A/N: I wrote this for the HD Glompfest, which is a fest where readers, reviewers and lurkers leave prompts, and writers produce a fic in thanks of all those who read/review/lurk. Thanks for all the lurking and reading and commenting - it was so great to be able to write this as a thank you. This was written for a great prompt by sajmalfoy13. I loved writing this fic, I hope you like it too. :)
Thank you to birdsofshore for pre-reading, and to evilgiraffe82 for betaing. You are both stars.
And finally, on a completely different note, for those who aren't British, squash (in the context of this story - the first time, anyway) is what you might call cordial: a concentrated fruit syrup, which you dilute to drink.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Draco opened his eyes. First, he took in his surroundings. He was sitting on the ground, his back leant against something cold, and opposite him was a brick wall, high and bleak. A terrible stench filled the air, acrid and rotting. Sunlight made him blink. Then he became aware of himself; each breath in hurt, his throat was sore and he felt as if he couldn't quite get enough air. He raised a hand to the pain at the back of his head, and winced as he touched the a large and tender lump; his hair was matted and wet. When he looked at his hand, he saw that it was blood, red and sticky. The sight of it made him feel dizzy. And he had no idea how he'd got to this place: he certainly didn't recognise it.
Slowly, painfully, he pulled himself upright. For a moment he doubted that his legs would carry his weight, but then he began to stagger forward, each step a miracle. He was heading to the light at the end of the alleyway. As he lurched onto the street, passers-by recoiled from him. He managed to walk a little further, but then the edges of the world went white, everything tilted sharply, and he knew no more.
Harry held his wand steady as he carefully reattached bone to bone, muscle to muscle, vein to vein. It was a fairly straight-forward splinch repair, and he was pleased with how it was going. Earlier that morning he'd spent two hours on a splinch which had been much more complicated, involving, in addition to some skin and ribs, a section of intestine and a corner of lung; in comparison this was simple. It was grim how common an injury it was, but the wand surgery took concentration and focus, and Harry enjoyed the way his world would narrow down to each step of the process, each and every time.
He was distracted by movement out of the corner of his eye. Glancing up, he saw that it was Luna, standing on the other side of the observation glass, looking less serene than normal and gesturing for him to stop. He lowered his wand and blinked, just as Healer Jessop walked in, obviously freshly scrubbed up and ready to take over.
"You better go, Harry. Luna needs you, now," Jessop said. "I can see you're almost done here, but she said it wouldn't wait. I can finish off. Go."
Harry walked out, unsure of what kind of an emergency could warrant his immediate attention in his way. When he saw the expression on Luna's face though, his pace slowed until he stopped. She was pale, her usually gentle face agitated and filled with something – sorrow? worry? – that hit Harry with a jolt of anxiety. She didn't need him: she was here to tell him something terrible. His mind rushed to the people he cared about the most, and a wordless panic gripped him.
Luna stepped forward and touched his arm. "I need to just say this, Harry. Draco's been hurt," she said, her voice low but each word sounding loudly in his ears nonetheless.
Harry stared at her, as he struggled to make sense of her words. He started to shake, but somehow he managed to ask, "Is he– is he ok? He's not..."
"Oh, no, he's not– he's ok," she spoke quickly, her eyes creasing with concern. Harry took a deep, shuddering breath. His mind had— he'd experienced a moment of true terror. "He was found unconscious in the street, and taken to a Muggle hospital; he has some smoke damage to his lungs and a head injury. He was flagged up with the Ministry because of his Mark, and I was on the team sent to bring him to St Mungo's. He's awake now – I came here as soon as I could. I– I wanted to tell you myself."
As the words sank in Harry began to pull off his scrubs. "Where is he? I want to see him, now."
"He's here at St Mungo's, up on the fifth floor. But, Harry, it's– there's more to tell you." Her voice grew gentler as she added, "Sit down, please."
Fear leapt up in his gut again. The fifth floor was where Luna worked, where the Mind Healers were based. Harry sat down, his hands twisting over themselves, his knuckles white. "More?" he whispered. Luna nodded, pulling up a chair for herself, close to him. He looked at her, his face a naked mask of worry.
"He can't remember how he got there. He's a bit... confused." She put her hand out, found Harry's, and squeezed gently. "We think there might have been an accident in his potions lab, but we're not sure if his amnesia is due to magic or injury, or a combination of the two."
"I want to see him," said Harry. It was a statement, not a question. Luna nodded sympathetically, but bit her lip. Harry felt the panic rise up in a huge wave.
"He– he doesn't remember, Harry. He knows who he is, but he doesn't remember anything from about a year after the war ended." A tear ran down her cheek, and she clung onto his hand. "When he saw me, he called me Loony," she gave Harry a crooked, apologetic smile before continuing. "I'd forgotten how mean he could be, sometimes." Harry tried to smile back, but his face wouldn't move.
"He doesn't remember...?" he asked, trembling. Luna shook her head.
"No. Sorry, Harry, he doesn't remember you two being together."
Harry was silent. He looked down at the ring he was turning on his finger. How could Draco forget this? How could he? Fear and worry mingled with disbelief. Harry had to see Draco for himself.
Draco looked down at his hand. He was wearing a heavy gold ring. It was a little worn on the surface, tiny nicks and scratches catching the light. He looked up at Pansy.
"I'm married?" She nodded in answer. "And it's 2012?" She sighed.
"Yes, Draco, it's 2012 and you are now an old married man. You're—"
"Thirty-two," he glared at her. "I might have had a bump on the head but I'm still capable of basic arithmetic." Pansy reached out and touched his cheek.
"Same old Draco," she smiled. Draco reached up and moved her hand away from his face.
"Pans, much as you are being all soft and tender, I... I don't think that it's you I'm married to, is it?" His voice shook as he spoke, full of questions and uncertainty. She shook her head. "I didn't think so," he whispered.
"What gave it away?" she asked.
"You're being so calm." There was a silence. Time unfurled, without interruption, as Draco worked up the courage to ask his next question. "Who is it? Please, just tell me."
Pansy swallowed and looked away. When she looked back, there was a sad little smile on her face.
"It's difficult to say this, because I remember how hard it was for you to tell me, when it first happened. We... we were friends at school, but you kept this hidden. So well hidden." Draco felt the stirrings of anxiety and a thrill of something... an impossibility. He held his breath. "You're married to a man, Draco."
It was a shock, and not a shock, all at once. He had known for years that if he had a choice, it was to be with someone of the same sex, but he'd never thought that choice was his to make. "My parents? They...?" he asked. Pansy laughed, a little shakily.
"They made their peace with you and your marriage years ago, Draco. Darling, you've been married for ten years now," she paused and gave him a wry look. "It's love, it really is. The real thing."
He had no words with which to respond. He married for love? He married a man for love? How had this happened? He looked up at her in wonder. She gave him a half-smile back, along with a little shrug of her shoulders. They sat together for a few minutes more as he thought about what this meant for him.
"Who is it, Pansy? What is his name?" asked Draco in the end. "Is he here?" He swallowed, nervous of meeting this man who he had married. Pansy closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. She opened her eyes, and squirmed slightly under his intense gaze.
"I'm not sure how you're going to take this. You still feel like it's 1999?" she asked. Draco nodded, impatient.
"Oh, Merlin. Well, it's—" she broke off.
"Pansy," Draco remonstrated. He was leaning forward, desperate to hear the name.
"It's–" she took a deep breath. "It's Harry Potter," Pansy said finally, her voice quiet but steady. She eyed him warily.
"Oh," said Draco, and he fell backwards against his pillow. He closed his eyes. He couldn't name the emotions churning deep inside of him. Harry Potter. It didn't seem real. He hoped he would wake up, alone and miserable in his familiar room at the Manor. But when he opened his eyes again, Pansy was still sitting there, her air of calm somewhat marred by the look of concern on her face.
"Potter? Really?" he asked, but she didn't answer. She just sighed and reached into her pocket, and handed him a photo. In it, he and Potter were standing side by side, photo-Draco with his arm around Potter. Photo-Draco turned to Potter, they looked at each other for a moment, then they kissed, with ease and familiarity. "I see it," he said, "but I don't remember it. The last thing I remember is bumping into each other and not liking one another, after the war." He looked up, a terrified expression on his face. "How did this happen, Pansy? It's like seeing a stranger in this picture. I don't understand."
"I think he's probably the best person to ask, not me," Pansy said. "I've told you as much as I can," she added, and looked up at the door. "The Healers wanted you to have someone familiar to talk to first, but to find out more you need to speak to Harry." She looked at him tenderly and stroked his hand, while Draco looked at the photo once more and tried to understand what had happened to him. The two of them sat there, in silence, until Draco's eyes began to drift shut in the warm room.
Harry watched Draco sleeping. Like this, it was easy to imagine that nothing was wrong – just some minor trip to hospital. Not this. Draco would wake and see him and smile, and this would all be some horrible mistake that they would laugh about in later years. Unfortunately, as a Healer Harry knew how precarious a situation this was. Without knowing what had caused this amnesia, Draco's Healers, including Luna, would not be able to help. And even then, time was usually the best answer. Not cure, answer. He shut away the possibility in his mind that Draco might never remember. Harry looked down at their hands, their matching rings. Again, the thought struck him that Draco just could not forget what they had together. Tears threatened at the edges of his eyes, but he wiped them away angrily with his free hand. They had fought too hard to be together for it to end like this.
He watched as Draco's chest rose and fell, his face peaceful, grey eyes hidden beneath pale eyelids. He wished he could be so calm, but there was an edge of panic to his every thought. Harry's breath caught as Draco's breathing changed and his eyes began to flutter awake. He knew that he was hoping for a miracle, but how could Draco not know him? His eyes focused, and he saw Harry. They widened in recognition, but it was tinged with fear. Without thinking, Harry moved back.
"Hello," he whispered, uncertain of what to do next. Draco rubbed his eyes in a familiar gesture.
"Hello, Potter," Draco said back, sitting up and frowning. He looked at Harry with a coolness that Harry hadn't seen from him in years. Any illusion of familiarity fell away; this wasn't Draco, this was Malfoy. Harry felt the bottom of his world fall away. He turned away and picked up Draco's glasses while he closed his eyes and attempted to regain some semblance of calm.
Trying to hold his hand steady and hide his unhappiness, Harry passed Draco his glasses, who then held them for a moment, looking at the silver wire frames intently before putting them on.
"My life's... I don't think I need glasses, but without them some things are fuzzy and with them everything looks right." He looked at Harry. "It's all a little confusing."
Harry nodded. This was so Draco, to try to say something through metaphor. Without thinking, he smiled and spoke with gentle with affection, "They look good on you, you know." His smile wavered though, as Draco shrank a little under his gaze.
"I haven't looked in a mirror yet. You all look so different. I'm... I'm not too sure if I'm ready yet to see how I've changed." There was a long, awkward silence.
"So we're..." Draco trailed off.
"We've been together for a while now, yes," said Harry.
"How are we, together?" asked Draco, his face a strange mix of curiosity and something else... Hope? Uncertainty? Harry wasn't sure. Harry felt protective and rejected, all at once. His chest tightened, unbearably.
"We're good, Draco," Harry answered, his voice cracking slightly. "We're happy. We have a good life." He couldn't help but reach out and touch Draco's hand gently. He looked into his eyes. "We're good," he repeated, before pulling his hand away and looking down at it while it sat, useless in his own lap.
"I don't understand," said Draco. "I don't remember us being particularly friendly even." Harry was looking at him again, and noticed the way Draco's cheeks had flushed a little. A sly smile crept onto his face.
"You did fancy me though. I know you used to think about me when you—"
"Potter!" Draco interrupted, squirming and obviously uncomfortable.
