Captivation: Lux Hall
IMPORTANT NOTE:This is the sequel toCaptivation. So if you haven't read it you'll be really lost.
Pairing:Draco X Harry
Part One:The Final Confrontation
"You want to quit?" Ron asked, his eyes widening so much that Harry didn't want to look at him. "What the hell for? You're a bloody great Seeker! You always have been!"
Harry shook a piece of his black bangs away from his luminous forest-green eyes. Out of all his friends, Ron was the most stubborn (well perhaps not quite as stubborn as his boyfriend at times) and therefore found it more difficult to understand Harry's choice. However, Hermione was incredibly busy these days as was Lucas. Even Ginny and her new boyfriend Cyrus weren't around much, according to Ron.
"You know I love Quidditch Ron, bu—"
"Then why, Harry? It's ludicrous! It's…it's a crime for Merlin's sake!" Ron exclaimed in exasperation.
Harry cocked his head and gave his friend a look. "You just hate the idea that you can't get very good discounts on front row seats for the World Championships if I leave."
Ron's face flushed and his expression changed into a guilty one for a split second but then he shook his head.
"Okay, I admit it'd be disappointing, but face it there's no reason why you should leave! Your captain's great, you're excellent, you guys almost got the cup this last year, but came in second, and you're heading back into the championships again hopefully to win the cup this time! You make a good amount of money too, Harry! So what's the problem?"
This was the hardest part of all. Ron had been the last one to accept the idea of Harry liking the blond let alone dating Draco. And he had the urge to make up a lie but decided that perhaps some of the truth would be best. If he said that Draco was the reason, Ron would assume that the Slytherin was forcing him to quit so Malfoy could get more fame, but that wasn't it. Draco didn't know of Harry's choice either and frankly, as much as Harry loved Quidditch, he had realized in the past few months that finding another career would probably be better. He hated being in the spotlight anyway.
"Ron, I just…Quidditch is too time-consuming and I feel like I never get time to spend with my friends or with Draco," he said as Ron stiffened. It was his normal reaction even though he and Ron were civil enough to one another.
"It isn't about Malfoy is it?"
"For the last time, Ron, he's no longer a Malfoy."
"Right, right…it's just weird saying Merlin. It's not surprising he chose that as his last name though. He's always been full of himself."
"Then just call him Draco," Harry said, feeling annoyed. "And no it's not about him. It's about me. I just want another career. I've been in Quidditch a fair amount of time."
"You've only been a professional Quidditch player for…for like half a year," Ron retorted. "You didn't graduate from Quidditch school that long ago. You can't get sick of it that fast!"
"Well, I have."
"It isn't about what happened a couple months ago, is it?" Ron asked hesitantly.
Harry stared at him. He hadn't even thought about that. Not everyone had known that Harry was gay so there was a whole news report on him and his boyfriend, even after the whole fiasco with Draco at the Quidditch Academy, and everywhere he went people were asking him about his sexuality. No one knew about Draco; not that they were dating or living together. It was still an annoying thing to have his sexuality spread around in public, but Harry tried not to let it bother him.
And the most dreadful thing was that Harry was afraid someone, someday, would discover that Draco was the same one from Hogwarts and if people made that connection and it was proven, well…that would be even harder to live down. He knew that there was a strong possibility that if any of Draco's old Slytherin friends or former Voldemort supporters were still out there alive and in hiding that they'd become a real problem if they discovered Draco and Harry were dating. So far it was risky enough for Draco to have kept his first name, but thankfully no one had noticed anything unusual about that.
Then again, the fiasco from the Quidditch Academy had taken a while to die down because there had been a rumor about Harry dating the infamous Draco Malfoy, before Draco had changed his name, during the time when Draco's parents were also hounding him. Harry had fixed the problem so everyone thought he was kissing someone else, thanks to Rita Skeeter's reluctant help. Draco's name had been changed to Draco Merlin in the photo and that paper turned out to not be such a bad thing. The article of them kissing was dismissed once Rita Skeeter wrote her new article about Harry dating Draco Merlin. Once that reached ears of people outside of England, however, his sexuality exploded onto papers worldwide.
Harry had been concerned then that people would find out that it really had been the Malfoy heir, but thankfully it was never proven and the article was eventually forgotten. Then again, that didn't mean that people out there weren't thinking it. So far, neither he nor Draco had been attacked or threatened by anyone and he hoped it stayed that way.
Sighing, Harry shook his head. "It isn't Ron. I don't care that people got concrete proof I'm gay. Frankly, they already knew that when that picture of me and Draco kissing was taken. And when Rita Skeeter wrote my confession. They just made a big deal out of it because they couldn't find anything else to write about. Now that everyone knows I'm gay it's all blown over."
"Some reporters are still trying to get something out of it, like if you ever had any boyfriends at Hogwarts."
"Yeah, but that's just a couple and it hasn't gotten them anywhere," Harry said shrugging. "Anyway, these days the news is mostly about the Ministry becoming stronger and more structured so if another war ever did come we'll be more prepared. And hopefully by then they won't need me."
"Or you'll be dead," Ron added.
Harry's eyebrow rose and Ron flushed. "Er, sorry."
"It's fine," Harry said.
"Harry…I mean, are you saying you're bored of Quidditch?" Ron asked, staring at him seriously.
Harry wanted to tell him everything, but he just had a feeling that Hermione and Lucas would understand better. Ron was still uncomfortable when it came to emotional situations and especially when the situation had to do with Draco.
"Ron, look…Quidditch will always be in my life; I'll still go to games, of course, you know, since Draco will still be on the team, but I just…I need something else in my life."
Looking glum, Ron nodded. "Bugger…so what are you going to tell your coach?"
"I don't know yet. I think I'll tell him that I need some time off for…I guess, personal reasons. He won't question that anyway. And then, well…I'll talk to him and tell him, once I've really sat down to think about it, what I want to do with the rest of my life. And don't worry, I won't take my time off until after the championship game. I wouldn't ever do that to the team," Harry said shaking his head. "Until then I'm going to think about and research what I might want to do instead. Even if I decide not to continue Quidditch as a career after this, the World Championship still means a lot to me, and the team, and it'll always be important to me," Harry said giving him a small smile.
"See, you're so spoiled because your coach likes you, Harry. Come on, the whole team'll miss you," Ron said pleadingly.
Harry sighed. "Look, I'll think about it. I definitely need some time off to think about everything…Maybe this is just a temporary phase, but I have to make sure. I just need time…all right?"
Ron exhaled deeply. "Yeah, sorry. Is, er, something going on?"
"Oh, no…I just need time, you know, to relax. Probably stress," Harry said.
Ron nodded. "Yeah. Well, I should get going. I'm meeting Lillian for dinner."
Harry smiled. "Good. I'm glad it's working out between you two."
Flushing, Ron grinned widely. "Yeah…So I'll see you later then. Oh! And before I forget, Harry, Hermione's wedding is August 30th, what are you going to get them for a wedding gift?"
"Er, I'm not sure."
"Are you and, er…Draco going to get the gift together or get two separate gifts?"
Harry felt his chest tighten but he made sure not to show anything on his face. "Er, we haven't had time to discuss it, but probably just one big gift from the both of us."
"Yeah, I think we'll do that too," Ron said, standing up. "Okay, see you Harry."
"Later, Ron," Harry said nodding.
He watched his friend summon his broom and fly off back to his own place. Harry was outside in the cool March weather. He couldn't wait for the summer. The championship match was on September 15th and whether or not they'd win the team had planned an after-match celebration at a fancy pub near Hogsmeade in a place called Opaleye. It was a newer town, much like Hogsmeade, with various shops, and it was quickly growing. Hogsmeade was overcrowded so they had built the Opaleye about ten miles away. It was a lovely place, but it was rather expensive because it was so new. Still, there was a popular pub in Opaleye and they planned to meet there the next night to celebrate.
Now it was approaching their first full year on the team together, so that meant he and Draco had been living together for almost a year. That was the anniversary—living together. He couldn't really count the dating aspect so much, but if he did they would have been pretty much together for nearly two years. Harry hadn't done anything their first year of dating, because it was so chaotic. They had been on and off and still at the Quidditch school, but now that they were living together it was different. Harry had decided that their anniversary was the day they had made up a short while after graduating from Hogwarts and came back together. Basically, the time they moved in together around August 25th Harry estimated.
The truth was that Harry was becoming sick and tired of fighting with Draco. Being on the team with him had worked out fine when they had first started living together, but then when pressure increased and Quidditch became more stressful they had both started becoming agitated around the other. They would criticize each other's tactics out of frustration since they were both trying to be as prepared as possible. There was a lot at stake and being since they were both on the same team it created tension between them. And when they had come in second almost a year ago, Draco had been disappointed and upset, because they had worked really hard, and they had gotten into a huge fight about it.
I can't risk losing Draco over this. It was so hard when we first started getting intimate with one another and I thought he would never open up and give us a chance. And when he did it was almost ruined, but then, out of some fluke, we saw each other again and I confessed my feelings because I didn't want to lose him. And somehow it all worked out, but now it's happening again. We're fighting similar to how we used to and getting on each other's nerves. And we haven't had sex in at least a week. Well, we've busy practicing and also exhausted from it, but still…I know it's not a good sign. If I don't quit, we'll both take out our stress on each other until our relationship is ripped apart. And then I really might lose him for good.
The door suddenly slammed shut and Harry jolted out of his thoughts. Hurriedly, he went inside and saw Draco walking into the living room from the front door. The expression on Draco's face made him slightly nervous.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
"What's wrong, Potter? I'll tell you what's wrong! Goddamn Rusty had to get injured during practice this morning before the world championships!"
"Draco, calm down," Harry said as calmly as he could. "I'm sure he'll be able to get back into practice in just a few days. We've been practicing so hard and we've proven that we can make it as far as the championships so—"
"Oh really?" Draco drawled. "I'm practicing every single day, still not feeling like I'm prepared, and the rest of the team is practicing about the same, and here you are, sitting around for hours when you should be at practice," he raised his voice.
Harry clenched his jaw and tried not to become defensive. "You don't think I care about the team? Draco, I've been to practice every day since the beginning of coming onto the team! Just like you! I've been so exhausted that my flying's been off and everything, including my reaction time. That's why I'm not at practice today! Today wasn't even a regular practice it was just a team decision to get together for some extra practice if you wanted to! But I decided not to, for the team and for you, okay? If I work myself too hard, I'll be so tired and sore I might make a huge mistake and cost us that cup!"
He breathed out deeply, knowing he had raised his voice again too. He was under a lot of stress, like Draco, as it was, but also knowing that their relationship was on edge made him more irritable and anxious. To his relief, however, Draco's eyebrows went back to normal, instead of being furrowed, though he lips were still set in a straight line.
"Fine," Draco murmured, seemingly understanding his need for a break. "I get it. My game's been off too," he said, throwing off his Quidditch cloak in frustration.
Draco didn't seem to notice Harry's slip that he said he was also taking a break for Draco but the blond probably assumed Harry meant because Draco was on the team as well. It was also the fact that the more they spent time practicing, the more exhausted they were and the more they fought. So Harry had taken a day off to relax his muscles and his mind so that he and Draco wouldn't get into another argument.
"Just relax," Harry said. He went over and placed his hands on Draco's tense shoulders. "Remember, you have something to look forward to."
Draco inclined his head slightly to look at him. "Like what?"
Harry sighed, rolling his eyes up to the ceiling. "Draco, your birthday isn't too far away. It's in a little over a week, remember? And just like you wanted, I got reservations at that nice restaurant in Scotland—"
"That won't be big enough," Draco said, shaking his head.
Harry's hands dropped from his shoulders as the blond turned and walked over to pick up his cloak off the floor.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
"I mean that they get pretty full so there's no way they can accommodate all of us this close to the day."
"But there's only going to be the six of us."
Draco wheeled around. "No way, Potter. I'm not going to hang out with just your friends every time! Especially not on my birthday! I invited the team to come along and I'm getting one of the restaurants in Opaleye."
Harry clenched his fists by his sides and tried not to show his aggravation. Draco had been spending so much time at Quidditch practice that they rarely ever got to spend time away from the team. And now he wanted to bring the team along. Not that Harry didn't like the team. They all had fun going out and celebrating their victories, but Harry had thought with a smaller party he'd have more one-on-one time with Draco, especially because Ron and Lillian, Hermione and Lucas would be preoccupied with each other.
Granted, Harry understood that Draco didn't have any friends of his own, except the ones he made on the team and a few from the Quidditch school. All of his friends beforehand had been Slytherins and most families were in hiding or still in Azkaban. Harry knew Pansy's family had vanished, probably in hiding and Blaise's family too probably. Still, Harry was feeling like Draco was spending more time with his newfound friends than with Harry and it was making him feel…jealous.
"Okay…fine. Which place is it?"
"It's The Elder Wand Sanctuary. It's incredibly popular and it has plenty of space," Draco said, heading toward the stairs.
"All right…er, you want to have dinner?"
"Not right now. I'm going to take a shower," Draco said.
Harry watched him disappear from sight and he sighed heavily. He had thought he had gotten through the worst with Draco, what with the blond's parents before and struggling to come to terms with their attraction. But the only thing that hadn't changed was Draco's stubborn and sometimes arrogant attitude.
Harry's shoulders slumped and he reached a hand back to rub at the stiff muscles on his neck. He ate dinner alone and when Malfoy didn't come down Harry just left food in the fridge and went upstairs. It had been an hour and still Malfoy was in the shower. Harry wanted to wait for him and talk to him about their relationship, but he knew it wasn't the best time. Draco seemed moody and stressed and Harry didn't want to make that worse. So he just crawled into their bed. Staring up at the ceiling, Harry listened to the sound of the water running, remembering the times when Draco would come in early with him to make love or just kiss and touch. That hadn't happened at all recently. And Harry missed it.
However, this had happened before. When they were at the Quidditch school, Draco had distanced himself because of stress over studies. And the championships were much more stressful than schoolwork. Harry hoped that once the final match was over, whether they won or lost, Draco would once again calm down and be less distant. As Lucas had said to him many times, he just had to be patient. It wasn't easy getting Draco to cooperate at all when they were at the school (when Draco was still the Malfoy heir) and yet they had pulled through. They had gotten through confronting both of Draco's parents and even Ron and Hermione. He just had to have faith that they'd get through this too.
The week went by rather slowly. Practice was gruesome, mainly because it started to get warmer. Draco was still stressed about his speed with his flight tactics and Harry tried not to mention Quidditch at all when they were together. Harry felt relieved when Draco's birthday came up. He hoped that the blond would settle down and relax.
The party was at The Elder Wand Sanctuary, a huge club and pub in Opaleye. There were many restaurants and shops in Opaleye and it was still becoming more popular than when it first opened. Hogsmeade was still doing just fine, but the younger crowd hung around Opaleye much more. Lillian couldn't make it because she was spending time with her family, but Ron, Lucas and Hermione came. Ron had been incredibly reluctant to go, but Harry had made him. He wanted to show Draco, as he had before, that the blond was welcome around his friends.
Ron and Draco still didn't get along, but Draco hadn't ever complained about spending vacations with his friends, like they had earlier in April. He and Draco, plus Ron and Lillian and Lucas and Hermione had all gone together and it had been fun. Recently though Draco had been complaining more about spending too much time with Harry's friends. Still, Harry wanted his friends to come to show support. He just didn't want Draco to become any more distant.
The Quidditch team came as well. They all sat around a huge table in the two-story club/pub. There were various statues and charmed images of Merlin all over the place. There were a couple that even showed Merlin throwing a spell from his staff. It was crowded and many people were dressed expensively. Many couples were dancing together, or standing close to one another. Harry sat next to Draco and Ron sat on Harry's other side. Draco was at the head of the table since it was his birthday. As everyone gathered and drinks started coming around people began talking.
