Title: With a Love Like Yours, Life Isn't So Bleak Anymore.

Characters/Pairings: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy. (With Hermione/Ron)

Rating: NC 17

Warnings: Romance/Angst. This fic ignores the Epilogue and it's set in a way that both Harry and Draco are not on bad terms after the War, given the fact that he has vouched for both Narcissa and Draco in Wizengamot.

Word Count: ~4,800

Notes: Recognizable characters and settings belong to J.K Rowling. No copyright infringement intended. Many thanks to my lovely beta, Ciara; without her, this fic would be error-filled. The remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone. Written for hp_emofest on LJ.

ϟ

A light knock on the door wakes Hermione in the living room, having dozed off on the couch after getting home from St Mungo's. Casting a tempus, she sees that it is two o'clock in the morning. Frowning at the door, she wonders who it is at this time of the night. Gripping her wand with her right hand, she hides it behind her back before she opens the door and sees a handsome man around her age standing there. She scans from his face to his shoes, eyes trailing back up when she's done. She stares into the pair of steel blue eyes, questioning. She clears her throat, "Yes?"

"I…Granger," he says, hearing her gasp but continuing nonetheless, "I heard about Potter." His voice is nervous and his hands grip the insides of his coat. "I want to help."

ϟ

Ten months later

A streak of lightning blazes through the dark grey clouds, the sky thundering two seconds later. The brunette watches the drops of water mixing with the snow from his seat; the perfect snowflakes melting into puddles when they touch the ground. Looking down at the teacup in his hands, he swirls the contents in it, deep in thought. He watches the man with stylish dirty blond hair sitting across the table through his fan of eyelashes as the man pours himself a cup of Earl Grey—his favourite, into his delicate china cup.

"Something on your mind?" the man prompts, sensing the other man's discomfort as he adds sugar to his tea, stirring it with grace when he's done. "Let's talk about—"

"Who are you, really?" the brunette asks. He watches the man stiffen slightly at the sudden question and narrows his eyes. "I knew it. You're someone that I was acquainted with before."

"Harry," the man says, forcing himself to relax under the gaze of narrowed emerald eyes. He stops stirring his tea and places the spoon on the saucer with a light 'clink'. "What are you saying? I am who I am and I've never met you before this." He tries giving a convincing smile, which seems to have failed in Harry's eyes. The man looks away, lifting his cup to his lips and taking a sip of the fragrant tea.

Harry sets his teacup gently on the table and steps aside to a large window draped with grey velvet curtains. He looks out into the streets covered with melting snow, watching people as their colourful umbrellas shelter them from the rain. "Orion—I'm sure that isn't your real name—I'm a trained Auror, do you expect me not to notice and pick up on signs after watching and knowing you for nine months?"

Orion stands from his seat, moving to join Harry at the window. "I—Harry, we had an agreement. Before this therapy commenced, didn't we agree that you wouldn't ask me about my—"

"I know," Harry says abruptly. He peers out of the window again and half-whispers, "I know but I can't help but feel that you're someone that I know."

"I'm not." Orion smiles briefly, his voice earnest and steps closer to Harry. He places both hands on his shoulders and squeezes them slightly. "And it doesn't matter—this is about you. You're getting—no, you're already so much better than nine months ago."

"No." Harry shakes his head. "No, it matters," he repeats, lifting his left hand, wrist free of cuts, to cup Orion's face.

Orion leans into the gentle touch and Harry feels the tremble of his lips as he strokes a thumb across his lips. "You…you remind me of someone — someone that I miss. In fact, now that I think about it, everything you do is just like him. I suspected for two months now."

"What?" Orion's eyes widen, presenting Harry's stare with their blue colouring. Harry stares into the pair of blue eyes, smiling gently and continues, "The way you talk about your parents, the way you respond to me, the way your hands cross on the table and even the way you take your tea." Harry glances at their tea cups briefly before raising his gaze back to Orion's again. "Earl Grey with two sugars."

Orion remains silent but his breath quickens, taken aback by Harry's observations.

"And your toast? You always sprinkle sugar after spreading butter on it," Harry adds. "It's the same ever since the sixth year."

