Gift For: empathic_siren
Summary: Eight years after the end of the war, Harry stumbles upon Draco in an unexpected place: Islington.
Author's notes: Many, many thanks to my betas who did a wonderful job so very quickly. Much love to them both. And for empathic_siren who wanted a bit of a tale about Harry coming to terms with his sexuality. Happy Christmas—I hope your holidays are wonderful!
“Malfoy, open up.” Harry pounded on the door of Malfoy’s flat.
“Maybe he’s not here,” Ron leaned against the doorjamb.
”It’s the middle of the day. Trust me, he’s probably sleeping last night off.” Harry slammed his fist against the door. “Malfoy!”
There was a muffled crash of breaking glass, and Harry didn’t stop to think. Jerking his wand out, he blasted the door open just in time to see a swirl of black and two familiar white masks before the crack of Apparition echoed through the flat.
“Shit,” Ron murmured, and Harry turned.
His heart stopped.
Malfoy was sprawled across the kitchen floor, glass and blood glistening around him.
His shirt was ripped open, his trousers torn, and a deep gash ran from sternum to hip.
Harry could see the black-red of Malfoy’s organs, the white of his ribcage, and he swallowed the bile rising in his throat as he dropped to his knees, not giving a damn about the blood.
Malfoy’s eyes fluttered and he looked up at Harry, blankly, and then recognition sparked. “I knew you’d come,” he whispered and Harry couldn’t look at the flecks of blood catching at the corner of his mouth. He laughed, and then grimaced in pain. “I summoned you.”
“You did.” Harry smoothed Malfoy’s hair back from his brow. “And I’m here. Don’t talk, all right?” He looked up at Ron. “We have to do something. You’re better at the spell than I am.”
Ron knelt on Malfoy’s other side. “I can’t believe I’m doing this for Malfoy.” He pulled the pieces of Malfoy’s shirt away and winced. “I can patch him up a bit, enough to move him, maybe, but he’s going to need a Healer, Harry. And soon.”
“Just do it,” Harry said tightly.
“Right.” Ron moved Harry’s hands to either side of Malfoy’s ribcage. “Try to hold him closed. It’s going to hurt, and he’s going to move. I’ve never seen a wizard in the field stay still through this.”
Harry nodded. Malfoy’s breath was shallow, barely perceptible and he groaned softly at the pressure of Harry’s hands.
“It’s all right,” Harry said gently, and he wasn’t certain why his hands shook. He’d seen as bad as this during the war. Worse even. But this was Malfoy and his skin was warm and sticky beneath Harry’s palms and blood seeped between his fingers.
“Don’t cock this up, Weasley,” Malfoy choked out, his fists pressing into the floor, and he arched up as Harry pushed the wide flaps of skin together. “Merlin—“
The tip of Ron’s wand slid over the wound, and he sang the healing spell softly under his breath, the melodic chant rising and falling with each slow sweep of his wand.
Malfoy screamed and twisted beneath Harry’s hands, his jaw tight, teeth clenched. Harry stroked his thumbs lightly along Malfoy’s chest. “Hold on, all right. You’re almost done.”
Slowly the skin knit together, twisting into a red, angry scar.
Malfoy collapsed against the floor, eyes closed, breathing hard. His lashes were damp.
Ron leaned back against his heels. Sweat shone faintly along his upper lip. “That should do. For now.”
“We can’t take him to St Mungo’s,” Harry said, and his blood-streaked fingers combed idly through Malfoy’s hair. “It’d take too long to convince them to treat him.”
Malfoy’s eyes fluttered. He reached up and caught Harry’s hand, sliding their fingers together. Harry flushed at Ron’s raised eyebrow, but he didn’t pull away.
He supposed if he had nearly been murdered, he’d want a bit of comfort himself.
“There’s always Cho,” Ron said slowly. “I mean, she mostly works with babies and such, but she’s a Healer, and Malfoy’s not that far off from a baby, really—“
“Sod off, Weasel,” Malfoy said faintly, with a tiny curl of his lip, and Harry squeezed his hand roughly.
“Knock it off, the both of you.” Harry thought for a moment, chewing on his lip. It only took a moment to make up his mind. “Look, we’ll take him back to my flat. He’ll be safer there, and then you can talk to Cho. She’s more likely to do it if you ask her.”
Ron nodded. “Right.”
Harry lifted Malfoy carefully, brushing aside Ron’s offers of a levitation charm. There was something cold about moving him with magic, much as Harry knew it’d probably be easier.
Malfoy wasn’t the lightest thing, after all, and he stank of sweat and blood.
But he curled into Harry’s neck, his breath warm on his skin, and Harry held him close as they Apparated.
Harry thought perhaps he might actually like it.
“He’ll be all right,” Cho said, reaching for the jar of Floo powder on the mantel. “Stop worrying, Harry.”
“I’m not.” Harry tugged at his fringe, ignoring Ron’s snort from behind him. “He’s just my best witness for a case, all right?”
Cho gave him a look—the exasperated one he usually got from her. “Just give him the potions and keep him in bed for at least a day or two. I’d prefer longer, but given that you won’t let me take him to St Mungo’s, I’d say that’s the longest the two of you will be able to manage not killing each other.”
Harry flushed. She had a point. Maybe. Or shagging, his mind added and he scowled. Christ. No.
