"Oh my God. You're in love with her."
Harry was sitting at his desk working. Not stealing glances at Draco every chance he could get. They had just closed a case and were filling out the paperwork. Harry finished his report and looked up. Draco was staring off into space, a small smile on his face.
“What are you so happy about?” Harry asked. Draco flushed.
Before he could answer, there was a knock on the door of their shared office space.
“Come in,” Harry called. He made a mental note to pester Draco later about his smiling and whatnot.
A woman with black hair and fancy clothes stepped in. She didn’t even glance at Harry, but instead went straight to Draco’s desk. Draco stood and greeted her with a smile. He gave the woman a hug and a delicate kiss on her cheek. Harry looked away.
“Astoria,” Draco said. “What are you doing here?”
“I was out and about in the Ministry and I thought I should come see you. Is now a good time?” She asked, glancing around at the paperwork on Draco’s desk.
Harry wanted to tell her that it was most certainly not a good time. They were very busy, thank you very much, but Draco spoke before he could.
“I’m almost done. Let me just finish this up and we can go get dinner?” Draco asked.
“That’d be lovely,” Astoria said. Draco looked over the report once more, wrote a few things down, then set his quill down.
“Harry, you wouldn’t mind sending this off for me, will you?” Draco asked.
Harry grit his teeth and without looking up said, “Sure.”
Soon, Harry heard the door open and close. He was alone. He stood to grab his and Draco’s reports. As he approached Draco’s desk, a base exploded behind him. Deep breaths, he told himself. Accidental magic hadn’t been a problem for him for a long while. But, he supposed there was a lot of firsts today.
Didn’t Draco say there wasn’t anyone special in his life? He always refused to meet anyone his mother wanted to set him up with. His family was desperate for an heir. Draco always refused, however.
Who was that girl?
A few months later…
“Harry! It was reckless. You could’ve gotten yourself killed!” Draco practically yelled. His face was red and he was running his hand through his hair. He only did that when he was extremely agitated.
“I’m fine. Look at me: not even a scratch,” Harry argued.
“You’re ridiculous. That’s it. I’m filing for another partner. I cannot do this anymore,” Draco said. He turned to his desk, but Harry grabbed his arm.
“Oh c'mon you don’t mean that. You love me as your auror partner. The risk makes it more fun,” Harry joked.
Draco huffed, “It’s not funny. One of these days, you’re going to get yourself killed and then I’ll be left to deal with the backlash and paperwork.” Harry nudged him on the shoulder.
“Okay, okay. I promise I won’t put myself in unnecessary danger anymore. It wasn’t my intention to upset you. I’m sorry,” Harry apologized. Draco was still facing away from
him, but Harry could tell he was slightly more at ease.
“Fine,” Draco said curtly. “I’m still writing in my report that you were impetuous. Don’t come crying to me when Kingsley gives you a talking down to.” He turned to sit as his desk.
Harry smiled and said, “I wouldn’t expect anything less.” Harry copied him and made it to his own desk. He began the paperwork, but was interrupted by Draco.
“I was wondering if I could ask your advice on something,” Draco said.
“Sure,” Harry said, looking up expectedly.
“Well, Astoria’s birthday is coming up, in September,” Draco said and Harry tried not to wince, he really did. “But I don’t know what to buy her. I found this bracelet, but I don’t know if it’s too much. Maybe I should look for rings.”
Harry completely froze at the word ‘rings.’ This could not be happening. Draco stood and walked to the front of Harry’s desk.
He ignored his feelings and said, “In September? It’s July right now!”
“Its august tomorrow. I only ask you because I’ve never gotten gifts for… lady friends. I figured you would know with Granger and the Weaslette,” Draco said.
“Well, that’s hardly the same,” Harry said. They weren’t dating him. Sure, Ginny and him had dating once upon a time, but he never bought her a gift during that time. Buying for your friends was different than buying for your partners.
“Isn’t it?” Draco asked confusedly.
Harry ignored him and asked, “What does the bracelet look like?” Draco brought up his wand, and a picture floated in front of Harry. It was gorgeous. There were more diamonds than Harry could count and they were all aligned in a beautiful design to form what looked to be swans.
“Swans are her favorite animal. Is this too much?” Draco asked self-consciously. All Harry could feel was dreadful. It felt like their was a fifty ton weight in his stomach.
“Oh my God. You’re in love with her,” Harry muttered. Before, Draco could answer, Harry gathered up his stuff. He couldn’t look at Draco right now, he just couldn’t.
“Harry,” Draco said. But Harry couldn’t. He needed to get out of there now. “Harry wait,” Draco said as Harry made his way to the door.
“I forgot I have… plans. I need to go,” Harry’s aid hurriedly and he walked out, leaving Draco behind. He didn’t see Draco’s confused expression, or the patronus message he sent to Hermione.
As he was traveling down the elevator, it stopped on the Magical Creature Department floor. Hermione saw him and immediately pulled him out.
“Hermione! What are you doing?” Harry asked incredulously. He just wanted to go home and drink himself to sleep. Why couldn’t people let him do that?
“Harry, I need your help with something,” Hermione said she was dragging him through the room filled with cubicles and people.
“Can’t it wait until tomorrow 'Mione? I want to go home,” Harry said.
“There’s an office that keeps raining. But it’s not water it’s raining, it’s mud,” Hermione said. She stopped at a closed door. It was an unoccupied office, but Harry didn’t need to know. He also didn’t need to know that Hermione was the one to spell it to rain mud.
