Wow. I almost didn't make it before Christmas was over. I've been writing the last part of this chapter like crazy and here it is! Yay! I hope everyone is having a good holiday despite the pandemic. I have been super busy with work despite COVID going on, I've still been going into work, but being safe since everyone else in my office is working remotely. But because I'm by myself, I'm basically running everything physically in the office. Which was good, but I didn't have much time to write. Everything has just been crazy.
Anyway, I hope everyone is staying safe and now you can read this chapter! Read on!
Meant To Be
Over the next few weeks, Harry could feel the depressive mood he had been in finally lift and he could feel hope. After Tom had left that day, Ron and Hermione had understandably given him space and Harry had gone inside to lay down next to his daughter as she napped and let everything Tom had said sink in. He had said he had felt the same or felt something for him and the hope that filled his chest was so painful that tears had escaped his eyes, but for once, they were joyful. If there was something there and Tom was willing to try…Harry had to stop himself from fanaticizing too far in case it didn't work out, but that didn't stop the hopeful smile that he now wore around the house.
And Tom was actively trying, he would come over every few days to see Harry and Wynter, always staying outside since both Harry and Tom didn't believe it was appropriate to have the Dark Lord in their house, even if they didn't know it. So they kept it outside. Wynter was overjoyed that she got to see her Daddy regularly now and her tantrums had stopped, though she still wanted to go home. She seemed to understand that her Mama and Daddy were trying to make up. They were at least talking to each other now and her Mama was happier than he had been in a while.
Ron and Hermione were happy for him too if a little confused about the whole thing. He couldn't blame them as they didn't know the whole story or the truth. As far as they knew, Harry had met Marque and hit it off and started seeing each other, and then suddenly they are sleeping with each other and living together…in any normal relationship the couple would at least be feelings involved from the start and it would evolve from there. But Marque's freak out over the "L" word had surprised them, Harry could tell. According to them, they thought things were going well and were heading in that direction and that Harry's fear of voicing his feeling was just him being careful and scared. They didn't dig too much into it though and just assumed that they had moved too fast for Marque to be comfortable with but was willing to keep going to see how things went. It made Harry happy and in turn, they were happy. Hermione still had questions of course, but she kept them to herself and that was that.
Also, the fact that Harry was moving was enough to distract them. Harry had taken Tom's advice and had gone to Gringotts to talk to the Goblins about any properties that the Potter's owned, therefore what he owned and there had been a few. Most of them were out of the country as vacation homes, but there were some local ones. So while Ron and Hermione were at work, Harry took Wynter to view some of the houses. Most of them were way too big for the two of them, they didn't need anything that grand, but they had been fun to look around. Seeing all the history of his family and how they lived, he even talked to a few of the portraits, some of which had his famous Potter hair. Harry relished in talking to old relatives and gleaning any bit of knowledge he could about them, including that some of his family were well-practiced potioneers and had invented several potions that were still in use today, so that was how they made their money and continued to, considering the size of the main Potter Family vault. So having a lot of houses was not out of the realm of possibility. Harry eventually narrowed it down to two of the smaller ones, though still big, they had everything he needed. Once he had narrowed it down, he had Ron and Hermione check them out too and they both got their approval, though they told him that he and Wynter could stay with them if they wanted. While he appreciated their offer, he had already intruded on them long enough especially as they were planning their wedding. More than once he had interrupted an intimate moment between them as they went over details. Plus with a child walking around, it didn't give them much privacy. No, it was better that he found his own place, at least until he and Tom worked things out.
And things were working out, so far. When Tom came over, they would sit out in the garden on a transfigured bench. Wynter would happily sit in his lap and babble away at him, playing with her toys she would bring out with her. Harry started out by just leaving Tom and Wynter alone, still unable to stay by him, but over time, he started coming out and sitting with them as Wynter happily played with her father. One of the things she liked him to do was read to her, she didn't understand most of it, but she loved listening to her Daddy's voice. She would stare up at him in adoration as he read her a simple muggle fairy tale (they were a lot better than the wizarding ones). She would just sit back in his lap her attention divided between the pictures in the books and his face.
