Title: Cue the Sun
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Warnings: Flangst, wanking
Summary: The summer solstice. The longest day of the year. Harry is determined to use the extra light to fix all the problems he can.
Author's Notes: This is the third in my "Seasonal Processions" series, eight linked fics centering around the pagan holidays, and, as the Midsummer fic, is the direct sequel to the Beltane fic "The Green Year" and the Ostara fic "Equinoctial." You'll probably want to read those first so the relationship between Harry and Draco makes sense. Happy Midsummer!
Cue the Sun
Harry opened his eyes on the twenty-first of June and turned his head to stare at the sunlight coming through the window. He was pleased to see that it was actually sunlight, gleaming and yellow, though it had to struggle through heavy clouds to reach the ground. That suited his sense of both the time of year and what he needed to do today.
Three months ago, he had started dating Draco Malfoy. Draco had accepted his extended hand tentatively, and it took Harry a while to work out why. He'd been scorned and spit on since the war, and there was no reason for him to believe that Harry's attempt to reach out wasn't just another trick.
And then Harry had taken him to the Burrow and tried to introduce him to the Weasleys too soon, and that had ended in disaster. The Weasleys weren't ready to accept Draco, Draco was still jealous of Ginny, and the whole evening had blown up. Things might have become unforgivable if Harry hadn't gone after Draco himself.
He hadn't meant to, but he had been responsible for whole new levels of stress appearing in Draco's life when he started dating him, though he also hoped he'd been responsible for new levels of joy.
Well. Today was the day that would see all that solved.
Harry sat up and began to dress with a small smile. He had given in to the Weasleys' objections so far, stepping around them and returning soft answers when they asked about how his relationship with Draco was going. He hadn't tried to bring the two halves of his life, friend and lover, together again. And he had ignored the subtle hopes from both that he would give up on the other.
He was done with that. He was going to deal with the objections in the simplest way he knew how: by mowing them down.
And no one was going to know what hit them.
No one is ever ready for Harry Potter, Harry thought, looking out the window one more time to wink at the sun, feeling it and he shared a secret, before he went to begin his task.
Harry smiled, standing on the stoop with his back to the door as he surveyed the field around the little house Hermione and Ron had bought. They both worked in London, but they had been unanimous in agreeing that London wasn't the place they wanted to live. Well, at least Ron had been unanimous, and then Hermione had become that way, Harry thought, because it was easier than arguing with him.
The field was open and quiet, except for the lazy calls of rooks who had found something worth eating in a corner near a winding fence. Harry was watching them when he heard the door creak open.
He took a deep breath and turned around. Don't give them a chance to object, he reminded himself, and stepped forwards, one arm out. His hand hit Ron neatly in the center of the chest and bulled him back before he could open his mouth. Well, at least he opened his mouth, but nothing but a little sigh came out as Harry propelled him neatly through the entrance and into the kitchen, where he sat down in a chair because Harry forced him to.
Harry paced back and forth in front of Ron, turning his manic grin on his best friend now and then. Ron sighed instead of responding again. Perhaps he knew what was coming, but Harry didn't think so. He looked uneasily fascinated. If he did know the rules Harry was about to lay down, he'd be trying for more protests than that gusty little sigh.
"Did I ever object when you and Hermione started dating?" Harry asked abruptly.
"Er," Ron said, looking caught as off-guard by this as by the rest of it. He scratched at the back of his head and stared at Harry as if he might make more sense viewed from a different angle. "No?"
"Exactly!" Harry said, with a triumphant nod, and then spun around and pointed his finger at Ron. Ron stared at the finger as if it might fire a death ray. He never had been the same about pointing fingers since they'd watched several Muggle movies together. "Who covered for you when you and Hermione wanted to sneak off and shag or snog during that last year when we were in school?"
"You did." By now, Ron had returned to watching Harry's grin. Nervously.
Harry nodded. "And when you had a row and swore that you were never going to date each other again, who brought you back together?"
"You did." Ron looked on surer ground here. "Do you want some acknowledgment of that, mate? Because I'm more than happy to give you—"
"Ron," Harry said.
"Yes?" Ron gave him a puppy-like expression.
Ron blinked, wounded. Harry loomed nearer to him and whispered, "And when you and Hermione got married, who arranged the wedding and kept the press from following you on the honeymoon and distracted that bloke who was convinced Hermione was meant to be his?"
"You did." Ron said it with a small amount of resignation. "Look, mate, what do you want? It's only bloody seven-thirty in the morning."