"Draco, what are you getting to eat?" Harry asked, glancing over at him.
Draco's eyes gazed into his and Harry gave him a small smile. He could see Draco's facial muscles loosened. Before Harry could say another word, or lean closer, they were interrupted.
"Hey Drake, why don't we split somethin' yeah?" said Adon, one of their teammates. Adon had a thick Australian accent and was well-known for going partying and always having girls hanging all over him. Women seemed to fall for his charms. In fact, he was similar to Draco in those ways only he had golden-brown hair with a slight wave to it that ran down just past his chin. It was cut in a way that didn't make it look too feminine for it was longer than either his or Draco's hair, but not too long. He didn't have bangs, but he had bright hazel eyes. His eyes were big and attracted girls usually right away. They were a luminous golden color as well. And his facial structure reminded Harry of Cedric Diggory.
Adon was a year younger than them, but their best Beater on the team. Adon glanced at Harry, having realized that they were talking. Adon raised his eyebrows, seemingly amused. Harry had a feeling that maybe he suspected he and Draco were more than friends. The team didn't know anything more than the fact that he and Draco were friends from the Quidditch Academy. But that didn't mean that some wouldn't find out that they lived together or wouldn't suspect anything. It wasn't like he and Draco got too close while they were at practice, but that didn't mean others didn't suspect.
"Sorry mates didn't mean to interrupt," Adon said, smiling widely. He leaned in sideways, which brought him slightly closer to Draco.
"So Draco, care to split the Knights Supreme?" Adon asked, tilting his head as he stared at him.
Draco smirked slightly and shrugged. "Why not. I can't decide anyway."
Harry felt anger begin to boil inside him. He clenched his fist under the table. Why hadn't Draco suggested splitting something with Harry? Perhaps it was just the tension and the fact that they had become distant because of Quidditch practice, but Harry was already feeling like Draco was choosing Quidditch over him and now Draco was splitting a meal with one of their teammates. Adon had always been very sociable. He talked with everyone, including Harry. Although they weren't friends, they still spoke during practice on occasion. And Harry had to keep reminding himself that he couldn't act like a boyfriend around the teammates.
It calmed him a little to think on that. Perhaps that was why Draco didn't suggest anything. Maybe Draco wanted to be a little distant from him so that no one on the team would get suspicious. They both had to be more careful after what happened with the article about the two of them (although it was when he was a Malfoy) and then the article about his sexuality, not to mention the article with him and Draco kissing, although that thankfully didn't get spread around too much and was pretty much forgotten.
"What are you gettin' Harry?" Adon asked, taking a gulp of his sizzling beverage.
"Oh, er…probably just the Staff Surprise," Harry said.
Adon nodded and Harry thought for a second the boy's lips curled upward at him, but then he was talking with Draco again. Since Harry didn't seem to be included in the conversation he pretended not to care and turned to see what Ron was doing. The red-head had definitely been drinking already. He was flushed and smiling too widely. He was asking other teammates questions about the championships and Hermione and Lucas were off in their own world (probably talking about their wedding).
After Harry waved his wand over his choice, everyone's food came almost immediately along with refills on any drinks. At one point a floating Merlin on a dragon's back came swooping over their table and Ron threw his drink in the air. Harry couldn't help but laugh. Once he turned to look at Draco, however, he felt disappointed again. Draco was in a conversation with Adon and a girl from their team named Adrianne.
"Harry," Ron slurred, bumping into him. "Can I have somma that?" he asked, looking down at Harry's plate.
As the red-head clumsily took a large bite of his food, Harry tried to focus his attention on Ron instead of on Draco.
Harry looked up to see Hermione and Lucas looking at him. Hermione was sitting next to Ron and Lucas was on her other side.
He realized that he must've had a downcast expression because Hermione was looking concerned.
"Oh, nothing…it's just…you know, awkward when the team's around because I feel like I can't be myself around Draco," Harry said quietly, so no one else would overhear.
"Course mate," Lucas said, nodding in understanding. "It's hard, but at least things worked out between you two. And you get to spend quality time together at home."
Harry forced a smile and nodded. He didn't want to talk about his and Draco's problems at home in public.
"Yeah, I know. I'm fine, really. Just tired from practice," Harry said to them. "So, I'm excited about your wedding. Have you guys decided where to go for your honeymoon?"
Hermione blushed. "Well, we were thinking of actually going to a really expensive wizard resort. I wanted to at first go somewhere in the muggle world since…well, since I'm muggle-born, but then I thought about how hard it would be to not use magic and we just want to be able to relax and be ourselves. So I think we've decided on the Cliodne Resort."
"It's supposed to be really wicked," Lucas said, grinning. "It's got rooms charmed with waterfalls that go around the bed or off to the side and they got tons of floors or different activities. You can even ride dragons there!"
"It sounds wonderful," Harry said smiling.
"Plus, it's historically special, in a way," Hermione said, smiling softly. "After all Cliodne was an Irish druidess back in medieval times. Anyway, she was a very clever witch, you know. Her Animagus form was a bird and she was the very first to discover the magical uses of moondew, which is a very rare and powerful ingredient for potions. It's hard to come by and can you imagine this one witch discovered it all on her own?"
Harry smiled with amusement at the way Hermione's eyes lit up when she talked about history or knowledge in one form or another.
"She sounds amazing," Harry said.
Lucas smiled and leaned down to kiss Hermione's cheek. Harry felt his face heat up with envy and he cast his eyes downward at his plate, pretending to be focused on eating. He soon realized that Ron was staring at him again and was much too close. The red-head was practically leaning toward Harry's face.
"This food's good," Ron said, slurring a bit. "Why're not eatin'?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't know."
Ron's eyebrows furrowed. "Is it 'bout the article on you bein' gay?"
"No, Ron. I told you it doesn't bother me," Harry said, looking at him.
"Is it 'bout Draco?" Ron asked.
Harry gave him a look. "Don't talk about him here, Ron. Someone might overhear."
"So it is 'bout 'im," Ron said slurring. "Don't worry, 'arry, not gonna tell 'nyone."
"I know, it's just…well, we've both been really busy at Quidditch practice. And Draco's been gone a lot because he's so determined to win the championships so we haven't had much quality time," Harry said quietly. "But look, it's no big—"
"You know what I's think," Ron said, pointing a finger at him. "That slimy Slytherin's prob'bly cheatin' on you. That's why he's gone so much."
Harry opened his mouth in surprise. His eyes narrowed but before he could retort Ron shouted to a waiter to bring him another drink. And then he was preoccupied with stuffing more food in his mouth. Harry's eyes instinctively turned toward Draco who was speaking with Adon. The two were seated rather close to one another despite that there were several other teammates involved in the conversation. Harry tried to ignore Ron's words. He knew Ron was drunk and he had never liked Draco and probably never would, but yet it stuck with him all night.
After some time, Draco opened his presents. Harry had gotten him something simple so as not to be too obvious in front of the team. It was a somewhat expensive broom conditioner that magically enhanced the broom for speed. Since Draco had been complaining about his speed lately, Harry thought that would be a good present. When Draco opened it, his eyes locked with Harry's for a second and the blond nodded to him in thanks. Harry smiled back and felt more relaxed after that. Of course, that could've been the help of the Butterbeer.
He and Draco didn't get home until late. They went immediately upstairs to the bedroom. Harry lay awake in bed shirtless, but with his dark blue pajama pants. Draco wore his black silky pajama pants that matched with his boxers. As Draco lay on the bed, Harry turned toward him.
"So, how was it?"
Draco turned his head and stared at him. "Fine."
Harry sighed and then scooted closer. He reached out a hand toward the blond's bare shoulder.
"Draco, the party was supposed to relax you. The championships aren't even until September 15th, that's a ways away."
"That's not that much time to perfect my tactics, Potter," Draco said, adjusting his position on the bed. He was laying face up staring at the ceiling.
"The more you worry, the more you're going to be tense and that's probably why your game has been off. Just try to relax."
Draco breathed deeply and Harry watched his chest rise and fall. "Er, just to remind you. Ron and Lillian won't be around for my birthday so the party's going to be on July 23rd at Ron and Lillian's place."
Draco reached up to brush his bangs from his eyes. "Yeah, I know, Potter."
Harry began rubbing his shoulder gently and then leaned forward. He pressed his lips against the side the Draco's neck and the blond tried to turn away. Draco mumbled something, but Harry didn't listen. He knew the blond needed to relax and thankfully he had enough drinks in him to remain calm. Harry ran his fingers across the blond's chest and he heard Draco inhale slowly. Harry opened his mouth as he sucked gently on the blond's neck and moved his way up, kissing along Draco's neckline and soon up to earlobe and jaw. Harry was glad Draco slept on the left side of the bed so that way Draco's earring was visible.
Harry sucked on Draco's earlobe, brushing his lips against the earring. He remembered getting Draco that earring and how content Draco seemed. The earring was special for more than one reason. Harry had gotten it for him as a gift since they were finally going out together, but also it was made from dragon scales. Since dragon's were magical creatures, the earring glimmered brightly now and again because of the magic inside of it. Harry didn't think it could do anything much, but it was a beautiful earring—a beautiful silver-pearl color and it was a small hoop that circled perfectly under Draco's earlobe. Harry let his tongue run over the smooth item before he began moving his lips across Draco's jaw.
Harry's hands ran down Draco's chest and dipped lower until Harry's hand brushed over Draco's pants. He let his fingers caress against Draco's hip bone and then his fingers brushed across the blond's crotch. Harry was pleased to notice Draco's arousal. Feeling his own excitement growing, Harry reached his leg across Draco's waist and hoisted himself up until he was lying on top of Draco's body. Draco stared at him, looking a bit tired, but as Harry gazed into his gorgeous silver-blue eyes, he leaned down and instantly captured Draco's warm lips in his own.
Harry opened his mouth as he pushed closer, letting his passion take control. It had been too long since they had been intimate. Harry continued to kiss Draco and as he did so he let his fingers caress Draco's bare chest and soon Harry placed his hands beneath Draco's back.
Harry let out a husky sigh as he felt Draco's hands on his bare back. Draco began kissing him back passionately and Harry opened his mouth through their kiss. Their tongues slid into each other's mouths and Harry groaned as he pushed their bare chests together. He could feel his own arousal pressing up against Draco's stomach. Harry wanted to take it slow and tease one another for a while longer, but Draco's grasp on him tightened and soon Harry found himself lying on the bed with Draco on top.
Harry wasn't complaining as Draco pulled down his pants, but he didn't want it to go too fast. He wanted to savor it since they hadn't been intimate in a while. But feeling Draco's warm body against his as the blond pressed Harry firmly down onto the bed, Harry just went with the flow. He wrapped his arms around Draco's back and let his fingers slide down to where Draco's pants were. He slipped his fingers beneath Draco's pants and boxers at his hips. Draco sighed breathlessly and Harry caressed Draco's bare hips as he slid both the pants and boxers down. Just as he did so, Draco's hand came to Harry's boxers and the blond yanked them down roughly. The boxers weren't even completely off him, still pooled down around his calves as Draco lay down upon him firmly and moved his hand to Harry's thigh.
By now, they both knew what the other liked. Harry arched his back up and moved his legs to kick off his boxers as Draco grabbed Harry's knee to spread his legs apart. Harry wrapped one leg around Draco's waist and the blond pushed forward. Harry groaned, closing his eyes and arching his back upward as he felt Draco's erection push slowly inside him. Draco groaned loudly and thrust forward. Harry's body moved with the motion as Draco grasped the back of Harry's thigh and thrust in and out. Harry moaned, turning his head to the side as he felt the pleasure take over. He was hot and his erection was trapped between them. He wanted nothing more than for Draco to move faster or to touch him everywhere…he just wanted to feel more.
The bed rocked as the two of them had sex. Harry gripped the headboard with one hand as Draco rocked his hips into him roughly toward climax. Harry groaned, feeling his body covered in perspiration as he felt Draco move inside of him. His heart was beating quickly and his erection was so hard that Harry thrust his hips upward with each motion that Draco did. He felt himself climax and Harry's orgasm seemed to set Draco off for the blond grabbed both of Harry's thighs roughly and thrust his hips forward hard enough that Harry's body rocked upward from the force. He felt Draco's hot climax inside of him and then Harry's fingers slid off the headboard. His other arm slid from around Draco's neck.
Draco eased out of him and got off him. Harry opened his eyes, wanting the blond to stay on top of him for a while longer, but Draco grabbed his wand from the bureau and waved a cleansing spell over them and the bed. The blond then dropped down onto his pillow, breathing heavily. Neither one of them bothered to put on their boxers or anything else. Harry smiled as he scooted up close to the blond. Draco's eyes were closed and his skin was still sweaty. He felt so content that he fell asleep right away.
When he woke up, Draco was gone. Harry felt a pang of disappointment but he was feeling better now that they had been intimate again. He had been so afraid of Draco pulling away again. He knew it was just stress. Things would be fine after the championships. Harry just hoped Draco remembered that on Harry's actual birthday, they had planned to take a train to a wizard carnival. He didn't want to bother Draco too much, since the blond was already stressed out enough, but he had wanted to remind him of that. Then again, if Draco remembered Harry's celebration with his friends, he wouldn't have forgotten about the carnival. Draco had bragged about how wonderful it was for so long.
"It's just been a stressful time. Everything's fine," Harry said aloud.
Practice was long and exhausting, especially when it rained. There was no time to converse with Draco so Harry focused on studying his own tactics for the championships. Draco once again was gone a lot doing extra practices. Several times Harry wanted to go there just to see what Draco was doing, why he had to be there so often and for so long, but he knew that checking up on Draco would only make the blond defensive. Harry learned that lesson when he accused Draco of flirting with another girl back at the Quidditch academy and it had all been just a misunderstanding. He didn't want that to happen again, so he just allowed Draco some space.
It was getting closer to Harry's birthday celebration and he was still agitated. Draco came home so late at night sometimes that Harry was already asleep, or the blond would be too tired to talk. One night, Draco came in past midnight and Harry had stayed awake waiting for him upstairs in their room. Draco walked in, wet with sweat and he saw Harry awake.
"What're you doin' up Potter?" Draco asked tiredly.
"Couldn't sleep. Why are you home so late?"
"I told you. Practice," Draco said, throwing off his cloak and then his sweaty shirt.
"How come you're always there?" Harry blurted out, staring at him firmly.
Draco turned around and his eyebrows furrowed. "What do you think Potter? Obviously making sure we win the championships," he drawled.
"You've been doing twice the practice that most of the team has been doing. That's fine that you want to be prepared, but you could try to be around more often! As it is, we barely get to spend time doing anything but practice!"
"It's called a career, Potter!" Draco snapped.
"When we first joined it didn't take up this much time!" Harry retorted angrily.
"That's because we were still fighting smaller teams to get this far! And I'm not going to blow our shot at the championships!"
Harry inhaled sharply and slunk back up against the headboard of the bed. "I get that. Let's not argue anymore."
"Fine," Draco said. He walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
Harry sighed heavily and lay down in bed. Just when he thought things would pull through, Draco became distant all over again. Harry thought he was past that after he had confronted his parents, but perhaps it was something else. Maybe the blond just needed a little more time. Harry hoped that was all it was.
Over the short time before Harry's celebration, he tried to be patient with Draco. He didn't complain when Draco came home late and he attempted to be supportive. But he was growing restless and irritable. When the time for his celebration came, Harry hoped that spending time with his friends, and Draco, would cheer him up. Maybe Draco needed another party as well to calm his nerves.
