Title: Our Ordinary Days
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this for fun and not profit.
Pairing: Harry/Draco, mentions of past Draco/Astoria
Warnings: Implied sex, mentions of violence, light angst, ignores the epilogue (and moves up the timing of Scorpius's birth).
Summary: Two fathers meet in a bookshop. And the rest is personal history—the kind of history that doesn't make history.
Author's Notes: This was written for luvhpdm, who made a generous donation in the helpsomalia auction. She requested a fic with Harry raising a 10-year-old Teddy, Draco as father to Scorpius, and little angst. Here you go, sweetie! I hope you like this.
Our Ordinary Days
"Potter? That's you?"
Harry glanced up and blinked. Then he dropped the book he was holding back on the shelf and straightened, staring. Teddy, occupied in reading his own book halfway down the aisle and only occasionally telling Harry about "the good parts" with lots of military strategy, glanced up distractedly once and went back to what looked like a diagram of soldiers marching, as far as Harry could tell.
"Malfoy?" Harry asked faintly, and then told himself he was being an idiot and shook his head once, hard. "That's you, of course it is," he said, studying the familiar pale blond hair.
Not much else was familiar. Malfoy stood stronger and straighter and taller than Harry remembered him, his hair tugged severely back in a style that Harry privately thought he must have copied from McGonagall. He wore formal green robes and a pair of small silver spectacles that he must only need for reading, because he took them off as Harry looked at him. At his side was a blond boy maybe a year or two younger than Teddy, who backed up when Harry looked at him.
"It's all right, Scorpius," Malfoy said, putting a hand on the boy's shoulder. Through ten years of practice of keeping a straight face in public when people asked him ridiculous questions, Harry did not laugh at the boy's name. "This is the—the man I told you about. Not the boy."
Harry wondered what the hell that meant, but whatever it did, it seemed to be enough for Scorpius. His face relaxed, and he stepped around Malfoy and stuck his hand out. "How do you do?" he asked, pronouncing all the words separately from each other as though the safety of worlds depended on his not slurring them. "My name's Scorpius Malfoy. My father is Draco Malfoy, and my mother is Astoria Greengrass Malfoy. My grandfather is Lucius—"
"Yes, he knows that already, Scorpius," Malfoy said, touching his son's shoulder. He left the hand in place on Scorpius's blue robes, and looked at Harry as if waiting for the moment when the laughter would come after all.
But Harry had met plenty of pure-blood children by now, and their courtesies were drilled into them. They couldn't help that they all had parents with brooms up their arses. He held out his hand in turn. "My name is Harry Potter," he said, as solemn as he thought Scorpius probably needed to hear, and then nodded at Teddy, who had finally moved up beside him, attracted by the name "Malfoy." "This is my adopted son, Teddy Lupin."
"It'd be Teddy Potter if he let me change it," Teddy muttered, and transformed his hair—brown and stringy when he wasn't thinking about it—to a dark, tangled mop of curls that probably matched what Harry's hair had looked like when he was eleven. He thought back to that time a lot, but not so much to what he would have seen in the mirror.
"I think it's important for you to remember your father and mother," Harry said gently. They had this argument about five times a week. This was one of the first times that Teddy had picked to have it in public, but on the other hand, that might be a good sign. Harry had taught him that the Malfoys were his cousins. This could indicate that he felt comfortable with them in a way he didn't with most people.
"You're my dad," Teddy said, as he also said about five times a week. "And I didn't really know my mum." He folded his arms.
Scorpius was staring at Teddy with his mouth open. "How did you do that?" he demanded.
Teddy blinked and looked at him. "What are you talking about?"
"How did you change your hair like that?" Scorpius's mouth was open even wider now, and he was practically doing a dance in the middle of the bookshop, one finger rising to point at Teddy. "That's wonderful. I've never seen anyone do that. Do it again! You didn't even wave a wand around. What did you do?"
"Scorpius," Malfoy said, and pulled his hand from his son's shoulder this time. "I've told you that it's rude to point."
Scorpius stuck his lip out, but lowered his arm. "Sorry, Teddy," he muttered.
"That's okay," Teddy said, and Harry could practically see his mind ticking over as he tried to decide what nickname would work for a name as awful as "Scorpius." Then he smiled. "Cousin. You're my cousin, did you know that? Your grandmother and my grandmother were sisters."
Scorpius turned and looked up at his father. "But you said all our relatives except Grandfather and Grandmother were dead," he whispered.
Harry looked up in time to see Malfoy wince. Harry tensed, utterly prepared to take Teddy away if Malfoy launched into a lecture about blood values or blood traitors or Mudbloods or any of the rest of it. Scorpius was charming in his own way, and Malfoy looked different and acted different and probably was different, but Harry didn't keep Teddy around anyone who implied he was inferior.
"I—didn't know if those relatives would want to acknowledge us," Malfoy said, and dipped his head to Harry in a shallow nod. "But yes, Scorpius, you do have your cousin, Teddy Lupin. His father was one of my Defense professors at Hogwarts, and he married my cousin, Nymphadora Tonks."
