Disclaimer : Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling. I just enjoy messing with her characters.
Warnings : strong language, lemon, rape (non descriptive and not H/D), dub-con, violence, drug use, hints of prostitution, multiple pairings, OCs.
Beta: The amazing MsLefay. Thank you for your tremendous help!
A/N: Thanks for all the reviews and the faves, it means a lot to me!
On another note, chapters seem to get longer and longer, and I know it can be bothersome to read this amount of words in one page, so let me know if you'd rather I cut the next chapters in 2 parts.
There's a lot of talking in this chapter... and a little bit of loving too. The title says it all.
CHAPTER 28 : PILLOW TALK
It was going to be a long night.
Draco and Harry were both seated on the bed, facing the wall. Draco's elbows were resting on his knees, hands joined. Beside him, Harry was trying to make himself as little as possible, hands pressed between his thighs. Only a few centimetres separated them but if felt like miles.
"Why didn't you tell me this before?"
Harry was aware that by confessing the nature of his relationship with the former chairman of the Division, he was opening Pandora's Box. Knowing him, Draco wouldn't leave him alone until he knew every last bit of it.
The brunet worried his lips and cocked his head to the side, searching for a satisfying answer, but it would do no good to sugar coat what had occurred between Anderson and him. Before he could spell it out, Draco was speaking again.
"I should have guessed... This morning, when Higgs gave us names? You looked absent. I should have known you were hiding something from me. Again."
His tone was turning accusatory so Harry got defensive, "What do you want me to say? Dieter got into all kinds of trouble because of me and I wasn't sure I wanted to get him involved in this again."
"It was not your decision to make."
Harry frowned crossly. "Oh yes, then whose is it?"
Draco snorted, letting his exasperation show.
"What?" Harry spat. "I told you, I caused him enough problems."
"Yeah well I don't know if you noticed but we have a bit of a situation here and we need all the help we can get."
"Thank you for reminding me. I know you think I'm being deliberately obtuse but I'm not. I'm trying to explain..."
Harry turned a baleful glance on Draco, trying hard to reign in his temper. The blonde wasn't making it easy for him. So he breathed out and regained a semblance of calm.
"The guy took great risks and lost his job because of me. I'm not ready to barge back into his life. Besides…"
The abrupt way Draco was talking to Harry, looking at him as if he was untrustworthy, made Harry all the more flustered. He turned his eyes away and whispered,
"It was a long time ago. Things were different then."
"You were already using?" Draco asked bluntly, no judgement in his voice, just cold curiosity.
Harry wanted to go at his own pace but the question left him no place to hide.
"I… Yes, I was." He cleared his throat. "I guess a little back story is in order."
His hands gripped the corner of the bed, arms stiff, his whole posture expressing the hardship of going down that memory lane again.
"Jerry… He's the one who initiated me into the drugs scene," Harry scratched his jaw, eyes downcast. "… and the rest. "
A clack of the tongue and his tone turned factual, deceptively detached.
"He introduced me to his 'friends', big wheels, you know, money people, influential ones. There was that judge once, I think… I don't even remember. Lenny used to organize big parties in a crappy hotel he owned. He was cheap like that. But his clients never complained, they didn't come for that. Or maybe they liked that, I don't know... They just wanted to get dirty with 'the freaks'."
Harry ran a hand through his forehead, his fringe falling in place over his eyes. No matter how he phrased it, it would look as ugly as it was. It was only fair that terrible acts should echo in terrible words. Like prostitution, blackmail, rape. Just the sound of it was awful. And with them, painful memories came back to him, images he had willed to forget. The routine of the tricks.
"So he made them taste the goods, and we were supposed to make nice with them," he scoffed. "It went on like that for a while, they came back a few times and once they were hooked, Lenny blackmailed them. He showed them photos, videos he had taken on the sly and threatened to divulge them. With public opinion and families in balance, it was a no brainer."
Harry laughed bitterly.
"I was just another tool, even back then."
He scrunched his eyes, he could feel a migraine coming. And Draco who hadn't said a word, unmoving next to him. It was just as well. Harry didn't need to see the disgust marring his face. That's why Draco's next words hurt so much.
"Did you get paid for it?"
Harry's head whipped around and he pushed himself away from Draco in what seemed like indignation. But he couldn't claim the moral high ground, for there was nothing to deny.
"Money or drugs?" Draco asked.
Harry shook his head as if it would help him clear his thoughts.
"That's not…" He huffed with frustration. The man was grilling him as if it was a damn interrogatory! "Like I said, I was different then! Hell I didn't even realise. For me the only thing that mattered was my next fix. I was so far gone!"
Draco kept a leveled stare, cruel in its blankness. Everything Harry said seemed to bounce back on him. So he lowered his gaze down to the sheets.
"I have no more than scraps of memories. Those years went by like in a dream. A bad dream."
Draco didn't miss a beat. "Let me guess, Anderson was one of those poor mugs?" he said.
"Yes!" Harry snapped. "Yes he was."
He would find no pity in Draco, but that was all right, because he didn't deserve it. Not this time.
Harry kept his anger at bay and resumed, matter-of-factly,
"We met on a regular basis. I liked him, he was nice to me. We didn't just… He confided in me, and he asked me questions about me, my life. He used to give me a few extra quid, just for me. He felt more like a friend than anything else. And I sure as hell needed one. Lenny fleeced him like all the others, and I thought that was the end of it but we met again, later on. He didn't even resent me. He told me he'd seen it coming. I… I didn't understand why he had kept seeing me if he knew. And how could he talk to me like that? Like it was no big deal! He didn't even shout at me, nothing. As for me, I was just glad he wasn't about to get me in trouble."
Draco looked at him attentively, a new clarity behind his grey eyes. The pieces of the puzzle were coming together.
"Enter the Weasleys," he said as it was the logical order of things.
Harry turned to him and nodded.
"I couldn't believe they'd found me. I was such a mess, I thought it was another one of my hallucinations. I brushed them off!" He snorted self-depreciatively. "I wasn't in my right mind and I think that deep down I was ashamed. But they came back to tell me Remus was in one of the Division's Centres, that he needed me. With hindsight I'm sure they could have saved him without me…"
"But they wanted to save you too," Draco ended.
A small smile played on Harry's lips. "And they did. It all clicked. Remus needed me. I finally had the chance to make things right, to resume my life. So I quit everything. Lenny almost got me killed that day, but Ron and Bill got me out and they supported me through the hard times. I came to their place, I was so happy: Arthur was there and Ginny…"
Harry left the subject suspended then waved a hand in the air as if noticing he had strayed from the heart of the story,
"So we started to make plans but we kept coming up against obstacles. We couldn't get far without outside help. And then Dieter came to mind. I knew he had a soft spot for me, so I went back to him. We-" He glanced up at the blonde then lowered his eyes again. "We resumed our affair but it was different. We didn't always sleep together. We talked. Yeah we talked a lot. He wanted to know the whole truth about me. And in return, I asked him about his work and how it operated. Little by little, I was collecting info and it was going fine. Then one day, out of the blue, he asked me who I was trying to help."
Harry smiled and nodded.
"He knew. Dieter always knew. I told him everything and he gave me all I needed. I thought he was crazy but he said he just wanted to lend me a hand."
Draco rose off the bed and backed into the far wall of the room, arms crossed. He looked down at Harry, noticed his forlorn expression and smirked.
"I've got the feeling you spent your time using everybody."
There was sourness in his words and Harry bent down to bury his face in his hands.
"Don't say that," he whispered.
At the brunet's disarray, Draco seemed to regret his words. He crouched down in front of him and sweetened his voice.
"You see, you don't always have the choice."
Harry's eyes were pinned to the parquet. Draco let his words sink in then stood again.
"Besides, Anderson knew perfectly what he was doing. You didn't force him into anything."
"But he lost everything…"
"It wasn't your fault."
"It is!" Harry countered.
They stared at each other in stony silence and the momentum gave weight to Draco's next words.
"He let you use him. If he was a victim, he was a willing one."
There was a new depth in Draco's eyes and Harry was certain there was a double entendre to his words. It wasn't just about Anderson anymore.
Draco drew his hand upward to brush the brunet's face, his fingers wandering along the side of his face. Harry leaned into the caress, Draco's eyes became glazed, caught up in the sweet interlude.
"You look so innocent… It makes people want to debauch you."
His long fingers danced on the brunet's skin and turned to brush his cheek with the back of his hand.
