Title: Are You There, God? It's Me, Draco - Part 3/3
Over the next week, Harry and Draco had sex in thirty-seven different rooms in the castle, including the staff lounge, the kitchens (the walk-in icebox actually - Draco accidentally kicked the latch on the door as he came down Harry's throat, and they'd've been turned into popsicles had a house elf not walked in an hour later and unwittingly saved them), the prefects' bathroom, the Quidditch shed, the Charms classroom, the Defence classroom, the Headmistress's Office (McGonagall was late to a planning meeting and Draco had a thing with the possibility of getting caught), and the Potions lab.
Draco still couldn't look Augusta Longbottom in the eye after she'd walked in on them and seen him being fucked across Professor Snape's old desk. Harry had found the whole thing hilarious, right up until the old lady lost her temper and transfigured a set of donkey ears onto his head and refused to end the spell. Draco wouldn't help him either, and so they'd stayed there for two days until Professor Flitwick took pity on him.
Harry couldn't seem to help himself - being a novice to the whole sex concept, and something of an experience junkie to boot, it seemed only just and right for him to drag Draco into abandoned lecture rooms and behind suits of armor and - like now - into the second-floor girls' bathroom and demand to be fucked over one of the sinks.
"God, you are such a deviant," Draco said fondly, tilting his head and giving Harry a grin as he began to undo his trousers. Harry beamed as he unbuttoned his work robes. "Lock the door."
"No, no students come in here anyway," Harry said, shrugging a shoulder at Malfoy's sharp look and giving him a smirk. "Thought you liked the idea of someone watching, pumpkin," he drawled, rubbing a hand over the front of his own trousers as he opened them, enjoying the way Draco stared. "Thought it made you hard."
"It does," Draco purred, slinking forward, pressing Harry's arse back into the cool porcelain sink. "Among other things." Harry's knees threatened to buckle at the sound of his voice like that, and he gasped sharply as lips suddenly closed around his earlobe, and started to squirm. "Turn around," Draco breathed into his ear, and Harry promptly obeyed, making them both grin as he fumbled to push his trousers and robes and underwear out of the way.
"Yes, hurry, want you to fuck - "
"Oh, who is it now?" came an echo-y, petulant voice from beneath the floor. Both men froze, Draco with a hand on Harry's bare arse, Harry still with handfuls of material he was trying to push down, their eyes glued on the closed doors of the stalls. Suddenly, the scowling, ghostly head of Moaning Myrtle popped through one of the doors and she didn't seem to recognise either Draco or Harry, or the way they were suddenly scrambling to tug their pants back on. "What do you want?" she hissed.
"Myrtle, it's Harry," Harry said, giving her a quizzical look as he struggled with the zip of his trousers. "Harry Potter, remember?"
"...Ohh," she gasped, eyes going wide for a second before she pasted on a bright smile. "Hello, Harry," she said, affecting a young voice as she floated forward. Harry backed away, til his back hit the wall, one hand still trying to get the zipper up. "How are you," she said, her voice dipping low and ostensibly sultry.
"Er, fine! Just fine!" Harry said nervously, gesturing for Malfoy to stop leaning against the door and come and do something. "And you?"
"Oh, you know, can't complain," she sighed, batting her eyelashes unsubtly. "...Except for that bit about being dead."
Harry gave a nervous chuckle. "Ah, right, yes. Well! Better be g - "
"You never visit anymore, Harry," Myrtle complained. "You never write. Nobody's ever written to me, can you imagine? Never getting a letter from anyone?" she asked, the shadow of her lower lip trembling.
"Even if you did, how would you open it?" Draco asked sensibly, walking over to join Harry against the wall, giving Myrtle a thin smile. "Myrtle. You're looking well." Myrtle scowled fiercely at the newcomer, before she blinked and squinted.
"Wait, you're the boy!" she exclaimed a few seconds later. "The boy in my bathroom!"
Draco shifted against the wall and cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable with the memories. "Yes."
"Oh, well!" she looked a lot happier at the prospect, and gave them both a smug smile. "That's different. Not crying this time, are you?"
"No," Draco said tightly, and Harry was surprised when he felt a hand sliding down to his groin. "You have a lesson in twenty minutes, sweetheart, shouldn't we be going?" There was the sudden rasp of a zipper, and Harry gasped, shocked - Draco had managed to get it unstuck. Myrtle blinked at them, and then her lower lip began to tremble - Harry hadn't even had time to react before she let out an almighty wail and sailed back to her stall, splashing water as she slid back down the pipe.
"All of my favourites forget about me!" she cried, her voice reverberating in the pipes and the tile room. "They leave me, and I'm still stuck here in my pipe! Because...because..."
"Myrtle," Harry began warningly -
"Because I'm DEAD," she moaned. "No one ever thinks of me, and how hard it is, they all just leave me and get jobs and families and boyfriends," she snarled (Draco covered a laugh with a cough, and raised his hands innocently as Harry shot him a glare). "And everyone here is so mean, always clattering about in the pipes, they won't even let me sleep and I do need my beauty sl - "
"Hang on. People are in your pipes?" Harry said, his eyebrows knitting. There was another splash, and a graceful fountain of water that cleared the stall walls, before cascading down onto the floor and over their shoes. Myrtle flew up towards the ceiling, and then back down again, giving Harry an accusing look.
