Ch. 3 of Promises

Warnings and disclaimers are the same still.

A/N: Sorry this took so long, I kept getting stuck! This is the last chapter, so I hope you all like it. Thanks so much for all the feedback, it really means a lot! :)

Promises Ch. 3

The rest of the week passed torturously slowly, and yet the weekend came way too fast. They had arranged that they'd both tell their closer friends before they left, then let everyone else figure it out themselves. They had both left it to the last minute, too.

So that was why Draco was sitting with Blaise, Pansy, and Theo in the Slytherin Common Room, looking rather nervous. He knew Blaise already knew, and the others had at least probably guessed. He didn't really know how to say it lightly, and they were looking at him expectantly, waiting for him to say whatever was so bloody important. So he didn't say it lightly. It actually came out quite fast and blunt. "I'm dating Harry Potter." Four words. None of their expressions changed, and his anxiety grew. "Blaise, I know you already knew..."

"So did I!" Pansy interjected.

"Yeah, it was kinda obvious to anyone who really knows you, mate," Theo added. "He helps, doesn't he?"

"We've noticed; we're happy for you," Pansy said.

These were the only people he had specifically told about his habit, so naturally they had noticed when he had started stopping. "He does," Draco agreed, a small blush rising to his cheeks. "Thanks for being so great about this, guys. Harry's telling his friends today too, probably right now, actually. And we're going to spend the Hogsmeade trip together as way of telling the rest of the school."

"Oh, yay! It's about time you guys came out," Pansy said excitedly.

"Yeah, congrats, Draco. Good for you two," Theo commented.

"We're glad you're happy. And we totally support you if anyone tries to give you any rubbish about this."

"Thanks, Blaise. Thanks all of you, it really means a lot."

There was a chorus of "Sure thing," "No problem," and "Yep," as they left, heading out to go down to the village.

In the Gryffindor Common Room, Harry was having a similar conversation with Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville. He had told Luna earlier, and she had told him in her dreamy voice that it wasn't a problem with her, as long as he was happy.

He looked at each of his friends in turn, then said, "I don't know if you guys have picked up on it yet, but if not, I'm dating Draco Malfoy. We're going to spend the Hogsmeade trip together, but we wanted to tell a couple of our friends first, so there it is."

Ginny and Hermione looked at each other, then at Harry, both smiling ridiculously. Neville, surprisingly, looked a little shocked, but quickly recovered.

"I don't know what you want us to say," he said, looking at Harry. "It's fine with me."

Ron looked torn. He looked like he wanted to throw up, hit someone, laugh, hug Harry, smile, or do all of it at the same time. He schooled his features into a smile, but it didn't really reach his eyes. "Me too, mate. If Malfoy is who you want to spend your time with, knock yourself out," he said at last. Harry knew he just needed some time to digest the news. And by the look on her face, it looked like Hermione was going to talk to him anyway.

"Okay. Thanks, guys. I've got to go meet him," Harry said, a little uncomfortable.

"Have fun," Ginny teased in a sing-song voice.

Harry just rolled his eyes, heading down to meet Draco. He was a little frustrated with Ron's reaction, but knew he's come around eventually. Especially because this wasn't something Harry was just going to give up on. He saw Draco's back, waiting just at the door, and smiled. He looked happy, which was a good sign. He looked nervous though too.

"Hey," Harry greeted him with a smile.

"Hey yourself," Draco replied, turning around. "How'd it go?"

"Pretty good. Ron's still sort of making up his mind about how he feels, but everyone else either already knew, or is fine with it. What about you?" He was dying to take Draco's hand, show the world that he was his, but he wasn't sure how far Draco would want to go, so he waited.

"They already knew; us Slytherins are pretty observant when it comes to each other. They're happy for me. For us. They know you help, which can't hurt your chances with them," he said, smirking.

Harry could tell he was more nervous than be was letting on. "Can I take your hand?" he asked chastely. Draco blushed, but nodded, and Harry took his left hand in his right, squeezing it reassuringly. "You alright?" he asked as they headed toward the village.

"Mhmn," Draco mumbled, the blush still on his cheeks.

