A/N: Beta'd by the ever speedy, and cheerleader-y Shadows.
A HUGE thank-you to everyone who has read and followed this story, and an even bigger one to the 15 of you who reviewed regularly, you know who you are! xx Special mention to IchigoGalaxy for inspiring the title of Harry's biography. This has been a wonderfully fun story to write, I hope you all enjoy this final installment
Draco shut the door to his hotel room with a sharp snap and huffed as he slumped against it, his head thudding against the wood. He felt completely disheartened as he replayed the last few moments in his head.
Harry had been enthusiastically kissing him back in the lift when they were interrupted by the bong of the bell to indicate they had arrived at the right floor. Harry had pulled away abruptly, his eyes wide and wary and his breath short. He'd taken several stumbling steps back out into the corridor, but his hand was linked with Draco's so he was pulled along too.
Then something had gone wrong. Draco had taken his hand back to retrieve Harry's room key, he passed it to Harry whose expression was suddenly even more anxious; he snatched the key from Draco's palm and without looking in his direction stammered, "Goodnight then."
"Goodnight?" Draco repeated blankly, as Harry's door had closed in his face.
"Fuck," Draco grumbled, standing upright and throwing his coat and scarf at the hat stand in temper. He was alone in his room. He had been so sure that Harry was on the same page as him: just waiting for the work to be finished so they could behave like normal twenty-three-year-olds and shag their brains out.
Draco had literally had the best day of his life so far; all the things he had been concerned about for the last three months were sorted. He had a way out of the Prophet, so he wouldn't be tarred with the Sententia brush. He'd finished writing his first book, which was no small achievement in itself, and he was very proud and quite confident that it would do well. On top of all that, his half-meant and poorly enforced rules for his conduct around Harry were no longer valid…perfect. Until then he had assumed that booking Harry's room was a mere formality, because it seemed as though Harry was done experimenting.
Thankfully, before that morbidly depressing thought could worm its way too deeply, there was a soft knock on the door. Draco spun around, surely no staff member would come calling at this hour, which meant it could only be–
"Draco?" Harry's voice asked.
Draco pulled the door open at once and Harry grinned nervously at him. "Sorry about that," Harry said, gesturing with a thumb towards his room.
"That?" Draco repeated, aiming for coolly unaffected – being turned down was bad enough, he didn't need Harry to know how much it had disappointed him.
"Me, panicking," Harry clarified. Then he drew a deep breath and seemed to force himself to look into Draco's face. His eyes caught the light coming from Draco's room and it made them look greener than usual, there were spots of colour high on his cheeks that matched the pinkness of his bottom lip. Draco didn't know if that was from their moment in the lift or Harry worrying it with his teeth. He was still staring at Harry's mouth when he began to speak.
"I know you told me not to make a big deal about it," he said haltingly. "Remember, that night? The first time you kissed me?"
Draco felt a little half smile crook his lips at this admission; of course he remembered, he'd told Harry to shag whoever he wanted to, not to overthink it. Draco's smile grew, perhaps he hadn't been rejected after all.
Harry continued with an almost pained expression. "But I can't help it, to me it is pretty important, and it might just be sex to you, but I don't want this to be it–" he flipped his hand between them as his words began to tumble out. "And I know, the press would go mad, and you're married, and that's going to be weird, but I'm sure we can figure something out, I mean you don't need her money now, right?"
"Er..." Draco began, but Harry cut him off.
"– Exactly, so I'm just saying that I'd kind of like to have a go, you know, at being… boyfriends or whatever you want to call it."
Despite this brave speech Harry's nervousness was obvious. He'd shoved his fidgeting hands in his pockets and was worrying his lip again, his teeth white against the abused flesh.
Draco was fighting the urge to laugh; affection was filling him up like warm water in his chest, and this daft man was everything he wasn't.
"Potter," Draco said, trying to sound like his normal brisk self, worried that if he didn't make the effort he'd start making mad declarations of devotion. "If I'd wanted a casual fuck we would have done it by now, do you think I would have cared about professionalism if I planned to never see you again?"
