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[personal profile] eruditefics
Title: Soldier’s Eyes
Author/Artist: EruditeFics
Prompt: 18
Prompt submitted by: [personal profile] morgana_fire
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Ron/Hermione mentions of Percy/Oliver, Harry/OMCs (kind of)
Word Count/Art Medium: 31,600
Rating: NC-17
Warning(s) (Highlight to view): *Non-Con, H/C, Angst, Rimming*
Disclaimer:Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Thanks to Celest for the rockin beta job. Also, thanks to BNF!  Lorca and Kira O' Hara for their cheer-leading and guidance through the story board. Lyrics have been written by Jack Savoretti. Thank you finally to Kitty for being there for me during this fic and to all the mods for running a great fest!
Summary: Almost six years after Voldemort falls, Harry Potter goes missing. No one can find him, until chance would have Draco Malfoy thrust right in his path, picking up shattered pieces while trying to keep himself together.


Part I

When Draco Malfoy discovered he would need to travel Stateside to get a rare ingredient for a potion he was working on, he did not realize that would mean traveling to a dingy Midwestern city and arranging a back alley deal with a shady stranger. Normally, when he was doing potions research, he got to travel to exotic places all over the world, like rainforests in Borneo, meadows in high areas of the Rocky Mountains, and even lichen filled patches in the icy Nordic plains. Draco normally booked a good hotel or cabin and took his time, sometimes making his potions right there on location. This time, however, Draco wanted nothing more than to get out of Toldeo, Ohio as fast as he could.


The hotel that he was staying at was a relatively nice area, run completely by a Muggle staff, but with a known Wizard concierge listed in the magical travel guide. Draco had no complaints. The concierge helped him figure out his apparition coordinates in the American Style, and even offered him a choice of restaurants that were palatable. The displeasure came when he apparated to the back end of a brick building in the middle of a dark, dirty street. It was late at night and very cold, so Draco decided to await his contact inside of the café he was currently standing behind.

He walked into the badly lit, empty shop and ordered an Earl Gray tea. It was bitter and horrible, but at least it was warm. October was not the time to be standing outside in a light jacket. He sat quietly, watching and listening for signs of apparition while his tea steamed up into his face. Draco had to admit that five years after the war, he was finally feeling a little bit content and safe in the life he was forging.

Draco and his mother had managed to avoid any prison time due to the inexplicable interference of Harry Potter. He still didn’t know what Potter said to sway the Wizengamot, but Draco decided to bite his tongue and focus on protecting his family. He couldn’t protect his father, however, and Lucius died in Azkaban after only a few months. Death Eaters were not a bunch you wanted to be locked in a small space with, and they took their anger out on Lucius, much like The Dark lord had done.

His father’s death, the constant nightmares of The Dark Lord, and his mother’s resulting anxiety attacks had taken their toll on Draco. However, he had managed to muddle through, and was now a researcher at a major private potions laboratory. He knew some day he would take it over. In the four years since his father passed, Draco had become something he was proud of, and he could never say that before.

He heard a large and resounding ‘boom’ some five minutes after pouring an immense amount of sugar into his awful tea, and went out to investigate, worried that his contact had run into some dustbins on his way in. Draco ran out to the back of the shop and saw two black vans parked parallel to each other. There was a line of people scarcely dressed for the chilled autumn air. They had their wrists and ankles bound, and there were five gruff looking, large men dressed in all black patrolling the line with guns. There were men and women, none older than Draco and some looking no older than a Fourth Year. All of them were shaking, bruised, and scared out of their minds from the looks on their faces. When a man stepped out in a sharp suit, every single one of them lowered their heads.

“Psst! Malfoy?” someone called from behind Draco, and he jumped, nearly shouting in surprise. He turned around to find his alleged contact, Shane, lurking in the shadows behind him. Draco lifted his eyebrows.

“Shane, I’m assuming?” He said, still watching the other scene unfold out of the corner of his eye.

“The one and only! Man, Jim told me you were a bit fancy, but I wasn’t expecting someone nearly so…”

“If your next words aren’t ‘professional and well kempt’ then don’t bother speaking,” Draco said, turning his attention back to the two vans. “What’s going on over there?”

“That’s just the whoremongers. It’s best to not pay attention to them.” Shane said, looking sideways at the group of people. “Now about my money…”

“They don’t seem to be very willing participants,” Draco started.

“They aren’t. These men are Muggles, but they are dangerous. It’s really not a good idea to get involved with them,” The short, dirty man twitched before pulling out a small paper package.

“Is that the pink lady slipper?” Draco said, momentarily distracted from his new obsession by the prospect of finally perfecting his potion. He took the package and examined the delicate plant that lay inside of it on a bed of soft fabric.

“You want to be careful with this, it’s very rare and delicate and-“

“Do I look stupid?”

“Nope, just a little foofy if you ask me.”

“That was a rhetorical question. Very well,” Draco said, and reached into his pocket to pull out the American money that the concierge helped him change. “I still don’t understand why American wizards don’t have their own currency.

“Unless you want to work in wampum, this is a much younger country than England. We didn’t have an established population of wizards years and years before the modern government. There were Native American magic men, but they were more like leaders of tribes than a society in and of themselves,” Shane said, sounding uncharacteristically informed.

Draco was about to comment on his burst of intellectual information when he heard a scream and the pounding of footsteps on the pavement around the corner. He moved against the wall just in time to watch one of the men dressed in black with his gun drawn come chasing after a scantily dressed young man. In the moment it took for the chased man to look up at Draco in panic, Draco’s entire world seemed to spin and his stomach dropped down to the ground.

He watched as Harry Potter rushed by, shirtless and sweating, frightened beyond belief. He cried out as the man caught up with him, slammed him against a brick wall, and shoved the butt of his gun into Potter’s stomach. Draco’s shout drew attention to him and Shane, and Draco immediately gripped his wand inside of his jacket. He didn’t need to look behind him to know that Shane was currently running away.

Another man with a gun came jogging over to them, and Draco tried to keep calm and focus on a nonverbal stunning spell. However, nothing happened. He could feel the magic go into his wand, but it didn’t want to come out the other end of his wand. It almost felt like his spell was trapped inside of some sort of shield. He began to genuinely panic as a gun was cocked and pointed at his head.

“Do you have a problem, Pretty Boy?” The man asked, his gravelly voice and reeking breath assaulting Draco’s senses.

“I’m just leaving now. I mean no trouble,” Draco said, taking a step back very carefully.

“See that you do leave,” The man sneered at him as Draco’s eyes drifted back to Harry. “Unless you see something you like. By the looks of you, you certainly can afford our merchandise.”

“I..um…well,” Draco said, desperately trying to find his composure. He wracked his brain for a way to get Potter out of the situation, but his mind was buzzing and his heart was racing.

“Just come to this address if you change your mind,” he said and handed Draco a piece of paper. “And if I see any cops around, we kill everyone inside, and then come after you.”

Draco watched as Potter was tied up and dragged away. He had to hold himself together to keep from reaching out for the Boy Who Lived. There were so many things wrong with the entire situation that Draco didn’t know where to begin. He waited until the group of people left and then sank down to the ground in the quiet darkness of the frigid autumn morning.


Lately I've been wondering what's been going on
I've been here before but I don't remember when
And every time we get to where we're entering
I feel my beliefs and hopes surrendering


Draco walked all the way back to his hotel, too shaken up to apparate. By that time, the sun was already starting to rise. He opened the lobby doors and found the same concierge manning the desk that was the night before when he checked in. He greeted Draco warmly, and Draco rushed over to him like a life preserver, desperately searching his mind for a solution.

“Ah, Mr. Malfoy. Burning the midnight oil I see?” the concierge, who insisted on being called John, asked, smiling up from his ledger.

“Is there a way to get a large sum transferred from Gringotts to here, and then converted to American Money?” The words began rushing out of Draco before he even reached the service desk.

“We do have a wire transfer here, where we can take a note from your bank and issue you cash for it. However, I don’t know how much cash I have on hand,” John answered, looking apologetic. “It can’t be more than 25,000 dollars. You’re lucky that this is a busy weekend for us or we would have much less. The Harvest always draws a crowd to the Midwest.”

“I’ll take it. Here is my account information. Please let me know when it is ready,” Draco said, scrawling his numbers and his vault information for the concierge. He had no idea what a wire transfer was, but if it would get him money, he didn’t even want to waste time thinking about it. He gave John a quick ‘thank you’ and rushed to the lift.

Draco began to cast innocuous spells around the lift, and every single one worked perfectly. When he got to his room, he cast a few stunners at some cushions, sent a Reducto at a pillow, and even lit a small fire in his dust bin. Eventually, his room was destroyed and he was seething with frustration.

“Why didn’t my spells work out there?” Draco asked out loud through clenched teeth.

He fell to the ground and gripped his hair tightly. Harry Potter had been missing for months, and the country wide hunt had not let up. His friends were making statements to the press begging for information, and every store window had a picture of his face (like it wasn’t recognizable to begin with). He gave his speech commemorating the six year anniversary of the defeat of The Dark Lord, and then the next day he was completely gone. All of his belongings were still at his home, and no one had any indication that he had left of his own free will. Not a single pair of English eyes had seen Harry Potter until today, and if they had, they weren’t saying anything.

Draco had no idea what to do next. He was getting money. He could try to bribe Potter’s captors, but was unsure how much they would require. He thought about going to the International Magic office in the city, but the thought made his blood run cold. The Ministry in England wanted any reason at all to find Draco guilty for something, and he was scared to death that the delicate life he rebuilt would come tumbling down, along with his mother’s delicate nerves. No, Draco resolved he needed more information before he could act.

He drew is wand and deftly turned his basin into an oblong, black, bottomless penseive. He extracted his memory of the minutes that Harry Potter crossed his path and let them swirl around for a second before diving in head first. He closed his eyes when the gun went into Potter’s abdomen again, unable to watch someone he secretly thought of as so strong and capable being taken down so easily, and then he watched Potter’s possible captors.

There were five massive men dressed in all black and heavily armed with Muggle weapons and twenty young men and women, none older than Draco, that amassed into a neatly-formed line as they were dropped off. The patrons never got out of their luxury town cars, but every person who did get out was limping and looking completely defeated. Potter was shirtless and shaking, enduring leering looks and taunts from the guards that Draco couldn’t hear, but the frightened look on Potter’s face told him all he needed to: This was not some secret mission. Potter was there against his will.

The next thing Draco examined was the look on Potter’s face during his own interaction with the leader of the ring. Potter looked up at Draco once, and while his eyes widened at the prospect that Draco would come back to make a purchase, there wasn’t a single ounce of recognition. It wasn’t arrogance to assume Potter would know is face on sight, and the realization that Potter had no idea who he was nearly shook Draco from his viewing.

Finally, Draco tried to focus on what happened when he attempted to cast a spell. He saw no indication that the magic left his wand, let alone affected anyone else. Draco watched the scene over and over again, and could not riddle out why his spell did not work. He didn’t think he could have been nearly that distracted, and his nonverbal spells had grown nearly flawless during the war. Something was keeping magic away from Potter…something or someone. Draco pulled himself out of the penseive and promptly ordered a town car.

*****

After the car arrived and his money was safely secured in a nondescript, non magical briefcase, Draco gave his driver the address with the written guarantee of discretion and the promise not to perform magic when they reached their destination. He handed the driver the address, and he said that he was familiar with that part of town, but didn’t know any wizarding homes in the area. Draco advised he was conducting Muggle business and closed the dividing window.

He reached into the small cooler and pulled out a full size of some sort of American Bourbon. He sniffed the drink suspiciously and when he felt a burn in his nostrils, he knew he needed it. He poured himself two fingers, took a quick shot, and then repeated it twice more for good measure. By the time his ablutions were done, his hands were no longer shaking and they had arrived at their destination. He rolled down the partition to the towncar carefully.

“Driver?” Draco said, making sure his voice sounded firm and not as riddled as he felt.

“Yes, Mr. Malfoy?” he asked, raising his brows and lifting the bill of his hat.

“Can I expect discretion no matter what you may see?” Draco asked haughtily, pulling out some American money and slipping it to the driver.

“Comes with the job, Sir,” answered, putting the cash in his jacket.

Draco stepped out of his car and walked up to the steps of the plain white farmhouse’s front porch. He straightened his jacket, and shook his head side to side. He shut off every inch of emotion that was winding his way through his body and changed his face to what he hoped was a mask of indifference. The truth of the matter was, he was sure Harry Potter was being hurt, badly and unwillingly, and the thought threatened to split him apart like an unstable fault line. He raised his hand and knocked once, and firmly, on the door.

“I knew you would be back, you lovely thing.” The ringleader leered at Draco, and he reached into his jacket, fearful whatever happened to Potter would happen to him shortly. “If you weren’t so obviously wealthy, I’d be trying to recruit you, but money is always better than the body!”

With that unsettling statement, the man swept his burly arms to the side and led Draco into a well-appointed entry way. To his right, there was a parlor draped in silk and lined with candles where women were lounging, sipping wine, or being taken by customers right there on the floor. Draco had to turn his head in disgust.

When he looked to the other room, it was another parlor with men on display, most of them in pants, so their badly abused backs were on display. Draco could recognize Potter by the back of his head, where his messy and unkempt hair remained a constant even to his decimated body. Draco bit the inside of his cheek hard and breathed in deeply. Potter chose that moment to meet his eyes, and the lack of recognition there startled Draco into action.

“I’d like that one,” He said, his voice catching. Potter looked down as he kneeled on the floor in front of Draco assuming a submissive pose. His body was shaking and his jaw was clenched tightly.

“Oh you like them with some fight in ‘em, huh?” He smiled, stroking Potter’s hair. Draco could tell Potter wanted to flinch.

“I’m prepared to pay you a large amount,” Draco said, turning up his nose to make sure he didn’t look down at Potter and lose his composure.

“Tell you what, why don’t you test him out. If he doesn’t please you, we can try something else. We don’t accept refunds, so you best be happy before you leave with him,” he said, sounding more like he was discussing a pair of trousers than a human being. “Take him upstairs for twenty minutes, and if you need anything, just call for me. My name is Frank.” He looked down at Potter, “Hank, get up to room twelve and don’t disappoint.”

Draco’s knees were weak as he went up the steps, following behind Potter, who limped slightly and was still wearing nothing but his pants. He had no idea what he would say or do when they were finally alone. He was sure they were being watched, as the level of security was startling. He had to dance such a fine line to get Potter out of this alive, and himself, that he suddenly felt like he was back under Voldemort’s thumb. The door to the room slammed behind them of its own accord, confirming Draco’s suspicions that they were being monitored.

Potter immediately dropped back to his knees and folded his hands over his lap, though his facial expression remained defiant. He didn’t make eye contact, but kept his head down, and Draco took the opportunity to examine Harry’s back more thoroughly. He had long welts along his pale flesh, his ribs were beginning to protrude, and there were burn marks around his shoulders. Draco gasped and had to bite his tongue hard to keep himself from saying anything that would certainly get them both in trouble.

He decided that if Potter was going to keep his eyes downcast, Draco could cast a few cloaking charms, or detection charms, or even figure out how to apparate without being discovered. He wanted to do healing charms, but Potter would feel those and be very alarmed. So Draco brandished his wand and cast a monitoring charm on the door. Nothing happened. Well, something happened, but it was the same feeling of the spell refusing to leave his wand as he had felt the previous night outside of the café.

“Shit!” Draco exclaimed. He realized he couldn’t use his wand around Harry, and that conclusion made him tremble with fear.

Harry took a loud breath below him, and Draco looked down to see him eyeing the wand. Draco put the wand back into his jacket and shook his head fiercely when Harry bent forward and exposed his battered back. Draco felt like he was going to be sick all over the shiny, wooden floor. He looked down at Potter, trying to maintain appearances in case someone was spying, and cleared his throat.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” He whispered, and Potter looked up once before leaning back down, horrified that he had met Draco’s eyes. “I mean that…Hank.”

Suddenly, Potter reached up and began rubbing his hands up and down Draco’s sides and pulling his shirttails out of his trousers. Draco grabbed Potter’s wrist to try to stop him, but instead Potter just began unfastening Draco’s trousers and running his shaking hands along the waistband. Draco was absolutely paralyzed with fear at what Potter was doing. He wasn’t himself, he didn’t want this, and Draco was filled with self loathing by even being touched under those circumstances. When Potter’s hands ghosted across the front of Draco’s pants and touched his flaccid penis, he jumped back and started shaking.

“I’m not…I’m not p-pleasing you. He’s going to-“

Suddenly, there were loud footsteps down the hall. Draco panicked. He grabbed Harry’s hair roughly and slammed it against his groin just as the door smashed open.

“Excuse me!” Draco shouted, and one of the guards quickly shut the door, muttering an apology.

Draco backed away from Harry as quickly as his legs could carry him until his back slammed against the wall. He leaned forward and gripped his hair tightly, swallowing a scream in his throat. When he finally was calm enough to look back up, Potter was standing, looking at him with such confusion, that it began to morph into panic again.

“What is going on?” he whispered, looking around the room frightened.

“I am going to take you back to my rooms. I’m going to give Frank my money, and take you for two days. I…that’s all you need to know right now,” Draco said, not even bothering to hide the quiver in his voice this time.

“But you don’t…”

“Shut up,” Draco whispered, as the footsteps returned. Draco motioned for Harry to get back on his knees and made a show of redoing his trousers. Catching on quickly, Harry wiped his mouth as Frank’s voice came from a slowly opening door.

“I want him,” Draco said without preamble, pulling out a neat stack of bills from his inside pockets. “For two nights. I have plans,” Draco tried to leer, adding the last part in hopes of making a good show of it.

“Certainly, Mr. Malfoy. You obviously have the funds,” Franked licked his lips at the stack of bills. “Hank, go get some clothes on and wait by the front door like a good little doggie.”

When Potter left, Draco was unsure what to say to close the deal, but Frank spoke up for him. “Here is a list of the rules. Please indicate that you understand.”

Draco read over the list, and most things were about what instruments and harm he could cause, and what he couldn’t. Reading it made the bile rise in his throat again. Item number twelve made him shake with anger: Your toy is worth 1 million dollars. Be ready to pay for it if you kill it. Draco clenched his fist and nodded, his entire body beginning to quiver obviously.

“You are excited, aren’t you?” Frank asked. Draco just nodded, hoping he was putting up a good face. “I don’t usually get clients so young and attractive, but you obviously want our Hank here. And who am I to say no to twenty five thousand bucks?”

