"Do you want to talk about it?" George asked peering down at Harry where he was laying on one of their work tables with his head hanging over the side.
"Not right now," he sighed a little frowning.
"James and Lily haven't said anything have they?" Fred asked concerned from where he was working at another table.
"If I say they have are you going to be fire calling Rodolphus right away?" Harry smirked.
"Of course, he pays the bills now, get to keep him sweet," George grinned.
"And it is good to finally see someone taking care of them the way that they deserve," Percy snorted walking over and combing his fingers through Harry's hair.
"They haven't said anything, I am fairly sure they're too busy trying to find spells and charms to keep the bedbugs off them, how Rodolphus managed to find somewhere with magical bedbugs I don't know," Harry chuckled.
"Sure you don't want to talk about it?" Percy asked sitting down next to him and started flicking through the accounting book Fred passed to him.
"Not right now, it isn't anything bad, I just...need to think it through," Harry sighed.
"Not feeling nervous about the wedding?" Fred asked.
"Not really no, it is weird, that is the thing that I should probably be most worried about but, I just just feel….hopeful. Like I am on the cusp of something wonderful. Things can change of course, and this may be a honeymoon period, but I feel as though marrying Rodolphus is going to be the start of everything that I have wanted," Harry admitted softly.
"It helps that he obviously worships the ground that you walk on already," Percy smiled.
"You really think so?" Harry smiled shyly.
"That man is falling madly in love with you," Fred said with such certainty that Harry's face burned bright red.
"It just feels like a dream, everything that could have gone so badly wrong with this, the person that I could have ended up with, it doesn't feel real that I have ended up with what I have,"
"Everything that you have been through, everything that you have had to, put up with, especially from them, it is fair that you finally get something good in your life," George shook his head.
"But I have good, I have you guys, Sirius, Remus, Tonks and Sev, I have been so lucky to have you all in my life," Harry sat up turning to look at them.
"That is why we love you," Percy smiled kissing Harry's forehead.
"What?" Harry frowned a little even as he leaned into the hug that Percy gave him.
"That man had better look after you properly or we will string him up," Fred snorted abandoning his work to come and join in the hug as George did.
"I don't need looking after," Harry grumbled from the centre of the pile.
"Yeah you do, you spend too much time looking after other people," Percy scolded.
"Sure you don't want to talk about it?" George asked.
"I'm sure," Harry smiled. "Now we need to talk about your robes for the wedding," he grinned grabbing onto the twins robes when they tried to back away.
"I feel like I am missing something," Harry muttered to himself running his fingers through his hair which he had taken down hours ago when his head started hurting.
"I am fairly sure that the floor is missing," Rodolphus said a little awed from behind him looking around the room with wide eyes.
"Rodolphus?" Harry blinked before squeaking and spinning around to hide himself. "No! I look a mess!" He grabbed some papers and tried to hide behind them.
"Harry?" Rodolphus chuckled stepping into the room.
"No no no no no I look horrific!" Harry whined starting to try and crawl away but Rodolphus caught him around the hips and pulled him back to himself, turning they younger man over. "Rodolphus I look…"
"You actually look quite delicious," Rodolphus said softly making Harry lower his hands and look up into those blue eyes who were watching him intently. He was looking at him as hungrily as he did when Harry was dressed to his best.
He reached down and brushed his hands over Harry's stomach and the worn shirt that he was wearing, far too large for him hanging down to his thighs, and the loose, ill fitting, worn trousers that he was wearing before sliding his fingers under the shirt to gently brush over Harry's stomach.
"It is nice seeing you so relaxed and comfortable looking, to see you natural," Rodolphus tried to explain. Harry blinked before reaching up and twined his arms around Rodolphus' shoulders and drawing him down for a sweet kiss, surrendering himself under the larger man's touch and kisses, relaxing fully as he sank into it.
A little while later they lay on their backs on the floor with Harry's head resting on Rodolphus' shoulder, stubble burn on his cheeks making them a little red, he twined their legs together and sighed contentedly, the sound making Rodolphus smile.
"So what were you doing?" Rodolphus asked curiously looking at the small explosion of paper around the room.
"Planning the wedding," Harry said with such a sigh that Rodolphus had to laugh.
"I could become offended by that," He managed to say through his laughter.
"You know what I mean," Harry poked his stomach.
