"So... remember how I told you Draco was off on that business trip to Latvia for a few days?"

Ron looked up from his tuna sandwich and tea with a snort. "Yeah I remember. I was dancing and laughing. Thought it'd give you time to clear your head and work out what you really want. Which isn't him."

His tone was light, but there was a slight edge beneath the surface: like seeing the shape of a blade under paper. He turned back to his sandwich. Harry frowned at him, but said nothing. His hands were sticky with worry. Ron already hated the fact that Draco had moved in with Harry; he thought he was a danger. The power plays and back-stabbing in the Ministry offices were getting worse of late, spurred on by the manoeuvring of the senior politicians and civil servants. The Aurors were mostly immune, but plenty had fallen into the underlings' trap of picking sides amongst the powerful – Gawain Robards was on the rise. He hadn't taken kindly to Harry's repeated rebuffs to recruitment attempts, but Harry had other things to think about.

Ron had told Harry that Draco might well get hurt; he'd made a lot of enemies. Draco was a political animal, but he was playing with animals with bigger teeth than his. Ron said it just once, in a fraught, serious conversation that was never to be repeated, a one-off attempt at getting Harry to end the relationship. After he'd said it, the redhead had taken one look at Harry's expression and groaned. There was no way he was ending things now: he couldn't leave his boyfriend to face danger without Harry there to protect him.

At this thought, Harry felt sick. Draco had been hurt; had faced danger without Harry there to protect him. Even Eastern Europe wasn't free of the Ministry's grip; Draco had fallen prey to a local menace, and now it was too late for Harry to save him.

"Ron." His voice was half-strangled. Ron looked up – he'd clearly been waiting for Harry to speak. He must have seen Harry's tension, but learnt a while ago that it's useless pressing him on his problems until he's ready to spill. "On the Latvia trip. Draco got hurt."

Ron's bushy red brows drew together, and his blue eyes showed a flicker of concern. "Badly?"

Harry laughed, the sound ugly. "Yes. Horribly. Or not at all... sort of depends how you look at it." He was tearing his sandwich apart, shrivels of bread falling on the table to lie curled and dead. "He was turned."

"Turned?" A pause. Even the clink of cutlery and gentle hubbub of talk in the café seemed to have vanished. Harry felt like all the air ha left the room. Ron was the first one he'd told, since Draco's return a week ago. It was like he'd spilled his entrails across the table for everyone to see.

"You mean... turned?" The blood had drained from Ron's face, his freckles livid. "He's a vampire?"

Harry told him the rest of it. Draco had got drunk halfway through his ten-day trip. Stumbling back from the pub with a few other wizards, he was thrown into an alley and the guy bit down. Draco yelled and fought back, but the feeling of having his blood sucked... it wasn't like a Dementor leaching his heat away. The man – vampire – offered him his own blood, sweet elixir trickling from his wrist. Draco took it.

He woke in a hostel room on a floral bedspread – not a particularly elegant way to begin an eternity. And the vampire was there. His name was Adam. When Draco spoke of him, his face lit up, his grey eyes brightened as they once had for Snape: it was that same hero-worship, that same attraction. Adam and Draco had spent the next five nights together, while Draco learnt to be a vampire. On his return, he'd told Harry.

"The worst part is that bloody Adam's followed him back here. I mean, he's become a vampire, a blood-sucking creature of the night! I think we should be together at the moment, work out how this'll work now. But he's off all night with Adam, sleeping all day. He's been through such a change and – he doesn't... want me." Harry trailed off quietly, and sipped his beer. After the lunchtime revelations, Ron had decided this was no time for work and dragged him off to a quiet corner of the Leaky Cauldron.

Ron smirked. "Not that much of a change, mate. Cold, pale, doesn't like the sun and lives off the lifeblood of others... nope, don't see a change there."

Harry looked up in shock at his insensitivity – then at the bright blue eyes grinning at him, burst into ragged laughter. The two men sat there at the sticky table, roaring with laughter.

