Title: Nothing Like the Sun
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.
Pairing: Harry/Draco (main), Harry/Ginny and Harry/OCs (background).
Warnings: Heavy angst, body image issues, references to canonical child abuse, promiscuity
Summary: Harry finally realizes that he has trouble keeping lovers both because of his looks and because he isn't very good at sex. He does what he can to alter that, but it seems he's never going to be good enough to satisfy a wizard lover. When Draco Malfoy offers, Harry thinks a casual relationship with him might be the solution to his problems. But he should have remembered one thing: when it comes to Harry, Malfoy has a problem staying casual.
Author's Notes: The title is taken from the first line of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130. This story is going to be irregularly updated whenever I finish a chapter, but will probably not be very long in terms of total number of chapters.
Nothing Like the Sun
"Because you hurt me when you top, and you lie there like a dead fish when you bottom."
Harry half-closed his eyes. Then he snapped them open again. He had asked Frank to be open with him, to be, well, frank, and he couldn't hide from the truth now.
He'd come home from the Ministry that day to find Frank packing his trunks. Harry had yelled, more about Frank's apparent intention to creep out the door without telling him than because Frank was breaking up with him. After losing four other lovers the same way, Harry was getting resigned to it.
And that had led into asking why Frank was leaving, and Frank had offered to tell him.
"I can't stand it anymore," Frank ranted, pacing back and forth across Harry's kitchen. It was a small, comfortable room, with black and white tiles on the floor and the walls. At the moment, though, with Harry's pulse pounding dully in his ears, it felt too hot. "You're no good at sex, Harry. I'm sorry to hurt you, but that's the way it is." He spun around again to face Harry, his breath fast, and added, "And that scar on your hand, and those nightmares. I'm sorry." He was saying that only for form's sake, Harry knew, staring into Frank's handsome face. "I can't do this anymore."
But that last part was the truth.
Harry wrapped his arms around himself. Then he flinched when he saw Frank's gaze, and pulled them away. Frank disliked that, too, the way Harry got all defensive when someone said something ordinary. He was as protective of Harry when it came to the crazy fans as Harry could have wished, but he didn't think Harry should curl up like someone had stepped on him just because he got insulted.
Harry had tried, once, to tell him about the Dursleys. And Frank had shaken his head, not refusing to listen, but refusing to let it matter.
"They're in the past," he had said, his hands clamping down on Harry's shoulders and pulling him close enough that he could gaze sternly into Harry's face. "They can't hurt you now. They could never find you in the middle of the wizarding world. You get that? You understand that? There's no way."
And Harry had said, "Sure," and gone on having the nightmares and trying to talk with the Healers that Hermione had suggested he see, but they couldn't do anything. And Harry couldn't see a doctor in the Muggle world. They were missing half the context, the same way the Healers were.
"That scar on my hand?" Harry finally asked, staring down at the words scratched on the back of his hand. I must not tell lies.
"It's a scar from a Blood Quill," Frank snapped. "I know it is."
Harry looked at him, and found a spark of temper under the ashes of his resignation, after all. "And you think I used it on myself?" he spat. "Of my own free will? That's incredibly generous of you, Frank, it really is."
Frank shook his head and raked his fingers through his hair. "I know that someone used it on you," he said. "Or made you use it. You can't deny that it's your own handwriting, Harry."
Harry opened his mouth, shut it again, and finally just grunted. Of course it was his own handwriting. And of course he couldn't tell Frank the exact circumstances. It was the past, again, and Frank would have just told him to get over it, the way he had told Harry to get over the Dursleys.
But Harry hadn't ever seen Frank look at Harry's hand the way he did now, his eyes wide and shadowed. Disgust was written there, and contempt.
Harry tucked his hand close to him before he thought about it. No one had done that before. But then, no one had ever told him he sucked at sex before, either. Frank was—telling him the reasons why he was breaking up with him.
Maybe other people broke up with me for the same reasons.