"If it is stressing you out we could hire someone to do the parts that you don't want to do," Rodolphus offered.
"You're spending enough money on this," Harry frowned a little shaking his head.
"If it is stressing you out, then I don't care about the money, we have more than enough of it," Rodolphus tilted Harry's chin up. "We, as in you and I, we can afford this,"
"Harry I would far rather hire someone, than watch you get so stressed, it is such a short amount of time to try and plan a wedding of this size, and there is still going to be so much for you to do, considering you insisted I didn't need to worry about it…"
"Because you hate planning things like this," Harry huffed.
"Exactly, so, lets hire someone to make it a little easier on you," Rodolphus partially offered and partially demanded.
"It just feels…" Harry bit his lip.
"Yes?" Rodolphus urged gently.
"It feels like I am taking advantage of you, and your family," Harry sighed.
"Harry," Rodolphus' tone was purely scolding, and when Harry lifted his head he found his chin gripped in that way that Rodolphus had of doing that turned Harry weak at the knees and made him melt under his touch, the kiss was something different between them, saying something different, feeling different, and Harry felt something different within himself in the way that he reacted to Rodolphus.
As though he felt it Rodolphus suddenly pressed deeper into the kiss and tugged Harry closer, the younger man ending up sprawled on top of Rodolphus' strong chest, his large hands spread over Harry's back under his shirt and holding him tightly, his fingers digging in just right into the muscles of his back.
And suddenly they were gasping as they tugged apart, soaking wet and spluttering in confusion.
"Absolutely not," Sirius said firmly from the doorway, eyes narrowed as he lowered his wand.
"Siri! It was just kissing!" Harry whined sitting up with a grimace as he held up his soaked arms.
"Just kissing was what Sev and I did right before we ended up having sex against the wall for our first time!"
"Oh Merlin!" Harry groaned dropping back down and trying to cover his ears.
"And the time that I had sex with Milly Donhour, and Vernon Smith, and…"
"Siri I get it! I do not need to hear your sexual history!" Harry groaned.
"Are you going to curse me if I dry us off? I have water dripping into places that I don't want water," Rodolphus grimaced.
"I am still considering it," Sirius glared darkly.
"We weren't going to take it any further than kissing Siri, unlike you we have some control," Harry smirked at the open mouthed look Sirius gave him.
"Severus! Why did you have to teach him how to be snarky! This is your fault!" Sirius wailed turning and storming off.
"What the hell are you talking about Mutt?!" Severus' annoyed voice came from within the house.
"Run," Harry laughed pushing at Rodolphus. "While I have distracted him,"
"You could run with me, save yourself as well," Rodolphus grinned.
"They won't do anything to me as soon as I start pouting, you however…." Harry snorted at the cursing they could hear from Severus.
"Shit, I am running, see you tomorrow, I will look into the wedding planner to help you," Rodolphus dodged forwards and kissed him sweetly one last time before dodging back and waving his wand at Harry with a wink, before apparating out.
"Softy," Harry chuckled dropping back down, now completely dry and the area around him.
"Where is he! And don't think I don't know you distracted your dogfather!" Severus growled bursting into the room.
"What on the…" Renato stared at his son who had appeared in the middle of the living room, dripping water all over their Persian rug and grinning widely.
"What have you done now?" Gillian sighed, looking reluctantly amused.
"I have done nothing, I was innocently kissing my lovely fiance when Sirius decided to drench us!" Rodolphus huffed, looking as put out as he could manage while drying himself off.
"Innocently….right, if you were innocently kissing him, I will kiss Severus in front of Sirius," Rabastan laughed.
"I am wounded and hurt that you would not believe me!" Rodolphus pouted at them.
"Honestly, you looked like you were being dragged to the gallows when we went to meet him for the first time, now the wedding can't come quickly enough before you two break the chastity vows!" Renato snorted throwing his hands up.
"It was innocent kissing!" Rodolphus insisted.
"My arse." Gillian huffed as she walked out the room.
"Mother!" Rodolphus and Rabastan gasped scandalised.
"You have been spending too much time with Sirius," Renato muttered.
"Draco! I need you to pick a bloody colour of robes and stick to it, the wedding planner is going mad between you changing your mind and Percy telling her he doesn't mind what colour he wears, can you…." Harry pulled to a halt looking up from his notes when he realised the person standing in front of him was not Draco.
