Title: Coming Around
deirdre.riordan @ gmail . com (remove spaces)
been gone for
four years after a bit of
a misunderstanding. Draco wants him back.
also old and hasn't had a once-over in a while, so cut me some slack.
of OotP. This is the
sequel to La Découverte ou l'Ignorance,
but can stand on its own. Undying thanks to Kiki, wherever she may be.
He used to be surrounded by music. It filled his
Those damned Muggle records. But he'd tolerated them because they were
Harry's, even grew to like them. But now there was nothing but silence
and the dying light of a single candle that threatened to extinguish
itself with its own wax at any moment.
The young Potions Master sighed. The sound
startled him, as though
it were some sort of betrayal of the silence. He returned his attention
to the paper he was marking. Bloody Hufflepuffs. He scrawled
"INCOMPETENT" across the top of the essay and tossed it aside. It had
been this way since Harry had left. Four years now, and every day the
same. He'd confessed his feelings for his friend and ally, and Harry
had fled. He should have left well enough alone. He should have let
things go on forever the way they had been, with a happy, platonic
Harry and Draco lounging about each other's rooms talking, drinking
whiskey, listening to those infernal Muggle records, marking papers,
but never speaking of the volumes of emotion that lurked behind the
fragile facade. Draco knew they were there, no matter how much Harry
wanted to deny it.
And then he'd had to go and open his mouth. And
suddenly Harry had
given in to one of the Quidditch teams that had been courting him since
7th year. England, to be precise. Draco was sure Dumbledore would never
forgive him for having driven away the Boy Who Lived, the best DADA
instructor Hogwarts had seen in centuries. In fact, Dumbledore never
did forgive him. He died shortly after Harry left Hogwarts, as though
he were the only force sustaining the old man's life. Harry'd been
halfway across the world when it happened. The owl hadn't been able to
reach him in time for the funeral, as he found out after the fact from
Hermione had been livid when Harry left.
"Couldn't you have been
more gentle about it?" she had whinged at Draco. "You must have scared
the shit out of him to make him leave like that, as much as he loves
It was days like today that Draco wondered if the
at Hogwarts weren't cursed just the same as DADA--- the DADA
instructors were doomed lo leave, the Potions Masters were doomed to be
depressed, bitter recluses. He thought of Severus with a pang. He
gave up so much to get us where we are now. And he had no doubt
that were he alive, Severus would be none too pleased with him at the
He'd kept up with Harry, of course. He had
drawers full of articles
and newspaper clippings and interviews. All of Harry. Winning the World
Cup for England three years in a row. The Boy Who Was Unbeatable, the
headlines said. The Boy Who Brought Krum Down. Yes, Harry was still
unbeatable. And amazingly happy if the photos were any indication. All,
it seemed, to spite him. To show that Harry didn't need him. Maybe he
didn't. But gods, he needed Harry.
A knock on his door jolted him out of his
reverie. "Enter!" he said,
more that a little annoyed.
Hermione came through the door, hands behind her
"Trouble in Gryffindor?" he asked with a raised
eyebrow that would
have made Severus proud.
She shook her head and took her hands out from
behind her back,
revealing that she was holding a small package. "Happy birthday, Draco."
He hadn't even realised it was his birthday.
"Hermione, you didn't
have to do this, not for me."
"That's better." She gave him a sisterly peck on
the cheek and
handed him the package.
He eyed it warily, fearing some sort of
explosion. "Fred and George
had nothing to do with this," she said reassuringly.
His hands began to tremble and his eyes went wide
when he saw what
was in the box. He looked up at Hermione, tears welling in his eyes.
She smiled a little and nodded. "I think it's
He stared disbelievingly at the pair of tickets
to the World Cup.
"Is it? Was it ever time?"
"Only one way to find out."
"What if England doesn't make it in?"
Draco collapsed into Hermione's arms, sobbing
loudly in a scene that
would have mortified the entirety of Gryffindor and Slytherin, had they
seen their heads of house like this.
"I wanted to get you Harry for your birthday, but
the best I could
manage was the means to get him yourself," she said softly. "If there's
one thing I know about Harry Potter, it's that he holds onto love about
as long as he holds a grudge. And he doesn't love often."
