Happy traditions, slash_srs! Title: Ready or Not Author: ??? Gift For:slash_srs. Pairing(s): Draco/Harry Rating: NC-17 Warnings: Scenes of explicit sexual nature.
Summary: Harry thought that marrying Draco Malfoy was by far the most unexpected and difficult thing he’d have to do, no matter how excited he was at the prospect. When he learns, however, what an enormous decision it is to have a true Pureblood wedding – the only one Draco’s parents will even consider – he realizes that perhaps he’s in for much more than he bargained for.
Author's notes: I couldn’t fit this in Hogwarts-time, considering the tradition I chose, but this takes place about three or four years after. I hope you like this. I squeezed in a couple of traditions you were interested in, and then as many of your kinks as I could. Enjoy it! ♥ Also, a humongous thanks to the mod, who’s been incredibly understanding and flexible, and made this a very fun experience for me.
Mod note: You can also read this story on Livejournal. Please leave feedback for our talented authors!
Harry hadn’t felt this nervous in years. He felt foolish, truly. Meeting the parents was something he never thought he’d have to worry about past teenagehood, but, in fact, now at twenty-one he was worrying about it for the first time in his life.
Before what the wizarding world called a “bizarre circumstance” began – him and Draco going public after a year of dating – Harry hadn’t had to worry about things like this at all. By the time he was dating Ginny, Mr and Mrs Weasley were as well as his parents too, and marriage was expected almost from the moment they got together. There was no need for awkward conversations or worrying about whether or not her parents would like or approve of him. There was no need for worrying about making a first impression, or trying to convince them he was good enough for their daughter. It would’ve been easy and comfortable.
But Harry’s life wasn’t usually about easy or comfortable, and it wasn’t going to start obliging now, either. He supposed the reason he stayed with Ginny for a whole year after the war was because it was simple. To marry into the family that had already become as good as his family, have his school girlfriend and first real love become his last, and live happily with her and a good Ministry job and two or three children until death did them part. That was the plan. To realize he wasn’t attracted to Ginny, followed shortly by the realization that he wasn’t attracted to girls at all, and then somehow be thrown together with the last person he could have imagined, was not. But it was his present reality. He had finished his third year of Auror training a few months ago, and in September he would become a full-fledged Auror. He was going out with Draco Malfoy, his once arch nemesis, for three years now, and Draco was finishing his own preliminary training with the Hit Wizards this year.
Harry felt surprised that the wizarding world, along with his friends, ever got over the whole ordeal, and, with time, had even learned to embrace it. He supposed it was kind of his fault for not easing his friends in slower. Coming out to one’s friends was never an easy feat, but breaking up with his girlfriend, who was one best friend’s sister and the other’s best girl friend, then coming out and, only a few months later, telling them that he was already in a committed relationship with another man who happened to be Draco Malfoy, of all people, was a little over the top. He told his friends way before he let the public know, and he could see why they were as mad as they were. There wasn’t much time between his break-up with Ginny and him getting together with Draco. It seemed almost cause and effect, which was only pouring fat in the fire. He didn’t want to tell them that it was exactly the way it seemed. He thought it wiser to withhold the fact that the day he was with Draco for the first time was the day he knew he couldn’t continue seeing Ginny and broke up with her.
But there was only so long that his face could grace the front page of the Daily Prophet, and soon people became disinterested. After all, he was Harry Potter, and most anything unexpected from him could be forgiven and accepted, taking into consideration what he had done for the wizarding world.
It took longer with his friends. Hermione, surprisingly, who didn’t even try to hide her burning hatred for Draco, stopped the freeze-out first. In her usual logical way she expressed her displeasure at being kept in the dark, and told him he could do a lot better than Draco, but she wasn’t willing to give up the kind of friendship they had over this. She stuck with him when no one did before, and she was willing to do it again. Ron and the rest of the Weasleys needed a little time. It was triple personal, considering the Malfoys made the Weasleys’ life very difficult for many years, and Draco specifically was hated by all the Weasley children. Ginny was absolutely distraught, too, which transferred to the rest of the family.
He suspected it was Mrs Weasley who rebuilt the bridge over which Harry could come back to the family. She had lost one son, and she wasn’t willing to lose another. She understood, in her motherly way, that even if there was no Draco Malfoy, Harry was gay, and he wouldn’t stay with her daughter because of that. Getting mad at the break-up was not fair. Grudgingly, Ron and his brothers accepted the fact eventually too, and even Ginny, who was the last to forgive, did forgive.
Asked many times, Harry sincerely didn’t know how the whole thing began. The Aurors and Hit Wizards collaborated on a lot of assignments, and, considering the nature of both jobs, there were only two interns in the Auror department and one in the Hit Wizards. Harry was surprised to note that for the first three months of their training together, Draco was never far, always making derisive comments, which quickly transferred from Harry to anything but. Harry didn’t know how to take the sudden comradeship, until he found himself stuffed into a closet at the Ministry, face-to-face with a content-looking Draco. Before Harry had time to ask or whip out his wand, Draco was whispering things in his ear that sounded like “only this once” and “just relax, Potter, let me make you feel good”.
Harry knew exactly what he should have done, but what he did do was quite different. He wanted to think about Ginny, about his friends who all despised the young man trailing kisses down his neck, but the only thing he could think about was that he was excited for the first time in a long while. He made excuses for not wanting to have sex with Ginny by saying work left him too exhausted, but he knew it wasn’t true when Draco dropped to his knees and busied himself with Harry’s belt. No amount of exhaustion could be the reason he looked at Ginny in the same way he looked at Ron. And when Draco’s mouth slid over his erection, sucking gently and slowly, obviously expertly, Harry couldn’t care less. Ginny had refused to do that for him, and he could never imagine it could feel that good. Before he knew it, his hands were in Draco’s hair, all thoughts and worries gone from his mind.
Even though he broke up with Ginny the same night, it was only the beginning of the confusion for him. Draco acted like nothing had happened, though he made one remark about it surely being Harry’s first time from the way his body practically gave out at the orgasm and he collapsed in Draco’s arms, but everything else went as usual. Until, that is, Harry found himself in the closet again a couple of days later, snogging Draco, and then attempting to return the favour. Draco was surprisingly patient, guiding and instructing, gasping slightly but not losing his cool when Harry couldn’t find a way to guard his teeth for the first few minutes.