"Harry," Lucius purred, and Harry raised his eyebrow at the lack of formality that he normally clung to.
"Lucius, can I help you?" Harry asked cautiously.
"How go the wedding plans?" the Malfoy Lord asked stepping up to Harry's side and glancing at his notes.
"Well, I take it you received your invitation?" Harry asked pleasantly.
"I did indeed, I admit that I was shocked at your choice of groom when it was announced," Lucius stepped even closer, his icy blue eyes intent on Harry's face who was feeling increasingly uncomfortable.
"I heard," Harry said lowly. "Rodolphus was not my choice at first, he was just the first option, but that has changed rapidly as we have spent time together,"
"That is because he is the only man that you have known romantically, and I am sure that he is pulling out all the stops to begin with, to make you happy and make you feel hopeful for the future, after all he needs you a lot more than you need him, there are other options out there for you Harry," Lucius took Harry's hand.
"Lucius…" Harry tried to step away.
"I have known you for a long time now Harry, and I know that it may be surprising to hear how much I have appreciated the young man that you have grown into. I know Rodolphus well, he is a man that knows how to get what he wants, how to present the right persona and set up the right circumstances to be what he wants you to see. But once he has that ring on your finger you will be trapped in a marriage that you then have to make the best of. Those rumours about him have their origin. Just...I am worried for you Harry, make sure that this is the right thing for you before you set yourself to it,"
"And should I decide not to marry Rodolphus, you would be happy to step in?" Harry narrowed his eyes.
"I just want to make sure you are making the right choice, yes I would be happy to take your hand, but if it is not right for you, you don't have to marry, there are other ways to save your House from the foolishness of your parents, I would be happy to lend you money rather than you be stuck in a marriage with a man who has tricked you into believing in a future that does not exist," Lucius smiled gently at him before he kissed the back of his hand.
He left Harry standing there, his mind spinning as he watched the Malfoy Lord walk off, his heart thundering in his chest. He didn't know how long he stood there, but he started when Draco gripped his shoulder from behind, his face concerned as he looked at him.
"Everything ok?" His friend asked.
"Yes, yes fine, just details, wedding details, I am trying to figure out what I need to do next," Harry tried to smile, but knew that he had failed.
"Is everything ok?" Draco frowned.
"Yes fine, we need to sort out the colour of your robes," Harry muttered shuffling his notes in his hand so he could avoid looking at Draco.
"I think I have changed my mind on the colour again," Draco hummed.
"Right ok…" Harry nodded, so wrapped in his thoughts again that he missed Draco's eyes narrowing further as he looked at him.
"Are you going to tell us what has been bothering you?" Sirius asked concerned dropping onto the sofa next to Harry, Severus falling down on his other side as Sirius wrapped his arm around his shoulders.
"Now it is something different to what has been bothering me before," Harry gave in, sinking into their warmth and safety.
"Ok, do you want to talk about it?" Sirius asked calmly, rubbing his back.
Harry hesitated for a moment, but then Severus threw a blanket over him, his favourite one, and he snuggled under it, it smelling of their house and the safety he had found from the two of them for years separately, and now together. Snuggled between them he found himself spilling what Lucius had said and he concerns about the fact that he had been right, admitting that he had been thinking about how little time he and Rodolphus had actually known each other, and that Lucius could be right, and Rodolphus was putting on a facade to lure him in.
"Ok. You're young Harry, but you have a wonderful sense of people, and your instincts are normally spot on. What do you really think about Rodolphus?" Sirius asked gently.
"I...I...I trust him, I trust that...I think who he is is real," Harry said lowly. "But what if I am wrong?" he buried his face into his knees.
"Harry, it is always a risk, but you have been getting to know Rodolphus, and you have had a good feeling about him from the beginning, I would 100% trust that rather than Lucius words. It sounds as though Lucius is purposefully trying to put doubts in your mind to get you to cancel the wedding," Severus advised.
"But he said that even if I did not marry him…"
"Yes, but then he threw in about lending money from him, which would make you indebted to him, and if there is one thing that he is good at, it is getting the most of those that owe him something. I have no doubt he would work his way around to you marrying him. He wants the Potter name for himself,"
"So does Rodolphus, and his family," Harry frowned.
