurry of worry and nerves from squirming through Harry's belly.
He never understood why people got wedding jitters if they were in love, but now he takes every word back. It's not that he doesn't know he wants to spend the rest of his life with Draco, he's known that for a long time, even before he proposed. It's not the months and months of planning either, Harry doesn't care about every little detail being perfect. Anyway, Narcissa has been so much help Harry feels they should have paid her a planner's fee, but he knows she would never hear of such a thing. It's not that he's worried about relatives fighting or people not showing up, or the catering or the band. All these things are taken care of, what will be will be.
So he tries to pin down what exactly has is stomach churning as he sits up in the guest bedroom he's taken in Malfoy Manor in anticipation of the big day. Is it maybe because this day represents the commitment they're making to one another for the rest of their lives, is it the official nature of it? Or is it, perhaps, that after so much tragedy he's having a hard time believing such happiness is possible?
It is possible, he decides firmly. He can be nervous about everyone looking at him saying his vows, or his first dance, but he's not going to be nervous at the prospect of he and Draco finding happiness. Good things aren't always easy to come by in this world, and if you don't grab them when you have the chance, you can lose them forever.
So he gets up and showers, he dresses carefully in his suit and dress robe, and then lets Ron and Hermione in to fuss over him as his Best Man and Maid of Honour. "Thank you," whispers as they prepare to escort him out the room.
"For what?" Ron asks.
Harry takes both their hands, and squeezes them. "For everything."
They lead him down the staircase of the Manor, making their way out into the ceremony area on the grounds; a sea of white chairs and a white roll of carpet that Harry meets Molly Weasley at the top of. "Oh dear," she cries between sniffles. "You look so handsome." She fusses with the flower in his button hole and smoothes out his lapels. "Are you ready?" she asks, as the music starts up.
Harry nods. He can see Draco waiting for him at the end trying to peak over his shoulder but Pansy smacking his arm and not letting him. He's more than ready.
He spies so many dear faces as he and Molly walk after Ron and Hermione, all smiling and waving and crying. But they all melt away as Harry finally stands in front of Draco, looking incredibly dashing and stealing Harry's heart all over again. The words are a blur, and before he knows it Harry's saying "I do", slipping a new, slimmer gold band over Draco's finger to match his silver engagement ring, and letting Draco present him with a silver to match his gold.
"I do," whispers Draco, and then there's kissing and cheering and Harry can't help but cry just like everyone else. Photographs and food and champagne and dancing, it all becomes a haze of one impossibly happy day that has Harry's face aching from smiling by the time he and Draco are allowed to bid their farewells and retreat to the master guest suit Narcissa and Pansy no doubt spent hours covering in candles and rose petals.
Finally, it's just him and Draco, falling into bed, exhaustion crawling over them and pulling them down into a peaceful sleep. Harry thinks about what he will wake up to tomorrow.
And he is filled with hope.