Author(s): radcliffe_bass, co-written with clover71
Betas: clover71, nenne and lady_of_clunn from livejournal
Glomp For: keitn
Title: Of Relationships and Daily Prophets
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, side pairing/mentions of Ron/Hermione, Blaise/Ginny and Theodore/Pansy
Summary: The two things that Harry Potter hates the most now that Voldemort is gone, are people paying him too much attention and the Daily Prophet.
Rating: PG-13 (for kissing and mild swearing)
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Slight Angst, Fluff, implied Harry/Charlie and Harry/OMCs
Epilogue compliant? No. EWE.
Word Count: 4,707
Author's Notes: Written for keitn's prompt for the 2011 Glompfest at the Serpentinelion LJ community. Comments and concrits are welcome and much appreciated. Happy reading!
The two things that Harry Potter hates the most now that Voldemort is gone, are people paying him too much attention and the Daily Prophet. Ten years have passed since the Second Wizarding War and Harry is still the Daily Prophet's favourite topic to write. He never reads the newspaper even though Hermione Granger-Weasley insists that he retain his subscription, which he agreed to as he does not want to die an excruciating death.
Harry wishes he had taken the time to read whatever rubbish Rita Skeeter has dished out about him before feeding the paper into the rubbish bin where it belongs. That might have given him an idea as to why people - whom Harry can't help but notice are holding copies of the latest edition of the Daily Prophet - keep giving him weird looks as soon as he steps out of the Floo.
Harry tries his best to ignore them, but when some people start approaching him to give him unsolicited advice and Merlin forbid, some random blokes are leering at him openly, Harry knows that whatever it is that Rita has written is bad.
Bad enough for Hermione, Ron Weasley and Ginny Zabini to take time off from their busy schedules to pay his office a visit at eight in the morning. Hermione shoves her copy of the Daily Prophet to Harry's face to show the headline spread - which Harry figures out is the reason why people are acting strange around him. There's a blurred picture of him (funny how the picture's supposed to be blurry yet his face is still recognisable) kissing another guy, whose face is unrecognisable (surprise, surprise!) on the page. Although the familiar shade of platinum blond locks on the other man can only be attributed to one family – and is in Harry's opinion a dead giveaway to the identity of his partner.
This knowledge makes Harry wonder why Ron is not throwing a fit. Judging by the way Ron is clenching his fist and by Ginny's amused expression, Harry thinks that Hermione might have warned Ron earlier to behave before rushing over to Harry's workplace. Harry's smile widens at the hilarity of the situation.
It turns out to be a bad thing when Hermione snaps at him. "Don't you dare, Harry! Explain why you're kissing Malfoy in an alley in Muggle London of all places?"
"You said that was not Malfoy!" Ron shouts, making Hermione turn her attention back to her husband.
Harry almost laughs when Hermione rolls her eyes but he opts to remain quiet. Although that does not stop him from sharing an amused look with Ginny, which, unfortunately for them, Hermione catches.
"Harry James Potter," Hermione says in a voice that Harry knows translates to 'I-am-losing-my-patience', and that voice, based on Harry's experience, does not bode well for anyone his friend uses it on. Which, in this case, is him.
Harry has no other choice but to reply. "I was kissing Draco because he's my boyfriend and we were on a date. Although I cannot, for the life of me, understand how they were able to track us. There was a reason we were in Muggle London, for Merlin's sake!"
"Draco? That was really Malfoy?" Ron asks, his eyes wide in disbelief.
Harry laughs at Ron's reaction but stops when it looks as if Ron might faint from shock. "Why does it seem like you're more concerned with the fact that it's Draco I'm kissing than with the fact that I like blokes?"
"Oh, Harry please." It's now Ginny's turn to roll her eyes. "How many times do I have to tell you that the Wizarding World is more tolerant than the Muggle world when it comes to same sex relationships?"
"Really?" Harry looks at Hermione and Ron for confirmation.
Hermione nods while Ron answers. "Yes, I mean Charlie's gay and has been living with his boyfriend in Romania for years now."
