And so, in a span of time that passed not so quickly as to seem unbelievable or so slowly as to annoy Narcissa, both Harry and Draco began to trust that the other was not just attractive but attracted. Not just interesting but interested. From there, it didn't take long for each to begin to notice the other's good qualities extended past hair and eyes to a clever wit and a good heart. Draco knew Harry was the sort who would never abandon anyone. Harry was startled to discover the depths of Draco's personal loyalties. Draco would never be a man who cared for the world in the abstract but when he did love he did so without reservation.
From appreciation they moved to affection and from affection to love so naturally they didn't notice when that love began. Ginny might have, but she kept her own counsel until the day Harry told her he was tired of being just the boyfriend and wanted to get married. She might have said something that sounded a bit like, "Took you long enough," or, perhaps, "Told you so," but it would be unkind to reveal anything like that and so it shall remain unknown. Implied. Suggested.
But you, gentle reader, are not a fool and you can read between the lines.
The wedding was the sort of scandal people like best. It had rich people and famous people and heroes and villains and beautiful dresses and it filled the society pages and gossip columns for weeks. Even the announcement spawned excitement. People wrote letters to the Prophet gushing about how love conquered all things. People wrote letters that Harry and Ginny had been tricked by a worthless, cowardly Death Eater and needed saving. Some of them sent those letters to Grimmauld Place. Draco opened one and spent the rest of the day in what was still technically his room in the midst of a panic attack. His stomach churned, he felt like he might throw up, and he could feel his heart race as if he were under the same sort of physical attack he'd endured at the hands of Voldemort and his followers.
"No redemption for the likes of me," he said with as much bravado as he could muster when Ginny decided she'd had enough and used a spell that might have been illegal to let herself into his room. Draco waved the parchment at her before reading a bit of it aloud.
Malfoys only kiss should be a Dementor. I am disgusted by the constang glorification of a racist monster in the Prophet, just because he is hot. Their lookism is disgusting too. 'How can he be evil? he is so handsome' is baically their Slogan.
Ginny plucked the sheet from his hand and looked it over. "Well," she said. "Do you want me to dress up as a dementor? A bit odd, but if that's your fantasy I don't mind."
Draco goggled at her. That wasn't the response he had expected, nor was the exasperated roll of her eyes. "You were a child," she said. She touched the tip of her wand to the letter and it began to burn in her hand. Red crept along the edge, turning to black and then grey that crumbled to the floor.
"So were you," he said.
She watched the paper burn and, as it all became dust, said softly, "If my family had been the knife Voldemort held to my throat, I would have done the same."
"I doubt it," Draco said.
She brushed her hands off and stood up. "Be that as it may," she said, "Harry has opinions about the food we should serve at the reception and the caterers your mother hired are here doing a tasting and I need you to come downstairs and argue about it."
Draco's sneer didn't even make it all the way to half-hearted but he managed a, "Since when does Potter know anything about food?" as he followed her out of his room and back into the rest of the house.
If the engagement and the wedding spawned articles and opinions and more than one howler, the marriage itself proved to be about as unexciting as such things usually are. Ginny became a regular at the furniture store, Draco became a regular at dinners with her family, and Harry, rather unexpectedly, became a regular at Malfoy Manor. Narcissa remembered his parents in the casual way that one remembers all sorts of school chums and the idea that he had been kept from family was sufficiently horrifying to her that she found an entire box of Hogwarts memorabilia and sat with him as he picked out old photographs that included either James or Lily, even if they tended to be off in background corners.
James had, as it turned out, a rather bad habit of positioning himself behind Slytherin Quidditch team photographs while making grotesque faces at the camera. Harry became the proud owner of half a dozen pictures of his father and Sirius behaving badly. Ginny framed them and hung them about. Draco pretended to scowl whenever he saw them but spent a whole weekend looking through the attics of Malfoy Manor to see if there were any more. There weren't, but when Harry asked Ginny where 'that worthless git we married' had gone – and she told him – he spent the afternoon scrubbing at an old closet so he could shove his feelings into work and blame the dust for any wetness in his eyes.
