Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Draco/Harry, Draco/Astoria, Harry/Ginny, background Ron/Hermione, mention of Draco/OMCs
Rating: NC-17 overall
Word Count: ~2,100/~37,000
Content/Warnings: post-war, post-hogwarts, auror Harry, professional Seeker Draco, blow jobs, fingering, first time, anal sex, rimming, intergluteal sex, comeplay, switching, fuck buddies, epilogue-compliant
Summary: More than a year after the end of the war, fate seems intent on pushing Harry and Draco together.
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Previous Chapter on LJ
"So...what are you buying me for Christmas?" Astoria asked, her eyes twinkling. They walked arm and arm down the snowy Hogsmeade streets, Draco's other arm laden with the fruits of their Christmas shopping. It was a bright, crisp winter's day, the cold air pinking their cheeks. Despite the occasional hostile stare from passing witches and wizards, it had been a surprisingly pleasant day. Though spending time with Astoria often lifted his spirits, even when she was trying to trick him into telling her what he'd bought her for Christmas.
"I thought I would donate money to a charity in your name this year. So much more satisfying than material goods, don't you think?"
Draco schooled his features into a neutral expression, preparing for Astoria's outrage. He was not disappointed. He made it through several long moments of her wide-eyed, horrified shock, before his face split into a grin. She hit him in the side with her handbag, and he winced. He'd forgotten about her habit of carrying around her sketching pad and pencils with her, both of which were rather pointy.
"Well, that's what you get for trying to spoil the surprise," he muttered, rubbing at his side.
"But you won't even be here for Christmas. And thanks to your ridiculous rule about us opening our gifts together, I won't get to open it for ages!"
Draco smiled indulgently. Astoria was not normally so petulant, especially when it came to gifts. But she had been hinting rather pointedly about her desire for a Muggle drafting table, and Draco figured she had surmised, correctly, that he had purchased it for her for Christmas. She was likely eager to get her hands on it, but she would just have to wait. Besides, there was still the little matter of figuring out where exactly she was going to keep it. She still lived with her parents, and much like Draco's family, they did not approve of Muggle "toys" invading their home. Unlike the Manor, the Greengrass home was small enough that Astoria would have a difficult time concealing the large table from prying eyes.
"It'll be worth the wait, Astoria. You can come over to the Manor the day after I get back, and we'll exchange gifts then." After the war, Draco was granted his own wing of the Manor, one that, thankfully, had been free of the haunting memories of the Dark Lord that permeated the rest of his home. The wing had been completely renovated, and had become quite the spacious sanctuary for Draco. He had several rooms that were currently unoccupied, and he would be more than willing to store Astoria's table there for her use whenever she liked. It might be nice, actually, to have some more regular company. As comforting as those rooms were compared to the rest of the Manor, there was a loneliness there, too.
Astoria's face was quiet and thoughtful when he looked back up. She had been acting somewhat strange all day, her light-hearted joviality interspersed with sudden bouts of pensive silence. Clearly, she was working through something in her head, and Draco felt a nervous reluctance to hear whatever it was. In the meantime, he was quite ready for an afternoon pick-me-up. They headed over to Madame Puddifoot's. Draco found the place to be a little excessive, but they did have excellent tea.
It was not until they had settled into their table with a pot of fragrant, steaming tea and a plate of ginger biscuits, that Draco noticed Astoria's new resolve. He poured out the tea, adding in sugar and milk, and waited apprehensively.
"I've been thinking, Draco."
"Yes, I've noticed you do that rather a lot."
She frowned. "This is serious."
Draco's stomach jumped, and he took a long sip of tea, hoping to calm his jangling nerves. "Alright."
"I think we should get married."
Time seemed to stop, and the world around Draco froze for agonising seconds before his brain fully processed her words. "What?!"
Several head turned to look at them, their curious gazes growing suspicious when they caught sight of who it was. Draco ignored them.
"Shhh," Astoria admonished. She nibbled gingerly on a biscuit, her eyes unable to meet Draco's.
"Are you insane?" Draco hissed. "We cannot get married."
"Why not?" Astoria challenged, finally raising her eyes to meet his. She looked determined, and Draco suppressed a growl of frustration. He knew quite well how stubborn Astoria was once she got an idea into her head. Normally, he quite admired the trait.
"Have you forgotten our...compatibility issues?" Draco was reluctant to spell it out more explicitly in the crowded shop where somebody might overhear.
Astoria rolled her eyes. "Hardly. But really, it's just one minor setback, barely worth mentioning when you think about everything we'd gain."
"Minor setback?" Draco sputtered, trying to suppress the growing note of hysteria in his voice. "I would say it's a pretty fucking major setback for a healthy marriage, Astoria. You know I love you, but I couldn't do that to you. We'd be miserable."
"No, we wouldn't, Draco. We certainly wouldn't be as miserable as whatever poor witch you'd eventually end up marrying, some girl expecting something you'll never be able to give her. At least I'll know the score going into it."
Draco scowled, guilt squeezing at his stomach at Astoria's words. He knew someday he would have to get married, to do his duty to his family. He tried not to think of the unfortunate witch he would end up shackled to.
"Seriously, Draco, what's your plan here? You're going to end up marrying a pure-blood witch someday, right? Make your parents proud, provide an heir to carry on the Malfoy name? Why not do that with me?"
