Author's note: Many thanks to Deb (D7Shimmerz) for her beta work on this installment and thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far.

Part 4

It wasn't long after the papers published news of my impending marriage to Astoria Greengrass before Harry succumbed to the Weasleys pressure and proposed to Ginevra. I had always wondered if he would have ever popped the question had I not gotten engaged first. To preserve my sanity I reasoned that Harry would have eventually taken the ginger shrew as his wife regardless and tried to keep my face passive when I thought about it.

Neither engagement hindered our evening encounters, however, and it seemed with the clock now ticking over our heads, counting down our nights together, things only became more impassioned, not less. Despite our heated kisses in the corridor and even hotter shagging after dinner, without fail, Harry held tight to the distance we'd placed between us to try and shield our hearts from the eventual parting.

Every night, Harry would leave my bed for his own, as if sleeping with me was more intimate than fucking me. Maybe to him it was. Nightmares still plagued his sleep, and I would often find myself climbing up into his bunk to soothe them away with delicate kisses pressed against his fevered forehead, always careful to return to my own bed before he woke up and caught me there. At that point, I was long beyond any denial that I was in love with him, but I was at a loss as to what to do about it.

Looking back, I can clearly see the mistakes, where I went wrong, what I said to make him flee, but at the time, I couldn't seem to stop my wretched tongue. It was a silent understanding between us, that this affair would end the moment Harry walked down the aisle, as his wedding was scheduled for the day after we graduated from the Auror program and I had yet to set a date.

"Do you love her?" he asked me one night, as his fingers splayed across my naked chest.

"No," I answered easily enough. "Do you?"

"I don't even know her," Harry quipped, smiling subtly against my shoulder.

"I meant Ginevra and you know it," I scoffed.

"Why do you call her that?" Harry asked, deftly ignoring my question.

"Because it's her name," I pointed out.

"I suppose it's better than Weaselette," Harry muttered and I merely chuckled. "I have a feeling that if you got to know her, you might like her."

"You are joking, right? You can't honestly think that her and I could possibly have a civil conversation. What would we even talk about? How it feels to be fucked by the famous Harry Potter?" I goaded. I could feel his blush radiate through the naked flesh pressed against mine. He was silent for a long time and I suspected his mind had drifted elsewhere, but a moment later he turned to me, propped up on his elbow and stared down at me intently.

"I've never slept with her," he told me, his eyes shining like polished jewels.

"The virginal bride, hm?" I asked, rolling my eyes.

"Ginny lost her virginity before I did," Harry corrected and the unspoken words 'to you' hung between us like lead.

"So, then it's you…" I asked, my voice trailing off as he nodded.

"Who wants to wait? Yeah," Harry answered, curling up next to me once more. "I don't want to have sex with her until you and I are done."

"Don't think you could juggle it? Afraid of screaming out my name?" I teased, but his tone remained serious as he shook his head.

"I don't want to betray anyone," he said. "It's bad enough that I'm here with you and engaged to Ginny. It's too much to sleep with you both as well."

"Would you prefer to break things off with me now?" I asked, hoping my voice didn't betray how much I wanted him to refuse.

Harry merely grinned smugly up at me, throwing a perfect leg over mine and leaned down to devour my mouth. "Would you let me go so easily?" he asked when we broke apart for air.

"No," I whispered, pulling him into another kiss. That night, Harry shared my bed, mostly because I refused to let him leave, but maybe it had to do with the fact that we only had two weeks before we graduated from the program and would be forced to keep up the unfriendly façade we'd created and maintained during our dalliances. I wondered what Weasley would think – all of them – if they learned even a hint of what went on behind the closed doors of our dorm. I was sure that Ginevra would likely Hex me with everything she possessed, and Ronald's head might explode from the images it created.

Standard issue black Auror robes graced our shoulders, with the gleaming Ministry emblem on the breast. I stood next to Harry, who looked somber despite the seemingly joyous occasion. "Cheer up, Potter," I whispered so that none of the other trainees lined up around us could hear. "You'll be busting villains in no time."

Harry glanced over at me and offered a weak smile. "I just…can't believe it's over," he whispered, and I knew those words referenced so much more than Auror training. We'd each packed out trunks that morning and would be leaving straight after the ceremony. Apart. I had to shake my head to clear away the sentimental thoughts that accompanied that word. I would not fall apart, at least not where Harry could watch.

Instead I nodded, and offered a brave grin of my own. "I won't forget," I told him. "Not ever."

"I wish I could," he replied, clenching his jaw and turning away. "It would be so much easier."