It was exactly what she was doing one afternoon as the three of them sat in the shade of a tree on their usual transfigured bench. Wynter was in Tom's lap listening to him read "Charlotte's Web," and after a while of listening to his soothing voice, fell asleep.
Harry eventually noticed and smiled, commenting. "She fell asleep."
"I can tell, she got heavy," Tom said, closing the book and pulling her up to lay against his shoulder.
"She loves when you read to her," Harry commented. "You could read her the dictionary and she would react the same."
"I'll read whatever she wants," Tom stated, stroking her back.
"I think it's your voice, she likes listening to it," Harry said, and he had to agree, Tom had a very nice smooth voice, especially when he was-. Shaking his head to rid himself of the thought. "Want me to take her in?"
"No. Not yet," Tom said holding Wynter close. He wanted to spend as much time as he could with his daughter. Plus, that would mean his time with Harry would end and he didn't want it to, not just yet. After sitting in silence for a minute, Tom asked, "How goes your house hunting?"
"Good," Harry said, "I think I decided on the one I want to move into. It's still in England, so it's close by, it's just a little big for the two of us, but all of them are like that. Two stories, big yard, 2 living rooms, and so many bedrooms that I know what to do with."
"It is. I like that it has a big backyard. Wynter can run around out there…the more I think about it, I think that is what I am going with."
"Where is it?"
"Just outside Wiltshire. There's a nice wizarding village nearby too so it's not that isolated."
Tom nodded in understanding. While he didn't like that Harry was looking into a new home without him and meant he wouldn't be returning to the home he already had, but he did understand. And it wasn't like it was permanent…he hoped. "When are you going to move in?" he asked.
"Soon. I've been imposing on Ron and Hermione for too long even if they say it's okay."
"I see…Would…Can I come over once you do?" Tom asked uncertainly.
"Of course. I don't want to take Wynter away from you. It will be the same, just a new place," Harry reassured him.
"I'm glad that it's still in England so I can see Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the Weasleys more often. Wynter loves Fred and George, I just hope they don't rub off on her, they're funny but a menace."
"Going by their products, they are quite clever," Tom commented.
Harry smiled, "I'm going to tell them you said that."
"I will," Harry said with a laugh, "Not like they know it's you."
"Still." Tom only muttered.
"Have an image to protect?"
"Yes," Tom said bluntly, all serious.
Harry laughed making Tom smile and they lapsed into a comfortable silence.
"I miss talking to you," Tom said after a while.
"Me too," Harry agreed, hesitated, then forced out what he had been thinking before he lost his nerve. "But…we didn't really talk, did we? Here and there, but not about the important stuff. We don't really know each other, do we? Besides the things we hear from others."
And there it was. The real problem between them that became more apparent as they tried to move forward. They didn't know each other. Like Harry had said they knew the standard stuff and some things that they would reveal in certain moments, but that was about it. Most of their conversations usually revolved around Wynter, what was for dinner, and idle chit chat to fill in the silence. But did they really know each other? Harry started to realize that no, they didn't. They had completely skipped over the crucial step in a relationship and quite literally jumped into bed with each other. It had just gone from there and it was how it remained until now. Harry started to realize that there was this huge gap in their relationship where he should know some things, like Tom's favorite color or favorite Quidditch team (not that there was one since Tom didn't like the sport), but he still wanted to know. He wanted to know everything about Tom that he possibly could, the real one, not the one he showed everyone else; the one he had fallen in love with. Because he was still in love with him, his feelings didn't just go away even though he had wished that they did over and over in the weeks before Tom's confession, but he was glad they didn't because now they had a chance.
Tom was silent a moment, then nodded. "You're right."
"If…if we want this to work, we need to be more open, as mundane or painful it will be, it has to be out there," Harry said softly. "I want this to work."
Tom moved his hand not holding Wynter over to cover Harry's and squeezed it lightly. "Me too."
Harry looked over at Tom but he wasn't looking at him and he knew it taken some effort on Tom's part to admit that. It made his heart squeeze painfully, but in a good way. He just smiled and squeezed his hand back. "Maybe we should write letters to each other?"
"Like love letters?" Tom asked casually and Harry flushed and looked away.
"Something like that…we don't have to."
"No, it's a good idea…I actually have something for you," Tom said and carefully reached into his robe pocket so he didn't jostle Wynter.