Harry drew circles on the back of Draco's hand with his thumb. "Relax; you're so nervous. Don't be." He hesitated before adding, "I'll let go if you want, just tell me-"

"No," Draco interrupted. "Don't let go," he clarified, tightening his grip on Harry's hand.

Harry chuckled. "Alright, I won't."

They walked in silence for a bit as they got closer. It was getting warmer- it was the end of March. Both boys only had on a long sleeve shirt and a pair of trousers. There was a light breeze that made it a little chilly in the shade, but nothing unbearable. They were drawing heat from each other anyway.

"Still want that Butterbeer?" Harry asked, steering Draco to the Three Broomsticks.

"That sounds pretty good right about now. Wherever did you get the idea?" Draco teased.

"It just came to me in a sudden stroke of genius," Harry replied, holding the door open for Draco. Draco smiled, rolling his eyes. They could both hear the whispers. They saw the people staring, pointing, none too discreetly, at them. There were a couple of "I told you so" looks on some of the kids' faces. But nobody said anything to them.

"What can I get ya?" the waiter asked, without missing a beat as he realized who they were. And who they were to each other.

"Two Butterbeers, please," Harry said. They were sitting at a table for two, across from each other, so they were no longer holding hands.

"Coming right up," the man replied.

"Sorry I had to let go," Harry apologized as he walked away to get their drinks.

"I knew you would have to sooner or later," Draco said. Harry was watching his mild discomfort with amusement in his eyes, a smile permanently on his face. "I'm glad you find this amusing," he reprimanded.

"Sorry, I'm just in a really good mood," Harry replied honestly.

The waiter came back shortly after with their Butterbeer. Harry thanked him for the both of them and paid. Draco picked up his mug and Harry hit it with his own. "To us," he said, still smiling.

Draco chuckled. "To us," he repeated before taking a sip. "You're so cheesy," he laughed, letting himself smile too.

"It's our first proper date, of course it's got to be cheesy," Harry defended himself. Draco just shook his head, letting that sink in. Their first proper date. His smile grew, he hadn't thought of it like that. He enjoyed the thought of many more.

They sat in silence, drinking their Butterbeer, just enjoying the others company. A group of kids a year or so under them passed when they first heard it. "Fag." "Bloody queers."

Draco nearly choked on his drink. Harry, very slowly put his mug down and stood up. The kids had passed and were sitting a few tables away. "Harry, don't," Draco whispered.

Harry leaned down and kissed him quickly before saying "Trust me," so only Draco could hear. Draco nodded hesitantly, and Harry straightened up. "For all you ignorant people who have yet to figure it out," he started out, rather loudly to Draco's embarrassment, "I happen to be in a very happy relationship with Draco Malfoy. Anybody who has any problem with that, like our friends over there," he continued, motioning to the kids at the table, "can feel free to come to me about it. But don't think I'm just going to sit here while you throw what you think are insults at me and my boyfriend. Thank you." He sat back down, picking up his drink. Slowly people started their own conversations again.

Draco just stared at him, blushing furiously. "I thought we had decided you didn't need to announce it," he said at last, when Harry didn't say anything else.

"Well, it was either that, or I was going to hex them into next week. I figured I couldn't get detention for the former, so that's the one I went with. Sorry if I embarrassed you." He really did sound sorry. He also still looked frustrated. Harry really wasn't very good at hiding his emotions.

"No, it's... Fine," he replied, smiling a little. Harry looked at him, asking with his eyes. "I'm okay. Really," he assured. He wasn't entirely okay though, and Harry could tell.

"Do you want to leave?" he asked softly, searching Draco's face.

"And give them the satisfaction? Besides, I haven't finished the Butterbeer you so graciously paid for," he reasoned, silently telling Harry to drop it for now. "Neither have you for that matter."

Harry smirked before draining what was left in his glass. He smiled, raising an eyebrow challengingly at Draco. "I still haven't finished mine," Draco said, smiling at Harry's childish behavior.

Harry sighed over dramatically. "Fine, I guess I'll wait for you."

Again they sat in silence, ignoring the whispers and the stares. Nobody else said anything loud enough for them to hear though. Draco finished his drink within a couple more minutes and they left holding hands.