Harry's mouth fell open, his eyes narrowed in accusation. "But you said it was because no one would take the book seriously."
"How would they have known if it was just going to be a one off?" Draco asked, he'd just assumed that Harry would figure this out for himself. Foolish Draco, he scolded himself.
"Oh…" Harry muttered. "I suppose, but you never said that." He looked quite put out. "So you're saying you want to keep seeing each other?"
Draco tried very hard not to roll his eyes, he really did, but failed. "Yes, Potter."
"Good," Harry nodded, then in a move that Draco should have seen coming, after the number of times he'd done it over the last three months, Harry pounced on him. A strong arm curled around Draco's back and held him tight as Harry kissed him fervently.
The suddenness surprised Draco and it took him a beat to respond, but within seconds he was kissing back, his fingers weaving themselves into Harry's messy hair. Draco was glad he'd removed his coat the moment he'd closed the door, because it meant he could feel the heat from Harry's chest through the thin barrier of clothing between them. It also meant that Harry's wandering hand had an easy time wending its way beneath the hem of Draco's shirt.
Eventually, Harry's mouth moved from Draco's, nuzzling along his jaw and down the side of his neck. Draco shivered as he felt Harry's tongue flicking its way across his skin. "I can't believe you," Harry said, managing to sound admonishing while still nibbling away at Draco's throat. Both of his hands were now inside Draco's shirt, ghosting over his skin, thumbs pausing to tease a nipple, fingers dipping promisingly below his waistband. "Feeling me up in the middle of the restaurant."
"Ha," Draco breathed, as the top button on his trousers was popped open and Harry closed his hand around Draco's boxer-covered cock. "You didn't complain," Draco groaned as Harry moved his hand purposefully, his grip strong, the pressure perfect. "Circe, you're good at that," he added, his head dropping to rest on Harry's shoulder.
Draco's pulse quickened at the image of Harry's stunned face back at Bryggerier. Draco hadn't known he'd find the thrill of it so arousing, but when Harry had relaxed and let Draco do as he wished, right there in view of Viktor Krum and who knew who else, it had sent jolts of excitement through him. Sometimes he wondered why Harry of all people brought out his pervy side; it had been pretty dormant until now.
Draco's knees were weakening as they stood groping at each other in the middle of the room, Harry had extracted his hand from Draco's trousers and had gone back to sucking on any bit of exposed flesh he could find. Draco's head was swimming already, there was no caution, no uncertainty, just Harry and his open determination to ravish Draco into a puddle on the floor.
Harry pulled back enough to say, "Bed?" before returning to the assault, Draco couldn't have agreed with the suggestion more. He began to steer them across the room. Harry went along happily, still doing ridiculous things to Draco's restraint with only lips and tongue. Harry's legs hit the edge of the mattress and he fell back, pulling Draco down on top of him.
Fingers flicked at buttons and Harry pulled his own t-shirt off while Draco undid his jeans. He palmed at Harry's burgeoning erection firmly, making him keen quietly and haul Draco in for more urgent kissing.
"I never did get to repay you properly," Draco said, shuffling back down the bed, dragging Harry's jeans off as he went, "for that day in your library."
Harry ginned foolishly, his laugh quiet as Draco knelt up to wrench his trainers off and discard his jeans. Draco's shirt and tie were strewn on the floor between the bed and the door, he'd retained his trousers so far, unbuttoned with the tell-tale bulge of his erection trying to poke through the gap. He probably looked ridiculous.
Harry was quite a picture himself, Draco thought; naked and smiling, his cock swollen and curving up against his toned stomach. He looked completely comfortable as Draco stared greedily. "I'm happy to accept payment now," Harry said cheekily.
Draco quite liked that he himself was still half dressed. Harry was so forward in sexual situations, it made him feel inexperienced. But with Harry so exposed beneath him, smiling unwaveringly up at him, Draco felt his confidence build. At least he'd had sex with men before, so technically he was the knowledgeable one here.
Draco ran his hands up Harry's thighs, purposely skirting his groin; he dipped his head, catching Harry's mouth briefly. He peppered kisses down his throat, across his chest; he lapped at one nipple, then the other.
