Title: King Cobra
Summary: Auror Malfoy is an undercover agent in the employ of a drug baron. His job? To locate a deep cover agent by the name of Harry Potter, assist him in closing down the drug operation, and then extracting them both, alive. His case takes him to Jamaica, where everything will be won or lost within the coils of the King Cobra.
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): Mentions of past self-harm.
Word Count: 8,862
Author's Notes: Thanks to F for helping out when I got stuck. Beta'd by M, who is amazing and patient.
"Malfoy," Shacklebolt said as soon as he spotted Draco standing stiffly in his open doorway. "Good, you're on time."
"As usual," Draco replied with just the smallest trace of smugness, flicking his eyes to where a tall man sat in front of Shacklebolt, twisting to stare back at him. Shacklebolt's face was creased in deep annoyance and the man continued to glare at Draco even as he made his way to the seat that Shacklebolt motioned him to. Draco didn't even waste a minute; he turned and stared challengingly at the man, whose blue gaze wavered and then cut away.
"You said you were giving me a trustworthy Auror," the man said coldly to Shacklebolt, "and instead I see a Malfoy."
"You're getting a trustworthy Auror, Coalson," Shacklebolt snapped, snatching a memo that zipped through the doorway and hovered over his head. He spared it a quick glance and then tossed it onto the twitching pile next to his elbow. "We trusted Malfoy during the war with our lives. He's worked hard and I have no qualms about sending him into the field."
Draco felt his chin tilt up just a little, a pleased grin touching the corners of his mouth; Shacklebolt never told him this, at least not to his face. Not until now. Shacklebolt steadfastly refused to look at him and Draco's smile got wider.
"Fine." The man, Coalson, Draco recalled, turned to him with a grim look. "Agent Desmond Coalson. I'm the second-in-command at the Office of Magical Drug Control." He did not offer his hand; Draco simply twitched up one eyebrow and nodded curtly.
"Draco Malfoy. Auror, Third Class."
"Let's start this," Shacklebolt said and pushed a file over to Draco. "They're asking for our help--"
"We don't usually," Coalson interrupted and Shacklebolt gave him a withering stare before going on.
"--in a major Cobra-trafficking case. You've read the memos, haven't you, Malfoy?"
"Of course I have, sir."
He disregarded Shacklebolt's frown and went through his well-organised memory. Cobra. He had heard of it, seen its results; surviving addicts, their faces slack and voices dim, told of its slick feeling though their veins, enhancing their magic to flood through their bodies. The rise and then the fall and then the hunger for more, more, more.
A witch or wizard caught in the strike of a constant Cobra-fix would lose their magic, sometimes permanently.
Draco closed his eyes for a moment and then looked down at the parchment in his hand. A genial face grinned up at him from a Wizarding photo pinned to the sheet, round and slightly shiny; one gold tooth glinted as the smile flashed over and over again. Draco’s lip curled slightly as he watched the man step out from a long black limo. Jonathan Hythe, the caption read below, in a looping script that Draco found familiar. He couldn't place it, though. Oldest son of the Long-Hythe Family. Owner of Hythe International Wizarding Hotels. Suspected activities: production, distribution, packaging of the magical-psychotropic substance known as Cobra.
"We have two agents working undercover," Coalson said tightly. "Well. We had two, but one was discovered and... she was murdered."
"The other?" Draco asked, flipping the parchment over, scanning though a list of Hythe's assets. The list was long: houses, cars, and bank accounts. Coalson made a strange face.
"Our other agent is in deep. Not even I know what his cover is; only Chief Dockery has that information. This primary agent would find out where and when a large shipment was happening and inform the secondary agent; she would pass on the information to us. We have reason to suspect that there is a mole in our agency, because in a lot of instances, the shipment would be placed somewhere else, or a smaller one used as a decoy. The chief is asking for an Auror to be used as a replacement undercover agent. All our other agents are either not fully-trained... or are known by Hythe himself. The mole made sure of that."
"So you haven't pinned everything this on Hythe as yet?" Draco smirked and wiped it off his face quickly as Shacklebolt looked at him. Coalson's expression was exasperated.
"No. Unfortunately, he's a clever man. The last operation, we were told that he would have been there to receive the shipment himself. When we got to the site, we found Agent Aloun's body. It was a great loss... she was one of our highest-trained Agents. She helped to train Agent Potter, after all."
Coalson's face became questioning when Draco clenched the file a little too hard, the parchment rustling in complaint. He blinked at Shacklebolt, whose eyes were dark with displeasure.
"Agent Potter is the one in deep cover," Shacklebolt said crisply. "We figure if we send an Auror, it should be someone he knows and trusts."
He doesn't trust me, Draco thought suddenly, resisting the urge to close his eyes again. I left before we could go anywhere near trust.
"I'll be the only one to know your cover, Malfoy," Shacklebolt told him. "And I'll be the one to give your reports to Chief Dockery."
"You'll have to find Potter first, though," Coalson continued. "I don't know how he did it, but he went completely off our radar. Without Agent Aloun, we have no contact with him. And Chief Dockery isn't telling anyone anything, not even me." His face broke into a slightly self-deprecating smile and it turned his sharp features into something surprisingly attractive. Draco gazed at him and he smiled a little more. If anything, Agent Coalson with his dark hair and slanted eyes bore a passing resemblance to Harry; Draco considered him a little longer and then turned his head away.
"I thought maybe you could say something," Granger said, the words coming out of her mouth stiff and cramped. Draco stared at her, wondering just who the hell she thought she was talking to. "We're...we're all too young for this. But maybe you can say something."