Orion opens his mouth to say something — anything, but seems to have miraculously lost his voice.

"…Will you take down the illusion charm on yourself?" Harry asks softly, emerald eyes pleading. He knows it's not Polyjuice potion, Orion remains with his appearance for over an hour.

Knocking away Harry's hand, Orion steps back from the touch. His eyes grow impossibly wide and frantic as he shakes his head at the request.

"Please," Harry tries again moments later. "Why are you hiding from me? Is it about disliking you at school? You know I don't — at least not any more. I haven't felt that way about you for a long time. On the contrary, I like you," Harry finishes with a slight blush on his cheeks.

Orion backs up to the wall, eyes shut as he shakes his head firmly. "No, no you don't. You're just saying that because you want me to take down the charm."

"I'm not just saying that!" Harry yells, irritated. Orion flinches at his tone and he sighs. Calm down Harry. He counts to ten in attempt to settle his frustration. This was the trick Orion had taught him to regain composure in the first month of his therapy. "Why are you—?"

"Please Harry," he pleads. "Don't…don't force me."

Harry sighs inwardly, puzzled by why he is hiding from him. "Alright—okay, fine. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have pushed you. I just…" Harry pauses, trying to search for the words he wants to say. He shakes his head after a moment, giving up on the thought. Stepping over to the chair, he picks up the black coat draped over the back. He turns back to Orion, gaze catching the redness and the shine of moisture in his eyes.

"I…I'll see you on my next appointment?" He waits for Orion's approval and smiles in relief, body free of tension when he sees Orion nod weakly before opening the office door.

"Thank you, Draco," Harry says, all too softly but Orion — Draco hears it clearly. The door snicks shut and the office falls silent.

Draco sags against the wall, heart beating wildly while his mind attempts to comprehend that Harry knows it's him and that Harry used his first name. Draco. He shivers. Hearing his name from Harry sounded so perfect and wrong, so wrong. 'Harry's admittance to liking him makes Draco's heart clench. he could never be the man for someone so beautiful and perfect like Harry, not now and not in the future.

Time was just making a fool of him. If Harry's declaration had happened three years ago, he couldn't be any happier.

Draco takes a seat at his desk, moves his teacup aside and pens two notes — one to Granger and Weasley, the other to Harry.

Harry,

I'm sorry.

DM.

ϟ

Harry Apparates to Ron and Hermione's flat for their usual Friday dinner after his appointment. He knocks on the door and wipes away rain drops on his glasses as he waits. Half a minute later, Ron opens the door with a bright grin. "Hey!"

Harry greets back and makes his way into the flat after taking off his shoes. He removes his coat and hangs it behind the door. "Harry's here!" Ron shouts to Hermione as she bustles in the kitchen, preparing dinner.

"Hi, Harry!" Hermione says, peeking out of the kitchen, right hand holding a ladle.

"Hey 'Mione," he greets. "Smells good!"

"Yep and dinner will be ready in ten!" She leaves the two friends to talk and heads back to her cooking.

Dinner is pleasant as usual; three of them launching into conversations easily. Harry talks about his new case — a dark wizard called Beckett when Ron asks about it, aiming to stay on top of the news despite being on leave. Harry and Ron are partners but Ron is on leave as Hermione is due for labour in less than a month. Harry knows that both Ron and Hermione are relieved that he is getting better; he catches them nudging each other lightly with elbows and peeking at his wrists. He secretly smiles as he chews his food. He never thought that he would get better as he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder three years ago, ever since the end of The War. And never did he imagine that he would agree to receive help nine months ago, from Orion— Draco – no less.

"Thanks for cooking, 'Mione." Harry smiles at Hermione as she rubs her stomach and leans over to Ron's shoulder. "Are you tired? We should have insisted—"

"Harry, I'm okay." She smiles contently. "I like cooking and I better take the chance to cook now before I really can't. Your Goddaughter isn't giving me too much trouble right now."

Harry nods. "'Mione?"

"Hmm?" Hermione turns from Ron to Harry.

"I've never asked you this before but, how did you get to know about Orion?" Both Ron and Hermione freeze, smiles fleeing from their faces. "Wait, Ron you knew about him, too? Both of you knew and didn't tell me?"

