Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., and other assorted publishing, producing companies. I do not make money from writing this story, as I do not own any of the rights to the characters or canon plotlines.
Author's Note : Damn this chapter was hard to finish! Not just because it was super depressing, but because the end of August and all of September was a fucking nightmare at work! Getting the classroom ready for the new school year was a huge pain in the ass, but I am sooooo glad it's over XD
Also, my laptop died and I had to save up to get a new one. Over all, I'm so sorry I've been gone for so long. Because of my promotion to Assistant teacher in my classroom, updates will be slower, but I will try to get them out as soon as I can.
As always, this fic is completely unbeta-read so please forgive small mistakes.
Anyways, on with the show!
Title : The Aftermath of War
Warnings : Slash, Ginny-Bashing, Anal, Oral, Rim, H/C, Future M-Preg, Un-Beta'd
Pairings : Lucius/Harry, George/Draco, Ron/Hermione, Narcissa/Kingsley
Chapter 10: In Memoriam
The funerals were as difficult as Harry had imagined. First was Remus and Tonks. In Godric's Hollow on a bright sunny day, all those closest to the couple gathered at the church to celebrate the lives of two heros. Harry spent the entire service staring blankly at the two coffins sitting up at the front of the room. It was an open casket funeral. Remus and Tonks looked so peaceful in death. It disturbed Harry more than it gave him closure. He couldn't believe it..
"I'm still not ready for this," he murmured quietly as the priest took his place at the front of the room and began to speak. George was sitting beside him on his right, Narcissa on his left and Draco beside her.
"No one is ever ready for this. Saying goodbye in such a final circumstance as death is something that will take time to accept and heal," Narcissa's calm, comforting tone said quietly at his side.
Harry merely nodded, his eyes not leaving the two caskets for even a moment. He felt a hand slip into his and squeeze his fingers gently. He knew without looking that it was George. Squeezing back, Harry prepared himself internally as Andromeda came up to say some words. Unsurprisingly, her face was streaked with tears, her cheeks flushed in anguish and her breaths uneven as she cried softly. It took her a moment to pull herself together in order to be able to speak.
"I've thought over and over about what I would say on this day, and I still am drawing a blank," Andromeda began.
"How does a mother express in words how it feels to lose her daughter? To lose the man who she had come to view as a son? There are no words. All I can say is that my children died protecting the people they loved, the world that they loved. I am proud of them, even if I am devastated by the fact that they are now lost to me," she continued. Her tone was shaky and the tears had not stopped travelling drop after drop down her cheeks.
"My daughter would not wish for us to be sad. My son would not wish for us to mourn him on this day. Instead, as hard as it may be, they would want us to celebrate. Celebrate their lives instead of mourning their deaths. Celebrate the new world that has come from the destruction of the war. It will be difficult, but I will do my best to honor what I know my children's wishes would be. I will hold dear the memories I shared with them for the rest of my life, and I hope that you all remember them as the bright, beautiful souls that they were. So please, let us all send them into the afterlife with our best wishes and prayers," Andromeda finished, closing her eyes and clutching her hands at her chest in prayer.
The others in the room all closed their eyes as requested, some crying some just with solemn expressions on their faces. When Harry closed his eyes, images of his memories flashed behind the dark lids. First meeting Remus, a kind professor who didn't treat Harry as anything other than Harry. Meeting Tonks, with all her spastic quirks and clumsy fumbles. They were two of the kindest people he ever knew, and he would miss them both dearly. They'd both put their lives on the line for him more times than he could count before the Final Battle.
Harry watched the scenes of his time with Remus and Tonks go by, his heart clenching inside of his chest even as it filled with happiness at those wonderful memories. He would miss them, and it would be a long time before he was okay with this. Harry, however, was a survivor. He had always been a survivor, and he would get through this. He had to, to uphold what he knew Tonks and Remus would want for the loved ones who survived their deaths. When the funeral was over, Andromeda met them outside, still crying softly but looking less weighed down by grief. Harry was glad the funeral had given her some closure, if only a little.
"Harry, if you wouldn't mind keeping Teddy for a while longer, I would appreciate it greatly. I think it would be good for me to have some time to myself, to…work through everything before I take responsibility for another person," she said to him, her eyes pleading.
