Written on a weekly basis on my Livejournal page January 5, 2005 - November 9, 2005.
Prologue: The Plan
It was during the Christmas hols that he knew for sure. He'd had doubts and suspicions earlier, but the matter solidified into concrete proof and slammed against the side of his head just days after coming home from Hogwarts.
Being that he was of age at seventeen and would be initiated as soon as he finished Hogwarts in the spring, his father had taken him along to the Death Eaters' Annual Yule Revelry. Three days. Three days of listening to screams, of being splattered with blood and other bodily fluids, of feeling the dying pulses of hearts ripped living from chests...of watching children being raped...of raping children and women who pleaded for the lives of their children...of doing things that only a life of hiding his true feelings had allowed him to get through.
On the fourth day, he and his father had apparated home. His father had staggered off to his bedroom, tired and satiated. He himself had staggered off to the bathroom where he paid homage to the porcelain goddess and cried.
He thought about suicide, but really, the whole idea of just ending it all...well, it sucked.
That was when Draco Malfoy knew he needed a Plan. He couldn't, wouldn't become a Death Eater. It wasn't that he gave a damn about the muggles and the mudbloods--they were a waste of space, but hell, so were ninety percent of the Death Eaters in his opinion--and no one was going around dismembering them. Then again, the Dark Lord did have his moments... Which was another thing. The Dark Lord was ugly and creepy and--and he didn't like the way the man looked at him. Like he was one of the muggle sacrifices. Like he wanted Draco up on the altar, impaled on the Dark Lord's strangely snakelike cock. It was too narrow, had a peculiar S-like bend to it, and the head set upon it like a mushroom on a too small stalk. Dark Lord or not, there was no way in Hell that thing was ever going up him. No way. No how. Imperius, Cruciatus, nor Avada Kedavra was going to make him accept the Dark Lord's stalky mushroom in his mouth, arse, or any other incidental cavity.
So he had three choices: die, hide, or go over to the other side. He'd already dismissed die. Not enough people to remember him yet. Dying and being forgotten within a few years was just a waste. Hide was impossible: he was blood kin to the Dark Lord's right-hand man--a simple spell would point him out like the North Star. Joining the other side--the side of the self-righteously stupid--was not exactly appealing, but it was his best chance.
But he needed a compelling reason for changing sides, a reason that the other side would believe without question, because he was not about to spend the rest of his life under close scrutiny and suspicion. Merlin, the first seventeen years was bad enough.
Hmm. He could pretend to fall helplessly in love with Harry Potter. Snort. Or maybe with Potter's pet mudblood. Okay, that thought had him spitting into the toilet.
He could claim Lucius had abused him his entire life and that would score him some sympathy points. But then they'd probably want him to talk about it and cry and bemoan his tragic fate. Like he was going to talk to them any more than he had to.
Damn, there had to be something he could come up with that would be believable enough to make him give up everything, but wouldn't require constant maintenance.
Then Draco Malfoy smiled as a Plan unfolded in fairy lights in his mind. A flawless Plan. A perfect Plan.
He showered and hurried to Lucius's private library.
Chapter 1: The Boy-Who-Raped
Harry Potter drank the last of his pumpkin juice, said goodbye to his friends, and left the Great Hall to go to detention. Damn Malfoy and his goons. Crabbe had tripped Hermione, Draco had laughed, and the next thing Harry knew, Professor McGonagall was pulling he and Malfoy apart and sentencing them to detention with Filch. It was sad to think he'd spent seven years at Hogwarts, gone up against Voldemort numerous times and survived, yet he was still dancing to Malfoy's tune. Damn it. Somewhere in all the confusion of being the Boy-Who-Lived and Voldemort's favorite target, he'd become Malfoy's bitch. And he wasn't even getting all the benefits that entailed, which he probably wouldn't mind if he could close his eyes and pretend it wasn't Malfoy. Malfoy might be a prat, but he was an attractive prat and, like Harry, batted for both teams. Not that Harry had batted often. Okay, he hadn't batted at all. Well, not all the way, anyway, but he'd snogged both sides and it hadn't put him off his feed.
He heard footsteps behind him and caught a glimpse of white blonde hair in his peripheral vision. With matching glares, the two boys walked silently to their punishment.
"Wands," Filch demanded, and they handed them over. "Clean," he ordered and opened the door to a storage closet. Mrs. Norris hissed and the door closed behind them.
The room was filled with cobwebs. Harry removed his robes, grabbed a broom and started swiping at the top shelves. Malfoy, he noticed out of the corner of his eye, had grabbed a bucket and a rag and started working on the opposite end of the room.
"You make a lovely house-elf," Harry heard himself say, surprised because he'd planned on ignoring the other boy.
"Auta miqula orqu," Malfoy muttered.
"What was that?"
"Shut it, Potter."
Something rippled through Harry and without any conscious thought, he felt himself move toward Malfoy, pressing the other back against the shelves. "Make me."
Malfoy shoved at him. "We're already in enough trouble. Just go back to where you were so we can get out of here."
"Giving me orders now, Malfoy?"
"Bugger off, Pot--"
Harry panicked inside as his body leaned forward and pressed its lips against Malfoy's, his tongue invading the warm, open mouth. His lower body also pressed forward, grinding against Malfoy in a very suggestive way. What the hell?
His first thought was imperius, and he tried to throw it off like he had in class. However, nothing he did stopped him from ripping Malfoy's shirt open. Nothing stopped him from cuffing him against the head when Malfoy fought back. Nothing stopped him from pinning the stunned boy to the floor and stripping off his trousers. Nothing stopped him from laughing as Malfoy lunged for the door and found it wouldn't open. Nothing stopped him from unzipping his trousers and forcing himself into Malfoy's dry arse. Nothing stopped him from grinning as Malfoy's fingers scritched helplessly against the stone floor, his knees bruising and tearing as Harry pounded into him. Nothing stopped him from laughing in Malfoy's ear as his nails sank into delicate skin and his teeth savagely bit, both actions drawing blood.
By the time Harry could make himself do what he wanted, Malfoy lay whimpering beneath him. He eased from Malfoy with a sickening pop and stared in horror at the stream of semen and blood which oozed out in his wake.
"Malfoy," he whispered. He gently forced Malfoy to turn over and stunned gray eyes stared up at him.
"Why?" Malfoy asked, his voice scratchy.
From the screaming, Harry surmised. From all the screaming. "It--it wasn't me. I--I tried to stop. I really did. I wouldn't--Merlin, Malfoy, I couldn't--"
Harry shook his head in continued denial. "No. I-- No. Something had to cause this. Imperius or..." His words drawled to a stop as a thought struck him. "You! You did this!"
Malfoy got even paler. Then gray eyes flashed at him. "I did what, Potter? I raped myself?"
"Yes! I mean, no, but--but you said some kind of spell or something, didn't you? I heard you mumble something and then I--I couldn't stop. I couldn't stop. What did you say? What did you do!"
"It wasn't a spell." The voice was a harsh whisper, which went well with the wet trails glistening on his face. Crying. He'd made Draco Malfoy cry. "It was just an elven insult. Auta miqula orqu. 'Go kiss an orc'. I'm--I'm doing an independent study in Elven Magic. I like how the language flows. I like how no one knows what I'm saying, including the professors. I-- Look at me, Potter. Is this something I would do to myself?" He held out a bloodied, swollen hand.
Harry flinched. "First things first. We need to get you to the hospital wing."
"We need to do nothing," Draco hissed. "You've done enough."
Harry nodded sadly. "I'll just head on to Dumbledore's office then. I've heard that Azkaban is lovely this time of year," he added self-deprecatingly. He went to try the door, hoping it wasn't under a time spell or only opened for Filch.
"Wait. We can't walk around the halls like this," Malfoy pointed out as he slowly gained his feet, and Harry realized neither of them was fully dressed. He remembered brutally removing Malfoy's clothes, bending parts of him that shouldn't bend, ripping fine fabric with his teeth and fingers. He'd used Malfoy's shirt to secure his hands awkwardly behind his back. He glanced at Malfoy's swollen shoulder, dislocated no doubt. He'd jerked upward on the shirt, while jabbing his knee in Malfoy's back to give himself freedom to unzip his own trousers. Oh, God. How many times had he assaulted Malfoy? How many times had Malfoy tried to crawl away, only to be dragged back and raped again? He looked at the thin body across from his. Bruises were already forming. Scrapes dark with blood and dirt. A lump in the center of the pale forehead, signifying that his repeated slamming of Malfoy's head into the floor wasn't just a bad dream. Teeth marks in the general vicinity of his nipples. His nipples? When had he-- In his mind, he saw himself kick Malfoy over onto his back before sliding into the hole that was no longer tight, nor dry. Yes, there was the bruise from the kick. Probably a broken rib lay beneath the mottled skin.
His eyes followed a trail of pale, fine hair to Malfoy's dick, which hung limply in a nest of matted, platinum strands, discolored in places by a pink mixture of blood and spunk. Harry stared until Malfoy's hands covered himself. He looked up to find the silver eyes were focused on the floor as if Malfoy was embarrassed and humiliated.
Harry wanted to vomit.
He put on his clothes and helped Malfoy into the tatters that remained of his own. The Slytherin's robes managed to cover most of the damage. Once again Harry reached for the door. Once again, Malfoy stopped him.
He waited for the hexing and condemnations.
"This wasn't-- you."
"No, it wasn't," Harry agreed, wondering at the lack of anything in Malfoy's words. Was he in shock? Could he make it to the hospital wing by himself? Maybe he should help him, then go to Dumbledore's office.
"You feel like doing it again?"
Harry violently shook his head. He'd geld himself before he let this happen again. There had to be spells to stop a man from...
"Then let's let it go. You don't do it again, and I won't say anything."
He felt a flicker of hope. Then it died. "You need medical attention, Malfoy. I--you're hurt." He'd had basic healing training. But not for something like this. There was probably--internal damage.
Malfoy shrugged. "I'll tell Madam Pomfrey I don't know who attacked me, that I was coming back from detention and was assaulted in a hallway."
"Why?" Harry demanded. This could get him out of Malfoy's life for good. Isn't that what Malfoy wanted? Had Malfoy--
"Do you really think I want people to know I was raped by you, Potter? That I couldn't protect myself from you? That I couldn't stop you from..." He clutched at his robes. "No, it's best for both of us if we just forget what happened here. We'll clean this stupid room and get our wands back. Then you'll go back to your common room, complain about detention, and go to bed. That's all you need to do."
"But shouldn't we, I don't know, try to figure out what happened? Somebody or something made me do something against my will," Harry argued. "I need to know what it was."
"I don't give a fuck about your needs, Potter! I'm the victim here. I'm the one who's going to be ridiculed and laughed about if this gets out. My father-- Damn it! You owe me your silence!"
Harry hung his head. Malfoy was right. He owed him. But-- "I need to know if I'm a danger to the other students. What if I'd been with Hermione or Ginny or--"
"So it would have been worse if you'd raped them, I suppose?" Malfoy sneered.
"No! That's not what I meant."
"What did you mean, then?" Harry looked away. "It's better to rape a bloke than a girl? It's better to rape a Slytherin than a Gryffindor? It's better to rape an enemy than a friend?"
Frustrated, Harry slammed his hand against the wall. He didn't even feel the pain as Malfoy's frightened jerk registered. Malfoy was well and truly scared of him now. That should have made him happy.
"You sit, and I'll finish cleaning up in here." He'd cleaned up bigger messes at Privet Drive with less cleaning supplies.
"I think I'd rather stand," Malfoy said in a hushed voice.
Harry grimaced and went to work.
Draco spent the night in the hospital wing. He told the story of his attack in the corridor to Pomfrey, Snape, and Dumbledore. He was given healing and sleeping potions. His housemates were informed he was in the wing because of a terrible splinter he'd got while doing house-elf work.
Despite the sleeping potion, Draco woke early and watched the sun rise over what he hoped was a brand new world for himself.
In Gryffindor Tower, Harry Potter told his friends he was tired and fell into bed after a prolonged and rather hot shower. But he found it difficult to fall asleep and after everyone else had settled in for the night, he snuck out of the dorm and up to an abandoned room at the top of the tower. He closed his eyes and let a single tear fall as he considered the fact that not only was he the Boy-Who-Lived, he was also now the Boy-Who-Raped.
Had Voldemort set this up? But why involve Malfoy? Surely if he was trying to demoralize him, Hermione, Ginny, or even Ron would have been a better target. Or maybe he was trying to get him expelled, and Malfoy's pride was something Voldemort hadn't counted on. Probably as soon as word got out that Malfoy hadn't accused him, Malfoy would be getting an owl from his dear daddy. That had to be it!
Then again, maybe Harry hadn't been the one supposed to be hurt by this. Maybe someone was after Malfoy. Much of the school hated him, and there was a continual power struggle among the Slytherins. Maybe it hadn't mattered who attacked Malfoy, but that he was attacked. Maybe someone he'd raped wanted it to come back on him. Maybe someone had used Harry for revenge.
Or maybe Harry had used Harry for revenge. Had he really tried his best to stop? Was there some tiny place in his mind that had enjoyed Malfoy's submission, his screams, his tears? Malfoy was the enemy. Maybe some part of him had decided to put Malfoy in his place, to humiliate him, to make him cower...
Harry watched the sun come up, wishing that it was yesterday's world and not today's.
Chapter 2: The Role of a Lifetime
The cramp caught Draco just as he was getting out of bed and instead of making his way to the bathroom for his morning ablutions, he found himself curling up on his duvet and biting his lip to keep from crying out. As his stomach muscles relaxed, he went over the past two months.
He could tell Potter was surprised when he'd walked into Potions the day after, calm and collected and healed from the damage. He could tell that Potter was even more surprised as the days went by and no one came to question him. Their relationship, his and Potter's, had become one of avoidance. There'd been no more confrontations, no more posturing, no more hissed threats. Neither openly acknowledged the other's existence, but Draco could feel Potter's eyes on him at times and knew that if the super brat's friends actually cared about him, they would see the guilt written all over his face. But Mudblood and Weasel were caught up in their own petty dramas, so they didn't see, they didn't want to see.
A shadow fell over him and Draco looked up to see Goyle and Crabbe standing over him. "Go on to breakfast," he ordered. "I think I'm catching the flu that's going around. I shall be in the hospital wing if anyone asks."
He watched them leave before he struggled upright and into his robes. The cramps were rhythmic and if he breathed just right, they weren't too debilitating. Thankfully, he'd done his research and had expected the pains. If he hadn't, he would've been in a panic. He didn't have time to start another Plan.
He made his way to the wing, stopping before the door to adjust his appearance before he went in. Anxious, but brave. That was the approach he was going to take.
He looked at the nurse and swallowed hard. "Madam Pomfrey," he began, then deliberately let one of the cramps have full rein. He curled over the arms wrapped around his middle.
"Ah, another case of the flu. If I could just get you children to come to me before you caught it, I--" She stopped as he shook his head. Then she frowned as he let his anxiety show in his eyes. "What is it, child?"
He wrung his hands and dropped his eyes. "I'm a Progenitor, Madam."
Pomfrey gasped. "Are you certain, Mr. Malfoy?"
"That I'm a Progenitor, yes. Of the other, no. That's why I've come to you."
She pointed him toward a cot. "You should have said something...earlier."
"I wasn't thinking too clearly that night," he said, shame and defeat heavy in his voice. She nodded compassionately. "Afterwards, well, I didn't want to face the possibility. The worst had already happened. Surely, I couldn't go beyond that."
She squeezed his shoulder, then whipped out her wand. She performed a series of precise flicks and swishes and gave a sad smile as a soft light engulfed his abdomen. "I'm sorry, Mr. Malfoy."
Draco trembled and sighed. "I feared as much."
"I want to do a complete examination, then we'll have to inform the Headmaster and your head of House. And your parents."
"No! Please, Madam Pomfrey, not my parents. They can't know! They'll kill me--or worse."
"Shh, child. We can discuss it later with the professors. Now, let's get that exam out of the way."
An hour later, Draco sat in the Headmaster's office, Snape standing behind him protectively. Dumbledore was staring at him closely, and Draco was grateful that he'd mastered Occlumency at an early age. Blocking his thoughts from Lucius was the first bit of magic he'd learned on his own.
"I am deeply saddened by your troubles, Mr. Malfoy," the Headmaster said. "That this happened while in my care is inexcusable. But while things look dark, there is always light."
"Like the fact that we can now ascertain who attacked you," Snape said, his voice full of vengeance. "A simple Pater test and the culprit will be named and dealt with."
"Do we have to?" Draco asked, making sure it wasn't a whine. "It will complicate everything."
"Why do you say that, Mr. Malfoy?" Dumbledore inquired. "How could knowing who--"
"It's better if he remains unnamed. Trust me," Draco warned.
"You know who it is." Snape made it a statement, not a question. "You found out?"
"I've always known."
Snape was furious and moved to stand in front of Draco. "Why have you been hiding this? Was this some kind of--what do the Muggles call it--a date rape? Is it a fellow Slytherin?"
"No. No, it wasn't a date rape. No, it's not a Slytherin."
"Then why are you protecting him?" Dumbledore asked gently.
"Because it wasn't his fault, sir. He was under the influence of a hex or a potion."
"How do you know this?"
Draco looked up at his head of House. "Because this person is not the type to do something like this. It goes against his very nature."
Snape paled. "A Gryffindor."
"You had detention with Potter that night, didn't you?" Snape continued. He eyed Draco speculatively. "The assault did not occur in a corridor."
"No, sir." Draco dropped his head in dramatic defeat.
"Harry is the one that attacked you?" Dumbledore questioned for clarity.
"Why the fuck were you protecting Harry Potter?" Snape spat out, and Draco knew his teacher must be furious to use such a word, much less use it in front of his superior.
"I wasn't protecting Potter; I was protecting me. If I had accused Potter of raping me, no one would have believed it. Even with the magical snapshots Madam Pomfrey took, it would have been my fault, Professor. It was a prank gone wrong. I was secretly after Potter and a lust spell went out of control. The Dark Lord made me do it to break Potter. I--I asked for it. I begged Potter to be rough with me. I'm a perverted bottom-boy... You know how it would have been. I'm a Slytherin--we hurt people, but we can't be hurt ourselves," he said angrily.
"This bloody House system," Snape muttered.
"Perhaps we should have heeded the Sorting Hat's warnings," Dumbledore said sadly. "Or perhaps this is the way we can start to work together. We need to inform Mr. Potter and your parents, Draco."
Draco knew the next minutes were crucial to his Plan. "We can't tell my parents, sir. How do you think my father will react to finding out I allowed Potter to brutally assault me?"
"You allowed no such thing," Snape sniffed.
"And you think that will make a difference to Lucius?" He watched their faces and waited until he was sure they agreed with him. "I'm of age. I don't have to return to their care."
"But--" Dumbledore began.
"But what, sir? You know who my father is, what he is." Draco gave a bitter laugh. "Can you think of a better way to hurt Potter than to control or murder his child? The Dark Lord would be ecstatic." He shook his head. "I can't go home. Ever."
"Do you understand what you're saying, Mr. Malfoy?"
"I don't have a choice, sir." He wrapped his arms around his middle. "This is all I have left. I won't risk it. I can't." He could feel the single tear trace its way down his face. He tilted his head slightly so it would glisten in the light.
"You have us, too, Draco, and Harry as well, I don't doubt," Dumbledore said with all the reassurance his twinkling eyes could confer. He summoned an owl and tied a hastily scribbled note to its leg before sending it on its way.
When the owl appeared at one of the windows opening into the Gryffindor common room and flew straight to him, Harry wasn't surprised. He also wasn't surprised when he read its directive. He'd been waiting for it ever since he'd read the note that Potions had been canceled. That, added to Malfoy's non-appearance at breakfast, made him both apprehensive and relieved. He was tired of hiding the terrible secret. It haunted his dreams at night and kept him on edge during the day. There hadn't been a second occurrence, but the first had been enough. He was ready to be punished.
That Malfoy had stayed quiet for two months was astonishing. The way he'd whined about the cut from the hippogriff, Harry had figured Malfoy would've milked the attack for all it was worth as soon as the initial feeling of humiliation had worn off. He'd been shocked to see the boy in class the next day and startled by the lack of blackmail attempts. But recently he'd noticed he seemed paler than usual, maybe a bit haunted. He figured the memories were getting to Malfoy and pretty soon the secret would be spilled.
Harry smiled at Hermione. She was the only other Gryffindor in Advanced Potions, and they'd returned to the Common Room to study during the unexpected free period. "Dumbledore wants to see me."
"Has something happened?"
Harry shrugged. "He probably just needs me to save the world. Again," he said cheekily. "After all, I'm Potter, Harry Potter."
Hermione laughed. "I'm glad Ron's not here. He never gets our Muggle references and it sort of takes the fun out of them when you have to explain."
Harry smiled at her, wondering if he'd get a chance to come back and say goodbye...or would he immediately be taken into custody. "Have patience with him, 'Mione. He's worth it."
She looked at him curiously. "Of course he is, Harry. Are you sure you don't know why the Headmaster wants to see you?"
"Could be anything," he lied. "See you later, okay?"
"Sure. If you're late to lunch, I shouldn't worry, right?"
He left the tower and refused to dawdle as he made his way to the gargoyle statue. "Goobers," he said, making use of the password that was in the note. He walked up the stairs and into the Headmaster's Office, not surprised to find Malfoy and Snape there.
"Harry, please have a seat," Dumbledore motioned toward a chair next to Malfoy's. "I think you may know what part of this meeting is about."
Harry nodded. "I--sexually assaulted Malfoy, and I'm glad he told you because if he hadn't, I would have."
Dumbledore looked at him gravely. "I've no doubt this has weighed heavily on your mind. I knew you were troubled, but you have become so good at Occlumency--both of you--that I could not get a handle on what was so pressing. I'm glad that it's all in the open now."
"I am too," Harry agreed. "Does there have to be a trial, or can I simply admit to it and go directly to Azkaban?"
"Eager for prison life, Potter?" Snape asked from his seat on the other side of Malfoy.
Harry flushed. "No, but I'm guilty. What I did to Malfoy... I deserve whatever I get."
Dumbledore shook his head. "There will be no imprisonment, Harry. Mr. Malfoy is not here to press charges against you."
"What?" Harry shot Malfoy a glance. "What's going on?"
"I told you I didn't blame you, Potter."
"But--but I'm here. Why are we having this discussion?" Was Malfoy merely trying to make him look bad in front of Snape and Dumbledore? That was sort of petty, but it was Malfoy, after all.
"There's been a complication."
Harry looked at Dumbledore. "What kind of complication?" Oh, Merlin, he hadn't given Malfoy some kind of venereal disease, had he? Didn't you have to have sex before you could give someone something though? But he could have picked up something from a toilet seat, right? Shit. Dudley. Dudley could have brought home anything. Oh, hell, he'd given Malfoy some Muggle disease, and now they both were going to have to go to a Muggle specialist, and Malfoy was going to kick his arse up and down the entire wizarding world.
"Potter, I'm a Progenitor."
It was a disease. But it didn't sound Muggle in the least. "They can cure that, right?"
Dumbledore laughed, Snape smirked, and Malfoy just rolled his eyes. "It'll clear up with time," he replied dryly.
Harry was relieved. "Good. I'm glad, Malfoy. So we can just forget what happened, right? Go back to our original plan?"
Malfoy glared at him. "Potter, you stupid tit, I'm pregnant."
Chapter 3: Doing It All For My Baby
Harry blinked, grinned, looked at all the sober faces staring at him, and blinked again. "Malfoy, you have bits. You can't be pregnant," he reasoned.
"Harry." He looked at Dumbledore, certain that his faithful mentor would let him in on the joke. "Do you remember studying the First Great Persecution in History of Magic?"
