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Laughter Like a Thunderstorm

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When Draco walks into the room where Harry is changing Teddy, Harry knows it’s him, but he doesn’t let that stop him. In fact, it’s probably better for what he wants to do. He waves a hand that’s unfortunately got too close to Teddy’s bum. “Get me a clean nappy, won’t you? I’ll just foul it if I touch it like this.”

The offensive silence behind him feels as massive as a hippogriff. Harry grins down at Teddy and tickles him under his chin with the hand that’s firmly pinning Teddy to the bed.

“I came here to visit my aunt. I did not—”

“Then why are you up here? Andromeda’s downstairs.” Harry grunts a little as his hold on Teddy slips, and the baby squirms even harder. “And in a second, Teddy’s going to make a break for it. So give me that nappy, all right?”

More silence, this time at least to the proportions of an Erumpent. Then the clean nappy lands on the changing table beside him with a thump that Harry is sure Draco also tried his best to make offended.

“Thanks!” Harry chirps, and grins as he abruptly lets go of Teddy, flicks his wand to Vanish the fluids from his other hand, snatches up the clean nappy, and pins Teddy again before he can react to his sudden freedom. He winks at Draco over his shoulder. Draco is staring at him with his mouth open.

“You—you’re not using charms to clean him up,” Draco says, sounding dazed.

“Of course not. That might hurt delicate skin.” Harry carefully makes sure that Teddy’s bum is absolutely clean before he attaches the nappy in place. Then he snatches Teddy up and tickles him until Teddy is tumbling about in his arms giggling, kicking, trying to get away.

The position he’s holding Teddy in lets Harry watch from beneath lowered eyelashes as Draco’s face softens and he starts to reach a hand out. Then he abruptly freezes, glares at Harry as if Harry has been the one to do something wrong by showing him Teddy, and storms out through the door of the changing room.

Harry smiles down at Teddy. “That wasn’t really a smile, not yet,” he tells him. Teddy gurgles and stabs his fist in the general direction of his mouth. “But I’m sure that we’re going to get one out of him.”

Teddy makes another gurgle that Harry can take as agreement, and then he tosses Teddy up in the air and rejoices in those gales of laughter, as loud as cracks of thunder.

When Harry comes down to introduce Teddy to Narcissa, Draco averts his gaze hastily, but Harry’s sure that he caught traces of more softening. For right now, he’ll take it.

He sits back while Narcissa and Andromeda coo over Teddy together, and plans his next angle of attack.


Honestly, Harry’s not sure when it became so important to him to see Draco smile. Maybe just that he doesn’t ever seem to, anymore. And Harry actually sees him more frequently than he did in the last year, even though neither of them chose to go back to Hogwarts for their NEWT’s, but to take them in the Ministry next summer.

Draco is always shopping in Diagon Alley, his head bowed as if he carries the whole oppressive weight of the war on his shoulders. Honestly, not that many people glare at him. They’re too busy trying to pick up their own lives.

But Draco’s father is on house arrest for five years, and Draco himself has lost most of his money in his fines—not all of it, he’s not destitute, but Harry can imagine how shocking the change must have been—and he simply doesn’t really have a future anymore, not the kind he must have imagined.

And he’ll always bear the Dark Mark.

The choice is simple, Harry decides, after hearing from Andromeda that Narcissa and Draco are finally ready to meet their great-nephew and cousin. He wants to make Draco smile. Not because Draco is the only one in the world who deserves it.

But he does deserve it, and this is the kind of war Harry wants to fight now.


Harry is floating Teddy in the air above him, turning Teddy’s little fuzz of hair different colors with charms the way he thinks Teddy will be able to do on his own someday, when Draco’s voice says behind him, “What are you doing with that baby?”

“You sound as if you’ve thought of a dozen dirty things in the last few minutes,” Harry says, and turns around, floating Teddy in a half-circle, so he can watch Draco standing at the entrance into Andromeda’s back garden. “Maybe I should ask you what you intend to do with that baby.”

