Under the Influence

Summary: Harry is out of sorts, and it provides an opportunity Draco didn't even know he needed. HPDM, Post War/'Eighth' Year.

Author: I do not own Harry Potter, or any of the characters therein.

Chapter Thirteen – Control

Harry ran into a wall, snarled, and stumbled headlong into another wall.

Draco Draco Draco – he couldn't let him get hurt; Harry couldn't let anyone he loved get hurt, not any more...

Draco's eyes clouded as he scratched frantically at the table behind him with his stubby nails. Whispering in his head – Nott's voice permeating his mind, sliding in and out of his ears as he bucked and swore and spat at him, and Draco fought desperately to retain control.

Well, wasn't turnabout fucking fair play.

Harry jerked about like a bird that had just found its wings, flitting to and fro, jerking to hasty stops and making last minute dangerous turns as he repeatedly bruised himself on Hogwart's unforgiving stone walls. He didn't know how he managed it, but he ran into Hermione – a stroke of luck that probably saved his life, as she grabbed his arm moments before he over-balanced and flew down a flight of steep stone stairs.

'Harry, what - ?'

'Nott – 'Mione, fuck he's got Draco let go let go -'

He wrenched free and slid away like he was flying, leaving her open mouthed.

Draco was pretty certain there was nothing more stomach turning than an Nott's laughter in his head, and he'd hugged the Dark Lord.

Nott shifted around him – the image of Nott swam in his eyes, in his mind. Draco saw the glint of that knife, heard it click to the table behind him, felt Nott's voice run through his ear...

The voice was distorted, echoing and rippling at him through watery depths, easing in between his thoughts, eating at his control. Commands that jerked his limbs and made his eyes water, and his head screamed in pain with the fight. Nott moved backwards and forwards in front of him, and his ebony wand kept disappearing and reappearing in Draco's line of sight. His head was completely overloaded with information, too much input, for a brief second, like his skull was bursting at the seams. His will fought with an unfamiliar pressure – an angry, dirty, unpleasant presence, and then Draco's head rang clear, blank, for a moment – everything greyed out. The pleasant, bleak silence rang out for a few moments, until Draco forgot who he was, or what he was doing. Then the pressure began again, and he desperately tried to remember how to fight it.

He was nearly there, they were just next to the Charms rooms, he just needed to not fall over like a twat again and he'd be there and he'd find them and he would KILL Nott...

Just kill him, Draco, Nott's mind purred into his, hearing it both with his ears and his thoughts, rumbling over his frantic panting and echoing through the room. Draco jerked and threw himself about, tried to knock Nott over, turn the wand away, rip apart the presence in his mind – he could do it if he just -

Killed Harry.

Yes. He just needed to kill Harry Potter.

Harry crawled up the last few steps, staggered along the main landing and barely noticed the windows shattering, and the ringing, pealing sound of the shards meeting the floor.

He'd found the corridor. He could feel Nott's protection charms, humming across the frame of one door, right at the end. The sparks of energy rang through to the magic that buzzed at the tips of his fingers. The feeling stung him behind the eyes, and his chest felt tight, like his lungs were full to bursting and he was under too much pressure. His mind flamed and sang.

He reached out a hand, and the wood of the frame splintered.

Ron ran bodily into his girlfriend before he realised she was there.

'Er – hi – Harry...'

'He just flew past,' she bit her lip, still thrown. 'What -?'

'He thinks Nott has Malfoy. He'd been charmed again, with the drunk thing - '

'Oh, no,' Hermione moaned, and grabbed his arm. 'We should -'

'Yeah,' Ron agreed, and they ran.

'It'll be easy,' Nott was purring, and Draco was nodding, dazed, relaxing as his wrists were partially unbound, absently noting that they stung less now, when the door gave an almighty cracking sound.

They both jumped, and stared at it for a moment, watching the thick wood groan and separate, spitting out spikes of wood, an ancient coat of paint clouding out in flakes and fluttering like snow to the cold floor.

Nott jerked, and immediately aimed his wand at Draco's temple. 'I suppose that'll be your boyfriend now,' he hissed, irritated. 'She didn't do a good job. Oh well. Showtime.'

Draco frowned. Something was nagging at him, something burning from the very back of his mind, like an itch. He swung his head from side to side, scrunching up his eyes, even though his hands seemed to claw and strain against him, wanting to reach out and grab – something, he didn't know what – and the itch burned harsher when he resisted. He ignored it. It didn't matter. He had his orders.

