Thank you again for all the reviews! This is the last chapter of The Long-Desired, and thus the last chapter of the Two Hunters Series. Thank you for reading.
"You have to remember how quick a werewolf is," Draco said, sounding as if he was trying to convince himself.
Harry looked up from the first of a stack of newly-acquired books and raised an eyebrow. "Faster than a vampire?"
Draco sank into pondering. Harry snorted silently and returned to the book.
Draco seemed to believe that because Harry had been reckless in challenging one or two powerful vampires, he would be reckless in challenging every single Dark creature he might fight. He'd fussed about the house for days now, offering unneeded advice, checking Harry's cache of weapons to see what he might add, and testing the sharpness of his fangs with one finger as if he assumed it would fall to him to save Harry from a werewolf's clutches.
And yet, he was so proud that he couldn't really conceive any werewolf would be a danger to his Long-Desired, who had Draco and their shared magic to protect him. So he'd also sometimes told Harry he didn't need to study so much, and shrugged off the single week remaining until the full moon as unimportant.
Harry had to admit it was entertaining to watch the conflict of Draco's instincts and his arrogance.
Abruptly, a pale hand curled around the top of his book and pried it down, and Draco peered at him intensely from less than a foot away. Harry blinked back and wondered what the matter was.
"Yes," Draco said gravely, "sometimes werewolves are faster than vampires. I want you to make sure that you take every precaution." He leaned towards Harry and rubbed his chin against Harry's cheek like some overgrown dead cat. "I'd rather take any amount of insults and humiliation than lose you."
Harry swallowed. There was a painful lump in his throat that prevented the swallow from getting all the way to the bottom of his neck, for some reason. "You really don't need to worry about that, Draco," he whispered. "I promise."
"I worry anyway." Draco pushed the book out of the chair, which made Harry open his mouth to protest that he could hardly study like that, and then close it again when he realized the way Draco was clutching at him. His eyes were very wide and his lips parted so that Harry could see his fangs, even though they were folded against the roof of his mouth. "We've barely started the years that we should have together," Draco whispered. "I want to make sure that we have all of them, Harry. Do you understand?"
Harry nodded. He wasn't able to speak. He reached up and stroked Draco's forehead. When he thought he'd found his voice, he said lightly, "I wouldn't want to deprive you of your source of free blood, after all."
"No, you wouldn't," Draco said. He caught Harry's fingers and nipped at them, though he kept his fangs folded back so Harry felt no more than a faint prickling along his fingertips. "Or of the chance to make you happy."
Harry closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the chair. Draco considered those two things equally important, it seemed, because he'd said them both with no change of expression or emphasis in between.
"I need you," Draco said. "For drinking and holding and protecting. I always will."
Harry could remember a time when he would have grown angry because Draco had only said those words, instead of listing everything else that he'd done with Harry in the past few weeks. Now he was able to listen for implications again, moving away from the large, dark, crude things he'd done since Ginny died, and he opened his eyes and smiled at Draco. "I know," he said.
Draco stood straight outside Granger's house, his arms folded in front of him, his fangs carefully kept back although he wanted to extend them. From inside the house, voices rose and fell. They would have been unintelligible to a mortal, because Harry was whispering and trying to keep his friends from shouting. He should have learned long since that a vampire's superior senses were superior for a reason, Draco thought in scorn, and listened.
"He's not going to eat you, Ron," Harry said with strained patience. "Why would he want to? He has me."
Draco opened his mouth so that his amusement could escape in a silent breath. The statement was perfectly true, but he could imagine Weasley looking insulted. He always did think that he should be the most important person to anyone around.
"And vampires don't eat food besides blood," Granger added, apparently because the conversation had proceeded for too long without an interjection of her brilliance. "You don't have to worry about him eating anything here, Ron."
"Then what's the point of inviting him to dinner?" Weasley's voice rose in triumph. "You might as well leave him home and let us enjoy an evening with you, Harry."
