Disclaimer: Just a warning but this story contains Slash. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, songs, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. The non-existent original characters and the plot is all mine.
Inspired by one of my FAVE country songs! Harry's a bisexual flirt with a roaming eye but he's married to Ginny Weasley. Neville sees Harry approach the point of no return when a certain blond takes an interest.
Author's Note at the end...
"Hi, Helena," Harry said to his secretary with a wink and a smile as he entered his office on Monday morning. He was dressed in a suit by the muggle fashion designer, Hugo Boss. "You're looking exceptionally lovely today."
Helena Fairbanks giggled and twisted one shoulder brushing strawberry blond curl in her finger. "Why thank you, Mr. Potter. How was your weekend?"
"Restful, my dear Helena;" Harry grinned widely. "The only good thing about Mondays is that I get to see you."
"Aww! You're so sweet, Mr. Potter!" She gushed, blinking her blue eyes at him. "Is there anything you need before you start your day?"
"Coffee, Helena, and lots of it." Harry flashed his pearly white teeth.
"It's already in the pot for you, Mr. Potter." Helena grinned.
"Already the day is getting better! You see, Helena?" He winked again and disappeared into his office.
Sitting behind his desk, Harry sipped the hot coffee and waited for the memo she'd soon send telling him the times of his appointments for the day. That day's memo was shaped into a butterfly. The door opened and the paper butterfly fluttered across the room to land on his palm. Harry smiled at it and tapped it with his wand to transform it back to its normal sheet of parchment.
It looked like it was his lucky day. First on the list was a meeting with George about the Weasleys' joke shop. He couldn't wait to see what their newest invention would be this time. His many brothers-in-law were also easy on the eyes, so he always looked forward to seeing any and all of them.
Seamus Finnegan was just after that to propose that Harry's company invest in a bar and grill that he wanted to start in his home country of Ireland.
Lunch with Ginny, Ron and Hermione was after that. Then he had a three hour break before meeting with Draco Malfoy about the new security system his father wanted to have installed at the Manor. Since Harry and his business partner, Neville Longbottom, were the leading authorities on defense, it was only natural that they were consulted when it came to things like that but what they really did was much more subtle and intricate.
After the war, Harry and Neville had pooled about half of their inheritances and began to invest in small but worthwhile businesses. The Weasley's had asked him to keep his financial backing of their joke shop to himself so he had, but many other businesses needed help to repair and rebuild after the damaging effects of spells being flung back and forth. They took an interest in many shops in Diagon Alley and consulted in defense matters as a result.
A little while later, George knocked on his door before walking right in. He never waited for an answer. "Hey, Harry! How's it hangin'?"
"Hi, George," Harry greeted the other man with a smile. "Perking up, now that you're here… Can Helena get you anything?"
"Sure, just some gilly-water will do." He answered.
"So what's this new invention of yours?" Harry asked after sending a memo to Helena.
"So glad you asked, Harry!" He winked one pale blue eye. "We've been getting into a more adult market lately."
Harry smirked. "How do you mean?"
"Well, we were trying for a flavored lube that tastes different for everyone, but ended up with this." He pulled a tube out of his briefcase.
He shook his head. The sight of George carrying a briefcase like any other businessman was always a shock to Harry's system because he still recalled Fred and George as the pranksters they'd been back at school.
"It's really cool. We started out trying to make the lube so that it would enhance the mood. So we used a lot of the same ingredients as everyone's favorite love potion..." He seemed to be waiting for a guess so Harry thought for a moment.
Helena brought George his glass of gilly-water. "Mr. Longbottom just owled and he'll be in a little late today."
After thanking his lovely secretary, Harry turned his focus back to his brother-in-law. "So…Amortentia?"
George grinned. "Yup, we mixed them in one by one but skipped the item that causes infatuation. Instead, we added something that would detect taste and discovered that it was also a color changing agent."
"So what did you come up with?" Harry was starting to get excited.
"It's a flavored lotion that is nontoxic, tastes different to everyone depending on what attracts them and, when licked, it changes color on the skin." George's smile lit up the room.
"How does it work, then?" Harry asked with a sparkle in his eye.
George opened the tube and squeezed a bit onto the ridge of his hand.
Harry got up and walked around the desk. "May I?"
George held his hand up.
"You invented shampoo?" He asked furrowing his brow in confusion as he examined the dollop of pearlescent substance.
George frowned. "No... Although I suppose it does look that way."
"It really looks like shampoo." He said nodding.
George rolled his eyes. "Well it's not. It just has the same mother of pearl sheen as Amortentia does."
"Very cool," Harry commented. "What else did you say it did? Change color?"
George's lips twitched as he rubbed it into the skin. "Yeah, it changes color when licked…"
Harry smirked as he brought George's hand to his lips and swept the tip of his tongue in a swirl across the area with the lotion on it.
The other man's Adam's apple bounced as his breathing hitched.
"Vodka, orange, Southern Comfort, and even a touch of Amaretto…" Their eyes met through Harry's lashes. "Wicked."
George blinked and cleared his throat, absently tracing the powder-blue swirl. "I know! We were so surprised!"
"So what do you taste?" Harry winked.
"I think I'll keep a few of my own secrets, Harry." He said smirking back. "So we've begun production and it'll be on the shelves in just about a month. This tube is my personal supply, but I brought you one for experimental purposes."
Harry's grin turned sly as he took the unopened tube from his business partner. "And that, Georgie-boy, is just one of many reasons that I love you!" He shook George's hand and walked him to the door. "Call me; we'll go for a drink sometime. I'm suddenly craving a nice cocktail."
"I can't wait to tell the guys how much you liked it!" George said. The Weasley brothers had all started pitching in at the joke shop after Fred died in the war.
Harry had wanted to help but they all said he should do that by remaining the somewhat silent financial backer. He'd agreed and it's really been working out. His role was to try out some, if not all of the new products the brothers came up with. Harry was perfectly happy with that, and so was his wife. She knew that if he got more involved in the shop that he'd be sucked in and spend more time with her brothers then her and the kids.
About an hour after George left, Seamus Finnegan took a seat. He was leaner than the last time they'd seen one another and his light brown hair was streaked with blond and grey. When asked if he'd like a drink, the other man asked for a lager.
"You're looking well. What have you been up to since the end of the war?" Harry inquired of his old friend, noting that the other man was extraordinarily fit.
"Nothin' too excitin' since gettin' married to Hannah Abbott, Harry; just helping out with rebuilding the Irish section of the wizarding world." Seamus grinned and looked down hiding his blue eyes. "That, and learnin' how to cook."
"Really? Well, I hope you're better at cooking then you were in potions. I daresay you wouldn't be able to afford a whole new set of pots every other day, not to mention having to re-grow your eyebrows three times a week!" Harry joked as Helena came in to deliver his friend's drink.
Seamus snickered along with him.
"No seriously, Shay, that sounds amazing." Harry complimented his old friend. "So what can we do for you, Mr. Finnegan?"
"Well, me and Hannah...we want to start a restaurant in Dublin's magical community - Exception Alley. It would be a bar and grill; a bit higher-class than a pub but would serve food and drink at a reasonable price for the average wizard or witch." Seamus told him after he took a long sip. "Now, I heard from George that your company invests in small businesses and I was hoping mine would qualify."
"Well, Shay, why don't we start with you catering my birthday party next week and if you cook as good as you look, I'll invest on the spot." Harry winked, scanning his friend's body.
Seamus grinned and licked his lips. "You're kiddin' around with me, right?"
"Of course not, mate; I'll want to taste your food before I back a place that would rely on it for monetary income." Harry said acting confused.
"Oh, right...O' course!" He shook his head and chuckled. "So I'm catering your birthday?"
"Yeah, here's my floo address. I'll tell Ginny, when I see her at lunch, to expect your call...this afternoon?" Harry inquired handing him a small card.
"That's great, Harry! Thanks for this, mate!" Seamus shook his schoolmate's hand and went on his way.
A little while later, Helena peeked in the door. "Mr. Potter; your wife just floo-called to tell you that lunch will be at a café in Diagon Alley; the one Andromeda Tonks set up to honor your parents and their friends."
"I love it at Moony, Padfoot and Prongs!" Harry's eyes lit up as he stood and summoned his coat. "Thanks a lot, Helena; I'll be back in a bit!"
She waved as he stepped into the lift and was off.
Diagon Alley was bustling and lots of people passed by without even noticing Harry. The doors to the cafe were open so he walked right in. He didn't see the wives but he'd know that mop of red hair anywhere. "Ron! How've you been, mate?"
The man in question turned to greet him. "Harry! Good to see ya! How's work?"
"As if you didn't know!" Harry joked back. "I saw George today and I love the idea of the new product!"
"There's a new product?" Ginny asked as she and Hermione came back from the ladies room.
"Yeah, Gin, it's great! I'll have to show you later, though. It's not exactly rated for public viewing." Harry wiggled his eyebrows.
She turned to playfully glare at her brother. "Are you telling me that the family business isn't as 'family friendly' as I thought?"
"We just started the adult line. In the store, it'll be behind a spelled curtain with an age line protecting it." Ron said defensively. "It's not anything illegal, you know."
"Not with Harry involved, anyway..." Ginny smirked with a glance at her husband.
He nodded back; he'd never want to break the law.
"So, Ginny, what's new with James and Lily?" Hermione broke in.
"Well, they're so looking forward to their daddy's birthday!" She said.
"Oh, Gin," Harry started.
The waiter came over then and smiled right at Harry. "Hello, folks, whoa… you're...!"
Harry smirked up at the man thanking Merlin that he was over the embarrassment he'd be feeling if this was just after school and the war. "Yes, I'm Harry Potter. It's very nice to meet you...Ryan." He saw the young man's name-tag as he took in his blond and blue-eyed appearance.
"Wow, I can't wait to tell my dad I met you! He joined the Order of the Phoenix just a few months before the war ended and it was all because you helped save a family member in the Muggle part of London." Ryan went on. "I'm half-blood, you see. Last name's Butterfield."
"Well, as nice as it is to talk to you about this, Ryan, my family and I are getting hungry." Harry said nudging the conversation along with a wink.
"Oh! I'm so sorry, Sir!" He blushed as he took the notepad out of his pocket. "What can I get you?"
The others ordered their sandwiches and drinks while Harry ordered a wrap and an iced coffee before resuming the conversation with his wife. "So, you guys all remember Seamus Finnegan, don't you? I spoke with him today."
Ron grinned. "How is he, Harry?"
"He's great. He married Hannah Abbott a while back and they want to open a restaurant in Exception Alley." Harry filled them in. "He wants me to invest. I think we should sample his cooking before we write the check so I gave him our floo address and he'll be calling later to talk about catering my party."
"Oh, well that'll free Mum up to spend more time with James and Lily, along with the other kids, so I'm sure she won't protest too much…" Ginny smiled at him; "Just as long as she gets to make the cake."
"Would I ever deprive Molly of baking my birthday cake?" Harry joked. "Seamus can make something in addition to Molly's cake but we won't let it be replaced."
Ginny's smile told him she liked that idea. "I can't wait to talk to him."
"I figure that if the food is a hit, I'll cut him a check right after my party." Harry told them.
"It sounds like a plan." Ginny giggled.
Ryan came back with the food quickly. "Is there anything else I can get for you, Mr. Potter?" He asked Harry placing emphasis on the 'any', while ignoring the others.
Harry looked over the drink menu and smirked. "Yeah, I'll take a 'Long Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against a Cold Hard Wall with a Kiss' if you don't mind."
Ryan gaped at him silently.
Ron and Hermione gasped simultaneously.
Ginny just raised her eyebrow. "Isn't it a bit early to start drinking, Harry?"
"It's five o'clock somewhere..." Harry shrugged as Ryan made his way to the bar in a daze. "And besides, your brothers' new product got me craving some of the flavors in this drink."
"So it's my brothers' fault you're turning into an alcoholic?" She asked incredulously.
"You'll understand when I show you the product. Can we drop this for now?" Harry rolled his eyes.
She shook her head and giggled. "Sure, do what you want... but stop flirting. The poor boy almost had a coronary a moment ago."
"Sorry, Gin, I forget sometimes that people usually only see the sweet, shy, demure Harry Potter." He winked at her.
"That's alright, I'll remind you." She grinned affectionately back.
"I'll be right back, love; men's room." Harry said, getting up.
The others still seemed shocked but Ginny just continued with their conversation as if nothing had happened.
Harry approached the bar, where Ryan was waiting to collect his drink. "Hey, Ryan; I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable before."
"Oh..." The boy nodded nervously. "I know, sir. It's just that nobody's ordered that drink while I've been working here, and the way you said its name..."
Harry chuckled. "After the war ended, I got over my innate shyness. I've become very friendly and outgoing rather than hiding from the public."
"Well, that's a good thing, isn't it, sir?" Ryan asked.
"In some ways it is..." He answered.
"Well, don't feel like you need to suppress your flirty side with me, Mr. Potter. I'm sure I can handle it." He grinned and met Harry's gaze causing him to notice the flecks of grey in Ryan's blue eyes.
"You know, Ryan, I eat here often, so we'll probably bump into each other again." Harry leered. "You can call me 'Harry'."
"That's great, sir; thank you. I'm enjoying serving you and your party." The boy smirked.
Harry just smirked back. "I'm glad."
The rest of lunch was uneventful. Harry left a note for Mrs. Tonks when they left that said how much they enjoyed their meal and the service of one, Ryan Butterfield.
Once outside the cafe, Harry hugged his wife. "I'll see you tonight, Gin. Be safe."
"Ok, Harry, I love you." She grinned. The amusement and affection in her eyes couldn't be mistaken as she squeezed his hand before strolling away with her brother and his wife.
He smiled as they continued out of sight and then turned in the direction of his office.
As he passed Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes, a new sign appeared.
NEW ADULT LINE OF PRODUCTS!
AVAILABLE FOR THOSE AGED 17 AND ABOVE!
"Wonder what it could be, eh Potter?" A familiar voice asked from behind him.
"Hello, Malfoy," Harry smiled mysteriously glancing back at his client. "I don't have to wonder...I know..."
"Well, I suppose you are family after all..." Draco smirked.
"They don't even tell family everything, you know." Harry shook his head taking in the other man's appearance.
His grey eyes were dripping with curiosity and his full lips were curled into a sexy smirk. Shoulder-length blond hair was pulled back behind one ear, giving Draco a casual look but the Muggle suit he wore was clearly a sign that the man was intending to do business. The man was just as appealing as he'd been back at Hogwarts and Harry suddenly felt nervous.
"Armani looks good on you, Malfoy. Aren't you a bit early for our appointment?" He mused.
"Yes, well, I like to be punctual...but I was planning to run a few errands first, as I didn't want them to interrupt our time together." Draco commented with a wink that disconcerted his old rival.
Harry cleared his throat and was about to walk away but suddenly George appeared in the window and gestured at the sign. He gave his brother-in-law a big smile and a thumbs-up before waving goodbye and moving down the walkway.
Draco caught up quickly. "I can run those errands later. What say we move my appointment up?"
"So, you still think you can get whatever you want with just a smile and wink?" Harry asked sarcastically.
"Can't I?" His lips twitched.
"Perhaps..." Harry smirked. "As it happens, I have quite a bit of time open this afternoon. I suppose I could be persuaded to take you now instead of later. I'm not sure Neville's here yet, though."
"Well, why don't we go find out?" Draco suggested, falling into step with Harry.
The walk didn't take long and they found Neville standing at Helena's desk. Harry introduced Draco to his secretary before addressing his business partner.
"Nev, good of you to join us," Harry said, raising an eyebrow. "Is everything alright?"
"Gran wasn't feeling up to snuff and we had to call a medi-wizard. She's fine now and Luna's with her but she's getting on in years, you know..." Neville sighed. "But we're not here to talk about my grandmother's health, are we?"
He'd been there when Neville and Luna got married. They made a good couple and got on really well. Neville's grandmother had been pleased with the match and helped to plan the wedding. Luna's pale but wild loveliness went well with Neville's tall, dark and handsome looks. If the man had given the smallest indication of interest Harry might've been tempted.
