Author's Note: So I know I've been MIA on this story for a bit, and I'm dreadfully sorry for that. The fact of it is, I knew the story was winding to a close and I wanted to perfect this final chapter. So thanks to Robert for being my gracious beta through this process! This story has been quite fun and one of my favorites overall. So I'm afraid this is the final chapter. Don't worry too long though, another story is waiting in the wings to take this one's place.
Chapter 17 A Job Well Done
The room that Draco created in the basement of Harry's cottage was small but perfectly suited to their needs. It was, for all intents and purposes, just a room; brick walls, wood beamed ceiling and a polished concrete floor, however, as with most people, it was what was on the inside that counted. Within those four walls resided some of the most powerful wards the world had ever seen, and all of them were attuned to Draco and Harry specifically.
As the men stood an arm's breadth apart, Draco could feel Harry's power trickle over him in the form of hot flames, but he wasn't worried. Not only did he know that Harry was perfectly capable of reeling his powers back himself, but he also knew that -if it came to it- he could utilize the wards and lock Harry's power down at any given moment.
That was the purpose of their training room. It was built as a place for Harry to feel comfortable letting loose and for Draco to remain safe in case anything got out of hand. After the second time Harry accidentally flung his lover roughly to the ground in a training exercise gone wrong, large, downy pillows had been added to the floor. They weren't so much to stop Draco's injuries –those were fairly minor and nothing a small skin rejuvenation spell couldn't handle- but more so that Harry could comfortably kiss said injuries all better.
They trained in the room every evening after leaving Hogwarts, Harry channeling his power into every spell the two could think of; Draco encouraging him with books he had picked up on magic control from the Manor or the school's vast library. There hadn't been a mishap in weeks, and Harry was growing more and more confident every day that he could keep his magic in check and refrain from hurting anyone or even causing the slightest bit of property damage.
"So does this mean we can finally take the wards off the bedroom?" Draco asked as he opened his palm to receive a glowing blue orb Harry had manifested. It flared and cracked like lightning contained in a glass ball. Once Draco's fingers touched it, the orb turned into liquid and flowed over his body like a blanket. The warm buzz of an electrical current coated his skin but didn't hurt him; it simply tickled.
Harry closed his palms and the liquid seeped away from Draco and back to the brunette's hands again. "You're very anxious to get rid of those wards aren't you?" Harry laughed. He had grown quite used to them over the years but he knew they still made Draco feel a bit ill.
"I just think that if this talk with Teddy goes well and I become a permanent resident that I should have a say," Draco pouted. Harry smiled and, with a flick of his wrist and a nonverbal spell, he had an armful of a very satisfied blonde.
"You have a say now," he whispered. "If you want them down, I'll take them down. I just don't want you to get hurt."
"We'll wait until Minerva tests you and see what she has to say," Draco reasoned wisely. It would only be another week after all, and they could seek her advice about the wards when they went to see her.
They had been keeping a low profile at school, and, somehow, exaggerations of their new relationship hadn't made it to the rumor mill yet. Some of the staff knew, but none of the students did -not even Teddy- they had agreed to keep it between them until summer. Neither of them wanted to put the boy's first year in turmoil, so they reluctantly kept a lid on it. It was hard -especially within the first few weeks when all Harry wanted to do was scoop Draco up and make off to his office with the blonde for more personal attention- but it became easier as they realized there were plenty of nooks and alcoves they could sneak away to for a quick snog without anyone being the wiser.
"That sounds like a good plan," Harry agreed, nodding his head slightly. "School lets out in five days, and I can go see her anytime after that." Minerva had practically –and much to Harry's surprise- squealed like a schoolgirl when presented with the opportunity to help Harry with his control, apparently quite happy her favorite Professor was finally asking for assistance with it. Her only condition was that Harry wait to be tested after the students left –purely a precautionary measure, of course.
