Give My Heart
by gypsyflame

Pairings: Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy/Severus Snape
Rating:
NC-17
Warnings:
Some violence, attempted rape (not in main pairings)
Word Count: 42,680

Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Canon:
Through HBP
Other characters:
Hermione, Ron, Lucius, Narcissa, Voldemort, Yaxley
Artist:
naturegirlrocks

Summary: Voldemort gives Draco a mission to seduce Harry into an ambush - not knowing that Draco is an Order spy. When Draco and Harry try to turn Voldemort's plan against him, Draco realizes that his relationship with Severus may not survive the challenge.

Author's Notes: Takes place in an AU two years after HBP, in which Voldemort is still alive and the war is still raging. A million thanks to the_flic, who offered invaluable suggestions for improvement and moral support when I started referring to this fic as the Never-Ending Story of Death. Title comes from the song "Jillian" by Within Temptation.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.


 

“Do you know what he wants?”

Severus shook his head, lips set in a thin line. Draco sighed. Spontaneous Death Eater meetings were rarely a good thing.

They left Draco’s suite of rooms at the Manor and headed for the drawing room, Draco falling into step by Severus’ side – where he had been for the past two years. They had become lovers long before Draco had learned of Severus’ real allegiance, and by the time Severus had told him the truth, Draco would have switched sides even if he hadn’t already hated the Dark Lord with every bone in his body.

As an Order spy, Draco walked a fine line in presenting himself to the Dark Lord as just useless enough not to send on any dangerous missions but still useful enough to keep around; he mostly assisted Severus’ potion-making. Because the other Death Eaters didn’t see Draco as a threat, they let their guards down around him in a way they never would have around Severus. To them, he was just Snape’s little toyboy, someone weak who exchanged sex for protection. Draco and Severus did everything they could to encourage that assumption. It amused the Dark Lord, and it kept the Death Eaters from harassing Draco and his parents.

Their entrance to the drawing room was perfectly timed – neither the first nor the last to arrive. Severus took his seat at the Dark Lord’s right hand, and Draco sat next to him. On Draco’s other side, his father sat staring vacantly into space. Lucius seemed to spend much of his time that way lately, even though he was perfectly healthy; his fall from grace had simply made him lost and hopeless without the kindness of making him mad as well. Next to Lucius, Narcissa gave Draco a small, tight smile before returning her eyes to the table.

The Dark Lord remained silent as the rest of the Death Eaters filed in. He seemed to be in a pleasant mood, which could be good for Draco or very, very bad. The strain of the situation was unbearable. Draco had never been skilled at dealing with stress, and his muscles were so tense that they ached. He didn’t even realize he was bouncing his knee until Severus put a hand on it to stop him.

Once the room was full and all eyes were on him, the Dark Lord spoke. “I have gathered you here tonight, my most faithful, because the end of this war is now in sight. Soon, Harry Potter will die, and the rest of his Order will crumble to dust without him.”

Draco rolled his eyes internally. This had to be the eighth or ninth time the Dark Lord had made that very announcement in two years.

“Do you have a plan, my Lord?” Bellatrix asked eagerly.

“I do. I have recently come into possession of intelligence which makes clear that we have overlooked one of Potter’s serious weaknesses.”

The Dark Lord paused for dramatic effect – one of his most annoying habits – and Draco took the opportunity to glance over at Severus to see if he knew what was going on. Severus shook his head minutely.

“Potter’s Occlumency has vastly improved over the past few years,” the Dark Lord continued, “but there are still occasions when he lets his guard down and I am able to get a glimpse of his dreams.” He turned suddenly to Draco. “Mr. Malfoy.”

“My Lord?” Draco responded, startled. The Dark Lord rarely addressed him directly anymore.

Softly, the Dark Lord said, “It would seem our wholesome hero has a taste for blonds.”

Draco blinked, unsure where this was going but positive he wasn’t going to like it.

“Do you believe yourself worthy of an assignment of true importance? The success of my plan would hinge entirely on your...skills, such as they are.”

“I would be honoured to serve you in any way you wish, my Lord.”

“I see. And if I wish for you to seduce Harry Potter?”

A shocked silence descended over the table before several Death Eaters started snickering. Even Lucius was shaken out of his daze. The Dark Lord ignored them all, not moving his eyes from Draco’s face.

Draco forced himself not to look at Severus, even though he desperately wanted to. “I...I’m not sure I understand, my Lord.”