Harry was muttering little sounds of enjoyment, his own warm hands sliding the length of Draco's back, over the smooth fabric of his suit trousers to cup his arse, then back up, as Draco slunk further down, his lips keeping contact the whole way. He paused to flutter his tongue in the dip next to the rise of Harry's hip bone. Draco's hand held Harry firmly as he squirmed at the ticklish touch.
Then the blunt sticky head of Harry's cock caught Draco under the chin, and he took it in hand. At the touch Harry immediately went still and quiet, and Draco looked up to see Harry watching him intently. Draco couldn't help but smirk at the look of awe on Harry's face as Draco's lips hovered millimetres from the already leaking head. Draco drew a deep breath in preparation and then lowered his mouth over Harry's straining prick.
Harry let out a low guttural groan as Draco's mouth engulfed him. Draco swirled his tongue, and concentrated on relaxing his throat; he sucked and bobbed and swallowed, the muscles of this throat contracting convulsively around the intrusion.
The pressure was making Harry whine and shift restlessly. He was mumbling and cursing as Draco held his hips in place, sucking harder, bobbing his head faster. He moved a hand from Harry's hip and fondled his sac, the knuckle of his ring finger pressing into Harry's perineum, he skated it up and down the sensitive skin in time with his mouth.
Harry's fingers twined in Draco's hair, Draco could hear him panting and swearing and murmuring his name. Draco pulled off for breath, replacing his mouth with a steadily moving hand. He conjured lube and kept the pace, too enthralled by his view of Harry to lower his head again right away.
Harry was flushed, one hand knotted in the bed sheet, the other skimming over any part of Draco he could reach, up his arm, into his hair. His eyes flickered open to meet Draco's, they seemed to burn, scorch their way inside Draco. Now that both Draco's hands were busy – occupied with balls and cock, not keeping Harry still – he was thrusting up into Draco's fist. Draco tightened his grip, heat pooling in his belly at the sight of Harry's unadulterated enjoyment. Draco had never been with anyone who was like this, so unrestrained, so utterly absorbed in pleasure. It was beautiful to watch.
"I need," Harry moaned, panting and shifting, searching for something more, "I need –"
There was a thrilling buzz in Draco's head as he wondered if he dared make the next obvious move. When he'd imagined this moment it was not how he'd thought things would be, but Harry's pleading lit something magnificent inside him. It made him bolder.
Draco's index finger was already slick, he trailed it lower, pushing Harry's leg up at the same time, Harry seemed to barely notice, still thrusting into the circle of Draco's hand. He did notice however when Draco's finger breached him. His panting, needy pleas were lost to a surprised grunt, and then as Draco moved the digit in and out Harry let out shivering groan of delight.
"God, that's –" he pulled his other knee up to give Draco better access, breathing heavily and pushing back on Draco's finger. "God," he breathed again as a second finger joined the first, deeper this time, drawing a long moan, "Draco," he murmured, "fuck, that's… Merlin," he cried out, as Draco finally located the little bundle of nerves inside him. Draco was still feeling a little out of practice, but watching Harry clutch at the sheets, seeing his own fingers disappear inside him, hearing Harry moan his name brokenly, desperately, and knowing that he was the one driving Harry insane; it was all a fantastic ego overload.
It wasn't long until Harry was loose around his fingers, three of them sliding in and curling up to nudge at his prostate before withdrawing again, over and over. Harry's cock was rigid and leaking copiously over Draco's hand. He couldn't believe that Harry hadn't come yet, Draco was sure he himself wouldn't have lasted half this long. He could feel the building tension of orgasm tightening in the pit of his stomach already, and he still had his trousers on; it was madness.
He thought he understood now why Harry had ended up jerking himself off when he'd sucked Draco's cock in the library, if Draco'd had a free hand right now he'd definitely be considering it. The power trip of making Harry dissolve into nothing but sensation and pleasure was pushing him closer and closer to the edge, and Draco couldn't wait any longer. He pulled his fingers away, and Harry gave a muffled almost-sob at the loss, he propped himself up on his elbows to watch Draco remove his trousers.