"Charlie's gay?" Harry asks in disbelief.
"Really, Harry." Ron rolls his eyes in exasperation, then looks at Harry in mischief. "Maybe, you can-"
"No!" The simultaneous shouts stop Ron from continuing his sentence and he ends up making all four of them laugh.
"But seriously Ron," Harry voices out when the laughter subsides. "Thanks for the offer but I'm not in the habit of breaking relationships up, especially ones as long as mine or Charlie's. It took a lot of effort for Draco and I to stay as a couple for two years, and I don't want to ruin that."
"Two years? You've been together for two years?" Ron asks.
"Yes," Harry answers.
"That's how long Ginny and Blaise have been married," Hermione states matter of factly, her eyes studying Harry and Ginny carefully. "Nice work, Ginny."
"Ginny?" Ron spins around to face his sister and almost falls from the momentum of his movement. Harry and Hermione share an amused look at the way Ron's interrogation diverts to Ginny. "You knew and you never told us?"
"Yes, I knew," Ginny replies nonchalantly. "Blaise and I played matchmaker. You should have seen their dates; they were hilarious and adorable at the same time. Besides, it was not my secret to tell."
"But I'm your brother!" Ron whines.
The only laconic response Ginny gives is, "Harry is nicer." Which makes Harry, Hermione and Ginny laugh when Ron's mouth opens and closes, making him look like a fish out of water.
The first thing Harry notices when he steps out of the Floo at his flat is Draco Malfoy sleeping on the couch. Harry smiles at the scene that greets him. He considers it a pleasant surprise to find his lover waiting for him to return home, even if said lover is fast asleep.
Harry walks towards his lover and leans down to give Draco a light kiss, which turns into a full blown snog when Draco wakes from his slumber.
"Hey," Harry says when they part.
"Hey," Draco says in return while Harry helps him sit up. Harry sits beside Draco and pulls Draco closer to him. Draco obliges and leans back into Harry. "How's work?" Draco asks once they are comfortable.
"Same old routine." Harry runs his hand through Draco's hair. Draco sighs contentedly and snuggles further into Harry.
"Nothing exciting happened?"
"Aside from Hermione, Ron and Ginny dropping by to ask me why I was caught snogging you in Muggle London and people staring at me as usual?" Harry shrugs. "Nah, nothing exciting happened today."
Draco turns to face Harry and plants a quick kiss on Harry's lips. "Same here. Aside from Mother and Father mentioning the article and the word 'discreet', the Business Club and people who were reading the Daily Prophet have been staring at me curiously. I guess I can conclude that my day was boring."
"Glad your day was normal."
"So do I, Harry. So, what did the other two-thirds of the Golden Trio say?" Draco asks as he turns around and drapes himself over Harry and rests his head on Harry's chest.
"Ron had a fit, Hermione set him straight and Ginny was amused," Harry recounts while he continues playing with Draco's hair.
Draco looks at him. Harry takes a deep breath before saying, "I think it's about time we come out."
Harry hears Draco sigh loudly. "What's wrong?"
Draco moves to sit up, pulling Harry with him until they're both sitting upright. Draco holds Harry's hand and shifts to face Harry. "I knew you would say that. But we can't. I don't think I'm ready."
Harry stares at Draco in disbelief. "You can't be fucking serious? Two years together and you're not yet ready?"
"You don't understand."
"It's not the 'gay issue', I'm sure of that. Wizards and witches are more understanding when it comes to same sex relationships than Muggles. So yes, you're right I don't bloody understand what's keeping you from telling everyone that we're together," Harry says, trying to keep himself calm even though he's trying so hard to refrain from literally shaking some sense into Draco.
Harry does not understand why Draco is acting the way he is right now. Harry squeezes Draco's hand when the latter does not answer. "Tell me Draco, make me understand."