“It’s quite simple, really,” the Dark Lord said. “Severus has the Order’s trust. He will take you to their headquarters. You will claim that I killed your parents for some indiscretion and that you fled in fear for your own safety, and you will beg Potter for asylum. Severus, am I correct in assuming that Potter would be unable to turn away even an enemy in need?”

Severus’ voice was as inflectionless as if they were speaking of the weather. “Yes, my Lord. Potter’s soft heart has been his undoing time and again.”

“Just so.” The Dark Lord shifted his attention back to Draco. “Once ensconced in Grimmauld Place, you will do whatever is necessary to win Potter’s affections. He is the type of man who cannot easily separate sex and love. If you give him your body, he will give you his heart.”

Under the table, Draco dug his fingernails into his palms to keep himself from reacting. If Severus hadn’t spent the past two years intensively training him in Occlumency...

“It should not take you long to extract a promise of devotion and protection. Once you have done so, Severus will kidnap you.” The Dark Lord settled back in his chair, looking pleased with himself. “Judging by his past, Potter will come after you with very little forethought and little to no backup, and he will be ill-prepared for the ambush that awaits.”

There were murmurs of appreciation all around the table. “A most excellent plan, my Lord,” Yaxley said. “Assuming, of course, that Malfoy is up to it.”

Draco glared at him. “I think I can handle Potter,” he snapped. “But your concern is noted.”

Yaxley was a pedophile, and everybody knew it. He liked them older than Greyback did – about twelve or thirteen. Draco could still remember how careful his father had been not to let him anywhere near Yaxley when he was younger. That hadn’t stopped Yaxley from lusting after him, though. Draco had assumed that Yaxley would lose interest as he got older – but if anything, it had gotten worse, and Draco knew it was only fear of Severus’ wrath that kept Yaxley from forcing the issue.

Draco’s irritation only made Yaxley’s smirk wider. “I hope you don’t mind sharing your toy, Snape.”

Severus shrugged indifferently. “For a cause such as this? Not at all.”

Even though Draco knew it was just for show, Severus’ casual dismissal stung. He concentrated on keeping his face and mind calm.

“It is true you have never had an assignment of this weight,” the Dark Lord said to him. “Are you up to the challenge?”

Draco summoned up his best arrogant sneer, recalling a time when such an expression had been second nature to him. “Seducing Harry Potter is hardly a challenge, my Lord.”

The Dark Lord smiled, satisfied. “Excellent. Severus will use his position within the Order to keep an eye on you. I will expect regular updates on your progress. Do you have any questions?”

“No, my Lord,” Draco said. You’re going to die, and I hope I’m there to see it. “I appreciate your faith in me.”

“Be sure you prove that it is well-deserved.”

***


After the meeting ended, Draco and Severus went straight to Spinner’s End. It was the only place they could be assured of total privacy.

Severus Apparated them both into the living room. As soon as he let go, Draco started to pace. He was trembling with repressed shock and anger, and the taste of fear was thick in the back of his throat.

“He knows,” Draco said.

Severus, in the midst of pouring them both a drink, raised an eyebrow.

“He knows about us,” Draco clarified. “That we’re – that it’s not just sex. That’s why he’s doing this. To punish us.”

Severus gave Draco his drink and then sat down on the couch with his own. “Perhaps. But you must admit that it is a sound plan. Potter’s heart has always been his greatest weakness. Were it not for your true loyalties and Potter’s ridiculous good luck, it would most likely work.”

Infuriated by Severus’ calm, Draco threw his glass against the far wall. Severus simply flicked his wand to repair the glass. The scotch, however, was a lost cause, and he Banished it.

“That was quite expensive scotch, you realize,” he said.

The feel of Severus’ magic brushing past him calmed Draco a little, as it always did, and he sank down onto the couch. Severus put his glass on the sidetable and pulled Draco to him.

“I don’t want to have sex with Potter,” Draco muttered against his shoulder.

Severus pressed a kiss against his temple. “I know.”

Draco shoved him away and stared at him incredulously. “That’s it? I’m about to be forced into whoring myself to someone we both dislike, and that’s all you have to say? Fuck you.”

“What do you want me to say, Draco?” Severus said tiredly.

Jumping to his feet, Draco exclaimed, “I want you to say that you’re angry! I want you to say that you would rather kill Potter than let him touch me, I want –”

His words were cut off as his throat constricted under the sudden wave of fear that flooded him – one of the fits of abrupt, unexpected panic that had been plaguing him for years. His heart raced and he fought for breath, feeling like the floor was falling away beneath him, like the ceiling was crashing down. An involuntary noise of pure terror escaped him.