"Did you want me to –" he started hoarsely, nodding in the direction of Draco's crotch, where his hard prick was jutting out unashamedly in front of him.
Draco shook his head, leaning in to kiss Harry's sweaty lips. "I feel like I'm going to explode as it is," he admitted, mouthing his way across Harry's collarbone, "I'd like to make this count." He hooked his arms beneath Harry's knees and lifted them so Harry's calf muscles were resting against Draco's shoulders, then he leaned forward to be able to line himself up.
"Tell me if –" he started, as the head of his cock pressed against Harry's slippery, loosened entrance. But the rest of the sentence was lost as Harry canted his hips and drew Draco in. Draco's mind went blank, the wet sliding scorching heat engulfing him. Merlin, it had been so long.
He forced himself to stop, bent forward, stomach muscles clenched, thighs trembling. One hand was next to Harry's face on the pillow, and the other was wrapped around the ankle balanced beside his ear. "Is that okay?" Draco managed to ask, fighting every particle in him screaming to thrust harder, deeper into that amazing feeling.
Harry's eyes opened, they were glazed and vacant. "God yes," he said, lifting his hips again so Draco slid in even further, then he blinked and he seemed to focus slightly. A mischievous glint crossed his face as he gripped Draco's hip with a warm hand. He pulled him closer and whispered in a filthy voice Draco had no idea he possessed, "Fuck me, Draco."
Unable to hold back at such an obvious display of lust, Draco did. He set an unrelenting rhythm and was only too happy to obey when Harry cried out, demanding him to go faster, to pump harder. Draco could feel sweat running down the valley of his spine, his breath was short and the world was going black at the edges as he drove into Harry again and again.
Out of nowhere, Harry whimpered urgently, "I'm, I'm –" and came in great spurts all over his stomach. His body convulsed with the intensity of release and Draco's movements stuttered – it was too much – a rush of sensation washed over him, and he came, inside Harry, still thrusting his hips, though all coordination had vanished. He fell forward, grimacing half-heartedly at the squelch of cooling ejaculate between them.
Draco felt Harry's hand clumsily sift through his damp hair, the innocently gentle touch after such wanton ferocity made him shiver, he pressed his lips to the nearest bit of flesh he could reach, and Harry sighed.
"That was brilliant," Harry said sleepily, "best shag ever… brilliant."
Draco smiled, his eyes drifting closed. Today really had been an excellent day.
Draco woke suddenly, his eyes snapped open. It took him a moment to focus. He wasn't in Copenhagen, but his own bed. His pulse was still thudding quickly through him and he was rock hard, the sheet tenting rather obscenely over his hips. Sweet Circe, what a dream; or rather memory, he supposed. He stretched an arm out, reaching for Harry, intent on re-enacting the vivid images still playing in his head, but his hand encountered only cool cotton sheet. He was alone.
His fingers were only inches from taking care of the situation himself when there was a sudden sharp knocking at the bedroom door, and it was immediately flung open. Draco drew his knees up hurriedly to hide his erection, but it was only a very focused Kreacher.
"Morning Master Draco," he said distractedly, bustling into the room, almost obscured by two freshly pressed morning suits. He hung them on the tallboy and placed two white roses, each with their stem bound in silver-grey ribbon on the dresser. "Time to get up, Master Harry has been downstairs for hours getting things ready. You know how he is about the garden."
Draco sighed, he did know. Fanatical was probably the kindest description.
He pushed himself upright and sat on the edge of the bed, nervous little jumping butterflies had taken residence in his stomach. They'd chased away his morning wood too, selfish little blighters. He eyed the suits; at least he would look exceptional while he stood up in front of all those people. Unable to sit still as he thought of all the public speaking today was going to include – something he'd never been particularly fond of – he moved to the window.
Though it was surely no later than nine in the morning, the sun seemed warm and bright for the middle of May. The window had a view of the back garden, a space completely transformed from the first time Draco had seen it nearly a year ago. It had been magically enlarged to hold today's guests and the green lawn was immaculate. The fences of the neighbouring properties were covered with thick climbing ivy, and the flowerbeds that bordered the lawn were an explosion of colour. There was the special addition of an archway at the very bottom of the lawn, more ivy wound its way over the frame and decorative white roses were dotted all through the green leaves. It was a peaceful and idyllic scene.
