He'd had no intention of going, Harry told himself. No intention what so ever. So why the hell was he shrugging on charcoal gray evening slacks, instead on cozying up with a book in his favorite club chair? He realized he didn't have an answer.
Zipped up, Harry questioned himself again, even as he buttoned his blue shirt.
It was Harry's one place of rebellion. Lucius preferred him in green for obvious reasons. Well, Harry certainly was not going to satisfy the overbearing man. Even when he agreed with him.
Harry grabbed an overcoat on the way to the floo, checked himself in the mirror and yelled out Malfoy Manor into the floo, even as he mentally rolled his eyes at himself. Why was he doing this again? It wasn't likely he would think of an answer.
Harry managed to land on his feet, thankfully, and looked around to find himself in a large sitting room with no one around. Lucius mentioned he'd built a new Malfoy manor, Harry reminded himself, shaking off the uneasiness.
Harry glanced around and found himself just a little surprised. The room wasn't cold. The lines of the furniture were clean and slightly modern, but the richly toned fabrics gave a sense of hominess and warmth. There were traditional touches in the columns which framed several seating areas, and in the mantles that surrounded brightly burning fireplaces. It also wasn't starkly organized as though no one had ever stepped foot inside. That cold organized look had been a staple of the previous manor, Harry remembered clearly. Instead, several books lay on a side table, and the latest copy of the Daily Prophet lay tossed on a coffee table, as though Lucius had just finished it, Harry thought.
Merlin, what was he doing here Harry thought with panic. This was not going to be a pleasant evening in any way, shape, or form. This was going to be one of false smiles and looks that spoke of the awkwardness he was feeling. Like any of Lucius friends would actually accept him into conversation, Harry thought with a mental snort. Could he sneak out before anyone noticed he was here? There had to be floo powder around the room somewhere!
"Convinced yourself to leave, yet?"
Harry turned sharply to see Draco standing negligently in the doorway, wearing appropriately relaxed evening wear, and a wry smile.
"No, I was still working up to that," Harry responded without a smile. It was a half truth, he reassured himself.
Draco's laughter was full of unbelieving amusement, and echoed throughout the large room. "Well, lets get you away from the fireplace before that occurs. Father would disinherit me if I let you leave."
Of course, Harry thought, that was where Draco's heart lay. "Yes, and we all know galleons, and pounds rule your decisions."
Harry noted some of the amusement went out of Draco's eyes. "Right, that's the over arching reason I want to get you near my Father Potter. So I get my inheritance."
Harry stood still as Draco looked him over with a fine eye and finally smirked. "Alright, quit being a twat. Lets join the others."
Others, Harry thought with panic. He made sure his question came out calmly though. "Yes, your Father mentioned something about other people?"
Draco smirked and led the way out of the room, down an enormously long hallway. "Yes. By the way, the green would have been a better choice."
Harry laughed shortly, of course it would have. Draco led him down the corridor to a large open room where more than half a dozen people were gathered. Merlin, Harry thought, only Lucius would conceive a couples night.
The man of the hour himself was lounging on a loveseat-sized sofa with, as luck would have it, no one next to him. Lucius was dressed in casual eveningwear as well, though even a little more casually then his son. Charcoal slacks and a clinging grey cashmere sweater looked great on him. Not that he was noticing, Harry told himself. Why was he here again?
Harry greeted the few other couples warmly, knowing most of them from around the ministry. The Minister himself was with his wife, Draco was with his fiancé, and lastly Mr. Edward Charleston, who was incredibly powerful in Wizengamot and his partner Steven Adley, who likewise had substantial influence, were in attendance. Powerful group, Harry noted, with curiosity. Lucius was keeping some very powerful friends. Then again, Harry thought with some amusement, when had a Malfoy ever associated with those beneath him in either power or money?
Lucius finally rose from his spot as Harry finished greeting the other couples, elegantly putting down his wine glass, and strolling over. Lucius' gaze was intense, and Draco's delicate little snort behind Harry told him that it was on purpose. Lucius made a motion with his eyes that had Draco chuckling and then strolling away to take a seat next to his own fiancé. Good, Harry thought, he hoped Draco's almost-wife tortured him. Bloody blonde deserved it.
Lucius stood right in front of Harry and neither said anything for a moment, though Harry could hear the chatter around him. He appreciated everyone pretending that they were in fact not staring or intensely curious.
