Disclaimer: For the seventh and final time, these characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I do not own them. And I'm really not pleased about that.
Author's Notes: Alright, this is the end. The final chapter. I would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who has been reading it. And also, a gigantic thank you goes out to everyone who has reivewed. I've appreciated your comments, they have made me smile and in some cases laugh.
Draco felt like he could die. The two weeks without Harry seemed to last forever and his heart ached with every passing minute. He couldn't sleep and upon glancing at himself in the mirror one morning, decided that the dark circles under his eyes deserved their own postal code.
He passed through every feasible emotion a human being could endure and finally settled with numbness as every attempt he made to speak with Harry was thwarted or refused.
His apathy toward anything to do with life in general was disconcerting to Hermione. She fawned over him relentlessly while at the hospital and went to his flat every night to check on him as if he wasn't stable.
"Hermione, you know I love you dearly but go home. I'm alright." Draco finally stated when Hermione appeared yet again on his doorstep.
"Sure I will. As soon as we've had dinner. I've brought your favorite take-away." Hermione grinned innocently and held up a white plastic sack with familiar writing.
She knew that Draco would not be able to resist Indian food, especially not from his favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
"You play dirty."
"That's what Charlie always tells me." She tapped a finger on her chin in mock contemplation and caused Draco to laugh.
"Well, that's unpleasant to think about. Come on in if you're going to."
"Don't mind if I do."
Hermione meandered into the kitchen and began setting the table while Draco unloaded the contents of her bag.
"This smells delicious. Thank you." Draco said sincerely.
For most of the meal, they discussed their patients and other on goings at the hospital. It was nice and Draco realized how much he really did appreciate her company.
Then Hermione did what she had been so reluctant to do for the past two weeks. She brought up Harry. "I talked to Harry last night."
"And?" Draco prodded. The mere mention of Harry's name caused his hands to tremble and nerves to stand to attention.
"He didn't want to listen to me." Hermione said sadly. "He thinks I'm lying for you."
Draco exhaled noisily. "God, I'm sorry Hermione. You should've stayed out of it. There's no sense in you fighting with him as well."
"Don't worry about it. Its not the first time I've been subjected to Harry's temper and wrath…and I know it won't be the last." She shrugged and took a sip of wine. "He's grown up a lot. Most of time he's very calm and collected but he's stubborn. Always has been and that will never change."
"I know. Once he's set his mind on something…" Draco trailed off in agreement with Hermione's assessment.
The situation was becoming more absurd by the day. Obviously he, Ron, and Harry were not on speaking terms. Ginny and Dean had softened toward Harry but still refused to be in the same room as Draco much to Hermione's chagrin. The worst was Hermione. She'd stood by Draco through all of it. She was supportive when he'd left Ron. She was supportive when he'd told her that he and Harry were dating. And she'd attempted to kill Ron with rhetoric and glares after his unscrupulous tricks. And now she was skirmishing with Harry. He hated to cause problems between Hermione and her oldest friends and family and he briefly wondered what exactly he'd ever done to deserve a friend such as her. He'd never be able to repay her for her consideration, compassion, and loyalty.
"Ice cream." Hermione said suddenly causing Draco to blink.
"Care to clarify?"
"We should go out for ice cream. That will cheer us up." Hermione grinned.
"I thought that only worked on children."
"Rubbish. Everyone loves ice cream. It makes everyone smile. We'll go to Diagon Alley."
"Why? There's a parlor just around the corner."
"Yes but we always shop and dine with muggles." Hermione laughed.
"You want to go into Flourish and Botts? Don't you?" Draco mock glared at her.
"They're open until nine." Hermione said and bit her lip.
"I give…let's go."
An hour later, after devouring the most ridiculously decadent ice cream sundae known to humanity, Draco and Hermione made their way into the bookstore. Draco trailed after her for a while before breaking away and heading to the potions section. He briefly remembered a text recommended by a fellow healer. He supposed now was as good a time as any to begin a new research project. Considering his social life consisted only of Hermione and Indian food, he decided that he could use something to occupy his time.
Upon finding the text, he made his way to the counter to pay before searching for Hermione. People were clustered and he wasn't even sure where the line was so he floated around, fishing for an opening in the crowd.
It eventually thinned and Draco was sure that he could jump the non-existent line and pay without anybody noticing. They were all too busy chatting.
"Who's next?" The witch at the counter yelled out in a bored tone.
"I am." Draco said and at the same time he heard Harry's voice say, "Here. I am" Surely he was hearing things. Imagining things. He stepped around a tall bulky wizard and saw Harry approaching the counter.
Harry stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing Draco.
"Harry." Draco greeted him and prayed that Harry wouldn't completely ignore him. He felt like he was going to implode from tension and nervousness.
