Title: One April Night - Epilogue
Word Count: 2,300 this chapter/17,300 overall
Disclaimer: The HP world belongs to JKR and the herd of lucky bastards who saw a good thing and jumped on it when they had the chance. I, sadly, am not one of said bastards. This is for entertainment purposes only, no copyright infringement intended.
Summary: They say that when a person loses one of their senses, the others heighten in an attempt to make up for the lack. I think he must have been one of mine. I notice such insignificant things now that I never had before. I can almost taste the sunrise, like vanilla and tangerines blended into one smooth, delicious, summertime kiss. I sit in the park across the street from home, watching the day begin. The sun peeks over the horizon in a futile attempt to catch a glimpse of the night sky that is now retreating in its presence, for no two things so entirely opposite could ever coexist in the same place at the same time...I wonder how that escaped our notice for so long.
Warnings: No more than the usual. Angsty boy issues, sexual content...
A/N: My usual thanks and inappropriate gropage to bookjunkie1975 for the speedy beta job, and to the keeper of my heart, vampireisthenewblack, for beating the holy living adverbs out of me and, for once, NOT demanding more come.
It didn't take long at all for Healer Miller to take on the task of training me personally. Most of my education was still fresh in my mind. It was only actual experience that I lacked, which is being rectified now, Monday through Friday here in St Mungo's.
Miriam has been discharged into the care of her maternal aunt and uncle after months of having nowhere to go. The Ministry had difficulty locating any remaining members of the child's family as they had been living outside of the country for several years now.
Unable to have children of their own, the young couple had dedicated their lives to humanitarian services in less fortunate parts of the world. She had been devastated to hear of the death of her sister, but perfectly happy to come home and care for the orphaned child.
Miriam had spent weeks healing, and months grieving, so to see a smile on the girls face as I passed her from my arms to the waiting embrace of her aunt, was truly something worth the effort I'd extended into her care.
It's a small accomplishment in comparison with what's to come in this career, but it's an accomplishment nonetheless. I smile to myself as I leave the children's ward, tucking my wand into the pocket of my green robes.
"Have a good night, Healer Malfoy," Susan, a resident attendant, calls from her spot on the couch surrounded by sleepy children.
I smile at her. "I'll see you in the morning."
The leaves are beginning to turn, signalling the end of another long summer. I note that, with each changing season, comes significant change in my life as well. Gradually, brighter memories of happier times are slowly driving away the shadows of my past.
I reach out and take Harry's hand as we make our way down the quiet street. An autumn chill sweeps through the air, sending a shiver through us both.
"Why do you think they do that?" I ask once we're far enough away from Hermione and Ron's house that I'm sure they won't hear us.
"Do what?" Harry inches closer, his shoulder brushing mine.
"Invite us over for dinner and then refuse to allow us to help them clean up." Hermione and Ron are an odd pair. We have dinner with them every Thursday night and each time, I watch in fascination as they perform all of their domestic duties with as little magic as possible.
"I think it helps them to stay close, understand each other better," Harry answers. "Hermione's Muggle-born. She grew up watching her parents do everything together without the help of magic. It's part of who she is. Sort of seems to be their way of meeting each other in the middle, compromising, you know?"
I nod in understanding. "They seem happy that way. Even when they're washing dishes they still smile and sneak kisses into their conversation."
"It gives them more time together, to talk, or...I don't know. Just be together. Sort of like this." He squeezes my hand. "I mean, why is it that we walk home every Thursday night rather than Apparating?"
I stop, tugging Harry to a halt beside me. His look of confusion quickly melts into something else as I pull him to me for a deep, messy kiss. I still don't have it in me to tell him that I love him as often as I think it—which is almost constantly—but that's all right. I show him, and it feels good to be able to do that.
