Title: Fear, Silence, Wisdom

Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling and associates own these characters. I am writing this story for fun and not profit.

Pairings: Harry/Draco

Rating: R

Warnings: Violence, sex, dubcon, angst, bloodplay, mentions of suicide and torture, AU after Book 6

Wordcount: 17,000

Summary: Sequel to 'Blood, Flesh, Silence.' Harry and Draco survived Voldemort's dungeons. Life outside them may be harder.

Author's Notes: This is for duchessa, who made a donation to keep the Hex Files website running. She asked for a sequel to my twisted Veela one-shot "Blood, Flesh, Silence." You should read that story first.

Fear, Silence, Wisdom

Malfoy was watching him again.

Harry hunched his shoulders and picked at his food. As far as he knew, he had a normal appetite. No, he didn't eat a lot since he had come back from the sojourn in Voldemort's headquarters that he had thought should have killed him, but that was because his head felt too full of thoughts, and sometimes those thoughts spilled down his throat and formed a blockage.

Malfoy should understand that better than anyone. He hadn't come out of Voldemort's dungeons unchanged, either.

But it didn't seem as though he did. He leaned forwards across the table, folding his arms on the top and lowering his voice so that none of Harry's comrades, eating their own lunches or arguing or discussing strategies for rounding up the last Death Eaters less than five feet away, would hear him. "You eat that or I'll break your littlest finger."

Harry flung his head back. This was more familiar ground for them both. He tried to ignore the sensation that Malfoy knew that and was talking like this on purpose, rather than because he believed what he was saying. "That would cause you pain, too."

"Might be worth it," Malfoy said, his eyes swiveling down and focusing on Harry's stomach. "Then I won't wake up at night with you growling in my ear, or watch you look at food and then away again before you start drooling."

Harry hissed at him. Malfoy hissed back, and made a more impressive job of it. His claws dug into the wood of the table as he shifted restlessly, scoring shallow grooves.

Harry kept an eye on them, but also on the wings that hung above Malfoy's head. The tips were grey, pale enough to make them look like a continuation of his hair, but they shadowed to silver in the middle and then white nearest his shoulders. They moved when he twisted. Harry had seen him break stone with them. They might be vulnerable, given the light bones, but Harry knew that anyone who came near enough to hurt Malfoy that way would probably receive the chop of a wing across the throat and the chest first, shattering their bones.

Malfoy wasn't an ordinary Veela. Voldemort had Transfigured him into one, and then set him to die of loneliness and starvation, since Veela fed on various modes of companionship. Harry's arrival in the dungeon—intended by Voldemort to result in his messy death as the Veela fed—had resulted in both of them being saved instead.

If you can call this saved, Harry thought, and shifted, and looked away.

"Eat," Malfoy said. "Is the food not to your liking? I can get you something else." His wings quivered, and a sharp noise emerged from the back of his mouth. Harry had yet to figure out what that was, though he thought it was Malfoy snapping his teeth shut like castanets. "I can fly to steal fruit from orchards for you, to kill rare game, to force the bakers in Diagon Alley to make bread. Say the word."

"There are no bakers in Diagon Alley anymore," Harry muttered. The long war had destroyed most of the normal wizarding institutions, and Diagon Alley had been one of the first attacked, so also one of the first abandoned. He sat back, rubbing his fingers into his eyes, aware of the way it made Malfoy tense, but uncaring. "And I don't need you treating me like a pregnant woman."

Malfoy had winter in his smile. "I think there are some pregnant women who would hate to be insulted that way." He nudged the plate closer to Harry. "There's plenty of good food here," he said, and looked at the bread and crumbly cheese on it as if expecting it to suddenly transform itself to be more appealing to Harry.

"I notice you haven't touched it," Harry pointed out coolly.

"For the next few days, I intend to test my limits," Malfoy said. "To find out how much nourishment I can draw from your presence, and how much I need to take in physical food." He returned his gaze to Harry. Harry wondered if staring nourished him. It seemed entirely possible, considering all the other strange changes he had undergone when Voldemort Transfigured him.

For some reason, when Harry could draw his eyes away from the grey and black gaze, those words irritated him more than anything Malfoy had said so far. They rasped along his back like feathers. They made him remember that his scar was shaped like a wing now, that Malfoy had changed it when he'd drawn the Horcrux out.

Nothing was as it had been. And Malfoy sounded pleased with that fact, committed to finding out the future, to testing how far he was a Veela and how much he could still behave like an ordinary human being.

It was too much.

"Later," Harry said, pushing back from the table and ducking for the door.

Malfoy got up to come after him, but he still wasn't used to the shape or the weight of his wings, and they tangled around the chairs to either side of him. By the time he managed to draw himself free, Harry was running across the grass outside headquarters, drawing his wand as he thought about the Apparition point near where Ron would be scouting. Ron had managed to slip the name to him this morning when Malfoy was in the shower, figuring out how to wash feathers, and wouldn't hear him.

He Apparated at the same moment as he heard a shriek behind him.


Draco brought his wings down hard enough to take splinters out of the doorframe as he stepped into the open and found that Harry had escaped him.

The panic that fell on him a moment later was bestial in nature, and he knew it. He closed his eyes, ignoring the impulse to tear the air with his claws, or find someone and tear strips of flesh out of them, or take to the air and circle in wider and wider circles until he found Harry. If Harry had bothered to Apparate instead of simply running, he was probably too far away to be found by that method, at least easily.

Draco couldn't subdue the Veela instincts that the Transfiguration had plunged him into, exactly, but he could work with them rather than letting them control him.

Where would Harry have gone? So far, he'd shown little inclination to join in the scouting missions or the discussions about how best to repair the wizarding world. Not many people but those in the immediate area even knew that he was still alive. Harry had drifted through the last few days, trying, as Draco knew although he doubted that Harry did, to come to terms with being alive, not the heroic sacrifice he had thought he would be for so long, and with being a Veela's beloved.

Beloved.

Draco stretched his wings out and shook them, then turned away from the door of the headquarters, a low, dark little house that he often wanted to tear apart even when his beloved hadn't left him. They didn't need to see the convulsions of his face as he thought.

The term made little sense, given who they had been to each other before the Dark Lord had pushed them closer together, and given what Draco had done to Harry in the darkness to keep them both alive. But Draco knew it was the right one, because of those instincts driven into his skull like silver spikes.

He had done a better job at Harry than accepting the inevitable. That had surprised him when he thought about it. Wasn't Harry Potter all about accepting the inevitable, including, as he had thought, the fated end of his life because he carried a Horcrux inside him?

But then Draco had realized that the trouble hinged on the word accept. Harry could endure things he was certain would kill him. He could put up with people who required no more than passivity from him, whether that was the kind of passivity that would kill him or the kind that required him to smile and wave at the crowds.

He didn't know how to react to someone who demanded that he participate in a volatile, changing situation.

Draco smiled and closed his eyes. He could feel the spikes in his head, the instincts, quivering and lunging, ready to aim him in the right direction if he simply listened to them.

Harry wasn't a stranger to participation. He had run this rebellion for the last year that Draco had spent in Voldemort's possession and the dungeons. He had hunted beside his friends to get rid of Death Eaters, and he had spent hours beside them scouring the books for some means of getting rid of Horcruxes other than his own death. He had participated in hunts, and quests, and the scouting missions he was anxious to avoid now—

The spikes all pointed in one direction.

Where would Harry go when he was running away from his new life? Back to his old one, back to the participation beside his friends in something he understood, no matter how much he wanted to pretend that he was alienated from it, too.

Draco sprang from the ground. The wings stroked and hissed around him like lightning coming closer, and then he vanished.

Drawn away by the need that thrummed in him like an arrow quivering in a wound, drawn by the presence of his beloved.


"Are you all right, mate? Really?"

Harry sighed. He had thought that he'd convinced Ron to accept it when he showed up to scout the ruins of Diagon Alley with him, but he should have known better. Ron had just eased Parvati and Dean, the other two members of the group, away by telling them to go check on the other side of the wall, and then confronted Harry away from prying ears.

"No," he said. "But I don't want to talk about it."

Ron tilted his head to the side and hummed. "Even if I think that I might have a means of getting rid of Malfoy for you?"

Harry blinked, and then remembered what those words would mean to someone like Ron, who didn't have to live with the bond that reflected their wounds on each other's bodies. "If you kill him, then I'll probably die, too," he muttered, and knelt down to cast one of the spells that would detect the presence of Dark Arts. No, the stones didn't glow. Harry stepped back and turned his head so that he could take in the sight again.

The shops that had once sold school supplies and pets, clothes and books, were charred mounds of rubble. Their signs were completely gone save for a buried scrap of paper that flapped forlornly here and there. Craters littered the ground where the Death Eaters had blasted away the stone beneath the feet of running wizards. The air around them was unnaturally still, only the distant hum of Muggle London enlivening it.

"I didn't mean that," Ron said. "I mean that we might be able to break the bond."

Harry exhaled hard, trying not to let the hope take him over. He turned to Ron and raised an eyebrow. "Really? You're not feeding me a load of bollocks?"

Ron's eyes darkened. "I wouldn't do that to you. I want you alive, mate, but that means that I know it's too early for jokes yet."

Harry nodded. "Right. Right. I knew that." Ron was watching him skeptically, but Harry made an effort to grin back at him. He was tired of feeling so distant from the world, as though someone had grabbed his hair and pulled him into another dimension when he wasn't looking. Part of that was his bond with Malfoy, who kept people from touching him or even talking to him for long, but most of it came from his shock at finding himself alive.