"That's the problem, Harry," Draco turns to face him. "You won't understand because you always had it easy. People will love you no matter who you're with; you're the bloody Saviour for Merlin's sake! It took me eight years to erase the stigma on the Malfoy name. I may be a member of the Wizengamot, but people's minds are fickle, Harry. I won't let my hard work go to waste by letting people mindlessly accuse me of putting you under an Imperius Curse just because you're bloody tired of hiding!"
Harry's jaw drops at the subtle accusation. Finding out that Draco thinks Harry doesn't care about Draco's welfare makes Harry's blood boil.
Draco finally manages to stand up and starts walking towards the door but then Harry grabs him by the arm. "Are you saying that I didn't think of that? I can love whoev-"
"But you can't change people's beliefs just because you tell them to fuck off and leave you the hell alone!"
"Since when did other people's opinions matter to me -"
"But they do matter to me! I went through hell just to clear our reputation -"
"Fuck your bloody reputation!"
Draco gasps and Harry's eyes widen when he realises what he has just blurted out. Harry reaches out to Draco but Draco shifts away from him.
"Don't," Draco snaps at him, making Harry drop his hand. "Don't say anything." Draco closes his eyes. Harry cringes at the pain reflected in Draco's eyes when he opens them.
"I think I, I should, I have to go, leave. Let's-" Harry notices Draco's voice quivering and his breathing becoming laboured. Draco breathes deeply as he takes a step back and says, "I think it's best if we cool things off for now."
Harry doesn't have the chance to reply as Draco Disapparates, leaving Harry behind thinking, What the fuck just happened?
Draco leaves for France to take care of some family business. Harry doesn't know where he is and Draco has asked his friends not to tell Harry where he may be found. He wants to think things through, without being disturbed or swayed in any direction. However, with all the articles that the Daily Prophet has been writing about Harry and his rather polygamous endeavours for the past two months, Draco is starting to regret his decision.
Draco ignores the articles at first, thinking that perhaps those are just Harry's juvenile attempts at revenge. He thinks that Harry's just getting back at him for leaving. But when an article in the Daily Prophet shows Harry going out with Charlie Weasley, the only Weasley that Draco considers his competition; Draco knows that he has to make a decision.
Charlie is the reason why Draco's first day back in England has him sulking in a corner at a Ministry Gala. Draco's already on his seventh glass of champagne when Pansy Parkinson-Nott, bless her dear heart, nudges Draco to let him know that Harry has arrived - with Charlie Weasley on his arm.
And that is when Draco sees red. Well, Charlie Weasley does have red hair, being a Weasley and all, but his hot, filthy arm casually draped across Harry's shoulders is enough to make Draco stride toward their direction.
"What do you think you're doing, Potter?" Draco asks, unaware that a few people are watching him with interest.
Harry turns to face him and raises one eyebrow cockily. "Well, as you can see Malfoy, I am enjoying the night with my companion." Harry tilts his head in Charlie's direction. "You do know Charlie Weasley, right?"
"You're on a date with him? Have you no shame?"
"I'm not ashamed of my sexuality. I am quite happy with who I am now, unlike some people I know," Harry answers in a snide tone. "Is there something wrong with that?"
Draco takes a step closer to Harry. "You cannot see him."
Harry remains in his place, his face a picture of defiance. "You don't have the right to tell me that."
"I do." Draco grabs Harry, pulls him close and smashes their lips together. Draco kisses Harry passionately, coaxing and silently begging for Harry to surrender. Draco deepens the kiss when Harry wraps his arms around him and kisses Draco back.
When Draco finally breaks the kiss, Harry whispers in his ear. "No turning back."
"No turning back," Draco replies, trailing butterfly kisses on Harry's face and ignoring the cameras flashing around them.
"I guess the kneazle's out of the bag then." Ron Weasley's loud voice is the last thing Draco hears before Harry Apparates them out.
If there's one thing that Draco hates, it's people who remind him of how he was before the war ended. Right now, his fellow club members are right on top of his hate list.
He's furious at what his club members have done. Who in their bloody right minds suspends their founding member and President? Oh yeah, his Business Club apparently. Blubbering, backstabbing, power hungry, ungrateful sods! The organisation would not even be this successful if not for his help.
