Here we go folks, the final chapter. Oh my god, this is the longest story I've ever written, and I know at some points some of you have maybe not agreed with some of the choices I've made for it, or some of the things I've done with certain characters, I have been incredibly grateful to every single one of you for helping me put it all together and improve as much as I could on it. I hope this one is up to your standards as well as mine, and I've tried not to rush the ending too much. So, for the last time on this story, let me know what you think and leave a review.
As a side note, I understand that I have left Hermione and Ron's stories on an ambiguous note, but that's because I wanted you to all just do what you want with it in your heads. I think you'll like that anyway, seeing as you never freaking seemed to agree with any of my choices for Hermione throughout the story.
I wish you all an incredible Christmas and a very, very happy New Year; you all deserve it.
I'd also like to just dedicate this chapter to the families and children affected and lost through the school shooting in Connecticut in the last fortnight, my heart goes out to them.
"So are you going to tell me truthfully why we're here then?" Harry said after they'd ordered their food that night, sitting back in his chair with his arms loosely crossed over his chest, a look of contempt and expectation on his face tinted with a slight annoyance and an anger in his eyes that had been there ever since the... incident.
"Do I need a reason Potter? Can you not just enjoy it?" Draco asked with an uncomfortable, irritated sigh, shifting in his chair and clicking his jaw a little.
"There's a reason for everything Draco" Harry said in a low, ambiguous voice. He was done with tiptoeing around him. He'd wanted to enjoy this meal, but it was obvious that Draco was in a fragile mood, which was always best when Harry wanted to get something out of him.
"It's just a bloody meal Potter, you're my boyfriend, I'm allowe-"
"I'm more than your boyfriend Draco, I'm you're best friend, the man you fell in love with... and I'd like to know what happened to the man I fell in love with. Because it looks like he's sat right in front of me, but I can't tell anymore" Harry hissed in a frustrated hushed voice, sitting forward over the table and looking directly into Draco's eyes.
"Oh don't give me your sentimental shit Potter, you know I'm still who I was last ye-"
"No you're not, and neither am I. No one we know is the same person as they were last year; but apparently you've changed enough to want to kill us both-"
"Stop interrupting me"
"So explain it to me then!" Harry exclaimed in exasperation, throwing his arms up in the air slightly before letting them slap down heavily on the table between them.
"Talk to me because I don't understand it Draco, I don't get it"
"Of course I'm fucking angry, you weren't awake Draco, you didn't see you in that shitty little toilet bleeding to death! You were white as a fucking sheet, I thought you were dead dammit, and that meant that I was dying too! And I didn't know why the hell you would want to kill me, what did I do to you? I thought we-" Harry broke of, his voice light and broken up a bit, flopping down back into the frame of his chair again, shoulders dropped, eyes confused and creased in sadness.
"I thought we were stronger than that" Harry finished his sentence a moment later in a solid voice, watching Draco with a pained look as he struggled profusely to find the words to even begin to explain or apologise.
"I don't know Potter, I- Harry, I just- I don't know. I think I just lost it. I blacked out, I don't remember deciding to do it, I don't remember how I even got the blade! The last thing I can piece together is just... I think I gave up. I almost- god, I don't even know how I did it- I just... forgot about you.
And- and it hurts Potter, okay? Is that what you wanted? You wanted me to tell you how shit I feel? How much I hate myself because once again I forgot the most important thing in my life and how I was just a selfish prick all over again when it came down to it? You wanted me to tell you that I'm still the little shivering bastard of a coward after four years of trying to be otherwise?
Well there you go, you decide if that's the man you 'fell in love with' because if it is, then you're just as fucking stupid as I am" Draco blurted, stuttering until he'd managed to get the words out, and then sharpening the syllables and sentences when he started to get out the extent of how much he hated himself.
Harry. Harry didn't know what to say. He just didn't have a clue how to respond; because god, it was everything he'd done when they were still at Hogwarts. It was almost identical to what had been going through his mind when he himself had first cut himself at the start of NEWT year when the war had still been fresh in his mind, when his anger issues had been as monstrous as the demons apparently still infesting Draco's head now.
Slowly, he sat up straighter, drawing in a slow, deep breath and running a hand through his hair, swallowing tightly to try and stem the tears rising in his eyes.
"I remember how angry Hermione was with me when I did this; she probably hated me actually, she couldn't even say anything to me the first couple of days I was in hospital for; she just sat there and stared at me, I've never seen her so furious that she was actually not able to speak. And her anger, it made me feel worse; it made me want to just spontaneously combust and disappear; but- I don't know how to not be angry with you right now Draco, I don't know how I'm supposed to just turn it off and pretend forever that nothing happened.
