DISCLAIMER: Warning! I make no claim to any property of J.K. Rowling's, and am in no way profiting by this. I do offer her my sincerest thanks for allowing us this garden of the mind in which we play. Further Warning! This story...and likely any I ever write…are dominated by gay themes and characters. That's how it is, if this in any way makes you uncomfortable...do not read further.

Of Prophecies And Ironies…..by Samayel

Draco strolled confidently through Malfoy manor, secure in the knowledge that, second to his father, he was the master of his domain. It wasn't always easy, being a Malfoy…but there were numerous perks. Wealth, influence, a magical pedigree nearly a thousand years long. Wonderful things all, but everything has its price. This 'Dark Lord business' was the current price, and Draco already considered it to be a bit steep.

Draco was already a dozen steps from his father's study when he heard the hushed voices and soft crackle of a Firecall. He quickly paused and listened in perfect silence.

"…accordance with the prophecy, he should be ready on the new moon. See to it that he is there, and our victory will be secure." The Dark Lord's raspy hiss was all too familiar.

"Yes, my Lord. Draco will be presented to you at the appointed hour. May I attend the ritual, my Lord?" There was something decidedly unhealthy about his father's tone of voice. Draco was suddenly completely on edge.

"As you wish, Lucius. I find the notion of you observing the proceedings…entirely amusing. By all means, do join us. If I am feeling generous afterwards, you may be permitted to sate yourself when I am through with him. Just see to it that he is there."

Draco blanched. He'd grown up with whispered conversations that subtly implied debauchery performed with Mudbloods or Muggles, but no such talk had ever suggested him as the victim!

"Very well, my Lord. It shall be done." His father's words sounded like a coffin lid slamming shut. The puff and hiss of the Firecall ended, and Draco knew to make himself scarce.

On the way back to his room, Draco's thoughts were nearly outracing his heart. Prophecy, ritual, new moon, victory…it was a lot to take in, and he needed information. He changed course and made his way to the library. If there was a prophecy that involved him, he might find it here, and thanks to generations of careful magical cross-referencing and indexing, it wouldn't take long.

Less than an hour later, a very pale and nervous Draco Malfoy stepped out of the library, one all-important page tucked into the pocket of his robes. The new moon was five days away, and he had plans to make, but few choices. There was only one choice really. Stay or go. That choice had already been made in the second that he read the prophecy. The hard part was figuring out where to go.

Draco returned to his room, sat down at the desk and penned three quick letters. His owl was off and winging its way toward Draco's freedom a few minutes later. Then Draco sat and looked around the room.

There were so many little things that made this place home. He couldn't hope to take them all with him. When he'd read that fateful passage in the library, his entire world had changed. This wasn't home anymore. It felt like an enormous trap, a giant maw closing in on him, dragon's teeth tearing through his bones, ready to devour him whole.

He looked in the mirror, noticed his disheveled state, and quickly sorted himself out with a bit of grooming. It wouldn't do to look nervous, especially not now!

The figure in the mirror distracted him. He'd never looked in this mirror and seen fear before. Pleasure, admiration, slight frustration over some petty, imagined blemish, but never fear. Today was different.

The boy in the mirror was seventeen years old, pale, fey, and blond. His body was slim and voluptuous, hinting at a woman's curves, yet still clearly male. The hands were soft and manicured, never having known toil. The face was unlined by worry, and had never known a razor's cruel kiss. Some would have considered it a handsome face, but in all honesty, Draco knew that most would have called him pretty. He hated the word, it sounded so…so feminine, but he knew that it was true.

His father appeared in the mirror behind him. Draco poured his heart and soul into remaining calm, knowing full well that, if Lucius twigged to Draco's plans, he'd have Draco drugged and chained to a basement wall for the next five days. Lucius had failed the Dark Lord once, and it didn't seem likely that the elder Malfoy would allow that to happen twice.

"Draco, I have word from our rightful Lord." His father's tone was level and pleased. Pleased!

