The well-wishers in Hamburg didn’t want to see the Duchess go as she did an impromptu walk-about on exiting the maritime museum. One commented the Duchess was “simply the kindest person. She made you feel comfortable meeting her, not anxious.” ♡♡
There are glances across the room. Like nothing has changed. Like everything has changed.
It feels familiar and yet… new.
It confuses him.
It’s not like the hate is suddenly gone. Harry still feels it whenever he looks at him. But it’s different now.
He can’t really describe it. He has tried several times. Ron and Hermione have asked him about it. They’ve noticed something is “off”, as they call it.
“It’s not that we’re not glad you aren’t fighting anymore. There’s been enough fighting,” Hermione had said.
“Yeah, it’s just… weird, you know. Now you’re just staring at each other,” Ron had added.
Harry sighs as he tries to remember what he told them. It was probably something vague. Because… what Ron and Hermione don’t know… Harry has been meeting him. At night. In secret. They would just sit together and talk. But, Harry supposes, not like other people would.
They each take turns talking, while the other listens. Just listens. There are no interruptions, no judgement. They just each let the other talk. It’s been weirdly therapeutic. And also soothing.
Yesterday was Harry’s turn and after talking about his godson and Quidditch and classes, he also recounted one of his nightmares. He never talks about them with anyone. He doesn’t want to hear what they mean or that maybe he should see a mind healer. He knows perfectly well what they mean. So, simply talking about it, having the opportunity to get it out in the open and out of his system… it’s freeing. Harry also never appreciated before, how much it means when somebody listens, really just listens to him. It is a whole new experience.
As Harry makes his way to the tower nobody wants to go to anymore, he wonders what he will talk about tonight. Sometimes he talks about his mother. Never about his father. Sometimes he doesn’t say anything at all and they just sit there in silence. At first, Harry thought this was a waste of time. But it was in that silence, he realized that something really is different between them. It’s as if something between them has… shifted.
So when Harry sees Draco enter the tower, his body doesn’t go rigid. It relaxes. When Draco sits down beside him and their fingers touch, Harry doesn’t pull away. He welcomes the warmth. When Draco doesn’t say anything, Harry isn’t annoyed. He understands.
It’s in that moment, as Draco lays his head on Harry’s shoulder and Harry puts an arm around his waist, that he knows. He never thought he could be this sure. But he is. He knows.