Disclaimer: No, the characters still don't belong to me, and I think after 46 chapters you should realise this as well. I make no money with this, and if I offended someone I'm seriously sorry... Oh, and I have no milk.
Author's Note: #sniff# It's the end! The last chapter! Finito! Ende! #wail# What am I going to do now?!... Sorry, but I'm allowed to be a bit sentimental, am I not? Anyway, thank you all for reading this far, and I hope you'll enjoy the epilogue. Thank you and handkerchiefs for all!
I want to say a special thanks to Bex Drake, who reviewed countless times, but often didn't log in to do so. I really appreciate your support throughout the story, and I just wanted to say thank you...
Then, also a big thanks to Silver Lady and jharad17, who really, really helped me improve this story and my writing in general. You both deserve a big chocolate cake and a round of applause! And thank you again for jharad17 for betaing this chapter!
47. HAPPILY EVER AFTER (EPILOGUE)
(21 months later)
Harry slowly blinked his eyes open, as always enjoying these first few moments of just seeing. He loved seeing the rich hangings around the bed, the sun painting circles on the bedspread, the huge bay windows that gave view to the park outside, though the view was now obscured through a deep red, see-through curtain that tinted the light a soft, goldish orange. He rarely had the good luck of seeing either Draco or Lucius since they had the strange habit of rising early, no matter what day it was. Occasionally they stayed in bed with him, waiting for him to wake or waking him in their unique way, but today was not one of those days. Harry couldn't understand where they got the energy from, to get up at such ungodly hours, but as long as they had enough energy for him, he wouldn't complain.
A slow smirk spread over his features. His lovers certainly were very horny, and he still felt pleasantly sore from the last night. It had taken him some time to get used to their incessant need for sex and to waking naked and sore from a night of fun, but now he could hardly imagine how his life would be without that, without them. They wanted him - all the time, it seemed - and he was only to happy to oblige, so long as they took care of his needs and desires as well - and he always made sure that he got what he wanted.
And at the moment, he wanted breakfast. He briefly considered being lazy and just calling one of the house-elves and eating in bed, especially because of how fun it was to annoy Lucius with imaginary crumbs on his bed (the house-elves took care of the real ones).
Though, it wasn't really Lucius' bed anymore. It was their bed and their room. Most of Harry's things were here, though Lucius had offered him the whole west wing to do with as he pleased. Harry had argued, however, that if they were going to be sleeping together, he didn't want to live on the other side of the Manor. Lucius, thankfully, realised his words for the subtle threat they were, and had cleared one of his cupboards for Harry and another one for Draco, moving his own things to one of the spare bedrooms. Draco had kept his old room, too, though he hardly spent time there anymore.
They had even found a satisfactory solution for the full moon, since the younger blond tended to become very possessive when the time for his wolf was close. Though he normally had no problem with seeing Lucius and Harry together, he couldn't stand it the day before the full moon (Lucius had come to that painful realisation after Draco had nearly killed him for giving Harry a rather innocent kiss). Now Harry spent the day before the full moon entirely with Draco, and Lucius either spent that night with Harry, as Draco was still self-conscious about having Harry near him when he transformed, or some other day when he had Harry all to himself.
Harry hadn't moved into the manor completely until a few months ago, claiming that it wouldn't be fair to Draco for him to live with Lucius while the younger blond still had to go to school and could only visit on the weekends. And though Lucius had protested and argued and even pleaded, Harry had taken up residence with Sirius and Remus at Grimmauld Place, much to their joy. He had spent most of the weekends with the two blonds, and each time he had revelled in seeing the love and ebullient happiness in their eyes as they welcomed him back.
This routine had given him the feeling of security he so craved, and he knew that being with his two Malfoys only on the weekends had been the right decision. As much as he loved them, he had needed time for himself, to neatly put away his problems and fears, to examine and deal with when the need arose. He had also wanted to have a life that was just his own, independent from other's expectations of him.
In fact, Harry had begun his Medi-wizard training at St. Mungo's almost a year ago. Hermione hadn't been pleased, of course, that he had not returned to Hogwarts, but had yielded when she saw how happy Harry was with his new work.
Evan Rosier had tried to convince Harry to become a healer, as he said that Harry had more than enough talent, but Harry felt comfortable in his position even though it was not quite as prestigious. And after he had been assigned to the permanent ward once and had encountered Alice Longbottom and her husband, he had no doubt that it was the right decision.
