"Harry, Professor Dumbledore would like to see you in his office" McGonagall told Harry as he was leaving lunch in the great hall.
"But Professor I didn't do anything this time I swear" he retorts.
"I believe you, but, nonetheless he has requested you go up to see him, you know the password" she replies with a sad look in her eyes.
Harry slowly makes his way to the headmasters office, replaying the past 3 days in his mind. Only 3 days between visits, that is unheard of, even for Harry.
Harry only got to yesterday and already finds himself at the statue that leads to Dumbledore's office. "Sherbert Lemons" Harry says slowly and clearly, watching the statue move to become a doorway. Harry makes his way up the winding stairs, as he goes to knock "Come in Harry" he hears Dumbledore say.
"Hello Professor." "Hello Harry. I am sure you are wondering why you are up here again this week. With your parents gone, and Sirius' untimely passing, and Lupin…well..you know. I thought you might need someone to talk to about the more…personal things in your life." Dumbledore pauses to let Harry think. "I know I am much older, but I vowed on that day to watch out for you and take care of you, so I just want you to know you can come to me any time." Dumbledore finishes.
Harry just sits, hoping he doesn't look as astonished or as awkward as he feels. "Thank you professor. That is good to know" he replies heading towards the door.
"Sit Harry, we're not finished" Harry sits immediately, wondering what else could possibly be in store. "So are you interested in Miss Granger, you spend a lot of time with her." Dumbledore asks.
Harry can't help but laugh. "Oh goodness no professor, and even if I was, she is in love with Ron."
"I should have seen that coming" Dumbledore says laughing at himself. "So who does have your eye?"
"Well, no one really Professor." Harry feels oddly safe telling Dumbledore this, and honestly no one really has caught his eye, at least no one he is willing to admit.
"I know for a fact that you have caught many ladies eyes, and many of the boys here as well. Though there is one student in particular who is completely smitten. I feel like you two would be a smart match" Dumbledore says, then smiles to himself.
That smile makes Harry nervous, and for good reason. "Who Professor?" Harry asks curiously.
"Well Harry, I don't know if I should betray that confidence, it could put you both in an…interesting position here at Hogwarts, plus, inter house dating, is that even a thing anymore?"
"Professor, if you are not going to tell me whom, why did you really call me up here?" Harry asks, and looks away sheepishly.
"Well, to tell you a story of my youth, as well as of my own love life. I hope it will help guide you to make wise decisions Harry" Dumbledore says cryptically. He sits back down at his desk and relaxes, you can almost see him going back in time. Dumbledore lets out an audible sigh that causes Harry to shift uncomfortably in his own seat.
"When I was just a bit older then you Harry, I met someone. Someone, charismatic, brilliant, powerful, attractive, wonderful, and just everything I could have ever wanted in a mate. I fell in love almost instantly, I thought it was a love potion, but it never wore off, not even all these years later. My love became my best friend, my everything, everything was perfect, until I started changing who I was to appease them. I just, I was terrified to lose them, so I became someone else, I became someone they would need, despite my own wishes and my well being, and my family's. I was in love, I was young, stupid, careless, but I was so happy. Even now, with what it cost me, I am happy I had the experience of truly being in love. I wouldn't change it for the world. I want to see that for you, your parents would want it for you. You just, you need to keep an open mind. Love is in places we never expect it to be" Dumbledore says opening his eyes and looking at Harry.
Harry sits there, shocked. His professor is being so open with him, everything has always been secrets. And open about his personal life too, so weird. This person...whoever it is that is so interested in Harry must be something, something Dumbledore thinks Harry needs to be complete. Who could that even be?
"Professor, if you were...are...so in love with this person why aren't you with them still?"
"Well Harry, that is a long and complicated story, but we had a falling out. It never changed my feelings, but it made it impossible for us to be together."
"If I may be so bold, who was this professor?"
"If I tell you that, you must keep it between us, it must never leave this room. If I tell you, you must remember to keep an open mind, many people did not have them when I was growing up."
"I promise professor."
"Do you remember the time I told you the story of Grindelwald?"
Harry nods before the professor will continue.
"Well when I met Grindelwald he was quite charming, and quite...affectionate with me. I was very nervous about this at first, but the more I got to know him, the more time I spent with him, the more I realized I cared for him, and not like a brother. I fell in love with Grindelwald. Falling in love with another man, well back then it was the worst thing ever. Now though, now Harry things are changing, the way people are thinking about relationships and love is changing, and it is wonderful and beautiful."
Harry interrupts "You called me here to tell me you are gay...and to tell me the person who you think I would be a smart match...is a male?" his face flushed.
"I suppose so Harry, I suppose so indeed." Dumbledore pauses and looks lost in thought. "I know it is not what you were expecting, first professors having lives outside of the classroom, then a professor being...of an alternative lifestyle, but Harry I am telling you this as a friend not as your professor. You should keep all your options open if you so choose to."
"But professor" Harry interrupts again, making Dumbledore appear more flustered "I am not gay!"
"I said that too, then I met Grindelwald, and realized he was my mate, it is why I was never truly attracted to anyone else. I was too busy trying to conform to what was expected of me. You never conform to what is expected of you, you often go directly against the rules. The reason this student came to me, is he didn't want to make life more difficult for you. He knows you are scrutinized by the media, by the entire wizarding world, because of who you are. He cares for you, and not because of who you are, but in spite of it. How many people can you think of that share that point of view?"
"Well, Hermione and Ron, and Ron's family...and…" Harry's voice trails off at the realization.
"I know it isn't an easy realization Harry, but when you have a certain level of fame people want to be around you for the wrong reasons. At your age I didn't have even close to your level of notoriety, but people wanted to be around me from things they heard, and Grindelwald, well he was different, or I thought he was at least. This is why I encourage you to think about what I have said, and if you truly want to know who has a real interest in you as well as concern for your well being, come see me anytime and we will discuss it. Just remember if you pursue this it could very well change your life, and bring about some more attention."
Harry realized he was being dismissed, and slowly got up and left with the conversation weighing heavily on his mind. He headed back to the Gryffindor tower blowing off the rest of his classes.
Ron and Hermione found Harry a few hours later slumped in a chair in front of the fire lost in thought. "Harry you missed class, are you ill?" Hermione asked. Harry just stared. "Hello in there? Anyone home?" Ron asked waving a hand in front of Harry's face causing him to startle. "Yeah, sorry. I'm fine, just a lot on my mind. Meeting with Dumbledore. Going to go lay down" Harry said as he got up and walked off. Ron and Hermione just stared, Harry always told them what Dumbledore wanted, something was up.
4 days later
Harry finds himself back in front of Dumbledore's office, donning the invisibility cloak as he shouldn't be out of bed.
"Come in Harry, it is awfully late you know"
"I know, I'm sorry, I've just been thinking and I can't sleep anymore, and I just need to know."
"Why do you need to know?"
"Yes why" Dumbledore repeats "What are your intentions? Are you going to laugh? Spread rumors? Pick on this person? Are you going to pursue it? Are you ready for any and all consequences that may come from pursuing it?" Dumbledore presses on.
"I…" Harry sighs "I want to know, because I want to know who or how or why someone could care that much for me? I know the world thinks I am something special because of something I don't remember doing, I am just me though. I excell at Muggle Studies, I am awful at History of Magic, I am messy, I love Quidditch, I hate my family, everyone I get close to seems to suffer ill effects from my presence. Why would anyone want to be with me? Why would anyone want to risk their own privacy, and their own skin. Their reputation at Hogwarts could be ruined. I mean, Dean and Seamus are doing okay as a couple, but not many outside of Gryffindor house know that. At the very least I want to befriend whoever this is. If something else develops, it develops, if not I've gained another true friend. I need a few more of those in my life."
"Harry you have a wisdom so far beyond your years. I am debating still whether to tell you, or to introduce you to this gentleman." Dumbledore pauses and pets Fawkes. "Come back here on Friday night at 7pm, you will find out who then. Until then, get some sleep."
Dismissed again? Really? Harry sighs walking back to the dorms. I will have to wait two more nights for this. How does Dumbledore ever expect me to sleep?
Ron watches Harry closely, he has been since Harry missed classes last week. "You alright mate?" he asks.
"Fine thanks, why?"
"Well, you've changed outfits 4 times. You didn't even change that much for your date with Cho. What is so special tonight?" Ron presses.
"It's nothing, really. I just have a meeting with Dumbledore again after dinner tonight. He told me to 'look decent'" Harry hated lying to Ron, but he wasn't ready to tell him, or really anyone his secret. He wanted to know who it was, and if there was anything there first. Then deal with the consequences if something arose, but why deal with them if he didn't have to?
Ron just stared at Harry, he knew something was up, but knew better than to press Harry to tell him. That never ended well. Maybe after meeting with Dumbledore tonight he will be ready.
