Flourishing in Darkness

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the Harry Potter series

Author's Notes: New content, new content, new content, new content, new content...oh my gosh, guys, I'm so excited! There's also some very explicit sexual content toward the middle-ish end of the story so reader beware!

Chapter Seven: The Meeting

July 30

Harry stood in front of the full length mirror. He combed over his hair, fingers shaking despite his best efforts to calm them. He grumbled to himself about how he needed to look presentable. First impressions were important but nothing he'd put on since waking up made him feel comfortable. He either felt too unkempt or too lordly. He wanted Harry, the new Harry, but just Harry and nothing was making him feel quite like himself. Vomiting before he left the flat seemed like a very plausible outcome of his morning. His nerves were so shot he'd spilled spilled tea on the first pair of pants he attempted to wear. He'd changed shirts at least three times already. He groaned softly; a simple meeting should not be causing him so much abject anxiety.

But it's not just a simple meeting now is it? He could hear his aunt's voice so clearly in his head that it made him groan all over again. If he didn't leave now, he was going to be late so he had no choice but to leave in what he was currently wearing whether he liked it or not. Had he not needed to grab his watch from the dresser he probably would have left the flat with a permanent frown on his face. Beneath his watch was a letter from Snogok informing him that The Burrow had been burned to the ground and that Albus was frantically trying to gain access to his vaults again. The day that owl had arrived had been a good day.

"Dudley?" he called out to his cousin and found him sitting in the kitchen with Tibby. The small House Elf and his rather large cousin sitting side by side was an amusing sight. The fact that she was trying to teach him how to cook was even more comical. Harry chuckled though it was humorless and a bit sad. Vernon and Petunia had robbed Dudley of learning basic necessary skills required to take care of himself. It made Harry feel even more anxious to be leaving him for the weekend. Would the two be alright on their own? He found himself gnawing at his bottom lip as he contemplated it.

"Nothing's burning today, that's an improvement," he quipped, trying to diffuse his anxiousness. Dudley looked over at him, eyes narrowed into angry little slits, though it was hard to take him seriously when he was covered almost head to toe in flour. Harry did his best not to laugh, he failed rather quickly on that note.

"Shut up, Harry," his cousin grumbled, flipping a piece of chicken over clumsily.

"What are you all dressed up for anyway?" He hadn't saw fit to tell his cousin about Dragon, not yet anyway. The two weren't particularly on good terms. Had he saved his cousin, yes. No one deserved to be in a household like Vernon's but that didn't mean that he liked his cousin, only that he was a compassionate person. The two males were on speaking terms and that was, for the foreseeable future anyhow, all that they would or could be. There were still some bridges that needed to be mended between the two of them, however, in the short time that they'd been out of Vernon's sight the boy was beginning to blossom. He'd gone from being leery of Tibby to finding great comfort in the House Elf's company.

"I'm going out for a bit. Well, in truth, more than a bit, really. I'll be gone for the next few days but I'll be back after the weekend's over. I've left money for you to get any necessities and such."

"Where're you going?" Dudley eyed him suspiciously, eyebrows cocked upward.

Harry mere looked at him, his facial features slipping into a blank and expressionless slate of indifference "out," he reiterated before nodding and heading out the door.

Devilswood looked pretty much exactly as he was anticipating. Dark and ominous yet strangely cozy despite that. The floors were a dark, beautifully polished wood and the walls were painted a dusty maroon. He liked it, he decided as he slid into a booth relatively close to the door. He'd arrived early in an attempt to gain the upper hand as best he could in this situation. Dragon should be arriving within the next ten minutes or so and all he had to occupy himself was let his fingers ghost over the delicate petals of the rose that sat in the middle of the table.

"Can I offer you a menu, sir?"

"Huh?"

"A menu?" Harry had been caught day dreaming. He stopped toying around with the rose petals and looked up, shocked to be staring into a pair of emerald eyes incredibly similar to his own. The girl that stood before him was so pale, she looked like a ray of sunshine among the dark d├ęcor of the establishment. Her flaming red hair it's own sun. He shook his head softly, chuckling awkwardly, feeling his hormones nearly bubbling beneath the surface of his skin.

"No thank you, I'm just waiting for someone," he managed to mumble at last.

She gave him a friendly nod before bounding off, filling up coffee and clearing tables. Harry groaned, feeling his manhood press tightly against the crotch of his pants. The closer he got to reaching his inheritance, the hornier he got and he had no control over it.

"Well, I'm Jessie and I'll be your server if you need anything, love," her smile was absolutely infectious and Harry found himself smiling after she had long gone. He took up playing with the rose again, absentmindedly watching Jessie as she poured coffee and cleared tables. Drinking in the beauty of her was a pleasant way to pass the time until Dragon arrived. Anticipating the arrival of his inheritance was slowly torturing him. He wasn't sure how he was going to struggle through keeping the ordeal from Dragon but he'd made the other boy a promise and he didn't intend to break it. He's suffered through a lot this summer, he was sure he could suffer through just a tiny bit more. What he wasn't sure he could keep suffering through was his random bouts of arousal. He was just about to go into a tortured inner monologue about the stiffness between his legs when his jaw literally dropped open.

"Bloody fucking hell," he muttered under his breath when he saw Dragon waltz into the cafe as if his feet and the clouds in the sky were one. He moved so fluidly that Harry had to rub his eyes for a moment to make sure he was seeing things correctly. Yup, he was. Shit...

"Jade," the blonde slid into the seat in front of him. His face was a stone mask of indifference but if Harry turned his head for a fraction of a second...he was almost positive that he saw a smile trying desperately to invade on the chilled poise of his expression. Had he always been this damn beautiful? Beautiful? No, this was not happening right now... Harry could not handle a situation of this magnitude, not after everything that he'd endured throughout the summer. He had changed, yes, but had he changed that much?

"Bloody fucking hell," he whispered again.

