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Happt H/D Holidays ravenna_c_tan - Part 2/2

Author: kabal42
Recipient: ravenna_c_tan
Title: Of Owls, Horcruxes and Snakes - Part 2/2





Harry had paused outside the house long enough to tell Ron to get the troops back home and then he'd taken off. He wanted to fly a length first, then Apparate, he hoped that might shake any followers and stop any chance of tracing them in case that was attempted.

The fast flight went by in silence, though Harry felt it oddly pleasing that Malfoy didn't attempt to move away once they'd stopped rising and diving abruptly, but held on still – he took it as a subtle sign of acknowledgement that he, Harry, was a pretty good flier.

"We're Apparating in five seconds,” he said over his shoulder, breaking the silence to at least give the git fair warning.

"Apparating? While flying?" Harry was sure Malfoy was about to protest more, but what he might have wanted to say got lost when Harry Disapparated and reappeared right above No. 12 in London.

"Close your eyes," he advised. "I can't show or tell you where we are going and if you try and see we might have a magical problem." That was the only downside of a secret kept by a dead man – it could not be shared any more.

To his surprise, Malfoy actually did as he was told this time and soon they were dismounting outside the door. Inside the whole gang was waiting and Harry, figuring that they wouldn't be able to have a sensible meeting just now, called bed-time, backed by Moody who demanded peace and quiet to 'check the little traitor for spells'. To Malfoy's credit he didn't even try to argue with Moody – he just went along for the tests.

The others broke up into smaller groups or went to bed and Harry went with Moody and Malfoy; now that he had his target within reach he was going to make damned sure he stayed here and stayed safe!

It was almost two hours later before Moody gave Malfoy the all-clear and left it to Harry to explain the circumstances and the rules of the house. Which, for Malfoy, weren't really any better than what Harry had dug him out of. Moody had trotted off to bed – as had everyone else by then - before Harry realised that they didn't have any free bedrooms. He also realised that it might be good they didn't as he really didn't trust Malfoy to not just try and make a break for it and he couldn't allow that to happen.

"Follow me," he told Malfoy and they headed up the stairs to the room Harry had appropriated after he fled from the Ministry. It would have to do. He just wasn't sure how the hell to tell Malfoy that they were sharing. Thank god Malfoy seemed way too tired to talk just now; he was following Harry like in a daze. Not that Harry could blame him that, not after being through Moody's spell-finding for two full hours.

In the room, Malfoy sat on the edge of the bed and looked around with a bit of a haughty look, as if the room was not up to his usual standards. It was a tactic that would have worked better had Harry not busted him out of a room that was smaller and definitely not any nicer – despite the prevailing gloom of the Black house.

"Are you going to leave me alone so I can sleep?" Malfoy said, his tone somewhere between demanding and accusatory.

Harry steeled himself to be able to break this one; it wasn't as if he wanted to do this either.

"Actually, this is my room," he said. "We don't have any free ones and it's too late to find you somewhere else. So you'll just have to live with sharing for a night."

"No way in hell." Malfoy paled markedly and jumped to his feet – a combination of things that made Harry fear he might faint. "I'm not sharing a room with you – much less a bed!"

"Do you really think I enjoy this?" Harry growled; his limit was just about reached: it was late, he was tired and he'd just pulled the stupid git out of a bad situation and now he had to listen to blame over a fucking bed! "Just shut the fuck up and go to sleep!"

"Sleep?" Malfoy said, his voice strained, "sleep? I can't sleep with some... some... scarred freak next to me!"

Had Harry stopped to think at that point he might have noticed that Malfoy was pretty far gone if he couldn't come up with a better insult – and that he sounded so out of it that it could hardly be Harry or his scar that was the real objection. Harry, however, was not in the mood to be sympathetic with Malfoy when Malfoy, in his opinion, should at least show a bit of fucking gratitude! So he gave Malfoy a hard shove and felt a deep-seated sort of satisfaction when the blond landed on his back on the bed.

Had he thought a bit further he would have realised that Malfoy would be far from incapacitated by being pushed. In fact, Harry was still within reach of Malfoy's feet and a good kick on the side of his thigh showed him that.

