Draco Malfoy Harry Potter
Romance Slash
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 06/17/2003
Updated: 07/25/2005
Words: 99,146
Chapters: 29
Hits: 317,001

Second Chances


Story Summary:
For the first time in over a decade, Harry Potter crosses paths with Draco Malfoy. Both have changed a great deal, but what do those changes mean to them - and to each other? **slash**

Chapter 23

Chapter Summary:
“We aren’t in a relationship, Draco. We’re friends, or had you forgotten?”
Author's Note:
Big, big thank-yous to my beta readers. This chapter needed help - I'm so glad you were there to provide it! *schnoogles the lot of you*

Harry was lounging in one of the two battered armchairs in his room, completely immersed in his Muggle novel, when the knock sounded on his door. Setting the book aside, he rose to greet his visitor and usher him into the room.

"You look like you feel much better, Harry," Draco told him.

"I do. Amazing what a calming potion can do."

Draco gave him a weak smile, obviously less than amused with Harry's attempt at humour.

"Erm. Would you care for some tea?" Harry asked.

"No, thank you," Draco replied politely, taking the seat that Harry had neglected to offer him.

Harry moved toward the other chair, but Draco's hand on his arm stopped him. He looked down at the other man, puzzled. Draco gave him an uncertain smile and pulled him down onto his lap. Harry never even thought of protesting.

"Is this crossing some sort of line? Breaking some unwritten rule?" Draco asked quietly.

"Probably," Harry conceded. "But when have we ever given a toss about the rules?"

Draco laughed softly and settled Harry more comfortably on his lap. "So are you going to tell me what's troubling you?"

"You honestly want to know?" Harry asked. He lazily slid one hand through Draco's hair.

"Yes, Harry. I honestly want to know, and to help you if I can," Draco replied. The earnestness in his voice - and his face - caused Harry's heart to do a funny little flip in his chest.

With a soft sigh of resignation, Harry slipped his glasses off and leaned down to press his face against Draco's neck. He was certain it would be easier to talk to Draco about his worries if he didn't have to watch the expressions flitting across the other man's face.

Draco wrapped his arm more firmly around Harry's waist and raised his other hand to stroke Harry's back. He turned his head, rather awkwardly, to brush a soft kiss against Harry's hair.

Harry sighed again, this time in contentment. Then he took a deep breath and started telling Draco about his woes. He began with a brief recount of his encounter with Oliver. Draco was quiet for some minutes after Harry stopped talking, turning the matter over in his mind and formulating a response.

"There really isn't anything I can say that will help you, I'm sure," Draco began uncertainly. "I can't even tell you that I understand, because you're in a position I've never been in. I want to tell you that he brought this on himself, and that he doesn't deserve you, but I know that I don't deserve you, either, and I know how I'd feel if you had let my idiocy drive you away." Harry opened his mouth to speak, but Draco cut him off. "I know it isn't about that, Harry. I know you've other reasons for turning him away. You can't control who you love, Harry. You can't make yourself feel something for someone, and you shouldn't try to." Draco chuckled softly. "And I'm not just saying that because I don't want to have to fight him for you."

"You'd win, anyway," Harry assured him. He was quiet a moment before he added "It helps just to talk about it."

"There's something else, isn't there, Harry? Tell me what else is troubling you," Draco encouraged, his hand once again stroking Harry's back.

"You know that Damien came to see me last night at Snape's behest."

"Yes," Draco replied, his brows furrowing in a frown.

"Part of Damien's punishment for the prank was to apologise to me. That's why he came to see me. To apologise."

"And?" Draco prompted, wishing Harry would get to the point.

Harry sighed. "The apology...it wasn't exactly a traditional one. He said he was sorry that he had attacked me for being gay when he hated me for completely different reasons."

The hand on Harry's back stilled; the one on his hip tightened painfully. Harry could feel Draco's jaw tighten where their faces touched. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I shouldn't have told you."

Draco forced himself to relax. He began to rub Harry's back again. "No. I'm glad you told me, that you trusted me with that. I know how much his words must have hurt you."

"I'm not sure you do know," Harry said softly.

"Tell me."

"It's just...the night of the boy's birthday dinner, things were so...right. We felt like a family. All of us. Together. I had hoped..." The words trailed into silence as Harry burrowed closer to Draco, seeking comfort.

Draco wrapped his arms tightly around Harry. "I had hoped we could always be like that, as well," he said softly.

"I keep thinking that maybe, if we hadn't..."