Harry nodded. He vaguely recalled Professor Binns teaching it. No, actually he remembered Hermione making him study about it. "It was when the Muggles first found out about the Wizarding world. They didn't take it--well." They killed off as many as they could find, which Voldemort loved bringing up to his followers.
"No, they didn't. But some of the Muggles were slightly misinformed. They thought only women were magical, so the number of witches killed was disproportionate to the number of wizards who were sacrificed. Afterwards, they were not certain there were enough witches left to sustain a wizarding population. A group of extremely gifted wizards came up with a very complicated spell which enabled them to bear young. Of course we have potions today that can assist in a wizard becoming pregnant, but this spell was different in that it was permanent. A wizard only had to have unprotected relations with another wizard to achieve conception. These wizards called themselves Progenitors."
Whipping his head around, Harry stared at Malfoy. "You're pregnant?"
"So the annoying cramps tell me."
"Cramps? Are you okay? The baby?" Harry asked frantically.
"Nothing me or my child can't handle, Potter." Malfoy shot Harry a look. "And if you ask me if it's yours, I swear I'm going to hex you prickless."
Dumbledore smiled and stood. "I think you two gentlemen have things to discuss in private. Severus?"
"Headmaster, I'm not sure it is wise to leave Mr. Malfoy alone with Mr. Potter. Need I remind everyone here that the incident in question was nonconsensual? Since we have not ascertained why Mr. Potter felt the urge to savage a fellow student, I don't think it's proper to allow him unchaperoned access to said student."
"I'm afraid Professor Snape has a point," Dumbledore began.
"But Professor Snape is forgetting that I have my wand this time," Malfoy interrupted. "Potter can't get the best of me if I'm armed."
"Don't be overconfident, Mr. Malfoy," Snape warned.
"I'm not, sir. Just because I get to keep my wand doesn't mean that Potter gets to keep his."
"Hey, that's not fair!"
"And is it fair, Potter, that I'm pregnant? That I can't go home? That no matter my mindset, my beliefs, I now have to side with the Light just to protect my child?"
There was nothing Harry could say to counter that so he reluctantly handed his wand to Dumbledore, because there was no way in hell he was giving it to Snape.
They stared awkwardly at each other after the adults left. Harry thought Malfoy looked paler than usual, but that simply could be because his sight wasn't tinted with the red of anger.
"So this is all true? You're--"
"Pregnant, Potter. With child. Enceinte. Up the duff. Preggers. Two months gone. Knocked up. What? You want Madam Pomfrey to perform the test in front of you? I'm sure she'd oblige. Let's go to the wing--"
"You sure you're okay? The cramps and everything, I mean," Harry interrupted the rant softly.
"It's normal. My insides are shifting around so that the baby has enough room to grow."
"Did you know?"
"That you could get pregnant."
Malfoy sighed and absently rubbed his stomach. "I was diagnosed a Progenitor on my seventeenth birthday. I was taught the spell to prevent pregnancy just like witches."
"So why didn't you use the spell?"
"When should I have used it, Potter? When I was pleading with you not to rape me? When I was struggling to get away from you? When I was screaming because you jammed yourself up my arse without even a bit of spit? At what time during your attack do you think I had the wherewithal to think of a bloody spell that I'd never used before? Oh, and let's not forget my lack of a wand."
Harry wondered that if he hadn't given Dumbledore his wand, could he have possibly charmed the earth to open up and swallow him whole. He hadn't just stuck his foot in his mouth, but his entire leg. "I'm sorry. I'm just a little stunned."
"Join the crowd. At least your whole future hasn't suddenly fucking changed."
"That's not true. It's my baby, too. I now have an obligation to--"
"To do what you always had to fucking do--kill You-Know-Who. That's the obligation you owe this baby. Because you and I both know what that fucker would do to a baby of yours."
"And what obligation do I owe you, Malfoy? How will you get along after Hogwarts? I have money, you know."
"I don't need your begrudgingly-given support. I have my own personal vault that Lucius can't touch. I won't be Malfoy-rich, but neither will I be Weasley-poor."
Harry ignored the dig at Ron. "It won't be begrudgingly-given. I want you and the child to live comfortably. I want the child to know that his father is taking care of him. I want to be part of this child's life, Draco." The name didn't flow easily off his tongue.
"And I don't want to be a pariah. I may lose everything, Pot-Harry. I don't want to be viewed as the albatross around your neck."
"Your friends, especially Weasley, will treat me like shit and you know it. They'll blame me for getting pregnant. They'll accuse me of working for the Dark Lord. They'll watch my every move, waiting for me to stab you in the back. Or worse, they'll laugh at me and call me your bitch. They'll mock me cringing beneath you as you raped me. They'll ask me...if I cried. I can't live like that, Harry. If that's what my future holds, I may as well let my father kill me now."
"Stop it, Draco. They won't treat you like that. I won't let them."
"And how will you stop them? Sure, they'll respect you for teaching me a lesson, but--"
"I'll tell them I love you. I'll tell them it hurts me every time they hurt you."
"Like they'll believe that," Malfoy snorted. "I know for a fact that you hate me. I felt it when you attacked me."
Harry slumped in the chair. There was some...truth to what Malfoy was saying. He could feel something forcing his body into doing the terrible things he'd done to Malfoy, but at times he'd found pleasure in some sound that Malfoy had made or some twitch of his body.
He really didn't want to think about it.
"Passion," Harry said abruptly.
"What are you on about?"
"I overheard Hermione and Lavender talking one day when I got back from seeing Madam Pomfrey after one of our fights. Lavender said that we were passionate about each other. And Hermione said that yeah, maybe if we just shagged each other there would be a whole lot less violence. So see, we just let our passion get the best of us, we shagged, and now there's a baby. There's no evil plan, nobody is anybody's bitch, and we're both determined to do what's best for our child."
Malfoy pursed his lips for a moment, then nodded. "That could work. The whole 'thin line between love and hate' saying plays to our advantage. Just make sure you sell it proper, Potter. None of that half-arsed Gryffindor lying."
"I'll pretend I'm Slytherin," Harry said dryly.
"What are you going to tell your housemates, Mal-Draco?"
"To mind their own fucking business."
"Oh. They won't wonder?"
"Of course. But everyone sixth year and under know better than to ask me directly. As for my fellow Seventh Years--I can handle them."
"Remember what Snape said about overconfidence."
"You're quoting Snape now?" Malfoy responded with a smirk. "I know what I'm doing, Potter. Trust me."
"Just because you're knocked up doesn't mean you're not still fucked up, Malfoy. Trust you? What happens when you get orders from your father or your master?"
Malfoy leapt to his feet. "Fuck you! Have you not listened to a single word that's been said here? I no longer have a father, and I never had a master! So busy ripping my arse bloody that you didn't notice the lack of a mark on my arm?"
"And what will you give to have your father back?" Harry argued.
"Not my child." He placed a protective arm around his stomach. "I was a fool to think that you could get over yourself for the sake of our baby. You know what, Potter? Just go back to your fellow Gryffindors and bitch about Slytherins being all that is evil. I don't need you, and my child doesn't either. After all, he or she is half scum-sucking Slytherin." With a swish of his robes, he headed for the door.
"Malfoy, wait! Cut me some slack. This is hard for me to accept."
"Hard for you? Well, owl me when you're waddling around like an overfed erumpent. Until then, fuck off."
Harry would have sworn that Dumbledore had charmed the door not to slam, but somehow Malfoy managed to do just that.
Chapter 4: The Truth (Or A Reasonable Facsimile)
Draco was ticked off, but not furious as he made his way to the medical wing. Potter was a right prat, but he was unknowingly following The Plan, so he wasn't going to bitch about him much.
"Things didn't go well?"
Draco was surprised to see Snape in the wing's hallway, apparently waiting for him. "About what I expected from Potter."
"Just what I wanted to talk to you about--your expectations. Please accompany me to my office."
"I need to get some potions from the nurse to help ease the cramping."
"I have them ready for you--in my office."
Fuck. He hadn't grown up in Malfoy Manor for nothing; he could spot the onset of a very unpleasant conversation from the inflection of a single word. Snape was in confrontation mode. Was he still upset that he'd covered for Potter? Or that he'd agreed to be alone with him? Aware that nothing of importance should be said without a well-placed silencing spell or two, Draco quietly followed his professor to the dungeons and watched as he set the wards.
"When I first found out about the rape, and your perceptions of it, I started investigating spells and potions which could have facilitated such an act upon your being," Snape began as he sat behind his desk. "I narrowed it down to two lust potions. One causes the victim to succumb to desire already present. Copulation will occur, however, violence is not necessarily a factor. The other is a Dark potion--a rape agent, pure and simple. It was created in 1791 to avenge a rape of an Italian wizard's daughter. He took a possession of the rapist, incorporated it into the potion, then slipped the potion to a half-giant living peacefully in the woods nearby. The half-giant then attacked the rapist, literally buggering him to death.
"Both potions are extremely complicated and far beyond anything any student at this school could master--with the exceptions of you and Miss Granger. Indeed, up until today, Miss Granger has been my chief suspect. I surmised that she prepared one of the potions and fed it to someone in order to 'put you in your place.' In her defense, you have treated her and her friends harshly during her tenure here at Hogwarts. Still, the simple lust potion would have got her expelled and the darker one would've landed her in Azkaban."
Draco had been trained by the best not to show any reaction. "What happened today to change your mind?"
"Miss Granger would have not used Harry Potter to carry out her plan. The boy is--unstable. She wouldn't have added that guilt to his already heavily-laden shoulders."
Draco nodded. "The potion could have been purchased by someone totally inept in Potions," he offered.
"That would require an extraordinary amount of money. And I've contacts with the only other three wizards who could have possibly brewed the darker of the two potions--which is the one, from the state of your condition afterwards, that was used."
"Potter was an animal, but considerably less endowed than a half-giant," Draco agreed. He looked into his teacher's eyes and made a decision. Snape knew the truth. The professor wouldn't have brought up the subject if he'd had any doubt. So he could make a fool of himself, and an enemy of Snape, if he continued with the misdirection, or he could confess and possibly make an ally of a very powerful wizard. "I was in no danger of dying," he said casually.
Snape accepted the admission without any outward reaction. "Why, Mr. Malfoy?"
"I didn't want to become a Death Eater."
"I carry our Master's Mark."
Draco laughed, hearing the "you idiot" Snape had silently attached to his statement. "I excel in Arithmancy as well as Potions, Professor. Adding one plus one is not a problem for me. I know you're a spy for Dumbledore. I applaud your ambition." He kept his eye on the drawer where Snape's wand lay. Being obliviated would play hell with the Plan.
Shaken, Snape poised on the edge of his chair. "Who else knows?"
"In my family? No one knows for sure, but Father is wary of me talking to you about anything other than schoolwork. I have, on occasion, backed up some of your intelligence reports about the school and Potter."
"Hedging your bets?"
"You are very astute."
"I owe it all to the teachers in my life."
"Your greatest teacher has been your father."
"Yet you do not want to become what he is?"
"I am not my father. I wasn't aware that you had bought into that particular Gryffindor fallacy. You've been around Dumbledore too long."
Snape ignored the slight. "Why this sudden change in loyalties?"
"I saw the Light?" Draco teased dryly, then sighed as Snape merely rolled his eyes. "Father took me to the Yule Revelry."
Snape paled. "Did you--participate?"
"What do you think? I wouldn't have made it out alive otherwise. Were you there?"
"No. The Headmaster and I attended a MAAS conference."
A Magical Academies and Schools get together was a convenient out. It was considered quite the honor to get chosen to attend. "Lucky you."
"It did not meet your approval?"
Draco began pacing, aware that it broadcasted his uneasiness, but not really caring. "I am a pureblood, superior to half-bloods, mud-bloods, and muggles. Why do I need to waste my time killing everyone to prove a point that is already proven? If I'm naturally on top, why then do I have to forcibly place everyone on the bottom? It's redundant, it's messy, and it distracts me from doing what I want to do. If Voldemort--and yes, I can say his freakin' name--is having an identity crisis, why do I have to get involved?"
"My father got himself into this mess long before I was even conceived. It's not my problem."
"I see. And this all occurred to you because of the revelry?"
"That, and the Dark Lord being a perv."
Snape covered up a snort with a cough. "I must say that no matter the reason for your actions, I'm pleased that you are no longer bound to be part of the Dark Lord's court. But your solution to the problem leaves me confused."
"I needed a way out that was believable. The Light side believes that the parent-child bond is the strongest bond in existence. Potter's mother protected him from Avada Kadavra by it. Surely, my bond with my child would lead me to drastic, sacrificial measures."
"You would prefer Dumbledore?" Draco asked, his nose wrinkling in distaste. Then he shrugged. "Potter may be a self-righteous, moralistic, do-gooder, but he has a hot body and is not old enough to be my great-grandfather. I could have done a lot worse."
Snape shuddered. "So why didn't you just seduce him? Why the Rabidus Potion?"
"The higher guilt/lower blame factor. If I had seduced him, I would be partially to blame. With the rape--my injuries catalogued by you, the nurse, and the Headmaster--Potter's completely at fault. It makes manipulating him easier."
"And what of the War, now that you are on the other side? Can you in all honesty face your father in battle?"
"I won't be fighting. The pregnancy will keep me on the sidelines for the next several months. And after that, well, Potter's survival is constantly in question. It would not be fair to our child if both his or her parents are in mortal danger."
A smile snaked its way onto Snape's face. "Fifty points to Slytherin for excellency in scheming."
Draco relaxed. He figured that Snape would approve once he knew of the whole Plan, but he'd still been anxious. And he hadn't wanted to blackmail him with the whole, "I'll tell Daddy you're a spy" thing. It would've been a lame threat at best, because he had no intention of telling his father anything but to fuck off. "Thank you, sir. May I have my potions now? I think the earlier ones are wearing off."
"Of course." Snape stood and went to a large wooden cabinet. "I hope you took into consideration the difficulties that may arise from this pregnancy. For you to be a Progenitor, the original spells must run heavy in your blood. You will have to take care."
Draco looked down at the floor and then up at his professor. "I was hoping, sir, that you'd, as the mud-bloods are fond on saying, 'have my back'?"
Snape bowed his assent. "As you have had mine, Mr. Malfoy."
Chapter 5: Po-tay-to or Po-tat-o
Harry was in a daze as he made his way to the Great Hall for lunch, having missed the rest of his morning classes. He was still in a daze when he made it back to his common room at the end of the day. He still wasn't quite sure he believed all he'd been told, but Dumbledore's presence indicated it was all true. He'd...impregnated Malfoy. During a rape. He'd raped Malfoy and knocked him up.
"Harry, you wanted to talk to me?"
He nodded. He'd told Ron and the others that he couldn't go out to the pitch with them because he had to get the notes he'd missed earlier. But actually he just wanted to speak to Hermione alone. Because she was Muggle-born and so smart, he figured she'd be the easiest one to approach first.
"You want my notes, right?" Hermione continued. "When you didn't make it to class, I actually charmed my quill to make a copy automatically. So, here."
He accepted the bundle of parchment with a mumbled thank you. When she turned to go back to the girls' dormitory, he asked her not to leave.
"Is this about your visit to the Headmaster?" He nodded. "Don't tell me you actually did have to save the world?"
Harry shook his head. "That would have been too easy." He glanced around, then dragged her over to a sofa in the corner. Thankfully, the common room was nearly empty. Following classes, most students either napped, studied in the library, or searched for trouble to get into. " I want to talk to you, but I don't want this getting back to Ron just yet."
Hermione grabbed his hands. "What is it, Harry? You know I can keep your secrets."
"What--what do you know about Progenitors?" he nearly whispered.
"They were created during the First Persecution in order to ensure that the Wizard World survived. They are wizards capable of pregnancy without the aid of potions or direct spells. The enchantment they used was so complex that it flowed within the blood of their offspring, thereby making the male offspring Progenitors as well. This trait was eventually bred out due to existence of more witches and normal pregnancies."
"But just like with muggles, there can be throwbacks?"
"Two recessive Progenitors could have a Progenitor, but the odds are astronomical," Hermione said, scoffing at the notion. Then she studied Harry a bit longer and paled. "Oh, Harry, you're not--"
"No, I'm not." She looked relieved. "Malfoy is."
"Malfoy? Figures. Repeated inbreeding can cause all sorts of nasty recessive traits to appear. But why were you told this?"
Harry slumped back against the sofa. "Malfoy's pregnant."
Harry stared at her.
"Seriously, Harry, what does it matter to us that Malfoy's a slut who--"
"Don't," he said forcibly. "Don't call him that."
She frowned. "You're not making any sense. Why are you defending Malfoy? And why are we talking about him in the first place? So what that's he's up the duff? It couldn't have happened to a nicer person," she sneered. "Wonder what his dear old dad's going to say? Maybe he'll hex him--"
"This stops now," Harry said firmly. "He was right, you know. He knew this was the way everyone would react. Slytherins don't look at the world with blinders on. They see so clearly."
"What are you on about? Malfoy's preggers. Let him deal with it."
"It's not an it!" Harry shouted, then looked sheepish as everyone stared at them. "It's a child," he said much softer.
"Malfoy's child," Hermione pointed out.
Hermione froze. Then she opened her mouth. Then she closed it. Finally, she decided she could speak. "What?"
"I'm the father, the other father, I guess."
"The usual way."
Hermione shook her head. "No, I don't believe you, Harry. This is some sort of mind game you and Ron are playing on me, right?"
"I wish. Look, Hermione, you know that my relationship with Malfoy has always been...intense. We just went too far one night."
"But..." She couldn't think of anything else to say.
"You know I thought I could be gay or bi or something."
She nodded. "But..." she sputtered to a stop again.
"It's not his fault. What we did was unexpected, and he wasn't used to having to do a contraceptive spell. It's not a trap or anything. Dumbledore and Snape both sat in on the meeting. He's pregnant, 'Mione, and it's mine. I mean, he or she is mine."
"Are you certain? He's--"
He placed two fingers quickly against her lips. "Mine, Hermione."
"The baby...or Malfoy?" Hermione asked when her lips were freed.
"For the moment, both. This situation is my responsibility. I have to take care of both of them."
"You're seventeen, Harry."
"And I'm being trained to kill a wizard that even Dumbledore can't touch. So what does my age have to do with anything? Admit it. If this was Ginny we were talking about, or Cho or anything other non-Slytherin, you'd be harping on me to take responsibility."
"But Malfoy..." She shuddered. "You know his father is going to want to give the baby to You-Know-Who."
"Which is why Draco has decided to join our side. He's really protective."
"Malfoy?" Hermione snorted.
"You know, if we knew the Slytherins half as well as they know us, we wouldn't have to rely on some stupid seventeen-year-old to win a war."
"You're not stupid, Harry, and what do you mean?"
"When it comes to being prejudiced, we Gryffindors are worse than the Slytherins."
"We are not! How can you say that when every other word out of Malfoy's mouth is mud-blood."
"And every other word out of our mouths equates Slytherin with Death Eater. They are not one and the same."
"Everyone knows dark wizards come from Slytherin House."
"Except we seem to forget Peter Pettigrew was one of my dad's best friends and a Gryffindor."
"But--but that's different! He was an anomaly."
"He was a Gryffindor and now he's Voldemort's right-hand man! How many other anomalies are there in Gryffindor? Or Ravenclaw? Or even Hufflepuff? Voldemort has tricked us into watching all the Slytherins, while the real evil could exist somewhere else."
"Is that what your precious Draco whispered in your ear while he seduced you?"
Harry laughed and it was not a nice sound. "There you go being prejudiced again. Why do you assume Draco was the one doing the seducing? Maybe I started it. Maybe I--attacked him."
Hermione lay her hand on his shoulder. "Oh, Harry, Malfoy's certainly done a number on you."
He shook off her hand and stood up. "I really hoped that you of all people would understand. You live in the real world. You know what it feels like to be labeled because of where you live or how you dress or what your parents do for a living."
"I don't hate Malfoy for where he lives or how he dresses or what his parents do for a living. I hate him for what he himself has said and done."
"And you've never said anything nasty to someone or played a dirty trick on someone or got someone into trouble because you didn't like them?"
"I had my reasons," she pouted, folding her arms defensively.
"And Draco had his. But none of that matters now. Not to me, and not to him. We have a life we're responsible for, and if you and my other friends can't accept that, then being with Draco isn't the only mistake I've made in my life."
"Aha! So you admit it was a mistake," Hermione gloated.
"I'm seventeen. Getting anyone pregnant would be a mistake! But that doesn't mean being with Draco was a mistake." He shook his head in frustration and started to walk away.
"Harry, wait. I'm sorry about Malfoy." Hermione gave him a feeble smile.
Green eyes made sure they stared directly at her as he said, "I'm not," before turning and leaving the Common Room.
Chapter Six: Are We Slytherins or Hufflepuffs?
"What did you do to Potter this time?"
Draco didn't look up from the text he was reading. One of Snape's bloody potions had put him to sleep for the rest of the afternoon. He had a whole day of classes to make up. And no time to waste chitchatting with Pansy Parkinson. "What are you on about, Pans?"
"Both you and Potter were missing from morning lessons. That usually means trouble."
"Or it could just mean Potter and I were somewhere shagging."
She snorted. "Riiiight. You and Potter? I don't think so."
"Why? Haven't you noticed the body he returned with after the summer?"
"Sure I have."
"And you know firsthand that I go both ways, or are you forgetting that weekend with Blaise?"
Pansy blushed. "I'll be 120 and still remember that vividly, Draco. But we're talking Potter. You wouldn't shag Potter merely to satisfy an itch. So if you are shagging Potter, I want to know why."
"Why should I tell you shit?" he asked as he turned a page.
"Because we're Slytherins and we know when something's up," Blaise Zabini said, and Draco looked up to see the seventh year Slytherins surrounding him: Pansy, Blaise, Millicent Bulstrode, Daphne Greengrass, Tracey Davis, Theodore Nott, Gregory Goyle, and Vincent Crabbe. "You and Potter have been acting oddly ever since we came back after Christmas."
"Yeah, no fights or nothing," Goyle pointed out.
Sighing, Draco closed his book. Goyle talked a bit too loud at times, and he could tell that they weren't going to take "fuck off" as an answer--not when they were ganged up as they were. "Let's take this to the dorm."
Unlike the Gryffindor tower, the dungeon didn't care what sex went into which dorm. Chairs were transfigured around the bed which Draco sat upon like a throne. "Potter and I are shagging," he said first, getting that out of the way.
"Why?" Pansy inquired again. "Potter isn't someone to fuck around with for kicks. He's not only a Gryffindor and has a tendency to take things like that seriously--"
"But he's powerful and can squish you like a bug," Blaise added. "And if he didn't squish you, his friends would for breaking the Golden Boy's heart. Too much of a risk for a random fuck. So what's the real story? Is this some sort of--plan?" Blaise's eyebrow went up for emphasis.
Draco made a rude noise. As if he'd allow his father and that mutated half-blood to use him as a whore. "Yes, it's a plan--my plan. I've made a decision and Potter's part of it."
"What is this all about?" Blaise asked impatiently.
"Tell me something, Blaise. Do you want to be branded, to run around in a mask like some lowlife bandit, killing people in order to prove you are better than they are, when you already know for a fact you are? Do you want to kill and maim at the command of another? We're Purebloods. We give orders. We don't follow."
"We've talked about this before, Draco, and you know how I feel, how we all feel. But--"
"Our parents--" Millicent Bulstrode interrupted.
"Are fools," Draco said bluntly. "Instead of banding together to get rid of a powerful threat to themselves, they joined Him. They became His slaves, His army of sycophants. I, for one, am no one's toy to command. If I am to kill, it will be because someone is in my way, not His. Besides, our parents forgot one crucial matter--if the world is rid of half-bloods, mudbloods and muggles, who will we be superior to?"