He hasn't been home long. Both of us agreed to take our time restarting this relationship of ours. Our bedroom glows softly with the light of Harry's candle. I sit on the edge of the bed, waiting for him as I watch the flickering flame. This time, I feel as though I know the stories it tells. It speaks of love and longing, sorrow and remorse, but it also tells a tale of happiness and lessons learned.
"That might be something else to talk to Anna about next time we see her," Harry jokes as he enters the room and catches me—not for the first time—lost in thought, gazing at the tiny flame. "The strange attachment you seem to have formed with that thing." He tosses his towel down as he crosses the room.
"Are you jealous?" I smile, dragging my hands up his thighs as soon as I can reach him.
He slides his fingers into my hair, tilting my head back so that our eyes meet. The sheer intensity of his gaze nearly steals my breath away and all residual thought of candles and gentle banter are driven out of my mind when he leans down and kisses me.
"I'm proud of you," he says with a small, shy smile.
I almost laugh at how odd he sometimes is, to stand here in front of me, completely naked with no shame at all only to become timid as he strikes up a conversation on a serious topic.
"Really," he continues when I fail to respond. "It takes a lot of courage to change the things you aren't happy with in life, no matter what they are."
He leans down, pressing a kiss to my forehead.
"Don't leave," I whisper against his lips as he makes to pull away. I wrap my arms more tightly around him, savouring the warm press of his body against mine as we lay together on the couch. It's been a lazy day filled with stolen glances, silent kisses and gentle touches. There's an actual physical pain in my chest when I think of him going home for the night. It's been so long since I've fallen asleep beside him.
"I think sleepovers are against the rules." He smiles, searching my eyes before kissing me softly once again.
"The rules are self-imposed, Harry. They're ours to break."
He sighs, resting his head on my shoulder. I draw my knee up, hooking my leg over his and creating an even more difficult position for him to get out of—not that he's trying.
"Come home." I want it to sound like a request, but I'm afraid it's come out more as a desperate plea. It's been months since that night in April, since we decided to try again.
He's silent for so long that I fear he'll never respond, but then he does.
"Okay." His hot breath fans out over my neck, warming my entire body with the promise of that one, tiny word.
He nuzzles against my neck and inhales deeply before moving again, slowly dragging his lips across my jaw until his mouth is on mine. "Okay," he repeats before kissing me again.
If it were possible, my heart would burst with the love and elation that floods my soul. I wonder if he can taste it.
He takes my hand as we walk into our bedroom together. Wimble has left the window open after cleaning this afternoon, airing out the staleness and disuse of the room. The curtains dance on the breeze as if waving us on, encouraging our reunion.
A breathless laugh escapes him as I wrap my arms around his waist and kiss his neck.
"Impatient?" he accuses as his fingers betray his question, unfastening my trousers and pushing them down. He tugs at the hem of my shirt until that, too, is gone, leaving me entirely exposed.
His gaze is filled with such love and need that all thought of embarrassment at standing here before him, completely naked, is quickly driven away. It only takes a single touch from him to assure me that he is—has always been—exactly what I need to save me from myself.
Gently, I coax Harry down onto the bed, slowly making my way up his body and kissing each newly exposed spot of skin as I remove his clothing. I'm inexplicably nervous, as if this is my first time. Perhaps it's the first time it's actually mattered so much.
Trembling fingers grip my jaw, and in that moment I know it's the same for him. He pulls me into a slow, sweet kiss that seems to wash through me, cleansing my mind and body of all lingering despair from his absence. The hot slide of his tongue, the warm touch of his hand, his breath mingling with my own are all testimony of how very real this moment is. I shift deliberately against him, dragging my body over his, hot, hard, needy.
My mind is awash with desperation and longing. Every touch, every kiss, coalesces into the next, igniting my senses, reminding me of what it feels like to live rather than simply exist. Another deliberate shift sees me lying on my back, pulling Harry atop me in a silent request that I know he understands.
