Disclaimer:There is no way any of these characters belong to me.
Title: Villain (Part 1)
Beta:...my sister read it over my shoulder and said it was pretty. Does that count?
Authours Note 1:Anyone who died in any of the Seven Books is still dead in here- that goes for everyone except Dumbledore. I needed to pick on him. But yes- Sevvie is still dead, as is Fred and everyone else. Sorry.
Authours Note 2:Okay, this is the direct sequel to my other fic Hero- I'm completely in love with Hero and the way I wrote it, but this is in an entirely different writing style (mainly because it's been such a long time since I've written anything, and I may or may not have forgotten how... To be quite honest, this is really just an exercise to get me back into the flow of my writing. I'll see how well it goes...). Other than that, the idea for this sequel was brought to me by a review on Hero, and no I'm not going to spoil this and tell you which one, lol. Just read, and hopefully enjoy. I love my boys.
Warnings: Not too much in this section, its mostly bland with a bit of plot and cute and some angst. Harry/Draco, as well, though that should be obvious. Lots of Narcissa lovin', too. Might do to reread Hero (or read it for the first time) if it's been a while. Alright, enough from me.
Summary: Harry has chosen his side- and though Voldemort is dead the politics of the Wizarding World still interfere in his life. Luckily, he is not alone.
The fifth floor balcony of Malfoy Manor had become his refuge from the myriad confusing Traditions that dictated life to the Purebloods. Luckily, he didn't have to obey most of them- only the ones that pertained to being a guest in the house of a family as old as the Malfoy's was- but Harry was beginning to learn the various nuances of the Traditions he had been breaking left and right since his arrival.
But even as Harry watched with slightly nervous eyes, the carriages continued to empty themselves of visitors, though at this distance he didn't recognize any of the people who were entering the Manor. The carriage he was currently watching drove away, and was replaced by another- some other Pureblood family, entering the Malfoy land in an archaic order as old as Pureblood Tradition itself.
Harry snorted softly as he looked away from the drive and turned his attention to the stars- what Draco had referred to as 'a few old family friends' had become some sort of high-class party that everyone had wanted an invitation to. And the Malfoy's had extended an invitation to nearly anyone whom they had deemed 'useful'.
"Are you nearly ready, Harry?" The emotionless voice of Draco Malfoy made him turn, and Harry resisted the smile that threatened to rise to his lips. The warm tingle in his spine was the result of Draco's use of his first name, and Harry held back the shiver that the sight of the Malfoy Heir brought on. The corner of Draco's lip was slightly curved- a sign that Harry had learned meant amusement- usually at his own expense.
"Yeah, I guess." Draco snorted softly at Harry's admission, and his lips quirked upwards in a sardonic smile that lasted for only a mere moment before fleeing.
"But you're the Guest of Honor, Hero. You're supposed to already be ready…" Draco taunted, breaking off as Harry flipped him the bird, turning his laugh of delight into a soft chuckle instead. "Come. You have to be downstairs before the last guests arrive, or else you will have managed to annoy the most powerful Pureblood families in all of England at once."
Harry grimaced, but nodded his understanding, and tugged once more on his suit jacket before starting to walk to the doors of the balcony. Draco shifted his weight, and Harry swung his eyes to the blond immediately at the sight. Icy eyes studied Harry carefully, and Harry could feel the weight of the blonds' eyes as they surveyed him, looking him over for anything that would make his entrance into Pureblood society less than perfect.
"Well, do I pass?" Harry joked, his voice light, even though it felt like his stomach was dancing under the pressure of those arctic eyes. Draco stared at his hair, a frown forming on his brow, and Harry watched as one elegant hand rose towards the raven-colored mop of hair. Draco touched the silky mass gently, almost tenderly; his fingers smoothing over the untidy mess so lightly that Harry felt the pressure of the spell more than the Malfoy Heirs fingers.
"You'll do." Draco declared as his hand fell away, and Harry blinked his eyes to clear them. "You'll do," Draco repeated, softer, and for a moment there was nothing but total silence between them.
But then the noise from the growing party intruded, and Draco stepped away. "Come along, Potter," he said, walking towards the doors that led the way to the main ballroom, "We've guests to entertain."
Draco had once told Harry that all the Pureblood Tradition, boiled down, was nothing more than a way to keep the peace. That if there was nothing holding these powerful families in line- something they all respected and would obey- that they would have long since split the world into nothing more than warring factions, enslaving the Muggles. And that was a scary thought for Harry to process.
What was it about these families that kept the Ministry in a constant state of fear? Yes, they could all trace their genealogies back to Merlin and Nimue- and some of them even further than that- but what did that truly mean? Did all that Pureblood-supremacy nonsense have some truth to it? The way Draco spoke made it seem like there was, but Harry had spent too much of his life fighting Voldemort and Voldemort's ideals to ever be comfortable with that notion.
But none of that really mattered now, when he was descending the staircase next to Draco, trying to keep his emotions off of his face, wondering if the symbolism of what they were doing would make the papers tomorrow, if Draco's friends would accept or shun him, if the ones he'd never met would try to make his life as miserable as it had once been.
But the tips of Draco's fingers slid over his almost imperceptibly, and even as they reached the bottom of the stairs and made their way over to Narcissa, Harry's nervousness vanished, to replaced with the feel of different butterflies in his belly. And to be honest, he'd rather take the ones generated by the rare touch of Draco's smooth skin than the ones given to him by people he didn't know.
Narcissa smiled graciously at him as he walked up, and held her hand out to Draco. She had a mischievous twinkle in her silver eyes, and Harry nearly choked on his breath at the sight.
"How are you tonight, my darlings?" She asked, her eyes kind as they took in Harry's pale appearance. Harry swallowed, unused to the weight of the eyes resting on him, and couldn't answer.
"We are quite well, Mother." Draco answered for the both of them, his eyes dancing while his face proclaimed his disinterest in the entire affair. "Harry was slightly nervous before, but he seems to have gotten over it." There was a distinctly impish gleam in his icy eyes, and Harry watched in something like shock as Narcissa's gentle laugh filled the space between the three of them.