Pansy paled. "We'll be average...ordinary," she said with a shudder that spread through the other Housemates.
Blaise rubbed at his temples. "You're advocating... Are you saying you're joining the side of the Light?"
"If we follow our parents' lead, the future holds two options for us: 1) we end up dead or the equivalent thereof in Azkaban, or 2) we end up slaves to a master who wanks to the sound of his own voice saying 'Crucio!' That's not my idea of a secure future."
"And being Potter's slut is?"
"If it gets me to my goal, then yes. Potter's not about to crucio me for looking at him the wrong way. Potter's not about to hand me over to my fellow comrades and tell them to do whatever they want to me because I displeased him. And if I get put in Azkaban, Potter's not going to sit around and let me rot there like You-Know-Who did with my father!"
"What happens if you go with Potter's side and the Dark Lord wins?" Pansy asked.
Draco laughed. "The Dark Lord and Potter have gone up against each other almost every year since Potter's been at Hogwarts and Potter's still alive and kicking."
"But the Dark Lord was weakened. He's getting stronger every year."
"And so is Potter," Draco countered. "Do you really think the Light would put up with Potter's antics if they didn't seriously have evidence that he can defeat You-Know-Who? Potter fucking owns Dumbledore, Dumbledore who defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald. There's no way Potter can lose." Especially not with me prompting him along a bit.
"You're the son of Lucius Malfoy. You really think the Light is just going to accept you into its sanctimonious midst?" Blaise pointed out.
"The Light needs Potter. Potter needs me. Therefore, the Light needs me. They keep me happy, I keep Potter happy, and the whole fucking world rejoices. I don't foresee any problems."
"Maybe not for you, but what about the rest of us? Do we all need to go find a Gryffindor to shag?" Millicent snarled.
He thought about it. Did he want to go this alone? Shuddering at the thought of being the lone Slytherin in a nest of Gryffindors--Snape the Spy not included--he altered the Plan a bit. He gave Millicent a mocking half-bow. "My single sacrifice is enough to secure a place for all who want to join me."
"I know you're a good shag, Draco," Blaise said, "but let's be realistic. What happens when the mudblood and the weasel convince Potter that he's better off shagging a hippogriff than you?"
"Aw, Blaise, I'm wounded by your lack of faith in me. See, I can give Potter something that a hippogriff can't." He paused dramatically. "I'm a Progenitor."
"Holy fuck," Pansy hissed.
"You? Let yourself get knocked up and all stretched out of shape? Not bloody likely," Millicent snarled.
"You forget the number one rule of Slytherin: do what is necessary for your own survival," Draco reminded her. Then he frowned. "I'll stretch back afterwards, right?"
The witches in the group just looked at him and laughed.
He hated being laughed at, but made a mental note to look into the lingering cosmetic effects of pregnancy. He'd searched the physical effects, knew that there was a risk of internal hemorrhaging, loss of the use of his magic, and systemic sepsis in the case of a dead fetus before birth (he wouldn't have any means of expelling the fetus before the birth canal formed). But he never realized he might be...imperfect after the birth.
"So, you're gonna let Potter knock you up?" Crabbe asked, finally understanding what was going on.
"No. Not 'gonna.' Have."
Pansy squealed and reached out to touch his belly. "There's a tiny Malfoy in there?"
Blaise took a step back. "Damn, mate, you're serious about this."
"You bet your arse I'm serious. You should be, too. If your idea of fun is dodging lethal curses and being knee-deep in hot, sticky muggle blood, go home and enjoy yourself. Oh, and don't forget the painful brand of a half-dead and all-crazed dark lord you'll be sporting on your arm so that he can keep track of all your movements and yank you to his side like some faithful bitch any time he wants to."
"Well, aren't you Potter's bitch?" Nott snarled.
Draco bared his neck. "Do you see a leash on me? Do you see me at Potter's beck and call? Just because we're fucking and I'm carrying his whelp doesn't make him my bloody master. In fact, it's just the opposite. He dances to my tune."
"Prove it," Blaise dared.
Draco sniffed. "I'll not do shit just because of a stupid dare. What do you take me for? A First Year? If you want something, make me an offer."
Blaise angled his head toward the other Slytherins and they moved to a corner of the room. Draco watched them, huddled and whispering with gestures. Although there were many at Hogwarts that would refute it, they were truly his friends and he didn't want to see them mixed up in the shit he'd endured during Yule. He didn't want to see any of them end up like their parents. Like his parents. Besides, "the gallant saving of his comrades from a life of evil service to the Dark Lord" would probably score him some points with Potter and his followers.
Life just kept getting sweeter all the time.
The Slytherins seemed to come to an agreement and they walked back to Draco. Blaise and Pansy looked at each other, both used to being spokespersons when Draco couldn't be. Finally Pansy nodded to Blaise.
"Here's the offer," Blaise said. "Get Potter to agree to a binding--"
"The whole ceremony, Draco," Pansy interrupted. "Dress robes, attendants, and Dumbledore doing the honors--"
"And we'll pledge ourselves to you," Blaise finished, scowling at Pansy. "But not to the Light."
A binding. He glared at the witches, figuring that kind of romantic shit had to come from them. Bitches. But Slytherin bitches. However, he was a Slytherin, too, and a bitch when necessary. "Accio quill and parchment." He took a minute to write out a contract which he handed to Pansy. "Read it aloud," he demanded.
"'If Draco Malfoy gets Harry Potter to consent to a full ceremonial binding, officiated by Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Magic, we, the undersigned, do hereby agree to swear our loyalty, fealty, and allegiance to Draco Malfoy.'" She looked around at her fellow Slytherins. "That sound right?"
Everyone nodded, except for Nott. "We're just exchanging one master for another," he said angrily.
Draco smirked. "Comparing me to the Dark Lord? Thanks for the compliment, Theo."
"Draco's no dark lord," Pansy said. "At least he's giving us a choice."
Draco rolled his eyes. "If you don't want to sign this, don't, Theo." He pulled his wand. "I'll just obliviate this entire conversation from your mind and leave you to your wretched future. Makes no difference to me."
Nott looked around at his various friends and sighed. "Fine. I'll sign the damn thing."
The parchment was passed around and signed with a pen charmed to siphon the writer's blood as ink. With a bow, Blaise presented the parchment to Draco.
He rolled it up carefully and put protective spells on it. "Consider it done. But know this--I will not accept betrayal on any level. I may not be my father's perfect son, but I learned how to hex, how to scheme, how to make people rue the day they ever dared to cross a Malfoy, all that I learned at my father's knee. In other words, don't even think about fucking me over. Is that clear?"
"We'll be as loyal as fucking Hufflepuffs," Pansy quipped with a smirk.
"You fucking better be," Draco said and dismissed them all with a wave.
Chapter Seven: Keep Your Friends Close
"Harry! I've been looking all over for you."
Harry looked up from the big tome he was flipping through. "Let me guess--the library is the last place you looked."
She pulled out a chair and gave him a sheepish look. "Yeah. Guess I was getting you and Ron confused. What are you doing here?" Flipping the book to its cover, she glanced at the title, Magical Maladies, Mysteries, and Myths.
"Progenitors, Chapter 19," he said by way of explanation.
"Oh. About that, Harry--Listen, I'm sorry. I should have reacted better."
Harry shrugged. "You said what you felt."
"But only children do that. None of us are children anymore, Malfoy included, and this problem you have is wholly an adult one."
"It's not a problem, Hermione. I won't have you treat it like one, okay? It doesn't need a solution. I'm not here trying to research my way out of it. I just want to know what's going to happen and how I can best help Mal-Draco."
"That's very decent of you." She grinned and gave him a nudge. "I always knew you'd make a great boyfriend. It's time for dinner. Why don't we head down, then come back here afterwards and I'll help you figure out the best way to pamper Malfoy through this."
He brushed his shoulder against hers. "Thanks."
"I'm your friend, Harry, no matter what. Speaking of...are you and Malfoy going to tell anyone?"
He took the book back to its shelf before returning and making his reply. "Isn't it bad enough Snape knows?"
"He must be furious."
"Yeah, but I think that he's a little relieved, too. Not about me and Draco and the baby, but because Draco's not going to serve Voldemort. He's been on the inside for a long time. He knows what it's like, what kind of stuff Draco would have to do. I'm guessing it really hurts him to teach these wizards and witches, then watch Voldemort destroy them bit by bit."
"Have you thought about it, Harry? Thought about facing our fellow Hogwarts students on a battlefield? It's going to be like a civil war--families fighting against each other, maybe dorm mates, lovers..."
Harry sighed. "That's why I wish--I mean, this is about Voldemort and me. Why does it have to involve all of you? No other deaths, not Cedric's nor Sirius' nor yours nor Ron's nor anyone else's is going to make one bit of difference. It's him or me. I just wish..."
"Stop it, Harry! Yes, it may come down to just you and--him, but you can't fight this war on your own. It doesn't work that way. Going off on your own--"
"Is just stupid and gets people killed," he mumbled bitterly. Like Sirius.
"Going off on your own," she began again patiently, "is courageous and brave, but just as--" she paused and took a deep breath, "--Voldemort is not alone, you aren't either. Do you see him trying to fight without the Death Eaters?"
"Don't you mean 'hiding behind his Death Eaters'?"
"Harry! You're not hiding behind anyone! You're the one who pointed out you're only seventeen. You've just reached age in the Wizarding world. Give yourself time and I promise you, together we will figure out a way to kick Voldemort's arse. You, me, and Ron, remember? The brain, the strategist, and the hero. They'll be writing books about us, Harry, and they'll end up in Muggle libraries. Our kids will read them and laugh because they'll know us as simply Mom and Dad and Auntie and Uncle."
Harry snickered at the images Hermione's words were drawing. "Your kids will laugh. Mine will probably just roll his eyes and mutter something about Gryffindors and their egos."
"Who knows? You and Malfoy just might have a Gryffindor," Hermione pointed out.
"As if Draco would allow that," Harry said with a grin.
Hermione sobered. "This is really happening. You and Malfoy and a baby. This is not the type of thing that can remain a secret for long, Harry. How are you planning to handle the inevitable?"
"I'm not sure. It's really up to Draco mostly. The risk is all his."
"Don't let him run a guilt trip on you, Harry. It's takes two to tango, you know."
But only one to rape. "The book said the pregnancy would be physically demanding. There're going to be a lot of magical adjustments made to his body, a body that has barely got used to being a Progenitor in the first place. I just want to make it as easy as possible for him. No matter who did what, the burden of this is firmly on him. I have to support him fully. Not to mention the fallout with his family and the other Death Eaters."
"Speaking of fallout, when are you going to tell Ron?" she asked as they left the library and walked toward the Great Hall. It was time for dinner.
"How about never?" He could feel her glare without even looking in her direction. "I just found out this morning, Hermione. I need to get it straight in my own head before I go to Ron with it."
"Fair enough. Besides, he's probably not going to take it too well."
"He and Draco are a lot alike, you know."
"Bite your tongue, Harry Potter!" she said in defense of her boyfriend.
"They're both stubborn and opinionated and quite unbending at times. I wonder if that's the pureblood in them."
"Which is why Muggles have laws against that sort of thing--inbreeding, I mean," Hermione said with a giggle. "But I guess we're fine ones to talk, considering we both fell for said purebloods."
Fell for? He hadn't fallen--Oh, yeah. Hermione thought it was about passion. Not force. Not cruelty. Not...pain and humiliation and a child conceived in spilled blood in a dusty cupboard.
Maybe he never should have been freed from his cupboard.
Hermione tugged at his arm, and he looked up to realize he'd almost walked into a wall. "Thanks," he mumbled.
She squeezed his hand. "You're not alone in this, okay? Nor is...Malfoy. You...both can count on me."
He smiled at her determined look. "Is it really that difficult?"
She thought about it for a moment. "No. It's not. It doesn't have to be, and it shouldn't be. You're both acting rather mature about this whole situation, and I should learn from your example. Besides, we've handled angry trolls and three-headed dogs and killer chess pieces--"
"Stop, or you'll be naming things all through dinner," he teased.
She leaned over to whisper in his ear as they stepped into the Great Hall. "So a pregnant Malfoy should be a piece of cake, right?"
"Think I can trade him in for the angry troll?" he whispered back.
Hermione glanced over at the Slytherin table where Draco sat. "He's got better hair than the troll."
"And a better body," Harry said without thinking.
Hermione just snickered and agreed.
Because Draco was always, always, aware of when someone was looking at him, he knew immediately when Potter and the mudblood walked in. Since she looked, he figured Potter had told her about the baby. That wasn't surprising. Potter could barely find his dick without her help. What was surprising was the lack of daggers in her look.
And what got him pissed was the snickering afterwards. What? Did they think this situation was funny? This wasn't some fucking joke. He was pregnant, for fucking sake! The body that he had cultivated for years was going to be turned into a fucking parade balloon that might not deflate properly. He had let Potter maim him, had let Potter fucking fill his arse with his fucking inferior semen, had let Potter's half-blood sperm join with his absolutely perfect egg...
"Jealousy looks good on you," Blaise commented.
Draco glared at him. How dare he mistake justifiable rage for mere jealousy. "The day I'm jealous of a mudblood is the day I give Dumbledore a fucking blowjob." Not that he wouldn't, if he had to. Even Dumbledore's dick had to be better than Voldemort's. Besides, at least he'd get a lemon drop afterwards to clear his palate.
"So is he two-timing you?" Pansy asked as she followed the pair's progress toward the Gryffindor table. "Or three-timing?"
Draco looked to see the two joining Weasley at the table.
"That's why we're insisting on the binding," Pansy explained. "We don't want to be left hanging if Potter gets an itch other than you."
"But since you are so sure of your control of him, having him bind won't be a problem, will it, Draco?" Millicent asked with fake sincerity.
Draco wanted to tell her, tell all of them to kiss his Pureblood arse, but he didn't. There would be a time for getting even, a time after they had pledged themselves, their very futures to him.
Despite their obvious mental deficiencies, the idea of getting him to bind with Potter was a worthy challenge. Unlike a mundane, even-muggles-do-it marriage, a binding could only be done by two who had wizarding blood in their veins. Binding required the actual linkage of magic and souls, not just a recitation of pretty, but generally meaningless words. That's why a binding wouldn't occur unless magic itself ordained that the two participants truly wanted it, were inarguably "in love", and were absolutely committed to each other.
Which might prove to be a slight problem when it came to Potter and him.
However--his oh-so-clever friends' specific challenge had been to, "Get Potter to consent to a full ceremonial binding." There was no mention of "achieving a successful bond" and all the lovey-dovey crap that involved.
It was all in the details.
Draco dragged out his dinner until he saw Potter getting ready to leave. He made sure they got to the Great Hall doors at the same time.
"Meet me at 9:00. Potions Lab."
He didn't wait for acknowledgment.
Chapter Eight: You Didn't Even Ask
"What's he on about?" Ron asked, his voice dripping with disgust.
"Huh?" Harry was too busy thinking about why Draco wanted to see him to pay attention to Ron. Draco hadn't been at lunch, nor had he attended his afternoon lessons. Now he wanted to talk. Was something wrong with the baby?
"Malfoy. The git whispered something to you. What was it?"
"Um..." Harry scrambled to come up with something--anything.
"Hush, Ron. It's probably something to do with the potions project Snape assigned them to."
Bless you, Hermione. "Yeah, we have to get together and, you know, work on the assignment."
"Is Snape still up to that same old shit? Partnering you up with Malfoy?"
Harry shrugged. "I guess he has to get his jollies some way."
"How about you, Hermione? You got one of those slimy Slytherins for a partner?"
"No, just Harry. Maybe Snape likes seeing Harry and Malfoy together."
"Eww. That's just--eww!" Ron said, gagging.
Ron frowned. "Don't what, Harry?"
Harry took a deep breath. "I don't like thinking that Snape gets off on seeing me and Malfoy together, but I don't think me and Malfoy together is such a bad deal overall."
"Draco is kind of hot."
"I might be kind of--" Harry's voice dropped to a whisper, "bi-sexual."
"I swing both ways, Ron," Harry said emphatically.
Harry blinked. "You knew?"
Ron shrugged. "I always kind of wondered. But, you know, it's, like, cool with me."
"So why all these 'whats'?" Harry asked in exasperation.
"You think Malfoy is hot. That's the what, mate."
"But he is. Don't you think so, Hermione?" Harry flinched as she glared at him. Oops.
"He can be considered...attractive," she hedged. "If you like the bottle-blonde type."
"It's not from a bottle," Harry murmured, remembering the platinum hair, stained with the blood oozing from the deep tears within.
Ron sat dead in the middle of the corridor.
"Subtle, Harry," Hermione said dryly.
After a long, uncomfortable silence, Ron finally spoke. "I guess this means the two of you are not meeting up to work on a project?"
"No." Harry took a step back, just in case Ron came up swinging.
But Ron merely climbed to his feet and brushed off his robes. "Guess you should get your studying done, then. What time does he want--what time do you have to meet him?"
Ron nodded. "Don't worry about coming back to the dormitory late. I'll cover for you."
"You will?" Harry looked at Hermione whose face was mirroring his own shock.
"Sure. You'd cover for me if the situation was reversed, wouldn't you?"
"Of course. But--you're okay with this?"
"No, but I have five older brothers, Harry. You think Mum has approved of all their shag partners? Her fussing just made them mad enough to stay on even when they were ready to end it. When you get tired of Malfoy, I don't want you staying on just to spite me."
"That's terribly grown up of you, Ron," Hermione praised. "And rather pessimistic."
"We're talking about Malfoy," Ron replied. Hermione nodded.
Harry sighed. Too bad they didn't know Malfoy was the one in danger from the relationship. It had to be disturbing, if not downright scary, to keep meeting privately with the person who had attacked you. Malfoy's guts through all of this had surprised him. Far from being the little coward he'd been in the past, the Slytherin had faced the rape, pregnancy, loss of his parents and status, and now this prolonged contact with his assailant, with courage and dignity. He hadn't run away or had a screaming fit.
Was this because he was going to be a parent? What had the priest said on one Christmas Eve (the only time the Dursleys ever went to Mass, and the once they'd taken him along had been when the neighbors had seen Harry and knew he was too young to be left alone)? "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."* The words had stuck in his head because at that moment he'd wished he was a man so he could leave the Dursleys and live by himself. Had the prospect of having a child himself caused Draco to become a man? And if he had, if he could, then it only stood to reason that Harry could do the same.
At five till nine, Harry walked toward the Potions Lab. Before he reached the door, a hand stuck out of the wall and pulled him straight through the stone.
"What the--" He looked around the small room, noting it was completely empty, except for-- "What's going on, Mal-Draco?"
"Snape has the Hufflepuff third-years in detention, so the lab's off-limits."
"Oh. Why did you want to see me?"
"To tell you I won't be alone in this."
"Of course not. I--"
Draco shook his head. "I've talked my friends into not following Voldemort. They'll need protection from their families for a while."
Harry frowned, then reluctantly nodded. "I'll talk to the Headmaster..."
Draco stamped his foot. "What's the problem, Potter?"
He knew Draco wasn't going to like his next question, but it had to be asked. "Your friends. Are you sure that this is what they want? That they're not--"
As expected, Draco exploded. "What do you take me for? A foolish Hufflepuff? Of course I know this is what they want! This is my life, too, Potter. How could you possibly think that I wouldn't be one-hundred percent sure of their leanings? I know you and your friends think of me as some kind of git, but I didn't know you thought I was stupid as well!!"
"Never stupid, Draco. But--"
"There are no 'but's. I don't risk my life on 'but's. If you don't trust me on anything, trust me on that."
And...yes, Draco's self-preservation ability was something he did trust. "Okay. I'm sure Dumbledore won't mind."
"Why should he? More fodder for the slaughter, right?"
"That's Voldemort's way, not Dumbledore's," Harry said adamantly.
"War is war, Potter. People die no matter whose side they're on."
The truth of that stung quite a bit. "At least they won't die by their leader's own hand."
Draco shrugged. "Just by his orders."
Harry wanted to defend Dumbledore, but as he'd said before, Slytherins saw very clearly. "Is there anything else you wanted?"
"Just this." He shoved a scroll in Harry's direction.
"What is--" Harry unrolled it and read. "This is a binding ceremony." He frowned in confusion. He only recognized what it was because the words "Binding Ceremony" were written across the top in very formal script.
"Yes, it's the simplest I could find. I didn't want to task your brain too much."
"Task my-- What are you on about, Malfoy?"
"We're. Going. To. Have. A. Binding. Ceremony. Potter," Draco said slowly.
Binding ceremony? That was like, marriage or something, right? "No," Harry said loudly.
"No. I'm not going to bond with you." Married to Malfoy? No way.
Why? He had the gall to ask why? "Because you're a git and even though you're really hot, I don't like you. You've been mean to me and my friends from the beginning. You've got me into trouble, talked about me to my face and behind my back, and led your Slytherins to treat me like shit!" Harry spat the last word. "How dare you just hand me this parchment like it's a done deal. Like it's an order. Bond with you? Bloody hell, you didn't even ask!"
"Neither did you!" Draco retorted.
Harry stepped back as if slapped and then his eyes narrowed in anger. He could see the future, and he didn't like it one bit. Hermione had warned him that Malfoy would use his sense of guilt against him. "You are not going to play that card every time you want something your way," he charged furiously.
"My way? Forgive me, Potter, if I want our child to be called a bastard because he takes after you, not because he is one!"
Draco's caustic remark acted as a Petrificus spell, freezing Harry in both movement and thought.
By the time he recovered, Draco was partially out of the room. In a panic, Harry grabbed Draco's shoulder and yanked him back inside. With a snarl, Draco turned around.
Harry found himself face to face with a drawn wand.
*I Corinthians 13:11
Chapter Nine: What's Done Is Done
Draco was furious. Furious that Potter had his hands on him, furious that Potter had refused to bond, furious that nothing was going right. Furious that at the moment he was actually trembling with fear because Potter had touched him. "No! You will never manhandle me again, Potter," Draco said between clenched teeth, his wand aimed squarely at the broad chest heaving in front of him.
Blanching, Potter let go immediately and backed away. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he said, his hands up so Draco could see them.
Draco eyed him warily, took a deep breath, and sheathed his wand. "Don't do that again."
He took another calming breath and stared haughtily at Potter, focusing on his absolute knowledge that Potter had only attacked him because of the potion. It wouldn't happen again. Potter wasn't like that. Potter didn't do things like that. Potter was good and light and all that sickening stuff. "So why did you drag me back in here?"
"I wanted to tell you--I wanted to say okay."
Draco felt some of the tension leave his body. Maybe Potter wasn't going to be a complete arse about everything. "Okay what?"
"Okay to the binding." Potter held up the parchment. "I'll memorize it."
Ah, it was time to smirk. "And get decent robes?"
"And get decent robes."
"You'll ask Dumbledore?"
"And get permission to use his office. We'll need privacy."
Draco had to fight the urge to pump his fist in victory. That could wait until he was alone and savoring his victory. Except-- "Why the sudden change of heart?" he asked suspiciously. "You aren't pitying me, are you?"
"No. I see--your point about the baby, and I think it'll be good for both of us."
Draco frowned, unconvinced of Potter's sincerity. "That's not what you said a minute ago," he argued. Helpless devotion? Yes. Pity? No. He was still a Malfoy, damn it!
Potter's eyes dropped to the floor. "I reacted without thinking. It's a habit of mine that I'm trying to break."
Oh, just normal Potter stupidity. "Try harder."
"I will. Draco, I want us to be a real family. I'm hoping that you know what that is, because I don't. But I don't want our child thinking he's a mistake or a burden, and I don't want you thinking that either."
Draco gave a solemn nod and turned to leave. He had no idea what a real family was either. Did a real family lead their child into a life of slavery and bloodshed? Did a real family want their son to become a killer and a rapist?
