Title: The Courtship of Tigers

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

Pairing: Harry/Draco, Draco/others mentioned

Rating: R

Warnings: Rough sex, violence, collars, marking, a hint of breathplay, EWE.


Summary: It began because Draco happened to notice the way the collar of Potter's robe encircled his neck as he bent down.

Author's Notes: Not really a romantic story, although not completely PWP either, and certainly not unhappy.

The Courtship of Tigers

It began because Draco happened to notice the way the collar of Potter's robe encircled his neck as he bent down.

Well, perhaps it began because Draco was late to work. His usually impeccably-cast Tempus Charm had failed to chirp that morning and wake him, since he had failed to cast it last night. An acrimonious final night with a former lover would do that to one, disordering the thoughts and thus the routines of even the mightiest spellcaster.

Usually, Draco would be settled behind his desk in the office he shared with his partner, William Layton, by now, considering the cases that had come in with a harsh eye. The Head Auror had finally learned. He didn't hand Draco and Layton the shit cases anymore, the ones that were clearly situations of anti-Dark Arts hysteria or someone rich who wanted to be flattered and soothed by a visit from the Aurors for their imaginary problems. Draco solved cases like those in his own quiet, vicious way, and he did well enough on the others that the Head Auror had to let him pick and choose. It was too much trouble to do otherwise.

But Draco was late this morning, and he happened to sneer into Potter's office on the way—of course he was partners with Weasley, which was so fucking typical of the Boy-Who-Lived, not to grow up and to remain stuck in the pattern of his Hogwarts friendships his whole life—and see Potter as he was bending down to pull a file out of the bottom of a large cabinet.

Potter wore the normal Auror robes, of course. Since the war, he had become much more of a stickler for the rules, perhaps because Granger had threatened to disown him if he wasn't. But they never seemed to fit quite right on him. He was taller, but still awkward, gangly, long-limbed out of all proportion to the shortness of his body.

But there it was, the one vision coming like a lightning strike into the middle of Draco's brain, Draco's life. The collar of the robes pulled tight around Potter's neck, the cloth standing flush against his skin, and made Draco think of what could happen if something else was there.

What could happen if, say, it was fingers encircling his throat, pressing down against the pulse, while Potter stared with bright, glittering eyes back at his tormentor and lashed out at them.

Because of course it wouldn't be any good if he didn't lash out.

Draco was late, and his head buzzed with ideas, and he had dodged thrown curses and hurled some of his own last night, and he had just seen a vision that made him want to stalk and hunt and pounce and crush. He stepped into Potter's office and shut the door behind him. He noted out of the corner of his eye that Weasley wasn't at his desk, and the knowledge settled into him quietly, like a stone drifting down into dark waters.

Potter heard him at once, of course, and straightened, turning. His back ended up against the cabinet, his hand resting on his wand. His lips had writhed back from his teeth, and his free hand curled into a claw of skin and bone. He still wasn't properly fed, Draco thought absently, and took another step inwards. The collar no longer hugged Potter's neck as tightly as it had, but Draco had his imagination now to tell him the truth.

When Potter saw Draco, he didn't alter his stance, but confusion narrowed his eyes. "Malfoy," he said.

Draco didn't correct him on the use of his title, as he did everyone else who presumed to use his last name alone to his face and didn't have some reason for moaning or sighing over his first. He just came closer.

Potter seemed to know something of what Draco was about. He released his wand and watched Draco come, his leg still crooked as though to kick him in the groin.

Draco reached out and laid his fingers against Potter's neck. He could feel the pulse, as he had imagined it, and the beat against his finger was better than he had imagined it. That didn't often happen. He smiled, and Potter smiled back at him, eyes as bright as a constellation of broken stars.

"Do you know what happened to the last person who tried to strangle me?" Potter asked.

Draco half-frowned. Potter speaking ruined the fantasy, because Draco knew the answer to the question. It would be better if Potter kept quiet and let Draco touch him. "You arrested him and put him in the cells like a good little Auror," he said, moving in until he could watch Potter's chest heaving and think he felt the brush of the robes against his own.

"Oh, yes," Potter said. "He wound up there with half his nails gone and no memory of what happened. He thought he must have lost them in the battle between us and not noticed, which could have been true. It was that intense."

Draco let his eyes flick up to Potter's. Potter just looked back at him with the broken stars clearly in evidence, and then reached up and let his hand hover next to Draco's wrist.

He had the power to grab it and break it. Draco let the knowledge settle into him like the knowledge of Weasley's absence from the office had. Then he moved his fingers closer to Potter's throat until they pressed into the skin, and smiled.

