"Your mother was worried sick."
Draco lifted his head, though he didn't need to look to know who it was. The voice was unmistakable, and in the reflection of the mirror over the sink, his father stood as frigid and still as a glacier.
"Mothers tend to," he answered easily.
The snarl that twisted his father's features was revolting. "I don't remember raising you to be so insolent."
"The best laid plans."
"How dare you be so dismissive of your father?"
"Is that what you are?" Draco asked. "Because when I last saw you, you were my pimp."
The anger on his face set into rage. Draco took one of the towels draped over the edge of the sink and used it to dry his face. The toilets in the lobby of the Wizengamot Court were surprisingly decadent.
"What's the matter? Does the truth make you uncomfortable?"
"These are traditions, Draco. Traditions our family has held to for generations."
"Traditions aren't good simply by virtue of being old." Draco had learned that the hard way, over and over.
"You certainly didn't mind them when you were younger," Lucius growled.
"Well, I hardly had reason to. You assumed I was an alpha, or at the very least without a second sex. I never had any reason to fear being sold like a piece of property."
Lucius took a half-step forward as Draco turned, his grey eyes burning. "You think it was easy for me?"
"I'm sure you were weeping into your twenty-seven-hundred galleons," Draco snarled.
"You are my son!"
"Then you shouldn't have sold me off!"
They had always been more similar than they were different. Draco knew that neither of them were going to back down; they were both too assured of their own correctness. He took a breath, straightened, and smoothed out his robes.
"Here's what's going to happen," Draco said. "I'm going to go before the Wizengamot. After all the pomp and politesse is out of the way, Dolohov is going to forfeit his claim to me because he's not a match for Harry Potter and he knows it. Proud as he is, he's not going to risk his neck."
"And when I leave this building, I never want to see you again."
His father's mouth became a long, hard line, and his expression was inscrutable.
"And Father, I am so deadly serious that I dare you to challenge it. I never want to see you ever again. Not at parties, not at holidays, not ever. Just looking at you now makes me sick to my stomach."
"There is nothing—" he began, but Draco wasn't interested.
"You sold me. You sold me like I was a thing to be sold. You sold me to a man who cared nothing for me past the fact that I could carry children. You sold me to a man who tried to force himself on me. You sold me, Father, and at no point during the whole, drawn-out process did my thoughts or feelings or desires make the slightest difference. This is – it is so far beyond betrayal that I am tempted to hex you where you stand!"
His father's nostrils were flared, and his expression was deadly.
"And you really thing that Harry Potter, of all people, is going to make you happy?"
"He doesn't have to make me happy," Draco said. "All he has to do is undo your atrocity. Goodbye, Father."
And Draco left because if he didn't he really would hex him. When he made it back into the wide, marble lobby, he took a deep, centering breath. He had no time for anger.
When he crossed through the lobby and into the waiting room outside the main court, there were several dazzling flashes of light and a surge of sound.
They were all shouting questions and taking photos, and Draco did his best to reorient himself and wave them off. Really, he should have expected this – there was nothing about this situation that wouldn't attract the press. An alpha hadn't challenged another alpha to their claim over an omega in centuries. That it was Harry Potter fighting for a claim over Draco Malfoy just made it better.
"No comment, you vultures," Draco said, pushing his way through the mass. "Let me through."
When he felt a hand on his shoulder, he almost swatted it away – until, of course, a familiar scent teased his senses. He turned and saw—
"They have to stay behind the line," he said, gesturing to a large yellow stripe on the floor. "Come on."
Draco followed him away, ignoring the shouted questions, which now began with equal parts "Mr. Malfoy" and "Mr. Potter". When they made it past the yellow line on the ground, a glimmer of magic hummed and the room suddenly was quiet – they must have been behind a silencing charm, as well.
"How do you put up with it?" Draco couldn't help but ask.
"Glamour spells and alcohol, mostly."
The rest of the waiting room was quiet and nondescript. It wasn't as lavish as the main lobby, but it was clean and simple and quiet.
"What's the time?" Draco asked, patting himself down for his fob watch, but Potter answered before he could find it:
"Half-nine. We'll be going in soon. Where's Dolohov?"
"You didn't come with him?"
"No," Draco answered thoughtfully, and he sat down at a chair against the wall, where he could see the reporters still frantically taking notes and photos. "I thought it best to keep my distance after he tried to rape me."
Potter had just sat down next to him, and he quite abruptly seized up in his seat. "He what?"
"Relax," he said. "I got out and I've spent the interim weeks in some of London's finest hotels and restaurants. It's basically been a vacation."
"I'll fucking kill him—!"
"You'll have to do it on your own time. He's going to forfeit his claim."
The anger didn't altogether vanish from Potter's face, but it did seem to settle. "What? How do you know?"
"Because he's not stupid. He knows that he's not a match for you, physically or magically. And even if he was, you're Harry Potter. He wouldn't want to kill you even if he was legally allowed to it. He'd be hunted down in the street."
Potter frowned. "Oh."
Draco looked over at him and spent a moment studying his expression. "You seem disappointed."
"I was sort of looking forward to killing him, to be honest."
"Since when does Harry Potter believe in two wrongs making a right?"
"Since about twenty seconds ago when you said he tried to rape you."
Draco didn't quite know how to respond to that, so he didn't. He folded one leg over the other and turned back to the flock of reporters, quarantined behind the yellow line and silencing spell.
"I haven't been reading the papers," Draco said. "What are they saying about us?"