"Well, I suppose he had to have an attack of the nerves at some point," Narcissa remarked with sympathy in her voice, transferring her attention to Harry, and reaching out to pat his elbow. "It's quite alright, dear. With the amount of people here who are total strangers to you, it was only to be expected."
Draco cocked his head to the side slightly, and something in his eyes pierced through Harry with the swiftness of fire. "Indeed. But he seems to be getting over it, Mother. Perhaps we should invite another into our little group, just to begin accustoming Harry to our guests?"
"What a marvelous idea, Draco." Narcissa turned away and gestured to one of the watchers, and Harry took the time to lean close to Draco.
"I cannot believe the two of you," Harry hissed, somehow managing to keep his voice to a semi-reasonable level, his nervousness suddenly gone and replaced with something very like indignation. "That's not a very nice thing to do to me." He glared at Draco, who merely smirked- gleefully, but Harry was quite sure he was the only one who noticed… besides, perhaps, Narcissa- and nodded.
"Ah, but Harry my child." Narcissa broke into their little staring contest, running her hand soothingly over Harry's arm. He turned his attention to her, and for a moment all he could see was the wasted form of the woman who had gone to her son's graduation ceremony. "What a way to inform all of the gossips that I have accepted you freely into my life? Surely an act such as that can be forgiven?"
Harry cursed under his breath, and looked away, glaring at an unfortunate crystal glass. It wobbled uncertainly as Harry privately bemoaned the fact that Narcissa Malfoy could make him do anything she wanted. He looked back at her with woeful eyes, and ignored the fact that the glass had stopped shaking.
"Well, yes I suppose so… but it will be all over the papers tomorrow, and we all know what take they're going to put on the whole thing."
"Forget them, Harry," Draco said lowly, roughly, making Harry's eyes dart towards him. "You and everyone else in the country knows that what they print is pure rubbish. More than half of the families here subscribe to the Quibbler, if only because their news section- while small- is as unbiased as any could hope it to be." He shifted forwards minutely, trying to close the distance between himself and Harry but remembering their audience, and added, "We know the truth and that is all that matters."
His intensely focused eyes tore away from Harry with enough force to leave him breathless for a moment, before he nodded his understanding. Oh, he still didn't like it, but he understood it, and the reasoning behind it.
Narcissa cleared her throat, and both of the teens turned to face her. She smiled once they had refocused their attention on her, and stepped smoothly to the side, allowing someone Harry had never met before into their circle. The stately woman was dressed in something that would have looked fabulous on someone of Mrs. Malfoy's frame, but only looked fairly tight and uncomfortable on her. Harry tried to keep his face as blank as Draco's was, but he knew he was nowhere near as successful.
Narcissa gestured gracefully with her hand, and smiled softly. "Draco, you know Madame Greengrass, of course."
Draco took the woman's hand and bowed over it, his face expressionless. "Of course, Mother. How do you do, Madame?" he asked, releasing her hand and lacing his fingers behind his back.
"Quite well thank you, young Mister Malfoy." Madame Greengrass simpered as she turned to face Harry, and though the Gryffindor felt his blood freeze at the way this woman addressed the blond, through some miracle he managed to take the woman's hand and do the same as Draco had without incident.
"And this is Mr. Harry Potter, as you know." Narcissa's smile turned positively shark-like for a split second, and Harry fervently thanked God that it was not directed at him. He could see where Draco got his mean streak from.
"A pleasure, Mr. Potter," Madame Greengrass said, holding onto Harry's hand for far longer than he would have liked. "I see the rumors of your demise have been unwisely spread." Harry forced himself to not lash out at the woman, and merely smiled slightly.
"The pleasure is mine, Madame." He glanced over towards Draco from underneath his lashes. "As you can plainly see, no one is forcing me to do anything that I don't wish to." He released her hand, and straightened his back. "As a matter of fact, I quite…enjoy being here. It's so different from what others might expect." His smile slid off of his face, and he turned his eyes away from the woman to look behind her.
Narcissa took the opportunity to add something of her own, and leaned in close to Madame Greengrass, who looked as if Christmas had come twice in one year. "He has been staying with us for quite some time now, and it looks like he will be here for a while longer." Her smile turned self-satisfied, and Madame Greengrass smiled broadly, and swept the two teens up and down with her eyes.
"It's such a pleasure to see the young ones so happy these days," she simpered, and sighed happily, glancing towards Narcissa with bright, greedy eyes. "Surely you can tell me how such an… arrangement as this came to be?"
Narcissa nodded, but before she began, she studied the teens closely, and smiled. "Now go and enjoy yourself, boys. I know there are other people here who are just waiting to speak to Mr. Potter." They both nodded and began to walk away, but Narcissa placed her hand on Harry's arm to halt him. "Harry, dear, please refrain from frightening my grandmothers crystal. They're quite expensive, and not easily replaced."
Harry blushed furiously at the reminder of his temper and nodded, turning away hastily and following Draco into the crowd. Once they were well clear of his mother, Draco stopped, and gave Harry a small, miniscule grin. "That gossiping bitch will tell the world that you're here of your own free will now and good riddance to her after tonight."
Harry reared back slightly in shock at the unveiled acid in Draco's voice, and raised a brow. "Why do you hate her so much…?" he asked cautiously, and refrained from flinching at the vicious sneer Draco let cross his face.
"She tried to blackmail Father into marrying me to her youngest three years ago." Draco said simply, and Harry felt a possessive fire flare to life inside of him. His eyes searched out the unmistakable form of Madame Greengrass and he glared at her back, uncaring that anyone could be watching and seeing.
"Now, now, Hero," Draco's voice said mockingly, bringing Harry back from his unexpected anger. "That was quite a long time ago, and she has been dealt with since…" Draco trailed off with a self-satisfied smirk that was so like his mother's Harry could only stare. He shook himself though, and took a deep breath to clear away the last of his anger, though the embers of it refused to cool.
Draco gave him a measuring glance, and nodded to himself. "Come along, Harry. Let's find Pansy and Blaise, and properly introduce you to them."
