Chapter 43: Stand Together or Fall Apart

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I'm soooo sorry that this took so long! I was in a car accident and hurt both of my wrists. Also, pain meds are not conducive to writing. I hope you're still reading. I love this story and I hope you can find the same joy in it that I do. SNARRY fluff ahead, it's getting exciting! It is completely unbeta'd but I wanted to get it out there because so many of you have PM'd me asking for the next chap. Here it is :)

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"Just where in the hell have you been?!" Sirius's voice bellowed. Good. They didn't know. They could try and spin this in their favor.

Malfoy hadn't turned around. Harry wished that he didn't have to. The blonde looked as if he'd gone several rounds with a couple of bludgers and then proceeded to get in a few bar fights. By the look in his eyes Harry knew that he thought the same.

"You have bruises." Severus's voice was low. He had walked over slowly and was staring Harry down in disapproval. "...and cuts. Why ever aren't you healed?" He mocked, turning so that he could see Draco. "For someone not blessed with immediate mending powers, your injures appear at least two days old. As I had the displeasure of seeing your unmarred face just yesterday I know this to be untrue." Harry hated this condescending mocking that his bonded had perfected.

Malfoy looked weak. His color was fading. The walk up to the castle had been too much for him such a short time after their assault. "Very well, I suppose we do owe all of you an explanation, however, we're going to take a seat before we give it." Harry ignored everyone's irritated looks as he helped his lover to the sofa.

Draco let out a sigh of relief when he sat down. "Thank Merlin." He breathed, flinching at the bones that did not seem to fit together. "Harry, sit." He gestured to the spot next to him.

Harry seated himself on the very edge of the couch. "So..." Harry chewed the inside of his cheek. "How did your expedition go? Have any success?"

"Oh don't you dare!" He jumped back at Narcissa's outburst. "What has happened to the two of you?! You look a fright! Who did this?" She had bent down in front of them, her skirts fanned out behind her. "Boys...tell me..." Her voice softened.

"Do not baby them cousin!" Sirius growled. "You disappeared! The Weasley's and Ms. Granger were also gone. You will explain yourselves!" He commanded.

Harry grew angry. "You mean we didn't ask your permission? Sirius does Dumbledore know that the three of you left the castle on a mission he had expressly forbidden?" He glared at his Godfather.

"Of course not." His answer was short.

"Because he is your superior and he would be displeased. He wouldn't have allowed it. Well..."

"You went to Malfoy Manor." Severus snarled. "This was the work of Lucius." His temper was growing short.

Narcissa paled. "Draco? Did your father do this?"

"He was a bit heavier handed than usual." He answered, his gaze downcast.

"Do you have any idea..." Snape was in Harry's face. "Lucius Malfoy in dangerous! What could you have been thinking?!"

"That we were immortal." Harry responded calmly. "And hey, it worked." He stood, sliding out of reach of his bond-mate. "We all got out, with all of the books and information. You lot aren't the only ones able to implement a plan. Sev look, I'm here. I'm safe and thanks to Draco's cunning skill we know that Voldemort is collecting Grindelwald as we speak, Rasputin will rise next week, Bella's back and the others..." His voice had become excited. "The have to find them. That means that we could get to them first. Think about that, if we find there bodies before the other side we could kill them before..."

Harry stopped to stare at Sirius, who was gathering his robes. "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to kill Malfoy." He snarled.

"Sirius, No. It won't work. He'll fall by my hand. It's fate." Draco's voice was tired. His eyes continued to flick to the door leading to his bedroom. He was so close.

"Damn the fates! That man does not get to inflict damage on my Godson and my charge without repercussion by my hand." His tone had turned to a scary calm.

Harry looked to Remus for help. "Oh no pup. Not this time. You know I try to keep him out of trouble but this...I stand with Sirius. Lucius has made his own bed."

"I could lure him..." Narcissa stood and paced the room, her fingers twisting a curl of blonde hair. "...I am still his wife."

"You've always been his weakness Cissy." Severus had joined her in contemplation. "We just need to get him out of the manor..."

"No!" Draco's bellow caused everyone to jump. "She isn't immortal and he's a fucking monster. He could curse her if the slightest thing were to..."

"Keep still Draco." His mother hissed. "You are still my son, my child. No one, not even your father, gets to harm you while I am around. It's my right as your mother..."

"I'm not a child." Malfoy answered strongly. "I'm of age and experience. I knew the risks. I made the choice to go up against him. It will be me who kills him..."

"I think it would be best if the two of you were to get some rest." Snape ground out, knowing he was sending his bonded into the room that he shared with his Godson. "The adults have schemes to concoct." His heavy steps led him directly to Harry. "Might I speak with you privately before you retire?"

Harry panicked. They were outnumbered. They'd be winning no arguments on this day. Harry still worried for Narcissa's safety. Draco was right, she could be killed where the rest of them could not. Lucius was unstable. Potter couldn't stand behind a plan that used his new found mother figure as bait.

"I'll talk to you as much as you want and then I will rest but you have to promise me that Mum won't come into contact with Lucius. Severus...your word..." Harry begged, though he thought that it would effect the outcome very little.

Snape's eyes squinted at his mate and almost unnoticeably to Cissy. He had never had any intention of one of his oldest friends actually having any contact with her deranged husband. They simply needed Lucius to believe that he would be seeing her. "I accept your terms." His voice was tight.

"Severus!" Narcissa's head snapped in his direction. "That is not for you to decide."

The Potion's Master ignored her irritation, choosing instead to gesture Harry towards the front door. Harry's eyes did not meet Malfoy's locked gaze before exiting. He couldn't stand to see the hurt he was sure to find there. "Drac please stay there. I'll help you in just a moment." He whispered just loud enough for the blonde to hear before he turned the knob on the door leading to the hallway.

