Disclaimer: I own none of the characters here. JK Rowling and company own them. I merely play with them for my own amusement. Please don't sue. I have nothing of value anyway.
Summary: Harry is caught in a love triangle to rival all else. He's found himself questioning his sexuality and is owning up to his attraction to Draco Malfoy. Meanwhile Draco is cozying up to Hermione, who won't give him the time of day. And Hermione keeps thinking there's hope for her and Harry to have a future together. It's a tangled web of emotions and will anyone get what they want? Set a couple of years after Hogwarts ended. Told from Harry's POV. Drarry, with undertones of Dramione.
Three is a Crowd
After my spectacular meltdown, I felt like a fool. Draco had no idea what I'd done, and Hermione swore she'd kept my secret. But I hadn't seen Draco since that night. I was always too busy at work, and then I'd miss him at lunches. Hermione said he was very distant and quiet with her and that they'd stopped eating together for the most part. He would often take lunch at his desk and didn't look at her when she passed by unless she specifically needed to speak to him. It wasn't just me he'd said goodbye to. It was her too. Only he hadn't come right out and said it to her. And this upset her probably as much as it upset me when he told me goodbye. She was trying to be strong and play it cool, but she admitted she was worried about him. He wasn't himself. And isolating himself away from everyone, even his old friends, wasn't making her less concerned. It only made her worry for him more and fret over the mistake he was about to make. We talked about him endlessly until I couldn't stand it anymore. Even being out of our lives, he was all consuming. Then one day Hermione met me for lunch and looked even more harried and upset than normal. I asked her what was wrong.
"Draco is leaving the Ministry," she told me, trying to hold back tears.
"What? Why?" I asked in confusion.
"He said he's going to work for Astoria's father in his company. They sell quills and ink. He's going to be some sort of business broker now. It was part of the marriage deal," she said with tears rolling down her cheeks.
"Oh God…for real? He's leaving here? I can't fucking believe this," I said feeling shocked and appalled at the news. Especially because it was hitting Hermione so hard. I reached over and took her hand. "It's gonna be okay."
"No, it's really not. I've held my tongue for all this time, but what he's doing is awful. I-I thought I meant something to him and now he barely even looks at me. He only spoke to me today because he was putting in his notice. I don't know what to do, Harry," she cried softly.
I pulled her to me and held her tight. People kept walking by looking at us and wondering if someone died. And it felt like they had. Draco was leaving. We wouldn't even see him at work anymore. And he'd effectively shut us both out. Why would he do this to us? How could he do this to us, was the better question. But I had no answers. We just found a table and didn't get any food and simply held hands and talked the entire time.
"I know you loved him, but he said you'd given him the cold shoulder because you wouldn't be 'that' girl," I said to her, trying to remind her she'd shut him down first. Not that I was saying she had it coming, but I wanted to remind her that she'd started this mess between them.
But it wasn't helpful. She just looked at me like I was a heartless monster and made a face at me.
"Just because I said I wouldn't fool around with him anymore doesn't mean I shut him out. I didn't abandon him. I was just trying to do the right thing," she explained tearfully.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. I just thought maybe you'd already said goodbye to him in your own way," I restated what I was trying to get across.
"I never thought he'd leave though. I thought he'd always be around. Remember how you felt that night in the alley?" she asked me and I nodded my head. "That's how I feel right now. I can't believe he's doing this to us. To me."
I was still reeling from the news and hadn't had time to process it yet, but now was my time to be there for Hermione like I said I'd be. She was hurting now and I had to help her. I just didn't know how exactly when I was feeling just as badly as she was. But I took her hands and held them tightly.
"Listen, you said yourself we'll find someone else. Draco isn't worth it. All this pain? It's not worth it," I told her, wishing so badly that I believed my own words.
But just when I told her that, Draco showed up in the cafeteria and appeared to be looking for us. I didn't wave him down though. I just stared at him wordlessly and Hermione's eyes followed mine and spied him standing there. Looking. Wanting. But weren't going to make it easy for him. If he was looking for us, he'd find us. And if he wasn't looking for us, he could just go eat shit, for all I cared. Which was a lie I told myself to feel better. But eventually he did spot us and came over to where we were sitting. He stood there a moment and didn't say anything as he witnessed Hermione wiping her eyes and us holding hands. I could tell he realized he was the cause of this scene and hung his head down.
