Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter characters, they belong to J.K. Rowling.
A/N: Rated M for language. Also, some ambiguous references to DH, but disregards HBP and DH otherwise. Please review at the end!
"Haven't you heard? Pansy Parkinson was caught snogging Blaise Zabini. Right in the middle of the Charms hallway!"
The brunette girl rolled her eyes and shifted her bag up on her shoulder.
"Oh, please. She's snogged every boy in Slytherin and then some. I've heard she's shagged every seventh year boy in her house and is now making her way through the sixth years. Hannah told me she's already half-way through them."
There was an outraged gasp from the dirty blonde haired girl. "No way! I know Zabini and Nott are sexy, and oohh especially Draco Malfoy, but really, Crabbe and Goyle?"
The brunette nodded, neither of the two girls taking notice of a tall and striking seventh year Gryffindor trailing behind them as they walked down the hall.
"Well," began the brunette snootily and a smirk, that, although the Gryffindor couldn't see, was firmly plastered on her face. "You know what they say. They may be sexy Slytherins, but they're slutty Slytherins too."
The girls began to snicker and they turned down the hallway, heading towards History of Magic, their laughter dying down as their footsteps grew further away.
Harry Potter walked slowly in the deserted halls, frowning at the two girls' cruel words. He knew well enough after seven years of living in Hogwarts of the stereotypes that the other houses had created for one another. Hufflepuffs were romantic, cuddly, and sighed over every cute couple there was while Ravenclaws were no-nonsense with their relationships. If there weren't any interests between the prospective couples they quickly moved on. Gryffindors stuck to the safe bets; the people who were expected to be with one another. As for the Slytherins they had the worst reputation of all. Yes, they were known as the sexiest bunch of them all, except for the few like Crabbe, Goyle, and Millicent Bulstrode, but they were also known as the fuck and move on types.
Harry never really listened to the gossip that floated around Hogwarts on an hourly basis because he knew all too well what it felt like to be at the centre of it. Over the years he had had enough of Rita Skeeter printing things about himself in the Daily Prophet and he tried to keep a low profile. Too bad he was Harry Potter and that was difficult to do, especially now that he had defeated Voldemort. Ever since he returned to school after the war ended he was seen as a hero and had received numerous owls from girls and boys all over the country propositioning him. Thankfully it was well enough into the school year that things had died down and only a few times a week did he receive the ridiculous owls.
Harry entered the library, sighing as he did so and heading towards the back to find an empty table. He really didn't want to do the Transfiguration essay at the moment, but it was due tomorrow and Hermione had refused to help.
He found an empty table and pulled out his book along with parchment, quill, and ink before starting. It was when Harry was halfway through his essay that Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson strolled in and sat down at a nearby table, neither of them talking to one another as they began to pull out books and other supplies.
Harry glanced at Pansy Parkinson, her dark hair pulled back in a pony tail and her onyx eyes trained on the book she was reading in front of her. He didn't see anything special about her, nothing 'sexy' as the others would say, but then his gaze shifted to her companion.
Draco Malfoy was tall, although Harry had a couple inches on him, and lithe with slender fingers that were currently curled around a quill and furiously writing away. Platinum blonde hair was cut short so that it stayed out of his face and no longer needed to be gelled back and Harry wondered if this had anything to do with trying to stand apart from Lucius Malfoy. He couldn't see Malfoy's eyes, but he knew that they were gray because he had stared into them enough times during their fights over the past six and a half years. Harry had never met anyone else before with gray eyes, although he wondered if perhaps Narcissa Malfoy had them, but he couldn't recall from their brief meeting at the World Cup in fourth year. Malfoy's lips were thin and pink and Harry could count on one hand the times he had seen Malfoy smile with them, not counting the times he was smirking.
Harry turned his gaze away from Malfoy to see Pansy Parkinson staring intently at him and he looked quickly away back down at his essay. He wondered if Parkinson would say anything about his staring to Malfoy, but when he looked back up moments later she was reading her book as if nothing had happened at all.
Nearly a week later Harry was leaving a detention with Filch that had taken place in the dungeons when he heard crying. He quickly hid in an alcove and peeked out of it to see Pansy Parkinson leaning heavily against the gray stones while Draco Malfoy had a hand placed on her shoulder.
"Y-you should have heard them! I was leaving Divination when I heard that bitch Lavender Brown saying things. Apparently Padma Patil told her sister that she saw me sucking off Zacharias Smith in the girl's bathroom near History of Magic. I don't even have History of Magic!" the girl wailed.
"Pansy, you know," began Draco, his voice oddly comforting and it threw Harry for a loop to see the Slytherin acting kindly.
"They're vicious. They've been saying things all year. Did you know that the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw girls have a bet on how long it would take me to get through all the sixth and seventh year boys? And I don't mean snog them, but fuck them."
The girl sobbed and Malfoy wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
"Just ignore them, Pans."
Pansy looked up suddenly, a glare on her face, and she pushed Draco's arm off her shoulder.
"You think it's so easy? After hearing this shit for seven years I can't take it anymore, Draco! I don't understand how you can just let it slide off your shoulders either. Do you know what they say about you?"
Harry had heard things about both Pansy and Draco, not thinking much of either of them, but some of the things he had heard he thought were preposterous. He once heard Malfoy had a mistress, although how a teenager even gets one he had no idea.
"They say you have a list," the girl began, her voice cool and strangely calm for having been crying only moments before. "Of all the girls you've fucked. That you leave them crying and weeping afterwards and you'll never find someone to actually settle down with because of your reputation."
Both were silent for a moment and then Pansy's voice softened. "Is that what you want people to think of you, Draco? That you actually like girls? That no one will want to be with you because of these lies?"
Harry took a sharp breath and pressed himself against the cool stones of the dungeon. Did he just hear correctly? Was Pansy implying that Malfoy was gay? That the things people said about the Slytherins weren't true?
"Of course not," he heard Malfoy say, his voice uneven as if he had been unnerved by the other Slytherin's words.
"Don't you think we should tell people then? How things really are in Slytherin?"
Still intrigued by the conversation Harry looked out of the alcove once more to see Pansy leaning against the wall and Draco standing across from her in the narrow hallway.
The blonde scoffed and crossed his arms, a scowl on his face that Harry knew so well.
"And you think people will believe us? Like you said, these rumors that have circulated around the castle about us for years and suddenly they'll believe that they aren't true?"
"It's better than doing nothing, Draco. Somehow my aunt has heard what people have been saying. Daphne told me that when she went home for Christmas she broke down and told her mother what people have been saying and supposedly after graduation her family is moving to France and they're sending Astoria to Beauxbatons. How am I supposed to find a husband, Draco, with all these rumors about me?"
"But you like Blaise," Draco began, before Pansy cut him off.
"Yes and I know he likes me, but he's been engaged to that Italian girl since third year. I don't think his mother will break that off."
They were silent once more and Malfoy stepped back to lean against the wall, his eyes closed as he did so.
"Doesn't your mother worry? Have you even told her you're gay?"
As Harry heard the words stated so blatantly his heart pounded furiously in his chest, awaiting the answer.
There was a short bark of laughter that sounded more sad than anything. He saw a blonde head shake and look across to Pansy.
"And make her even more depressed? She already thinks we're ruined because of my father and this will be the icing on the cake. I can't. Not until she's had some time to get over his death."
Harry had never really forgotten that Malfoy had lost his father in the final battle or the fact that Malfoy ended up being on the side of the light. He clearly remembered Lucius Malfoy being hit in the back by an auror and Draco screaming as he tore away from everyone else, despite being on opposite sides of the war with his father.
"It's been nearly seven months, Draco. You can't forsake your own happiness."
Malfoy said nothing and after sitting in silence for several moments he saw Pansy rise and Draco follow suit.
"Let me at least talk with the other Slytherins about it," she said as they began to walk down the hallway. Harry stepped out of the alcove, wishing he had his invisibility cloak so he could follow them.
"Fine, but even if they do agree with you, don't expect much. The other students won't believe a word of it. They wouldn't understand."
Harry heard nothing more of the conversation and he pensively made his way back to Gryffindor Tower.
Later that night Harry snuck out of bed to find the common room deserted except for Hermione who was reading in front of the fire, her feet tucked beneath her. It was just as he hoped and he approached the girl, sitting on the couch next to her.
"Harry! You're up late. I thought you'd be getting some sleep since the Ravenclaw and Slythering match is tomorrow morning."
Harry shrugged, knowing that Hermione only went to Gryffindor matches. He would be at the match tomorrow, mainly to watch Malfoy fly, and he was no longer surprised at this admission. Harry had known since fifth year that he was gay after the debacle with Cho and realizing that he only wanted to be with Cho because she had a close attachment to Cedric Diggory. He had been attracted to blokes since this realization, but nothing came close to Draco Malfoy. The blonde had always been attractive, but Harry could never see past his snarky, sneering demeanor until the war began and Malfoy switched sides. Harry discovered that Draco, like Ron, was a great strategist, intelligent just like Hermione, a fast learner, determined, and a wicked dueler. They had come to respect each other and since the new school year had begun they hadn't had any fights, but they hadn't spoken to each other either.
He turned his attention to Hermione once more and smiled.
"I'll be there, but I wanted to talk to you. Have you heard any of the other girls say things about the Slytherin girls? Or boys, really."
Hermione frowned and closed her book before turning her body towards Harry, her feet still underneath her.
