A Wonderful Life
Draco Malfoy, reporter for the Daily Prophet, has been assigned an almost impossible task: An in-depth interview with Harry Potter on the fifth anniversary of Voldemort's death. How can Draco get Harry to open up to him after everything that has transpired between them? How can Draco prove to Harry that he has changed since the war?
Thank you, Oliver for being my beta and inspiring me to write this story.
This story includes quotes and ideas from Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.
You all know that I don't own the Harry Potter characters (JKR does). But if I did, something like this would happen to them...
Death ends a life, not a relationship. – Morrie Schwartz
Harry Potter approached the back door of The Burrow, which was surrounded by the familiar litter of old Wellington boots and rusty cauldrons, alone.
He could hear the soft clucking of chickens coming from a distant shed and the quiet tinkering of dinnerware coming from the crooked house before him.
He knocked three times and the door opened at once.
"Harry, dear! It's so good to see you!" Mrs Weasley enthusiastically greeted him.
"Sorry I'm late, Mrs Weasley," he apologised, "last minute paperwork at the Ministry."
He looked around, expecting to find other members of the Weasley family there, but was surprised to see that Mrs Weasley had been alone in the kitchen.
Friday night dinners had become regular routine at The Burrow since the war. Mrs Weasley always set dinner down at seven o'clock and Harry was usually the last to arrive.
Mrs Weasley closed the door and steered Harry by the shoulders into the full glow of the kitchen light to examine his appearance.
"You're too thin," she sighed, looking him up and down. "The Ministry works you too hard."
"I'm fine," said Harry, used to this weekly inspection, "really."
"You're still as handsome as ever though," Mrs Weasley continued, brushing imaginary dust from his shoulders. She didn't seem to have heard his reply.
"Where is everyone?" Harry asked, turning to the kitchen table. He noticed it was only set for six people, which was unusual; all of Mr and Mrs Weasley's children and Hermione were present at the dinners each week without fail.
Mrs Weasley abruptly stopped grooming him and visibly turned a light shade of pink.
"Bill and Fleur couldn't make it this week," she answered him rather quickly, "neither could George. He's busy with the shop, you see. Charlie and Percy are away on business and Ginny is out with Dean."
Harry looked at her in confusion. He had seen Percy at the Ministry just this evening before he left, and George often tried to use work as an excuse to miss these dinners to no avail. Mrs Weasley expected them all every week.
She hurried Harry along before he could voice his suspicious thoughts.
"Arthur, Ron and Hermione are in the sitting room though," she said, her voice a little too high pitched as she pulled him into the other room, "and we also have a guest."
And sure enough, the moment he was pushed into the room he was greeted by three familiar faces and one strange one.
"Good to see you, Harry," Mr Weasley said, rising from his armchair and shaking Harry's hand. "How's work in the Auror office go-"
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, quickly jumping out of her seat and cutting Mr Weasley off. "I'm glad you are here! This is Aiden Sharp. He works at St Mungo's with me."
Harry found himself being pulled again, this time into a seat next to the stranger called Aiden.
"Nice to meet you," Aiden said pleasantly, also shaking Harry's hand. "I can't believe I'm finally meeting the great Harry Potter at last! Hermione's told me so much about..."
And on and on it went, two hours of mind-numbingly boring small talk, incessantly orchestrated by Hermione and Mrs Weasley.
"You're a fan of the Appleby Arrows, Aiden? What a coincidence! Harry loves Quidditch!"
"Yes, you won't find a bigger Quidditch fan than Harry! Perhaps you two should go to a game together! A friend gave me some free tickets, but I don't care for the sport much myself."
The evening ended with Hermione practically shoving a quill and parchment into Aiden's hand and demanding he give Harry his contact information.
Aiden looked delighted by the idea, but Harry did not. He accepted the parchment awkwardly and made a sudden excuse to leave.
