*Peers out of cave* Oh hello! Yes I'm still alive, and of course, updating slowly but surely! It is just so lovely to read all the reviews left during my disappearance asking for updates, so thank you all for being so wonderfully kind and patient.
And thank you of course to my Beta ItsAThinLine, who has helped me so much, sparking my imagination and helping me plan this chapter, and then fixing all my sloppy mistakes. Now, without further ado, enjoy:
Healer Gayte watched sadly as Mrs. Malfoy sobbed, clutching her stomach, mournful howls filling the room. The woman was too old to carry a child, and why the Malfoys had attempted to have another child while they had a seventeen year old son was beyond the healer. Gayte also noticed that Lucius was no longer in the room, it seemed he left as soon as Gayte had arrive, and the healer supposed it was probably to give his wife some space.
"Now Mrs. Malfoy, I know that this may seem hard to accept, but your body is beyond the point of carrying children now. If you are so keen on having another little one about the place, might I suggest adoption?" Gayte tried in a calm, comforting voice, but the blonde shook her head furiously.
"L-Lucius…he'd never…not one that wasn't ours! N-n-never!" the woman sobbed into her hands, shaking violently.
"Alright, I understand. Well Mrs. Malfoy, perhaps the best thing for you to do right now is to get some rest, and then, when you're feeling up to it, have your son home for a few days. I'm sure the school won't mind you bringing him home for a weekend. And I'm quite sure your boy will be happy for the break, he's probably growing tired of spending all of his time studying."
Draco moaned low, thrusting his hips against Harry's, teeth and tongues clashing in a sharp, desperate kiss. He wasn't quite sure how they'd ended up like this, rolling about on the floor of his living quarters, moaning, growling and gasping as they slowly discovered each others bodies, but truly, he didn't care how it came to be, he was simply over the moon it was happening. He was quite sure they'd be arguing right before it had happened, Harry snapping something about how their kiss in Hogsmede had been completely wrong, and Draco had snarled back that he hadn't noticed Harry complaining at the time. Then Harry had gone very quiet, and nervous, looking anywhere but at Draco. The blonde had felt his stomach twist, and he hated himself for upsetting Harry like that. With a gentle touch, he had tilted Harry's head back to face him, and leaned in very slowly towards him, muttering softly, "I'm sorry" before pressing a soft kiss to the Gryffindor's lips.
Needless to say, Harry had responded with great interest, and somehow, through a mess of emotions, they had ended up here, snogging each other senseless on the floor whilst Crookshanks made himself comfortable on the now abandoned sofa.
Harry suddenly made a loud keening noise as Draco nipped at his neck, and the Slytherin felt a thrill run through his at the knowledge that he had made Harry make that noise. He did it again and again, relishing in the mewls of pleasure Harry made, the way the boy arched up into Draco's touch, eyes shut in pleasure, his ebony hair falling into his face. He was so beautiful like this.
Suddenly, Draco cried out in shock, a heavy weight falling onto his back, and he twisted his neck to try and see what had hit him. Crookshanks stood purring on his back, curious about the two boys. The feline slowly walked up the length of Draco's body, stopping at his shoulders and reaching his paw out, batting at Harry's face. The boys both laughed breathlessly, the heat of the moment snatched away by the curious cat. Draco nudged the animal off him, and rolled off of Harry, sitting up slowly, Harry doing the same. Neither knew what to say. Crookshanks, as if realizing this, yowled noisily, and nudged Draco's hand until the young man began stroking him, running long, delicate fingers through the mass of orange fur.
"He doesn't usually take to people like that y'know." Harry tried lamely, and Draco gave him a weak smile for his efforts at breaking the sudden tension.
"I always wanted a cat when I was younger. But they weren't…respectful was the word my father used I think. Yes, it must have been that, because he used ridiculous when I asked for a cruppy…mad old man. Still, I can get one now. Not one like this of course, as friendly and clever as he may be, his face is just such a wreck…and the fur's so orange, he's like a Weasley. Perhaps black…or white? No, black. Maybe a kitten would be better, and I'm sure Aaricia would like one…" Draco was rambling on and on about his feline thoughts, and Harry supposed it must've been because he – like Harry – did not want to have to deal with the heavy silence that would come if he stopped talking. "– or even a stray, perhaps I'll get a stray, something that really needs a home. I could – "
Crookshanks yowled again, and Draco seemed to suddenly realize the rubbish that was tumbling out of his mouth, all his stray thoughts littering the conversation, and he fought hard not to blush at how stupid he must seem. The room was silent once again, until Harry, very quietly said,
"You should get a stray."
