Title: Monsters (1/?)
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Bill, Remus, Draco, and more.
Words: 2,000 (this part)
Rating: PG (this part)
Content: Creature themes, dark themes, A/B/O themes, adventure, romance, smut
Summary: Monsters come in many different forms, and Harry realizes he hasn't finished dealing with all the various monsters that exist in the wizarding world. Draco has his own demons to work out, as well as a past that he can't seem to leave behind. Is the biggest monster a common enemy, or does it exist within themselves?
Author's Note: This story is a WIP that I will attempt to update weekly. Thank you so much to snugglemint for pre-reading and cheering me on! I am having a lot of fun writing this! Thank you to anyone who reads and comments. Feel free to leave any feedback you like.
Monsters at Home
Harry had almost gotten used to these quiet nights at the Burrow. Mr Weasley drowsed by the fire with a Muggle textbook tipped in his lap and a half-finished cup of tea by his side. Mrs Weasley thumped away pleasantly in the kitchen, because she could never sit still in the evenings and insisted on tidying. Ron and Hermione perched together on the sofa, she with her head in a book, ignoring Ron's constant chatter about inane, normal things. It was so nice to feel normal again and to have Ron chatting away at him. Harry blinked sleepy eyes and watched Ron gesticulate excitedly.
"...dove into a Wronski Feint, and Hooch told her off because it's not allowed at Hogwarts - which is a load of bollocks if you ask me - but luckily the scout saw it and approached Ginny afterward to ask her to audition for the team!"
"That's brilliant," Harry said, smiling. "I knew she would be spotted soon enough."
"Can you imagine? Ginny on the Hollyhead Harpies? We'd get to go to all the matches for free!"
"Don't worry, you won't be invited," Ron told her. "Wouldn't understand the game anyway."
Hermione lifted her head from her book. "Excuse me, Ron, but who came to all your matches at Hogwarts? Who sat there during practices, and who, pray, came with you to the World Cup? Was that me, or was that my twin sister?"
"Merlin, I hope you don't have a twin sister. I don't think I could handle two of you."
Why did he have to tease her like that when he knew what was coming? It was almost as if Ron enjoyed it. Harry almost chuckled but he wanted to avoid the sharp glare that Hermione now directed at Ron, so he clenched his lips and decided to just sit back and watch the show.
Just as Hermione opened her mouth to retort, a deafening scream cut through the previously amiable silence. Everyone's head turned toward the stairs and Mr Weasley jumped awake in his chair, his book slipping off his lap and falling with a thud to the floor. Mrs Weasley ran into the room asking, "What in god's name was that?"
Hurried feet stomped down the stairs, and then Fleur appeared, her face even paler than usual and her eyes large. She was muttering in French so fast it was impossible to understand her… or it would be even if Harry spoke French.
Mrs Weasley reached out to her, pulling Fleur away from the steps and leading her over to the sofa. "My goodness, Fleur, what happened?" Ron and Hermione made room as Fleur's shaky body joined them.
"I… I cannot stay any longer," Fleur said.
Mrs Weasley hesitated and then took a step back, staring at Fleur with a mixture of pity and fear. She then locked eyes with Mr Weasley, whose dark circles seemed suddenly darker and his wrinkled brow more creased.
"I am finished with heem!" Fleur screamed. "'E will kill me." And then she let her face drop to her palms and sobbed.
"Did he hurt you?" Mrs Weasley asked quietly. It was like she already expected the answer to be yes.
Fleur's sobbing grew soft, and then it was only sniffles. She wiped her eyes with her fingers, and her nose with the back of her hand.
Harry realized he was half standing in his seat. He let go of the arms of the chair and flexed his fingers, settling back down, but his gaze traveled to the stairs. "I'll go up and check on him."
"I'll come with you," Ron offered immediately, and Harry nodded.
The upstairs hallway was quiet… Too quiet. From their work with werewolves, Harry knew that was a bad sign. When werewolves hear a human approach, they go deathly still and lie in wait. Even though Bill wasn't a full-on werewolf, the full moon still made him crazy. They had been worried about something like this happening tonight.
They were prepared.
Besides, he and Ron had experience now. They knew what they were doing. Chasing down Greyback's old pack was no simple task, and if Harry had learned anything on the job, it was to give a werewolf nowhere to hide. Surround him on all sides, making sure he had nowhere to run. When a werewolf was panicked and confused, he lashed out savagely, and contrary to popular opinion, that was the easiest time to take him down.
Harry paused by the door to Bill and Fleur's bedroom and looked back at Ron, who nodded. Harry held up three fingers to count down, then lowered one… two… three!
He kicked the door open and they both charged into the room at once and yelled, "LUMOS!"
There were no more dark corners for Bill to hide, and he leapt at them on all fours like a wild beast. Harry was not used to seeing his twisted and enraged face, made even more animalistic by the deep scars, and he found himself momentarily caught off guard.
It was Ron's voice that dominated the room, and in an instant Bill was restrained by thick lengths of rope. As much as he struggled, thrashing his arms and legs, he couldn't pull free of them.
Harry scanned Bill's handsome face but there was no trace of his previous self there; he was not Bill at all. Harry felt a heaviness in his chest as he watched the almost unrecognizable wriggling heap of a man on the floor in front of him.