"He didn't love me. He would have stayed if he
"No, you scared him. Any fool could see that the
two of you were
made for each other."
"Nobody stays scared for four years."
"No, but by the time he stopped being scared, he
was too proud to
come back. And you were too proud to go after him. That's why I wasn't
speaking to you for so long afterward."
And Draco knew she was right.
Month after excruciating month passed, until at
long last it was
time for the Cup final, in which England was indeed playing. He
realised suddenly that the match was taking place on Harry's birthday.
On an impulse, he dug into his desk drawer and pulled out the birthday
gift he had tried to give Harry the day he left and shoved it into his
Hermione showed up, all jubilance and muggle
sunscreen, wearing a
stylish red and gold sundress. She laughed when she saw Draco in his
green and silver cowboy shirt, black jeans and Dragonhide boots.
"Are all your Muggle clothes red and gold?" he
"Are all yours green and silver?"
"Won't you be hot in that?"
"I was speaking in terms of temperature, dear."
"Oh. No. Cooling charm over the whole thing.
Should last most of the
"Why Professor Malfoy, I didn't think you went in
for such foolish
wand-waving." They shared a look of understanding at this comment, but
said nothing the rest of the way to the edge of the grounds.
Nothing could have prepared Draco for the sight
that met them at the
Apparation point. Harry Potter. Everywhere. On everything. Harry Potter
posters, banners, figurines. Harry bloody Potter costumes. A booth
doing magical lightning bolt tattoos-- temporary or permanent.
"Christ, it's Pottermania," Draco muttered, more
to himself than to
"Yes, it is," said Hermione, gawking at her old
everywhere she looked. "We'd better go find our campsite."
They did so and managed to get the tent up
without too much magic.
"Right," Hermione said, flopping down on the couch. "Eat first or look
"Look round. Not hungry." That was an
understatement. His stomach
was in knots.
"Don't worry, everything'll be fine. You're not
going to bloody well
run into Harry tonight."
As soon as they emerged from the tent, the first
sound to reach
their ears was a call of "OI! HERMIONE!"
The voice belonged to Oliver Wood.
"Oliver!" She ran to hug the Scotsman, who lifted
her and spun her
around. Draco hung back, not really knowing what to do. "Here to see
your protégé squash some Germans?"
"Dead right. Why don't you come over to my tent?
A lot of the old
gang are over there-- what's left of 'em anyway." Even from the
distance he was standing at, Draco could see the sad, faraway look that
crept into Wood's face. A look he knew well. The Gryffindor death toll
in the War had been high indeed. Ginny and Ron Weasley, both their
parents, Neville Longbottom, the Creevey brothers, Dean Thomas,
Lavender Brown-- and those were just the ones Draco could think of off
the top of his head. He wondered somewhat ruefully how many of them
could have been saved if he'd given up his father earlier. The feeling
of responsibility for everyone else was undoubtedly something he'd
gotten from Harry.
"You remember Draco Malfoy," Hermione said,
pulling him forward and
snapping him out of his guilt-filled mungs.
Wood's features tightened briefly, but then he
smiled. "'Course I
do. Good to see you, Draco." The two men shook hands and the trio went
into Wood's tent.
The evening passed pleasantly enough, even if
Draco felt a bit left
out of the old Gryffindor clique. He could see that like Wood, it took
them all a few seconds to remember he wasn't the enemy anymore, since
many of them hadn't seen him since before he denounced Voldemort and
turned his father in. But despite old prejudices, they all knew of his
role in bringing down Voldemort alongside Harry, their saviour, and
upon seeing he was not the insufferable git he used to be, treated him
amicably. Although he couldn't help but think par of that was fear of
They all got pleasantly tipsy from some mead
Finnegan had brought
along, and the ensuing nostalgia caused them to break into a cacophonic
rendition of the Hog warts school song. Draco chose his tune without
even thinking, and halfway into it realised it was one of Harry's
Muggle rock songs. There were tears streaming down his face by the end
Hermione noticed. "What's the matter?"
"The tune... it was one of Harry's favourite
Instead of comforting him as he'd expected, she
began to yell.