Draco’s mouth is open. That isn’t a smile, either, but at least he’s dropped the pose of haughty indifference he’s maintained throughout most of this second visit. Then he shakes his head and his face hardens. “You’re disgusting, Potter.”

“So are you, if you thought I would harm my godson.”

Why did they make you his godfather?”

“Because Remus was my father’s friend, and my godfather’s friend.” Harry catches Teddy and tosses him up in the air again, where he swims with his legs and arms against the magic, giggling. “And Tonks was my friend. What, Draco? Do you wish they’d named you godfather instead?”

Draco takes a step back, unnerved. Harry isn’t sure if it’s because of the confrontational question, or maybe just Harry using his first name. He shakes his head. “I wouldn’t have the first idea what to do with a baby,” he says.

That’s probably the most honest he’s ever been with me, Harry thinks in approval. He catches Teddy again and tucks him against his side. “Come on, then. We’re going to discuss something you do have ideas about.”

“Like what?”

“Brooms, of course! Do you think the new Starsong is really an improvement on the Firebolt, or are they just taking advantage of that new arrangement of bristles to market it that way?”

Draco still looks wary even when they’re inside, sitting on one of Andromeda’s couches with a plate of delicious little sandwiches between them, but he calms down when Teddy leans in with his mouth open to steal Harry’s sandwiches and Harry subdues him with tickling. And he does have a good idea, and good opinions, about whether it would be worthwhile buying the Starsong. And what Quidditch teams Harry should follow now that he’s officially given up on the Cannons. And whether it would be worthwhile trying out for a professional Quidditch team if Harry ever decides he wants to pursue that.

“How serious are you about it?” Draco asks, when most of the sandwiches are gone and Teddy is asleep with his head on Harry’s ribs. Harry cuddles him closer and kisses his forehead.

“Professional Quidditch? Maybe in a few years. Right now, I’ve got other things to do. The little one to help raise. My friends to spend time with.” Harry pauses. “New friends to make.”

It’s not a smile that crosses Draco’s face then; it’s too twisted and full of probably reflexive self-loathing. But it’s close, and at least he doesn’t back away, returning to the debate over the Starsong.

Harry opposes him just to oppose, and Draco gives him a narrow-eyed look as he stands up from his own couch to take his plates to the sink. “You don’t believe it’s an improvement on the Firebolt at all, do you?”


“Then why argue against me?”

“I enjoy it.”

Draco pauses and looks at him so hard that Harry thinks something is coming, but in the end, Draco retreats into the kitchen, and Harry hears him calling for his mother, who’s been walking outside in the garden with Andromeda. Harry chuckles and gives Teddy another kiss, which makes him squirm in his sleep.

“We’re getting close,” Harry tells him. “We’ll win him over yet.”

Teddy yawns in something Harry chooses to think is agreement.


“What’s wrong?”


Harry rolls his eyes. “Yes, something is. And I know because you’ve been avoiding looking at Teddy since you came over. I don’t care that much how you treat me,” he adds, as Draco brings his head up and looks him in the eye for the first time since he arrived at Andromeda’s house. “But Teddy deserves more than distant acknowledgement, don’t you think?”

Draco rolls his eyes back. “Hello, little cousin,” he says, without once looking at Teddy. Teddy giggles anyway, but that’s partially because Harry is standing next to his cot and reaching down to tickle him.

“You can do better than that.”

“What if I don’t want to, Potter?” Draco would have probably leaped to his feet if he was sitting down, but since he’s standing near the door of Teddy’s room, he can only straighten up and glare. Since his head is framed by a background of prancing mice and rabbits on the paper Andromeda put up, even that isn’t very intimidating. Harry finds himself hiding a grin, and Draco points a finger at him. “There! You’re prying into my life again!”

“No, you’re being ridiculous.”

For once, Harry manages to say that with perfect coolness, and Draco blinks. Then he says, “Fine. Mother is talking more and more often about marriage, that’s all. She thinks Astoria Greengrass would be perfect for me.”

“Never heard of her.”

