Title: System Discordia
Author: Eris Mackenzie
Warnings: Rape, torture, slash, minor het, minor character death, adult language and situations.
Spoilers: SS, CS, PoA, GoF, OotP, HBP
Main Pairing: Harry/Draco
Secondary Pairings: Tonks/Remus, Hermione/Ron, Edmund/(early)Draco, more to come.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. Any other none Harry Potter characters and/or affiliations are owned solely by their respective owners and the author makes no claim to anything except the plot concept of this particular work.
A/N: I can really say nothing to excuse myself. I just hope that someone will read this! I very much apologise for taking...years...to update this. But do enjoy Harry's dream. Seriously, guys, this is where it starts earning that rated M for sexuality. I would have made it more explicit, but ffnet doesn't allow MA rated stories so don't blame me. Also, please excuse my writing if it seems a little rusty-it most definately is. It's a bit choppy at parts.
Chapter Sixteen: Crumbling Beneath
Let me see you stripped down to the bone
Let me hear you crying just for me
-Stripped (Shiny Toy Guns remix)
The day had started out well. Draco had whipped up another batch of fantastic pancakes for breakfast while Harry, for once, had not burned the coffee. Neither had heard much from Hogwarts with the exception of a couple of letters every few days from Hermione, Ron, and occassionally Ginny. They both had finally sat down to eat breakfast when Harry heard a sharp tap on the window.
The amiable small talk immediately ceased as both men stared somewhat confusedly at the speckled Barn owl bobbing just outside of the frost-tinted glass.
"Now what could that be about?" Draco frowned a moment later, his brows scrunching a bit. "We weren't expecting anything from Professor McGonagall, were we? And you just got a letter from Granger yesterday..."
"No, we weren't expecting anything." Harry shook his head, eyes glued on the bird. He could see a thin letter clutched tightly in its talons. The cream envelope was mundane enough until Harry saw a flash of a red wax seal.
"Ministry," Harry swore, more to himself than Draco.
Draco stood and strode to the window, undoing the latch in a surprisingly smooth motion. Swift as a paper airplane, the owl swopped in neatly and plopped the letter heavily on the table. Neither Harry nor Draco paid much attention to its exit. Both stared for a second as if the letter were a ticking time bomb. Finally, Draco reached out toward the scarred table.
"Ministry-you were right," Draco murmured as he turned it over and read his own scripted initials.
Harry half expected it to fly out of Draco's hands and start reading its message aloud, but he was grateful when he saw Draco calmly break the seal and unfold the thick pages of parchment.
He read in silence, an oppressive hush reigning for a few minutes. A cold weight pressed down on Harry's chest. Draco's body gave nothing away. Harry could not tell if it was good news or bad-though if he knew anything about the Ministry, it was probably less inclined to good. Finally, when he could take it no longer, he opened his mouth and promptly shut it when Draco beat him to speaking.
"My trial date is set for April 15," Draco announced tonelessly. "I am expected there the night before to ensure that I will not be detained or otherwise missing. They will be contacting you at the end of March for further instruction."
"That's in-" Harry quickly counted, "-four months. It's December in a couple of days."
"Yes, four months, about," Draco echoed hollowly. He was still scanning the page, though whether or not it was yielding anything satisfying was doubtful.
"...Are you okay?"
Draco, thankfully, did not immediately withdraw but instead shrugged. "I don't know," he replied honestly. "It's different having a date set on it. So definite."
"I'm sorry," Harry said sincerely.
"Stop saying you're sorry!" The ambiance in the room changed as quickly as a crack of lightning flashes. Draco spun around, hands clenched at his sides. The letter fisted in his hand. Harry was taken aback by how furious he looked.
"I-I don't know what to say, Draco!" Harry spread his palms in front of him. "Honestly, I-I just..."
Draco visibly deflated. "It's okay," he said apologetically with a softened voice. He ran his fingers haphazardly through his hair a couple of times. Harry stood and walked to Draco. He forgot to think about it before he reached out and gently rubbed Draco's shoulder. Draco's muscles tensed for a second then leaned into it.
