Summary: Anything can happen in a World Cup year.
It was their first Christmas as a family, and Harry wanted it to be perfect. Last year Astoria had had Scorpius, and Ginny'd had Lil and the boys. Draco had gone to his parents' for Christmas and Harry had gone to Ron and Hermione's, and they'd both gone to a drinks party at Andromeda Tonks' on Boxing Day and pretended not to recognize each other. The only decent part had been the sex afterward.
He was trying too hard, he knew he was trying too hard-- the tree he picked out was too big, the presents too expensive, there was too much food. He stuffed stockings for the kids, bought crackers, enlarged the spare bedroom to fit two sets of bunkbeds.
Draco didn't help much, beyond giving advice. The Malfoys didn't really celebrate. Maybe that meant they did something arcane, some freaky ritual that was only for purebloods. Maybe they just thought Christmas was too flashy, too tacky. Most of what he had to say was, “Merlin, Potter, they're just kids, they won't care if the decorations match,” and “Come to bed, Harry, it's freezing,” when Harry was still wrapping parcels at midnight.
He was tired, though. Harry did understand. The Cannons were having an outstanding run, and it was mostly due to Draco. But he was working for it. The night before the kids were due in, he'd planned to trim the tree, but watching Draco droop through dinner changed his mind.
He set the dishes in the sink and turned around, and he was fairly sure Draco flinched, anticipating his next request. “Fuck Christmas,” Harry said instead, “come into the bedroom and I'll give you an early--.”
“Don't say stocking stuffer,” Draco interrupted. “Please, Potter.” But he got up and crossed the kitchen to kiss Harry and take his hand. “Let's go. I'll even sit on your lap and call you Santa.”
When Harry pushed Draco down, when he got Draco's shirt unbuttoned, he remembered this was what he wanted, too. Sometimes being with Draco was work, sometimes just being an adult with a job and kids and an ex-wife was work-- but work meant he could have Draco underneath him like this.
It felt like forever since they'd even fooled around, since they'd done more than kiss good night or goodbye out of habit. Draco's mouth was hot and hungry on Harry's, and his hips actually came off the bed to thrust against Harry's body. Harry stopped fumbling with tiny shirt buttons and started on the fly of Draco's jeans.
When he closed his mouth around Draco, the other man shuddered and went still. It wasn't Harry's favorite thing, but he knew Draco loved it, and had probably earned it, helping Harry string popcorn and make chains out of colored paper. And not murdering him when Harry yelled at him for doing it wrong.
So he sucked Draco's cock with as much enthusiasm as he could muster, while Draco's fingers tightened on his shoulders. For a long time he hadn't done it at all, because fucking someone's mouth didn't make you gay, but letting someone fuck yours-- letting someone fuck you in the ass, everyone knew that was gay. And for a long time Harry hadn't been able to imagine anything worse.
It helped that Draco was careful, even close to the edge, that he never pushed for more than Harry was comfortable with. And, although Harry knew better than to admit it, even here, even to Draco-- it helped that Draco wasn't too gay. He didn't want or expect to hold Harry's hand in public, to link arms with him on the street, to kiss him passionately outside the locker room on game days. He didn't wear pink shirts, or purple robes, or makeup or jewelry, or have his hair styled every week. He had what was quite possibly the straightest job in the wizarding world. He was gay, sure, Harry was gay; they both liked fucking other blokes. But they weren't--. It was an arbitrary and unfair line to draw, and Harry knew it, but he couldn't help himself.
So he sucked cock, but he didn't let himself like it, not the smell or the taste or the cool hard wood under his knees or the way Draco writhed against him, too excited to be entirely gentle. Or the way Draco tugged at his hair, until Harry stopped. “I want you to fuck me, Potter, I want to feel you come with me.”
Without pausing, almost without breathing, Harry had him on his back on the bed. And maybe it was gay to think how beautiful Draco was, flushed and shaking and practically begging for it, but Harry figured even a straight man would have had trouble saying no. He was still mostly dressed, and he pushed his trousers off while Draco slid his own jeans past his hips. Lube, condom-- and he slid into Draco like a ship coming into harbor.
But after, after they'd tidied up and the sheets had been changed and Draco was asleep, Harry got up and did the laundry and trimmed the tree. He was so tired his body burned with it, but the fuck had done nothing for his nerves. He sorted through another load of clothes, turning out the pockets of Draco's jeans, and a St. Mungo's visiting pass fell into his hand.