He wanted to get over that. He wanted to live again, and return to the world of the living that he had fucking well earned. Sure, he hadn't had to die, but he'd been willing to. It was time to stop thinking that his survival was some sort of mistake.

"What are your ideas?" he asked.

Ron smiled at him, and Harry relaxed. He had forgotten how much he'd missed Ron in the past few days, when Malfoy was practically keeping him prisoner. "It's Hermione's idea, actually," he said, and punched Harry in the shoulder when he snorted. "Shut up. Anyway, it's pretty simple. Hermione started by looking up information on Veela who came into their heritage unexpectedly."

"Yeah, you could say that," Harry muttered, thinking of the way Voldemort had Transfigured Malfoy.

Ron shot him a look for interrupting, and went on. "Almost all of them have some difference from ordinary Veela at first. They have trouble shifting back and forth between human and bird form, they need their humans close at all times, they keep feeding more than they should." Ron pulled a disgusted face, and Harry nodded in silence. He wasn't about to tell Ron how much of the feeding had happened since they escaped, and how Malfoy no longer fed on blood and flesh, but on Harry's cries as he came.

"Some of them don't want to be Veela any more than their humans want to be mated to them." Ron shuddered, as if to say that he couldn't understand how someone would prefer that fate. Harry opened his mouth to say something, and then shut it. Ron had never been in the position of having to choose between a Veela's claim and death. And maybe he was right and Harry should have refused. He was sorry, in some ways, that he hadn't. "If they destroy something symbolically important to the Veela, the magic that's fluctuating around them never has a chance to stabilize. It melts back into their body."

"And how do you do that?" Harry asked. He whipped around as he thought he heard a shriek from behind him, and then relaxed with a shaky laugh when Parvati popped out from beneath a wall. She rolled her eyes at him and turned to say something to Dean, who was beside her. They would be coming back over here in a minute, Harry thought, watching them. He wished Ron would talk faster.

"Destroy their wings, usually," Ron said. "They can repair them if they work fast enough, but with the Veela's cooperation, the magic doesn't have the chance. It just drains away, and in a few days they're normal humans again."

Harry caught his breath. Freeing Malfoy as well as himself from this trap sounded wonderful. He did owe Malfoy something for rescuing him, which was why listening to Ron's plans had made him feel vaguely ill, vaguely disloyal. "Do you think Malfoy would go for that?"

Ron shook his head. "No. Not the way he clings to you. Not the way he never complains about the Transfiguration, just about you moving away from him or having the nerve to talk to someone else." He punched Harry on the shoulder again. "Why shouldn't you talk to someone else if you want to?"

Harry nodded and wiped at the sweat beading on his forehead, wondering why it was there. Excitement over the prospect of freedom, probably. "Yeah."

"He was probably a Veela too long before he broke free of that prison," Ron went on. "His magic's not stable yet, so he's like someone who just manifested, but he's used to being what he is." He reached out and brushed back the fringe on Harry's forehead, which made Harry flinch. No one but Malfoy had touched him in the past few days, and even then, before he had gone to the dungeons, someone touching his scar was pretty rare. "No, we can use something else, something that belongs to you alone, since he changed your scar. It's still powerfully magical, since it had a Horcrux behind it."

Harry nodded. "Yes. All right." He shifted his weight from foot to foot. He felt oddly hollow, anxious, as though he was stretched out on a rack watching a torturer come towards him. He thought he could feel the places on his body where Malfoy had healed the wounds with feathers twitching and quivering. "Let's do it."

Ron raised his eyebrows. "I can manage the incantation," he said quietly, and turned his head towards Dean and Parvati. "But I thought you'd want to wait."

"No," Harry snapped, and felt the dry screech in the back of his own throat. "I—I have to—Ron, I think he's coming."

Ron's eyes widened, and he stepped towards Harry, putting one hand on his left shoulder. His other hand held the wand to Harry's scar. He began to chant, low, rolling words that made Harry feel as if tiny knives were stabbing into his forehead.

He had endured worse pains. He closed his eyes and told himself that, while one such pain rippled and spread through him, as if he were a giant scab connected to a wound and gradually pulling away. He wanted to be free, didn't he? Of course he did. This—this captivity that Malfoy had enforced on him, that was no sort of life.

Ron paused, either for breath or because he was at a natural pause in the incantation, and that was when Malfoy appeared overhead, his wings tilted to the ground, his eyes focused instantly on Ron. He stooped like a hawk, his hands reaching out. Harry could see the gleam of claws on the ends of his fingers, and he knew exactly how deadly those claws were, having felt them rip him open in the dungeons.

Although aching fiercely because he had to disrupt the spell, and thus Ron's attempt to help him, Harry grabbed Ron's wand hand and ripped it to the side, turning so that he was sheltered behind Harry. Harry was the one who faced Malfoy, coming down like an angel of death, and the one who snarled and lifted his wand in challenge.

Malfoy shrieked at him, a great bird's cry. Harry shrieked right back and set himself. He thought it likely that Malfoy's dive would kill him. Well, good.

He really didn't know how to live in this world anymore.


Draco could feel it, someone tugging at the bond that connected him to Harry, picking one of the many threads of the link and beginning to unravel it.

It made him crazy.

Need drove every other thought straight out of his head. When he Apparated in and saw Weasley beneath him, holding up the wand, it was the need to kill. Then Harry took Weasley's place and looked up at him, eyes bleak but fearless, holding out his wand as though he expected a duel to the death.

Desire replaced homicidal madness.

Draco altered the angle of his wings, scooping and throwing air, not questioning how he knew how to do it. Yes, he could fly, and yes, it was a gift of the Transfiguration and not something he could consciously control, and yes, he refused to spend a lot of time brooding on that. He reached out, and his claws, gentled as they always were for his beloved, closed around Harry's shoulders and throat. Harry's eyes widened and then darkened and closed. He thought he was about to die. Draco read that in everything from the line of his arms to the way that his wand drooped a moment later. He didn't care about Draco hurting him, as long as Draco didn't hurt his friend.

Draco did shoot one sharp glance at Weasley, reminding him that he wouldn't forget what had almost happened, and then he snatched Harry up under the arms and bore him into the air.

They had flown once before, struggling to escape Voldemort's dungeon. That time, Draco had been more concerned with shrugging the blocks aside and then killing the bastard than balancing Harry's weight. It was harder than he had thought it would be, but then again, he was determined to succeed. He turned Harry, so that he was facing Draco fully instead of staring partially at the ground, and hovered high and hard, his wings beating furiously.

Harry stared at him with his face drained of everything except weariness. "Going to drop me?" he asked softly. "I'd prefer it if you did."

"Of course you would," Draco snarled back at him, a bubbling hiss in the back of his voice. "Because that would absolve you of any choice that you might possibly have to make."

Harry's forehead wrinkled, and he opened his mouth as if he was going to ask what Draco meant, or perhaps complain about his fate again. Draco didn't give him the chance. He drove his tongue into Harry's mouth, and for the first time, he reached out with the full force of his Veela magic, driving it into Harry's body as he couldn't drive his claws.

"Ah, God!" Harry's cry was desperate, his body twisting in Draco's arms, his hands suddenly alive and scrambling up and down his shoulders. Draco smiled into the kiss. The magic couldn't make his beloved have sex with him, but it could increase the desire that always underlay the first choice Harry had made, the acceptance of being a Veela's beloved and all that that entailed.

Harry did hesitate one more moment, swallowing around the taste of Draco's tongue in his throat, staring at him with wide eyes. Draco arched one wing. "We can fuck," he said, "or we can talk."

No surprise that Harry chose the first option, moaning low in his throat as he leaned forwards and bit Draco with sharp, uneven teeth. Draco hissed back, remembering the way his teeth had actually torn Harry's flesh in the dungeon, and resisting the temptation to take another bite, to fill another wound with feathers, to mark Harry more thoroughly his than he already was.

There were other ways of marking. Draco reached down with one arm, gripping Harry with his legs to keep him from falling, and eased his trousers aside. They were the only outer garment he usually wore now, since he hadn't come up with a good adaptation for his wings when it came to shirts.

He took his cock out and aimed it at Harry's leg. Harry rubbed against it with a pained noise. Draco turned them to the side, his wings thundering around them like a third heartbeat, and finally managed to settle it so that they were floating nearly sideways, swimming forwards with great scoops of the wings, his cock nestled between Harry's thighs and Harry's cock, higher than that, rubbing firmly against Draco's belly.

Then they thrust.

Draco watched Harry's face, the way his eyes closed, the way his cheeks flushed, the way he shuddered when his climax came and sweat poured down his face. Draco bit his chin and did let himself tear a faint mark, though not one that would have to be filled with feathers. He gripped Harry around the shoulders as he finished—which hadn't taken long, it never did, Harry's orgasms were quicker and more intense with him—and stabbed forwards with one great motion of his slender arse.

He came across Harry's thighs, streaking them, dripping down them, his semen spilling thick and shining over Harry's skin. Draco didn't think there was much different about his own spunk since he'd become a Veela, except that thickness. It would cling to his beloved and leave a heavy scent for hours afterwards, no matter how much Harry tried to scrub it off.

Harry lifted his head, panting, and locked weary eyes with him. "I came in my pants," he muttered. "You—you came on me."

"Because you're mine," Draco said, and drew him close and up for a ruthless kiss. Harry tried to turn his head to the side, but Draco was having none of that, and nipped his chin warningly until he turned back.

"If—that's true, then you ought to be mine, too," Harry panted when Draco finally ceased stuffing him full of his tongue.

"I'm willing to be," Draco said, and stared at him.