"Yes, but he wants you as well I think, and the longer you spend together I believe those two become more and more equal," Sirius smiled.
"Think it over serious, if you have any concern then you don't need to marry Rodolphus, there are other ways, and we will always help you Harry, you know that, we discussed it before you chose this, and you can absolutely change your mind now. But you have seemed so happy with the wedding and Rodolphus," Severus said calmly.
"I feel so guilty for doubting him," Harry muttered into his knees. "Because I do trust him and I do think he is being honest, but I can't help but think… what if,"
"Worse case scenario he is lying to you and turns out to be a complete prick, I've taught you how to poison someone, we bump him off, sorted," Severus shrugged.
Harry and Sirius both turned to look at him before looking at each other bemused. "Slytherin," they snickered.
"I do love when you talk murder so casually Sev," Sirius wiggled his eyebrows. "It really turns me…"
"Oh Merlin no, shut up shut up shut up!" Harry shoved at Sirius' face with a grimace as his godfather laughed.
"Right, go put some comfy clothes on, we're going to go out, have something to eat, go to the cinema and buy ridiculous amounts of popcorn there and watch the cheesiest film we can find," Severus clapped his hands together as he stood.
"Really?" Sirius grinned excitedly, stopping wrestling with Harry for a second and ended up on the floor as a result.
"Yes, you're stressed from all the planning and everything else, you need a night off, and we haven't had a cinema night in ages," Severus nodded.
"Guys?" Harry paused in the doorway.
"Yeah?" Sirius smiled at him, pausing in trying to find his wallet, Severus summoning it in the background.
"We will still do this, even when I'm married, right?" Harry asked.
"Of course we will," Severus smiled widely at him.
"Good, I love you guys," He sighed before hurrying to get changed.
"Are you crying?" Sirius smiled softly at Severus.
"No! I have something in my eye!" Severus snapped spinning to scrub at his face with his sleeve. Strong arms wrapped around his waist from behind and pulled him back against Sirius' taller frame.
"I was worried as well, that he wouldn't want to spend time with us as much anymore, silly though it was when I know how much he loves us," Sirius said gently, leaning forward to kiss Severus behind the ear.
"He just… I just…"
"I think it is called empty nest syndrome, he is ours more than he is anyone else's, he has been since he was small, I think it is normal to feel like this," Sirius sighed hugging his lover tighter.
"We could… we could always try for a baby, have another to fill our nest again…" Severus suggested carefully.
"Really? You would… I would want that, if you do!" Sirius brightened.
"I do, I have been thinking about it for a little while, and neither of us are getting younger," Severus turned and wrapped his arms around Sirius' shoulders.
"I love you," Severus smiled kissing Sirius tenderly.
"Shit am I interrupting a moment?" Harry groaned apologetically as he walked in.
"We're having a baby!" Sirius beamed.
"We're going to try for a baby, another child," Severus corrected, holding his arms out for Harry. "What do you think about that?"
"That it is amazing, you guys will make amazing parents, you have been amazing parents to me," Harry beamed wrapping his arms around the two of them.
"A little brother or sister for you, you will make an amazing big brother," Sirius hugged the two of them.
"Honestly, we have to get pregnant first, you're like a kid at christmas," Severus shook his head.
"I am excited!" Sirius whined.
"Honestly, I wonder why I love you sometimes," Severus huffed.
"Because I am irresistible," Sirius smirked dangerously at him.
"I am still getting regular checks for curses, hexes and love potions," Severus said sharply, though he couldn't prevent the red tint to his cheeks at the look. "Come on I am starving, lets get going,"
"You do need to start getting ready to start eating for two!" Sirius laughed.
"I...am not even going there, here is your wallet, here is your godson, meet me there," Severus rolled his eyes pressing the wallet into one hand and pressing Harry against him before popping out as Sirius cackled.
"You're lucky he wants to have kids with you instead of murdering you," Harry snorted.
"Are you OK Harry dear? You seem a little distracted," Moira asked pressing a cup of tea into his hands as came to sit back down having just shown the wedding planner out.
"I'm fine, it is just a lot right now, I feel like I am running in circles and getting nowhere," He sighed.
"Hmm, yes but there is something else," Regy frowned concerned.
"It is nothing, just me being silly," he smiled at them.
