Title: The Right Question
Author: vala (valinorean)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Harry keeps asking the wrong question.
Characters: Harry/Draco
Word Count: ~1500
Contains: bad language, infidelity
Beta: none
A/N: Written for the slythindor100's challenge #128 (Step 7: "It's my fault I nearly lost you forever.")

The Right Question
by vala


The word seemed foreign and unfamiliar. Especially when paired with the name Draco Malfoy.

Everyone said they were not good for each other. People kept telling them it wouldn't last. They were still struggling against discrimination and bigotry long after the war was over. And after six months of fighting for every minute they spent together, they decided to let go. Yes, it was mutual. As mutual as two people who refused to let go but knew it was for the best can get.


The last night they were together, there was need. Their lovemaking was lingering, never wanting to lose each other's touch.

They did not want to part, but both knew it was inevitable. It was for the best, really. They could pursue their chosen careers, their friends would stop holding their breaths for The Fight that would lead to their eventual breakup (because everyone was so sure it would happen), and they could part in amicable terms. It was what they needed to keep their sanity.

That final night, Harry couldn't help but ask. "Stay the night?"

"I can't," Draco sighed softly. "It'll hurt in the morning."

They officially broke up after that.


The first time they saw each other again, there was a feeling of reunion. Their lovemaking was akin to coming home after a long journey.

They met, of all places, at a Muggle bar. Draco was on the verge of another breakup with his on-again off-again boyfriend of six weeks. Harry had resolved to get back together with his childhood sweetheart. Yes, they concurred that both incidents required alcohol.

They didn't even think about the consequences of their actions. It was wrong; they were both involved with someone else. Everyone said that a clean break was best. But four months without seeing or even hearing from each other only made them break their resolve about staying away.

It was obvious how much they missed each other, what with the ripped clothes and buttons strewn across the living room floor. They didn't even have any recollection on how they got to the bedroom. There was only skin, heat and passion.

They tried to convince each other that this incident should not be repeated. They were saying the same thing really, but saying it out aloud felt better. They could convince themselves it was a mistake.

As sleep tried to envelope Harry, he couldn't help but ask. "Stay the night?" Harry whispered.

"I shouldn't," Draco whispered back. "It'll hurt in the morning."

They parted ways that evening.


The next time they got together, there was anger. There was resentment and jealousy in their lovemaking that neither had a right to feel.

They ran into each other in one of the Ministry Charity Balls. It had been a month since their last encounter. Both came to the ball with their dates, and while Harry came with Ginny (which was expected, of course), Draco came with a gorgeous American in his arms. Fifteen minutes into the Ball, Harry couldn't take it any longer and all but dragged Draco discreetly into a back corridor.

"What the fuck was that for?" Draco asked, clearly not wanting to be bodily hauled into a dark hallway in the middle of the festivities.

"Who the fuck was that?" Harry spat, his eyes bright with rage.

"You don't have any fucking right to ask me that," Draco hissed.

"I want to know, damn it," Harry punctuated his words by shoving Draco against the wall, clutching the front of the blond's dress robes. "Are you fucking him?"

"What about you and the redhead?" Draco countered. "Don't you tell me what I can and can't do you bloody hypocrite. This is what you wanted!"

"No," Harry replied harshly. "I only want you."

And with that, their mouths crashed together in a bruising kiss. They Apparated to Harry's flat shortly, leaving their dates and the party behind. They would have to think of appropriate excuses in the morning. But tonight – this night was theirs alone.

There was no better cure to jealousy and insatiable need than angry sex. Or so they both thought. Again, they told each other that this incident should not be repeated. They broke up for a reason.

"Stay the night?" Harry couldn't help but ask.

"I'd rather not," replied Draco. "It'll hurt in the morning."

They separated that night, their rage pacified.


The next time they got together, there was quiet desperation. They made love as if it was their last, prolonging the pleasure, impeding the pain that was soon to follow.

"I can never see you again after tomorrow, you know," Harry had said softly into the darkness. In the aftermath of their lovemaking all he could feel was the impending loss. He dreaded tomorrow and snuggled closer to his former lover.

"It's all for the best," Draco replied.

The next day was Harry's wedding day. It had been a year since Harry and Draco's last night together. After that night, Harry had resolved to make things right with Ginny. To be fair, he really did try his best and nearly succeeded. He knew they would be happy together, if only he could close that one chapter in his life…

So he tried to contact Draco. He wanted closure and he wanted it as soon as possible. But the blond just couldn't be arsed to come and see him. The fucking coward, Harry thought.

In a final act of desperation, Harry stormed Draco's villa in France where he was supposedly hiding. He wanted to tell the Slytherin that there could never be anything more between them. But all coherent thought faded into the background at the sight of brilliant grey eyes. With one kiss, all his resolve crumbled, and he knew he couldn't go back to his fiancée.

"Why didn't you respond to my Owls?" Harry had to ask; this whole mess was Draco's fault anyway. If only they'd met before the wedding preparations were under way.

"I wanted you to be happy," Draco said after a long while.

And it was true, as far as the blond was concerned. He couldn't give Harry what he needed to be happy: a loving family and the acceptance of his friends. But he could give Harry this. This one night, this last night to finally say goodbye to each other.

"Can I…stay the night?" Harry asked, his one final request.

"Best not to," came Draco's inevitable reply. "It'll hurt in the morning."

Harry did not show up for his wedding the following day.


The next time they were together, there was sadness. They made love revelling in the other's feel and scent, as if they were memorizing each other's touch.

This time, it was Draco who sought Harry out. But unlike the last, this time they knew with certainty that they were truly parting. Draco was moving away and Harry dared not stop him. Harry knew he had no right to—they were no longer lovers. He was grateful, in fact, that Draco even shared his plans with him. He could have easily left without a word.

"Where do you plan to go?" asked Harry.

"Asia or probably South America," Draco replied. "I still haven't decided yet."

Harry held the blond closer and closed his eyes. He'd been trying to find ways to tell the other man how he felt. Apparently Griffindor courage didn't last long after leaving Hogwarts. He wanted Draco, and Harry was almost certain Draco wanted him as well. But what the hell was stopping them?

Was it because Harry was never articulate enough? Or was Draco just too fucking cold? Either way, neither man had the courage to say anything that night. In a last desperate attempt, Harry dared to ask the only question he could.

"Stay the night?" Harry's breath hitches, knowing what the other's answer would be.

"We'll regret it," Draco said sadly. "It'll hurt in the morning."

Draco left the continent that evening.


The next time they got together, there was hope. They could not repress the joy they both felt at being reunited, and it showed in their lovemaking.

It took three years before Draco was able to return. But it was three years too long for both of them. They had written the occasional letter, updating each other briefly about their lives. In Draco's last letter, the blond mentioned that he had had enough of traveling. He was coming home.

Separation is a funny thing. Sometimes it can be the cure to healing hearts. But most of the time, it is a way for the mind to hear what the heart is saying. Harry was stronger this time. More resolute.

After they made love that night, Harry asked,

"Stay the night?"

"It'll hurt in the morning."

"Then…stay forever."