Harry groaned, but followed his Machiavellian host anyway, other thoughts drifting to the back of his mind at the mere thought of dealing with more of his school-yard enemies.
Draco watched as Harry chatted with Pansy, looking for any sign that one or the other was about to start a war. But surprisingly, both had found a subject they agreed on- of all things, the legislation for the Equal Treatment of Half-Magical Creatures- and were discussing the finer points of Werewolf Civil Rights and the Centaurian claim on the Forbidden Forest.
Blaise was watching them as well, standing next to Draco and eyeing Pansy as though she had turned into one of the creatures she was discussing.
He turned to face his best friend, and Blaise shook himself out of his daze and raised a brow in question.
"Blaise, you haven't said a word to Harry or me since we found you. What are you thinking?"
Blaise snorted, and raised his almost empty glass to his lips. "I have no idea how to handle this. Harry Potter? Of all of the people in the world? And now you're asking me to make an opinion during the one time I've seen him since school?"
Draco nodded at that, accepting the answer as the only one he was going to get. Blaise had been drinking after all- almost enough that had it been Draco imbibing, he would have been stretched under a table retching. But Blaise had always been able to hold his alcohol.
"Besides," Blaise continued, oblivious to Draco's thoughts, "It's Potter." He shrugged, as though that mere statement was enough to make sense. He took another sip of his wine, looking surprised as he saw the near-empty level of White Zinfandel, but shrugged as he decided to drain it.
"What is that supposed to mean, Blaise?" Draco asked patiently, used to his friend's rambling method of conversation. "You cannot just say 'It's Potter', and expect that to be the end of it."
Blaise snorted as he watched the two black haired teens, chatting animatedly with their heads together, and looked over at Draco with a sardonic smile on his face.
"It's Potter, Draco." Blaise repeated. "He has always been like this." Draco's face must have shown his confusion, because Blaise gestured at them with his empty glass. "Look, Draco. There he is, talking to Pans without a care in the world, when less than a year ago he would have done nothing more than looked at her suspiciously, expecting an ulterior motive." He shrugged. "And now that you're… part of his life… he accepts your word unquestioningly. Exactly as if he has the same amount of trust in you that he once had in Granger and Weasley."
Draco turned to look at Harry, considering his friends words, and felt his lips trying to smile. He quelled that instinctively- by now he knew better than to admit to any emotion other than superiority in public- but still, the impulse was there. The sight of Harry and Pansy agreeing on something- anything- was enough to make him want to smile.
"I suppose I can see your point," he conceded, knowing he sounded too blasé about it, but also knowing that Blaise would know exactly what he meant. He sighed; softly enough that even Blaise couldn't hear it.
"Alright you two," he said, moving over to Pansy and Harry. "You've ignored the rest of us long enough." He tried not to laugh as Harry's expressive eyes glanced up at him, startled, and settled his glare on Pansy instead.
"Pansy, darling," he drawled, "I just cannot believe that of all the things for you two to agree on, Centaurian Rights would be one of them. It just boggles the mind."
"Oh, bugger off, Draco," Pansy spat, her sapphire eyes narrowing on her best friend. "You know as well as I do that they have purer blood than most of the fakes in this room." Harry raised a brow in surprise, Draco noted, even as he began to answer Pansy.
"Oh, yes I know that as well as you, but honestly. Agreeing with Potter on anything makes you seem like such a different person than I had previously thought." Harry stepped away from Pansy slowly, obviously expecting an explosion of some sort- magical or otherwise- to occur.
But Pansy just laughed, and slung her arm around Draco's waist. "Oh, darling," she sighed, smiling up at him, "you are so much fun to mess with." She rested her head on his shoulder, and winked at Blaise. "Isn't he, Blaise? You know it's true…" she trailed off as Blaise began to point to his empty glass, clearly miming the fact that he would agree with her only when his glass was once again full.
Draco snorted softly, his eyes instinctively searching for Harry's. He frowned a moment later, carefully removing Pansy's arm from his waist, and absentmindedly made his excuses to the other Slytherins, ignoring their questions as his icy eyes looked around the hall, searching for Harry.
Draco made his slow, careful way towards his Mother, wondering if she knew where he had gone. He kept his eyes open for signs of his missing Guest of Honor, though he failed to find Harry anywhere.
Narcissa was speaking to Celeste Zabini when Draco came up, and though Draco cringed at the thought of what awaited him, he stepped closer to his mother.
"Pardon me, Mother," he began, though his sentence was cut off almost immediately by the high-pitched sigh of happiness from Ms. Zabini.
"Draco darling!" Celeste threw her arms around Draco's shoulders, hugging him joyfully before gripping his shoulders with her surprisingly strong hands and studying his face. "You've ignored me all evening, you bad boy. I was beginning to think you didn't want to talk to your Aunt Celeste!"
"Ms. Zabini, my apologies. Our guest of honor demanded my presence at his side, or else I would have come to find you as soon as I knew you had arrived." Draco shrugged her hands off of his shoulders as politely as he could, a slight, bland smiling curving his lips. At some points in his life, he had wondered why his mother persisted in allowing Ms. Zabini to remain a family friend, but he had long since realized that the advantages of having her power behind them far outweighed the disadvantages.
Besides the fact that Celeste was his best friend's mother, the woman had a predatory instinct that had served her well in recent political… struggles… And that was aside from the fact that the woman currently gossiping about him to his mother in front of his face had wooed, married, and 'disposed of' six wealthy, influential, and powerful men… all before her thirty-eighth birthday.
"Pardon me, Ms. Zabini," Draco managed to inject himself into the current flow of gossip- his mother seemed to actually enjoy Celeste's company, which in and of itself raised the woman in his eyes. "I need to borrow my mother for just a moment."
Celeste sighed, and tucked a rebellious strand of hair behind her ear. "Of course, my dear." She pat his shoulder before turning to Narcissa. "Cissa, darling, I'll be over by Rigel if you need me."
"Thank you, Celeste. I should be finished here shortly."
