Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Thanks so much to my beta pearl_star for looking this over for me!
My Best Mate's Soul Mate (or How to get your best friend a boyfriend)
"I fancy Ron Weasley." Vincent Crabbe announced to his dorm mates early one morning.
It took some time for Draco to comprehend what he was hearing. It was especially hard when the words Fancy and Weasley were in the same sentence. Even though he'd already faced many strange changes throughout the year, this one was far beyond the grasp of logic, especially at 7 in the morning.
It wasn't the concept of a Gryffindor and a Slytherin together; Theo had been with Granger even before the war ended a few months ago. And it wasn't that they were both blokes because Draco had caught himself occasionally being more than attentive towards his own gender.
No, it was the rather unfeasible idea of seeing Ronald Weasley, head-Slytherin hater and president of the "Terminate the Slytherin Trio" campaign, and Vincent Crabbe, all around Gryffindor despiser with the second-favourite hobby of bullying Gryffindorks (especially of the Golden Trio kind), together in any type of positive atmosphere.
Granted, in his mind's eye, they did look good together aesthetically; Vince had grown taller in the last year and a half, and had gone from a stocky boy to a handsome muscled man. Unfortunately, lanky Weasel had buffed up and Draco had to admit that he looked passable.
"Theo, you get the honours." Draco said sleepily as he got up. There would be no chance of sleeping in now anyway.
"I need your help mates," Vince was looking quite dejected on his bed. "I've never felt this way before and if I don't get to be with him soon, I might have to kill the second year's Hufflepuffs just to feel better."
"Look, I'll talk to Hermione, so we know what we're dealing with. Don't you worry, Vince, if you've got a chance, she'll know."
"No, I don't want Granger in on this." Vince looked beseechingly at Draco, who sighed.
He didn't know why Vince was bent on turning to him for every little thing, when it was quite obvious that he could take perfect care of himself. In fact, it was Vince who'd saved the Malfoys during the war.
Lucius had been under the influence of Imperio during the first war by Bellatrix and Voldemort. While Lucius was a ruthless man who had no qualms dealing in small shady businesses, he drew the line at anything that would either render him bankrupt and/or send him to Azkaban. He had, quite firmly, refused to join Voldemort; although he disliked muggles, they were a great source of income for some of his businesses, and killing them would not benefit him in the slightest. This caused Voldemort to use Imperio on him which, initially, worked long enough to get him Marked. When Lucius started fighting back, he had Bellatrix administer a mind-altering potion, causing Lucius' behaviour to change completely. By the time Narcissa had found out, the potion and the curse had been so ingrained in Lucius that finding a cure was impossible.
While Lucius Malfoy was beyond salvation, Vince had managed to hide Draco and Narcissa away in an empty genie's bottle stored in Gringotts, eluding them from Lucius and Voldemort's wrath. It had been extremely comfortable; Narcissa had likened it to an extended vacation in Marbella.
Vince had been a spy for Dumbledore. He did it so well, in fact, that he got a first class Order of Merlin for having an integral part in the defeat of Voldemort. It was something Vince couldn't help but rub in Draco's face occasionally because he knew Draco was just a tad envious of him.
"Fine, I'll take care of it." Draco said.
He just knew this was going to be more trouble than he could handle.
Seeing as they couldn't involve Granger, there was only one other option to finding out everything about Ronald Weasley; Harry Potter.
When Harry found out Vince was on their side, and that he had hidden Draco, he was outraged. Well, outraged might be too strong a word. At first, He didn't believe a word Vince had said; he thought the whole thing was Voldemort's plot to infiltrate their headquarters. Vince wasn't there a lot though and when he was present, he didn't speak that much. About himself, that is.
It became quite apparent to everyone that Vince, Greg and Draco were really close. The guy talked non-stop about them whenever he had an opportunity; especially about how sad he was that Greg's family had permanently moved to Australia, and about Draco's antics. It made Harry feel quite ashamed of the times he thought of Crabbe and Goyle as two mindless cronies. They weren't the smartest blokes around, but their dedication to Draco was remarkable. Harry had to admit that he was a bit jealous of the closeness that their life-long friendship had developed.
Vince had dozens of anecdotes on the three of them for every occasion. It seemed his faith in his friends had never wavered. Harry wondered guiltily if his friends would ever be that loyal, what with jealousy popping up every now and then, and their habit to question his every move.
With Vince talking about Draco at every turn and Hermione's insistence that Slytherins weren't all that bad, Harry and Ron had mellowed out on that topic when the Malfoys came out of the bottle. To Harry, it was a bit like meeting a pen pal for the first time and finding out he was the one you loved to hate. He knew so much about Draco, but he didn't really know him, though he wanted to.
The thing was, Draco hadn't changed all that much and it was refreshing to have somebody, besides his friends, treat him like a normal, if not a bit annoying, person. But it was also frustrating to want to get to know somebody who closed up like a centaur whenever he was approached.
Harry wanted to talk to Draco about his past, to ask about what it felt like to be raised by somebody who was essentially a mix between Bellatrix LeStrange and Voldemort, and turn out mostly all right.
Draco, on the other hand, didn't have any objections when it came to avoiding the Gryffindor Trio. Vince and Theo had conveyed the importance of being civil to the other houses, especially Gryffindor. Theo because of his relationship with Hermione and Vince, very reluctantly, because of what his undercover work had accomplished. On the rare occasion an encounter was unavoidable, Draco barely managed to be civil. It was particularly hard not to say the word "Mudblood" anymore. It wasn't that Draco actually had anything against muggleborns anymore; he just really liked saying the word and watching people's reactions afterwards.
Although Draco managed to be unfailingly polite, albeit a tad snarky occasionally and his usual insulting self when he thought nobody was looking, Harry still noticed his weariness towards them. That's why he was surprised when an owl came down to him, during breakfast, delivering a small piece of parchment asking him to meet Draco by the lake before lunch.
It all reeked of a clandestine meeting between lovers and by the time class ended, Harry had turned that initially ridiculous thought into a full-blown crush. After all, Draco was a very desirable bloke, if the gossiping witches in the corridors were to be believed. And Harry himself was free like a bird, as was common knowledge. By the time the war had ended, Harry and Ginny had both been with enough people to know that they definitely didn't belong together.
Walking towards the lake, Harry noticed Draco was already there. His school robes were billowing away from the weeping willow tree he was leaning on, portraying his shaded form perfectly. Harry was instantly enthralled.
When he finally stood next to Draco, his heart was pounding hundreds of miles per minute due to the fantasies running wildly in his head about Draco.
"Alright, Potter?" Draco asked when he was near enough. "Thanks for coming, I have something really important to discuss with you.
"I need your help, but you can't let it go further than between us."
Draco wanted a secret affair? That was great! In an instant, Harry had a million uses for his invisibility cloak.