“You don’t need to report this to the MLE, Cho,” Ron said, stepping forward. “I’ll handle it.”
She nodded, her short black hair sweeping against her cheek. “All right then. Floo me if you need.” She kissed Ron quickly on the cheek and handed him the jar. “Tell Luna I’ll see her and the sprog-to-be Tuesday morning.”
A burst of green flame and she was gone.
“You know I’ll have to report to Kingsley,” Ron said with a sigh, scooping up a handful of Floo powder. “Right?”
Harry sighed and scratched at his neck. “Yeah.”
“Sorry, Harry.” Ron set the jar back on the mantel. “It’s just if it is a Death Eater and with Malfoy involved and now you—“
“I know.” Harry rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. “It’s fine. Really.”
Ron gave him a dubious look.
“Go,” Harry said. “I should check on Malfoy anyway. When he wakes, I’ve a few questions for him.”
“I bet.” Ron hesitated, and then he tossed the powder on the fire. The flames leapt up. “Just be careful, Harry. And I’m not just talking about whatever it is you’ve managed to get yourself caught up in here.” Ron gave him an even look. “It’s Malfoy, after all.”
Harry flushed. “I’m sure I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you do.” Ron smiled faintly. “I’m not a bloody idiot, mate.”
He disappeared into the twist of fire.
Malfoy slept until well after dinner.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Harry snapped as Malfoy struggled to sit up in Harry’s bed, wincing as he pushed himself against the pillows. Harry set the tray of sandwiches and tea on the foot of the bed. “Christ, Malfoy—“
“You know, really, you could use a cushioning charm on this bloody mattress,” Malfoy grumbled. He was pale, and his hair was mussed, half-hanging in his eyes, and Harry couldn’t stop himself from pushing it back.
Malfoy gave him a startled look, drawing away, and Harry dropped his hand. Fucking hell, what was he doing? He handed him a plate silently, his face flushed. Malfoy eyed the sandwich dubiously.
“Eat.” Harry was annoyed, more so than he should be, perhaps, but this was Malfoy after all. He poured a cup of tea, adding another phial of the potion Cho had left and charming the saucer to levitate next to Malfoy’s arm. “And don’t spill that.”
Malfoy was already half done with the sandwich. “Judging from this utter pigsty, I highly doubt it’d make any difference if I did.”
“It’s not that bad.” Harry glanced around the room. All right, maybe he’d not put away his clothes last time he’d done laundry, but at least they were folded neatly in the chair. For the most part.
He sent a pair of pants skittering beneath the bed. “We need to talk, you realise.”
Malfoy swallowed his tea. “I’m tired. I just had my chest ripped open…”
“And that’s exactly why we need to talk.” Harry sat on the edge of the bed and the mattress dipped beneath him.
Malfoy reached for another sandwich, stopping to peel the cheese away, wrinkling his nose. He bit into the bread and chewed. “I suppose there’s no way to dissuade you? You always did have a one-track mind.”
“And you know a great deal more than you’re letting on.”
With a shrug, Malfoy took another sip of tea. “Darjeeling? I prefer Earl Grey.”
“And I’d prefer Gregory Goyle not to be going about looking like me either,” Harry said calmly, and it was almost worth it to see Malfoy choke on his tea, spewing it across the coverlet.
Malfoy wiped his hand across his mouth, staring down at the teacup. “I don’t know what you’re talking about—“
“Don’t,” Harry said sharply. “Don’t even start. Unless you’re going to tell me who the other two are and why the bloody hell they decided to Polyjuice themselves.”
There was a long silence, and then Malfoy sighed.
“Theodore Nott and Vincent Crabbe,” he said finally. “The three of them Polyjuiced when we were working—whenever we were pretending to be Muggle, really. You don’t understand what it’s like, Potter. It’s not safe to be yourself on the streets and anything you can do to protect yourself, you do. It only took Greg being followed home and having the bloody fuck beaten out of him once before I realised that. We had to do something, and Polyjuice seemed the easiest solution.”
“What about you?” Harry gave Malfoy an even look. “You didn’t.”
Malfoy shrugged and looked away, pulling his knees to his chest with a wince. “Maybe I didn’t care. Maybe it didn’t matter if I was beaten. Or whatever happened.” He stared off into space. “And it’s not like I had anyone who gave a damn. Not like they did. Their mothers at least, if no one else. I didn’t even have that. And someone had to look after the fools, or they’d get themselves killed…” His voice broke on the last word.
Harry didn’t say anything. He was almost afraid to.
“We did what we had to do,” Malfoy murmured. “It’s how we coped with what the Wizengamot forced us to be.” He glanced at Harry, his lip curled. “I suppose you think we should be lucky to have escaped Azkaban.”
The thought had crossed Harry’s mind. “Maybe.”
“Try living without your magic, Potter.”
Harry didn’t think he wanted to. He chewed on his bottom lip. “How’d you get the potion if you couldn’t make it?”
“How do you think?” Malfoy raised an eyebrow in amusement. “Snape may be half-mad, but he could still brew. Until lately, at least. He owled it to us. I couldn’t meet with him—the Aurors monitored our conversations, but they thought Vincent was too thick to bother with. He asked him for it, and Snape agreed.” Malfoy looked away. “He always did look after us. Even when we didn’t deserve it.”
