Recipient's name: irya_angelus
Word Count: 11,000
Summary: Christmas never turns out the way it ought.
Notes: Irya, I hope you enjoy it-- Happy Holidays! Emphatic thanks to my beta, currently nameless, yet always awesome.
"That's just sad. Distressing, even."
Harry narrowed his eyes and shot a look over a shoulder that was draped with fuzzy silver garland, still holding the end in one hand. "Can I help you?"
"Honestly, Potter," said Draco as he entered the room. "It looks like you're the one that needs the help."
Pointing through his handful of garland, Harry frowned. "I'm fine, thanks. Be even better if you share that cider."
"Pfft," scoffed Draco as he came a little closer, inspecting the mostly naked tree. "Who says I'm sharing with someone who isn't smart enough to decorate a damned tree the easy way?"
"In the nine years that we've been doing this, when has your flawed opinion had any effect on the way I do this?" said Harry, arching an eyebrow.
"That's not fair. In fact, I've only really had--" said Draco, looking up in thought, "--one year to try." He moved even closer, holding out one of the mugs in his hand.
Harry let his fingers lace through Draco's where they wrapped around the proffered mug but didn't take it. "So, what? You're going to start holding out on me now?"
Smiling, Draco leaned, too, stopping mere inches from Harry's face. "Not bloody likely."
Harry grinned and closed the distance between them to press his lips to Draco's, which were already overly warm and tasting of mulled cider. Finally taking proper possession of the mug, Harry pulled away just enough to take a breath and murmur, "Thank you."
"You look ridiculous," said Draco, caustic as ever, though his words were obviously said with affection.
"I'm working," said Harry, leaning in for another kiss before straightening up. "This is entirely necessary to the job at hand."
Draco toyed with the end of the garland and smirked. "One well-placed spell and we could move on to more suitable activities."
Turning toward the tree, Harry asked disingenuously, "Oh? We baking cookies this year, too?"
Disgusted, Draco threw a hand up with a huff. "Forget it." He turned away to go, muttering, "I'll just leave you to your Happy Christmas House Elf act--"
Harry took a quick step forward and caught him around the waist, nipping at his earlobe. "You're too easy to get to, Malfoy."
"Didn't think for one second you'd let me walk away, Potter," said Draco, smug as he leaned against Harry, his free hand moving up to slip into Harry's hair. "Now who's easy?"
"Not us," murmured Harry, steadily dragging nipping kisses down the side of Draco's neck. "Nothing about any of this has ever been easy."
[[The first year? You remember that one.
I try not to, but you insist on reminding me.
Denial. Utter, crushing denial.
I'm serious about the reminding. It's not polite.
I've made inroads in your lack of civility, I know I have.]]
The mood at Grimmauld Place bordered on obscene; a forced cheer tinged with the lingering scents of the morning's meager breakfast and the echo left behind by the friends that would never see another Christmas. Anyone else would have said it was unfair that a boy who had so recently discovered that Christmas applied to him too should be subjected to it, but Harry didn't want to hear it. Some things just were the way they were.
His mind, however, could not be turned away from the newish arrival two doors down from his. The thought of the Order spy whose cover had been blown occupied his thoughts and kept his body on alert, waiting with dread for the next time that the new arrival's Dark Mark flared into what had to be searing pain.
Professor McGonagall spent a great deal of time working out ways of possibly blocking its influence, but in the end could only refer to Professor Snape's notes on certain potions that might be of some assistance in dulling the pain. In the meantime and in between, the new arrival rarely ventured from his room.
Harry couldn't stop thinking about him, it was true. He still couldn't stand the Ferret, but now he was just another person Harry had to save-- one more person for whom he had to win. Except for that bit about how Malfoy had never been just another of anyone, and how Harry had never been able to quite turn his mind from him in all the years they'd been at one another's throats.
That was as good a reason as any for what had happened between them what seemed like forever ago, though he knew it had been the day after Halloween. It was the only reason Harry was willing to consider. Still, Harry found himself standing outside Malfoy's door without a clue as to what he was about to do next.
