|The Way We Love
Author: Lily Potter-Malfoy PM
Harry Potter has just broken up with his boyfriend. Draco Malfoy has no one but his daughter. Hermione sees a chance for romance for everyone but herself. And Ron behaves like...Ron. A story where people find love and even lust in unexpected places. HPDMRated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Draco M. & Harry P. - Chapters: 5 - Words: 25,472 - Reviews: 72 - Favs: 73 - Follows: 139 - Updated: 07-14-09 - Published: 11-27-07 - id: 3916877
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Lily: In an attempt to explain my months of absence I will now break into a five minute song sequence accompanied by a carefully coordinated dance number…..ah good, now that that's done, I do suppose I should summarize the song for those of you who couldn't understand the words of the song (I understand, its sometimes very difficult to hear the words over the music). Well basically the song talked about how there were finals, and then there was all that paperwork I had to do for travel, and then summer school which effectively swooped my energy away from anything good and fun and interesting. And now there's even more travel preparations, baaah! Ah, so, yeah, I'm writing this kind of late at night and then I'm off to sleepytiiime! Anyway, ENJOYEEEEE!
Waking up the morning after the party was as close to hell as Harry had gotten in a long time. He considered it extremely lucky that, as a schoolteacher, he didn't have to go into work on Saturdays. In fact, the only one in their trio who had to wake up and drag herself off to the office was Hermione, who would have been in better shape for it had they not been awake until 5 am.
They had slept at Harry's apartment when Pansy had seen the sun start rising and they decided it would be good to turn in for the night. Harry barely remembered jamming the key into the lock and stumbling into his flat before he had passed out from exhaustion. He, Pansy, and Hermione had not even bothered to remove their party clothes which, as a result of energetic sleeping habits and awkward sleep positions, were now wrinkled ruins of their former glory.
"Harry…?" Pansy was finally waking up, looking about the room through slit eyes. She sat up and ran a hand through her bird's nest of blonde hair, still peering around groggily,
"where's Hermione?" she croaked, noticing that the other woman was not there.
"Work" Harry replied from his tangle of blankets on the floor. Pansy nodded,
"kay…m'a go back to sleep" she mumbled before collapsing once more onto the couch. She was out cold within minutes.
While Pansy snored lightly on the couch, Harry found he was suddenly fully awake. He lay on the floor on his back, observing his ceiling as flashes of the previous night danced through his memory.
One scene slid into his thoughts and made him heave a sigh tinged with embarrassment and…something else. It was the time he spent with Draco Malfoy.
Their history with each other was short to the point of almost not existing. He had encountered the man few enough times as to be able to count them on one hand. As true as that was, however, Harry could remember feeling something powerful stir in him every time he had come in contact with the blond; something that had not stirred ever since the early days with Todd.
Last night at the bar, awkward though he may have felt after having been seen dancing like he was, had been no different. He was used to thinking of rich wizards as a species almost entirely different from the average masses. Since he had started at Southward & Hobbs, his perception of the wealthy had intensified the feeling of difference. He was used to the detachment the parents had from their offspring and the replacement of affection with money. He was even used to the workaholic attitudes of some of the parents which was another form of estrangement. But Draco Malfoy was different.
Fredericka Malfoy obviously loved her father and her father more than obviously doted on her. Of course, Draco Malfoy had no time to be there constantly, even Harry could see that, but, from the stories he had heard from Freddie and her friends, he was around often enough to not be terribly missed. This, Harry approved greatly of. He had grown up with extremely loving parents in a modest but stable household; he had never known neglect like some of his class did. Negligence, even steeped in opulence, was a lonely way of life for a child.
The sound of someone at the door broke Harry's train of thought and, groaning, he rose from his "bed" to answer it.
"Coming!" he called, wiping his eyes as he went and wondering who would be calling on him at this early hour.
"Good Morni—" he said but stopped, mouth half open in shock as he realized just who it was standing on his doorstep, staring at him in last night's clothes and hair a mad scientist would balk at.
"Are we there yet?" she was excited, as all children were wont to be when out on an "adventure" (of sorts).
"Not yet darling" he was almost at his wit's end. If this didn't work out like he was hoping it would, the next week or so would suddenly take a turn for the ugly.
"But you said he only lives a little while away from the school!" she whined, craning her neck to stare intently out the car window.
"Darling, we'll get there, relax." He soothed, trying to sound as calm as he didn't feel.
"But Daddyyyyy!" she was in one of her rare childish moods and looked at him with big eyes and a pouty mouth as if this was going to expedite the trip. He could only sigh,
"Fredericka" he explained calmly "we are only about twenty minutes away, but if you keep whining and distracting me, I could get lost and then it would take twice as long."
Freddie, sitting in the front seat of her father's car, flumped back into the seat and stared straight ahead, determined to be on her best behavior so that they would get to their destination in good time.
Draco heaved a mental sigh and refocused on the road, hoping he didn't miss the exit he needed to take.