Carefully schooling his every expression, Draco turned and looked Lucius in the eye. "Yes, Father."

"Our Lord has chosen to accept you as one of his own, and you will take the Mark this new moon. I will take you to the ceremony myself, and you will join us in a revel that night. Does this please you?" The question was heavily laden with mingled amusement and suspicion. Lucius was already uncertain about his son's commitment to the cause.

Draco played the part of a lifetime, sighing with relief and smiling wickedly. "Salazar's Breath! It's about time. I was starting to worry that he didn't want me! Father, I'll make you proud."

Lucius smiled like a shark, all teeth and no joy. "Of course you will, Draco. Of course you will. Just be presentable and ready on the new moon, and I expect you to maintain your dignity at all times. The Mark can be painful to accept, but if you bear it silently, all present will admire your strength. Don't fail me."

"I won't. I swear it. No one will see a Malfoy falter. They'll know that we're his chosen for a reason." Draco smiled and let his eyes glint with a ferocity that was as convincing as it was fraudulent. Buried in his heart, utter contempt was fueling his guise.

His father switched to smaller talk, and Draco found it easier to feign comfort. Eventually, Lucius left him alone, and Draco returned to his plans for freedom.

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There were only two days left until the new moon. Draco had gotten his answers by owl, by Firecall, and by second hand messengers. He'd left his things unpacked until now, to avoid arousing suspicion. Even the house-elves couldn't be trusted to keep silent about his actions, and so he had maintained a cover of bored indolence for three days, even while his sleep was fitful with panicked dreams.

Now it was time. Draco cast a single spell, and the bulk of his belongings swirled into a lone enchanted chest, which he shrunk to fit into his pocket. Draco opened the window of his suite, climbed aboard his broom, and shot out of Malfoy manor like a bat out of hell (an analogy that was uncomfortably close to the truth.)

When he reached the edge of the wards, he landed quickly, and began a series of Apparitions, the better to muddy his trail. The last Apparition placed him in a small room in the back of The Three Broomsticks. Draco quickly sorted his robes out and fixed his slightly mussed hair, then walked into the common room with a nonchalance that most people only wished they could manage.

Blaise Zabini rose from his seat and moved to the stairs, not a trace of tension in his step. Draco waited several minutes, then followed after.

Zabini was waiting, wand at the ready, in a spare room for private gatherings, one of several that could be rented for small parties. Draco met him with wand drawn, and both stood silently, staring each other down with equally steady hands.

Zabini spoke first. "I made the contacts you requested. You can get a meeting today, if you still want it. They don't like it, and they don't like you, but they'll listen. That's all I could do."

Draco nodded. There was no trust between them, and none could be afforded. The Zabini's had never joined Voldemort's ranks, and were suspected of involvement with Voldemort's enemies, but there was no proof. Draco had made a desperate gamble, hoping that Blaise might be able to make contact with 'the other side' on his behalf, even though the risk to Blaise was considerable. For all Zabini knew, Draco's mission could be to kill a Ministry sympathizer. For all Draco knew, Blaise could turn him in to Voldemort and make a name for himself with the Death Eaters. The situation was fraught with peril either way.

"Thanks, Blaise. I wouldn't be doing this if the situation didn't demand it. If you knew what I knew, you'd understand. I need out, and only they can protect me once I go." Draco tried to let his eyes show the seriousness of his statement, but Zabini never wavered. The man was much too straight to be swayed by Draco's pretty face, and that had always annoyed Draco to no end, but such things weren't really important now.

"You're not the first to make that choice, Draco." Blaise sounded sincere enough. "You know the drill. On the count of three, we turn our wands sideways. Then we talk."

"Right. One. Two. Three." Both wands were clenched sideways in their hands. They moved their hands in unison to the table, then laid their wands down and sat.