A muffled cry from inside the room was followed immediately by a thump, and Harry's hand was on the doorknob, turning and shoving the door open in one smooth motion, unhindered by the fact that it had been locked. Malfoy was on the ground, trying to push himself up on his good right arm, his left pulled to his chest. Through gritted teeth and a fallen lock of pale platinum blond, he snarled, "Get out, Potter."
"Malfoy," Harry could only stare. "I--"
"GET. OUT." Malfoy snarled again, though it lost some effect as he stumbled and hissed in pain.
Harry pulled the door shut behind him instead and came closer, murmuring, "Let me help."
Panting, Malfoy turned his back on Harry, yanked a bottle of bright green potion off of the table and took a huge swallow. "I've got all the help I need."
"It's just-- It's my fault," murmured Harry, edging forward.
"Yes! Yes it fucking is! All of it is your fault!" Malfoy bit off, taking a step back. "Just stay away from me."
"Malfoy, I'm sorry," Harry insisted, closing the distance between them and taking the bottle out of Malfoy's shaking hand and corked it again.
Harry reached to set the bottle on the side table, but the motion was interrupted as Malfoy grabbed Harry by the shirt and shook him hard. "Didn't you hear me? I said get ou-ow! Fucking shite ow--" he swore, pulling his left arm tight against his body again.
The upended bottle rolled off of the tabletop and landed on the rug, but Harry didn't notice, his hands coming up to steady Malfoy by the elbows, unconsciously murmuring more apologies as his best attempt at soothing.
"It was your fault, you bastard. It was you," Malfoy whined, ceasing for the most part his weak struggle to break away. "I couldn't Occlude you. That whole... whatever the fuck it was that happened between us," Malfoy said brokenly, cradling his arm more closely. "I couldn't fucking hide it because I'm not good enough, and I couldn't--"
"Couldn't stop thinking about it," finished Harry, at a loss for what more he could say to that, and as such, was totally unprepared for the fists that came at him next, pummeling him harder than he would have though possible, given Malfoy's current state. He managed to catch hold of Malfoy's upper arms again, though it took more of an effort to hold him still. "Hey!" he shouted, shaking Malfoy once, hard.
"It didn't mean anything!" shouted Malfoy right back as he finally pulled free. Panting, he turning a murderous eye on Harry.
Harry tried to say, "I don't kn--" but whatever he didn't know was lost as Malfoy punched him, not as hard as he could otherwise have done, but hard enough to shove him back a half step. Lifting a hand to his face, Harry opened his mouth again and said, "Wh--" and was stopped short by Malfoy's mouth on his, a clammy hand covering his own over his cheek. Harry shut his eyes and leaned in, fisting his hand in the back of Malfoy's wrinkled shirt and kissing back, moving on pure instinct and want.
Malfoy flailed and then struck out at Harry again with the hand wedged between them as he pulled away, eyes glassy and red. "I fucking hate you," he snarled. "I always will."
Harry's fingers flexed and tugged, pulling Malfoy back against him by the shirt without resistance as he murmured between rough, desperate kisses, "I know."
[[As bad as that was, I'm sure the second was worse.
I can't decide which I want to not be reminded of the most.
The safehouse was in pretty bad shape.
You see? And you know squalor. You'd know.
I never want to be separated from my money again.
...Among other things. Don't look at me like that.]]
Potter stood with a harsh inhale and ran his hands through his hair. "This is fucking ridiculous."
Draco kicked at the moth-eaten sofa, convinced it was no better than the creaky sway-back bed, which in turn complimented the bare light bulb hanging in the musty bathroom. "You're telling me. This place is an utter shitehole," he observed. Casting not one but two cleansing charms on the sofa before giving up and sitting instead on the straight-backed chair nearby (after only one cleansing charm for it, too). "I know I haven't been the most model citizen, but what've you done to deserve this?"
Eyes narrow, Potter looked over at Draco. "The fact that I'm even here is what's ridiculous, prat. We destroyed all the bloody Horcruxes-- I'm supposed to be out there doing the fighting now too, not hiding like some sort of coward!"