"Hm, if only they knew," Harry breathed out.
Draco's fingers wormed their way into the brunet's hair. "You don't see what I see," he said tenderly.
How sweet those words were, how soothing. The brunet leaned forward and let his forehead fall against Draco's belly. A gesture that spoke more than any words could.
"You see the worst and the best in me," he whispered.
"I do. Yet I'm still here."
Harry let his eyes closed, letting Draco pet his head lovingly, the smell of lilac and Draco's unmistakable scent appeasing him.
To recount the dark road that had led him to Remus had been like laying his entire story flat. The chronology of a failure. Contemplating it, he felt there should be a meaning behind it, some sense to make out of his journey, or perhaps he could find a loophole somewhere, a moment where he could have turned things around. But no, it felt ineluctable.
And it had all led him to this. To Draco. So maybe it was for the best.
"You know we'll have to contact him," the blonde said.
Harry shook his head, his nose buried in his lover's soft bathrobe.
"I know…" he answered, his voice muffled by the cotton.
Harry tilted his head up to meet Draco's eyes, all tentative and nervous. He let his gaze wander over the blonde's torso and held his hand out to touch the skin there, fingers running along the white crossover collar. Then his other hand came to play with the belt, letting the tip slide between his fingers. Draco looked entranced by the playful gestures and let him have his way. Harry lifted his eyes toward him again in a silent request, or a challenge. He pulled on the belt that opened easily, letting appear a thin sliver of skin running the length of the robe. Harry snaked a hand under the cloth, travelling along the much adored skin, then he lowered his fingers still hidden under the robe and moved them down, grazing the blonde hair around his lover's sensitive member.
Draco let escape a breath and closed his eyes with anticipation before meeting Harry's hypnotizing green stare again. Harry had yet to take his eyes off him.
"Are you trying to distract me?" Draco whispered breathily.
Pleasure was written over their bewildered faces and their half-opened mouths. Harry slowly took Draco's cock in his hand, feeling the flesh hardening between his fingers. His long fingers gently ran along its length while his eyes observed the effect of his touch with rapture.
"Is it working?" Harry retorted mischievously.
He leaned down and brushed the hard dick over his cheeks and his lips. The intimate caress was rewarded by a gentle pat on his head. Once he finished worshipping his lover's cock, he brought his hand to his mouth and made a show of licking his palm, his tongue slowly wetting it, then he took hold of the heated skin. Draco unconsciously tilted his head up. An intake of breath. Lidded eyes.
Harry smiled. He was the one in charge, taking control of the blonde's pleasure, deciding the rhythm, and what he would give him. Harry knew how far men could go for this, for his touch. Draco was no different. It was a heady power, one that he had mastered.
The first contact was tentative, Harry's fingers fluttering around the head, hesitant. A ruse. Fake shyness. Draco liked that. It worked every time.
The movements of his wrist were slow at first, establishing a languorous rhythm, little by little, letting the pleasure grow, and grow... then he broke it, accelerating the pace. Draco seemed to approve, his breathing coming shorter and shorter, his legs unsteady, body made useless by the pleasure, his penis the center of his attention. So basic and simple.
Harry liked that, the language of sex, uncomplicated. Like a neutral ground. There was nothing to think about, they just had to let their bodies talk, and their bodies were acutely attuned to each other. There was no way to explain why it worked, it just did. And maybe that was all they needed to know.
With his other hand, Harry parted the panel of the robe to uncover Draco's flesh, his greedy eyes lingering on the erect cock His right hand froze at the base to get Draco's attention. The blonde focused back on Harry's face and it spurred him on. A wanton lick of the lips and Harry lowered his head to kiss the sensitive tip. A moan passed the blonde's mouth, his head thrown backwards.
Harry wrapped his mouth completely around Draco's cock and sucked the extremity, the other hand resuming its steady movement at the base. His lips travelled along the side, caressing all the length, then came up again. He was so concentrated he almost started when Draco's hand closed heavily on his shoulder, almost painful. The blonde was trembling, could barely stand. The tease had last long enough. Harry didn't miss a beat and engulfed him whole in his mouth. His eyes closed. He took his time to taste the skin, to feel its shape and weight on his mouth. A small cry reached his ear and he rejoiced in it.
Breathe through your nose, slow. A little longer. You can take it.
Then he pulled off and took him whole again. He felt Draco's fingers on his head, encouraging him, tightening the further he went. Harry liked the pull of it, the roughness, the way the blonde couldn't hold it together.
"Yeah, just like that sweetheart..." Draco whispered breathlessly. "You love it, don't you?"
The brunet pulled away once more and bobbed his head faster. He was thorough, fixed on his task, coming and going in a steady rhythm, his other hand adventuring lower to fondle him.
"I bet it wasn't like that with him..."
It wasn't the most appropriate time to mule over Anderson or any of Harry's past lovers. They were not images Harry wanted to have when he had his lover's dick in his mouth, but he could see why Draco would feel bitter about it. It had taken years for Harry to get past the shame and disgust of himself. He had let all these men touch him, use him. There was no sexual act he had not performed, nothing he had not seen. And yet, Draco was right. Sex had never been more fulfilling than with Draco, never more intense. It had been the only time sex had felt right. And he would make sure the blonde would never doubt it.
Harry hummed his acquiescence and engulfed Draco to the root, then kept sucking relentlessly with little sounds like hiccups at the back of his throat. He teased him with his tongue again and again until the blonde strengthened his grip on his hair, on the verge of collapsing. Harry grabbed his hips and took him fully, his nose buried in his pubic hair.
"Fuck… Yes, take it... No other one..." the blonde babbled incoherently.
He lowered his hands to frame Harry's face firmly, asserting his control in turn. Harry took his cue and slackened his jaw, letting him do as he pleased, simply a vessel for Draco's pleasure. The rhythm turned frantic, the blonde thrusting wildly in his mouth, fingers buried in his hair, never letting go. It was overwhelming. Harry's eyes were lost ahead, on Draco's skin and hair, his mouth full, abused and it was powerful. He scrunched his eyes, Draco's hips bucking more violently now, then hollowed his cheeks. He looked up at Draco, the green so pure it was sacrilege at that moment. Their eyes met and it tipped Draco over the edge, his body tensing suddenly. The warning signal.
Harry kept his lips tight around him. The blonde took an intake of breath, his grip on Harry's hair so strong it hurt. A sharp thrust and with a strangled cry, he spread himself inside Harry's offered mouth. The brunet couldn't help but brace for it. It was his favourite part, that turning point, suspended and uncontrollable. He let the bitter seed flow down his throat with contentment and ran his hands softly down Draco's thighs. The blonde's whole body sagged while Harry gently milked him.
Silent bliss. A moment of communion.
The soft member left Harry's mouth and the hand on his hair released his grip to gently caress his scalp. A soft hum reached his ear, his head finding its place against Draco's navel. The blonde's fingers kept stroking his nape and the gesture felt motherly, lulling him slowly. Peacefully.
It was in this position that Harry heard the door open and Higg's voice behind him,
Then a gasp.
Still in daze, Draco closed his bathrobe without haste, leaving no doubt about what had just taken place. Next to him, Harry closed his eyes, more annoyed than embarrassed by the man's intrusion.
"Great timing" he said between his teeth.
Harry ran his tongue in his mouth to erase the remnants of their activities and turned to the man. "Terence, may we help you?" he asked with no little sarcasm in his voice.
Draco seemed undisturbed by the interruption, sated and unconcerned, while Harry was seething in front of the man he had seen flirting with his lover. Higgs had the decency to look uncomfortable, his eyes unable to settle on anything, a stark contrasts with the two men's nonchalant attitude in the room. Harry lay down on the bed and stretched like a cat in a provocative gesture.
Higgs resumed, "Draco, I left your groceries downstairs and a few more clothes."
The distracted blonde didn't bother to look at him and Harry was glad at that.
"That's so nice of you," he said mockingly. "Always the thoughtful gentleman."
It was petty but words flew out of his mouth before he could hold them back. Higgs didn't rise to the bait and kept his eyes on Draco.
"I'll be leaving in a few minutes," he informed.
"Alright," the blonde answered. "Let me dress up and I'll catch up with you."
Higgs kept standing there, seemingly waiting for something, but the awkwardness of the situation and the silence eventually chased him away. He closed the door and left the two men alone.
Harry let an audible breath out and spread his arms over the sheets, tapping his feet against the bed. He couldn't hear Draco so he rolled lazily to the side and caught sight of him as he made his way out. A moment later, he was back with two glasses of water. Harry propped his head up on his elbow and stared at him.
