A/N: Well, here we are, at the end. This fic has been the longest thing I've written to date, and since I started this (which was actually back in February or March) I've found out so much about Harry and Draco, and about writing. I've also made some new friends along the way, so thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed; thanks for bearing with me as I worked things out. Huge and especial thanks to birdsofshoreandsea and Evilgiraffe82 for pre reading and betaing respectively. Your encouragement and support has been much appreciated?


April 1999

Harry and Draco stood on the steps of number twelve. Harry unlocked the door with his wand, and pushed it open. Inside was dark, and Harry was surprised at how empty the place felt without Kreacher there. As soon as the door shut behind them though, Draco pushed him up against the wall and kissed him, long and hard. Harry could feel how relieved Draco was, to finally be back. He understood because he felt the same.

He had never imagined that this house would end up feeling like home, but now it really did. That heady week in September, just the two of them here, had been... amazing, really.

"It's ok," he whispered, "we don't have to rush, you know." Harry looked at Draco, his eyes dancing with amusement. "We do have all weekend."

"Like that is ever enough," growled Draco, and he slowly, deliberately began to kiss Harry's neck. By the time little noises began to escape Harry, Draco pulled back. "And how often do we get this place to ourselves? No house elf or housemates?" He pushed his body against Harry, and Harry groaned.

For a time, there were no more words as they ground their bodies against each other. Soon Harry could feel Draco's erection pressing, hot and urgent, against his. He quickly realised that they were going to get no further than this hallway, that they needed to do this now. He kissed Draco with greed, making up for the past week of stolen kisses and furtive gropes at school. When they'd decided to go back to Hogwarts to complete their NEWTs, he hadn't known just how hard it would be; it was a slow torture not to be able to touch Draco whenever he wanted to. His hands slipped under Draco's clothes, seeking out skin.

"I've missed you," he whispered.

"I'm here," answered Draco. "I'm here," he repeated.

Harry pulled back and bit his lip. And then began to loosen his tie. This time, it was Draco who groaned. He stepped back, his face tinged with pink and his breathing shallow as he watched Harry pull off his tie, and then his robes. When Harry got to his shirt, Draco put out his hand and brushed Harry's aside.

"Let me," he said, his voice low but full of... edge. One by one he began to undo the buttons. Harry shivered at the sensation. When his shirt lay open, Draco ran a hand down Harry's chest. As he moved it up and down, he began to talk.

"I didn't tell you, that I saw you, the other day. After Quidditch. In the showers," he said. "You were with Ron, otherwise I would have... interrupted." Harry closed his eyes, and swallowed. "It was getting dark outside, and I'd only popped back to pick up my bag. I'd forgotten it after coaching the Slytherin team. Anyway, I heard the showers, and I knew you'd been practising, so I went to see if it was you. It was and you had your eyes closed, just like they are now. The water was running down your body, and all I wanted to do was run in and grab you. But you weren't alone, so I couldn't. So I just watched. Can you imagine what that was like? Standing in a darkened corner, wanting you? I Disillusioned myself and just stood there. I stayed until you had finished in the shower. I kept hoping that your friends would head back first, but you all left together. I stood in the dark and imagined what I would do to you if you had stayed." He paused, and Harry opened his eyes to find Draco staring at him. Harry felt locked in place by his gaze, just about able to remember to keep breathing. If he thought he had been aroused before, he was wrong. This was just so much... more.

"Would you like to know what I imagined, Harry? Shall I show you?" Draco asked. Harry looked at him, and somehow managed to make his head nod.

"Yes, yes please," he said in a shaky voice. Draco's hand moved down, and he undid Harry's flies, then gently pulled his trousers down. He moved to his knees to remove Harry's underwear, and Harry shivered as he felt Draco's hot breath on his cock. He leant back against the wall in nothing but his school shirt, hanging loose from his shoulders, and took in a long and shuddering breath as Draco moved his mouth in soft kisses down from the tip of his penis to the base, until he was kissing and sucking at Harry's balls. Harry closed his eyes again, and imagined Draco in the dark of the changing room, wanking as he thought about—

Harry stopped thinking at about that point, because Draco took him into his mouth and it was just too good. It was good every time. Harry surrendered to the warmth, to Draco. It didn't take long before he felt his body tense up and then he came, groaning with relief after the past week of sexual frustration. Quite how he'd managed before having this in his life, he wasn't sure. He looked down, and saw Draco watching him. Harry smiled, and slid down the wall until he was sitting facing Draco. He kissed Draco gently on the lips.