They went from the closet to the bedroom, from dinner to breakfast, and from exclusively snogging to actually having conversations. It wasn’t that there wasn’t the same contempt between them. Harry could still honestly say he couldn’t stand Draco’s guts, but he figured he didn’t have to love him or even like him to enjoy what they did as much as he did. There wasn’t much to miss, however, when they had begun having dinners and getting together some nights without having sex, both feeling too tired but welcoming conversation and falling asleep beside each other. A few months was all it took for them to go from constantly fighting enemies to constantly fighting shag-buddies, to a couple that fought occasionally.
It was Harry, swallowing his pride and summoning his Gryffindor courage, who decided to risk what they had by bringing up the question of “them”. He wanted to go out with Draco, he wanted to be able to stand beside him at the Ministry and converse calmly without surprised looks, and even kiss him if the fancy so stroke him (not that Draco would ever allow such blatant display of affection, of course). He didn’t want to keep lying to his friends about where he was going on the rare occasions when he had free time, and, in general, for the first time in his life he wanted to live it in the open. Without being afraid of being discovered doing something he didn’t even feel like hiding. He told Draco that as bizarre and unlikely as them getting together was, it happened and Harry wasn’t ashamed of it, and he was simply tired of sneaking around. Apprehensively, Draco gave a doubtful agreement.
Thinking back on it, Harry realized that the few months that followed were probably the biggest test they ever had to pass as a couple. For someone who had just acknowledged that they were, indeed, a couple, it was an especially rough time. Harry thought he was used to the spotlight, but he was mistaken. He wasn’t used to that kind of spotlight. Hundreds of pictures of him were taken constantly. He and Draco couldn’t turn around without a camera in their face, knowing that the headline that will run underneath the picture would be just a little more preposterous than the last one, and all their friends were badgered almost as badly as he was. He believed, however, that it made their relationship stronger. He found himself, while his friends were upset with him and trying to work through everything, having no one else to turn to but Draco. Draco, whose father alone nearly killed him and then himself at the news, found himself in similar circumstances.
But that year passed, and then another. Their relationship became common knowledge, and even Rita Skeeter couldn’t find anything to write about concerning the two of them. Their friends, even Draco’s, had slowly drifted back and accepted something they realized they could not change, and their lives went back to normal. Things could only get better from there. Harry could see progress when Draco came to the Burrow for dinner and managed to not once mention what a dilapidated shack it was, and also managed to neither attack anyone nor get attacked all throughout dinner. Even Ginny passed the mashed potatoes to him politely, though rather forcefully, almost causing him to drop the plate into his lap, to George’s great amusement.
Soon, Molly was delicately asking about marriage. Harry had to admit that he didn’t think much about marriage at all. He wasn’t sure it was necessary to start. He couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like or how they could go about it. It wasn’t as if they could have a regular ceremony and then settle down and have a family. Harry wasn’t sure whether family was in the stars for him at all. Draco seemed content with the way things were, and Harry was weary to push too hard.
This was the main reason why Harry’s mouth fell open in shock and his wine glass shattered at his feet, when Draco cooked dinner and instead of proposing a toast when he raised his glass, just proposed. Draco’s proposal, typical of him, sounded more like a business proposal than a romantic one, but it was a proposal all the same. Calmly, Draco stated that they had been going out for three years, and it seemed that they were perfectly content with each other, and not likely to want anything more. They were about to begin their careers, and it only seemed suiting to worry about marriage before time came when they could hardly find time to worry about anything at all. It almost seemed to Harry, who was too dumbstruck to speak, that Draco was participating in a debate, trying to convince Harry why it was a good idea, and defending his side quite well.
Harry had inhibitions, of course. What would their friends think? How would they do something like that? But letting all his fears pour out when Draco was waiting for an answer to perhaps the most important question he’d ever asked was not the right response. For all his fears and uncertainties, Harry had to decide whether he wanted this. The answer came quickly enough. If he could get over himself to get into a serious relationship with Draco, he certainly wouldn’t stop now.
He grinned and nodded, barely able to get the “Yes” out of his mouth before Draco pounced on him, their lips meeting with a crash. When he finally leaned away, Harry was gasping, and made a protesting groan. Fumbling in his robes, Draco procured a box and opened it. The ring he was holding was the same Lucius had worn his whole life, and the same Draco was wearing. Green jewels adorned the little letter M, and a tiny snake curled up beside it, sticking out its tongue when Harry leaned close to inspect it.
When Harry reached out to take it, however, Draco moved the box away and shut it, suddenly growing very sombre.
“Harry, you are not engaged to me until you put this ring on,” he said seriously. “And I cannot let you put this ring on until you know exactly what you’re saying yes to.” Harry opened his mouth to speak, but Draco gave him a hard look. “Not in regards to me – I think you know most of what there is to know about me by now. But before this can happen, I want you to come with me and speak with my parents.”
Harry remembered feeling surprised and mortified at the idea. Apprehensively, he asked Draco whether he expected the Malfoys to approve the match, because if he was, it wasn’t going to happen. Throughout their entire relationship, Draco thought it wiser to avoid his family for the most part, especially his father. Lucius was furious, but seemed to hold back his fury and doing something about it only because he knew he and probably his entire family only avoided Azkaban because of Harry. Harry indeed put in a good word for them – Narcissa, mostly, but to save Narcissa he had to save them all. She wouldn’t let them go down without her. She was the reason Harry was alive and, by extension, the war could be won, so for the Ministry to refuse Harry’s request was hard.
Narcissa, while trying her very best to be as civil as possible to Harry for everything he had done for them, also wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of their relationship. She seemed to come to terms with it better than Lucius, and even went out to dinner with them from time to time, but Harry knew she had a hard time with the whole thing, too. He suspected that the reason Draco had kept him away from his family was because immersing Harry in it would be so difficult that he wasn’t willing to do it unless he knew for a fact it was something very serious. Perhaps Draco hadn’t really considered it serious until he realized he wanted to marry Harry.
Draco didn’t seem to want to bring Harry to his family for their approval, however. He seemed uncomfortable telling Harry the reason at all, in fact, and asked him quite sternly to just trust him and go along with it. Usually, Harry was not jumping at the opportunity to “trust” Draco when he acted so dodgy, but considering the subject, he thought it wise to trust Draco indeed.