Draco snorts. He will let the bloody fools think they are victorious. It's not as if he has been booted out of the club. He can still think of ways to make them pay. Besides, he has bigger problems to think of - like what he can ask Harry to do to make him feel better.
Maybe he can ask Harry to give him a massage or treat him to a night of clubbing. Draco almost – 'almost' being the operative word – feels guilty at the things he wants Harry to do. But he reasons out that he deserves it after all the hell the people have been subjecting him to after their very public outing two weeks ago.
It's rare for someone to hex a Malfoy and live to tell the tale. Not that Draco can't defend himself. It's more like Harry wants Draco to practise self-restraint. Which actually makes sense since he does not fancy a holiday in Azkaban. However, there are times like today, when he really, really wants to practise some obscure, not-really-dark spells on certain people and he still has to practise self-control. It's no wonder Draco feels so stressed out.
Hence, it's not too much if Draco asks Harry to pamper him once in a while. However, all thoughts of massage and bubble baths have been flushed down the drain when Draco Apparates into their flat and lands in the middle of chaos.
Owls, envelopes, packages and Howlers are scattered throughout the living room – with the Golden Trio standing right in the middle of the mess – casting Incendios at some of the items.
"What the hell happened here, Harry?" Draco asks as he makes his way towards his lover.
"Oh hi," Harry greets him and ducks when an owl flies above him. They finally meet halfway, close enough to give each other a kiss.
Draco hears somebody groan behind Harry and he has a pretty good guess that it is Ron, but he ignores him. "Why are there owls in the living room, Harry?"
Harry scratches the back of his head sheepishly. "I, uh, I was helping Hermione and Ron sort through the post we've diverted to Grimmauld Place. I accidentally let the wards slip a few minutes when I was strengthening them, so some of the owls were able to pass through. We've reset the wards again and now we're trying to get rid of the Howlers."
As if on cue, one Howler goes off right behind them. Draco helps Harry, Ron and Hermione get rid of the Howlers, even if Draco finds the shrill voices and the hurtful words amusing at times. When all of the Howlers are gone, Hermione casts a spell which charms the envelopes and the packages to sort themselves out.
Draco grabs one parchment out of curiosity and reads the contents. He grabs another and reads. After the fifth letter, Draco smiles at Harry. "This is hilarious, Harry. The things they write about me. You should be flattered. Apparently this boyfriend of yours is so powerful he can Imperius you when the Dark Lord failed."
"Only you, Malfoy, would find hate mail hilarious." Draco hears Ron's comment.
Draco smirks at Ron and grabs another letter to open. "Here, let me read it out loud so you'll understand what I mean. Dear Harry, I find you and Draco really hot. Hear that, Harry? Looks like we got a fan. Where was I? Oh, here. Any chance you would like to get together with me for a threesome fantasy…What the fuck? Incendio!"
"Hey, hey… we didn't even find out what the name or the Floo address of that guy is," Harry says, as if trying to lighten the mood, but Draco throws him a look that stops Harry from saying anything else, least of all cracking a joke.
Draco snaps though when Ron blurts out, "You're right Malfoy, that was funny! Never thought you had a funny bone in your body."
Ron is quite lucky Harry is quick to stop Draco from strangling him. The four of them continue with the task at hand. And if Draco accidentally throws a Stinging Hex towards Ron's direction once in a while, it isn't intentional; after all, he is just trying to be funny.
Harry cannot believe his own ears. The requital these people are asking - no, demanding - in exchange for the antidote that Draco needs is too much. Harry wants to turn around and leave but he can't.
Harry has Apparated from St. Mungo's (where Draco is currently undergoing observation and treatment) an hour after one of Harry's crazy admirers douses Draco with a potion while they were eating lunch in Diagon Alley.
Pansy, who happens to be Draco's Healer, explains that the potion is an old formula and it can only be found in tomes that are owned by old Wizarding families. It places the victim under the illusion of pain, making them feel as if their whole body is on fire. The antidote needs to be administered to the victim within twenty four hours or the victim will go mad.