He was just as lost as Harry.
At least Potter didn't try grabbing him again. "Yes, Harry?"
"What would you have said--if I had asked?"
His first thought was a sneering, "No." But Potter had a body to die for and a sexy mess of hair that just begged to be tugged one way and then the other. Not to mention the magical power he exuded was definitely a turn on. Would he really have turned down a chance to shag the Boy-Who-Lived? And if he had shagged him, would he have had to come up with this desperate solution? Potter would've probably willingly served as his protector and defender after two or three bouts of sex. He seemed like that type. But... "I don't know. But what's done is done, and we can't change it, Harry. We can only make the best out of what is." He folded his hands over his belly.
"We've already made the best," Potter said softly, looking at Draco's hands.
"Maybe, Harry, maybe."
Harry took his time getting back to Gryffindor Tower. Being a Seventh Year had its advantage--a much later curfew, so he went outside and sat on the huge front steps to think. Reviewing the whole conversation with Draco in his head, Harry came to the conclusion that he'd acted like a ten-year-old Dudley having a temper tantrum.
So much for that "putting away childish things" proclamation.
Draco assumed they were going to get married--bound or whatever. It was a reasonable assumption. In the Muggle world it was known as "taking responsibility." Having two daddies, one being the Boy-Who-Lived and the other a son of a Death Eater, was going to be enough of a burden; making him a literal bastard was asking too much of the child. He could already hear the taunts and see the bruises on his child from a number of scuffles the first days at Hogwarts. Someone would know that he was Harry Potter's son and take that as a challenge. Someone would know he was a Malfoy and take that as an excuse to abuse him. Someone would know that one of his parents was too selfish and would call him an unwanted bastard. The first two reasons were unfortunately unavoidable, but the third... How could he explain to his child that "I'd do anything for you, except marry your other father and make you legitimate"?
Also, the baby deserved to be legally linked to the Potter name. There was a chance, a huge chance, that he wouldn't survive the final confrontation with Voldemort. If they were married, Draco and the baby would inherit his stuff without someone making an issue of it-- and the two would inherit Sirius's legacy as well. Which was good because Draco had Black blood in him and deserved to be Sirius's heir.
And it wasn't like he had something better waiting for him. There was no girl--or boy--he was secretly fancying. No dreams to be shattered because he was tied to Draco. No future plans deferred because he was a teenage father. No big sacrifices at all.
Not much of a life at all.
So why had he jumped on Draco like that? He'd accused him of using the rape as leverage, and that was the one thing Draco hadn't done. Ever. Even when he should have. And, O God, the fear in Draco's eyes when Harry had grabbed him... No one except Voldemort should ever look at him with that kind of fear.
It was killing Harry that he didn't know what happened. Maybe he needed to ask Snape to investigate. No, he was sure Snape had already investigated. He needed to ask Snape what he'd found out...and if he'd already secretly taken care of the problem. Snape was a Slytherin and Harry had no doubt at all that he'd handle a threat to one of his own. Especially if the threat was toward Draco. There was some connection between the two. Maybe Snape had known Draco since he was a kid. Maybe he saw himself in Draco. Maybe he saw a future Potions Master in the making.
Hell, maybe Snape and Narcissa, or Snape and Lucius--
Harry forced the thought to leave his mind.
So, if Snape wasn't chaperoning their every meeting or demanding he turn in his wand, then Snape must already know he wasn't going to hurt Draco--which Harry knew had nothing to do with trusting Harry and everything to do with knowing why the rape had occurred. That made Harry feel a whole lot better, but from Draco's reaction, apparently it hadn't completely eased Draco's mind. However, Harry realized, he shouldn't have grabbed a rape victim.
Boy, wouldn't Draco be having a fit if he knew Harry was thinking of him as a "rape victim." But that's what he was, and in between looking up stuff on Progenitors he'd read a couple of things about the way rape affected people, about the post-traumatic shock they suffered long after the incident. He didn't know whether Draco had talked about it to anyone or been counseled. Surely Madam Pomfrey-- But maybe things were done differently in the Wizarding world. It wasn't like he knew much about it, even though he'd lived in it the past seven years. He didn't know this world and quite frankly, he didn't know Draco. He knew Draco's father. He knew Draco's father's allies and associates. But he knew nothing about Draco, the man he was engaged to.
Except that he was carrying his baby.
And that he'd turned his back on his family to protect that baby.
And that he was willing to share the baby with him.
Harry knew Draco could have demanded Snape, Dumbledore, and Madam Pomfrey keep his secret. Since he had his own account at Gringott's, Draco could have run off and had the baby somewhere else, probably living quite comfortably. But he hadn't. He'd told Harry about the baby and was willing to let him be a part of their child's life--even when it increased the danger to both Draco and the baby.
That probably admitted more about Draco than Draco would ever admit himself.
Maybe he did know enough about Draco. And maybe a binding with Draco was exactly what he needed.
Draco concluded, as he made his way back to the Slytherin Common Room, that dealing with Harry Potter was exhausting. He was as predictable as Draco had first thought, but it always took a while for Harry to find the predictable response. That was rough on the nerves. Especially pregnant nerves. Especially pregnant nerves which had been unnerved by Potter grabbing him. He shouldn't have reacted like that. Sure, he'd been frightened that night when Potter was under the influence of the potion, but he hadn't expected that fear to last. It was stupid and giving Potter way too much control. He was a Slytherin and a Malfoy. The fear had to stop.
Thinking only of reaching one of the calming potions Snape had made for him, Draco didn't see the foot that one enterprising Sixth Year Slytherin stuck out. And after his head slammed into the stone wall of the dungeon, he didn't see anything at all.
Chapter Ten: Awakenings
Harry stared in surprise at the progress the moon had made in the sky and knew it was long past curfew. With a sigh, he stood and stretched. Although it was late spring, the huge stone steps still retained some of their damp, winter chill.
"Potter! There you are! I've looked everywhere for you."
He jerked around to see Pansy Parkinson standing in the doorway. "What do you want?" Damn it. He really didn't need detention from the prefect this week.
"It's Draco. He's in the hospital wing!"
Harry froze. "What happened?"
"Mitchell Flint. He's a Sixth Year who thought he'd get a leg up on being head Slytherin next year by making Draco fall like a prat."
"He fell?" Oh, hell, the baby! He scooted past her in the doorway and started to run.
"Gregory and Vincent took him to the wing, while Blaise and I sorted out Mitchell," Pansy said as they raced toward the infirmary. "I think--I think the baby's okay, Potter. Draco's head took the brunt of the impact."
Harry stopped running. "You know?" He knew Draco had told them that they were, um, shagging, but telling them about the baby was totally unexpected. And worrisome.
She nodded and didn't stop running so Harry had to catch up to her. "All the Seventh Years in our House know," Pansy explained when he was beside her again. "That's why I was sent after you."
"And it doesn't bother you?"
She shrugged. "Draco is capable of making his own decisions."
Stunned, he barely kept up with her.
Crabbe and Goyle were standing at the entrance of the infirmary, and opened the door to let Harry pass. "Madam Pomfrey! How is he?"
"Shh! He has a nasty bump on his head and doesn't need loud noises," the nurse scolded.
"Sorry. How is he?" Harry questioned again, this time in a whisper as he neared the bed in the back. Draco looked like he was sleeping and there was a big red splotch on his forehead.
"I just have to--" She waved her wand and the splotch disappeared. "There. He's going to be fine. I would let him go back to the dormitory, but because of his delicate condition, I'm going to keep him overnight."
"Fine, Mr. Potter. Most of Mr. Malfoy's magical powers are focused on protecting the baby, which is why he probably fell like he did. Instead of his arms going forward to catch himself, all his actions were directed at guarding his abdomen."
"So you're saying Draco won't protect himself, only the baby?"
"Yes. You have to remember that when Progenitors first came into being, the emphasis was on maintaining the wizarding line. The babies were what was most important."
But Draco's important to me. He startled at the thought. "Can I sit here and wait for him to wake up?"
"Ordinarily, I'd say no. But I know how worried you are, so I'll let you stay only until he wakes. You must promise me you'll go back to your dormitory afterwards. This has been a very trying day for you as well, and you need your rest." She put a flask on the table. "Make sure he drinks this when he wakes."
Harry nodded. He went out and told Draco's friends what was going on, then pulled up a chair and stared at Draco. There was no tell-tale bulge yet, but his baby was there inside this boy--man. The man he was engaged to. The man he had insulted and frightened earlier. The man he should be protecting and...hadn't.
Who was this Flint character and why had he attacked Draco? Could Draco's friends be trusted? God, he'd told them about the baby. What if--How many junior Death Eaters were in Hogwarts? Could he and Dumbledore protect Draco until the end of the year? Maybe Draco should be sent into hiding or something.
Harry sighed and rested his head in his hands, his shoulders curling under the weight placed upon them.
Draco opened his eyes and scanned the room. The infirmary. Harry Potter seated next to his bed, looking lost and sad. With a gasp, he grabbed his stomach. "The baby!"
"Is fine," Harry quickly assured him. "You're supposed to drink this." Harry helped him sit up and drain the flask. Then he lay back weakly against a rather unfluffy pillow.
"What happened, Potter?" Had he fainted?
"Some Sixth Year--a Flint, I think--tripped you. You hit your head, but Madam Pomfrey's taken care of that. She's keeping you overnight, just as a precaution."
Draco blinked, letting his anger push aside his disorientation. "Mitchell Flint is a dead man."
Harry shrugged. "Probably. Pansy said that she and Blaise sorted him out afterward."
"Good." Pansy could be a real bitch when she wanted to and Blaise could go toe-to-toe with Greg and Vince when he was angry.
"So, you told them? What happened to 'I can handle them'?"
Told-- Oh. Potter knew his friends knew about the baby. And of course, he was going to be a baby about it. Draco rolled his eyes. "I told them to handle them. By telling them myself, I controlled what they learned and their perception of the facts."
"What exactly did you tell them--so we don't get our lies confused and stuff. You Slytherins probably don't believe in passion and the likes."
Prejudiced much? "I told them we shagged, and I got knocked up." He gave his visitor a tolerant smirk. "The key to successful lying, Potter, is not to do it unless you have to--and if you have to, keep the embellishments down to a minimum."
Potter grimaced. "The wisdom of Slytherins?"
"Unlike you Gryffindors, rushing off to save the day, we save ourselves. By any means necessary. You like to call that evil. We call it survival."
"Supporting Voldemort is survival?" Skepticism dripped from Potter's voice.
"For those who are already pledged to him? Yes. For those living in the households of his supporters? Yes. For those few who have a choice? A decision is made and our subsequent choices match accordingly."
Potter cocked his head to one side, probably straining against thinking so much. "Your decision was our baby."
"But what about the people you've told? What if they haven't really decided? What if they run off and tell their parents about the baby, and their parents tell your parents, and your parents tell Voldemort?"
Well, that was--insulting. Draco sat up. "Are you accusing me of something, Potter? Are you accusing me of putting my child in danger?"
"I'm just saying that maybe telling your dorm mates might not have been...wise?"
"I sincerely hope that Gryffindor stupidity is not a hereditary trait," Draco scoffed. "Do you actually think I would have told anyone without being utterly sure that I wouldn't be betrayed? My friends would have been curious, Potter. They would've followed me, cast listening spells, set charms in my room. They would've discovered my secret and used it against me because it was my secret. Now, it's their secret, which they are bound to protect. Do you get it now, Potter?"
Potter stared at him, his eyes wide behind the round lenses and dark frames. "You Slytherins are a complicated lot," he mumbled.
"And you Gryffindors are not." Draco fluffed his pillow and leaned back. Then he sat back up, fluffed again, then settled with a satisfied sigh. "Now that you've grasped the basic tenets of life, tell me why you are here."
"When you got hurt, Pansy came and told me because of the baby."
"But the baby's fine?" Potter nodded. "Then why. Are. You. Here?"
Potter looked puzzled. "I didn't want you waking up alone. Madam Pomfrey told me I could stay until you woke up, but I had to promise I'd go back to the dormitory as soon as that happened. So I can't stay, but I'll be back in the morning, okay?"
Draco nodded, his turn to be dazed and confused. Why did Potter care if he woke up alone? He wasn't in any danger in the infirmary, and Pomfrey had wards up to let her know when her patients woke. Why had Potter wasted time sitting beside him? Uncomfortable with his lack of understanding--how the hell did Snape put up with these Gryffindors year in and year out--he turned his head and closed his eyes.
"Goodnight, Draco," Potter called softly as the door closed behind him.
"Goodnight, Harry," Draco said to the empty room. Maybe tomorrow he would make sense of Potter's actions. Maybe tomorrow he'd have brilliant insight into the workings of the Gryffindor brain. Maybe tomorrow he'd grow wings and turn into a snitch, and then Harry would catch him and cradle him in his big hands and...
And maybe tomorrow he'd find out what batty Pomfrey had slipped him to cause such weird thoughts. From now on, he was only accepting potions from Snape.
Chapter Eleven: That's Our Baby!
Despite his late arrival to bed, Harry was up long before his fellow Gryffindors. He smiled as he passed by Ron's bed. Last night he'd thrown back his curtains when Harry came in and mumbled a, "Harry, that you, mate? All's right?"
"Everything's good, Ron. Go back to sleep."
Maybe Draco had the right of it, Harry thought as he showered. The baby should be Ron's secret, too. Hadn't Ron proven himself by not freaking out about Harry's supposed relationship with Draco? And if there was something Ron knew about, it was the responsibility of a parent to a child. Ron had told him that because Weasleys were so virile (Mr. Weasley's word), his dad had sat down each of his sons when they'd reached puberty to explain to them about the need to be cautious as they "explored" (another Mr. Weasley's word, complete with quotation marks). Ron had excitedly passed on the information he'd learned, and the varied contraceptive spells taught to him by his brothers, to his best friend. Which Harry hadn't thought to use when he--oh, yeah, he hadn't had sex with Draco; he'd RAPED him.
Harry hurried through his shower and dressing. In less than fifteen minutes he was riding the staircase up to Dumbledore's office. A knock got him a quick, "Come in, Harry. Top of the morning to you."
"Good morning, sir."
"I hear Mr. Malfoy is doing well. I'm glad he was not seriously injured." Dumbledore motioned him into a chair.
"Me too. That's why I'm here."
"You're worried about his safety?"
Harry shook his head. After going over his conversation with Draco, he'd concluded that if Draco trusted his fellow Slytherin Seventh Years with the truth about the baby, then it was reasonable to assume they would protect him within his House. "Before the accident, Draco wanted me to ask you if you would officiate at our binding ceremony. Oh, yeah, and if we could use your office for it."
"A binding ceremony?" Harry nodded. Dumbledore, instead of taking his normal seat behind the desk, sat in the chair next to Harry. "What do you know of bindings, Harry?"
"Wizards have bindings instead of marriage like Muggles, right?"
Dumbledore gave a small smile. "Not quite, my boy. Wizards usually marry exactly like Muggles."
"So what's the difference?"
"A wedding is a legal and spiritual commitment between two people who agree to the dictates of such an arrangement. A binding is a magical occurrence, whereby Magic itself decides whether to unite the witches or wizards present. If Magic doesn't approve, the binding doesn't happen and that is not only costly, but embarrassing. These days most of the Wizarding world just goes with the safer and more reliable option of marriage. I'd be proud to officiate at a marriage between you and Mr. Malfoy."
Harry frowned. "You don't want to bind us?"
Dumbledore's hand patted his shoulder. "It's not a question of 'want', Harry. There has to be certain conditions met for a binding to occur."
Harry knew he had to be firm, and explain his request clearly. "Draco stated a binding, not a marriage, so he must believe the conditions will be met because, you know, he wouldn't humiliate himself like that--not even to get back at me."
"I'm sorry, sir, but when it comes to Wizarding ritual, especially old, traditional ones, I'll have to trust Draco's judgment over yours. He's been trained up in them all his life." And while he had no doubt that Dumbledore was well-versed in archaic Wizarding code, or whatever the hell all this ritual shit was based on, knowing such shit and living such shit like Draco had, were two different things. In other words, Draco had to be an expert.
"That may be so, Mr. Potter, but--"
Harry shook his head, not really wanting to argue with the Headmaster. "No 'buts', sir. If you won't do the ceremony, I'll just have to find someone who will. Draco wants a binding, so I'll give him a binding."
Dumbledore stared at him, eyes suddenly going from saddened to twinkling. "Well," he said heartily after a moment, "perhaps you're right about Mr. Malfoy being more astute in these matters. Tell him I'll gladly officiate at your binding, and I'll even have the house elves decorate the office a bit."
Harry gave a sigh of relief. He hadn't wanted to face Draco with Dumbledore's refusal. "Thank you, sir. Here's the ceremony he wants done. I don't have a copy for you to keep--I have to memorize my lines--but if you can do a magical copy real quick..."
Dumbledore peered over his glasses at the offered parchment. "This is what Mr. Malfoy wants?"
Harry nodded. "He said it was the simplest he could find. And that I need new robes." He eyed Dumbledore's garish purple and orange garment. "I think I'll ask Hermione to help me with that."
Dumbledore waved his wand and the parchment duplicated itself. "Very well, Harry. If this is what Mr. Malfoy wants..."
Smiling, Harry stood. "He's very clear on that, sir. That's one of the things I admire about him. You don't have to guess with him."
"I'm sure that's very refreshing in a relationship," Dumbledore agreed. "But I have a feeling that there are layers to Mr. Malfoy, and the only thing clear about him are his mysteries."
Harry shrugged. Dumbledore wouldn't be Dumbledore if he didn't add something cryptic at the end of every conversation. "Do you know a good date for this?"
"Mr. Malfoy didn't say?"
"No, but it probably needs to be as soon as possible."
"The new moon is a wonderful time to start such an adventure as this, Harry."
"I'll discuss it with Draco. Thank you for your help. I'm going to the infirmary now to see if Madam Pomfrey has released him yet."
"Tell him I said good morning and congratulations."
"I will. Talk to you later."
Feeling accomplished, Harry headed to the infirmary.
Draco was knotting his Slytherin tie as Harry burst through the infirmary doors, obviously excited and eager to share.
"Draco, he said yes! The Headmaster will perform the ceremony and let us use his office."
"That's wonderful, Potter. Planning to announce it to the whole school, are you?" Draco said dryly, pleased that Potter was being so obedient. Quite different from the Potter of the night before.
"Sorry about that," Potter said in a much quieter tone as his eyes scanned the large room.
"Thankfully there are no other patients here, but really, Potter, do be careful."
Potter bounced onto the bed, lying in the exact spot Draco had vacated. Draco found the sight...distracting. "I promise. And oh, he suggested we do it during a new moon. He says that's a good time for stuff like that."
Draco tsked. "How many years have you taken Astronomy? Of course the best time to start a new adventure would be during a new moon. If I'm not mistaken, the next new moon will be in a favorable lunar mansion as well. It's decided then: the ceremony will take place during the next new moon. Which is good--I won't be fat yet."
"It won't be fat; it'll be our son or daughter."
"Says the guy who won't be waddling around in a few months. And it's our son."
Draco stopped in the middle of putting on his robes. Potter's tone sounded odd. "It's a boy. Madam did the Revelo Genus spell earlier this morning."
Draco frowned. "What's the matter? You wanted a girl?"
Harry quickly shook his head. "Girl or boy didn't make a difference to me."
"So why are you upset?"
"I'm not upset!"
"Well, something has your knickers in a knot! Spill, Potter. I haven't time for this." And the books had said he would be the moody one.
"Neither of us do. Not if we're to have breakfast before lessons start. Besides, it's stupid," Potter concluded with a shrug.
"Don't make me have to explain to my son why I had to kill his father before his birth." Draco sat heavily on the bed, waiting for the Gryffindor to clear up this mystery.
"I just wish I'd been there--when she told you, that's all."
"Why? She pointed her wand, said the spell, and the symbol for a male appeared. Nothing spectacular about that."
"I told you it was stupid. I'll head down to breakfast first so we don't arrive at the same time." Potter stood and took a step toward the door.
Shit. Somehow he'd fucked up, but Draco had no idea how. There was a long way to go in the pregnancy and he needed--no, had to have Potter's full cooperation and protection. Okay. Potter was upset because he wanted to be there when Pomfrey found out the baby's sex. Did that mean Potter expected to be there when anything was found out about the baby? Was that what he was pouting about? "Stay," he quietly ordered Potter, then turned around and called out, "Madam Pomfrey?"
She appeared immediately. "Are you ready to leave, Mr. Malfoy?"
"Not quite. You said I could see the baby whenever I wanted to? Could you do it now, with Pot--with Harry here?"
Pomfrey gave a wide smile. "Of course, Mr. Malfoy. Come here, Mr. Potter, and I'll show you how to do this so that you and Mr. Malfoy can see your child whenever you like. Lift your shirt, Mr. Malfoy. Although the spell can be done through clothing, the image is often clearer without the extra layers."
Potter stood slowly and drew his wand. "Are you sure about this, Draco?"
Draco nodded and unbuttoned the lower part of his shirt, lifting it and the jumper to bare his stomach.
"All right, Mr. Potter. Hold your wand as such." She manipulated his wrist into position. "And say these words-- 'Manifesta germen!'"
"Manifesta germen!" Potter recited obediently.
A cloud formed in the air in front of his stomach. The mist started clearing and an image appeared. Draco had no idea what it was.
"That's your baby, gentlemen," Pomfrey said, seeing their confusion. "He's just a tiny little thing now, but there's his head and the beginning of his hand. Can you see it?"
Draco was not impressed and was a bit disgusted seeing such a thing growing inside him. It sort of reminded him of the slugs he'd made Weasley belch up back in second-year.
"Hey, baby," Potter was crooning to the image, and Draco wondered if he expected the little slug to make a reply. Hell, at least that would make the little parasite interesting. "That's our baby, Draco!"
Draco nodded and tried to look attentive. The image faded and with relief, he re-buttoned his shirt and smoothed down his jumper. Potter was still staring at the spot where the image had been. "Potter, go to breakfast."
"Okay." He started out of the room, then turned back to give Draco a sun-rivaling smile. "Thank you!"
Draco smirked. Gryffindors were so easy.
Chapter Twelve: I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends
How Harry managed to find the Great Hall, he himself wasn't sure. Seeing the baby had been...damn, was there a word for what that had been? Sure, he was kind of tiny and wormlike, but he was his--and Draco's. And how great had Draco been, asking Pomfrey to do that and then she'd shown him how...A baby. A son. It should be scary. He should be petrified. Draco probably was. Draco--had looked rather good getting dressed.
"No need to ask you how your night was."
Harry looked over at Ron as he sat down at the table beside him. "Huh?"
"You're positively glowing, Harry," Hermione said softly from his other side.
"I guess the ferret's good at something. I should've figured fucking would be his best subject next to Potions. Maybe they're one in the same," Ron muttered.
Harry quickly lost his good mood. "Ron, either get the fuck over yourself or stay away from me."
"Ron said you got in late last night. Did everything go well?" Hermione asked, obviously trying to distract him from Ron.
"Draco got mixed up in some kind of power struggle in Slytherin. I was in the infirmary with him."
"Infirmary? He's okay, right?"
Harry heard her unvoiced question about the baby. "He's completely fine, Hermione. I just saw him a few minutes ago."
"We'd wondered where you'd disappeared to so early. And we're glad he's okay. Aren't we, Ron?"
Ron nodded and patted Harry on the shoulder. "Sorry, mate. Just habit, I'm afraid."
