Draco and Harry spent Tuesday afternoon practicing occlumency. Harry was improving, which meant Draco wasn't able to break into Harry's mind, despite his hardest efforts. This both frustrated him, because he wanted to know what Harry was thinking, and elated him, because it meant Harry's thoughts were slowly becoming protected from the Dark Lord. In the end, the two feelings merged into sexual desire. When he gave up possessing Harry's mind, he moved on to possessing Harry's mouth with a kiss.
Harry was a bit surprised when Draco pushed him back with a kiss and climbed on top of him. He was even more surprised by the fact that Draco started dry humping him through their clothing. He was happy to let Draco lead the way and do whatever Draco wanted to do, but those clothes were in the way and it was worse today, because Draco was wearing a pair of expanded trousers. And he couldn't even feel Draco's cock underneath the wizard-space charmed pants.
The clothes had to go, so Harry started pulling up robes and trousers. Draco helped, by ceasing the movement of his lips and the needy probing of his tongue and pulling his school robes the rest of the way off for Harry. He even stepped back and removed his trousers and pants in one go, giving Harry enough room to pull off Harry's school robes, before he was back on Harry.
While at dinner that night, Harry recruited Hermione, Ginny, and Luna to help him with the proposal. He probably should've asked for their help ages ago, only he had wanted to do it himself. But now he was running out of time and had finally admitted to himself that he needed the help. That is how he found himself sitting on the sofa in the sitting room of the British beach shack with Ginny, Luna, and Hermione.
"So why'd you ask us all here Harry?" Ginny asked.
"I need your help. I need to propose to my boyfriend," Harry admitted.
"Your boyfriend? The one I haven't even met and whose name I don't know?" Ginny asked skeptically.
"Yes, and you can't know: it'll be too dangerous for him when Voldemort comes after me, if everyone knows that he's seeing me," Harry explained.
"Yeah, but I'm not just anyone, Harry. We've known each other for years and you know I wouldn't betray you," Ginny replied.
"I know, but still, you could be captured and tortured for information. It's safer for him if no one else knows and so many people know already. Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, and even your mum, all know," Harry said.
"It will be safer for us too if we don't know: He Who Must Not Be Named might try to capture us if he thought we had that sort of information," Luna said wisely.
"That's an excellent point, Luna," Hermione replied.
"Yes," Harry agreed.
"What about proposing? I mean, you just started going out. Are you sure you want to do this so soon?" Ginny asked skeptically.
"Yes, I'm sure," Harry answered.
"But why not wait until after the danger has passed? After you've defeated You Know Who, when it's safe to tell us who he is?" Ginny asked.
"Because I might die," Harry said, before pausing to think about how to explain himself. "If I die, I want him to know how I feel about him and that I wanted to marry him. And if I don't die, I'll have a fiancé to come back to."
"Very well put," Luna said.
"But still Harry, can you at least give us a hint? What sort of person are you proposing to?" Ginny asked.
"He's a sweet, sensitive boy. He likes lilacs, sea turtles, and tropical beaches. I've met him and I can assure you that you know enough," Hermione answered for Harry, because she was tired of Ginny's questioning.
"Thank you, Hermione," Harry said, grateful for the support.
"He's also spoiled, self-centered, narcissistic, vane, and obnoxious," Hermione added with a teasing grin, "but I know you love him anyway and that shouldn't factor too much into a proposal."
"And the nargles told me he has expensive tastes," Luna added.
"Well I suppose that will probably be enough information," Ginny conceded, "but is he a pureblood, muggleborn, or what? They each have their own traditions, so it really matters in something like this."
"He's pureblood; very pureblood," Harry answered, sniggering quietly to himself as he remembered Draco referring to himself in this way in order to explain Draco's cock size.
"Ach, he sounds like a Slytherin," Ginny said with a slight shudder.
"Well he's not a Gryffindor," Harry admitted, but didn't want to confirm that he was indeed dating a Slytherin, because he didn't want to narrow the possibilities down to five boys in his year and five more boys in the next year. If he started narrowing it down like that, it wouldn't be long before Ginny put the pieces together and figured out who he was seeing.