Draco let a small sigh of relief pass his lips. "Okay, Blaise. I don't have a lot of time. This is all I'm willing to share with anyone but them. I'm up to get Marked. I've got two days to find cover or go through with it, and there's a…complication…that will make my joining very unpleasant. I found out about it by accident, but I'm not sitting still and waiting to see how it turns out. I want safety. I want to be where the Dark Lord can't lay a scaly fucking hand on me, and I want to be there as fast as possible. How do I get there?"

"Side-along Apparition with me. Then Portkey with someone you'll know isn't with the Dark Lord. They'll take you to neutral ground and you can talk. If they like what they hear, they'll take you in, and if they don't, you're free to do as you please. You'd better be serious, Draco, and I mean this…they'll likely expect you to earn your keep in the background. Making potions or something. Don't play the 'haughty bitch' with them or you'll be on your own in a heartbeat. They won't kill you, but they will drop you like a bad habit if you don't toe the line. Got it?"

Draco nodded. It was utterly humiliating. The notion of being a servant to Mudbloods was repellant, but not as horrifying as a stone altar, torture and utter degradation.

"I got it. Like I said before, I wouldn't even be here if the situation didn't demand it. Let's go."

They picked up their wands cautiously, and pocketed them in a gesture of trust. Blaise gave Draco an assessing glance, and held his hand out. Draco took it without hesitation, and waited for Apparition.

"Draco. I'm glad you're getting out. I work on the outside fringe of this, and it may a long time before I see you again. I just want to say this before we go."

Draco held his breath a moment, then nodded to let Blaise know he was listening.

"You were a right cunt in school, but this might be the smartest choice you've ever made. Here's some advice that will help you along. The other side isn't like us. If they say something, they mean it. If they promise, they deliver. Their word is money in the bank. Don't abuse that, and they'll look after you. Good luck."

Draco was still rankled from the insult he'd been dealt, but the advice was free, and he could heed it if it seemed safe to do so. He gave Blaise a hasty, if slightly irritable nod, and they Apparated away.

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They were located in a rather messy stockroom behind some store. Draco sniffed and looked about rather doubtfully. Then he heard the voices behind them.

"Looks like Blaise brought our little pigeon in. Hey, ferret-face! Get bored gutting unsuspecting Muggles?"

Draco turned and saw red hair. Two heads worth, same faces, and suits that implied wealth, but still made the young men wearing them look like a pair of cheap pimps. The Weasley twins. Ugh. As much as he wanted to verbally spar with them, he had a goal that was more important. Offending these two clowns wouldn't move that agenda forward, so Draco lifted his chin and answered with perfect calm.

"I'll thank you to remember that I'm doing this to avoid ever having to do things like that. I don't care what you think, and I don't care what it takes. I'm not serving You Know Who. Either you can help me or you can't. Which is it?"

Fred…or was it George…looked to his brother and nodded approvingly, as though some long dialogue had passed between them in the space a of couple breaths.

"Okay, Alice…" said one.

"…you're on your way…" said the other, smirking.

"…down the rabbit hole…"

"…and through the looking glass." Draco hated it when they finished each other's sentences, but there was nothing to be gained by protest.

"I'll also thank you not to address me as Alice. It's Malfoy. Nothing else. Are we going?"

Blaise clapped Draco on the shoulder, offered one last sympathetic look, then Apparated away.

Fred…or George…placed a trinket on the surface of an old crate. "You passed the first round, Malfoy. Here's your ticket out."

"Don't waste it," chimed the other.

It had to be the Portkey. Draco steeled himself, then reached out a hand and touched it. Honestly, there was no where else to go, and it seemed unlikely at this point that there would be any traps.

The tiny ornate box opened its lid…and clamped down on his fingers, biting his hand and growling! The twins roared with laughter while Draco jumped back with a gasp, white as a sheet, heart pounding like a drum.

"You should have seen your eyes!"

"Like saucers, they were! Fucking 'ell!

"Just needed to break the tension, Malfoy. All that cloak and dagger stuff is for the birds."

