Harry needs to escape his own wedding, with the only person who could understand.Warnings:
angst, post-DH including the epilogueDisclaimer:
The boys belong to JKR, even though I’m often nicer to them than she is.Author’s Notes:
This was written for lillithium
’s birthday. She gave a very inspiring answer to a meme question (behind the cut) and I said I’d write a fic based on it; since her birthday was coming up, it’s now her present. Hope you like it, sweetie! 41. Do you think their engagement will be uneventful? I can't picture them cutting a wedding cake at the moment. I can, however, see Draco attending Harry and Ginny's wedding party. When there's no one watching, Draco pulls Harry under the table to tell him "the possibilities" while hiding behind the table cloth. No would-have's nor should-have's; only possibilities.
“You may kiss the bride.”
Harry looked down into Ginny’s shining brown eyes. She was staring up at him, worlds of love in her eyes, a few escaped tendrils of scarlet hair framing her face. Harry looked back, then glanced out into the congregation again for a split second.
There were brown heads and black heads, a forest-fire’s worth of redheads, even a little blue head by Andromeda’s black hair. But Harry’s parched eyes couldn’t find the blond hair, the cool grey gaze. Draco wasn’t here.
Harry swallowed. How could he have expected Draco to watch him marry?
He leaned forward into Ginny’s flowery smell, and sealed their marriage with a kiss.
A few hours later Harry was sitting at his own reception, slumped behind a table with a bright white tablecloth and gulping golden champagne. He more than made up for the pregnancy-imposed abstinence of his new wife. The table was scattered with debris from the meal and the party that was beginning: plates and half-full bottles of bubbly, cake crumbs and confetti, gold candles that were burning down to their red holders.
Ginny was dancing with Dean. She’d changed into a new dress for the reception – a golden one that dropped to mid-thigh, the material sparking in the light – and against Dean’s dark skin and black tux, Ginny’s gold dress and scarlet hair blazed. He dipped her, and she leant with it, laughing; her teeth caught the light of the chandelier for a moment, and her red lipstick gleamed.
Harry smiled, watching her shine in the midst of all the attention and affection she wanted. He hoped it didn’t look the way it felt: a stiff rictus, as though it had been painted onto a wooden doll of a Harry, and now the painting was cracking and flaking.
Harry’s head snapped up and his desperate eyes finally met the cool, amused ones of Draco Malfoy. Draco was standing at the end of the table. His shoulders were defensively hunched against curious or hostile stares from the dancefloor. He had his right hand thrust deep into a pocket; Harry recognised a quirk Draco must have picked up from Harry himself when he was feeling anxious. That thought made Harry’s heart twist in his chest.
Draco had ducked his head awkwardly; his white-blond fringe was falling into his eyes. He was obviously uncomfortable here, among all these laughing people he didn’t know. But the sight of him was balm to Harry’s dry eyes. Draco was here for him, and Draco’s eyes were glad, staying on Harry unwaveringly. Draco stared back, and there was no moment when his eyes flicked away to check if anyone was watching them, admiring them together. He didn’t care if they did. Harry wondered what Draco saw, in his posture and his rumpled dress robes and bright new wedding ring.
Draco’s smile suddenly turned glacial, his father’s smile, as another trio of well-wishers tripped up to the table to drunkenly assure Harry of his future happiness. Harry forced his smile back and thanked them, gave a slight chuckle at a bawdy honeymoon joke, complimented one on her robes. They stumbled away again without acknowledging Draco. Harry’s shoulders slumped in relief.
Draco’s face tightened a little at Harry’s relief. Harry was surprised; Draco’s talent for compartmentalising the various parts of his life, keeping his clandestine meetings and secret lover away from public dealings and old friends, had always far outstripped Harry’s own.
“Still don’t want to acknowledge me, I see,” Draco said, his voice cold and jagged as a broken icicle. “God forbid any of the real
people in your life be forced to socialise with someone like me.” He gave a brittle laugh and Harry winced, wanting to touch him. “It’s classless, I suppose, for the lover to pitch up at the wedding.”
At Harry’s anguished voice, something cold in Draco’s expression melted away; the tightness around his eyes faded, the brittle line of his shoulders relaxed. “Sorry,” he muttered, his lips close together as if to stop anyone realising what he was saying. Harry smiled uncontrollably at this utterly Draco-esque apology.
“It’s not classless,” he said vehemently. “I’m so glad you’re here, Draco, I’d never have got through this day without you. All through the ceremony I was praying I’d see you.”
“I couldn’t.” This time there wasn’t a hint of apology in the strained voice, and Harry was glad.
“I know.” They were quiet for another moment. Harry felt as if they were suspended in a bubble of water, held apart from the world in a quiet, shining place of their own. Of course, bubbles popped and fell apart – but not for a while if you looked after them properly. “Draco, I don’t want you talking to my friends, you’re right. But it’s not because I’m ashamed of you, or because I’m scared they’ll guess. You’re mine – the only thing in my life that’s all for me – and I’m not going to share you.”