"Ouw! Fuck!" He was so surprised he didn't notice Malfoy getting to his feet and a split-second later he was shoved too, and off-balance as he was he fell, landing on the floor with a force he knew had given him several bruises. So he used the same trick and kicked Malfoy. Only, Harry was wearing boots and Malfoy wasn't so Harry effectively knocked his feet away under him. Malfoy landed right next to Harry and by the 'oomph' it sounded as if the air was knocked out of him.

Harry leaned up on one elbow, about to ask Malfoy if he was okay when a fist shot out from the otherwise immobile body on the floor and hit him squarely in the chest. He grabbed Malfoy's wrist and forced it to the ground, sitting up so he could hold him down.

"Enough!" he gasped. "Just... take the fucking bed and I'll sleep on the floor. "I don't care. Just quit the fucking crap."

To his relief, Malfoy nodded. Harry let go, still wary, and got to his feet. He offered Malfoy a hand up, but the other stared at it as if it might be toxic and got to his feet on his own. Harry shrugged and turned to get the git a t-shirt to sleep in.

"Bathroom is down the hall, second door to the right. Don't take the wrong door or you'll wake Moody. There are spare toothbrushes in the cupboard."

He pulled his own shirt off, changing into a worn old Weird Sisters tee he used for sleeping in and waited till he'd heard the door close behind Malfoy before getting out of his jeans. When Malfoy got back neither of them looked anywhere but the floor and when Harry returned from the bathroom, Malfoy was in bed, curled up with his back to Harry.

As Harry grabbed one of the duvets to find a spot of floor somewhere, Malfoy mumbled something.

"Sorry, didn't hear that?" Harry said.

"I said, you can sleep in the bed, you moron," Malfoy snarled.

Harry decided against asking why that was a point of aggression, but got into bed in silence. He didn't think he'd sleep either way and Malfoy was definitely turning more than sleeping people do.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


Harry woke with a start, part surprised that he'd slept at all and part startled at what might've woken him. A faint light outside told him that some hours must have passed and Malfoy calling out in his sleep explained the whole waking up thing. It sounded and looked like a bad nightmare. Harry couldn't make out the words, but Malfoy was warding with his hand and apparently having a fight with the sheets too.

He reached over and poked the blond's shoulder. "Malfoy..." he whispered.

No reaction other than more mumbling and kicking.

This time he took a firmer hold of the other's shoulder. "Malfoy," he said, louder this time.

He expected Malfoy to wake and be annoyed or ignore him, but that didn't happen. What did happen was that Malfoy clung to him and Harry went rigid; he was completely unprepared for that and had no idea what to do. It took him a few breaths to get to sort of awkwardly patting Malfoy's back.

"Erm... it's okay..." he said. "It's a dream, you know."

It was as if his voice made Malfoy remember where he was and who he was next to. He pulled away so fast Harry couldn't help but feel a bit hurt.

"Of course it's a dream," he huffed. "So leave me alone." He turned his back to Harry and pretended to go back to sleep.

"Yeah at least I'm not the one clinging like that," Harry mumbled. Malfoy kicked him in the shin, but not really hard so he ignored that.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


The following morning wasn't really awkward, as Harry had half-way expected it to, but more silent - if not downright hostile. Neither of them spoke a word other than Harry informing Malfoy when meals were served and that after breakfast, he, Tonks and Hermione needed to talk to him.. Malfoy answered to none of it, save a nod, but did at least follow Harry when he asked him to. At least at breakfast Harry had people to talk to.

After the meal, he nodded to Tonks and Hermione and waved to Malfoy to follow and they all headed to the room they'd been in the night before with Moody. Malfoy threw himself on the sofa and the other three took chairs.

"So," Harry began, "I suppose we should start by telling you why we pulled you out. Read this." He took the letter Lucius Malfoy had sent and tossed it in Malfoy's direction. The other caught it elegantly and read, seemingly unaffected.