"It's all over the map," he answered, leaning back in his chair. "Some think it's a secret love affair, some think I'm exacting revenge on your father, some think it's one giant political maneuver somehow. Sorry, by the way."
"Sorry? For what?"
"I tried to keep the whole thing quiet, but it got out somehow."
Draco shook his head. "They're a matter of public record. It would have gotten out sooner or later."
His words didn't seem to mollify Potter. When Draco looked away and back at the reporters, they were turned away from them, taking pictures and waving their notebooks in the air.
"Fashionably late," Draco said. "As always."
Potter tensed. "It's Dolohov?"
"Who else could it be?"
"If he gets too close to you, I'm going to hex him," Potter said, and it didn't sound like a threat so much as it did a sort of precautionary warning.
"Yes, well, do us a favor and aim for the cock."
Potter laughed, just once, and for some reason, it surprised Draco. He looked over and saw that he was smiling. It wasn't an expression Draco was used to eliciting from him, let alone seeing on his face. It made something deep in Draco's stomach twist.
Potter met his eyes and seemed to notice the change in his face. "All right?"
"Why wouldn't I be all right?"
"You seem a bit…"
Draco raised an eyebrow at him rather than responding, and after a moment Potter shook his head.
"Look," he said, changing the subject, "when this is all over—"
"CASE #393274-JX IS CALLED TO SESSION," came a woman's voice, rattling through every corner of the room. "ALL PARTIES TO THE COUNCIL FLOOR."
Draco rose and smoothed out his robes. "Right," he said. "Let's get this over with."
Potter stood. "Would it be in bad taste to request a kiss for good luck?"
Draco did his best to pretend as if the question weren't surprising. "What is it about my kisses that you think is lucky?"
"Well, I've noticed quite a correlation between kissing you and good days."
The large oak doors leading into the Wizengamot groaned as they opened. In the corner of his vision, Dolohov pushed past the yellow line. And maybe to piss off his husband, or maybe to give the reporters something to gawk at, or maybe because he hadn't really thanked Potter properly yet, he yanked him forward by the robes into a kiss.
When they broke apart, Potter was smiling. "I'm feeling lucky already."
Harry was disappointed, though not entirely surprised, to discover that Draco had been right and Dolohov forfeited his claim at first opportunity. By law, Draco's marriage was transferred to Harry, which he thought was enormously unfair for all parties involved, but he saw little point in shouting at a broken system.
The outcome must have been announced before they even left the courtroom, because by the time they made it out into the lobby they were once again swarmed with reporters, all of them shouting for explanations and details and predictions of what might come next. Harry had half a mind to flip them the bird, but Draco seemed to have the presence of mind to sneer and offer a curt "no comment". Unfortunately, they were followed all the way out of the Ministry and it was only once they were in the Apparation zone that they managed to make their escape.
"Sorry about that," Harry said.
"Hardly your fault."
Draco looked around at all the half-unpacked boxes lining the walls. Grimmauld Place had been in the same state of incomplete chaos since Harry first moved his things in six months ago.
"It's a bit of a mess."
"You can stay if you want."
Draco looked away from the mountainous pile of boxes against the wall and raised an eyebrow.
"You don't have to," Harry said. "I'm not going to be a new Dolohov. You can do what you like. But things just – everything seems a little bit better when you're around."
Draco's response wasn't immediate. Eventually, he hummed. "That's the nature of the bonding," he said. "My mother once described it as not love, but something like it."
Harry rubbed his chin and realized he needed a shave. "I suppose it makes sense. Evolutionarily, I mean."
"I don't want to be an imposition, of course—"
"It's not an imposition," Harry said at once.
"—but I don't have very many alternatives."
That surprised Harry. "You don't? You can't go back to the Manor?"
Draco's lips curled away from his teeth in a sneer of disgust. "Back to the father who sold me off?"
That was a good point.
"I've been officially disinherited. And since my marriage to Dolohov was nullified, I no longer have access to any money. Staying here seems…" He paused a moment, hunting for the right word. "… reasonable. At least until I find some sort of stability. A steady job, a flat."
"You can stay as long as you like," Harry assured him. "It's not much, but it's home."
Draco peered around the foyer into which they'd Apparated, then crossed into the sitting room. Harry followed him; the living room was perhaps the worst offender of incompleteness. The kitchen and bedroom and bathrooms had all been unpacked by necessity, but the sitting room was still bare, and all the things he didn't immediately need were tucked away in a giant stack of boxes in the corner.
"How long have you been living here?" Draco asked.
"Six months now."
"Six months? And you still haven't unpacked?"
"You know how it goes," Harry said. "You always mean to, but it keeps slipping your mind."
Draco frowned like he didn't quite believe him, and Harry couldn't blame him. Six months was an unusually long time to still not be unpacked.
"I haven't unpacked the second bedroom either," Harry suddenly remembered. "I – damn. I can take the couch, if you like? I wouldn't want to…"
When Harry's words faded, Draco smirked.
"Potter, we've done far more intimate things than share a bed."
Despite himself, Harry laughed.
"Considering the number of times you've put your cock in me, I think we can assume sleeping in the same bed won't be awkward."
Harry bit down on the smile to keep it from growing too big. "I just mean, it might lead to unintended consequences. We do have a history."
And then, Draco was in front of him, straightening out his nice-but-rumpled robes that Harry had chosen for the court date. "You say that like it's a bad thing."
"I just don't want to imply there's any obligation. There isn't."