I love you, I love you a lot, you know how much I love you; but I've been trying to just pretend that things are okay for the last month and it's not working, it's just making things worse, I feel even more angry when I do that" Harry managed to say when he had gathered his thoughts some more, shrugging helplessly.
"So I- I think I just need you to be strong for the moment, just whilst I work on completely understanding this, and whilst I work on forgiving you. We tried, I tried to act like things were okay; I think we need to sort of get some distance"
"Potter, we're bound mind and soul, remember?"
"Yes well I thought so to" Harry snapped to a taken aback Draco who blinked a couple of times before breathing out and nodding.
"Fine, how do you suggest we do this?"
"I don't know, just sleep in different rooms, not do practically everything together. We could just be flatmates again..."
God Harry hurt saying that last sentence; going back to how it was before when they weren't a couple, when they wanted to touch each other all the time and to be together 24/7 but not trusting themselves to do so, that hurt so much in Harry's mind. Draco was one of the only good things left in his life, and he was about to distance himself from him?
It was necessary though, Harry told himself, it was something that had to be done.
"Are you breaking up with me?" Draco breathed, eyes wide, face angry and pained.
"No! God no, I'll never break up with you, you complete idiot!" Harry said quickly, not being able to bare the look on Draco's face.
"I'm just saying that we should take a break from the couply stuff, you know? I think we should just take a bit of time without the sex and the-"
"Do you even realise how clichéd that sounds Potter? I'm going to have to tell people 'we're on a break'" Draco said with a smirk that didn't touch his eyes. But Harry felt a tiny bit of relief that he wasn't making a huge deal about it.
"You want to go home?" Draco said, looking around with raised eyebrows.
"No, I think we can have a meal; you owe me anyway, I paid for the takeaway last week"
"Oh shut up"
Harry opened the door to his old bedroom, entering as though it was an old library that hadn't been touched in a long time. He took another step forward, eyebrows knitting together as he bit down hard on his lip to stop himself from tearing up.
Slowly, he shrugged off his dinner jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his shirt, moving to sit on the end of his old four poster bed, back arched, elbows on his knees, hands supporting his head.
He drew in a deep, long, rattly breath and swallowed tightly.
Draco was only down the hall taking a shower in his en-suit; but Harry couldn't help feeling more alone than ever.
It was a necessary thing, to be apart for a while until they were in a place where they could be together again. The only problem with it was the link. It hadn't even been three minutes and Harry was already feeling the beginnings of tiny shivers running up his spine, the itching along every inch of his skin, the irritating urge to hide in a corner wrapped in Draco's arms and never move.
He focused hard on shutting out the small waves of angst and sadness flowing through Draco's mind to his own, and pushing it away, locking the window latch in his brain that allowed him access to such feelings and emotions belonging to Draco.
This was the first night he'd chosen to sleep alone since he had gotten together with the young blonde, and he couldn't help the the tensing of his muscles as the rain hammered on the glass outside and he closed his eyes, shaking his head ever so slightly.
God things were so fucked up.
"So you just quit?" Harry asked, eyebrows hitting the top of his head as he sat forward, alarmed.
"Just like that?" Draco asked and Hermione nodded, shrugging and looking between the two.
"Yes. I love the job, I love performing; but it's just been so stressful and I've worked hard on it for two years. I think it's time I did something different now" she said softly.
"Granger, if you're giving up this job because you think it will help you get over Darren, then you're wro-"
"Draco, I'm not leaving because of Darren- well, he's part of the reason- but it's more than that. I'm just tired and I haven't given myself a break, I went straight into this after I graduated from Hogwarts, I need to travel, I need to see things, I need to explore my life before I set up something I want to do with it" she said, sipping from her coffee.
"Tell me you at least got some sort of closure before you came back to England?" Draco sighed, squinting through one eye at the dull lighting the sky was allowing the café through the windows as it rained endlessly and rubbing his forehead.
"Of course I did" she breathed, not looking at either one of them. They looked at each other for a second before they both reached out and took a hand each, Draco nudging Hermione's chin with his thumb, making her look up at them.
"I went to the hotel as soon as I'd filmed my last scene; he hadn't stuck around after for me to say goodbye" she spoke in a quiet, slightly shaky voice.
"And?" Harry encouraged gently, knowing it was a tough subject for her now.