They all met at Ron and Lillian's. It was a small apartment, but it felt homey. Lillian did all the decorating. There were simple couches and a table in the main room and then a large antique table in the kitchen. There was plenty of food spread across it when Harry and Draco came inside. Everyone else was already there. Seamus, Dean, Neville, Luna, Ginny and her new boyfriend Cyrus, plus Lucas and Hermione were all there. And there were a few of Lillian's friends too that Harry had never met before.
"All right everyone dig in there's plenty of food!" Lillian said, smiling.
Everyone began to pile their plates up with food. Seamus and Dean came over to Harry asking him about his Quidditch team and if they were ready for the championships.
"I think we're well prepared," Harry said.
He glanced over at Draco who had seated himself in a corner with his plate of food and a mug of chocolate flavored Butterbeer. Even though Draco wasn't as close with Harry's friends as he was, there was something in Draco's behavior that worried him. Not even when he had first moved in with Draco and they had gotten together with Harry's friends at their new place had Draco acted like that. He hadn't seemed to have a problem back then. And yet now he seemed to be more distant again.
"Oy, Harry, you still there?"
Harry turned back to Seamus and smiled reluctantly. "Yeah, sorry. I'm just tired."
"Harry!" Hermione exclaimed, grinning. "Do you want to open your presents?"
"Sure," Harry said.
Everyone gathered around as Harry opened his presents. Although he tried to have a good time, he couldn't help but worry about Draco. Why did the other boy seem so quiet all of a sudden? Everyone there knew they were dating and Draco hadn't had a problem with it before, so why was he so distant? He got many presents, including a vacation trip from Ron and Lillian who had help from Ron's parents. Harry thanked them, hoping that someday after the championships he and Draco could take a nice long vacation and hopefully that would help the tension between them.
Draco's present was a simple broom item as well. Harry was surprised at first. After all, he had given Draco a broom gift because it had been in front of the team, but everyone around them knew they were a couple. It was a cleanser that automatically deflected any jinxes that might be put on it. Harry looked over at him and gave him a smile, thanking him. The blond glanced at him and nodded and looked away. Harry figured that it was fine. The real birthday present was the two tickets to the wizard carnival on his actual birthday. That he was looking forward to.
After the presents came the cake. Everyone sang happy birthday and when Harry blew out the candles they suddenly erupted with small fireworks that soar to the ceiling of the kitchen. Harry laughed, watching them in wonder. The cake turned several different colors as the fireworks continued. Finally they vanished and Harry was served the first slice. As he took a bite, he realized that on the inside the cake was multi-colored.
"Harry stick out your tongue!" Ron exclaimed.
Harry stuck out his tongue curiously and everyone burst into laughter. It wasn't until Ron and Seamus stuck out their tongues that Harry realized that cake turned people's tongues multi-colored as well. Lucas and Hermione had specially ordered the cake from some wizard bakery that Harry had never heard of. Ginny didn't seem to be the same spoiled, clingy girl that she had been the year prior. Her hair was longer and her face seemed older. For most of the night she had her hands wrapped around Cyrus, but she smiled at Harry when he caught her eye. He smiled back, grateful that she wasn't holding any grudges against him.
They all sat around talking and laughing. At one point, Harry went to get more cake and saw Luna standing there staring at Draco. Harry glanced at her and then at Draco and then back to her.
The girl's cloudy grey eyes gazed into Harry's and she stared at him blankly. "Harry, watch out for the Serpent Priestess."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Is that like another creature or something?"
Luna blinked a couple times then gazed forward. "The mariposa fairies have been changing the color of my furniture again."
"Oh?" Harry asked awkwardly. "So, er, what did you mean by watching out for the Serpent Priestess."
Luna's eyes gazed into his and she cocked her head to the left. "I don't remember."
Harry nodded, wondering if Luna would ever stop being so cryptic.
Smiling, Luna walked away in a daze and Harry just scooped up another slice of cake. He felt an arm on his shoulder and turned around. Lucas smiled at him and Harry smiled back.
"Hey Harry, how are you?"
Shrugging, Harry leaned back against the counter. "I don't know. Me and Draco haven't exactly been on the best of terms lately."
Lucas' smile faded and he stood next to him. "What's wrong?"
"He's just been so distant lately. I mean, he goes to practice so often I barely see him. And he's been in a bad mood a lot recently. He never seems to want to talk and even now he's sitting in a corner not even trying to have fun."
Lucas glanced over at Draco who had his legs propped up on a chair and he seemed to be off in his own world staring off into space as he drank his Butterbeer.
"He wasn't like this when we first moved in. I don't know what's wrong," Harry said, wringing his hands through his hair. "I'm sick of fighting, but I'm also sick of acting like I'm so understanding, you know? I want to confront him and tell him to be around more, but he gets so defensive when I say anything to him."
Lucas nodded. "He's probably just under a lot of pressure. I'm sure it'll pass. I mean, things didn't start out good between you two at the start, but it ended up working out."
Harry glanced at him and sighed. "I know. I try to tell myself that, but something just seems…wrong, I don't know. I'm sure it's just pre-championship jitters for him, but I just don't see why his behavior is so different."
Lucas patted his back gently. "Just give him some space and focus on the championships. That way you won't worry so much. I'm sure after the championships he'll go back to normal."
Harry nodded. "Yeah, thanks."
"Of course," Lucas said, smiling. "Now come on and enjoy your party."
Harry walked over with Lucas, taking a bite of the moist cake. Harry concentrated on being with his friends. They all started playing games and telling funny stories from Hogwarts and such.
"Harry, mum says that she wants you to visit soon! Fred and George say that too, but I'll bet it's only because they want to experiment on you with their new creations," Ron said.
"Probably," Harry said with a roll of his eyes.
After much talking and even a cake fight, which Dean and Cyrus started, everyone started to leave. Lucas and Hermione had to leave because they still had some wedding plans to deal with in the morning. Ginny and Cyrus were next to go and being since Draco was still being distant Harry decided it was time for them to leave as well.
"Thanks so much," Harry said, hugging Lillian and then giving Ron a big pat on the back.
He and Draco left with everyone else and got home around ten. Draco headed for the shower, but Harry stopped him.
"Draco," Harry said.
The blond turned. "What Potter?" he asked.
"What the hell is going on with you? You barely talked the entire time at the party."
"I told you, Potter. I get bored of your friends," Draco drawled. "And I have to get up early for practice."
Harry opened his mouth to retort and remembered what Lucas said about giving him space.
"Fine, just…are you sure nothing's bothering you? And I mean besides Quidditch."
"No, nothing," Draco said as he took off his clothes. Draco hesitated before he walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
Harry watched him, wanting so close to go up to him but he didn't. Harry hoped Draco wouldn't be so sulky on his actual birthday when they went to the wizard carnival. It wasn't just important because Harry was turning 20, but it was a perfect chance to finally get some quality time together.
His real birthday was only eight days away now. And the championships weren't until September. He hoped Draco would be in a better mood. Ron and Lillian would be on vacation until August 28th, just a couple days before Hermione's wedding. Harry knew Draco would be going to practice the next morning. And he couldn't help but think about what Ron had said. He wanted to just ignore the feelings in the pit of his stomach, but he just couldn't stop. If one thing hadn't changed about him, it was his curiosity, or what Hermione called his reckless nature.
Still, Harry had already made up his mind. He was going to go to Quidditch practice secretly, after Draco left, and just…observe. Perhaps it was spying, but if Draco really didn't have anything to hide then what Harry was doing wasn't wrong. At least he didn't think so. He just had to see Draco's behavior and see if he acted strangely at practice. And if maybe something else was going on. Harry wanted to trust his boyfriend, but Draco's recent change in behavior had him too suspicious and concerned.
Draco came to bed a little while later and Harry stayed awake for some time planning how he was going to remain unseen. He'd have to use an old trick from Hogwarts: his invisibility cloak. He hadn't had enough time, between Quididitch practices, to really strengthen his powers to the extent that he wanted. It would be nice if he could turn invisible for a while without a cloak, but that took extraordinary power and usually only well-trained sorcerers like Dumbledore could do it. So he'd have to rely on his cloak. And there was a large tree nearby the field, because the field itself was not too far from a small woods, so Harry could climb up it and watch from there.
The next morning, he pretended to be asleep as Draco got up and got dressed for Quidditch. Harry waited ten minutes before he hurried to get dressed and searched through his huge closet for a small trunk that held some of his old things. At the bottom of it was his cloak. Harry was surprised at how nice it looked even after not being used for a while. As he spun the cloak over him, he felt the velvety material cover him. He grabbed his broom and took off for the Quidditch field. It was only seven in the morning so Harry doubted there were many teammates there. It was possible Draco practiced alone, but Harry just had to be sure.
The field soon came before him and Harry saw figures swooping in the air. The field was huge and although Harry didn't see any bludgers or chaser balls to practice with he could tell there was about three teammates there and Draco was among them. Harry slowly lowered himself by the tree and jumped onto the branch. The tree quivered and Harry had to snatch the branch so as not to fall, which almost caused his cloak to slide off his shoulders. Harry situated himself comfortably and watched. Draco seemed to be flying alone, practicing some side-swiping moves among others. Harry looked around and saw one teammate, a girl, practicing her moves as well with another teammate.
After observing them for a while, Harry was beginning to feel foolish. That was until he saw another figure farther away lowering his broom onto the field. It was another teammate because he had on the cloak, but he didn't join the others in the air. He stayed on the ground. And Draco finally stopped swooping after practicing his fake-out spin, one of his trademarks, and Harry saw Draco look down toward the ground. Harry's heart began to pound as Draco flew toward the figure standing there. Harry's hands clenched the cloak around his shoulders as he watched, straining his eyes to see. Draco got off his broom and approached the figure on the ground. They talked for a minute and then they turned and started walking away.
Harry jumped on his broom and swooped after them, making sure to clutch his cloak tightly so as not to be seen. As he got nearer to them he could see the familiar golden brown hair and he knew who it was. It was Adon. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but they were walking away from the field. Harry followed a short distance behind watching them. Draco and Adon went behind the Quidditch chambers where there were communal showers so they were out-of-sight.
Harry was still a distance away when he saw Draco reach out a hand toward Adon. Harry got closer and closer; he knew he couldn't go too fast otherwise he might be heard. And Adon smiled widely and then stepped closer. He grasped Draco's arm and then Adon's fingers slowly slid down Draco's arm until he grasped the blond's hand. Draco closed his hand around Adon's and then Draco nodded to him.
Adon smiled and stepped back and put his hands in his cloak pockets. Then Adon began to walk back toward the building. Draco looked around as if he was afraid someone would be watching. To Harry's horror, Draco followed behind Adon quickly. Harry had to move farther away so he wouldn't be detected. Adon and Draco disappeared inside the building where the communal showers were. Harry wanted to follow them, but he knew that he couldn't get inside without the door causing some sort of noise. And he couldn't risk Draco finding out he'd been spying on him.
Harry sped back to the house confused and furious. He didn't know what to think about what he saw. With the way that Adon had touched Draco's arm and hand…it looked too intimate. And then Draco had looked around to make sure no one was watching. Why was he being secretive with Adon if they were just friends? And what had they been talking about? Worst of all, they had gone into the Quidditch chambers together. Was Draco really cheating on him? Were they possibly having sex in the showers and that's why Draco looked around to make sure no one was watching?
Harry was so upset he couldn't go back home. So he went to Lucas and Hermione's place. He needed someone to talk to. It took a little while to get there, but as Harry flew he kept thinking about Draco's strange behavior, trying to see if there were other hints that might prove he was having an affair. The only thing he could really think of was that Adon and Draco had split a meal at Draco's birthday party and they had been talking almost the entire night. Not always alone, but still together. And Draco was going off to Quidditch so often who knows what could've been going on that Harry didn't know about.
When he reached the condo, he knocked on the door. A few seconds later the door opened and Lucas stared at him surprised.
"Harry! What brings you here?"
"Hi. Er, can we talk?" Harry asked quickly.
His heart was pounding and he knew he was sweating. It was both from being anxious and from sitting in the tree for so long. Lucas led him inside into the living room. Harry stood anxiously in the center of the room.
"Is everything all right?" Lucas asked, his blue eyes glistening with concern.
Harry shook his head and sighed heavily. "Er, is Hermione here?"
"No, she's out shopping for groceries," Lucas said, nodding. "Why don't you sit and relax Harry. You look a little pale."
Harry nodded and slumped down onto the couch. Lucas summoned a couple Butterbeers from the kitchen with his wand and joined him on the couch. He handed Harry a Butterbeer.
"Thanks," Harry said, opening it. He drank a large gulp and then wiped his forehead with his free hand. "I'm just…really stressed out right now and I need some advice."
Lucas nodded, setting his drink down. "Sure. What's wrong?"
"It's about Draco," Harry said. "I'm sure you're not surprised, it seems there's always something…or always has been something…," Harry said, shaking his head. "You know, I really thought that Draco and I were through the worst after we graduate from Hogwarts, but now I'm not so sure."
Lucas leaned forward as he listened.
Harry sighed. "It's just…Draco's been acting strange for the past couple weeks. Maybe even a month, I don't know. We've been arguing constantly and…just having issues. And I thought it was just stress from the championships, but then…then at his party, I don't know. Ron said something to me; he said that Draco might be cheating on me and that's why he's gone so much and it just got to me! So then I followed Draco today to Quidditch practice, you know just to see if he really was going there and I saw him with this other guy on our team named Adon."
Harry described to him what he witnessed and told him how Adon and Draco had split a dish at his birthday party.
"And now I just don't know what to think! I mean, why were they hiding away like that and then going into the Quidditch chambers together?"
Lucas leaned back against the couch and crossed his arms gently. "I don't know what to tell you, Harry. I know that eavesdropping and spying are often ambiguous. I mean, something that could seem so plainly obvious while spying might not be even close to the truth."
"But you don't think that's the least bit suspicious, especially with how distant he's been acting lately?" Harry asked as his eyebrows furrowed.
Shaking his head, Lucas turned to him. "I don't know. I can certainly see how it looks suspicious, but it might've been something else. Maybe a private conversation that they didn't want anyone to hear, I don't know. But I wouldn't jump to conclusions. And about splitting the dish, well, friends do that all the time."
"Yeah, but the way Adon just smiled at me…I don't know, it was like he knew we were more than friends, or like he knew he was interrupting an intimate conversation and he just asked Draco to split a dish as if I wasn't even there."
"He did say that he was sorry to interrupt, right?"
"Yeah, but he just seemed…insincere or something. I don't know!" Harry exclaimed, brushing his hands through his hair. "I want to trust Draco, but he's obviously acting distant for a reason. Even when, er…you know, when we were intimate last he was still not the same," he said, shrugging. He looked down at his Butterbeer, feeling embarrassed.
Lucas sighed and reached out a hand to place on Harry's shoulder. "Listen. I know things aren't the best between you two, but I just think that you should maybe keep closer attention to his behavior, but just see if things improve after the championships. Relationships can often be ruined more by false accusations than real affairs. Lots of people get suspicious or jealous. Hell, sometimes when I'm out with Hermione I feel like guys are staring at her even though she has a ring on her finger. I'm sure she feels the same with me at times," Lucas said, shrugging. "It's just natural to feel that way with your partner, but that means that you still have passion for one another."
"So…you think I should just give it time?" Harry asked, staring down at his Butterbeer again before looking Lucas in the eyes.
