Title: This Is a Test
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Ron/Hermione (passing references to Harry/Ginny and Draco/Pansy past relationships)
Betas: IgnobleBard (above and beyond the usual); Britpicking by Spiced Wine (any lapses would be my own).
Summary: This is an Eighth Year at Hogwarts story in which Harry and Draco are a couple of months into a relationship which began during the summer immediately following the defeat of Voldemort. In the absence of old friends and enemies, and during the first flush of a new relationship, everything has gone swimmingly until they found themselves back at Hogwarts for an extra post-war year. Draco can be anxious and prattish, while Harry finds it hard to give up saving the world. It might involve stupidly creative use of a time-turner on Harry’s part that could threaten to overturn recent history and put even the defeat of Voldemort in jeopardy (well, that last part’s perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but sounds like a good hook!).
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Epilogue compliant? No.
Word Count: 8,800 approximately
Author's Notes: Responding to a request for Drama, Slice of Life, Relationship centric, Dark(ish) Harry, Possessive Draco, Toppy Harry, Jealous Harry, Pansy as Draco's BFF, Snarky Draco. [I hit some of those I hope and, although I may have missed others, my desire was to produce a story that someone who asked for those things could enjoy.]
So much about Hogwarts looked the same. But, of course, nothing would ever be the same. Largely, everything had changed for the better. Accretions of centuries of conservatism had been shed along with the threat of destruction. In good ways and bad, their entire world had changed forever. Harry wasn’t sure where all of this left him, but found himself to be cautiously hopeful. And then, of course, there was Draco.
The surviving parents of their classmates with the aid of other school alumni had worked hard to restore Hogwarts. Their need to see it functioning again seemed to be based partly on their view of the school as the haven of security it had represented to them in the days of their own youth. Obviously, even in their childhoods, it had never really been such an idyllic island floating free of all the cares of the Wizarding world, and much less so for Harry’s age group. He suspected wishful thinking and sentimentality altered memories for his parents’ generation. For his own part and that of those closest to him, innocence lost could never be restored. But at least they had a future.
Sometimes Harry looked forward with hopefulness to the extra year. Hitting the books, attending classes, organizing the occasional impromptu Quidditch match sounded amazingly self-indulgent and relaxing. Most of the time, he did not begrudge himself the opportunity to unwind. The summer had been a surprise to him. Falling in love had served as a palliative for a multitude of his stress-related problems. Yet, he did not kid himself for a minute that he was good. There were times in the middle of the night when he would wake up in a cold sweat, wondering what he was thinking and second-guessing every decision he had ever made. It helped if Draco sensed him stirring and pulled him into his arms. ‘Shh, shh,’ Draco would say. ‘I’ve got you now.’
When they arrived at Hogwarts, nearly a full day earlier than the rest of the student body, they found that all of the returning eighth-years had been separated into a suite of double rooms, assigned by sex, not separated by Houses, with their own common room.
He looked around their new common room and noticed that the students had settled into informal clusters composed of their previous Housemates. But, already, interjections or questions broke across the House divisions. The Ravenclaws had claimed a large library table, almost in the dead center of the room, and were comparing textbooks and class schedules. Harry felt like he ought to see Luna at that table, looking up to offer him a dreamy smile. He always forgot that she was a year behind them.
He noticed that the Hufflepuffs, who had gathered along the window seat or sat in chairs facing it, seemed quiet that afternoon. They were also the farthest removed physically from the other three House groups, talking and laughing softly among themselves, seeming to ignore the rest of the room. That made perfect sense. Hufflepuffs abhorred conflict. And the tension in the room crackled and sputtered like an electrical short about to burst into flame.
The returning Gryffindors lounged on one large overstuffed sofa to the left of the massive fireplace and on the carpet in front of it, while the smaller group of Slytherins occupied another sofa directly across from them. Draco had taken the large wing chair in a neutral position between the two groupings. Harry noted that while Draco had distanced himself from both his old House and the Gryffindors, he had assumed a defensive position, with his arms crossed in front of his chest. He sat slightly closer to the Gryffindors. Even more interesting to Harry was the fact that the Gryffindors and Slytherins, whether for some as yet indiscernible reason or physical proximity alone, more often than the others interacted across House lines.
Hermione had lowered her open book onto her lap while trying to explain to Nott the Muggle name she had given to their condition of psychological fragility in light of the trauma they all had experienced during the war. Nott had made the mistake of showing curiosity—in this case an eyebrow raised in her direction at her use of the acronym PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder was the Muggle name for their condition, she claimed.
She concluded her remarks by announcing to the motley crew comprised of Gryffindors and Slytherins, “At least we all have one thing in common. Each of us has some measure of understanding of the kinds of trauma the others have suffered.”
Even Longbottom shook his head and rolled his eyes at her fantasy picture of spontaneous peace and understanding between the historic rivals. Pansy had nodded in vigorous agreement with Hermione. One could observe that she struggled to be conciliatory these days. Easy enough to detect if one knew to look beneath her threadbare cloak of spoiled disdain. Nott issued a truncated derisive snort at Hermione. The Slytherins really needed to learn some new social skills, and quickly, if they were to prosper in the post-war world.
Draco, the most relaxed among them, snorted tea out his nose, laughing and choking. Without thinking, Harry jumped up and pounded him on the back. He decided to ignore that his action outed them to dullest bulb in the common room with greater certainty than if he had grabbed Draco and snogged him senseless.
“Are you trying to kill me, Granger?” Draco asked in his most languid drawl. “Even you have to admit that was funny. You never disappoint. Ah, join hands little children. Peace and forgiveness and all that rubbish.”
“Fine. Have it your way. You always do,” Hermione said, snapping her book shut in irritation.