"What? You've waited until we finally meet and decided that you hate me? Do I not meet your expectations?" Draco Malfoy allowed himself a short, dry chuckle at that before slipping into his usual stoic slender fingers delicately brushed a stray strand of platinum blonde hair out from in front of his mercury blue eyes. He was hiding the fact that he felt rejected, Harry realized, and he vividly remembered how scorned the blonde had felt when they'd first met in the robe shop so, so, so long ago. This could be your second chance. You said that you regretted not taking his hand that day, take it now. A voice within him whispered words of such sound logic into him. However, the years of rivalry between the two kept playing before him. He groaned inwardly, eventually he would have to say something, now would be a good moment. Shit...

"It's not that," Harry said slowly. He wasn't sure why Draco wasn't as shocked as he was. Why were they not mutually freaking out and seconds away from drawing wands on each other? He wasn't weak anymore. He wasn't scrawny anymore. He was well dressed now. Some of his glamours had fallen away but not all. Draco didn't recognize him. He didn't know who he was. Shit...

"Well, what is it then? Have you ordered anything? I'm famished." Draco flagged the spot of sunshine down and quickly got menus for the both of them. Harry looked at her, mouth agape, the stiffness in his pants deflated in his confusion. She gave him a charming smile but didn't say a word before vanishing again leaving him alone with Draco Bloody Malfoy in the seat before him. A peeved Draco Malfoy nonetheless.

"You look really good," Harry wasn't sure where that had come from. He looked around, almost as if he wasn't sure who had said it but after a moment of self reflection he realized that he had indeed said it. Stupid hormones. Was he trying to flatter the blonde to avoid a scene? Did he truly find the blonde attractive? He groaned inwardly and tried to collect his thoughts. He needed to figure out how to handle this situation and he needed to figure it out fast.

"As do you, it's about time you said something charming. I, of course, wasn't expecting anything grand but compliments are always appreciated upon meeting for the first time." The blonde scanned the menu carefully and within moments knew what he wanted which gave him nothing but time to stare at Harry intently.

"You don't want to be here," he observed quietly, Harry could detect a hint of disappointment in his voice though he could also sense that Malfoy was hiding it. Harry did his best to regain his composure, his emotions going spastic within his mind, heart, and his pants. What magic was this?

"It's not that." Harry's words were slow and deliberate his brain still wrapping itself around the fact that he'd confessed some of the most intimate details about himself to Draco bloody Malfoy!

"So you keep saying yet you haven't much to say outside of that. What else am I supposed to think?"

"That perhaps I'd like to speak somewhere more...private?" Harry felt as if his entire body was going to turn into pudding. What was wrong with him? Draco took charge within moments, he flagged Jessie down again and put in an order for himself, looking Harry up and down as if scanning him and ordered something for him as well. He told her to have the food sent up to room 247. He then stood up in one fluid motion and produced a key from his front pocket.

"Come along then," he waltzed off, leaving Harry to fumble off after him, his heart beating so hard he felt as if it had split in two and was trying to escape his body through his ear canal. The blonde lead him up a narrow stairwell in the back of the cafe and Harry swore he could hear his footsteps echoing in his soul. Neither boy said a word as Draco lead them up to the second floor and opened up the room they would -provided they didn't kill each other- be staying in for the next few days.

The room Draco had gotten for them was quaint, neat, and unassuming. It certainly looked clean enough and the blonde had saved them the awkwardness of sleeping together by making sure that two spacious full sized beds were separated by a small coffee table that housed a lamp and an alarm clock. Draco perched himself down in a chair near the window. Harry had never realized how piercing his eyes were. Shit...

"Something's wrong with you," Draco said promptly for he was not one to waste time.. Harry groaned again, going over to the door and locking it, banging his head against the slab of wood softly as he sighed, the breath escaping him like a long, slow hiss.

"Something will be wrong with you too, I'd wager," he muttered sarcastically, banging his head again, a little too hard this time.

"Is this the part where you confess to being a Death Eater and decide to kill me on Lord Voldemort's behalf for my betrayal?" Harry whirled around to look at him, half in amusement that he would say such a thing and half in utter disbelief that he thought him capable of something so cruel.

"Something tells me that might be better than what's about to happen next," he admitted, sitting on the corner of the bed closest to Draco, gnawing at his bottom lip. He sighed heavily let his fingers work their way through his hair, revealing his lightening bolt shaped scar and watching the color drain out of Draco's already pale face.

"No," the blonde muttered, his voice just barely above a whisper. He stood abruptly and began to head to the door. Harry sprang up to follow after him. The tiny blonde had his hand on the doorknob before spinning around and shoving Harry into the wall nearest the door. Their bodies were pressed tight together as Draco stared him down, his eyes full of rage though Harry saw hurt shimmering beneath them trapped in a cage of Draco's pride.

"What the hell was all this then, Potter? Some sort of cruel joke? You think it's funny to try and humiliate me? Wait until my father-" he stopped cold, his face somehow getting even more pale.

"What do you want?" he hissed through tightly clenched teeth, his mercury eyes more silver than blue in the fit of his rage. Harry nibbled his bottom lip, willing his erection to stop but something about the crazed look in the blonde's silver eyes was driving him insane. He let his head thunk backward against the wall, face flushed red hot when he felt himself pressed nice and snug against Draco's thigh.

"I don't want anything," he managed to breathe out, avoiding eye contact with the Slytherin at all cost.

"Then why come here, you knew it was me all along didn't you? Didn't you?" He growled softly, shoving Harry again and pacing around the room.

"How could I have known, Malfoy? In what fantasy world of yours could I have possibly known that it was you I'd been talking to all this time. Do you think I would have told you a single iota of what I have if I had any indication that it was you on the other end of that computer? Gods, I know you don't think much of me but Merlin's Beard, give me some fucking credit. I'm not a total fucking moron!"

"That is quite debatable," the other young man drawled, slipping into his usual ways.