Harry was astounded. “So he turned the other three into himself, me, and Remus? How—“
“Really, Potter, you’re the thick one. He had Lupin’s hair still from brewing Wolfsbane for him—it’s part of the potion.” Malfoy sighed. “Yours was easy enough to get from the Weasley girl’s room. You go and see her often enough.”
“She doesn’t even remember me,” Harry said quietly.
“She’s mad.” Malfoy cut him off before he could protest. “And don’t say she’s not. You’re not the only one who gives a damn about someone who’s off their nut anyway.”
His face was drawn, and he twisted the coverlet between his fingers.
And Harry knew. He wasn’t certain how or why even, but he knew. “You and—“
“Not for long. His Lordship made certain of that, didn’t he?” Malfoy raised his chin defiantly. “And he didn’t force me, so don’t even suggest that or I’ll pound your bloody face in—“
Harry held up his hands. “I wasn’t going to.” He slid up the bed, settling next to Malfoy. “Budge over.”
Malfoy gave him a baleful glare, but did.
Harry leaned his head against the wall. “Do you love him?”
“I don’t see how that’s any of your business,” Malfoy snapped. “Do you love the Weasley bint?”
“I did,” Harry said slowly, staring up at the ceiling. “For a very long time. And maybe I still do in a way, but it’s changed. It has to, I suppose. You can’t—“ He stopped, licked his lips. He could hear Molly’s voice in his head from so long ago. “You can’t lose yourself in madness. As much as you might like. You can’t throw your own life away.”
Malfoy was silent. “Maybe it’s best if you do,” he said finally, and Harry turned his head. Malfoy was next to him, pale and silver in the faint light from the lamp and Harry knew it was mad, knew it was utterly insane, but he couldn’t stop himself from touching him, running his fingers lightly along his warm, stubbled jaw.
And when Malfoy looked at him in surprise, mouth parting just enough, Harry kissed him.
It was a soft kiss, almost hesitant at first, but Harry slipped his fingers into Malfoy’s hair, twisting white-blond strands around his fingers, and he pulled him closer, his tongue swiping gently at Malfoy’s.
He tasted of tea and the faint sweet bitterness of the potion.
“I despise you,” Malfoy murmured against Harry’s mouth, and Harry pressed him back into the pillows, kissing him roughly now, teeth pulling at Malfoy’s bottom lip.
“Of course you do.” Harry dragged his tongue over Malfoy’s reddened mouth.
Malfoy’s hand was on his neck, and he arched into the kiss with a soft gasp. Harry couldn’t believe he was doing this again, couldn’t believe he’d started it, but Malfoy’s mouth was soft and wet and open—and Harry couldn’t stop tasting him.
This was mad. Malfoy was a bloke, for Christ’s sake…
Harry kissed him again, his glasses bumping against Malfoy’s cheek, and he was breathing hard as Malfoy pushed at him, rolling him onto his back. He leaned over Harry, pressing tiny wet kisses along the angle of his jaw.
“Merlin, you taste—“ Malfoy broke off, scraped his teeth across Harry’s throat and Harry groaned, twisting beneath him, his hips thrusting up into air.
“You’re killing me,” he whispered into Malfoy’s skin, and Malfoy’s hair was soft and silky in his hands. “Since the other night—I can’t stop thinking—“
“That, Potter, is your problem.” Malfoy bit Harry’s collarbone, and his hand was at Harry’s trousers, tugging at the buttons. “You think too damned much.”
And then his hand curled around Harry’s cock, his fingers warm and tight and Harry gasped and his hips bucked up.
Malfoy’s hand was firm and smooth and Harry’d been thinking about it, wondering what it’d feel like to have another man bring him off, and he was thrusting up into Malfoy’s grasp, wanting more, needing more—
“Come on, Harry,” Malfoy whispered into his ear, and he was breathing hard, warm and quick against Harry’s skin and it was too much, really. “I want to see you—your beautiful cock—come on--“
“Christ—“ Harry arched up, his body shaking, one hand twisting in the coverlet beneath him and with one quick twist of Malfoy’s fingers, he came with a cry, falling back against the mattress. He stared up at Malfoy, his breath coming in quick, sharp gasps, before sliding his hand down Malfoy’s side, his palm slipping over the bulge in Malfoy’s trousers.
And then Malfoy’s face twisted in pain.
“Malfoy—“ Harry pushed him back onto the pillows.
“I’m fine,” Malfoy protested, and he shoved Harry’s hands away, wincing. “I’m fine.” He closed his eyes, breathing in slowly. “I’m fine.”
“The hell you are.” Harry smoothed Malfoy’s hair back from his forehead. “I’ll get you a potion—“
“No.” Malfoy caught his hand. “Just stay, all right? I’m tired, that’s all.”
Harry nodded, curling up next to him. He pulled his trousers together, buttoning them. Malfoy snorted. “Bad form, Potter,” he murmured, turning his head into Harry’s shoulder.
“Twat,” Harry mumbled into his hair.
It was oddly comfortable, this heavy silence that settled between them. Harry closed his eyes and slept.
Harry woke up to Malfoy’s mouth on his.
“Good morning,” Malfoy whispered, and he slid over Harry, his cock pressing into Harry’s side.
Harry gasped; Malfoy rose up over him, straddling his hips. He was naked, pale in the grey, early morning light filtering through the window, and Harry stared at him.
