Thanks for all your reviews! I'm so glad you're enjoying this story! This is the last part for this fic. Once again thank you to Lex for looking over this story for me.
Second Chance: Part 4
Draco sat heavily in his favourite armchair. The curtains were drawn in his lounge room and the only light he had on was a dimly glowing ball of fire he had conjured and suspended just above his bar. He needed to be able to see enough to pour the cognac after all. He hated cognac, that was his father's favourite drink and the smell had always brought back some not-very-nice memories of his fucked up childhood. Unsurprisingly, drinking his father's last bottle wasn't making him feel better. Neither was the soft croon of his mother's favourite singer; the music filled every corner of the room and Draco felt like he was drowning in it. He missed her, she'd been the only good thing in his life and now she was dead. His father may as well have been buried beside her; he was as good as dead to Draco rotting away in that Azkaban cell.
Draco took another sip from his glass and winced at the taste.
He needed to be rescued. Harry. But that was stupid; nobody was coming to save him. Harry. He couldn't just sit here and waste away, torturing himself with the memory of his long-gone parents and the loneliness that had been eating at him for years. Harry. But what could he do instead? He was unlovable; how could he be anything else? He was a Death Eater and an Auror, he'd taken and he'd saved lives, people hated him as much as they liked having him around. His past was too dark to allow him to have a bright future – and everyone knew it. Harry. There wasn't anyone who could truly love him. Harry.
Draco growled and threw his glass and cognac against the wall where it smashed and chimed as it's pieces landed on the floor. Why couldn't he stop thinking about him!? Harry. Harry. Harry. Harry. He was burned into Draco's mind, into his very being and he wouldn't leave!
Draco had thought – hoped, although he wouldn't admit it – that Harry might come to see him that day after Draco had run out on him. He hadn't. After nearly twenty-four hours of feeling sorry for himself, Draco realized he wasn't in any fit state to go to work – nor to see the very centre of his agony – and his hope.
He called into work sick, telling them he would probably be away for a few days.
For the next four days Draco drank, slept, and sat silently contemplating his life. He wasn't happy. He hadn't been happy for a very long time, so long he couldn't even remember what it felt like, and he was beginning to realize that it wasn't Harry he was scared of. It was this foreign feeling he got when he was around him. Happiness; it had to be.
How ridiculous. Who ever heard of someone being frightened of happiness? There was obviously something wrong with him.
After four days of thinking, Draco hadn't reached any kind of conclusion.
It had been so easy to live this way, pretending everything was fine when it wasn't. Pretending he didn't want someone to love and for someone to love him back when really it didn't seem to be the case. He knew he couldn't live this way anymore – and if he was honest, he had realized this the day he had died – well, almost died. If this truly was his second chance at life then he needed to live it better than he was. But was Harry the answer to that? It certainly felt like it. And according to that Angel – or whatever he was – Harry was his destiny.
Draco wholeheartedly agreed. Harry had to be someone's destiny; the man was a gift, a treasure, it wasn't right that he should just fall into someone's arms by chance. But his arms? That was where things started not to make sense. How was it possible that Draco Malfoy could be bestowed this gift?
The days blended together and each of Draco's 'where to from here?' options seemed to look less and less attractive as time passed and the pressure to make up his mind mounted. Should he run to Harry, fall to his knees and beg forgiveness? Should he quit so he would never have to see the man again and take a very, very long holiday someplace very, very far away? Or should he stay in this apartment forever until he ran out of food and wasted away to nothing?
On Thursday night his doorbell rang and a thrill that could have been a shudder ran through him at the possibility that Harry had come for him at last. He walked slowly to the door and paused before he opened it, wanting to savour the moment in case it was Quinton standing there instead.
He nearly smiled when he saw Harry's dark mop of messy hair on his doorstep, but when his boss turned to face him, Draco thought better of smiling. Harry looked angry. And hurt. "Are you alright?" he asked, and Draco's mouth suddenly felt very dry.
"Um, yeah," he replied. A lie, of course. He was far from alright.
"Okay then," Harry snapped and then turned to leave.
Draco's stomach lurched and in a moment of blind panic he called out to him – "Harry!" – before he could stop himself.
The man stopped and walked back up his front steps. "What?"