A hot mouth against my neck is only a slight distraction from the burning stretch of his oil-slick fingers in my body. It's been so long, so fucking long, and I nearly whimper as he finally withdraws them, only to be replaced by his thick, heavy cock. He continues to kiss and lick my neck as he slowly slides into me. My fingers twist into his hair, holding his mouth against my skin. The soothing heat of his body is a welcome distraction to the dull ache that I'm no longer accustomed to.
It only takes a moment for my body to remember. He fits so perfectly, filling me with each agonisingly slow inward stroke, only to leave me empty and aching when he pulls out again. I need more of him, all of him, and I don't know how to accomplish that when he's already inside me.
I wrap my legs around his waist more tightly, splaying my hands out over his back, needing to touch as much of him as possible.
"Draco." It's almost a plea and I realise that his voice, his acknowledgement, is exactly the closeness that I'm longing for. "God, I've missed you so much."
It feels as if I'm falling into a deep chasm, clinging to him like he's all that could save me. With one hand on my hip, he holds me as he thrusts into me again. I shift helplessly, needing to feel more of his skin against mine, taste more of his kisses on my tongue, hear more of his breathless words in my ear.
He complies without the need for simple words, pressing his chest to mine and whispering in his lust-thick voice.
"You feel so good, so fucking perfect."
He teases my lips apart with his soft, sweet tongue and all sense of time is lost in that one slow kiss. The only coherent thought in my mind is that suddenly the entire world makes perfect sense to me; the careful balance of pain and ecstasy, loss and union, love and hate. For without the other, one would have nothing by which to measure its opposite.
Even the darkest pieces of my past were not without merit. I think that if I had never experienced such fear and pain, perhaps this moment wouldn't shine so blindingly bright, consume me so entirely, lift me out of myself and into us.
Or, perhaps it would.
Another slow stroke and I cry out in pleasure as he drags mercilessly against that spot inside me, igniting every long-neglected nerve in my body.
No words can describe the dizzying pleasure that cascades through me as Harry reaches between us, taking my cock in his hand and stroking as he pushes into me even deeper than before.
"Harry," I moan, unable to stop myself, unwilling to try. "I love you." The words come easily now, driven by truth and the knowledge of what it means to keep them to myself.
"I love you, too," he answers breathlessly, screwing his eyes shut tightly and biting down on his bottom lip.
"Look at me," I whisper, the need to see his eyes too great to ignore, even in a moment of such pleasure.
Green eyes snap open, droplets of moisture clinging to dark lashes as they flutter for the briefest moment before he fixes his gaze on mine. The weight of emotions in their depth threatens to crush me, but only adds to the incredible tempo of ecstasy inside.
A building heat swirls in my centre, molten pleasure causing a tightness that I can no longer control. Images flash behind my eyes of sunsets and thunderstorms and dancing in our bedroom. My muscles clench around him, drawing him in, gripping him tightly as my release pulses out of me, hot and sticky.
Harry isn't far behind. His lips part, mouth hovering over mine as if he can't focus enough to kiss me. But then he does, hot and desperate and messy as he groans and fills me with his own release. Uncaring of the mess I've made between us, we continue to slide languorously together, sated and over-sensitive, but neither willing to relinquish our hold on each other.
Life is full of choices. Sometimes people opt for what appeals to them rather than what's best. Mistakes can't always be unmade, just as words can't be unspoken. But we each come to a point in our lives where we must look back at the road we've travelled and decide for ourselves which parts of our past will break us, and which will define us. I made the decision to assail my demons, to drive out the foolish pride ingrained by my father and his father before him, to love without reservation.
The future is ours to mould, but no matter where it takes us, he is my choice.
I choose him.
That's that. One April Night is now complete. I hope you all enjoyed this little mini-fic. Thank you so much for reading, and for the lovely reviews.
Side note for Chloe (since you weren't logged in last night while reading): Thank you for the thoughtful reviews. I'm sorry to have caused your family alarm. And, I forgive you for calling me a heartless bitch. *dies laughing*