That at least breaks past Draco’s mask enough to make him snort. “Well, I’ll run right downstairs and tell Mother that her matchmaking must be failing, then. Since Harry Potter has never heard of the woman she wants to marry me to.”

“You do that.”

Draco doesn’t move, of course, but instead ducks his head as though staring at the carpet under his feet will ease his temper. And his pain. Harry has no doubt that Draco is in pain. The thing he doesn’t know is why. “Draco?”

“I don’t want to get married,” Draco whispers. “Mother says that life has to go on, but—it’s not going to go on as long as Father is on house arrest. I want a few more years to think about things and look around and decide on what I like before I get married.”

“Then tell her that. It can’t be that hard, if you confessed it to me, someone you don’t even like.”

“You don’t know how hard it is to say something like that to your mother, Potter! Maybe it comes from never having a mother—”

Draco breaks off in horror. The room is silent. Even Teddy has stopped giggling, although Harry has to admit that’s probably because his hand has stopped moving. He breathes through the hurt, clears his throat, and picks Teddy up, cradling him close. “Fine, don’t say anything then. Go and be miserable and marry this girl you don’t like with a clear conscience. At least you’ll know that you spared your mother the horrible burden of hearing your true opinion.” Harry turns around and walks heavily towards the stairs.

Draco blocks his way. He meets his eyes and says, “I’m sorry.”

Harry pauses, then nods. “Fine. But I don’t really want to talk to you right now.”

For the first time since he and Narcissa started visiting, Draco ignores Harry entirely and follows him into the playroom. Harry sits down on the floor and starts making a miniature model of the Hogwarts Express whoosh around the room for Teddy. Draco sits down on the other side of him and says, “You’re wrong.”

“About telling your mother you don’t want to get married? Maybe, but it’s not like anything else is going to change this.”

“No.” Draco leans forwards and rests his hand on Harry’s arm, which sends a soft jolt all through him. “About me not liking you. Harry, will you please look at me?”

That annoyed tone is more typical of his interactions with Draco, and Harry blinks and does so. Draco is leaning towards him, body almost quivering, and his other hand comes up and touches the curve of Harry’s cheek, traces it.

“I’m sorry,” Draco says again, incoherently, and then kisses him.

Harry opens his mouth to the kiss almost immediately, because a very large portion of him is saying yes, and Draco gasps and pulls back in what looks like confusion. Harry licks his lips and stares at him. “What are you doing?”

“Embarrassing myself, apparently. And finding out that I prefer men?”

“Not that,” Harry says, and pulls Draco back to him with his free arm. The other is keeping Teddy captive. But then Harry figures out a better solution, and shifts so that Teddy is in his lap and he can use both hands on Draco’s shoulders. “Pulling back from the kiss the minute you’ve shown me how good it can be.”


Draco is obviously overwhelmed by his own feelings. Harry can be generous, though, and he takes charge, leaning in and starting the kiss again. At least Teddy is behaving right now, and Draco gives in to the delights of heat, especially the feeling that pricks Harry like a needle when their tongues touch.

Draco sits back on his heels at last and swallows. “I think I saw my mother looking in at the door at one point.”

“Then that probably spares you from having to tell her about us,” says Harry.

Draco bends almost double with his laughter, and finally straightens up and shakes his head. Harry beams at him. It occurs to him that Draco’s laughter, like Teddy’s, is almost as deep and interesting as a thunderclap.

“How did you bring me back to life like this?” Draco whispers suddenly. “I didn’t know I would say any of this when I came today, and I felt like my life was ending. And now suddenly I know that I’m going to live again.”

“Don’t you know?” Harry would give part of the credit to Teddy, too, but right now Teddy’s asleep, and he has a great line in mind. He shifts towards Draco and catches the back of his neck. “They wanted to give me a new title when the war ended, but I came up with my own. I’m not the Boy-Who-Lived. I’m the man who teaches others how to live.”

And Draco smiles, and Harry thinks, Mission accomplished, just before he introduces Draco to the delights of more kissing.

The End.