HD 'Psyche' 3/3

Draco was still abed, just as Harry had left him, but in a different position. He'd rolled over, and curled up into foetal position, knees tucked as close under his chin as he could. And there, bunched before him and clasped tightly in his bare arms, was Harry's favoured pillow.

And there—just there—was that horrible sound, made visible. For Draco's lips were moving, dry and chapped, and so repeatedly chewed on, Harry could make out the small translucent flaps where bits had been nearly chewed off.

And the sound was 'Harry'.

The git's face was silvery wet—under his tightly scrunched up eyelids, where dampened lashes brushed his hectically flushed cheeks; under his reddened nose, where the skin above his upper lip was runny with snot.

"Harry," was what his Magical Creature was saying—no, mouthing—over and over, all the while smearing Harry's pillow with various bodily fluids where they dripped, ever so slowly. "Harry."

"Spying, are you, Potter?"

"What? You don't trust your own husband?"

The supercilious voices of Pansy Parkinson and Blaise Zabini were a one-two blow to Harry's unguarded midsection. It was fortunate he'd already stopped breathing, caught up as he was in what his eyes were plainly telling him, though his mind was still leagues behind.

"Wh-What?" Harry gasped. "No! He's sick! Draco's sick—Was just checking on him—really!"

"You should at least try it, you know," Zabini's sneer cut him off mid-stammer. "Trusting. Give him a little credit, yes?" He moved deftly to step around Harry and his school bag and stalked off, nose in the air.

Parkinson, following, nodded sharply in Harry's direction and scowled down her unfortunate nose.

"As he flat out lives for you, Potter—always has, the poor thing," she added, haughtily, before she, too, moved round Harry's stunned figure. "Go figure."

"Er-ah-but," Harry managed, but the Slytherins were already gone. The whole dungeons were deserted but for he and Draco; all the students had gone off to breakfast.

"But," Harry said to the empty corridor. "I only—I was."

He couldn't leave. Not like this.

Harry rose to his feet in that knowledge; sure of that one thing, at least, if nothing else. But what to do? What to say? He'd never expected this—this was. This was…a Stunner.

It was the sodding prophecy; Draco was a Veela, or something like. There were the reasons; there were no other. It was all just rotten luck…right?

Leaving his bag, he placed his hand on the latch, turning it soundlessly and ending the previous cast with a mental 'Finite!' He remembered-just-to spell his shoes soundless in time, but that didn't prevent him from going on tippy-toe across the plush forest green carpeting, so familiar now to his eyes.

The room was dimmer than he recalled; Draco must've spelled the sconces off. The only light was from the one window; the window Draco always gazed through every morning, his expression severe.

Draco hadn't heard him, but he had ceased all sounds in any case, involuntary or not. His lips were firmly closed in a thin, tight line. Another wadded tissue lay crumpled next to his one visible fist, still gripping Harry's pillow. The pillow itself was so tightly held, Harry was amazed the room wasn't filled with a down snowfall from it bursting under pressure.

He looked simply awful, Draco did—death warmed over, and that was being kind. Dark circles under his eyes and hair mussed; paler than fat-free milk except for the two high spots of crimson the fever brushed across those angular cheekbones of his. His breathing was stertorous; wheezy and moist, and he was shivering, ever so slightly, as if he were frozen and would never know warmth again.

It clutched at Harry's heart, that. He never cried—never!—but this. This was so very awful, witnessing his proud and meticulous…husband...brought this low—yes, husband, for the Wizarding world was most emphatically not Muggle but that was the closest translation Harry could think of. And no Malfoy should ever be this poorly off-even Harry thought so, and he was only a Malfoy by marriage!

He hovered over the still, pale form for a long quiet moment, with a hand outreached, caught in the crossroads between one plan and another. If he touched the slope of Draco's shoulder, he'd frighten the shite out of him—the last thing a sick man needed. If he didn't…

If he didn't, Draco would believe he was still alone, and he might make that sound again, and for all the world, Harry never wanted Draco to feel the need.

Not as he had, alone in his cupboard, ordered roughly to 'Be still, you bloody weirdo!' by Uncle Vernon. Not allowed to cry, nor utter a peep, even if the pain building up in his chest were to tear it apart.