"Hi Draco." Harry said politely as he ran his free hand through his hair quickly before slapping it to his side once more. In his other hand, he held two books.
"Go ahead." Harry offered, nodding toward the counter where the cashier was staring at them impatiently.
"No. I think you were here first. Please." Draco countered in his best courteous voice. Harry looked as good as a seven course meal to a starvation victim. Draco wanted to touch him. He wanted so feverishly for Harry to take him in his arms and hold him. But that wasn't going to happen and the thought depressed Draco even more.
"Fine." Harry took care of his purchases and waited for Draco to do the same. Draco tried not to get his hopes up but didn't that mean that Harry wanted to talk to him? Maybe they could take a walk. Draco began planning as he collected his change. They moved slightly away from the counter.
"How are you?" Draco asked gingerly. He really did not know if that was a fair question to ask. But he wanted Harry to say that he was miserable. That he missed Draco. At the very least, he wanted Harry to let him explain the alleged cheating situation.
"I'm fine. How are you and Ron?" Harry asked in an artic voice. So much for polite pleasantries.
"Draco, where'd you disappear to?" Hermione's voice carried as she strolled toward them from one of the aisles. "Look at what I-" Hermione trailed off as she spotted Harry.
"Hey." She said with a small smile.
"It's odd to see you in here." Draco commented, trying to ignore the hatefulness that Harry exuded before Hermione arrived. He needed to keep Harry talking, to make him feel at ease so that he could make his move. They really needed to talk.
"I used to have to drag you shopping." Hermione added with a laugh.
Harry smiled at her, "Research for a case. I need information about something I'm not really familiar with."
"Right, of course." Draco was the one to respond. "Harry, can we-" Draco began but Harry held up one hand and shook his head.
"I've got to be going." Harry said and nodded to them both. He left without a glance back and Draco thought he would collapse from disappointment. What is wrong with me? In immediate hindsight, Draco realized that he should have just bluntly spoke of their situation. He should have just yelled out at Harry that he and Ron were not back together. That's the problem with hindsight. It's a bitch and it always bites you in the arse.
"I've not put away my breakables and Harry's obviously not here, so maybe its best if you don't come in." Draco said upon seeing Ron on his doorstep the next evening.
"I'm a complete wanker." Ron said as he brushed his way into Draco's living room.
"I really don't feel the need to argue with that." Draco snapped. "What do you want?"
"I just…I need to talk to you." Ron said gingerly. Draco was surprised that Ron was being so pleasant. He had not seen Ron one time recently that didn't involve clever insults, piercing glares or broken glass.
"About what exactly?" Draco inquired, his curiosity getting the better of him as he sat down in a chair adjacent to Ron's.
"About us…about you and Harry."
"There is no you and I anymore…and you personally saw to it that there is no Harry and I."
"And I'm sorry for that. What is that old saying? Um, two wrongs don't make a right or something like that."
Draco was surprised but pleased with Ron's apology. He softened significantly and smiled at Ron. "Yeah that's how it goes. And not one of the three of us has done a thing to be proud of. I'm still so sorry myself."
"I've gotten over it now. I was never in love with you, you know."
"I was more hurt that Harry, once again, got what he wanted. I've always been so jealous of him." Draco was surprised to hear Ron and divulge his issues openly. Everyone knew how competitive and jealous Ron could get, especially when it concerned Harry, but as far he knew, Ron had never out right declared it.
"What made it worse, is that it was mine to begin with." Ron took a deep breath before continuing. "At least I thought it was…you never really were with me though, were you? You were waiting on Harry. I think that there was always three people in our relationship, Draco. Even from that first night."
"Yes, I suppose that's true."
"Honestly, I didn't have the right to get as upset as I did." Ron stated quietly and Draco arched an eyebrow, urging him to continue. "I went after you at Hermione's wedding knowing full well that Harry was in love with you for he'd told me. Hence, why I truly am a wanker."
Ron smiled at the expression on Draco's face.
"Don't look so stunned, Hermione's told me she spoke with you."
"Yeah, but she didn't…I didn't know that." Draco spoke in a rush. He wanted so badly for it to be true.
"Yeah…well, he told me that last time he came in. Before he moved back."
"For Teddy's birthday party?"
Ron nodded and continued, "He wanted to end our…agreement. I said no even though I didn't mean it, got angry once he was gone, and then…you know the rest."
Draco pursed his lips and shook his head. He really did not have a clue how to handle all the information Ron was throwing at him. He felt overwhelmed and a little frightened. What if he and Harry still couldn't reconcile, even with Ron's honesty? That thought, in particular, scared the shit out of him. He was so worried about his relationship, or current lack thereof, with Harry that Ron's blatant admittance that he'd basically used Draco against Harry wasn't even that important.