"So you're bartering me for information," he said cooly. "I can deal with that. Only, I wonder if you've thought about how to convince my father I am actually here. To me it seems that would be best accomplished by me contacting him. So I suppose all you need to do now is convince me to do that..." He leaned back and let the letter fall to the floor. "You bargained with my father, Potter, now you can do it with me. What can you offer?"

Harry could feel his blood start to boil and he was almost out of his chair when Tonks pushed him back down.

"We can offer not sending you back to the people who killed your mother, you ungrateful little brat," she said in a very level voice. Harry was satisfied to see Malfoy pale again, hearing those words. "We've found Horcruxes on our own, we don't need your father. Or you. It was a convenient way of getting something, but we don't need it. So shut it."

"Actually," Hermione contradicted, "don't shut up. Talk. Tell us everything you can and everything you remember, no matter how small a thing. You don't want Voldemort to win, do you?"

Harry noticed the way Malfoy flinched at the mention of the name, but to his credit he didn't ask Hermione to stop using it. He stilled looked very pale, though. But he shook his head. And then he started talking.

There was little doubt in Harry's mind that the information was incomplete and that Malfoy was withholding parts of it – and by the look Tonks sent him he could tell she had the same idea – but it was something. And they would simply keep doing this, making him talk, until they were fairly sure he'd spilled all the beans.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


Several hours later they called it a day and left the room. By some strange agreement by everyone else, Malfoy had become Harry's responsibility and Hermione even had the audacity to tell him to make sure Malfoy had a full tour of the house. But there was sense in that too and if no one else was doing it, Harry pretty much had to, so he showed Malfoy around.

"We should find you somewhere else to sleep," he said when they were done and standing outside Harry's bedroom.

"Why? I would have to share with someone anyway, right?" Malfoy said, casually checking his nails.

"Yes... and...?"

"You heard me last night. Do you really think I want all of the people here to know about my dreams? It's bad enough that you know!" Malfoy said, lowering his voice to just above a whisper. "I'm staying in your room and that's that. Besides, from what I've gathered this whole rescue operation," he uttered those two words with some contempt, "was your pet project so you are stuck with me."

At that Malfoy opened the door and walked in with the air of the King of Scotland and let himself fall down on the bed.

"What's for dinner?" he asked and Harry badly wanted to strangle him. Of all the things in the world Malfoy had just waltzed into his life and taken away his only chance for privacy. In revenge Harry didn't wake Malfoy that night when the nightmares were back. Instead he let the other squirm and moan and eventually Malfoy woke with a blood-curdling scream. Harry pretended to sleep through it all.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


"Why didn't you wake me last night, you bastard," Malfoy accused the following evening. He'd been glaring at Harry all day and Harry had been pretending he didn't know why.

"Because, you idiot," Harry replied, "I've never in my life had a place to call my own and here I do and you are taking that away. And I fucking need to be alone sometimes to think!"

Malfoy made a huffing sound. "Poor little Potter, did the Muggles not pamper you enough?" he mocked.

Harry didn't have time to register the words before he'd punched Malfoy. And he didn't stop to see the result as he marched out of the room, but he was pretty sure he heard the sound of a body hitting the floor.

The questioning that day was conducted in a much harsher way and that night it was Harry who didn't say anything around bedtime.

"Look, I didn't know," Malfoy said, sitting on the edge of the bed with his back to Harry, who, for his part, was staring at the ceiling with a look that threatened to burn holes in the plaster. "About the Muggles."

He crept under the covers, still with his back turned.

"I asked Granger. And. I don't know. Never mind." There was an annoyed sigh from Malfoy's side of the bed and silence for a minute or so. And then.

"It's just that you are Harry Potter, for fuck's sake!" He turned around and looked at Harry. "Everyone adores you, how was I to know they thought you were scum?" He sounded as if it was Harry's fault that he'd made that error and it was so absurd that Harry burst into laughter.

"Shut up and sleep, Malfoy," he said as he wiped his eyes. Apart from being amusing, this was probably the closest he'd ever heard Malfoy get to apologising for anything – which in itself made him feel pretty good. "And don't worry, I'll wake you."

There was a long silence, in fact, Harry was almost asleep before he heard the whispered word:

"Thanks."