"Just don't think about it right now, okay?" Harry attempted to comfort him. "Just take it day by day. It will bog you down otherwise."
"Right," Draco said, breaking away after a moment and turning toward the sink. "Right. Want to help me clean these?" He gestured towards the dishes. Neither one of them was in the mood to eat the breakfast now cooling on the table.
Harry hummed an agreeing sound and turned the faucet to 'hot.' He briefly considered simply spelling the dishes clean, but he welcomed the mindless menial work. It was comforting after having done it for so many years. Anything to get their minds off of the impending future.
Two days later, and Draco still would not mention his upcoming trial. Harry himself was reluctant to bring up the topic though he knew how much it bothered the young man. Truthfully, it bothered Harry as well, far more than he liked to admit. He had kept himself as busy as he could; no room in the house was safe from his meticulous dusting, scrubbing, and furniture-maneuvering. Still, he found himself with nothing to do this afternoon.
Harry wandered around aimlessly for a while. Draco was reading in another book in the library; sometimes Harry swore that the blond man read more than Hermione did. As he strolled along, he was not entirely surprised when he came to and realised he was heading in the direction of the old study, the one that housed the antique photographs-particularly the one of the ancestral Draco Malfoy.
Opening the heavy door, he was again drawn to the table near the window. This time, however, he drew open the thick, musty curtains and allowed the cool light to flood the dusty room. He sighed as he saw the thick white flakes of snow clouding the sky; it had finally broken the uncharacteristic hold.
Ignoring the photographs at present, Harry scanned the rest of the room that had been dulled by the dimness. The desk he had looted through previously stood against a wall next to a dominating cherry wood book case filled to the brim with toppled books. Random pieces of parchment stuck out of several nooks and crannies. There were three paintings in the room, none of them magicked, which still struck Harry as odd.
He walked up to one of the paintings, this one a close view of a Patagonian rosewood door with brass hinges surrounding by blooming trees and winding grape vines. Its colors had not dimmed with age as Harry would have expected but were still crisp and vibrant. He delicately traced one of the purple-white flower blossoms with the tip of his finger. It was strange, he thought, but it almost looked like they were swaying. He tilted his head closer as he rubbed across a groove, interestingly enough in the latch of the painted door, and felt a shape bumped underneath the thick canvas. He touched it again to make sure he was not imagining it.
"A keyhole?" Harry wondered aloud, shaking his head slightly. Hesitating only a second, he dug his fingers around the frame, attempting to take it down and found it was verily glued to the wall.
"What in the world...?" he muttered. He wrenched the canvas again and this time it came loose with a crunching noise.
There was nothing on the wall behind it except for a lighter shade of wallpaper. Perplexed, Harry dragged his fingers across the wall and, sure enough, felt nothing. He shook his head hard and put the painting down, leaning it to keep it upright. As he rubbed his eyes, he figured that he must be ready for a nap.
"What are you doing back here?"
Harry jumped and whipped around to find Draco standing in the half-open doorway. He was wearing his standard black slacks and a light grey button-down shirt. It ran across Harry's mind that he did not think that the blond believed in a coloured wardrobe. He did look strangely attractive in the monochrome colors though, he had to admit.
"Oh, uh...I was just wandering around and ended up here, I guess," Harry replied casually.
Draco squinted at the lighter square on the wall and then down at the landscape. "Why is that on the ground? Merlin only knows how old it is."
Harry scratched his head sheepishly. "I...I thought that I felt something behind the painting."
Draco raised an eyebrow, and Harry cursed the blush he felt rising.
"Look, that's what I thought I felt, okay?" he defended.
"Alright, no need to squash the bubotuber." Draco shrugged and waltzed into the room. He stooped a second later to pick up the painting and rested it on his hip, giving it a once-over.
Harry's eyes followed the slant of his hair down to his cheekbones. His lips were a little chapped, he noticed. He also seemed slightly thinner but it could have just been the overcast light. As he washed his gaze over the other man's silhouette, the warm, spicy scent of the blond made Harry's skin flush.
"Er..." Harry cleared his throat and averted his eyes. "Do you see anything?"
"Nope," Draco replied. "You must have been imagining things." He lifted the painting and pressed it neatly back to the wall where it sucked into place with a 'pop.'