Harry did not speak once he found himself alone in the corridor with his fiance.

"Harry..." Severus sighed and pulled the younger man tightly into his arms. "Blithering idiot." His insult was filled with love and concern. "How am I to protect you when you defy me at every turn?" He questioned without releasing the man.

Harry had been stunned at the intimate contact. He had half expected Sev to pummel him as soon as they were out of the sight of the others. He found himself returning the hug, pressing his face into his bonded's robes. "I'm sorry." Potter professed. "I just...I knew what you would say and I knew that I could do it. I knew everyone could hold their own. Honestly I didn't think you'd find out."

"Only you would think that that makes it better somehow." An unexpected chuckle escaped Snape's lips.

"Sev..." Harry's eyes met his mate's. "We have to start working together and we can't do that with me living here." Pain welled in his heart at the thought of leaving Draco. He knew it was coming. They both did. It did not make the idea any less agonizing. "I need to come home soon. I need you to be ok so that I can come home."

Severus placed his lips on his lover's forehead. "Soon Harry, very soon."

"No. I want a date. I want a plan. We've run out of time for 'pretty soon.' Sev...we're in a war. Today...I don't know...it finally hit me. I need a week or two to settle things with Drac but..."

"Today is the 17th of February. I believe I can get Dumbledore to agree to your return in a few weeks times. The 9th of March would be three weeks from now." His hands tenderly held Potter's face. "Harry I would be very pleased if you would agree to return home on March 9th." He placed a chaste kiss on full lips.

"March 9th I'll be home. I'll be yours alone." Harry promised.

"I'm so furious I could curse you." His tone did not match his words. He was perfectly hiding his excitement of this ordeal coming to an end. The fact that it was at Harry's insistence that made it even sweeter.

"I doubt that will change anytime soon." The Gryffindor smiled. "I need to say goodbye to him. I have to tie all of that up. I might do some things in the coming weeks that you're less than pleased with but I owe it to him to make this as painless as possible. For him...and for me." His eyes fell to the floor. "I love you, so much. I know that doesn't not make sense, it doesn't to me. I love you and I..."

Severus knew what the next words would have been. He held no desire to hear them. "I just want you home." He allowed an uncommon moment of weakness. "I need to trust you decisions, loathed as I am to admit it, you know what you are doing. I ask for the same kindness to be returned. Harry you do whatever it is that you need to do, I'll not question it. I'd like the same from you. Trust that I won't allow any harm to come to Cissy but, Lucius will answer to myself and your flea bags."

Harry thought on this for a moment. "Deal." Harry brought his lips to his fiance's. The kiss was soft and loving. "I'll be home soon." He grinned into the kiss.

"You've no idea how pleased that makes me." Snape answered as reserved as his emotions would allow.

"One more thing..." Potter tested his boundaries.

"There always is." Snape smirked.

"You have to start training with Draco soon. You must get your magic in sync with each other. It could be his life at stake."

Severus nodded his head, attempting to mask his petty displeasure. "I'll speak with him tomorrow regarding a training schedule." His teeth clenched.

Harry's hand cupped his lover's cheek. "Thank you." His words brimmed with honesty.

"Try as I might I've been unsuccessful in finding a way to refuse you Harry Potter." Severus pulled Harry into another fierce embrace. "Get to bed. I had all of the texts we recovered delivered to Hermione. She'll need help going through it all when you wake."

"Sev..." Harry whispered.

"Yes?" Snape answered into a mop of dark hair.

"What happened to Marius's body? Your father? Corvus? If we have them the other side would be out some major players, not to mention..."

"I do not know." The professor answered tersely. "Albus dealt with Marius. Atheena handled the other two. I did not bother to inquire into the location of their final resting places. I don't think that it is something that you should trouble yourself with at the moment. Get some sleep Harry. We'll tackle it in time."

Harry held in the argument that was fighting to escape his lips. "Alright." He lied. Harry squeezed his betrothed's hand. "I'm going to go to bed for a bit. I'll see you..."

"Stop by our rooms later if you'd like to talk." The older man did not push the subject.

"I just might." Harry smiled before quickly heading back to Draco. Severus stood alone in the empty hallway. A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. Harry was coming home.

HHH HHH HHH

"Up you go." Potter urged Draco to stand up to move to their room. The gray eyes Harry loved had started to close on their own accord, even with Cissy fussing over him. Harry wrapped his arm around his boyfriend's waist and provided assistance with relative ease. "I'm taking him to bed. We can all talk more in a few hours." He said with finality. No one argued.

Narcissa bustled ahead of them, opening the bedroom door. "I picked up in here. You boys are a disaster. I took the liberty of keeping your fire burning. I've instructed Sirius to retrieve a few potions from Severus. Can you administer them when they arrive or would you like to give you aid?" She was calm. Harry could hear only the slightest tremble in her voice. Her eyes filled with guilt every time she looked at her son.

"I am still conscious Mother." Draco moved to kiss her lightly on the cheek. "I can take my own potions." He sleepily crawled into bed. Cissy tucked the blankets in around him while Harry cast a spell to change Draco into pajamas.

"You had better." She shook her head. "I am so..." The woman covered her mouth with her hand, her slender fingers were shaking. She let her free hand tuck platinum strands behind her son's ears. She gestured for Harry to sit next to her. He did as he was told. He felt himself being pulled to Narcissa's side, her one-armed hug was strong. Her other hand rested on Draco's cheek. "...both of you. I'm so sorry..." A sob escaped her usually reserved lips. "My Dragon...please forgive me for your father...Harry..." She cried again. "My son and I owe you a life debt and I beg your forgiveness as well for my husband's behavior. I never meant for either of you to get hurt...I...please..."

