Note: Welp, here ya go. Much better now, I promise.
And here's a big thanks to all those who let me know I couldn't get away with the tripe that was the previous ending. Keep up the good work and know that someone actually listened!
Now get out your straws and drink up the sap! BOO-YAH!
A few moments of silence passed between them while they stared unmoving at each other. The tension alone was enough to draw the gazes of people nearby, and Albus, having already figured out his father's intentions, broke into the moment and excused himself, pulling Scorpius along with him. Harry would have to remember to reward him for that later.
"Can we talk somewhere privately?"
Draco finally broke eye contact and looked down at his glass. "If we must." He started walking away before even finishing his statement and Harry had to hastily push through the crowd to follow him. Together, they passed through a set of heavy curtains screening the birthday boy's presents from prying eyes. It was dark, but Harry could still make out the impressive hoard of gifts.
"What it must be like to be a Malfoy."
Draco turned, raising an eyebrow at the comment. "What do you mean?"
"I don't know anybody who ever got so many gifts in the same day."
"We do have our perks, I suppose." He leaned against a fainting couch that was trapped in the room with them. "What is it you wished to discuss?"
Harry nervously shoved his hands into his pockets and looked down and his dapper shoes. "I suppose you heard about me and Ginny splitting up."
"Yes I did. I'm sorry for your loss."
"It wasn't a loss." Harry looked up at Draco's somewhat surprised expression and boldly moved in a few steps closer. "We both thought it would be for the best." He took another step in. "I told the Weasleys I was gay, they know all about it now."
"All about it?"
"Well, I didn't tell them about us, but Ron figured it out that day you visited me at the Ministry."
"I see. And he was accepting of the fact that you and I had slept together?"
"Not at first, no, but it was Ron who encouraged me to come out and divorce Ginny. He was even the one who told me to mend things up between you and me."
"Really? … I wouldn't have expected that from the Weasel Bee."
He sighed. "From Weasley."
"No, I mean… thank you, but I wasn't correcting… Draco, I want to date you."
For a moment, all Draco could do was blink, then he raised a hand to muffle his quiet laughter. "Really, Harry, you can be so eloquent at times. What a charmer." And he continued to suppress his chuckling while Harry blushed brightly in spite of himself. This wasn't going nearly so well as Harry had hoped, but there was still one thing he hadn't tried yet that he knew he could do well, so Harry briskly closed the remaining distance, looped an arm around Draco's waist, and pulled him into a kiss. It only took Draco a few seconds to get over his surprise and melt completely into him, releasing a sigh of contentment before forcing himself to pull back.
Harry's expression must have been dismal, but Draco wasn't looking at him to see. "What?"
"No, Harry." And he pushed away. "You had your chance with me, and you ended it." He took a few steps away and turned his back to him, playing absent mindedly with his glass. "I never look back, not for anything."
"Are you saying that, after all this time, you're still angry about me pushing you out that window?"
"No. Yes, but this isn't about that. I tried to keep things up with you. I sent you owl after owl trying to show you how I felt…" Draco stammered over his words as he realized he was revealing too much. "You ended this a long time ago, and I will not come running back to you whenever you feel like it."
"I didn't know you had any feelings for me. I thought it was just … a spur of the moment kind of thing."
"It was. You were just another shag. Now, if you don't mind -"
"I thought you said I was your first."
"I lied so you would feel more comfortable. After all, it was your first time, wasn't it? Merlin forbid you feel embarrassed about still being a virgin. It might have affected your performance in bed."
By now, Harry was starting to get angry. He knew damn well that night had been Draco's first, at least his first time with a man. He didn't seem the type to top, and he defiantly hadn't been worn in. Then it hit him. Draco's ring, that silver band that could tell no lies still clung to Draco's wedding finger. It was the only way to be sure. He couldn't know how Draco really felt as long as he was determined to hide it and he would never be able to move on without wondering if he had screwed up his last chance with him. So, with all the speed he could muster, Harry shot forward and seized Draco by the arm and grabbed for his hand. For a moment, Draco thought Harry was moving forward to strike him, and raised his other arm to cover his face, splashing champagne all over Harry in the process, but Harry didn't care. He got what he lunged for, and with a smile, put the ring on his finger triumphantly.
"Now, you say that again." Blood drained from Draco's already pale features as he eyed the ring on Harry's uplifted hand.
"No." He tried to pull away, but Harry kept a firm hold on his arm. "Release me."
"Not until you tell me the truth."