"Sure, Draco. I won't tell anyone unless you want me to." With that, a swirl of shiny, yellow magic floated out of Harry's mouth and dissolved when it reached Draco.
"You tricked me!" Harry pouted. He was kind of ashamed he'd let his guard down enough to let Draco put a binding oath on him.
"I'm sorry, Potter." Draco said sincerely. "I really need you to keep this a secret and I know you aren't capable of seeing Granger and Weasley as separate entities from you. I can't have you telling anybody, especially them."
Harry huffed, but calmed down. He'd never heard an apology come out of Draco's mouth, let alone one that sounded sincere.
"Ok, don't worry about it, just tell me what's so important you had to drag me all the way here."
"Alright," Draco let out a huge breath. "I need you to tell me all you know about Weasley." He glanced at Harry nervously. "Is he dating anyone?"
"Bugger me! You fancy Ron!?" Harry exclaimed.
"No! No, "Draco said hastily. "I'm asking for a friend!"
"Yeah, right. A 'friend'."
Harry was seeing all his dreams shattering to pieces. He mentally mourned all those broom closet shags they'd never have and the dragon ride he would've given Draco for their third anniversary.
"No, really! Vince has a crush on him and he asked me to sort it out for him! That's why I'm asking you, so you can ease Weasley into it. That is, if he even likes blokes."
"Oh, alright then." Harry mentally whooped, his fantasies were back on. "Well, I don't know what Ron thinks about Vince, but I do know that he fancies blokes; he and Viktor Krum had a thing last summer."
"That's great! All we need to do now is get him to notice Vince and they'll be together in no time." Draco was ecstatic. This was going so much better than he expected. It would be worth having to talk to Potter, if Vince got to be happy for once.
"We? I don't think so Malfoy. I don't know if Ron's interested and I'm not going to rope him into something he might not like. For all I know, this is some elaborate plot to humiliate Ron and me."
Draco knew Slytherin when he heard it. And Gryffindor or not, Harry was definitely speaking Slytherin right now. He crossed his arms and looked balefully at Harry.
"What do you want Potter?"
"I want you to be my boyfriend."
Harry had the intense pleasure of seeing Draco completely out of his momentum. Unfortunately, Harry noticed that he was still utterly captivating.
"Not for real, of course. I need to deflect those leeches who want to date me. You'll do nicely. We can say we've kept it secret or something, but that there's no need to do so anymore now the war's over and Lucius has been...you know."
Lucius had been found together with Bellatrix three weeks after the war had ended. Turns out it wasn't just the call of duty that had made her Imperio Lucius. They were Kissed a few days after that.
"Well, you've certainly thought this through." Draco said after a while.
"It's not like you'd ever be interested in me." Harry replied with a tinge of sadness seeping through his voice. "And you don't treat me like a celebrity or anything and anybody who really knows me will know that that's exactly what I'm looking for. And you're smart and good-looking and-"
"Quit babbling Potter. I get the picture. I don't understand why you're asking me, because last time I checked you were into girls. Remember the Weasley girl? And whatsherface, um Chang? I know it's a good prank, but I'm not sure you'll be getting any girls afterwards. Or...well, scratch that, girls will be all over you after this, thinking they can turn you straight. Hmm, this might not be the disaster I thought it would be."
Harry rolled his eyes. Draco might not know it yet, but he was never leaving Harry after this. And he was definitely not leaving him for some girl.
"Well, will you do it?" Harry asked eagerly.
" How long are we talking about here?" Draco said suspiciously.
"'Till the end of the school year."
"What?! No way. I'll give you 'till Christmas."
"That's in three months! They'll just be getting used to us being together, that's way too short."
"Okay, six months Potter, take it or leave it. We don't hold hands or any of that lovey dovey stuff, we kiss in public only and you'll have to pick me up and take me to breakfast every morning. Oh, and I want a token of your appreciation at least twice a month given in a public location."
Draco smirked. There was no way Potter would accept these ridiculous terms. He didn't think even girls were this high maintenance. Okay, well, his mom was, but she was an exception.
Somewhere in his consciousness, Draco was deeply ashamed of his jaw dropping open twice in a day, but this was a bit of an unusual day, even, or maybe especially, for a Malfoy.
"But I've got some conditions as well. First off, you can't tell anybody about this deal, at least not until it's over. We have to spend at least two unbroken hours a day together, either in public or in private and I get a present as well, on each of our monthly anniversaries. Agreed?"
Harry stuck out his hand.
Draco hesitated. He really had this foreboding feeling about the whole situation and almost every fibre in him was telling him to run far, far away from Potter and his strange shenanigans.
But then there was Vince, one of his best mates for life, who always looked out for him. Vince had never even hinted at being interested in anyone, so this must be real or he wouldn't have told them. Vince deserved happiness, even if it was just for sticking with Draco. And if this deal with Potter would in its own way bring Vince happiness, then Draco would just have to grin and bear it.
"I'm doing this for Vince," He iterated. "You'll do anything you can to help me out and, in return, I'll be yours for the next six months. Bloody hell, that really sounds sordid. Anyhow, I need to see results, or the deal will be off anyway. I want to see them on dates and the lot."
"Okay, that's reasonable. But if Ron doesn't go for it, that's not my fault. I'll do anything I can though."
"Okay then, I accept." Draco took Harry's hand, shook it once and pulled Harry into a short kiss.
"We have to seal the deal properly, right?" He smirked. "C'mon Potter, let's give Hogwarts the performance of a lifetime." He beckoned as he started back towards the castle. Harry stood dazed for a few seconds before breaking into a wide grin and hurrying after Draco. This was going to be the best six months of his life, if that kiss was anything to go by.
To say the school was shocked would be an understatement. There were, at the most, a dozen people who weren't surprised in the least. The rest of the school was in pandemonium. There were a lot of devastated girls shouting and crying, some of which would soon be plotting to get these two cute, not to mention influential, boys back on the 'right' track, namely theirs.
There were also quite a few guys immensely happy, one of them being Colin Creevey, who'd been after Harry the first time he heard about him. Not many had had the guts to come out yet, but if Harry Potter and especially Draco Malfoy, the epitome of old pureblood values, were out, then the wizarding world would definitely not mind at all if they came out. And, of course, they (read: Colin) were ready to swoop in on either one of the couple if their significant other wasn't looking.
Harry and Draco had walked hand in hand though the Great Hall doors, given each other a lingering kiss (on the lips mind you) and had separated to their respective tables.
Harry plopped down with a big grin on his face and turned towards his two best friends.
"Draco and I decided to come out."
"Obviously." Hermione snorted and went on reading her Transfiguration book. Ron though was caught between rage and confusion.
"You and Malfoy?"
"Yep." Harry sighed dreamily, looking across the tables to the Slytherin one.
