Chapter Twelve: Self Worth
The first thing on the agenda for Harry Potter the following week was to officially file for a divorce with Ginny. It was getting difficult for Harry to deal with any kind of romantic notion with Draco if everyone's number one concern was 'What if Ginny wants you back?'
Even though Harry knew that he and Ginny were over, the world, his world still wouldn't believe it. He understood why and he knew when Ginny's new life story would be revealed to the world they would finally believe it. However, Harry didn't want to wait for the world to know that he was done with her. He told Ron that he was going to take a half day to run some errands and Ron thought nothing of it.
Harry arrived at the Solicitor's office and explained his situation in the briefest words possible. He told her that Harry and his wife were separating and he wished to file for a divorce. He explained to the solicitor under confidentiality that Ginny was pregnant with another man's child and would be pursuing a relationship with him. Harry made a list of 'agreements' he wished for the solicitor to finalise with Ginny and her Wizard Law representative, if she were to appoint one.
A. He was offering Ginny his house at Number 12, Grimmauld Place temporarily until she was ready to move with either her family or her new companion. B. He was requesting Ginny to provide Muggle DNA evidence that he, Harry, in fact was not the father of the child she was carrying. C. He was requiring Ginny to make a legal vow that she would never mention any personal details about their marriage or anything of Harry's courtships whilst they were married to any journalists ever and if anything was ever published without Harry's consent that she would publicly deny all allegations.
Finally, Harry expressed to the solicitor that for the future, any communication regarding his divorce to Mrs Ginevra Molly Weasley-Potter should only be to directed to the solicitor herself and no forms of interaction should be made directly with Harry.
The solicitor agreed and expressed to Harry that she was impressed with his preparations. Upon discussing further details the only item she disagreed with was the lack of time frame on the 'temporary' house offering to Ginny. 'What if she decides to stay there for ten years?' The solicitor, Jane Mehra, asked.
'She won't. Rather, I am sure her new boyfriend wouldn't wish that. He's a level-headed bloke, I am sure he wouldn't want to create a life with her in the home she shared with her ex-husband. However, if that's what she wishes, then that's fine. It would be her way of sticking it to me; I am leaving her for a bloke.'
Harry's statement shocked Jane. She nodded and wrote something down on her jotter. 'Anyone I know?' Jane asked, then continued, 'Never mind, I was asking for my own personal curiosity, it's not required for you to tell me, apologies.'
Harry smiled, 'It's still undecided where my new relationship is heading so I'd rather not say.'
'Excellent, I wish you all the best. I will keep you updated with the proceedings.' A few moments later Jane handed Harry a parchment, 'This is the legal contract between you and I and all your requests of me as your solicitor. It's your copy, you do not need one, but I figured you'd like to keep one for yourself. Most people do, it sort of makes it more 'real' for them.'
Harry thanked Jane and left her office. He was happy to take his copy, she was right; it did make him feel better.
Harry was feeling good about himself. He had just made his very first independent 'adult' decision ever. He looked forward to meeting his realtor for the last time. He would be sleeping at his new flat tonight. By the time Harry was finished with all the legal matters of the day, it was 7pm. He thought of stopping in for a pint at the Thirsty Scholar, he wondered if he'd run into Ron and Luna there, or even better, Draco.
Harry arrived at the Thirsty Scholar and saw his favourite blond at the bar. Harry reminisced for a moment the first time he had met Draco here after they had started sleeping together. He remembered how he longed to touch Draco that night and that feeling had returned. He walked up behind Draco and mimicked his moves from that night in April. Harry brushed his hands gently on Draco's back and whispered 'Hi.' Draco shuddered and retaliated with his words, 'Bloody hell Potter, you scared me.'
'Oh, Sorry. I was just stopping in for a pint and spotted you. Do you want me to sit somewhere else?' Harry asked humbly.
'No I just was startled is all.' Draco responded his face still expressionless, Harry couldn't tell if Draco was glad to see him or not. 'I am glad you're here because I wanted to talk to you about tomorrow night.'
'Yeah?' Harry asked.
'I won't be able to make it at 7. I was going to send you a message in the morning at your office but it's easier to just tell you now.'
