a handful of birthdays
on harry’s 20th birthday, luna brought draco to the pub, but he sat quietly and didn’t talk. harry got far too drunk. memories of the war were fresh and any opportunity to forget led to three too many shots and an extra pint or two of beer. harry didn’t say anything to draco, not even acknowledging him beyond the polite nod of recognition he’d given when draco had sat down. he was too tired to fight anyone anymore and draco just sat enigmatically sipping slowly on a drink harry didn’t recognize.
on harry’s 21st birthday, they were back at the pub but this time draco smiled all night and laughed when harry made stupid jokes. luna rested her head on his shoulder when she got too tired and he held her close. he gave harry a book about curses, promising not to use any of them against him with his signature on the first page.
on harry’s 22nd birthday, draco looked soft in the warm light of ron and hermione’s flat. harry’s heart skipped several beats when draco caught his eye and signaled him to step outside, but settled into a familiar dull ache when draco simply handed him a tin of dark chocolates. “they’re dosed with a potion that will help you sleep.” draco neglected to mention that he’d spent months creating them just for harry and lied about the scar on his left hand that he’d burned in the process. harry watched draco’s lips while he talked, mind reeling, but hugged his friend goodbye at the end of the night.
on harry’s 23rd birthday, ginny begged and begged until he relented and everyone ended up in the middle of a deafening club, dancing raucously, throwing caution to the wind, in a way draco commonly enjoyed criticizing. harry’s heart stumbled when draco appeared at the bar, loud lights changing his white blond hair a million colors, a glass of sparkling water in each hand. everyone screamed when ginny and pansy kissed on the dance floor, but draco laughed knowingly and tugged on harry’s hair to catch his attention before throwing him a wink. disarray dissolved into absolute chaos after that and somehow everyone else was gone at half past midnight and draco offered to walk harry home.
“soooo, our exes are an item i guess.”
“i hardly count pansy as an ex,” draco snorted and harry looked up too quickly when the backs of their hands bumped together.
“still though. it’s…”
harry floundered for something to say and came up with nothing, but with draco it was okay. they listened to the night and the cars on the street and the happy music spilling out of one fourth floor flat three streets from harry’s place. their hands bumped together twice more, but harry forced his gaze to remain on the sidewalk.
at the entrance to harry’s building, he stalled, turning towards draco and opening his mouth to say something, anything, when draco kissed him.
it was unlike any kiss harry had ever had, washing over him in equal parts panic, shock, delight, and sweet sweet, long-awaited relief. when draco pulled away he smiled nervously, rubbing the back of his own neck with an uncertainty antithetical to the grip he’d had on harry’s neck moments before.
“i’m sorry, i just-“
“no. we should’ve done that a long time ago.”
“really? because-” harry laughed and cut him off, kissing him until neither of them could breathe.
on harry’s 24th birthday, they held hands under the table at the burrow. happiness tickled them all and it was loud in the way that it hadn’t been after the war. after fred and tonks and remus and all of their friends. around the fire that night, they talked about the people they missed in the way that people do when they have wounds that will never heal. but even with a heavy heart, harry fell asleep warm and grateful and with his person, not wishing his world was any different.
on harry’s 25th birthday, draco sat at the foot of his hospital bed, reading a novel and waiting for harry to wake. when he did, draco kissed his cheeks and rolled his eyes at harry making light of the situation. harry forced draco to crawl under the covers with him even though draco had claimed it beneath him. draco’s entire torso fluttered with stupid butterflies when he handed harry the jewelry box.
“merlin, draco is this-”
“i asked if they’d let me keep the bullet when they took it out. they thought i had lost the plot, but I really played up the distressed lover act and they relented.” he helped harry put the necklace on. “i… salazar, this sounds so juvenile but in this book i read they said ‘i’d take a bullet for you,’ and i… fuck, harry, there’s nothing i wouldn’t do for you.”
on harry’s 26th birthday, he stretched lazily in the italian sun like a cat. draco watched him run down to the water’s edge appreciatively and ignored the puppy dog eyes that begged him to join. they pretended they were strangers but couldn’t keep up the act and laughed eating chocolate-covered strawberries under a thick blanket of stars. harry kissed draco’s neck and hummed contentedly into his warm skin. draco’s hands combed through his messy hair and they talked about their first kiss all those years ago, grinning like fools. fools in love.
on harry’s 27th birthday, they went back to their favorite pub with their favorite people, but didn’t get drunk. they rarely drank anymore and went home at eleven. draco was embarrassed but harry just squeezed his hip and told him he wanted to grow old with him anyways and that they might as well start now.
on harry’s 28th birthday, he sat on the floor of his kitchen with a bottle of dark liquid, half empty and no tears left to cry. he’d been dreading the day for weeks. it didn’t matter who wished him happy birthday, because he knew that the one person who really mattered wouldn’t say a word. his heart ached in a way he hadn’t thought was survivable and in his darkest moments, he still didn’t know how he could possibly keep on living. nothing was right without draco and it wasn’t fair that he felt so empty when draco appeared to be completely fine. how could draco be so okay without him? draco lived in his head, their arguments playing on a loop. but more than that, harry couldn’t stop thinking about the good times, the best times. he couldn’t stop dreaming about the way draco held his hand when they were in public and the way he mouthed the words to whatever book he was reading when he thought no one was watching. harry missed him so badly he couldn’t even breathe.
on harry’s 29th birthday, harry was breathless with laughter in his sitting room with his friends. rose sat on his lap, trying to steal his glasses, while teddy performed a dramatic reenactment of harry running into a pole at the park the day before. someone knocked on the door. he handed rose to her father and was met by draco on his porch. his hair was longer, but he was the same as harry’s draco had always been, sinfully beautifully, with soft eyes and pinked cheeks.
fooooor @drarrymicrofic prompt: bullet