"Oh, that's why your name isn't Black or Malfoy," Scorpius said cheerfully to Teddy. "Do you remember your parents?"
"No, they died in the Battle of Hogwarts," Teddy said, and his hair darkened a little more. Harry hesitated, wondering if he should stop the conversation for a different reason, but a moment later, Teddy shook off the mood and his hair changed to purple. "My mum was a Metamorphmagus. That's way I can change my hair this way."
"Can you show me how?" Scorpius crowded up to him, reaching out with one hand as though to tug on his hair and then looking at Teddy for permission. Teddy nodded graciously, and Scorpius touched and exclaimed.
"Don't know if I can," Teddy said. "Don't know if you have the magic. But we could experiment, and there's a few charms I can do with my practice wand." He drew it and started waving it about. Scorpius gasped and looked up at Teddy with an expression that told Harry a new hero-worship crush was being born.
Harry became aware that Malfoy was watching him, at least as intently as Harry had been watching the boys. Harry tilted his head in question.
Malfoy looked at him with silent, evaluating eyes for so long that Harry was sure he was going to tell Harry to piss off, seize his son's hand, and march him away, away from the blood-traitor Potters and all the baggage of the past that came along with them. Instead, Malfoy took a long, slow breath and said, in a quiet voice that attracted neither of their sons' attention, "You offered your hand to Scorpius, Potter. Will you offer it to me?"
And he held it out, as he had in another time, another world.
Harry didn't have to think about it. Malfoy had changed, that was obvious, and Scorpius seemed well-treated, and Teddy would be thrilled to know his cousins. He held his hand out, and felt Malfoy's pulse hammering beneath his touch, so fast that he opened his mouth to ask if Malfoy was okay, because someone with a heartbeat that quick should go see a Healer.
Then he saw Malfoy standing still with his eyes closed, and decided that, whatever this moment meant to him, he wouldn't interrupt it. He shut his mouth and stood there, holding Malfoy's hand, in a bookshop, near their boys, with the sunlight coming in.
"How did you end up with Scorpius?"
Draco watched Potter's face as he spoke. He wondered if Potter knew how deeply the question probed, how unacceptable it would have been in certain pure-blood circles. There, one might know a divorced witch or wizard, the same way one might know someone with a Squib child. One avoided the subject in elegant loops of conversation that gave the grieving parent the chance to talk about it or not.
But Potter wasn't pure-blood. That was the point. Draco felt comfortable with him as he did with few other people in England because of it.
They were seated at a small, circular iron table out in the middle of Potter's immense back garden. The sprawling mass of green that was the grass had the complement of a tree here and there, mostly pines, as if Potter wanted to be sure he would have something that shone green all year long. Flowers grew where they wanted to, sunflowers and roses, dandelions and irises. Nothing like the tame and echoing Manor gardens.
A shout caught Draco's attention, and he turned his head. Scorpius and Teddy were racing on brooms high above the garden, tumbling in loops that Draco doubted he would have dared to perform at nine. He bit his tongue and turned back to Potter. There were Cushioning Charms in place in the air to slow a fall, and to make the grass soft as a feather bed if someone did land on it. He had to remember that.
"The same way you ended up with Lupin, I imagine," he drawled, and sipped at the cup of crushed ice and fruit flavor that Potter had provided. Some sort of Muggle concoction. He couldn't remember the name of it, or avoid showing how good he found it.
Potter laughed, the sunlight shining on his strong teeth. Draco's boyhood rival had matured into a man who exuded easy confidence, sprawling or rolling everywhere and expecting people to take him in. Even sitting at the table across from Draco, his legs practically overlapped the chair, and one booted foot nudged Draco's. He contemplated ways to draw it away without seeming rude, and could find none. Relaxed air or not, Potter seemed to notice everything. He'd removed Draco's cherry drink at once and given him a blueberry one, although Draco was sure all that had happened was his face going neutral when he sipped at the cherry.
"He's the son of friends you adopted because his grandmother couldn't care for him anymore?" Potter shook his head. "I really doubt that, Malfoy. He looks too much like you." Then he paused, and a faint shadow crossed his face. "Wait—didn't your mother want you to get married to that Greengrass girl right away after the war?"
Draco nodded, clenching his jaw. He couldn't blame Astoria for the failure of their marriage; they had both been young, desperate to cling to the rituals that their parents told them would bring back the world they had known as children before the war, a world where pure-bloods were respected and had done things the same way for hundreds of years. They had had Scorpius, and tried to be parents and obedient children to their parents at the same time, and there the trouble had started.
He couldn't blame Astoria, but he sure as hell could blame his father and mother.
"I married her," he said. "That's why I wasn't at Hogwarts the year after the war. I took my NEWTS in Switzerland, and lived there with Astoria while she was pregnant."
"Oh," Potter said, and spent a moment toying with his own cup full of crushed ice and bright color, turning his head when Lupin shrieked. But he was only yelling at something Scorpius had done, and in a moment, Draco managed to convince himself to relax his clenched muscles, as well. He had never seen Scorpius as happy as he was when playing with his cousin. This visit home was good for both of them.