"I want you to accept Draco as my choice, the same way I accepted Hermione as yours and never showed the slightest sign of blame or resentment or jealousy that you had each other and I had no one." Harry leaned forwards until their noses touched. "You're going to do that. And you're going to like it."
Ron blinked at him for so long that Harry thought it was possible he really didn't understand. Harry was about to repeat himself when Ron stirred and said, "Hermione wasn't a racist little fuck who'd spent years hoping that all of us would die."
There was a complicated moment after that. At least, it was complicated for Harry. For Ron, who suddenly had his arm pinned down to the chair and held very firmly, it was probably simple. He whimpered a little.
Harry leaned in again. "How many times did you wish Draco dead down the years?" he asked. "How many times did I?" He left Hermione out of it. He genuinely wasn't sure if she had ever wished that or not. But he had, even if it was when he was younger and didn't really understand what death meant.
"That's different," Ron said.
"How?" Harry waited a minute for an answer, and then decided that it might be possible that Ron couldn't answer with the level of pain he was currently experiencing. He considerately let Ron up, and Ron took a few breaths before answering.
"Because we weren't wishing him dead because we were followers of You-Know-Who, or because of his blood." Ron pointed to himself with his free hand. "I'm pure-blood, too. Remember? We were wishing him dead because he was a git."
Harry shook his head in annoyance. He'd allowed himself to be distracted from his main purpose, and that wasn't a good idea. "Look," he said, "I don't care what happened between us at Hogwarts. I don't care how much we used to hate him. I want you to be as quiet and as polite as you can around him, all right? Be my best mate. Because I was a good best mate to you when you started dating Hermione, and it's the right thing to do in the first place."
"Hermione won't like it," Ron said, though he gave an anxious glance over his shoulder, as though Hermione might appear and contradict him.
"I think you're wrong about that," Harry responded. He'd thought long and hard about how to do this, and one reason he had waited—other than hoping that Draco and his friends would start to get along naturally—was that he had wondered if he was interpreting Hermione's glances correctly. In the beginning, she had looked exasperated with Harry and Draco, as if they were breaking natural law by attempting to date each other. Now those glances more often went in Ron's direction. "Really, I think so."
Ron gave a long-suffering sigh and wriggled his trapped hand. Harry released it. "Why'd you do that?" Ron muttered, rubbing his arm. "I would have listened to you without it."
"Really? I don't think so," Harry repeated in a light tone, but he held Ron's eyes until he looked down.
"No, I reckon I wouldn't," he said, in the mumbling whisper he used when he was hoping someone would ignore his admission.
"Well, then," Harry said. "All I ask is that you be polite, not that you do the impossible and change your mind about him overnight. Talk to Hermione. Talk to him sometimes. Don't stand by when someone in your family or at the Ministry makes a remark about him. Don't laugh. You can walk out of the room if you can't think of anything to say, but you know that you wouldn't have put up with me ignoring the word 'Mudblood' when you were dating Hermione."
"It's still not the same thing," Ron said.
"Not the same thing," Harry agreed. "But it's the closest thing that we're ever likely to see, and Draco has suffered enough for his crimes." He gripped Ron's shoulder and shook it, thinking that his friend looked far more dejected than he had ever seen him look about something like this. "I'm going to talk to the others, too."
Ron stared at him. "But if you were so sure that Hermione was going to support you, then why—"
"Not her," Harry said. "The rest of your family. I know that I shouldn't have brought him over that night in April to meet them, it was too soon, but they've been talking about Draco even when he isn't there, making nasty jokes and laughing and shutting up the minute they see me come into the room. I've tried to talk to them about it, but they pretend not to know what I mean each time, and that's not right. I'm going to give them the ultimatum about it today, the same way I gave it to you."
Ron considered that with a steadily paler face. Harry paused and raised his eyebrow. If Ron had some suggestion about how he should conduct this, he would be glad to hear it.
"Er, mate?" Ron asked. "Can you tell me what time you're going over to do that, so I can have the chance to hide first?"
"Harry! It's so nice to see you."
For a moment, Harry's chest ached. Mrs. Weasley was speaking with a sincere smile, and behind her, Ginny peered over her mother's shoulder, waving. Mr. Weasley came out of the shed behind the house, rubbing his hands together and nodding pleasantly. Like a lot of other Ministry workers, he'd taken a holiday for Midsummer parties.
They were really good people. Nice people. People Harry knew weren't trying to hurt him deliberately, because he hadn't been loud enough and firm enough about how talking about Draco like he was still evil hurt both of them. He didn't want to hurt them in return.