"I didn't lure you here, you begged me to be here, Dragon," Harry reminded him.

"Don't call me that," the blonde snarled.

"I'll call you whatever I well please. It doesn't stop it from being the truth just because it pisses you off, you git. I didn't ask to be here, I repeatedly told you no. You asked me to be here, you got your knickers all in a twist downstairs when I didn't compliment you right away. You were happy to see me before you knew who 'me' was and now that you do know you're running scared. Go figure."

"I am not scared, Potter," Harry smiled softly, knowing he'd struck a cord with the blonde's pride. His Malfoy-ish ways wouldn't allow him to run out now, not after being called a coward. He released his hold on Harry and backed away a little.

"Yes, yes, because Malfoys are never scared, right?" He chuckled softly, amused by the antics of the Slytherin. His composure was coming back to him quickly, he wasn't going to allow himself to be poor, meek, "Dumbledore's Golden Boy" Harry.

"What the bloody hell happened to you?"

"You already know the answer to that," Harry smiled at him ruefully, the pain of what Vernon had done to him would take years to heal. Draco at least had the decency to blush at his social blunder. He shook his head softly, pointing a finger up and down at the raven haired wizard in a sort of clarification.

"I meant why do you look so...un-Potter-like?"

"S'pose that's 'cause I'm not a Potter, never was."

"What the hell does that mean? I'm in no mood for jokes, Potter. You've pissed me off enough for an entire lifetime with the events of the day. I don't particularly advise you pissing me off any further."

"Idle threats, Draco," there was a knock at the door making both young men pause. Harry was the one to get up and retrieve the food, bringing it into the room himself after giving the server a sizable tip.

"Eat," Harry commanded, knowing -though he was uncertain why or how- that the blonde would try refusing to eat now that he was upset. Draco sneered at him but picked up his sandwich gingerly, taking a small bite out of it. Harry sat on top of the dresser and stuffed almost half of his cut sandwich into his mouth, his stomach growling loudly at the anticipation of food.

"How'd you get away from your father?" Draco's eyes flashed softly but he didn't say a word. He merely nibbled on his sandwich in silence, his brows knitted together.

Harry sighed loudly before eating his sandwich in a huff, grumbling to himself. He stared down at Draco, annoyed and frustrated with the blonde. He turned toward him and crossed his arms, glaring down at him: composure be damned.

"You're a foul git, you know that?"

"You know how I feel about everything about my family, about Dumbledore, about my so called friends. You know that I was raped, you insufferable fucking git. I know about how your father treats you and what you're so damn afraid of. You're really going to sit here and continue on hating me like I'm not the only person you have who knows what you're going through just because I'm Harry freaking Potter, who, I would like to point out isn't even a Potter because Dumbledore indirectly lead a war against my people which made my mother flee from my father's kingdom so that she could make sure I lived? Don't be an idiot, Draco. Just don't, okay? None of the last few years fucking matter. No, you know what, one thing does matter." He hopped down from the dresser and took the stunned blonde's hand in his and shook it softly.

"I'm sorry I rejected you, all those years ago. Dumbledore already had his hooks in me and I judged you without ever bothering to get to know you and that was wrong no matter what my reasons were. So, I'm sorry, Draco, honest I am. I already know you as Dragon, you already know me as Jade, what's the point in throwing all of that away for reasons that were out of both of our control?"

"I don't know everything, clearly," the blonde pointed out indignantly.

Harry rolled his eyes at him, dropping his hand though something in him almost sighed to be without the feeling of the blonde's skin against his own. He thought it weird but brushed it off for the moment.

"That's all you have to say?"

"Really now, Jade, you should come to expect nothing less from me at this point."

Harry couldn't argue with that. He swiped up the other half of his sandwich and sat down at Draco's feet, running one hand through his hair while he used the other to eat.

"Well, you see..."

Harry told Draco everything. From the moment he'd gotten home that summer up to the point of them meeting now. He told the Slytherin every last detail without ghosting over a single detail. When he was done, Draco could do nothing but stare at him in awe. His face was still it's regular mask of indifference but his beautiful eyes were nearly sparkling as he hung on to Harry's every word.

"Dumbledore's just been keeping you around like a lamb for the slaughter then, hasn't he?"

"That would be a fair assessment, yeah."

"What are you going to do? Dumbledore can't get away with this! That sick, twisted..." Draco was up, pacing around the room. Harry chuckled at that, watching the blonde go back and forth in his little fit of fury. It was cute in an odd sort of way.

"I've got plans for him, don't you worry. First things first was blocking his access to my money, especially now that all of my vaults have been combined."

Draco paused, smirking devilishly "You're richer than my father now, he'd blow his top off knowing that."

"The way he treats you, I'd like to blow it off for him," Draco's smirk fell away.

"If you cross me, Potter, I swear-"

Harry cut him off, "Stop it."

The raven haired shook his head "I'm not going to betray you and unlike many others who've probably said that to you before; I mean it. I'm not Potter, that part of my life is gone and I know that it's all we've ever known of each other...somewhere in your heart for a long time I'm always going to be Potter, this person you can't stand and have tried to break the past six years. I get that, a piece of me can't help to still see you as Malfoy. But, we've seen different sides of each other this summer, Draco. I met Dragon and you met Jade and just because we are who we are and we know that now doesn't mean that the events of this summer don't mean anything. If anything, it means more than the past six years combined, because it was real, Draco. It was real and we were vulnerable and raw and honest.

We can't erase the past few years. We can't take back the nasty things we've said about one another. We can't just wash away all the times we've purposefully hurt one another or cheered when the other failed. But, we can heal, and move forward, and try putting it behind us and work toward something better and more healthy and productive. I'm not sure who I am anymore, Draco, I've gone my entire life with everyone telling me who and what I was. First I was a burden, then a freak, then a wizard, then a Savior, then I realize that the only thing I have been my entire life is a damned puppet because I've allowed everyone else to live for me. I don't want to fight with you anymore. Every ounce of energy I have for fighting needs to be put toward bringing down Dumbledore and Voldemort. Call it mean or petty or call it whatever you wish but if I'm being perfectly honest I don't have time to betray you."