“Goddamn it,” Severus said, standing up quickly and grabbing Draco’s arm to keep him from falling over. He drew his wand with his other hand and cast a quick warming charm.

It helped, but not enough. “Severus,” Draco gasped. “I can’t –”

Expecto Patronum.”

The rush of powerful magic washed over Draco, through him, forcing away the fear and clearing his mind. Severus’ magic was the only thing that had ever been able to end Draco’s attacks prematurely, and even that was only because Draco had inherited his Malfoy grandmother’s tactile sensitivity to magic. He didn’t know how he would have survived the past two years without it.

Once he was sure Draco was stable, Severus dismissed the Patronus, knowing how much Draco hated to be reminded of his love for Lily Potter. Draco sagged against him. He was always embarrassed after episodes like that – they made him feel even weaker than he usually did. And worse, they made him feel unworthy of Severus.

Severus held him close. “I am angry,” he finally said in a low voice. “The thought of Potter touching you makes me physically ill. But this is larger than us both, Draco, and you know it. If we can turn the Dark Lord’s ambush back on him, if Potter manages to destroy the remaining Horcruxes in time – this could be the end of the war. Of everything. Do you not understand that?”

“You sound like a Gryffindor,” Draco said, looking up at him.

Severus stroked his cheek. “Not a Gryffindor. Just a man who is tired of war.”

“I can’t do this.”

“Yes, you can. And you will, because this is the best opportunity we have ever had to end it once and for all.”

“Do you really think Potter will go along with it? I didn’t even know he was attracted to men. He’s supposed to be in love with the Weasley girl.”

“At this point, I think there is very little Potter would not do to destroy the Dark Lord. I doubt he will consider sex with you to be an insurmountable obstacle.” When Draco glared at him, Severus kissed him softly. “Draco. We have survived worse.”

He started to pull away, but Draco pulled him back, into a real kiss. He wrapped his arms around Severus’ neck, sighing as Severus’ arms encircled his waist. They kissed slowly, deeply, both needing a measure of reassurance. When they broke the kiss, they simply rested their foreheads against each other for a moment.

Yes, Draco could do this. For Severus, he could do anything.

***


“Er...Come again?” Potter said.

Draco and Severus were sitting in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place with the only five members of the Order of the Phoenix who were aware of Draco’s status as a spy – Potter, Weasley, Granger, McGonagall, and Kingsley Shacklebolt. All five were currently staring at Draco with varying degrees of confusion.

“The Dark Lord wants me to seduce you,” Draco said. Potter kept staring at him blankly. “It’s really not a difficult concept to grasp, Potter. Would you like me to draw you a picture?”

Weasley, who had been having trouble keeping a straight face the whole time Draco had been speaking, suddenly snorted in laughter. Granger kicked him under the table.

“Ow,” Weasley said.

Potter shook his head. “I don’t understand. What the hell makes him think that would work? For all he knows, we’re mortal enemies.”

“He’s depending on your inability to resist a pathetic sob story. Also, your Occlumency apparently isn’t as perfect as you think it is. You should probably work on that.”

“What do you mean?” Potter asked sharply.

“I mean that it’s your fault he came up with this idea in the first place!” Draco said. “Somehow he managed to weasel his way into your head and see something that made him believe you’d go for it. Do you have a secret fetish for blonds or something?”

“What? No!” Potter said, although he started blushing furiously.

“Well, there must have been something, Potter. The Dark Lord didn’t just pull this plan out of his arse.”

Looking extremely embarrassed and avoiding everyone’s eyes, Potter mumbled, “Well...I mean...maybe I think about it sometimes...”

“We all think about blondes sometimes, mate,” said Weasley.

Granger kicked him again.

Ow!

McGonagall interrupted. “What concerns me more is how You-Know-Who was able to get past Harry’s shields.”

It was obviously worrying Potter, too, so much so that he stopped blushing. Everyone turned to look at Severus.

“Even the strongest of Occlumency can fracture under stress,” Severus said, “particularly when the subject is sleeping. Nightmares and other particularly vivid dreams can create cracks in the shield. And those cracks are only aggravated by the use of alcohol or other mind-altering substances.”

Weasley nodded. “Must’ve been that night a couple weeks ago when the raid went south and we got totally pissed afterwards –”

Granger kicked him a third time.

“Bloody hell, Hermione, stop that!”

“I’ll stop kicking you when you stop acting like an idiot!” she retorted. She was really starting to grow on Draco.

“So, what, I have one ambiguous dream when I’m drunk and Voldemort stakes his entire battle plan on it?” Potter said in disbelief.