"No," Draco interrupted. "Wondering 'what if' will drive you mad, Harry. We can't change the past, but perhaps there is hope for the future."

"I should like to think so."

"Me, too," Draco murmured into Harry's hair. "Me, too."

*** *** ***

Breakfast the next morning was much the same, with Oliver looking like some sort of corporeal spectre and Damien sulking and the children sitting wherever they pleased without regard to House lines. The most notable differences from the previous morning were a lessened feeling of guilt on Harry's part, coupled with a lack of ensuing illness, and that Draco decided to surreptitiously hold Harry's hand under cover of the table.

After the meal, as Harry was meandering towards his classroom and relishing the remembered feel of Draco's hand in his, Snape appeared at his side. His sudden appearance startled Harry out of his daydreams.

"Can I help you, Professor?" he asked cautiously. He knew the man wanted something. He never sought out Harry's company otherwise.

"I would like you to speak with one of my students," Snape informed him.

Harry wondered if the man was being vague intentionally or if Severus had simply developed a habit of speaking to him in abstracts. "And what exactly would you like to me say to this student?" he asked.

"I should like you to tell him your life history, more or less. You may leave out the romanticized versions of your heroics."

"I've never done anything heroic," Harry retorted angrily.

Snape held up his hand in a shushing gesture. "I'm not here to get into a pissing match with you, Potter," he said coolly. "I'm here because I believe that a first-hand account of certain events in the war would be beneficial to one of my students."

For a moment, Harry merely stared at the other man, trying to make sense of his request. Then the pieces clicked into place. "You want me to talk to Damien Malfoy about his grandfather," he said in an emotionless voice.


"I'm not sure that's wise," Harry replied.

Severus rubbed the bridge of his nose tiredly. "It's the best idea I've come up with. I'd talk to him myself, but I doubt that Draco would appreciate another of his children ending up in the care of a psychotherapist. There are some stories that a boy that age simply does not need to be subjected to."

"Do you think it could truly help?"

"At this point, I do not believe that it could truly hurt."

With a small sigh, Harry relented.

*** *** ***

When Damien arrived at Snape's office after dinner for the day's detention, he was unpleasantly surprised to find Harry Potter seated next to the Potions professor.

"Another attempt at brainwashing disguised as detention?" Damien spat haughtily as he slammed the door shut behind him. "Oh, honestly. What a waste of time for all of us. I'm not going to believe a word that Potter has to say, and you damned well know it!"

A vein throbbed visibly in Severus' temple as he fought to reign in his formidable temper. "Professor Potter," he corrected harshly. "And you will do as you're told or suffer the consequences."

"What consequences? Are you going to boot me out of school? Preferable to listening to whatever rubbish he's come up with to slander my grandfather."

Eyes narrowing dangerously, Snape held up a vial of clear liquid. "You needn't worry about Professor Potter telling you anything that is not the absolute truth."

"Some truth potion you've made?" Damien asked insolently. "Am I to trust you, then, even though this entire brainwashing effort was your idea?"

"That is quite enough!" Snape roared, unmindful for the moment of his own health. He levered himself out of his seat, but Harry rose fluidly beside him and held him back from advancing on Damien.

"He has a valid point, Severus," Harry said quietly. "It's horrid to find yourself unable to trust anyone, especially at such a young age. It must be even worse to be unable to trust the very people who care the most."

Damien's face contorted, a facade of rage carefully concealing the hurt that Harry's words had conjured.

"I'm sorry, Severus. I can't help you," Harry added, sounding sincerely contrite. "I should go."

"Go," Snape commanded in a low voice. "Mister Malfoy, you may go as well. I fear for your safety and my sanity if you remain in my presence for another minute." Damien hesitated, held in place by a desire to hurl some scathing comment at Potter, and Snape snapped. "Out!" he roared.

Damien turned and fled, racing from the room as fast as his legs would carry him.

As soon as the boy was safely out of the room, Snape collapsed back into his chair. He no longer looked angry; he just looked defeated.

"I am beginning to think that there truly is no hope for that boy," Snape said in a soft, regretful tone.

"There's always hope, Severus," Harry refuted quietly. "He's just a child, after all. Just a very confused and hurt child."

"A dangerously arrogant and willfully disobedient child. He's headed for real trouble, you mark my words. I haven't seen a child who was so much a danger to himself since..."

"Since me," Harry finished for him.

Snape gave Harry a wry little smirk. "Indeed. And look how you turned out."

Harry didn't take offense at the barb. After all, Severus was right. "Exactly," he agreed sadly. "You have to find a way to get through to him, Severus. Don't let him end up like me." With that, Harry let himself out of Snape's office, closing the door almost soundlessly behind him.