The silence seemed to last forever as they sat there, obviously lost in their own thoughts. Concurrently, Draco wanted to strangle Ron and hug him. He was thrilled that Ron wanted to mend the damage between the three of them. But he was feeling hurt because of all the worrying he'd done for Ron. He'd felt so bad for Ron at the beginning. When they'd broken up, he had thought of Ron as the victim when it simply wasn't true. There actually was no victim. Unless Harry could be construed that way. It was possible that he was the most honest of their lot. He never once pretended to be anyone other than himself and had so obviously made his intentions clear to Ron. Ron had to have known from the moment Harry set foot on English soil what he planned to do. Ron's anger at their close friendship was justifiable, at least partially. He was worried that Draco would fall for Harry. Actually, Ron probably knew all along that Draco fancied Harry.
"I've been seeing Mark this past week." Ron said casually, picking invisible lint off of his trousers. Mark, Ron's first boyfriend. Mark, the ministry training instructor. Mark who broke up with Ron because of their fifteen year age difference and left Ron heartbroken.
"Really?" Draco questioned and Ron nodded.
"How is that going?" Draco inquired, curiosity getting the better of him again. He really needed to learn to mind his own business.
"Good. Its really good, as long as he doesn't chuck me again." Ron frowned.
"I'm sure he won't. Maybe he's gotten over his issues."
"So he says." Ron chuckled and stretched out his legs, making himself more comfortable.
"So, hooking up with an old boyfriend has made you happy, ergo you don't have a need to ruin my life anymore. Or Harry's. Is that what you're trying to tell me?"
"Pretty much." Ron shrugged and Draco laughed at the absurdity of the situation. Draco could honestly say that he still stood by his earlier conviction. The three of them were worryingly idiots, confused and sometimes despicable, but still idiots.
"I hope that you can work things out with Harry. I've told him the truth about that day just before coming here."
Draco sighed audibly and felt himself tear up. He really didn't want to cry in front of Ron but he was so emotional in light of recent events.
"He and I are…better. We had to beat the shit out of each other first but we're alright." Ron continued.
"Again?" Draco sighed.
"It was just a little fight. Hermione was there as a mediator and she fixed us right up."
"We always work it out eventually." Ron said seriously.
"Harry said something similar to that effect once." Draco mused.
"That's because it's true."
Draco wore the carpet down to its thread, pacing in his living room. Should he really go and see Harry? If Harry wouldn't take him back, then Draco didn't feel that he could withstand any rejection. It was too risky. He would wait a few days and see if Harry came to him. It was plausible that he would, considering that they had not technically ended their relationship. Even if he'd thought that Draco was unfaithful. That wasn't the point. He knew better now. Ron had spoken to him.
Draco internalized his dilemma and decided absolutely to wait on Harry to find him. He would come soon, Draco knew it. He had faith in Harry and in their love. Love that Harry had not expressed yet but love all the same.
His conviction only lasted ten minutes before he slipped into his shoes and sought his keys. He threw the door open in a rush to get to Harry's flat as quickly as possible and ran straight into another body. The wind was completely knocked out of him and he bowled over.
"What the hell are you doing? Charging around without looking?" Harry's amused voice rang through Draco's hallway.
Harry! Harry was here! Draco mentally screamed in joy as he attempted to catch his breath and forced himself upright.
"Well, I didn't expect anyone to be standing in the hallway." Draco justified his actions a bit breathlessly.
"Yeah, I gathered that." Harry shrugged and muttered under his breath but audible enough for Draco to hear.
"I thought I heard you rustling about but I didn't expect you to fly out the door like that."
"I was in a hurry."
"Oh." Harry frowned, disappointment etched on his perfectly featured face. "Have you got somewhere to go? I'll just leave then, yeah?" Harry began to turn away but Draco grabbed his arm.
"No, I was going somewhere but not anymore."
"Your flat obviously." Draco offered a small smile and received one in return.
"You heard me inside. When did you get here?" Harry's earlier words finally resonated with Draco.
"A few minutes ago."
"Why didn't you knock?"
"Honestly, I've been trying to make up my mind."
"About what?" Draco silently prayed that the next words out of Harry's mouth were not something about not knowing whether or not he wanted to talk to Draco. He wouldn't be able to bare that.
"I didn't know if you'd want to see me." Harry admitted, his mouth fixed once again in a deep frown. He ran a hand through his hair, a gesture which Draco had long ago recognized as discomfort or slight nervousness. He normally found it adorable but he couldn't quite concentrate on that thought. He, himself, was too uneasy about what Harry would say next.
"Why wouldn't I?" Draco asked, genuinely concerned and perplexed. Of course he wanted to talk to Harry. To see Harry. Draco was the one who'd been trying fruitlessly to contact Harry for two weeks.
