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hd inspiration for k_krum 
3rd-Nov-2007 08:46 pm
hd inspired - art by lillithium
Author: jamie2109
Recipient: k_krum
Title: Caught up in the Hope of Maybes, Part 1 of 2
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco
Rating: R
Summary: “Draco?” Harry whispered. Draco felt the soothing pressure of Harry’s hands rubbing his back and, God help him, he could purr from the sheer pleasure just that touch gave him. He knew he was trembling, shaking, but he couldn’t stop himself.
Warnings (if any): No warnings. Except past Mpreg.
Total word count: Approx. 16,000
Disclaimer: This story/artwork is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's notes: Written for k_krum who wanted something angsty and romantic with not too many details of the mechanics of mpreg. I really hope you enjoy this offering. This story is partially DH compliant in that it is not Epilogue compliant (mostly).

Caught up in the Hope of Maybes Part 1 of 2

His feet made slapping sounds as they hit the floor in dull repetition; loud, easily heard over James’ quiet whimpering. Harry felt the tiny tremors in his son’s slight body, cradled as he was in his arms. Each step he took, each jolt of foot hitting floor made Harry wince, as he knew it must be hurting his ill son but he kept moving, running, until he saw a Healer heading for him.

“Mr. Potter?” the Healer, a woman, asked. There was concern on her face as it switched from looking at Harry to the little pyjama clad boy in his arms.

“It’s James,” Harry panted, a little out of breath after running from the Apparition point to the emergency ward. “I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s extremely feverish, has a horrible cough, runny nose and watery eyes.”

James whimpered, again. “Hurts, daddy.”

“It’s ok, James,” Harry said, in the most soothing voice he could muster, full of worry for his son’s health. “The Healer will fix you up soon, alright?”

James didn’t answer, didn’t open his eyes, but turned his head to bury further into Harry’s chest.

“Come through, Harry,” the Healer urged, turning immediately and leading the way through to the large emergency room.

It was only now that he recognised the Healer as one he’d seen before. As he set James down on a bed, attempting to soothe him, he remembered that this Healer, Jocelyn Smythe, had been the one to take care of them four years ago when James had been born. She had been the one to tell him that Ginny hadn’t made it through the childbirth after complications set in. They’d done everything they could, of course, but there were some things even magic couldn’t fix.

Sitting by the bed holding James’ hand while Jocelyn worked casting diagnostic spells to determine what was wrong, Harry couldn’t help but feel the knot of anxiety if not ease, then at least not grow. He gave her a grateful smile. Jocelyn was a competent Healer and he had no choice but to trust that she would do her best.

But the knot of worry didn’t disappear. He couldn’t lose James, the very thought of losing his precious son made the chasm of losing Ginny break open and he found himself experiencing the pain of grief all over again. He must have made a desperate noise because Jocelyn paused and looked at him.

“Don’t worry, Harry, childhood illnesses always hit hard, but they’re rarely fatal,” she reassured him. Harry merely nodded and kept his eyes on his son, reaching out to brush a damp lock of hair from his pale sweaty face.

When Jocelyn opened James’ mouth and peered inside, she frowned. “Ah, we’ve been warned about this.”

Harry looked up at her. “Been warned about what?”

“Measles,” she answered. “It’s a Muggle childhood disease. The Muggles immunise their children against it as it can be extremely dangerous to a small percentage of people and is incredibly contagious. I’m sure you had your shots when you were a child,” she continued.

Harry nodded. He knew he’d had those shots not through any kindness on the Dursley’s part towards him, rather so they wouldn’t have to care for him if he fell ill. But he was glad for it now as he knew how contagious Measles was.

“The Muggles warned you about Measles?” Harry asked.

Jocelyn nodded. “Yes, they’ve had an outbreak. It happens sometimes as people get relaxed about immunisation. We’ve tried to get a program running but the Ministry is still stalling us on it.” She turned to the trolley of equipment beside the bed and took out a couple of face masks, placing one on her own face to cover her nose and mouth and handing the other one to Harry. “Here, you’d better wear this for now just to be safe until we get him to an isolation ward. We’ll keep him in the hospital until we’re sure he’s not infectious anymore.”

“How long will that be?” Harry asked, the fear of losing James receding slightly, but the worry about his son ever present.

“Well, it depends on how long ago he was infected and how his magic is affected by the disease. And now that we have one patient, I’m sure over the next few days we’re going to see a lot more, so we’ll be trying to contain the outbreak as best we can. It might be two weeks before we’ll let him leave.”