“He’s done more ridiculous things,” said Draco, although privately he thought this one rather topped the list.

“And you’re okay with this?”

“Do I seem okay with this?” Draco shook his head in disgust. “I’m not. But I’m willing to do what I have to. I want this war over as much as you do.”

Potter nodded, then looked at Severus. “Are you okay with this?”

Severus tensed, and so did Draco. Although everyone present was aware of Severus and Draco’s relationship, nobody ever, ever talked about it. Potter was breaking an unwritten rule by bringing it up.

“That is irrelevant,” Severus said flatly. “This plan could end the war in a matter of weeks.”

“That’s true,” Granger agreed. “We’re close to Hufflepuff’s cup, Harry, and after that there’s just Nagini. If we can lull You-Know-Who into a false sense of security, we can get him and the snake at the same time and it’ll all be over.”

Potter looked to McGonagall and Shacklebolt for their opinions.

McGonagall said, “I must admit that I have reservations. But given the potential benefits...” She pursed her lips. “As long as you are both completely willing, I’ll support it.”

“Kingsley?” Potter asked.

Shacklebolt sat for a moment in contemplative silence, his inscrutable dark eyes reminding Draco of Severus’. When he finally spoke, it was to Draco, not Potter. “Before I approve or disapprove, there’s a question I’d like to ask you, Mr. Malfoy.”

Draco raised his eyebrows.

“How would you do it?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“This plan’s success will depend on you and Harry being able to convincingly fake a seduction, which means that you will have to act exactly as you would if you were truly on You-Know-Who’s side. What I want to know is this: if you weren’t an Order spy, if you were trying to seduce Harry for real in order to gain his trust, how would you do it?”

Draco blinked. In the hours since the Dark Lord had announced his plan, Draco hadn’t been able to think of anything else. He’d thought of the logistics of it, of the innumerable ways it could fail, of how awful it would be to have sex with Potter...

But not once had he thought of how he’d actually pull it off in the first place.

Shacklebolt was right. Severus would be taking copies of Draco’s memories of the “seduction” to the Dark Lord for review, and the Dark Lord was too talented a Legilimens to be fooled by fabricated or altered memories. Draco and Potter would have to act out certain scenes for real – it was the only way. If the memories were less than completely convincing, the Dark Lord would know, and the entire plan would fall apart.

Draco shook his head a little to keep his thoughts on track and refocused on Shacklebolt’s question. If Potter were his enemy and Draco wanted to seduce him, how would he go about it?

The six others at the table were looking at him expectantly. Draco studied Potter’s face and thought about what he knew about the man.

“Potter has a saviour complex,” he said slowly, mostly just thinking aloud. “He needs to be needed, which means he’s attracted to vulnerability and to people who need to be rescued or saved. The story about my parents being murdered would help, because his parents were murdered by the same man. I’d also make sure that when I came to him I at least appeared to be badly injured, because it would lower his defenses and trigger his protective instincts.”

Draco glanced at Shacklebolt, but the man’s face was expressionless. Potter, for his part, looked slightly taken aback.

“Our history and my personality make the situation more complicated,” Draco continued, “because we’re supposed to be enemies, and anybody who knows me at all knows I hate to show weakness in front of anyone, especially people I hate. I would be forced to walk a fine line between presenting myself as vulnerable and in need of saving while also pretending to hate myself for that same vulnerability. Anything less would seem out of character and make Potter suspicious. Basically, given the complications of the situation, the only way for me to convincingly seduce Potter would be with a great show of reluctance – perhaps even making it seem like it had been his idea all along.”

By the time Draco had finished speaking, Potter, Weasley, and Granger were all staring at him with open mouths, and McGonagall’s eyebrows had climbed into her hairline. Severus’ expression had changed little, but Draco knew how to read him well enough to know that he approved, which, as always, gave Draco a warm glow.

Shacklebolt smiled and leaned back in his chair. “I agree. And you can count on my support.”

Draco inclined his head in acknowledgement.

“That was weird,” Weasley said, then flinched as if he expected Granger to kick him again – which she didn’t, probably because it seemed that she agreed.

A brief silence descended over the table, which was broken by Potter clearing his throat.

“Right,” he said. “Now that Malfoy knows how we’re going to do it, let’s talk about what it’s going to take to get this done.”

***


The meeting lasted several more hours, and it was late by the time Draco and Severus returned to Spinner’s End. Yet neither of them had any intention of sleeping.