"What is that?" Harry asked, indicating the strange sound.
"Oh, that? It's just a standard hanging spell. Easy to put up but a bugger to take down. We don't hang our pictures on nails-it ruins the wallpaper."
"What? But the portraits at Hogwarts were hung and-nevermind," Harry stopped himself at Draco's pointed look. "A pureblood thing, right?"
"A little. More like a "My wallpaper is threaded with silver" kind of thing."
"Are you serious?" Harry exclaimed. He was appauled at the decadence, as any middle class citizen in the whole of the United Kingdom would be.
"Not so much anymore, but when one has more money than one could spend in a lifetime, what else to do with it?"
"I couldn't imagine," Harry said dryly.
"Oh, by the way, you received a letter from Granger, it looks like. It is on the desk in the library."
Harry hummed his acknowledgement. He glanced over at the photographs on the table, previously out of mind, and suddenly recalled what Draco had said about his predecessor.
"Hey, Draco," Harry said. "Do you remember what you told me about the first Draco Malfoy? That they killed the only person he ever loved? What did you mean by that?"
Draco sighed shallowly. "Well, I meant exactly what I said. See, the first Draco Malfoy was somewhat of a-shall we say-lover of masculinity."
"You mean he was a poofer?" Harry blurted.
Draco's cheeks tinted pink. "Yes, though I would not have chosen to say it in such a crude manner. Either way, this in itself was of no consequence. I understand, however, in the Muggle world that there is far more controversy over such matters but children were and still are the goal in higher class wizarding families. He married a woman named Acina Gethen from a Welsh wizarding family. She had no qualms with his preferences as long as he produced an heir, which inevitably he did. She had several miscarriages before finally giving birth to a set of twins, a girl Evadne and a boy Albion. It was only after his experiments with earth magic began to gain attention did the family begin to meddle in his affairs.
"I already told you that he had apparently discovered some secret key to containing earth magic. This type of knowledge would be invaluable to the Malfoy family-imagine the influence one could hold in the palm of one's hand. With that, one would have more power than even the Dark Lord. When the family tried to force him to tell them his secrets, he refused. So, they took the man with whom he had bonded and eventually tortured him to death. Later, Draco disappeared without a trace but that didn't matter. He had already given them an heir."
Harry was silent for several long moments after Draco finished speaking. Ultimately, he said somewhat lamely, "That's awful. They are vastly different from people like Ron's family and what I know of Hermione's."
"Hm," Draco murmured quietly. "What of your family? You've hardly mentioned them."
"Oh, the Dursleys aren't my family." At Draco's questioning look, he elaborated. "What I mean is, I don't consider them family. They have never treated me like I was anything but a house elf essentially. I make a point not to make contact with them."
"See, then. You know what people can do." Draco looked down at that.
Harry realised what a sensitive subject this must be; he had almost forgotten the circumstances that had brought them to this point. 'This is your punishment for being who you are,' a harsh voice from Harry's shared memory filtered through his consciousness. Harry felt a compelling urge to apologise to Draco but smothered it. He knew how the blond would react.
"I ought to go read that letter now," Harry finally interjected into the awkward silence that had fallen between them. He barely saw Draco's nod before he turned to leave.
Afterwards, it took Harry relatively little time to get to the library considering he had to hike up two flights of spiraling stairs and down the longest hallways to date. Sometimes he was could barely believe that all of the space could possibly be contained in such an outwardly small building. Then again, he did not forget about all of the wonders of the magical tents at the Quidditch World Cup. When he finally pushed past the door, he headed towards the elegantly carved desk in the furthest corner of the room. The chandelier in the center was weighted with freshly spruced crystals that bounced the light across the room in a shower of sparkle. The heavy scent of dust and aged books itched Harry's nose.
'Dear Harry,' the letter began, 'I hope all finds you well. We have missed you! I so wish that we could come to see you more often. My exams have left little time for anything but studying. However, I did find something of interest in the library, something that you really must see. Please let me know when you can meet. My love, 'Mione.'
