Sequel to Of Love's Bestowing.
Summary: On a vacation to the Elvin Realm, Draco finds his mate, and Harry and Lucius become closer through their future child, but someone isn't happy about the veelas and wizard taking up residence in the castle and conversing with the royal family; and they are willing to go to any lengths to eliminate the alien threat to their Realm.
Pairings: HP/LM and DM/OMC
Warnings: Slash, language, mentions of MPREG -I think that's it.
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns all the Harry Potter characters. I'm only borrowing them. No profit is being made off of this story or any like it.
A/N: This sequel picks up right where Of Love's Bestowing left off... well, more like a few hours after.
A/N 2: I've editted this story, mostly for grammar purposes, but as of Chapter 4, the plot has changed slightly. It's not a huge deal and you don't have to reread it if you don't want to, but I've changed the events of Chapter 4 and added a few scenes. However, mostly everything is superficial and you can just read on from there if you want.
The tantalizing scent of blueberries had Draco stumbling like a zombie from his room, half dressed, and aimlessly following the wonderful aroma that only got better as he found his way into the Dining Room. As he entered, he noticed his father holding a forkful of blueberry waffles and whipped cream to Harry's mouth. The brunet was steadfast against being fed like he was a child and was half-heartedly glaring at the blonde patriarch of the family.
"Oh, come on, Harry! Please? Just this once."
"Damn it, fine, but just this once." Harry leaned forward and took the contents of the fork into his mouth slowly, trying not to dribble down his chin. As he took the bite, Harry's gaze caught sight of Draco and he smiled around his mouthful as he leaned back.
After finishing the bite, Harry wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin, smiled, and greeted the younger blonde.
"Hey! Draco, we had the cook make some blueberry waffles; would you like some?" The gleam in Harry's eye told Draco that the other wizard knew very well what smell had woken him up, but the younger veela ignored him and sat down across from the brunet anyway.
"Good morning, Draco," Lucius began, but after a glare from Draco, they could both tell he hadn't forgotten being woken up so early and he certainly knew how bad his appearance was, so it definitely would not be a good morning until he had showered and changed, but… these waffles were a start.
He pulled a few giant waffles from the stack on the plate in the middle of the table, then pulled some syrup and whipped cream toward himself, willing his father and Harry to go on talking and pretend as if he wasn't there.
Harry seemed to have heard his thoughts, or read them, because he turned back to Lucius and frowned again.
"Alright, that was the first and last time. I don't need to be fed my food, thank you," he announced referring to a few moments before.
Lucius pouted, but secretly wouldn't give up. He would try again in the future and get Harry to like the idea. It might even make bed-play a bit more interesting. Speaking of play… his back felt a bit sore from their play in the shower. Harry had had him up against the tiles in the shower… he smiled at the memory of their little frisk. He would be returning the favor very soon.
"So, what are you two doing today?" Draco asked once he'd finish one waffle and was already working on the next. His eyes seemed a bit wider and he sounded less cranky.
Lucius pulled himself from his reverie, catching only the last words of his son's sentence, but it was enough.
"Today? Oh, we'll probably change into owls and play tag in the Ministry," Lucius responded dryly.
Draco's gaze tightened on his father. "The cynicism was unnecessary."
Before either blonde could say anything else, Harry butted in, "Actually, Draco, why don't we have a bit of a game of Quidditch? We should all pack some time before the end of the day… er, you are coming with us, correct?" Draco nodded once with a small smile. "Well, then we can have a bit of fun, then pack, sleep, and be off before dawn!"
"I don't know about the Quidditch game though." Draco sighed. "It's a bit boring just trying to catch a snitch. I'd rather be a Beater, but that's not much fun with only two people." An evil glint entered Draco's eyes as he narrowed them seductively. "Then again, I'd be aiming both bludgers at…" The blonde glanced at his scowling father and shrugged, giving up his idyllic plans of finally creaming Harry in a Quidditch game. "Or even three people if Father wants to play," he muttered, continuing his earlier thoughts.