Harry tried to fold his arms, but the way Draco was holding him, it was impossible. He settled for shaking his head. "There's no way that this can last," he said softly. "You know it's the truth. I haven't resisted you much so far because I'm still stunned at finding myself alive. But you know that I'll start causing trouble for you the moment I do."

Draco hummed and stroked his cheek. "And if I say that I'm willing to put up with the trouble? If I say that this is the foundation we should build our days on, rather than some imaginary someday that might never come?"

Harry gave him a strained smile. "I won't make you happy," he said. "Or even content. We're too different."

"Not too different to have shared the experience we did," Draco said. "Voldemort changed us. Can you accept that, or will you continue to resist it?"

The openness he had thought he was seeing in Harry's face—perhaps he had fooled himself about that, too—closed. Harry shook his head again and stared over Draco's shoulder. "That was a few hours," he said. "Much longer for you, but I wasn't there to share it then. My friends hate you. Your friends, if you have any left alive, will hate me. You didn't get to have a free choice. I want that for you as much as for me."

"I didn't get to make one then," Draco said. "I've had some time to look around and think about what I want."

"Have you?" Harry's eyes were fastened on him with something that looked like hope. "And what did you decide?"

"That I want you."

Harry let out a hissing noise like a kettle, and shook his head again. Draco was beginning to hate the gesture. His fingers itched with the desire to hold Harry's head still. "It won't work," he said. "We hated each other to begin with. You ate me, ate the Horcrux, to help us survive. Why would you think we could be happy together?"

"I'm not looking to be happy," Draco said.

Harry cocked his head at him.

"I'm looking to go on living." Draco tangled his claws with Harry's hair, displeased when Harry ducked his head and pulled out a few strands. "I can't do that if you separate from me, the way your Weasel friend was intent on doing."

"Don't call him that," Harry said, but Draco knew the response was automatic, not something that Harry was saying because he really meant it. He shook his head again a moment later. This time, Draco's claws seemed to writhe about independently of his fingers. "It's not—look, Malfoy, I'm fucking afraid of you, okay?"

Draco stared at him. He never would have guessed that, as strong as his sense of his beloved's emotions was. Then again, Harry had been a confused, churning mess since they escaped imprisonment, and Draco wasn't sure that he was much better, as he tried to settle human desires against Veela needs.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because you can kill me," Harry said blankly. "Because half the time I think you're going to kill my friends for looking at me like normal people. Because you can scrape my eyes out with your claws, and any harm you suffer, I'll echo. Because having you around is like having a tiger chained to your soul. You never know when it might decide to eat you."

Draco twisted his head to the side so that he could examine Harry's face from that profile, hoping it would have changed. But it hadn't. Harry still showed him the same lack of expression, with only the sheen in his eyes to say that he was telling the truth.

"I would never hurt you," Draco whispered. "I've told you that before. What would it take for you to believe me?"

Harry laughed, a rustling sound like a snake shedding its skin. "I don't think I can. Not after what you did to me."

"That was the only way to get us out—"

"I know. I know!" Harry was suddenly shrieking, the sound ripping free from his throat as though it had spent a long time dammed up there. "And that's what I keep blaming myself for, telling myself that I have no right to resent you for, trying to live with! Only I didn't go in there intending to live with it. And I have no idea what my place is anymore, who I am without him to fight, what I should do next—" He turned away from Draco and spoke to the boiling sky. Rain on the way, Draco noted silently. His feathers already twitched with the impression of imaginary water.

"I think," Harry whispered, "what I want more than anything is a year or two alone. Time to travel. Time to get my head straight. Time to go among people who don't know me, who don't think I'm special, and to be treated like everyone else."

"I won't let you go," Draco said.

"I know that," Harry said, and gave him a cool look this time that was worse than the terrified blankness of a few seconds before. "And that's why I tell myself that I'm stupid for wanting this even as I list my desires to myself. Because there's no way that I can have what I want, ever, and I ought to know that."

"Now you sound like a child," Draco said, feeling his wings beat behind him, sending a cold wind sweeping around them. "You have got some of what you want. Contact with your friends. Your life."

"What makes you think I want this life?" Harry asked him softly, lifting his lips from his teeth in challenge. "What makes you think that I want to be with you, that you can make it better? Why would I have let Ron cast the spell that was supposed to sever our bond, if I want to be alive this way?"

Draco pressed his face forwards until his brow rested against Harry's. The worn scar under his skin soothed him despite himself. Harry was no longer marked by Voldemort. That scar was the shape of a wing now, and if Harry visited his imaginary land where no one knew him, that scar would still tell them that he had a Veela in his past.

Not that Draco would be able to let Harry leave even if he wanted to. He would die without him.

He had accepted that, and was doing his best to move on, despite the history and the long, torturous months of imprisonment. He had suffered worse in that dungeon than Harry had. Why couldn't Harry see that? He called himself self-sacrificing, and accepting of his fate, and accepting of the inevitable, but he couldn't put up with this?

"Want it or not, it's the life you have," Draco said. "And you're going to put up with it, and you're going to live with me, and you're going to accept the pleasure I can bring you. One way or another."

"Or what?" Harry gave him a bloody smile. Draco started. He hadn't even been aware of Harry biting his lips or tongue, whichever one it had been. "You'll hurt me?"

Draco's claws flickered again, and turned into corkscrew shapes. Harry glanced at them from the corner of his eye, face going blank.

"You will," Harry said. "That's the real problem. That's the real reason I can't settle down with my nice Veela the way you think I should, and start working on ambitions and projects for the next—God, will I really live more than a hundred years?" He sounded weary enough to drown an ocean. "There's no certainty. You say that you won't hurt me, and then make gestures like that. I can't relax around my friends because I never know when you'll hurt them. I can't make plans for things to do alone because you have to be included in them. And I can't reconcile myself to the thought that I'll never have things that made my dreams sweet, once upon a time."

"What things?" Draco asked, his wings stirring. If there were things his beloved wanted, then he would have to provide them.

"A wife. Children. Life with the Weasleys without having to look over my shoulder for someone hunting me."

"I'll kill you," Draco hissed, surging closer, although they were already flying so close that he was inwardly surprised they hadn't slammed into the ground yet. "I'll kill you if you touch anyone else. After I rip them limb from limb."

Harry smiled at him, and this time, the blood had stained all his teeth. "That's what I'm talking about."

Draco turned Harry around, so that his back was pressed to Draco's chest, and shakily flew them down to the ground. His wings didn't stroke the air as confidently as they had a moment before, and when they landed, he spent long seconds watching Harry's bowed head, the face averted from him.

He had to have Harry look at him. That was imperative. He reached out and tapped Harry's cheek with his claws, trying to make him turn his head.

Harry gasped and did it, but Draco couldn't move his claws out of the way in time. They slit Harry's skin, and a few drops of blood fell out. Draco couldn't help but lift his hand to his mouth, sucking the blood from his claws.

The thrill tingled and sang through him, the clamorous call to consume and hold his beloved satisfied, the desire to do something to him that no one else could do making him sway as he stood there. Harry would let no one else hurt him like this. He had spat and cursed Voldemort's torturers, Draco knew he had, until he had reached the stage of pain where he couldn't anymore. And even that had been part of a plan. He had wanted Voldemort to destroy him at the time, because he knew that he couldn't go back to his friends with the Horcrux still active in him.

Draco leaned forwards and sniffed the scent that clustered along the edge of Harry's hair. "You belong to me," he whispered. "We do things for each other than no one else can do."

"Sure," Harry said. "We cause each other a unique kind of pain." And he turned his back.

Draco swayed on his feet again, but for a different reason. Harry's back wasn't stiff with anger as he walked away. It wasn't hunched with pain. It was a simple and silent slab of rejection.

Pain hit all along his nerves and made him want to scrape his arms up with his claws just so that he could think of something else.

He's right.


"So you don't think the spell we used to try and break the bond will work."

Harry shook his head, staring out the window of headquarters. Malfoy hadn't come as near him in the last few days. He had an expression on his face as though his nails were being wrenched from his hands each time he looked at Harry, but Harry knew he could endure the pain, because he hadn't come swooping out of the sky to fuck Harry.

The view beyond the window showed the field that had long since been churned to mud by their constant training exercises. The exercises still went on. Parvati and Dean were dueling one another, and Ron was demonstrating one of the fire spells that had taken such possession of his soul to a group of gangling trainees who had only been in the army for two weeks when Harry let Voldemort capture him.

What do we keep training for? The war's over.

Harry snorted bitterly a moment later, feeling his lip twist. He was a fool if he really believed that, and he hoped that he wasn't a fool, not this late in the game. The war would never be over as long as there were Death Eaters left, and so far, most of the "ordinary" people who had gone underground during the war hadn't dared to emerge. They would need more assurances of safety before they did. Harry had suggested that several people travel to Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and the other warded sanctuaries to show Pensieves full of the memory of Voldemort's death. Rumors wouldn't help them, and wouldn't be believed.

"Harry. I'm trying to help."

I cause pain to everybody lately, Harry thought sourly, and turned around to nod to Hermione. "Yeah, I know. But I'm pretty sure the spell won't work. He can find me anywhere I go, and there's no way that he wouldn't sense the severing of the bond."

Hermione folded her hands over the parchment in front of her and nodded seriously. "Then it seems to me the best thing we can do is persuade him to accept someone else as his beloved."

"How, though?" Harry turned one hand over. "I offered to back away and not get involved if he wanted to look for someone else. He rejected the notion as though he didn't know why I'd have it in the first place."