Zabini reached across the divide of space and patted her hand. “Hey, don’t mind him. We’re all glad to be here.”
His smile might have only barely missed being a smirk, Harry thought. But from what he had learned witnessing him with Draco a few times throughout the summer, Blaise did have a good heart.
That had been a shocking revelation—that Slytherins had hearts, in some cases big ones. Nott, for example, was a fraud as a villain, truly quite a decent fellow. He had been kinder to Draco and willing to drop the pureblood traitor garbage more quickly than even Pansy and Blaise, who had known Draco longer and loved him more.
Harry learned a great deal being with Draco, first and foremost, the relative uselessness of generalizing House-related characteristics and assigning them to individuals. There was more form than substance to those divisions, which to a remarkable degree amounted to questions of style of functioning.
Nott got up and slid between Draco’s chair and the Gryffindor sofa. He reached down and touched the book resting in Hermione’s lap.
“May I?” he asked, not waiting for an answer before snatching it from under her hand. “Ah, what have we here? Poets of the Great War. Well, well, well. I should never underestimate you, Granger. Reading about cannon fodder and all that. How the youth of the world fight and die for the politics of old men. Sounds familiar, no? What are you looking at, Weasley? The study of Muggles is not limited to how to toast bread in a machine, or who invented the radio, or first used a microchip. I do know something about Muggle wars.” He settled himself on the arm of the sofa, infringing upon Hermione’s space. Hard to think she should mind all that much. Nott was easy on the eyes and, Harry had noticed to his chagrin, smelled very nice.
“The Magical world was less sexist, to use another of Granger’s words,” Nott continued in a professorial tone that rivaled that of Hermione herself. He ought to have been a Ravenclaw. “Heroes of the female persuasion appeared on the side of the white and the light, like our dear Professor McGonagall, Weasley’s mum, or Draco’s deceased cousin the Auror.” He dipped his head in a nod of respect. “She is certainly worthy of our honor, the werewolf’s wife, I mean. I’ve forgotten her name.
“We even have had the occasional horribly deranged woman on the Dark Lord’s camp, like Draco’s charming aunt. Members of the Black family came down on all sides, and even in the middle, like Draco and his mother. But if we are going to live together with you, with a minimum of tolerance, you all should know that Draco wasn’t the only one who has had a rotten home life.”
Ron managed to unclench his fists and exhale with an annoyed huff. “Let me see if I understand. You say that you and Malfoy should not be tarred with the same brush as your fathers. And, according to you, tinkering with broken electrical machinery is my idea of understanding Muggle society. Insightful, Nott. I’m fascinated.”
“Spending the summer with Granger has done wonders for the Weasel’s vocabulary,” Nott responded.
“Drop it, Theo,” Pansy said. “Can’t you see that Weasley’s moved--touched, turned bloody sentimental--since getting to know Draco better and perfectly willing to extend an olive branch to you. Anyway, there is no getting around it. We need one another.” She turned to Ron, crossing her legs, allowing her skirt to ride up, revealing a fair bit of skin. “Do you smoke, Weasley? I’m dying for a fag. I’d stick my head out the window. I can pay you for it .”
Harry stifled a laugh. He could not get the picture out of his head of Ron driving the magically altered Ford Anglia, debonairly lighting a cigarette for the seductive Slytherin.
Ron answered in a perfectly civil voice. “I’ve never smoked. Hermione would have my head for it. But Harry and Draco sometimes do. Ask them.”
Draco patted his pockets, locating a pack of cigarettes, extracting one and extending it to Pansy, without taking his eyes off Nott.
“I suppose you need a light also.” he grumbled. Without waiting for an answer, he flicked open his lighter and lit her cigarette. “He didn’t accuse you of anything, Theo. Have you been drinking?” Draco‘s cheeks had turned a lovely pink, probably at the realization that he had come very close to defending Ron. “We all know how well read the Weasel is. Next thing you know he’ll be quoting Shakespeare to us. I can hear it now. ‘This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle . . .’ etc., etc., etc., culminating in a speech about how Muggle Britain and Wizarding Britain are not opposed, barely stopping short of advocating the repeal of the International Statute of Secrecy. Hey, Granger, want to hear that entire Shakespeare passage? I know it.”
“Ah,” said Hermione, applauding with slow deliberate hand claps, before snatching the volume of poetry back from Nott. “Malfoy and Nott have both been reading over the summer. One can always count on the Slytherin princes to know which way the wind is blowing.”
“Shakespeare was a wizard, you know,” said Pansy, from her precarious perch in the window frame behind the Hufflepuffs, pausing to take a long draw on her cigarette, exhale, and flick her ashes out of the window.
Hermione perked up and said, in a tone of rapt earnestness, “Some argue that a wizard named Magnus Snipe of Snitterfield in Warwickshire wrote the plays and someone else wrote the sonnets.”
Draco chuckled while quickly swallowing his tea, not wanting to risk losing another mouthful through his nose.
“No, sorry to disillusion you, ladies,” he said. “Wrong on both counts. Those are debunked myths. It’s hard for many wizards to admit that Shakespeare was but an exceptionally bright Muggle. My father always stumbled over that concept. He loved Shakespeare. But exceptional Muggles, do exist, you know.” He nodded at Hermione in a gesture of acknowledgement, which forced an involuntary grin out of her. Things had improved greatly between the two of them. Harry had hopes for them at times.
“It says so in A Bard for the Ages, written by Casper Mendax,” Hermione insisted. “About Snipe of Snitterfield, I mean.”
