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Way Down We Go

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EPILOGUE

8 months later

Draco caps the final potion flask—an experimental version of Dreamless Sleep that shouldn’t be habit-forming—and packages the samples into a box to send with the morning post which will be leaving in...

He checks the time and sighs.

...two hours.

And he hasn’t slept yet.

Signing on as a researcher for Apothecary Labs was something like a dream come true, but it certainly has taken up a lot of his free time. At least he doesn’t need to teach tomorrow.

Draco cleans up his work space and sends for a house elf to come collect the parcel and then, finally, he heads upstairs to bed.

He and Harry had been given a collection of rooms at the top of the east tower as faculty-in-residence accommodations. The views are spectacular, but it is an awful lot of stairs.

Billy had suggested an elevator when she and Lavon had come to visit the first time and Draco had laughed then, but now, months later, after many long, exhausted treks up from the potions lab in the dungeon, he wonders if that’s an option.

Draco sets his briefcase by the door and shrugs off his outer robe with a sigh.

“Harry?” he calls softly.

It’s still the full moon, even if it’s close to dawn, and more often than not that means he’s with the kids. It’s partially why Draco spent most of the night in the lab. He doesn’t like sleeping alone.

Except something moves in front of the fire and Draco realises that the kids are, in fact, here.

Harry’s larger form is bracketed by two medium-sized wolves—the sixth-years. Two smaller wolves, a fifth and a third year, are tucked against his belly, and one very small wolf—Teddy— is curled up on top of Harry’s ribcage like Harry is an overlarge, living, bed.

Draco sighs. “Tell me you at least didn’t let them on the sofa.”

“He let them on the sofa,” a girl says.

Draco jumps to find Josephine—call me Jo, what were my parents thinking—a seventh year, perched on the arm of said sofa. She’s a tiny thing: white blonde hair cut in a pixie that makes her silver eyes and high cheekbones all that more distinct. She’s half-veela and entirely unapologetic about it.

“I thought these were dog park hours,” Draco says, moving to put on the kettle. “Are you alright?”

“Oh, I’m fine, River was just anxious because it’s her first full moon without a potion. Well. The first intentional one anyway. She wanted me here just in case.”

Jo and River were relatively famous on campus. 

Both beautiful. Fashionable. Intelligent. Both on the quidditch team. And obviously, exceptionally, in love. They are the definition of a Gryffindor power couple.

They’d met in a chat room for creature-hybrid wizards two years before they’d ever met in person and they’d been together since the day they arrived at Hogwarts and met face-to-face the first time last term.

There’s a password-protected video online somewhere that nevertheless has over a million views of Jo quite literally running through the crowded train platform and leaping into River’s arms.

Harry has told Draco in the soft space between sleep and waking that River and Jo have something like a transference bond, except they mostly use it for emotion. That, until Harry had begun training River, the only thing she could remember from being shifted were the times when River would leave FaceTime open before she transformed and Jo would spend the night talking and singing to her from the computer screen. At the moment, it’s only when Jo is present that River can manage to shift outside of the full moon. And twice now Draco has seen Jo become frustrated to the point of shifting on the quidditch field during practice—teeth too sharp and eyes too bright, fingers hooking into claws—but each time River has swept in for a quiet word and within minutes everything is fine again.

Harry is worried they’re a little codependent.

Draco thinks that’s laughably hypocritical.

“Well,” he says, pulling two mugs down from the cabinet, “how did everyone do?”

Jo stretches. “Good. Lucy and Elliot both shifted without help before the moon rose. Parker only took a half-dose potion and seemed totally chill. Teddy didn’t pee on anything inside this time. River fought the shift a bit at first but Professor Potter calmed her down. I think she was just worried about accidentally hurting someone.”

“Not you, surely.”

“No,” Jo says with a small, pleased smile. “Her wolf would never hurt me. She was just afraid for the others. But they’ve been fine. They wore themselves out in the forest and I nearly froze to death on the broom following them. And then we all came back here and Elliott’s girlfriend snuck up to bring us some snacks and pet him. And then they fell asleep and I’ve been studiously working on my potions homework ever since.”

“That won’t curry favour,” Draco says.

She doesn’t need to curry favour. She’s already one of his favourites.

“Of course not.”

The kettle clicks and Draco pours two mugs of tea: caffeinated for Jo, who is clearly planning to just go without sleep, and chamomile for Draco who is planning to fall into bed shortly and sleep for most of the day.

He hands off Jo’s mug to her and goes to crouch by Harry’s head.

“Morning, Potter,” he says, unable to resist stroking his nose for a moment. “I’m for bed. I expect you to send the riff-raff home as soon as the sun comes up and join me post-haste.”

Harry blinks in agreement and Draco gives him a last scratch behind one ear.

Draco stands, saluting Jo with his mug, and groans his way up the spiral staircase to their bedroom at the top of the tower.

He deposits Lyra in her terrarium, strips, and takes a perfunctory shower that warms him externally as the tea warms him internally and then he buries himself in the two duvets on the bed and falls immediately asleep.

He wakes an indeterminable amount of time later when Harry slips into the cocoon of warmth to join him.

“Morning,” he whispers. 

“Mmph.” Draco says. “Everyone alright?”

“Yeah. Kids are all human and back to their rooms. Well. I’m pretty certain Jo and River are back to River’s room, and Elliot is in Sarah’s, but who am I to judge?”

“If the administration didn’t want students sharing beds, they shouldn’t facilitate it with those gigantic four posters with curtains you can spell shut,” Draco murmurs.

“Did you ever sneak someone into your bed?” Harry asks.

Draco scoffs. “Of course not. You know you were my first.”

Harry bites the back of his neck. “I do.”

“Shh.” Draco says. “I’m not done sleeping yet.”

Harry curls up closer behind him, tucking Draco against his chest; knees to backs-of-knees and a palm pressed, proprietary, to his sternum. 

Draco feels Harry take several long breaths, nose pushed into his hair.

“Missed you,” Harry says with a pointed shift of his hips.

Sleep, Potter,” Draco insists.

“Alight, alright.”

He feels a few, lingering, presses of Harry’s mouth against his throat, and then they settle into stillness.

Draco brings one hand up and tucks his fingers in between Harry’s.

“Love you,” he whispers, not to be conciliatory but just because it’s true.

Harry exhales and Draco can feel how pleased he is through their bond. How happy.

“Love you,” Harry answers. “And I’ll clean the sofa tomorrow. Promise.”

“You’d better.”

They sleep.