Summary: Anything can happen in a World Cup year.
Draco got up ridiculously early the next morning and left for practice before Harry was out of bed. He didn't seem to be hungover, which was unfair, but Harry was too worried too be jealous. He ducked out of work after only an hour and picked up a caramel latte for Hermione on the way to Unspeakable headquarters.
Hermione was elbow deep in piles of parchment when he came in, but she smiled distractedly at him and took the coffee.
“I think my boyfriend's lost his mind,” Harry said, trying not to look at the crawling letters of the classified documents on the nearest pile.
“He's been mad for years, really,” Hermione answered absently, scrawling notes on the parchment. “You knew that when you started.”
Harry sighed. “So you don't think he's having a breakdown?”
“I think he's an insecure asshole, same as he's always been,” Hermione said. “I should know, my husband is another. Draco clearly took Lynch's death very hard, that's all. Greg texted me this morning-- he said Draco is always like this when he drinks, and we shouldn't take it personally.”
“Goyle texted you? Greg Goyle has your number?”
To his shock, Hermione blushed a little. “I'm allowed to have friends, Harry.”
Ten years ago, Harry would have blurted out, “Does Ron know?”, and there would have been a blazing row that went on for weeks. Bureaucracy had taught him discretion, anyway; he smiled and Hermione punched him lightly in the arm.
“Did you know?”, he asked instead. “That Ron was the one who leaked that story?”
“I'm an Unspeakable,” Hermione said. “I knew, although it wasn't Ron who told me, and we've never discussed it. It was a year and more before the two of you got together, you know. And if it's any comfort, I think it was probably only five percent homophobia and ninety-five percent Malfoy-phobia.”
“It isn't really any comfort.”
“They would have hated each other no matter what. If you had never gone to Hogwarts, if there had never been a war. It was practically predestined.”
“I still don't have to like it,” Harry said plaintively.
“I know. Have you got any disasters I can actually solve? Because I have mountains of paperwork, and I promised Rose and Hugo I'd be home on time tonight.”
“I think my mother-in-law might have murdered Brendan Lynch,” Harry mumbled.
Hermione set her coffee down very carefully and looked at him. “If you have any evidence of that,” she said, her voice perfectly level, “you of all people should know where to report it. If you haven't, I strongly suggest never mentioning it again, because nothing will ruin your relationship with Draco more quickly than making an accusation like that about your mother-in-law.”
Harry shook his head. “No evidence. Just a feeling. And I promise never to bring it up again.”
“Good. I'll swap you Narcissa Malfoy for Molly Weasley, if you like.”
“Molly Weasley likes me,” Harry pointed out. “It's only you she doesn't like. You and Ginny. And Fleur.”
“Go away,” Hermione said, and put her tongue out at him.
When Harry got home that evening, Draco and Scorpius were in the kitchen grilling steaks. Harry leaned on the counter, watching them. Draco looked tired, and he moved like his shoulder was bothering him.
“Tough practice?”, Harry asked, hoping he sounded sympathetic and not gloating.
Draco abandoned the grill and moved to join him. “Something like that,” he admitted, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Scorpius wasn't paying attention. “No more than I deserved, right?” He looked down at the stacked plates, as if he were afraid to see Harry's face.
“Whatever,” Harry said, because he knew Draco had been present for Hermione's lecture on the overuse of the word and he wanted not to have this conversation, especially in front of the kid. “Did you marinate those?”
Draco let himself be distracted. “I did, indeed. Do you want salad?”
“No,” Harry answered, honestly. “Aren't there any potatoes?”
But after dinner, after Scorpius was curled up on the couch with his Ancient Runes essay, Draco shut the bedroom door behind them and Harry knew they were going to have to talk about it, or fuck and not talk about it, or not fuck and not talk about it, which hadn't worked during Harry's marriage.
“I'm an asshole,” Draco said finally. “I know that.” It wasn't the same as I'm sorry, although Harry knew he meant it to be; Draco didn't seem to have it in him to apologize. Or, possibly, he'd never done anything to Harry that he was sorry for.
“You did it on purpose. That's what bothers me. Not the asshole part-- I knew that all along.”
“I did what on purpose? You mean Lynch? I didn't intend for him to follow me, if that's what you mean. I certainly didn't plan on his diving head first into the pitch--.”
“Not Lynch,” Harry interrupted. “I know as well as you and probably better, accidents happen. Last night, is what I mean, with the stupid game. You set Ron up, you got him drunk enough to play, you pushed him until he wanted to say it.”