Draco didn't have anything to say. Nothing he'd be willing to say aloud at any rate. Don't leave. I'm sorry. I think I might love you, but I also think I might be a little bit nuts. None of that really sounded right, so he said nothing.
"Just so I know," Harry said, once he realized Draco wasn't going to say anything. "Should I be expecting either a sexual harassment claim or a transfer request form to land on my desk soon?"
Draco balked at the question – he hadn't been expecting anything like that! – and after nearly vehemently disagreeing he stopped. Harry wouldn't see a sexual harassment claim from him, but a transfer request… he didn't know.
"I guess that means you haven't decided yet," Harry observed, hitting the mark perfectly.
Draco twitched at how right Harry was and, being a brilliant Auror, Harry picked up on it and took it as a confirmation.
The man sighed, sounding like he was about ready to give up, and said, "I'm going to take one last shot at this and then I'm going to leave because I can't take it anymore – you're breaking my heart." Draco shifted uncomfortably as Harry continued. "I think I have this worked out. I know you want me-" Draco's heart leapt at the truth of the statement, "-but knowing that only makes this hurt so much more. Maybe I want more than you can give me, and that's probably not very fair, but I think you're passing up something that could be incredible because you're scared to commit. You want me, but you don't want to be with me. I know you're afraid but I don't know what you're afraid of."
He paused, giving Draco the opportunity to confess his fears. He didn't take it.
"I have a few theories about what might be holding you back, if you'd like to hear them?" He didn't wait for Draco to respond before he launched into what he'd obviously been thinking about these past few days. "My theories come down to that you're afraid you'll get hurt because deep down you think we're still those two ignorant schoolboy enemies, or that you think everyone will give us a hard time because they think I'm some fucking saviour and you're some evil Death Eater posing as an Auror, or finally that maybe – and I think this might be the closest to the truth – maybe you just don't know how to let go."
Draco felt like Harry was undressing him in the worst way, peeling away not just his clothes, but everything he'd ever used to hide himself and his imperfections. It felt like Harry could see everything, that he could see exactly how damaged he was. Draco wanted to cover himself with his hands; he felt exposed.
Seeming to sense this as well – making Draco feel like he couldn't hide anything from the man anymore – Harry proceeded to offer his own vulnerabilities.
"I think I let go," he said softly. "I let myself fall for you before you were ready to catch me and now I'm about to hit the ground."
Draco closed his eyes. Guilt.
Harry moved closer to him, and the first the blond knew of his proximity was the warm breath he felt across his cheek as Harry reassured and begged with him to face his fear. "I know you're scared," he whispered, "but if you let go – if you set yourself free – I will catch you, I promise. I will catch you because I love you."
Draco quivered and sucked in a quick, deep breath. Harry was so close to him; he could feel him, smell him, taste him. Those words affected Draco deeply and they pulsed through his very core. I love you. I love you.
Draco turned his head just so and leaned out to capture Harry's lips, but the man jumped away.
"No!" he exclaimed. "Please don't. I couldn't take it if you weren't here afterwards. You need to be sure."
Sure? Sure about what? There were lots of things about Harry that he was sure about. He was sure that Harry was perfect, he was sure he loved him, sure he wanted him, and damn sure that he would never be good enough for him. Was Harry right? Was he scared to let go? Scared that in the end Harry would realize he wasn't good enough and then – even with his promises – he wouldn't catch him.
"Do you know that park across from our usual pub?" Harry asked, pulling Draco from his revelations. Draco nodded. "I'll be there tomorrow at lunch time. Think about everything I've said – sleep on it – and if you're sure, if you're ready to be with me properly with no excuses and no running away, then meet me there. If you don't come – if you're not ready – then I'll be handing my resignation to Kingsley. You won't have to see me again."
"What!?" Draco gasped, completely floored. Finally he had something to say. "No! You can't!"
"I've already written the letter," Harry told him matter-of-factly. "You love your job and I'm ready for a change anyway."
I've been hiding in my job, Draco thought. "Please don't do this," he begged.
Harry cupped his face in his palm. "Please don't feel like any of this is your fault," he whispered. "I have to go. Goodbye, Draco, and good luck." And with a swift kiss to his cheek and a hurried few steps away from Draco's front door, Harry was gone. And Draco was lost.