Apparently alcohol brought out her mean streak. "Malfoy it's not like
he's bloody dead, you git! You're going to see him tomorrow, you're
going to talk to him, and everything will be JUST SODDING FINE!" she
screeched, silencing everyone.
He saw the looks of pity from the rest of the
people in the room,
but they didn't dare interfere. Draco sighed. "You're right. I'm sorry.
I guess I'm just a bit maudlin."
She softened, touching his shoulder. "It's okay,"
she said, "Just
stop feeling sorry for yourself."
Conversations around them resumed again
tentatively, relieved that
the storm had passed.
As they approached their tent, Draco could have
sworn he saw a
phoenix take flight from the top of it.
"Hermione, did you see that?"
"See what?" asked the Gryffindor, who'd been
looking the other
Draco sighed. "I'm probably seeing things."
"I saw a bird, and I thought for a second it
Hermione patted his shoulder. "You need to get
some sleep. You'll
see Harry tomorrow, after that game." She stopped in front of the tent,
sneering at it. "Honestly, Malfoy, did you have to get a SLYTHERIN
"You expected anything less?" he grinned,
regaining some of his
Draco awoke the next morning to a wonderful smell
of bacon and
coffee wafting in. He found the small kitchen empty. Shivering, he
picked up the nearest blanket and stepped outside, where he found
Hermione cooking over a huge blaze.
"Oh, good," she said, catching him out of the
corner of her eye and
starting to turn around. "Breakfast is---" she suddenly got a good look
at Draco and started laughing uncontrollably.
Draco scowled at her, miffed. "Oh, come on,
you've seen me with
bed-head before," he said self-consciously, trying to smooth his hair.
"It--- It's not that!" she said, still giggling.
"But I do wish I
had my camera right now! The head of Slytherin house, in his bloody
Slytherin pajamas, in front of his Slytherin tent, with a huge
Gryffindor blanket wrapped around him!"
Draco took the blanked off his shoulders to
examine it. It was all
red and gold, with Godric Gryffindor's head on one side and a lion on
the other. He glared at her, draping the blanket back around his
shoulders, too cold to argue much. "Shut up, Granger. Let's eat."
"It's all ready. Pull up a log."
"I am NOT sitting on a log. Can't we go inside
and eat this?"
"No, this is Muggle camping. Besides, I want to
make you suffer."
Glaring at the log, he attempted to transfigure
it into an armchair.
He'd always been notoriously mediocre at Transfiguration, so although
he managed an armchair, it was definitely still wooden and not squishy
in the least. This amused Hermione even further.
"Well, tuck in! We don't want to miss the pregame
said, smugly transfiguring her log into a velvet settee.
"Showoff," Draco grumbled through a mouthful of
After breakfast Draco ran inside to the refuge of
a hot shower.
Harry. He was going to see Harry today. He'd apologise. No more offers
of love, no. He just wanted his friend back. That was infinitely better
than nothing. *I wonder if I can persuade him to come back to Hogwarts?
Not bloody likely. BUGGER! What am I going to wear?*
"HERMIONE!" he bellowed, racing out of the
bathroom in a towel.
Hermione hobbled in from the other room rather
one shoe and holding the other in her hand. "What? What's the matter?"
She rolled her eyes and flopped down on the floor
to put on her
other shoe. "Honestly, Draco. Anyone would think Voldemort had just
joined you in the shower. Anyway, I thought you were going to wear your
old Quidditch robes."
Draco shook his head. "No, too frumpy. Besides,
I'm not terribly
proud of that season." He grimaced at the thought of the one season
he'd spent as Seeker for the Wimbourne Wasps.
"Really, it wasn't your fault." He'd taken a
Bludger to the head ten
minutes into the qualifying game for the League Cup. The season had
been over by the time he'd woken up. "Look, I don't care if you go in
that towel, but GET READY."
In the end, Draco settled for jeans and a
t-shirt. Hermione laughed
when she saw him. "Ten points from Slytherin for forgetting to wear
"Quiet you. Got the banner?"
She held up the rolled-up cloth banner, which was
alternately flash "GO POTTER" and "MAKE SOME SAUERKRAUT."
"Good. I've got the Omnioculars. Is my hair all
"Okay, okay. Let's be off, then."
They were led to their seats. "Merlin, Granger.