"Potter and I aren't friends," he commented icily and Granger pulled an annoyed face.
"This is why you might get through to him! He's...he's going through hell, Malfoy. You've been there. Maybe you can show him how to get out."
She stepped back, as if walking away from a potentially dangerous animal and then walked out of the kitchen at Grimmauld Place. Draco hated the kitchen for the mere fact that it was a kitchen and Malfoys didn't belong within ten feet of cooking implements. Apparently, being a spy meant lowering one's standards. He sighed and got up from the table, leaving his cool tea to get even colder.
Harry's room was on the uppermost floor, a large suite at the end of the corridor. Draco tapped on the door imperiously and then walked in without waiting for a response. Harry was curled up in a window-seat, leaning his head against the glass, watching the rain pour down in a shield of water.
Draco had a speech planned in his head, something rousing and scathing at the same time, but when Harry turned his face to look at Draco, the speech was well and truly forgotten. He simply went and stood right beside the other boy, close enough to feel that Harry was giving off very little heat, as if he himself was made out of glass.
"The war is over, you know," Draco said sharply; he really didn't mean to sound so harsh, but that was how it came out. Harry gave a small nod and rubbed his arms, which were completely covered by the woolly sleeves of a Weasley jumper. Without thinking, Draco put out a hand and touched Harry gently on the forehead, his thumb tracing over the scar that was still there, a curse in his skin. Harry was staring at him as his thumb managed to trail its way down an achingly sharp cheekbone and onto his mouth; Draco could feel Harry's lips part under his touch.
"It's over," he murmured, now using the back of his hand to stroke down Harry's face; Harry seemed just as transfixed as he was.
"I know." Harry's voice was rusty, as if it had been used too much or too little. Draco bent down, setting his cheek against Harry's and whispering in his ear.
"Then why do you keep fighting?"
One of Hythe's bodyguards, a mammoth young man with brown hair and beady eyes set in his doughy face, led Draco into the large bright office.
"Please sit here," the bodyguard rumbled; Draco eyed him, marvelling at how he gave Goyle a run for his money in terms of sheer mass; the Muggle-suit, the cufflinks expensive and glinting in the sunlight, stretched uneasily over the bulky frame. Draco sat primly, taking in his opulent surroundings, the walls a deep-blue with dark mahogany trim. This hotel, the flagship of all the Hythe holdings, was not very tall, but quite beautiful; a hidden white building with delicate arches in the middle of London. The amount of magic needed to keep a building like this shielded must be enormous.
"Hello," Jonathan Hythe said as he entered from a private room to the left. "Good morning, Mr. Wallace."
"Hello, sir," Draco responded, smiling as he stood up to shake Hythe's hand. He found that he towered a little over the other wizard. Hythe seemed to vibrate with sheer energy; his face was not as round as it seemed in the picture. Then again, he was not smiling as widely as he was in the photograph; instead, a hint of a smile played in his almond-shaped eyes, which hinted at some sort of Asian heritage; his black hair was caught up in a long braid that fell all the way down his back. He was wearing some sort of traditional Oriental robe, with a high collar and long full sleeves. Draco eyed the rich material in appreciation. "Thank you for meeting with me."
"I always like to meet my new employees," Hythe said lightly, sitting at his desk and flicking the end of his braid out of the way. "Especially those whom I've employed to assist me in the management of my hotels."
"I have to admit, I've never worked on properties as large as these before," Draco said, trying to inject earnestness into his voice. "But I'm sure I can learn quickly." Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the reflection of the person he had morphed into: a slightly plump man in his middle-age, with thinning sandy hair. He had developed quite late as a Metamorphmagus (much to Tonks' amusement) and because of that, could only convince his body to hold one form for an extended period. Under duress, he would be able to morph into another form; but his previous morph would become unattainable. This form, that of Henry Wallace, took him a few days to get right.
"You will," Hythe said, with a surprising air of reassurance. "Oh, I must ask: do you fear snakes? I keep some as pets and sometimes they are allowed to roam free. They are well-trained but inquisitive. They might find their way into private chambers."
Draco stared at him blankly and for a moment, Hythe's smile was cold and calculating, his dark eyes feral and unkind. Then just as quickly, the smile became warm again and Draco smiled back, his own mask forming easily over his face.
"That is a strange arrangement, Mr. Hythe," he said smoothly. "Fortunately, as a child, I grew among serpents. I have no fear."
"Do you not?" Hythe turned his head and whispered softly, sibilants flowing over each other. "Veasna. Veasna, my sweet. Come here."
Draco calmed his breath as a large snake slipped out from the private room and glided easily down the single step and over to Hythe. It crawled up his chair and into his lap, curling into a comfortable lump of scales and muscle, tongue flickering out in Draco's direction. Hythe stroked a slim brown hand down the back of the snake, making a small dry sound akin to leaves rustling on a forest floor.
"This is my favourite, Veasna. He's the cleverest of all my darlings and the only king cobra I have. He was a gift from a guest only a few months ago. Isn't he precious?" The snake began to rise, swaying a little as it arched towards Draco, who was in the middle of mentally cursing dark-type lords and their affinity with snakes. The cobra rested its slender body on the highly-polished table and then slid across it. Draco held his seat and tried to control his breathing and heart-rate.
The snake looked at him with that curious flat expression that all serpents seemed to possess and then made its way off the desk and onto the floor, slipping over to his seat with a breathtaking speed. As soon as it was right by Draco's ankle, it began to rise again, standing nearly eye to eye with Draco, its hood fanning out slightly. Looking at the rest of its length coiled on the floor, he realised it could have stretched to meet his gaze even if he had been standing.
