Title: Point of Entry
Summary: They stood like that a long time, simply leaning against each other. Finally Draco moved a fraction away and cleared his throat. "So what now?" he asked in a small, brittle show of bravery, and the sound of his voice felt like a caress against Harry's heightened senses.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): None that I can think of :)
Epilogue compliant? Decidedly EWE
Word Count: ~8700
Author's Notes: Happy holidays, plotting_pen! This turned out to be something decidedly without a ferret, but I hope you'll like it regardless :)
A huge, heart-felt thank you goes out to K, who claims the honour of being a traditional December-time life saviour, and does a fantastic job out of it, every time. Another one is for D, who not only let herself be easily persuaded, but also promised me a present if I found my ending. Thank you, ladies! A lovely holiday to you both!
"I think I'm going for a good long nap now," Stuart Blalock said and stretched. The tall, leggy blonde from the registration desk passed by, and he winked at her without a pause, his whole posture suddenly one of nonchalant invite that cleanly overcame his absolute lack of Italian.
"Seriously," Harry said.
Stuart looked back at him with sparkling eyes. "Well, yes. I need my beauty sleep for tonight, if you know what I mean." He wriggled his eyebrows in a completely ridiculous but very typical gesture, and Harry couldn't help the smile tugging at his mouth.
"Besides," Stuart continued as he reached for the congress timetable papers, "I really don't think they expect much of an audience for a lecture scheduled between the last coffee break and the official congress dinner. See?" He pointed. "There isn't even a name mentioned. Probably it will be a stuttering new graduate with a bunch of theoretical prescriptions for situations he hasn't even dreamed of and would cry and run to mama if he had."
"I like the way it sounds," Harry said, grinning, and took back his timetable.
"Yes, if course you like the way it sounds." Stuart mocked him with an eyeroll. "I swear, no one should be interested in something like that, unless they’re my squib cousin's teenage daughter, and she'd probably be better off when she grows out of that phase. A lecture on vampire mind magic? Really? Could they be any cheesier than that?"
"Still." Harry stood. "I'm entitled to my own cheap entertainments." He pointedly glanced towards the registration corner.
"You know," Stuart responded after a tiny pause. "That was a really low shot."
Harry bowed theatrically.
When Harry sat down in the spacious conference hall fifteen minutes later, there really weren’t many congress people present. He did, however, notice all the leading vampire mediators and at least one other curse breaker. Harry nodded and smiled politely at the man, and was thankful that the lights dimmed and left no time for social awkwardness. He turned forward and froze.
Approaching the lecture stand at the front of the room was Draco Malfoy.
"Dear God, what is taking him so long?" Hermione asked impatiently. "I'm starving."
"Oh, my hair, my nails, my skin," Ron imitated crudely, making a ridiculous face that managed quite accurately to incorporate Draco's infamous sneer into a fourteen-year-old's pre-date routine.
"Ron, stop that," Harry chided feebly as he barely managed not to laugh himself. "I'm sure he's coming. You start if you want; I'm going to fetch him."
"Malfoy!" Harry shouted from the bottom of the stairs, then ran up, taking two at a time. "Malfoy! I swear," he continued, laughing as he neared the half-open bedroom door, "if you really are fixing your hair, I'm going to tell Ron."
He pushed the door and entered. The room was empty and dark, and a little bit cold without a fire.
"Draco?" he called again, and checked the bathroom just to be thorough.
"He's not upstairs," Harry said as he returned to the kitchen, and sat down to start on his own dinner. He tried to sound normal and nonchalant, but they all looked up immediately anyway.
"What do you mean, not upstairs," Ron asked. "Where is he?"
"He knows he shouldn't…" Hermione added tentatively.
"Yes, of course he knows." Harry interrupted and put down his fork. He wasn't very hungry anymore. "It's been almost an year now, he knows the rules. We have to know where he is at all times, and so on."
"Come on, guys." They all looked at Ginny – she smiled and shrugged. "You know how tight it gets inside sometimes. Maybe he just went for a walk. I'm sure he'll be back anytime now."
Ron looked at the door and then quickly away, keeping his face serious with a visible effort.
"Oh," Hermione said after a small, stunned pause. "Luna, you've finished your project!"
"Yes, isn't it amazing?" Luna asked with a serene pleasure in her smile as she delicately patted the silvery halo attached to her head. "I can't wait for it to charge so I can test it!" she continued, pulling a plate from the cupboard. Harry shot Hermione a questioning look but she only shook her head, closing her eyes in resignation.
"So," Luna said as she sat down. "What were you talking about?"
"Malfoy's not in the house." Ron passed her the bread. "And we are debating where to search for him, the hairdresser's or Madam Malkin's."
"Ron!" Hermione chided as Ginny laughed. "We are not!"
"Oh, he went to the apothecary just after sunset," Luna said and blew gently over her soup bowl.
"What?" he asked, and his voice sounded too loud in the sudden perfect silence. Night had long since fallen, and Harry was quite sure business hours were over. "You saw him leave and you didn't… say something? Tell someone?"
"He told me where he was going," Luna answered with obvious confusion. "Said he needed something and that he'd be back soon."
Harry felt himself starting to lose patience. He probably looked like it, too, because Hermione put a warning hand on his shoulder. He shrugged it away:
"Luna, he's not supposed to be out on his own, let alone after sunset! And that was hours ago! Who knows what could have happened!"