I sighed and squared my shoulders, turning back to face Cockburn as he trailed down the line, shaking hand after hand of the dozen or so cadets that made it through training.

"Potter," Cockburn greeted as he clamped his grizzled hand around my lover's. "You lived up to the heroic persona the wizarding world has placed on your shoulders. Good luck in the field and be safe."

Harry nodded curtly and accepted the badge the man pinned to his robes in silence. It was a golden stripe proclaiming him to be among the Auror elite. Only three of the class would receive such an honor and the first had been Weasley.

When the man moved to stand in front of me, I took a deep breath and braced myself for the disparaging cracks on my upbringing that I'd been hearing for the last two years. Cockburn furrowed that thick brow of his and took my hand in a meaty shake. "You've defied my perceptions of you again and again Auror Malfoy. I might have to take back all the nasty things I ever said about the pureblood aristocrats being a useless waste of space."

I balked, unable to process the words for a long moment until the man's face broke into an amused grin. "Thank you, Sir," I said at last. "I think."

Cockburn chuckled and clapped me on the shoulder before reaching up to pin that same gold bar to my robes. I held my breath, unable to fathom how I had managed to procure the same honor as Harry, a wizard with clear power and skill.

When Cockburn moved on to the next trainee, I glanced over and saw Harry beaming at me. "You deserve it," he whispered. "I never would have gotten through this without you."

"Someone would have helped you with your Legilimency skills," I countered, but he shook his head sharply.

"I'm not talking about that," he replied and turned back to face the gathered crowd of friends and family who had come to watch us graduate. When I followed his gaze, I noticed it had landed on Ginevra and her eyes were flicking back and forth between me and Harry, her lips slightly pursed. I wondered if she suspected what her fiancé had been hiding for over two years, and if she did, why she still wanted to marry him.

Astoria, I knew, married me for the family name and fortune, prepared to offer me an heir in return. Did the Weasel girl marry for the same reason? I supposed she was technically a pureblood after all; perhaps those notions couldn't be bred out of pureblood women no matter how hard a family tried. Maybe she truly loved Harry, or maybe she just wanted to win him away from me. I could easily believe any of those reasons, and in the end it didn't really matter why she was marrying Harry, only that she was.

I met her gaze with a sneer, causing her to take on a defiant stance. I ignored her for the rest of the ceremony, and carefully ignored Harry as well. When we dispersed, each heading for the exit as the festivities ended, I saw Harry try to grab my attention, but I fled the building before he could corner me. I didn't think I could stand to say goodbye, especially not after we'd so easily avoided those words all day – for weeks really. We both knew it. The words didn't have to be said aloud.

As Harry's partner in Auror training, the Weasleys had invited me to the wedding between Harry and their only daughter. I nearly choked from laughing when I'd gotten it, and laughed even harder at Harry's diligent apology. I wondered how the Weasleys would feel about me coming to their daughter's wedding if they knew that Harry had given me a knee-buckling blowjob in apology for the transgression.

However, the day of the wedding, I couldn't help but wonder if I should make an appearance after all. No one would have any reason to suspect ulterior motives since I'd spent the last two and half years at the Gryffindor's side. In the end, I just couldn't bring myself to go through it. I didn't think I would be able to remain silent when the Minister asked for any reasons the couple shouldn't be wed. I had several reasons, one for nearly every night Harry and I had been roommates.

I ignored the temptation to ruin the Ginger Brat's big day, proof that I was growing as a person, and stayed cloistered up in the Manor instead. Unexpectedly, it seemed Harry had other plans for me.

When I heard the knock at the door, I didn't bother getting up. We had plenty of house-elves to take care of that sort of chore. It wasn't until I looked up from the blazing flames of my father's study – now my study, I suppose – and into the blazing green eyes of my former lover that I realized I maybe should have gone to the door myself.

That way I could have slammed it in his face, thereby shutting out the tenderness and apology I saw there.

As of twenty-four hours ago, I was supposed to hate this man and treat him with as much disdain as the public would expect. Instead, all I could do was whisper his name and stand, before striding quickly toward him. He enveloped me in a hug as if we were long lost lovers, reunited at last. My mouth closed over his without hesitation, drinking him in as I pinned him to the wall.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, not bothering to halt my roaming hands as they sought bare flesh beneath Harry's thick robes. My eyes flicked to the clock and I frowned. "You're supposed to be standing at the alter in less than an hour."

"I had to see you one last time," he breathed, capturing my lips in a heated kiss. "I had to say goodbye."

I lifted a delicate eyebrow in challenge as I sucked at his bottom lip. "I hardly think we have the time for a proper goodbye, Harry, do you?"