The snake's body snapped forward and Draco hoped that there was some sort of bezoar-stone somewhere in the room; however, instead of striking him, the snake rested that spade-shaped head on Draco's hand clutching the arm of the chair and flicked its tongue out to test the skin of his fingers.
"Hello, Veasna," Draco said, his voice pleasantly steady to his own ears. Good. "So nice to meet you."
"He likes you!" Hythe cried out in delight and then laughed, a little cruelly. "I thought I would have had to send for an antidote! Come, come, Veasna! Come away from your new friend!"
Veasna pulled away, back to his master, who sent him off to the private room. Then Hythe invited Draco to take a walk with him through the hotel, to see the rest of his duties. He kept a sharp eye out, trying to find any sign of Harry hidden within the staff; looking for any telling signature: his walk, or his lopsided smile. He spoke to a few of the waiting-staff from the dining-hall before deciding that an agent would be much closer to Hythe than that. He smiled at a few other assistants, dropping sly remarks about Quidditch and fighting in Hogwarts and receiving puzzled looks in return.
It was late in the night when he managed to crawl into his suite at the staff section of the hotel, hoping that none of the guests would have any complaint on his first night. His duties were not unlike those at the Manor; he felt it was perfect enough to keep as his cover. As he told Hythe, he was a quick study.
Harry, where the hell are you? he thought crankily, falling into that quick light sleep that all Aurors had as a developed habit.
There was ponderous weight on his chest and Draco struggled under it. He arched his body up and felt a tightening around his ribs that had him gasping for air. Something cool slid against his cheek and he snapped awake, grappling for his wand to cast a bright Lumos and peering anxiously down his chest.
A snake lay wrapped around him, the black eyes absorbing the light of the spell. Draco grunted and tried to throw it off, but it remained wrapped firmly around him, grasping tightly. The snake seemed strangely complacent, not inclined to biting, but Draco didn't want to take any chances
"Fuck!" he cried, trying to work his hand under the coils. The skin was surprisingly dry. The serpent shifted, moving up from his chest; Draco turned his face away, ever so slightly. "Don't you bite me, don't you even dare."
The head of the snake, so very close to his face, began to fan out and Draco glared at it. Veasna, the clever king cobra. He considered using a Stunning Spell on it and then instantly discarded that idea: Hythe might have some sort of alarm set on his 'darlings'.
"Veasna, my precious. We've only just met." He finally got his hand between the first wrap of muscle against him and he began to pry it up. "I prefer dinner first, I'll have you know. Not me as dinner, but you get the point."
Suddenly the weight shifted completely and Draco's hand flew out from his side as the mass he had been levering his hand against disappeared completely. Instead of Veasna pressed around him, there was someone pressed against him.
Someone with black messy hair, who was currently staring at him with shocked green eyes. Draco gaped back at them, trying not to notice the hazel flecks he had always adored.
"Draco?" Harry said, apparently comfortable with the fact that he was lying down sans clothes on top of the blond. "I know it's you. I could smell it as a snake. You... what the hell are you doing here?"
"Could you get off me, with the nakedness and all? I'm not used to having conversations this way." Draco shoved him off and Harry rolled to one side, grabbing some of the sheet as he went. He wrapped this section around his torso, going back on his heels and staring at Draco as he sat up; he made a sudden sharp jerk with his chin, a stiff motion.
"Get out of that morph," Harry muttered, his eyes flickering back and forth between Draco's. "Let me see you."
Draco stared at him, marvelling at how gaunt his face had become and then he sighed, releasing his wand to hover in the air with a modified Leviosa. Harry's tense expression seemed to melt as Draco concentrated on releasing the form he had moulded his body into. The transformation was a reluctant one and Draco was glad that he had thought to bring a sketch that Tonks had had made of his Henry Wallace character, so he would get it right again. Harry leaned forward, still with those staccato movements, one hand coming up as if to touch him. Draco was actually tilting slightly in response, anticipating the cool feel of Harry's palm against the skin of his inner arm, waiting for it to brush against his bare chest, up to cup possessively around his neck. He'd dreamt about this so much -- the things they never got to do because he had left -- that he could feel the hair on his arms raising a little.
The touch never came. Harry pulled his hand back, his eyes gone as dark as those of his snake-form. An Animagus. Draco had imagined that Harry would have been something less... Slytherin. No wonder his own office had lost track of him; he was hiding in plain sight. Harry stared at him and without warning, he cast Legilimens; Draco let him in easily, casting aside the false memories that he had in case Hythe had decided to rifle through his head. He made a face as the force of Harry's spell dragged like an anchor through his thoughts and memories. Harry blinked at him slowly before ending the spell.
"Auror Malfoy," Harry said formally, shifting to sit cross-legged and as far as possible from Draco. "I'm glad to have your assistance on this case." He looked down on himself and then passed his hand down the folds of the sheet, transfiguring it into a loose robe. Draco felt another spell shimmer against the damp skin of his chest and a lamp was lit beside them. It all seemed so very intimate, he mused as he retrieved his wand and ended the Lumos, both of them in the bed like this; but the look on Harry's face precluded anything like that. Draco set his own features and gave Harry a short nod.
"Of course, Agent Potter." There was no bitterness in his voice to betray the coldness settling in his chest. He twisted his mouth and then made an attempt for sincerity. "And I'm sorry about your partner."