"No one knows how hard it is," she sulked. "They were the only place I could go to be alone, and now they're - "
"Who? Where are they going?" Harry snapped, interrupting her. Myrtle blinked, but then obviously decided she rather liked the snapping, and gave Harry a coy smile.
"I don't know. They just...walk along, their shoes tap-tapping til it makes my head hurt," she sighed, raising a hand to her forehead delicately. Draco snorted, which earned him an evil glare.
"How'd they get there?" Harry asked, getting nervous - he didn't know of anyone other than himself and one corpse (please God still let it be a corpse) that could've opened the Chamber of Secrets, how else could one access the pipes?
Myrtle looked irritated that her damsel-in-distress act hadn't worked. "I don't know," she groused. "Am I supposed to look after everyone in the Castle?" She sucked in a breath, and began to work up a sob. "When there's no one to look after me?"
Harry scowled, but didn't bother answering - he moved back to the sinks, inspecting them until he found the one with the little snake etched in. His lips thinned. "Got your wand, Malfoy?"
"What're you on about, Harry?" Draco asked, regarding him a little warily. Harry shot him a look. "Yes, I do have my wand, but what - "
"Someone's managed to get into the pipes. The only way I know of to get there is by using Parseltongue," he explained shortly, shucking off his work robes and draping them over a stall door.
"Oh. ...Shit, you don't think that - "
"Don't see who else it could be."
"Shit," Draco said feelingly. "All right, what's the plan?"
Harry frowned and tried to concentrate on the tap with the snake. "Go in, see what's happening, destroy Voldemort. Again."
Draco was actually quiet for a good ten seconds. "That plan's terrible, Potter. He could have...I don't know, Inferi down there."
"How would he get Inferi into Hogwarts?"
"Well, I don't know, how would he come back from the dead all on his own and get into Hogwarts without anyone noticing in the first place? If he could do that, I imagine he could manage the Inferi."
Harry scowled. "Shut up." Quickly, before Draco could say anything else with too much of an emphasis on logic, he started the Parseltongue, moving away from the tap quickly as it morphed into the entrance he remembered from a decade earlier. ...It looked a lot smaller, this time. He glanced around at Draco.
Draco was staring at him instead of the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, and he was blushing.
"What?" Harry asked, irritably, and squawked as Draco pounced on him, not so much kissing him as attempting to eat his face. Eventually, Harry managed to pull away, and they both gasped for air. "What the fuck is the matter with you?" he shouted (though honestly, he hadn't exactly minded).
"God, that was sexy. D'you have to be looking at a snake to do it? Or can you just turn it on anytime?" Draco breathed, gaze hot as it raked over him. Harry gaped, and then wriggled away.
"Could you please try for a bit of perspective?" he fumed. "Bad man. Down that hole. Marginally more important than kinky sex."
"Yes, well, keep your evening free," Draco retorted, eyeing the front of his trousers blatantly.
"Unbelievable," Harry huffed. He stuck his wand through his beltloop and headed towards the entrance, climbing onto the start of the winding slide he remembered, and turned around to give Draco a look. "Coming?"
"Nearly." Draco smirked as Harry rolled his eyes, and climbed in as well, settling behind him. "Well, this is fun."
"Shut up, I've got my feet keeping us from going down yet. Hang on."
"Ooh, gladly." Draco grinned as he wrapped both arms around Harry from behind, and nipped his earlobe cheerfully. Frustrated (and a little turned on), Harry let go, and they both slid off into darkness.
They collapsed onto the floor of the chamber a few minutes later. A few minutes after that, Draco stopped whimpering, and actually released the death grip he had on Harry's waist. Harry gasped in a deep breath, and groaned. "That was a lot more fun when I was twelve," he grunted, getting up onto his hands and knees, fighting back an urge to vomit.
"Ungh," Draco agreed, curling up into a foetal position. "Tell me when the room's stopped spinning." Harry sighed and crawled over to cast a quick balance-restoring spell on them both, and flopped onto the ground beside him. Presently Draco sat up and blinked into the dim room around them. "Lumos," he muttered, and the tip of his wand immediately lit, casting a thin amount of light through the cavernous room around them. "...Merlin," he breathed, eyes widening.
Harry propped up on his elbows and surveyed the room as well. "Wow."
"Indeed," Draco murmured, and then, strangely, began to giggle. "Shouldn't there be minor-key organ music? And a moat?"
Harry raised an eyebrow, and grinned. "Please don't tell me to start calling you Christine."
Draco laughed, and shook his head. "How did you ever think you were straight?" he sighed. Dusting himself off, he pushed himself up, grunting a little as he stood. He offered a hand down to Harry and tugged him up as well. "Lead the way, Potter, this was your idea."