"I know there isn't," Draco said. "Despite your insistence, I am extremely aware of the fact that you're not Dolohov and always have been."
Harry took in a breath. The gorgeous smoky-woody-floral scent teased him, ambrosial and intoxicating and strangely calming. "Is there any real probability we'll be able to keep away from each other?"
"It's doubtful," Draco answered, and he leaned in and bit down lightly on Harry's lower lip, just once, just briefly. "We're biologically programmed to each other."
"Nnhmm." Harry didn't even really know what that meant, but it sounded great, for some reason he couldn't quite determine. He ran his hands down Draco's sides, which brought him closer. "It's strange. I know you haven't really changed. All the traits I couldn't stand about you three years ago are still there. But I just—"
"—don't care as much," Draco finished. "I know. It's the same on my end."
That was more relieving than Harry expected it to be. His hands slid around and firmly grabbed the backs of Draco's thighs, pulling him in more closely. "I always sort of thought we started out on the wrong foot, anyway," Harry admitted.
Draco ground his hips into Harry's, making a delightful little purring sound that went right down Harry's spine and into his cock. "I was a bit of a prat to you, admittedly," he said, breathlessly.
"We were both young," Harry said. "Stupid."
"Robes off," Draco breathed against Harry's mouth, and they spent several entirely-too-long moments ripping at their own and each other's clothes. "The whole Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry was so cliché, anyway. Utterly overdone."
"I really want to suck you off," Harry said, and Draco groaned.
Draco collapsed on the sofa and Harry eagerly fell on top of him, kissing hot lines down his throat and chest as Draco worked off his trousers.
"I – I always sort of admired you, in a hateful way," Draco admitted breathlessly, as Harry helped him with the trousers. "I mean, I did despise you, but I also wanted to be you – seeker as a first year, popular with everyone, star of your hhh—aaaah!"
Harry had ducked his head and taken Draco's cock down in one movement. He could feel Draco's entire body tense underneath him.
"Oh, fucking Merlin, yes."
He felt Draco's hands knot in his hair and he rocked his hips, and it egged Harry on in his movements. Draco tasted divine, smooth and hot and salty, and he was so responsive.
"And it d-didn't help that you turned out as gorgeous as you did. Merlin, you hit puberty like an exploding star, all those years of Quidditch…"
Harry smirked around Draco's cock and ducked his head low, letting the head brush against the back of his throat. It drew a gorgeous noise out of Draco and Harry slid his hands up his stomach and onto his chest.
"I… nn, Harry, I'm going to come…"
There was nothing in the world Harry wanted more at that moment. He nudged one of Draco's thigh aside and speared two fingers neatly into the slick, wet heat between his legs. Draco let out a strangled cry and bucked his hips down against him. Harry could feel him tightening up around his fingers, the clutching vise of near-climax.
The trembling gave way to shuddering, the jerking to thrashing, and Draco, looking like something out of a wet dream, arced and shook and came, screaming, into Harry's mouth. Harry kept moving until it died back down to trembling and jerking, until he'd drawn every last drop of his orgasm.
He swallowed neatly and pulled off, smirking up at him. "I think that was the first time you called me Harry."
Draco was still panting and trying to gather his wits. "Was it?"
"I like hearing you say it. It's much nicer than 'Potter'."
Harry wetly licked the tip of Draco's slowly softening cock. Draco looked down at him and grinned. Then he sat up, leaned forward and kissed him. Harry returned it eagerly, snaking his fingers through Draco's hair.
"Lie down," Draco muttered against Harry's mouth.
He lied back obligingly. Draco crawled forward on his knees and straddled Harry's lap.
"You like it when I use your given name?"
Harry hummed. Draco looked gorgeous on top of him, and he drank in all the lines of his chest and shoulders and stomach. The sight of it made his cock throb painfully, and when Draco shifted his hips, letting it slide against the slickness of his thigh, Harry's head fell back.
"You like to hear your name when you make me come?"
Harry reached up and gripped his hips tightly. "God, yes." Draco shifted again and sank down with one even movement and— "Jesus."
Draco started rolling his hips, bracing his hands on Harry's chest as he rode him, slowly at first, and then gradually with more speed. "Well, we are married now, aren't we? It's only right I call you Harry. Especially when we're fucking."
Harry's grip on Draco's thighs tightened as the pace quickened. He screwed his eyes shut because if he had to watch him ride his cock he wasn't going to last.
"Nhmmm," Draco purred, his fingernails raking down Harry's chest. "Every time Dolohov had his way with me, I was thinking about this. About you."
Jesus Christ. Harry's entire body twitched in deep, instinctual, visceral pleasure.
"Even if it is just biology, he never could have hoped to compare… your cock will be the death of me…"
"Fuck," Harry croaked, his back arcing off the sofa. "Fuck, Draco, I—"
"Come for me, Harry," Draco purred, and Harry came – so hard he was spasming and screaming, so hard his world turned white, and everything was exactly as it should be.
"How are you settling in?"
"Well," Draco answered. "Surprisingly well. I mean, I have my grievances – he's not as clean as he could be, and he has no table manners to speak of, but he's pleasant company. Charming, when he wants to be. I've been helping him unpack…"
She smiled and lightly sliced off a piece of her duck. "I think you're right where you should be, darling," she said. "I'm sure you can both be happy if you let yourselves be."
Draco took a sip of wine and watched as she ate. The single candle on the table lit her features with a pale yellow-orange glow.
"How's Father?" he asked against his better judgment.