Harry Potter, who never cried, ever, blinked rapidly and felt his eyes watering hotly.

In the space between the fall of that one lone teardrop and the strike of it against Draco Malfoy's lean body, Harry gasped in alarm and got his sweaty palm laid across that particular patch of chilled, exposed skin. Draco never felt it, but Harry did, as it rolled warm down the back of his hand.

Funny. He'd not known he felt this way; not until just now.

"Draco? You alright, there?"

0o0

"The fuck?"

Draco opened a red-veined grey eye and startled, whipping his other hand from beneath Harry's tortured pillow and feebly waving his wand. But he got the fisted one swiped across his damp face incredibly quickly for an ill man, in a vain attempt to erase the telltale damp.

"It's you," Draco muttered, with some degree of loathing, and ended it on a sneeze. "Potter."

Those were tears-or had been. Harry blinked his own eyes rapidly, forcing his back when they came. He'd no need to cry now—and no time. Besides, Draco had twisted his chin into Harry's sodden pillow and hidden his face entirely the next moment, so all evidence that he'd been miserable was covered up by a green pillowcase.

"Shhh! It's alright—it's alright," Harry babbled, desperately wanting to stroke the flinching skin beneath his hand but somehow afraid to. If he did, perhaps Draco would come completely undone—and he couldn't bear that. "It's only me. I, er—I heard you. I mean, I wanted to check on you again—see if you wanted tea or—or…anything."

There was a moment's silence, punctuated only by Harry's rapid breathing and the sound of soft cloth –the pillowcase—sliding across skin. Emerging once more a moment later-but also most definitely reluctantly-the single grey eye blinked at Harry's worried face slowly, assessingly. Draco, having seen whatever it was he needed to see there, heaved a huge weary sigh, relaxing back into the twisted sheets and twitching them fretfully into some semblance of order. Harry noticed he didn't quite release the pillow, though he did shrug his body away from it just a bit-or maybe it was that he pushed it away from him, but not wholly.

Harry frowned at that. It was only a pillow Draco was silently rejecting, but it was his pillow. That smarted, it did.

"And what was the point of this pointless return, Potter?" Draco demanded crossly, his normally even tones croaky and thick. "You'll miss all chance of eating a decent meal if you don't hurry, now. So, go. I'm perfectly fine."

"No!" Harry burst out, and then gingerly patted Draco's shoulder. "Erm, no—you're not. Obviously. Um…Draco?"

The contrary git had closed his one visible eye again and was pointedly ignoring Harry, hunching his shoulders. Harry tried again.

"Dr-Draco?"

"...Yes? What, Potter?"

"Were you—were you saying my name, earlier? You were, weren't you?"

"Why would I be, Potter? I was asleep, thanks so much—'til you came and woke me again."

"Er…you." Harry halted. This wasn't going well; he was no closer to discovering what was going on in that labyrinthine mind than he'd ever been. Time to change up his tactics.

"Do you...do you? Do you, ah...want me, Draco?"

Both eyes snapped open. Harry, now that his own eyes were clear again and nicely dry, could see Draco's stare was somewhat glazed. He really did have a substantial fever, then. Maybe it explained the wryly barmy twist that curled across his upper lip or the sing-song quality that crept into Draco's reply by the second syllable.

"Want you, Potter? Of course I want you!" The lip curl morphed into a brilliantly mental grin. "Why wouldn't I? You're keeping me alive, aren't you?"

"Erm."

"And then there's your body, Potter," Draco added, his tone musing, his gaze taking on a wicked sparkle. "It's rather fit, that, and if I'm to be landed with a bloody hero, he should be a fit hero, don't you think?"

"But—"

"Your damnable eyes and that thatch you call hair, Potter—all good," Draco twinkled, and Harry caught a worried breath, which accelerated abruptly when Draco flattened a hot palm across his shirt front.

"Your nipples, Potter. I like them. I rather admire your thighs, as well. Very trim, you are. Like a racing broom, Potter. Really."