He looked up to find Potter's eyes on him again, and God, the intensity in them. If Potter had relaxed in body, he hadn't at all in his gaze and his expressions. Draco cleared his throat and turned his head away.
"Why did you decide to come back to England now?" Potter asked quietly.
"I wanted Scorpius to see the country where he's going to have land someday," Draco said. "And the country where he'll attend school. And the Manor." He clenched his jaw as he thought of how the attempt to introduce Scorpius to his grandparents had gone. Well, one couldn't have everything. "And I do intend to stay here. I hope—I hope that he'll find friends here. He never quite made them in Switzerland. He's shy, as I'm certain you've noticed."
"Less shy with Teddy than with lots of people, I think," Potter said, and tilted his head back to watch the boys on their brooms again.
Draco watched him. Still all burning colors, still all fire, and yet Draco reminded himself that fire could warm and protect as well as scorch.
"I'm glad he's here," Potter said suddenly, looking back at him. "Teddy doesn't talk about it much, but it makes him feel awkward that he's adopted instead of living with his blood family, I know. And he gets lots of teasing or adoration or both because of who I am." He sighed. "And then Andromeda died last year. That was a blow to him that I don't think he's acknowledged yet. I'm glad he has Scorpius."
Draco nodded. If that was not the enthusiastic welcome he had dreamed of when he was leaving Switzerland—and he had dreamed of that from his former friends, not Potter—still, it was something.
"And I'm glad you're here, too."
Draco stared at Potter in shock, only to see the hand extended to him again, the way it had been in the bookshop, though it lay on the iron table this time, and simply waited for his clasp. Draco touched Potter's wrist, lightly, almost unable to believe it was real. Potter's hand flipped over and took his, squeezing the fingers, before Draco could decide it was an ill-advised gesture and pull his hand back.
"So," Potter said, picking up his drink and crunching the ice again as though nothing had happened. "Did you want to come to lunch on Saturday?"
"You're really putting us off for Draco bloody Malfoy."
Harry rolled his eyes. Ron did incredulity well, but this was a bit much, especially since he had firecalled spontaneously that afternoon with the offer for Harry and Teddy to come to lunch and Harry had had plans with the Malfoys for a week. "Yes, I am," he said. "Because I made those plans first. Does the mention of promises that we keep bring up anything, Ron?"
Ron flushed, and cleared his throat. His marriage had nearly ended after the first year because Ron kept promising to come home to dinner or meet her parents with Hermione or remember important dates, and then had ended up staying late at the joke shop with George to keep him company and test new products. No question that George had needed the time and attention, and Hermione had acknowledged that. But complete neglect of his wife wasn't supposed to be part of the equation, either.
"Er, yeah," Ron said, and then gave Harry a bewildered look. "I'm just surprised that you can stand to be in the same room with him."
Harry shrugged. "Scorpius is good company for Teddy."
Ron snorted. "And you need to remember that that innocent look doesn't work on me, Harry bloody Potter. You stopped putting up with nonsense for someone else's good the year you adopted Teddy. You wouldn't invite Malfoy over, just his son, unless there was something you liked about him, too."
Harry grinned in spite of himself. "Well, I won't tell you everything, because you'd never believe it," he said. Waking up from wet dreams of Malfoy handling me with those long hands…nah, that isn't something Ron needs to hear. "But yeah, he makes me laugh, and he gives me this completely different perspective. All these things that pure-bloods value and I don't, that I didn't even realize existed, much less were actually important to some people."
"I reckon I can see that," Ron said, and sighed. "Well, see you next week, mate."
He vanished from the fire at the exact same moment as someone knocked on the door. Harry heard Teddy's excited stampede through the house, and kept himself back with some effort. His enthusiasm for Malfoy's company wasn't nearly as open and noticeable as Teddy's enthusiasm for Scorpius's (who he kept calling "Cousin" because he still hadn't found a satisfactory nickname).
Once the door had been opened and there was the thunderous whirlwind of two boys running back up the stairs, Harry stepped into the kitchen to greet his other guest.
Malfoy was staring at the food spread out on the table, currently under a combination Preservation and Heating Charm with an extra ward that mimicked a slap on the wrist so Teddy wouldn't try to sneak something early. Harry cocked his head to the side, trying to understand the expression on Malfoy's face. "Too much?" he asked quietly.
Malfoy snapped back to attention and glanced at him, his eyes still wide and thus missing a little of the haughty light that always repelled Harry when he tried to get too close. "Surprised Granger lets you keep a house-elf," he replied.
Harry snorted, and then shook his head when Malfoy glared at him. "You didn't say something all that amusing," he explained. "But if you thought Hermione would ever let me have one…no, I made all this myself."
Malfoy stared at him. "Is that why you didn't want to be an Auror?" he asked finally. "Because you decided to become a cook instead?"