*** ** ***

Harry, disturbed by his encounter with Snape and Damien, wandered distractedly through the halls. Without quite knowing how he got there, he found himself standing before the door to Draco's private room. Glancing around to be certain there were no students observing his actions, he raised one hand and knocked on the door.

A moment later, the door swung open to reveal Draco. His hair was damp, and he was dressed in a silk dressing gown over silk pyjama bottoms. The instant his eyes settled on Harry's face, his brow furrowed in a worried frown.

"What's the matter?" he asked worriedly as he ushered Harry into the room and shut the door behind him.

Harry shook his head slightly and stepped closer to Draco. In the next moment, he found himself wrapped protectively in Draco's arms. The silk of Draco's dressing gown was damp beneath his cheek, the other man's hands warm and reassuring against his back. The sweet, spicy scent of Draco's soap smelled like paradise. The touch of Draco's lips to his forehead felt like coming home.

"Tell me?" Draco coaxed softly.

Although Harry tried to answer, the words refused to come. He settled at last for shaking his head again. He sighed softly, his breath warm against Draco's throat, and the blond threaded his fingers through Harry's hair.


"I don't know how to explain," Harry replied quietly.

"Did something happen?"

"No. Not exactly. I met with Snape and Damien, but it wasn't so much what happened there as the feelings that were brought to the surface."

"What feelings?"

Harry shrugged. "Bad feelings. Unhappy feelings." He paused, trying to find a way to voice his emotions. "I've made more than my share of mistakes, and sometimes I don't exactly like the man that I was when I made those mistakes. Sometimes I don't even like the man that I am now."

"Everyone feels that way sometimes, you know," Draco said soothingly.

"I'm tired of feeling that way, Draco. All my life, all I've really ever wanted was a quiet, normal, happy life. I know, now, that there is no such thing, but I still keep looking for it. I keep thinking that if I can just do this or be that then everything else will fall into place...."

Draco gently pulled Harry's head back so he could look into his eyes. "Even I know that life doesn't work that way." He brushed the messy black hair back from Harry's forehead. "You can't spend your whole life regretting the mistakes you've made or wondering how things would be if only you'd done something differently. If you do that, you're going to wake up one day and realise that life's gone and passed you by. I used to wish that I'd never given into my parents' desire for me to marry Pansy, but then I came to understand that if I hadn't married the stupid cow that I wouldn't have Sera, and Adrian, and Damien. Everything in my past - mistakes included - has led me to be who I am and where I am. And I wouldn't want to be anyone else. Or anywhere else. I rather like where I am right now," Draco said with a boyish grin. He gave Harry an affectionate squeeze to emphasize his meaning.

"I rather like where I am right now, too," Harry murmured against Draco's neck. "I like who I am when I'm with you. I'm stronger with you, a better man."

Draco tilted Harry's head up again, a tender smile unconsciously curving his lips. "That works both ways, you know. You're good for me as well." Harry beamed radiantly up at him. Again, Draco brushed the dark hair from Harry's brow. For a moment he stood looking down into the face of the man he cared for, and then he leaned forward, aching to claim Harry's mouth with his own. Mere inches from Harry's lips, he paused, searching Harry's eyes and silently asking for permission to kiss him. Harry moved to close the gap between them, kissing Draco hungrily and clinging to him like a drowning man. Draco responded eagerly, his tongue tracing the fullness of Harry's lips before diving between them to explore the recesses of Harry's mouth.

Harry gave himself over to the passion of the kiss, pressing impossibly closer to Draco and his knees weakening in desire. Draco wrapped one arm firmly around Harry's waist to hold him upright. He wound his free hand into Harry's hair, tugging gently at the thick locks. Harry moaned into Draco's mouth, encouraging Draco to tug harder. After another moment, Draco drew back slightly to catch his breath, resting his forehead against Harry's.

"God, what you do to me," Draco murmured in a silky, seductive tone.

To Draco's surprise, Harry's entire demeanour suddenly changed. He crossed his arms across his own chest and leaned into Draco's embrace, letting his head fall forward against Draco's chest. Slightly confused, but determined to be understanding, Draco let his hand drift down from Harry's head to stroke his back.

"I'm sorry," Harry muttered, his voice muffled against Draco's chest.

"For what, exactly?" Draco asked gently.