Narcissa turned her full attention back to her son, and surveyed him with a cool stare. "Now, Draco." Draco fought the urge to gulp nervously as her shuttered eyes opened enough to show her displeasure. "What did you need from me?"
It was enough to reduce Draco to his childhood, when his mother had caught him acting in a manner other than the one he had been taught. But he straightened his spine imperceptibly, though he realized Narcissa saw him do it, and raised his chin.
"I was wondering if you had seen Potter anywhere, Mother." Draco paused, and he knew his next words were tinged with chagrin. "I seem to have lost him."
Narcissa pursed her lips, and Draco's insides clenched automatically as his spine snapped straight and his hands went behind his back. The silver eyes he had inherited turned to ice, and for a long, tense moment, there was silence.
"My son-" Her voice was deceptively pleasant. "Have we not accepted Mr. Potter into our home?" Draco nodded once, knowing an answer was wanted. "And have you not called him by his given name these past weeks, without incurring his wrath?" Draco stared at a point over his mothers shoulder, and dipped his chin in what could have been called a nod in a less rigidly standing man.
Narcissa let her breath out slowly, and stepped closer to her son. Draco's eyes followed her movement, and Narcissa smiled up at her son. "Go and find him, Draco Lucius Malfoy, and apologize for whatever you've done to make him so uncomfortable as to cause him to flee my gathering. And then you will come back down, and you will do your best to make sure that something like this never happens again."
Draco flinched as her hand rested on his cheek lightly, her fingertips gently caressing his skin. "Never treat another guest of mine as callously as you have treated Harry, Draco. He is a guest, and furthermore, he is your guest. Whatever you have done to him is inexcusable."
She stepped away, tapping her fingernails on his face in warning. "Do you understand me, my son?"
"Yes, ma'am." Draco knew better than to call Narcissa 'Mother' at this moment.
"Excellent." She smiled at him once, and then turned her eyes towards Celeste, who was making her way over. "Go."
Draco bowed to her and to Celeste as his self-proclaimed 'Aunt' drew near, and walked away. As he left, he clearly heard Ms. Zabini's raucous laughter as she no doubt drew her own conclusion for Draco's dressing-down.
He left the ballroom, and headed for the one place he knew Harry would be.
Harry's hands gripped the railing of the balcony tightly, his knuckles white from the strength behind his hands. He stared unseeing at the stars, his own memory providing the view he currently saw.
He was not allowed to touch Draco. He was not allowed to fling his arms around him. Hewas not permitted to touch any part of the blond.
At least, that's what it felt like. And how Draco had made it seem.
Harry let out a frustrated huff of air, watching as the slight steam could was wafted away on the breeze. The chill of the August night was uncommon, though at the moment Harry couldn't care about the uncanny weather. The image of Parkinson hugging and laying her head on Draco's shoulder was kept in front of his eyes by some devil that lived inside his mind, intent on keeping him furious.
Oh, Harry knew he had no real reason to feel this… threatened… but he did. And he didn't like it.
The urge to hurt the girl he had just barely gotten to know still filled him- she had acted as though touching Draco was a common, everyday thing. And who knew? Perhaps for her it was. The mere thought made Harry's vision turn red, his heart pounding in his ears.
Harry knew he shouldn't have walked out of the party that was going on downstairs- knew it, and had still done it, because otherwise he was sure he was going to cause a scene. And from the looks of some of the people he had been introduced to, it would have been all over the evening edition of the Daily Prophet. And he also knew that either Narcissa or Draco would come after him- and honestly, he hoped it was Mrs. Malfoy.
Harry wasn't sure he could stand to see Draco right now.
But, as if called by his mere thoughts, Harry's magic registered another presence on his balcony.
"Draco," he said heavily, not bothering to turn around. Draco did not respond, and for a long while, nothing was said. The silence grated on his nerves, however, and he turned anyway. Draco was standing in the shadows cast by the building itself and the torches, and all Harry could see of the other man were his eyes.
"What do you want?" And though Harry tried to keep his frustration out of his voice, he had nothing like the control Draco did, and some of it leaked out.
Draco's voice came from the shadows. "Why did you leave?" There was a pause, and Draco stepped out of the shadows and into the flickering light of the torches. "Was it something I said?"
Harry's breath caught in his throat, and he stood frozen for a moment, trapped between two emotions. But there was audible vulnerability in Draco's voice, no matter that his face proclaimed his aloofness, and it was more than Harry could stand.
He moved towards Draco, crossing the length of the balcony silently and fast, and it was a credit to Draco that he did not flinch as Harry seemed to appear from thin air in front of him. Harry studied Draco's eyes, knowing- now- that he could tell the blonds true thoughts from the icy orbs that stared silently back at him.
The blood was rushing through his body, he was trembling, and he wanted to lash out at someone for causing this. For making Draco feel vulnerable; for Harry's own insecurities; for everything that had lead to this moment.
"You-" Harry began, but stopped, his voice shaking from the whirlwind of emotions flowing through him. He began again. "She just touched you- and I can't- because I never have… She touched you liked it was common- like it was an everyday thing- like she could do it all she wanted and it wouldn't mean anything."
Harry paused, and felt his hands quivering, needing to move- needing to touch Draco. He closed his eyes for a moment to shield himself from the silver eyes that watched his every move, and breathed.
Draco felt the air trembling as Harry shook- he felt it vibrating through his own body and catching hold of his emotions.
There was nothing he could do- nothing he could say- as he waited for Harry to compose himself. The sounds of the party had drifted away with the start of their conversation, and now there was nothing left other than the slow, deliberate breaths Harry was taking in, and his own heartbeat.
"You are not common." Harry spoke without opening his eyes, his voice as low and as rough as gravel. It shuddered through Draco, and he took a calming breath to slow his heart. "You should not be treated like you are."
Draco had to say something- it felt like Harry's words were going to open up and swallow him whole if he didn't.
"She didn't-" Draco cleared his throat as the words came out too breathy, and Harry's eyes opened and pinned him. The vibrant emerald pulsed with emotions that Draco didn't think he was ready to see. "She doesn't treat me like I'm common," he finally managed to get out, somehow speaking while Harry's eyes held him in place. "She has been my close friend for more than half my life, Harry."