Harry laughed. "I gave up on the Auror training program when I took in Teddy. He needed someone to be there for him, not always dashing off." He shrugged and made his way to the back of the room to check on the cake that was currently baking slowly under a spell he'd designed himself. He trusted spells more than his Muggle appliances. "No, I do a little bit of work here, a little there. Teaching people Quidditch, or certain spells, or standing in for the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers when they become sick or pregnant or whatever. Not consistent work, but—satisfying."
"Of course it is," Malfoy echoed faintly. Harry glanced at him, wondering why his voice was so flat, but Malfoy was running a hand down the side of the table, just under the wards. "And you designed these spells yourself?"
"With help from books, of course," Harry said, listening as the modified Tempus Charm chimed in his head. He lifted the spells on the cake and examined it critically. Yes, it was firm enough not to fall apart, but soft enough to retain some moisture. He smiled and brought it over to the table. "I'm not smart enough to do all this on my own." He met Malfoy's eyes.
Malfoy's eyes that were a lot closer than he'd realized, he saw with a little start. Malfoy had stepped up to him, and for some reason, Harry really hadn't noticed. He didn't move back, though, because he was curious to see what Malfoy would say.
"I don't think that's the case," Malfoy said at last, breathing the words as though there was someone there who might overhear them and report them to Voldemort. Sometimes Harry thought his memories of the war would never completely leave him. "I think that you're much smarter than you let on, sometimes. I think that you have more skills than you advertise, too."
Harry tried to recover from his breathlessness by smiling and bending over the cake again, although he had already cast all the spells he could think of on it. "Well, I already advertised my skill in killing Dark Lords years ago. Rather redundant to make a fuss of anything else after that, don't you think?"
Malfoy's hand squeezed at his shoulder. Then it sank down, as though Malfoy had never felt a forearm leading down to the elbow before. Harry went still and stared at him. Malfoy had a deep, complex expression on his face, and Harry wouldn't have stopped him for the world. For long moments, he continued stroking.
Then he whispered, "So different from mine."
It was Harry's left forearm that he held, of course. Harry reached out without hesitation and touched Malfoy's skin where the Dark Mark would be, hidden though it was by the cloth. Malfoy went still in a whole new category of still, one Harry knew he wouldn't have been able to manage. His eyes shot up to and held Harry's, his body braced as if he was about to lash out.
"Not so different," Harry said. "Just as good." He squeezed once and let go, then stepped back to yell, "Boys, lunch is ready!"
In the clamor of their footsteps coming down the stairs, he let the moment pass, to mean exactly whatever Malfoy wanted it to mean.
"Potter's Place—Malfoy, what happened? Are you all right?"
Draco swallowed tightly and shook his head. He knew he had to speak, that Potter would otherwise interpret his clenched jaw and grinding teeth all the wrong way, but he had to hold back so many things he could have said, could have wept, even, and he didn't want to look that weak in front of Potter. There were limits to what kinds of comfort Potter could offer him.
"Is Scorpius sick?" Potter was fumbling with his glasses, yawning. Well, why not, when it was the middle of the night. Draco held himself rigidly still for a moment and watched the lines of the cords in Potter's throat, the brilliant shine of his eyes. Potter snapped back to attention a moment later and studied him. "No," he concluded, before Draco could steel himself to speak. "It's something else." He hesitated, as though considering, and then said, "Would you like to come through? Or would it be better if I came through to your place? Do you want me to bring Teddy?"
Calm questions that Draco could cling to, actions he could take that would make sense. He drew a ragged breath and said, "Come through yourself. No need to wake Teddy. Scorpius is sleeping, so there would be nothing for him to do anyway. And healthy," he added, for the sake of hearing his own voice, although Potter had already figured that out.
Potter nodded, reached above his own head for the Floo powder, and then dispersed it into the fire in a shining flash. When he appeared in the anteroom Draco had chosen to Floo him from, he glanced once at the marble walls, seemed to note they weren't in Malfoy Manor, and then turned his full attention on Draco.
Draco understood the reasons Potter had given up being an Auror, but he thought he would have made a good one. Being the focus of his gaze made Draco's head and body stop rocking as though they were in a ship at sea, rather than continuing as he had been afraid would happen. He swallowed down the last of his pride and said, "I need your help, Potter."
Potter nodded without any expression of regret or surprise. "All right. What happened? Can we sit down?" The anteroom was bare of chairs, so Potter flicked his wand and Summoned one. "Do you want a house-elf to bring you a drink?"
That seemed like such a good idea that Draco didn't know why he hadn't thought of it—and then he remembered. He nodded, jerkily, and sank into his newly-Summoned chair. Potter nodded back, as though it made perfect sense to him, and then went to call a house-elf. Draco leaned back in the chair and put his hands over his face.
Merlin, the smug faces of Scorpius's grandparents, the way they chattered at Draco as if by enough chatter they could confuse him and make him forget his duty to his son, the words they built up and around him…
"There you are."
It was Potter, coming back with a glass of brandy. Draco drank it hastily, although he knew he shouldn't, and took a certain pleasure in spluttering and coughing. It wasn't the kind of reaction his father had trained him to have, but then, going against those reactions was kind of the point right now.