"What sort of things?"
Harry averted his eyes towards the flickering flames of the fire as he spoke. "Things that they've done with other people. Like shagging."
Hermione was silent for a moment before answering, her voice holding a slightly bitter edge to it.
"We all know what gossips Lavender and Parvati are. They call other the Slytherin girls sluts and whores. I've tried telling them that they shouldn't talk like that about others, but they merely laugh and roll their eyes. They say that Malfoy could form his own professional quidditch team of the girls he's shagged and that Zabini isn't any better."
Harry bit his lip, knowing that he could trust Hermione, but not quite sure what she would think of the information he overheard in the dungeons earlier that evening.
"I was coming back from detention and I heard Malfoy and Parkinson talking. Actually, Parkinson was crying.
Harry turned his head away from the fire and looked at Hermione, her expression neutral, but her brown eyes were soft and knowing as if she already understood the reason why.
"I guess the things people have said about her lately have really gotten to her."
He explained everything he overheard, including the fact that Malfoy was gay and that there seemed to be some unknown secret in Slytherin that Pansy Parkinson wanted to expose.
Hermione took a deep breath before speaking and Harry knew that they would still be up for quite a bit longer talking.
"I guess I should be shocked that Malfoy is gay, but I'm not. Yes, there are all these fabricated stories about his sordid affairs with alleged girls, but have you ever actually seen him with anyone? I had a feeling when he was helping us in the war that maybe he had some feelings towards you, but I could never be entirely too sure since he's never given an indication that he likes guys."
"Really? You noticed something?" Harry asked quickly, his eyes wide.
Hermione held his gaze and he knew that she knew his feelings for Draco. That perhaps, if given the chance, Harry would like to get to know Draco better.
"He would watch you as much as you watched him and did you ever notice that he always directed questions, suggestions, strategies to you? There were adult leaders in the Order, but he always treated you as the leader."
Harry could recall a meeting in which Tonks and Shacklebolt had informed them about a village in Wiltshire that the Death Eaters were planning on attacking. They were discussing the best way to go about the situation and plan the attack. He remembered Draco asking several questions and not once did he ask Tonks or Shacklebolt, but Harry.
"Things have changed between you two, Harry," Hermione said softly, interrupting his thoughts. She placed her hand on his arm and squeezed it. "Neither of you have spoken much to one another this year, but there are still a few months left of school before we graduate and you shouldn't let this chance pass you now that you know he's gay."
Harry gave a nod and a smile.
"I think I will, but I can't let him know that I know he's gay or he'll realize I must have overheard. That wouldn't go over too well."
"No, it wouldn't. He's in the library quite a bit and many times alone."
"Thanks, Hermione," he told the other girl, the simple words showing how much he appreciated his support.
"Not a problem. Now to what Parkinson said. If you think about it, you really don't see Slytherins with anyone but each other and none of them have ever given the indication that they were dating one another. It's strange, really.
Now that Hermione mentioned it, Harry had to agree. The only time he had ever seen the Slytherins even touch each other was at the Yule Ball and when Draco was comforting Pansy.
"I really have no idea what Parkinson meant when she said 'how things really are in Slytherin," Hermione stated, biting her lip and twirling a piece of hair around her finger as she thought.
"Maybe they have sort of weird pureblood thing they do," Harry suggested.
Hermione gave him a pointed look that clearly indicated it was not a feasible thought.
"Honestly, Harry, you're no better than Ron. Not everyone who is in Slytherin is a pureblood. Remember Professor Snape? And yourself?"
It wasn't until during the war that Harry had finally come clean to Hermione and Ron and told them what the sorting hat had told him when he first sat on the stool. Hermione had been shocked, but got over it easily while Ron had thrown a fit, not believing that his best friend could have been a 'sneaky Slytherin'. The two hadn't spoken for three days until Ron had come to apologize.
"Alright, you have a point. But I have no clue what she meant either."
They thought silently for several more minutes until Harry sighed and stood up.
"I guess we'll just have to wait and see if the Slytherins do anything. Thanks for listening, Hermione."
The shorter girl stood up, both of them walking towards the staircases that led to their bedrooms.
"Of course I would listen. And remember what I said about talking to Malfoy. Or maybe I should start calling him Draco now?"
She gave a faint smirk before climbing up the girls' staircase, leaving a smile on Harry's own face.
Two weeks had passed since he had overheard the conversation in the dungeons and nothing had changed. He and Hermione had discussed it privately and had come to the conclusion that whatever Pansy had wanted to say to the other Slytherins she either didn't go through with it or the other Slytherins didn't agree with her.
It was now February and there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground that was perfect for going out for a nice stroll in, but unfortunately Hermione had dragged him to the library. Ron was serving a detention from McGonagall leaving Hermione's persistence to study to fall on Harry.
They entered the library, searching for a table when Hermione elbowed him.
"Look," she said, a nod towards the right of them where he saw Draco Malfoy sitting alone at a table, two books open in front of him while he was scribbling furiously on a parchment of paper.
"It's your perfect chance to go talk to him."
Harry ran his hand through his hair nervously before taking a deep breath and giving a nod. Hermione smiled in encouragement and slipped away leaving Harry standing alone.
Gathering all his Gryffindor courage he walked towards where Malfoy was sitting and stood before the table.
The Slytherin, sensing that someone was nearby, looked up. His eyes widened in surprise, but they quickly narrowed.
"Potter," Draco said coolly. "Can I help you with something?"
"Malfoy, um, can I sit?"
Harry had rehearsed this moment ever since his conversation with Hermione and it always sounded a little more eloquent in his head.
Draco frowned, but gave a nod, moving his books closer to him so Harry could have working space.
"So," Harry began, inwardly wincing. He knew that this moment was awkward for himself so he could only imagine how Malfoy was feeling. "I haven't really talked to you much since we came back."
He left off 'since the war ended,' although he was sure Malfoy knew the implication was there.
Draco gave a derisive snort and rolled his eyes.
"Have we ever talked much, Potter?"
"We did during the war," Harry stated, looking squarely into Draco's eyes. They held each other's gaze for several moments until Draco looked down at the table.
"It's not as if we had everyday conversations back then though. It was merely strategies and about trying to win."
Harry knew that Draco was right, that they never really had conversations outside the topic at hand.
"I don't think I ever told you how much of an asset you were to the Order.
At this Draco looked back up, his mouth slightly open in surprise at the statement.
"You're good, Malfoy. I think you'd make a great auror. Have you ever thought about it?"
The words seemed to shock the Slytherin and he continued to stare at Harry for a moment before shutting his mouth and shrugging.
"I'm taking the classes need to get into auror training, but I don't know. Haven't you had enough of fighting?"
The atmosphere seemed to shift slightly and Harry, not always the brightest at catching subtleties, caught on.
"Yes," he replied softly, not daring to look away. "I think it's time for a change."
For the first time ever Malfoy smiled at him, though really it was more of a quirk of the lips, but it was enough to cause a grin to break out on his own face.
"You flew really well against Ravenclaw," Harry said, lightening the conversation.
"Thanks. The new seeker needs some more practice. I think even Hufflepuff is better than them this year and that's saying something."
Harry laughed, causing Madam Pince to glare and shush them, but they both continued to snicker.
"If Hufflepuff ever wins the cup that'll be the day."
"I'll agree with you there," Draco conceded, the smile still on his face.
They continued to discuss quidditch for several minutes until Pansy Parkinson approached the table, her eyes looking red rimmed.
"Draco, can I talk to you?" she asked, her eyes staring at Harry the only acknowledgement she gave him.
Draco glanced at Harry as he gathered up his things into his bag.
"Maybe we can get together again?" Harry suggested as he collected his own belongings.
The blonde Slytherin paused before nodding.
"Sure. Do you want to meet Thursday?"
"Yeah, that works."
Draco gave a nod, hefting his bag up on his shoulder and following Pansy towards the library exit before he paused briefly and turned around. Harry was still staring at him and was surprised when Draco called out to him.
"It was nice talking, Potter."
"Yeah, it was."
They both smiled at one another before Draco turned back around and followed Pansy out.
The Slytherin and Gryffindor met several times over the next few weeks and the third time they met they went from calling each other "Potter" and "Malfoy" to "Harry" and "Draco". Although it was still cold out and a dusting of snow still covered the ground, the two had decided to play a game of catch the snitch, Harry winning twice and Draco once. As they walked back to the castle they were both breathing heavily, their breaths stilling in the cold evening air, cheeks flushed red from the chill and the exertion of the game.
Harry knew that he wanted to somehow bring up the fact that he was gay and interested in Draco and had gone to Hermione for advice.
"Be subtle," she had told him. "Don't just say 'Hey, Malfoy, so I want you to know I'm gay and I also fancy you.'"
Harry told her that he thought he had more tact than that, but her dubious look made him question himself.
"So," Harry began, walking in sync next to Draco. "You and Pansy?"
The Slytherin girl always seemed to be around whenever he and Draco met. She would either be walking with Draco to wherever they were supposed to meet or she would show up later, always giving Harry a pointed look when she did so.
Draco turned his head, his expression slightly irritated as he looked at Harry.
"What is that supposed to mean?"
His voice was cooler than it had been and Harry wondered if perhaps Hermione was right about his subtlety.
"Well, you two seem awfully close," Harry began and then he shrugged his shoulder. "I dunno, I just assumed you two were together. You took her to the Yule Ball."