It was Saturday and he was already very late for the portkey to Japan. He would have to pay a small fee to reschedule it but that wasn't what was bothering him. The thing that was creating a snarled knot of tension and nerves in his stomach was the fact that, if the person they were going to see didn't agree to his proposal, his daughter was left without a caretaker and he was suddenly in very hot water.
Initially he had wanted to send Freddie off to his parents, however they had left to Jamaica for his Father's annual company vacation earlier that morning and they could not just put it off. Now he was depending on this one last plan to come through.
"Daddy?" Freddie said suddenly,
"yes?" Draco replied, turning off the highway and steering the car to the right side of the road,
"I hope Harry agrees to this"
Draco, realizing they were just ten minutes away from Harry's apartment, could only pray that he would.
"He will," he tried to assure the little girl.
Ten minutes later they stood in front of a medium sized apartment complex which stood squashed between a deli and a donut shop. On the outside, it appeared to be like any other aging muggle building. Parts were crumbling, there were rusting metal flower boxes that must have once been beautiful, and streaks of brownish…matter that interrupted the faded red of the brick. The doorman was ancient and squat and wore a scruffy penguin tuxedo in magenta with a matching ratty cummerbund. He peered at Draco and Freddie as they walked uncertainly up to him and gave a somewhat grudging "Mornin'" when they stopped in front of him.
"Excuse me sir," Draco asked, "we're looking for a Mister Harry Potter."
The doorman shuffled away from his spot blocking the entrance to the complex and opened the door for them.
"Myrtle, front desk. She'll point you." he grunted. Draco thanked him and ushered Freddie inside.
The inside of the complex was a far sight better than the outside. Polished and gleaming wood floors were lit by soft and inoffensive lighting from the many brass light fixtures and the grand chandelier in the center of the hall. One wall was entirely covered by diamond shaped mail slots with brass numbers on each one. There were three chairs and a couch around a rug by a fireplace in a corner. The only other thing was an ornate writing desk, painted powder blue, which stood on the opposite wall from the mail slots. An elderly woman sat there blinking owlishly at them through enormous bejeweled glasses.
"Such a lovely daughter you have sir" she croaked. Draco, who had been looking around for stairs or an elevator, almost jumped,
"Ah, yes, thank you. You must be Myrtle, I'm looking for a Mister Harry Potter." He said, striding up to the desk. Myrtle granted him a yellow toothed smile before looking down and addressing a bright pink rolodex that sat on the desk
"Harry Potter please" she chirped. The rolodex flapped to life, spinning through the cards and arriving at one with a soft *ding*
"Ah, Number 400! Lovely young man that one. Such lovely girls he has over all the time too! And one striking young man used to be in here more often than even me!" she cackled and then peered up at Draco through the thick lenses of her glasses "you're not him though, are you? No, no, much better looking than him. That young Mister Potter, always with the good looking ones!" she let loose another gravelly laugh.
"Ah…yes…" Draco said awkwardly, after a moment, "if you could please point us to the elevator, we'll be on our way."
Myrtle looked confused for a minute and looked around, bewildered, before her eyes brightened and she thwacked herself on the forehead, laughing her smoker's laugh
"Oh yes, I do forget sometimes. We keep it hidden. For some reason it's the one thing that never fully disappears when muggles see the glamour we have on this place. If you just go straight through that wall right there, you'll find it" she said, pointing one gnarled, be-ringed finger towards the blank wall that faced the entrance.
"Thank you" Draco said, heading to the wall.
"This place is so different from ours" Freddie commented, eyes wide with amazement as they had been since they had entered the neighborhood.
"Don't stare when we get to Mr. Potter's" Draco warned as they stepped into the elevator and began their ascent "it's rude and unbecoming of a Malfoy."
"Of course I won't Father" Freddie said, spine straightening "I know my manners."
The elevator pinged and the doors slid open to reveal a narrow hallway with several identical doors lining the wall.
"Very well then" Draco said and stepped out, eyes scanning the numbers on the doors.
"There's 400!" Freddie said, pointing at the door at the end of the hall and dragging Draco towards it.
The feeling of nervousness that had been like a steadily growing ache in Draco's stomach was now a full blown nuisance. He wasn't usually this way about negotiating things; he was a businessman for Merlin's sake! He could face down the toughest of opponents without flinching and the fact that one schoolteacher was making him sweat like he was a teenager again wasn't something he liked at all.
Suddenly they were right in front of the door and all Draco could do for a minute was stare at the brass 400 on the door,
"well? Aren't you going to knock?" Freddie asked, staring quizzically up at him.
Draco snapped out of his daze and knocked.
"Coming!" Harry's voice, sounding unusually croaky, came muffled through the door. They heard footsteps and then the door unlocked and swung open to reveal a sleep tousled Harry Potter.
An unexpected jolt of desire hit Draco square in the stomach but before he could speculate any more on that, Harry had looked up and paused mid-greeting upon realizing who exactly it was that was calling on him that morning.
"Right…er…good morning" Draco said awkwardly, his uncharacteristic case of nerves running rampant through his system and impairing his ability to speak properly. Freddie, completely undisturbed, waved cheerfully at her teacher,
"Good Morning Harry!" she chirped brightly, "can we come in?"