That was, until a voice Draco knew at once broke the silence. "Fucking bastarding ballsack!" Draco leaned further out the window to see Harry directly below him, surrounded by a collapsed pile of white folding chairs.
As if in tribute to meetings long past, Harry was wearing only a vest with his gardening jeans in the morning sun. He had obviously been lugging chairs to and fro and doing who knows what last minute tending to the wandering wiggentree saplings (or whatever other mad cutting Longbottom had sent for Harry to try.) So perhaps he had worked up a sweat, either way, Draco appreciated the view. He put his fingers to his mouth and whistled admiringly.
Harry turned at once, shading his eyes to look up at the bedroom window. "Useless lay-about!" he called up to him, but even with the distance Draco could see his grin.
"I think it's more a case of you being unnaturally industrious," Draco replied seriously. "Most people sleep til nine on Saturdays."
He heard Harry muttering about 'special circumstances' as he continued to move chairs busily about the yard. He'd complained to Draco only last night that because the space had been magically expanded, he couldn't arrange the chairs with a locomotion charm as per normal. Draco found himself quite pleased, nothing like perving on ones fit boyfriend to start the day.
In the year that had gone by since those first meetings in this old house, Harry had not made any effort to find a job. He'd spent the winter finishing the renovations to the inside of his house, and every chance he got continuing his work in the garden. He kept saying he would start looking for a job soon, but Draco never hounded him, Harry didn't live an extravagant lifestyle so his inheritance would last for a decent while.
Harry's main expense was his new obsession with travel, much cheaper of course in the wizarding world with no airfares or visitors visas to worry about. At least once a month Harry had been spending a few days abroad; he was on a mission, it seemed, to see the world. Most of Europe was crossed off his list now and North Africa was next on the agenda. Draco – as a now fully self-employed freelance journalist and biographer – was often able to arrange his schedule to be able to join him. But at the thought of parched, itchy, and don't-drink-the-water Africa, he made a mental note to become rather busy until less intrepid destinations were on offer.
Harry's book; The Potter-File had of course been a best-seller, it was in its third edition already, and it had only been on shelves for six months. The desired effects were beginning to show; today, for example, would never have been possible a year ago. Harry had officially lifted all enchantments from Number Twelve to allow guests in, some of the magic would go back up tomorrow for general security, but never before had anyone known where Harry Potter lived.
A tea tray had appeared on the nightstand while Draco was distracted and he sat back down on the bed to pour a cup. The two sets of dress robes kept drawing his eye. He sipped his tea and looked away, noticing the wrapped present sitting on the dresser. Draco smiled, he was very proud of his fitting gift for the groom.
He finished his tea and was wondering if he should just start getting ready when there was a rapping on the front door downstairs. The loud crack of Kreacher's apparition followed. Then there were murmured voices and footsteps on the main staircase.
The bedroom door swung open again and at once there was an almost pained exclamation, "Really, Draco?" Marc stood framed in the doorway, his expression petulant as he took in Draco reclining on the bed in his nightclothes. "Four years of hinting and today of all days you finally offer yourself to me?"
"You are a ridiculous human being," Draco said, but he sat up smiling solicitously at his friend, "Kreacher just brought the robes up," he said. "We still have an hour til guests arrive, do you want a cup of tea or something?"
Marc shook his head. "No, the nerves have finally got to me," he plonked down on the bed next to Draco, jostling the tea tray slightly, Draco steadied it with a quick hand just as Marc asked in a brittle voice, "I'm doing the right thing, aren't I?"
"Mavis is wonderful," Draco said earnestly, "the only person in the world who could handle you, you're definitely doing the right thing."
"Right," Marc nodded jerkily, still pale. "In that case, got any whiskey?"
"Of course," Draco said at once, standing up and crossing to the dresser, "you told me at the stag do to make sure I had a hipflask," he rummaged in the top draw and pulled out the silver flask. "One mouthful," Draco said sternly passing it over.