"Unbearable, I imagine," he continued, finishing off his wine.
"You know your father," she said carefully. "He's taken this whole thing as a defeat, and he's never handled defeat very well. He misses you, darling."
"If he had any real interest in seeing me, he'd be mending fences."
"He's very proud."
"Aren't we all?"
His mother sighed and carved into her duck again. Draco felt a tremor of guilt. He shouldn't be putting her on the spot like this. He didn't want to force her to pick sides, not between her son and her husband.
"I'm sorry, Mother."
She smiled and reached across the table to pat his wrist. "You mentioned in your letter that you're looking for employment?" she asked, seeming more than happy to change the subject.
Draco hummed. "There's a disused laboratory in the cellar of Grimmauld Place," he said. "I've been thinking of perhaps putting it to use by brewing potions for local apothecaries."
"Oh, that would be a lovely use of your talents."
"It would be a good source of income, as well. And it would certainly be a favorable alternative to puttering around the house and unpacking all his things. What a project that's turning out to be."
"I thought he moved in months ago."
"He did," Draco sighed. "You wouldn't know to look at it, though. The place is in chaos. I'm doing what I can, but I feel like I barely make a dent."
She hummed thoughtfully and finished the last bite of her duck, then took a sip of wine.
"He screams sometimes," Draco said quietly. "In his sleep."
A look of concern passed over her face. She set her wine glass down.
"I don't think he ever really healed from the War," he continued. "He'll wake up in the middle of the night, thrashing and screaming. I'll hold him and soothe him and it seems to calm him down, but it still happens, sometimes twice a week."
"War is cruelest to its heroes," she said.
"I want to help him," Draco said. "I'm desperate to help him. But I worry that there's nothing I can do."
"Oh, darling," she said. "That's understandable. He's your alpha. You'll feel a natural inclination to nurture. I went through the same thing with your father when he came back from Azkaban."
That surprised Draco. He'd never once mentioned Azkaban to him; in fact, he'd gone out of his way to avoid mentioning it.
"What did you do?" he asked.
"The best thing an omega can do for their alpha," she answered. "I was there for him. When he roused to nightmares, I kissed him and reminded him it was a dream. When he was forced into the same room with the Dark Lord's dementors, I held his hand and reminded him they would not hurt him again. Most alphas will never admit just how soothing their omega's presence is in times of crisis, but there has never been a psychological obstacle an alpha hasn't been able to overcome with the help of their omega."
Draco took a bite of his pork loin. The idea that he could help Harry through the scars left by the War simply by being there was deeply comforting. His mother hadn't been wrong – he did feel a very deep, profoundly primal instinct to soothe Harry, to make him feel better.
"I didn't know Azkaban rattled him so much," Draco said.
"More than he ever admitted out loud," she answered with wan smile. "It's not in his nature to show weakness."
"Do you love him?"
The question surprised Draco as much as it did his mother. She didn't respond immediately; she looked down at her mostly empty plate and considered her words before she spoke:
"It was not an immediate thing," she said, "but yes. I came to love him eventually."
"Did you have any agency in it? Did you fall because you fell or did you fall because your instincts pushed you?"
"Your bond cannot force you to love, Draco," she told him. "It can make separation feel like a knife wound; it can make you prioritize your alpha's life over your own; it can make even the worst problems conquerable; it may even facilitate love, but it cannot force it. I fell in love with your father when I saw him hold you for the first time."
She smiled then and looked to the side, the pleasant memory written all over her face.
"He had a look of open sincerity and joy. You became the center of his universe, and I knew he loved you just as much as I did. He put family above all things, and I loved him for it."
Draco's first thought was how sad it was. He wondered if his father still felt that way, after doing what he did, after Draco said what he said.
His second thought was Merlin, that I could have such a love. He thought of Harry, swearing to protect him, kissing him desperately, taking his ex-husband to court over him, and wondered if the little twist in his stomach was the beginning of love.
They paid for dinner and walked together, arm-in-arm out of the restaurant. Outside, snow was falling, glittering even in the light of dusk.
"It was good to see you, Mother," he said, his breath caught in a gust of wind that danced and twirled into the air.
"How could I ever stay away?"
There was something in her voice that made Draco frown. He withdrew from her arms and looked down at her – she had a look of quieted alarm on her face.
"Mother? What's wrong?"
Draco's frown only deepened. "What about my scent?"
"I've smelled that before," she said. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Tell you what?"
"You – Draco, you don't know?"
"What are you talking about? What don't I know?"
She opened her mouth to respond, but said nothing, and shut it tightly. She stared up at him, and to his astonishment, her eyes were glassy with tears – happy or sad, he couldn't quite tell which.
"Draco," she said, "you're pregnant."
Draco felt dizzy. His vision tunneled slightly. "What."
"I know what an omega smells like when they're pregnant," she said. "When Andromeda…"
"That – no," he said. "That's not possible."
"Mother, it's not possible," he said, more firmly, even though he felt nauseous. "My last estrus was with Dolohov, and I spiked his drink with a sterility potion specifically to avoid pregnancy. He couldn't have—"
Realization hit him like a train and Draco nearly lost his footing.
"Draco!" she said, catching him by both arms. "Draco, sit down."
She guided him over to a bench just outside the restaurant. It was frosted with snow, but Draco scarcely noticed.
"Oh, Merlin," he said, covering his mouth. "Mother – it's not – Dolohov couldn't have – Mother, it's Harry's."