"Well…" Harry looked indecisive. He seemed to want to say something, but didn't know what the blondes would think. Lucius thought it was a very attractive look, but he wondered what his mate was thinking and wished he could read thoughts. Occlumency was just such a draining mind game and he didn't have his wand anyway; it was upstairs… somewhere… hopefully not twisted in the sheets…
"Tell us what's on your mind," Draco said before Lucius could cut in on the brunet's thoughts.
"Well, we could… you know, invite more people for the day." Harry saw that the idea instantly made both blondes uneasy, so he rejected the thought and stood quickly with a smile. "Well, nevermind; I'm off to pick through your library. Come fetch me for lunch or something." Before either Malfoy could have a proper thought, the time had passed; Harry was out the door and out of shouting range.
"That went smoothly." Draco tone was sharpened with sarcasm as he turned to his father, more frustrated with the situation itself than himself or his father.
"I couldn't think of a response, really. For one thing I don't want company. I don't really want to ruin our family peace that we have, and I feel like inviting others in will ruin what Harry and I have built. What if I say something wrong to someone he invites here? … I can't believe I'm worrying about this. This is ridiculous. I don't bloody care if what I say hurts their feelings, but if they then upset Harry because they're upset…! Another thing… I don't want to share him. I'd rather strip him down and tie him to the bed in my quarters-"
Draco didn't really want to think of that kind of thing. Any kind of image of his father naked was not pleasant and it just led to dirtier thoughts… places he just didn't want to go. He did understand though. "You don't want to share him," he concluded, cutting his father off before he could dive into more detail than Draco needed to hear. "You don't want them to influence his thoughts of you in a bad way. You don't want strangers in the house… Mudbloods and Weasels alike."
If Harry had heard him talking like this, he would probably have gotten a good whack to the back of the head, but he always restrained himself around his friend… when had that happened? When had he started thinking so nicely and considerately? He should really stop being so nice… but it was just so hard to act differently than himself around Harry and his father. Harry made everything seem like it was fine. Like it was alright to be relaxed and unwind around your family instead of being uptight –worrying about your posture, or whether you hair was in perfect order, or how your appearance was at the table, or whether you had a bit of lint on your shirt. How had the brunet brought him so much comfort, safety, serenity…? They had both changed considerably since Harry's visit.
… Harry deserved this…
Draco looked up to his father, half-asleep and grumpy. He managed to pull a smirk from somewhere and his father returned it in kind.
"For him," he declared.
"For him," Lucius agreed with a nod.
Harry stopped in the loo on his way to the library. After doing his business, he washed his hands and splashed some water on his face. He wasn't going to pout and he wasn't going to bring down the day. They were heading off to the Elvin world tomorrow, and Harry didn't want to ruin the travel there by being a grump today. So Lucius and Draco didn't want a bunch of horny teenagers and a handful of nosey Aurors in their home. Who would? He couldn't blame them for wanting some space. Harry looked at himself kind of deeply as he began to think of things from their point of view.
They were purebloods. They were probably the types to plan things with weeks, maybe months of time to prepare. Dropping an idea on them like this was probably more trouble than Harry considered it would be. Food would have to be prepared promptly, space made available, certain objects hidden (knowing Draco, he would probably think to hide all of the breakable things as well), entertainment would have to be provided, then, of course, there's also the fact that they would have to put up with said company.
Harry sighed and shrugged. He saw his friends sporadically on weekends… sometimes… every couple of months… usually… kind of.
Besides, Draco hadn't seen his father in an entire year; it wouldn't be nice to just obstruct their time of solitude and happiness by throwing in a bunch of Harry's friends.
Harry nodded a few times sternly. What a selfish bunch of nonsense he had been contemplating. He felt like a heel for bringing it up at all and he promised himself he would apologize at lunch, but right now he had his mind set on a hot-and-bothered kind of romance novel he had found in the library. It must have belonged to Narcissa and she had left it behind, because he sure couldn't picture either Draco or Lucius reading that. It was the kind of story that was masked with a plot before it got to the good stuff, and, frankly, Harry pictured both blondes being far too impatient for the good parts to be able to read through the rest of it.