And Ginny had hinted something about the nightmares, hadn't she? And Jacquelyn had grimaced whenever Harry wanted to have sex that wasn't oral sex. And Karl, whom Harry had had to seduce slowly because neither of them had ever been with a man before, had recoiled the first time he got a glimpse of Harry completely naked.
Frank, his thoughts running in tandem with Harry's the way they always did, nodded vigorously, his uncut black hair flapping into his eyes. Harry watched him with a thick ache in the center of his chest. It didn't feel like he was having a heart attack, he thought, just like someone was drilling around his heart.
"That's it," Frank whispered. "You're so skinny. You have all those scars." He hesitated, then continued, "Your eyes are beautiful, Harry, and so is your laugh. And you have enough muscles to content anyone. But the rest of you…" His mouth firmed. "And no one ever taught you to be any good at sex, that's certain."
Harry licked his lips, and said, "You were only the third man I'd ever been with. You know that."
Frank curled his hand and flung it away from him. "Sure," he said. "But you never told me that no one had ever taught you not to hurt someone. And you never told me that you'd lie there under me with your eyes closed and your breath held until I'm done. And God forbid that you come from someone inside you."
Harry's face was doing more than burning now; it felt as if it was going to burn him up. He clapped his hands to his cheeks and turned away towards the bedroom.
Frank stepped in front of him. He had blue eyes, blazing blue, the color of a depthless sky, and he put out a hand and shook Harry hard enough to make Harry wince back from him.
"Oh, no," Frank said softly. "You told me that you wanted honesty, and you're getting it. Don't you dare run away now."
So Harry had to stand there while Frank took a critical step back and watched him as if he was evaluating him for purchase. Then he shook his head.
"The face is nice," Frank conceded. "Very nice. But you have too many marks that you haven't tried to erase. The scar on your face, I can understand. You're known by that bloody lightning bolt, and there's no reason to give up something that could attract more people. And I don't even know if dittany and so on work on curse scars, anyway.
"But the rest." He seized and rattled Harry's right hand, where the words from Umbridge's Blood Quill were, and then pressed his hand against his chest, where the locket had burned Harry during the war. "You don't care about anything at all. Not the way you look, not the way seeing those scars is going to affect someone."
Harry found words for his dry throat. "I'm an Auror. You knew when you started sleeping with me that I was going to carry some scars—"
"But scars like that can be sexy," Frank said, and his eyes fell on the words on Harry's right hand again. He dropped the hand as though it had burned him and turned his back, stalking towards the far side of the kitchen. He was packing his trunk with the silverware he had brought with him, back when he moved in, months ago, Harry realized. That made him want to laugh or spit, but he didn't have enough saliva in his mouth for either. "Not scars from the war."
"I don't understand what the difference is." Harry heard his voice come out all meek and diffident, and Frank must have heard the same thing, because he turned to Harry with his lip curled back and his hands clenching around the handles of his knives.
"You have no fire," Frank whispered. "No spirit. I thought you did, because of the way you stood up for the right of house-elves, but you really have none, do you? Nothing that you do with other humans matters to you."
Harry shook his head, feeling himself blush again. "You don't want me to hide, and you don't want me to tell the truth," he said. "Because I really don't understand what the difference is between scars from the war and scars from the Aurors."
Frank closed his eyes. "You have the scars of abuse," he whispered. "You scream in your sleep as if you were terrified."
"I was bloody terrified," Harry said, startled into the simple truth. He'd thought he'd told Frank that, if not all the details of what Voldemort had done during things like the ritual in the graveyard. "Did you think I wouldn't be? I was a fourteen-year-old kid through some of it. And even younger, sometimes."
Frank glanced back at him, his eyes gone dark in a way that Harry had never seen them before, in a way that made him wonder what kind of hauntings Frank himself had. Maybe there was more reason than Harry had thought for him acting like he did.
None of which made hearing the truth about why he was leaving Harry any more comfortable.