"You aren't what you've been portrayed as, are you?" he murmured, and leaned his chest fully against Potter's. He felt the breath Potter took in acknowledgment, and listened to make sure that it was entirely out of Potter's lungs before he spoke again. "How long have you been hiding? Fooling them?"

"Not—nearly as a short a time as you might think," Potter said, and looked at Draco with something burning low in the backs of his eyes. But not banked, Draco thought, staring at it. This was the fire that never went out. "There was a time when I really did believe in the rules. But Dumbledore taught me what happens when you believe in the greater good, and then I found out that I wouldn't survive in the Ministry as it was, the way I was. So I changed what I was doing and thinking and letting other people see. For my good."

Draco smiled. He felt the bite of emotions into him like fire biting into his skin: the rage that Potter had fooled and the admiration that he had managed. He pressed closer.

"You should wear a collar," he murmured, his lips an inch away from Potter's ear. "I saw you with your robes bunched as I went past the door. You have no idea what you look like."

"I do, if I can use your eyes as a mirror," Potter whispered back. "Why should I wear one? To please you?"

"Well, of course," Draco said, and felt a moment's smooth amusement that Potter didn't understand what Draco could do for him, to him, if he wanted to. He flattened out his hand above Potter's heart. "I want to make one for you. Will you let me?"

It was more quickly than he had ever offered. But he wanted, and there was no lover in the case—Potter couldn't have hidden that from the press and his partner—which meant Potter wasn't going to be tiresomely Gryffindor about fidelity and infidelity.

But perhaps he wouldn't be Gryffindor about it even if he had one. That was a new thought to think about.

Potter stared at him, and Draco let himself be stared at. No matter how long he looked, Potter would see nothing but what Draco had offered, and what Draco wished to do. He could walk out the door now without a sensation of loss if Potter rejected the offer, which made it different from some of the times that he had moved close to someone properly pure-blood or someone who would have expectations of marriage from him.

Now, between them now, there was only this, this breathing that made it seem as though they could do anything, be anything, and that Potter might open his mouth and agree.

And then he did.


Draco discovered his hands were shaking, when they hadn't to come into the office, or touch Potter, or when Potter had told his story of taking his attacker's nails. He cleared his throat and reached out to draw his wand from his sleeve, studying Potter's neck and with logistics flickering like sunlight through his mind. How to size it, how to hide it, what to make it out of, all of those things were there and then gone.

Because he didn't need the questions. He already had the answers when he thought about them, if one could call this thinking. He could see the collar in his mind, and that meant he could create it, could bind it around Potter's neck, could make it.

He held out his wand and whispered the incantation, perfected during some of the games that he had played with previous lovers. The air around Potter's neck rolled in a circle, and Potter did nothing but part his lips a little, breathing out like a wild animal. He held Draco's eyes, and Draco could see his own kind of logistics lighting them, filling him with knowledge of how he would kill Draco if Draco tried to harm him.

Draco watched the circle solidify and shimmer, pause and then shimmer again, and at last come crawling into being, the color flushing along the edges the way that Draco's face had flushed last night. He watched the collar settle into place: a delicate band of silver, or so it would seem until one touched it, when it would bend. Not exactly cloth, not exactly metal, it was sturdy enough to stand up to magic trying to remove it and thin enough that Potter could easily hide it under the collar of his robes.

Watching it grip Potter's throat made Draco have to close his eyes and release a single, hard breath. Then he took a step to the side and watched Potter's fingers explore the back of the collar where it touched the nape of his neck.

Watched the moment when Potter realized that the collar had no clasp.

Potter's jaw simply unhinged like the jaw of a snake, and he hissed something at Draco, something slender and smooth and intimate that needed no translation from the Parseltongue. Draco leaned towards him and kissed him, once, as hard as the breath that he had released, and then turned and walked with long strides in the direction of the door.

It opened before he reached in, and Weasley appeared, balancing a whole new stack of files. He stopped and stared at Draco with narrowed eyes and hunched shoulders. Draco stared back at him, and then he was in the corridor and the door was falling shut behind him.

He didn't wonder when he would see Potter again. That was a question that, like everything else between them, would find its own path to the answer.

He did go back to his office, where Layton wasn't in yet, and have a long and leisurely wank, tossing back his head hard enough to make his chair rock when he thought of slender fingers pulling someone's nails out.

"It's comfortable to sleep in."