Marc took a healthy swig, and then winced and coughed. He screwed the lid back on. "Right," he said hoarsely, "not sure if that's better or worse."
Draco sat beside him. "Any word from the bride this morning?"
"No, but her sister flooed, said she's chomping at the bit to get it over with. Can't wait to be Mrs Mavis Belby." Marc's cheeks flooded with colour, and he shook his head in disbelief. "Silly bint." he said fondly.
"Yes," Draco said, getting up once again and taking the flat wrapped gift from his dresser, he handed to Marc, "since you are officially off the market, I had Astoria procure this for you. A tribute to your old ways, something like having your cake and eating it too."
Marc frowned, "Since when do you know cliché muggle proverbs?"
"Since Harry," Draco shrugged as Marc ripped the paper away.
The gilt frame of the painting caught the light, and immediately there was a chipper little wolf-whistle from the occupant of the canvas. "Well good morning handsome!" it trilled, and Marc's face split into a delighted grin.
"Good morning yourself." he said, and then started to laugh as the fellow in the painting began to hum a sultry tune, all the while teasingly discarding his clothing piece by piece.
Marc looked up at Draco, still chuckling, his eyes bright. "Heavens," he said, as the little man danced about completely nude, humming his own raunchy music and blowing kisses. "It's wonderful."
"It's nearly a hundred years old," Draco said, feeling very pleased with himself for finding such an excellent gift. "The auction house didn't have many offers on it, too crass for the old money hags Astoria says. But I thought he'd be perfect for you."
An hour later Draco and Marc were standing in the shade of the back steps, shaking hands with arriving guests. Draco was already struggling with keeping his smile in place, a gaggle of lifestyle girls had just passed through and were now taking seats on the groom's side.
Most of the Prophet staffers had been invited. Marc had been promoted to Arts and Lifestyle Director by the new Editor-in-Chief Jacques Durand, a French National brought in by the board of directors to help rebuild in the wake of the Cuffe disaster; a disaster that had been compounded by the Sententia debacle following swiftly on its heels. During the upheaval and investigations brought on by the exposure of Sententia use, Betty Braithwaite lost her job when her brother's testimony had not had the clout she hoped for. She had fallen on her feet though; Assistant Editor of Witch Weekly was the perfect place for her.
The board had been rather disgruntled that Draco had tendered his resignation during the period of chaos, because he'd been touted to take the Arts and Lifestyle roll. But he just couldn't bear the system anymore – oh, and had a commission to write the most famous Quidditch player in history's memoirs, not to mention the biography of the most famous wizard in Britain about to hit shelves.
He was quite sure more would follow, and they had. Terrance Jamieson of the Montrose Magpies had approached just after Christmas to hire him. Draco had the good sense to put his price up, meaning one book a year was enough to keep him comfortable.
"Draco sweetheart!" trilled Astoria, coming down the stairs, her arm looped through Maria's. Both women were in floaty summer dresses, Maria's blonde hair swept up and sleek, Astoria's dark waves loose and long, hanging down past her shoulders. She kissed Draco on the cheek, "You look gorgeous," she gushed. "How's the groom?"
"Within earshot," Marc piped up. "And fine, thank you."
Astoria laughed, and Draco said to her, "Find me before you go. Higgs sent his draft of the papers over yesterday, I thought you might want an idea of the offer before your she-devil gets her claws into this."
Astoria's smile faltered. "Mummy insisted on her, Draco, it's not my fault."
"I know," Draco said, regretting the slight at once. It turned out that even when your marriage was a total sham, divorce was still difficult. They would be settling this week if Astoria and Draco could wrangle it; unfortunately Mr and Mrs Greengrass were highly disappointed in the situation and causing all sorts of trouble with supposed dowry repayments and throat-cutting lawyers. Thankfully it was the pre-nuptial they had insisted on that was keeping all Draco's future earnings safe – something he liked to remind them of at every meeting.