"A-A broom...?" Harry twitched; he'd a bad feeling about this. Draco would regret saying all this nonsense to him when he was healthy again, and then he'd likely retreat again, just as they were becoming comfortable.

"Sometimes I think I love your hands best—Harry." Harry's eyebrows jerked up at the word 'love'. Draco had never, ever used it in reference to him, nor any part of him, not even when shagging. "Oh, yes, Harry. Harry, Harry, Harry. It's a lovely name. Rolls off the tongue quite deliciously, really. Did you know that, Harry?"

"Draco—um, I think maybe I ought to—"

"What, Harry? Summon Pomfrey? Am I frightening you?" The hand, which had been lying quiescent across Harry's breastbone, scorching him right through the thin fabric, began to move in slow, soothing circles. "It's the Veela, isn't it? Yes. I can see that."

Draco nodded firmly, tipsily, with a bit of a chin wobble even as Harry shook his head in a negative.

"I'm not frightened, Dra—"

"Oh, I know, Harry," Draco interrupted him. He smiled, and the glitter in his red-veined grey eyes went soft. He sniffed, too, a reminder that he was still ill, for all he seemed terribly lucid. The hand slipped sideways, resting over Harry's thundering heart. "I know. Believe me, I'm grateful. There's not many who face up to wedding their schoolyard enemy with equanimity, just because the git's sprouted a few anomalies—just because he'll flat out die if one doesn't. 'Course you'll die, too, and there's that damned prophecy. Isn't there? What was it again? Some doggerel cant—To the victor goes the spoilt, Veela twisting, Veela foiled—Pureblood scion not so pure, Blood muddied to the core—"

"They will Join or they will die, both together, by and by," Harry took it up, the wisps of smoke that drifted across his mind's eye firmly etched there in memory from the moment Trelawney thrust the second crystal orb beneath his nose that day in McGonagall's office months ago. "Soulmates, bondmates, ever after—"

"Happily or no, twined eternal by Fate the Master," Draco finished off, in a whisper, his eyes slitting nearly closed. "Nice summation, yeah? Wonder who came up with that one?"

"Grindelwald, I think," Harry remarked, casting his mind back over all the facts and trivia McGonagall and Pomfrey had attempted to stuff into his head in the space of a quarter hour, just before he was hitched for life to a Malfoy Veela.

For a moment, neither spoke. Draco's breathing was harsh again, and Harry could hear the wet trickle of it in his no doubt quite sore throat. He cleared his own. Sodding prophecies aside, his muddied Pureblood spouse was in need of a good Potion to buck him up. He still needed to get the berk up to see Pomfrey; sort him out.

"Come on, I'll help you—" he began, but it seemed the odd conversation wasn't over yet.

"I was very pleased, you know—Harry. To learn of it. Did you never wonder why that was?"

Draco's voice was soft, his brilliant eyes still closed. The fingertips were caressing Harry's chest, working their way quite casually through Harry's mother-of-pearl buttons, parting them. All his shirts had very nice buttons these days, courtesy of the Galleons and Galleons Draco had so casually dropped kitting him out.

"Er—Draco."

"I wanted you, you see," Draco went on, nearly whispering. "And how better to have you, Potter? A prophecy and the Veela requirement—it simply couldn't be better than that, could it?"

"What, Draco?"

That took Harry back a step, mentally. He'd not thought Draco had ever quite accepted being stuck with him, of all people, as a lifelong partner. They were both just making the best of it, weren't they? Well, maybe it was a bit more than that now, for him at least. He rather liked this belonging to someone, and especially if the someone was fit and quick-witted and challenging, and had always forced him to sit up and take notice.

"Worked out, it did, Harry. Very convenient. I got you, with a minimum of fuss and bother, and spiked that stupid ginger bint's guns with hardly any effort." Draco raised his lids again, fixing his narrowed eyes firmly on Harry's parted lips. "You see, Harry, she wanted a hero, and that was all it was. Me, I require rather more for my satisfaction."

He'd Harry's shirt gaping open now, with deft use of those fever-hot fingertips, and Harry couldn't help but tingle at the sound of the word 'satisfaction'. Who knew a few syllables rolling of like honey off Draco Malfoy's flapping tongue could be such a total turn-on? Even with a runny nose, Draco was quite…quite heady.

