But alas, 9000+ words in and only about one week left until the deadline, I realized that the story couldn't end without either Draco or Harry dying a really horrible death (kind of) and giving that to someone on the final round of hd_hols as their holiday gift was a cruelty that might very well get me shot at. *laughs* or at the very least it might upset my giftee. So I shelved the entire thing, begged for an extension which the mods (I wasn't kidding about them being lovely) granted me. Thank goodness for oldenuf2nb seriously. She not only cracked her beta whip but she also gave me a (loving) kick in the arse when I was dragging my feet and only had a week left to finish (again).
So here it is! Finally a fest fic written by me with an actual definite happy ending (that's not crack! lol) ! :)
Title: Between Hello and Goodbye
Summary: One Floo connection and five ways to pass through it.
Rating: PG-13 for language
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Established Relationship. Romance with a capital R (since it’s Christmas).
Epilogue compliant? Not even a little bit.
Word Count: ~3,000
Author's Notes: I hope you enjoy this, clover71, and I wish you the kind of love we see in this fic! Also special thanks to, oldenuf2nb, for her fantastic beta skills as well as the mods, taradiane , bryoneybrynn and dysonrules for kicking ass and just being generally all around awesome.
“You are so ridiculous.” Potter sighs, running a hand over his exhausted face as he turns to face his boyfriend. Floo powder is strewn everywhere due to the forcefulness of his entrance.
“Ridiculous, am I? Well I am so glad I am ridiculous to my own boyfriend.” Draco feels like he’s been slapped and he curses himself for following Potter home. He should have let the git leave the Manor, the second this argument started. He knows how this fight will end and quickly turns around to retreat back into the Floo.
“And where the hell are you going?” A hand reaches out to catch his arm.
Draco valiantly tries to shake him off but it’s to no avail. The bastard’s grip is tight and solid. Normally, the muscles honed from Potter ‘s Quidditch training would turn him on but now it merely serves to annoy him. “Isn’t it obvious? I am leaving. I refuse to listen to this nonsense again.”
“Well, you are! And it’s not rubbish!” Potter growls. “What does it matter if I’ve hated you for longer than I’ve loved you? We were children then and on opposite sides of a war. That doesn’t have anything to do with the present. It’s not even relevant to what I’m asking you right now.”
“Oh yes, please bring up our sordid history and my shameful past as a lowly minion of the Dark Lord.” Draco snorts as he once again tries to pull away, tamping down on the flush of shame that goes through him. “What’s next? Are you going to point out how woefully inadequate I’ve turned out to be as a second rate Potions Master?”
“Minion? Second rate? Draco, do you hear yourself? You’re not getting any less ridiculous, you know.” Potter huffs, shaking him a little.
“Even more insults! Charming! Well, I think I’ve had enough so-“Draco draws his wand and sends out a mild Stinging Hex to get the stupid git to let go.
“Oh hush up, you arse!” Potter grits his teeth as he easily and wandlessly deflects the curse, much to Draco’s annoyance. “ I love you. Why are you acting as if my asking you to move in with me is so shocking?”
“Potter, are you brain addled?” Draco stares at him bewilderedly, valiantly ignoring the jolt of delight that goes through him at hearing those three words. Apparently having them shouted at him makes no difference. His heart still jumps into his throat at the very thought of Potter feeling the same way he does. “We’ve been barely been dating for five months! More to the point, you’ve just listed my many faults and now you’re asking me why I think your request is so unbelievable?”
“Alright, no.” Potter puts his hands up in surrender. ”I didn’t say any of that. That was you with the crazy talk.”
Draco snarls at that but before he could break away completely from Potter’s hold, he is whirled around and pinned to the wall. Enraged beyond words, Draco is about to rain down a litany of insults the likes of which Potter has never heard of when a hand quickly covers his mouth. He glares darkly.
“ Nope, Harry’s turn to talk now. I think that’s enough out of you.” Potter chuckles at the evil eye he gets for his daring. “It’s not too soon because I’ve wanted this,” He gestures a hand between them. “That first time I woke up next to you.”
