Draco nearly ran into Ron. They both stopped. Draco kept a tight hold on his wand, the tray of hors d’eouvres floating before him.
Ron cleared his throat, stepping aside. “Harry asked me to get more wine.”
“There’s plenty on the counter.”
They both hung there a moment, then continued on their way. Bloody awkward, that was, but at least Ron no longer glared at him whenever they met. Draco would take progress in whatever form it chose to present itself.
He walked back into the front room, saying, “All right, you greedy buggers, I’ve more of these cucumber things you all devoured.”
The room was comfortably full with people. Their friends, some coworkers, some of Harry’s family. Draco’s friends mostly raised drinks and cheered, lunging for the tray.
“For heaven’s sake, let me at least put it down, you ravenous beasts.” Draco set the tray on the table, then stepped back. He perched on the sofa besides Maribel, saying, “You’d think my nearest and dearest would have better manners.”
“So you want them to entirely change their personalities.”
“Yes. I would.”
Draco glanced around. The party was most definitely a success. It was the most people they’d ever invited over, two dozen adults who they could drink with, celebrate with, laugh with. He’d had doubts when Harry suggested the venture, but it was admittedly going quite well. Everyone was getting along, sufficiently lubricated and mixing nicely.
Draco took a look over his shoulder. Arthur and Molly were sitting in a corner. Arthur was listening with some interest to Dulcine. Of course Arthur would find Dulcine, with her Muggle fetish. Molly, meanwhile, was just gazing at her drink, a small frown on her face.
Can’t win them all, Draco thought, and found Harry.
He stood by the fireplace, chuckling at something Hermione said, gesticulating wildly with his hands. He was wearing an orange jumper. It made his skin look positively golden.
Harry caught Draco looking and smiled. Draco tugged lightly on the lapel of his emerald green suit. Harry mouthed a whistle, and Draco grinned, looking away.
Wasn’t bad, this. He wasn’t a big thrower of parties, and the ones he’d grown up with were sedate affairs that usually involved cello music in the background. This was nice. He was in his own home, not too many people. Draco could certainly see himself doing this again.
“Oi! Can I get your attention please!” They all looked up. Harry held a hand out to Draco. “You, come up here.”
Draco sighed through his nose. Of course, there were compromises one needed to make in any relationship. Smiling graciously, he got to his feet and walked over to Harry.
Harry slipped an arm behind his back. He had a drink in his other hand that he used to gesture with. Giving Draco a little bump with his hip, Harry said to the partygoers, “I just wanted to thank all of you for coming tonight. I know it’s a few months late, but—better late than never, eh? It was important that we had a night to celebrate with you lot. You’re our best friends. You’re our family. You’re part of our lives, and it means a lot to us that you’re here. Of course, I can hear what you’re not saying—if we’re so bloody important, why weren’t we at the wedding?”
There were some snorts, and some uncomfortable shuffling. Draco hooked an arm over Harry’s shoulder, and picked a full champagne flute off the mantlepiece.
“The thing is, Draco and I needed to do the wedding bit on our own. Or rather, I did. Draco was amenable to inviting some people, but the truth is that I was not.” Draco played with the hair at the nape of Harry’s neck and had a sip of champagne. He didn’t know where Harry was going with this, but he thought it best not to intervene. “And it wasn’t because I didn’t want people to know. It’s because I wanted something that was just ours. We’ve had to put up with a lot of judgment, particularly Draco. I didn’t need an outside opinion about this choice. I knew I wanted to marry this man, and I wanted to marry him proper. Most people don’t have to put up with the press chiming in on their choices. I wanted to marry him like a regular person. Because despite what it might look like to outside parties, our relationship doesn’t seem strange to me. To me, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”
Harry raised his glass slightly. “So I would like to propose a toast to Draco.” Draco turned his head away, wincing. Harry jostled him. “Oh, stop it.” Harry looked up into his eyes with a smile. “To Draco Malfoy. The kind of man who’ll read thirty books on a topic if he knows you’re interested. The kind of man who tells you when your shoes don’t match your jumper. The kind of man who buys you your dream flat for your birthday but pretends he bought you a malfunctioning broom instead. The kind of man who listens when you tell him no, who makes you think, who always has your back.” Harry grinned devilishly. “The kind of man who’ll tie you up on your birthday if you ask nicely.”
Draco nearly choked. There was some whistling and hooting.
Harry lifted his glass and said, “To Draco Malfoy. Love of my life.”
Draco shook his head as the partygoers echoed his name, some more vigorously than others. Putting a hand to Harry’s face, he bent down to give Harry a soft kiss on the mouth. He ignored everyone else and kissed his ridiculous man with all the love in his heart.
“I’ll tie your fucking mouth shut,” Draco murmured to him.
The side of Harry’s mouth lifted. “You promise.”
Draco looked at him. “Get through the rest of the party without embarrassing me like that again and we can negotiate.”
Harry grinned, but then something in his eyes faltered. Draco followed his gaze. Molly had gotten up and left the room. Harry set his drink on the mantle. “I’ll—”
“No,” Draco said, giving him a kiss on the temple. “I’ll talk to her. Have fun.”
He squeezed Harry’s hand, then walked across the room.
Draco closed the front door after himself. It was a warm evening, night going dark. Their street was empty, everyone inside. Draco let himself down next to Molly on the step, brushing off his knees.
They sat a moment in silence, gazing off into nothing.
When it was clear that Molly wasn’t going to speak, Draco took a deep breath. “We don’t have to like one another, Molly. I know you can’t stand me.” Molly opened her mouth to protest, but Draco said, “And I don’t like you. I loathe you, point of fact.”
