Here follow the three reasons I have for penning this atrocity.
1) The sixth film was very inspiring. I liked the scene where Severus accosts Draco, offering help for his mission, with Harry listening around the corner. I had this magnificent dream. I absently scribbled a first scene - then things got out of hand.
2) A few days ago, I made a rather pleasing jump of logic. I love Snape/Harry; I love Harry/Draco; I started off doing Snape/Draco. I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get to here. But, at last it's happened - now let's all reap the rewards.
3) Frek dared me.
Here is what you need to know.
1) Angst; drama; plot; porn. By porn, I mean porn. You have been warned.
2) The story is set during an alternative sixth year for Draco and Harry. Please forget all talk of horcruxes. Everything up to the end of book five stands. Everything after? Didn't happen.
3) My knowledge of canon has degraded to shocking levels. Please be gentle. Anyone who points out a flaw can pick a prize from the stall.
And here are your final warnings.
2) Which means: long-term three-way relationship between a teacher and two pupils of legal age. This relationship will be of a very sexual nature. Stop reading if any of this scares you.
3) Clichéd veela-related plot elements. I'm sorry, alright? I've never written it before and it's hot.
Triquetra is dedicated, as all things should be, to my editor Nini.
All complaints, please direct to Frek.
Chapter One – The Letter
Harry had three pieces of post that morning. He opened them absent-mindedly, paying far more attention to his pancakes and the conversation around him at the breakfast table.
The first was easy enough to guess - A4 sized, a tough white envelope, with the Quidditch Monthly logo glittering beneath the stamp. The second was a peevish note from Madam Pince, asking if he was quite done with half the NEWT Potions resources. No, was the answer.
The third was a brown envelope, long and slightly weathered. On the front, in a hand he didn't recognise, was written:
Mr H Potter
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
He tore it open with his thumb. Ron and Dean had already borrowed his magazine and were flicking through it for the interview with the new Harpies beater.
"There – " Dean held the magazine aloft; the young lady in question was posing with only a well-positioned beater's bat for modesty. "Oh yeah, that's the stuff."
"Behold, Weasley. They don't make women like that in real life."
"Yeah - yeah." Ron admired. "I'd do her until she couldn't walk."
Hermione rolled her eyes behind her Transfiguration article. Ron and Dean turned the magazine around for Harry to cast his opinion.
"What d'you think, Potter?" Dean said. "Any advance on doing her until she can't walk? Do her until her teeth fall out, maybe?"
Harry frowned and grinned at once, reaching up to crumple the magazine down the middle. "Come on, guys… there's first years around. Put it away."
They were laughing. Harry tugged the letter out of his third envelope.
"You've not even seen her play Quidditch yet," he said. "She might be rubbish. They could have a new one by March."
"Who cares?" Dean crowed, and there was more laughter. He marveled at the photograph. "I'll care if she plays Quidditch in, ah, this particular kit."
"Not… particularly practical, Dean." Harry grinned, glancing down at the unfolded letter. "The wind chill factor - …"
Ron and Dean were too busy ogling to notice Harry fade into silence.
Hermione was not. She glanced up with a set scowl - upon seeing his expression, she forgot her irritation at once. Her face fell. She put down her article. "Harry?"
Harry folded the letter quickly. "Mm?"
"What is it?"
"It's nothing, it's okay."
"Harry, nobody looks like that over a letter about nothing."
He shoved the letter back into its envelope, trying to keep his face neutral. His heart was pounding. "No, honestly - don't worry about it. I…" A lie offered itself up to him. "Sirius. Inheritance stuff."
"Oh…" Hermione lowered her eyes. "I'm - sorry, Harry."
"No, it's not your fault." He glanced at Ron and Dean. "Don't mention - not here."
"No, no. Of course."
He felt bad lying to Hermione. He felt especially bad lying about Sirius. He felt infinitely worse about the letter he was now pushing deep into his bag. The hall seemed to have closed in - other people's conversations were suddenly louder, their faces nearer, pressing in. His hands were clammy and his face hot.
He glanced around - had anyone read the letter over his shoulder? Nobody was staring. It seemed okay.
He had to leave.
This was bad. Very bad.
"I'm… going to go to the library, hand back some books." He stood up. Ron and Dean were now debating the finer points of the female chest, and what size really was the perfect handful. "You guys can give me that back later, I've got to go – "
Dean grinned. "Mind if it's stained?"
Harry tried to find it funny. He couldn't. He pretended he hadn't heard and left the table, hurrying from the hall.