Harry sighed and opened the door. Sure enough, the office was filled with mud and it was only getting worse.
“I would think you’d know how to fix this, Hermione,” Harry said. He raised his wand and cast, “Finite incantatem,” not really expecting it to work.
The office immediately stopped raining and Harry raised an eyebrow at Hermione.
“Oh, I didn’t think to use that spell. How silly of me,” Hermione said, a blush covering her face.
Harry stepped around her and said, “Alright Hermione, I need to get home now.”
Hermione waved him off. Again, as Harry had his back to her, he didn’t see a message patronus, this time delivering itself to Ron. He got back into the elevator and made his way all the way to the atrium, where the floo was. As he stepped out, Ron stepped up to him.
“Ron? What are you doing here?” Harry asked quizzically.
“Just wanted to surprise Hermione,” Ron said, holding up a bouquet of flowers in his hand.
“Oh,” Harry replied.
“But while I got you here, I was wondering if I could get your advice on something,” Ron said. Harry remembered being asked the same thing by Draco and he wanted to go home now more than ever.
But he stayed and asked, “What’s up?”
“Er, well Hermione and I had a little argument over… the dishes. Yeah, the dishes. She said that she wants to hand wash them the muggles way, but I said spelling them clean is faster and better. It turned into a big fight. What should I do?” Ron asked.
“Well, the flowers are a good start. I would say to er, hand wash the dishes with her. It’s easy and you can get through dishes fast,” Harry said. Ron nodded.
“I’ll see you,” Harry said. He began to walk away but Ron grabbed his arm.
“Wait!” Ron exclaimed.
“What?” Harry asks, bewildered.
“How do you hand wash dishes? I’ve no idea,” Ron said and Harry sighed.
“I’m sure Hermione will show you. I need to go now Ron,” Harry pleaded. Why did everyone and their mother need to speak with him today?
Ron let him go grudgingly and Harry stepped away. When he made it to the fireplaces, he jumped in and said his address. The familiar tugging sensation overtook him, but before he made it home, he was thrown back into the Ministry. He tried it again twice with the same results. He switched to a different fireplace, but it still didn’t work.
Great, he thought, now the floo isn’t working.
Ten minutes later, he was out of the Ministry and above ground. Once he found a deserted alleyway, he apparated to his apartment. A sigh of relief escaped his mouth as he walked up to steps to his door. He used his wand to unlock the door and bring down his wards.
When he opened the door and turned on the light, yells of “Surprise!” rang through the house. He looked around and saw all of his friends: Hermione, Ron, Luna, Ginny, Blaise, Neville, Seamus, Dean, everyone. At the front was the one and only Draco.
“Happy birthday Harry!” Hermione said.
“You guys didn’t really argue about dishes, did you?” Harry asked. Ron snorted and shook his head. Hermione stepped up to him and gave him a hug. He returned it.
“Thanks you 'Mione,” Harry said.
She shook her head and said, “Oh, don’t thank me. It was all Draco’s idea.” Harry released to look up at the man in question. Draco was biting his lip and looking unsure of himself.
“Thanks,” Harry said and Draco nodded. And the party began.
It was nice for Harry to talk to his friends and drink some beer. He had wanted something stronger, but he supposed he would have to wait. As the night passed on he tried to not follow Draco with his gaze everywhere, but old habits died hard. Draco was seemingly trying to keep to himself. Harry knew it must have been hard for him to contact everyone to invite them. Not everyone has made the best amends with him despite how much he had changed.
Everyone started to file out sometime after midnight. Most of them did have work tomorrow, after all. Harry closed the door behind Seamus and Dean, but didn’t turn around. He knew who was standing behind him. He wasn’t ready to face him even after all of this. Draco put a lot of effort into the party and Harry was grateful. But his heart was also shattered into a million pieces.
“Do you like the party?” Draco asked. Harry nodded and finally turned around.
“It was great. Thank you… Draco,” Harry said and Draco beamed.
Harry feigned a yawn and said, “But it was very tiring. Need rest for work tomorrow, you know.” He hoped Draco would take the hint.
Instead he said something completely unexpected.
“I believe you misunderstand my and Astoria’s relationship,” he said.
Harry’s eyebrows raised, “Oh?”
“We’re friends. Just friends. She helped me with something, that’s all. There’s nothing more between us,” Draco explained. Harry tired to squash the hope growing in his chest. He knew it couldn’t amount to anything.
“Why are you telling me this? Your love life has nothing to do with me,” Harry said.
Draco looked down at his feet and said, “Maybe it does.”
“What?” Harry asked.
“I didn’t give you your birthday present yet,” Draco said. He pulled a black box from his coat and stepped up to Harry. Hesitant hands took the box and opened it. Inside it was a beautiful watch. Lifting it, Harry looked at the back, where there was an engraving.
It said, “Just in case you lose yourself in time xxx”
“It’s marvelous,” Harry said.
“Yeah it is,” Draco said. Harry looked up to see Draco watching him. He was so close. His eyes flicked down to Draco’s lips and back to his eyes. Harry thought he could lose himself in those eyes forever. Draco leaned in until there was only a centimeter of space between them. He looked down at Harry’s lips and Harry lost it. He leaned in the rest of the way and their lips met. It was everything he ever hoped it would be. Draco’s lips were soft against his own. When their tongues met, Harry almost collapsed with pleasure.
After a few moments of this, Draco broke the kiss to murmur, “Happy birthday, Harry.” Then their lips joined again.
It was the best gift Harry had ever gotten.