"I suppose you heard the news then," he said looking at me.
"Yeah, you're leaving. Why?" I challenged him.
"I have to. It's part of the deal. My father says this job is a dead end and I have a chance to work in business where I'm probably better suited. I didn't have a choice, Potter," he admitted sadly.
"You do have choices, Malfoy. You chose this path. You could have chosen differently. But you're just a puppet of your father's. No mind of your own. Just bowing down to Daddy. You've always been weak like that," I spat at him seething with the anger I'd tried so hard to keep inside me. But it was blowing out of me full force.
"Don't fucking call me weak, you bastard. I'm doing what needs to be done. What did you think was going to happen with the three of us really? We'd all live happily together in a ski lodge having group sex every night?" he hissed back at me.
"No. I didn't fucking think that. But look what you're doing! You're breaking hearts all over the place and in case you didn't realize it yet, you're breaking your own heart in the process. Or do you not have a heart any longer?" I wondered venomously.
"Harry, stop. It's okay," Hermione tried to calm me down, but I wasn't having any of that.
"No, I'm not gonna stop until he admits what he's doing is wrong and cowardly. It's the easy way out," I said glaring at him.
"Potter, you'd do well to keep your voice down. And I know it may seem like a cowardly thing to do to you, but you've got nothing to lose here. I do. I have everything to lose. And I won't do it. That's why I'm choosing this path. Because I don't want to lose everything," he shot back at me.
"But you already have lost everything. You've lost me and Hermione. What else is there that's really worth anything?" I challenged him.
He just stood there and said nothing to me. I'd rendered him mute. I think he knew I was right but would rather die than admit it. So he just said nothing. Finally he bowed his head and looked at both of us.
"I'm sorry. For all of it. I never meant to hurt anyone. And I certainly never meant to lose either one of you. But it's just the way life has gone. I hope one day you'll forgive me. Because believe me, I won't forgive myself. But I have to live with my choices. You two are free to find real love with a real person who isn't so fucked up and living under Daddy's thumb. You both deserve better than me anyway. You always did. So just cut your losses and forget about me," he said full of emotion to the point I thought he may start crying too.
"I don't want to forget you," I said softly, coming down off my anger high.
"I don't want to forget you either," Hermione chimed in.
"Well then please remember the good times and forget the bad. At least keep happy memories of me."
"Don't leave," I said imploringly.
"I have to leave."
"Why? Why can't you just say no?" Hermione asked sadly.
"Because I can't. Maybe that does make me weak, I don't know. You just don't understand my life. It's never been my own. Not really. And nothing changes that. I have to do this. I'm sorry," he said, and turned on his heel and walked away from us.
He just left us there. Wanting. Needing. And never having again. His words echoed in my ears. He had to do this. He was sorry. It was the same words he'd said to Dumbledore before he tried to kill him. Only this time I felt like it was me that was in danger of dying. And Hermione too. She was taking this just as hard. But she was so stoic sometimes that it was hard to read her. But her hands were trembling and her face was blotchy and red. Tears pooled in her eyes and I was helpless to stop them. I just rubbed her arm and told her I'd never leave and that we'd get through it. But she finally had enough and excused herself from the table and ran off to the ladies room, presumably to cry herself senseless. I couldn't follow her and I didn't think she wanted me to anyway. She needed to be alone with this now, just like I was alone with it too. We could walk together, but we ultimately were alone in our own personal hell. And so was Draco. The only difference was, he chose this hell. He couldn't stand up for himself and this is what happened. He'd have to live the rest of his life knowing that we were the ones who got away. And someday when he was old, he was going to look back on this moment and hate himself for it. That I was certain of. He'd lost two amazing people in his life and one day he was going to regret it, if he didn't already.