"I'll just have to be late," he rasped, and I nearly snarled with pleasure as I Apparated us up to my bedroom.

I made quick work of divesting his robes, and he with mine. I loved watching him crawl into my bed, the height of it made him have to stretch those sinuous legs in a way that gave me a perfect view of his arse. The moment he was propped up against the pillows, I pounced, latching my hot mouth against his neck and moaned as he writhed beneath me. I only spared a moment wondering how long it would take his new bride to locate all the places that would make him scream out.

"Draco," Harry rasped beneath me as my tongue roved over heated flesh. "I want you inside of me."

I stopped, pulling myself up so I could look at him fully. "What?" In all the many times we'd fucked or shagged or made love or whatever else you'd like to call it, never had Harry wanted to bottom. I never thought he would. I didn't mind, I loved the feeling of having Harry filling me, pounding into me with reckless abandon, but I'd always wondered what it would be like to be on the other end of all that heat.

"Please," he whispered. "I need to feel you, all of you."

I must have growled deep enough in my throat to vibrate my entire body, because I could feel it through him as well. I kissed him, putting all my fantasies and fears into the motion and then slowly worked my mouth down his body, stopping when I hit the wet spot created by his weeping cock. He hissed as my tongue slid through the puddle and then lapped at the head of his prick.

"Mmm, Draco," he sighed as he wound his fingers through my hair. The easy tugging spurred me forward until his familiar cock was hidden entirely in the wet cavern of my mouth. Nails dug into my back and fingers pulled at my hair, each growing sharper as Harry grew closer to climax. When one of my spit-slicked fingers maneuvered to his opening, caressing gently before pushing inside, I thought Harry was going to lose it.

He writhed beneath me, and I couldn't tell if it was pleasure or pain, maybe he couldn't either. Although, from the moment I added a second finger and hooked them just right, there was no longer any sign of pain on that beautifully scrunched up face. He came hot and hard in the next moment, his seed salty and perfect coating my tongue and I savored every bit of it as if it was the final dredges of an expensive bottle of wine.

My fingers remained inside of him, and I refused to give his cock time to soften. It already twitched in anticipation when I added a third finger and stretched him out, making him buck and moan against me. He was so beautiful that I cursed myself for the knowledge that I would never see him like this again. A sheen of sweat coated his tanned flesh and seemed to make him glow. With his head lolled back, his ebony locks splayed across my white pillow like individual black tendrils of desire.

"I'm ready, Draco. Now," he rasped, his voice hoarse from screaming already. I lifted one of his legs, and groaned at how unabashedly he displayed himself for me. As I lined myself against his entrance, I realized that this was going to be our last time together, that soon, he would belong to Ginevra's bed, not mine, no matter how perfectly he fit here with me.

I entered him with excruciating slowness, wincing as he did, sighing as he did, moaning as he did. It was like we were one single being, thrusting and pumping and writhing toward the same bright light hovering just out of reach. Harry was hot all around me, inside and out, and I'd never felt anything so delicious in my entire life.

Despite his previous release, Harry was still hard as a rock, so I reached down and stroked him until his eyes fluttered back into his head and he was arching into me, driving me deeper than I thought I could go. "Harry," I groaned with one last thrust into him as he emptied himself into my hand. Pops of light went off behind my eyelids and it was a long moment before I could look down into Harry's face and fully admire it.

I was exhausted, but I didn't collapse down on top of him like he usually did with me. Instead I reached down and pulled his sex-limp body up to mine, clutching him to me as if I might never let go.

He kissed me, slow and lingering, and I wanted to stay in that moment forever. "I don't want you to get married," I confessed, despite my wishes to remain detached.

"I don't want you to get married either," he replied. "We're both just selfish prats, aren't we?"

"I'm good at being selfish," I told him quite honestly.

"I'm not," Harry replied, looking sadder than I'd ever seen him, and I'd seen him in the aftermath of a war. I supposed, in a way, this was a war as well. Two sides battling for dominance, and only one could win. "She loves me," he whispered.

Mistakes stalked my life in those days, and I realize now that it wasn't even the things I did say to Harry that eventually drove him away, it was the things I didn't. So easily the words 'So do I,' could have slipped through my lips and kept him in my bed that day, but only my tongue did as I kissed Harry for the last time.

We pulled apart, each of us stuffing on our robes as he struggled to find something to say. Harry lingered by my door, and I could tell he was anxious to leave as I went over and stood quietly beside him.

"I guess this is goodbye then?" I asked and his gaze averted from mine almost instantly.