"I will not allow you to use my property against me." He tried again to get free of Harry's grip, but Harry just held on tighter. They struggled in the darkness until Harry lost his patience and managed to pin Draco down on the fainting couch, crushing a broom shaped package below them.
"Why should I? What makes you think you deserve anything from me? I could have you arrested for assault."
"You forget, I'm Head Auror."
Draco smiled unpleasantly. "So, even the great Harry Potter can be corrupted. I wouldn't have thought it possible. Then again, today's been just full of surprises."
Harry couldn't help but feel guilty about handling him so roughly, but why did Draco have to be so bloody stubborn? He released his grip on Draco's forearms and stood up.
Draco shifted and leaned against the arm of the sofa lounging comfortably, knowing that he had the upper hand now. "It's about damn time. Darling?"
The house-elf popped up obediently. "Yes, sir?"
"I've dropped my drink. Clean it up and get me another one, won't you."
They stared at each other in silence while the Darling went about his work. Once Draco had his fresh glass in hand and the rug was cleaned, Darling disappeared.
"You couldn't have asked him to clean me up too? Most of the mess ended up on me."
"Pity." He sipped his drink.
Harry rubbed his head and sighed. "Look, I know I screwed up, but that was a long time ago."
"Yes it was." For a long time, Draco said nothing, but looked down at his glass in contemplation. There were so many questions he wanted to ask, but there was no way he could be sure if he was being answered honestly. "I feel a bit naked without my ring."
"You shouldn't be so dependent on it."
"You say that purely out of ignorance. You might be surprised how often one gets lied to, even for the most innocent of reasons."
"Maybe, but I'm not the one trying to cover up how I feel."
"And how do you feel?"
Harry ran his hands through his hair and tried very hard to think of something worthwhile to say.
"I missed you. I was stupid and… scared. I wasn't ready to… face what I was, let alone let the world in on it, and being with you would have meant that I had to. I hid from you so I could hide from myself." He walked over and sat on the other end of the fainting couch, and Draco moved his legs politely to allow him to do so.
"So you ran to Ginevra to hide from me?"
Harry couldn't even look at him. "… Yeah."
"My, I didn't realize I was so frightening." Draco tried to maintain his usual tone of sarcasm, but his mind was too preoccupied.
Harry noticed the lack of venom in Draco's words and chanced to move in just a bit closer. "Your turn."
Draco looked back up from his reverie. "Pardon?"
A crooked smile played on Harry's lips. "It's your turn."
And for the first time since the war, Harry caught a glimpse of Draco in a moment of weakness. Draco averted his gaze as he looked around for inspiration on how to handle the situation. "It isn't the Malfoy way to be so candid with people." Then his shifting gaze landed on his ring on Potter's hand. "So, I suppose I'll just say this. I never missed you, and I never thought about you, especially not when I was with someone or on nights when I was lonely. I never lay awake while my wife was off screwing someone else wondering how different my life could have been if you'd accepted my hand that first day on the train. And I didn't start falling in love with you when you saved me from the fire."
Harry's finger ached a bit from the massive vibrations emanating from the ring and he held it firmly with his other hand to ease the pain.
"That covers pretty much everything." Draco drained the champagne from his glass in an attempt to calm the frightened fluttering of his heart, but if this was really what he wanted, then it was about time he was straight forward about it.
"Draco." He moved forward again, hips sliding alongside Draco's. He cautiously reached out and took the glass from him and held it like a precious artifact that should be treasured. "I'm not very good with words, like you are, but… here." He cupped his hands around the glass, closing his eyes in concentration, and Draco watched as it melted into a pool of radiant red until it rolled up at the edges to form a delicate glass apple. Harry held it out almost meekly. "I don't know who I'll end up spending the rest of my life with, but I think I know who I'd like it to be."
Draco sat up to cautiously take the apple, afraid that he might break it if he held it too tightly. "Why, Mr. Potter, you really can be charming." The apple seemed to glow with a faint light of its own that even Harry couldn't explain, and little reflections of glimmering red luminescence danced lightly around the room. "It's lovely."
In the many years he had known him, Harry had seen Draco smile many times. Mostly they were discreet, or broad and smug, but this, this smile was different. It wasn't too wide or too well hidden, and it wasn't just part of an outward mask like all the other smiles Draco wore. This smile was truthful and pure, and Harry knew then, that he would happily spend the rest of his life trying to make the man before him smile like that just once more.
"Yes it is."