This was why he'd told his best friend first. Everything had been so difficult and dark since Draco came home; he was so worried, and so sick of being left while Draco swanned off into the night with his sodding sire. Ron would care – but he'd also not be drawn into Harry's broody or Hermione's suffocating concern. Speaking of...

"Don't tell Hermione. Or at least not yet, OK? Draco's not told anyone yet, and I don't want to deal with people asking questions until I know the answers. Besides, Adam told Draco not to let anyone know he's still alive. Nobody knows he's dead, of course, but since the Department of International Magical Co-operation doesn't want to know one of their freelancers has vanished they were all too scared to ask publically for information. They just told me – after he'd got back, thank Merlin – and let the Latvian police handle it."

Ron nodded. "Harry," he said carefully, suddenly serious, "has it occurred to you that this could have been deliberate? That trip was sponsored by the Ministry, and a lot of Ministry members hate him – how likely is it that it's just chance he was killed?"

At Harry's expression he said hastily, "turned, I mean."

"I've wondered about that," Harry replied quietly. "I've tried not to think about it much, but Adam, his sire – the one who turned Draco into a vampire – I met him the first night, when he came to pick Draco up, and he was born an English wizard."

Ron was well and truly in Auror mode now. "Has Draco said anything to you about this?"

"No. But we haven't really seen much of each other since... since he got back." Harry was proud of his even tone.

"Definitely suspicious. Are you sure you don't want to tell Robards, at least?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "He's still pissed at me for not going along with his little power plays. I'm surprised he hasn't tried to recruit you."

"Nah. I'm pretty much an average Auror, but you're the Great Harry Potter," Ron said with a hint of teasing. "He might be head of the Department but you have the power to make people actually like him. I reckon he's going for that Wizengamot seat."

"At this point I'd be glad just to get him out of my hair. I'm sure you're right about the seat, though. There's no point telling him my suspicions about the attack on Draco, he's too busy manoeuvring and trying to score points off that prick Pritchard to even pay attention to the usual cases."

Ron scowled. "I'm so fucking sick of all this stuff. Dad never mentioned it when he was working here."

"I guess he didn't take part. Even if Robards is failing, better him than Pritchard for the Wizengamot. The head of the Hit Wizards is all wrong for this sort of stuff, and you need more than brute force to get along in politics."

Ron looked at him.

Harry blushed. "That's what Draco says, anyway." Back when we actually had proper conversations...

"I guess Mr Slytherins Learn Politics From The Cradle would know." Ron shook his head and levered himself from the table. "I gotta get home, Harry. I'll send Hermione your love, and don't worry too much, OK?"

Harry gave a weak smile. "Sure."

He'd been quite happy to remain in the pub with Ron well into the early evening. Now he had to return to his and Draco's flat; one he'd inhabited practically alone for the last week.

Stuff was scattered all over the living room: tea-stained mugs, quills, old copies of the Prophet, Quidditch magazines, books. Despite that, the room was cold and dark, and to Harry the whole flat felt the same. Uninhabited. Dead.

He headed into the kitchen, wanting to find something to eat later tonight. There wasn't much – he hadn't shopped, and Draco hadn't been around to do it. Of course, Draco also hadn't been around to eat much, if he even wanted to now he was on his liquid diet. Colombian coffee and Swiss cheese sat smugly, untouched for the past fortnight, besides the remains of a packet of dried pasta.

Harry left them there with a snort of disgust and settled in front of the telly. Surely Draco would come home soon.

By eleven Draco still hadn't returned and Harry was sick of waiting. He decided to take a shower and go to bed, and if Draco came back late he could damn well keep quiet and let him sleep.

