Though we are bound to ground,
held fast by chains of earth,
ever shall we reach for the stars.
Our spirits, they are free.
Draco fought a growing panic attack; only the feel of Harry's hand in his curtailed his need to hyperventilate as the doors of Azkaban swung open.
"Are you all right?" Harry whispered.
Draco nodded curtly, but Harry obviously decided the gesture was a lie. The frown marring his features told Draco he was about to press the issue, so Draco admitted, "Every time I come here, I feel that they will lock me in a cell and confess that I am meant to be locked up."
"What?" Harry asked and then barked a laugh that had the burly-looking guard, six steps ahead, glancing over his shoulder. Harry lowered his voice. "Draco, surely you don't mean that."
Draco shrugged his wings, knowing they were only visible to Harry. They had perfected the Glamour Charm during the past six months and Draco wore it on a semi-permanent basis. He put it on like an additional layer of clothing, barely noticing it. A few people could see through it only because they expected to see Draco's wings. Harry, of course, and Granger and Weasley. And his mother.
"I suppose not," Draco said in response to Harry's question. "But I still feel responsible for certain… events. Without a doubt Molly Weasley held me accountable."
Harry's eyes flashed and Draco could not help feeling a surge of pride when the Auror rose to his defence. "Certain events were dictated by circumstances set up by a madman and you have more than paid your dues for any—"
Draco laughed aloud. He couldn't help it; Harry was simply adorable when he worked himself into a froth, especially when justifying Draco's actions. Merlin, sometimes he still felt like pinching himself to validate the reality of Harry's affection. Draco lifted Harry's hand and pressed a kiss against his knuckles.
A lopsided grin twisted Harry's lips and Draco nearly dragged him into a kiss. Only the catcalls of prisoners as they walked down the centre of the cell-block stopped him. Halting in a corridor of Azkaban in order to snog was not really an option. In fact, snogging in Azkaban at all would be extraordinarily inappropriate.
They reached the end of one corridor, bypassing a variety of inmates, some with blank stares and others who reached out to them with clawed fingers, screaming wildly. Draco shuddered and moved closer to Harry. He hated this place. A spiral staircase led to a higher level, one containing more refined prisoners, Draco knew from his previous visits.
The guard used his wand to open another wooden door with a set of complex spells. He held it open for them—in deference to Harry, no doubt, because Draco never received such courtesy when he was alone. Draco released Harry's hand.
Midway down the cellblock, a set of chairs had been set up in front of a set of iron bars. Draco's mother sat in one, although she rose with a rustle of lavender silk when she spotted them. She walked forward gracefully and smiled as she took Draco's hands and pressed a kiss to his cheek.
"Darling, you're late," she admonished.
Draco flushed, not bothering to explain that Harry was amorous in the morning and they were frequently late. The visions induced by her touch were easily catalogued and pushed aside for later Pensieve review—Hermione Granger was having the time of her life charting each of Draco's portents to see which came true and which did not. He often considered making up something outrageous just to throw off her research, but he did not, of course, since he valued his body parts.
"I'm sorry, Mother," he said and then turned toward the bars to face his father. Lucius' face was impassive, as always. "Hello, Father."
"Draco," he replied. "I see you are still consorting with the unworthy."
Next to Draco, Harry snorted. "It's nice to see you, too, Lucius. Are your sheets a high enough thread count, or should we arrange to have some silk worms imported?"
"Harry," Draco hissed. "You promised not to argue with him this time!"
"I was not arguing. I simply asked a question."
The guard snorted a laugh and several sets of eyes turned to him, causing him to cough nervously. He pulled out his wand and cast a Muffliato to give them some privacy before shuffling back a few steps. Draco knew damned well he could hear every word, but at least the other prisoners on the block would not be privy to their conversation.
"Lucius," Draco's mother admonished. "Be nice."
Draco's father looked horrified. "To Potter?"
Draco couldn't help it; he chuckled. It was just too brilliant, seeing his father again, and his mother acting so normal, and Harry's exquisite smirk… Well, damn it all, Draco was actually happy, which was something of a revelation, frankly, considering how much he had dreaded this meeting. Of course, the one six months ago had not gone nearly as well.