"When you were a kid, I can understand," Frank whispered. "But you had the chance to get rid of those scars later. The choice. Keep the ones that come from you standing up to your enemies, fine, but why would you want to keep the things that remind you of when people hurt you and you couldn't fight back?"
Harry rubbed the words on the back of his hand, and didn't say a word. In truth, he had never thought of it, because the scars didn't bother him and he only rolled his eyes at the stories in the papers that talked about them. But he knew Frank would ask him why he had never thought of it, and those words would turn into some deep, profound truth about him, some truth that Harry didn't want to hear.
"I don't want to be the means of someone hiding from themselves," Frank said, and snapped the lid of his trunk shut. "But I also didn't want to hurt you. So I wouldn't have told you this if you hadn't asked." He turned towards Harry again and folded his arms, hard enough to make his sleeves spasm around them and fall to his sides. "Just remember that, that you were the one who asked me."
Harry licked his dry lips. "I'll always remember that," he whispered. "I needed to know why you were leaving."
Frank rolled his eyes. "Because you suck at sex, and you're not as attractive as I thought you were, and you keep hiding from the past," he said, and picked up the trunk with a wave of his wand. "Because you aren't enough of a wizard for me. You're too Muggle. Potions and Mind-Healers are options, but you didn't think about them." He stepped neatly past Harry and walked out the door, calling back over his shoulder, "I'm sorry, but maybe you should look into Muggle methods if you're so unwilling to try the magical ones."
Harry stood there with his head bowed into his chest and his arms folded, trying to keep what he was feeling inside. But he couldn't, and after the door had shut behind Frank and he was safe from exposing his weakness to anyone else, he sat down in a chair and scrubbed at his eyes.
He didn't want to think that it was true. He would have given a lot to keep it from being true.
He couldn't escape the memory of the way Ginny had refused to talk about his nightmares. The way Karl had flinched when he looked at Harry. And how Jacquelyn had closed her eyes whenever Harry prepared to enter her. Had he hurt her?
Yeah. He probably had.
And that meant he needed to do something.
"I don't think I understand what you want." The Healer frowned at Harry and shook her head, her hand still resting on the vial of potion she'd brought into the room with her. "You want to gain weight? There's no potion that does that, purely. Any potion that affects the body, and which we dispense, has to accomplish more than one purpose, and that purpose has to do with health."
Harry grimaced and swung his legs on the edge of the bed he was sitting on. The rooms that St. Mungo's Healers saw patients in-at least, patients who weren't permanent residents-were bright and cold and comfortless, with blue walls and only a few pieces of furniture. Then again, Harry supposed the few Muggle doctors he had been to weren't much better.
I have to let her know.
Harry didn't really want to-enough people had flinched and turned away from the truth about him-but at least the Healer had probably seen cases like this before. He raised his eyes to hers and said, "I was malnourished as a child. I'm tired of looking the way I do, all scrawny and skinny. Do you have a potion that can help the effects of that?"
The Healer flushed, looking at him. "But who would-" She broke off in some confusion, probably at Harry's glare, or maybe because she had just remembered that he was raised by Muggles. She bowed her head, and nodded. "I have something that might work," she said, and withdrew, leaving Harry with his fingers clenched into the thin sheet on the bed.
I don't want to tell people. I want to be able to take the bloody potion and walk away.
But Harry took a deep breath and restrained himself. He was going to plan, he had to plan, if he ever wanted to be different, to look different, to act like the kind of person who could keep a lover. Just plunging ahead without a plan had got him all those scars in the war, and had made him think that he could keep going forever since then. He had to calm down and let his plans take the time they took.
The Healer came back with a squat stone bottle that made a bubbling sound. She set it down on the small metal table in front of her and peered earnestly at Harry. He peered back, and that was enough to make her turn to the potion, petting the bottle distractedly.
"This can't repair all the effects of childhood malnutrition," the Healer said. "You're too old for that."
Harry nodded in silent resignation. He should have known that.