Draco let his mouth drop open in a melodramatic expression of shock. “I can see why Weasley loves you. You’re a laugh a minute,” said Draco. “Trust me. I’ll straighten you out. We have a pile of books at the Manor on the subject. Like I said, my father did not give up his illusions lightly, but my mother convinced him. One of her ancestors invented the Magnus Snipe tale out of whole cloth. Stick by me, Granger. I like you. I will guide you through the minefields of shoddy Wizarding scholarship.”
Harry laughed. Hermione turned to him. “You shut up. You know nothing about Shakespeare.”
Meeting Draco’s eyes and smiling, Harry proclaimed: “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse?”
“Clever Potter. Our hero,” Draco said. “Another Gryffindor who is brighter than his reputation. Cast your preconceived notions aside, comrades. It’s brave new world.” Draco looked around at the listening lions and snakes, smirking in satisfaction that he had captured his audience. Harry remembered that look so well, watching Draco for years charming and entertaining the Slytherins in the great hall, infuriating in his self-assurance.
Warmed by his reception, Draco continued. “Now, Richard III, the much maligned, was a great Wizard. Muggle-born as well! The poor sod hadn’t a chance. Now, there is a subject for research more worthy of your wit, Granger.”
Hermione laughed, as a bright explosion of sunshine broke through the heavy cloud cover, filling the common room with golden afternoon light. It had felt more like the beginning of winter than early autumn when they had arrived in Scotland in the morning.
Parkinson blew a large smoke ring and failed miserably to force a smaller one to float through it. “Draco doesn’t know nearly as much as he pretends. But he can be amusing and he knew enough to pull me through my OWLs with points to spare.”
“Parkinson, do you really believe you can smoke in here?” Dean Thomas asked, hopeful.
“Until I get caught.” She winked at him. “If and when that happens, I will apologize nicely and say I thought it was permitted for our special little group.”
“There has to be a spell to banish the smoke and the odor,” someone from the Ravenclaw table interjected.
“You’re quiet today, Harry,” Hermione said, narrowing her eyes. “Are you all right?”
“I’m great. Watching the show. I think I might go upstairs and wash up, maybe take a nap before dinner,” he answered.
“Don’t rush off. We’ve plenty of time,” Draco said, waggling his eyebrows at Harry. It should have been silly or annoying, but at that moment it seemed hot to Harry. ‘I have it so bad for him. This had better work,’ he thought.
“Enough, you two,” Pansy said, flipping her cigarette out the window and marching over toward the fireplace. “Quit dancing around and say it.”
Harry looked at Draco and asked, “Do you mind if I tell?” Draco’s face turned soft and vulnerable as he bit his lower lip, giving Harry a barely discernible nod. Taking a deep breath, Harry looked around the room. Every eye had fixed upon them, even the Hufflepuffs. Pansy had gained everyone’s attention with her dramatics. He blurted out, “Malfoy and I are together. Have been most of the summer.”
Pansy looked pointedly at Ron and Hermione, needing to catch their reaction. “You knew. Both of you knew!” Wheeling upon Draco she shouted, “Potter told his partners in crime and you didn’t tell me?”
“You’ve seen us together a number of times over the past two months,” Draco complained. “They asked. You didn’t.” He pulled himself to his feet and took hold of Pansy’s upper arms. “Pans!” He said in a choking voice. “I was going to tell you today.”
She jerked around and snapped at Harry, “Hurt him, Potter, and I will have your bollocks for breakfast.”
“Thanks,” Harry said. “I promise that I’ll never intentionally hurt him.”
“Never intentionally. That is what scares me about you, Potter.” She sighed. “You’re a blundering idiot. Draco’s sensitive.” That got a widespread laugh.
“Relax,” Draco said. “I could do worse than a chivalrous Gryffindor. And he is rich and famous. I can work on his clothing and his manners.” He smiled sweetly at Harry, while holding Pansy tight against his chest. He stroked her back, dropping a light kiss on top of her shining raven hair. They made such pretty a couple. In a perfect fairy tale romance of the old Wizarding world, they should have been together, married, and lived out their lives, to the shrieks of albino peacocks, on that estate in Wiltshire, producing elegant purebred children.
Harry could not deny that he felt jubilant that Draco and Pansy would not achieve that ideal. Nor did he for a moment regret that his life would never fulfill the humbler version of that dream--the one of a cottage, with roses spilling over a garden fence, romping kids and a dog--that he had tried to force for Ginny and himself. He finally had Draco and would fight all of hell’s devils to keep him.
After Harry had given up at being easily able to draw Draco away from the freakish congregation in the common room, he climbed the stairs to take another look at their dorm.
The double rooms were smaller by magnitudes than the rooms in the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, but had the same low vaulted ceilings, dark woodwork and Victorian furnishings. In their room, there were two large beds with blue canopies and matching curtains. Draco’s elegant trunk of shiny black leather and gleaming brass fittings, lay open upon his bed, lined with neat rows of socks and underwear, no doubt packed by house elves. Draco had already hung his robes, trousers, and jackets in his wardrobe. Harry’s battered trunk stood upright at the end of his bed, untouched—after dinner would be soon enough, or maybe tomorrow.
He grabbed a towel and went to the showers, across the hall from their room. They were pristine and smelled clean and new, with nothing of the essence of Quidditch changing rooms. His shower was quick, but still he turned off the water three times listening for Draco. The prat! He really had thought he would follow him, sooner rather than later.
Back in the room, Harry felt much better, refreshed and less tense. Before he could start worrying or feeling sorry for himself again, Draco popped his head around the door.
He grinned like a kid looking at a surprise gift. “Oh, very nice. Clean and warm and wearing only a towel.”
“Hey,” Harry said, his voice rough with affection, although he was still in a bit of a snit at having waited. “I’m glad you’re here now. But I’m putting my clothes on. Getting dressed for dinner.” He dropped the towel with an air of challenge, snatching some underpants from Draco’s trunk and picking up his discarded jeans.