Draco scoffed and Harry couldn't see it, but he imagined the blonde was rolling his eyes.
"Oh, please, that was in fourth year. She's more like a sister, so no, we are not together if that is what you are inquiring about."
Harry blushed, hoping the cold disguised it, but he trudged on. The castle was now in view and unknowingly they had both slowed down and were walking at a leisurely pace.
"So are you interested in anyone?"
Draco stopped, causing Harry to do so also and turn around and face him. The blonde was looking at him with a calm face, but his eyes were slightly narrowed.
"What are you really trying to get at, Harry? Are you trying to tell me something?"
"Er, no," Harry replied, scratching the nape of his neck. Maybe Draco had heard that he was gay and knew? Harry had only told his closest friends, but he knew how things spread quickly in Hogwarts.
Draco's eyebrows rose and he gave Harry a disbelieving look.
"Um, well, ok," Harry stumbled. He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked down at the ground, kicking the snow off it to reveal the gray stones that lay beneath. "I dunno if you heard I was gay, but I am. And, well, I think you're really attractive and not a bad bloke. I don't want you to hate me and think I've come on to you, whether you're straight or gay."
Harry knew that Draco was gay, but he didn't want the blonde to suspect that he knew. That would be disastrous if Draco ever found out he overheard his and Pansy's conversation.
A hand touched his arm softly, but even through the thick layers he had on he could feel Draco's touch, causing him to look up and into soft gray eyes.
"I appreciate you telling me. Do you want to sit?" Draco motioned over to a bench on the edge of the gardens and Harry nodded. When they sat down the blonde placed a warming charm around them.
"Only the Slytherins know," Draco stated, refusing to look at Harry and instead at the ground. "But I trust you.
At this Draco did look up and he caught Harry's eye, not glancing away.
"During the war I had to trust you and the other members, but I trusted you most of all. You had to end it all, didn't you? Everyone had to put their faith in you, but I suppose it's more than that. We'd been enemies for so many years and I watched you, always trying to get the upper hand." Harry's lips quirked at that, silently agreeing with Draco. "I may not have been your friend then, but I could tell that all the Gryffindors, hell, even people from other houses, trusted you. Maybe it was because you were the Chosen One, but I think it was more than that. Call me crazy for trusting you, but I do."
Harry smiled encouragingly at Draco, noticing how Draco's lips became redder the longer they stayed out in the winter evening and how his hair seemed to glow now that the moon was out.
"After you joined our side I'll admit I was a little hesitant at first, but to go against your father." Harry shook his head, not even able to imagine how difficult that must have been for the blonde who had once idolized the elder Malfoy. "It must have been extremely hard for you. I had to convince Hermione, and especially Ron, that they could trust you."
Draco snorted and shook his head. "I doubt Weasley trusts me, but I don't want to talk about him. I -," Draco paused and took a deep breath, letting out a bitter laugh. "This is difficult for me. I haven't even told my mother.
Harry laid a hand on top of Draco's and squeezed it, hoping to appease his worries. Draco smiled at him before closing his eyes.
"I'm gay. I think I've always known it and I came out in fourth year to the other Slytherins. We're very…supportive of one another. I knew none of them would tell anyone or their families. I suppose that now school is almost over and we'll be out in the real world I come clean about myself."
The black haired teen opened his mouth to reply, but Draco spoke again, quickly cutting him off.
"I knew that I was attracted to you in fourth year, but there was no way I could act on it. Obviously I never would have."
He turned his head and peered at Harry with inquisitive gray eyes.
"So you like me too?" asked Harry, slightly confused about Draco's exact feelings for him. It sounded like Draco was also interested in him, but he had to be so damn wordy.
Draco laughed and shook his head and Harry couldn't fight the smile that was tugging at his lips at the sound of Draco's laugh.
"Merlin, Potter. Isn't that what I basically told you?"
"I think so."
Draco huffed, but Harry knew it was for show since he was still smiling.
"To clarify, yes, I like you and I'm attracted to you."
Harry's mouth dropped open, but he found no words at the moment.
"You look like a fish, Harry. Close your mouth."
His mouth was promptly shut and he grabbed Draco's hand, squeezing it.
"Does this mean, we're, um, dating now?" Harry finally managed to ask, his heart beating ten times faster than normal at the butterflies in his stomach and excitement that yes, Draco Malfoy liked him back!
When Draco replied his voice was light, but there was an undertone of seriousness and his body seemed to tense slightly.
"How about you take me on a date first?"
It wasn't the answer Harry had hoped for, but his expectations had already been exceeded just by the mere fact that Draco was interested in him.
"Alright. Next weekend is a Hogsmeade trip. Would you like to go with me?"
Harry looked up hopefully at gray eyes and he felt a slight squeeze of his hand.
"Yes. How about we meet in the entrance hall at eleven?"
"Yeah, sounds fantastic."
They both smiled at each other, Harry reveling in the feeling of cool, slender hands in his and the fact that he had a date with Draco Malfoy coming up.
After Harry told Hermione about his upcoming date, they had both decided that it was finally time to break the news to Ron. He couldn't keep it a secret from one of his best friends forever and hopefully the date went well enough that he and Draco would go on another one…and another.
"Hey, can we talk?"
Ron was sitting in an armchair attempting to read his Charms book, his long legs thrown over the sides of the chair.
"Sure, mate. You know you've been acting kind of funny lately. You and Hermione both. All secretive or something."
"Well," Harry began, "that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I – I have a date coming up this weekend and I'm taking him to Hogsmeade."
"A date?" Ron grinned and let out a whistle. It was a known fact that Harry Potter had only shortly dated Cho Chang and never since then. Even after he came out to Ron and Hermione he never mentioned any bloke he was interested in. "Who is he?"
"Er," stuttered Harry, running his hand nervously through his hair. He figured not beating around the bush would be the best approach and deal with the backfire afterwards. "Draco Malfoy."
Ron's brown eyes widened comically, or it would have been funny if Harry hadn't known his best friend so well. His face paled before turning red in what Harry knew was a soon to be fury.
"What?" Ron spluttered, sitting up in the chair and waving his arms around. "Malfoy?"
Several people in younger years, hearing the loud outcry, peered over at them and Harry hissed, "Keep it down, would you? People don't even know Draco's gay!"
"Draco?" Ron shouted even louder. "Merlin, Harry!
Harry rubbed his forehead, knowing he should have expected this reaction, but always hoping for the best. Sometimes Ron was just too predictable.
Ron's voice lowered, but it was still in a tone of disbelieving anger. "Him, of all people? Merlin, I know girls swoon after him, but you too?"
"Hey!" Harry snapped indignantly. "I do not swoon. He's changed and you should know that. He helped greatly in the war and I like him and he likes me. You can't dissuade me from going on this date."
Ron glared and Harry returned it, both of them staring at one another until Ron seemed to deflate and his body melted back in with the chair.
"Merlin," he repeated. "I swear if he hurts you I'll make the war look like child's play."
Harry resisted rolling his eyes, knowing that in a duel between the two Draco would win over Ron any day. He had seen it happen several times before after all.
"And I thought Malfoy was straight! What about all those stories going around, how he has a list of all the girls he's shagged?"
"That's can't be possible. He's known he was gay since he was in fourth year."
"Maybe he shagged them all before that."
Harry shot Ron a look of disbelief that said, 'really?' and the redhead shrugged, looking sheepish.
"Okay, okay, maybe not. I wonder what other houses say about us though." Ron's thoughtful look turned to one of horror and his freckles stood out even more prominently. "You don't think they say we have lists, do you? If Hermione ever found out she would kill me!"
"I highly doubt they say that and I think Hermione is smarter than that."
The two had been dating, predictably, since sixth year and had been going steady ever since. At first Harry had been worried that their friendship would fall apart, but it seemed that if anything it was stronger than before.
"You're right," Ron said with a nod as if to reassure himself. "She wouldn't believe that tripe."
Thankfully it seemed like Ron had forgotten about Draco for the moment, but Harry was just glad that his friend had seemed to grow up like them all and in the end accept Harry's decision.
To say Harry was nervous was an understatement. Yes, he had gone on a date with Cho in his fifth year and that ended quite disastrously with her crying all over him. He couldn't picture Draco Malfoy bursting into tears, but he did imagine a disdainful slightly pointed pale face scowling down upon him if the date went horrendously. He hoped it wouldn't.
"Harry! You look handsome!"
Said teen turned quickly to find Hermione standing in the doorway to the boy's dorm. He blushed at the compliment and at the thought he was thankful she hadn't walked in when he was changing. It was a common complaint throughout the boys' dormitories that the girls could waltz into their dorms at any moment, but the boys couldn't even climb the stairs to theirs.
"Thanks. It's not too posh is it? Or maybe not fancy enough?"
He turned away from her and looked into the mirror, smoothing down his dark blue button down and pondering if he should change into something more formal than jeans. Did Draco even like muggle clothing? Harry always saw him wearing robes, but they had never met on the weekend before so he never really had the chance to see the Slytherin in casual clothes.
"It's perfect. I'm sure Draco will be impressed at how nicely you clean up."
Harry recognized the backhanded compliment, but chose to ignore it.
"Is it girly for guys to hold hands? I doubt he'll even want to hold my hand."
Hermione laughed and sat down on Ron's bed next to Harry's.
