Beren (beren_writes) wrote,

Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 81 - The Happy Ending? (Harry/Draco, NC17)

Title: Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 81 - The Happy Ending?
Author: Beren (aka Tasha)
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is canon compliant until the end of Order of the Phoenix and then goes AU. None of the HBP or Deathly Hallows plot will be used, or the Horcruxes for that matter since this story was planned before we knew the details about those things, and hence has it's own fanon. This includes birthdays and other information that have since been revealed on Pottermore and in further productions.
Summary: The threat of open war in on the horizon. The Order and the Ministry are of one accord and both know that where Harry Potter is, Voldemort will eventually be. Preparations are being made and this time the side of the light will not be caught unawares.
Summer classes, sabotage, revelations about Draco's father, teaching and the final showdown with Voldemort all await Harry and Draco in this exciting sequel to Gold Tinted Spectacles (LJ | AO3 | Wattpad).
Author's Notes: This is the second story in the Hecatemae universe. It starts up just after the end of the first instalment and I advice reading that one first so you understand the premise. Thanks go to my sister Sophie for the beta reading.
It has taken me 12 years to finally get around to finishing this, I very much hope everyone enjoys it.
Link to other parts: LJ | DW | AO3 | Wattpad

Everyone had gone off to do summer things and Hogwarts was all but empty. However, Harry and Draco had permission to stay so that Harry could get his lab worked out. They had plans to go and stay in Evergreen House, the place Harry had inherited from his grandparents and which they'd had refurbished, for a couple of weeks or so later on, but until then they had the run of the school.

Pansy's mother had taken very little convincing after a fire call from Draco. He had laid it on very thick about how Pansy was the only one who seemed to be able to cope with all the press attention he and Harry were getting now the war was over. However, Pansy had already proved her worth in making sure that all reporters knew, in no uncertain terms, that they had to go through her. Harry and Draco hadn't been remotely bothered since she took the job, leaving them to relax for the summer holidays.

Harry was enjoying clearing out the old classroom manually, as well as magically. It was good to be active. Draco, on the other hand, was not so much in favour of the hard labour, so Harry had let him do a lot of the wand work while Harry did most of the fetching and carrying, at least when it didn't need two people.

Whatever the explosion had been it had turned everything black and wrecked most of the furniture. The first few days had mostly been about emptying all the broken equipment out of the room and disposing of it. Draco had helped with the couple of benches that had still been intact, but Harry had done most of the rest of it by himself.

Draco had been in his potions classroom, playing with concoctions of his own.

Now that it was empty Draco was helping Harry once more, using his expansive knowledge of magic to help remove black from the walls, floor and ceiling. Unfortunately there were patches that were impervious to magical cleaning, which was why Harry also had a bucket and a scrubbing brush. He probably looked like he had been on the wrong end of the floo network, but he was enjoying himself.

Dropping the brush back into his bucket he admired the now white tiled wall. The tiles seemed to have a lot of magic running through them, probably to make them impervious to most magical substances, but also probably what had made them immune to any of Draco's spells. It would make a useful storage area once he started putting things back in the room.

"Ugh," Draco said from just behind him, "I think your bucket needs emptying again."

Harry looked down and had to agree with the assessment. The water was as black as Voldemort's soul.

[Okay?] Draco asked, at which point he realised that thought had caused a spike of anxiety to run through him.

It was par for the course these days, so he took a deep breath and let it flow away.

[Fine,] he replied and gave Draco a smile to back it up.

It was as he turned that he realised they had a visitor.

"Hermione," he said, smile growing, "what are you doing here?"

"Um, hi," she said, stepping into the room. "Wow, you two have done an amazing job so far."

"Mostly Harry, not me," Draco replied. "Malfoys do not do manual labour."

Draco was not as averse to mucking in as he pretended, but Harry let him get away with the illusion. Hermione smiled, of course, but there was something off about the way she was reacting. He lowered his barriers a little and discovered there were some things he'd never seen before. Hermione was glowing gold and giving off little gold sparks as well.

"To what do we owe the pleasure?" Draco asked. [What is it?]

Clearly Harry was letting Draco in on all of his reactions today. He didn't bother replying in words he simply showed Draco was he was seeing.

[That's … um …] Draco didn't seem to know what to make of it either.

[It's emotion, not magic,] Harry added, since he could at least tell that.

[Oh,] Draco said as if he had just realised something, but was not helpful enough to pass on whatever it was.

"Ron proposed," Hermione said and all but exploded in Harry's peculiar vision.

She held up her hand to show off a lovely, clearly antique ring. It sparkled, even in the low light of the dungeon room, not that it had anything on the way Hermione herself was sparkling.