Draco sucked in a breath as the words tried to stall in his throat, knowing he needed to get them out and clear the air of this issue.
"She was my friend long before I was taught the ways of the Pureblood- even before I was learning to fly; she was there next to me, falling in the mud and getting scrapes and injuries with me." Draco paused for a moment, trying to read the thoughts behind Harry's eyes, but for once the Gryffindors eyes were too closed for him to decipher. "She is one of my two friends, Harry. I only have her and Blaise."
Draco looked away as he said that, wondering what Harry would make of his statement. And it was nothing but the truth- he and Blaise and Pansy had been close friends for longer than he could rightly remember- since the cradle, probably, though that was most likely a slight exaggeration.
Harry took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. The huff of air caressed Draco's cheek, and he closed his eyes.
"Am I not your friend then, Draco?" Harry asked the question softly, his heart hammering in his chest as he waited for the answer. The air was heavy around them, thick with things neither of them could say yet.
Draco leaned back, resting his hips against the edge of the balcony, and huffed. Harry lifted an eyebrow in surprise- it was a very un-Draco move- and waited. The former Slytherin crossed his arms and glanced up at Harry covertly, glancing away again almost immediately.
"No," Draco said decisively, and Harry stiffened, and pulled away. Draco shifted uncertainly, and dropped his crossed arms. He looked up at Harry with his eyes as open as Harry had never seen them, and grimaced. "…Because I was rather hoping it was something other than that…" He glanced away, and waited.
Harry inhaled sharply, and clenched his fists tight against the emotions raging through him. He reached out and braced his arms on the railing, caging Draco between them. His face was mere inches from the blonds, and he had to close his eyes as the tantalizing scent of Draco assailed his senses. The muscles in his arms tightened until he was gripping the marble hard enough he thought his hands would break.
Slowly, he let his right hand release the marble railing and trail upwards, ghosting over Draco's arm and shoulder, heading further up. His hand hovered scant millimeters from Draco's face, the heat of his body the only thing of him that touched the blond, tracing the contours of the Slytherins face.
Draco's eyes slid shut, and Harry gently moved his fingers over the smooth skin that was stretched taught over the high cheekbones, careful to not touch the blond in anyway. He outlined the arch of his eyebrows- the very tip of his nose- the edge of his jaw, marveling at his mere ability to be this close to Draco.
His other hand came up to join the first, mapping the other side of Draco's satiny skin, glossing over the pale, feathery lashes that framed his tightly closed silver eyes. Harry's heart constricted in his chest at the amount of emotion Draco was exposing to him, and he framed Draco's face with his palms, resisting the urge to close the trifling distance between their skins.
Draco shuddered as Harry continued to outline his face, feeling the pressure of his heat against his face almost as if it were a real touch. He took shallow, trembling breaths as Harry continued to explore, almost afraid to believe that this was real- that this was actually happening.
Harry's hands paused, and after a moment Draco looked up, his eyelashes dragging over the skin of Harry's fingers with a touch as light as a feather. Harry was watching Draco, his eyes as vibrant as new leaves.
"What?" Draco asked, grimacing as he heard how rough his voice had become, but he shoved that worry aside as Harry came even closer.
"Draco…" Harry breathed, aiming his words directly into Draco's ear and causing shivers to race up and down his spine. Harry paused before continuing. "May I touch you?"
Draco let out a shaky laugh at the question- eyeing how close they already were. But he licked his dry lips, and said, "Yes." It was wobbly and probably a bit hysterical, but Harry had an intense expression on his face, and at Draco's permission, his lip curved.
"Thank you," he breathed, and before his words had finished his hands were touching Draco's face- rough, calloused hands that were like nothing Draco had ever felt before- framing his jaw with his fingertips on his ears. Harry's rough thumbs smoothed over Draco's lips, sending sensations through the blond that rivaled the shivers still crawling up his spine.
Harry's nose brushed against Draco's, and he leaned in just a touch closer, until he could press their foreheads together. "This is how you should be touched," Harry said huskily, "Carefully, slowly…" Draco tried to remember how to inhale. "Gently… you're too perfect for anything else…" he trailed off, letting go of Draco's face, and moving his hands down towards the blonds shoulders and holding tight.
Harry's heart thudded widely against his ribs, his mind racing a million miles a minute, trying to figure out how this situation had managed to come about. Never in a thousand years had he thought that this would happen this way- that he would be the one to continue what he had started almost a week ago. He had started it, yes- but he had expected Draco- strong, confident Draco- to make the next step.
But to discover that underneath all that strength and confidence was the vulnerability that Harry had seen tonight… oh, it was breathtaking. It was unexpected, and invigorating, and it filled Harry with a purpose that he had not had before. As his head rested against Draco's, holding the slightly smaller male close to him, Harry closed his eyes, and brushed his lips ever-so-gently against Draco's hair.
They would return to the party, but for now… for now, Harry just wanted this- wanted the way that Draco was pressing against him.
And for right now, it was enough.
Draco didn't even bother to look up at the sound of the door opening- he knew instinctively who it was. His mother's House Elf had never let her touch a door handle in her life, and so when Harry rested his hand on Draco's shoulder and bent to see what he was writing, he did not flinch.
"It is merely a letter to your Mudb- Muggleborn," Draco explained absently, resting the edge of the quill lightly against the tip of his nose as he enjoyed the thrill of even this contact with Harry. He felt more than heard the sharp breath Harry let out, and glanced over his shoulder at the Gryffindor. "I did not think you would mind if I began a correspondence with her, Hero."
Draco grinned suddenly as the wording that had been evading him came to mind, and he penned it in his elegant handwriting before signing the bottom of the vellum with a flourish.
"There," Draco pronounced, satisfied, as he read over the letter, Harry a silent strength behind his back.
"… we expect to see you… 31st July… please know your company would be most appreciated in the Manor. Although this letter is extended to you, you may of course bring one other… "
Harry shook his head in mute disbelief as he realized what Draco had been writing to Hermione about.