"So where do you want to go now?" Harry asked, swinging the hand holding Draco's just enough without being too flamboyant.

"Anywhere you want to," Draco replied.

"Hhmmmm. Well that's not very helpful, now is it?" he teased, squeezing Draco's hand. They walked around for a bit more before Harry smiled. "I know where we can go," he said, turning around and pulling Draco with him.

"Oh, yeah? And where's that?" he asked.

"You'll see," was all Harry said in reply.

Draco furrowed his eyebrows as Harry led him back to the castle. He turned though, instead taking him to the lake. He walked over to a tree and sat against it, dragging Draco down with him. He landed half next to, half on top of the brunette with an "Umph!"

"I'm going to take you on a picnic out here some day. When I'm more prepared for a picnic... And I'm not going to tell you when, so now you'll just have to wait in suspense for my beautiful lake-side picnic," Harry explained matter-of-factly.

Draco actually laughed out loud. "Okay, Harry. You do that. But don't wait too long; I don't want to die from all the suspense."

"Alright," he said, kissing Draco. Draco smiled into the kiss, knowing this was another one of those things that he wouldn't doubt for a minute that Harry would do. If he was being honest, he'd have to admit he was actually looking forward to it. "Are you okay?" Harry asked, pulling back slightly so he could watch Draco's face.

He could tell without Draco even opening his mouth that he wasn't. They didn't even know who the kids were, but they had hurt Draco all the same. Draco knew Harry could tell, so he didn't say anything, just shook his head before resting it on Harry's shoulder. Harry pulled him closer against him, holding him tight.

"Don't listen to them," Harry whispered. "I love you, and our friends support us, and that's all that matters. There are always going to be people who want to take what we have away. People who will say it's wrong. But you can't listen to them; you can't let them get to you. Just know that I love you, faults and all. Know that I'm willing to fight to keep you. But most of all, know that I want you to be happy." He pressed a kiss to the top of Draco's head.

Draco listened to Harry, telling himself everything he had said was true. That it was okay. The kid didn't understand; he didn't know how real the love they shared was. He didn't know how happy they were together. Draco told himself that there were plenty of people like himself, that it was normal, acceptable. He told himself that there were also plenty of people like the kids, but that it didn't matter. He told himself that there were plenty of people like Harry, who cared about him. People that hurt when he did what he wanted to do right now. And that Harry cared when he did that to himself.

His eyes were closed; he was fighting with himself, Harry could tell. He kept saying the same things over and over, hoping that Draco was listening. Which he was, of course. He listened to every word that Harry breathed into his hair. He told himself the same things, but hearing it come from Harry's lips made it sound more convincing to his mind. He waited for Harry's voice to chase the urge away like it had done before.

They sat there for what Harry would later recall was the longest it had ever taken to talk Draco out of it. But he did talk him out of it. They had missed lunch, but he had done it. When Harry felt Draco relax, he loosened his hold on the other boy just a little, but Draco pulled him back closer. They didn't say anything. They didn't need to; the silence said it all. Harry was very relieved- this was the first time he could remember an external cause or trigger to Draco's habit, and he had stopped it. It truthfully made him very happy. It made him think they could really get through this.

"I love you," Draco said, "so much."

"I love you, too. So much," Harry replied.

"Thanks for the Butterbeer."

Harry chuckled softly. He knew Draco really meant thanks for protecting me from myself. "Anytime," he said quietly. Draco never thanked him out loud for helping, but he didn't have to. So he thanked Harry for other pointless little things instead. "We should get back."

"What for?" Draco asked. "I'm perfectly comfortable right here."

"Well, I haven't eaten anything of substance since breakfast, and I'm hungry. I know you probably aren't, but you're never hungry, so that's hardly relevant," Harry explained. "Which means you're coming on a kitchen raid with me. In case you hadn't caught on," he finished with a smirk, shifting to get up and helping Draco up with him.

Draco smiled, allowing Harry to lead him inside and to the kitchens. This wasn't their first raid, and the house elves were always so excited to see Harry.

"Hello, Master Harry, Master Draco! How can Cagly be of service to you today, sirs?" one of them, apparently Cagly, greeted them as they walked in.