Hermione was about to agree that Draco was definitely not a Gryffindor, but then she caught herself and asked, "Perhaps, Harry, we should come up with a codename to call him?"
"That's an excellent idea," Luna agreed dreamily. "I've always liked the name Blondie."
Harry rejected Blondie and there was a debate on possible code names, before Ginny suggested Lover Boy with an evil grin.
"I agree; Lover Boy would be an appropriate name for him," Luna seconded.
Harry was about to protest that Lover Boy sounded too insulting and raunchy, but then Hermione cut him off.
"Lover Boy it is," Hermione concluded with a grin. "Now let's continue with the meeting and our agenda of putting together a game plan for proposing to Lover Boy."
Ginny suggested all of the typical proposal ideas, such as flowers, live music, candlelight, candy, gifts, and romantic dinners, but Harry didn't want an ordinary proposal; he wanted something special.
"Oh Harry! The room of requirement would be perfect for your proposal! You could transform it into a beautiful exotic tropical paradise! Kinda like it is now, but better!" Ginny said.
"You did say he likes the tropics," Luna agreed.
"No, we do that every time we meet in here. I want something knew," Harry replied.
"You turn the room into a tropical paradise every time you meet? You mean, like, better than the room is now?" Ginny asked disbelievingly.
"Yeah," Harry replied. "I didn't want to invite a bunch of people into the place I share with him, so I asked for a less exotic form of our room."
"Na uh," Ginny protested.
"It's true, I've seen it. The room looked just like Hawaii," Hermione said.
"Well if the exotic is ordinary, then perhaps the ordinary will be exotic," Luna said wisely.
"The ordinary, like Lover Boy's house?" Ginny asked confused.
"His house? Hmm, that might just be perfect," Luna replied.
"Harry, do you even know what his house looks like?" Hermione asked.
"I've no idea, really, but I know a house elf I can ask to find out for me," Harry replied with a grin. "I don't think he's been home since last summer."
Ginny wanted to go on a scouting mission to Lover Boy's house to plan, but Harry rejected that idea, explaining that that was an impossibility due to safety concerns. He proposed to turn the room of requirement into Lover Boy's house and all three witches agreed.
"Okay, this could work. I'll make his house with flowers, candlelight, and music, but I don't know what kind of music he likes," Harry admitted, thinking about the fact that neither he nor Draco had ever asked the room to play music for them and they had never danced together. But then Harry was a horrible dancer, so he didn't fancy falling on his face in front of his boyfriend.
"Well with a pureblood teenager, you could either go wizard rock or classic-pureblood-old-wizard music. It's so awful it makes my ears bleed," Ginny said, cupping her ears at the end to demonstrate how awful old pureblood music was.
"Don't be silly, my dad and I listen to pureblood operas all the time and our ears never bleed. They're quite nice, actually," Luna said.
"Okay, Luna, you can research pureblood operas and report back to us on which one sounds the most romantic and will be the easiest to dance to. Ginny, you do the same with wizard rock. And Harry, you find out whether Lover Boy fancies opera or rock," Hermione ordered.
Ginny and Luna agreed.
"I can find out what kind of music he likes, but dancing? I can't dance Hermione, you know this. You saw me trip over Pavarti's feet and make a bumbling fool out of myself. I can't do that when I'm supposed to be proposing. I want this day to be magical, not awful," Harry protested.
"Night," Ginny chimed in.
"Harry, it won't be awful, really. We'll pick a song and teach you how to dance. He's going to want to have at least one dance with you; think of it as practice for the wedding," Hermione said.
"Pureblood custom does dictate that there should be a dance before the big question. Normally it's a formal ball where all the pureblood wizards and witches in the land are invited, but failing that, there should at least be one dance," Luna said, supporting Hermione.
The three witches were insistent, so Harry eventually caved. "Okay, yeah, one dance," he said, trying to convince himself a dance would be okay, but he was turning a bit green at the thought. What if Draco expected him to be a good dancer? What if Draco wanted a partner on his arm at pureblood formal balls all the time? What if he couldn't do it and let Draco down?