He wiped his hands with a towel and left the bathroom with a flourish in his step and ideas for later streaming through his head.
The things I do for you, Potter, Draco thought as he stared up at Granger's house. The woman had no life –or so he had perceived from their conversation before- so he assumed she would be home, even though he hadn't actually told her he was coming. Just as long as she didn't smack him, Draco thought he would be fine.
Looking over the house, Draco couldn't help but think that it was a terrible cross between absolute Muggle and gravity defying Weasel the way the roof overhang came out so far. There were far too many chimneys for it to look strictly Muggle, but the way that there were so many of them on the multitude of roofs up there made Draco think of a cross between a Victorian age home and a Muggle factory. There were too many curtains from what Draco could see, but not enough windows. You couldn't properly tell how many floors it had –which brought a certain Weasley quality to it- but it still seemed to suit the block. Draco sneered at how he was now comparing Muggle and Weasley properties as if he actually gave a damn. He needed a life.
Draco stepped up to the door, squared his shoulders back, ran a hand over his flawless hair to make sure it was in place, and knocked on the door sharply.
It took Hermione so long to answer the door, Draco thought that she might actually be out of the house.
She didn't seem too shocked to see Draco there until she looked around for Harry and didn't see him. Then she just stared at him in a perplexed manner.
Draco wondered for a moment, how normal it was supposed to be for any random Slytherin to show up at Granger's house, whether Harry was accompanying them or not.
"Draco, can I help you with something?"
"Actually," Draco responded in a somewhat clipped voice, "you can." He paused – hoping that she would be able to manage enough courtesy to let him in instead of discussing business on the porch.
"Won't you come in?" She asked effortlessly after less than a moment of pause. Draco was pleased to see that she still had manners, even for him.
After Draco had entered, Hermione guided him to the room where they had sat to talk before when Harry had escorted him here.
He sat opposite of Granger, sitting comfortably in the lounge chair, yet still as poised as any aristocrat should be. He familiarized himself with his surroundings with just a quick glance then returned his attention to the brushy-haired brunet sitting before him on the edge of a couch, leaning on her knees with her elbows as she picked at whatever was under her nails with worry. She obviously saw Draco's visit as providing some kind of traumatic news if he came without Harry and uninvited.
"Well, Hermione…" Draco tasted the name on his tongue for a moment. She had told him to call her by her name, but he was still uncomfortable with it and the friendly atmosphere it brought with it.
She bobbed her head once by way of showing him it was alright to use her name and he should move on already.
"I have a favor to ask of you."
She seemed startled, and yet relieved. It wasn't something bad. Well, that was good. Harry hadn't been hit by a hex, broken any bones, or anything else unpleasant.
"What is it that you need, Draco?" she asked with a pleasant smile coloring her face a bit.
"You see…" Draco began and led into his plans with her smiling getting brighter and brighter as he went on.
Sitting in the comfortable overly-plush chair he had been in for the past three hours, reading the romance novel that wasn't juicy enough to get his rocks off, but good enough to keep his attention through most of the book, Harry was beginning to fall asleep. He contemplated taking a nap then decided he would rather go enjoy the company of his blondes.
As he considered his company like this, Harry smirked proudly. They were kind of his blondes, weren't they? Until Draco got together with his mate, he was kind of Harry's too. Heck, Draco would probably always belong to him in some way because they were best friends and they were connected on some weird veela level too. Harry smiled in a way that he had seen Lucius smile many times before , probably thinking more along the lines of 'Harry's mine,' rather than 'My blondes.' It was still nice though.
It would probably be one of the few times Harry, Lucius, and Draco would hang out, only as three, once Daeron becomes part of the picture and Draco refuses to un-stick his mate from his side.
Harry thought about what pranks he could play on Draco as he called a house-elf to him and asked for a glass of water.