He knew quite well this wasn't all Draco's fault. He hadn't made much of an effort to be around during the day, to speak to Draco or insist on his company. He just felt too raw; the realisation of what had happened to Draco had been shocking, crushing, far more than he thought Draco knew. But Draco would perhaps have realised if he'd stayed. Harry's instinct after being hurt was to nest, to stay in one place and not talk too much. He'd wanted Draco to stay with him, show him what this new change meant, let him keep Draco at his side away from danger. Instead, he'd headed out with Adam, and had done the same thing every night since.

Harry was now wondering if Draco's death meant losing him after all. He stepped into the shower and saw that Draco's conditioner was still untouched. He'd been taking showers elsewhere.

And really, how could Harry compete? He was from Draco's old life. With Adam, who was tall and dark and had wicked eyes, tempting Draco out the door for vampire play each night, how could Harry the ordinary wizard expect Draco to stay? Harry swallowed and scrubbed harder, ignoring the hot water trickling down his face.

He was sick of this – of wondering what was happening. If Draco was kissing Adam, or sharing blood with him; sharing other bodily fluids. Harry stepped out of the steamy shower into the bathroom, wincing at the bright light. He decided he wasn't going to think about it anymore; there was no point in stoking his own jealousy. So he didn't think about it while he brushed his teeth. He didn't think about it while he dried off and put on his pyjamas. He didn't think about it while he shoved his robes in the laundry basket, and ignored the terrible, scraping awareness of Draco's continued absence.

He fell into bed with a groan and tried to ignore the tension in his shoulders.

Harry opened his eyes again to see darkness and feel a vague headache; he wasn't sure of the time, but knew it was the small hours. For a second he wasn't sure what had woken him, but then he heard a quiet crash and the sound of Draco swearing: his paragon of supernatural grace was home.

Harry lay still on his back, watching the door. Draco stumbled into the bedroom, fully dressed up for his night out: the black leather trousers and tight T-shirt, his hair matted and messy. He stumbled as he kicked off his boots, then fell forward onto the bed with a whumf sound.

He turned his pale face towards Harry, obviously not realising Harry was awake, and whispered loudly, "sorry." His eyes were massively dilated; Harry recognised this Draco, he'd become annoyingly familiar over the last few days. He was buzzed on blood, practically vibrating with it; the moonlight through the blinds showed a flash of scarlet smeared by his mouth. His hair was falling in his eyes, over his white, animated face.

"Hey Harry," he whispered wetly, crawling over the bedclothes to lie on his side next to Harry, "hey Harry, let's shag." His body was cool; Harry wasn't used to that yet. He lay still and unresponsive, his eyes open but shuttered in his annoyance.

Draco barely seemed to notice. He rocked against Harry's thigh, whining for relief; Harry could feel his rock-hard cock swelled by blood not his own. "Come on, come on Harry." The whimpering continued and finally Harry turned on his side, sighing in irritation.

At the sight of the pale, happy face, the feel of hands reaching needily for him, Harry felt an unwanted but uncontrollable welling up of love. He kissed Draco. The tang of blood in his mouth wasn't right, but the feel of Draco's tongue and his body curling against Harry's was; he let Draco tip him back onto his back, and remove his pyjamas with speedy fingers.

When Harry was naked, he lay there exposed against the cool sheets. He didn't have time to grow uncomfortable; Draco sat back on his knees and pulled his t-shirt off, leaving his upper body exposed in the moonlight. Harry reached out and stroked a hand down his chest, smiling at the shiver.

Then clouds shrouded the moon. Draco's night vision let him remove the leather trousers and locate the lube with ease, while Harry lay with his thighs apart, squinting at Draco's pale, blurred shape. Then Draco's hands were between his thighs, one stroking his cock to full hardness as the other probed his entrance, slicked with lube that felt even cooler than Draco's pale hands. Harry squirmed as he was fingered open – God, it felt like it had been forever – and groaned as Draco entered him. He began to pant as they shagged in the near-darkness; the quiet allowed him to hear that Draco had not yet shed that all-too-human habit either.