"That's the spirit!" Luna exclaimed, as if Harry had joyfully agreed.
"Why do you look so green, Harry?" Hermione asked concerned.
"I don't think I have time to learn a dance. I'm bloody awful at dancing and I have less than three weeks before I need to propose," Harry replied.
"Three weeks? Why so soon?" Ginny asked curiously.
"Something is happening in three weeks and I need to propose before then," Harry answered cryptically.
"That is cutting it a bit tight, but if I get you a charm to ward off the dabberblimps, then you'll be alright," Luna said.
"Well it's tight, but you'll just have to work extra hard and get it down. If you can be graceful on the Quidditch pitch, you can be graceful on the dance floor," Ginny said with determination.
"And if I'm not ready, I can always cut the dance out and just do the rest of the proposal," Harry acquiesced.
"That won't be necessary. Just think how wonderful it'll be when you sweep Lover Boy off his feet in your first dance," Luna said dreamily.
"Actually, it might be better if Lover Boy led in the dance," Hermione said thoughtfully. "Harry, no offense, but you're a right awful dancer. Maybe that's because you're meant to follow, not to lead."
"No offense taken," Harry reassured his friend. "Yeah, I never really felt right leading Pavarti in that dance. I would feel better if he takes charge and leads me."
"Yes, I think Harry should let Lover Boy be dominant on the dance floor; I know he's got the moves," Luna said, picturing a sexy, but faceless Lover Boy twirling Harry around on the dance floor.
"Yeah, I think that'll work, but how are you going to teach me to dance if he's not there and he's leading?" Harry asked.
"We'll just have to teach you a dance he already knows," Hermione answered.
"There are several standard pureblood dances that will work. I know three popular ones for operas," Luna said.
"Yeah, popular in the thirteen hundreds," Ginny replied. "I know dozens of dance moves for popular modern wizard rock songs."
"Well you both can work on that and get back to us and Harry will figure out what kind of music Lover Boy would prefer and then we'll start dance lessons," Hermione concluded. "But Ginny, what did you mean when you said night?"
"Huh?" Ginny asked, not remembering what Hermione was talking about.
"Harry said something about doing this proposal in the day, and you corrected him and said night," Hermione clarified.
"Oh that; pureblood proposals are traditionally done in the evening. There's a dinner, then a ball, then a starlight proposal," Ginny answered.
"That sounds wonderful," Harry said dreamily, just picturing Draco surrounded by stars. They had spent the evening together several times and even a few nights, but they had never gone outside to look at the stars; the thought had never occurred to him, since they were still inside the castle.
"So we have our plan," Hermione concluded, clapping her hands with a smile on her face.
"Oh, but what I really need help with is what to say. I need a speech that will make him say yes," Harry said, thinking that coming up with the right speech would be even harder than learning to dance.
Hermione suggested finding a poem, but Luna didn't think Lover Boy was into poetry and Harry had no indication that Luna was wrong. Ginny wondered where Luna was getting her information and Luna cited the nargles. Then Hermione suggested Harry confess his undying love, but Harry had already tried that the first time, so he shot it down.
"Harry, are you worried he'll say no, if you don't have the right words?" Hermione asked.
"Well I don't think he'll say no, but I think he'll say yes for the wrong reasons," Harry admitted.
"Because you're the boy who lived and not because you're the boy who loves him?" Ginny asked.
That wasn't quite it, but it was close enough, so Harry nodded; he couldn't tell Ginny and Luna about the babies.
"Oh Harry, I don't think that's it at all. He'd be much happier if you weren't the boy who lived; if you were just Harry," Luna said.
"Thanks Luna," Harry replied with a grin. Somehow Luna always knew the right thing to say to cheer him up.
"Alright, so we'll have to write the perfect speech. Harry, you brainstorm all of the things you love about him, the things you've done together, and the things you want for your future together. Don't do it now, just get back to me on it," Hermione said, knowing that this would be too much information to divulge in front of Ginny and Luna. "Once you have your list, I'll help you with a speech."
"It sounds like everything is planned out and we all have our assignments," Luna concluded.