Fucking prats! If they'd had any idea of how the last three days had gone, they'd have richly deserved a slow and ugly death for pulling that prank.

One of them laid a sealed parchment on the crate, still chuckling. "Go on. No more taking the piss. We promise. Break the seal and you're on you're way. We just wanted to test our new line of Biting Boxes before they go into full production. Good luck, Malfoy. Nice to see you came to your senses."

"And don't worry. If you play your cards right, you'll be looked after."

Draco broke the seal, half expecting another prank, and just wanting to get it over with and done. This time the world dissolved and pulled away, and he was one step closer to safety, which suited Draco just fine.

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He was on top of a windy hill. There was no cover to speak of, and he wasn't alone. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger were scowling at him, and Harry Potter was standing just in front of them, wand at his side, looking vaguely bored.

"You wanted to see me, Malfoy?" There was an arrogance in Potter's tone that hadn't been there a few months ago.

Draco suspected that it came from the secure knowledge that they had the upper hand in the conversation. They had what he wanted, and he had to dance to their tune. It was disgusting, but necessary.

"I need out. Safely. I don't want to be Marked. I don't want to serve him, in any capacity. Ever. I want your terms."

"I heard that much from Zabini. I want a reason why. We can hide you, but it means pulling you into secrets we've worked hard to keep. Make me believe I can trust you to keep those secrets. And here's a free clue…it won't be easy."

Potter folded his arms and waited. Draco assessed the situation carefully, although the skin tight T-shirt on Potter was a bit distracting. The prat had gained almost a stone and a half of muscle over the last year…and it was all in the right places.

Draco got his mind back on track. Traditionally, he never revealed more than he needed to, but that probably wouldn't cut it here. He'd brought something along to hedge his bet for this situation.

When Draco reached for the slip of paper in his pocket, three wands were pointed at him a second later. Gingerly, he unfolded the scrap of stolen parchment and held it out.

"I found this in my family library, Potter. It's about me, or at least the Dark Lord thinks it is, and that's what really counts. I have to run. I have no choice. If they catch me, I'm a dead man if I'm lucky, and worse if I'm not. Read this and you'll understand."

Potter pointed his wand at the parchment and rattled off a half dozen spells. Once he was sure it wasn't cursed or a Portkey, he took the fluttering page from Draco's hand and began to read.

"You should also know by now that, if I asked to see you, of all people, the situation is worse than you can imagine. If you think I can't be trusted, trust this. I don't want that to happen to me. If your side takes me in, I'm covered, if you don't, I'll run for it on my own. All you need to know is that I will go to any lengths to avoid this fate. That you can trust."

Potter looked up from the parchment. "You're serious? This is possible?"

"Deadly serious. It takes a wizard of enormous power to pull it off, but it can be done. You Know Who has that level of power, and apparently, I'm the other side of the deal. Fated from birth, I suppose. The ritual is supposed to take place in two days, and I'm not planning on being around for it."

Potter looked at him in a way that Draco had never seen before, an odd mixture of apprehension and pity was playing across Potter's handsome face.

"You don't think your father would really allow…"

"Potter. You've met my father. If asked to, he'd pin my ankles to my ears and whisper sweet nothings in the Dark Lord's ears during the act. I caught him talking about it when I passed his study."

Draco bit his lip. He hadn't said any of this out loud. Suddenly, it all felt more real than ever, and Draco's carefully schooled face was starting to crack a little. He tried to tell himself it was just because Potter would be moved by a few tears, but Draco knew all too well that they were real.

Harry was still looking back and forth between the slip of paper and Draco, looking slightly sickened.

"This is horrible. Just fucking insane. They're going to let the Dark Lord rape you because this prophecy says you'll bear a child whose power will decide the fate of the world?" Potter's voice was whispered incredulity.

"That's why I left. They'll make me do that and worse. I'll do anything you ask. Just don't leave me to that. Please."

Hermione interrupted. "What's it say, Harry?"