Hermione watches Harry move food around on his plate at dinner, but doesn't say anything. Ron, being Ron doesn't notice, he is too busy eating. At 10 'til 7 Harry quietly escapes the great hall, hoping to catch whomever he is meeting on the way up to Dumbledore's office. He sees no one though. Think Harry think, who wasn't at dinner, he prompts himself. He can't think of anyone missing, but then again he didn't look up from his plate much.
"Sherbet Lemons" Harry says without thinking, and then makes his way up to Dumbledore's office. "Hi Professor" Harry says looking around, wondering where this person is.
"Hello Harry. How was dinner?"
"I was honestly a bit too nervous to eat."
"As I expected. Once you meet up with your date for the evening, I have arranged for you two to have a private table down at The Three Broomsticks. I figured you would both be hungry, and can discuss what if anything is next in privacy, without even my own prying eyes, though I would appreciate an update after."
Harry tried not to laugh when he heard Dumbledore say it was a date, but then dinner, and leaving Hogwarts on a non-Hogsmeade weekend. "Thanks professor, I appreciate it. I suppose an update would be fair, as you have set this whole thing up. Though where are you hiding him?"
"Oh I told him to come a bit later so we could chat. Are you sure you are ready? Can you control your emotions? He is really very excited about this, please be kind with your reactions"
This warning concerns Harry. "I've been ready Professor. I will be kind to whomever this is. It's not like you would set me up with Malfoy, Crabbe or Goyle, so I am sure I have nothing to worry about."
Dumbledore flinches, but Harry doesn't notice.
Dumbledore and Harry both face the door as there is a very quiet knock. "Come in" says Dumbledore, who is blocking Harry's view of the door.
As the door opens Harry trying to peek around Dumbledore can see black wingtip shoes, black tailored pants and not much else. "Hello Draco, thank you for coming. I was just telling Harry that you two are off for dinner in Hogsmeade."
"Thank you Professor, that sounds wonderful" Draco replies.
Harry stays hidden behind Dumbledore to keep his horror and shock from being seen.
"Is Harry here yet?"
"He was…" Dumbledore says with an air of concern in his voice.
"I'm here" Harry says coming out from behind Dumbledore. "Nice to see you Draco. Professor I…" Harry trails off as Dumbledore shoots him a look which screams BE NICE. "wanted to thank you for arranging dinner for us. Shall we Draco?" he asks holding out a hand.
Draco grabs his hand with a sparkle of excitement in his eyes, and they head out towards Hogsmeade.
"Boys...portkey" Dumbledore says sternly. "It will return at 10pm with or without you, and I highly suggest it return WITH you" he winked at Harry.
Harry and Draco grab ahold of the purple hair brush Dumbledore pointed out to them. When they arrive at the Three Broomsticks, they crash land (neither of them is very graceful right now...they both blame nerves) with Draco on top of Harry in a corner booth that is hidden from the view of the rest of the restaurant.
"Uh...sorry" Draco mumbles, moving quickly off of Harry.
Harry runs his hands over his clothes to smooth them. "It's ok, I still don't have the hang of those things."
"So shall we?" Draco asks motioning back to the private booth.
"I suppose. Plus I am starving. I had no idea who or what to expect, I was too nervous to manage to eat tonight" Harry admits.
"Me too. I never get nervous, but something about you Po...Harry, makes me nervous."
"Harry...please. If we're going to be friends we should be more informal you know" Harry says coyly.
"Friends?" Draco asks looking in his lap.
Harry could swear he looked like his pet snake just got Avada Kedavra'd. "For now, yes. I told Dumbledore I wasn't sure about any of this. I didn't know who it was, I don't know if I can have romantic feelings for a guy. He just told me to keep an open mind, so I am trying to do that. Plus, worst case scenario I make a new friends. In cause you hadn't noticed I don't have a lot of those, and certainly not outside of Gryffindor house."
"You kids ready to order?" asks a frumpy witch.
"Uh...can we have a few?" asks Draco, who then flashes a sweet smile at the witch.
"So I suppose we should figure out food" Draco prompts.
"I suppose so." Harry replied looking down at the menu on the table.
"Just so you know, Dumbledore never told me what you had said. I didn't mean to push you further than you are comfortable, and I'm sorry if I did. I assumed...well I assumed that if you were meeting me you were interested. I also didn't know that you didn't know who you were going to be meeting." Draco pauses.
"No I wasn't done, just...let me finish. If you are disappointed, upset, angry that it is me, I'm sorry. I really did think that you knew. We can eat and go right back, or we can go back right now. I am just, I'm so sorry" Draco finishes, his face flushing with embarrassment, and some anger.
"I have to admit, I was shocked. I'm sorry that you thought I knew. I didn't know who to expect. I certainly didn't expect you. I am not upset or angry with you, or even with Dumbledore. I just, I don't know anything right now. I'm sitting here, having a conversation about my FEELINGS with Draco Malfoy, the boy who has taunted me, and made my life Hell since the second day of Hogwarts." Harry just holds his head in his hands.
"You boys ready now?" the frumpy witch asks, looking Harry over with a concerned eye.
"Sure, we'll both start with some pumpkin juice, and I'll have the roast chicken, and you Harry?" Draco asks trying to pull Harry out of his own head.
"Yeah, that sounds good" Harry replies.
"Same then, I guess." Draco says to the waitress, who is now staring at the two very intently.
"Fine, thanks" replies Draco rather dismissively.
Draco watches her leave, and then waits to make sure she is out of earshot.
"Harry...I'm sorry. I was a jerk to you after you rebuked my offer of friendship. I was hurt that someone wouldn't want to be friends with me. Plus, I figured you were so stuck on your famous self that you didn't care about anyone else. So then I treated you like crap, I know. I was young, and stupid. By the time i realized I had a crush on you, if I started acting differently people would have noticed. I couldn't do anything except keep things exactly the same. We were...well...are...enemies. It is what is expected of us. You are the "Chosen One" and I am a Malfoy, son of a Death Eater. We're supposed to hate each other. It's why I went to Dumbledore when I realized how unhappy acting like a total jerk towards you was making me. I didn't know what to do. So Dumbledore and I talked a lot about it, I talked to Professor Snape about it, he's my Godfather, so I can trust him to keep things quiet. Dumbledore finally agreed to talk to you, to see what your thoughts were. I am assuming he told you I was concerned due to your "celebrity" status?"
"He mentioned that. It's why I am here. No one wants to know ME, they want to know Harry Potter, not just Harry."
"I kind of get it" he replied, reaching out and placing his hand on Harry's. "There are expectations of you because of who you are. I have some on me, though nowhere near as publically. I am a Malfoy, I am expected to marry Pansy, have a few kids, be a death eater, run the Malfoy estate, and be just as pompous as my father. I obviously have no desire to marry Pansy" he says giving Harry's hand a small squeeze "and I don't want to be a death eater, I don't want to just look after the estate. I want to be my own person, and not the person they are telling me I have to be. I want to be allowed to make my own decisions without fear."
Harry ponders moving his hand away, but Draco looks a bit sad, and honestly, he's enjoying it.
Draco's hand retreats suddenly. Harry looks up at Draco slightly confused and sad, until he hears the clink of glasses coming from behind him.
"Here you kids go, food will be out shortly" the waitress says placing the glasses on the table.
"Thanks" they both mumble.
"So now what?" Harry says looking at Draco.
"Well, since you aren't running off, sitting, having a meal, talking, getting to actually know each other and not know just what others see or expect. That sounds like a good starting point. Then, if we want to, maybe doing this again. It seems like Dumbledore will help us until we are agree to be friends, start dating and decide to go public, or kill each other" Draco says with a slight chuckle.
"I think if I didn't kill you when I was shocked to see your face in that office, the risk is minimal." Harry notice Draco smile at this. "So, tell me about the Draco that the guys in the common room see."
"Well, that also is not an adequate representation of me. I mean, it's more than you've seen, but even then, they are all Slytherin. They all have the same expectations, they all expect me to marry Pansy, they all have people chosen for them as well. So we talk about how our parents suck, how we'd do things differently, classes, other houses, but we don't talk about who we really are. We aren't supposed to. It's a pure-blood thing. Oh wait...sorry, I always forget you are pureblood, it's just, so pureblood families like mine raise their kids differently. There are different traditions and expectations. We don't talk about our own desires or feelings, we ignore them. I'm sure that isn't what you wanted to know though. I'm sorry, I'm not used to talking about myself, I'm no good at it." Draco replies.
Harry was enjoying watching Draco talk, as he explains things his expressions change so much. Though when he talks about the pureblood way of life the sparkle disappears from his eyes.
"Thanks for explaining. I was raised by awful muggles. Not all muggles are awful though, Hermione's parents are quite wonderful. I just had bad luck in the family department. My aunt and uncle detest anything different, so of course they detest me, then there is my cousin, Dudley, he is just...well...when you are an arse to me, you remind me a lot of him. They sound much the same as your family. Anything that may be shameful in any way is hidden away, they don't talk about feelings, you are expected to act and appear a certain way. I just never fit in, partly because of being a wizard and partly because I am stubborn."