Lucius took Harry's hand, bringing the back of it to his mouth easily and looked into Harry's eyes. He then turned Harry's hand the other way to kiss his wrist lightly. That done, Lucius let Harry's hand lie in his larger one.
"Thank you for coming." It was said softly, giving the illusion of privacy.
Harry found himself more amused then anything. "Yes, well, I do seem to have some sort of self harm love streak in me. I'm sure there is a correct term for it."
Lucius smiled, laughter in his eyes. "I swear no harm will come to you tonight. Just a bit of laughs and fun." His eyes then got a bit more serious, Harry noted. "I think we both could use a bit of laughter and fun together. "
Harry nodded, not sure there was a verbal response to make. Lucius seemed to accept that though, and led Harry over to the love seat without a word. Draco was in the middle of regaling everyone with a hilarious story about the previous day's Gringotts robbery, which had gone terribly wrong. The thief ended up locked in a vault, which led to the goblins scaring the man out of his wits, leading Draco to arresting a very thankful attempted robber.
No one looked up, as Harry was led past the various seating arrangements, and he was grateful for the courtesy. This night was awkward enough without having to deal with being the center of attention.
A house elf immediately appeared with a glass of Harry's favorite wine, a rare pinot that only the Malfoys seem to stock with any consistency. Harry looked to Lucius in curiosity, wanting to ask him how he had obtained a bottle, but Lucius wouldn't meet his gaze. Instead, he turned and listened to his son. Harry sat forward with the same intention, trying to relax with his drink in hand.
Soon enough Harry was chatting amiably with the other couples and found that surprisingly he was enjoying their banter. He leaned back into the seat, finally relaxed, and immediately realized that in an effort to be comfortable Lucius had thrown his arm over back cushion. Harry waited a moment to see if Lucius would remove his arm, but the man stayed stubbornly still. Harry decided it would be cowardly to move.
Harry watched Lucius lips twitch and realized that the man was counting on Harry's own stubbornness. It certainly often got him into a lot of trouble in the past, Harry thought with a mental shrug. Harry glanced over in Draco's direction a few times, and found the man silently laughing at him. His mouth might not have been laughing but his eyes most certainly were. It was odd to think that Draco was actually in favor of Harry falling into Lucius arms, and probably his bed too.
Harry tuned back into the conversation as Draco's and Adley were talking about children.
"Yes," Draco said, merriment lining his features, "children are a delight I one day hope to have. One can really never have to many, or be too old to have them." Draco pointedly looked towards his Father, and Harry caught the grimace that graced Lucius' face.
Draco sat back in his chair and took another sip of wine with a small smile, holding the attention of everyone in the room with obvious enjoyment. "For that matter one can never be too young to have children. Oddly, although some people after the war found it rather disconcerting to have step parents their own age, I find the idea rather…. what's the word…delightful."
Half the people were now chucking, well aware of the direction of Draco's thoughts. Harry could feel his blush rising, and hated it. He didn't dare look over to Lucius for help, since it was his son causing the problem. A problem that no one else seemed to find a problem.
Mercifully, dinner was called, and Lucius led the group into a small informal room, and took the head of the table. Harry thought about his options, and attempted to take a seat down on the end, however Draco stopped him.
"Don't be a stubborn idiotic Gryffindor Potter. Take the seat to my Father's left." He hissed it, and then stood still for a split second. Harry decided not to make an issue of it and walked over to the seat Lucius had been indicating him to take.
A small smile flittered on his face, and he caught Draco nodding in satisfaction before taking the seat to his Father's right. Right then Harry decided that one day Draco would pay for his manipulations. He might not have been the one to tell his Father about the years of deception but he was aiding in this siege.
Harry's plate appeared with some of his favorites and he couldn't help but think that this dinner was meant to show him something, he just didn't understand what. He made sure to join in the conversation and eat a decent amount, however it was rather difficult considering his stomach was tied in knots. The group even took their' after supper drinks at the table before everyone flood home.
There were winks, and sly smiles accompanying all the departures, which Harry couldn't decide how to react to. Finally even Draco took his leaving, apparating his fiancé home and then exclaimed he had an early meeting in France, so would be staying at that residence.
Suddenly the room was quiet and Harry pondered what the next step was. Should he ask for some floo powder? Lucius finally took care of the uncertainty though. The blonde poured two glasses of whiskey, and handed one to Harry.
"I'm going to take you on a tour." It wasn't much of a question, but Harry didn't fight and nodded his acceptance.