Hermione worries her bottom lip and glances back at Ron as he fidgets with his hands.

"Why?" Harry presses and stands tall in front of the couple. If there is one thing Harry hasn't learned to control, it's his temper.

"Hey don't you talk to us like that." Ron snaps, standing and placing his hand on Hermione's shoulder as a protective gesture.

Harry purses his lips and shuts his eyes. Count to ten. "I'm — sorry. I just…" Harry says, slumping back into his chair.

"Harry," he sighs and sits back down. "Mate, don't take this personally but you were um, suicidal—"

"Ouch," Harry half-jokes with a small laugh to dismiss the awkwardness he feels.

"Hey come on, face it Harry. You jump in to all sorts of dangerous cases without waiting for me or our colleagues to back you up — oh shush,I'm not done yet," Ron says quickly when he sees Harry about to protest, "and then you refuse to let any one of us to treat you when you're sick or injured. When the nightmares started haunting you, you never wanted to talk about it and you started…cutting your wrists to cause yourself pain to cope with everything. Then after we found out, you refused to receive help from any Mind Healers at St. Mungo's. So when Malfoy, your mortal enemy comes by as Orion, offering help in Muggle London, do you think we should let you know? It was the only chance for you to get better, Harry — for you to move on from the past."

Harry breaks eye contact, looking away from his best friends and feeling suddenly ashamed. He bites his lip, fidgets with his fingers and picking the dry skin off his thumb. He looks like a child being reprimanded. "I think it's the hormones, Harry." Hermione giggles and Ron smirks. "You look like a kid again."

Harry gave her a half-hearted glare before he lets a little smile creep up his face. "I'm sorry," he swallows, "for everything, really."

"Harry, as many times as we told you... those casualties are not your fault." Hermione places her hands over Harry's.

"I — I know, and I'm trying." Harry's voice is earnest.

"We know; you've been getting better since you started your therapy with Malfoy," Ron says cheerfully. "He's good at this, isn't he?"

"Yeah, he is." Harry agrees.

"Will you still return for therapy? I mean, after finding out that he's Malfoy?"

"Ron, I don't hate him. I disliked him during school but I've never hated him and I haven't disliked him for a while…" Harry trails off, blushing faintly.

"Wait, hold it, are you — you like Malfoy?" Ron asks.

"Err yeah, I guess. I'm even surer of it now that I know that he is Orion."

"For how long?" Hermione grabs his hands, eager to know.

"I'm not sure when, 'Mione. It may go way back to the end of the War, during eighth year," Harry mumbles.

Hermione breaks down into a sob, covering her face with her hands. "'Mione? What's wrong? Why are you crying?" Harry asks, flustered. Hermione turns into Ron's neck, sniffing. "Ron?" Harry asks, shooting a questioning look to Ron.

Ron threads his fingers through Hermione's hair and plants a kiss on her head. She looks up to Ron gives him a nod before casting Accio to retrieve two little turns back to Harry, brown eyes staring into his questioning gaze. She wipes the tears away from her face, sniffling. "It's not my position to talk about Draco's…situation but Harry, now that you're better, you need to help him. He — He needs you — he needs help." Hermione takes the two envelopes in her hands, gripping them hard. "Draco sent me these letters a couple of hours before you arrived. I was instructed to pass you yours tomorrow."

Harry takes the envelope addressed to him and reads the letter with shaky hands. "But I don't understand, why?"

"Because then, it gives him enough time to…" Ron says quickly, placing hands on Hermione's back to comfort her,. "…leave."

"What?" Harry says dangerously, temper rising.

"Mate, calm yourself down."

"How? How can I calm down when he's planning on leaving at any moment tonight? If he's so determined to escape from me, I won't be able to find him at all." Harry finishes in a breath, cheeks flushed. He sighs when he sees both of their faces. "J-Just tell me what you can?"

Hermione nods. "Ten months ago, Draco came to look for me as Orion. He told me that he wanted to help you. Of course, I didn't believe him and I questioned his appearance. He was reluctant to talk about it but he knew that he had to tell me the truth before I could let him near you. So...he showed me why."