Draco is in a magically-induced, dreamless coma, which helps delay the potion's effects. Pansy has told him that the antidote can be brewed easily but it can only be found in the same tomes where the potion's formula is written. Unfortunately, the only families that Pansy knows who still own the tomes she needs for brewing the antidote are members of the Business Club. Pansy isn't quite sure that they will be willing to help Harry.
Willing or not, it's their only chance to help Draco and that is the only reason why Harry is standing right in front of one of the members of the Business Club listening to their extortion.
"Do you honestly think that I would give Draco up just like that?" Harry asks in a loud voice. To hell with Pansy's diplomatic approach! These people are nutters; they're the ones who need a dose of the antidote.
"If you want the antidote you'll have to." The one who has introduced himself as Robert Sanders replies. "But I guess you don't care about Draco as much as we thought."
"I care about Draco!" Harry snaps back.
Robert sneers at him. "Enough to cut your ties with him to get the antidote that would help save his sanity?"
"What you're demanding is impossible!"
"Nothing is impossible Mr. Potter. You of all people should know that," Robert says. Harry opens his mouth to respond but Robert raises his hand to shut him up. Harry unconsciously reaches inside his pocket and grips the handle of his wand. His body tenses as he anticipates Robert's next move.
Robert sits down on one of the high-backed chairs. "Think of it this way, Mr. Potter – breaking up with Draco is like killing two birds with one stone. You get the antidote and Draco remains safe afterwards. You might have noticed that the attacks against Draco started again after you were outed."
Harry doesn't answer, even if what Robert says is true. Robert must have taken his silence as a 'yes'. "You see, Mr. Potter, Draco is important to us. I am not going to lie. We are grooming him for the Minister of Magic position. But his involvement with you jeopardises his chances of winning. No matter what Draco's achievements were, as long as you remain together, all the people can see is a young man tainting their precious golden boy's image. And believe me when I say that this may not be the last attempt at Draco's life."
Robert reaches inside his pocket and takes out a small vial. "This is the antidote you need. I'll leave it here. Think carefully; you know what it means if you decide to take the antidote with you."
Draco pounds on the door of Grimmauld Place. "I know you're in there, Harry! Open the fucking door! I'm not leaving until you talk to me, you idiot!" Draco slams his fist against the door once more when no one answers. "Okay, you asked for it! Reduc-"
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry snaps as soon as the door opens.
Draco's body tenses at the mere sound of his surname. "So it's back to Malfoy now, huh?"
Harry doesn't utter a word. He just crosses his arms across his chest. "What do you want, Malfoy?"
"Why did you leave?"
"I asked first."
"You know what I want."
"I don't love you anymore."
Draco snorts. "I'm not stupid, Harry, tell me the truth, and Merlin help me if you say that you're doing this to keep me safe and—"
"Harry? Everything all right?" someone says, and Draco feels like his world crashes down when Charlie glides beside Harry. "Oh!" Charlie says. "Draco! Didn't know you were coming over."
Draco's gaze shifts from Harry to Charlie and takes note of the way Charlie stands too close to Harry. The way Harry seems to lean back towards Charlie silently asking for support, like he used to do with Draco.
It takes a while for Charlie's words to sink in and Draco says, "I um… I'm just dropping by to um… I better go. Sorry for intruding," and marches down the street with a heavy heart, fighting the urge to look back.
His friends arrive at two in the morning and Draco feels a slight guilt nip at his conscience for summoning them at such an unforgivable hour.
Pansy is in her dressing gown, hair completely dishevelled and the sight makes Draco almost snort. Almost.
Blaise Zabini comes in barely a minute after, asking, "What's the emergency?" and Draco chokes when he notices that Blaise is clad in...
"Are you seriously wearing Ginevra's jumper, Blaise?" Draco asks, unable to hide the incredulity and amusement in his voice.
Blaise looks down at his clothes. "Blimey!" he exclaims, smacking his forehead. "I was in such a hurry. Greg fire-called and said you needed us." Blaise's eyes narrow when Draco sniggers. "I thought it was a life and death situation. Guess I was wrong, huh?"