He pulled out his wand, and tried not to think that in all fairness none of them would have really stopped Draco. But maybe ask a few questions…? "Point me!" he snapped. The wand trembled and spun feebly, and didn't move with a clear direction no matter how many times he repeated the spell.
"I don't understand," he said helplessly, a cold lump in his throat as he lost the battle against the fear and worry twisting in his belly. "The tracking spell should work even if… even if something has happened to him, right?"
"Oh, Harry," Hermione whispered.
"Mate," Ron started, then swallowed and looked away. "Parents track their kids with that spell. Unless he agreed to it, he's probably felt it the second you cast it and took it down. "
Harry leaned against the mirrored wall of the lift and closed his eyes, trying not to think how much he hated lifts. He took a swig from the bottle in his hand. Stuart had been right, the official dinner had been very nice: good food, interesting conversation, an endless array of smiling assistants from the organisational crew. If he'd had the mind for it, he could have had a blast.
But no, he just couldn’t let go. Couldn't leave well enough alone, now, could he.
Especially not where Draco Malfoy was concerned.
The lift slid to a halt and the whiskey sloshed in the bottle. Harry cursed softly at the nasty feeling in his gut, and stepped out.
It had cost him ten minutes of shameless flirting and a generous bribe to get the room number, and also a significant amount of patience to wait until the evening to use the information. He tried not to think how his heart had stopped in his chest when he saw Draco, or how confusion and betrayal and anger swirled all together in his head, highlighted by the alcohol and surprise.
Seven years without a word, countless hours of worry and pain and fear, days and weeks of futile planning and hoping against hope.
Scratch angry, he was bloody furious. He was going to beat the bastard or know the reason why.
He leaned on the doorframe, took a deep breath and let it go, then knocked on the door and crossed his arms.
The undoing of the wards sent a delicate shiver of well-remembered magic against his skin. Then the door opened wide, and before him stood Draco Malfoy, taller and wider up close than the boy he remembered, rougher and paler and dressed only in a pair of drawstring pyjama bottoms.
Malfoy closed his mouth with a snap, whatever he'd been about to say lost, and Harry flattered himself that he'd seen a quickly repressed tremor.
"Good evening to you too," Harry said lightly and ostentatiously bowed.
It was staggering, this man who now stood before him, as good as a perfect stranger who bore only a passing resemblance to the boy he'd once held. And still Harry recognized the way tension settled in his shoulders, noted the obstinate angling of his chin, the defensive cast of his mouth.
"Potter," Malfoy said after a second, his voice utterly devoid of any emotion, enquiring and polite, and all the more distant for it. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, I don't know." Harry spoke through the sharp tinge of hurt he'd promised himself he wouldn't allow. "I thought I saw a ghost today and it seemed only appropriate to make sure I wasn't imagining it. Turns out I'm not, after all." He smiled brilliantly. "Actually, it's nice you should remember my name after all that time without a word."
He smiled again and let the silence stretch and grow between them, thicken until it filled completely the air and made the tension flammable.
Malfoy lifted his chin and crossed his arms. The gesture should have been defensive and superior, and came out tired and annoyed instead. "Potter…"
"I didn't know you were interested in vampirism," Harry cut across him blithely, and Malfoy blinked.
"I'm not sure interested is the word I'd use." He stepped forward. "Potter, I really don't think we need to have this conversation."
Harry laughed. "You don't? I think we definitely need to have this conversation. We need to have it in detail and at length, and actually we should have had it seven years ago like grown up people. So let's start it easy: if you are not interested, what are you doing in the middle of Italy delivering lectures on the topic?"
Malfoy rolled his eyes pointedly. "Because they pay me, obviously."
There was something in the way he said it, uncaring and distant and removed, that made parts of Harry he thought he'd outgrown stand up with bared teeth. It was exactly the idiotic conversation that they shouldn't be having, a long-gone echo of countless moments of schoolboy bickering. For some inexplicable reason it made Harry shake. He didn't know what was worse, that he behaved like he was fifteen and wanted to hex Malfoy till kingdom come, or that he felt twenty and craved to reach over and relearn the curve of his collarbone.
The easy familiarity of having him so close by somehow took away the actual years in between, and left Harry reeling.
"Funny," he finally said. He could hear in his own voice the worst of all the conflicting emotions pulling him apart. "I never knew the academic field had so much money to offer. Not that I'd have pegged you for the sort to go to such lengths to earn money, but well, can't deny the temptation, can I?"
Malfoy stiffened, a tiny twitch of his shoulders, a fraction of a movement in the corner of his mouth, and Harry couldn't have stopped himself if he wanted:
"I wouldn't have stooped so low myself, but to each his own, I suppose."
"You have no idea what you are talking about," Malfoy said in a quiet, warning voice that parts of Harry cherished darkly. It carried a ring of seriousness that highlighted the white tension of Malfoy's knuckles clenched around his own elbows, egging Harry on:
"Myself I understand, you know," Harry continued with a conspiratorial, pointedly fake cheer, even though it burned anew, like acid coming back up, the quick flash of memory; stolen kisses and whispered words and barriers broken and these same pale fingers persuading him to release his fears. "I was so easy and naïve and eager, it probably gave you a good long laugh, seeing how far you could get me to go, getting back for every injustice I ever dealt to you."
The tension was gathering, growing, pressing against Harry in an enveloping brush of static, and it felt like it was coruscating down his body, a burst of strange electricity.