"Sorry, I guess I have an unfair advantage," Harry sighed. "Maybe we should just start at the beginning. I can answer some of your questions, and maybe we can... get to know each other again. I promise not to hold any prior knowledge against you." He held out his hand. "Could we begin with you calling me Harry? Please?"
Draco looked at Harry's hand. He shook it, firmly, quickly, as he said, "Ok, Harry."
"Do you want to to know how we got together?" asked Harry, quietly. Draco paused, then nodded.
"I can't imagine how it would have happened."
Harry chuckled. "I wouldn't have either. It was all a bit of a... surprise, to be honest." He smiled at Draco, his eyes resting on him while he considered where to start. He cleared his throat and sat up a little. "You were doing your Potions mastery, and you were also trying very hard to rehabilitate the Malfoy name."
"I remember that," murmured Draco.
"Well, I was training as a Healer at the time—"
"I always thought you were going to be an Auror," said Draco.
"So did I, but when it came to it, I started the training and it felt like more of the same, more fighting, when I just wanted some peace," Harry paused and ran a hand through his hair. "Of course, if I'd known just what being a Healer meant, perhaps I wouldn't... Sometimes doing this is just as much of a fight. But the focus is more on helping, healing. Anyway, I switched to Healer training quite quickly.
"We probably wouldn't have met again if it weren't for your volunteering. Hermione was busy, doing several things at once – she's still like that now – and one of them was a Wizard-Muggle link programme. Wizards could sign up to help out Muggles, non-magically," Harry stopped when he saw the puzzled look on Draco's face. "To the Muggles it was just a charity offering help with various things like shopping for the elderly, hospital visitors for the lonely and so on. For wizards it was a chance to get to know Muggles." Draco looked slightly horrified, and Harry grinned.
"I was one of the first to volunteer, partly because Hermione asked me. Having Harry Potter involved in anything back then meant a load of press attention. Also, even growing up with Muggles I had very... limited experience of them, and since I went to Hogwarts, almost none at all. I wanted to have the chance to get to know some normal ones. It was ok," he shrugged. "But then you volunteered, and Hermione had this policy of pairing pure-bloods up with Muggle-borns, to help them in the early days, and she didn't know who would be willing to work with you—"
"So she asked you?" asked Draco.
"Yes, and I wasn't happy about it, but we managed not to kill each other. You really don't remember this?" Harry cocked his head to one side, waiting for an answer. Draco shook his head.
"It was... it became the highlight of my week. Saturdays with Mrs Moss, helping her with her gardening and her shopping. Bickering with you. She thought we were hilarious; she called us her boys. You were just as irritating as I had always thought, but I found myself growing to like you. You made me laugh," Harry swallowed down a lump. You still do, he thought, but decided it wiser to keep that to himself. Draco was looking a little overwhelmed.
"I helped an old lady – an old Muggle lady – every week, and we became friends?" Draco shook his head. "A Muggle?"
"Yes, Draco, a Muggle! She smelled of lavender and wee and she made us tea and gave us undiluted squash to drink. For more than two years, we mowed her lawn and weeded her garden and kept her stocked in meat pies, bread, milk and corned beef. And when she... when she died, we went to her funeral and you cried."
"Oh," said Draco. His face screwed up. "You've just given me the first Muggle I've known and killed her off, all at once." He looked up, and added softly, "I really cried?"
Harry nodded. "You said you'd got something in your eye, but yes, you cried. We went home and drank a cup of tea and had a horrible corned beef sandwich in memory of her."
"Home? Our home?" asked Draco.
"Yes, our home," said Harry, and at this he stood and moved away. In his mind's eye, he could see Draco, eyes a little red, still protesting that the wind had blown something into his eyes, whilst insisting on making the sandwiches and tea. They still said a toast to her every now and then. But this Draco sitting in front of him didn't remember Mrs Moss and her baggy stockings or the slight deafness which had meant they sometimes cheated just a little with magic. This Draco didn't remember the stolen kisses on landings either. He sighed.
"But... how did we get from volunteering to 'home'?" asked Draco, after a while.
"Well, sometimes we'd go to the pub afterwards, and you got to know my friends. I got to know some of yours. Everyone was so sick of the war, of the fighting. There was this shocked period directly afterwards—"
"That's the last thing I remember, everyone being a bit numb, a bit... sensitive."
Harry nodded. "Funerals, trials... I– I haven't thought about it for years. And you're still... there? It was a difficult time." They were both quiet for a moment. "But you know, after a while, it was as if we wanted to be teenagers again. There were parties..." Harry trailed off with a soft smile. "Pansy and Blaise threw this huge New Year's party for the turn of the millennium. At midnight, we were standing near each other, and we kissed."
Draco flushed red at Harry's words. Harry remembered the smell of gunpowder, the wizarding fireworks soaring above their heads, and the taste of champagne on Draco's lips. Everything had closed down in his mind except for the two of them, holding onto each other and kissing. He remembered the look of intense happiness on Draco's face, and a different kind of blush to the one he wore now. His eyes travelled to Draco's lips, but then he realised that Draco was watching him and he looked away. This wasn't his partner, this was like the ghost of a memory. It felt wrong to be thinking about kissing this stranger. Bitterness rose, and he covered his eyes with his hand.
They both started when the door opened, and Luna walked in. She looked between the two of them. Harry could almost see her thinking. He hated being scrutinised like this, and glanced over at Draco. He didn't look happy either. This felt too private to be sharing with anyone, even friends.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but I need to run some diagnostics on Draco. Harry, do you mind stepping out for a moment? It's going to take a bit of time - it might be a good idea to go find yourself something to eat, or go home and catch up on some sleep."
Harry nodded once, then moved to the door. With his hand on the knob, he turned back to Draco. "Bye, Draco. I'll... I'll see you soon," he said, without quite meeting his eyes. "Goodbye, Luna," he added quietly, then he slipped out of the room and shut the door behind him. Harry made it a few steps down the corridor, then slumped against one of the walls. He slid down to sit on the floor, and put his head in his hands. All he wanted, in that moment, was for Draco, his Draco, to come put his arms around him and tell him everything was going to be alright. Nothing was alright. The tears which he'd kept at bay until now finally came out, and he sobbed quietly into his knees.
The light streaming through the slats of the blinds had a warm, gold tint and Draco decided that he might as well do this now. He was dressed in clothes he didn't recognise but which fitted perfectly. There was a small bathroom adjoining his room, and he went to stand in front of the sink. He forced his eyes up, and looked in the mirror. The face which greeted him was his own, and not his own. He recognised the shape, the hair, the eyes. But it was different to how he remembered it. Draco raised a hand and touched the fine lines trailing out from his eye. There was a scar he didn't recognise on the side of his neck, and his face was more... solid than it had been before. His jawline seemed firmer, his hair was longer, and the glasses he wore sat comfortably enough on his nose but looked totally alien to him. When he looked in the mirror, Draco saw a stranger. He glanced down at the ring on his hand, then looked back up at the glass. Harry Potter's husband looked back at him.
Draco felt dizzy, and went back to his room and sat down.
It had been the strangest thing, seeing Potter... Harry, earlier. He too had changed. There were flecks of grey in the black hair, and the glasses were lighter, more attractive. His face and body were those of a man, not a boy, and it made Draco uncomfortable to think that he was supposed to be in any way acquainted with it. They'd never had a conversation like it, free of animosity. But he couldn't shake off the feeling that when Potter looked at him, he was seeing someone else. Someone who made him smile in that way. Merlin, that smile! He could see pain at its edge, but still, it was possessive and warm and what Draco had always wanted. But it wasn't for him, not really. And he couldn't return it, because he didn't know Potter either.
Draco felt like a time traveller, an interloper. Everything was subtly different, from the clothes people wore to how long their hair was. He had been shocked to see Pansy in Muggle clothes, and everything he'd been brought to wear so far had been Muggle too. As for Potter's story about the old lady, he couldn't imagine willingly doing house elf tasks for a weak old woman. He had a feeling that if he shared these thoughts with Potter, that smile would disappear for good.
There were a few wizarding magazines and a copy of the Prophet on a table in the corner. Draco flicked through them, the names and faces strange and unfamiliar, or changed and unsettling. He put them aside after a while, and decided it was time to face the one part of himself he hated the most. Sitting on the edge of his bed, he rolled up his left sleeve. He'd avoided looking until now. The Dark Mark was still there, the skull and snake still causing him to shiver with the memory of pain and fear. But it was faded now, and when he touched it, he felt nothing. He covered it over and was grateful for this one thing: for not having the Mark as it used to be; livid, black, and painful
Draco remembered it all so vividly: the way fear stole the taste from everything he ate and drank, the way it destroyed sleep and stretched love thin. He thought of his parents, cold and brittle with their terror, during his seventh year. Draco wondered where his parents were, why they hadn't come to see him. He decided to ask Harry, when he came back.
Harry had only got as far as the cramped office he shared with Healer Jessop. He was sitting at his desk, untouched piles of patient files towering above him as he stared blankly into his lap. He didn't know what to do: he couldn't face going home without Draco, but he couldn't bear to be with him, to see that blank expression with no more than confused recognition on it. Harry was terrified as to what it might mean.
Someone cleared their throat. Harry looked up. Ron was standing in the doorway.
"Ron. How long have you been there? What are you do–" he stopped, and rubbed his hand across his eyes. "Sorry. I'm just a little on edge. Draco's—"
"He's hurt, I know," said Ron. "I'm sorry, mate. I came to see if you were ok."
"I'm..." Harry trailed off. He looked up at Ron, his expression helpless. "He doesn't remember me, Ron, not since school. I don't know what to do."
Ron didn't look surprised, and Harry realised that he already knew about Draco.
"I heard," said Ron softly. "I'm heading up the investigation into what happened."
"You are?" asked Harry.
"I'm going to do everything I can to find out what happened to him, ok?" said Ron. "I hate to admit it, but I've become fond of the pointy git over the years. And I don't like seeing you like this either. I– I've got to go, we're going to go over his labs now. I just wanted you to know... that I'm the one looking into it, and that I care." Harry nodded. It all seemed too much to comprehend, but he felt a small measure of comfort knowing that Ron was on the case. Ron would leave no stone unturned: he would be doing his best for Harry. And Draco.
After Ron left, Harry returned to his fidgeting and his fretting, until he rose to return to Draco. When he got to the door of his room though, he couldn't face going in, and sat on one of the hard chairs outside instead. He sat there for a long time, trying to make sense of what had happened. He hated himself for being too scared to face Draco and his stranger's stare again.
Hours passed as Draco brooded, until night had fallen. Potter hadn't been back yet, and Draco didn't know whether to be annoyed or relieved. But he was beginning to feel lonely. He wasn't enjoying this silence. Not for the first time, he wished he could close his eyes and return to his own life. Instead though, he went to to the window and pulled up the blinds so he could look out. In the darkness he couldn't see much of the St Mungo's gardens. Instead, his reflection caught him again. When he shut his eyes, it wasn't his old room he saw. It was another window, rain running down the pane in heavy rivulets, his face reflected back pale and serious. And then there were warm arms around him and he leant back, safe and peaceful, dark hair against his in the window. Draco opened his eyes to the empty room, the night sky clear, his breath fast and his heart juddering along at high speeds. His hands were clenched into tight fists, and his skin felt cold and clammy.
The door opened and Luna rushed in.
"What happened? The monitoring spells show–" she broke off and frowned. "Draco, are you ok?"
Draco nodded. "I just– I saw something. A... a memory, I think. But it wasn't clear."
Luna sat on the one chair in the room, and patted the bed next to her. "Sit down, Draco." she looked serious, and Draco obeyed without thinking about it. "Tell me what you saw," she said.
Luna and Harry sat in her little office, almost as cramped and filled with files as Harry's own.