He had barely exited his Floo and entered his apartment when Hermione came bursting in after him, Ron obediently following in her wake.
"That went well," she said happily. "I think Aiden really-"
"What the hell, Hermione!" Harry interrupted and rounded on her. "What was all that about?"
"Aiden's a nice guy and I thought-"
"You thought you could set me up again," Harry finished for her. "How many times do I have to tell you, I don't want to be set up with anyone at the moment?"
"Does that mean you won't go to the Quidditch game with Aiden? That would be a shame. I think you two really hit it off tonight. Don't you agree, Ron?"
Ron shrugged and gave a non-committal jerk of his head. When she turned away from him again he gave Harry an apologetic look.
"I'm not interested in dating right now," Harry maintained, throwing himself into his favourite chair by the fireplace, "I want to focus more on work at the moment."
"Harry, you've been fighting the Dark Arts since you were eleven!" Hermione persisted, perching herself on the arm of his chair and staring down at him imploringly. "It's time to do something else in your life."
"Just because you found the love of your life at a young age, doesn't mean the rest of us are going to be as lucky," Harry told her, folding his arms in front of himself in a defensive gesture.
He knew what she wanted. She wanted him to be happy with someone and doing and feeling the same things as herself and Ron.
But Harry was sick of her constant interfering. He was sick of her introducing him to her colleagues at work functions, tired of her chatting up total strangers for him when they went out, and tonight he was infuriated by the fact that she had bought one of them to The Burrow.
It meant Mrs Weasley was now in on it too. Hermione alone was bad enough. They would make an indestructible team together. Harry didn't stand a chance against them, but he would try.
"I'm not going to the Quidditch match," he said firmly.
"What's wrong with Aiden?" Hermione asked in an offended sort of way, matching Harry's defensive tone. It was all part of her plan. "He is good-looking and nice, and he holds a respectful job at St Mungo's."
"Yes, all the men you force on me are nice and good-looking and respectful," Harry replied, narrowing his eyes.
"I don't understand your problem with them then," she beseeched, pleading with him now in a sudden change of tact. "They are all really interested in you."
Harry grunted. "That's a delicate way to put it."
Ron made a large fake yawn from his position on the other side of the room, subtly hinting to Hermione it was time to go. She ignored him and glared at Harry, changing back to defensive.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"They are nice and good-looking and respectful, but they are completely obsessed by my fame," Harry said, glaring back at her. "The last bloke I agreed to go out with spent the entire evening staring at my forehead and asking if everything in the article written about me in Witch Weekly was true."
"You're probably just being paranoid," Hermione dismissed, "and who can blame them for being interested in your past!"
"I'm used to people only being interested in me because I am famous," Harry continued, the volume in his voice rising slightly, "but if someone is going to be my boyfriend, they shouldn't give a crap about it."
"Harry, finding someone like that is going to be virtually impossible," Hermione said, beseeching him again.
"I know," Harry agreed, "so I am not going to date anyone for a while."
Hermione opened her mouth to disagree, but Ron beat her to it by yawning again.
"I'm tired too," Harry said, standing quickly and heading to his bedroom, "I'll talk to you guys later."
He collapsed on his bed and fell into a deep sleep shortly after he heard Ron and Hermione disappearing through his Floo.
"Fenetre, you're to cover the latest Wizengamot trail this week. I want to print every detail up to the verdict! Scamander, I want the final draft of your Magizoology column on my desk by Tuesday afternoon!"
Barnabas Cuffe's booming voice filled the main office of the Daily Prophet. All of the reporters had gathered around for their daily meeting with the editor.
They would not have to remain there for long. Cuffe always kept their meetings short, swiftly delegating the articles he wanted his reporters to write.
"Smudgley, you're covering tomorrow's Quidditch match. Your ticket is being owled to you. Spleen, I want you down at St Mungo's as soon as possible. A girl was playing with a toy from Zonko's and suddenly grew horns on her forward. Interview her parents!"