"That's brilliant," Harry said stepping towards his friend.

For once he abandoned all usual protocols and gave her a huge hug. At which point he felt all the sparks of emotion as well as seeing them. Hermione hugged him back tightly, before they separated. She was smiling brightly and all nervousness was gone from her stance.

"It's wonderful," Draco added and Hermione beamed at him.

Rather than going in for his own hug, Draco took her hand and gave the ring a closer look.

"I never thought I'd say this, but Weasley has taste," was Draco's assessment.

"It was his great grandmother's ring," Hermione said, clearly drinking in the attention. "Apparently it's been magically stuck to a beam at the top of the Burrow since just before she died. No one was sure why she did it, but when Ron was trying to figure out how to pay for a ring and pluck up the courage to ask me, it fell on his head. Molly insisted it had to be meant for him."

"Well of course," Draco said, and he genuinely looked impressed, "no one can argue with magic like that."

"It's very beautiful," Harry put in his own opinion, "goes with its owner."

Hermione blushed and swiped him on the arm.

"Stop it," she said and then barrelled on before he could embarrass her anymore: "Anyway, Molly and Arthur are insisting on throwing us a party, which is part of the reason I came in person. Ron's trying to stop his Mum inviting the whole of the Wizarding World, which is why he's not here as well. It's going to be next Saturday, can you come?"

"Of course we can come," Draco said as if it was the silliest question in the world.

"Wouldn't miss it," Harry confirmed.

"Perfect," Hermione said.

"Now, are you in a hurry, or can you stay for lunch?" Draco asked, ever the perfect host. "We were about to take a break anyway."

"Oh, I'd love to stay, thank you," Hermione replied.

"Lovely," Draco said, "we can get Dobby to bring us a picnic outside, since it's such a lovely day, and you can tell us all the details of Ron's proposal while I try and figure out how to remove all the black marks Harry covered you in when he hugged you."

Hermione looked down for the first time.

"Oops," Harry said, "sorry, Mione."

* * *

Harry had been agonising all week about what to get Hermione and Ron for their engagement. Hence, Draco had finally put his foot down and insisted they go to Diagon Alley. He had only regretted it once, when they had had to hide in the Twins' shop for half an hour until some over enthusiastic fans of Harry's had gone away. Now they were in Knockturn Alley, because Harry had insisted on following his nose.

The fact his soulmate was looking at the most incredibly ugly lamp did not increase Draco's opinion of Harry's instincts in this case.

"That looks cursed," was his succinct opinion.

"It does, doesn't it," Harry agreed, but reached out towards it nonetheless.

Draco almost yanked Harry backwards when something leapt out of the dark space next to the lamp and landed squarely in Harry's hand, where it froze.

"Um…" Harry said and Draco could tell his soulmate was taking a look with his other senses. [Nothing dark,] was Harry's conclusion.

[It's a Niffler,] Draco said, looking at what seemed to be a small brass statue.

[It's adorable,] Harry replied.

It was, but Draco was never going to admit that.

[Well, that is a traditional engagement gift,] he acquiesced.

[What, a Niffler?]

[No a Niffler statuette,] Draco replied. [It's supposed to bring happiness and prosperity.]

[Then it's perfect,] Harry said and gave him a smile.

[I've never heard of one that moved like that though,] Draco decided he had to add. [Mum had one that opened its mouth so you could put a coin in for good luck, but it never jumped.]

[It feels old,] Harry told him. [Maybe the tradition changed and they used to be livelier.]

[You're sure it's not dark? We are in Knockturn.]

[Bright and clear,] Harry promised.

[Okay,] Draco said, because he knew Harry had already made up his mind, [come on then. Just let me do the negotiating.]

[Of course,] Harry replied and turned towards where a shady looking woman was standing behind a counter.

Twenty minutes and a lot of haggling later, they were back at Hogwarts, Niffler statue safely purchased.

"It really is adorable," Harry said, putting it on the table.

"Must you use that word," Draco complained, but smiled when Harry pouted at him.

"I wonder how we get it to move again," Harry mused as he went back to looking it over. "That shopkeeper was no help."

"She didn't even know what it was," Draco agreed. "Try stroking its belly, that's what you had to do with Mum's."

He watched as Harry did as he suggested. The Niffler giggled in a Nifflery kind of way, curled in on itself and then stretched up its neck, opening its mouth before it once again froze. What happened next was what shocked Draco, a Galleon appeared in the statue's mouth.

"Was that you?" Draco asked, even though he was almost sure Harry had done nothing.

"Not me," Harry affirmed.

"Check your pockets," Draco said.

They both did and none of the money they had on them was missing.

"So where did that come from?" Draco asked, pointing at the Niffler.

Harry shrugged.