"Oh, Harry," she said, her brown eyes softening and Harry could suddenly picture her ten years from now with the same expression on her face, but as a wife and mother. "If you want to hold his hand then don't let what anyone else thinks stop you."
Harry nodded, letting out a deep breath while flopping on his bed to sit across from Hermione. His face paled suddenly and Hermione frowned at him, leaning forward slightly as if to get a closer look.
"Oh no Hermione! Am I supposed to get him something? You know, like flowers or some sort of gift? Merlin, I don't have time for that! It's already half past ten now!"
The brunette laughed and stood up, moving to sit next to Harry on the bed. She patted his leg in reassurance and looked up at him.
"Of course not. But if you two do go get something to eat or drink you can offer to pay for him. I think he'll appreciate that, coming from an upper-class pureblood family. If anyone will appreciate chivalry it'll be Malfoy."
Harry nodded, concentrating on filing away this information for later. Did he pay for Cho's and his tea when they went on their date? There was no way he was taking Draco to that tacky teashop. He could imagine the blonde's thin lips curled up in distaste at the sight of it and his worry was momentarily alleviated.
"Don't worry so much on what Malfoy thinks," Hermione told him. "If you do that you'll end up not being yourself."
Harry reached his arm around the brunette to give her a quick hug before standing up and exhaling.
"Thanks for all your help. I really don't know what I'd do without you. I doubt Ron would know all these answers."
"Please," the girl huffed, standing and handing Harry his dark gray wool coat. "Ron wouldn't know anything about chivalry and romance even if it banged him over the head. Remember I was the one who had to tell him how I feel?"
"Yes," said Harry with a grin as he buttoned up his coat and took one last look at himself in the mirror, hoping that he would be Malfoy approved. "But didn't he give you that set of Austen books you wanted for your birthday?"
Pink tinged the girls' cheeks, but she scowled at him, placing her hands on her hips.
"He did, but I think a certain someone who has a penchant for snarky blonde Slytherins helped him out with that one."
She gave him a pointed look, but Harry just kept grinning, the excitement now overtaking his nerves just like before a quidditch game.
The two left the dorm, walking down the stairs towards the nearly empty common room since so many students had already left for Hogsmeade.
"Thanks again," Harry said to his friend and she smiled and nodded.
"Have fun, Harry."
"Maybe we'll see you and Ron around, yeah?"
Hermione gave a noncommittal shrug, but she blushed causing Harry to take step back and wince inwardly at her implication. Perhaps he wouldn't see them around.
He waved goodbye and dashed towards the front hall, knowing that Draco was always punctual and not wanting to make a bad first impression.
On second thought they had already made bad first impressions with one another, but in his mind it was time to turn over a new leaf.
When Harry walked down the staircase to the front hallway he already saw Draco standing there in a dark black coat and scarf wrapped around his neck. Although it was March the weather seemed to believe it was December and had recently shed several more inches of snow in Scotland.
"Hi," greeted Harry with a smile. "I hope I'm not late."
Draco smiled back and shook his head. "Hello to you too, and no, you aren't late. I'm just always a little early; a habit I suppose. Shall we? I think a lot of students have already left by now."
Harry nodded and they stepped outside into the cold, flakes of snow falling lightly as they walked across the grounds and headed towards Hogsmeade.
"How was your Arithmancy exam? Didn't you have it yesterday?"
Draco turned his head to look at Harry, a surprised yet pleased expression on Draco's face.
"Yes, I'm surprised you remembered. It went well for the most part, but I suppose I'll find out for sure next week."
Harry beamed at the fact Draco was happy he remembered the small fact. They began to chat about inconsequential things, school, quidditch, and the latest wizarding band that was all the rage, The Gold Magicians. When Harry laughed at the name and Draco looked slightly puzzled he had to explain the muggle concept of magicians. He was surprised when Draco laughed, conceding that it was a rather funny name.
They entered the crowded Three Broomsticks, and despite the blatant stares and whispers the two teens ignored the other patrons and found a table in the back.
"So," began Draco after taking a drink of his butterbeer and eating a few chips. Harry's eyebrows rose at the fact that Draco seemed hesitant to discuss whatever it was he wanted to bring up. Usually he was always eloquent and the stumbling was Harry's job, although Draco never seemed to mind. "How was it really living with muggles? I always heard awful things growing up, but they can't be all bad, right? I mean Granger turned out okay. For the most part."
Draco smirked and Harry grinned at the jab at his friend, knowing it was all in jest.
"I know people always thought I had a glorious childhood growing up with my muggle family; I mean how couldn't I? I'm the Boy-Who-Lived," he said sourly, noting Draco's eyes darting away from his as he said this. He was sure the blonde felt guilty because there was no doubt Draco had thought this, but Harry said nothing about it at the moment.
His voice softened and he ran this thumb around the rim of his butterbeer bottle, thinking about the fact that after he graduated he had no reason to ever go back to the Dursley's.
"Only Ron and Hermione know how awful it was. Actually, I don't think they know just how terrible growing up with my relatives was. They hated me because my parents could do magic."
Draco's head shot up at this, his expression showing confusion at the statement. It was quite ironic really. There were many purebloods who hated muggles as much as muggles who were aware of the wizarding world hated them.
"I had to cook and clean for them and my bedroom was a cupboard until I came here. My cousin used to beat me up and my aunt and uncle did nothing about it. I won't go into details, but I hated it there. I'm glad I don't have to go back."
Both of them were silent after Harry's confession, the booming laughter from nearby tables and loud chatter throughout the pub not having any affect on them.
"I'm sorry," Draco finally said. "I didn't mean to bring up something so awful. If I had known -," but Harry cut him off.
"It's okay, really. I know you didn't realize and now you know why I hated people thinking I had some grand life. I'm sure it wasn't some walk in the park living with your father."
As soon as Harry said the insult towards Draco's father he regretted it, but the blonde didn't scowl or sneer, things that the old Draco would have done.
"No," Draco said quietly, but loud enough that Harry could still hear. "It wasn't exactly pleasant growing up with him as my father."
There were many implications left unsaid, but Draco pushed the last few chips towards Harry and forced a smile on his face.
"Did you know that Shakespeare was a wizard? Well a squib really, and so was Mozart. No wonder he was a child prodigy."
Harry was thankful for the conversation change, but at the same time he was glad that Draco knew that his life before he was introduced to the wizarding world wasn't as wonderful as many made it out to be. The other teen hadn't said much about his home life, but Harry knew it wasn't all upscale parties and having every whim you wanted at your beck and call either. Harry was starting to realize that they had more in common than either of them realized.
Before they left the Three Broomsticks Harry offered to pay, causing Draco to blush and nod his head.
"Alright," he accepted. "Thank you."
He thought Draco's reaction a tad bit strange, or something he wouldn't have expected from Slytherin extraordinaire Draco Malfoy, but he didn't pause to think about it for long.
After the Three Broomsticks they made various stops to different shops, both of them indulging at Honeydukes. Draco picked up more ink and quills while Harry stopped by the animal menagerie to get more owl treats for Hedwig.
The sun was beginning to set, pink hues glowing above the snowcapped trees as they walked back towards Hogwarts at a slow pace, other students trickling by until the laughter and chatter of those passing died off in the distance.
Harry unconsciously kept walking closer to Draco until they were practically touching and he had the sudden urge to grab the gloved hand. Always one to do things by instinct, he grabbed Draco's hand.
Draco turned to look at him and appeared slightly nervous, an expression Harry had only ever seen on the other's face before the final battle. But the blonde linked his gloved fingers with Harry's and they continued the walk back to Hogwarts, not coming across any other students.
They reached the entrance hall of Hogwarts and Harry felt reluctant to go, not wanting to end his time with Draco. He hoped that the Slytherin would want to go on another date and he glanced down at their still linked hands, biting the inside of his cheek to suppress a grin.
It came as a surprise when Draco asked him if he wanted to come back to his Head Boy room with him and suddenly Harry felt nervous. Even though Draco had told him he was never attracted to girls, that didn't mean Draco hadn't slept with anyone. Perhaps the rumors were true and Harry was just another notch for him?
He shook the sinking feeling away from him and smiled at Draco.
"Yeah. Is it in the dungeons?"
Draco nodded and began to the lead the way, explaining along the way about the Head Boy and Girls rooms.
"Each house actually has two rooms specifically for the heads, in case they both ever came from the same one. I'm sure you've seen Granger's in Gryffindor Tower. Since the dungeons are smaller mine is in the next hall over from the other Slytherins."
Harry was surprised that if Hermione knew this information she had never told Harry or Ron. Maybe she thought they wouldn't be interested, which would more than likely have been true, but he was interested in the new information about Hogwarts that Draco told him.
"This would be the Head Girl's room if Slytherin had one," stated Draco, stopping in front of a painting of a forlorn looking teenage girl with long blonde hair wearing a white dress looking out in the rainy night sky. In the background a small house on a hill was seen, a small light emitting from it.
"And this is my room." They stopped in front of a portrait of a knight and Draco recited the password before they entered.
It wasn't anything too grand, but Harry was nonetheless impressed. The room was decorated in dark green, naturally, with dashes of brown throughout it. There was a brown couch to the left before a fireplace when one entered along with a desk and shelf for books. To the right was a four poster bed with forest green sheets and a door in the corner led to what Harry imagined was the bathroom.
"It's nice. Must be great having your own place to yourself."
Draco shrugged and motioned towards the couch and Harry followed sitting down next to him.