It was odd being alone with the man again after years. Not in a bad way, Harry noted honestly. He and Lucius always had comfortable silences; neither were chatterboxes.
Harry entered room after room, while Lucius commentated on the design and his thoughts of each. It was a home, Harry realized with surprise. Lucius had actually taken the time to design a home, not just a gallery. No room had escaped Lucius' notice in decorating or features. It must have taken forever considering the amount of bedrooms, private quarters, and living areas Harry thought. With some dread, Harry asked the first question that popped into his mind.
"How long ago did you start this project?"
Lucius stopped abruptly, and eyed Harry. The blonde took a second and then nodded, obviously coming to some mental decision. "I bought the land during the war, and started building shortly after the war ended."
Harry nodded, and started walking again. If there was an appropriate comment to make, he certainly was not aware of it. Lucius caught up after a few minutes, and when Harry glanced at his face he saw anger and confusion.
"Is a nod all the reply I should expect?"
"What do you want from me Lucius? I don't know what any of this is supposed to mean, and I assume nothing when dealing with you." Harry shuffled his feet, and look towards the floor.
"For Merlin's sake Harry," Lucius blasted with a huff. It was one of the few times Harry had ever seen Lucius frustrated. "I want you. Is that clear enough for you? Need more? One day I want a proper bonding, and some day in the future I want some whelps as exasperating as my current one, with you. There. Have you got it straight now? It's you who has been the obstacle all this time to a future. A future we might have already started on but for your stunt. I want you. However, I've told you this already, the other day. Frankly, I am not sure what you want from me."
Harry nodded, too shocked to say anything. The other day he hadn't believed Lucius was serious when he had spoken of love. Love. Harry hadn't been sure that Lucius meant it. Actually, he had wondered whether the man was still playing some sort of game. Now, Harry felt rather daft.
The blonde man was staring at Harry as though willing him to understand. Harry glanced around the hallway and realized that this house had been meant to be their home. What was even more stunning was that Lucius had continued the project after they had parted. It was a rather startling revelation.
Harry was about to ask Lucius why, but then realized it was a rather stupid question. Love. Merlin, it was too sappy to even contemplate. Harry knew before the war that it had been his most secret of thoughts. He had stopped himself a dozen times from saying it when he and Lucius had been together. He'd been frightened the man would laugh at him, tell him to grow up, or something as equally embarassing. Now, Harry realized he really wasn't the only one with such feelings. How had he not seen it before, he wondered. Looking into Lucius' eyes, Harry assumed the emotion had been there previously. Why hadn't he realized that? He was obtuse, Harry realized, thinking back to the many times Hermione had muttered it in exasperation.
Finally Harry smirked instead, extremely uncomfortable with his own emotions but still trusting them.
"A proper bonding? Going sappy and domestic Lucius?"
Lucius chuckled, and moved forward. "Slytherins do not do sappy Harry. I'm not terribly against the domestic part though. We become domestic after slyly obtaining our chosen partner. In your case, it's simply taken a little more cunning than normal."
Lucius wrapped an arm against Harry's waist, pulled him in further, and then grinned slyly. "However, I must say that I do owe my thanks to your Know-It-All."
Harry thought for a split second before he realized who had given his deception away. After all these years! Harry tried to summon up anger, but found that it dissipated away. He'd have a firm chat with Hermione at some point though. Merlin knew he'd probably end up thanking her in the end, and that would be annoying.
Harry turned his mind back to the current situation. He gazed thoughtfully at Lucius, trying to gather his thoughts, to make his words and meaning the same.
"We are going to take this slow okay? I don't - I don't want to make a mistake in this."
Lucius looked about ready to laugh, but something on Harry's face must have told him how serious Harry was. He nodded once.
"Slow is alright, better than alright actually."
Harry smiled and then reached up to curl his hand around the blonde's neck. He brought Lucius down for a heated kiss. Merlin, Harry thought, that was exactly the same. One would think that over time the spark between them would change, diminish, but it hadn't. Maybe this could work in the end, he thought. If they were careful, maybe they could have something that would last.
Lucius then moved his hands over Harry, and he lost all thoughts. Long minutes later Lucius finally pulled away. He smiled softly, and then smirked.
"One thing, Harry. If it's all that same to you, I'd prefer you'd allow me to save own hide next time around."
Harry laughed, and started down the hallway towards the bedroom, his hand firmly in Lucius'.
"I'll do my best. My word as a Gryffindor."