"Well, of course he wouldn't, if you didn't phrase it right." Hermione reached down and picked up the parchment that lay next to her on top of a stack—as opposed to the stack on the table, Harry thought, or the stack under the chair. "And I've been studying Veela. They like certain things. They don't like reversing a decision once they've made it. If you can present him with actual alternatives, as opposed to just pushing him away and telling him that he ought to be with someone else, then he'll be more likely to listen."

Harry blinked and looked at her more closely. "I hadn't thought of that," he admitted.

"Of course you hadn't," Hermione said, and gave him a superior look. Harry gritted his teeth, but he had promised himself not to snap. "You're too close to the situation. Malfoy's taken you away from us, and he fills your head. Once you're healed, then you can come back to us."

Harry frowned and blinked again. Did his friends think that his distance was all Malfoy's work, then? Did they not notice that he was out of it, feeling separated from the world, even without Malfoy around? "Hermione," he began.

"There are a few people in the army who would be willing to put up with him," Hermione said. "And a few others that I've got the names of in the sanctuaries and hiding places, the ones who lose entire families and need someone to feel safe with."

Harry gritted his teeth against an unpleasant tug in his chest. "I don't think that he would appreciate being told someone only picked him for safety, Hermione."

"Oh, all these candidates are pure-bloods and people who were tortured by Voldemort, or whose families were," Hermione said, and beamed at him. "In other words, people who have things in common with him, a lot more than you do. The kind of mates he might have picked for himself."

Harry nodded. The tug was getting worse, but he didn't think it made his voice more than a little breathless. "Then he ought to look at the list. Why don't you give it to me?" He held out his hand.

Hermione blinked. "Why? You get funny when you're around him, Harry. I thought we'd confront him together."

"Because I'm about to be taken to him whether I want to be or not," Harry said, trying to keep from gasping as the rope stretched through the center of his chest pulled taut. "Give it to me, Hermione! Please!"

She managed to press it into his palm, and even to whisper a few instructions about what she thought the best procedure would be for introducing the idea, before the tug simply snapped Harry off his feet. He found himself flying through a blurred tunnel of nothingness, rather like Apparition without the mortal squeeze. His breathing filled his head, harsh and urgent.

Then he landed, and found himself in a field a good distance from headquarters. When he glanced back, he could see the squat building on the horizon, but he couldn't hear the voices of those training in the grounds outside it.

"Harry."

He turned around, and winced. Yes, they caused each other unique kinds of pain.

Malfoy crouched on a large rock that looked as though it had broken loose from a mountain, his wings folded around him. The ground beside the rock was covered with a litter of feathers, white and silver and grey, and Harry could see bare, delicate bone showing through in a few places on the wings. Malfoy turned his head towards him, and his face had already become gaunt and skull-like.

Harry cursed and hurried to his side. Malfoy rose to meet him like a dolphin surfacing, his mouth desperate on Harry's, his wings wrapping around him. Harry flinched as the claws scraped along his sides, but they got tangled in his shirt and didn't damage him.

"You have no idea what you did to me," Malfoy told him, but his words were muffled enough that Harry could choose to ignore them. "To stay away from you, to resist touching you because that was what you wanted…"

"We're going to have to come up with something that will give you what you need without forcing us to fuck every five minutes," Harry said, pulling away so he could speak, and then his knees weakened when Malfoy's hand traveled beneath his shirt and scraped up and down the skin. "Stop it! When we have sex, we're not doing anything but making things worse."

Malfoy shook his head. New feathers were clinging to his wings again, and his eyes looked bright and proud—which meant that he once again looked self-involved. "No. I certainly feel better when I fuck you." He reached down and squeezed Harry's erection, which had appeared without his permission. Harry cursed and swatted his hand away.

"But all we're doing is fucking and then fighting, or the other way around," Harry said. "We're not doing anything else. We're not coming to an acceptance of this—this position we're in, or the problems we have. It doesn't teach me to live with you and with what it means to be a Veela's beloved. And it doesn't teach you how you're different from any other Veela who may be out there because you're Transfigured." He paused as a new thought occurred to him, one that made so much sense that he wondered why Hermione hadn't already had it. "Why don't we find other Veela? Someone you could talk to you, someone who would understand what you were going through—"

"They wouldn't talk to me," Malfoy said, his voice as harsh as a crow's. His wings rustled hard before he wrapped them around Harry and yanked him closer. "They care about bloodlines as much as pure-blood wizards do, perhaps more. They wouldn't care that I'd been Transfigured and abused by a madman. In fact, it would make me worth less to them. A madman made me this way. I'm no different from any of the weird creatures that they used to make before the Experimental Breeding Ban was enacted."

"You're not worthless," Harry snapped. Of course Veela would have their snobs, as wizards did, but he found that the thought of them rejecting Malfoy made him burn. "You saved my life."

"You believe that," Malfoy said. "And yet, you can't stand to be around me."

Harry made a helpless gesture with one hand. "Let's sit down."

Malfoy thought that meant taking a seat on the stone, with Harry on his lap. Malfoy twisted Harry so that his head rested against his chest. Malfoy's heartbeat was too fast to be normal. Harry tried to remember whether he had heard that extra buzz the other times he listened to Malfoy's heartbeat. He couldn't.

"You can't change this," Malfoy said. "That's what you have to accept, what I already have." His teeth clacked on the word, and his wings pressed in until Harry thrust out angrily with one hand, pushing the feathers back. "There's only moving forwards and living with it, rather than escaping from it."

"Are you sure?" Harry asked. "If you're different enough that the traditional Veela wouldn't accept you, then it's possible that the things you can do are different, too." With some fumbling—Malfoy was crushing him so close that it was uncomfortable—he pulled out the list of names Hermione had given him. "This is a list of names. People who would be willing to become your beloved. That has to matter more than just the chance mistake of meeting me in a dungeon, doesn't it?" His voice was thin and reedy with desperation, he realized, and he took a deep breath, trying to calm down and talk more naturally. "You want someone who chooses you freely."

"But you did," Malfoy murmured. He ducked his head and rubbed his chin back and forth along Harry's hair. Harry tensed. This was so close, so warm, so—comforting. It felt unnatural for an enemy to be holding him like this. "You chose to call me beloved, and accept my teeth in the end. You could have refused and died with the Horcrux inside you. I needed your choice, or neither of us would have survived."

"But it doesn't mean that we need to go on doing that, now." Harry shook his head. "Sure, I said that, but—"

Malfoy caught his wrist, hard enough to squeeze. Harry winced and tried to pretend that he didn't hear bones grinding together. "You said words," Malfoy hissed into his face. "They meant something. If you want to break your word and back away, I don't. I'll hold you to it."

Harry leaned back far enough to look him in the face, ignoring the way that the wings rustled and parted for him reluctantly. "But this is really what you want? Someone who despises you? Someone you met in darkness and never got to know and court before you made your choice? I can't believe that. You must want more than that. You always did."


Draco felt the frustration building up in the middle of his chest, and wondered how in the world he could let it go without scarring Harry or exploding his own bones. He chose words in the end, words that he hoped would flay Harry.

"This is what I mean," he hissed. "What it means that I've accepted this and you haven't. You're still stuck back in the dungeons, back in the life that you pictured yourself having before you entered it. Things have changed. I'm not going to let you go, and instead of admitting that to yourself and exploring what it means, you deny the obvious with every breath you take."

Harry looked up at him with quiet eyes. He shook his head, but said nothing. The silence flowed over Draco, and it hurt worse than any words Harry could have used to refute him.

"You have to sense what I mean." His claws were twitching again, and he feared they were growing to the point where they could split skin and hurt Harry. He didn't understand everything about them, about how to control them or why they could sometimes hurt his beloved and sometimes couldn't. He folded his hands around Harry's back and deliberately kept his fingers from moving. "You know that we're different than we were before."

"Yes," Harry said. "There's those bloody great wings, for one thing."

Draco ground his teeth. "We aren't only going to talk about my differences. There's yours to contend with."

"If I don't want to contend with them?" Harry whispered. "If I just want to drift through the world and let time deal with them?"

Draco shook his head. He arranged Harry so that they were looking into each other's eyes, and his words came more confidently now. "You would hate that. As you recovered, you would start to despise your own drifting, and long for some means of confrontation. Doing nothing might sound attractive, but it's never been the way you act."

"Not to mention that my friends would never let me do it," Harry added, the ghost of a smile dying on his face.

Draco ducked his head to rest his chin in Harry's hair and closed his eyes for a moment. It was the only way to deal with his mingled impulses of pride that Harry was reacting and jealousy that his friends were the people who could bring that reaction out of him, instead of Draco and all he had done for Harry. "Yes," he murmured when he thought his voice was understandable. "Then explain to me why you're so reluctant to admit that things are different now, and that you're stuck with me."

"Well, part of I already have," Harry muttered. "Because I know that you would have made a different choice, and I think you should have a chance to make that choice."

"I don't care about that," Draco said. "It's condescending for you to think that you know better than me, to worry about something that I've decided I don't need to worry about." His claws fluttered and tangled in Harry's shirt. "Stop worrying. About that," he had to add, because he knew that telling Harry to stop worrying altogether was as futile as telling him to eat more. "Tell me the other reasons."

Harry was silent for long enough that Draco shifted him again, so that he could feel Harry's heartbeat. Harry touching him had stopped the molt of feathers from his wings, but inside, he still felt as though he couldn't get enough air, and he needed noise from Harry to cure it. His voice gasping out curses and pleas as Draco fucked him would be perfect, but he knew he couldn't have that right now.