Lucas smiled gently and nodded. "Yeah. I think that'd be best. The more you focus or worry about Draco cheating, the more you might convince yourself that his behavior proves it. That's what happens when jealousy gets out of control. And then if you confront him and it turns out you're wrong…"
"Yeah," Harry said, sighing heavily as he leaned his head back against the couch. "I know. You're right. You're always right."
Lucas laughed. "Well, tell that to Hermione."
Harry managed a slight smile and gazed at him. "I guess…I'm just so used to bad things happening in my life, you know? I mean, I know Voldemort's gone, but my body is just so used to being prepared for the next danger around the corner. It's like I just expect it now so it's almost as though I'm looking for it now that I'm not constantly being hunted down."
"It's understandable, Harry. You had one hell of a life," Lucas said, patting his knee. "You just have to stop worrying about the future and anticipating bad things. Try to live each day in the present and enjoy each moment. I know it's hard. And you've probably been in the survival habit for so long that it might take time to break out of it, but just think about all you and Draco have been through. You'll get through this too."
Harry sighed and then took another gulp of Butterbeer. "Thanks Lucas. I'm so glad I can always count on you."
"Of course. Anytime," he said smiling.
Harry set his Butterbeer down and stood up. Lucas did the same and Harry reached out to give him a quick hug. They said their goodbyes and Harry went back to his home, feeling only slightly better. When he got back, he went quietly upstairs and listened for any sign of movement. He heard nothing so he opened the door and found the bedroom empty. He quickly put his invisibility cloak back in the old trunk and then slumped down onto the couch in front of the fireplace.
Harry decided maybe he'd been cooped up in the house too much. So he went on a break to Hogsmeade, checking out broom stores and just walking around to take a breather. He didn't get home until later in the evening and decided he wasn't going to cook dinner for both him and Draco. He wasn't like Draco's parent so he just cooked up something for himself and figured Draco could make his own meal. He realized that Draco had already been home at some point because his Quidditch cloak was hanging on the chair.
However, when Harry went upstairs he didn't find Draco anywhere. So he jumped in the shower to relax. He let the warm water rush over him as the bars of soap washed his body for him. Harry stood in the shower thinking about what he had seen at the Quidditch field and remembering how close Draco had been before…how easily intimate he had been only a few weeks prior.
Angrily, Harry turned off the water and got out of the shower. He wrapped a towel around his waist and walked out. It surprised him to see Draco standing in the bedroom in his pajamas. The blond gazed at him and Harry felt anger surge through him. He tried not to show it so he looked away and just concentrated on getting dressed.
"Have you had dinner yet?" Draco asked finally.
He sounded tired, but Harry wasn't in the sympathetic mood. "Yeah. I already ate something."
Harry kept a calm tone, but he didn't look at Draco as he spoke. The Slytherin walked out of the bedroom and downstairs. Harry figured he was going to fix something to eat. Sighing heavily, he went to the bed and lay down. Draco came up ten minutes later with a sandwich, a Butterbeer and a bowl of soup, both of which were floating behind him. Harry remembered that they were out of Butterbeer. Draco probably had gone to pick some more up. Draco plopped down onto the couch to eat. Harry could only see his blond head. Required practice was the next morning and Harry didn't know how he'd feel about seeing Adon, but he was going to take Lucas' advice and not do or say anything.
"So, er, did you get the train tickets to that carnival?" Harry asked finally.
He heard Draco take a sip of his drink. "I got them a week ago," Draco answered.
"And the train leaves at seven, right?"
"Yeah," Draco answered.
The blond sounded exhausted and Harry suddenly felt bad about being angry. Maybe Draco truly was stressed about Quidditch. Still, the image of Draco and Adon burned in the back of his mind. Harry hoped that having some time alone together would clear any doubts he had.
The days passed by slowly. Draco's mood hadn't really changed, but Harry was pleased to note that he didn't speak to Adon during practices. Harry hadn't gone back to the Quidditch field to spy. He didn't even want to think about it.
Finally, Harry's birthday came. He put on his best charmed dark jeans and a loose black t-shirt. Harry had found the train tickets in the nightstand by the bed. He ate a little bit that afternoon, but he figured there'd be food at the carnival. Not being able to wait much longer, Harry left an hour early and got there in plenty of time before seven. He sat down on one of the benches, watching as people boarded the train. His stomach was rather jittery and he didn't know why.
Harry sat on the bench for a while, watching the people and looking back and forth to make sure he didn't miss Draco. They had agreed to meet nearby the center platform to make it easy. As a little girl passed by she looked at him with large brown eyes. And she kept staring at him, craning her neck to look at him even as her mom pulled her up onto the train. Harry instinctively put a hand up to his bangs and smoothed them down to make sure that his scar wasn't showing.
Harry waved his wand to see the time and realized it was ten minutes to seven. He began to shake his leg nervously, feeling his throat constrict. He stood up and walked around for several minutes making sure to look around for any sign of Draco. Then he sat back down on the bench and clenched his fingers into his jeans as he sat waiting. He couldn't imagine that Draco would forget. He had bought the tickets way ahead of time and Harry had reminded him only a few days ago. There was no way Draco had forgotten.
The sound of the train's horn blew, making Harry's heart jump in his chest. His fingers clenched his pants tightly as the sound continued to echo. A part of him wanted to run onto the train but he knew it wouldn't change anything. It wouldn't make him feel better and he was definitely not one to run away from his problems. The train's wheels started turning and he saw one of the train employees look at him. Harry just shook his head and the man nodded and disappeared inside. Harry clenched his jaw tightly, trying his best not to curse or scream or show any signs of fury. The train began to move and soon it was pulling away. Harry watched it disappear through the tunnel.
He sat staring down at the tickets wanting to cast a spell on them to incinerate them. Just then he heard a pop and Harry turned. Out of the shadows by a stone pillar, Draco appeared. He had on jeans as well with a white shirt but he was wearing a charmed leathery jacket over it. Draco held the jacket closed around him. He caught sight of Harry seated at the bench and Harry stood up. His fingers were still clenched into a fist and a part of him wanted to take out his wand and burn the tickets right in front of Draco.
Draco looked around.
"Yes, the train left already," Harry said, assuming that's what the blond was thinking. "And now these tickets are completely worthless," he said, holding them up.
"We can always get our money reimbursed, Potter," Draco said coolly.
"That's not the fucking point! I reminded you about this and we've been planning this for weeks now and you show up late and completely waste these tickets!" Harry bellowed angrily. "Where the hell were you?"
Draco's eyes narrowed and he crossed his arms over his chest. "I was at practice, Potter! And I lost track of time—"
"Of course you did!" Harry snapped. "You're always at that damn field! Don't you realize that too much practice can also ruin your game if you wear yourself out too much?"
"Don't bloody patronize me, Potter!" Draco exclaimed, taking a step forward.
Harry realized he limped a bit on his right leg. "Oh right, and what's that?" he asked, pointing at his leg. "You see what too much practice can do? And now you've got an injury that might take weeks to heal!"
"It's not a big deal, Potter!" Draco snapped.
"Oh really? Well it was a big fucking deal when Rusty got injured earlier, right? You came in complaining about how horrible it was and careless of him to get injured before the championships! So now you're being a fucking hypocrite!"
Draco's expression darkened and Harry was about to yell at him further until he saw people walking around the corner, probably going to catch the next train. Unfortunately for them, the next train didn't lead to the carnival. And their tickets were paid for only for the seven O'clock train to the carnival. So even if they wanted to catch the later train to the carnival they didn't have the right tickets.
"Let's just go home!" Harry snapped.
"Fine," Draco seethed.
The two of them apparated home. Harry walked inside the house first not even bothering to look back at Draco. Harry opened the fridge harshly and took out a Butterbeer. He felt like he needed one badly, if only to calm his nerves a little. Butterbeer itself came in many different flavors and alcohol percentage. Normal Butterbeer, like the kind they usual got, the same kind he had first tried in his third year at Hogwarts at The Three Broomsticks, barely had any alcohol. But the buttery smooth feeling of the magical drink was very calming even without much alcohol. And Harry needed something.
Turning around, he realized that Draco wasn't in the room. Harry stomped up the stairs and opened the door. He gulped down the drink and let it warm his insides before he stepped fully inside. Draco also had a Butterbeer in hand and he was bending over when Harry walked in. Draco stood up and Harry knew that he was going to try to escape to the bathroom like usual to avoid talking.
"Why the hell were you at practice again today?"
"Potter, I don't want to talk about this!" Draco snapped.
"Well you're going to! Because we had plans!"
Draco turned around slowly and crossed his arms. "You already had a fucking birthday party, Potter! And I told you we can get our money reimbursed!"
"That doesn't explain why you're constantly at Quidditch practice like almost every fucking day! You know that even the captain said that practicing too much is dangerous! And now you're injured just like Rusty! So what's your excuse now?"
"Stop acting like my bloody mother, Potter! I can do whatever the hell I like whenever I want to!" Draco snapped. "And I'm not as weak as Rusty! I can heal ten times faster!"
Harry inhaled sharply wanting to punch Draco in the face or punch something. He took another large gulp of Butterbeer and shut his eyes. He breathed deeply for a minute and finally opened them to see Draco go over to the couch and slowly lower himself down.
"Fine. Get our money reimbursed. I get that the championships are important, Draco! But our team is doing really bloody well! Well enough that you don't have to spend every damn day practicing! But fine! If you want to practice every day from now on that's fine. I don't care if you continue practicing until your arms fall off on one condition!"
"And what's that?" Draco drawled, taking a sip of his Butterbeer.
"There are two important things that you can't forget to go to! And I don't bloody care if you want to practice Quidditch that day or not! You're already practicing every day so this is no excuse! We have an important plan on August 25th, if you remember, to meet at the Firefaerie Lodge in Opaleye. It's vital! And don't forget that Hermione's wedding is on August 30th! All right? So if you want to live on the Quidditch field that's fine, except on those two dates, okay?"
"Fine, Potter! I get it!" Draco exclaimed. "And what the hell is so vital on August 25th?"
Harry's heart nearly stopped in his chest. He just cleared his throat. "Well…you know, it's…it's…I wanted to celebrate that we actually made it this far."
Draco's lips parted in surprise. "You mean…Potter please don't tell me you're talking about an…anniversary." Draco said the last word quietly, as if it made him uncomfortable.
Harry crossed his arms. "You don't have to think of it that way. And technically we moved in together in late May, so…it's not really an anniversary. I mean, it is kind of to celebrate the fact that we've been dating almost a year, like 8 or 9 months or something. I just thought it'd be nice to spend some quality time together," Harry said nervously. "Look, I just meant that maybe having some fun would be a nice change. It'll loosen us both up. And I think it's a really big deal that we've actually lived together for about 3 months and haven't killed one another, don't you?"
The blond looked down uncomfortably and then he straightened up and rubbed the back of his neck.
"I suppose, Potter. But that's mainly due to the fact that we've been so busy we haven't had time."
"Very funny," Harry said, relaxing his muscles a bit. "I know you might think it's stupid, but I don't, okay? And that's the only way to seal the deal. Besides, I already have reservations. All you need to do is just show up and we'll have a simple dinner, just relax. And of course Hermione's wedding too, but that's not even going to be all day. Besides, it's not even on practice day. That's all that I'm asking."
Draco was silent for a minute and then he slowly stood up. He turned toward Harry with his Butterbeer in hand.
"I'll be there."
Harry breathed out deeply.
Draco then went into the bathroom and Harry got undressed and slipped into bed. After a while, Draco came out dressed in his pajamas holding his pile of clothes. He set the pile of clothes down on the floor by his bedside and then slipped into bed. Harry stared up at the ceiling feeling both angry and hurt. Draco had ruined Harry's birthday. He had been waiting to spend time with the blond and now this only confirmed his suspicions more. Why the hell would Draco be at practice so late knowing it was the day he was going with Harry to the carnival?
That night Harry barely got any sleep. By dawn he just got up, having tossed and turned about Draco. He made some eggs for both of them. Soon, Draco came downstairs dressed in his Quidditch attire again.
"I made some breakfast," Harry said. "You should eat before you go. It'll strengthen you, especially if you're injured."
"I'm fine. It's just a sprained ankle," Draco murmured tiredly.
But the blond sat down at the table and Harry made them both plates of eggs and charmed wizard toast, which was twice the size of muggle toast and carried a bit of magic to give people a good burst of natural energy in the morning.
"Look, Draco," Harry said as he sat down. "I'm sorry for blowing up at you last night. I know we're both stressed out and I guess I was just looking forward to a nice break. It's always about Quidditch and I just feel like we don't have time to do anything else."
"It's called preparing for the championships, Potter. That's just how it is," Draco responded as he took a bite of his eggs. Draco's shoulders were stiff and he seemed to only stare down at his plate. There was definitely something going on.
"I just don't think you should push yourself."
"I doubt I'll be able to go to extra practices with my sprained ankle, at least not for a while."
Harry felt slightly relieved. "Er, you know there's no practice today, right? I mean, I just don't want your ankle to get worse."
"I'm only going to practice my speed a bit. That's all. I'll hardly be there."
Harry nodded and watched him get up from the table. He still limped a bit and Harry fought the urge to tell him to stay home. Draco wouldn't listen anyway; he was too stubborn.
Harry leaned back in his seat thinking about August 25th. It was their anniversary. Perhaps Harry was becoming sappy. Draco had seemed surprised by Harry's suggestion. It was obviously showing that Harry cared about their relationship. Harry had made reservations at an expensive restaurant in Opaleye (the Firefaerie Lodge) and he was going to give Draco a gift and a letter. The letter was the most important because not only did it explain that it was their anniversary, but Harry had written how he felt strongly about the blond. And in fact, Harry hoped that if everything went well that night he would tell Draco that he loved him and that he hoped they could stay together permanently.
With the way things were headed, however, Harry was concerned. He knew that he loved Draco and he had said it before at the Quidditch academy, but he hadn't said it directly toward him. And then he had explained to Draco that he hadn't been sure it was love, but now he was positive. He really did love Draco and he wanted to tell him that on their anniversary. That's why it was so important. It would test if their relationship was the real deal.
If Draco didn't want to be with him, or he reacted in any negative way to it, then Harry would know that Draco wasn't really invested in their relationship. And Harry wanted to know if Draco wanted to stay with him; he needed to be reassured that Draco wasn't going to suddenly change, that their bonding time at the Quidditch academy was for real and that Draco cared about him too. It was something Harry had to know.
After Draco left, Harry went upstairs and into the closet where he kept the trunk in the corner. It was just a dusty old trunk that Draco probably thought held some old junk, but in truth it held Harry's valuables, such as his invisibility cloak, Snape's potion book (that he decided to hang on to in case it ever came in handy again), Godric Gryffindor's sword (which he not only used against the Basilisk, but it was also given to him in Dumbledore's Will), some emergency potions (such as one Veritaserum potion, a brief disguise potion, a healing potion, a blinding potion or also known as a fog potion, among others), a couple illegal sorcery books (because they contained a lot of information on dark magic), pictures of his mum and dad together and with him as a baby. And among all those important items he had also placed Draco's anniversary present, all wrapped up in black paper with a gold ribbon, with the letter on top.
Harry opened the letter and read it to make sure it was perfected enough to his liking:
I know we've been through a lot. I never thought that I would see you again, let alone become friends with you but I'm glad that it happened. I know that your parents were horrible to you and I'm sorry they put you through all that misery. I am still, to this day, grateful for the fact that you stood by my side even with that article written about us, and even against your father. I know that you changed your name mostly to protect yourself, but I feel as though you did it partly for me too. And I want you to know that I'm glad we got a chance to know one another and become close. This might be too soon, but I figured that this would be a good time to tell you now that we've lived together for a year. I want you to know that I care deeply for you and that I fought for you against your dad and protected you even from my friends because I feel so strongly for you. And I want to stay with you.