"You're with the Slytherin who hid instead of fighting in the biggest war ever!?" Ron was getting worked up. Definitely rage.
"At least he wasn't a Death-"
"You're with the Slytherin who made it his life goal to torment us, ever since our first year?!"
"Well, he's changed quite a bit Ron, we've all ch-"
He used to call Hermione the m-word and got us into all kinds of trouble!"
"Um, well, it's just-"
"How can you fancy him?! I can't believe you snogged him! Have you shagged?
Ron pulled a face. "You better not be shagging in our dorm Harry, I won't have it."
"Ron! Would you please just shut your gob! Harry and Malfoy are together. Big deal, he's still our best mate. I thought we got over this drama when I started dating Theo, I'm really not into the mood to suffer through your tantrums again. Now, pass me the sandwiches please." Hermione said and promptly went back to reading after picking up a bacon sandwich when an eavesdropping Neville passed a plate to her.
"Er, right. I'll just sit here quietly while those crummy Slytherins steal my friends away." Ron pouted.
Harry and Hermione both looked at him in empathy.
"No, that's not how it is, Ron. We've been through too much together to let other relationships break us up."
Harry swung an arm around Ron's shoulder.
"You'll always be my best mate. And who knows, maybe you'll snag a Slytherin of your very own."
Ron scrunched up his freckled nose.
"Not bloody likely."
Harry sighed and went back to his lunch. This was going to take a lot of work. And if Ron didn't link up with Vince, then his chances with Draco would be blown.
On the other side of the hall things were progressing a bit similarly. Blaise was upset that he had "lost my mates to flipping Gryffindorks", while Theo was looking calculatingly at Draco. Vince didn't understand much of the fuss, but supported Draco and tried to console Blaise as best as he could. Draco just sat there smirking and deflecting the more in-depth questions about Harry and him until the Slytherins gave up and changed the subject. He was continually wondering what he had gotten himself into, but it was none of his housemates business and it was too late to back out anyway. It helped a bit that the whole school was in such a furore because of him though.
Two weeks later, the novelty of seeing Draco and Harry together had worn off a little, as they had been quite public in displaying every aspect of their relationship. Harry had advised Draco to let Vince make Ron the centre of the school's attention for a while, so Vince was going to pull the secret admirer card. Draco had relayed all the things Harry said Ron liked and Vince was ready to give it his all.
At breakfast on Monday, an owl plopped on the Gryffindor table in front of Ron, who was once again being scolded by Hermione for chatting with his mouth full. It had a parcel with a note attached on top with Ron's name written in a tidy script. When he noticed it was for him, Ron immediately tore the parcel open, tossing the note aside. Then he stopped breathing. His bulging eyes kept looking at what was in front of him, as if it would disappear if he blinked. His expression was that of one who'd won a lottery he didn't even know he was playing. In front of Ron was the complete official miniature set of the Chudley Cannons, including their latest brooms, something Ron had been salivating over for the past three months. His hands were shaking above it, so complete was his reverence that he dared not touch it.
Harry, who'd been grinning in the vicinity of the Slytherin table all during dinner and had discreetly winked at Draco when the owl arrived, took the note and handed it to Ron.
"Maybe you should read this, Ron. Did you enter a contest or something? You must be bloody chuffed."
The whole table was talking excitedly about the gift and waited with bated breaths as Ron read the note. Ginny had even scooted up next to him. Soon the other tables were craning to see what all the fuss was about.
"It's a poem?" Ron said indecisively. He turned the small parchment around. "It doesn't say who it's from."
"You can be unbelievably dense sometimes, Ron. It's obvious you've got a secret admirer. Let me see."
Ginny snatched the note from his hands and read it aloud.
"I'm not that poetic
I don't know what to say half the time
And when I come close to you
It wipes away the half that was fine
When it comes to you
I feel I'm on top of the world
But then reality hits me
And I feel like some silly girl
with a crush on the most amazing guy
who always lights her up with his smile
That's how you make me feel
I've wanted to tell you for a while
Ginny looked up around the table. Most of the girls' eyes were misty and some were looking at Ron like they'd just laid eyes on him for the first time.
"That is so sweet!" Ginny gushed. "You are so lucky Ron. I wish I had a secret admirer." She sighed dreamily as she clutched the note to her chest.
Ron pulled it from her and looked at it haltingly.
"I wonder who she is."
"She?" Harry asked worriedly.
"Well, yeah, it says here 'I feel like a silly girl', see?" Ron pointed the line to Harry.
"It might be a guy Ron," Hermione said as she peered at the note. "They only say they "feel" like a girl and a silly one at that, I don't think a girl would refer to herself that way if that's how she normally acts when she's in love."
Harry frowned suspiciously at Hermione. Did she know about Vince? Theo might have told her, Harry didn't think they held things back from each other. On the other hand, Draco had confided that Vince didn't want anyone else to know and had forbidden his mates to tell anyone.
"Either way, that's a wicked set Ron, the person must really fancy you." Harry said. "Want to play with it in our free period?"
Ron nodded and went back to staring at his gift.
"I could ruddy well kiss the person right now, I don't care who it is."
"Even if it's Moaning Myrtle?" Seamus teased. The table laughed.
"Or the Bloody Baron." Chortled Dean.
"Oh, gross guys, I don't care as long as they're alive." He paused. "And a student for that matter. What if it was someone like Binns or Filch?"
The gang laughed and joked throughout breakfast while the other tables looked on, gossiping about who might've given Ron Weasley such a gift. It gave Vince a great opportunity to scowl at the Gryffindor table, while his heart pounded elatedly at his love liking his present. He hoped the plan came to fruition soon; he longed to have Ron in his arms.
Ron was the talk of the town that week, especially since he got a gift every breakfast for the whole of that week. They weren't as spectacular as the first one he'd gotten though, just small knickknacks he had wanted, but they were enough to keep the rumor mill running. Some of the gifts had hinted at the secret admirer being in Slytherin and with that in mind, and because Hermione and Harry had been nagging him all week about it, Ron found himself in the Slytherin common rooms Saturday evening.
Harry immediately hurried over to Draco, who was sprawled in a leather chair, and kissed him. Harry really enjoyed kissing Draco, especially now that Draco had stopped holding back and really started participating. Draco hadn't initiated a kiss since that first one, until a few days ago when Ron had finally agreed to come to the Slytherin common room with them. He'd become much more friendly towards them all, but Harry could tell he was still putting up a front in their relationship. Draco didn't realize Harry wasn't playing around about that.
Draco encouraged Vince and Ron to play a game of chess together, while Hermione and Theo were huddled in a corner together discussing some book. They were both studious types, although Theo was more of a quiet, introvert person. Draco had been very vocally against their relationship at first, but after seeing them together for so long he found that they matched each other quite perfectly.
