Warnings: Ginny bashing, but only by Draco.
Summary: A story in which Draco falls madly in love (but with a straight, heartbroken boy), Harry is said straight, heartbroken boy (but you know, shit happens). A tale of friendship, love, Gryffindor determination and all the news that is fit to print. (And lots of drinking)
Author's Notes: I will freely admit that I took a great deal of inspiration from several wonderful gay story lines out there: Maurice, Were the World Mine and primarily Clara Sheller (a fabulous French show which you MUST watch if you haven't!) The main premise of Draco falling in love with a straight boy, comes from a college friend of mine who when one day she was looking very down simply explained, "I've fallen in love with a straight girl." They were together for 5 years!
Thank you to everyone who read this! It was a fun, not overly bumpy ride!! On to the fic!!
Fit to Print - Part 5
It is 11:26 pm on December 31st and Hogwarts is sparkling. Every dull stone of the castle is charmed to be just as luminous and effervescent as the champagne that the guests drink in abundance. Garlands of large white flowers, with small twinkling lights nestled in them, ring the entire circumference of the Great Hall. The band plays classics to keep the attendees dancing and the mood celebratory. Draco and Pansy had arrived shortly after 10, looking every bit the dashing couple. She looks lovely in her golden gown and upswept hair and Draco is as handsome as a man can be with his well-tailored jacket, his bowtie tied into an expert knot and his hair slicked to the side with debonair flair.
He’d smiled and made pleasantries with all the right people, danced a few songs with Pansy, pecked at the canapés that were being passed on gilded treys and watched those blasted double doors every other second, waiting for Harry to walk through them.
But now with the hour so late and his heart feeling like it has been gnawed on by a Norwegian Ridegeback, he knows it is time to go.
He’d not slept the night before, hoping for yet another holiday miracle that would bring Harry Potter to his door once more. He’d thought sending the article would be enough, that Harry would be able to read between the lines and see what Draco was saying. Perhaps he’d put too much faith in the man. Perhaps he’d put too much faith in how much their time together had meant to Harry. He certainly knows how much it had meant to him.
Too bloody much.
“Just stay, sweetheart,” Pansy says, as she follows him out of the Great Hall, the silk organza of her dress rustling as she tries to keep up with Draco‘s hasty strides. Her cheeks are rosy from imbibing her own fair share of champagne and the blithe smile plastered on her face seems stuck there regardless of her date‘s bleak mood. “It’s nearly midnight. Why come to a New Year‘s party if you don‘t stay until the New Year?”
“I know,” Draco says, pinching the arch of his nose. “I’m a wretched date. But I’m exhausted.” He looks around imagining what this night could have been if only Harry had been man enough to show. “I just can’t stomach being here a minute longer.”
“But who will I kiss?” She says, breathless, reaching out her hand for him.
He takes her hand in both of his, kissing her knuckles gently then presses her palm against his chest. “I love you, Pans, you know I do.” Her smile deepens. “But you’re really not the person I want to kiss tonight.” He begins to back away, slowing letting go of her hand as he does. “I’ll floo you tomorrow, alright?”
She nods, watching his retreat with a pained expression. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart.” She calls when he is halfway across the entrance hall. He turns, blowing her a quick kiss before a group of recent arrivals block her from his view.
He’s the only one in line at the cloak check. Who else would be leaving a New Years Eve party just minutes before the night’s culmination? He has to ring the small golden bell on the counter for the house elf to appear and after several minutes of unnecessary apologies on the house elf’s behalf for making Draco wait, the small creature finally takes his check tag and pops out of sight to get Draco’s things.
“Not leaving are you?”
That nonchalant tone could be from one and no other but Draco can‘t help the stiff glance over his shoulder just to make sure.
“As a matter of fact I am,” He says, sternly.
“Oh, that’s too bad,” Harry says, his cheerfulness cutting through Draco‘s animosity. “Almost midnight, isn’t it?”