She didn't need to beg him. Harry was more than happy to keep Teddy. He loved his Godson and he was actually dreading handing him back over to Andromeda after the funeral. If he could, if it was plausible, Harry would assume responsibility for Teddy all together. But, he knew realistically that wasn't possible yet. He had yet to finish school, and no job to speak of..yet. Harry still had a lot of things in his life that needed settling before he could even think about being a fulltime parent.
"I would love that. Teddy and I were only just beginning to have fun together after all," he said with a smile as shaky as Andromeda's expression. The muscles in his face were having a hard time with it.
"Great. I will send you word when I'm ready to come for him," she replied and then quickly excused herself before Apparating away.
A flash of red caught Harry's eye and he turned to see the Weasley family exiting the church. Molly waved and smiled at him somberly, the others doing the same. Harry noted that Ron and Hermione were standing with them, her parents in tow with a young baby in their grasp. Harry smiled back, ignoring the way that Ginny was glaring over at him. He would see them the following day at Fred's funeral, and probably again for Snape's small service. Well, Harry figured Ginny probably wouldn't go to Snape's funeral because she was an immature brat who saw the world in black and white. But that was no skin off of his back. George stopped to talk to them for a while, but Harry was in no form for company. Instead he just assured them he would be with them the next day and followed Narcissa and Draco home.
"Are you going to be okay?" Draco's soft voice queried.
George looked up from his product sketches to see the blonde's concerned expression staring back at him. Today had been a long day. Remus and Tonks were two of his closest friends and losing them to the war had been devastating. But, that wasn't what Draco was concerned about and George knew it. Tomorrow was Fred's funeral, and George wasn't quite sure how he was going to deal with that.
"I don't know…" was his honest answer.
"At least you'll have Harry there with you," Draco said, smiling warmly at George in an open way that the redhead had never seen before.
"Are you not coming then?" George asked, watching Draco's warm expression transform into surprise.
"I…I didn't think I was invited. Your family, they aren't exactly my biggest fans," the blonde replied. George just shrugged his shoulders.
"Don't worry about them. I don't know if I've said this to you or not, but I do consider you a friend Draco, and you've been helpful to me with the nightmares ever since I got here. Your family is nothing like I thought they'd be, nothing like they were under the threat of Voldemort. You being with me tomorrow will definitely help…." he explained, smiling shakily at the other man.
Draco had been the first person he'd spoken at length with about his feelings regarding Fred's death. Whenever he had a nightmare, he always woke up to Draco either in his bed or beside it. Draco had also shared things about his life during the war that George knew no one else knew about. They'd bonded through it, and George felt very close to Draco because of it.
"Then I'll go…even if they string me up by my toes and throw curses at me," Draco said, unable to stop himself from smiling back.
His heart was bursting with warmth at George's confession. Draco knew that his feelings for the redhead were breaking past his control. It wasn't that he didn't want to fall for the redhead, he'd like nothing more than to allow himself such feelings. But, he also knew that at this point, neither of them were ready to be in a relationship. A relationship between two people as broken as the two of them was doomed to fail, at least that was Draco's opinion. Then there would be the hate that came at them from all sides once it went public.
"Thanks Draco, it means a lot," George said, startling the blonde as it was said from right beside him.
When had the Weasley made it over here? Draco was distracted from the question in his mind as two strong arms came around his waist and pulled him against the firmness of George's chest. The softness of George's scarlet hair brush against the crook of his neck as the other man's face settled against his shoulder. As for George, well, his heart was beating fast in his chest in fear he would be rejected. They'd shared some physical signs of affection in the past, but usually under extremely emotional circumstances where one of them was on the verge of breaking down during one of their talks. It was almost funny how in the span of two weeks how close they'd become.
"N-no problem," Draco managed, and George felt the strongest relief as the blonde's hands came up to rest on his, returning the embrace. It was a perfect moment that made the Weasley think…maybe it wouldn't be so bad to give in to those feelings he was developing for the young Malfoy.
Watching his twin's casket being lowered into the ground was the hardest thing George ever had to do. He had to physically restrain himself from jumping into the grave and begging to be buried with him. If it weren't for Harry and Draco's hands held so tightly in both of his own, George might have done just that. He could feel his family's eyes on him, most of them curious…one of them furious. He could care less. Draco Malfoy had helped him through a lot during the couple of weeks he'd been living at Malfoy Manor.