"Did you ever sleep with him?" he asked out of the blue.
Draco, understandably taken aback, sighed and put the glasses forcefully down on the nightstand.
"What? It's my turn now, is that it?"
"I'm just curious," Harry answered. It had come close to a whine.
Draco sighed and picked up his glass to drink. He drank slowly and put it back down, expecting Harry to drop the issue, but when he looked back at him, Harry's eyes were scrutinizing him, waiting for an answer.
"Let's not do this," he said.
Harry lowered his eyes submissively but he felt restless, like a child denied. He straightened and fluffed the pillow behind him to settle more comfortably against the headboard. His eyes kept drifting back to Draco who was busy looking for clean clothes. He observed him in silence but it didn't last.
"But can't you tell me?" he burst out suddenly, bending forward in the motion.
The blonde rolled his eyes but Harry didn't care.
"You've never...?" he tiptoed, stretching the last word with the hope Draco would take over.
The blonde shifted and looked him in the eye. "No," he said with emphasis.
Harry's brows shot up. He had obviously expected another answer. "Even back at Hogwarts?" Narrowed eyes were his answer. "Ok, ok..." He made a dismissive gesture with his hand and retreated against the headboard. "Sorry, I won't say another word."
It was a lie. Questions burned his tongue and only a few seconds later, he sat up abruptly and fired,
"Then why did you kiss him?"
Draco raised his eyes to the ceiling. "Because you're impossible!" he answered in a near shout.
Harry frowned and recoiled.
"I never know where I stand with you. I'm a man. I have needs, ok? And you keep pushing me away."
"I see," Harry snorted. "I wouldn't put out, so you just looked for another shag. Wow, thanks for clarifying that, I feel so much better now." Harry was out of bed the moment he finished his sentence. He slipped his underpants on and took off his bathrobe.
"Stop right there, we're not doing this again," Draco warned. He stepped in front of Harry as the latter was slipping his t-shirt over his head. The brunet was stubbornly avoiding his eyes so Draco took his face between his hands and leaned forward. "You're the one I want, make no mistake of it, but you're driving me nuts. I fucked up, but only 'cause I was sure it was over. You're not the only one who's lost here. I might look strong but most of the time, I don't know what I'm doing," he said, emotion evident behind his uncertain eyes.
Harry pulled at his t-shirt's hem to get it straight and let his hands slide, now riveted on Draco. The blonde let his hands drop too.
"I don't know if we're going to make it," he added with a twist of his lips. It wasn't easy for him to admit, that much was sure. "So I try to make the right decisions, to make it work. But you... you're not making it easier on me. You make me weak, and I can't afford to be weak."
The confession unravelled Harry who outstretched his hand to brush the man's cheek.
"I know..." he said, voice caught in his throat. "I know." He smiled. "We're a mess, aren't we?" he said with a half-laughter. "I didn't know it would be so hard, this love thing."
It earned him an unexpected kiss. Draco only took a taste and smiled back.
"Well it is."
He stepped aside, untied his robe cord and let it slide and pool around his feet. Taut muscles were revealed, soft skin. The view was mesmerising, like a strong pull, or a car accident you couldn't take your eyes off. Harry knew Draco's body by heart now but he was no more immune to its beauty. He was lost in contemplation when Draco turned to him again with a knowing smirk. As if caught red handed, Harry scratched his head and sat down on the bed.
The blonde took a fresh pair of boxers out of the chest of drawers, slipped them on and plopped down on the bed by Harry's side. Higgs was momentarily forgotten. Harry's only desire was now to snuggle up into his man and forget about the rest. So he sat up to straddle Draco. Gladly surprised by the change of mood, Draco laughed and put his arms around him. Harry kissed him once, chastely, then a second time. He smiled and nuzzled Draco's head, his nose tickling the fine hair there. His eyes turned up to Draco's face, searching, unnoticed by the blonde.
"Have you ever been in love?" Harry asked.
Draco turned a blank stare to him, probably thinking it was jealousy talking again. One of these silly questions lovers asked for reassurance or some other bullshit couples did. So Harry clarified,
"I'm not talking about me. I meant… before, did you ever love someone? I mean really loved."
Harry could see Draco was little inclined to bare his soul, so he put his hand on his neck to have his full attention.
"You wanted to talk, so let's talk. I'm not the only one keeping secrets. I want to know more about you, about your past. What made you the man you are now."
Draco seemed to consider it. He levelled Harry's gaze and made himself more comfortable against the headboard.
"Once. But it didn't work out."
Harry rearranged his legs around Draco's and whispered,
Draco's head jerked up.
"You knew?" he said with a frown. Harry nodded sheepishly. Draco rested his head back against the bed frame and sighed. "Of course you knew."
Harry weighed his words carefully. It was a delicate matter and he didn't want to offend his lover.
"She hurt you."
It wasn't a question. Harry only repeated what he knew in the hope Draco would fill the blanks.
The blonde didn't speak right away. He stroked Harry's thighs and sniffed. Then he crossed his arms against his chest and looked aside. It was the most defensive Harry had ever seen him.
"She made me believe she loved me but she was working for McCarthy all along. End of story."
Harry, respectful of the distance Draco wanted to put between them, removed himself from his lap and sat besides him echoing his position, back to the headboard.
"How was she?" he asked. He knew it was risky to rekindle that dreadful past but he was curious about Astoria. There were so many parallels between her story and his.
"What can I say?" Draco sighed. "She looked different. She wasn't fooled by my sweet-talk. I wanted to have her and I did. At least I thought I did. We were so much alike... She had to be well-informed. I fell in love with an illusion. I don't know if I ever knew her at all. We had planned to get married."
Harry turned his head to Draco, astounded by the revelation. He had no idea they had gone that far.
"That wasn't in your reports, was it?" Draco said acerbically. "Yeah it was serious. To make it work, I had to be honest with her. I told her everything about me: the trafficking I participated in under Lucius' leadership, all our scams. When she said it didn't change anything for her, I thought I'd die I was so happy!" Draco's eyes drifted in the distance as he huffed. "How naive I was."
He smoothed down the sheet beside him with one hand and sighed.
"One day, I woke up and all her things were gone, there was nothing left of her. Not even a note. I was mad with worry, I thought something had happened to her. And then cops arrived with their warrant. Still, I wouldn't believe Astoria had anything to do with it. I was that blind. Eventually, I found out she was about to testify against me." He pressed his lips into a thin line with an air of careless resignation. "I couldn't deny the evidence. It felt like I aged ten years in the process. "
Draco smoothed his hair down to put up a mask.
"I can't deny it hurt but it made me stronger. She didn't come to the trial and then she disappeared for good."
Harry lowered his head and pushed his legs up to hug his knees. Astoria's disappearance made it so much worse, leaving a wide gap filled with thousands of questions that would remain unanswered. No way to know if she had ever had the slightest feeling for Draco, if she had been forced to do it, just like he had. She would remain an unsolved mystery. Nothing was left of her, no tomb to cry or rage against. Even in death, she had escaped Draco.
"Do you know if..." Harry started tentatively. "If Lucius-"
"I know he killed her. Astoria had betrayed us. She posed a threat."
Another logical reason, cold and uncompromising. The code of the gangs.
Draco had spoken as if he were unmoved by it all but Harry could see the pain was still there, deep and searing.
"I'm sorry," he offered softly. "I'm sorry about Astoria." He swallowed and added, "I'm sorry about me."
Draco stayed distant in his words. "It's McCarthy I blame. If I'd know he would keep grudge all these years... Crazy fucker. He deserves to suffer."
Harry was transfixed by the vengeful anger behind those grey eyes. Then he remembered his own lies and tricks, his silence about his past. Astoria and he weren't so different. If Harry hadn't fallen for his prey, perhaps they would have shared the same destiny. It was not something he wanted to ponder for too long, so he changed the subject.
"The Daphné you talked about with Pansy, is that her sister?"
Draco had a hard time concentrating again.
"Hm. Yeah," he said, still miles away. "She's a good friend, nothing like her sister. She didn't even know about McCarthy. I made sure of it. She used to hang out with us in Reading," he continued, "and after that disaster, she followed us to the villa. She didn't understand Astoria's gesture. She was one of us you know. Pansy grew very fond of her. Between girls, they protected each other. Daphné had to put up with her crisis, she went through the mill with her, especially at the beginning. Back then, she wasn't the Pansy you know. She was wild, hysterical, we were in over our heads with her. But Daphné, she knew how to handle her. She reassured Pansy, she taught her how to calm herself. Then Daphné had to leave, just to get on with her life. And then you came along."