After a long contemplative stare out the extravagant window in the library, the Auror decided it was far too nice of a day to stay inside. Whether 'his blondes' wanted to go with him or not, he was going to go outside, and perhaps for a run around the house. If he didn't do some serious physical exercising soon he was going to start falling out of shape… hard. To be able to run ten miles in less than an hour without a break, it took some maintenance work… more regularly than he had been doing lately. It was completely his fault if he could barely run a mile without huffing and puffing now. How long had it been? Two weeks since he'd bothered to do anything close to exercising? That sorry attempt at a Quidditch match with Lucius didn't count. The only reason he broke a sweat that day was because he was clothed in a winter uniform in the middle of August in seventy degree weather with the sun glaring right at him for an hour.
So, a run sounded nice.
An elf popped in with a tall glass of water for him, and Harry took it before deciding that he would head outside after he finished this paragraph… maybe after this page… maybe after this chapter… maybe after the water was gone… the book was almost over, maybe…
An hour later he decided that he should just stop here and leave the library before he was stuck there all day, letting the beautiful weather go to waste. If nothing else, it sounded like a good idea to lounge around on a bench, or on the grass with his mate, under a tree somewhere.
He folded the corner of the page over –because he knew Draco hated it when he did that (there were bookmarkers all over the library, so that no matter how lazy you were there was always one in reach)- then got up from his comfy chair and headed for the door to the library.
Time for some fresh air.
Just as Harry was shutting the door to the library, he heard someone call his name from down the hall. He perked up and looked over to see his mate coming toward him from around the corner with a mischievous smirk in place.
"Hello, love," Harry called to the blonde with a smile. "I was just thinking of you."
Lucius loved the warm feeling that spread through him as Harry told him that. "Really?" he queried nonchalantly, not showing how the simple phrase had affected him at all. "You were thinking?"
Harry chuckled deep in his throat and elbowed his mate gently for the pun. "Hey, I wouldn't be knocking other people for their lack of thoughts there, Blondie."
The veela took a moment to look affronted that his pure-blooded aristocratic blonde self could be lacking the ability to think. It only lasted a moment before he smiled warmly at his lover, reaching out to stroke his mate's neck tenderly.
"Well, perhaps I was thinking of you first," the blonde responded casually.
"I suppose I don't have a problem with that." He smirked before reaching his arm up to Lucius' neck and pulling the blonde down for a deep kiss. When they parted they embraced for a long tender moment before parting in unison to continue with the day. "So, how about lunch? I'm hungry. And where's the brat? I have a few pranks I'd like to play on him before we leave tomorrow."
Lucius barked a sharp laugh. "He's in the gardens waiting for us to join him for lunch."
"Oh! Lunch outside. That's a great idea!" Harry brightened at the thought of the warm sunshine and picnic-like quality the idea merited.
As Harry reached for the doorknob leading to the outside stone patio, he stopped. He felt Lucius' anxiety from behind him, and he felt his own Auror senses tingle as his hand rested on the door.
"Did you forget how to open doors suddenly, or are we just standing here to annoy Draco?" Lucius asked impassively, trying to remain as calm and suave as possible. He didn't take into account that Harry would be on guard and suspect something.
Harry shrugged his worry away. Malfoy Manor was well warded –Harry had inspected the wards himself. There was no danger that could get through the wards uninvited that an Auror and two veelas couldn't handle. Just the same, he casually reaffirmed that his wand was indeed resting in its holster and his spare was coolly pressing against his calf. With a swift turn and shove the door was open and Harry was walking out onto the large stone patio.
The patio was a huge semicircle with thick stone railings rimming the edge, only breaking to allow for a grand staircase leading to the garden below another ten feet down and aimed at the fountain in the distance. Across from the entrance Harry and Lucius had come in was a pair of glass French doors that led to the conservatory and to the kitchen from there. In the middle of the patio was an intricately carved stone table with several comfortable looking chairs situated around it and an umbrella of blue cloth keeping the bright sun out of Draco's face as he drank wine and surveyed Harry curiously from his seated position.
"Took you long enough," he muttered grumpily. "I could have eaten an entire meal in the time it took you to walk down here, Potter."