Two weeks? Harry thought, making a mental note to reorganise his life around it when James was settled and comfortable. As comfortable as he could be, anyway.

James began to cough, and Harry moved to sit on the bed and take his small son into his arms, rocking him through the spasm.

“I can stay with him, I assume,” Harry said in a tone that dared her to contradict him.

“Yes, of course.” She smiled and nodded before leaving to organise moving James to an isolation ward.

Less than twenty minutes later, James was tucked up in bed sipping a cool drink and feeling much better after having been given a potion for the fever. Harry felt the cool wash of relief calm the twisting of his stomach. He noticed that all the staff were now wearing protective masks and that the room they were in must be a private room in the large isolation ward, which was made up of about thirty beds. For once he was glad of his name; he wouldn’t like James to go through an illness in such a public space as that ward. Their room even had a bed for him so that he could stay with James all the time.

He spent the time before James dropped off into a deep sleep, telling him his favourite story. Then, giving a silent prayer of thanks, he curled up in his own bed and watched his son until he, too, slept.

***


By the next morning, the isolation ward was a different place. As Harry sat up and stretched, he saw through the windows that every bed was in use. There were witches and wizards everywhere, Healers and nurses were checking patients and everyone but the occupants of the beds were wearing face masks. The noise was strangely muted for such a large crowd of people and Harry wondered if their room had been sound proofed too. He was honestly grateful for the special treatment he’d obviously received and had no guilt in accepting it for his son. He’d do anything to ensure that James received the very best of treatment and facilities available. As would any parent.

James woke then, making a grizzly sound that came from a hoarse throat. Harry jumped up and took him a glass of water.

“Morning, James. Would you like a drink?” he asked his son, who looked all puffy from his deep sleep. The eyes he opened were still red and looked sore and there was a crust of dried gunk from his nose across his cheek. Harry felt his heart break for his little boy.

“’lo daddy,” James said, barely above a whisper. When he sat up he coughed again, and Harry sat down and rubbed his free arm up and down James’ back, letting the boy lean into him while he coughed.

“Here, mate, have a drink. It will cool your throat.”

James nodded and drank, the fluid helping to soothe his cough.

“How come there’s so many people out there daddy?” James asked.

“I think they’re sick, just like you,” Harry answered as a masked nurse entered the room.

“Yes, they are, young man,” the nurse said. “Good to see you’re awake. How about a nice wash? It will make you feel better.”

Harry grinned. James hated bath time like a typical boy so he expected a battle to get James to take a bath. Sure enough, James looked at Harry wide eyed.

“Da-ad, I’m sick! I shouldn’t have to wash when I’m sick!” James whined.

“Oh yes you will. The nurses are here to make you better but you have to help them. A nice wash will cool you down and make you all clean,” Harry admonished.

“I don’t want to!” James frowned and crossed his arms in that stubborn way Harry knew so well.

“I know. But if you don’t then the germs that are making you sick will hang around and they might make other people sick,” the nurse said, cheerfully.

James looked at them both doubtfully as if gauging whether or not he could get away with saying “I don’t care!” Eventually he huffed, evidently seeing that he wasn’t going to escape the washing. “Fine.”

“Good boy,” Harry smiled and kissed the top of James’ head.

***


In a forgotten corner of the large isolation ward, Draco sat on a chair holding Leonora. She was feverish and lethargic, staring around the room with dull eyes. Draco hated that they’d been relegated to a hard wooden chair; cursed that no matter how hard he argued he was met with implacable disdain and told in not so many words that there were no beds for the likes of his daughter. That more deserving people were utilising all the beds in the ward and at some point when they could be bothered someone would come and ensure that Leonora was taken care of. But she would have to wait until they were good and ready to waste their time on scum like Malfoy.

In actual fact, Draco knew that they were all run off their feet and that they said no such thing. However, the tone of the voices confirmed they were reluctant at best to offer any assistance, and that it was only because Leonora was a child that they were putting aside their dislike and being professional about the care they showed her. Still, to be shunted away in a corner and for his beautiful Leonora to not have the comfort of a bed hurt him and made him rage at the unjustness of it all. Surely they could get another bed from somewhere?

He kissed the top of Leonora’s blonde head, feeling the heat through his lips, his brow creasing in concern. Her little hand reached for his and held on as she leant back against his chest.

