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21 December 2012 @ 11:29 pm
Author: mervab
Recipient: deirdre_aithne
Title: Collect Your Courage
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Harry/Ginny, mentions of Ron/Hermione
Summary: Potter needs control; Draco needs forgiveness. They shag; Lavender gives advice; they yell; Seamus makes muffins; they fight; and everyone else drinks far too much coffee for their own wellbeing.
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): anal sex, blowjobs, mild voyeurism, infidelity, fingering, language, er, drinking too much coffee
Epilogue compliant? nope
Word Count: 44,000
Author's Notes: Hope you like it, deirdre_aithne! I tried to include as many of your kinks as possible, although I may have gotten a little too obsessed with the coffee!fic idea towards the end of it. It was originally supposed to be a story about how Draco woos Harry and, well… it sort of morphed into something completely different. The cast got a lot bigger than I’d intended, as well. All my thanks goes to J for listening to all my ideas and rants and worries, to A for loving me through this project just like all the others, and to my beta for working with all my crazy mistakes. You guys are my favs.

( Collect Your Courage )
Truthful Plum Logical Horsemegyal on December 22nd, 2012 07:02 am (UTC)
Really wonderful story. I like tracking the change in Draco, and Harry's fears and flaws and how he changes because of Draco and how Draco had changed because of him. I like the realism of the continued hate, and the combination of characters that were so different from the usual...and Lavender was particularly awesome. I remember thinking at one point, "Harry and Draco never do anything the right way around, do they?" They don't, and that's ok. So many heart-rending moments, like Teddy and that scene with Ginny, but they were treated so well, and balanced the humour, too.
mervab: drarry1mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
They really never do anything correctly, I completely agree. I loved writing Teddy - and thank you for liking my Ginny scene, because I honestly felt so iffy about it but I LOVE Ginny, with all my heart, and I felt she deserved to be mentioned after everything that went on with her behind the scenes. Thanks so much for reading!
Oncloud999: key umbrellaoncloud999 on December 22nd, 2012 10:30 am (UTC)
The emotions!! This was an awesome emotional roller-coaster! I loved it! thanks for writing!
Dora: HBC - So?dora_the_nymph on December 22nd, 2012 11:09 am (UTC)
I really loved Draco's characterisation in this. And Lavender! I love this sort of Lavender so much, the whole Brew great was great. And my poor, messed up Harry. I think you painted a believable picture of him after the war. I am totally head over heels with this fic, it's really wonderful. The development of their relationship over time - sort of doing it backwards - was wonderfully well done. I loved Teddy, too! I wish I had longer to comment because I just have so much love and want to mention everything, but I have to run. Great job.
mervab: drarry1mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:27 am (UTC)
"Painting a believable picture" - yes, that is exactly what I was trying to do! I'm so glad you thought so; too often when I write Harry post-war, he is happy and go-lucky and completely unaffected by it. And while I love that Harry and I appreciate that Harry and sometimes that kind of Harry is the only Harry I'm in the mood for, I really do think that the war would have changed him a bit - and then, of course, he would need his precious Draco to help him change back. Writing Teddy was so much fun for me, especially considering I hate writing next gen. Thanks for reading!
badcook: cakebadcook on December 22nd, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
I really, really loved this, it was such an amazing read! Dear author, why you so loveliehhhhh? :D
mervab: drarry1mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
dear commenter, why you so lovely? thank you so much for reading and commenting!
HelenaDax: HBPhelenadax on December 22nd, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful fic. Harry was a git, but it was obvious he was suffering because of his behaviour, poor thing. And poor Draco too. I loved Lavender and her friendship with Draco. The story was full of brilliant moments and lines. Great job!
autumn_veelaautumn_veela on December 22nd, 2012 04:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, I LOVED this! I'm not normally a fan of infidelity fics but this was done so beautifully and naturally that I didn't find it squicky at all. I especially loved the characterisations of Draco and Lavender. :)
mervab: drarry1mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:30 am (UTC)
Actually, would you believe it, I don't really like infidelity fics either? But writing this was just so much fun, despite the iffyness of Harry playing the bad guy, so I'm glad I gave it a try - and I'm glad you did too! thanks for reading x
germankittygermankitty on December 22nd, 2012 04:21 pm (UTC)
Absolutely love this. Spot-on characterization, just enough plot, and a brilliant way of putting two broken boys back together.