Her question launched Harry into action, and he felt a furious blush rise to his face,
"um, right, sorry, just give me two minutes. Sorry" he said hurriedly, shutting the door.
Freddie looked up at her father,
"I think we caught him off guard" she said solemnly, as sounds, not entirely pleasant ones, began filtering through the door.
"That we did…" Draco mumbled in reply.
As Freddie and her father stood outside his door, Harry rocketed around his flat attempting to clean up enough to look decent for company. He roused Pansy who, mortified at the prospect of being seen in such a state, had made a mad dash to the bathroom to clean herself up. While she clanked around in there, he made a heroic effort to straighten his sitting room and make it look as if three grown people hadn't slept in it the night before. Blankets and pillows sailed through the air and into his bedroom; one pillow hit Pansy in the face as she came out of the bathroom looking miles better.
"Oh Merlin's beard Pans! Can you finish up out here while I have myself a brush and a little bit of a fix up?" Harry begged, arms full of linens. Pansy nodded and Harry bolted to the bathroom.
After three minutes of mashing a toothbrush against his teeth and dragging a brush through his hair, he felt he looked at least presentable. Making sure there was no crust in his eyes (or anywhere else), he exited the bathroom to find that the sitting room was completely presentable. Pansy stood waiting for him with a change of clothes; she herself wore a pair of Harry's jeans and one of his shirts.
"Thanks a million Pans" he said, changing hurriedly.
"Yeah, Yeah. Hurry up. It's been all of five minutes and the tea's not even done."
She ambled into the kitchen to check on the kettle that sat steaming on the stove as Harry zipped up his pants and went back to the door.
Opening it, he smiled apologetically and allowed Draco and Freddie into the flat.
Five minutes later, Pansy, after hearing that the little girl's breakfast had consisted of half a bowl of Merlin-O's, had taken Freddie into the kitchen to pick something she would like to eat. Draco and Harry sat at Harry's tiny breakfast table over steaming cups of tea,
"So, Mr. Malfoy, what brings you to my apartment today?" Harry asked, taking a stabilizing sip of hot sweet tea. He looked at Draco over the rim of his cup, taking in how the blonde looked in his apartment. There hadn't been a single other man in his apartment since Todd had left and the sight of Draco, so tall and…blond, taking up so much space in his small flat, left Harry feeling oddly tingly.
"I…actually I have a proposal for you" Draco said seriously, leaning forward over his own tea (which Harry noted he took with no sugar and no milk). Harry sipped from his cup and nodded for Draco to go on,
"you see Mr. Potter…I must leave to Japan for very dire business reasons today and, as you may have noticed, both my housekeeper and butler are suddenly out of commission. To put it simply Mr. Potter, there is no one available to watch my daughter."
Harry nodded, sympathy for the man welling up in his heart,
"My parents are both in Jamaica and, though I've conducted many interviews, a suitable candidate has not appeared; which brings us to the purpose of my visit today."
Suddenly Harry understood and his eyes widened. Draco, mistaking this as a sign of panic, rushed on
"I truly did not wish to bother you Mr. Potter, and I know you must already be very busy. Be that as it may I…I have no other options. I know my daughter adores you, and I know you would take good care of her. I'll only be gone for a week or two at the very most and I would pay you very generously. You would have to live at our flat for a while but I will provide anything you could need and…" Harry held up a hand to stop Draco from babbling.
"Mr. Malfoy" he said, smiling, "I would love to look after Freddie while you're gone"
Relief flooded Draco's overtaxed system and all the nervousness seemed to melt away. He opened his mouth to thank Harry but was beat to it by Freddie who, emerging momentarily from the kitchen, squealed and threw herself at the other man,
"Oh thank you Harry! We'll have the best time ever at my flat! I promise!" she exclaimed. Harry smiled at her,
"of course we will" he said.
"Thank you very much Mr. Potter. You have no idea how much this is helping" Draco said. Harry looked up at him and shook his head,
"no," he said. Draco looked at him puzzled,
"pardon?" he said.
Harry's smile widened as he hoisted Freddie onto his lap,
"Mr. Malfoy, if I'm going to live in your house and take care of your daughter, you're going to have to call me Harry."
Draco felt himself smiling in return,
"Well then Harry" he said, "I must insist you call me Draco"
"Deal" Harry said.
"Pancakes are ready!" Pansy called from the kitchen. Freddie gave an excited whoop and ran to the kitchen, dragging Harry with her.
Draco, watching his daughter laughing and smiling, knew that she would be in good hands.
Lily: Ok, okokok I know this is still not moving along. I prmise (PROMISE!) that after this chapter, things should speed along much better. I know nothing much really happened here and I don't know why it takes so long for me with this fic. I have a lot of background things going on in it I suppose, I'm learning to do without that. But anyway, the next should be up fairly quickly seeing as, despite having to round up supplies for the next year I'm spending in another country, I have a remarkable amount of free do nothing time. . Anyway, I hope you all liked this chapter…even though…you know…nothing really happened. It was 8 pages of…I don't know…I enjoyed writing it though :D.