At this, Harry's impressive mask showed the tiniest of cracks. He turned his head away, the lamp-light still managing to catch the sheen in his eyes. Draco kept silent, taking the opportunity to take in Harry's looks: he was still a little shorter than Draco himself and his hair had grown out; it was so much longer than Draco remembered it; falling in an uncombed tangle past his shoulders. If it were groomed it would go much farther. Now that Draco was thinking about it, maybe a snake was a fitting animal for Harry, because his body correlated to it: slender and strong.
"She was a good witch," Harry finally said softly, looking away again. "I only heard of her death when Hythe came back from the docks. He was so pleased that he’d caught her. The person who blew her cover called Hythe on his cell-phone, so I couldn't tell who it was. But when I find out--" Harry's nostrils flared and his colour heightened, a deep angry flush running across his face.
Draco must have been breathing a little too hard, staring at Harry like that, because that green gaze slid back to him. For a moment their eyes held and Harry's expression went from a deep angry mourning to sharp curiosity... to something else that Draco hoped he wasn't wrong about before those eyes became shuttered again.
Harry licked his lips before clearing his throat and continuing. "That's why I haven't asked for extraction as yet. Hythe has another shipment due in a few months. He has Cobra made in the Caribbean, on some of the English-speaking islands. He rarely goes to bring in a shipment, unless it's particularly massive. Alena--Agent Aloun was caught in a trap when he went down to do that collection.
“For this one, he's actually going to Jamaica for it. I'm almost sure that the mole will be there. Hythe might be bringing Veasna." Harry gave a surprising little smirk at his snake-name. "He adores Veasna, you know."
"I can see that. He's a snaky kind of guy, so that's not a surprise," Draco replied, rolling his eyes a little. "I'll inform Shacklebolt. We can get him this time. I'm on it, so it's practically done."
Harry raised one dark eyebrow.
"He knows who you are already. You are aware of this, Auror Malfoy?" Harry asked suddenly, with a dark smile and a mocking tone, worlds apart from the shy grin that Draco was used to. He felt his mouth settling into an annoyed thin line.
"He's not a fool, obviously. But if he knows who I am, he's using me to finally flush you out," Draco snapped. "So maybe this late-night rendezvous is not the best of ideas."
"I have a soft spot for midnight meetings," Harry said testily. "You'll just have to work with it."
They glared at each other, Draco wholeheartedly not noting the green snap in Harry's eyes; Harry then gave a curt incline of his head and suddenly his body was shifting, melting, shrinking back into the long form of Veasna, the robe going back to being a sheet. The long snake slipped out of the bed and headed to the door, pausing only at Draco's low voice.
"You look so much better without the scars."
Veasna's head swivelled and the black eyes regarded him without emotion before turning and slipping through a small concealed entry near the locked door. Draco lay back and sighed, trying to fall back asleep.
"You can't leave me," Harry said to him. "You simply can't. I need you."
Draco shoved his clothes into a large bag; no matter how much he put in, there was always space. Harry stood at the door of Draco's room, his shirt large over his slight frame. It was late afternoon and the sun was filtering weakly through the tall narrow windows of Grimmauld Place.
"You don't need me," he said coldly. "You've pushed everyone away. You're not the Harry I knew in school."
"I can't help it," Harry sniffed, wrapping his arms around himself. "I've... I've lost so much."
Draco whirled towards him and just barely refrained from shaking him. Instead, he grabbed Harry's arms and pushed up the long sleeves. Long scars wormed their way up the pale flesh, some faded, most livid with the life of a recent cutting and now Draco did shake him, feeling enraged and helpless all at once. Harry was limp in his grasp, his hair long and greasy in his face. His head snapped back and forth on his neck; Draco released him and stepped away, wiping his hands almost unconsciously on his trousers. Harry leaned against the door-frame and pressed his head against it.
"What can I do?!" Draco cried at him, flicking his wand in agitation to summon the rest of his belongings. Something shattered and he shoved the splinters into a corner. "You don't want help. You want pity. You've lost a lot, I know this. Don't think I don't understand."
"You don't," Harry said, suddenly filled with that old flame and Draco very nearly overturned his bag so he could stay. "You bastard." His voice went into its new weak state again and Draco tightened his lips.
"I refuse to be with someone who does not love themselves as much as I want to love them," he said, striving for a cool tone. It wavered at Harry's wide-eyed expression. They had never said the words, because he was sure that he didn't feel that way. But now. Oh Merlin, now, with Harry's face full of hope, he could feel his resolve begin to splinter at the base. To shore himself up, he recalled the times Harry had tried to hide from him, from all of them, disregarding anyone's efforts to help; taking his own pain out on himself.
He picked up his bag and walked up to him, brushing past him at the door.
"If you leave me, I'll die." Harry's voice followed him down the hallway, a hollow ghost. Draco paused and then walked on, relieved to make it to the door.
"If I stay, you'll destroy me as well."
Draco squirmed impatiently, feeling annoyed with Harry Potter in all his forms. He thought it was a bit of overkill that Veasna was seemingly enamoured with his character of Henry Wallace; at most weekly meetings, like this one, Veasna would slink into the boardroom and coil into his lap; many times, out of the view of everyone else, Veasna's tail would be wrapped around his ankle. Draco ground his teeth and hoped that Hythe still didn't suspect anything of his precious reptilian beauty.
"A minute, Wallace," Hythe said as he was leaving the meeting. It was nearly two months into his assignment and there had been absolutely no activity from Hythe's suppliers at all. Harry had been unruffled in their nightly exchanges; Draco was getting more nervous by the day. Hythe would pull something soon, he was sure of it.