As friends and acquaintances left, they gave their condolences. George could do nothing but nod in acknowledgement. Once everyone was gone it left just George, his family, Harry and Draco. For a long time nobody spoke. George stood staring at his twin's headstone in shock, in sorrow…in so many emotions he couldn't keep track of them all. In one way, this was giving him closure on the situation. Fred was dead. There was a place for him to visit with his twin whenever he liked, and his twin could now go peacefully into the afterlife. In another way, seeing the headstone was devastating to George. Fred was dead and buried and never coming back. He'd never hear Fred's laughter again, or finish his twin's sentences. His room would be missing one more bed, one more body when he returned home.
"Are you going to be alright?" Harry's voice asked, breaking through George's thoughts and causing him to turn to face the younger man. He looked from Harry to Draco, who'd not said anything probably out of fear from his family's retaliation, but looked at him with a pair of somber concerned silver eyes.
"I don't know…"
It was the only answer he could give. He couldn't say yes or no, because he just didn't know. It would be a long time before the feelings his twin's death inspired settled into anything he could cope with, but the feel of Draco's soft warm hand in his own was grounding. Harry's support was practically radiating from the younger man, and he could feel the strong spirit of his family seeping into him and firming his resolve. He would get through this, no matter how tough it was.
This time it was his mother's voice. He looked up into her blue eyes and saw the question in her eyes as she looked between him and Draco. George transformed his expression into one of sure resolution and nodded firmly once. His mother's face looked surprised for a moment before it went soft with a smile. He knew she would support him no matter what. It was his father he was more worried about. Lucius and Arthur still didn't get on well. George didn't know when or if he would ever make a move on Draco, but when he did he was going to be serious about the younger man. His mother seemed to sense that and just nodded back before smiling sweetly at the blonde at his side.
"Thank you for coming to support our family on this sorrowful day, Mr. Malfoy. I am sure it meant a lot to my son that you came," she said in a warm tone, moving to pull the shocked blonde into a hug as her family all stared on in awe…except Ginny who glared furiously.
"Mum, you're freaking him out," George said, breaking out of his despairing thoughts to sigh exasperatedly at his mother's open affection. Draco wasn't used to it and definitely wasn't expecting it from the Matriarch of the family that notoriously hated Malfoys.
"I'm sorry, Dear. We are all very emotional today," Molly said as she pulled herself away from the clearly stunned Draco Malfoy.
He could do nothing but nod at the woman, because seriously…what could anyone say to that? When she smiled at him, George smiled too for the first time of the day. His mother was going to accept Draco. She was going to accept that George wanted the Malfoy, and she was going to make the young man a part of their family. He couldn't help the love that welled up in his chest for his mother at that moment.
"I want to thank you, Draco dear," she said to the blonde, who just stared at her with the same baffled expression. "I want to thank you for coming here today to be here for George. You came here for him knowing that there are some of us who are not in agreement with Harry or George's decision to go to Malfoy Manor, and some of us who do not care for you."
George couldn't help but notice his sister's sneer at the last bit, and Ron's slight frown, but otherwise there was no other reaction from the rest of his family. His Father's face was somber but not disapproving. George knew that his father wasn't looking at this as anything but George having made a new friend. His brothers were a bit more perceptive. Charlie, who'd returned from Romania for the funeral, was smiling slightly at his mother's exchange with the blonde. Bill looked reserved to the idea of Draco being a part of George's life. The two eldest always were the more understanding and mature of the brood. Ron's thick skull would not be penetrated by the idea that George wanted to be with Draco, but saw that perhaps there was a closeness forming between them due to shared pain. He seemed fine. Hermione was smiling encouragingly at the them, but Ginny of course looked like a Harpy ready to attack.
"Of course," was Draco's response, breaking George out of his thoughts. "He's been there for me as well. I've told him things that no one else knows about and I trust him with them. Of course I would come here. Regardless of how you all feel towards me, George has become a friend, and I wanted to be here to support him."
The smile that lit Molly Weasley's face was angelic in its sincerity. It was in that moment that George knew his mother was completely on board with his decision to make Draco a part of his life…eventually.