"So he got a memory back? Of me? Does this mean—"
"Harry," Luna said, taking his hand in both of hers. "Stop, and listen to me. I don't want you to talk, just hear what I have to say. Draco saw a memory as a fragment of an image. To him it was still like seeing someone else, not him. It wasn't a full memory. We still don't know whether his memory loss is the result of physical trauma to his brain, or if it's magically induced. I know guts not brains are your speciality—", she smiled weakly, but he gave her a shake of the head in return, too anxious about what she was telling him to join in with her Healer humour, "—but it does make an important difference. If it's due to physical trauma, I'm afraid we just don't know how much Draco will ever remember, depending on how and if his brain has been injured. I'm sorry to be so negative, Harry, and you don't have to give up hope yet, but I want you to understand what this means."
"It means I might have lost him," said Harry, his voice coarse and barely louder than a whisper. Luna hesitated before answering, and Harry had been the Healer in this conversation enough times to know what that meant.
"It is promising that he had this fleeting vision, or memory. But this might be all he regains, small flashes from the past twelve years. I– I'm sorry, Harry," Luna squeezed his hand and sat quietly with him, giving him time to absorb the words. Her kindness was painful to bear, because it wasn't her sadness to carry, it was his. It made her words tread a fine line between compassion and pity. But this was his friend. Deep down Harry knew it was compassion she felt.
After a while, Luna began to speak again. "I want you to take him home on the morning, so he's surrounded by his things. Maybe that will help trigger more memories. Even if it doesn't, answer his questions and fill him in on his life. But be gentle. And give him space," Harry nodded, and wearily rose to leave.
"One last thing, Harry. Be kind to yourself, too. Talk to your friends. Don't go through this alone," Luna stretched as she finished, and suddenly Harry was aware of how tired she must be too.
"Thank you," he said. "For..." he trailed, off, unable to find the words. Because she cared, but he didn't really have anything to be thankful for, and they both knew it. She gave him a sad and weary smile, and waved him off.
The room was light, thanks to tall Georgian windows. It was gently sombre, with soft whites and dark blues and browns, and the furniture was elegant, refined. Draco liked it immediately. He crossed the room to examine the tapestry on the wall showing the Black family tree. Extra flowers, leaves and names had been added. He found his own name, with Potter's joined on.
"There were names blasted off before. We put them back on, and covered up some ourselves," Harry said quietly from where he was standing by the doorway. Draco turned to look at him, an eyebrow raised, then returned to his examination of the hanging. Oh yes, now he could see the elaborate flower and leaves hanging down by his mother's name, obscuring the name Bellatrix. It had not been removed or permanently covered, but you would have to lift a leaf to see it. He stepped back.
"We talked once, about taking on the name Black," Potter said. Draco looked up in surprise.
"Really? Why?" he asked, honestly shocked. Potter shrugged.
"For a fresh start. Being Harry Potter was a burden for me, in some ways, and being a Malfoy was difficult for you, too."
"Why didn't we then?"
"Because you talked me into being proud of who I am. You showed me, in so many ways, what it meant to you to be a Malfoy. It was– it was one of the many things I lo– I have you to thank for," his voice was shaking by the time he finished.
Draco had to look away. Potter had that look in his eyes again. His eyes moved back to the family tree. It reminded it him of something which had been bothering him ever since he woke up in the Muggle hospital.
"Po– Harry, why haven't my parents visited me, or Owled? Where are they?"
Potter sighed, and Draco's heart stuttered in fear. Potter made his way across the room, and joined Draco next to the tapestry. Tenderly, he traced Narcissa's name, then stepped back. This time, Draco noticed the numbers by her name. Two sets of numbers. 1955. 2009.
"I'm so sorry, Draco," Potter said. "Your mother was kind to me, in her own way. I liked her very much," and he put a hand, warm and solid, on Draco's shoulder. Draco shut his eyes against the pain. His mother. Cool, but bright, like bluebell flames. She had fought for him, endured so much for him. The reason he'd finally decided he couldn't hate Potter anymore, during the dark few months since the war ended, was that thanks to him it was finished, and her suffering was over. Draco felt the room spin away from him, but the hand on his shoulder kept him anchored enough that it didn't fall entirely away. His heart ached though, for his mother. For the time he'd lost.
"How?" asked Draco, finally.
"She had occasional fainting spells, as a result of her exposure to the Cruciatus curse during the war. She had one when she was alone one day, and fell. She hit her head, and..." he trailed off, leaving the sentence unfinished, but the meaning was clear. "I'm so sorry to have to tell you this, Draco." Potter moved around and embraced him, and it was warm and solid, but Draco stiffened and Potter pulled away. "Sorry," he whispered. Draco shook his head.
"And my father?" Draco forced himself to ask. He knew he cared more for his mother than his father. His relationship with his father had always been... complicated.
"Your father remarried last year and moved to France. We don't have much contact with him anymore. His new wife is expecting a baby. The baby will... will be the new Malfoy heir, after you." Potter looked at his feet after imparting that particular piece of news. Draco felt the bile rise. Of course that is what his father had done. And then he felt guilt. What choice had he left his father, when he'd married a man and not continued the Malfoy line?
"I think I'd like to have some time alone, if you don't mind," Draco said quietly, through teeth clamped together. He looked at Potter. "I– My life has gone, hasn't it? None of this," he gestured around the room, "none of this is mine. And what I think of as mine, is gone." Potter fell back, helpless.
"It might not seem like it, but this is your life, Draco," he whispered. But Draco shook his head. It was hard to believe, when he didn't recognise anything. He felt a flicker of pity for Potter – he appeared to be almost as lost as Draco. They stood, looking at each other for a moment.
Potter called out, "Kreacher!" and an old house elf appeared, bowing low to Draco when he saw him.
"Master Draco," he said. "It is good to see you home once more."
"Please take Draco up to our room, Kreacher," Harry asked. He looked at Draco. "Luna said you needed to have your things around. I'm staying in the guest room, so the main bedroom is all yours. I won't disturb you in there."
Draco followed Kreacher up the stairs. His feet and his heart were heavy. That night a dragon, made of a hundred black lines, wove in and out of his dreams. He didn't know what it meant.
It was late, and Draco was probably asleep by now. He had hidden away for most of the day. Harry tried not to think about how he would look, his face open as it only ever was in sleep. He wouldn't get to see it tonight, and not until Draco remembered him. If he ever does , his mind whispered. Harry stopped the thought before it went any further. He sighed, and rubbed his eyes, then looked into his empty glass, but there were no answers there; the firewhisky had done little to assuage his rising panic or morbid thoughts. The only hope he had to cling onto now was that the memory loss was somehow due to magic, not to the bump to the head which had knocked Draco out.
Harry looked up as green flames flared in his fireplace.
"Hermione!" he said, as her head appeared in the flames. Concern and something else – a sharp edge of sorrow – ran across his friend's face. Harry put his glass down and moved to crouch in front of the fire.
"Harry, Ron's here too. We wanted to speak to you, can we come through for a minute? Just one at a time, one of us needs to be here for the kids." Harry moved back immediately, and nodded. A moment later Hermione stepped through.
"Oh, Harry," she said, and pulled him into a hug. Harry held onto her, clinging to her warmth. She smelled of books and babies. When he let go they were both a little misty around the eye. "I just wanted to be able to do that," she said. "When... when I had to face my parents, and they didn't know who I was, having Ron to hug did help. I thought you might need a hug."
"Thank you," Harry whispered.
"I know Ron wants to fill you in on the investigation so far, but I wanted you to know that I'm helping too, as much as I can. I'm not," she said, her voice fierce, "going to stop until I figure this out." Harry gave her a weak smile, and she flung her arms around him again. "It'll be ok, Harry," she whispered into his hair. He held on for as long as he could. Harry realised how much he missed the comfort of contact and affection, even after only a day or two without it. He felt a little bad about taking it from Hermione like this. But when she pulled back, he could see that she didn't mind. She kissed him on the cheek before returning home.
Things with Ron were a little different.
"So what do you know?" Harry asked. Ron took a deep breath before speaking.
"Well, first of all, his lab was a bit of mess. There was definitely some kind of an incident there."
"An incident?" Harry raised an eyebrow. "Not an accident?" Ron shook his head.
"No explosions or melted cauldrons. More... more like there'd been some kind of a scuffle."
"Oh," said Harry, sitting back.
"Also, nothing was missing from the lab, as far as we can tell. I– I think you'd better watch out for Draco, Harry. It's quite likely that someone has tried to hurt him," said Ron, quietly.
"They already have," murmured Harry. He looked up at his friend. "If he lost his memories because he was attacked physically, it means he may never—", Harry stopped, unable to continue.
"I'm sorry, Harry, but we still don't know what happened, not really. Hermione is setting up all kind of magical tests, so maybe she'll be able to work out if any specific spells were cast – even who cast them," he said. Ron looked at Harry, his eyes not wavering as he added, "You know how good she is. And how personally she takes Memory Charms." Harry bit his lip, and nodded. This was the other half of what Hermione did: working for the DMLE searching for magical traces at scenes of magical disturbances, as well as a touch of curse-breaking. He didn't quite know how she managed all the strands of her life, but she only seemed happy when busy and with a challenge to deal with.
"Look, I'll come back tomorrow, officially, to talk to Draco. I've got some questions to ask him. Luna's warned me about stressing you out with speculation, but I think you'd rather just know, right?"
"Yeah, I would. What am I going to do, Ron?"
"I don't know, Harry. But if you need to talk, or get away, we're always here for you. Draco should be safe enough here for a few hours without you."
"I have to go now, but I'll see you tomorrow, ok?" said Ron. He gave Harry an awkward pat on the shoulder, then stepped back through the Floo. Harry was left alone in the semi-darkness of the room again.
He knew that his friends wanted to help him, to offer him reassurances and comfort, but when it came down to it, he knew that the chances of Draco's memories returning were slim. Even if they caught the person who'd attacked Draco, it probably wouldn't change things.
All that really mattered now was that the memories were gone. His Draco was gone.
Harry breathed through the anger that rose in him like bile. How could Draco have forgotten him? How could he just forget all their years together? Had it really meant so little? He picked up the bottle of firewhisky and poured himself another glass. He knew it wouldn't help, no more than the kind words of his friends, but it might take the edge off enough for him to sleep.
Sitting in the kitchen, a plate of food in front of him, Draco found he had no desire to eat. He had spent much of the previous day thinking about his parents, and trying not to think about Potter. A thousand memories of his mother had risen, so much fresher and more real than anything he had shared so far with Potter. Her gentleness, her moments of quiet and distance; the certainty with which he had always known that she loved him. The smiling pictures of him and Potter had enraged him: in that moment if he could have chosen, he would have chosen his mother. In the end he had turned all the photos him and Potter face down. Except– except that there was something seductive about the idea of their life together. It was as if every thought he'd ignored, every secret desire he'd spent years suppressing, had suddenly taken corporeal form and was staring at him.
Draco looked up to see Potter walk in. He looked terrible, dark circles spreading below his eyes. Draco felt guilty for not being able to make him feel any better. Potter had been kind, and patient, but Draco just didn't remember or recognise any of what he had been told of their life together.
Potter sat down with a cup of coffee. He didn't pretend to be hungry, refusing Kreacher's offer of food. Draco looked down at his own plate, and pushed it away with a sigh. They sat there in silence.
"Draco," said Harry after a while. Draco looked up. "I spoke to Ron and Hermione last night. Ron's the Auror investigating what happened to you."
"Weasley?" asked Draco. In his head he saw an awkward teenager, ever the side-kick. He couldn't imagine him as anything else.
"Yes. He's coming here, to talk to you, this morning."
Draco was shocked when a tall, well-built man introduced himself with a firm handshake a short while later. Only the red hair was recognisable, although cut short.