"And he was playing Ritornare" she managed, barely audible. Draco rolled his tongue around his mouth and dropped his shoulders, letting out a sigh of irritation and understanding.
"What's Ritornare?" Harry frowned.
"It's a nine minute piano piece from Ludovico Einaudi's album, I'll play it for you later Potter" Draco said distractedly and Hermione's eyes flickered to his for a moment as an unreadable silent conversation passed between the two, but the look was gone before Harry could even study his best friends and resisted the urge to roll his own eyes.
"I didn't have the heart to interrupt him, the piano is sort of his therapy so I sort of stood and listened until he finished. Turns out he knew I'd been there the whole time. I cried a lot, we didn't say very much; eventually when I had managed to get myself under control, he hugged me and I left"
"That was it?"
"Like hell it was, Darren's a ridiculous romantic, he can't have just left it on that note!" Draco scoffed, squeezing her hand discreetly tighter.
"He called me halfway through my flight, told me that I'd done the right thing for myself, that I shouldn't be a stranger... and that he loves me" Hermione said, seemingly forcing herself to keep it together when she made her voice much more solid and normal.
"Well you're going to be alright Granger anyway, despite being incredibly annoying, you're self-reliant and passionate, you'll have an amazing couple of years before you end up trapped by the ministry like me and Potter" Draco smirked, letting go of her hand and lounging back in his chair, swigging his latte.
"Yeah, where are you going first?" Harry asked excitedly, cleverly directing the conversation in a place that wouldn't require Hermione to force herself not to cry.
"Well I thought I'd start with Rome; I always loved it there and I never really spent enough time sight seeing and sampling the culture..."
Draco zoned out as Hermione and Harry chatted animatedly about the different countries she'd be able to visit and he people she'd be able to meet.
He knew they were caught up in their discussion, so he allowed himself to watch Potter as he talked, eyes focused and engaged, mouth moving a mile a minute hands moving in time with what he was saying and responding to whatever Hermione was replying with.
It was strange between them now; and even though to the outside world it seemed they were coping well with being apart as a couple, Draco was spending every night soundproofing his room before trashing it in anger and confusion. More than once he'd accidentally let his magic get out of control and smashed his window.
It wasn't that they were spending all this time away from each other – well, as much space as the link allowed anyway, which was normally a couple of floors a corridors between them – it was more the lack of distraction. The worst thing was that now, as Harry had intended, Draco was being forced to face his issues head on. Instead of having sex or eating a meal or just laying in bed wrapped up in Harry now; Draco had nothing to stop his thoughts from drifting to his father and to his mother and to Snape who were all a cause to his emotional breakdown in some way, and because of his insatiable incapability to simply feel pain, he felt despair and fury, which were both very powerful emotions. Ones which Draco had never been able to control; no thanks to his time as a death eater of course.
"Did you finish packing yet?" the question seemed to pull Draco from his daydream and he blinked, focusing in on Hermione for a second.
"Yes, I just have to make sure Crooks is happy in the new cage I bought and then I can apparate to Heathrow tomorrow morning"
"You want us to come with you Granger? See you off?" Draco spoke suddenly, wondering why he'd offered because silly goodbyes like that didn't normally seem appealing to him.
"Uhh- I mean, no. No, I think I've had enough goodbyes for the moment thanks Dray. But I'll definitely call you when I get to the hotel to boast about the five star elements and the hot weather" she grinned, getting over her surprise and winking at him. He could feel Potter's eyes on him as he nodded, smirking in return, not having the proper strength to smile fully; he hadn't been sleeping very much of late.
"Right. Well just make sure you do because you know how iffy muggle planes are lately; suspension designs are nowhere near the quality Kingsley has that new department drawing up. They're thinking about branching off into much more solid forms of transport if it's all successful. They're just looking for funding" Harry informed her. Another thing that was annoying Draco was the fact that it was rare for him to acknowledge he even existed when they were talking to friends or acquaintances.
When they alternated between offices for lunchbreaks, it was only because the link was making their muscles and bones cramp up after a whole morning of being apart. And since it had been about a month now after they had last had sex, they were both pretty much horny all the time.
No Draco cursed himself stop thinking about sex he urged. It was almost embarrassing. He felt as though he was being reduced to the hormonal teenager he had been only a couple of years back. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat feeling a familiar jolt at the base of his spine and in his groin as an image of Potter kissing down his chest flashed across his minds eye.