"It does have its perks, I'll give you that."
Despite being in the dungeons and the temperature outside Harry felt his body heat up at that statement, wondering just what Draco meant by it.
"I had a wonderful time today, Harry." Draco's voice was quiet and he could detect a tinge of sadness, a flurry of panic rising in Harry's chest. What on earth could cause Draco to be sad if he had a fantastic time?
The resolute look on Draco's face surprised Harry and his heart sunk, predicting that whatever Draco was going to say he was not going to like.
"But I need to tell you something. Something that nobody else in the other houses know, but," and at this Draco paused and took a deep breath, finally looking Harry in the eye. "But I like you and want to see where this goes. If you'll still agree with me afterwards."
Harry could only nod, not sure if he even wanted to speak if he could at the moment.
"We all know what people say about Slytherins, how we sleep around, fuck and leave people, mess with their emotions, but it's not true. In all honesty I wonder how any of those rumors even start, but that's beside the point. We – we have this sort of honorary system. Most strict pureblood families go by it and enforce it so naturally when we came to Hogwarts we carried it over. I suppose since most purebloods end up in Slytherin it's why we abide by it here."
Harry was sure his expression was one of confusion, not quite understanding what Draco was saying, but he stayed silent.
"It's also why we've never dated outside of Slytherin. Surely you've noticed that Slytherins don't really date, haven't you?"
He recalled his and Hermione's conversation how they had never seen Draco, or really any Slytherin, paired with someone as couples might.
"No, I haven't."
Draco nodded and Harry saw his adam's apple bob as he swallowed. "Yes, well, back in the day when purebloods wanted to marry there was a whole courting process, but we don't really do that anymore. If you want to date someone that's fine, but there are things one must abide by. Rules, I guess you can call them. We held hands today, which was fine, but because we aren't dating I can't do anything further."
The wheels and cogs inside Harry's brain began to move and suddenly he started to realize what Draco was implying.
Draco continued, sending worried glances in Harry's direction as he explained. "If we start to date we – we can kiss and well, sex is saved for marriage."
Harry was positive his eyes were comically wide and it took him several seconds to get over the surprise. He shifted on the couch and moved slightly closer to Draco.
"So have you, erm, dated anyone before? I dunno if you have inside of Slytherin."
The shake of his head was subtle and Harry couldn't see Draco's face with his head ducked down, but it gave Harry all the answers he needed to know.
"You've never kissed anyone before then?" he asked softly.
When Draco looked up Harry found traces of the Malfoy he was once rivals with, a look of defiance and a sneer across his face.
"Is that a problem? Did you think I was going to be some easy fuck? Is that why you're doing this?"
"Draco, no. Of course not."
The sneer slowly melted away and the defiant look left the gray eyes until hesitance was all that was left.
"I'm glad the rumors about you aren't true. I'll admit I thought you wanted to come back here to, well, shag, but I haven't done that either and I don't think I'm ready yet."
"Really?" Draco asked softly. His shoulders seemed to droop as the tension left them.
Harry nodded, taking Draco's soft hands in his own and rubbing circles with his thumbs. "I've only ever kissed Cho Chang and it was awful, so really we're in the same boat. We can take it slow. If you still want to date me."
Draco gave a slow nod, his lips tugging upwards in a small smile.
"Yes, I'd like that."
His body sagged in relief that Draco still wanted him. No, it wasn't what he was expecting to hear from Draco when the blonde had said he needed to tell him something, but Harry was happy with the unconventional ways that was Slytherin.
"You aren't upset about what I said? About the rules?"
Harry wasn't about to tell Draco that he wasn't one to really listen to rules, as Draco might have already guessed, but he had never felt this way about someone before and wanted to make things work with the blonde.
"It's different, but I guess it's just something I'm going to have to learn about?"
Draco nodded, squeezing Harry's hand. "It has to do with maintaining our purity until we're married. It's not as important for many pureblood families, like the Weasleys I imagine, but for the more traditional ones it's still something all children must follow. I'm sure it won't be easy, but…"
Harry cut him off by placing his finger in front of his lips and he smiled.
"It's fine, Draco, but you might have to help me along the way, alright?"
The blonde nodded and yes, Harry might make mistakes along the way, but he was sure that this would be worth it.
When he returned to Gryffindor Tower an hour later he was thankful to find Ron and Hermione in the common room, Ron thoroughly beating his girlfriend at wizarding chess.
"I need to talk to you both."
"One moment mate," said Ron with a look of concentration. "Checkmate."
They all watched as Ron's queen moved forward and struck down Hermione's bishop, smashing it to pieces.
"Vicious game," she mumbled with a frown on her face. "Go ahead Harry."
Said teen pulled up a chair to the table and relayed his story about the Slytherins that he had been told, threatening that if either of them told anyone else he would hex them both.
"We wouldn't do that, Harry, right Ron?"
Hermione gave Ron a pointed look.
"What? No! 'Course not!"
"Alright, thanks. But I wanted to ask you Ron, if what Draco said is really true about a lot of pureblood families. How strict they are about dating and marriage."
Hermione crossed her arms over her chest, looking slightly put out that for once she wasn't the expert on the situation, but she said nothing and quietly listened also.
"Well, I know with mum's family they didn't really like the fact that mum and dad moved in together before they were married, but as for the whole kissing and sex thing I'm not too sure about that." The redhead's face paled at the thought and a frown of disgust crossed over before he shook his head. "And I don't plan on asking, but as for us we never had to go by those rules Malfoy told you. He is right though. A lot of the upper-class purebloods are still old sticklers for all the old wizarding traditions, including this. There used to be a process called courting, but I think that's died out about now. Brides even had to wear chastity belts back in the day."
Both Hermione and Harry's eyes widened at that fact, but they remained silent, letting Ron continue.
"Anyway, usually if you courted, well dated someone it meant you planned on marrying them. The point behind all the pureblood rules is no frivolity, no wasting your time when you need to go off and produce heirs. Mum still talks to an old pureblood friend of hers whose daughter went here with Bill. She was in Ravenclaw, but her family is really traditional and she wasn't allowed to date unless the guy came to the family with the intention of marrying her. Then they could go out and stuff, but like Malfoy said, the extent of most things is just kissing until you're married."
Harry was surprised that he had never heard this before, that all the other students thought Slytherins slept around when in fact it was quite the opposite.
"Then why don't the other purebloods like yourself realize that the Slytherins don't sleep with every moving thing or have lists?" Harry asked somewhat angrily.
Ron shrugged. "Just because the families have rules doesn't mean they follow them. Malfoy went against his dad in the war, didn't he, so what's to say he would follow this other pureblood rule?"
He had nothing to say to that so ignoring the rhetorical question he asked another one that he had been wondering about.
"What about arranged marriages?"
"Arranged marriages?" echoed Hermione disdainfully. "That is ridiculous."
"It happens," Ron replied nonchalantly, not picking up on how this conversation was something not heard of in the muggle world, at least not in this century. "Not a lot, but one of Charlie's friends was arranged to marry a witch since he was five and sure enough they married. I think they've got kids now too."
Hermione gaped at Ron while Harry slumped back in his chair, reeling at the thoughts.
After several moments in silence Harry slowly asked, "So does Draco expect me to marry him? I mean, since we're dating now."
Once again Ron shrugged, not realizing Harry's internal turmoil while Hermione looked back and forth between the two with frantic eyes as if saying, 'Harry, what did you get yourself into?'
"I doubt it, mate. It sounds to me you just need to follow the physical rules so don't, uh, try to kiss him right away, yeah? Give it some more dates. Oh, and well, if things start working out you'll definitely want to meet his mum. Malfoy may not see the dating as a marriage proposal, but his mum might."
Harry paled, wondering what exactly Mrs. Malfoy would think of him dating her son and since Lucius was gone she had the final say about it.
"Do you think Draco will tell her right away?"
"I think," interrupted Hermione, finally able to voice her own opinion, "that you should ask Draco. And like Ron said, go slow with him, but really, Harry, if you aren't serious about Malfoy then maybe it's best to leave it alone. All these pureblood rules and traditions seem pretty serious to me and I imagine Malfoy thinks so too since he decided to confide about them in you. I'm sure he would be devastated to find out that you weren't serious later on."
"But I am!"
The words came out before he had time to think, but after he said them he realized they were true. Yes, he may not know much about Draco's family life and his quirks, but after being rivals for over six years there were things he was sure he knew about Draco that others didn't and vice versa.
"Then talk to him again and take things slow. Also, I'm sure chivalry will go a long way with him," Hermione reminded, giving a side long glance to Ron who didn't take notice. She rolled her eyes.
"Thanks guys. I have a lot to think about and I should probably talk to Draco again soon."
"No problem, mate!" Ron chimed in. Harry had expected Ron to resist against his relationship with Draco, but it seemed they all matured within the past year. "But if you and Malfoy do decide to break the rules, don't give me details, yeah?"
Harry snickered and Hermione huffed.
"Yeah, mate, will do."
Harry was waiting outside of Draco's Ancient Runes class the next day, catching the Slytherin by surprise which was visible by his shocked expression.
"Harry! I thought you had Herbology."
Yes, Harry, realized, they did seem to know more about each other than either thought. He hadn't told Draco his schedule and Draco had never told him his, but they both knew the other's by heart.
"It ended early. Could we talk for a bit?"