"Hello, Draco," said Weasley in a soft but confident voice. Despite himself, Draco was slightly reassured that he might actually be a competent Auror, after all. "It's good to see you, and I just want to know that I'm doing everything I can to find out what happened to you. I'd like to ask you some questions—" he held up his hand, as Draco shook his head. "I know that you can't remember anything prior to waking up, but there may be some small detail you can remember, which could help our investigation." Weasley sat down at the kitchen table. "Please, sit down."
Draco sat back down again, and looked up at Potter. Potter had poured more coffee, and silently handed Weasley, then Draco a cup. He was moving around the kitchen as if something was physically propelling him from one spot to the next.
"Harry, you're either going to sit down, or find somewhere else to be," said Weasley. "I can't have you hovering while I talk to Draco." Potter stared at him, then sat down next to Draco.
"Ok, so first of all, could you just tell me about what happened, what you remember about waking up?" asked Weasley. Draco described the alley where he had woken up, the pain, the light, and the blood. When Weasley prompted him for anything else, he described the smell, the rotting stench, somehow acidic too, and how it had hurt him to breathe. Weasley took neat notes, read them through once, added a few extra lines, then put them to one side. Draco happened to glance over at Potter at this point. His face was locked into a frown, the knuckles white on the hand gripping his coffee cup. His eyes were fixed on the table, but Draco could see anger in the stiffness of his stance. He looked back at Weasley.
"We've been to your lab. Something obviously happened there – there are signs of a struggle at your lab rather than some kind of potions accident, and nothing obviously stolen."
Draco shivered. "I don't remember anything about what happened to me, only waking up in that alley and staggering out, and then being in a Muggle hospital. I was a bit surprised when Luna appeared, but her mention of moving me to a 'private' hospital was most reassuring," he paused. "I felt so confused, I didn't understand how I'd got there." He frowned, hating the feeling of there being something else big which he didn't remember, which he couldn't comprehend.
"That is all helpful - more than I knew from talking to the Muggle Healers who treated you first, or Luna," Weasley said. "Thank you." He looked over at Potter, and his face shifted subtly, from professional to friend. "Harry," he said. "I'm going to do my job. So is Hermione, and Luna, and everyone else on the case. You," he paused, "just need to look after him," and he pointed at Draco. "And yourself," he added softly. Potter nodded.
After Weasley left, all that remained for Draco was a whirling confusion and sense of unease. What had happened to him? Why couldn't he remember anything of this life? It wasn't just this whole married-to-Potter thing, it was his parents, his work, his friends: none of it made any sense to him anymore. All the details of his life were missing.
Harry sat, drinking a cup of coffee, wondering if his week's leave of absence from work was really necessary. Draco had been home for three days now, and Harry honestly didn't know how much his presence was helping. They had not spoken much the day Ron had visited, nor the day after when they had visited Narcissa's grave. It was so strange to be there and not be able to comfort Draco. Draco had been tight-lipped and pale and had gone to bed early when they got back. Harry felt he was being pushed away, but tried hard to remain calm and helpful. A good host, he thought with some bitterness. This still felt like a visit.
He pushed aside his darker thoughts as Draco walked in, hair still wet from his morning shower. Normally, Harry knew Draco would have given him a quick kiss just below his ear, then stolen the crossword page of the Prophet. Instead, Draco poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down opposite Harry at the kitchen table. Harry slid over his newspaper, and smiled as Draco turned to the crossword page. These moments helped.
Outside, rain fell on heavy green leaves, drowning the world in its noise, and the sky was grey. Usually Harry liked summer rain, but today it added to the feeling of everything being not quite right.
"Harry," Draco said, pushing aside the paper. "Can I ask you about something?"
"Of course. Luna said I should try to answer all your questions," answered Harry.
"Who won the Quidditch League Cup?"
Harry burst into laughter. "I should have known you'd want to know. Which one?"
Draco hesitated for a moment, then tentatively offered, "All of them?" and grinned.
"Wait a second," said Harry, and he stood and went to a set of heavy shelves at the end of the room. He ran a finger down a few book spines, then pulled out two heavy leather-bound books.
"Here we go," he said, as he put them down on the table in front of Draco. He opened up the first one. The British and Irish Quidditch League, 2000-2010 was inscribed on the fly leaf. Draco's eyes lit up, and he turned the page eagerly.
"This book is fantastic!" he said, after leafing through it for a few minute. Harry smiled, feeling again the warm indulgence he always did when Draco got enthusiastic in this way.
"I got it for your birthday last year," he said. Draco looked up at him, and gave him a beaming smile.
"Thank you, Harry," he said before returning to the book and turning it sideways to look at a diagram of a game's play. Harry leant over and tapped the page with his wand, and the little figures rose up and flew above the page before sinking back down again. Draco's eyes widened.
"How did you do that?" he asked, his astonishment clear.
"It's a new charm they started using in books about five, six years ago," explained Harry. "It was just used for things like this at first, but it's used for all sorts now."
Draco sighed. "The world's moved on, hasn't it?" he said mournfully.
"It has, but that's just life, Draco," said Harry. His voice was gentle with a hint of amusement as he continued. "It's a clever little charm, isn't it?"
"It is," said Draco, a little wistfully. "I wish I'd thought of doing something like that."
Harry smiled, "You did, Draco. It's your invention." Draco looked up at him, shocked.
"M–mine?" he faltered. Harry nodded. "What exactly do I do?" Draco asked, looking confused. "I thought you said I did my Potions Mastery."
"You did," answered Harry. "But you're pretty good at Charms too. Sometimes you work with Hermione, actually. And Terry Boot. Do you remember him?" Draco nodded. "Mainly you make Potions and sell them, but sometimes Hermione... consults with you about various things. She and Terry run a business offering new products. Someone approaches them saying 'Wouldn't it be great if I had a pair of shoes which could...', and they come up with a way of making it happen."
Draco sat back, astonishment clear on his face. "If you had told me a year ago– I mean at school, that this would have been my life, I would never have believed you," he said. Harry looked at him, at how clear his eyes were, the flush of excitement colouring his skin pink and swallowed.
"Nor would I," he said quietly. Their eyes met for a moment, then Draco looked away.
Harry cleared his throat, and carried on as if nothing had happened. "You should see some of the things Muggles have come up with! They're almost as good as this," he said, pointing to the charmed diagram. Draco nodded absent-mindedly, his attention caught as he turned another page.
"Harry, isn't that the youngest Weasel?" he asked, pointing at a photograph of a Seeker flying past.
Harry ignored the 'Weasel' – to be honest, is was pretty tame compared to some of the more colourful names for the family Draco had coined in their early days together – and nodded. "She played for the Holyhead Harpies," he said proudly.
"Weren't you two–", Draco broke off. "Sorry, I guess I'm asking all my questions at once."
Harry shook his head. "No, it's ok. It's part of all this," he gestured vaguely around him. "We were together, for a few months in sixth year."
"I remember," said Draco darkly. "Just after..." and he touched a hand to his chest. Even now, it made Harry wince.
"Yeah, sorry about that. Truly," he reached out and held Draco's hand for a moment. "I'm sorry I hurt you." Harry let go of Draco's hand and remembered, again, the fight, the blood; the pale scars he had traced with his fingers, his tongue, his teeth, more times than he could count. In that moment, he did not know if his sadness was regret for hurting Draco or for not being able to touch them anymore. The easy camaraderie of before was lost. It had been, perhaps, illusory. He sighed.
"We broke up at the end of sixth year," he said. "I was so focused on finding a way to kill Voldemort, and wanted to keep Ginny safe. But after it was all over, I just couldn't find those old feelings again," he shrugged. "I'd changed." Harry looked off, into the distance. "I didn't think I'd ever meet anyone who'd understand." He looked back at Draco, love and pain helplessly clear on his face. Draco flinched as if burned by it and looked away. Silence grew uneasily between them, until Harry stood up and went to get more coffee.
As he stood with his back to Draco, Harry took a moment to see, in his mind's eye, a tumble of limbs on white sheets: the first time he'd seen Draco's scars. He remembered other days, and nights, of touching and whispering, gentle kisses and urgent movements. He remembered the feeling of freedom, the sensations in his body overriding all thought, as Draco entered him and then moved slowly and tenderly, until Harry felt he would be turned inside-out with pleasure. He blinked away the memories, and turned back to Draco. His memories were empty, now. There was just this Draco, clearly uncomfortable with Harry's affection for him, sitting at the kitchen table. But he had to try, he had to.
He brought the coffee jug over and refilled Draco's cup. Draco was leafing through the Quidditch book again, sometimes going back, sometimes skipping forward. After a while he closed the book and turned to Harry, and ran a hand through his hair. "Wow, I feel a little overwhelmed. Ten years of Quidditch in one go."
Harry pulled over the other book he'd got down. "Look," he said. "You didn't just read about the matches." Draco opened it, to reveal a scrapbook full of photographs and ticket stubs. "You bought us a season ticket to Puddlemere United. We still go, when we can." Draco and Harry looked through the album together, one or other of them commenting from time to time about how the people looked, or how their team had played. As Harry leant over to point out to a wondering Draco their friends all mixed together, Gryffindors and Slytherins, he became aware of Draco's hair, now dry, tickling his face. It smelled like it always did, and without thinking Harry turned his head and breathed in, filling himself with Draco's scent. Draco pulled away.
"Harry," he said. "I– I can't. Please."
Harry moved back. "Sorry," he said. After a moment he collected up their coffee cups and set them in the sink, before making his way upstairs. It was too hard, being in the same room as Draco.
Draco smiled widely as Blaise stepped out of the Floo, followed by Pansy. It was such a wonderful relief to see his friends. Blaise looked a little heavier around the middle than he had been at school, but apart from that they seemed the same.
"Draco, so good to see you again," said Pansy as he rose to greet her, kissing her on the cheek.
"Would it make you happy to know that you don't look a day over twenty?" asked Draco, and she squealed in pleasure.
"Did you hear that, Blaise?"
"Draco, you old charmer. She's never going to be happy with anything I say to her when you're throwing out compliments like that," Blaise laughed, as they shook hands.
"It's only the truth, you know," said Draco, and he laughed too when Pansy visibly preened in front of them.
"How hard exactly did you hit your head?" drawled Blaise, with a flash of his white teeth.
Draco smiled demurely. "Maybe not hard enough if I still have to put up with visits from riff raff like you." He ushered them to the formal grouping of sofas at the centre of the room. "Kreacher!" he called, and the house elf appeared with a pop. "We'll take tea now, if you please."
"At once, Master Draco," Kreacher said, bowing low and Disapparating with another pop.
"If you please?" repeated Blaise, one eyebrow raised. Draco flushed.
"Potter must be wearing off on me," he muttered. Instead of the smile he expected to see, he was faced instead with a faint look of disappointment on Pansy's face. Disappointment and sadness.
"So it's still Potter, is it?" she asked softly.
Draco sighed, and sat down next to her, aware all the time of Blaise's intelligent eyes watching them both. Before he could say anything though, Kreacher reappeared bearing a huge silver salver, which he put down on the coffee table. There was tea and coffee, along with an array of nearly translucent bone china, a cake stand of petit fours and delicate cakes, a plate of steaming scones, and little pots of butter, jam and cream. Kreacher bowed once more and left. Draco just stared at the spread. "Everything I would have asked for," he murmured. "And Grandmother Malfoy's tea service."
Blaise leant forwards. "Draco, this is your home too. Can't you see how much of yourself is here?" Draco looked around at the room, full of its straight lines and clean edges.
"I know. It's the strangest thing. I know where things will be when I look for them. I recognise photos and paintings and bits of furniture from the Manor. I see my favourite colours. Yet I don't recognise this place. I don't recognise my life."
"You have a wonderful life, Draco. I hope you've realised that, by now." Draco swallowed and nodded. He could see he had an interesting job and a beautiful home, and the love of the man he'd always—
He looked up. Pansy caught the look in his eye, and moved forward to pour out a drink. "Tea or coffee, darling?"