“You’d be a fool,” Draco whispered, handing him the money. He rushed back down the steps, yanked Potter up as roughly as he could muster, and dragged him to the waiting car before anyone could turn their heads or question his arrangement. He saw the security detail readying to follow them, and he cursed Merlin and Circes and anyone he could think of. But at least he was finally going to be alone with Potter, and he could figure this out.

()()()()()()()()()()()()(()()()()

It was painfully clear to Draco that they had been followed all the way to the hotel. A blind, deaf Inferi could have picked up on it. When they arrived at the hotel tower, Draco very casually glided over to one of the armed guards and asked him what he thought he was doing. The guard answered with just as much icy calm that they were making sure the merchandise didn’t scamper off. He looked around and found armed men monitoring every exit. Draco spent the elevator ride up distracting himself from Potter by wondering how these men could get away with guarding a privately owned building.


He led Potter into his suite of rooms, where Potter promptly took up his submissive position on the floor, and Draco began to pace frantically. He tried casting every spell he could think of, but could only do so when he was at least twelve feet from Potter. Every once in a while, he would grab his hair and growl in frustration, drawing the conclusion that without being able to use magic around Harry, his undertaking was impossible at best. When Draco hit the wall hard with his fist, crumbling a small hole of sheetrock, Potter crouched down further and put his hands over his head.

“Oh bloody- Will you please rise and take a seat,” Draco said, reigning in his emotions as best he could.

Potter got up and moved carefully to the chair closest to the roaring fireplace, shuddering and stretching his hands out. He still had that air of power to him that lured Draco into self-awareness that he had never been ready to face, and as the hard lines of Potters face were lit by the firelight, Draco felt again that the Hero of the Wizarding World was in there somewhere. He could almost see the real Potter trying to bubble to the surface. The moment escaped him when there was a knock at the door and Potter gripped the arm of his chair and looked back down at his knees.

Draco peered through the lookout to see John standing there holding a bottle of champagne on ice. As though he could sense Draco looking at him, he very subtly winked while staring blankly at his nails. Draco decided after all the older wizard had done, he was sure he could trust him. He opened the door, and let the concierge in part way.

“I’ve brought you champagne, Mr. Malfoy!” He beamed, laying his false laugh on quickly as he closed the door behind him. “What have you gotten yourself into?” He whispered harshly under the thud of the shutting door.

“I…It’s a very long story,” Draco started, putting his hand to his face again. “I can’t even begin to explain it.”

“If you were seeking personal entertainment, I could have procured something much less dangerous…and cruel.” John said, regarding Draco with veiled disgust.


“It’s not- Hank, why don’t you go and draw yourself a bath?” Draco said, trying to sound very nonchalant.

“Is there anything you would like me to change into?” he asked, still looking at his feet as he rose.

Draco’s face turned read and he shook his head more rapidly than he should have. “Just throw on your clothes or the bathrobe if you’re so inclined…with pants of course!”

When Harry was safely out of range, Draco cast ‘muffliato’ around himself and the concierge. John immediately changed his demeanor. “I will not endanger you by telling you all of the details, but I intend to get this man out as quickly as possible.” Draco’s jaw clenched and his voice growled. He felt the determination shake him to the core. He had never been clearer about what needed to be done and he could feel his body ring tight with the tension.

“If you need anything, call me. I’ll bring up food or towels,” John said gravely. “I do not appreciate armed guards lurking about our suites. And I want them gone…or better yet just plain dead…as soon as possible. Even though they are Muggle, I am aware of the scum and what they’ve been doing, it sickens me. I have,” John paused and took a deep breath. “I have a teenage daughter. I just can’t imagine this happening. If there is anything you need, don’t hesitate.”

“Actually, I need a book on dark magic. I need to look up dampening spells.” Draco said, glancing back at the bathroom door.

“I’ll get you healing spells and childhood spell books too,” he answered, slight shock dawning on his face as he followed Draco’s eyes. “There are actually forms of magical dampening used for healing and for controlling accidental magic,” he said, bowing as he opened the door. Draco handed him a bill and said he may call down for towels later.

With the theatrics over, Draco sat at the table and waited for Potter to finish his bath. He wondered how he was going to manage Potter once he stopped the spell, or how much Potter would remember. Would Potter attack him? Would there be a burst of magic? Would they be able to make it out of there alive even with their wands? Draco slammed his fist on the table just as Potter walked out of the bathroom with the fluffy white robe wrapped around him.

“The concierge has brought us champagne, and as soon as I know what you’d like for dinner, we can order that up as well,” Draco said, trying not to image what Potter might look like under the robes. Potter gave him a confused and slightly frightened look, but just stood there. “You can say whatever is on your mind; I’m not going to hurt you.”

“They all hurt me,” Potter said, looking at him with not just mistrust, but something that seemed like a spark or a challenge. Draco found a sliver of hope in the familiar expression on the hero’s eyes, and he started directly at Potter for the first time since he saw him running.

Potter suddenly looked horrified and shrank under Draco’s stare. Draco began to backtrack, but Potter was already shaking and dropped to his knees. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! Please don’t tell them! I’ll do anything!”

Draco couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t maintain the level of coolness he was operating under. He rushed forward and got on his knees in front of the other wizard. “I won’t tell them. They aren’t going to hurt you again,” Draco assured, his mind racing desperately. He reached out and cupped his hands on either side of Harry’s face, but Harry backed away from him like his touch burned, squeezing his eyes closed and bracing himself. “I’m sorry. I forgot myself for a moment.”

“Who the fuck are you? Are you some kind of savior? Some sort of Boy Wonder?” Potter asked, calming himself down with deep breaths. Draco snorted at the incongruous role reversal. “Why should I believe a word you say? You just paid 25 thousand dollars for my company.”

“I should take it as no surprise you don’t trust me, regardless of the money,” Draco murmured.

“Seriously, who are you?” Potter asked, still looking incredibly fearful, even though he had calmed.

“You would never believe me,” Draco said, releasing the breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

When he stood to go for the phone and call up a meal, he saw red stain blooming on the back of Harry’s pristine, cotton robe. The other wizard caught him looking and craned his neck, causing him to wince and his eyes to water. Draco lifted his hand, trying to stop Potter from moving, and ran over to his bag. He knew he couldn’t use his wand, but a wonderful, cooling salve of murtlap might at least cool the burning and cause it to heal a little more quickly.

While he was looking for the salve, he passed over phials of unused potion’s ingredients. He had worked so hard on the potion that could ease pain and bring much needed sleep to the injured, and now he would be putting the entire thing on hold without a second thought. That potion was his ticket back into the favor of the wizarding world. It was a chance to rebuild some fortune, too. He fingered his newest ingredient thoughtfully, and then pulled the murtlap from the front pouch.

“Could you please take down your robe?” Draco said, checking the salve to make sure it was still potent.

When Draco turned around, he very nearly dropped his little pot of potion. Harry’s back was crisscrossed with welts, some of them long and bloodied, and some healed over, as though this was a very regular occurrence. Draco couldn’t help himself and swore loudly. Potter flinched, yet again, and braced himself. Draco cleared his throat to try to dislodge the lump that threatened to shake his voice.

“You can do this yourself if you’re uncomfortable with me touching you,” Draco croaked, not wanting to frighten the abused wizard.

Potter looked back and eyed the pot in Draco’s hand, dropping his shoulders and relaxing a bit. “I’m not sure if I can reach,” he whispered.

Draco nodded and grabbed a hand towel. He deftly dried off the area before sticking two fingers in the pot and pulling out some of the yellow goo. He rubbed it along his palms until it was evenly dispersed, and pressed his hands to Harry’s throbbing back. Harry hissed in pain, and Draco assured him it would only sting for a moment as he continued to lather the murtlap on the other wizard carefully, covering every inch of skin he could see. With each turn, Potter became more relaxed, and Draco more turned on. He bit his lip hard enough to cause pain.

“What is this?” Potter asked quietly, like he was afraid Draco would stop.

“Oh, it’s just something I made,” he answered nonchalantly. It wasn’t technically a lie. Draco did make that batch; he just left out some parts.

“Is there a way I can use some more of it,” Potter asked. He turned around and Draco could see barely healed burns and cuts all across his chest, arms and legs as well. Draco handed him the tub and stood to call for dinner, turning his back to give the other wizard some privacy.

“How do you like your steak?” Draco asked, careful not to use Harry’s name or turn to look at him.

“I don’t know,” Potter answered, sounding puzzled by the revelation. Draco wanted to ask him about the memory loss, and how he came to his situation, but he couldn’t find the words.

“I’m going to order some steak and asparagus. Would you like some starch?”

“Starch?”

“Potatoes, Pasta, or Rice?”

“We don’t…I haven’t eaten much beyond hot cereal at the house and whatever my um…people…would be willing to let me eat. I’m not sure what I like.” He said, quietly and uncertainly.

Draco bit his tongue again and dialed room service. He ordered two medium rare steaks, asparagus in butter sauce, and some garlic mash. He asked for some sodas as well. He enjoyed the carbonation and rarely drank the Muggle concoctions. He thought it might be relaxing. On that thought, Draco also uncorked the champagne and offered Harry a glass when he was finished covering more of his wounds in murtlap.

“Do you feel better?” Draco asked, gesturing to a chair on the other side of the table.

“Yes. That stuff is amazing. You must be a brilliant herbalist!”

“Something like that. Who did these things to you?” Draco asked abruptly, unable to hold on to his questions any longer. Potter tipped back his glass in one go.

“Most of this was actually done by Frank and his cronies. I try to run a lot,” Harry said, looking at his hands and shaking slightly. “That’s why there is probably a guard everywhere waiting for me to try to escape.”

“How many times have you tried?”

“Well, I actually can’t feel most of the skin on my back, so they’ve started on my legs when they realized I didn’t scream anymore. The burns are from clients, but they mostly hurt…fuck. Nevermind. I don’t want to fucking talk about this with someone who bought me!” Potter suddenly spoke up, slamming his fist on the table. Draco braced himself for an attack, but it never came. He kept his eyes closed for a few moments fearing the look of complete betrayal in Potter’s eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Harry whispered. Draco looked up to see a terrified look on Potter’s face. “I know I’m supposed to do whatever you say.”

“No-“

“Just, please don’t tell them! I don’t have much fight left in me and I need to keep that or I’ll die!” Potter cried, clutching the table and shaking.

“I won’t tell anyone anything. I promise. I am not going to hurt you and I will do nothing to cause you any harm if I can help it,” Draco said very carefully and clearly. He wanted to say that he would get the other wizard out, but he knew that if he said anything like that without explaining how, Harry might get more suspicious and frightened.

“I didn’t mean to be so weird. There’s just something about you that makes me want to shout at you and tell you everything at the same time,” the dark haired wizard explained.

Draco felt another burst of hope. Harry obviously had a memory of their pasts buried deeply in his subconscious somewhere. The notion that Harry still wanted to pick fights with him made him smile slightly. He walked over to Potter and braved a slight touch on his shoulder as he went to get himself more champagne. Draco drank this glass a little faster than the prior.

“Hank,” Draco started, his voice shaking a little. “How did this happen to you? How did they get you?”

Harry looked up at him, and Draco saw the muscles in his jaw ripple as he swallowed hard. Harry was trying to be brave, so Draco thought he should try as well. He met the other wizards deep green gaze directly, trying to show that there was nothing to fear in Draco. He kept his hands at his sides and kept his distance, remaining as non threatening as possible. Harry narrowed his eyes a little, and cocked his head to the side in such a way that Draco thought he could fall for the wizard. He had no time to shirk the notion before Harry started talking.

“I literally woke up in a gutter. I had no idea where I was or who I was. And before I could even pick myself up out of the cold, muddy water, Frank had his hands on me,” Potter said, looking like he was either about to vomit or have a panic attack. “At first, I thought he wanted to help. He kept asking me to remember who I was, he fed me, and he let me clean up in his place. But then he…he came in while I was in the shower. I tried to run at that point, but he subdued me quite effectively,” Potter took a deep breath and grabbed his head while he was reliving it.

“It’s okay, you don’t need to-“

“I tried to fucking run! He was too strong! And he had a point: I had no one. I didn’t even have an identity. Who would notice me missing?” Potter cried, standing up and knocking the chair over. He promptly hit a wall, and Draco jumped, but did nothing to quell his rage. What good would it do? He was more tempted to echo the dark haired wizard’s sentiments. Instead, when Potter’s breathing slowed, he handed him another class of champagne.

“I’m sorry. You’ve tried to run a lot. Why do you risk all of that pain?” Draco asked, but he already knew the answer.

“It’s better than the humiliation of going to that…to them…willingly,” Potter answered. Draco would have expected nothing less, even though Harry currently had no idea who he was. “But I can’t do it anymore. And I won’t.”

They were locked in a gaze until the light knocking on the door made them both jump. “That must be the food,” Draco said quietly. He could hear Potter almost groan in anticipation.

There was a large, silver cart wheeled in with silver covers over crystal plates. When Draco lifted off the cover on their entrée, the steam and odors billowed out and he looked over at Potter, hoping to catch some excitement.


Draco should have laughed at the sight of Potter drooling. It could have been cannon fodder for so much ridicule and taunting. But instead, he just wanted Potter to eat, to look more like the man who pulled him from the fire and stood up for him at trial. He wanted the Harry Potter who radiated warmth and hope and all of that disgusting affection and heroism. Draco’s hands almost shook as he prepared Potter’s plate.


When he reached under the cart for water and glasses, he was pleased the find the books that he had requested. He wanted to crack them open immediately, but knew that Potter would likely just see them and ask far too many questions. Draco did not even want to dip a toe into explaining to Harry Potter who he really was without understanding exactly how to bring him back. He prepared his own plate, and sat down across from Potter, who was staring at the food with slight apprehension. His hands were folded over his lap again and he wasn’t making eye contact.

“You’re welcome to eat. You don’t have to wait for me,” Draco said, anxious for the other wizard to get some decent nutrition.

“Should I…should I take the plate to the floor?” Potter asked, his voice shaking.

“Why in the world would- Oh bloody fucking hell!” Draco shouted. Harry flinched and Draco reigned in his rage. “You can eat at the table with me, like a person. Because you are a person, and those sick fucks who would have you think otherwise are going to get what’s coming to them!”

Potter looked a little taken back, but nodded and immediately began cutting up his steak. He cut the pieces too big, but the extra chewing didn’t seem to bother him. Draco, for his part, spent a little more time relishing in the tender slightly metallic taste of a well prepared steak, and tried not to stare at the contented look on Potter’s face as he swallowed down a forkful of potatoes. When Potter began to help himself to seconds, Draco couldn’t help but start asking questions again.

“So you have retained your accent, and you obviously know how to function in a modern society, so you just cannot remember your name or origins?” Draco asked, eating his vegetables delicately.

“Well yeah! I mean, obviously I’m from England. I even call the bathroom a loo. Why would I remember that but not where I’m from or who I am?” Potter asked, not even bothering to be frustrated as he enjoyed another heap of potatoes.

Draco had the answer: He was obliviated, and cleverly so. But he couldn’t explain that to Potter, so he just shrugged and went back to his food. They ate in a comfortable silence as Draco tried to figure out how many layers of spells were over Potter, and how in the world he could take them off if he couldn’t do magic around the dark haired wizard. He knew his first task would need to be exactly how to take off the dampening spell, and which one was used. He also needed to shield himself from the sudden influx of magic that would flood from Potter, and reverse the obliviation as soon as possible so that Potter’s magic didn’t rise out of control. Draco knew he was quite a skilled wizard, but even he couldn’t cast three spells at once. He bit down hard on a piece of steak to keep in the rage that wanted to bubble out of him and light their whole room on fire.

Suddenly, Potter snorted and smiled brilliantly at Draco, chuckling under his breath. The blond was so thrilled to hear a little bit of laughter that it took a moment for him to realize that he was being laughed at. He stiffened his spine and turned his nose up, doing the best impression of his father (and if he wasn’t completely deluded, his usual self), and asked very haughtily, “Whatever are you laughing at?” He had to stop himself from saying ‘Potter’.

“Well, Mr. Malfoy, for someone who is just so fantastically cool and together, you’ve got an awful lot of green hanging from your teeth,” Harry said, smiling even wider.

Draco jumped and quickly grabbed a spoon. Sure enough, there were long strands of vegetable in his teeth. Draco made a show of turning around and cleaning out his mouth, when really he discreetly grabbed another stalk of the vegetable and wrapped it around his top teeth. He turned around and smiled at Harry. “Is this better?” he mumbled through a full mouth.

Draco felt like an absolute fool for split second, like he was a child playing with his friends again. However, when Potter laughed, a deep and rolling laugh, Draco felt too light to even contemplate his own foolishness. He took the vegetable out of his mouth and wiped the butter from his lips. He licked the salt, and looked up to find Potter watching his mouth. Draco’s heart started racing, but he was sure he was just being ridiculous and poured himself another glass of champagne before getting up and fetching the fruit tart he had ordered for dessert. It was silent again as they enjoyed their sweets, but as dinner was winding to a close; Potter looked up at him again.

“It’s not that I don’t remember anything. I have dreams,” Harry whispered, toying with the crumbs on his plate.

“Dreams?” Draco asked, his own voice croaking and his body tensed with apprehension.

“When I get a chance to sleep, I keep getting these flashes of nameless people and objects that feel like they mean so much, but when I wake up, it’s like they are just floating away from me and I can’t hang on to them,” he explained desperately.

“What do you see?” Draco asked, his eyes locked on Harry’s

“A lot of different things. Lockets, tiaras, weird pieces of jewelry, and even suits of armor and staircases that move! But what I see most are two people. I think it’s a woman and a bloke. He’s tall and he has bright orange hair, but I can never see his face. She’s always next to him, average sized, with this wild bramble of brown curly hair. She’s faceless as well. But it’s like, for a moment in my dreams, I feel like everything is going to be alright. Then I wake up…” Potter finished darkly, looking at his hands. He had a tear going down his cheek. “How can you miss something you don’t even remember?”

Draco couldn’t answer, he was too busy being struck with the realization that he needed Weasel and The Mudblood to help him with Potter. When he thought about it, they were the only logical solution. Everyone else was either untrustworthy (Blaise) and could go to the press, or a halfwit (Goyle) and couldn’t cast his way out of a paper bag. Calling in the Ministry would shine suspicion on him so quickly so they would have him back in Azkaban without even considering probation this time. Furthermore, the Ministry had more leaks than a rusty pipe. He couldn’t see Harry go through that, not after everything he has faced. Draco sighed, he needed Potter’s sidekicks and there was no way around it.