Harry nodded and finished his breakfast. They all had habits they were going to have to break. He had to get over expecting Draco's pregnancy to be like a Muggle one. Maybe it wasn't a big deal in the wizarding world to find out what the baby's sex was, or maybe wizards didn't take such a keen interest in every little detail of a pregnancy. In fact, he knew nothing at all about wizarding pregnancies. Were they nine months long? Were the babies born in the same way as in that BBC special he'd seen at the Dursleys? Wizards could cure injuries that would kill Muggles, so surely they'd come up with an easier to get a baby out, right? And how much did it matter that Draco was a wizard and not a witch? Oh, God, he was so far in over his head. "I need help," he wailed softly.
"What is it, Harry? You know we're here for you," Ron said quickly. "You run out of lube, condoms, what?" Harry stared at him. Hermione stared at him. "Five brothers--and not a single sister-in-law," he explained with a wink. "Although I'm pretty sure most of them are bi. Except maybe Percy. But Percy's probably still a virgin. What's it called when you think the only one good enough to be with is yourself?"
"Lonely," Hermione said with a snicker.
The boys laughed.
"It's nothing like that, Ron," Harry said. "It's, um, complicated. Can we meet tonight and talk? Just the three of us?"
His two best friends nodded and they all headed in different directions to class.
Draco was exhausted. He'd been warned that the changes his body was going through were going to be draining, but he figured that since he was in good physical shape (seventeen and a Quidditch player), he'd sail through it without too much notice.
He wondered what other parts of the pregnancy he'd miscalculated.
He nearly stumbled when someone called his name as he stepped through the entrance to the Slytherin common room. Wearily, he looked at the assembled crowd and sighed. Apparently going to bed was not in his immediate future. He made his way to the leather chair Pansy obviously wanted him to take and with effort, pushed his exhaustion to the background.
"Someone has something he wants to say to you, Draco," Blaise said as he shoved Mitchell Flint forward.
The Sixth Year was tall and dark, sort of like a Potter wanna-be. Draco grinned; he didn't need a substitute since he had the original. "All right, Flint. I'm here. What is it you want to say?"
"I'm sorry," the boy muttered.
Draco cupped a hand to his ear. "Sorry, didn't quite catch that."
"I'm sorry," the boy spat loudly.
Draco settled back into the soft leather. The chair was quite comfortable. He wondered how long he could draw this out before he had to get up. "Sorry for what?"
"For tripping you."
"Oh, so I take it you're not sorry for violating the one steadfast rule of Slytherin. The Slytherin common room, as you were informed your first night here, is a 'safety zone' for all Slytherins. Day in and day out we are targeted by the other three Houses of this institution. Day in and day out we have conflict with our families and with our fellow Slytherins because of beliefs, because of ambitions, because of beliefs and ambitions of our families. All of that crap is to be left out of this room. It is our haven, the one place in this bloody school where we don't have to watch our backs.
"And you violated it, Flint. You attacked one of your own here in this room. I would have been on the lookout for a foot, a wand, a shove anywhere else in this school, but here I thought I was safe, that I was protected by something the rest of the world doesn't think we have--Slytherin honor. And all you can say is that you're sorry? Well, I'm sorry, too, Flint. I'm sorry that you will never have what you want. I'm sorry that you will never have any leadership position in Slytherin. I'm sorry that you'll have to explain to your brother that you won't be following in his footsteps as Quidditch team captain, that you will never sit at the head of the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, that even the First Years will look upon you with derision and not listen to a word you say."
Flint rolled his eyes. "You won't even be here next year, Malfoy."
"That's Mister Malfoy to you, Flint," Draco said harshly. "And do you actually think it makes a difference where I am? If you believe that, then you're even more of a pitiable fool that I thought you were." Flint reached out to grab him, but Vince and Greg were there to hold him back. "If I were you, I wouldn't try that again."
"Or what, Malfoy?" Flint sneered, struggling against the muscle holding him in place.
"Or I'll have to step in," Snape said.
They all stared at the professor who'd entered the common room without their knowledge. Flint paled, as did all the other students in attendance.
"I'm sure you all have tasks that need doing," Snape continued as he crossed to the leather chair. The room emptied immediately.
"Professor," Draco said as he reluctantly moved to the edge of his seat.
Snape waved his wand and created a bubble of silence around them. "Is this sudden attraction to danger because of your--relations with a Gryffindor, or are your questionable relations because of your sudden attraction to danger?"
"The chicken or the egg theory, sir. Unsolvable."
"As is your continued association with Potter. You met with him last night."
Draco didn't even bother to feel surprised that Snape knew about that. "We are having a binding ceremony the next new moon."
The professor snorted. "Impossible."
"The ceremony itself is not impossible."
Snape stared at him. "What are you up to, Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco explained the magical contract he had with his fellow Seventh Years, and their inattention to detail.
Snape shook his head. "Have we really taught them that poorly?"
Draco shrugged. "I'm sure it's the Headmaster's influence, sir. The atmosphere here is just not conducive to thinking outside the box of human kindness and trust. Thankfully, I was well-trained at home."
"How do you think Mr. Potter will respond to the failure of your binding?" Snape asked.
"More guilt. I've found him to be more stubborn than I like. This should put an end to it."
"Keep this up and he may suffocate you with his eagerness to prove his 'Gryffindorishness.'"
"As long as he keeps my father and You-Know-Who away from me, I don't care what he does."
"Do tread cautiously, Draco. Mr. Potter is not a Hufflepuff. You may get more than you asked for."
Draco nodded, knowing that his professor probably knew more about the mindset of Gryffindors than he did. After all, he'd worked with them for years. And while he had Snape's attention... "Will you stand for me at the binding ceremony, sir?" It was a position of importance, often reserved for a special relative or best friend.
Snape nodded solemnly, then belatedly smirked. "Of course. After all, you'll need someone by your side to see you through your keen disappointment afterwards."
Draco dramatically wiped his brow, then returned the smirk. "How kind of you to offer, sir."
Chapter Thirteen: Confessions And Revelations
"What's the problem, mate?" Ron asked as he and Hermione entered the room.
Harry sighed, swinging his feet to hit against the desk he was sitting on in the empty classroom. He remembered years ago when he'd had to boost himself up on a desk and his feet just naturally dangled. Now he had to bend to sit on the desk, and to dangle even a little, he had to lift one of his feet while the other rested on the floor. What had happened to that scared little boy who thought Hogwarts was going to be his salvation? In ways, it had been. But in other ways, Hogwarts and the Wizarding world had condemned him, putting a seal on his fate that would only be broken by killing him or making him a murderer.
"We're getting old," he murmured. He was getting old.
"We're only seventeen--" Hermione looked at Ron-- "and eighteen. That's not old."
Harry shrugged. "Maybe if we were Muggles, but here we're legal to do whatever we want. We're leaving school, going into careers, and starting families," he said pointedly. "We're old."
"Is that why the First Years look like babies to me?" Ron asked. "I just feel like patting one on the head and telling him to toddle off to naptime."
Harry grinned. At Ron's height, he could pat anyone on the head. He looked at his best friend--his first friend--and decided to be straightforward. "Ron, Mal-Draco is a Progenitor."
Ron's eyes widened. "So you need a reminder of the contraception spell, because I don't trust--"
Harry stopped him with a shake of his head. "Too late for that."
Ron sat heavily on one of the chairs, its braces creaking in annoyance. "The slimy bugger!"
Harry moved to cut him off before he got started down the wrong road. "It's not entirely his fault, Ron. We weren't--we weren't expecting what happened between us to happen. Things got out of hand quickly."
"So this happened your first time?"
"Fuck your luck, mate," Ron said sympathetically. "So when's the wedding?"
"What?" Hermione shrieked. "He's only seventeen, Ron!"
"But he--there's a baby, Hermione," Ron argued. "If you're old enough to play, you're old enough to pay. That's the rule."
"What? What kind of stupid rule is that?"
"The Wizarding kind. I take it that it's different in the Muggle world?"
"Well, sort of. I mean, you can get married, but you don't have to. Not anymore."
"And you let your children be born--bastards?"
Ron said the word with such disgust that Harry felt twice as bad about his reaction to Draco. Apparently being a bastard was a big thing in Wizarding society. The Slytherin had only been thinking about the baby. "We're having a binding ceremony," Harry said quickly, so his friend wouldn't think too badly of him. "The upcoming new moon."
Ron's eyes widened even larger. "You're that serious. I thought--wow. I--I thought it was just about sex, but if you're having a binding--wow."
Hermione shook her head. "It won't work, Harry. You and Malfoy aren't--If you had those kinds of feelings toward each other, we would have known."
Harry held out the parchment. "Draco thinks it'll work and he knows more about this kind of stuff than you do, Hermione." She huffed indignantly. "Even Ron knows more. He knew what a Progenitor was without having read it in a book."
She tapped her foot angrily. "So, Ron, since you're such an expert, do you think a binding can occur between Harry and Malfoy?"
"I didn't even think a shag could occur between Harry and Malfoy, so I'm not the person to ask," he said neutrally.
"See? It's a pureblood thing," Harry said. "Draco says I need new dress robes for it. Want to take me shopping, Hermione?" he asked, hoping it would take the scowl off her face. She hated not knowing everything.
"Sure, Harry. But I'm going to research binding ceremonies so that you'll know I know what I'm talking about."
"Won't that interfere with studying for the N.E.W.T.s?" Harry asked, blinking innocently behind his thick, round lenses. Ron snickered.
It took them an hour to figure out how to remove the duck feet she gave them.
"What are you telling your parents, Draco? About your decision not to go home for Easter?" Blaise asked as they prepared for bed.
"That I'm staying to work on a potions project. I'm sure Professor Snape will cover for me if they start asking questions."
"So he knows?"
"Has there ever been anything that occurred in Slytherin House that he didn't know about?"
"Does he know why? I mean, he's a you-know-what."
At least Snape's cover was still intact. "He only knows that I'm having Potter's child and has been sworn to secrecy. Besides, I think that melted his mind too much for further questions."
The other guys in the room snickered. "I wonder how he's going to take it when he finds out you're switching sides."
"We're, Blaise, when we're switching sides. All of you who signed that contract are coming along with me. I'll not be thrown to the wolves without my own pack."
"But that's only if--" Goyle began.
"What part of 'Potter agreed to the binding' that you don't understand?" Draco snapped. "Stop playing the idiot. That's not going to get you out of the contract."
"I don't want out," Goyle said quickly. "I'd rather follow you than You-Know-Who anytime. At least I know you won't throw me in a cell and starve me just because I tripped over a shoelace."
Goyle had never got over what You-Know-Who had done to his father. Beatings, Cruciatus, and hexes of all manner were mere pranks to the Goyles compared to not getting their three meals a day, plus snacks. "Your lard arse protects me in so many ways, Gregory, that I would never even think of starving you."
"Thanks--" and because Goyle wasn't a total idiot-- "I think."
"So I guess we'd all better say our goodbyes to our families during the break. I'm sorry you won't get that chance, Draco."
Draco shrugged. "It can't be helped, Blaise. There are too many things that could go wrong if I were to return to the manor. My parents have never appreciated goodbyes anyway, and when I left after Christmas, I was already sure I wouldn't be returning."
"You really thought this through then, this turn to the Light?"
"Being a pawn for a madman and acting as cannon fodder in a war that is completely unnecessary, is not a future I'd wish upon anyone--and certainly not my heir. I don't know what my parents were thinking when they got caught up in all this. Following the Dark Lord had to be the stupidest idea they ever had."
"I daresay he was a bit more powerful back in the beginning, and possibly charismatic," Blaise pointed out.
"So is Potter, and you don't see me burning his mark into my arm."
"No, you just burned it into your arse."
Draco tossed a pillow at him. "Fuck you, Zabini."
"With or without Pansy?" a deep voice called from behind closed curtains.
Draco laughed. "I thought you were asleep, Vincent."
Crabbe spelled back his curtains. "You only get interesting when you think I'm asleep."
"Maybe that's because you're boring," Draco replied.
Crabbe pointed his wand and muttered a spell which Draco ably dodged before stomping across the room and punching Crabbe soundly.
"What the fuck's wrong with you, Draco?" Crabbe asked, holding the side of his face. "It was only--"
"I'm pregnant, shithead!"
The other three in the room froze. Then there was a frenzy of activity as two scrambled from bed, shouting, "Alright there, mate?" and "You want to sit down, Draco?" and "Crabbe, you fuckwad!" and "I'm going to rip you from limb to limb!"
And in the middle of the chaos stood Draco with a hand splayed protectively across his stomach and Crabbe sobbing on his bed.
"Draco?" Blaise asked.
Draco walked slowly back across the room. "I'm going to bed now."
As he climbed beneath the covers, he could hear Crabbe still sniffing quite emphatically and Zabini and Goyle furiously whispering. But none of it mattered to him. Not now. Not after...
In that one instant when he saw the wand, saw the curse headed toward him, he realized something. Something quite odd. He hadn't dodged because he was protecting his ticket into the Light. He hadn't punched Crabbe because he was endangering the Plan. He had been protecting and defending--his son. Who meant. Everything.
Shit, he was so fucked.
Chapter Fourteen: Peace In the Midst of Storm
Harry wondered what was wrong. For the past several days Draco had been--"subdued" was a good word. "Distant" was another. So was "detached." He'd tried talking to Draco, and they'd even met last night, but Draco had merely stated that, "No, I'm not getting cold feet," and "No, the baby's doing well," and "No, I'm in no danger from my House." This last one had been added because Harry had noticed how attentive and solicitous Draco's gang of Slytherins had been. Crabbe in particular had stayed as close to Draco as possible, even waiting at the doorway at the end of the classes they didn't have together.
"Why is Crabbe acting like he'd wipe your arse if you asked?" he'd finally asked, blunt but frustrated.
"Penance," Draco had answered and left it at that.
So it was understandable that Harry was worried. He'd gone so far as to ask Madam Pomfrey if Draco was just being "hormonal." After advising him never to ask that question directly to Draco, she'd explained that Draco was "in flux." Everything around him and inside him was changing, and Harry should have patience with him.
"Ready to go?"
He smiled at Hermione. They were going to Diagon Alley to shop for robes for the binding ceremony. Ron had bowed out, citing that he needed to study for the N.E.W.T.s It was an obvious lie, but Harry didn't mind. Ron would've been a complete bitch while they were shopping, and Harry just didn't have the patience for it. Besides, now he could get Ron new dress robes and present them as a done deal just before the binding ceremony.
The ceremony was scheduled for the fourth day of the Spring Holidays. Ron and Hermione were going home but would be back for the ceremony and stand with Harry. Since this would be the last time some of them would ever be with their families, all of Draco's friends were going home and only Snape would be there to stand for Draco. Draco had been rather lackadaisical when he mentioned it to Harry, but Harry figured being without his friends had to sting just a little.
"I want to buy Draco a gift while we're out," Harry said as they walked to the outskirts of Hogwarts to apparate, one of the perks of being of age.
"Why? I mean, is this a wedding present or something?" Hermione asked.
Harry shook his head. "He's a little down. Hasn't insulted me the whole week."
She placed a hand on his arm to stop him. "This can't be a healthy relationship, Harry."
You have no idea, he thought. "The situation is rather bizarre, and we're doing the best we can. Neither of us expected to be together."
"Forcing the two of you to get married or whatever is simply archaic," she fussed.
He laughed and they continued toward the front gates. "The entire Wizarding world is archaic. Surely a smart witch such as yourself has figured that out."
She nodded, frowning. "I don't understand why they are a century or so behind us in so many areas. They are just as smart and capable as we--"
"You're switching your 'we's and 'they's," Harry warned.
"We are the 'we' you're complaining about, Hermione, not 'they.'"
It took her a minute to figure out what he was rattling on about, and then she grinned sheepishly. "I do just the opposite with my parents. At home, I'm so obviously a witch and here, I'm just as obviously a Muggle-born. It's a dichotomy I don't think I'm ever going to transcend."
"Welcome to my world," Harry said sympathetically. "There are so many times, especially when I'm with Ron, that I feel so out of place here. My relatives kept me in the dark, and even after I found out, I still had to 'forget' everything each summer. I don't think I'll ever be completely comfortable with being a wizard."
"It's one of the reasons I study so hard," Hermione confided. "I always feel like I'm playing catch-up to everyone else."
"You are, and all the rest of us who weren't brought up in this world. But I hate to tell you, you're not going to find every answer in a book. There are little things wizards take for granted that they wouldn't even think about putting into a book. It's like if we were trying to make a manual for wizards about the Muggle world, we'd probably forget to tell them about common things like how to flick a light switch." They reached the gates and went through. Drawing his wand, he said, "Meet you in front of Madam Malkin's."
He grinned as he appeared at his destination. God, he LOVED apparating. A loud crack signaled Hermione's successful trip.
"So is that why you're acquiescing to Malfoy about everything? Because, you know, the books say that a binding won't work between you two," Hermione said, continuing the conversation as if they hadn't stopped.
"Think about it for a minute. Can you honestly say you've met someone who's more a wizard than Draco? Ron, at least, had some exposure to the Muggle world from his father. The Wizarding world is the only one Draco knows. I would be a fool not to follow his lead when it comes to something like this. I mean, you saw Ron's face when he said the word 'bastard.' Legitimacy is a big deal around here and neither of us knew that. Think of my little boy being ostracized just because I was too much of an idiot to listen to his other father.
"I can't afford to stumble around on my own anymore, getting by just on luck. I'm going to have a son, someone depending on me to make the right choices, the right decisions."
Hermione gave his shoulder a squeeze and rested her head against his arm. "I think that's the same in both worlds, Harry. And you're right; we should let the purebloods in our lives guide us through the tricky parts of this world."
"And then we can take them to the other--and let them flounder around for awhile," Harry said impishly.
Hermione laughed. "I think I'm starting to see what Malfoy sees in you."
Draco sat studying in the Slytherin common room for one reason--if he was in his dorm he'd fall asleep. He was exhausted, and not just because of the baby. Well, it was because of the baby in a way. He was doing a marathon study session because he had to take the N.E.W.T.s over Spring Holidays due to his pregnancy. By the time the rest of the students took the exams, in two months time, he'd be six months gone, which meant practicals were out of the question and the theory, written, parts--well, there was a concern that the magics of his particular pregnancy might affect his memory.
Most of the concerns stemmed from the fact that very little was known about a Progenitor pregnancy. After there were enough witches to sustain the population, being a Progenitor fell out of favor and was looked upon negatively. Being homosexual was fine--love was love. But a pregnant man was unnatural and frowned upon until recently, after potions and spells made male pregnancy more acceptable. So the few legacy Progenitors that appeared sporadically through history were well-kept secrets, the knowledge of their confinements shared only with family members and very much undocumented. For all Draco knew, he could turn purple and grow wings.
He really should have done more research.
He looked up to see Pansy standing before him. "I'm awake." He'd asked his friends to keep a check on him. He wasn't really worried about passing the N.E.W.T.s; between having the best Dark professors every summer and wintering with the best of the Light, he was certain there wasn't much he couldn't handle. The only reason he was studying so diligently was to keep his mind off the fact that he now cared about the life growing inside him. It was a complication that he didn't need, and it made him...uncomfortable. The only reason his father cared for him at all was the opportunity to make a living image of himself. If what he was feeling now was because he knew he had a son to mold into himself... He shuddered.
"Potter's outside making a nuisance of himself trying to contact you."
"He's here in the dungeons?"
"He was, but I sent him out to the lake. I thought you could use the break," Pansy said, concern in her eyes. "You know this information inside and out. Why are you pushing yourself so hard?"
"It's a distraction."
She nodded as if she understood. "Go see Potter."
Straightening his robes, he left the common room and headed toward the lake. It was a warm, early spring Saturday, something he'd failed to notice earlier. Soon it would be summer and everyone would figure out that he'd switched sides. Hopefully by then, Potter and Dumbledore would have him stashed somewhere safe.
"Harry." Silence. "Pansy said you wanted to see me?"
He looked at the slim, silver-wrapped package Potter held out. If it was some cute, baby something, he was going to kill him. The baby was already too real; he didn't need any more reminders. He ripped off the paper and revealed a book of blank pages.
"It's a journal," Potter said, his hands crammed into his pockets in an undignified manner. "It's charmed to become invisible at the password you set and it will only open at your touch. I thought that since you can't talk about certain things even with your friends, that maybe this would help."
Certain things. The rape. Which he would never talk about even if he could because...well, just because. "Thank you, Harry." He stuck the book in the folds of his robes. "So, is there some muggle gift-giving opportunity that I've missed?"
Potter gave him an unreadable smile and motioned for him to sit down. They sat beside each other, resting against the wide trunk of a tree. "No, Draco, I just thought--you needed cheering up."
"I'm okay, just tired."
"Because of the baby? Have you told Madam Pomfrey or Snape?"
He shook his head and yawned politely into his hand. "I'm taking the N.E.W.T.s next week."
Draco explained to him why his exams had been moved up. "Some of the practicals will have to be altered, of course, but they'll still show I have mastered the principals of the magic."
"What's this about your memory?"
"A wizard's magic is intrinsically bound to his physical being. Any break in the normal flow of my magic, additions or subtractions, could cause things to go wonky. I could lose control of my magic, control of my body, or control of my mind. The odds are great that none of these things will occur, but I guess it's best to err on the side of caution."
Potter's eyes widened. "And you're not--frightened?"
Draco laughed, then yawned. "Scared shitless." Potter reached out toward him, but pulled back sharply. Draco sighed. "According to the gossip we planted, we're supposed to be lovers. You can touch me, Potter, just don't make sudden moves, all right?"
Potter touched his hair. "You're growing it longer."
"The girls say my face is going to get fat. Even though it makes me look more like my father, I'll need it to hide behind."
"Why hide? You're beautiful."
Draco felt the warmth of a blush touch his face and scowled at the absurdity. He'd been told he was beautiful before. Why the hell was he reacting this way? "Yeah, well, tell me that again when I'm all swollen and looking like Goyle."
Harry laughed. "You'll never look like Goyle." He glanced at Draco, then pulled out his wand. "Can I...?"
Draco leaned back against the tree and nodded. "But shield us first."
Harry nodded. "Privatus." The area around them shimmered, then steadied. "Manifesta germen."
"He's so much bigger," Harry said after studying the image.
"Babies grow, Potter." At least it sort of resembled something similar to a human being now.
"But he's our growing baby," Harry commented softly.
Draco couldn't come up with a good counter-argument so he just sat there and let Harry do his communing thing. After a while, the warmth of the afternoon and the shade of the tree proved to be too much, and as Harry continued to coo at the oddly-formed lump, Draco fell asleep.
Chapter Fifteen: Pick On Draco Day
Harry ended the spell and glanced at the man sleeping beside him. He didn't like the faint smudges beneath Draco's eyes, and when he noticed Draco's body was slouching towards him, he wrapped his arm around his shoulder and urged his tired companion to lean on him.
Our first hug, he thought. We've had sex but never hugged. I've stuck my dick up his arse and my tongue down his throat, but I've never touched him with any tenderness. This is so incredibly wrong, even though it sort of feels right. I mean, shouldn't it be making me crazy that I have to marry Malfoy? Shouldn't I be looking for someway to escape this fate? Why aren't I? Why do I like the weight of his head on my arm? Why can't I wait to see his stomach swollen with our baby? Why am I as happy about this as I would've been if it had been planned, if we were really lovers, if he actually liked me?
Out of all the things he'd done and had done to him, this had to be the worst/best. Raping Draco was definitely the worst. Sirius' fall and Cedric's death had both been quick, over in seconds. The rape had gone on and on. Draco's heart had felt like it was going to beat right out of his chest. There had been blood on his lips where he'd bitten them in what was to be a futile attempt to keep from crying out. He remembered forcing Draco to open his eyes so he could see the fear in them, whispering threats in his ear so that the fear would grow. Every night he seemed to remember more and more, and unlike with Sirius and Cedric, it wasn't just his imagination playing tricks on him. It was real. He'd been that cruel. He'd been that sadistic.
He'd been just like Voldemort.