Draco's arms were full of sleepy snake and he handed over the heavy bundle wordlessly to Hythe, waiting for instructions. Hythe gave him a long piercing look and then smiled sharply.
"My newest property acquisition in Jamaica has finally come through... and I want you to accompany me to the island next week. You've shown a high level of capability over such a short period in time." Hythe smiled serenely as Veasna's head snuggled into the crook of his neck. Draco stared as Hythe's eyes fluttered shut at the touch of a forked tongue. "Not to mention that my sweet Veasna loves you. I'm sure your presence there will make him feel much better. Is there anyone else you think should accompany us?" Hythe asked solicitously, a polite smile gracing his content face. Draco was looking in his eyes as he re-opened them; they were cold and flat.
The same as Veasna's.
Draco gave a smile that was just as coolly polite, making a mental note to send a discreet owl to Shacklebolt. So Veasna's antics had gotten him a trip to Jamaica. Clever little snake.
"Bergmeyer, sir. We've been working together, close with the customers. I think he'll be good to have on this trip," Draco replied in confident tones. Let him go dig into poor Bergmeyer's background. We can work at finally getting to Hythe and extracting Harry. Hythe nodded as Veasna crawled over his shoulder, the pattern of tan and brown scales flickering under Hythe's petting hand. Draco secretly thought it was so very beautiful; the way Veasna curled around the back of Hythe's neck and rested his head on the opposite shoulder, the expression looking almost smug, Draco was sure that Veasna was very aware of that.
Jamaica was a riot of heat and colour and mood-swings of weather, blazing into Draco's eyes as soon as they landed. Hythe had insisted on flying first-class; not that Draco minded. He had never been in an airplane before and on top of that, he hated transcontinental Portkey; it gave him a headache. He was quite taken aback: one minute, the scenery was blazing with green under curtains of sunlight; the next, in a fit of a springtime tropical storm, buckets of water poured down. Draco's fine hair went slightly frizzy in the humidity and he glared at Veasna in the open-topped cage beside him, rocking in the backseat of one of the large Land Rovers that were carrying them across the highway beside the sea; Veasna seemed to be highly amused.
"You can just stop smirking," he said shortly and the reptile tucked its head into a curve of coils. Draco looked up to see the dark eyes of the driver widening in the rear-view mirror.
"Talkin' to de snake?" the driver asked doubtfully, Draco's ears trying to attune itself to the thick accent. Draco smiled without mirth.
"He's a magic snake," he informed the driver; Veasna's head snapped back out, alarmed at Draco's blithe revelations. The driver, Robert, peered at him before making a series of surely illegal manoeuvres on the road, flying past tall office buildings set close to the harbour, before swinging out onto another highway, landlocked this time.
"So you working obeah, then." Draco's mind struggled through the man's heavy inflection: So yuh wukkin' obeah den. Robert barely checked his rear-view mirror before overtaking a slow mud-covered truck, following Hythe's vehicle closely. Draco stifled a yell of terror. "Never see Englishman work obeah."
"Obeah?" Draco managed, hanging onto Veasna's cage with one hand and grabbing onto the passenger handhold with another.
"Yeah." They were now passing a residential area filled with miles of white concrete houses, boxes upon boxes on a large flat plain. "Like voodoo. Never hear of obeah yet? Is magic, man. All type of magic. But mos'ly bad."
Draco nodded, watching as the flat residential area melted into a marshland filled with a feral tangle of mangrove trees. This island was full of wild magic; he could feel it bristling at the tip of his tongue, metallic and slightly salty. Veasna's lithe body unfurled to peer over the windowsill and Draco saw the forked tongue flickering out, sampling as well.
Their destination was a Muggle tourist spot called Two Sisters Cave, which had a few ancient drawings of the Taino people carefully preserved on the walls. Hythe's new hotel, however, was located in the cave itself... at the very bottom of the underground fresh-water lakes. A massive double-bubble charm was used to keep the water out of the resort; Draco was delighted, in spite of himself, to travel in a luxurious sinking boat to the new hotel site. The suspended Lumos charms lit the way from a clever airlock in-between the two bubbles to the low buildings, separate little bungalows tucked neatly together. It was bright down there and the inside layer of the bubbles glowed charmingly, rippling colours like an underwater aurora.
Veasna's cage hovering behind him, he made his way to the cottage assigned to him, locking and warding the doors as he waited for Harry to change into his human form and take a quick shower, snapping on a small lamp in the living area and peering out the windows. Satisfied that no-one was near; he shook himself out of the morph, sighing in relief as his own body melted back into place.
"I think the Cobra pick-up will happen in some sugar-cane field," Harry said hoarsely as he shrugged on the long robe that Draco had tossed to him earlier. "I was under the bed in Hythe's rooms back home, so I heard. You'd better put a tracking charm on me." Harry eyed him carefully as Draco raised his wand and performed delicate movements, his magic shuddering over Harry's skin. Harry closed his eyes, inhaling gently.
"Like how it feels?" Draco said without thinking. Harry's eyes snapped open, glittering with some unreadable emotion.
"We have a long wait," he replied stiltedly, seating himself at one end of the large sofa. He curled his legs up under himself and tucked his arms into his sleeves, making himself as small as possible. Draco, just to aggravate Harry, went and sat right next to him; he instantly regretted this move: Harry was so warm and Draco could feel it wafting off him in waves, quite unlike Veasna's long cool body. Harry turned his head and blinked at him.
"When... when did you stop cutting, Harry?" Draco asked and Harry's eyes widened just a fraction.