"I've wanted you, Harry, for a very long time, did you not realize?" The grey eyes fixed Harry's confused green ones like talons, digging in. Speaking of, he could see little vestiges of the Veela blood in Draco now that the watery light through the porthole window had brightened. A sheen to his lint-white hair that was glossy as the pinfeathers of an eagle; the thin golden ring around darkened pupils, contracted suddenly to a raptor's wild glare. But Draco wasn't glaring—not at all. On the contrary, Harry had never seen such a sweet expression on those features.

"For ever and a day. And I did everything I could think of to make you take notice, did I not?" The school robe Harry wore over his parted shirt was casually shoved off his shoulders. It sagged 'round his elbows as Malfoy's other hand went to make sure work of his belt buckle. "Do you deny it, Harry?"

"Draco! You're ill, idiot!" Harry burst out, interrupting that soft flow of confidence. "You shouldn't even be thinking of shagging—you're burning up!"

Draco only grinned, a mad glint in his eyes. They were engaged in tracking over Harry's face—his lips and the faded silvery zigzag of his scar, his flopping fringe he'd just shoved a worried hand through. His throat, which Draco eyed hungrily.

"Oh, no, Harry. You don't get it, do you?" Draco mocked him now, but terribly kindly, judging by that smile. Harry suddenly felt all of his godson's age, being babied by an adult. "I don't need Potions or Pomfrey or the Infirmary—not to feel better. I only need you, Harry. That's all. All I ever did. Come here, then," he ordered softly. "Heal me."

"Wh-what?" Harry managed before those smiling lips covered his. "Draco! You can't—we!"

"I can. I will. I must, Harry," Draco countered, and the unreality of this, compared to all their other shags was a Joined couple, was amazing. It had always been all about the physical, that, and the necessity. Consummation was required, simply to continue living—a practical reaction to Fate's express orders to unite. Now Draco's fingers—his burning intent gaze—the drift of the jagged wisps of nearly bitten off skin on his dry lips, they spoke of something greater.

Something not covered in the Ministry's pamphlet; not addressed by the second fucking crystal ball that had ruined Harry's life just as badly as the first one. Or so he'd believed.

Mayhap his head was in a different place, now.

"I want you—have always wanted you, Harry," Draco was muttering in his ear. "Need you, and didn't think I'd ever get you. This is everything, Harry—all I require. You in my bed—you in my reach, whenever I want. Did you know that, Harry?"

"But—but," Harry protested, though it was hard to think with lips nibbling down his neck. Draco had tugged him down, so that he sprawled just over his spouse's chest, only preventing himself from flattening it under his weight by great exertion of determined muscle. "You never acted—you never said!"

Draco was sick—sicker than blazes—or he'd never be saying all this rot. Delirious; had to be. This was so not like him—Mr. Cooler-than-a-Cucumber Malfoy. Cold-as-Ice Malfoy.

"We were forced, remember?" he managed, and tried even harder to think clearly over the thunder of his own heart. "Made to—you didn't—I could tell, damn it! You never chose me!"

"Oh, I wanted it, git," Draco's voice murmured seductively 'round the tongue he'd insinuated into Harry's ear. "Wanted it so badly, Harry, even if you didn't, to have you. Come here, damn it. Come closer," he whispered. His hands were on Harry's back, pushing, impelling. "Stay."

"I—I don't get—" Harry got out, just before he was dragged under. A sea of bewilderment, punctuated with slurps of tongue across jowl, eyelids and earlobes. "You never said—" And there wasn't much else he could say when Draco's bared arms exerted pressure and dragged him into the bed.

"You wouldn't look at me, Harry. You wouldn't see, no matter what I did, yeah?" Draco was growling, and tugging, too, 'til Harry's school clothes gave way. "I tried everything—was so fucking angry at you. Some great powerful Wizard, you were, and still such a speccy git, couldn't see the nose on your face," Draco kissed it, the very tip, and Harry's poor overloaded brain reeled.