My whole life has been full of danger and uncertainty and always people have relied on me to protect them. You're the only person who never relied on me for anything. And despite all the trouble that you went through you still stuck with me. I want you to know that back at the Quidditch school we were both uncertain about what was happening between us, but I know how I feel now. I've known for a while.
Even with our differences and the fact that we don't get along all the time, I want you to know that I care deeply for you. I know it may sound stupid and Gryffindor-ish of me, but it's true. I want to continue to be with you. I really hope you feel the same way, but this is why I wanted to meet with you on our anniversary because I have to know how you feel. Please don't feel pressured if I'm coming on too strongly. We both have grown up with families who didn't love us and it's so hard to believe that we've even gotten this close let alone that we've lasted this long together. Now that we've been together consistently I know that this is how I feel about you. I don't want to intimidate you or make you feel uncomfortable, but I have to know that this is real. Most importantly, I want to tell you something. I've never said this to anyone before, but I mean this honestly. I love you. And I want our relationship to be permanent. I need to know if you feel the same and if you want to be with me permanently too.
It was long, but it was honest and Harry wanted Draco to know that he did love him. Neither one of them had had much experience with love, at least not real love. Harry's friends cared for him and he was certain that Sirius loved him and Harry loved him too, but he hadn't had enough time to say it. With Draco, he was certain about it and he wanted to say it. He wanted Draco to know. And if Draco felt the same way then Harry would know it was for real and they would stay together.
The weeks passed and Harry noticed that Draco went to Quidditch practice less often. Draco didn't appear as moody, but he was also more silent than normal. Several times, Harry invited him out to dinner, such as one night when Lucas and Hermione invited them out, but Draco had claimed he was too tired. Harry was beginning to worry about his health. That night when he came home, the day before their anniversary dinner, Harry found Draco rummaging through his things in the closet. Harry entered the room and Draco immediately stood up and closed the closet.
"You missed a good dinner," Harry said, watching as Draco walked over to his bedside where he usually placed his dirty laundry until he was out of clothes. It was easy to do laundry with magic, but stress had probably made Draco care less about the pile of clothes he left on the floor.
Draco shrugged. "I wasn't hungry anyway."
Harry slowly stepped forward until he had reached the blond, who was turned away from him. Harry put a hand on his shoulder and Draco tensed instantly. Then he turned around. Harry could see some dark circles under Draco's eyes up close, though it wasn't too noticeable. Draco probably used magic to cover them.
"Look, I've been worried about you. You seem tired all the time, and moody and you also haven't been eating very much. Every time I make dinner you don't eat much and you tell me you've eaten, but you look like you've lost some weight."
"You're not my bloody mother, Potter, okay? I know how to take care of myself. If this is about me practicing too much again—"
"It isn't that," Harry said shaking his head. Draco gazed at him and Harry sighed. "I've been thinking maybe you're sick or coming down with something. I think you should go to the doctors and get checked out."
Draco's eyes widened a bit but then his gaze darkened. "No! I'm not going to some bloody doctor because you're paranoid, Potter!"
"What?" Harry raised his voice, wheeling around as Draco walked past him. "I'm just worried about you Draco! You haven't been eating, you look exhausted and you were injured before!"
"I'm bloody fine!" Draco shouted. "Just leave it alone and let me handle myself! I've always handled myself and I don't need you bloody hounding me all the time!"
"I'm only trying to help!" Harry shouted back angrily. "What the hell is wrong with you? Every time I try to be nice or spend time with you, you're always yelling at me and telling me to mind my own business!"
"Because you're too damn nosey that's why!" Draco exclaimed.
The blond shut his eyes and raked his hands through his hair. "Look Potter, I don't want to argue. I'm tired."
"Me either! I'm sick of arguing, but every time I say anything you bite my head off! If you don't want to be with me anymore, just say so!"
Draco looked taken aback. He sighed heavily. "It's not that, okay. It's just…I'm just tired."
"You're always tired. Why are you always so angry with me all the time? What did I do?" Harry was trying to keep his voice steady but he had finally had it. Screw giving Draco space. He was being an asshole for no reason and Harry had to know why.
The blond stared at him for several long seconds and Harry's heart began to pound. There was something that Draco was hiding, that much was clear. Was it Adon? Was Draco tempted to tell him what was really going on? Maybe Harry didn't want to know.
"I must have done something to you to make you this pissed off. So just tell me what it is!"
"I just…I don't need you saving me all the time!"
Harry's eyebrows furrowed. "So you're what? Mad because I get concerned about you? Because I care?"
"No!" Draco shouted, dragging his hands through his hair. "Just – it's nothing! Okay? I don't want to talk anymore."
"Well we have to because I can't take this anymore! All this senseless fighting! We're either arguing or not talking at all! Just tell me what I can do to fix this!"
"Nothing, Potter! Nothing needs fixing! Stop trying to control everything!"
Harry stared at him open-mouthed. "So this is about me and what, control problems?"
"Yes! Just stop analyzing every little thing. Let me handle my own stuff. You don't have to be involved in every inch of my life!" Draco shouted. The blond then shut his eyes and rubbed at them out of frustration.
Harry pursued his lips. Draco was confusing him. He acted like he was miserable with Harry and snapped at him all the time, but when Harry mentioned breaking up Draco didn't jump at it. What was going on with him? He wasn't getting anywhere.
Sighing, Harry decided to change the subject. "You haven't forgotten about tomorrow, right?" Harry asked, reminding him of their anniversary plans for the next evening.
Draco opened his eyes. "No, I haven't."
Harry relaxed a bit and went over to the bed and sat down upon it. He wouldn't bring it up now, but he'd have to at some point talk to Draco about their arguments. They were starting to argue too much and it wasn't healthy for their relationship. Hopefully Draco would accept the letter Harry gave to him and then Harry could talk to him about just being more open and talking to Harry more if things were bothering him. Draco had the horrible habit of keeping his feelings all bottled up inside. Harry noticed that when they were first trying to figure out their relationship. He had thought the blond had gotten through the bulk of it, but now he was showing signs of it again.
"I know you're stressed out, Draco. And I don't mean to make you feel like I'm…annoying you or being too nosey," Harry said as he watched Draco walk over to his bureau. "I just want to stop fighting. Promise me tomorrow night when we're out together we won't argue about anything, okay? We'll just…forget our worries."
"Yeah," Draco said tiredly.
"It's just…it's really important for me, Draco. I feel like we're drifting apart again," Harry said, looking down at the floor. "And it would really make me feel better if we had that dinner tomorrow. I know you think it's probably cheesy to have an anniversary type thing, but well…to me it shows that things will be all right between us. I mean, I know it wasn't easy at first, you know, at the Quidditch Academy," Harry said, looking up.
Draco had stopped looking in the bureau for his clothes and was listening, but he had his back turned.
"We've gotten through the worst of it, you know, but I just don't want Quidditch to ruin our relationship. And that's why I thought it'd be nice to go out to dinner. It would really make me feel better about everything and I promise I'll try to stop pestering you."
Harry watched him as Draco sighed and straightened up.
"So do we have a deal?" Harry asked.
Draco finally turned around to him and nodded. "I'm going to take a shower."
Harry nodded and watched him go into the bathroom. He felt better knowing that Draco said he would come to dinner. If he had been completely against the idea of an anniversary dinner (celebrating their relationship) he would've made up some excuse. Maybe Draco's mood was slowly coming back to normal.
The next morning, Harry awoke to find Draco gone. He got up, feeling his stomach churn with both anxiety and excitement. Today was their anniversary and Harry had not only planned to give Draco that gift and letter (that confessed his love to him), but he also hoped that they could have some intimate fun together that night. They hadn't been close much, except for one time, but even then Draco was distant so Harry hoped that Draco would tell him he wanted to stay with Harry. Harry couldn't wait to give Draco the letter. Confessing how he felt was a really big deal to him and once Draco knew…perhaps their relationship could progress even further.
Harry had bought a new outfit just for that evening. The outfit consisted of tight black pants made out of magical material softer than cotton and a nice, dressy long-sleeved dark blue shirt. It had a collar and was slightly shiny and the material was very thin, but comfortable. Harry had found the clothes in a clothing store in Opaleye. It was an expensive outfit, but definitely one that highlighted the good aspects of his body (it was magically charmed to do so) and the shirt's slightly shiny aspect was another magical charm to make Harry's eyes more noticeable (since Hermione had told him they were one of the strongest features he had that captured people's attention).
For most of the day, Harry was playing out what he was going to say to Draco in his mind, before and after the letter. Harry wasn't sure where Draco was, but he promised himself, and Draco, the other night that tonight they would be worry-free and wouldn't argue about anything. This night was much too important, so Harry wasn't going to worry or let himself get suspicious or anything. Although Harry hadn't been going to every practice session (meaning Draco had gone alone to the Quidditch field a couple of times since Harry saw him with Adon), Harry tried not to let that bother him. He wanted that night to be perfect and if he had to get some drinks into Draco to get him to relax and be himself then he'd do that. But nothing would ruin their night; Harry was determined about that.
As time ticked away, Harry became more and more nervous. He knew it would be hard to look at Draco after the blond read the letter. It was just so personal and Harry had never told anyone he loved them. Perhaps if he had been given a chance with Sirius, maybe he would've said it to his Godfather, but since he hadn't had many opportunities to get close to anyone, and because he was raised in a very unloving environment much like Draco was, it was just more difficult to confess such strong feelings.
Just to calm his nerves, Harry got to the restaurant a half-hour before six and sat down at their reserved table. He ordered a Butter-Toffee-Firecracker, which was a stronger alcoholic beverage than Butterbeer and one of the restaurant's specialties. Harry needed something to calm his racing heart. What would Draco say? Harry couldn't help letting the question float around in his mind over and over. He took another swig of the drink. It was cold, but filled his stomach with a burst of warmth and made his muscles so relaxed that Harry slumped back in his seat. It was making his fingertips tingle.
Harry set the gift down on the table and stared at the folded letter which he had slipped into a white envelope. Staring at the envelope, Harry wondered if he had phrased things the right way. As he fretted over it, a waiter suddenly popped in next to him.
"Good evening, sir. I see you're still waiting for your friend. Would you like another drink?"
"Oh, er, sure," Harry said, nodding.
The man nodded and popped right back out. A few minutes later he popped back and set the full glass in front of him.
"Enjoy," he said, smiling.
The empty glass vanished and so did the waiter. Harry stared at the drink and then took out his wand. He waved it to see that it was five minutes past six. He had told Draco that he could be late; he didn't want to be too demanding to say that he had to be there exactly at six. And since Draco wouldn't be preoccupied with Quidditch, Harry bet he wouldn't be too long, which meant he better go over what he was going to say again.
Harry took another sip of his drink, feeling a smile wash over his face as his muscles relaxed and his stomach fluttered. He was definitely ready to face anything, or at least he felt that way. He went over his explanation and exactly how he was going to act when giving Draco the gift and letter several times in his head. Finally, Harry decided that thinking too much on it would probably make him forget everything when the time came so he just sat up confidently and looked around the room.
He admired the Egyptian feel to the restaurant. It had both an Egyptian and a mystic feel to it. The walls were glimmering like fairy dust. The only fairies Harry had ever seen were the Pixies, who were annoying creatures related to fairies, but Hermione had told him that fairy dust was used in physical potions, like a strong sleeping draught, or a love potion, something that could take over a person's mind or body control briefly. Fairy dust apparently had the same effect as alcohol; it relaxed a person making it easier for them to be manipulated. Hermione had also told him that fairies had nearly gone extinct so trying to find one today would be very difficult. They were probably in hiding somewhere.
The floors were tiled with ancient Egyptian markings that were charmed to change every so often. Some of the tables were even a couple feet off the ground and the chairs lowered when people approached so that they could get on them. The tables and chairs were gold and the tablecloths were a silky material in a jade color. There was even a statue of some famous Egyptian witch, named Latuya, that turned animated every half-hour, looking like a live, moving hologram (in color) of the woman. She was dressed in long silky robes of purple and gold and had a wand in hand. Harry had heard another group nearby talking about her and one had said she was a very famous alchemist and that she had lived among muggles in Egypt aiding them with magic during Egypt's Golden Age. Her specialty was apparently healing potions and the cloning charm. She could clone herself three times and cloning was supposedly an incredibly difficult ability even with a wand. There wasn't even a cloning potion yet.
Harry sighed heavily and waved his wand again. He blinked at the numbers floating in front of him. It was nearing six-thirty and Draco was still not there. Harry tried to remain calm. It was possible that Draco was running a little late, because of errands, or perhaps he was also nervous, but he had promised he'd come. That was the deal they made. Then again…Draco did seem reluctant to talk the night before.
But…he wouldn't have lied to me or led me on to believe that he wanted to come if he didn't. He would've made up some excuse…I mean, he said he'd be here.
Harry took another swig of the drink. It was after five swigs that Harry began to panic on the inside. It was nearing six forty-five and still Draco hadn't shown up. Harry asked the waiter to let him know if a man named Draco came to the entrance and described him.
"Well, I haven't seen anyone by his description or heard his name, but I'll keep a look out," the waiter said.
"Thank you," Harry said.
The waiter nodded and disappeared with a pop. Harry sat at the table, sipping slowly at his drink. He tapped his fingers on the table and tried not to look at the happy couples or families around him. Harry felt bad for making the waiter wait on him so he ordered a little appetizer of food, mostly to keep himself preoccupied. When his wand told him it was about eight sometime later Harry felt as though he might regurgitate some of his food. If Draco wasn't showing up, knowing it was their anniversary and knowing it was important to him, maybe…maybe Draco didn't want to be with him.
Feeling rather sick, Harry just paid the bill, thanked the waiter and left as quickly as possible. He wasn't going to sit in there like an idiot waiting another two or so hours. If Draco hadn't shown up by then, he wasn't going to show up at all. Harry didn't go home right away. Anger and fury and sadness engulfed him all at once. He walked and walked around Opaleye, trying to work things out. His stomach was churning and this throat was constricted. He was quite certain he was having a panic attack. And the worst part of it all was that he was upset by it. He felt as though Draco had gone and stabbed him in the back with a dagger or something. He had been looking forward to this. First Draco's party hadn't gone as planned, then Draco was too late for Harry's and now this…it was proof and Harry didn't want to believe it.
Harry wrung his hands angrily through his hair, taking deep breaths as he walked. Maybe this had all been a fluke. Maybe Draco had been using him or got sick of him. Maybe he was cheating on him with Adon. And all this time Harry had grown more and more attached—so attached that he had actually thought they would be together permanently and now…now he felt like such a fool! Perhaps Ron had been right about Draco: once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin, as Ron had said once. And even if Draco wasn't using him, or cheating on him, maybe he was just living with Harry out of convenience.
Maybe Draco wasn't really serious about their relationship but since he had no one else to rely on he was just staying with Harry. That is until Draco started pulling away and spending time with Quidditch more than him. Perhaps now Draco had found that he didn't want to be with him. Maybe it was because he saw how serious Harry was getting. He felt like such a sap! Draco could be laughing at him behind his back for all he knew.
After walking around for some time, Harry apparated home. The house was silent and Harry's breathing became shallow. His fists were clenched in anger and in hurt. He didn't want to admit how upset this made him; how disappointed and used he felt. He stomped up the stairs, wanting to burn a hole in the wall every time he took a step. He burst open the bedroom door to find it empty. The bathroom light was off and the room looked the same as it had when Harry had left.