That was exactly how Harry found himself standing outside the Malfoy Manor, feeling more nervous than he’d felt in years. “Meeting the parents” was quite different for him than the typical meaning of the term. Harry wasn’t meeting them for the first time. He knew both Lucius and Narcissa, and knew them better than he would’ve preferred. He had no idea what to expect of the night at all, feeling quite nervous about Draco’s avoidance of the subject, and was only praying Lucius wouldn’t attempt to Avada Kedavra him during dessert.
“Ready?” Draco was looking just as nervous, though handling it much better than Harry was, at least on the surface.
Harry nodded and Draco grabbed his hand and pulled him through the huge doors. Ready or not, there Harry went.
Harry didn’t expect Draco to exactly rush into telling his parents the good news, but he was getting nervous when the second course was served and nobody had still said anything. Narcissa had made a few polite remarks about the weather and Harry’s job and health, but after that the conversation dwindled down to nothing. Lucius refused to look up from his plate, though he did manage a “Hello” after an angry look from his son and a disapproving look from his wife. There his willingness to make an effort simply ended. Harry supposed he had to appreciate that the kind of man like Lucius was making an effort at all.
Narcissa seemed to sense that something was coming. She kept glancing at both Harry and Draco in turn, frowning. Finally, she put down her fork and knife and inquired, “Draco, is there a purpose for this visit? I do not mean to say we don’t appreciate the company, or oppose to you visiting just for the sake of visiting, but it seems there is a purpose with which you’ve come?”
Draco squirmed in his seat and glanced at Harry, who gave him a nod. Draco wasn’t usually one to act nervous or lose control of himself in that way, but his family obviously had a significant impact on his life. Harry knew Draco loved his mother and respected his father, and was probably not looking forward to falling out of their grace further by telling them something they would disapprove of.
Finally, Draco produced the mahogany box he had shown Harry and placed it, open, on the table, pushing it slightly towards Narcissa. Lucius dropped his fork with a crash, and Narcissa went a few shades paler and brought her hand to her neck.
“You’re... You’re giving back your family ring?” She clawed her neck, obviously following a habit of playing with a necklace that she hadn’t put on tonight. “You’re denouncing your family?”
“No! Draco nearly shouted, seeing Lucius about to explode.
Harry tightened his hand around his wand inside his cloak. He wasn’t sure whether they would consider the truth better or worse than their assumption. Draco lifted his left hand and showed it to them, the ring identical to the one residing in the box still on his ring finger. Both Lucius and Narcissa seemed to take a while to catch on. They looked from Draco’s finger to the box, seeming either too shocked from their assumption or simply too disbelieving to even suggest it to figure it out.
“Where did you get that ring?” Lucius growled finally.
“I’ve had it reproduced,” Draco replied. Harry was surprised Draco sounded as calm as he did. “In the exact same way one has to if he has two sons, in order to be able to pass it down to both of them.” Giving both of his parents a long look, he finally said, “I’ve asked Harry to marry me.”
Lucius, who was in the middle of taking a sip of water, made a gurgling sound and spit it out, choking. Narcissa went even paler, though Harry couldn’t see how that was possible, and dropped her hands into her lap, her eyes widening to twice their size. Still spluttering, Lucius whipped out his wand, Harry immediately mirroring the movement. Draco looked shocked.
“Now, really,” Narcissa said blandly, putting her hand on Lucius’s wrist and forcing it down on the table, and then quickly seizing the wand out of his grasp. “I will not have anyone firing curses in my dining room. You would curse your own son, Lucius?”
“I most definitely would!” Lucius roared, jumping up. “Him and his boyfriend!” He rounded on Draco, his eyes shining with malice. “How dare you come into my house and announce such a thing? You ask me to be understanding when you tell me I will never have a daughter in law, and thus face a possibility of no grand-children and I try, but this?! Of all people, you bring him into my house and tell me you are planning to marry him? Give him my family ring? A man, a Gryffindor, a Half-Blood!?”
Harry was quickly realizing that coming there was a very bad idea. He still wasn’t sure what Draco wanted him to see before accepting the proposal, but if it was Lucius throwing a fit, he had seen enough. He suspected Lucius would react like that, and he supposed it was possible Draco wanted to make sure that Harry would still want to marry him if he saw how violently Draco’s family was opposed to it. Or, at least, Harry hoped that was what Draco had brought him there to see. If it was, they could leave and Draco didn’t have a thing to worry about. Harry couldn’t care less who thought what. If he wanted to marry Draco, he would marry him. They had been through it already. Harry wasn’t going to start caring now, especially if Draco himself was willing to go against his family’s wishes.
Draco, however, was still behaving relatively calmly, though his eyes betrayed defiance as he glared up at his father.
“Get out of my house!” Lucius roared, and Harry made to get up, but Draco planted his hand firmly on Harry’s knee and held him down, giving him a reassuring look.
When Lucius finally ran out of breath, collapsing back into his chair, Draco started speaking.
“Father, if you’re not willing to listen, you will force me to do something that I have not intended on doing. I will leave both these rings behind and take Harry’s last name when we marry. Because we are going to be married in that case without a doubt.” He gave Lucius a hard look. “The name Malfoy, us being the last in the line, will be completely eradicated and erased off the family tree, unless you and mother are willing to try and have another child and hope that he will not grow up to disappoint you.”
Harry could see that it had done the trick. Lucius still looked livid, but his anger seemed controlled now, and his eyes narrowed. Draco was giving him an ultimatum, and it seemed that the idea of his name dying out was almost as terrible to Lucius as the idea of his son marrying Harry Potter. At the same time, it seemed evident that Draco expected to win. He had not meant it when he said he would give up his family and take Harry’s name. With a slight pang of apprehension, Harry realized that for Draco, that wasn’t even an option. Narcissa, still in deep shock, seemed to choose not to offer her opinion, letting her son and husband fight the battle.
“Perhaps I’ve disappointed you beyond repair, but this family means something to me still, and I’ve done some truly terrible things for the sake of it. I do not want to abandon it now over this. It’s the only family I have, and I’m not willing to lose it. I did not come here for your permission or blessing.” His eyes rested on his mother. “There is something you should know. Harry had not accepted my proposal yet.”
Narcissa breathed out and eyed Harry with part relief and part indignation. “You refused Draco?”
“I didn’t!” Harry shot back. It was the first time he had spoken in a long time, and he was starting to get very irritated at the fact that he had no idea what was going on. What was Draco planning? “He proposed, but he wouldn’t let me –”
“Make an uninformed decision,” Draco finished for him. “I am the last man of the Malfoy family. I choose to follow the family tradition and ancient Pureblood customs for my wedding, like you have done before me, and hundreds done before you, and you have taught me from very childhood. I am not able to turn my back on my family and everything it stands for. Harry would never let me do that, though now is the first time he’s hearing of how much it really means to me.”