His smile only grows at the stunned look on Draco’s face. “I know, Draco. Alright?” He lifts his other hand to slowly ghost his fingers at the side of his face, soothing the furrowed line of his brow. “It can be five years from now or two hundred and twenty. I just know.” He shrugs helplessly, his cheeks tinting red. “It’s always going to be you.”
“I-I don’t know what to say.” Draco falters at the tenderness he sees shining right back at him. His breath stutters at the earnest look in those vivid green eyes.
Potter Harry pulls him in, his lips inching closer to his and Draco is helpless to do anything but obey him right before he closes the space between them.
“Tell me you’re not serious.” Draco gasps as he looks at the monstrosity of a Christmas tree that his boyfriend just Flooed in with.
“What? Oh, this?” Harry grins at him in boyish delight. “It’s a housewarming gift from the Weasleys! Isn’t it great?
“If by great you mean completely appalling and lacking in good taste then yes, I suppose you can describe it as that.” Draco scoffs and immediately regrets it when the dopey grin slides off Harry’s lips.
“Well, it’s almost the hols and I know we just moved in to this flat so we haven’t had time to decorate.” He tries to smile again but that actually makes the look on his face seem even worse. “I was just telling Molly about it during my visit and the next thing I knew she was giving me my very first Christmas tree. I tried to refuse it but since Christmas is always at their children’s homes she said she barely had use for it and I guess I just thought it’d be nice if something from my very Christmas ever survived and made it into ours.” Harry shrugs halfheartedly. His eyes dart through the stylish room he’s standing in.
“Harry, you know-“ Draco starts but Harry’s already cutting him off with a shake of his head.
“No, you’re right. It looks ridiculous. It doesn’t go with anything in the living room.” Harry gestures to the tasteful monochromatic design that Draco insisted they get for their living room. “I guess I’ll just send it off to the attic.” Harry struggles to shift his face into a less crestfallen expression but only manages to succeed in looking even more pained.
“You certainly will not!” Draco rolls his eyes. “There’s a perfect space for it right there.” He motions to the open space in front of their foyer. The very first thing that a guest would see when they entered the room.
“But it clashes with the whole monochromatic scheme you wanted! It doesn’t go with anything!” Harry points out exasperatedly. “Plus you hate it.”
“Now I said no such thing. And granted, it wouldn’t be anything I would purchase for us, but you’re wrong when you say it doesn’t go with anything in this house.”
Harry raises an eyebrow at him incredulously and Draco snorts at the familiar look gracing his boyfriend’s face.
“It goes with you.” Draco says softly as he pulls him into his arms like he wanted to the moment Harry stepped into the Floo, but was distracted by the garish monstrosity he had with him. “And you go with me. Ergo, it goes with our home.”
“Only you would use the word ‘ergo’ in an argument.” A soppy grin lit Harry’s face, and Draco couldn't help returning.
“Only you would protest at winning one.”
“Just take the fucking Floo, Harry!” He growls, pushing the bowl at his stubborn jackass of a boyfriend.
“It’s just a little snow, Draco.” He smiles as he winds the scarf around his throat tighter. “You worry too much. I’ll be fine. I fly for a living, remember?”
“And I don’t care! The weather witch was quite clear about the blizzard setting in within the hour. With your luck, you’ll get stuck in the worst of it, crash your broom and completely break my heart. So you grab some of this Floo powder right now, Harry James Potter.”
“Well when you put it like that-“ Harry grimaces sheepishly.
“Thank goodness sanity has prevailed.”
“Ah, the world’s most fortunate imbecile has come home at last!” A snide voice greets Harry and it’s enough to make him trip on brick and send him almost careening into the hat stand.
“What in the world?!” He does a double take, staring agog at Lucius Malfoy in all his 2-D painted glory.
“Graceful as always, Potter. I always did wonder if you had giants in your bloodline. With how diluted it must be, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
“You are lucky you’re made of dried paint and canvas, Malfoy. Otherwise, I would actually take you seriously.” Harry grits his teeth, his hands clenching at his side in anger. “What the hell are you even doing here?”