After a lingering survey of the garden and patio, Harry was sure there were no dangers in sight, but he still couldn't shake the feeling that something was off. He sent a smirk over to the younger blonde and tilted his head up cockily.
"Had to stop for a quick shag on our way. I told the house-elves to change your sheets after we were done," he responded smoothly as he and Lucius found their seats with Draco at the table.
Draco glared at Harry for even the suggestion of such an idea, but he knew that his room was far too out of the way for a shag even if Harry were telling the truth.
A quick glance at his father further proved Harry a liar. The man had looked scandalized at the thought of the idea, but further consideration seemed to make him more amenable to the general idea, but perhaps in a different location.
He could also tell that the barb was half-hearted as Harry's attention was definitely on other things. His eyes kept darting around the outdoor area as if he kept hearing twigs snapping in the distance. Draco had never seen Harry this nervous before, especially at the Manor.
"So, can we eat now, Your Majesty?" Draco demanded of his friend with his typical Malfoy sneer.
Harry sighed, giving Draco a long-suffering sigh. "But of course! I would never dream of trying to come between you and food." Without skipping a beat he continued: "I might lose an arm if I tried."
They glared at each other for all of five seconds before Harry felt a gentle tug on the tail of his shirt. He looked down to his right and gasped.
There beside him stood a six-month-old little redhead with deep brown eyes and a big yawn drowning out his face for a moment. Harry picked up the babe in one swift movement, glancing at his blondes' innocent smirks as he then stood with the child in his arms and turned back around to face the door he and Lucius had just entered through minutes before.
Harry cried out with joy before a chorus of "SURPRISE!" drowned out anything that he was about to say.
Lucius and Draco shared a quick glance as Harry bent down to pick up the child. Lucius admired how gorgeous his mate looked holding the baby. Of course the child was all wrong… far too many freckles, and the red hair was a flop of a frizzy mess… maybe with blonde hair, and Harry's skin?
The greatest joy for Lucius and Draco came when their Harry stood up and turned around to see all of his closest friends standing together in a group and shouting, 'Surprise!' The look on Harry's face was more than worth all of the insufferable Gryffindors and teenage brats along with said-brats' kids they would have to deal with.
Neville looked around at all of the expensive vases, gold-trimmed paintings, extravagant woodwork, high vaulted ceilings, and priceless rugs that were probably handcrafted, and he couldn't help but fidget for what felt like the millionth time.
A sudden smack to the back of his head brought his thoughts away from how much it would cost him to have to replace anything that he might break by mistake. His gaze shot to Ginny who was scowling at him.
"If you fidget one more damn time, I'm going-" she began, but was cut off by her slightly older brother.
"Oh, come on, Gin." Ron nudged her and gestured around. "This place is so rich it's creepy. I don't even want to think about replacing anything."
The group of waiting Gryffindors collectively muttered their agreements.
"I'm still really confused," Seamus added.
"What else is new?" Dean asked sarcastically as he eyed a sneering portrait of one of Malfoy's relatives.
"Why are we surprising Harry at Malfoy's house again?" the Irishman queried, completely ignoring his friend.
"Because Harry is always working too hard, he missed his friends, and because Draco has grown a soft-spot for Harry, as we all have, he conspired with Mr. Malfoy to help Harry have a nice day with his friends before he goes away on business again," Hermione snipped with her arms crossed. "I realize it seems a bit odd coming to Malfoy Manor, but why do you have to grumble about it?"
"Yeah!" Ron nodded toward Hermione. "Ignore the blondes if you don't want to talk to them. We're not here for them; we're here for Harry. You know, our friend."
Angelina hummed her agreement as she squeezed Elizabeth's hand gently. "He hasn't had a lot of cheer lately because of all of his Auror work, so let's give him a nice day without fighting." She paused as she looked around to all of her friends and acquaintances like the stern mother she was. She hated fighting. Sometimes, the best your day could be was that no one argued with you over anything. "We may not get along with the Malfoys, but he does, so they can't be all bad. He has that way of digging under a person to find a good part in them, then befriending them. Let's just make the rule now that if you can't say something without starting a fight then keep your mouth shut."