Harry pauses, he notices Draco's eyes flick to above his head.
"Here you boys go" the witch says placing their plates on the table. "Do you need anything else?"
"No we're fine, thank you." Draco replied with that smile again.
"Alright then" she says walking off.
"That smile is killer, you seem to make her melt every time."
"I know...it's why I use it. It gets people who are too nosy, or just rude or harsh to calm down. Pureblood thing...charm everyone" Draco laughs. "I wonder what she wants though, she is acting strange."
"Well, two students out on a school night, in a private reserved booth, plus...you know...males." Harry points out.
"Either way, we should eat and head back to Hogwarts, she is making me uncomfortable."
Draco notices Harry's face fall at this.
"I just, until we figure out what or if this" he gestures to both of them "Is a thing, I don't want people getting the wrong idea, spreading rumors, or creating problems. We both know if this does become a thing, there will be consequences...publically, to deal with" Draco explains softly.
"I know I know, I just...I want to spend more time with you. You're not who or what I thought. Plus I like holding your hand" Harry whispers.
"I like that too, we'll figure it out. Plus it's getting late, we don't want to miss that portkey."
The boys eat their meals quickly and silently. They keep noticing the frumpy witch peeking around the corner to check on them.
At 9:45 both boys look towards the portkey.
"We should grab on to it, just in case" Draco suggests.
Harry nods, and gets up and grabs the purple brush again. Draco grabs on to Harry's hand that is holding the brush.
"Figures Dumbledore would pick a tiny portkey, forcing us to be close" Draco says with a wink.
Harry laughs at this, imagining Dumbledore planning this whole thing out.
They stand for a few minutes holding hands and the brush, until they feel the familiar pull that will bring them back to Hogwarts and reality.
"Seriously I need to get better at this" says Harry landing on top of Harry back in Dumbledore's office.
"It's fine" Draco says laughing.
"Well hello boys, and welcome back. I trust you had a good evening, as you are both in one piece" Dumbledore says.
"We had a good evening Professor, but the witch waiting on us made me a bit uneasy" Draco replies.
"We can address that tomorrow, but I am glad you boys enjoyed yourself. You alright Harry?" Dumbledore asks.
"Fine, Professor. Thank you for planning tonight."
"Professor, if Harry would like to, I'd like to do this again. Can you help?" Draco asks.
"Well of course, but let's first figure out why the witch made you nervous. You boys report to me after dinner tomorrow. Also, I don't expect to hear any reports from your professors or heads of house that you two are fighting or causing trouble."
"But Professor, people will notice that" Harry retorts.
"Let them. I don't want either of you having to live a lie for anyone else. Be civil, ignore each other, I don't care, but no fighting, or I will not help. Now off to bed with you both."
It was obvious they were being dismissed, so they head out of Dumbledore's office still holding hands. When they reach the hallway, they look at eachother, then at their hands, and wordlessly let go and head towards their dorms.
"Potter, out of bed and to Dumbledore's office NOW" McGonagall yells pounding on Harry's door.
"What the Hell Harry? What did you DO?" Ron asks.
"I have no idea" Harry says stumbling out of bed and throwing on clothes
"POTTER" she yells again, starting to knock as Harry opens the door. "I don't know what you have done, twice in 2 days, but come on" she says grabbing Harry's arm.
"Professor I didn't do anything! I was supposed to see him tonight after dinner."
"Well he has sent for you now, or I wouldn't be dragging you out of bed and waking up half of Gryffindor tower" she snaps.
They arrive at Dumbledore's office all too quickly for Harry's liking.
"Malfoy, it is far too early for you to be up and about, off with you" she says upon seeing Draco.
Harry and Draco exchange worried and confused looks.
"Professor, I was called for, Professor Snape sent me saying Dumbledore wanted me immediately."
"Impossible, he has called for Potter" she replies. "Oh well, come on up then."
"Good morning boys, Minerva, where is Severus?" Dumbledore asks.
"He just sent me up on my own" Draco replies.
"I asked for him to accompany you, I need him here as well. Minerva, will you please go fetch him, while I talk to the boys. I will need you both here though."
"Certainly professor" she replies as she heads for the door..
"Boys what exactly happened last night?" Dumbledore asks as the door closes.
"We had dinner, we talked, we came back. Why?" Draco asks.
"Harry...nothing else happened?"
"No, nothing. Are we in trouble?" Harry replies.
"Well...no...but our little secret isn't much of a secret. So you two better figure things out and quickly" Dumbledore says, laying two copies of The Daily Prophet on the table.
Harry grabs one, and Draco looks over Harry's shoulder instead of picking up his own copy.
"Why...are we on the front cover?" Harry asks angrily.
"Well I suspect Draco's feelings about the witch serving you last night were correct, and she had ulterior motives. She should be up here shortly to answer to me. Though, Rita Skeeter was the author...so that is also a possibility. Unregistered anamagi, darn it all" Dumbledore explains.
"So now what do we do? Everyone is going to see this professor. The whole world is, and while Rita Skeeter isn't the most reliable, some people will believe her, there is the photo, and even if they don't believe her, we're both about to get a lot of questions and a lot of nasty comments" Harry says with trembling hands.
"Relax Harry, I am sure that while some people will be rude, many will be supportive" Draco says soothingly rubbing Harry's hands.
"Draco, that is very optimistic of you, but I think you two need to figure out if you are going to be just friends, be more, or be enemies again and quickly. Professors Snape and McGonagall are on their way, so they can help smooth things over, whatever you choose to do" Dumbledore explains.
Draco and Harry look at each other nervously, neither wanting to break the silence. Thankfully, neither have to as they hear knocking again.
"Come in" Dumbledore bellows, not taking his eyes off of Draco and Harry.
"Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape says whatever it is can wait, he is busy" McGonagall says looking very flustered.
"UNACCEPTABLE" Dumbledore shouts at no one in particular. "Apparently I will have to fetch him myself. Professor, I would like Draco and Harry to wait in here, and you shall wait just outside my office door until I come back. These two boys need to talk."
"Are you sure?" she asks eying them suspiciously. "They might kill each other."
"They won't and I am very sure. Oh and one of the wait staff from Three Broomsticks is headed up here, and should be arriving shortly. Please wait with her" Dumbledore instructs as he sweeps from the room.
"You two behave, if I hear any explosions or crashes I am coming in, I don't care" she says looking at Harry and Draco, then shutting the door behind her.
"So now what?" Harry asks looking anxiously at a pacing Draco.
"Well this isn't how I planned things going. Of course they got a photo of us half holding hands, which would be impossible to explain any other way. No matter what we say people are going to assume we're dating. So...since we're going to be told we're dating anyways...do you...well…" Draco stops and lets out a sigh and drops onto the floor with his face in his hands.
Harry walks over to Draco, kneels down, and places his hands on Draco's.
"I know this isn't what either of us wanted, especially this quickly, but really what options do we have? Try to make up some story explaining things, go back to hating each other, be friends, or just...date. I mean really. If we are just friends we can't be sneaking off alone, we'll be being watched no matter what we do. However, if we date...your family. They will already know you are consorting with that Potter boy, but how bad would it be for you?" Harry asks.
"Well, my Father will kill me either way" Draco says quietly looking up at Harry. "I don't want to go back to pretending to hate you. I've wanted to date you for a year and a half now, but I understand this is all sudden for you, so I don't want to rush you."
"I don't want to hate you, or pretend to hate you. This is all sudden, and I don't...I don't even know what to think still, and I can't even get to just enjoy what last night was because...this." Harry says then lets out a heavy sigh and lets go of Draco's hands.
Draco scootches closer to Harry and sits cross legged on the floor.
"You look like you are 5 right now" Harry says with a laugh.
"You are pouting like you are 5, so it is only fair" Draco jests back. Draco reaches out for Harry's hands again.
"So we're 5 and have to make a huge decision that may affect the rest of our lives. I mean...I don't even know if I am gay. Well, obviously I am something, because I enjoy this."
"We could clear that part up a bit...if you wanted" Draco suggests.
"I...we...I've never kissed anyone before, and I kind of want it to be special, and not under this kind of stress or pressure...but...tempting."
Draco gives Harry a peck on the forehead anyways. Harry blushes.
"So...what do we do then?" Draco asks.
Dumbledore comes in.
"Did you boys sort things out so we can let the professors know what is going on?" he asks.
"No" they both don't move as they answer.
"You...look like you've decided" he says eying them holding hands sitting together.
"It's too soon to decide" Harry whines.
"I know, I would have liked more time for you two to sort this out on your own, but you don't get time because someone can't be trusted, which I will deal with. However, that does not change the fact that you two are about to be outed as...well...who knows what, and need to present a united front of some sorts" Dumbledore replies.