But then he looked over his shoulder at the sun rising in the sky, and took courage from it. Facing the Weasleys with a deep breath, he announced, "Do you know what day this is?"
"The longest day," said Arthur.
"Midsummer!" Ginny danced from foot to foot. "Are you coming to our party? You never answered the owl."
"The day I've just baked a pie," said Molly. "Would you like some?"
Harry shook his head and smiled. "The day that you stop treating Draco like rubbish," he said, and pushed into the house.
They followed him, blinking. Ginny had stopped dancing and watched him with a cautious expression. Molly dried her hands on a towel, or perhaps just rubbed flour off them. Or maybe to gain time, come to that. Harry wasn't sure. Arthur only looked puzzled, and scratched his ear as if he thought that would give him the answer to the implied question.
"I don't know what you mean," Molly said, the first to speak. She looked distressed, and Harry was sure that she'd been thinking about his accusation and how to reply to it most of the time she'd been silent. "I can't remember that we've ever treated him like rubbish, Harry dear. Of course we have bad history with his family, but he was a guest in our house. We wouldn't treat a guest poorly." She looked from her husband to her daughter as if they would back her up with signed testimonies.
"No," Ginny said. "We never did. There were some jokes, but George jokes like that with everyone who comes over." She had her arms folded and her expression calm and determinedly pleasant. Harry was sure that she knew what he was talking about better than either of her parents.
"I can't really remember anything that might have occasioned this visit," Arthur confessed. A fringe of red hair fell into his eyes as he stooped and looked into Harry's. "Are you Confunded? Have you been Memory Charmed? Those are the best explanations for strange and sudden thoughts appearing in your head."
"Of course he has been." Molly clapped her hands and reached behind her for a vial of one of the concoctions that she had been feeding Harry for years, assuring him they were good for everything from a bruised chest to a cold. "That's the explanation. It would be like that nasty Malfoy boy to do something—"
Harry held out his hand. His heart was pounding, and almost none of the good humor he'd woken up with that morning was still there. How long had this gone on? How vicious had it been without him noticing? Draco would have been the one around for most of it, but Harry had no desire to ask him for details. It was enough that he knew about it now, and that he would stop it no matter what he had to do.
"Draco didn't Confound me," he said. "He didn't Obliviate me. And neither did anyone else. Those pranks, those jokes, those 'innocent' remarks about Death Eaters…that's what you've done. That's why he never felt comfortable visiting your house since that night in April when I stupidly brought him here. And that's why I'm here to tell you that you'll stop saying those things, or you'll stop seeing me."
A silence. Arthur and Molly exchanged glances that Harry couldn't read, the same way that he couldn't read some of Ron and Hermione's. He thought it was a tradition that a couple developed when they'd been together for a long time.
He hoped he and Draco would have the chance to develop their own.
Ginny, less reticent than her parents, broke the silence first. "That's not fair, Harry," she said. "You know we suffered during the war. A few jokes about Death Eaters shouldn't damage him that much." She turned her head and looked towards the chair in the kitchen where Fred used to sit, the chair that was often still kept for him even when the kitchen table was full of bustling company and chattering Weasley children.
"I know," Harry said. "But he suffered, too. And he's suffered more than you have since then. I don't want him feeling unwelcome in a place that I feel so welcome in. And so the only two solutions are that you either stop, or that I stop coming here, because I can't be in a place that makes the man I love uncomfortable."
They all stared at him when he said that, and Harry knew why. He hadn't said it to them before. Well, so what? He put up his chin and kept as brave a front as he could, while his heart imitated a kangaroo all over his chest.
Then Molly said, "Harry, dear. It sounds as though you're trying to choose between us and—Draco, and I don't think that's a good thing. Did he force you into making this choice? Because that's a sign of a bad relationship."
"He had nothing to do with it," Harry said firmly. "He thinks too little of his own claims to ask me to do something like this, even when he should. I thought of it on my own, and I'm coming here today and telling you this. You wouldn't make Veela jokes about Fleur—although you weren't nice to her when Bill was engaged to her," honesty compelled him to add. "I feel like that with Draco. You don't like him, and so you're hostile to him and see that hostility as justified. I'm sure Bill was uncomfortable when you made fun of Fleur. But he couldn't speak up because you were family. He just hoped that you would learn to tolerate her. Well, I'm not exactly family, and I'll walk away if you can't tolerate Draco."