Maria leaned in and interrupted cheerfully. "No divorce talk at a wedding, that's got to be bad luck. You both look smashing by the way," she added. Then with a glance over her shoulder she said to Astoria, "Come on love, we're holding up traffic."
She was right. There was something of a bottleneck at the doors behind them, helped along by the very wide bottom of Ginny Weasley.
Draco supposed that was unfair, most women gained extra weight during pregnancy. He just couldn't help but feel negatively towards the girl after the Sententia nonsense. He had to admit that porky or not, Ginny still managed to look pretty in a very loose green dress that was quite lovely with her hair.
On her arm was Nathan Willis. Ginny had surprised everyone by announcing her engagement to Willis at Christmas time, and then her pregnancy two weeks later. Draco had done the math, she must have run straight to Willis when she and Harry had broken up. But they both seemed happy, and it made Harry's visits to the Burrow less guilt-filled, so Draco kept his opinions on Ginny to himself. He was a little surprised to see them here, but Marc had invited Willis, even though they didn't really get along.
With Cuffe, Betty, and Draco all gone from the Prophet, the other minor department editors had fancied themselves in charge; Willis as head of sports, Marc with finance, and some Skeeter wannabe whose name Draco had never bothered to learn as head of gossip ("public interest"). But Marc had been given the position, despite the fact that he had started working at the Prophet after Willis. Therefore, the couple's greeting of the groom and best man were very brief. Ginny didn't meet Draco's eyes, and he didn't lean in to kiss her cheek as he had done with every other female invitee. Willis shook Marc's hand and then Draco's and then departed as quickly as possible, towing Ginny along with him.
Draco was completely distracted through the greeting of the final few guests, his gaze following Ginny and Willis around the lawn as they spoke with friends and colleagues. Ginny was a bit of an attraction, famous Quidditch player that she was. Draco could hear Mavis's doddering old grandmother telling her not to worry, an athletic thing like her would have her figure back in no time. Draco wondered if Molly's genes would have anything to say about that.
"Should I be worried that you're ogling my ex-girlfriend?"
Draco jumped and turned to see Harry, looking very unlike himself with combed hair and pressed suit, waiting to be greeted as a guest to his own garden.
"Thanks so much for today, Harry." Marc said at once, pulling Harry in for a brief hug, "Mavis fell in love with your garden the first time she saw it."
"Glad to do it," Harry said, his eyes flitted across the gathered people and an odd smile twisted his lips, he looked at Draco, "it's bloody weird having this many people here, a good weird, but…."
"Weird?" Draco suggested sardonically. Harry nodded absently still looking at the milling people. "Not as weird as this," Draco said, reaching out to tweak Harry's lapel. "Not a ragged edge in sight," he nodded approvingly, and Harry rolled his eyes. "Your hair is awful though," Draco said and Harry frowned.
"Be nice," he said self-consciously, raising a hand to his head.
"No, I mean–" Draco batted Harrys hand aside ruffled his fingers through the flat boring strands, making them poke up in all directions. "Much better," he said. "You look like you again."
Harry huffed, obviously amused. "But you're always complaining that it looks like the nest of a yet-to-be discovered creature."
"And I always will," Draco said, "but you're wearing a bloody suit, I'm having enough issues getting my head around that as it is." He smoothed the shoulder of Harry's jacket and felt the familiar little bloom of warmth inside him at the sound of Harry's quiet chuckle.
"That no one has figured out about you two astounds me," said Marc, who was watching the pair of them bemusedly.
Draco regretfully retracted his lingering hand and said confidently, "People see what they expect to see, they know we're friends after working together."
"And it's much easier now that the Prophet doesn't stir up shit about me every other week," Harry put in, grinning at Marc. "Thanks for that by the way."
"No worries," Marc said proudly.
Harry's book had done exactly what he'd hoped in giving an answer to every question people could possibly want to know about him, but Draco thought that the real improvement to Harry's quality of life was due to the Prophet's attitude. Or more like its lack of attitude. But that was bound to happen with Marc in charge. Now every time a rumour was hinted at or Skeeter presented a leading article Marc would simply owl Harry for comment – this put a stop to the nonsense pretty quickly, they could hardly run a piece when it was accompanied by a comment from the subject negating the whole thing.