“Pretty much,” Draco agreed. “I guess it wouldn't help to point out that he's been wanting to say it a long time? That half the fun of doing it is in having me know that he did it? No?” He turned a little away from Harry, and started to unbutton his shirt.
Talking and fucking then. How novel. “It's not really the point,” Harry said. “I'm sorry Ron did that to you, yeah. It was a dick move. But he's my best friend. We see him pretty much every week. If you wanted to talk about it, why didn't you just--.” He already knew why, though. If Draco had said to him, “I think your best mate Ron Weasley is the one who outed me and wrecked my life,” he'd have been appalled. At Draco, who had never made much of an effort to get along with Ron, who was clever and vindictive and amoral, and who had not been Harry's best friend since they were eleven.
“It's not like I was saving it for a special occasion,” Draco said, taking his shirt off and dropping it on the floor. “It just happened. I didn't really think about it beforehand or anything.”
“Before you went up to get the drinks and saw the veritaserum behind the bar,” Harry prompted.
Draco smiled a little. “Let's not kid ourselves. I'd been fucking dreaming of doing it for years. I just didn't plan to actually do it, not until I got up to the bar and saw the veritaserum.”
He'd stopped undressing. “Okay,” Harry said.
“Okay?”, Draco repeated suspiciously.
“Take your pants off and fuck me, asshole.”
Draco laughed and pulled Harry down onto the bed. “I hope the soundproofing charm holds. That's my kid out there being traumatized if it doesn't.”
Your kid the sociopath, Harry thought, but he didn't want to fight about that, too. Draco had him out of his clothes so fast it might have been magic, his mouth warm and wet as he licked his way from Harry's throat to his nipples.
Draco was good. And on nights like this, when they had been fighting--. Harry closed his eyes and gave in to it, the mouth on his cock and the slickness of fingers sliding into him. He let Draco roll him over so that he was on his stomach, the sheet cool against his cheek, let Draco press into him with slow and careful strokes.
They didn't do this much, Draco fucking Harry. Draco never initiated it, and Harry knew he thought Harry didn't really like it, that he only wanted it after they fought as some kind of appeasement. That Harry lay under him, quiet and pliant, barely even rocking his hips enough to rub himself against the sheet, because he wanted it over with and was too polite to say so.
The truth was, Harry had never really thought about what it might be like, all those long lonely years lying in bed next to Ginny, knowing something was wrong with their marriage and not brave enough to try and change things. He hadn't even thought about it after she left, after he knew it wasn't Ginny that was wrong. Even afterward, when he was suddenly someone else, someone who dreamed about men and not women, he never dreamed about being the one fucked.
The truth was that even though he had never said so, had led Draco to believe that the opposite was true, there was something lovely about giving up so much control. Being fucked made him feel vulnerable, cared for, young. The truth was, Harry liked it so much he hated it.
He could have moved under Draco, lifted his hips, tightened around Draco's cock; he could have begged for it, but he hadn't been someone who begged in a long time, not since he'd watched Cedric Diggory die. He couldn't go back, not even for Draco.
“Harry,” Draco whispered, his breath warm against Harry's shoulder, “oh, Merlin, Harry.” Harry felt him come, and he could have gone with him. It wouldn't have taken much, not tonight. Instead he slid gently out from under Draco and lay quietly beside him, until Draco had caught his breath and moved to bring him off with his mouth and his fingers.
Afterward, when they were both finished and the worst of the mess had been charmed away, Draco curled against Harry, warm and half asleep, and Harry leaned into him and wondered what he'd have to do to make this last forever. Talk to Ron and make sure he packed it in, clearly. And there had to be some way to sort out a job for Draco-- Hogwarts owed Harry that much, surely, or maybe Draco'd rather coach, or even go back to university, which was something Harry should talk to Hermione about--.
They fell asleep with the lights on, again, the alarm unset, and in the morning there was the usual mad rush as Harry had to get to work, and Scorpius couldn't find half of his things and Draco had to run the washing machine before he could pack for the train. Then that night Pansy called, triumphant. The British team wanted Draco for a test match in South Africa, but he'd have to leave the next morning-- somehow, once again, there wasn't time to talk about anything important.
Still, Harry felt buoyed up by what had, by any count, been rather lovely sex, so much so that he didn't mind that the next day was Friday and the weekend was going to be dreary and lonely with Draco gone. He was in his office sorting through his post when Penelope Clearwater barged in.