"And what did you imagine I'd do to you?" he asked. Draco smiled, and leant forward to whisper in Harry's ear. His breath was hot and tickled slightly, and when he finished Harry laughed. "Oh, I see," he said. "But I think it would work better upstairs."

Draco sprang up and Harry let himself be pulled up to the bedroom. By the time they got there, Draco's tie and shirt were lying discarded on the stairs, and his trousers and briefs were on the landing floor.


When Harry woke up the next morning, it was to find Draco leant up on one elbow, looking at him.

"Morning," he mumbled. Draco raised his hand and traced Harry's lips with his finger, then leant forward and kissed him.

"Morning, sleepy," he said. Harry yawned and stretched.

"What time is it?"

"Time for us to get up, unfortunately," said Draco. Harry leant up and kissed him. Despite being up for half the night, he felt rested. "It's almost midday, you know," Draco added.

"Really?" asked Harry, and Draco nodded. Harry frowned for a moment. "We've still got time though, haven't we?"

"For what?"

"Breakfast," Harry said. He pulled Draco to him. "Breakfast and a shower." He kissed Draco on the chin and slid his hands down Draco's body, down under the covers.

"Shower first, I think," said Draco, as his hands moved round to Harry's back. Harry just hummed in answer as his mouth sought out the warm pulse at Draco's neck while his hands began their own, answering investigations below the sheets.

As it turned out, although they showered before breakfast, it wasn't what came first at all.


Blossom fluttered down from the trees, soft white petals carried by mild April breezes. Draco's long fingers snagged a petal from Harry's hair, still slightly damp from their shower, and he smiled.

"Fashionably late, I see," said Andromeda, walking towards them through the trees. Harry blushed and she laughed. "Don't worry, we've only just got started." She kissed them both lightly on the cheek. They followed her until they got to a clearing, where the blossom was falling on the people, blankets and chairs gathered below; Teddy, tottering from one loved one to another, seemed to dance in the white flurries. He laughed and smiled when he saw Harry and Draco arrive.

Draco left Harry's side to pick up his cousin and swing him high into the air. Teddy giggled and squealed with joy.

"When did he start walking?" asked Harry, strangely bereft for a moment at having missed another of these huge moments of change in his godson's life.

"Only yesterday," said Andromeda. "Just in time for his birthday."

They stood and watched as Draco put Teddy down and followed him as he headed towards Ron and Hermione, falling every few steps onto his well-padded behind. Hermione was wonderful with Teddy: she spoke to him with complete seriousness, as if he were a miniature adult, and he loved it. "He's as much a person as any of the rest of us, Harry, no matter his age," she'd said when Harry had asked her once why she did it. Harry thought back to his own childhood, and not for the first time wished that he'd had a Hermione to stand up for him and his right to be a person, even back then.

He could just make out her voice now, asking calmly where Teddy would like to go next, Teddy reaching out for her hand as his legs wobbled. Next to Harry, Andromeda sighed.

"Nymphadora would have been so proud," she said. Harry nodded and rested his hand on her arm for a second. She looked up at him, eyes bright.

"But look at all the family he does have," he said. They looked around at the strange assortment of people gathered to celebrate his birthday. Andromeda smiled, her face somewhere between contentment and the constant sadness which lurked below the surface.

"I never thought I'd see Cissy again," she whispered. Harry looked over to Draco, who was now sitting talking quietly with his mother. Narcissa, though still poised, had a newly acquired air of fragility about her. It made her seem smaller, but more human. When Draco saw Harry looking, he smiled, a small and private upturn of the mouth, then turned back to his mother.

"And you appear to have brought your own misfits with you," she said. Harry looked back over to Ron and Hermione, who were still happily entertaining Teddy, having made their way over to where Molly was ensconced on a flowery armchair, sipping a cup of tea.

"Her son transfigured it for her," Andromeda said in answered to Harry's silent question. Harry didn't say anything, still drinking in the sight of the people he cared about all in one place. It was such an unlikely group of people, but somehow... somehow it worked.