"Your parents, though – and fuck if I ever thought I'd pity Lucius bleeding Malfoy, but I did, by Merlin, I did back then! Do you know how much time he spent in the Ministry, drugged to the gills on Veritaserum, repeating I don't know where my son is? Do you know that your mother fell apart and cried like the world was over in a room full of Aurors? Did you –" Harry paused and took a breath. It tasted thick and metallic. "Did you at least let them know you were all right, after all, or did you just –"
"Potter, shut up!" Malfoy exploded. His voice sounded deep and commanding and furious, and Harry felt it under his skin, in his mind, like a liquefied Imperius.
Harry shivered and helplessly closed his eyes for a second, soaking in the warm, smooth magic that surrounded him. Then reason reasserted itself with a click sharp enough to dislodge the induced sensation, and he stared at Draco with horror, all traces of intoxication vanished.
"Dear God," he whispered, and his breath came out in a wisp in the suddenly freezing air.
Draco looked not simply pale but ashen, white as a sheet, fingers digging painfully in the muscles of his upper arms. The power of his mind still felt like molten silk around Harry.
"Dear God," Harry repeated, taking in the slowly appearing sheen of sweat, the eyes watered down to glass-like clarity, the tense power that was coming off Malfoy's body in waves. "You’re a vampire!" The word came out whispered and alien off his tongue and seemed to echo tinny off the walls of the corridor.
Malfoy flinched as if slapped and closed his eyes, and Harry watched him as he visibly fought for control. In a minute the static whispering over Harry's skin waned, the temperature slowly climbed back to normal, and when Malfoy opened his eyes, they were merely an angry, graphite grey.
Harry couldn't help remembering that they were the same colour as when he was hard and wanting and at his persuasive best.
"Draco…" he said, and reached out.
Before he managed to touch him, Malfoy stepped back. "That's enough," he said, and made a move to pull the door shut. "I think that now when all cards are down, we can safely say we are done with this conversation."
"Oh, no, you don't!" Harry snapped and put a foot in the door's way. "What do you mean, done? We've only just started."
"Get away from my door, Potter! Merlin, can't you leave well enough alone? I'm not going to discuss any of this with you."
"See if I care if you want to discuss it," Harry ground out as they grappled for the door; he was not overcome by sheer virtue of being squished against the doorjamb. "I am going to discuss it," he pushed with all his force and almost managed to win back an inch, "and it's up to you if we do it inside or in the fucking corridor."
"Fine!" Draco let go so abruptly that Harry, who was still pushing with all his might, lurched forward in the room.
Surprised by such a quick success, Harry took a moment to straighten as he watched Malfoy stalk into the spacious room. Through the tall French windows the city was splayed, sparkling and alive, beautiful in that special way big cities are in the nighttime. The thin curtains were moving gently in some barely whispered draught, and a half-empty tumbler on the coffee table said all that was needed about Malfoy's previous occupations.
Harry almost smiled.
As if having seen it, felt it somehow, Draco turned sharply back towards him, wearing a complicated expression Harry couldn't really interpret.
"So how…" he started to ask, more to get them going than because he really expected an answer. It worked a little like a poke in the eye. The inexplicable wistfulness in Draco's eyes was cleanly swallowed by sharp-edged annoyance, and Harry didn't step back, though it took him some effort.
"You’re so certain," Draco spat and took a slow step forward. "Insisting so arrogantly on answers that aren’t yours to demand. You come here as if it's your right to threaten me – do you really think the fact you've just heard a lecture on vampire magic will protect you? Will help you? I can snap your neck and make you want it!"
"Come on, Malfoy." Harry smiled slightly and inclined his head to the side. "Surprisingly good as your lecture was, it was far from groundbreaking news for me."
"My, my, such high praise!" Draco sneered and grasped his hands behind his back, a pose that hit somewhere between Snape's well-remembered looming black and the zenith of Lucius' arrogance. "And why would it come as such a surprise?" Draco asked and Harry needed a moment, a handful of heartbeats, to overcome the dizzying resemblance.
"Because I never thought you'd have the patience and tolerance needed to teach others," he said.
"Bacause you know me so well," he clarified softly, setting off every alarm bell Harry had.
Next thing he knew, Draco's willpower slammed against his mind like a slap to the face, its sheer unstructured intensity making him take a physical step back.
It felt… good. Or at least a very insistent voice somewhere deep was telling him it would, not just good but amazing, if only he'd not struggle. He redoubled his efforts, trying to overcome the unexpected way the assault felt far more like he remembered Draco's magic being than any vampiric power he'd experienced.
It was distracting. Tempting with an intensity it shouldn't have possessed, not after that much time, not when Harry had so well persuaded himself he was over it. The harder Harry fought, the silkier the magic was becoming, liquid, sinuous, playful as a lover, pulling and sliding against the fabric of Harry's mind barriers.
He reeled under the unwanted wave of carefully suppressed memories that the feel of Draco against his mind dredged up. The day Draco had come to offer himself as a hostage for peace to Harry. The day he'd found Draco and Ginny fighting like a pair of cats, sulky and close-mouthed afterwards. The day he'd first talked to Draco, Draco and not the poster boy of Slytherin House. The first time he had dreamed of Draco, the first terrified kiss, the shame, the time it took Draco to persuade him it was okay, more than okay, welcome, that he wanted more, anything, everything; the whispered words, the magic, the elation, the delight and trepidation, the power and satisfaction… and the unbelievable, unimaginable expression on Lucius' face when they couldn't find Draco, a private, stricken pain that had made Harry feel helpless and cold and lost, more alone than he'd ever felt before.