"Well, let's go into my office and talk, shall we?" Harry suggested. "Helena, more coffee would be welcome, if you could?"
"A glass of scotch will do for me, if you don't mind?" Draco requested. "On the rocks..."
"Helena, coffee is fine for me also, but add a bit of Bailey's would you?" Neville pleaded.
"Of course, sirs, I'll be right in." She smiled brightly.
Harry shook his head as Draco waltzed into his office and chose a chair, making himself right at home. It was nothing more then he'd expect of a Malfoy but at least he wasn't dealing directly with Lucius. He knew that the elder Malfoy probably would've taken Harry's own seat and thought nothing of it. "So you told us in your letter that your father insists on a new set of wards for the Manor and its property. What kind were you thinking of?"
Draco tapped his lip with one finger as he thought. "That's a very good question. Since the end of the war, Father has been obsessed with making sure Mother and I are safe. He insists that we spell our clothing with shield charms and carry invisibility cloaks even though we are perfectly capable of disillusionment charms and always carry our wands... Thank you for giving mine back, by the way."
"You're welcome." Harry smiled softly as Helena guided a floating tray into the room.
"Has anyone attacked him or the Manor itself since the war?" Neville asked once he'd accepted his coffee with Bailey's Irish Crème.
"That's not really clear. You see – the peacocks that we've had wandering the grounds for ages recently died. That's nothing by itself, but both died at the same time and with similar symptoms; a magi-zoologist we know is looking into it. Also, I got a letter a while back that promised vengeance upon my family for some lie my mother told the Dark Lord and then abandoning him before the end of the final battle." Draco said sadly taking a sip from his Scotch.
Harry watched Draco's Adam's apple as the other man swallowed.
Draco took another sip and savored it for a moment. "Mmm...Glen Albyn, 1973…Excellent choice, Miss Fairbanks." He said with a wink before going on. "Now, I don't know anything about the lie but I'm personally proud of my parents for getting us the hell out of there when they did."
Harry mumbled something that sounded like 'me too' before informing Draco, "Your mother did lie to Voldemort. She was the one he sent to check if I was dead after he used the killing curse in the clearing."
"Why would she do that?" Draco asked, shocked.
"For one thing, she was desperate for information on you... on whether you were alive or not. I could hear it in her voice. I think she also knew that, if my side thought I was dead, they'd give up or act like it for a while and they'd get into the castle that way...to find you," Harry paused to sip his coffee. "But if Voldemort knew he hadn't killed me, he would have killed all who witnessed his failure and that included her and Lucius."
"Huh... that gives me a new perspective, right there." Draco shuddered. "I guess my father has taken a page from her book with all of these safety and security concerns. So what can you recommend for us?"
Harry looked grimly at Neville. "Well, there are blood-wards..."
"Yeah, but that requires a few drops of willingly given blood from each person who currently lives at the Manor plus one person outside the family who will anchor the ward. They need only to have a true desire to keep the others safe." Neville said doubtfully. "It's similar to the Fidelis charm. The spells won't work unless the outsider deeply wants it, but it will be very strong and it'll last until all of the people involved in the spells are dead – incidentally, that includes you and me, Harry."
Harry looked at the other man. "Do you have someone who fits that bill?"
"I don't think so." He sighed looking disappointed. "I can check with my father. Have we any other options?"
"We can use certain spells on objects and bury them at the four corners of the Malfoy grounds but that's not as strong as the first option, nor as lasting." Harry told him. "Plus the Manor and its grounds are quite large, if I remember correctly, so it may leave holes in the defenses."
"That's no good then." Draco commented in a frustrated tone. "But maybe we can use that idea as a personal safety option."
"Yes, I can take care of that," Neville offered; he was quite good with those type of things. "You'll just need to get...a personal object that each person won't leave home without. Do you all wear a ring or necklace of some kind? It's best on jewelry because the metal grounds the magic."
"Yes, I can get my parents' wedding rings and I can use the Malfoy medallion that they had commissioned for me last year at Christmas." Their client informed them.
"No, the nuptial enchantments on the rings will interfere with the ones I'll be putting on them." Neville explained to their old schoolmate. "If you could get medallions for them or something further tied your family name it'll work even better because, on the off-chance we find a person who can complete the blood-ward spells, we can tie them into the Manor's defenses, thereby making the personal devices stronger as well."
Harry saw a moment of panic in the Malfoy heir's eyes, but it was quickly erased. "May I borrow an owl to inform Father?"
Harry nodded, wrote a memo to Helena and sent it off with a wave of his wand before handing a quill and sheet of parchment to Draco.
The woman hurried into Harry's office with their fastest owl on her arm and they sent it off with Draco's letter.
"I asked for a reply so he'll send it back quickly." Draco commented.
"A thought just occurred to me, Harry. What about Andromeda Tonks?" Neville asked before turning to look at Draco. "She's your mother's sister, wouldn't she be in the right frame of thinking to complete the blood-ward?"
"They haven't spoken since my aunt married her muggle-born. I don't think she'll care much if anything happens to us." Draco looked down at his hands.
Harry felt the oddest urge to reach out and take his hand, but he suppressed it. "Now Draco, I'm quite sure that isn't true."
Neville's eyebrow rose slowly but he stayed silent.
"How would you know?" Draco dismissed his kind words before something Harry had said caught his attention. "Hey, you- you called me 'Draco'."
"Yes, yes, I did." Harry calmly confirmed. "It's your name and I refuse to call you mister when we're the same age. Now then, I see Andromeda every week, Draco, and sometimes she talks to me. I can ask if she'd be willing."
"I didn't know you knew my aunt and…" He frowned blinking in confusion. "Wait- You've never used my first name before."
"I'm the godfather of her grandson...her only grandson…he was orphaned by the war." Harry said sighing wistfully while thinking of Remus and Tonks. "Does it bother you that I'm using your first name? If it does, I'll stop."
"No, no... It's fine. It's nice actually." He smirked but somehow still seemed vulnerable. "So you see her and the kid weekly?"
Neville snorted softly and kept observing, but he knew this was getting a bit cozy.
"Draco, 'the kid' has a name. It's Teddy..." Harry revealed rolling his eyes. "And yes, every Saturday my family and I go over for dinner to visit with them."
"Oh, is that his name? I'd wondered." Draco asked almost sounding shy.
"Did you know…?" Harry smirked, "That if you want to know something, it's usually customary to ask?"
Draco flushed with color and glared weakly at Harry. "Yes, Potter, I'd heard that somewhere."
Neville sipped his coffee. "You two still bicker like an old married couple."
Harry chuckled while Draco smirked and said, "It's been that way since first year at Hogwarts; why change things now, eh?"
Harry eyed their blond client for a moment. "Besides... its fun."
Draco had something resembling a smile on his face as the owl returned, flying into the room and landing on the arm of his chair. Upon opening the letter, he scanned it and sighed leaving the other men unsure if it was caused by relief or sadness. "My father says we have a few options and he's looking into it as we speak."
Harry's face lit up. "That's great, Draco; I'm so glad you've got people who'd do that for you."
"I'm needed ASAP for a full discussion on the topic, so unfortunately I'd better get on with my other errands." He stood up and smoothed his jacket. "I'll commission the medallions for my parents and get back to you within the next few days."
"We'll gather the items for both rituals and wait for word." Neville assured Draco.
"If you need us for anything, you know where to send the owl." Harry said quietly rising to his feet to shake Draco's hand.
Neville frowned at the emphasis that Harry had placed on the word 'anything'.
Draco's eyes met his for a moment while the warmth of Harry's hand soaked into his. "Hopefully, I'll be seeing you soon then." He smirked, winked and drained his glass. "It's been fun...Harry."
Harry stared after him when he stalked out the door to his office.
Neville watched Harry for a long moment before getting actively involved. "What the bloody hell was THAT all about, Harry?"
Harry blinked at his friend. "I don't know what you're talking about, mate."
"Sure, you don't. Harry Potter, you were just staring at the ass of Draco Malfoy!" Neville shook his head worriedly, recalling a time when his friend would've automatically commented on how redundant that sounded.
"Is there something wrong with looking, Nev?" Harry retorted. "He's awfully easy on the eyes. You could bounce galleons off of that ass."
Neville became exasperated. "Harry...You've been acting strangely for a while now and I think I know what's on your mind."
"And what might that be?" Harry smirked at him not believing that Neville was anywhere close to knowing his thoughts.
"You were pretty young when you and Ginny married so you never got much sexual experience. If I'm not mistaken, you've never been with anyone but her." He said gently. "You're wondering what it would be like with someone else...maybe a man…am I right?"
"What's your point, Nev?" Harry asked, chagrined.
"I just...Do yourself and all involved, a favor, Harry." Neville reached out and gripped Harry's wrist. "Think twice about it before you go crossing any lines."
Harry looked at him curiously.
"Let me put it this way, mate..." Neville began. "Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but sometimes it isn't..."
"I'm not following." Harry frowned at his friend.
Neville rolled his eyes and snapped. "I'll spell it out then: you're thinking of cheating on Ginny!"
Harry's eyes widened. How had Neville guessed? Was it really THAT obvious?
"Harry, you're one of my very good friends and I think you've got a bloody good life; two great kids and a really nice wife." Neville pointed out. "If that doesn't make you happy, I don't know what will."
Harry winced, not only at the bad rhyme but at the thought that Ginny wasn't really making him happy anymore. "Nev, I..."
"You, what?" Neville asked. "You think you want something new? Something different?"
Harry grimaced but nodded once.
"And then what, Harry?" Neville glared at him. "Huh? What would you do then? Say you fuck Malfoy... then what? What happens when that amazing sense of 'newness' wears off? What happens when his old self comes shining through? This isn't love, Harry; right?"
"Is it even lust?" Neville's tone became softer. "Think of the possible consequences, Harry."
Harry flushed looking at the ground.
"Look at it this way: you've got the love and trust of the whole wizarding world right now… and you've made a lot of promises to us." He sighed. "If you do this and it ends up badly… where will you turn? You can't turn back! Who's going to trust you then? Not the Weasleys… Not even Hermione and Ron …Harry, if you do this, you'll be burning a-bloody-lot of bridges!"
"The Weasleys know I'm a bit of a flirt," Harry protested. "Ron and 'Mione know I've always had a thing for Malfoy."
"Harry…Now, I'm not saying it's a crime to look and to flirt now and then, mate. Merlin knows I've done my share of all that, but it doesn't justify a leap into the sack with the next guy to cross your path." Neville seemed to have calmed down. "This pickle you're in is like the edge of a cliff, Harry, and you're standing at the brink…"
Harry nodded. "All you're really asking me to do is think hard and be sure it's what I want before I jump."
"Yeah…because otherwise, the fall will kill you." His friend stood and moved to the open door. "But, do what you want." He made a gesture of surrender and shrugged.
"Nev…" Harry's voice became rough.
"No, man, do what you wish. It's your life, Harry," Neville stared at him. "But one thing I hope you remember is this: there's a pretty high price for every promise you don't keep…and they don't always let you pay in galleons."
Harry gaped at his friend as he strode out the door.
Dinner that night was like a dream in which he was 'on autopilot' as the Muggles would say. As Harry watched his six year old son pass the bowl of peas to his mum, he realized that if this 'thing' with Malfoy happened... if he acted on this new-found attraction... his life with Ginny, James and Lily would likely be changed forever. While he cut up the chicken for his four year old daughter, the thought of them being kept away from him took over his mind. He was really quiet for the rest of the night and Ginny knew something was wrong. As they climbed into their bed, she asked him what was bothering him but he just took her into his arms and told her that he was fine and not to worry.
The next morning, Ginny took the kids to school and Harry walked around the house. He flipped through photo albums and watched his friends and family wave at him through wizarding photos. If he and Malfoy ended up sleeping together he would lose this. Staring at a picture of Ron, Harry recalled the 'chat' his brothers-in-law had given him when he first started dating Ginny. The 'if you hurt her' speech was a standard obstacle for those who were dating someone with siblings, but this was quite daunting and more than a little bit intimidating because of the sheer number of people who were threatening their wrath. That reminded him of something Neville had said the day before. Each of Ginny's family members was a bridge that would very likely burn in the fire of the possible passion between him and Draco. Was he really willing to risk the safety-net that the Weasleys had always provided?
Later in the afternoon, Harry was in his office when he came across the tube of lotion George had given him. It hit him then...if he hooked-up with Draco Malfoy the consequences wouldn't be limited to his relationships. This would affect him monetarily as well. He'd be risking his livelihood. Did he really want to risk everything by going after Malfoy for a quick fuck? Of course not, but what if it turned out to be more than a quick fuck? Should he talk to Ginny? No, that would only cause even more problems. He sighed to himself and penned a quick note sending it off by owl.
An hour later, Harry sat at a table in a muggle cafe staring into space. Suddenly, his own penmanship was dangled in front of his face.
"What's this all about, Potter...?" Draco asked him. "Harry?"
Harry could sense the other man's confusion. "I needed to see you..." He couldn't help looking over his note again as it lay before him.
D- Meet me at the muggle café at the base of Big Ben. I need to see you. It's important. -Harry
"Yes, you said that..." Draco eyed him cautiously. "Is it about the wards?"
"Yes...no...Partially." Harry knew he sounded as confused as Malfoy appeared. "Neville brought something up and I wanted to...needed to figure something out."
"And you needed me for that?" Draco raised an eyebrow.
"Stop it! You're sounding like... Can't you just sit and have some coffee with me?" Harry asked in a tired voice.
"I guess I can do that." Draco said sitting down and tucking his platinum locks behind one ear.
Harry called the waitress over and asked for an espresso, hoping for the clarity of mind that a burst of caffeine could give him. He could feel Draco's eyes on him but they both kept silent until their coffee arrived. Harry took a sip of the hot liquid and met his companion's grey-eyed gaze. "Neville noticed something the other day. I'm reluctant to say anything to anyone, but this could change so damn much."
"What are you talking about?" Draco frowned.
"Everything seems to be coming together for your new wards, Draco... but I may be going crazy." Harry hesitated before whispering the next few words. "I can't stop thinking about you, Draco."
The other man's eyes widened.
"Ever since I got your first owl asking for a meeting, you've been on my mind. Seeing you again, with my new attitude toward life and other stuff... Surely you've noticed my flirtation..." Harry bit his lip.
Draco looked more startled then shocked. Eyes still wide, he stared at his former nemesis. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?" He swallowed another sip of coffee and continued, "you're... attracted to... me?"
Harry closed his eyes and nodded waiting for the yelling or outrage or some other extreme response. "More than I've ever admitted; even to myself."
Draco took a deep breath. "Wow…I'm shocked. What about...your wife? Your kids?"
"That's why I needed to see you and talk to you." Harry shook his head in indecision. "I don't know what to do... I love her...them... But I want you so badly. Am I in this alone? Do you feel anything...for me?"
At this, Draco looked overwhelmed with confusion. "You're attracted to me. Why me? Haven't I caused you and your loved ones enough grief over the years?"
Harry snorted though he was hardly amused. "Don't ask why...just tell me if it's worth the risk I'd be taking."
"I won't lie, Harry...you're everything I've ever wanted in a lover. You're hot as hell and I know you're intense. You've finally got some confidence and I can picture you as the 'take charge' type. You're not independently wealthy but make a comfortable living. You're also on the romantic side and I like that." Draco stared at his hands. "I wouldn't say no to being with you but would you be in it for a quick fling or something more?"
"I'd be risking more than my wife and children, Draco. If we do this..." He motioned between the two of them. "It'd better be something more than a quick fuck."
A look of awe appeared on Draco's face. It was as if he couldn't believe someone wanted more than sex with him.
"So, the question is: do I tell Ginny about my attraction to you now or do I hide it from her while we see what happens with us?" Harry asked the other man.
Draco kept his focus on Harry and stood. "Let's go to your office."
"How is that the answer to my question?" Harry asked.
"It's not, but wouldn't you like to see what you're risking it all for?" Draco smirked.
Harry's only response was to nod and place some money on the table.
Draco led Harry to an alley behind a nearby building and apparated to the Leaky Cauldron's back door.