"Who upset you?" Potter knelt down next to his chair and took Draco's hand as if it was the most natural and obvious gesture in the world. Draco's staring didn't bother him; he must have endured more stares in his time than Draco could count, given the reporters and everyone else. "Just tell me," Potter added quietly, unmoving, even his eyes that blinked all the time unblinking now.
Draco thought he could find the words, after another swallow of brandy and one more squeeze of Potter's hand. "My parents came here," he said. "And Astoria's. They both think they should be raising Scorpius, not me. I'd counted on the fact that they don't like each other much to keep them from uniting on this, but they hate me more, and they'd worked out some agreement where Scorpius would spend part of each week at their houses." He gritted his teeth. "I took this house so that someday Scorpius would understand Malfoy Manor better, but he's not going to live there with my parents. Not while I'm alive."
"How could anyone hate you?"
Potter's words stopped Draco again, but for a different reason this time, and he really did have to squeeze his eyes shut until he thought they would burst open of their own accord. Then he swallowed and said, "Thank you for that. But they could bring legal action against me. They—they don't think I'm raising Scorpius like a proper pure-blood heir, since I let him associate with people who aren't pure-bloods and even send him to school instead of just taking over all his education myself."
"Yes. Of course." Draco opened his eyes and shook his head, suddenly desperate to speak the words bubbling up in his throat, although he didn't know why. It wasn't like he would die if Potter didn't believe him. "But even if I still believed in all that blood purity and blood traitor rot, I wouldn't try to keep Scorpius from his cousin. He would be heartbroken."
"Of course he would," Potter soothed, his fingers stroking Draco's wrist as though he was trying to gentle his fluttering pulse. "And I know you wouldn't do that. How severe is the legal challenge they could bring against you? Would they try?"
"They wouldn't want to," Draco said, sure of that much at least. His parents had avoided publicity since the war for good reason. "But they would do it rather than let me raise Scorpius. They'd try private pressure first, though. The way they sat there scolding me tonight, telling me in these honeyed voices that if I really loved my son I'd let his grandparents raise him—" He broke off with bile behind his teeth.
"Let them just try," Potter said softly.
Draco blinked, and glanced up. "That's not what I want them to do," he said rapidly. "The next step is going to Scorpius, and while I'm sure he would choose to stay with me, they know how to manipulate people, to work on them—" He found that he was trying to tug his hand away from Potter.
"No," Potter said, and his gaze was settled in a way that made Draco feel, again, that he would have made a good Auror—but the kind who spent a lot of time arresting criminals and telling them what they could and could not do next. "I meant, let them try a challenge in open court. Let them try. There's no way they'll win."
Draco shook his head. "Why not? They have a lot more money than I do, combined, and the Greengrasses were never out of favor during the war the way my parents were. They weren't even tried."
"Because," Potter said, "you'll have the Boy-Who-Lived with you." His smile at Draco was so brilliant that Draco winced and looked away, because he would say something that he regretted if he kept looking.
In fact, all the words he could have spoken seemed like either the kind he would regret or the kind he couldn't speak at all, so after a moment, he settled for whispering, "Thank you."
Potter's fingers brushed along the side of his jaw, as gentle as a kiss or a promise. Then he stood up and said, "Come on. I think you need company tonight, but we can find a more comfortable room to have it in than this."
Draco stood up, dazed, and led Harry Potter further into his house, something he could never have conceived of happening without their sons between them.
Harry grinned as sparks shot from Teddy's new wand. The second one Ollivander had chosen had picked him, and Ollivander, so stooped in his wheelchair behind the counter that he would have had to raise his head a good distance to be at the level of Teddy's chest, gave a smile like winter sunlight.
"Ten inches, holly, dragon heartstring, very good," he whispered, coughing. "So much like his father's wand, one thinks." His eyes lingered on Harry.
"I think so, too," Harry said back, watching the way Teddy adjusted his hair to be even closer to Harry's, and his eyes to a brighter shade of green than they were currently. He still wouldn't let Teddy use the name "Potter," because he thought, well, some things were due to Remus and Tonks and Teddy would probably want to know more about them someday. But if Teddy wanted to look like him, that was fine.
And if he really wants to go by "Potter" when he's a little older, then I'll let him. I just don't trust an eleven-year-old to know everything. Harry grinned and shook his head. God knows what I would have done if they'd put me completely in charge of my destiny when I was eleven.
"Look at me!" Teddy crowed, capering around Harry in the street and making the wand glow with a Lumos Charm. His hair changed to purple the way it always tended to do when he was excited. "Look at me! I bet I can make that bag fly!" He aimed his wand at a bag carried by a witch with two little children behind her, who clutched it and glared at him.
"No, you can't, because I say no," Harry said gently, and forced Teddy to lower his arm. "Now, don't you want to—"
There was Scorpius, tearing across Diagon Alley towards them and yelling while waving his arms. Behind him came Draco, his pace stately and his head lifted to ignore the stares he still sometimes got, even here. It was half a year since Lucius Malfoy had tried to force the issue of Scorpius's custody after all and Harry and Draco had been on the front page of the Prophet every day for a few weeks, but some people wouldn't forget.