“Lucius Malfoy is here!”, she said with a squeak not at all suited to a department head. “He hasn't been to the Ministry in ages, not since he was fired after the war!”
“Christ,” Harry said, his mind sorting through possible disasters. The one advantage to going public about his relationship with Draco was that he'd been listed as Draco's next-of-kin; he was supposed to be the first one notified if something happened, which meant that if something had, it probably wasn't to Draco.
“Mr. Lucius Malfoy is here to see you,” his secretary said from the doorway, clearing his throat portentously, “shall I show him in?”
“Yes,” Harry answered, watching Penny rush out. He shoved his messages into a drawer and stood up as Lucius came in.
“Sit down, Potter,” the other man drawled. “This isn't a coup.”
Not Draco, then, or Scorpius or Narcissa. “What--.”
Lucius's mouth tightened. All at once he looked tired, older, as if coming into the Ministry again had taken all of his energy. “It's your godson, I'm afraid. Theodore.”
Teddy. Harry sat down heavily.
“A training accident, somewhere up north,” Lucius was saying. “Half a dozen of them-- some sort of explosion-- Adromeda wanted you to come, if you'd like.”
Harry'd heard only a third of it. “Of course,” he said automatically. “Whatever I can do for her.”
They drove away from London in a Bentley Harry hadn't known Lucius possessed. “They've closed all the Floos and blocked non- emergency apparition,” Lucius explained, pulling the car out of a spot it should never have fit into.
When they stopped for petrol Harry couldn't help flipping through the dash. The Bentley's papers were years out of date and it was registered to Rabastan Lestrange. Harry shut the compartment quickly when Lucius came out, carrying the coffees.
“Here,” Lucius said, and Harry took his, dubious. He felt light- headed, shaky, as if he, not Teddy, had been the one in an explosion. He couldn't remember leaving work, couldn't remember if he had the key to his flat or his mobile or even his cloak. His wand was in the pocket of his robes, at least. He took a sip of his coffee. It was too sweet, and under that it tasted burned, but at least it grounded him a little.
Lucius's mobile rang, and he answered it, muscling the big car through traffic one-handed and Seeker smooth. Harry looked out the window, not listening. Maybe he was being kidnapped, or taken to the country to be shot and buried in an unmarked grave-- maybe Teddy wasn't really dead. He wasn't sure which he wanted to be true.
They got off the motorway at Andromeda's exit, and even the wheels of the car seemed to say, “Dead, gone, lost,” as they covered the ground. At the entrance to Andromeda's subdivision, Lucius pulled off and parked.
“That was a friend, at the Aurors' College,” he said, and Harry stared blankly. “That rang me, Potter-- never mind. The point is, it looks as if the whole thing was a stupid accident, not a terrorist attack after all. They Apparated in in two groups, and they landed more or less on top of one another.” He looked over at Harry, and for once his sea- grey eyes were almost kind. “I saw it happen once, a long time ago. The best that could be said for it was that it was over very quickly.”
Harry was going to cry in front of Lucius Malfoy, if Lucius didn't stop. “Teddy was the most senior Auror in the group, and in charge of the exercise,” he said, as Harry blinked and gasped and sniffled. “They will blame him, and the press--.”
“They won't,” Harry said. His voice came out hoarse and choked, but understandable. “They won't dare.”
“Sure,” Lucius said politely, and put the car in gear. Even through his tears Harry could see the way the corner of his mouth turned up, not quite a smile; he suddenly missed Draco's familiar smirk desperately.
To Harry's surprise, Andromeda answered the door herself, dry-eyed and tidily dressed in jeans and a dark sweater. At first glance, she didn't look like a woman who had lost her only grandson, but when Harry drew her close and hugged her, she felt frail in his arms, diminished: she had buried almost everyone she had ever loved, in the war and the months after, and now to lose Teddy, too--.
He was crying again, and Andromeda patted his shoulder gently. “Miss Parkinson has texted me that she will notify Draco and take care of the arrangements,” she said. “Come in, Harry, and have a drink.”
“It's only eleven o'clock,” Harry protested automatically.
“Nonsense,” Narcissa said briskly, materializing on his other side. “It's medicinal, after all.”
Harry found himself at Andromeda's kitchen table, drinking coffee heavily laced with brandy and watching Lucius Malfoy make toasted cheese sandwiches over a burner. On the refrigerator Teddy waved cheerfully to him from a photograph Harry'd never seen-- Teddy was quite young in it, probably too young to have started at Hogwarts, and Draco wore Hornets gear and looked barely old enough to have finished.