As he finished reading, he began to search for some parchment. He picked up a quill and dipped it in the ink, scrolling, 'Mione, must see when we can meet. Will let you know. H.'
He glanced up to see the sky beginning to darken and sighed heavily as he folded the letter then turned to head back to the lower levels.
Harry shook his head, clearing his eyes. It was dark around him. He heard hooting-an owl-then rustling trees. The dirt was soft and almost spongy underneath his thin sneakers. As his sight adjusted, the surroundings became familiar. Tall, looming trees were thick and the scarce underbrush consisted of prickly bushes and dwarfed shrubs.
It was the Forbidden Forest, not too far away from the Hogwarts grounds if Harry were to guess. He glanced up at the fluttering sound of wings in the air. Reflections of the fleeting moonlight glinted off of his glasses. From what Harry could see past the leafy canopy, there was not a single cloud in the night sky.
"Harry..." came the haunting, playful voice again. The voice, too, was familiar.
"Draco?" Harry wondered aloud, then repeated himself louder in question. The voice called again, and he trecked in the direction from which it echoed through the compact forest.
The next time he heard his name, the voice was closer. He called for the blond again and got nothing in response. He stumbled through the trees, every once in a while tripping as his feet got caught in uplifted roots. The humidity in the forest was uncharacteristically high, making his clothes seem terribly heavy. Off somewhere far, he heard the distinctive warble of an augurey. A thin fog began to curl through the trees.
Eventually, he saw a break past a dense thicket of briar bushes. The heady smell of pine needles and blooming roses curled into his nostrils. The voice sounded again. A thrilling tremble ran through Harry as he realized that the voice was no longer just calling his name but was nearly moaning it. He felt his face heat up at the thought. Pushing past the last of the prickly bushes, Harry caught sight of Draco and forgot to breathe.
The moonlight lit Draco up effulgently, gilding polished planes of his body while others were thrust into sharp darkness. He was lewdly splayed out, completely nude, on the flat rock that raised almost a meter off of the moss-covered ground. His hair was sweat-soaked and plastered to his head in thin, sandy sections. Further down, his neck curved back and Harry saw the velvety black band-the tracking device-encircling it. His eyes, usually so penetrating and cold, were thankfully closed tight. His long legs with their scant downy hair looked like they were sculpted from warm marble. Harry's breath caught as he saw those same legs rock open to reveal his fully hardened member.
As if in response to Harry's entrance into the clearing, Draco moaned as he wrapped his hands around his throbbing organ. Opalescent drops of pre-cum, like miniture pearls, glistened on the purpled head. Without his knowledge, Harry's lips parted in a half-startled groan. His heartbeat pounded in his own ears as he latched on hungrily to the sight.
"Harry," Draco moaned again. His eyes opened to languid slits, burning Harry wherever his glance happened to fall. Harry wanted desperately to move, but he was rooted as firmly to the ground as the giant oaks around him. Harry felt his trousers tighten in response to the scene; he did not have to look down to know that he was erect. Draco bored a hole straight to Harry's core as he continued to lock eyes. The mercury orbs glittered madly with some insane heat that was reflected in the heavy excitement slugging through Harry. Draco's hands never stopped moving; he bit his lip as his fingers grazed the sensitive dip beneath the glans.
Harry groaned deep in his throat but stayed stuck in position a meter and a half away. Sweat began to bead on the back of his neck and his forehead. He was nearly panting.
"Draco, what are you doing?" Harry asked desperately, attempting futilely to stave off his desire. He shook his head to clear it. "Why-what-why are you here? Why are you naked?"
Draco did not answer him but instead lifted a slender hand and crooked his finger, motioning him to come. As if suddenly released from a curse (or perhaps under the effect of a new one), Harry's feet jerked into movement and quickly strode to Draco's side. His questions went unanswered.
"Watch me," Draco whispered softly.
Harry jerked awake panting. Sweat soaked his pyjamas and made them cling uncomfortably to his skin. He was immediately aware that his body ached but not in a sore-muscle kind of way. Sleep addled his brain; however, it was not enough for him to forget his dream-or the fact that the main spectacle in said dream was sleeping next to him. Panic gripped him for a moment. He blinked rapidly then turned his head over and breathed a sigh of relief as he saw that the blond was still asleep. He did not know what had awoken him but he did not care to investigate.