Harry hated apparition on the best of days but they were in a hurry. This would be the first time he kissed or touched anyone other than Ginny or himself and even though he acted confident, he was very scared.
"It's after hours now so the office should be empty..." Harry offered as they walked from the Leaky Cauldron down to his building.
"Good," Draco whispered behind him.
Harry felt Draco's breath on his neck and shivered as he took down the locking charm. As soon as they were inside, Harry locked the door behind them and turned to face Draco. Since they were almost the same height, their eyes met without any trouble. When neither of them did anything, Harry recalled Draco's words about being attracted to a 'take charge' type of guy so he leaned in.
Their mouths opened slightly as their lips met. Harry lifted his hand and squeezed Draco's shoulder. The other man seemed to melt toward Harry so he pulled him a little closer. Draco wasn't shy about accepting Harry's embrace; placing his hands on Harry's hips. Harry gave a low moan at the contact and stepped forward, effectively backing Draco against the wall.
"Harry... your office...?" Draco gasped as Harry's lips moved to his jaw.
Taking note of a distinct orange flavor, Harry backed off a little and took the other man's hand. "Yeah, c'mon..."
Draco followed willingly and, once they were in Harry's office, he knew he'd allow himself to really enjoy the brunette's attentions. The door closed and locked behind them and once again he had all of Harry's focus.
This time when they kissed, Harry tasted alcohol. He savored it and tried to identify it as their tongues danced. It clicked in his mind as a kind of sweet whiskey that he guessed might be Southern Comfort.
He closed his eyes as Harry nipped his earlobe and whimpered when lips attached themselves to his Adam's apple. "God, Harry!" He gasped.
"Harry?" Neville's voice pulled Harry from his absorption in Draco. "Is that you?"
He felt like someone had poured a bucket of cold water over him as he stepped back. Panting lightly, he moved behind his desk and motioned for Draco to sit in a chair before calling out a greeting.
"Nev? Come in; I didn't know you were in this late today." Harry's voice shook, or at least he could've sworn it did.
Neville opened the door and glanced around, noticing Draco sitting there. "Malfoy… Something new to discuss about the wards ritual?"
Draco cleared his throat. "Actually, Longbottom, Harry and I frequent the same coffee shop and started talking, but there is something new. I'll have the medallions in my possession by tomorrow night."
"Uhmmm, yes... he was just telling me that..." Harry said dragging a hand through his hair.
Neville eyed his friend and knew that he was lying. He grimaced. "Well, I'm going home now, Harry."
"Ok, Nev." Harry said quietly.
"To my family..." He said.
Harry winced knowing they'd been caught. "Nev...I..."
"Don't, Harry. Just don't." He sighed and turned to leave.
"Neville?" Harry called, running after him.
"I'll talk to you later, Harry… but I hope you at least talk to Ginny soon. Remember what I said the other day… Please." With that, he Disapparated.
Harry walked slowly back to his office and sat heavily in his chair. He felt the other man's eyes upon him and knew he had to say something, but he didn't know what.
Draco sighed as he stared at Harry. "Calm down, Harry. It'll be ok."
"How?" Harry asked helplessly.
"If this changed your mind, it's ok. All we did was kiss once... or twice." He went on. "You can confess to the Weaselette and still be forgiven..."
"What? No!" Harry protested. "That little snogfest before had more passion than most of the ones between me and her! I knew that there had to be more to sex than a pleasant 'place tab H in slot G'."
Draco smirked and raised an eyebrow. "Is that all you have with your wife? That's pretty sad, Harry."
"Well, I wasn't ever with anyone but her...so I wouldn't know anything different, would I?" Harry rolled his eyes and sighed. "But I have to tell her..."
"Maybe she'll understand..." Draco suggested as he walked over to lean against Harry's desk.
Harry shook his head. "The red hair isn't just for decoration, Draco. She's going to be pissed...and if she isn't, then her brothers will kill me and kick me out of their business."
"E-excuse me?! What do you mean by that?" Draco asked, confused.
"I helped them get started. Do you remember the Triwizard Tournament? I gave them my winnings so they could start their business." He smiled wistfully. "They're always so amazing about getting me samples and asking me to test new products...I'll miss that."
"So that's how you know what their new 'adult line of products' is... I thought you were just being coy the other day." Draco shook his head. "They might not tell family everything...but they'll tell their number one investor, won't they?"
Harry just chuckled. "I was being coy. I used to hate the attention, Draco, but the war changed me. I'm flirty and coy sometimes and when people ask for interviews and autographs, I don't shy away anymore. I can handle a conversation with Rita Skeeter without panicking and come off as witty even when she twists my words around."
"I'd noticed that she'd lost her touch..." Draco commented sardonically.
"No need for sarcasm, Malfoy." Harry glared up at him playfully.
"Oh, so now I'm back to Malfoy, am I?" Draco joked. "But seriously, Harry... I understand that this will be hard for you. Telling Astoria that I was more attracted to men than women was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do."
"Had you already cheated on her?" Harry asked.
"I had actually, but it was much worse than a kiss...or snogfest, as you put it." He smirked. "I told her after she found me with some bloke on a business trip in France. By 'with' I mean I was naked and beneath him."
Harry's eyes widened with that visual clouding his mind. He swallowed nervously feeling himself get hard at the thought of being naked and on top of this beautiful man. His pale blonde hair would fan out as Harry touched and aroused him… His grey eyes would close as he kissed and…
"Harry? You alright?" Draco asked shaking his shoulder.
He stood abruptly and covered Draco's lips with his own. This time he recognized the taste of Vodka and amaretto as well as the orange and whiskey. When they were both breathless and eying each other with expectation, Harry panted, "If you want me to concentrate on what you're saying then you can't distract me with visuals like that one."
"Like that, did you?" Draco chuckled. "Me too."
"How am I supposed to go home and talk to my wife while I'm in this state?" Harry asked, indicating the tent in his pants. "I'm not going further until I tell her."
"Alright, Harry, but what will you say to her? Will you tell her in vague terms or will you tell her that you want to pound Draco Malfoy into the nearest mattress?" He smirked as Harry once again had a flare of fire in his emerald eyes.
Harry trapped the other man against his desk and felt his hips move of their own accord. Draco's arms came around Harry's shoulders. He was hard as well, and Harry was disconcerted by the friction between their clothed members. Their mouths moved in tandem and Harry couldn't help himself against the waves of passion. Soon, he was reaching between them to cup Draco.
The other man moaned as he felt Harry touch his hard length through the trousers. "Yes, Harry!"
Harry held him close and latched onto Draco's throat as he drove them to the edge. As they reached their peaks, Harry couldn't find an ounce of regret that he'd done this before dealing with the drama he could see coming from a mile away. He sighed as he cast the cleansing spells and looked into his lovers' eyes. "I'm sorry to put a damper on things but I have to tell her, Draco, now... before anything else happens. I'll see you when we arrange the ward ritual but we can owl in the meantime."
Draco pecked him on the lips. "I'm looking forward to it, but you'd better owl me the minute after you finish talking to her. I hope she's not too harsh."
Harry smirked. "I think I'll secure her wand first, and then tell her."
Draco grinned. "You know you're thinking like a Slytherin now, right?"
"Well, the Hat did say I'd do well there..." He casually commented, startling the blond.
"What did you say?" Draco asked, stunned.
"That's a story for another day, Draco. We've got other places to be. I'll owl you as soon as I can... Thank you for meeting me today." Harry pecked his cheek and led him out to the front of the building.
"You're welcome, but you'd better explain that next time I see you!" Draco grumbled. "And don't think I'll forget!"
Harry just smiled and Apparated away.
When Harry arrived at the home he shared with his family, the weight of the decision he'd made finally hit him. He was about to turn his entire world on its head and he suddenly felt very nervous. He'd faced down Lord Voldemort with less trepidation than he was feeling right now. His breaths became shallow and he started to tear up. "Ok, Harry; you can do this…just go in and ask her to join you in your study for a while… once she's sitting and calm, you can grab her wand and hide it until you're sure she won't kill you…maybe you should hide your own as well."
Just then, the front door opened and Ginny stepped out onto the porch. "What are you doing out here, Harry? Come inside; dinner's almost ready."
He smiled and followed her inside while telling himself that he'd wait only until dinner was over to tell her. "How was your day, Gin?"
"It was good, hon. I spent some time with Mum and Dad. Since Dad retired, he's been kind of bored." Ginny chattered. "We played chess and cards; he taught me a Muggle game called Poker."
"That's nice… Where are James and Lily?" Harry asked noticing the silence in the house.
"The kids wanted to stay the night over at the Burrow and I said yes because you haven't shown me that new product yet. I don't want them around if it's an 'adult product'." She winked at him.
He smiled weakly. "Ok, why don't we have a nightcap in the study after dinner? I haven't given you the lowdown on recent business."
"I like that idea. Now, go wash up and I'll serve the casserole." She grinned.
Harry remained very quiet at dinner, not saying much and making yummy noises when appropriate and he could tell that his wife noticed the difference in him. He helped her do the dishes and led the way into the study after asking her to ward the house for the night.
"What's going on Harry?" She asked quietly as she placed her wand on the desk to take the glass of wine he gave her. "Is something wrong?"
Harry took a deep breath and sighed, "There's no pleasant way to put this." He passed the desk as he spoke, surreptitiously palming his wife's wand. "Ginny...I'm beginning to have serious doubts about the depth of our...no... my feelings for you."
The redhead sat daintily on the sofa next to the door not noticing that her wand had been slipped into the top drawer of the oak desk. Shock and distress flashed across her face. "What are you talking about Harry?" A tear rolled down her cheek. "Don't you love me anymore?"
"Yes! Of course I love you, Gin!" He hurried to assure her. "I just don't think it's enough. There's so little passion between us anymore. When we kiss, it's pleasant...but it doesn't spark the flame it's supposed to. Don't you want more than just a pleasant time in bed with your husband?"
Ginny bit her lip. "So what can we do? There has to be something I can do. I suppose there's always lingerie...and toys...?" She grimaced at the thought. "We can spice things up, Harry...right? This is fixable, right?"
"Oh, Gin...Sweetie, I'm not sure it is." He winced. "Look, let me tell you what's been happening at work and we'll get back to that." He proceeded to tell her in more detail about what happened with Seamus and then showed her the tube of lube that George had given him. "It tastes different to different people. Like Amortentia, the flavor differs as to what attracts you. I taste orange and several types of alcoholic beverages." He squeezed a drop onto his finger and rubbed it on the back of her hand before licking the rest off of his own. "How about you?"
"Mmm... strawberries and chocolate...honey-suckle! Wow, the boys really outdid themselves... but what's one got to do with the other?" She frowned.
Harry grabbed her hand and pulled her up to stand facing him. "Think about it. Do you taste any of that when I kiss you?" He pulled her in and let their mouths mesh together. He opened his lips and tried to kiss her deeply but found little pleasure in their contact.
She pulled away lightly and sat again, touching her lips. "No...I don't..." She sounded distressed. "Are you saying we're not really supposed to be together, Harry...that we wasted all this time and energy... and we had two beautiful children...all for nothing? Tell me that's not what you're saying!"
"No, Ginny, of course not! I do love you, Gin, and I love our kids. I could never regret the time we've spent together or having James and Lily." He sat beside her and took her hands in his. "You and I have been so good together...but we were so young...we never really explored our options. Some of those options didn't even exist when we were younger...you know?"
"I guess..." She paused and then shook her head. "Actually, I don't think I do know what you're saying. Is there an 'option' out there other than me, Harry?"
Harry blinked. Had he given her that impression? He certainly hadn't meant to...but now he'd have to try and deal with it. "May I remind you, Ginny-dear, that I've recently noticed an attraction to men that never occurred to me before?"
Ginny nodded but stopped abruptly. "You've met someone, haven't you?" She whispered as she speculated wildly. "Who is it? I mean, you can't possibly be basing all these doubts on just this stupid potion that my brothers invented!"
"Now, Ginny, I would never trivialize what we've had by blaming it all on this potion. I've obviously been tempted to flirt and put myself out there for a while. That means that the distance and lack of passion was there for a while too." Harry tried to calm her.
"I see... So then you're saying that you haven't found Mr. ...What was it again...?" She asked raising an eyebrow. "Oh right...Mr. Long-Slow-Comfortable-Screw-Up-Against-A-Cold-Hard-Wall-With-A-Kiss..." She would have to remember that.
"Don't put words in my mouth, Ginny; that's not what I said." Harry cringed inwardly. "I've had temptation cross my path...recently, in fact..."
Her gaze hardened. "So you have found him, then. I knew it. Who is he and how long have you been screwing around with him?"
"First of all, I'm not screwing around with him..." Her words startled him so he got defensive. "We only kissed a little... and the first time was today."
"You still didn't say who it is, Harry." His wife glared at him.
"I'll get there, Gin..." He said. "The last piece of business led me to him... A few weeks ago, after I got his owl, I couldn't stop thinking about him, Gin. His family needed new wards for their home and he came to me and Neville for advice and help in setting them up."
"Neville knows about this?" She hissed at him. "One of our best friends knew about this and didn't say or do anything to stop it? This can't be happening to me... to us!"
"No, now stop this nonsense, Ginny!" Harry protested. "Neville only knew I had been daydreaming about Draco and maybe that I had a tiny crush on him. He had nothing to do with my decision to approach him."
"What are the rest of our friends going to say? The Prophet is going to have a field day with this: Potter's a Poof. What a headline!" Ginny shook her head as she seemed to consider his words. "How can I go out in public after this, Harry? I'll have to hide my face behind glamours and maybe even change my name! The kids! Oh, Merlin, Harry what are the kids going to go through? What will we tell them?"
"We'll tell them the facts. We're splitting up but it's not their fault..." He trailed off but she took it up from there.
"Of course it's not their fault, Harry, it's yours!" She glared. "Wait a minute... Did you just say the man you 'crushed on' and 'daydreamed about' was called Draco? Are you telling me...? You're leaving me for Draco MALFOY?!"
Harry's eyes closed in anticipation. He could just picture the house exploding and the apocalypse going on around them - thank Merlin she didn't have her wand. When he opened them again, he found her snarling face glaring at him from across the desk.
"Where's my wand, Harry?" His wife asked in a deceptively mild tone.
"Why do you need it, Ginny?" He asked her nervously.
"You know bloody well why I need it! I'm going to hex you, you bastard!" Ginny railed at him. "How could you do this to us?! You've torn apart our whole family! My brothers will want to kill you! Hell, I want to kill you!"
"Now, Ginny, there's no need to be so harsh." He said trying to comfort her.
"You're right, Harry..." She sighed. "I suppose I'm not that mad at you... I'll hex Malfoy and be done with it! Now, where is my wand?"
"It's in a safe place until I'm sure you're less homicidal." Harry replied cautiously.
She huffed. "Oh, stop! You know I couldn't do that to you...not even to him..."
"Well, maybe you couldn't actually kill one of us but you might grievously injure or maim us..." Harry tried to joke.
Tears spilled from Ginny's eyes as she first giggled and then began to cry in earnest. "Oh, Harry! How did this happen to us? Didn't I love you enough? Wasn't I receptive whenever you wanted to be... intimate?"
Harry handed her his handkerchief. "You did, Gin, you were. You've been an amazing example of a wife and mother."
"Is it just the lack of certain equipment, then? Couldn't you just have a little fling and then stay with me? One night a month with your male lover and the rest of the time with me and the kids? We'd never have to tell the family or the public! It'd just be a little rendezvous, out of the country...maybe in France...but then you'd be back with us!" She begged desperately.
Harry gasped and backed away from his wife. "Ginny, no! That would bring dishonor on everyone! I couldn't do that to either of you! Not only that, but the kids would want to know where I went every month and why they couldn't come with me once in a while... How would we explain that? 'Sorry kids, you can't go with daddy because he's going to fuck his male lover and you don't want to see that'. Gin, be reasonable; you don't want or deserve to have to share my love and attention with Draco."
She sniffed. "I...You're right...I know you are, Harry, but I so wish you weren't."
"Should I move out then?" He asked sadly.