"Right after you left," he replied, his voice toneless. Chilly. Draco touched him on the nearest knee, feeling the heat of him shimmering under the thin material of the robe. The collar of it was high around his neck, yet not so high as to hide the flush creeping down his skin.
"You never thought to tell me," Draco murmured, leaning in a little closer, his hand clenching more. Harry made a small noise in the back of his throat.
"You left. You. Left. Me." Harry tried to turn his head away, tried to unfurl himself to maybe stalk away, but Draco pressed two fingers against the side of his face, right at his jaw and tilted his head back around. Harry was starting to breathe hard. "Stop," he murmured, but his chin was tilting, ever so slightly. "Please."
"I tried everything," Draco said. "You have no idea how much it killed me when nothing worked."
"Oh, well. Something worked." Harry's voice was striving for a strange mix of bitter lightness. "I was so mad at you. I wanted to be someone you could come back to. But it doesn't matter now."
"You're such an asshole," Draco spat, hand tightening on Harry's knee. "Really. What makes you think I wouldn't come back?"
"I'm the asshole," Harry said with a snide laugh. "You're the one who couldn't deal with me."
Draco pulled himself away and glared at the emerald-eyed man, feeling his own nostrils flare in a sort of helpless anger. Harry simply looked at him with a mocking smile, the Eye Repair charm sharpening the green as it refocused images properly for Harry's retinas. Draco swallowed his rage while counting to ten and then gave Harry a sharp, dismissive nod before starting to rise.
Harry's hand landed on his wrist and dragged him back down, fingers hot against Draco's pulse. He stared at Draco's face, eyes wide and bottle-green.
“Wait, don’t leave me again,” Harry muttered; Draco bit the inside of his lip and sighed.
"Look, Harry, whenever you want to-" Draco started and Harry touched his mouth with a questioning finger before moving it to kiss him. Draco made a sort of muffled groan, opening his mouth willingly and threading his fingers through Harry's hair, combing out the tangles unthinkingly. Harry laughed a little and Draco swallowed it, stroking his tongue against Harry's.
Harry made a humming noise, a hmmm that curled around Draco's chest and down to his groin. He felt himself being pushed back, Harry going up on his knees and pressing down eagerly. He reclined, going onto his back and dragging Harry to lie on top of him, letting his legs fall open so that Harry could sprawl between them, kissing him so hard that Draco's mouth felt bruised. He, however, had no complaints about that. He tilted up his hips, just to feel, and oh, there it was. Harry's cock, hard and hot against his; Draco rocked up again and Harry responded, grinding down eagerly.
Harry's hands were actually wrapped gently around his neck, thumbs stroking against the curve of his Adam's apple as Draco's own hands tugged at Harry's robe. Harry wriggled so delightfully, demanding that Draco pull it up further. His fingers skimmed over the slope of Harry's arse, up to his strong back, muscles tensing under Draco's palms. Draco was thanking Merlin that Harry had not put anything on under his robe, breaking the kiss to burry his face in the enticing curve of his neck.
"Oh," Harry breathed as Draco licked the skin there. He pulled away suddenly, kneeling fully up to yank the robe over his head and tilting his head with his eyes closed, revelling in Draco's hands roaming over his chest. Draco sat up and took one puckered brown nipple in between his teeth as Harry arched his back, pressing into Draco's mouth.
Harry took one of Draco's hands and blew on his fingers; Draco rubbed them together, testing the slickness and looking up at Harry's flushed face.
"Just hurry," Harry spat, clambering off him to kneel on the floor. Draco gazed at the smooth indentation of Harry's spine and then wordlessly knelt behind him, grabbing at Harry's arse-cheeks to pull them apart and gaze at the furled hole.
"Done this before, Potter?" Draco tried the blowing thing himself, concentrating his magic simply to prove that he could, just as well as Harry, who shuddered at the sensation of the cleansing and lubrication charms. Harry rested his head down on his folded arms, hips moving enticingly as Draco’s fingers teased around his entrance.
"Does it matter?"
"Of course not."
"Would it matter if you knew who I thought about when having sex?"
Draco eased one finger inside him and Harry groaned.
"It still doesn't matter." Draco slipped one finger out, two fingers in. "You're here now, aren't you?"
There was something slightly excruciating about still having his clothes on with Harry completely bare beneath him, but Draco fumbled at his fastenings and pulled himself out, heavy and throbbing and needing.
"Now. You're so slow, now, now," Harry chanted, pushing back as Draco's cock started to breach him. "Oh. Yes," he hissed. Draco grasped one of his shoulders to brace himself until he was fully seated. Draco released a breath he hadn't realised he was holding and slipped back out almost all the way, and then in again, angling, searching. Harry arched back, calling his name breathlessly; Draco bent forward to bite at his earlobe, his neck, grabbing onto Harry's hips and thrusting. He was pleased to find that Harry could be so demanding; threading the fingers of one hand through Draco's, to drag it down and wrap it around Harry's cock, slicking up and down to match their rhythm.
So easy to find this rhythm, with Harry. Just like he’d thought it would be.
Harry turned his head and they were kissing again, sudden and harsh and Harry was gasping against his lips, choking out unintelligible words. Draco tore his head away, overwhelmed and sat back on his heels rapidly, dragging Harry back to sit in his lap, still impaled on Draco's cock.
"Move, Harry," Draco ordered and Harry rocked back and forth, sighing in pleasure.
"Oh, fuck," Harry moaned and Draco mentally agreed as Harry bucked and cried out, strings of come smearing over Draco's hand. Draco bit down on his shoulder, feeling Harry clench all around his cock, pulsing and pulling everything right out of him in a rush of hot wet relief.