There was a loud crack and Kreacher appeared behind Harry on the top step. "Excuse me, Masters," he said. "Miss Mavis's car has arrived."
Marc's face drained of colour.
"I better sit down," Harry said, and darted off down the last few steps and across the lawn.
"I suppose we should get in position," Draco said grasping the whey-faced Marc by the elbow and leading him up the aisle.
"I suppose," echoed Marc.
The ceremony passed in an exchange of flowery words. Draco found himself grateful that it was unlikely he and Harry would have the opportunity to proclaim their feelings in such a cliché way. He didn't even think such saccharine phrases as "You are my soul's fire," let alone foresee a moment when he'd be willing to say it aloud and mean it.
His vows with Astoria had been even more over the top; Draco distinctly remembered trying not to laugh as Astoria recited the line "You are my greatest boon," but the pair of them had sought to make is as flamboyantly sappy as possible. Their wedding had been a performance for the attendees, after all, not a solemn declaration of love.
Harry sat towards the back on the groom's side, smiling pleasantly at the scene, though Draco thought it was probably because he got to show off his garden to so many people rather than romantic indulgence. He looked in Draco's direction after a moment, and his smile changed. Oddly, he looked rather determined.
The ringing of bells chimed loudly through Draco's thoughts and soon the bride and groom were heading back down the aisle. Enchanted vanishing confetti rained down on them from all sides and Draco offered his arm to Mavis's bridesmaid. She took it and they followed the couple into the multi-coloured paper rain.
The crowd were cheering and clapping and had gathered around the back steps to momentarily farewell the newlyweds. Draco hung back as the bridesmaid was hailed by some friends. Trays of hors d'oeuvres and champagne were being brought out by black waist-coated waiters, and he gladly took a glass as soon as they got near him.
He was just appreciating that Mavis had listened to his suggestions on wine when there was a warm hand on his shoulder and Harry's voice in his ear, "So I was thinking …"
"That no one would miss us?" Draco suggested quickly, raising an eyebrow in implication and looking toward their bedroom window.
Harry smirked, and bumped him with his hip, "No," he said, "I was thinking that since Marc is basically in charge of the Prophet, and wouldn't want to embarrass you or me with trashy stories about our sordid gayness, or implied adultery, or love potions, or perverse blackmail, or saviour violation –
"Okay," Draco interrupted, flapping a hand to get Harry to stop. "I get it," he said.
"Well, we keep talking about when, and I keep chickening out," Harry snagged a full champagne flute from a passing tray and chugged the whole thing down.
Draco watched with wide eyes; he knew Harry was talking about making their relationship public, but the sudden need for alcohol-borne courage made Draco think that a dignified statement via Marc and the Daily Prophet was unlikely. He was quite sure a bout of Gryffindor rashness was about to occur.
Harry coughed slightly upon finishing his glass. Then he fixed Draco with a look that confirmed his suspicions about impending brave, but idiotic behaviour.
Draco met this look with a challenging one of his own, he was sick of keeping his hands to himself after all. Harry's eyes seemed to sparkle with impish daring before he stepped in closer and kissed Draco full on the lips, right there in the garden where all the guests could see.
Except, they didn't. Marc and Mavis had just appeared at the top of the steps again, and the guests were all looking at them with renewed cheers, rather than Harry Potter trying to come out of the closet.
"Well, fuck," Harry muttered after he pulled away, looking completely nonplussed.
"I would think that would get their attention," Draco said in a faux-serious undertone. His heart was beating rather rapidly and he was just a little glad that it hadn't worked. Draco thought it was probably a bit rude to steal the bride's thunder anyway. Tomorrow, he told himself. Or when Marc returned from his honeymoon and could control the tone of any article that suggested Harry Potter was queer and dating a semi-famous writer who used to be a Death Eater.
"Prick," Harry said, but he grinned as he shook his head disbelievingly. "The one time I want people to notice me."
Draco dipped his head and pressed a chaste kiss to Harry's smile. "It's called irony, Potter."