"This is my family too, now, Dromeda," Harry said turning to face her and she nodded and gave him a warm smile.

"I know, dear, I know. And I'm glad," she said. "Not just for me and Teddy, but for you too. You deserved a bit of happiness, and... it does me good, to see you and my nephew so happy." She paused, and seemed to shake off the sentimental moment. "Right, now I've got to go to talk to Molly about the monstrosity of a birthday cake she made. I've already had Kreacher trying to work out how to put a candle in it and the cake he made too."

The tentative friendship between Andromeda and Molly had been a surprise to everyone, not least themselves; there was something, Harry thought, decidedly unnerving about the two women together. But it helped Harry feel whole, having his two mother-figures together. His years at Hogwarts had been marked by father figures, but now he was enjoying the warmth and comfort of having Molly and Andromeda looking out for him.

Their friendship seemed warm enough, if a little barbed at times, but Harry knew that they talked quietly about their lost children, as well as fussing over Teddy. He doubted that they talked much about Bellatrix, although he didn't know, not really. His eyes sought Draco out again. Sometimes friends could be found in the unlikeliest of places, and sometimes the person who understood the best wasn't the who you thought it would be.

"You're miles away, aren't you, mate?" said Ron, and Harry turned to talk to him. Ron had eventually lost that hint of an Aussie twang, but somehow Harry still heard it when he called him 'mate'.

"Sorry," he said. Ron shook his head.

"It's fine." Ron sighed. He gestured at some nearby chairs, wobbling slightly on the uneven ground, and they sat down. He looked over at Hermione and Molly. "It's great to see Mum so happy when we stay, but y'know, I do miss our room at Grimmauld Place." Harry nodded: he knew what he meant. Sometimes he would stay at school at the weekend, while Draco went to stay with his mother – who was now living here, with her sister – partly to give Ron and Hermione a bit of space. Somehow the old Black house now felt like home, more than Hogwarts, but no matter how much they liked each other, sometimes they just needed some time to enjoy being in a couple. Harry smiled to himself as his mind wandered to the night before. And the shower that morning.

"For some reason Mum seems to think that we all sleep in four separate rooms at Grimmauld Place. She certainly won't let me and Hermione share when we're at the Burrow!"

Harry grinned. He thought Molly probably knew the truth, but found her version of their living arrangements more acceptable. It certainly was an... experience, the four of them sharing the house. It was only at weekends and for part of the holidays, and although it was wonderful for Harry having his best friends and Draco all under one roof, it had taken them all a bit longer to adjust.

"Yes, well let's just consider it lucky that it was Draco and not your mum who stepped through the Floo that time," said Harry, unable to resist sneaking a glance over at his friend to watch him squirm. Draco still wouldn't say what he'd seen, but Hermione's fierce blush every time she saw him for the next month was information enough.

Ron muttered something about glass houses and stones, and stared pointedly at Harry, who blushed too. They had all learned to be careful about the public spaces of the house, and to make good use of silencing charms.

"It's strange, isn't it?" said Harry, deciding to spare them both any further embarrassment. "We're still at school but if there hadn't been the war, we'd be finished by now. At weekends we're adults, but the rest of the time..." He shrugged.

"Yeah, we'd be well into our Auror training by now," said Ron. He sounded wistful, and Harry felt a twist of guilt. He took a deep breath: this conversation was long overdue.

"About that," he said, and Ron turned to face him. "I– I'm not sure if I'm going to do it," he said. To his surprise, Ron just sighed.

"I was wondering when you were going to tell me," he said. He stopped when he saw the look on Harry's face. "What? I'm not blind, you know. Every time anyone mentions the Aurors, you change the topic of conversation or find someone else to talk to. It's been obvious for a while that your heart's not in it."

"Oh," said Harry. "Really?" Ron nodded. Harry ran a hand through his hair. "I guess I couldn't really admit it to myself, but I've been feeling this way for a while now. I just didn't want to rush into anything."

"So what are you going to do? You know that Hermione is going to ask." They both looked over at her.

"I don't know. I might try out for a Quidditch team. Or—" He stopped, uncertain about continuing. Harry scuffed up the ground with his shoe.