"To Harry," his mother corrected and gave Harry a reassuring hug. Thankfully, Harry had stopped looking terrified by her embraces sometime during the last month and now he even managed to smile crookedly. Draco made a mental note to reward him for that.
"Thank you, Narcissa," Harry said smoothly. "I am sure Lucius and I will become fast friends once he returns to the Manor."
Draco thought it more likely that Harry's bones would decorate some obscure wing of said Manor, especially if he took his father's current expression into account, so he thought it wise to change the subject. "You are looking well, Father."
"Let's see them, then," his father said in a tone laced with steel.
Lucius' face was set. Even his mother did not dare to argue with that expression. Draco reluctantly dropped the Glamour, which was done by merely not thinking about it any longer. The spell's effectiveness required a limited amount of concentration. Removing it was simple—putting it back would have to wait until they left Azkaban and retrieved their wands. It took the guard a moment to notice—when he did he yelped and staggered back a few steps in surprise. It was a testament to Granger's abilities that the spell had withstood even the magic-cancelling wards of Azkaban. Draco had felt it waver upon entry, but it had held.
Draco's eyes flashed angrily when he turned his attention to his father. "Are you satisfied?" he demanded.
"No," his father retorted. "I will only be satisfied when they are gone."
Draco felt Harry ease closer to wrap an arm around his waist. "They will never be gone, Lucius. Deal with it."
His father's eyes flashed and Draco sighed inwardly. Even with the increased number of visits—Harry had used his influence to allow his father familial visitation every quarter rather than once per year, which had done wonders to improve his mother's mental state—Draco knew it would be a cold day in hell before Lucius accepted what he had become.
"Can't you do something about that?" his father snapped to his mother, waving a hand in agitation.
"Lucius," she said sweetly, "Deal with it."
All three of them gaped at her. She smiled at Draco while his father sputtered wordlessly.
"Do not look at me like that, Lucius Malfoy! I was also displeased at first, but now I have accepted that our son is unique. And you have to admit that Harry's assistance has been beneficial to all of us, you included. I called off the last group of thugs you hired to hurt Harry and I suggest you stop sending them. I will no longer condone such behaviour."
"You what?" Three sets of voices rang together, causing the three men to glance at one another, suddenly bonded by testosterone and shared incomprehension.
Draco's mother ploughed on as though unstoppable. "Draco has never been happier. Harry clearly adores him, as do most of Harry's friends and his acquaintances at the Ministry. You will be out of here soon and I expect that you will not act like an outraged buffoon and destroy the status that we have miraculously regained. In fact, I demand it."
"You demand—?" Draco's father's face turned an unbecoming shade of red. Draco slipped an arm around Harry's shoulders and urged him back a few steps. True to form, his parents began to shout at each other in earnest. Draco led Harry out of range of the Muffliato and then laughed quietly into his hair.
"That was… unexpected," Harry said in amazement. Only a faint, angry buzzing came to their ears, evidence that Draco's mother would not be swayed in her argument. Draco knew his father was doomed to failure, but it was good to see them acting like their old selves again, even with his father still behind bars. Draco was thankful that his mother had finally recognized that Harry had no intention of leaving. Hell, it had taken him three months to accept that fact.
"Well, now that you have two Malfoys on your side, I think Father hardly stands a chance, don't you?"
"Merlin, he actually sent his minions after me? I thought that attack in Northumbria seemed contrived."
Draco frowned. "I should have been watching the coffers more closely. I try to monitor all outgoing payments, but so many of them seem legitimate on the surface…" Draco trailed off and smiled sheepishly when Harry threw him a look. It was not easy having an Auror boyfriend when your father's activities were, at times, questionable.
Harry jerked a head toward the couple. "How long will they argue?"
Draco shrugged his wings, drawing Harry's attention. The Auror lifted a hand and drew it over the feathers in an absent caress. Draco moved closer with a sigh and pressed himself against Harry. "As long as the guards allow it. They once locked themselves in the south parlour and argued for seventeen hours."