This was mad—completely barmy. Draco was—and so was he! Empathy aside for the needy man alone in his sick bed; attraction for the Veela shoved forcibly to the wayside, Draco had never shown the slightest interest in Harry as anything other than a target for his ire. From that first moment—

No. The first moment had been Madam Malkin's robe shop and Harry remembered a smile, despite all the dark murky filter the Dursley's had laid over his first history-making meeting with Draco Malfoy.

He'd never quite manage to stuff that smile into obscurity, where it belonged. Never.

"I tried everything—Pansy caught on in Fourth Year, you know?" Draco had Harry's robe completely off, and was yanking down his pants, the buckle of his belt a cold scrape of metal between them. "Yule Ball. Laughed her arse off at me, pulling pigtails, chasing after you, later. Never worked—never even a rise, Harry, but at least you didn't ignore me. At least that," he gasped, and buried his burning face and clogged nose in Harry's swallowing throat. "There, that's better," he announced triumphantly in a hoarse whisper a moment later, having managed to rid Harry of his pants. "Want you."

"Draco!'

Harry's shoes—silenced still—were toed off by narrow feet that were almost prehensile in their strength, He felt the bite of veiled claws across his back, and arched, gasping. Even Draco's bloody fucking ankles were fit.

He certainly wasn't struggling and those moments of brooding he'd indulged himself in? So much smoke-and-mirrors, really.

Draco's Veela blood was so thin, so dilute, but strong enough yet to render the git even sexier. It sharpened his already pointy features, sculpting them into chiseled lines Harry's eyes could follow for hours. So much time he'd spent already, watching Malfoy—following Malfoy. Obsessing over Malfoy, as if that were perfectly normal and to be expected, really. And he'd had to be practically kicked in the arse by a sodding prophecy to realize it.

"Come, come on, Harry," Draco commanded, rather breathily, and rolled them over, so that he ended up crouched atop Harry like some conquering hero—or the opposite: a talkative erudite villain, declaiming his grand plan.

"You blind git, Harry," Draco bit out, and snogged Harry's open mouth right after. This was no cunning evil genius, no, Harry thought. This was insane—Draco had to be fucking well hallucinatory—but there was nothing evil here. "Never twigged it, did you? The Weasleyette knew it, I daresay—jealous bint, that, even for a ginger, but you never knew, did you?"

"Knew? Knew what? Fucking say it, Draco."

Harry arched his hips up. Those narrow, razor-tipped hands—very boney at the moment, what with those Veela traits—they were all over a place dear to Harry's heart. His groin was throbbing like an open wound, all the blood in his circulatory system rushing there. Certainly, there was little enough it left in his brain to properly assimilate this—this confession, was it?

"Wanted you," Draco hissed again. "So—fucking—pleased, Harry, to be Veela. Veela all along, damn it! Or did you never wonder I wanted your hand so badly I could taste it, yeah?"

"Er—huh?" Harry asked, barely intelligibly, as his spouse laid his fever-kissed lips on Harry's cock and he felt it swell like a mainsail in a gale. "Unh?"

"Should've known, all that while, but it took a fucking toy to tell me, Harry," Draco growled, chest rumbling, and Harry's mind boggled at the idea of one of those ominous crystal balls from DOM's room of them being referred to as a mere plaything. "As if. As if I couldn't recognize my own mate, my own destiny! Stupid sods!"

"What?" Harry barked. "Who? Who was stupid, git? Me?"

"Father, and the Dark Lord and your precious Headmaster, Harry. He never told you, did he, why we were such sworn rivals? Why I never dropped it, even after you hurt me? Did you never even think, twat? Why that was so?"

"Ah?" Harry was rather taken up with the feel of Draco talking rapidly 'round the head of his cock; his 'thinking cap' was sadly askew. "Er, yeah? I guess?"

"Think now, Harry," Draco commanded, and rose up above him again, his fiery hands wide across Harry's pecs. "Think back, git, and know I wanted you—and you never, ever wanted me! Of course I hated you, Harry—why wouldn't I? You bloody heartbreaker!"

"No—I mean—you hexed me, of course, but that time when I was Snatched—you didn't...Draco?" Harry's puzzlement had to be splashed all over his flushed face, damp now from the moisture that had remained in Draco's luxuriant eyelashes, his salt-tracked cheeks. Draco had rubbed it off on him, what with all this soppy, soggy nuzzling he was doing. Harry was a melty mess beneath him. "You're saying that…?"