Harry sneered at the door. Nott might not be very good at breaking charms, but he cast them strong enough. He stood a moment, feeling the blood race through his body, crackling, burning magic pulsing up and down his limbs with his heartbeat, biting at his fingers and toes and trying to escape. It surged up through his heart, excited and frustrated, and sang out through his mind.

Harry heaved in a deep breath. He braced his heels against the stone, set his hands to the aging door, and threw his magic at it, purging out the force in his body, pushing it forward like it was dangerous; like he was hurling fire with his bare hands.

He smirked when the oak panel divided cleanly in two.

The sound of the door rendering itself in half sang out through the room, and Nott flinched hugely, scraping himself back behind Draco for protection. He gritted his teeth, and pressed his wand tip with more force into Draco's forehead. 'Don't know how to knock, Potter?'

Draco tilted his head, confused, until he saw Harry's face through the lightning bolt shaped crack in the wood. The look of intense anger, laced through with worry, caused the itchiness of his mind to flare – it built up like a wave, to right behind his eyelids – before receding to nothing. It was him - kill Potter. He had to kill Potter.

Harry growled, then threw his weight into the wood, once then twice, until it buckled and separated, throwing him into the room. He caught himself on the shattered door frame, and gave Nott a glare that could kill.

'Let. Him. Go.'

He moved unsteadily to grab Draco – who was giving him a distant, concussed look – and halted when Nott's wand arced to point at him, with a little flourish added for effect. Nott bore a slimy, grotesque smirk, gazing out at him from behind Draco's prone form.

'If I must. Perhaps I should level the field, first.'

The wand jerked, and Harry's own clattered to the floor beyond him, quickly summoned into Nott's palm before even Harry's seeker reflexes could reach it. 'I'll be off, then,' he smiled, giving one last flick towards Draco, who changed slowly in posture and began to rub his wrists in relief. 'Do enjoy.'

Harry began to move towards Draco, one arm outstretched and one against the wall to support his wobbly stance, when the warning jerk was repeated. Harry hissed. 'What do you mean, you'll be off?'

'No point in using a scapegoat if I'm here for the crime,' Nott drawled, grinning now, sauntering towards the door as if Harry was less of a threat than a stray pet. Harry glared, confused, moving across to block the way.

'You're not going anywhere,' he bit, though the room still spun and he wasn't sure on his feet. He felt magic build in his blood again, tingling its way up and down his arms, crackling in his ears. 'Don't fucking move.'

'What are you going to do, Potter,' Nott laughed, leering down his nose, 'without a wand?'

Harry looked at that face, then at Draco's; Draco's face, bleeding and red and purple, and his eyes milky and unfocused, and Nott had done all that.

Harry reached out a hand. Nott laughed, forcing a low snigger, chuckling until it choked in his throat; and then he flew, sailing back thirty feet across the room, colliding with an ugly noise with the wall, slumping to the floor.

'He's on this floor,' Ron's voice was urgent. 'He's in the same room as them.'

'Let's hope he doesn't do anything stupid.'

Harry felt the blood rush through his head, and he stumbled, landing hard on his knees, panting. He retched a few times, and then his head suddenly cleared, like all the fuzziness had been wiped away.

He felt a cold hand on his shoulder, and looked at it – it was cracked along the knuckles, bloody; and underneath a familiar pale, imperial skin that could only belong to one person.

He caught Draco's gaze, standing over him, and nearly retched again. Draco's face had been sliced across, a freely bleeding line cut into flesh across one sharp cheek and sloping up over the bridge of his nose. At some point he'd rubbed at it, and the blood had smeared across his jaw as well as dripped copiously on his white shirt.

'Are you okay?' They asked in unison, and Draco smiled derisively, but Harry looked terrified, stumbling up to stand and grasp the other boy by the jaw.

'What did he do?'

'Same old,' Draco drawled, wincing as Harry dabbed at the wound with a sleeve. Harry made a face and gave up, summoning his wand effortlessly from Nott's unconscious body and casting a healing charm.

'I – fuck, this is my fault.'

'I rather believe he deserves credit,' Draco sighed, jerking a thumb over his shoulder.

'But – I should have got him chucked out, I -', Harry rubbed at his eyes, smudging Draco's blood across his forehead. Something silver caught his eye. 'Is that the knife?'

Draco didn't look. That knife – Nott had been very specific about his instruction regarding that knife, and Harry, and what Draco should do with it. That didn't matter now; he could forget it. Draco retrieved his own wand and cast a body bind at Nott for good measure. 'Probably.'

