Disclaimer: I do not own these characters they belong to JK Rowling and I make no money from this.
Warnings: M/M relationship, eventual mpreg, Draco in female form for a few scenes.
Pairings: Harry/Draco, Hermione/Ron, Ginny/OMC, Harry/Ginny
Betas: helikesapeanut and tavia_d
'Have you heard the news, darling?' Pansy asked as she entered Draco's living room and sat on the sofa next to the chair he occupied.
'That depends. What news?' Draco acted uninterested as always, but she knew better.
'Potter's going to propose to the Weasel girl.' She made a disgusted face at the thought of it and looked like even mentioning Ginny left a bad taste in her mouth.
'I thought she's just signed a two-year contract with the Holyhead Harpies ', Draco mused, wondering how Harry could be that thick.
'She did. That's why he's asking her now. Make sure she remembers who she belongs to while she's up in the air.' Draco turned the page of his book not bothering to look up at his friend. She was eyeing him carefully waiting for some sort of noticeable reaction to what he might be feeling.
'It's a shame, really. Potter could do so much better. I was thinking of trying to persuade him while she is away', she teased with a smirk that Draco could see out of his peripheral vision.
'Were you?' He finally looked up at her with a slight glare, nothing that would detour her from the conversation.
'I still might. What she doesn't know can't hurt her. And, even if it does…' Pansy shrugged as she trailed off.
'He'd never go for you.' Marking the page, Draco set the book aside and gave her his full attention.
'Oh, really? Do you think you're more his type?' She gave him a smile that said 'I know you do', though the blond would never admit it, and she would never say as much aloud.
'He seems happy with her.' He nonchalantly shrugged as though it didn't bother him, but she knew better.
'Oh, please. She's no good for him, and you know it. She only wants him because he's Harry Potter', Pansy insisted, and he gave her a scrutinizing look.
'And you want him because?'
'Well - the same…' she agreed. 'But I would never lie about it. Nor would I swear him love that I don't hold .'
'Maybe she does love him.' Draco had no idea why he was defending Ginny. He never liked her, but he really didn't like the idea of Pansy anywhere near Harry either. Besides, there was nothing either of them could do about it anyway.
'You don't believe that', she accused, knowing well that Draco's values on love were much higher than lust or teenage crushes. To love someone you have to love the good and the bad. You have to feel the pain as well as the pleasure. Ginny, in the absence of Harry her sixth year, should have been a mess. Or at least as upset as she had been the prior year when she and Dean were always fighting.
'No, I don't, but it's none of my business', he explained, trying to get her to drop the subject.
'Since when has that ever stopped you?'
Indeed, he thought, since when had that ever stopped him when it came to Harry? Draco tried to convince himself that he didn't care about Harry. He didn't care that he beat him at everything or that everyone adored him. He didn't care that he rejected his friendship in the first year, or that he still wasn't interested in letting the past go and being friends. He was glad that Harry won the war, though, and was thankful that the black-haired boy had saved his life during the final battle at Hogwarts. They never had a conversation about it, or about Harry's brief but influential visit to his post-war trial, but things had gone back to normal then, except, he no longer followed Harry around everywhere he went, trying to make him miserable. Draco was an adult and therefore, above such things. He told himself he didn't care.
So, a week later, when he happened to see Harry through a shop window looking over engagement rings, he knew that he shouldn't care and should have just walked by. He did, however, agree with Pansy that the Weasley girl was not what Harry needed. He needed to marry for love, and as much as Draco didn't care, he knew that she didn't love him; only the idea of him. She was in love with the Harry Potter she had heard about since she was small.
'So, the rumours are true', the blond concluded as he entered the shop.
'What do you want, Malfoy?' Harry didn't look up, but he would recognise that voice anywhere. He stiffened slightly and concentrated on the three rings he had in front of him.
'I've heard that you've made the unfortunate decision to marry the youngest Weasley.' Draco drew nearer to the case as Harry looked over the choice he was considering at that moment. One was a simple, solitary diamond with a plain white gold band. Another was in yellow gold with about fifteen diamonds, and Draco winced at how loud it was. The third was also gold, but not as bad as the second one.
'What's so unfortunate about it?' Harry finally looked up at Draco.
'Come on, Potter, even I can admit that you could do better.' Draco smiled at him, and it gave Harry an uneasy feeling in his stomach. Bad things tended to happen when Draco Malfoy smiled at him.
