Safe and Warm

Chapter Nine

The weekend before the start of the new term was Draco's birthday. Normally this meant a lavish party with no expense spared but this year Draco had declined the large party, instead asking if he could have a few friends over. The idea behind this was that Harry would be able to meet a few of his fellow classmates before school officially started. Besides Draco knew that Harry may have come on in leaps and bounds recently but he was not ready for a party just yet.

Harry knew what Draco had done, cancelling his birthday party just for him and the guilt he was feeling about that wasn't a nice feeling. He didn't want Draco to be unhappy because of him. The day before all of the friends were due to arrive Harry took advantage of the fact Draco was organising last minute food details for the small get together and he snuck away to Lucius' office. Somewhat timidly, he knocked.

"Come in" He heard the older Malfoy say. Harry opened the door a fraction and slid inside. His heart was racing, this was the first time he had been alone with Lucius or with anyone other than Draco, Melody and Narcissa. He was still wary of grown men but he needed something from Lucius and he had to ask now or he never would.

"I'm sorry to disturb you Mr Malfoy." Harry begun but Lucius cut him off by waving his hand in the air.

"There is no need for such formalities here Harry, you are already like a son to me, please call me Lucius and as for disturbing me, there is no need to be sorry. I was due a break from all this blasted paperwork anyway." He said with a smile. He really was fond of the small teenager.

Harry looked somewhat taken aback by Lucius' words but he slowly took it in his stride and continued, gathering up all the courage he had in him.

"I want to get something for his birthday." Harry said, "To say thank you." He added.

"And how can I help with that?" Lucius asked with a smile. He thought he knew where this was going and all he wanted to do was wrap the small child up in his arms and hug him.

"I don't know what he'd like and I have no money, if you can help me I'll work for you, doing anything you want till I pay you back. I just want to give him something. I'm sorry to ask, I know I shouldn't have, I'm sorry, I just really like him and he's done so much for me, you all have. Sorry, I'm really sorry. I'll just go."

"Harry, stop, please. Calm down, I think that it's sweet that you want to give him something and that you're asking me for help. I won't deny you that but I don't want you to work for me. As I said, you are like a son to me. However I do not think buying him something is the answer. Sit down here and let us talk." Lucius said motioning to the large black leather sofa in his office. Slowly and cautiously Harry did as he was told, perching shyly on the edge of the cushion, feeling a little awkward as Lucius came to sit down beside him. "Now, Harry, in your very fast and mumbled tirade you mentioned that you liked Draco."

"I do, I really do." Lucius smiled at this.

"You have been through a lot in your very short lifetime. You've experienced things that no one should have to experience, especially not a child. I need you to thing, when you say that you like Draco do you mean as a friend or as something more. I don't mean to pry but I can see the way Draco looks at you, I know what you mean to him. I don't want either of you getting hurt."

Harry remained silent while he processed this, he had never thought of feeling like that for anyone, love was completely alien to him. He hadn't had parents to love and he certainly hadn't had any nice feelings towards the Dursley's. The idea of loving Draco was an odd concept and until Lucius had mentioned it he hadn't realized that he did in fact see the boy in that light. He had been so confused and scared when they had first met. Harry remembered looking into the silvery blue eyes the night he had woken up in the hospital and he knew he had been able to trust Draco no matter what. Harry had felt reassured and comforted by his presence.

Harry wasn't entirely sure that he was ready to be in love. His body still ached where Vernon had hurt him, it was a constant reminder of the pain he had suffered through growing up in that house. However as he sat on that ridiculously comfortable leather sofa he knew that he didn't want to lose Draco jut because he was scared of what loving someone might mean.

Harry turned to look at Lucius who was watching Harry with a patience only a father could have, waiting for an answer. The older Malfoy looked startlingly like Draco, his face was kind and his eyes the same trusting shade of reassuring blue that Harry knew he could depend on.

"I won't hurt him." Harry said finally, his voice a whisper, "He means a lot to me too and not just because he saved me."

Lucius smiled, satisfied in his match making abilities. His father had matched him to Narcissa and they were still happily married. He loved his wife dearly and he knew that he wanted the same happy marriage for his eldest son. In Harry, he knew that Draco would have that. "Then the best gift that you can give him is telling him how you feel." He said with a kind smile.

Then taking both by surprise Harry leaned forward and hugged Lucius. Startled at first Lucius returned the embrace. Just in those few minutes, Harry had taken another step toward a full recovery.

Draco caught up to Harry as he came out of his father's study. The young blonde was confused as to why Harry had been in there but he knew better than to pry. Instead he took Harry by the hand and launched into a long explanation into the intricate details of the food they would be having for his birthday lunch.

Harry listened intently, unbelievably relaxed just by the sound of Draco's voice. He reflected on the talk that he had had with Lucius and he knew that the older Malfoy was right. The best present to Draco on his fifteenth birthday would be to tell him exactly how he felt. How he was going to go about doing that he didn't know but it was going to take a lot of courage and maybe a little help from Melody as well.

Harry was startled out of his musings by Draco asking him when his birthday was. Harry went to answer him but then realised that he didn't know. He had never been given a single present in his life to his knowledge. The Dursley's had never told him when he was born.

"I don't know" Harry replied truthfully and felt even more pathetic at that moment than he had in days. Draco was felt anger, he already hated Harry's Aunt and Uncle but the fact they hadn't even told Harry when his birthday was built the anger up even more.

"Don't worry Har, I'll find out for you. Severus will know." Draco said with confidence as they headed up the stairs to go to bed.