His mother bit down hard on her lower lip and slowly sat down next to him.
"Oh, Merlin," he said again, bending forward and raking his hands through his hair. "He came over during the last day of my estrus t-to ask if I wanted out of the marriage – I was off my suppressants, I didn't…"
"Oh, God," he said, finding that it was suddenly hard to breathe. "Oh, Merlin, this can't be happening."
"Draco, darling, you must calm down."
She pulled him into her arms and hushed him. And despite the fact that he was now twenty, he had never been more eager to be whispered soothing things by his mother.
"This is a very personal choice," she said when Draco finally started to calm down. "No one can make it for you, not even your alpha. By your smell, you aren't that far along. You haven't been experiencing morning sickness, have you?"
Draco shook his head weakly.
"Less than six weeks in, then," she said. "You have time, my darling. You have time to think and consider your options."
That was a mercy, Draco knew – but at the same time, he doubted that there could possibly be enough time. He was too scared, too shocked, to overwhelmed to know what he wanted, and at that moment he felt like stars would burn out and galaxies would rip apart before he could even hope to know.
Harry wouldn't have admitted it out loud, and if anyone were to ask he'd deny it vehemently, but Draco moving in had been the best thing to happen to him since the War ended.
In the months he'd spent alone – even the months he'd spent with Ginny – he would wake to nightmares every other night, screaming and shaking and drenched in sweat. But something about sharing a bed with Draco – something about having his familiar, comforting scent so close by – kept them rare, and somehow milder.
And then there was the fact that Draco could cook – which surprised Harry, who'd assumed that he'd never had to cook and therefore never had the compunction to learn how – and it was all too easy to get used to coming home after a long day on the field to a gorgeous, home cooked meal.
Draco had also taken it upon himself to start unpacking all the boxes that had been there for so many months. It was a long process, but Draco was methodical, focusing on one room at a time. By the end of their first month, many of the rooms on the ground floor were completely unpacked and actually looked normal.
And the sex. God, the sex.
Harry liked to think that he wasn't shallow – he appreciated Draco for everything that he was and was doing – but it was hard to pretend like the sex wasn't one of the best parts of it all. Harry had had him in more ways and in more positions than he could count, and it was incredible every time. With Ginny, it had been a constant struggle to find the passion, and sometimes to even maintain interest – but with Draco, there were times when morning sex made him late for work and food burned on the stove because he'd he was fucking him on the kitchen table and they'd both completely forgotten that anything else existed.
For the first time in so many years, Harry felt like he was actually living his life instead of just experiencing it. He found work more interesting. He looked forward to coming home. Maybe much of it was just the bond – Harry wasn't sure – but he didn't care. How could he, when he was finally seeing the world in color again after two years of monochrome?
It followed logically that the first signs of shadow in the sunshine were particularly alarming.
When he came home from dinner with his mother, Harry knew at once that something was wrong. He felt it, knew it like he knew himself. Draco was upset. He could smell it before he even came upstairs into the bedroom.
No answer. He'd been waiting up with a cup of tea charmed to stay warm, and the silence distressed him further. He slid off the bed, kicked on his slippers, and moved downstairs.
"Draco? Are you all right?"
At the base of the stairs, near the door, Draco was leaning against the wall. He seemed heavy somehow, like there was some tremendous weight on him, and the sight of it rattled Harry's nerves.
"Draco, what's wrong?"
When he reached the landing, he noticed that Draco's eyes were red from recent tears.
He gathered him at once into his arms. His reaction wasn't immediate. After several seconds of silence, Draco returned the embrace and buried his face in Harry's hair.
"Are you okay?"
"You're not hurt? Did something happen at dinner?"
"I'm not hurt."
"I'm pregnant," Draco said again, as though he was trying to convince himself. "It's yours."
A beat of silence passed. Harry drew back and looked at him. Sincerity and desperation and fear were drawn into every line of his face.
"You're… oh, my God."
"I… I don't – Harry, I don't know what to do, I…"
Harry tried to swallow a lump in his throat, but it stayed firmly in his windpipe.
"I'll make tea," he said. "I mean, I made you tea. There's tea waiting upstairs, but it's decaf."
"We'll probably need something stronger."
They walked into the kitchen. Draco sat down and Harry set the kettle to boiling. He puttered around the kitchen, looking for cups and teabags and sugar. His hands felt numb and awkward. He dropped the sugar spoon twice.
When everything was on the table, Harry sat down in the chair next to Draco and waited for the water to boil.
Hesitantly, Harry looked over at him. He seemed to be in a state of shock – face pale, or paler than usual at least, eyes glazed over. He was looking at the placemat, but Harry doubted that he was actually seeing it.
Harry swallowed. "And you're sure it's…?"
"It's definitely yours," Draco said. "It can't be anyone else's."
"I spiked Dolohov's wine with a sterility potion before my estrus started."
And despite himself, Harry laughed. Just once. He would have congratulated Draco on a good idea if it weren't wildly inappropriate.
"And besides him, there was just you. Only you."
"Right," Harry said. "Okay. You're pregnant. You're pregnant with our child." Jesus Christ. "So that makes you – what – about a month along?"
Harry looked over at the kettle. It still wasn't boiling.
"So, uh," Harry began haltingly, "what – I mean, what do you—?"
"I don't know."
Another lapse of silence stretched.
"Well, if it's any consolation, I don't, either."
Draco didn't answer. He hadn't looked away from the placemat.