Another exchange of glances. Then Ginny said, "I don't want you to go away."
Harry smiled at her. Then he noticed the determined tilt of her chin, and sighed under his breath. He didn't think she was done.
"But I don't want him here," Ginny said. "He really has no reason to be here, does he? I mean…why? Why can't you come without him? He's not part of the family, and you are, and these gatherings are only for family."
"But you wouldn't say that about George's girlfriend, or you own boyfriend," Harry said quietly, forcefully. "You don't say that about Hermione, or, now, Fleur."
"He's not part of the family in the same way they are." Ginny lowered her eyes and looked like a little girl as she peered at her own twisting fingers.
"Why not?" Harry cocked his head and stepped closer. He had long ago learned that the best way to force Ginny to say what she was thinking was confrontation. She would blurt out the truth before she could restrain herself. "Because I'm bent, or because I'm not your parents' blood child?"
"As if that's ever mattered!" Molly cried, before Ginny could answer. She flew forwards and clasped Harry in her arms. "We were thoughtless, Harry. It's true that we don't like him, but we never tried to discourage Bill from marrying Fleur, and we should never have tried to discourage you from dating—Draco." Her mouth twisted before she said the name, Harry noted, but she said it. "Bring him along if you like, and we'll try to be kind to him."
"We will," said Arthur, who nodded firmly and then gave Harry a doubtful glance. "If he tries to be kind to us."
"Oh, of course he will, Arthur," Molly said, switching sides all in a moment, turning on her husband and smacking him lightly on the back of the head. "No one that our Harry's fallen in love with could ever be completely wrong—"
Harry listened to the words with the back of his mind while he kept his eyes on Ginny, and waited for her response. She glanced at her parents, then at him, and there was bitterness in her face, the same way there had been when he told her that he didn't think they were suited to dating.
"Why should it matter what I think?" she muttered. "You've already got all the approval that you need to bring him here."
"Of course it matters," Harry said. "You're my friend."
"But not your boyfriend." Ginny folded her arms and looked away.
Harry knew she was feeling disregarded and set aside yet again, the way she often had as the youngest of seven children, but he couldn't yield because of that. Putting up with Ginny treating Draco badly was not something he would do. "No," he said. "You could never fulfill that position for a variety of reasons." Ginny gave him a reluctant half-smile, and Harry pushed ahead. "Give him a chance. He's not so bad."
"I've never seen you look like that over anyone," Ginny muttered. "But that means you're leaving me behind, doesn't it?"
"As a friend, never, unless you insist on being rude to him," Harry said. "But it does mean that I'm not going to date you, yes."
Ginny turned her back for a few minutes. Harry waited. It seemed that Draco had been more right than he knew when he said Ginny still had feelings for Harry. That was incredible to Harry, because he didn't see what the great attraction was, but that didn't make any difference to the strength of Ginny's emotions, as he well knew after three months of everyone asking him why he liked Draco.
Not just liked, he reminded himself. Loved. I said it aloud. I can't take it back. And tonight, I get to say it to Draco.
Finally, Ginny faced him again. Her parents were still talking about the old Weasley-Malfoy feud and who had been at fault in that in the first place, and no one but Harry heard her murmur, "It's not—it's not what I wanted from you. What I needed."
"No," Harry agreed gently. "I'm sorry." He held out his arms, not sure if she would want a hug or not. She stiffened for a moment and then came and stood in the circle of his embrace with a sigh, hugging him fiercely back.
"I'll try not to resent it," she whispered, and kissed him quickly, and moved back. "But you might not want to bring Malfoy here for the Midsummer party."
Harry nodded. "I hadn't planned on it." He had a far more—private—celebration in mind.
Ginny seemed to read his thoughts through the expression on his face, because she wrinkled her nose and said, "I didn't need to know that. Go away."
After a short conversation with Molly and Arthur—or as short as a conversation could be when it involved Molly—Harry was happy to do so. He had preparations to make for tonight, and more preparations to consider but, probably, not actually make. He didn't want to embarrass Draco, just make him comfortable and happy and desired.
Draco paused in the doorway of the private room at the Leaky Cauldron that Harry had hired and outfitted. "Harry?" he muttered doubtfully, one hand running up and down the door as if he wanted to shut it. "What is this?"
Harry straightened from lighting the last candle and smiled at him. "Our Midsummer party."