The recollection grounded him, focused him, brought him back to the room where the two of them stood facing each other in the here and now. Harry realised his eyes were squeezed and his fists clenched. He bit down on his lip and the bright burst of pain cleared his mind further, enough to open his eyes and see Draco's determined, absolute focus and the sweat pooling at the hollow of his throat.
Harry bit down tight for long seconds, until his eyes watered and his lip throbbed. The pressure on his mind increased correspondingly at first, a painful, trembling crescendo, and then Draco closed his eyes and sagged, and Harry was left staggering under the shock of release.
It was so quiet that Harry's ears rang with it, nothing but the susurration of dispersing magic.
"A little of that whiskey would be great," Harry said after the longest time, after they had both caught their breath and his mind had stopped reeling. "It's probably better than what I brought."
For a second it looked like Draco wouldn't answer. Then he took a shuddering breath: "I doubt it you need any more alcohol tonight," he said in a rough voice, then cleared his throat. "I certainly don't."
"Yeah," Harry noted with a scathing once-over of the way Draco hugged himself tight. "I can see that."
He went and pulled a tumbler from the minibar, filled it with a generous shot, then topped off Draco's half-empty one. "Sit," he instructed, and when no response came, reached and pushed Draco into the nearest armchair, then let himself fold into the one across.
Malfoy shook his head slowly and buried his face in his hands with an exhalation of defeat.
"Drink," Harry said, and knocked off half of his own liquor. The whiskey slid smooth and warm down his throat and yes, definitely better that the bottle he'd pilfered from the official dinner.
"I miss the point, to be frank," Malfoy said. Against the deep red upholstery of the armchair he looked like a particularly incensed porcelain doll, sharp-lined and milky and graceful.
"Of drinking? You look like you need a good stiff drink, actually." Harry smiled at the glare he received for his glibness, then sobered. "I'm not quite sure what the point is myself," he admitted, leaning back, and took a smaller, slower sip of the whiskey. It slid down warm and familiar, and caressed the tight coil low in his belly.
"You made me trust you, you know," he said after a pause. He studied the way the refracted light set the alcohol aglow. "You got me to do things I'd never even contemplated, made me realize and admit to desires I'd never suspected, turned my whole world upside down – but in the end it was all because I trusted you." Harry twirled the whiskey in his glass and watched the specks of light dance. "Trusted the things you said in return. And then I was suddenly wrong." He looked up and found Draco watching him back with carefully blank eyes. "I want to know why I was wrong."
"It's been seven years, Potter," Draco said. "Why should it matter?"
The words blew apart the anger Harry thought he had under control now, set fire to each and every bit of calm he had reclaimed.
"Oh, I have no idea," he drawled, and tapped a finger to his lips. "Maybe there's no reason. Maybe I don't even need a reason. Or maybe…" He carefully set his glass down and looked Draco squarely in the eyes. "Maybe because I spent a good portion of those seven years reliving our last conversation. Wallowing. Do you…"
"I remember what it was about," Draco cut him off. He looked away. "I'm sure you found someone to help you get over it."
"It was," Harry continued in clear, exact tones, "a very detailed description of how you intended to make love to me. I distinctly remember feelings being repeatedly mentioned. Then you disappeared. My continued distress over that should be pretty understandable."
"My God, Potter, I'm sure had you only mentioned that you wanted somebody to fuck you, a line of willing candidates the length of the equator would have appeared!" Malfoy spat the words out and gave Harry a hard, glittering glare. "So spare me the drama and woe."
"Did you at least write to your parents?" Harry cut across him, and Draco looked away again and hugged himself.
"Yes, they know I'm okay."
"You know, 'okay' isn't the word I'd use," Harry told him, an odd echo from the beginning of their conversation. It came out harsher than he'd intended but he couldn't help it. "You’re hiding, you’re lying, you’re not feeding."
Malfoy seemed startled for a second, then he raised his chin. "I am feeding just fine, thank you for the concern, Potter" his voice catching infinitesimally at the verb.
Harry laughed shortly. "The colour of your skin, the measured quantities of alcohol – yes, Draco, I can totally tell you’re feeding fine! Shouldn't your master interfere?" Draco twitched at the word, and Harry felt a twisted triumph that almost overcame the uncalled for sense of propriety he'd always had where Draco was concerned. "Speaking of which," he continued, "whoever said master is, he's not doing a very good job of it, is he. You are much improved now, of course, but I shouldn't have been able to hold back a mind attack like that, not with me half-drunk and you physically so close to your target."
Something flashed over Draco's face, something hot and naked and vulnerable, and then he was out of his chair and facing away from Harry.
"Well?" Harry dug deeper with a quietly masochistic urge and stood up as well, moving behind Draco's hunched form. "Who is he?"
Harry heard Draco take a breath but nothing followed. He reached out almost despite himself, following the same strange yearning that had lead him to Draco's room, like tiny pinpricks under his skin, like magic that tightened and pulled and beckoned. As if in response, Draco moved further away, the last step towards the mantelpiece.
Harry took a deep breath himself. The tight flutter in his belly was starting to take shape and form, and he'd had enough whiskey to ward off any thoughts beyond how sharp those shoulder blades looked, a foot away from him. He made a tiny step forward and let his thumb circle the most prominent point at the back of Draco's neck.
Draco jumped around as if scalded.
There was nowhere to go – he was trapped between Harry and the mantelpiece, and Harry should have been sensible, afraid, away, and instead he felt invincible.