Draco also found himself warming up to Harry. Their daily hours together had been spent talking about trivial and not so trivial things in their life and they had found they had a lot in common. It also helped that Harry kept showering him with gifts, far more than they had agreed to and not always in public, coming up with silly reason for them, like "it reminded me of you" delivered with an awkward shrug. Draco had been surprised at first, but hadn't said anything, just accepted them with haughty aplomb, lest the gift-giving stopped. He said something in passing when after almost a week of getting daily presents he got a muggle Game Boy, something he'd secretly wanted for a while, ever since he saw a boy on Kings Cross with one. Harry had done his usual shrug and said that he enjoyed seeing Draco's face light up all day when he received something nice. Draco had flushed. Sometimes he wondered if it really was a game to Potter.
They had been in the common room for a while when Blaise came in. Ron and Vince had gathered a small crowd of four Slytherins while they were playing, or rather while Ron was teaching Vince how to play. Vince was pretty clueless when it came to the moves, but they had a good time figuring it out. Harry could hear them chatting and laughing which really pleased him.
Blaise had come back from his date with Padma Patil. He'd gotten teased a lot by his friends for dating her, because they were the prettiest couple in the school. The gang thought Blaise was only going out with her to make other girls jealous and he was initially, but Blaise had found himself really liking Padma and they generally had a good time together.
They all had a great time in the common room, playing Exploding Snap and Goblin's Wrath and nattering on about silly things and just getting to know each other. They had such fun the other Slytherins decided they should come more often and even bring some more friends.
Blaise suggested the group go to Hogsmeade together and the next Saturday they all met and went to get drinks at the Three Broomsticks. Blaise had brought Padma along. The eclectic group got a few stares from the crowds throughout Hogsmeade, but mostly they were oblivious to it, they were having such an unexpectedly good time.
Eventually they split up. Hermione and Theo wanted to go to Scrivenshaft's, Blaise and Padma were off to Madam Puddifoot's. Ron, Vince, Harry and Draco went to Honeydukes and Zonko's first, but when they reached the Shrieking Shack, Harry dragged Draco off, giving some transparent excuse, while winking at Vince.
When they were alone, Ron and Vince looked at each other for a moment before falling into each other's arms.
"Finally!" Ron exclaimed. "I thought they'd never leave."
They kissed long and urgently until finally Vince pulled away and put his forehead on Ron's.
"I really missed this, I missed you." Vince sighed.
Ron planted butterfly kisses over his face, then pulled a small envelope from his pocket.
"Happy belated anniversary, Vin." He took Vince's hand and laid the package in his open palm. "I love my gifts, especially the poem. I'll keep that forever, thank you."
"You didn't have to get me anything." Vince said, pleased anyway. Ron just rolled his eyes.
Vince's eyes lit up as he opened the package to find two tickets to Trick or Treat, his favourite rock band.
"I thought these were sold out! I can't believe you got them for me. Draco will be so chuffed!"
Ron gasped and smacked Vince's shoulder.
"Just joking, love. You know I wouldn't want to go with anyone other than you." He kissed Ron briefly and tucked the envelope away in his robe.
"How's your part of the plan going?" He asked as Ron huddled them together on a nearby bench.
"It's going great! Harry can't stop going on about Draco, he really fancies him. We might be able to tell them about us sooner than we thought."
"No, I think we should wait a bit longer. Draco isn't in love yet. He's being really mysterious about Harry. When he fancied Susan Bones in fourth year, he drove us barmy. At the end of the day we knew everything there was to know about her. He was completely obsessed. We had to bend over backwards to help Draco send her secret love letters and he even stole some Hufflepuffs robe so he could use it as a pyjama. He said it made him feel closer to her."
"Could it be that he's not gay?"
Vince snorted. "Oh, Draco's gay alright. He just needs to get used to Harry. I think he's warming to him, so we should just give it some time."
"Maybe we should stop meddling and let them be. I know we think they're made for each other, but maybe it's not meant to be."
They looked at each other for a moment and then burst out into laughter.
"Merlin, I love you. I think that's the silliest thing you've said had yet. " Vince chuckled.
"Yeah, besides I still need to 'find out' who my secret admirer is anyway" Ron said, looking lovingly at Vince.
"I bet he's not as great as me." Vince said, while nuzzling Ron's neck.
Ron's eyes shuttered in pleasure. "Nobody's a great as you are." He sighed. "I think we should fight."
Vince looked up in surprise. "Why? What's wrong?"
"Not for real Vin, for the plan. They're expecting us to be all chubby when we get back, but let's say we had an argument or something. Not something big, just something that'll make them disappointed, but not discouraged so they won't give up."
"Sounds okay, if not a bit devious. What are we arguing about?" Vince asked.
"Well, um, we could have an argument about the Chudley Cannons?"
Vince chortled. "Always Quidditch on the brain, eh? It would be a bit strange seeing as I got you their team's miniatures. And that would make it my fault that we argued. We should argue about something like…"
The couple sat plotting and kissing until they had to head back to school.
In the post office, Theo and Hermione were chatting about Hogwarts' latest couple while waiting for the clerk to bring them their copy of 'Nasty NEWT Nixes – how to avoid commonly made errors while taking the most important tests a wizard will ever have.' they'd ordered from Flourish and Blotts. Suddenly Theo started.
"You don't think Harry and Draco are faking a relationship just to get Ron to accept Vince do you?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Theo. That doesn't make any sense. If Harry and Draco really hated each other like before they would never be able to keep up a charade like this, not even for their best friends."
"Hmm, I still think there's something off."
"I know, dear. Don't worry, we'll get to the bottom of this. We're the smartest couple in school. It's only a matter of time."
Theo stared at Hermione besottingly for a second then wondered where the clerk was with their book. After all, they had so little revising time, they needed all the help they could get.
Meanwhile, Draco and Harry had headed back to school to spend some time by the lake. Harry had convinced Dobby to prepare them a picnic basket with goodies. Harry had been crushing on Draco ever since their agreement, and after spending almost a month getting to know him, Harry could honestly say he had fallen in love with the blond.
Draco had an undeniable mean streak and he could be as stubborn as an old kneazle, but he was also very loyal to his friends and family and Harry had grown to love his dark humour. He could charm the robes off anyone if he really wanted to, but Harry had still noticed what Draco had tried to hide.
Draco was afraid to fall in love and Harry could definitely relate. How could you fall in love with someone when you were afraid that someday out of the blue they would sell your fairytale love story to the highest bidder? How could you, when everyone wanted you to be their step-up to the world of fame and celebrities?