You didn't tell me
we were in the top bloody box."
"Ungrateful git, isn't he?" she said, winking at
whom they had to thank for the seats.
"Well, it's just--- what if Harry sees me? What
if he gets nervous
"Since when has Harry ever lost a Quidditch game
just because of
seeing you?" Finnegan asked, smirking.
"Point taken." He had a feeling all the
Gryffindors knew about the
situation-- which meant the entire Ministry knew about it, thanks to
Finnegan's big mouth. Fortunately Rita Skeeter was still too afraid of
Hermione to write anything about anyone who even knew Hermione.
Draco barely noticed the opening shows. He was
completely lost in a
combination of reverie and extreme nervousness. And then the teams flew
onto the pitch. Draco was deafened by the cheer that arose when Harry
came into view, and nearly blinded by the great throwing of roses and
undergarments by teenage girls.
"Sonorus," he heard Hermione say when the
cheering had begun to die
down. She looked over at Seamus, Fred, and George and nodded. They
started to sing happy birthday to Harry. Draco immediately joined in,
as did the entire stadium.
Draco sighed. He seemed to be doing that a lot
stupid of me to think he'll come back to Hogwarts, not when he has all
this. What's DADA to greatness? He's finally famous for something he
was actually responsible for. Who am I to try to take that away? Who am
I to him anyway?
He kept his Omnioculars on Harry all through the
match, paying no
attention to the other players, watching him dive and dodge and scan
the sky. He's so at home on a broom. It's beautiful. He's
beautiful. He probably has a hundred lovers.
Draco was pleased to see that Harry had perfected
the Wronski Feint,
which resulted in a rather jumbled German Seeker. As soon as the other
Seeker proved unharmed (leave it to a Gryffindor to sacrifice precious
seconds out of concern for someone else's safety), Harry shot up again
in search of the Snitch. And he found it. The German Seeker was too far
away to have a chance. Harry had won the World Cup for England for the
fourth year in a row. A spectacular lot of cheering ensued, but Draco
was deaf to it all. He could swear that Harry looked right at him as he
was doing his victory lap. Maybe it was just wishful thinking.
Down on the pitch, bottles of Champagne were
popping open, and the
most hardcore fans were rushing the pitch to congratulate the team,
with very little interference from the officials. Draco felt tears
stinging his eyes in the bitter knowledge that had things worked out
differently, he'd have been down there celebrating with Harry. He'd
have been down there every year for the past four. Or else they would
have both been in the stands together.
A bottle of Champagne and glasses magically
appeared before him, and
looking around he saw the same thing happening all over the stadium. He
toasted and drank with Hermione, but he didn't feel much like
celebrating. Not yet anyway. All he felt was a tight knot of fear in
the pit of his stomach, taunting him, telling him that Harry would want
nothing to do with him.
Hermione touched his arm and said something to
him. He vaguely
managed to understand that the victory party was happening at the Three
Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and that they had to go collect their things
and Apparate there. He nodded and followed her back to the campsite.
His hands were shaking too much to be of any use in collecting
anything. He saw something gleaming red in the grass beside the tent.
It took him three empty, trembling grasps to pick it up, but he
eventually got hold of it. It was a feather, long and red, tipped with
gold and green. It was unmistakably a phoenix feather. And it was
unmistakably one of Harry's. He'd have known it anywhere. He had
another one just like it back at school that Harry had made into a
quill for him. He'd stopped writing with it when Harry left, almost
afraid it might turn to ash if he touched it. The one that trembled in
his hand had not turned to ash; it was as strong and vivid as ever. And
he knew that what he had seen the night before had been real. Harry had
been there. Harry must know he was there. His tent wasn't exactly of a
common design. Even if Harry had never seen it before, he'd probably
have recognised it. Harry knew, and yet he left a feather. Why not a
note? What was the feather supposed to tell him? Come back or go away?
Or simply hello?
Hermione came out of the tent, satisfied with the
inside of it and
ready compress it. She stopped when she saw him standing there holding
"Hermione, he was here. I know I saw him
last night, and I'd
know this feather anywhere."
"Phoenixes don't give feathers often," she said
quietly. "Not even
Somehow Draco hadn't remembered that, not even in
all the years that
had passed. "And he's given me two."