Draco nodded and they began the descent towards his room, chatting about classes and how Lavender Brown was wearing a pink robe over her school robe that she bought recently in Hogsmeade. Professor McGonagall swiftly took care of the situation, causing the girl to whine about it for the rest of the day.
"Do you want anything to eat?" Draco asked once they entered the room and discarded their things. "I have some Honeydukes chocolate or some biscuits if you like."
Draco held out the tin of biscuits and Harry accepted one. When they were settled in Harry dove in, explaining his conversation yesterday with Ron and Hermione.
"I hope you don't get mad, but I asked Ron about the pureblood traditions yesterday and well, you know Hermione, always eager for information."
Draco nodded, but said nothing so Harry continued.
"He told me that some families see dating as a marriage proposal and well, I know your family is one of the upper-class purebloods so I didn't know if you followed all those rules. And you aren't already engaged to someone are you?"
Harry only came to that thought last night as he was lying in his canopy bed and he felt a cold dread rise up in him, but surely Draco wouldn't have wanted to date him if he was already promised to?
"First off, I'm not angry you asked Weasley. He is a pureblood so I'm sure he knows about the traditions, but as we both know they don't follow them. I'll ease your worry and tell you that no, I'm not engaged or in any sort of arranged marriage. As for the marriage proposal, well, usually that's the man's job, right? To ask a girl on a date? I haven't ever done that before so I've never had the discussion with my parents on the details, but that's how it was for my parents. My father's family was extremely traditional so he wrote to my grandfather asking permission to date my mum with the intention of later marrying her."
"Isn't that strange though?" Harry interrupted. "Asking to marry someone yet hardly knowing them?"
"I suppose," Draco said, his eyebrows rising in thought. "But think about the muggle world. Okay, I may not know a lot about it, but I do know that arranged marriages were very common throughout history, especially amongst royalty. It's the same concept, but it just hasn't died out among everyone here in the wizarding world."
Harry knew Draco was right, that it was so strange to him because it was virtually foreign in the muggle world except in some developing countries.
"Are you planning to tell your mum about us?"
Reaching for the tin of biscuits Draco took another and offered one to Harry who politely refused.
"I need to tell her I'm gay first. See how she reacts."
"Will she be mad you can't have children?"
Draco frowned and then began to laugh, causing Harry's eyebrows to wrinkle in confusion.
"Merlin, Harry! Tell me you know wizarding men can get pregnant?"
His mouth dropped open and eyes widened, but all speech left him. Men could get pregnant? He could have children in the future?
Draco continued to laugh until he was able to control himself and wiped tears from his eyes while Harry finally regained the ability to speak.
"How have I never heard of this?" he asked.
"You don't see too many gay wizards, but there are some and yes, it's possible. There are maybe only ten children born from two wizards each century so it's rare."
Harry nodded, still not quite sure what to say, but excitement fluttered within him.
"But no, producing heirs shouldn't be a problem. In all honesty I don't know how my mother will react to the fact that I'm gay or that we're dating. I'll write her a letter soon to tell her about my sexuality, but I'll wait to tell her about you. Give her a chance to get over the surprise of my first announcement."
They sat for a few moments in pensive silence until Draco asked if he wanted to play a game of Exploding Snap and Harry agreed, wondering if Draco knew that it was his favorite.
Although the only times students were allowed to leave Hogwarts was on Hogsmeade weekends, Harry made sure he and Draco had 'dates', like the one time he went to the kitchen to surprise Draco with his favorite foods, which had included pumpkin pasties and when Draco asked him why he didn't get treacle tart for himself Harry could have kissed him, but he was still waiting for that. They frequently went down to the quidditch pitch to play a game of catch the snitch or tried their hand at the other positions and they often went down past the lake and closer to the edge of the Forbidden Forest to go on a walk since most other students walked only by the lake.
Shortly after they began dating Draco told him that he informed the rest of his fellow seventh year Slytherins that they were dating and overall they had taken it well.
"But they said they would be watching you since you weren't a fellow Slytherin. I think they're trying to protect my virtue," Draco added with a laugh, but Harry didn't think it was as funny. It was then that he mentioned how before they started dating Pansy had always seemed to be there or interrupt.
"Oh, that. She warned me you were interested in me and was trying to make sure you didn't make some sort of move on me."
Harry started to understand how much the Slytherins protected one another after that talk. He would occasionally see Slytherins staring at him and Draco, but they never said anything or tried to follow them, thankfully.
Two weeks later Harry found Draco slowly putting away his Potions at the end of class and he motioned his head towards the door, indicating that he wanted to speak to Harry after class.
"Hey guys, I'll catch you later, yeah? I'm going to talk to Draco."
Ron rolled his eyes and Hermione smiled sweetly, while tugging none-too-gently on her boyfriend's arm.
They waited until everyone else had filed out of the classroom until it was just themselves and Snape who was looking over the collected samples. Quickly leaving the class so Snape wouldn't snap at them they walked towards Draco's room.
"Well," began Draco as they made their way through the dungeons. "You know I wrote my mother a few days ago to tell her that I'm gay and she finally responded."
"Oh?" Harry was itching to just come out and ask what the Malfoy matriarch had said, but he remained patient and waited for Draco to tell him.
"Yes. I was surprised, really. She wrote that she was happy and that she knew it must have been difficult to tell her."
There were very few things Harry knew about Narcissa Malfoy. He knew that she came from a strict pureblood family and that she married Lucius shortly after Hogwarts. She would send Draco gifts throughout the year and always had since he first entered Hogwarts, Harry had observed that. From his own conclusion, Harry believed that she was the perfect pureblood wife who had stood by her husband's side, despite his faults, and because of that she was pushed to the side. But when Harry was brought before the Dark Lord and Narcissa had lied about his identity she demonstrated to what lengths she would go to save her son, even if it was through Harry.
Draco's laugh brought Harry out of his reverie as he handed the letter to Harry.
"Honestly she's too Slytherin for her own good. She asked when she was going to meet my new man. How on earth she knew I was seeing someone I have no idea."
Harry read the letter and then handed it back, not quite sure how to read the tone of letter Narcissa had sent to her son.
"Do you think she's upset you're dating someone and you didn't tell her first? Or I didn't ask permission…whatever."
Draco set the letter on his desk and sat on the couch next to Harry, allowing his body to lean into the Gryffindor's.
"She didn't sound upset, but when you meet her she might ask you several questions about your intentions."
At this statement Draco sat up and leered at Harry, a smirk on his face.
"And just what are your intentions, Mr. Potter? Do you plan on ravishing and having your wicked way with me?"
Harry grinned and gave a slight push against Draco's shoulders, strong enough for the blonde to lose his balance and fall back against the couch. He crawled over Draco so that he was leaning over him and he smirked, a trait he had picked up from his boyfriend.
"What if I do? What if I ravished you right this minute?"
Draco's eyes widened and seemed to get even bigger as Harry leaned forward so that their faces were inches away. Dark brown eyelashes fluttered when Draco closed his eyes and Harry leaned forward so that their cheeks brushed. He heard Draco's sharp intake of breath when Harry's own breath caressed his ear.
"Can I kiss you?" he whispered.
Usually one to do things by instinct, he had to take a step back and think things over when it came to Draco. He couldn't let his libido take control and he wanted to make sure that it would be alright to kiss Draco, especially since it would be the blonde's first.
Gray eyes fluttered open and he saw Draco nod his head.
"Yes," he said quietly and their eyes locked as Harry leant forward, before they both closed them.
It was a soft press of lips against lips at first until Harry pressed a little more firmly and, as if sending a message to one another, their lips opened slightly at the same time. Draco's lips seemed to be softer than anything Harry had ever felt before and he couldn't resist darting his tongue out and licking the bottom lip. It must have surprised the blonde because his mouth opened even more, but a tentative tongue met Harry's and they eagerly intertwined, exploring one another's mouths until they broke away to catch their breath.
Each teen was taking deep breaths as they looked at one another, grins on their faces.
"That was worth the wait," Draco finally managed after his breathing went back to normal.
Harry leaned down to kiss Draco's cheek before leaning forward to whisper, "You were worth the wait."
Just days before the next Hogsmeade trip Harry was informed by Draco that his mother wanted to meet with them in town for tea.
"Er, alright," Harry agreed. What was he supposed to say, no? That he didn't want to meet his boyfriend's mother? "It won't be at that Madame Pudifoot's will it?"
Draco peered over the parchment he was writing on and scowled.
"What do you take my mother as? Some fourth year Hufflepuff? Heavens, no. We're going to Tennyton's."
Ahh, of course. There were three tea houses in Hogsmeade, Madame Pudifoot's for the couples, Hogsmeade Tea House, how very original, and Tennyton's, the poshest tea house near Hogwarts.
"We're meeting her at two and she's reserved a private table for us."
Harry resisted rolling his eyes and sighing, knowing that this was part of dating an upper-class pureblood.
"Is she going to ask me all sorts of absurd questions? What if she wants me to marry you?"
As soon as he said it Harry winced and he saw Draco's jaw clench and gray eyes harden.
"Would that be so terrible, Harry? What is this, just some flight of fancy for you?"
The blonde stood up and slammed his books closed, throwing his parchment and quills haphazardly in his bag.
"Draco, no! Don't be silly! It's just that we haven't talked about it and I dunno if that's what you want. I am serious about you."
The Slytherin froze and didn't move for several moments until he sat back down, letting his bag drop to the floor.
"Maybe we should go back to my room and discuss this in private?"