'Oh, why not?'
'I didn't get a chance to drop by the Manor yet and I was thinking of going tomorrow after work. I usually spend a few hours every other day with Sissy and I feel like I have been neglecting her. She's really healthy now and won't be with me for too long and I've also got to make arrangements with Hagrid of delivering her to the Forbidden Forest by the end of October.'
'October? Wow that would mean that she was only with you for less than ten months. Are you ready for that? I am sure the Ministry can arrange for her to stay at your home longer.' Harry answered masking any disappointment he felt towards their date being delayed, if not cancelled for tomorrow night.
'As much as I'd like that, she's getting to the age where she needs to be around others like her. I don't think I can provide everything she needs now. She requires more friendship and companionship, from her own kind.'
'Yeah I can relate.' Harry muttered.
'So, I won't be able to meet you until 8:30 or 9. I am not sure if that's too late for you...'
'No that's fine. I wouldn't mind a late night rendezvous.' Harry smiled.
'Alright. I'll see you then.' Draco replied as he stood up from his stool at the bar.
'Are you leaving?' Harry asked.
'Yeah, I've got some plans.' Draco responded vaguely grabbing his travelling cloak and added, 'I'll see you tomorrow night then. I hope it wouldn't be too much trouble to change the reservations.'
Harry nodded and Draco left leaving Harry disappointed and confused. Later Harry cursed himself for letting his emotions get the best of him. I didn't have plans with him tonight; it was just a surprise to see him, why am I getting so worked up for this? Harry had to remind himself that even though the chance of spending time with Draco was becoming further and further away, Draco didn't cancel their date, merely postponed it by a few hours.
The next night Harry waited outside 'Gustoso Ristorante' arriving shortly before 8:30. Harry waited outside the restaurant for twenty minutes until he decided to wait at the bar instead. He noticed that the bar carried 'Dalton & Dover's' Complexity of Living and he ordered a glass with ice. He found it amusing that in the Muggle-world the company promoted it with the slogan 'Not for your average human.'
Draco arrived at 9:30; Harry had waited for over an hour. They were seated at a table and ordered right away since Draco expressed that he was 'quite famished.' The dinner was rather pleasant and cordial. The conversations weren't very deep and Harry and Draco mostly talked about work and their day. Harry noted that Draco hadn't apologised for being later than expected. He thought that he didn't need to since he'd expressed that he would be late, although, he thought it would have been polite.
At the end of the night, Harry asked Draco for dinner the next night and Draco agreed. Harry was nervous. Should he kiss Draco? Technically this was their first date and Harry wasn't sure the dating rules given the last few times he'd kissed someone it was so long ago and none of them were men. Just when Draco was about to say goodnight and disapparate, Harry stopped him.
'Draco!' Harry called before Draco went away.
'I had a nice time... I am sad that it wasn't very long but I am glad you were able to stop by.'
'Yeah me too.' Draco smiled at Harry and Harry pulled him in for a kiss before he had the opportunity to disappear. Harry felt Draco hesitant when their lips first met; it had been several months since they had kissed. Slowly Harry pulled Draco deeper towards him, his right hand resting on the small of Draco's back and he lightly licked Draco's lips with his tongue. Draco parted his lips and Harry's tongue brushed up against Draco's. The two men stood in the dark alleyway next to the restaurant for a few minutes, tongues tussling; it was the gentlest kiss they had ever experienced with each other. It didn't involve any biting or contesting for power, for Harry, it simply spoke of yearning and his expression of how much he longed for Draco, how much he was willing to wait.
As their lips parted gasping for air, Harry whispered, '6 o'clock tomorrow. Please don't be late.'
Draco still had his eyes closed, smiled and nodded. He took a few steps back and looked at Harry. 'See you tomorrow Potter.'
The next night Harry and Draco had agreed to meet at a Muggle restaurant called 'The Black Rose.' Harry arrived ten minutes before 6 and decided to plant himself at the bar right away. He knew that Draco would be late. He was right. Draco didn't present himself until 7:15. He shrugged off his tardiness with 'I got held up.' Harry didn't say anything. He was glad that Draco had shown up, a few moments later they were seated at their table.