Carefully, so as not to wake Draco up, he looked down and winced at the tented sheets. He took a painstakingly long time in sitting up and getting out of the bed. He had to stop and bite his lip when his erection rubbed pleasurably against his pants. Finally, he tip-toed out of the room as quietly as a church mouse. Once he was outside of the door, he quickly scrampered across the hallway and shut himself inside the bathroom.
Once facing the mirror, Harry felt like punching a hole in the glass. "Fuck! Fuck! What the hell was that about?" Harry swore angrily to himself. The ever-present shadows under his eyes looked even darker in the low light.
He ran his hands through his shaggy hair and pulled it taut for several seconds, bringing tears to his eyes. What was he thinking about? What was wrong with him? Draco was his charge, for bloody fuck's sake! He could not do this! And since when had he ever thought of men in that way? He'd only ever been with Ginny.
"Oh, gods, what am I doing?" Harry moaned. He collapsed against the counter, dropping down to his knees onto the stone tiles. His movement jarred a certain part of his anatomy, reminding him again of his rather agressive need. He had known that this feeling was creeping up, but it had felt so differently from what he had felt for Ginny-he had not experienced this molten lava eating up his body before-that he did not realize it for what it was. With Ginny, it was a gradual affection, a slow warming. With Draco, it was like getting hit by a train at full speed.
It terrified him.
Harry fought down the urge to sob and vomit at the same time and tried to steady his trembling hands. Flashes of his dreams whizzed past his mind's eye, burned the images into the backs of his retinas. He could practically still hear Draco's voice moaning his name like an auditory orgasm. Almost without him thinking about it, Harry's right hand slid along the soft fabric of his pyjama pants, stopping for just a second before sliding under the waistband. He tried desperately not to think about how wrong it was to think about these things as the delicious pressure brought him to a swift climax less than five minutes later.
As he got up to rinse his hands and face, he was grateful for the creaking ache in his knees as he stood.
Harry avoided Draco as much as he could the next morning. It was awkward just being in the same room as him. He even pretended to sleep until well past nine o'clock so that he could eat breakfast late. His dream and what happened after he awoke would not stop torturing him. He knew on one hand that it was useless to try and forget about it but he would try his hardest to try in the meantime.
He was relieved from the tension for a few minutes with a fire call from Ginny asking if she could visit for a while since it was the weekend. He gladly obliged. Now, it was nearly noon, and Harry had just walked downstairs when he heard a loud knock at the front door. A quick revealing spell showed Ginny standing, bouncing slightly on the soles of her feet as she waited.
"Hey, Ginny," Harry greeted warmly as he swung open the door.
"Hi, Harry!" Ginny grinned widely. "Can I come in?"
"Of course." Harry held the door open for her and quickly shut it after she stepped over the threshold.
"So, how have you been holding up, Golden Boy?" Ginny asked, teasing gently. She playfully nipped him on the arm and laughed when Harry circled his arms around her waist out of habit and swung her off of her feet in a half-circle. They played around for a bit, once again completely at ease with one another. It was like coming home to a warm hearth and a goblet of Butterbeer, familiar and comfortable. It also made Harry contrast how different it felt from Draco. It bothered him that it did not measure up.
He did not realise how much noise they were making while talking until he happened to catch sight of a flash of blond hair out of the corner of his eye.
"Oh, Draco." He started in surprise, abruptly dropping the arm he had wrapped around Ginny's shoulders. "I forgot to tell you that Ginny was coming over to visit," he finished somewhat guiltily.
There was an unreadable look in Draco's eyes that vanished as soon as it had come. It took Harry by surprise when Draco suddenly smiled politely and greeted Ginny with as much grace as any supreme host. Ginny, for her part, was a little taken aback at this upfront and frankly nice Malfoy but replied in kind.
"How are you feeling, Malfoy?" She seemed a little hesitant to directly address Draco and stumbled a little over his surname.
Draco again smiled graciously and said, "I'm doing well, thank you. Would you like a cup of tea? I was just about to make some."