Harry was digesting all this information, pensive. He frowned.
"But if they're friends, why did Pansy freak out when you told her we had to leave and Daphné would take care of her."
Draco straightened up with a huff, tired to dwell on Pansy's story.
"It's complicated. Pansy's parents died in terrible circumstances. They were attacked, killed by a band of fanatics. Pansy closed in on herself after that. And when they put her in one of their facilities for the "risky cases", they treated her like a deranged person, a pariah. They put her on meds and when she became no more than a vegetable, they decided to send her to a foster family, you know, when they were still trying to look good and convince us we'd be treated decently."
"A few weeks in, they kicked her out. Back to the institute with a girl more broken than she was to begin with. When I found her, she acted like a little child, refugee in her own world. She's still scared they'll find her and take her back there. Every time I leave she gets nervous. And to keep her away like that is to leave her behind again..."
Harry elbowed him, a small smile on his face.
"Eh, we'll get back to her soon," he said encouragingly, even though he was not convinced of it himself.
"Yes." Draco patted Harry's knee and made to get up. "Let's go downstairs. Higgs must be getting impatient."
"We wouldn't want that," Harry mocked.
HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP
Downstairs, Higgs had his backpack ready at his feet. Draco talked to him briefly and went in to the living-room to retrieve some papers from his bag. Alone, standing in front of the door, Harry and Higgs were facing, observing each other tensely. It was strange how little they had exchanged during their stay, yet there was so much animosity and tension between them already. Now that Higgs was about to leave though, it seemed very derisive and immature. So Harry swallowed jealousy and pride and held out his hand to the man. Higgs looked at it for a moment then finally shook it. Before the situation could get awkward, Draco was back to give Higgs the papers. They bid their farewell and hugged. Higgs grabbed his backpack and opened the door.
He would head back to London and who knows if they would ever see him again. At this thought, shame filled Harry's heart. He had been scornful with the man just because he had seen him as a love rival. How trivial. As Draco was walking away, Harry caught the door before it closed. Higgs turned at the sound and looked at him. Harry took a contrived air.
"I just wanted to say good luck."
Higgs froze, surprised, then smiled at him. Hands in his pockets, Harry leaned against the door with a warm expression, glad they had a chance to part in peace. Higgs took a step forward and brought his face closer.
"You're the one who'll need it. Death is all over you, I can smell it," he seethed. "And if you don't leave Draco alone, you'll bring him down with you. Mark my words."
Harry's eyes were wide and unseeing, shocked by these words he hadn't expected. Their faces were a breath away from touching, the wind whistling between them, accentuating the stillness of the moment. Then Higgs' face slowly moved back, the scornful sneer that Harry had mistaken for a smile still in place. The words kept ringing in his head and when he regained focus, Higgs was no more than a dark silhouette in the distance.
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Draco's finger traced the outline of Harry's ear, exploring its shape curiously. A faraway look on his face, Harry let him do. He had kept quiet about Higgs' words. They weren't important anyway. It was just silly superstitions, cruel words coming from a jealous man. He was jerked out of his thoughts when Draco pressed on his scar, the brunet's shoulders sagging instantly. The skin was still thin and sensitive there.
Draco grimaced. "Does it hurt still?"
Harry smiled slightly at the concern in his voice and shook his head. "It's fine."
Both men were lying upside down on the bed, Draco's feet resting on the headboard. Sleep eluded them and the fatigue unleashed their tongues, opening long forgotten gates. The ease with which they confided in each other proved they had reached a comfort zone, that they now trusted each other completely. It was also a proof of how little they had really shared until now. But that they could simply share a bed, without secrets or fears hanging between them was a victory in itself.
Draco turned on his back, staring at the ceiling with Harry.
"What do you miss the most?" he asked, crossing his arms behind his head. "From our former lives."
Harry's lips tightened. "Besides the ones who left us..." A sad thought, all the names coming back to him. He dismissed it painfully and searched his mind. Then after a few seconds,
"Just the feeling of magic I guess," he said wringing his hands. "I'd never really noticed I could feel it all the time. But when it was gone, it was like someone had cut my legs off you know? Like I couldn't feel anything..."
Draco nodded wordlessly beside him, eyes haunted. Harry struggled for words, the feeling was indescribable. He balled his hand in a fist and his voice rose higher.
"I felt more... alive." It was the closer way to put it and it felt so depressing.
"Yeah," he heard next to him.
He turned to Draco, his cheek on the sheets. The blonde mimicked him. Their eyes met, nostalgia, sorrow in it, then they drifted away, blinking silently. Harry shifted his feet.
"Flying," he said. "I miss flying."
Draco cracked a smile. "Aww yes, me too."
Harry closed his eyes and the past came back, the sensations so vivid: the wind in his face, the increasing speed, the sky so wide and open, the land spreading out as far as eyes could see.
"The freedom," he said out loud.
"The adrenalin," Draco added, eyes shining with mirth.
"It felt like nothing could stop me."
"Almost nothing," Draco countered with a smirk.
Harry's eyes snapped open and he turned his face to him.
"What? In your dreams! You've never won a Quidditch match against me!"
"Circumstances Potter, circumstances. I could take you anywhere, anytime."
Harry bolted aside to loom over the blonde's face.
"You sore loser! You always had to turn it into a showdown."
Draco laughed at his angry face and teased.
"Come on, you loved to win. With your little triumphant air..."
"Everyone loves to win." Harry shrugged. Draco kept ogling at him with a knowing smirk. Harry let the mask fall and fumbled with the sheets. "Alright maybe I had an extra satisfaction crushing you on the field."
Draco huffed with disbelieving eyes. "Crushing me? Now I've have heard it all!"
Harry broke into a frank laughter. Draco shimmied down further on the bed and crossed his arms behind his head with an amused smile.
"Really, if you think about it, I pushed you to surpass yourself, so your victories are a bit mine too."
Harry nodded ostentatiously, faking agreement. "Sure Malfoy, sure."
Draco didn't seem to react at that but the next moment he jumped on Harry who let out a surprised cry. The blonde pinned him to the bed and captured his lips in a staggering kiss.
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"It's raining again."
Harry was at the window, stark naked and not the least embarrassed by it. It was the most natural thing in the world. Draco and he had just had sex and he still felt him all over his body. He shivered, his body's temperature dropping slowly down now.
"Bring your sweet arse back, it's warmer here," Draco called behind him.
Harry rolled his eyes and turned to the blonde. Draco had opened the sheets, waiting for him with hungry eyes. The picture was so tempting. His steps nonchalant, Harry came back to the bed with deliberate slowness. He put a knee on the mattress, then a hand, crawling like a feline. While well decided to taunt his lover and move as slowly as possible, he couldn't prevent Draco's sudden attack when the blonde caught him around the middle and tipped him over the bed to ravish him. Harry giggled and returned the kiss. He detached his lips from his to whisper,
"I don't think we'll get any sleep at this rate."
Draco, between two kisses,
"Hm… But it's a nicer way to pass the time, don't you think?"
Laughter melted into moans, Harry drifting away in Draco's arms. He stroked the blonde's cheek and looked at him with a smile that too soon faded. Draco frowned. Harry looked so serious and solemn, his head crowned with black against the white sheets, then he suddenly buried his head in Draco's shoulder, one arm wrapped around his neck.
"Why can't we stay like this forever? Why does it have to be so fucking hard?"
Draco began massaging Harry's nape tenderly and answered in an equally misty voice,
"It doesn't have to be."
Harry rolled over on his stomach, his chin resting on his crossed arms. He knew they could start over. A new beginning. Maybe they could do it. Together. But then Draco would have to prove himself. If he followed him to the end, if he helped him find Remus... Yes, that would be the ultimate proof, a commitment toward him.
A warm weight settled over him and he closed his eyes. Draco draped himself on top him, running his hands along Harry's arms. He kissed the skin between the shoulder blades, caressed his neck, his hands lifting the thin hair covering his nape. He dropped a kiss on the skin there and ran his nose over it. He contemplated it, seemingly absorbed by the sight of the pale patch of skin.
"How come you don't have anything?"
Harry titled his head with incomprehension.
"You never told me how you escaped their chips?"
"You never asked me," Harry retorted.