"See, he does love you, you git."
If he'd remembered that when Harry had given him
the feather, he
would have known then. Everything would have been different. 'Phoenixes
only give feathers to their owners, and only then in cases of extreme
loyalty on both sides.' He remembered the passage now, he' spent ages
drilling it into the heads of a group of third-years who were being
entirely too careless with the phoenix feathers they were using for a
When Harry had given him the quill, he had been
saying 'you own me.'
And now, dropping another feather, he was saying 'you still own me.'
Everyone must have known. Everyone who'd ever seen him writing with
that quill-- and that was a great many, since he used no other between
the time Harry gave it to him and the time Harry left him. Every
teacher knew. Every student who knew Harry's other form probably knew.
But he, Draco, had not known, and was now the last to learn it. Things
started to come into focus, memories started to gel and make sense now.
He realised why Fleur Delacour had curtailed her somewhat persistent
attentions to him the day he got the thing, why the Slytherin girls
with crushes on him had stopped sending love notes. That quill showed
him as spoken for. Had everyone thought he and Harry had been lovers
all that time? And Merlin, they could have been. If only Draco hadn't
been too daft to read the signs. If only he had realised it then and
let it progress slowly and naturally instead of frantically proposing
to him when he heard a rumour that Harry was finally going to accept
England's offer, thereby ensuring that Harry accepted the spot on the
"Draco? Draco?" Hermione's voice shook him into
"You've been standing there staring into space
for the past ten
minutes. I thought you'd been petrified. It's time to go."
"Three Broomsticks. Victory party. Harry."
"Right." Draco tucked the feather carefully into
his bag and watched
Hermione go out with a pop. "Please want me, Harry," he whispered so
quietly that even he could not hear it. And he Apparated to the Three
Broomsticks, where a slightly impatient Hermione was waiting out front.
"Thank Merlin! I was afraid you'd been splinched
"Honestly, Hermione, I haven't gotten splinched
since I was twelve."
"Twelve? Oh, never mind, I don't want to
know about your
childhood training. Are you ready to go in?"
"I think so. Are the team here yet?"
"All right. Now or never."
They walked through the door. Even magicked as
large as it would go,
the pub was still jam-packed with rowdy, drunken Quidditch players and
"Merlin's beard, I thought there was a guest list
for this thing!"
"There is!" shouted a frazzled Madam Rosmerta
over the din. "It's an
hundred ruddy feet long!"
"This'll be Finnegan's doing," Draco muttered.
Seamus Finnegan was
notorious for his love of parties, and his reign as Minister of Magical
Games and Sports had seen more officially-funded parties than any in
"How am I supposed to find Harry in all this?"
"Look for the crowd of screeching females
throwing their knickers
about," Hermione said, rolling her eyes.
Well, there were no flying knickers, but there
were some screeching
females, so he grabbed a firm hold of Hermione's hand and started to
push his way through. He got many a nasty look and felt sure he'd have
been hexed several dozen times by now if there had been any room.
Finally, they came to a sort of clearing in the
centre of the crowd.
Harry and a couple of his teammates were sitting on top of a table
together, laughing and drinking, attempting to fend off the warring
females. They managed to get round to the backside of the table.
Hermione planted a kiss on Harry's cheek, drawing
an angry squeal
from the crowd. Harry turned, ready to kindly put off whoever it was
had kissed him, but instead broke into a huge grin when he saw it was
"Hello, stranger!" he said, grinning. Draco knew
he hadn't been seen
"Hey! Happy birthday!" She flung her arms around
his neck. "I
brought you a present."
"Thanks. What book did you get me this year?" he
"Hogwarts: A History?" This was an old joke, Draco knew.
"Actually I didn't get you a book."
"Who are you, and what have you done with
"Well, all right, I got you a book, but I don't
have it with me. But
I did bring something else. Perhaps I should say someone else. That is
if he hasn't been eaten alive by your fans."
She stepped aside and pushed Draco to where Harry
could see him.
Suddenly Draco couldn't hear the people screaming or even see them. All
he could see was Harry.
"Hello, Potter," he said, his voice breaking.
"Hey Malfoy," Harry said softly.
Harry held up his hand, palm out, and Draco
matched his to it.