"Look what I can do!" Teddy yelled, and made Scorpius's hair stand on end with a few practiced flicks of his wand. Scorpius danced in place like it was the coolest thing ever, and Harry shook his head.
"Sorry for any inconvenience that might cause to Scorpius's personal groomer," he murmured to Draco, smirking.
"That inconvenience," Draco murmured, turning towards Harry presumably so that the boys wouldn't hear them talking, "is nothing compared to what I'm afraid Scorpius may feel when his cousin goes to school and he can't follow."
Harry winced. Yes, he hated to think about that, with Teddy and Scorpius so close all the time. Teddy did still play with Ron and Hermione's son and daughter and some of the other Weasley children, too, but not as often. For one thing, it was more of a production to gather the Weasleys up when their parents were so much busier than Harry was and they had more children.
And for another, Teddy didn't want to play with anyone who said that Malfoys were bad, and that was unfortunately a trait Rose, Hugo, and Bill's children possessed in abundance. After several quarrels about Scorpius, Harry had decided to keep Teddy apart from them for a little while, until things could settle down.
Which associating with Draco is not going to make it do.
Well, the people who didn't like that could go hang. Harry wasn't about to let anyone drive him away from associating with Draco and Scorpius as much as he liked.
And not just because Scorpius and Teddy were best friends, although he didn't know if Draco knew that yet.
"It'll be hard for him," Harry said reflectively. "Hard on me, too, to let Teddy go, but I can visit the school sometimes when I fill in for the Defense teacher." He hesitated. "Do you think Scorpius would like to go with me?"
Draco stared at him, and Harry had an aching moment of wondering if he knew how bright his face was, how clear his eyes seemed, without the kind of sneering and brooding that he'd been prone to do when they were schoolboys together.
"Are you joking?" Draco whispered. "Of course he would. Why would you question that?"
He seemed to be drawing back, withdrawing from Harry, even though he continued standing still. Harry held back a sigh. Draco was like that sometimes, proud and high-strung and sensitive about comments—and issues—that seemed utterly innocuous to Harry. But if he could hold himself back from reacting the exact same way that he always had, Harry thought he could do the same.
"I don't know if the Headmistress would agree to let you accompany him," Harry explained gently. "And I know you like to be with him."
Draco looked back to where his son was currently demanding to try out Teddy's wand. Teddy graciously let him, and what emerged was a series of trailing green bubbles that popped above Scorpius's head. He laughed at them, and Harry saw a ripple, or a bubble, of his own pass over Draco's face.
"You are the only one I would trust with him, other than myself," Draco said, and his voice was so strangely passionless that it took Harry a few moments to understand the strength of his words. "To be with him, to take care of him, to protect him against the people who might try to hurt him because he's my son and for no other reason." For a moment, his bright teeth were visible, cutting down on his lip. "I trust you."
Harry tried to find words for his response, but he didn't think they existed. He had to settle for reaching out and squeezing Draco's arm tightly. And Draco leaned against him, let Harry take his weight, if only for a moment.
Draco stared gloomily around the room. It was the first Ministry function he had received an invitation to, and he had mistakenly assumed that, if he was now important enough for the Ministry to send him invitations, that meant he would find people in the room who wanted to talk to him.
But no one had come up so far, and the people who looked at him with cool, remote eyes then made it their business to stay away from him, at a distance that seemed carefully measured by the successive waves of gossip that they expected to occur.
Draco drained his flute of champagne and put it down on a side table in an alcove that probably hadn't been designed for that purpose, the only bit of rebellion he would permit himself. This was a mistake. If Scorpius wants a place in this kind of society, then he'll have to earn it himself.
He was just turning away when someone grasped his arm. Draco tensed the muscles and started to turn to the side, a posture that would allow him to see his assailant and be ready to break free at the same time. At this point, he scarcely cared if he caused a scene.
But it was Potter who smiled at him and gave him another glass of champagne. "Leaving?" he asked, cocking his head to the side.
Draco thought he understood the mystery of the invitation then, and paused to lick away the bitterness coating his lips and tongue. It tasted like iron. "Yes," he said. "I appreciate you procuring the invitation for me, but no one here…" He moved his new glass to take in the talking, dancing, back-turned crowds, unable to think of a way to speak the truth that wouldn't sound petulant.
Potter stepped closer to him, his eyes burning with that focus he got when you were the center of his attention. Draco licked his lips for a different reason this time, but he doubted Potter noticed. Or at least, he wouldn't notice the implication. Ignoring implications was one of his bigger gifts, and one Draco felt gratitude for—at least, until the moments he didn't, like this.
"I didn't send you that invitation," Potter said. His hand closed on Draco's wrist, shockingly warm, to the point that the champagne glass trembled in his hand. "I think someone here probably did, but they were mistaken if they expected you to come here and go home in humiliation."