Harry nodded and collected his own homework, his thoughts a jumble as they walked back to Draco's room.
When they entered instead of sitting on the couch Draco motioned towards the bed where they both sat facing each other, Draco's legs crossed beneath him.
"I don't expect you to want to marry me right this moment, especially after all the things we've been through, but at the same time I think we're both at the age where we know if this is a person we want to be with or not, if it's something worth pursuing. Average teenagers wouldn't have to worry about this, but we aren't exactly average now are we?"
Harry shook his head, silently agreeing with his boyfriend.
"But my mother might ask some questions that will concern the future. If you aren't comfortable with our traditions then maybe we shouldn't be together."
Did Harry really want to be settled down to Draco Malfoy? They hadn't been dating very long, only about a month, but then again they weren't strangers to one another as Harry had pointed out to himself before. Draco had changed ever since he switched sides during the war and the war itself had transformed them all. He was happy when he was with Draco and yes, he was still Slytherin to the core and made snarky comments, but the bite they used to have was gone.
"Maybe I'm not ready for marriage right now, but if – if your mother did want me to make my future intentions clear, how would you feel? About marrying me?"
He refused to look at Draco, afraid that maybe he had been wrong all along; that instead of people thinking Draco needed the one protecting it was Harry. What if Draco was just toying with him and only wanted him because he was the Chosen One? As Harry thought about it he knew it was absurd, that Draco never cared about him being a savior, not even after the war was won.
"I think you'd make an excellent husband, Harry. You're caring, generous, loving, how could I not want to be with you?"
Harry looked up, awed at Draco's confession. The blonde shook his head and smiled ruefully.
"This sounds stupid and cliché, but you make me want to be a better person. You're everything I'm not, yet you somehow still want to be with me."
His heart beat had picked up and he moved closer, grabbing Draco's hands in his and linking their fingers. Draco glanced up looking at him forlornly.
"Hey, that's not true. You look out for the other Slytherins and protect one another. You do care and you are loving. I think you put yourself down too much to even see it."
Draco smiled and squeezed the dark haired teen's hand.
"Would you want to be with me forever? I know I can be…difficult sometimes."
Harry grinned and leaned forward slightly. "You may call it difficult, but I call it being stubborn and opinionated. I wouldn't have you any other way."
He didn't bother waiting for a response, knowing that all the important things they had wanted to say to one another had been said. Instead he kissed the pink lips, his chest tightening when Draco eagerly responded. When they pulled away from one another Harry moved so that he was laying down and Draco's head was resting on his chest, his fingers combing through silky soft hair.
Yes, he could get used to this.
He was running late and knew Draco was a stickler for being punctual and he hoped the blonde wouldn't be angry with him. It wasn't his fault Hagrid had tried to persuade him to come see the latest creatures he was showing to his fourth year Care of Magical Creatures class. They were supposed to meet in an old classroom in the Defense hallway to practice and he was practically running to get there, knowing he was nearly fifteen minutes late.
Harry was about to burst into the classroom when he heard a feminine voice, one that Harry had come to recognize as Pansy Parkinson's, talking to Draco inside.
"People are talking, Draco! I didn't say anything when you told me you and Potter were dating, but I must now. Parvati Patil was talking Brown and some other sixth year Gryffindors and she said that poor Harry was going to get his heart broken after you fucked and left him. That it was only a matter of time before Harry realized what a whore you were and he would go running back to where he truly belonged, with Gryffindors. Everyone thinks you're using him and it's not just Gryffindors who are trying to defend the Savior's virtue."
"Don't call him that," Draco interrupted roughly and Harry found himself pressing closer towards the door to hear. "Let people think what they want to about us. Aren't you glad they aren't talking about you for once?"
Harry could only imagine the scathing look Pansy sent Draco, but she replied quickly.
"I'd rather them talk about what sluts the Hufflepuffs or Lavender Brown is, not us, Draco! At least those are facts!"
'Hufflepuffs?' Harry thought. 'Really?' They had always seemed so innocent, but apparently that was far from being the truth.
"I don't know what you want me to do, Pansy."
"I told you what we should do, but everyone voted me down. It's not as if it's some huge secret anyway, the other students are too thick or stupid to look up pureblood traditions. I thought Slytherins were supposed to fight back! We're cunning and witty so why don't we use that to our advantage?"
Harry thought the girl had a point and wondered why the Slytherins had let things slide by. Were they ashamed of their pureblood values and if so then why did they keep up with them? Was it only for the sake of family?
"We can have another talk with the Slytherins if you want to. How about on Sunday evening since it's the beginning of the weekend and a Hogsmeade one at that? You know I'll support you, Pans."
"I hate that nickname," the girl grumbled, but seeming to accept Draco's suggestion. "So Potter's taking all these pureblood traditions pretty well?"
"Yes, I believe so. I think he was overwhelmed at first and probably still is, but he understands. As you know we're meeting mother tomorrow."
Harry heard Pansy snicker and he decided now was the perfect time to make his entrance.
Bursting into the room he looked to Draco and then to Pansy as if he were surprised, hoping Draco would buy his act.
"Sorry I'm late! Hagrid tried to make me come see his latest creatures."
Pansy raised her eyebrows and stood up from where she was leaning against a desk.
"Have fun boys. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
She winked and smirked before exiting the classroom.
Turning towards Draco he saw the blonde giving him a pointed look and made a grand show of glancing down at his watch.
"Twenty minutes late, Harry? Or perhaps you were here early and decided to eavesdrop?"
Harry blushed, wondering how Draco could read him so well. Was he that transparent?
"You aren't a good liar," the blonde told him and he walked casually over towards him.
"Sorry," Harry mumbled, running his fingers through his hair causing it to be more of a mess. "I didn't want to interrupt and I don't believe what the others say about you. I think I'll be having a talk with some of the other Gryffindors."
Draco reached up and touched the clasp of Harry's cloak, examining it as if it were the most fascinating thing in the world.
"Do you think Pansy is right? That we shouldn't hide who we are."
Harry knew he was talking about the Slytherins, if they should let everyone know of their traditional beliefs and call out everyone who said otherwise.
"I mean other pureblood families are aware of them, but I guess they think the traditions died out, that they aren't important anymore so you all are like everyone else. Are you all afraid of what other people will think? That it's some ancient thing that shouldn't be?"
Draco shrugged and Harry wrapped his arms around him. "Maybe. I suppose you are right, that anybody could know. It's just that it's hard enough for us after the war so why make things harder?"
"Yes, but just think that if people are aware then they could be more accepting of it. Look at us."
Draco looked up at Harry's smiling face and he sighed, laying his head on Harry's chest.
"How about we practice now?" Harry suggested, hoping to take Draco's mind off the subject. "We haven't dueled since the war and I'm sure it'll be a good one."
When Draco pulled away he smirked at Harry, a spark in his eye indicating that it was going to be a long one.
The last time Harry wore formal clothes was at the Yule Ball in fourth year. There were ministry functions in his honor after the war ended, but he refused to go, thankful for once to have been shacked up with the Dursleys.
"Quit tugging your tie," Draco hissed as they walked down the cobblestone road towards Tennyton's.
"I don't wear ties and fancy dress pants, Draco," he complained.
Draco stopped in his track and turned, hands on his hips and lips pursed. "Well," he began in a sickly sweet voice that Harry knew was laced with venom rather than honey. "You better get used to it."
With that Draco turned and began to walk away, Harry standing there to gape after the blonde. Ever since they began to talk Draco's snarky attitude was never aimed in his direction, but Harry found himself missing this side of the blonde.
It kind of turned him on and he rather liked it.
"Wait!" Harry called and Draco paused, nearly at the tea shop.
Harry caught up to him and he pulled the Slytherin close, leaning his forehead down against Draco's.
"I'm sorry, I'm just nervous. What if she hates me? She used to."
"I think you are confusing mother and father and father is gone.
Draco's soft lips brushed against Harry's cheek and they stepped back from one another.
"Don't worry," Draco reassured. "I'll be right there with you, remember?"
Harry nodded and together they entered the tea shop.
Tennyton's was as posh as a tea shop could get, or at least Harry thought so. He found it ironic that all the seats were covered in red velvet with gilded gold around the edge of the seats and the crown molding was even gold. It was the epitome of upper class Gryffindor. Leafy plants sat in several corners of the shop and cream tablecloths and drapes added a touch of bright color along with the chandeliers.
"There's mother," Draco said with a nod. The shop had only two other tables occupied near the front and the lone Narcissa Malfoy sat in the back at a table set for three.
Before they made their way to the back their travelling cloaks were taken and then they headed towards their table.
Narcissa was the image of an elegant upper-class pureblood woman. Her wavy hair was pinned back with a sapphire brooch and on her right hand she wore what Harry assumed was her wedding ring. She wore a fitted light gray robe that set off her light blue eyes and they reminded Harry of cool water.
She rose to meet them, her mouth pursed in what Harry could call a small smile, and she reached for her son, kissing both of his cheeks.
"Draco, darling, you look so handsome. Your hair is shorter than the last time I saw you."
"Thank you mother," Draco replied politely, stepping back from Narcissa to stand next to Harry. "You look quite lovely yourself. May I introduce to you Harry Potter?"
Narcissa's lips remained pursed, but she leaned forward to also kiss his cheeks and Harry could only comply.
"Mrs. Malfoy," he greeted, hoping that his voice was every bit as calm as Draco's and his mother's.