Draco ran his thumb over the designated place in a soothing motion. The skin was unblemished and soft. A unique occurrence.
"I've never see any one of ours that wasn't marked. We all were treated to their welcome gifts," he said, bitterness lacing his words. He ran his fingers on his own nape, the scar rough under his touch, engraved there forever.
"I didn't stay around like everybody else," Harry said, evasive.
"Even for the Wizard Benefit? And their medical care?"
Harry shrugged. Draco shifted aside to look at his face.
"Didn't they find you housing?" No answer. "And their census? You couldn't have avoided it... They were everywhere. I had to go through it, the whole gang did."
Harry leaned his head completely against his arm, sweeping his hand across the sheet with an absent look.
"What happened to you?" Draco asked undeterred.
Confronted with a mute Harry once more, he put his hand on his shoulder.
The brunet groaned, eyes fixed on the sheet.
"I only stayed a few weeks in their 'Welcome Centres', those dreadful factories. So dark and cold. In our bunks each night there were cries and whimpers. And I could hear their stories, about the ones they lost, people turning to dust or found under the rubble. Luna, she died like that, did you know? Buried under her house with her father. And Hagrid. They said he just stopped breathing like all the air had been sucked out of him. His skin dried and cracked, and like ashes, it just flew out of him until there was nothing left of him. Not a trace. Did you know that?" He licked his lips, eyes shining. "I had thought..." A broken, distressed laughter escaped his mouth. "I had stupidly thought he might have survived, that his human part would have saved him... I don't know."
He took a shaky intake of breath and Draco immediately shushed him. "It's ok, it's ok..."
When he felt confident enough to speak without shattering, Harry resumed his story.
"I wanted to know who else had died. I needed to know. I asked the authorities, but they turned me down. I insisted but nothing filtered through. Then I saw the official list. I recognized a few names but I knew there were more. Days passed and I had yet to hear about Ron and the Weasleys, Hermione, Remus and his family, Neville, the professors... It turned into an obsession. I had to find them. I couldn't stand all those crumbled faces, those cries. I felt they blamed me. I knew they blamed me."
Harry rubbed his eyes and his voice sounded incredibly tired all of a sudden.
"I wanted to go. It was the first weeks, people were still trying to decide if we were just a band of loonies. I thought no one would hold me back when I tried to leave, but a band of young recruits caught me at the gates. They started insulting me. I was so angry and desperate, I answered back and I hit one of the guys... It was stupid," he muttered. "They didn't like it..." he said with a dark chuckle. "So they beat me up." He bit the inside of his cheek. The aggression had left its mark on him.
He was glad to find Draco's lips on his shoulder. It was in the past now, nothing but unpleasant memories, dulled by time.
"They didn't even take me back. They just dumped me in the street, I was as good as dead. That's when Spill found me. And he took me in and presented me to Lenny. I was the perfect candidate, vulnerable and miserable. But I didn't want any help. Not when I knew there would be a price to pay. I just wanted to find the others. So the minute I got back on my feet, I left to keep searching, I tried everywhere... but the country was torn apart by then, it was chaos. So I gave up, I persuaded myself everyone I cared about had died. It was my punishment. So I went back to Lenny, just like he knew I would. And I found oblivion. And the little voice in my head that told me it was all my fault disappeared."
As his tale ended, a heavy silence fell in the room.
"You know it's not, right? You're not to blame," Draco offered with a saddened voice.
But Harry wouldn't hear reason. "I should have let Voldemort kill me. I shouldn't have fought."
"And then he would have persisted in his destructive madness and taken over the world!" Draco snapped.
"You don't know what would have happened, no one will ever know!" Harry retorted. "And everything is already gone anyway."
Incensed, Draco raised his voice. "I know one thing: if he was still alive, I wouldn't be here with you. I would be grovelling at his feet, forced to submit and obey. I would be no more than a slave!" Harry hid his face in his arms while Draco continued, "But no, I'm here! I adapted! Only fools wallow in self-pity. Look at you! I've never seen someone this stupid!"
Harry turned but before he could voice his outrage, Draco spoke up.
"You didn't want all this! The monster's not you! If you want someone to blame then blame that snake-headed psychopath! But don't use it as a pretext to stop living! You're the master of your destiny, so live!"
Harry looked stunned by Draco's fevered speech. It had touched him. It was true, life had to go on. He had lost enough years as it was. Draco was staring at him, shaking with the aftershock of anger. Then
"I once knew a boy, brave and confident. No matter what life threw at him, he kept fighting. No matter the danger, or the pain, he kept his head high. I'd like to see him again. I'm sure he's still there somewhere."
Harry smiled tiredly. Draco took his hand and let the silence talk for them. No more was said for a long time.
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A valley. A beautiful valley. Harry's face was resting on Draco's glorious bottom, marvelling at its perfect shape. A wondrous creation. He caressed the left mount with his hand, Draco drowsing, his head nestled on his soft pillow.
"Did you ever submit to anyone?"
The quirkiness of Harry's question had the merit to wake Draco out of his slumber. He lifted his head a bit so his voice wouldn't be muffled by the pillow.
"You would know, you have me around your little finger."
Harry smiled. "No silly, I meant in bed."
"Again, you can be quite bossy under the sheets, baby."
"Cut it out," Harry laughed. "No, I meant..."
Draco smirked and settled his head back on the pillow. "You want to know if I ever took it up the arse? Then the answer is yes, I bottomed a few times. And no, I didn't particularly enjoy it."
Harry leaned back against Draco, contemplative all of a sudden. Interpreting his silence as disappointment, Draco craned his neck to watch him.
"Why? I don't remember you complaining about it before."
"Oh, I'm certainly not," Harry retorted.
"Is that a problem? Would you like to...?"
"No, no. I was just curious."
Draco smiled devilishly and gripped Harry by the waist to turn him around, putting his round bottom on display above his knees.
"What the hell...?" Harry squeaked.
A hard slap answered him.
"It would be too bad to let this beautiful arse go to waste."
Another slap. Mortified by the humiliating position, Harry writhed and tried to bat Draco's hands away.
"Let me go or I swear..." he shouted.
"A threat now? You're overstepping your boundaries darling."
A third slap on top the rosy flesh and Harry thrashed like a wild horse, punching Draco straight in the plexus. The blow hit hard and Draco's face scrunched up like he couldn't breathe anymore. He made a distress sound and instantly, Harry's hands were on him, face riddled with worry.
"Draco? You alright?"
The blonde's head had titled forward, obscuring his eyes and his shoulders sagged.
"Answer me! Draco?"
The blonde uncovered his face and tears spilled from his face, only it was not from pain but from laughter. Harry's body seemed ready to strike him again, fuming.
Draco tried to hug him to make peace but his laughter had barely died down and Harry wouldn't let him hold him. It took a few more attempts but eventually, Draco managed to capture him into his arms. He rolled over him and settled between the brunet's knees, fingers searching his entrance already.
"You think I'm that easy?" Harry croaked out.
"Absolutely," Draco answered with a purr.
His fingers did wonders and soon Harry closed his eyes. He let out a throaty cry and rested his forehead against the blonde's. His feet were on Draco's hips, his arms clinging to his, chest raised from the bed as if he were trying to climb him. Draco lifted one of Harry's legs and turned him on his side before positioning himself so he was kneeling on the bed. He pushed Harry's knee to open him up and slid slowly inside of him. A moment of bliss. He breathed loudly and pushed further inside. Harry scrunched his eyes and waited for the burn to pass, his right leg hanging in the air. Draco put the brunet's calf on his shoulder while keeping his hand on his knee, and thrust. His movements were deliberately slow, savouring the sensation, letting Harry feel him all the way. Harry gripped the pillow under his head and his body undulated sensually.
"Hm... I'm so full of you."
Draco grinned and leaned forward, bending his knee further to get closer to him.
"Look at you. Don't tell me you wouldn't miss it," he breathed out. His hips jerked forward. A moan. Harry's body convulsed and he stretched his arms over his head, his body offered on the bed. "I know you too well."
Harry answered with another moan, eyes closed in pleasure. His body was welcoming whatever Draco was giving him. A vicious thrust from Draco and Harry's eyes popped open with a gasp. They looked at each other with defiance and lust.
"You love this too," Harry slurred. "Filling me, owning me..." His words were having their effect on the blonde. His hand closed on Harry's knee more fiercely, his eyes glowing with a new intensity. "No one knows my body like you do."