Harry swallowed tightly, glaring furiously at Draco, sitting forward and crossing his legs under the table. One of the best parts of their relationship had been their frequent and remarkable sex life, the transition between making love at night pretty much all the time, and no one in his bed at all was one that had been quite a shock to the system and they were driving each other crazy, which was straining the link even more.
It was as though they were constantly battling it to see who would snap first.
"Mr Potter, Mr Black, Miss Granger, we're closing soon, we're going to have to ask you to leave" the waitress said suddenly, making Draco jump violently, earning a suspicious and confused look from Hermione who glanced briefly at a flushed Harry before letting recognition and realisation dawn on her face. She bit down hard on her lip to hide her laughter and simply nodding up at the waitress, not trusting herself to say anything.
"Your bill" the waitress laid a piece of paper down on the table and retreated.
"Let's go then" Draco snapped, standing up fast and pulling his wallet out of the back pocket of his tailored trousers, not even looking at the bill and chucking a twenty pound note down on it before grabbing Harry's elbow and gesturing for Hermione to follow him.
Fresh air; yes, that was what he needed. No man, you need to get laid he ignored his own thoughts, shaking his head and stepping out into the rain, releasing Harry's arm because even touching that proved to require a rewardable amount of self-control.
"Well, I think I'm going to go uh- go make the finishing touches to my packing. I'll see you two later" she said, still looking as though something was incredibly hilarious. Draco scowled at her but hugged her back tightly nonetheless, unable to refrain from burying his head in her shoulder and spinning her around softly in his arms when she embraced him.
"Be safe Granger" he muttered, voice muffled by her mass of curly hair slowly being flattened by the rain.
"You too, ugly" she retorted. He had to physically look away when she moved back, looking at him with teary eyes.
Stupid Gryffindors and their stupid emotions.
"Oh man, I'm gonna miss you" Harry sighed, also enveloping her in a bone-crushing grip, pressing a rough kiss to her forehead when she broke away.
"For god sake, it's cold! You're supposed to be lions not pussies" Draco grumbled, shoving his hands in the pockets of his trousers over his tweed fitted blazer, all previous thought gone from his mind as Potter stepped away from Hermione and moved to stand next to him, watching as she smiled at them once more before turning on the spot.
After about four seconds of staring at the floor in the rain, Draco let out a breath of resignation and irritation, wrapping an arm around Harry's neck and boyishly dragging him slowly back down the lane, heading towards Hyde Park.
And suddenly everything seemed a little more different.
"Mr Weasley, there's been a message at reception for you" a young witch with short, spiky dark purple hair and a slim, slender body approached him at his spot on the beach as he laid back with a cold flannel wetting his forehead.
"Thanks sweetheart" he grinned up at her from his white beach chair, sitting up to take the note from her, winking at her cheeky smirk as her eyes dragged once over his body before she retreated, deliberately swinging her hips as she went.
'Stop oggling the slut that bought you the note and wrap up your beach party; I want you to meet me in Egypt tonight. Hermione' he let out a laugh, a big smile stretching across his lips as he nodded, rolling his eyes.
"So bossy" he huffed playfully as if she was there with him, and screwed the note up in his hand, going back to sunbathing. He could get a few more hours in before he had to start packing again.
"Mr Potter, we have a new case for you" Kingsley said, stepping out of the fireplace in Harry's office. Harry looked up, startled and a little puzzled; it was very rare that big cases were referred to him directly by the minister himself and so immediately he sat up, nodding regally, holding his hand out to offer his employer a seat.
"Minister, with all due respect, are you really deeming me fit for main Auror? I got a report through a couple of weeks back suggesting that I'm 'emotionally compromised'. I took that as more of an order than a suggestion however. I've just been doing paperwork and putting people onto smaller things. It's calmed down a lot since Malfoy's death" Harry informed, frowning.
"Harry, you are head of my Auror department and the best agent I possess; I would let you do this case emotionally compromised or not. On the contrary, things seem to have... hmm... what is the phrase? Started back up! Yes, I suppose I would like to have my highest authorities working with such a situation" Kingsley smiled kindly, looking Harry straight in the eye reassuringly.
"Forgive me Sir, but what situation?" Harry asked, getting more and more worried and excited by the moment. He would not do the job if he didn't love it even if it was heartbreaking and a little too close for comfort sometimes.