"I'm a little nervous about Teddy's reaction," Draco admitted, snuggling in closer to Harry's neck. The house he'd commissioned had finally been finished so, if worst came to worst with Teddy, it wouldn't be an inconvenience to move out; truthfully, though, he wanted to stay there with Harry. He'd never been so happy as he was waking up in his lover's arms every morning. However, he knew it might take time for Teddy to get used to the idea; he wasn't going to force himself into the boy's life.
Harry sighed and pushed a lock of hair behind Draco's ear. "We'll just have to see, won't we?" He was nervous as well. He didn't want to be forced to chose between Teddy -who was as close to his own son as it could get- and Draco -who was hands down the love of his life. When everything was said and done, both men knew that Teddy would be out of the house –living on his own- in a few years. If things didn't go well today, though, neither Harry nor Draco was too keen on keeping the truth from the boy and kindling their relationship in secret. Harry, personally, wanted desperately for them all to be one big happy family, but that all hinged on Teddy wanting that, too.
They knew this weekend could be their last together. School would let out on Tuesday and they would need to have a talk with Teddy after they picked him up from his last day at Hogwarts.
"So what are you going to say?" Draco asked, pulling back and tugging Harry upstairs. It seemed they were finished with training today, so he wanted to be someplace more comfortable than the underground room.
"Well, he seemed agreeable before he left for school, but I don't know how much of that was him honestly wanting us together and how much of it was him playing along with a joke. Every time he's mentioned us as a couple it's been in jest. I'm not sure if he'll want to cope with two fathers watching over him at school as he becomes a teenager," Harry replied with a wince, recalling how suffocated he would sometimes feel when the staff and friends took it upon themselves to 'watch out for him'.
"I just don't want him to feel like I'm taking you over… although, come to think of it, that's definitely a part of my plan," Draco practically purred in Harry's ear.
Harry chuckled and kissed his lover on the cheek. "We'll make this work no matter what Teddy says. If he's not okay with you living here right away, we'll just have to date on the sly while you warm up that new house and Teddy gets used to the idea of us as a couple. It will be fine either way, I'm sure."
With a sigh, Draco nodded. The two men finished the afternoon in comfortable companionship, both acutely aware that this could be one of the last of such afternoons for a long time to come.
The time for school hours to end and summer vacation to begin approached faster than either Harry or Draco would have liked. One day melted into the next and -before they realized it- the time to sit Teddy down and have a talk about their future together was at hand. They waited patiently on the platform as Teddy bid his friends farewell and watched them board the Hogwarts Express back to Kings Cross Station. Harry took note that the boy received no less that four lingering hugs from various girls in his class, chuckling under his breath.
"Holy Merlin, that boy is going to be a handful," Harry remarked playfully.
"You think the hugs are bad," Draco commented, noting Harry's observations, "I saw little Susana Sanchez pinning him to the wall outside the Greenhouses this morning. Three guesses what they were up to, and I'll give you a hint, they weren't arguing," he added cheekily.
Harry shook his head in mock dismay but could hardly contain his laughter as he imagined his Godson being happily molested by a girl three years older than him. "Clearly he hasn't inherited Lupin's sense of decency."
"No, he's inherited Nymphadora's boldness, for sure," the Potions Master replied. "Let's just hope he's inherited at least one of his parents' open-mindedness."
Harry sighed; his smile faltering slightly as he realized it could all crumble in a few short hours. Teddy was his responsibility though, and the young Slytherin boy came first. Even now Harry had to hide his affection for Draco from the world. Having an open romance with the Potions professor at work was unprofessional at best, so they stood there side-by-side and took constant care never to directly touch on another. Perhaps if the relationship progressed into something more they would become more physical in public, though they'd definitely never be caught groping one another outside the Greenhouses for all to see.
As the Hogwarts Express pulled out of the station, Teddy hung back on the platform waving at the train full of students who would be too far way now to be able to see him any longer. Once the train took the first bend in the tracks and disappeared, the boy turned to his Godfather with a slight pout.