"My God, Potter, you must really be desperate to get that promised fucking," Draco hissed, his face twisted in some internal battle Harry couldn't begin to untangle. He didn't need to.
"No," he said; he could feel his heartbeat in his throat. "I'm afraid you lost the chance to shape me to your liking," he whispered as he leaned forward, close enough to paint the words against Draco's mouth. "I prefer to do the fucking myself now."
Nose to nose, breath to breath, and Harry realized he'd forgotten just how bright Draco's eyes were from that close. "Draco…" he breathed, asked, but the only movement in response was the curling of Draco's fists in the lapels of his jacket. Harry gave it a heartbeat to become an active protest, and when it didn't, he closed his eyes with a sigh and relearned the curve of Draco's mouth.
As they lay tangled in bed after their lovemaking, an impossibly long time later it seemed, Harry couldn't help but feel disoriented, like the world had suddenly acquired a transparent second layer of interposed memory and dream. The taste of Draco, his voice, the way he felt pressed up against Harry – they were almost the same but not quite, and the difference was as jarring as it was exhilarating, like a missing step on a staircase that had always been solid before.
Harry lay there, propped up on an elbow, and tried hard to not overthink it. The emotional side of the experience was too fresh to be interpreted, anyway, and the physical had been mind-blowing in a way he hadn't expected, like a dream that had turned to be far better in reality. He told himself he should revel in the afterglow and soak up as much of the feeling as possible.
Draco reached up and rubbed at his forehead between the eyebrows; Harry hadn't even realized he was frowning. He looked down and smiled, and resumed his idle exploration of Draco's chest.
"I was thinking of your lecture," Harry began, pretending he didn’t notice Draco's knowingly raised eyebrow. "Isn't it a trade secrets betrayal of sorts, what you do?"
He watched Draco curiously. Almost of their own accord, his fingers mapped the supple planes of Draco's shoulders and torso. A flash of emotion, fleeting but harsh, flitted over Draco's face and melted in a half-smile that was more self-deprecation than amusement.
"Yes," Draco said and settled his hand on the back of Harry's neck, rubbing. "It is."
A part of Harry, the part which didn't want to stretch out like a languorous, well-petted cat under the warm attention of Draco's fingers, was intensely interested by that answer. But he saw the brush off for what it was and decided there would be enough time later. Besides, he found himself again and again tracing the faint half-crescent scars on Draco's neck.They sang with a delicate hum of magic under his touch that was utterly distracting.
He bent and licked another scar, one on the tender inner part of Draco's left arm, and Draco made an involuntary sound deep in his throat that left no question, what the sudden tension in his body meant. Harry smiled and slithered up until he could kiss the scars he'd been caressing. He traced the contours with his tongue, sucked lightly and then, encouraged by Draco's unmistakable reaction, bit at the tender skin.
Draco hissed, arched against Harry, and Harry laid soothing kisses over the flushed patches of skin. The taste of magic in his mouth was maddening, tempting, sliding like electricity down his spine.
Draco was gasping softly, fingers tight in Harry's hair. "If you go on," he warned, his eyes dark and deep, "I might just make that bite go both ways."
"Maybe next time," murmured Harry. He put his tongue against the abused spot one last time, then moved away, letting his hands slide down towards the other scars he'd found at more tender, more hidden places, just where Draco wanted him.
He licked a slow, teasing trail, ignoring the abortive trusts of Draco's impatience, until he reached a scar hidden in the narrow valley that led from hipbone to groin. Kissing it, he smiled at the sound Draco produced, breathy and hopeful and beckoning. Harry propped his chin on his hand and smiled sweetly up.
Their gazes had barely locked before he found himself on his back, hands over his head, the pressure of Draco's cock aligned perfectly along his own. He laughed and groaned and let himself be kissed until his bones went soft with it.
They moved against each other, mouths and thrusts and hungry hands, and Harry arched up and panted and revelled in the way the ceiling looked, veiled in blond and tinged with pleasure.
"Draco…" he breathed. He pulled him up for a kiss, hands tangled in his hair, commanding and possessive. "I want your cock," he spoke softly against Draco's lips and made himself open his eyes and watch the way Draco's darkened. "In my mouth," Harry whispered and sucked on Draco's lip in a way that was probably asking for trouble. The answer was written with expert fingers on Harry's nipples, and Harry kissed the scars on Draco's neck just to get the complementary tingle of magic on his lips.
"No," he said, when instinct more than anything else told him Draco was going to roll them over again. "Like that. Turn around."
Dark shut his eyes for a second and shuddered against him, then responded with a trail of open-mouthed kisses down Harry's neck that went close enough to breaking skin to make Harry shake with adrenaline.
"Dear God, Harry," Draco groaned and stilled with his forehead pressed against Harry's. "Stop… stop thinking that," and Harry realised he could probably smell the fear and excitement on him, mixed up with the desire and sex.
"Turn around." Harry spoke with a rough voice, and his imagination just wouldn't stop going, painting scenes that made his skin tingle, that would probably sent Draco over the edge of self-control if he could see them.
Draco turned around slowly, tantalising, touching Harry just enough to keep him writhing and unsatisfied. He retaliated by putting his mouth on every part of Draco he could reach, stomach and knee and the delicate inner part of his thigh. Draco's soft sigh blew cool over the heated flesh of Harry's cock, and Harry's whole body spasmed.
"Let up," Draco said, and Harry complied, dazed, and allowed his hips be arranged on a pillow. He reached over and stuffed another one under his head.