Draco smirked but otherwise did not respond to Harry’s half-hearted attempt at a pout. “You left too soon. Weasley is hilarious. I think he’s starting to grow on me. I liked that you told everyone about us. It made me happy. Am I sounding like a silly girl?”
Looking up from buckling his belt, “Come here,” Harry said, holding out his arms to him. Draco met him with a hug and a careless kiss.
“You know that this is a test, Harry. Right?” Draco looked at him through narrowed eyes. A bare twitch of a sardonic grin played about his mouth. “If we fail it, we are fucked, finished, done for, tossed into the rubbish bin of history like yesterday’s greasy, food-stained old Prophet.” Harry listened, watching mesmerized as Draco ended his monologue by licking his lower lip and sticking it out at Harry in an act of blatant seduction--kissable, bitable, fuckable. It had been much too long. Three days and eighteen hours since the last time they had shagged. Draco had gone to Wiltshire to meet with his mother and tie up loose ends at the Manor. Harry met Ron and Hermione at the Burrow, returning to school with them.
“Ha! Where did you ever come across a food-stained old copy of the Daily Prophet.”
“Duh! 12 Grimmauld Place. Where else?” He wrinkled up his nose at Harry, before he began again with that oh-so-aristocratic nonchalance of his. “If we fail at getting along, our time together this past summer will have turned out to have been nothing more than the tawdry fling everyone expected of me. Or experimentation on the part of their Boy Hero. But we both know that is not what you want.”
“Not enough for you either.” Harry laughed. “It’s going to be all right,” he said. “Trust me, Draco. I’ll make it so.” Stubborn and a little annoyed, he scowled at Draco. “If anyone so much as looks at you wrong . . . ”
“Oooh. Big tough Harry. I love it when you do that.” Draco moved against his body, grinding his hips into Harry’s with the expected result. Half a head taller than Harry but slighter of build, he felt wonderful in his arms. The heat radiating off his body aroused Harry in a way that no one else had ever been able to do.
“Get on the bed. I want you,” Harry demanded. “Before someone tries to find us and . . . ”
“Do you want to make love to me, Harry. Or do you want to fuck me hard and fast until I beg you to . . . ”
“Shut up, shut up, shut up.” Harry growled, gripping Draco by the shoulders and pushing him against the heavy post at the foot of the bed.
Draco did shut up, looking up at him with those light clear grey eyes, once fathomless before Harry’s gaze, and now as transparent as window glass, revealing every flicker of thought and emotion. It was like looking into the Mirror of Erised through Draco’s eyes. He could read everything that Draco wanted and needed.
Draco released a long breathy sigh, allowing his lips to form a relaxed, open-mouth smile, soft, surprised, and adoring. Yes. Harry could read at last what Draco really required, unclouded by the snarky comments, the reflexive sneers leftover from the days when they really did hate one another; or when loving one another so hard, without admitting it to themselves or one another, forced the compulsion to spill out as hatred. They both finally understood that Harry was crazy for Draco and Draco loved him and wanted him to a degree bordering on the obsessive. It made Harry want to shout it from the battlements in triumph. Lacking the opportunity to do that, he laughed.
“I love you so much, baby!” Harry said. “Even when you are a complete and total arse.”
Draco smiled beatifically and Harry was utterly lost all over again; every time they made love it turned into the first time. He never would have expected, even three months ago, that Draco Malfoy could love him. He had only ever been able to fantasize at best a spectacular one-off, up-against-a-wall type situation. Never this. Never words of love and promises of fidelity and an actual, not entirely unsuccessful, experiment at living together.
“What time do we eat? Don’t want to be late, you know. Bad example to the little ones,” Draco taunted.
“Same time as always, Malfoy. Drop the trousers.” Not to be distracted while Draco plotted how to gain the upper hand, Harry lunged, knocking Draco onto the adjacent bed. Draco screamed, a lot like a girl, squirming under Harry’s weight, rock hard already. Harry thought, ‘Girly squeak, big cock.’ So hilarious. As desperate as Harry was for him, he could not stop laughing. There had to be something right about a relationship that made him laugh so much.
“What’s so funny, git?”
“You are such a girl, Malfoy. A pretty, pretty girl. But still a girl.”
“You’re demented, Potter. Really sick.” Draco laughed, rubbing that gorgeous, long prick against Harry stomach. Showing off. He knew Harry could feel how large and hard it was, even covered by pants and trousers.
Wrestling Draco onto his back Harry almost choked him yanking his tie off before he finally located Draco’s wand, the Hawthorne wand, so familiar and comfortable against his palm, and decided to spell him stark naked.
Draco groaned, his eyes falling shut.
“God, I love you,” Harry said, kissing him hard and sloppy wet, the way that Draco liked best, and loved to complain about.
Pulling away to nuzzle Harry’s neck, Draco sighed dreamily. “Did you lock the door?”
Harry felt a hand fumbling with his belt buckle. Draco enjoyed undressing him. He liked to draw out the anticipation, he always said. Harry was exactly the opposite. He liked to vanish Draco’s clothing with a wandless Evanesco, wanting to immediately touch skin everywhere--that marvelous Malfoy skin, pale as moonlight and soft as a baby’s behind.
“Go ahead,” Draco whispered. “I know you want to and it’s actually very sexy.”
If Draco found wandless magic sexy, how would he like it without words? Harry tried and it worked.
“Merlin! You are so incredibly, smoking hot! Greatest wizard of an age. So much fucking power that you sizzle with it.” Draco said rutting against him naked and panting.
“You mean ‘Harry,’ not ‘Merlin.’” Harry could not reach the cheeky tone he was aiming for. But it was close enough. Draco couldn’t even answer, so breathless by then, but only gasped.