“Father, am I going to get a bed soon? I would like to sleep now,” she said, dully.

“Soon,” he responded reassuringly, looking around the room again. If only he could use magic in this ward, he’d transfigure this damned chair into a bed for her.

He saw the familiar figure of Potter through a window and unconsciously his arms tightened around his daughter protectively. For a panic filled moment he wanted to flee the ward, leave the hospital and take Leonora somewhere else – anywhere else - and nowhere near Harry Potter. Then logic set in and he relaxed. Potter didn’t know about Leonora, therefore Potter was not here to take her away from him. He’d die before he let that happen, anyway. Leonora was all he had in the world and he hadn’t suffered the bloody humiliation of looking like a beached whale the whole time he was carrying her for her to be taken away now.

Calmer, yet more on guard and still suspicious, he watched the man that had unknowingly given him his daughter. Unfortunately, he had to admit Potter still looked bloody fit, the extra years adding a masculine hardness to him that was only a promise the last time Draco had seen him.

He wished that he didn’t still dream of that night constantly; wished that he didn’t still feel Potter’s hands on him when he woke from those dreams. He wished desperately that he’d meant more to Potter than a celebratory fuck. Even more, he wished that Leonora didn’t have Potter’s incredible green eyes to remind him of the man every time he looked into his beloved daughter’s face.

Leonora coughed suddenly, like it caught her by surprise and she had no breath to expel. Draco held her as she coughed, feeling completely useless, only able to wipe her nose for her with a handkerchief when she was done. He glared at the nurses who ignored them and wondered bitterly what would happen if they knew she was Potter’s child, too. Would a bed be found then? But no, that was not something he planned on doing; not unless things became desperate. They’d told him Measles was not generally fatal or dangerous for most children so, as long as she was going to be all right, he would keep his secret.

As his attention turned back to Potter, he felt Leonora snuggle up into his chest and heard the gentle rhythmic intake of breath that signaled she had fallen asleep. He rocked in the chair slowly as if to help soothe her sleep, knowing that for now it was all he could do. He saw Potter exit the room and speak to one of the nurses; saw them both look over to him and unconsciously he sunk back into the chair. He knew it was useless but it was an instinctive reaction. He really didn’t want Potter’s attention. Not now.

Draco held his breath as Potter made his way over to stand in front of him, looking at Leonora asleep on Draco’s lap. When Potter looked up and into Draco’s eyes, Draco inhaled sharply. There was concern there where he had expected there to be indifference.

“Draco?” Potter said.

“Potter,” Draco replied. It was all he could say. His face flushed in shame at being found here, stuck in a chair with his sick daughter – their sick daughter – on his lap, being deemed unworthy of a bed. From the look on Potter’s face, he didn’t seem to be gloating. Still, it was terribly embarrassing to be in this position.

“This is your daughter?” Potter asked.

Draco nodded. “This is Leonora,” he said quietly. “And she’s finally asleep, so kindly keep your voice down if you don’t mind.”

Potter nodded, looking down at Leonora, his face softening perceptibly.

“I have a spare bed in James’ room, if you want it,” Potter said, and Draco’s mouth dropped open in surprise.

His initial reaction was to refuse. There was no conceivable way he could be that close to Potter for the time it would take Leonora to recover. Potter would find out somehow that she was his daughter and Draco just knew he would try and take her away from him. He knew it. And he would win. What court in the land would refuse the Chosen One if he wanted to try and get custody of their child?

“I don’t want anything from you,” Draco hissed, and felt a moment’s victory when Potter looked shocked.

“I’m not doing it for you,” he said. “I’m doing it for your daughter. She needs a bed and I have one. Is it too much to ask that you put her needs above your own selfish hatred of me?”

That shocked Draco. Potter thought Draco hated him still? Admittedly they’d been terribly drunk the night they’d spent together having very sloppy, though enthusiastic and quite utterly amazing sex, but he thought he’d done a great job of letting Potter know what he felt was anything but hatred. It was Potter who had treated it as no more than sex, after all, disappearing without a word the next morning.

“I-,” Draco started, intending to tell Potter that he didn’t hate him at all but realised it would just lead to speaking about that night and the topic was just too close to Potter finding out about Leonora for his liking. She did need a bed though, he told himself, and as long as he didn’t give in and tell Potter about her then he’d never know. Rationalising it that way, he nodded. “Fine,” he said, reluctantly adding “Thank you.”