'I don't have the same outlook on life as you do.' Harry pointed out as though they hadn't known it for years. 'She's the one who could do better than me.' He smiled triumphantly thinking about how lucky he was to have her.
'I can see how you would think that', Draco said. He remembered how Blaise used to fancy the girl, even if he would not outright admit it.
'Now I'm just confused.' Was that supposed to be a complement to Ginny, or was he saying that Harry had bad taste?
'That should be a familiar feeling for you.' Harry glared at him, and Draco smirked back. 'Is it not?' He waited a bit for Harry to respond and continued when the black-hair boy didn't, 'It's all in how you look at it. You're looking at it as if you aren't the famous Harry Potter but just Harry', Draco explained. 'Despite her family, she's extremely talented and very beautiful. She could have anyone she wanted.'
'Well, then I'm glad she has chosen me.' He looked down at the rings again and tried to ignore Draco, silently hoping that the blond would just disappear.
'You see, that's my point. She didn't choose you, but Harry Potter. Someone she'd been in love with before she'd even met you. If you were not him, she would want nothing to do with you.' He waved his hand dismissively in the air.
'That's not true. We love each other.' Harry's head shot up in anger, and his glare was back. The Harry that Draco was so used to see and had so much fun bringing out.
'Well then, that's even worse. I thought she was going to be away for a few years', Draco said dramatically as if he was surprised, which of course he wasn't.
'Only two', Harry replied, as if two years were really only two weeks, and once again, Draco had his full attention.
'And what if she finds someone else while she's away?' Draco curiously watched Harry's facial expression.
'She won't', he snapped as his anger started to flare.
'What if you do?' Draco raised his eyebrow quizzically.
'I won't', Harry insisted.
'Because you're in love with her?' Draco asked, rolling his eyes. People cheat on people that they 'love' everyday. Even when they are married and supposedly very happy together.
'And is it incomprehensible to love two people at the same time?'
Harry could tell that Draco was setting him a trap, but he continued anyway. 'If you're really in love with someone, then yes.'
'I love both my mother and my father, and I know that I'll love my partner someday when I'll get married. How is that possible?'
Harry growled in frustration. 'That's not the same. You know what I mean.' Harry looked away from Draco, but his eyes also avoided the rings. How was it that he always lost those debates with the blond? He knew he was right, but he could not explain it as well.
'No, I'm afraid not. What do you mean?' And of course, Draco was going to make him explain it.
'There are different kinds of love. You love your parents in a different way than you love your spouse.'
'So, yes, you can love more than one person, but you will only love one person the way you love your spouse.' Harry was actually very satisfied with his answer. He felt that he made his point, but he forgot that he was dealing with Draco.
'You're such a fool. Real love grows. You don't really love her; what you're feeling now is lust that will fade once you have to deal with the real her. Which she probably won't show you until after you're married.' How could he honestly have that conversation with Draco Malfoy? He was the most heartless person that Harry had ever met in his life.
'What would you know about love? You've never experienced it. From what I can remember, you have never even been in a relationship - a real one anyway.'
Draco inhaled and exhaled slowly whilst Harry glared at the rings in front of him. All looked ugly to him then. The shopkeeper who stood idly by in the back of the shop was looking at them curiously, so Draco kept his voice down when he continued, 'Look, I'm not trying to fight with you.' Harry looked at him disbelievingly. 'I'm trying to help you.'
'Oh, really?' Harry scoffed, and Draco wondered if he had learnt that from him.
'Yes', he pressed. 'I've never really thanked you for saving my life.' Harry narrowed his eye suspiciously at him. Draco didn't show gratitude to people for anything. He just expected them to do it willingly without complaint. 'And I thought you could use some advice before you ruined yours.'
'My life's fine, but thank you for your concern.' Then added, 'And you're welcome.'
'Look, whether you want to be or not, you are and always will be Harry Potter.' Harry nodded; he knew that he could never run from it. 'Because of this, people will always try to take advantage of you, even if they themselves do not realise it at the time', Draco continued. Harry was beginning to learn that too, but still he just shook his head negatively. Draco could see the down side to everyone.
'Ginny's not like that.' He almost slammed his fist down on the glass case, but he stopped himself just before it made contact.
'My point is that you would benefit more from a political marriage than from one based on romance. You need someone that can keep your private life private and help you capitalize on your fame instead of run from it.'
'So you're suggesting I should marry someone like you, then, and not the woman I love?' Harry asked exasperatedly just wanting the attack on his personal life to be over. He couldn't explain that he was right. He just knew it. He could show to everyone that he loved Ginny, and he could prove Draco wrong. Just not with words, he had never been very good with words.