"What am I now?" Harry whispered. "I defined myself as a sacrifice for so long. A Gryffindor. Someone who was part of my friends. And now it turns out that I can live, and I can't go back to Hogwarts, and I feel—distant from my friends. I share things with you that I don't share with them, and no matter how long I talk to them, they won't understand what happened in the dungeons. And I hate that." His last words made Draco's wings shake.

Draco cocked his head. The answer seemed so easy and simple to him that he couldn't believe Harry hadn't seen it—which meant he probably had, and there were other problems. "You're mine."

"I have to be more than that," Harry said, and his eyes blazed at Draco. "Because I refuse to let Voldemort define the rest of my life."

"Then mine, and someone who can make his own life apart from his friends," Draco said. "We can do anything you want. We can leave England. We don't have to see your friends for the rest of your life." That option appealed most to him, and he saw a few feathers on the ends of his wings stand up straight as he mentioned it. He moaned and tugged Harry closer, fitting him over his erection. "We can go into a different school of magic, or we can help reopen Hogwarts and you can finish up your education there, if you think you need to."

Harry shook his head. "Ron and Hermione won't let me do that," he said.

Draco hissed and lay back on the rock, angling his legs so that he wouldn't simply spill off the other side. He positioned Harry on his chest and glared into his startled eyes. "How do they think they can stop you?" he asked. "How do you think they can stop you? They're less magically powerful than you are, and they don't have me at their sides."

"It's—I can't abandon them like that," Harry said. He refused to rest his head above Draco's heart, the way Draco wanted, but twisted restlessly in his arms, staring up at the sky. "They would say that those dreams of freedom sound nice, but I would miss them, and I should come back. And that's true."

Draco hummed beneath his breath and pressed Harry down on his chest by main force. Harry caught his breath and glared at him. Draco stared back, unimpressed. "You should know that I'll make you do things when there's no reason that you should do otherwise," he said. "And when you're putting off decisions that have to be made."

Harry wasn't stubborn enough to claim that he didn't understand. He folded his arms, putting another barrier between them. "I don't know what I want. I don't know how to deal with these things. I don't know how close I want to stay to my friends when I resent their attempts to help me. I don't know how to define myself. Happy?"

Draco felt his bones, his soul, his whole being shift. "Of course," he said softly, and cupped the back of Harry's head. "Because that tells me what I need to be to you."

Harry blinked and looked vaguely worried. "But you need to think about our separate existences," he said. "I mean. Really. It's one thing to live with your choices, and another thing to only care about me."

Draco grinned at him. At least, he could call it a grin and not completely be a liar. "What makes you think that I can do that until you let me closer?"

Harry clenched his hands in front of him and lifted his head. Draco admired the proud curve of his neck, the way that his hair refused to lie flat. Once the initial tremors passed and he settled into a steady relation with his beloved, then those things would become assets instead of the problems they had proved to be so far. "I don't know that I want that, either."

Draco smiled at him. "That's the one thing you have no choice about," he said, "because I've made mine. You need me as an anchor. Someone who can support you while you decide what you do want and make other decisions. I can do that, Harry. You have no idea how happy I would be to do that for you."

Harry ducked his head. "It's—it's not right," he said.

Draco laughed. "And you care so much about that now?" he asked, when Harry peered up at him again. "Voldemort is dead. You don't need to think constantly about what you're doing and what it means for the war and the chances to defeat him and fulfill your destiny. That's the thing I think you're most afraid of. You have freedom now, and you deny it as the lack of freedom, because that's easier than facing up to the fact that no one has a right to depend on you any longer."

Harry shivered. "I hated the attention," he said. "I hated the destiny."

"Both those things can be true, and you can still like the comfort you received from it," Draco replied. His body flushed and filled, and he rocked his erection gently against Harry's arse without the imperative need to fill him that he had felt earlier. "It's not many people who know their place in the world so intimately. You had that, and I can understand you feeling bereft because you lost it. But other people don't have it, and they live normal lives. You can learn to do that, too."

Harry swallowed. "I—how can you say that and make sense? I never thought you were very philosophical before."

"All prisoners become philosophical," Draco said. He combed the fringe back from Harry's scar and admired its wing shape, the glowing lines of small feathers. "And I told you. I'll be your anchor. Build on me. Hold on to me."

"It seems so strange," Harry said, frowning at him as though he expected Draco to change any moment and deny the promises he'd made.

"Why?" Draco let his face rest on Harry's shoulder so that he could inhale his scent. Then he moved to his neck and did the same there, and to his chest and did the same, and would have done his hands if Harry hadn't raised them defensively instead of yielding them. Draco clasped one and raised his eyebrow.

"That you would want to." Harry's voice was soft, now, and he looked Draco in the eye instead of looking past him. Draco wrapped his wings harder around him, holding him close, and he knew that his claws wouldn't hurt Harry if he touched his skin at the moment. "Because I have been pushing you away, and no matter what you say about your choice being made, I don't think I can really make—care about you."

"There are more important things in the world than love," Draco said. "Survival. Food. You give me those."

Harry scowled. "I'd like to be with someone who I love and who loves me, if I have to be with someone."

"You haven't managed to love yourself, yet," Draco said, and caught Harry's hand and kissed his knuckles when he flinched. "One thing at a time."

Harry nodded slowly. "So—you would be willing to just talk to me about it and—hold me—while I flail around trying to decide what I want?"

"I would," Draco said. "But I think you need something more than flailing." Harry bristled, and Draco smiled. "Acting as your anchor can mean acting as your anchorite, too. Let me give you advice."

Harry watched him in silent tension for long moments, but then nodded. Draco wanted to spread his wings and scream to the world that Harry Potter was yielding to him, that he was giving acceptance to someone he never would have looked at a week ago. But then, a week ago, Draco had still been a mindless monster, and Harry had still thought of himself as a willing sacrifice to free the world.

"I think you need to spend some time doing normal things," Draco said. "Not patrolling, or training, or cleaning up the remnants of a war that you did more than anyone to win."

"You were the one who actually killed Voldemort."

Draco laughed as he saw another piece of the problem. The laughter sounded more like crowing, but it wasn't as though he could help that. "That bothers you, doesn't it? That I took away something from you that you saw as your purpose in life, the most important thing you would ever do."

Harry's nostrils flared. "Sometimes you sound kind, and then you sound—like this."

"I'm both," Draco said, and twined his claws firmly with Harry's fingers. Harry held his hands still so that he wouldn't get cut, and Draco thought that a wise reaction. "The one who ate you, and the one who did it to help you survive. I have you, and that's important to me. It always will be. What I do is for you, because I want you to be with me, because I need it to survive. Your needs and mine are one, Harry. A snake eating its tail. No beginning, no end."

Harry looked at him as if he didn't understand. But Draco knew that wasn't true. Harry was holding back understanding. Not the same thing. He showed his teeth and didn't move. Harry could give up on thoughts of Draco simply leaving and choosing someone else, and he could give up on thoughts of Draco letting him destroy himself. At the moment, true, Draco had no idea what would be left when those thoughts were gone. Harry's head seemed so empty of anything else.

But it hardly mattered, not when Draco would force him to choose something else, to get beyond the only options he had allowed himself. No beloved of his was going to be a simple, drifting shadow for the rest of his life, and no beloved of his was going to walk away. That was the way things were. It was reality.


Harry felt as though someone had shoved him out of a cellar where he'd spent most of his life and into sunlight. But they hadn't given him any advice about the sunlight, how to survive it. It had simply happened, and he had to flail around for himself—

But Malfoy said no flailing would be allowed—

And discover the truth—

But Malfoy seemed determined that he would be an integral part of Harry's discovery of the truth, whether or not Harry wanted him to be.

Harry took a deep breath and shut his eyes. At the moment, held so close by Malfoy and prevented from moving further off by Malfoy's wings, it was the only privacy he had. He could almost feel Malfoy's stare sharpening, trying to pierce through the fragile barrier of skin and veins that hid Harry's thoughts.

But he didn't object, which gave Harry the first chance he'd had to think his own thoughts without having someone—one of his friends, one of the Order, a trainee, Malfoy—interrupt them.

And a thought that was so unaccustomed Harry almost killed it as the first sign of Legilimency wormed out of hiding and waved an embarrassed limb at him.

Maybe…maybe it wasn't a sign of weakness or a horrible fault that Harry felt so tired and wanted to surrender. Maybe, sometimes, surrender was inevitable. He wouldn't fail anyone if he gave in to Malfoy. Voldemort was dead. The wizarding world needed helping hands, but there was no reason that he needed to be the most important person in the rebuilding. He could vanish into the help, become less important and more anonymous than he had been.

Harry bit his lip. He had assumed, without thinking, that of course he needed to get away from Malfoy. It was what his friends wanted. It was necessary to give Malfoy a real choice; he would wake up sooner or later and disdain Harry, no matter what he thought right now. It would give Harry time to recover.

But if Malfoy was here to stay, could he live with that?

Yes. He had lived with harder things before, including the knowledge that he had to die and, lately, the knowledge that he hadn't died. Maybe he could endure this, maybe it wasn't harder than a death sentence.

And maybe, if he treated Malfoy as though he was serious and wanted to be Harry's anchor for however long he would be around, then he would manage to do more than endure. He might manage to live.

He opened his eyes and nodded. "All right. For the next few months, we'll take it as read that I'm staying with you," Malfoy's eyes brightened with an emotion that made Harry embarrassed on his behalf, and he looked away, coughing. "But there's something I want to ask of you."

"You've never done that except when I forced you to." Malfoy's voice was breathless. His hands roamed over the back of Harry's head now and cupped it, as though there were a lot of hard floors and walls that he needed cushioning from in the near future. "You can't think how happy I'll be to do anything you ask of me."