"All right." Harry took the lead easily, taking Draco's hand and giving it a squeeze as he started down a path he only vaguely remembered. They walked for five minutes, Draco squeaking whenever one of them would accidentally step on a few old, dusty mouse bones. Starting to get a bit nervous, Harry glanced around, trying to find something that looked familiar. "Oh, the basilisk skin," he said, gesturing over to their right, beginning to regain his sense of direction. "All right, we go this way," he said, pointing down a rubble-filled pipe.
"...You did kill that thing, didn't you?" Draco said, sounding dubious as he shone some light on the skin. He went a bit pale as he traced the length with his eyes.
"...And you were twelve."
"Almost thirteen," Harry said defensively.
"...Christ. Right, you go first," Draco ordered, prodding Harry towards the pipe. Harry scoffed and started down it, using Lumos to light his own wandtip, doubling the light as they headed further into the underbelly of the Hogwarts plumbing system. They were silent for a few minutes as they walked, Draco clinging to Harry a bit.
"It's not like there are more of them," Harry muttered.
"Well, maybe you were used to vanquishing giant evil killer snakes when you were twelve, but I was still playing with gobstones, so - "
"You're a trained Auror!"
"You're Harry Potter!"
"That doesn't count as a retort!"
"It does if I bloody say it d - "
Harry shushed him as they came up to the source of the rubble - someone had dug a hole into the blockage that had nearly killed Ron and Lockhart so many years ago. From the other side of the hole, there was a bit of light spilling out, and someone singing.
"Fuck, this is creepy," Draco whimpered, attempting to burrow into Harry's back.
"Shut up, they'll hear you," Harry hissed.
"Oh my god, it's an Inferius army and we're going to be killed," Draco hissed back, pressing his forehead between Harry's shoulderblades. "I'm developing an ulcer and a heart condition, I can feel them. Potter, you're killing me."
"Don't give me ideas," Harry muttered, wincing as Draco squawked and smacked his arm. Cautiously, they picked their way up the rubble and peered through the hole - there were no Inferi, to Draco's immense relief, and the singing had grown fainter - the owner of the voice had obviously gone deeper into the tunnel, towards the Chamber of Secrets itself. "Right, well." Harry shrugged a metaphorical shoulder and pulled himself through the hole and into the room. "Come on."
Draco whimpered again, but did as he was told - he stumbled onto the rocks and joined Harry on the other side after half a minute, rubbing at a couple of new bruises. "This is the exact opposite of a good idea, you realise."
"It'll be fine. Voldemort struck me as a tenor, and that voice sounded more like a soprano," Harry shrugged, automatically holding his hand out for Malfoy's again. Malfoy glared at him, but took it, and pressed close behind him again as they walked. The cavernous dimensions of the first room had dwindled down to a claustrophobic tunnel around them, and Harry could hear Draco trying not to hyperventilate as they rounded a bend, and then another. And then, suddenly, the tunnel opened up in front of them into a huge chamber - Harry doused the light from his wand, and hissed for Malfoy to do the same, and they both let their eyes adjust to the light spilling from the torches of the Chamber of Secrets.
Draco gaped at the fallen statue of Salazar Slytherin (Harry supposed it had toppled during the battle for Hogwarts during the last days of the war), and at the snake pillars, and at the enormity of the room. And then he blinked. "...Were there so many books here, the last time you came?"
Harry glanced back at Draco, and then followed his gaze, and frowned - there were small stacks of books set out on the floor, seemingly arranged by size and number of copies. "No. ...And there weren't any antimacassars on the snake heads," he mumbled, pointing them out to Malfoy.
"And somebody's put an afghan on Slytherin's lap," Draco said, pointing over to where the bottom of the statue still stood.
"Weird," Harry whispered, the hair prickling on the back of his neck (he'd been expecting vampires or Inferi or at the very least, Pettigrew trying for a Last Hurrah. Doilies and afghans reminded him of Umbridge and were, therefore, ten times scarier). He was so busy wracking his brain, trying to think of an enemy that might have a predilection for arts and crafts, that he didn't hear the footsteps from behind him til Draco squeaked and tugged at his arm. "What d'you - oh!" Harry gasped.
"Hello, boys! Come for the meeting? Lovely, lovely, always nice to have new faces," Professor Sprout said, beaming at them both as she appeared in the tunnel behind them. "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you, I just popped out to put the kettle on." Her smile faded a little as she took in Harry's and Draco's dumbfounded expressions. "Well, don't stand here dawdling, we're already late!" And with that, she took Draco's hand and dragged him into the Chamber, swinging a bag of biscuits with her other hand. Draco turned and gave Harry a terrified look, and Harry had no choice but to follow after. "Look who I found lurking in the doorway!" Sprout crowed as she and Draco (and Harry) rounded a collapsed snake pillar.