"Those two parents of yours aren't bothering you are they?" Regy scowled darkly.
"No, aside from a few letters about how badly they're being treated, and how ungrateful I am, they haven't really bothered, and that I am used to," Harry snorted.
"Despicable," Moira hissed.
"Once Rodolphus and I are married I won't have to keep up ant pretense with them, I can just be happily done with them, and never see them again," Harry shrugged curling into the armchair he was sitting on.
"They are lucky to have a child such as yourself, and fools to have missed what is truly precious in their lives," Regy tapped Harry's knee gently.
"I have been lucky though, I have Severus and Sirius, they have basically been my parents, and Remus has always been there for me, I have Percy and now I have Rodolphus, and Renato, Gillian and Rabastan, and you guys," Harry smiled.
"You have such a good heart Harry, there are too many people that would take advantage of it. Guard it carefully," Moira said gently to him.
"I...can you tell me a little more about Rodolphus, from your perspective?" Harry asked uncertainly, holding his cup a little closer to himself.
"Of course we will. But can I ask, is there a reason you want to know from us?" Regy asked.
"I have been swept away a little in the excitement of everything, and I realised recently that there is still so much that we don't know about each other. I would like to hear about him from you both, you have known him for so long, and I would like to hear about him from a different perspective,"
"Well, we first met him when he was 5, his grandfather knew our neighbour and had come to visit, throwing Rodolphus out of the house because he was being too noisy. It was cold and raining, so we cast a charm for him and stood talking to him for a little while. He asked so many questions about the garden when he realised that I did all the work and not the House elves. Every time his grandfather came to visit his friend Rodolphus would try and come with him and then come to see us. Finally, Renato brought him here to meet us when they realised that Rodolphus had been spending a lot of time in our house. From then on we were allowed to babysit Rodolphus, and then Rabastan regularly," Regy smiled fondly.
"I think Renato and Gillian liked the calming and more grounded influence that we had on the boys compared to their grandfather, and his ridiculous ideals. They were so worried that the boys would look up to their grandfather, especially when Voldemort became more powerful and so his followers did so too. They did everything that they could to prevent them from becoming like him, from thinking like him, while having to be careful because that animal could have claimed the boys and kicked the two of them out at any time as the Head of House," Moira sighed.
"Thankfully the boys grew up to be good boys, and they loathed and resented their grandfather rather than looking up to him. Rodolphus rebelled as a teenager, against everyone and everything, even our relationship became strained with him, even as he used us and the house as somewhere to get away from his grandfather and his overbearing ideals. He pushed Rabastan away and lived a dangerous life for a while. It was worrying, he had always been such a sweet, well behaved boy, always eager to please and enjoying the simple things, but he drank and he took potions that he shouldn't have, and he got into fights. He…" Regy drew off, his frown deepening.
"Rodolphus has already told me that he is not coming into the marriage pure," Harry said softly guessing what they were holding back on.
"He slept with a few people, that were less than desirable. We then found out that his...despicable grandfather had told him that he was marrying him off to Bellatrix Lestrange. She was obviously disturbed even then, mad, obsessed with Voldemort, and couldn't have been further from the type of person that you would want to marry. She enjoyed torturing people, things, anything already at the age of 16, and she was only going to get worse. Renato and Gillian were determined to stop the wedding, even if it meant losing everything," Moira shook her head.
"Thankfully that old animal popped his clogs, and they were able to cancel the bonding contract between the two of them. But then Rodolphus had to deal with the consequences of that," Regy huffed. "He won't admit it, but he has wanted to be married for a while I think, wanted a partner, hoped that he would be able to fall in love with them in the way that we fell in love with each other, and his mother and father fell in love. He wanted children and married life, but because of the broken contract his options were almost as undesirable as Bellatrix. He has tried so hard to not dwell on the events that his life have taken, all because of of his Grandfather who should have cared for him,"
"He is a person that cares greatly for those that he is close to, and will do everything that he can for them, but he can also be cold and dangerous to those that he does not like, or who upset him, a part of himself that he dislikes I believe because it is a little too close to who his Grandfather was. He is still likes the simple things though, prefers the small things in life and simple pleasures, particularly after his rebellion,"
"Thank you," Harry smiled a little, even though his brain was spinning trying to put these new pieces that he had learned about Rodolphus into place.