"Well, we ought to get going. Will you be at The Burrow tonight, George?" his mother said, looking at him almost beseechingly.
His answer wasn't immediate. He'd been able to get away from his memories with Fred when living with the Malfoys. Going back to his home after his twin's funeral would probably completely tear at whatever mental strength he'd managed to scrape together. But, he knew he had to go with them. He couldn't leave his family to mourn all on their own. He looked to Harry and Draco. Harry nodded immediately. Draco looked a little nervous to agree, his grey eyes scanning the faces of the other Weasleys to gauge their reactions. Molly just smiled at him.
"You are more than welcome to come dear. Our George clearly wants you to be with him tonight," she said softly. Ron groaned but was abruptly stopped by an elbow to the gut from his girlfriend. Ginny looked like she was trying to talk, but no noise would leave her mouth. The blonde thought for a few moments before hesitantly nodding his head.
"I'll be there, if that is what he wants," Draco agreed, and with that the two groups of people parted to reflect and prepare for the night ahead.
The Burrow was small, cramped, and cluttered. It was nothing like the Manor, and that was part of the reason that Draco liked it. Everything was so homey and warm. There were pictures of the family everywhere, and the house looked very lived in. He used to make fun of Ronald Weasley for the meager living standards he imagined the redhead to have grown up in, but there was nothing unwelcoming about the home he was standing in right now. He loved his own home, despite the memories that lurked there now, but the Weasleys' home was nice in its own way.
"Counting the square footage, Baby Malfoy?" he heard George's voice quip from beside him. He cast the taller man an unimpressed glare before turning to the Matron of the house and bowing to her politely.
"Thank you for welcoming me into your home, Mrs. Weasley, it is lovely," he said in a cordial tone. His hand brought hers to his lips in a gentle, polite press before he stood back up to see her blushing giggling countenance.
"Oi Malfoy! Stop flirting with my Mum!" Ronald Weasley's voice grumped from behind him. There was a loud thud and a distinct "OW!" as well, which Draco assumed was Granger beating her boyfriend for being rude.
"Now now Ronald, you could stand to learn a thing or two about manners from this charming young man," Molly said with another chuckle, a light dusting of red still sitting along her cheekbones. Draco wanted to smirk at the effect he had, but thought better of it in his current surroundings.
"You are welcome in our home, Mr. Malfoy. Any friend of George is a friend of ours," Arthur Weasley said, coming forward to grasp Draco's pale hand in a firm shake.
The blonde could see that the Weasley Patriarch was straining to be polite, but felt it was only to be expected. Draco was the only son of Arthur Weasley's most hated enemy, Lucius Malfoy, and a spitting image of him at that. Draco himself had also been a menace to the man's youngest son Ronald since he started in Hogwarts. It made sense that Arthur would take some work winning over.
"Right, well why don't you kids go settle in the den while I get dinner started. Ginerva, you'll be helping me with the preparations," Molly said, breaking the awkward silence.
Draco watched as Mrs. Weasley forcibly guided her daughter out of the room, a reluctant Ginerva following her into the kitchen with one last angry glare directed towards him. Draco was guided into a small living area that was just big enough to fit everyone, where Arthur sat down in a chair by the fireplace and the rest of the group settled on the couches. All in all, Draco's night at the Weasley household could have gone worse. Arthur and his sons were nothing but polite to him all night, Ronald rather forcibly so due to the stern direction of both his mother and his girlfriend. Molly was sweet and attentive all night, and particularly at dinner when she piled a plate high with food for him claiming he was "all skin and bones". The food was delicious, just as good as any house elf at the Manor could cook. Draco found himself having a rather good time at the Weasley's dinner table.
At the end of the night, everyone began retiring to their separate rooms. Charlie and Bill shared one room. Hermione, Fleur, and Ginny shared another. Harry and Ron shared Ronald's room of course, and Draco and George shared the twins' old room. Draco waited for all the rest to leave before he told George he wanted to retire for the night. George had not let go of his hand all night, so the redhead just nodded and stayed with him. Draco knew that going up to his childhood room would be difficult for George, especially so soon after burying his brother. He wanted to preserve a bit of the redhead's dignity for him and allow him some privacy with gaining the courage to go up there. If he had a meltdown, Draco would be there to comfort him.