Fred leered at George. "She getting ready for number two, or what?"
George smirked and murmured lowly, "Damn near turning into Mum."
"It just feels weird in this place… as if it were not quite a home," Luna added airily.
"It smells a bit fishy… like this plan isn't fully baked, or something," Seamus continued suspiciously, his accent getting a bit thicker.
"I still can't believe that Draco Malfoy has heart enough to care about Harry wanting to see his friends, especially enough to drag us all over here on a Sunday," Justin commented, though he seemed resolved to only mention his thoughts.
"Let's just be nice and if Harry wants to say something, he will. Just remember that if Malfoy really was a complete ass, we wouldn't be here, and Harry wouldn't be either," Ellen stated tartly, also not wanting to deal with a bunch of fighting buffoons on a day off. "He would have pawned this job off on somebody else, and you know he has the clout to do it."
"No comments about Lucius either," Hermione snapped suddenly, drawing everyone's attention. She glared in a return warning. "No comments about him just getting out of jail a week ago, or about Azkaban, or anything stupid like that. He's our host, and he can't be all that bad either if he allowed us all to come here. He is the patriarch of the Malfoy family after all, so it was his final word."
Several heads nodded as a sudden pop distracted their attention to a distinguished looking house-elf, who snobbishly held its head high and declared that Harry had just arrived to the patio, and the surprise was waiting.
They all snuck through several halls –led by the elf- toward the door leading outside. Knowing how sensitive Harry's senses were, they tried to be as discrete as possible.
Harry took a few steps forward and was immediately embraced by Hermione and Ellen.
"Oh! It's so good to see you, Harry!" Ellen exclaimed as she took her son back and kissed Harry's cheek while Hermione kissed the other.
"You too, Ellen, and little Daniel's walking already! Look at that!" Harry laughed as he tickled the kid as more of his friends surrounded him. "Ron, man, what's the matter – can't keep track of a half-year-old?" Harry joked as he clapped the taller redhead on the back in a manly embrace.
"As if Ellen would ever trust me alone with him, mate! What are you, nuts?" Ron elbowed Harry in the ribs before swinging an arm over his shoulders and squeezing.
"Hey, Ron! Quit-"
"-crowding Harry!" Fred and George yelled together as they ruffled Ron's hair and pinched him away from Harry so they could joke around with him too.
"Where's Elizabeth?" Harry asked with a shove at George who was trying to pick on him for being shorter than he was and stand really close to him.
"Uncle Harry!" A voice shouted out as her name was called.
Harry turned to see Angelina pushing through their friends to come up to Harry with Elizabeth in her arms. Harry smiled at the image she made with Elizabeth straddled to her hip, and her belly protruding noticeably the other way. She was just barely big enough for you to tell that she was pregnant again. He smiled brightly at her as she approached.
"Don't you just look beautiful!" Harry exclaimed exaggeratedly looking at Elizabeth, but glancing to Angelina showing that he meant her too. His friends made a large circle as Angelina put Elizabeth down and she spun around in circles to show off her new dress.
There were a lot of 'ooh's and 'ahh's from the crowd of Gryffindors as they smiled encouragingly at the little redhead.
"I've never seen a more beautiful little lady before," Harry told her squatting down to be her size. She was blushing the shade of her hair and scuffing her shoe adorably at the compliment.
A chorus of 'aww's shot around the group as Harry opened his arms to the child and she shot into his embrace to kiss him on the cheek.
Lucius tried to keep a full scowl from blooming on his face, but it was difficult with so many people squeezing, and touching, and kissing his mate. He felt Draco's shoe kick him in a warning, but he wasn't about to interrupt his mate. Harry was so happy right now that he could not bring himself to ruin that for him.
"Ever the patient aristocrat," a sneering monotone voice added from behind the blondes. Lucius' gaze shifted to land on Severus.
"Ever the sly Slytherin to sneak up on people whilst their backs are turned," Lucius responded with a smirk. Severus settled beside Draco without being asked to sit.