Draco lets out an audible sigh.
"Draco, I know, but Harry is new to this, he needs time that no one can or will give him. I tried to get this to not be printed and to pull all copies out, but they refuse. There is nothing I can do. This decision has to be made tonight. You both need to know that whatever decision you make, isn't for life, if you date you don't have to get married, but whatever decision you make will be documented in papers, and horrible magazines, and gossiped about. Why don't you two go out to the park behind that portrait" Dumbledore says motioning to a painting of a field "and talk while I update the professors and interrogate this witch that is now nervously pacing just outside my door."
"Thanks" Draco says, getting up and tugging Harry by the hand towards the portrait that is swinging open.
"Professor" Harry stops "how do I know what to do, how do I know what is right, what I am ready for?"
"You just feel it Harry. You trust your gut with everything else, you should with this too" Dumbledore advises.
Draco tugs again with a smile, and Harry follows this time.
"OOOOOH LOOK SWINGS!" Draco yells as he runs off towards the swings dragging Harry behind him.
"You really are 5 aren't you?" Harry asks with a laugh.
"Yep! And you think it is adorable"
"I...what...no...maybe" Harry stutters.
"I can tell, you are really smiling, you should do that more often."
"How is this going to help us figure out what to do?" Harry asks.
"Well I think Dumbledore was trying to buy us some alone time to figure out it, but really...I could just stay here forever. This place is beautiful" Draco responds just looking around. "Plus I don't think anyone could ever find us here. Maybe...Dumbledore will let us bring a picnic here some day" Draco says with a wistful sigh.
"It is amazing, it reminds me of a park by my Aunt and Uncles house, it's so peaceful" Harry replies laying in the grass and watching Draco swing.
"I like swinging, I wasn't allowed when my parents were around, it has too plebian for us Malfoy's. It was a...muggle invention." Draco kicks a few more times and then lays in the grass with Harry. Harry reaches out and wraps his hand around Draco's.
"I think...since it's going to be out that we held hands...there is no real other way to tackle this then to date" Draco says. "So...Harry…" Draco rolls on his side to look at Harry "would you like to be my boyfriend?"
"I…" Harry closes his eyes and savors the feeling of Draco's hand in his own. "I think I would like that."
"Squee!" Draco pulls himself closer to Harry and wraps his arm over Harry's shoulders. "Harry Potter is my boyfriend."
"Wait until the Slytherins hear about this!" Harry says laughing.
"Oh" Draco's face sinks. "I don't...well you'll be there for me. Pansy won't, I guess I'm about to find out who my real friends are."
"Me too" says Harry.
"Can we seriously just stay here forever?" Draco asks.
"I think Dumbledore would come get us eventually, we do have to face everyone. Not just Snape and McGonagall, but our houses, your parents, the entirety of the wizarding world" Harry replies with a nervous edge to his voice.
As if on cue "Draco...Harry…" Dumbledore calls in to the portrait. "Please come join us as soon as you are ready."
"Can we just not be ready?" Draco asks.
"I think we have to be ready, unless you want to go back to hating each other, we can make up some story about you stealing something from me or the other way around and I was trying to pry it from your hand?"
"No...no hating each other. Never again. I just…" Draco pauses to look at Harry. "I want to try something...then, then we can go back."
"What is it?" Harry asks.
"Close your eyes" Draco says.
"Just do it scar head" Draco says jokingly.
Harry closes his eyes, and Draco leans closer and kisses Harry softly on the lips. Then grabs his hand and pulls him off the grass.
"Let's go face this together." Draco says.
"You can't just do that and run!"
"I just did. Now I have the courage to deal with the world, because that...that was real magic." Draco says with a smile.
"Thank you for gracing us with your presence" Snape says coldly as the Draco and Harry enter back into Dumbledore's office.
"Severus" chides Dumbledore. "So, Draco you were correct in your feelings about Helena. She was indeed watching you. When I booked that table she contacted Rita Skeeter and made a deal to photograph whatever happened and provide a report. Rita was hoping to get something on me, but instead...well you two happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For this I apologize. Helena feels terrible, but not terrible enough to give up the handsome sum she was paid. There is nothing we can do about it now. Your professors have been informed of all that has gone on up until the point you two left. They have both agreed to be supportive in every and any way they can."
"Uhm...I have not" Snape retorts.
"Severus, it is in everyone's best interest that you support not just Draco, but Harry as well. Though, before we rush to any judgement, let's see what they have decided"
"Well judging by the fact that Draco has not let go of Harry's hand, and is being very protective, I think it is clear to see what they have chosen" McGonagall interjects. "Potter, are you sure this is what you want, and what is best for both you and for Mr. Malfoy?"
"Yes Professor. We've decided this is what we both want. We know there will be repercussions, we're prepared to face them." Harry responds.
"Together" Draco adds, giving Harry's hand a slight squeeze.
"Draco, I do not condone this, your parents will not condone this. However, I will make sure you are kept safe here at school, and do as much damage control as I can for you at home. This is NOT for you Potter, don't even think that" Snape says looking disgustedly at Harry.
"Thank you Professor" Harry says. "I don't want to cause more problems for anyone."
"Then you should not have encouraged this" Snape snaps.
"Severus, I told you Draco sought out Harry, not the other way around" reminds Dumbledore gently.
"It's true. I've been harboring feelings for over a year now. I didn't know what to do, so I went to Professor Dumbledore for help. Either way, Harry and I are together now, and we would appreciate your support. I do not anticipate a warm welcome from my house mates, I need someone aside from Harry on my side" Draco says knowing it will pull on his Godfather's heart strings.
"It is almost breakfast, you two should go get ready. I am sure the morning post will bring lots of questions. Just remember all of your teachers are here to support you. May I also suggest, you tell your closest friends, so they find out from you and not the papers" Dumbledore says dismissing Harry and Draco.
"Thank you" they both say, heading for the door, still holding hands.
"How are we going to tell our friends?" Harry asks nervously.
"Well, I have to tell Pansy, because obviously she needs to find another husband. You, you will find a way to tell the Weasel and the Mudblood."
"Be nice to them, I need them on my side" Harry replies.
"Sorry, force of habit. I am sure they are wonderful people. Hey...why don't I sit with you guys at breakfast? I can come down just after the post comes, everyone will know by then, and I don't think I will be welcome at the Slytherin table, at least not yet" Draco asks.
"Ok, except I will wait for you outside the great hall, I don't want you having to walk in and face that alone. Plus it will give me time to talk to Ron and Hermione, alone." Harry replies.
"Ok" Draco says reluctantly letting go of Harry's hand.
"See you soon, and good luck with Pansy"
"Thanks, good luck. Right outside of the great hall right?" Draco asks. Harry can see him shaking.
"Yes, I promise I will be there" he says hugging Draco closely. "We'll do this together, it will be ok.".
YOU ARE DATING WHO?
"Hey Harry, nice of you to join us. What in heck happened this morning?" Ron asks.
"We'll talk about it later, I want to tell Hermione at the same time"
"You're going to tell us too right?" asks Neville motioning towards himself and Dean.
"Oh I am sure you will find out, you know nothing at Hogwarts is a secret."
"Well...actually…" Dean says with a smirk.
"Aside from that" Harry smiles remembering he should at least have Dean and Seamus' support through all of this.
"C'mon then Harry, lets go find Hermione. Maybe this will explain to us both why you've been so moody lately" Ron says.
"Later Neville, Dean" Harry says with a wave.
Harry and Ron head down to the common room, and find Hermione waiting on them, or at least on Ron.
"You guys are late."
"We know, we'll explain, just...not here" Harry says.
"Well I am hungry" Hermione says. "Let's go eat."
"Not yet, I need to talk to you both first, and quickly" Harry replies. "Let's go outside for a minute."
"Outside? Why can't you just tell us here?" Hermione quips.
"Because I said so, if you want to know, let's go, if not...then fine" Harry snaps back.
"FIne." Hermione says crossing her arms.
The trio makes their way outside and sits under a tree.
"Well?" asks Ron, his stomach grumbling.
"So, I've been weird lately, and that is because Dumbledore was telling me about his past, his romance, and all that. Then he set me up with a fellow student."
"He shouldn't be playing matchmaker Harry, you need to focus on your studies" Hermione interjects.
"Well he should be doing as he pleases, and I don't mind. Dumbledore is looking out for me, he really is. But...anyways. So I am dating someone now, and you are all about to find out whom, because some witch at The Three Broomsticks sold out to Rita Skeeter, and now it is in The Daily Prophet. So yeah."
"Ugh I hate her. Wait...when were you at The Three Broomsticks...and with whom? And how did you get there?" Hermione asks anxiously.
"Well...last night, and Dumbledore set it up. When he set it up they assumed HE was meeting someone, and then got a shock when they found it was me."
