See disclaimer in Chapter 1. Not mine.
"I, Harry Potter, resolve to keep fewer secrets in the New Year."
"I swear to Merlin, if one more person congratulates that git I'm going to lose it," Ron hissed, earning himself a kick from Hermione and a glare from Neville. Only those sitting closest to him had heard his words, though the entire table could tell he was angry.
Hermione stared at him, her lips drawn into a thin line of disgust. Why did it matter who won the House Cup, anyway? Gryffindor had taken it more often than not during their tenure – it wasn't like it had been the seventh years' last chance. Like it had been for Slytherin.
When it became clear that no one else was going to speak up, the students resumed their normal morning chatter. Gossip and jokes flew up and down the long table as students tried to make the most of their last meal at Hogwarts before the beginning of summer hols. Even the seventh years who would be returning in just a few weeks for the intensive seminar seemed more talkative than usual, probably because they realized it was the last time they'd see many of the younger years.
No one even looked up when Ginny finally strode into the Great Hall, Dean trailing conspicuously behind her. Everyone knew neither of them had made it back to the dorm the night before, and much of the morning gossip had been speculation about where they'd spent the night.
"Congratulations, Draco," Ginny said, her voice only slightly sour as she took her place across from the blond at the table, Dean settling in next to her. "Your House deserved the win."
Most of the students at the table shifted their gazes toward Ron, who was practically vibrating with anger. The redhead clenched his fists, glaring at the Slytherin banners that now hung along the walls.
"That's bollocks! If Malfoy hadn't cheated –"
"Cheated?" Draco sputtered, slamming his glass of pumpkin juice down on the table. "Cheated?"
Ron's face reddened, but he met the Slytherin's glare head-on.
"Yes, cheated," he said, his blue eyes flashing. "Did you think I didn't know about your resolution –"
"Ron," Neville chided, his voice laced with censure. "You know that's not how it works."
He turned to a still-bewildered Harry, shaking his head. He loved Harry – and Hermione, for that matter – dearly, but there were still so many things his Muggle-raised friends didn't understand about the wizarding world.
" A resolution, if made within an hour of the old year turning into the new – that would be around midnight on New Year's Eve," Neville said, quirking a brow at Harry to make sure the other wizard was still following him, "– and made in a place with strong ambient magic, like Hogwarts, becomes a binding magical contract."
A binding magical contract, Harry thought, his brow creasing as his frown deepened. Which means Draco had to beat me at Quidditch?
"So Draco had to beat me at Quidditch?"
Draco growled in frustration, his fists clenched as pushed his breakfast away and stalked off. He'd been taking crap from Harry's Gryffindor friends since the Leaving Feast the night before, when Slytherin took the cup, barely edging out Gryffindor in House Points, but he never expected Harry to join in, too. Hermione pursed her lips, her brow furrowed as she contemplated Neville's words, watching the angry blond throw open the doors to the Great Hall and storm outside, Pansy close on his heels.
"No, not at all," Neville said sternly. "Draco beat you in that game because he had trained harder and was better prepared. That's all the resolution did – it gave him the willpower to follow through on what needed to be done in order to accomplish it," he said, and Harry flinched under the usually calm wizard's glower. "You should apologize."
Harry gaped at his friend. He never thought he'd see the day that Neville demanded he apologize to Draco Malfoy. Harry knew so many things had changed since New Years, and not just the relationships that had developed – he and Draco had been open about their relationship for months, Ron and Lavender were dating, Blaise and Hannah were inseparable, Seamus and Susan were no longer hiding their attraction and had actually started dating and Hermione, well, Harry blushed as memories of exactly how much fun she had managed to have this term crashed over him.
Harry nodded, muttering a quick apology to his friends before following Draco out of the Great Hall. His resolution had been a vague one, but after Neville's lecture things started to come together in his mind. He'd initially meant the resolution as a challenge to himself to come out to Ron and Hermione, but instead he'd not only come out to the entire school but come clean about his relationship with Draco, too.
He hesitated at the stairway, wondering if he should go up or down. Would Draco be in the Dungeons, or would he have gone somewhere else? He took a deep breath, heading out the front doors instead of the stairs. Draco would probably be out near the lake, where they used to meet in secret when the weather was warm before anyone knew about their relationship. He jogged down the stone steps, peeling his heavy robes off as he went. It was early, but the day was already warm.