"Maybe that would work for lunch or breakfast, when he's dead," Harry said. Draco could hear the soft rustling of cloth as he shifted his position. He wondered if Granger or Weasley, who could not be expected to know his Long-Desired as well as Draco did, realized that Harry was growing impatient when he made a motion like that. "But I'm not going to leave him out of an evening meal. We only get to spend half the day together as it is."
"I don't see how you can tolerate a life like that!"
Draco blinked. He had not expected an outburst from Weasley like this, or not so soon. He had seemed content to avoid the subject of Harry and Draco's Long-Desired bond altogether after the feeding he had seen.
But if he ranted, then he was welcome to do so. Draco no longer had a fear that Weasley would turn Harry against him.
"You would be so much happier with a mortal lover, who could spend all the hours of the day with you," Weasley was telling Potter earnestly. "You could laugh with them, introduce them to people besides Hermione and me, keep your Auror job." He cut himself off with a gulp, and then said, "Harry, how in the world are you going to introduce Malfoy to my parents?"
"I don't know yet," Harry said, which made Draco smile gently. Harry could be so courageous now, when, before, it seemed to sting him if he didn't have an answer for a question. "I'll worry about that when the time comes. I'll probably bring the subject up gently. They already know that I've stopped hunting vampires. Sooner or later it'll be natural to explain the reason why."
"But they still hate vampires, you know," Weasley said, who sounded as if he'd thought Harry would give Draco up the moment he started making difficulties. "They won't like the fact that you're dating one."
"You don't like it, either," Harry said. "That hasn't stopped me yet."
For long heartbeats, there was only silence, save for the involuntary sounds like breathing that they made in spite of themselves. Then Granger sighed. "Ron, you know that you can't control everything Harry does," she said. "You gave that up two years ago. And I think you should stop this irrational jealousy of yours that you weren't the one to bring Harry back to his normal life."
"What?" Harry asked.
"What?" Weasley asked.
Draco rolled his eyes. He had seen Weasley's jealousy the first time he smelled his scent after he was turned, but Harry had become so deaf when Draco tried to explain that he didn't consider it worthwhile to do so.
"You wanted to be the one who would teach Harry how wrong hunting vampires without a concern for his own safety was," Granger said in her bossy way. "You talked about it often enough, Ron, don't argue with me now!" Draco grinned at Weasley's sulky mutter, accompanied by a closing of his mouth. "And then Malfoy came in and did it instead. It's natural that you would resent him. But you should really stop trying to pretend that you're concerned about Harry, instead of about your own inability to help him."
More sulking. Draco could practically hear the Weasel sticking out his lower lip. He knew he could hear Harry's stifled laugh.
Then Harry said, "Mate, you kept me sane for the years I was hunting. You've been the best Auror partner I could ask for, and the best friend for years before that. You saved my life over and over again when we were in school." Draco heard the sharp clap as Harry clasped Weasley's shoulder. "Let someone else have this triumph, all right? Especially since the other things Draco gives me are things you wouldn't want to give me."
Weasley sighed as though he intended to blow down the walls of the house. "All right," he said, in the tones of someone doing a great favor. "But if he ever hurts you—if he ever starts taking too much blood—then he'll have to be prepared to deal with me."
"I'll let you know if that happens," Harry said solemnly. Draco tensed, then relaxed again. As Harry moved towards the door to let him in, he could smell the thick resignation that meant Harry had only been humoring Weasley. He didn't really believe that Draco would start up and drain him dry some fine night.
Still, when the door opened, Draco put his arms around Harry and rested his head against his shoulder for long moments. He would not say his feelings could be hurt. Rather, he was consumed by doubt whenever Harry's friends found and followed a course of reason for a little while.
"Everything's fine," Harry whispered, stroking his hair. "Come in and have dinner." Draco snorted, and Harry snorted back. "Sit at the table and try to wear some expression that's not proud, for once in your life."
Draco decided, as he followed Harry in, that he could try to mix something else with the pride. A fine edge of contempt ought to work wonders.