"So sure," Draco whispered against the soft, sensitive skin low on Harry's belly. "So certain you can handle me," he breathed, delineating the words with his tongue as he blew another steam of slow tease over Harry's straining flesh before swinging into position directly above him.
For a second Harry stood still and let the moment burn itself into his mind, the scent of Draco's body, the way it was splayed, unashamed and inviting, all for the taking. Then he reached up and took hold of Draco's hips, making sure his thumbs were hooked just where the sensitive scarring was, and gave Draco a wide-tongued, slow lick.
Draco made a sound halfway between a groan and a growl, and pushed Harry's knees as far apart as they would go. He fit his mouth around the head of Harry's cock and sucked him in with a no-nonsense sort of determination that made Harry shiver.
It was a fascinating experience, once they reached some semblance of rhythm, sucking and being sucked. Harry was lost, somehow, in the circuit of sensation, his own small thrusts and the almost corresponding movement of Draco's cock in his mouth. He was tingling, shaking, warmth and pressure on his cock, his balls, Draco's nimble fingers painting unseen sigils on his skin. It felt like pleasure was snowballing through the circle they formed, a sparkling, nerve-lighting synchronicity, a delicate, equal unity.
Harry touched the places he wanted touched on himself, then found himself unconsciously copying Draco's moves, until it was unclear where the one ended and the other began, what he wanted to get and to give. Until there was nothing but need trembling for release, desire shivering just beneath sensitised skin, magic gathering like static around them, beneath Harry's fingers against Draco's scars. Touch, thought, sensation, frantic spasmodic movements, the sounds deep in his throat that were transformed into vibrations against wet skin, and the tiny, oxygen-deprived part of Harry's brain that kept imagining how easily Draco could break skin now. Harry was desperate, tense, wide open and tightly held, flying and grounded in the thick velvet darkness behind eyes squeezed shut, and then Draco changed the angle just so, a sudden push, and Harry was falling, falling, they both were, and every fibre of him was screaming, writhing in completion.
Draco rolled to the side, breaking their contact, and for a long time the only thing Harry could do was try and figure out how to breathe again. Slowly, his toes uncurled and his muscles unclenched, and he reached blindly to pull Draco up. They moved against each other, heavy with languor and dissipating heat, and by the time Harry fit his face against Draco's throat, the aftershocks had all but melted into the tang of magic just beneath the skin.
They settled, adjusting, finding a sleeping position Harry remembered all too well. He put his arm around Draco's waist, his thumb subconsciously rubbing at the scar nestled on the hip, and kissed a sleepy, content smile on the scar that marked Draco's neck.
The second he connected, it was like the static around them discharged, breaking through the resistance of the air. Draco hissed and shied away. For a tiny moment, Harry felt like he was simultaneously floating and flying, skin atingle. He shivered.
Draco let out a short, tired laugh of disbelief and threw an arm across his face. "Dear God," he whispered, then repeated it even more quietly.
"Are you going to be okay?" Harry found himself softly asking, drifting and not entirely focused, against Draco's throat. "With... with your master and everything?"
Draco flinched. Harry held him closer, and after a moment's struggle, Draco let him.
Harry was almost asleep, warm and sated and boneless, when Draco's voice drifted to him, soft and sober and wistful.
"How do you think one becomes a vampire, my poor, deluded Gryffindor? It should be a gift, not a curse..." Delicate fingers threaded through his hair and Harry was slipping away by the second. "And what gifts do you think Voldemort's vampires had for a traitor? No..." Draco's thumb traced his lips and the side of his face, and Harry would have rubbed against it if he was a little more present.
"No," Draco repeated and laughed humourlessly. "I have no master."
Harry woke up alone and taking up the entire bed. The sun was high up in the sky and the room was bathed in light, and he needed three seconds to figure out why that was a reason to panic. Then he shot out of the bed.
The suite was perfectly empty except for him.
"Damn it, Draco!" He stood naked in the sunlight, heart pounding and limbs weak with the sudden rush of adrenaline expense. "Do you always have to be like that?"
But there wasn't anyone to answer him, so he dressed slowly and went to check out of his own room.
The lobby felt strange. It made Harry's skin tingle and set his teeth on edge, and lost as he was in convoluted plans how to track Draco down, he was almost by the reception desk before he untangled the sensation enough to recognise it through the signatures of the throngs of magical people milling around and muddying it. The astringent aftertaste of recently activated protective wards.
In the middle of the lobby bar?
Somewhere in his head Draco's voice said in lecturing mode, "There are no countries in today's Europe which do not exercise some form of vampire ostracism."
Harry felt himself go cold, a horrible déjà vu of loss and anxiety and hopelessness.
He took a deep breath. Not Draco. Stop thinking it's Draco, and use your head.
"Hey," Harry said, and leaned with a well-affected boredom against a pillar.
The passing bellboy looked up with eyes that still hadn't lost the eager shine of recent excitement: "Can I help you, sir?"
"Well," Harry stopped and gave him a doubtful look, then smiled dismissively. "I think not. It's quite a delicate matter, you see..."
"It's about the vampire, right?" the boy interrupted, with all the eagerness to show off that Harry had hoped for.
"You know about it?" Harry prompted and suffused the words with just a tiny amount of dubiousness. Inside, he felt like the bottom dropped out from under his stomach and panic crept forward, ever insistent.
"Oh, yes!" nodded the bellboy. "They arrested him right in the middle of the lobby. Stupid of him really, wandering around unmentored."