Running toward the closet, Harry opened it and was slightly relieved to see Draco's belongings were still there. He hadn't just left. So where was he? Why hadn't he shown up? Was it a subtle way of telling Harry that he didn't want to commit to their relationship anymore? Harry kicked the closet closed and it slammed shut. The harsh sound only eased Harry's anger slightly.
He threw the gift and the letter on the bed and paced up and down the room. He went over to Draco's bureau and shot a spell at it. The entire thing tipped over, spilling contents of Quidditch tactics books and other junk.
"I hate him!" Harry shouted furiously. He wheeled around to Draco's side of the bed and stared at the pile of dirty clothes on the floor. Harry whipped out his wand and pointed it at it. He was so furious all he had to do was think the spell and it shot out of his wand. The clothes went flying everywhere. Harry heaved deeply, glaring at the clothes. He stomped over to the clothes ready to burn some of Draco's favorite shirts. Harry spotted one of his good silky black shirts and shot a spell at it that crumpled it into a ball and shot it at the wall. Harry was about to go through with burning it when he noticed something. The shirt underneath the black silk one had something on it that made Harry's heart skip a beat.
Harry still had his wand pointed and he stepped forward, not caring that he was stepping on other clothing. There was a stain on the white collared shirt that looked like blood. Instantly Harry's anger turned to fear. He grabbed the white shirt and lifted it up out of the pile. He examined it up close. It was definitely blood. There was a small hole and the blood had seeped around it, obviously where a wound of some sort had been. Harry recognized it as the white shirt that Draco had been wearing when he had limped to the train station. But the blond had covered the shirt with a jacket.
Harry's lips parted in shock and he felt his whole body freeze as if hit by a paralyzing spell. Draco had put the jacket on to cover the blood stain. He had obviously been injured and he had been limping. Harry hadn't felt sorry for him at all because the blond had claimed he had been at Quidditch, but the way the hole was made in the shirt looked like a small burn mark like from a hex. Draco had been attacked!
Harry looked closer at the hole and the blood stain around the hole. It definitely had scorch marks in it. The whole time Harry had been angry at Draco for choosing Quidditch over him, but perhaps it wasn't Quidditch at all!
"But who would do this to Draco?" Harry whispered aloud, stepping backward out of shock.
He suddenly recalled seeing Adon at the field. Maybe that's why Draco was so secretive. Was Adon threatening or black-mailing Draco? Perhaps that's why Draco kept making excuses to go to Quidditch. And that was why he wasn't spending time with Harry! Maybe because Adon was forcing him to do something, pay money, or do something for him! Suddenly Harry felt awful for saying what he did and being so angry at Draco. It was obvious his boyfriend was in trouble. And if Draco didn't show to dinner like he promised…maybe it was because Adon had him! But where? How would Harry be able to find him?
"Okay…I have to calm down," Harry said, breathing out slowly. "Hermione might know a way!"
Harry instantly grabbed his broom and kept the blood-stained shirt in hand as he flew off toward Hermione's house. He banged on the door frantically when he arrived. Lucas opened it looking surprised.
"I don't have time to talk! Where's Hermione? Is she here?" Harry asked desperately.
"Yeah, but what's this about?" Lucas asked.
"What's going on?"
Harry wheeled around to see Hermione looking at them both. Her eyebrows were furrowed in concern.
"Look, I don't have much time to explain, Hermione but I think Draco's in danger. He might've been kidnapped or something, I don't know!"
"I said I don't have time for questions! His life may already be in danger!" Harry exclaimed before Lucas or Hermione could ask anything more. "I just need to know if you can figure out where Draco is with this."
Harry showed her the blood-stained shirt and Hermione tentatively took it. "I…yeah, there's a charm that can trace it, but it depends on how long it's been."
"He wore that shirt like a month ago!" Harry exclaimed. "Look, just please try for me, Hermione! I don't know what else to do!"
He felt a hand on his shoulder and he saw Lucas looking down at him worriedly. "Just calm down, Harry. Are you sure he's in danger?"
"Lucas, look, I know you said not to jump to conclusions, but I also have always trusted my instincts. And I'm sure about this! Just please tell me what to do!"
Hermione looked frightened but she nodded. "I can use a spell that can hopefully…um…freshen the blood so that the charm can be more accurate. I don't know if it can trace Draco to exactly where he is. I mean, there's just not enough blood."
"Just do what you can, please," Harry pleaded.
"Okay…um, I'm going to also need one of the most recent things Draco's worn. I might be able to combine it with this charm to make the tracing more probable."
Harry nodded. "Okay. Can I use your fireplace?"
Lucas nodded and Harry went over to it and took a handful of Floo powder from the case on the mantel. He threw some in and said his home. He appeared in the bedroom and ran to get the most recent shirt he saw Draco wear. He had to search around for it because the clothes were strewn around everywhere. He remembered the day before Draco had been wearing a simple grey t-shirt with flashing cursive letters on the back that read Quidditch Expert. It was a gift from one of the teammates at Draco's party. Harry found it over by the bureau and snatched it up.
Then he searched around for their Floo powder. Not knowing where Draco had placed it, he went into his closet and found a small old sac of some in his trunk. He used the last bit of it to get back to Hermione's place in a flash.
"Here," Harry said, handing her the shirt.
Already, Hermione had placed a spell on the blood-stained shirt and was now letting it float in the air.
"You know…this would be more accurate if I had some moondew. That would really freshen up the bloodstain and enhance the charm."
"Where can I get some?" Harry asked, gesturing anxiously with his hands.
"I…I don't know, it's a very rare ingredient."
"Wait, there's an apothecary store in Opaleye that might have some. It's usually not the season for it and it is a difficult property to get, but they might have at least one vial or so."
"If they do it'll be ridiculously expensive," Hermione said, biting her lip.
"I'll pay for it, just take me there!" Harry exclaimed.
Lucas nodded and the two of them took off on their brooms. Opaleye was a growing business, getting bigger than Hogsmeade and it took them a few minutes to find the apothecary store. And when they got there Harry saw that the sign flashed CLOSED because it was already past nine.
"No! We have to get some!" Harry yelled, slamming his fist against the wall.
Lucas grabbed his shoulder. "Calm down, Harry. Look, there's still someone inside. Maybe she'll let us in."
Harry knocked on the door instantly, having spotted the young woman in the store. She looked at them and shook her head. Then she turned back to cleaning. Harry pounded on the door again. The woman looked up, placing her hands on her hips. Harry reached up to his forehead and lifted his bangs to reveal his scar. The woman's eyes widened and Harry then used his wand to write words in the air: THIS IS AN EMERGENCY.
For a minute the woman stared at him, but she pocketed her wand, which she had been using for cleaning, and went to the door. Harry's heart was pounding so hard. He felt as though if he didn't hurry something horrible would happen to Draco. And he'd never forgive himself if something did. The woman opened the door and Harry squeezed through to get inside, nearly bumping into her.
"Excuse me…Mr. Potter, I don't usually do this, but what's the emergency?"
"Someone's life is in danger and I need some moondew if you have any. I'll pay anything you need," he said quickly.
The woman was surprised and Harry could see fear in her features. "It isn't…I mean…"
Harry read her fear and shook his head. "No, it's not Voldemort, but it's just as important. Please."
The woman winced at the name, but nodded. "Well, we haven't got any in stock. It's been hard to obtain from any store worldwide, but I do have an amulet that has moondew in it. I don't know if it would be enough for whatever potion you might be using, but it's all I have."
Harry nodded. "That's fine. I'll take it."
The woman nodded and went in the back to retrieve it. It was in an old worn case, but when she opened it a beautiful glimmering amulet was revealed. It was oval shaped, made out of dragon scales and various gems. The center of it was a topaz gem that held something liquid inside. Harry assumed that was the moondew.
"It's an ancient protection amulet that was worn by Latuya. It's said that she was given this gift by Queen Cleopatra from Egypt and Latuya enchanted this normal pendant with jewels with a protection charm for herself. Her life was in danger because an evil sorcerer found out about her cloning ability and wanted it for himself."
Harry nodded, not really caring at the moment. "Er, yeah, thank you very much. I'm sorry to have troubled you."
He summoned the amount she wanted and Harry was surprised that it wasn't as expensive as he thought.
"It's been around for generations," she said smiling. "And I'm sure no one wants an old amulet these days with all these new inventions coming out. It seems you need it more than anyone so I'm selling it to you discounted."
Harry smiled back with gratitude. "Thank you."
He would have to make sure to thank her properly one day when he had enough time. Harry left with the amulet and he and Lucas raced back. Harry gave Hermione the amulet who was intrigued by it.
"Oh my word…it belonged to Latuya, right?"
"Yeah, but I don't really have much time, Hermione," Harry said impatiently.
Hermione pointed her wand at it and sent a spell flying it cracked the amulet, but barely.
"Its protection is still strong," Hermione said.
Harry whipped out his own wand and hissed a spell. The amulet shook violently and the topaz gem burst open. Hermione quickly summoned a bowl to catch the liquid and she and Lucas stared at him in shock.
"What? It worked!" Harry exclaimed.
"I…I know, but you just…said a spell in Parseltongue," Hermione said.
Harry's shoulders stiffened and he glanced away from them. "Just please hurry."
He didn't notice Lucas and Hermione exchange glances. Hermione poured the moondew over the blood and then cast the charm over it. Harry waited, staring at the shirt and clenching his fists impatiently. Whoever hurt Draco was going to pay; he'd make sure of that. And he didn't care if it was Adon. He didn't care if he had to injure Adon badly to make him pay, which would mean that they'd have to find a replacement for the championships. Harry didn't care about anything except finding and helping Draco.
"It's working!" Hermione exclaimed in excitement. "Oh my…I've never used such a powerful combination! I didn't actually think it would work, but moondew is as powerful as Cliodne predicted!"
Harry ignored the historical reference and watched as the shirt glowed brightly. The moondew seeped into the blood and the entire shirt changed to a metallic light blew, the color of the liquid.
"Okay, Harry. I'm not positive what will happen, but in theory if you touch it, it should act as like a portkey and take you to wherever Draco is. But mind you, not a lot of people have had experience with moondew, except professional potions masters! So I don't know where it might send you or how dangerous it is," Hermione said, staring at him in concern. Her brown eyes were large and wide and Harry knew that she would worry constantly, but he had to do this.
"Thanks, Hermione. I'll be fine," he said nodding.
"Remember it's just a theory! So be careful!"
Harry nodded and approached the glowing shirt and grabbed it without another thought. There was a blinding light and a blur around him. He felt like he was levitating off the ground, or flying…but he couldn't see anything. Suddenly he hit something hard and a gust of wind came at him. He opened his eyes, looking in every direction. Harry recognized the place at once—the winding dark alleys and the damp smell. It was Knockturn Alley. It had been abandoned for a long time, especially after most Slytherins went into hiding (and some others like Bella and her husband were executed), but it hadn't been used in years and from Harry had heard the Ministry and checked it all out to make sure there were no illegal items or Slytherins hiding out. And yet there he was in Knockturn Alley. Why had the shirt brought him there?
Harry had a very bad feeling in his gut. The shirt had vanished or maybe hadn't come with him, Harry wasn't sure. He looked around. He was in a place of Knockturn Alley he hadn't been. Harry was in front of an old worn store that read: Lady Carmilla's Antiques. Harry stared at the store and the worn sign. Harry knew Lady Carmilla was on a wizard card, but it wasn't one of the most popular, probably because not many people collected vampire cards (considering so few were made). He knew that Lady Carmilla was a vicious vampire who bathed in the blood of her victims in her to obtain her youthful appearance. And from what rumors Harry had heard long ago, she was a very strong supporter of Grindelwald, the infamous wizard that Dumbledore had defeated who was one of the first Dark Lords before Voldemort.
Not many people paid attention to vampires, especially not the Ministry because vampires were not as common and they remained away from wizards (not muggles), because wizards were much harder to feed upon. However, the name sounded harmless enough, unlike Borgin and Burkes, which had had an infamous reputation and other stores like Deadly Dark Items or Salazar's Santuary. Perhaps the Ministry had overlooked something here. Harry approached the door and tried to peer through one of the windows, but it was so dusty he couldn't see anything. So he murmured "alohomora" and the door knob shook.
Suddenly, Harry felt something blast through the door and hit him square in the stomach. He flew backward and slid across the harsh damp street. Thankfully, his wand remained in hand. As Harry scrambled to his feet figures suddenly appeared around him. There were five of them dressed in black robes. They didn't have masks on so Harry wasn't sure if they were former Death Eaters, but he knew he must've come to the right place.
Harry ducked as a hex was thrown at him from his left. The big bulky figure charged at him, but Harry apparated out of the way and then appeared behind the figure so fast. He sent the figure flying and as the man groaned, the hood fell off. Harry stared at the face of Crabbe, the same fat bully that used to play the role of Draco's bodyguard at Hogwarts.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Harry snapped, pointing his wand at him.
Another several curses came flying at him and Harry apparated out of the way. He appeared again but two figures shot hexes at him and one hit his shoulder creating a scorch mark. Harry hissed with pain and ducked as another curse came flying his way.
"I thought it'd take you at least a day to figure it out, Potter! You and your damn nosiness!" a female voice snarled. "If only you won't such a damn nuisance everything would've worked out smoothly!"
Harry recognized the voice. "Pansy!"
Laughing, Pansy pulled her hood away from her face, still pointing her wand at him.
"That's touching that you remember me, Potter. But I'm afraid your luck's run out."
"What the hell have you done with Draco?" Harry snapped.
Another large figure lunged at him and grabbed him harshly by the arm. It was Harry's wand arm so he had trouble shooting the spell so instead he punched the figure in the face twice. Then he ripped off the hood to see Goyle staring at him with a bloody nose. Another hex came at him and Harry threw his body down despite the pain of Goyle twisting his arm. He thought his arm would break, but to his relief the curse hit Goyle and sent him flying backward.
Harry clutched at his arm, but kept his wand pointed at them as best as he could. He was still surrounded. Both Crabbe and Goyle got to their feet and pointed their wands at him. Goyle's nose was dripping blood but he wiped it away. Crabbe had barely been injured, only thrown off his feet. Pansy was standing in front of him smirking widely. She was just as hideous as Harry remembered: square jaw, messy hair, facial expression that looked similar to Narcissa Malfoy as though she had a sour expression consistently.
"You're outnumbered, Potter," Pansy said smugly. "And we're not letting you get through! Trust me, it'll do the world a huge favor to get you out of the way!"
"Tell me what you've done with Draco!"
"Stop calling him that!" Pansy snarled. "He would still be a Malfoy if it weren't for you! I've heard about everything, Potter! I don't know how you brainwashed him or seduced him, or whatever, but I've got to say, that's pretty disgusting for a Gryffindor."
"Shut the hell up and tell me where he is!"
"You're not one to make demands!" another female voice spoke up.
She shot a hex at him and Harry dodged it skillfully. Suddenly he felt rough arms around his body and he struggled to break free. Crabbe and Goyle had snuck up behind him and grabbed him from behind.
"Look at that. Easy as pumpkin juice," Pansy said laughing.
Harry couldn't break free and couldn't use his wand. There were now three wands pointed at him and Harry felt that if he didn't buy time he was probably dead.
"Why the hell would you hurt Draco if he was your friend?"
"Hurt him? Please, Potter! We're trying to save him, from you! I don't know what happened at that Quidditch academy, but trust me Potter we're going to make sure that Draco does exactly as his parents wanted! The only person who's going to get hurt here is you!" Pansy barked.