A heavy silence fell around the table. Lucius and Narcissa seemed to be processing, Draco waited patiently for them to, and Harry was plainly lost. He had no idea what the conversation was about now. Draco was talking about honouring some ancient tradition, and that failure to do so would mean complete betrayal of his family, yet still Harry couldn’t figure out what Draco was referring to. When he thought about marriage, he thought about two people exchanging rings, signing a paper, and having a very big party in celebration of the union. He could see now that the Malfoys were talking about something much more serious than that.
“One of the reasons all the ancient traditions were put into place was to insure the pure bloodline,” Narcissa said finally. “It is a Pureblood rite and...” She trailed off, glancing at Lucius, who was staring down into his plate. “Yet you still wish to... Does Harry know what it entails?”
“He was brought up by Muggles,” Draco replied. “He doesn’t know, which is why I could not let him agree, and why we’re here. Besides, few know those traditions even in the wizarding world to begin with, so I’m guessing he has not even the slightest idea what he should be expecting.”
“You’re afraid that if he has all his facts, he may reconsider,” Narcissa said, her voice sounding much more upbeat than just a second ago. Draco nodded.
“What?” Harry was staring at the suddenly perked up Lucius, who was giving his wife a self-satisfied smirk. “Would someone please tell me what’s going on? Why are you talking like I didn’t say yes already? I don’t care how we get married – you can follow whichever traditions that you wish! It will not change my answer!”
Narcissa gave him a small smile and waved Lucius’s wand at the table, clearing it. It was obvious there would be no more eating. Lucius, meanwhile, left the table and returned with a large, richly bound book that looked like it had seen better times. He sat back down and looked at Narcissa expectantly, pushing the book toward her.
Harry had a sinking feeling that Draco’s parents had a very big inkling that they could talk Harry out of marrying Draco. Looking over at his lover, he could see Draco considered the same thing possible. The fact made Harry nervous, because he found himself wondering whether there really was something that would make him draw the line. He supposed if there was, the Malfoys would be the ones to pull it out of their sleeves. Suddenly, he didn’t even want to know.
“This may come as a surprise, mostly because you haven’t been in the wizarding world your whole life, as well as being one of very many who is not familiar with the Pureblood royal traditions of marriages, but what you’re thinking about is not what Draco is asking of you,” she started calmly. “You may think it doesn’t matter what he would ask, since marriage is marriage and you seem to be prepared for it, but you’re mistaken. Draco knows this, which is why you’re here, and by the time you leave you won’t be this certain it is indeed what you want.” Seeing the frown on Harry’s face, she added, “But it’s only fair. You must know exactly what it is we speak of when we speak of marriage.”
Lucius was smiling now, which Harry didn’t take for a good sign at all.
“There aren’t many Pureblood families left in the world, and of those who are, very few still follow the written rites put down thousands of years ago.” She placed her hand on the book. Harry thought of the Weasleys, who did not do anything out of the ordinary during their weddings. By Lucius’s sneer Harry could see Lucius probably knew they would be first to come to Harry’s mind. “They are followed by some Half-Bloods, too, to maintain the family name and respect in society. But these,” she tapped the book with her long graceful finger, “were written with something in mind that you two do not possess, and that is the reason the whole thing may be very difficult for you to ever work through. These rites were specifically written for people who do not marry out of love, and do not have free choice of their spouses.”
“You mean nobody who is Pureblood and follows these traditions marries out of love?” Harry stared at her in shock. “Why do they get married? How?”
“A fit match,” Narcissa replied. She glanced at Lucius. “Love matches do happen, if one manages to fall in love with the right person, or learn to love the one chosen for them. But love is not the point of a marriage. People who follow these rites are bred from a very young age to understand that, which is why the conditions of a Pureblood marriage do not present a problem in their mind. And those conditions are very many and very particular.”
“You and your children are going to have to take the Malfoy name, of course,” Lucius noted with a smirk.
“Children?” Harry looked at Draco, who was still avoiding his eyes.
“It is possible for you to have children with both your genes, yes. Magic can do even the most... unusual things,” Narcissa answered stiffly. “It is even possible for you to carry the child, though I do not wish to discuss this at the moment.”
“Then... I can’t.” Harry couldn’t believe he just said it, but it was decidedly the truth. Only first condition in, and he already couldn’t comply.
Narcissa practically beamed, but caught herself in time and put on a sympathetic face. “I understand, dear. It’s asking a lot –”
“You can’t what, exactly?” Draco fired, looking up at Harry angrily. “She didn’t even say anything yet!”
Harry sighed. “I can’t take your name, Draco. I can’t have our children take your name. I’m the last Potter, too, and it was my father’s name. It’s one of the only things I have left from him.”
“You heard Draco,” Lucius snapped, smiling condescendingly. “He’s doing this for his family, and one of the most important things for this family is to keep the Malfoy name alive!”
“That can be worked out, of all things!” Draco growled, giving his father a dangerous look. For a moment, Harry could hardly see the difference between the two of them; they were so alike in their anger. “Why does anyone have to take anyone else’s name? We’ll have two sons, call one of them Potter and the other Malfoy and let them carry on the family name separately.”
“That’s ludicrous!” Narcissa exclaimed at the same time as Harry blanched and blurted, “Two sons?”
“You have a problem with two sons?” Draco turned his angry eyes on Harry.
Harry sighed and murmured, “You really should’ve told me about all this before you brought me here, Draco. It’s kind of hard to decide on the spot how many children I want when I haven’t even been allowed to decide whether I want to marry you yet.”
Draco looked back to his parents. “Just go on.”
Narcissa looked at Lucius, who was now looking at her expectantly. She nodded. Harry could sense the biggest shock was still coming. If the name thing could be worked out, they had more things to throw at him – more things that perhaps could not be.
“There is the ceremony, there are wedding night rites, and there are many customs, but there is only one thing you need to know right now.” She looked truly sympathetic now. “It is a lot to ask, and you cannot accept out of spite, recklessness or stubbornness without thinking it through, because it can ruin your life. Both your lives. I told you before that Purebloods do not marry out of love. Usually, it is the parents who arrange the match, or the young man who asks the father for his daughter’s hand, with his own father’s approval. Never, in the whole history of any worthy Pureblood family, has there been divorce or cheating, and there is a reason for those surprising numbers. Because it would be a public disgrace. Things like that simply cannot be allowed. That is why when you exchange rings and declare your vows, you make another kind of vow.”