"It's – it's your body," Harry said. "It's absolutely your body and it's your choice and I know that and I'm not going to – I wouldn't dream of pressuring you—"
"I know," Draco said.
"I just don't want you to think—"
"I don't," Draco said.
He looked at the kettle again, even though it had only been a few seconds since he last checked.
"All the choices just seem impossible."
Harry looked back.
"Forgive me for my frankness, but there are only three, aren't there? I can abort, give it up for adoption, or become a father. Every instinct in my body is screaming against aborting, the very idea of my child being raised by anyone but myself nauseates me, and how can I…"
Draco bent forward and raked his fingers through his hair.
"What sort of dreadful father would I be?"
"I think you'd be brilliant," Harry said, and he regretted it at once. He should know better than to show any kind of bias. This was Draco's decision, he told his own instincts as firmly as he could. Draco's alone and not his.
Draco looked up at him. To Harry's surprise, he looked more surprised than anything else. "At what point between my childhood narcissism and taking the Dark Mark did I do anything that would convince you I'd be a good parent?"
Harry laughed, though there wasn't any humor in it. "It came slightly after all that. You're smart, Draco, or haven't you noticed? And you've always cared about family, perhaps even past the point of what could be consider rationality."
Draco laughed, too, also without humor.
"I just don't want you to do anything you might regret because you think you'd be bad at it. I know you'd be wonderful. And I—" he hesitated, "—if you'd ask it, I'd be with you every step."
"Why on earth wouldn't I want that?"
Harry met his eyes and felt suddenly weak. Right at that moment, past the knowledge that Harry did not and could not have any agency in Draco's decision, despite the understanding that his instincts were more than likely responsible for most of his decision-making capabilities, he wanted it. He wanted to have a child with Draco, more than he'd ever wanted anything.
He wanted to see Draco's stomach grow heavy with the weight of their child. He wanted to feel movement under the soft heat of his skin. He wanted to hold his child in his arms, kiss its forehead, sing to it. He wanted to raise it to be better than himself, to avoid making all the mistakes he'd made, to be compassionate and open-minded and thoughtful and curious. He wanted to give it everything Harry never had.
He wanted it so badly that he found he was suddenly blinded with tears.
Draco grabbed his hand. "I know," he said, and his voice was tight with emotion. "I understand. I feel the same thing, but—"
"I know," Harry said, grabbing his hand right back.
"—we can't let this be a purely emotional decision."
"I know," Harry said again.
"This is life-changing," Draco said. "We can't let our instincts drive us, not on this, it's too important."
"I know," Harry said a third time. "You're right. I know you're right. But God—"
Draco leaned across the table and kissed Harry firmly, briefly. "We have time," Draco said against his mouth. "We have time."
Time trudged ever onward, heedless of the fact that Draco felt like he was spiraling, suffocating, crushed beneath the weight of an impossible decision. Tonight became tomorrow, tomorrow turned into next week, and soon next week was next month.
They didn't talk much about the pregnancy, though they talked about everything else. They talked about how Harry's job was going over at the DMLE; they talked about how Draco had secured a contract to brew a few shipments of potions for an apothecary in Diagon Alley; they talked about the new museum that was going up in the wake of the end of the War and whether or not they wanted to visit. They talked about food, friends, family, current events, but they didn't talk about the pregnancy.
At least not until Draco woke up one morning and only barely made it to the toilet before vomiting up his dinner from the night before.
Draco hated vomiting. He hated being unwell in general. He was not one of those people who could put mind over matter and power through sickness and never had been. And when he finally, finally finished with the whole disgusting, violent affair, he flushed the toilet and slumped down against the wall.
It took him a moment to notice that Harry was there in his pajama bottoms, standing in the doorway with a worried frown.
"Morning sickness?" he asked.
Draco nodded weakly and used a bit of toilet paper to wipe the sick from his lower lip.
Harry slowly crossed the bathroom and sat down next to him, sliding an arm around Draco's shoulders. Draco gratefully leaned on his shoulder.
"We can nip down to Diagon Alley," he said. "Get a few nausea potions."
"I can make it myself," Draco returned.
They were silent a moment. Harry stretched out his free hand and laced his finger's in Draco's.
"Did you fall back asleep all right?" Draco asked, eager to talk about something – anything – else.
Harry nodded. That night he'd woken up, screaming and thrashing, in the throes of a nightmare. Draco didn't know what his nightmares were about – he'd never asked – but from what he screamed, Draco was willing to guess they were about the Dark Lord.
"I'm sorry I can't help you more," Draco said.
Harry looked down at him, and Draco didn't need to look to know that he was frowning.
"I know it's mostly my omega instincts, but I really just – I have this profound need to make you better, to nurture you back to health."
"Mother says just being around you will help, what with the bond," he continued, "but Merlin, how am I supposed to be any help at all if I'm fat and nauseous and useless?"
"Draco." His voice was firmer this time. Draco looked up at him. "That's ridiculous. You have no idea everything you've already done, do you?"
Draco frowned but didn't answer.
"It was worse," Harry said. "It was so much worse, before I found you again. The nightmares came every night. I nearly got addicted to dreamless sleep potions just to quell them. I was miserable – utterly incapable of making my girlfriend happy, utterly incapable of making myself happy." He frowned, paused, looked away. "The night after I first saw you again in Nizhnevartovsk, I had my first uninterrupted night's sleep since the War. When you came home after the trial, I even managed a full eight hours."