"I suppose that's best, but... Harry, do you have someplace to go?" She asked biting her lip.
He hadn't thought about it until right that minute. He'd have to move out of the only true home he'd ever had. He'd lived in many places but this was the one he'd bought himself...this was the one with the threshold he'd carried his wife over... he'd fathered children in this house and helped to raise them... thus far, anyway. Harry sat heavily in his chair at the thought of this not being his house anymore. He shook his head and concentrated on answering Ginny's question. "I suppose I could ask Andromeda or Neville if I could crash with them. There's always Grimauld Place; I could stay there for a night or two."
"You could..." She hesitated but then became determined. "You could use the guest room, Harry...but just for tonight."
He knew it was the best offer he'd get so he agreed. Squeezing her hand he walked to the door and turned to face her. "You'll find it in the top drawer, Gin...good night." With that he hurried to their bedroom and spelled his personal belongings to follow him into the guest room.
Harry tossed and turned through the night. After listening to Ginny cry herself to sleep, he'd had to wipe the wetness from his own eyes as well, before succumbing to a restless slumber.
The next morning Ginny was gone before he awoke so he gathered his things and shrunk them to fit in a pocket before writing a short letter to Draco.
I know I should've owled last night but it was very late when I finished speaking to Ginny. I think she understands as she was no longer angry and let me stay in the spare room for the night. Also, I'm still breathing, so that's a good sign too. I need to speak to a few people today, so I'll owl you again as soon as I'm free.
PS- She knows it's you and she's currently armed...just a warning.
After sending it off with their barn owl, he walked out the front door and warded it properly before Apparating to Neville's home.
The large house could be called a manor but it was nothing like Malfoy's ancestral home. This one was warm and embodied spring and summer at a glance while the other made him recall the dark times of the war. Harry used a spell to 'knock' on the Longbottom wards.
After a moment, Harry was approached by Neville's patronus. It was a larger than life-sized fire-belly toad and it spoke with Neville's voice. "I've added a password system just for you, Harry. The password is the answer I want to hear when I ask this question: Have you told Ginny?"
Harry smirked bitterly. "Yes."
"Is it the truth?" The toad asked.
Harry repeated the previous answer and the toad disappeared. A moment later the gate opened to allow him entry.
He strolled down the walkway and right up to the front door of the mansion. It opened before he reached for the knob and a house elf led him directly to a nearby parlor where Neville was sitting on a settee with Luna while his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom, sat on the armchair to their left.
"Tea, Harry?" Luna asked with a small smile.
"Thanks, Luna; that would be lovely." Harry said as he approached them.
"You got in..." Neville said with a smirk while his wife spoke to an elf.
"Yeah...nice password..." He commented taking Augusta's hand. "How have you been feeling, Lady Longbottom?"
"I'm fit as a fiddle, Mr. Potter; don't you worry about me." She said vivaciously.
Harry saw Neville roll his eyes as he sighed. "Yes, with a few new potions, she's just as right as rain... Shall we take our tea in my study so as not to alarm the ladies with our conversation?"
"Oh, you needn't leave on our account, boys." Luna commented casually placing a hand on his wrist. "Harry, don't despair; you did the right thing for all of you."
Harry stared at her for a moment hoping he'd heard wrong. A glance at Neville told him he hadn't. The other man was just as startled by her words but they'd both known Luna long enough to shake it off and continue on. To his surprise, even Augusta seemed to know what the younger woman was talking about because she had a knowing glint to her gaze.
"Thanks, Luna. I don't expect to hear that very often in the next few days...weeks...Hell, even months ...so, thanks." Harry allowed the woman to kiss his cheek comfortingly before taking a sip of his tea.
"Just remember that every cloud has a silver lining, Harry. They'll be angry, I promise you that... but they'll get over it eventually. When they do, all will be as if the erumpent had never been let loose." She grinned.
"Why would they forgive me, Luna?" Harry asked miserably since there was no mistaking who she was speaking about. "They've no reason to..."
"Because, Harry, they're not just herfamily." Luna's soft voice reminded him.
Harry frowned as that thought settled in his mind.
"They're yours too...everyone seems to forget that, you know...me included." Neville chimes in. "You were practically adopted into the Weasley clan way before you and Ginny got together."
"That's correct, young man. The Weasleys love you and they'll eventually realize how much happier you both are this way." Augusta nodded sagely from her armchair.
Harry sighed as hope took hold in his heart. He recalled the times before the war truly began and how wonderful Molly and Arthur had been. He remembered Ron and George and the others treating him as a member of their family. Even Hermione had always behaved like he'd imagined a sister would. Perhaps it would take a while but eventually the only family he'd ever known would forgive him. "Hey, Nev… Can I borrow an owl?"
Neville just nodded and called a house elf while Luna smiled softly, handing Harry some parchment and a quill.
Harry took the next few moments to compose a short letter to his soon-to-be-ex in-laws. He asked Molly to call an emergency family meeting and told her that he'd be at the Burrow in a little over an hour. Once the elf had sent his note off, he turned to his hosts and said, "Thanks, Nev; thank you as well, Luna and Lady Longbottom. You've all been so sweet and helpful. I'm very grateful to still have your friendship during all of this disgraceful nonsense. I have to go confess to my family now. I'll see you again soon."
Neville followed him out after Luna gave him a hug but Harry just trudged along. "You still look like you're headed to Azkaban…Need another pep talk already?"
Harry gave a pained laugh. "Sure, why not?"
"Right-now, Harry," Neville said gravely. "Ginny knows and that's half the battle over. From experience, you can expect that Ron will overreact. You also know how the rest of the Weasleys are: they'll get mad, but they'll let you have your say first. Just keep calm and explain things as best you can. It's not the fact of your being gay that they'll object to, but the cheating on Ginny and the person you cheated with. As for Malfoy… have things really gotten that far?"
"We only kissed, Nev… Really it was just a very passionate snog session…" Harry trailed off into a jumbled mumble.
"What was that last bit?" Neville smirked raising an eyebrow.
Harry pursed his lips and spoke clearer. "I said: and a little frotting."
His friend shook his head and sighed. "No nudity yet, though…right?"
Harry's eyes just about bugged out as he shook his head. "No! Nothing like that yet, I swear."
"Well, that's something, I suppose." He shrugged. "But there's no such thing as 'I only cheated a little', Harry, so they won't care whether it was full on sex or just a kiss and some frotting. Do you know what I mean?"
"Yeah…wish me luck?" Harry nodded before giving a sigh and apparating away.
First thing he did after leaving Neville's was visit his office building. There was a small spare room that was attached to his personal office, and only he, Neville and Helena knew it was there so he'd be assured of a small modicum of peace.
He was just about to floo to the Burrow when an owl flew in the window. Harry took the small package and read the note that came with it.
Luna and I have all the kids over here. Take your time and grab some liquid courage; Ginny looked really depressed –
Harry snorted. Neville always knows what he needs. Harry opened the package to find a box of chocolate cauldrons filled with Southern Comfort. He smiled and ate two before floo-ing to the house he'd shared with Ginny and taking a quick look at the pictures on the walls as he made his way to the front door. He saw George and Fred hugging him after his fifth year was finished. He and Ginny kissing at their wedding was the subject of another photo. Ron, Hermione and himself were laughing in the Gryffindor common room from another picture. Arthur and Molly were crying in yet another photo as he and Ron graduated after their seventh year. In one picture, James and Lily ran at him and jumped into his arms. He made a few duplicates and shrunk them to fit in his pocket, and then he apparated to the boundary of the Burrow.
He took a deep breath as the house took on an intimidating air. It was then that Harry realized that he dreaded this more then a return to Malfoy Manor where he'd been held prisoner for several hours during the war. He shook himself and determinedly walked toward the door.
Hermione met him to open the door. "Hi, Harry. Everyone's in the sitting room. Molly says you asked for the meeting…what for, Harry?"
"I'd better tell you first, Mione. Maybe you can help keep Ron from killing me." Harry winced.
"Don't worry. Ginny confiscated all our wands. I'd wondered what that was all about." His best friend sighed and came out onto the stoop.
"I- I cheated on Ginny." Harry stammered. "It was just a little kissing, but no further."
"What! Harry Potter, how could you?" Hermione glared at him. "Who is this woman?"
"That's just it, Mione…it's not a woman! No woman could top what I had with Ginny!" Harry cried. "It was something I'd never experienced before! Something I'd never even thought about experiencing before!"
Hermione nodded slowly in understanding. "I see…Well, I'll try to keep Ron from flipping out, but it won't be easy…I need to know who it is, Harry."
"You won't like it…" Harry whispered fearfully.
"Tell me, Harry." She demanded.
His lower lip trembled as he confessed. "M-Malfoy."
Her eyes narrowed and her lips curved into a deep frown. "You did not just say that name…Harry, his aunt tortured me; his parents held you and Ron captive in his house – under his very nose! He could've identified us on the spot, Harry! He could've had you killed!"
"Yes, but he didn't! He saved me then, and his mother saved me later." Harry protested. "It's been so long since the war, Mione, and he came to the office needing a consultant on new wards. Look, I'll tell everyone at once but...I've asked Ginny for a divorce."
She gasped. "Oh, Harry!"
"The whole family needs to hear this, Mione. Please just help me with Ron?" Harry pleaded. "For the kids' sake?"
She nodded angrily and led the way indoors.
Ginny was seated in the middle of the couch with George and Bill on either side of her. Her hair looked slightly greasy and her skin was paler than usual. Hermione took Ron to one of the loveseats while Molly and Arthur took the other. Percy and Charlie were in the armchairs. The wives and husband of his brothers-in-law were interspersed.
Harry started to take center stage, but Ginny stood so he let her speak.
"Listen, I know everything Harry's going to tell you. I'm not happy about it, but I do understand. Please don't be too hard on him." Ginny said before grabbing a tissue box and settling back down to listen.
He mouthed a quick 'thank you' because it brought tears to Harry's eyes that she would defend him in light of his recent revelation. "I need you to just hear me out because this is the hardest thing I will ever do."
The room was silent and Harry was sure that if someone had dropped a pin everyone would've heard it.
"You all know that I've had a little change in perspective since the war ended, right? I've found myself attracted to men as well as women. I became a major flirt." Harry began. "Ginny was the only person I'd ever dated… ever loved…"
"What are you telling us, Harry?" Arthur asked.
Harry chewed his lip for a moment. "This is where things get a little personal. A few months ago, I stopped feeling the passion between us. I'm not just talking about the bedroom, because I'd never talk about that with my wife's brothers and parents. Anyway, I let things go on, thinking the spark would come back and life would go on normally…but it hasn't…"
He saw tears run down Ginny's face.
"Ginny, I'm so very sorry…Sorry I couldn't resist what happened next." He whispered, closing his eyes as he forced himself to continue. "Recently, I got bolder with the flirting…even going so far as to flirt with you, George, but I was lucky and you barely noticed. I'm sorry I put you in that position. The new product sparked my curiosity even more. I flirted with Seamus and the waiter at Andromeda's café after that."
Ron growled. "That was right in front of us, too! And in front of Ginny...although she just laughed it off."
Molly looked horrified. Arthur sighed and shook his head as he tried to comfort her.
"After lunch that day, I saw someone I hadn't seen or thought about in ages. He was gorgeous and he flirted back when I started in. Neville and I met with him about business and I couldn't stop myself from thinking about him." Harry shook his head but couldn't stop tears from forming. "Nev somehow figured out that I was considering an affair and warned me against it. I thought long and hard the next day about my options and I knew it betrayed all of you rather than just Ginny…"
Ron was positively livid. His face was beet red and the look in his eyes promised vengeance but Harry knew he had to finish this so he looked to Hermione.
She shook her head and took Ron's hand. "Let him finish, Ron."
He stared at her and demanded, "Tell me you didn't know about this, Mione!"
"What?" Hermione gasped. "How could you think that, Ronald?! I just think we should hear everything before we judge anything…so let him finish!"
"Yeah, ickle Ronniekins… Let Harry finish and then we can yell and scream all we want." George looked disgusted with his brother-in-law.
"Please understand this: I needed you to hear it from me, because things are always so much worse when family hears it from friends and acquaintances…or worse yet: a newspaper." Harry paused. "Anyway, I felt an overwhelming need to see what I was risking- no, losing everything for. So I contacted him and we talked. I kissed him and it was amazing… It was nothing like kissing Ginny… and that one three minute snog had more passion than I'd felt in as many months. He tasted of orange and Southern Comfort… George, he tasted of Vodka and even Amaretto when he'd only been drinking coffee." Harry pleaded with his brother-in-law to understand. He wasn't disappointed.
George's eyes widened as he gasped.
Harry rushed to assure him. "I'm not blaming anything or anyone but myself, here…I hope you know that. I knew what I was doing; what I was risking…but I knew I couldn't continue lying to myself or to Ginny or to all of you. I'm not bisexual, as I'd thought. I'm gay, and it would be wrong to keep living a lie. I'm not saying that our marriage or the kids were mistakes or that they should never have happened. I love Ginny and James and Lily very much, but Ginny and I will both be happier in the long run if we end our marriage here, amicably."
"Finish it, Harry…They need to know who it is." Ginny whispered hoarsely.
Harry sighed miserably. "The man I kissed was Draco Malfoy."
Ron surged out of his seat and slugged Harry, knocking him to the floor. "How could you, Harry?!"
George huffed and sat there beside his sister, stunned. "You were the Chosen One…The Symbol of Light in our world…and you lied to us…for Malfoy?"
"I didn't lie to anyone…not on purpose…" Harry protested as he attempted to regain his footing. "I've only just figured this out myself and now I'm telling you!"
Percy glared darkly at him. "It was lie of omission, then…to yourself and to Ginny."
Charlie and Hermione shook their heads silently while Bill just stared at Harry in shocked disgust.
Arthur grabbed Ron's arm when he tried to swing at Harry again but nobody had silenced him so he ranted on. "You were meant to destroy the Malfoys not join them! You were my brother, Harry! I loved you…"
"We all did, Ronald…" Molly wept into her handkerchief as the spouses went to comfort their respective Weasleys.
Harry stumbled and fell again. Every word the Weasleys spoke felt like a knife ripping through him and hearing the only mother he'd ever known use the past tense like that broke his heart.
"You'd better go, Harry." Ginny said softly helping him up. "I'll tell them the rest and let you know what happens. James and Lily can visit with you after we tell them."
Harry just nodded and quickly walked out the door. Not knowing where he was going, he ran down to the boundary line and apparated.
He found himself back at the Longbottom estate and once again confronted by the Fire-toad Patronus. He fell to his knees at its feet and all he could muster when he spoke to it was: "Don't tell my kids that I'm here!" Then he broke down.
Neville came running out and, seeing Harry in pieces, did the only thing he could think of. He called an elf to come with a quill and parchment. When the elf returned, he wrote a short note and ordered the elf to owl it to Draco Malfoy. Then he sent his patronus to tell Luna that he was going to the office for a little while. Once that was done, he got Harry on his feet and Apparated both of them to the office building in Diagon Alley.
Neville took a few magazines from the waiting area to the small room and transfigured them into furniture for Harry to use. Hearing a noise in the lobby, he left Harry on his new bed. Just as he'd thought, Draco Malfoy was there. "He told his family, Malfoy. He told them everything...that he'd cheated...that it was with you... and now, he's falling apart. The Savior of the Wizarding World is falling apart!"
Draco looked affronted. "How is that my fault?"
"Don't be an ass, Malfoy." Neville answered exasperatedly. "I'm not blaming you. He knew what was at risk; this is all on him...but he did it so he could be with you and now you'd better be there for him. Do you bloody well understand me?"
Draco frowned pursing his lips. "Where is he?"
"He's in the small room attached to his office; the door is hidden by the tapestry on the west wall. Now then, I've got to get home. My wife and Gran are with the Weasley and Potter kids." Neville stared hard at Malfoy. "Nobody but you, me, Harry and Helena knows about that room, so he shouldn't be bothered here. I'll raise the wards as I leave, but Harry will know how to change them."