"Showed?" Harry asks, baffled.

"Yes, but I can't tell you why Harry. It's his story to tell," Hermione answers. "Harry, he's leaving because he's afraid."

Harry looks at her, brows furrowing.

"Isn't it obvious?" Ron asks. "He loves you and he was content with helping you as Orion but now that you know that he's Malfoy, he doesn't know what to do."

"Why can't he just tell me—" Harry pauses. "Wait, you mentioned that he needs help. Does his problem have to do with his constant disguise? And he thinks that after I know, I'll shun away from him or something?" Harry's senses kicking in.

"Now we're getting somewhere!" Ron jokes lightly, earning an elbow to his ribs. "Ouch, 'Mione! Watch it!"

That idiot, Harry swears in his head. "'Mione, I need to find him. Do you know where he lives?"

"Harry," Hermione says, giving him a wry smile, "He's been protecting and watching over you for ten months. He lives in the flat to the right of yours."

ϟ

Harry Apparates outside his flat, walking over quietly to Draco's door. He takes a deep breath, willing his heart to slow down before knocking on the white door twice. His heart is in his throat. He's fucking elated with Draco's love but he's afraid that he's late – much too late for everything. His heart sinks with every second as the door stands unopened. Tears begin to fill his eyes as his heart constricts tightly. "Fuck," he swears, covering his face with his hands. Harry is so focused on berating himself for being so stupid that he doesn't notice someone calling, "Coming!"

Orion opens the door, breath stuttering at the sight of Harry. He freezes for a moment, not sure how and why Harry's there. His nerves return when he notices that Harry is sobbing.

"H-Harry?" Draco calls out tentatively.

Harry looks up from his hands, staring at Draco in surprise. "You…You're still here," he says softly. He repeats it once more as he buries himself into Draco's neck. "Thank Merlin, you're still here. I made it. I made it."

Draco's arms wrap around Harry's slightly shorter build instinctively, taking in his familiar scent. His heart warms at Harry's words and he feels himself surrendering. Bringing up his right hand, he strokes dark messy hair. "Why are you here Harry?"

"I needed to see you after hearing from Hermione..." Harry sniffs, face still buried in Draco's neck.

"…You heard about it, then? About why I have to use illusion charms to disguise myself?"

"No, 'Mione never said why. She said it's your story to tell."

"Good old Granger," Draco says, pushing Harry back to see him. He opens his mouth to say more but is stopped by Harry's finger.

"Shush," Harry says quietly. "Let me speak first."

Orion nods, shuts the front door and leads Harry into the living room. Sitting closely with him on the couch, Harry begins, "Even though 'Mione didn't explain why, I think I know what this is about." Harry pauses, taking Draco's hand into his. "I just wanted you to know that I don't care; what matters is you, Draco. Life after the War has been bleak for me; it seemed like there wasn't any reason for me to live – to carry on with life after defeating Voldemort. Without you, I wouldn't be where I am now. I'd be stuck in the past and will still be – as Ron said – 'suicidal'."

"So this is all about gratitude?" Draco asks weakly, turning away.

"No! I mean, yes – but no, I wouldn't love someone just because I'm grateful to them." Harry grabs Draco's chin gently, forcing his face to meet his again and says, "Draco, I love you for your beautiful selfless heart and what you've sacrificed and done for me – not because of this." Harry pauses, motioning to Draco's changed features. "I'm not scared. I won't run away. Let me help you."

Harry smiles so brightly that Draco's heart aches. "Are you certain?"

"Yes," Harry replies seriously. "Yes, I am."

"We can never go back the way we were after this."

"I don't want us to be like this. I want us to move forward and have a future together. I don't want you to hide anymore."

After what seems like an eternity, Draco takes Harry's hands to his face, staring into clear green eyes. "You can cast wandless magic right? Do it," Draco says softly, his eyes falling shut.

Harry licks his lips and straightens his back, hands still at Draco's face. He leans forward to place a chaste kiss on his lips, earning a small gasp of surprise. "I promise," he says. "It'll be okay."

Leaning back, Harry looks at Orion's face — hopefully for the very last time and murmurs, "Finite Incantatem."