So Draco was still going to see Brendan Lynch, Harry thought, still visiting graves. One of the things he'd always loved about Draco was his sense of duty. This was too much, though, this was going too far. Lynch was nothing to Draco, and his injury had been an accident. Impossible to resent a man who was brain-dead, and yet Harry did, resented fiercely the time Draco spent beside a hospital bed, and how much it took from him.
Lynch was gone, without even the decency to be dead and buried, and Harry hated the whole family and their ridiculous faith in miracles that never came. He tossed the pass on the counter with Draco's keys and mobile, and sat on the couch watching the flicker of the tree lights.
In the morning Draco shook him awake. “Come on, idiot,” he demanded, “I insist you buy me one last decent, child-free breakfast before the horde descends.”
“You went to see Lynch again,” Harry said, his back cracking when he stood. “I wish you wouldn't, Draco. I wish you'd let him go.”
“I wish you'd let it go.” The words came out sharp, and Harry waited. Almost immediately, Draco shook his head, taking them back. “You'd do the same thing, Harry, and you know it.”
“I wouldn't,” Harry said, but he didn't make an argument of it. “Give me a half an hour to take a shower and get dressed, and I'll spring for a fry-up.”
Breakfast was more like brunch; afterward they drove the car to King's Cross to pick up the children, and Harry could barely keep himself from shaking he was so nervous.
“It'll be okay,” Draco promised, touching Harry's thigh when he should have been shifting and causing the Rover to groan in agony. “They're teenagers, Harry. Keep them fed and lock the liquor cabinet up and stay out of their way, and we'll be fine.”
“That's easy for you to say,” Harry mumbled. “You've only ever had one at a time, and everyone knows Slytherins never do anything wrong until the adults' backs are turned.”
Draco laughed. “Merlin, it does seem odd that we're the adults, doesn't it?”
Harry knew what he meant. He had gray in his hair, and a bad back; Draco was months away from losing his job because he was too old to be worth the risk of a contract-- but most days he still felt like they were twenty and had their whole lives in front of them. “Speak for yourself,” he protested. “We Gryffindors were very mature and responsible teenagers.”
He'd meant it as a joke, and it was only after Draco flinched that he realized. “Hey. Malfoy. That was sarcasm of the highest order. We were just as crazy and immature-- I didn't mean--.”
“It's okay,” Draco said, and he was smiling a little when Harry looked over at him. “I know what you were trying to say. I was a terrible snob, and you were completely reckless, and thank Merlin the kids aren't like that, right? I mean, Scorpius is perfect, but your lot aren't horrid little menaces, are they?”
They weren't. Harry has his doubts about Scorpius, though. When he and Draco went up to Hogwarts to break the news about their relationship to the kids, he'd been shocked by how much Scorpius looked like Draco at that age, sneer and all.
They stood at King's Cross with the other parents, most of whom were your basic two parent, traditional families, although there were more single parents now than when Harry was a student. He and Draco were the only obviously gay ones, and Harry felt like everyone there was staring. Thankfully Draco started talking to Hermione about the O.W.L.s and didn't notice Harry's self-consciousness. By the time the train pulled in, they were deep in an argument over Rose and Scorpius's relative cleverness. Hugo wasn't mentioned.
And then the kids were there, and all Harry could think about was how much they'd grown, and they were all talking at once, sorting out luggage, and there was no time for awkwardness. Eventually they all crammed into the Rover, and Draco peeled out of the parking lot. “Merlin,” he said, looking in the rearview mirror, “Harry, we're going to have to get a van.”
Harry turned. James, Scorpius, Lily and Albie, plus four lots of bags and brooms and books, none of which had been shrunk quite small enough. It was a good thing they'd sent the familiars on to the grandparents', because not even magic would have fit two owls, a cat, and a boa constrictor in. “We're not getting a van,” he said. “We aren't that old.”
And then he waited for it: James's mouth was already opening. James had always been Ginny's baby, and since the divorce he and Harry hadn't gotten along. Well, there went the happy family Christmas.
But James surprised him. “Mr. Malfoy,” he said politely ignoring the opportunity to say something nasty about old people, people movers, and Draco's shabby Rover. “Do you think you think I could come to your game tomorrow?”