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


The promise to wake Malfoy became relevant a little later and once again Harry found himself with Malfoy clinging to him the second he woke him up. And this time he didn't seem as repulsed by discovering it was Harry holding him. For some reason, Harry was pleased about that. It felt sort of good to be able to comfort someone, he felt like he was needed for more than being Harry Potter and that was a really nice feeling.

Perhaps the relaxed mood was why Malfoy announced, that very morning, that he'd write to his father that day. The problem, of course, was how to get a letter to him. Harry was fairly sure Hedwig was smart enough to dump a letter through the bars of a window, if possible, and if they got her to carry it in her beak instead of tied to her leg as usual, but it was a risk in itself sending her. She stood out. A lot. And if someone discovered that Malfoy was where Harry was, there would be more trouble than there already was. An escaped propaganda tool and an escaped Death Eater – both would be wanted.

This time, Ron was the man with the solution.

"What about Pig?" he said. "I mean, he's so small he could go through most bars... And, what if we Disillusioned him? Once he was inside I'm pretty sure Malfoy would see him – it's hard to miss even a mostly invisible owl when it's Pig. He gets right in your face and makes a racket." He did a fair impression of flapping wings and insistent hooting.

"Ron, sometimes you really do get it right," Harry said, grinning widely. Even Malfoy gave a sort of grudging nod. It was a good plan. Pig it was.

They agreed to keep the note short and try to keep the wording as careful as possible. It took a few hours of drafting and correcting with Hermione, Ron and Harry crowding in on Malfoy as he wrote. In the end, they agreed on something, mostly because none of them could come up with anything better.

Father,

I am well and with your friend. He sends his regards and reminds you of the cup, which he hopes will improve your spirit. Take care and hopefully I can visit you.

Yours,
Draco


They figured the last sentence might be misconstrued as a rescue attempt, which would put everyone off nicely. As for the cup, only Harry and Lucius Malfoy knew of the exact wording of the offer, so Harry had insisted they mention it to prove that Draco was actually speaking of him.

As Pig headed off, having shook his feathers and hooted irritably at the feeling of being Disillusioned, Harry felt the tension grow. Not so much in fear that the owl would fail, but because it meant more waiting. He hated to wait.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


It was two days before Pig returned, including two nights of not much sleep for Harry and of waking Malfoy from nightmares. Both times only to have Malfoy turn away and ignore him again, as he did during the day, in fact. Harry couldn't understand why and he could even less understand why it bothered him increasingly to have Malfoy ignore him like that.

But the return of the tiny owl changed everything. Primarily because Harry forgot about stupid gits ignoring him. The elder Malfoy had scrawled a reply on the same note. It was clearly done in a hurry and whatever it was written with, it wasn't ink.

Draco,

I am very relieved to hear that. Tell my friend that he should ask C and G for the cup, they will give it to him if he show them this letter. I love you, son.

Yours truly,
Lucius Malfoy


"Why did he sign his name?" Harry wondered out loud. "Why not just 'father'?"

"To let Crabbe and Goyle know, you imbecile," Malfoy muttered. "My father's signature is unique." He was glaring at Harry as if he wanted to kill him and much to Harry's surprise, Hermione patted Malfoy's shoulder and that seemed to take the edge off the glare. He gave Ron a puzzled look and all he got back was a shrug. Hermione rolled her eyes at them behind Malfoy's back and Harry just knew there was something vital he and Ron were missing and if they weren't lucky Hermione would lecture them about it soon.

Hermione didn't, though, much to Harry's surprise. What did happen though was that they sent a more regular letter to the senior Crabbe – from Malfoy again – asking to meet on behalf of his father and to employ the necessary caution. On Malfoy's request they told them to meet "at home".

"Which home?" Harry wanted to know. "And why?"

"My home, stupid," Malfoy said, still in that hostile tone he'd been using with Harry (and specifically with Harry, he'd noticed) for the last two days. "The wards wont let anyone in that the family don't want there. And right now I don't want anyone but them there – and whomever is coming with me, of course."

Harry didn't quite like the haste that was added with and he didn't at all like that Malfoy could lock them out of this meeting if he wanted, but it was also the best way of staying safe, so he decided to allow it.