"That I have ever been yours, Harry, and you mine. We don't need some stupid prophecy to lay that out, git. Common sense would've done it, ages ago, if anyone had left us alone long enough to sodding think!"

Draco was afire. A brilliant flame burning atop the slow sizzle that was Harry's very interested dick. With a feral grin, he grabbed at it, slicked as it was with his own saliva, and aimed it true and straight at his arse.

"Ahhha...hah!" Harry howled, his foreskin stretched unbearably by the pressure of a sodding black hole of a sphincter. So...fucking…tight! It could cut him off—and he'd be alright with it, being castrated by Draco's taut little rim of muscle.

In fact, the git could pretty much do anything he cared to now, and Harry wouldn't mind it. Would compensate and make excuses and go all bendy to accommodate. The little things, yeah? That's what they did—married people. Take tea with Wizards who tried fruitlessly to kill one and Witches who turned the world upon its head to save one, every Friday afternoon at four sharp, for instance.

"Fucker!" Harry yelped, anyway, because he prized his bits and planned to use them for quite a long time to come. "You're cutting my bloody dick off, prat! Relax if you're going to do that—you're not anywhere near ready yet! Jeez!'

"Ready as I'll ever be, Potter," Draco snarled, grinning in that entirely mental way he'd taken on since this flu had settled on him like a wet wool blanket. His grin was brilliant, for all it was fuzzy 'round the edges. "Ready for you, git, no matter what you throw at me! Now shag me, do, so I can sodding well show you."

"Gah! Idiot!" Harry shrieked back, and then his cockhead finally forced through to the glove-soft channel that lay beyond and Nirvana blossomed behind the eyelids he clenched tight and instinctively upon discovery. "Is? Is?" he got out, his chest heaving. "Dra—?"

"Is what, Harry?" Draco purred, and settled atop him in a very proprietary motion, eyes gone from razor sharp to molten pools of adoration. "Is what, my own? Tell me!"

"This what you feel, when you're in me?"

Harry wanted to know that, yes, but he wanted to touch all his husband more—every pale inch, every tiny invisible hair, every fold and crease and jut and rounded edge. He wanted to grab hold and take and keep—and his mind was floating on an ocean sea of unearthly pleasure; sparks flying up his arms from everywhere his fingertips landed. If this was not Fated, he' eat his brand new replacement Firebolt, the one Draco had just gotten him.

"Like I'm dying, Harry?"

Draco owned hands, too. They were all over Harry, having magically multiplied, and his hair tickled suddenly across Harry's forehead when Draco leaned down to press a gentle kiss against the corner of Harry's open mouth.

"Like there is nothing else but you, ever? Oh, yes. Yes, that's it." He closed his eyes, drawing back to pump his hips up and down, send them back into that rocketing rhythm.

"That is all that there is, Harry. All I wanted."

Harry nodded frantically. He knew this. Had known it every time Draco breeched him, silent and intent in the dark behind the curtains of the huge four-poster. Surrounded by green, beneath the waters of the Lake, in another world he'd never conceived of, back in his days in the high aerie of Gryffindor Tower.

That was done and over with; that chapter finished. This was next, this slow unfolding of motive and meaning, hidden all along in plain view, if only he'd had some perspective.

But he could see now.

Clearly. Well…mostly.

"Why?" He struggled to get the question out, but it had always bothered him, even from that first night they spent together. "Why—the—window? Why—not—stay?'

With me. His bloodstream was full of that imperative need to know—if all this was true, then why the constant retreats? Why the cold silences and the furtive glances that never told him anything more than Draco allowed at any given instant? Why were they needed, those useless wards and shields and opaque windows, when all the world had practically forced them together and given their full on blessing to a match that must've seemed made purely in Hades?

"Draco?"

Draco's jaw was taut, Harry noted. His hands were fists again, white-knuckled where they rested on Harry's collarbone, holding him firmly in place on the springy mattress with the promise of weight behind them. He opened his eyes again to glare at Harry, and the Veela was gone, receded for the moment. Stared at Harry, anger ceding to rue, and looked to be all of twelve—thirteen—and frightened withal.