"Still smaller than yours," Harry said. Their fingers intertwined and
they threw their arms around each other, both in tears now.
"I thought you were never coming back," Draco
whispered into his ear.
"I thought you'd never come after me," Harry
replied. "Couldn't even
owl me, you prat."
"I didn't see Hedwig breaking my door down."
But their words were not harsh-- everything was
just bygones now.
All that mattered were their arms around each other. And Draco suddenly
realised that the entire pub had, indeed, gone silent.
"Go on, kiss, you ungrateful prats!" exclaimed
They loosened their grip on each other and pulled
brushing the tears from each other's faces. Draco stared into Harry's
eyes, drinking them in, as though he'd been starved without them. In a
way that was quite true.
Their lips brushed gently, shyly at first, and
then the kiss
deepened. Draco was vaguely aware of a flashbulb-- several flashbulbs--
but he didn't care. He had what he'd come for. He had what he'd longed
for for four years. They parted and looked at each other, smiling
through heavy-lidded eyes, and the whole pub erupted into cheers.
"Bloody hell," muttered Harry. His teammates were
and clapping him on the back as though he'd just won another world cup.
Draco felt like he had. They celebrated late into the night, until
Madam Rosmerta was begging them to go home so she could get some sleep
"I'm back off to Hogwarts, then," Hermione said,
kissing each of her
newly reunited friends on the cheek. "I trust you'll be coming round a
lot more, Harry."
"I think so," he said, grinning.
"Well, then, I'll see you later. Goodnight!" And
with a pop she was
"Where are you going now?" Draco asked, turning
"I'm open to suggestions."
"Come back with me then? We've got a lot of lost
time to make up
Harry nodded and held up his broom. "Do you want
to ride back?"
"I think that ever since I first saw you on a
broomstick I wanted to
ride one with you."
"I'll take that as a yes."
Draco reduced his bag to a non-cumbersome size
and climbed onto
Harry's Firebolt II behind him.
"I always knew you'd be my bitch, Malfoy," Harry
Draco wrapped his arms around Harry's waist and
they took off. Draco
hadn't felt this good in ages. He and Harry were the only people in the
world. He pressed his face into Harry's shoulder, taking in the scent
of leather and sweat and whatever cologne or soap it was that Harry had
smelled like as long as Draco had known him. It was like... coming
home. Too soon for Draco, they landed. He opened his eyes slowly,
expecting to see the huge double doors of the castle. Instead he saw
the edge of the lake. Seeing the (non-violent) willow next to him, he
realised where they were. This was *their* spot. They used to spend
countless hours here when the weather was nice, talking and watching
the clouds or the stars. This was where Draco had hastily proposed to
Harry, four years ago almost to the hour. They had come full-circle.
Draco shot a questioning look at Harry.
"I didn't feel like going in yet," he explained.
"You don't mind?"
Draco shook his head. He tried to speak, but his
mouth had other
ideas. He closed the space between himself and Harry and reached up to
release the band holding Harry's hair. With both hands, gently, he
combed his fingers through the long black strands until they framed
Harry's face and spread over his shoulders. Harry's eyes were closed as
he did this, obviously enjoying it. Draco cupped Harry's face in his
hands and gave him a feather-light kiss. Harry made a sound in the back
of his throat somewhere between a moan and a growl, and then Harry's
hands where in his hair, on his back, his shoulders, and Harry's lips
were on his, kissing him hungrily. They fell to the ground, years of
unanswered passion exploding between them.
Neither of them had any idea how much time had
passed when they came
up for air at last. Draco cradled Harry's head on his chest, stroking
his hair, at last content.
"I'm sorry, for every---"
Harry placed a finger to Draco's lips. "Shhh. I
know. You don't have
to say it. I know."
"It was just, I freaked out, all I could think
about was how to make
you stay and---"
"Draco. It's all right. I know. None of that
matters now. We both
know that you should have perhaps asked me nicely to stay, and that I
perhaps should not have run off without a word. We both screwed up,
we're both sorry. I don't care about what could have been or should
have been. I've spent too much time thinking about that the last four
years to bear it anymore. I care about what is and what can be, what we
can have here and now, all right?"
"All right. You do know I love you, right?"