That night, just before bed, Hermione pulled Harry aside.

"Look," she whispered, "I don't know what you've said, but you should realise he's grieving for his mother, his father is gone, and you of all people should be able to understand him so whatever it is you're doing or not doing – change it!"

Harry stared at her, blinking confused. "I know that..." He's been thinking about that before they found Malfoy, how uncanny it was that their situations were becoming more and more alike. "But... I don't think I'm doing anything to make it worse..."

Hermione huffed, clearly disputing that. "Then do something to make it better!" she said and turned around to go upstairs with Ron. They'd taken to sharing a room lately, much to Harry's relief. Hermione was happier when she and Ron got along and it seemed they were finally getting along really well. At least judging by the creaking bed.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


Her words did stick with him despite his confusion and desire to disregard them and perhaps that was why he found himself talking to Malfoy that night when he had to wake him again and – again – held him as he calmed down.

"Malfoy?" Harry's voice was that kind of soft that comes with night and quiet. "What are your nightmares about?" He thought he might've identified a word this time too.

His question had the effect of Malfoy not pulling away, but instead hugging him tighter.

"Just... something that happened recently," he said and hid his face against Harry's shoulder. It made Harry notice that his hair smelled like spring flowers and it was a very nice smell.

"Was it... your mother... dying?" Harry asked, not sure if he'd be crossing bounds and half-prepared to be punched in the gut for saying this.

But Malfoy just nodded and clung tighter and Harry's hand ran through his hair before he was aware of telling it to do so. He didn't regret that, though, because Malfoy stayed where he was and let Harry stroke him softly. And for some reason it felt like that was just what Harry needed too. A lot of tension he hadn't been aware of started to seep out of him.

"I'm sorry," he whispered back after a few minutes. "I can't say I know how you feel but... in a way I guess I do."

The next part took him a few more minutes to say.

"You saw him kill her, didn't you?"

Malfoy stiffened in his arms and he was sure the moment of comfort and understanding was past, but then Malfoy nodded.

"You do know I will kill him if I can, right?"

Another nod and there was silence; just two young men in a bed, finding comfort in the strangest person.

"I'll help you," Malfoy said. "I know what the last Horcrux is. The one that isn't the cup."

This time, Harry was the one to pull away, but not in rejection. No, it was sheer surprise.

"You do?" He stared at Malfoy in the darkness, just able to make out his outline, even this close. "Why the fuck didn't you say something earlier?"

"I wasn't sure I wanted to," was Malfoy's curt reply and Harry just shook his head.

"Wasn't sure you wanted to...? Malfoy, we fucking saved your arse and you sit on something like that!"

Malfoy gave an annoyed sigh and Harry could vividly imagine him rolling his eyes.

"I had to have the theory explained by Granger first," he said. "I'd never heard of the things before I got here. But I'm ninety percent sure I know."

"Well? Tell me, then!"

"Patience, Potter." This time Harry could hear the smirk. "I have a price. Apart from you killing the Dark Lord, because I know you'll attempt that anyway and you might die so I wont get anything out of that."

Harry was the one to tense now and apparently Malfoy realised it was a good idea to back away a bit.

"What price?" The question was spoken between clenched teeth and with clenched fists too.

Malfoy was steeling himself, Harry could tell it by the very deep breath he took before answering.

"I'll show you," Malfoy answered and before Harry could detect the source of the edge in his voice, Malfoy had straddled him and kissed him soundly.

Harry gasped in surprise, something Malfoy just used to press his tongue into Harry's mouth and the shock was big enough that it took Harry a few seconds to react. When he did, he pushed Malfoy off, rolling over, and pinned him to the bed.

"What the fuck are you doing?"

"What's wrong, Potter?" Malfoy chided. "Didn't the Weasley-girl put out enough for you to know what to do? I bet that's it: you're a virgin..."

"I'm not!"

"Prove it then. And get your prize..." Malfoy sounded as if he was some guy in a TV commercial.

"I'm not kissing you again!"

"Why? Afraid I have cooties?"