“Mr. Malfoy?” Potter’s uncertain voice cut through Draco’s thoughts and plans.

“Oh please…H-Hank, don’t call me that. My name is Draco. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner,” He explained, tripping over Harry’s assumed name.

“Okay, Draco. Is everything alright, you went to a different place for a while?”

“I’m just tired, that’s all. It’s been an interesting 18 hours, if I do say.” Draco explained, trying to figure out how he would contact Harry’s friends discreetly.

There was a gentle knock on the door and Draco rose to answer it. When he looked through the peephole, he saw Frank, Harry’s captor himself, standing outside casually. Draco stiffened and breathed in a deep and shaky breath. He looked back to find Harry immediately on the floor and shaking. Draco called that he would be a moment, covered the food tray and set it off to the side with their discarded dishes, and messed up his appearance. For good measure, he took his shirt off. Potter followed his lead and was down to his paints in mere moments, his arms folded over his stomach and his body rocking back and forth. Draco took one look back at Potter, schooled his face into an indifferent mask, and flung open the door.

“Hello, sir. To what do I owe the interruption of my pleasure?” Draco asked, feeling his dinner rise up into his throat at Frank’s disgusting leer.

“I was just checking in on a high paying client, that’s all. I had heard rumors of some laughter coming out and food coming in to this room, so I wanted to make sure you were getting your money’s worth, and my property was still intact.” He said, the smile on his face a poor front for his menacing demeanor.

“I don’t appreciate being bothered. As you said, I’m a high paying client. I thought my money would buy a little more privacy,” Draco veritably growled at the stocky, greasy man.

“Perhaps you can show me how well he has been doing? He’s been a difficult little nut to crack and if you‘ve done so, I’d love to see him do some good work.” He looked directly at Potter, but the dark haired wizard kept his eyes on the floor and his body still except for the quivering in his shoulders. Draco swallowed his rage and sauntered over to Harry’s prone form.

“He’s mine for 48 hours, and I intend to use him thoroughly before I share,” Draco put his fingers in Harry’s hair and pulled his head back, trying to be gentle. “Tell the nice man you’re mine, pet.”

“I’m his,” Potter whined, his eyes watering. Draco dropped his head roughly and held his breath.

“Oh, this is excellent,” Frank leered. “I’ve got some clients who have been waiting for this one to break.”

“Well they are not here, and this is my time. Kindly leave,” Draco said, standing in front of Potter. He looked possessive, but he really just wanted to block Harry from that burning, infected gaze.

“My apologies, Mr. Malfoy. Have a wonderful evening,” Frank said, tipping an imaginary hat and backing out of the room.

When he heard the footsteps fade away, Draco stood frozen near the door, clenching and unclenching his fists and shaking from head to toe. He couldn’t look at Harry, didn’t want to hear Harry, and didn’t want to be reminded of what he just did. Finally, the rage blew up through Draco’s veins and he shouted, grabbing a crystal plate and throwing it against the wall. He slammed his fist down on the table and then kneeled down in front of Potter.

“I’m sorry. I know it’s not a very good excuse, but I had to do that,” Draco whispered, wanting so badly to reach out and cup Potter’s face. That urge floored him more than anything else he had done in the past day, and he was afraid of what it could mean.

“Is he gone?” Potter asked, not looking up.

“Yes, he is. You can get up and do whatever the fuck you please. I didn’t mean what I did,” Draco said. He stood and walked swiftly away from Potter, grabbing his bag and going into the bathroom.

He had no intention of sleeping, but he was hoping that the casual demeanor of him in his nightclothes would help Harry feel more at ease enough to sleep. He also pulled out a vial of dreamless sleep potion, hoping to ease the dark circles under Harry’s eyes. Draco decided not to notice that he picked out his best pajamas before slipping on the smooth black cotton trousers and fitted tee. He grabbed a comfortable pair of drawstring gray trousers for Potter to wear as well. When he got out, Potter was back at the table in the dressing gown, picking at another piece of tart. He looked slightly recovered from their incident.

“You can wear these to sleep in if you’d like,” Draco said, handing them carefully Potter like everything would break if he moved too quickly or too roughly. He immediately felt like a fool.

“Thank you. I’m pretty exhausted,” Potter said, smiling slightly, though his eyes still held a twinge of doubt and sadness.

“I can only imagine,” Draco replied bitterly. “I have a- a remedy that may help you sleep if you’d like to use it.”

“Are we going to fuck?” Harry asked so suddenly that it took a second for Draco to realize what he had just asked.

“What?”

“Well you appear to have paid a lot of money for me,” Potter said, rising from his chair and shedding the dressing gown. “You obviously wanted a whore. You wanted something,” Harry was whispering now, his warm, bare skin dangerously close to Draco’s exposed arms.

“I just…maybe you should go to sleep now,” Draco said, deciding to ignore any semblance of reality in favor of his delusions. “I have that potion if you’re interested.”

“You don’t have to be nervous. It’s not like I’m new to this,” Potter said, smirking slightly. “And I like you, so this would actually be a choice.”

“You don’t want this,” Draco whispered, walking toward his potions.

“Are you a virgin? Have you never been with a man?” Harry asked. He didn’t sound like he was mocking, he was genuinely curious.

The truth was, Draco had been with one man and one woman in his entire life. The woman was, of course, Pansy back in the carefree days at Hogwarts when his father ran his life and everything seemed so clear. They fumbled through adolescence together and Draco wouldn’t trade her for the world now that she was his best friend.

The man had been a one night stand at a bar Pansy forced him to go to. It was uncomfortable and too quick, and Draco didn’t even remember his name. The man barely touched him. He just shoved his lubed up cock in Draco’s hole, and Draco came within seconds. He was ashamed and disgusted with himself after that, but what else was new. He wanted it, he sought it out, and then he regretted it immediately.

“I’m not a virgin. I just know that you don’t want this,” Draco explained, trying to cool down his voice.

“Fuck you!” Potter suddenly shouted, causing Draco to jump. “How do you know what I want? I’ve been tied up, beaten, and burned. I’ve been left chained to walls for days. I can’t even name everything that’s been stuffed up inside of me, and how many times I’ve come in shame without even knowing why I was ashamed! Maybe I just finally want to want something. Just one last thing!”

“What do you mean, last thing,” Draco croaked, fighting the lump in his throat at seeing Harry’s red eyes.

“Do you honestly think that I’m going to survive in that place? I go back there in just over 24 hours, and I’m not going to take any more of it. I think I have a way to cause a big enough distraction to get some of the younger ones out. They’ll kill me, but I can’t fucking live like that anymore! I’ve been planning this for a while. I think fate gave you to me to be one semi bright point in this awful pile of shit I’ve been dealt.” Harry sat down and put his head in his hands.

Draco kneeled in front of Harry’s chair and put shaky hands onto Harry’s knees. He wanted to touch Harry everywhere. He wanted his hands to erase the awful scars on his body. Draco needed to wrap his arms around Harry and never let the other wizard go. He wasn’t even going to lie to himself and say he didn’t want Potter. But he knew the truth, and it was enough to keep him from kissing away every tear on his beautiful face.

“Please don’t give up. I can’t tell you why, just please hang on,” Draco pleaded. “And trust me,” Draco said between breaks in his voice. “You don’t want me any more than you wanted those other men.”

He rose up, shed himself of the intense burning feeling that threatened to take over his judgments, and then Draco went and got the sleeping potion. He handed it quietly to Harry, then went over to the sofa, opened up one of the magical dampening books, and began to read. He couldn’t look up as Harry sighed and wandered to the bedroom, but when the door began to close, he whispered “Harry” to darkness.

'Cause like the enemies that we are battling
I am nothing but a human alien
Left with nothing else but to keep wandering
Down this path whilst stopping my hands trembling


)()()()()()()()()()()()(

Finding the right dampening spell was easy. After he cross referenced what he felt around the spell, he found that the one commonly used around children was being used on Potter, only magnified so much that you couldn’t be within 12 feet of him and do magic. The reversal was a simple finite. Draco could walk into the room and do it immediately.

The problem was the after affects of being released from a dampening spell. Draco could not remove the spell and put up a shield, and that is just what he would have to do. Harry’s pent up magic would blow out of him in an explosion of power and destruction, and surely kill him and maybe guests in surrounding rooms if it wasn’t contained. Draco couldn’t take that risk, so he had to find another way to cast all the spells he needed. Once he realized he’d also have to reverse the obliviation, he knew that his earlier notion about needing Granger, and by default Weasley, was horribly correct.

He had a quill, ink, and the hotel’s finest stationary at the ready before he could change his mind:

Dearest Ronald Weasley and Ms. Hermione Granger,

Regards from your favorite cousin! I hope it isn’t in Bad Faith that I find you. I’ve been Slythering across the American Landscape searching for potions ingredients. How are things back across the pond?

I’m writing you to invite you to a special party. I am not sure if it’s going to be a masque yet, but maybe we can all just dress like fools! We could wear broken glasses, have weird scars, and even wear our hair dark and messy. It will be such fun to just be carefree like when we were children at Hogwarts.

To be honest, I’ve been quite alone over here, with only the hairy things in my bedroom keeping me company. If you can ferret out which cousin this is and where I am, please meet me. I am desperate for company and the situation is getting out of hand. Just tell the concierge, John, that you are here to see me and he’ll guide you from there.

I hope to see you.


Draco called down to the front desk after he sealed the note. “Hello, John! I need owls.”

“Owls, sir?”

“Did I say owls? I must be tired. I meant towels. Silly me! Make sure I have one that can last a long time,” Draco said, hanging up the phone.

Within the hour, he had sent a massive barn owl discreetly out his window, casting a ‘notice-me-not’ charm since Harry was far enough away. He decided to stay up and brew some more of his dreamless sleep potion as brewing always gave him an excuse to pace, and spent the next few hours perfecting his deep, purple liquid.

Draco meticulously sealed every phial of potion with a cork, and then covered that with silver tinted wax. He set the potion bottles down on the table, lining them up carefully to let them settle. On a whim, he downed one and decided to at least attempt to sleep.

Draco woke up to the smells of sausages, butter, and syrup. He could hear a very quiet murmur coming from the Muggle television in the room. It took his eyes some time to adjust to the light, but when he did, he saw Potter sitting at the table, eating slowly and staring at the television. He smirked slightly every now and then at the cartoon characters moving across the glass window at the front. He looked achingly innocent, and Draco had to fight the urge to tell him everything and then promise him the world immediately.

“Oh you’re up! I didn’t realize. I’m sorry,” Potter said, suddenly looking scared, as though the past day hadn’t helped him.

“You don’t have to be sorry. I said you could do what you want,” Draco yawned and spoke at the same time, and Potter grinned again. It was a sight he wished he could see every morning. When the blanket slipped from his torso, he was horrified to realize that at one point in the night, he had removed his shirt. Every single hideous scar, both from Potter and Greyback, was on display. His dark mark also stood out against his light skin. He immediately began rummaging for something to cover himself with.

“You don’t have to…put….you don’t have to cover up,” Harry said awkwardly. “You’re beautiful.”

Draco felt his entire body heat up, but he couldn’t just flounce around all bare skinned and exposed. He found a jumper and quickly pulled it over his head. He sat down at the table across from Harry and immediately poured himself some tea. He needed something to warm up the chills that were currently shooting down his back at the way Harry’s eyes raked over him.

“Well you don’t want to fuck, but I can’t leave this room. So what are your plans today?” Harry said, his voice giving off a hint of bitterness that Draco was confused by.

“I’m not sure. We can do whatever you’d like. I did my potion’s work last night, so I’m very open today,” He answered casually, trying not to stare at Harry’s mouth as his tongue darted out to catch a drop of syrup.

If his calculations were correct, Weasley and Granger would be getting his owl very shortly with their morning mail. He hired the best one he could, according to John, and they could make transatlantic journeys at the speed of Muggle planes. Once they got that, assuming they riddled out everything they needed to, it should take much of the day for even Ministry officials like themselves to secure an international portkey. One more day and Potter could be released of the cage his mind was in…and consequently be released from Draco as well. He was beginning to really dislike how much that thought hurt him.

“Well, I can’t recall ever actually seeing a movie. I know I probably have, but it seems appealing right now,” Potter said sheepishly.

“That doesn’t sound bad,” Draco answered, thinking that watching Muggle entertainment was likely going to be nearly unbearable.

Harry selected a film that was categorized as action. All Draco could see were a bunch of very good looking, sweaty men wearing leather jackets and shooting at each other. However, by the end of the film, Draco was hooked, and desperate to find out if the down-on-his-luck hero would get the job done and earn enough money to save his brother. It wasn’t the best two hours of Draco’s life, but watching Harry’s face in rapt attention and sometimes even joy gave Draco enough pleasure to get him through the rest of the afternoon.



There was a figurative war of wills waging outside of their room. Draco was racing against the clock, hope, and some clever spell work to get Harry out of this mess, but they were in a stasis at the moment. They sat on the sofa together, talking and watching various shows on the television. Potter didn’t have much to say about who he was, but he didn’t really know. Draco wanted to write a novel across his tan skin describing exactly who Harry had been, but he stayed on his side and tried to let the overwhelming need to touch Harry…not overtake him. In that moment, in that room, things felt a little bit joyful and content. More so than Draco had felt in ages, despite the gravity of the situation.


“Draco?” Harry’s soft voice broke Draco out of his reflections. He looked over to the other wizard, currently eating a sandwich with as many manners as he always had. “Where did you get all of those scars?”

“Oh…ummmm….” Draco started. Unsure how to explain them without going ‘well you and a werewolf did most of it.’

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. I have a lot of scars too, though I have no idea how I got some of the old ones,” Harry looked down at his body. “The new ones, well, I can remember every single one of those.”

An image of Harry’s dead body, laying limply over that oaf giant’s arms, with a mocking Dark Lord floating magnanimously beside them invaded Draco’s mind. Seeing Harry dead had ripped at Draco’s insides in such an unexpected and visceral way that his knees still felt weak when he pictured it. Draco always looked back on that moment as the one that proved once and for all he was in love with The Hero, and that he was completely barmy because of it.

“I have had a lot of very unpleasant encounters. Some fights were partially brought on by myself,” Draco sighed, trying not to shake as he remembered Frenrir Greyback leaning over him and slicing at his flesh until his parents gave in. “And some were…well…you understand malicious intent, don’t you?”

Draco was sitting with his legs up on the couch, curled underneath him. He felt the couch shift, and chanced a look in Potter’s direction. Harry had moved close enough to him that their knees were touching, and put a hand on his leg. Draco froze and closed his eyes, fighting with himself on whether he should relish in the touch or move away from him as quickly as possible. When Harry started moving circles over Draco’s clothed thigh with his thumb, Draco took a deep breath and opened his eyes.

Harry Potter’s green eyes were staring back at Draco with so much want, so much intensity, that he licked his lips before he could catch himself. The other wizard’s eyes became glued to Draco’s mouth, and he leaned in very carefully, never looking away. Draco’s heart was pounding in his chest. He knew he had to stop this before it even started, but Potter was so warm and so close, his lips looked so good, and his arms seemed so inviting that Draco was shaking under the restraint.

“Oh gods,” Draco whispered when Harry’s hand cupped the side of Draco’s face, his fingers tracing along Draco’s jawline.

He collided with Harry suddenly, and so fiercely that when their tender lips finally touched, Draco could feel their teeth impact just behind them. Harry’s strong arms wrapped around Draco’s torso and he couldn’t help but arch his back into the other wizard’s touch. His hands were in Harry’s hair and all over his neck and face, desperate to keep him close and avoid the reality of what they were doing. Draco ran his tongue over Harry’s delicious mouth, and Harry opened to him with a moan and a tight grip on his shirt. The moment merged into minutes before Draco was able to pull away, breathless.

“You don’t want this,” Draco said, his voice shaking.

“I haven’t been surer of anything since I woke up in that gutter,” Potter growled. The ferocity of his voice made Draco want to take him right there on the sofa.

“You can’t…I can’t let you…” Draco answered feebly, imploring Harry to see reason in his eyes.

“I want you. I can feel it so deeply inside of me that it’s almost like I wanted you in my past life somewhere and it’s buried in this fog of my mind. There’s something about you that just makes me need,” Harry whispered, standing and moving towards Draco. “This is the first time I’ve actually wanted someone since Frank took me. They have taken so much from me. They have hurt me so badly,” the dark haired wizard clenched his fist and swallowed roughly, “and I just want to feel this for a little longer before it’s all over again.”

“There is nothing you want less than me, let me assure you,” Draco said, his throat catching as Harry’s hands moved gently up his arms and around his neck. “I’m nothing.”

“You’re beautiful,” Harry murmured, pressing his face into the sensitive skin of Draco’s neck. “You’re kind,” he said, kissing along Draco’s face and jaw.

“Fuck, please!” Draco sighed, grabbing onto Harry’s shoulders. “You don’t!”
“I do,” he answered, running a firm hand over Draco’s long back. He thrust his hips against the slightly taller wizard’s. “And it feels like you do too.”

Draco moaned and went back in for another delicious, consuming kiss. He gave in. He had to. Harry was too beautiful, and felt too good against him. Harry radiated this perfect contentedness on Draco that he can’t recall feeling since he was small and under no dark threats. He clung to Harry like a life raft, running his hands over the muscled, strong (if a little malnourished) body with hunger like he’d never felt before. Draco practically shook at the myriad of emotions running through him telling him how wrong he was and how good he felt at the same time.

When Potter pulled Draco’s shirt over his head, his mind cleared and he stepped away, wrapping his arms around him. He was not trying to hide his scars, but to hide his tattoo. Potter knew immediately he was hiding something, though, it was written all over his face, and Potter went to Draco, pressing their bodies back together. He unwrapped Draco’s arms and began to kiss up and down his chest. Draco’s mind let go of all warnings as Harry’s tongue began to tease one pink nipple.

“Nnnnnn,” Draco wanted to say ‘no’, but it came out as a deep moan instead. Harry’s mouth danced over Draco’s overly-sensitive flesh until the other wizard finally dropped to his knees in front of Draco and looked up at him. Those earnest eyes were gazing up at Draco like everything he’s ever said was true, and Draco wanted to believe him so badly. He knew the real truth lay behind an ‘obliviate’, but he couldn’t avoid a moment where he could just believe it all.

Suddenly, Harry grabbed his arm and pulled it out. Draco gasped and tried to gently pull his arm away without breaking the mood, but he couldn’t. Potter’s lips began to run around the black outline of his grotesque tattoo, so smoothly and gently that Draco felt like it could all be erased from his body.