He was slipping slowly out, when Harry's head snapped in the direction of the door, frowning.
"Shit," was all he said before Draco found himself tottering back, Harry's weight having disappeared completely as Veasna lay wrapped about itself on the carpeted floor. He was panting heavily, glaring down into Veasna's beetle-black eyes when the knock came on the door, Hythe's massive bodyguard making surprisingly subdued taps as Draco morped hurriedly into the Wallace-form. He grimaced at the damp streaks on his pants and cleaned them off hurriedly before getting up and handing Veasna over in an awkward manner through the opened door.
The bodyguard nodded at him and walked off, Veasna's flat head resting on his shoulder and peering back at Draco. The Tracking Charm activated instantly, a strong pull in his sternum as he slammed the door. He ran a hand through his hair and sat back down on the sofa, sliding a hand into his opened trousers and thinking about Harry's needy pants, breathing hard himself as he palmed the head of his cock. He pressed his other hand to his mouth and nose, inhaling the faint soap-clean scent of Harry's skin that seemed to be seared into him.
"Shit," he echoed against his palm.
Draco Apparated with a muted pop, a few hundred meters away from where the Tracking Charm had located Harry. Slow-Apparition took a lot of energy and control, but the upside was that the loud crack would not be heard. It took a few minutes for Draco to catch his breath. His robe was thankfully light, because the tropical night was hot and humid, and the tall cane-grass whispered around him furtively. Straining his ears, he could hear raucous conversation ahead to his left and he brandished his wand, casting detection spells. There was a trip-ward here, designed to maim and alert at the same time. Draco shook his head and dismantled it; then he hesitated and searched again, finding two more trip-wards, each nastier than the last.
Satisfied, he eased through the tall plants that waved over his head, slim leaves bending in a sudden rush of air. The serrated edges of the wide grassy blades caught at the material of his clothing and he cursed under his breath, extricating himself as silently as he dared.
He could feel the cane-plants around him thinning, and finally he was at the edge of a large clearing, watching a small group of men hurriedly packing boxes into a light truck, while another idled nearby, their work illuminated by several tall torches. Hythe stood to one side, listening to another man talk as he stroked the body of the serpent hung around his neck; the man was gazing at Veasna with wary interest as he spoke.
Veasna's head suddenly raised and looked right in Draco's direction, causing Draco to start in surprise. A hand suddenly seized him by the elbow and another at his neck and before he could sneak a hand into his pocket and squeeze the alert-coin, a sharp crack to the back of his head made his world go black.
A harsh Ennervate snapped Draco back into consciousness. He was sitting in a corner, the slats to his right indicating that he was in the back of one of the trucks. He tested his binds, feeling nauseous as his head throbbed in complaint. A rustle to one side made him stiffen and he stared as Desmond Coalson rushed stealthily over to him.
"Auror Malfoy," Coalson hissed at him, pulling at the knots. "We have only a little time. Tell me where Agent Potter is so that we can get you both out of here right now."
Draco was just about to answer and then blinked heavily, trying to fight through the confused pain, trying to remember. One thought managed to fight its way through the haze: He had not managed to activate the alert that would bring the rest of the Aurors right to his location... which begged the question of how Coalson happened to be here.
"Ah," Draco said slowly, realisation burning through the dull agony that was his head. "I see we've found our mole."
Coalson's hands slowed and he gave Draco a humourless grin, looking so much like Harry and yet worlds apart. He was about to say something when Hythe stepped up into the back of the truck, followed by the bodyguard who held a large box in his hand.
"Auror Malfoy," Hythe said casually, smiling as Veasna draped over his shoulder. "It would be nice to see your true form."
Draco gritted his teeth and complied. Veasna rubbed its head against Hythe's cheek and flickered out its tongue, regarding Draco. The bodyguard set the box on the dusty floor at Hythe's indication and opened it. A narrow green head with large brown eyes poked curiously over the edge in Draco's direction.
"A new friend for Veasna," Hythe pointed out as the slender body rose and curved over the edge of the box. "Dispholidus typus... the boomslang. Such a poisonous thing, even more so than my darling." Hythe's speech suddenly descended into sibilant whispers and Draco's skin dissolved into goosebumps at the Parseltongue. The boomslang considered Hythe for a moment and then advanced quickly to Draco, crawling up one leg and settling there. Draco froze, looking into one expressionless brown eye.
"Tell me where the hidden agent is, Malfoy," Hythe asked, the pleasant tone of his voice belying the cruel glint in his eyes. "I am not a patient man. I only ask the question once."
Draco felt a strange urge to laugh as Veasna coiled more about Hythe's neck. He bit his lip and Hythe glared at him, opening his mouth to presumably give the boomslang instructions to bite. Coalson and the bodyguard stared, nonplussed, as his mouth simply hung open; suddenly Hythe's eyes began to bulge and he raised his hands to claw around his neck, the long braid flashing out behind him.
Veasna was choking him, hissing loudly as he did so. The boomslang wavered towards the thrashing man, Coalson and the bodyguard leaping to Hythe's aid. Coalson staggered back at once, clutching his hand and yelling in pain as two small holes at his wrist bled lightly. The bodyguard was having a little more success, grasping onto Veasna's head and starting to peel it off from around Hythe's neck. Veasna's hisses grew more forceful and the boomslang responded without a qualm, to Draco's utmost relief, sliding completely off him towards the struggling group. He rolled onto his side and stuffed his hand in his pocket, hoping against hope that they had not removed it, grasping gratefully onto the coin as the boomslang fairly streaked across the floor and struck the bodyguard on the leg.