“I want to, too,” Lily chimed in. “Jack said--.”
“Me, too.” Albie didn't even like quidditch, had never liked it, alone out of all the Weasley descendants. “Please, Mr. Malfoy?”
Draco shot Harry a dubious glance. “That's up to your dad,” he said. “Scorpius always comes when he's home, and sits with his grandparents, but I think your dad might've had something planned for you lot.”
Harry had; he'd planned to take them Christmas shopping in Diagon Alley. He'd wanted some time alone with them, without Draco and Scorpius along. Maybe, though, it was more important that they learn to get along. “Not at all,” he said, and Draco's thumb brushed the back of his hand sympathetically. “I'd love to take you lot to the game.” And sit with the Malfoys, he thought glumly, picturing Lucius sneering at his redheaded children, Narcissa's martyred sighing about the weather.
“That's so brill,” Lily said ecstatically. “Don't you guys think? Jack?”
Her brothers ignored her. But, “Yeah,” Scorpius agreed, with much less enthusiasm. “Brill.”
It was Draco's turn to flinch. “Jack?”
“Everyone calls me Jack now, Dad,” his son said. “Scorpius is so, like--.”
Harry waited for Draco to explode. Scorpius was a terrible name, fair enough, but having Scorpius-- Jack-- change it like that would make Draco furious. And Jack would be too Muggle, too prosaic. To his surprise, though, Draco just laughed. “Jack it is. Do me a favor, tell your grandfather during the game, so he can't murder you.”
When they got to the flat, and unloaded the bags, Harry expected the arguments to start. The flat was small, they wouldn't like sharing a bedroom, they wouldn't want pizza for dinner. Ginny had always made the most elaborate welcome dinners. But there was only one minor squabble, over toppings.
Mostly, the kids followed Draco around, asking him questions about quidditch. Harry'd expected it from Scorpius, of course, and maybe a little bit from Lily, but not from his sons. Somehow he'd thought the old rivalry would prevail, but apparently any instinctive hatred Pottters and Weasleys might have had was not strong enough to prevail in the face of a pro quidditch player.
Ron had nearly had a fit when Albie had sorted Slytherin. Harry tried to imagine explaining Lily's crush on Scorpius, Albie's friendship with him, and James's hero-worship of Draco. More surprising still, Draco bore the whole thing with cheerful resignation.
Harry could hear them now, in the kitchen getting out the plates. “Did you always want to play quidditch?”, James was asking.
“Of course,” Draco answered. “What seventeen year-old boy doesn't? But if it hadn't been for the war, I would have done an apprenticeship and gotten a job, like everyone else. The Hornets were terrible back then-- worse than the Cannons now-- but if there hadn't been such a shortage of players I'd never have gotten even a tryout.”
If half the Hornets first-string players hadn't been killed by Snatchers during the war, Harry thought. It was an ill wind indeed that did the Malfoys no good.
A question from James, that Harry missed. Draco laughed. “It's vanishingly rare, these days, for a British player to be recruited straight out of Hogwarts. Your best bet, if your grades are good, is to go to a university and play on their team. If you're good enough, you'll get your tryout, and if you aren't, at least you'll have a degree to fall back on.”
It wasn't what James wanted to hear, but Harry was grateful to Draco for saying it. He wanted more for clever Jamie than the grinding uncertainty of professional quidditch. But he knew that if, in four years time, Scorpius wanted a tryout, Draco would move heaven and earth to get him one. Then again, Scorpius was the son and grandson of notorious Death Eaters; quidditch might be the best chance he had.
The doorbell went, and all four children dived for it. They weren't as ignorant of wizarding culture as Draco or Ginny had been at that age, but pizza delivery was still a novelty. Doorbells were still a novelty. James won, by virtue of having the longest legs, and wrenched the door open without checking to see who was on the other side.
That was something Harry had given them, something he could be proud of. These were the children of peace, raised in a world where Hogwarts Houses were only archaic tradition and monsters never rang the doorbell. He watched James paying the delivery girl while the younger boys juggled the pizzas.
“Please tell me we were never that young,” Draco said from behind him, leaning on Harry.
“You were,” Harry told him, “because I can remember when you looked exactly like Scorpius.”
“Jack, please.” Draco snorted. “What a ridiculous name.”
“Are you going to let him change it?”