There was a circle of overstuffed armchairs and rocking chairs, and on them sat Professor Sinistra, Madam Pomfrey, Madam Pince, and Neville's grandmother (wearing the old vulture hat, no less). They all looked up and gave Harry and Draco smiles of varying degrees (Madam Pomfrey positively beamed at them; Pince and Longbottom looked as if they'd sucked a lemon). Shifting the quilt around her knees, Madam Pomfrey scooted down on the sofa she was occupying, and patted the seat beside her. Draco gave Harry a nervous look, but Harry just shrugged a shoulder and nodded, and they both went to sit down, huddling into each other a little as they glanced around the elderly group.
"Sorry we're late," Draco managed a moment later, remembering his manners. He jumped as Pomfrey shifted beside him, then sighed and actually gave her a smile as she offered him some of her quilt. Relaxing, Draco rearranged it for them, and Harry was prevailed upon to take a tray of biscuits from Professor Sinistra and pass it around, and they got to hear Professor Sprout tell about Our Julia who'd just had a daughter finish her degree at Cambridge (though how she was going to get a man wearing a white lab coat all the time was beyond anyone's comprehension).
"...If you don't mind me asking," Harry managed to cut in after the discussion was through, "how did everyone find this place?"
"Oh, the pipes," Professor Sprout said airily. "After the war was over, grates in the castle just...opened up."
"Mm, there was one right in the middle of an aisle in the Restricted Section. Nearly lost half of those Bagshot first editions that Amelia Bones left to the school," Madam Pince reminisced.
"And I nearly lost half of Greenhouse Seven," Sprout reminded them. "Thought it was due to the sprinkler system, but no. Pipes," she said, gesturing.
"There was one in the Infirmary as well," Madam Pomfrey nodded.
Draco glanced over at Harry, who shrugged. "Suppose with the last Heir of Slytherin dead, the Chamber wasn't much use. Maybe Hogwarts just...absorbed it," he suggested.
"Oh, is that who that statue is?" Madam Pomfrey asked, delighted. "I'd wondered! Salazar Slytherin. ...Not much to look at, was he?"
"He was a very great wizard," Professor Sinistra said disapprovingly.
"Oh, yes, yes. Of course," Pomfrey said quickly, taking a sip of her tea. An uneasy silence descended on the group for a moment, as someone tried to think of a way to break the tension between the two of them.
"...If we're all caught up, perhaps we should get started," Professor Sinistra said. A shiver of excitement went through the group, and Draco gave them a smile, sitting forward with his elbows on his knees.
"Started with what?"
"Ohhh, the resurrection," Madam Pomfrey said, her eyes large and bright. "It's going to be marvelous," she breathed. Harry went cold, and felt Draco stiffen beside him.
"You're the ones doing the resurrection?" Harry found himself asking.
"Of course!" Madam Pince said, sounding almost insulted.
"But." Harry gaped at them all, snug and settled in with their afghans and pillows and cups of tea. "But why?"
"Well, I don't expect you two will understand," Madam Pince said, a trifle bitterly, "but the castle can be very..." she trailed off, waved a hand.
"Lonely," Madam Pomfrey supplied.
"Cold," Professor Sprout suggested.
"Boring," Professor Longbottom added, giving them all an unamused look.
Harry gaped some more. "And you think bringing Lord Voldemort back is going to make you less lonely?" he squawked. The old ladies stared at him for a moment and then, as one, began to titter.
"Oh, bless you, Harry, no!" Madam Pomfrey giggled.
"We're not bringing back You-Know-Who!" Professor Sprout gasped. "Of all the things!"
"What could we do, offer him some tea before his rampages?" Pince said, actually smiling.
Draco's mouth fell open. His left eye began to twitch as he started to realise that all his research for the past three months might have been for nothing. He gave Harry a wait-til-we-get-home look, and slouched back in his seat. "So...out of curiosity, who are you resurrecting?"
"Mister Darcy," Professor Sprout beamed, going pink.
"Mister Rochester," Madam Pomfrey sighed dreamily.
"...Heathcliff," Madam Pince muttered, sheepish. She shot Augusta Longbottom a look, since she'd just scoffed. "I like him, he's broody," she said hotly.
"He's a bastard," Professor Longbottom said shortly.
"Well, who did you pick, Augusta?" Madam Pince asked, scowling.
Professor Longbottom cleared her throat. "...Sherlock Holmes," she muttered.
"Oho, speaking of bastards," Madam Pince sniped, before Professor Sprout conveyed her displeasure at all the swearing by clearing her throat pointedly. "Well he is," Madam Pince muttered mutinously.
"If he is, at least he's clever about it," Professor Longbottom hissed, unable to keep her peace.
"Why, you - "
"D'you mean to tell me," Draco said, and Harry could hear that he was trying desperately to keep a tinge of hysteria out of his voice, "that you've done all this research into the process of resurrection so that you can bring back your own particular heartthrobs of literature?" The teacup in his hand was shaking with indignation. "Barring the fact that it'll never work - since none of these men actually existed - "
"Who's to say what's fiction and what's not?" Madam Pince said airily. "They may regard us as fiction, one never knows."
Draco glared at her. "That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. And I work with Potter."