They rocked together, faces close, fingers skating over muscle and sensitive skin. Draco whispered breathlessly against Harry's neck, finally telling him something of what it was to be a vampire.

"I can't... believe it, Harry. It's like nothing I ever dreamed. I'm aware of it, my whole body... and yours, all the blood and sweat and feeling... It's nothing like the magic. This goes all through me and I don't need any wand to feel it."

At this, Harry frowned in the darkness. Draco himself had once told him that magic was an innate part of every witch and wizard; the wands were just instruments to focus a power already part of them. He wondered again exactly what Adam was filling Draco's head with.

At that thought, he wrapped his legs around Draco's thighs and held his shoulders tighter, fingers digging into pale flesh. He held his panting vampire against him, with him, where he belonged. They moved together, and Harry felt blissful.

When Draco came, he was biting down.

The next day he met Ron for lunch again, despite the fact that Robards had not been pleased at Harry's absence yesterday afternoon. Harry had pleaded sudden food poisoning, and his record got him off; Robards dismissed him with a wave and turned back to his dinner party invitations. Where to place Susan Bones...?

The second he saw Ron, he was glad he had. He recognised Ron's expression from their years spent investigating evil: he had something to tell Harry, and it mattered, and it couldn't wait.

They sat down in a private corner of the café and ordered. The second their menus were taken away Ron started talking, an urgent, quiet flood of words falling over each other.

"Harry, I'm almost sure it was Pritchard. I looked into the Ministry departments last night to check who has contacts with vampires, who could give them orders. The Hit Wizards have used them on occasion, there's about five on some secret list that only the head of Department – in theory, anyway – can get to. They're assassins, Harry, they're used to take out people the Ministry consider a danger. Of course it's all dressed up as 'apprehending criminals', but I reckon if Pritchard's really after power, he'd have no problem with getting Draco killed."

Harry stared at him. Blood was roaring in his ears, pounding through his heart like a war-drum. He'd have no problem with getting Draco killed. His fists clenched, the silver cutlery in them singing out in fear. Ron looked a little nervous at the expression on his face, which Harry had no doubt was murderous.

"Don't do anything yet. We don't know for sure, Harry. Even if our boy Adam is on that list, it's not necessarily Pritchard that ordered him out. Draco's well-known and he has a lot of influence, even if he's technically got no power. A lot of people might be interested in taking him out."

"Pritchard hates Draco," Harry said through numb lips. "Draco despises him and does what he can to block Pritchard from getting anywhere, and Pritchard's a petty, homophobic bastard who can't stand that a Malfoy's still swanning around with the power to stop him. He'd love to take Draco down."

Ron stared at him. "That pretty much seals it then," he said at last. "A personal motive..." Harry stood up, and Ron jumped up after him, putting a big hand out to stop him. There was fear clear on his face now. "Harry, don't do anything yet. Go... go and speak to Adam, yeah? Find out for sure."

Harry smiled slowly. "That's a good plan." He began to walk towards the fireplace. It was odd: like marching to war through molasses. Shock and fury had numbed him, their clash slowing him down; but very soon the shock would fade, and then he'd give Pritchard – and Adam, too, the rat bastard – what he deserved.

Ron caught up to him with what seemed to Harry like astonishing speed. "Don't kill him, Harry. I know he's a vampire and you'd get away with it but you've been talking about Draco spending loads of time with him and – "

Once again, Ron realised he'd said entirely the wrong thing. Harry's green eyes narrowed poisonously at the reminder of the relationship between Draco and the man who'd made him a vampire.

"Don't kill him."

"I won't," Harry said in surprise, and meant it. "You know I don't like killing. I'll let him live, and not even tell anyone what he did – it would kill Draco to see another one in Azkaban – as long as he pisses off back to Latvia and never comes back."

For some reason Ron didn't look entirely convinced, but Harry didn't have time to discuss it with him; he flung the Floo powder in the grate and stepped in.