"Silence," Harry said.

Malfoy blinked at him, but said nothing. Harry stared back, and realized why a moment later.

A soft, warm blow seemed to hit him in the belly. He bit his lip and tried to resist the temptation to moan. It made no sense to him, he had never thought he was the sort of person who would rejoice in having the power to command others—

Which is of course why you made such a horrible leader.

Harry discarded the notion impatiently. He didn't think, now, that most of what he had learned about himself during the war was worth anything. He hadn't had the time for joy and pleasure, much less the time for the moral dilemmas that would have cropped up if he had recognized things like this about himself and his own desires.

But now, it was the beginning of something new and he could look at Malfoy's closed mouth and blinking eyes and acknowledge that it wasn't entirely unpleasant.

"I want you to speak as little as you can," Harry said. "Come with me, be with me, but leave me silent for thinking. If I stop talking, don't press me. Of course, sometimes you'll have to speak to me, I know," he added generously, thinking of the way that Malfoy tended to forbid him from moving too far away and nag him to eat. "But unless it's your Veela instincts driving you to, I want silence."

"Yes," Malfoy said. He looked entranced, stroking his claws down Harry's face. It was like being petted by a wildcat, and Harry only kept his eyes from moving sideways with supreme effort. "Can I ask why?"

"Because I have to find myself in you, and I have to find myself apart from you," Harry said. "Both, if the world's going to make any sense. Both, if I live the way I want to and the way I have to. All right?"

Malfoy's tongue flickered out to curl around Harry's fingers, and he nodded in silent assent.


They went flying.

They had mated on the wing already, of course, and Draco thought he would hold the memory all the more precious now that Harry seemed less inclined to crawl into his arms and yield to Draco's hands on his cock.

But then again, Harry was less yielding about everything lately. Granger and the Weasel had come to him with some new plot to free him from Draco's "unfair domination." He had dismissed them with harsh words and a few glares that Draco wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of, and then spent the next hour sitting in Draco's arms and scowling at the wall. Draco had licked his neck and said nothing, well-pleased. His beloved standing up for him and their right to remain together were worth all the words that he could pour out in pleading or in defense.

Later that night, Granger had knocked on their door, and Harry had turned around at once. Draco had tightened his arms around his waist, and although Harry had shot him one irritated look, he hadn't tried to move away. He'd given the command to enter, instead, and Granger had come in and stood looking at him helplessly, as though he squatted on the other side of a huge gulf.

Draco ducked his head to be safe from any charge of annoying Granger on purpose and rolled his eyes. As though they couldn't have Harry back the minute they stopped trying to act as if the time in the dungeons hadn't changed him.

The minute they stopped trying to act as though he didn't belong to a Veela, or shouldn't belong to one.

"You won't try to get free of him?" Granger asked Harry, as though Draco wasn't there. But no matter what her words lied, her eyes told the truth. They focused on Draco's face and then darted away as though she had never seen anything more disgusting.

Draco knew how beautiful he was, knew how beautiful Harry was in his arms. She was welcome to look, anyone was, as long as they didn't look with desire. Draco spread his wings wider and smiled at Granger.

"Not now," Harry said. His voice was tired, but he smiled at Granger and put out his hand. Draco cupped his arm with the edge of a wing. He could put up with it if Harry wanted to touch his friend, though it strained his patience, but he would make sure that he was touching him at the same time.

"I know you're trying to help, Hermione," Harry whispered. "But I think—I think this is going to stay, just like the way he changed my scar. It would be better to get used to it than to spend all my time whining about how it's not fair and how I want things to change."

"You've never whined," Granger whispered. Tears shone in her eyes, and Draco cocked his head to the side, seeing her friendship for the pure, strong thing it was, despite all the missteps along the way—missteps that he would have thought strong enough to destroy any friendship, at least if Harry's friendships were like his own. "Well. Except during fifth year, but that was Voldemort in your head."

Harry gave her a tired smile. "Right. Well, he's gone now, and I want to deal with that. I'll be all right," he added when she looked at him doubtfully. "I don't think Malfoy will let me come to harm."

"At least when he's not the one hurting you." Granger gave Draco another steely look. Draco purred at her and lifted his wings so that they formed a gleaming silver barrier between her and Harry. Now she wouldn't be able to touch him even if she wanted to.

"I think we've settled that," Harry said. "Well. I think so. I don't believe he always has control of his claws."

Granger snickered, and Draco wanted to rise and fly at her, but Harry was in his arms, and placed a restraining hand on his elbow. Draco turned his head and let his nose fill with the scent of Harry's blood in the vein, warm under the surface of his skin.

"Fine," Granger said. "I'll tell Ron what you said, and maybe he can finally stop mourning for his best friend being stolen by a monster." She paused and stared into Harry's eyes hard enough to make him wince and shift, as though he would get up. Draco closed his claws gently on Harry's hip to suggest what a bad idea that would be, and Harry settled down again, although he glared at Draco. "But if you ever change your mind," Granger continued softly, "if you ever need help, then let us know. Okay?"

Draco snarled. He found the way that Granger ignored him—with both eyes and words, this time—insulting. As though he wouldn't know any plan that Harry made to leave him almost before he made it, and would stop it!

Harry ignored him, too, squeezing Granger's hand hard enough to make her knuckles pop. "Thanks, Hermione. I'll remember that. Always."

Granger turned and walked away, even the lines of her arse humiliating. Draco knocked Harry on the bed and whispered soft words to him, heated words, angry words, slicing through the cloth over his groin and taking him in hand. Harry panted into his face, and came after a few strokes, arching his back in a way that made Draco come without any provocation.

No, he would never let Harry go.

And they went flying in much the same mood, in much the same silence.

Harry leaned on his broom, his eyes aimed forwards as though he would find the path in the clouds to the land where he could shed his troubles. Draco circled beside him, wings spread so wide that he could shelter Harry with them most of the times he circled past him. Harry had ceased to hunch and scowl at him for the circling after a few passes. He only swooped and dodged on his broom, with the same grace as always but a distinct lack of the same enthusiasm, his face set.

Draco watched him and said nothing, because that was what Harry had asked for. The silence was a less severe penance than he had thought it would be. It left him more time to study Harry's face and wonder about the clench of his jaw, the way his fingers shifted on the wood of the broom shaft, the twitch of muscles in his thighs. He needed to know everything about Harry, and he knew so little as yet.

And it left him time to lift his head and look about him, to the sides, to notice the boiling shapes of the clouds and the tears in the grey where the sunlight and the blue came down. He flew more gracefully than he had as a human, more surely, without needing to fear that the magic that bore him up would fail. His would never fail as long as he had the closeness of his beloved.

In many ways, he was faster, stronger, better as a Veela than he had been as a human. He didn't know if he was smarter; he hadn't had the chance to find out yet, with so much of his attention bent to courting a reluctant beloved. But he couldn't say that he was entirely displeased with the change.

Would you go back to human, if someone offered you the chance?

Draco rubbed his throat, letting his claws stroke and score his throat. Tiny drops of blood came out, only. It was difficult to hurt himself even when he tried.

No, he didn't know that he would. He'd been a terrified child the last time he'd been human, struggling between fear for his family and fear for himself, strangled by it, drowned by it, buried by it. Now he was out of the darkness and he had the sun to fly in, the rain to gently soak the edges of his wings, Harry to hold and protect.

Perhaps there were things he would have changed if he could. He would have made Harry more accommodating to him. He would have created a nest for them far away from the prying friends and the adoring worshippers that he thought only made Harry's life miserable. He would have sought out new, young wizards who could become acceptable companions for Harry. He would have ignored the wizarding world except when Harry wanted to go back to it.

None of those were possible. Draco could accept that, and he could turn his gaze back on Harry and see what he wanted there.

Harry glanced over at him, and if his smile was slow and pained and reluctant, still it was there, and Draco reached over to take his hand, winding his claws through Harry's fingers. Harry turned over their hands, looking at them both.

"I wish I could fly like you do," he whispered. "It looks wonderful."

Draco opened his arms in invitation.

Harry's eyes flickered from him to the broom. Then he nodded, touched the broom with a whispered command to return to the Order of the Phoenix—a charm that the Order had placed on all their brooms, he'd told Draco, to prevent them from losing one of their best forms of transportation to the Death Eaters—and stepped over to Draco, reaching out his arms.

Fearless, across all that gulf of air.

It was only one of the reasons that Draco wanted him.

Draco wound his fingers around Harry's wrists and swung him away from the broom and then up. Once he had to turn and toss him, so that Harry would rest in the proper position, held against his chest, Draco's arms wrapped around his shoulders and his waist. Harry only closed his eyes with a faint smile and tossed his head back, so that the wind traveled through his hair like a series of caressing fingers.

Draco laid his nose in the crook of Harry's neck to soothe his jealousy.

"You needn't be jealous of anyone else," Harry said softly. "I've been thinking."

Draco would have denied that he was jealous, but it thrilled him too much to think that Harry had started to notice when he was and where it came from, instead of dismissing it as an absurd reaction, because who could want him? And Harry had asked for silence. And it was also thrilling to hear that Harry had been thinking, instead of simply turning aside from the responsibility that awaited him. Draco caressed his throat to make him forget about the wind and fastened his eyes on Harry's. He had already locked his wings so that they would glide in large, noiseless circles.

"I—don't think the old plans I made could work," Harry said softly. "I'm not just a sacrifice. I'm not just someone who was there to defeat Voldemort. I didn't even do that, in the end."

"You did something more important," Draco murmured, because at this point, asking him to keep silent was too much.