Their lovemaking was slow and languid, which was uncommon for them. Usually they both preferred sex to be fast and hard – rough, even. But the mood was different tonight. Draco needed to feel Severus against every inch of his skin, and Severus seemed to feel a similar need. He touched and tasted every part of Draco from his head to his feet, moving unhurriedly, before finally sliding inside Draco’s body and taking him gently, rocking back and forth within him.

It went on forever. Draco tightened his legs around Severus’ waist, his hands roaming over every part of Severus’ skin that he could reach. The light from the candles was low, but it was enough for Draco to see the concentration on Severus’ face, the intensity in the eyes that looked back into his own. Severus’ magic washed over Draco in steady waves, somehow comforting and arousing at the same time.

Draco couldn’t hold himself back anymore, and he climaxed with a soft cry. Severus followed him seconds later, burying his face in the crook of Draco’s neck to muffle his own deep groan.

Afterwards, as they lay warm and sated in sticky sheets, they said the words to each other that they rarely spoke aloud. Unspoken but inescapable was the knowledge that what happened tomorrow could change things between them forever.

Perhaps even tear them apart.

***


“Absolutely not, Severus. Are you mad?”

“There is no other way to completely ensure your safety –”

“There’s also no other way to completely ensure that the plan fails before it even begins,” Draco shot back. “Do you honestly believe that you could convincingly beat me into a bloody pulp?”

Severus clenched his jaw. “You will be anesthetized.”

“You know that wouldn’t matter to you. All you’d see would be yourself beating your defenseless lover. You’d either finish it prematurely or you’d see it all the way through and hate yourself forever. I won’t have it.”

Severus glared at him, and Draco glared right back. Perhaps it would have been enough to get him to back down a few years ago, but they had been through too much together for Draco to be cowed by an angry look these days.

The Dark Lord had been very pleased with Draco’s idea of going to Potter badly injured, and he’d immediately given his approval. All that remained was for someone to administer the actual beating – with Draco numb to the pain, of course. It would be foolish for him to go into enemy territory truly incapacitated; it was imperative that he be able to think clearly and keep his wits about him.

Draco hadn’t anticipated Severus’ idiocy in wanting to be the one to beat him. He knew where it came from – Severus didn’t trust anyone else not to damage Draco irreparably. But Draco also knew that it was one of the worst ideas Severus had ever had. He came from a past scarred by domestic violence, and he already struggled with self-loathing as it was. Beating Draco, even if Draco couldn’t feel it, would simply be too much for Severus to handle.

“If you will not allow me to do it myself, then I will at least be present to supervise,” said Severus.

“Really,” Draco drawled, lifting an eyebrow. “You’re just going to stand there calmly and watch while someone else – Yaxley, perhaps – hurts me? Without attempting to intervene?”

Severus made a noise of frustration. Draco put a hand on his arm.

“Severus,” he said softly, “you care too much for me to be involved in this. I’ll get my father to supervise. He’s colder than you are and it won’t affect him as much, but he still won’t let them go too far.”

A brief struggle played out over Severus’ face before he finally relented. “If your father is there, I will stay away.”

“Thank you.” Draco slid his arms around Severus’ neck and kissed him briefly. “I’ll be fine, you know. I won’t feel a thing, thanks to your potion.”

“I know. I only –”

Instead of finishing his thought, Severus gripped Draco’s hips and pulled their bodies flush together, his mouth coming down on Draco’s with unexpected intensity. Draco moaned into the consuming kiss, returning it with equal passion until he couldn’t breathe.

They broke the kiss, both of them panting. Draco was already hard, and he could feel Severus even through their thick robes. As always, the thought that Severus Snape, of all people, wanted him that badly made Draco dizzy.

He forced himself to take a step back, away from the intoxicating heat of Severus’ body. They simply didn’t have time for another round right now, no matter how much they both might want it.

Severus came to the same conclusion. He drew himself up and took a deep breath, drawing his wand to remove the tell-tale swelling from both their mouths. He picked a vial up off his worktable and handed it to Draco.

“Drink the entire thing,” he said. “It will prevent you from feeling any pain, but it will not make you completely numb. You will still be able to feel any other physical sensation. It may also make you a bit lightheaded.”

“All right,” said Draco. They locked eyes, and for a moment, Draco could see how truly frightened Severus was for him.

The expression disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. “I will come and get you when they have finished,” Severus said stiffly.

***


It turned out to be Yaxley who did it, after all, along with Macnair. Draco wasn’t surprised – they were the Dark Lord’s two most skilled torturers – but he was doubly glad that he had talked Severus into not attending.