"Hey! Don't drag me into this just because you're hacked off that you had to do work!" Harry yelped.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Draco hissed, narrowing his eyes at Harry. "I had to read BATTLEFIELD EARTH while you swanned around giving flying lessons to those Ravenclaw sixth years, and don't think I didn't know what you were doing - "
"They just wanted tips on their feints!" Harry said defensively.
"Oh, right, is that what they're calling it now?"
"What! That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever - "
"Oh, for God's sake, this could go on for hours," Professor Sinistra muttered crossly, reaching to take Madam Pince's notebook off her lap, crossing to the remains of the lower half of Slytherin's statue, where the afghan had been draped across his knees. "You're certain the steps are in the right order?"
"Of course I'm certain," Madam Pince said, frowning at her, her attention divided between Sinistra and the bickering going on between Harry and Draco.
"Oh good," Sinistra said, giving her a slightly unpleasant smile as she skimmed the incantation before starting to read it. From the sofa, Harry and Draco didn't notice, embroiled as they were in dredging up Draco's parents, Harry's obvious crush on Cedric Diggory, Draco's obvious crush on Professor Snape, and Harry's martyr complex.
"Well, YOU use my toothbrush!"
"It looks exactly like mine! YOU got off with Ginny Weasley during sixth year and tried to kill me!"
"I did not! ...Well, I did. At least, the part about Ginny, but there was a monster in my chest and I was obsessed with you and anyway I'm gay now! And you dated Pansy!"
"Yes, but we were discreet enough not to engage in disgusting public displays of affection!"
"Ohoho, unattracted to each other, you mean!"
"I'M A MALFOY, I ATTRACT EVERYONE!" Draco screeched.
"Um," Professor Sprout said, sounding worried. From the bottom of the statue, Professor Sinistra and the notebook in her hands were starting to glow, as she read the steps slowly. "...um."
"Boys?" Madam Pomfrey ventured, tremulously.
"OH. MY. GOD," Harry squawked, "Yeah, it must be the VEELA BLOOD."
"OH," Draco snarled, "you KNOW that's a myth, you FOUR-EYED SON OF A B - "
"BOYS!" Madam Pince shouted, earning both their attention and quickly redirecting it via flaily hand signals towards where the air around Professor Sinistra was beginning to glow.
"Look what you did," Draco hissed at Harry.
"What I did!" Harry couldn't help squawking back. He was promptly hushed by the rest of the teachers, and they all watched nervously as Professor Sinistra started the final step.
"Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata," she finished reciting the last step, taking a deep breath as a surge of magic pulsed through her and out into the Chamber of Secrets, through all of them. She gave them all an ecstatic smile. "It's glorious, you should feel it."
"Showoff," Harry distinctly heard Madam Pince mutter. "Always has to be first."
"Aurora, I think you'd better be careful," Professor Sprout said, looking dubiously at her. "You're getting a bit fuzzy 'round the edges."
"I'm perfectly fine, you silly old thing," Professor Sinistra said tartly (around Harry and Draco, the other staff members gasped - they had a decidedly tamer idea of what a vicious insult was). Professor Sprout's eyes filled with tears, at the jab.
"There's no need to be rude, dear," Poppy murmured.
"Oh, hush, I'll be as rude as I like," Professor Sinistra snapped, the light around her starting to tinge green. Harry tilted his head, rising from his seat - he'd heard enough triumphant speeches from insane dark wizards to know the warning signs, and a sudden display of nastiness and the colour green were near the top of the list. (The colour red and Persian cats weren't far behind.) "No, don't get up!" Aurora smiled, extending a hand towards him and firing off a nonverbal spell - suddenly neither Harry nor Draco could move. "Wouldn't want you to miss anything."
God, why can't they ever come up with anything NEW to say? Harry wondered to himself. And why do they always try to be polite? Same bloody thing over and over.
"Really, Aurora, it's not fair of you to be so pushy," Madam Pince said, giving her a wary look. "You could've waited your turn."
"Oh, shut up, you've already got a boyfriend. It's not my fault he prefers his cat to you," Professor Sinistra spat, raising her hands over her head. The air crackled between her hands as she started the final step of the spell. "Ash to fire, dust to earth. Give the one I choose rebirth - "
"Really, a nice 'come back, please' would do," Madam Pince scoffed.
"Always been a bit of a drama queen," Madam Pomfrey agreed, in an undertone. Beside them, Harry gurgled his displeasure at the tackiness of the show as well.
"By the power of Heaven and Hell, I call back SALAZAR SLYTH - whurp!" Professor Sinistra squeaked, as she was suddenly rugby-tackled in the middle of her invocation, by Professor Longbottom. The magic that pulsed throughout the room rushed out with a large clap like thunder, and the light that had shone around her fizzled into nothingness. At the base of the statue, the two elderly women grappled with each other, Professor Sinistra spitting invectives as she tried to grab hold of the notebook again. Professor Longbottom, however, was built like a fullback and managed to pin her after a moment by hiking up her own skirt and sitting on her chest.