"'Course I do. And I love you. And that's what's
Draco sat up slowly, and so did Harry by
consequence. "I've got you
a birthday present."
"You didn't have to do that."
"I didn't bring it because I had to. Anyway,
before you open it,
just... know that it doesn't have to mean anything you don't want it
to. I just want you to have it."
Harry shot him a slightly confused look and took
the box from Draco.
When he opened it and saw the ring, his mouth dropped open. It was a
platinum casting of two dragons joined head to tail, one with an
emerald eye, the other with a ruby one. "This is beautiful," Harry
breathed, putting it on. "Thank you. But what do you mean it doesn't
have to mean anything I don't want it to?"
Draco blushed. "I.... well... I was going to give
it to you four
years ago... but... well, I just didn't want you to think I was making
another hasty marriage proposal."
Harry laughed. "The thought never entered my
mind." He embraced
Draco and gave him a long kiss.
"I found your feather," Draco said after a bit.
Harry grinned. "I thought you might need another
one. As a sort of
"Now that I know what it means."
"Oh, hell, I thought you knew."
"I did.... I just somehow managed to forget, for
which I feel like
an idiot, but there you have it."
"Oh, that explains a lot. When I made you the
quill, that was my
test, to see what you'd do."
"To see whether I loved you or not?"
"More or less, yeah. And when you didn't do
anything, I thought it
was a hopeless case. But then you wrote with it every day... I was
horribly confused, really."
"I really am sorry about that. It was only when
something this afternoon that I remembered the passage out of the
textbook. How could I have been so oblivious?"
"Hush. Don't worry about it. But it's true, word
for word. I belong
to you. I always have."
They walked slowly back toward the castle.
"Will you stay here tonight?" Draco asked
"Of course I will. I'm certainly not going all
the way back to
London to an empty bed if I don't have to."
They entered the castle and went down to the
dungeons. "Still in the
dungeons, I see."
"Indeed. Hermione tells me you're head of
"Yep. After Professor Sinistra retired, I was,
sadly enough, the one
with seniority." They entered Draco's rooms.
Harry took a deep breath. "Still just the same,"
he said, barely
audibly. "Gods, the memories in this place," he murmured, running his
fingers over the top of Draco's desk.
"I still have your records and all that."
"Really?" Harry seemed genuinely surprised by
this. "Ever listen to
"No, I sort of couldn't bear to. But they're all
still there. You
can take them if you like."
Hearing that, for some strange reason, made
Draco's heart soar.
Harry understood that his spot in Draco's life had been left wide open,
just waiting for him to come back. Harry thumbed through the pile of
potions essays on the coffee table. "Incompetent.... incompetent....
failure.... oh, look, this one got a 'decent.' Still heavy with the
compliments, I see?"
"Those are Hufflepuff papers, what do you expect?"
"So, what else has been going on round here?
Hermione tells me a
little bit, but I don't get to hear from her too often."
"Well, let's see.... Gryffindor has done
disgustingly well in
Quidditch the past three seasons, and won the House Cup all three of
those years as well, but I imagine you might have known that already.
In other news, Ermengarde retired the end of last term and has yet to
be replaced. Temporary DADA professor number three has also resigned...
what was his name... Lowell or something like that. Had a bit of a
twitch in his lip. I don't know where Minerva finds them. Fleur is
breeding winged horses for the Magical Creatures classes, and Hy is at
long last getting married in...oh, about two weeks now. Ummm, let's
see.... they finally finished rebuilding the Astronomy tower, to the
utter delight of every student with a hormone and the utter chagrin of
every professor. Other than that.... things have changed very
little.... except that they're a bit boring."
"So in other words, I've missed a lot, but really
"Except that I've missed you," Harry said,
pulling Draco into his
arms once again.
"I've missed you as well," Draco murmured.
"What do you say to a drink and then bed?" Harry
"Of course. Can I put on a record?"
"As long as it's not that Reznor bloke. He makes
me want to kill
Harry laughed. "13th Floor Elevators all right?"
Draco thought for a moment. "Well.... I don't
remember objecting to
anyone by that name."
Harry put on the record and Draco suddenly
they do a better version of this song than someone else."
Strike another match and start anew
It's all over now, baby blue....