"I'm not..." It took Harry another breath to say it. "Gay!"

Malfoy huffed. "Your cock is calling you a liar..." he said.

Harry flushed a little and told himself it was anger, but it wasn't. Not entirely. Malfoy was right. Harry was hard and just to – literally – rub it in, Malfoy arched his hips up so their cocks touched and Harry gave a small whimper before he could stop himself.

"But so what if you are gay," Malfoy continued. "Why limit yourself to girls? And there's the Horcrux.."

Harry was just about angry, frustrated and shamed enough to have lost all use of his tongue and most of the use of his brain. So there was only one thing to do: he kissed Malfoy, just to shut him the fuck up! And once he did, he didn't see the need to stop right away, it worked so well and he had a moment's peace.

Or, so he thought. A moaning and squirming Draco Malfoy proved quite the distraction and so did the fact that he could clearly feel Malfoy growing hard in his boxers, right under Harry's own balls. It was even more distracting that he couldn't help but grind down against that hardness.

"Fuck…" Malfoy moaned when Harry pulled back. "If I'd known you kissed like that I'd've snogged you before, no matter if you'd hex me to hell and back."

"Less talk," Harry said and hurried to kiss Malfoy again. He didn't want to think about this, but he sure didn't want to stop either.

"And more fucking?" Malfoy said, supplying the other half of the sentence when they broke apart next. His smirk made Harry want to slap him.

"You tell me," Harry growled. "You're the one who wants this!"

"Yes. But you want it too." The smirk was even more satisfied and this time Harry did slap him.

Malfoy gasped, but he didn't seem to be put off by it.

"Like it a bit rough, Potter?" he teased and somehow managed to free one hand from Harry's grip and run a finger over the length of Harry's cock. He moaned for real this time – even through the fabric of his boxers, this felt far too good.

Perhaps because of that strong feeling, Malfoy managed to free his other hand and pushed it up under Harry's t-shirt, deftly finding a nipple to tease. Harry moaned again and decided to hell with it and shoved Malfoy's shirt up as well. Sucking a nipple on a flat chest was different, but not really all that different either and the sounds Malfoy made were enough to make him continue. It was a victory to cause whimpers like those. When he bit, gently, Malfoy cried out and this time Harry was the one to smirk.

"Sounds like you like it rough," he whispered, moving his mouth to Malfoy's neck where he caused another moan and a lot of squirming when he bit.

"Godyes," Malfoy moaned and Harry wasn't sure if he was confirming that or just commenting on the feeling. Either way was good. He bit him again and Malfoy's hips lurched under him.

Harry was so engrossed in making Malfoy squirm that he didn't even notice the hands on his hips, pulling his boxers down, he just moved with the touches and when there was suddenly a hand on his cock and no fabric between them it felt like an electric shock and he was fairly sure that the cry he heard came from himself this time.

They were on their sides now, facing each other. Harry's hand was on Malfoy's cock and his mouth still at his neck and he could feel at least one hand on his own cock and the other... somewhere. Didn't matter anyway. Felt too good.

Malfoy yanked Harry closer by the hip and wrapped his hand around both their cocks and out of instinct, Harry laced his fingers with Malfoy's and there was a slick, sliding feeling unlike anything he'd ever felt and there was still mouths and they met and tongues-

"Ye-es...!" The cry almost hurt in Harry's throat, half-swallowed and strained, and his orgasm almost hurt too but that was good. Malfoy kept working their hands over them and shortly after Harry felt him shudder and a muffled moan when Malfoy came.

They were quiet after that. First just to catch their breath and then because neither knew what to say or do. After a while, Malfoy reached for his wand and spelled the two of them clean.

"I'll tell you in the morning," he said.

"Tell me what?" Harry asked, half-dazed and about to fall asleep.

"About the Horcrux."

"Oh. That. Okay."

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


Malfoy didn't get a chance to tell Harry anything the following morning. They woke too late and where yanked out of bed by Hermione and off to meet Crabbe and Goyle. The meeting was pretty uneventful, not that Harry really had expected differently. Crabbe and Goyle senior were about as bright as their sons and with about as much initiative, so it was easy.