Potter looked Draco in the eyes, then handed the parchment back and turned to his friends.

"It says he's coming with us. Trust me." Potter turned back to Draco and gave him a look that made Draco's heart flutter in his chest.

His words were just above a whisper, and only for Draco's ears. "I won't let that happen to you. No one deserves anything like that. Take my hand. You'll have to let me Apparate us both to get through the wards, but we'll take you to a place where they can't touch you. I promise."

Draco dropped his head a bit when he took the offered hand, hoping Potter wouldn't see the pathetic display of relief and desperate joy that played across his face at those words. He took the hand that was offered, and with a sharp crack they were gone.

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It was strange, living in Grimmauld Place. Draco was persona non-grata to most of the visiting Order members, but he'd slowly earned his place among them.

He'd sworn an Oath of Loyalty, and had been bound by the Fidelius charm that guarded the place. He'd brewed potions for them by the score, and when they worked flawlessly, a grudging respect was accorded him.

The house was fairly full, and only one person had been willing to share a room with him. Potter. It had been surprising, to say the least, but the arrangement had worked out well enough.

Admittedly, he hadn't able to redecorate the room to ideally suit his tastes, but Harry had made room for most of Draco's belongings without much fuss. The place didn't feel like home, but then again, he didn't really have one of his own anymore. Maybe no place would ever feel like home again.

It had been a fairly easy month, and Draco was largely content. The occasional looks from other residents and passers by annoyed him, especially since certain conversations still stopped whenever he walked into the room. The only person who seemed to genuinely trust him was Potter.

Living in cramped quarters wasn't really that uncomfortable. Dormitory life had prepared them well for such things, but this was different. Potter always looked at him oddly, then turned away blushing as soon as he was caught. This happened a great deal more often when Draco wasn't wearing a shirt, and Draco knew what that meant.

A complication like that was not part of his plan. Potter was surprisingly easy to get along with (except early in the morning), but despite finding the dark haired wizard attractive, Draco had had no intention of taking it any further. After all, it was Potter! The realization that Potter found Draco equally attractive had been quite unnerving, and he honestly wasn't certain of what to do about it.

It was Weasley who brought things to a head. A month with Draco and Ron stuck in the same house had been a bit tense, but Draco couldn't keep silent any longer. The hostile glares, the sudden silences, the muttered comments just below an audible level. It was more than even Draco could endure. He had enough problems on his plate just adapting to a new life. Ron Weasley was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Just a muttered comment at the supper table, followed by a sharp-eyed and ugly glare. That had brought Draco's control of his tongue to a screeching halt.

"WHAT! What the fuck is it, Weasel? You've been talking shit under your breath for a month! Just say it already, you pathetic, sniveling fuck!"

Ron stood bolt upright at the table, face flaming. "FUCK YOU, MALFOY! I still can't believe we let you in here! The only reason you're still here is because you haven't got a secret good enough to sell to You Know Who so you can get back in his good graces! If it were up to me, you wouldn't be trusted with the directions to the fucking loo!"

Draco was on his feet a second later. "God, I hate you! You ignorant fuckwit! Do you really think there's any going back for me? I gave up everything…EVERYTHING to be here, making potions and keeping house, in this god forsaken dump of a shelter, and I still have to listen to you, because there's NO WHERE ELSE FOR ME TO GO! Go fuck yourself!"

Draco stormed out of the room and fled for the stairs and the safety of his room. Tears were already scalding his face while he ground his teeth and cursed under his breath. He slammed the door behind him and threw himself onto the bed, burying his face beneath the pillows.

The door squeaked a bit as it opened. Draco already knew who it was.

"Fuck off, Potter," he mumbled from under the pillows.

He felt Harry sit down on the bed beside him. "Draco. I'm sorry about that. Not everybody feels that way about you being here."

Draco pulled his head out of the pillows with a look of complete exasperation. He was sure his face was hideously blotchy. Malfoy complexions simply weren't intended for the ravages of tears.