Harry had never been to Adam's flat before. It was elegant, with a granite fireplace and an expensive-looking deep purple sofa; the sort of place Draco would be very comfortable in. Harry scowled.

He stepped from the fireplace. Before he could call, a door on the left opened and Adam walked through it – tall, dark, handsome Adam, walking with that near-floating vampiric grace. Harry's mouth tasted sour with bitter dislike.

"Harry," Adam said, raising his eyebrows. "Draco's back at your place sleeping it off, you know."

"Good," Harry said through gritted teeth. "I wouldn't want him to hear this."

The eyebrows raised even higher, and the dark eyes went wide and surprised. The innocence there made Harry's face hot with anger: it was so clearly contrived, and all the doubts about Draco's fidelity were once again screaming at the back of his mind. Why else would Adam put on that expression at a visit from Draco's lover?

"Tell me, Adam, why did you pick Draco? What made you look at him and think 'wouldn't fangs be an improvement'?"

"Why, I – "

"You see, Adam," Harry continued, starting to move forward, his gait a rolling warrior's walk, "I've learnt some interesting things lately. Draco thinks you were just a cosmopolitan vampire on holiday, but I know you're the Hit Wizards' bitch. And you attacked him. So that makes me wonder... who ordered you to hurt my boyfriend?"

The contrived innocence was gone now. Adam's brown eyes had gone opaque and his face was inscrutable as a marble statue's. He obviously decided this confrontation couldn't be avoided, and perhaps that he was willing to fight Harry for rights to Draco; he began to prowl closer in his turn, shoulders bunching up in instinctive readiness for a fight.

"Was it Pritchard?" Harry demanded. Adam's head jerked up at that, obviously shocked at his knowledge. Harry's triumph showed itself on his face, and Adam's face twisted angrily.

"Yes, it was Pritchard," he hissed. "He's obsessed with getting the Wizengamot seat coming up, instead of your precious Robards."

"And he thought Draco would stop him?"

At that, Adam actually stopped moving for a second. "Are you serious?" At Harry's blank look, he threw his head back and laughed. Harry's hand tightened on his wand.

"Idiot! God, Draco would hate it if he knew – as ever, Harry Potter, it was all about you. If you start helping Robards – and it's pretty clear you will – Pritchard'll never get the seat. But he couldn't kill you; if the Saviour," he said with scathing sarcasm, so like Draco's old contempt – suddenly Harry wondered if he'd been keeping Draco away from him out of hate for him as well as desire for Draco – "had died, no one would have rested until they found out why. But if your precious boytoy was murdered in a foreign place, the Aurors would let it go... and your grief would put you out of action."

Harry was frozen; his wand hand drifted down to lie by his side as Adam prowled closer. Grief clawed at his throat. The vampire's words clawed at a very old, very deep pain: the knowledge that people he loved had been hurt because of their association with him. The knowledge that his beautiful, clever Draco had been... violated... by this slimy bastard, had had his yellow teeth fastened in his throat... and because of him... Harry felt sick.

"I think it was spite, too," Adam said carelessly. "He's a petty bastard, you know, and Draco's pissed him off something awful with all his clever little plans. You should have seen him grin when I told him 'job done.' "

"So," Harry said hoarsely, rediscovering his voice, "why did you turn him? He's still here, and I doubt that's what Pritchard had in mind."

"No, not at all," Adam agreed with a careless little smile. "I was supposed to kill him."

"Then why?"

"Well, I was in that pub with him after negotiations, and he was just so pretty, and so desperate for attention," Adam said, his voice still light and musing, but his predator's eyes unwavering on Harry's pained face. "Doing all his little impressions. And I sat by him, and we were pressed together in the booth. I could see he was empty. Wanted someone to satisfy him properly. Fill him up."

Harry was shaking with anger now, and he brought his wand back up to focus on Adam. "You what?"