Draco had confessed to have fallen in love once, but had been afraid to really pursue her, not only because of their differences in school-status, but also because of his father. Lucius had had a veritable list of potential prestigious pureblood suitors for Draco to pick from. Choosing someone for himself, even for a meaningless fling, was acceptable of course, as long as they were on that list. The girl Draco fancied was pureblood, although Draco had found out then that it wouldn't have mattered all that much to him if she wasn't, but she wasn't wealthy enough to make it on the senior Malfoy's list. It hadn't really mattered because Draco didn't think he would have had the guts to follow through back then, had he been able to defy his father in the matter. He had sent her gifts and anonymous letters, but in the end he had just let it sizzle down instead of revealing his identity.
He had stuck to Pansy, who was luckily on the list. They had been vague when asked about their relationship and given that Pansy didn't have an eye on anybody at that time, it had worked well for the both of them. It was after the war, when his mother had ceremoniously torn up the gilded list of names Draco was to choose a wife from, that Draco realised how dangerous it really was to pick someone for your own. He was flooded with invitations and offers in school and it wasn't any better outside of school either. His mother weekly received wedding requests from parents from all across the isle and even on the continent. When it somehow leaked out that Draco had no real preference to either sex the wedding offers shot through the roof. There were mothers offering Draco to pick from their array of offspring. When Draco told Harry about that he'd laughed heartily and said he'd had that happen to him a couple of times as well.
Draco had confessed to being especially scathing to people who randomly came up to him and asked him out. Harry had tried to get Draco to loosen up when he realized what was going on. It was difficult enough getting just anybody to fall in love, but it was doubly so when the person was fighting tooth and nail not to. Harry knew he wasn't quite there yet and it was taking all of his meagre Slytherin sneakiness to get Draco to notice him.
Draco and Harry had a relaxing picnic talking about trivial things. Draco was laid on his back with his eyes closed, soaking up the rare sunrays heating them. They'd been dipping their toes in the lake before lying on the large blanket Harry had conjured. He could feel Harry's eyes on him and finally decided to just ask the question he'd been dreading to ask.
The evening before, Harry had taken him to the Room of Requirement during dinner. They'd been talking about their definition of a perfect date earlier and Draco had described his. When Draco entered the room, it was exactly like he had described. It was as if they'd entered a one-roomed glass cottage in the middle of a desert, with the stars shining brightly over the open space. Draco had said he liked to be completely alone with his date, so they could get to know each other better without people gawking at them or distracting them, and this was a perfect setting for that.
There was an elegantly decked table in the middle of the room, with two candles burning in centre. They'd eaten and chatted for quite some time under the starry sky. The way Harry had looked at him had unsettled him all through dinner. Then, when they were having dessert, Harry had reached out reached out and caressed his left cheek, softly and slowly, claiming there had been a spot of white chocolate cake there. Draco knew then that Harry fancied him, because Malfoy's weren't messy eaters.
He'd deliberated all throughout the day on asking Harry about it, but he wouldn't know for sure, unless he asked Harry frankly.
"Are you happy? I mean, after offing You-Know-Who?" Draco sighed inwardly; he'd chickened out.
"I guess," Harry said, after a while. "I really miss my godfather Sirius and professor Dumbledore, especially now that his ghost has moved on as well. It's really weird seeing professor Snape and Remus together. I never thought being separated from the one you love could change your behaviour so drastically. Remus is so different now, so happy. Too bad professor Snape's still the same.
"But I'm really happy I never have to go back to the Dursleys again ever, even though it was funny when they turned on their son Dudley because he was in love with his best friend, Piers. Somehow, that was reason enough to change how they treated Dudley and me. I felt really weirded out when they started being nice to me."
"So where will you be staying?" Draco asked.
"Well, Ron, Hermione and I will be getting a place in London together while they find a place of their own. I don't want to stay in Grimmauld Place, because Remus and professor Snape stay there when they're not teaching and I don't want to impose on them too much. What about you?"
"I haven't really decided yet," Draco replied, "I'll be touring our mansions around the world first. My mum's coming with me to France and after that I'll just go where my fancy takes me. When I'm back I want to do something in advertising I think. I'm always cringing when I see magical ads and I've seen enough muggle ones to know that we can do much, much better."
Harry lay there contemplating the concept of going on holiday, even for a little while.
"I'd love to go on a holiday."
Draco turned towards Harry.
"Tell you what Potter, if everything works out, you can come with me. With the way things are going, if Vin and Weasel get together we'll probably be real friends by graduation. And Blaise wanted to come with me to Australia, so I wouldn't mind you tagging along as well."
Harry gaped at Draco.
"'Friends by graduation!?' Draco, we've been snogging for weeks! I've told you things I haven't even told Hermione or Ron. If we aren't friends now, I don't think we'll ever be." Harry huffed.
"Am I really that terrible to be around?" he asked eventually.
"No," Draco sighed. "I'm sorry, Harry. It's just that it's hard to discount all the history between us. You're right. You are a friend. Even Granger and Weasley are. I've been giving you a hard time, haven't I? I'll try not to, okay?"
Harry hummed, still a bit miffed, but mollified by Draco's words. He looked up at the leaves of the willow tree they were under. Draco looked up at Harry and decided to finally ask the dreaded question.
"Do you fancy me?" Draco stared intently at Harry, who was still looking up at the leaves above him. "I mean for real, not this charade we're playing. Sometimes it seems like I have to keep reminding you that we're only pretending to be together, lest you forget this isn't real. It's not that I mind that much anymore. But..."
Draco shook his head. "I can't believe I'm about to say this," he muttered, more to himself than to Harry.
"I don't want you to get hurt, okay?" Embarrassed, he examined the red and gold monstrosity Harry had conjured for them to sit on. Merlin, he could just as well stood up the Astronomy tower and confessed his undying loyalty to the Gryffindor House. It still felt so wrong to care for the bespectacled wanker.
"Look, Draco, I don't see how this has to do with anything. I've kept to the agreement haven't I? What my feelings may or may not be don't have anything to do with this." Harry said stubbornly.
"Whatever, Potter. I'm just saying." Draco replied, annoyed by the rebuff.
"Just keep in mind that in about 5 months, we'll just be friends, nothing more. That means no more dates, no snogging," He grinned. "But you can keep giving me presents whenever you like."
"Oh, ha ha." Harry sulked. He had thought he'd made some progress, but Draco had just bashed his hopes in. Well, at least now he knew how he was going to spend his summer holidays. Maybe he would have more luck getting the Slytherin by then.
The next month, Harry noticed significant changes in Draco. In public, he basically acted the same, but Harry noticed an attentiveness that he didn't even know he'd been missing before. In private, he was much more open than before, talking and laughing more and just making Harry fall deeper in love with him.
It was all very sickeningly sweet, according to a couple of the attendants of Hogwarts. To Severus, it was proof that the mind of his favourite pupil had deteriorated beyond any recognition. How else could his 'involvement' with Harry bloody Potter be explained? The only other explanation was that he was under Imperio. Severus was all for solving the case and getting Potter out of Draco's hair, but that pesky werewolf seemed determined to thwart his plans. Every time he mentioned his objections to Remus, the man just diabolically snogged the thoughts out of his mind.