"Potter…did you get lost between the words 'fuck' and 'off'? Leave me alone!"

"No. I think you need to hear me out."

Draco was incredulous. "What do mean…'no'? I said I don't want to talk about this!"

"Then shut it and listen!"

Draco was a hair's breadth from exploding when Potter had the bald-faced nerve to grab his hand and look him the eyes. Draco's breath hitched in throat, and Potter's words leaped out before Draco could recover.

"I'm proud of you. Really proud of you. I know what you were facing, and I know how much you left behind to be here. I think it's the bravest thing you've ever done. You've done a great job since the day you got here, even though some people never showed you any appreciation for it. Don't quit trying. It'll get through their thick heads eventually. Even if I have to pound it in myself. I already chewed Ron out, not because he caused a scene, but because he was wrong on every count. I'm glad you're here, and I want you to know it."

Draco took this in slowly, then laid his head down on the pillow and let go. It didn't seem important to hold in tears right now, in fact, it felt strangely good to just let them roll free.

"It's…it's just so fucking hard. Last month I…I had a life…and now it's gone. I had money, and friends, and a f-future, n-now I have nothing. Nobody c-cares about me. N-no one likes me, they just tolerate m-me. I hate it. I j-just hate it. And it won't ever end. I can't…can't ever g-go back." Draco took a deep breath and closed his eyes. It was easier to not look at the world right now, but he didn't let go of Potter's hand.

His eyes snapped back open when Potter's free hand started stroking his hair! Green eyes were only inches from his face, looking at Draco with an intensity that could have melted iron.

"You're wrong. I care about you. I like you. When this war is over, you'll be remembered as a hero for being here. I'm not just tolerating you…Draco, I think you're beautiful."

Draco's eyes widened for just a second, before his mouth was suddenly busy being kissed…and deeply! He closed his eyes again, and sank into that kiss heart and soul.

----------------------------------------------------

Harry had been right. Things did get easier. It was hard to be upset by Ron's only semi-sincere apology when he'd just been shagged to within an inch of his life. It was hard to be upset by anything the past few weeks, since Potter became Harry, and Malfoy had become Draco.

Draco had been a virgin, as had Harry, and as soon as they became more than friends, they made up for lost time with a vengeance. Draco had never really given the matter much thought, but the role of 'bottom' in the relationship not only suited him, but was thoroughly enjoyable, and he adapted to it quickly.

He simply drowned Harry in sex, finding himself needier than he'd ever imagined, and almost perpetually hungry for any opportunity to feel Harry inside him again. It felt better than he'd imagined, the perfect opposite of the horrifying violation that might have awaited him with the Dark Lord.

Draco surprised himself sometimes. He could never have imagined meeting Harry Potter at the door of their room, naked and smiling, demanding immediate satisfaction in the form of a quick, hot fuck up against the wall, but there he was, doing just that and more each day.

And Harry was good! His touch was gentle, his kisses were sincere and his gaze was one of near adoration that made Draco's heart swell to bursting. Then there was his love-making. Patient when asked, gentle at the start, powerful and wild at the finish. It was more than enough to drive Draco into a state of distracted bliss that carried him through each day with a cheerfulness he'd never had before.

Yesterday…Harry had given him a look when Ron sat down on the couch, his arm at rest on the very spot that Draco had been bent across and panting over not ten minutes before. Draco had giggled...GIGGLED…in front of other people for the first time since he was six! And he didn't mind it a bit.

The weird glow that been about him for the last few weeks hadn't dimmed in the slightest. Draco had pinned it down quickly, but it was harder to say it out loud. Tonight, he would let the last of his guard down. Harry deserved to hear it. He'd made Draco so happy…happier than he'd ever been, and he had every right to hear the words that had been on the tip of Draco's tongue for almost a month.