Harry took a deep breath and mentally ran over the tally of weapons that he carried again. He couldn't open the pack to check on them a final time, although he wanted to, or he would create noise that might alert their prey.
He turned his head up towards the branches of the tree above him and blinked twice. He saw Draco's fangs flash in return. He was ready, and they only needed their prey to show up.
They were hunting Leon Fangfur, as he called himself, one of the werewolves that Greyback had made out of desperate Muggleborns in the last days of the war, when they thought that serving Voldemort would be better than being stripped of their wands. Most of them had given in or been captured long since, but not Leon. He changed his name from its original Painter to something more "werewolfish," and then terrorized the families of those who offended him, the way Greyback had done. Most offensively, he had picked up Greyback's habit of biting children, including those too young to survive the transformation.
Harry had never despised the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures more than he did when he found out how many attempts they had launched to capture Fangfur. Each time, they'd failed, because they refused to prepare properly and gave everyone who wanted a chance on the hunt that chance, because it was considered an opportunity for promotion. They also wanted to capture rather than kill their prey, and they had to obey the laws, which limited their choice of weapons.
Neither of those was true for Harry and Draco.
It had been easy enough to contact some of Fangfur's victims and ask if they would pay someone to exact revenge. Harry hadn't wanted to charge them much, because this was his first hunt and most of the families couldn't afford to pay individually. But together, they had scraped a hundred Galleons up and insisted on his accepting the lot, along with all the information they had on Fangfur.
And then they had followed the rumors of his passing. His killing and infecting progressed across the country; when he reached one of the coasts, he simply turned around and started back the other way. It was easy enough to figure out that, tonight, he would probably turn around and bite Gloria Evening, the daughter of a prominent Ministry official who had supported werewolf registration. Fangfur was apt to take things that were aimed at all werewolves as insults to him.
The house was in a grove of oak trees, surrounded by Muggle-Repelling Charms, since there was a village not too far away. Draco had crawled into one of the oaks the moment dusk came and scouted for a time before he would allow Harry to crawl into the bushes below. Draco already showed a tendency to be too overprotective, Harry thought grumpily.
But when he heard the slow steps and deep snuffling of the wolf, he was glad that Draco had been the one to go first. He could tense with the excitement of the hunt, rather than with the paranoia that had consumed him when his victim was a vampire, and he trusted Draco to have chosen the best spot for their ambush.
He peered through a gap in the bushes, and caught a glimpse of grey fur. He nodded, though he kept the motion small so that he wouldn't make the bushes rustle and alert Fangfur. Yes, that had to be him, because he had a long white stripe across his nose, exactly the way that his victims' families had described him. And he was low-slung to the ground, slinking along with a predatory grace that an ordinary wolf or a dog wouldn't have.
He looked up at the house, and his lips wrinkled back from his fangs, baring enormous white teeth. Harry spent a moment looking at the amber eyes, because he had promised Draco he would, but couldn't see any trace of sanity in them, so he couldn't tell whether Fangfur was under the influence of Wolfsbane or not. Harry thought he almost had to be, because otherwise he how would he know to go after his chosen victim instead of attacking anyone he met? But maybe he just transformed on the outer edge of his victim's property and let himself go with his instincts, which were probably oriented towards biting children.
Harry whistled to call Draco with him, because when he attacked there was no need to be secret, and leaped out of the bushes with his first weapon, a long silver chain, whirling around his head.
Fangfur recoiled, but surged forwards when Draco leaped down on him from above, riding him like a Muggle on a bull. Fangfur was howling, Draco was making a wordless, vicious sound that Harry would have called a snarl except it was too thick, and Harry was reminding himself that he didn't need to worry about hitting Draco when he brought the chain down, because Draco could always heal.
Harry lashed out, and the silver caught Fangfur across his white stripe.
He screamed, and then screamed again. Harry knew that Draco must have dug his fangs in.
But apparently being a werewolf had taught Fangfur something about combat. Despite the enormous pain he must be in, he crouched, growled, and leaped at Harry.