The rest of the day was devoted to preparing the destruction of the Horcrux. It was hard and tedious work, but Harry had to hand to Malfoy that he was a help when he wanted to be. The guy wasn't stupid, for sure, and he knew things Harry had never thought about and from a different perspective than Hermione had.

When the time came to actually do the ritual, Hermione picked up the things needed – as she had last time – and stood at Harry's side to help him.

"Actually... if you don't mind, Hermione, I'd like Malfoy to help," Harry said. It just felt right, somehow.

Hermione stared at him in surprise for a moment, then her expression changed to one of calculated compliance – with a dash of satisfaction.

"Of course," she said. "The two of you should get better at working together anyway."

Malfoy made a small cough and Harry could feel his face warm, but pretended to be indifferent as Malfoy took Hermione's place to his right.

Malfoy proved to be a great assistant and the destruction took place without incident. It left Harry drained, though, as it had last time. He felt like he'd been playing Quidditch in a thunder-storm for several hours. It was all he could do to drag himself upstairs to bed after.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


Harry woke when Hermione brought him supper. It wasn't more than two hours after the Horcrux had been destroyed, but he'd been sound asleep. But as he was grateful for the food, he didn't complain about being woken up.

"So... you took my advice regarding Malfoy?" she asked, sitting on the edge of Harry's bed while he ate.

"Not so much..." Harry said, flushing a little again. But then again, perhaps he had. "We... talked. Last night."

"That's good. And...?"

Harry squirmed. He didn't want to say anything.

"Oh, come on, Harry! The two of you got on together way better than before, something has changed!"

"Yeah. I think... I don't know. Perhaps we settled some of our differences. Malfoy also says he thinks he knows what the last Horcrux is." He added the last part to distract her and it worked like a charm.

"He does? What is it?" Hermione's voice was as eager as only she could sound.

"He hasn't told me yet. We fell asleep and we haven't exactly had a chance today."

"Get him to tell you, then!" she said, enthusiasm getting closer to demanding.

"I will, I will. As soon as I can," Harry assured her.

"I'm sending him up then," Hermione said in that decisive tone that no one could argue with. "I'll tell him when I take your plate down."

Harry didn't even bother to argue; it wouldn't work anyway.

- - - ~ ~ & ~ ~ - - -


When Malfoy entered the bedroom shortly after he just closed the door behind him and stood there, several feet away. It was a mood so weird and strained and awkward that Harry didn't think he'd experienced anything like it – not even after Dobby dumped a cake on his Aunt and Uncle's guest.

"So..." Malfoy began. "I, erm, nice work on the Horcrux."

"Thanks," Harry said. "Same to you." Yeah, he knew why Malfoy was suddenly acting all shy, but he didn't really think it was necessary or made that much sense – Malfoy had been pretty clear on what he'd wanted all along.

"So," Harry continued, "tell me about the last one of them, then." He waved for Malfoy to come closer and was strangely relieved when the blond did.

Malfoy sat gingerly on the edge of the bed. On Harry's side, not his own.

"You know, your eyes really are very green," he said, kind of out of the blue.

Harry nodded. "I know. They look just like my mother's." He wondered what that was about, but then Malfoy reached over and brushed his hair away and traced the scar on his forehead. Harry gasped. It was an unexpected touch and he wasn't sure he wanted it. Malfoy didn't take his hand away.

"You are a Parselmouth too," he said and Harry nodded again – what else to do? He was, after all.

"Good. Because the Horcrux is his snake. I'm sure of it. And I figured a Slytherin and a Parselmouth would be good snake-charmers."

Harry grinned widely. "You know, I think you're right," he said and closed his hand around Malfoy's wrist. "Want to practice?"

"Why, Potter, is that some pathetic attempt at flirting?" Malfoy asked, though he couldn't quite hide that the smirk was rather pleased.

"Call it what you want," Harry said. "Just do it quietly." He tugged hard at Malfoy's wrist and pulled him into a kiss. He wasn't up for another Horcrux tonight, but he was up for another snake.
Tags: [fic], [long/chaptered fic], rated: nc-17, round: summer 2007
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