“How could you do this to me?!” Draco screamed, glaring at the man before him—the man he’d loved for thirteen years, the man he’d thought he’d known…until now. “Thirteen years, Harry! Thirteen fucking years! Did it mean nothing to you?!”
“Draco, please—” Harry put in, following the blonde through the house.
“Am I not enough for you?! Or do you just get off on being his whore?!”
“Draco! Just let me explain!”
“No, I’m sick of your words. I’m done listening. Go back to your lover. Sorry I interrupted. I hope you’re fucking happy, Harry.” The door slammed as Draco left and the walls seemed to vibrate for moments afterward. Then Harry realized it was his body that was shaking. A hand rested on his shoulder and he turned into the warm embrace of a half-dressed Charlie Weasley.
“He’s gone,” Harry whispered. His throat was tight, choking. He couldn’t breathe.
“It’s for the best, Harry,” Charlie replied, brushing the hair back from Harry’s face. “There’s nothing standing between us now. We can be together for real, now.” He pressed his lips against Harry’s and drew him closer. Harry let himself be moved, but felt nothing. He was numb.
* * *
Two years passed and Harry found himself at the Ministry’s New Years’ Ball. He hated such affairs, but as head of the Auror Department, he was required to attend. Charlie whisked him off to the dance floor almost immediately, grinning broadly while Harry forced a smile. He hated dancing. Draco had never forced him to dance, had never even asked because he knew Harry had hated it.
Harry shook the thoughts from his head. Thoughts of Draco had been surfacing increasingly over the past year. He was always comparing Charlie to the Slytherin, always measuring them up and then growing frustrated in the end—when Charlie fell far short of Draco.
The evening passed slowly. The Minister took to the stage after a bit, giving a long and dragging speech about what he hoped to see in following year, what he hoped the Ministry would achieve. He praised Harry and his work in the Auror department, retelling the story of Harry’s capture of some of the Ministry’s most wanted criminals. The Department of International Magical Affairs had negotiated ongoing treaties with Russian wizards who’d been unsettled since the war, and managed to suppress a rebellion in St. Lucia.
Harry watched as the Minister left the stage, shaking hands with Draco Malfoy—the head of International Magical Affairs. Rumor had it that he’d be Minister himself someday. Harry wasn’t surprised. Draco had the ambition and the knowledge of wizarding government needed to rise in the Ministry.
A voice floated out over the hall, and the color in Harry’s face drained as he caught sight of Charlie on stage. He groaned, fighting the urge to run and hide—nothing good could possibly come of this.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” Charlie said, casting his charming smile about the room. “For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Charlie Weasley. For the past two years, I’ve been in love with the most amazing man. Harry, could you come up here, love?” All eyes focused on Harry at that moment, and he wanted to sink into the floor and disappear for the next decade of his life. His face red, Harry obliged Charlie and moved onto the stage. He knew where this was going, and he didn’t want it. He glanced at Draco, standing near the back of the room. Was Charlie really going to do this now, in front of everyone?—in front of Draco?
“Harry James Potter,” Charlie began, dropping to one knee and taking Harry’s left hand in his own. Harry bit back a groan as several women sighed. “Will you marry me?” Charlie pulled a velvet box from his pocket and opened it to reveal one of the largest diamonds Harry had ever seen. Harry’s jaw dropped slightly, and he turned to look at Draco. The blonde’s face was unreadable as he turned and left the hall. Harry bit his lip and nodded at Charlie, who grinned and slid the ring onto the brunette’s finger.
* * *
“Why would you do that?” Harry asked when he and Charlie arrived home. Charlie looked confused.
“Do what, love? Propose?” Harry nodded. “Because I love you, Harry. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“Why would you do it in front of him?” Charlie sobered.
“You mean Malfoy. Why does it bother you so much? He left you, remember?”
“I deserved it. Look what I did to him!”
“He seemed fine to me.”
“That’s not the point, Charlie. Why do you feel the need to rub it in his face?”
“You’re still in love with him.” Silence hit the room with a solid force. “Admit it, Harry. You still love Malfoy.” Harry kept his eyes focused on the floor, afraid of what he would see if he looked up. Charlie shook his head. “I should have seen it. You’ve been distant recently. I thought it was stress from work, but it was him. You’re still obsessed with him. Well, I have news for you, Harry. Malfoy’s gone. You made your choice years ago when you started things with me.”
Harry shook his head. “I was stupid. I threw him away, and I’ve regretted it ever since.”
“You told me he was cold, that he didn’t appreciate you. I swore I’d treat you the way you deserved.”
“He loved me; he just had a different way of showing it. I was blind.”
“No, you were heartless. You still are.”
“Charlie, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I got you into this.”
“You played me, Harry.” Harry nodded, pulling off the diamond ring and handing it to Charlie.
Harry watched Charlie pack his things, didn’t shed a tear as he left. This was what he wanted, what he’d wanted for a long time. Charlie wasn’t the man he loved—Draco was, and now he’d lost them both.