Draco smiled. His eyes were amused again; Harry grinned back, reading Draco’s response there. Silly Potter. I don’t know where you get the idea that I do anything ‘all for you’. Ulterior motives are all, that’s the Slytherin motto.
“Your wedding’s a good place for photo ops, Potter,” Draco returned softly, his voice a caress. “I can show what a good boy I am. Honest and reformed.” The irony in that made Draco’s bright, wicked grin appear for a moment, flashing like the sun on bright water. Harry smirked back, charmed by that I-got-away-with-it, small boy’s expression.
Then he broke it, making that cocky grin splinter and ripple, like a stone in a pond, before it reformed in a slightly shifty, slightly embarrassed smile.
“That would be why, when the lights are all on the dancefloor and everyone’s spinning away, you’re standing here, with me?”
“Well, you know... I might speak to someone else before I leave.”
Ridiculous as it was under the circumstances, Harry felt a moment of sickening jealousy at the thought of Draco chatting and charming people at an event as notorious for one-night-stands as a wedding reception. His eyes darkened, and Draco smiled, obviously reading him.
Suddenly he ducked closer, finally standing next to Harry so that he could smell Draco’s cologne.
“Well, if you really
want to be alone with me,” Draco whispered, and then his hand seized Harry’s and pulled and Draco ducked down in a laughing gleam of pale hair and suddenly they were crouched under the table, hidden by the white tablecloth, giggling together and concealed from the crowd like a pair of naughty teenagers. Their hands were on each other’s shoulders, heads dipped close.
“I can’t believe no one saw us,” Draco gasped, still giggling, into Harry’s neck. “They must’ve all been hypnotised by all the red in the room.”
“Or maybe Fred and George drugged the cake.”
They both burst into laughter again, trying desperately to keep quiet. The releasing of tension – if not by Harry’s preferred method – did wonders. Harry smiled softly. Draco’s talent for pinpointing Harry’s sore spots hadn’t lessened over the years. Only now he protected them.
Ridiculous as it was, this space under the table was exactly what Harry needed. The light was subdued through the thick tablecloth, a relief after the merciless lights he’d been under all day. The fire of the candles was reduced to a soft flickering that played gently over Draco’s skin. This was safe, and close, and cool; Draco’s hand slipped softly over his hand and over his forearm, stroking. They were still in the bubble.
Suddenly calls sounded from a few guests. Both men froze, eyes wide and on each other, like prey hoping to hide.
“Harry? Hey Harry, your bride wants a dance!” Luckily, after this, the calls trailed off.
Harry remembered Ginny’s sunny smile, shining in the spotlight, and for a moment sickening guilt thumped into him. But then he looked at Draco again – the soft glow of his moon-pale skin in the dim light – and oh, how could he ever have refused this? The guilt of his double betrayal – of his wife with this man, of his love with his wife – was bitter, but Draco’s taste was sweet enough to take it away.
He met Draco’s kiss when the blond leaned in. Draco’s hands slipped into his hair, pulling at the gel disastrously, but Harry ignored it. One hand slipped up to Draco’s jaw, feeling it shift as the kiss deepened. Draco’s tongue slipped into his mouth, curling over his palate and sending shivers through him. Harry’s fingers stroked gently over Draco’s cheek as his other hand slid into cool, silky hair, and he felt Draco shiver too.
Harry’s tongue chased Draco’s back into his mouth, and he took possession of the blond’s mouth with practised ease. Draco’s hands clenched in Harry’s hair; a jolt went through him at the slight pain. Harry stroked his tongue purposefully over Draco’s, as he stroked his hair and face again. He felt Draco quiver helplessly under his hands, and it brought back a thousand memories of Draco falling apart at his touch.
The kiss seemed to last forever; tender and kind, playful and unavoidably sexual. At last, Draco pulled back. They remained on their knees, facing each other, their stances perfect mirror images.
“What was that?” Harry whispered hoarsely. “A goodbye kiss?”
“No.” Draco’s eyes narrowed and he brought both his hands to Harry’s jaw, keeping Harry’s gaze locked on his. “Not goodbye. Never that. We don’t say goodbye, you and me. This isn’t the end, Harry.”
“It has to be. She’s pregnant, Draco.”
“It doesn’t change anything,” Draco said, belying the flash of anger and hurt in his grey eyes – I know we can’t give each other heirs, do you have to rub it in my face?
“Draco, there’s a thousand things we could have done – I should have done – I know that, but – ”
You and me, Harry, we’ll never stop.” He grinned suddenly. “We can still have a million moments together. You want to hear the possibilities?”
“All right,” Harry said warily.