The afternoon spent in Draco's quarters was not unpleasant, but it was not easy. There were often long pauses, which, when they became too much, were filled with pointless cat talk. Eventually cat talk led back to Lucius not letting Draco have pets, which led to the discussion of childhood. Harry discovered that Draco had been left by himself a lot as a child, expected to entertain himself all day, every day, his only breaks being lessons, or social events he was expected to attend. His childhood had been filled with one sided games of chess, single player quidditch matches, and games of hide and seek where no-one ever tried to find him. And with each story of broken past that tumbled from Draco's lips, Harry began to understand more and more why Draco had grown up to be the boy that had tormented Harry through his school career. At times, he even felt himself opening to Draco more, telling him snatches of his childhood memories, though they seemed nothing in comparison to Draco's horror stories. Somehow or another, the two ended up on the sofa together, Draco leaning back against Harry, looking tired, but happy.
"If my father could only see me now" Draco muttered, as Harry brushed a stray lock of hair away from his stormy eyes "he'd probably go mad. Tell me that he didn't care who you were, he won't have the Malfoy name associated with any gay pa– "
"I'm not gay." Harry interjected suddenly, stiffening at the word and Draco smiled.
"No…neither am I. What we were doing before, that was just what all perfectly straight men do isn't it?" he grinned
"Well no…but I'm not usually…it's just you. Not that I…what I meant is – I've always liked girls, I'm straight… you're just… just – " Harry stuttered, suddenly completely unsure of himself.
"An exception?" Draco laughed, and Harry gave a weak smile.
"Yeah…an exception." He nodded, and Draco chuckled, leaning up to place a chaste kiss on the boy's lips.
"Well, for now, I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone about your…exception." Draco smiled softly, peppering light kisses over Harry's face. "I've enough to sort out right now without every witch in the school chasing me down for stealing you away."
Harry laughed, shaking his head at Draco's words,
"Alright, I suppose I'll just have to keep you as my own dirty little secret for now then" Mimicking Draco's actions, Harry began covering the blonde with fairy kisses, a warm feeling of utter happiness unfurling through his chest like butterbeer.
They continued to talk through the afternoon, and when they finally fell quiet after a seemingly non-stop flow of conversation – interrupted only by spontaneous kisses – it seemed as though nothing else needed to be said. To Harry at least. Draco on the other hand, seemed to feel that their afternoon talk would not be complete without the words; "Aren't we just the perfect picture of childhood fuck-ups?" followed by a loud bark of laughter.
Ron watched from behind a pillar as Harry and Malfoy climbed out from behind a portrait of a large white rabbit, Crookshanks in the arms of the blonde, both boys looking blissfully content. Malfoy said something, causing Harry to grin and blush bright pink, and as Harry leaned forward to take the cat from Malfoy's arms, the Slytherin laid a light kiss on his lips, causing Harry to blush, yet he responding by deepening the kiss. They lingered on eachothers lips for a few moments, before finally breaking away, both smiling, and Crookshanks – the traitor – purring loudly enough for Ron to hear, despite being at the other end of the corridor. Red faced, Ron turned and marched away from the scene, feeling utterly betrayed, his fists clenched so tightly his hands were white, and a dark look in his eye. He couldn't accept that his best friend – or rather, ex-best friend – had broken his sister's heart for Draco bloody Malfoy. Where had Malfoy been during all those long summers that Harry had needed an escape from the Dursely's? Where had Malfoy been during their struggles through the dangers each school year seemed to present them with? Where had the Slytherin prince been when they had spent nearly a year on the run hunting horcruxes? And where had the slimy ferret been when they'd been battling in this very castle, their friends and family dying around them?
And the famous Boy-Who-Lived hadn't even had the guts to tell anyone about him and ferret face. The coward was too scared it seemed. Grinding his teeth, Ron made his way towards Gryffindor tower, intent on letting everyone know Harry Potters dirty little secret.
Harry, after seventeen years of mutterings following him down every corridor, had learnt to ignore the blatant pointing, staring and whispering. So when he entered the Gryffindor common room, he of course did not register the fact that so many eyes were suddenly fixed on him or the fact that the buzz of conversation increased all around him. He spotted Ron sitting in the corner, and waved at the redhead, making his way over and dropping into the chair next to his best friend.
"Alright mate?" he grinned. There was a moment of sudden silence in the common room as everyone turned to stare at the pair, and the heaviness of it, along with the tension crackling in the air, sent a shiver through Harry. Then, Ron punched him and he wasn't so worried about the tension anymore.
6/6/11 edit, my beta pointed out I left one of her comments in the text, whoops! All fixed now ;)