When Harry’s tongue darted out and ran up the center of the tattoo, Draco let out a dry sob and whispered “no, no, no, no,” over and over again. He was trapped between wanting to believe he was being acquitted of all of his crimes, and wanting to shout at Harry that he wasn’t worth it. Harry was watching Draco’s face, his eyebrows knitted in concern.

“It’s okay, whatever it is, it’s okay, Draco,” Harry whispered, kissing along the waistband of Draco’s pants where they peaked out over his trousers.

Draco gave away the last shred of his resistance and let Harry undress him. Harry’s warm fingers danced up and down Draco’s body from his position on the floor, reaching up and tracing his scars like he was drawing over them. The deep claw wounds on Draco’s legs were treated with gentle kisses that made Draco feel like he might combust right there.

If only this were really Harry, that this could actually happen.

When Harry’s mouth wrapped around Draco’s aching cock, he cried out and moaned loudly as he increased the pressure. Draco was convinced that this was the hour of his death, and he welcomed it. He watched Harry’s beautiful head move up and down his shaft, ready to come on the spot. He struggled with the urge to pump back against him, but Harry grabbed Draco’s ass and pulled him firmly to his face, causing Draco to yell out a stream of expletives.

Just as Draco was about to come, Harry stopped. He kissed along Draco’s hips and slowly rose back to his feet. Draco pulled Harry into a possessive kiss, both of them groaning as Harry clothed cock came into contact with Draco’s dripping erection. Draco kissed along Harry’s neck, putting his hands up the back of Harry’s shirt and reveling in the striking heat of the dark haired wizard’s skin. He could not get enough of the small sighs coming from Harry’s mouth as he slowly undressed him, leaving a trail of caresses in the wake of Harry’s quickly vanishing clothing.

Harry ran his hands up and down Draco’s back and over his shoulders as Draco hungrily kissed and licked on every inch of Harry’s exposed neck, taking time to suck the protrusion his Adam’s apple. Harry’s hands dipped down and cupped Draco’s arse, causing him to be torn between pushing his rear out for more contact, or rubbing his hard cock more closely to Harry’s. The choice was made for him when Harry’s fingers danced near his entrance, running up and down Draco’s flesh and causing him to turn to jelly in Harry’s arms.

“You want this so badly, don’t you?” Harry whispered, biting at Draco’s earlobe.

“Oh gods, you don’t know how long…” the blond panted against Harry’s scorching flesh.

“How long?” Harry asked, groaning as Draco used a free hand to rub up and down Harry’s shaft.

“Ten years,” Draco said, reveling in the thick weight of Harry’s cock for the first time and desperate to taste him. “You feel so good.”

“Draco…I….I’ve never done this, this way before,” Harry said, moaning and breathing heavily, his arousal masking his uncertainty.

The dark haired wizard gripped Draco’s shoulders hard and kissed him with shocking fervor. Draco was lost in Harry until he decided he wanted Harry to crumble under the need and want of it all, and to finally feel pleasure. He pushed Harry back to the bed and flipped him on his stomach.

Harry appeared to tense slightly and then got up on his knees and presented himself to Draco. But Draco gently laid him back down on the bed and began to kiss down his back, trying not to come just by feeling of his dick laying between Harry’s buttocks. Draco kissed every scar his lips could reach, and could feel Harry shuddering by the time he reached Harry’s firm, round arse. He pressed his lips gently to each cheek and pried Harry’s legs apart.

When Draco’s tongue ran down Harry’s cleft, the Slytherin delighted in the desperate cry that Harry uttered before fisting the sheets and burying his face. After some light licking, Harry lifted his arse and gave Draco better access. He took the chance to harden his tongue and slip it carefully inside of Harry. When Harry moaned and pressed his arse back against Draco’s face, Draco gripped Harry’s hip with one hand and began to palm his own erection with his other. Soon, Draco was alternating between two fingers and his wicked tongue, and he could feel an orgasm building rapidly.

Suddenly, Draco felt Harry pull away and worried he had hurt Harry in some way. However, Harry just rolled over on his back and beckoned Draco to him, a smirk on his face that belied the Old Harry, the Real Harry, and the one Draco was having difficulty denying he was in love with. Draco smiled back and descended on top of him as quickly as his long body could take him. When he kissed Harry, he tried to say everything he’d never say out loud, hoping that some truth would get through.

Draco reached down and wrapped his hand around his cock, rubbing it up against Harry’s for more friction. When Harry thrust up against him and groaned out his request for ‘more’ Draco complied by wrapping his hand around both of their dicks and encouraging Harry’s hand to meet his on the other side.

They locked themselves into a rhythm and a breathy kiss before Draco pulled away and cried, “Fuck I’m going to come.”

“Yes, fuck yes! Come on me! Come for me, Draco!” Harry growled, and Draco let go, his eyes closing tightly and his entire body trembling. He whispered Harry’s name as his orgasm began to ebb.

Draco looked down between their joined bodies just in time to watch Harry climax. He groaned at how perfect Harry looked, and encouraged him to let go. Hearing Harry Potter cry out in pleasure was beyond comprehension, and he held on to Harry’s side tightly as he finished.

Soon, Draco reluctantly separated their bodies. He almost reached for his wand before Harry got up and sauntered over to the joining loo. He came back with a flannel soaked in warm water, rubbing one over his stomach, and bringing one up to Draco’s chest. He cleaned both of them, not making eye contact, and then came back over and laid next to Draco, only he turned onto his side away from the other wizard.

“Are you okay? Did I hurt you?” Draco asked, fearful that Harry was beginning to feel regret.

“I’m okay,” His voice said, shaking.

“Do you need something?” Draco asked, at a loss for what he should do.

“I’m not ready to die anymore. I can’t give up now,” Harry whispered to the wall.
Draco remembered their earlier conversation and his heart broke a little.

“You don’t have to die, Hank.”

“I’m going to die when I go back there. I know I will. But now, now I don’t know if I can walk willingly into it.” He answered, taking some deep breaths and rolling onto his back. Draco expected to see tears, but instead Harry’s face was stoic, if a little bitter.

Draco lay down, leaning up against Harry’s body and putting a possessive arm across his chest. It was a brave maneuver, and a rare show of affection for Draco, but he just couldn’t leave Harry alone in that moment. “It’s not going to happen,” Draco said, quiet and firm. Harry looked at him doubtfully, but then just pulled Draco closer. They lay in silence until Harry’s breathing became slow and deep. Draco was slowly put to sleep by the sound and feel of Harry next to him.

But I know I'll be coming home soon
And yes
I know that I'll be coming home soon
with a soldier's eyes

()(_)(_)()()(_)(_)(_)(_)(_)(

It took Hermione all of two seconds to decipher the cryptic letter that they got in the middle of the night by way of a fatigued, salt-water soaked owl. She cried out, tears in her eyes and the letter pressed between her hands. She told Ron to start packing as she explained that Draco Malfoy wanted to see them in the States, and he knew something about Harry. Ron only needed to hear that Harry was involved to rush out the door of their flat and travel across the world by hasty and unreliable means.


Harry had been missing for three months without so much as a whisper. One minute he was dedicating a memorial to fallen House Elves in the Ministry Atrium, and the next second there is no trace of him but some broken glass and a bloodied wall in the loo of Level Five. At first, Ron thought that maybe he had hurt himself and went to get it taken care of, but when Harry didn’t turn up, and wasn’t at St Mungo’s or any known healers, Ron began to panic.

He and Hermione searched the entire country desperately, with help from his fellow Aurors, her fellow Law Department Colleagues, and even the entirety of the Holyhead Harpies flying over fields and streams courtesy of Ginny. Despite their messy and unexplained breakup, Ginny was not surprisingly just as worried as everyone else for their lost mate. After six weeks, the official search was called off, leaving Ron and Hermione with stacks of maps and false leads, and aching holes through their chests. However, they knew better than to ever give up on him. They always knew better.

When their car arrived at the Toledo Arms, the first thing Ron Weasley noticed were three men, lurking in the shadows near each exit, dressed in black and armed to the teeth with Muggle guns. He had an awful feeling in the pit of his stomach as he gripped his wand in his jacket pocket. It went without saying that he didn’t trust Draco Malfoy, but after years of post-war reparations and one seriously cryptic letter, he was pretty sure that the Slytherin wasn’t harming Harry. The sight of the armed men was beginning to change Ron’s mind.

Ron gripped Hermione’s hand as they followed the tall, thin hotel host to their room. In truth, his fingers were cramping, but he hadn’t let go of her since they jumped the international portkey to this godforsaken city and he wasn’t about to let go now. He could feel her tremble next to him and he squeezed a little more tightly, reminding her that he was still there. When they got to their room, the man just bowed and whispered that there was a side door that they might want to look at.

The Junior Auror strode into the room and went forcefully for the joining door, only to be pulled back by Hermione’s small, but freakishly strong arms. “After all of the cloak and dagger in getting here, do you really think you want to draw any undue attention by causing a scene?” She asked, making perfect sense, but taking away the only outlet that Ron had for his fearful nervous energy. He wanted to hit the wall hard enough to shatter every bone in his hand. Hermione was used to fixing those; she did about five in the past few months. He broke out of his seething to watch her raise her wand at the door.

“Alohamora”. She whispered. The light made it to the tip of her wand, but the spell never left it. She knitted her brows and tried again.

“He must have wards up,” Ron groaned. Only, he couldn’t feel any magic at all around him. It almost felt like all the magic was hiding somewhere just beyond their reach.

“No, Ron, can you feel that?” Hermione said, wrapping her arms over her stomach.

“It’s more like I can’t feel anything,” he said quietly, panic coursing through him. He couldn’t help it; he stood in front of Hermione and delivered one sharp, resounding blow on the thick wooden door. When he heard the locks click, he spread his arms out to shield her from whatever is on the other side.

Draco Malfoy slipped through the opened door quietly, looking frantically behind him before nearly running into Ron. He could feel all the blood rushing to his head and his heart began to race. Ron was overcome with fear and rage and uncertainty.

“What is the fucking big idea, Malfoy! Why are there Muggles with guns everywhere? Where the fuck is Harry?” Ron said, grabbing Malfoy’s shirt and shaking him roughly. “I can’t feel my magic. What did you do?”

Malfoy just stood there, trying to look bored, but the way his eyes darted back to the adjoining door told Ron something else was going on. Suddenly, Hermione’s hand was on Ron’s shoulder, pulling him gently away from the blonde-haired git. Ron obeyed, worried he’d commit murder if he didn’t step away from Malfoy and take a few deep breaths. The whole situation seemed to have spun out of control without even knowing what the situation was. They both sat down at the table in the suite.

“Draco, please,” Hermione whispered, her eyes watering. Ron pulled her close to him, as much for his comfort as for her. “He’s been gone so long.”

“It’s a magic dampening spell. Anyone within approximately 20 feet of Harry cannot cast a spell,’ Draco said, drawing his wand and summoning a small bottle of liquor from their freezer. “I can cast it here, but not by the door.

“You mean he’s there?” Ron said, jumping up. “We used to have those spells on us all the time when we were little! I can take them off!”

“Ron, there’s more,” Hermione whispered. “Those spells are fairly common and easy to reverse. Why couldn’t he do that? Is he…is he badly hurt?”
“Not so much physically. I’ve done as much healing as I could. But…” Draco paused. Ron could see his hands clenching around the glass bottle so tightly he thought it would break. Something was about to send Malfoy into a fit of emotion that no one had ever seen on the stoic Slytherin, not even when his mother was released back to him. “But, he was obliviated, using an impossibly strong charm.”

“Oh no!” Hermione gasped, tears running down her cheek. “Does he have any idea who he is?” Draco just shook his head in an answer.

“Then what has he been doing the past few months?” Ron asked, picturing Harry starving to death wearing rags on the cold, dirty streets.

It took Draco a few moments to respond. The normally austere and collected wizard had held up under the pressure of Ron’s spiraling emotions admirably so far, but Ron could see his shoulders tense and slump, and his fist clench on the table. He looked away from the couple and clenched his jaw before finally speaking.

“Those men, those Muggles with guns, they think they own him,” Draco growled darkly, his grey eyes sparking menacingly like he was out for blood.

“Like a slave or something?” Hermione whispered, wrapping her arms around her stomach again.

“Something,” Draco said. “They sold him to whoever was willing to pay enough for a few nights with him,” Draco cleared his throat at the end of the statement, and Ron could see the liquor bottle cracking as his vision clouded in red.

“No! No no no,” Hermione was sobbing, her hands over her eyes. “Not Harry! He can’t…No!”

Instead of exploding, like the powder keg in Ron’s chest was encouraging him to do, he knew he had to calm Hermione down. He pulled her to him, forcing her to stand up and regain her bearings. After a few seconds of rocking back and forth, Ron peaked over his head at Malfoy, who was steadily watching the door.

“Can we see him?” he asked, knowing he wasn’t going to take ‘no’ for an answer anyway.

“Yes, but first, I need to make sure the spellwork is right. It’s going to take all three of our wands,” Draco said. “I was hoping Granger would be so kind as to muddle over the theory for a bit before you two go rushing in to save the day.”

“Of course,” Hermione sniffled.

Ron sat on the floor to make room for Hermione and Draco’s spellwork. He was confident he could do the spells as well, but when it came to cementing the theory, he wasn’t very strong at it. He was the sort of auror who had a quick and ready wand, and a nose for solving crimes, but his academic side was lacking. He sat with his back up against the door, closed his eyes, and tried to send Harry some sort of unimaginable and telepathic comfort, desperate to just rush in there and protect him from the darkness that was hanging over them all.

It didn’t take long for them to develop a plan based on torn out pages from books that Draco pulled from his pocket, and some hastily scribbled notes. Ron tried to sit quietly, the entire time desperate to get to Harry. He understood why he couldn’t just go charging it there, but it didn’t lessen the urge. He decided, instead, to ask one last nagging question.

“How the hell did you find him out, Malfoy?” He said, trying to be as quite as he could so Harry wouldn’t hear.

“I saw him running from them,” he answered, coughing. Ron could see his body ripple with the same rage he was currently feeling. “They were chasing him, and they hit him with the butt of a gun. I couldn’t stop watching. I was about to draw my wand, but he looked at me and didn’t even recognize me. After that, I followed along until I figured out what to do.”

“And what was that?”

“I bought him for two days,” Malfoy whispered, his spell faltering slightly.

“You what?” Ron said, leaping to his feet.

“Don’t you give me that white knight hero bullshit! Would you have had a better idea? He was hurt. He had no idea what was going on. People were fucking selling him, and I couldn’t do any magic around him. I have money, I fell back on that,” Malfoy was quiet by the end of his diatribe and slowly rose from his seat.

“If you-”

“I think we’ve done all we could in here, we should get over to Harry before we all implode,” Malfoy said. Ron nearly jumped as he called Harry by his given name, but followed all the same.

Ron heard Hermione take a deep breath beside him as they pushed open the joining door. The room was well-lit and quiet, and Ron froze on the spot, scanning it for signs of Harry. Suddenly, Hermione gasped and fell against Ron as Malfoy cursed loudly.

“Shit! He thinks…oh gods no,” Malfoys voice rang with panic. Ron could scarcely understand what he was seeing.

Harry was on his knees in the middle of the floor, naked from the waist up, looking down at his clasped hands and trembling. Malfoy immediately dropped to the floor beside him. Harry did not move or even acknowledge he was there, but continued to shake and grip his own hands tightly. Suddenly Malfoy grabbed Harry’s chin and turned his head.

“Everything is okay.” The blond said simply and more gently than Ron could have fathomed would ever fall from his mouth.

“I don’t think I can go back there. Don’t let them,” Harry was shaking violently now, and looked back down at his lap, sobs stuck in his chest and slamming against his closed lips.

“I promised you,” Malfoy whispered, and slowly helped Harry to his feet.

When Harry looked up, Ron couldn’t hold back his tears anymore, and felt a hot one running down his face. Harry was badly beaten, and scarred far more than he was after the war. He looked underfed and so scared that Ron instantly wanted to carry him out of that room. He always felt like it was his job to protect Harry. But Harry was alive. He was alive and now Ron would do whatever he could to make sure Harry got better. When those green eyes looked to him, and then to Hermione, he sobbed a little and whispered Harry’s name.

“You two…you’re…you’re in my dreams at night! Who are you? Do you know who I am?” Harry said, suddenly looking at them with so much desperation that Ron had to tighten his hold on Hermione.

“Yes we do. We’re here to help you,” she said gently, walking carefully up to him and pulling Ron with her. “My name is Hermione, and this is my husband, Ron.”

“Hermione and Ron,” Harry whispered, looking over at Malfoy. He simply nodded and faded further into the background.


“We are here to help you. Your name is Harry Potter, and we are going to do some things to help with this,” She said, plaintively reaching out and touching his bare shoulder. When he didn’t flinch away, Ron plucked up the courage to speak.

“It may not make sense at first, but I promise it will be okay,” Ron said, not brave enough to touch him, fearing it would scare the other wizard off.

“What are you going to do? What is going on?” Harry was looking back at Malfoy this time.

“It’s okay. They won’t let anyone hurt you,” Malfoy said carefully.

Harry looked back at Hermione, and reached up to touch the hand touching his shoulder. Hermione didn’t break eye contact as she signaled to start casting the spells. She was reversing the obliviate while Ron removed the dampening charm. Malfoy was there to protect them and to guard the door in case something was to go wrong. Hermione counted to three, and Ron’s spell joined hers.

As soon as they lowered their wands, Harry screamed a primal and gut-wrenching scream, and a powerful blast of magic burst out of his hands and eyes. Ron dove in front of Hermione as they fell to the ground, but Harry’s magic never reached them. A strong shield charm was placed like a dome over Harry. Ron turned around and drew his wand on Hermione’s abdomen in a panic, but when he cast the diagnostic spell, the bright blue light pulsed back at him at a steady and quick rhythm.

He turned back to Harry, and stood helpless as the magic seemed to overtake him, and his screams got louder and louder. Ron thanked Merlin there was a strong silencing charm on the perimeter. He wanted to break the shield and get to Harry, regardless of the effect, but he had Hermione to think about. He couldn’t risk her. When Harry’s screaming finally stopped, and the light faded away, the dark haired wizard fell to his knees, gripping his hair tightly and rocking back and forth. The shield vanished and Ron and Hermione rushed to either side of him.

When they reached out to him, Harry shouted “Don’t touch me,” before rocking more vigorously back and forth and crying “don’t, don’t, don’t” over and over again. Ron looked up at Hermione in desperation as they both backed away.