“It's his name, not mine. Besides, his mother chose it. She can fight with him about it.”
“Oh,” Harry said, and Draco knew him well enough to read more into it.
“Are you sure you're up for taking all of them to the game, Potter? I can always tell them I couldn't get tickets.”
Harry wasn't really up for a quidditch game in December, but if Draco was being a good sport, he could hardly do less. And any attempt to change things was only going to mean a battle with James.
“It's fine,” he said. “Seriously. Come on, we'd better get some pizza before the kids finish it off.”
Draco kissed the back of his neck and let him go. “You're right about that.”
There was a mild squabble between Albie and Lily over what to watch on television after dinner, and then the kids abruptly subsided and went to bed quietly. Harry and Draco went, too, even though it was barely ten o'clock.
“They're good kids,” Draco said, when they were safely in the bedroom with the door closed.
“They aren't really. But I love them anyway.”
“Well, mine is good, anyway. Dear little-- Jack. He's first in his class, you know, not that horrid red-haired Granger child.”
“Rose is my goddaughter,” Harry pointed out.
“Yes, well, Scorpius-- Jack-- is your stepson. Blood is thicker than water, Potter.”
It was the kind of thing Draco usually said when he was trying to drive Ron mad. It nearly always worked, too, especially if Harry laughed. And tonight he did laugh, before he slid a hand under the sheets and inside Draco's pajamas.
Draco laughed too, and whispered in Harry's ear. “We'll have to be dreadfully quiet. Otherwise the children will be scarred for life.”
“You're the loud one,” Harry pointed out, untruthfully, before the rest of him slid under the sheets, too.
Draco left early for the game, in a bitchy mood as usual. Harry made sure the kids were up and warmly dressed and served them pancakes for breakfast.
“Maybe you should get Mummy's recipe,” James said nastily when they came out lumpy. “She even has a spell to make them shapes.
It was never what he said so much as how he said it. Harry put plates in front of the others. James got a bowl and Draco's box of Shredded Wheat, chosen because it was low calorie and tasted like parchment. “Milk's in the fridge,” he said blandly. “I'm sure when you go to see Mummy on Boxing Day, she can make you much better pancakes, so don't force yourself to eat mine.”
The other children kept their heads down and ate quietly, and Harry felt a little guilty. He knew Albie and Lily hated when he and James argued. At least Scorpius was reading what looked like an Arithmancy book and didn't seem to have noticed. Maybe he expected the Potters to behave like animals.
The senior Malfoys came by at ten, and Harry watched bemusedly as Narcissa kissed Scorpius's cheek and Lucius clapped him on the shoulder. The Malfoys acting domestic always made him think of wolves at a dinner party-- and yet, even wolves loved their children, their grandchildren. It shouldn't seem unnatural.
They sat in the players' section at the game, which Harry's kids, at least, loved. Harry had Albie on one side of him and Narcissa Malfoy on the other. Thankfully Albie was the least quidditch-mad of the lot, and spent most of the game texting his cousin Rose, who had stayed home with her mother.
This meant that Harry had to talk to Narcissa, which was always awkward. Unlike Lucius, who was ridiculously polite in order to cover up his intense hatred of Harry, Narcissa seemed to actually mean to be kind. “Draco tells me you two have been terribly busy getting things ready for the holiday,” she said now.
Harry nodded, but his focus was on Lily and James, sitting between Lucius and Scorpius Malfoy further down the row. He could see that James was torturing Lily somehow, though he couldn't make out the details. Lucius's head turned in that direction, and whatever he said must have been effective; the two combatants dropped back into their seats.
Harry decided to pretend he'd missed the whole thing. “Yeah-- getting things ready for the kids, and then work always seems to get a bit mad this time of year, and Draco's been starting every game--.”
“And of course there is this ridiculous business with Brendan Lynch,” Narcissa said, and Harry started.
“I, yeah,” he agreed. “That. It was an accident, he knows that, but--.”
“Good,” Narcissa said, and patted Harry's hand reassuringly. “I'll take care of everything. I'm so glad we agree.”
On what, Harry wasn't entirely sure, but before he could ask, Lily came down the aisle and demanded a hot dog. He was waiting in line with her when the crowd roared. Two hours of sitting in freezing stands, watching a game so dull it would bore a hippogriff to death, and he'd missed Draco's big moment. At least if everything was over, they'd be able to go home, though.