They felt so right together. Harry loved how unembarrassed Draco was to admit that the sheer power of Harry’s magic turned him on. Draco liked to brag about how he could control all that power by offering a blow job or denying one. A Gryffindor might have tried to convince himself and his lover that he loved him unconditionally, that magical clout did not really matter.
Draco relished admitting that Harry was that much more attractive to him because of ‘all that muscle’ He meant magical force, of course. Draco had made it clear to Harry that he couldn’t give a toss about raw physical strength, loving Harry’s compact size and seeker’s lean build also. He liked that Harry stayed fit, but the muscle he loved was the magic, the burn, the barely contained scary force that he was still learning to manage, the kind of magic that might take a lifetime to explore and, like in Dumbledore’s case, the kind that one might never reach the core of, even after a long, eventful life. That untapped core fascinated Draco. Harry, on the other hand, didn’t even like to think about it. The better life for him would be one where he never learned the extent of his magic. Draco loved thinking of Harry as dark and dangerous, barely controllable.
Since the day that Harry had shown up at Malfoy Manner with Draco’s wand, they had spent almost every day together for the past nearly three months. Draco’s eyes and mobile face really did show his every thought. After a while Harry had begun to feel like he could hear the sound of a thought entering Draco’s consciousness even when he had his back to him.
“What?” he asked.
“Thinking about how lucky we are. You know, to be able to share this room. If it was luck,” Draco answered.
“It was luck all right. No possibility that McGonagall would have assigned us rooms together if she thought we were sleeping together.”
“You’re sure? She would go pretty far to ensure her wonder boy is happy. Exactly like Dumbledore.”
“You are full of it, Malfoy.”
“No, you are!” He squirmed a little to remind Harry how hard he was. “You kid yourself, Potter. Everyone could tell what we are. Blaise walked right up to me the first time he saw us together and said, ‘How long have you and Potter been shagging?’”
“He doesn’t count. He thinks everybody is sleeping with everyone else, man, woman, child, or dog. And anyway, he has a serious personality disorder.”
“That’s unkind of you, Potter. He likes you.”
Harry snorted and shrugged. “So do you and look at what a wreck you are.”
“How about some foreplay?” Draco complained, arching his body against Harry’s stomach, trying to create some semblance of satisfying friction. Harry was in no hurry; it turned him on to see Draco wanting and pretending not to be all that needy.
“Our foreplay has always been arguing, Draco. You love it.”
“Think so, do you?” He reached between them to take Harry’s erection in his hand. An expression of sweetness flickered across his face before disappearing. The pointed tip of a pink tongue that he extended, with an expression of concentration upon his task, looked incredibly sexy to Harry.
“It only seems that way to you because you have the mind and temperament of a bull terrier,” Draco said sliding his hand up and down in a firm yet tender grip.
“Oh, . . . “ Harry was quickly losing the thread. Well, he hadn’t really wanted to talk, only to wind Draco up.
“Which do you want most, Harry, my mouth or my arse?”
“Oh, god, I cannot move or think. Ride me. Please?” He was gritting his teeth by then, trying to settle himself down a bit, in between waves of totally losing it.
They had pushed the window open for air before leaving the room for common room. There was to be a welcoming feast later that night. The entire school would have arrived and settled in by then. The night had turned surprisingly cool for September, and a full moon shone in the dark sky.
Harry could almost keep himself from coming too soon by thinking about the schedule, the temperature, and glancing away from Draco. Looking at Harry the entire time, Draco wantonly prepared himself with little huffs and twists of his hand.
Putting on a display for him, Draco revealed by his tiny smile that he was aware how he affected Harry. Without a doubt, he also knew how close Harry was, tolerating his gaze darting away because he understood it was a valiant attempt to forestall a premature climax.
Harry could only look at the window for an instant before his eyes were drawn back to the stunning sight before him. Men were not supposed to look as good as Draco. And none of them did. Draco was one of kind. That Draco was ready or close to over-ready became obvious also. His blond eyelashes swept down and then up again, white against increasingly flushed cheeks. Draco shook his platinum hair, which he had not cut all summer, out of his face with impatience. His tilting of his head to one side, gave Harry a good view the sculpted cast of his cheekbones, his sultry, pouting mouth, his lips so red, and his silver-grey eyes. He had dropped his misleading veneer of self-consciousness and perilous reticence for the outpouring of affection and want that Harry loved so much in him.
“Ready, handsome?” Draco asked, wheezy and impatient.
Sinking slowly down onto Harry, he released a shuddering sigh of relief when he could go no further. The feeling of being seated fully within Draco reenergized Harry, who managed to thrust up to meet his body.
“You are so good,” Harry panted.
“No. You’re better!” What they were was right together, meant to be. Harry floated, the feeling was almost too beautiful to bear. Mentally in a trance, he was physically totally connected and aware of every slight sensation. He and Draco had their own magic of the sort he had never guessed existed when he had thought before of what it meant to want and enjoy sex or most of all to love someone.
Afterwards they lay damp and completely inert, sprawling all tangled up in one another. Draco was the first to speak, “Almost four days felt like forever. I’m afraid I am actually addicted to you.”
“Yeah. Me too. Could be worse.”
“I guess,” Draco admitted with feigned reluctance. “Hey. You really did leave the common room too soon. Granger and Weasley got into it, shouting and . . . ”
“That’s nothing. They always do.”
“And Pansy got all protective and sentimental. Nott’s a prat.”
“Nott isn’t so bad.”
“I am beginning to think I could like the Weasel. I definitely like Granger. But I told you that before.”
“Not in so many words. But the two of you have a lot in common.”