"Mum you and Drac owe me nothing." Harry wrapped his arms around her, looking into her eyes. "You are not responsible for Lucius or his actions. I said this to Drac in the beginning, you're fighting, you're helping. That matters. Anything else is inconsequential. I would have been dead for real if you hadn't lied to Voldemort...There is nothing for me to forgive. The two of you...you're my family. If anything I am beyond thankful for that." He kissed her forehead, carefully wiping the tears from her face.

"Lily would have been so proud of you Harry. I'm just grateful that perhaps I can atone for my sins against her by mothering her amazing son." She kissed his temple and held him close.

"Bloody Gryffindor." Draco mumbled, sitting up so that he could hug his mother on the opposite side of Harry. "You and your and speeches. Mum's crying now. I hope you're happy." He teased his lover, entwining his hand with Harry's on the bed. "Mother you have always done everything you could to shelter and protect me. At some point you have to realize that I'm not 11 any longer. It's wartime and I'm linked to the epicenter of it all. I'm going to be in danger but, I promise to always be as safe as possible. You've taught me how to survive and linking with Harry has made me almost immortal. Please don't trouble yourself over it." He pleaded. He was relieved when there was a knock at the door.

"Severus wants you to take all of these." Sirius ignored the uncomfortable air about the room. He set half a dozen vials on Draco's bedside table. "Harry he's requested that you take this pain potion and this..." He searched his many pockets with fervor. "...ah! Here we are, healing potion. Narcissa why don't we leave them to rest yeah? We've a lot to discuss." He did not let on that he could easily see her tears.

"Of course." Cissy shook her head and removed herself from the bed. "To bed with both of you." She kissed both of their cheeks quickly before sweeping out of the room. Sirius nodded at them before closing their door.

Draco swallowed all of his potions quickly, in succession. "Come here." The blonde pulled his lover down onto his chest. Harry placed his lips on the hard muscles of Draco's abdomen and knotted his fist in the man's shirt. "Are you feeling alright love?" Draco's voice cut through the silence.

"I'm so glad that you're alright." Harry surprised himself by kissing his lover passionately. "I was so scared..."

"Shhh" Malfoy held Harry closer. "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."

Harry held his tongue. Draco knowingly stared into green eyes. Harry had grown to be amazed with the Slytherin's intuition.

"But, you are." His tone was self-assured. "That's what he spoke to you about correct? How long?" He masked the pain in his eyes.

"March 9th. Three weeks." Potter uttered, reluctantly. Shock overtook him when a wide grin spread across Malfoy's face.

"That's much longer than I had anticipated. You and I are going to have an amazing three weeks." He pressed a long kiss against Potter's temple.

"You aren't upset?"

"Of course I'm upset, idiot. I'm in love with you. I never want you to leave but, there isn't much I can do about it. We've discussed it. We know what we're going to do. I plan on enjoying my three weeks. I will treasure them so that I might be able to recall every moment." Draco answered simply.

"I do love you so." Harry curled into the strong frame that was holding him.

"I know you do Harry. I'll never question it." His hand ran slowly through Harry's brown curls. "I need to sleep now. Stealthy bastard snuck dreamless sleep in my cocktail. You will rest? Will you be here when I wake?" He yawned, his black eyes was swelling shut.

"I'll sleep for a bit. I need to speak to The Headmaster. If you were to wake and I'm not here please promise that you'll alert me through the link. I want..." He rethought his word choice. "I need all of the time with you I can get." Harry pulled their blankets up higher and cuddled impossibly closer.

"I promise." Malfoy whispered before unknowingly drifting off. Potter was soon to follow him into slumber. He reveled in the safety he found in his lover's arms.

HHH HHH HHH

Sneaking out of the dungeons proved much easier than Harry had expected when he ventured out after a short nap. He had made his way to Dumbledore's office, without incident. He stopped at the door to listen for any sign that Albus was occupied. He heard only silence.

"Harry, my boy, shouldn't you be resting?" The Headmaster questioned when he opened the door.

"I...did. Professor I must speak with you immediately." Harry urged as he was welcomed inside of the office. He was thankful that it was empty.

"What is it son? What's troubling you?" Albus placed his hand on his student's shoulder in concern.

"I'm sure that you are aware..."

"That yourself, Mr. Malfoy, Ms. Granger and three Mr. Weasley's broke into Malfoy Manor after I had given specific instructions to not do that very thing? Yes, I am aware." The old man popped an ever-present lemon drop into his mouth. "Was it a success?"

"It was." Harry shook his head eagerly. "Hermione has loads of books but what I wanted to discuss with you is a little more grave, I fear."

"And what is that Harry?"

"Draco...he...well long story short, he talked Lucius into giving up some information. Bella is back. Grindelwald is being collected as we speak. Rasputin will be next week, as for the rest...They have to locate them. It is my best guess that they need the bodies to bring these people back. We only need to get them first." He spoke quickly. "Severus told me that you buried Marius. I need to know where. I need to know that no one else can get to him."

"I thought Severus would have already guessed what I did with him. Harry, Marius Snape is still in Salazar's Cell. I placed his body under a stasis charm and sealed the room. If Lucius's intel is correct, they won't be able to get to him." Dumbledore was impressed with his students, to say the very least.

"That's fantastic professor." Potter breathed a much-deserved sigh of relief. "Brilliant."

"I do have my moments." Albus's grin was friendly. "If you'll excuse me Harry, I'd rather like to look through Ms. Granger's new library. Did you need anything further son?"