"Go on," said Ron.

"Well, this might sound mad, but I'd really like to know more about baking."

Ron blinked. "Baking?" he said. "Ok, that I wasn't expecting."

Harry shrugged. "You know I sometimes help Kreacher make the bread, right? Well, it relaxes me, and I enjoy doing it." Ron looked at him steadily, as if trying to determine the truth of his words. And then he laughed.

"From Saviour of the world to baker? Only you, Harry." Harry smiled a little sheepishly.

"To be honest, Ron, I still don't really know what I want to do, what I want to be. But for now I've got everything I need: friends, family, and love. I think I'd just like a little more time to be, before having to map out my whole future."

"I understand," said Ron in a quiet voice. "I know what I want, and it's got nothing to do with being an Auror." Harry knew without looking that Ron was looking over at Hermione again: the warmth in his voice was unmistakable. "In fact, I've been meaning to tell you... I'm not sure if I'm going to join the Aurors, either."

This did surprise Harry. He looked at Ron, wondering how much he really knew his friend. "But it's all you talked about, for years!" said Harry.

"I know. But everything we did last year... it took the shine off it all a little, you know?"

"I do," said Harry gently.

"I've been thinking that I might help George out in the shop. Or maybe I will be an Auror. I don't know," Ron sighed. "She's going to change the world though," he added, his eyes never having left Hermione.

"One house elf at a time," said Harry, and they both laughed. They were quiet for a moment, Harry remembering Dobby, until Draco came over to join them, sitting as close as was possible to him. Harry leant into the hard heat of Draco's body, finding comfort in the contact.

"I would ask what you two were laughing about, but I'm not sure I'd want to hear the answer," he said.

"Oh, nothing bad," said Harry, rubbing Draco's knee gently in reassurance. He left his hand there, and Draco covered it with his own, giving Harry a quick squeeze before pulling away. Harry wanted to grab his hand back, but he knew that Draco wouldn't sit there holding his hands if his mother was around. It wasn't that she disapproved or was unhappy about their relationship; it was more some Malfoy hang-up about seemly behaviour. Harry had long since given up trying to understand how it all worked.

"My mother," Draco said, "is convinced that Teddy is some kind of a genius. She keeps comparing him unfavourably with me at the same age." Harry snorted as he tried to contain his laughter. Draco had found it difficult, being ousted by a baby in his mother's affections. Not that Narcissa loved him any less: it was just that a happy baby to coo over did much to take her mind off a husband in Azkaban and a home lost. "Don't laugh!" Draco sniffed. "Apparently, I didn't walk until well after my first birthday. And of course, I couldn't change my hair colour at will."

"Can you imagine how vain you would be if you could?" said Ron, and Draco glared at him.

Harry pushed his leg against Draco's and felt an answering pressure. Draco relaxed slightly, and Harry felt warmth travel through his body as a wave of ease. Looking at Teddy, he was struck by just how much had changed. And not just for Teddy.

"One year old already, it's hard to believe, really," he murmured.

Ron looked up, and Harry knew he was thinking the same thing. "I know. It's been almost a year since..." Fred died. Voldemort died. Our lives changed forever. There were so many ways to end the sentence, and each one played out, unsaid but not unacknowledged, in the silence which followed.

After a while, Ron cleared his throat, and changed the subject. "I hope you haven't touched the chess board since you got home," he said, poking Draco in the side. Draco looked affronted.

"As if I would ruin the opportunity to thrash you thoroughly!"

"I've memorised every piece and their position from last weekend," said Ron, his warning somewhat tempered by the grin on his face.

"Ha! As if that's going to do you any good," said Draco, and soon the two of them were dissecting their current chess game, and making grand threats for the future. Harry listened with fondness; this was a familiar topic of conversation at number twelve, with the two pretty evenly matched. The record currently stood at 31-30 games to Ron. Or maybe to Draco; the only people who really kept a tally were Ron and Draco themselves. Harry and Hermione just tiptoed round the edges of their games, which could last half an hour or for a whole weekend. Sometimes more, as the last one had.

After a while, Harry pulled out the gift sitting in his pocket, bringing it back to its normal size with a light touch of his wand. Harry traced the tiny snitches quivering on the paper with his finger, lost in thought, until Draco nudged him. This time it was Draco who excused them, and guided Harry, with a warm hand placed firmly on his back, towards Teddy, Andromeda and Narcissa.