"I can't imagine such a thing," Harry said dryly, obviously referring to their last row, which had lasted nearly four hours and thankfully ended in amazing sex that involved Harry slamming Draco up against the wall and entering him from behind while touching Draco's feathers—his breath quickened at the memory and his hand dropped to Harry's arse to give it a gentle squeeze. He masked the movement with one wing, even though the only visible cell was empty.
"Harry," he whispered.
"Merlin, you're gorgeous," Harry said. "It's a wonder we ever leave the bedroom. However, I can't believe you're seducing me in prison."
"Can't you?" Draco asked and mouthed the shell of Harry's ear. A vision pushed at the edges of his mind, but he ignored it—they came with less frequency the more time he spent with Harry. He supposed familiarity made them unnecessary.
Harry groaned. "Fuck, I suppose I can, since all it takes is one look at you."
Draco chuckled, but he felt a rush of warmth just the same. "Romantic sap."
Draco leaned into him, content to do nothing more than breathe the same air and soak in Harry's presence. Merlin, he had probably applied the romantic sap label to the wrong person. He wanted to take Harry home and strip off his clothing one piece at a time. Draco straightened with a sigh as he realized the guard was watching them. Bloody pervert.
"I can't wait to get out of here," he muttered.
"Me, too. Do you want to speak with your father again or…?"
"I'll go with you. Father is bound to do little more than glare and sulk at this point. I would rather not be subjected to it. I suppose you want to torment yourself by visiting the Weaselette?"
Harry nodded. It's… well, I feel I should."
Duty, of course. Draco could not even complain, since it was one of the things that made Harry who he was. "All right. I will come with you."
Harry took his hand and squeezed it. "I love you," he whispered.
"I know," Draco said, preening.
Harry laughed. "Arrogant prat."
"It comes with being a sexy devil."
They made their way to the end of the corridor and down one flight of stairs, closely watched by a different guard who opened the door prior to their descent. The man stared at Draco's wings as if unable to believe his eyes.
"Costume party," Draco explained. "Directly after this visit."
"You don't need to do that, you know," Harry said as their footsteps echoed in the stone hallway.
"I know." Draco often considered showing his wings to the world, instead of only a select few people in his—and Harry's—inner circle, but somehow he preferred to save them for Harry, whose eyes lit up every time he saw Draco, and whose fingers constantly sought out Draco's feathers for a light caress or a tug.
"Are you coming with me only so you can gloat?" Harry asked with a sly grin.
Draco sniffed. "Of course. I am alive, she is in Azkaban, and I have you. I think I'm justified in rubbing in my victory a bit, considering."
Ginny Weasley's cell did not resemble Draco's father's in the slightest. It was much smaller and had few accessories and none of the opulence. There were a number of luxuries, Draco noticed. Soft, colourful blankets covered the hard-looking cot, and several books and feminine toiletries lay upon the single rough-hewn table.
She looked up from a book and got to her feet with a gasp. "Harry!" she cried and flung herself toward the bars. She reached through them and stretched out her fingers, as though trying to beckon Harry close enough to touch. Draco's eyes flashed; he would have none of that.
Thankfully, Harry seemed to agree. He stopped several inches from her outstretched hand. "Hello, Ginny."
"Oh, Harry, it's so good to see you! Have you come to take me out of here? This place is so terribly cold and dreadful, and I've missed you so."
Draco barely refrained from gnashing his teeth. The bint was as mad as her mother. Molly Weasley was incarcerated at St Mungo's. Her insanity seemed to be getting worse, although Draco personally thought much of it was an affectation cleverly utilized to avoid Azkaban.
Harry coughed. "No, I just came to see if there is anything I can get for you."
"My wand?" she asked with a grin.
Harry tugged at his hair and Draco moved behind him to wrap his arms around Harry's waist and partially enfold him in his wings. Ginny's eyes flashed with rage, flicking to Draco only for a moment. She always tried her best to ignore Draco's presence and he enjoyed making it impossible.