"I'm pleased to officially make your acquaintance, Mr. Potter. Let's sit, shall we? I've already ordered the afternoon tea and some cakes shall be brought out along with it. Tell me about your studies. I hope Severus hasn't been too awful since the holidays, has he?"
Harry knew that this is what was called 'Pleasantries' and it was something that was almost necessary among these upper-class functions. He and Hermione had done some reading the previous few days from the book Proper Etiquette in a Pureblood Society.
Tea was brought out and Narcissa served herself and Draco poured Harry a cup of tea, adding the exact amount of milk and sugar that he liked. He saw Narcissa eye the cup of tea as Draco handed it to him, Harry murmuring his thanks.
They talked idly over the first cup of tea and cakes and when the second cup was served Narcissa seemed to straighten even more than she already was and she turned towards Harry. Up to that point Harry had chimed in every once in a while to make sure he was an active participant, but he was so preoccupied with the conversation that had yet to take place he found it hard to concentrate on such idle topics.
"So, Harry, dear. Draco tells me that you two are dating. Is this correct?"
Harry's fingers curled tightly around his teacup, but he forced a smile on his face hoping that the dread he felt in the pit of his stomach wasn't showing through.
"Yes, that's correct. We began to date a little over a month ago."
Narcissa's eyes were trained solely on him and she raised her cup to her lips, murmuring, "I see."
Harry turned his head slightly to see Draco looking at his mother, waiting for the next question, but Harry began to speak.
"Mrs. Malfoy, Draco has explained to me all the pureblood traditions to follow and I've accepted them. I don't want you to worry…about him."
He almost said, 'I don't want you to worry about Draco's virtue,' but he thought Draco's mother wouldn't appreciate hearing that.
"I see," she repeated, finally relinquishing her teacup and setting it down before settling back in her chair, her cool blue eyes still on Harry.
Harry really wished she would stop saying that and would say something, anything else. It seemed like his wish was going to be granted.
"I don't know if Draco told you about his father and I, but Lucius approached my family with the intention of marriage and then we began to date. We were married a year and a half afterwards. This is the usual custom amongst purebloods and it still exists today, although more families are letting their children date without the intention of marriage. The other rules must be upheld still, of course."
'Naturally,' Harry thought disdainfully. The conversation from this point forward could go in two different directions and he was prepared for both.
"How would you feel about marrying Draco, Mr. Potter? About being a part of the Malfoy family?"
Harry set his tea cup down and did not look at Draco, wanting to prove himself to his boyfriend's mother.
"If you would like for Draco and I to uphold this particular tradition I accept it. We wouldn't mind having an engagement similar to your's and Lucius' where we still had time to date before the marriage date."
While he was talking to Draco's mother, Draco's arm rested carelessly down beside him and his fingers reached out towards Harry, giving his support. Harry's hand found his and their fingers intertwined together.
"You're willing to enter an engagement with my son?" Narcissa seemed a tad surprised at his announcement as if she had doubted their relationship. She probably had.
"Yes," Harry told her confidently and he looked at Draco and smiled. He smiled back at Harry and squeezed his hand.
"And Draco?" Narcissa's attention turned towards her son with an arched eyebrow. "How do you feel about this?"
"As Harry has indicated we've discussed this and both agree to an engagement. We hope that you'll give us time before pressuring us to marry quickly."
"Yes, yes," Narcissa said. "The average engagement length is one to two years under the circumstances. I hope that is acceptable for the both of you."
The two young men looked at one another, gauging the other's reaction before nodding.
"Very well then," she stated as if a business agreement had just went through. Harry supposed this was pretty close to one.
She reached forward for her tea and smiled at them. "I'm very pleased and happy for you both." Her head turned towards Draco and her expression became softer. "Don't ever doubt that, Draco."
"Of course not, mother. I'm grateful that you've accepted Harry and are allowing this."
Harry himself was shocked that Narcissa was letting him marry her son and was accepting it with such ease. He was positive that if Lucius was still alive that would not be the case.
"You're a fine young man, Mr. Potter."
The statement caused Harry's mouth to open in shock for the whole of a second before he remembered just who he was talking to and he promptly shut it.
"Thank you, Mrs. Malfoy. I plan on making Draco very happy."
And for the first time Harry felt that the smile that crept upon her lips, the same exact thin lips as Draco's, was genuine.
They all settled back into their chairs, the weight of worry and concern lifted for the moment. Now all Harry had to do was tell his friends.
"I have something I need to tell you."
It was Saturday evening and Harry had just returned from Draco's room. After they had met with Mrs. Malfoy for tea they returned to Hogwarts to discuss their engagement.
"Are you sure you want to do this? I know this wasn't what you asked for when you wanted to date me." Draco had refused to look at Harry as he said this, instead busying himself with putting away his cloak. "I won't begrudge you for changing your mind."
"Hey," Harry said gently as he approached Draco, taking the blonde's hands away from the cloak and leading him so that they sat on the edge of his bed. "You're right, I never expected this, but has anything in my life really been expected? I'm falling for you, Draco, and it's only a matter of time before I say those words."
They both knew what Harry was referring to, to saying the big 'I love you', but Draco appeared even more distressed now, his eyes conveying his inner turmoil when he finally looked at Harry.
"How can you say that? We couldn't stand each other and now you're willing to marry me?"
"I could say the same for you, but you said you wanted this."
"I do," said Draco, breaking his gaze and looking away. "But how can you want to be with someone like me? I'm not good enough for you, Harry. My father wanted to kill you and was a follower of your greatest enemy. I almost followed in his footsteps!"
Harry took Draco's chin gently in his hand and turned it so Draco couldn't look away. There were unshed tears in his eyes and Harry's thumb brushed over his jaw.
"But you didn't, Draco. You've never seen me as a hero or held me up on a pedestal and don't you realize how amazing you are? You're intelligent, cunning, a brilliant wizard. Do you really need me to boost your ego even more and go on about how handsome you are?
A small smile appeared on Draco's face and Harry leaned forward so they were inches apart.
"We aren't getting married tomorrow or even in a few months and even if we were I wouldn't change my mind."
Harry leaned forward and captured Draco's lips in his, hoping that his words had eased the other teen's worries.
Now he just had to tell Ron and Hermione his big news and he wasn't sure how they would handle it. Yes, they supported his relationship with Draco, but marrying him? That was something entirely different.
"Harry! How was meeting Draco's mum?" Hermione asked. She was curled up on the couch reading a book while Ron was flipping through a quidditch magazine.
"Erm, fine, but um, remember when we had our conversation about well, pureblood dating?"
Hermione's eyes narrowed suspiciously as Harry sat on the edge of the armchair.
Harry could see the wheels turning in her head while Ron nodded and replied, "Yeah. What about it? Is Malfoy's mum making you marry him?"
There was silence. Ron's magazine fell from his hands onto the floor once realization dawned on him and he started gaping like a fish. Hermione's own mouth fell open and her eyes widened.
"Well," said Harry slowly. "She isn't making me per se. Those words didn't actually come out of her mouth, but yes, Draco and I are engaged. We don't plan on marrying for at least a year and a half though."
"Malfoy?" Ron shouted, causing several other students to glance at them curiously. Hermione glared at them all, making them turn back to what they were doing.
"You were the one who said that this dating a pureblood is serious business!" Harry shot back indignantly. "You knew it was a possibility and so did I!"
"But – but!" the redhead spluttered.
Naturally Hermione would be the more concerned one, wondering about his mental state and rationalization behind it all.
"You really want to marry Malfoy? How could you possibly know?"
"We aren't getting married tomorrow! And we've known each other for nearly seven years! It's not like we just met."
Nobody said anything for a number of minutes until Hermione sighed.
"If you're sure, Harry. You realize you can't hide this, correct?"
"Yes, Hermione. We never planned on hiding anything about ourselves. I hope it brings light to the Slytherins' situation and the pureblood traditions."
Ron snorted and shook his head in disbelief. "Never thought you would be the pureblood spokesperson, mate. But if you really want to marry the git then fine."
Their acceptance made relief flood his body and he smiled, wondering how on earth he deserved these two as his best friends.
Ron frowned and then his eyebrows rose at his own thoughts.
"You're really gonna keep it in your pants for that long?" he asked.
"Ronald!" Hermione yelped.
Harry could only laugh.
On Monday after Charms Draco dragged Harry to a secluded classroom and turned towards him, appearing somewhat excited yet nervous at the same time.
"As you know I told all the Slytherins last night about the engagement. They've decided that they weren't going to let anyone talk shit about us anymore and I hope you're going to be okay with this. People will probably say cruel things, even after they're aware of our traditions. Will you be alright with this?"
He knew that this day would come and he had been ready for it. For the onslaught of rude remarks about ancient ideas and rituals, about how the sexy Slytherins couldn't really be virgins, and how in this world could Harry Potter marry Draco Malfoy?
Even if Harry thought that the traditions were something from the last century and that Lavender Brown really shouldn't be one to talk, he wouldn't turn his back. It was another part of the wizarding world that he was discovering and embracing, but this time he had someone by his side. Someone who was his own equal and was falling in love with. Really it was only a matter of time before Harry said those important words to Draco and he felt confident Draco would say them back.
"We'll be fine, Draco," Harry told him as he pulled him in close and kissed him on the lips.
And Harry knew they would be. They would be better than fine. They would be in love and brilliant together.