And Lavender ... wow.
Deirdre: reddeirdre_aithne on December 22nd, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Okay, so as much trouble as I'm having putting this thing down for even a second, I am not capable of tackling 44k in one day, let alone a single sitting. Especially not with my crazy work schedule, so alas, this review is going to have to come in bits and pieces, my dear Mystery Author! I'm kind of tackling it in 10 - 15k bites, so it'll be Monday or Tuesday before I'm finished, but I will give you the review as it comes! (Because I know I'm always anxious about seeing what my recipient says when the things I write post, so I would feel terrible making you wait three or four days.)

You'll have to forgive me, though, as I am writing this as I read, which means it is full of flail immediately as it fills me. Expect a lot of capslock and probably unintelligible squeeing. (Also, spoilers, for anyone skimming comments before reading) Now then, ONWARD! - This is for the first ~15k of the fic...

*rolls around in all the shiny, lovely, perfect ANGST OF IT ALL* The first sceeeeeene!! I'm really torn between giddy excitement, because there are so many things I LOVE to start me off – with the smoking, and the post-sex... ness, and the infidelity BECAUSE I LOVE IT SO – and sobbing uncontrollably because THEY ARE SO VERY, VERY FULL OF ANGST! I really do so love my angst, and this sort – this heart-wrenching, gut churning, 'I feel a bit like I'm gonna be sick because I'm so fucking sad' sort – is my most favorite of all!

Reach for him, Draco, god damn you! REACH FOR HIM!

And then there's super-powerful!Harry ALL OVER MY SCREEN and I am in love! *vibrates with squee* I really do love a Harry that can throw his magic around without any effort!... Or a wand! And Draco! DRACO, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD! Always the clever little Slytherin, dragging Harry back from the edge with jabs and insults, my god, I love you!

The tension between these two, once they're in the storage room, is fucking palpable. It makes me jittery and nervous and anxious and I love it so very, very much! Draco's internal angst! And his snarking! And Harry being... Harry. My very favorite kind of Harry, with age and trauma and darkness. He gives me chills and it's amazing, and adds so much to the tension. *grabby hands* His demand that Draco use Voldemort's name, and then suddenly going back to calm!mode is just... *shivers* He's threatening, in a wonderful sort of way!

Oh sweet fucking hell, the kiss... and the grinding... AND THE ENSUING ANGST THAT MAKES ME HURT! My/their pain is so very beautiful... *wallows in it* It's killing me, and I'm eating up every bloody second of it, I really just can't get enough. AND DRACO, my poor angsty bb!! *sobs for him* The poor dear is hurting and angsting so much and Harry is being a horrible bastard to him! Not that I'm complaining at all, mind you. But my gut, it is twisting with all the angst!
Deirdre: reddeirdre_aithne on December 22nd, 2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
Okay, so somehow I missed the passing mention of Lavender's scars, on the first bit, but the more graphic mention of them has filled me with an extraordinary amount of joy! I adore Lavender. And I adore her even more with scars from the Greyback attack (because the movie is full of FILTHY LIES and she didn't die from it!) And the way you wrote them... It's fucking beautiful. Not in the way I find the angst beautiful, but in a much more raw, real sort of way. They're not beautiful scars, no, but the way she wears them – the way she would hide them with her hair and still has to remind herself not to do that – it's painful, and it's real, and it's absolutely fucking beautiful.

The coffee shop scene is giving me a rather well-needed break from the angst-fest, which is a good balance. Not that the angst isn't lovely and amazing, but I'm pretty sure my heart will shatter completely at this rate without the small break! And Seamus! Oh, Seamus, you wonderful man, you. Can I have him? Please, Mystery Author? At least just on alternating weeks and weekends? I could use some of that comfortable semi-snarking in my life! And good on him to be the one to finally make Draco feel like he belongs somewhere!

And he knew it was going to end and it made him want to rip his fucking heart out.