And with this, Draco bent forward to capture his mouth, plundering it with passion, their tongues tangling. A string of saliva kept them connected when their lips parted and their eyes stayed linked as Draco sped the rhythm, Harry keening deliciously under him. Draco's mouth twisted, his eyes screwed up with effort. Then he grabbed Harry's other leg and pushed both his knees over his head so the brunet was folded in two, Draco's hands holding his ankles awkwardly. Little cries kept flowing out of Harry's mouth without control as he looked up at the blonde with a helpless air. He could feel the burn inside and out, his ankles would no doubt bruise but he couldn't care less. Draco was going at it like a mad man, his hips jerking frantically as if trying to break the lithe brunet under him. His forehead was pearling, their bodies gliding together with sweat. Draco looked in pain as he did his best to undo Harry, the latter gripping his arms hard, sure his body would give up at any moment. It was all sweat and fire. Then Draco grabbed Harry's wrists and pinned them to the bed, giving him the coup de grace. One more hard thrust was enough for Harry to spill all over himself. Now that he had satisfied his lover, Draco let go in turn and with one, two thrusts, he was done. All the air left him in a big "Oof!" then he patted Harry's thigh with a content sigh. They disentangled themselves messily, their bodies wrecked on the half-undone sheets, panting loudly in the silent room.
"We're a match made in heaven," Draco said breathlessly.
"I'd say," Harry concluded.
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"Shouldn't we get going?" Harry asked.
"Not in this weather."
The rain was raging now, drenching the land and making the trees dance outside. Harry hummed, cocooned as he was between Draco's legs, both sitting on the floor facing the window, Draco' back to the bed. The morning was still young and they were not ready to face the world yet. Draco smelled Harry's hair and brushed it behind his ears.
"What about your affairs of the heart?"
Harry tilted his head aside in question though he couldn't see Draco's face in this position.
"You say I have secrets but you're not an open book either," Draco kept on. "Quite the opposite actually. I dread to find out what you're still hiding from me."
It was the last thing Harry wanted to hear. There could be no more doubts, no more secrets between them. This night would seal this promise. He gripped Draco's forearm and turned his legs aside to bury his nose on the blonde's neck. He deposited a quick kiss there.
"Draco, we said we'd be honest to each other. Ask me and I'll tell you everything you want to know," he said softly.
"I keep wondering how you ended up fornicating with men," he chucked.
Harry shook his head.
"You must admit it's quite a stretch from sweet virgin Ginevra."
Harry's breath caught in his throat at the mention of the name and his eyes wandered away to allow him an instant to himself.
"I'd expected you to be married by now," the blonde drawled, "Ginny would have churned out two or three brats. Heaven knows the Weasley tribe needs to be propagated."
Harry squirmed to get up but Draco imprisoned his legs wile keeping him close to his chest.
"When they found you, you didn't jump into her arms? No trumpets? No fireworks?"
"Things changed," Harry muttered.
"You fell out of love."
"I'm not sure I was in love in the first place," Harry retorted, his tone surprisingly harsh.
"Hm. It has nothing to do with your new appreciation for men then." It earned him a look of reprobation. "What? I don't remember you fancying boys at school."
"And yet I did nothing to hide it."
It peaked Harry's interest and he pushed his hand on the blonde's chest to take a better look at him.
"You dated a boy in Hogwarts? Who?"
"Who said anything about dating? And please, don't turn this around now."
Harry pouted and slumped down against the blonde.
"So when was it?" Draco pried. "Who was your first?"
Harry seemed strangely conflicted. Was it out of embarrassment? A sense of propriety? No, it could only mean one thing: the answer wouldn't please Draco. Apparently, the blonde came to the same conclusion, for he let the question drop with a tight voice.
"You don't have to tell me," he said.
Harry looked at the floor, his eyes somewhat colder.
"It was Anderson."
Draco's face closed off dangerously and Harry wished he had kept it from him when he'd had the chance.
"I see," Draco said, dislodging Harry from between his legs by getting up. He rubbed his temple roughly with the heel of his hand and reached the drawers of the chest, opening them one by one, searching for something. "So he's not just another john or... some friend like you put it."
He banged close one of the drawers and opened another, unceremoniously pushing the things inside.
"Ah there you are," he whispered.
"He is," Harry protested vainly from his position on the floor.
Draco turned around with a bottle of scotch in his hands and scrutinized Harry, eyes boring into his as if looking for a hidden truth.
"Right. The chairman of the Division, no less."
With one swift motion of the hand, the bottle's cap was undone and fell to the floor. Harry followed it as it rolled down and landed under the bed then lifted imploring eyes to the blonde.
"Draco, let's not make a big deal out of this!" he said, gripping the corner of the bed with one hand.
"I'm not!" the blonde bit back, the bottle dangerously tipping down from his hand. "But I can feel a headache coming, so I might as well get wasted."
"Sure, that'll help," Harry mumbled.
Draco narrowed his eyes and swallowed down a big gulp of scotch. He scrunched his eyes and wiped his mouth. He raised the bottle toward Harry. "With Higgs compliments."
"No thanks," Harry grimaced.
The blonde shrugged and took another gulp. He walked to the window and leaned on it.
"So you screwed that scumbag and you had an epiphany: you loved cock?" He chuckled. "Must have been a hell of a shag"
Harry turned his head away. Alcohol would soon loosen the blonde's tongue and by the looks of it, he wouldn't be a happy drunk.
"You'd better shut up now. And put that bottle down."
Draco grinned and, for the sake of bravado, immediately drank again.
"Did he ruin you?" he asked. "Plundered your arse so you could feel him for weeks? I bet he did. The chairman, a powerful man."
"Draco stop," the brunet chided in a cutting voice.
"How was it?" Draco asked, stepping away from his spot to come closer to Harry. The latter hid his face against his knees to block him out.
They would not fight again.
"I need a cigarette," Draco suddenly declared, his head whirling left and right, looking everywhere and nowhere.
Harry looked up at that. "You're smoking now?" he said tiredly.
"No, but this is the kind of moment that requires a cigarette," the other answered almost petulantly.
He bent down to plunk the bottle down on the floor and fell silent again. The rush of adrenalin leaving his veins, he slumped his shoulders and slowly crouched down to face Harry. Their faces were now so close Harry could smell the liquor on his breath, could see the veil of its poison falling over his glassy eyes.
"I'm not angry, but I want to know," Draco said softly. "Tell me. There must be something about him." His face turned sullen, almost melancholic all of a sudden. "Sweet Harry," he said, and with the back of his hand, he caressed the skin under the brunet's chin. "I wish I was the one deflowering you, teaching you everything..."
His voice, the images his words were conjuring lit a fire in the pit of the brunet's stomach.
"Every pleasure spot, every touch... you would learn pleasure by my hand, my mouth and my cock only. If only I had been the first."
Harry stared at him with something akin to adoration.
"It doesn't matter who was my first. It's the last that counts."
Draco laughed it off. "Your first time is always special. It stays with you forever."
"What about your first then?"
"What about it?" Draco slurred.
"Who was it?"
Harry couldn't hide the surprise on his face.
"Are you shocked?" Draco said. "No, of course you're not." He leaned his back on the bed. "You didn't know him. He died that day."
That day. Of course.
One of many victims.
Harry bent forward to grab the bottle of scotch and drank. He put it down prematurely when the burn in his throat sent him coughing and sputtering. He wiped his mouth and rubbed the cap over the bottle's neck.
"It felt good not to be in charge for once, to have someone taking over and just... feel," he said. "I didn't have to worry if I was doing it right, I knew exactly where to touch them, how to pleasure them. With men, it's so simple. You don't feel guilty when all you want is raw sex, no feelings, no need to be careful... I love that."
He glanced sideways at Draco. The man was listening attentively, with an air of understanding.
"I'd never thought I could desire a man, I'm not even sure I really liked the first times. It's all hazy. But I felt like I belonged in their arms."
He slid closer to Draco to match action to words and buried his head in his shoulder.
"To have these strong bodies around me, taking care of me, or to see them crawling at my feet... It was a revelation."
He felt Draco's chest tremble with amusement.
"Don't you mock me," Harry warned lightly, elbowing him at the same time.
"I'm not," he said. Then mirth left his face and concern took over. He looked gravely at Harry. "You think can handle Anderson? Keep your head cold? You can't let feelings come between you and the job."
"I think it's too late for that, don't you think?" he said, holding Draco's chin to kiss him tenderly.