Draco glanced up. Potter stood in the doorway of his office, which Layton had filled just a moment ago with his endless and puffy questions about what Draco wanted in his tea, as though Draco didn't always take it the same way. But Potter was there now, and his finger toyed with the silver collar, spinning it around his neck so that sometimes it glittered along his skin and sometimes came to a rest angled above his collarbone.

Draco stood. By the time he got around the desk, Potter had shut the door and was stepping forwards to meet him.

Their kiss was enough to make Draco stop walking. He put his hands on Potter's shoulders and tried to steer him backwards. Potter laughed into his mouth and braced his feet, pushing back with his legs and hips, no trace of his arms.

He was strong enough to keep Draco in place. Draco lifted his head, blinking, wet-mouthed, and then bent down to lay his lips along Potter's neck, next to the collar. Potter turned his head and let him have the touch, eyelids fluttering and mouth yearning open.

"Do you like it?" Draco whispered as he kissed along the way, and then went back and traced the path he had just made with his tongue. "Tell me you like it. Tell me you've shown it to someone, and no one. Tell me someone's touched it and it shocked them." He reached up and ran his fingers along the edge. The collar sparked and then accepted him, since he had made it.

"Yes," Potter said, tilting his head back and keeping his voice unslurred. He had one hand on Draco's hip, the better to tilt himself into Draco's mouth while keeping his balance. Draco had no idea why the sight of Potter balanced like that—chest stretched at a sharp, acute angle to the floor, one leg half-lifted, one hand spread out—affected him like it did, but he reached down and cast the charm to pop the buttons on Potter's robe. Potter laughed at him again and turned.

Draco had never seen such a movement, never been on the receiving edge of one, but it worked. Suddenly he was the one whirled backwards, thrown, moved despite himself, and braced with his arse against his desk and his hands gripping the edge. He tried to stand, and Potter was there, moving into the space left by his parted legs, eyes so dark with warning that Draco panted at him and settled back.

"I've showed it to no one," Potter hissed back, bending close. "I wanted to keep it for myself."

The thought of being Potter's secret, like his inclinations for breaking Auror rules and keeping that quiet, made Draco curl one leg around Potter's, bringing him closer, inviting him in. Potter held his hands out as if to push back, but in reality, he only pushed Draco back towards the desk and then crawled on top of him, pressing him flat. Draco let the air be crushed from his lungs, because he wanted it to be, and let his head sprawl to the side, his tongue reaching out.

Potter kissed him, plunging his tongue deep, and then pulled back and smiled down at Draco. The smile was the kind that Draco could imagine him using immediately before he attacked someone who had tried to strangle him, and it just made him harder. "You marked me," he said. "But I want to mark you in return."

Draco licked his lips. He had not allowed that except with the one or two lovers he'd had before he took the Dark Mark. It was one thing for him to reach out and claim someone else, but for someone to do what the Dark Lord had done—Draco had served one master, and sworn to serve no other.

"Oh, not the way you imagine," Potter said, voice cool as winter glass, in response to Draco's searching look, and then reached down and unbuttoned the left sleeve of his robes, pushing it back.

Draco held still. He watched Potter's fingers skim along the Dark Mark, which had become charcoal-colored when the Dark Lord died but still remained, as had the ones that had been on the skin of the Death Eaters after His first "death." No one else had ever touched it. Even Astoria, who was probably the boldest of them, had flinched away from it, or wanted to turn her head to the side with her blonde hair shading that lovely long neck and pretend it wasn't there.

Potter looked at the combination of snake and skull as if he was imagining it floating in the air, dark green light and all, and bent down so that his lips hovered above it. The collar fell forwards, as much as it could, so it encircled his neck the way the robes' collar had when Draco saw him a fortnight ago.

Draco began to pant, and couldn't stop.

Potter smiled at him, and his wand flinched out and landed on top of the Mark. He began to speak. Draco couldn't make out the words, which made him think they must be in Parseltongue, but if so, they were the quietest hisses he had ever heard, and not much for sibilants. Now and then Potter raised his voice, but that didn't make what he said any more understandable. It might have been the voice of a brook for all the sense Draco could pluck out of it.

More and more, Potter spoke and the Mark changed, altering color and then shape under his wand. Draco watched. Through his mind came and went the knowledge that he and the Wizengamot and the Healers at St. Mungo's hadn't been able to find a way to alter or diminish the Dark Mark, but Potter knew one.

Potter always knew everything. Potter always broke the rules somehow. He always had the special treatment, the adulation he didn't deserve, the talents that no one outside of Slytherin House should have had.

He was a Parselmouth, and it made sense that no one who was not could change the Dark Mark, which a Parselmouth had created.