"You didn't answer the who, mate" Ron protests.
"Well, that is where it gets tricky. Don't judge me, and don't be angry. I never expected this, but it just kind of...well it works, and they are very concerned about me, and the whole fame aspect and, it's Draco."
"MALFOY?" they both shout.
"SHHHHH! Yes Draco."
"But you two hate each other" Ron protests "And his DAD helped kill your parents."
"Well he is not his father, and I need your support, and I suspect Draco will too. He has to tell Slytherin house today...can you imagine that?"
"Well Harry...as long as you are happy, I am happy for you. I will try my best to be nice to Draco" Hermione says.
"I just...I can't believe it. After all that prat has done to you, to us, and you are just going to...just ew" Ron says.
"Ron, we need to be supportive of Harry. If Dumbledore is supportive of this, I am sure it is okay. Maybe we just need to get to know Mal...er...Draco" Hermione says with an obviously fake smile.
"Fine, now I am hungry, can we go eat?" Ron asks.
"Sure you two go, I'll catch up." Harry replies.
"No, we're not going without you." Hermione protests.
"Trust me, it is better if you do. Go in, get the post, then I will be in. You don't want to be walking in with me. I am going to be a target that is for sure. Not just dating a guy, but dating a Slytherin, and Malfoy" Harry explains.
"Are you sure?" Hermione asks.
"He said to go, jeeze Hermione" Ron urges.
Hermione pauses, and Harry nods.
"Well okay then, see you soon" Hermione says as Ron grabs her hand and tugs her back towards the castle.
Harry can't help but wonder how Draco is faring with Pansy, Crabbe and Goyle.
"Draco why the heck did Snape wake us all up this morning? What did you do you little prat?" Crabbe jests.
"It was nothing, I didn't DO anything." Draco replies, grabbing some stuff and heading back towards the common room.
"Where are you going? We want answers" Goyle presses.
"I am going to talk to Pansy."
"Always Pansy, it's a good thing you two like each other. Neither Goyle or I like who our parents picked" Crabbe says.
"She won't like me so much after we talk today" Draco replies.
"Breaking it off? Your parents will be furious" Goyle says.
"Well, they will be furious no matter what today, so I may as well make myself happy in the process. Pansy is nice enough, but not my type"
"Then who IS your type?" Crabbe asks. Crabbe has had a crush on Pansy since first year, but knows she is off limits.
"Well...neither of you. No one in this house actually"
"So you have someone in mind then?" Crabbe presses.
"I do, and he has me in mind too, you two will find out soon enough" Draco says walking off and shutting the door behind him.
"He?" ask Crabbe and Goyle, who follow Draco out the door.
"Draco...wait" they yell after him.
"Hey Pansy" Draco says as he enters the common room.
"Hey Drake" she says leaning in to kiss his cheek.
Draco quickly dodges out of the way. "I need to talk to you."
"Can it wait? I'm starving, plus here come Crabbe and Goyle" she replies.
"Nope, can't wait...and they can hear too if they want to" Draco says.
"Oh good, you're going to enlighten us?" they ask.
"Enlighten? What is going on Drakie?" Pansy asks.
"It's Draco...always has been...always will be" he snaps at her.
"Someone is cranky this morning, did you not sleep well?" she asks.
"None of us slept well, after Snape barged in and made Draco go see Dumbledore" Goyle says.
"Why were you seeing the headmaster before breakfast?" Pansy looks worried.
"Jeeze guys, that isn't what I wanted to tell you" Draco says looking around, and being grateful the common room is rather full. They wouldn't dare make a scene...and if they do there are witnesses, though Draco doesn't think anyone would help. "You guys need to keep it down, though it will be all over school by the end of breakfast."
"What will be? Would you stop being so cryptic and just tell us sweetie?" Pansy insists.
"I am not your sweetie, we are done. I am not dating you, I am not marrying you. Done. I am seeing someone else, and he actually cares about me as a person, and not just an estate and money" Draco says snarkily.
Pansy runs off back to her room crying.
"Harsh dude" Crabbe says.
"Any other way and she would have found a way to make me stay, and I can't."
"So who is this guy? And since when are you gay?" Goyle inquires.
"Well...gay...always. Remember, Malfoy, never talk about feelings, uphold the name, blah blah blah" Draco says then makes a disgusted face. "As for the who, well, if you promise not to make a scene I will tell you now, if not...well you can find out with the morning post like everyone else will."
"CRABBE" Pansy shrieks from the stairs.
"I...ugh...I...Pansy...she wants me"
"I hear that, so go get her" Draco says.
"Are you...are you sure?"
"I am…"Draco pauses and Crabbe runs off.
"Well, I would like to know, and I promise not to say anything, or react in any way that could embarrass you" Goyle says.
"Thanks. I am dating Potter." Draco says matter of factly.
"You are kidding right?"
"Nope, you will see soon enough, but I am not. I would appreciate your support. I think I will have Crabbe's since now he can chase after Pansy. Though I won't have hers, and her hexes are awful."
"I support you fully. I...I'll see you later" Goyle says.
Draco turns to head out of the common room when he hears Pansy yelling "Slugulus Eructo" in his direction. He doesn't feel it hit though, and when he looks Goyle of all people is starting to burp slugs.
"What the HELL Pansy?" Draco asks as he grabs a pot from by the fireplace and hands it to Goyle. "What is wrong with you?"
"What is wrong with YOU Draco Malfoy? Wait until your father hears about this. He will make you come crawling back to me, and then if you are lucky I MIGHT take you back" she yells.
"You are the least of my concerns Pansy" Draco says helping Goyle up. "Let's get you to Madame Pomfrey."
Pansy raises her wand again.
"Draco...DUCK" Crabbe yells.
Draco ducks and just misses another curse.
"Pansy quit it. You are being a spoiled brat. You hurt your FRIEND Goyle. This is enough" Crabbe says leaving her side to go help Draco with Goyle.
"Oh I am so glad you are still waiting, and so sorry I am late" Draco says running towards Harry.
"You are very late...is everything ok?"
"Well Pansy cursed Goyle, and Crabbe and I had to get him to Madame Pomfrey. She tried to curse me, but Goyle...for some reason jumped in front of it. Then she tried again and Crabbe yelled at me to duck...so it missed me. I expected Pansy to be upset, but I didn't expect Crabbe and Goyle to be...so accepting. How did it go with you?" Draco asks, still slightly out of breath.
"Fine, Ron is upset, Hermione...well is probably upset, but much more rational than Ron. Can we go face this before we have to wait until lunch?" Harry asks reaching for Draco's hand.
"I guess. Are you sure you want to go in there like this?" he asks looking at their now intertwined hands.
"Yep! Do you hear that...on the other side of the door? I am terrified, but this" Harry says looking at their hands "makes me a bit less scared, I know I'm not alone."
Draco eyes the door and just listens to the sounds of his fellow students screaming and laughing.
"Is it always that loud?" Draco asks.
"No" Harry replies. "I usually am late for breakfast, and it's usually not as bad as this."
"Alright, let's get this over with before I lose my nerve" Draco says tugging Harry towards the door.
"Smile, it'll make you appear more confident, and head straight for Ron and Hermione" Harry urges.
"Why them? I thought you said…"
"They will support us, even if they don't get it, which means Ginny will, and Dean already told me he would. We're safest with them" Harry explains.
Harry Pushes the door open and drags Draco towards the Gryffindor table, not looking where he is going.
"Ouch" Harry says smacking into Crabbe.
"Really Draco? Out of everyone in Hogwarts...this twit?" Crabbe looks at Draco, then down at their hands.
"Yeah, sorry you, but you went after Pansy or I would have told you. How is Goyle?"
"He's fine, wait 'til he hears about this." Crabbe replies.
Harry squeezes on Draco's hand and looks in the direction of Hermione and Ron. Draco follows Harry's gaze and looks even more nervous.
"You...Potter. Don't think this means the rest of Slytherin house likes you, or is going to take it easy on you. As for you Draco...I don't have to give you a hard time, I am sure your Father is already on his way here" Crabbe says, making Draco swallow hard.
"Draco…" Harry says nervously.
"I know, let's go" Draco replies, starting to walk away.
"Where are you going?" Crabbe yells.
"To eat" Draco says pushing past him, still gripping Harry's hand tightly.
Once away from Crabbe, Draco lets Harry take the lead.
"Relax" Harry whispers to Draco. He can feel him physically relax a bit. He rubs his thumb against the side of Draco's hand.
"Hey Hermione, Hey Ron" Harry says as they approach.
"Uh...hi" Ron mumbles.
"Hi Harry! Is Draco joining us for breakfast?" Hermione asks, with the rest of the Gryffindor table watching.
"Yep!" Harry replies. "Budge over would you?" he asks.
"Sure thing, you can sit between us!" interjects Dean.