Harry glared briefly at him, as if reminding him of the broken promise, and then nodded his head, eyes softening in forgiveness. "So I have to get beyond that. And drifting around doing nothing only sounded good until I thought about how long it would take. I'm still young. I'll be alive for at least eighty years or so, barring illness or accidents."

And longer, Draco thought, his arms tightening around Harry again. I'll keep you safe.

"What am I going to do?" Harry asked. He sounded as if he was talking to himself, and Draco rustled a few of his primaries at being forgotten, but didn't interrupt. This might be the way that Harry needed to get through some of the issues that plagued him. "Not just sit around. Not remain a hero forever. I can participate in rebuilding the wizarding world, but that won't take the rest of my life, either."

He lifted his head, and his gaze was piercing. "That's why you're comforting," he said. "Because you'll always be there, and I know that your regard for me can't change. An anchor, like you said. Is that perverse? To be happy that something won't change, instead of accepting that it will?"

"If it is," Draco said, "then I'm perverse, too."

"Yes, but we knew that," Harry said distractedly. "You're not human any longer. I can use you as a model for myself."

Draco ground his teeth and resisted the temptation to say that a lot of things would be easier if he did. Silence, remember?

"I thought about children," Harry said, "but not deeply, because they never made sense with those dreams that I had of fighting Voldemort, or the knowledge that I had to die because of the Horcrux." He ran his fingers up Draco's arms, not seeming to notice what he was doing any more than he would notice touching a couch or a chair while he thought. Draco held his breath, thrilled by it, yearning for more at the same time. "And now—I don't think about them that much. I want a family, I always wanted that, but what I dreamed of most of all was someone to care for me." He lifted his head and met Draco's eyes with a significant look.

Draco couldn't keep silent this time. "So you believe that I do care for you as something other than food?" he asked.

Harry moved his head back and forth, looking uncertain for the first time since they'd taken to the air. "Sort of? Knowing that you also care about me as food is the strange part. Sometimes you can sound obsessive, sometimes like I'm just prey and you're just a predator, and sometimes like any normal person who—well, is willing to stay." He sounded as if he didn't know how to quantify it any more than that, his hands opening and closing.

"No one else will ever care for you as I do," Draco said quietly.

"When most people say that, they're trying to imply their feelings are just deeper," Harry said, and met his eyes. "But it's more than that for you, isn't it."

It didn't sound like a question, but it was still a direct address, so Draco didn't feel bad answering. "Yes. No one else will ever care enough to eat you. No one else needs to feed on you to survive. No one else will care enough to gut your enemies preemptively before they can try to hurt you. No one else will feel so thrilled when you command them, because that's what you want to do and they want to hear it." His voice deepened.

Harry's face turned almost purple. "I can't believe you felt that."

Draco laughed harshly and curled his arms more strongly around Harry so that the chance of his falling away from Draco was nonexistent. "You like to command people," he said. "Or maybe you only like to command me, because of the history we had and because I make you feel helpless in other ways. It doesn't matter. I want to indulge that, Harry. I want to feel you hold down my head when I suck you, to order me to back off and not speak for a time, to tell me to fuck you until you come without being touched, because at least it means that you're paying attention to me instead of looking away."

Harry stared at him for long moments and then closed his eyes, the flush of his face impossibly deepening. "God, we're messed up, aren't we?" he muttered.

"I don't think so." Draco bit his ear, though he had to crane his neck and swing Harry a little below him to do it, and Harry moaned, a thick noise that sounded as if he had tried to choke it back several times on the way up his throat. "We are what we became, and what we changed ourselves into in order to survive."

"Voldemort changed you," Harry said, opening his eyes to stare again. "You didn't change yourself."

Draco shook his wings out. "If I can forget about that, so can you. I was thinking about whether I'd want to go back to human, and I don't think I would. Not when I would lose what I have with you."

Harry frowned at him. "But it's the Veela that's making you think that, not the human."

"They're not separate for me anymore," Draco said. "You think in terms of a 'real' Draco who's human and the Veela who's false, but I don't. And I don't think in terms of a 'real' Harry who's pure and upright and good and a 'fake' Harry who has these desires that you hate, either. Both of them are real to me."


Is it that simple?

Then Harry snorted. The last thing he would call something like this was simple. He had beaten thoughts about in his head for the last week on the topic, and Draco had watched him with the same hungry expression that never varied. He had been thinking himself, Harry decided. The words that spilled from his mouth were too learned and complicated to be the product of a momentary impulse.

But it sounded simple, now that they'd come to the conclusions. Draco couldn't change being a Veela. He didn't want to. Perhaps they could break the bond between them or find someone else to be his beloved, but Draco didn't want that, either.

And neither did Harry.

That had been the hard part, the part that had kept him sweating awake at night: that he actually liked the way Draco was absolutely devoted to him, that he had the one person with him who knew what it was like in Voldemort's dungeons and that he had no reason to run off and sell the story to a newspaper, that he could order Draco and—

And Draco would obey.

Harry hated those parts of himself, but both he and Draco knew they were there, and so it seemed a bit pointless to deny them any longer. Besides, leaving Draco would have meant eventually starting over with someone else who Harry would have to keep them concealed from, and that sounded like such work.

So. Not for the noblest of reasons, not for the best, but he had reasons to yield.

"It doesn't need to be for the noblest of reasons," Draco whispered, breath hot on Harry's face, and Harry didn't know if Draco had read his thoughts—if that was possible—or if he had simply guessed them from Harry's probably very revealing face. "You can have me, you can have all of me, no matter what you are."

Harry opened his eyes and regarded him. "You're attached to me because of what I am," he said. "Not because of my scar, or what I did in the past, or because I'm a Gryffindor and your friend, but because I was there."

Draco smiled. It contrasted oddly with the hunger in his eyes, because his smile was actually gentle instead of the baring of teeth it usually was. "Yes."

"If someone else had been there, you would have been attached to them just as well." Harry had to talk it through, had to hear all the alternatives so that he wouldn't be disappointed or ambushed by those thoughts later. He wound his fingers through Draco's shirt. "Just as deeply."

"I can't imagine that," Draco said, and rested his head against Harry's neck. "Not as deeply. You're the deep one."

Harry ignored that, because of course it hadn't happened, and the only thing he and Draco could live with was the circumstances, the story, they were actually a part of. "And you don't want to leave me? You won't want to leave me, even if my friends revile us or the other Veela comes after you?"

"What claim do the other Veela have on me, when I'm Transfigured instead of a Veela by heritage?" Draco asked simply. Then his hands tightened on Harry. "And what claim do your friends have on you, except that which you want them to?"

So simple.

Not the process to reach them, no. But the conclusions themselves were bright and sharp as diamond knives, and they struck so deeply that Harry moaned slightly as he leaned up to kiss Draco.

Draco cradled him close, closer, closest, smashing Harry's mouth against his chest, which was bare, as always. He had only modified a few shirts to work with his wings and no robes, as yet, and since he spent most of his time around Harry, he hadn't seen why he should wear them. Harry wondered if he had any modesty left, and then the thought was crushed out of him as Draco's arms tightened further.

I hope he doesn't.

"Let's land," he pulled back his head enough to gasp. "Please. I want you—I want you to fuck me, just the way I tell you to, following whatever orders I give you."

Draco didn't speak. He licked his lips instead, and then he spread his wings and whirled them away from the headquarters. Harry didn't know where they finally landed; it was a small, flat clearing in the midst of a surrounding circle of trees, wet and cold, and that was all he knew. He didn't worry about the cold. Draco was already communicating heat to him with the tiniest of touches, the sparks dancing from his fingertips, and he didn't think that the wetness would last long, either.

Draco crouched on the ground, watching him, his wings folded and drooping back from his shoulders. Harry looked at him and couldn't keep from licking his lips in turn. Draco watched his tongue move, and then reached out and used his claws to shift Harry's trousers aside, because Harry was still working on his shirt. He didn't seem to tear them, but one moment Harry was clothed from the waist down, and the next he wasn't. Except for his pants, which were constricting him, with a damp spot growing on the front, and which Malfoy was staring at as if his eyes could tear apart the fragile barrier that hid Harry's cock from him.

"Malfoy," Harry said. It was a moan. He arched his back, bringing his erection closer to Draco's mouth, just to see what would happen.

Draco opened his mouth, but didn't move.

Harry blinked at him. Then he understood, and this particular warmth almost made his legs fold under him, it pulsed through his body so deliciously.

"Malfoy," he said, "suck my cock."

And Draco leaned forwards, nuzzling and rubbing at the wet cloth, using his tongue and his breath to give Harry an intimation of heat, before sinking his teeth deep and tearing. The cloth fell apart in his half-fangs, and he was there, gripping Harry's hips with claws that felt like petals or paper against his skin, his mouth open.

And swallowing.

Harry closed his eyes and stood there, trembling, trying not to give in. But soon it was too much, and he sank down to the ground, his legs spread wide so that Draco could fit between them, his head leaning back against a rock behind him as he gave himself up, completely, for the first time. Even when he was in the dungeons, he hadn't done that. He had wanted to die in the right way. He had cared when he thought Draco was someone keeping him from the monster Voldemort had sent him to be devoured by, until he realized that Draco was the monster.

But now he yielded. But now he surrendered. And Draco was devouring him, but in a new way, throat and lips busily working, swallowing around him, and pausing to lick at a vein or a drop of liquid, and then swallowing again.

Harry had dreamed of this, wanked to fantasies of this, wanted this. Even then, though, the vision had had a strong, hazy component to it, a heat that wrapped around him when he thought about doing this with someone he loved.