Draco ferreted through the pockets of his discarded robe pulling out a small ink pot, a quill, and an object which caught the light of a candle and glittered for a moment looking very like a golden snitch. He tossed it at Harry, yelling, “Think fast!”
Startled, Harry barely caught it in time to keep it from smashing against the stone wall. “Are you crazy? This is a time turner.”
“It has a safety catch,” Draco said.
“The hell it does. Where?”
“The little knob on the side.”
“Oh. Where did you get it?”
“Granger gave it to me, for you. She had an idea that you could use it. Is there something you wanted to tell me, Harry? Time turners are not a toy.”
“Says the bloke who lobbed one at my head.” Perhaps he really was romanticizing how drop-dead gorgeous Draco was. If so, he wanted to stick to the fantasy because looking at him not even ten minutes after they had made love made him want to forget about dinner, sorting hat, first nights back at Hogwarts, and start all over again.
“Have you seen my tie?” he asked.
“Accio Harry’s tie,” Draco said, shaking his head at him in a gesture of shocked disbelief. “Ah, you’ll always be a Muggle at heart, won’t you?”
The tie draped itself saucily over Harry’s head. That was a clever trick, Harry thought, ordinary everyday spell, executed wandlessly, and combined with wordless magic to provide an extra twist.
“Nice work. Thanks for the tie. And you will always be an arrogant prat, won’t you?” Draco might think Harry was the most potentially powerful wizard of generations, but whatever Draco lacked in inherent magical strength he more than compensated with diligence and imagination, a willingness to think outside the box. Who would have guessed that two years ago?
“Tell me why Granger thinks you have need of a time turner?”
“I have no idea,” Harry answered. “Seriously. No idea at all.” Maybe she wanted him to turn back time and prevent some of the deaths of the Battle of Hogwarts. That would mean going back and defeating Voldemort before he reached Hogwarts. So many had died at different points in time and locations, it would be near to impossible to save them one by one. The logistics of it made Harry’s head spin. So many horrible possibilities for getting it wrong.
“Run a comb through that fright wig! McGonagall will not appreciate us showing up late for her little homily on the joys of Hogwarts and the sorting ceremony.” Draco picked up his own hairbrush from atop his dresser and took a couple of well-placed swipes at Harry’s hair, managing to catch the brush painfully in a tangled knot.
“Oi!” Harry yelped, because it was expected of him, part of their little game.
“Ah, I see. Not so easy to fix. Perhaps a haircut would not be amiss. Although, I do like to grab a big handful of your ill-trimmed mop and hang onto it under certain circumstances.”
“You mean while you’re screaming like a girl while I shag you?” Harry could not resist asking, even if it meant getting hexed.
Draco quirked his head to one side with a tiny hint of a smile, which still never failed to hit Harry with the voltage of a thousand suns.
“Potter, Potter, Potter,” he drawled, fluffing Harry’s hair with his long graceful fingers. “Never mind. Leave it as it is. I’m beginning to think it might add to your boyish charm.” Draco looked shamelessly happy, which in turn gave Harry such a hard lump in his throat from excess emotion that he could not speak.
“You look beat. We could still rest for another 20 minutes or we could give the time turner a twirl and take a couple of hours.”
“No. No. You were right the first time. I have no idea what Hermione was thinking giving it to me, but it is not a toy. Twenty minutes sounds great. Anyway,” Harry blushed to the roots of his hair. “I want to hold you for a while.”
Draco relaxed, leaning back onto the pillows, sweet and compliant, and holding his arms up to Harry. “This is excellent,” he said, when Harry snuggled up against him, burrowing his nose behind Draco ear, relishing the scent of him. “Twenty minutes it is, Potter.”
Harry had not meant to fall asleep. He really did only want to hold onto Draco. The last thing he remembered thinking was that there was no harm in them trying to stay together all the time, even during holidays, for at least the next short period. He had heard that the beginnings of relationships were hard. Not everything about being with Draco was easy, but even the annoying parts were funny. Every fight to date had ended in them laughing until their sides ached. It felt almost as though they got all the nastiness out before they ever got together. At that point in time, the only thing that felt bad between them was being apart, and that was torture; so they simply should not be apart.
Harry awakened to a shimmery silver mist which seeped in around the edges of the closed windows, making it hard to discern the shapes of things in the room. Draco, thank Merlin, was still safe in his arms and sleeping. He could still smell in his hair the faint scent of citrus and sandalwood of Draco’s usual soap and, a bit more strongly, the musky smell of sex. He had not always liked that smell, but he loved it on Draco. Still they would have to bathe before dinner.
“Harry Potter,” said an eerily ghostlike voice. “A time turner is not a toy. Why did you do it?”
“But I didn’t,” he protested, jerking upright into a sitting position. “I am still right here in bed with Draco. He’s sleeping. I don’t know where the time turner is, but I can find it. No one’s touched it.” He sat up and looked around the room. The clouds stirred, but did not dissipate. He looked down at Draco, who looked like a sleeping angel, even more beautiful than usual. The whole scene was starting to feel really creepy. “Who are you and where are you hiding?” he almost shouted. He fumbled for his wand, but it must have fallen off the bed.
“Who do you think you are? Your arrogance is stunning?” The tone and words sounded like Snape, but the voice, unfamiliar to him, had a resemblance to that of Voldemort, but lacking the snake-like essence of his voice quality. “You want to turn back time? Try this for starters.”
Suddenly, he found himself in the doorway of Moaning Myrtle’s lavatory. Draco stood at the sink with his back to Harry, narrower across the shoulders and at least two inches shorter, clutching the sink. Harry had forgotten how much Draco had sprouted up in the last two years or less. His strangled sobs went straight to Harry’s heart. He wanted to reach out and pull him into a comforting embrace.