To Ron, Harry and Draco's behaviour was proof that the plan was going better than Vince thought. He was eager to have Vince in, on and around him again, if not publicly, then at least in the privacy of their dorms. They weren't 'together' yet, although they were now 'friends', and Vince was reluctant to get together unless Draco and Harry were really involved.
"But how will we know if they're really together then?" Ron had whined, while he was draped over Vince on a bed in the Room of Requirement.
"We just need to watch Draco. Trust me, we'll know." Vince had said, while his hands roamed Ron's fiery tresses. Ron had missed him the second they got out of the room.
Another who thought Harry and Draco were just plain sickening was Anthony Goldstein. Anthony had been waiting a long time for his crush to be returned. He'd been ecstatic when he learned that his love swung both ways, but had his hopes dashed when, so soon after, his love became attached to his main enemy in the school. That wasn't how things were supposed to work out. Anthony and his love were supposed to meet in a hallway someday and just fall in love with a glance and spend the rest of that day shagging each other senseless in an abandoned classroom. And now, now Anthony was going to have to bide his time and get Harry by any means possible.
Most of the seventh years stayed in school for Christmas, as it was their last together. Harry and Draco agreed that it was the best time to get Vince and Ron together and had 'strong-armed' them into staying. Hermione and Theo were staying just so they could wisely use the two weeks off to scout both wizarding and muggle uni's they could attend together.
Harry planned on wooing Draco during the holidays. He had convinced his housemates to have an Inter-House Gryffindor party. When the other houses found out, they couldn't stay behind, so for the first four days after Boxing Day, each house had a party, starting with the Gryffindor's party and ending with the Slytherin's pre-New Year's bash.
Harry planned to sneak out of the Gryffindor party with Draco and treat him to a private dinner with Draco's favourite foods. Draco himself was busy making sure the Slytherin party would be the best of the houses. Even though the professors weren't supposed to know, Draco had enlisted the help of professor Snape to enlarge the common room and book the Jobberknolls to perform on a small stage that would be in the centre of the room. Unbeknownst to Draco, the other houses had also elicited the help of their Heads and it would be quite a challenge for Slytherin to have the best party.
On Saturday morning, the first day of the House Fest as the students had dubbed the parties, Harry was walking through the halls, on his way to the remote room he had chosen to wine and dine with Draco. He was carrying a large box containing the finishing decorations to make the room perfect. He'd sent Draco a pretty standard Christmas gift, a set of Potions books and supplies which he knew Draco was a bit disappointed in, just so he could give him his real gift in the evening and make his intentions clear.
Anthony had noticed Harry had been busy working in the secluded area on the sixth floor. He'd realised it was probably something planned for one of the House fests, so he scheduled his scheme around the Gryffindor one. When Harry turned the corner into the abandoned corridor, Anthony pretended to bump into him. It wasn't that hard, what with Harry's hands full.
"Sorry there, mate." Anthony said, helping Harry pick up the bits and bobs that had fallen out of the box. "Oh, hi there, Harry. I didn't notice it was you."
"That's okay, I've got it, no worries."
With the box filled again, Harry made his way to the room, trying to remember the Ravenclaw's name.
"Thanks for the help, Anthony!" he called back as he made his way to the room.
"Harry, wait," Anthony said, hurrying to catch up with Harry. "I meant to ask you something. Mind if I walk with you?"
Harry distractedly assented and kept on walking as Anthony spun a tale of unrequited love. He didn't notice Anthony's grin as he watched his plans come to fruition and he certainly didn't notice the stupefying charm being aimed for his back as he turned the knob for the room. All he'd had on his mind was Draco and even the surprise of the spell hitting him wasn't enough for Draco to fade from his mind as he fell over and blacked out.
The party was in full effect. Just next to the entrance there was a house-elf serving drinks and snacks behind a bar like a muggle bartender. Pupils were dancing to new Wyrmslayer songs in the middle of the room, which was spelled to look like a muggle club dance floor. The corners of the room were filled with students playing various party games. With all the dancing, drinking and laughing going around, the Gryffindor party could be qualified as a very successful shindig.
Colin was snapping away profusely. He was a bit peeved he hadn't seen Harry all day, who still wasn't there, but he figured that he wasn't as peeved as Malfoy, who was slumped dejectedly in a comfortable red beanbag, with what looked like fairy scotch in his hands, and sneaking looks at the entrance quite often. Colin was sorta, kinda okay with Harry and Draco being together; if Harry wasn't going to be with him, he didn't mind that Harry had gone for second best. But seeing them so happy together and so obviously in love, while he was still looking for that 'one', it didn't exactly help keep the loneliness at bay.
Harry woke up really groggy. He couldn't focus on anything. He was almost sure he was wearing his glasses, but the dimly lit room was hazy and everything kept swimming in front of him. He tried to gather his thoughts, but a dark shadow fell in front of him.
"Awake, Harry?" a voice asked, and Harry instantly remembered who was there with him and where he was. Considering he had been coming to this room in complete secrecy, Harry thought his chances of escaping were pretty dismal.
"I must admit, you made it pretty easy for me. I had this elaborate plan to get you alone, but all I had to do was follow you here. No, no, don't bother getting out of those, not only did I tie those ropes, I also put a sticking charm on them."
"Why are you doing this?" Harry slurred, trying to buy some time. He still couldn't quite catch his bearings, but he was wracking his brain for an escape plan anyway, however hard that was.
"To get to you, of course. Before I can get a chance with Draco, I need you out of the picture. We were meant to be, you know, but you had to ruin it. Now, I've tried to be patient and let your 'affair' run its course and crash like it should, but I can't wait anymore." Anthony ranted as he paced in front of Harry.
"We've always had this chemistry between us, Draco and me. Even when we meet in the hallways or in class, he always pretends not to recognize me, but his eyes..." He stopped, zoning out as far as Harry could tell. He turned suddenly and crouched down in Harry's view.
"You've corrupted him! He's never liked you, never even indicated he was into blokes and suddenly you're together? Bollocks! I know you've hexed him somehow, but all the counter curses I've tried on him haven't worked. So I've found a more effective way to get you two apart."
Harry tried to shake his head, but it hurt too much.
"Wait, when did you cast counter curses on him? We would've noticed!" He slurred.
"Not if it was a non-verbal spell in the busy hallways." Anthony sniffed.
"What are you going to do now? Why am I here?" Harry asked. His mind was slowly unknotting and he had already managed to loosen the shoddily tied ropes. It was obvious that Anthony wasn't used to doing things the muggle way.