"No Sir, Thank you." Harry smiled as he shook his head. "I need to speak with Atheena."

"Ah, yes of course. I believe you'll find her in her classroom. It's where she hides from your bond mate. He'd have to venture out of the dungeons and up into the tower. You know how he dislikes..." He stopped to smile at his giggling student.

"He does. Thank you Headmaster. Drac and I will be at dinner. I thought it might be good for the other students to see all of us together, a united front." He had made his way to the door.

"You're very right my boy. Those are the ponderings of a true leader. I rather think we'll feast tonight. It's not everyday everyone under my command disobeys me. Tell Severus that the school appreciates the texts he was able to procure, the same to Draco. I'll see all of you at the celebration. You boys really...what do muggles say? Cracked the case." He followed Harry down the stairs.

"Sev is going to hate a celebration. I'll stop by his labs and talk him into it." His smirk was mischievous.

"Thank you Harry. I'm very pleased that you two are getting along." Dumbledore nodded before breaking his path from his student's.

HHH HHH HHH

Atheena was curled up in an over-stuffed chair with a cup of coffee in one hand and a muggle novel in the other when Harry entered her classroom. She jumped as he cleared his throat behind her.

"Oh! Harry! Thank Heavens it's you. I thought it was Sev. I'll get back to research soon enough, I had to take a break." She sat her book on a side table and pointed at a chair that sat across from her, indicating that Harry should sit. "Is everything ok? For being a student I don't think I've ever seen you in a classroom..." Her voice trailed off before she was able to reign in her wondering thoughts. "Severus didn't do...anything, did he?" Her eyes filled with concern.

"No, nothing like that. We've actually set a date for me to return home. I came to ask you about your brother and father." He sat comfortable, sipping the strong black coffee that Atheena had offered him.

"Of course, anything you'd like to know. Remus told Rachel, who told me, what Lucius said...and did." She smiled sympathetically. "Is Draco..."

"He's healing, thank you. Atheena I know that you went on your own to clean up after Severus..." He did not know how to word this with tact.

"Killed our family? It's ok Harry. It isn't a touchy subject. I mean...I have to kill them next. It is what it is. Unfortunately, I burned their bodies and tossed the ashes into the sea. I couldn't put them in the Snape plot. My mom is there. They didn't deserve...anyway I am sorry." Regret had overtaken her delicate face.

"I wonder how that will work...them being resurrected since they were essentially cremated." Harry scratched his head in thought.

"I'm not sure." Atheena shrugged. "I wish I had better news for you, after all of the trouble that you went to."

"Atheena you've done more for Sev since you got here...he wouldn't have made it without you. Please don't apologize to me ever. I'm the one in debt." He placed his cup on a coaster gently.

"We're family Harry. There's no scoreboard. I'm pleased to hear that you and Sev are moving back in together." She smiled and patted his knee. "He might become tolerable again." Her laugh was so light, so carefree that Potter couldn't help but to smile.

"I've got to go talk him into going to an impromptu celebration Albus is throwing at supper tonight. We'll see how tolerable he is after that." Harry stood and squeezed Atheena's hand. "Thank you." He took a few steps before turning back. "Will you and Rachel be there tonight?"

"Wouldn't miss it. Best of luck with our miser." Harry chuckled and left his soon-to-be-sister-in-law.

HHH HHH HHH

"Hey you." The Gryffindor found Snape in his private lab inside of their rooms. "What are you working on?"

A small grin crept onto Sev's face. "Nothing of importance. I didn't think I would see you so soon. Did you sleep? Harry, did the potions give you relief? Do you feel any pain?"

"Shh." Potter allowed his fingers to grasp Snape's robes lightly. "I'm not in pain. I did nap. Your potions effects were as flawless as always. I actually came by because I have a favor to ask."

"And that would be?" His tone was leery. Harry always had that look in his eyes when he wanted something that he knew The Potions Master would not like.

"Dumbledore is having a feast tonight in celebration of..."

"No." His response was final.

"But it's because of us. Because of all of the information we were able to get. Please? I really want you to go. It's important for everyone to see us all together. Besides, I just want you to be there." Harry's eyes begged. He allowed his bottom lip to pout out. "Please Sev?" His tone was bordering on whiny.

Severus crossed his arms over his chest. Potter did not step away. "Would it really please you?"

Harry shivered at the silky baritone that caressed his ears. "It would." He whispered. He felt small standing in front of his fiance. "Sev..." Harry looked up, hopeful.

"Yes Harry?"

"Kiss me." The request escaped his lips without checking with his brain first, he cursed the fact that this was not an uncommon occurrence.

Snape did not give Harry time to second guess himself. The Potions Master pulled Potter to him quickly, their mouths crashed together, strong arms swept Harry into a tight embrace. The Gryffindor felt his world spin at the contact with his fiance. Sev's skilled tongue explored his lover's mouth, his teeth nipped and teased full lips. Both men reveled in the closeness.

Snape thought to stop the younger man when he felt hands fumbling with the button and zipper of his trousers. He couldn't find the strength to turn down the advance. He needed Harry. He needed an escape from his solitude.

Harry had no idea what he was doing. He was lost in the passion. He hadn't meant for this to happen, but he found the more he was able to forgive his soul mate, the more he hungered for him. He found it essential that Severus know how much he needed him, how powerfully he wanted him.

Snape's back was pushed against one of his work tables. His hands had moved to clasp the edge tightly. A loud groan erupted from inside of him when Harry fell to his knees. He looked up at Severus through his thick lashes. "You don't...Harry I'll go to the damn party. This isn't necessary." He was sure his younger self would curse him dead where he stood for attempting to decline his lover.