Adam smiled kindly. "Well, he can't have been getting what he really wanted. He's dark, Harry, he's one of them... a hero's just not enough. You should have seen him when I bit him! Thrusting his hips against me even while I drained his heart's blood. He was so eager when I gave it back! Put his pretty mouth right. To. My. Skin and started sucking."

"Fuck you," Harry spat, fighting his own doubts. "You're twisting everything that happened. Draco isn't like that, you just perverted it all to make him fit in with some sick fantasy of yours. He'd never let you touch him, not like I touch him – "

Adam's face twisted into a sneer, and he said, in a horrible sing-song, nursery rhyme voice, "filled him up to overflowing, left him wrung out and glowing – "

At this, Harry completely lost his rag. He ran at Adam with a roar, shoving him up against the wall with his wand pressing against the chalk-pale cheek. He was even more enraged to discover the other man was at least an inch taller than him. He snarled.

Adam met the snarl, his lip curling to reveal a mouthful of pointed yellow fangs. The low growl that emanated from him made Harry's spine prickle with primal fear. Then the voice came again: "Let GO!"

Adam shoved Harry back, and threw his dark head back, laughing in delight at his own power. His face was handsome, and malicious, and Harry could see it in his mind's eye, above Draco's blond head as he drove in...

"You – " Harry didn't finish the insult. "Incendio!"

Harry's shout shocked even him; and a burst of blazing red fire exploded from his wand and shot out in a line like a grappling hook to land firmly in Adam's chest; the vampire had time for a look of shock before the flames took hold. Then they were spreading, burning him alive, and he gave a thin, high scream like an animal in pain...

Then his body was ash, and the fire was gone.

Harry stood panting. He felt tiny prickles of shock; he'd killed him. And not for any good reason, not to protect someone else or defeat evil, but because he'd been jealous. Now the blaze of his fury had died down, he felt strangely empty. Draco would be upset.

That thought brought some of the fury back. Draco was his; he could damn well be pleased Harry had won. Memories of different male screaming drifted back through the years, and Harry smiled. He'd been being gallant. Adam had no right to speak so about Draco.

He walked over and kicked the neat pile of ash.

He walked swiftly out of the fireplace in his own flat to find Ron standing there waiting for him. "What happened?" he asked urgently, eyes flickering over Harry's face. "What did you do?"

"Adam's gone."

"Uh-huh. And is that the pissing off back to Latvia sort of gone or the sweeping him up in a dustpan sort of gone?"

Harry swallowed, but looked Ron in the eyes, his stance firm, feet planted implacably. "The set-him-on-fire-for-making-out-Draco-was-sleeping-with-him sort of gone."

"What? Harry, you killed him? What the hell are you going to say to Draco?"

"How about 'he was evil and was ordered to kill you'?" Harry snapped. "I'm not sorry, Ron."

"I can see that! This from the man who used Expelliarmus against You-Know-Who! Since when do you not care that someone's dead?"

Harry glared. He'd wanted support, as he'd got from Ron when he first explained this sorry situation. "He was dead even before he was set on fire!"


The soft voice cut through the heated atmosphere like a hot knife through butter. They both jerked round; Harry was appalled to see Draco standing in the doorway, still and small as a ghost.

"Harry, I swear I didn't know he was here," Ron said.

"Draco... Adam, he's – "

Draco's eyes went wide and soft and hurt, as Harry hadn't seen them since he was human. That vulnerability made the first bit of shame twist in his stomach like a snake. "Adam's d-dead?"

Ron nodded, then kept his face down.

Draco's face was stark white. "Harry. You killed him." Harry wasn't sure whether it was a question or a statement, but he nodded anyway.

"But – Harry – " Draco was shaking a little. "Why? What the hell were you thinking? Was it just because you were jealous?"

"You knew I was jealous?" Harry said in bewilderment.

"Of course I did – Adam said you were angry because I was off learning to be part of this new world – "

"That brainwashing cu – " Harry began.