"You do?" Harry asked in surprise. He hadn't done anything to warrant a gift.
"Yes," Tom said and handed him a journal.
It was a simple dark red leather-bound journal with gold swirls decorating the cover and had a red quill sticking out from the leather band holding it closed. It was very nice, but… "It's not cursed is it?" Harry asked, remembering the one from his second year.
"What? No," Tom said confused. "It's connected to this one," he said pulling out a similar journal in green and silver. "I thought it would be a better way for us to communicate. If Wynter needed me or something happened to her, I would want to know right away instead of waiting for an owl. We can also use it to talk to each other…if you want."
"So like Instant Messaging?" Harry asked with a smirk. It was clear he got the idea from Muggle technology.
"Yes," Tom agreed reluctantly.
Harry chuckled and looked down at the journal again and had to admit it was a good idea. He unwound the leather strap and opened the journal to a fresh blank page. "So, anything I write will appear on yours?"
Harry looked at the quill and determined it was a self-inking quill and wrote Hi in the journal in red ink. Tom had opened his and on the page was Harry's red-inked message. "Wow, it really is instant," he commented and he smiled as Tom's own Hello was written below his in green. "This is amazing."
"Thank you. I am glad you approve."
"Does it stay there or…"
"No. The words disappear when you close it." Harry did just that and opened it back up to a blank page. "If you want to recall the previous conversation just tap the notebook with your wand and think of the conversation and it will appear.
Harry closed the journal again and took his wand and tapped it and opened it again, inside was their Hi's. "This is so cool."
"You can message me anytime you want."
"I will," Harry said closing the journal and holding it against his chest. He grinned, "Guess we are doing love letters after all."
"Looks like it."
"Be prepared. I have questions."
"I look forward to it."
In the week after getting the notebook, Harry would message Tom periodically with personal questions, mostly mundane things like favorite color (green, of course); favorite food (all of which had been changed to Harry's cooking); and places Tom had been since he used to travel after he left school. Harry would answer in kind when Tom had his own questions, the same questions and some about his time at Hogwarts (when he wasn't being attacked) and about his work before he had Wynter. Simple things, they didn't want to get into the more detailed topics in writing and not in front of Ron and Hermione's house. But this opened up their new relationship and things started to change for the better.
Another change was that Harry had made his decision to move into one of the Potter houses in Wiltshire, properly named Potter Manor, and let Tom know of the change so he could come over once they were settled. Ron and Hermione were sad to see him go, but Harry was kind of relieved to be on his own again and not having to walk in on them kissing in the kitchen; sure they were his friends, but he didn't want to see that. So by the end of the week, Harry packed up his and Wynter's things, said goodbye to Ron and Hermione, thanking them for letting them stay for so long, and left for their new home.
Appearing on the doorstep of the house, he opened the door and set Wynter on her feet in the foyer. "Remember this place?" he asked her as she looked around.
Wynter just looked up at the big chandelier above her, looking up to where it hung from the second story, and fell back onto his legs. "Ig." She just said.
"Yes, it is big," Harry commented and looked around.
As he had told Tom, the house he had chosen was pretty big and had been in his family for several generations as the main house. It was done up in a Tudor style in a light grey with dark brown trimming. The front of the house had a nice walkway lined with flowers and a big tree off to the side leading up to a porch to the big front oak windowed double door. Once stepping inside, you were greeted by a beautifully furnished foyer that had a hallway directly across that lead to a small bathroom, a study, and a massive library. On the left side of the foyer was a receiving room done up in blues and reds, very old fashioned furniture which Harry did like, and a fireplace that was connected to a private floo. Off to the side was a door leading to an outside deck that had a bunch of plants that needed a trim. To the right of the foyer was the living room done up in whites, browns, and light blues again with some old fashioned furniture. Off the living room was a dining room with dark browns and greens and next to it a full kitchen and pantry and a small room in the back for what may have been for a house-elf at some point.
From the living room, you could also go out to a big back yard which Harry was excited about. Once stepping outside you were on a deck with a sitting area and another section had a nice pool. Off to the side and down some steps lead out to the rest of the yard where Harry could picture a nice swing set for Wynter to play on. It was big enough for her to run around, but for now, it would have to wait as everything was still covered in snow as it was still late February. Everything was so colorful and fancy and that was only the first floor.