To his credit, Draco just nodded before going into Harry's office and looking around. The tapestry seemed to be of the night sky but, as he took a closer look, the blond could see that it specifically showed the way the stars were at the day and time of Harry's birth. Draco smiled, pulling the tapestry back to reveal the door and walked in quietly. Seeing the broken man curled into a ball on the double bed almost brought a tear to his eye but he didn't want to distress Harry further. "Harry?"
Harry lifted his head and spoke with a new vulnerability. "Draco? What are you doing here?"
"I'm here because Longbottom owled that you needed me...Bloody Hell, what happened to your face, Harry?" Draco asked, looking concerned as he ghosted his fingers across the bruise that had formed.
"Ron hit me." Harry said smirking ruefully. Draco's answering growl surprised him since he didn't think they'd formed that much of a connection just yet.
"It's not like I didn't deserve it, Draco." Harry reasoned sadly. "At least Ginny had taken all their wands away before the meeting. You could've come in here to see a mass of disgusting boils and stinging hexes or even worse."
"Alright, fine... Then I guess you got the least possible damage, but I'm still not happy about it." Draco grumbled as he pulled Harry into his arms. "Here... relax, Harry. I've got you. You'll be ok."
"It won't…They hate me now, Draco." Harry whimpered into his lover's shoulder. "You should've heard them … seen their faces. They were so disgusted with me. I could've splinched myself, I was so upset when I left."
"Shhh...Just calm down now." Draco said lightly stroking Harry's back. "Rest for now and we'll talk more in a while."
"I don't want to rest..." Harry sniffed. "I don't even want to talk…I just want to kiss you again and lose myself in you."
"That can be arranged..." Draco smirked sympathetically as he wiped the last tear from Harry's cheek.
Harry pulled Draco down to meet his lips. The kiss began softly but quickly became heated. Harry suddenly rolled them so he was almost on top. Their tongues battled but Draco let Harry stay in control. When they broke for air, Draco stared up at him as if memorizing his face.
"Stay with me, tonight?" Harry murmured. "I don't want to be alone…"
Draco just nodded and kissed him again. They fell asleep soon after.
There were no windows in the small room, so neither one woke until Neville poked his head in the door the next day. "I hope you're both decent." He said with a sigh.
Harry woke first. "Is that you, Nev?"
"Yeah, I've got breakfast so come on out and we'll talk." His friend said before backing out.
Harry shook Draco and told him he'd be just outside. Then he changed his shirt and went into his office.
"So…he slept here with you…" Neville commented once he'd handed Harry a cup of coffee.
"Relax, Nev. We kept our clothes on." Harry rolled his eyes and unwrapped the egg sandwich that his friend had gotten him. "Believe it or not, this isn't just for sex."
"Harry, I just meant that if he did that then maybe he's really changed." He shrugged. "Anyway, Ginny came and got the kids this morning. She told me what they said to you…after chewing me out for not telling her what you were considering."
Harry massaged his temples. "It was nothing less than what I deserved."
"You said yourself that it could've been worse." Draco said softly from the doorway.
Harry glanced over to see the other man leaning against the door-frame. His shirt was only buttoned half-way and his trousers looked wrinkled. He looked gorgeous. Harry sighed and nodded once.
The blonde went on. "They could've hexed you six ways from Sunday. They could still keep your kids from you."
"They didn't even say anything about the business dealings." Harry realized looking at Neville.
He winced. "Actually, George and Ron owled me; they want to see you at noon."
Draco's expression darkened. "You'd better not leave him alone with them, Longbottom…not after Weasley hit him!"
Harry gingerly touched his bruised jaw. "Yeah…that's probably for the best."
"Ron did that?" Neville grimaced.
Harry just nodded.
"Alright, I'll sit in for this one, then." He agreed. "It's almost 11:30, Malfoy; you'd better go if you're going."
Draco looked startled as he pulled his watch from its pocket. "Bloody hell, how did it get so late? I've got to pick up those medallions. Harry, I'll come back around five with dinner, if that's alright."
Harry tried to smile as he ran his fingers through his hair. "That would be brilliant. Thank you, Draco."
The sexy blonde just smirked and kissed his cheek before heading out.
Harry waited until the other man was out of sight before touching the spot where he'd been kissed. A wistful expression took him over as he met Neville's thoughtful gaze.
"Alright, Harry, enough daydreams. When you've finished eating, get yourself dressed for work. I'll lock the office and come back with the Weasleys at noon." He said.
"Hey, Nev…?" Harry called as his friend reached for the door knob.
Neville looked back at him.
"Thanks…for owling him yesterday…and for… well, for all of it really…" Harry said softly.
"You're welcome, mate." He nodded and left the room.
Harry felt the wards go up and knew he was alone for the moment, so he finished eating and hurried back to the little room. He got out one of his business suits and dressed himself. When he got to the tie, he heard a knock at the wards and just left it dangling around his neck. He stood behind his desk and lowered the wards to let his visitors in.
Ron and George wore dark expressions as Neville led them in. They all sat down quietly but when Harry tried to speak, Ron interrupted.
"I can't believe you, Harry. I thought you were a decent bloke. I thought you'd do right by Ginny." He shook his head. "You've got kids, Harry, what are they going to think when they hear this? What kind of example have you set them?"
"Harry, I just have a few questions…" George said and at Harry's stiff nod, he continued. "What role did the lotion really play?"
"It was nothing more than a catalyst, George. I'd been feeling less and less of a connection with Ginny and more like roommates who occasionally had a pleasant time in bed." Harry admitted. "About a month ago, I'd gotten an owl from Malfoy to set up an appointment for consultation about new wards for the Manor. After that, I couldn't stop thinking about him. Ron, can you describe the waiter at Andromeda's café."
"He's blonde with blue-grey eyes and about the same height as Harry." Ron admitted bitterly. "But Seamus has light brown hair and blue eyes and George has red hair and pale blue eyes. You weren't only flirting with guys who look like Malfoy."
"First off, guys, Seamus has gone a bit grey and has blond streaks in his brown hair…so much that he's almost a dirty blonde…George, your hair has gotten lighter as well. I've also flirted with Helena quite a bit and she's a very pale strawberry blonde." Harry told them. "The waiter – Ryan –was closest to Malfoy's appearance but the others reminded me of him in other ways. Seamus has lost weight so he's lean and looks a tad taller than he used to. George's sarcasm and wit was always similar to Malfoy's. Helena has an athletic build and her hair is shoulder length."
The other men shared a look.
"But I'm not trying to excuse myself from blame." Harry asserted. "Yes, the lotion made me realize that the passion Ginny and I once shared would probably not be coming back. Yes, I've always been attracted to pale hair, blue-ish grey eyes and an athletic body…but I didn't have to do anything about it."
George nodded while Ron just frowned.
Harry looked up into the corner of the ceiling. "I could've left things the way they were and let things with Ginny fizzle out over time. I could've endured the longing that would've built up and begun to resent her with every time we kissed and I didn't feel anything. I suppose I could even have wanked a bit before sex to convince her that there was still passion between us."
Neville rolled his eyes and wondered how much more melodrama Harry was going to pull.
Ron grimaced at the picture Harry was painting.
"Even worse, I could've had an all out affair and deceived everyone for a lot longer than I ever considered doing." Harry whispered. "Only my lover and I would've been even remotely happy if I'd gone that route, and then, not for long."
"Harry, we didn't- I mean…If you'd done all that then she'd have begun to resent you too. All we want is for Ginny to be happy. She was happy with you." George protested.
"If I hadn't told her what I did; when I did… If I'd suppressed my feelings…she wouldn't have been happy with me for very much longer." Harry reasoned. "I know I upset her by breaking things off and asking for a divorce, but she'd be even angrier with me if I'd just drawn away over time. This way she can find someone else who can make her happier than she was with me. We can both find that passion that all people strive to find."
"I suppose that's true…" George shrugged. "What we really came to tell you is that Ginny talked us out of rejecting your investments in the family business. She said that, since James and Lily are half Weasleys, you're still family. We also figure you'll need that income to give her the proper child support and alimony."
"She also made me promise to apologize for hitting you." Ron glared at Harry. "Sorry."
"It's alright… I deserved it." Harry sighed.
"Mum and Dad are very disappointed. They really hoped for the fairytale ending for you two." George went on. "We all hoped you'd have that...and a few more kids for us all to play with and help with."
"I know, George...and I'm really sorry that I'm ruining everyone's dreams for us. But my dreams have changed." Harry said gently. "I love you all. I still love Ginny, as well. But when our visions of the future turned away from each other's, it was time our lives did too."
"That's all fine and dandy, Harry," Ron gritted his teeth. "But you didn't have to cheat!"
"I didn't have to...and I shouldn't have...but it's over and done with, now. I can't change the past; not anymore." Harry said regretfully. "I don't know if this was the right path for all of us or not...Malfoy may or may not be the right one for me to spend the rest of my life with, and Ginny may or may not find the real love of her life someday. Who really knows what the future holds, Ron? Do you? Because I sure don't remember either of us getting good marks in divination."
"Alright, fine..." Ron grumbled. "Look - I'm just not very happy with you right now, ok? I need time to get used to this. I'll owl when I think I can talk to you without yelling or hitting something."
"I can accept that..." Harry nodded and reached out a hand. "You're my best mate, Ron...or at least you were..."
Ron stared at Harry's hand for a long moment and, just as Harry began to lower it, he grabbed it with a surge of emotion. "I still want to be, Harry...but this hurts, mate." The redhead swallowed as he shook Harry's hand and rushed out of the room.
George sat quietly for another long moment after Ron's abrupt departure. "He'll find a way to accept this, Harry. You know he will. You two...and Hermione, of course...have been through too much to just end it now. It may take a little while, but we'll all figure out a way to deal with this. Until then...I guess I'll see you around." He stood and walked to the door but turned to face Harry at the last second. "Before I go, Ginny told me to tell you that she'll stop by to talk about the kids and your party at some point today."
Harry nodded as he watched the taller man walk out.
"That wasn't too bad was it?" Neville asked. As a tear rolled down Harry's cheek, Neville quietly got up and walked into the outer office, leaving Harry his privacy.
Harry didn't know what Neville would make of his tears but he was actually quite relieved by what his brothers-in-law had told him. His indiscretion had not lost him his children nor the largest portion of his income. Ginny still cared enough to defend him to her family, so surely that counted for something. He had hope for the first time in over a week.
The rest of the day seemed to take forever until, at four thirty in the afternoon, Ginny solemnly walked in, closed the door behind her and sat down.
Harry, being busy with some paperwork, didn't notice until she cleared her throat, at which point he jumped in his seat. "Ginny!"
"Sorry to startle you, Harry." She said quietly. "I know you spoke with Ron and George, so you probably know that they're not going to ban you from the company."
Harry nodded. "Yeah, thanks for that. I know I don't deserve it."
"It's not for you that I did it. It's for James and Lily." She went on, plucking a speck of lint from her slacks. "No matter what you did, you're still their father, Harry, and I don't want them to feel slighted just because you fucked up..."
Harry winced at the bite in her voice. "No, of course they shouldn't."
"Mum knows she hurt you when she said those things yesterday...she's sorry but they were the first thing she felt and..." Ginny broke off.
"No, Gin- it's ok." Harry gasped as he blinked back tears. "I'll get over it...its not like I didn't deserve it... I hurt all of you worse than the words that were spoken yesterday could ever hurt me."
She shook her head and he could see the shimmer in her eyes. "Harry, don't do this to yourself. I, of all people, know how much family means to you. I could see how emotionally painful the things they said to you were. It's why I tried to get you out of there so quickly."
Harry cleared his throat and took a few deep breaths before daring to change the subject. "Nev told me you picked up the kids this morning..."
"Yes," She told him. "They asked where you were, so I told them that we were arguing and you would see them later."
"Ok. Shall we discuss what to tell them?" Harry asked hesitantly.
"I was thinking we should keep it simple." Ginny said. "They're still very young after all."
"Right..." Harry nodded gravely. "So we say that Mummy and Daddy are getting a divorce. We'll always love them and each other but we just can't stay married and live together anymore."
She thought for a moment. "Yes, I suppose we can explain better when they're older and able to understand sexual attraction."
Suddenly the door opened.
"Oh...Sorry, Harry. I should've knocked." Draco said carrying a bag of food.
Harry looked up and froze. He didn't know if Ginny would be able to handle seeing Draco yet. "Hi... it's fine, Draco. Come on in."
"Yes, Malfoy," She frowned in his direction before facing Harry again. "I'm just finishing up with my husband- Sorry, my soon-to-be ex-husband. You'll come over tomorrow to help me tell James and Lily?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, Ginny, I'll be there just after you pick them up from school."
"I've canceled the party, by the way." She informed him. There was a chill in her voice. "If you still want to sample Seamus' cooking, you'll have to do it on your own. Or perhaps not..." She glanced at the blond and stalked out of the office as quietly as she'd entered it.
"Brrr..." Draco commented as he set down the bag and began pulling out small containers of muggle Chinese food. "You know, Harry, I don't think she likes me any better now than she did when we were all at Hogwarts."
"You got Chinese..." Harry said looking at the containers.
Draco stared at him for a second. "Oh, Merlin! Tell me you like Chinese food, or this ends right now."
Harry smirked. "Yes, I do like Chinese food. I just didn't think you'd know that or know what to get me ...What did you get me?"
"General Tsao's chicken..." The blond man said.
Harry stared at him.
"Don't you like General Tsao's?" Draco frowned.
"Draco, you don't understand..." The brunette's heart was racing. "I love General Tsao's chicken...It's my absolute favorite Chinese dish...and you got it for me without any outside input." Harry was shocked that Draco was able to pick out his favorite dish with such ease. "You didn't get any rice for me either. I hate rice ...I never have any of the soups...or those greasy fried noodles." He used the chopsticks to taste the chicken. "I- Mmmm... Draco, you even got it the right spiciness!" He whimpered as he gazed in awe at his companion. "I love when it makes my mouth tingle for hours after I'm done eating!"
"Well, it looks like we've got more in common than we thought. I like it hot and spicy too...tingly mouth and all." The blond smirked as Harry continued to moan in delight. "I'm so glad you're enjoying it."
"I am!" Harry moaned as he slipped another piece into his mouth. "And I was so hungry!"
"Oh, here..." Draco said pulling out a small jewelry store bag. "These are the medallions."
"Oh, good. Neville wants to do the ritual on the next new moon. That's in two days. Apparently anything that is a new beginning for someone needs to be done on a new moon. The way he explained it, your family is starting a new phase of life with new wards on your property and new priorities...not to mention a new relationship for you." Harry informed his boyfriend. "He has to soak the medallions in phoenix tears for a full hour to prep them and then he can do the spells. His ritual must take place just after mine."
"Ok, this sounds pretty complicated." Draco frowned.
"It's not. We start at the front gates of the Manor. All human participants stand with me as I say a spell – at dawn – at the gates just after the new moon using a few drops of blood from each of you. When I'm finished with my part, the head of the household must lead us to the heart of the house. Then, Neville takes over. He must stand in the heart of the house with me, you, your parents and the outsider." He tells the blond. "That's when he'll do this ritual which includes placing one drop of blood from each person into the bowl with the medallions and phoenix tears. He will say a spell over the bowl and the liquids will then become absorbed into the medallions. At the end of the ritual, the outsider will place one of the medallions on each of you… and that's it."
"Wow, that sound pretty nice actually...where does he get the phoenix tears," Draco asked. "Aren't they really rare?"
Harry smiled. "That's a secret...but maybe I'll tell you after the ritual..."
Draco looked crestfallen but sighed and continued to eat.
"So who is the outsider that will be involved?" Harry asked to distract him.
"An acquaintance from France is in town. He was a very dear friend of my father's father." Draco said as he ate some of the food. "Hey, as long as you're trying to distract me, you still haven't told me what you meant the other day...about the sorting hat..."
"Oh, that?" Harry shrugged in an offhand manner. "Well, when I sat on the stool for the sorting, the hat told me I had quite a few qualities that could place me in either Gryffindor or Slytherin. I begged it not to put me in Slytherin because... well, I'd heard some unpleasant things…So anyway, I just kept chanting 'not Slytherin' and it put me in Gryffindor."