Ron's face was blank. "We have to Firecall Remus," he said, before neatly side-stepping Harry and leaving the room.
Harry knew Ron well enough to give him some space. He waited a moment, averting his gaze from Bill because looking at him was making his stomach queasy, and then followed behind Ron.
Draco tore the parchment into thirty little pieces and threw them into the fire, where they sizzled and steamed until they were just black dust mingling with the rest of the ash.
If he got another one of these letters he'd go mad.
He feared he was already going a bit mad as it were, all alone in this townhouse, where the floors squeaked even though no one else lived with him and the windows were drafty no matter how many charms he placed. Every time he heard a noise, he thought Greyback had found his way inside and was finally coming for him. It was enough to give anyone a jumpy heart. No wonder Draco barely slept anymore.
Don't run from me, pretty.
He could hear that grizzly voice as if it were yesterday.
And then the note. Echoing Greyback's words from those days when he had prowled the Manor: "I know where you live, pretty. I know where you sleep."
I know where you sleep.
The thought of climbing back into his bed that night made Draco sick.
After another sleepless night pacing his sitting room, kipping restlessly on the sofa and jerking awake to nightmares, Draco had had enough. Normally he would never do this, would rather face another Hippogriff than show his face at the Ministry, but he decided he was just too tired to give a fuck anymore. He didn't even bother to put on a fresh shirt or comb his hair, just tossed on his thick, black robes, the ones with the hood - it was raining, as it had been for days - buckled his tall boots, and stepped out.
"Mr Robards is busy today," said the lady outside his door.
"I doubt he will see anyone today," she insisted.
"I said it's fine," he said while plopping into a chair outside the office door. It was either wait here for Robards, who would likely never see him, or wait at home for Greyback, who would most likely show up any day to claim him.
Besides, it was peaceful here. It was … busy. There were other people here walking the corridors and chatting amiably. Aurors, no less. Despite the twitchy secretary who was obviously unnerved by his presence, it was not a bad place to be at all. The chair was comfortable enough, and he could lean his head back against the wall and close his eyes… And breathe easy… And…
"What are you doing here, Malfoy?"
Oh, bugger it, he had just been about to doze off.
Draco opened his eyes to the familiar voice. Sure enough, there he was, looking all Potter-ish and windswept.
Windswept? Bloody hell, he was tired.
"What does it look like?" Draco crossed his arms and crossed his ankle over his knee. "I'm waiting for Robards. That's his name on the door, isn't it?" And with that, he closed his eyes again.
"When the door's closed, he's usually away or not seeing anyone."
The secretary chirped up. "Like I said!"
Draco ignored both of them.
After a silent moment, Potter spoke to the secretary. "Will you give this to him when he's back?" There was a ruffling sound of parchment, and Draco pictured Potter handing her something. "Tell him it's for the Greyback case."
Draco opened his eyes, his heart jumping. "What did you just say?" he demanded.
Potter and the secretary both turned to him with bewildered looks. The lady looked like she dearly wished he would get out of there at once. Potter, on the other hand, slowly looked Draco up and down, as if he was just seeing him for the first time.
And to be fair, this was the first time Potter had seen him in a while, Draco figured. He had seen Potter nearly every day in the last year, as did the entirety of Wizarding Britain, what with Potter's face splattered constantly in the Prophet. Draco had intimate knowledge of that face, of those brooding eyes and the taut line of Potter's lips. He felt like he had for a long time.
Which infuriated him.
Why should Potter's face be as familiar to him as his own mum's? Why did Potter always - always - claim that special spot?
"Well?" Draco's irritation made his neck hot under his wool coat. "I'm here about Greyback."
Potter's eyes narrowed. "What about him?" He walked closer to Draco and lowered his voice. "Do you know something about his whereabouts? If you do, Malfoy, you need to tell us."
Draco balked. "I'm not trying to keep anything from the Ministry, Potter!" Two fucking minutes in Potter's presence, and he already wanted to scream in frustration and clob Potter across the face. "I wouldn't be sitting here if I wanted to hide something. Are you being stupid on purpose?"
Potter frowned. "Do you know something?"
"I…" Draco's shoulders lost their tension. "I don't know." He swallowed. Whether he liked it or not, it was becoming clear he was going be getting into this with Potter, of all people. "I want to talk to Robards about it."
"I'm working on the case, you can talk to me."
"I know, I… I read in the paper you were one of those looking for him."
Draco suddenly noticed Potter was in an Auror's uniform. Which made sense seeing as Potter was, in fact, an Auror. It suited him. Even with this strange new exterior, he was still so genuinely the Potter that Draco remembered, just instead of Gryffindor robes hanging open, his Auror jacket was, and his shirt was ever unbuttoned.
Draco realized Potter always looked like he had just dismounted a broom.
He stood from his seat. Potter didn't even take a step back. Something about that was both infuriating and infinitely appealing.
"Do you have an office?" Draco asked. "It's a long story."
Potter raised his eyebrows. At the mention of a story, his eyes lit with something like curiosity. "Is it the kind of story that requires a drink?"
Sweeter words were never spoken. "It absolutely does."