"I hadn't known my birthday was already being planned, Draco." Harry's lip curled up in a slight smile as his heart thunked happily at the sound of the blonds' given name falling from his lips, although it hid again almost as immediately as it had appeared.
"Do you mind, Hero?" Draco asked, cocking his head to this side as he peered up at the Gryffindor. Harry studied the blonds' eyes, and a small half smile appeared on his lips. Reaching out, he stole the quill from Draco's hand and scrawled his name next to where Draco had already written his. Harry pretended not to see the Slytherins pleased smirk as he tightened his grip on the blonds' shoulder.
Hermione looked up as her mother walked in to the kitchen, paler than normal. The brunette stood up and walked swiftly over to her parent, and asked, "Mum? What's wrong?"
Jane waved her hand towards their living room, eyes wide. "One of those birds..." She trailed in after her daughter, watching as Hermione pulled her wand out of her sleeve and held it ready. The Gryffindor walked into the other room, and froze in shock. Draco Malfoy's personal post owl was perched on her window sill, watching them peaceably. The sheer size of this animal made Hermione's breath catch, even as she walked over to the window.
"Do you have something for me?" She asked, summoning one of the cats treats before putting her wand away. Bright yellow eyes fixated on the treat in her hand even as he lifted his foot towards her. Hermione handed over the snack before taking the letter from the owl, stroking a hand over his massive wing before she could stop herself. Luckily, the bird merely crunched the treat and ruffled his feathers back into place.
"It's just a post owl, Mother-" Hermione explained as she turned back around, but stopped as she realized she was talking to an empty room. Sighing, Hermione turned back to the letter in her hand. Her wand hand hesitated over her wand, wavering between checking for curses, or trusting that Harry would have kept Malfoy from doing such a thing...
Frowning, she cast a quick series of spells designed to highlight the envelope in brilliant colors for each Dark spell they found. The envelope remained the steady color of high quality vellum, and Hermione sighed. Putting her wand down, the girl opened the letter decisively and began to read, her eyebrows rising with each sentence of the short missive. Her breath caught in her throat, though, at the familiar sight of Harry's signature scribbled next to the Slytherins.
She sat for a second after finishing the letter, completely stunned. What are you planning, Harry? She wondered, even as she summoned a blank sheet of paper and penned her response. Hermione walked over to the owl in a daze, and sent off her reply, watching the swiftly shrinking form fade into the distance. I hope Malfoy knows what he's doing...
"HERO OF THE WIZARDING WORLD LIVING WITH DEATH EATERS?"
"Earlier this month we received reports that Harry Potter, our Hero, had refused all offers of support and housing from various members of the Ministry as well as turning down a position as an Auror- a highly sought-after job following the war. We, dear readers, refused to believe such things. But recently something has come to light regarding our dear Hero that I feel obligated to share with you. This past week at the den of iniquity that is Malfoy Manor; Harry Potter was the guest of honor in a gala featuring the scions of every Pureblooded family in England. Mr. Potter seemed more than comfortable with both Lady Narcissa Malfoy and Mr. Draco Malfoy a source tells us (pictures on page3) and was even seen laughing and joking with the children of convicted Death Eaters. Blaise Zabini and Pansy Parkinson were never far from our Hero, no doubt making sure whatever spell they have him under did not weaken.
Our source, who we can of course not name, mentioned repeatedly that Narcissa Malfoy in particular seemed able to control our Hero with a mere glance or gesture. We cannot help but wonder if there is deeper meaning to this and if our Hero has been swayed in his principles by something more than mere spells..."
"How can they print that?" Harry threw the article to the side in disgust before he read anymore, furious as he thought about the sheer gall involved in putting something as slanderous as that article on the front page. "Zabini and Parkinson should sue," he added, glancing over to where Draco was lounging on the couch, the very picture of indifference and high class aloofness.
"Oh, be sure they will," Draco replied lazily, watching Harry from under his lashes, and smirked. "I am in fact quite sure their lawyers are already very politely and very determinedly figuring out the answer to the question you just asked."
Harry laughed harshly, and sent a glare to the discarded newspaper that by rights should have set it on fire. "Good." He spun around and stalked to the window, glaring out at the vast lawn. "Bloody Rita Skeeter," he mumbled under his breath, and turned as Draco shifted himself slightly on the couch. "What?" he asked, eyeing Draco distrustfully.
The blond gestured to the paper with his wand, flipping pages lazily before floating it over to Harry. He raised a brow as the Gryffindor merely stared at the pages, and sighed. "Oh, take it Hero. It has already done its damage, it will cause no more harm than it already has." Harry snorted, but caught the newspaper easily as Draco released the spell. He looked down, and saw what Draco had wanted him to see. His breath caught in his throat.
It was merely a picture of the gala, brilliantly colored; the witches and wizards caught in the picture as true to their nature as they were in real life, all beauty and coldness and poised aloof curiosity as they watched the centerpiece of the picture. Harry, head cocked to the side as he smiled at something Narcissa had said. Draco stood by his side, eyes smiling as he watched his mother baiting the Gryffindor, sipping peacefully from the wine glass in his hand. Harry remembered this- Narcissa had astonished him by joking about Pureblooded traditions- and he could see picture-Narcissa's hand resting on his forearm as she finished what she was saying.
Even as he watched, he saw the picture continue to move, and his body warmed as he watched Draco's free hand reach out to lightly brush his own, capturing Harry's attention away from his mother easily. The Gryffindor remembered that- it had been after they had come back from the balcony- and still the slightest touch of the blonds' hand was enough to derail any train of thought he might have been having at the time, and he could see it happening in this picture.
"Nice picture," he finally commented, raising his eyes up in time to see mischief flash through Draco's liquid silver eyes.
"I quite agree," Draco raised a brow. "You look very cozy with my mother though, Hero. Is there something you need to tell me?"
Harry sighed as he shot a glare over to the blond, whose amused smirk just grew at the sight of his expression. "Oh, piss off Malfoy," Harry groused, narrowing his eyes at the paper once more before he gave in and cast a silent Incendio at the thing. "I have no idea where Skeeter got that load of shite." he responded, brushing the ash off of his hands.