The nearest bathroom was mercifully empty. He loosened his cuffs, splashed his face with cold water and sank down upon the grimy floor. He took the letter out. It seemed to burn his hands.
He read it again, and again, and a fourth time. He studied each letter of each word - they'd been cut out of the Daily Prophet. He read the letter until the message was almost carved on the inside of his brain, hoping it would calm him down, hoping each time he read it that the message would miraculously change. It would reveal itself as a joke. A horrible, sick joke.
They were screwed.
Potions was only second thing, but seemed to take several weeks to come around. Harry was grateful that it was a practical session, requiring a lot of separate ingredients to be collected from the NEWT stores down the corridor. He would have to wait a while, though. There were too many people at first, both in the classroom and the store, and there would be no privacy.
He did his best to concentrate on the potion at hand, for now.
When purple bubbles the size of quaffles began to rise from his cauldron, Harry decided that today was, in fact, the worst day of his life.
He closed his eyes. Please don't, he thought. Not today. I can't handle it today. Professor Snape did not receive the psychic message.
"Potter, I'm aware that as the self-proclaimed figurehead of Gryffindor House, you're inclined to see yourself as a pioneer - a maverick - but might I request you do follow the recipes?"
Snape swept across the classroom to Harry's workbench like a shark through a shoal of fish. He seized a fistful of seasalt from Hermione's supplies.
"Other subjects might applaud ingenuity and creativity at NEWT level, Potter. Not mine."
He scattered the salt across the bubbles. Spittling, they shrank away.
"When I state clockwise, boy, I mean clockwise. Not anti-clockwise."
"Are you aware of the difference between the two? Perhaps a glance at the clock, and a minute pondering its motions, would assist your learning."
"If we're lucky, you might also gain some idea of time management. It is twenty past, Potter. This potion is both behind schedule and a shambles. I'd hoped we'd seen some improvement - "
Harry had had enough. He glanced around. No-one was watching. He lowered his voice to its softest level and hissed at Snape over the smoke from his cauldron. "Leave it, alright?"
Snape stared, his expression unreadable. Harry looked away. An awkward silence ensued.
The professor then turned on his heel. He swept back through the class.
"Blake - crush, don't chop. More juices are required for the recipe than is produced by chopping."
Harry stared down into his cauldron. He felt weak. He wanted to be sick. He wondered what vomit would add to the consistency of the potion, and if he cared, and what the hell he was going to do.
He heard the classroom door open, somewhere at the edge of his consciousness. Only when he next looked up, and spotted that Draco Malfoy's workbench was now vacant, did he realise. His heart leapt into his throat.
"Can you watch my potion?" he said to Hermione, grabbing his bag. "I need something - "
He ran from the room before she could answer.
The store was empty except for Draco - the other boy was hunting through the shelf of vegetable oils, frowning, textbook cradled in the crook of one arm. As the door snapped shut, he glanced round. He saw Harry.
His lips curved.
"During Potions?" he murmured, and threw his book aside. "Alright. I'm game."
He shoved Harry back against the door before Harry could get the words out, crushing their lips together. Panic spread over Harry's skin in waves. Even the familiar, soft scent of vanilla that rose up did nothing to comfort him. He struggled, trying to push the blonde away, trying to speak. Draco only seemed to think he was writhing and kissed him harder, pinning him in place, emitting a low growl.
In the end, Harry had to resort to the unthinkable. He stamped, hard, on Draco's left foot. Draco yelped into his mouth.
"What the - !" the Slytherin spluttered, staggering backwards. Harry seized him.
"I need to talk to you. It's - it's bad. It's really bad."
Draco bent down to massage the point of his shoe, scowling. "What about?" he said. "The cost of these shoes?"
Harry opened his mouth. He didn't know how to begin to explain. He swallowed and reached into his bag, hunting for the letter.
"I - got this today." He pushed the crumpled envelope into Draco's hands. "Just as it is. No address of sender."
Draco shook the letter free. He flicked it open and read, one eyebrow raised. Harry watched his lips silently form the words - there weren't many.
I kNOw aBouT yOU aNd malFoY
Harry waited for Draco's reaction. Nothing was coming. The Slytherin simply held the letter and read it, several times, processing. Once, he wet his lips with a flick of pink tongue.
"Right," he said. He folded the letter quickly. "Fuck."
"I don't know who sent it. There was nothing else - just that."
Draco was turning even paler than normal. "This is bad."
"I know." Harry swallowed. "It's - it says just us, though. Just you and me. Not - "
"Right. That's… that's good, at least. Fuck."