"Don't," pleaded Moaning Myrtle. "Don't . . . tell me what's wrong . . . I can help you . . . ."
"No one can help me," said Malfoy. His whole body was shaking. "I can't do it . . . . I can't . . . . It won't work . . . and unless I do it soon . . . he says he'll kill me . . . ." [Dialogue here from HBP, “Chapter 24: Sectumsempra.”]
Harry could not control himself, “It’s all right, Draco. Really it is. I know all about it. Look at me.”
Draco wheeled around, his face a picture of pain and rage. “Get the fuck out of here, Potter. Before I hurt you.” Draco pulled his wand and pointed. The pain part of the rage seemed to transform into purpose.
Harry patted the pocket of his robe and located his wand but did not draw it. He knew he had to do something and do it quick. He recognized that expression. It was the one that Draco always had on his face when they argued in the kitchen before trying to cook, long after they had allowed themselves to get much too hungry. When it got that far, Draco usually stormed out and disaparated to Wiltshire and refused to return for half a day at least. “Draco, listen me . . . “
Draco literally snarled at him before screaming, “Petrificus totalus,” and stormed out of the bathroom.
Harry flopped backward toward the floor, rigid as a board, unable to break his fall. But before he hit he hit his head on the ancient stone tiles, he found himself floating in a black, odorless cloud of smoke.
“That went well,” proclaimed the disembodied voice. “What shall we try next, oh, master of time, cleverest wizard of an age?”
“I want to go back. This is stupid and scary.”
“You are the one with the time-turner, Potter. Use it.”
“I didn’t bring it with me.”
“It’s in the pocket of your wee sixth-year robe.”
“Who are you? You sound like Draco now?” The black misty, smoky, cloudy miasma thinned a little and he thought he could see his own reflection in the window glass for moment, lying in bed with a beautiful sleeping Draco, his white-blond hair, needing a haircut in the best imaginable way, fanned out across the pillow. There was even an almost full Hunter’s Moon hanging against a starry sky behind the reflection.
“Who are you?” Harry asked again, sounding not only angry, but nearly hysterical.
“I’m inside your head. That’s why I sound like Draco. There is barely room for anything else in there recently. I am not sure that is healthy.”
“What are my choices?” He stalled, feeling for his wand. But he no longer wore his school robe, but nothing at all again.
“You could heal Draco, save Snape, bring back your godson’s parents; such choices. So many lost, so many could be saved, so much suffering ended.”
“Or, I could go back in time. Change history. Cause new and different deaths. Set Tom Riddle free again by some minute change in a sequence of events. What do you take me for? A moron?”
“Are you? You would know better than me. This is your circus now, Potter.”
“Can’t I forget all this saving the world business and wake up in bed with Draco?”
“Ah, not entirely impervious to his own past arrogance? Pouf!” said the voice, with a comic flourish reminiscent of Fred Weasley.
Harry awakened back in bed as he had hoped, but with Draco smacking him soundly about the face, which was less welcome. Grabbing hold of Draco’s hands, he said, “What the hell, Draco?”
“You were having a terrible nightmare.” Draco still sounded panicked. “Your pulse was racing and then it started to slow down, and you turned cold and clammy. Gryffindors and their drama rival the Manor with Snake Face and his minions in charge.”
“Horse manure, Draco. Why couldn’t you simply wake me up?”
“I was trying. I was afraid to use magic when I didn’t know what was wrong with you. You looked abnormal.” The word made Draco chuckle. “More so than usual even.”
Harry laughed. It touched his heart to see the smile replace the look of terror on Draco’s face. “I hope you didn’t give me a concussion.”
Draco shook his head and snorted. “Hardly. I barely touched you. Did give you a little much needed color though. You’ve been looking pasty.”
Harry pinned him to the bed, kissing him like a fiend.
“Gah! You reek!” Draco yelled.
“And you smell like roses, I suppose? Fancy a shower, Malfoy?” Harry leered.
“Fine,” Draco said, pretending to mope. “But we don’t have much time.”
Scrubbed, shampooed, shaved, and smelling fabulous, Harry and Draco swaggered into the dining room with all of the confidence that was likely to be expected of the Savior of the Wizarding world and his gorgeous boyfriend, the first night of their last year back at Hogwarts. In Draco’s opinion, Harry had never looked better.
Inhaling the aroma of a typical Hogwarts feast, Draco realized that he was famished. Harry was a good cook, if one didn’t mind simple dishes that were quick to make. His weekend fry-ups were amazing—bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, and beans. Back at Malfoy Manor for a few days, Draco had found the food far less interesting than he had remembered it. Of course, his father was not there, so perhaps his mother’s menu planning had become less inspired. It was certainly more entertaining to eat with Harry.
The eighth-years had their own small table near the back and far to the right, with a splendid view of the entire hall, rivaled only by that of the front table on the dais.
“Nothing like Hogwarts’ roast beef,” Harry said, as though he had not eaten in a week. Draco wondered where he put it all.
“You both look well,” said Hermione. “Did you have a nice nap?” Weasley almost choked on a roll slathered in butter. Overeating and dubious table manners also might be a Gryffindor thing.
“Draco,” Pansy drawled at him. “What is Ron eating?”
He gave her his best appalled-at-your-ignorance look. “It’s roast beef, precious. A lot like Chateaubriand. May I serve you some? How about some of the broccoli with butter also, which is faintly reminiscent of broccoli in beurre blanc sauce without the white wine flavor.”
”Yes, please,” she said, with a flirtatious head toss.
Harry snorted in amusement at them. Draco decided to try harder not to play to Harry’s preconception of them as spoiled brats, always good for laugh. He did like to see Harry laugh, but he didn’t want to fall into the pattern of always playing the effete and frivolous buffoon. A man needs a little respect.