The others agreed and the meeting broke apart, so that they could each complete their assignment. The three girls left, while Harry stayed there and called Dobby to ask for details on Draco's home and music tastes. Dobby, apologizing incessantly, informed Harry that Dobby didn't know what type of music Draco preferred and that Narcissa would be likely to know. Then there was a very long winded conversation in which Dobby tried to describe the Malfoy Manor. Eventually Harry decided that it would be easier, and better for his sanity, if they left the room of requirement and Dobby asked the room to make Malfoy Manor. And that is exactly what they did.
Harry re-entered the room of requirement after Dobby to find a beautiful well-manicured lawn bordered with a tall hedge. They walked further in and saw more of the sprawling estate and a large ornate manor with very pointy rooftops. There were a few peacocks pecking at the grass and a rose garden off to one side. They went inside the house, which was filled with marble, gold, numerous portrait frames, and way too many ornate carvings. Dobby led Harry upstairs to Draco's bedroom, which featured a giant four poster bed with dark red curtains and matching blanket.
"Are you sure this is Draco's bedroom? I don't think he likes red," Harry said.
"Yes, sir. This is the way Draco Malfoy, sir's, bedroom looked sir, back when I was a Malfoy house elf," Dobby answered.
"Has he always had a red blanket?" Harry wondered.
"No, sir. The blanket was covered in black dragons when Draco Malfoy, sir, was a child, sir. The curtains were black too, sir. The dragons had the most sinister look on their faces as they moved about the comforter, sir, like the dragons were going to eat Dobby, sir. Dobby was always frightened, sir, because of the bed stories Lucius Malfoy, sir, would tell about dragons eating house elves, sir."
"That's awful Dobby."
"It is part of nature, sir."
"When did the blankets change to red, Dobby?" Harry asked.
Dobby informed Harry that Draco had started liking red around the age of twelve.
"Oh…And has it always been this bed? It looks ancient," Harry said, examining the carvings in the dark wood. He thought they would be dragons, to match the childhood bed set, but they were scenes of a river running through a forest and forest animals. The carvings were animated and the animals galloped, trotted, and hopped, while the river flowed, and the boughs bent in the wind.
"Yes, sir. This bed has been in the Malfoy family for generations, sir."
Harry looked around and took in the nightstand, a trunk, two dressers, armoire, bookshelf, and large mirror all in the same wood and style as the bed, with the same moving forest carvings. There was a Quidditch poster on the wall and an older model Nimbus broom in the corner, as well as an oil painting of a fire-breathing dragon on the opposite wall. There was also a black stuffed dragon on the nightstand, next to a crystal water pitcher, decorated with a gold inlayed M. Then there was a marble fireplace, with a pair of gold candlesticks on top, and a matching deep red rug. The room looked old and ancient, but also warm and childlike at the same time.
Harry went over to the chest and opened it to find toys, instead of the school robes he thought he would find. The chest must have had a wizard-space charm on it, because it was clearly much bigger on the inside than the space it took up on the outside. It was completely filled with toys and he spent a good chunk of time looking through all of the toys for proposal ideas. But it was getting late, he still had homework to do, and he wasn't getting any ideas from the toys, so he moved on.
Next Harry went over to Draco's bookshelf. He looked through the titles and even stopped and read several of the shorter children's stories. He spent so much time reading the children's books that it was late now and he still hadn't gotten any inspiration from the room, so he had Dobby lead him outside to the rose garden.
The garden was on the side of the house. There was a beautiful gazebo in the middle, with gorgeous flowers trailing on vines up to the top of the structure, but it was still open enough to see the sky. There was a small table with two chairs inside the gazebo, which he sat down at and looked up into the roof of the room of requirement to see a sky full of stars. He looked out onto the garden and saw a large magnolia tree in bloom with large pink flowers. Underneath the tree was row after row of blooming rose bushes.
"This is perfect," Harry whispered.
Author's Note: The proposal is starting to come together. The next chapter will be an important one where Draco's scheming comes back to bite him and Ron finally gets the chance to redeem himself.