Though Mrs. Longbottom was too far gone for Harry to have had a real conversation with her, she reminded him of his mother and her plans for a future, one which was so crudely cut short. By doing what Lily had wanted to do, helping those who needed his help, with not only magic but kindness and empathy, he somehow felt closer to her.
He had also gathered the books from Lily's library room, then carefully read through all of them. He imagined he heard her voice and felt her soothing presence next to him, as if she was reading alongside him. The experience had been emotionally draining, and he couldn't remember ever having cried more, but he realised he had needed to mourn for his parents, his mother especially. Sirius and Remus had told him so many stories about his father that James had always been much more real in his mind, but this way he also got to know his mother and had the chance to say a final good-bye to her.
Done with his day dreaming, Harry sighed, rolled over and finally decided to get up. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and buried his toes in the soft carpet that Lucius had procured, once he had seen how Harry winced every morning when his feet hit the bare, cold floor. Stretching slowly and carefully, he padded over to the bathroom and switched on the light, keeping his eyes half-closed, since they were still rather sensitive and needed time to get used to bright light every morning. He cautiously eased one eye a little further open, making sure to turn his head away from the source of illumination: a huge, and - in Harry's opinion - old-fashioned, but somehow fitting, chandelier overhead.
A relieved sigh escaped him as no pain followed, and his eyes only gave a grumpy twinge. He didn't feel like wearing sunglasses or his blindfold today, though he had days when he actually preferred the darkness, especially if he had suffered from nightmares the night before. They didn't haunt him as often anymore, but when he had them, they were just as horrific as they had always been, and they left him shaken and almost physically sick.
He was never quite sure what started the memories into resurfacing again: It could be someone looking at him the wrong way, a simple touch he didn't expect or appreciate, a patient who had been hurt badly, a potion that smelled vile, a voice or the tone of a voice that made shivers run down his spine, or it could be something else entirely, something he might not even remember the next day. In any case, the memories were like sandpaper rubbing over a barely healed wound, scraping over his soul and leaving it raw and bleeding again.
But he had Draco and Lucius, now, both of whom did their best to comfort him in every way possible. They offered him infinite understanding and patience, held him until he had cried himself into an exhausted slumber, and watched over every moment of his sleep. There was no doubt that Harry trusted Draco more and would turn to him first, but Lucius never pushed the issue, and he did what he could to make Harry feel better and to learn what best to do from Draco. Lucius was not perfect, but Harry didn't want him to be, nor did he want him to be a carbon copy of Draco. He wanted both of them to be themselves, even if that meant that they sometimes annoyed or hurt him.
Besides, Lucius was not the only one who made mistakes. Draco had his faults as well, his possessiveness being only one of them. The young werewolf had a tendency to mother Harry, making sure that he ate well and dressed warmly. While Harry appreciated these signs of his concern most of the time, Draco could become a bit overbearing, tiptoeing around him and treating him more like a child than his lover. Harry wouldn't stand for it, though, and was always quick to set the blond right. He often wondered what Draco would be like with a real child to care for.
He smiled softly at his reflection in the mirror which covered one entire wall, from floor to ceiling. His hair had grown some, to look even more shaggy and tousled, the way it curled around his ears, tickled his neck and fell into his eyes. Maybe he should get a haircut soon? He didn't fancy looking like a girl, even though he was gay and would probably never be as manly as either Lucius or Draco.
His eyes trailed down from his still beardless face, over his slim figure. He had gained some weight, true, but he was still "too thin," as Draco never tired of reminding him.
With another sigh, he turned from his reflection and reached for toothbrush and paste. After brushing his teeth, he unsuccessfully tried to tame his hair for a few minutes, then gave up, turning back to his image and rubbing his belly in thought. He couldn't believe how lucky he was to have found such a family, so much happiness and joy.
At last, he left the bathroom, softly closing the door behind him, just as the bedroom door opened to admit the two Malfoys and a hovering tray with breakfast. Harry's stomach grumbled rather loudly, and two identical smirks flitted over his lovers' faces.
"Seems like we have perfect timing," Draco stated, carefully putting the tray on the bedside table, before pecking Harry's lips. "Good morning, beautiful."
"Good morning to you, too." Harry smiled at them and accepted a kiss from Lucius as well, allowing the older blond to lead him to the bed, where he sank down, mindful of his sore bottom.
"We thought you would perhaps like to go on a ride with us," Lucius suggested while fixing Harry's coffee just the way he liked it. "Unless you think it's too cold."