Draco gaped at him. "Let me get this straight... You talked the Sorting Hat into putting you where you wanted to go...just because you'd heard some unpleasant things about Slytherin House?"
Harry thought for a moment. "Yup!" He said quickly before finishing his General Tsao's chicken and placing the carton on the desk. "Although, to be fair...the unpleasant things I'd heard were pretty bad."
Draco frowned. "Like what?"
"Well, Hagrid told me that Voldemort was a Slytherin and that he was the one who'd killed my parents... Later, he and Ron both told me that... and I quote: there wasn't ever a witch or wizard who went dark that wasn't in Slytherin." Harry rolled his eyes. "Of course, we now know that isn't true, but at the time..."
"I see..." Draco commented quietly. "It couldn't have helped much that I was a bit of a prat when we met at Madam Malkin's."
"That's true - it didn't help at all that you were arrogantly extolling the virtues of Slytherin and being mean about my first friend in the wizarding world at the same time." Harry smirked. "Then, on the train, you insulted Ron - the first friend I've ever had that was my own age and a wizard to boot."
"That's why you didn't take my hand when I offered it..." Draco nodded as the pieces of a puzzle clicked into place.
"Yes...but things are different now..." Harry said as he casually took a step closer to the blond.
Draco snorted as he placed his carton of food on Harry's desk, placed a warming charm on it and took two – just as casual – steps toward Harry. "Yes, things are different... my family and I – who were so high and mighty – have been humbled and you have defeated the Dark Lord and been exalted. You suddenly find me more attractive than your best friend's sister whom you'd taken to wife... Things are very different indeed."
Harry nodded, lips twitching in amusement. "Very different...indeed..." He closed the gap between them and captured Draco's lips with his own.
Their eyes closed as their bodies came together gently. The two men embraced each other as they expressed their desires. Their tongues tangled and soon Draco was moaning into Harry's mouth.
When they broke for air, Harry kissed along his lover's jaw and whispered to him. "Draco... I don't know if I'm ready for intercourse yet...but I want you so much..."
Draco looked into Harry's green eyes. "Take the time you need, Harry...but please, kiss me... touch me..."
Harry smirked as he helped Draco remove his shirt and trousers. When they were both reduced to their boxers, Harry pulled the blond into his new room. Draco was eager for some affection from the brunette so he didn't resist when Harry led him to the bed and sat down with him.
"Lay back, Draco... I want to taste you..." Harry whispered.
Draco couldn't think of anything but Harry's lips wrapped around his cock so he lay back and made himself comfortable.
"This is the first time I've ever..." Harry started as he got to his knees between Draco's legs.
"Shhh...Harry, I know...its ok. Just relax and do what you think would feel good for you..." Draco gave him a sympathetic smile.
Harry smirked and pulled off Draco's boxers. He looked for the first time at another man's private area. Draco's blond curls surrounded a long, hardening cock. Harry smiled as he cradled the other man's balls and placed a soft kiss at the base of his shaft.
Draco whined at the feeling. "Harry..."
The brunette gained confidence when he heard the desire in his lover's voice. He smirked and licked his lips as he leaned in to catch Draco's scent. It was sweet and warm and Harry couldn't wait any longer for a taste of his lover's flesh so he used the tip of his tongue to draw a line from the base to the head of Draco's cock.
Draco whimpered. "Please, Harry!"
Harry grinned and took Draco's cock all the way into his mouth.
"Merlin, Harry!" Draco shouted as his hips lifted from the mattress.
Harry swirled his tongue around the shaft of the blond's cock and felt his own get harder as his lover writhed beneath him.
Draco's fingers raked through Harry's hair as he reveled in the wet warmth of Harry's mouth. "Yes! So good, Harry! Oh, Merlin; more!"
Harry did his best to please his blond lover and Draco made sure Harry knew he was pleased.
When both young men had been fully satisfied, they lay together on the bed and just slept.
The next day, the shit had apparently hit the fan. Harry opened his eyes when he heard a tapping on the door to the small room.
"Mr. Potter?" Helena called opening the door a few inches. "Mr. Potter, Mr. Longbottom has informed me of the happenings during the last several days and you've got a lot of mail, sir...The newspapers are waiting on your desk along with quite a few letters..."
"Thank you, Helena," He cleared his throat and stood carefully. "I owe you an apology. I've flirted with you along with many other people... I hope I've not offended you at all."
"Mr. Potter...I've always ever been flattered at your flirtation, sir." The lovely strawberry blond said softly. "You've nothing to worry about on that note so you should save your energy to deal with the Prophet and your fan-mail."
"The Prophet? Why, what have they done?" He asked.
She Accio-ed the paper, handed it to him and left the room so he and Draco could get dressed and find out the bad news for themselves.
Harry stared at the front page of the Daily Prophet. The headline was in big bold letters.
Harry Potter: Family-Man Turns Philanderer!
Glancing at his desk, he noticed the other wizarding newspapers and magazines so he scooped them up and took them into his sanctuary. Witch Weekly's headline was no better than the Prophet's.
Savior Becomes Slut: Can His Wife Forgive Him? Can WE Forgive Him?
Draco woke to find Harry on the verge of tears as he read the large words on the cover of Quidditch Quarterly.
Potter is a Player: How Many Have Ridden His Broomstick?
One small tear rolled down Harry's cheek. "The only one missing is the Quibbler."
"Harry?" Neville called from the office.
"In here, Longbottom." Draco said loudly while trying to comfort his lover.
He came running in and noticed that his friend was upset. "Luna's father is going to print the truth, Harry. Luna and I and our families still support you."
Harry frowned. "The truth isn't much different, Nev. These articles all say I'm sleeping around. I only cheated with one person...one time...and it was just kissing..."
Neville frowned. "And frotting...but nobody needs to know that part."
Harry flushed but nodded. "That's when Gin and I separated and agreed to divorce. So, I'm not cheating now and I'm not a slut or a player."
"Speaking of Mrs. Potter;" Helena poked her head in. "She just owled. She's keeping the kids home from school and wants you over when they wake up so you can tell them about the divorce before they read it in the paper. She also requests that you come alone and the kids can meet Mr. Malfoy some other time."
Harry nodded. "Send a reply for me? Tell her I'll be there shortly and I agree with her about Draco."
She wrote the reply and hurried off to send it.
"I'll go so you can get ready, Harry." Neville told him as he turned to walk out. "Don't worry about the Quibbler."
When they were gone, Harry bolted up and began to cast cleansing charms on himself. "Don't forget to give the medallions to Neville."
"Ok, Harry…" Draco said as he set clothes out for the brunette and calmed him down. "Relax - It'll be fine. I wish I could go with you, but..."
"I know..." The brunette cut him off. "You're right though; it'll be fine. They're little and they love me and it'll be a while before they understand those headlines. As long as I'm good to them and keep any further promises I make, maybe they won't hate me too much."
Draco smiled and hugged Harry. "Go, on, now. Tell them I can't wait to meet them."
"I will…" Harry gave him a watery grin and walked out the door. He waved as he passed Neville and Helena on his way out of the building.
Outside the office building, there was a large crowd.
As Harry looked around, he saw some of the people he did business with and a few people that he'd just seen on the street. Some had dirty looks and some seemed to sympathize with him. He shook off the bad feeling he got and made the turn to Apparate to the house where Ginny and his children still lived.
When he arrived, some of his neighbors - the wizards - were crowding the gate. The muggle neighbors were peeking through their curtains to see what was going on.
Harry clutched his wand, suddenly wishing he'd brought his invisibility cloak. The door to the house opened and Harry saw his son in the frame. He walked quickly through the people standing there and up onto the porch. "Hi, James! How was your time at Grandma Molly's?"
"Mum said to let you in. She's got breakfast going in the kitchen." James frowned. "Grandma Molly's was ok, I guess..."
Harry walked in and closed the door. "What did you guys do there? Did your uncles and cousins play with you?"
"Dad, why are all those people out there?" James asked, ignoring his father's questions.
Harry sighed. "I'll explain after breakfast, James."
"Mummy, why can't I look in the paper for the comics?" Lily was whining as the boys walked in.
"Does it have anything to do with the people gathering out front?" James asked.
Ginny huffed placing a stasis spell on the food. "I suppose it was foolish of me to try cooking and eating breakfast before dealing with the giant pink elephant in the room."
Lily frowned at her mother. "Where's the pink elephant? I like elephants, Mummy! Especially pink ones! Where is it?"
Harry cracked a smile at her innocence and explained that it was just a saying that meant there was an issue that wasn't being dealt with. She began to pout and Harry sighed. He grabbed a napkin from the table and waved his wand. Within seconds the little girl held a stuffed pink elephant that was almost as big as her and seemed ready to listen.
"Mummy didn't want you kids looking at the paper because Daddy is on the front page and we haven't told you what's been happening around here lately." Harry explained as he sat down on the nearest chair. "You see, kids, Mummy and Daddy haven't been enjoying each other's company as much as we used to. Some of my views of life have changed and your mummy's views haven't so we've been acting like roommates instead of a married couple."
"What Daddy is trying to say, loves, is that Mummy and Daddy aren't happy living together anymore. We're getting a divorce." Ginny summed up placing a hand on Harry's shoulder.
Lily's lower lip began to tremble as she looked up into Harry's eyes. "You don't love us anymore?"
"Oh no, my lovely Lily; that's not it at all!" He stood and gathered her into his arms. "I'll always love you… and James… and Mummy. It's just that my love for mummy has changed. I love her like you love James and when you're married to someone, you should love them differently."
"Didn't you used to love her the right way?" James asked frowning at his father.
"I did, James…but-" Harry began.
"How did it change?" His perceptive six year old son badgered him raising an eyebrow. "Is this about sex?"
Harry felt the blood rush to his face. "Yes, James, I guess you can say that."
"So you just don't want to have sex with Mum anymore; is that it?" The boy pressed.
"James, please stop talking that way in front of your sister." Ginny scolded taking pity on Harry.
"No, Gin, it's ok. Yes, James; that's it exactly." Harry sighed, cringing inwardly anticipating Lily's curiosity.
"What's sex?" His four year old asked after a few minutes of silence.
"Remember when you had a nightmare last summer? You woke me up and we went to knock on their door and, when they didn't answer, I opened the door and they were naked and snogging in the bed." James explained to his sister after Harry placed her back in her chair. "That's what sex is…right Dad?"
Nodding as he sat back down, Harry took this as a good omen. "Yes, James…that's right. I'll explain it more when you're old enough."
"But, that can't be the only thing that changed, Dad…I mean the papers wouldn't know or care that you and mum don't want to snog in bed naked…would they?" His small face became scrunched up in confusion.
"They care more than they should, James. That's because your father is a war hero and the public thinks they have a say in his life." Ginny told him. "But you are correct in saying that there's more."
"You see, James, what the reporters wrote about is that I found someone I do want to, uhm, snog in bed with…naked." Harry fumbled his words and looked everywhere but his son's face. "And it happened before it should have."
"Oh…you cheated on her?" James said with a chilled tone.
"Yes…I'm very sorry it happened the way it did, but I'm not sorry I met this person." Harry tried to explain.
James nodded. "So who is it? Will we get to meet her?"
Harry nodded cautiously. "As soon as I figure out where I'm living full time, you and Lily will get to meet him."
"Him?" Lily asked as James' eyes widened.
"Yes, sweetie, he's very excited to meet you." Harry smiled but seemed a bit unsure.
"Oh… so you're like Sarah Henley's daddy?" Lily nodded thoughtfully. "Her mommy died and then her daddy fell in love with a boy and now she calls him 'papa'."
"Yes, Lily…I'm like him only without mummy dying." Harry confirmed. "Now the papers have printed lots of lies about me. They say that I've been cheating on mummy for a long time and with lots of different people – but I haven't. So we wanted to tell you the truth before you believe the lies…do you understand?"
"But you said yourself that you cheated, Dad." James frowned.
Harry thought for a moment. "Ok – This is what happened: Daddy kissed one man and he did it a few hours before he broke things off with Mummy. The papers are saying that what I did was going on for months and with many people… but it was only one man and only a few hours."
"So what we're saying is: don't believe the papers." Ginny said softly. "I don't hate your father…I'll always love him and I'll miss him for quite a while – but we're just not right for each other anymore…He's found someone who can make him happier than I have been."
Harry looked up into her face.
His wife's eyes were filled with tears but they weren't falling. She looked calm but sad and though he still sensed her anger at him, he also saw a touch of acceptance.
"You can look for the comics now, Lily. James, the food is ready to be served. Please be careful while you dish it out. Mum and I need to talk in the hall." He stood and released the stasis spell before leading Ginny through the door and closing it behind them. Before he could say anything, she Accio-ed a tissue box and leaned into him. He wrapped his arms around her and waited for her to find the words.
"You'll always be my first love, Harry…and I'm still going to be angry for a while but I accept your feelings and the fact that you've moved on already." She sniffled. "I know that I can't expect you to stay and be happy with me when he has what you want – what you need."
"Gin, you don't know how much it means to me that you're saying this." Harry whispered, a tear falling into her hair. "I truly agonized with this decision… I never wanted to hurt you or the kids or the rest of our family!"
"You just wanted him more than you cared about our pain." She nodded absently as she backed away from him to lean against the wall.
He let her. "No, Ginny…I just decided that a little pain now was better than finding out in a few months or years that I'd carried on with him behind your backs…Don't you see how much worse it could've been?"
She looked at the floor as she thought. "I guess you're right…five or seven more years of lies and an affair with him would've been enough to give me heart failure."
"Can I get away with a cheesy line here?" Harry tried to joke. "I'd really like to stay friends, Gin…for the kids' sakes…and my own."
"Yes, Harry…we always were good at being friends – weren't we?" She asked trailing off.
He nodded with a slight smirk. "I'll let you know when I find a permanent place to stay…and I promise to owl the kids a lot… and Gin, if you need me – for anything – I'll be an owl or floo-call away."
"Don't, Harry…" She choked on a new set of tears. "I know…I know. Just say goodbye to the kids and go, please."
Harry sighed and did as she'd asked. After telling his son and daughter that he would see them very soon, he hugged them and left.
When he got back to the office, Harry was met by Neville, Luna and Draco; he gave a small smile when he saw them.
Luna stood with her husband. "Hello, Harry. I'm so glad things went well."
"As well as could be expected, I guess." Harry replied as Draco raised an eyebrow.
"I told Helena she could have the day off because we'd only be dealing with the papers today." Neville said.
"I still write for the Quibbler, you know, Harry. I'll take down your story exactly as you tell it." Luna smiled softly.
So – with Draco by his side – he spent the next hour telling Luna everything that had happened to change him from the 'Boy Who Lived' to the 'Man Who Cheated'.
The group had lunch together and met with Harry's Law-wizard, who told them only that Harry had no real case.
"No case?!" Harry ranted over dinner. "How do I have no case? Those papers – those rags – have once again slandered me and he says I have no case!"
"You're a public figure, Harry. It's like the muggle movie stars, apparently. As long as the reporters don't trespass on your personal property – or that of your lover or family – they have every right to write what they want." Neville told him as he finished his chicken parmesan. "I'm sorry."
"There's nothing we can do, so let's just get back to business, Nev." Harry leaned back and let Draco wrap his arms around him. "One more night until the new moon, Draco…You'll find out our secret way of getting the phoenix tears very soon."
"I'll bet its something so simple I'll want to bang my head against the wall for not having thought of it." Draco smirked.
Harry just grinned but, if he'd been looking, Draco would've seen a twinkle in his lover's eye. That night Draco went home to be with his family and planned to sleep in his own bed while Harry inspected the house at number 12 Grimauld Place. He had lived there until a week before his wedding to Ginny. It was dusty and only the room with the floo had been maintained.
"Kreacher? Are you here?" He called out. He hadn't seen the old elf in a few months and knew that he'd been continuing on up at Hogwarts. Harry heard a snap behind him and turned to see the wrinkled old elf that had worked for his godfather's family and lately for him.