By the time he and Lily staggered back to their seats, waited down with hot dogs and Cokes and pumpkin juices for the boys, the crowd had begun to thin. Cornwall's side was almost empty, which meant that Draco had caught the Snitch and the Cannons had won. The kids were ecstatic, the boys relating Draco's catch with the kind of detail sportscasters could only wish to achieve, and Lily nearly in tears that she'd missed it. Harry moved to sit between her and James, hoping to keep the peace as long as possible.
“They'll be seeded for the League Cup, anyway,” Scorpius said with satisfaction. He was one of those depressingly adult kids that Harry found incomprehensible, but at least when he was talking about quidditch he seemed halfway normal.
“Yes,” his grandmother agreed, her voice carrying over Lily's squealing. It had surprised Harry, finding out that of two senior Malfoys, Narcissa was far more interested-- and more competitive-- about Draco's chances. “And with Brendan Lynch out, your father has an outside shot at a spot on the European Championships team.”
“The female of the species is always more ruthless,” Draco had said, when Harry remarked on it. “Generations of Black women have eaten their rivals in order to protect their offspring, you know. You've met my Aunties.” During the war, Harry had thought Bellatrix was the most terrifying of the Black sisters, but Narcissa had the instincts of a top Seeker coach or a jungle cat, and he'd once seen Andromeda reduce a waiter to tears because her pumpkin juice and vodka wasn't strong enough.
Draco came out on the field, wearing the shirt he'd been so ratty about finding that morning, and waved to the kids before starting an interview with International Quidditch.” Harry slid down further in his seat and tried not think about the thousand things he still needed to do.
They were home by three, which admittedly wasn't bad, but by then the kids were hungry again and Draco was clearly exhausted. Harry made sandwiches and weak coffee for tea, and chased them all out of the kitchen while he did the dishes and spelled pancake batter off the counter. It was hard not to feel a little like a martyr, especially when he finally finished and came out to find everyone else asleep in front of the television.
It was worse the next morning, when he woke up to find the flat entirely empty. “Took the kids running,” Draco's note read. Ordinarily Harry could hardly get them out of bed. They like Draco better than me, he thought, and was ashamed of himself. He wanted them to like Draco-- needed them to if they were going to be a family. But he wanted them to have to work at it.
Harry had started the coffee and was cooking bacon for breakfast sandwiches by the time the door opened and everyone spilled in, flushed and sweaty and entirely too cheerful for kids who'd been dragged out of bed and forced to exercise. Draco came over and filched bacon from the pan, dropping his chin onto Harry's shoulder in greeting. “Hey, you,” he said. “I thought maybe you could use a chance to sleep in.”
“I would have come with you,” Harry protested, even though the last thing he would have wanted on a dark, wet December morning was to get up and jog.
“My bad, then,” Draco said, but it was clear from his tone that he thought Harry was being ridiculous. “So what do you say we split up and take the kids shopping this morning?”
“Can I come with you, Mr. Malfoy?”, James asked before Harry could answer.
Harry set the spatula down, praying for patience. “I don't think--.”
“No,” Draco said pleasantly. “You go with your dad. We'll meet up for lunch and switch children so that you lot can buy your dad a present and Jack can buy me one.”
James opened his mouth to protest and clearly thought better of it. “Okay.”
Harry and Draco were behind the counter; the kids were still by the couch. Harry risked touching Draco's hip where he was fairly sure they couldn't see. They'd agreed to keep things clean while they were here, but as Draco had just prevented murder a grope probably wasn't over the line. At his touch, Draco turned and smiled, the tiny, private smile he kept just for Harry.
By the time lunch was over, though, he was back to murder, or at least child abuse. He didn't care if James liked Draco better, so long as Draco managed to lose him in the Christmas Eve crowds. Harry looked down at quiet, polite Scorpius, and asked, “Do you have any ideas for your dad, Jack?”
“Yeah,” Scorpius said. “There's a book at Flourish and Botts'. It'll take ninety seconds, even with all the people.”
Harry recognized the look on his face. He'd thought Scorpius looked like Draco, but now the chin was pure Lucius and something about the set of his mouth made Harry think of Wallburga Black. He'd thought things had been going unnaturally well.
“My father is in love with you,” Scorpius said. “But he's been in love before. He'll get over it, if he has to.”
“He won't have to--.”