"But," the Healer said, "it will make you less skinny and make you better able to absorb nutrition from the food you do get now. And it might reverse some of the effects of what happened to you if you take it long enough."
"Well?" Harry asked, as the silence lengthened. "Is there something else? Is it addictive?"
"What? Oh, no!" The Healer looked up with moist eyes. "Not that, not at all. I was just wishing-that someone could have done something in time."
"No one did," Harry said, and seized the potion from her while she was still wincing. "How many times a day for this potion? And how much?"
"Three drops on the tongue, just like Veritaserum." The Healer still gazed at him with her eyes watering, and Harry turned away. "Take it no more than once a day, and before the heaviest meal you'll eat that day."
Harry nodded shortly. He was going to eat lunch soon, and he would make sure to eat a lot and take the potion right before. He wanted to get this started as soon as possible.
He'd thought he would get away without further interaction, but he should have known better. Stilling himself with his hand on the door, Harry turned back towards the Healer and stared at her. "Yeah?"
"I wish," the Healer said, and turned away herself.
Harry relaxed as he walked out. It seemed the Healer had understood, herself, how useless it was to continue the conversation, and that increased the likelihood that she wouldn't tell anyone else.
The potion was a bright aqua and tasted like honey gone sour, but Harry didn't care. He was willing to do anything if it meant that he could settle into a permanent bond in the end. He had thought he would have that with Frank, who wanted so much for him to be strong, who was always honest, who had helped Harry overcome some other challenges, like Aurors in his Department who were jealous of him.
But if it wasn't to be with Frank, it would be with someone else. Harry refused to accept anything less.
"The reason a glamour is difficult," Magical Theorist Alcibiades said, leaning forwards so that his long brown hair fell into his eyes, "is not the inherent power of the spell. It is the difficulty of learning what your body looks like in order to match the glamour to it. It should be easy to use one on the back of your hand, you think? But how often do you look at the back of your hand?"
"Not often," Harry had to admit. He leaned back, balancing on the stool that Alcibiades insisted was the most comfortable sort of seat one could have while learning glamours. Harry didn't think it was, but Alcibiades was the expert and he wasn't. At least it had advantages over the hard seats that the Aurors had trained him on.
"Exactly." Alcibiades nodded, and this time his hair flopped around him like a horse's mane. Some of the people in the portraits behind him echoed the gesture. Harry had never seen a room so crowded with portraits; in between the frames where there wasn't room for more, photographs had been hung. Wizards and witches in rich robes, in tatters, in rooms, in landscapes, on the edges of oceans, craned their necks to watch the lesson. "So you have to spend time becoming familiar with your body so you can change it."
Harry frowned. "I don't have to think more about the image that I want to achieve?"
"You need to think about both," Alcibiades said, and held up one long, thin finger, tracing it around in front of him. He wore mauve robes, the only wizard Harry had ever met besides Dumbledore who did so. "So you become familiar with the image that you want to project, and the image that's there. Think about actors. They need to know both what they normally act like and what they want to act like in a play, don't you think?"
Harry thought about that, and nodded. "All right. So how do I begin?"
"Look at your hands," Alcibiades said. "Both of them," he added, as Harry started to lift the scarred right hand towards his eyes. "You need to match the glamour to make sure that your illusory hand doesn't look too different from the one you leave unchanged."
Harry was starting to think that there wasn't much about himself that he would want to leave unchanged, but he obediently lifted the hands beside each other, right and left, and held them out in front of him. He thought he heard one of the portraits mutter something about "too skinny." Harry tried not to flinch. Of course he was. He was here, and taking the Healer's potions, to try and learn not to be.
The thick scarring on his right hand was the most visible difference. Harry studied the curves of his letters and the sloppy way he crossed his t's, which Snape had always complained about. He noticed the depth of the letters, and hid another flinch. No wonder Frank had left. Harry hadn't paid much attention to the scar since the end of the war, so used to it that it was part of him, but that just meant he had never noticed how ugly it was.