Harry hadn't hunted vampires without learning something himself. He rolled out of the way, ducked into the bushes again, and dug out the clinking silver harness he had wanted to experiment with. He didn't know if they would have time to use it properly, but at least they could see how well it worked before their next werewolf hunt.
A chorus of shrieks and gurgles sounded to his ears. It made him smile, because that meant Draco was still functioning and Fangfur hadn't died too easily.
He burst out again, and hesitated, trying to understand the direction he should strike from. Fangfur and Draco were a tumbling, rolling ball of legs and nails and teeth and pale skin and grey coat. Finally he shook his head and waited until Fangfur stood upright, his shoulders tensed as he tried to throw Draco off. Then Harry slipped the silver harness around his left hind leg and fastened it with a click of the links.
Fangfur screamed more loudly than before. Harry smiled. He should. The silver harness was filled with their shared magic, which he and Draco had poured into it yesterday, after Draco fed from him. The harness would torture any werewolf that got inside it. Harry hadn't been more specific than "torture," but he suspected that Draco had, and caused the harness to imitate some actual curses.
The harness tightened, winding around itself, and at the same time Draco reared high, blood on his fangs, and then struck down like a snake.
Fangfur shuddered, a long motion that seemed to start in his muzzle and work its way swiftly back towards his hind legs, like the strike of a lightning bolt. Then he yelped, a piteous sound that would have had Harry feeling sorry for him if anything could, and slumped to the ground. Harry heard the pouring of blood, the tearing of flesh, and the sound of Draco feeding. He waited, pushing down the strange jealousy that Draco should feed from anyone except him. Yes, he felt that jealousy, but it was a rather stupid thing to feel, and there was no reason for it.
Draco pulled away from the werewolf's body at last, shaking his hands so that the blood fell off them to the grass. Harry smiled, and waited until Draco oriented on him again. Sometimes he was dazed after a particularly intense feeding.
"How did it taste?" he asked.
"Iron-like," Draco said, his voice flat but moving back towards the steady tone that Harry knew best quickly. "Strong. Nothing like yours. I wouldn't want yours to be like that." He grimaced and licked his lips again.
Only then did he seem to glance down and really realize that Fangfur was dead. He blinked twice and looked back at Harry. "We completed our first hunt?" he asked.
"Without anyone being wounded?"
Harry looked down at his body just to make sure, and then turned and glanced up at Draco. No, the chain hadn't hit him. "Without anyone being wounded," he said, grinning at Draco, joy filling him up like wine poured into a glass. He expected a grin in return and some remark about how Harry had obviously needed Draco at his side all those years.
Instead, Draco sprang forwards, set his hands on Harry's shoulders, and bent down to kiss him and suck at his lips.
It took all of Harry's concentration to draw his wand and Apparate them out of there. True, the Evening family probably wouldn't investigate the scene of Fangfur's death any time soon, not after hearing his death screams, but Harry still didn't want to be caught in the open kissing Draco by people who wouldn't understand.
Draco smelled familiar sheets and cloth as they landed in Harry's bedroom, and took a moment to feel grateful for his Long-Desired's magic. Even with Draco kissing him, he managed to land them in the right place instead of Splinch them.
And then Draco's pride reared up and demanded to know exactly why Harry was able to concentrate like that. Hadn't Draco done a good enough job of kissing him?
Draco whirled and threw Harry onto the bed. Given his strength and Harry's build, that caused Harry almost to crash into the wall. He lifted himself on his elbows and stared at Draco incredulously.
Draco wasn't going to apologize, not with the savage hunger that had come over him when he realized that they had survived, working as if they'd hunted together for years. He bent down and began to shear his fangs down the side of Harry's chest, cutting his robes off him.
Luckily, Harry understood what he was about and unbuttoned his shirt before Draco had to split that, too. His eyes were locked on Draco's face as he kicked his boots off and unclasped his belt. They shone with hard fervor.