"I'm afraid there has been a string of murders starting in the west country and working up in somewhat of an erratic line. We were unable to find a connection until our contacts with the Irish ministry sprang into action and it spread over to Dublin where the pattern seems to have fitted together. We believe it is the work of some sort of half-human creature; possibly a vampire but we are not sure" Kingsley said in a calm voice, but it was obvious the man was slightly worried and he had a right to be, whether it was muggles or magical folk becoming victims, Vampires were dangerous creatures when not under regularisation control.
"Surely you could have let me know about this sooner Kingsley, I mean I'm head of the freaking Auror office, why wasn't this file sent to me? And why the hell haven't forensics been up to me with a report or anything? Please don't tell me you're leaving it up to the department of law enforcement" Harry said, annoyed and shocked that he wasn't informed. Despite not being at work frequently of late, Harry's job was an extremely important one and if he wasn't being told something, then it wasn't right.
"Calm down Harry, I was on my way to tell you about this about three days ago when I was called into court for a different matter, it has kept be busy so I have been unable to send anyone down here. But I am telling you now because there was another murder last night.
Three young girls all drained of blood; I want you to get over there with Draco and Neville and Dean's team within the hour, the case is yours now I'll have my secretary mail you the details to your- uh... Iphone is it? I don't know, but it's something you'll need on the go so set yourself up for a long few hours" Kingsley said, a serious tone kicking in, eyes still soft, but voice strict and firm. Not that Harry wasn't still irritated for his lack of information or anything, it was just that the Minister was bloody scary when he was on a mission and Harry was not stupid enough to disobey a direct order.
"Of course Sir; I'll call Draco now" he nodded respectfully, accepting a strong pat on the shoulder from his mentor as he stood to see him out.
"Harry, I'm trusting you with this; do not let me down, you're right, your emotional state has not past regulation tests but I pushed the whole thing through anyway. I really honestly would hate to sack you son" Kingsley said with the solid, compassionate smile. For a second, Harry had to remember that the man stood in front of him was not just his friend but also his boss, before he nodded again, returning the smile briefly and closing the door behind him.
"Dean, set everything up and meet me over at Kensington in an hour we've got a new one" Harry said urgently down the phone, swiping his jacket from the back of his chair and sending a text to Draco who was on the other side of the ministry. He waited a couple of seconds, timing his apparation with Draco's so they didn't hurt themselves before turning on the spot and disappearing.
Draco sighed, tightening his coat around him and straightening the collar on his shirt. The material was Czech Republican thick wool, very expensive and tailored, it was Hermione's birthday present to him and he had to admit, a couple of years in the muggle showbiz industry had done wonders to her sense of style. Plus, the fitting drove Potter crazy which he found rather hilarious.
"You called?" Draco drawled when they popped up in Thackeray Street face to face.
"Yeah, new case; vamp serial killing spree. C'mon" Harry said, gesturing Draco to follow him along the road to stand in front of a Hairdressers called Valentino. "I know Kingsley says it's a thought out thing and that the vampire is calculating" Harry added, looking up thoughtfully at the brown brick structure above the shop.
"And what do you think Potter?" Draco asked, glancing sideways.
"I think you need to throw that darn coat away" Harry sighed, stepping forward over the pavement and unlocking the door to the stairs of the apartment they were headed for with his wand, moving inside. Draco allowed himself a moment to smirk before letting out a small laugh and following him up the stairs.
An hour later, Dean, Neville and some newly recruited forensics had the whole apartment covered in strange looking gadgets and magical objects marking out evidence points and collecting temperatures in the air and calculating times of entry and exit. Potter was moving about fast, going from room to room before sometimes slowing down to examine a certain part. Draco took the living room where the bodies were.
The three girls were sat upright on the sofa, pale as ghosts, open eyed and unseeing, all completely dead and sucked dry of blood. Draco crouched down athletically, looking in closer at the incisions going all the way around each of their necks.
"Shlongbottom, c'mere and take a look at this a second; what is it?" Draco said, gesturing with a finger for his colleague to join him but not taking his eyes off. Neville wordlessly handed him a pair of transparent gloves and knelt down next to him, also looking over the injury.
"Looks like some sort of slash right through the neck" Neville breathed in concentration and Draco nodded slightly, reaching out and placing a hand on either side of the girl's head.
"You've got photos of these, right? I don't want to fuck with anything"
"Yeah, that's the first thing we did when we got here" Neville said.
Draco swallowed tightly, grimacing at what he was about to do, knowing in his mind what it meant if his theory was proved right. Bracing himself, he pulled ever so slightly on the girl's head. It lifted easily from her body, suspended macabre and sickening in his hands.
