Winter / Two Thousand and One
The war ended four years ago but old scars haven't healed. The muggle world doesn't know their savior and the wizarding world feels indifference to theirs. Harry spends most of his time traveling to other lands where he might not be recognized, never caring to send a letter to his friends or to pick up a wizard newspaper to read about the happening's of his world. Instead he spends his time floating from pub to bar in whatever city he was in.
This winter he's in Vancouver, Canada. He likes the muggle Canadians; they are nice and don't stare at him because of his scar or his too long hair. Sometimes he doesn't recognize himself when he happens to peer into a mirror or pass a window his reflection appears in. Black curls rustle in the cold Canada wind and he tucks his hands tighter into his jacket's pockets.
It's just after their Thanksgiving and Christmas wreaths are starting to appear on the streetlights. Harry feels a sudden emptiness overcome him; Christmas always does that to him. Usually because of that Christmas he spent alone with Hermione in despair, whenever he thinks of that his mind goes to those that died and he's torn up inside again.
In avoidance of the Christmas cheer Harry ducks into a random pub he sees prior to reaching his hotel. It's warm inside and the barkeep asks him quickly what drink he wants. Moments later his normal Whiskey Sour is in front of him and he sips at it with indifference. It burns his throat as it always does and he sits it down to pull off his jacket. He lays it across the empty stool next to him before picking his Whiskey back up. A hockey game is on the telly in the corner and he stares at it disinterested. He misses Quidditch more than he'd like to admit and he misses the comfort of England but he knows that he can't go back until he's ready.
The door to the bar swishes open for a moment letting cold air hit Harry's back. He doesn't turn to look at the patron, too focused on his own thoughts and the drink in his hand. The new patron sits down a few stools down from him and the barkeep asks him his order.
"Vodka Tonic, please."
Harry's body freezes at the recognizable tenor of the new patron's voice. Goose pimples bloom all over his arms and the back of his neck. He turns his head to the left hoping that the man won't recognize him for who he is, his fingers tighten around the glass in his hand. Out of the corner of his eye the blond hair flashes prominently atop the pale head that Harry has memorized.
"Going to pretend it's not me, are you?" Draco asks as he swivels to stare at the side of Harry's face. Harry does not turn to look at him, instead he stares at the telly pretending to be lost in the hockey game.
"Ah, ignoring me. I've found you. Took me a few months but I knew I would. Potter, ever so predictable." His voice is soft but Harry suspects he's cast a charm on the barkeep to keep him from eavesdropping. His fingers tighten enough around the glass that it starts to crack. He finishes the drink and sets the glass down onto the table.
"I'm not having this conversation here." Harry says before grabbing his jacket and exiting the bar, leaving a few Canadian bills on the bar to pay for the drink and the barkeeps trouble. He's barely got his jacket on before the freezing air burns his skin effectively removing the goose pimples that arose at Draco's presence.
He turns into the dingy alleyway next to the bar and moments later Draco is in front of him. Draco's arms bracket his shoulders against the wall of the alleyway. His usual strong cologne brings memories floating back through his mind and Harry fights the urge to touch the man in front of him.
"What a coward you've become. Fuck a bloke and then leave him alone in a foreign hotel with no way to reach him. A new low for the golden boy." Draco's words bite out and his tongue curls on the golden boy accusation. His hair isn't gelled like it used to be, instead it hangs loosely in front of his soft grey eyes.
Harry doesn't say anything, there's nothing to say. Instead he reaches out quickly, almost too fast for Draco to perceive, and brings Draco's face to his. Their lips melt against one another in anger, rage, and passion. Harry moans when Draco's tongue meets his in the other mans mouth. Slender arms wrap around his waist and he finds himself manhandled so that he's precariously got two legs wrapped around Draco's waist. Untrimmed fingernails press into his skin and he's sure that he'll have half moon shaped bruises for days to come but he doesn't care. He's been running from this for months and he won't deny himself this anymore.
"I hate you." He grunts out when Draco pulls away long enough to catch his breath. A glint of some foreign emotion appears in Draco's eyes but not long enough for Harry to identify it.