"How good of you to pop by, Uncle Severus," Draco drawled easily, though his lips were slightly quirked to show his humor and gratitude of the man's presence.
"A shot of green in a sea of red," Severus sneered as he looked over to the horde of Weasleys. "Literally." He snorted at the sight of all of them. He could even see the older Weasleys had managed to pop in as well. "What the hell have I walked in on?" He grunted when he saw the whole lot of them 'ooo'ing at a little brat Weasley he would probably have to deal with in the future.
"How did you know we were having company?" Draco asked curiously, though his face remained blank.
"I didn't," Severus scoffed, looking particularly disgruntled as a girly squeal came from someone in the Gryffindor party. "Just my luck that the day I choose to visit and see how badly things are going, you choose to have two dozen Gryffindors invading your quiet home." The black-haired man looked about ready to leave. "What the bloody hell is going on around here?"
"We are going on holiday tomorrow to the Elvin world, and Harry had remarked an interest in having people over, so we surprised him with a gaggle of people that he hasn't seen in ages apparently," Lucius added with a cool façade as he sipped a glass of wine. Draco nodded then looked aloofly back to said-gaggle.
"Perhaps I should leave you to them then," Severus replied teasingly.
Both blondes looked scandalized at being potentially deserted by a fellow Slytherin.
"Come now, Severus, you've already come all this way," Lucius responded with a warning glare accompanying his tone.
"Quite so, and what would you honestly do with yourself for the rest of the day?" Draco wondered with a deceptively innocent look on his face. "It's not as if you have a life or anything."
Five minutes and already Severus wanted to decapitate his nephew. Maybe he should just curse his mouth shut? At the warning glare from Lucius, Severus could tell that that would not be allowed any time soon.
He called a house-elf and demanded a scotch of any kind… a large amount of it. He would need a few more drinks to make it through this day sane.
"Good thing Malfoy contacted us on a Sunday, 'cause it's the only day of the week I had off!" Ron declared as the conversation continued on. Agreements were called out around the group who had come to stand/lean against the far corner of the patio near the railing overlooking the gardens below.
"So, Draco contacted you all?" Harry asked quizzically. He couldn't picture Draco knowing which friends to call and how to get in contact with them, especially so quickly. (Especially since not all of them were Gryffindors – like Luna.)
"Well, Draco came by my house." Hermione interjected with a warm smile as she explained, "At first I thought you had dragged him along for another one of your visits again, but when I didn't see you I became suspicious. Apparently, you had 'complained more than one human being could withstand' and he and Lucius had finally agreed to have some of your 'damned Gryffindor friends' over for a few hours if it would only 'placate your whining and complaining for a little while.' " Throughout her narrative there were several snorts of amusement as the other Gryffindors easily deciphered which bits of the monologue were quotes from Draco.
Harry's heart warmed as he remembered the whole scene at breakfast that morning. His blondes had done all of this for him. He glanced behind himself and over to where his blondes were still seated, only now Snape was seated with them. He quirked his brow as his gaze caught that of his old Potions Professor and they both broke the gaze without malice.
"So, what's up with the Malfoys being buddy-buddy with you, Harry?" Fred asked mischievously. The twins winked at Harry suggestively, but Harry was positive they weren't thinking that he was shagging the correct blonde.
"I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you," Harry joked and everyone burst into laughter before nudging Harry and egging him on to tell them the truth.
The dark-haired Auror leaned closer to his circle of friends and his face became utterly serious causing everyone around him to become likewise. With a deep breath in and out Harry plaintively turned to his friends after a bit of deep thought and told them, with his voice full of passion and truth, "I'm in love."
When the Gryffindors suddenly went silent, the Slytherins took notice. Lucius and Draco shared a strained glance as they surmised the reason for the silence and subsequent harsh whispering.
Severus wasn't a fool. He had already spoken to Lucius about these things, and he could only gather that Harry must return his feelings to more of an extent than Severus had thought possible, especially so quickly. Harry was telling his friends what he thought of his lover… this was a crucial moment in the relationship between Harry and Lucius. What he said to his friends… what his friends thought of Lucius… what Harry would do about his friends' reactions… etc.