"Shit" he cursed, placing the head back in it's place and turning away from the body, running his hands through his hair stressfully.
"What is it Malf- I mean Black?" Dean asked, interest piqued by the man's reaction to the scene.
"I know who we're dealing with" he said, jaw tight, heart beating a little faster than before.
"Who?" Neville asked, confused.
"A copy cat" Draco said, incredibly pissed off as dread began to set in his gut.
"A copy cat of who though?" Dean demanded, becoming worked up by the lack of pace of information flowing at him.
"Stefan Salvatore" Harry's voice came from where he was suddenly leant against the doorway.
"We've got ourselves a ripper"
Harry twirled the stake around in his hand as he sat in a single chair in the middle of the room, legs slightly apart, back a little slumped and blazer done up neat and tight around his stomach, outfit untouched and uncreased in comparison to the growling vampire he had strung up against the far wall chained up by metal cuffs coated with vervain, spelled on with a permanent sticking charm.
Agostino Perrella; the vampire who had lost his mind.
It almost looked pitiful actually, to see the guy so helpless and destroyed by his bloodlust and desires and hatred, all rolled into three exemplified, dangerous emotions, all as powerful as each other and all very destructive.
"You going to confess yet or am I still going to have to drive this stake through your chest cavity?" Harry said. He wasn't particularly proud to be doing this to the man; he didn't like having to resort to this; but it couldn't be helped and he only needed a confession. That's all. And then Agostino could be locked in St Mungos until a trial could be set up and they could bring the half form animal rights liaisons down from Russia to talk about the whole shibang.
"Fottuto bastardo feccia inglese, non stai ricevendo merda outta mi" Agostino spat through sharp fangs, eyes red and glaring, skin around them distorted and dark.
"Ascoltare, confessare e sarete messi in una cella, nessuno sta per torturarti vi" Harry replied, figuring Agostino would calm slightly if he was being addressed in his own language. Of course, Harry's Italian was rusty as he had only studied it for a while as a side project when he was fourteen, but he supposed he was doing okay. He could sort of understand what Agostino had said anyway. Something about English scum.
"BULLSHIT!" the man spat and Harry sighed, nodding.
"Fine" he breathed, taking a vile of holy water from his pocket and unstopping it. This was the part he hated, the part where he had to separate himself from his feelings so he didn't end up losing his mind, the inhuman part of the job. Really, in the muggle world, this type of treatment of a prisoner in custody would have him thrown in a cell himself; but in the Ministry, things were different, you were dealing with a higher caliber of human, a much more dangerous prisoner, ones who could kill in much more vile and cruel ways. A little bit of scolding the skin of a vampire with some holy water was nothing compared to what some of the older Aurors did.
When Harry had been put in charge of training his own new batch of younger recruitments he had made sure to remind them that torture and beating were to be used only as a last resort or in special cases when more horrific things had happened and the lives of others were at stake.
He pushed out his doubts for a second and flicked the water at the vampire's skin, watching, insides cringing as it steamed and blistered slightly, healing over almost straight away.
"If you're such a good Auror Potter, why don't you just lock me up?"
"I don't have a case to lock you up with if you don't confess"
"I refuse to!"
"But you're guilty, you know you are!" Harry exclaimed, outraged and angry, he didn't want to do this, he didn't want to purposely hurt this man. He had been human once, he had a family... or used to anyway. But he had to, it was necessary. He chucked another lot and the man's face and he yelled out in pain, body clenching up, spazzing out in an attempt to deal with the pain.
"I'll start opening the window if you don't co-operate" Harry threatened. God he hated forcing sunlight on vampires when they hadn't spelled the protection on or weren't wearing the daylight ring, it was always so scary, so damaging to listen to the screams, to watch the skin burn and sizzle.
"Do it!" he drawled in the thick Italian accent, breathing labored eyes wide. Harry knew that look though, he was close to getting the confession. He just needed to push that little bit further, just a little.
He clicked his fingers and the curtains swished open wandlessly, sun streaming full force into the room. Agostino screamed, the pitch almost deafening Harry. He put everything he had into holding back the tears of alarm and closing them again, the skin healing slower this time.
"You want to keep at it all day? Because I don't. But I will. I will if you make me" Harry yelled, feeling the anger flowing through him now. Could this stupid man not see that Harry was trying to save him pain? That he was trying to get him some sort of break despite all the people the man had killed?