Cuffe paced back and forth pointing and gesturing wildly at his employees.
"Gulch, you are to cover Smudgley's advice column for him until he completes his interview. Malfoy, you're on the feature article for the week. Witch Weekly did an article on Harry Potter and I want to go one better. I want an in-depth interview ready to go to print on Monday. It's the fifth anniversary of You-Know-Who's death so make it good! Potter's contact details are now on your desk."
"Wiggleswade, I want you to give advice on the worst legal problems you can find in your column this week. Braithwaite, make the next crossword trickier than ever! Let's go, team!"
With a sharp clap of his hands, Cuffe abruptly stopped talking and ended the meeting. Reporters darted in every direction, hurrying back to their desks or out of the building to begin their assigned tasks.
Draco Malfoy, however, followed his boss.
"What is it, Malfoy?" Cuffe cut him off, in a hurry to get back to his office.
"It's about my assignment, sir," Draco answered, "I appreciate being given the feature, but I don't think I'm the best person to conduct an interview with Harry Potter."
"Why's that?" Cuffe asked.
Draco was amazed at how a man as short and plump as Cuffe could walk so fast. He was struggling to keep up with him.
"We have never gotten along well," Draco explained, "and I haven't seen him in a long time."
"Oh, you mean your schoolyard rivalry," Cuffe remembered, still not slowing down. "I thought you and Potter put all of that nonsense behind you years ago, after your trial."
"We agreed to be civil from then on, yes," Draco replied, "but I don't think it means he'll trust me enough for this interview."
"You have as much of a chance as any of the other reporters," assured Cuffe. "Potter's very secretive about his private life. It took a while for me to convince him to do the interview, let me tell you. Nevertheless, he's expecting your owl!"
Just like he ended the meeting, Cuffe abruptly ended their conversation, this time snapping his office door shut behind him rather than clapping his hands.
Draco did not press him further. He stood in front of the closed door blinking rapidly for a moment, and then began to walk dejectedly to his desk.
Harry floated with a dream. Sleep had come quickly.
He had left his bedroom windows open for the night, and the night breeze drifted idly through them. He sighed and shifted with its gentle caress on his skin.
It was a soft stroking, like a butterfly's wing. It teased across his lips then came back to warm them. He stirred with pleasure.
His body was pliant, receptive. As the phantom kiss increased in pressure, he parted his lips. He drew the dream lover closer.
Excitement was sleepy. The tastes that seeped into him were sweet and potent and misted his brain.
With a sigh of lazy, languid pleasure, he floated with it.
In the dream, he wrapped his arms around the faceless lover. They whispered his name and deepened the kiss as his hands drew down the sheet that separated them.
A body, hard and muscular, pressed against his. Warmth became heat. The night breeze became stronger, flapping the drapes noisily.
With a moan, Harry let passion take him. The stroking along his body became more insistent at his response.
His mouth grew hungry, demanding.
The breeze turned into a sharp wind, knocking his lamp off his nightstand.
Suddenly, the filmy curtain of sleep lifted.
The weight on his body was gone and Harry felt the achingly empty space as he struggled out of his bed.
The dream had seemed so real and tangible, like he had wished for a companion so hard the universe finally decided to give one to him.
He told Hermione he didn't want to date anyone at the moment, which was true, but he still desperately wanted someone. He just didn't want to go through the painful routine of dating.
He freed himself from his sheets and headed in the direction of his bathroom, a large erection tenting his pyjama pants.
Hermione was desperate for him to find someone and settle down, but all of the men she threw at him were inappropriate. They didn't understand him.
The last bloke Harry reluctantly dated kept asking him if he could see the supposed Hippogriff tattooed across his chest.
Harry quickly removed his t-shirt and pyjama pants and discarded them haphazardly on the bathroom tiles.
The only mark on his chest was the oval-shaped scar from the third Horcrux, Slytherin's locket.