Harry and Draco sit, Harry next to Dean, and Draco next to Hermione.
"So why didn't you tell me sooner?" Dean whispers to Harry.
The rest of the Great Hall falls silent, all in hopes of hearing the answer.
Draco picks up a muffin, then freezes noticing the silence.
"Draco" Hermione breaks it. "Maybe you could help me with my potions homework. I've been having trouble."
Both Harry and Draco know Hermione is lying, she never has trouble with her homework, in class...that is a different story, but not with homework.
"Sure, I'd love to" Draco mumbles.
Everyone else, still silent.
Hermione shoots Harry an apologetic look.
"So" Ron says holding up the photo.
"So" Harry replies with a smile.
"This is a thing now huh? Couldn't you at least have picked a Hufflepuff?" Ron chides.
Some sniggers are heard from the Gryffindor table.
"Sorry Ron, I just, I had to pick someone I knew you could hate. Couldn't have you stealing him from me now could I?"
"Sorry Mal...Draco. You just aren't my type...not enough hair" Ron says with a wink at Hermione.
"It's okay Wease...Ron. I don't date wizards in hand me down robes" Draco retorts with a smile.
"Hey now...at least I am not a snake" Ron replies angrily.
"Ron...I think Draco was just kidding" Hermione interjects.
"Sorry Ron, too soon?" Draco asks.
"No worries mate, just...not enough sleep" Ron replies.
The entirety of the Great Hall is still watching, in silence.
There is a loud crash as the doors to the Great Hall swing open. Dumbledore jumps to his feet, as do most of the other Professors, except Snape.
"DRACO MALFOY HOW DARE YOU?" Lucius bellows as he enters the room, surveying the Slytherin table for his son.
The Great Hall is still silent. Even the ghosts stop and stare at Mr. Malfoy.
"Lucius, why don't you come up to my office?" Professor Dumbledore suggests.
"YOU...YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS" he shouts back.
"Surely you are not suggesting the Headmaster set this up Lucius. Why don't we go to my office, and when Draco arrives, he will join us." Professor Snape interrupts, sweeping away from the teacher's table and towards Mr. Malfoy.
Draco, meanwhile is hiding behind Harry.
"I will not leave without Draco, one of you" he motions to the Slytherin table "go fetch him" Lucius says.
"Uh...My. Malfoy" Harry stands up, as Dean shields Draco.
"Potter this does not concern YOU right now. YOU are also the cause of this. HOW DARE YOU ADDRESS ME?" he shouts.
"Father" Draco says standing up next to Harry. "You should be nice to Harry, and I will not be joining you right now. I have classes to attend."
Harry grabs Draco's hand and squeezes it.
"YOU will not be attending classes. You are going to go back to being home schooled if this is how you choose to behave" he replies.
"Lucius, now is not the time to make rash decisions about Draco's future, please let's go have a cup of tea and talk" Snape urges. "You are making a scene, and making things worse for your son."
"I…" Lucius storms out of the Great Hall, with Snape and Dumbledore following him.
Everyone in the great hall turns towards Draco and Harry, who are still standing, and stares in silence.
"Ah Hem" Professor McGonagall clears her throat. "You should all finish breakfast, and quickly. Classes start in 10 minutes."
The Great Hall turns back to their tables, but no one says a word.
"What is going on? Why is everyone...silent?" Harry whispers to Hermione.
"Because, the two biggest rivals in school are now sitting together, at the Gryffindor table, and they were seen holding hands in The Daily Prophet" shouts a Ravenclaw from the next table.
"That" whispers Hermione "is true."
"Harry...I want to go" whispers Draco.
"In front of everyone? You want to leave?" he whispers back.
"Yes, I just want us to be alone, and not be being stared at for a few minutes"
"Okay...let's go then."
"Bye Hermione, Ron, Dean, I'll see you in potions later" Draco says in a normal voice.
"Bye Draco, bye Harry" Hermione and Dean reply. Ron grunts a goodbye between bites of his breakfast.
Draco stands up, and takes Harry's hand. With his head held high he walks out of the Great Hall, and out the front doors of the school.
The Great Hall, sits in a stunned silence.
Mr. Malfoy and His Honor
Draco and Harry are looking out into the black lake.
"Well...that did not go as I expected it to" Draco says.
"That is an understatement. I expected Dean and Seamus to be supportive, same with Hermione. Ron was surprisingly cool. I am impressed Crabbe didn't sell us out to your Father" Harry replies.
"Yea, but all that silence, and then...I've never seen my Father that angry, or seen Snape stand up to him. I wonder if he is talking to Dumbledore."
"He can't come in to Hogwarts and not talk to Dumbledore, it's his school!" Harry says.
"Yeah, but my Father sends a lot of money to Hogwarts, he kind of has some pull. I just hope he doesn't try to take me out of school. It's not like that will make me marry Pansy, or not be gay, or not want to be with you. I just, I don't want to deal with him" Draco explains.
"I know, but we have to go back up there at some point. We've missed almost all of our morning classes, and while I am sure Dumbledore will have our professors excuse us, we need to eat at some point today" Harry replies.
"Year...Hey Hagrid" Draco says as he sees Hagrid approaching.
"I thought you kids might be hungry. I've been keepin' an eye on you. Makin' sure no one bugs ya. Dumbledore asked me to" he explains, holding out a basket of food to Harry.
"Thanks Hagrid, we appreciate it" Harry replies taking the basket.
"Heard your Father is here Draco. Pretty mad ain't he?"
"That is an understatement. I dread having to deal with him" Draco replies.
"Well Dumbledore wants ter see yeh in Snape's office after lunch. Sorry ter be the bearer of bad news."
"So you brought us a last meal" Draco says trying to smile.
"I'm sure he won't kill you, yer the only heir" Hagrid says very seriously. "Plus he can't pull you out of school, it would cause a scandal, and Malfoy, he hates a scandal."
"Hagrid you are brilliant!" Draco says, his eyes lighting up.
"I'll let you two eat yer lunch. If you need me you know where to find me" he says walking off.
"Brilliant? Hagrid? Are you feeling alright Draco?" Harry asks.
"Never better! Father hates a scandal, it would kill Mother. If he doesn't let me stay, and do as I please I will create such a scandal about how he hates muggle borns, and the famous Harry Potter, how he defied Dumbledore. Things, that while true, he can't have the ministry hearing about. Plus he's supposed to be playing nice. Then expose he's trying to force me to marry someone, anyone not pureblood would be outraged! If all that fails...talk about his affair with Goyle's mother that happened last year."
"Wait...what?" Harry asks.
"Yeah, though I didn't tell you that" Draco says with a wicked smile.
"Your Slytherin is showing" Harry says with a wink.
"Yes, but it is about to come in very handy."
Draco and Harry look through the basket that Hagrid brought them.
"It looks like he got it from the kitchens, because he certainly didn't make any of this, thank goodness" says Harry.
"I am famished, I didn't touch breakfast" Draco says grabbing a sandwich.
"I am too, but I'm nervous about meeting your father. What if he doesn't like me?" Harry says half jokingly.
Draco laughs. "He won't, but really what does that matter?"
"Well won't we need his blessing to get married, so I can, you know, steal the Malfoy fortune?"
This causes Draco to choke on his sandwich.
"Stop! Who cares about the fortune? And you went from not wanting to date, to getting married?" Draco asks.
"Well, it's out now, and I will never live it down, so we have to get married now" Harry jokes.
"OK, I think I am free on the second Tuesday in December" Draco replies.
"Sounds good. Now which one of us wears the dress?" Harry asks.
"I think we will leave that to Ron. You saw his attire for the Yule Ball" Draco tries to stifle a laugh.
"That was awful, but I think he wears it better than either of us would."
"You should eat. We have to go deal with Father soon" Draco urges.
"Fine. But...you do have a plan right? That doesn't involve me in a dress?" Harry asks grabbing a sandwich.
"Yep! Us Malfoy's always have a plan" he replies leaning and giving Harry a kiss on the cheek.
"OK, if you say so. If not though, I am sure Hermione is researching ways to make it so you can stay at school against your Father's wishes right now."
"Well, she may come in handy then" Draco laughs.
They finish their meal in silence, then lay in the grass holding hands and watching the clouds.
After a few minutes Draco rolls on to his side and lays an arm across Harry's chest.
"Are you awake?" he asks.
"Well we should get going, Father has been kept waiting an awful long time, and he hates that" Draco replies.
"I know, I just...can't we just stay here?"
"No. We have to go and face this. We both knew there would be consequences" Draco says softly.
"I know, I just, I never expected them this soon."
"We can always...call this off, and explain to him it was a one time thing" Draco says with a sadness in his voice Harry never wanted to hear again.
"That isn't want I want" Harry replies.
"I've never known Harry Potter to run from things, that isn't very Gryffindor of you. Are you sure you were sorted correctly?"