The next few days went by and Draco didn't come near us. Then the weekend happened and Hermione and I tried to get our lives back normal the way they used to be before Draco. But we were both still sad. Especially when we got an owl at our window with a package for us. It was from Draco. At first Hermione told me to chuck the box in a bin, but I was insanely curious what he'd send to us. So I opened it up. Inside were two envelopes with letters inside and two long jewelry boxes. I handed Hermione her envelope and one of the long boxes and told her to open it. She didn't want to at first, but I told her I was opening mine and they appeared to be the same thing. So we decided to read our letters first. I opened it up and read it to myself.
I know you're angry with me and have every right to be. Perhaps I am weak and still a coward because I can't stand up to my father. You just don't understand what it's like to be a Malfoy. There are certain standards to uphold and my father let me run amok for several years, to which I thoroughly enjoyed myself. But he said it's time to grow up. Who am I to argue? I'll never regret the time I spent with you though. I loved you for so long. I never dreamed you'd love me back. But we aren't meant to be, Harry. Like I said before, in another life… I've given you and Hermione matching necklaces with a dragon on it. I want you to wear it and think of me always. Never forget. I know I said to forget me, but I changed my mind. Remember me. But do move on and live your life. That's the only thing that could make me happier than I already am to have had you in my life. Move on and love again. But keep my memory close to your heart. I will always keep your memory close to mine.
I waited for Hermione to finish her letter before I opened the jewelry box. But inside I found a silver chain with a pewter dragon hanging from it. And Hermione had the same one. She was crying though, while I managed to keep my tears in check. I don't know what her letter said, but I imagined it was similar to mine. I didn't ask to read it as it was private and not meant for my eyes. And she didn't ask to read mine. But we both put the necklaces on and sat there on the couch holding our letters and playing with the dragon pendants around our neck. We didn't speak at first for a long time, both just alone with our thoughts. But finally I broke the silence.
"I'm going to wear this forever I think," I admitted softly.
Hermione laughed slightly, but not because it was funny. It was more of a wry laugh.
"I probably will too. That's how stupid I am."
"You're not stupid. And it was a nice gesture."
"But he's still gone."
"Yep, he's still gone."
We just laid our heads together and sat on the couch and sighed into the night. There was nothing else to do. He had really said goodbye this time. And even given a parting gift. Of which I never would take off. I knew that much. I wanted to remember the good times. The fun times. And maybe even the bad times too. It was all a scene in my head that was distinctly Draco. Laughter, tears, yelling, whispering, kissing, cuddling, fighting, and saying goodbye. I'd remember it all. And I'd remember it fondly. No matter how hurt I was, I'd still remember it fondly. Because he was a part of my life and I was a part of his and nothing would ever change that. We grew together and grew apart. That last thing was his doing, but like I said before, sometimes the friends we have, don't stay our friends forever. Some people are meant to come into your life and stay for a short time, and then leave. They teach you something about yourself. There's a saying that people are with you for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And Draco was there for a reason. And now it was time for him to go. But he taught me who I really was, and for that I'd always be grateful.
The months went on and eventually Hermione and I got out of our funk and back into the swing of things. We were as tight as ever, thankfully. I really worried for a while that things would be different between us after the skiing holiday. But we were too close for that to kill what we had. I just wish it was the kind of love you married someone for. Because I would marry her in a heartbeat if I didn't know it was completely unfair to her. And for her part, she seemed content to just be with me. She knew we'd never be lovers or get married, but she wasn't really excited to date anyone else just yet. She wanted to stay with me. And I wanted her with me. It felt good and familiar. And like our lives were the same as before the day Draco walked back into our lives. I wondered from time to time how he was doing though. Until the day that the wedding invite came by owl. They were to be married in May. We thought about not going but then we decided it'd be good closure for us to see him get married and maybe finally meet this Astoria bird who'd ruined our lives. But we'd be civil and polite about it all. We'd even bring a gift.
When the day of the wedding came we were both nervous to see him again. It had been a while. But when we showed up at his family home, he greeted us at the gates. The wedding was outside and he was waiting there to welcome guests while his parents stood by him. It was rather awkward at first because his father didn't know what to think of me and Hermione being there. But Draco smiled when he saw us.