“Won't he? He''ll give you up, if I want him to. He loves you, but I'm his son. He'll believe me before he believes you.”
It was true. Of course it was true. It was true for Harry as well. “What are you saying?” he asked, because Scorpius was every inch a Slytherin, and if he was making a threat it was one he'd thought out carefully.
“Don't worry,” Scorpius said, as calmly as Lucius Malfoy had said that he'd arranged to have Sergei Ivanovitch pushed under a bus, as calmly as Narcissa had told Lord Voldemort that Harry was dead at the Battle of Hogwarts. “If you're good, you'll never have to worry. All I want is for Dad to be happy.”
“That's all I want, too,” Harry agreed, standing up to go. He wasn't going to be threatened by a fourteen year old.
“Good,” Scorpius smiled. “The book I have picked out for him is awesome.”
That night they had Christmas Eve dinner with the Granger-Weasleys. After they'd eaten Harry and Ron sprawled on the couch in front of the t.v., leaving Draco and Hermione to clear up while the kids played Exploding Snap.
“Merlin wept, the Malfoys breed true,” Ron said, watching Scorpius trounce Hugo and then gloat over it.
“Yeah,” Harry agreed, thinking of that afternoon. James elbowed Lily, and Albie and Rose stepped in to pull them apart. “I'm afraid they aren't the only ones, though. I'm starting to wonder if James isn't living up to my father's name.”
“I'm sure it's just a phase,” Ron said comfortingly. “At least that's what Hermione always says about Hugo.”
Hugo still slept in his parents' bed at nine, and at Andromeda's New Years' party last year Harry'd caught him eating Fancy Feast from the cat's bowl. But no good ever came of criticizing other people's kids. “I wouldn't swap them for anything, you know, even Jamie on his worst day,” he said instead, “but sometimes I wonder, if it hadn't been for the war, where we'd be.”
“Yeah. Well, Malfoy wouldn't be playing pro quidditch, that's for sure. You think you'd still be-- you know?”
It was something they never really talked about, Harry's being gay, Harry fucking their worst enemy from school. Harry thought again of Scorpius's sneer that afternoon, as he threatened an ex-Auror twenty-five years his senior. Draco had been just as bloody-minded at that age. “I don't know,” he said honestly. “I never saw it coming, not until after Ginny left. I just thought maybe there was something I was missing, I guess. Like everyone else grew up and somehow I didn't. Ginny and I weren't unhappy. We just weren't real.”
“Some days I think we're all pretending.” Ron's smile was tired, but his eyes were the same as they'd been at seventeen. “We're all just fucked up kids underneath, Harry.”
Draco had stopped in the kitchen doorway, turned back to talk to Hermione. The hardness of his body under his thin jumper, the faint lines at his mouth, the way his fine blond hair fell forward over his face-- mine, Harry thought, with that faint, pleasant surprise the realization always engendered. “Maybe there are worse things to be,” he said. “Maybe we ended up right where we were supposed to be, even with the war.”
Draco came over and sat next to him then, touching the back of Harry's hand as he did so. Harry felt the warm weight of him against his hip, and something in his face must have changed because Ron smiled, just a little, like he was seeing something he hadn't understood before.
On Christmas morning they opened presents. It was different than it had been the last Christmas Harry'd spent with the kids, when he and Ginny had still been together. Lily still ripped into her presents, but James and even Albie were slower, more grown up about the whole thing. Scorpius, of course, was ridiculously polite, although now that Harry was looking for it he felt like there was an edge to everything the kid said.
He'd been surprised by Draco's presents for Scorpius. Books, clothes, quidditch gear-- none of it particularly exciting or expensive. No racing brooms, or mini computers. But there hadn't been any way he could think of to ask about it. Draco was funny when it came to money. He paid most of the upkeep on Malfoy Manor, and he helped his parents and he was practically Parkinson's only client, but he didn't want Harry's help, and Harry had learned not to offer. They split things down the middle, or they didn't buy them.
His presents for his own kids and for Scorpius and Draco seemed a little over the top by comparison. But even though everyone seemed to like what they'd gotten, Harry noticed that they were at least as enthusiastic at getting to choose things from the huge box of Cannons merchandise and free gifts Draco dragged out.