"Coward." And then they're kissing again and Harry feels the pull of a port key in his stomach. It doesn't last long because suddenly he finds himself back in a familiar hotel room. He's back in the hotel room they first fucked in, the one in Tahiti.
"No." He pushes Draco away from him as he takes in the surroundings. Sun shining through the open porch door and curtain hangings blowing in the ocean wind. It's too much too soon and his heart thuds dangerously in his chest. The bed's unmade but there's only an impression from one body. How long has Draco been returning to his room when he doesn't find him? Harry shakes his head to clear that thought, it's too much.
"Stop it." Draco's got him in his grips again and he's pulling at Harry's clothes. Harry can't fight anymore, he's been fighting for years and he lets Draco pull at his clothes viciously. Thin scarred fingers caress his bare stomach and he shivers at the feeling of skin to skin. Before he knows what's happening he's lying naked on the bed and Draco's hurriedly undressing next to him. He closes his eyes to block out the fear and other emotions that threaten to overwhelm him.
"I searched for you for months. Just to have this again." Draco whispers before lying down on top of Harry, they both sigh when their bodies touch completely. Harry instinctively wraps his arms around Draco's shoulders. He'll be the passive player this time and he doesn't have the gall to fight that. Draco tucks his head into the crux between Harry's neck and shoulder; they both shiver at the intimacy of the moment.
"I'm here." Harry says although his voice cracks. Draco's head bolts up at the two words. They are simple but they're heartfelt and Harry can't meet Draco's eyes in fear of the emotion that he'll see echoed back at him.
"If I wake up and you're gone again, I'll find you and kill you. Do you hear me, Potter?" His hands cup Harry's cheeks so that he's forced to meet Draco's gaze. Eyes burn into his heart and he wants to run away again, it's too much and Draco senses it so he lets go. Instead he grabs both of Harry's wrists and raises them above his head.
Harry moves his legs to frame Draco's waist, watching as Draco realizes what Harry's saying. He turns his head to avoid Draco's gaze and closes his eyes, he whispers a preparation spell and his lips curl when Draco's fingers press into him.
"Just do it."
Draco doesn't need to be told twice. Harry holds his breath as Draco enters him, he knows that Draco wants him to look at him but he can't. His arms are still being held above his head and for that he's thankful. He's Draco's captive and something about that doesn't make him want to run, everything else makes him want to run, but not that.
He throws his head back when Draco's speed increases. His thrusts start to become shorter and Draco's talking but Harry can't understand him. As his thrusts shorten even more he lets go of Harry's wrists and reaches down to hitch Harry's leg up farther.
Harry cries out at the angle and grapples for purchase on Draco's back. He cries out again when he realizes that he'll leave marks on Draco's back. Imprinting him. He closes his eyes when Draco comes, not wanting to see the raw emotion on the other mans face and instead comes quietly to him self. Draco collapses on top of Harry in a heap of exhaustion. He's murmuring something again but Harry can't discern what he's saying. Instead he awkwardly wraps his arms around the other man and when he's sure that Draco's fallen asleep he wiggles out from underneath the other man. He sits on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands.
The sun's setting outside and the air is cooling. Harry has to leave. He looks over his shoulder at Draco, peaceful in his sleep and reaching out for him. He lets Draco's hand find his and watches the pale face ease in sleep. After a few moments he disentangles his hand and finds a piece of parchment in the hotel bedside table. Thankfully a pen is there too so he doesn't have to mutter a summoning spell. He writes a note quickly, unable to stomach another moment in the hotel room.
He can't find his own words though. He'd say something stupid, innocuous, or something to anger Draco further. Instead he writes a phrase he read in a book once.
"This is a confused world."
And he folds the parchment in half. He writes Draco's name quickly on the back of the note and sets it on the pillow his head is meant to rest on. He spares one last glance at the sleeping man, memorizing the angles and planes of his face. This night will have to hold him over for another few months.
Just long enough for him to stop fighting completely.