“We won’t touch you Harry. You’re safe now,” Hermione said, tears flowing freely down her face.

“Oh god. No. No. No. No,” Harry said, pulling at his hair. “I did all of that. They…They made me,” he cried. “They made me!”

“We know, mate. It’s alright. It’s going to be alright,” Ron said, trying to sound as comforting as possible, but aching to just pull Harry against his chest.

“The whips. The burns. The guns,” Harry whimpered, running his hands up and down over his body frantically. “Oh god the others! We have to help them all! There are so many!”

“We know. We will get everything sorted,” Hermione said soothingly. Suddenly, her head popped up. “Ron, what’s that?”

He followed her finger to a note hovering above the table by the door. Ron leapt up, noticing Malfoy was no longer in the room. He cursed loudly as he read the note.

You might want to get some oblivators out here.

“Ron?”

“I think Malfoy…I think he’s about to do something really stupid and completely justified,” Ron answered, his muscles tightening at the thought of revenge.

“Oh no! Ron, we have to make sure the others are rescued! We have to tell the authorities!” Hermione’s voice lowered from panic to promise. “And we’ll definitely need obliviators.”


Ron knelt down to Harry. “Hey mate, I’m going to go and get some auror stuff taken care of. Hermione will stay here, and I’ll be back soon,” Ron said. He was trying to sound comforting without talking to Harry like a child. Harry didn’t even look up or acknowledge his words. Ron turned and put his forehead against Hermione’s. “I trust that you guys will be okay, but for the sake of…your health…could you have a shield charm at the ready?”


Hermione nodded solemnly and cast a charm around her body. Ron began to read Malfoy’s magical signature so that he could create the apparition coordinates. He thought it was odd that Malfoy didn’t do more to conceal his signature, since Ron was sure the other wizard knew he was an auror and was able to run traces. As Ron readied himself to apparate, he realized Malfoy likely wanted to be followed. That did not bode well.

Ron arrived at a nondescript looking farmhouse with fallen leaves and a dying lawn. There were bodies of armed Muggles strewn about at the entrances, and Ron could hear shouts and screams coming from inside. His heart was racing and he wanted to join the fight, but he knew he’d lose his job if he didn’t send a message to the proper people. He secured the outside area and then sent a patronus to the liaison office to be transferred to Kingsley. It would take time, but at least he had called for backup. With that, he raised his wand and rushed in the front door.

He heard a series of screams to his right and quickly opened the door to a well-appointed parlor. There were half dressed women…well girls mostly…huddled onto a couch in various states of panic and disarray. One of the older women rushed at Ron and he put his hands up, trying to be as careful as possible not to hurt her while he thwarted her attack. When she sat down and took the youngest girl into her lap, Ron swallowed his shock and anger and squatted down in front of them.

“I’m Ron and you’re okay. We’re going to get you out of here. Have you seen a tall, blonde man come through here?”
“He’s the one who did that to the guards and told us to hide in here. He...he has a stick that is doing something to them all,” the woman who attacked him spoke up. “I think the guys are in their parlor across the hall.”

Ron left the room, checked on the young men across the hall, and when all seemed sound for the moment, ran up the stairs and followed the yelling. He soon found himself running down a long hall, and every door opened to reveal a low-lit room full of beds, sofas and blankets. He had no need to check them all, as he could hear Malfoy shouting curses at the very last room. Ron pressed his back against the wall and moved slowly, so as to not startle the man with the wand, or any of the Muggles with guns.

“Where the fuck is Frank?” Malfoy shouted. Ron looked past the door jamb to find that Malfoy was standing in front of three Muggles chained to the wall. One was a guard, but the other two seemed to be dressed in fancy but regular clothing. He was pacing back and forth with his wand behind his back. When he looked in Ron’s direction, he saw a wild fury and rage in the gray eyes that Ron could scarcely believe was coming from someone as cold and aloof as Malfoy. “I don’t think I should have to ask again, considering I’m the one with the upper hand here.”

None of the Muggles looked injured, but they looked like they could pass out from fear at any second. Ron walked in and stood beside Malfoy, glancing over at him to try to ask a question with his eyes without taking away Malfoy’s control over the situation.

“You see, Weasley. Frank is the man who is responsible for all of this. He’s the one who took Potter, and all those others downstairs, and forced them to work in these degrading circumstances. I’d be happy to let these gentlemen go if they would just give me Frank,” Malfoy said, the calmness in his voice doing nothing to calm his features at all. Ron couldn’t help but agree with Malfoy’s methods, as he wanted nothing more than to ‘meet’ this Frank himself.

“What the fuck is going on here?” A chubby, stocky man in a three piece suit with slicked back brown hair came rushing inside down the hall.

“Why good afternoon, Frank!” Malfoy said, with a malevolent grin on his face. When Ron came face to face with Harry’s abuser, something searing tore through his body and he launched himself at the disgusting older man, slamming his body against the wall.

“What? Guards!” Frank shouted, and Ron could see his panicked eyes widen as he saw one of the guards chained against the wall. “Mr. Malfoy, what is the meaning of this? If you were that unsatisfied with your expensive piece of-“

Ron jumped out of the way just as Malfoy raised his wand. A spell swung across the nasty Muggle’s flesh like a whip, and blood instantly rose from his chest. He cried out in pain, but Ron had no pity at this point. He kept his wand trained on the offender and let Malfoy continue his show.

“How does that feel? How does it feel to be torn apart like you did to these people?” Malfoy sneered, leaning in closely to Frank’s face.

“Oh you’re upset with our product. I know from experience that one is a lovely piece, even if he does have a bit of fight in him. He looks so perfect when he is finally overcome,” Frank hissed, licking his lips and goading Malfoy.

Ron couldn’t take it anymore; he grabbed the man by the neck, his long fingers curling around the fat, oily tissue, and raised him up until his feet were barely touching the ground. “What you didn’t know, you sick fuck, is that this time you had someone with very powerful friends. We can kill you right now, and no one will remember.”

Ron continued to crush the man’s windpipe, not bothering with magic, but desperately needing this person to pay…to die at his hands. He thought of Harry over and over, an image of him alone, scared, and hurt beyond repair. His entire body shook and he thought his teeth would surely break under the force of his clenched jaw, but he didn’t care. This man had to die. It wasn’t until Malfoy’s hand closed on Ron’s wrist that Ron pulled away, leaving Frank to writhe on the floor gasping for breath. Malfoy bound and gagged him, and Ron lifted his leg to deliver a crushing blow to Frank’s kidneys before Malfoy stopped him.

“Weasley, we both want this. I know you want to see this man suffer. Believe me, I do too. But you have too much to lose over this. You can’t lose your job, or your integrity,” Malfoy said, not taking his eyes off of the man on the floor. “You can’t bring a child into a mess like that.”

“How did you-“

“You cast a heart charm on your wife’s stomach,” he interrupted.

They stood in silence, both never tearing their eyes away from the man who ruined Harry’s life. Ron was more than shocked that within the span of a few hours, he had found an ally where he once had a bitter (and deserving) enemy. Now, he had fought beside the Ferret and held a level of gratitude for him that years of angry fights and bitterness couldn’t erase. He had just enough time to be shocked at the novelty of it before the American Magical Law Enforcement team was inside the house. Ron debriefed them as best he could, but he wanted to get back to Harry and Hermione as soon as possible.

“It’s okay, Weasley, I can wait here for the Brits.” Malfoy said, leaning against the wall and trying to avoid the sudden influx of chaos that the wizards brought with them.

“I’ll send Kingsley a patronus. He should be in the country by now. I’ll make sure nothing comes down on you,” Ron offered.

“Wait, the Minister for Magic is coming?” Malfoy sounded panicked.

“Yes. This is Harry Potter after all. We need to handle this at the highest level and with as little leaks as possible,” Ron explained, lifting his eyebrows at Malfoy.

“If you need me to make an unbreakable vow to insure-“

“No no no. I trust you. And when I get back to work, I will make sure your probation is scaled back if I can,” Ron said, honestly shocked at the fact that he just told Malfoy he trusted him. Ron began to walk away before he could foolishly take it back.

“Weasley.” Draco called after him. Ron looked back to see the Slytherin looking at him with something nearing desperation. “Will you…will you owl me and tell me how he’s doing?”

There was something going on, and Ron couldn’t quite figure out what it was. The look on Draco’s face seemed familiar, and Ron was blown away at how willing he was to say ‘yes’ to his request. “Of course, Malfoy,” he croaked before apparating immediately back to the hotel room.

When he got into the room, Harry had stopped screaming and shaking, and he was wearing a shirt and jeans. He was sitting on the edge of the bed with Hermione kneeling in front of him, tears streaking down her cheeks. His apparition had caused both Hermione and Harry to jump. Hermione leapt up to greet Ron, wrapping her arms around his waist.

“His hands, Ron,” Hermione cried reaching up to him. “I think the magic has burned them, but I can’t see to heal it. I need a calming draught or something.”

Ron looked around the room and noticed Malfoy’s shiny black bag sitting on the table still. He knew Malfoy worked with potions, and luckily for Ron, there were plenty in his case. When Ron pulled out a light purple liquid that was thankfully labeled, he rushed over to Hermione and Harry. Hermione had resumed her position in front of Harry, trying hard to get him to let her look at him with Harry flinching away as she got too close. Ron kneeled down next to Hermione and caught Harry’s eyes.

“Harry?” Ron asked, moving a little closer. “You’re safe here. We’re not going to hurt you. You have to know that,” Ron was speaking as gently as he could while still being heard.

“I know you’ve been through a lot. I understand that this is a lot to process and you need time,” Hermione said, sobbing a little. “But you’re hurt. I won’t touch you too much. I just want to heal your hands. You can hold them out and let me just look at them, and then we’ll see if I need to touch them.”

Harry slowly opened up his hands, his arms shaking the entire time, and turned them palm up. His eyes were tight shut, and Ron put his arm around Hermione’s shoulders as he handed her the potion, desperate to give some sort of comfort, but being unable to direct it where he wanted to. When they looked at his hands, they were red and blistered, like they had been burned. Ron knew that intense magic could cause burns like that, but he never actually saw the results up close before. He groaned before he could stop himself, and got up to pace so that his temper wouldn’t frighten Harry.

“Hermione?” Harry’s voice croaked. He sounded calmer. Ron stopped moving and watched her look up at him, her beautiful brown eyes echoing so much compassion that his heart clenched.

“It’s a bad burn. I need to find something to take care of it. But first, would you like a calming draught?” Hermione asked, and by the tone of her voice had decided to go more businesslike with her approach to make Harry more comfortable. When his shoulders relaxed slightly, Ron had a rush of pride for his wife’s intuition. He handed Harry the potion and Harry drank it willingly. After a few moments, his trembling had subsided completely.

“You guys, how could I have let this happen?” Harry asked quietly.

“This isn’t your fault,” Ron said, rather more sternly than he would have liked to.

“They got me when I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t paying attention. I just walked off the stage and back into the atrium like everything was fine. I should have remembered to keep my guard up, but before I knew it, they had me blindfolded and portkeyed to somewhere. I still don’t know where I was. I only ever saw the one dirty little room,” Harry started. Ron was desperate to ask him who it was, but knew better than to interrupt the story. “They started to take my memories. I watched them flow out of my head, and I could feel bits and pieces becoming lost. I started begging, then. I kept begging for them back!”

Ron sat down on the bed, careful not to get too close to Harry, and folded his hands in his lap. “I’m sorry it took me so long to find you,” He whispered, closing his eyes and biting his lip. “We already have the scum around here in custody, and we’ll find who did this to you.”

“I already know,” Harry said. “We’ve got that list in our office of all of Voldemort’s inner circle who are still at large? We'll, arrest the lot.”

Hermione was casting healing spells during the conversation, but Harry’s hands still looked painful and red. Magical wounds always took more to heal. “These should be back to normal soon, Harry. You may have some scarring, but your hands are on their way to healing now. I just wish I had something for the pain.”

“Draco has murtlap, he- Oh god, Malfoy!” Harry cursed, putting his head in his hands before the pain made him pull away. “He didn’t…I can’t…”

“It’s okay. Malfoy is meeting Kingsley at…well he’s going to talk it over with Kingsley while we get you back home. I’m sure he’s not going to say anything to anyone,” Ron assured Harry.

“Kingsley?” Harry croaked.

“It’s going to be only essential personnel taking care of this. Kingsley and a few senior aurors will handle things here, and Percy will be the only one seeing the files back home. I’ll make sure of it,” he explained. “When you feel up to it and we get your hands sorted, we can get you to Healer Briggs, you don’t need to go to St. Mungos since you’re an auror.”

“Thank you Ron, Hermione. I just…no one can…don’t let anyone find out,” Harry said, his cheeks flaming as he turned away from Ron. Hermione came back to them with the murtlap and began to use her wand to apply it to Harry’s hands.

They were back in England within a few hours, and Ron called in the Auror healer as soon as they landed. While Harry walked into the healer’s office, refusing their company, Ron cast his patronus to Percy. To his credit, his brother responded, despite it being the middle of the night there, and was ready to get all the paperwork, case files, and treatment plans filed, sealed, and hidden before the start of business the next day. Percy was in full Bighead Boy mode by the time Kingsley and his men came back, and Ron had never been happier to have such an uptight brother.

“And how are you feeling, Ms. Granger?” Healer Briggs was peering at Hermione intently when Ron walked back to the healing ward.

“She was hit with some wild magic, but it seems like the baby is fine,” Ron explained when it looked like Hermione was going to brush things off.

Briggs ran his wand over Hermione’s body, pausing for a few moments to study patterns of light and magic that Ron knew he’d never understand. Thankfully, he smiled warmly at them. “She’s in perfect condition, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Weasley brood.”

“What about Harry?” Hermione said, her eyebrows knitting with worry.

“He’s got extensive scarring and some badly healed fractures, but I’ve managed to mend the bones. His body is going to be fine,” The Healer started, sitting down next to Hermione and motioning for Ron to take the other seat.

“His mind though…” Ron started.

“There is some severe trauma here. He’s going to need a lot of mind healing work. He’s scared to death for anyone to touch him, and I could only work on him with my wand. It’s not surprising, considering the scarring around his genitals-“

“Fuck!” Ron yelled, slamming his fist on the bench.

“He’s been hurt very badly. He hasn’t been hurt recently, his freshest wounds seem to have been treated and there is no sign of fresh trauma, but there are layers and layers there that are going to need to be peeled back before Harry can truly come back to us,” Briggs said gravely. The old healer had been with the Aurors since Ron and Harry were still ideas in their parent’s heads, and he had seen so many friends and colleagues die. He was the one repairing the fleet during both wars, and had patched Ron up more times than he could count. Ron trusted him, and was grateful he came in on such short notice.

“Ron?” Percy’s voice interrupted. His hair was still a wild mess around his head, but he had changed into his official Undersecretary robes. “I’m sorry to overhear, but perhaps we should call George’s old mind healer. She is discreet and friendly and she did wonders for our brother after the war.”

“That’s a brilliant idea, Percy,” Hermione said, dabbing at her eyes with her sleeve.

“I’ll contact him for you. You’ve just had a trying day. I think you need to get home and get some rest,” Percy said. Hermione gave Percy a hug and thanked him. Ron hugged Percy too, for what must have been only the second time in their lives. (The first being at Fred’s funeral.) Percy reciprocated and patted Ron’s back awkwardly, but the intent was enough.

They walked back into Brigg’s office to find Harry asleep on the couch. There was a phial of dreamless sleep on Brigg’s desk. “I’ll watch him. He should be safe and sleeping for at least eight hours,” the Healer said. “I’ll owl you if there are any changes or cause for concern.”

With that, Ron took Hermione’s hand in his and made it toward the floo. She leaned her warm body against him and sighed. The moment they made it back to their flat, both fell to the couch. Ron held Hermione as she wept for Harry, the tears falling down his own face in a painfully familiar fashion.

()()()()()()()


PART II

I've seen inside the devil's dreams where young men die
And graveyards open up their arms for mothers left to cry
I have seen the bleeding and I hate what we've done
But just like every other fool I'll keep marching on


Harry hopped from rock to rock in the stream, like he imagined normal little kids would have done if they were walking in the woods and happened across the little body of water. He was enjoying the beautiful day, but found it odd that his mind healer had wanted to meet him in the middle of a forest. He received a note about their change in appointment location far enough in advance, but he still was frustrated that they were going to have their session in such a random place with no explanation.


And she was late.

He made it to the other side of the stream and took a seat in the shade of a massive oak tree. The leaves were just beginning to form, and most of the trees consisted only of bare branches and some buds from the warm spell in late February. Harry still wore a scarf and gloves, but cast aside the heavy cloak in favor of a warm sweater. Just as he got comfortable, Beverly Charles appeared beside him, conjured two chairs, and sat delicately on one.

“This is awful showy, Dr. Charles, even for you,” Harry smiled, remembering the extravagant art galleries and coffee shops where the eccentric Mind Healer liked to take her clients to make them more comfortable. Harry had been seeing her since his return to England, and things were finally starting to seem a little more hopeful.

“It’s such a crisp day, I wanted to enjoy just a little bit more of winter with you before spring rolled in,” She said, sighing and crossing her legs. She wore Muggle jeans with brown boots and a nice white sweater with matching gloves. Her long brown hair looked lovely in the backdrop, and Harry thought (not for the first time) that if he didn’t so exclusively prefer men, he would be embarrassing himself with his crummy pulling skills. Harry smirked bitterly, since he hadn’t even attempted to touch someone, let alone hit on them, the entire time he had been back.

“What’s that look about, Harry,” She said, pulling out her blasted notebook. Harry learned long ago it was just better to be honest with her.

“Just reflecting bitterly on the fact that I have barely touched anyone since…since I came back,” Harry said, looking away at a dripping branch.

“You said barely, Harry.” She said, and Harry could hear the smile behind her voice.

“Kids count, right?”

“Of course they do! Anything that makes you trust others enough to allow them close to your body is a step in the right direction,” Dr. Charles answered, practically beaming.

“I gave Teddy and Victoire piggy back rides after dinner on Sunday,” Harry said, smiling. The pride was contagious.

“Oh that’s perfect. I bet Andromeda and Molly were thrilled,” she said. Harry knew she was prompting Harry to talk about the others in his life and how they are responding to him.

It was a constant game she played, trying to prove to him that there were people worth his trust. He knew there was. He knew he could trust his life in Ron and Hermione’s hands. He knew how much others loved him. Harry just couldn’t trust himself to deserve that love. So he stayed away, for fear of rejection that any reasonable person would never fear.