Draco was sure his eyes looked much the same. He did bend, ready to cut Harry's trousers and pants, too, but Harry shook his head and yanked them off with undignified motions. Then he reached up and began to pull the red robe, which Draco had worn tonight because he wanted to see how well it would stand up to battle circumstances, away. Draco stood still passively and let him. He saw no reason to hurry Harry's admiration of him. Harry was beauty in motion, but when Draco stood still, then his chill perfection could best be admired.
Harry didn't take the time to admire it as he should. He dragged Draco onto the bed, and then reached for his wand. Draco tensed. He didn't know what Harry had planned, or if it would fit with his own plans.
But Harry conjured lubricant onto his own arse and Draco's cock, and Draco relaxed again, leaning forwards to breathe gently across the puncture marks.
"Not gentle, not this time," Harry panted, and pushed himself down and backwards, opening his legs with the same haste that Draco had used when he tossed him onto the bed. Draco licked his lips and eased Harry's legs up onto his shoulders. He couldn't keep himself from pausing, though. Given how dry his cock was, it might hurt Harry going in with as little lubricant as they had.
"Harry, if you want to—"
"No," Harry said, his eyes flaring so brilliantly that Draco hoped his friends could see them and knew what the light signified. "Go on."
Bowing to the inevitable, both Harry's desire and his own, Draco began to press forwards. Harry caught his breath and gasped once or twice, but in the end he was breathing noisily, his fingers clenched in the bedsheets, his eyes blinking rapidly, and Draco all the way within him.
Draco closed his eyes. It was like bathing with blood, a luxury that Caspar had sometimes indulged in and Draco never had. He had thought he would never get to experience it, since of course he could not drain Harry's body of that much liquid. But now—now, he knew.
"Move," Harry said, his voice harsh and grating.
Draco stared down at him. "Am I hurting you?"
"You're hurting me by staying still," Harry said, and then flung his head back, biting his lip, his eyes clouded with pain and determination. Still wild, Draco thought as he began to move, still victorious even though he was the one who had lain down for Draco.
And because he was like that, Draco knew that he would not mind lying down for him.
His hips surged, the bed rocked, and he pounded into Harry with all the force of flesh and bone and fang, the force that made him what he was. Harry met him thrust for thrust, his cock rising again, his face flushing with that beautiful blood that made him what he was and gave Draco life, and when he came, it was with a fierce and feral shout that tugged Draco's orgasm out of him and made him slip slickly back and forth in Harry.
"Next time," Harry said, as Draco collapsed and took deep breaths out of sheer mortal habit, "we'll have to go more slowly, and see if we can make it hurt less."
Draco raised his head and stared anxiously at him. "If I had known, I would have—"
Harry cut him off with a harsh kiss. "Listen to me," he whispered. "That was what I wanted. As a victory celebration, and a way of urging me past my fears for the first time. I didn't have time to think about myself and my silly little worries because I was watching your face." He paused, but then put a hand on Draco's cheek and shook his head. "You've brought me back to a world where pain isn't the most important thing anymore," he said. "I couldn't let it be the most important thing here, either."
Draco turned his head and kissed Harry's hand. He could feel his eyes fluttering, longing to close, and he muffled his moan against skin.
When he looked again, he found that his fangs had cut a delicate slice in the middle of Harry's palm.
Harry looked at it for a moment, then smeared the blood over Draco's lips.
Draco closed his lips around it in gratitude, watching in greed and desire and awe as Harry's pulse grew faster and his cheeks flushed yet again.
But the word felt wrong and insufficient, given that the blood was shared between them, produced by Harry's body and drunk by Draco's.
"Ours," he said aloud.
"Yes," Harry hissed back, and then he was kissing Draco and driving him backwards into the blankets, and his lips were smeared with blood, and his face was wild and free and familiar, and Draco tangled his fingers into Harry's head and yanked him down for another kiss.
There would be years of this, years of feeding and hunting and playing and biting.
Vampires might not know an afterlife in the conventional way of talking about things, but Draco was sure he had found his paradise.