The blonde rolled his eyes, looking down at the floor though he nodded his understanding of Harry's premise. The Gryffindor had a point though the Slytherin was absolutely loathed to admit it. He'd be damned if he told the insufferable git that he was right verbally.

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July 31st, midnight

Harry had no idea as to how he could be so monumentally stupid to believe that he could somehow think he could hide his inheritance from Draco. The blonde had tried to stay up until midnight with him but the emotions of the day overrode him and he'd fallen asleep about an hour ago. Harry on the other hand was too anxious to sleep and with good reason. The moment the clock struck midnight he felt as if his entire back were on fire. He shrouded the space around him in a Silence Charm and let the shrieking screams erupt from him with enough force to bring him to tears. His entire body tingled with raw power making him itch, sweat, and shiver from the sheer force of it. He whimpered, wishing desperately that his aunt was there to comfort him. The pain he was experiencing was everything he had feared and so much more. As if that were not enough he felt as if he were absolutely starving. It was moments like this that he thoroughly enjoyed his ability to use wandless magic. He summoned a large platter of food, primarily various meats and grains, sinking his teeth into a slap of steak like a ravenous wolf. He noticed that his teeth ripped into the warm flesh of the meat much easier than they should have. Before he could ruminate on that however, he felt a searing pain harder than all the rest shoot through his entire figure.

"No," he whimpered pathetically, unable to formulate much more than that. His body began to pulsate with an intense white light. He could feel power inside of him twisting and turning like cogs in a clock, each turn and twist sending a powerful shudder through his core. Tears streamed down his face, chocking back ragged sobs as he forced himself to gulp down pieces of meat and bread while his body felt like it was literally trying to rip itself apart. His hunger felt insatiable, the more he ate the more his energy peaked and the pain grew more intense making him hungry all over again. In the fit of his pain he kicked the covers off the bed, panting heavily. From head to toe his body was drenched in a thick layer of sweat, the heat radiating off him only growing as the light surrounding him became more intense.

Though he could block out his cries of agony, he could not however block out the light shining off of him brighter than daylight. Draco was up, waving at him frantically to get his attention but Harry could not hear his frantic words over the power of his own screams. He saw the blonde getting exasperated with him but before he could respond his back felt as if it were being slashed open and his mouth fell open into a fit of screams once more. The blonde sat down on the bed beside him and waited, seeing as there was not much he could do outside of that.

"Water," he croaked hoarsely five hours later, he'd taken down the Silencing Charm. His body was still in an insurmountable measure of pain yet his nerves were shot to it after five hours of constant pain. Draco went to the bathroom and came back with a small plastic cup full of water, hanging it to him gently.

"Do you plan on telling me what the hell is going on?" Harry was lying down on his belly, barely able to move but he took the water with weak arms and downed it in one gulp. He let the cup fall to the floor and watched it roll off toward the dresser.

"Told you, inheritance was coming."

"Well you didn't tell me it would be like this!"

"Draco...headache," the blonde scowled darkly. He wanted to rant and rave and complain and yell but he couldn't with Harry being in the state that he was in. He would save it for later, he decided.

"Wings."

"W-what?" Harry shook his head wildly and shoved the blonde off the bed roughly. The young wizard placed a Silencing Charm around himself and stuffed his fist into his mouth as a scream high enough to break glass erupted from him. His other hand gripped the bed post, his nails which were no longer nails but short claws clung into the wood with a vice grip. His screams shook his body, or perhaps it was the force of his wings quivering beneath his skin.

"Harry?" Draco looked up from his position on the floor, indignant that he had landed on his arse yet he pushed it aside for the moment.

"Harry..." the blonde watched in awe as a pair of jet black wings burst through Harry's back like doors being blown off the hinges. He stood frozen in place, blood dripping down his pale face as the wings expanded to their full glory. He'd never seen something so beautiful and majestic, even if they were covered in blood. He stepped forward anxiously, wanting to comfort the poor boy who was writhing in pain on the bed but gathered that he would not want to be touched.

"Draco," the other boy whimpered, his voice thin and raspy. His claws unhooked themselves from the bed post and reached out for the other boy with trembling fingers. Thinking nothing of it, the blonde crouched down on his knees beside the bed and took Harry's hand gently, stroking the top of his hand with his thumb. He sat there beside Harry while he struggled to catch his breath, trying his best to suppress a blush. Comforting someone was a new experience for him, he felt useless and uncertain and it didn't help that presumably the glamours on Harry had fallen away. The other male was incredible attractive, not that Draco ever found him unattractive before. However, there was a substantial and noticeable difference. Before Harry looked like "himself" but just older, stronger, healthier, but now, he looked almost like a different person. He tried his best not to pay attention to it. He wantedto be supporting and all the things that he'd been told all his life Malfoy's weren't supposed to be. He truly wanted to be better but it was so noticeable and sitting there stroking Harry's hand while his body contorted in agony was uncomfortable for him. It was something he wanted to distract himself from.

"You don't have to be here," Harry whispered, his voice barely audible but it was as if he were reading Draco's thoughts. It wasn't until he heard the Berserker say those words that Draco realized that despite his discomfort he did want to be there. He shook his head softly, scooting forward to be closer to Harry, lying his face down next to the boy's hand.

"I want to be."

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August 5

Draco was livid with Harry for making him return home days later but his wings were healing and though he nearly died twice, his venom was stable, so that meant there was only one aspect of his inheritance left to go through.

"Why do I have to leave!" The blonde squawked at him angrily, his teeth grit hard, arms folded across his chest as he stared up at the other boy with narrowed slits for eyes.