The first baby was a girl. She came out with a pointed nose and a pointed chin and bright green eyes and Ginny refused to permit any sort of paternity testing. Draco called her Lily and Harry called her My Lily and Narcissa and Molly descended upon the townhouse with opinions and packages and more yarn than Draco had ever seen because it seemed that every baby must have hand-knit jumpers.
"Mother." Draco cornered Narcissa in the kitchen one morning when Lily was five weeks old. She was furiously clacking needles and squinting at a pattern in a magazine. "Since when do you knit?"
"I am a complex person," she said, sniffing archly and looking down her long nose at him. "I have many interests of which you are unaware."
He doubted that was true. He strongly suspected this was the newest manifestation of a long-standing interest in being better than the Weasley clan in every possible competition. Since so far being more generous, more gracious, and more accommodating than the other woman was one of their points of rivalry, he decided it was best to play dumb and he nodded and made her a cup of tea.
The second baby – Scorpius - was a boy who had nearly white hair that always looked like it needed a good combing. He also needed glasses far younger than Draco had known a child could need glasses. "This is your fault," he said to Harry as they stood trying to fit glasses on a very squirmy boy. "Malfoys have perfect vision."
Harry picked up a lock of that white hair and looked at it. "My fault?" he asked. "When he has this?"
The third baby – Alba - was a girl with red hair, green eyes, and a love of luxury that had to have come straight from Draco. She marched through the nursery like the world was hers from the moment she could walk. She had tantrums that lasted so long the third nanny Narcissa had insisted on hiring said, as she was walking out the door, "You have what is known as a difficult child. Good luck."
Alba ran and she laughed and she grabbed the most expensive things off the shelf in any shop they took her to. After one too many apologies and offers to pay for the damages, they stopped taking Alba Eileen Potter-Malfoy anywhere where things could be broken. They got her a broom instead and told her older siblings to keep her from falling off and thanked all the gods that wizarding medical arts were superb.
The Mediwitch knew them very well.
The receptionist at St. Mungo's just took to waving them up the stairs without looking up from her copy of Witch Weekly.
Oliver Wood started coming around a lot with his own child in tow. "They'll be the best Gryffindor team Hogwarts has ever seen," he said, his eyes gleaming. "Look at her."
Draco looked at her. Alba was too high, flying too fast, and probably on a collision course with a stone wall that would end the day's party. The Wood boy could keep up with her, albeit barely. He darted down and tried to get around and she pointed her broom straight up to the sky and shot out of reach. Lily and Scorp were following behind the pair, not bothering to try to slow them down. There wasn't any point. It wasn't as if Alba listened to warnings. "You assume she'll be sorted to Gryffindor," he said.
Oliver's expression was that of a man who had just been offered such an absurd statement he didn't know how to respond. Draco took a sip from his cocktail and eyed his younger daughter. He didn't presume to guess how Lily would get Sorted, or Scorpius, but he had to admit Alba seemed destined for the lions. "Maybe your boy will end up in Slytherin," he said. "They could use a strong flyer."
Oliver almost choked on his drink.
"I mean, you aren't still mired in adolescent House rivalry, are you?" Draco asked.
Ginny laughed and set her hand on her Oliver's arm and, with a sigh, he admitted that, no, he was not. Any House would be fine.
As long as his son was on the Quidditch team.
That was a sentiment Draco fully understood, as did Harry, and they all spent the rest of the afternoon in complete sympathy with one another. Many people might have considered their lives dull. They didn't live up to the hopes and dreams of the gossip hungry readers of the Prophet. None of them became politically influential. None of them became any more famous than they had been at seventeen. However, after childhoods spent in thrall to the schemes of men who hungered after power, they had learned to be happy with simple things and none of them longed for more.
. . . . . . . . .
A/N – Many thanks to you, readers, for following along on this little fic. I hope the journey has been reasonably enjoyable.
Thank you to irishflute, who generously alpha and beta read this chapter for me. She is a gem.
Many thanks also to the 'Fangirl' troll for the hate mail. I tried to maintain the feeling of over the top ranting as much as possible, though I had to adapt a little bit to fit the needs of the narrative. You can see the original in the reviews of chapter 9. Your help, good sir, was much appreciated.