"Harry," Narcissa said, nodding slightly.

"Narcissa," Harry returned the nod. "It's good to see you again." Sitting with a shawl wrapped tightly round her shoulder, it was clear that she was not the woman she had been. Harry never knew quite how to feel when he saw her; she was a little broken, really, as a person, which was heartbreaking when he saw the pain in Draco's eyes at her new-found meekness, but which made her seem softer and more approachable in a way which Harry never would have thought possible. He handed the present to Teddy, and Andromeda helped her grandson pull the paper off. When she saw what it was, her eyes widened and grew shiny.

"We found it in one of the upstairs rooms," said Draco. "It was mixed in with some of your cousins' books." His voice was soft as he spoke to Andromeda, who sat next to Narcissa to show her the book she'd unwrapped. Narcissa let out a small "Oh!" in surprise. Andromeda opened the cover, and Narcissa traced the inscription inside.

To my darling daughters, Andromeda, Narcissa and Bellatrix.

Wishing you many sweet dreams, love Mother.

Harry pulled Teddy onto his lap, sniffing his hair with its babyish scent of shampoo and the suggestion of hugs, while Andromeda and Narcissa sat close to one another and turned the heavy pages, showing him the illustrations of wizarding fairy tales. Their faces were lit with memories and occasionally a glimpse of the girls they had been would appear; a startling sight on their worn faces.


Later, full of cake - both the exquisitely iced white and blue from Kreacher, and the more homely chocolate one from Molly - Harry and Draco returned home. The urgency of the day before had been replaced with a gentle lassitude. Kreacher was staying another night with Andromeda, and the house was quiet.

"I told Ron that I didn't want to be an Auror," said Harry. "He wasn't surprised at all, the bastard." Draco chuckled.

"I know you've been worrying about this, Harry, but it's been obvious that your feelings had changed."

"I know," sighed Harry. "But we spent so many years talking about it. It just feels like–" he paused, and rubbed his eyes. "Like that part of my life is over, now, I suppose."

"And is that really a bad thing?" asked Draco. "Considering that you had a mad man after you at the time?"

"It wasn't all bad," said Harry. "I had friends, for the first time. And magic." He was quiet for a moment, remembering the wonderful feeling of finally belonging. "But things are good now," he added softly, and kissed Draco on the top of his head. They were sitting in the drawing room, curled up together on the settee, Draco's head resting against Harry.

"They are, aren't they?" said Draco, and Harry hugged him closer.

"Yes, except... I know that going back to Hogwarts hasn't been the easiest thing, for you," said Harry. Draco hated him talking about the problems he'd had, but Harry couldn't just ignore them either. Draco sighed, and Harry felt him pull away slightly. Harry just held onto Draco more tightly, until he relaxed a fraction.

"Harry," he warned. "Do we have to?"

"I'm not going to get angry," said Harry, not today, anyway. "I just—" he struggled to find the right words, the ones which would show Draco that he understood, that he cared, without pushing him away. "I know how brave you've been, going back, Marked. I know that I've had it easy, in comparison. But I'm proud to be with you, really I am. I can't think of anyone else who has tried so hard to change their life—"

Draco cut Harry off by kissing him.

"Please, Harry. It's fine. Maybe at the beginning, it was difficult, but now? Now it's fine. Having Harry Potter as my boyfriend helps, much as I'm loath to admit it."

Harry and Draco were fairly circumspect at school, but at the same time open about the fact that they lived together and were in a relationship with each other. It had been a lot for some people to understand, but their closest friends had been willing, in the end, to accept their being together. Harry tried not to think what the year would have been like if he'd not been part of Draco's life; he'd seen the scars on Draco's back from when he'd been hexed during the Hogwarts rebuild. He hated to admit it, but Draco had been right: there were some people who would always hate him for his name, and for what he had done.

Harry touched his lips to Draco's again, seeking out a kiss of reassurance. He just needed to feel him, to know that he was here, that he was ok. Whatever the future held for them, he hoped that they would face it together.

Draco understood, and they kissed long and hard, until without a word they rose, and hand in hand, made their way upstairs.