He'd decorated the walls with bright paintings of the sun in various stages of rising and setting, so that portraits of a complete day surrounded the table. Overhead, he'd strung orange and peach and pale blue ribbons, to imitate the colors of a dawn and evening—every color he could think of except red and gold. He didn't want to bring to mind any painful memories for Draco tonight, if he could possibly help it.
On the table was the traditional Midsummer meal (or at least what a very snooty pure-blood book said was traditional): a round yellow wheel of cheese, pieces of red, coarse bread, apples, and honey, complemented by some kind of golden wine with a name that Harry couldn't pronounce. Harry didn't even like honey that much, but when he looked up and saw the expression on Draco's face, he didn't think that mattered.
"How did you know," Draco said, and stopped, apparently too overwhelmed even to make it a question.
"It wasn't that hard, once I started trying to see what you needed," Harry said, and held his hand out.
Draco came to take it, his eyes darting across the round of sun pictures as if he was viewing them in order. Harry hoped he would. Supposedly, that was the way they would have the best effect, though Harry had to admit that he didn't find them as compelling as the books seemed to promise.
"You don't like pictures like this," Draco said accurately enough, staring at Harry when he could finally take his eyes from the walls. "Why did you put them up?"
"Because I wanted to give you a Midsummer celebration," Harry said, and kissed the palm of his hand. "Oh, and I wanted you to know that Ron and the Weasleys will be keeping any comments they have to themselves for the present. I don't blame you if you don't want to go back to the Burrow, but if you have to, at least they'll treat you decently."
"What did you do?" Draco asked, starting to sit down, and then pausing to regard Harry with a bemused look as Harry drew his chair out for him. "Threaten to separate every ugly brick in that house from every other?"
"Of course not," Harry said. "And I know that I don't have to say anything to you about it, because you're far too sophisticated and calm to ever make insulting comments about them in return."
Draco toasted him with the glass of wine.
The meal was mostly silent, apart from the sounds of food being chewed and a short conversation they had about Quidditch and Draco's Ministry Department, which he made sound so stupid Harry wondered how they kept from vanishing up their own arses. (It was probably only because they would have to find their arses first). Draco cast him plenty of speculative glances, but always seemed to be looking at his plate when Harry tried to catch his eye.
Finally, Draco set aside the last of his cheese and leaned forwards. "Not that I don't appreciate it," he said. "The meal. The traditions. The companionship." He gave Harry a thin smile. "The threats."
Harry raised his eyebrows and waited, turning his wineglass around in his hands.
"But I don't quite know why." Draco spread his fingers helplessly across the table until they almost touched Harry's wrist. "I don't know what you're doing this in aid of. I don't know what you want from me. I don't know where you see this ending up." His voice never rose, but the tone of sharp frustration in it was evident enough. "What are you doing?"
Harry rose to his feet and walked around the table. Draco withdrew his hand and sat looking up at him. He looked less worn-down and weary than Harry had seen him on that day three months ago, that first day of spring, but he was still guarded. If he hurt Draco badly, Harry thought, he would never get to know it.
"I'm sorry," Harry whispered. "I'm in love with you, and if you don't know that by now, I didn't make myself sufficiently clear."
Draco's mouth fell open. Harry leaned in to kiss him, and slid his hand down Draco's chest.
Draco got the idea fast enough, and he certainly didn't object, although he said something incoherent about speed when Harry tore his trousers halfway down his legs. Then Harry got his pants pushed aside and Draco's cock in his hand for the first time.
Draco closed his eyes, but Harry was the one who exhaled as though in relief.
He wanked Draco slowly, pushing him up and down on waves of pleasure, then easing off whenever the pleasure became too obvious in Draco's face. Draco kept breathing out when he did that and opening one eye to stare at him. Then he would shut it again and lean back against Harry's arm and shoulder, lips softening.
Harry had to remind himself to watch what he was doing, at least occasionally, so that his hand didn't slip right off, and not only Draco's face.
Draco shuddered finally, and kept shuddering, even when Harry teasingly slowed the pace of his hand. So Harry sped up instead, and had the satisfaction of feeling Draco clench at his arms and choke off a shout.
Then he came, and Harry leaned his cheek down against Draco's hair to feel the orgasm in the shakes of his head.
He spelled his hand clean as Draco got his breath back, except for a few drops that he deliberately left on his thumb. As Draco sighed and opened his eyes, Harry caught his gaze and licked them up.
"Happy Midsummer," he murmured.
The traditional meal was supposed to bring light to your lover's eyes. Harry didn't know if that was the cause, but then again, the cause didn't matter. Draco's face was full of brightness, and that was enough.