"Finite incantatem!" Augusta shouted over towards Harry and Draco, who celebrated their returned mobility by collapsing. Quickly, she cast a Petrificus Totalus at Professor Sinistra, who locked up rigid as a board, and stumbled back towards the rest of the group. "Thanks so much for the help," she spat, panting, pushing her hat back on her head. The vulture on top had fallen forward, so that it seemed to be peering at her forehead. She gave it a swat.
"You had things well under control. Tea?" Madam Pomfrey offered, giving her a smile.
Augusta Longbottom glowered, chest puffing, and then sagged and nodded. "Yes, thankyou," she murmured, taking the offered cup and settling down with it. Pulling himself back up onto the sofa, Harry wheezed and then glared at them all.
"You're just going to leave her there on the floor?" he asked, incredulous.
"Well, we can't let her go, who knows what she might do!" Pomfrey pointed out.
"TAKE HER TO THE AURORS!" Harry shouted, flabbergasted as he watched them all keep sipping their tea. "Tell them what happened! Professor Longbottom, you should come too, since you were the one who apprehended her - "
"Thanks for the help, by the way," Augusta smirked. "Nice to have ex-Aurors on the staff to oversee our protection."
"We were incapacitated," Draco groaned, finally pulling himself up from the floor since his arms had started working again. "Harry's right, we should take her."
"Oh, well, you two go ahead, we'll just finish up here," Professor Longbottom shrugged.
"But you have to come, you're a witness! And you!" Harry said, pointing to Pomfrey and Pince and Sprout. "We all have to go down to the station and...um." He blinked, and then squinted at Professor Longbottom, whose nose had suddenly grown a prominent hook. "Sorry, did your - " he trailed off, not sure what to say.
"What?" Augusta asked, her mouth full of biscuit. Underneath the hat, her hair was slowly losing its grey and lengthening, and the fingers holding the other half of a biscuit to her mouth were growing longer as well. She glanced down, and paled (all of her paled, not just her face - she'd just turned three shades whiter). "Shit. Erm...must've forgot to take my medicine this morning! Forget my head if it wasn't attached, I'll just - " she made to stand.
Harry whipped out his wand, and held it at her throat. "Don't move," he hissed, his eyes narrowing. "This medicine. D'you have to take it every hour, on the hour?"
Augusta (who'd just grown approximately seven inches, her sleeves now halfway up her lower arms), gave Harry a wary look. "Potter, you don't know what you're - " she cleared her voice, since it had just seemed to drop an octave and a half. Trying again, she sounded like Milton Berle attempting drag. "You don't know what you're doing."
"Oh my god," Draco breathed, still half on the floor. "Neville's grandmother was a man!" He tilted his head. "...Actually, it explains a lot."
"That's not Neville's grandmother," Harry hissed, eyes going slittier as Augusta's faced thinned and assumed a familiar pallor. "That's - "
"Ohmygod, Severus?" Draco squeaked, scrambling onto his feet quickly. He closed the distance between them, unwittingly coming between Snape and Harry's wand, beaming up at him as he reached to take the ridiculous hat off. "It is you!"
Snape glanced over at Potter, who looked nonplussed and a bit put out that Draco had come between them. He smirked a little, and nodded, and didn't much protest when Draco threw his arms around him two seconds later, since it made Potter go purple. "Yes, yes, hello to you too."
Behind them, Mesdames Pomfrey, Pince, and Sprout were watching avidly, munching on biscuits as their gaze kept flitting from where Draco and Snape were as good as wrapped around each other to where Harry was standing and looking on. "This is better than WestEnders," Pomfrey muttered to Sprout, who nodded (WestEnders was the name of the WWN's most popular and longest-running soap).
"I thought you were dead! Everyone thought you were dead - "
"And how much happier we were, for it," Harry muttered to himself, folding his arms and scowling at the happy reunion.
" - why the hell have you been here?"
"I made a promise to keep Hogwarts safe, after," Snape explained simply. Draco beamed up at him. Harry made a face, and then made a worse face when he realised that Draco was stroking Snape's hair.
"Oh, sure," Harry snapped, unable to keep quiet any longer. "You made a promise to stay here so that you wouldn't get caught. But you're still wanted by the Aurors for questioning, and if there's any justice in the world they'll go ahead and arrest you too. You're coming with us." He stomped over and tugged Draco off of Snape, ignoring Malfoy's squawk as he turned his old professor around and produced the standard set of Apparation-warded handcuffs every Auror kept on his person for arrests (that he and Draco had made more creative use of them in the past week was of no consequence whatsoever). He cuffed Snape, and whirled around to glare at Draco. "We're taking them both. I don't want to hear it."
Draco glowered at him. "You're such a child."
"You have daddy issues," Harry snapped back, grumbling about overgrown bats and people being hot for teacher. "Get your cloak, we're leaving," he ordered. "Pince! Show us the way out." Madam Pince frowned, but set down her tea and did as she was told, though she did hiss for Poppy and Pomona not to discuss anything til she got back, she wanted to hear. Harry and Draco and Snape followed behind, with Harry levitating Professor Sinistra along behind them.