"I know that." Potter's hand had liberated Snape's painful erection and was stroking him slowly.

"The last time...wasn't...I know that you struggled...I don't want...dear Merlin..." The elder man lost his breath, his eyes squeezed shut.

"So what if I was angry? What would you have me do Severus? I told you long ago that I love you. That's never changed." Harry ignored any further protest, taking the hard member in his mouth. Momentary panic set in when Potter thought of what he was about to do, he'd only done with Severus once before. He had learned everything he knew from Draco. It took all of his energy to push those thoughts away.

He allowed his tongue to glide over the tip, dipping into the slit. He took the head into his mouth and sucked gently, almost unsure of his movements. Harry relaxed his throat, taking in as much of his lover as he could.

He was rewarded with a loud hiss. "Gods...Harry...Oh love...don't stop." Snape knotted his hand in locks of dark hair, forcing the hot mouth to bob faster around him. "Fuck! Seeing you on your knees...mine..." His words were breathless, his head was tossed back in ecstasy.

Harry moved his hand to tenderly rub Snape's tight balls, his other held firmly to the back of a muscular thigh, pulling Severus deeper into his mouth. His confidence grew as the moments passed. Snape's visceral growls bounced off of the dungeon wall, fueling Potter onward.

"Harry...love...I'm going to..." Severus tried to move away to spare the younger man the possibly undesired cum that was sure to fill his mouth at any moment.

Harry mumbled, placing both of his hands on Snape's ass, forcing him to remain still. Potter swallowed causing his throat to tighten around the cock he was working to feverishly on. It was far more than enough for the Potions Master. With a final roar he spilled his seed deep into his lover's waiting mouth. Harry moved his head up and down the shaft a few more times to allow the beautiful man above him to ride out the waves of his orgasm. He licked his lips and grinned up at Snape, who was not as foreboding with a furious blush invading his cheeks.

Severus frantically pulled Harry to his feet, kissing him lovingly. "Are you..." He attempted to inquire into his lover's current emotional state of being.

"Don't. Sev I'm fine and you are so...breathtaking." Harry nuzzled his face into the crook of the taller man's neck. "I love you." He hummed. "Was it...was I..."

"Exquisite." Snape answered simply.

Harry hugged his bonded firmly. "I have to go. Not because of this. I have to get ready for the feast. This was...perfect." He smiled honestly.

"It was." Sev's smirk was filled with admiration. "I do suppose you're correct. I fear I require a shower after that unexpected gift. I'll see you at dinner?"

"You couldn't avoid me if you tried." Harry promised before breaking away. "I'll see you in just a bit." Potter grinned one last time before leaving. He noted that for the first time in a long while he wasn't feeling even the slightest hint of stress where Severus was concerned.

HHH HHH HHH

"Why are you dressed nicely?" Draco opened his eyes sleepily to stare at his freshly showered boyfriend. His dark jeans clung to his hips. One of Draco's emerald green sweaters rippled over Potter's muscular chest.

"I wondered when I might be graced with your presence sleepyhead." Harry leaned over the bed to kiss Malfoy tenderly. "How are you feeling? Albus is having a celebration of sorts to thank all of us for the information we were able to get. I didn't stop to think, if you're not feeling up to it we'll stay in and have Dobby bring us something."

"No." The blonde pulled Harry to his chest. "You look delicious and I'd be a fool to not show you off. Just let me shower and I'll be ready." He kissed Harry again. "I can feel you feeding me power. Stop it. You can't just sneak it in, you dolt."

"Ok but, I feel fine and you still look tired..."

"Malfoy's never look anything but impeccable." Draco defended.

"You had two black eyes." Harry deadpanned. "And now you don't. You don't look like anything happened."

"My savior." The blonde had stood and bowed, playfully mocking the man before him.

"You're an arse." Harry tossed a pillow playfully. "Hurry up. It sounds like a lot of the families have arrived. I want to get a good seat."

"Yes Sir." Draco hummed before disappearing into the bathroom.

HHH HHH HHH

"It's not red!" Harry laughed hysterically. He was currently pinning Malfoy to their bed attempting to force a sweater over his head.

"It's as red as a Weasley and I'm not wearing it!" Draco struggled under his lover, his legs flailing wildly. "That tickles! Get off! I can pick my own clothes!" His playful shrieks echoed through their room.

"It's dark maroon at best. You'll look lovely. Please put it on Drac." Potter pouted.

"I always look lovely you fool." Draco kissed him quickly. "And I'll look just as lovely in that hideous fucking color. Give me the damn shirt before I come to my senses."

Harry rolled off of Malfoy, tossing the sweater over his face. "People are going to be looking to us to show that we're united, all of the houses. It might be a distant cousin of red... they won't expect the prince of Slytherin to show up in anything but green."

"Fallen prince." Draco cracked a grin. "I had to give up my crown and scepter when I fell in love with Harry-bloody-Potter." The blonde pulled the shirt over his head and turned to face Harry. "I never would have thought of the houses. I suppose that is why the Gods named you our fearless leader." He checked his reflection in the mirror, pushing his sleeves up to expose the two tattoos that tied him to Harry. "How's this?"

"Gorgeous." Harry purred, placing his hands on Draco's hips.

"None of that or we'll never make it to dinner. Imagine what people think."

"Mmm..." Harry engaged his lover in a slow, loving kiss. "You're right...we need to leave or we're never going to." Potter turned to exit the room, not releasing Draco's hand.

