|Celandine's Chronicle (celandineb) wrote in cels_fic_haven,|
@ 2007-10-11 11:42:00
|Entry tags:||hp fic draco/harry, hp fic settlement|
HP fic: Change [Harry/Draco, general]
Summary: Draco makes Harry talk about the difficulties he's having in telling his children what's going on.
Note: Seventh in the Settlement series: Settlement, Choices, Friends, Resolve, Visitor, Beginning
Nothing much changed right away after Harry moved into the flat above the shop, at least not as far as Draco was concerned. He had spent that one night sleeping in Harry's bed, but Harry retreated from that closeness the next week, watching Draco with troubled eyes.
Harry shook his head when Draco asked if something was wrong, saying, "I don't regret what we did, but I need time." He reached across the tiny table of the Italian restaurant where they were having dinner that week and rested his fingertips for a moment on Draco's chest. "I need to think."
Draco twined his own fingers through Harry's, lowering their joined hands to the tabletop. It almost seemed as if he could still feel Harry's touch above his heart. "Tell me if there's anything I can help you with."
"I will. I think... in a couple of weeks I think I'll want to talk. But not quite yet."
And that was where the matter rested for the next month. They resumed their usual Tuesday dinners, one week also going to see a film; it was an American Muggle thriller, and Draco suspected morosely that Harry had chosen it so that they would have less of an opportunity to talk. He reminded himself that Harry was trying to cope with Ginny being not terribly cooperative about coming to any decisions. Then, too, it was the season when Harry needed to work hard on wand-making so that he would have plenty of stock on hand when the new year's crop of young witches and wizards came to buy their first wands.
When it had been six weeks since Harry left Ginny, though, Draco decided that he had been patient long enough, and that it wasn't unreasonable to prod Harry a little bit. He sent a message that he would make their dinner reservations the next Tuesday, and instructed his house-elf to have toad-in-the-hole and green peas ready at seven-thirty.
Harry was amenable to taking their favorite walk in Kensington Park, and Draco carefully only spoke of indifferent matters: the unseasonably cool weather, the latest gossip out of the Ministry. At twenty past seven he said, "We're having dinner at my flat tonight. It's already arranged, so don't argue, please."
"I wouldn't think of it." Harry put his arm through Draco's. "Do you want to Apparate us there, or shall I?"
"I will." As soon as they had reached a spot from which they would not be observed, he did, landing them neatly inside his living room.
"Smells delicious," said Harry. "Sausages?"
"Toad-in-the-hole," Draco admitted. "I know you used to like it at school; I hoped you still do."
Harry smiled at him a little sadly. "Yes. Molly Weasley has always made a good one."
"That's why I wanted you to come here tonight," said Draco as they sat down.
"What, to talk about toad-in-the-hole?"
Draco repressed an urge to roll his eyes and sigh in exasperation. "No, to remind you of the fact that there are still pleasures in life, and that they're better shared. We haven't talked all that much recently. I thought that part of the reason you decided to leave Ginny was because you felt the two of you didn't communicate meaningfully any more, so it's been worrying me that you've not been talking to me, either."
"I know." Harry looked down, cutting off a bite of the batter pudding and putting it into his mouth. When he had swallowed, he said, "I'm sorry, Draco. I haven't wanted to drag you into my problems."
"Harry..." Draco shook his head. "Friends share their problems. I may not be able to do much of anything to solve them, but I can listen, if you want to take some of the weight off your mind. Is it Ginny who's troubling you?"
"It's everyone. Ginny, and the kids, and most of my friends as well." Harry's mouth twisted. "Almost all of my friends have always been Ginny's friends too, and half of them are her relatives on top of that. Because I'm the one who left – according to her without even trying to work things out, and I suppose there is some truth to that but it's not as sudden and arbitrary as she's been making it out to be – most of them are more or less on her side. Hermione's tried to mediate a little, but Ron simply won't talk to either of us, and that hurts, a lot."
"Have you still not told anyone that I'm part of the reason you left?"