They didn't say anything as they both got up from the couch and walked up the stairs together. George was quiet but seemed to be keeping it together thus far. When they reached the bedroom door, the redhead began to shake. Draco squeezed his hand in reassurance. George opened the door after a few moments, shaking like a leaf as he entered his childhood bedroom. Draco gently led him to the spot between the two beds, then silently waited for his friend to choose one. George wasn't long, he sat down on the bed that Draco figured was his own, because of how quickly it was chosen. For a moment the redhead just sat there, silently staring at the other bed across from him.
Then, all too quickly, he was breaking down. Broad shoulders began to quake as that fiery red head sank into a pair of cupped hands. Sobs shook the taller man's entire form, the broken desolate sound of them breaking Draco's heart from the inside out. Without much thought, Draco moved forward and pulled George's head into the curve of his shoulder. He wrapped pale arms around those strong, quivering shoulders and allowed the other man to curl strong arms around his lithe waist. It seemed like ages, standing there like that with George sobbing his devastation into Draco's funeral robes. But it was no chore. He cared for George a lot, probably more than he was willing or able to admit.
That night, they both fell asleep curled onto the small bed together. If Molly Weasley saw them that morning, and indeed she did, she made no efforts to disturb them and just let them continue on.
It was the evening of Snape's funeral when Harry, Draco, and George finally bid their goodbyes to everyone to head back to the Manor. Lucius had been waiting up for them, hoping to be of comfort to his son and former wife when they returned from their beloved family friend's final resting place. The Malfoy Patriarch had wished he could attend himself, as Severus Snape was always a very close friend of his since Hogwarts. However, his house arrest simply wouldn't allow another excursion when they already gave leeway for him to accompany Harry Potter to the Ministry. Narcissa didn't speak much when she arrived. She retired to her rooms quickly with a few short assurances of her stability. Draco disappeared with Weasley, which Lucius couldn't find himself to be upset about. He knew they were doing nothing inappropriate, and if his son derived strength from the other young man, Lucius would not be the one to take that away from him.
Harry did not arrive with them. In fact, Lucius didn't see him arrive home at all. It worried him a bit, but he knew there was nothing he could do but wait. If something had happened to their resident Savior, he was sure that one of his family members would have mentioned it. It was another hour before Lucius got impatient and hurried to his front door to see if the young Potter was somewhere near the gates. He found Harry sitting on the front steps, staring out into the dark night sky, his small frame shivering quite obviously from the cold. Lucius was quick to remove his own cloak and settle it over the younger man's shaking frame. Harry seemed to jolt out of his thoughts at the touch, but quickly relaxed when he saw Lucius sitting down beside him.
For some reason, the fact that the younger man felt he could relax in his presence made Lucius' insides all warm and hop around a little bit. He ignored it vehemently. Right now, he needed to help Harry through whatever he was going through. He noted first, that the dark haired wizard was flushed along his cheekbones, big green eyes glassy, red rimmed and wet from the tears Lucius could clearly see had been tracking their way down his pale face all night. He could smell the clear scent of wine, which meant that Harry had indulged in something to dull whatever pain he may be feeling after a week of nonstop funerals for those he had loved and cared for.
"Are you going to be alright?" was Lucius' self-proclaimed stupid and insensitive question. Unfortunately, he knew nothing else he could possibly say to break the sorrowful silence of the air between him and Harry.
The other man did not speak. He merely curled in on himself, arms wrapping around his knees and shoulders hunching forward. The tears continued to flow, before being tipped out of view as Harry turned his face down into his protective huddle. Lucius didn't know what to do to help him. After so many years of living as a perfect pureblood Lord, aloof and unemotional towards everyone including his family a lot of the time, Lucius did not have a talent for comfort. All he could do was the one thing he forced himself to do for Draco when things started to become worse for them under Voldemort's rule. He wrapped an arm around Harry's small waist and pulled him against his chest, brushing his free hand through silky black locks in hopes that it would garner some inner strength in the other man.