But it was the best thing, too. He was going to have a child. No matter what Voldemort did to him or the rest of the world, the Potter line would go on. Sure, Draco pretended that he needed Harry and Dumbledore to protect him, but Harry knew that Draco was perfectly capable of protecting himself and his child. Draco had chosen the baby, which meant he wouldn't care about fair play, whether magic was dark or light, to whom he had to lie, or who he had to betray. Draco would fight to save their baby no matter what, and Harry not only respected that, but was counting on it. If Voldemort ultimately won, only a Malfoy would be able to turn it around to his advantage. Harry was absolutely certain that no matter the outcome, Draco would survive and so would their child.
Harry looked around in search of the familiar voice. Ron. He'd run into him and told him about Parkinson getting Draco for him. Ron was standing almost right in front of him and Harry grinned; his privatus spell must be pretty damn decent. Picking up his wand, he called softly, "Resero! Ron, we're here."
He watched his friend do a doubletake when he saw Harry was right there at his feet. Ron did another when he saw Draco draped against him. Harry put a finger to his lips, signaling Ron should talk quietly.
"Sorry, mate. We're getting together a pick-up Quidditch match. Thought you might want to play."
That sounded good to Harry. Flying always took his mind off his troubles. "Sure. Give me a few minutes with Draco and I'll meet you on the pitch." Ron nodded, turned to walk away, then turned again. "What is it, Ron?"
"I didn't--" Ron began. "I thought it was just about getting off between you two. But it's not, is it?"
Harry looked at the blond head resting on him. "I'm not sure what it is between us."
"It's like that, then? He does it for you?" Harry nodded. It was like that. And he was tired of trying to make sense of it. "He's certainly fit," Ron continued, "although I don't envy you none. He's high maintenance, that one. But if he's the one you want, bun in the oven aside, I'll not be an arse about it."
"I'll see you on the pitch."
Ron was halfway back to the castle when Draco spoke. "What's the whole 'arse' thing? I thought he was going to stand for you at the ceremony?"
"He was--is. But I think it was with reservation and now it's not."
"Because I fell asleep and drooled on your arm? I'll never understand you people," Draco added as he sat up.
"I am sorry about that, you know."
"About you having to understand us, about you having to give up so much because of what I did to you." He looked at Draco shyly. "Everybody's looking for me to be their hero, but I want you to know that you're mine. You're strong, powerful, and I think you would've made a very good Dark wizard, Draco Malfoy."
Draco stared at Potter in horror, then scrambled to his feet. "You're a fucking piece of work, do you know that, Potter? A bloody fucking piece of work." How dare he compare him to those spineless, baby-raping, arse-lickers!
"I was trying to give you a compliment," Harry said, confused.
"By assuming I wanted to be a Dark wizard? For your information, I never intended to become a Dark wizard." Well, that was a lie, but only a partial one. He'd never intended to be a Dark wizard once he had all the facts and was old enough to not automatically believe what his father told him. And once he figured out a way of not becoming a Dark wizard. "I don't need to kill mudbloods to know I'm better than they are. I don't need to bow to some snake-eyed Dark lord, who's no more than a half-blood himself, to validate my superiority. I AM superior, damn it!" He brushed off the back of his robes with a furious gesture. "You know, you're about as fucking bigoted as my father. I don't need his shit, nor yours. I have revision to do. Have fun with your high and mighty Gryffindors, Potter."
He stomped off, cursing Potter under his breath. Why was he such a bullock-brain? He let him point his stupid wand at his stomach any time he wanted. He hadn't hexed him for all the stupid staring the Boy-Who-Didn't-Have-Sense-Enough-To-Die had been doing all week. He hadn't even rejected the bloody diary he'd given him. As if he'd be foolish enough to write anything down.
He walked impatiently through the Slytherin Common Room and into his dormitory. Before he could slam the door shut, Pansy and Blaise were in the room with him.
"Draco?" Blaise asked hesitantly. "What's wrong?"
"Harry Fucking Scarhead Potter is what's wrong! Stupid prat!"
Pansy sighed. "What did he do?"
"He said I'd have made a very good Dark wizard."
"That's it?" Blaise shared a glance with Pansy and Draco tossed a pillow in his direction.
"He hurt your feelings," Pansy said sympathetically.
Draco nodded. "Not to mention...it's such a lie. I don't like killing. It's messy, even using Avada Kadavra. And I...I threw up for days after the Revelry."
Pansy gave him a shrewd look. "Is that the real reason behind this plan of yours?"
Draco sneered at her. "It'd take more than a weak stomach to make me give up everything I've been expecting all my life, Parkinson. You don't get it yet, do you? This--war is wrong. There's no reason for it, no real reason why we or our parents should be running around in white masks killing and maiming and terrifying the countryside. The Dark Lord has made us into muggle-style monsters. Scaring children and animals should be beneath us. If we rule, we rule by power, by might, by right, but not by fear. That's how they rule, not us."
"They are powerful," Blaise argued.
"And they show this how? By attacking the helpless? By leaving floating skulls in the sky? By imagining Potter's death over and over, yet fucking up every attempt? Sure, Potter's an arsehole, but he's a powerful arsehole who won't scuttle around in the dark like a cockroach. The Dark Lord is turning our parents into caricatures--buffoons and cartoons. Yes, I hate killing, but if I thought it was making a point, the point I wanted to make, then I'd suck it up and go ahead with being a Death Eater. But I'm not going to kill just because He likes seeing his name in the press." Draco took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"You talk a good game now, Draco, but what happens when your father finds out?" Blaise challenged.
What was it? Pick on Draco day? "Fuck my father and fuck you!" he growled. "You think this was an easy decision for me? You think I didn't go over this again and again in my head? My life, as I once knew it, is over! My parents are fucking dead to me. There will be people--multiple people--after me because in their opinion I've betrayed them. I will be despised by the Dark and distrusted by the Light. Even having Harry Potter's child is only going to give me so much slack. So yeah, Zabini, this is just a lark for me. Next time I see my father, I'll tell him I was 'just kidding,' and we'll both have a good laugh," Draco spat out, disgusted with his so-called friends and life in general.
"This is a big deal for us, too," Pansy warned.
"And you think I don't fucking know that? You are the ones who made the deal, not me. If you're that scared, back the fuck out. I'm trying to save your arses and all I'm getting is grief. I don't need this. Not today. Not this week. Not fucking ever." He fell back across his bed and buried his head in his pillows. What good was staying awake? If he wanted to feel fucked over, he could always just let his dreams have at it.
"We're sorry we upset you, Draco," was Pansy's tentative reply. "It's just that we got to talking today and realized that next week's holidays may be the last time we see our families--not across a battlefield."
"I know." Draco's voice was muffled by fabric. He knew how hard it was to turn against family. He knew how hard it was to look at your mother and try to imprint her voice, her mannerisms, her scent...into your mind so that you wouldn't ever forget her. He knew the difficulty in picturing the disappointment and possible disgust in your father's eyes when he discovers you aren't following in his footsteps, that you're actively going against everything he stands for, everything he's taught you....
"Our position in the Light depends mainly on you."
Fuck. They were trying to make him into a Slytherin-style Potter. Didn't they know him well enough to realize he wasn't doing shit for them? It was all for him. The fuckers should know that. "I know," was his soft reply. And speaking of soft, his pillow was very inviting.
"We had to be sure you were sure."
"Uh-huh." Damn it! Hadn't he just woke from a nap--drooling on Potter's shoulder no less? Why was he still so sleepy?
"We are sure now," Blaise said.
"Uh-huh," Draco managed to utter.
"We won't question you again."
"Want me to draw your bed curtains so the light doesn't disturb you?"
That was a bad idea. Wasn't it? "I have more revision to do," he rallied enough to say.
"It can wait. We'll wake you for dinner, okay?"
Wait. Sleep. Dinner. "Uh-huh."
He heard the curtains close around him and sank into the silence the darkness offered.
Chapter Sixteen: Some Days Just Suck
"So how are you going to spend the time without us, mate?" Ron asked as he, Harry, and Hermione stood next to the Hogwarts Express, which was idling in Hogmeade Station. As soon as all the students going home for the Spring holidays were loaded, it would make its way to King's Cross Station.
"He has the N.E.W.T.s to study for, Ron," Hermione said in exasperation.
Ron rolled his eyes. "So what are you going to be doing?" he asked again.
Harry laughed. "Actually, I am going to be studying, Ron. I have to memorize the binding ceremony."
"It's just one line," Hermione pointed out.
"Draco said he chose a simple one for me."
"There's simple, then there's ridiculous. You're just as bright as he is, Harry. But it doesn't matter, anyway. There's no way that you and he can have a binding ceremony."
"Draco--" Harry began.
"Yes, I know. Draco is a pureblood and thus knows more about magic than I, a Muggleborn, will ever know," she said scornfully.
"I'm impressed, Potter. At least you're teaching your faithful little band of groupies something useful. Draco will be pleased," Pansy said as she approached the trio.
Pansy cut them all off. "Potter, a word with you in private."
Harry looked at his friends and shrugged. Since Draco had been deliberately un-rude to his friends lately, he figured he should do the same. "See you in three days. Enjoy yourselves."
"And you take care," Hermione reminded him, looking pointedly at Pansy.
He assured them he would be careful, then followed Pansy off to the side. She handed him a rolled piece of parchment.
"Here's everything you need to know and the password to the common room is 'Draco's Pet'--we thought it fitting."
Harry gave a disgusted snort. "So why do I need the password and what is this?"
"Directions for Draco's care, of course. Surely you weren't thinking you'd allow him to languish in the dungeons by himself while we were gone, did you, Potter?"
"Um..." He hadn't really thought about it. Sure they were getting REALLY married in three days, but he figured Draco had as much stuff that needed doing as he did. Actually, even more because he was taking the N.E.W.T.s.
"So The-Boy-Who-Lived is just a typical wizard. Knock up your partner, then turn the other way," she accused. "I would hex you, but Draco needs you too badly. Don't cock this up, Potter. Despite popular Gryffindor opinion, Slytherins are human. We feel pain. We feel hurt--just like Draco felt last week when he came from that assignation with you."
Harry was still confused about that. He didn't know why Draco had reacted the way he did. He'd finally decided it was just "hormones" and left it at that. But if Pansy knew... "I still don't understand why he got so bent over what I said."
She rolled her eyes. "Gee, Potter, I can't figure it out either. If someone had told me I'd make a good mass-murdering arse-kisser I think I'd be delighted."
Oh. He hadn't thought of it that way. "I didn't think--"
"Well, it's past time for you to start! Stop comparing Draco to his past. It's not his fault. Children emulate their parents--oh, but you wouldn't know about that, would you? For your information, Potter, children believe the carefully crafted stories whispered in their ears at night. They overhear conversation at the dining table and vaguely understand. They know the words and deeds that make their parents proud of them, that earn them a smile or a hug. Then, they grow up and make decisions for themselves. Have you grown up, Potter? Are you yet making decisions for yourself, or are you merely aping back the words and deeds of your mentors?" The train whistle blew, signaling imminent departure. "Grow up. Learn to think. Stop hurting Draco, or the Dark Lord will be the least of your worries. Do you understand?"
He nodded as she boarded the train, too overwhelmed to make a verbal reply. The threat was easily dismissed, but not the words about children and parents. Once he'd learned the truth about his parents, he'd tried his best to do what he figured would please them. Their memory was always in the back of his mind, prodding him toward this action or the other. He only had pictures and memories to please. Draco had living parents who had guided him and filled his mind with their own desires and views.
I never intended to become a Dark wizard. I don't need to kill mudbloods to know I'm better than they are. I don't need to bow to some snake-eyed Dark lord, who's no more than a half-blood himself, to validate my superiority. I AM superior, damn it!
Not exactly the words of someone who fully embraced the Light, but also not the words of a future Death Eater. Draco was now thinking for himself...and for their child. Was Harry doing that? Or was he just spouting back what would make Dumbledore and Sirius and his parents proud? Did he believe in this fight/war/whatever, or was it just reflex? Killing was wrong, especially the ethnic cleansing type of killing the Dark was doing. That much he was sure of. But even though Voldemort's methods were wrong, did that mean his message was, too? He had proof that the shit about Muggleborns was wrong. There wasn't a finer, more capable witch than Hermione. And no one was truly superior to anyone else. That was just pureblood bigotry. But what about the unfairness of forcing wizards and witches to suppress themselves in order to blend in with the Muggle world? Why should they have to blend? Why did they have to make the sacrifices, hiding what they were just to get along with the Muggles? Muggles ridiculously outnumbered them. Those of wizarding blood were the endangered species, not the Muggles. They should have the special protection. The Muggle Ministry should be making allowances for them, like they did for the whales or whatever, not the other way around.
Look at what he'd had to put up with living with his "family." He'd been kept in a cupboard and hidden away like a bad secret. He'd been lied to and labeled a freak. Why had the Ministry called him on a couple incidents of "underage" magic, when the Dursleys had treated a lump of dog shit better than they'd treated him? He hadn't even had anything to do with the stupid pudding and he'd saved Dudley from Dementors, but the Ministry had birthed cows. However, when Uncle Vernon hasd barred and locked him in his room, and only the Weasleys had cared enough to get him out, where had the Ministry of Magic been then, or even the Muggle Ministry? Apparently, Aunt Marge was more valuable as a person than he was. After all, she was human and he was just a wizard...a freak. Fuck. No wonder Voldemort had such a following.
He blinked when he realized the gates of Hogwarts were just in front of him. He couldn't remember the walk back, so lost he was in his thoughts. Why hadn't he had these thoughts before? Why hadn't he examined the other side of the war? Hadn't Ron taught him anything about strategy? To outthink his opponent, he needed to understand his opponent. But he hadn't tried to understand Voldemort and the Death Eaters. He hadn't tried to understand Draco and the Slytherins. He'd just blindly followed Hagrid and Ron and Dumbledore, making their opinions his opinions. They treated him differently than the Dursleys had and that had made them right by default.
Damn it. Did this mean he was he fighting Voldemort just because everyone was expecting him to? Was it all just because he was The-Boy-Who-Lived? Sure, Voldemort killed his parents, but Voldemort had killed a lot of parents, and he didn't see any other guys queuing to be drilled in how to kill the fucker. This--this wasn't going to work. To defeat Voldemort he needed more than just mere revenge pushing him. He needed more than just the expectations of the Light. He needed more than just guilt. He needed to know that what he was doing was right, that he was fighting because he BELIEVED in the cause he was fighting for.
And since he'd never questioned it, the question remained. He faced the cool dungeon wall.
Not normally a heavy sleeper, Draco had been sleeping like a log ever since his second month of pregnancy. So he was very surprised when he woke as someone entered his room.
But since he was the only Slytherin remaining over the holidays, maybe he was right to awaken.
With a subtle movement, he drew his wand from underneath his pillow, then sat up suddenly. Potter, sitting backwards against a chair next to the bed, didn't even blink. "What are you doing here?" he asked, lowering the wand.
"Draco, why do you think purebloods are better than everyone else?"
Draco sank back against his pillows. It was too bloody early to deal with Potter. "How did you get in here?"
"Pansy gave me the password. Cute."
"Why did she give you the password?"
"So I could tend to the duties she gave me."
"Making sure you eat, rest, and get to your exams on time. She even gave me a daily schedule."
"Probably that, too."
Draco grimaced, then yawned. "Am I supposed to be up yet?"
Potter consulted a piece of parchment. "No. You have a short while."
"Then go the fuck away."
"Not until you answer my question."
Whatever Potter was on about, he was looking all stubborn about it. Fuck, what could he say that wouldn't get him into too much trouble? "Fine. I didn't say purebloods were better--I said I was. After all, Weasley is a pureblood and everyone knows Granger is slumming as his girlfriend." He hazarded a look at Potter. His answer hadn't been the most diplomatic, but what did one expect early in the morning. Snape had informed him that the reason why the Hogwarts Express left so early was not because it took all day to get to London, but it was because the students soon fell asleep, which kept trouble to a minimum. Potter shouldn't be expecting him to function properly. However, Potter was showing no outward signs of anger. Strange.
"So you don't believe in Voldemort's main arguments?" Potter prodded.
"How many times do I have to tell you--"
"I know you weren't going to become a Dark wizard, and I'm sorry I implied that you were, but are you saying you don't believe in any of Voldemort's arguments for Wizardry purity?"
Draco sighed. Potter was determined to make him think--or blow the whole Plan. "Muggles have treated wizards and witches like shit throughout history. At some point in time, we could have possibly taken them. As it is now, we are seriously outnumbered. I believe our best chance at not dying out is to isolate ourselves--draw up the bridges and practice several centuries of inbreeding. I believe that getting the muggles involved in a matter that should be settled among those of Wizardry blood is sheer stupidity and more of a case of showy grandstanding than a strategic battle plan. But what do you expect when the leader of the Dark is nothing more than a half-blood himself?"
"So that's common knowledge among the Death Eaters?"
"Yes, it's right up there with 'do not say his name.' A rather dramatic bastard, isn't he?" And why was he telling Potter all of this? Oh, yeah. It was morning and Potter had ambushed him. Half-blood prat.
"You don't know the half of it when it comes to Voldemort's dramatics," Potter mumbled.
He waited for Potter to explain further, but the bloke remained quiet. Fine. He had better things to do. Like sleep. He closed his eyes.
"What the fuck do you want now?"
"According to the schedule, you have to get up now."
Chapter Seventeen: So Very Screwed
Draco knew he should get up and leave. The exam was over, all his exams were over. Three days of transfiguring and charming and manipulating runes and manipulating numbers and plotting star movements and fighting his father (also known as Defense Against Dark Arts)... His brain hurt to remember his other subjects. Why had he decided to go for thirteen? Because the mudblood was going for twelve and when he'd set this particular academic course, he'd still been trying to impress his father. If he knew then what he knew now, he would've stuck with just Potions, Arithmancy, and Runes. He liked how "pure" those subjects were. Numbers were right or wrong. Potions were right or wrong. Runes were interpreted right or wrong. There was no leeway, no points given for "good effort," no points taken away because of "attitude." Which was why this last Transfiguration N.E.W.T. had completely wiped him out. The old Gryffindor bag, McGonagall, ignored the fact he was pregnant with the Golden Boy's child and had worked him until his wand arm trembled.
Potter. He was always there after each exam to either take him to one of the meals or to escort him to his room for mandatory rest periods. At night Potter "tucked" him in, then sat next to the bed in a transfigured chair. It was an odd piece of furniture: fat and squishy and when a lever was tugged, it fell back and the bottom came up to support legs and feet. Against his will (damned curiosity) he'd asked Harry about it.
"Hermione says it's called a recliner chair. I've never actually seen one, mind you, so I might have things a bit muddled. But I've wanted one ever so much after seeing it in Aunt Petunia's Argos catalogue. It's sort of a bed and chair, you see, and would have fit nicely into my cupboard."
Draco had no idea why Potter would want a chair in his cupboard. Where were his clothes to go--around the dining table? However, the chair did look as comfortable as a bed and he wondered if Potter slept there. He'd tried to stay awake to see if Potter indeed stayed the entire night in the chair, but the Slytherin couldn't manage past five minutes before he dozed. By the time Potter woke him each morning, the squishy chair was back to being Zabini's trunk and the Gryffindor was freshly dressed and urging him to breakfast. And lunch. And dinner.
He was going to kill Pansy when she got back.
"Your head of House is an evil, sadistic bi--witch," he said in answer to Potter's hail. Potter seemed to take the insults to his friends well enough, but he wasn't confident enough to try anything extreme about one of his mentors.
Harry laughed. "She can be a bit--thorough, but it's because she wants to make sure we know the material. Especially now. With Voldemort hanging around."
Seeing that he was getting no sympathy, he tried to stand and failed. "I think she broke me."
Harry snorted and grabbed Draco's elbow. "Come on, you faker. I'll help you toddle back to your room for a rest."
"This is all your fault," Draco whined, then muttered a curse when he felt Potter stiffen. "You know that's not what I meant, Potter, and I refuse to monitor what I say just because you like to indulge your guilt. I've told you that I don't blame you for that. I'm not going to repeat myself anymore. All right?"
"But I am going to blame you for knocking me up. It's a standard and acceptable practice among witches to blame the bloke who did the impregnating. I get to call you all sorts of names, whine, nag, etc., and all you can do is ask if I need a foot rub. I knew there had to be an upside to this or no self-respecting witch would go through with it," Draco added with a smirk.
"You are so full of yourself," Potter said as they started out of the room at a slow stroll.
"Are you insulting me? I think that requires," Draco yawned, "a foot rub."
"If you stay awake long enough," Potter muttered.
He looked down the hall to see Pansy running towards them. "Pansy, what are you doing back? Afraid Potter wasn't up to the job of taking care of me?"
"Draco, he knows!" she wailed as she drew closer.
"Who knows what?"
"Your father." Pansy stopped to take a breath. "He knows about you and Potter."
Harry was glad he had a grip on Draco's arm, because that was the only thing that saved the blond from collapsing to the floor. Instead, he slowly sank down, Harry going with him.
"Draco! You okay?"
"Just a bit dizzy. It'll pass. Tell me, Pansy. Who talked?"
Harry wasn't about to say, "I told you so." But he wanted to. Badly. Draco's friends should've never been told.
"Mitchell Flint. Apparently he was pissed about your retribution and so he sat about spying on the Seventh Years. When he got home, his father started in on him for the incident, how he had violated the Slytherin House rule and got what he deserved. So to make his arse look better, he wanted to bring you down. Then Mr. Flint decided to use the information to score points with your father."
"What--what did Mitchell say?"
"That you and Potter have been sneaking off together and doing 'things' behind a privacy shield."
"Harry, I'm going to be sick."
Harry managed to transfigure one of Draco's books into a basin just in time. A few spells got rid of the mess but Harry didn't like how clammy Draco's forehead felt. "Come on. We're going to see Madam Pomfrey, then we'll talk to Professor Dumbledore."
"And Snape," Draco said, and Harry knew he must be feeling bad if he wasn't complaining about a trip to the infirmary. "Snape can handle Father better than the Headmaster. How did you find out, Pansy?"
"My dad was with yours when Mr. Flint told him. He couldn't wait to come home and ask me about it." She walked along with them. "I told him you were probably just having some kind of private altercation, that you'd learned fighting Potter in public only got you into trouble, not him."
"You think he bought it?" Harry asked eagerly. If Mr. Parkinson bought it, then maybe they could sell the same thing to Mr. Malfoy.
"Dad thinks women are completely daft and the only thing they're good for is procreating, so probably not. I apparated to the gates as soon as Dad went back to work after lunch."
"Any hint about...you know?" He pointed at Draco's stomach.
"No. Mitchell wouldn't have even known to look for something like that."
"Whatever he was looking for, I hoped he looked well," Draco snarled. "Because by the time I get through with him, he won't have eyes to look anywhere."
"Speaking of looking, you look like shit, Draco," Pansy said, "and you looked like that before I told you about your father. Are you going to make me hurt you, Potter?"
Harry shook his head. "Don't blame me; blame the professors."
"Thank you for the hint, Harry," Madam Pomfrey said, and that was when Harry realized they'd reached the infirmary. "You look like an albino thestral that's had a bad day, Mr. Malfoy."
Harry took a quick glance at his...whatever Draco was. He was pale and slightly skeletal as he removed his robes, displaying bony wrists. He was pregnant. Shouldn't he be--fatter?
"I've had a bad day, Madam," Draco replied wearily. "And I'm afraid it's only going to get worse."
"Nonsense," the nurse scoffed. "I warned your professors that this could happen. The magics initially used to create Progenitors were bordering on the dark end of the spectrum."
"Blood magic," Draco said as he sat on the bed Pomfrey indicated.
"Yes...among other things. Several of the spells and charms were dedicated to protecting the baby at all costs."
