Mercy Comes With the Morning
The car-seat was elaborate, and it reminded Harry of why he'd always needed help with puzzles during school. Personally, though, he thought the way to the Sorcerer's Stone was easier than hooking the seat into the car. He managed to get it sorted by the dime Draco had Fabian ready to go. "Ha!" he said, shooting the seat a smug look as Draco walked down the driveway.
"Are we ready?" he asked, bouncing Fabian.
"Yep! Strap him in and let's get this meeting over with."
Draco laughed as he put the baby in the seat and closed the door.
"Oh, so I'm chauffeuring today?" Harry asked, grinning at his husband in the mirror.
"Well, I'd keep you company, but I'm afraid he'd start screaming if he isn't supervised."
"Point taken" Harry said, tapping the wheel with his wand and backing out of the driveway.
Pansy smiled at Harry as they all sat in Arnold's office. The manager was pacing, clearly put out that his reformed star had a secret love child.
"Calm down, Arnold," Pansy said. "And sit! You're making me nervous."
"Fine," Arnold said. "Here's how we're going to spin this. Draco, you and Harry had been thinking of starting a family for a while. You used a surrogate mom around the time Draco lost his head, and were keeping a low profile while he got better and the two of you adjusted to being a family. Clear?"
"No one's going to buy that," Draco said. "Harry and I have been in the papers, they'll know something's up."
"Well then what do you suggest we do?" Arnold asked.
"Nothing," Pansy said. "Release a statement that Harry and Draco are announcing their son. Say that the family thanks everyone for their support and for respecting their privacy. That's preemptively cutting off any…er…unsavory questions."
"Any more objections?" Arnold asked. When neither man said anything, he continued. "Good. Now on to business. Draco, your…journey, for lack of a better word, this past year has been great for sales. People love a little drama. But that's not going to last. I think you need to get back in the game. And since this past year's been all about positive changes, we could maybe branch you out as a solo artist. The band's already moved on. This could be good for you."
"What did you have in mind?" Draco asked as Fabian tried to eat his sleeve.
"A solo tour. We could get you a family bus, and it would get you back into the public eye."
"Start at the end of this year."
Draco looked at Harry. His husband didn't look too enthusiastic about the idea. "Let me mull it over a bit," he said. "Shall we do lunch on Monday? I'd say tomorrow, but we an appointment."
"Monday's fine. Pansy, you coming?"
"Of course," she said. "Try to stay out of trouble this weekend," she said, giving them a wink and leaving.
The ride home was silent. It wasn't until the two men were in the house and had put the baby down for his nap that they spoke again.
"You don't want me to go," Draco said.
"I just…I think it's too soon," Harry told him.
"You don't trust me yet," Draco said.
"It's not that."
"Then what is it?"
"Why are you getting so defensive?"
"Because I have a chance to help support my family, and my husband isn't being supportive."
"I do support you!" Harry said indignantly. "It's just that this year's been hectic—traumatic really—and I don't think either one of us is ready for the stress of a tour. Especially with a baby."
Draco fidgeted with his sleeves. "You wouldn't have to come if you didn't want to. You could stay here with Fa—"
"No. Absolutely not. I'm not playing housewife while you go touring around Europe."
"Well then what do you suggest I do?" Draco snapped. "You don't want to come with me. You don't want to stay here. What do you want from me?"
"I want you to think, damn it!" Harry nearly shouted. "Things are different now, Draco. You can't just pick up and hit the road anymore! You know how stressful things on tour are, and I'm not bringing a baby into that. And being home without you with a newborn is going to be hell."
"Are you sure you're not just worried about what I'll do out of your sight?"
"Oh for the love of Merlin, Draco!" Harry really did yell this time. "I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't, but that's not the reason I don't want you to go. You have a kid now! You can't just take off."
"I know that! But you're not giving me a lot of options as to what else to do here."
"You're not trying to think of any!"
The two of them stared at each other for a minute. Draco stood when Fabian began to cry. "I'll get him."
"I'm going to pick up dinner," Harry mumbled. "Be back in a while."
Draco watched him leave before going to the nursery. He gently scooped Fabian out of his crib and sat with him in the rocker. He went through his mental Baby Checklist… "Not wet, just ate…" He rocked Fabian, humming a tune that he didn't quite have words for. He didn't know any lullabies, so he just made up a song. "Speak to me, in the light of the dawn. Mercy comes with the morning. I will sigh, and with all creation groan as I wait for hope to come for me. Am I lost, or just less found? On the straight or on the roundabout of the wrong way?"
3 Years Ago
Harry was in the process of taking the steak and kidney pie out of the oven when he heard his name. He whipped round and saw Draco running up the driveway. A few seconds later he heard his husband collide with the door, getting it right and entering the house shortly after.
"Harry! You'll never guess what happened!" Draco yelled, "Go on, guess!"
"Well if I'll never guess, then why do you want me to?" Harry chuckled.
"Go on!" Draco whined.
"Fine…er…you got a music deal?"