"Were they?" Draco transferred his glass to his other hand and sipped, fixating furiously on the sensation of bubbles popping against his lips. That was what he had to do, that was the important thing, not the way Potter's fingers rubbed back and forth along the bone of his wrist, the skin, the flesh, the tendon. "Yet it's what I was about to do when you showed up."
"You shouldn't," Potter whispered, and set his own glass down on the table that held Draco's first one. "Come, let's dance."
"What?" Draco stumbled, and clenched his fingers harder than ever around the glass, until he thought it might pop like the bubbles in his grip. "What? I know—everyone knows that Harry Potter doesn't dance."
Potter paused, cocking his head. Against the light from outside the alcove, he shone like a dark phoenix with lights around its wings, his eyes so brilliantly green that Draco hurt. "Everyone knows that Malfoys should crawl back under their rocks, too," he said, and the grasp of his hands closed down and tugged, relentless as winter. "Come on, Malfoy. Draco. Will you let me call you Draco for an hour? That's what dance partners should do."
"Or friends," Draco snapped, and set his second glass down beside the first. He trembled, but in his heart and his bones, not his limbs. It seemed he was really going to do this.
"Or lovers," Potter said, and leaned forwards, his kiss touching the side of Draco's throat, his head blocking the view of anyone else beyond.
Draco closed his eyes, then opened them. He knew the strength of the pulsebeat beneath Potter's lips and the blood rising into his face would have given him away already, but he didn't care.
"So it's like that," he said softly.
"It is," Potter said. "Not from the beginning, but because I know you now, and I like you, and I want you." And with those words, he destroyed, as effortlessly as he had once destroyed the Dark Lord, Draco's fear that Potter had wanted to get into his pants and that all his kindness to Scorpius and his legal assistance meant nothing. "Dance with me?"
Before, he had ordered; now he asked. Draco, with visions of spinning stars in his head, put out his hand, and Potter drew him into the middle of the dance floor where the young men and women, the important pure-bloods conducting business deals, and the important Ministry officials wheeled.
Draco belonged to none of them, and he could feel their stares burning on him, trying to consume him, turn him to ashes and embers, less brilliantly colored than fire, beneath it in rank. But their stares broke and faltered on the shield of Potter's fame and utter indifference, on the graceful way he moved, on the way he turned and spun and brought his arms above him and then back down, his hand gripping Draco's in the place it was supposed to, his other hand settling on his shoulder and spinning him tightly.
Draco knew, then. The rumors about Potter not dancing had said something about clumsiness, or a Quidditch accident years ago, or embarrassment because his dancing wasn't up to the Ministry's standard. But Draco knew, now, that Potter could dance; he simply didn't care to show that off to the officious crowds hounding him like whining lapdogs. He would show it to someone he cared for.
There was that knowledge, and much else, more potently working in Draco than the champagne ever had, but he saw no reason to laugh aloud, or display it in words to their audience. Displaying it in the dance would be more than sufficient.
When the tune changed to a waltz, Potter knew that, and when it became a traditional dance of the sort that wizards had once done more as a sport than a ballroom entertainment, he knew that, too, kicking out and letting go in the right places and reclaiming Draco's hand as he spun madly on one foot, his mouth open and his eyes lambent with laughter.
Laughter shared, not laughter dividing. It was the first time in years that Draco had felt so included, rather than held out by hands over smiles and smothered titters not smothered enough. But Potter's laughter invited him in and shut others out, and Draco responded, wrapping it around him like Potter's Invisibility Cloak, seen and admired on several of Draco's visits to Potter's house. It guarded him now. When the music stopped and the room drew in a sort of collective breath, as much to say that the dance had been one thing but now, surely now, Potter must return to belonging with them, Draco knew the inclusion would continue.
Potter leaned towards him, breath soft and warm across Draco's neck, eyes still brilliant. Draco lifted his head, not sure what he expected, only that there was a challenge in Potter's face and the way his hands moved out to grip Draco's body, resting on shoulder, hip, back of the head, throat, in their restless wandering.
When Potter kissed him, the outrush of breath behind them was as loud as a shriek, and Draco heard more than one glass shatter. And then he forgot everything but warmth, and the daring and dazzling play of the tongue, and the way Potter pulled back and lifted Draco's hand, sticking his tongue in between his fingers, nudging and tapping.
"So," Potter said, and gave him a heavy smile, his eyes even heavier, the light burning now like the embers and ashes that so many people had tried to make Draco feel he was. "Have I earned the name Harry?"
This time, Draco was the one who tugged him close, and gave him delight by whispering the name in between his lips before he claimed Harry's mouth.
Harry opened his eyes and closed them again when he saw familiar pillows. The warmth against his back was less than familiar, not something he had expected, but something he had wanted, and now he knew he was safe after seeing those pillows and this was not a dream. Those tatters, those stains, were far too ordinary to fit into the kind of exalted dreaming that he otherwise would have been indulging in.
The warmth shifted, and spread over him. Draco's voice whispered into his ear, "I know you're awake."