The night went as smoothly as the night before. The conversation was pleasant and Harry truly enjoyed Draco's company and his snarky remarks. Draco had an opinion about everything and it was almost always comical to Harry. Harry appreciated the sharpness of Draco's wit and his passion for what he believed to be true. Though Harry disagreed with a lot of Draco's opinions, he smiled at Draco's fervour to stand by what he thought.
The goodnight kiss was just as good if not better than the night before. Harry could feel through Draco's arms that he wanted him back just as much. Harry held his ground of not inviting himself over. He wished to go through at least three proper dates before inviting Draco to his new flat or to be invited back to Draco's.
The next two dates were similar in fashion. Harry had been on a total of four dates with Draco over the course of two weeks. Draco was always over an hour late and didn't express regret for being late nor did he acknowledge Harry's disappointed look upon being unpunctual. The ending of the night was the same. Harry was certain that Draco was teasing him. He would make him wait for hours for his arrival but the end of the night, the goodbye kiss, Harry would wordlessly ensure Draco that he'd put up with Draco's antics. Draco was taking Harry for a ride, and Harry was happily being cantered.
Thursday night, the 4th of September, was the night of their fifth date. Harry asked Draco for dinner back at the Italian restaurant from their first date. During the conversation over the past dates Draco had expressed that he really liked the Italian restaurant the best and would want to go back someday. Harry asked Draco to meet him at 7 o'clock. Harry arrived at 7:45 and Draco was already there waiting for him. Harry noted that Draco looked offended.
'You're late.' Draco spoke as he stood outside 'Gustoso Ristorante' for Harry.
'You're here?' Harry responded confused.
'I arrived ten minutes ago.' Draco retorted.
'So, technically, you're late as well.' Harry responded calmly.
'Whatever Potter.' Draco huffed and turned to walk into the restaurant.
After they were seated, Harry ordered a bottle of wine for their table. Draco didn't speak to Harry and Harry, though confused and frustrated with Draco's behaviour, didn't display it.
'Draco, can I ask you a question?' Harry asked softly.
Draco glared at Harry and nodded.
'Are you punishing me, or testing me? Or both?'
Draco's expression changed and he had a few moments to ponder over the answer as the waiter had returned and was pouring wine at the table.
'I suppose, I am simply waiting for you to return back to the she-Weasel.'
'I told you, we are through. We've been through since that night of Snape's party at the Manor.' Harry answered calmly and Draco scoffed. 'I've left the house. I've got my own flat.' Draco looked at Harry with a hint of surprise in his eyes.
'And what if she calls on you on a night she's feeling a bit lonely?' Draco retorted.
'What if she does?'
'Then, too bad for her because I won't be answering that call.' Harry answered. 'I am taken.' He smiled and added, 'Even if I wasn't taken, I wouldn't answer because we are through.'
Harry reached in the pocket of his blazer and pulled out a rolled up parchment and handed it to Draco.
'What's this?' Draco asked grasping the parchment off the table.
'Proof.' Harry answered, 'That we are done and there is no getting back together.'
Draco opened the parchment and read the words with wide eyes. Harry had handed him his contract with Jane Mehra that indicated all the details of his divorce, all the requirements and the guidelines the solicitor was to follow. Harry was glad that he had taken up her suggestion to keep a copy. This was his proof to Draco that he was in this for real, and there was no going back.
'With another man's child, yes.'
'So you received your proof?' Draco asked pointing at the bullet point where it stated that Ginny would have to prove that Harry's not the father.
'Yes she went to the Muggle doctors that gave her paperwork indicating that Caleb was the father of the unborn child. Apparently it's a girl.'
'Caleb Williams, ah, the handsome Quidditch player.' Draco noted with a dreamy look in his eyes which Harry was sure was to punish him still.
Harry glared at Draco. He hated being made jealous.
'Why did you show me this?' Draco asked unable to come up with any other words.