That tugged at Harry's memory in a way he couldn't quite put his finger on.
"Yes, of course," he said and tapped his chin with a finger thoughtfully, fishing wildly. "I had forgotten it's like that in Italy. Vampires need to..."
"Need to have an official living sponsor to act as guarantor for them in order to be considered lawful citizens." The bellhop rushed in, boasting his knowledge and filling the gaps in Harry's. "Also they have to wear the mark of their creator and announce their status when dealing with members of the public."
"And why didn’t the warding catch him when he entered?" Harry’s mind was spinning in circles over his almost nonexistent knowledge of international vampire legislation.
"Well," the boy started philosophically and rolled his eyes for effect. "You know how that works. If the wards are strong enough to catch everything, you spend every other hour untangling and apologising to completely random guests who've triggered a false alarm. Bad for business, a pain in the ass for the Aurors. I mean, mostly the Aurors, they sent a Magical Creatures Squad for the vampire. Technically he's an illegally imported dangerous magical creature."
Harry felt faint and vaguely sick. "So how," he forced himself to ask calmly, "did you catch this one?"
"Oh, last night a chambermaid told the manager to strengthen the wards. She heard an argument in the corridor..."
Harry's heart stopped.
"...about somebody being a vampire."
"I find that extremely hard to believe," Hermione repeated as the two of them entered the Restricted Section in the Hogwarts library. She navigated the narrow, cramped alleys between the rows of shelves with an ease and familiarity Harry thought he'd never possess. She stopped in front of a section that apparently housed books on vampirism, and glanced at Harry: "Are you sure he...?"
"Yes," Harry said, and leaned against the shelves, careful not to touch actual books. "I told you he tried to roll me with magic when I pushed a little too hard and well," he fought with the threatening blush and lost miserably, "I did see his bite scars."
Hermione, in the process of opening a particularly horrid-looking book, stopped and abruptly turned. "His what?"
"Bite scars," Harry repeated. "You know, from where..."
"Yes, I know." She blew a strand of hair away from her face. "But Harry, he should only have one, from when his master first bit him – it's the physical anchor for the magical bond."
Harry filed that away for future reference, sorry once again that his knowledge spanned more the kill-and-avoid file than the help-and-research one – in wizarding Britain vampirism was an almost automatic connection to Voldemort.
"That's strange," he said slowly in a moment, counting in his head, and looked Hermione in the eye. "Because he has a grand total of seven, and he told me he hasn't got a master."
"There will be a court hearing, without a doubt," the official from the Italian Ministry told Harry solemnly. He pushed his glasses further up on his nose. "Possibly your right to be both sponsor and master will be confirmed if you present the proper rite papers, but even then there is firm evidence that Mr Malfoy has repeatedly failed to register himself with our Ministry. Frankly, Mr Potter, I am not positive he can avoid an active sentence."
Harry, who had scrambled this far up the ladder by means of repeated frustrating meetings with various other Ministry officials, was starting to lose patience, and he hadn't managed to even see Draco yet.
"But I gather that unless all conditions are fulfilled, Italian law does not view vampires as citizens with full legal rights anyway. As I already explained, Mr Malfoy is under my full care via a rite he agreed to participate in, and British law effectively views him as my property. Isn't there some way to solve matters as a case of me reclaiming my missing property?"
"I am very surprised, Mr Potter, that wizarding Britain still condones to such rites. The last one Italy saw was as far back as the eighteen-hundreds."
Harry had to bite his cheek and count to ten.
"At the end of the civil war the British government needed to allow great many small liberties in order to patch society together, something Italy of all countries should be able to sympathise with." Harry spoke levelly. "Mr Malfoy decided that evoking the right of the defeated to seek protection with the victor was his family's only way, and surrendered himself to me as a hostage for peace. I'm not convinced it's a fate any worse than receiving a Dementor's Kiss for treason."
The official had paled somewhat, and Harry leaned forward in an encouraging gesture. "Please consider the lost property reclaim," he asked gently, and watched the man turn the idea around in his head. "It will be faster and will require a lot less international red tape."
"Possibly," came the reluctant verdict a couple of minutes later, accompanied with a nod that was aimed much more at convincing himself than Harry. "Yes." He spoke more firmly and straightened. "I think the easiest way for all concerned parties would be for the Italian court to deport Mr Malfoy, and let British law settle the matters between the pair of you."
Harry nodded seriously. "That seems an elegant solution, yes."
"Yes," the man finally repeated and stood. "You can come tomorrow to fill in the appropriate documentation, and then you'll be notified if anything else turns out to be necessary."
"Excellent." Harry stood and held his hand out for a shake. "Could I have a private meeting with Mr Malfoy now?"
"Hello, Draco," Harry said when he entered the quite ordinary detention room that he'd been assured was completely private. Draco was seated in a chair at the plain table in the middle of the space, held in place by some sort of binding wards.
"Dear God," Draco half moaned, half spat, and raked a hand through his hair – a hand, Harry couldn't help but notice, that was badly shaking.
"Are you okay?" Harry sat down across the table, trying to stay calm.
"I was okay," Draco snapped, and Harry realised that at least half of the room's tingling warding was the result of Draco's poorly controlled magic coming off in conflicting, crashing waves. "Perfectly okay, actually, before you came and screamed vampire until the deaf heard."