"Tea," both Blaise and Draco answered at once.
Blaise laughed, a warm low rumble. "I'm used to being the only darling in her life," he said, giving Pansy a small private smile.
"I keep forgetting that you two are married," said Draco, looking between them. "I always thought you'd end up marrying someone like Queenie's sister." Blaise looked surprised.
"That pale little scared-looking girl? What was her name? Astoria? Asteria? No," he shook his head. "I never found anyone as clever–"
"Or wicked" added Pansy, interrupting.
"–Or as wicked as my very own Pans. After the war, it just didn't matter so much what our parents thought." Draco nodded. He remembered that, the simmering anger at their parents' choices. Looking back, he could see how it could have led to the parties Potter had talked about, and the pairings he and his friends and ended up in.
They sipped from their tea, and stuck to safer subjects, such as gossip about fellow Slytherins, for a while. Draco felt a glow of contentment grow, surrounded by the familiar sly digs and banter of his youth. Eventually though, the talk returned to his memory loss, and Potter.
"It's just so messed up," he confessed, his head in his hands. "In my head he's still Potter, but I have to call him Harry when I talk to him. If I forget, the look on his face..." He took a deep breath, forcing himself to go on. "This should be a dream come true, really. I, er, had a bit of a thing about him when we were at Hogwarts," he got out, all in a rush, his cheeks burning. "But this is too much. It's one thing to fancy someone when you're at school, but to wake up and be told you're the love of their life, to have all that intensity, all that history... it scares me." Pansy patted him soothingly on the back, like he was a small child. Blaise was silent for a moment, then cleared his throat.
"It seems to me that you've had an awful lot to process over the past few days, Draco. Give yourself time. Get to know Harry. He's a good man, and worth knowing." Draco nodded.
"I know," he whispered. "But what if I mess this up? He always looks so... iwounded/i."
"Blaise is right, Draco," said Pansy. "Give it time. And you never know, you may get more memories back. But even if you don't," she added fiercely, "you're our friend and we're here for you." He gave her a grateful smile.
"Enough of this Hufflepuff sniffling," said Blaise. "I think we're going to have some help with all this cake soon." Sure enough, a few minutes later, Greg Goyle stepped through the Floo, with two small dark-haired children behind him. "Hello, my gorgeous off-spring," Blaise said, spreading his arms out wide. The girls hurtled towards him, and he squeezed them to him with much giggling and cries of "Daddy" on their behalf. As they climbed off their father and turned their attentions to Draco, Blaise looked at Draco and raised his eyebrows. "Brace yourself," he warned in a low murmur.
"Uncle Draco!" they called. "We want cake." Draco was startled, but prepared them both a plate of cakes which he handed over once they were settled, sitting primly by their mother. The resemblance to both parents was uncanny, with their shiny bobs and caramel skin.
"Izzy and Libby, say thank you to Uncle Draco," reminded Pansy.
"Thank you, Uncle Draco," they chorused, looking angelic until one of them – Draco had no idea which one – asked why Uncle Greg's nose was so big. Blaise handled the question smoothly, and there was no more discussion of serious subjects. After a while, Draco began to slip extra sweet things onto the girls' plates, until Pansy batted his hand away. "You're worse than a house elf, Draco," she said. The girls beamed at them, both showing their father's trademark broad smile and teeth.
Draco felt a little helpless in the face of so many dazzling smiles, and turned to Greg instead. Greg was different to how he'd been at school. He was a tall man now, and had lost some of his breadth. Draco was completely floored when Greg quietly told him that he was a poet.
When all his friends had finally left, leaving behind a large quantity of crumbs and the beginnings of a headache, Draco sat in the empty room and thought about his life. His friends had seemed the same at first, but their lives had moved on, just like everybody else's. Even though he couldn't remember it, he had to accept that his had too. And it could have been so much worse, he knew that. If only, he thought to himself, he knew what to do about Pot– Harry. The least he could do, he decided, was to think about him as Harry. He would try.
Harry felt warm and relaxed. Next to him, Draco was sat up in bed, naked. He had books and parchments spread out in front of him, reading intently from each of them, deep in his research. He did this sometimes: an idea would pop into his head and he would have to follow it up, there and then. He would summon half the books from the study and worry away at the problem until satisfied. Harry sat back against his pillow, enjoying the view of Draco's back, smooth and lean and strong. As Draco leant forward to study the furthest book, the curve of his arse was perfectly presented to Harry.
He just looked, for a minute, but then temptation overwhelmed him and he reached out and lazily stroked the curve of each cheek, nestled in the crumpled sheets. His finger traced the line, back and forth. Left, sweeping up the centre, back down, right, and then back again. After a moment the sound of paper rustling ceased. Harry began to add more pressure with his finger. Then he heard a long inhalation of breath, and he knew without looking that Draco's eyes were closed. This time, as he dragged upwards, his finger dipped into the crease. Draco leant forward subtly, stretching his pale skin over his spine.
Harry kept his finger moving, and shuffled over so he was behind Draco. He licked and kissed the vertebrae at the top of Draco's back, then moved over to his sharp shoulder blades. He felt a tremor pass through Draco as his tongue pushed and traced a line along the bone. His hands now moved to cup Draco's arse, his thumbs travelling over the outer edges while his fingers grazed the sensitive skin, hot and responsive, between. A low, long groan came out of Draco's mouth. He moved forward, sliding his body across his research. His arse lifted in front of Harry, and he moved his legs a fraction apart. It was enough, and Harry's finger returned, moving in a slow line up, and down.
He licked his lips in anticipation of dipping in deeper, with his fingers and then with his cock, which was hardening in front of him. The papers slid to the floor with a crash as Draco moved forward and—
Harry woke up. For a moment he wondered where Draco was, turning to find him to make the dream a reality. And then he remembered, as he encountered emptiness beside him, and the blank space that was their spare room. His cock was full and aching, and he could still feel Draco's skin on his fingertips. He closed his eyes and leant back, clinging to the images and sensations of his dream, and bringing himself off with quick, angry strokes. Afterwards, he felt hollow.
He missed Draco. His Draco. The one who could still kiss him until he was breathless, the one who secretly loved to bake cakes, the one who made him laugh and then feigned indignation. His heart tightened and his eyes squeezed shut, as tears began to build. Here, in the dark of night, Harry could admit to himself just how much he missed Draco. It was as if Draco had died – that was how it felt. One day he had been there, and the next he was gone. He knew there was a man who looked like Draco asleep in their bed, but he didn't know him. Each day that passed, his Draco receded further away, and Harry was terrified that he'd never see him again. Hot tears of loss and frustration ran down his face. Eventually, they were all gone, and Harry was left feeling numb from the pain. Ignoring how he felt, as much as he could, he turned to face the empty pillow beside him and lay there until he fell asleep.
Draco walked slowly down the stairs. The wall was covered with photos, and he hadn't taken the time before to look at them all properly. He recognised one of him aged about six, sitting on the knee of an ever-elegant Narcissa. There were others of Harry with his friends, of Pansy with two babies wrapped in blankets and a tired, proud smile on her face. Several pictures were of a boy, as a baby, then a toddler, then running around. He looked almost familiar, but Draco didn't know who he was and his eyes moved on. He paused though, in front of the simple wooden frame containing a picture of a red-haired woman and a black-haired man. He looked up when he heard a creak on the stairs.
"My parents," said Harry, reaching out to stroke the frame.
"I thought so," said Draco. "I don't know why, but this photo seems more... important than the rest." Harry looked up sharply.
"Just this one?" he asked. Draco nodded.
"It's the first photo I ever had of my parents. I didn't get it until I went to Hogwarts," he said quietly. "It's also the first photo we put up on this wall," he said. "You chose the frame." They both looked at the picture for a moment. Draco was aware of how close Harry was to him. He could hear him breathing. The moment ended when Harry turned and continued down the stairs. Draco followed him, and they made their way into the study.
Draco was curious, as he hadn't spent much time in this room yet. It was wood panelled and filled with rich, warm reds, as well as shelves filled with books. The only furniture were two leather armchairs, a lamp and side table, and a desk and chair. He looked around for a moment.
"Let me guess: I got to decorate the drawing room and you got to decorate the study?" He looked at Harry to see if he was right. Harry was smiling.
"Correct. And you complained about my use of 'Gryffindor colours' while I complained about you bringing the Manor to Grimmauld Place," he said. Draco walked to one of the armchairs and took a seat. He looked up at Harry.
"I like it," he said.
Harry laughed. "Yes, for all your complaining you always did like it in here," he joined Draco, sitting in the other armchair.
"Who is the boy growing up in all the photos out there?" Draco asked.
"Teddy Lupin," answered Harry, a soft look on his face. "My godson, your cousin."
"Oh," said Draco. "The werewolf's son," he froze as he saw the look on Harry's face. "Sorry," he said. "Professor Lupin's son," but he got the impression that it was too late.
Harry was silent, and when he spoke again his voice was strained. "Sometimes Teddy comes to stay with us. He's at Hogwarts now, but will probably come here for Christmas," he looked at Draco as if trying to say something else. Draco leant forward a little, and returned Harry's gaze, willing him to trust him enough to continue. Eventually, it seemed that Harry did. "He's family, to both of us. He's the nearest we've got to– to a child of our own," Harry said, his voice low and quiet. Draco sat back, stunned. He hadn't been expecting that.
"We've fixed it so that he inherits the Black fortune, when he's older," said Harry.
Draco took a minute to let this all sink in. A thought suddenly occurred to him. "When we thought about taking on the Black name – it was about him, too, wasn't it?" he asked.
"Yes," whispered Harry. "Although we didn't talk to anyone except each other about it, we did consider offering to adopt him. But Andromeda loves him, and she's already lost her daughter. In the end, it didn't feel right." Draco was silent. One of the things that had been bothering him the most about this life, was the lack of a son. He looked up at Harry, and suddenly he realised that Harry probably already knew about his deep and secret fear of fatherhood. And perhaps also the even more hidden desire to forge his own version of it.
With sudden clarity, he saw how his youthful crush could have grown to become love. He looked at Harry with fresh eyes. For once, it was Harry who flinched away from the intensity of his gaze, rather than the other way round.
"Do you have any more photos of Teddy?" asked Draco. "I'd like to find out more about him," he added quietly. Harry shot him a grateful smile, and disappeared downstairs. While he was gone, Draco took a moment to try to compose himself. He wasn't sure how successful he'd been when he trembled as Harry walked back into the room, carrying an armful of heavy books. He dragged the side table between them, and they sat down to look through the photographic record of over twelve years of a life.
As Harry laughed and described his first few visits to see Teddy and Andromeda, and showed his wonderfully over-the-top and inappropriate gift of a broom for Teddy's first birthday, Draco spent as much time looking at him as he did at the photos. He admitted, for the first time, that he found this older Harry attractive too. Part of it was the way he looked, but it was also about who he was as a man. Harry was passionate, and kind, and loyal. He laughed a lot, even though Draco could see how unhappy he was below the surface. There was something sunny about him.
Draco's attention was pulled back to the growing Teddy Lupin as he began to appear in the photos too. The photos proved to be a record not just of Teddy's life, but of his and Harry's too. It was obvious as they moved from boyfriends hiding not-so-secret glances, to a more established couple, until over the past few years he could see that they were indeed surrogate fathers to Teddy. He felt warmth flood him, for this boy he couldn't remember.
"And here he is at his first Quidditch match," said Harry, as they looked at a photo of a Teddy bedecked in a Puddlemere scarf, hat, and waving a miniature Seeker on a broom in one hand, and some kind of a book in the other. He couldn't have been more than six years old.
"Why does he have so much stuff?" asked Draco. Harry gave him an amused look.
"Because his Uncle Draco bought him one of everything?"
Draco looked at him with horror. "I didn't, did I?"