“I also felt the baby,” Harry said quietly, his face turning a bit red. When Dr. Charles lifted her eyebrows, Harry was forced to continue. “I was eating lunch with Hermione, like I’ve been doing every day since Ron went on nights for the month, and she made this weird noise. I looked over and I saw her hand sort of jerk up and down while it was pressed against her stomach. I reached out, and she moved her hands. I felt the little girl kick!”

“It’s a little weird, isn’t it?” Dr. Charles asked, wrinkling her nose and smiling.

“Very surreal. I just keep picturing this tiny version of Ron floating around in there. But Hermione was happy. She held my hand there for a little while until…until I stopped shaking, and then we just went on eating lunch,” Harry finished, still feeling foolish.

“There’s nothing to feel foolish about. You’re finally letting people back in, Harry. Are you beginning to understand that you deserve physical affection, and that no one is going to hurt you?” Dr. Charles asked the familiar question in the familiar way.

“I’ve understood it rationally since I came out of my breakdown, really. I just, something inside of me makes my skin crawl whenever anyone gets close,” Harry explained.

“Harry, look at me,” She requested. He hadn’t realized he was avoiding her piercing eyes. “None of this was your fault. You deserve to be touched. You are worth so much more than you are giving yourself credit for.”

Harry just nodded. He knew the affirmation well. “It’s Ron’s birthday today.”

“Oh wonderful! Did you make plans?”

“I’m going out,” Harry whispered, his hands shaking a little. “Crowds still make me nervous, but I’ve been going to shops during the day and taking lunch in the cafeteria with Hermione. I think I’m ready for the party scene again.”
“I think you are too, Harry.” She said, her face unreadable.

“So do you think I can go back to doing field work?” Harry asked, getting a little more hopeful at the positive feedback he was getting from her.

“Until you are more trusting, and to be honest, a little less afraid of your surroundings-“

“I’m not afraid!”

“Harry, you have nightmares. And you told me yourself that you still jump at sudden sounds or movements,” she said gently.

“I’m getting better! It’s been six months! Do you know how fucking weak it makes me feel to just
sit behind of a desk like some kind of wounded animal. They took so much from me, I want my life back. I want to feel in control of something!” Harry was shouting now in the middle of the empty forest. He could hear a bird yelling back at him. He swiftly kicked a tree, causing little droplets of water to rain down on his head.

“You are getting better, but these things take time. You will get there. You are a powerful and brave wizard. You’ve had so much on your shoulders to carry, and at such a young age, and you’ve come out of all of your challenges stronger. This one, it’s going to take more time. You’ll know when you are ready, and I will sign the form immediately. Please trust me to do my job, just as I trust you to get better.” She spoke firmly, her melodic voice washing over him with so much calm that he wanted to sit back down and just stay in those woods for as long as possible.

They spent the next half an hour or so going over what he has been doing to slowly get himself back to normal, and Harry was very pleased to hear he was making good progress in her opinion. His nightmares about the time in that awful farmhouse were still invading his sleep every night, but now, when he woke up, he could calm himself down without the aid of potions. He’d been exercising to get his rage out, and trying to talk more to his friends about what he went through.

“I think we’re getting to the point where we need to discuss the circumstances regarding your rescue,” Dr. Charles said. She had stopped writing and was just gazing at him with her hands folded in her lap.

“What do you mean? Ron and Hermione showed up. They took the spells off. I burned the shit out of my hands, and they brought me home. Everyone was arrested in record time and the papers never knew about it. All in all, that seems like the least important thing we need to talk about,” Harry smirked, trying to swallow the lump in his throat.

“You know that’s not what I mean. You said you and Mr. Malfoy were enemies in school. What happened after he took you from the farmhouse?"

Harry’s body immediately stiffened, and the relaxation he was feeling around his healer and the environment disappeared at the mention of his name. He willed his mind not to flash back to those few days. He didn’t want to think about what he did, what he said, but especially how he felt. He closed his eyes tightly and clenched his fists, willing away the memory of the way the other wizard’s hands felt on him.

“Like I’ve told everyone before, he didn’t hurt me.” Harry said with dangerous quiet to his voice.

“That’s not what I’m asking, Harry. You have said you were enemies at school, but I’ve read your court testimony documents,” She responded.

“Those are sealed.”

“Not to your Mind Healer when the Minister is concerned about your health,” she looked a little guilty, but then pressed on.

“After all you two had been through, everything from that curse to you pulling him from the fire, what happened in that room when you didn’t know who you were?” She was staring at him intently, and sat back waiting for Harry to speak. Harry just shook his head.

Of course he remembered what happened, but it made no sense. Malfoy knew who he was, he knew who they were, but he…he wanted…Harry couldn’t even comprehend it. After years of aggression, and then months of Harry being victimized and used, Malfoy treated him as a friend and then as something so much more than that. Harry didn’t understand why Malfoy would have wanted him with the combined issue of their past and Harry’s state at the time. The looks on Malfoy’s face moving across Harry’s memory made his heart stop.

“I can’t talk about it, there’s just too much there,” Harry said, nearly pleading with her.

“Piece by piece, Harry,” She repeated the mantra that had been going on since their first session. It was meant to indicate that they would get through this one step at a time, but Harry was really hoping this step would go unnoticed.

“Draco knew who we both were. I’m so humiliated,” Harry cried, silently begging her to leave the subject alone before he could elaborate.

“Have you seen Mr. Malfoy since this happened?”

“No. I wrote him an official letter of thanks on Ministry stationary, and Ron ensured that his probation was ended,” Harry said, blushing at how cold he sounded. “I just can’t look at him!”

“Why?”
“Why do you need to know?” He asked, challenging her.

“Because this is the only part we haven’t talked about. We’ve covered your injuries, your time under Frank’s thumb, your attack, and even your childhood. What we haven’t covered are the two days you spent alone with someone you obviously have a complicated relationship with,” As she spoke she moved her chair next to his and leaned in a little more closely.

“I may not have known who I was, but I still threw myself at him. The night before I thought I was going back there, I did everything I could to get him to be with me,” Harry started, putting his head in his hands.

“So you’re embarrassed?” She prompted.

“Yes, but there was more to it than that,” Harry started, his face burning bright red at this point. “Draco wasn’t suffering from memory loss. Draco knew who he was. And the way he looked at me…the things he said…I just don’t understand it!”

“What don’t you understand?”
“So many things. Why was I not completely disgusting to him after what they did?” Harry stood up and began to pace.

“You know that you aren’t disgusting. We’ve talked about that,” she said softly, her voice catching in her throat.

“And why did Malfoy look at me like that? Why did he want me? Was it some sort of game he was playing?” Harry flinched at that thought. He didn’t know if he could face any more humiliation. “He said…oh fuck it!”

“Did you ever think to ask him-“

“No. I will not do that.”

“Why not, Harry?” She still hadn’t gotten out her notebook. She was just staring up at him patiently.

“I can’t let him see that it affected me. I can’t let him see how weak I still am,” Harry sat back down, completely defeated.

“You’re so strong, Harry. Look how far you’ve come,” She reached out and put her hand over his. It was the first time she had ever touched him, and Harry did not even feel the urge to pull away.

“But why did he do that? We…well…we…” Harry made an obscene gesture for lack of a word he was willing to say out loud.

“I gathered,” she said with mock sarcasm. “When you think about that now, what goes through your mind?”

“I’ve tried very hard not to think about it, but I still do. I think about that time we were together nearly every day,” Harry whispered, leaning against the arm of the chair for support.

“Peel away that guilt and that humiliation, and what do you have?” She said, her voice full of a quiet urgency.

“Want,” Harry croaked.

Actually vocalizing what had been going through his mind for months was invigorating and terrifying for Harry. He’d been avoiding that spark in the back of his mind, ashamed that he even felt that way and confused about what it could mean. Saying out loud that he wanted what he had with Draco for that brief moment stripped off the overhanging ugliness that overwhelmed him. He wrapped his arms around his chest at the cavernous ache, trying to find comfort from the bevy of emotions attacking his system.

“You know you have to explore this, Harry,” his doctor said, her voice bouncing against the cold flat surface of the tree trunks surrounding them. It seemed as though even the wind and dripping water had died down to hear him better.

“I can’t. There is no way that I can go anywhere near this one,” Harry said, rubbing his hands up and down his arms.

“You’re denying yourself pleasure again, Harry. This is the same sort of self-flagellation as your fear of anyone touching you. You deserve this want. And you deserve to have someone want you.” She spoke the last sentence with finality. “I’ll see you next week. I’ll owl you the time and place.”

Harry nodded as she vanished the chairs. She smiled fondly at him and apparated away. He flopped back down by the stream, deciding he wanted to stay in the woods just a little longer. He threw rocks against the angry current as the sun went down. Then, he got up, cleaned himself off with a few charms, and made his way to Ron’s birthday. He could honestly say he was excited about the evening, and that gave him more hope than he was ready to admit.

()()()()()()()()()()()()


The Dragon’s Tail was crowded, but not packed like most pubs on a Saturday night. That was likely due to the fact that Ron had chosen one of only two bars in Ottery St. Catchpole. The town was far too small to fully populate one bar, let alone two. Harry arrived early but saw that Neville was already there, seated at a booth in the far corner. He thanked his lucky stars that they weren’t right in the middle of it all, ordered a glass of lager, and joined Neville in the large booth.


Dean and Seamus came next, lit up and ready for a party. The entire room watched them as they boisterously celebrated Ron’s 24th birthday before the birthday boy had even arrived. Harry found himself laughing more than he in the last six months and though he wasn’t quite as loud or obnoxious about celebrating, he definitely shouted his toasts to his absent best mate. When he met eyes with Neville, they both beamed, aware that things were actually starting to look better for Harry.

Ron arrived in a sea of red with George, Charlie, Bill, Percy and Ginny surrounding him. Luna trailed in behind them, almost like she was joining them as an afterthought. Harry was excited to have all of his friends in one place for the first time since he returned. He couldn’t help himself, he rushed up and gave Luna a crushing hug. She patted his back awkwardly, and then reached up and ruffled his hair a little. He kissed her on the cheek on a whim.

When he looked up, all of the assorted Weasleys were staring at him, their pale, freckled faces wearing masks of confusion or shock. Besides the children, Harry hadn’t touched anyone since he came back, unless you count Hermione’s stomach, and it was a huge step for him to be embracing Luna. He didn’t want to make it a big deal, however. He just wanted to celebrate his best mate’s birthday just like he had done last year, and just like he was hoping to do next year.

“Cheers, Mate,” Harry said, lifting his hand and grasping Ron’s bicep for a moment. He could feel his heart beating a little more quickly at touching someone so large and powerful, but this was Ron…right down to the smell…and he trusted Ron.

“Alright?” Ron said, looking concerned. When Harry nodded, Ron beamed so wide that Harry decided no matter what happened the rest of the night, it was worth it.

Harry mostly stayed to the booth with Luna, Neville, Percy and George. He enjoyed the atmosphere, but wasn’t ready to sing Irish drinking songs with Dean and Seamus up on the tabletops, or play a shockingly bloody game of darts with Charlie and Ron. Bill and Ginny were playing with the jukebox like it wasn’t commonplace, and Harry was about to shout out a song suggestion when a slow song came on and Bill cast a secret ‘sonorous’ charm that the Muggles in the pub did not notice at all.

“My baby brother is 24, ladies and gents! And this is the last year of fun he’ll have! He’s about to welcome a baby girl into the world,” The crowd cheered and Bill allowed them to go on for a few moments before continuing. “And I know firsthand that being a father is incomparable to anything else in the world, but I had to beg my wife just to come out tonight and leave her with the kids! This song is dedicated to my baby brother, joining the ranks of the Grumpy Old Men.”

Bill flicked his wrist behind his back and a guitar twang began to play. Throughout the beginning verse, drinks were ordered and congratulations ensued. By the end of the song, when the chorus rang out, everyone was singing “I’m much too young to feel, this damn old!” Harry sang loudly and badly along with the rest, feeling his face heat up not with embarrassment or fear, but with the buzz of alcohol. He found himself walking around the room talking to all of their party by the time the third round was ordered.

When Angelina, Katie, and Oliver Wood came waltzing in, things only got more hectic. Harry talked excitedly with Angelina and Ron about The Bats until a very drunk George pulled Angelina into an empty booth and proceeded to do engage in explicit acts as though they weren’t in public. When Harry turned around to ask Oliver how things were going with Puddlemore, he found Oliver had vanished.

“I really wish Percy wouldn’t try to keep it from us,” Ron said, leaning down to talk at Katie and Harry’s level. When he gestured toward the back, he saw Percy look from side to side, and then lean closer to Oliver and place a long, pale hand on his sturdy knee. Harry nearly spit out his drink. Ron just laughed. “He’s a damn Quidditch star for Merlin’s sake. Why should any of us care if he’s boinking birds or blokes?”

Harry knew Ron was being honest. After Harry had a long and careful break-up with Ginny, he had to find a way to explain to Ron and Hermione why the relationship that made perfect sense was doomed to failure. Harry had spent weeks pacing every room in Grimmauld Place and lamenting to Ginny about how impossible it was going to be, before Ginny had finally convinced him to just get it over with. When he had told them, they both laughed, hugged him, and said they were pretty sure he was gay the moment they started thinking about his break-up with Ginny. Harry knew Ron meant it when he said his brother should just come clean. No one would judge him. Harry made a mental note to talk to Percy later…when he was a little more pissed.

As the night was winding down, Harry sauntered up to the bar to get another drink, realizing he was no longer very graceful on his feet. He heard an intimate, breathy moan to his left and looked through slightly blurred vision to see Percy straddling Oliver’s lap, with Oliver’s hands in Percy’s hair and Percy’s hands running up and down Oliver’s arms. He couldn’t help but watch them. He had been so alone, but it was a choice. He was not lonely because he didn’t want anyone else. He was lonely because didn’t think he could ever be with another person again in that way. However, seeing those two, Harry began to long for that kind of affection again.

The pair shifted slightly, and Harry saw another person watching Percy and Oliver out of the corner of his eye. He turned, making sure no one was going to start trouble, and dropped his glass on the floor. The bartender immediately handed him another. Draco Malfoy was standing there, watching the lovers with his blond eyebrows arching along his forehead in surprise. He had an amused smirk pulled, and he looked like he was enjoying a show. Harry was completely frozen, and did not want to move for fear that he would be noticed.

Draco’s eyes met his and Harry’s entire body tensed. He could see Draco’s hand wrap around his drink and his jaw began to clench. Harry did not know what to say or do, or how to even begin to face Draco Malfoy after what happened between them. Harry gripped his mug with two shaking hands and tried to focus on his breathing. As he began to calm, he was overcome with images of Draco in that hotel room, of Draco’s hands on his body, and the way Draco’s lips felt against his own. Harry felt disgusted with himself, and was scared he would have a breakdown right in the middle of the crowded pub.

“Harry?” Luna’s wide eyes were suddenly inches away from his face. Harry screwed his eyes shut, but she just took his hand. “I’m feeling rather inebriated at the moment. Would you mind walking me home? I’m just over the hill.”

Harry nodded and allowed himself to be pulled away by Luna’s enthusiastic grasp. He tried telling himself not to look back as they walked out the door, but he couldn’t stop. He turned his head and immediately found Draco, watching him leave with a resigned look on his face that Harry didn’t understand. Harry quickly looked away, despite the fact that he’d already been caught looking.

He walked back to Luna’s flat, above an old coffee house right in the village, and smiled at the derigible plums hanging around her windows. It was likely the Muggles in the village just thought they were balloons. He always loved spending time in Luna’s flat. It was so colorful, and peaceful, and always made Harry feel like he could be himself. However, Harry just wanted to go home and hide in a corner for days, and did not feel like going up to Luna’s for terrible tea and fantastic stories.

“If you’d like to say something, I’m listening. If you don’t want to say anything, I’m listening anyways,” Luna said, casting a spell to unlock her door.

“I’m not sure I’m ready,” Harry whispered, looking away from her. Luna put her hand on his chin and guided his face until their eyes met.

“Please do owl or firecall if you need me. I’m not sure if you should be alone tonight,” She said, her face more serious than he had seen it since he first came back from the states. Harry just nodded and apparated back to his flat.

He had a one bedroom flat in London, a few blocks from Diagon Alley, and one block from Ron and Hermione. His balcony overlooked a park and there was a lot of natural light. The space itself was very old, with original floors and decorative trimming. When he first bought it, Hermione had gushed over the architecture, but Harry just wanted something quainter than Grimmauld Place. He kept Kreacher tending to both houses, and the old elf even consented to a weekly housekeeper for the larger one. Harry loved his flat, and after his ordeal, he found it the perfect refuge from a raging world.

He walked into his kitchen, desperately trying to find something to do. Of course there wasn’t a task to be done; Kreacher would die on the spot if he left something out of place. Harry began opening and closing cupboards, looking for something he could make, clean, or organize. Of course there was nothing, but Harry decided to pull out his kettle and make tea the Muggle way. Waiting for water to boil was too idle, however.

As soon as Harry couldn’t find anything else to distract him, Draco flooded his conciousness. He could see the planes of Draco’s body, hear the words that brought him so much comfort at the time, but now just frightened and confused him, and he could even feel the way Draco felt wrapped around him while they slept. Harry was overwhelmed with the need for Draco and he hated himself for it. He knew Draco wouldn’t want him. He had to throw himself at the other wizard when he was still Hank. He knew Draco wouldn’t touch him with a gloved hand now. Without realizing he was doing it, Harry threw his teacup against the wall.

He needed to cool off. He walked into his bathroom and stripped off his clothing. He ran a shower that felt just slightly chilled against his hand. He stepped under the spray carefully and sighed at the relief on his overheated skin. Harry took his flannel and some soap and began scrubbing his skin rapidly and with too much pressure. It was a comfortable sort of escape for him, washing so fiercely, it made him feel cleaner. He hadn’t done it recently, but looking at Draco Malfoy brought back so much.

The problem was, when Harry closed his eyes and focused on his memories, he wasn’t thinking of his abuse, but of the way he felt when he was with Draco. He felt safe, wanted, and understood. Harry knew now that Draco understood him because he knew him, but it really did feel like Draco wanted him to be well and wanted to make things right. Harry had never considered Malfoy to be such a good person, but deep down, there was so much more there.

What shocked him the most was that Harry was desperate to find out what that “more” was.

Harry turned up the heat and ran the soapy flannel up and down his body, images of Draco spreading salve over his wounds fresh in his mind. He closed his eyes and remembered how thorough and careful Draco was, how his hands barely touched Harry’s wounded areas, but still managed to bring him relief. Harry’s cock began to fill when he thought of the way Draco’s fingers went into his hair as they kissed for the first time.