Anthony laughed haughtily. "Well, I've been dying to tell you all day, Potter. It's simply a marvellous plan, if I do say so myself. I've spent weeks researching it. I've created Golem here especially for this night. I call him Harry."
Even with his addled brain Harry could see a figure step out of the shadows that looked like it could be his twin. If the situation didn't look grim already, Harry certainly felt really frantic now. Anthony beckoned the Golem to the door. Harry was powerless to stop him.
"While you were unconscious I was able to spell him to look exactly like you, so nobody will know the difference. Thanks for letting him borrow your clothes by the way, that's extremely decent of you. He's going to go to the Gryffindor fest and ruin your so called relationship with my soul mate. When this evening's over, you'll be quite lucky if Draco doesn't hex your bollocks off every time he sees you."
He leaned over Harry, taunting him.
"Tomorrow, during breakfast, when Draco sorrowfully takes a sip of his tea, he'll actually be taking a sip of the love potion I've brewed. You won't even be a distant memory to him; it'll be as if you two just never were. How does it feel to know that next time you see your beloved Draco, he'll be in love with me?"
"No!" Harry yelled and suddenly Anthony was thrown across the room, his wand rolling down as he slammed against the wall and slid down in a faint. Harry struggled to get rid of the ropes as the sticking charm dissolved in Anthony's unconsciousness. Anthony started bloating like Harry's aunt Marge had, reaching the ceiling as he came to.
Harry finally got the ropes loose and bolted through the door, leaving Anthony floating in the room.
"You're too late, Potter," he yelled down after Harry. "Golem will be there by now, you can't stop him!"
Draco was having a miserable time, waiting for Harry. He'd never noticed how much time they spent together until now. The last few months they'd practically done everything together, even though they had only agreed on two continuous hours together.
They spent their time in the Great Hall sending origami notes back and forth, though Harry's origami figures were kind of shoddy. They studied together, but not in the library because Granger and Theo were always there harassing them with their study notes. They'd agreed on sitting together in the Ravenclaw stands during Quidditch matches, which led to other students sitting elsewhere in the stands as well. They even spent their joint free periods together, mucking about. They complemented each other so well, sometimes it was hard to remember why they had been enemies in the first place.
There he was, watching his friends with their respective mates, and his was nowhere to be found. Granger had said he was busy organizing something, but Harry was way past being fashionably late. Draco took another sip of his fairy scotch and wondered for the umpteenth time where his pretend-boyfriend was.
Finally, finally he walked in through the hole in the wall. Draco grinned as he saw Harry searching through the room and made to wave at him. But Harry's eyes only fell on Draco briefly as he headed for Vince and Weasley. They were huddled together with a drink in their hands and hadn't noticed Harry's entrance.
Vince was having a wicked time. He'd been sitting with Ron all night. First, they'd been together under the pretence of Ron teaching him to play chess, but now they'd been huddled together on the gaudy Gryffindor couch for over an hour and no-one seemed to care or even notice. Ron had even dared to put his head on Vince's shoulder and nobody had come by to comment on that. Vince had been so happy, he'd only felt slightly guilty for not going over to Draco, who'd been sitting miserably alone for the duration of the party. Ron had already commented on how the ferret seemed to be pining away for Harry, and it was true.
Draco had reached the point where he fancied Harry like mad, but didn't consciously realise it. It was obvious by the way he always talked about Harry, even when Harry and he were together. He'd light up when looking at Harry and he was always comparing people to Harry, as well as pointing out things that Harry would like. If it wasn't that Vince was exactly the same way about Ron, he would've found it sickening.
It wouldn't be long before Ron and he could come out with their relationship, he could tell that Draco was close to having his grand epiphany and telling the Slytherin boys that he had finally fallen for Potter. Ron had said that Potter was smitten already, so hopefully he would just keep on as he was going and get their real relationship started.
Speaking of the bloke, there Potter was finally. Vince wondered why he was headed their way instead of Draco's, who'd gotten up to join them. And then he wished he had never known. Potter pulled Ron up from the couch and snogged him deeply. Vince was so shocked he couldn't breathe for a few moments.
"Harry, what the hell was that?" Ron yelled when the snog ended.
"I've had enough of this charade Ron. We pranked the Slytherins good, but I don't want to pretend to like that ferret of a Malfoy anymore." Harry replied.
It was all just a prank? Ron had just been pretending for all these months? He'd thought he knew this bloke, they'd even made plans to live together after graduation! He looked over at Draco and saw that he looked just as gutted as Vince felt. In fact the whole room had quieted down and was watching the spectacle. Vince felt his heart breaking and his anger rising. How dare they play with their feelings like that! Just because they were Slytherin´s didn´t mean they were cold-blooded. Well, if Vince´s heart was breaking, then he'd make sure a few bones would break as well in its wake.
"Vin, please. I don't know what he's on about, he's lying! I love you...` Ron kept stammering, as he tried to wiggle away from Harry´s embrace, but Harry just held him tightly and smiled beatifically.
"There's no need to keep up the act Ron, we can be together like before we planned this." Harry said.
Vince stood up resolutely and punched Ron in the face. Then, without saying a word, he left the Gryffindor room with his head held high.
Draco, on the other hand, felt like he was glued to the spot he was standing on. He hadn't quite reached the group, but he'd definitely heard everything loud and clear. The worst part wasn't the humiliation he felt or the need to find his anguished best friend. The worst part was that it had taken this for Draco to realise that he'd fallen deeply for this Gryffindor. He knew now that he'd been, and sadly still was, in love, because he felt as if a huge chunk of him had just been ripped out and danced on by a team of dragon keepers.
"Ow, bloody fucking hell!" Ron howled as Vince broke his nose and stormed out.
Draco's mind was whirring with sharp retorts and hexes to inflict on the two wankers, but he couldn't hold on to a single thought long enough to put it into practice. Besides, he needed to go find Vince before the poor bloke destroyed half the school.
"It shouldn't surprise me that Gryffindorks could stoop so low. I hope you both rot in hell." He sneered. It was barely louder than a whisper, but the whole room heard it clearly.
Draco walked out of the room with dignity. He wouldn't give the students the satisfaction of seeing any more emotion than he'd already shown them.
When the painting closed he started running down the stairs, hoping to find Vince on his way to the Slytherin common room and calm him down. Just as he was down the first flight of stairs someone collided with him, sending them both careening to the floor. It was Potter, but it couldn't be. Potter, whom he'd just left adoring the Weasel, was now in his dragon-adorned boxers and the tatty trainers Draco couldn't get him to give up on, panting as if he was being chased by a mad hippogriff.
"Draco, "he wheezed. "Golem...Anthony...wasn't me...never hurt..." was all that got through to Draco before Harry blacked out.