Harry smiled, and kept his eyes shut. He could, if he wanted. This was not a dream.
Draco's hands slid down his sides, catching under his ribs and holding there as if Harry's ribs were far more prominent than they were. Harry wondered for a moment what Draco would have made of his far more skinny teenage self, the one who could practically play a tune from his flanks to his sternum, and then moved his shoulders up and down. It hardly mattered.
"Not yet," Draco said, obviously mistaking the way Harry's shoulders moved for some intention to rise, and flattened his hands out, dragging them down, bracing and stroking and cooing admiration. Harry flushed, but most of that would be hidden under his body and invisible. He always got like that when Draco touched him like this.
"Always" is more like three days.
It didn't matter. He had Draco now, and this was not a dream.
Draco murmured, "Will you let me touch you?" His fingers were already busy, skating between Harry's shoulder blades and down his back towards the curve of his arse, but they stopped in place as he spoke.
Harry would have said that Draco already had his permission, but he understood the need for the explicit giving. He smiled, drowsily. "Do as you wish with me," he murmured.
Draco's breath stuttered out, but he didn't speak again, seeming to have welcomed and grasped the words for the gift they were. He sat back again, and then bent low, using his breath and his tongue to warm and wet the middle of Harry's back. Harry stiffened his legs to continue lying still.
Draco smiled against his skin, but said nothing, just tracing the line of Harry's spine with his tongue and then continuing with his fingers. All ten of them made the journey one by one, and by the time Draco's left little finger made it to the last vertebra, Harry was flexing and gasping, although he didn't try to turn over and didn't stop what Draco was doing. He had given permission, and it was utter. He couldn't control all his reactions, though, and he hoped Draco would realize that.
It seemed he did. He laughed long and low, and his fingers dipped between Harry's arse cheeks, and his breath was there, too. Harry tensed in anticipation, but Draco was making his way down Harry's legs, kneading the muscle, breathing on the backs of his knees, introducing him to the sudden coolness that was a swipe of his tongue followed by his breath. Harry curved his neck up and nearly braced his arms beneath him to rise before he remembered. He flopped back down, but, well, part of him was rising anyway.
"Thank you," Draco said against Harry's heel, kneading the bottom of his foot until Harry had to muffle his giggles against his arm, and then nipping. Harry's giggles became gasps so fast that he felt light-headed. "For this, and for the dances, and for your friendship, and for giving me room to be myself."
"How could anyone not give you that?" Harry asked into the pillow. "Yeah, when you were younger, maybe, but now?" It was incomprehensible to him, as incomprehensible as the fact that Draco's own parents had tried to take Scorpius away from him.
Draco didn't attempt to answer, but crawled up Harry's back again, this time using his hair to make the journey his tongue and fingers had gone before. "Turn over," he whispered, and Harry did, rolling, mesmerized and cocooned, into that voice.
And then there was sudden, violent heat swallowing him, and Draco's hands on his hips, and a lapping tongue, and a vision of the abyss and the stars.
"Seduced him, I hear." A swallow that was only for the speaker's benefit, to pretend to refresh his throat while giving a dramatic pause. "Which isn't so far from enchantment in some ways. Done properly, of course."
Draco kept his gaze fixed straight ahead and his stride loose and easy, a smile of contempt curling his lips. Yes, they might say that. They might speculate and complain and gossip, but they weren't the ones walking to Platform 9 ¾ to await the coming of the Hogwarts Express with Harry Potter at their side.
And because Draco didn't regard the nastiness around him, Scorpius didn't, either. He pelted ahead, calling back descriptions of people's owls and their families and their clothes, and returning to Draco to whisper them instead when Draco called him back. Draco put a hand on his son's shoulder, and felt the greater flesh covering the bone, the result of Harry's cooking.
And the greater life, the greater spirit, running through his body as though through his veins? Draco liked to think that came from all of them, Harry and himself and Teddy and even the Weasleys.
Harry came to a halt in the place they'd chosen to wait, and waited. Draco glanced at him and saw those green eyes gazing at him, as always; Draco often thought of Harry as the one who had won him, but the way he looked at Draco could suggest otherwise. Another thing for someone to gossip about.
And for Draco to hold over their heads, if he wanted to.
The Hogwarts Express was just pulling in, and of course Scorpius couldn't see Teddy yet. But he always pretended he could, had when Teddy came home for the Christmas and Easter holidays as well, and now he danced madly at Draco's side, a joy in his eyes that would have been alien to the small, frightened boy who had come home with Draco almost two years ago.
Harry relaxed, dropping a burden that he didn't seem to know he carried most of the time. To have Teddy at his side, Draco knew, made his family feel complete. He wondered what would happen when Scorpius went to Hogwarts, and was glad that they would not find out for another year.
But after that…
Draco smiled. If he and Harry wanted another child, he had no doubt they would know how to go about acquiring one.
And then the train pulled in, and Teddy climbed down laughing and shouting, and the steam billowed over them, and Draco, if he took the chance to look into it, could see visions in it as he would the fire.
Of a normal future, of a settled life, of their ordinary days.