Severus watched his friend keenly. Lucius' patented Malfoy mask was clearly visible, but underneath that you could see the lines of worry forming and the nervousness in his eyes was slightly visible every now and then.
There was a long silence after Harry's explanation of his declaration as everyone looked at their friend's steadfast expression. He was positive about how he felt. He had explored all his options. He knew what this path would entail. He wanted his friends to accept his choices.
After a pause of thoughtful pondering, his friends shrugged and smiled at him.
"I don't see what you see in him," Bill told Harry gently as he put his hand on Harry's shoulder and squeezed reassuringly. "He seems like a git and an ass to me, but I know to you he's completely different. As long as he makes you happy, then I don't have a problem with him."
Harry sighed with relief at that and nodded to his taller friend.
"Yeah," Fred agreed with a nod to his twin to show that they both agreed, "you know what you're talking about. You aren't a kid anymore. You don't love easily, Harry; so when you say that you do, then we know that it's serious."
"We don't have to like him to know that he's good for you if he can make you smile like this just talking about him," George continued.
"He's a veela. You're his mate, I guess, so he must treat you well," Ginny put in tentatively with a shrug. Harry nodded in the affirmative. He could understand how the Weasleys would still be cautious and suspicious of the Malfoys because of their longstanding feud and all the negative things that had happened –between Draco and the Weasleys, especially. He didn't expect them to be instant friends. Harry wasn't sure if the Weasleys would ever get along with the Malfoys, but they could be respectful to each other, at least for Harry's sake, if nothing else. "You have the power to throw off the Imperius Curse and you're too powerful to let anyone abuse you, so… we don't have to worry about your safety with him."
"It's destiny," Luna added in her spacey tone and sparkling eyes. "You were meant for each other, obviously."
All the men shrugged oddly, led by Harry, as the girls got far-off dreamy expressions.
"So, I hope you don't stop coming to see us just because you've got yourself a veela?" George exclaimed in outrage and everyone laughed.
"Do you reckon he'll let us have a slumber party once you soften him up a bit?" Ron queried with a grin. He got an elbow and a harsh glare from his wife for his childishness, but everyone else was laughing. "Come on!" Ron begged his wife half-heartedly. "The place is big enough that we could haunt it for weeks and he'd never know about it."
"Well, Harry," Neville started a bit nervously, "you know I don't like Malfoy, er, uh, Draco…." He made a sour expression at having to use the blonde's name, "And I didn't like his father on principle of knowing his reputation…" He seemed to struggle with what he wanted to say, "I can't say that I'll ever like either of them after our school days, and the war and all, but… if you like Malfoy, er, Senior that is –then there must be something to him, so… I'll just trust you like I always do." He shrugged. "You know what you're doing. We all realized that from the war."
"Thanks, Neville." The Auror smiled and clapped his friend on the shoulder. "I know you don't like them, and if that's the way it stays, then that's okay. You don't have to like them. I just hope that you guys are respectful to them, as I'll make sure that they are to you all."
There were some murmured agreements on this.
"You know, Harry," Luna began softly, catching everyone's attention, "you've needed a spouse… someone to cherish you, love you, and look after you the way that you do for everyone else. I think that I speak for everyone when I say that I'm happy that you have finally found the other half to your soul, and I hope you have a happy life together."
There were cheers of agreements. It didn't really matter who it was. If Harry had found the one for him, then his friends were happy about that.
Harry appreciated her words and thought vaguely that she would make a good greeting card writer.
"And don't forget to invite us over for parties!" Justin added.
"I'll bring the alcohol!" Seamus cried out and everyone cheered.
Many of his friends agreed and nodded along with the twins, and Hermione and Ron smiled proudly at their friend. They had obviously known and agreed before, but seeing Harry so happy and comfortable in this place, only confirmed what Harry had told them before coupled with now. He was happy with Lucius.