HHH HHH HHH

"Wow." Harry stopped at the entrance of the great hall. He had never seen so many people packed into it. He spotted the clan of Weasley's with ease. Hermione's parents where with them. Harry hadn't thought they'd been due to arrive just yet. The staff table had been extended so that it could include all of the new additions. Atheena was whispering and giggling with Rachel. Tonks was enthusiastically speaking with Hagrid. Harry smiled when he saw Narcissa seated next to Severus. Remus and Sirius were arm wrestling next to her, it appeared that she disapproved.

The rest of The Order sat at the table closest to the staff. Kingsley waved to Harry. Neville's Grandmother looked uncomfortable next to Dean and his parents. Luna and her father were conversing casually by the floating punch bowl. There were countless other familiar and unknown faces.

"Oy! Harry! Over here!" Ron yelled over the crowd. It felt like every pair of eyes fell to himself and Draco. I rush of whispers swept over the large group. Harry only picked up a few words here and there.

'...Deatheater...'

'...should be in Azkaban...'

'...Imperious...'

'...can we trust Potter...'

'...look at Malfoy...'

'...like he owns the place...'

"We should have stayed in." Draco joked, his head was high with pride. "They're going to lynch me."

"Over my dead body."

Harry felt Sev's familiar push on his shield. Harry easily allowed him in. 'Take his hand Harry.' His voice was not irritated. 'We must put a stop to all of this before it begins.'

Potter took his lover's hand with conviction, daring anyone to speak against him. He kept Draco close as they made their way to the Weasley's table. Severus stood from his seat and paid no mind to the people that stood in his way as he strode to his fiance and Godson. Harry smiled softly when the man stood in front of them. There was collective gasp when The Potion's Master placed a chaste kiss on Harry's lips.

"Draco..." He nodded. "I'm pleased you were able to make it." He said loud enough for most people to hear. He hugged the young man in a fatherly manner. "I may want to hex you but, you are my family and I'll not have anyone harming you." He whispered as kindly as he could.

"Thank you Uncle Sev." Malfoy shook his head.

"Keep your chin high. The rest of them can go fuck themselves." Ron had joined them. "I saved you seats." He pointed to his table.

Severus nodded to the three of them to return to the Weasley's. Harry mouthed 'thank you' at his bond-mate before venturing through the crowd.

They had barely sat down when the Headmaster cleared his throat. "I'd like to welcome all of you here tonight. Please make Hogwarts your home. There is no telling how long we'll have to seek safety in the school. It is my duty as well as my pleasure to offer sanctuary to anyone willing to fight for the light side." He stood in his spot at the head table. "If you'd all be so kind as to be seated you'll notice some changes to the great hall. I've done away with house tables. My friends, we are an army and an army must never be divided. I would advise anyone with questions to direct them to any member of my staff. We've gathered in celebration tonight to honor a group of extraordinary witches and wizards who have, in the past months, risked their very lives to aid in our cause. We will win this war, make no mistake, it will be because of them." His eyes were mischievous.

The old man knew all to well the prejudices and fear that he was up against. His list had been carefully constructed. "It has been decided that the people I am pleased to introduce to you will be awarded The Order Of Merlin First Class for extreme bravery during wartime. To all of you in advance, every single one of you has, without question, earned this prestigious metal. I am both honored and humbled to bestow this accolade to such an astonishing group. Please make your way to me when your name is called."

He unrolled the parchment in front of him. It sat next to a large wooden box. "Hermione Granger." The shy girl that Harry had met seven years ago was no more. A confident woman strode up to the Headmaster. She whispered her thank you when a gold metal was pinned to her blouse.

"Ronald Weasley." The pride on his best friend's face allowed Harry no choice but to clap. Draco and the rest of the Weasley's joined him.

"Neville Longbottom." The tall man did not show any sign of embarrassment as he received his medal. His grandmother sobbed, searching her bag for a handkerchief.

Dumbledore went on to call Tonks, Sirius, Lupin, Fred, George and Luna. All walked away with proud grins. The Twins high-fived and strutted about with their chests puffed out.

"Atheena Monroe." The small woman jumped, clearly surprised. Harry let out a loud cheer to offer her encouragement. "For those of you that don't know Atheena came back into the wizarding world with her lovely wife Rachel to fight this war. She could have remained comfortably removed from it. I've had the pleasure of knowing Atheena for many years. She has far too much loyalty to leave the fighting to her friends and family." Atheena quickly returned to her seat.

"That brings me to her brother, Severus Snape." Irritation was the only word that could describe Snape's face as the shining medallion was fixed to the front of his robes. Harry heard several gasps and softly uttered disdain.

His sharp whistle echoed through the hall. "Way to go Sev!" He stood and clapped. The rest of The Order joined him.

"It's long overdue!" Sirius hooted, while slapping his friend's back. Severus gritted his teeth and tensely sat down, annoyed that he had not been given prior warning by Albus.

"Now, Severus and Atheena's cousin, Narcissa Malfoy. Her cunning skill, disregard for her own safety, unparalleled knowledge of The Dark Arts and fierce mothering has been an invaluable asset." The anger of the crowd was much more tangible now.

Cissy accepted with poise and dignity. Harry continued to whistle and clap. Draco fought the urge to yell out his congratulations, but stood with Sirius, Lupin, Harry and Severus for a round of applause.

"Harry Potter." Albus's gaze met Harry's. Potter fumbled his way to the table and stuttered his appreciation. "The-boy-who-lived needs no formal introduction." The Gryffindor cringed at the moniker. "But the man before me deserves one. Harry has no sense of personal safety. He has, time and again, saved the lives of the students and staff of this school. He is the most allegiant and selfless man I've had the privilege of knowing." The crowd roared with clapping and laughter. Most of the hall stood to congratulate Harry. Both Severus and Draco paid close attention to those who did not stand.