Harry stared around the table blankly. He wasn’t catching on as fast as they seemed to expect him to.
“The Unbreakable Vow,” Draco finally said, staring at Harry. “To never divorce, to never stray, to never be with anyone else again, until death do you part.”
“And that point is absolutely not up for debate,” Narcissa finished.
Harry felt his mouth fall open. He had learned enough about the nature of Unbreakable Vows to know they were far from a joke or a simple tradition. It was a magical binding – commitment that would be there forever. Of course, marriage in itself was a commitment, and one would hope an eternal one, but the Unbreakable Vow guaranteed no turning back. But he had seen divorce. He knew it happened, no matter how much the couple started off loving each other, or how good things were going and for how long. Draco was his second serious relationship – he was the first man Harry had ever been with.
Lucius seemed to have read his thoughts, and was only too happy to jump at an opportunity to feed on Harry’s fears. “You understand what that means, don’t you? How it’s different for you two than it was for Narcissa and me when we got married? You will never be able to get a divorce. You will never be able to be with anyone else ever again. Love.” Lucius sneered. “That’s what love gives you. Purebloods marry out of duty and play their parts. Divorce is not an option, so they don’t even consider it, no matter how bad things may get. But you two are making a choiceof getting married. Know then that while you may feel you should have the choice of divorce if you felt like it, too, you will not have it.”
“You are both barely past twenty,” Narcissa added. “Is this is the kind of commitment you want to enter into?”
Harry could feel Draco’s intent look on him. But he couldn’t look up and meet his eyes. He felt like he was just hit with a shovel over the head, and he needed out. He needed to think. He needed to get away from under the Malfoys’ scrutinizing gaze. He left the table, aware that he was probably hurting Draco and making his parents ecstatic about his reaction. But he knew that if he stayed and was allowed to speak, he could say something irreparable. He needed to clear his mind first and make sure he didn’t ruin everything in his confusion.
Draco’s pale face was the last thing he saw before he Disapparated.
Harry felt like he was sitting on his bed for hours. He watched as the shadows lengthened, and the darkness finally gave the furniture a haunting look. He knew he was supposed to be “thinking it over”, except he wasn’t sure what there was to think over at all. No matter which way he thought about it – weighing the pros and cons or trying to climb into the remotest corners of his own psyche and figure out whether he wanted this – the facts remained. Everything that made him hesitate remained as well, no matter how often he turned it over in his mind.
He supposed it was about midnight when he heard movement in his library, someone obviously getting out of the fireplace. Moments later, that someone was sitting on the opposite side of the bed. Harry knew who it was. He knew he had to speak first – he had to let Draco know what was on his mind. It was only fair. But no words were coming to him. He didn’t know how to face his lover, and he didn’t know what to say to him. He hadn’t come to any conclusions, or made any decisions.
Suddenly, Draco’s arms were wrapped tightly around him from behind, and his breath was tickling Harry’s ear. Harry wanted to shout. This kind of spontaneous gentleness wasn’t a trademark of Draco’s. Tenderness in general wasn’t really his cup of tea.
“I don’t know, Draco,” Harry said hoarsely, bringing his hand up to squeeze Draco’s forearm. “I had no idea –”
“I know you didn’t,” Draco interrupted impatiently. “I didn’t expect you to shrug something like this off.” He sat beside Harry, looking over at him, his features barely visible in the semi-darkness. “I knew it would be a lot to ask, and that you’d need a lot of time to think about it. I also knew that the answer was likely to be no. I wanted my parents to tell you because they wouldn’t try to sugar-coat it for you. They gave you all the negatives, which you really need to know.”
“I don’t mean it like that. I don’t want to say no. It’s just...” Harry ran his hand through his hair nervously. “Merlin, Draco, an Unbreakable Vow. We’re twenty. What if...”
He didn’t want to say what if something didn’t work out. It would make it sound like he didn’t have faith. But it was them. Their relationship was already unlikely, and happily ever after didn’t always happen to everybody. Sometimes, things didn’t work out, and not for lack of trying or wanting them to. But then again, it had worked out for Mr and Mrs Weasley. And many other couples he knew. In fact, even Draco’s parents seemed to be a couple content with being together, having no choice aside.
“Perhaps if we waited. Continued dating a few more years,” Harry suggested.
Draco chuckled emotionlessly. “You see, there’s a problem with that. Because no matter how long we’re together, or how old we are, there will always be that doubt. That what if. Because after going out with me for six or ten years, you won’t be much surer it wouldn’t end than you are now. Especially when again faced with the Unbreakable Vow. It will be just as scary.”
Harry knew Draco was right.
He opened his mouth to answer, but the words were lost in Draco’s mouth. In a moment, he was too lost in Draco to think. The blond was pulling him closer, ravaging his mouth with his own, possessively prying Harry’s mouth open and slipping his tongue in as his hands tore at Harry’s robes. Hastily, Harry busied himself with Draco’s.
He wasn’t sure where the need was coming from. He felt like he had never wanted the other that much before. He suspected why. He loved Draco, though the word was never spoken between them, and they were both standing on the edge. They were close to the end – their relationship could end tonight, and, as much as Harry didn’t want it to, he knew he may have to end it. Because it wouldn’t be fair to Draco to lead him on if he wasn’t willing to give him what he wanted. It could be the last time they were together.
Draco was pushing Harry back on the bed, kissing and biting down his body, eliciting loud moans. He knew exactly where to kiss him, where to bite him, where to press his fingers and lips. Nobody before Draco had bothered to learn, or perhaps Draco was the one who discovered all those spots and brought them to life. When Draco was kissing his stomach, tracing the few scars that lined it with his tongue, Harry felt like he couldn’t wait. Draco seemed to sense that. He usually took much longer, teasing, but tonight he didn’t have enough self-control for that.
He rid Harry of his trousers and pants in record time, Harry gasping loudly every time Draco’s fingers brushed over his erection. Finally, with clothes disposed, Draco leaned in and pressed his lips to the head, making Harry scream out and knot his hands in the covers.
“Draco,” he gasped. “No games tonight. Just... please.”