The bellow of the bodyguard nearly obliterated the sudden cracks of the Aurors and agents, too many of them in such a small space and Draco barely had time to curl himself properly into the corner. There were yells of "watch it! There's a snake!" and "there's another!" and he could see through the terrible stampede of legs that Veasna had turned back into a naked Harry and was now trying to soothe the irate boomslang.
"Shut up!" Harry bawled irritably at everyone, who ignored him whilst they were trussing Hythe up. Draco rolled his eyes and began to work at his binds until a medi-Auror rushed over to assist him. As he rose to his feet, head clearing under the healing charms pressed on him, he noticed a man with long grey hair and an extremely lined face staring at Coalson, who was crouched on the floor cradling his hand. This man, who had Dockery printed on the chest pocket of his Muggle-style jacket, shook his head regretfully.
"Potter," he said, reaching down and pulling a moaning Coalson to his feet, "kindly put on some clothes."
"Yes, sir," Harry muttered. A massive agent handed him a black shirt with the letters OMDC taking up nearly all the back in a large white font. Harry yanked it on quickly, the hem hanging halfway down his thighs as he bent to pick up the snake. Hythe stared at him as the boomslang curled companionably around Harry's shoulders.
"Who would have thought that I have kept Harry Potter as a pet?" he sneered as the agents hustled him towards the door of the truck; outside, the workers were being rounded up, the drugs collected as evidence.
"Obviously not you," Harry retorted tiredly, edging back towards Draco. "You can let that thought keep you warm in prison, though."
"Potter. Report," Dockery said sharply as he pulled Hythe and Coalson from the truck and Harry finally had his back against Draco, leaning against him in weariness. Draco placed a hand on Harry's hip, giving Chief Dockery and Shacklebolt a steely glare. Dockery's mouth was pulled into a fine line, but his eyes were understanding. "Fine. But I need the full report on Monday."
"So do I," Shacklebolt glowered and Draco refrained from rolling his eyes again. Wrapping his arms around Harry, he Apparated them to the airlock of the Two Sisters Hotel and then once again to the cabin. The boomslang was irritable at all this jumping around and Harry whispered at it soothingly as he placed it in Veasna's cage.
"What will happen to this hotel?" Draco asked, stepping close and holding onto Harry. He couldn't quite get over the fact that Harry leaned into him willingly, pressing his face into Draco's neck.
"Maybe the family will take it into their empire. Rotten family, that. We're still onto them, though." His voice was muffled as his lips moved against Draco's skin, tickling slightly. Draco smiled a little.
"I have first-hand knowledge about rotten families. Hey," he said, pulling Harry to the single bedroom, "You're sleeping on your feet. Come and lie down, snake-boy."
"You only want to molest me as I sleep," Harry grumbled, yet he allowed himself to be dragged into the comfortable little room and pushed onto the bed. He turned over and wriggled into the sheets, giving Draco a fine view up his shirt before settling down and pulling the coverlet up to his chin. "I'll have you know that I'm a level four OMDC agent. I won't take kindly to molestation."
Draco huffed and, after only a slight hesitation, lay down on top of the covers beside Harry. Harry gazed at him sleepily and then smiled. "Thanks for your help, Auror Malfoy. Much appreciated."
"Of course, Agent Potter."
Harry reached out a hand and rested it on Draco's face, it was warm and comforting.
"I'm glad I'm here with you, Draco. Will you stay, now that my skin is unmarked and beautiful?"
Draco stared at him, not laughing at his seeming jest.
"If that's what you want." He didn't want to explain to Harry that it had nothing to do with his skin and everything to do with the way Harry's eyelashes brushed darkly against his cheeks, with the way Harry moved his hand onto Draco's neck and left it there, like he wanted it there forever.
Draco was dutifully filling out his report at his flat. A small postcard of Jamaica, with Robert's name and number scribbled onto it, lay nearby on the small desk; he had promised to return to investigate remaining sources of Cobra.
And maybe take a holiday, with a certain OMDC agent.
He was just affixing his seal to the bottom of the parchment, right over his signature, when he felt something crawl across the backs of his legs. Turning his head to look down, all he caught was the end of a brown tail slipping into his bedroom.
"I should really snake-proof this house," he commented idly as he stepped into his room. Harry lay naked in his bed, smirking from under the covers. He flipped back the duvet invitingly.
"I have another case for you to be on, Auror Malfoy," Harry began in conspiratorial tones. Draco raised an eyebrow and started to unbutton his shirt. Harry cast an appreciative eye over Draco's erection and then cleared his throat. "You might have to go undercover."
"Oh?" Draco shucked off his trousers and pants, sliding in beside Harry and pulling him close. "Any suspects?"
"A cobra," Harry whispered, sneaking down a hand and grasping onto Draco, smiling widely at Draco's moan. "A king cobra. Sneaky little fellow. Keeps crawling into beds and doing unspeakable things."
"Sounds serious," Draco gasped, batting away Harry's hand to take both their lengths together in his, pulling and sliding as Harry bucked against him, mewling.
"Oh, yeah," Harry grunted bonelessly after they came down from their high, sweaty and grinning. "You might have to be on this case. For a very long time."
-Three Sisters Cave is a tourism spot that is actually run by government organisation...and I've never visited it, so I am not quite sure of the depths of the freshwater underground lakes. This will be remedied soon, though.
The Jamaican dialect/creole was fun to write, as little as it was. Called patois [patwa] locally, it is English/African based.
Veasna is a Cambodian name meaning "opportunity, good fortune" in Khmer.