Epilogue: The Deathly ShagIt was ten o'clock in the morning, in the attic bedroom at the Headquarters. Cocooned in contentment, Harry lay in bed, with Draco in his arms. The world and its problems seemed a million miles away and Harry was in no hurry to go back.
"Let's stay here in bed until ... oh, tomorrow? Maybe the day after...?" he suggested, caressing Draco's naked back.
Half-asleep, Draco smiled against Harry's shoulder and didn't open his eyes. "Sounds perfect," he murmured.
Harry nuzzled Draco's ear and closed his eyes...
...but immediately opened them again. Something was fluttering against the round window.
Talons scratching, Hedwig landed on the windowsill. She carried a small parcel and a letter. Harry stared at his mail with dread. The world was already invading his bedroom paradise.
"Sorry Hedwig, take them back. I'm not getting up today."
Hedwig's eyes widened, and she pecked on the window, indicating that her message was important, and she was quite capable of smashing her way through to make her delivery.
Groaning and muttering about pushy owls, Harry untangled himself from Draco's arms and hauled himself out of bed. The only compensation for getting up was the way Draco stared hungrily at his naked body, as he opened the window.
Hedwig hopped inside, and raised her leg to let Harry untie his mail. Then she flew to her perch and started investigating her food dish.
Harry closed the window and threw the newspaper and letter down on the bed. He climbed back under the covers and opened the letter, while Draco tore open the parcel.
The letter was short and written by Hermione.
Even though I know you don't read the Daily Prophet, and I know most of our friends (like Neville) don't read it either, I thought you and Draco should see this.
I can't believe that Skeeter woman. Ron has been swearing about her all morning.
If you two want any help, just send Prongs and we'll come running.
Hermione and Ron.Just as Harry finished the letter, Draco got the parcel open, took one look at the copy of the Daily Prophet inside and moaned.
Feeling a cold bolt of dread go through his stomach, Harry asked: "What?"
Draco handed him the newspaper, without a word.
A moving photo of a mortified Harry, answering the door wearing nothing but boxer shorts, dominated the front page. In the background, Draco sat up in bed, naked but for a scrap of sheet. The leather straps attached to the bedposts were extremely visible. Then photo Harry mouthed 'No comment!' and slammed the door. The scene replayed over and over.
The headline screamed: Sex Scandal! Gay Potter Bondage Outrage In Leaky Cauldron.Harry stared in incredulous horror. "Voldemort's DEAD! How come my sex life's on the front page?"
"Sex will ALWAYS trump violence in a British newspaper," said Draco, as though it were obvious.
"Listen to this," said Harry. "Boy Who Lived Now Man Who Is Queer, pages two to four, Double Wedding For Heroes, pages five to sixteen, The Chosen Gay: Potter's Death Eater Boyfriend, pages seventeen to eighteen, Potter Always Seemed A Bit Limp-Wristed To Me Says Minister, pages nineteen to twenty, Potter Says 'No Comment!', pages twenty-one to twenty-two, Lucius Malfoy To Be Freed, page twenty-three, Umbridge Missing, page twenty-four, Voldemort Vanquished, All Death Eaters Captured, see small article on page twenty-five, The True Chosen One Comes Forward, see two line article on page twenty-six." He threw down the newspaper. "This is ridiculous!""All except Father being freed," said Draco. "That was fast work. I only sent the letter to Scrimgeour last night." He saw the look on Harry's face and his lips twitched. "The real scandal is what passes for accurate journalism in the Daily Prophet. Rita Skeeter thought YOU tied ME up! How could she get it so wrong?" Draco chuckled miserably and smoothed his white-blond hair back.
"I thought you said the magic world wasn't homophobic?" said Harry.
"It's not but Rita Skeeter is," said Draco. "Anything for a scoop."
"So much for the Daily Prophet leaving me alone, because I'm not the Chosen One." A horrible thought struck Harry. "Severus must be FURIOUS. I've stolen his publicity again!"
"He'll be furious," Draco confirmed, with a sigh.
"I don't want him as my enemy. Not any more. My mother loved him and I was just starting to like him. I can't believe this..." Harry stared at the Daily Prophet again and groaned. "Bloody Rita Skeeter! Just when the greasy git and I were starting to get on and all..."
"The magical world is shallow. They want their good wizards to LOOK like good wizards. Severus looks like a very Dark wizard indeed," said Draco, rubbing his chin and frowning.
"That's why con-wizards like Gilderoy Lockhart prosper," muttered Harry. "All a Dark wizard has to do is put curlers in his hair and wear lilac, and suddenly everyone thinks he's good!"
Draco snapped his fingers. "Harry, you're a genius! I know how we can help Severu!"
Draco's eyes sparkled with fervour. "It will be risky, Harry. Severus won't like it ... at first ... but it will give him the attention he deserves in the long run. We have to give him - a makeover!"
"Yes," Draco went on, ignoring the way Harry was looking at him as though he'd gone insane. "Severus needs to wash his hair and get a proper haircut. I don't care if he thinks the grease can't be washed out. I'll send him to MY hairdresser. She'll fix his hair if it's the last thing she ever does." He took a deep breath. "Then he'll need some new clothes. Black and billowy is far too intimidating. Pink will bring out the colour in his cheeks. The editor at Witch Weekly likes seeing wizards in bright colours."
Harry's jaw dropped, but Draco continued dreamily: "He can go to Madam Pomphrey and get his teeth whitened and straightened too."
Harry imagined Severus Snape with very white teeth, like Gilderoy Lockhart, the light shining off them - TING! He shuddered. "Draco, there are some things you can't say to Severus Snape and expect to live." He was only half-joking. "Those things include telling him to wash his hair and wear pink!"