He remained quiet and Harry clicked his fingers once more, not prolonging it anymore this time and stopping it the moment Agostino screeched out for him to stop because he was going to speak, because he was going to confess. It was easier than Harry had expected it to be, but then again he couldn't even begin to imagine the pain of such tortures for a vampire, so he couldn't really judge the capacity for pain within such half-human creatures.
"Right, it's on recording. Thank you, you'll spend the next couple of weeks in Azkaban until your fate is decided... I'm- I'm sorry" Harry managed, turning on his heal and leaving the room, ready to repeatedly smash his head against a brick wall.
Draco closed his eyes for a moment, allowing himself a single shaky breath before stepping into his partner's office, immediately feeling the smirk spreading across his mouth.
"Thank god, I thought you'd been Kingsley, I just finished the paperwork for the ripper case but he's been on my back for the last fortnight for it all. You okay?" Harry asked, rubbing his eyes and squinting at Draco as he sat down on the other side of the desk, flicking his legs up on the wood and ignoring the look of disapproving Harry shot him.
"So I'm pretty much ready to pull all my skin off to stop the itching of this fucking link Potter, can I just come out of the doghouse already? I swear I'm feeling better... well, as better as I can be since you fucking abandoned me-"
"I didn't abandon you, I called a break because we weren't-"
"Weren't working, I know Potter, but I'm going mad here man..." he said, head bowed suddenly. Harry frowned, a tiny smile playing at his lips as he observed Draco struggling to speak his mind.
"Well, we're officially clocked off for the summer holiday now; why don't we go for a walk over to Bickleigh Woods? Hermione has a cottage in Devon, we could stay there for a few days, get away from everything, yeah?" Harry said.
God, things were just so difficult and there was still a lot they had to talk through, but Draco was right, they were going mad staying away from each other like that and he needed to feel him properly again, let him in again. It was just too much to deprive himself of it any longer.
For a second, it looked like Draco was going to protest for an unknown reason before he smiled in a tired way, nodding once and standing up, holding out a hand for him to pull him out of his chair.
"We're good, right?" Draco asked, angst still clear in the tense muscles of his forehead. Harry took one more long, deep breath in and nodded, rolling his eyes and threading his arms around his neck.
"Yes, idiot. Now c'mon, I've been locked in this office all day, I want to see daylight, I'm starting to go the same colour as you" Harry teased, moving forward a little more and pressing his lips to Draco's. Wow, he had really, really missed this. More than he had even thought; and before he could stop himself, he'd enveloped his boyfriend in a tight, desperate hug, trying to get closer, unable to have any true distance from them any more.
"Woah, calm down, we're only going for a walk in the woods" Draco chuckled, voice muffled a little against Harry's shoulder. He had missed this the most, the kind of hugs that were so comfortable, so fitting, so close and warm and tight that it felt as though he was getting some sort of release of tension, like he'd smoked a couple of cigarettes or had a few small glasses of whiskey, the type of hugs only Draco could give him. It sounded really cheesy, but it was true.
"Mira, stoppit, Daddy doesn't want to have to put you on the naughty step again" Harry said in a warning voice as he sighed, picking snow from his daughter's hair as she frowned at him.
"But Daddy, snow angels are funny" she squeaked, a bug grin forming on her lips. Harry knew he was hopeless to resist, and she knew it very well too.
"You bring it on yourself. She's a kid, of course she's going to try making snow angels, I did it when I was younger too!" Alya tutted, letting her older brother wrap his arms around her from behind.
"She's right Dad, she was a bugger to keep from making snow angels, she turned out okay" Corvus smiled, leaning his chin on Alya's shoulder, and raising an eyebrow at Harry's returned look of contempt.
"Okay? I get an owl from Minerva every bloody month telling me she's either been hexing a boner on the giant squid, or throwing dungbombs at Snape's portrait again" Draco remarked almost amused, walking from the house and trudging through the snow, lifting Mira high and spinning her in a small circle before hugging her close and playfully bopping her tiny rosy nose.
"You can bloody talk, I hear the stories about when you two where at Hogwarts you know? You were hardly little angels yourselves" Alya grinned, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning back into her brother's body.