"Are you having doubts about the wedding Harry?" Regy asked gently. Harry looked at them, bearing in mind that these two people were close to Rodolphus, and though they were kind to him, and he believed they cared for him, they loved Rodolphus and had done for years.
"Honestly? No, in my gut I trust Rodolphus and what we are building together, and I am still excited about the wedding - well once it is all planned and we just have to get married - and our marriage after. It is just...someone pointed out to me that we don't know each other very well, and suggested that perhaps Rodolphus was not who he has made himself out to be. I don't really believe that, but it has just made me aware that there is still so much that we don't know about each other," Harry sighed.
"Those are normal worries Harry, especially if someone has said something like that. Getting to know each other comes with time, something you two have, and as long as you tend to your marriage and the connection that you have right now, and don't let it fizzle out, or start taking it for granted, it has the potential to be what you both want it to be. There are going to be things that you don't like about each other that will come around with time of knowing each other, but that is normal," Moria smiled.
"She has a horrible habit of leaving her clothes all over the bedroom instead of just putting them in the washing basket, something I found out when we married and relaxed around each other, and something that still bothers me and makes me want to hex her sometimes," Regy snorted.
"And I found out that he mutters to himself when he is thinking about anything, something that still makes me want to hex him sometimes," Moira snorted.
"There will also be things that you will learn that the other does that makes you fall in love with them more," Regy chuckled.
"He always brings me a flower in from whenever he has done the gardening, always," Moira smiled warmly at her husband.
"She always brings me a cup of tea, made perfectly, whenever I am feeling low, even when I don't let on that I am feeling low," Regy took Moira's hand.
"Marriage has ups and downs, even when it isn't an arranged married, whether you have known each other for three days or three years. It is sensible to be worried, but don't allow that worry to colour your relationship together," Moira smiled.
"Thank you," Harry said absently, his mind clearly a thousand miles away.
"Any time dear, any time," Regy hugged him.
"Is it ok if I go sit in the Hall for a little while. I need to think a few things over, and…"
"You are more than welcome Harry, any time," Moira hugged him as well and then nudged him off in the direction of the Hall.
Stepping into the Hall he shut the door behind him, and walked to the centre before laying down on the floor, sprawled on his back and stared at the decorative ceiling, his mind spinning as the last few months seemed to catch up with him.
Finding out how badly his parents had screwed up had been completely expected and unexpected at the same time. They seemed to have the ability to constantly disappoint him and make his life worse, and had done since he was old enough to understand that their behaviour, and how they treated him was wrong. Somehow they managed to meet his consistently low expectations of them, and go even lower.
He knew that they were not sensible with money, and he knew that their lifestyle was beyond extravagant, thriving on the fame that came with their war efforts, and the fact that they were the parents of the baby who managed somehow to defeat Voldemort. He hadn't thought that they would be so foolish as to spend all their money though, the two intelligent people that Sirius, Remus and Severus had told him that they had been in school with bright futures, the two people that had been smart and powerful enough to evade Voldemort three times to allow him to be counted for the damned prophecy, just seemed to become stupid with fame, money and partying.
They had been so hit and miss in his life for so long, forgetting to buy him things that he needed, forgetting about him, that Severus and Sirius had been having to buy things for him for years now, so he had not realised how bad it had become until Sirius went to get some money from his school vault to buy him dress robes for the Yule Ball, and he realised that they had been taking money from that as well. It hadn't taken Sirius long to manage to get out of them how bad the situation was, and he had given them loans while they promised to curb their spending.
Two years later Harry had had to make the choice that was now shaping his life. They were broke, bankrupt and on the verge of losing everything. He had had to make the choice as to whether he would go back to school for his last optional year, or whether he would leave, marry and so save what was left of his heritage, what was left of his Grandparents and his line.
The choice had not been an easy one, and it was something that he had gone back and forth about, Sirius, Severus, Remus and Tonks, even Percy, making it clear that they would help him if he chose not to marry and so was left with not even a knut. But he couldn't lose the history of his house, and in the end that had guided his decision.
The last few months since he had realised how badly his parents had screwed up, and realising that he was now completely and utterly done with them and the disappointment that they brought to his life, had been an utter whirlwind, and he suddenly felt as though he was trying to scramble up a steep cliff and could not find his footing. Everything was flying passed him and he was scrambling to try and get a grip and get things back into control, trying to stop himself from slipping further downward.