The staircase to the second floor was in the foyer and it wound up to 2 hallways that split in different directions. 2 bedrooms/bathrooms to the right and 2 bedrooms/bathrooms straight ahead with the Master Suite at the end. And it wasn't called a Master Suite for nothing. If Harry thought his bedroom at Haven Hall was big, this was humongous! It had a complete sitting room right where you walk in done in dark browns and beige and split off to another room where there was a Queen sized bed and a wardrobe. And another door leading to the Master Bathroom. It had a shower and an in-floor bathtub that looked more like a jacuzzi…Harry couldn't wait to try it. It was so much to take in the first time, but he guessed that the Potter's who had lived here before liked to live in comfort. It was a little overwhelming but just walking into the place, he felt like he was home. It was no Haven Hall, but it was close.
Thank god it was fully furnished because Harry didn't know how he would decorate all the rooms. He had a hard enough time with the cottage and he had Ron and Hermione's help. Tom had decorated Haven Hall, so he hadn't had to worry about it. The only room he would have to renovate would be Wynter's room since there wasn't one for a small child. So as soon as he was settled, he painted Wynter's new room a light purple, since it seemed to be her favorite color, and the furniture a soft white. It was nothing like her room at Haven Hall but she gave it her seal of approval when she had looked around in awe and started playing with her new toys.
But while they settled in, Wynter wasn't all that happy. She wanted to go home, to Haven Hall and as much as Harry tried to explain to her that they couldn't go home yet, but that this was their new home, she wasn't having it. She would say "No om!" So Harry started calling it Home 2 to let her know that it was just a second home, not a replacement that they had with Daddy. They would return at some point. Other than that she was well behaved and took in her new home 2 in stride. She even started exploring around since it was all very new. She would often walk off on her own when getting bored with her toys, so Harry had to keep an eye on her so she wouldn't get into anything, which she did. On one occasion she pulled on a table cloth covering a side table and nearly toppled a heavy ornament onto her head. It was thanks to Harry's quick reflexes that she wasn't injured. It had surprised her, but it didn't stop her from touching anything she could get her hands on.
One day, she was casually playing with her toys after having eaten dinner when she got up with her Teddy and walked out of the living room and into the foyer and the hallway. Harry was already used to it so he followed her and asked her where she was going now.
"Der," she said pointing to the door to the study, her teddy under her arm.
"Ye. Ook it."
"You're going to look at it?"
"Are you exploring again?"
"S'ore" Wynter repeated.
"Okay," Harry said watched as she tried to open the door by stretching as high as she could and grasping the doorknob, but it was too heavy so she looked at him expectedly. Chuckling, he opened the door for her and let her walk around holding her Teddy tight as she looked at all the old furniture and the books and old desk in the room. Pointing at various things on the wall and asking "Is?" (This?) and Harry would answer the best he could, after all, the stuff was not his but leftover from the previous owners.
"Ah ah," Harry warned as she reached for something on a side table, it looked breakable and expensive. "Don't touch."
"No uhth?" she asked.
"No. No touch," Harry confirmed.
Wynter turned back to the item in question and seemed to be considering touching it anyway when the doorbell rang through the house. She looked up at him in surprise. "At?"
"I don't know. Let's go see who is at the door," he said and ushered her out of the study and followed as she moved as fast as she could to the door.
Harry already knew who it was, it was Tom. He had made plans with him the night before through the notebook to have him continue coming over to see them. He had stopped to let them settle into their new home, but now it had been a week and they were fully settled. Plus, Wynter missed her Daddy something fierce…as did Harry. So starting that day, he was to resume his weekly visits. It reminded Harry of when he still lived at the cottage and Tom would come to visit.
Wynter was patting the door, willing it to open, but Harry told her to wait. "We have to see who it is first. Look through the window."
"O?" She asked staring up at him.
"Right here," he said pulling the curtains in the window next to the door and Wynter peered out by squishing her face against the glass.
Outside, Tom saw the drapes move and glanced over and saw Wynter in the window and smiled at her.