"Will I get to see any of them over the summer?" he asked as he made his way over to where Harry and Draco stood.
"I'm sure we can arrange a visit or two," Harry promised, tossing his arm over Teddy's shoulder and leading the small group away from Hogsmeade Station and back toward the house.
The three walked in relative silence through the small town. Several of the shops closed over the summer and owners were already putting signs in their windows to alert the public that they would reopen in the fall. When their homey cottage was in sight, Harry ruffled his Godson's hair. "Draco and I have something to discuss with you when we get inside."
Teddy looked curiously back and forth between the men's serious faces, clearly wondering what awful news the pair had. "Er… okay," he replied at last.
Once inside, both men paced in the living room while Teddy sat nervously on the sofa. "Would one of you just spit it out?" he demanded. "Am I in some kind of trouble? I swear that thing with Clarissa was all her idea."
Harry disguised his curious grin with a stern narrowing of the eyes and turned his attention back on Teddy. "Care to elaborate? I know all about a Susana, a Trisha, a Blaire and a Laura, but I've yet to hear of a Clarissa."
Teddy promptly shut his mouth and looked down at his shoes. "It was nothing," he muttered at last when Harry continued to stare down at him.
Draco fidgeted beside Harry and looked as though he wanted to clutch the other man's hand but knew it would be unwise before their announcement. Finally he took a seat in the armchair furthest from Teddy and began pulling at the edges of his robes to try and distract himself.
"Wait a minute… where is Grandma?" Teddy asked suddenly, his voice thick with panic. "I just saw her last week, did something happen?"
"No!" Harry and Draco nearly shouted in unison. "Andromeda's fine. She's visiting with my Mother," Draco assured Teddy.
With a sigh, Teddy nodded and sunk into his chair a little. "Then what is it?"
Harry took a deep breath and let it out very slowly before lowering himself to his knees in front of where Teddy sat. "This talk is about the three of us," Harry began, taking his Godson's hand within his own. "Draco and I have started dating, and I'd like him to come live here with us."
"But only if that's what you want, too," Draco quickly amended. "I don't want to impose if it makes you uncomfortable or anything like that…" the blonde quickly and forcibly shut himself up, realizing that he was starting to ramble.
"So what, both you and Draco are a serious couple now?" Teddy asked skeptically. "Last I heard you were fighting."
"We were fighting about not being a couple, but yes, Harry and I are together now. We're happy and we love each other," Draco told the boy, even though Teddy's question had been directed at Harry.
Teddy looked to Harry, who nodded in confirmation. "Draco's house is done now, but I'd prefer it if he continued to live here. We could be a big happy family."
Harry felt as though he'd never sweated so much in his life. Somehow this tiny, eleven-year-old boy seemed more ominous in that moment than Voldemort ever did. With one word, Teddy could put his relationship with Draco on the shelf for future examination or allow them to be happy together. He didn't have time to dwell on it too long though, because a moment later he was knocked backward to the ground with Teddy's arms clutched tightly around his neck.
Before Harry could react, however, the boy was gone and hugging Draco just as tightly before he began bounding up and down on the sofa he had calmly occupied just moments before. "This is great!" he exclaimed. "I'll have the best two dads in the world! Harry can make us dessert every night, and Draco can teach me potions, and we can all go flying together!"
Draco sighed with relief and took Harry's hand at last while his boyfriend watched Teddy's display with an amused smile. When things calmed and Teddy fell back into the seat of his chair Draco and Harry both squashed in on either side of him.
"It's not always going to be fun and games," Draco warned lightly. "You'll still have rules to follow and when we're at school we're still going to be your professors. None of that goes out the window now that Harry and I are together."
"I know," Teddy replied with a satisfied nod.
"And we'll still fight sometimes, Draco and I," Harry added. "We won't always get along but we'll still look after your best interest no matter what."