"Hello, Cagly. Can I have a grilled cheese sandwich? We missed lunch today," Harry explained politely. The house elves were always more comfortable taking orders from Harry than Draco, so he tended to do the talking. Looking sideways at Draco he added, "Draco will take anything with chocolate. Nothing too big though, okay?" Draco raised his eyebrow a his boyfriend.

"Yes, sirs. Right away, sirs," the elf said before leaving. Some of the other elves had set up a little table for them, and the boys sat down.

"Why chocolate?" Draco asked curiously, looking over at Harry.

"Chocolate makes you happy, and I knew you wouldn't really want to eat anything," Harry explained easily.

"I see," he replied.

Cagly appeared with Harry's sandwich, a chocolate cupcake for Draco, and a glass of milk for both of them. "Can Cagly get anything else for you, sirs?"

"No, thank you, Cagly. This is perfect," Harry replied.

"My pleasure, Master Harry," Cagly said, dropping a bow to each boy before leaving them again.

Harry started on his sandwich right away and Draco rolled his eyes. Harry always ate like he hadn't eaten anything all week. Draco carefully broke his cupcake in half horizontally and put the top half back on the plate, eating just the bottom. He finished about a minute before Harry, who was looking at him funny.

"You're only going to eat the bottom half of your cupcake?" he asked.

"I don't like frosting; it's too sweet. You can have to too if you want," Draco offered.

Harry laughed. "You're such a priss," he said, smiling good-naturedly. "Who doesn't like frosting?" He took the top of the cupcake and bit into it, as if proving his point.

"Prisses like me apparently," Draco teased, laughing as Harry tried to eat the top half of the cupcake without getting frosting everywhere. He gave Harry his napkin when he was done and he nodded in thanks, cleaning his hands and face. Draco yawned.

"Tired?" Harry asked.

"A little. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night; thinking too much." He shrugged nonchalantly, but now that Harry really looked, he could see how tired he must be. He had probably been up all night, worrying about today. Harry hadn't gotten much sleep himself, but he had been more excited than nervous.

"C'mon," he said, standing and taking Draco's hand in his own. "I want to stop and get some homework, but then we can go to the Room of Requirement and you can get some sleep."

Draco didn't argue and walked with him to the Gryffindor Common Room, but stopped at the portrait of the Fat Lady. "I'm not going in, I hope you realize that," he stated.

Harry looked at him, then nodded. "Okay, I'll just be a minute," he assured, kissing Draco before walking in.

Hardly forty seconds had passed before Weasley and Granger were walking up to their Common Room. Ron looked at him expressionlessly and nodded in his direction. "Malfoy," he said.

"Weasley," Draco replied, nodding his greeting.

Granger sighed, kissed the Weasel's cheek, and said she'll be in in a bit. Draco watched her curiously. "He'll come around eventually," she said to him, obviously talking about her boyfriend. Draco just nodded. "I've known since the beginning, it's totally fine with me. I'm glad you two are happy," she continued.

"Uh, thanks... Hermione," he said awkwardly. "Is this the part where you tell me if I break his heart, you make my life hell?" he quipped.

She smiled genuinely. "No, I know you won't; I know you care about him. I'd probably have a serious talk with him if he hurt you though," she said honestly, almost as a second thought. Her eyes flickered to his wrist, then back to his face.

Because he had been watching her, he noticed and his smile fell a little. He crossed his arms over his chest defensively, and she knew he had misunderstood.

"Harry didn't tell me... He didn't have to. He hasn't told any of us, but I knew. I though you should know that I know, I didn't mean to offend you or anything. I know he helps, that's good. It hurts him, and it's not healthy for you. So I meant I'd have to talk to him if he left you... Not that he would, he cares about you too... For both of your sakes..." She rambled, trying to say what she was thinking without sounding rude or criticizing.

"Oh," Draco said lamely, uncrossing his arms and hooking his thumbs in his pockets instead. "I... Thanks," he mumbled, clearly uncomfortable.

"You don't have to thank me, Draco." She said his name pointedly and that's how he knew she was telling the truth.