In the heat of the moment, with Harry poised carefully for entrance, always cautious and sure, never rushed or fumbling, Draco looked into Harry's eyes and kissed him deeply. He broke the kiss a moment later, and whispered sincerely into the shell of Harry's ear, "I love you, Harry."

The look on Harry's face could have broken a thousand hearts, and Draco had to take the initiative and slide himself onto Harry's slick length. As soon as they were joined completely, Draco took Harry's face in his hands and lavished kisses upon his lover, still whispering those wonderful words throughout the entire evening.

Their love-making possessed an potent intensity that night, which easily surpassed all of the other occasions that they had enjoyed one another's bodies. This was unique, and special…and also very, very magical.

Draco opened himself utterly, pliant and receptive, the very principle of water, flowing in response to Harry's every move. Harry was fire, but controlled and steady, not destruction, not burning, but power incarnate. A tiny universe flared unseen in their union, and life was present where none had been before.

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Draco had felt a bit under the weather for days. Not that he really felt like complaining. They'd reached new heights as lovers over the summer, and Draco was supremely content. Even Weasley had backed off once it became obvious that Draco adored Harry, and vice-versa. Still, perhaps a medi-witch was called for. A person shouldn't sick up every morning for a week.

There was no reason for a nervous stomach. He'd been happy lately…deliriously so. Perhaps it was just a little virus? If it didn't pass on in a few days, Draco would ask about a check up. Nothing to worry about.

Days later, Draco finally admitted that the matter was serious enough to worry about, especially since Harry had heard him sick up in the bathroom that morning, while waiting to get in and have a slash.

Harry had almost gone into a panic when he realized that Draco had been sick more than one day, and in that unbearably sweet way of his, he'd taken charge, bundled Draco off to bed, lavished attention and stomach soothing tea upon him, and gone off to fetch a trusted medi-witch.

It took most of the afternoon to arrange the secret departure from Hogwarts of Poppy Pomfrey, but there were few others that could be trusted as she was. She closed the door to the room for privacy, leaving a nervous Harry in the hall, pacing and fretting despite Draco's insistence that he was fine.

The woman asked a few questions, some quite personal, some quite dull. She took brief samples of a drop blood and a thread of hair, cast a string of incomprehensible spells and clucked to herself constantly. It was really very annoying.

"So? Am I alright? Harry overreacted a bit, I really feel okay…except when I first wake up. So am I healthy…or no?"

Poppy looked up from her clipboard and her hastily scribbled notes with a rather neutral smile. "Oh, yes. Good news. You're in fine health. Quite strappingly healthy as a matter of fact. All in order."

Draco sighed relief. "Good, I knew it was just.."

"You're also a month pregnant. Congratulations! First time I've seen a male one. Not been one since…"

"POOOOOOTTEEEEEEERRRR!

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Eight Months Later:

"H-Haaarrry! It-it hurrrrts! Aahhhhrrgg! Gods, m-make it stop. The potions not working, Harry. Pleeeeaaaase!" Draco was soaked in sweat, panting desperately, covered by a single sheet, while Poppy Pomfrey carefully observed his progress from the foot of the bed. Harry was holding his hand, and was as pale as Draco was flushed.

Harry's voice was strained, but level. "No more potions, love. You're almost there. I know it hurts, but you have to push. Only a few minutes left and the baby will be out. Then you can rest, but you need to breathe, and you have to push. Come on! Just a little more!"

A spasm of contraction hit Draco. The channel that magic had granted him was slowly moving their child out of his body, down a path that nature had never intended a man to have. Apparently, male wizard pregnancies were somewhat more painful than female ones.

"YOU! You did this to me! You bastard! With…with your love and…and your stupid green eyes and that…that bloody awful messy hair. UUUGGGHHHGod! I'll get you for…for this, Potter! Save me from…from the Dark Lord, then…then get me up the duff yourself! FUCKER!" Draco was almost delirious with pain and potions, but his hand was crushing Harry's and there was nothing remotely sane in his voice at the moment.