"Don't think about ugliness," Alcibiades murmured. Harry started and lifted his head. The magical theorist was watching him, legs crossed beneath him on his own stool, mauve robes stirring slightly around him with his breath. "I know you are because of the expression on your face," he added. "I'm not a Legilimens. But you need to see what's there, to remember what it is, and to duplicate it, whether it's beautiful or not."
Harry looked at his hands again. So the skin was a medium brown tan, with really pale fingernails. He studied them until he thought he could pick out the exact shade of his skin from a bunch of color samples, and until he knew that he could echo the precise height of the half-moons visible on his nails.
Then he began on the pattern of the hair, and the way that the letters of the word lies curved around some of the veins, and the hands became a maze of objects and colors. His breathing slowed. He forgot, gently, about the way the scars had terrified Frank. He forgot about the other scars he carried on his body, and how long it would take him to match them and thus become the anonymous, unscathed person that he wanted to be.
"Good," Alcibiades whispered, a timeless time later. "Now, lift your wand and swish it to the side-the left, only-and whisper the incantation Integumentum Manus."
Harry thought he would have stumbled on the long first word of the incantation normally, since he still wasn't good at Latin, but that thought was part of the dream-world that he had left behind by concentrating so hard on his hands. He lifted his wand and moved it in the swish and flick Alcibiades had talked about, at the same time concentrating as hard as he could on envisioning his right hand looking like his left one.
The words of the scar blurred and disappeared. Harry had a right hand with exactly the same covering of hair and shades and fingernails as his left one.
"Good," Alcibiades murmured. "Later, we will talk about varying the glamour so that the hair on your hands does not look exactly alike. But this is very good for a first effort."
Harry nodded his thanks, not raising his eyes from the glamour that concealed his stupid scar. He couldn't turn away from the sight of himself looking normal, for once. He would have to change some things, and it would be a long time before he was an expert, but...
He imagined himself waving his wand a few times and concealing every single scar, the ones that marked him as part of the war and the ones that marked him as an Auror. Then he would hide his skinniness, and the weird way his hair looked, and maybe even the color of his eyes. If it was his eyes that were attracting people to him who didn't really want to be with him, the way Frank had implied, then he should dim them to ensure that those people would see something else.
Harry looked up. He had given Alcibiades permission to call him that, when the first lesson began, because if nothing else Alcibiades would be seeing parts of him naked as he taught Harry to conceal the more intimate scars.
"Use this because you need to," Alcibiades said, almost leaning off his stool to place a gentle hand on Harry's wrist. "Not because someone else tells you to."
Harry snorted a little and looked back at his wrist. So knobby. Once he had mastered the glamour to conceal that, too, he knew he would use it all the time.
"I will," he said.
Alcibiades sighed, and let him go.
Harry stood in front of the entrance to the nondescript building for long seconds, staring at it. It wasn't anything very special or important. Flashing lights blared out of it, and lots of music-well, Harry thought some of it was music and some of it was dancers screaming in delight and anger-and there was a steady stream of people going in, a trickle coming out.
This was a Muggle club, the testing ground Harry had decided to come to when his glamours were good enough that he could conceal the most "magical" scars, the one on the back of his hand and the lightning bolt scar. He had added minor ones to his hair, too. It still looked odd, or so Harry thought Alcibiades would have said, but it was good enough to pass as one of the "normal" things that Muggles did to their hair.
He was going to go in there and practice at sex until he got good at it.
Well, he was going to go to lots of clubs and practice until he got good at it. There was no chance that he would go unnoticed if he tried to do that in the wizarding world, so he would do it here. Again and again, until he was good enough to find and keep a partner.
But his feet didn't want to move. Harry bit his lip and ruffled a hand through his half-spiky, half-flat hair again. He still wanted what he had thought he had with Frank, a permanent partnership, what he had wanted with Ginny and Jacquelyn and Karl and Andy-
He flinched from the thought of Andy, and lowered his head. Well, he had a decision to make. Either he stood here and then eventually went home and potentially frightened his perfect partner away later because he was terrible at fucking, or he went in there and let a few people fuck him and got good at it for his partner when he found them.
