Pairing: Harry/Draco, Harry/Ginny
Warning(s): Non-linear narrative.
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 2500 words
Summary: Nineteen years later, life goes on.
Beta: goneril and imadra_blue
Note: The beginning few lines are swiped directly from the DH epilogue.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
"He'll be all right," murmured Ginny.
As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absentmindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.
"I know he will."
The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.
He glanced at Ginny, who had followed him after the train's wake. "So," he began, voice low. "When do we tell Ron and Hermione about the Breaking?"
Ginny's jaw worked for a moment. "Certainly not when Lily is around."
"Lily is always around. I'm moving out soon. I'd rather she knew before it happened."
"You don't need to move out," said Ginny for the hundredth time. The expression on her face completed the shocking resemblance between her and her late mother. Harry looked away, disturbed as ever by the sight.
He had held off, for the kids' sake, but it was unbearable. The Breaking of the Bond was not like Muggle divorce, which either party could initiate and see through to the end. Wizarding marriages involved a magical Life Bond, one that could only be broken with the death of one partner or the consent of both. The Life Bond worked like the Unforgivable Curses: saying the words to Break the bond didn't work unless you meant them. Harry was ready; Ginny wasn't.
Frankly, Harry didn't understand why she clung to hope that they could still make it work. For eleven years, Harry had lied to her, and guilt still weighed on his heart like a great black spider resting, gorged, in the middle of its web. Ginny said that she still loved him, but her refusal to let him go made his life miserable. How was that love?
"Has he told his wife yet?" asked Ginny, interrupting Harry's thoughts.
Harry glanced up, searching for Draco in the dissipating crowd. "He's got a name. And whether he's told her or not has nothing to do with us."
"How can you say that?" asked Ginny. "For eleven years, you--"
"Ginny, please, let's not start this again," said Harry. He was so tired. He'd taken all the blame; what else did she want?
Blame. That was the problem. Ginny thought that this was Draco's fault, not Harry's. "You're right," he said, staring at her. "He did begin it. But I was the one who went back."
Ginny's eyes widened, and Harry saw that he had hit the mark. "I didn't say--" she began, but Harry interrupted with a vigorous shake of his head.
"No, Ginny," he said. "Draco tried to break it off several times. He's got a young son, too; do you think this is any easier for him?"
"I thought you told me that you tried to break it off," said Ginny with a glance at Ron and Hermione, who were once again embroiled in a heated debate about foreign policy. Next to them, Lily stood with her arms crossed, glaring a little in Harry's direction. He smiled at her.
"I did try," he said, turning to Ginny. "We both did, but it's never worked. This isn't the kind of feeling that goes away if you ignore it. You of all people should understand."
Fury blazed in Ginny's eyes, and Harry sighed. "Let it go," he said. "Please. I'm not your favourite sofa." He turned from her and began to walk towards the others.
"I wish things could've been different," said Ginny, falling into step beside him. "I never thought it would end like this. Not for us."
"It's our own fault," said Harry. "We rushed into marriage--"
"Yeah, I know," said Ginny with an impatient shrug. "Hindsight is always twenty-twenty."
Harry gestured at his glasses, smirking. "Especially mine."
She laughed, and so did he -- it was surprised laughter, as with old friends recalling a favourite joke, or with two people who'd forgotten how to laugh together. When they joined Ron and Hermione, looking every bit the happy couple, Lily slipped her hand into Ginny's. A perfect little family.
Ginny and Harry had spent the last six months discussing their Breaking of the Bond. Discussion consisted of Harry sitting quietly as Ginny shouted at him. It was his fault. A moment of weakness, a harmless bit of fun had grown into something more, and instead of admitting it to himself and to his wife, Harry had chosen to lie in the vain hope that his affair would be short-lived. He deserved every word of abuse Ginny hurled at him, but it did not change how he felt.
Today, Ginny had run out of arguments. She would say the words; Harry was sure of it now. As he turned to Ron, he glimpsed a tall figure rounding the corner to his left. He's waited all this time? "Be right back," Harry murmured, heart skipping. He couldn't help himself. It made Harry feel like a teenager, and he liked that.
The King's Cross gents' was, for a wonder, empty. Before closing the door, Harry conjured an "Out of Order" sign onto it. He stepped up behind Draco and placed a casually possessive hand on his hip.