Harry could almost feel Draco smirk before his hot mouth slid down the shaft, slowly. He could tease Harry all he wanted like this, stroking himself, enjoying Harry’s yelps and begs and cries. In that way, at least, Draco had remained a perfect Slytherin of their old school days – he liked to have the power.
He pulled back when Harry was on the verge of coming, and Harry groaned angrily. Draco liked to bring him to the edge and then dangle him there, prolonging the pleasure. He had to admit that after being refused a couple of times, when Draco finally allowed him orgasm, it was one of the most intense feelings.
“I want you,” Draco growled, standing up. He grabbed the jar of lube off the bedside table, and was back on the bed, catching Harry’s lips with his own again.
Draco was impatient. Barely giving Harry the chance to start kissing back, Draco was in between his legs, lifting them gently on his shoulders and running his hands on the inside of Harry’s thighs. Harry could see Draco’s pale body almost glowing from the little light the draped window let in, his hair swaying slightly as he adjusted himself.
Harry almost never knew Draco to be gentle, especially in the heat of the moment, but Draco was patient tonight. He spread the lube on Harry’s opening slowly, working in one and then two fingers, his other hand still caressing anywhere it could reach. He positioned and pushed in as Harry arched his back and breathed out with a gasp, relaxing and allowing Draco to go further. Harry remembered the first time they had done this. He tried to relax so hard he tensed up completely, and felt so full when Draco finally entered him that only Draco’s cajoling (with very hidden amusement), that this was how it was supposed to feel, had calmed him down. He had grown to love feeling full. Draco had been patient in teaching him to love every single second of being together.
Draco was sliding in and out now, stroking Harry’s cock in rhythm to his movement. They had been so turned on it didn’t take long until Harry was coming, Draco pumping into him more desperately, not slowing down the motion of his hand. He finally came too, collapsing on top of Harry and pressing his forehead into the other’s shoulder, gasping and shuddering, allowing Harry to bring his arms around him.
“Draco. Look at me.”
Draco’s body twitched. “Not now, Harry. Please.” His voice was weak. “I know. Just... Tell me tomorrow. Can we just lie here like this tonight?”
Harry shifted, rolling out from underneath Draco and turning on his side, propping himself up. “Look at me.”
Draco turned slowly, propping himself up too, his eyes shining in the semi-darkness, alert. “What is it?”
“We’ve been going out for three years and you’ve never said it.”
Draco frowned. “Said what?”
“You know what.” When Draco didn’t respond Harry added, “Is it because you don’t?”
“I don’t?” Draco sounded angry. “Why the bloody hell would you even ask me that? You think I would ask you to marry me, knowing exactly what I was asking from the start, disregarding what my parents expected from me in regards to my spouse, if I didn’t?”
“You’ve never said it,” Harry said quietly.
“I know. It doesn’t mean... I just... I don’t say it. I’ve never said it. But you know.”
“I need to hear it tonight.”
Draco eyed him wearily. Harry knew how hard it was for Draco to find the words – words somehow made it seem real and final. It was especially painful to Draco to attempt to say it when he suspected it to be the end between them. But Harry needed to know that even with that knowledge, Draco felt strongly enough to say it.
“I love you.”
Without a word, Harry grabbed the cloak that was discarded on the bed, and ravaged its pockets, finally finding the small mahogany box. As Draco opened his mouth to say something, his eyes wide in surprise, Harry put on the ring. Strangely, the ring lit up and Harry felt a strong energy go through his body.
“You’ve...” Draco was staring at Harry’s hand with shock. “You can’t take it off now. You can’t break it off. Just like the Unbreakable Vow, breaking off engagements is also very unseemly, according to the Pureblood laws, so the ring is bewitched.”
“You didn’t tell me that,” Harry said with a smile, “and I don’t care. My answer is yes.”
“Are you su –”
“Are you seriously trying to get me to change my mind when there’s no going back now?” Harry snapped, but smiled when Draco pouted. “I know the consequences – your parents paint quite a picture. But, really, what ifs were never my thing, and I’m not going to throw this away because something may go wrong. I believe nothing will.”
When Draco continued staring at Harry’s hand, dumbfounded, Harry leaned in and kissed him. He could feel the ring grasp his finger tightly, and he was sure it couldn’t be taken off without effort, if at all. But he didn’t want to take it off. It felt perfect where it was.
“Stop pulling on your robes, Harry!” Hermione snapped at him and waved his hands away. “You look great.” She squeezed his hand and smiled at him. “You’re ready.”
The only thing Harry felt ready to do was pass out. He heard weddings were stressful, but he had no idea how stressful. When he insisted that he and Draco do most of the preparations himself, Narcissa gave him more paperwork than he had ever had on his desk throughout his whole internship. She told him a wedding could take up to a year to plan, and he laughed at her, but in the end, he felt lucky everything fell together on time at all. By the second month, he was begging Narcissa to take over and leave him completely out of it. With his Auror duties piling up, he assured her he didn’t care about flowers, music, place, or anything, if she would just take care of it. Gracefully and after a little goading, she accepted, though Harry of course knew it was exactly what she wanted. Draco didn’t learn how to get whatever he wished from no one.
The last year seemed a blur to him. Between work and constant lunches with Narcissa, he felt winded. Patiently, she coached him for every single second of the wedding. She coached him for every interview, telling him what to answer to any media question about the wedding. She went through the old Pureblood book with him, explaining and pointing out things until his head swan with dates, wizards, and traditions. He was appalled when she told him he had to memorize the entire Malfoy family tree, as any girl marrying into the family would be expected to, including birth dates, death dates, and all spouses and children. Harry was sure he wouldn’t ever be able to take on the task when she handed him the parchment that could span the length of a Quidditch field.
Then came the tedious task of meeting everyone the Malfoys had any connections to. Obviously, there weren’t many people who didn’t know Harry, but now Harry had to know all of them. He had to know who they were and how they were connected to anyone and the wizarding world in general. He was surprised at how many contacts the Malfoys still had, and partially relieved that none of them looked like Death Eaters or ambitious Dark Lord would-be’s, so he guessed there was that.
The invitations were sent out months in advance, all brought back with a “Yes” almost immediately. Narcissa had explained she didn’t send any invitations that would be refused. More than half of the people on the guest list Harry hadn’t ever even had the privilege to meet. He was told they weren’t family acquaintances parse, but needed to be seen at an event of a Malfoy wedding’s importance. Harry realized quickly, with a sinking feeling, that this wedding was going to be perhaps one of the most elaborate parties in the whole wizarding world that year and, if he was honest with himself, he wished it was already over.