It was not like Harry hadn’t wanked since he came back to England, but they had always been hard and blank, and just utilitarian. He never pictured faces anymore. He never pictured acts of sex when pleasuring himself. One could scarcely call what Harry had been doing pleasure. He was so afraid of picturing someone that had hurt him, or worse, wanting someone he knew would reject him, that he abandoned any thought of a fantasy life.

But standing under that warm shower spray with Draco’s face so sharp in his mind, Harry couldn’t leave the desire alone. He couldn’t bury it. Harry ignored the truth that Draco could never want him, and just focused on how perfect Draco’s strong arms felt beneath his touch, and how beautifully his face twisted up with emotion and raw need when he came.

Harry whispered Draco’s name and fisted his cock, thrusting and imagining that the blonde was writhing beneath him. He couldn’t get enough of Draco’s hands, and pictured them floating over the scars on his back and absolving him of all of his sins as they climaxed together. Harry reached his orgasm fast and hard, and was left empty and filled with hopeless want. He fell to his knees and sobbed.

Harry didn’t know how long he was there on his knees, but he was frigid by the time Kreacher came in to offer him a towel and a hot drink. Harry’s nerves were raw when he began to come to, but he shakily grabbed the cup of tea and thanked his loyal elf. Harry went to sleep that night certain that he was going to have to either face Draco, or face a lifetime of the ache in his chest.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

“Oh Harry! You’ve been doing so well. I’m truly proud of you,” Hermione said, digging into another slice of chocolate gateau. She had tears in her eyes, but Harry understood. Rose was about to be born, and Hermione was prone to fits of tears at the drop of a hat. Being as how Harry was…well…Harry, he often was the victim.

“Thanks, ‘Mione. I’m proud of that baby of yours! You two have managed three slices of chocolate cake before the end of lunch!” Harry said, laughing and patting her stomach gently.

“I wouldn’t be so proud just yet. She’s been having such a fit lately,” Hermione said. As if on cue, Hermione’s stomach shifted and she leaned forward slightly in pain. Harry immediately put her arm around her.

“Are you okay?” He asked, panicking slightly.

“I am, she’s just been very active today. And I’m getting a lot of contractions,” Hermione said, smiling and reaching for her water.

“Contractions! Hermione, are you in labor?” Harry said, realizing he had no idea what to do if she was.

“Nah. It’s far too early for that. These things happen sometimes in the final month,” Hermione said. “Let’s talk about you for a bit. Kingsley is putting you in the field today?”

“He already did,” Harry said, puffing out his chest a little.

“What? Why did no one tell me?” Hermione said, screeching slightly, with cake crumbles coming out of the side of her mouth.

“Ron knew,” Harry said, lifting his hands.

“Oh that bloody man! He’s been keeping things from me because he doesn’t want me getting upset right now,” Hermione said, sighing.

“So me being in the field upsets you?” Harry frowned slightly.

“Not at all. I want you to get back to your career. I just get very worried,” she smiled apologetically.

“Well don’t worry, it was just some routine potions bust,” he shrugged and took another bite of his sandwich.

Harry shrugged it off, but the whole assignment had him both terrified and exhilarated. He was battling criminals with his coworkers, but he was also exposed to weakness. Harry was so frightened that he would trip or make a mistake and that everyone would look on him with pity. Sure, most of the other aurors believed he was badly injured on secret assignment in the states, but the pity would still be on their faces.

“I’ve got to get back to these files, let me know if you want to come by for dinner tonight,” Hermione groaned slightly and grabbed her stomach, but then just stood again and smiled.

Harry grabbed their trays and took them over to the bins. He was just about to go over to the loo when he heard Hermione call out his name. She sounded calm, but something in her voice had him running. When he got there, Hermione was vanishing away a pool of water at her feet and her trousers were stained. Harry just looked at her quizzically.

“Harry, my water just broke,” Hermione said, grunting in pain and grabbing her stomach. Harry gripped her shoulders to steady her.

“Oh god oh god oh god,” Harry said, his heart racing. “What do I do? Do you need a towel? Should I get the Healer?”

“Just go and get Ron. He’s in the park across the road playing chess. He’ll know what to do,” Hermione said, squeezing Harry’s hand tightly and pulling him off of her. She cast a patronus, and within seconds her assistant was at her side and guiding her toward the floo. “Get Ron, Harry!” This time, Hermione was screaming.

Harry ran as fast as his legs could carry him, not trusting his magic to apparate when he was this keyed up with worry and excitement. He ran across the road without even looking for traffic, causing cars to honk and him and swerve off. He ran across the grass and over toward the small area of shade where the chess sets were lined up. He could see Ron’s orange head stand out above the sea of old men in hats and he nearly laughed in relief at the sight.

“Ron! Ron!” Harry shouted as he ran toward his best friend. “Hermione-“ Harry’s voice caught in his throat. Sitting across the table from Ron was Draco, a knight poised to play in his hand, and his entire body rigid with tension. His head began spinning and he was overwhelmed for a moment with questions that he couldn’t even fathom the answer to. It felt like his eyes stayed locked with Draco’s for ages.

“Harry! Fuck! What’s wrong with my wife?!?!” Ron was standing in front of him, his face bright red and his arms flailing.

“She…uh…her water-“

“Oh gods!” Ron shouted, his face both panicked and joyful. “Okay, Harry, go get mum and bring her to our flat. Malfoy, here are the apparition coordinates to our midwife. Her name is Ursula, and she’ll know what needs to be done. Bring her to the flat.”

Draco nodded and apparated away. Ron apparated right after him, likely heading to meet Hermione at home. Harry stood there, gaping like a fish for a moment longer before he sprang into action and apparated to The Burrow.

Within a scant five minutes, Harry was rushing down Ron and Hermione’s hallway, following Molly Weasley moving more gracefully and more quickly than he had ever seen her before. She turned around and stopped him at the doorway just as Hermione let out a loud scream. Molly waited for her to finish before putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder.

“You really should stay, but Hermione told me long ago that only me, Ursula and Ron should be in that room. There’s too much for your eyes to be lookin’ at, love,” Molly said happily. “Just be ready in case we need anything. Oh, and you too, Mr. Malfoy!”

Harry jumped at his name just as Molly slipped inside the master bedroom, calling Ron’s name. Harry pressed himself against the wall and closed his eyes, trying to get his head together about the situation. He hoped his demeanor looked casual, as he could feel Draco’s eyes on him like a chill on his side. He clenched his fists and focused on his breathing, but all he wound up doing was focusing on Draco’s breathing so close to him. Hermione let out another scream and Harry rushed to the door.

He felt a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t think you should do that,” Draco said, his voice a little shaky. “The screaming is to be expected, and I don’t think you or Hermione will forgive you if you go into that room right now.”

Harry froze, but nodded, and moved back to the other wall when Draco let go of him. “H-Have you been around much of…this?” Harry said, struggling to find a way to speak to Draco.

“Actually, no. But I remember hearing my mother and my aunts talking about it over tea once when I was ten. Scarred me for life,” Draco said. Harry looked up and he was smirking slightly. Harry felt a chill go up in spine at the sight of Draco’s smile.

“More than I know, then,” Harry mumbled, hoping desperately for some tea.

“Why don’t I go and prepare some tea?” Draco said, walking down the hall and not waiting for an answer. He went down the stairs before Harry decided to follow him just to show him where everything was at. Draco already had a pot out and was filling it with water when Harry got there. He sat a cup in front of Harry, but he couldn’t quite grip it, he was shaking so hard. Draco was watching him with a painful look on his face.

“Listen, my being here is upsetting you. Maybe I should just leave,” Draco said, summoning his jacket. Harry slammed his cup down, shattering it. Draco jumped and then froze, his eyes wide.

“I’m fucking sick and tired of people pitying me!” Harry took a deep breath and sent a ‘reparo’ at the teacup. “Can you just…explain why you were playing chess with Ron and how you seem to know where he keeps his tea?”

“Boys!” Molly shouted from the top of the steps. Harry rushed up and found her head peaking out of the bedroom door. “I need some ice chips and a cool damp cloth. Quick wands now!”

Harry followed Draco back down to the kitchen and he turned on the tap. He wet a towel and then sent a stream of water into the air towards Draco, freezing as it flowed. Draco drew his wand and began slicing at the ice and sending it into an empty glass. They were back up to the bedroom in record time.

As Molly shut the door, she left behind a smear of blood and Harry cried out. Draco walked up and vanished the stain, his face even paler than normal. Harry looked at him, and gestured back down the stairs. He led Draco to Ron’s liquor cabinet and pulled out a bottle of Firewhiskey. He poured two shots and immediately downed the amber liquid. Draco lifted his glass and did the same. They repeated…twice, and then Harry coughed at the burn in his sensitive throat.

“Dutch courage seems the way to go right now,” Harry said with a scratchy voice.

“Indeed,” Draco said, pouring himself another shot and slamming it down. He hissed through his teeth just as Hermione let out her loudest and most painful scream.

“Do you think she’ll be alright?” Harry said, his worry overtaking any fear or apprehension he had.

“I’m not sure,” Draco said, looking up the stairs. “Listen, Harry-“

Harry nearly gasped as Draco said his name.

“Potter. I happen to rather enjoy Weasley,” Draco explained.

“That makes no sense,” he deadpanned.

“Well you’re his best mate,” Draco answered, raising his eyebrows. “But I do know what you mean. But, after what happened, we just sort of kept in touch.”

Draco walked away, his face turning red as he did so. “The truth of the matter is, that after Weasley and I…well…we committed some pretty brutal and justified assaults together,” Draco started, suddenly very interested in one of Hermione’s book shelves. “After that, I wrote him a few times and we started meeting. He’s not bad to chat with if you stick with action based topics like auror work and quidditch. I can’t really discuss literature or magical theory with him, but he definitely plays an intimidating game of chess.”

“So you and Ron are friends?” Harry said slowly, torn between amusement and visions of who he’s positive Draco and Ron ‘assaulted’.

“When you say it like that, it sounds as though The Weasel and I are inseparable,” Draco said, though there was a slight smile on his face. “He got my parole cancelled and managed to keep the eye of suspicion away from me when you returned. And he…he answered my letters.”

“Why did you write him?” Harry said, still trying to picture Ron and Draco having a cup of coffee and arguing about the Chudley Cannons.

“I was…Well, I was asking after you,” Draco answered, running his fingers along the spine of one of the books. Harry had to fight the urge to go over there and run his own fingers down Draco’s long, pale arm.

“FUUUUUUUUCK!” Hermione screamed from upstairs. Harry leapt up and rushed over to the steps, but didn’t dare go up. Instead, he spent the next few minutes pacing, listening for her to cry out again or for someone to tell him they needed him.

“Why didn’t you just ask me how I was doing?” Harry asked Draco, walking closely behind him.

“I am quite sure that after that…after what happened, that you should never want to speak to me again. I can’t imagine how you’re in the same room with me right now,” Draco said, drawing his wand and summoning a cigarette. He walked out onto the porch and slammed the door.

Harry wanted to run after him, to shout that he was making no sense, when Molly called him upstairs. He rushed up to see that she was standing outside the door, her apron covered in blood and her hair drenched with sweat. “I think everyone could use some water, and I don’t really want to be too far from this room, love.”

Harry prepared four glasses of water and floated them up to the room. Molly used her wand to guide them inside and then kissed his cheek. “She’s doing remarkably well, Harry. You don’t need to look so worried. We can’t use magic around such a new magical life, but there are potions that help, and she’s a strong woman. We’re almost there now,” she smiled, closing the door behind her.

Harry sat at the bottom of the steps and put his head in his hands. The last hour had turned his world upside down. His best friends were about to bring a little girl into the world, Draco Malfoy enjoyed spending time with Ron Weasley, and again, everyone was keeping things from him to protect his feelings. He didn’t understand why Draco would think Harry would be angry with him. The Slytherin saved Harry’s life, at great risk to his own, and then Harry paid him back by throwing himself at the other wizard until he gave in. If anyone deserved to be avoided, it was him. He gripped his hair tighter as his hands started shaking.

“Is she okay?” Draco asked, standing in front of him and casting a spell that looked to take the scent of smoke out of his clothing. He was wearing a white shirt with a gray vest and gray trousers to match. The entire getup made his eyes stand out, and Harry had to sit back to try to tame the urge to touch him. He stretched his arms above his head, trying to keep himself from turning into a ball of tension and nerves. He looked up to find Draco staring at the palms of his hands.

“They were never able to completely get rid of the scars,” Harry said, wrapping his arms around himself. Draco sat down beside him and Harry took the chance to breathe the other wizard in deeply.

“Do they hurt,” Draco croaked.

“Not anymore. They tingle a bit when I am having strong emotions or there’s a lot of magic flowing through me though.” Harry answered, turning his palms up and following the faded white lines that crisscrossed over his skin.

When Draco’s hand took his, Harry reveled in the coolness of the other’s touch on his heated skin. He shuddered when Draco’s fingers began tracing the lines on Harry’s palm, remembering how those same fingers danced across his body. Harry couldn’t help himself, he closed his hand around Draco’s and braved a look in his direction. Draco’s eyes were closed, his jaw was clenched, and his thumb was running in circles over Harry’s skin.

“I don’t understand how you could possibly think I wouldn’t want to be around you,” Harry whispered, tightening his grip on Draco. “I figured you would just be repulsed by me.”

“Repulsed? Repulsed!” Draco stood, his pale face turning bright red through the fading light at the windows. “How could you-“

“We need a tub of warm water now!” Molly shouted downstairs. Harry and Draco both rushed to the kitchen. Harry summoned the little plastic baby tub with the ducks on it that Ginny had given Hermione at her baby shower, and Draco directed water into it. They warmed the water and Harry cast a ‘locomotor’ on it. Draco summoned a towel and they walked carefully up the stairs. Molly was waiting there with the door cracked open.

“You can do this, love! Just one more!” Harry heard Ron’s voice call out through the opened door. Molly took the tub and let out a joyful chuckle as Harry tried to peak in.

“Not long now, Harry. You’ll be able to come in soon,” she said, turning away and closing the door with her hip. Harry looked back at Draco to find that Slytherin looked…well…excited for Ron and Hermione. It made him want Draco all the more, and he was about to restart their conversation when he heard the strangest sound.

There was this strange, tiny gurgling noise, barely perceptible among the commotion of the master bedroom, but Harry knew he heard it. Suddenly, a sharp, high picked wail was heard, and Harry knew that Rose Weasley had finally entered the world. His suspicions were confirmed when he heard Ron let out a cry of relief that was instantly muffled. Harry had to fight with all of his will not to burst through the door and cry out with joy. He looked over at Draco and saw that he was beaming as well. Harry was instantly happier than he had been in ages, and he couldn’t imagine a more perfect moment. Molly slipped out the door a few minutes later.

“Okay, we’ve gotten Hermione covered and cleaned up. Ursula is just performing some healing spells and midwife spells (I’ll do you both a favor and not explain them) now that the baby is out. You two are welcome to come in now,” Molly opened the door and beckoned them inside. “Daddy is just about to give Rosie her first bath.”

Ron was holding a white bundle of cloth cradled in his arms. He had tears streaming down his face and the biggest smile Harry had ever seen. He walked carefully over to the tub and Molly helped him to unravel the little girl. Harry thought she looked a bit like a wrinkled garden gnome covered in goo that he did not want explained to him, but she was still the absolute epitome of perfection. Her wailing ceased as Ron cooed at her and dipped her into the warm bath. Molly began to wash her off. She was pink and angry, fidgeting and fussing the entire time, and she had a tuft of orange hair coming out of the top of her head. Harry reached out and ran his hands very carefully over her small, round skull.

“Mate…I…” Harry felt his words lodge in his throat.

“I can’t believe how beautiful she is,” Ron said, running his hand over her tiny foot. Her foot barely took up space at the center of Ron’s massive hands.

“Certainly a fine sprog, even if she is a ginger little Weasley,” Draco said, no malice in his voice. “I just hope she looks more like her mum.”

“At least she won’t be a pointy little ferret face,” Ron said, laughing as he pulled the baby from the water and Molly helped to wrap her up again.

“You guys wanna hold her?” he asked, and Malfoy immediately jumped back.

“She’s…she’s just a bit too fragile for me. I believe I shall wait until she’s sturdier. Maybe perhaps at four years?” He smiled, patting her head. Draco walked over to Hermione and put a hand on []her shoulder. “Another flawless accomplishment. I would expect nothing less,” he smiled down at her and whispered “congratulations” as she put her hand over his.

Harry looked back to Ron, ready to ask him a question about Draco (a million really), but Ron just smiled goofily at him and handed him Rose. Harry had held Teddy many times throughout his infancy, so holding new babies didn’t scare him away the way- Harry looked behind him to see that Draco had gone. He heard the front door shut and a soft ‘pop’ of apparition that was deafening to his ears. He was right all along.

“Harry, I’m going to go get something started for dinner since Hermione is quite hungry. Would you mind contacting the family and telling them everything is alright and they can come over tomorrow after Mummy has had her rest?” Harry nodded numbly. He handed Rose to Hermione’s open arms and kissed both of their foreheads. Ron kneeled down on the other side of the bed and put his head on Hermione’s shoulder as Harry quietly slipped out of the room to send his Patronus to various family and friends, unsurprised that it took him a few times to get his stag just right.

()()()()()()()()()()()()()()()

Because I know that I'll be coming home soon
And yes
I know, that I'll be coming home soon with a soldier's eyes
With a soldier's eyes


Harry watched as Ginny made silly faces at Rose, who was balanced carefully in the witch’s arms. He laughed out loud when the baby responded to Ginny with a resounding belch. Ginny just shrugged and put the child on her shoulder, tapping her back soundly until she finished expressing herself. After all of that effort, Rose found she had grown tired, and Ginny put her back in the little cot they set up in the living room at The Burrow.

“I cannot believe it’s already been a week since she was born. Merlin, I still can’t believe Vicky is already out of nappies let alone that we’ve got a little Rose here,” Ginny said, popping a comforter in the baby’s mouth when she started to fuss.

“Ron and Hermione are lucky to have an entire army of babysitters,” Harry said. He and Ginny had volunteered to watch Rose for a few hours so Ron and Hermione could go shopping, and hopefully get a nap in there too.