"Just having you here… I can't even explain how much better things are. I'm looking forward to things. I'm happy. Seeing you when I wake up, having your scent in the sheets of the bed, it's done so much for me. So don't you dare think – Draco, don't you dare think that you can't help me. You already have."
Draco swallowed the lump that had suddenly appeared in his throat. He bent forward and kissed him, lightly, and Harry responded just as lightly.
Draco pulled back quickly, though, when he remembered— "I'm sure I taste like sick."
Harry laughed. "A bit," he admitted. "That's fine, though. There are other places I can kiss."
Draco sucked in a breath when he felt Harry's mouth on his jaw, moving down the side of his throat. "Harry…"
"I just want you to understand," he said between the feather-light kisses that were moving ever lower, towards Draco's collarbone, "I just want you to know how badly I need you, how much you've already done for me. Nothing is going to change that, certainly not the pregnancy."
Harry bit lightly on the bone of his shoulder and Draco keened. Under the soft, loose silk of his sleepwear, Draco's cock was stirring to life, despite his best efforts. "You have work in less than an hour," Draco panted.
"Then we'd better be quick."
His arms were sliding around Draco's chest and the weight of him was lowering Draco onto the floor. If there was any nausea left, Draco was swiftly forgetting its existence.
"There are times when I feel like I'm insane," Harry said, his hands fumbling with the buttons going down the front of Draco's pajama top. "How can the presence of just one person have such a profound impact on me? How can he turn my entire life around in just a few weeks?"
Draco's entire body jerked when Harry lightly bit his nipple. "Ahhnn—! Th-the bond," he stammered.
"Maybe the bond explains why I can sleep better, but it doesn't explain why I look forward to coming home. It doesn't explain why just the sight of you makes everything seem all right after a terrible day. It doesn't explain why I can't get you out of my head."
Harry's mouth was on his stomach now, his tongue licking and suckling at the warm flesh around his navel. Draco knotted his hands in Harry's hair and rocked his hips, hoping he would take it as a sign that he wanted Harry to go lower.
Fingers slipped under the band of his pajama bottoms, and Draco whined and lifted his hips to help Harry tug them down. He could hear the sound of rustling fabric, and a moment later, Harry moved back up his body, and Draco felt his cock slide up alongside his own. Draco shuddered.
"It doesn't explain why I've come to admire you so much for overcoming your upbringing," Harry said, speaking directly into the skin of Draco's throat, and the words vibrated, sending gooseflesh rising along his chest. "It doesn't explain why I feel like my day isn't complete if I don't get to kiss you."
Harry started to move and Draco's fingernails dug into Harry's back. He rutted down into him, flesh on flesh, heat on heat, slowly at first and then with more speed. Harry was kissing Draco's throat like he wanted to devour him whole, and at that moment Draco wouldn't have minded if he did.
"It doesn't explain why you have so much – God, Draco – power over me, why one word from you controls me utterly – i-if I didn't know any better, I'd say I was—"
Oh, Merlin. Electricity rocketed up Draco's spine and he started moving his hips in tandem. Harry didn't finish the sentence. He didn't need to; Draco knew how it ended, and even unsung it was music to his ears.
Harry seemed just as astonished, some distant part of Draco's mind noticed. His hands knotted tightly in Draco's hair and his hips started snapping more quickly down against him.
"Draco," he said like he was realizing it for the first time, "I—"
"I'm falling in love with you," Draco finished, breathlessly.
"I am," Harry panted, hips rocking faster. "Oh, God, I am. I'm falling in love with you."
Draco's entire body felt tight, taut like the string of a violin, and orgasm raged ever closer. Even when Harry was silent, his words were still ringing in Draco's head. They should not have been as intensely, crushingly erotic as they were.
"Harry," he whined, his fingernails scraping over the sweat-slicked skin of his back, falling in love, flying. "Merlin, Harry…"
"I'm falling in love with you," Harry panted, and Draco could see the muscles tightening along his chest and arms.
Everything in the world that wasn't Harry was starting to fade out of Draco's perception. He was arcing, straining, sweating, building, falling, flying, churning—
"Ha-harry, I… aah—hhnnnaaaaaah—!"
In the fog, Draco wasn't sure who came first or if it was simultaneous. He felt the heat, the evidence of it in long stripes on his stomach, and it felt like hours before the thrum of climax finally started to settle.
Harry kissed him; Draco kissed him back. His heart was still settling in his chest, the final waves of orgasm fading into the periphery of his senses. Draco basked in the scent of Harry.
When he opened his eyes, Harry was still over him, staring down at him, and that expression that Draco had seen in the weeks since he'd first moved in was still there, and Draco finally had a name for it. Love. He was falling in love with Harry and Harry was falling in love with him.
It was awful and wonderful and terrifying and awe-inspiring all the same time.
"I hope I didn't scare you," Harry said softly, his fingers carding through Draco's hair.
"It's the good kind of scared," Draco assured him, tilting his head against Harry's hand. "The fluttery kind."
"You do have work," Draco reminded him reluctantly.
"Sod work," Harry said impetuously. "My omega isn't feeling well. He needs me around to pamper him with soup and orgasms."
Draco laughed, despite himself, and Harry kissed him again, lightly, on the corner of his mouth. "Is that the excuse you're going to give the Head Auror when he asks?"
"Sure," Harry said. "Why not?"
Another kiss – Draco had lost count – and his smile was starting to make the muscles in his face ache.
"Of course I am," Harry said against his mouth. "I'm falling in love. I can't believe I only just realized."