A curse came flying at him and Harry couldn't dodge it. He felt the intense pain of the Cruciatus Curse and shut his eyes in pain, but he didn't cry out. It wasn't as painful as Voldemort's curses. And it didn't last as long. Rage boiled so deep within him that Harry opened his eyes, glaring harshly at him. The grip on his wand tightened even though his arms were being held painfully in place.
"Is that all you've got?" Harry snapped heatedly. "You think you're powerful enough to kill me, is that it?"
"Don't sound so high and mighty Potter! I think it's time to get rid of you and prove you wrong!"
Harry jumped up using his Quidditch instincts and snapped his head back. Both Crabbe and Goyle's faces were knocked by his head. Harry was dropped and he rolled on the ground. A curse hit him and Harry's shirt caught on fire. Rolling out of the way of another one, Harry managed to say a spell to stop the fire, but it had burned a hole right through his shirt and made the skin beneath it red.
"You're going to tell me where Draco is or else!" Harry shouted.
"Please, Potter! Spare me your lame threats!" Pansy shouted.
All five came at him at once. He heard Crabbe and Goyle behind him and could see the other three figures shooting a bright green light at him. And the rage boiled so deep. Harry's vision became blurry. He jumped over one and fell on the ground to avoid the others. Harry felt something hit him in the neck and suddenly he couldn't move. He heard Pansy's laugh.
"You're pathetic, Potter! And now it's time for you to die!"
Harry felt his body fighting the curse with every ounce of energy. His vision blurred again and the green lights were headed toward him. Harry felt his muscles loosen, but he didn't move…not yet. And then as they were inches from him, Harry vanished with a pop. He heard Pansy curse but was off to the side in a split second behind the other figure. He tripped that figure and heard another feminine squeal and as Pansy's face turned toward him Harry shot two hexes toward her at the same time. One of them she blocked but the other caught her arm. And ropes suddenly bound around her.
"GET HIM! AND UNTIE ME!" Pansy shrieked.
The other female figure ran toward her as the other female figure on the ground rose to her feet. Crabbe and Goyle were up onto their feet with their wands pointed and coming at him. And Harry just reacted. The rage inside of him exploded and made his stomach feel as though it had turned completely upside down. He spun around and kicked the female behind him in the face. He saw blood and she screamed as she fell back down. Then to dodge Crabbe and Goyle's curses, Harry spun low to the ground, whipping back around and suddenly words came out of his mouth. The ground exploded as the spell hit with full power, knocking both Crabbe and Goyle off their feet. Goyle slammed into Crabbe who hit the wall hard.
The girl running toward Pansy was so shocked that it gave Harry enough time to apparate and appear above Pansy, who was still trapped by ropes. Pansy's eyes widened as she gazed up at him and Harry pointed his wand in her face.
"If anyone moves she dies!" Harry bellowed loudly.
The female that he had kicked was pointing her wand at him but her hand was shaking.
"HELP ME YOU IDIOTS! GET POTTER!" Pansy shrieked.
"I said move and she dies!" Harry shouted toward them all. Crabbe and Goyle were groaning as they tried to get to their feet.
"You don't have it in your Potter!" Pansy spat.
Harry's jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed. Both curses came from the other females and Harry spun around in a circle saying a blocking spell that blocked both attacks. And in a split second, Harry wheeled around and pointed his wand toward Crabbe and Goyle who were getting up and ready to charge at him again with wands pointed. And Harry hissed words as he pointed his wand at them. It was the first thing he had thought off—the curse that he had read from Snape's potion book, the curse Snape invented and the curse that he had used only once on Draco back during his sixth year. And Harry could hear the words come out of his mouth and he knew that he said the curse in Parseltongue.
The ground erupted as Harry's curse flew toward them. Both Crabbe and Goyle's faces lit up with fear and as they tried a blocking spell the curse brokaye right through and hit them square in the chests. Crabbe gurgled a scream as blood poured down from the wounds slashed across his body. Blood dripped from Goyle's mouth as he stumbled backward toward the wall. Both were bleeding profusely and their ropes were completely ripped and torn, allowing blood to seep down. Goyle had been closer so his face had a large slash across his cheek down to his chin.
One of the other females stopped in shock, turning to look at them. Pansy's face turned pale but the third female suddenly started shouting hexes and curses. Harry apparated out of the way and then apparated in back of the other girl who had been stunned.
"DAPHNE!" the other girl shrieked.
She wheeled around and Harry saw her face—a face he had never seen before that was tanned with wide blue eyes. She pointed the wand in Harry's face.
"IMPERIO!" she shouted.
It must've been the first thing that came to mind. Harry pretended that it worked, but she wasn't half as strong as Voldemort. She relaxed, grinning when she thought she had got him. And suddenly Harry struck out with his hand across her face. She screamed as she went flying and her wand flew from her hand. Her hood came off and Harry saw her face clearly—dark wavy brown hair, tan skin, and blue eyes. She didn't look familiar but somehow she was friends with Pansy.
"Accio wand!" Harry shouted and her wand came to his hand.
He pointed both wands at the girl Daphne. "If you move she dies!" Harry shouted.
The other girl who was running forward with her wand suddenly stopped. Pansy looked back and forth with a panicked expression.
"He's lying! UNTIE ME!"
Daphne flung her leg up and hit Harry in the side. It was unexpected and Harry stumbled as she got to her feet. Harry caught himself and apparated. He appeared suddenly above Pansy pointing both wands down at her.
"I said stop or she dies!" Harry bellowed.
The two girls, Daphne and the other one, both had wands pointed at him. Pansy stared up at Harry with wide eyes, but she still looked angry.
"KILL HIM! There's two of you! Quick before Potter ruins everything!"
Without thinking Harry slammed his foot into Pansy's side. She cried out with pain.
"You have only one choice! Those two over there are going to die if you don't tell me what I want to know!" Harry exclaimed, gesturing to Crabbe and Goyle. "That curse is my own invention and there's no cure!" he lied, wanting to frighten them more. "The only way to save their lives is to take them to St. Mungos. So tell me what I want to know and I'll let you all live and save them."
Pansy stared up at him and then leaned her head back toward Daphne. "Don't listen to him! He's bluffing!"
"LOOK AT THEM!" Harry bellowed in her face. "They're bleeding to death! And they won't survive unless you cooperate!"
Pansy's face contorted into an angry and bull-doggish look. "Sacrifices must be made Potter! Cliodene even said so!"
Pansy's eyes widened when she realized she let something slip. That name rang an uncomfortable bell in Harry's head and his eyes widened.
"Cliodene…," Harry trailed off as his heart pounded in his chest. "Cliodene Peakes?"
Pansy was shocked that Harry guessed right. "Daphne! Astoria! KILL HIM!"
"Avada Kedavra!" the girl Astoria shouted fearfully.
Harry suddenly apparated out of the way to Pansy's other side and without thinking pointed his wand at Pansy.
"Crucio!" he shouted.
Pansy screamed so loudly, twisting and turning within the confines of the ropes. Both girls stopped, stunned. Harry lifted the curse and Pansy lay panting for breath, pale and with wide eyes.
"You have only one choice! Those two over there are going to die!" Harry said, gesturing to Crabbe and Goyle. "And she's going to die, if you don't cooperate!"
Harry had his wand pointed at Pansy still and both Daphne and Astoria stood still. Daphne's hand was trembling and Astoria kept looking at Crabbe and Goyle and then back to Pansy, as if asking for instructions.
"I'll give you one more chance!" Harry bellowed. "You can save all three of them if you just cooperate!"
The girls didn't move and kept their wands pointed at him. Harry could see Astoria's grip on her wand tighten and he knew a curse was coming any second.
"Don't you dare!" Harry hissed in Parseltongue.
He pointed one wand at her and kept the other pointed at Pansy. Both Daphne and Astoria were shocked at the fact that Harry spoke Parseltongue. He hoped it would stun them enough.
"JUST KILL HIM!"
Harry looked down at Pansy, saw her face, and suddenly he felt the rage take over. Thinking about Draco and what Cliodene Peakes was planning…it was the girl Lucius had mentioned to him, the girl that he had wanted Draco to marry and suddenly without thinking Harry hissed "incendio" in Parseltongue.
Pansy let out a wail of pain, screaming desperately as her hand was blown clean off. Blood poured everywhere, soaking her robe and her hair. Tears of pain streamed from the corners of Pansy's eyes and Harry stared down at her firmly. His adrenaline was pumping so hard that his hand was becoming unsteady.
"I'm giving you one, final chance," he said slowly. "Or it's your heart that will explode next time!"
Pansy stared up at Harry with utmost fear and shock. Her face was contorted into pain and Daphne and Astoria were paralyzed in place.
"I think Crabbe's stopped breathing!" Daphne shrieked.
Astoria wheeled her head around to look and her hood fell off. She too had wavy brown hair but it was short, just barely past her chin, while Daphne's was past her shoulder. But they both had the same blue eyes as well. Astoria's face was paler in comparison and she appeared younger, but there seemed to be no doubt that Astoria and Daphne were sisters.
"There's only one way to save them all! Tell me where Draco is NOW!" Harry bellowed.
"Please, stop!" Daphne said, lowering her wand.
"Daphne don't!" Astoria shouted. She was pale and heaving deeply, keeping her wand pointed at Harry.
Harry turned and stared firmly at Astoria. And despite her youth, he made sure to glare at her with as much intimidating as he could muster. "You think you're a match for me? All five of you together aren't even a quarter as powerful as Voldemort was and I defeated him!" Harry shouted, his voice echoing around them. Daphne, Pansy and Astoria all winced at the name of Voldemort. Harry knew they weren't like the Malfoys. They were only his age and probably hadn't ever met Voldemort but just followed their parents like any good Slytherin.
Astoria's eyes widened but she kept her wand pointed at him.
"If you want her to die, be my guest."
"You wouldn't kill her…you need information…," Astoria said quietly, looking at Pansy then at her sister.
Harry kept an eye on Daphne to make sure she didn't try anything.
"No, but I only need one of you alive for that," Harry said angrily.
He was trying to sound more intimidating than he felt. It was already so hard for him to keep his wand steady. The only thing he could think of was that Draco needed his help. And he couldn't be there too late. He had to save him. And he would, even if he had to do the unspeakable. It was almost as though a foreign power and taken over his body, giving him the will to be so cruel. And his anger fueled most of it. He loved Draco and would do anything to protect him.
Pansy was moaning in pain at the loss of her hand, struggling weakly against the restraints. Daphne stared at her and then at Crabbe and Goyle.
"Astoria just do what he says! Pansy might bleed to death too!"
Finally, Astoria swallowed and lowered her wand reluctantly.
"Now tell me what I need to know and you're all free to go to St. Mungo's," Harry said sternly. "Where is Draco and how do I get to him?"
"He's inside," Daphne said, paler than before. She shakily gestured to the Lady Carmilla's Antiques store. "There's a secret passage in the back that leads to an underground tunnel. It'll take you to him!"
"How do I open the secret passage?" Harry asked her, making sure to glance at Astoria so she didn't attack him by surprise.
"The p-password is Ashwinder," Daphne said.
"Fine. Put down your wand," Harry demanded toward Astoria.
The girl's eyes narrowed but slowly she began to lower it.
Expelliarmus,Harry thought and her wand flew to him. Astoria stared at him in shock, obviously not expecting that he could perform wandless magic as well. Harry slowly stepped away from Pansy, but didn't untie her. She was still moaning in pain and arching her back upward with her eyes shut tightly.
"Go now before I change my mind!" Harry shouted.
Daphne ran toward Crabbe and Goyle and picked up a stone nearby, probably caused by the crack in the wall that the two fat boys had made. She created a portkey and disappeared with them. Astoria ran to Pansy and glanced up at Harry. There was a look in her eye that he couldn't quite place, but it almost looked like…admiration. And then she vanished with a pop along with Pansy. Harry wasted no time breaking down the door with his wand and rushing inside. Daphne had said that there was a secret passage in back. And he hoped that she was telling the truth.
Harry jumped over the counter, nearly falling over. He was suddenly feeling very shaken about what he had done. It was the rage and protection he felt in saving Draco that caused him to act so…Slytherin-like. Or at least…that's what he thought. He had never used Dark Magic like that before and it had felt like it had taken over his body.
Shaking his head, Harry pushed open the back door and looked around. It was full of cobwebs and old junk that appeared useless, but at the end of the storage room there was a wall. It was blocked by a large empty shelf but Harry pushed it aside. Then Harry approached the wall and murmured "Ashwinder."
The cement blocks began to move and Harry watched with both relief and anxiety as they moved out of place in a circular pattern until he saw stairs leading downward. Harry stepped through and kept his wand out. He kept Astoria and Daphne's wands in his pocket and hoped that the others wouldn't come back. Crabbe and Goyle still had their wands, but they were unconscious. Pansy had hers too so Harry hoped that Astoria and Daphne didn't come back with the other wands.
As Harry climbed down the winding staircase, he realized how cleverly the place had been hidden. It was in a shop that was the least dark magic shop in Knockturn Alley, protected by a special password much like Sirius' house had been protected from anyone finding it. Someone really powerful, or wealthy, must've made it and Harry wondered if it was Cliodene Peakes' family who created it for emergencies. Maybe that's where most Slytherins were hiding. Or maybe other Slytherins had created underground sanctuaries. It was safer than trying to hide in the muggle or wizard world just by plain protections.
At the bottom of the stairs, Harry saw a tunnel and he followed it. When he got to the end, however, he realized there was more than one door. The first door Harry opened was completely empty. It was just a bare room surrounded by four walls. And the next door Harry opened looked like a storage room for bottles and probably illegal items. Harry then walked to the door on the left corner. He opened it and stepped inside. Harry was shocked to find it was an old bedroom of sorts. There was a dusty bureau, a nightstand, old trinkets and papers lying around and a small bed in the way corner. As Harry walked further into the room he caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye. He wheeled around with his wand pointed and saw that there was a vanity sitting to the left against the wall. And the person seated on the vanity, facing away from the mirror, was Draco.
Harry stared at him with wide eyes and parted lips for a moment. "Draco? Draco!"
Harry rushed over to him and saw that Draco was staring at the wall.
"Are you okay?"
Draco didn't respond. Harry's heart pounded faster and faster. The blond was breathing, but he wasn't saying a word. He hadn't even looked at Harry or reacted in any way. Harry jumped around to face the blond and knelt down to look at his face. Draco's eyes were half-open as though he were sleepy, but the creepiest part was that his pupils were completely gone. He was in some sort of trance or—
Harry felt the hairs on the back of his neck go up and he jumped backward. The hex missed him by centimeters and burned a hole in the wall nearby. Draco didn't even flinch. He just kept staring at the wall. Harry wheeled around with his wand pointed to see a girl step forward. She was exactly as Draco had briefly described her when Harry had asked him at the Quidditch academy. She was creepy and exotic looking at the same time. She had long, straight brown hair that went down past her shoulders about to where her elbows were. Her face was a little tan, but her eyes were an unnatural blue. A very, very light blue, not like Draco's—more like a white-blue, or a sky blue that just didn't match her appearance. Draco's eyes were a beautiful baby blue with a silver-ish hue to them. But hers…it was like she was looking straight through him.
"I can't believe you made it this far, Harry Potter," she spoke quietly in a high but firm voice. "And to think, I could've had this finished in just twenty minutes and then suddenly you show up in the nick of time."
"Yeah, and I almost killed most of your friends to do it," Harry spat, glaring at her.
Cliodene raised an eyebrow. "You? You may be the famous Harry Potter, but you're still a Gryffindor."
"I'm actually half Slytherin. See?" Harry hissed in Parseltongue.
Cliodene stared at him, turning her head slightly. "Hmm. Impressive. A Gryffindor with the rare Slytherin ability to speak Parseltongue. Unexpected, but hardly enough."