“Yeah. On your honeymoon in Venice, you’ll happen to meet me in St Marco’s. Ginny will go off to do the tourist thing and politely avoid me, and you’ll suck me off in one of the side rooms.”
“Or... when you have the christening party for the sprog, you’ll invite me. We’ll avoid each other’s eyes all night, and then when they’re pouring water over the kid we’ll be rubbing off round the back. Blasphemy.”
“And you like blasphemy, don’t you, Slytherin...”
“And at our year’s fiftieth Hogwarts reunion, when I’m still young and gorgeous as ever and you’re losing your hair and running to fat,” Draco continued. At Harry’s outraged expression he burst into giggles. “And when we’re both
young and gorgeous as ever we’ll sneak off and shag in our old dorms, and blackmail the portraits into keeping quiet while we do it on Snape’s desk!” Harry wrinkled his nose.
“And there’s a thousand possibilities for sex at the Ministry,” Draco said breathlessly. “We’ll fuck in the lift and Weasley’s cubicle and the men’s loos and the day you become Head Auror we’ll shag on your big, shiny new desk.” He paused. “We could fuck at my place, if you like. We’ll lie on my bed under the big Malfoy crest and you’ll fuck me into the mattress. And...”
Draco kept talking, words spilling from his mouth as though eager to escape, mouth stretched into a wicked grin. His eyes, though, were desolate. Harry had a flash of insight into his relationship for once. He’s being so amazing, telling me we don’t have to lose this. There are so many possibilities and moments for us to be together. And it’s not just to make me feel better... he wants me to tell him he’s right. That I’m not leaving him alone.
“You’re right,” Harry said. “And we’ll meet for lunch in the Ministry cafeteria a couple of times a week.” Draco sneered and Harry hastily amended this: “we’ll have lunch in a posh café somewhere along Diagon Alley. And we’ll sit off in the corner and people will say hi occasionally, and they’ll think we’re just making an effort to be friendly... they won’t know I’m teasing you, promising to fuck you and suck you and rim you next time we meet...”
He saw Draco swallow in the dim light.
“We’ll go somewhere with tablecloths, and I’ll be running a foot up your leg til you’re gasping for it...”
Harry smirked. “And we’ll see who cracks first.”
The kiss wasn’t a surprise; neither could have held out any longer. They clung; this kiss was urgent, desperate, pulling Harry down with its undertow; he pulled away from Draco’s lips and kissed down his pale neck, listening to the gasps with satisfaction. He bit down and Draco groaned uncontrollably, then shoved him away.
“Don’t bite me, you idiot! How do I explain a love-bite? Anyway, we can hardly go at it under the table.”
“Don’t tempt me,” Harry muttered.
Draco laughed softly, but there was a hint of a hitch in the sound. “You know what, Harry? When one of us is dead, the other one will go to his funeral... and people will think it’s the Saviour being kind or the Malfoy trying to make a point... and no one will know. There’ll be this big public thing, and we’ll sit in the front row at the church, and no one will know we’re crying.
“And when we’re both dead, nobody will need us to pretend. Promise you’ll meet me in Heaven.”
“What?” Harry said. He’d never heard anything this sentimental from Draco before.
Then Draco’s smile turned sly, and Harry recognised him again. “Hot kinky gay monkey sex in Heaven, Harry, for ever and ever. Promise me?”
They stared at each other a moment longer. Then Harry swallowed. He’d seen his Draco, kissed him, touched him... he put a hand to Draco’s cheek again and he nuzzled into it... he could be strong enough now.
“I have to go now. They’ll notice I’m gone.”
“I know.” Harry could hardly bear to look at that screaming smile. “Don’t forget all those possibilites. Pick your favourite and we’ll do it when you get back.”
Harry’s favourite... if he’d had just a little more champagne, he would have told Draco that it couldn’t be enough; but his favourite was the idea of shagging in Malfoy Manor. There would be time for pillow talk and laughter afterwards, if they did it there. Time for a love affair instead of tawdry fucks.
They sneaked away with the ease of long practice, and spent the next half-hour mingling. Harry laughingly evaded questions about where he’d been, and Ginny’s requests for a dance. He couldn’t do that right now, and –
He turned, his flame-haired bride at his side, and Draco was standing there. Cool, unmoving and immovable. As inscrutable in his depths as the dark lake on Hogwarts’ grounds... unless you were Harry. Unless you could make him smile that one, special smile, like sunlight on water.
“Congratulations, Potter.” Draco held his hand out. When Harry took it, his grip was firm, almost clinging... the final touch for a while, at least. Draco’s eyes were storm-grey, now; Harry wondered if anyone else had ever categorised the different shades they could be. He held Draco’s gaze as the other man said, “I hope you’ll be happy. I do.”
Harry watched Draco leave, his hand still tingling from the blond’s grip. He knew Draco was right: he and Draco would never really be finished with each other, no matter who else appeared in their lives. This wasn’t the end.