Harry tucked his head down and hurried back to the safety of his table.

"The last young man I am going to call has made phenomenal strides in the past few months. He has risked his life more times than I care to admit aiding members of The Order Of The Phoenix, a group that as of today, he is a full member of. I've found that like his mother, he is impossibly loyal to those that he loves. Without his sacrifices we would not know all that we know today. I will forever be proud that he was one of my students. Draco Malfoy would you please come forward?"

"He's a Deatheater just like his Mother and Uncle!"

"We don't honor killers!"

Malfoy squeezed Harry's hand tightly. "I don't deserve that. Harry I haven't done anything..." He whispered under the angry roar of the crowd. Narcissa and Severus both stood, concerned by the tone the room had taken.

"You do deserve it you idiot." Harry held the blonde's face and planted a firm kiss square on his lips. "All three of them deserves it more than any of you will ever know. You all came to the castle for safety right? Well they are some of the very few that will venture out of Hogwarts so that you can maintain that safety. It won't be you lot standing on the front line with me! It will be them!" Harry's voice had risen as he addressed the room. "I personally welcome anyone with a problem with this to come to me." His voice was a threat.

"Or me!" Ron stood. Draco was in awe as he heard the same sentiment expressed by everyone who had been honored that night. All of them stood, daring the crowd to continue their angry bellows.

"Go on." Harry urged his lover.

"Harry's right. Let's go." Hermione took Draco's hand and pulled him to the Headmaster. She faced the room, taking a strong stance next to Malfoy. She grinned when she looked to her left. Severus had taken the same posturing on the other side of his Godson.

"Do not ever question your deserving this, son." Albus carefully pinned the medal to the maroon sweater. Draco mused that he would never get rid of this horrid shirt. He was guided back to his chair by Hermione. Dinner passed by in a blur. The members of the order moved freely amongst each other, giving congrats. Draco kept staring down at the candle light that was bouncing off of the odd honor that was shimmering on his chest. He did not hear Dumbledore go over the rules for the new comers. He did not notice Harry's hawk like eyes continually sweep the room. He did not notice when Hermione suddenly disappeared.

When the main meal was completed most of the tables were banished, leaving a table of light refreshments and for the most part people where enjoying themselves with lighthearted conversation. "Are you alright if I go congratulate Sev? Ron and the twins won't let you out of their sight." Harry promised.

"Quite true." Fred chimed in. "Doesn't hurt that he's easy on the eyes."

"I'm perfectly capable of defending myself from this chair." Draco smiled lovingly at Harry, managing to simultaneously glare at Fred.

"I'll be right back love." Potter kissed his cheek and darted off.

HHH HHH HHH

"Gold looks good on you." Harry found Snape at a table in a corner, glowering at anyone who passed by too closely. Harry took at seat right next to his fiance, resting his head on the broader shoulder. "This is exhausting."

"Wining about your fame Potter?" Severus chuckled and placed a soft kiss of the head that laid against him.

"I do loathe it so." Harry joked. "I'm really glad the finally accepted you into The Order of Merlin Sev. If anyone deserves it, it's you. You're the bravest man I've ever met." Harry craned his neck to discretely kiss his bond-mate. "And one of the kindest. You didn't have to stand up for him..."

"He's still my Godson. What's mine is mine Harry, you know that. I may not be happy with him but the rest of these bloody morons have no right to form their ill conceived opinions."

"I wanted to say thank you again for coming." Harry smiled at his fiance. He gasped when a small grin snuck into one corner of Snape's mouth. His eyes twinkled with playfulness. "You..." Harry gasped. "Severus Adonis Snape did you just..." His laughter overtook him. "You dirty old man!" Potter teased. "That was not what I meant! But, while we're on the subject, thank you for that as well."

"I believe I should be the one thanking you. I may be an old man but I am still able to recall this afternoon. If my soon-to-fail memory serves it was you that did all of the work." His hand brushed Harry's knee under the table.

"It was my pleasure." Harry blushed.

"Well then, I won't concern myself with returning the favor." Snape's snarky answer glided from his lips.

"Hey...lets not jump to conclusions..." Harry urged with a smirk.

Harry's stomach dropped when his next sentence was cut off by a very incensed Dean Thomas. "I want to speak with you. Now." His voice was louder than need be.

Harry put his arm out when he felt Severus tense. "It's alright. I've got this." Harry stood and took a few steps, attempting to put some distance between Sev and Dean.

"What's up mate?" Potter asked casually.

"Seamus died for you!" Apparently they were just going to go ahead and skip any pleasantries. "Cho...Cedric...the list goes on and you don't even care! You're too busy shagging death-eaters to worry about the rest of us!" His fists were clenched in rage.

"That medal is a joke! Everyone thinks that your some kind of savior, hell Harry I used to buy into the same shit, but not anymore! You're going to get us all killed and for what? So you can play whore to whichever snake welcomes you into their bed that week?!"

Harry didn't know why he did it. He hadn't meant to. His fury overtook him and he had thrown the punch before he could stop himself. "How dare you!" Potter bellowed. "They've done nothing but risk everything so that they could keep ungrateful prats like you safe! How dare you!" The crowd had moved out of Harry's way. Sirius had succeeded in talking Severus out of interfering, assuring the man that Harry could handle himself.

Fred had done the same with Draco, who was still vigorously fighting to get over to his lover. It was Ron who stepped between Harry and Dean. "Get. Out. Of. Here." He warned dean through gritted teeth. "So help my Merlin, I will smash your face in Dean." The Redhead's voice was low and fierce. Dean began to back up. The room whispered as the Gryffindor ran out of the great hall.