"I'd love to," Harry declared, then reached for a croissant, which he nibbled on while sipping his coffee. "Can we go now?"
Lucius shook his head in amusement. "I think you would be slightly uncomfortable, Snow White." His hand wandered to the small of Harry's back, rubbing lightly. "Turn around so I can apply some salve."
Harry obeyed with a roll of his eyes, lying down on his stomach.
Draco tenderly lifted him and pushed a pillow underneath his hips, to raise his bottom a bit, thus making it easier for Lucius to massage the salve into Harry's abused skin and taking the pressure off his stomach. "You should eat some fruit," Draco urged, offering Harry a bowl with fruit and yoghurt, which he ignored. "You need the vitamins and the calcium from the yoghurt. Or maybe another croissant? Or some cereal? There're also scrambled eggs and bacon, they have lots of proteins. Or..."
"Dray, please, I'm already eating, but I can't eat all of that," Harry protested - Draco was obviously in motherhen-mode again.
"I'm just worried about you," Draco argued. "You are still so dreadfully thin."
"Leave him be, Dragon," Lucius told him, whilst still rubbing his fingers gently over Harry's soft skin. "Madam Pomfrey and Severus both agree that Harry is doing well, and the most important thing is for him to avoid stressy situations and just be happy. I don't think your nagging will help much in either case."
Harry once again noticed the change that had taken place between the two blonds when Draco didn't answer with a sharp retort, but with a self-deprecating little smile and a rueful nod. The two blonds had settled into an easy comradeship, not quite lovers, but not quite friends either. They argued and quarrelled at the slightest provocation, but they were also affectionate with each other, hugging and teasing each other and ruthlessly defending the other against what they perceived as threats from outside their family.
"You could still eat some fruit salad, couldn't you?" Draco asked hopefully. "It's your favourite." When Harry nodded and accepted the bowl of fruit, a grin of triumph spread over Draco's handsome face.
Despite his protests about not wanting more to eat, Harry practically wolfed down the food. He did think, with a pang of guilt, of how much work the house-elves had likely invested in preparing his favourites just to have him gulp it down. But he couldn't wait to ride out! "Let's go," he declared, plunking the bowl on the tray and almost toppling over the glass with pumpkin juice in his haste.
Lucius, who had watched him with amusement while still caressing his lower back and bottom, quirked an eyebrow. "You'd think you'd eventually tire of riding out."
"I'll tire of sex first." Harry grinned mischievously at the startled blond. "Don't gape, Luc, it's unbecoming."
Quickly slipping from underneath the blond's warm hand, he shivered a little in the fresh morning air. Without noticing the admiring and slightly hungry gazes focused on his form, Harry dressed in his newest Weasley sweater and a pair of jeans. He also pulled on his winter cloak, which Lucius had bought for him. The soft material also had warming and protection spells woven into it.
"Ready?" Draco asked, and when Harry nodded, he took the smaller man's hand in his and led him to the stables, where one of the grooms had already saddled the horses: Harry's mare, Crystal, Draco's chestnut-coloured stallion, Quidditch, and Lucius' Andalusian horse, Surprise.
The Malfoys had taught Harry how to ride, and now Harry loved it as much as he loved Quidditch. But since the time he had fallen from his horse when jumping over a low fence, Lucius had outright forbidden him to ride out alone again, and Draco had wholeheartedly agreed. It wasn't that Harry would normally have obeyed that order, but after seeing the fear and worry in Lucius' eyes, he had promised.
Sometimes it mildly bothered him that they felt the need to shelter him so much - after all, he was only half a year younger than Draco, and he had looked after himself for the better part of his life. But then again, he had always had to look after himself, and their worry and protectiveness were almost a relief. He knew that, finally, there was someone who had his best interest at heart. Someone, or ones, who were looking out for him.
Their protectiveness had even caused Fudge to lose his job. Harry had refused to make an appearance at the annual spring festivities at Fudge Mansion, so the blundering fool had dared to liken Harry to the late Dark Lord, and had even suggested that Harry was making plans to take over the Wizarding world. Draco and Lucius had not only hexed Fudge, invoking some kind of archaic law that made it perfectly legal, but had also started a petition to kick the idiot out of office as soon as possible. The petition had been received with enthusiasm, and barely one month afterwards, Fudge had been sent on a permanent vacation. Then - and it still made Harry snicker at how completely Slytherin his two lovers had been - Lucius had run for the position of Minister. Since Harry had openly supported him, most Daily Prophet and Witch Weekly readers had voted for Lucius, and he had won with a clear majority.