He was beautiful.
“I’m feeling better,” Malfoy said, and Harry’s hands were on his thighs already, his thumbs smoothing over silky skin and taut muscles. “Much.”
Harry’s breath was coming in short, sharp pants, and he licked his bottom lip. “I can see.”
Malfoy smiled faintly, and Harry’s gaze drifted down, past the pink-red scar twisting across Malfoy’s flat stomach. His cock was hard and red, and it curved against his hip.
Harry ran a finger up the underside, watching Malfoy as he arched back with a hiss.
He’d never touched another cock before, and the smooth slide of hot skin against his palm was oddly familiar…and oddly alien. He twisted his hand over the head, smearing dampness down Malfoy’s shaft.
“Nice,” Harry murmured and Malfoy leaned forward, catching his mouth with his.
“Shut it, Potter,” he said softly, and Harry’s stomach lurched at the swipe of Malfoy’s tongue against his lower lip.
Malfoy unbuttoned Harry’s trousers, pushing them down his hips, and his hands were warm on Harry’s thighs, spreading them apart as he kissed down Harry’s chest, teeth sharp against his ribs, his hipbone.
“Oh, God,” Harry groaned, twisting against Malfoy’s mouth. It was amazing, incredible and he didn’t know why he’d waited this long to let a man touch him like this. His hands slid through Malfoy’s hair.
And then Malfoy dragged his tongue across Harry’s cock, sucking lightly at the head, and Harry’s hips bucked up.
“Christ, oh Christ, Malfoy,” he gasped, and his fingers tightened, pulling at Malfoy’s hair. It was warm and wet, just like a girl’s mouth, but there was something in the way Malfoy sucked at him, his tongue swirling around the head, dipping into the slit in that way that Harry loved, the way few girls ever managed to do entirely, Malfoy’s hand pulling his foreskin back just enough, thumb tracing tiny circles, and he didn’t want him to stop.
Until Malfoy slid lower, his mouth closing on Harry’s balls.
Harry swore again, and he spread his legs wider, needing the press of Malfoy’s palms against the heated skin of his thighs.
He reached for his cock, needing to touch himself, to pull himself off because this was too damned much, and Malfoy slapped his hands away.
“Not yet,” he said against Harry’s thigh, and then his mouth moved lower and at the touch of his tongue there--oh God—Harry twisted, and his foot dug into the mattress, the sheet twisting around it.
Christ, how had he never known this could feel so amazing?
Malfoy’s tongue flicked at his entrance, pressing in slightly, and Harry couldn’t believe he was doing this, couldn’t believe his mouth was there, his tongue—oh, fuck, that was Malfoy’s fingertip, rubbing lightly against him, and Malfoy raised up and reached for something on the sidetable.
“What are you—“ he began and then Malfoy’s finger was back, slick this time, and Harry’s eyes widened as Malfoy pressed into him.
It burned, sharp and painful for just a moment, and Harry almost cried out, almost told him to stop until Malfoy slid in further, and his fingertip brushed something deep inside and Harry’s hips jerked up.
“God,” Harry groaned, pulling at the sheet, and Malfoy laughed, a sharp, bright sound that Harry’d never heard from him.
“Nice, isn’t it?” he murmured against Harry’s throat and Harry could only nod because it was amazing, those bursts of pleasure that shimmied through his hips into his cock and all he wanted was to feel more.
“Please,” Harry choked out and Malfoy slipped another finger into him.
It hurt, and Harry’s legs shook, and his jaw tightened, and Malfoy was stroking his cock lightly, telling him to relax.
He tried, he did, but his arse ached and burned and Harry pressed down on the fingers in him until Malfoy kissed him roughly.
“Harry,” he whispered, “look at me,” and Harry did. “Trust me.”
Harry forced his hips to loosen, his thighs to fall wide. Malfoy smiled down at him, and his hair swung forward, brushing against Harry’s cheeks.
“I do,” Harry said quietly, and it was true. Oddly. He never would have thought it, but he trusted Malfoy—Draco, his mind said, and Harry nearly laughed at the strangeness, and then Draco’s fingers moved slowly, stretching him, and the burning twisted into something more, something primal.
Draco’s breath was ragged, and his cock brushed against Harry’s thigh, heavy and warm. Harry wanted him inside of him, suddenly, needed it in a way he couldn’t explain, didn’t want to explain, and he flushed at the thought.
Men weren’t supposed to be fucked, were they? They were supposed to do the fucking, and what did it say about him that he wanted Malfoy—no, Draco, of all people, inside of him? He wasn’t a girl, wouldn’t be the girl—and then Draco’s fingers twisted inside of him, and Harry didn’t give a damn about any of those things as long as Draco kept doing that.
And then Draco’s fingers were gone, and Harry felt oddly empty. “Draco,” he said, and he flushed at the whine in his voice.
Draco’s mouth brushed his. “Hold on.”
Harry waited impatiently, and when he looked down and saw Draco’s hand sliding over his own cock, slicking it with oil, he groaned. “You’re killing me.”
Draco slid up and Harry felt the damp, blunt head of his cock against his hole.
“Breathe, Harry,” Draco said with a soft laugh, and Harry drew a shaky breath, his eyes fixed on Draco’s.
And then Draco was in him, and the first press made Harry arch and hiss in pain.
Draco smoothed Harry’s hair back from his forehead. “Relax.”