***


Both children slept for most of the day, leaving Harry and Draco sitting in chairs at opposite ends of the room with nothing but each other to distract themselves. Harry sighed, feeling uncomfortable with Draco again after all this time. He wondered who Leonora’s mother was - and where she was - but didn’t feel he had the right to ask.

He wished he had the courage to just talk to Draco. Surely after all this time, they could talk about that night? Seeing Draco again had made Harry conscious of the fact that there were things he wanted to tell him. Things he should have said before. Like the fact that he hadn’t been drunk at all. Like the fact that he only left without a word the next morning because he felt so guilty for taking advantage of a very drunk Draco just to satisfy the burning need which coursed through him every time he’d seen him. Like the fact that even though he’d married Ginny and loved her dearly, he’d never quite forgotten how insatiable his desire had been for Draco. And how, even now, he’d like to lose himself in those devastating grey eyes.

Instead, they sat there in silence apart from the regular visits from the nurses to check on the children and the occasional wakeful periods James and Leonora had. It drove Harry to distraction and made him irritable. He requested, and received, two much more comfortable chairs for he and Draco to spend the night on and, as he closed his eyes for what he knew would be a restless sleep, a large part of him wanted to go to Draco and kiss his forehead goodnight, in a way letting him know that everything would be all right, that he and Leonora would be safe. It was an odd feeling but not a new one. In some ways he felt like he’d been protecting Draco since sixth year at Hogwarts.

After the war – after that night - Harry had anonymously made sure that the Malfoy estate was kept intact for Draco, even though his father had been sent to Azkaban and had died there a year later. Guilt. He knew it was but he liked to think some part of him did it just because Draco deserved to keep his family home. He’d saved Harry’s life during the war, as had Narcissa.

Harry eventually fell into an uncomfortable sleep, filled with visions of pale skin under his fingertips, skin that responded to his touch and a body that arched beneath him wildly. And his dreams were suffused with an aching want.

***


If Draco didn’t know James Potter was Potter’s son, then he’d barely be able to tell. When he looked closely at James the next morning, he could see that there were similarities but nothing he could put a finger on. There was too much Weasley in the boy to automatically be labelled as a Potter. Not like Leonora, he thought with a start. Anyone seeing Leonora and Harry together couldn’t help but be struck by how identical their eyes were. Both were an indefinable green that made you feel like you were swimming in a bright whirlpool of bubbling emotion which left you quite breathless.

The children had discovered each other this morning and it made Draco proud that his daughter got along with James – her half brother. He shivered a little when he acknowledged the relationship between them in his head. Delighted laughter, only slightly diminished by their illness, rang out around the room and Draco smiled involuntarily at them both. He risked a glance at Potter and found him not looking at the children but at himself, so he returned his attention to the children, aware of the light blush that tinted his cheeks.

“Do you think we could put aside any animosity for the time being?” Potter asked. When Draco turned to look at him, he found Potter seemingly surprised that he’d actually asked the question out loud. “For the kids, I mean,” he added, inclining his head towards them both.

“Of course, Potter,” Draco responded before he had the chance to think about what that might mean. “You’re assuming I still carry animosity towards you, I see.”

“Well, I’ve never seen anything to the contrary,” Potter shot back.

“No, of course not. You tend to disappear before-” Draco broke off, horrified he’d made reference to that night when he had firmly told himself not to bring it up. To cover his embarrassment, he stood and straightened Leonora’s bedcovers before resting his hand on her heated forehead, noting that it was decidedly cooler than the night before.

“Father, James says he has a rabbit, a real one,” Leonora said, looking up at him eagerly. “Can I get one when we get home? He says it’s really fluffy and soft and pretty.”

“We’ll see, Leo,” he replied, smiling fondly at her and pushing her blonde hair back from her face.

He’d chosen the name Leonora because it meant ‘lioness’. When it was shortened to ‘Leo’ it was lion. His daughter was named after the bravest lion he knew. It was an infinitesimal link between her and Potter. A link that made him proud, no matter the circumstances of her birth. That still didn’t mean he wanted Potter anywhere near knowing Leonora was his.

As Leonora settled and turned back to speak excitedly to James, he heard Potter’s soft voice from beside him and jumped slightly.

“She’s beautiful, Draco. So self-possessed for a little girl of, what…six?”