Draco, on the other hand, had decided to join the Auror Division after graduation, if only because he liked to curse people, and this career gave him a valid reason to do so. Sometimes Harry worried about him, especially when Draco worked late, but Draco's partner was no one other than Neville Longbottom. Though Draco had been sceptical at first, he now seemed glad to be working together with the other wizard. And Harry was grateful to Neville, both for watching Draco's back, and because the once-clumsy Gryffindor's more cautious nature usually kept he and his partner from falling prey to the worst dangers of the job.
Malfoy Manor in winter was the most breathtaking sight Harry could imagine. Snow swirled around the horses as they galloped through the deep powdery snow, and a happy laugh escaped Harry as snow flakes landed on his cheeks and lashes. He nudged Crystal with his calves, urging her to go faster, and she immediately shot forward from between Draco and Lucius.
Fast. So fast. Faster still. It felt like flying, but better somehow. The thought there was a living, breathing, fiery animal between his thighs instead of an inanimate cleaning device was exhilarating. The two blonds gained on him, their superior skill and experience making up for Harry's lack of weight, and soon they were side by side again. Harry couldn't be happier.
They gradually slowed down again and took the narrow path through the grove which formed the border of the Malfoy estates and which forced them to ride closer to each other. Their knees brushed from time to time. The path led them to a cottage which looked more like a one-story palace, where Lucius had suggested they take lunch.
The house-elves had already put hay and feed pellets in the troughs for the horses, and had warmed some water for when they arrived. After the threesome had removed the tack from their horses and rubbed the animals down, they quickly sought refuge from the cold in the small cottage.
"Harry." Draco gently stopped him as he ascended the few stairs to the door. "Will you allow me to blindfold you? We have a surprise for you."
Harry only hesitated a moment before he nodded and closed his eyes. He wasn't ever eager to give up his sight, but as long as his lovers were with him, he didn't mind too much. He felt Draco take one hand while Lucius took the other, and then they led him up the stairs. Lucius opened the door, which swung open with a soft whispering creak, then carefully pushed him in, though making sure to keep in contact with Harry at all times.
Lucius led him to a comfortable chair. "Here, take a seat," he said as he eased Harry into it. "Seems like we're a bit early."
"Early for what?" Harry asked nervously
Draco silenced him with a chaste kiss. "You'll see. You can wait a bit longer, can't you?"
"Fine," Harry grumbled, reclining on the chair. "But I don't understand why you feel the need to surprise me now. Christmas is soon enough, and, believe it or not, but I do expect presents then."
Draco chuckled. "And you'll get presents, love, but that doesn't mean we can't give you one now. We love to spoil you, you know? And this is something we've wanted to do for a while now." Only a second or two later, he continued, "I think your surprise is ready now. Follow me, featherweight." He helped Harry to rise, and while Lucius held open the door to the main room, Draco slowly guided his green-eyed lover through.
Harry blinked as his blindfold was removed, then peered around the spacious room, which was bathed in the warm glow of the fireplace. The icicles in front of the window radiated light, too, glittering like diamonds, and sent fairy-like lights cascading over the floor like rainbows of fire. In addition to the light, the room was also filled with people. Harry gasped when he saw all the people who were waiting for him, smiling at him in welcome.
Sirius and Remus were here, holding hands, with their eyes sparkling happily. Sirius wanted to run towards his godson, but Remus held him back, softly shaking his head. Harry briefly wondered why, before his gaze was drawn to Hermione and Charlie.
They sat close together on a soft, squishy sofa, with Charlie's arm protectively slung around Hermione's waist, his hand resting on her swelling belly. Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry, then glanced at the redhead with something like fond exasperation before smiling at Harry again. A look of understanding passed between them. Over-protectiveness was running rampant these days.
Next to the sofa stood Severus and Rudolphus, the Potion's Master with his usual scowl and crossed arms, but as relaxed and at ease as only Rudolphus could make him. Rudolphus stood behind his lover, arms loosely slung around the thinner man's torso, chin resting comfortably on Severus' shoulder. He also looked happy and relaxed.
Rabastan leaned casually against the wall near his brother. His gaze strayed from time to time to the couple, before returning to the purple-haired witch beside him. Harry would have never thought Tonks and Rabastan might become a couple, but though he still doubted they were each other's One True Love, they made each other happy, and Tonks could make the brown-haired man laugh. Thus, Harry was happy for them.