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It was a disaster. Harry's mouth opened with horror. The jeans were stuck to his legs like a second skin and his dinosaur t-shirt was stretching up, letting his bellybutton show. He kept pulling at it relentlessly but to no avail.
"Stop it, you're making it worse."
"That bastard did it on purpose! These are kids' clothes, I can't wear this! Lend me some of yours."
Draco winced and rubbed his temple. "Stop yelling ok. We already wasted too much time. The rain finally stopped but who knows for how long. You'll change when we arrive, ok?"
Harry grumbled but had no choice other than to follow Draco out. The blonde was kind enough to give him his jacket to cover his outfit. A grim expression on his face, Harry climbed on the motorbike behind him. They had to hit the road. Destination: the "Weasley Fortress" in Allhallows, Kent.
They were riding for five minutes when what they feared happened: sirens blasted and a police car appeared from nowhere. It overtook them before they could do anything. Draco calmly cut the engine and patted Harry's knee to reassure him. Keep control of the situation.
Harry brushed his fringe down to cover his scar while the blonde lifted his visor. The policeman got out of his vehicle. He looked in his thirties, with a round face and dropping eyes. A bit overweight. A policeman who didn't see a lot of action in this quiet little town. It was definitely an advantage for them. If the situation got out of hand, Draco would shoot.
The man yanked his pants up by the belt loops, his belly hanging over it, and posted himself in front of Draco. The blonde took a surprised voice.
"Hello sir, is there a problem?"
The policeman looked down at the motorcycle then turned accusing eyes to them. Draco was ready for any eventuality, his hand outstretched along his leg. There, fixed around his ankle, an automatic gun. The policeman finally spoke, his words like a well rehearsed reprimand.
"Are you aware the helmet is mandatory both for the driver and the passenger?"
Harry was stupefied. A ridiculous infraction. The policeman was already drawing out his notebook, about to ask them for their details. They had to defuse the situation right now.
Harry opened his jacket to uncover his sinfully tight, revealing outfit. To hell with decency. He had a card to play. He hopped down off the motorbike, rolling his hips as he started crowding the dumbfounded policeman.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, officer," he simpered. "I tried to warn him but my little dragon wouldn't listen to me," He ran his hand up and down Draco's thigh while suggestively staring at the policeman. "And now we're in the middle of nowhere, and my hair's a mess, and I'm starving! I'm so very, very hungry," he ended, lecherous.
It was a silly move but Harry's over the top acting seemed to stun the official, and that was the exact reaction he had been looking for.
"But don't you worry, officer, I promise that as soon as we return to civilisation, I will get one of these awful helmets to protect my little head."
Harry brushed the law enforcer's arm, the man too bemused to react. Harry gave him an appreciative look, mouth pursed. He smiled devilishly, the motion turning his green eyes cat-like.
"My, are you working out?" He leaned forward to whisper to the man's hear. "I have a thing for uniforms you see."
The policeman regained his bearings and jerked away, his notebook soon forgotten.
"I'm not... I don't..." he mumbled. "Oh God."
"You don't have to get all flustered," Harry cooed. "We're in an open relationship, I'm sure my dragon won't mind," he added to hammer the point home.
"Hum... thanks but I'm, well... I have to go," the policeman said steeping away from the motorbike. He realised what he'd just said and shook his head. "I mean it's alright this time, but don't... don't do anything stupid."
He shook his head again as if berating himself for the idiocy of his words.
Harry couldn't believe he had pulled it off. The policeman turned back to his car and Harry, all smiles, climbed up behind Draco.
"Don't think your little display wasn't insulting," the blonde whispered. "You think you seduced him with your flamboyant gay act? Scared him off is more like it."
Harry chuckled softly when he heard a crackling, then a voice on the car's radio gave a code, then
" … The two suspects of the Egham murder have been spotted at Baintree. They're driving a black motorbike. Their description: a blonde man, 24 years old, 5'9'', grey eyes and a dark-haired man, 24 years old, 5'55'', green eyes, a lightning bolt scar on the forehead. Roadblocks are set up..."
The policeman froze half-inside the car, his hand on the still opened door. His back to the two men, he didn't move right away and it felt like time had dilated, everything appearing both sharper and distant. The man made a move back. The roof of the car pushed his hat which fell on the floor. He moved his arm to grab his radio in reply when
Two holes in the petrol tank. The explosion took only a second, a furious roar, a burst of flames, a strong push like a wave crashing on them and the world turned upside down.
The backlash had shaken up Harry and Draco who had fallen on the floor, the motorcycle lying beside them. The shock had been great and Harry's arm jolted when he tried to move, all bruised and battered. He coughed and opened his eyes, a bit disoriented, looking for the policeman. Behind the sizzling flames, he made out the blackened body on the floor. The man had been propelled a few meters backward, now unconscious on the asphalt.
He closed his eyes a second with the hard realisation that they were back in the open, that they were safe no more. A moan behind him caught his attention and turned in time to see Draco rise painfully and tuck his gun back on his ankle.
"Let's go," the blonde said with a hoarse voice.
Harry rubbed his scratched palms on his dirty jeans and forced himself to stand. He ached all over and had to take a moment to catch his breath. While Draco was lifting the bike back up, Harry noticed a slight limp in the blonde's left leg. He would have to check the wound for he knew Draco wouldn't bother to.
It took several tries before the motorbike started but eventually they left the scene. Harry didn't look behind this time. The policeman was surely alive.
HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP HP
A few miles later, looking worse for wear on their vehicle, Harry and Draco finally found some signs of life: there was a small farm in the distance and a man was loading his lorry further away, down the slope. Draco stopped the engine. He got off and motioned for Harry to do the same. He detached his backpack and the satchel with the computer inside and put them on the ground. He then rolled the bike to the other side of the road and, with a hard push, threw it in the ravine. The bike tumbled down, soon completely hidden by the wild grass. Harry was afraid to understand what Draco had planned. And sure enough, with decided steps, Draco crossed the road and tore down the herby slope, making his way to the gravel path where the farmer was standing.
"Draco?" Harry called between his teeth.
The brunet followed behind him with wide strides. He didn't want the blonde, pushed by the situation's urgency, to give in to violence. He was almost running when he arrived at Draco's side. He was only a few steps away from the farmer.
"Hello!" Draco shouted with a frightening smile.
Harry caught his arm from behind. "Draco, please," he begged with a strained voice.
The blonde just smiled and got closer.
"We've had a few transportation issues. We're going to Kent. Can you help us?"
Dressed in old tweeds and rubber boots, the farmer threw a pile of scrap copper in the back of his flatbed and turned toward them. With his furrowed face and his sharp stare, he looked anything but friendly.
"Who are you?" he spat dryly.
Harry closed his jacket tighter over him to conceal his clothes. He wasn't sure his look would inspire confidence. The guy was distrustful, better take all the precautions. Draco opened his arms to show he meant no harm.
"Simply two guys left stranded," he said in a weary voice.
The man fixed them with a scowl. It didn't bode well. Harry shifted from one foot to another and turned his eyes to the open vehicle. Something there caught his attention: the barrel of a rifle sticking out of the passenger seat. Instinctively, he pulled at Draco's sleeve to get him away but the latter stood his ground.
All of a sudden, the farmer's face darkened drastically. Harry stopped moving, the image of the man brandishing his gun toward them playing in his head. Draco was alert too, his arm against his leg, ready to dive for his automatic at the mere suggestion of a move.
"I know you," the other said, suspicious.
Wasn't it their luck? Harry tugged at Draco's sleeve, ready to bolt, his breathing growing shorter by the second. The man suddenly whirled around. Harry half-turned, Draco crouched down, his hand on the gun. Only nothing happened. The man hadn't gone to his car to take his rifle as they dreaded. No. He had lifted his greyish hair to show them the scar on his nape. Draco unfolded his hand and stood as if the mark was a sign of trust, a free pass. Harry didn't feel the same recognition. Perhaps because he, himself, had none.
The man faced them again.
"I'm with you guys!" he exclaimed, coming their way to shake their hands earnestly. "All these jackals want to get rid of us? I'll tell you what, they're going to be surprised when we'll mow them all down. The Egham massacre? Well done, guys! Four down, well done."
From one extremism to the other. Harry was sick of these hateful speeches, but he wasn't about to argue, not when the man could be their saving grace.