This makes Harry laugh as he remembers the sorting hat.
"That is something I ask myself regularly, and maybe will tell you about later. For now…off to deal with Daddy Malfoy."
Draco giggles at this, and goes to kiss Harry's cheek, but surprisingly meets his lips.
"mmmrphhh" Draco mumbles pulling away. "You are trying to distract me! We need to do this, and now, the longer the wait the harder this will be, and the more angry he will be. Think about it, all that time with Dumbledore!"
"I wonder if Professor McGonagall will be there. That would be nice" Harry ponders.
"Why would she be?"
"Well your head of house, Dumbledore, your Father, why not my head of house?" Harry asks.
"If she is, that could help a lot." Draco says getting to his feet and pulling Harry up. "Now come on, let's go find out."
Harry reluctantly follows Draco, and when Draco senses this he pauses, waits for Harry to catch up and takes him by his hand. "We're doing this together."
"It's about time you two showed up" says Mr. Malfoy loudly as Harry and Draco walk in to Snape's office, still holding hands.
"We had some lunch" Draco says, sitting on the couch next to Professor Snape. Harry sits next to him nervously.
"You boys missed all your classes this morning, but the professors have sent your assignments back to your dorms" Dumbledore says in an attempt to calm things down.
"Draco, you cannot be serious about this" Mr. Malfoy waves his hands at Draco and Harry "nonsense. You have been set to marry Pansy since before you were born. Pure blood wizards just aren't gay. AND in no way is it acceptable for a Malfoy to date a Potter."
"Now, now Lucius. There are many pure blooded gay wizards. And Mr. Potter here is a fine candidate for anyone. As for Ms. Parkinson and Draco, they are old enough to settle that out themselves" Dumbledore interjects.
"I will not…" Lucius pauses at a knock on the door.
"Come in" Snape hisses.
"Oh Professor McGonagall, thank you for joining us. I know you are very busy, but I felt it would be best for Harry to also have some support in this" Dumbledore explains.
McGonagall sits down next to Harry and gives him a stern, but caring look.
"I will not be embarrassed by you Draco. You will not bring shame to this family, and you will not disobey me" Lucius finishes.
"I don't see how this is embarrassing to anyone but Pansy Father."
"We had an agreement with the Parkinson's, and you breaking it will embarrass us and bring shame to us" he retorts.
"Then you really shouldn't enter in to agreements when not everyone is not informed or does not agree" Draco replies squeezing Harry's hand.
"If you do not break off whatever THIS is with Potter, this will be your last day at Hogwarts" Malfoy threatens.
"If you do not accept what I choose for my own life, I will inform Mother of your choices for your life, with Mrs. Goyle"
Mr. Malfoy turns a very unhealthy shade of purple at this.
"Fine, you may do what you want, but you will be written out of the Malfoy will! You will be disowned by all your pureblood family and friends, you will be an outcast" Malfoy says loudly.
"Yes, but I will be happy, and living for myself. You know I've never wanted the same things you do. So really is this a loss to me?"
"And what if THIS doesn't work out? You're both so young, then what? Don't think you can come running home to me" Lucius retorts.
"Then that is what it is. I will be sad that my own family will not care for me, but really, it will be okay. You won't have much after you disown me, not without a male heir, and you know it."
"Why don't we talk about how to handle the press, and let these two settle it out on their own" McGonagall interrupts.
"I have nothing left to say to Draco. No son of mine would ever act like that" Lucius says leaving the room.
"Lucius, we really should talk about this, and you should THINK" Snape shouts, following him from the room.
The echos can be heard down the hallways.
"Minerva is right though, we should figure out how you two want to handle the ever awaiting press" Dumbledore says.
Draco looks at Harry, buries his head in his hands, and starts crying.
"I thought he would want me to be happy. I thought he might actually care enough about me to want my happiness, but no he only cares about himself and the family honor" Draco says between sobs.
"I'm sure he does dear, he is just shocked and upset." McGonagall says moving next to Draco.
"Minerva is right, he just needs some time to cool down. He was doing ok, until he saw you two. However, this is your decision, and we all need to accept it. No matter what, you will not be thrown out of Hogwarts, so please rest easy about that. But really, the press is an issue. We have had more than 50 owls since this morning asking for statements, or interviews, or access to you two or any students" Dumbledore explains.
"Well…" Harry says with a gulp, "we should face this head on. If we do it on our terms, then we have more control over it. We won't be constantly looking over our shoulders, plus it's not fair for our fellow students to have to endure it" Harry says.
"That is very wise Harry. Draco what do you think?" Dumbledore asks.
Draco tries to gather himself together, with one hand clutching Harry's leg, and the other wiping his eyes.
"I...I think Harry is right, but can we attempt to leave my Father out of this. I don't need him any more angry at me."
"Sure. He can talk to the press himself if or when he wants to. Though they will ask what he thinks" Dumbledore reminds Draco.
"To which I will explain they can ask him" Draco says with a tiny smile.
"Well Albus, when should we do this?" McGonagall asks.
"I think this evening, after supper. Draco, Harry and myself, as well as you and Professor Snape if you wish can all go down to Hogsmeade and meet with the press. What do the muggles call it...a Press Conundrum?" Dumbledore asks.
"Conference Professor" Harry says.
"Ah yes, that makes much more sense. For now, you are both excused, and you may do as you please until dinner. Your professors will be informed that I excused you from classes."
"But Professor...where do we go? What do we do?" Draco asks looking lost.
"Anything you please! Perhaps go find your Father and Severus, or relax by the lake, or visit Hagrid" Dumbledore suggest. "Just stay out of trouble."
"Thanks" Harry says pulling Draco up. "Let's go, I have an idea!"
"Oh no, a Gryffindor with an idea!" Draco retorts jokingly.
"Where are we going?" Draco asks as Harry pulls him towards the castle doors.
"Outside! It's still nice out, it's early, we don't have class. It's not like we can hang out together in a common room. Plus, Hermione and Ron should be done shortly, and we always hang out here" Harry replies pointing at a tree on the far side of the lawn.
"But Ron and Hermione…"
"Might have some ideas of how to deal with your Father. I don't want you losing your family. I know what it's like not to have a family, and I wouldn't even wish that on my worst enemy. Plus...they can see how amazing you actually are" Harry explains.
"Fine" Draco says with a little huff.
"How often do we get permission to skip class? We should enjoy it!" Harry says running towards the tree. "Come on" he shouts back towards Draco.
"Running is so...undignified."
"So? Who cares! You have no ones expectations to live up to but your own. Enjoy it!" Harry replies.
Draco ponders for a minute, then sprints past Harry laughing. He plops himself down under the tree.
"That...was...amazing" he says to Harry who is now sitting next to him. "Father would say it was childish, and that I shouldn't behave that way...he said a lot of things were childish or not fitting of a Malfoy. I bet they are all fun" Draco realizes.
Harry lays in the grass and closes his eyes. Before you know it he feels Draco running a finger down his chest.
"That's nice" Harry says opening his eyes and seeing Dcaro laying beside him in the grass.
"Very cute you two" they hear Ron say.
"Hey Ron" Harry says. "Where's Hermione?"
"Behind you" she replies. "Hi Draco, Harry. Are we interrupting?"
"Nope" Draco replies starting to move away.
"Not so fast you" Harry says grabbing his hand to stop him.
"But" Draco protests.
"Nope, no buts, stay right here. Ron, Hermione, join us?" Harry requests.
"Sure!" Hermione replies sitting on the ground, she shoots Ron a look and he sits too.
"So, as you two know we're dating. We had the...pleasure of meeting with Draco's Father this afternoon. Draco can tell you about that. However, tonight Dumbledore wants us, along with Snape and McGonagall to meet with the press. To kind of...smooth things over. Any suggestions?" Harry asks.
"Well...hmm. I don't know Harry. You and Draco need to figure out how much you want to share. Obviously, you want to ask for privacy even though we all know you won't get it. I think a lot will focus on the two houses, and Mr. Malfoy and your history. But, before we get in to that...Draco will you be staying at Hogwarts?" Hermione asks.
"Yes, thanks to Professor Dumbledore I will be. Needless to say, my Father was...displeased. He is threatening to disown me and write me out of his will. Which should be interesting if he tries since I am the only male heir. Plus, Mother would never have it."
"Wait...you never said THAT" Harry interrupts.
"Whoops...sorry. Yeah Mum wouldn't allow it. It would bring too much disgrace on to her. She will eventually make Father accept it and me, publically. Or else they would face the shame of having a "defective" son...their words. So yeah...I'm not as worried, still upset by Father, but not as worried." Draco explains.
"You might have mentioned this before" Harry says with a smile.
"Things were happening so fast, I'm sorry. Forgive me please?" Draco asks with a pout.
"Of course" Harry says.
"So...are you Happy?" Ron asks.