Harry nodded and breathed out. “Is this hurting you?”
“Not likely.” Draco laughed. “Stop worrying.” He moved slowly, his eyes holding Harry’s. “And look at me.”
The burn faded, and Harry shifted, just enough to cause Draco to gasp, and he grinned up at him. “I like that sound.”
“You would.” Draco bit his jaw lightly. “Tell me to fuck you.”
Harry slid his hands down Draco’s back, enjoying the feel of muscles flexing beneath his palms. “Fuck me,” he whispered against Draco’s throat.
He thrust into Harry, lifting his arse up off the bed, and Harry’s hands tightened on Draco’s shoulders. Oh God. This was what it was liked to be fucked, hot and slick and Christ he wanted it harder—
“Yes,” Draco gasped, and Harry realised he’d spoken aloud.
Draco moved faster, his hair catching on the corner of Harry’s mouth with each quick thrust of his hips, pressing them against the mattress, and it hurt in a way that Harry never wanted to stop.
He needed this, needed Draco, and he thought maybe he’d always needed Draco like this and maybe Hermione was right, maybe he had wanted him for years and did it matter really? Did any of it matter when Draco was inside of him, fucking him, and oh God, yes, that felt so goddamned good.
His leg was around Draco’s hips, pulling him harder into him, and he was kissing Draco, biting at his mouth, urging him on with soft gasps and mumbled curses.
“Close, oh God, close,” Harry groaned, and Draco’s hand slipped between them, brushing over Harry’s aching cock, and that was all it took, that and one quick thrust that pressed him harder into the bed, and his hips bucked as he came, crying out Draco’s name.
Draco slammed into him, not even trying to be gentle, and it didn’t matter any longer because Harry wanted to see him like this, wanted to see his eyes bright and unfocused, wanted to see the flush spread over his cheeks as he ground into Harry’s hips with a groan, as he arched back, his throat long and pale in the grey shadows.
He fell forward, gasping.
They lay silently for a moment, their bodies twisted together still. Harry almost thought he could hear the steady throb of Draco’s heart in his chest.
“That was—“ Harry trailed off. There weren’t words, really.
Draco nodded, his hair sticking to Harry’s chest. “Yeah.”
Harry closed his eyes for a moment. His fingers drifted across the damp skin of Draco’s back. He’d never had sex like that.
He wondered how long before he could do it again.
Draco slid out of him. Harry felt oddly bereft until Draco curled up next to him, pulling Harry’s head onto his shoulder.
“You’re frightened,” Harry said finally, and he looked up at Draco. “About all of this. That’s why you came to me.”
“Maybe.” Draco sighed. “Wouldn’t you be?”
“Yeah.” Harry kissed Draco’s throat gently. “I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”
“That’s what I told Gregory, and Vince, and Theodore.”
Harry ran his fingertips over Draco’s jaw. The scratch of stubble against his skin sent a shiver down his spine. “Why the four of you?” He rolled onto his side, propping himself up on one elbow. “There’s something you’re not telling me.”
Draco snorted. “There’s a lot of things I’m not telling you, Potter.”
Draco gave him a curious look.
“You’ve fucked me; you might as well call me Harry when you’re not in me as well.”
“You’re an idiot.” Draco smiled faintly. “Harry.”
Harry grinned at him. “Better.” He traced a fingertip around Draco’s nipple. “So?”
There was a long silence, then Draco sighed.
“Have you ever done something that you regretted? I mean truly, honestly regretted?”
“All the time.” Harry flattened his hand on Draco’s chest. His skin was soft and warm and the smooth, barely curved planes of his rib cage fascinated Harry.
Draco swallowed and shook his head. “I think this is different. We never meant for it to happen. It was an accident. We were trying to help—“ He looked away. “Slytherins aren’t exactly good at helping. It’s far more of a Gryffindor thing to do.”
Harry just looked at him, waiting.
“It was Zabini.” Draco stared up at the ceiling. “He’d only taken the Mark a few months earlier, and it was his first time out with Greyback.” He looked over at Harry. “You didn’t want to cock up Fenrir’s plans. He…reacted badly. We found him—we were part of the second group. Father’d made certain we weren’t in the first wave of the raid. It was all he could do to protect us—Zabini was too new, too fresh to be able to keep him out of the fray. We tried to help him. We did. But we—“ Draco broke off and closed his eyes.
“What?” Harry asked softly, touching Draco’s mouth.
“You have to understand,” Draco said, his voice quiet, “that sometimes the only way we could manage to get through what we were asked to do was to be entirely pissed out of our minds. If you numbed yourself enough, then you didn’t think about what you had to do, or about the blood or the shit or any of it.” He drew a deep breath. “We were all drunk, and we tried to fix him, but it didn’t work. None of it did. We only made things worse, and then the only thing I could do—he was begging me. He knew he was going to die.”
Harry breathed out. “You used the curse.”
“I didn’t have a choice.” Draco curled into Harry’s side. “At least I thought I didn’t. Now there are a hundred ways I’d do it differently. I think about them every night.” He looked up at Harry. “We all did.”
“It was war.”
Draco shook his head. “He was one of my best friends, and I killed him.”
Harry didn’t say anything for a moment. “Who knows about this?”