"I was a bit of an ass the last time I was here." Harry sighed and took Draco's elbow, steering them inside the flat.
"You had good reason, I suppose. Or at least you thought you had good reason." Draco mused.
"So, you believe Ron?"
"Of course. It really shouldn't have been so surprising, considering it was Ron." Harry commented.
"He made a mistake, a few mistakes, but so have I. God, have I made mistakes." Draco said alluding to his relationship with Ron.
"Was I a mistake?" Harry asked. His voice was untailored but his body language and expression were anything but.
"No. You're so far away that you could be on a different continent. My mistake was waiting three years before doing something about my feelings for you."
"I should have let you explain."
"You should have." Draco agreed.
"Why didn't you?"
"I was angry and hurt. As soon as we got together, my greatest fear became losing you." Harry leaned against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest. "I waited so long and then had to work so hard," he paused to chuckle before continuing, "I think that…"
"What?" Draco prodded.
"I think that you should give me another chance. I'm still holding on to the possibility of a you and I…and I always will." Harry said demurely.
Draco felt like his chest was going to explode in happiness. Harry was here and wanted to get back together. The ache in his heart ceased and butterflies began dancing in his stomach once more.
"I've really missed you." Draco sighed.
"I've missed you too. You have no idea how much."
"I have a pretty good idea. I love you. I'm in love with you." Draco blurted out. If this wasn't the right time, then he didn't know when it could possibly come.
Harry's smile was as warm and bright as the sun and Draco reveled in it for a few seconds before realizing that Harry had not responded. Holy shit! He'd been so sure Ron was telling the truth and he'd thought it was there himself the last time they were together. Surely Harry had to love him.
He frantically searched his brain for a way to back out of what he'd just said but without a time turner, he was screwed.
He watched as Harry unfolded his arms and stalked forward. He took Draco into his arms instantly, pressing his forehead against Draco's, and whispered. "I love you too. So much."
Draco sensed his tension fade and his knees buckled from relief. Harry loved him. It was over. All of the drama, the hurt feelings, and the wounded pride. It was all over.
Draco had never felt happier in his entire life. Six months had passed since he and Harry patched up their relationship. And they'd just decided the night before to move in together. They were destined to be together, Draco was sure of it.
"What'd Harry say he wanted?" Hermione inquired beside him. They were currently at a ministry gala and Draco felt like he was in his element. He'd never realized how much he missed swanky parties while being stuck as an over-worked healer. Gatherings at St. Mungo's were never this extravagant.
"White." Draco responded and Hermione handed him the appropriate glass.
"Is Ginny going to be here? Harry mentioned that she might." Draco asked Hermione as they gathered the rest of their drinks at the lavishly decorated bar.
"Yeah, probably. I thinks she's coming as Percy's date."
"So she breaks up with Dean and is forced to date her brother. That's just gross."
"Very funny." Hermione rolled her eyes and followed Draco back to their table. Draco was still laughing at his own statement when they resumed their seats.
"What so funny?" Harry and Ron inquired in chorus.
"Hermione and I were just discussing incestuous relationships." Draco chuckled.
"Shut up…we were not." Hermione laughed despite herself and whispered something into Charlie's ear wherein he began to laugh.
"Hello Harry…and Home wrecker" Ginny greeted Harry and Draco as she and Percy took their seats across the table.
"Ah, the old bitchy maid has decided to grace us with her presence." Draco retorted, earning a slap on the head from Harry.
"You know Gin, you don't even have that right. I was part of the home. Your precious Harry here, is the wrecker." Draco continued and dodged another playful slap from Harry.
"He has a point." Charlie piped in, earning a shake of the head from Hermione.
"Thank you." Draco beamed.
"Draco, you're right. So, actually, you're just a-"
"Can't you two stop the bickering and insults for one evening?" Ron requested.
"No." Ginny and Draco both snapped without real meaning. Draco smiled at her and she winked.
"Don't worry about it Ron." Mark said laughingly. "I'm assuming a couple of those are for us, Draco?" he added, motioning toward the four glasses of wine in front of Draco.
"Yeah, of course." Draco said, leaning to the side and handing Mark his and Ron's glasses before sliding one in front of Harry.
Mark had integrated himself back into Ron's group of friends and family like he was meant to be there. Everyone was incredibly fond of him. Nobody more so than Draco. He was kind, compassionate and wild about Ron. A characteristic that Draco and Harry alike treasured above all others.
"Thanks." Harry said and kissed his cheek delicately.
Draco felt a shiver run down his spine and the feathery touch of Harry's lips. Harry, of course, noticed and smirked before laying one hand on Draco's thigh and slowly inched it closer to Draco's inflating erection before taking it away completely.
"You'll pay for this later." Draco mumbled under his breath.
Harry leaned in close to his ear and whispered, "I'm counting on it."