Harry stared at it, and paced. 'Did he -?'

There was a muted shuffling, and they both froze.

'Harry?' Hermione and Ron peered sheepishly through the shattered doorway. 'Um, you alright, mate?'

Draco raised an eyebrow – you apparently had to get saviours as a set – and Harry pulled an unreadable face. 'Yeah, um. Could you maybe, um, help?'

Hermione was immediately by his side, wand diligently in hand. 'What do you need?'

'I think Draco needs to go to the Infirmary, and I – well, I guess I need to tell McGonagall I nearly killed Nott,' Harry gestured at the slumped form with a sheepish look. 'Could you stay here and watch him?'

Both of the new arrivals nodded, and Draco absently considered how routine this situation was to them. Probably very.

'Okay, um, thanks,' Harry said, and Draco was being pulled gently out through the ruined door.

Harry tried to ease soundlessly into the Infirmary, grasping his cloak tightly around his shoulders.

Nott was gone. The headmistress worked fast – Nott had been arrested within ten minutes of Harry dropping a protesting Draco off with Pomfrey and going to report his encounter to her. Ten minutes and they'd both watched a belligerent, swearing student pulled away through a flare of floo powder by a pair of huge, no nonsense Aurors, Ron and Hermione watching on awkwardly and McGonagall's face heavy.

Harry knew how she felt. If he hadn't seen those memories of Riddle – the idea that another student could be so ruthless was almost beyond him. He wished it wasn't 'almost'.

Draco was lying on a bed closest to the grand, open windows of the Infirmary, that faced out onto the rolling hills and distant structure of the Quidditch pitch that occupied the west of the school grounds. The gentle moonlight illuminated the unmoving sheets of the only bed in use.

Harry shuffled closer, keeping an open ear out for an angry Pomfrey. His attempts at quiet mustn't have been quiet enough, or else Draco hadn't been sleeping, because as he approached a sharp shoulder turned over in the bedclothes and a sharp, aristocratic face was lit by the moon.

'Hullo,' Harry whispered, drawing back the cloak and slumping gently down in an awaiting chair.

Draco made a face at him, and the faint red line that remained of the cut on his cheek moved with the gesture. Harry surveyed the potion bottles still in place on the bedside table, and frowned in recognition. The cut certainly wasn't the worst injury by far – Harry had taken the same potions for broken ribs and serious bleeding after more vicious Quidditch matches. Draco saw the frown, and smiled. 'I'm fine.'

Harry frowned even harder. 'You weren't.'

Draco flapped a hand under the sheet. 'Is he gone?'

'Yeah. We – erm, we have to testify at his trial, though.'

'Luckily, I'm aware of how that works,' Draco drawled, but quietly, and slumped onto his back, staring up at the high ceiling. 'What fun.'

'Draco -'

'It wasn't your fault, Potty.'

Harry pouted at the nickname, but shuffled closer. 'If I had -'

'If you'd what, followed me around all day? How exceptionally annoying that would be,' Draco smirked, reaching out to touch his hand and soften the blow of the insult. 'I chose not to turn him in. I paid for the mistake.'

Harry agreed it was a mistake, but wisely didn't say anything. 'I'm glad you're okay,' he mumbled.

'I wasn't worried about you for one moment,' Draco told the ceiling. 'That poor door.'

Harry shrugged. 'It was in the way, so it got what it deserved.' Draco smiled again, and turned his chin to consider him.

'I'm cold.' He whined, and Harry laughed. 'Make yourself useful.'

Harry dutifully toed off his shoes and slid onto the bed. They lay quietly for a while, Draco patiently accepting being drawn in under Harry's chin, resting his forehead against a collarbone and soothed by a thumb drawing rhythmically across his unwounded cheek. Soon Harry's breathing softened, and Draco felt his muscles slowly relax into sleep. He tilted his head up and backwards, considering the other boy's face.

That knife. So long as he didn't ask about that knife, and why Nott had untied him, they'd be fine. Draco – he just didn't want to think about it.

He didn't want to have to explain to Harry that he'd felt the overwhelming urge to grab that knife, and plunge it into his chest, and to wet his fingers on his thick blood, as it flowed and flowed from him, and kiss his eyelids closed, watching the life drain away.

Some things were better left alone.

And I still have some plot to get out there! Sorry for the long wait, and I really want to thank all of you who have put up with my random updates and kept reading. I try to make it worth it :)

Please review, and thanks for reading x