"Master Harry has come back to see Kreacher?" The elf's voice sounded raw as with overuse.
"Yes, Kreacher; I'm in the middle of a divorce and trying to find a place to live. Do you think this old place is still habitable?" Harry asked.
"Yes, Master Harry… Kreacher and his sons could have it so in a few days, sir." Kreacher nodded and turned to leave.
"Wonderful, come find me when it's clean and fit for me and my children to live in." Harry paused. "Wait, Kreacher! Did you say 'sons'?"
"Yes, Master Harry. Kreacher has a mate, two sons and a daughter." Kreacher's face softened into a fairly ugly smile but Harry smiled back.
"I'm glad for you, Kreacher. I'd like to meet them one day." Harry told the elf.
"Yes, sir, Master will meet them soon." Kreacher bowed and snapped his fingers, disapparating.
Harry thought about it for a moment and began to laugh. He'd wondered in the past about house-elves and how they propagated but never looked into it too deeply. Apparently, they mate and have children like many other species do. He'd have to write Hermione and Ron about this development. No matter the current circumstances, he knew they'd at least smile at this news.
The fire crackled behind him so he turned with his wand drawn. Harry breathed a sigh of relief as only Neville's head floated there but it was short-lived.
His friend's expression was quite grim. "Harry, Malfoy Manor is being attacked. Draco's keeping the floo open for us and we can go together if I come through."
Harry nodded quickly. "Well, what are you waiting for?"
Neville disappeared and then came spinning into view. "Let's go."
Harry threw the powder and they soon saw Draco and his parents greeting them with wands drawn.
"Harry!" Draco came over quickly. "Mother, Father – you remember Harry…They know we're dating and I've told them everything."
"Good – Now, what's going on?" Harry asked getting into battle mode. "Who's attacking?"
"The man who was going to be our ward-anchor is at the gates, Harry. Apparently, he doesn't quite feel a deep desire to keep us safe after all." Draco sneered in the direction of the attacker.
Harry sighed. "Nev, call the ministry and ask for some aurors to come. They'll listen to you as well as me. I'll floo-call Andromeda when this is over. She'll be their outside protection. I know she will."
"Mr. Potter, thank you for coming to assist us." Narcissa Malfoy smiled tightly.
"You're welcome, Mrs. Malfoy." He nodded to her and turned to Lucius. "Sir, we've never quite seen eye to eye and I don't think we'll start anytime soon, but your son and I are together and I hope to cultivate a good relationship with him. I'm here today to help protect you and your family, so I expect us to work together toward that end. Can I count on you?"
Lucius grimaced and glanced at Draco before nodding his assent. "You can see the gates from those windows there."
Draco pulled the drapes back and Harry looked out. Spells were hitting a weakening protective field.
"I called, Harry. They're sending someone directly to the gate." Neville said as he nodded to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy.
Soon, as they watched, two figures approached the men who were attacking the wards. The spells stopped as the attackers began trading spells with the aurors.
Harry and Neville rushed out, shielding themselves as they went. "Harry, I think that's Michael Corner…and the other one looks like Terry Boot."
"Ok, you cover Boot. I'll take Corner." Harry flung a hex at the men attacking the aurors. "Who are you and what do you want?"
"We want the Malfoys to pay, you berk!" One of them yelled and shot a curse at him.
"They betrayed the Dark Lord! They deserve death!" The other one shouted before getting hit with the red burst of light that was a Stupefy.
"Harry, thanks for the help." Michael Corner nodded as he moved to help his partner. "Terry, you alright?"
"Yeah, let's get the other one. Harry, you and Neville should get back inside. Take this one with you." Auror Boot smirked at his old schoolmates.
The battle raged on as Harry used a Petrificus Totalis to fully subdue the attacker and then a Mobilicorpus to transport him.
Draco opened the door to let them in. "Here's the parlor, Harry. That's him, alright - my Grandfather's friend – Daemon LePardoux."
"The aurors will take it from here, Draco." Harry said. "We just need to keep him petrified for them."
"Alright." Draco said as he paced the floor. "Do you really think she'll do it, Harry?"
Harry looked at his lover's worried features and stood. "Yes, Draco; I do. She's a very forgiving woman and she's alone in the world with the exception of her grandson who's only seven years old."
"Can I go with you to ask her?" Draco asked softly.
Harry smiled. "Sure; once this is over, I'll owl her that we'll be dropping by in the morning."
Draco sat next to Harry and kissed him while they waited for the aurors to bring the other attacker down.
"Harry?" Neville called a minute later. "They've got him and they're coming in."
Harry stood as the aurors entered with their prisoner and the Malfoys. "So who's this?"
"This is LePardoux's nephew – he joined him in the attack." Terry informed them in a very businesslike fashion. "They've both been under suspicion in of arson and illegal magical creature breeding in three counties of France. During the fight he said something about the 'bloody peacocks' but I didn't see any around. Any idea what he was blathering about?"
"My family used to keep two white peacocks." Draco asserted. "They recently died…at the same time…with similar symptoms."
"We'll figure it all out, Malfoy." Terry Boot told him. "They'll go before the wizengamut by week's end."
"After a trial, they'll be going to Azkaban." Michael Corner grinned wiping his hands on his trousers. "Thanks for calling us in, mate. I needed a bit of a workout."
Harry shook their hands. "It was good to see you guys even if the circumstances were buggered up."
"Harry, are you staying here for the night?" Neville asked.
Draco looked hopeful. "I'd understand if you said no, Harry…but I'd really like it if you did."
Harry glanced at the elder Malfoys before grinning at his lover. "I think I can do that."
After acknowledging Harry's acceptance, Lucius left with Narcissa.
"So it's true, then – the stuff the papers have been saying?" Michael asked with a grimace. "You really cheated on Ginny? I figured they were lies as usual."
"The Prophet, Witch Weekly and Quidditch Quarterly only printed lies." Harry sighed. "I gave the truth to Luna Longbottom, guys. You'll see it in the Quibbler tomorrow."
"Alright, Harry." Terry nodded. "We'll be seeing you around."
Harry watched the aurors remove the attackers and then waited with Neville as Draco summoned a quill and some parchment.
"Here, Harry…What are you going to tell her?" The blond asked nervously.
Harry took the quill. "Is this self-inking?"
"I'm only telling her that I want her to meet someone and we'll be there just after breakfast." Harry said folding up the letter.
"Ok…I don't know why I'm so nervous." Draco frowned.
"I'll try to sooth your nerves in a moment, Dray." Harry winked at the blond.
They said goodbye to Neville, who handed Harry a small trunk.
"Your things, Harry – I had a feeling you'd say 'yes' if he asked you to stay." His friend smirked. "I'll be over at just before midnight tomorrow, to set up for the wards ritual."
Harry shook his head. "Am I really that transparent?"
"You gave up your cozy little life to be with him, Harry. Now he was in trouble and you dropped everything to be sure he was safe." Neville placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed lightly. "It only makes sense that you'd want to stick close until the wards go back to full strength tomorrow night."
"Harry?" Draco called from the doorway. "You coming?"
Harry smirked as Neville stepped into the floo. "Not yet, love – but I hope to be very soon."
Draco bit his lip and rolled his eyes. "Prat."
Harry winked and let his lover lead him to their rooms.
"What if she says no, Harry?" Draco asked as he straightened his tie for the third time.
"Don't worry, Draco." Harry comforted his lover as they got ready to floo to Andromeda Tonks' home. "She'll agree – I know her. She's outside of your family dynamic – so she qualifies in that regard. She'll see the opportunity to reconnect to her sister and her nephew...and she'll want to keep you all safe."
"I hope so…" He spoke softly as Harry gripped his hand and walked into the fireplace.
"Tonks Residence!" Harry shouted as he threw the powder.
When they stepped out into a neatly arranged parlor, Draco couldn't believe a seven year old boy lived here. He vaguely heard Harry call out his aunt's name as he took in his surroundings. A couch was placed along one wall and a table with a wizarding wireless device was next to it. There was an armchair near the bookcase and another next to the door while a loveseat angled away from the coffee table. He heard a gasp and turned to find the source.
"Draco, meet Andromeda Tonks…your aunt." Harry was saying, but all Draco saw was Bellatrix. "And Andy, I'd like you to meet your nephew. This is Draco Malfoy."
"You look like…" Draco whispered.
"Yes…" The woman with wild dark brown curls spoke in a soft tone. "I know, dear…You however are the very picture of your father."
He smiled bitterly. "I know."
"But you have your mother's smile…" She said, completing her thought.
"Andy, I need to tell you something." Harry began.
"I read the Quibbler this morning, Harry-dear." The wise old woman narrowed her gaze at him. "I understand that you and my nephew are seeing each other."
"Yes, ma'am…" Harry confessed. "It was just the way I told Luna…I couldn't stop myself and once I got started I didn't want to stop."
"Believe it or not, I believe you, Harry." Andy smiled. "If anyone would understand, young man, it would be me."
"That's right; you were engaged to my father when you ran away with…" Draco stopped; his face flushed with color.
"Indeed, Mr. Malfoy…Ted Tonks and I ran off to Gretna Green. It was all very romantic…" She said. "The fallout was being disinherited, of course…and that was anything but romantic."
"You can catch him up on family history later, Andy. We need to ask a favor." Harry said sitting next to her on the couch and motioning for Draco to take the closest armchair.
Draco took a deep breath and began his story. He told his mother's sister how his father had been since the end of the war and how he'd gone to Harry for advice about new wards for the family home.
Harry added the tale of the night before. "So we were wondering…"
"Hoping!" Draco interjected. "I – and my mother, of course… We were hoping you'd consent to be the anchor for the ward-spells at the manor."
They heard a door open.
"Gran! I'm home, Gran!" A little boy came running into the house. "Tim and I were playing and I skinned my knee, Gran!" He was in short pants and a blue t-shirt; his knee was indeed scraped but what interested Draco more than anything was the boy's hair. It was the precise color that matched his shirt. "Mrs. Peters gave me a sticky-type of thing for it, but you always do it better." He ran through the halls until he got to the parlor and saw… "Uncle Harry!"
Harry grinned widely as the boy jumped onto his lap. "Hi, Teddy! Let me take care of that knee for you!" He waved his wand and the skin knitted itself closed while the band-aid disappeared. "I came over to introduce my friend to you and your Gran. Would you like to meet him?"
Teddy turned shy. "Is he a wizard like you?"
"Yes, Teddy. You know what's even better than that? He's your cousin…" Harry whispered.
"He is?" The small boy's eyes widened as he turned a golden gaze at Draco.
"Hello, there. I'm your cousin Draco…" Draco smirked. "You know, I think I have a pair of socks the color of your hair."
"Your hair is prettier…" Teddy said as his hair changed color and shape to match Draco's.
Draco gasped and held tightly onto the arms of the chair he was sitting in. "He's a meta-morph-magus?"
"Harry must've forgotten to tell you. I'm sorry, dear." Andromeda smirked.
"He usually likes to have my eyes but, he keeps his hair that lovely shade of blue." Harry commented as his godson transformed again.
Draco watched in fascination as the seven year old boy took on different features of the three people surrounding him. He ended up with Draco's hair, Harry's eyes and Andromeda's nose but he kept his natural facial shape and skin coloring.
"Oh my…he could be your son…" Andromeda whispered. "He appears to like you very much, Draco."
"Will you do it, Andy?" Harry asked softly when Teddy moved to sit on the floor with a book.
She sighed. "I suppose it'll be a good thing…to reconnect with Cissa…and you too, Draco. I have missed her. We used to be so close. Now, I'm getting on in years so I'd hate to have a lonely winter when my spring and summer were so full."
"Andy, you know I'll be there for you." Harry took her hand in his. "I'll always take care of you and Teddy."
"I'll remember that, my dear." She said wistfully. "When shall I be ready for the ritual, Harry?"
Harry looked up at his lover. "Around ten tonight?"
"TONIGHT? Harry Potter, how dare you spring this on me so late!" She shouted, startling her grandson. "All the things I'll need to do! How much blood is involved? I'll need a large meal beforehand and a blood replenisher afterwards! Do you know how long that takes to brew?!"
"If it helps any, I have a full stock of blood replenishers at the manor, Aunt Andromeda. I brew them myself monthly for Mother; she's mildly anemic." Draco volunteered. "Mother also told me that if you agreed, she'd plan a large nutritious meal to start at 9."
"There, you see, Andy? It's all taken care of." Harry cringed.
The old woman huffed. "Well, fine then… I'll be there at 8:30 for cocktails."
"Thank you so much, Aunt Andromeda, it really does mean a lot to us… Will Teddy be joining you?" Draco held his breath.
"I said I'd do the ritual." She shook a finger at him. "That means I have the desire to keep you all safe, but it doesn't mean I trust you – not all of you at any rate. No, Teddy will stay with friends for the night."
"That's perfectly understandable, Andy." Harry said in a comforting voice as he patted her hand. "You'll send him to Ginny's mum?"
"I was thinking about it…" She nodded. "I'm assuming Molly's vexed with you. Am I right?"
Harry paled at the thought of Molly Weasley and just nodded.
"So I'll floo her about it myself." Andromeda told him grimly. "Now then - how are you dear? Do you have a place to live?"
"Andy, I'll be fine – truly." Harry told her. "I'm moving back into Grimauld Place. Kreacher is amiable and – believe it or not – he now has a family who'll be helping him out."
"That unpleasant old elf has a mate and younglings?" Her eyes widened. "I never thought he'd procreate… and the last I'd heard he was working up at Hogwarts."
"He was." Harry confirmed. "But he came when I called; answered my questions more helpfully than ever before and was agreeable with my requests."
"Well, color me shocked." She chuckled as she stood and motioned them toward her fireplace. "Alright, we've all got things to do before tonight so I'll see you at the Manor, boys."
When Harry and Draco got back to the Manor, the brunette sought out the Lady of the house. "Mrs. Malfoy?" He asked as he entered the library.
"Yes, Mr. Potter?" The lovely woman looked up from her book.
"One of the elves said you'd be here and I've got a question." Harry told her.
With a raised eyebrow, she placed a bookmark into the book and set it aside. "I'm at your service, young man. What can I help you with?"
"Draco wasn't sure if the hedge was continuous. If it has gaps, I'll have to compensate for that." Harry was very formal and businesslike.
"I see;" Mrs. Malfoy nodded as she considered the question. "Yes, the gates face east and the hedge begins on the north side to end on the south. Is that important?"
"Yes, if the hedge had separations, I'd have to place additional spells at each one." Harry explained. "Now, I had prepared for both instances – of course – but this is the preferred situation. Not only does it have symbolic uses but practical ones as well."
"Symbolic and practical?" Draco's mother seemed amused.
"Indeed, Mrs. Malfoy." He confirmed. "It's practical because it's one step already done – the drawing of the boundary line of the property. Also, it's symbolic of the continuity of this family owning this property. Malfoys have ruled this plot of land for centuries and that's not likely to change."
"If you and my son get much further involved it just might." She sighed. "Don't get me wrong – Draco is happier than I've seen him in a long while and I'm glad for it…but he has no plans for children and if he doesn't continue the Malfoy line, then nobody else will."
Harry considered this. "Well – you know, if he doesn't wish to marry a woman, there's always surrogacy."
His lover's mother looked curious.
"You – or he – find a witch who is willing to bear the child and perform a spell to place the – uhm – seed in the garden…so to speak." Harry explained. "The muggles came up with the idea first. They use needles and things but my friend Hermione Granger-Weasley is a Healer and she's trying to find a magical equivalent."
"Very interesting, Mr. Potter." She smirked. "Was that all you wanted to ask?"
Harry looked confused.
"The hedge – was that all?" She repeated.
"Oh! Yes, Ma'am; thank you very much." He said as he turned to leave the library.
A few hours later, Harry stood at the gates in front of Malfoy Manor with Neville. Dawn was two hours away and they were waiting for a friend.
Harry looked to the east and brought forth all his good memories of Albus Dumbledore. He thought of the conversations they'd had and his good feelings of the man who'd taught him so much.
Suddenly, in the distance, came a bright fiery light and eerily beautiful bird-song.