"I do, though. After everything I've said and done, and my aunt..." He looked at her wrist where the scar still spelled out MUDBLOOD. "And you still support me being with your best friend. I... I should really be apologizing. I'm sorry, Hermione. For everything. You truly are very bright if you knew all of it without him telling you." She blushed, but he was pretty sure he was blushing too. It really was an awkward conversation. Another thought occurred to him. "Harry said this morning that... Ron was sort of on the fence about us... Could you... Ah... Talk to him? If not for me, for Harry? I know they're close..." He knew this was a lot to ask, and he didn't really expect her to agree.

"I already did," Hermione replied, shocking Draco. She was smiling. "He said that if you apologized, then he'd be okay with it," she explained, her smile growing. "Which you just did. Without any incentive, I might add."

Just then the portrait hole opened and Harry stepped out, carrying a shoulder bag full of books.

"Oh! Hey, Hermione," he exclaimed, looking between her and Draco.

"Congratulations; I approve," she said, smiling at the two boys and patting Harry on the back before walking into the Common Room.

"I'm so glad I finally have your permission!" he called after her, rather sarcastically. He looked at Draco, eyebrows raised in question. "Well? What was that about?" he asked, taking Draco's hand and walking toward the Room of Requirement.

"I thought you were just grabbing a few things?" Draco countered, regarding Harry's bag.

"Well, I grabbed a few things, then a few more. What did you and Hermione talk about? Why does she approve of you now?" he asked, the curiosity killing him.

"You're so nosy. That is between me and her," Draco replied resolutely.

"That's not fair," Harry complained.

"Life's not fair."

"I know."

Draco sighed. Maybe that hadn't been the best thing to say. "A lot. We talked about a lot. Me, you, her, even Wea- Ron. That is all you need to know." He kissed Harry's cheek, squeezing his hand. Harry thought about it a while, then must have decided that was enough, because he didn't say anything else. The few people they passed didn't say anything, but most stared. Some smiled.

Draco yawned again as they walked into the Room of Requirement. Harry led him to the large couch and sat against one end, one leg up on the couch, the other at an angle, foot on the ground. Draco lay his head on the leg on the couch, his own legs thrown over the arm of the couch. Harry pulled a book from his bag and balanced it on his other leg. One hand steadied the book, the other was playing with Draco's hair.

"Get some sleep, Draco," he said quietly.

Draco was already half asleep, in Harry's lap, and didn't need to be told twice.

Harry had gotten through his Potions essay before he couldn't hold it any longer; he had to use the bathroom. Very careful not to wake Draco, Harry maneuvered himself out from under him, and went to the bathroom that the Room had conjured. When he had finished, he walked out to find a dazed looking Draco sitting up on the couch. Harry sat down next to him, and Draco pulled him into a very tight hug.

"Hey, what's the matter?" he asked, concerned.

"Is it normal to be scared in a relationship?" Draco countered without letting Harry out of the embrace.

Harry thought about it for a minute, then nodded. "Yeah, a little bit. Why, what are you afraid of, Draco? What's wrong?" he asked again, pulling back to hold Draco's head in his hands.

"I woke up and you weren't here. I thought you left, and I was scared," he admitted quietly.

"I'm here; I'm not leaving, it's okay. No need to be scared," Harry assured, kissing Draco softly. "You're still tired, go back to sleep. I'll be here when you wake up."

Draco kissed him firmly before they lay back down as they were before. /Harry will be there when you wake up. He's not leaving/ Draco thought to himself. He felt safe laying here with Harry, like the outside world didn't exist. Like people didn't think what he and Harry had was wrong. He was in a different world where his parents didn't matter, and he had never met Voldemort. A world where he didn't cut.

A world where he could be happy with Harry, and they'd be safe and healthy. A world that they could reach. Together.

The end.

A/N: This is the last chapter, so I hope you all liked it :) In case you were wondering, I don't like a lot of frostings because they're too sugary, and I break my cupcakes in half and eat the bottom on top of the frosting so as to get frosting in the middle, not just the top. I got it from my cousin.

The house elf's name came from a country singer: Chris Calgle. I just changed it so it sounded more like an elf's name, and not a real one...

Reviews are always welcome. 3