'I told you, it's proof. I am yours, if you'll have me. I don't mind being punished for my past actions, but please stop testing me. I love you and I'll do anything I can to prove it. But, I need to love my new life too and I respect myself too much and I respect you too much to continue on with any games you're playing with me. You keep me waiting here for hours every time, I am always apprehensive until you show up that you might not show. I can't take this much heartache. I don't want any more tests I've done enough of manipulation and lies to last a lifetime. I just wish to be happy, preferably with you.'
Draco was silent.
'What? What is it?' Harry asked.
'You love me?'
'Yeah, I thought that much was obvious.'
'Nothing about what we did, and what we're doing is obvious.' Draco answered.
'Didn't I say that I wanted to be yours, that my heart belonged to you?' Harry asked quoting his speech to Draco from that morning at Pansy's flat.
'Yeah but you didn't say you loved me.'
Harry sighed; he took a sip of his wine and spoke, 'Okay, Draco. I love you. I wish for us to be together, because my heart is yours because I am yours. I love you, every day. And, I want you to be with me as my boyfriend, or something, if that's okay with you. I've got a flat and you've got a flat and we should sometimes go to each other's flats to have sex. Because I love you and I want to be your boyfriend.'
Draco blushed. Harry smiled and took another sip of his wine.
'Alright Potter. No need to be so obvious.' Draco smirked.
Harry grabbed a piece of bread from his table and threw it at Draco. 'You're so stupid Malfoy.'
Draco laughed and took a bite out of the bread Harry threw at him and said, 'Yeah but you love me.'
The waiter approached their table again and asked if they were ready to order.
'Yes, but my boyfriend and I will be taking our food to go. Apparently he's got a new flat and it needs hallowing.' Draco looked at the waiter and spoke.
Harry laughed and shook his head at Draco's statement and the waiter's reaction. After they ordered their food Harry poured more wine for Draco and himself.
'I was testing you.' Draco confessed. 'But, I wasn't testing you at how much you wanted me; I was waiting for you to stand up for yourself.'
'What do you mean?'
'I didn't know about you and...the divorce. But, I did believe you when you came to Pansy's and said what you did, that you wanted to be together. I just wanted to see if you'd do the same thing as me, just take my spite quietly or would you actually fight back? It took me a while to realise that what I was doing with you was not healthy for me, it's not healthy for anyone so I just wanted to see what you were made of.'
'So you wanted me to be strong?' Harry asked.
'You are strong.' Draco answered. 'I just wanted to make sure you're also aware of it. I didn't want to end up like your wife, your ex-wife, take advantage of your kindness or take you for granted. I never thought that Ginny was a bad person, but from the beginning from that night at the Leaky Cauldron all those years ago I saw how you were with her. You didn't stand up to her because you cared so much about her happiness and you didn't care about yours. If I am an arse, I want you to tell me that I am an arse. I want to fight, I want to have nights when you get me so livid with me you'll kick me out of bed. I want to stay up all night and argue with you rather than go to sleep indignant. I will never -EVER- share you with anyone just because I am bored in my relationship with you. I want all or I want nothing.'
Harry didn't say anything. By the time he was to open his mouth the waiter had returned with their packed food. They finished the wine, Harry paid the bill and the two men left the restaurant. As they left the restaurant the silence was becoming too much.
'Where did you get your flat?' Draco asked.
'I rented it from a Muggle realtor and I've already paid her rent for the full first year and three months. It's been taken care of until December 31st of next year so she won't be coming looking for me. Also so far Ron is the only Secret Keeper and has the address.' Harry spoke and Draco nodded.
'Do you mind taking me there?' Draco asked, 'Or if you're not interested then we can go to my flat.'
'No, of course, we should go there.' Harry leaned in and whispered the address in Draco's ear.
Draco grinned. Harry didn't say anything else and stood very still in front of Draco. He placed his hands on Draco's shoulder and squeezed them a bit. Soon they disapparated and landed in front of Harry's flat, Number 506, Devonshire Street in London. Harry gave a quick tour of the flat to Draco as they went to the kitchen to place the food on the kitchen table.
'Harry?' Draco asked as Harry looked up at him from sorting the food. 'Will you say something?'
'Say what? I have been saying things.' Harry answered with a smile.
'You've been talking about the flat. You haven't said anything to what I said about you at the restaurant.'
'I have been thinking about it.'