Seventeen years had passed and a lot had changed for Harry and Draco. Three children had altered their lives drastically. They'd had to adopt of course, as they hadn't been able to stop bickering over who's sperm they were using for a surrogacy and they had wanted to make somewhat of a difference to the life of someone. When they had first met Corvus, he'd been insolent, malnourished, cocky and violent; it had been a challenge, Hermione had warned them completely against it, claiming forming a family where all three parties were sufferers of severe PTSD would be incredibly stupid, but they had proved her wrong. Corvus had been nine when they had found him, and in no way emotionally prepared for the endevours of Hogwarts or any real life in general, so they had spent a good two years trying to deal with slamming doors loud music and angry outbursts from him. But they had managed it, helped him, saved him even and now, at twenty four years old, he was a successful writer and specialised in the mental health department within the ministry, working with child psychology. He was tall, thin and outspoken with a passionate attitude and a weakness for comic books and Sherlock Holmes.
After Corvus, they'd said that they wouldn't adopt another child, but once Corvus had gone to Hogwarts, they hadn't been able to help themselves and with the new DNA science branch being opened by Hermione, had been able to put their seed together in the womb of their carrier Clara Thomas and ended up with Alya who was now halfway through her OWLs and was very much her father's daughter. She was cheeky, rebellious, and very, very clever. With Harry's emerald green eyes, brunette and Draco's pale skin and high cheekbones, she was beautiful and frequently sparred with Hermione in spite of having an underlying love for her Aunt.
They still had trouble with Alya, but as ever loved her as much as they loved Cor and continued to be proud of her, despite her love of defying rules and conventions. The girl was close to her aging Grandmother and Slytherin to the core.
And then, very recently in fact, they had decided to have Mira who was full of sunshine and giggles and learned faster than Hermione could ever have hoped. Every day the babbling three year old would wobble around on her chubby little legs spouting a new word or spell she had heard from simply sitting around and listening to people, watching them, becoming absorbed in everything going on around her.
This would be the first Christmas where all five of them had been at their home in Scotland as normally either Alya would be stuck at Hogwarts making up study time, or Cor would be in a foreign country dealing with another case study or report on some sort of disorder. It was nice really, to finally get them all together in one place with the snow and the fire and the newly refurbished cottage.
"Don't be mean father, I'm just doing what you never had the guts to" Alya teased, cocking her chin upwards in mock pride. Harry scoffed, glaring at Draco for being so aloof with the matter of their daughter's lack of respect for rules.
"Oh c'mon Potter, don't look at me like that, is there even a rule that exists that you haven't completely disregarded or pissed on?" Draco asked, shooting Alya a look of reaproach anyway and waving his wand at the front door of the house, gesturing for his family to follow him as he began along the path that led up to the small village they lived by to watch the fireworks being set off at midnight.
"It's Christmas, can we please not discuss Aly's rebellious tendencies just for one bloody minute please?" Cor sighed, throwing an arm around his sister's shoulders loosely and she nodded her agreement, threading her own around her brother's waist, linking her free one with Harry's.
"Sorry, you're right. So, Mira, you excited for Santa tonight?" Harry grinned at their daughter as he laced his fingers with Draco's free hand, smirking as Draco rolled his eyes but kept quiet nonetheless. Muggle things were still important to Harry, and although Draco enjoyed films and Lisa Jewell still, he wasn't a big fan of the traditions surrounding Christmas or the 'ridiculous belief in a myth of a man who was downright creepy', but allowed Harry to have his fun as usual, knowing how useless it was to argue with such stubbornness.
"Yayayayayay!" she nodded, clapping her hands together.
"How exciting" Draco drawled under his breath, earning himself a hard kick in the back of his leg from Cor.
"I'm your father, you can't kick me!" he pouted. Cor raised and eyebrow again and let out a small laugh, shaking his head.
"I can when you're bah hum bugging your way to Scroogeness" he retorted, letting his slightly tense and tired muscles relax more when Alya leaned her head against his shoulder and tightened her hold on Harry's arm. She didn't show it very much because she was quite stoic with her feelings and mostly communicated through physical gestures, but Alya really loved her family a lot, they were the most precious thing in the world to her even though they pretty much argued 70% of the time and had a lot of problems. They were a very complicated gene pool with individual issues and two father's whom were ex-enemies and had once hated the ground the other had walked on. It was basic knowledge that they would be dysfunctional, it was practically hereditary, but their journey was one of pain and love and fear and strength, and one she would look at with fond eyes forever.
She would honestly be forever grateful that Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter had fallen into the confusing and downright stupid trap of love so ridiculously all those years back. With centuries to make more silly mistakes as a group, as a family, as a complete unit; their link, their bond as a couple, magical or not, would carry them through everything that life threw at them and they'd attack it with the strength of the boy who lived, and the boy who made all the wrong decisions, but ended up right where he always needed to be.