"Well…" Harry says pausing. "I am, but I am concerned with the press. I am concerned how we are going to date normally. I am sure Dumbledore has a plan for us. I just wish he would tell us."
"Why would Dumbledore have a plan for you two?" Hermione asks.
"It was Dumbledore who helped me tell Harry, to come out to him. Who prepared Harry for the shock, and who set up our date. He wants us to be happy and together." Draco explains.
"Well that didn't work out so well did it?" Ron says snarkily.
"It's not his fault the serving witch couldn't be trusted. It's not his fault Rita Skeeter is a pest" Harry retorts. "He wants us both happy, even if it is unconventional."
"It's not though. I was researching in the library today" Hermione says.
"Shocking" Draco quips.
"Anyways...I was researching and 3 years ago wizards passed equal marriage laws. You two could get married if you wanted. The wizarding world is more accepting than the muggle world of your relationship. The only thing unconventional is the son of a known Death Eater and Harry Potter." she explains.
"What's so funny Weas...Ron?" Draco asks.
"Think about it Mal...Draco. The boy who lived dating the son of one of Voldemort's lackies. That it should be YOU is just amusing. As long as Harry is happy then personally, whatever. But the media is going to have a field day with this." Ron explains.
"That IS true Draco" Harry chimes in.
"So what do we do?" Draco asks looking a bit concerned.
"We do this together" Harry says squeezing Draco's hand. "We stand together, we face them together, we don't let them get between us, no matter what they say. And they will say awful things, like when they said Hermione and I were dating. They invent stuff, and neither of us can believe anything we see in the papers. It would destroy us."
"I hadn't even thought of that" Draco says looking off in to the distance. "So we need to be very open with each other. Ron...Hermione...I can trust you both right?"
"Of course Draco. I know we've never gotten along, but I want Harry to be happy. So yes, you can trust me. I will help you both any way I can."
Ron just stares off. Hermione elbows him in the ribs.
"I...just don't let my parents find out. Yes you can trust me. Even if I am not thrilled with Harry's choice, I won't do anything to hurt either of you in this" Ron says.
"Thanks. I don't know how many of my own house I can trust, though I am suspecting I can trust Goyle, but who knows" Draco explains.
"Dean and Seamus should help you both too. Maybe you can all support each other" Hermione suggests.
"Why is everyone so hung up on them?" Draco asks.
"Well...they've been dating for just over a year" Harry answers.
"Really? I never would have known."
"Yeah, all of Gryffindor knows, but they were terrified of what some of the Slytherins might do. So they pretty much ignore each other outside of our common room. Now that we are...well...out, maybe they will be too. It would help us if they were" Harry says with a sigh.
"We can do this with or without them" Draco says. Draco leans in and kisses Harry on the cheek.
"OK ew you two!" Ron says.
"C'mon Ron we've done worse in front of Harry" Hermione says.
"I know but it's Malfoy...er...Draco...sorry. This is going to take some getting used to" Ron explains.
"No worries" Draco says then gives Harry another peck on the cheek.
Harry laughs, and so does Draco.
"Maybe you two should talk to Dumbledore more before this press thing" Ron suggests.
"He sent us off to sort it out" Draco replies.
"Do you think Hagrid might have any ideas? He suggested we visit Hagrid...I wonder why" Harry asks.
"We should! Ron and I haven't seen him in what seems like ages" Hermione says excitedly.
" 'ey you...four" Hagrid says opening the door.
"Hey Hagrid" Ron, Hermione and Harry says in unison.
"Hello" says Draco.
"Come on in. To what do I owe the pleasur'?" Hagrid asks eyeing Draco and Harry holding hands again.
"Dumbledore gave us the afternoon off, and suggested we stop by. Hermione and Ron decided to join us since they hadn't seen you in a while" Harry explains.
"While, always glad to see yeh. Have a seat. Would yeh like some tea?" Hagrid asks.
"I'm ok" Draco says, "but thanks."
"We're fine too" Ron says.
"So...you've seen the Prophet right?" Harry asks carefully.
"So you know about" Harry looks at his hand intertwined with Draco's "this?"
"I know what the Prophet tells meh, but that's usu'lly rubbish" Hagrid replies, "though, maybe not this time."
"We're dating, and we're having a press thing after dinner tonight. Harry and I don't know what to tell them" Draco says very quickly.
"Maybe you have some advice Hagrid?" Hermione asks.
"Well, I've nev'r had to deal with the press much, but yeh should give them sumthin' or they will not leave yeh alone" Hagrid says scratching his beard in thought.
"Well we obviously have to tell them we are dating, but when they ask how it happened or why, it's going to get tricky" Harry says.
"Why?" Hagrid asks.
"Well...Dumbledore…" Harry says.
Hagrid interrupts "Do not tell them Dumbledore was involved any more then yeh have ter. He shouldn't be meddlin' in students affairs. Could get in lots 'er trouble."
"Well the table at The Three Broomsticks was in his name, Rita Skeeter assumed he was showing up, so that they have to tell" Hermione interjects.
"Right, but...yeh don't have to tell them Dumbledore set yeh up. Just that he helped yeh find what should have been a safe place teh have supper" Hagrid explains. "Maybe yeh ought teh come out holdin' hands. They would be too busy takin' pictures o' that to focus on askin' real personal stuff."
"Oh that could work!" Draco says. "Anything so they don't ask about my Father."
"Fat chance of that" Hagrid says with a laugh. "He must be in a state."
"That is putting it lightly. He wants to disown me." Draco explains.
"He can't do that. No wizard in their right mind can do that to their only son. Especially not a Malfoy. It's not like yeh be marryin' a muggle, just datin pure blood 'arry Potter."
"Try telling him that" Draco says then sighs.
"Yer Mum ought to take care o' that. She wouldn't want the same. Jus' don't mention yeh parents, no matter what those 'porters do."
"Thanks Hagrid. Now to figure out how to best distract them" Draco says.
"You could always go the 'no comment' route that muggles do. Or maybe your Father will be there and can speak…" Hermione says.
"Nope. Not even a chance" Draco interrupts. "He hates publicity, especially this kind. Plus he doesn't want people to think HE is sympathizing with Potter…" Draco sees Harry's face drop and feels his hand go slack "sorry dear, but that is just how he thinks. I obviously don't think that."
"Harry, Draco doesn't think that way, you said it yourself earlier. Cheer up please" Hermione urges. "You need to be your best tonight or this could be a disaster."
" 'ermione is right 'arry. You need to buck up." Hagrid says.
"Seriously Harry, don't let a stupid prick like Malfoy...not you Draco...get you down. You have what you want, be happy about it" Ron encourages.
"Can you guys excuse us for like 5 minutes?" Draco asks standing up.
"Sure" they say.
"Come on Harry...outside for a minute" Draco tugs and Harry just looks sad.
"Harry go!" Hermiones whispers.
Harry gets up and follows Draco.
"I didn't mean that, I was just trying to think how my Father would. I'm sorry, I am so sorry."
"I...I don't want him to hate me. You care about him, and he obviously cares about you even if it is in some weird way, so I don't want to be the reason…"
"YOU are NOT the reason. He is, his closed minded-ness is. He hasn't accepted or realized times are changing and the sooner he changes with them the better off he will be. Haven't you noticed not many pure blood families still subscribe to traditional values? Even he doesn't! If he did he wouldn't be cheating on my Mother, but no, he didn't marry for love and he is miserable because of it. I refuse to be him. So if he can't accept me or my choices it is his loss. Don't even blame yourself" Draco says taking both of Harry's hands in to his own.
"Are you sure? Are you sure you won't resent me later if things don't go well with your Father or the press?" Harry asks.
"I am sure. I will resent myself if we don't try this. I've wanted it for so long and now that it is within my grasp I am not about to give up for anyone. So please, relax. You are wonderful and amazing, this is not your fault, and we will get through this together. Now we really should go listen to Hagrid, he is smarter than I ever thought. Oh and...if they start getting really in to questioning about family...would it be ok if I kissed you? Then we just left...can we do that?" Draco asks.
Harry smiles. "You can kiss me any time you like Draco."
With that Draco leans in, wraps his arms around Harry and kisses him slowly.
"Yeh two better get up teh dinner. Ron an' 'ermione already went up but didn't wan' teh disturb yeh" Hagrid yells from his hut. "Jus' remember what I tol' yeh. Don't talk about yeh parents, and give them sumtin' or they will hound yeh everywhere."
"Thanks Hagrid" yells Draco.
Draco pulls Harry closer and kisses him again, this time not so slowly or gently. Harry wraps his arms around Draco's neck and entwining his fingers in Draco's hair.
Harry pulls away slight "Draco if we keep this up we'll miss dinner again."
"Maybe Dumbledore will let us eat elsewhere alone if we miss dinner" Draco says then laughs.
"You are sly darling!" Harry says, leaning back in and kissing Draco again.