At the end of the chant, Draco felt a sharp, stabbing pain in his arm, like a hot dagger. He held still and said nothing. Compared to the pain when He had etched it on Draco's skin, this was nothing.

And he was still watching the collar around Potter's neck, and the way that it would shift and reel back and forth sometimes when Potter breathed, or turned his head.

Potter whipped his wand back, and for a moment Draco, blinking, thought he saw a long, black tendril trailing the movement, and flailing about in the air while Potter stared at it and hissed. But it faded even as he watched, and puffed out like smoke. Potter nodded, and then rolled to the side and up to his feet, staring intently at the door.

Draco heard Layton's shuffling footsteps and cough a moment later. Potter nodded, to him or to the air, and then said, "Look at it later. And think of me."

Layton opened the door. By then, Potter had concealed himself under the most skillful Disillusionment Charm Draco had ever seen—it looked and functioned more like an Invisibility Cloak—and moved past Draco's partner and out the door, dancing and edging to the side so that they never touched.

"They didn't have sugar," Layton said, more in the nature of someone commenting on the universe in general than as a remark to Draco, and handed Draco his tea. Then he paused and frowned at him. "Has someone been at you?"

"Used a Blasting Curse that bounced off the wall and surprised me more than I intended," Draco said, and shrugged, and did up his left sleeve. Layton, accepting of all such lies as he was accepting of most everything that would allow him to be partnered to someone who did the real work while he did the paperwork, nodded and went over to his desk, already murmuring about signatures and statistics.

Draco sat there, with the changed Mark aching under his robes, and thought. He made himself wait an hour before he excused himself to go to the loo, because he thought he should.

He set a minor hex on the door that would make most people about to use that particular bathroom forget about its existence, and then faced the mirror. He realized, as he undid the buttons on his left sleeve again, that his fingers were shaking, the way they had been when he made Potter's collar.

He turned his hand to the side and held it up.

The Mark was on his skin still. But the snake shone vivid green, not the color of Morsmordre, but of living grass, of the light that Draco had seen shining through May leaves after the Battle of Hogwarts. The skull was reduced to a vague outline behind it, the color of ashes. It all gleamed as if made of oil with the shadows of rainbows in it, as if it was a simple tattoo that Draco had got in the days of wild and stupid youth, like half the Mudbloods he had gone to school with.

Draco shut his eyes. Then he opened them again and memorized the color of the snake. After all, he would have to conceal the changed Mark beneath a glamour, and that meant he would lose sight of it for—

Draco paused. Then he lowered his hand, drew his sleeve up, and removed the hex from the door, and walked out and back to the office. Layton murmured an absent greeting when he came in, and then handed Draco a report that needed his signature. Draco signed it, making the y of Malfoy end with a flourish.

Potter hadn't covered the collar with a glamour. He had simply made sure that no one knew about it, that it remained his secret.

Draco could do no less.

He refused to do any less, when it would mean losing an inch of ground to Potter, and losing an inch that could not be made up later. Draco didn't know why it couldn't be made up, only that it couldn't.

He didn't wank that night, but lay with his arm turned so the Mark rested above his heart, and slept in a light as green as the snake. As green as the eyes of the man who had done this to him, as bright as the color Draco would make them turn the next time they properly met.

That next Wednesday, Weasley and Potter were walking up the corridor of the Ministry that Draco took most often when he was returning from the Head Auror's office. He walked a little faster when he saw them, both because he wanted to catch a glimpse of the collar beneath Potter's robes and because he had a plan without hesitating to think about it.

As he passed Potter, with light steps that would convey to anyone watching his desire to get away from Weasley as fast as possible, he cast a small spell that tied Weasley's boot laces together for a fleeting moment. Weasley cursed and stumbled. Potter's head snapped around, and Draco felt a heat in the altered snake on his arm.

Green eyes met his. Draco craned his neck down, as if in a subtle nod to the person he considered the better Auror, and mouthed, Bathroom. Five minutes.

He heard Potter soothing Weasley, no doubt agreeing with him about what a bastard Draco was, as he stepped into the bathroom and shut the door behind him. That made him smile, and his cock grew heavy between his legs and in his hand, thinking about how he was Potter's secret, how Potter's friends didn't know, how there was something Potter wanted to keep from them enough to do this.

The door swung open behind him, and Potter's eyes shone in the mirror.

Draco turned, and they met like enemies charging across a battlefield. Draco's fingers found their way between Potter's robes at once, and Potter was touching the snake, tracing it and hissing to it. Draco let his eyelids flutter when he heard the Parseltongue, and opened them to see Potter smiling at him, bright and remote.