I FEEL YOUR PAIN, DRACO! *sobs uncontrollably*

The more they're together – and the more Draco does his thinky thoughts of all the things he wants to open up to Harry about and can't – the more my heart keeps breaking and I don't know what I'm feeling anymore! Harry needs to pull his head out of his arse and leave his wife so he can have something bright and shiny and happy with Draco AND STOP BREAKING MY FUCKING HEART!

*relieved breath* The coffee shop, to the rescue of my aching heart! A good healthy dose of laughter to make me forget for a moment how very much I hurt! And... just... wow, Seamus. I'm... not sure he understands the concept of cooking much at all. o.o

“Fuck you and your stupid goddamn muffins too.”

Possibly the best line ever. Just because.

Oh... oh god, the party hat! *rolls around on the floor laughing for a while* Only Luna could accomplish getting him in that, really!

And GOD DAMMIT HARRY, you can't just treat Draco like shit, and then not expect him to turn you down so you go hide in your work! You chase him down, dammit, not leave it to Draco to find out about how poorly you're doing by spying on your wife! And DRACO! YOU GO AFTER HIM RIGHT THIS INSTANT AND MAKE HIM LEAVE HER FOR YOU!

*cough* Ahem... Sorry about that... Must have been the Winkerspats.

Edited at 2012-12-22 06:26 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - deirdre_aithne on December 22nd, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deirdre_aithne on December 22nd, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
charlie: kataraignatiustrout on December 22nd, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
I loved this fic! I don't normally love infidelity fics, but I do like fics where things start off as supposedly meaningless fucking before becoming something more, and I do love excessive coffee drinking, and ultimately this fic had a great mixture of humor and FEELINGS that really worked for me. I laughed out loud at several places, often at how dear Draco was – he was absolutely lovely and I adored being in his head. You also made this Harry believable for me, however much I wanted to kick him sometimes.

Also, Lavender is one of the ladies most often vilified by fandom, so seeing her characterized this way was great and a highlight of the fic for me. You made it make so much sense that she and Draco could get along after the war. She was wonderful, and I loved the original choice of best friend for Draco – the supporting cast in general was so original and great and fun to read about. Possibly my favorite part.

And that blowjob-under-the-desk scene...nngh, really hitting my kinks. *__*
mervab: drarry1mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:37 am (UTC)
blowjobs-under-desks are why i wake up in the morning, unf *_* so glad you agree. and Lavender, heeeee. this was my first time writing her EVER and i was so continuously shocked to see the depth of her character, revealed with each conversation she had with Draco. thank you so much for leaving a comment and reading!
(Anonymous) on December 23rd, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
I almost never post, but I just had to write something!

Can I be honest? I'm in the H/D world for the D rather a lot more than the H. Yes, I love a dark, broken, and still strangely heroic Harry as anyone, but it's Draco -and his journey- that I'm in it for. I've always been terribly disappointed that Rowling built Draco up and then cheated him out of a revolution with the epilogue.

Your Draco here is so vulnerable and lost in the beginning, and so strong in the end. I liked that he realized he was too good for the half-relationship he had with Harry, even after Harry came to his senses and begged. I liked knowing, right when he gave Harry his ultimatum at the Brewery, that if Harry had never gotten the courage - had stayed with Ginny, had maybe eventually figured it out way down the road (because seriously, if he hadn't let Ginny in by now, he never would) - that Draco would've been okay. He would've always loved Harry a little bit, maybe, but he would've had his friends, and he would've fallen in love again, and gotten a career, and done amazing things. He knows he can now, and he knows he's worth all of those things. And like Lavender said, in some ways that's more important than his love of Harry.

There are of course a lot of other fabulous things in this fic. There's Harry, who I empathize with even if I want to break his neck when he was hurting poor in-love Draco. I have a special love of infidelity fics, because it feeds on the hope and fear we all have I think, and there's something so poignant about the petrified stagnancy. I like that you let him find his strength, like you let Draco find his worth. He went from completely using Draco to calm his PTSD to panicking over him (and I didn't forget that you mentioned he love only panics over people he cares about!) to using his memories of Draco as the hold to calm himself down. Sure, in a sense he's relying on Draco, but really, he's relying on himself, on the feelings for him, on the present and the future. It's awfully poignant. There's Luna, lovely as always. Lavender, who NEEDS to be like this in all the fics I read now because God, no wonder Draco adores her, wise and gossipy and the pillar Draco needed to learn that his relationship with Harry really had to change. There's even Ginny, who I have an irrational dislike of, who came across as in love with Harry and just a little resentful of how her life turned out and yet wise enough to know she wasn't what Harry needed or in the end, wanted, even if she was willing to be, all those nights by him while he was screaming.