He stepped into the shower and blasted cold water onto it and the rest of his body.
His other scars were still visible also.
I must not tell lies stood out on the skin on his hand, the puncture marks from Nagini blemished his forearm, and his lightning bolt scar remained as always.
The Hippogriff tattoo rumour wasn't the worst of it though. People seemed to think that the war had incensed and jaded him. They thought that he had become an Auror to continue a vendetta against the Dark Arts.
He hated this rumour most of all. In the five years that passed he put the war and the pain of it behind him.
He came to peace with the death of Dumbledore, Snape, Lupin, Fred, Hegwig, Dobby and Tonks. He came to peace with death itself.
As long as he loved them and maintained his memories of them, they would never really go away.
All that love they created was still there. All the memories were still there.
Snape's and Dobby's sacrifice, Fred's and Hedwig's loyalty, Lupin's and Tonks' bravery, and Dumbledore's insight.
They lived on – in the hearts of everyone they touched and nurtured while they were still here.
Harry felt neither resentment nor anger towards the people and events that caused their demise.
They had died, but they were still with him.
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
Slowly, under the pounding of the chilly water, Harry began to cool and calm his body down.
He turned off the taps and dried himself using a Drying Charm.
He crawled back into his empty bed, his body still naked, and fell into a peaceful sleep.
It took Draco several attempts to get his key in the keyhole and successfully unlock his door.
He didn't trust himself to use magic considering his current emotions.
When the door finally clicked and was able to be released, he flung it open and threw his briefcase onto the sofa.
He wasn't angry or annoyed, he was terrified.
He stood in the middle of the entrance hall to his flat, breathing heavily and rapidly.
He hadn't seen Potter in five years, since the defeat of Voldemort.
It wasn't that he didn't want to interview Potter, see him and talk to him. It wasn't that he hated him.
It was quite the opposite actually. Draco fancied him.
Even though he hadn't seen Harry Potter in the flesh for half a decade, whenever he saw Potter's picture in the press he was filled with a desperate sense of longing and desire.
It wasn't because Potter had saved his life or because Potter had saved many lives. Draco had always wanted him.
The realisation had come in stages. Firstly, when Potter arrived captured at his house. Draco found himself unable to confirm his identity, unable to turn him in.
Next, Crabbe had him cornered in the Room of Requirement, his wand on him, a murderous look in his eyes.
"Don't kill him! DON'T KILL HIM!"
Draco didn't shout it because Voldemort wanted Potter alive to kill him himself. He did it simply because he wanted Potter to live.
Then, Potter had saved him from the cursed fire. Draco remembered the feeling of strong hands pulling him onto a broom. He remembered the presence of hard muscles as his arms clasped around Potter's chest.
He often relived these feelings throughout his dreams at night, except Potter's strong hands would be all over Draco's body and his chest would be pressed hard against him.
Draco read every piece of news printed about Potter and was often enraged by the false information and inaccurate assumptions they made about him.
A recent article in Witch Weekly discussed the latest rumours about Potter. They thought he had a Hippogriff tattooed across his chest and had become an Auror because he was still infuriated and haunted by his experiences with Voldemort and the Dark Arts.
Draco knew that that was far from the truth. He knew more about Potter than he cared to admit to others.
Potter became an Auror because it had been his goal his fifth year; all of his role models were Aurors; he was good at Defence Against the Dark Arts and was simply doing what came naturally to him.
Potter certainly wasn't the resentful type. If he was, he wouldn't have saved Draco and Goyle from the cursed fire and he wouldn't value and treat every human life equally.
Draco's breathing slowly returned to normal as he considered the disgraceful article by Witch Weekly.
He knew much more about Potter than they did. He could write a better article.
The only problem would be gaining Potter's trust and convincing him to open up to him in an in-depth interview.
To be continued
This is just a little piece of Harry/Draco love to get off my chest before I begin my final year of university and become overwhelmed with studying and assignment writing.