Harry smiled and held out his arm. "Hello, old friend."
The phoenix landing lightly on Harry Potter's arm was none other than his late mentor's familiar – Fawkes.
"How've you been, Fawkes? I've missed you…" Harry whispered as he stroked the bird's feathers. "I need a favor, my friend. Could you spare some tears for me? A dear human friend of mine has great need."
Neville silently held out a vial and Harry took it gently as shimmering tears began to drip from Fawkes' eye.
"Thank you, Fawkes. Albus would be very happy with us, you know? We're helping people who need it and giving them a second chance at living in the light." Harry whispered when the vial was filled to the brim. "I know you miss him; I do too…but he's off on some new adventure."
Fawkes gave a sharp cry as he took off.
"Don't be a stranger, now!" Harry shouted watching the bird take flight.
"Was that?" Draco's voice didn't distract Harry from watching Fawkes until he disappeared.
"Dumbledore's familiar – Fawkes…he's remained a good friend of mine. I have a unique relationship with him." Harry confided in his lover.
"Wow… He's beautiful." The blond smiled.
"He's my source of phoenix tears…obviously." Harry smirked. "You've found out my secret."
"It's safe with me, Harry. I promise." Draco said solemnly.
Harry's eyes lit up. "I know." Then he turned to face Neville and handed him the filled vial of tears. "Here, Nev; it's time for the medallions to be soaked. I'll be ready when you are."
Neville remained silent as he took it, but once he turned away, he spoke softly. "I never tire of seeing sights like that, Harry. Magic is truly a wonderful thing." He conjured a bowl and summoned the medallions. "It's almost time for the ritual, Malfoy. Inform your parents and Andromeda to be ready in an hour."
Lucius, Narcissa, Draco, Andromeda, Neville and Harry all stood before the closed gates of the manor. The light of dawn was minutes away, now, and everything was in readiness.
"During this ritual, you will feel magic as you never have before. As the blood pulses in your veins so does the magic. Speak or move if it urges you to. We must flow with the magic in order to have harmonious wards." Harry said turning in a circle to meet each person's eye. "Lucius before the ritual begins you must strip away the old wards. Do it now."
His lover's father waved his wand and nodded. "Done."
The gates swung wide.
"Draco, touch the south gate. Lucius - you touch the north gate." When Harry saw his orders being followed he shot more out. "Narcissa, take your husband's other hand. I'll take Draco's." After he'd done so, he pointed to Neville. "You take the knife and remain free of the circle, Nev – you're my instrument. Andy, join hands with Narcissa." He nodded as each person took their places. "Good – Andy, move closer to me and close the circle when the light touches you. Draco – don't let go of the gate until I let go of your hand."
Dawn slowly crept toward them. Neville stood in the center of the group and Andromeda clasped Harry's hand just before the light bathed them.
"A new era has begun! The new moon has signaled new beginnings for all of us and as the light of a new day dawns, this family asks to be blessed by it. As the phoenix is reborn from his own ashes, so too is this family…from father to son, protect them, their loved ones and their property from any harm wished upon them." Harry intoned. "We – together in this group – vow to live in light and resist the darkness that lives inside every one of us. To seal this vow we each give a few drops of blood." He nodded to Neville who pricked one finger on each person in the circle.
With his wand, Neville collected the blood and combined it in one spot at the center of the gates' opening.
"To show our dedication to this vow, we will now travel to the heart of this home to re-form the circle." Harry nodded. "Lucius, will you take us into your home?"
"I will." Lucius spoke softly and solemnly as he looked at his hand. "I feel compelled to remove my hand from the gate."
Harry instructed. "Then do it; the magic is telling you to…but as a married couple, you and Narcissa are considered one. Do not break contact with her."
Lucius did as he'd said. A handprint shimmered on the iron bar of the gate.
Narcissa let go of Andromeda's hand and looked like she wanted to speak.
"What is the magic saying, Narcissa?" He asked knowing she'd need a nudge.
"It's telling me to be who I am." She whispered. Harry knew what she meant but couldn't explain. After a moment she spoke louder. "As the lady of Malfoy Manor, I invite you all to join us in our home."
Harry smiled; she'd given herself to the magic.
Andromeda let go of Harry's hand. "Thank you for welcoming me into your home." She said graciously.
Harry and Draco were left and – though he'd done this type of ritual before – he waited to see what the magic would tell him this time. He felt the magic pulse around him and relaxed into its will. He dropped Draco's hand after kissing it. "I accept your invitation, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy; I come to you as a friend and suitor to your son. I hope to eventually receive invitation into your hearts in addition to your home and I promise to defend both."
Draco's hand fell from the gate as he pretended not to be shocked at Harry's words. He looked a little dazed as he approached his parents and his new boyfriend. "Mother, Father, I seek to dwell in this home with peace, love and you. The blood of our friends and family will help seal our safety if you allow it."
Harry grinned as Draco took his hand.
Lucius bowed his head to Draco and another handprint shimmered where Draco's had been. "Come, my son." Then, he led the way through the halls and down some stairs. The room was wide and seemed to be a large ceremonial space. Neville's bowl containing the medallions and phoenix tears sat on a table at the center. "I welcome you all into the heart of my home."
Neville stepped forward. "The bowl represents the Malfoy Manor and contains symbols to represent the members of this family. To keep the inhabitants of this home and family safe, each of you must place a drop of blood into it. The phoenix tears will purify the blood and the medallions will take on the properties of the manor wards."
Lucius and Narcissa gave blood first with Draco following them. Harry was next to step up to the bowl and then Andromeda. As each participant finished this step, they took their places again. Lucius touched the northern edge of the bowl; Narcissa's hand was still clasped in his. Andromeda held her sister's other hand with Harry next to her. When Draco was touching the southern edge of the bowl, Neville spoke a line in Latin. All Harry knew was that it was supposed to mean 'The safety of the land is in the blood'. A bright and shimmering light surrounded the bowl and filled the room causing the participants to release the hands they were holding. When the light faded, the bowl only contained the four medallions; the liquids had become absorbed into the medallions.
Andromeda walked to the bowl as Neville stepped away from it. "As the anchor to the wards surrounding this hearth and home, I give you each a symbol of belonging." She picked up one of the necklaces. "Lucius, you are head of this family – think before you do." Lucius bowed his head to accept the medallion and, when he straightened up, she took another necklace from the bowl. "Narcissa, you are the heart of this family – allow your heart to guide you as you guide the men in your care."
Narcissa lowered her head to let her sister place the medallion where it belonged and then straightened her back regally.
Draco took a deep breath as his aunt came over to him with two medallions.
She smiled. "Draco, you are a mixture of these. Your head and heart must cooperate if you are to find your way in the world. Harry is a good example of that cooperation. He can help you if you will accept his assistance. As your suitor, it is your place to extend the family wards to cover him."
Draco smiled. "I accept the responsibility I've inherited. I will not let this family founder and fall to ruin. I ask my friend – my suitor – Will you help me in this endeavor?"
"I will help where and when I'm needed." Harry replied as he bent down to accept the necklace he hadn't expected to receive.
Suddenly, the room filled with eerie bird-song and Fawkes appeared. Harry stared as each member of the group was blessed with a tear from the wondrous bird.
Lucius and Draco gasped in unison and grasped their left arms. They seemed to panic but Harry suspected there was no fowl play afoot. Indeed, when Draco lifted the fabric from his arm to inspect the damage, he found clean skin. Lucius – upon seeing this miracle – lifted his own sleeve to see the same pale pure skin.
Harry marveled at this blessing even as the phoenix disappeared from sight. Anyone who doubted the Malfoy's desire to get away from their past involvement with Voldemort would be stumped as to the lack of their Dark Marks.
After escorting Andromeda home, Harry returned to his lover's side…or tried to. When he got back to the Manor, he couldn't find the blond so he asked an elf as to Draco's whereabouts. Harry finally found Draco in his personal bathroom. He was naked and staring at himself in the full-length mirror.
"I can't believe it's gone, Harry. I thought that mistake would be with me for the rest of my life." Draco whispered when he saw the brunette's reflection.
Harry smiled softly and took a few steps toward Draco. "Fawkes sensed the depth of your family's need for rebirth… He sensed that Andromeda's heart wasn't at its best. He saw the bruise Ron gave me and knew about my knee injury from the war that still hurt in inclement weather. He knew of your mother's anemia and that you and Lucius needed to be totally free of Voldemort's poison. That's why he returned… that's why he participated in the ritual to such an extent. He knew that Dumbledore would've wanted him to – so he did."
"Wow…So Mum's anemia is cured? Aunt Andromeda's heart is better?" As he pulled on a satin bathrobe, Draco looked at Harry's face to see it cleared of the aforementioned bruise. "Your knee?"
Harry nodded happily. "Not a twinge of pain even though it's pouring outside."
Draco tied the robe closed and grinned widely at him. "I'm glad."
"Me too…" Harry smirked. "Now I can plough you properly…"
The blond's eyes widened. "Are you serious?"
Harry chuckled. "No, I'm Harry. Sirius was my godfather."
Draco rolled his eyes and came in close to his lover. "Stop, you prat! Did you mean it? Are you ready?"
Harry nodded and placed his mouth to Draco's. "Very…"
Draco smiled calculatingly as he slid his hands into Harry's. "I felt your power, Harry…during the ritual, I felt it coursing through me and I want that…I want you inside me…"
"I want it too, Draco…I need it." Harry panted as he explored the blond's body with his hands. "I want to be in you so badly…"
Draco stepped back and quickly undressed Harry down to his underpants before going over to his bedside table. "Where is it? The damned lube is missing."
Harry watched his lover search the nightstand and grinned, going over to the bag his things were in. "Would you help me try something, Draco?"
"You're not getting inside me without lube, Potter." Draco glared.
Harry held up a small tube. "This is lotion…but not just any lotion…"
Draco's eyebrows shot up. "What is it, then?"
"A very special lotion…It actually helped us get together…" Harry remarked.
"How did it do that?" The blond looked very confused.
"What do you taste when we kiss, Draco?" Harry smirked.
"I taste that lovely scotch your secretary gave me at your office that day." Draco said softly. "Also there's a bit of coffee and apple."
"I taste orange…Southern Comfort…Vodka…and amaretto." Harry said as he flipped the top of the tube open and squeezed some out onto the back of Draco's hand.
"Isn't that a list of ingredients for a drink?" Draco huffed. "I thought you said it was lotion. It looks like shampoo."
Harry laughed. "I told George the same thing!"
"This is a Weasley product?" Draco gasped. "The new one you were hinting about that day?"
Harry nodded and rubbed the lotion into Draco's skin. "Look…it rubs in clear but when I do this…" He bent his head and licked a green lightning bolt through the patch of lotion.
"It changes color…" Draco whispered in awe.
Harry grinned and looked at the blond through his bangs. "Want to try it?"
Draco snatched the tube away and began to spread it all over Harry's nearly hairless chest. He licked a gold shimmery circle around Harry's left nipple before looking up to his face. "It tastes like…"
"Like kissing me?" Harry smirked.
"I tasted it before I met you again…before I even tasted that drink you mentioned. When I did, I knew that something was missing with Ginny…" Harry met the other man's gaze. "And then I kissed you…all those flavors…they overwhelmed me and I couldn't deny that you sparked the flame in me. I want you, Draco…I need you…"
"This is foreplay stuff though, Harry! I need lube if you're going to…" Draco broke off as Harry rubbed some lotion into the side of his neck.
Moving in slowly, Harry whispered, "It acts as a lubricant also…All we need is this…lovely…lotion." His lips left green open mouthed kiss shapes up the blond's throat.
"Oh! Merlin, Harry!" Draco moaned. "Please?"
"I love the feel of you like this, Dray!" He murmured as he slid his hands into the waistband of Draco's underpants and pulled them down.
"Wait! Locking and silencing charms, Harry! I don't want my parents hearing us!" Draco whined when Harry nudged him toward the bed.
Harry just smirked and cast the requested spells. "I'm going to get you ready now…" He stroked Draco's prick once with a bit of lotion and then licked a stripe up the front of it causing the blond to cry out. Then he squeezed the tube onto his fingers and traced Draco's entrance.
"Merlin, Harry! Yes!" Draco groaned as the tip of Harry's finger entered him. "More!"
Harry smirked as he proceeded to pump his fingers into Draco. "You look amazing like this Draco! Your eyes are like liquid silver when you moan like that!"
"Harry… Please Harry! I want you in me!" Draco pleaded whined.
Harry kept stretching Draco for a moment and then placed the tip of his manhood in his palm to add lotion there too. Finally, Harry held his cock to Draco's puckered hole. "You sure you're ready, Dray?"
Draco brought his eyes up to meet Harry's. "Yes! Now!"
Still a little nervous, Harry pushed into the blond and as his lover accepted him, he felt the warm, slick tightness surround him. The brunette buried his face into Draco's neck and gave a whimpering moan to match his partner's. "I'm not hurting you am I?" He whispered. "Merlin, you feel good! I feel – you're so tight around me!"
Draco reveled in the fullness as Harry began to move within him. "Doesn't hurt, Harry; feels sooo good!"
Harry found a slow sweet pace as Draco absorbed each thrust.
Suddenly, Draco shouted. "OH! Harry, YES! Right there, Harry! Harder – I – so close!"
Harry obliged and thrust hard again at just the right angle to make his blond lover scream his pleasure. As Draco spasmed around him – covering their stomachs with sticky white goo – Harry squeezed him tight as he lost control and climaxed.
When the two men calmed down, Harry lifted his head. "Shit, Draco. That was beautiful."
"I know. I've never cum so hard." The other man whispered back.
"I'm seeing stars here." Harry closed his eyes and smiled into his lovers shoulder.
"Better than your pleasant 'place tab H in slot G'?" Draco chuckled.
"Dray, you have NO idea!" Harry smirked and kissed the blond deeply before rolling off to the side. "It seems that slot D is a much better fit for me!"
Draco just grinned like a fool and chased Harry into the bathroom for a shower.
Harry took Draco to meet his kids the next day and was very pleased to see them get along well. Ginny was still a bit stand-offish but remained civil. That night Harry received an owl from Seamus.
"Is that from Finnegan?" Draco asked.
"Yeah; seems he and Hannah still want me to invest. He says that he cheated once before they married and she forgave him so they won't be hypocrites. He's even invited the two of us for dinner some night so I can taste test his food." Harry sighed folding the letter back up.
"That's just the good old Gryffindor loyalty, Harry." Draco smirked. "Maybe once the Weasleys get over things, they'll show it too."
Harry sure hoped so. "So when do you want to go to Seamus'?"
"Are you sure he's not going to blow us up?" Draco grimaced.
Harry smirked with a wink. "Scared, Malfoy?"
Draco glared at him playfully as he stalked over to his lover. "You wish…"
********** The End **********
I've got a good friend who's got a good life;
He's got two pretty children and a real nice wife
Yet he never seems quite satisfied.
I said "I know what's on your mind,
But you better think about it before you cross that line
The grass ain't always greener on the other side."
What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through and
It ain't really love and it ain't really lust?
You ain't anybody anyone's gonna trust
Where you gonna turn
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned?
And fate can't wait to kick you in the butt
Then what, oh then what
I ain't sayin' that lookin's a crime;
I've done my share from time to time
It don't mean that you got to take that leap!
When you're standin' on the brink,
Before you jump you gotta step back and think:
There's a price for every promise you don't keep
What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through and
It ain't really love and it ain't really lust?
You ain't anybody anybody's gonna trust
Where you gonna turn
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned?
And fate can't wait to kick you in the butt
Then what, oh then what
But do what you want do what you wish
It's your life but remember this
There's bound to be some consequences
For sneakin' under other fences
What you gonna do
When the new wears off and the old shines through
It ain't really love and it's ain't really lust
And you ain't anybody anybody's gonna trust
Where you gonna turn
When you can't turn back for the bridges you've burned
Hi, Everyone! This story is the result of almost a year of work! I collaborated with puzzypower to get most of the flirty banter - because I'm not usually good at that - and my beta was hnwhitlock2000.
Thank you so much girls! It's always fun working with you!