Harry had never thought they were at all alike, not for first cousins. Draco looked like a Malfoy, and Teddy looked like Remus; but he thought now that he could see something of Sirius in both of them. “Are the all the Blacks cursed?”, he asked, and Lucius dropped the sandwich he was floating onto the flame.
“Only the disinherited ones,” Andromeda said after a moment. “Narcissa and Draco and Scorpius are quite as safe as any other witches and wizards. Aunt Wallburga lived to be quite old, you know, and died of perfectly natural causes.”
Once it would have made Harry terribly angry, the injustice and the waste of it. Now he only felt tired, and resigned.
“It isn't considered polite to refer to it,” Narcissa said repressively, “especially as it can't be reversed.”
“Oh,” Harry said, and put his head down on the table. “I'll never understand all the rules, not if I live to be older than Dumbledore.”
Lucius snorted, and a plate materialized on the placemat beside Harry's cheek. Despite its immolation, the sandwich look fantastic, which was cheering. “The idea,” Lucius said, “is to be rich enough or powerful enough or clever enough that the rules don't matter; you meet two of those criteria.”
“Thank you,” Harry said, and ate his sandwich and let Narcissa put him to bed in Andromeda's spare bedroom. Their brand of parenting was as terrifying as Mrs. Weasley's, and almost as comforting. Harry fell asleep trying to imagine what it would be like to have grown up with the Malfoys as parents and whether, in light of his relationship with Draco, that meant he was fantasizing about incest.
They had put something in his toasted cheese-- it was early morning when Harry woke, and the house was dark and quiet. Harry was starving. He used the bathroom and splashed water on his face, then padded through the house to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator without putting on the light or using a Lumos charm, and by its dim light he saw Narcissa sitting at the table, teacup in hand.
Feeling less like a retired auror and more like a naughty schoolboy, he closed the door carefully and Narcissa's wand flared to light the room. For a moment, the grief on her face, and her beauty despite it, made his heart hurt. “What's wrong?”, he asked.
She shook her head, and her face was peaceful again. “Only Teddy,” she answered softly, “only the thing you know. The tabloids were here last night, in the street outside the house. They are going to be unkind, I'm afraid, and people--. When my sister Bellatrix died, there was talk that her Animagus form was that of a black cat, and for years after her death, people killed cats and nailed them to the gate of the Manor. It is not something I want for Andromeda.”
“I won't let them,” Harry said. “I'll stop them.”
Narcissa smiled. “Oh, Harry,” she said, taking his hand and squeezing it. “If Lucius, whose family owned the Prophet for generations, couldn't stop it, do you really think you can? They are looking for someone to blame, and with Teddy's family connections--.”
“His parents died heroes,” Harry protested.
“Yes,” Narcissa said, “but what have they done for him since?”
In the morning the street was full of press, legitimate and otherwise. The networks were open again. The Malfoys and Andromeda apparated to Malfoy Manor and Harry Flooed to London. He stopped at a tiny market near Ron and Hermione's house to buy a Prophet and check the covers of the other papers. The Malfoys had been correct. Teddy's death had just made the deadlines for the tabs, and they had been vicious.
Harry flipped through them, half in disbelief: murderous Malfoy aunt and cousin, history of instability among the Blacks, father a werewolf, pureblood Dark Arts ritual gone wrong, a not especially incriminating photo of Lucius Malfoy with Snape, Draco's affairs with Ivanovitch and Zabini, allegations that Teddy had been involved from a very young age in a menage a trois with Harry and Draco.
There was nothing in them but trash, and in a minute he was going to be sick or burn most of wizarding London to the ground. Harry set the Prophet down, carefully, and walked out. He wanted nothing more than to talk to Draco, but Draco was half a world away and probably out of signal range.
Ron answered the door. “You've seen, then,” he said, as Harry shoved by him into the house.
“Yes,” Harry answered savagely. Hugo was in the kitchen, eating a vast bowl of cereal with marshmallows in it, which would have made Harry laugh at any other time-- Hermione had been a terrible snob about organic, unprocessed food when Rose was small, and driven Ginny mad-- but just now he was far too angry.
In the sitting room, the t.v. was blaring. Harry almost blew it up before he realized. “Is that the England game?”, he asked, suddenly distracted. Now that he thought, it had been on in the shop as well.