"What d'you mean you can't arrest him! He's - HIM!" The sound of Potter's shouts echoed down the whole of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and into the Ministry of Magic proper. After a few more seconds of earnest muttering from Head Auror Shacklebolt about covert operations for the Order and Veritaserum tests, Harry lost his temper entirely and stormed out of the Auror offices, accidentally upending the water cooler with a stray bolt of excess magic. "Not bloody going to arrest him, FINE, I'll just take him upstairs," he muttered through clenched teeth, ignoring the way Draco was yapping at him, and the way Snape kept stumbling in his too-tight heels (he was still wearing one of Augusta Longbottom's dresses) behind him.
"They took Sinistra though! That's good enough, isn't it? ...Potter, you've gone insane, he's innocent - " Draco tried again, trotting to catch up with him as Harry slammed his hand against the lift button and waited for it to open.
"There's no reasoning with him, Draco, save your breath," Snape drawled, giving Harry a sanctimonious look. Harry wanted to wipe it off with the back of a shovel.
"Yeah, like you reasoned with Dumbledore?" Harry spat, enjoying the way Snape flinched at the memory. "Like it or not, you've got things you have to pay for. And I look forward to making sure you do." He pushed Snape into the lift and hit the top button. Draco slipped inside, his arms folded as he glared at Harry. Harry pretended not to care.
"He's not going to see you if you don't have an appointment, you know how busy he is," Draco snapped.
"He will if I bring him this," Harry muttered back, rattling the cuffs that were still on Snape.
"Who's 'he'?" Snape asked, sounding almost as if he was enjoying Harry's anger, finding it somehow amusing.
"Oh, just the Minister of Magic," Harry said airily. He hadn't really expected much of a reaction at that, but suddenly, Snape went still and quiet beside him. "What, that's got you scared?" Harry smirked, wolfishly. "Good. ...You know, your old friends killed three of his brothers during the last battle. Wonder what he'll have to say about that."
"...Potter, don't do this," Snape murmured, his voice gone low and urgent.
"Oh, I think I will. Thanks, though, for the suggestion." Harry blinked a moment later - was Snape shaking?
"Please," Snape hissed, a moment later, as they all watched the numbers on the elevator climb higher and higher.
"Not a chance," Harry said, though he felt an uncomfortable twinge of guilt deep in his stomach. It's Snape, he told it, and set his jaw firmly.
"Harry," Draco said, sounding nervous.
The elevator bell rang, and the doors opened. Harry paused a second, but then steadied himself and pushed Snape out into the foyer first, following after. He didn't look back to see if Draco had got off behind them, but ploughed further, dragging an extremely reluctant Snape into the Minister's waiting room. Percy's secretary, Lavender Brown, gaped up at them for a moment before squeaking and getting on the telephone (Percy'd had them installed throughout the Ministry) and saying there was an urgent visitor for the Minister. She gave Harry an apologetic look and had to turn her back, the conversation with whoever was on the other end of the phone turning into whispers.
After a few minutes of whispering, she turned back around and gave Harry a terrified smile. "You can go in now." Harry gave her a smirk and nodded, and tugged on Snape's cuffs ungently, making him stumble again as he led him into the Oblong Office.
From the other side of the room, Percy glanced up from the memos his PA was handing him, and immediately went grey.
"Hi, Perce! Look what I brought y - " Harry began, but he was interrupted as Snape suddenly shoved him out of the way, putting himself a few steps ahead as they walked into the middle of the office.
"Hello," Snape murmured, his voice low and suddenly somewhat thick. Harry felt Draco come to stand beside him, but didn't turn to check.
"But you..." Percy started, then seemed to have no idea how to end the sentence and he stopped, his eyes wide and terrified behind his glasses, as if he were seeing a ghost. "I thought. You let me think that you - "
"I made a promise. It was necessary," Snape said quietly, slowly approaching the desk. "I wished it hadn't been."
Flushing, Percy nodded and swallowed, suddenly looking about fifteen years old again. "Where - ?"
"Hogwarts. Potions, as ever - ironic that even you didn't allow me to teach Defence again," Snape snorted. Harry gaped at them both, uncomfortable with how he had no idea what was going on. "I'm sorry I couldn't tell you."
Minister Weasley nodded, his gaze dropping to his hands. He fiddled with the paperweight on his desk, arranging it perpendicular to the edge of his inbox. "You were safe, then."
"Yes." Snape paused, twisted his wrists inside their handcuffs. "...And very proud," he added, almost too low for Harry to hear. There was a tense, silent pause in the room - Harry and Draco looked at each other nervously - and then Percy broke the silence by making a strangled little noise, ducking his chin.
"I did hope," he managed, voice wobbling a little. "I tried to think of what you would - " he swallowed and shook his head, gesturing the rest of the sentence. Snape hurried away from the edge of the desk, crossing around it to take Percy's hands. There was an awkward moment where they both tried to manoeuvre around the handcuffs, but then Percy gave up and spelled them away. Snape immediately tugged Percy into his arms. Beside Harry, he could hear Draco give a little sniff. "Are you going to leave again?"