"What do we do?"
"We need to tell him. He'll know what to do. He'll… I don't know, test it and be able to say who sent it." Draco inhaled slowly. "Then, in the middle of the night, you and I go to whichever dormitory this pervert sleeps in, and we curse him until he can't remember his own name."
Harry took the letter. "It's not someone in the school. Look at the address. They specified Gryffindor House. So - so it's someone outside Hogwarts."
"Fuck… you're right."
Draco paused, fixing him with a steely glare.
"Who have you told outside the school?"
"No-one!" Harry almost laughed. "You think I've been telling people? I've not told anyone anywhere, let alone in the outside world - "
Something horrible occurred to him.
"Why?" he said, as panic rose. "Who have you told?"
"Nobody," Draco snapped. He threw the letter at Harry. "I have a sense of discretion, of course I haven't – "
"Sorry, are you saying I've not? You think I've been - been boasting, or blabbing? You think this is the kind of thing I'd tellpeople?"
"Well, I haven't told anyone," said Draco, simply.
Harry took the comment like a knife-wound. "Look, I haven't – and if you don't even believe me - "
Draco's face crumpled; he covered his mouth.
"God, Harry - I'm sorry."
Harry looked away. "It's… it's alright, just - "
"No, it's not alright. How can I accuse you?" Draco looked distraught; Harry had felt that way all day. The Slytherin moved closer. "I… I'm sorry, I didn't mean to – "
"Honestly, it's... fine."
Harry gave in - he knew that right now he should be avoiding Draco like an infectious disease. He couldn't. Awkwardly he put his arms around the other boy. Draco burrowed into him, clinging. The sudden change in Draco's mood was not a huge shock – more and more, he was getting used to it.
"It's okay," Harry murmured into the strands of baby blonde silk. "I… freaked out too."
"I'm sorry. I know you wouldn't."
"Okay - so long as you know. I haven't told anyone."
"Harry, I'm - I'm worried. I'm very worried. If this gets out - or if they find out it's not just - "
"Look, let's not talk about it now." Harry buried his fingers in Draco's hair, closing his eyes. "We'll see him tonight. He'll help."
Footsteps were coming this way. Harry heard them just in time. He let Draco go as if he were ablaze. The cupboard door flew open with a bang.
Professor Snape glowered in. His face was shrouded in the gloom.
"Out," he said. "Both of you."
"We - " Draco began, but Snape hissed him into silence.
"Whatever has caused this bizarre behavior ceases now," the professor said, half-fierce, half-whispered. "Out. Back to the classroom and if I have any more reason to engage with either of you this session, I will not be pleased."
They left the cupboard. Draco strode away down the corridor, smoothing the back of his hair and thumbing Harry's saliva from around his lips.
As Harry passed, Snape held out an arm to stop him.
"And if you address me in that way again," the professor whispered, "whilst I am teaching - "
Harry's chest heaved. "I'm human."
"Not in my classroom. Speak to me like that again, I will have no choice but to detain you - and it will be an actual detention. Is that clear?"
Harry ignored this, even as his hands curled into fists. He didn't want to be angry. He didn't want to admit the criticism still hurt, however much it was performance. "We need to talk to you."
"Not two nights in a row. Back to the classroom."
Snape's eyes hardened. "So is my desire to keep my job."
Harry reached angrily into his bag. He pushed the letter into Snape's hand.
"We'll come at nine," he said, and pulled away. He stalked away down the corridor. He didn't want to think of the professor watching him go.
Hermione had kept his potion safe - she'd even improved it. Harry tried to push the letter from his head. There was nothing they could do until tonight. He slaved over his potion for the rest of the hour, pouring his frustrations and his fear into the draft, and he was among the first to finish. It was the best potion he'd ever made.
As he spooned a sample into a canister, he glanced up at the teacher's desk.
Snape was studying the fateful envelope. As Harry watched, the professor slid the letter from inside and unfolded it, reading. His eyes travelled over the words several times. They took a moment to sink in.
Snape then glanced up in Harry's direction.
Harry stared back.
He didn't know what expression he could give, what words he could mouth, to make anything better. He could only look, despairing. They held eyes for a long moment. Severus seemed to be in much the same frame of mind as Harry.
The professor looked away first. He folded the letter back into its envelope.
As Harry brought the filled canister to Snape's desk, Snape did not look up. He was inking in the session's register.
"At eight," the professor said, to no-one in particular.
Harry headed back to his workbench. He passed Draco on the way, carrying up a perfect sample.
"At eight," Harry said.
Draco said nothing.