Now, crammed in a small room with Ron and Hermione, he felt terrified. He thought he was ready, but he could feel his hands shaking. It seemed his whole life was leading up to that moment, and he seemed to be forgetting every word of his vow, if not every word in the dictionary.
“At least she has good taste,” Ron mumbled, looking at himself in the mirror for the hundredth time. “I was afraid with all those whacky customs you told me they had to follow I’d end up wearing a dress here.”
“I love my dress, too.” Hermione beamed and then lowered her voice. “I can’t believe Narcissa even let me take part in the wedding, forget give you away and be a bridesmaid... urm... groomsmaid.”
“She didn’t have a choice in the matter,” Harry said firmly. “You and Ron are my best friends, and you’ve taken care of me up to this point, so who better to give me away and stand beside me as I do this?”
“I just wish you weren’t doing it with Malfoy.”
“Ronald!” Hermione glared, looking uncannily like Mrs Weasley. “This is not the time nor the place! Malf... Draco has been trying to be perfectly civil to us, and you have to make peace with the fact already!”
“Civil?” Ron snapped. “He tripped me on the way here! I nearly fell down into the cake!”
“I told you he was trying, not that he turned into a saint. Besides, he didn’t try to trip me. Though... He did pour Firewhiskey into my champagne when I wasn’t looking. I suppose it’s better than poison.”
“Quite an accomplishment for him, I assure you.” Harry chuckled. “Besides, believe me, he’s trying very hard, which is a lot more than I can say for his friends. Being civil to them is a full-time job, and I’m still not managing.”
Ron sneered, but at a warning look from Hermione kept his mouth shut. Molly bustled into the room, looking quite disgruntled. She was wearing a flowing silk gown of light silver, lined with green and maroon and beautiful gold embroidering, and Harry had to admit she looked very comical. But the mother and father of the groom and the mother and father of the bride, or other groom in their case, had to wear the exact same robes, representing the colors of both families. The robes looked wonderful on Narcissa, but on Molly they looked out of place. It was plain to see that the green and silver dominated the outfit, but Harry had to give Narcissa credit for conceding to put Gryffindor colors on it at all. He was also very happy to have been able to insist that Mr and Mrs Weasley were the closest thing to parents he had, and though they weren’t giving him away, they had be included in the ceremony as such otherwise.
“You look wonderful, dear!” She grinned at Harry and turned to face Ron and Hermione. “That woman is incorrigible! She insists that Arthur and I and she and Lucius have to sit together and make nice throughout the night for show.” She shook her head angrily. “As if I have anything to discuss and laugh about with that woman! Arthur is barely keeping himself under control. He is, of course,” she added hurriedly, turning to Harry, “and we will do whatever it is that’s required of us to make this wedding nice, dear. Oh! I was sent to tell you the Bonder is ready, and you should go.”
She ran out of the room, giving Harry a hug before she went, and he swallowed, looking around at his best friends.
“You ready?” Hermione asked, taking his hand. Ron had come to stand on his other side.
“Ready or not, we better go,” Ron said, peeking out of the room. “Narcissa will have all our heads if we dally.”
They pulled him out of the room and towards the open ballroom doors. He gasped when he came to stand at the edge of the green carpet he was to walk on toward his soon-to-be husband. The ballroom seemed magically enlarged, and the rows of seats were so many that he could hardly distinguish Draco, with his parents, Goyle, Flint, Nott and Zabini standing beside him, and his own entourage – Bill, Charlie, George, Arthur, Molly, Percy, and Kingsley.
As he walked, he thought he heard music, though it seemed to be coming to him as if through a haze, and he squeezed both his friends’ hands tighter. The walk seemed the longest of his life. He was conscious of hundreds of faces and millions of flashes and camera clicks. He was looking ahead, though, and felt an enormous sense of relief to finally be staring into Draco’s eyes. Draco looked absolutely calm, and Harry only hoped he could borrow some of it from him.
Finally, he had reached his destination, positioning himself in front of a tall wizard in black robes and a stern expression. Ron and Hermione took a step back, joined by Lucius and Narcissa, who obviously seemed to be making an enormous effort to look absolutely unperturbed to stand close to both of them. When Narcissa gave the wizard a small nod, he started speaking in a croaky but very loud voice.
“Not many are those who still follow the ancient tradition of realmarriages, and it gives me great pleasure to unite these two young people in such a way as was put down by the Pureblood rites many years ago in order to preserve honour and bloodline.” He suddenly took up his wand and brought it to Draco’s throat. Harry twitched instinctively, but Draco didn’t seem to look nervous. “I will now allow them to make their declarations, before proceeding with the Bonding. Sonorus!”
Draco cleared his throat. The hall was so quiet Harry could hardly believe there were hundreds of people in it. “I’m not good with words, so I’m not going to say many,” Draco stated. Harry could sense a slight quiver in his voice. “I know that most of you didn’t expect to ever be sitting here, at a Malfoy Potter wedding. Until not very long ago, I couldn’t dream of one day marrying Harry Potter in my wildest dreams or, as I would perceive it back then, my worst nightmares.” The audience laughed appreciatively. “But here I am, doing just that, and very happy with it, too. I wasn’t looking for a life-time partner in Harry when I met him, definitely not, and I still wasn’t even when I got involved with him, but that is what I found. Sometimes, life just works out that way.”
“Very romantic,” George whispered sarcastically, and was immediately elbowed in the ribs by Charlie.
The wizard nodded and transferred the wand to Harry’s throat. Harry swallowed.
“Um... Well, when I thought about my wedding, as rarely as it was, I pictured something very different. Very specific, too. But I realize now that I don’t really care how I’m getting married, but I do care who I am marrying. It’s the only thing I care about. It’s strange and bizarre, but I fell in love with this man, against all odds, and he managed to fall in love with me. From arch nemesis, he became a lover and a friend, and today he becomes a husband. It’s the end of one journey and the start of another, and I’m glad to be starting this one with you.”
Draco’s look was reward enough. Harry didn’t feel nervous anymore. He didn’t hear the cameras and didn’t see the people. There was only Draco. He supposed that’s how people got through these things, because he was about ready to kick the bucket of stress and fear only moments ago. But he had to concentrate on Draco’s face – his eyes, his almost visible smile, his completely calm demeanour.