"You came," he said softly, looking dapper as ever. The tux he wore made him even more handsome than I'd ever seen him. But I didn't verbalize that opinion.
"Of course we came. We sent the reply card, didn't we?" I mentioned with a small grin.
"It's lovely to see you both. It really is. And I notice you're wearing the dragons," he pointed out the chains around our neck.
We both absently fingered the pewter dragons we wore and Draco showed us his matching one. The Three Musketeers or something like that. It was our secret. No one else had the same necklaces we had. I suspected Draco got one for himself so he'd never forget us either. It was touching actually. But it didn't change that he was about to be married off.
"So are you nervous?" I wondered curiously, making polite small talk.
"Yes. But everyone tells me that's normal."
"I'm sure it is. But I bet you'd be a lot less nervous if you actually knew who your wife to be was," Hermione chimed in with some slight bitterness.
I didn't know she was still angry, but I guess she was. She never talked about it though. But Draco picked up on her not so subtle snub of his nuptials.
"I do know her. Well enough, I suppose. We have our whole lives to know each other though," he said, not letting her get to him on his special day.
"Right then, well where should we sit? Anywhere?" I interjected just wanting to be out of his presence for the time being before Hermione lost her shit and said something she'd regret.
Draco pointed us to the grooms side of the huge aisle they'd set up in the yard and told us there was champagne fountains if we wanted bubbly. Then he had to greet other guests and we were relegated to being just nameless people in a crowd. It was a really big wedding. I didn't think Draco knew this many people, but everyone he used to hang around with in school was there, along with Pansy who was married to some other man that I didn't know. People in these circles got married so young, I thought to myself. I barely knew who I was yet and I was still a virgin. And everyone Draco knew was married. It was so strange and such a different world. A world I'd never belong in. A world he spared me from by never even trying to take me home with him. Even if his parents accepted me, which they never would, I don't think I could live this lifestyle. I was a simple man. With simple needs. I just wanted to find love. And I wanted Hermione to find love. And I wanted Draco to find love too. But now he never really would. Not in the same way the rest of us could. He was being forced to marry someone he barely knew. That wasn't romantic, it was just tragic. But it wasn't my business any longer.
When everyone was seated and it was time to begin, I craned my neck over the crowd to see this supposed blushing bride for myself. She appeared and she was quite pretty, I must admit. She looked very well to do and polished, just like Draco. And I realized again how much I'd never fit into this world of his. But she seemed happy to be marrying him. Hell I would have been happy too. She landed herself a good man. A man I myself wanted to keep forever, but had to let go of. But once the ceremony was over, Hermione and I sat in the back of the aisle and sipped champagne while everyone else danced. We watched the happy couple and we both looked wistful about it. But we didn't say much at first. We just downed our drinks and tried to drown our sorrows. I finally spoke though.
"So that was weird as fuck," I admitted with a small chuckle.
"You can say that again," she laughed along with me.
"I can't believe he actually did it," I sighed.
"But Astoria seems lovely I guess," I shrugged.
"Yeah, but she's not us," Hermione pointed out, downing her champagne.
"Nope, she's not. I love us. I love us way more than her," I told her.
"I love us too! We're good catches. Someone's gonna snap us up. You'll see. We won't always be a sad story," she assured me.
"Good because I don't want to be a sad story. I want the fairytale," I confessed, the champagne going straight to my head.
"You'll get it. We both will. Draco doesn't deserve us. He never did. Couldn't even make up his mind," she grumbled.
"I know. But when it was good, it was great."
"But you're right. We both deserve love. Someone who will love only us. We shouldn't have ever settled for less," I told her seriously.
"I know. But I think I thought it was better than nothing at the time. I really loved that bugger. Stupid prat," she pouted.
"I really loved him too. But hey, at least you're not still a virgin," I lamented sadly.
"Yeah, but I never had real sex with Draco. I haven't been laid in years. I might be a born again virgin," she sighed.