Harry turned to look for the Headmaster. He was nowhere to be found. "Harry, mate, he's not here. He's with 'Mione. We need to go. She just sent her Patronus asking me to grab you and get to her."

"Yeah..." Harry tried to gather his bearings after the encounter. "Yeah...yes, let's go." Harry didn't think to look for Draco or Severus. His adrenaline levels were too high. He needed to move, to focus on something else. They were gone before either Slytherin could reach them. Draco exited the great hall soon after, longing for the silence of his dungeons.

HHH HHH HHH

Draco strolled the halls lazily. He'd left dinner because he couldn't find the ability to make irrelevant small talk. He did not want to be alone in his and Harry's rooms just yet. He also didn't want to assume that he should join his lover. After the excitement of the celebration he was enjoying some quiet.

"Hey Malfoy!" Dean sneered. Draco stopped casually. He kept his spine straight and he turned elegantly on his heel to face the angry boy.

"How can I help you Thomas?" His grin was unwavering. "Was all the attention you received earlier not enough? Have you come to cause a scene with me as well?" Draco took several long steps until he stood with his chest inches from Dean's. "I promise you, you wretched parasite, that while I am with Harry, I am not Harry. This confrontation will not end in hurt feelings and broken friendships." His voice was a snarl.

"Harry might be able to pretend to not remember what you are but, I remember..." The air left his body as his back was shoved against a wall. He hit the stone hard.

Draco's eyes blazed. Every word was a growl. "Remember. I want you to remember. I dont ever want you to forget what was on my forearm. The next time you have the unimaginable gall to disrespect and hurt my lover, I want you to remember that he's coming home to a Death Eater and that man...well he's just waiting for the day Harry doesn't care enough to protect you any longer."

"He'll get us all killed so that he can get his dick sucked. I don't need his protection." Dean shoved the blonde backward. "I'm tired of cleaning up the mess after he charges in without thinking. Lets see how much you mean to him when you're handing him over to Voldemort." The punch came out of nowhere.

Draco looked down at his balled fist slightly perplexed. "Don't you..." He realized instantly that he was not in control of his words. He paused to lick his bottom lip and smirk, "I would never hurt him. The things you said to him...after everything that he's done for you...unlike you I want Harry for Harry, not for his fame and glory.

"He can't have everything!" Dean screamed, fighting against the arm Draco had pushed into his throat. He noted that the Slytherin was surprisingly strong. "He doesn't get all the thanks for fighting the dark side and get to shag a Death Eater!"

"That's really your problem isn't it? I didn't believe it because I honestly didn't think someone could be that dense but, you actually are jealous of him."

"I'm not!..." Dean struggled against the assault. His cheeks were red with rage.

Draco chuckled and took a step back. "You are a waste Dean Thomas. You don't deserve him or to make it out of this war." The blonde leaned in closer. "I hope that you don't. In fact, if I get the chance I'll make sure of it." He smiled at the fear he saw on the other boy's face. He took the moment of shock to to deliver a swift, hard blow to the Gryffindor's abdomen. The darker boy crumpled to the floor.

Malfoy kicked him onto his side and squatted next to him, a sickening grin plastered on his face. "I would strongly recommend that you don't so much as look at Harry again, I mean that is if you value your miserable little life."

"What seems to the the problem here?" Draco did not jump at his Godfather's voice.

"He fell uncle." Malfoy answered smoothly. "I was only trying to help him up."

"He hit me! He should be expelled!" Dean coughed, rolling onto his back.

"You should be try to be more careful Mr. Thomas. It is ever so easy for misfortune to befall the uncoordinated." Snape joined Draco's side. "We're needed by Hermione."

"I thought Harry was handling that?" Draco asked as if they were speaking over tea.

"You know how the golden trio love an audience. She's made some sort of revaluation as per usual. I suggest we get to her quickly. That girl makes The Dark Lord look like a Hufflepuff when she's made to wait." He responded calmly.

"I'm going to the Headmaster! He'll have your job for this!" Dean cringed as he struggled to his feet.

"And what will you report to him? In case you haven't been made aware, myself and my godson loathe one another at the moment. We both witnessed you fall, to report otherwise would be an untruth, punishable by detention, which I'm certain Albus would allow me to oversee." Snape stepped closer to his student, who was quick to take several steps back and then turn and hobble as swiftly as possible up the staircase.

"We really must be going." Sev turned to Draco. "Thank you for..."

"You couldn't do it. You can't very well go about hitting students. I'm just a Deatheater." Draco grinned menacingly. "He had it coming. Let's go. I don't have any desire to encounter an angry 'Moine."

"Whatever gave you the impression that we would be traveling to the tower together?" Snape glowered. He turned on his heel and swept away in a billow of black robes.

HHH HHH HHH

"Finally!" Hermione slammed her book onto her desk in her private room when Draco entered. Severus and Albus were both seated in chairs around the room. Harry had perched himself on Hermione's bed. Draco decided that that was the best place for him to sit.

"Are you alright?" He touched his lover's hand.

"Yes. I'm so sorry that I took off. I was upset. I wasn't thinking." Harry apologized to his boyfriend. His eyes met his fiance's letting him know that the apology was meant for him as well.

"Yes, yes Harry had a row with someone who used to be his friend. It seems to happen every other week. We all still have each other, blah blah." She smiled playfully at her friends. "While you were off doing that, I know where to find Lilith." Harry let his mouth fall open. His best friend really was an evil genius.

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Please please please review, I know a lot of you want to see the end of Drarry in this story and I hope you can see that that is wrapping up. See you next time! :)