Harry turned his head slightly to one side, both so that he could breathe more freely and so that his voice wouldn't be muffled. "For this," he answered vaguely. "I told you before that I developed an unfortunate habit of trying to solve my problems through sex. But you mean more to me than that, and... It isn't that I don't want this, don't want you. But... I don't want to push the issue - again."

"I promise I won't mind if you do," Draco replied with a mischievous grin.

"Damn it, this isn't a joke, Draco," Harry snapped in a harsh, raw voice, pulling away roughly and turning his back on the other man.

"I didn't think that it was," Draco said softly. He cautiously reached out a hand to rest comfortingly on Harry's shoulder. After a moment, Harry turned to face him.

"I...I'm just feeling very vulnerable right now," Harry explained, his voice barely above a whisper, his eyes fixed firmly on the floor.

"You're afraid I'll hurt you again," Draco said. "I understand that. I do. And I can't promise you that it won't happen, because from what I've been told, that's what people in relationships do - they hurt each other. Whether or not they mean to or want to."

"We aren't in a relationship, Draco. We're friends, or had you forgotten?" He still refused to meet Draco's gaze.

Draco gave a small, humourless chuckle. "I was a fool to suggest that we try to be only friends, Harry. I feel far too much for you for that."

"And if I said I didn't want anything more?" Harry asked quietly.

For a moment, Draco stood frozen, a hard lump in his throat making it impossible for him to speak. "If you were to say that it would kill me," he answered honestly. "But if that were the case, then...I'd do my best to put my feelings aside and salvage our friendship."

As soon as the last word fell from Draco's lips, he found himself wrapped in Harry's embrace. Harry claimed Draco's mouth in a bruising kiss, tangling his fingers in his soft, blond hair. "I do want more," he murmured between kisses. "I want everything." His hands slid down Draco's back and around his waist to untie the sash on Draco's dressing gown. He ran his hands up the slightly damp skin of Draco's chest, pushing the thin silk garment from his broad shoulders. Draco allowed the dressing gown to fall away as Harry bent to trail hot, open-mouthed kisses down his throat. Harry's tongue danced over Draco's skin, tracing a path down his chest to his taut stomach. Draco gasped and tightened his fingers in his lover's hair. Harry responded by continuing his journey down Draco's body, moving to mouth Draco's hardness through the now damp silk of his pyjamas. Draco whimpered, his knees threatening to buckle and drop him to the floor, and he firmly - and reluctantly - pulled Harry's mouth away from its task.

"Harry," he panted. "Shall we see if we can make it to the bed this time?"

Harry grinned up at Draco, his face flushed with arousal, and allowed the other man to help him to his feet. He led Draco to the bed before leaning in to claim his mouth once again. Draco pulled away almost immediately and carefully slipped Harry's glasses off his nose, folded them, and set them on the bedside table before resuming their kiss. His fingers found the fastenings on Harry's robes and, making short work of them, deftly parted the thick, black fabric. He explored each newly revealed inch of Harry's skin, first with his hands and then with his mouth, reveling in both the feel and taste of Harry and in the soft sounds of passion rising unbidden from Harry's throat. He slipped Harry's boxers down the smooth muscles of his thighs to let them pool at his feet. Draco knelt as Harry stepped out of the under shorts, sitting back on his heels to look up into Harry's face. When Harry's gaze met his own, he gave him a diabolical smile and then leaned forward to take him into his mouth. Harry groaned and tangled his fingers in Draco's hair, urging him on.

After a short time, Draco pulled back, letting Harry slip from his mouth. He smiled at Harry's dismayed groan. "Patience," he murmured as he stood, rubbing his body against Harry's. "I didn't want it to end there," he explained, taking a step backward to put a small amount of space between himself and Harry. He crawled onto the bed, sprawling out in the center of the mattress, and beckoned Harry to follow. Harry hurried to obey, covering Draco's body with his own and leaning down for a soul-searing kiss. Draco moaned into Harry's mouth and arched up against him. When Harry finally paused to catch his breath, Draco looked up into his eyes. "I want you inside of me," he said in a near whisper.

Harry's breath caught in his throat. Draco had fallen naturally into the dominant role in their relationship, and he wasn't the type to cede control easily. Harry understood instinctively that his lover wanted to put him at ease, to reassure him by making himself as vulnerable as Harry. He loved Draco more in that moment than he had ever thought possible. He pressed a tender, almost reverent kiss to Draco's lips.

"I know it's been a long while," Harry said, his lips brushing against Draco's as he spoke. "I promise I'll be gentle with you."

"I trust you," Draco breathed, and with that he closed his eyes and gave himself over completely to Harry's lovemaking.