"No. I can't think of any way to say it that won't make them think things that are untrue. We'd kissed once – once! – two years ago, to see if that would let us settle our life debt, and then we tried seeing if becoming friends would resolve the emotion, so that we could each get on with our lives without any lingering obligation. It wasn't your fault that it didn't work. And you never encouraged me to leave Ginny. But I'm afraid that she, that everyone, would blame you anyway, and that wouldn't be right."
"I understand." Draco was touched by Harry's concern. "But I can bear it, I think, if Ginny and Ron despise me." He shrugged. "I'm not sure either of them ever stopped, not since we were all at school, and it doesn't really bother me. Now Hermione's a different matter; she is my superior in the department, after all, but she's always been very professional in the way she's treated me – she's never once brought up anything that happened at Hogwarts. So if it would make it easier for you, if you think it would help Ginny accept the situation for instance, then you can..."
"I can what?" Harry shook his head.
Draco couldn't say, You can tell her that we love each other. He knew how he felt, but he couldn't presume to speak for Harry. "You can tell her about the life debt," he said at last. "Explain about the problem with unresolved emotion, so that the Relinquishment Spell wouldn't work."
"She might listen to that," said Harry doubtfully. "The other problem is that I'm worried about what my children will think, when they learn about why I left. That I'm," Harry stopped and swallowed, "gay."
"You brought them up not to make foolish distinctions between Muggle-borns and purebloods, right?" asked Draco rhetorically. "I can't imagine that you promoted bigotry in other areas."
"No, of course not, but things are a little different when it's your own father."
Draco laid down his knife and fork, setting them neatly on the empty plate. "Harry, you know your children far better than I do, certainly, but think about it. If you're really certain that after all it's men you're attracted to, that this isn't some temporary episode because you've been feeling unsatisfied by your relationship with Ginny, then – in my opinion – you should tell them sooner rather than later. If you're not certain, then that's another matter."
Taking his glasses off, Harry scrubbed a hand across his eyes, then resettled the glasses on his nose. "I don't know that I'm attracted to men in a general sort of way. I'm attracted to you. I haven't felt like this since, well, I'm not sure that I felt this way even when Ginny and I first became involved; that's so long ago now, it's hard to remember."
Draco's breath caught in his throat, and he found himself having to clear it rather forcefully. "Oh. I see."
"The children know we're separated, of course, but not why. I can't figure out how to tell them, any more than Ginny. How did you tell Scorpius?" Harry asked. "It might be easier if I had some sort of example."
"We brought Scorpius up as a Malfoy," Draco said. "That is, he was always aware that his grandparents – both sets – felt that blood purity and the continuation of the family line were of the greatest importance. So he understood why his mother and I might have felt obliged to be married, regardless of our personal preferences. Daphne and I were always friends, and Scorpius saw that, but we also led fairly separate lives. When I told him that we were going to live apart in the future, and that the reason for that was that I preferred intimacy with men, I don't think it came as a complete shock. It didn't really change either my relationship with Daphne, or Scorpius's relationship with either of us. Besides," Draco flashed a smile that had a good deal of smirk in it, "I chose my time to tell him carefully – just after he and Rose Weasley had become engaged."
"How very Slytherin of you," said Harry. "I suppose I could be lucky that way with one of my children, find a moment when some other major event in their lives would be a distraction, but certainly not with all three."
"You could, however, point out that they're hardly the first to whom something like this has happened," Draco said. "Scorpius is their cousin's husband, and of course they were all at school together. If they need to talk with someone who's gone through the same experience, they could always ask him how he dealt with it."
"True." Harry turned from side to side, stretching his back. "Excuse me. I'm a bit stiff today; spent a long time doing some rather fussy work preparing wand cores."
They left the dining table and went to sit together on the sofa in the living room, bringing their refilled wineglasses along.
"I should apologize to you," said Harry, taking a sip.
"For not talking much, these last few weeks. You're right, that is what friends are for, and if I'd let myself share my concerns I'd perhaps have felt less worried about everything sooner. You've been very patient and I appreciate that a good deal."