He watches the illusion fall from the top, revealing short but familiar platinum blond hair, pale skin and unfamiliar dark circles under tired grey eyes. He hasn't been sleeping well, Harry notes mentally. The illusion is fully dispelled and Harry notices that Draco's body build isn't much different from Orion's. He removes both of his hands, and takes in the burn-like scarring on his right cheek. The scarring is about one and a half inches wide and three inches long and from what Harry knows about burns; this is a permanent second degree burn wound.

"Draco," he murmurs, reassuring the shaking blond by using an endearment. "Love, please open your eyes."

Draco opens his eyes and watches the smile that blooms across Harry's lips.

"I never noticed it before but your eyes are the most beautiful shade of grey," Harry says, kissing the tip of Draco's nose. "No matter what you look like, you'll always be beautiful in my heart."

He surprises Draco when he straddles his thighs, kissing the scars before he presses his lips to Draco's ear.

"I love you, Draco," he whispers, hands moving to run through the soft hairs at the base of Draco's neck. Shivering, Draco follows suit, wrapping his arms around Harry's middle. His heart feels so full that it threatens to burst with the sudden rush of emotions. He kisses the warm skin of Harry's throat. "I — I love you too," Draco mumbles, clearly embarrassed by his confession.

No more of Orion's American accent. Harry smiles inwardly at the familiar voice; he missed Draco's voice.

"As much as I want to know what happened to you, I really want to make love to you right now," Harry says and smirks at the lovely blush that colours Draco's cheeks. He presses his half-hard erection closer to Draco's causing both of them to groan at the contact. Harry grinds his hips against Draco's, revealing in the sound of Draco's moan. Teasing, Harry says, "So, what do you think?"

"Oh," Draco replies, breathless. "Yeah."

Harry kisses Draco deeply, tongues flicking over one another as he sucks Draco's tongue into his mouth, savouring the taste. He hears Draco moan even louder and it's a fucking turn on. Fuck. Reluctantly, he pulls away, kneels on the marble flooring and tugs Draco down with him. He pulls over Draco's grey jumper, flinging it aside and pushes Draco down to the marble flooring.

"What, here?" Draco laughs at Harry's eagerness as Harry pushes his denims and his boxers down past his hips all at once. Draco yelps 'cold!' at the feel of the marble flooring and Harry casts a warming charm over the floor wandlessly.

Draco's erection stands proudly amongst his blonde curls. Harry swallows at the sight of Draco sprawled so beautifully under him and quickly takes off his clothes to join him. Placing a cushion under his hips, he leans down and licks a stripe up Draco's erection, earning a moan. Taking the tip in his mouth, he presses his tongue against the tiny slit, tasting the pre-cum. He begins to suck the head, teasing with his tongue before sucking it in deeper and deeper after every few strokes.

He mutters a lubrication spell softly and warms the lube on his hand before circling a finger tip at Draco's twitching hole. Draco's eyes snap open at the contact. Lust filled gazes met each other and Draco gives a silent nod for Harry to continue. Harry pushes his finger in tentatively and stills for Draco to adjust. Groaning, Draco pushes back down onto Harry's finger. Harry begins to push his finger in and out of the tight heat, loosening the hole for another finger. He adds his third finger, beginning to move them in faster and harder strokes. He crooks his fingers, in search of Draco's sweet spot and cheers silently when he hears Draco mewling, back arching against the floor. He does it again and again until Draco is left mumbling incoherently.

Harry takes in Draco's cock back into his mouth and sucks it earnestly, his hand holding the base where his lips cannot reach and his fingers fucking against Draco's prostate. Draco's legs start to shake as his orgasm approaches.

"Harry," he gasps. "Harry, stop."

Harry dismisses him, knowing that he is about to come and continues to suck harder, cheeks hollowing as his fingers thrust faster.

"Oh, Harry, please — " Draco's hands reach to grasp Harry's hair. Harry gives a particularly hard thrust and with that, Draco cries out. "Ah, Harry!"

Harry's mouth is filled with come and he swallows everything down. Releasing the softening cock, he kisses it before moving up to kiss Draco's lips.

"Tasty," Harry teases, licking his lips.