"Yes," Potter said, in agreement to what Draco wasn't sure, and then he sank gracefully down and took Draco in his mouth.

Draco watched him, cloth gripped in his hands where he had twisted it aside, one knee on the floor and one cocked as though he would spring to his feet in a second, working Draco with his mouth alone. Draco watched Potter as long as he could, and then his head tilted back and his neck strained and he felt the orgasm rise.

Potter kept him tilting there, teetering there, tipping back and forth between coming and not coming, until Draco's muscles ached with the way he had locked them and his throat ached with the sobs he held back. Then Potter's mouth closed down, and his throat rippled as he swallowed, and Draco felt the flood pour out of him, down Potter's throat and so deep into him that he had to open his eyes to be sure—

Yes. His cock rested all the way on the back of Potter's tongue, and he hadn't known that Potter knew how to do that.

Potter rose to his feet and smiled at Draco. A quick cleaning spell on the knee of his trousers—he needed none on his mouth—and then he splashed his hands in the sink and wheeled towards the door. A gasp, a blink from Draco, and he was gone.

Draco leaned on the wall and shook his head. Sweat curled against the back of his neck where the hair grew heavy, and he reached down and ran the back of his hand across his groin and the smooth wetness that still waited there. Potter hadn't bothered to use a cleaning charm on him, of course.

The next time he saw Potter…

But that wasn't something that could be planned. Draco washed his own hands and opened the bathroom door, ready for the morning and the case that he and Layton had just been given. It promised to be interesting.

And if Layton remarked a few times on the smile that Draco wore throughout the morning, well, there were times that Draco was cheerful. When reading about the troubles that the Weasley joke shop was having in the papers, for example.

He turned towards the back of the Ministry party, the crowd of nameless people who were there because they wanted to be seen more than because anyone would care whether they were present or not, and saw Potter. The collar was visible if one knew what they were looking for, a slim raised line under the heavy gold chain of his Order of Merlin.

Draco stepped to the side and snagged a champagne glass that was floating by on a tray one of the house-elves carried. The Ministry always had champagne at these events, as if striving for some hopeless touch of class, and Draco had often drunk it before because it didn't affect him much. But now, he felt as if the bubbles were filling his throat and bursting in his nose. He didn't see where the glass went when he released it.

Not that it would matter. Not that it did matter. The Ministry was used to him, pure-blooded Draco Malfoy, the one who wasted his family's money and name and talent. They wouldn't think he had any secrets worth keeping, or that shattering a champagne flute was worth anything to him.

None of them would think that he had a secret worth keeping, and that was the way Draco liked it.

He took a snaking route around the room, in case, and came up behind Potter as he spoke to a witch whom Draco thought was one of the Head Auror's undersecretaries. Draco took a piece of fish that had suffered breading and buttering and a good deal of other slathering from a table at the very back of the room, and let his elbow come to rest in the small of Potter's back.

Potter's laughter stopped for a moment. The witch leaned forwards to peer into his face in concern, and Potter shook his head and murmured a compliment that made her laugh, in turn. Draco, confident he had been understood, withdrew to enjoy his fish and endeavor to understand what the Ministry had done to it.

Potter passed him a moment later, aiming for the corridor that led outside to the Apparition points and had a few bathrooms scattered along it, as well. Draco dusted his hands to clear them of the last few crumbs of the breading and fell in step behind him.

He cast a spell that conjured a short length of steel chain into his hands, and swung it thoughtfully back and forth as he walked. Someone ahead of him opened a door, and he heard the flushing voices of birds, and smelled the distant spring.

Then arms hooked around his waist, and lips onto his neck. Draco reached up and back, and linked the chain onto Potter's collar.

There was a pause, and then a sigh into his ear. Potter sank down, and when Draco looked back at him, his breath caught. Potter was arched back so that he rested on his hands and heels. He hadn't realized that Potter's hair was long enough for the trick, but it brushed the stone with the position that Potter had his head in.

"Is this what you've dreamed of?" Potter asked, with huge, wet eyes and lips that he licked.

Draco knelt down and lengthened the chain, winding it around Potter's hands, as well. Potter sat up to help him, and looked at him, and smiled. When the languid hiss traveled out of his mouth, Draco felt the snake on his arm stir.

"None of that," he whispered. "Not now." He fumbled in his haste and eagerness, and Potter's trousers came open messily, a button ripping and rebounding against Draco's hand. Potter's hissing grew warmer and amused, and Draco bowed his head and licked a long stripe up Potter's length.