Draco put a hand on Harry's knee. "It's all right. I'm glad you were willing to finally talk tonight, though."
"Um. I'm not sure I'm ready for more than when you stayed in my flat, but if you're okay with that, I could stay the night here?" Harry's voice cracked on the last words as he put his hand over Draco's.
"If that's what you feel able to do, all right."
"I know that you don't find it a problem to have sex with someone else even though you're still married to Daphne, but she knew all along how matters stood. Until things are more settled with Ginny, I don't feel comfortable with that." Harry's face had gone pink around the ears, making him look almost like a teenager again despite the grey in his hair.
"I wondered if it might be something like that," Draco said. Harry's words, along with what he had said earlier about being attracted not to men in general, but specifically to Draco, gave Draco hope that perhaps he would not have to wait too long before Harry was willing to indulge in more than a few kisses and fumblings. "Come here, give me your wine glass." He set the two glasses down and pulled Harry into an embrace. Harry returned it, pressing his lips against Draco's cheek and trailing a line of kisses along his jaw, up to his ear.
"You're too good to me," he whispered. "Are you really the same Draco Malfoy that I knew in school?"
Draco tightened his hold. "We've both lived through a lot of changes since then."
Harry gave a rueful chuckle. "That's certainly true. Even a year ago I'd never have imagined that I'd be here like this now."
"But not everything in your life is altering at once. You still have your shop, you're making those wonderful wands. And you still have your children, even if your marriage to their mother is ending."
"I know." Harry's voice was low. "And I still have my closest friend, too." He turned his head so that their lips met briefly. "I can't tell you how much that means to me," he murmured against Draco's skin.
"To me, too," Draco admitted. Part of him wanted to beg Harry to let Draco make love to him, but Harry had already made plain that he didn't feel ready for that yet, so Draco forced himself to be content with the fact that Harry was here next to him, kissing him with gentle fervor.
"You're going to smear your glasses," he said, lifting them away from Harry's face.
Harry chuckled. "Far worse things have happened to my specs than that, over the years. Each one of my children threatened their existence in one way or another. Albus was the worst; he liked to pull them off and drop them on the floor."
"Scorpius was quite fond of hair-pulling as a baby," Draco said.
"Lily did that, too. Drove Ginny wild. Do you ever regret getting married?"
Draco shook his head. "No, not really. There have been rewards to it. It's futile to speculate about the what-ifs, anyway. I'm glad to have my son, but if I hadn't married Daphne, and we hadn't had Scorpius, perhaps I would have had a son or daughter with someone else, even if it wasn't in a marriage. Or I might have been equally happy to have remained childless. There's really no way to tell. Once we make certain choices, we simply live with the consequences and move on from what is." Draco felt himself flush at waxing philosophical that way, but Harry was nodding in agreement.
"I understand what you're saying. If Ginny and I had had only James, we wouldn't know or miss Albus and Lily. And the children we might have had, but didn't, we can't imagine."
"That's right," said Draco. "Some decisions can be altered later, but a few... simply cannot. And sometimes what was the best decision at a given moment doesn't remain so forever. It was reasonable for me to have married Daphne, for instance; my parents wanted it very much, and she was agreeable, and at that time there was no one else that I was in love with. So I wasn't unwilling. In the end I would say that things worked out fairly well. I satisfied my parents at not too great a cost; I have a son whom I love very much, and a wife who will always be a good friend; and now I can please myself while I'm still relatively young." He touched Harry's cheek.
"That's a good way to think about it," Harry agreed. He rested his head on Draco's shoulder, one hand around Draco's waist, the other falling to rest on Draco's thigh. His fingers brushed against the bulge at Draco's groin, and Draco shifted uncomfortably.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to tease." Harry's voice was contrite.
"I know." Draco exhaled, willing his erection to subside. He wasn't an adolescent any longer; it was ridiculous that he should respond so strongly to Harry's mere proximity.
"Soon, Draco. I promise you that."
Draco heard the passion behind Harry's words and believed him.