Harry Potter smelled lovely up close like this. His hair was soft against Lucius' hand, and gave of the light scent of coconut. The younger man was warm against Lucius' side, and even though he was all sharp angles and hard masculine lines, the blonde loved the feel of Harry against him. He simply held the smaller man as rough sobs shook the fragile frame. It was a while before the shaking faded and the sniffles slowed. Feeling movement against his shoulder, Lucius looked down to see glittering emerald green eyes staring up at him with uncertainty and blatant sorrow swirling in their unfocused depths. His comforting words were quickly and abruptly silenced when all too quickly a pair of soft, wine flavored lips pressed up against his own causing his entire body to freeze up even as his blood set on fire inside him.
The younger man didn't give Lucius a chance to think before he was straddling the blonde's waist, arms wrapped around his neck as agile fingers swept through long platinum locks. While the kiss was not overly experienced, Lucius' traitorous body ignored his mind's warning to stop this now before it got out of control. Harry just felt too good, his lean youthful body pressed tightly against Lucius. Narrow hips perched precariously over the blonde's pelvis as a firm rear ground downwards in time with the young man's pleading flicks of tongue against the seal of Lucius' lips. The Malfoy Lord lost himself for a moment, the desire he'd felt towards Harry for so long welling up and taking over. Desire muted his logical thought processes as he opened his mouth to receive that eager tongue and tangle it with his own. His large, broad hands smoothed up Harry's firm back, underneath his dress shirt to feel the heat of soft skin under his fingertips. The taste of him was exquisite. Even under the strong taste of wine, Lucius could detect another more subtle flavor that was all Harry Potter.
It was one of the young man's wandering hands stroking at his growing arousal that brought Lucius out of his lust induced haze and caused him to stop. He grasped a slender wrist and forced himself to pull away. Again, he was faced with the flushed, glazed, and confusion ridden face of Harry James Potter. Although this time it was tinted with fear and rejection as well. Leaning his forehead against the other man's, Lucius rubbed his thumbs against Harry's kiss swollen lips and sighed deeply to dispel the raging blood in his veins.
"Harry Potter, there is nothing I would rather do right now than take you to my bed and complete what you have started here tonight," he said, his grey eyes staring deeply into bright green orbs.
"However…as much as I want this, and have wanted it for some time, I cannot take you in the current condition you are in."
The dark haired man seemed confused, and more than a little disappointed. He looked rejected and fearful. Lucius would have none of that. He brought one of his hands up to stroke through the younger man's tangled ebony locks.
"You are exhausted, you are emotionally vulnerable, and you are drunk. I cannot bring myself to take advantage of the state you are in. Do not mistake me, Harry. I want you, but not like this," Lucius said, trying to be as clear as he possibly could.
He did not want to devastate the other man's already vulnerable emotions and mentality. He had not meant to reveal his desires so soon, but Harry had forced his hand on this night. For a while, the younger man simply stared back at him, uncomprehending and scared. But the longer that Lucius held his gaze, the more Harry relaxed. Eventually, he slumped back against Lucius' chest exhausted on several different levels.
"I'm sorry," was his weak response, slightly slurred and raspy from his earlier sobbing. Lucius merely petted his hair again.
"There is no need. I had not meant to reveal this to you so soon, but I do not wish to contribute to the fragility of your emotions by rejecting you completely. It is your decision if we ever speak of this again. I will accept you whether it is as your companion or as your lover," he explained.
They sat in silence for a few more moments. Harry still sat perched in his lap albeit much more delicately and without the delicious gyrating motions he was creating before. Lucius continued to run his fingers through soft hair until he was sure the younger man had fallen asleep. When Harry's breaths evened out, Lucius carried him back to his rooms. He debated on staying until the younger man woke before deciding that Harry would do well with some space to think, if he even remembered what transgressed between them tonight in the morning. Lucius reluctantly tucked the younger man in and headed back to his own rooms to sleep. It had been a long week, but at least it was all finally over.
With the funerals done, Lucius could only hope that the people in his life could start rebuilding, moving on to their futures instead of dwelling in the past. He also hoped that he could find closure in this, even if he was not allowed to attend the funerals himself. There was still so much life to continue living. That's where he felt his focus should lie.
A/n: Sorry if it's a bit short. I've been trying to finish it for ages and haven't had the energy. Hope you liked it and please review! Your reviews really are what keep me writing despite my exhaustion on most days! 3