She looked at him with shrewd eyes. Draco turned his gaze back to the street.
“You’re far too used to always getting your way. When it seems like you won’t, you threaten to withhold your approval, and for someone like Harry, that can be devastating. I’m not sure if you know that you’re doing it, but you are a clever, clever woman, Molly, so I don’t see how you can’t. You use kindness to mask cruelty, you’re presumptuous, you’re a bully. And you killed my aunt.”
Draco felt his jaw twitch.
“I know she was a monster. My whole family’s full of them. I once was a monster. I know she didn’t deserve to live, but I loved her. I’ll never not love her, even though it makes no sense. Like I know you’ll never forgive me for the death of your son. I didn’t kill him, but I was a Death Eater, and you will never, ever forgive me for that. We’ll never forgive one another.”
Draco looked at Molly. “But Harry adores you. He thinks the world of you, Molly, and as much as I hate the power that gives you over him, you make him feel safe. He hasn’t had many chances in his life to feel safe. I want him to be loved, to be happy. I know you want that for him too, and even though you don’t like it, I make him happy. I make him feel safe. We’re going to be stuck with one another for a long, long time. Til you die or I die. That’s a long time to battle for supremacy, and I could do it, save for what it would do to him. We don’t have to like one another. But we should both accept that when it comes to him, we’re on the same side. If nothing else, we have that in common. I don’t know what you want to do with that, but I thought it should be said.”
He waited to see if Molly would say anything.
She worried at her lip, a tic to her cheek. Several very long seconds passed, then she tilted her head slightly towards him.
“I’ll consider it,” Molly said.
Draco nodded. He couldn’t ask for more than that. “Okay.” He pushed himself to his feet. “Come back in soon. We’re opening a fifty-year-old firewhiskey, and you know what Arthur’s like with a few glasses in his belly.” He went back inside, not knowing if he’d changed anything at all. At least he could say he tried.
Draco followed Harry to the bedroom, turning lights off as they went. “We should do that again.”
“Oh! Oh, here he goes.”
“Parties aren’t really my thing,” Harry said, doing a more than passing imitation of Draco’s voice. “Too many people in too small a space, making inane conversation in an attempt to pretend as though they connect—”
Draco gave him a hard slap to the backside. Harry yelped, jumping forward. He slipped into the bedroom, grinning at Draco.
“The cheek on you,” Draco said. “Did you say that bit just to see Ron bite off his tongue?”
“I did it to see what you’d do. And you blushed.”
Harry grabbed Draco by the lapels, pulling him forward. Putting his hands to Harry’s hips, Draco said, “Yes, I blushed. You kinky bitch.”
They kissed, Draco dipping Harry back. They stumbled slightly, laughing. Kissing the side of Draco’s mouth, Harry asked, “Are you tired?”
“Not that tired.”
“Do—you want to do something?”
Harry shrugged, and said, “Fuck me into oblivion, call me filthy names, maybe bite my nipples a bit. If you gave me a few more slaps on the back end, I wouldn’t argue.”
“It’s because I called you a kinky bitch, isn’t it.”
“I suppose. You’re quite attractive, and you have an eminently slappable bottom.” Draco slid his hands under Harry’s shirt, pushing the jumper up his arms. Harry tossed the shirt to the floor and tugged on Draco’s tie, pulling him towards the bed. “Careful. I’m the one who leads you around.”
“Only if you tell me to.” Harry shoved off Draco’s jacket, then started in on his buttons.
Draco let Harry undress him. The alcohol had worn off, but he felt good. Everyone had gone home, and it was just the two of them. Letting his head fall back, Draco took deep breaths.
Once they were both unclothed, Harry let Draco go. He walked backwards to the bed, laying down. He let his limbs splay out like a starfish. “Oh, that’s remarkably erotic,” Draco said, and Harry giggled.
Draco climbed onto the bed, and Harry pulled him down, wrapping arms around his neck. Draco pushed Harry’s head up, biting lightly at his throat. Harry exhaled, and Draco felt Harry’s pulse beating against his lips.
“Could we try something?”
Draco lifted his head. “What’s that?”
“Cut off my air a bit?”
Draco made a face. “I don’t think so.”
Harry shrugged. “That’s fine.”
“But I’ll call you mean names and mark you all over your body.”
“That sounds nice.”
Draco gave Harry’s lips a quick kiss. “Let’s start, shall we?”
He moved down Harry’s body, kissing as he went, letting his tongue flick out. Harry relaxed, letting his arms fall back. Draco had to admit, he loved leaving marks on Harry’s skin. He liked going back a day later and seeing the teeth marks there, the bruises. Knowing how easily Harry could vanish it all with his wand, but choosing to let it stay.
Draco bit into the flesh around Harry’s navel. His eyes fluttered closed at the sound Harry made. This man could always undo him so quickly.
Draco bit and sucked his way across Harry’s stomach, fingers kneading the back of Harry’s thigh. Harry writhed beneath him, coming perilously close to speaking, but not quite. After all, the rules were that he could only speak when spoken to.
Moving further down, Draco pushed Harry’s leg aside, meaning to run his teeth along Harry’s cock. But it was an awkward angle, and it was like he was trying to push Harry’s leg sideways.
Harry yelped, and tapped the top of Draco’s head. “Ow—papaya. Love, I don’t bend like that.”
Draco lifted his head.
Harry had flopped back, catching his breath. When he realized that Draco wasn’t moving, he cracked open an eye. “All right?”
“You used the safeword,” Draco said, astonished.
Narrowing his eyes, Harry said, “Well—yeah. That’s what it’s there for.”
Smiling, Draco said, “Yes. Yes it is.” He raised a brow. “Shall we try again?”