"You are just so dense, Potter. I do wonder, sometimes, what I was thinking."

And bit his lip, and Harry heard the faintest echo of his name resounding in the darkest corners of recollection, even as Draco's hips enfolded and his body took Harry in him gladly, eagerly, arse expanding and contracting. So contradictory, that. But it wouldn't be long now, 'til they came. He only had a moment, really, to learn this.

"Huh?" Harry prompted, and pinched Draco's arse cheek out of sheer spite. Enough already!

"Whatever am I to do with you, Four-eyes?" Draco wanted to know, and his thighs settled into stillness for a moment. "Now that you're mine?"

Caught, Harry gave his all to listening—carefully. Hearing, maybe, for the first time, ever.

Every twitch of eyebrow; every telltale glint in grey eyes; every degree of that grinning face, from the surface challenge to the vast sea of chaotic feeling that lay underneath the glacier. From point of charm and light of allure Harry mapped the geography of his fated soulmate; from hank of hair hanging, boyishly split, curled by sweat, to tight skin that molded mind and fair form, barely containing them. All this now was Harry's; had always been Harry's, had he but known it was up for offer.

He'd have moved heaven and earth to take it, long ago. Had he known.

"But wait for you to catch on, my own," Draco went on, and Harry could clearly hear the freedom fever had lent. "Sort it out. There's a fine mind in there somewhere, Harry, buried under all that Gryffindor excess and that horrid hair of yours I love to touch. I knew you would see, some day. I only have to wait."

Draco Malfoy's tone had never been so fond. Harry heard the same nuances in it he heard with Molly, when she scolded Arthur. Draco's gaze was full of light, even in the green-toned sanctity of their bedroom.

"But you're rather dense, Harry. Always have been. And your Granger is not all she'd been cut up to be, not that I blame her. There's not much in books on Veela, and for a reason. We're secretive, Harry, and we don't share—not knowledge, not our mates, not anything."

"Ah." That made sense. Harry nodded.

"And I'm a Malfoy, Harry. Malfoy's never give anything away for free. We know our value, believe me. We have honour, even if we're cunning. And I would not force you for the world, Harry Potter. Not a bit of it. Not now."

"This is love, then?" Harry's brow crinkled. He was flat on his back on Draco's bed, and yet still felt as though he was falling. Had been falling. Was diving, actually, into a world he'd even known existed, only to find he was comfortable there.

"This?"

He flapped a hand at all that had changed in the space of a quarter hour. It was immensely quiet, here in the dungeons, beneath the level of the lake. The cool watery ambience was sun-spangled. The glass of the porthole window glinted diamond bright and beamed off Draco's hair.

"You? Me?"

Malfoy smiled. With his eyes only, because his mouth was on Harry's and busy enough, snogging. He moved his arse again, a slow rock to get them started. They'd a lot of catching up to do, Harry knew. Better to get a move on; not waste time. And Draco needed a Potion, because his nose was running.

Harry didn't mind it, not so much. He conjured a tissue with a snap of the fingers and ripped his mouth away from Draco's salty one.

"Ew, gross. Here, you berk. Stop dripping germs on me, already."

"Dolt," Draco smiled, and his eyes were ice-free. "I hope I give it to you. Then I can keep you in bed longer."

Harry choked on muffled laugher. Draco rose without warning and plummeted, tightening his arse 'round Harry's never-flagging cock, all the while clutching a sodden wad of paper like a bloody talisman. The sun shone through the water, illuminating all within—cool and green, warm and brilliant.

"I think," Harry remarked, blinking at a stray beam that blinded him, "I could get used to this."

"What?'

"Marriage, git. Er—Joining. Whatever you call it, officially. What did you think I meant?"

"Wanker," Draco shot back, sniffing. "Took you long enough." He scowled and the talon tips that edged his long fine fingers, courtesy of ancient blood and idiot Malfoy dilettante scholars, tickled up Harry's exposed ribcage. "Put your back into it, then. I'm waiting."

Finite