“The four of us.” Draco sighed. “Father, of course. And Snape. He helped us hide Zabini’s body among the dead that day. He did it for me. His Lordship would have killed me.” He pressed his face into Harry’s chest, his breath warm across Harry’s nipple. “There were strict rules on that sort of thing. The Dark Lord didn’t want us going about thinning his ranks.”
Harry ran his fingers through Draco’s hair. “Understandable, really. Though we’d probably have appreciated it.”
Draco huffed softly into Harry’s skin. He raised his head. “It has to be Snape. He was so angry with us that day—it was the last time he came to me, that night. He couldn’t look me in the face; he told me I’d sickened him, that I’d gone too far down Father’s path.”
Draco looked at him then, and his grey eyes were pained. “I know.”
Harry pulled Draco to him, holding him close.
The knock at the door was sharp and quick.
Hermione pushed past Harry when he opened it, still dressed only in his pyjama bottoms at half ten. “You owe me for this, you realise,” she murmured, and she set a bag of groceries on the counter as she pulled off her coat. “And I figured you’d nothing in your pantry but beer and crisps.”
“You know me so well,” Harry said dryly.
She humphed at him, pulling out bottles of juice and a tin of steel-cut oats. “So,” she murmured, with a glance towards the bedroom, “you do fancy him then?”
Harry glared at her and she laughed, leaning across the counter to kiss his cheek. “It’s not exactly a surprise, love. I broke up with you because I was tired of your giving boys’ arses a better once-over than you gave mine.”
“Not true.” Harry flushed at her raised eyebrow. “Okay, only slightly true.”
“That’s all that matters.” She set the kettle on to boil. “Now. Where is the patient? I should probably go let him get the appalled shouting over with so he can be fed, I think.”
Harry laughed and led her down the hall.
“You don’t think this professor of yours could be responsible?” Olliver strode down the corridor of Homicide Command quickly—too quickly for Harry who was still pleasantly sore from the morning’s activities.
Harry sidestepped a cart filled with files. “I don’t know. Draco thinks perhaps—“ And Harry caught the sharp look that Olliver sent his way at the change of name. He flushed. “Anyway, if he thinks it might be, I don’t discount that. He wouldn’t accuse him lightly, believe me. It’s just—“ Harry sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “It’s not like him, mad or not. And I’ve no idea how he might get out of Mungo’s.”
“Couldn’t he just disappear?” Olliver stopped in the tiny galley kitchen to pour a paper cup of coffee, light with one sugar. He handed it to Harry, then poured another, black. “That pop thing you do.”
“The place is warded against that.” Harry took of sip of coffee, grimacing. Christ, if it wasn’t for caffeine… “It’ d be incredibly difficult.”
“Still…” Olliver gave him that look that he knew too well.
Harry held up a hand. “All right, I’ll check it out.”
“Where’s the rentboy?” Olliver asked over the rim of his cup. They headed down the hallway again, and Harry had to hurry to keep up. He rubbed his hip discreetly.
“My flat. Hermione’s staying with him.” Harry glanced down at his watch. “Christ, I should check in on them.”
Olliver nodded. “You find out what you need to about the professor. I’ll pop my head in, make sure they’re all right.”
“Thanks.” Harry handed Olliver his cup of coffee. “I’ll have my mobile if you need me.”
He turned down a near-empty corridor, Disapparating with a sharp crack.
“It’s entirely impossible for anyone to leave hospital without our knowing,” Augusta Pyewackett said, leading Harry down the brightly lit corridor. Her heels tapped against the marble flooring. “And the Ministry requires that we keep extra wards and charms on Professor Snape in particular.”
“I’m certain,” Harry murmured. They stopped outside a locked door.
Pyewackett peered at him over her spectacles. “He’s not entirely coherent, you realise. The curse has settled into his brain stem and is beginning to make its way through the cerebellum—“
“Just let me in,” Harry said grimly, and she sighed and unwarded the door.
“Five minutes, Mr Potter,” she said. “I’ll be right outside, should you need me.”
Snape was curled in the bed, and Harry was struck by his gauntness. His hair hung in his face, as long as his shoulder blades now, stringy and black, and his thin hands were scabbed over.
“Hello, Professor,” he said quietly, and Snape turned his head, fixing dark, hollow eyes on him.
Harry nodded. “I need to talk to you. About Zabini and Crabbe and Goyle and Nott.” He hesitated. “They’re all dead and Draco’s—“
“No,” Snape spat out, his eyes wild, and he struggled to sit up, his hospital gown twisting around his narrow hips. “No, Draco not—“
“He’s not dead,” Harry said, his hands on Snape’s shoulders, gently pressing him back down onto the bed, and at the relief in Snape’s face, he knew the man, mad or not, had nothing to do with any of this. He couldn’t hurt Draco any more than Harry could now.
Harry sat on the edge of the bed. Snape watched him warily.
“Someone’s after him. They’ve already tried, and I don’t know who it could be.” Harry ran a hand over his face. “It’s about Zabini. It has to be—“
“Yes.” Snape sighed. “Hide. They him.” He gritted his teeth, jaw tight. “Accident,” he barked out finally, eyes blazing. “Boys. Dunder--” He coughed, his thin shoulders shaking.
Harry bit his lip. “I know that. But who—“
“Revenge.” Snape rolled his eyes. “Gryffindor idiot think. Who?”
Christ, the man was as infuriating mad as he had been at the peak of his power. Harry glared at him.