Despite not sleeping a wink and thinking for hours about what Harry had said; Draco still was not sure. After everything he had put Harry through, he was going to do this one thing he'd asked – he would not go unless he was sure. He wanted to let go, he wanted to let himself love Harry freely and openly, but he was still afraid. One day someone would notice that he didn't belong with Harry and his life would fall apart.
He went to the park anyway; the promise of seeing Harry again was too strong to ignore.
He hid himself with a quick spell and stood behind a large tree trunk just for good measure. It gave him a perfect view of the grown man who sat almost child-like on a wooden bench; his shoulders slumped and his eyes inspecting the grass under his feet. But every so often he would look up and glance around him scrutinizing every dog and their owner, every woman with her baby, every walker, every jogger that passed by; he was looking for someone – and hoping. Each time he looked up and saw only strangers his shoulders sunk lower until eventually his elbows came to rest on his knees and his face came to rest in his hands.
Draco just watched.
He wanted desperately, more desperately than he could ever describe, to go over and rescue this man. But how could he? Harry deserved someone better than a broken ex-enemy. And Draco decided then and there to do the right thing and give Harry the chance to meet someone better.
Lost in his own misery at his decision and grieving the loss of his friend, his boss, his only love, Draco turned away from the park and began to walk home the Muggle way. He hadn't the strength or the will to Apparate anywhere.
It was better this way, he told himself. Harry will meet some fantastic bloke who will actually be right for him. In the long run he'll be happier withou – woah!
A gust of air moved past him so quickly he fell backwards onto his arse and into the gutter of a busy street. He snapped his head to the left, watching the large removal truck that had nearly cleaned him up drive on unawares down the road. A few people shouted and a man and a woman rushed over to help him up.
"Are you okay?" the woman asked, gripping his elbow to steady him as the man pulled him up and out of the gutter.
"Um-" Draco stuttered.
The man plonked him down on to the bench of a bus stop and frowned at him. "What did you think you were doing? Don't you know you have to look both ways before you cross the street!?"
"Hank!" the woman scolded the man. "Are you alright?" she asked Draco gently.
Before Draco could respond, another voice piped up. "He's fine," the voice said. "Why don't you all just carry on with your day?"
Draco turned to see who had spoken and to his complete shock he saw the Dumbledore-like man who he'd met in – um, well, when he'd died. This was the man who had given him his second chance. Draco then looked around him and found that all the people who'd stopped to watch as he was rescued from the street had disappeared.
"That was a close shave," the man commented.
And not knowing what else to say, Draco replied, "Um, yeah."
"What are you doing?" the tall man asked him as though he were a child.
Again, Draco didn't know what to say.
"You really are surprisingly unintelligent sometimes, aren't you?" he added, a little unkindly. "It's not easy coming down here, takes a lot of energy to do it, and I don't get very long – it's dangerous to my immortality, you see. In other words, I'm going to be blunt with you because I'm running out of time – and frankly, so are you. Stop being an idiot. Stop making up excuses and pretending you're doing this for him. You think he can do better than you? Wake up to yourself; you are his destiny, not because we chose you, but because he did. The destiny we gave him was not easy and as his reward we gave him another destiny – one he chose himself – you. The Fates glanced into the future and they made you for him."
Draco listened, but he was having trouble understanding what exactly this man was talking about. Harry chose him? And so he was created for Harry?
"But none of that really matters," the man continued. "What matters is that if you leave him here, your life will be unfulfilled and it will be cut short. Harry will never love another because he doesn't want to. And if you die – which you will if you do not follow the path you were created for – he will die, too."
As the man spoke, Draco realized he was right. He had been thinking for days about which was the best way – for himself and for Harry – to change his life and live it better, and he didn't know how he hadn't seen it before. For all his fears, his excuses, and his inadequacies, there never really was a choice. Harry was the only future he could see, even when he had decided to leave, his mind was still back there with the defeated man sitting on that bench. His destiny.
"That's it," the old man encouraged him in his new line of thought. "Now turn around and for all that is Holy, do not fuck this up!"