Summer / Two Thousand and Two
Harry can't stomach any sort of warm weather. It reminds him of Draco so he avoids it. He's been jumping between Russia and Australia for the past few months, hoping that it won't take long for him to get over his needing to run.
This week he's in Australia and he doesn't like the people. They're not bad people it's just that he feels so severely out of place. He misses Canada, or even the Northern U.S., or hell he even misses England. He misses one person. He sticks his head under the sink and wets it enough in hopes to get the grime out of it. He hasn't showered in days and he hasn't left the hotel room for that long either. He won't even let the management in to collect the room service plates. The person that stares back at him is new and unchallenged. Bags hang under his eyes and he's lost more weight than he'd care to know.
There's a knock at the door and he yells to be left alone. They don't go away, they knock again and he opens it angrily. There's no one there though and Harry rubs at his forehead in agitation, he's going crazy now too. He looks back at the hotel room and he's disgusted with the state of it. Suddenly he can't sit in that room anymore. He grabs his sweater and runs down the three flights of stairs, he breathes in the crisp cold air of Australia in the summer and shakes his head when a snowflake falls into his hair. People are walking by with children and he wonders if Hermione and Ron have had children yet. He lets that question linger for a moment before pushing it away into the recesses of where he lets those thoughts hang.
He sees a man staring at him from across the street. A portly man that can't be younger than sixty and he knows in that moment that the man is a fellow wizard. Harry self-consciously pulls at the tendrils hanging against his forehead. He pulls his glasses off and puts them in his pocket. He heads in the opposite direction of the man and hopes that he's left alone. An empty bench beside a lake calls to him as he walks through a park in the middle of Brisbane. He throws himself onto it and lets his elbows rest on his knees.
The urge to cry bubbles up inside of him and he suppresses it. He doesn't know the date but he has a feeling it's his birthday and looks down at his watch for confirmation. No. It's the middle of August, he missed his twenty-second birthday but he doesn't care because it's not like he would've celebrated it anyway. It's just another year of life that he probably didn't deserve.
"The whole wizarding world's looking for you kid." The man says as he sits down next to Harry. He's dressed quite well for a wizard, he blends right into the muggle world. "I'm a squib, you've got nothing to fear from me."
"What do you want?" Harry asks without looking at the man.
"I wanted to say thanks. I figure you don't hear that much anymore."
"Yeah well, you're welcome." He bites it out while staring at the ducks in the pond but the stranger doesn't leave. "What else do you want?"
"There's a reward for telling where you are."
"With the ministry?"
"No." The man shakes his head and pulls a handkerchief to blow his nose. "I've got to go. Just wanted to give my thanks to the man that saved our lives."
He starts to leave and Harry calls after him, "I saved the many but not the few."
The man turns around to stare at Harry with curious eyes. He smiles bitterly before shaking his head at Harry's statement. "People die in wars kid. Everyone that died, they'd hate you for what you are right now. I'm sure you know that deep down. Time to stop running."
Harry looks away for a moment and by the time he's turned back the man is gone. Harry feels empty, emptier than he's felt in years.
The hotel room has been cleaned when he gets back to it. But that isn't all that he notices. Sitting on the bed is Draco and his eyes are dead.
"It cost me five thousand sickles to find out where you were."
"I'm done." Harry whispers while pulling his jacket off. He feels Draco's eyes fall heavy on his face.
"What?" Draco asks without rising from the bed. Harry notices that his hair is limp, it looks like he hasn't been the only miserable one the past few months.
"I'm ready to come home."
"Don't play with me." Draco says but it isn't angry, it comes out more fearful and pathetic than Harry ever expected.
"I'm not. I'm done. I've been selfish."
Draco stands quickly and he's inches from Harry, he's breathing heavily and his hands are clenched into fists at his sides.
"Is this some game?"
"No." And for the first time Harry initiates contact. He lifts his hand and places it softly against Draco's cheek. Draco closes his eyes at the touch but he doesn't move. Harry stands on his toes to press a kiss to Draco's eyelids. This tenderness welling inside of him is new and he doesn't know what to do with it. He wraps his arms around Draco's rigid body and hugs him to his chest.
