Day 227: I Didn't Know Where Else to Go
Harry, for all intents and purposes, enjoyed his nice quiet life.
He loved his quiet, one-room cottage by the sea, with his garden in the back full of fresh vegetables and flowers, and his lovely hive of bees. He loved Mable, the scruffy mutt that had shown up on his doorstep, looking for food and then never left. No one in the village knew him as anything other than James Evans and it was the most peace he'd found in his life.
Harry absolutely did not miss being in the aurors. He didn't miss the press, the constant niggling anxiety that was present whenever he was in wizarding communities.
No, the quiet was enough.
It had been so quiet in his cottage for so long, that the pounding on his door one night in the middle of a wild storm made him summon his wand before he moved slowly to the door.
There was another round of a fist banging against the door before he finally blew out the nerves and yanked it open.
He wasn't prepared for the man who fell through the door, stumbling as though it had been holding him up.
"Draco?" he asked, catching him and bearing most of his weight as the other man slumped on his feet; cold, wet fingers clinging to Harry's shirt.
"Sorry," he whispered, silver eyes taking in Harry's face like he was noticing every new wrinkle, every last sun worn freckle. "I didn't know where else to go."
And then he promptly passed out.
Harry carried him over to the bed before locking the cottage door and warding it against whoever might be after Draco. Then he set to work, stripping the other man of his soaking wet clothes, finding numerous bloody gashes and deep red and purple bruises.
(Read more below the cut)
"Shit," he hissed, casting a series of diagnostic charms he'd learned both as an auror and as the former partner of the man in front of him, who held no real regard for his own life. He cast a series of spells to stabilize the other man's condition before going back to his bedroom and digging his case out from under his bed.
Harry spent the next hour and a half tending to wounds, using the spellbook he had, along with half a dozen potions before he was satisfied with Draco's diagnostics.
He managed to get Draco into a pair of loose pajama bottoms before pulling the blankets up over him and stoking the fire, adding a few more logs for good measure. Then he sat down in the armchair and let himself drift while he waited for Draco to wake up and explain himself.
Draco had always been a stubborn sod.
Honestly, he shouldn't have even been surprised that the other man hadn't woken up by the time Harry did the following morning.
He went about his business as usual, letting Mable out into the back garden to chase away any rabbits that might be contemplating his vegetables, before making a pot of coffee and starting in on the bread making he did every other day.
The morning went on as usual and Harry was just pulling the bread out of the oven when the spell he'd left over Draco to alert him to movement went off.
"Your stomach always did wake you up," Harry called softly, his voice carrying across the small space.
Draco groaned, rolling and wincing, "Harry?" he asked, eyes blinking open like it was difficult.
"Hey," he said, sitting on the edge of the bed and brushing Draco's hair back out of his face.
His eyes fixed on Harry, soft and warm and for a moment it was like they'd never left. Ten years of time and space disappeared as though they'd never existed in the first place.
"I shouldn't be here," he said, eyes clouding again. "Sorry, I've put you in danger-"
"Hey," he said, gently pressing him back against the mattress. "You're not going anywhere. You've suffered massive internal injuries, you need to rest and-"
"I need to go," he repeated, struggling to stand.
Harry touched his shoulder, "You're not going anywhere. You said last night that you didn't know where else to go."
"I was delirious."
"I'm aware," he replied. "But I ran diagnostics; you didn't have any tracers on you, there's been no abnormal magical activity within a 10 kilometer radius, my cottage is warded and it's unplottable. We're safe."
Draco sank back against the pillow for a moment, rubbing his face with his hands.
He took in the curve of his wrists, even narrower now than they'd been when they'd worked together. He'd lost weight, too, and Harry's gut churned uneasily. "You've been working too hard," he said softly.
"Someone had to," Draco snapped and Harry recoiled, standing and moving back to the bread he'd left sitting on the counter. "Sorry," Draco said, and even without looking at him, Harry knew he was shaking his head. "I didn't mean that."
"You did," Harry replied evenly as he spread butter and then honey on a warm slab of bread. "Do you still like honey in your tea?" he asked as he prepared a cup for himself.
"Yes," he murmured, defeated.
Harry returned a few minutes later, handing Draco a plate with bread and a cup of tea before sitting down in the armchair once more.
"I'm sorry," he repeated.
"I never have been good at keeping myself from antagonizing you."
"Yes, well," he said before sipping his tea, "Wouldn't feel right if you weren't, so," he let the rest of the sentence drop, shrugging a shoulder.