"I think so," he whispered. When he glanced back up at me, his eyes were so bright and so sad, but I couldn't allow myself to be pulled into their depths. Harry was already late for his own wedding and mine would be just around the corner. I had a contract to fulfill, my mother's dying wishes and Harry couldn't afford the smirch on his name that pairing with me would place on it. "We'll see each other at the office at least," he reasoned, trying to smile and failing.

"No, actually," I replied. "We won't."

"What?" he asked, looking thoroughly confused.

"I'm not going to be an Auror, Harry," I replied, chuckling at his baffled expression.

"But you went through all the training," he balked.

"I wanted to prove to myself that I could be more than Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius," I told him.

"You are," he told me.

"I know that now, but I can't be in that office with you, Harry. Not if either of our marriages have any chance of working," I sighed.

His eyes were astonished and defiant for a brief moment before they broke into the gleam of acceptance and regret I felt every day. "I hate it when you're right," he sighed, his forehead leaning against mine.

"It happens a lot," I teased, though most of my humor seemed to escape me. "You should be used to it by now."

"Mmm," he sighed, his breath mingling with mine as we just stood there. "Goodbye, Draco," he whispered, pulling away with an abruptness I hadn't been expecting. When I turned around to watch him go, he was already halfway down the corridor, striding through the Manor as if he'd lived there all his life.

He didn't turn around, which was probably for the best. Had I caught one last glimpse of those piercing green eyes I might have come undone.

It was exactly three months after my own wedding to Astoria and I sat in a hotel room staring down at a pile of paperwork as thick as my cock. It was divorce papers and I was meticulously scanning through them for any possible loophole. We'd already come to the conclusion that once she gave birth to my heir she and I would separate. She understood that I had no attraction to her whatsoever, and that having sex with her was nothing more than my duty as a Malfoy. She agreed without hesitation to my terms, which were that she would reside in a separate wing of the manor, help to raise our son and grant me a private divorce. For this she would receive a monthly stipend from the Malfoy vaults to spend however she wished.

I thought it was very fair, and Astoria was a clever woman. She knew she had no claim to my heart and that it had been spoken for long before she met me. She wasn't pregnant yet, but I knew it would only be a matter of time.

Placing the paperwork into a folder, I looked up at the clock. It was quarter to eight and I tried to not worry that he would not come. Hours ago I had discretely sent a letter to Harry at his Ministry office. It said simply 'If you're bored of dull, straight, married sex yet, meet me here at eight' and was signed with my name. Inside the envelope was a key card to this Muggle hotel.

I knew I shouldn't have expected a reply, and I wasn't disappointed. I wondered if he even got the letter at all, perhaps it had been buried under a pile of Ministry forms and lost forever. Or maybe he was just ignoring it, which was the more likely scenario.

Harry and I had run into one another only a handful of times in the six months of our parting, but every time was more painful than the last when I knew that this time, our sparring in public wouldn't end in secret shagging anymore. I wanted that back. I wanted him back - even if it meant sharing him with the ginger shrew.

At five to eight, I began pacing. Would he show? Would he deny me? Either option was just as plausible as the last. He had walked away and got married first, after all. Perhaps he was in love with his wife, perhaps she satisfied him better than I could and he no longer needed his shameful release.

At ten after, I packed up my things, preparing to leave. I wasn't going to wait here all night like a sniveling Hufflepuff, while Harry showed my letter to his wife and they both had a big laugh about it. When I opened the door to leave, my eyes met a green gaze as bright as Irish grass and my breath caught in my throat. I'd almost forgotten how beautiful he was.

He was just standing there, looking like he might run away at any moment. "I shouldn't be here," he whispered.

"But you are," I replied and tossed my things on the desk by the door and pulled him inside. "And I'm glad you are," I assured him, before kissing that glorious mouth.

"It's been a long time," Harry murmured, kissing me back.

"Too long," I rasped, pulling him to the bed. I melted there in his arms, wishing he belonged to me. Making love to Harry in dark hotel rooms, falling in love with a Gryffindor who was married to another and constantly craving his touch wasn't nearly as bad as being completely denied access to this man I adored.

I was in love with Harry Potter, and in the deepest, hidden spaces of his heart; he might have been in love with me too. It might not have been the life I'd imagined for myself, or even the best thing that could have happened to me, but it certainly wasn't the worst.

Author's Note: Well, this is the final installment of this part of the story, but I plan to write at least one more 'For the Rest', which will be in Albus Potter's POV and will detail what happens to the newly joined families after 'For the Best'. Where it might go from there, I haven't the slightest. I hope you all enjoyed this prequel, and feel free to stalk me on LJ, FB or Twitter. Details are on my profile. *grins and waves*