As Lucius watched from a chair set against the wall in the Manor’s library, Yaxley and Macnair administered an expert beating that was designed to look horrific and hold up to a medical examination, but would still be easily healed and leave no lasting marks if properly treated.

It was odd, being tortured under anesthesia. Draco could feel the pressure of every one of Yaxley’s blows, but he couldn’t feel the pain. He felt the heat of Macnair’s curses, but they didn’t actually hurt. The discrepancy caused a strange disconnect between his mind and his body, and he did indeed start to feel lightheaded – though whether it was from the effects of the potion or if it was just psychological, Draco didn’t know.

Yaxley and Macnair had taken off their robes for the beating, and to Draco’s disgust, Yaxley’s massive erection was clearly visible underneath his trousers. Yaxley only ever used his hands instead of magic while torturing if he was getting off on it. Now he had his long-awaited chance to get his hands on Draco’s body, and it seemed he wasn’t going to let that go to waste. Draco’s skin crawled wherever Yaxley touched him, and he did his best to avoid looking at the pervert at all, mostly to avoid the leers Yaxley kept giving him.

Instead, Draco focused on his father. Lucius observed the proceedings impassively, seemingly no more moved than if he’d been watching a game of croquet. Yet every now and then, Draco saw in his eyes a brief flicker of some unnamable emotion.

Regret, perhaps. Unhappiness. Or, knowing Lucius, it could have just been indigestion.

Draco hadn’t been lying when he’d said that Lucius was colder than Severus. He was old enough now to know that although his father loved him in his own way, there was something important missing there – something that allowed Lucius to watch innocent people being tortured without flinching, without feeling. Although Severus was good at pretending that he had that same quality, it wasn’t true. He felt the pain of every wound he inflicted. Still, he would have been able to watch this beating with the same lack of reaction as Lucius, had the victim been anyone but Draco.

Draco was Severus’ greatest – perhaps only – weakness. That knowledge both thrilled and terrified him.

Macnair sent one final curse sizzling over Draco’s skin and lowered his wand. “I think that’s enough.”

Yaxley seemed disappointed, but he stepped back and looked Draco over with a critical eye. “Will it be enough to garner Potter’s sympathy?” he asked dubiously.

“The boy looks like he’s been trampled by hippogriffs,” Macnair snorted. “Anyway, it’s as much as we can do without causing permanent or internal damage.”

Yaxley glanced over his shoulder. “Want to take a look, Lucius?” he said with poisonous sweetness.

Ignoring Yaxley’s tone, Lucius stood and walked over to where Draco lay on the floor, bruised and bleeding. “Well done, gentlemen,” he said. “My compliments on your technique.”

Draco almost laughed. It appeared there was a bit of the old Lucius left, after all.

Yaxley knelt by Draco’s side and ran a hand over his torn and bloodstained shirt, through which significant portions of his bare chest were visible. Wistfully, Yaxley said, “He didn’t even scream.”

Draco knocked Yaxley’s hand aside with his mostly undamaged right arm. “That’s because it didn’t hurt, you idiot,” he tried to say, but the words came out slurred and almost unintelligible. There was something wrong with his jaw.

“Ah, yes,” said Yaxley, moving his hand to Draco’s cheek and then trailing his fingers over Draco’s lips. “I wouldn’t try to speak, if I were you. Your jaw’s been dislocated.”

Draco jerked his head away. Yaxley’s mockingly gentle touch nauseated him.

“I believe it’s time to send for Severus,” Lucius said pointedly.

Yaxley stood with a sigh, giving Draco’s beaten body one more longing look. Draco was certain the man would be wanking to the memory of today for weeks. His stomach lurched.

Once Macnair and Yaxley had left the library to retrieve Severus, Lucius lowered himself to the floor next to Draco. Draco struggled to sit up, but his father put a hand on him to keep him still. “It’s best if you don’t try to move,” he said. “You don’t want to risk aggravating your injuries.”

Draco nodded and tried to relax, staring up at the ceiling. His head still felt a bit floaty, almost as if he were having an out-of-body experience. He didn’t like it at all.

He was grounded somewhat by an unexpected touch to his forehead. Draco looked at Lucius’ face and was astonished to see honest concern creasing his father’s brow.

“Are you in any pain?” Lucius asked in a quiet voice.

Draco shook his head. Lucius sighed and continued to stroke Draco’s hair gently, even tenderly, his gaze becoming unfocused as he looked across the room in the direction of the door. Draco closed his own eyes, bemused. It had been years since his father had touched him this way.