“Secret,” Snape choked out. “Not Zabini.” Snape broke off, stumbling over the words. His jaw twitched. “Wands.”
“Jesus.” Harry pulled at his fringe. It was like walking on a precipice, talking to Snape. “Wands?”
“Wands,” Snape snapped and at Harry’s confused look his brow drew together. “WANDS.”
“I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me,” Harry shouted, and Snape slammed his fist against the bed.
“WANDS!” he shouted. “SQUIB. WANDS.”
Pyewackett burst into the room, two mediwizards behind her. “Mr Potter, I think that’s quite enough—“
Harry was pushed out of the room, Snape still shouting behind him.
He stood in the hallway, shaking.
“Timmons’s been looking for you,” Gemma said, following Harry down the hallway to his office. “I told him you were off at the Yard. Sent him on a five minute tirade.”
Harry nodded, his head swirling. “Thanks.” Wands. Wands. What the bloody hell did wands have to do with Zabini?
“And I picked up your mobile a few minutes ago,” Gemma continued. “You left it on your desk this morning.” She handed him a note, scribbled in her near illegible hand.
M fine. Sending Granger home. Olliver.
And then it fell into place.
“Wands,” Harry said, eyes widening. Wands. Ollivander. Squib. His mind flashed back to the myriad records he and Ron had sorted through. A bastard Squib. Hush-hush. Ollivander. Olliver. Not surprised by magic. Olliver. A murdered son eight years back. Rumors around school of Zabini’s mum and her husbands…Medici, they’d whispered, poisons, and Zabini’d just laughed…
It wasn’t a transfiguratory potion. Not entirely, although it had the same properties, even Hermione had said. “Poison,” he murmured. “He cuts them first, while they’re still alive, and then she poisons them with a potion.”
Gemma eyed him, suddenly tense. “What?”
Harry looked at her blankly for a moment, then made up his mind. He grabbed her arm. “There’s something I need to tell you, at some point, but now’s not the time. Just whatever you do, don’t panic, all right?”
And with a crack, he Disapparated them both.
“What the bloody hell was that?” Gemma whispered, and she hadn’t stopped trembling.
Harry frowned at her. “Not now, I said.”
“We go from the middle of the station to outside your flat and you say not now?”
“Shut it.” Harry moved to the edge of the door, pulling out his wand.
Harry put his hand over her mouth. “I’m a wizard, this is magic, and you’re going to bloody well help me, because if he’s hurt Draco I’m not going to be responsible for what I do and I’d rather not spend the rest of my life in prison or in Azkaban.”
Gemma gave him an even look. “You better have some better explanations when this is done.”
“Just do your job.” Harry pointed his wand at the door and blasted it open.
“Olliver,” he shouted, and he heard Draco’s cry from the bedroom.
They were standing over him when he burst in, Gemma on his heels, and the knife was in Olliver’s hand, wet and red with blood.
Draco lay sprawled across the bed, his chest sliced open, blood pouring from the deep cut. He clenched the sheets in his hand, and Harry’s throat tightened. “Get the fuck away from him.”
“Don’t, Harry,” Olliver said calmly, and the woman next to him, tall and beautiful, had her wand pointed at Harry. “He has to pay. They all do.”
“No.” Harry took a step closer. “You can’t do this, Olliver. You don’t want to.”
“Harry,” Draco whispered. “Get out of here.”
Harry glared at him.
“I do.” Olliver looked up at Harry then, and his face twisted. “He was my boy. Our boy, mine and Anatola’s,” and he gestured towards Zabini’s mother. Her dark eyes were cold and bitter. “And you promised, Potter. You promised we’d find the bastards some day and we did, and now I want what’s mine.” He paused. “You can help me, Harry. You said they’d pay.”
“Not like this.” Harry’s voice was hard. “How’d you find them?”
Anatola laughed, a harsh, angry bark. “A madman talks. All one needs to do is listen.” She raised her chin. “So very few do.”
“And me?” Harry looked at Olliver then. “We were partners. I trusted you—“ His mouth tightened. “Is that why you brought me into the CID?”
Olliver looked away, discomfited. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“So...what? You used me? You lied to me about what you knew. Let me think you’d no idea about magic and the Ministry.” Harry ran a hand through his hair, his fingers gripping his wand tightly. “Christ, what an idiot I’ve been.”
“As if you’d want to associate with a Squib—and a bastard son at that--“
“I wouldn’t have cared!” Harry snapped. “I thought you were a Muggle and I didn’t care. Why would I—damn it, Olliver. You killed three men!”
“They killed my son,” Olliver shouted, and Harry took a step back. “My boy.” His voice broke. “Do you have any idea—“
“Yes,” Harry said quietly. “I do.”
Olliver looked away, and his fingers curled tighter around the knife.
“This is what we’re supposed to stop,” Harry said, and he touched his partner’s arm. “I can’t let you do this,” Harry said, eyes burning. He blinked hard, once, twice. “I’m sorry, Olliver. I am—“
“You always were a fool, Edward,” Anatola said, stepping forward. “This farce has gone on long enough.” She pulled an amber glass phial from her pocket, uncapping it to reveal a long needle at the end, and she lunged towards Harry, grabbing his arm.
“Harry!” Draco rolled to the side of the bed frantically, reaching in vain for Harry, his blood smearing across the sheets.