Potter's laughter stuttered and stopped, and Draco smiled in turn. His fingernails dug deep, into fragile hipbone skin that flecked away under his grip, and then into muscles that flexed but held, and then into bone, that could stop him. He bore down with mouth and hands, and crushed the climax out of Potter, forced him to come trembling, with the chain cutting into the flesh of his wrists even harder than Draco's nails did into the flesh of his hips.

"Fuck," Potter said, but only the one word. Most of it was hissing, or gasping. He came with his arm wrapped around Draco's throat, tangled chained hand and all, and his face buried in his hair.

Draco licked him clean when it was done, and took the chain off his hands, dangling it in front of him. Potter inclined his head and snatched it away, dropping it to dangle down the front of his shirt, leaving it clinging to the collar.

Draco sauntered up the corridor towards the open air, intensely aware of the snake on his arm, of the roll and flex of perfectly trained muscles in his legs, of the wetness in his mouth.

The paper said that Potter was dating someone, a blonde witch in the Potions Department of the Ministry, with a "laugh that could melt the iciest of hearts, and certainly our hero has one," according to the article beneath the photo of Potter and the witch close together at some Ministry function.

Draco leaned back in his chair behind his desk, smiled, and wondered if he should owl the paper as a private service to explain that he knew for a fact no one but him was fucking Potter in any way, because then Potter would be missing his cock.

No, on second thought, the paper would make far too much of his owl, and would then print stories about Potter's cock being gone. And Potter might decide that he should lock it up so no one could ever know for certain, and that would diminish Draco's chances of ever getting to touch it again.

Layton looked up from a pile of parchment on the desk in front of him, blinking. "Ah, Malfoy," he said, in the same way that he might say, "Ah, an owl." "I think this is yours." He held out a slim sheet of parchment in Draco's direction.

Draco accepted it and turned it over, looking for a seal. It had nothing on the back but his name, in an icy, spiky handwriting that he didn't recognize. Draco raised his eyebrow and flipped the parchment back over to study the writing.

You've been with Potter. If you value your life and your ability to keep producing little Malfoys, then you'll stay away from him.

Draco couldn't help laughing. Here was someone echoing the threat that he had thought about owling to the Prophet, and without even the benefit of hearing him say it aloud! Really, it was too absurd.

And it made the erection he'd been unsuccessfully fighting for several hours surge back to life. Draco stood up and stretched, then picked up his cloak from the back of his chair and nodded to Layton. "I'm taking a long lunch," he said. "Don't wait for me."

Layton was starting to say something about their latest case, but Draco shut the door on his protests. They had solved the latest case; it was only the paperwork that remained to be filed. Draco could wait, and Layton would do it, and then he had only to sign things. He signed things well, because he had practiced for a long time as an adolescent, in preparation for the days that he would sign cheques for charity and things of that nature.

He had not ended up doing nearly as much of that as he would if he wasn't an Auror, he had to admit. But it might come in handy yet.

He took a long, leisurely stroll towards the part of the Auror office that usually contained Potter and Weasley, and smiled when he saw Potter ahead of him, striding along with his head up and all the goodness of the world vibrating in his backbone. Draco's eyes lingered on the barely visible collar, and then he held up his hand and beckoned.

The charm he had cast on the chain still attached to Potter's collar—and it had bloody well better still be attached, that was all Draco had to say about it—vibrated, made it rise and tug. Potter paused as the collar around his neck went solid and real, and half-closed his eyes. Draco could see that much from looking at his profile.

And then Potter turned around and faced him, and there was enough raw emotion in his eyes to put the paper to shame all by itself, never mind what Draco might have been able to tell them.

Draco crossed the space between them, smiling. And then Potter's hands reached up and clenched on his shoulders, and they were kissing, and Draco's mouth was open and sloppy, and so was Potter's, and it was so good that Draco shuddered, somewhere down around his shoes.

Potter pulled him into the nearest office, a dusty-looking one with names on the door of two Aurors who were both on holiday. Draco was the one who kicked the door shut behind them and then Vanished Potter's trousers.

Potter gave a shout of laughter, muffled when he remembered where they were, and propped himself up on the desk, kicking his robes aside and pulling his pants down. "I reckon I ought to be glad I learned charms to disguise my handwriting, if that note brings you like this," he said, staring at Draco with those green, green, green eyes.

Draco fell on him with a muffled snarl, a hungry noise that he would have declared he was incapable of making if anyone had asked him, but no one was going to ask. Potter's voice had gone high and gasping, and he was spreading his legs as if he wished the desk was wider, and wriggling his arse in Draco's face.