A few minutes later, footsteps sounded in the corridor. Lucius pulled his hand away and managed to get to his feet just as the door opened and Severus stepped into the room, followed by Yaxley and Macnair.

Severus stopped short when he saw Draco. His entire body stiffened, a flash of pure, incandescent fury crossing his face before he managed to tamp it down, and Draco knew without a doubt that he had made the right decision earlier.

Yaxley, perhaps sensing Severus’ tension, said, “Sorry to break your toy, Snape, but orders are orders.”

“I am sure it was a great sacrifice on your part,” Severus returned coolly. He closed the distance between himself and Draco and looked down, his eyes empty and dispassionate. “You did make certain not to damage him irreparably, I trust?”

Yaxley opened his mouth to answer, but Macnair, who had more respect for Severus, cut him off with a glare. “Nothing’s been done to him that even a halfway competent Healer couldn’t fix.”

Severus flicked his gaze to Lucius, who gave him an almost imperceptible nod. He crouched by Draco’s side. “Can you stand?”

“I don’t know,” Draco mumbled. It was difficult to speak with his jaw out of place.

Severus frowned at Draco’s garbled speech, then reached out and lightly brushed his hand against the dislocated joint. His lips tightened.

“He won’t be able to stand,” Yaxley volunteered with poorly concealed satisfaction. “His right leg’s broken in at least two places.”

Severus didn’t respond. Instead, his slipped one arm under Draco’s shoulders and another under his thighs, lifting Draco easily as he stood. Draco put his right arm around Severus’ neck, glad that he could move at least that part of his body without any problems. Yaxley and Macnair had been under strict instructions not to impair Draco’s usage of his wand arm in any way.

“Inform the Dark Lord that I am taking Draco to Grimmauld Place,” Severus said to Lucius, ignoring the other two men completely.

“How will you convince Potter to allow him through the wards?”

“It should not be difficult. One look at Draco in this state may be enough.”

Lucius made a noise of agreement and stepped aside. As Severus strode from the room with Draco in his arms, Draco realized that he had no idea how severe his injuries truly were. Without pain, there was no good way for him to gauge how hurt he was, and without a mirror, he couldn’t tell how bad it looked. It hadn’t seemed like Yaxley and Macnair had beaten him for very long, but from his father’s and Severus’ reactions, Draco was starting to think that he’d underestimated the damage they’d done.

Severus was silent as they travelled through the Manor’s front doors and out onto the grounds, heading for the imposing gates that marked the boundary of the anti-Apparition wards. Draco rested his head against Severus’ shoulder.

“How bad is it?” he managed to get out relatively clearly.

For a few moments, he thought Severus wasn’t going to answer. “Very,” Severus finally said. “Although it looks worse than it is, as was the intention.”

Draco lifted his head to get a better look at Severus’ face, but was distracted when he noticed a dark wet patch on the shoulder of Severus’ robes where his head had been resting. “My face is bleeding,” he said stupidly.

“Yes. Now hush. You will damage your jaw further if you continue to speak.”

They passed through the gates. Draco returned his head to Severus’ shoulder just before Severus Apparated them both to London.

They ended up on a street two blocks from Grimmauld Place, where the wards defending the Order’s headquarters began. Muggles could pass through the wards freely, but the only witches and wizards who could get anywhere near the house were those who had been added to the wards by Potter himself. Of course, Draco already had free passage, but the Dark Lord didn’t know that. He would want to see Severus’ memory of getting Draco through the wards – to gloat, if nothing else – so a bit of playacting was required.

As they approached the very edge of the wards, Severus bent his head to brush a kiss over Draco’s forehead. “Be sure to act properly wounded,” he said. “Remember, your parents have just been murdered and you have been badly beaten –”

Draco huffed in exasperation. They’d been over this a million times, for Merlin’s sake. He hated it when Severus treated him as if he were incompetent, even when he didn’t mean it that way. Acid words sprang to Draco’s tongue, and he regretted that his jaw wouldn’t allow him to say them.

Severus got the point anyway. He had drawn his wand – with some difficulty – before they had Apparated, and he now held it in his left hand, pressed against Draco’s shoulder. Without releasing his hold on Draco, Severus extended his wand to prod at the wards and alert Potter to his presence.

Potter could activate a two-way auditory link between himself and any point in the wards, as well as a one-way visual link that allowed him to see outside the wards without letting anyone else see him. From experience, Draco knew that Potter rarely utilized the visual link, as he found it disconcerting to see a disembodied image floating in thin air.