"Because I'll basically be in a coma, Draco, what's the point of you sticking around for that?" The two of them were trying to eat a meal together. Though it caused Harry a great deal of pain to be upright he wanted to enjoy a nice meal with his...friend? Were he and Draco friends now? Harry was not entirely sure about that. What he did know is that he deeply enjoyed Draco's company and despite his constant harping Harry was assuming that the other boy enjoyed his as well.

"Because what happens if you need something?"

"That's what I've a House Elf for," Harry pointed out.

"Oh, a House Elf, yes, because they're particularly useful."

Harry glared at the Slytherin, he didn't appreciate the insinuation that House Elves were in some way "less than" than Wizards. Rolling his eyes, the blonde caught himself and shrugged in what Harry was learning was as close to an apology as he was going to get.

"I also have my cousin," he reminded his companion.

"Your magically suppressed, oaf of a cousin whose helped torment you for most of your life. Yes, that's a superb team of support that you have assembled there."

"Draco," Harry's voice took a slight bite to it, the young lord resting his fork down on his plate deliberately. He brushed a few wisps of hair out of his eyes and stared down at the blonde pointedly though his facial expression held no malice or anger.

"We aren't discussing this. You begged me to come here, I came. My inheritance aside, I'd like to think we had a nice time together though you were bereft of your manners when you realized just who I was. Much to both our surprised, I've actually enjoyed being here with you and I understand why you may not want to go home but you need to. You've already stayed gone longer than you should have. I don't want you to upset your father and if you continue to stay away from home it won't be long before goes hunting for you. If he does go hunting for you, we both know that he won't do it alone. He'll come searching with a slew of Death Eaters on his heels and I want to keep you as far removed from that as I can. You're acting as if we won't be back at Hogwarts in a few weeks."

Draco Malfoy scowled darkly. He hated new Harry. New Harry was right more than Draco liked to verbalize, not that he ever expressly verbalized it to begin with. Every time he caught himself being upset and wanting to flaunt his Malfoy silver tongue to finesse the situation into getting his way the raven haired Berserk always managed to beat him to the punch. All Harry had to do was open his mouth and truth and reason came pouring out much to Draco's chagrin. The silver eyed boy hated to admit it but it embarrassed him every single time the other boy put it in his place. Of course, being a Malfoy he played off his embarrassment in a cool and confident manner, but the feeling still made him uneasy. He was not used to the feelings that Harry made him feel. They ate their meal together and Harry at least allowed Draco to walk with him back to his and Dudley's flat. It was a fair walk so it allowed the two to spend more time together. They spent most of their time talking about how everyone was going to react when Harry returned to Hogwarts.

"You'll be different then," Draco admitted under his breath as he stood in front of Harry's doorway. The young demon paused at that, not expecting the words to come out of the blonde's mouth. He chuckled softly and shook his head making Draco's cheeks flush with color though he did his best to put an end to the humiliating process. Harry hooked his finger under Draco's chin and raised his face until the blonde was looking up at him. Damn it... the blonde groaned inwardly, feeling his breath hitch in his throat as he stared up into those dazzling green eyes. Ever since his inheritance Harry's already dazzling emerald eyes seemed to be alive with an inner flame. They were brighter and incredibly piercing, constantly shimmering with gold, ruby, and amber flashes like fire dancing behind walls of green glass. Harry smiled that lopsided little half grin of his and leaned in, pressing his lips against Draco's lips in a firm but gentle, reassuring kiss.

Before he could stop himself the blonde moaned ever so softly into the kiss. For a brief moment time stood still on baited breath. Draco forced himself to push thoughts of his father's disapproval and cruelty toward him and how he loved -the fact that he actually could love-aside so that he could enjoy his first , he allowed his arms to snake around Harry's neck, pulling him closer against him turning the chaste kiss into something more passionate. He didn't want anything to matter outside of this moment. Harry reciprocated the advance by moving the hand under Draco's chin up into his silky platinum hair, his free hand gripping his waist. The moment that they collided in their embrace Harry's senses went into overdrive, electricity, thunder, and fire rumbling within his blood simultaneously. He didn't know that it would turn out like this but he wanted Draco Malfoy. No, that was an understatement; he quite clearly needed Draco Malfoy. He pressed harder into the kiss, reveling in the feeling of the blonde pressed against him like he was made to fit against his body. He was made to fit against him so perfectly. Draco was his mate. Shit...

"The only ones who will think I'm different are those who will prove to be my enemies, Draco. You'll be the only one that's truly in my corner," he murmured quietly as he pulled away. His body ached to be pried apart from him but he stuffed that feeling down. How was he supposed to tell the other boy that he was his mate? They were already struggling to be "okay" with how their situation had turned out and learning to reestablish trust due to their long, negative history. He would have to tell him eventually but Harry had no idea how to tell him now.

"September 1st, then."

"Yes, I'll save you a seat in my usual car on the train. You can come watch the festivities between Ron, Hermione, and I. Doesn't that sound delightful, Dragon?"

Draco chuckled at that, imaging the look on the two idiots faces when they saw Harry, how he'd changed, or more accurately became more of himself. It brought him a sense of sadistic joy. Only he truly knew Harry, for one. Also, he wanted to watch them squirm as they tried to piece together the lies Dumbledore has been feeding to them for years.

"Sounds absolutely perfect. September 1st, then."

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August 29

"Harry, c'mon Harry, you've got to wake up. Harry. Harry!" Harry groaned softly, his eye lids feeling like heavy bank vault doors slowly creaking open on their hinges.

"Wha?" was as close as he could get to anything semi-intelligible. With a grunt of effort, Harry managed to prop himself up on his elbows and peer through blurry vision to see Dudley staring down at him. He blinked hard and shrugged at his cousin as if to say "what do you need?" to which his -though still large in comparison to Harry- slimmer cousin set a pile of parchment into his lap. Dudley had slimmed down a fair amount causing Harry to look around bewildered for his calendar. He'd asked either Dudley or Tibby to come in each day and mark off the days while his body went into its comatose state. He felt rested and at peace for the first time since his inheritance had begun. He just wasn't aware that that had been three weeks ago. He groaned softly and sat up fully, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"Something important?"