The knife sank into Anatola’s side, slicing up beneath her rib cage. She stared at Olliver in shock as he twisted it roughly, and the phial fell from her hand. “You idiot,” she whispered.
She tumbled forward.
Olliver clenched the knife tightly, his hands shaking and covered with blood, and he looked up at Harry then. “You’re my partner,” he choked out. “Can’t let her—not to you—“ He broke off, his eyes closing. He dropped the knife. “Shite.”
Gemma grabbed him, twisting his arms behind his back and cuffing him. He sank to his knees. “Nobody was supposed to care,” Olliver murmured, staring at the carpet. “They were only rentboys.”
There was a thud against the wardrobe door, and Harry jerked it open. Hermione fell out, her legs and hands and mouth bound with Incarcerous. She shouted at him, her words muffled, her eyes wild.
He caught her before she tumbled to the ground.
“That, Harry James Potter,” she said with a glare, “is the last bloody favour I’m doing for you for quite a while.”
“I don’t suppose anyone’s bothered to think about the person over here sodding bleeding to death, now have they?” Draco snapped, and Harry was next to him then, his hands pushing back the bloodstained sheet.
The cut was deep, but not as bad as it’d been the day before. Still. “Floo Ron,” Harry said to Hermione, and she didn’t stop to question.
Harry touched Draco’s face lightly. “You’ll be all right.”
“I know.” Draco caught Harry’s hand in his, curling bloody fingers around his wrist.
Gemma looked away.
“You’re not allowed to die,” Harry said softly, and Draco laughed, then winced.
“Neither are you, you stupid sod.” He glared up at Harry. “I do despise you, you realise.”
Harry grinned down at him. “I don’t think I’d have it any other way.”
He didn’t object when Draco kissed him.
Harry set the box on the table next to Draco’s plate of eggs and toast.
“What’s this?” Draco folded the Prophet, the Quidditch scores on the outside, the way Harry liked it, and handed it over.
“Present,” Harry said, through a mouthful of sausage, and Draco rolled his eyes.
“Obviously.” Draco slid his hands over the smooth wooden lid. “Why?”
“Just open it, you twat,” Harry said, his cheerful tone belying the twinge of nervousness that somersaulted through his stomach. Perhaps it wasn’t the best way to tell him. He might even be narked—two years living together, and Harry still managed to cock things up on a regular basis. Fortunately, Draco was easily appeased—and often distracted mid-rant--with sex.
On occasion Harry’d been known to annoy him purposely, just for the chance to have Draco’s cock up his arse.
Draco lifted the lid and froze.
The wand lay on a black silk lining. It was as close to Draco’s original as Harry’d been able to get without going to Ollivander’s. He rather thought that’d be slightly in bad taste. Well. Hermione’d told him it would be, and for once he’d listened.
“I went to Paris for it,” he said softly, and Draco’s eyes flicked up to his.
“Idiot,” he murmured. “I can’t even use—“
Harry coughed. “Yes, well, about that.”
Draco’s eyes narrowed. “Potter, what have you done?”
“It took a bit,” Harry said, shifting in his seat. “I had to pull a few strings and so did Ron, but the Wizengamot’s dropped the restrictions on your magic.” He smiled faintly. “We’ve been trying for six months now, and today, it’s official.”
Draco stared at him. “No more monitoring?”
Harry shook his head. “It’s done.”
Draco breathed out, then looked away. “Severus would be pleased.”
“I should tell him,” Draco said softly, running a finger across the wand. It sparked, tiny silver bursts of light against the black silk.
Harry touched his shoulder. “Yeah.”
There was a moment’s silence. Snape had died a year past; Draco still visited his grave every week. Harry’d always understood. It was impossible to let go completely.
A smile spread across Draco’s face, lighting his eyes. His fingers curled around the wand. “You’re a fucking sod.”
And then Harry’s back was on the table, Draco’s mouth pressed to his. “I loathe you utterly, you realise,” he said, sliding his hands down Harry’s chest, “and always will.”
“Of course.” Harry smiled against Draco’s skin.
Draco raised his head, his fingers pausing on the waistband of Harry’s trousers. “You know what we can use this for?”
Harry blinked at him, then laughed. “Draco Malfoy, you’re an entirely filthy-minded perve.”
“And you’re complaining?” Draco grinned down at him and Harry reached for him again, just as his mobile rang.
“Shit.” He fumbled with his pocket, pulling the phone out. Draco grabbed it from him, and frowned down at the number.
“The detective inspector will be late, Gemma,” he said into the phone and Harry swore. “Very, very late,” Draco added, “so if anyone’s dead, I’d suggest just sending the poor buggers on to the morgue because there’s a rather good possibility that I’ve no intention of letting him up at all today. Right then, ta and all that Muggle shite.”
Harry could hear his partner’s laughter as Draco clicked the phone off and tossed it aside. It skittered across the kitchen floor. “I am so going to be sacked some day because of you.”
“You’re the one who keeps asking me to fuck you in your office. Now.” Draco raised an eyebrow. “Where was I?”
“About to take my trousers off and shag the hell out of me with your wand?” Harry hooked a leg around Draco’s hips, pulling him closer.
“I think that might have been it,” Draco said against Harry’s mouth, and Harry smiled.
Life, he thought, was a beautiful thing.