Draco brought over the whiskey and snuggled up on
the sofa next to
Harry. He raised his glass. "To picking up where we left off."
Harry laughed. "Or a bit further along."
This was perfect. Draco had what he wanted. He
had Harry, and Harry
loved him. But there was the small matter of Harry still having a
career that sent him to the four corners of the globe a good bit of the
year. It wouldn't matter that much, now that they could be in contact,
but Draco was feeling terribly selfish. He sort of wanted to just lock
himself up with Harry and never come out again. Probably not a feasible
possibility. But there would be weekends and vacations and whatnot....
*Don't get ahead of yourself there, Malfoy.*
"When do you have to start training for next
season?" Draco asked,
hoping he'd have the rest of the summer with him at least. It would be
too much to ask him to give up all that fame just for him. But a month,
that might be doable.
"I don't have to start training again, not
necessarily. I was on a
four-year contract that ended with today's game. I've got a meeting
next week on whether or not to renew it. But I want to have a little
chat with Minerva first."
Was he hearing things? Was Harry saying he was
about to give up
Quidditch and ask Minerva for his job back? "Harry? What are you
Harry grinned. "What I'm saying, you great git,
is that Hogwarts
needs a DADA professor."
Draco was speechless for a second. "Harry...
you're saying you want
to give up Quidditch?"
Harry nodded. "Playing professionally anyway. My
completely messed up, and my back's never been in worse shape. I've got
more money than I'm ever going to need... And the fact is, I want to be
"Harry, don't do it for me. You could regret it
the rest of your
"I won't. Quidditch was wonderful, it was
amazing. But what I
regretted was leaving you. I want to be here. That is, if you want me
"Of course I do! Just... only if you're sure."
"I've never been more sure of anything. I love
you and I want to be
where you are. I'm doing it just as much for myself as for you. There
was a giant hole in my life without you. God knows, I tried to fill it,
but nothing worked."
Draco decided not to ask what his replacements
had been like. That
didn't matter. Nothing in the past mattered. Just the present and the
future. "You have no idea how happy this makes me," Draco whispered,
capturing Harry's lips with his. Without letting go of each other, they
made their way to the bedroom and closed the door behind them.
Up in the Headmistress' quarters, Minerva
McGonagall was putting the
finishing touches on a contract for the new Defence Against the Dark
Arts Professor. After a long talk with Hermione Granger, she decided it
might be necessary. All it needed was Harry Potter's signature.
POTTER DECLINES CONTRACT RENEWAL
After a meeting this morning with John Mince,
head of the England
National Quidditch team, and Seamus Finnegan, Minister of Magical Games
and Sports, Harry Potter, 4-time World Cup Champion Seeker, has
announced that he will not be renewing his four year contract. Potter's
retirement comes as a shock to Quidditch fans across the nation, who
believe that he has only just hit his prime.
Potter has stated that he will be accepting a
contract of a
different sort-- a position at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry teaching Defense against the Dark Arts, as he did for two
years before joining up with England. Potter delivered the following
statement at the press conference following the meeting:
"I don't much care about fame, really. I care
about doing what's
going to make me happy. Playing for England was always a dream of mine,
and it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I'll never
forget it, but I'm ready to settle down a bit more. Quidditch isn't
exactly a low-stress job. And I feel that I have more to give the
Wizarding world as a professor than as a Quidditch player, that I owe
it to my former professors and allies to teach others the things they
taught me. I owe it to everyone who fell at Voldemort's hands to
prevent, as far as I can, something like that from happening again.
Because believe it or not, there are still dark wizards about, and if I
can give even one student something that might prevent another
Voldemort from existing, I have no right to spend my days playing
Mince stated his agreement with Potter's
reasoning, but also said,
"We'll take him back anytime he wants." An inside source, however,
tells us that the Boy Who Lived won't be wanting to get too far from
Hogwarts anytime soon, as it is rumoured he has a love interest there,
Potions Master Draco Malfoy. There was no one on the Hogwarts staff who
would either confirm or deny the rumour, so one can only speculate, but
our sources tell us that there are going to be a lot of very
disappointed single witches out there.
Deirdre Riordan. Email comments to deirdre.riordan @ gmail . com