Wynter squealed in delight when she saw her Daddy and danced in place, stomping her little feet in unrestrained joy. "Dadeeeee!"
Harry smiled, "Is it, Daddy?"
"Ye! Dadee!" She said and looked at him again through the window.
"Okay. Let's let him in." He had to hold Wynter back so she wouldn't get hit by the door but as soon as it was open enough, she launched herself at Tom's legs.
"Hi, Princess," Tom said, picking her up. "I missed you."
"You missed me?"
"Ye!" Wynter said and snuggled into his arms.
"I missed you too," Tom said holding her close, then looked at Harry "Hi."
"Hi," Harry said back suddenly feeling shy. They were alone here with no Ron and Hermione as a buffer. Just the three of them like old times.
"You were right," Tom said staring up and the massive chandelier in the foyer, "This place is pretty big."
"No kidding." Harry said gesturing him in, "2 living rooms, one of which I think is more of a reception room since the fireplace is there and five, 5! Bedrooms! The master bedroom is huge too. But it was the smaller of the 5 houses here in Britain. The only other place would be the house in Godric's Hollow, and that…didn't seem… appropriate. Especially if you were coming over."
"Agreed." Not that he wanted to be back there where he had lost everything.
"Ook it!" Wynter said pointing inside the house.
Harry laughed, "Let me show you around."
So Harry led Tom around the house and with help from Wynter, showed him all the rooms. Wynter excitedly showed him the things she had found while exploring around and Tom would exclaim in awe as she proudly showed him each item. Mostly just small knickknacks that were at her eye level then would lead him by the finger to another room, so it was more like she was giving the tour instead of Harry. But that was fine, she was enjoying herself and Tom didn't mind. Wynter was excited to show him her new room done up in whites and purples since it seemed to be her favorite color, she always went for the purple crayon when coloring.
"Ook it, Dadee!" she exclaimed showing Tom her crib, "Seep."
"You sleep here?"
"Olr," she then said showing him her tiny desk in the corner.
Wynter nodded and showed him a few of her toys. Then took his fingers again and led him out and down the hall "Mama seep," she said patting a set up double doors that was Harry's room.
"Does Mama sleep here?"
Tom looked over at Harry who was smiling at her antics and nodded to give him permission so, he opened the door and let them in.
"It's a lot bigger than I need," Harry said following them in. The room was split into 2 with the sitting room first and the bedroom off to the right in an adjoining room all done up in beige, creams, and browns. The sitting room just had a fireplace and a cozy couch. "I've never had a sitting room in my bedroom before." Harry said, "I didn't know what to do with it. So Wynter and I have just been hanging out in here before bedtime."
"No ed," Wynter commented as she passed into the joining room where his bed was.
"Not right now," Harry replied to her while Tom chuckled.
"Oke."Wynter said and put her hands on the Queen sized bed in the center of the room, "Mama seep!"
"Wow," Tom just exclaimed as she showed him around his bedroom.
But Harry just realized that he had Tom…in his bedroom. His bed was right there. It was completely innocent, but he suddenly wanted Tom. Like bad. It had been weeks since they had last slept together. But they couldn't do that, not if they wanted things to move forward.
It had to be slow, but Harry could do slow, needed slow, because this was new, to the both of them and he didn't want to ruin it by jumping back into bed with Tom…even though he really wanted to. It was one of the reasons why he didn't want to move back into Haven Hall. Not only did it hurt to still be near him (though it was better now), he also wanted to jump him, ride him until he came…it wasn't like those pulls from before, they were surprisingly absent considering their distance, no it was just pure desire and the fact that he missed Tom being inside him. But that would come in time. They just needed time.
Harry cleared his throat to try to get rid of his dirty thoughts. "Wynter, why don't we show Daddy downstairs?"
"Oke," Wynter said, "Um Dadee," she said taking his fingers again and leading him back out. When they got to the stairs Tom picked her up and set her back down when they got to the bottom. She then led him down the hallway where she was earlier and showed him the study.
Once they were done, they went out and Harry led the way to the final door at the end of the hall.
"This place I know you'll love," Harry said and opened the door. He watched Tom's face as they stepped into the library and just as Hermione's had his eyes widened when he saw the rows of books. He immediately went to one of the shelves and ran a finger over the spines as he read the titles. "I knew you would like it."