"Harry Potter, wanted," the man said, trying to peak at the scar on his forehead. "What's the world coming to?" He fixed the brunet's with shiny eyes and patted his shoulder. "My name is Pavo. It's an honour. The boy-who-lived… The one who was supposed to save us all. Isn't it tragic?"
Harry stiffened, struck by his last words he couldn't quite comprehend.
"Oh, I don't blame you," Pavo added, his hand still on his shoulder. "Gods like to play with us. That's the way it is."
Draco felt Harry's unease in front of the hidden accusation and pressed the farmer to help them leave town. The man finally left Harry alone to make room for them in the back of the truck. Draco observed Harry who reassured him with a smile though he avoided his eyes. They crouched down without a word and unfolded a blue tarpaulin to cover themselves. They vaguely heard barking in the distance then two beasts sprung out of nowhere, sharp fangs out. Both men started and scampered to the far back with wide eyes. The farmer's face appeared right between them, through the glass of the driver's cabin.
"Titus! Tiberius! That's enough!" he shouted with a harsh voice. When it failed to calm them, he joined them inside and gave them a hard blow on the muzzle. The two dogs surrendered, now docile and silent in front of their master.
Draco sat down, relaxing again, trying to stretch his legs through the piles of scrap copper surrounded them. Pavo probably planned to sell the copper off. Harry lay down and tried to find a comfortable spot but there were too much wire and junk around. He had to contort himself and bear with it. Pavo closed the doors with a nod and left the dogs with them. It didn't reassure the two men inside.
"Good dogs," Draco said, lying cautiously next to Harry. He lifted the wide blue tarpaulin and concealed their things under. He then covered Harry roughly with it, joining him under it a moment later, the smell of the thick plastic unpleasant against their noses.
"We're going lads. I hope you're comfortable in there," Pavo shouted from the driver seat.
"We're dandy," Harry muttered sarcastically.
The truck finally moved, the tired engine spluttering dangerously. Alone in the dark, shaken by the car jolts, with the dogs' heavy breathing and occasional yelps, it was difficult to stay calm. There were roadblocks on the way, and if they were stopped, there would be nowhere to flee. Suddenly, the truck made a sharp move and some copper wires flew on the tarpaulin, half-burying the two men and giving them a bit of a fright. It was hard to breathe in these conditions, so they kept their heads low to find more air.
All their bearings were lost, thus there was no way to tell how many time had passed when the car stopped for a prolonged time. Had they arrived yet? But there was no sign of Pavo.
"What's going on?" Harry whispered to Draco.
He wasn't expecting an answer, but voicing his concern helped him relieve the stress. Doubts clouded his mind, putting Pavo's loyalty in question. Had he delivered them to the Division? No, a roadblock was more plausible. Harry sealed the tarpaulin tightly over his head.
Then the doors creaked and opened. The light bathed them in a flashing blue and unknown voices reached them. His head turned to Draco, Harry could only see patches of skin and clothes covered here and there by blue plastic: fingers, an ear, a few blonde strands, green cotton. They had to stay perfectly still, and to achieve it, Harry stopped breathing altogether. Then a shock: a heavy blow against his leg. Harry bit his lip to smother a yell. He breathed out silently.
Then groans and barks burst out. The dogs, upset by the newcomers started to get excited and the mood grew even scarier. Harry heard shouts but they were barely intelligible with all the ruckus, the soundproof barrier of the tarpaulin, his non-functional ear and the other stuck to the cold floor. He felt the truck subsiding: someone had climbed on. Then someone else, if the movement was anything to go by. If only he could see but there was only blue. Under the plastic, the sound of both Draco's and his breathing, hindered by the lack of air and the tension, invaded everything. His sweaty face was now stuck to the plastic and it felt like he would asphyxiate in a matter of seconds. He reached out discretely with his fingers and caught Draco's hand under the plastic. He squeezed it hard and Draco squeezed it back. That alone grounded him and he stopped thinking to just lie there waiting.
A loud yell pierced the air and Harry's eyes danced around, curious and eager to see. What had happened? Then one of the dogs yelped and the other one redoubled energy. One of them had attacked from the sound of it. The voices amplified then the floor moved again, and finally stabilized. They were gone. Harry and Draco waited for the car to move to rejoice fully. The danger was over.
Harry uncovered his head and took a deep breath, his hair stuck to his face.
"It was close!"
Draco removed the plastic in turn. "Nothing like a trip in economy class."
He barely finished when one of the dogs came over licking his face. The blonde made a disgusted noise but Harry began to cackle next to him. Draco joined him quickly, letting all the pressure go in a burst of laughter.
Half an hour later, Pavo knocked twice on the side to tell them they had finally made it to Kent and freed he them from their plastic shroud.
"Kids, I feel like I'm helping you cross the border! When you have to hide like this, it's not exactly a picnic, huh? Ain't that a shame!"
Draco and Harry jumped out the truck, eyes half-blinded by the brutal light of the day. Harry hugged Pavo and thanked him warmly. Even if the man was ignorant, he had helped them in spite of the consequences. Draco shook his hand in the same fashion. Their ways parted after a last shout:
"We'll get them!"
Harry grabbed his backpack and took a look around. He recognized the area: they weren't far from the Weasleys. Memories rushed back to him. It was there he had found refuge after he had left Lenny. It was there he had brought Remus after his escape. And here he was now, by Draco's side, in the same if not worse situation. His melancholy must have shown on his face for Draco unexpectedly grabbed him by the shoulder and turned his face to kiss him. A brief comforting gesture that had the ability to make him smile again.
They made their way to Diggerland, an amusement park created around the theme of mechanical diggers. Arthur had found the idea brilliant. They by-passed the site to arrive in front of an isolated alley. There stood a little house with a fence. It was modest and discrete, and went unnoticed in the area. Harry stopped and observed it closer. The walls had turned yellow and the roof was in a shoddy state but other than that, the place hadn't changed much. For him, it was the closest thing to home. He remembered when he had come here for the first time, frail and sick. Desperate. Charlie had rushed to him and the whole family had welcomed him with open arms. Everyone but Ginny. Harry knew this time would be no different.
"That's the 'the Fortress'? 'Old Dump' would be more appropriate," Draco grumbled.
Of course Draco would complain. He was reticent to come here, into the Weasley den, a hostile territory for him. Harry couldn't say he wasn't worried too. There was no way to guess how the encounter would go. The blonde moved toward the side of the house, inspecting the place with a critical eye. Harry's eyes followed him, then Bang! They snapped around to see a red blur rushing toward him in a big hug. Not Charlie, no, but Bill who lifted him up off the ground. His arms crushed against his friend's biceps, Harry let him smother him, joy and surprise written on his face. Deep down, he had been scared to be rejected or even judged. Since the infamous X-Stacy party, he knew he had worried the family.
Bill let go of him after a few seconds and Harry looked up at him, a bit shy. It had been so long since they had last seen each other. The tall red head ruffled Harry's hair fondly and took in Harry's state.
"What happened to you this time?"
"It's nothing," Harry answered, running a hand through his hair self-consciously. "A little accident on the road."
Bill smirked, hands on his hips. "So you're finally here! Everyone will be so glad."
Harry smiled weakly. He still feared the family's reactions. He had a lot to answer to.
"They're all in the lair," Bill continued.
He put his arm around Harry's shoulder and was about to lead him inside when the brunet turned to his right: Draco had just reappeared, his walk nonchalant, a haughty look on his face. A self-defence mechanism.
"Weasley… Which one is it already?"
Bill stopped and narrowed his eyes at him with flagrant animosity.
"Ah, I see you brought your new friend," he said, voice venomous.
Better make things clear right away, it wouldn't do to get off to a bad start. Harry left Bill's side to sidle next to Draco. He took Draco's hand and held Bill's stare. The blonde looked astonished. He probably hadn't expected Harry to jump to his defence in such an explicit way.
"Draco's with me. I hope it won't be a problem."
If there was any doubt left in Bill's mind, the declaration had swept them away. Bill read the determination in Harry's words and eyes and it seemed to appease him. He smiled half-heartedly.
"Of course not. Welcome Malfoy."
Draco nodded to return the greeting.
Seeing no need to prolong the awkward welcome, the red head swiftly walked back inside, leaving the door open behind him in invitation. Harry took a deep breath, squeezed Draco's hand and crossed the threshold.
Izzy: I took my time, didn't I? And I'm happy to be back!
Aww thank you, it really means a lot to me. *Hugs you* And don't worry, I don't plan to disappear for six months again!
Rapid fan: I'm glad to heart that! Thank you so much.