Draco was alarmed. He couldn’t tell Potter that Leonora was six; it would be too close, too easy to do the sums and work out she was his. “No,” he said in a soft voice, hoping he wasn’t overheard. “She’s not six yet. But thank you, yes she is beautiful and extremely well mannered. I am capable of teaching her good manners, you know.” His voice had taken on a sharp, defensive edge and he knew Potter heard it.

“I didn’t say you weren’t,” Potter sighed and when Draco looked at him, he was tiredly running a hand through his still messy hair. Draco had the urge to do it for him, but he wouldn’t, though his eyes followed the tracks that Potter’s hands made.

Potter spoke again and pulled his attention back. “Where is her mother, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Draco took a deep breath before he answered, wanting to proudly admit he was the one to give birth to this beauty. He dragged Potter aside, away from the little ears of his daughter. “I do mind you asking, actually. That’s not something that is any of your business,” he said bluntly.

Potter’s shoulders dropped and Draco allowed himself a moment of victory. A smirk formed on his lips before he had a chance to stop it. “Nothing about us is any of your business. Don’t think because we’ve called a truce for the sake of the children you have any right to ask me personal questions.”

Draco saw the flash of familiar anger in Potter’s eyes. Just like back in school. God, how he loved those eyes when they were full of passion. They were so alive, they set his senses on fire and he could quite easily stand there and just stare into them forever. But Potter sighed, nodded curtly and turned away, leaving Draco feeling both a mixture of triumph and sadness.

“Fine, Malfoy,” Potter ground out. “If that’s the way it is, then I beg your pardon for trying to be civil.”

“It’s a bit too late for that don’t you think?” Draco responded.

“What do you mean?” Potter’s head shot up, eyes firing bewildered daggers at him. Draco pursed his lips and shook his head.

“Nothing,” he said, mentally kicking himself for not being able to refrain from keeping Potter in a conversation, even if it wasn’t a friendly one.

He looked up and saw both of the children were watching them, frowns on their faces. He smiled at Leonora and moved back to her side. “Is there anything you want, Leo?” he asked, in an attempt to distract her. “Sweets? A drink?”

***


Harry watched Draco over the next couple of days, quite impressed with how good a father he was. He was incredibly attentive to his daughter and it was clear to see they had a very close bond. He noticed how tender he was with her when the rash appeared over the children’s bodies; how he cooled her forehead when her temperature made her fractious and how he held her when she needed a cuddle. In a way he was very envious of Leonora; she had Draco to hold her, she had all Draco’s attention, but she was such a sweet natured child, Harry’s envy didn’t last long. He thought Leonora’s mother must have been a saint for her to have ended up with such a lovely nature when her father was such a… such an arse.

And Harry had James to love and spoil and care for. His son was the most important thing in his life and he was inordinately proud of him. Especially the way he handled himself with the older Leonora, not making a pest of himself but using his humour to make her laugh delightedly. He found he was not as tactile with James as Draco was with Leonora and he wondered if that was because James was a boy or it was because Harry himself always had trouble with people touching him. It wasn’t as if he didn’t love hugging and cuddling his son, he did…Maybe it was just a boy thing, he told himself, leaning in to ruffle the boy’s hair, which earned him a fond grimace.

He and Draco didn’t speak to each other unless the children included them in their conversations and then, by silent agreement, they smiled and laughed at each other, Harry acutely aware that he would love the smile Draco turned on him in those moments to be meant for him and for him alone.

They were so isolated here in this room that at times Harry felt like they were the only four people on the planet. If not for the regular visits from the nurses to check temperatures and to administer potions for the fever, Harry would think no one else outside this room even existed.

As the days passed, he felt a bond develop between the four of them. One that he was sure Draco didn’t feel, but in his mind, Harry liked to pretend all the false smiles, given for the sake of the children, were real ones. He knew his were. He’d give anything to rip down this wall that was between them. But he knew he’d done the wrong thing taking advantage of Draco when he was drunk and so, he knew it was Draco’s call. And Draco didn’t want anything to do with him.

James tugged on his sleeve. “Dad, when we get outta here can we have Leo over to play?” he asked.

“If Draco says it’s alright, of course we can,” Harry replied, looking at Draco and Leonora in turn.

“Leo?” Draco asked.

Leonora smiled and nodded. “Can I father? I’d really like to see Boxy the rabbit. And did you know he has a parrot, too? And it sits on his shoulder, like a real pirate’s parrot?”