"No," Snape said firmly, "Never again." And with that, he bent down and claimed Percy's lips with his own, kissing the Minister of Magic until he sagged against him, slid his arms up and around Snape's shoulders. Harry glanced over at Draco, who was discreetly wiping one of his eyes, and then looked back over at Snape and Percy, whose kiss was rapidly approaching indecent. Percy's PA, Justin Finch-Fletchley, looked simultaneously aroused and heartbroken.
"...Okay, what the FUCK is going on?" Harry demanded, his hands suddenly on his hips. "Did Snape just get away with everything?"
"Yes," Draco said, threading an arm around his waist and propping his chin on Harry's shoulder. "Though now he has to put up with the media blitz of dating the Minister, and he has to deal with Percy too. It's a fair trade-off, wouldn't you say?"
Harry scowled, watching Snape lower Percy down onto the Ministerial desk, watching Justin squeak and flee as buttons suddenly went flying. "...Only if we can get Rita Skeeter to come out of retirement," he grumbled, tugging Draco into a hug. "...You're sure he was on our side?"
"Mhm. Now, kiss me. I'm getting jealous of them having all the fun."
"Poor bastard," Harry sighed, wincing at the latest Daily Prophet headline ("Snape. Severus Snape: How One Man Saved the Nation and Captured the Heart of Its Leader"). "They'll never leave him alone after this. ...Though I do like how he saved the country while I only killed the worst Dark Lork to be produced in...seventy-five years."
"Are you really complaining?" Draco asked, coming out of the bathroom and crawling under the sheets beside him. He gave Harry a brief kiss and then grimaced. "I hate that toothpaste you bought. It makes you taste like soap."
"Or it could be the soap that makes me taste like soap."
"Either way, it's keeping me from kissing you. Buy a new kind."
"Yes sir," Harry drawled, setting the newspaper down. "I have a lesson in an hour, I need to shower." Despite tasting like soap, he leaned over to kiss Draco again before sliding out of the bed, and padded over to the bathroom. "Professor Sprout wants you to show her that de-grubbing Charm you showed me last week," he called over the sudden spray of the showerhead.
"All right, I'll go by the greenhouses at lunch," Draco called back, tugging the newspaper over to his side of the bed and scanning the society page before slipping into a doze. He didn't wake til Harry thumped the mattress as he came back from his shower.
"Oi, wake up. Shower's free," he said, towelling off his hair. Draco lolled onto his back and groaned, eyes staying closed til Harry flicked water on him. He squawked and sat up, grinning.
"I hate morning people."
"They hate you too. Oh, you have mail," Harry said, surprised, as he picked up a small parcel from the windowsill and tossed it over towards the bed. Draco caught it one-handed, and gave Harry a smug smirk before unwrapping and inspecting it. Harry went back to drying his hair and half-heartedly dressing for the day.
"Oh, it's from Percy - he and Severus are coming back from their holiday early, surprise surprise. Wizengamot reconvening or something, I read about it in the Prophet a couple of days ago. Stupid sods."
"Both going to die of heart attacks in ten years, m'telling you."
"He says he wants to meet with us when he gets back in London," Draco said, sounding bemused. "...He has a mission for us in America, he says not to mention the letter to anyone. Huh."
"Well, tell him m'not going anywhere til the Quidditch season's over, Gryffindor's going to get that c - "
The squeakiness of Draco's voice made him turn around and rush over - Draco had opened the small box that had accompanied Percy's letter and was staring, horrified, at the contents. Harry peered over his shoulder and sucked in a breath. "Oh, you've got to be kidding."
Dumbfounded, Draco turned the box over onto the bedsheet between his legs.
There, nestled together on the fabric, were two matching gold rings.
First off: Thanks to S, A, E and G for the beta and hand-holding. And head-bashing. And emotional abuse.
calyxess, I hope you liked it! If you didn't, please don't tell me!
Things I stole from Terry Pratchett's Discworld: the Oblong Office, the reference to "Music With Rocks In," the idea of feral banshees.
Phrase "pussy posse" stolen from "Sex in the City."
"Lay on, Macduff" is stolen from Shakespeare's "Macbeth."
Draco makes a subtle reference to "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret." because, um...Purebloods totally read Judy Blume.
the David & Jonathan quote is taken from 2 Samuel chapter 1 in the KJV Bible.
the linked painting (Moroni with his title of liberty) is by Arnold Friberg - it actually isn't one of Friberg's illustrations included in the BoM, but trust me, the rest of them are just as good.
One of the Hogwarts students is named after a character in Bridget Jones's Diary, for no discernible reason. ...I'm just crap at coming up with wizard-sounding names.
"'...bater'" is TOTALLY stolen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
"Datta, dayadhvam, damyata" is found in the Upanishads and means "Give, sympathise, control."