“Yeah,” Ron answered sourly. “The wankers. Hope they aren't intending to play like this at the World Cup.” The score flashed up on the bottom of the screen: South Africa 1610, Great Britain 1440.
Harry winced. “Poor Draco.”
“Yeah.” Ron looked cheered. “The game started at seven last night, so eight our time, and it's supposed to be 32 degrees there now. I bet old Malfoy's pretty miserable all right. Every time we get within range the Snitch disappears then by the time it's back they've run up two hundred on us. Anyway,” he said, turning the volume down reluctantly, “I'm really sorry about Teddy, Harry. Hermione's looked into it, and it sounds like it was a stupid accident, poor kid.” He sighed, and Harry sighed with him.
On the screen, the cameras cut to the Seekers. The South African looked angry, and Draco looked bored. He had a bruise down his face like a hand print, dark and angry; players weren't allowed to see the healers unless they left the game, and Harry knew it must not be serious or Britain would have put in a substitute. He still didn't like it.
“Back off Malfoy,” he said instead, the way he should have done a while ago. “I love him, he's staying, and you don't want to make me choose between you.”
Something flickered in Ron's face. Hurt. He was Harry's oldest friend. “I didn't mean it that way,” Harry added, even though he had. “Just-- I know I probably gave you the impression I wasn't serious about him, when I kept it a secret for so long. Maybe you even thought I was, I don't know, embarrassed because it was Draco. Well, I'm not. He's my boyfriend, you're my best friend. If you guys want to stick around, you'll work things out. For my sake.”
On screen, England scored twice in quick succession. “Yeah,” Ron said, “well. If he plays like he has this season--.”
From Ron, it was practically a fulsome apology. Harry turned away from the t.v., looking at the stack of newspapers on the floor by the sofa. “What am I going to do?”, he asked Ron. “About Teddy. It isn't fair.”
Ron shook his head. “No. But what can you do? Sue half the wizarding papers in England? You can't just wave your wand and make something like this disappear-- you of all people should know that, Harry.”
Harry took off his glasses and rubbed his burning eyes. When he looked up, Ron's face was a pale, concerned blur, and they could have been fourteen again. But bad as things were, they had been so much worse then. He could hardly wish those days back.
“Look out, idiot--.” Harry fumbled his glasses back on, scrubbing away tears. Ron was staring at the television. “Sorry,” he explained unnecessarily, “I was talking to Mal-- Draco, just a friendly, uh, warning about that Bludger, this team plays for keeps.”
Harry'd missed the play, but there did seem to be a lot of gesticulating and shouting, only barely audible with the sound dialed down.
“Britain protesting that rough play,” the announcer said as Ron turned it back up. “But Draco Malfoy still well in control of this game. Will he selected for an unprecedented fourth shot at the British World Cup team? Remember, he was traveling Reserve back in--.”
“Huh,” Ron said. “Well, I promised Hermione I'd take the kids to the park before lunch.” He sighed. Harry sneaked a glance at his watch. It was after twelve-thirty. He thought of Hugo eating breakfast as he came in. Hermione wouldn't approve.
“I'll stay here and watch the game,” he said. “I'll text you if anything exciting happens.”
When Ron had gone, he did watch. He hadn't seen the end of one of Draco's games since Lynch's fall, which was mostly coincidental. But he'd forgotten-- how good Draco was, how much fun he was to watch. And the South African team weren't playing like it was a friendly; neither were the young British team who might never get another chance to play for their country.
Nor Draco, who was fiercely, rabidly competitive, and still played like he was fifteen and had an enormous chip on his shoulder. In the end, Britain won, and Harry smiled as Draco and the other Seeker shook hands reluctantly. “Malfoy pwns all,” he texted Ron.
A moment later his phone beeped. He flipped it open, expecting obscenity from Ron, but the text was from Penny Clearwater. “Wands up, but don't do anything foolish,” it read. “I'll sort everything out. No worries.” Penelope was the only person he knew, even at Justice, who texted in complete sentences with perfect punctuation.
Harry wondered what in hell she meant. The next text was from Ron, and the one after from Pansy, with Draco's Floo time. But although he sent Penny half a dozen texts and finally called her, she never answered.
Harry went home to get the Rover, and drove it slowly to the Heathrow Floo station, trying not to remember that the last time he'd been there he'd been picking up Ted. Instead he thought of Draco, in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, sleek and satisfied as a Kneazle, and it was almost enough to make him smile.