Harry looked around the grounds, searching for Draco. He found him under a willow tree near the lake shore, engaged in a hushed conversation with Pansy. That was another surprise – Neville coming out of his shell and taking charge of his own life. His Gran had threatened to disown him when news of his relationship with Pansy finally reached her, but Neville had calmly pointed out that he was of age, which meant he was the Head of the Longbottom House and could not be disowned. He told the formidable old woman that Pansy was a part of his life, and that if she couldn't accept that he would furnish her with a very reasonable monthly allowance and set her up in one of the nice flats the family owned in London. She'd been in awe of her grandson ever since, as had Pansy.
The dark-haired girl looked up as Harry approached, her glare making it clear that Draco had definitely taken the thoughtless comment to heart. Harry grimaced, steeling himself for an argument as he flopped gracelessly down on the ground next to the duo.
"I'm sorry," Harry said quickly, hoping to stem the vitriol that was sure to come from the angered Slytherins. "It was stupid – I was just surprised. I had no idea resolutions meant something different in the magical world than they do in the Muggle one."
Draco eyed him, his mouth set in a sullen pout. Pansy's posture eased somewhat, but the thin girl still kept her arms crossed firmly over her chest, her expression one of polite disdain. Yes, Harry thought ruefully, hurrying to continue his apology, no one does angry like a Slytherin.
"I know you won that game because of skill, Draco," he continued, gratified to see the blond's mouth twitch slightly at his words. "We've always been near equal in talent, and this year you really pushed yourself and your team. You guys deserved the win, and you deserved the House Cup. I'm really sorry."
Draco nodded, his expression still guarded. Pansy had uncrossed her arms, her now-neutral gaze still pinned on the squirming Gryffindor.
"So, that's it, really," Harry said, feeling increasingly uncomfortable with their unreadable expressions. He took a breath, deciding this might be the last chance he had with Draco, so he'd better make the most of it.
"I love you, Draco," he said, his face so open it nearly pained the Slytherins to look at. They weren't used to such raw emotion. "I love you, and I can't imagine not being with you. I know I say and do stupid things all the time, but you have to know that I really do love you more than anything else, and I never mean to hurt you."
Harry paused, desperation shooting through him when he saw his words hadn't changed either Slytherin's expression at all.
"I was going to ask you this later, when we were alone, but I guess I should just do it now," Harry continued, so caught up in his own inner turmoil that he didn't see Draco's eyes widen in alarm, his gaze flicking past Harry's shoulders and back to his face.
"I know we're coming back here in a few weeks for that summer session, but I don't even want to be away from you for that long," Harry said, his emerald gaze meeting Draco's again. "Will you – will you move in with me? I inherited several properties, or we could buy something of our own, if you prefer."
Draco was silent, and Harry panicked, babbling to fill the gap.
"Or we could live at the Manor, if that's what you wanted," he said, swallowing hard. "I mean, I know your mother isn't my biggest fan, but I'd be willing to try. If that's what you wanted –"
Pansy interrupted him, stopping his rushed words before he could make an even bigger fool of himself.
"Harry," she said gently, the hard glint in her eyes gone. "Do you realize what you're asking him? In Pureblood circles –"
"Moving in with someone is tantamount to promising to marry them," Neville cut in, startling Harry. He turned around, flinching when he realized most of their friends were standing behind them. They must have followed him out, but he had no idea how long they'd been there. The no secrets thing again, I suppose, Harry thought dryly. "He knows that."
Draco blinked, his heart pounding.
Harry studied the blond carefully, unsure of what to make of his words. "I do," he confirmed.
Their friends laughed, and Harry blushed as he realized what he'd said. The tight feeling in his stomach began to dissipate when he realized Draco was laughing, too.
"In a rush, then, Potter?" he teased, his eyes still locked on the dark-haired boy.
"No use putting off the inevitable," Harry returned, the challenge clear in his eyes.
Draco was silent a moment, and Harry's confidence deserted him. Had he misread things so badly, then?
"We'll have to get started hunting for a flat. Anything you inherited from your godfather is sure to be unacceptable," Draco said finally, oblivious to the giggles his words elicited from their audience. "Mother was the only Black with any taste."
– End –
Author's note: We made it through all the resolutions, folks! How did my 5K word one-shot turn into this 13-chapter fic? *grins* It was thanks to you, dear readers. Enough of you asked for more, and I couldn't ignore the puppy dog eyes and offers of cookies.
So I'm offering you a choice: Do you want this to be the end of the Resolutions arc, or should I do a one-shot about the summer session Hannah proposed? It would be a separate story, not an epilogue, but it would pick up after their few weeks of break when they all return for their summer classes.