"Oh yes you did! You spoil him rotten." Harry lowered his voice to a dramatic whisper, "it's why he loves you the best."
"I shouldn't think he needs any extra incentives for that to happen. Not if the other choice is you," sniffed Draco. They looked at each other, and laughed, shaking their heads.
As each album was opened, Draco and Harry sat closer together, until their legs were touching and their hands and arms occasionally brushed against each other. Draco didn't know if Harry felt it too, but each touch was electrifying. He began to deliberately move his hand to meet Harry's, as if by accident. Draco wasn't quite sure what he was doing, but he felt compelled to have more contact with Harry. The atmosphere in the room changed, becoming charged until Harry's narrative about Teddy's life began to drop off. In the end he stopped talking, and looked up at Draco.
His eyes searched Draco's face. Whatever he was looking for, he didn't seem to see, because his face dropped, and, pulling his hand away from Draco, he started collected the albums up. "I'll just put these away and see how lunch is going," Harry said, almost tripping over in his rush to leave the room.
Once the door had shut behind him, Draco sat in the armchair, and looked down at his hand. He still felt the electricity which had built up from all the little touches, but he was alone. His heart was racing, and he felt a sting in his eyes. Why had Harry walked away? What had been missing? But then Draco saw the ring on his finger, and he knew. As he was now, without the missing memories, he'd never be the one that Harry wanted, not really. This was so unfair. He'd woken up to find himself in this life, the things he'd never thought possible suddenly within his grasp, but he couldn't have them.
Hurt, he didn't go down for lunch, and hid away for most of the day. He came down in the evening, but barely said two words to Harry, and they ate together in an awkward silence. Even with things the way they were, he still sneaked the odd glance at Harry, noticing the way his brow was tensed, the resolute set of his shoulders, the soft curl of hair behind his ears.
Harry escaped to Ron and Hermione's. Hugo and Rose were tucked up asleep upstairs, and he was able to sit with his friends. He loved their children, but sometimes it was good to be able to sit and talk without their eyes constantly tracking their children, without all the demands and interruptions which were the norm during daylight hours.
"It's so good to see you," he said.
"And you too, Harry," said Hermione. "But how are you? How's it going?"
Harry sighed. "I've been better."
"Do you want to know what I've found out so far?" asked Ron, as he joined them, a bottle of wine and some glasses hovering behind him. Harry did want to know, desperately so. Yet he hesitated for a moment before answering, as something occurred to him.
"Shouldn't you be saying this to Draco, too?" he asked. Ron and Hermione exchanged a glance.
"The thing is, Harry," said Hermione, her words calm and ordered, as always. "We've spoken to Luna – or rather, she spoke to us. She was quite firm when she said we should leave the two of you alone, and not bog Draco down with speculation."
Harry remained sceptical. "I don't know, I think he'd rather know what's happening."
Hermione spread her hands in a helpless gesture and shrugged.
"I know, I know, Healer's orders," he sighed. "But I'm not promising to keep any secrets." He looked at Ron, who nodded once. "So what do you know?" Ron handed the wine bottle over to Hermione, and Harry watched as she muttered a spell and the cork popped out.
"Well, so far, we know that there was definitely a physical and attack, and quite possibly some kind of a magical attack made on Draco too," said Ron. Harry swallowed, suddenly tense. Hermione handed him a glass of wine.
"I'm working with Luna to try to work out what kind of magical attack, of any, it was," said Hermione. "I– I haven't found any evidence of anything as straight-forward as a normal Memory Charm. The smell Draco described could be an indication of magic, or it could just have been a filthy alleyway. I can't say much more than that, because we're still looking at two or three possibilities." She took a large sip of wine before continuing. "Also, and I don't want to alarm you too much, Harry, but Terry's been missing since Draco was hurt. I've been focusing on Draco's case and not worrying about any of my other work," said Hermione. Her face shifted with guilt. "I only realised that he wasn't around a few days ago"
"We're searching all the Muggle hospitals in case Terry is in one," said Ron. "We really don't know what happened – Hermione and Terry have been working with Draco recently, it's possible that Terry was with Draco and has been injured too. It could have been Neo-Death Eaters. Or—"
"I just can't see it, Ron! What reason would Terry have to harm Draco? He always liked Draco, he talked about him all the time!" interrupted Hermione. She stopped herself when she caught sight of Harry's face.
"When we know something concrete, I promise, you and Draco will be the first to know," said Ron. His face was open and determined, and Harry knew he would keep his word: he nodded to show that he understood. His mind though, was whirring, and his stomach began to turn. He put his wine down.
"Harry?" asked Hermione softly. "Are you ok, Harry?" Harry shook his head. It was a while before he could talk.
"No, no I'm not ok. I've been going... I don't know, it's just so strange being at home with this Draco who looks at everything with wide eyes. He doesn't seem like my Draco at all."
"Harry, you can't think like that," said Hermione.
"But I do! And if what you've said is true, Ron, then it makes it likely that his amnesia is at least partly due to physical trauma. And that means that the memories may never come back. He might never remember me, or our life together."
"Harry, mate. When you first got together, you two, you thought he was worth it, didn't you?"
"Of course I did! You know how hard I fought, we fought, against all the people who said we were doomed."
"Or that you were Imperiused or enchanted by Draco," added Hermione.
"Or that you were traumatised by your war experiences and in need of a 'cure'," added Ron, and they all shuddered at that particular memory. "Well, how is he different to that person back then?" asked Ron quietly.
"If he was worth fighting for when you were nineteen, surely he's worth fighting for now?" added Hermione.
Harry looked between his two friends. Dammit, they were right. "It's just so hard," he whispered.
"Harry," said Hermione, her manner stern. "You have to be strong, for both of you."
"I know," said Harry. "It's just... I miss him."
"He's still there, Harry. He's not dead, he hasn't abandoned you: he's there, with you, every day. You owe it to both of you to see that, to know that."
Harry hung his head. It was sobering to hear his darkest thoughts from someone else. His friends knew him well enough to leave him alone for a moment, and they chatted quietly with each other about their day.
Slowly, Harry began to join in and the mood lightened. While Ron was out of the room for a moment though, Hermione leant over and Harry got the feeling that she had more to say.
"I know you probably don't want to talk about this, Harry," she said. He held himself still and waited for her to continue: he knew that nothing he could say would stop her now. "But the other thing you might want to consider—", and Harry felt bad for the shiver of annoyance and dread which travelled through him at her words, "—is that whether or not Draco regains his memories, he will remember how you are with him, now. The memories he is making now are part of him too." She looked pained as she added, "I'm talking from experience, Harry. Remember what I went through with my parents?"
Ron walked back in the room, and Harry was quiet for a while again. Ron looked between the two of them, his eyes settling on Hermione, who shrugged her shoulders and looked away. Ron refilled their glasses, and told them a story about the time he was called out to some big house to find Neville wrapped in Devil's Snare in the garden, with no trousers on.
By the time he left Ron and Hermione's, Harry felt a little better. His head was slightly fuzzy from wine, and it had pained him to see the look of concern on his friends' faces. But he was determined to keep going, to be there for Draco. Somehow he'd work out how he felt, on his own. No matter how kind and understanding his friends were, they couldn't really know what it was like for him. No one could. The only person he could have turned to had disappeared, and whatever they said to him, that did matter. Harry went to bed and lay there, his thoughts racing, for hours before he dropped off into a fitful sleep.
The images came hard and fast. His mother, falling through the air, then lying in a pool of blood, her eyes blank and unseeing, surrounded by marble and gilt. The black dragon, climbing across his skin. The crunch of Harry's nose breaking beneath his foot. The dragon returned, except this time it burst into flames and took Vincent, down, down, into a chasm of darkness, before returning to seek him out. Draco cried out in terror, but instead of the fiery jaws clamping down on him, he found a cool hand on his face, and woke to find Harry sitting over him.
"Shh," said Harry. "You were having a nightmare. Are you ok?" Draco sat up and nodded, not quite ready for words yet. "Was it the flames?" asked Harry, and Draco looked at him in wonder. In the dark of the room he could just make out the shadows and planes of his face, Harry's eyes lost in the darkest part of shadow. "You haven't had that one for years," Harry murmured, and he put his arm around him. Draco sank his head onto Harry's shoulder. It was warm and it felt good, comforting, to be close like this.
Draco could feel Harry's breath on the top of his head, shallow and unsteady. He turned his head and touched his lips to Harry's, gently sucking his bottom lip in a tentative kiss.
"Harry," he said, as he pulled back. His hand rose and touched Harry's face, feeling the rise of cheekbones and jaw, the rough edge of stubble. "Please," he whispered. Harry trembled, and for a moment Draco thought he was going to back away again, but then he heard his name being whispered back, before their faces moved together again, and they kissed. This kiss was tinged in sadness, and when they pulled apart Draco's face was wet with tears.
"I've missed you, Draco," said Harry, and Draco knew he wasn't talking to him, but kissed him back anyway. He could taste salt on his lips, and wine on Harry's, but he could also taste the warmth that was Harry. It felt like home, and he wanted more. As their tongues and mouths moved, their kisses grew more desperate. Draco kissed along Harry's jaw, pausing to suck in the hollow under his ear. Harry groaned, and threw Draco down onto the bed. Now his eyes had grown accustomed to the dark a little, Draco could make out the gleam of Harry's eyes, as he bent down and kissed Draco's neck, making his way with tongue and lips down to his chest. Draco shivered as the saliva-wet trail cooled.
Then Harry licked across one of his nipples, and looked up before dragging his teeth ever so slowly across Draco's old scars. A long, sighing moan escaped his lips as he felt the build-up of pleasure and sensation in his skin as Harry did this again and again. Then he felt Harry's hand move to the band of his pyjama bottoms, pulling them down, and he eagerly raised his hips to help.
After running his tongue around Draco's belly button, and once Draco had whispered another pleading, "Harry," he felt the warm, wet welcome of Harry's mouth closing over his straining erection. "Harry," he groaned again, his body going limp as he lay back and became lost in the swirling, sucking, swallowing motions of Harry's mouth and tongue. Just as he felt the stars hovering, ready to burst in front of him, Harry pulled away. Draco whimpered.
"I need you, I need you now," said Harry in a low, rough voice. He reached over beside the bed, and then was moving. Before Draco quite knew what was happening, Harry was hovering over him again, kissing him roughly. "I want you inside of me," he whispered, and Draco realised that he wanted it too. He pulled Harry back down for another kiss, trying to communicate just how much his body ached for him. He helped Harry pull his t-shirt over his head, kissing him again once it was gone. He caught his breath as Harry groaned then whispered and wandlessly vanished his boxer shorts. Full and hot and leaking, his cock stood proud and Draco reached out to grasp it, moving his hand around and up and down; a thrill passing through him at every little noise Harry made, at the way his eyes were half closed and his head thrown back.
And then Harry was reaching behind him, his eyes, dark and shining, never leaving Draco's as he rose up and sat down, taking Draco into him. Draco gasped at the tight, hot heat, and Harry stilled, then slowly, slowly moved down until Draco was fully in. Without breaking eye contact, Harry began to move. Draco's hips tried to rise to meet him, and soon they were moving in rhythm with each other. Draco's body seemed to know what to do, as he suddenly flipped Harry onto the bed and switched positions, rising to his knees and pulling Harry's legs up. He set a relentless pace, knowing somehow that this is what Harry needed. As it all became too much – the sweat on Harry's skin, the sound of flesh slapping on flesh, the feeling of entering Harry over and over again – Draco reached down and gave Harry's straining cock a few tugs until he cried out and came all over his stomach, at which point Draco felt Harry's muscles clenching around him and he too came, with a bellowing cry of his own.
They flopped down onto the bed, sticky and sweaty and breathless. Harry muttered a cleaning spell and they pulled the covers up. They lay face to face, and Harry extended a finger and traced Draco's face.