Draco looked up to see Harry's gaze resting heavily on him, and he silently thanked the red glow for masking the blush that he was sure he had. "Harry, can you promise me that you won't change your mind about this? That this isn't you just testing the water before you run away again?"
"Yes, I can." He leaned in, resting their foreheads together. He wrapped his hands around Draco's which still gently cradled the glowing apple. The light reflected onto the ring Harry still wore. He removed it, and slid it slowly onto Draco's wedding finger. "Because I don't love you either."
The trembling of the ring against the glass rang a beautiful tone and Harry shifted, lips almost touching, and breathed in the smell of him. He'd forgotten how good he smelled. Then he kissed him lightly, slowly and sweetly. He'd forgotten how good he tasted as well.
Draco returned the kiss with fervor, massaging Harry's lips open to accept his tongue. Harry eagerly accepted and returned the favor with zeal. Porcelain hands seized handfuls of ebony locks as Draco pushed his body forward while pulling Harry down to increase the pressure and friction his body so deeply craved.
They didn't know how long they stayed in the darkened, blocked off corner of the room while the festivities continued without them, but they didn't care. Right now, the only things that existed in the world were the two of them and the piece of furniture they were pressed against. In the distance, however, and closing in, a familiar voice was approaching them.
Just outside the draped curtains, the disembodied voice of Narcissa Malfoy was saying something about someone's presents and Draco's subconscious screamed at him to wake up from his beautiful dream, but by the time Draco realized what was about to happen, it was too late.
Harry didn't even have time to register why Draco suddenly pulled back, for all at once, the room was drowned in color and light as the curtains were lifted to showcase Scorpius' mountain of gifts. Strangely, though, he and the entirety of the crowed of people around him were far too distracted by the tangle of limbs on the delicate sofa. Swifter than eagles, Draco threw Harry off of him and scrambled to his feet in as graceful a manner as he could muster. He kept his back to the crowed as he drew his wand, cast a quick calming spell on himself and Harry who subsequently jumped from surprise and covered himself protectively.
Draco spun around on his heel and smiled gaily at the crowd. "Well, well! Time for presents is it?" He hastily placed his precious apple on the sofa, and grabbed the nearest gift which happened to be the crumpled broom package. Fortunately for Draco, that particular gift was from him, so no one would be offended by his having ruined it… or his method of ruining it for that matter. "Here you are son. Happy Birthday!"
Scorpius was not so easily distracted. "Is Harry Potter going to be my new mom?" At least the boy seemed really excited about the whole ordeal. Narcissa, on the other hand, looked mortified, and Lucius looked like he was on the verge of throwing everybody out so he could have a stern talk with his son.
"Well, son … I …" Honestly, Draco didn't know how to respond. He looked back at Harry who had just gotten back on his feet. Harry only smiled as he walked up to stand beside him and draped an arm around his hips.
"No, but I wouldn't mind being your new dad. Draco can be you mother now." Scorpius and Albus burst out into young man giggles at the idea of Draco being a mom, but Draco was not impressed by Harry's attempt at wit.
"Arm. Off. Now."
"It was just a joke." But if Harry thought that a blissful snog was enough for him to claim the right to call Draco a woman, he had another thing coming, and Draco's glare just got sharper and deeper the longer Harry dared to defy him until he backed down and did as he was told.
"Alright. Jeez, you can be really scary sometimes, you know that?" Draco's face brightened immediately as he spared a glance at his mother with a tiny smile.
The rest of the evening went smoothly. Scorpius opened the remainder of his gifts, and all the children were overjoyed to discover the quidditch field in the back yard. Draco finally had Darling clean the champagne off of Harry (and himself), and Lucius spent the rest of the evening looking pained and getting several warning glances from his wife.
After the party was over and Albus and Scorpius (who was spending the night) were deposited with Ginny at home, Harry returned to the Manor to have a nice long "talk" with the man he loved.
Naturally, word of the birthday debacle was in all the papers the next morning, but Harry couldn't care less and he tossed the Daily Prophet off the side of the bed where Draco was still peacefully sleeping. It amazed him how such a graceful person could sleep so, well, like Draco. The blankets were a mess with pale limbs sticking out in every direction, and Harry couldn't drink enough of it in.
After a few more moments, however, Harry got a hankering for something slightly more physical, and stealthy crawled over to his lover's side of the bed. He grinned as he nuzzled his nose into the warm covering until he could lightly kiss the back of Draco's exposed neck.