Harry had to laugh, as Lenora had only asked Draco that same question about ten times over the past few days.

“We’d be delighted then, Potter,” Draco replied gracefully, and Harry was about to smile when James piped up, crossly.

“His name is Harry. Why don’t you call him Harry?”

“James, that’s not very nice. Draco has always called me Potter, it’s not important,” Harry said. “Apologise to Draco, please.”

James looked at him, still frowning. Harry could see the stubborn set of his chin and he hoped that James wouldn’t make a scene here. Harry kept the stern look on his face and James backed down, reluctantly.

“Sorry,” he said, grudgingly. “Don’t you like my dad or something?” James looked at Draco almost challenging him, and Harry blushed. Damn kids; they always managed to put you on the spot right when you least expected it. He didn’t risk a look at Draco, for Draco might see the forlorn hope in his eyes if he did.

“James,” Harry protested softly. “That’s hardly a thing to ask someone.”

“No, it’s fine,” Draco interrupted, and Harry looked up, surprised, seeing a faint blush on Draco’s cheeks. “I like your dad fine, James.” Draco smiled at James, then turned his attention to Harry. “And I can call him Harry if you like.”

The way his name sounded on Draco’s lips sent a shiver up the length of his spine and tossed him back to the night they’d spent together, his name rolling off Draco’s lips in a litany of desire. How was he going to manage now he’d have Draco saying his name like a soft caress all the time?

***


If Draco were honest with himself, he’d have to admit he liked calling Harry by his given name. James’ bluntness had thrown him for a moment but, during the time they’d been cooped up in this room, he’d relaxed around Harry a lot more. Harry was very solicitous of Leonora, for which Draco was extremely grateful, but it made him more determined than ever not to tell Harry that she was his daughter. He did feel regretful that Leo was missing out on having Harry as another father but he would not take the risk of losing her and, from what he’d seen of how protective Harry was of James, he still had no doubt that he would try and take over were he to know the truth.

In his mind, he fantasised about all four of them living in a large house together as a family. He watched Harry surreptitiously when he could; saw the lovely clean lines of his face and body, itched to feel that strength around him and inside him once more. Sometimes, he caught Harry looking at him, too, and when he did, his heart did this little flip flop of a dance, fluttering in hopeless wishing. He wondered what Harry thought of that night, now so many years ago; wondered if he’d forgotten it as just another indiscriminate, meaningless fuck.

Despite this, he still felt a yearning need to touch Harry again. The front they put on for the children started as an uncomfortable situation, where he was very careful of what he said or did, but it was rapidly becoming an important part of his day. A time when he could really smile at Harry, joke and relax with him and have him think it was all for the sake of the children. But it was very real to Draco and he knew he would miss it when they left.

At the moment they were playing a Muggle card game. Exploding Snap was out of the question with the children’s coughing so Harry arranged to have some picture cards delivered to help keep the children occupied. They’d set up a table between the beds and with Harry sitting on the end of James’ bed and himself on the end of Leonora’s bed, they played picture snap.

Despite a thumping headache, Draco wanted to play with the children; he loved the joyful squealing each time they raced for the deck when a similar picture appeared. Both of them looked so much better now; the rash was starting to fade slowly, the coughing had stopped and their runny noses had cleared up.

Both Harry and Draco made a big deal of pretending to snap for the cards whenever there was a pair but they always waited for the children to beat them, laughing at themselves because they were too slow. God, Draco loved the casual easy feeling when the four of them interacted this way and, not for the first time, he dreamed of it being like this all the time.

A snake appeared at the top of the deck and when he turned up his next card it was another snake. Suddenly, both he and Harry reached for the pile of cards at the same time and Harry’s hand landed on top of Draco’s. He stilled in shock, the warmth shooting directly up his arm and sending heated tendrils of desire through his bloodstream. Biting back a soft noise, he didn’t move, expecting Harry to remove his hand and he was even more shocked when Harry’s fingers curled around his.

Not only was his head thumping but now his heart was pounding and he felt his face burning up as he looked into Harry’s eyes. There was fear there, Draco saw, and hope. His first instinct was to raise their hands to his lips but a squeal from Leonora broke the connection and he returned to the card game, laughing at winning the pile of cards but unable to cool the heat in his face and thrumming through his body.