"You're quite right, Harry," said Draco. "I'm going to need backup, in case Severus goes ballistic. I'll invite him to lunch, here at the Headquarters, and I'll invite Hermione and Ron too. We'll get Severus looking like a good wizard, then we'll go to a few journalists I know. Friends of Father. They always write what they're told. The magical world must be gagging for news about the true Chosen One. If they're not, we'll make certain that they are."
The confident way Draco talked about manipulating Snape's image and the media amused Harry very much. But he had to err on the side of caution. "I'll invite the WHOLE Order to lunch," he said. "I'll tell them you'll be Charming Firewhiskey again. Mad-Eye Moody will come running ... well, limping. With EVERYONE here, you might just survive telling Severus to get his teeth straightened."
"Come on, Harry. Severus isn't that bad. Once he's gotten over ... the shock ... he'll think it's a good idea to stop looking like a Dark wizard. He knows the Malfoys have always been good at that sort of thing."
"I just want to keep you safe, Draco. You're very precious to me."
Draco beamed. "I love it when you think like a bodyguard," he said, enfolding Harry in a loving, naked hug. "But don't you remember that's MY job?"
Found - Enormous, Fat, Pink Toad.
Answers To The Name Of Dolores.Neville put his quill down, and looked down at the sign he'd just written. He winced when he heard his grandmother coming up behind him.
"You've found a toad, Neville?" she asked, reading the sign over his shoulder.
"Yes, Gran. Trevor's new girlfriend. He found her at Hogwarts and he wouldn't let her go, so I took her home. I thought she must belong to a student there, so I was going to go back to Hogwarts and stick up this sign. Someone must be missing her."
"No one will be missing her. There are no students at Hogwarts, Neville. The summer holidays are on."
"Oh," said Neville. "I forgot."
"She must be a wild toad that's wandered in from the outside, so that means she's all yours Neville. Let me see her."
Neville pulled both toads out of his pocket. The female toad was a sickly, unflattering shade of pink. She gulped and made yet another attempt to escape Trevor, who was attached to her back and shagging away.
"Trevor's a horny toad, Gran," Neville joked. His grin faded when he saw his grandmother's stern expression.
"Neville Longbottom, I won't tolerate that kind of language in my house!"
"Sorry, Gran," said Neville, sadly. He'd grown used to his grandmother's lack of a sense of humour, so he didn't bother explaining that he'd named the toad Dolores because she was the spitting image of Umbridge. It was strange how the toad had learned her own name so quickly, but Neville wasn't curious enough to wonder why. He didn't know Umbridge was missing and he hadn't been conscious when Bellatrix had sent her Veritasformo spell into the hostages and changed Umbridge into a toad.
Neville's grandmother stared at the shagging toads. "Trevor really likes her."
"He likes his girlfriends far too much. That's why the vet says they only last a week," said Neville glumly. "I was hoping I could get her back to her real owner, so I could save her life."
"Now, Neville. She's only a toad, and an ugly one to boot! This is nature in action. Nature red in tooth and claw!"
"It's not Trevor's claw that's going to be red-"
"Neville!" said his grandmother warningly.
"Sorry, Gran." Neville sighed. "Maybe she'll last longer than the others?"
His grandmother gazed at the struggling female toad with the complete lack of compassion she usually reserved for Neville. "We'll see," she said.
Author's Notes 07-19-07: An awful, AWFUL way to end it. But I'd promised all you Umbridge haters out there to kill her off in the nastiest way possible. It doesn't get nastier than being shagged to death by Trevor the toad. (I actually feel sorry for Umbridge. Maybe Neville will work out who the toad really is, before the week is up, and rescue her. But, maybe not... ;-)
And ... that's The End. The Bodyguard is over. Thank you to everyone who beta read. I needed every bit of your help. ;-)
I'll be going over The Bodyguard in the next day, before Deathly Hallows comes out, and tidying up any problems I see. I'll be replacing my "Silver Beech - Silver Bitch joke" in Chapter 16 -
Harry stared curiously at Draco's wand.
"What's your wand made of?" he asked.
Draco told him. Harry was certain Draco had answered, "Unicorn tail hair and silver bitch," and he completely lost it for a moment, hugging his legs and screaming with laughter until tears rose in his eyes. "Silver bitch? That's perfect! How very appropriate!" he cackled, panting for breath.
"Not bitch. BEECH, Harry. Silver BEECH," grumbled Draco. He muttered in annoyance, "One sniff of the barmaid's apron and you go deaf!"
- with Draco's recently announced, canon wand wood: hawthorn. A wood representing - get this - love. (I hope that means Draco will change sides in Deathly Hallows. But if he doesn't, we've always got fanfic.)
The feedback I've received for The Bodyguard has been absolutely incredible and I can't thank you all enough. As of the 20th July 2007, there have been 1251 reviews, 296 favs, 509 people signed up for story alerts, and 52 C2S have included The Bodyguard. It won Quill to Parchment Best Trio Era runner up fanfic. All this in only 9 months. What a wonderful gestation! ;-)
With so much positive feedback, the next novel I write will be an original work, and I'll try to get it published as a book. Contact me if you're interested in knowing more. (I'm already missing the instant feedback of publishing online!)
Thanks again for making writing The Bodyguard so much fun!
P.S. Last chance to review, people. That's all there is! There ain't no more! ;-)
P.S.S. I can't believe it's all over! I feel sad now!
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Anissina June: Why didn't Harry cover up a bit more when he answered the door? Well, it was very late, he was tired, and he'd just had an amazing shag. Voldemort was dead, all the Death Eaters were captured. He thought there wasn't another person left who could hurt him, so he went to the door in his boxers and without a wand. Boy, was he surprised! ;-)