"Yes, I saw how perfectly okay you were," Harry answered sharply, but the next image that came to his mind – Draco splayed and naked and willing – dissipated his annoyance without a trace. It was disconcerting how at least half of the image was the product of the jittery, needy magic crashing around him, and he shivered a little as Draco made a half-suppressed noise, as if seeing every scene passing through Harry's mind. "What could be more okay," Harry made himself go on, "than an ill-educated vampire in hiding with a badly concealed death wish." He paused. "What’s happening to your magic?"
Draco twitched, as if he had really believed he had it under control, closed his eyes and with a visible effort pulled back some of the energy that was making Harry's skin prickle.
"It's... it's the warding," he explained faintly and looked away the second his eyes met Harry's, then glanced back at him and away again, and each time magic surged in a practically physical accompaniment.
Harry was starting to get dizzy. "The binding spells make you lose control of your magic?"
Draco let out a short, bitter laugh."Yes, something like that."
"My God, Potter, you know how Aurors work! They've stripped away every bit of my protection and shielding, and poked at every vulnerable spot until it bleeds, making very sure I can't raze the building to the ground through the Subduing potion and without my wand."
"Subduing potion?" Harry repeated. "What sort of Subduing potion would that be? I can practically taste your magic in the air!"
Draco shivered and closed his eyes, as if Harry's words were having an effect on him he hadn't anticipated. Harry felt the energy shift and transform into something beckoning and seductive, heady and hot in the air around them, like thousands and thousands of tiny cords of electricity and wonder pulling and snapping and sizzling.
Draco's skin had acquired a faint pearly sheen.
"Okay," Harry said, and fervently hoped it didn't come out as panicked as he felt. "Okay. You really need to tell me what is going on. Because I’ve almost managed to get you out of here and if you fall apart and go off like a firecracker, that'll be it. Do you understand?" Harry leaned forward in imploration. "I need the truth, Draco."
"Salazar, but you’re stupid!" Draco spat and held onto the edge of the table with white-knuckled hands. "If not for your meddling, I wouldn't have been here to begin with."
"I'm not stupid because I can't just magically deduce whatever this is from your disappearance and half-voiced accusations, Draco!" Harry took a deep breath and tried to focus on what he and Hermione had talked about. "Is this to do with how you became a vampire?" he asked. "Is this connected to the reason you have no master?"
Draco raised his chin in pointed dismissal, which gave Harry all the answer he needed.
"Give me your hand," Harry said and reached over the table.
"No!" Draco made a reflexive attempt to get away, and when the wards held him, hid his hands behind his back. "Don't you dare touch me!"
"So it really is about the scars," Harry concluded softly. Draco shivered. "But what is so special about them? They’re only supposed to be a sign of the connection between..."
"Only?!" Draco hissed. The tension in the air raised goosebumps on Harry's skin. "Only?! Do you, of all people, need explanations of the things a magical scar can 'only' be, can 'only' do? It's a magical bond, Potter! It's meant to share power, create an almost physical link. It's supposed to be a weapon and a force, not a weakness."
"'Yes, but'!" Draco mimicked. "Did it ever cross your mind to wonder why a kiss of vampires would give me, Lucius Malfoy's traitor son, the greatest gift they have by turning me into one of them? No, of course it didn't!"
"But you don't have a master," Harry helplessly said, and it only egged Draco on.
"Excellent deduction, Potter! I don't have a master, which means no connection and certainly no strength to be had. No, it's just a wide open door, instead, seven of them actually, so it's a fucking sieve – easy points of entry left open and seeking and begging. Do you have any idea how desperate unfulfilled magical bonds can become in seven bloody years, Potter?" Draco stopped only because he ran out of breath, on the verge of proper hysteria now and well beyond any reasoning. "No, of course you don't! How strong the need becomes to have the connection completed in some way, in any way; how completely obvious it is to anyone with the knowledge to see, like a huge fucking sign that says..."
"Draco," Harry tried to stem the flood and failed.
"...come and have me, I'm not protected, I'm up for the taking, you can do anything with me, absolutely anything..."
"...just fill the clawing hole of craving..."
"Draco!" Harry stood, his belly tight, throat closed with the desperation twisting Draco's face, skin hot with the magic assaulting him from all sides. He circled the desk, helpless, shaken, without any idea what to offer but the most basic consolation. "Draco, stop that."
Draco shook his head and made to pull away. "No! Get away from me, Potter," his voice a wail, and Harry reached over to steady him...
The second they touched, the magic broke like lightning breaks, an intensified, sharpened version of what Harry had already felt during their lovemaking, and he slumped, propped between the edge of the table and Draco's body in the chair, and Draco's distressed moan was drowned into his shirt. Then he was holding Draco's face and kissing him, and Draco's hands were twisted in his shirt, clawing at his back, and there was enough staticky magic coruscating beneath his skin to burn a hole right through the wards if he just had the mind to direct it.
It felt like forever until they calmed down enough to come apart and breathe normally, until the trembling energy subsided and some semblance of thought returned, until Draco stopped making small breathy noises of wonder and Harry could bear the idea of letting him be full three inches away.
He was sorry to let the moment go.
They stood like that a long time, simply leaning against each other. Finally Draco moved a fraction away and cleared his throat. "So what now?" he asked in a small, brittle show of bravery, and the sound of his voice felt like a caress against Harry's heightened senses.
Harry looked at his terrified eyes, at the blond hair that was for once tousled, at the lips red with his own kisses, and said the only thing he could, the thing he hoped would be enough to let them face the future:
"Now we'll make it work."