Outwardly impassive, Draco watched him kick the sofa in almost the same place he had hard enough to elicit a hollow cracking sound. "You're not hiding. You're waiting. I'm hiding. Though I still can't bloody well fathom why I'm here and not Greece, or Fiji or God. Sodding California at the very least." He looked up with mock surprise. "Oh! I remember. Because the Ministry's frozen the family assets and the Dark Lord managed to extract the information on my heretofore hidden offshore accounts from my mother." He didn't bother mentioning how that had come about -- that might be more painful than sarcastic. Unfortunately, his complaints struck exactly the wrong chord with Harry.
"You want to go somewhere Malfoy?" snarled Potter, leaning in to speak directly at eye level with Draco. "Where do you want to go? I have enough money to send you there myself. It might sting a little at first, but then you'll be where you really want to be, and that's what matters, right? What you want?"
"Do you know what I want, Potter?" Draco spat right back, his thin veneer of nonchalant toxicity replaced by indignant anger. "I want for this to be over. I want the fucking Dark Lord dead, and I want you to not die doing it. And I want this Mark gone, and I want a decent, goddamn bed. Is that too fucking much to ask?"
Though he was still fuming, Potter exhaled hard as he set his forehead against Draco's, setting his palms on Draco's thighs. "Apparently? Yes."
Draco wasn't quite sure where to put his hands at first-- they'd been shagging for... a year already? But he was loathe to admit that their relationship was anything but a brilliant shag with someone he happened to be unfortunately attracted to; perfectly acceptable given the fact that he wasn't expecting to live long enough to deal with long-term ramifications. Still there were days he woke up tangled up around or on or under Potter and could suddenly see a time when there might not be a war to fight or the constant knowledge that every breath might be a very painful last. Sometimes he could almost see himself spending his life like that; wrapped up with the great idiot that invariably ended up murmuring and nuzzling his neck or sleepily rocking his hips as his hands slid further under the blanket. If they could both manage to survive said war.
Draco couldn't decide which was the more terrifying prospect.
Jaw tight, Draco settled for setting them on either side of Potter's neck, shutting his eyes with a sigh of annoyance as he said quietly, "What good are you to me, then?" He could feel Potter trying to smile as he gave his standard answer.
"None. As usual."
Draco tilted his head and kissed Potter to stop him from saying anything stupid or potentially awkward, standing slowly as he did. He didn't break away even though he ended up just a few inches taller than Potter at his full height, though eventually he did take a breath and murmured, "I'm not shagging you on that bed, though."
Potter's eyes darted away and back with a wicked smirk. "Anything wrong with the wall?"
The first thought that Draco had when he woke up was that his face was cold; the second was that the homespun blanket was scratchy where it was pulled up under his chin. The third was that he was at least alive, which was good, even if it meant that the arm pulled tightly across his chest belonged to the sodding Boy Who Lived. Even so, he blamed it on the cold and his own muzzy, half-waking state when he ran his hand along that arm and threaded his fingers through Potter's with what was dangerously close to a sigh. It wasn't supposed to have been one of those terrifying mornings, Christmas or not; the shitehole of a safehouse should have precluded that handily and, yet, had not.
"'S Christmas," murmured Potter, his warm breath just barely sliding past the collar of the thick jumper Draco was still wearing.
"Don't get too excited about it," Draco said. "I didn't get you anything."
Potter snickered. "I don't feel all that bad, then."
"What?" Draco said, his head popping up off of the pillow and craning his neck to look over his shoulder. "I didn't get a present?" Potter had the audacity to laugh harder. "I'm serious here. You have no credible excuse."
"Shut up, Malfoy," Potter said with a shake. "You'd be lucky to get a lump of coal."
"Unacceptable," said Draco, having more difficulty in holding onto the scowl as he rolled onto his back. "That's just not done."
Five hard knocks at the door interrupted Potter's answer and sent them both to their feet, wands drawn more quickly than seemed possible. Potter stalked the length of the small flat to the door and peered through the peephole, not entirely relaxed as he called out, "Yeah?"