The Bonder nodded without a smile, and lowered his wand.
“We will start with Mr Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy née Black. Is Mr Malfoy willingly given away by those who have taken on that responsibility?”
“He is,” Narcissa and Lucius sounded in unison, though Narcissa’s voice much louder than her husband’s.
“And Mr Harry James Potter, son of James Potter and Lily Potter née Evans. Is Mr Potter willingly given away by those who have taken on that responsibility?”
“He is,” Hermione stated clearly and then nudged Ron, who quickly mumbled, “He is, he is, bloody hell.”
“Join hands, please.”
His heart beating in his throat, Harry linked his hand with Draco’s. This was it. It was the moment he had dreaded and looked forward to more than any other in his life. The room was quiet again. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath. From what Narcissa had told him, it was years since the last time this kind of wedding took place, and people were eager. The Unbreakable Vow, in and of itself, was not something every witch or wizard witnessed in their lifetime.
“Kneel, and let us proceed with the real vow.” They kneeled, facing each other, and the wizard pointed his wand at their hands. “Draco Malfoy, will you take Harry Potter as your one and only husband from this day forward?”
“I will.” A flame issued from the wand and snaked its way around their hands. Harry heard a few people gasp.
“Will you, from this day hence, be loyal and completely devoted to him alone, regardless of the circumstance?”
“I will.” Another snake of fire.
“And will vow to never be with another, in body or heart in a way that would compromise your singular devotion for as long as you live?”
The last thin fiery strand left the wizard’s wand, and it looked as if their hands were tied together with a rope of fire. Harry swallowed nervously. He knew it was his turn. With as much determination as he could master, he stated “I will” after every phrase, identical to the ones the wizard had asked Draco. Every time another strand wound itself around their hands, Harry felt a slightly painful tug inside his chest. It seemed to him that even though the strands were issuing from the Bonder’s wand, they were his own heartstrings, intertwining with Draco’s. He knew now why Unbreakable Vows were so serious. Aside from the consequence of dying if you broke it, you committed with the heart and soul. His heartstrings entwined their hands, and the Vow entwined his heart.
The wizard fell silent after the last “I will”, and Harry watched as their hands glowed, and slowly the glow subsided and the fire disappeared.
“ Mr Malfoy and Mr Potter have proclaimed their vows, and I now proclaim them husband and... erm... husband. Make sure to abide by the vows you’ve made today, or your life will be the price. You may now –”
But Draco was already lunging forward, grasping Harry’s face in his hands and kissing him passionately. He could hear Narcissa clear her throat and Ron whisper “Ew. Ouch! Hermione! It is gross!”, and suddenly everyone erupted into applause.
When they pulled back from each other, their eyes both shining with lust, Narcissa turned around to face the crowd. “Please stand up, dear guests, for our Decoration Squad to transform this place into what it originally was – a ballroom! And let us allow the newlyweds their first dance.”
There was a buzz around the ballroom, and the Weasleys and Kingsley rushed forward with congratulations. Draco seemed unhappy to let go of Harry, but did grudgingly when Molly took a deep breath, obviously commanding herself to do what was right, and brought them both into a tight hug. Draco stiffened, but allowed it. He then, keeping his face fixed with a smile, went around shaking the Weasleys’ hands, not flinching when George squeezed too hard. He even went as far as giving a small peck on the cheek to both Ginny and Hermione, both looking shocked and slightly nauseated. The Slytherins shook Harry’s hand without looking at him, though Goyle actually nodded, and Pansy gave him something akin to a smile.
When all the chairs disappeared, now lining the walls along with a few tables with refreshments and champagne, Draco took Harry’s hand and led him to the middle.
“You ready?” he whispered, placing his arms around him.
Harry nodded. He despised dancing. But Narcissa had insisted he take countless of lessons, though he was still hardly confident on the dance floor. The circumstance reminded him slightly of the Yule Ball, though it was much more stressful with hundreds of people watching him.
The moment the music began, Draco swept him up, leading him expertly around the floor. Harry knew he had no chance at the grace and skill Draco possessed. All he could do was concentrate as hard as he could on not tripping over himself and falling down.
“Merlin, you’re good at this,” Harry murmured, when finally a few more couples joined them on the dance floor and the attention shifted from them. Narcissa and Lucius swept past them, followed by Arthur and Molly, who were told they had to be the second couple on the floor, along with Draco’s parents.
“Took my first lesson when I was five,” Draco replied calmly. “Too many benefits that require dancing for me not to know how to do it.”
“So, anything else I should be worried about?” Harry asked, drawing Draco closer. “Are your parents going to rush into our bedroom in the morning with another rite?”
“My parents aren’t going to be here in the morning,” Draco replied, smiling.
“The Malfoy Manor is passed down through generations upon the head of the Malfoy house getting married. Tonight, all of my father’s business passes down into my hands, along with the family manor and vault. And you, technically, take my mother’s place as the mistress of the house.”
Harry made a face. “And what if you only have girls in the family? Would everything pass into their hands upon their marriage?”
“There must me a male to carry on the name. As you can see with my mother’s family, she had two sisters, and all daughters could obviously only marry out of the family. But there were cousins, Sirius and Regulus, who would be able to pass down the name Black and keep it alive.”
Harry’s face darkened. “Except neither of them did.”
Draco brought his husband closer. “That happens sometimes, and cannot be foreseen.”
“So your parents are going to be turned out on the street with no money?”
Draco laughed. “They’ve made the preparations when I proposed. Father purchased another mansion, not too far from here, and I daresay it’s bigger than this place. And he opened a separate vault. Don’t worry about them. Money will never be an issue. It is now up to us to hold all the benefits they held, all the balls and dinners. They will be relieved, though mother is unsure if you can manage it.”
“We can manage it,” Harry corrected him. “I’m not going to be the mistress of the house.”
“Oh, and there is one more rite. The wedding night rite,” Draco said, his lips twitching at the bewildered look on Harry’s face. “Our family insures continuation of kin, so once we’re in bed we cannot leave it without consummating our relationship.” He grinned. “I think the charm lasts about two months, just in case.”
Harry smiled. It was perhaps the only Pureblood rite he definitely didn’t have a problem with. Smiling to himself, he put his head on Draco’s shoulder. He didn’t suppose their future would be without obstacles or bumps in the road, but he was ready. And he was happy. Tomorrow, all the people would be gone, and he and Draco would have a place to start their lives together. From there on, ready or not, time would tell.