"You said something about that when Draco fell," Harry said. "But he didn't fall or anything today." He looked sharply at Draco. "Did you?" Draco shook his head.
"The baby, by design, Harry," Pomfrey explained, "is very, very selfish. It will take what it wants from you, Mr. Malfoy. Your physical, magical, and mental energies are now controlled by the will of the child inside you. He does not care that you have spent your reserves taking exams from professors who are going to have a good talking to once I get through with them. Your son wants what he wants when he wants it."
"Is that because of the magics, or because he's a Malfoy?" Draco asked with a tired smirk.
Pomfrey smiled. "Maybe a little of both. Let's see about getting you some restoratives." She marched over to her shelves and began pulling down flasks and jars.
Pansy stood at the end of the bed. "I need to go back before I'm missed, Draco. Potter, the next time I see my friend, he better be in the pink of health. Do you understand?"
Harry opened his mouth to say that he'd followed her instructions to the letter, but thought better of it. He would learn how to get along with Slytherins, even if it killed him. And really, he and Pansy had the same goal: taking care of Draco. He nodded to the witch and watched her leave.
"You need to go tell Dumbledore about our problem," Draco said, frowning at the pajamas Pomfrey tossed in his direction. "Apparently, I'm not going to be going anywhere for a while."
"You need to rest, Mr. Malfoy."
"But he'll be out tomorrow?" Harry asked. The binding ceremony was scheduled for twilight the next day, a time divined by Professor Trelawney and seconded by Professor Sinistra.
"If Mr. Malfoy follows my orders, your ceremony will take place as scheduled, Harry."
Harry's eyes widened. "You know?"
"The Hogwarts staff would never miss a celebration--especially in these troubled times. The Headmaster is very excited to be officiating."
Harry groaned. His entire life was apparently cursed to be one public spectacle after another. People would no doubt transfigure chairs and blankets so they'll be comfortable watching him and Voldemort go at it. Taking one glance at the horrified look in Draco's eyes, he decided it was time to see Dumbledore. Carefully, he began backing out of the room. "I'm off to the Headmaster's office."
"Don't forget Professor Snape," Draco called after him.
Harry sighed and slowed to a walk.
Draco drifted off to sleep, still tasting the foul potion Pomfrey had forced down his throat. He decided right then and there if he ever went into potions-making, it would be with the intent of making palatable medicines. The current ones were simply disgusting.
When he woke up, he was instantly aware that he hadn't slept long and that he wasn't alone. Hoping it was just a bothersome, lurking Harry and not a potion-wielding Pomfrey, he cracked open an eye. Years of training kept him from gasping aloud, but it didn't matter. His visitor knew he was awake and greeted him with a stern look.
Chapter Eighteen: Daddy Issues
Draco felt himself being drained and knew that the baby was instinctively cocooning himself in layer after layer of protections. Unfortunately, that left little of anything for Draco to work with. "Father?"
"Why didn't you come home? Why are you here in the hospital wing? What have you been up to?"
Blinking, Draco tried to get all the questions in order and remember all the answers. All the proper answers. Damn, he hadn't been this terrified of his father since he'd incendio'ed the Library back when he was six. The flames had been very pretty, by the way. "I owled about the potions project, didn't I?"
"Is that the reason you're here?"
Yes? Then his father would want the details. No? Then he'd have to come up with a reason. "I don't know." God, that was lame.
"You don't know why you're in the hospital wing? What's wrong with you, boy?"
"I--" Shit. Fuck. He couldn't think. He couldn't lie. When was the last time he couldn't come up with a lie? This was. Bad.
"Ah, Mr. Malfoy, I didn't know you were coming to visit."
Dumbledore. Thank God!
"Headmaster, Harry Potter."
Potter. Oh, shit.
"What is going on with my son? Why is he here? Why is Mr. Potter here?"
"Young Malfoy here passed out. Harry helped him here to the infirmary. He just wants to see how he's doing. Has Madam Pomfrey made a diagnosis yet?" Dumbledore inquired.
"Why would Potter know if my son passed out?"
"Project," Draco said loudly, his thoughts finally clearing. Apparently the baby decided to give him back a few brain cells since Potter and Dumbledore were there to protect him. "Potter and I are working on a project together."
"Potter and you? A potions project together?"
Well, when his father put it like that... "Not potions. Transfiguration. We're working on a secret transfiguration project. A surprise for the end-of-the-year-feast."
His father looked skeptical. "I see. And this--project--caused you to pass out?"
"No, that would be the touch of Wizard's Flu that he has," Madam Pomfrey said, bustling in with a hunk of chocolate. "I thought it was over for the season, but young Malfoy has always been a special one. Must be his--breeding."
Draco watched his father bristle at the implied insult and held back a snicker. Pomfrey never backed down from anyone. It was annoying--except when it wasn't directed at him. "I'll be fine, Father, after a short rest."
"Perhaps I should take you to St. Mungo's for a more competent opinion," Lucius said, sneering at the nurse.
Before Pomfrey could reply, McGonagall strode into the wing. "Poppy, what--" The thin woman stopped, staring at the wing's inhabitants. Her eyes quickly fell on her superior. "Headmaster?"
"Minerva, I'm glad you're here. As you can see, Mr. Potter and Mr. Malfoy's project is going to be delayed slightly. Mr. Malfoy is a bit under the weather."
"Their pro-- Of course, Headmaster," she said, surprising Draco with her quickness.
"After all, we wouldn't want to overwork Mr. Malfoy, would we, professor?" Pomfrey added meaningfully. Draco had told her how grueling his transfiguration exam had been when she'd asked about his day. He couldn't lie to the nurse, now could he?
Lucius eyed everyone suspiciously before glaring at his son. Draco made sure his mind was fully shielded. "I would like a moment alone with my son, if that isn't too much to ask?" Lucius said coldly.
Everyone looked at Draco, and he bitterly wondered how he'd ended up in a room with so many obvious Gryffindors. Even if Pomfrey seemed more like a Ravenclaw. "Of course, Father. I'm sure Madam Pomfrey would be clearing the room soon anyway. I need my rest." Could she catch the clue?
"I must insist that you don't linger, Mr. Malfoy." Pomfrey said smoothly. "Your son has had enough excitement for one day. Draco, I shall check on you in a few minutes and I expect you to be sleeping."
His father waited patiently for everyone to leave, then leaned over his son and said, "What is the meaning of this, Draco? Why are you engaging in a project with Potter?"
Draco was ready for the question. "It's the only way I can possibly outscore that mudblood, Granger, Father. McGonagall despises me, as well you know, but she adores Potter. We will receive the same grade on the project. She cannot penalize me without penalizing her favorite student." He gave his father a wicked grin. "By partnering with Potter, I have assured myself of a grade you can be proud of, sir."
"And this is why you've been in private sessions with Potter?"
"Private sessions with-- Father, has someone been gossiping about me?" He made sure to rein in his innocent look. Lucius always noticed if he laid it on too thick.
Lucius frowned, but eased off the looming. He stood back from the bed, as if remembering Draco might be contagious. "Just idle school chatter. Nothing for you to worry about. Very well, Draco, I will leave you to your recovery. And I expect to be very pleased by your final grades."
With a swish of his robes, Lucius stalked out.
Draco curled his lip at the departing figure. The grades were going to be spectacular, but he doubted his father would be pleased by anything else at the end of term. In fact, he was going to be about as opposite from pleased as one could get. Not only was his son NOT going to follow in his footsteps, but had also managed to fool him completely. No, Lucius was not going to be a happy man.
That had never bode well in the past.
"The Headmaster will make sure he's gone," Pomfrey said, entering the room to hand him a potion.
Draco nodded. "What is this?" he asked, frowning at the flask whose smoking contents he was supposed to consume.
"Something to calm your nerves."
"I'm not--" He stopped, noticing the smoking contents were about to splash over the sides because his hands were shaking. Okay. Maybe Lucius had unnerved the baby a bit and the brat was imposing his anxiety onto Draco. He downed the potion--for the sake of his child.
"A house elf will be bringing you your pajamas, and I want you to get comfortable." She patted him on the shoulder. "Sleep, Draco," Pomfrey advised. "Everything will be okay."
He changed out of his clothes, then slipped into bed and obediently closed his eyes. But he knew she was wrong. Nothing was okay. His lies had merely bought him a bit of time.
And time had a history of running out just when it was needed.
Harry sat staring at the sleeping Draco. He'd returned to the wing after dinner, needing to see that Draco was all right. He'd had quite the fright earlier. He'd barely reached Dumbledore's office before the older man was shooing him down the stairs and urging him back to the wing. It wasn't until he saw Lucius standing over Draco that he realized why Dumbledore had been in such a rush. The bottom had dropped out of his stomach.
Draco had been amazing. So calm and cool in the face of danger. Gone was the sniveling little coward who'd run in the Forbidden Forest. With the help of their professors, Draco had played Lucius like a violin. If he hadn't been so petrified, Harry would have laughed as Dumbledore's spell allowed them to hear the conversation between the son and father. He knew at that moment that even if he'd been given the choice, he couldn't have chosen a better other parent for a child of his. Draco was brilliant.
And now just as parentless as Harry.
If that was a sobering thought for Harry, he realized how devastating it must have been for Draco earlier. A childhood of expectations, of dreams, soon to be gone. Already gone, actually.
You have quite a heritage to live up to, Draco.
You're going to be just like your father, young man.
You'll be THE Malfoy one day.
Harry was sure Draco had heard all that, just as he'd heard similar things once he'd been introduced to the Wizarding world. But he hadn't had years of listening to it, of dreaming about a future with those images. Now that future was gone, and Draco was going to be surrounded by people who didn't like him, who didn't trust him, who didn't understand him.
Yet, Draco hadn't faltered. He'd lied smoothly to his father's face, had totally given himself over to securing the future he now had, the future which Harry's actions had forced upon him. That took guts...and courage. He chuckled silently. He'd witnessed Draco's inner Gryffindor.
And it had been beautiful.
Maybe...maybe Harry's inner Slytherin wouldn't be so horrible either.
He settled into his chair a little more comfortably and concluded that it wasn't just Draco's future which had changed.
Draco woke suddenly, stiffening when he felt a presence nearby. In the pale glow of candlelight Pomfrey had left about the room, he made out the soft contours of Harry curled up in the squishy chair, glasses dangling dangerously on the end of his nose.
He fell asleep with his smile still in place.
Chapter Nineteen: Seconds' Opinions
"Are you ready to go, Draco?"
Draco turned from the hospital wing's mirror where he was adjusting his robes. After a good night's sleep, and no exams, he felt better than he had in days. "Here to escort me to my dorm, Professor? It's unnecessary."
Snape shrugged. "As your attendant for this evening's affair, it is expected."
"My attendant? I thought perhaps you had changed your mind after your non-appearance yesterday." Draco was still sore that he'd had to face his father with no Slytherin support.
"I was not informed that there was a problem until after the problem had occurred."
"But I told Potter--" Draco closed his mouth. Of course Potter would have gone to Dumbledore first and Lucius had arrived soon after. Satisfied with his appearance, he started toward the door. Snape held it open for him.
"I'm sorry that I wasn't here, but I heard you handled yourself admirably."
Draco nodded. Desperation was often the source of inspiration. "How did my father get in the wing without anyone knowing?" The hallway was empty and he hoped there were no surprises around the corner.
"If the castle is not told otherwise, it will allow entry to the blood kin of its students. The problem has been corrected."
Draco relaxed his guard marginally. "Good."
"I stopped by the wing briefly before I retired, but you were resting."
"Mc--Professor McGonagall's exam was exhausting."
"So I heard. I have spoken to the Headmaster. You will not participate in any practical applications in any of your classes from now on. You also have permission to miss any theory classes, as well. You have taken your N.E.W.T.s. You are no longer a student at Hogwarts."
Draco halted their progress toward the dungeons. "That doesn't mean I have to leave, does it?"
"You have been named as my teaching assistant. That will give us leeway in figuring out what to do with you this summer."
"As long as I'm safe." Snape looked at him. "And comfortable. I thought that was a given."
"Never assume anything with Gryffindors. And speaking of, when I was in London yesterday, I bought these." Snape reached into his robes and pulled out a small velvet box. Inside were two platinum rings. "So that when the binding fails, you'll still have the safety of marriage. Dumbledore has the authority to perform the legal ceremony."
"Thank you, professor. I will, of course, repay you."
"You are repaying me by not following in your father's footsteps."
"I could have," Draco said as they stepped into his dormitory. "If Father had not taken me to the Revelry..."
"You would have come up with some other excuse. Although you talk excessively and are quick to draw your wand, I have never seen you torture animals or find pleasure in blood sports. You are a bully, a braggart, and a bigot. But none of those make you a Death Eater."
"I'm not the one we have to convince," Draco said fatalistically. He was always going to be suspect in the land of Light.
"Are you sure, Draco? I have watched you set Slytherin House's agenda year after year, bending the will of your Housemates to your will. The 'Weasley is Our King' campaign even went beyond the House. And you have Potter himself catering to your every whim."
"Are you suggesting I let myself get knocked up by every Gryffindor on the side of Light?" Draco interrupted with a sly grin, knowing there was no way his professor was advocating getting intimate with the Gryffindors.
"I'm suggesting that set your mind to being accepted, not rejected. You have the gift of leadership. Use it."
"Now that I'm not going to be a Death Eater, you mean?" Draco joked, uneasy with the compliments of his Head of House. Everyone knew he'd only been able to lead the Slytherins was because of his father. It was reflected power and nothing more. As far as the Weasley thing went, it was funny so of course it was popular. No, Draco Malfoy was just a moon--a moon about to lose its sun. The only way to secure that he had a future was to keep his head low and have a successful pregnancy.
"Now that you don't have your father to use as a crutch."
Draco shot Snape a glare. "So I hear the Headmaster is going to turn my humiliation into a spectacle for the entire staff," he said in order to change the subject.
"Think of them as unimpeachable witnesses to your marriage to a willing Potter."
"So I should make sure he's the one who comes up with the marriage idea after the binding fails."
Snape gave a real smile. "It has been an honor to be a teacher to such an apt pupil."
"And just think, Professor, in eleven years--a Malfoy-Potter." Draco patted his stomach.
The smile faded.
"Roooon! Stop admiring your bloody robes and help me!"
"But, Harry, I've never had robes so nice," Ron said, fingering the fine fabric. Black, trimmed in red and gold. Formal Gryffindor robes. "This is a great gift, mate! You know, if it wasn't your wedding day, I wouldn't accept."
"But this is my bloody wedding day and I can't fix this bloody tie thing, so come over here and help me!" Harry stared at the offending piece of white satin. Everything was bloody white. His very high and very stiff-collared shirt. The brocaded vest. The white trousers with the satin seam down the side. And of course, the stupid ascot!
"Here you go, mate." Ron wrangled the cloth into something resembling an ascot, then shoved in the diamond tie-pin.
Harry looked in the mirror and figured it was still wrong, but at least it was on. Now all he had to do was don the white robes that completed the ensemble. And comb his hair.
Maybe he should just get a buzz cut, leaving just a single dark curl to cover the you-know-what.
God, where was Hermione when he needed her? Oh, yeah, doing all those frilly things girls liked to do when they had to dress up.
"So, you're sure the wards have been changed? No scary Death Eaters are going to show up at the ceremony?"
Yesterday's run-in was the first thing he'd told Ron and Hermione about when they arrived. "Dumbledore said he made sure only invited guests would attend."
"Mum's going to have a fit, you know. The first of her boys getting married and she's not even invited."
Harry paled. "I'm sorry I'm disappointing her. Under normal circumstances--"
"But there's nothing normal about this, is there?" Ron questioned shrewdly. "And I'm not talking about Malfoy not being a girl, but Malfoy being Malfoy. And preggers. Only Harry Potter would poke a bloke and end up a dad."
"'Poke a bloke'?" Harry laughed, leaning against the wall to keep from rolling in the floor and messing up his clothes. Then he sobered. "Oh, God. I am going to be a dad. I don't know how to be a dad, Ron. I've never had a dad. And I'm really fucked up, you know? I grew up in a cupboard. I'm either going to be murdered or become a murderer. I ra--" He shut his mouth quickly. "I don't know anything about babies. I've never been a big brother or babysat or-- Fuck all, Ron--I've never even held one of the little buggers!"
"Well, if the neck doesn't break, then you've supported the head properly," Ron said.
"Neck break! Their little necks break?" Harry's mouth hung open in horror.
Ron laughed. "Relax, Harry. Both me and Ginny survived Fred and George, so babies can't be all that fragile. I was just teasing you."
"Yeah, Fred and George, right. But they had your mum to guide them."
"You have her, too, Harry. Any child of yours she will certainly consider a grandchild, so she'll have advice--whether you want it or not."
"I want it," Harry mumbled with a note of desperation.
"But what about the ferret? He might not want a Weasley 'tainting' his heir."
That was a good possibility. Or maybe Draco wouldn't want to have anything to do with direct raising of the child. Did people as rich as the Malfoys actually participate in the day-to-day care of a baby? Was Draco expecting to hire a house-elf or nanny? God, he didn't know what Draco thought about childcare. They hadn't-- They were about to be bound and they-- What were they thinking? They couldn't do this. They barely knew each other and what they knew, they didn't like.
"I can't do this."
Ron brushed an imaginary speck from his robes. "Can't do what?"
"Go through with this binding. Raise a child. None of it."
Ron shrugged. "Barn door's open. Horse is gone. Nothing to it, but to go on from there."
Ron turned and Harry could swear he saw Mrs. Weasley instead of her son. "But nothing, Harry. Get over yourself and start thinking about your family--Malfoy and the baby. You've been a man since I met you, mate. Now is not the time to start having doubts."
Harry blinked at his friend. Then he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "You're absolutely right, Ron. I'm sorry for falling apart like that."
"You're entitled. It's not every day a Potter binds himself to a Malfoy. Oh, Merlin, now I'm petrified," Ron moaned.
Swiping harmlessly at his friend's head, Harry went to look in the mirror one last time. If he squinted real hard, he no longer saw the tattered little waif he'd been the first night at Hogwarts. A man stood before him, aged not only by what had been done to him...and for him (God, he would always hear his mother's cries, even without Dementors being nearby), but by what he'd seen, what he'd done, what he still had to do. Then he relaxed his eyes and the man disappeared. Instead, there was just Harry Potter--overdressed, uncomfortable, and smiling at himself like an idiot.
The ascot was still wrong, however, and he had the perfect solution to that.
"Let's go bother Hermione."
Chapter Twenty: In Full Accordance Of My Own Will And Desire
"Are you ready, Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco stared at his Head of House. He was dressed in his finest robes, his hair was done impeccably, and he knew what he was supposed to say when he stood in front of Dumbledore and the assembled witches and wizards. But he was far from ready. "What the fuck am I doing?" he whispered to himself.
Apparently he didn't whisper as softly as he thought because Snape answered him. "Saving yourself and the Malfoy line."
Was that enough of a reason to marry Harry Potter? The same Potter who had rejected him, hexed him, been the constant thorn in his side for nearly seven years. Was this the best solution? Couldn't he just--run away and hope for the best?
"I did not think well of this course of action when you first confessed to me," Snape said. "I thought it extreme and desperate. However, upon later review I saw the inherent strength in your plan. You are securing an alliance through the confluence of blood in the form of offspring. Your plan honors the traditions of Wizardry. Your House, which now includes not only future Malfoys, but Parkinsons, Zabinis, Crabbes, et al, will be held in esteem for its dedication to the code by which all of us should live. You have done yourself proud, Draco. I'm honored to stand with you today."
Draco stared at his professor. He looked sincere, but the man was a spy--looking sincere while lying your arse off was a tool of the trade. But. There was no reason to lie, no reason to butter up to him. He was nothing these days. Not Lucius's son. Not the Malfoy heir. Nothing but a sprogged up freak who'd allowed himself--no, to be honest--who'd set himself up to be Harry Potter's bitch. Why would Snape try to curry his favor? Why would Snape say he was honored...unless he really was?
Draco squared his shoulders and followed Snape into the hallway.
Harry opened the door to Dumbledore's office hesitantly, until four hands against his back propelled him inside. After glaring backwards at his so-called friends, he looked around the room, surprised only to see Dumbledore there. The master wizard was in surprisingly tame (and diplomatic) gold robes, trimmed in green.
"Hello, Harry. You're looking very smart."
"Um, you, too, Headmaster. Am I early or something?"
Dumbledore smiled. "No, you're right on time. The others are waiting inside." He gestured with his hand and Harry saw a set of double doors he hadn't seen before--doors that hadn't been there before. Oh, great. Now the castle itself was getting into the act. "We'll wait here for--oh, here they are now. Right on time, gentlemen."
Harry turned to see Draco and Snape enter the office. Snape was dressed similarly to Ron, except for Slytherin trim. Draco was, supposedly, dressed just like Harry--except Harry knew he didn't look as good. The white of the robes accented Draco's coloring, making his eyes more silver and his hair more...just more. "Draco," he whispered, not even fully aware he was speaking.
They shared a look, then both looked at Dumbledore.
"Time to get started," the older wizard said. "I'll go in, then Miss Granger afterwards." He smiled at Hermione who was also dressed in formal robes, although hers were more form-fitting than the men's. "The four of you will follow. All right?"
They nodded and the doors parted magically, revealing rows of occupied chairs. Music started playing and the guests stood. Dumbledore started a slow walk down the aisle, smiling and nodding to his faculty. When he reached the end, he stood and beckoned for Hermione. She hoisted a staff from Dumbledore's desk and a banner unfurled, half depicting Gryffindor's Coat of Arms and the other half, Slytherin's. Proudly, she held the staff upright as she walked down the aisle.
Harry felt a moment of panic, and without thinking about it, he reached out for Draco's hand. He was even too numb to be surprised when warm fingers interlaced with his, and he was only aware that he was walking after a hissed, "Posture," from Snape.
They and Dumbledore ascended a small dais. In the center of the platform was a pedestal holding an orb of light with a coil of golden rope in its center. The rope writhed as if it was a living thing and Harry shivered.
"My friends, I am pleased to be standing in front of you today to officiate at a ceremony that has never been held at Hogwarts. Today, you and I are here to witness the binding of two of our students, a Unitas Binding. As you are aware, a binding is a sacred event, for there can be nothing more sacrosanct than the union of magic to magic by Magic itself. Harry, Draco, are you here by force, falsehood, or folly?"
"Can you verify that, Mr. Weasley?"
"Yes, sir. Harry is here of his own free will."
"Draco is here of his own free will."
"Gentlemen, please turn to the Orbis Magus to make your requests."
Harry went first since Draco, as the person who mentioned the binding first, was in the role of the suitor. Therefore Harry was the one whose petition was the most iffy and if he couldn't continue, then Draco's solicitation would be worthless.
Magic was sometimes very practical.
Harry pushed up his glasses and faced the glowing ball. "Sum of All Magic, I, Harry Potter, do beseech you to search my mind, my heart and my soul, and harnessing the power of the truths unveiled and laid bare, unite all that I am to Draco Malfoy. This I so ask, in full accordance of my own will and desire." He quickly glanced at Draco, then looked at his feet.
"Sum of All Magic, I, Draco Malfoy, do beseech you to search my mind, my heart and my soul, and harnessing the power of the truths unveiled and laid bare, unite all that I am to Harry Potter. This I so ask, in full accordance of my own will and desire."
When Harry looked up again, Draco was staring at him and there was something almost sad in his gaze. Before he could figure it out, there was a gasp from the audience and twin nodules of light shot out of the orb. They swirled around Draco and him, weaving a dense curtain of pulsating sparks. It was strange, but Harry felt no malevolence in the light that was blocking him from seeing the rest of the room. In fact, he felt calm, at peace. He smiled at Draco who was sharing the small column of privacy. Draco smiled back.