'Whoever you choose, you'll learn to love each other. It takes work, compromise and commitment. Why not with me?' Harry was taken aback. Draco was actually suggesting that they were a better match? They couldn't stand each other. He would end up killing Draco, but the blond just continued as if it was a great idea, 'There was a custom after wars between two countries that the royal representatives of each should marry as a token of peace.' They were very different from two strangers who were forced into a situation like that together. They had a long and hateful history behind them.
'You honestly believe that we could fall in love with each other?' he finally managed to ask, after replaying a few times in his head what Draco had said.
'Yes.' Draco answered quickly without thinking. 'At the very least, I believe it'd be a better match than you marrying her.'
Harry glared at and fiddled with the rings in front of him before answering. 'You're wrong.' It was all he could say. Nothing else came to mind in that particular moment.
'Prove it.' Draco gave him a challenging glare, which encouraged Harry to do the same. Nothing was changed about the blond, just his bone structure showed that an time had gone by. When he made that face, he looked like sixteen again in an instant. They were nineteen then and though Draco had graduated on time, Harry had returned for another year and graduated with Ginny. So, Harry hadn't seen Draco since the final battle almost two years prior.
'How?' Other than marrying Ginny and staying together forever, something that neither of them really had any control over, the only other option was to… 'You want me to marry you, just so that it can all fall apart?'
'What else are you going to do while she's away for two years?'
'I'll be working. ' Harry tilted his head, curiously watching Draco's slightly smirking face. The blond was winning, and they both knew it. 'Just as she's going to.'
'Do you plan on seeing each other a lot? Or are you just getting engaged so everyone would know that you're both off limits?' Draco laughed as he said that, and Harry's curiosity was replaced once again with anger.
'What? No!' They were impossible together; every five minutes Harry lost his temper with the other man. He hadn't lost his temper in years before that. 'Actually, what I was going to do was buy the ring now, but I was going to give it to her when she would come back, so that she would know that I'll be here waiting for her.' He paused and looked around for the shopkeeper who was still at the back of the shop and then finished mumbling, 'Technically, we are not even going to be together whilst she's away.'
Saying all of that aloud made it sound a bit more pathetic than it had in his head. He was second guessing even letting Ginny know he had been thinking of it then. He certainly was not going to go through with it. How was it that Draco still had that effect on him? He had defeated the most powerful dark wizard since Grindenwald, and a fifteen-minute conversation with Draco made him feel like a small child that had never heard of a broomstick before.
'And you expect her to be faithful?' Draco tried not to laugh at that, but it slipped out as he asked it.
'No, of course not, but if you love something, when you let it go, it returns to you. That's how you know it's meant to be.'
'Where did you hear that rubbish?' Harry was silently asking himself the same question along with 'why did I just say that?' Draco didn't need anything else to make fun of him about, and he kept spouting out arguments like a lovesick thirteen-year-old girl. He closed his eyes and wished he was anywhere except next to Draco defending his romanticism.
'It's just a saying; one that I happen to believe in.'
'So you're saying that we have two years?' Harry opened his eyes only to blink again, and then took one step back away from Malfoy as he contemplated what he meant. Was Malfoy actually suggesting that they should try it? Not just in theory, but actually do it?
'We have two years to prove each other wrong', Draco said slowly to make sure that Harry understood him.
'Uhm…are you suggesting that we should get married?' Harry hoped that saying it would make him change his mind and let it go. But Draco just smiled and stepped towards Harry.
'You wish.' Harry answered automatically; He would never admit that he was, in fact, scared. Besides, the situation wasn't scary, just plain crazy. They would kill each other. The silence stretched while Harry actually considered it. He would be able to prove Draco wrong, by showing him that it would never work between them.
He, like always, found he could not resist a challenge when Malfoy presented one. What harm could it really do? All he was doing for the next two years was Auror training. Ginny had suggested that they should take a break, whilst she went away, just as they had done, whilst he was away in their seventh year of school. They decided they would wait for each other once again.
Harry was convinced that it would prove that they belonged together: there was no way he was going to fall in love with Malfoy, even if he lived with him for two years. He could grow to care about him, maybe, but he would never feel about Malfoy the way he felt about Ginny.
After all, he had lived with Ron and had spent most of his waking hours with Hermione, since they were eleven, and he wasn't in love with them. He loved them, yes, but as family. He was also straight, so the idea was ridiculous in itself. He must have been thinking for too long about it, because just as he decided it might not be such a bad idea, Draco faltered.