"I've missed you," he whispered again. Cracks of emotion wept though into his voice.
"Harry," Draco answered, kissing his fingers as they brushed past his lips. "Home," he added, drowsy and drifting off.
They both fell asleep, arms and legs touching, their bodies sharing warmth; both spent in more than way than one.
In the cool, clear light of morning, Harry opened his eyes and woke to see Draco asleep beside him. A feeling of peace spread throughout his body. It had just been a dream, and everything was as it should be, with Draco by his side. And then Harry remembered the night before, him being woken from his sleep by the sounds of Draco's nightmare, coming in here and— Merlin, what had he done? Moved by the pent-up frustrations of the past week, he'd taken shameless advantage of Draco. He'd used him for sex, for the bliss of release. Yet somehow it had felt like his Draco. Procedural memory, his traitorous Healer brain told him. It had just been Draco's body remembering what to do, because it had done it so many times before. Draco could have forgotten his own name and still known what to do. It didn't mean anything.
He looked at the trace of lines at the corner of Draco's eyes, the scar on his neck from his mother's deranged owl, the pink of his flesh in his sleeping warmth, and his heart ached, again, for his Draco. Guilt bubbled up, deep inside him, at the thought of having slept with someone else, even though he knew it was still the same person, the same body. And then there was the layer of shame to wade through, at having used the man – gentle, and slightly serious, yet still capable of laughter – who he'd got to see so vulnerable and lost over the last week. Swiftly and quietly, he rose and dressed, sneaking out of the room and going to the one place that this Draco would never find him.
Draco stood in front of the open wardrobe doors, his eyes blank and unseeing. When he'd woken that morning, expecting to still be tangled up with Harry, he'd instead been greeted by an empty bed, albeit one still reeking of sweat and sex. He soon confirmed with a creaking Kreacher that Harry was not at home. A wave of panic was followed by one of rejection. He'd known, the night before, that it wasn't really him that Harry wanted. It never would be. Mechanically, he had washed away all traces of their night together, standing under the shower and wishing that he could will this memory away, that it could join the others in oblivion. And yet at the same time, his body felt alive, his nerves still tingling with the scrape of Harry's teeth, his warmth, his driving need. It had been unlike anything Draco had experienced before. That he could remember, came the bitter afterthought.
And now, stood here, he had to get dressed. He blinked away tears. He closed his eyes, and the world became green. Looking around him he saw branches of willow, twisting down to the ground, new leaves helping to curtain the world beyond, but not quite hiding the brick walls of St Mungo's. Draco was pressed up against Harry, kissing him under the tree. He opened his eyes, and staggered back to sit on the edge of the bed. He brought a hand up to his mouth. Merlin, he could still feel that kiss. Suddenly, he remembered the kiss, remembered finding Harry on his lunch break, and the two of them running out and finding shelter under the tree, stealing a moment together in Harry's favourite hiding spot, before he had to go back. He remembered that they had just moved in together, that they couldn't keep their hands off each other.
He dressed as quickly as he could, and Apparated straight to St Mungo's. He knew where he'd find Harry.
In the gardens behind the hospital, amongst the trees and bushes and flowers, stood the willow tree, green and full with leaves – many more than in Draco's memory. He pushed past the branches and found Harry sitting at the base of the tree, completely hidden from the world. He had his knees drawn up and his head bowed. Draco went to sit next to him, and Harry looked up, surprise travelling across his face before Draco kissed him. Harry was still for a moment, then pushed Draco away.
"How did you find me?" he asked.
"I remembered that you like to hide here. I remembered doing this," said Draco, and he kissed him again, and this time Harry kissed him back. They kissed until Harry was breathless.
"You remember...?" asked Harry, his eyes, full of hope and uncertainty, hovering over Draco's face.
"Just kissing you here. After I moved into Grimmauld Place," he put his arms around Harry and drew him close. "I remember that I love you."
Harry sighed and relaxed into his arms. Then he stiffened, and pulled back, his face darkening. "Last night, I shouldn't have–"
"Don't you dare have regrets about last night!" Draco said, his voice strained as anger rose, swift and sharp, built on all his frustrations. "I feel no differently about it now than I did before this memory returned. Harry, you must know, I must have told you, how much I watched you at school. How I thought about you," Draco shut his eyes, the memory of nights spent tormented by his hatred and desire for Potter still clear in his mind. "As I've gotten to know you this week, it's become clearer each day just how easy it would be to love you. Last night I wanted you, I wanted to be with you."
"But it was wrong," Harry shook his head. "It– you weren't who I wanted last night," he whispered, his head hanging down.
"Look at me, Harry. Look at me! It doesn't matter what I remember, this is still me, I'm still the same person. I didn't drop dead you know: it's been awful watching you mope around, mourning me when I'm standing right in front of you. I didn't think you could so easily turn away from me," Harry opened his mouth to protest, but Draco kept talking. "I know it wasn't as simple as that. I know that you love me," he added softly. "But last night, fucked up as it was, was still real. Everything between us is real, and whether I remember the past or not, we can still have a future. I– I want that," he broke off, flushed and frustrated. "I remember enough to know that I love you, ok? But I think it's where I would have ended, anyway, memories or not."
Harry sat quietly. Draco waited: it was all he could do. Finally, Harry nodded, and whispered "Sorry," and "I love you," and pulled Draco close again. They sat together without talking, fingers intertwined, watching the willow branches rustle as they moved in the breeze.
"Is this going to be enough, Harry?" asked Draco. Harry turned to look at him, and brushed some hair away from his eyes.
"Yes, I think it will," Harry said.
Then he moved away and stood without speaking, offering Draco his hand, a resolute light in his eyes. Draco took it, certain that he would always take it. Where ever, whenever: if Harry offered him his hand, he would take it. He chose Harry.
Once they were both standing, Harry gave him one more kiss. "We'll figure it out," he whispered. "It's time to go home now," he added, and Draco felt himself being pulled into a side-along Apparition, back to Grimmauld Place.
Walking into the drawing room, Draco's hand in his, Harry was surprised to find Ron, Hermione, Luna, Blaise and Pansy waiting for them. He froze.
"What are you all doing here?" he asked.
"What's going on?" asked Draco at the same time. His grip on Harry's hand tightened.
Ron stood up. "We've found the person who attacked Draco," he said. "I think you should sit down."
"Ok," said Harry, "but I still don't understand why you all need to be here." Ron sighed, and looked across to Luna, but it was Blaise who spoke up.
"They've all got information to give you," he said, waving his hand at Harry's friends. "We're just here for Draco. Luna asked us." He raised one eyebrow, and looked pointedly at Harry and Draco's joined hands, "although maybe he doesn't need us, after all." Harry looked at Draco, and gave him a small smile.
Blaise leant back, a glint of danger in his eyes. "I want to hear this anyway though, I want to know who did this to my friend." Pansy stroked his arm, and he muttered something but stopped talking.
Ron cleared his throat, and took on what Harry always thought of as his Auror mode. His back became straighter, and the hint of humour usually lurking on his face disappeared. "After Draco was found, I went to check out his Potions lab. We ascertained that nothing was missing, and there were obvious signs of a struggle, but no sign of any kind of accident. To be sure, Hermione has been helping to check for all types of magic use," Harry nodded. He knew all this already. Ron turned to Hermione, and she cleared her throat then began to talk.
"The smell you described was my first clue, Draco. It can sometimes be a side-effect of certain types of magic. It was hidden amongst layers of every-day spell traces, but in the end I found something which hinted at powerful magic. The type which works on the mind," Hermione explained.
"Obliviation?" asked Draco.
"Similar, but more complex," answered Hermione. "As far as I have been able to reconstruct it, the spell is designed to pull one strand of a person's life, and switch all feelings and associations with it. So a hated enemy becomes admired, and a loved one become despised."
"But I didn't wake up hating Harry," said Draco.
"I know," she sighed. "This is where I've needed Luna's help. She has been trying to understand your memory loss, Draco, trying to work out what caused it. I realised that we could find out more together."
Harry looked over at Luna. He was a little annoyed that so much had been going on, without his being able to help. But then, Draco had needed him, here. And Ron and Hermione had told him a little of this, the night before.
Luna looked serious and grown up, perched on the edge of an armchair. The only reminder of her stranger ways were the delicate earrings she wore, beneath her loosely tied up hair: a pair of neat, green cabbages.
"Draco, your knock to the head has been, so to say, a bit of a headache for me since the beginning. Did it cause your memory loss? Or did it occur afterwards? But when Hermione came to me and explained her theories, I was able to hypothesise that perhaps it was, after all, irrelevant. Her theories still didn't explain what had happened to you though."
"The theory we've come up with," continued Hermione smoothly, "is that your mind shut down rather than have everything changed. We're still not sure if you did this yourself, or with a potion or a spell, or if somehow the original spell was miscast."
"In effect, you forgot Harry – and by association, the past thirteen years of your life – rather than have how you felt about him changed," concluded Luna.
Pansy was wearing a rather soft look on her face. "How romantic," she said, but Draco instantly jumped in.
"It might sound it, Pansy, but it really hasn't seemed it, not from where I'm standing."
Pansy gave Draco a hurt look. "Really? You two seem to a good deal closer than you were a few days ago. It looks to me like love conquered all." Harry put a calming hand on Draco's knee, and Draco kept quiet, although Harry could feel him shaking slightly.
"Yes, you two do seem to have reconciled a little," pondered Luna. "What changed?"
Harry flushed, as the memories of the night before flashed before him.
"I remembered him," said Draco, quickly. "Not much, but... just enough."
"Another memory came back?" Luna asked. Draco nodded. "Interesting," she said, and stood up and began pacing up and down in front of the windows.
Harry gave her a long, speculative look before returning his attention to the main group.
"I think that when you were attacked, you responded to protect yourself – whether consciously or not – and then you Apparated away, blind, to escape," said Ron. "You're lucky you didn't splinch yourself."
Harry shuddered, thinking of all the cases of splinching he'd seen at work, and gripped onto Draco's hand a little tighter. There was just one more question left to ask.
"Ron, you said you'd caught someone."
Ron squirmed and looked uncomfortable, his eyes travelling between Hermione and Draco. "It was Terry Boot," he said, in the end.
"Terry?!" said Harry. "Are you– are you sure?"
Ron nodded. "He stopped coming into work after Draco's accident, and we thought he might be injured too. But when we found him, in the early hours this morning, he wasn't in a hospital: he was hiding out, in France. He wasn't very happy to see us either," Ron said, with a wince, and rubbed his arm. Harry noticed a fresh pink scar peeking out from the edge of Ron's sleeve. "But he let something slip – he knew this was about you, Draco."
Hermione nodded unhappily. "I– I didn't want to believe it either. But after I spoke to Ron this morning, I went back over everything. I hadn't noticed at first, because Terry's done so much magic in Draco's lab in the past. But his magical signature was unmistakable. It was him: he did this to you, Draco."
"Draco," Pansy said suddenly, looking a little green around the edges. "A couple of years ago, you told me that things were a bit awkward between you and someone you worked with." Harry was confused. He didn't remember Draco ever mentioning any problems with Terry. He looked at Draco, but he was just wearing that open, uncertain look he did whenever anyone told him about something from his forgotten past. "You never told me his name, only that he—" she broke off, looking at Harry warily before continuing. "He made a pass at you, and made your life quite difficult for a while afterwards. But you hadn't mentioned it recently, I thought you'd worked things out."
Hermione looked disturbed by this news. "I never noticed..." she said. "But it does explain a few things. And it fits with our theory of what the spell was supposed to do. I'm beginning to think that I didn't really know him at all," she added in a whisper.