"Sorry, I can't do that," Harry said. "Do you need more books? Parchment?"
Tears welled into her eyes and she sobbed brokenly. Her hand was still stretched through the bars. "Harry, please. It's so terrible here. I'm so sorry! Tell them I'm sorry I listened to my mother and Greg. I didn't do anything wrong! It was all their idea."
Draco sneered at her. He had been at her trial—at all of them, actually. Ginny had come up with the plot after becoming chummy with Greg and learning that Greg blamed Draco for Vince's death. She had stolen the potion and helped Greg snatch Draco from Diagon Alley. The well had been on a secure plot of land bordering the grounds of a friend of Greg's father—Greg had remembered it from his childhood and thought it to be the perfect grave for Draco. They had fully expected him to die there, whether from drinking the poison or Pokeby's potion.
Molly Weasley had apparently caught Greg and Ginny discussing Draco's survival and Harry's involvement sometime after Draco's survival became known. Rather than being shocked and upset, she had helped them plot a way to eliminate Draco for good. Harry's involvement in the case had been an obstacle until his revelation had encouraged Ginny to include him, although Draco believed she never meant for Harry to die, only to be Obliviated and have his memory modified to think he was Ginny's adoring boyfriend. Greg just wanted them all dead.
Draco had visited Greg's cell a number of times, but he had finally given up after being utterly ignored. He still send round occasional gifts, not letting Greg know who had sent them, although he probably suspected. He also made sure Greg's mother needed for nothing. Draco sometimes wished he had treated Vince and Greg better while they were teens; perhaps everything would have turned out differently.
His guilt was balanced by the knowledge that he would not change anything if it meant losing Harry. He was selfish enough to admit that, at any rate.
"I only want out, Harry! Please get me out!" She began to cry in earnest, until a coughing fit shook her frame. She leaned weakly against the bars.
"Let me get you a drink of water," Harry said and quickly strode toward a pitcher on a small table in the centre of the hallway. Wands were not allowed at all in Azkaban—they had been confiscated at the door.
When Harry was out of earshot, Ginny's coughing ceased abruptly. She glared at Draco. "I'll be out soon," she snarled. "And when I do, I will get you."
Draco snorted. She had been found guilty of theft, kidnapping, and attempted murder. She would not be going anywhere for quite some time. "We shall see. In the meantime, I will be sure to take very good care of Harry."
"I hate you!" she burst out. "I hate you so much!"
"And I will be sure to let the Wizengamot know that their efforts to rehabilitate you have gone for naught," he said in mock sadness.
She shrieked and threw herself at the bars, fingers curling into claws as she reached for him.
"Draco." Harry's voice was mildly chastising and he frowned, holding the pitcher and obviously wondering how to pour a serving for the now-raving girl, who made no attempt to retrieve the tin cup from her bedside table, though she did stop grabbing at the air.
"She started it," Draco muttered.
Harry gave him a fond look and then turned to Ginny. "Our presence here obviously upsets you. I think we'll go."
"Just him!" she shouted. "His presence upsets me! Make him leave, Harry. I want to spend time with you, just the two of us. I know you will love me again if you just give us a chance."
Draco suppressed a snap of his wings with effort. The bloody bint never gave up.
"Merlin, Ginny. You know I love Draco. You helped me to see that. I just wanted to stop by and say hello. I think Ron and Hermione are on their way." Harry's voice trailed off just as the door at the far end of the hallway creaked open. Harry let out an audible breath. "Yes, here they are now."
"I don't want to see them," Ginny said, but it was too late. Harry was already striding rapidly toward them, dropping the pitcher off at the table on his way. Draco hurried to join him and they reached Weasley and Granger together.
"How is she?" Ron asked.
Harry shrugged. "No better. She is still insisting that I will fall in love with her."
Weasley's gaze moved to Draco and he grinned wryly. "No chance of that, eh?"