Dudley shrugged softly "It was starting to clutter up the coffee table and the last owl was a little bugger. I don't like dealing with them owls," he muttered sullenly. Harry chuckled when he noticed that his cousin's fingers were wrapped up in bandages.

"It would seem as though owls don't like dealing with you much either, Dudley. Thank you for keeping track of everything for me while I've been out."

"D-do you...you know, feel better and all?"

"Much. Famished, but I haven't felt this good in a really long time."

"I'll make breakfast then. Read your mail and all that, come to the kitchen when you're done."

"Alright. Thank you, Dudley."

Harry thumbed through the envelopes curiously and chuckled to himself. The first was from Ron, informing him that somehow the Burrow had caught fire and that he and his family would be residing at the Leaky Cauldron until school started and he hoped to see him soon. The next was from Hermione which let him know that perhaps she had reacted too harshly earlier in the summer and that perhaps they could talk through his psychological issues once the fall term started. The next was from Dumbledore, warning him of the troubles and dangers of running off like he knew he had earlier in the summer and that it would be wise for him to stay put until the day of his birthday when Albus would send someone to come collect him. The next two were faux letters of concern from Ron and Hermione inquiring about his whereabouts around the time of his birthday. The one after that had been a very sternly written letter from Dumbledore wishing to know his exact whereabouts as promptly as possible as it was "far too dangerous for him to be wandering about alone and unprotected" Harry had a good chortle at that one. The next letter had been from the Ministry of Magic informing him that his paperwork to attend Hogwarts given his creature lineage had been approved and he would need to carry his copy of the paper work to school with him. Harry waved his hand over the letter and watched as it shrunk down to the size of a business card. He placed it on his bedside table to remind himself to pack it when he prepared his trunk for school. Lastly, he had a letter from Snogok from Gringotts informing him that the public will readings would take place the day before school started. Harry was also informed that should he not wish to come to Gringotts directly he could write out a letter of intent and send it to Gringotts via owl. The letter would of course, he was told, require a drop of his blood as way of signature in order to verify his magical signature. It wasn't until Harry stood up to put the letters on the dresser that he realized all but Snogok's letter was sent to his old address at Privet Drive. Good, he thought to himself. It was nice to see that the spell he'd put over the house was still in tact. So long as anyone else knew, he was still at the Dursley's being a good, obedient, worthless, little pawn as he had been all these years.

Harry walked into his small adjacent bathroom and turned the water on as hot as his skin could withstand and stripped down. He allowed the searing hot water to wash over his taut muscles, sighing as he felt his body release and relax under the soothing warmth. He started mulling over his present options in regard to his first physical strike against Dumbledore, Hermione, and Ronald. He could certainly travel to Gringotts and play his hand. He knew money was taken from his accounts and he had all the physical documentation to prove it. He'd be well within his right, of course, but were would the fun be in doing so in such a direct manner? He wanted to make Dumbledore sweat, in public, in the Great Hall and watch the elder wizard squirm to keep his grandfatherly composure. No, he would write his letter of intent and send it before the evening was through. Plus, if he went to Gringotts, Draco would not be able to relish in the shock between Hermione and Ronald. No, he wanted to share in that with the blonde. Speaking of the blonde, they hadn't spoken in weeks and now just thinking of him for just a moment he was all Harry could think about.

He felt the cells within his body hummed at the thought of Draco pressed against him in the intimate kiss they'd shared. Steam rolled into the room in huge, puffy billows as Harry's brain became increasingly hazy. He sighed, eyes flitting shut he could practically smell Draco's sweet earthy scent aroma of vetiver, chamomile, and lemongrass flooding his nostrils and igniting something primal within him. He felt the vein that ran from the root to the tip of his length twitch softly in mild impatience as he quickly stood at full attention. Yes, it was safe to say he missed his mate even if he hadn't informed the blonde of his particular predicament. He nibbled on his bottom lip, his body a ridged playground of electricity and fire. He grabbed the base of his cock and relished in the moment that their lips connected and he felt a phoenix's flame spreading through his groin, his spirit, his brain, and every inch of himself. He imaged Draco's soft, pink lips wrapped around his head, those burning mercury eyes piercing into his soul before swallowing the entire length of him whole. He used his free hand to lean against the shower wall, his other hand stroking his cock in slow, hard strokes. He thought about the way the power that had radiated off the blonde when he had pulled Harry deeper into the kiss. The way his tiny body fit so snugly against him. Harry was not...small, he imagined Draco's lithe naked body underneath him, struggling to take him in inch by inch. A low rumble reverberating in his throat at the thought of the blonde underneath him, his back arched up in ecstasy, his body writhing in a tantalizing mixture of pain and abject pleasure. He groaned loudly, the water in his hand making it easy to imagine the wet warmth of the blonde's mouth wrapped tight around his cock, the head just peaking over the horizon of the back of his throat.

"Harry!" burning emerald eyes snapped opened and Harry nearly slipped and fell when Dudley's voice came bursting through his intimate thoughts like a gigantic wrecking ball. A low, deep growl erupted from his throat and echoed through the entire bathroom. It caused him to pause, startling him as it was the first time he'd ever made such a noise. His confusion was quickly replaced by a deep, boiling aggravation.

"What?" He screamed back at him, slapping the 'cold' knob in immense frustration until he felt as if he'd been dropped on top of a glacier deep in an Antarctic tundra. He hit the knob with such force that he cursed loudly when it flew off the faucet and jumped on top of his big toe. He glared at it angrily, kicking it softly before snatching it off the shower floor and screwing it back on.

"You're food is getting cold! Are you coming to eat or what?"