"That sounds good, thanks."
Draco merely nodded in reply and stepped off of the staircase before turning and heading toward the kitchen. Ginny waited until Draco turned the corner and then looked at Harry with her eyebrows raised.
"Since when does Malfoy act civilised?" she asked.
Harry shrugged. "You'd be surprised by him, I think. He's actually not half the arse he was in Hogwarts."
"Really? I would have thought that he would be difficult to get along with."
"Well, sometimes," he admitted. Especially after last night's events, he remembered. "But he's changed a lot since the beginning of the war."
"Hmm..." Ginny hummed then brightened. "There was a reason that I wanted to come by. I was wondering if you would like to go out sometime. Hermione mentioned that your wardrobe was sadly lacking in winter clothing-again-and that you needed some new clothes stat."
"That sounds nice, actually," Harry said. "I'd been meaning to get some new ones lately but I haven't gotten around to it. But there is one problem."
"And what's that?"
"Draco can't exactly be seen outside, if you know what I mean," Harry explained.
"Oh," Ginny replied. Her coral lips curved into a perfect frown. "I see." She was quiet for a moment then asked, "Draco?"
It took Harry a second to realise what she was asking. "Yeah," he replied. "I've been calling him that for a while now...it's just weird calling someone by their last name all the time."
"I...could see that. It nonetheless sounds so odd to hear you saying that, Harry. Anyway," she shook her head. "What about a Disillusionment Charm? I think personatus would do. It will mask whoever it is cast on by rearranging the features. You can always change his haircolor and such, too."
"Hah!" Harry grinned. "You're good enough to rival Hermione sometimes, you know."
"Only sometimes?" Ginny laughed. "It is complement enough merely to be compared to the great Hermione Granger. If I only had half of the brains she has..."
"Nah, you're plenty brilliant." The sharp shrill of a tea kettle broke the conversation. "How about we go get that tea?"
After Ginny had left near dusk, Draco, predictably, was none too thrilled to hear about the shopping excursion planned for the next day.
"It does cross one's mind that such an outing could be extremely dangerous, does it not?" Draco admonished scathingly as he paced the sitting room floor. This was one of the rooms that Harry had scoured during his binge-cleaning.
"I am well aware, Draco," Harry replied evenly. "But have you not also noticed that neither one of us has adequate winter clothing?"
"My attire is well enough to get me through the winter, thank you very much."
"Draco." Harry gave the blond a pointed look. "You don't even own a winter coat and you've been wearing nothing but thin shirts, same as me."
Draco seemed almost scandalised that his wardrobe could in any way be compared to Harry's. "I couldn't very well take every bit of clothing with me! Ministry rules do put a limit on the number of items to which I have access."
"But you still have access to your Gringotts account, right?"
"I do," Draco admitted. "But it is monitored closely. I probably couldn't get more than 300 Galleons out, if that."
"300 Galleons?" Harry repeated incredulously. "Where do you shop? That there is a lump sum."
"Is it?" Draco waved his hand dismissively. "That may be enough for me to buy a few outfits."
Harry rolled his eyes. "It will more likely than not be difficult for you to get that amount of money out. Perhaps for simplicity's sake, I should just buy the both of ours."
For a moment, Draco was silent. Harry realised that this was perchance the first time anyone had ever offered to buy something for him. The Malfoy family, after all, were known for their wealth.
"I suppose," Draco agreed after a long pause. "But only for simplicity's sake."
"Absolutely," Harry assured him.
"This still leaves the problem of how I am going to possibly be able to go out in public without causing a riot. And that Disillusionment spell-would it not make the Ministry suspicious?"
"Already took care of that," Harry announced. "I sent a letter with Ginny to be mailed from Hogwarts informing them of when and why we were using the spell. It is not as if they can't track you wherever you go anyway."
"Fine. However, it is not my fault if they come and apprehend me, Potter."
A/N: Okay, I want honest opinions on whether or not you liked the dream scene. Too much, too little, too rushed, in the wrong place in the story? I pushed this chapter out in like two days, so I feel like it might be a little iffy. I may have to take this chapter down and do a re-write if you guys think it ought to be better.