"It's us, Harry," said a sickeningly familiar voice from the other side of the door. "I've got news."
"How do I know it's you?"
"You remember how you ended up stuck to Ron at the hip the last time you decided not to include us in the plot?" Called a voice far different from the first, a third chiming in next.
"Remember what we made you do to deactivate the Goo Glue?"
"That's still not funny," said Potter as he shook his head and opened the door for Lupin and the Weasley twins, who came in rubbing their hands together and looking over their shoulders. "Merry Christmas! Tell me Mrs. Weasley sent food?"
Lupin pulled Potter into a half-hug while the twins eyed Draco warily and offered a nod and a simultaneous, "Hey."
"Molly didn't send anything," said Lupin as he pulled away.
The first twin muttered, "We haven't seen her yet today."
Potter's look of confusion persisted. "What's going on?"
The twins looked at one another and then back at Potter, but it was Lupin that spoke. "Voldemort is shifting his forces around-- they're taking position at Cairn Kenidjack. Though we're not exactly sure why, our source gave us a layout of the area and a rough idea of where everyone will be."
The look on Potter's face was the very model of inner turmoil, not surprising given the fact that Gryffindors in general seemed congenitally incapable of repressing any emotion. Draco crept closer, arms tightly crossed.
"We think we can take him there. He's planning something big, and they're all convinced it's key to his victory..." Lupin hesitated. "Whatever it is, we can't afford to let him succeed. And that means--"
"That means it's time," murmured Potter, shoulders coming back unconsciously as he stood straighter.
"Hold on-- what do you mean you don't know what he's planning?" Draco finally said, disguising the roiling tangle of fear and dread as best he could. "What did Severus say about it?"
"We, err--" Lupin said carefully, "haven't heard from Severus in at least two weeks."
Meeting Lupin's gaze, Draco shook his head slowly. "That's not possible."
"I assure you," said Lupin, voice pained, "It is."
"Let's go," Potter said suddenly, reaching around a twin that had been standing silently (for once) to reach his coat from the hook there.
"Wait," Draco said, though he knew what he was about to say was sheer madness. "I'm coming too."
Potter whipped his head around to look at him. "No. They'll kill you on sight, you know that," he said, voice lowering again as he moved closer.
"I'll-- be back. And if I'm not..."
"As if that wasn't true for anyone in this room!" Draco shouted right at Potter's face as he shoved past him and the Weasels to reach his own coat. "I'm not going to sit here like some bloody damsel awaiting a rescue. At least I'll know first hand if your dumb arse is dead or not."
"You could die out there," Potter insisted.
"What else is new, Potter?" said Draco, shoving his shoulder. "Where have you been these last ten years?"
"Harry?" ventured Lupin. "Maybe..."
"Doing this," snarled Potter, disregarding Lupin. "Fighting Voldemort. I know what I'm doing, alright?"
"Good, then don't be an idiot," said Draco. "You know you'll need the help."
Potter turned the snottiest tone he owned on Draco. "Maybe I don't want your help."
"Now you're just being an arse and hoping I'll tell you to piss off and have a nice life," said Draco dismissively as he slipped his coat on, ignoring a low grumble in stereo from the Weasels.
"What?" Potter sputtered, caught out. "That's not it at all!"
"Oh, bollocks, Potter. It's part of the hero act, and it won't work on me." Draco turned to Lupin. "Where?"
Lupin looked from Potter to Draco and back, finally speaking as Potter shrugged and threw his hands up with a muttered swear. "The Hog's Head. We'll head out to the Cairn from there."
"Give us ten minutes," said Potter, wearing his authoritative voice. "We'll meet you there."
The door had barely shut behind Lupin and the Weasels when Potter turned to Draco, clearly none too pleased.
Draco scowled. "Don't give me that look, P--"
Potter didn't need words to interrupt him, crushing him close in a hard kiss that seemed endless. The dingy flat and the impending battle-- none of it was real for as long as time was suspended there between them. In that drawn-out moment, Draco realized he knew exactly which prospect was the most terrifying after all-- because if they did manage to survive, there would be no prying him from this bloody Gryffindor.