"I'll wring his neck," the teen thought darkly, his fantasy not being the only thing that was quickly fading thanks to his cousins intrusion.

"Fine!" Harry growled again, deeper and more frustrated than before. He'd been so close to release. He dried off quickly and tossed on whatever lounge close he had lying about before storming into the kitchen in a huff. He glared at Dudley pointedly, his eyes narrowed into vicious slits.

"What are you on about?" his cousin muttered offhandedly as he went to the fridge for a glass of water. Harry said nothing, he merely picked up his fork with a vice grip and shoveled a pile of eggs into his mouth, chewing sullenly. He'd been so close.

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September 1st

Draco chuckled softly, it felt odd, wandering down the corridors of the scarlet Hogwarts Express' train cars to sit in the cabin that he had -for many years- mocked, mimicked, and tormented Potter and his freakish friends. But, there he was. He strode into the empty car and sat down by the window, elegantly crossing one slim leg over another and waited patiently for Harry. He was unsure how he knew, but he knew that Harry would arrive shortly after him and that they would both be there before the bucked-toothed wonder and her ginger weasel.

"Care if I take a seat next to the most handsome gentleman on board?" Harry strode into the car looking every bit the prince, every bit the lord that Draco knew him to be. Now that the glamours Lily had placed on Harry since practically birth the young man looked like a striking mix between his mother's soft English features and his father's more bold, almost Middle Eastern features. He had his father's almond shaped eyes though they were alight with an inner, uncontrollable flame. Draco smirked, loving the way his dark ensemble contrasted nicely against his creamy skin. He was wearing a pair of dark wash, tight jeans that hugged every curve, every muscle along with red, silk button up that seemed to make his almond shaped eyes dance in the light. He'd trimmed his facial hair clean and sharp against his angular face and pulled his wild, tangled mass of raven waves into a ponytail that could not be tamed. Tendrils of hair fell over his face and across his board shoulders and flowed down his back. In the early morning sunlight, Draco noticed that though his hair was dark as the pit of midnight, auburn highlights that screamed his mother's name ran through his dark mane and almost glittered in the sun as he moved closer to the blonde. He laid his school robes on the seat, Gryffindor patch sitting upright in an almost mocking manner and Draco who couldn't help but notice that the first few button's of Harry's shirt were unbuttoned exposing a delicate definition of his collar bone.

"You can't say anything to me?" the young lord accused, doing a fairly good impression of the blonde's infamous, indignant pout. Draco stared him up and down, drinking in the image of his black wing tip shoes, the dark slacks, and the oxblood shirt that wrapped Harry up in one incredibly perfect package. He was Adonis in the flesh, his skin was practically glowing with a soft, golden-white light that Draco couldn't seem to take his eyes off of.

"You look healthy," the Slytherin cleared his throat much more loudly than he'd intended and stiffened his back against his seat.

"Healthy," Harry laughed, a deep, rumbling, warm sound that made Draco smile in spite of himself. He pat the seat next to him and Harry slid in beside him.

"Hi," he said softly, leaning in and giving Draco a quick kiss on the cheek, delighting to feel the flesh warm almost instantly beneath his lips.

"D'ya hear there's supposed to be some kind of beast at school with us this year?"

"Yeah! Between that and You-Know-Who being back my mum almost didn't send me back to Hogwarts this year. What's Dumbledore thinking letting some blood thirsty animal in school with a bunch of innocent kids?"

"From what my dad told me, Dumbledore doesn't have a choice. The thing's got to be let in until something bad happens."

"Ugh, so someone has to die before something gets done around here? Great, well, if that thing comes at me; I'll blast'em to pieces!"

"Oh goodie, buzz has already gotten around about me. How quaint."

"Yes, quaint, that's what we'll call it."

"Well, he has to be around here somewhere, Ronald! He wouldn't have just not come to school. Let's just go grab a seat, Harry's sure to find us eventually. He always does."

Hermione's voice cut through the commotion of the train's passengers boarding clear as crystal and it brought a dark smirk to Harry's face. He cut a quick look at Draco and instinctively the blonde wrapped one of his slender arms around Harry's and shifted closer to him. He wasn't lying on him though the thought was tempting, however, the two of them looked incredibly cozy. Even though he was sure word of this would get back to his father he didn't care for the moment. Once he got back to school there was nothing his father could do but make idle threats that would have no follow through.

The door slid open and Harry heard Ronald's grunt of distaste before anything. "What the hell are you doing here, Malfoy?" he grumbled, his eyes going back and forth between Harry and Draco.

"I believe the term your dim-witted brain is grasping for, Weasel is 'sitting' but if that seems too complex for you, I'm sure your girlfriend can explain the concept to you later." Harry chuckled softly, missing the blonde's quick wit.

"Shouldn't you be with your own kind, Malfoy? Don't snakes usually slither to the back of the train?" Hermione felt the need to pitch in on her boyfriend's behalf but the derogatory comment toward his mate -whom he still hadn't told was his mate- ticked Harry off. He felt his blood running hot with anger, he wanted to defend him but Draco made it apparent that he didn't necessarily need his protection.

"Ah, yes, that's typically true, but you see; I've ring side tickets to the most comical show of the century. I didn't have to pay for them but, my, oh, my I don't particularly give them up on a whim either."

"Shove off, Malfoy, these are our seats and we're gonna sit here and wait for Harry. You can either leave, or I'll hex you until you leave"

"Oh come now, Weasel, you couldn't hex your own dick out of diseased vagina even if your life depended on it, let alone hex a Malfoy. Your wand would probably back fire, yet again, and leave you permanently disfigured...oh wait, by the looks of you, you already are."

Ron sneered, digging his wand out of his pocket clumsily causing Harry to growl lowly, his arm tightening around Draco's possessively. Hermione's eyes shifted over toward him at the sound, eyeing him uneasily. Harry, knowing Hermione the way that he did knew that she was taking in his appearance, his claws, the faint indication of his claws pressing against the inside of his lips, the ethereal quality to his eyes. He smirked softly, watching the gears slowly turn in her head, after all she was the "brightest witch of their age."