"Well, you certainly couldn't have 'come to the Dark Side' for any other reason, could you?" Draco asked reasonably, his tone and voice perfectly hiding the amusement that was clearly visible in his eyes. "I mean, of course the logical thing is for the world to assume Amortentia is at work here." He chuckled at Harry's horrified face. "Oh, do relax Hero. We Malfoy's do not stoop to such low measures."
"How comforting," Harry remarked dryly, but Draco was not finished.
"We bring you to our side merely with our good looks and spectacular manners."
"I suppose modesty is out, then?" Harry quipped, and Draco let a rare grin slip onto his lips.
"Who needs modesty when the proof of our superiority is everywhere?" The Slytherin gestured gracefully with one hand, in a move that was meant to encompass all of England. "Just ask anyone, Hero, it is quite obvious that you have chosen the best part of 'evil'." Draco's long fingered hands made lazy air quotes as he spoke, and Harry choked back a laugh at the blond.
"You are too pleased with yourself today, Draco." Harry shook his head as he walked over to the Slytherin. "I take it that you're at least happy with this load of rubbish?"
"But of course," Draco raised a brow. "It's perfect." The blond lengthened the word until Harry stopped in front of him. "You'll see. Watch what happens- in this article, Skeeter finally referred to you as 'hero of the Wizarding World'." His eyes sharpened on Harry, and he sat up straight, face serious for once. "Something she has never done. People will take notice, and that is what we want. We want the masses to know what you're doing. We want them to begin to question things- why would their 'hero' be with those evil Malfoy'sif he didn't have a good reason?" Draco smiled sharply. "You will see."
"I hope you know where this is going, Draco." Harry sighed, and shut his eyes as he shook his head at the blond. "Because I sure as hell don't."
Draco surged to his feet, a feral look edging into his eyes. "You trust me, yes?"
"Of course." Harry's response was immediate, if hesitant, and Draco's eyes gleamed. He stepped into Harry's personal space, brushing up against the Gryffindor lightly enough that it almost wasn't a touch at all. The Slytherin rested his chin oh so gently on Harry's shoulder, and turned his face so that he would be speaking directly into Harry's ear.
"Thank you..." he breathed; eyes half lidded from the dual heady feelings of having Harry's trust and being so deliciously close. Harry's hand's half rose in response to Draco's closeness, even as his head tilted back and his eyes slid shut. Draco slowly moved closer to Harry, until the tip of his nose was pressed softly under the Gryffindors jaw.
Harry sighed at the soft touch, and gave in to his urges, letting one hand rest on the Slytherins hip, and the other rising until he could rest it on Draco's hair. The Gryffindor felt Draco's sigh against the suddenly sensitive skin of his neck, and shuddered from the chills it caused.
"Merlin," Harry cursed lowly, and Draco chuckled into his skin.
"I'm glad you think so highly of me, Hero," and Harry laughed as he felt the Slytherins lips stretch into a smile as they pressed into his neck, and caressed the silky hair underneath his fingers.
"No, thank you, Abbot, but it is kind of you to offer."
The sound of Narcissa's voice coming from one of the drawing rooms drew Harry's attention, and he wandered over as an indistinct voice replied to Mrs. Malfoy. He paused at the door to the room at the sight of a head he did not recognize floating in the fireplace, and Narcissa turned to face him as the man in the Floo- Harry assumed it was Abbot- cut himself off.
"Hullo, Mrs. Malfoy," Harry greeted, chagrined as he realized he had probably interrupted something important. "Sorry to bother you, I'll just go..." He began to walk away, but Narcissa rose to her feet and smiled. There was an edge to it that caused a shiver to race down his spine.
"You are no bother, Harry. Come, let me introduce you to a dear friend." She held out her hand expectantly, and Harry made his feet take him to her. She gripped onto his hand as though she knew he would rather not be here, and turned to face the Floo once more.
"Harry dear, this is Phillip Abbot," Harry nodded to the man, and mumbled a hello as Narcissa continued to speak. "He and his family have been Lawyers to the Malfoy's for as long as I can recall." Harry's head cocked to the side as his interest was piqued, and the sharp edge of Narcissa's smile grew more pronounced. "And Abbot, this is Harry Potter, as you know."
"Please to meet you, Mr. Potter," Abbot said, and nodded his head in greeting. At a gesture from Narcissa, he began to continue the conversation Harry had interrupted.
"Now, Mrs. Malfoy you do know that my team is doing everything possible to pressure the Prophet into issuing a formal retraction of that deplorable article, but it does not seem as though they will cave. And since you shot down my previous idea, there really is not much more that we can do." Abbot frowned at Narcissa, and Harry held his breath, waiting for the older woman to react to that.
But she merely laughed and waved his concerns off with the hand that was not holding onto Harry.
"I truly am not worried about that- of course we must be seen to oppose the publishing of the article, but it appears my son has a greater plan in mind." Harry groaned mentally- surely Narcissa wouldn't pander to Draco on this... But it seemed she was, as she continued to hold him to her and chat with her lawyer.
"To be honest Abbot," Narcissa stated thoughtfully, "I think it is best to see if what my son is planning will work out. Until then, just continue to apply a light pressure to the Editors of the Prophet... see that they know we are watching them." She paused, then nodded decisively. "Yes, I believe that is all I can do for now."
Abbot nodded, and seemed to write something down. "If that is all I will continue to monitor this situation. Should anything untoward happens, I should know about it long before it hits the papers."
"That is perfectly acceptable. Now, Phillip-" Abbot's head shot up as Narcissa first-named him, and she smiled serenely. "Mr. Potter is as firmly in my trust as my son is. Do remember this."
"Of course, Mrs. Malfoy." Abbot bowed his head, and looked Harry in the eye. "If there is anything my firm or I can do for you, please let me know." The lawyer grinned suddenly, and Harry smiled back at the surprisingly infectious expression. "And welcome to the family."
Harry gaped at that, even as Abbot nodded once more to Narcissa and withdrew from the flames.