“Must everything be explained to you? Obviously my son has seen fit to bring me to his home. Merlin, this must be so tedious for Draco. It’s like living with that halfwit half breed groundskeeper.” Malfoy’s lip curls as his eyes narrow. “I honestly don’t know what he sees in you.”
“Now listen here, you glorified piece of-“
“Harry! You’re home! Shit! I wanted to be here to explain.” Draco rushes up to him.
“Draco, our bedroom now!” Harry snarls, already walking out of the room.
“Of all the nerve! You have no right talking to my son like that! How dare you halfblood-“
“Father! You’re not helping!” Draco runs aggravated fingers through his hair. Harry turns, and hears Draco hasten to catch up. They enter their bedroom, and Harry shuts the door emphatically.
“Look, Harry. It was just a thought, alright?” Draco says beseechingly. “I thought it would be nice to have a portrait of my parents where I could see them. Normally he’s not bad when he has Mother by his side but she must’ve stepped onto another painting.” He rubs his fingers over his temple. “I can see now that it was a bad idea.”
“Really? What clued you in?” Harry snaps. “Was it the fact that the flesh and blood version of that bloody painting has tried to kill me since I was eleven years old? Or that he had a personal hand in the murder of my own parents? Or how about that even now he refuses to publically acknowledge you because you’re with me?”
“I already admitted it was a bad idea, didn’t I?” Draco bites back and sighs explosively at what Harry knows is the furious expression on his face. “Look, I’m trying here. If it wasn’t evident enough, you’re it for me too, Harry.” Draco straightens resolutely and soldiers on. “I should have known facing any version of my father daily would be difficult for you, especially after all he’s done. So yes, I get it. I’m an idiot. I’ll send it back to the Manor tomorrow.”
Harry’s face softens at the sadness he’s undoubtedly caused. “Draco-“
“No. You’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“You were thinking that you miss your parents and that you want a piece of them with you every day.” Harry sighs explosively as he pulls him into his arms. “It’s not wrong for you to want that.”
“It is when it’s hurting you.” He shakes his head. “Besides you’re more important to me than a musty old painting.”
“That’s just the thing, Draco. You’re more important to me than a musty old painting too.” Harry shrugs and a smile tugs his lips at the surprise on Draco’s face. He couldn’t resist kissing him. “Just keep it somewhere it won’t harass me.”
“But-“ Draco splutters but is cut off by another kiss, this one more demanding than the last. His protest is once again silenced by Harry’s most effective and favourite way of ending all arguments.
Draco looks up from where he is setting down the plate of hors de’vours he just summoned from the kitchen. “Ron.” He greets the newcomer warily and against his better judgment, he extends a hand. It’s totally worth the look of shock on the Weasel’s face.
“What’s this? No ‘Weasel’ or ‘No Idiot Sidekick’? Since when are you so chummy with me?” Weasley eyes the proffered appendage with open skepticism but to Draco’s surprise, not hostility.
“Since I fell in love with your best friend and he wanted the lot of you over for Christmas brunch.” Draco deadpans and he almost strains his eyes trying not to roll them.
“Right.” Weasel snorts and shakes his head. “This is so weird.”
“Oh believe me, I know.” Draco agrees wholeheartedly, letting his hand fall to his side. Oh how he wishes he didn’t have to be subjected to this! He has already put his foot in it twice this morning. Once when he met Bill as he came through the Floo and he had unconsciously flinched at the sight of his ravaged face and the other when he made the erroneous mistake of calling the twin by the wrong name. “But you love Harry. Hopefully in an entirely different way from how I do.” He laughs at the face Weasley makes at that declaration.
“Blimey, yes! I mean- Harry’s a good looking bloke and all if you know, you’re into that sort of thing but he’s my best mate and just Merlin, no.” Ron shudders, his face still a picture of horror.