Not sparing a thought for his surprise at witnessing an Angel – or whatever he was – swear, Draco turned on his heel and bolted back to the park bench where he'd left his broken love. He arrived just in time to see him walking slowly down the path that wound around the trees in the park, and his heart leapt. He didn't feel scared, he wasn't worried, he wasn't even nervous. What he felt was… sure.
"Harry!" he called out, picking up his pace and chasing after the dark haired man. "Harry!"
Harry stopped at hearing his name and turned around. Tears streaked down his face and, when he saw it was Draco running after him, the tears seemed to flow all over again. Draco didn't slow down until he had Harry scooped up and sobbing in his arms.
"Am I too late?" Draco whispered, and Harry only clung to him tighter.
When he seemed to have calmed, Harry pulled back and looked at Draco with his red-rimmed eyes. "You're sure?" he asked shakily.
Draco smiled. "Positive," he said.
And he was.
Two Years Later.
Draco loved how soundly Harry slept because it allowed him to sneak out of bed and surprise him an hour later with breakfast in bed, the newspaper, and a fresh vase of flowers. Several times it allowed him to sneak out and change into a very naughty – very small – pair of briefs and then sneak back into bed again.
Today was Harry's birthday, and as such, Draco had decided to surprise him with both breakfast and a scantily clad boyfriend.
The only problem with Harry sleeping so soundly was that sometimes he took longer to wake up than Draco would like. On those days sometimes, drastic action was required. Draco was already snuggled back into bed with Harry underneath their light summer bed sheets and so waking him up would be a pleasure.
Draco kissed Harry lightly on his nose. It twitched. He kissed Harry's chin. It was pulled to the side. With now perfect access to his neck, Draco nuzzled. Harry groaned and swatted him happily.
"Shouldn't a man be allowed to sleep in on his birthday?" Harry complained, but nevertheless he opened his eyes and smiled lovingly at his boyfriend.
"Not when your pancakes are getting cold," Draco replied with a grin.
"That's alright, I'll just warm them with a spell later," Harry told him and then turned over to snuggle his pillow.
"Don't you want to open your present?" he asked, trying to sound enticing. Draco was extremely anxious to have Harry open his present this year; he'd bought him something special.
"Oh, well, when you put it like that," Harry purred before rolling over so he was half lying on Draco's chest. "You know I always love opening my presents." Harry's rough hands explored Draco's bare chest eagerly and with a child-like giggle Harry peeked under the sheets and exclaimed, "Oh, Draco! I love the wrapping!"
"Off, you horny little monster!" Draco cried out, batting Harry away. "That present is for after this one!"
Harry grinned devilishly, but behaved himself like a good little Gryffindor. Draco reached over Harry to the tray that held his breakfast and tried to ignore him when Harry slapped him on his barely covered arse. He retrieved the box that held Harry's birthday present and settled back in beside him.
"Happy birthday, Baby," he whispered and kissed Harry's cheek as he handed over the box nervously.
Harry stared at it as though he already knew what was inside; and perhaps he did. Everyone had been asking them about it for some months now. He suspected Molly Weasley already had their guest list planned.
Slowly, Harry opened the box and gasped when he saw two identical rings inside; the rings were gold with two diamonds flanking an emerald on one ring, and a ruby on the other.
Draco let Harry inspect them for a moment before speaking. "Not so long ago, when I was foolishly frightened of what it would mean to be with you, you promised me you'd catch me if I ever found it within myself to let go enough to fall for you," he said. "You told me you had let go before I was ready. I think we both know how close I came to not catching you in time, but thankfully that's something we don't ever have to think about again. So, now that I have you and you have me, I think its time we updated our promise, don't you? Harry, I'd like to promise you forever. Will you marry me?"
Harry blinked and looked up at Draco with tears in his eyes and a bright smile on his face. "Of course I'll marry you!" He laughed with untainted joy as Draco slipped the emerald engagement ring onto his finger and he slid the ruby ring onto Draco's.
"I love you, Harry," Draco whispered to his new fiancé, stealing a kiss for good measure.
"I love you, too," Harry replied sincerely. "Now, I should probably see to this other birthday present I have. It's rather sparsely wrapped, but I'm just dying to see what's inside!"
So extremely fluffy! How is it I can write something like this, but the fluff in New Moon made me feel physically ill? I suppose the fact its Draco and Harry makes all the difference...