Harry rubbed his face with his hands. This was all so much to take in. Along with disbelief, he felt rage build, blind and hungry, on the pain and loss of the past week, ready to lash out at the man who had hurt them so much. But then he felt Draco's thumb circling gently on his wrist, and he took a deep breath, forcing himself calm.
"So what now?" he asked Ron.
"We'll talk to him again. See whether we can find out more, thanks to Pansy's information. But whatever his motive, it's very clear that he was the one behind this. And it also seems likely that he acted alone, which means that Draco should be safe now."
After that everyone was talking at once, and it was too much: Harry could feel Draco's body stiffening beside him.
"It's great that we know what happened now, more or less, but do you think Draco and I could have a bit of time to talk about what this all means for us?" asked Harry, addressing the room. Hermione was the first to stand, giving both Harry and Draco a kiss on the cheek before pulling Ron towards the Floo. Then Pansy and Blaise crowded around Draco, and Harry heard Draco instruct Blaise to 'just leave it alone'.
Soon, only Luna was left. "Do you mind if we have a bit of a chat?" she asked quietly. "I wanted to talk to you about the memory loss, if I may." They sat down again.
"Can you tell me about the memory you got back?" she asked.
"I remembered kissing Harry, under a tree," said Draco, glancing shyly at Harry.
"I see. Was it like watching someone else, or like experiencing it yourself?"
"Definitely experiencing it myself. And I remembered what I'd been thinking and feeling at the time. I remembered when it was too - it was very clear."
"Good, good," said Luna, leaning back. She played with one of her earrings as she thought. "From what we know about this spell and your mind's reaction to it, Draco, as well as what you've just told me, I'd say that your prognosis is good. But, the fact remains that you were quite severely concussed and we shall still have to wait to see exactly how much of your memory comes back."
Draco nodded, then turned to look at Harry.
"It's ok," said Harry. "I think we'll be ok, even just with this one memory." Draco smiled, and Harry leant forward to kiss him gently; then they both turned back to Luna, who looked at them with tenderness.
"It makes me happy to hear that,' she said softly. "As a friend, not just as a Healer. It does also seem likely to me that you will continue to get memories back, as your mind recovers, although how many I can't say. And now," she said, rising to stand, "it's time for me to go too. I'd like to see you, once a week, Draco, so I can track your progress, and maybe see if there is some way I can help a little. But right now I think you've got what you need."
After she had gone, Draco turned to Harry and kissed him.
"I cannot believe that that is really Loony Lovegood," he murmured into his hair. Harry laughed.
"You can't call her that, Draco!"
"But did you see her earrings?"
"Draco, I'll have you know that Luna hasn't mentioned wrackspurts or anything else like that since our second year of Healer training. Instead, she became absolutely obsessed with understanding the mind," he brushed a kiss on Draco's shoulder. "You're in good hands."
"I know whose hands I'd like to be in," Draco answered.
Harry felt a thrill at Draco's lightheartedness: it was familiar and as always, it made him smile. "Well, I think we should have lunch. I haven't eaten today and I'm famished. And I think we need to just spend some time, getting to know each other," Harry stopped and rolled his eyes at the way Draco was leering at him. "Properly, you old lech."
They were laughing when they went downstairs in search of food.
It was still light in the evening when they went to bed. They walked up the stairs together, stopping outside the master bedroom. Draco took Harry's hand, and pulled him towards the room. Harry looked up, pausing for a moment, then followed him in.
There had been an awkward moment in the afternoon when Harry had gone silent, turning inwards, in what Draco was beginning to recognise as his hurt mode. Draco had sat with him until Harry had confessed that he was upset about Draco hiding his problems with Terry Boot. Draco had sighed – how could he explain his actions when he didn't remember? He had a go, anyway. Perhaps, he'd suggested, he had just been scared of upsetting their balance. Harry had gone quiet again, muttering something about trust and honesty. As Draco tried to reassure him with a hug, he realised that their life was good together but that neither of them was perfect. It made it seem more real somehow, and he wasn't sure if that comforted or frightened him.
Standing in the bedroom together, suddenly it was as if it were their first time together. In some ways, it was. Draco felt self-conscious as he began to unbutton his shirt. Harry watched, for a moment, then reached forward to run his finger along Draco's collarbone. Their eyes met, and as the last button was undone, Harry pushed the shirt from Draco's shoulders. Harry's thumb traced his scars with a feather-light touch, and Draco shivered at the feeling, and the memory of the night before.
Harry reached up and removed Draco's glasses, then his own, and set them on the top of the chest of drawers. For a moment, Draco felt disorientated as the world blurred at the edges, but he could see Harry fine and he knew that soon he would be doing more than just looking. Turning back to Draco, Harry pulled his jumper over his head, the movement stretching his body up and revealing a corner of skin, and a dusting of dark hairs. Without thinking, Draco stepped forward, and smoothed his hand across the warm patch of skin. Harry took hold of his t-shirt and pulled that off too. Draco pulled him in, and felt the warm firmness of skin on skin as they embraced, and kissed. He couldn't get enough of Harry's lips, his tongue, the bumps and grooves of his mouth.
They had been building up to this all day. Even as they sat eating lunch, Draco had been watching Harry's mouth as it moved. Afterwards as they sat in the drawing room and talked quietly about what Draco was going to do about work – he was unsure, as at the moment he couldn't actually remember how to do his job – he'd been distracted by the warmth of Harry's head in his lap, the softness of his hair as he stroked it. When Harry had laughed and eased his worries, by reminding him that not only was everyone surviving without him, but that this was also his long-awaited chance to live the life of a proper Malfoy and laze around, he had only heard half the words, as Harry sat up and kissed him gently, little grazes on his face and neck. They had only stopped themselves from going further because Harry had pulled himself away and insisted they talk.
Well, now the talking was done. It didn't matter that there was still a huge imbalance between them, with Harry's years of memories and knowledge of the two of them together compared to Draco's two memories from their marriage, and then those from the past week. They were just going with how they felt, and right now, Draco felt desire building and spreading within him. He felt it across his skin as Harry wrapped his arms around him and ran them up and down his back. He felt it in the blood rushing to his dick. He felt it in the way the hairs on the back of his neck rose up at the sound of Harry groaning.
His hands reached down and he unbuttoned Harry's flies, the trousers making a satisfying sound as they hit the bedroom carpet. Hooking his thumb under the band of Harry's boxers, Draco savoured the pull of elastic as he dragged them down over Harry's arse, his hand following the curve of flesh on the way down. Harry's hands moved to his belt, and Draco felt each tug as Harry pulled it free of the buckle as a pull of arousal. Cool air wrapped around him, and he stepped free of the last of his clothes. They pulled together again, erections touching and both moaning as they began to move against each other, kisses now hungrier and more urgent.
Harry pushed Draco back, until his back was pressed against the chest of drawers. They kissed, long and deep, then firm hands were turning him round, and Draco braced himself with a hand on either side of the drawers. He felt and heard Harry kneel down behind him, and shivered in uncertain anticipation of whatever was going to happen next. He just knew that he trusted Harry completely.
Harry massaged his buttocks with sure hands, firm then soft in their touch. Draco jumped and yelped as he felt the slight sting of magic, then relaxed as Harry continued to move his hands over his skin. Gently, Harry nudged Draco's legs apart. And then he held his breath as he felt Harry drag his finger up and then down the crease of his arse, again and again, with more pressure each time. It felt amazing, and suddenly he ached for more, although more of what, he wasn't sure. He heard a quiet chuckle.
"Breathe, Draco," Harry said, and Draco could just see the smile curved on his lips as he spoke. He took a deep breath in, which changed to a gasp as he felt Harry grasp each cheek and pull them apart. Hot breath lingered over his skin, then he discovered what more was as he felt warmth and wetness circle his hole. Each pass of Harry's tongue sent shocks of pleasure travelling through him, and as Harry continued, relentlessly, Draco's body began to shake.
"Merlin," he managed to groan. "Harry, oh–" and his words became meaningless sounds of need. Harry's tongue worked deeper and then was joined by a finger, moving and sweeping and Draco was sure that he couldn't take much more when Harry groaned and pulled back. Harry stood, and Draco moved forwards, one hand flat against the wall, as he felt Harry's cock nudge at his entrance. And then it was pushing in, and Draco was pushing back up against Harry. He wanted more. He wanted all of Harry. He could feel— he could feel everything. Harry stopped for a moment, his body resting along his back.
"Draco," he whispered. "Draco."
"Harry," groaned Draco back. "Harry, fuck me, please," he pleaded and then Harry began to move again, slowly at first, in and out, in and out. Draco felt tears form in his eyes from the intensity of the sensation.
This was different to anything he could remember, yet at the same time he could feel his body welcoming, remembering, every move of Harry's hips, the dig of fingers in his own, the sounds of flesh and moans and the rasp of breathing. His own erection was being banged up against the hard wood of the drawers, but he didn't care, so lost was he in the feeling of Harry inside of him, his body at some knife-edge of arousal.
Harry's pace picked up, then grew erratic. Then he was groaning and holding onto Draco's hips hard enough to hurt as he came inside of him. His head fell forwards onto Draco's back, then he pulled wetly out and they somehow made it across the room to the bed.
"You make me feel twenty again," murmured Harry, as he cast his eye down to Draco's cock. He lay back on the bed and pulled Draco over him, rubbing his cock and slicking him up with the wetness dripping down his legs as he guided him down into his own dark heat. Draco moved with a roaring need of his own.
It was the same, and yet so different to the night before. This time, with the glow of the setting sun filling the room, he could see Harry clearly. He could see that this was a grown man, years of living and experience etched on his face, clear in the grey hairs peppered at his temples; this wasn't a school-boy crush or a dream. It was real. Harry stared back up at him, and through the haze of pleasure Draco was experiencing, he recognised that Harry was here, with him, not hoping for or pining for anyone else.
As soon as he realised that, it only took a short while for Draco to come too, and he collapsed on top of Harry. He stayed there, panting and sweaty, until Harry grumbled and pushed him aside.
"Squashing me," he protested, and Draco laughed weakly. He turned his head and kissed Harry gently on the lips. Lying there, watching Harry's eyelashes rise and fall with each blink, he felt completely at peace. But then Harry moved away and looked at their combined messy stickiness and sighed. "Let me clean you," he said, and Draco missed him as soon as he had moved off the bed, and started to walk away.
Draco's eyes travelled down Harry's body, stopping in shock as he sat up and gasped. Across the whole of the lower half of Harry's back was a tattoo, a black dragon made of a hundred fine lines. Draco had seen the dragon before: in his dreams. Harry stopped walking and froze, turning around slowly. "What is it?" he asked.
"The dragon," Draco managed, after a moment.
"Oh," said Harry, looking down over his shoulder. "Yeah." He retrieved his wand from the bedroom floor and returned to the bed. A few seconds later and they were a fair bit cleaner than before. He sat down on the edge of the bed and Draco moved forward so that he could trace the moving lines with his fingers. Under his hands, the dragon stretched its wings out as its tail curled around Harry's side.
"It's you," Harry said. "My dragon. You're the only one who gets to see it. It sleeps most of the time, but—" he paused to turned and look at Draco, his eyes burning bright, "—it wakes up when you touch it." He moved around so they were facing each other properly.
"I–" began Draco. "I've seen it before. It's been in my dreams, every night." He looked up at Harry and touched his face. "I don't think... I don't think I could forget you, not completely." Harry was looking at him, his eyes alive with emotion, when Draco felt the room fade from his sight. He saw himself running his tongue over the dragon's scales, following the swish of its tail. Harry trembling under his touch, the tattoo a surprise he'd planned for Draco. Only for Draco.
Draco blinked and found himself looking back at Harry. "You got it done for our anniversary. Two years ago – you said you wanted to have me with you, forever. I... I called you a stupid sap and we went to bed for two days."
Harry eyes widened, then he smiled and pulled Draco to him.
"I remember," he said.