Ron had a theory that every kid had two sets of grandparents, the cool ones like the Weasleys who let you do what you liked and the dull ones like Hermione's parents who gave electric toothbrushes as gifts. Christ, Harry thought, depressed, I've become a seventy year old dentist.
After the presents and breakfast, they went to the park and played pickup quidditch. He and Draco played keepers, while the kids filled in the other positions. James and Scorpius were shockingly good for kids, and Lily had improved a lot. Albie still ducked far too often, though. It felt good, being on a broom. Harry hadn't flown much since he'd retired from active duty, and he'd almost forgotten how much he loved it. The day was beautiful, cold and sunny and crisp, and for a moment he was entirely happy.
Three days after Christmas, Brendan Lynch died quietly in hospital. By then Harry's kids had gone on to Ginny, which was lucky, since it shook Draco badly. It was all over the papers again, of course; the tragedy and Draco's part in it, both. They never quite blamed him, except in the tabs, which made a great deal of Lynch's promise as a Seeker and Draco's supposed jealousy. Harry couldn't help feeling glad it was at least over.
At the funeral Aidan Lynch made a point of coming over to shake Draco's hand. “You were my brother's inspiration, man,” he said. “He loved to watch you play. He'd have hated missing out on the season you're having.”
Draco's face didn't change. If Harry hadn't known him so well, he wouldn't have realized how deeply the words affected him. Draco'd never been any good at showing anything positive. “I'd have hated playing against him. He was a hell of a Seeker.”
Afterward, in the car on the way home from the Floo station, he leaned against Harry, shivering a little. “He was so young,” he said. “Barely older than Scorpius. Barely older than we were during the war. What a fucking waste.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, thinking suddenly of Narcissa patting his hand at the Nixies game, saying that she'd take care of things. This couldn't have been what she'd meant, surely. If he'd been as young as Brendan Lynch he'd have been furious, but he was a father himself now, and he thought that even if she'd had something to do with it-- and she couldn't have, surely-- maybe it was for the best. At least now the Lynches might find some kind of peace. At least now Draco might.
Better, definitely, not to mention any of it to Draco. “Let's let Scorpius spend the night with his grandparents,” he said instead. “I think we need a night off.”
“Sounds good,” Draco said. “Let's get absolutely shitfaced. I'll call Pansy and Greg.”
Harry'd had something sexier in mind, but stopped himself from saying so just in time. “Good idea. I'll text Ron and Hermione.”
Since that first awkward time at the Cat, when Harry and Draco's relationship had been the worst-kept secret in Britain, the six of them had reached a tentative state of truce. Ron and Draco hated one another, and Hermione and Pansy were politely nasty, but their nights out had a certain charm. There were so few of them left who really remembered the war, they almost couldn't afford to be enemies.
“Was the funeral very crowded?”, Hermione asked, when they were all sitting around the table at the Three-Legged Crup.
“Yeah,” Draco said. “Huge. Half the quidditch players in Britain, looked like.”
It had been. All of them in flashy dress robes and dark glasses, and most of them wearing British Open rings. Harry'd found himself in the Gents' with a half a dozen men bigger through the shoulder than Greg, even, and had wondered if he'd ever make it out.
“It was nice, I thought,” Goyle said now. “Show of respect for Aidan and his mum, and all.”
It was the sort of conversation-killer he always came up with. Harry had never understood how he did it. Draco got up abruptly. “I'll get the next round.”
When he came back, it was with a bottle of vodka and a stack of shot glasses. Pansy opened her mouth as he set them out, caught Draco's eye, and shrugged and took a glass. They had a private language Harry wasn't privy to, but he thought she was asking what he was doing. He'd never seen Draco have more than the occasional pint or glass of wine, and rarely even that much during the season.
Still, Harry took the glass Draco handed him, and drank to Brendan Lynch, and to the Cannons' chances in the League Final and England's chances in the World Cup. Hermione rolled her eyes at him, and he couldn't help smiling, but none of the others noticed.
As the evening wore on, he and Hermione and surprisingly, Goyle, drank less and less. Pansy, who got tipsy on half a beer, was nearly in Goyle's lap, but Ron and Draco were still hard at it, though they'd given up diagramming quidditch plays with bar nuts and started playing Truth.
Harry could still remember the first time they'd played, at Hogwarts. “You mean Truth or Dare?” Hermione had asked, puzzled, and Lavender had smirked at her.