Granted. That one was marginally better.
More than 'marginally'. I'm brilliant, I know.
How does 'sneaking about like teenagers' equate to 'brilliant'?
Finding you for one thing. Making it back before anyone started worrying about my being missing for another.
All that means is that you were exhibiting uncommon amounts of resourcefulness.
I'm telling you. I excel at sneakery.
You still would have made a terrible Slytherin.</i>]]
They stared at one another across the kitchen table of 12 Grimmauld Place, restored to Harry's possession at the end of the War and complete with a new Fidelius charm, trying not to. Harry shoved his eggs around the plate as Draco spun his teacup slowly in its saucer in precise quarter turns. The clock ticked over and Harry's foot began tapping, rapidly silenced by Draco's bare foot covering his.
"It'd be weird, trying to do Christmas here, anyway," said Harry, having divided his eggs into two equal piles. "I mean, it isn't as if we both live here or something. And you know, you want to be with family. Or, I mean, Pansy."
"She's family, Potter," said Draco in no uncertain terms. "And the Weasels-- Weasleys-- they really wanted you to spend the day with them. So it works out pretty well, then."
Harry nodded, overenthusiastic in his agreement. "No, yeah, you're right."
Draco eyed the food on Harry's plate, suddenly stopping his toying with the teacup. He pushed his chair back and stood, pulling Harry's hand off of his fork as he circled the small table. "Come on."
Confused, Harry stood and followed nonetheless. "Where are we going?"
"I've got a present for you," smirked Draco.
"Yeah?" Harry paused in the sitting room to tug back on Draco to get him to turn around, immediately leaning up to drop his mouth to the side of Draco's neck as he did. "It's early."
Draco arched into Harry's mouth with a pleased sound in the back of his throat. "Not suitable for opening in front of mixed company."
Pulling Draco flush against him in one rough tug, Harry nibbled on the soft skin of his neck, hands straying further as he murmured, "Yes please."
The fireplace sparked up green and Ron's face was in the hearth and speaking before anyone properly answered the call. "Harry? Where are you, mate? Mum's having a fit about having everyone here in time to set up for lunch and-- UGH. Oh god, my eyes! Call me back. UGH."
Harry sighed loudly and dropped his face against Draco's shouder, muttering, "God damn it."
Using the fingers threaded through Harry's hair, Draco lifted his head to force Harry to meet his eyes. "Hey. Your family is looking for you."
"I'm so sorry I ever had this place reconnected to the network," said Harry, genuinely apologetic as he stroked Draco's hip.
"Yes, that was quite stupid," Draco deadpanned, talking a reluctant step away. "But you should probably still go."
At 12:45am, Christmas morning, a tapping at the window woke Draco, who had been sleeping soundly in his room at the Parkinson Manor, now entirely property of one Pansy Parkinson, also known as Draco's best friend. He rose from the bed and padded to the window to find a large snowy owl that he knew all too well standing on the sill outside the frosted glass.
Rolling his eyes, Draco opened the window and took the bit of folded parchment from her beak, knowing she hadn't come far if it wasn't tied to her foot instead. She made no move to leave as he read the note.
Draco leaned immediately out of the window to find Harry standing on the ground covered in a thin layer of snow, rubbing his hands together and looking up expectantly. He smiled and held one hand up with a tentative, "Hi."
Foolishly glad to see him, Draco called down, "Couldn't stay away, Potter?"
Harry's smile widened into a genuine grin that threatened to split his face in two, and only enhanced by the pink tinge to his cheeks and nose. "The way I figure it, I've got three hours or so before anyone notices I'm missing."
Stealing a glance at the clock on the mantle, Draco arched an eyebrow. "Only three?"
"Yeah, more or less," smirked Harry. "Depends on when Ron decides to sneak back from Luna's and finds out I'm gone."
Draco laughed. "Why exactly are you still wasting time down there, then, you utter dolt?"
In a fraction of a second, Harry appeared in the room just behind Draco, letting his hands circle Draco's waist and slide down to his hipbones, nuzzling his neck. "Had to follow Hedwig. Didn't know what room you were in."