"Frankly I don't care what house I came from! Or what type of family! I'll act however I feel I have to!"
"You're already too late," Clidoene smirked nastily. Her expression was almost worse than Pansy's. "Nacrissa told me everything about that article and how you somehow brainwashed Draco into breaking away from his family and joining you. However you did that I don't know, but it disgusted me! Draco's mine! He and I were set up to marry only a couple months after he joined that Quidditch academy! His parents told me I'd be perfect for him even though I'm not a Pureblood! Ha! They chose me over Daphne and Astoria, imagine that."
Harry's eyebrows furrowed. "They're Purebloods?"
Cliodene's eyes narrowed. "Like I said. Draco's mine. My love potion has already taken effect and he's going to marry me."
Harry looked around and glanced at Draco. "Do you think I'm daft? You have to kiss him in order for it to work and you obviously haven't because he's not speaking or hanging all over you!" Harry spat.
Cliodene's smirk faded and Harry knew he was right. She had probably been waiting for the potion to take over Draco completely so it would work and Harry had come definitely in the nick of time.
"I can't believe you'd be so desperate as to use a love potion!" Harry exclaimed. "You'd actually live with the fact that the person you marry will be a zombie forever!"
Cliodene suddenly shot a hex at him and Harry dodged it, crashing into a nearby wall.
"I'll do what I have to! He wasn't very willing to cooperate any other way! I warned him and I sent the others after him to give him plenty of warnings! He had his chance to go the easy way and he chose the hard way," Cliodene hissed, stepping forward. "But I'm sure that was your fault."
Harry's jaw clenched and he kept his wand pointed steadily at her. "So it was you who injured him?"
"It was just a warning!" she hissed. "And I wouldn't have had to even waste my breath if you hadn't ruined everything!"
Harry dodged the curse and ran to the middle of the room. "I didn't put him under any kind of spell like you did! We became friends at that academy, by his own will and he chose to be with me! Which is more than I can say for you!"
Angrily, Cliodene sent several hexes flying toward him. Harry had to duck behind the bed to avoid one.
"You're lying! Narcissa told me that's the only way Draco would ever defy her!"
"Yeah, well she's delusional!" Harry shouted. "And how the hell did you even have contact with her while she's under House Arrest?"
"Too bad, I'm not giving anything away!" Cliodene snapped.
She threw another curse that exploded too close to him and threw him off his feet. Harry slid across the floor and he scrambled to get to his feet. That's when he realized she wasn't headed for him, but for Draco. If she kissed him, it was all over. Harry tried to apparate but realized that he couldn't. Somehow the underground place was protected from that. Harry did the only thing he could. He hissed several spells at her and Cliodene jumped out of the way, now standing beside Draco. She smirked and Harry knew what would happen next. Harry did the only thing he could think of. He hit Draco with a spell and sent him flying sideways. Cliodene screamed with fury as Draco slid across the floor ungracefully, bumping his head in the process.
"I'll kill you Potter!" she screamed.
Harry blocked the curses that came flying at him, but he was becoming exhausted. He had fought off five people already and had used a lot more magic than he predicted to get them to reveal what he needed to know. His reflexes were getting slower. And one of Cliodene's hexes hit him in the leg and he collapsed to the floor. Harry struggled to get up but Cliodene forced his body down with another hex.
"I'm going to make you suffer, Potter! But first…I think I'll start with you watching me kiss Draco."
Harry struggled to get up but Cliodene's spell was still holding him in place. Cliodene levitated Draco's body into a standing position and she gave Harry a nasty sneer. Harry struggled violently but was too weak to fight it off. Cliodene bent down and pressed her lips to Draco's. Harry's heart practically burst out of his chest in horror. All the pain of losing Draco crashed on him at once and Harry felt as though he couldn't breathe. Cliodene wrapped her arms around Draco's neck just to torture Harry more and then she pulled away. Her eyes came on him and she smirked widely seeing the look on Harry's face.
"Too bad, Potter. After all that and you've still lost."
Harry struggled to stand up, but found he couldn't. And it wasn't because of the spell. His knees had gone weak with shock and he tried to hold himself up by clutching the post at the end of the bed. Harry's gaze went to Draco and he stared at the blond, thinking about all the good times he had with him and he couldn't believe that in one second it was all gone. Suddenly Harry heard a groan and he snapped out of his daze. Draco blinked and Cliodene turned to smile at him.
"Well my darling Draco, what do you say now? How about you tell Potter that he's lost? Tell him for me," she said in a sickly seductive voice.
Draco's head suddenly turned to look at him and Harry, breathing heavily, stared into the silver-blue eyes he knew so well.
"Potter! What…," Draco stuttered.
Harry choked on a gasp. Draco recognized him. Cliodene wheeled around and stared at Draco with wide disbelieving eyes.
"No…No, my potion! You're under my spell! I said tell him he's lost!"
Draco stared at her in surprise and took a couple steps backward.
Cliodene screeched with fury and Harry had to cover his ears. Draco too did the same and suddenly Cliodene shot Draco with a hex that hurled him against the wall and plastered him there. His arms and legs were spread slightly and his feet were plastered to the floor.
"I WILL NOT LOSE! I'll feed you my potion again!"
Harry's heart raced and he jumped up from his position. Draco wasn't gone! He could save him! Cliodene summoned another potion and ran toward Draco. Probably thinking Harry was still affected by her spell, she forced Draco's mouth open with her wand. Draco's eyes were wide with shock. Harry ran as fast as he could and suddenly lunged on top of her. Cliodene screeched as she fell backward with him. Cliodene turned around in his grasp and suddenly punched him in the face. Harry felt his cheek burn but he tried to grab her hands. Cliodene then pointed her wand in Harry's face and he knew exactly which curse she was thinking of.
Harry did the only thing he could in that short time and spat right in her face. Cliodene faltered and Harry jumped up, taking advantage and pinned her down on the floor. He kept her wand hand pressed firmly to the floor. And Cliodene swore and struggled. She suddenly freed her legs from beneath him and wrapped them around his neck, squeezing him until he choked. Harry couldn't move his hands unless he wanted to free her hands. Her thighs squeezed around his neck and Harry felt his air pipe cut off. Harry took the risk and let go of one of her hands. She freed that hand, the one without the wand, and slapped his wand out of his hand. Then she pulled on his hair, bringing his head down as she squeezed harder. Harry still wouldn't let her wand hand loosen, but if he passed out she would win.
He could feel the lightheadedness coming on. Harry reached his hand into his pocket and as Cliodene's eyes noticed his hands, he whipped out Daphne's wand and her eyes widened in shock.
"You can't use that on me! I've won Potter!" She screeched, choking him harder.
Harry's face was turning red and slightly blue but Harry pointed the wand at her unsteadily. Cliodene's eyes widened and just as she loosened her only free hand from gripping his hair to try and snatch the wand, Harry, since he couldn't speak, only had to think of one word: obliviate.
Suddenly, Cliodene's face went pale and her head drooped backward to the floor. Her legs stiffened and fell from around Harry's neck. Harry coughed and gasped for air. He pushed her legs away from him and shakily stood up. Cliodene blinked several times looking confused and Harry pointed the wand at her and used a paralyzing spell. He was grateful for having taken Daphne's wand now. Cliodene hadn't expected he would have more than one wand. Since it wasn't his wand though Harry had no idea how long the paralyzing spell would last. He scooped up his own wand and helped Draco down from the wall.
"Come on," Harry said, helping him up. "There has to be a secret way out of here."
Harry didn't want to chance going out into Knockturn Alley so he was hoping there was another way out. Harry had an arm around Draco's waist to help him walk as they escaped out of the bedroom. As they stumbled down the hall, Harry suddenly stopped, remembering the empty room. He turned and helped Draco inside, hoping that maybe it wasn't just an empty room. Harry closed the door behind them and helped Draco down as he searched for a way out. He even tried to password, but nothing worked.
"I thought there'd be a secret passage or something!" Harry exclaimed, pacing back and forth.
He was becoming anxious again. Draco looked weak and tired. "What happened?"
"I'll tell you later," Harry said.
"Why not just apparate?" Draco suggested, leaning against the wall.
"But this place seems protected against…," Harry trailed off and his eyebrows furrowed. The bedroom had been protected against it. But maybe that was the secret way out. "It's worth a shot."
Harry grabbed Draco and helped him up. Taking a few deep breaths, Harry concentrated on their home. He felt his insides squirm violently and suddenly Draco's weight caused him to fall over. Only they weren't on cement flooring, it was polished wood. Harry pushed himself up and looked around.
"Merlin, it worked! We're back home!" Harry exclaimed.
He turned to see Draco struggling to get up. Harry instantly got up and helped him to a chair. He then made some tea and gave it to him. As Draco drank the tea, Harry explained to him what happened.
"Draco, why didn't you tell me you were attacked?" Harry asked, after he had explained what he knew.
Draco shrugged. "I told you I can handle myself."
"You call that handling it yourself?" Harry retorted.
Draco didn't respond and took another sip of tea. Harry sighed heavily and slumped down into a chair across from him.
"All right…let's just be thankful it's over."
"It might never be over."
Harry glanced up surprised. "What do you mean?"
Draco stared down at his cup. "Potter…it's just too risky."
The feeling of pain came crashing down on him again. Harry knew what he was suggesting. It was the same tone of voice he had when he had brokayen it off at the Quidditch academy just before graduation. Draco wanted to end their relationship again. This time Harry wasn't going to keep silent.
"Draco, you can't be serious! After everything we've been through you just want to…to throw it all away?" Harry exclaimed angrily.
"Look, Potter, I appreciate you saving me, but this is how it is! Obviously if Pansy and Cliodene could find out about us, there's no telling who else did! As it is, if she had forced me to marry her, I would've let the entire team down for the championships."
"Is that all you care about? The Quidditch championships? What about us?" Harry shouted. "You didn't think you'd make it through confronting your parents, but you did! We've been through worse!"
"Yeah and I'm sick of it Potter!" Draco snapped. "I'm sick of having to look over my shoulder every day and hope that someone's not going to come tearing down our door! I'm sick of having to pretend to be nice to Weasley! And I'm sick of worrying that the truth about me will be revealed or that my parents will get out of House Arrest and hunt us down and kill us! Who the hell knows what'll happen! It's better if we just go our separate ways!"
Harry felt his entire body tense as he stared at the blond. Draco couldn't be serious…he couldn't, not after everything. Maybe Harry's instincts about them drifting apart weren't completely untrue.
"Draco, please. We were doing fine this whole year. I know that this was pretty serious, but it's only one thing!"
"ONE thing?" Draco retorted. "It's always one thing or another, Potter! It's a never ending cycle! First my parents, then reporters, now my old Slytherin friends. Who's next? I'd really rather not risk my life and my career! And that one thing could've ruined both in an instant!"
Harry glanced away, unable to look at him. He didn't want to show the anger that he felt, especially knowing that Draco was weak and exhausted and Harry didn't know what Cliodene and Pansy and them put him through so he didn't want to get into a huge battle. And yet he knew that once Draco had made up his mind, just like before when Draco had suggested they go separate ways because they were on different teams, that was it. The only thing that had brought them together was pure luck. Harry tried to not remember what Draco had said to him about realizing that he had wanted to see Harry again. He couldn't get emotional, especially not in front of Draco.
After some time of awkward and tense silence, Draco stood up. "I can look for my own place."
Harry suddenly got up. "Don't bother. I'm sure you need to heal from whatever injuries you got and we wouldn't want you to be unprepared for the championships," Harry said, subtly sarcastic. He didn't even look at Draco. "Hermione and Lucas will let me stay at their place and then I can stay with them until I find my own place. You found this place first anyway."
Without glancing at Draco, knowing if he did he'd give his emotions away, Harry headed upstairs and pulled his trunk from the closet. He went to the bureau and just grabbed a pile of clothes and other things and stuffed them in there. He was in a daze as he did so. After he packed the most important things, Harry realized he could come back for his other stuff later. He just had to get out of there before he lost his temper or confessed to Draco how he felt and then make the rejection that much harder. He had to get out and he couldn't even stand going past Draco downstairs. So Harry rummaged through things, looking for the Floo powder. He caught sight of the bag on the floor and realized it must've been in Draco's bureau, the one Harry tipped over when he thought Draco purposefully didn't show up on their anniversary.
Harry snatched the bag and opened it. He shrunk his trunk down, along with his broom, and stuffed them in his pocket. Then he grabbed a handful of Floo powder and left through the fireplace to Hermione and Lucas'. He came out in a big burst of green flames. Hermione jumped up from the couch startled and Harry saw that the two of them were seated in the living room looking worried.
"Oh Harry!" Hermione cried as tears came down her face.
She embraced him so tightly he could scarcely breathe.
"I thought something horrible had happened to you! Don't ever scare me like that again!"
Lucas came over too and put a hand on Harry's shoulder. Once Hermione managed to pull away they sat him down and Hermione got him some tea. And Harry told them the whole story.
"I can't believe they'd do such a thing!" Hermione gasped, clutching her teacup harshly. "If you had been there one second too late…"
"Draco would've married her unwillingly and also cost us the championships," Harry said glumly, stirring his tea.
"That's completely illegal! You should go to the Ministry and tell them everything, including Cliodene having contact with Draco's mum. That means she's breaking the law and she basically sent her after you two."
"Trust me, I'll send a letter to them immediately," Harry said. "But…I have a favor to ask you both."
"Of course," Lucas said, leaning forward.
Harry stared down at his teacup. "May I stay with you both just briefly until I find my own place?"
Hermione and Lucas glanced at one another.
"Harry, I…of course, but why?" Hermione asked.
Harry bit his lip to keep from showing any emotion. He clenched the teacup harshly and made sure not to look them in the eye. He pretended as though he was busy relaxing with his tea, taking sips, but in reality if he looked at them he might not be able to control his emotions.
"Draco broke up with me."
"WHAT? After you bloody saved him?" Hermione shouted.
Harry glanced up from his teacup and stared at Hermione in shock. She was never one to swear much at all. Even Lucas looked surprised. Hermione blushed and cleared her throat.
"I'm sorry, Harry. But why would he do that?"
"He's just afraid that someone else, like his parents, or other former Slytherin friends are going to hound us. And he says he's sick of always having to look over his shoulder," Harry said, shrugging. "It's the curse that stays with me. Anyone who's with me is in danger."
Hermione's eyes saddened. "Oh Harry, that's not true."
"It is. If it's not Voldemort, it's a Death Eater, if it's not a Death Eater, it's a Slytherin who wants revenge against me, if it's not that it's someone who just hates me for my fame. It is a never ending cycle. Draco was right about that. It's just something I have to accept."
Both Hermione and Lucas didn't know what to say so Harry just cleared his throat, feeling uncomfortable.
"So it's okay if I stay then?"
"Yes! Stay as long as you need to until you find a place!" Hermione said, nodding. "And we'll help you look for one."
Harry nodded. "Sure. Do you mind if I get set up now? I'm really tired."
Nodding in understanding, Hermione got up and prepared the study room as a guest room. She turned an old desk into a temporary bed for Harry and he thanked her and shut the door. Harry lay down after setting his trunk next to him. He couldn't believe that it was still over. Harry had fought so hard to keep their relationship together and he had actually tortured someone to save Draco and in the end it still didn't work out. Perhaps it wasn't meant to be.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Sorry! This turned out to be much longer than expected. It's already at 50 pages and I'm not finished so I split it in half. Part two should be up sometime tomorrow or at the most by Sunday! I've got it almost done! So my goal is that it'll be up tomorrow! Thanks for being patient!