Many more of Harry's friends were there, as well: Blaise, Evan, Dumbledore, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Fred and George, Ginny and many more besides.
What was this all about?
Harry frantically racked his brain for an explanation. He hadn't missed some important date, had he? No, Lucius' birthday had already passed and Draco's wasn't until January. Try as he might to find a reason, he couldn't fathom what this gathering was for, and he nervously sought out Draco's eyes, asking him silently for an answer.
But it wasn't Draco who spoke up.
"Harry James Potter," Lucius said softly and kneeled before Harry while capturing his hand.
As Draco also got down on one knee, Harry's eyes widened further. Draco smiled gently, but he seemed almost nervous as he said, "We wanted your family and everyone you care about to be here, when we asked you this question."
Lucius continued for the two of them, "You captured my heart the first time I saw you, when you dropped into our Charms lesson." Lucius gave a small smirk at Harry's blush; How he loved to make Harry blush! "I couldn't begin to understand you then, and I'm not even sure I do so now, but I think I've made a vast improvement. Still, I love you for remaining a mystery. I'm also sure about something else: I want you to be my mystery. Harry James Potter, will you do me the honour of being my husband ... our husband?"
"Luc," Draco reprimanded in a low voice. "Would you mind letting me propose on my own? Honestly, talk about parental control." Draco glared playfully at his father, and Lucius smiled sheepishly in return, before motioning Draco to continue. With a tiny eye roll for Lucius, Draco then gazed up at Harry. "Harry, I love you, I have always loved you, as cheesy as that sounds, and I know I always will love you. As long as you can give me a little bit of love in return, I'll do anything and everything to make you happy. Will you marry us, Harry?"
From their knees, they both looked hopefully at him, and he nodded. Tears of happiness streamed down his face as he dropped to his knees in front of his two lovers, kissing and hugging them for all he was worth.
"Harry, Snow White," Lucius chuckled, helping him up again. "In spite of this being a rather unconventional relationship, I must still insist that you let us be the only ones kneeling. So do you want to marry us?"
"Yes," Harry whispered, watching in awe as first Draco and then Lucius slipped a ring on his finger.
Draco's ring was shiny platinum and Lucius' was made of bluish crystal. When they were both on his finger, the two rings twisted and wound around each other to form one single ring of sparkling blue and platinum, and Harry stared at the token of their love, not quite believing it was there, but feeling so warm and full inside, he thought he might burst.
Loud clapping pulled Harry from his reverie, and with a huge smile, he launched himself at the two blonds. Each of them twirled him around, before he was set down again so he could be congratulated by his friends and adopted parents.
"Here's your happily ever after, Snow White," Lucius murmured later that evening. The two of them rested together quietly on the sofa while their guests milled about, eating and drinking. With Harry on his lap, Lucius' hand rested lightly on the younger man's belly. "Good surprise?"
"The best surprise I ever had," Harry returned, snuggling into him. "Thank you, Luc."
"Draco did most of the planning and invited all your friends," Lucius admitted. "He reaffirmed once more that, alone, I wouldn't be enough for you."
"Is this okay for you?" Harry asked uncertainly. "Do you really want this, I mean, for all three of us to be together?"
"Of course, featherweight." Draco joined them, carrying refreshments for all of them. As he passed Harry a drink, he said, "Dumbledore made us pass a test to prove our love, Severus forced us to drink Veritaserum, and during the last full moon, Remus and I literally fought tooth and nail over you. You can be completely sure that we want this. We want you."
"I want you, too." Harry smiled, resting his head against Lucius' shoulder and reaching to brush Draco's cheek with the tips of his fingers. "We'll be happy, won't we?"
"Of course, Harry." Lucius kissed him. "You have our promise that we'll make you very happy."
"Good," Harry stated with a small smirk. He leaned in to peck each of their cheeks. "I'm sure I'll have ways to make you happy as well."
And they lived happily ever after.
#dabs eyes# I realise that the ending is a little cliché and cheesy, but I thought they (and you) deserved it after everything that happened.
It has been fun writing for you and reading your reviews #nudge-nudge#, and maybe we will read from each other again...
I have a paper due not soon, but soon enough, and I think that maybe I should concentrate on that first, but I have another story that I started working on some time ago and countless plot bunnies running through my feet and making me trip at the most inopportune moments. So, well, if you liked my writing I'll be glad to welcome you back to another story soon...
Bye, and thank you again,