"Mmhmm," sighed Draco, leaning for only a moment before reaching up to shut the window and then turning to face Harry. Hands already shoving Harry's jacket off of his shoulders, Draco spoke lazily through lowered eyelashes, making a show of his feigned nonchalance. "Less talking, more stripping. Time is of the essence here."
I could have killed you. I might have if I'd thought I could get away with it.
Yes, but not about this. Hmm. Perhaps just done away with a handful of Weasleys.
It wasn't that bad!
On a scale from zero to Cruciatus?
I'd put it at a mild, 'ouch'.
Fine. I'll grant you a loud yelp. But that's it.]]
Draco stood on the back porch of The Burrow, gloved hands shoved far down into the pockets of his coat, just barely tolerating the cold even through the Warming Charms that Molly had placed on the porch for the occasion. The sounds of a large extended family celebration wafted from within, radiating from the very house itself and Draco knew he was entirely out of his depth. One would think that spending as much time with a Gryffindor as he did might have inured him to this sort of effusion of emotions, and it had, to some extent, but this level of sheer insanity was too m--
"You can go inside, you know. Even if you annoy someone, they won't hex you or anything. Not anymore."
At first, Draco couldn't quite make out the female speaker, but as she moved forward and out of the shadows as she circled the corner of the house, he recognized Ginny easily. "Of course they wouldn't," he said haughtily. "There are too many people jammed together in any given location. There's no guaranteeing they'd hit me and not random Weasleys and hangers-on."
"Afraid of catching a bad case of Blood Traitor, then?" Ginny shot back, stepping up onto the porch.
"Too late for that, Weaselette. Caught it from your boyfriend," said Draco, who quickly touched a gloved finger to his chin in mock confusion. "Or, no-- I suppose he's been mine for a while now. My mistake."
Ginny grimaced, though she almost looked amused, giving the first indication that the slapfight wasn't what it might appear at first. "Alright, that one? Was low, even for you, Ferret."
"You're dealing with a professional. Do keep up," smirked Draco. "It doesn't give me joy to point out we share the same taste in men, but if it's what I have to do to win, then so be it."
"We do not 'share the same taste in men'!" said Ginny, indignant as she crossed her arms.
"Hrm. That may be true," Draco said, nodding. "I'd like to think it's just been an extended lapse in judgment on my part."
Barking a laugh, Ginny bowed her head, amused. "And yet, here you are at a Weasley Christmas."
"Don't remind me. It's painful enough as it is," said Draco with distaste.
Ginny laughed again. "You are so whipped."
"Fuck you, Weasley," growled Draco. "Truly, you only grow more vulgar and deluded as time passes. I can't decide whether it's impressive or depressing. I'm going with 'depressing'."
Sounding altogether too amused, Ginny rolled her eyes. "You act as though any of that is news. About either of us."
"A correction to my previous assertion," said Draco, shifting from one foot to another, "I think you've put it well into 'excruciating'."
"Well, I think it's sweet, at any rate," said Ginny. "You two are clearly good for one another, though I've no fucking clue how or why and it's still a little disturbing."
Draco narrowed his eyes at her, embarrassment surfacing as indignance and only half-kidding. "Remind me why I swore off of the Killing Curse?"
Harry chose just that moment to come through the back door, ostensibly smiling but looking a bit hunted. "Draco. Thank God. I was afraid I'd have to wander the house looking for you. Again." He burrowed against Draco, arms around his waist as he shivered against the cold. "Please come inside and say good night so that I don't have to be vomited upon by someone else's infant. Again."
Ginny sighed loudly. "Oh for fuck's sake. Those are my nephews you're talking about."
"Hey, Gin," said Harry, before who he was talking to finally registered. "Ginny!" Eyes wide, Harry moved away from Draco and pulled her into a hug, squeezing her tightly. "Where've you been hiding lately?"
"Around. Same place as always," Ginny shrugged as she hugged back. "I'm attached to living on the Muggle side these days. I need the distance."
Harry cocked his head at Ginny. "Your parents are going to be beside themselves."