"I told you I'm sorry, love. I'm so sorry." Harry was crying, although it was partly because several bones in his hand were close to breaking. "I didn't know. How could I? I didn't think I could make this happen. Hold on a little longer. You're so close, love! I love you, Draco. I love you so much. You can get even with me any way you want, just PUSH!"

Pomfrey shifted at the foot of the bed, then looked up with a smile. "Gentlemen, the baby is crowning! A little more, lad. One more good push and it's done!"

Draco caught his breath, whimpered in near exhaustion, and steeled himself with a supreme act of will. Then he pushed outward with everything he had.

"NNNNNNNRRRRRRRRRGGGG! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHaaaarrrrrryyyy!"

Harry winced, eyes clamped shut while his hand was crushed one last time, praying for an end to this torment that Draco was suffering.

Pomfrey swung into action beneath the sheet, and a second later, Draco's entire body shuddered and collapsed, going from arched agony to boneless relaxation in a single second. Poppy was already busy with clean and soft towels, and while she fussed over the gasping infant, Harry placed his head against Draco's sweat soaked brow and whispered triumphantly. "You did it. I love you, Draco. It's over."

"Congratulations, boys. It's a little girl, and unless my spells have gone wrong for the first time in twenty years, she's absolutely perfect."

Poppy handed the swaddled newborn to Harry, who thought their daughter looked somewhat red-faced and indignant, but incredibly beautiful nonetheless.

Draco opened his eyes. His voice was slurred and his arms were weak, but he could move a little for this. All that was left of the pain was a tingling soreness and a sense of having been thoroughly wrung out like an old towel. "Harry…let…let me hold her."

"Of course, love. She's beautiful. Perfect. Just like you." He handed her to Draco, watching closely to make sure Draco was steady enough to support her.

"Mmmm. Look at her, Harry. She came out of me!" Draco's eyes were glazed over, but his smile was a thing of beauty, mussed hair and flushed face or no. "She's so beautiful, Harry. So beautiful…" Draco tried to keep talking, but passed out cold a few seconds later.

Harry took their child into his arms again, and looked to Madam Pomfrey, who assured him that all was well and that Draco was just resting. Nine hours of labor had sapped Draco's strength, and potions and spells were no substitute for proper rest.

Harry kissed Draco's sweat-chilled brow, and sat down in the chair beside him, holding their daughter carefully, and musing over his life's crazy twists and turns.

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Three Months Later:

The war was over, and the wizarding world was jubilant. Though most didn't know it, Draco had been the key to victory. The birth of Lily, the child of his love for Harry, had triggered the blood magic that had protected Harry throughout his childhood. With a 'power the Dark Lord knew not' at his command, Harry had been immune to Voldemort's every spell, and had dispatched the warped creature known as Tom Riddle with almost contemptible ease.

Lucius Malfoy rotted in Azkaban, alongside so many of his fellow Death Eaters, and the property seized by the Ministry was handed over to Draco a few weeks later. He was the master of the Malfoy manor now.

Harry was feeding Lily her mid-morning bottle, and was accepting occasional spoonfuls of oatmeal from Draco, since he had both hands full at the moment. Lily didn't fuss much, but when she did, Harry had the knack for soothing her. She must have gotten that trait from Draco!

Draco unfurled the rather worn scrap of parchment he'd nicked from the library almost a year ago. Funny to read it now, after the fact, and know that it all made perfect sense.

When the Dark Lord is at his greatest strength, and his nemesis hides in shadows Black, the heir of Malfoy, young and fair, shall be claimed by the Most Powerful, and he shall submit himself utterly. From this union shall a child come, whose power will decide the Fate of our very world, and bring victory complete.

Funny things, those prophecies. Can't trust them a bit. Who could have known that Harry had been the Most Powerful? Not that Draco was complaining, mind you. No time for woolgathering, though. They had breakfast to get through yet…and besides, the Most Powerful had a dab of oatmeal on his chin that desperately needed to be kissed away.

FIN