Author's Notes: This is another Advent fic, requested by an anonymous commentator who asked for a sequel to The Conservation of Fame. Make sure you read that one first.
Quest for Peace
Draco drew his hand back as Harry opened his eyes. They appeared as a slit of dark green under his eyelids, fascinating to watch as Harry opened them widely, and then shut them again to yawn. He reached automatically for the robe that lay on the side of the bed, and then his glasses, examining Draco with a wrinkle to his brow.
"I want to know why you won't lift the spell."
Harry groaned and collapsed back against the pillow. "I already told you."
"I've been lying awake, and it's bothering me enough that I can't sleep," Draco said primly. That happened to be true. If it was also true that some of the artifacts he'd been experimenting on as an Unspeakable were keeping him awake, well, he couldn't talk about that to Harry anyway.
Harry put his hand over his eyes. "Can't we talk about this in the morning?"
"It might have stopped bothering me by then."
Draco sighed and lay back down beside Harry, stroking his arm and shoulder gently so he didn't fall asleep again. In truth, he sometimes relished being the only one in the wizarding world besides a few of Harry's friends who knew that Harry Potter and the Boy-Who-Lived were one and the same. To know that his memory alone was unaltered, that he knew the Boy-Who-Lived had green eyes and black hair and the lightning bolt scar that everyone chattered about, and also where he lived and what he was like in bed…
But other times he would stare at Harry, and a sourness would choke his throat. It wasn't right that Harry, who had saved the wizarding world so many times he was practically soaking in life-debts, didn't receive that credit. Draco knew he would have wanted it, if it was him.
"Harry," he whispered. "We haven't had a late-night conversation in a while, you know."
Harry groaned one more time, and rolled back over so that he could squint blearily at Draco, even though he still had his glasses on. "You aren't going to give up on this, are you?"
Harry nodded in resignation and sat up. "Then let's go to the kitchen and make some tea. Fuck if I'm going to discuss this in the same place I sleep.'
He stood up and tied the robe on rapidly enough that Draco was left blinking at his back as he strode into the kitchen. Is it really that bad, to give him nightmares? Draco wondered uneasily.
Then he remembered some of the details Harry had told him, and shivered.
But he wanted to know what was so bad that going alone and unrecognized by the masses was better than having people know he was the one who saved them.
Draco followed his lover.
"Did I tell you about the fan who wanted to cut out my eyes?"
Draco started and nearly dropped his teacup. Despite Harry's promise of talking, they'd sat without sound in the kitchen for ten minutes. Draco put the cup down before he could disgrace himself and said, "No."
"He wanted to use my eyes to adorn some picture of me he'd drawn. Or maybe a sculpture. It sounded like he didn't know what he was doing." Harry sighed, as though having an incompetent fan was worse than anything, and drained his cup. Only when he put it down did Draco see how badly his hand was shaking. "He said he was going to cut them out and stick them on his wall. Accidental magic got him past my wards. The first time the Aurors had ever seen that, they said. They were smirking when they said it."
Draco reached across the table to take his hand. "You told me the Ministry didn't take them seriously. Why not?"
Harry rolled his eyes. "Because I always lived. That was part of the problem. I was rarely even injured. That I could have been…well, I wasn't, was I? I'm the Boy-Who-Lived. They always seemed to think that I could pull off a miracle.
"And some of them had the idea that the public deserved to do anything they wanted to me, that that was the price of fame. If I didn't want to be famous, then why had I fought Voldemort in the first place?" Harry sneered, and picked up the cup and drained it fast enough that Draco heard his tongue lapping against the bottom. "Bloody fools," Harry added when he lowered the cup again.
"Was there no one in the Ministry who was sympathetic to you?" Draco tried to imagine his life under constant threat and no one taking it seriously, and shuddered. Of course, since he had become an Unspeakable, fewer people knew enough about his work to threaten him with it anyway.
"I think there were some." Harry shook his head. "But different Aurors kept getting assigned to my case, or Hit Wizards when the people who targeted me weren't using Dark magic. And they didn't really care. They made that clear. They were jealous of my fame, or the pull they assumed I had with women, or—who knows. They kept parroting that line about how the public had the right to see me."
"If you'd given more interviews, or done something else that would let people see you—"
"Not you, too." Harry paused on his way to get more tea, and glared at Draco.
Draco looked back. It made his hands shake with fury to think of being classed with those Aurors and Hit Wizards, as well as to think of what they'd done. "I only want to know what they thought you ought to do."
"It changed from week to week, attack to attack." Harry finished getting tea and came back, rolling his eyes. "Sometimes I should give interviews. Other times, date someone—as if that wouldn't have got more threats to both me and whoever I dated. But these people had the theory that it would make me 'more unattainable' and calm down the craziest ones, or something."
"What about bodyguards?"
Harry laughed harshly. "I tried that. A lot of the bodyguards were trained by Aurors, and they had the same attitude. Or they thought those people who rushed up to me in Diagon Alley shrieking and trying to touch my clothing and get my autograph by taking my hand off were just cute. And then, there was the bodyguard who tried to cut my throat."
Draco choked. "What?"
Harry nodded and wandered back to the table. "Her name was Eleanor Tyburn, she told me—and although I did check into all their backgrounds, I didn't find any reason to doubt her. It turned out she was related to the Yaxley family, and blamed me for destroying her chance at Death Eater glory. I let her get close enough that I almost died." He lifted his head and ran a finger along the line of his throat. There was a faint, fine scar there that Draco had never noticed. Draco could easily picture how much blood it would have drawn when the knife cut along Harry's throat.
Draco closed his eyes. "What about now?"
"What do you mean, what about now?"