Tom caught himself and looked over at Harry's amused face. "I guess you know me."
"Somewhat," Harry replied.
"Ook!" Wynter exclaimed pointing, "Ook!"
"Yes, I see. Books everywhere," Tom said following her further in with interest.
"There are some interesting things in here, but most of it is more uh, lighter than what you're used to, I guess."
"I don't mind. I'll read anything," Tom said.
"Well, if you're going to come over more often, I am not opposed to you borrowing some…"
"I will take you up on that," Tom said and met Harry's gaze and holding it until they were interrupted by Wynter.
"Eed?" she said pulling out a book that was way too heavy and big for her, but she did her best to hold it.
Tom took it from her and looked at the cover. "I don't know, Wynter. I don't think you want to read about medieval weaponry."
Harry laughed and picked Wynter up and kissed her cheek. "Why don't we have Daddy read you a different book?"
So he led the way back to the living room now that the tour was done and set Wynter in Tom's lap with a fairy tale book from her bookshelf. Tom read her 2 stories before she started getting sleepy.
"Come on Wynter, bath time," Harry said picking her up as she rubbed her eyes for the second time.
"Yes, bath," Harry replied. "I'll be back," he told Tom and took her upstairs to her bedroom where he bathed her.
When he was done, he turned to grab a towel and Tom was standing there ready with a towel as he usually was, so he just smiled and handed her over to him, continuing with how they usually cared for their daughter.
"Dadee! Een!" Wynter exclaimed.
"Are you clean?" Tom asked her as he wrapped her in the towel to dry her off.
"Ye," she said and rubbed her eyes.
"Are you tired?"
"No, ire," she said tucking her head against his chest as he went into her bedroom to find her pajamas.
"I think you are."
"O," she said sleepily.
Harry pulled out her pajamas, both he and Tom worked together to get her dressed as she slowly started to lose consciousness. But they got her dressed and put her in her crib with her Teddy as she dropped off to sleep.
"Aaand she's out," Harry said, pulling up the blankets to tuck Wynter in. "I think she had a good day today."
"That's good," Tom said following him out of the room. "Did you have a good day?"
Harry looked back at him then away, with a smile, "Yeah. Today was good."
"I guess I should get going then," Tom said stopping in the foyer.
"Yeah…thanks for coming."
"Thank you for having me," Tom replied stepping outside when Harry opened the door.
"Okay, well…good night," Harry said stepping back.
"Wait!" Tom called out as Harry started closing the door. "Dinner."
"Yes, I want to take you out to dinner. You and Wynter."
"Um," Harry stared, blinking in surprise, "I mean, okay, but why?"
"I believe that is what we are supposed to do when a couple is dating, isn't it? I want this to work out too," Tom said and took his hand as he watched color fill Harry's face as he nodded. "So we have to start somewhere."
"True," Harry agreed looking at their joined hands, "We kinda skipped over that part."
"We did. Though we weren't in the position to at the time."
"You mean you were trying to kill me."
Harry laughed and swung their hands a little, "So…dinner…"
"Yes." Tom confirmed, "This Saturday fine with you?"
"Yeah. I'm not doing anything," Harry said.
"Okay. Good. So. Saturday?"
Harry nodded with a big smile, "Saturday." And he turned and went back inside.
Tom sighed as he watched the door close behind what had turned out to be one of the most important things in his life. Saturday couldn't come fast enough.
There we go, The beginning of Harry and Tom's new relationship.
Sorry if it felt rushed at the end because I ran out of steam near the end and was just throwing together the scenes I had, so I hope they flowed right. I just wanted to get it done! But I really like how it is going. I wanted them to be separate for now and get back together slowly because that just makes sense to me. Jumping right back into it seems like it would create problems in the future, so slow is the way to go. Plus, I got to make Wynter really cute in this one. I really hope you liked it.
I hope you all continue to stay safe and I will do my best in the next chapter!
PS. If you follow me on my Tumblr, you'll know that I changed my blog around so that I now have a new side blog with all my writings so it's all in one spot. So nice and clean. You can follow me at phoenixmaiden - writing . tumblr . com
Just remove the spaces. See you there!