"Not really. Why don't you guys take a seat?" Draco waves a hand, gesturing at the couch. "Greg told me some rather disturbing news," he says as soon as everyone's settled and all eyes are on him. "It seems like the Business Club has made Harry promise that he will break things off with me in exchange for the antidote I needed."
"I knew there was a reason why Potter didn't want you to find out that he was the one who got the antidote," Pansy says.
"Apparently they plan to make me run for Minister of Magic. Why is it that people always have plans for me that I know nothing of?" Draco asks no one in particular and looks at his friends anxiously. "Do I have a big sign on my forehead that says 'puppet'? Because I sure as hell am not!"
"No you don't." Blaise pulls out his wand and casts a levitation spell at the glasses and bottle of Firewhiskey on the bar. "Maybe you just need to show them who you are. Let them know how you feel. Make them see through your eyes."
"Blaise is right. Maybe you need to show them how important Potter is to you," Goyle says. "Although it's quite hard to find a specific spell for that."
"There is no spell for that Greg, not even a potion," Pansy pipes in. "And last I checked Imperius is still an Unforgivable."
"Then how can Draco do all those things if magic can't even help him?" Greg asks.
Blaise shrugs but answers nonetheless. "He's Draco Malfoy, he can think of something."
"You're right, Blaise. I can think of something and right now I have a plan." Draco can almost hear the wheels in his head turning. "Pansy, call Rita Skeeter."
Harry still hates the Daily Prophet, still hates it when people stare at him. He also knows that a combination of the two brings disastrous results. However, right at this moment, Harry can't help but feel a sense of déjà vu, although the reactions are quite the opposite from what he experienced a few months ago.
If people were staring at him with mixed expressions of disappointment and disgust before, the reactions Harry is receiving now range from delight to envy to gushing and lovesick expressions.
One witch even goes up to him and tells him "you're quite lucky" and another witch gushes, says, "I wish it will happen to me, too." To say that Harry finds the situation weird is an understatement and he decides to simply ignore everyone as he heads straight to his office.
Harry freezes the moment he pushes the door open and finds that the room is filled in flowers of every kind he can think of. Right in the middle of it all is Draco, sitting on his desk, reading a Daily Prophet with the headline "Draco Malfoy tells all".
Harry slowly makes his way towards Draco and takes the paper from him, shocked to see a two-column article about Draco divulging his feelings for the person he loves the most.
Harry is torn between wanting to laugh and wanting to feel embarrassed. He shifts to face Draco and says, "I can't believe you had your love confession published. Talk about tacky."
"I am not tacky, Potter," Draco disagrees. "I am quite the romantic, I heard. You can ask anyone if you like; you'll be surprised at how much they agree with me."
Harry laughs at Draco's smug expression. "I love you."
Harry grins and pulls Draco towards him. "Kiss me."
Draco brushes his lips against Harry's and whispers, "I love you, too" before claiming Harry's lips in a passionate kiss.
Epilogue: Five years after…
"Will you please stay put?" Hermione asks as she steers Draco to a chair. "Your restless pacing is making me dizzy."
"I can't help it! The results –"
"Everything will be fine. We had a good campaign; the Business Club is behind us. Even former Minister Shacklebolt gave you his support. Harry's out there with Ron so you-"
"And why is Harry out there?"
"Because he needs to-"
The door's pushed open and Harry steps inside, his face solemn, and Ron's right behind him. Draco can feel his anxiety growing. A serious-looking Harry is never a good sign. Hermione may have been thinking the same thing because she asks Harry before Draco can open his mouth.
"Well?" Hermione prods.
"The counting's finished," Ron replies.
"And?" Draco asks.
Harry and Ron nod at each other before Harry strolls towards Draco. Draco takes a deep breath before Harry envelops him in his arms. Draco lets Harry's scent soothe his frazzled nerves.
Harry gives him a peck on the lips and smiles. "Congratulations, Minister Malfoy."