“Yes, Potter, it bloody is almost midnight.” Draco rounds on him ready to lash out at him for his offensive tardiness but is completely taken aback by how handsome Harry looks. He’s wearing the cloak Draco gave him and this fact alone is enough to make Draco’s heart stutter. Underneath is a crisp white collared shirt and the elegant line of a long silver tie completes the look. His hair is shiny and smooth. His glasses gone, something he’s done once or twice before for special occasions, letting his green eyes glint all the brighter in the soft mood lighting of the party. He smirks at Draco, like he knows what his appearance is doing to him, the smug bastard.
“You didn’t think I was coming, did you?”
“Why should I care?” Draco says turning back as the elf returns with his things.
“Draco,” Harry pleads as Draco makes a grand show of wrapping his scarf around his neck, giving it a dramatic whip at the end. “Don’t be like this,” Harry continues. “I meant to be here earlier, but we had a break through in that potions smuggling case yesterday and were finally able to crack down on the supplier this morning.”
Draco turns around. “Did you really?” He curses himself for the admiration in his voice. The Prophet had been covering that story for months and it seemed an outcome would never be reached. “I thought you said Dark Wizards take the holidays off.”
“They do,” Harry grins. “That’s how we got him.”
They stand awkwardly for a moment. Draco runs his fingers across the fur at the brim of his hat while Harry appears to be examining his shoes.
“Will you walk with me?” Harry asks finally.
“I’ve only just gotten my things...”
“Outside then.” He takes a step forward, clasping Draco’s bicep with his still gloved hand. “Please, Draco.”
Draco nods and wordlessly, they go through the front doors and out into the night.
The stars are bright in the crystal clear sky, leaving the air breath-stealing cold. The snow crunches beneath their feet and the bass line of the band’s current tune can barely be heard through the castle walls. They walk in slow silence, the weight of what needs to be said hanging in the air just like their breath. Just as Draco’s nose begins to feel like an ice cube and his cheeks go numb, Harry sweeps his arms in a wide arc casting a warming charm and cocooning them a soft bubble of warmth. Harry undoes the clasp of his cloak and Draco removes his hat and gloves.
“Thank you for sending me the article,” Harry says eventually.
“Even though it broke our week long vow of silence?”
Harry smiles to himself, his lashes brushing against his cheeks. “Even so. It was beautifully written. I‘d forgotten what a talented writer you are.” Draco smiles his thanks then turns his eyes skyward as they walk a few more paces in silence.
“It’s quite the inside source you had. He seemed to know all the gory details about the situation,” Harry says wryly.
“My sources are always very reliable. Of course, I can’t reveal who it is,” Draco says with feigned gravitas.
“Oh, of course not. Sources like that must be protected.” They share a conspiratorial grin. “I have to say, it wasn’t the slanderous expose defiling Ginny’s name forever that you’d led me to expect.”
“Yes, well.” Draco clears his throat. “In the end I decided you wouldn’t want that for her.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“It’s so like you, Harry, to show kindness to those you should hate.” Draco chances a small glance and their eyes meet. He shrugs. “I should know.”
“Don’t put me on any pedestals, Draco. Though I wonder if you’ve already done that. I don‘t know if I‘m half as deserving as you made me out to be,” Harry says softly.
“If you‘re not deserving of a happy ever after, I don‘t know who is,” Draco says equally soft and another shy smile flits across Harry‘s lips.
Silence falls again as they walk through a patch of moonlight. Their shoulders brush seconds before Draco feels Harry’s fingers, warm and strong, slide between his, their palms flush against each other. Draco tries not to break his stride, but is blown away by the simple touch. It’s intent is so clear. Friends do not hold hands as they walk together on a snowy night. Boyfriends do that. Lovers. Partners.