***


That’s it, Harry decided. Tonight, when the children were asleep, he would talk to Draco. For days, the strain had been building in him. On one hand, logic told him that the friendliness was all for show but his heart was trying to tell him something different. When he saw Draco blush as their hands connected, his heart jumped and took over, making up his mind for him.

Moments later, his head told him that he needed to be prepared for another rejection, but he couldn’t shake the need to explain to Draco why he left so suddenly after that night. Perhaps Draco might forgive him? Right…and hell might freeze over. Still, he knew the right thing to do was to explain the truth. And let Draco hate him for something real. He wondered why he never had this much tension and anxiety with Ginny. He barely remembered a time when they argued at all. No, life had been fairly easy with Ginny. And he had loved her so much and he missed her even now. But he’d been alone too long and always in the back of his mind was the faint regret for the selfish way he’d treated Draco.

When the children were asleep and the lights dimmed, Harry quietly moved his chair near Draco’s. It was a peaceful time; all the patients in the ward outside were asleep and they’d been able to pull the curtains across the windows for privacy, so it felt quite cosy and - dare he even think it? - romantic.

Draco barely seemed surprised that Harry moved his chair close but he was looking at him in quiet expectation, a faint frown on his face. Harry curled up in his chair, ran a tense hand through his hair in agitation and sighed.

“What do you want to say, Harry?” Draco asked, and Harry was immediately buoyed by the fact that Draco was calling him “Harry” all the time now.

“I- I have a confession to make,” he started, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. “That night…do you remember…?”

“Yes, I remember. What about it?” Draco’s voice was tight, but Harry couldn’t hear any anger in it, though Draco was giving him a hard look.

“I took advantage of you. I wanted to say I was sorry.”

“Oh, come off it. We were both drunk. We had some meaningless sex on a night of celebrations, right? Don’t even think about it.”

“Well, that’s just it. I wasn’t drunk. I knew exactly what I was doing. I took advantage of your state for my own benefit.” Harry was being brutally honest and he watched as Draco’s face changed, showing a range of conflicting emotions, not all of which Harry understood.

But then Draco’s voice made it perfectly clear how angry he was. “You deliberately led me to believe you were as drunk as I was just so you could fuck me?”

Harry hung his head and nodded.

“You fucking coward,” Draco hissed and Harry took it, knowing he deserved it.

“You’d never have looked at me otherwise,” Harry said, looking up into Draco’s angry face.

“How would you know?” he spat, leaning forward. “And keep your voice down. The last thing we want is for the children to wake and hear us arguing over what a callous, manipulative creep their-you are!”

“How would I know?” Harry whispered back. “Because you hated me. When you were drunk you didn’t hate me anymore.”

“Oh, give me a break, Potter. All you were after that night was an easy, meaningless fuck. And there I was, drunk and horny and all over you because I’d wanted…fuck!” Draco snarled and flung himself back in his chair.

“It was anything but meaningless, Draco,” Harry whispered. “I’ve never been able to forget it.”

Harry wondered if he would hear the noise a pin made if it dropped to the floor right now. He doubted it; the silence was so thick with tension.

“Why did you leave without saying anything if it meant so much to you?” Draco spoke carefully, and Harry could sense how tightly he’d controlled himself.

“Guilt,” Harry admitted. “I couldn’t face you hating me again when you realised what I’d done.”

Draco’s hand came up and covered his eyes, tiredly. “Well, now I know, so kindly piss off and leave me alone. I-I don’t hate you…but you used me and why you’ve decide to tell me all this now is beyond my comprehension.”

“I suppose I just felt we’d come a long way the past week. I felt I had to be honest with you. I’m sorry for what I did, I never meant to hurt you.” Harry said, and was surprised when Draco laughed.

“Oh, you have no idea what that night did to me.”

“Tell me,” Harry said, quietly.

Draco shook his head and Harry thought he wasn’t going to answer, but Draco eventually replied in a very soft voice.

“I’d never felt so loved and cherished as you made me feel that night. Drunk as I was, I still felt so amazing. I’d wanted you for a long time and then to wake the next morning and find you gone with no word…and to realise that it was just some random sex for you was…devastating.”

Harry swallowed, unaccustomed to this blunt honesty from Draco; this raw, naked emotion. “I’m so sorry, Draco. If I’d known, I never would have left you.”

He half expected Draco to sneer at him and tell him he’d been lying and as if sex with Harry bloody Potter could ever actually mean anything. But, he didn’t.