'And?' Draco asked.
'I want the same thing. I haven't said anything yet because I am just shocked at how much you understand what I have been going through and I didn't even need to say it all to you. I am just amazed by it. I want the same from you. I want all, or I want nothing.' Harry grinned. 'I also thought about your logic. If my saying that I belonged to you wasn't a declaration of the fact that I loved you and I had to say those words to you then technically, you've never told me that you love me either.'
Draco raised an eyebrow. 'You've got a point.'
Harry continued, 'And I finally, have been thinking whether we should eat first or whether I should take you right now against this kitchen table, or the sofa or be a gentleman and ask your permission to take you to my bedroom.'
'I am not that hungry.' Draco said. 'I'd like to see your bedroom as soon as possible and stop being such a Gryffindor.'
Harry walked up to Draco and slammed his lips on Harry's biting on Draco's lower lip with force. This was nothing like the gentle kisses they had been sharing for their past few dates. This kiss for Harry spoke of intense desire and lust for Draco. As they broke the kiss apart Draco panted and spoke 'Okay, against the table.'
6 months later
Draco sat on the sofa in Harry's flat reading the Prophet waiting for Harry to come out of the shower so they could go to brunch at the Malfoy Manor. Harry had finally agreed to be officially introduced to Draco's parents as his boyfriend. Although their relationship wasn't much of a secret to most people, Harry had still insisted that they take small steps towards a big commitment they had both promised to make to each other.
During the six months of courtship, there were plenty of fights but plenty of makeup sex as well.
As Draco opened the second page of the Prophet he screamed Harry's name who came running out of the bathroom half wet still in a towel.
'What? What are you screaming about?'
'Look it's an article about Ginny and Caleb.' The Prophet displayed a picture of a newlywed couple holding a six week old baby girl.
Former Quidditch superstar Ginny Weasley, formerly married to the infamous Harry Potter ties the knot again with teammate Caleb Williams a few short weeks after giving birth to their daughter Winifred Luna Williams. Although many in the wizarding world believe that this little girl could very well be Harry Potter's child the Williams insist upon the fact that she is not. Many sources have informed that Caleb and Ginny Williams began their courtship whilst Mrs Williams was still on the team and still married to Mr Potter; however both parties have never denied nor confirmed any of these assertions.
What remains a bigger mystery are the details of Harry Potter's homosexual relationship past as it has been confirmed by many witnesses that Mr Potter is very actively and openly involved in a romantic relationship with a former Death Eater, Draco Malfoy, whose father, Lucius Malfoy was one of the firm followers of the Dark Lord in the 1990s.
It is unknown where the Williams will be residing after they return from their honeymoon which they are taking with their daughter. During the early months of their relationship they were residing in the Black Family home that was owned by Harry Potter. Mr Potter eventually gifted that home to Ginny Williams' brother Ronald Weasley when he married Luna Lovegood this past Christmas. This house is also quite infamous for being the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix and the hiding point for Mr Potter when he was on the run from the Dark Lord.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Mr Potter and now Mrs Williams will keep in touch after having parted ways -allegedly- less than a year ago.
'Ginny gets married and has a child and they still make it about you.' Draco laughs.
'Well I blame my insistence of my very active and very openly involved romantic relationship with you.' Harry laughed. 'On second thought, after having just realised how much I had endured in a loveless marriage for four years and how incredibly happy I am right now, I am not really that scared to officially meet your parents now.' Harry kissed Draco on the forehead and was about to leave to get dressed for the Manor when Draco pulled him on the sofa, throwing Harry's towel away.
They were going to be very late.
Love Reduces The Complexity of Living ~ Anais Nin
(A/N): So I wrote this chapter in a bit of a hurry because a few days ago, I hurt my left hand index finger quite badly and couldn't use my left hand to do anything productive, as in, type my fanfiction on a keyboard. So let me know your thoughts about the story and the ending. Thanks everyone who has been so supportive about this story (and those that have been supportive by being critical). I am truly happy with the way the story turned out and sorry if I didn't do enough of Ginny bashing or of a Manipulative!Draco or Slytherin!Draco. I am still learning how to write negatively. xo