"Where is this coming from Astoria? A year ago you were waxing poetic about true love, and now you're telling me we should have some kind of sham marriage? I don't love you Astoria, not like that. You deserve somebody who will."
She smiled sadly. "I know that, Draco, but my parents don't. They're even more eager than your parents are to marry me off, and they're starting to feel dissatisfied with the fact that all of our 'dates' haven't led to a ring on my finger. They've begun grumbling about potentially looking for other candidates, and some of them…" Astoria shuddered. "Look, I know this isn't ideal. In a perfect world, you could marry some dream man, and I could pursue my career and wait to get married until I was good and ready. But we don't live in a perfect world. I think this could work for both of us.
"You're my best friend, and we already know we get along. You'll get your parents off your back, and I'll get out from under my father's thumb. They won't be able to stop me from becoming an architect, and you won't have to worry about being disinherited." Her eyes were big and earnest, the words rolling off her tongue in a tangled, over-eager mess as she tried to convince Draco to go along with her plan. "I already know all about your...preferences, and I won't be bothered if you take a lover. Hell, I rather expect I'll be taking one or two myself. It's perfect."
Astoria painted such a pretty picture, one that Draco wanted so desperately to believe. But she was forgetting one rather crucial part. "And when it comes time for me to father a child?"
Astoria wrinkled her nose. "Yes, well, I'm sure we can figure that part out when it comes to it. We only need the one. I'd even be alright with having it early on; that will satisfy both our parents quite nicely."
"Sounds like you have got it all worked out." Draco was not sure why the thought made him feel so angry and helpless. Here Astoria was with the most palatable solution he'd heard yet to the problem that had been looming over him for years, and all Draco could feel was a sense of wrongness.
"I have. I've been thinking about it for months. We both know that we can't put off getting married for much longer, a couple of years at the most. I know this is sudden, and it's not like you have to decide right now, but...I think this could really work. I think this could be how we make our parents happy and still manage to stay sane."
Draco took a deep breath and sipped at his tea, the liquid already gone cold. "And love? What about that? What happens when you find a nice man that you truly want to spend the rest of your life with?"
"Then we'll divorce. I don't imagine this will last forever. If I do find somebody to love—if either of us do—we'll both be free to walk away. But if this mystery man is out there, I haven't met him yet, and I don't have the luxury of waiting around forever. Of all the men I know, Draco, you're the only one I'd marry, the only one I think could make me any kind of happy."
Draco swallowed, but said nothing. He was overwhelmed, unprepared for the sudden weight of all of his future responsibilities being thrust upon his shoulders. He thought back to his conversation with Harry all those months ago when he first shagged him, how they had talked about the different futures available for them. But now his future, the one that rang loudest, like a malevolent siren singing him to his doom, had come calling. He felt trapped, an animal being herded towards the well-worn path. Already, he missed the freedom he had felt just last night in Harry's bed, sinking into the heat of him as they traded frenzied kisses.
Astoria's eyes widened, comprehension dawning. "Oh. This isn't about me finding love, is it? You've met someone."
Draco straightened in alarm. "What?"
"You have. That's why you're dragging your feet. I can't believe I hadn't noticed, but you've been distracted for ages now. And you're always so busy."
"I am…" Draco hesitated, searching for the right words. He knew Astoria would see through an outright lie. "I'm seeing someone, yes, but it's not serious. It's only sex."
Astoria's eyebrows rose and she took a delicate sip of tea. "That wasn't all that convincing, Draco. Surely you can do better than that."
Draco's palms felt clammy, his throat tightening with the beginnings of panic, but he tamped it down. Astoria may know him well, but she hardly knew everything about him. He was sure if she knew he was fooling around with Harry Potter, she would understand just how ridiculous the idea of a real relationship between them was. But he couldn't bring himself to tell her his name. He knew that she would keep it secret, that she would not breathe a word to anybody, but it still felt like a violation. And, he realised, it was something he wanted to keep for himself.
"Really, Astoria, it's nothing. Something to pass the time."
"Ah, so I suppose it won't last much longer, then?"
Draco fidgeted, the thought of not getting to touch Harry's warm, smooth skin, to breath in his clean, woodsy scent, to banter and bicker in lazy post-shag contentment, had his hands shaking. Astoria smiled, looking bizarrely pleased. "I thought so. Clearly there's something there. You have feelings for this mystery man of yours."
"No, Astoria, I don't." She looked at him, unimpressed. "I can't." For more reasons than you know. Even he could hear the desperation in his voice as he breathed the last word, and the kindness and heartbreak in her eyes nearly did him in. He lowered his eyelids, taking several calming breaths. He focused on the loud chatter surrounding them, and the smell of tea and coffee and pastries. When he opened them again, Astoria's face was arranged into an expression of practiced lightness, and Draco let her deftly steer the conversation into safer waters.
He escorted her to the public Floos a few hours later, handing over her parcels as they prepared to go their separate ways. She smiled at him warmly, pushing up on her tiptoes to press an icy kiss to his cheek.
"I do love you, Draco. And I want you to be happy. I'll support you whatever you decide. But…" She shifted the weight of her bags around in her hands, biting her lip before looking up into Draco's eyes. "Think about what I said, alright. The offer still stands."
Draco nodded, and tried not to think about how her offer felt rather like escaping into a golden cage.
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