"Maybe we should ask someone who might know," he suggested.

Draco could only agree - magically appearing Galleons could get people into a lot of trouble.

* * *

Draco had been to many parties in his time, but he had to admit he was impressed when he and Harry arrived at The Burrow. They had Transferred in to a quiet spot a little way from the house, since the new method of travel was not yet common knowledge, and walked the rest of the way. The garden behind the house was already full of people and there was a table laden with so much food, Hogwarts' house elves would have be in awe, as well as a BBQ going away from the trees.

"I really don't think that's a good idea," Draco said as he watched the twins trying to persuade Bill they should be in charge of the BBQ.

At least, that's what he assumed was going on from the way Bill was trying to fend off the pair.

"Bill can handle them," Harry said and grinned at him. "Let's go see where we're supposed to leave this."

Harry was carrying the small package they had brought with them. It did in fact contain the Niffler statue. After a quick firetalk to Albus they had taken it to Gringotts and the Goblins. Their experts had examined it and given it back. All they would say was that the Galleon had come from a perfectly legal source and that the Niffler would give it up should the owners have need of it for any reason and not to abuse it or it would bite.

Draco had tried it once by leaving his money with Harry and carrying the statue into a shop with him in his pocket. He had subsequently discovered that the Galleon was immediately replaced by another one. His only conclusion was that it was somehow attached to a vault with some sort of magic he did not care to think about. Since the Goblins weren't worried, he decided not to be either.

He and Harry had agreed not to mention the additional properties to Hermione and Ron, and let them figure it out on their own at some point. It wasn't as if they knew how much money was on the other end of the Niffler's magical string and, no doubt, the happy couple would put it to good use if it turned out to be ten Galleons or a thousand.

They were fashionably late because Harry had totally forgotten the time while working on his lab, so most of their friends were already there. Draco spotted Seamus and Dean with Charlie near the food table, Pansy chatting to Arthur, Greg helping Molly carry yet more food out of the house, Hermione's parents, a good percentage of their year from school milling around, Ginny and Percy trying to do something with lights, Albus and Professor McGonagall, as well as the happy couple themselves.

"Harry, Draco," Hermione called as soon as she saw them, "you made it."

"Of course we did," Draco replied, accepting a kiss on both cheeks as soon as she reached them. "We would have been on time, but Harry was covered in dirt from head to foot."

"I was," Harry admitted, "sorry."

"Still cleaning the lab then?" Hermione asked.

"Found a storage room we hadn't even noticed," Harry replied and grinned. "Hidden entrance, probably to stop students getting in."

"I don't think the spiders liked being disturbed," Draco added.

"Ugh, spiders," Ron said, because Draco had timed his comment perfectly.

"They were this big," Draco replied with some exaggerated hand movements.

Harry gave him a look.

"What? It's a party, you're supposed to rib the host," Draco said totally unrepentant.

"Congratulations, you two," Harry said, completely ignoring him. "Where should we put this?"

He held up the package.

"You didn't have to get us anything, Mate," Ron said.

"Of course we did, Weasley," Draco replied so Harry didn't have to, "that's also traditional at parties. I understand so is alcohol."

He delivered the line with his best put upon tone and Ron finally laughed.

"Come on," Ron said, shaking his head, "Hermione can show Harry the present pile and I'll find you some drinks."

As Harry happily followed Hermione, Draco followed Ron. He let himself soak in the atmosphere, looking around at the crowd of happy people. This was just the kind of thing they needed to prove it really was all over and life could go on as it was supposed to, not to the tune of some Dark Lord. He could understand why Ron had picked now to propose-it was perfect timing.

No doubt the party would be in full swing very shortly and Draco intended to get Harry at least a little merry. Drunk was a very bad idea still, but happily tipsy was definitely on the cards. It was going to be fun.

* * *

The last few months had been so hectic and fraught that walking into an empty house that barely even felt like magic was amazing. Evergreen house had been fitted with the latest in Wizarding appliances through half of it, but the other half was still completely Muggle. After Hermione and Ron's news and invitation, Harry and Draco had rearranged their plans and decided to take they holiday a little earlier, so they Transferred straight from the Burrow to their new house.

Dobby had happily brought their things over for them earlier, so all they had to do was make it inside and up the stairs after the party. Harry fell onto the bed laughing as Draco climbed on top of him.

"So many redheads," Draco complained, "how do I put up with them all?"

"You know I'll reward you afterwards," Harry replied, grinning.

"Oh yes," Draco said, raising his eyebrows as if this was the first time he had thought about that, "perhaps we should get right to that."

Harry just laughed and let Draco start undoing the buttons on his shirt. They were both a little bit tipsy after the engagement party and Harry loved this slightly looser, relaxed Draco.