"What do you do here?" Draco asked.
He shrugged again, "I bake bread and I garden. I take my dog for walks on the beach. I tend my bees."
"And you're happy doing that?" he asked as though he couldn't quite believe it.
Harry hummed, "I stopped trying to atone a long time ago."
The other man didn't say anything to that, probably didn't want to start a fight, but that was okay. Harry didn't mind the silence. He'd actually grown rather accustomed to it.
"Don't you miss it?" Draco asked eventually, tearing the crust of his bread between his slender fingers.
"It or you?" Harry replied.
He shrugged, "either. Both."
"It, no," Harry said softly. Then he waited and Draco's eyes found his, "You? Everyday."
"Harry," he whispered, face crumpling.
He reached over and took Draco's hand in his, "I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't watch while you did everything in your power to get yourself killed. Every mission we took," he shook his head, "It's like you were looking for danger."
"Someone had to-"
"I couldn't anymore," he repeated.
Draco stared down at his hands clasped in his lap, "I know."
"Still hurt, though," Harry finished for him. "You were always welcome to come with me, you know."
"I wasn't ready."
He hummed, "And now?"
Draco shook his head, "It's too late now. You've built your whole life here, it's safe and quiet. I'd just bring all of the chaos and-"
"It's not too late," he interrupted. "I got bees, Draco," he said, "so I could make you tea and slather your toast in honey. I bought a cottage by the sea because you always said you wanted to live by the sea someday, the humid air was good for your complexion and all of that. I learned to bake bread because you love the smell of bread in the oven. I've carved out a place for you here," he added, feeling small and afraid in a way he hadn't in a long time. "I want you here."
He blinked at him, "You can't mean that."
"They're hunting me," he started. "The ministry-"
"They'll stop," Harry replied. "They stopped looking for me. They'll stop looking for you, too. Eventually."
He still looked uncertain, "You haven't seen me in a decade," he said. "And you just want me to stay here? You don't know anything about me anymore-"
"I'll learn." He brought Draco's knuckles to his lips, "I've never stopped loving you. You just have to let me."
Draco stared at him, tears in his eyes.
"Let it go," he murmured. "You've done enough. Just," he sighed, "Stay."
Harry'd never been so relieved in his life as the moment that Draco nodded and threw himself into Harry's arms. He hadn't ever fancied himself particularly gifted in Divination, but with Draco's body pressed against his, Harry knew that everything was going to turn out just fine.
This is very out of order. But it's the prompt that sparked a little bit of joy today.
Read my other ficlets here.
Take pride in being a lesbian. There's nothing lesbophobes can say that should get to us. Thanks to our existence women can be homosexual, can be more often that not gender non-conforming, can be more often than not going against the standards pushed on women under patriarchy. We expand the box of what it takes to be a woman, we were always there but it's taking time for others to acknowledge us and accept us as a full part of the family. Their perception is what needs to shift, we have nothing to be sorry about, nothing to adjust to please their narrow view of womanhood. We are each SHE, we each have a potential of pride and self-love in us if we care enough about not listening to those trying their best to burden us with their hatred, we are not doing womanhood wrong, we are women just the same, we are not inverted or having a male spirit or male brain, we can love other women with all our tenderness and desire, if anything it makes us closer to anything female. Nothing stands naturally against us and other women, our love is natural, there is no man in our intimacy destroying the bond between one another because our heart prioritises women and we wouldn't want it any other way. 💖
We have nothing to do with people pushing us to put distance between us and our lesbian identity, it's not separable, I am not a non-woman (whatever the new trendy word is) for being a lesbian, none of these lesbophobes will succeed to brainwash me into thinking this is what it must means since I am not into men and not conforming to femininity either. We are powerful, handsome, beautiful just the way we are, our diversity and our difference is a strength, not a fundamentally incompatible fact with womanhood. I love being a tomboyish lesbian, when I was younger and having internalised sexism and homophobia (so, internalised lesbophobia) I used to cringe and shiver at the thought of being called a woman after growing a little older. Now I am proud of being "just" that. We are surrounded by amazing examples, heroines, warriors, queens, daily heroes, the straight ones and the bi ones along our lesbian sisters, we are one. This is what pride looks like, it doesn't split between identities, acceptance of being a lesbian came along acceptance of being a woman. Different from the majority because of that one detail (being homosexual) but the same in nature. Without us the female existence wouldn't be complete, we are the puzzle piece that other women need to be so powerful as a group. United, we stand. 💖💖