Harry enjoyed hanging out with Ginny. Sure, they were once dating and then broke up, but she wasn’t really the type of person to hold a grudge. Her quidditch career kept her busy, and when she was home, she always greeted Harry like a friend. She was upset with him for perhaps a few weeks after he told her he didn’t want to be with her, but since then she had become an excellent confidant. She always knew how to put him in his place, and she was one of the few people that didn’t treat him with kid gloves when he returned.

“So now that the baby buffer is out cold, do you mind tell me what’s been bothering you?” Ginny asked, crossing her legs and resting her chin in her hands. Her face made it clear she wasn’t moving from her spot on his sofa until she had the truth.

“I think maybe I should talk to Ron about it actually,” Harry mumbled, looking away.

“Yeah I was thinking we should,” Ron’s voice game from his doorway. He leaned down to kiss Rose on the head. “Hermione’s having a kip, so I thought maybe we’d get into some of that beer you have and sit in the garden for a bit?” Ron looked nervous and couldn’t meet Harry’s eye.

“I’ll watch her, you guys go on,” Ginny smiled, picking up a magazine.

Harry went into the kitchen and pulled out two beers. He walked to the garden and conjured a bench out of some of the more sturdy bushes. He flicked his wand, sending the metal caps of the beers flying. Ron sat down and took his beer down in one long drink before smacking his hand on his leg. Harry thought that maybe he should start.

“So I couldn’t help but notice that you are friends with Draco Malfoy,” Harry said, taking a casual drink of his beer.

“I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you about it,” Ron said, putting a hand near Harry’s shoulder but still hesitant about touching him.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Well, I wasn’t sure if you wanted to hear about him…because he…you know…” Ron said, shifting uncomfortably.

“He told you?” Harry said, his face heating up.

“Told me what? I just meant that maybe he would make you think of…things…that you didn’t want to think of,” Ron said, finally meeting Harry’s eye. “What do you mean-“
“Stop treating me like I’m going to break at any second. Of course I was a fucking mess, but I’m getting better!” Harry shouted, casting a ‘muffliato’ charm a bit too late. “And I sure as hell would love to know what’s going on here.”

“Well, I wrote to him. He asked me to tell him how you were doing, so I let him know. I figured it was harmless for him to know that, seeing as how he already knew the whole story,” Ron explained. “After you had spent a few weeks in that private hospital up north, Malfoy came to my office asking me why you hadn’t been released yet.”

Harry remembered those weeks well. He didn’t talk, didn’t move, didn’t eat, and didn’t sleep. Hermione, Ron, Neville, Luna and Molly all took turns sitting at his bedside, but he couldn’t face any of them. He didn’t want to face the world at all. He relived his tortures every night, and didn’t look forward to a single day. It was Dr. Charles who finally got him out of his madness, along with a potion that took away the nightmares and helped his body to heal as he slept.

“Wait, that potion they gave me,” Harry started.

“That was Malfoy’s. He was working on it when he found you. And the bloody showoff finished it like two days after we got back. He also made sure they used his murtlap essence on your wounds, as it had some sort of calming agent in it,” Ron said scratching his chin. “I just figured he cared about what happened to you after all he did. Shocked me to no end to come to that notion.”

“So you guys just sort of became mates?” Harry asked, remembering the way his murtlap treatments always made everything seem better, or the way Draco’s potion tasted sweet and took away his aches along with make him sleepy. He could almost picture Draco leaning over a cauldron and creating the brew, just like when they were at school, with perfection and a haughty look on his face like he knew it was perfection.

“Sort of. I mean, it was just talk about you at my office. And then it was coffee on breaks. And then we went to a match together. After that, he met me for chess in the park about once a week, and Hermione has even had him over for dinner a couple of times. They can’t shut up about books,” Ron said, rolling his eyes.

“Why didn’t he ever visit me?” Harry said, trying and failing to picture Hermione and Draco’s heads bent in concentration over a copy of Hogwarts, a History.

“I asked him that once. He seemed to think that you wouldn’t want anything to do with him,” Ron said. “I sort of figured he was right considering what happened and what a git he was in the past.”

Harry pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes. He was suddenly flooded with visions of that night, but this time, it wasn’t his behavior or his feelings, but Draco’s feelings that he focused on. Draco wasn’t under any charms, and he certainly had his memory, but he still said that he wanted Harry, that he had wanted Harry for ages. The way Draco looked at him: that wasn’t a spell. The pieces of the puzzle clicked into place, and Harry knew his only choice was to rush after Draco. He didn’t think for a second that Draco would want someone so damaged, even if he did succumb to the urge back when Harry was a different person, but Harry was done playing games…even with himself.


“Listen, Harry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I never told you and that you had to face him without being prepared,” Ron said, sounding very worried.

“Where does he live?” Harry asked calmly.

“Harry? What are you going to do?” Ron asked, leaning back slightly.

“I’m definitely not going to hurt him,” Harry said, laughing slightly at the fear on Ron’s face. “I need to see him, though.”

“I don’t want to be asking this, but I think I have to: Why?” Ron asked, bracing himself. While he waited for Harry’s answer, he wrote the address on a slip of paper.

“I think I’m in love with him,” Harry whispered.

“Bloody hell,” Ron’s voice echoed in his ears as he apparated away.

Draco’s door was perfect and shiny with an ornate snake carving serving as the door knocker. Harry ran his hands up and down the dark wood…fuck! He was stalling. He ran his hands through his hair, checked his breath, and then rubbed at his face furiously. He had no idea what he was doing, or what he would say, but it would end with him at least asking Draco out for coffee. After what they had been through, did he really have to go through all the preliminaries? He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

He heard footsteps lead up to the door, and then there was a long pause. Harry held his breath. Obviously Draco could see him, but would he let him in? Or was Harry not even good enough to let into someone’s house? He shook his head and took a deep breath, trying to ‘rid himself of toxic thoughts’ as Dr. Charles would say. He closed his eyes and raised his palm to the door.

Suddenly the door swung open and Draco’s cool grey eyes were meeting his, a mask of indifference marring his features. Harry knew that mask, and he was going to fight it. “Can I come in?”

Draco looked taken back for a moment before he closed off his features again and swung the door opened to let him in. Draco’s flat was surprisingly warm. There was a large, old stone hearth, shelves upon shelves of books in various states of use, and a large, overstuffed fluffy brown sofa in the center. The silver buttoned leather wingback chair seemed to be the only thing that made sense in a room that Draco occupied. Harry half expected to see a pipe perched on an end table somewhere.

“Can I get you something to drink? Tea?” Draco asked, walking swiftly into the adjoining kitchen.

“Do you have any Dutch Courage here?” Harry chuckled nervously.

“That’s such a misleading euphemism for spirits. Especially since the Scots perfected the art of drinking,” Draco smirked, holding up a bottle of very old scotch. Draco carefully poured two fingers into two glasses and added a few ice cubes. He handed Harry’s to him and then just stood there, almost as though he was afraid to sit down.

“So you and Ron, huh?” Harry said, taking a long drink.

“You make it sound like we’re dating,” Draco said, lifting an eyebrow.

“You aren’t?” Harry asked with mock innocence.

“Somehow I don’t think he swings that way. And I’ve always preferred…non ginger men,” Draco explained, wrinkling his nose.

“What sort of men do you prefer?” Harry asked, feeling like an idiot immediately.

“Potter, why are you here?” Draco asked, looking incredibly weary all of a sudden.

“You wrote him letters? You sent him potions?” Harry said, desperate.

“Yes I did,” Draco whispered, turning his head away from Harry.

“Why?” Harry cried, walking around Draco to face him.

“Because I give a fuck,” Draco answered, his eyes locking on Harry’s intensely, like he was challenging Harry to say something different.

“It’s more than that though, isn’t it?” Harry asked, lifting his hand to touch Draco’s arm, his shoulder, his face…anything. Draco flinched away like Harry’s hand was fire.

“What are you doing?” Draco asked, backing away.

“Those things you said…”

“I’m so sorry I did that to you, okay? I think about it every day, and when I’m not on fire with want, I’m dying from disgust!” Draco shouted, slamming his fist against the wall and causing the plaster to crumble.

Harry could feel his stomach drop to the floor. It was over. He bothered to hope for a split second, but his suspicions were right. He wasn’t worth it. “I…I get it,” Harry said, going for the door.

“You’re just going to walk away?” Draco said, blocking Harry’s path to the door. “You’re not going to hit me? Yell at me? Fucking arrest me?” He was shaking now, and Harry’s mind was racing with confusion. He had no idea what to believe anymore.

“What did you do wrong,” Harry whispered, clenching his fists. “It was me. I was the filthy fucking whore who threw himself at you. I’m tainted.”

“What?” Draco shouted, grabbing Harry’s shoulders. “You weren’t yourself. You were vulnerable and hurt and I fucking…I took advantage of you!”

Harry reached up and grabbed Draco’s wrists tightly, slamming his hands against the door. He closed his eyes and remembered Draco’s face as he undressed Harry. He could hear Draco’s words, telling him he’d “wanted this for so long”, and then it came back to him: Draco had said his name.

Harry looked at Draco’s face, his eyes shut tightly, and tears leaking out of them. He was struggling against Harry, his breathing heavy and fearful. Harry loosened his grip, but kept his hands there, and whispered Draco’s name close to the other wizard’s ear. He leaned his body against Draco’s, pressing his face into Draco’s warm neck. He whispered his name again.

“Harry,” He heard into his hair. “Please.”

Harry had no idea what Draco was asking, but every fiber of his being was pushing him to press his lips up against Draco’s. So he did. He laid his lips softly against his former nemesis and waited for it all to shatter away…waited for something. He felt Draco’s arm go slack in his grip, but Harry was afraid to let go. He ran his tongue over Draco’s lips and felt them quiver as they opened. They both took a deep, shaky breath as Harry brought one of his hands down to cup Draco’s face.

Draco deepened the kiss and pulled Harry’s body as close as possible to his. Harry could feel his hardness through his robes and he ground against the other wizard eagerly. They both moaned and Harry moved a shaky hand to Draco’s neck, finally freeing the Slytherin’s other arm. Draco gripped Harry’s arse and thrust against him hard while Harry ran his fingertips down Draco’s neck and began to unbutton the collar of his robes.

Harry really had no idea what he was doing, but all he knew was that with each expanse of pale skin that was exposed, he craved more and more, running his palms along Draco’s chest until he was certain he had felt every inch down to the smattering of hair below his navel. He leaned down and kissed the slicing scars across Draco’s chest carefully, and Draco’s body shuddered beneath his touch. Harry wished he could take it back, and hoped that Draco would always let him touch them and kiss them. Harry froze when Draco reached down and lifted at the hem of his tee shirt as his lips ghosted along Harry’s jaw.

“Can I…can we leave this on?” Harry asked, his voice trembling.

“No,” Draco said, through clenched teeth. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. I won’t let anyone take this away.”

Harry relaxed slightly and allowed Draco to pull his shirt over his head. He couldn’t open his eyes. He didn’t want to face the pity…the judgment that may be marred all over Draco’s long features. He stood there, waiting for what felt like an eternity for Draco to say or do anything. He nearly jumped when Draco’s suddenly warm hands wrapped around either side of his waist and pulled Harry close to him again. Draco put his head on Harry’s shoulder and ran his hands up and down the terrible scars on Harry’s back until he could feel tears begin to form in his eyes. Then, Draco took his head in his hands.

Harry opened his eyes, and the moment they met Draco’s intense, gray stare, Draco leaned in and kissed him forcefully, turning their bodies and slamming Harry against the wall. Harry cried out when Draco latched on to his neck and sucked, and he thrust against Draco’s hips desperately. He threaded his fingers in Draco’s hair and began kissing him with increased fervor. When their bare torsos pressed against each other, they both moaned at the electrified feeling.

“I want you Harry. Please know that…” Draco whispered, kissing down Harry’s chest until the taller wizard was on his knees and unbuttoning Harry’s fly. Harry reached out for something to grip on the wall, something to focus on, but found nothing. He felt his pants slide to the floor, and then Draco’s strong hands were gripping his upper thigh.

When Harry felt Draco’s lips close over his cock he groaned, overwhelmed by the feeling. No one had ever done this to him, at least not while he was hard and wanting it. Draco felt so perfect, and Harry couldn’t help but say his name over and over again as Draco’s hands pulled Harry’s hips forward and Harry’s entire cock was engulfed.

“Fuck! I’m going to come…I don’t want to…not yet,” Harry said, trying to speak between moans. Suddenly Draco’s lips were near his ear.

“Okay, okay…” Draco whispered, his clothed cock brushing against Harry’s oversensitive one and causing him to shudder with each thrust. “You’re beautiful.”

Draco continued to kiss Harry’s neck and shoulders while he thrust against him. Harry undid Draco’s trousers, desperate to feel his want for Harry. Draco’s cock was long and hard, and it made Harry twitch in places he thought might have been ruined forever. He wanted all of Draco, all that Draco was willing to give. He pressed Draco’s cock against his own and round his hand around the back of Draco’s neck. He pressed their foreheads together.

“Draco, I need you,” Harry groaned, kissing Draco and wrapping his hand around both of their cocks.

“Fuck me,” Draco whispered, grabbing Harry’s hair and slamming their bodies together. “I want it to always be you.”

Draco said those words and Harry’s eyes flew open. He couldn’t believe Draco meant it. He couldn’t fathom that there was this much good in store for him. It had seemed so hopeless for so long, but now Draco was pressed up against him, his long, hot body practically a part of Harry’s, and Harry couldn’t think beyond the broad slope of Draco’s shoulders.

“Bedroom?” Harry choked out between more fervent kisses.

Draco took a deep breath and pulled back, eyeing Harry again. It seemed as though he was making sure Harry was Harry, and he meant what he said. Harry reached out and touched Draco’s face gently. Draco leaned into the touch before turning around and guiding him down a dark hallway.

While Harry caught his breath, he watched Draco wave his wand to light some lamps and candles around his room There was nothing but a large white bed surrounded by the ornate wood of the home. Draco turned around and pulled Harry in, his wrists turning up as he guided Harry to the bed. Draco quickly pulled away and backed up.

Harry remembered their last night together, remembered Draco looking away and whispering “I’m nothing,” and Harry’s heart was shattering. He never imagined that Draco carried so much shame. He walked over to Draco and kissed him, laying him back on the bed and stretching his arm out, palm up, to the side. Draco stiffened.

“Harry?” Draco said, trying to pull away.

“You’re not nothing,” Harry said, his more eloquent and loving words dying with nerves and need. He kissed Draco’s dark mark softly before moving back up to Draco’s face.

Harry reached down and wrapped his hand around Draco’s throbbing cock. Draco immediately cried out and thrust into his grip. After a few turns of his wrist, he saw Draco reach over to the nightstand and pull out a tiny vial. Harry took it, not needing to be told twice. He reached down and began to toy with Draco’s entrance.

“Will you tell me if this is too much?” Harry whispered, remember what it felt like for him and not wanting to cause Draco any pain.

“Have you ever done this before?” Draco asked quietly, moaning when Harry’s finger finally breeched him.

“No, I haven’t. I don’t want to hurt you,” Harry explained.

“You won’t. Just go slow,” Draco said, pulling Harry in for a kiss.

When Harry added a second finger to Draco’s tight channel, Draco bucked against him and moaned loudly. Harry groaned, and curled his fingers up to his Draco’s sensitive spot and caused him to make that noise again. His cock ached to be inside Draco, so he added a third finger. When Draco began impaling himself on Harry’s fingers, Harry pulled out slowly and lined his cock up with Draco’s entrance, leaning down to press his forehead to Draco’s.

“I want you so badly, Draco. I want this…I want us,” Harry said, speaking clearly through their haze.

“Everything, Harry,” Draco moaned.

Harry kissed Draco softly as he slowly moved inside him. Draco threw his head back and spread his legs further, causing Harry to groan and bury his face in Draco’s neck. He wanted to press forward hard, and shook with the effort to keep himself from doing so while Draco adjusted to him. Harry muttered a string of expletives when Draco put his hand on Harry’s arse and pushed him forward.

Harry tried to go slowly, to keep himself from coming embarrassingly fast, but the moment the words “fuck, harder,” came from Draco’s lips, Harry was thrusting wildly home. He opened his eyes and met Draco’s desperate gaze just as Draco’s hands began to fist in the sheets.

As his climax was building, Harry felt Draco’s tight channel clench around him, and he spilled inside of Draco. As his cock was still twitching, he felt Draco spill onto their chests and he buried his face back in Draco’s neck, trying to find his bearings as his body shook and steadied.

Harry reluctantly moved slowly out of Draco, allowing him to roll over and fetch his wand to clean them up. After he felt the cool tingle of magic over his body, he rolled onto his back and sighed. He was almost afraid to look at Draco, afraid that he was imagining Draco’s emotion and that this was actually something else…something less. Harry tried to think that he deserved something less, and just closed his eyes until the thoughts when away.

When he opened his eyes, Draco was gazing down at him with worry and panic on his face. He touched Harry’s face carefully, smoothing his fringe away from his eyes and moving his body closer. Harry gripped Draco’s forearm and summoned the courage to speak.

“Do you want…should I…Can I stay?” Harry said, biting his lip.

“There are so many reasons why you have to stay,” Draco looked down at him wearing his trademark smirk that was making Harry melt into the mattress. Harry echoed his smile.

“I eat way too much these days,” Harry said, trying to mask his doubts with a joke. Draco saw through it.

“Please know this is more than sex. This is so much more,” Draco said carefully. He turned Harry’s face to look at him directly. His expression was suddenly desperate. “You have to know that.”

Harry nodded and kissed Draco, hoping that everything he couldn’t find the words to say could be found in that one action. Draco leaned into the kiss and wrapped his free arm around Harry’s waist, pulling him closer. When they shifted to fall asleep, Draco flung his arm possessively over Harry’s chest, and Harry turned his head towards Draco’s.

“Draco?” Harry asked, a thought suddenly occurring to him. “Ron is going to have kittens enough to keep Rosie company, isn’t he?”

“Oh gods, I hope the only thing that comes out of that oaf when he finds out is a kitten,” Draco replied dryly.

Harry laughed, taking Draco’s hands in his own and bringing them together in a bundle. Draco squeezed his hands gently, his breathing slowing as he fell asleep. Harry curled a leg around Draco’s and immediately succumbed to sleep himself.

Date: 2011-12-09 12:25 pm (UTC)
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From: [personal profile] kinky_kneazle
This was amazing! Intense and powerful and kept me reading when I should have gone back to work! I ached for Harry and Draco both; their conviction that they're unworthy of love was just heartbreaking. And Ron and Draco's friendship was lovely. Amazing story!

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