"If you let me choose you some bodyguards—or if you stayed with me at all times—"
"We both know that's not possible," said Harry, and his voice was gentle. "And how could you be sure that you would find someone without even one desire in their body to get close to me? Even Unspeakables aren't that trustworthy."
Draco's eyes flared open. "What?"
Harry nodded. "I had a standing invitation to the Department of Mysteries. Your lot wanted to study me and figure out what effect being a living Horcrux had on a human. I finally went there, because I thought letting them study me for a while was worth it if they could come up with unbreakable wards. I promptly got told that I wasn't really human and that no one would notice if I disappeared for a while. I got strapped to a table and left in darkness, and then he came back and tried to cut my foot off."
"Like I knew his name."
"But—they would have cast him out of the Unspeakables for that. You could have found out at the trial."
Harry snorted. "I was told they were very sorry—after Ron and Hermione practically broke in to rescue me—and that he would be appropriately punished, but they couldn't let it come to a trial because that would violate the secrecy of the Unspeakables. I don't know who he was. I hope he was punished. I don't know for certain."
Draco stared at Harry helplessly. Yes, he'd heard the horrific stories Harry had told, but somehow he had thought the Department of Mysteries would be different. Held to a higher standard.
"I'm sorry," he finally whispered.
Harry shrugged and sat down to suck at his tea again. "I know. It means a lot to me, to know that." His words were casual, but the hand he reached across the table to hold onto Draco's wrist and squeeze it wasn't. "But you understand now why I don't want to drop the spell. I can't face that again. This time, I probably would die. I was lucky to escape it last time."
"I think you should have your choice of a life," Draco said. "You should be acknowledged and worshipped—"
"I don't want to be." Harry pulled his hand back sharply. "Half of what I did was to save my friends or someone else I knew, not the wizarding world. And the other half was because I had no choice. Voldemort wouldn't stop coming after me no matter what happened. I defeated him. Everyone else would have done the same in my place."
Draco got up and came around the table and kissed Harry before he could even think of the consequences. Even after months together, Harry seemed to have no idea how extraordinary he was, how wonderful Draco found him. Harry was intelligent and powerful and beautiful and determined enough to survive insane odds.
Draco wanted to show him off desperately. That was, he had to admit, at least part of the reason that he wanted Harry to drop the spell. Everyone else needed to see this amazing man and value him the way he should be valued and envy Draco for his ability to have him and keep him satisfied.
But against Harry's safety…
It had to be Harry's choice.
"Take me to bed?" Harry murmured to him.
Draco drew back and nodded, and then led the way, pulling Harry by both arms. Harry smiled and let him do it. He seemed to find Draco's actions amusing, as if he assumed they were all at the same level of melodrama that they would have had when Draco was a teenager.
Draco was going to show him the want that was clawing him apart inside.
And he did, for long enough that Harry was crying out breathlessly, no voice left, and pulling at his hair and arms and mouth long before Draco was ready to stop.
Draco had licked so many inches of Harry's skin that he'd had to cast Saliva Spells on his tongue to keep it moist. He'd nipped, softly, at the soft skin along Harry's ribs and inner thighs where he loved to have Draco's teeth, and there were no variations of moans Harry could make that Draco hadn't yet heard. He reached out and smoothed a slow hand down Harry's breastbone now, and Harry snatched at him, catching a few fingers for a second before Draco slid out of reach.
"You want me?" Draco whispered.
That last word was practically in Parseltongue. Grinning, Draco stood. He'd prepared himself and Harry almost ten minutes ago, and Harry had nearly thrown himself off the bed trying to impale himself on Draco's cock.
Just to be contrary, and because he wanted this, at least, even if Harry would have trouble saying he did right now, Draco slid slowly into his partner. He was opening his mouth to explain how much better this would be when Harry abruptly twisted and threw Draco onto the bed with a move he had probably learned in the war.
There was a sharp motion of Harry's hips, and then Draco was flat on his back and Harry was riding him, able to control the depth and the speed of his own penetration. Draco felt as though someone had reached straight into his chest and made his heart stop beating under the pressure of their hand.
He tried valiantly to keep his eyes open, but he didn't have much choice, and from the vicious smile on Harry's face, he knew that.
Draco succumbed. He let Harry do whatever he wanted, at least in part because there was so much pleasure in it. He was the one gasping without a voice now, and then the one who kept reaching up for a grip and not finding it. Harry was bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, making Draco's vision blur and his chest ache.
"You can't possibly keep that up forever," Draco muttered, and even if Harry didn't know what he'd said, Draco himself did, so that was what was important.
Harry grinned at him, splayed one hand in the middle of Draco's chest, and then began to bounce up and down faster and more strongly, with short little jabs of his hips.
It felt like fire turned to sunlight. Draco did touch Harry's hip once, and once his shoulder, as Harry bent low and kissed him between his nipples, but dear Merlin, he couldn't catch anything more than that.
Until Harry stiffened above him and shook and soaked him, anyway. Draco was still blinking in the aftermath of that when Harry squeezed him hard, all inner muscles and twisted grin, and Draco came, too.
The want seemed to pull him into a tremendous river that finally tossed him on shore a few eternities later. Draco groaned and rolled over to the side, vaguely pleased that Harry had given in to limpness, too, and now snuggled beside him, dazed and compliant.
Draco gently brushed the hair from Harry's eyes and watched him half-sleep. Harry stirred now and then, and his eyes never closed all the way, but he didn't speak and he didn't open them, either.
This. This is what I want to protect. This is what he would never be relaxed enough to do if the spell was removed. At least right now.
Draco kissed his forehead, where the faded lightning scar rested, and drew Harry closer to him yet. For the sake of protecting Harry, he could give up the Boy-Who-Lived.