DISCLAIMER: Not mine. Sadly.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I am aware that this has been a ridiculously long time coming (I have kind of drifted out of the fandom slightly). But a recent discovery of a lot of fab new H/D fics, combined with a few prompts to finish this and the arrival of half term have combined to make me finish this one.
Called this 'chapter eleven' rather than epilogue, but this is the end nonetheless.
(I am feeling very Harry Potter motivated at the moment so some of my other things might be updated. At the very least I will finish Draco's Detour)
Anyway, hope you like this, though I am aware that it is unlikely to make up for the very long wait...
For a week Draco steered clear of Harry as he tried to sort out his feelings. That he loved the other boy he was not going to bother denying, the question was about whether he could trust him or not. It was a question he found hard to settle: one moment he could acknowledge that, but for Harry's 'plan', he might never have realised how he felt, and thus Harry's actions could be seen as acceptable. Then he would be remembering all Harry's protestations about being manipulated, and his own hatred of others controlling his actions, and he found the whole thing to be unforgivable.
In the end he knew he had to choose between his pride and his love for Harry – he was hurt but was it enough to make him send Harry away forever?
Harry knew Draco was ignoring him, and even in the midst of his sadness he couldn't but help feel it was well deserved. That Seamus and Blaise could come out it all unscathed sometimes seemed unfair, but he and Draco had a year's worth of knowledge and intimacy between them that should have made him aware of how foolish this was. The other couple might be able to see this as a foolish but romantic gesture, but he should have known that this was a betrayal of the trust they'd built up between them.
What made it even worse was the fact that, somehow, the story had filtered out to the student body and scarely an hour went by without him being criticised for being so stupid, or told that he could do better. Some offered to put a good word in with Draco, while others made their interest in him known, offering to fill Draco's fuckbudy role and showing their own lack of understanding by the offer.
Ron and Hermione were sympathetic and steadfast, and Harry loved Ron more than ever when he discovered that his friend had come to see Draco as being perfect for Harry. Vowing once again never to doubt the power of their friendship, Harry clung to Ron and Hermione in a way he never had before. They meanwhile were about an hour away from locking the two boys up together until they agreed to forgot the last couple of months and start afresh.
It was Blaise who settled things, or rather the memory of Blaise's words, coming home rather forcibly when Draco chanced to see Harry being propositioned by a brazen sixth year.
"He's desperate for someone to love him. I could have won him in a heartbeat if I'd wanted to. He loves you, but he'll settle for being truly loved by someone who has the courage to love him."
At the moment Harry wasn't giving up on him, but one day he might, and the idea of that was enough to jolt him out of the indecision that had gripped him.
He was planning to act, although he wasn't entirely sure how to go about it, and he knew he needed to clear his head before approaching Harry. In the end he went down to the lake knowing the gentle movement of the water always helped him relax and clear his mind.
Harry watched Draco go out to the lake and knew he had seen that sixth year hit on him. The look on Draco's face was enough to spur him into action – if Draco was capable of feeling jealous then surely he felt something else too.
Heedless of the cool evening he hurried after the Slytherin, calling his name as he came closer. Draco turned to meet him, face impassive but eyes wary.
"You saved me," Harry began, speaking quickly for fear of being cut off. "I never thought to tell you before, but you saved me. I was drinking way too much and taking stupid risks and you saved me. Then when it was all over you saved me again. I though I would have gone mad without someone to talk to, but you let me pour my heart out and you helped me heal. I gave you my heart and I should never have been so reckless with yours. I was a poor way to repay you."
Draco was looking taken aback but he wasn't running, or shouting and Harry took that as a good sign. Stepping closer he tilted Draco's chin so their eyes met. "What I did was foolish and cruel and, if you'll let me I'd like to spend the rest of our lives making it up to you."
Draco swallowed hard, pushing Harry's hand away from his face and making the other boy pale slightly in panic.
"'The rest of our lives' Potter – could you be any more cliché?" But he was smiling and Harry relaxed slightly. "You hurt me, but I needed a slap to recognise how much I cared for you." He raised one of his own hands to Harry's face, "I probably hurt you so many times without realising it, so I guess we could say we're even."
They were both smiling now and Draco closed the gap, kissing Harry gently.
"If it makes you feel any better I was actually sitting out here planning how to win you back," he told Harry when they separated, but a glimpse of Harry's (rather blue) lips distracted him. "You're freezing," he accused the shivering Gryffindor before bundling him up and hurrying him into the castle. It was dinner time, he realised, and that meant the always warm Gryffindor common room would be empty.
He was so involved in settling them down on the large sofa in front of the fire that he had forgotten the conversation they were having until Harry turned round in his embrace, asking "so how were you going to go about it then?"
"What…oh," making sure Harry was well wrapped up he leant his head on top of Harry's and answered. "That confession you made to me months ago… I was going to persuade Finch-Fletchly to hit on you so I could march in and claim you." He smiled, adding, "you realise that was another crap plan of yours, what with Finch-Fletchly being straight and all."
"I know, but it made sense at the time," Harry smiled, turning his head so he could see Draco, "you were really going to go to all that trouble for me?"
"I wanted you to know you I was listening to you, that I might have misunderstood you at the time but that I'm wiser now."
Harry smiled and kissed him again, turning in his arms to melt into the embrace. "I love you, I forgot to tell you before but you should know that I love you."
"I love you too," Draco kissed him once more before grinning wickedly. "Of course I only accepted you back because I heard that make-up sex is bloody fantastic. Want to prove to me that you're worth it?"
"You cheeky bastard," but Harry grinned, chasing him upstairs with enthusiasm.
Harry and Draco were back, and neither of them were going to risk losing what they had again.
Thanks for reading this (anyone who still is).