Then, the two nodules which had formed the column floated in between the two of them. As they watched, the nodules exploded, blinding them. When vision returned, Harry saw that the light around them was gone. He looked quickly at Draco, but Draco wasn't paying him any attention. Instead, the wizard was staring at the braided rope around his left wrist. Harry looked at his own wrist and saw that it was similarly adorned. Touching it, he found it to be some kind of soft metal, maybe?
"As so it has been ordained by Magic, so it must be," Dumbledore said, his arms outstretched. "Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy have been examined by Magic and found flawless in their devotion to each other. Magic has made hallow their union by placing upon their persons visible ties, warnings that it will not tolerate interference in what it has made one. You, as witnesses, are hereby charged to protect this union, to administer to its care, to defend it against detractors, deceivers, and disputants. Signal your understanding by saying, 'we heed the wisdom of Magic'."
"We heed the wisdom of Magic," the audience said in unison.
Dumbledore smiled. "Witches and wizards, I present to you the bound pair of Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter."
Draco was in shock. The binding--had worked. How? Why? As he stood in the receiving line, shaking hands of people who DID NOT LIKE HIM, he pondered all the imponderables and couldn't figure out if he'd been blessed or screwed. He just didn't know.
"Ask Potter to dance."
He looked blankly at his Head of House, who had been standing protectively behind him and avoiding any and all handshakes.
"You need to lead the first dance, then you can fall apart," Snape told him, rather gently for Snape.
"Okay." He turned to where Potter was standing on his left. Years of training served him well. "Harry, may I have this dance?"
Those who overheard tittered with delight. Draco felt rather nauseated.
"I'm not very good at dancing," Harry warned.
"I am. Just follow me, okay?"
Harry nodded and he guided him out to the floor of the Great Hall which was where their reception was being held. A reception. Dumbledore had gone all out for his golden boy. Well, if he had to be bound to someone, at least it was someone with good connections.
The string quartet drew the song to a close and Draco couldn't even remember dancing.
"You look flushed."
Draco realized he was tired. "I think I'll sit the next one out. Go ask one of the female professors to dance."
"What? I don't know how to dance, remember?"
"Pretend you're me. And don't count under your breath."
"Can I start with Hermione first?"
Draco shrugged. "Whatever. I'm going to sit down."
"Long day." Long week. Long month.
He sank into one of the banquet chairs that had replaced the usual benches. Ah. Relief.
He reached up and took the cup of punch offered by Snape. "Thank you."
"Quite a coup you pulled off." Snape took the seat beside him and sipped on his own full cup of punch.
"Wish I knew how."
"It's simple. You asked Magic to look inside you and it found something you'd apparently hidden from yourself. Understandable if you take into consideration the outside pressure both you and Potter were under to hate each other. When we are young, we are easily influenced. As we age, however--and if we are quite lucky--we discover who we truly are. Or, as you and Potter are concerned, an outside force looks inside and tells you the truth about yourself. You are loved, Draco. Enjoy it."
Draco eyed his Head of House cautiously. "You seem to be taking this well."
Snape's lips thinned in a parody of a smile. "I spiked the punch with a calming potion."
Draco stared at him, flabbergasted by Snape's audacity.
Then he tossed back the whole cup.
Chapter Twenty-One: Draco And Harry Forever
Snape got them both a refill and sat again. "I learned long ago to never question the wisdom of Magic. It gains you nothing."
Draco nodded. And drank.
"You can live with this."
Draco nodded again. He really didn't have a choice, did he? And the Plan was still proceeding--just differently from what he'd envisioned. In fact, if he looked on the bright side, it was a better Plan. Now, he was protected by more than just the baby. He wasn't just the parent of Potter's child; he was Potter's bondmate and the Light couldn't interfere, couldn't get rid of him after the baby was born, couldn't push Potter to get rid of him. The Light was just as bound as he and Potter. You, as witnesses, are hereby charged to protect this union, to administer to its care, to defend it against detractors, deceivers, and disputants. Ha!
"You're smiling. Did I add too much potion?"
"Just trying to 'live with it', Professor."
Snape grunted, but said no more. They sat quietly as the musicians switched from classical to more popular tunes, Draco absently fingering his new "bracelet" and Snape keeping them well-supplied with punch. It seemed--fitting--to sit there brooding with his professor. In fact, it was the only fitting moment he'd had all day.
Bound to Harry Potter. He shook his head. It was truly inconceivable. Sure, he'd thought about shagging Potter. Hell, ninety percent of the school had thought about that. But for the binding to occur, there had to be more than just lust. There had to be--he shuddered--affection...love. Magic had found love inside him for Potter? And vice-versa? That was so wrong. Maybe it was the baby. He was destined to be a powerful being and maybe he wanted his parents to be together. Infant magic was wild and incredibly pure. Convincing Magic itself that his parents loved each other was probably pretty easy.
Way easier than accepting that he might--might--have feelings for Potter.
"Severus, dance with me."
They both looked up at McGonagall. Her expression made it clear she wouldn't take no for an answer.
"I'd be delighted, Minerva."
Draco took a sip of punch to hide his amused snort.
"Malfoy. Or I guess it should be Draco now."
"Whatever, Granger," Draco replied as the girl took the just vacated seat. Leave it to a Gryffindor to ruin a good brood. He hoped Snape had brewed the extra strength version of the calming potion.
"Why aren't you dancing?"
"I just got out of the hospital wing this morning."
"Right." Pause. "The weather's nice this time of year."
She tsked like a fishwife. "For Harry's sake we need to get along. You can start any time you feel like it."
He sighed. Anything was better than Voldemort, right? "Thank you for being our standard bearer today."
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, although I didn't know it at the time. So, is that the standard of your new household?"
"That." She pointed at the banner. Instead of the two coats of arms, it was now one with the griffin and snake intertwined.
"When did that happen?"
"When you two disappeared behind that screen of light."
"Interesting." His mother would die if she knew he was doing such a bad job at small talk. Then again, she'd die if she knew he was trying to make small talk with a mudblood.
"So now that we're practically best mates," she said dryly, "tell me how you did it."
"'How I did it?' Which 'it' are you referring to?" he asked, feeling rather comfortable reinstating his Malfoy sneer. He could always tell Potter she had started it--and he'd actually be telling the truth.
"You and Harry shouldn't have been able to bind."
"And you think I what--performed some dark magic ritual right under the watchful eye of not only the Headmaster, but every professor at Hogwarts? Gee, Granger, I didn't know you thought I was so powerful."
"You had to do something. According to all the books, two people can only bind if they are really in love."
"Then you have your answer."
She rolled her eyes and huffed. "I'm still not sure what you did to make this possible," she muttered, obviously giving up the fight for now.
Draco was too tired to keep the fight going on his own. "Harry and I are now bound, and you yourself vowed to heed the wisdom of Magic. I'd say it was time you got over whatever it is that bothers you about me."
She had the decency to look ashamed. "Good party," she said gamely.
He shrugged. "Courtesy of my new in-law--Dumbledore."
"I guess he is sort of like Harry's family. So are the Weasleys."
Like that was a big secret. "Yes, I know."
"I'm part of Harry's family as well. If you're just using him--"
Draco waggled his wrist in front of her, the binding bracelet glittering in the candlelight.
That shut her up briefly. Then she sighed. "You and the baby are important to Harry, so you're important to me. Harry says you're worried about what's going to happen once your father and the other side find out you've defected. Harry and the Headmaster won't let anything happen to you. And...I'll help any way I can."
Draco nodded. She was a mudblood, but also one of the smartest the Light side had. And help was help. "Thank you."
"Hermione!" Ron came and stood behind her chair. "Malfoy."
"Wanna dance, Hermione? Finally a song I recognize."
"Sure. It was nice talking to you, Draco."
He nodded and distracted himself by looking at Snape who'd been snagged by Madam Hooch. It seemed his professor could benefit from a rhythm potion.
Potter. Good. He needed another cup of punch. "Refill this for me."
"Hermione said you sounded depressed or something," Harry said as he handed over the fresh cup.
"Madam Pomfrey said you needed your rest."
"I agree. Walk me to the dungeons?" He was about to fall asleep and Malfoys never fell asleep in public.
He knew something was up when Potter turned an interesting shade of red. "Professor Dumbledore has given us a room for the night. The honeymoon suite, he called it. I don't know why. I mean, he knows."
Knows it was all a sham. All the professors knew about the pregnancy, but only Dumbledore, Madam Pomfrey, and Snape knew it was the result of a rape. "Yes, well, the old coot has never played snap with a full deck of cards, has he? Just show me where it is. You can come back here if you want."
Potter reached out to help him up. As a testament to how tired he was, Draco didn't complain. "I'm tired, too. Been on pins and needles all day."
"Not to mention sleeping in a chair all night."
Another blush. "I just wanted to make sure you were safe."
After endless goodbyes, they left and Draco was grateful that the room was apparently on the same floor. He wasn't sure he could tackle even one flight of stairs.
"'Draco and Harry forever.'"
Draco rolled his eyes at the password, but was pleased to see the room itself. A very large canopied bed. Pajamas laid out on a light duvet. He walked over to a door. Better bathroom than the prefects had. Too bad he was so tired. He picked up a pair of the pajamas and went into the bathroom. Five minutes later, he was came out and saw Potter messing with the bracelet on his wrist.
"It can't be removed. Even if you cut off your hand."
Potter looked horrified. "Someone actually tried?"
"Someone's ex-girlfriend thought the binding was in error. She slipped the man a potion, then attempted to cut off his hand. The bracelet still wouldn't move from his wrist. Her scream of frustration woke the rest of the house. The man slept through it all and when his bondmate touched his wrist, the hand grew back."
"What happened to the ex-girlfriend?"
Potter gave him a look. "You mean they killed her."
"There wasn't a 'they' involved. Magic does not look kindly upon anyone messing with it improperly. She was found skinned in a room locked from the outside with two guards on duty. Inside there was no knife and no blood. You figure it out."
"Magic can be used for good or bad, but it cannot lie, Harry. Its warnings and its truths should always be heeded."
"So this means?" He plucked at the bracelet.
"That magic considers us one entity. Neither of us can ever be with anyone else."
"You, um, you mean...sexually?"
Draco thought Harry did the shy blush thing quite well. "Yes."
Draco didn't particularly appreciate Potter's disappointed tone. "Someone you wanted to fuck, Potter? Sorry, too late. Should have done so last night. Unless you want to see what the Weasel or mudblood look like skinned alive," he said bitterly. Damn, he should have brought some punch with him. Maybe a house-elf could...
"Don't call them that and no, I don't want to--God, I can't even think about doing something like that with them," Potter said with a shudder. "They're like my sibs."
"Then who? That bitch you panted after fifth year, Cho Chang?"
"She wasn't a bitch--and no. There's nobody in particular I'd like to...have sex with. I just wanted to do it at least once, you know, voluntarily." He ducked his head and yanked off his shoes.
Draco looked at him, wondering what the hell he was going on about. That didn't make any sense. Why would he-- He rolled his eyes as he realized what Potter was thinking. Of all the-- "Listen, Potter, if you think I'm going to be celibate for the rest of my life, you've got more wrong with your head than a fucking scar."
Potter looked at him with sad green eyes. "Draco, sometimes you still flinch even when I warn you I'm going to touch you."
Damn weakness. "I'll get over it in a bit. Besides, I won't be pregnant forever. All I need is a few firewhiskys to relax a bit." And there were several potions that he could take if that didn't work. His Plan did not entail him getting pregnant and losing the true use of his dick, too. Fuck it, at this rate he might as well buy some frilly pants and a bra. "We'll have sex one day, Potter, lots of sex--after the application of every known contraceptive spell, potion, and/or charm, of course."
"Okay," Potter said hesitantly. "But only when you're ready." He stood and headed for the bathroom.
Ten minutes later, he heard Potter come out of the bathroom and-- "Potter, if you don't get your arse out of that squishy chair and into this bed, I'm going to hex you as soon as I wake up." It was one thing for the idiot to sleep in the chair when there was only a single dormitory bed, but it was another when all four of his usual roommates could have fit across the mattress. In fact. the bed was so damn huge, he sensed rather than felt when Harry slid under the covers.
Besides, it was their "wedding" night. "Comfortable?"
"Yes." Potter was scrunched onto the very edge of the bed.
"If you fall out because you're a stupid prat, I will transfigure a squishy chair of my own and bash you over the head with it."
Harry immediately scooted closer to the center.
Draco gave a short, satisfied hum and went to sleep.
Chapter Twenty-Two: Real and Unreal
Harry watched Draco sleep. Despite the long day and restless night, he himself lay wide awake, fully conscious of the fact that he was in bed with his--husband, mate, whatever the hell Draco was now. In bed with--but not sleeping with. Despite Draco's earlier assurance of "lots of sex," Harry was pretty sure that was just typical Malfoy boasting. In his opinion, there were at least three things standing in the way of that being true: Draco was still, and might always be, affected by the rape; Draco was pregnant, which would probably keep him cranky during the pregnancy, and make him think twice about sex after the delivery; and Draco was Draco: once he thought about the actuality of having sex with Harry Potter... Well, according to the Weasley twins, wizarding porn was almost as good as the real thing. That and an agile hand.
He sighed, then stilled as Draco's mouth twitched and the blond rolled toward him. He truly was a beautiful man. It was a good thing he had a nasty disposition; otherwise he'd be mobbed every time he moved. Maybe that was Fate's way of evening the score for those like Harry. Yeah, right, Fate being fair. It was common knowledge at Hogwarts that Fate was a bitch, but this was almost laughable. Draco--the arsehole that had made six and a half years at Hogwarts a pure hell for him every day--well, maybe not every day and Voldemort certainly had played a large part of everything that had gone wrong... Okay, Draco hadn't been his major pain in the arse, but a pain in the arse no less, and now he was--they were bound and having a child. It sounded a little like those shows Aunt Petunia liked to watch when he was doing her household chores.
Moonlight fell through the window and he wondered if it was real or just a charmed image. Sometimes that was an aspect of magic he didn't like--the lack of separation between real and unreal. At times the ceiling in the Great Hall creeped him out. Like a skylight, but not. And if it could be charmed to show the real sky, that meant it could be charmed to show whatever the charmer wanted it to show. It was like--fake nature. The Muggle-born got it when someone complained about it, but those brought up in magic never understood what the problem was.
And that was the problem itself.
Draco, his hair bathed in the real/unreal moonlight, would laugh himself silly, or most probably just sneer, if he knew what Harry was thinking about. Draco would ever understand that there were some things magic shouldn't mess with. Like the sky. The moonlight. Their relationship. In a world devoid of magic, he'd never have a chance with a guy like Draco. Someone like Draco wouldn't have taken the time to piss on a burning Harry if magic hadn't taken everything out of their control. They were together because of a magically-induced rape leading to a magical pregnancy. It wasn't real, but Draco didn't see it that way. Even if their relationship went back to the combative way it had been, Draco would never leave Harry, would never turn his back on what magic had decreed. He was stuck with a scar-headed killer or murder victim. When he should have had a prince or something.
So he had a lot to make up for with Draco. If Draco didn't want to have sex, they wouldn't have sex. If Draco wanted a staff of house-elves, he'd get house-elves. If he wanted to be treated nicely by Harry's friends, he'd be treated nicely--or the offenders wouldn't be Harry's friends anymore. If he wanted his Slytherin friends to hang around all day, they'd hang around. He'd give him everything money could buy and he'd try not to be so "Gryffindor" when it came to heading full speed into dangerous situations.
He wanted Draco not to always regret being bound to him.
He just wanted Draco to be happy.
Draco awakened in a strange, but highly comfortable, bed. Then he remembered it was his "marriage" bed. He and Harry Potter had been bound yesterday. Life definitely had a sense of humor.
Potter stuck his head out of the bathroom door. "You awake?"
"Yes, and I have to pee."
"Oh." Potter scooted out of the door and out of the way.
Minutes later, Draco came out and flung himself across the bed. "This is still the Easter holidays, right?"
"Wake me in an hour or two."
Draco turned over to look at him. "Don't tell me Pansy's damn schedule prohibits me from going back to sleep."
"Not Pansy: Madam Pomfrey. She says you need to have breakfast every day. You're too skinny."
"Too skinny? Look!" He pulled up his pajama top, exposing his stomach. "Look at this lump of fat!"
Harry shook his head. "That's not fat, Draco. It's the baby."
Draco stared at his stomach. The baby. Right. Why hadn't he figured that out? Of course it was the baby.
"Draco? What's wrong?" Harry sat on the bed beside him.
"Fuck it, I'm pregnant," he said, not caring about the awe in his voice.
Thankfully, Harry seemed to understand. "It's real now that you're showing, isn't it?"
Draco shook his head. "It was always real, but I could just...put it aside for long periods of time. Now, I'm going to be lugging it around wherever I go. Life in Egypt is over, Harry."
He watched with a secret smirk as Potter figured that one out. For a moment, he wondered if growing up with muggles had left the wizard with no knowledge of the Nile and foreign lands. Who knew what passed for education among that kind?
Harry reached out tentatively until Draco nodded. Then he placed his hand on the baby lump. "We can do this, you know."
"Yeah. I'm a Malfoy: I can do anything. But..."
"Shit. A baby, Harry. I don't know anything about babies. I'm an only child. The only baby I've ever known is me."
"Well, I knew my cousin Dudley. And I can guarantee that our child won't turn out like him."
"How can you make a guarantee like that?"
"Because, although he might get spoiled rotten, we won't overlook his faults. And we won't be afraid to tell each other when one of us is allowing him to get away with too much. Sometimes I think my aunt knew that Dudley was getting up to mischief, but she was too afraid of confronting Uncle Vernon. Sometimes I wonder if I was part of that fear."
"What do you mean?"
"I--I wasn't wanted. Dumbledore sorta bribed them to keep me. Maybe--maybe Aunt Petunia put up with Vernon's shit all those years because she was afraid Vernon would kick me out."
Draco frowned. "If they didn't want you, why didn't you live somewhere else? You were the Boy-Who-Lived. I'm sure most Wizarding families would have welcomed you with open arms."
Harry shrugged. "It was a blood protection thing, keeping me safe from Voldemort. But it didn't keep me safe from Vernon or Dudley."
"What--what did they do to you?" Draco asked hesitantly. He was pretty sure he wasn't going to like the answer.
"Vernon hates magic, hates the very idea that magic exists. They never told me my parents were Wizards, that they were important people. They told me they died in a car crash and that's how I got my scar. They told me I owed them because they'd been kind enough to take me in--as if they were doing anything else with the cupboard under the stairs."
The cupboard again. "Why do you keep mentioning this cupboard?"
"It was my room until I came to Hogwarts."
"It was your WHAT?"
Harry shook his head and absently rubbed Draco's belly. "I grew up in a cupboard, Draco. I was no more than a house-elf to my aunt and uncle and a punching bag for Dudley and his friends."
"But--but," Draco sputtered, "you like muggles."
"And I like most Wizards, even though Voldemort is one. Labeling a group because some of its members aren't fit to be around is just wrong. Vernon hates me because I'm a wizard and he hates wizards. I don't want to be like Vernon. I don't want to be like Voldemort."
"You hated me because I was a Slytherin," Draco pointed out.
"No, I hated you because you treated Ron like Dudley treated me. And then I hated you because Ron hated you. That was wrong, but by the time I grew old enough to figure that out, you and I had a history of mutual hatred, and I was too stubborn to give that up.
"I hate the reason why I was forced to get over myself, but I'm glad I did. It's nice to have family that's mine and not borrowed from someone else."
Draco felt something well in his throat, but figured it was just gas from Potter petting his stomach. "You mentioned breakfast? Let me go get dressed." He stood, then turned to look at Harry still sitting on the bed. "I don't like muggles, Harry. But I won't undermine whatever you teach our son about them. However, I suggest for your muggle family's sake, you keep them far away him. And while they're at it, they might as well keep the hell away from you, too."
"When I turned seventeen, I was officially free of them. I won't be going back and I won't be exposing my son to them."
"Good. Because if they hated your magic, I'm quite fucking sure they wouldn't want to tangle with mine."
Forty-five minutes later Draco found himself seated at the Gryffindor table. Remarkably he found he had an appetite anyway.
"How did your N.E.W.T.s go, Draco?" Hermione asked, apparently continuing with that whole "let's get along for Harry's sake" idea.
"Can't say--literally. Charmed to keep my mouth shut."
"Oh, of course. So the professors won't have to write new questions. Will you still be attending lectures?"
"Professor Snape says it's optional. But I suspect I'll get bored without somewhat regular attendance."
Weasley's mouth dropped open. "You can skive off classes and you're just going to waste it?"
"What do you expect me to do, Weasley? Sit in the dorm by myself and practice the Dark Arts?" he replied dryly. Jam. He needed jam. Next to Potter, of course. Did he have to go through Potter for everything he wanted? "Pass the jam, Harry."
"Ron didn't mean anything by his comment," Harry said softly as he handed over the container.
"I didn't either."
This was going to be a looong life, and he didn't mean in a good way. Thank God his friends were coming back soon.
"Anybody want to go flying after we finish?" Weasley asked, apparently trying to make amends.
"Draco?" Potter asked, also attempting to make up for prior stupidity.
"Madam Pomfrey has put me on 'no flying' restriction." Potter looked like he was going to say something lame. "But you go ahead. It's time I headed back to the dungeons anyway. Mid-morning nap and all that."
"Didn't you just get up?" Ron asked, puzzled.
Hermione punched him in the arm. "Draco's condition," she hissed.
"Oh. Sorry," Ron said with a shrug. "I don't know much about being preggers."
"Join the club," Draco said dryly. "All I know is that apparently I skipped the upchucking stage, praise Merlin for small favors."
"There's not much information on Progenitor pregnancies," Hermione said knowingly. "I hope you're helping Madam Pomfrey to document this event. It might be a good idea for you to keep a journal of your experience."
Draco shared a quick look with Harry. It wasn't like he was doing anything with the journal Potter had given him anyway. "I'll think about it. Have fun on the pitch, Harry." That was the proper thing for a newly bound partner to say, right?
"Thanks, Draco. Do you want me to wake you for lunch?"
"What? That's not on Pansy's schedule?" Draco did a poor job of appearing shocked and Harry laughed, while the other two just looked confused.
"Have a nice nap, Draco." Potter raised a hand to clasp it on Draco's shoulder, but hesitated until Draco gave a slight nod. "I'll see you in a bit, then." He and Weasley walked out, talking animatedly.
"Weasley's handling this better than I thought," Draco mused to Hermione, who stood when he did.
"He's a pureblood; apparently all animosity must stop when there's a baby involved."
"Is that not the way it is for your kind?" Draco winced when he realized how that sounded. Well, at least he hadn't specifically stated, "mudblood."
"Muggles, and therefore Muggle-borns, I suppose, don't necessarily equate being pregnant with an automatic marriage proposal."
At least she didn't sound offended. "But-- that's barbaric. To force a child to suffer because of the sins of its parents."
They started out of the Hall together. "Being a bastard is not considered so bad in the Muggle world."
"You aren't teased about not having a father or being unwanted?"
"I'm sure some people are attacked by the truly ignorant, but--"
"But nothing. If it's all the same to you, I think I'll stay in the Wizarding world, where my son will have both his fathers and he can earn the names he'll be called--not just inherit them."
Hermione sighed. "This is an argument I know I can't win, so I'm not even going to try. Have a good nap, Draco. I'm headed to the library for a bit of research. If I find out anything about Progenitors, I'll let you know."
"Thanks, Gr--Hermione. See you at lunch?"
She waved and he continued toward the dungeons alone. If only his father could see him now: bound to Harry Potter, having conversations with mudbloods, pregnant with the Potter heir...
Now that, he thought to himself, was an acceptable way of being a bastard.