Teddy rolled his eyes. "I'm not worried about it. If you two fight I'll just force you to kiss and make up," he added with a cheeky grin.
"Is that what you and Susana were doing by the Greenhouses?" Draco asked and the boy's face instantly turned Weasley red.
"She just sort of attacked me," he tried, but Draco wasn't buying it.
"Mmhmm," he scoffed and they all chuckled a bit before Teddy leaned his head against Harry's chest.
"This is going to be great," Teddy announced confidently.
"I think so, too," Harry whispered, staring across Teddy's head into Draco's piercing gray eyes and warm smiling face.
"It's official," announced Andromeda as she levitated items into one of several boxes nearby. "Draco has sold his house."
"How do you know?" Narcissa asked. "I've been asking him about it for weeks."
"Because I bought it!" she replied happily. "We agreed on a price this morning and I'll be moving in this weekend. It's close, but not too close, big but not too big –just perfect for little ol' me."
"I thought you wanted to travel?" Narcissa interjected.
"I do, and I will, but first things first. I need to get out of the boys hair. Summer is nearly over and I'm certain the lovebirds will want the cottage all to themselves without having to worry that Aunt Andromeda will pop in on their love-making in the living room," she teased.
"They don't really do that, do they?" Narcissa asked with a rosy blush to which both Andromeda and Minerva responded with smirking glances.
"That and more," Minerva whispered. "Why by the end of the school year I had caught them groping one another behind one of the armored knights on the seventh floor –twice!"
The other women snickered softly and continued to gossip. "So, you'll be living all by yourself in the grand manor?" Narcissa asked her sister, changing the subject again.
"You're welcome to join me, Cissy. Minnie is, she'll be staying there during the summers so as not to have to remain in that lonely dank castle," she noted and Minerva nodded in agreement.
"It is rather cold at the Manor lately," Narcissa mused. "I'll think on it."
They remained silent for a few moments, Narcissa and Minerva sipping their tea as their friend continued to pack. "We've done well, ladies," Minerva boasted as she looked out at the three boys playing flying tag in the yard. "They all seem happier than ever."
"I've never seen Draco so content," Narcissa admitted.
"Teddy's ecstatic and Harry's back to baking again, which means his spirits have lightened as well. I heard he passed the test Minnie gave him for his magic control with flying colors. He's a very powerful boy, but it seems he's learned to harness it."
"Harry did even better than I could have ever expected given the aftermath of some of his earlier demonstrations of magic," Minerva confirmed. "He never faltered even once."
They continued to gaze out the windows at the laughing boys and smiled proudly. "I think this will be a permanent match," Andromeda mused.
"I think Draco provides a balance Harry had been missing all along," Narcissa observed.
"And if things sour we can always begin scheming again," Minerva offered with a wink. "But something tells me that won't be necessary."
The women sighed and gathered by the window, watching as Harry tried to pull a scrap of shimmering blue fabric from either Draco or Teddy's waist while they zipped and twirled around him. Joy was painted on all of their faces and when Harry finally caught Draco's tag, the men kissed in mid-flight while Teddy laughed and flew to the ground. "Can I invite Elton over?" he asked when the other two men landed.
"Sure. It's the last weekend of the summer, we can make a night of it," Harry replied. "I'll go start the pie while Draco takes you inside to make the floo call."
"What kind are we having tonight?" Draco asked, looping his arm around his boyfriend's waist.
"Triple berry spice," Harry responded, "and I'm saving some of the berries for later," he added with a wink. Draco just grinned and smacked Harry on the arse before following Teddy inside.
"Yes, I think our work here is done," Andromeda sighed and her two friends agreed wholeheartedly.
Author's note: I thought ending it with our plotting ladies was most appropriate. You may even see these three pop up again in future tales, I loved them so much. Next story to look out for is called Forgotten not Forgiven, which will begin posting shortly.