"Harry dear, you look shocked." A gentle finger turned him to face the Malfoy matriarch, who smiled gently at the Gryffindor. "What is it?"
"I- " Harry floundered. "Family?" he finally got out, and looked Narcissa in the eye. The older woman finally released his arm as she sat, and gestured to the cushion next to her.
"Of course you are family, dear boy." She gently patted Harry's knee as he sat next to her, and one corner of her lip turned upwards. "I had not imagined that such a thing would have been possible, you understand." Harry nodded- did he ever understand. "But you have done so much for us, and for me, personally. I cannot express the extent to which I am in your debt." Harry immediately opened his mouth to protest, but a slightly raised brow from his hostess silenced him.
"You know that it is true. I would not have survived much longer in... that place... if it had not been for your interference." A ghost of a shadow passed over Narcissa's normally clear features, and Harry felt his heart clench.
"I only did what was right, Mrs. Malfoy," he muttered, uncomfortable with such an imposing woman admitting all this to him.
"Of course you did... And that is why I consider you my family." Narcissa raised his downturned head with the tip of her finger, and smiled with true amusement at the sight of a blushing and uncomfortable teen. "Because only family should have had to do such a thing, and in my lack of that, you stepped in and made all the difference." Narcissa patted Harry's cheek kindly, and reached for her wand.
"Now, here." Narcissa Summoned a note paper from the mantle with a swift flick of her wand, and passed it to Harry. "This is all of Abbot's contact information- and please, do as he says my dear. Should anything happen to you, get in touch with him immediately. He has sources I can only dream of, and is truly loyal to this family."
"Yeah- of course. I'll keep this in my wallet then," Harry responded, and fumbled to retrieve it from his pocket. 'Phillip Abbot & Associates, 1620 Diagon Ally' with a listing of Floo addresses and- surprisingly- a Muggle cell and fax number.
"Thank you dear." Narcissa looked relieved. "I am sorry to have delayed you here, but I felt it was an opportune time to make introductions."
Harry chuckled. "It's no bother Mrs. Malfoy. I was only on my way to annoy Draco anyway." He grinned at Narcissa as she laughed, and shooed him out.
"Who am I to stand in the way of that?" she laughed, and Harry grinned.
"See you later, Mrs. Malfoy." he said as he left the room, and laughed as she called out behind him.
"Narcissa, Harry. My name is Narcissa."
"Yes, Mrs. Malfoy!" Harry replied, walking to where Draco no doubt was, his grin widening as he heard Narcissa's resigned sigh.
"What are you plotting, o devious one?" Harry asked as he walked into the sun room, shutting the door behind him. Draco was perched on the window sill, elbow braced against his knee with his chin resting on the palm of his hand. The blondes other leg swung free, slowly, and Harry leaned back against the doorframe as he waited for the other teen to acknowledge him.
"Plotting?" Draco sat upright abruptly, and pinned Harry with his arctic eyes. "I plot nothing. I merely ponder what has already been set in motion."
"You make less and less sense the longer I know you, Draco," he said, and shoved off of the doorway. "Did Hermione get back to you yet?"
Draco held up the parchment in his hand. "This arrived around ten minutes ago." He narrowed his eyes at Harry, and added, "Which you would have known if you hadn't just gotten here."
Harry snorted as he sat on the couch, and held his hand out for Hermione's letter. "Your mother delayed me- apparently it was time I met Mr. Abbot." A grin crossed Draco's face at Harry's words, and he slumped gracefully next to the Gryffindor on the couch.
Handing the letter to Harry, Draco shut his eyes and wedged himself into the fluffy arm. "He's a good man, Hero. He does more than he needs to to take care of this family. We really do not pay him and his company enough, but they refuse to take more." The blonde shrugged, and slit an eye at his companion. "Quit stalling and open the letter, Hero. It may be addressed to both of us, but I know better than to read anything that comes from her before you've had the chance to get your eyes on it."
Draco glared as Harry laughed, but the Gryffindor unfolded the letter and began to read.
"Out-loud, Hero. I cannot read your mind."
"Well, you didn't say that," the teen muttered, and started from the top.
"Dear Harry & Malfoy-
"She can't call me Draco?"
"Shut it..." Harry rolled his eyes at the blonde and continued.
"It was very unexpected to hear from you, I have to admit. I'm not quite sure what's going on- the article in the Prophet really doesn't paint the Malfoy family in the best light at the moment, but I'm open to seeing things change around here. I'd love to come to your birthday party Harry, and thank you Malfoy for inviting me. I'll have to give my +1 some thought, but please do inform me of any precautions I'll need to take entering your home.
Best regards, Hermione."
There was silence in the sun room for a few minutes as the two absorbed the letter, and then Draco chuckled. Harry raised his eyebrow in a silent question, and the blonde gestured to the parchment.
"That is the politest way I've ever heard someone infer that this house has anti-Mudblood wards on it."
Understanding dawned on Harry's face, and he flushed. "I didn't even think of that. I was more thinking she meant any ex-Death Eaters that would have an issue with her being there."
Draco shrugged. "It will honestly be only you, me, Granger and whoever she brings, Blaise, Pans, and Mother." He hesitated. "Perhaps one or two more, depending on if they accept their invitations."
"Who else did you invite, Draco?" Harry asked curiously, but the blonde shrugged.
"They have yet to respond, so I shall not say anything." Harry let the subject drop, and silence reigned for a minute before Draco abruptly sat up and took the letter from Harry's hand.
"What are you doing?" Harry's eyes tracked the blonde as he moved to the writing desk, and began to lay down.
Draco glanced at the Gryffindor who was now sprawled across the couch, and coughed slightly. "I need to let Granger know how to bypass the 'anti-Mudblood' spells that may or may not be placed on the grounds."
Harry stared at the blonde in disbelief for a second, before bursting into laughter.
Aight, that's the end of Part 1. I have no idea when Part 2 will be up, so bear with me, please, just review and let me know what you think- of the plot, writing style (I already know there will be typos and incorrect grammar, so be gentle lol), and so on and so forth.
Excited to see your responses!