“Right.” Draco chuckles even more at the amusing face Weasley is pulling. “And I can no longer deny your love for him than you could mine.” He shrugs easily. “Besides you are a guest in our home on Christmas day so yes, it will have to be Ron.”
“Okay.” Ron continues to eye him warily but he reaches forward and pulls Draco’s hand from his side and shakes it. This action brings them closer and Ron’s voice drops into a menacing tone as he growls into Draco’s ear. “Just so you know if you hurt him, I will use any and every influence I have over the Auror Corps to hunt you down and make you wish you have never been born.”
“And that would be a very effective threat.” Draco smirks as he pulls away enough to look Weasley in the eye. “If I had any intention of hurting him but I don’t so how about you desist with the macho posturing because seriously it just looks like you’re hitting on me right now and you know Harry is the jealous type.” He couldn’t help the laugh that spills out of him at the sight of horror gracing Weasley’s face as he abruptly lets him go like he’s covered in pus-filled boils.
“Ugh! Stop insinuating that, D-draco!” Ron splutters.
“Maybe if you stop pulling me against your body and whispering sweet nothings in my ear, I will!” Draco smirks.
“You wish!” Ron shakes his head at the surreal banter he seems to be having with Malfoy of all people.
“I really don’t.” Draco points out.
“Now I don’t know whether to be insulted or gratified.” Ron grins as he shakes his head.
“I suggest both.” Draco returns his smile and he steers the man to the hors de’vours he just remembered. “Come on, you must be starving since you haven’t put anything in your mouth for the past five minutes. If there’s anything I’ve learned from Harry is that Gryffindors have bottomless pits for stomachs.”
“Are you sure you aren’t hitting on me? Because I swear I just heard an innuendo or two in there.” Ron raises an eyebrow gamely.
Draco gasps theatrically, surprising himself by actually enjoying the banter with Weasley. “I’ll have you know I am a one Gryffindor kind of man, Mr. Weasley!”
Ron merely laughs as he slaps a companionable hand on his shoulder. “I am sure the rest of my House is glad to hear it!”
“That’s because they don’t know what they’re missing.” Draco says haughtily as he folds his arms over his chest. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I will leave you to your completely disgusting devouring of my appetizers to see if the first course is ready.”
Ron just waves him off as he continues to shovel handfuls of tea sandwiches in his mouth.
Draco rolls his eyes and heads off for the kitchen but just before he reaches it, he is engulfed in a tight hug and a soft kiss is pressed below his ear.
“I saw what you did with Ron.” Harry murmurs as his arms tighten around him. “Thank you.”
Draco shrugs his shoulders. “It’s no different than you being nice to Pansy and Blaise during tea yesterday.”
“It is too!” Harry insists as he turns Draco in his arms. “And it’s more than just that. This was all your idea- inviting the Weasleys and all my friends to our home for Christmas bunch, giving the House Elves a day off so it won’t upset Hermione.” Harry smiles widely. “This was all you.”
“Well, it was for you.” Draco shrugs easily. “Honestly, Harry, you should really stop being so surprised at the lengths I would go to keep you happy. It’s kind of insulting.” He shakes his head in exasperation as he tries to make light of the situation. The look of pure devotion that Harry’s directing towards him is, without fail, turning his insides into mush. Something he definitely doesn’t want the roomful of Weasleys and Gryffindors around them to witness. “Harry, we have guests and-“
“I love you.” Harry tells him earnestly as he gently cups Draco’s chin and tilts it back to face him. His tender declaration makes the rest of his sentence die in Draco’s throat. “I don’t care who knows it.” He whispers softly in the space between them before he bridges it with a kiss.
And like all the times before, Draco is helpless to do anything but kiss him back.
“You are impossible, Harry James Potter!” He murmurs in fake indignation even as his hands come up to wrap around Harry’s shoulders.
“But you love me anyway.” Harry insists with a mischievous smile as he presses more kisses on Draco’s lips.
“And yet I love you anyway.” Draco agrees softly, unable to deny the truth so evident between them.