"Oh Salazar, which part of stop did you not understand?" Draco flushes.

Harry grins. "I want to see you come undone. You look so, so hot," he purrs. "Want to help me with this?" He motions to his hard cock.

Draco smiles shyly and nods, holding up the back of his knees to his chest. Harry casts another lubrication spell and covers his cock with it. He positions himself at Draco's entrance and smiles warmly. "This may not last, I'm sure." Harry pushes into his hole, gasping at the heat enveloping around his cock. Squeezing his eyes shut, Draco's body tenses instinctively at the intrusion. "Open your eyes, Draco." Harry says, almost breathless.

Draco opens to a pair of green eyes, watching him in concern. "Tell me to stop if it hurts too badly."

Draco shakes his head, forcing himself to relax. "No, just – give me a moment to adjust."

"Sure," Harry says. A moment later he adds, "Just…not too long alright?"

Draco chuckles, sending vibrations down to Harry's throbbing cock. "Hey, hey," Harry warns lightly as he rubs circles around Draco's smooth inner thighs. Draco relaxes after moments and soon Harry is fully sheathed.

"Oh, Merlin," Harry mutters, eyes rolling back at the sensation. He holds tightly onto Draco's hips, sure that there will be bruises tomorrow. He starts moving in short strokes, allowing both of them to adjust before angling his thrusts, listening for Draco's signs to tell him that he's hit his prostate. The blond arches against the floor and moans when Harry's cock nudges the bundle of nerves. He starts moving in longer strokes, only leaving the head of his cock in Draco before driving in at that angle again. Draco's cock begins to fill again as he thrusts. Harry pulls him down onto his cock as he rams into the tight heat in long, fast strokes. Draco mumbles incoherently, words like 'faster', 'please' and 'Harry'.

Harry takes one of his hands from Draco's hips and begins stroking his cock. Draco screams in pleasure after a few strokes and releases long white ribbons of come over his pale skin. Harry returns his hands to Draco's hips and starts thrusting frantically into the constricting passage, coming within seconds as Draco's name falls from his lips.

Draco sags back to the floor, Harry collapsing over him. "Am I crushing you?"

"Not really," Draco replies, tilting his head for a kiss. Harry grants him one, kissing him with passion. They only separate for air.

"So, do you want to talk about it now or after a shower?" Harry asks as he hovers above Draco, his arms supporting his weight.

"After a shower please, I don't like being sticky." Draco wrinkles his nose.

ϟ

After a shower, both of them lay on Draco's bed, Harry spooning Draco. He listens to Draco's story as he runs his fingers through his hair, how he got attacked soon after they graduated from Hogwarts with an unknown curse by a witch. Draco tells him all sorts of spells he tried to reverse the effects but to no avail. Life for Draco and his mother was tough after the War. The Malfoys were shunned, insulted, cursed at by the public for siding with Voldemort. Draco shudders at the memories; they are still so fresh in his mind. Harry tugs Draco closer to his chest, kissing his hair and telling him 'It's okay, I'm here right now, and no one would hurt you.'

"Since Father is still in Azkaban, Mother and I took what we had and fled to France. It was there that I learned the strong illusion charms and mind healing from Mother's friend. When I heard about what happened to you, I knew I had to come back and help. I…"

"I know," Harry says softly as he turns Draco to face him. "I'm no good at mind healing and I'm barely a hundred percent recovered myself, but all I can say is that this time, I'll be the one to chase away the demons of your heart. I'll be the one to protect you from the public. And I'll still be here when you wake up from a nightmare. I'm not leaving you and I will not give up on us."

Draco's eyes shimmer with tears. "God Harry, you're turning me into a Hufflepuff."

"It's not a very bad thing, is it?" Harry chuckles, amused.

They lie in silent for a while before Harry asks, "Does this…" he strokes Draco's right cheek with the back of his fingers. "…bother you a lot?"

Draco looks at Harry, his eyes pained. Shaking his head, he looks away. "Not anymore. I've…given up hope on treating it. It's a curse scar Harry, no spells can fix it."

He does hope if it can get treated, Harry notes.

"Draco?"

"Yes?"

"I don't suppose you have heard of cosmetic surgery?"

Fin