"Ron, don't be stupid!" Hermione said suddenly, tugging on her the Weasley's arm with a covert urgency that was certainly not lost on neither Draco nor Harry.

"No, Hermione, I've had it with this git's foul little mouth. Seems to me like the ferret needs to be put in his place." Ron chuckled, pointing his wand at Draco's face though the blonde seemed entirely unperturbed by the greasy ginger's so called threat.

"Put your wand away, Ronald," Harry said slowly.

"Yes, Ron, put your wand away, please. Let's just go find Harry, we can go find somewhere else to sit. It's not that big of a deal to go getting in a fight over." Hermione pointed out but that only seemed to anger Ron more.

"This coming from the girl who sucker punched Malfoy in the nose in third year!"

Harry growled lightly, forgetting about that. Even though things had been different back then, he couldn't allow himself to look fondly on the memory now that things had changed between him and Draco. He smirked to know that every time he growled it seemed to unnerve Hermione more and more. He flashed her a devilish smirk, being sure to allow his fangs to peek through and a soft, threatening growl to rumble in the space between them.

"What the devil is that noise?" Ron looked around, momentarily confused and disarmed from his anger as he tried to pin point the cause of the rumbling noise. Hermione rolled her eyes at him so deeply Harry half wondered if they would get stuck in the back of her head. She tried to get Ron to turn around but the fiery dust ball knew no limits to his own stupidity.

"No, 'Mione, I'm finally going to teach that little Death Eater ferret a lesson," Ron tried lunging for Draco but he stopped short when he was easily shoved back by the wrist by a deeply enraged Harry. He slid out of his seat in one fluid motion and now stood between Draco and Ron protectively.

"Put your wand away, Ronald," Harry repeated slowly, walking over toward Ron who was struggling to get up off the floor. When he finally did, the young prince was hovering over him by at least a foot.

"Draco's right. We don't want your wand backfiring on you like it did on Lockhart down in the Chamber of Secrets, now do we?"

"How do you know about that?" Hermione grabbed Ron's arm, trying to get him to back down from a fight that he was quite clearly ill equipped for but the red head refused. He snatched his arm away from Hermione and stood toe to toe with Harry, glaring at him suspiciously.

"Ron, we need to go find Harry," Hermione urged as the train began to glide off from the station at exactly eleven as usual. She grabbed hold of Ron's hand, trying fruitlessly to drag him from the car not knowing that Harry had already wandlessly locked the door behind them and put a Silencing Charm around them.

"Don't be stupid, Ronald, this is the boy we got the letters about, the...the Berserker," Hermione whispered none too quietly

"Do whisper a bit more loudly, Hermione, I don't think they heard you in the next car over."

"We don't want any trouble," the girl told him softly, putting her hands up in a nonthreatening matter.

"No, of course you don't," Harry mused, chuckling as he circled them, an amused smile parting his pink lips and spreading across his handsome face.

"Because we're all friends right?"

"We've never met before and with all due respect," Hermione gave Draco a pointed glance before continuing "Anyone who associates with someone like Malfoy doesn't need to be a friend of ours. We're going to go get our own car and wait for our friend Harry."

"My boyfriend is being just a bit hot headed," she felt the need to add in a veiled attempt to diffuse the situation but that, of course, was not good enough for Harry. He chuckled, though it was dark and humorless.

"But that's always been Ron, hasn't it? I mean, the hot temper, the arrogance, oh, oh, don't get me started on the self righteous sense of entitlement and his gross selfishness. You know, what really just drove the nail through the proverbial coffin with Ron? The Tri-Wizard Tournament," Harry chuckled again, that same dry, dark, humorless chuckle that set Hermione's nerves on edge as he ground out each syllable of "Tri-Wizard Tournament" his dazzling green eyes flashing to an almost golden color.

"But, that's always been Ron, and he's always been good enough for you and Harry, right? Everything that's less than has always been good enough for Harry, right? Dumbledore says jump and both of you act like trained dogs ready to say "how high" and you don't care if the person that has nearly died time and time again protecting your sorry arses gets screwed over in the end, right?"

"Harry," Hermione let out a strangled sigh, the gears finally shifting together in her minds eye. She took in Harry's whole appearance for the first time and then she finally noticed his school robes sitting abandoned in the corner.

"It's worse than Dumbledore feared,"

"Oh yes, I do imagine that I'm worse than everything that Dumbledore has feared and you, Hermione, seeing as you're the only one who has a fourth of a brain between you and Ronald here, you are going to deliver a message to our dear Headmaster."

"Why the hell are you hanging out with a twat like Malfoy all of a sudden, I mean, sure, I know we've had our differences, mate but it's 'Mione and me who are your friends!"

"Friends? Friends so long as your pockets stay lined with money out of my vault, right?"

The room grew quiet with a chilly, pregnant pause between the three before Ron, as dull witted as ever went right back on his rant.

"But it's fucking Malfoy, mate. He's a Death Eater and we all know it, Harry!"

"This isn't about Draco whom, I would like to point out, is not a Death Eater, not that it's particularly any of your greasy nosed business."

"Harry, this isn't you," the young prince raised his both of his hands into the air and deliberately clenched them into a fists. Going slowly, finger by finger, he watched with detached satisfaction as Hermione and Ron clutched at her throats helplessly. Harry figured the best way to silence them both was to take away their ability to speak.

"Hush now, teacher is talking," he reminded them coolly.

"I want you, to tell Dumbledore, I know."

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Author's Notes: So, I really, really wanted to get to 20 pages for you guys but you're going to have to settle for about 18 and 1/4th because it's all that I've got in me. I didn't anticipate this chapter taking so long to finish but I'm reasonably proud of how it turned out.