Harry's mouth fell open. A moment later he let out a yell of laughter and hugged Draco. "That's amazing! That's what Arnold wanted?"
"He told me that two of the recording companies were really impressed with my independent work and wanted to sign me. I'll be with WizPlay Records. They're holding auditions for my band next week, and they promised I'd be able to carry all of my original songs over to the label!" Draco paused and took a deep breath.
"So they're not going to make you do any of their 'prewritten corporate shit,' as you call it?"
"They're giving me a few," Draco shrugged. "But they're letting me pick which ones, and most of the first record is going to be my stuff. It couldn't be a better deal."
"So, auditions next week…then what?"
"Then we start recording! After the first two singles are released, we're going to do a mini tour. It's really happening."
Harry couldn't think of anything to say, so he just hugged Draco again.
Two Years Ago
Draco slipped out of the green room. The band was partying after a private show and interview for the Welsh Wizards' Digest staff. It was boring. All of the stuff they'd been doing that summer was boring. He walked out of the building and found a payphone. Sifting through his pockets, he found some Muggle coins and called his house.
"I was hoping you'd be home," Draco said, smiling when he heard Harry's voice.
"How are you?" Harry asked excitedly. "Where are you?"
Draco laughed. He hadn't been able to get a copy of the media circuit's schedule for Harry, and he kept forgetting that The Boy Who Lived didn't know where he was. "I'm in Carmarthen right now. We'll be in London tomorrow."
"You don't sound too excited."
"I'm not about the media and politics," Draco said. "I focus on the music. I'm not…" he cut himself off, not wanting Harry to worry.
"It's just that, compared to last year, we're not doing anything really. It's not fun anymore. I'm not even recording. I know we've got the tour coming up, but it's still…I don't know."
"Well, hang in there. You can always write music, even if WPR won't let you record yet. When will you be home?"
"In a week. Will you be on a mission?" Draco really hoped not.
"No. Not unless the shit really hits the fan somehow. I miss you."
"I miss you too. Look, I've got to get back in there before someone flips out. I'll call you tomorrow, right?"
"Okay. Bye love."
Draco hung up the phone and wandered back into the building. He looked into one of the smaller rooms where a group of interns were playing Cripple Mr. Onion. "Mind if I join?" he asked with a grin.
They looked at each other for a moment before one of them, a blonde boy with droopy eyelids, drew up another chair.
"Thanks," Draco said, taking two cards from the pile. "What're we playing for?"
"Fizzers," the blonde boy said.
"I…er…don't have any of those," Draco said.
"We'll play for a while so you can win some," another intern said.
"Unless you're uncomfortable?" the girl intern told him.
"No, it's fine."
An hour later, that's where the band found him—absolutely owning the younger ones in their card game. Draco stood before anyone actually entered the room. "Thanks for letting me play," he said, smiling at them. It was only when he got back to the bus that he noticed that they'd managed to sneak his "winnings" into his pocket somehow. Fizzers. He'd never actually seen them before in real life—only on the Ministry's "Just Say No" posters. He put the three vials into his suitcase and wandered into the "living room" of the bus. "Oi, you guys rocked today," he told the band. "What're we doing tonight?"
"Nothing mate," Nigel, the drummer, said. "Kenya's Apparating back to London, her sister's having the baby. Milo got food poisoning off the crab dip, and unless you want a game of cards or something, I'm thinking of turning in early."
"Nah, that's alright. Have a good night, mate."
Draco grabbed a Butterbeer from the fridge and went back to his room. He grabbed his favorite pen and notebook and stared at a blank page for a while. Nothing was coming to him—his mind was filled with a blank sort of buzzing. Bored, he tossed the pen and pad aside and reached for his drink. He paused for a moment, before going to his suitcase again. The little vials were still there, lying innocuously between his socks and his Dublin Destroyers Quidditch t-shirt. He picked one of them up and poured it slowly into his drink. It fizzed and foamed, spilling off the side a little. He cleaned it up with a wave of his wand and took a long drink. It was good, really good! It tasted like…Butterbeer and cherries and…mint? He couldn't place the last flavor, but after a moment he didn't want to. He just wanted more. His head was spinning. He reclined onto his bed, happy he had two bottles left.
Draco had calmed down significantly by the time he heard Harry's car in the driveway. He put Fabian into his carrier and went back into the living room.
"I brought home some curry," Harry told him as he walked into the house.
"Sounds great. Er…I've had an idea."
"What's that?" Harry asked, pulling the boxes out of the plastic bag.
"I still want to do the tour," Draco said. "But it would be pointless to do it so soon. Besides out family…developments…I don't have any new music. I'm going to tell Arnold that I want to tour, but not until I get some new material. Definitely not this year."
"I like that plan," Harry said, smiling.
Draco smiled and got the plates out. As he set the table, he hummed the chorus to his first new song, tentatively titled "Mercy."
LbN: Send reviews! Btw, Alice in Wonderland, Percy Jackson, and The Tudors are running a close race on the poll for which fandom I'm adopting! Go vote if you haven't already :).