"It was a great party wasn't it?" he said, smiling at the memory. "Hermione looked so happy and I'm pretty sure someone will eventually have to chisel that smile off Ron's face."

Draco stopped for a moment, smiling himself.

"Love definitely suits Hermione," Draco said, "and even Ronald brushed up alright for tonight. If you tell anyone else I will deny it until my dying day, but that was the nicest engagement party I have ever been to."

"Really?" Harry asked, pushing himself up on his elbows. "I would have thought you've been to some really posh ones."

"Oh I have," Draco said, "but the value of a party isn't in the silver service or the price of the bride-to-be's formal wear."

That made Harry smile even more since the party had been anything but formal.

"You're a romantic," he said, absolutely delighted at the idea. "You really are wrecking your Slytherin image now, you know."

"Ugh, I gave up on that ages ago," Draco said with a melodramatic sigh, "you've ruined me."

"I like to think of it as finding the real you," he countered, and let himself just look for a while. He was so lucky and he knew it. "If we'd had an engagement party and then a wedding, how would you have wanted to dress me?" he asked on impulse.

"It might just be me," Draco replied, "but I don't think you'd look great in a frock."

For that Harry mock slapped his soulmate on the arm.

"I'm not shaving my legs for anyone," he replied. "But seriously, if we could have, how would you have wanted us to do it?"

Draco looked at him then, a strangely thoughtful expression on his face.

"You realise we still could, don't you?" Draco asked eventually.

That caught Harry off guard.

"But we're bonded and we're both men," he said.

"Muggles," he heard Draco mutter. "The only impediment to getting married in the Wizarding world is objections from your family," Draco continued in a louder voice. "Since I am sure Mother would be over the moon if we decided to get married so there was something for her to organise, and your godfather is far too blissfully happy with his mutt to be anything but cheerful, then I doubt there will be any problems from that direction. As for us, yes we are bonded, which is an ancient estate, but marriage is newer and we can get married as well. I just never realised you might be interested in that."

Harry didn't know what to say. This was totally new information to him.

"I had no idea," he said after a few moments. "We could really get married?"

Draco nodded. That made Harry smile and he was sure he looked completely dopey.

"That would be amazing," he said.

Yes he had chosen Draco and they had bonded, but it had all been under the power of his subconscious. At the time he had had little idea what was really going on.

"Well," Draco said, "in that case, Harry James Potter would you do me the honour of accepting my hand in marriage?"

Harry felt like cheering, but instead he just beamed.

"Oh yes," he said, "definitely, I would love to."

With a big smile Draco bent down and kissed him.

"But nothing too big," he added as Draco pulled back, "and we mustn't overshadow Ron and Hermione, either."

"I totally agree," Draco said; "if news got out the press would make it a nightmare."

Harry nodded and shuddered a little at the thought. He could only imagine the circus to get pictures if Rita Skeeter had anything to do with it.

"How about just you, me, our immediate families and a few close friends?" Draco asked. "We could ask Albus to preside. Just a small gathering at the Manor, which will satisfy Mum, if we let her organise it."

"That would be wonderful," Harry said and realised he was becoming rather choked up.

It was silly, he was already bonded to Draco for life, this was nothing more than names on a piece of paper really, but it got him right in the heart.

"Now who's the romantic?" Draco said and kissed him on the nose.

Harry didn't reply lest he make a complete idiot of himself. He blamed the teary feeling on the alcohol he had consumed earlier.

The last two years had been hard, what with all the unexpected changes, and then Voldemort on the horizon, but they had also been some of the best of Harry's life. There were so many things that needed sorting out, so much of their world that needed putting on the right track, but, at that moment, Harry was more than content. He was exactly where he wanted to be and, now, he was getting married too. He could not have been happier.

"I love you," he told Draco, smiling up at his soulmate and letting his feelings swirl between them.

"And I love you too," Draco replied, not that Harry needed the verbal confirmation because he could feel it perfectly.

For the first time in his life, Harry could look forward and there was nothing dark on the horizon, no spot to mar what was to come. There was no Voldemort, not even his troublesome relatives, nothing and it made him so happy. There were shadows behind them, things that would haunt them for a while, but nothing ahead and it was wonderful.

Harry half sat up and kissed Draco gently on the lips. He had everything in the world he could possibly want right in front of him. Everything that had gone before was worth it, just for this.

The End

And we're done!! Thank you so much for reading.
Tags: category: slash, ch_story: defence, fandom: harry potter, fictype: 30kwds up, fictype: chaptered, genre: fantasy, genre: romance, offence, pairing: hp - harry/draco, pretence, rating: r to nc17, type: fiction

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