"Harry." Draco whispers like a benediction.
"Draco." Harry whispers back before pressing a soft kiss to the side of his neck. Slender arms wrap around his waist and pull him tight against Draco's chest.
"Don't leave me again. I can't take it again. Come back to England with me. No one cares. No one will care. Don't do it again. Don't, please." He's begging and he's shaking his head so roughly that his hair whips Harry's cheek. Harry pulls Draco's head down to the crook of his neck and curls his fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck.
He doesn't know what to say to comfort him; he's never had to comfort someone before. So he settles for holding Draco and letting the other man find comfort in his embrace. A few seconds, minutes, or hours later Draco pulls back and launches at Harry. Their lips meet roughly and Harry pulls Draco's hair.
"Softly." And he presses forward again, letting his lips just barely touch Draco's. This softness is new, just like the tenderness that he's letting himself feel. He unbuttons Draco's shirt slowly and presses kisses to the skin that's revealed inch by inch. He presses extra open mouthed kisses to the scars that he placed on the body that he loves.
He stares up at Draco as he pulls his pants down to his feet and nods for him to step out of the discarded pants. Draco's eyes are big and unsure as Harry hooks his fingers into his y-fronts. Before he can pull them off as well, Draco kneels down so that he's level with Harry on the ground.
He pulls Harry's sweater off and pushes him softly so that he's lying on the floor. His pants come off next so that they're both on the floor in nothing but their underwear. Draco looks liked a wounded animal that's about to jump at any moment and Harry sits up so that they're level again.
"It's too much." Draco whispers before standing up and sitting on the edge of the bed. Harry follows him quickly and makes sure to sit far enough away so that they aren't touching.
He looks out the window at the families passing down below. The emptiness starts to return but he pushes it away. He grabs Draco by the shoulder and pulls him into the middle of the bed with him. He pushes a leg between Draco's thighs and wraps his body around the other man's. His eyes feel heavy all of a sudden and he lets himself fall asleep wrapped around Draco.
He woke up to the pitch-black of the hotel room. He was alone in the bed and his heart raced.
"Draco?" No one answers. His stomach knots and he feels his body begin to flush out of fear. He pulls his knees up to his chest and he begins to weep. His body shakes with the depth of his sobs. He rolls over onto the bed in the fetal position and lets the sobs flow freely. He cries for the years he spent running, for the loss of all his friends, for the absence of Draco when he awoke. He weeps for things that he couldn't remember being sad over. He cries himself back to sleep.
The next time he wakes up the sun is out and shining in the windows. He hates it. His face is swollen from crying and his eyes feel glassy from the tears. There wasn't even a note anywhere to be seen, Draco had just left him without the courtesy of a note. Steely hate begins to harden his heart and he wraps the sheet around his body to shield his nakedness.
Then he notices writing on his left forearm. He can't read it because he doesn't have his glasses. Whispering a spell for momentary sight, Hermione had taught it to him as they hid in a forest, he looks down at his harm.
In Draco's handwriting and black ink the phrase "not all that wander are lost" bites against his slightly tanned skin. Harry presses his fingers to the words that he didn't feel Draco inscribe onto his skin. He wonders what they meant and what they were supposed to mean with the absence of Draco.
Just as he begins to wrap his head around what he saw, the hotel door opens and Draco appears in grey slacks and a white oxford button down. His hair is clean and his face is glowing. Harry's stomach plummets and his heart begins to race.
When Draco sees Harry sitting in the middle of the bed with tear-swollen eyes he drops the bags he has in his arms. They stare at one another for a few moments before Draco runs to the bed and takes Harry into his arms.
"I apparated home for a few hours to get some clothes and essentials. I thought you'd get the quote. I'm coming with you. We'll be lost together."
Harry brackets Draco's face with his hands and whimpers in some unknown emotion.
"Never leave me again."
"As long as you never leave me either, it's a deal."
Harry falls into Draco's arms and laughs at the absurdity of it all. Just two wanderer's that found home in one another. Home. That's what Draco is for Harry. That's why the emptiness ebbed and flowed with Draco. He was home with him.