Draco sneered and pretended to ignore him, even though the bloody prat had grown almost tolerable over the past few months. Draco was even helping the ginger idiot work on a device that would hold him in place on a broom and allow him to fly again. George Weasley frequently assisted them, which was a challenge in itself. Oddly, they all spent quite a lot of time at the Weasley residence. Draco believed it was Harry's way of assuaging his guilt over sending the only Weasley girl to prison and having the matriarch incarcerated in the hospital. Arthur Weasley had been in a state of near-shock for a long time and Draco had thought he might follow Molly's lead and try to destroy them all. Thankfully, a long trip to Romania to visit Charlie appeared to have helped to restore Arthur's usual positive attitude. When he returned, he was much more relaxed and did not seem quite so lost and vulnerable.
"You should go see her, Ron," Granger said gently. "You know she hates me."
Weasley nodded. "All right. I'll be right back. She never talks about much except how she needs to get out so that she can win back Harry from the winged menace here." He made a vague gesture toward Draco and earned a feathered slap on the back of the head. "Oi! Watch the feathers, Malfoy! Harry, can't you keep your stork on a leash?"
Draco growled and stepped forward, but Weasley sent his chair zipping down the corridor. His laugh rang incongruously in the depressing chamber.
Granger shook her head and sighed. "You two are more annoying as friends than you were as enemies." Before Draco could protest, she asked, "Did you see your father?"
"I was wondering why your wings were visible. I'll put the spell back in place once we get outside, if you care to wait for us."
"That won't be necessary," Draco said. "I'm taking Harry straight home once we leave here." He took Harry's hand and gave him a look that left no room to doubt what they would be doing the moment they reached Harry's bedroom.
She giggled. "Godric, you and Harry are insatiable. Do you think it's a side-effect of his wings?"
"Hermione, stop trying to analyze Draco," Harry said in an exasperated tone.
"Sorry. Just curious."
"What about you and Ron?" Harry asked and Draco cringed. "Not insatiable?" He had no desire whatsoever to think about Granger and Weasley's sex life. Or lack thereof.
"That is none of your business!" she said hotly, but a bright red blush on her cheeks suggested they had at least figured out some sort of erotic arrangement. The very idea made Draco wrinkle his nose in dismay while Harry laughed.
"Then stop asking about ours!" Harry said.
Draco concurred. "Speaking of ours, I think we should be going."
"Yes, we really should," Harry added and gave Draco's hand a squeeze. "But don't forget you and Ron are coming to dinner tonight. Kreacher has promised to be on his best behaviour."
Granger wrinkled her nose. "We'll be there. Just don't forget to send a note this time if you choose to stay in bed."
Harry flushed and Draco grinned. That had only happened once. Thankfully, Granger had been smart enough not to seek admittance to the bedroom; she had only knocked on the door to verify they were not dead.
It took longer than Draco liked to retrieve their wands and finally leave the prison environs. When the heavy metal gates clanged shut behind them, Draco flexed his wings and filled his chest with the cold sea air. The sky was overcast and growing dark. It was perfect.
"Shall we fly?" he asked, offering his hand to Harry.
Harry ignored it only to step closer and wrap his arms around Draco's neck and tug him into a kiss. Another vision enveloped him and he let it come this time, since it showed Harry with a brilliant smile on his face, holding a handful of feathers that could only be attached to Draco's wing. Harry looked older and Draco could only hope it was far in the future, and that the vision was true, because Harry looked just as happy as he did at this moment. Draco held him more tightly, kissed him for long moments, and then lifted Harry and shot skyward with a burst of magic and a flash of wings.
Harry wrapped his legs around Draco's hips, silently displaying his trust that Draco would never drop him. Draco let go with one hand, cast a Warming Charm to keep Harry from freezing, and then headed south. As soon as they were near enough to Apparate, he would take them to Grimmauld Place and indulge in his latest game—forcing Harry to lie still while Draco dragged his feathers over various parts of Harry's naked body. Watching him squirm and thrash and pant with growing need was brilliant torment.