'You can just say 'no.' It's okay, I didn't actually expect you to be up for it.' Draco was backing out? No, they were definitely going to do that, and Harry was going to prove him wrong.
'Why not? Let's do it, let's get married for two years.' He took a few steps down towards the men's rings as Draco slowly followed him. 'Then when we're still not in love with each other, we can get a divorce.'
'And if we are in love with each other?'
'Well, then we'll already be married, won't we?'
Draco had to suppress a smile at that; he would be married to Harry, and if he won, he would stay that way. If he lost then he would lose Harry, but that was how relationships work. So, that was a little unconventional, but it could be just as real. 'So then, we could tell all of your adoring fans?'
'Oh… so you're not going to use this to your advantage for the next two years? Wouldn't it be good for your name?'
Draco looked at him and frowned, shaking his head slightly. 'No, it would not be good for my name if we get a divorce after only two years. And I'm sure you would rather no one knew about it, other than family and, in your case, close friends.'
'Done.' Harry gestured down to the case. 'So, which ring do you like?'
Draco studied Harry for a moment before answering. 'If we do this, we have to do it by the rules.'
'And what would those be?' Harry asked sensing a catch.
'You can't treat this like we're just friends with benefits. I'm not going to be your roommate. We need to make every decision together', Draco explained.
'So…I have to ask for your permission before I go to see my friends?' Harry mocked him.
'I didn't mean that, but you should let me know where you're going. Just do what you would do with Ginny. If you would've taken her somewhere then you have to take me.' Draco wanted to make sure that Harry was actually going to do it. Not just sign a piece of paper and ignore him for two years. For proving that they could fall in love, he needed to spend time with Harry. A lot of time.
'What if you don't want to go?'
'Then we'll have to find a compromise.' That was what marriage was about after all, working together until they both agreed on everything. 'As we will do with a lot of things, like where we're going to live. You can't treat this like you could leave tomorrow, because you can't. Can you handle this?'
'Um…yeah, of course.' Harry wasn't a child; he was planning to do that with Ginny. After two years living with Draco, getting back with Ginny would be bliss.
Draco actually smiled as they both stared down at the case of rings. He saw one that he had looked at before and was very glad that Harry happened to be in that particular shop instead of some of the other ones he had been seen in those last couple of weeks. He pointed to a white gold ring that had a light sketch of a snake around half of it with a jade in the middle for the eye.
The black-haired boy rolled his eyes - how perfectly Draco. Harry could have put up a fight, but luckily for the blond, he happened to like it as well. Being a Parselmouth, he had always liked snakes, especially when he was younger. Seeing a snake always reminded him of Dudley and his friends running from the snake at the Zoo. He did really enjoy having the ability, so he just waved the attendant instead of giving an actual response.
'There's been a change of plans. I'd like two of these, please.'
'Size?' asked the attendant. Draco didn't even hear what Harry said and mumbled his own in shock. He had expected that to be the first compromise they were going to have to make. Whilst Draco tried to let it sink in what was really happening, Harry continued to talk to the attendant about when the rings would be in and paid for them.
'So, we're really getting married?' Draco asked as they walked out of the shop together.
'Yeah, I guess we are. When would you like the wedding to be?' Harry cringed as he said it, were they going to have a real wedding? All for a bet?
'I'll have to speak with my mother and you with your friends and make sure they know not to tell anyone about it.'
'What should I tell them?'
'The truth: that we made a bet, and that it requires us to be married for two years. The wedding will be in six weeks; that should be plenty of time to plan it.'
'Six weeks?' Harry thought. Could they really get it all done that quickly? Mrs. Weasley said that they normally take a year to plan. 'You think we can plan it that fast?'
'Harry, we are very rich.' Draco shook his head at him. 'Do not underestimate what we can accomplish. Will the rings be ready?'
'Yes, they'll be here in two weeks. I can pick them up any time after that, and they're already paid for.' Of course, he had to be independently wealthy as well. Draco hoped he would find some flaw in Harry within the next two years. If he continued to always be perfect that would annoy him to no end.
'How about we meet for lunch on Monday to discuss the details of our arrangement?' Draco asked.
'Okay', Harry said, and he watched Draco turning and walking away. 'Wait, where?'
'Meet me at the tea-shop on the corner, at one o'clock', Draco pointed out the direction.
Harry nodded, 'Fine.'