Draco used his wand to make his fingers so wet that it felt as though he'd plunged them into a swamp. Then he reached down to Potter's arse, and Potter gasped, "Here?" and kicked the desk and the back of Draco's knees. Draco was nothing loathe to fall forwards and cover Potter's body with his own, naturally.

"Here," Draco whispered, and shoved his fingers inside as he reached for Potter's arse. "But not what you think."

Potter laughed up at him, and then gaped up at him, and then was silent, twisting on Draco's fingers with his eyes shut, his brow furrowing almost painfully, his arse squeezing Draco. Draco watched him, and drove his fingers deeper every time Potter started to say something, and Potter panted, his mouth wide-open and his lips chapped. Draco, always considerate, lowered his head and licked them for Potter so they wouldn't be dry later.

He knew the moment he reached Potter's prostate, because Potter bucked and moaned and shoved back further, and Draco's fingers were buried so deep that it hurt. He turned them to the side, and Potter reached down and began to wank, his mouth still hanging open, his breath whistling in and out.

Draco kissed him, filling Potter's mouth full of his tongue as he came, his arse full of fingers. And Potter gasped and sighed belief and disbelief and wonder and contentment, and his cock splashed his stomach, and Draco got a very good look at it.

He could tell the Prophet all about it, Draco thought, as he leaned on Potter, smearing his own robes with Potter's mess, and rubbed off against that taut stomach, the lean legs wrapping above his hips, the low noises in his ear the only music that he needed.

But he didn't need to, because he could. And that he could was the only thing that mattered.

Draco woke in the middle of the night with his Mark burning against his arm.

For a moment, he flung the blankets aside and shivered, staring down. The years between the last time this had happened and now, when the Dark Lord had called all the Death Eaters to his side during the Battle of Hogwarts, seemed like so many flying nightmares, and for a moment, he wondered at how big his body seemed, why the Dark Mark was a vivid green, why he had dreamed of Potter's eyes—

Draco shook his head, laid his palm over the green serpent of the Dark Mark, and closed his eyes. No. They weren't nightmares, and he wasn't going to allow anyone to dominate his mind and cast him back into the past like this. Potter had changed the Mark, and it made sense that it was Potter for whom it burned now.

Draco stood and dressed, a set of simple grey robes that he Transfigured in a moment to resemble a loosely draped shirt and trousers. He didn't bother putting on pants, although he did shove his feet into his dragonhide boots. Somehow, he had the impression that pants weren't going to be important in this venture.

He stepped out onto the smooth grass immediately behind the Manor, and felt his breath catch. Potter stood there in dark robes, his head tilted forwards, the wind stirring his wild hair. In the faint moonlight, Draco couldn't make out his eyes, but he didn't need to.

"You can't throw rocks at my bedroom window like a normal person?" he whispered, taking a step forwards.

Potter looked up at him, and then he moved. Draco was pinned beneath him in an instant, rocking against the grass, his legs spreading wide as Potter shoved a thigh between them, his wrists held in a grip as firm as chains over his head.

This is how he does it with stubborn prisoners. Draco turned his head to the side, and smiled. The collar was still visible on Potter's neck, the chain a thin line dangling down beneath his shirt.

"Fucking take me," he whispered.

Potter stared at him, and then grinned. "Don't mind if I do, but it's better with the invitation," he said, and released Draco's left wrist to crack his hand through the air as if he was holding a whip.

All their clothes vanished at once, ripped off them and lying slashed on the ground nearby. Draco laughed in surprise and ground his cock up against Potter's belly. "Better with wandless magic than any of them know, aren't you?" he whispered. "Just the same way that you're harder with prisoners than any of them know."

"It's saved my life more than once," Potter said, and dropped to straddle him, one of his knees thumping into the dirt beside Draco's hip with a sharp sound that made Draco rear up and rub against Potter in spite of himself. "But mostly I practice it because I want one secret. Why shouldn't I have one?" He smiled at Draco with his lips red and his eyes heavy, and reached out to trace one hand down the center of his chest. "That was before you gave me more of them, of course, and ones even more worth having."

"Yes," Draco said, in response to the statement and to the hand, and arched up to lock his lips on Potter's forearm, in the place where his Dark Mark would have been if Potter had one. Potter smiled at him, and flushed, and reached back so that he could use another wave of wandless magic to prepare Draco, and himself.

Draco laid his hands on Potter's chest when he saw that, and eyed him.

"I want everything," Potter said. "And you've taught me that I can take everything I want, without waiting for someone to give it to me." He raised Draco's legs above his head as gracefully as a dancer moving another dancer into position, and slid into him without slowing down.