But all that makes me feel like I'm diminishing Harry and Draco's relationship. And oh my God, I'm not. The weird reverse-way they did everything (sex to break-up to awkward first dates and meeting friends and being honest and commitment and confession) is so them. The angst! The pining! They both need each other so goddamn much. So alike and yet so different. Both stuck on the past, both washed in self-hatred, both too stubborn to seek out help from anybody else but someone as messed-up as them, really. They used each other and their love as springboards for the strength they'd need to do it all. They fit like two pieces of a puzzle, and although I know Draco would've survived without Harry, these two broken boys with all their history understood and accepted each other like no other damn person ever would be able to. Their whole "just friends" phase was so freaking emotionally intimate I rolled my eyes when Draco said they weren't a couple. I know he was trying to tell Harry he was moving on but they were, in all the ways that counted. My romantic self squeals at how painfully clear you made that Harry was Draco's, for all that he was married to Ginny. I would've been sad, at an unhappy ending. Your ending was a happy ending with realism and hope and an entire world waiting for them.

Sorry for such a long post, and all the mulling, but I loved that you made me think and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS STORY! I have suspicions about who you might be, but if I'm wrong, I'm definitely crawling all over your fics when the reveals go up.
Nennenenne on January 8th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
I wish I had written acomment like this. THIS is what this story deserves. :)
(no subject) - mervab on January 18th, 2013 06:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
Ashiiashiiblack on December 23rd, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
I've read probably close to half of the submissions so far and this is definitely my favorite! I love the angst and the general hopelessness Draco feels throughout most of the fic. The infidelity is written amazingly, as is Harry's character. I loved the use of the supporting cast, who did a fantastic job of adding to the story. The sex was crazy hot!

FANTASTIC job! I loved every minute of reading this! (I was even late to a meeting because I wanted to finish it!)
shameful_desire: pic#117036639shameful_desire on December 23rd, 2012 01:24 am (UTC)
I love this! Your Draco and Harry are wonderful. I enjoyed Lavender too (I enjoyed the whole damn thing). Amazing writing! YOU ROCK!!!
fbnchan: pic#118941338fbnchan on December 23rd, 2012 09:03 am (UTC)
Pureblood Princessraitala on December 23rd, 2012 10:26 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this fic. The infidelity premise was a difficult one to get right, but I think you managed a really good balance. The emotional punch of Draco's suffering and heart-ache was really strong, but he wasn't a sap and he lashed out and tried to protect himself as best he could. The background issue of the destruction of his sense of self-worth by the war really helped make sense of where he was and the journey he had to make. I also liked how you managed to keep our sympathy with Draco, without demonising Harry. You were able to present Harry's choices in a way that didn't sugar coat what he was doing, but at the same time made sense in relation to his character. I was particularly impressed also in how Ginny also appeared as a human and sympathetic character, when it would have been so easy to simply regard her as an impediment to the story.

I really loved your Lavender. It was really fresh to have her as the helpful outsider, when it is so often Luna or Hermione in that role. In the context of the story, the parallels she expressed between her situation and Draco's were so strong and really added emotional depth. Lastly, I loved your irrepressible Blaise. "If you die, can I have your mother?" *snorts*
welcome to villa cariño!capitu on December 23rd, 2012 01:09 pm (UTC)
What a ride. Jesus, what an amazing emotional ride!

It was so easy to sympathise with them, because the way you wrote them was so real, with their qualities and flaws, their fears and vulnerabilities that made them so human.

I loved your Draco, his aching loneliness, how desperately wanted someone to see him, to really see him, and how badly he wanted to believe in himself, everything he went through, how much he grew. And Harry! Finally being able to grow some balls face his life. I loved that at first I didn't understand him, but as I read and I read I began to see him too. Gorgeous story.

I almost don't have words to tell you how much I loved your story. Instant favourite, certainly. Thank you for this.