Reaching under the table and squeezing his thigh, Harry protested, “I do respect you. Exactly the way you are.”
“Anyone ever tell you Legilimency in a social setting is rude, Potter? Stay out of my head.”
“Don’t be sniffy. You know you love it! I’ve never known a better Occulmens when you really want to keep something to yourself.”
“Did Draco give you the time-turner, Harry?” Granger piped. Her bright eyes and flushed cheeks made Draco that think that perhaps she and Weasley had indulged in a bit of a so-called nap herself since he had last seen her.
“He did give me the time-turner,” Harry said, jutting up his chin belligerently. Talk about sounding sniffy. “What was that all about anyway? I didn’t know what you expected me to do with a time-turner. It caused me to have horrible nightmares.”
“That’s impossible. It’s same time-turner that I’ve used myself countless times.”
“Granger!” Draco said, “There was nothing wrong with the time turner. The problem was that Harry wondered if you expected him to go back and do a cleaner job of saving the world.”
“Good heavens, no!” Granger shrieked. “That is horrible. I thought with your heavy class schedule it might be useful for revisions! I am so sorry, Harry.”
“Tell me you are sorry,” Draco complained. “I am the one who had to bear the brunt of his semi-psychotic outburst.”
“Aww, Draco,” Granger cooed. “He is lucky to have you. I am sorry.”
“Wow,” Weasley said.
“’Wow, good,’ or ‘wow, bad’?” asked Harry.
“Wow, scary,” Weasley answered.
“Harry is a scary bloke, but I am growing more and more accustomed to him,” Draco said. “He hardly ever makes me cry anymore.
“Don’t believe him,” Harry said. “He cries at the drop of a hat—kittens, puppies, and maudlin love songs all make him weep like a baby.”
Weasley laughed, “You’re not so bad, Malfoy. Could you please pass that platter of Chateau de Brigands down this way?” Weasley actually gave Draco a crooked smirk that seemed to indicate that he was sharing a self-deprecating joke.
The dinner table conversation got easier as the evening passed. Pansy revealed in a manner, less discrete than might have been desirable, that she had smuggled in a couple of bottles of her father’s best brandy. After which, Finnegan admitted to an entire case of fire whiskey of Irish origin.
“We have to ration it to last out the term,” he insisted.
Up in the common room after dinner, everyone was drinking and milling about. The divisions had not broken down entirely, but more of the lines had blurred somewhat. Even a handful of students from other years had arrived. Dean Thomas brought Ginny Weasley back with him. Luna Lovegood had shown up and sat talking quietly with Harry, who was not drinking at all.
Draco realized he no longer needed to gaze at Harry from across the room. He walked over and stood in front of him, until Harry noticed and held his out his hand to him. Hesitating for only a moment, Draco took his hand and plopped down on his lap. Harry smiled up at him and wrapped his arms around Draco’s waist.
Luna said, “Harry was telling me all about you, Draco. You look so much better now.” She turned and smiled at Harry. “I am happy you found one another.”
She sighed with one of those quintessentially Lunaesque vacant half-smiles. “Draco was good to me at the Manor, you know. They sent him to torture me.” Harry tightened his arms around Draco. He had begun to tremble, afraid of what Harry might think.
“He said, ‘Scream like I am crucioing you or I will have to.’ I shrieked like a Banshee.”
“She was convincing,” Draco said, still nervous. “She could have been an actress.”
“I was highly motivated,” she said, laughing softly and reaching out to touch Draco’s arm. “I never got to thank you.”
“But if you had not screamed for me, it could have been as bad or worse for me than it would have been for you. I was a miserable failure as a Deatheater. I can’t torture people. Well, maybe Harry a little.”
“Actually, a lot,” Harry said.
“We all knew there was something between the two of you,” Luna interjected. “The argument was only whether the obsession was love or hate. But you know me. Loony Luna you call me. Of course, I voted for love. My weakness.”
“Your strength,” Draco choked. He wanted to die at how lame that sounded. But it was true.
Back to the Legilimency again, Harry whispered, “Not lame at all.”
“I’m thinking I would like a drink,” Luna said. “Good night, Harry. Good night, Draco.” She stood up and wandered off, humming Celestina Warbeck’s new recording of the old Muggle song “You Put a Spell on Me.” That seemed odd on more levels than Draco could categorize. He had become inured to hearing the Warbeck song. Harry was addicted to the radio. So, he had adjusted to his initial surprise at the diva’s theft of a Muggle tune. But Luna knowing any pop song, much less one released only a few weeks prior was not something he’d ever imagined of her. The most commonplace elements of other people’s reality rarely seemed to impinge upon Luna’s world.
“Luna’s strange, but sweet,” Harry said fondly.
“Isn’t she, though,” Draco responded.
Arching an eyebrow and narrowing his eyes, Harry asked, “What else about you haven’t you told me?”
“There is a lot I do not know about you, as well,” Draco snapped, immediately defensive.
“My leg is asleep,” Harry said, sliding Draco onto the place on the sofa that Luna had vacated. He took a long, deep breath before saying, “The details are not that important. I know you, Malfoy. Better than you can even imagine.”
“You think you are so sly, Potter. You would not know sly if it came up behind you and bit you on your skinny arse.”
“I love you,” Harry said in a loud voice. At least two conversations close to them, grew hushed at Harry’s pronouncement. Draco blushed, embarrassed at the attention suddenly focused upon them, but relishing it also.
“See what I mean about not being sly?” Draco smirked. “Do you want to go upstairs?”
“I’m not in a rush, unless you are. We do have the rest of our lives.”