Suddenly he was finding it difficult to catch his breath and he jerked upright gasping desperately as he was aware of his heart thundering in his chest, his head spinning as he could not get enough air into his lungs, he was sweating and felt as though all his nerves were alight while it felt as though there was a weight on his chest that was getting heavier and heavier. He realised absently that he was going into a panic attack, and he clenched his eyes shut desperately, just wanting to be somewhere safe...to be with someone safe…
"Harry!" Rodolphus' voice broke through his thoughts and he snapped his green eyes open, blurry with the tears in them, to see Rodolphus hurrying towards him, worry written across his face as he broke into a run to clear the space between them in the great hallway of the Lestrange residence.
His fiance dropped to his knees beside him in what sounded like a painful drop, and large hands gently but firmly cupped his face, lifting it so that Rodolphus could see him, looking him over for any sign of injury, one hand fluttering over him checking for anything that may be wrong, his sea blue eyes scanning over Harry's face.
"Harry? What happened? Are you ok?" Rodolphus was asking, and it pierced through the fog of his panic. He shifted a little and then threw himself into Rodolphus' arms, burying his face into his chest so that his spicy scent filled his senses.
Even though he was clearly confused and worried as to what had happened Rodolphus wrapped his arms tightly around him, feeling as though he was shielding him from the world that had become so overwhelming all of a sudden, and tucked into the warm safety of his strong chest and arms, Harry could finally catch his breath, could finally feel himself calming down. He gripped onto the edges of Rodolphus' robes and held on as Rodolphus started rubbing his back soothingly, seemingly realising that he was not physically hurt.
"Harry, I am going to pick you up, is that ok?" Rodolphus asked.
"Don't let go," Harry said, sounding embarrassingly pathetic to his own ears.
"I'm not going to don't worry, let's get you somewhere more comfortable though, ok?" Rodolphus said so gently, before his hands moved so that he could grip Harry to lift him from the floor. Harry turned his face and body into Rodolphus, not wanting to lose the safety of him, sinking into the hold as Rodolphus moved them through the house until he was sitting down, and Harry peeked out to see that they were in Rodolphus' private living room, the fire warming his back where they were seated on the sofa in front of it, his feet up on the sofa as Rodolphus held him in his lap.
"What can Beal be doing for you master?" A House Elf asked from behind him as he pressed his face back into Rodolphus' chest.
"Some hot chocolate please," Rodolphus requested. "Harry?" He turned his attention back onto the younger man curled tightly into his arms, reaching over the back of the sofa to grab the blanket that he had started keeping there for Harry, draping it over the younger man carefully.
"Thank you," Harry muttered and heard Rodolphus let out a small breath of relief at the fact that he was talking.
"What happened? I thought you had the wedding planning today," Rodolphus pressed gently.
"I was I...I just...everything caught up with me," He sighed burrowing a little further under the blanket and into Rodolphus.
"Everything?" Rodolphus asked concerned starting to comb his fingers through Harry's hair as the scent of chocolate filled the air.
"James and Lily, and everything that they have done, the wedding planning, and…" He drew off and curled a little more into himself.
"And what Harry?" Rodolphus pressed.
"Lucius...he caught me the other day when I went to see Draco...he…"
"What did he say to you Harry?" Rodolphus said with a false calm, and Harry found himself spilling everything that Lucius had said to him. When he was finished he lay staring at Rodolphus' chest, not daring to look at him, especially given the tenseness that he could feel in the other's body. "I am going to kill him!" Rodolphus growled out just as Harry blurted out.
"I am sorry!"
"Why are you sorry?" Rodolphus gripped hold of Harry tighter. "Harry, you're young and a lot has happened, and Lucius is an expert at managing to push on just the right buttons to put doubts in people's minds,"
"But I didn't doubt you, I just...I realised how little we know about each other, and then frightened me a little, when I realised that it has felt so natural between us, and I feel so at ease with you, that I just forgot that I have not known you for very long, and that freaked me out. But, when it came down to it, I never thought that we weren't who I know you to be," Harry muttered.
