Chapter Ten

Harry was horrified at the amount of blood surrounding Malfoy. He had been shredded front and back by the monster's claw, but the neck wound was the worst. It bled profusely. Malfoy's hand fell away as he slipped into unconsciousness and Harry pressed his own hand over the gash to curtail the bleeding. He could attempt a healing, but by the time he managed it, Draco could be dead.

He glanced at the egg, which he had dropped next to Malfoy's head. There might be a chance… slim, but it was better than none. Keeping one hand clamped to Draco's wound; he lifted his wand and touched the Horcrux egg. During the war, he had learned through trial and error the best way to destroy a Horcrux. Even with his limited abilities, he felt he could manage it. The trick was to use finesse, rather than force. Thank God Hermione had figured that out.

He cast a seeking spell, looking for weaknesses in the protections surrounding the Horcrux. Malfoy's plight lent urgency to the task that he would not otherwise have felt. Come on… where is it?

Voldemort must have been in a hurry when he had created the Horcrux. Harry had nearly been killed destroying the Hufflepuff Cup due to the many protection spells that had been laced over and through it to guard the soul trapped inside. This one had several spells, but they seemed weak. Harry wormed his way beneath them, using his magic in a non-threatening fashion. They were set to guard the egg from destruction—not inquisitive intrusion.

Once inside, Harry sought for stress points in the object itself. In this case, it was an egg—which had been a bloody stupid move on Voldemort's part, even if it was half silver—so fracture lines were natural. Harry merely had to give them a slight nudge.

The Horcrux fell to pieces.

A howling wind sprang from the object and the howl quickly grew to a scream of purest rage. The wind swirled around Harry, picking up dust from the cavern and a spray of water from the pool and lashing them about Harry and Malfoy in a furious whirlwind. Such had happened before with other Horcruxes, but Harry was staggered by a force that plunged into his body and knocked him sprawling over Malfoy. He lost his grip on Malfoy's throat and struggled to move at all through the immense tingling sensation that filled his senses. He was blinded with a glare of white for a moment. And then all was still.

Harry sat up, feeling oddly whole for the first time in… well, forever, it seemed. Had his powers returned? He pressed his wand against Malfoy's wound and cast, feeling immense relief when the gash began to knit back together cleanly. Malfoy's breathing was still shallow and the pool of blood beneath him was alarming. Harry's brow wrinkled in consternation. There were simply too many wounds for him to heal.

He took a deep breath and reached down to lift Malfoy. He braced Malfoy's head against his shoulder and wrapped his arms around him before he centered himself and then cast another spell.

The whole room seemed to be enveloped in light for a moment. Harry was awash with sensations—he seemed to hear the sound of chimes and smelled the clean, heady scent of a sea breeze. Power throbbed through his veins. Light and warmth flowed into and through him and he channeled it into Malfoy, willing him to heal.

After a long while, the light dimmed and Harry found himself returning to normal—the impression of sound and scent died and the immense flow of power ebbed and faded. He looked down and then tore open Malfoy's already shredded shirt—to find his flesh smooth and unmarred. Harry crushed him close in thankful relief.

Malfoy's voice suddenly rumbled against his chest. "I know you want me, Potter, but this is a terrible place to make love."

Harry felt himself laugh aloud. He released Malfoy slightly—enough to pull back and look into his handsome face.

"How did you do that?"

"The same way I killed Voldemort—only in reverse," Harry admitted.

"Did you lose your powers this time?"

Harry shook his head. "No, I think I'm back to normal and Voldemort is finally gone for good."

"Pity. I… rather enjoyed… taking care of you."

Harry smiled in disbelief. "Seriously?"

"Yes." Malfoy grinned wickedly. "You do realize you're holding me in an extremely affectionate manner?"

Harry flushed, but it did not seem to be the wrong thing to do at all. He lifted a hand to wipe the blood away from Malfoy's healed cheek in a gentle caress, and then slid the hand up to brush the ultra-fine hair back from Malfoy's brow.

"Yeah, I realize that."

Harry bent down and kissed him. A small sound of surprise escaped Malfoy before his hand slipped up to caress Harry's neck. Harry deepened the kiss, marveling that Malfoy could feel so damned good, and that kissing him seemed like the most normal thing in the world.

A long while later, they pulled apart. Both were breathing hard. They gazed at each other in mutual amazement.

"So, what happens now, Potter?"

"Well, first we need to find a softer place than this damned rocky cave," Harry suggested and then he laughed in astonishment. "Are you blushing? Draco Malfoy?"

"Certainly not. I meant after that."

Harry felt himself growing warm at the comment, but it was a nice, tingly sort of warm. He smiled. "I was wondering if you might want a partner. For your escort service."

"You mean… you and me? Together all the time? Day and night?" Malfoy sounded surprised.

"Yeah. Day and night."

Malfoy chuckled. "I can live with that." He climbed to his feet and held a hand out to Harry, who took it. Malfoy helped him stand and they started out. "Of course, you'll have to learn to take orders. It's appalling the way you don't listen."

"Wait, I said partner, not minion," Harry protested.

"Partner. Minion. What's the difference?"

"There's a huge difference!"

"Maybe to Gryffindors."

Still arguing, they left the dark chamber behind.

~end ... until the next part~