“I’m sorry, I can’t...I can’t do this.” Draco says, taking his hand back and turning to Harry. He rubs at his forehead with his forefingers. “I fell for you because you’re handsome and kind and a good man, too good for me but I knew that getting into it. And I knew anything between us was hopeless. It sucked but I’d get over it eventually. But then I told you and instead of never wanting to speak to me again you came to me and we... we shared something.” A glimmer of agreement flashes across Harry’s face which only serves to confuse Draco even more. “And now you’re here holding my hand and I just...I can’t stand here while you play at being gay or whatever the hell it is you’re doing.”
“I’m not playing.” The steadiness of Harry’s voice is Draco’s tipping point.
“You’re straight, Harry! You were in love with Ginny Weasley and planning on getting married less than two weeks ago! That just doesn‘t go away!”
“Don’t you think I know that?” Harry shouts. “What do you think I’ve spent the last fucking week thinking about?”
“Ginny,” Draco sneers, stuffing his hands in his pockets and looking away.
“No, you idiot! You!”
Draco’s eyes crash into Harry’s, lock and hold. They are as unguarded as they had been that morning in his bed, only this time there is steely determination behind them too. Harry takes a deep breath and steps close to Draco, running his hands across Draco’s shoulders.
“All I’ve done this week is think,” Harry says, his speech slow and deliberate. “I thought about how much Ginny hurt me and how honored I am that you feel the way you do about me and how it makes absolutely no sense what I feel for you. But, I’m done with all of that. I’m done thinking about Ginny because she doesn’t deserve another moment of my time. And honestly, I don’t want to think about you anymore either.” Draco huffs and tries to remove himself from Harry’s grip but he just holds on all the harder. “I don’t want to think. I just want to feel.”
Harry kisses him, fierce and reckless. He fists his hands in Draco’s hair, pulling him deeper and deeper, as if he just can’t get enough. Draco can’t remember a time a man has overwhelmed him so completely with his lips, consumed him with his breath. Its suddenness knocks him backwards and he grabs Harry’s elbows for leverage.
“Harry,” he gasps, panting into the small space between them.
“Draco, I don’t know if I’m gay. I don’t know if that even matters because when you kissed me that morning, I liked it. And when you touched me it felt good.” He holds Draco’s face between his hands, pressing his forehead to Draco’s, his voice little more than a whisper. “And when I lay there, in your bed watching you sleep, it felt right. That was no game.”
Draco stifles a whimper, shuffling an inch closer to Harry to clench his fingers in his cloak. In the castle, Draco is faintly aware of the countdown to midnight beginning.
“I’m not saying this is going to be easy. I’m not saying I understand it anymore than you do. It’ll be messy and complicated but...you are deserving of... wait, what did you call it? The steadfast love to which I am so readily capable?” He asks, quoting Draco’s own words.
Draco groans. “Oh God, did I really say that?”
“Yep.” Harry smiles. “But I like to think it‘s not just me who is deserving. We both are. So if you’re willing to try...”
“Yes,” Draco gulps. “Very willing.”
Harry smiles so wide that it outshines the fireworks that explode over their heads welcoming in the New Year and illuminating the sky in reds, blues and greens. They kiss again, a soft promise of things to come. A gentler transition from friends to something more than they had given themselves the first time.
“Well, Mr. Malfoy,” Harry says as they make their way towards Hogsmeade and the closest apparition point. Harry’s place or his, Draco doesn‘t care, as long as they get their soon. “Seems to me like you’ve got a pretty good headline for January 1st.”
Draco gives him a perplexed look.
“Oh, come on,” Harry says, affronted. “You and me? We’re not front page news?”
Draco laughs, his head falling back. “Yes, perhaps we are.”
“After all,” Harry says, flinging his arm across Draco’s shoulders. “Readers have a right to know and I want to shout it from the bloody rooftops.”
Draco slips his arm around Harry’s waist and they fall into step together. In the distance the revelers sing Auld Lang Syne. “Happy new year, Harry.” He says, pulling him tight to his side.
Harry gives him a sidelong smile. “Happy new year.”
And Draco is certain it will be.