Draco shivered, tangled his fingers in Harry's hair. "Perhaps it just took us longer to notice in the fog of hormones and instincts."
"Maybe." Yet another kiss, briefer. "Let me make you some soup, hm?"
Draco could not imagine what he did to deserve this sort of treatment, this sort of alpha, this sort of life.
They started talking about the pregnancy.
Not with great frequency, and never for very long, but they talked about it. They talked about how friends and family might react, about abortive methods for omega men, about how they'd have to adjust to a baby. They talked about guilt and money and legacies and instinct and the social expectations placed on alphas and omegas. They talked about it over the course of several weeks, and came to a few conclusions:
One, if Draco decided to abort, they would be able to move past it, relationship unscathed, unburdened by guilt.
Two, if Draco decided to carry to term, they would be able to love and raise the child together.
Harry would have felt very pleased about how well they'd both handled it and how mature and rational their discussions were, but for one rather loud, unspoken fact—
Neither of them had actually said what they wanted.
So they worked and cooked and made love and generally went on with their lives, talking about everything except the one thing that mattered most.
One evening rather like the rest, Harry came home and found Draco in the sitting room, unpacking the last few boxes. It was the only remaining room that hadn't been unpacked. Harry hung up his cloak on the rack by the door and headed inside as Draco adjusted a picture of the Weasleys on the wall.
"Hey," Harry said. "This place looks great."
Draco looked over his shoulder and smiled.
"It's finally starting to look how it's meant to look," Harry continued, approaching him from behind and settling his chin on his shoulder. Draco hummed in agreement and leaned back against him. "You've done a great job."
Draco turned his head to the side. There was a tall mirror standing near the far wall, giving them a perfect view of themselves. For a moment, they both studied their reflection, and Harry felt pleased at how very natural the closeness looked.
"I'm gaining weight," Draco said.
Harry frowned. "I hadn't noticed," he said, which was true.
"I'm hyper-aware of my own body lately. More than usual. I've gained five pounds since last week."
"Oh," Harry said. "I imagine that's…"
Harry wasn't sure what to say, so he didn't say anything.
"Every time I pass a mirror, I keep studying myself, trying to look for some sign of it. I know it will be ages before there's any obvious change, but I look anyway."
Draco paused. A look of pain passed over his face. "Good question."
He slid from Harry's arms and walked to the mirror. Harry watched, heart fluttering for no identifiable reason, as Draco pressed both hands to his abdomen.
"I looked it up," Draco said. "I'm about ten weeks on now; fetal movement has likely already started, but because of the size I likely haven't noticed."
The fluttering turned into a steady thumping. The very idea that there was something – Harry's something, Draco's something – moving inside him made Harry feel jittery, anxious, desperate for something he couldn't quite name.
"It's likely no larger than a lemon," Draco said, his hands pressing more firmly. "Most of its mass is made up of its head."
"Draco," Harry said, his voice wan and almost shaking.
"Sometimes at night I lie in bed and try to picture it," he continued as though he hadn't heard Harry. "I try to picture a little big-headed, lemon-sized thing growing inside me."
Harry swallowed. Even though he really, really didn't want to know the answer, he asked, "Can you picture it?"
Draco's hands fisted in his robes. "Yes," he answered, voice taut.
Harry took a few very deep breaths.
"It's sentimental poppycock," Draco said, and it almost sounded like a sob. "There's no real reason I should feel this connected to something with no central nervous system growing in my abdomen."
"There's no reason I should feel so attached. It's my stupid bloody instinct, my hormones, a useless evolutionary vestige designed to assure that the next generation survives. It's not real."
Harry closed the gap between them and turned him around. Despite his best efforts, Harry could feel his eyes stinging with tears.
"Just because something is driven by reflex doesn't mean it's not real," Harry said.
"I understand why you begrudge your instincts. So far they haven't done much for you. But they're just a part of you, a part like any other. They aren't any better or worse than anything else, and deserve equal consideration."
Draco looked down, and Harry pulled him into his arms and kissed his temple.
"Whatever you choose, I will support you," Harry said. "All you have to do is know what you want."
Harry swallowed as Draco hesitated. It was taking everything in him to be unbiased, to remind himself that this was Draco's choice, Draco's body, not his, no matter how desperately, how painfully—
"Harry," he said, "do you...?"
"Do I what?"
"Do you want me to carry to term?"
There were so many terrible-wonderful things inside him that he felt like they were ripping him apart at the seams. "Isn't it obvious?"
Draco didn't answer.
"I've never wanted anything so badly," he answered. "Maybe it is just my instincts. I don't know. But the want is real. Just as real as the attachment you feel. Just as real as our bond. I love you and I want this with you—"
The whole speech that had been falling out of him was abruptly silenced when Draco seized him by both shoulders and pulled him into a bruising kiss. Harry could taste salty tears on his lips and wondered if they were his or Draco's or both.
He pulled back after a moment, though only enough to speak:
"I love you, you big, stupid, sentimental prat."
Harry laughed wetly.
"We are in completely over our heads."
"Nothing can possibly be the same."
"I want it, too."
Harry's grip on Draco tightened. He smiled deliriously, kissed him, and his mind filled with all the wonderful, terrible, terrifying, incredible, irreplaceable yet-to-comes. He pressed a hand against Draco's abdomen and for a moment, he was absolutely sure he felt a slight flutter under the skin.
Author's Note: That's it! Thank you so much for reading. If you liked it, please leave a review, because reviews are better than heroin.