Groaning, Ginny squeezed one eye shut. "Don't remind me."
"I'll come in with you for moral support," said Harry, ignoring Draco's matching groan.
"Nah. I can take it. Just get out of here," said Ginny, stepping away from Harry and reaching out to squeeze Draco's hand as she made for the door. "I'll cover for you."
"You're sure?" Harry asked earnestly.
"Yes," said both Ginny and Draco with varying levels of impatience.
With a small laugh, Harry said, "Alright. Thanks, Gin. Come by the flat tomorrow before you disappear again, yeah? We'll have lunch or something."
"Late tomorrow," said Draco, still a little surprised that they should get along so well, or even at all. He supposed that what amounted to serving together in a war did that, and Ginny was the only person outside of Snape and Draco that had borne a Dark Mark for the Order and had lived to tell about it. (There had also been that ill-advised incident with the case of champagne after Fred and Angelina's wedding, but the three of them had vowed never to speak of that again.)
Unamused glare trained on a smirking Ginny, Draco leaned into Harry gratefully as he pulled his wand to Apparate. "Happy Christmas."
I don't want to talk about that one.
Alright, that was the worst in a while.
It didn't help that we found them three bloody weeks later wondering what the fuss was about.
How dare they scare the living hell out of us like that? While completely ruining my plans for the Mediterranean?
Harry was whistling some carol or another as he made his way down the hall carrying two suitcases, in too cheerful a mood to be stopped. "That's it. Everything's covered," he said as he walked into the sitting room and set it down and held up a manila envelope. "I've got the Portkey, I've got the bags, the wards are reset and I'm on holiday from the Ministry for two weeks and the world can bloody well go about its Christmas celebrating while we ignore it compl... Draco?"
A large, unfamiliar owl was already winging away, and Draco was standing at the open window, letter in hand. His face was completely devoid of color, an envelope crushed in the other hand as he stared at the parchment. Harry dropped the bags and crossed the room in less time than it took to think about it.
"What is it? What happened?" said Harry in a panic as he took the letter out of Draco's unresisting hand.
"Missing and feared dead," Draco murmured tonelessly. "That's not... it's not possible..."
Harry read the parchment under his breath, "From their last communication, Remus and Severus were on their way from the Russian Ministry to the werewolf colony. However, intelligence we intercepted from the Ministry says that many of their personal effects were found at the site of a border skirmish that took place two days before the full moon... in which the resultant casualties were taken by the colony and... oh. god." Harry looked up. "That was six days ago. And the Ministry isn't sending anyone after them, not to the colony."
Draco still looked somewhat lost and out of sorts. "McGonagall didn't say what we're doing to find them. Why's that?"
"We?" asked Harry.
"The Order, prat," said Draco, frustrated. "The knights in shining armor. The perpetual rescue party."
"Oh," Harry murmured. "That 'we'." After a short pause, he swore and crumpled the parchment, not noticing that it was already smoking in his hands. He threw the crumpled mess hard at the window, not surprised as it combusted midair and hit the glass pane in a hail of embers and sparks. Turning on his heel he picked up the suitcases and stalked back to the master bedroom. "Come on."
"Come on... where?" said Draco, following, knowing that no matter how violent Harry got with inanimate objects around him, Draco was perfectly safe. (Unless he managed to get in the way of whatever object was being detonated or thrown, in which case, the sulk would be over and he'd be vehemently apologised to in very creatively penitent ways.)
"To repack a smaller bag," growled Harry, flinging the bags on the bed.
Draco swore and threw a vehemently uttered unpacking spell at the bags, adding one that sent all of the more suitable things in as well. "If he's dead, I'll kill him," he said under his breath, and could only be talking about Snape. "No self-respecting double agent survives a war only to be taken down by a werewolf colony, not when he's shagging one himself."
Harry paused in his search through the old trunks for long-unused self-defense supplies. "Are they really shagging?" Draco opened his mouth to answer, but the disbelieving look on his face said enough.
"Never mind. Pack," muttered Harry. "I don't want to know. Let's just find them."
* CONTINUED IN PART TWO *