Harry still didn't know who that partner would be. But the thought of them was enough to make his feet move, to carry him forwards and into the lights and noise.
And when he found his mouth filled with a cock later that night, he managed not to use his teeth and to relax his throat, to let the Muggle man go deep. He moaned when he came. Harry swallowed it, feeling the sharp tingle of the charms he'd cast on himself, mouth and cock and arse, to prevent the transfer of any diseases.
One moan didn't mean a lot. Neither did the bleary way the man peered at Harry and patted his cheek before stumbling away. But it was better than the last few times Frank had reacted when Harry tried to suck him. That had to mean something, didn't it? Maybe that he fucked better when he looked different.
Harry stood up, closed his eyes for a few seconds, cast one more Cleaning Charm on his teeth, and went to find someone else to practice on.
"I just can't. I...can't."
Harry leaned against the wall of his bedroom, a small place that he had added a larger bed to and decorated with green and white in the last year, and breathed shallowly. He told himself firmly that he wasn't really sick to his stomach. He wasn't sick at all. He wasn't going to vomit. He just felt like he was.
He opened his eyes and watched as Veronica Tobley tugged her robes on haphazardly, raking her fingers through her long black hair. She caught Harry's glance and looked rapidly away, her own eyes shut.
"Is it the scars?" Harry asked dully. Veronica had persuaded him to remove the glamours the second time they were in bed together, saying she wanted to see the real him. Harry had complied, wildly glad and with a taste like freedom in his mouth. Yes, he could keep the glamours up much more easily now than he had been able to the first time he was practicing with Alcibiades, but he had wanted someone who wanted him for himself.
He had pretended not to notice when Veronica flinched when her hand brushed against the scar along his throat, where a great snake had bitten him shortly before he broke up with Karl. For some reason, that was the one that scared her. Well, she stared at the lightning bolt one, too, but Harry thought the expression in her eyes when she did that was awe, and not fear.
"It's the nightmares," Veronica said, and a great sob worked its way up her throat. Harry blinked at her. Veronica had turned her back to him and stood with her head in her hands, forcing down more sobs before she could speak. "I can't-oh, Harry, this sounds terrible, but I can't deal with the things that you talk about in your sleep."
"Voldemort?" Harry asked, and she swung around on him, jumping half a meter in the air as she did so.
"How can you just say the name?" she whispered. "Even now, how can you do that?"
"He's dead," Harry said helplessly. He wasn't sure what expression was on her face now as she stared back at him, but he knew it wasn't good.
"Yes, but he was terrible." Veronica snatched up her wand and shook her head, then paused to cast a charm that would smooth her hair down. "And you're part of the world that held him, as powerful as Dumbledore, because he was the only other one who would say that name."
"My friends say it too," Harry said, but it came out as a mumble. Veronica had planted her hands on her hips, the way she did when she thought he was being deliberately stupid, and Harry knew he had lost. Again.
"Well, I wasn't going to say it," Veronica snapped, "because you seemed so anxious about it, and I think it's mean. But your performance isn't the best, Harry. You hold back like I'm fragile, and then you slam it in, and it's just-not-" She shut her eyes, revealing weariness that made Harry wonder how many sleepless nights she'd fretted away beside him. "It doesn't work," she finally finished, weakly.
Harry bowed his head. He heard Veronica come near him as if she was going to touch his arm, but he shrank back, and Veronica hesitated, then left. Harry waited to hear the light tread of her footsteps on the stairs before he opened his eyes and held his arms out in front of him. They were shaking.
Well. That was that.
Hermione would probably urge him to get back out there, to date someone else. She had said that when he broke up with Frank, and she had been pleased when he found Veronica at a Ministry gathering. Veronica had been leaning against a wall by herself, and had made a sarcastic remark about the color of the Minister's robes when Harry joined her. Harry had laughed, and made a joke back. By the end of the night, they'd made each other laugh several times and Harry had bought her a drink. He had hoped this one might work out.