Harry laughed with delight as Draco sent them into a downward spiral until they brushed the sea spray. He took them upward again, delighting in Harry's love of flight and, frankly, Harry's love in general. He rolled them over and floated in the air while Harry lay atop him and kissed him, ignoring the wind as it whipped at their clothing and made messes of their hair.
Before long, Draco began to fear losing control and dropping them into the sea. Harry had a way of destroying Draco's concentration, a fact he flaunted whenever possible. Despite the growing danger, Harry seemed to have no fear at all, beaming down at Draco with an elated expression, glasses missing, because they always seemed to fall off somewhere and Draco was forever buying him replacements.
Draco angled them downward suddenly, forcing Harry hold on tightly as Draco headed for a bright patch of green perched atop a rocky cliff.
"I thought we were going home," Harry said when Draco deposited him on the grass.
"We'll get there," Draco promised and then pounced on him, tugging at his clothing with growing urgency.
Harry's hands wrapped around Draco's fingers, as if trying to halt their motion. "But Draco, look how sandy it is here. Last time we… well, you remember! I had sand between my arse cheeks for days! It wasn't fun!"
Draco admitted the argument was valid, but he was not dissuaded. Harry simply looked too edible with his windblown hair and his serious, earnest expression. And even though Harry held Draco's hands, he was not actually stopping the movement as Draco unbuttoned his shirt.
"Fine, I'll bottom," Draco said and yanked Harry's shirt from the waistband of his trousers.
"If we could just—what?"
Draco nipped at Harry's bare shoulder in mock annoyance. "Don't act so surprised. It's not the first time and I know you've been wanting to." In truth, it had taken Draco a few days to decipher what Harry's speculative glances meant. Seeing the gleam in Harry's eyes told him he had been correct, which was something of a relief. Sometimes he still worried that the novelty of having a winged lover would wear off.
Harry pressed a kiss onto his lips and said, "If you're sure." Harry seldom topped, but mostly due to logistics rather than a lack of desire for alternate positions. It was simply easier to deal with Draco's wings that way.
For reply, Draco Vanished the remainder of their clothing and then Transfigured Harry's discarded shirt into a soft blanket, spreading it over the grass to hopefully keep out the worst of the grit.
Draco knelt and then leaned forward to rest his palms on the makeshift blanket. He turned to peer at Harry, feeling a bit like a bloody flying horse with his wings jutting into the air. The thought was so disturbing that he almost called it off and got to his feet again, but then he felt Harry's chest against his back and Harry's arms wrapped around his waist.
"Merlin, do you have any idea how you look?" Harry growled.
Ridiculous? Draco wanted to reply, but Harry's lips touched the back of his neck, nuzzling in that perfect way of his and short-circuiting Draco's thoughts.
"So hot," Harry continued.
"If my father could see me now, he would roll over in his bloody grave. Well, if he were dead, that is."
"Mmmm, and just when I thought this couldn't get any better, you go and make it perfect," Harry quipped.
Draco tried to speak, but Harry's hands moved to his wings, stroking them as he fit their bodies together, and not quite letting go even when he cast the spells that prepared Draco for his entry. Merlin, he was right. It was perfect, especially with the sharp scent of heather and the bracing sea air, and the afternoon sun shining down upon them… And then it was even better with Harry inside him, moving with gentle urgency, giving as well as taking, making sure their pleasure was mutual and that Draco wanted for nothing.
Harry brought them both to completion, murmuring words that were lost on the breeze and muffled by Draco's hair, but Draco knew what they were. He repeated them back using hands and lips and feathers. Someday he would speak them aloud.
The way Draco saw it, even if he lost his wings, as long as he had Harry Potter he would always be able to fly.
~~ FIN ~~
Author's Note: What a crazy ride, yeah? This is now one of my fav fics. I plan to turn my attention to the next HD epic once I get a few more oneshots and sequels out of the way. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! I wish I could answer all comments, but OMG I have been writing so much! *runs off to write more more more* I love you guys! :D PS (I know I never explained what Draco required for Harry's "favour" and I'm sort of hoping to revisit these two for a short story or two in the future.)