Draco shut his eyes and hissed out his pain and desire, the sound riding out of him as though someone had dragged it through his teeth. He would have taken another moment to recover, but Potter was already riding him, pushing into him, his eyes fastened on Draco's face like nails, and that was perfect. Draco answered him with thrusts of his hips, with rolls of his hips, with jerks of his hips, in fact as fully as someone could answer someone else when his legs were up over the first person's shoulders.

Potter watched him with sweat gleaming on his face next to those jade eyes. Those jade eyes were a tiger's, Draco thought, although so many people in the Ministry had mistaken them for a tame cat's. He would have reached up and traced his fingers down Potter's cheek if he could, but the angle was wrong.

Potter shuddered and began to throw his weight into the task so hard that Draco's head banged off a rock and his back was getting scraped up by the grass in his garden. Draco thought he saw a pale shape staring at him from a distance, one of the peacocks attracted by the sound of their fucking, and he laughed, a long roar that was overcome by Potter's as he came.

Draco liked the sight and sound of that, Potter with his head tilted back and his teeth clenched until he must have scraped off the enamel, his tongue half-sticking out between them and scarred and bleeding. He watched Potter come and listened to the clinking of the chain against the collar around his neck, and was content.

Until the moment when Potter pulled out of him, still slick and sticky, and dropped to his hands and knees, prepared arse aimed at Draco. Draco rose and gripped Potter's shoulders for a moment before he sheathed himself, driving his fingers deep, making grooves for himself, clawing him and feeling how he fit into Potter, into the dance between the two of them.

"Are you going to get on with it, or are you just interested in tearing my back all to hell?" Potter gave a restless movement of his hips, as if he thought he should take up that dance now that Draco was on top of him, that almost threw Draco off.

"I think someone is impatient for the pleasure I can give him," Draco whispered, and gripped the chain on the collar even as he slid inside Potter.

The pleasure, at least for him, was intense, and Potter gave a single shake before he froze himself that might indicate it was for him, as well. Draco bowed his head to rest his cheek on Potter's neck and traced his face with one hand—the other always gripped the chain, and would continue to do so—as he moved gently inside him. Potter pushed back, but Draco laughed at him and kept moving gently.

"To know that I'm inside you," he whispered to Potter. "That I've chained you, marked you, the one person who would never consent to let me have a claim to him."

Potter snorted and bowed his head, his body working through the motions of the collar and Draco's thrusts like the earth working through an earthquake. "Yeah, yeah, keep bragging. I notice that you haven't come yet. Not that interesting to you?"

Draco rolled with his hips, stabbed and dragged, and Potter shut up. Draco yanked on the chain as he gave himself over to it, the ride, and Potter choked and began to breathe heavily through his nose. Draco yanked again, and watched his face flush red and his head turn to the side to ease the strain on his neck.

That was all Draco needed, some sign of acknowledgment, that he was here and Potter was here and they were here together. Imperceptibly, his hips sped up, until he was hurting Potter from the sound of Potter's fingernails in the dirt and his wheezing breaths and Draco felt—Draco felt—

It was so intense, it was so good, it was so focused, the orgasm spiraling through him like he'd never had once before, even with Potter or wanking about Potter, and Draco grabbed Potter and held him still with hips and collar, forced him to be there, to feel it, as Draco took him and marked him again and was in him. When Potter's arms gave out and he was lying in the dirt with Draco on top of him, Draco still didn't move, because he wanted to be in him.

They let their breathing calm down, and Draco shivered a little as the sweat dried. Then Potter turned to him and yawned in his face. Draco opened one eye and rolled it at him, wondering what he wanted now.

"Do you have a bed, or are we going to lie out here and get grass stains on our knees?" Potter murmured. "Those are a bitch to get off with a Scourgify, let me tell you."

"Only one person around here was kneeling," Draco retorted, and pulled out with a groan, holding out a hand to help Potter up.

Potter smiled at it, and then his eyes darted to Draco. "And we'll kneel for each other," he said.

Draco smiled at him slowly, and turned his left arm so that the green Mark pressed against the collar. He wound the chain around his arm, and drew tight, until he knew his skin would bruise as heavily, as blue-black, as Potter's throat.

"We will," he said.

Potter's kiss was fierce enough to start another round, and Draco didn't care who watched them then, in their coupling: the peacocks, the moon, any Ministry spies who might come to check that Draco hadn't gone back to his Death Eater ways.

They had marked each other, they had chosen each other, and this was what they were, collared and chained for each other, as fierce as tigers.

The End.