“Truths are much more interesting than dares,” she had said. Then it had only been one more difference between the two worlds; now Harry wondered how much it had to do with being the second generation raised in the middle of a civil war.
No matter how long Harry spent in this world he'd never get past the way you could buy veritaserum in a bar. It must have been handy, for their parents-- for those in the Order and those who were Death Eaters. Now it was just a drinking game, one he was so used to that tonight it hadn't even occurred to him what a bad idea it would be until after they'd drunk it.
“Weasley,” Draco said, staring fixedly at Ron. “If you had to, with one of your siblings, which--.”
“Charlie,” Ron interrupted.
“You didn't let me finish the question!”
“Doesn't matter. I answered it. My turn. Harry, do you ever worry that Malfoy will cheat on you the way he cheated on his ex-wife?”
“No,” Harry answered, and it came out so easily that Draco smirked. “Greg, if you hadn't played quidditch, what would you like to have done for a job?”
Goyle looked surprised to be remembered. “Dunno,” he said slowly. “Malfoy and Vince Crabbe and I always planned on being Aurors after we finished school, but the only thing I was ever much good at was Charms.” He sighed, and Pansy touched his hand, her fingers tiny next to his big, scarred knuckles. “Draco. Would you ever have come out, if you hadn't had to?”
The finality with which he said it shocked Harry. He thought, by the way she suddenly sat up straighter, that it had shocked Pansy, too.
Draco yawned. “I knew Serge would fuck off if I did,” he said. “I knew it would ruin my marriage and hurt my kid. I didn't know half my teammates would be afraid to shower with me because I might give them AIDS and the other half would be afraid even to be in the locker room with me in case I check out their bodies, okay, but if I had that wouldn't have been a huge selling point either.”
“Half your teammates are female, you drama queen,” Pansy pointed out. “Anyway, it got you Potter, so all's well that ends well.” She even smiled at Harry, sweet and very, very drunk.
“It got me Harry,” Draco agreed. “Who I dragged out of the closet as well.”
“I always meant to come out eventually,” Harry said quietly, wishing they were having this conversation alone and sober. “Draco, do they really--.”
“My turn to ask the question,” Draco cut in. “Let's see. Weasley, how much did you pay the Hornets' GM to leak the story?”
Harry hadn't known, not until he saw Ron's face. But he saw, looking around, that he was the only one.
“Eight hundred galleons,” Ron said. “He would have done it for free, though. His sister was raped by Death Eaters during the war. So, Malfoy, what's the worst thing you've ever done?”
“That's enough.” Harry could always count on Hermione to be a grownup, at least. “Get your coat, Ronald. It's time to go.”
“Yeah, Ronald,” Draco drawled.
“Not until he answers the question.”
Draco shrugged. “Were you thinking it was Lynch? Because I knew how dangerous that dive was. I wrecked my shoulder the first time I did it, and that was just in practice. Or maybe sleeping with Sergei while I was married to Astoria? Or letting Blaise take those pictures. Here's a tip, Weasley, when you're doing it with brother Charlie-- if he says he wants pictures that are just for him and beautiful and special, he's probably going to shop them to the tabs. That's what boys do.” He sounded the way Harry remembered him at seventeen. Vicious. Harry'd forgotten he had it in him. “Malcolm. That's the worst thing I ever did. I knew he was in love with me, and I slept with him so he'd take the Mark, and eventually he swallowed six or eight doses of Dreamless Sleep to forget about it.”
Ron got up and walked out. After a moment, Hermione stood up, too, gathering her purse and both their winter coats. “I'm sorry,” she said, mostly to Harry. “You know how he gets.”
“You'll be able to manage?,” Harry asked, moving around the table to kiss her cheek.
By the time he turned around again, Goyle and Pansy were ready to go, too, and Draco was checking his texts and pretending everything was fine. “Goodnight,” Harry said, watching Goyle half carry Pansy out. He looked pissed and she looked sick, which Harry thought was probably understandable given the way the night had gone.
“You coming?”, he asked, and Draco spun around in his chair.
“I wasn't planning on spending the night here,” he said, but Harry thought there was something like relief in the belligerent set of his chin.
“I love you,” he said. He was tired, a little drunk, still feeling the veritaserum; it was still true.
“Maybe you shouldn't,” Draco answered, putting on his coat, and Harry didn't ask what he meant. They'd had enough truth for one night.