"Potter." Draco flushed the toilet and moved to lower his robes.
Harry's hand closed around Draco's, stopping him. "Malfoy."
"I assure you I'm perfectly capable of relieving myself without the need for you to -- ohh, Harry." Draco leaned forward and braced himself against the wall with one arm, his cock swelling rapidly in Harry's palm. It was always so easy.
Harry relaxed into him, found Draco's earlobe with his teeth. "Missed you."
First came the wedding, and Harry was still drunk on youth, love and victory. They were strong and perfect, Gryffindors -- legendary and golden. The first few years after the war flew by in a kaleidoscope of changing seasons and shifts in the political landscape. There were trips to Egypt and Australia, noisy Quidditch games, and quiet afternoons in bed. It was everything Harry had ever wanted, everything he'd needed: the girl of his dreams and a place to call home.
James was born seven years after V-Day, and it all started to fall apart. Ginny had been the first girl to be born into the Weasley clan for generations, and it turned out that female Weasleys tended to have complicated pregnancies and agonising births. Afterwards, Ginny wasn't Harry's anymore. The birth changed her, made her obsessed with wanting to conquer her own body, and she insisted on another child as soon as possible. The happy dream faded, yielding to stark monotony.
Al was born on a rainy April Saturday. The Mediwitch said there were once again problems with the birth and sent Harry out into the waiting room, where Draco sat very still, staring at his hands.
Draco's face was ashen as he gestured at the room next to Ginny's. "They're saying she won't make it."
"She'll make it," said Harry with confidence he had no right to. Why was Draco sharing this with him? They'd barely spoken since the war's end, and Harry had no use for him, though it was comforting that he was not the only one wondering if he'd ever see his wife alive.
Draco glanced up. Harry would not think about what passed between them in the space of that glance until August of that year. They were caught in a blitz of a downpour after a friendly Quidditch competition. Even then, Harry thought about the St. Mungo's moment for a fleeting instance; it was difficult to think with his heavy eyelids threatening to blot out the unforgettable sight of Draco's head in his lap, Draco's red, wet mouth fitting around Harry's cock like a puzzle piece sliding finally -- finally -- into place.
"We said the words yesterday," said Draco, his voice muffled against his robe sleeve.
Harry stilled. "You-- you did?" As his eyes re-focussed, a bit of graffiti above the toilet swam into his view, advising him that Monica Hutchinson was a clap-infested whore.
"We aren't going to tell Scorpius until he's seventeen."
Harry, still struggling to catch his breath, clenched his fist tighter around Draco's robes. "Ginny wants to tell Lily that I'm going on a book-signing tour."
"Maybe you should listen to her." Draco shifted, and Harry didn't feel like talking any more.
"I can't see you any more." Draco's eyes were determined, haunted. "It's not proper, what we're doing."
Harry had hoped Draco would be the one to end it, but now that Draco had, it felt like a betrayal. "If it's so improper, why did you start it?"
"I was-- I couldn't help myself," said Draco. "Forget it. It's better this way. For both of us."
"Ginny's going to have another baby," said Harry.
Draco's eyes flashed, but his voice remained level. "See? It's better."
He walked away, and Harry didn't try to hold him back.
In the months that followed, he often wandered past their meeting places, sometimes half hoping he'd run into Draco. He never did. Harry focussed on Ginny, whose third pregnancy was no easier than the first two, but he repeatedly woke with his cock painfully hard and Draco's name half out of his mouth. It was a blessing that Ginny's comfort demanded a separate bed. The last thing she needed was to find out that Harry had been unfaithful.
The owl arrived three weeks after Lily's birth.
I have to see you.
The note wasn't signed, and Harry didn't recognise the handwriting, but he knew it was from Draco. For the first time in nearly a year, he felt awake.
"We're too old for this," remarked Harry as they cleaned themselves up.
Draco gave him an exasperated look. "If you're going to make fun of my hair again, I'll--"
"I only make fun of your hair on Saturdays," deadpanned Harry. "I mean this." He gestured at the graffiti about the unfortunate Monica Hutchinson.
"What happened to your sense of adventure?" asked Draco, peering at the mirror above the grimy sink.
"We've been adventurous for far too long," said Harry.