“Well, it’s all water under the bridge now, isn’t it? We moved on. You have James and I have Leo and we’re adults and…we can…just… forget it ever happened. Right?”

“You- you don’t think we could start over? Try again?” Harry was sure his voice cracked but he was past caring about how he sounded. He was too crushed to realise that he could have had this all along. But then, he reminded himself, he wouldn’t have James and, no, he didn’t regret a minute of his time with Ginny, but…he hoped that somehow he could fix this; that there could be some sort of future. If Draco could forgive him.

Draco stood and walked to the other end of the room as far from Harry as he could. Harry sighed brokenly and let him go. Draco’s silence was his answer.

***


Trying to think past the pounding in his head, Draco’s mind waged a roaring battle. He couldn’t quite get his thoughts around being used like that by Harry because if he thought about it in a different way, he wasn’t really being used. He’d wanted Harry and Harry had wanted him and the fact that Harry had pretended to be drunk did make the prat a coward, but it also made him adorably human. Besides, he’d had to get drunk to even approach Harry, so he was just as big a coward. Draco pulled aside the curtain and rested his forehead on the cool glass. God, Harry had wanted him! It was like a repetitive echo in his head fuzzing up his thought processes and leaving him barely able to appreciate that the man he’d wanted, thought about, dreamed of and fantasised over had actually wanted him…still wanted him.

He was so tired; his head was aching and he just wanted to run far away from the cloistering atmosphere of this room. It’d been so long since he’d allowed anyone to touch him and he desperately wanted to fall back into Harry’s arms and let him just take care of him…but what about Leonora? How could he even attempt any sort of relationship with Harry without telling him about Leonora?

A defeated sob escaped before he could stop it. To have the man he wanted back in his arms, back in his bed, he had to tell Harry about Leonora and risk everything. To tell Harry now…Harry would be so angry, he’d never forgive him.

Angry with himself, he refused to let the single sob turn into a melodramatic scene; he wouldn’t let Harry see him in such a state. He had reserves of strength he’d never even known about until he’d given birth to Leonora; he would use those now and not say anything. Leave everything unsaid and give himself time to think. Maybe tomorrow after he’d slept and wasn’t so tired and –

Draco felt Harry’s hand on his shoulder and all his resolve and walls came crumbling down. He turned and buried his head against Harry’s chest, feeling nothing but a great sense of relief when Harry’s arms came around him and held him steady. The tears were pricking his eyes and he just wanted to let go.

“Draco?” Harry whispered. Draco felt the soothing pressure of Harry’s hands rubbing his back and, God help him, he could purr from the sheer pleasure just that touch gave him. He knew he was trembling, shaking, but he couldn’t stop himself.

“Draco, are you all right?” Harry asked again, and Draco heard the puzzlement in his voice. He shook his head, blinking back the tears and looked up into Harry’s face. He told himself that this was a mistake; that he’d regret it later when he could think straight but right at this moment the only things he saw were Harry’s beautiful green eyes looking at him in concern.

“Harry,” he sighed and leant in, pressing his lips to Harry’s, feeling the purest sense of completeness he had ever felt. He almost sobbed again when he felt Harry kissing him back. Those strong arms surrounded him and made him believe that everything would be okay. The sweet, determined way that Harry took over the kiss pressed home to Draco that he could just surrender himself to those possessive lips and never have to worry about anything ever again. His arms came up to slide around Harry’s shoulders and neck; hands delved into his hair and Draco groaned because the way their bodies met was everything he remembered and more.

Harry’s lips felt cool against his heated mouth, the confident tongue that swooped inside and explored his made him shiver and melt all at the same time. As Harry pulled him closer, it was all he could do to keep his feet; he felt as weak as a kitten. This week had been one huge emotional strain on him and letting it out this way felt so incredible and so perfectly safe, his arms clutched at Harry desperately in an attempt to keep it that way and never let go.

Then, without him realising it, he was releasing tiny whimpers of distress, of need, and as Harry held him up his eyes fluttered closed and he sank into blackness.

Part 2
Comments 
5th-Nov-2007 05:42 pm (UTC) - Caught up in the Hope of Maybes 1
My heart! You've wrung it dry, this is so very beautiful. The children are wonderful, the pain and longing in the adults is palpable! *rushes to read the rest*
29th-Jan-2012 10:50 am (UTC)
as someone who had chickenpox aged 22, I think they are forgetting something...
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