Maybe it was weak, maybe it was stupid, but Harry had made every adjustment he could think of in the last year to make himself better, and it still hadn't worked. He had practiced sex with Muggles until he'd probably slept with a hundred people, but the only thing he was really good at was oral sex. He could make a man or a woman come with his mouth.
Just not with the rest of my body.
The glamours were always over his scars. The potions the Healers had given him had gained him some of the muscle mass that should have been his, but never the height. Harry had tried not to be disappointed by that.
And he had tried to find a combination of potions and spells that would soothe the nightmares and the stupid way he still tended to react to some things, like being shut in a small dark space. He had tried to talk to Mind-Healers, too, but he couldn't find one who felt comfortable to him, like they were talking to a person instead of the Boy-Who-Lived or someone broken and traumatized beyond repair.
None of it was enough.
And Harry was just tired of it all. If all the changes he could think of, and all the advice he could take, wasn't working, then he thought-
I reckon it's Muggles. Not wizards.
No. He couldn't date another wizard, or witch. He couldn't go through the pain of this kind of rejection again, from someone who actually knew what he was. He felt the same deep, tearing agony that he would if Ron or Hermione had suddenly decided they didn't want to be his friend.
He knew that wasn't because of Veronica, so much as at the idea of losing all chance of a permanent partner to settle down with, but that didn't matter. It was so bad, so intense, that he ended up staggering to the toilet and vomiting after all. Then he slid down the wall and hunched into himself, his arms tucked around his stomach.
This was the end of dating in the wizarding world. He would figure out some way of handling his needs among the Muggles.
The Daily Prophet and half of Harry's co-workers didn't accept it, of course.
Harry had never realized how much pleasure some of the people around him took in betting on his dates, whether they would last long, whether he would stay with this person, whether they would be with a man or a woman. They kept stopping by his cubicle and urging him to give it just "one more try." They had a cousin who was perfect, a sister who was single, a nephew who was dying to meet the Boy-Who-Lived...
But that was it, Harry noticed. They always offered up someone else as the sacrifice to Harry's mixture of fame and ugliness. They never wanted to date him themselves, even when they were single and let their eyes linger on him when they thought he wasn't looking. They knew him too well.
And the Daily Prophet reporters took to following him around, looking for signs of a secret lover, a rendezvous, partners that he spent too much time with. Hermione and Ron and the rest of the Weasleys could ignore the articles, luckily, especially the ones that implied Harry was sleeping with all his friends in turn. But Harry curtailed his visits to the Muggle world for a little while, until the whispering began to die down. The last thing he needed was some enterprising reporter following him and recognizing him in his Muggle guise, flattened hair and brown eyes and scarless skin and all.
At last it began to pass off. There just wasn't anyone who cared much anymore, outside of Harry's friends, and they accepted his reasons for not dating. Reluctantly, but when Hermione saw what happened to his face when she pushed, she stopped. And none of the others was as persistent.
Harry began to breathe again as the months passed and no one showed any sign of knowing that he went to Muggle clubs regularly. All he ever did there was give blowjobs or lick a woman to orgasm, but that would have been enough to start speculation, if it became known.
Not that it had been, he slowly came to accept. Not that it would.
He was a celebrity and people were interested in his dating life for that reason, but no one except his best friends and adopted family knew who he really was. So no one was that interested in looking that far beneath the surface. They wanted the delicious gossip, the stories, but not a story that didn't have an end and was as disappointing as the truth.
So Harry settled into a life that was far from the one he wanted, but was more comfortable. And he had a certain degree of pride in how far he had come in mastering the difficult glamour magic, and how good he was with his mouth, if not any other part of his body. It had worked out, sort of.
He wasn't happy, he would never be without someone of his own, permanently, but he was content.
Trust Draco Malfoy to come along and ruin it all.