"I still think of Draco as my first even if we never had actual sex. He taught me what I liked and for that I thank him," I told her.
"He was a really fantastic kisser, wasn't he?" she said dreamily.
"I miss that about him."
"I do too."
"But there will be other better kissers," I said assuredly. I hoped I was right about that. I had to be. This couldn't be the end of our story.
"You bet there will be better kissers," she promised me as she downed the rest of her glass and crossed her arms across her chest.
We just sat in silence again taking in the atmosphere. It was a lovely wedding. Even if it was painful for us to sit through. And we didn't really know any of the guests aside from people we went to school with and hated them. We didn't see much point in mingling with them. We were just alone with our own melancholy. I was thinking of how odd it was to watch someone you love marry someone else and be helpless to stop it. And I wager Hermione was thinking the same thing. But I knew my life would go on and so would hers. We decided to leave early though because we felt out of place. So we tracked Draco down to say our goodbyes.
"You're leaving already?" he asked with disappointment.
"Yeah, we don't really fit in here very well. And let's face it, it's weird," I told him softly so as not to alert his new wife who was busy chatting up some other people.
"I guess it is a little weird. But thank you for coming," he said sincerely.
"No problem. Thanks for the invite."
"Yes, thanks," Hermione chimed in tipsily.
"Sorry to see you go, but just remember. Don't forget me," he said with a wink.
"Never," I said as I held out my dragon necklace to him and Hermione held hers out too.
Draco just smiled and held his out. Then he grabbed both of us into a hug. It wasn't a sexy hug and he didn't linger too long, but it was affectionate enough.
"I'll see you guys around," he said giving us a grin.
"See you around," I said back with my own grin.
And when we walked away, we both knew we'd never see him around. Not anymore. We hadn't seen him for months now and I doubted that would change now. If anything he'd be more scarce. But that was okay. We'd get along without him. We had to. In another life…his words echoed in my head. If only. But there was this life to live now and I intended to start living it. It would be a life without Draco, but somehow I knew I'd be okay.
Two years later…
I bet you're all wondering what happened with my life after Draco's ridiculous wedding. Did we ever see him again? No, we never did. But we got Christmas cards and birthday greetings and the scattered odd letter and that was enough. He said he was thriving and happy and expecting his first child. That was all so removed from me and my life. But I wasn't alone anymore. That's right. I found someone. Someone pretty fucking special. His name is Michael and we met years ago. Remember the young charge I had who saved my ass when I got hurt? Well it turns out we had a lot of things in common. We became partners in the Auror business and partners in the bedroom too. I had no idea he was gay at first because I'm clueless like that. But when he kept fawning over me and giving me hints that he wanted to go out, I had to get my head out of my ass and oblige him. We had our first kiss on the terrace of a French restaurant in the city. And yes, he kisses just as well as Draco did. Maybe even better? I might be biased because for the first time ever, I'm in love with someone who loves me back. I told Draco all about it and he was pleased for me. Hermione was also pleased for me. She was ecstatic I finally found the person I feel is made for me.
And for her part, she met another man too. His name is Raymond and he took Draco's spot in the Ministry after he'd left. They had a parade of people in the position before Raymond stuck it out. No one else could put up with Hermione's bossy nature for very long. But Ray was a good guy. He treated her right. We were friends. We were all friends. And it was wonderful. Double dates and many nights playing games together and drinking and doing couples activities. We all took a holiday together this time to a beach in the Maldives. We had separate rooms and no orgies took place and the beach was much more my speed than the skiing. Life was pretty fucking perfect. I still think about Draco though from time to time. I still wear the pendant and so does Hermione. We told our respective others that it was a friendship necklace. We just failed to mention what the dragon meant and who else had one. It was our little secret. And would always remain so. I suspect there will always be a place in my heart for Draco, even if it crashed and burned. He was the first man I ever loved. And even if he didn't love me back the right way, I'd never forget it. It was part of my story. Draco was part of my story. And it wasn't a sad story any longer. It was a happy one. And I'd never forget his role in my story. But I was writing a new ending. This time a happy one. I got the fairytale after all.
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