Draco 's mind whirled with questions and confusion, but he set them aside and picked Harry up. Or at least he tried to, but Harry was heavier than he looked. He had to cast a lightening spell before he could get him to the infirmary.
Harry woke up smiling, practically hearing birds chirping and basking in a ray of sunlight. He'd had the most wonderful dream where Draco was performing a pole dance in a thong with shimmers all over his body. He was entrancing, dancing slowly to some beat Harry couldn't hear, and beckoning him to come closer and closer. His smile widened when he saw the real Draco next to him and murmured a good morning, wishing he would wake up like this every morning. He was busy being grateful that Draco was there, as opposed to wondering why he was there, when things started to come back to him. He almost rocketed off the bed.
"Draco!" he called out. "It wasn't me, I'd never hurt you, I swear!"
"I know, Potter, calm down, or Madam Pomfrey's going to have my hide." Draco responded, patting Harry's chest soothingly.
"What happened? What did Golem do?" Harry asked, lying back down slowly.
Draco explained what happened, while Harry listened with fascinated horror. He choked out a gasp when Draco told him it had been Ron that Golem had kissed and how he'd thought it had all been a plot to get back at the Slytherins for some reason.
"After I left, Weasley punched the fake you, but broke the bones in his fingers and Blaise tried to stun him when he wanted to leave, but he just absorbed it. That's when Granger told them something was off and sent for the Headmaster. The students banned the Gryffindors from the other house fests and there were a few brawls before the professors came in.
"I, of course, bumped into you by the sixth floor stairway and chose to help you instead of punching your lights out, even if I was sorely tempted. But it would've been redundant since you fainted after you garbled some gibberish.
"After Madam Pomfrey told me it was really you and you'd be out for a while, I went to find Vince and told him what had happened. They were scamming us, by the way. Vince and Weasley cooked up this plan to get us together, they've been a couple for over a year."
Harry laughed. "Well, it worked, didn't it? I don't think we would've gotten this far by ourselves. Though, I'd expect something like this from Hermione and Theo, not Ron and Vince. Did they find Anthony?"
"Yeah, exactly as you left him," Draco grinned. "He was expelled after they deflated him. Turns out conjuring Golems is illegal, they're only made for the greater good in time of need. They're unstable at best and really hard to get rid of."
"So, you found out why he did it?"
"Well yeah, Potter. To tell you the truth, I never really noticed him. I don't even think I've ever spoken to him. It's really flattering, in a disconcerting way."
"You do kind of inspire loyalty when people really pay attention and get to know you, Draco." Harry admitted shyly.
Draco looked at him in surprise.
"Yeah." Harry smiled. "You see, I kind of omitted the truth when you asked me if I fancied you. Truth is, I am in love with you. This whole fake boyfriends thing was never fake to me. I planned on telling you yesterday during a private dinner, but I guess that's out of the water now."
Draco just stared at Harry. He couldn't believe it, or rather he had believed it at one point, but had dismissed it just as easily. He wasn't exactly sure what to do, now that he was getting his wish on a silver platter.
"Hmm. Well, make it up to me then," he decided."Let's just pretend the Goldstein incident didn't happen. Today's Saturday to us, we're having a do over."
Harry was confused for a second, but then he nodded.
"You're right. We can't let him destroy our plans just like that. There's the Hufflepuff fest tonight, right?" Draco nodded. "We can sneak off then."
His head was spinning. Draco had just given him another chance to woo him, although it obviously wouldn't be as hard as he's imagined. He hoped he was in for more than a bit of snogging tonight!
"I now pronounce you husband and spouse."
Harry couldn't believe it. They were married! He couldn't help gazing at Draco with a goofy grin on his face. It seemed like just a few moments ago they'd been at the infirmary in Hogwarts, having revelation upon revelation thrown at them, the most important of course being that Draco felt the same way about Harry.
It hadn't been easy to get to this point though. After graduation they decided to tour the world together with Blaise, but Narcissa had insisted the couple stay with her in France for a while, so Blaise went on his own. It turned out Narcissa had been very weary of Harry and wanted to see if he was serious about her son. Harry was happy they'd gotten to know each other during their stay in France. It had taken a few months for her to warm up to him, but now Harry could see why Draco adored her so much.
Getting to know Narcissa hadn't been easy for him either. She'd always seemed so aloof and cold, even seeing how she interacted with her son had been strange to Harry at first. After all, Harry knew from seeing Molly and Petunia with their own children that mothers tended to treat their children like ten-year-olds who needed to be guided and coddled in whatever they did, no matter how old they were. Narcissa treated Draco as if he was an adult, like a friend. She didn't scold him for doing things wrong, she just airily questioned his decision to do something a certain way. They discussed things around tea and made plans to see art museums together. Draco definitely didn't have to do chores, though Harry surmised that was because they were incredibly wealthy and had house-elves to do everything. He didn't have a curfew, which Harry was actually grateful for.
Narcissa and Harry earned their mutual respect for one another when, after almost three months of living in the chateaux together, Draco left Harry home for a week to visit Pansy and insisted that Harry stay with his mother. They both went a bit stir crazy without Draco. The first few days they avoided each other like the plague. By the third day they finally sought each other out for things to do, but mostly to talk about Draco. When Draco returned, the two most important people in his live were finally amicable towards each other. She finally let them leave for their grand vacation two weeks later.
Aside from finding out about the wizarding world, touring the world with Draco was the most eye-opening experience Harry had ever lived through. Previously he'd never been further than Hogwarts and the Dursleys had never taken him out of Surrey. Their two-year vacation had not only shown him the amazing places in both the wizarding and muggle world, it had also cemented Draco and his relationship. There was no feeling that could be compared to making love under the stars of the enchanted ceiling in the penthouse of the Baglioni in Vienna. The only word Harry had to describe it was magical. And now here they stood.
As the couple kissed, and presented themselves as a union to their family and friends, Draco couldn't help but feel a sense of pride. Ron and Vince were officially the Crabbe – Weasleys. Had it been up to them, they would've been married right after school, but both their parents had made them plan their wedding properly. It was a good thing too, because they were two completely different people who wanted two completely different weddings. It had taken them five months to decide on the theme, since Vince had wanted a traditional pureblood wedding and Ron had wanted a simple celebration in the garden of the Burrow. The result was an elegant church wedding, followed by a grand picnic-like reception in the church's park. Ron and Vince were glowing and everybody was basking in their jubilation.
After the ceremony Draco urgently dragged Harry into an empty room to snog the daylights out of him.
"I couldn't take my eyes off of you during the whole ceremony." He said as they came up for air.
"Why Malfoy, do weddings turn you on?" Harry asked mischievously.
"No, but imagining ours does." Draco said and roughly pulled Harry for another kiss.
It was quite apt, Harry thought, that Vince and Ron had not only got them together, but would also manage to get them married without even knowing they did anything. That was truly friendship.