"Pay attention, Potter! This is about why you killed him!"

"He was sent to kill you!" Harry yelled back frantically, furious to be blamed but terrified at the thought of losing Draco now. "He was an assassin, Draco, he – "

"He was one of Pritchard's men! I knew that, Harry, I'm not an idiot! I don't always need protecting from you, you overbearing bastard! He didn't kill me, did he, he wasn't a threat!"

"He did kill you!" Harry bellowed, and the soundwaves from his yell seemed to ring through the flat for an instant. No one spoke.

Draco's voice was trembling too now. "Is that what you think? You think of me as dead?"

"I – " Harry had no idea at all what he was going to say next, but luckily it didn't matter: Ron interrupted.

"I know this is all very important to you two and your relationship, but if you remember Pritchard's got a wand aimed at both of you! I know he doesn't know you're still around, Draco, but he only wanted to get you to knock Harry out. He'll find another way to do it, I'm certain, and we need to focus on that!"

Harry turned to tell Ron that he'd had people gunning for him most of his life, one way and another, and a non-lethal threat was not worth the trouble right now, when Draco spoke softly.


His face had gone paler than ever, and narrow as a fox on the hunt. He was still moving a little, but it had gone from the shaking of a man in shock to the fidgeting of a predator ready to maim. The new predator inside Draco was suddenly starkly clear: and Harry was a little disturbed by his own reaction. Both vampire and man inside Draco were out for blood, and Harry had absolutely no desire to stop him.

"Draco..." Ron's wary voice was ignored by the other two.

"Pritchard's after Harry?" Draco's voice was cold, and all attempts at evasion withered away before it like old parchment.


"I see." Draco nodded slowly, his pupils dilating, his head tilted as though he was listening to a song no one else could hear. "I have to leave."

Harry gasped at the words; he'd heard his fears threaten them so many times in the last few days. Draco looked at him and for a moment he was human again. His face was twisted in anguish and confusion; the loss of Adam was written there, the anger and distrust at what Harry had done – but he crossed the room, grabbed Harry by the nape of the neck and pulled him close.

"I promise I'll come back."

Then Draco kissed him. It was hard and urgent, lips working against his almost like an attack. Harry couldn't tell whether it was desperation, wanting him to live, and seeking comfort after Adam's death, or punishment for the killing and secrets. He wondered if even Draco knew.

The blond stepped away, lips swollen with stolen blood, and walked into the Floo without pausing. His cool direction rang in the room long after the flare of the fire: "Pritchard's office."

Ron turned to Harry, at last, and hissed, "Harry, you have to go after him. He'll hurt him – hurt him hell, he'll kill him, Harry, you know he will."

"Yeah." Harry knew it, but he couldn't make himself move. After what he'd done, killing Adam in a fit of fury, he had to know – did Draco still love him? Enough to kill for him?

Ron must have read some of this on his face, for he said, "you said yourself he's not a killer, years ago. You can't want him to do this, not to prove a point."

Harry didn't know what he wanted; but Draco was a vampire now, surely he could kill. Not to prove a point, exactly... he just had to know Draco still loved him.

Ron stared at him. Harry couldn't move, and Ron was obviously determined to wait him out. So they stood there, together, waiting.

Reuben Pritchard hummed to himself as he finished the last of his paperwork. He'd get home before six, for once. Very nice. Having finished the last form, he stepped out of his office to hand them to Judith, his secretary – only to find she was gone.

He frowned and called, "Judith?" only to be interrupted by a low chuckle.

Pritchard hadn't survived this long as a Hit Wizard without reacting fast. He drew his wand and spun, only to be faced with an impossible sight.

Draco Malfoy, that impossible, aggravating, arrogant blond, was standing there smug as the day he'd been acquitted.

"But – you're dead!"

Malfoy slid forward to stand before him. He grinned, and the light caught a flash of fang.

"It hasn't stopped me yet," he drawled, and then he bit down.