A year ago, he had realised he did not feel content without Draco by his side, despite their families, their friends, and his own sense of duty. Eleven years of desperate, shameful need and worried glances; of angry, bitter withdrawal and an inability to turn their backs. Then the last one. Harry still remembered the night he'd decided that he and Ginny were over.
"You love me."
Draco regarded him over the rim of his champagne flute. "You say that like it's news."
"That's the problem -- it isn't. Ten years today."
Draco shrugged and set the champagne down. The bubbles streamed ever up towards the restless golden surface. "It's only time."
"It isn't enough," said Harry. "I want this to be ours, not stolen."
"There will be time enough when the kids are in school."
Draco was talking sense, and Harry knew it. Al would be going to Hogwarts in a year, along with Draco's boy. In another year, Lily would join them. After that, Harry would only need to be at Grimmauld Place during the summer holidays, Christmas, and Easter. It would take a little patience, that was all. The problem was that Harry's patience was thinning faster than he'd thought.
"When did you tell Isobel?" asked Harry. They hadn't seen each other since Bill and Fleur's wedding anniversary. If he's told her since then, Fleur might know already. Isobel Malfoy had been born Isobel LeCocq; she'd attended Beauxbatons with Fleur.
"Yesterday," said Draco. Seeing Harry's shocked expression, he rolled his eyes. "I've told you a million times: my father had arranged our marriage. If anything, she's happy I'll be out of her hair."
"Where's she now?"
Draco leaned sideways against the bathroom door. "Drowning her sorrow with money, I imagine. Twilfitt and Tatting's has just received new stock."
"Sorrow? But she said the words--"
"Oh, not that. It's Scorpius. She's never been apart from him for longer than a few hours."
"Neither have you." Harry thought of Al, now speeding through the countryside. He wondered if James had stayed with his brother and Rose as promised.
"I'm not his mother," said Draco absentmindedly, and Harry guessed that he must've been thinking about his son, too.
Aboard the Hogwarts Express, Al Potter stared at the seat opposite, wondering if his brother was ever coming back. James had run off, muttering about the food trolley, but Al thought James looked a bit too excited for the mere prospect of Chocolate Frogs. Maybe he had a girlfriend, like Teddy had Victoire. Lily would die when Al told her. She was always going on about Hogwarts and how she'd meet her future husband there, just like Mum did.
Al sighed and glanced out of the window. A mass of green and brown swatches rushed past him, like a giant's finger-painting effort gone awry. He wished Rose hadn't bumped into the Thomas triplets. They'd dragged Rose away, chattering about "Nargles". Girls were mental. Al thought he would've liked being alone, but so far he'd only got bored enough to contemplate reading one of the textbooks in his trunk.
The compartment door slid open, and Al turned, expecting James. Instead, it was that pale, pointy boy from the platform, the one whose father had got so flustered upon seeing Al's dad. No one else had noticed, but Al had seen the strange look on the man's pale face. It was probably nothing. What did Uncle Ron say the boy's name was? Scorbus? Scrotus?
"Hi," said Al. "Did you lose something?"
The boy shook his head. "Everywhere else is full," he said. "You're Harry Potter's son, aren't you?"
Al nodded. "I'm Albus, but only my dad ever calls me that. Everyone else just uses Al. What's your first name?"
"Scorpius," said the boy, eyes narrowing. His sullen tone made it sound like a hiss. Sscorpiuss. James would have laughed, but Al didn't.
"You can sit here, you know," he said. "You don't have to stand in the doorway."
Harry knew how it would happen.
Malfoy, Ron would say with a puzzled frown. Hermione would get that "aha" look on her face the minute Harry looked at Draco. Ginny would clutch Lily's hand tighter and make frantic eyebrow movements to say, not here, Harry, not now! Harry would give her a reassuring pat on the shoulder.
They would pile into their cars and drive to the Potter residence, and there amid the squashy armchairs and bright wallpaper, the newest chapter in Harry's life would unfold, wrapped up in early afternoon light and the earthy scent of strong tea.
In a moment, Harry and Draco would break apart and walk out onto the platform, where the others were no doubt wondering where Harry was. For now, he was content to anticipate, listen to Draco's heartbeat beneath his hand, watch Draco's thoughts flit about behind his eyelids. All was well.