"Being overwhelmed by everything isn't something be embarrassed or feel guilty of, Harry, I forget how young your still are sometimes because you are so mature, and how inexperienced you are," Rodolphus tilted Harry's chin up and pressed their lips together as Harry clearly went to argue with him. The younger man pressed into the kiss, tangling his fingers into that dark black hair, even as he was confused by the turn of events.
But with Rodolphus' hands on him, stroking over his back before dipping under the hem of his shirt to brush his large, warm hand over his back as the other hand cupped his face, tilting it to the perfect position as he took him apart, kissing him hungrily and fiercely, his tongue taking the last few thoughts from his mind as he tasted Harry and made him mewl with the pleasure suddenly washing through his body.
He had expected Rodolphus to be angry, or hurt by Harry's confession of what had been happening recently, but instead he just seemed understanding, and he clearly still wanted Harry as much as he ever had.
When they parted he was panting against Rodolphus' mouth, his lips feeling swollen and a little bruised as he licked them and looked into those warm blue eyes that were looking back at him with a warmth and care in them that made Harry feel almost as warm as the kiss had made him. He rubbed his fingers through Rodolphus' hair soothingly as they just sat there like that for a few moments looking at each other, Rodolphus' hand still large and warm between his shoulder blades.
"I would have been hurt, and probably a little angry, if you hadn't told me about what had happened, I would definitely have been hurt if you hadn't at least shared with me some of what you were thinking. And I think it would have impacted our relationship going forward, being able to talk to each other, even about the difficult things, is important. We are going to be just fine, and maybe we should spend a little more time getting to know each other even more, and not focussing on the details of what happens after so much," Rodolphus suggested.
"Thank you," Harry couldn't say anything else, leaning up to kiss Rodolphus again, sinking into the older man, but more than that, sinking into the feelings of safety, warmth and affection...with a hint of something else growing in the background, that Rodolphus made him feel. "I had a panic attack. Everything became too much, all of it, and I just wanted to be somewhere safe, all I could think of was that I wanted to be with you,"
"We're going to be just fine Harry," Rodolphus smiled happily at him. "Especially after I have killed Lucius," He added pleasantly.
"Rodolphus!" Harry laughed.
"No seriously, I am going to kill him," Rodolphus huffed.
"Maybe drop him off somewhere in the North Pole without his wand so he can't apparate back," Rodolphus hummed thoughtfully.
Harry grinned as he tugged him back into a kiss, sinking into his warmth as the stress from the last few days sank out of him
"Harry you look absolutely terrified," Rodolphus snorted pulling Harry even closer.
"I am terrified, utterly terrified, I forgot this part of the wedding," Harry grumbled gripping onto the other even tighter.
"It is a slightly random tradition, I am not really sure where it comes from actually," Rodolphus hummed.
"It is torture is what it is, and utterly ridiculous," Harry scowled.
"I didn't know you disliked dancing this much," Rodolphus snorted as he took Harry's waist and started moving them carefully around the floor.
"I am terrible at it, I love dancing when I am at home with no one to watch or see, not when there are going to be tons of people watching and laughing as I trip over my own feet, repeatedly," Harry whined looking at Rodolphus desperately.
"You just haven't had the right partner, sweetheart, just trust me, and move with me," Rodolphus chuckled as Harry squeaked and clung to him tighter in panic as he started sweeping them across the floor, relaxing only when he didn't trip up.
Slowly but surely Harry relaxed into him, and stopped feeling like he was trying to waltz a wardrobe across the floor, but actually waltzing with his fiance. A small smile appeared on Harry's face as they started again, and clearly some of the moves had stuck, his feet moving a little more gracefully as Rodolphus led him through the routine that was going to be their first dance.
"This isn't as bad as I was expecting," Harry admitted as they started their dance for the fourth time.
"I will take that as a compliment," Rodolphus laughed.
"It was meant to be one," Harry chuckled.
"It was a little backhanded,"
"You are making me dance, backhanded is all you're getting right now,"
"I hope you are going to be more romantic than this next time,"
"Next time we will have just been married, unless something goes horrifically wrong I will be feeling very romantic,"
"I may have Lucius kidnapped right before the wedding, I don't trust him not to appear protesting the wedding," Rodolphus huffed.
"I...may not be arguing with you there," Harry snorted. "Shame we have to have my parents there and can't do the same thing with them,"
"Don't tempt me," Rodolphus muttered before dipping Harry suddenly making Harry laugh happily.