The only heat here was in Draco's mouth, and somehow, that didn't bother Harry too much. He reached down and yanked on strands of Draco's hair, directing his head to the right when his cock felt neglected on that side. Draco only groaned and looked up at him with eyes that shone more than the silver they usually resembled.

He's feeding, Harry thought. Draco had said something to him about how Veela could feed on the noises their partners made, on their desires, on the sheer need that came from them when they were having sex.

So Draco gave in and obeyed, and that fed him somehow, that made it better for both of them—

And when orgasm came, it originated from somewhere deep down inside Harry, somewhere that made him yowl and cry out and come to the steady slurping of Draco's tongue around him.

Draco sat back when Harry gestured for him to do so; otherwise, it looked like he would have been happy to go on cleaning Harry's cock until someone found them. He stared at Harry, and his brighter eyes were brighter still. He shone like stardust and moonlight.

"God," Harry said, his voice weak, breathless, but still able to give commands. He extended his hand. "Come here."

Draco sprawled on top of him, all lean leonine muscle and slim weight, and nuzzled Harry's face. His breath was warm and slightly sour. Harry kissed him and tried to avoid thinking of where the sour smell had actually come from. There were some things that he just wasn't ready to face, yet.

"What do you want?" Harry asked, when he had been kissed to the point that his brain was buzzing and his heartbeat in his fingers made them hurt.

Draco shook his head so that his pale hair—and the feathers that it tangled and grew into—flopped around him. "What you want, remember?"

"Right. And right now, I want to know what you want." Harry tried to look as though he did this all the time, even though Draco was the first proper lover he'd had at all, never mind the first one he'd ordered around.

Draco's nostrils quivered. A tremor rang through his claws, and he whispered, "We can't lie down on my back. The wings would object. I want—I want—"

"Yes?" Harry encouraged. Funny that Draco should be this timid, when he hadn't seemed at all shy about asking for what he wanted before, or even breaking Harry's order for silence when he had to. "Ask."


"What you said before," Draco said at last, and the words broke and fractured like teeth breaking on rock in his mouth. "I want that."

"To fuck me?" Harry spoke the words as though he had practice, although Draco's Veela instincts had already told him that Harry didn't bear the needs or the knowledge that would have marked him as incredibly experienced. "I said that you could, and I meant it. Come here." He kissed Draco fervently and lay back, kicking open his legs so that Draco was more between them than ever before. "But we'll need something to use as lube."

Draco put two of his claws into his mouth and spat. The saliva that coated them was thicker than usual, dripping, bubbling with soft white foam that made a harsh contrast to his skin.

Harry's face flickered, and one hand twitched as if he would have Vanished the saliva without his wand. "You're kidding."

"No," Draco said. "We can use something else if you want, but—" He glanced around the wilderness area that he'd brought them to, a good fifteen miles from the headquarters of the Order. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but if he had to leave and go to find lube, then he knew that Harry's mood would be broken by the time he came back.

"No," Harry said, and from his tone, he was thinking the same thing and was determined not to let it happen. "No. Let's—let's do this."

And he lifted his legs and hooked his own hands under his knees, fingers running down to his arse cheeks as if he could part them efficiently from that angle, his breath rasping and rushing noisily and his eyes defiant.

Draco bit him high on the leg, because he had to, but didn't chew deeply enough to leave a hole that he would need to fill with feathers, because he knew Harry hated that. He simply sipped the blood, the emptiness inside him being crushed further and further by the taste, and then slammed his fingers into Harry.

For a moment, he thought he might have lost control of the claws again; Harry's features twisted, and his eyes squinted shut as though he was fighting a painful headache. Draco made himself keep his fingers still.

"Christ," Harry muttered at last. "That's not what I ordered you to do."

And so Draco fucked him, with his claws first, then his fingers, all the while spitting out more of the saliva so that it coated Harry's arse as they needed it to, and nipping at Harry's flesh, tasting his blood when he drew it in small, sharp pricks, using his tongue a moment later to soothe the wounds. His cock was painful by the time he finally lined it up to Harry's arsehole, but Harry's was, too, thick and red again, wet. Draco had to control the impulse to ignore Harry's orders and suck him again instead as he pushed in.

Harry's eyes were wide now, his breath desperate and harsh. He reached up and locked one hand on Draco's shoulder, near the wings. Draco swept the wings forwards immediately so that they surrounded them both and screamed his triumph out loud, so that anyone who stepped into the forest would hear and understand it.

"What did you do?" Harry whispered. "It feels so good. Is that more of your Veela magic?"

Draco smiled at him. He could smile instead of simply bare his teeth and hunch over his beloved, who was also his prey, but it took him a conscious effort. "No," he said. "This is, though." And he gathered up the diffuse silver power that sometimes swirled behind his eyes and sometimes behind his wings and sometimes his claws, and pushed it directly into Harry's body.

Harry jolted and screamed, and Draco began to thrust, the friction burning him even with all the slickness around and over his cock. Harry tensed up under him several times, but Draco knew that he would have felt the pain, as he was feeling—and feeding on—the pleasure that shuddered into the air around them.

They were the center of a silent maelstrom, the heat and the slickness and the white flashes exploding behind Draco's eyes and the black flashes exploding to either side of his head and the strength that flowed into him through his claws where they touched Harry and his cock where it touched Harry and his hips where they touched Harry. He did bare his teeth then, wishing that Harry would let Draco tear into him and feel the power coming from them, too.

"Damn," Harry said. He was chanting a litany of curses under his breath, Draco realized, and that was only the latest one. He glanced up at Draco and then pulled aside his hair, showing his throat.

Draco froze, staring at him.

"I didn't tell you to do that, either," Harry snapped. "I ought to be able to ask what I like without words. What kind of Veela are you?"

Draco bent down, and ground his hips forwards in the same moment that he fastened his teeth on Harry's throat.

Harry went limp beneath him, groaning quietly. He had stopped cursing. That meant more than Draco could say. It said more than he could say about the effect he was having on Harry, and that made the flashes on either side of his sight redouble and his body go rigid with pleasure and satiation and longing.

He lapped at the blood and leaned back, dribbling the liquid across Harry's chest. Some of it fell on his nipples, and Harry jerked and sobbed. Draco reached down and traced the hard nub that his right nipple had turned into, looking at the crinkled skin, thinking about how easily it could break apart under his claws, if that was what he willed, and shed more of the life-giving, pleasure-giving blood.

Harry looked up at him, limp and unresisting.

It was not quite the same as trusting, and yet Draco knew that the differences weren't of the kind that could matter to him. He snapped his hips again, and smiled into Harry's face, which became set and defiant as Harry stared back at him, and said, "Here's something else that you didn't order me to do."

He lifted the silver magic and sliced it down Harry's body, touching every place where he'd marked and battered and bitten Harry—the scar on his forehead in the shape of a wing, the holes in his chest and leg that he'd filled with feathers, the throat and the hand. Harry screamed again, this time with the noise becoming one of shock, and lifted his hips back in answer to Draco's challenge and came.

Draco turned and made the silver power flow back again when he was done, and Harry came again. Draco bent down and lapped at his semen, and lost control of his magic altogether as he came, flowing into Harry's body, flowing through Harry's body, making the feathers in his wounds shine like stars.

The silver was everywhere. The silver was all. And there was blood on his tongue and pleasure in his chest and fulfillment in his loins, and Draco no longer knew what was real.


Harry came back to himself slowly, fitfully. It felt as though he was gathering pieces of himself that had tumbled to the far corners of a room, and as for making his muscles work, it was a long moment before he found that piece.

He turned his head and looked at Draco resting beside him, cushioned with his head on a wing. He stirred even as Harry looked at him, seemingly unable to sleep if his beloved was awake, and looked back. His teeth were streaked with blood and come; Harry saw streaks of the same high on one of his wings, where the feathers began to melt from grey to silver.

"God," Harry said hoarsely.

"Yeah," Draco said, and stretched his wings behind him with a rustling noise. He yawned. Then he set about carefully licking the corners of his mouth, and his cheeks—yes, his tongue was longer than a human's, Harry was certain—and the corner of his wing, which he brought to his lips with an unexpectedly agile movement. He sat back and looked at Harry when he was done, one hand resting proprietarily in the center of Harry's chest. He seemed content to stay there until Harry moved.

"That's part of why people stay with Veela," Harry said at last, although Draco hadn't said it and didn't look as if he would. "Because they can make their beloved feel like—that."

Draco showed his teeth again, and locked his gaze on Harry's throat. Harry reached up and found that the wound was bleeding again. "Yes," Draco said simply.

Harry shivered. What they had just had done had been wild, dirty, bloody. He hadn't thought that he would enjoy something like that, any more than he had thought he would enjoy commanding his partner in bed.

But he had.

And he didn't think that he could go back. There was no real Harry Potter abandoned behind him, just like there was no human Draco that Draco could somehow unfold his wings to join again. They had to trust that the way forwards was the only way.

Harry…thought he could live with that.

"I'm staying," he said.

A radiance seemed to pass through Draco, rather like the radiance that Harry had felt when he reached out and touched all those wounds at once. His hand shifted from Harry's chest to his forehead, where it covered the scar with a simple, heavy weight of palm. "Good," he said simply.

Harry turned his head and nipped at Malfoy's arm. Malfoy swept his wings forwards to cover them again, his eyes going hungry.

This isn't what I used to be, Harry thought, as he arched up to turn the bite into a kiss, and Malfoy moaned steadily into his mouth, his wings fluttering wildly as he awaited Harry's next order.

This is better.

The End.