“Snape?” Potter’s voice crackled through the wards, sounding irritated. “What the hell are you doing?”

“You need to allow Draco Malfoy passage through the wards.”

What? Are you mad?”

Draco was reassured to note that Potter’s acting skills, while not stellar, were at least reasonably convincing. This might not fail miserably, after all.

“He is badly injured and in need of immediate medical attention.”

“So take him to St. Mungo’s.”

“Potter!” Severus barked. “This is not a joke. Draco’s parents are dead, and he will soon follow them if you do not let us through.”

“The Malfoys are dead?”

Even knowing it wasn’t true, hearing the words spoken aloud made Draco’s blood chill.

“Yes. Draco is in grave danger.”

His voice reluctant, Potter said, “I can’t just put everyone else here at risk –”

“Look at him, Potter.”

There was a moment of silence as Potter activated the visual link. Draco did his best to look pathetic and near-unconscious from pain, hanging limply in Severus’ arms with his eyes closed.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Potter gasped, and he sounded honestly shocked. “What happened?”

“I will explain when we are safe. Open the wards.”

“Okay, okay, give me a minute.”

A few seconds later, the wards shimmered and then sparked with blue and white lights – a meaningless effect that was just designed to look good for the Dark Lord. Severus stepped through them without a problem and carried Draco the remaining blocks to Number 12.

Potter was waiting for them at the door. “Is he okay?” he said anxiously as he shut the door behind them.

“He needs a Healer.”

“I’ll Floo Pomfrey. She can be here in a few minutes.”

Draco fluttered his eyes open, then made a confused noise when he saw Potter, who looked very pale. He pushed at Severus’ chest as if he were trying to get away.

“Draco, stop,” said Severus. “You are safe here.”

Draco only increased his struggles, and Severus was forced to set him on his feet to avoid dropping him. Careful to keep most of his weight on his unbroken leg, Draco took a couple of limping steps towards the door before crying out in pain and pretending to faint – right into Potter’s arms.

He hadn’t warned either Potter or Severus that he was planning to do that, but Potter caught him, as Draco had known he would. There was a brief, startled silence that made Draco want to roll his eyes.

Then Potter lifted Draco into his arms, holding him in much the same way that Severus had. Something in Draco prickled with irritation at the ease with which Potter was able to carry him. When had Potter the underfed weakling been replaced by Potter the strapping soldier? It made it much harder for Draco to feel superior to him.

“Er...” Potter said in a way that reassured Draco that even if Potter was physically stronger than him now, Draco was at least still more intelligent. “I guess we should take him into the living room. I can use the fireplace to get in touch with Pomfrey.”

They walked the few metres from the foyer to the living room, where Potter gently laid Draco on the couch. Draco was careful to keep his body limp and unresponsive.

“Who did this to him?” Potter asked Severus.

“Death Eaters. The Dark Lord killed his parents for disobedience, and Draco barely managed to escape onto the grounds after they tortured him. I was able to find him first and bring him here without anyone noticing.”

“Good thing.”

There was a rustle and a hissing noise as Potter knelt by the fireplace and threw a bit of Floo powder into it.

“Madam Pomfrey, Hogwarts infirmary.”

A sleepy voice answered. “Harry?”

“Sorry to wake you, Madam Pomfrey, but it’s an emergency.”

Sounding more alert now, Pomfrey said, “Who’s been hurt?”

“This is going to sound weird, but...Draco Malfoy.”

All Draco could hear in response to that was flabbergasted sputtering. For all Pomfrey knew, Draco was an avid supporter of the Dark Lord.

“I can explain when you get here. But please hurry. He’s hurt very badly.”

“I’ll be there in ten minutes,” said Pomfrey, and closed the connection.

Potter stood. “He’ll be okay,” he said to Severus. “Pomfrey can fix almost anything.”

“I am well-acquainted with her skills,” Severus said impatiently. “I need to return to Malfoy Manor before the others realize that I am missing.”

“All right.”

“Accompany me to the door.”

“Er...okay,” Potter said, confused.

Listening to the two men leave the room, Draco was confused as well. There was no reason for Potter to see Severus out – unless there was something Severus wanted to say to Potter that he didn’t want Draco to hear.

Potter didn’t return for a good five minutes, during which Draco’s anxiety increased exponentially. What could they possibly have to talk about that would take so long?

Draco took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. If he got any more worked up, he might trigger a panic attack. Without Severus here to help him, that could prove disastrous.

“Malfoy,” Potter said from the doorway, interrupting Draco’s unsettling thoughts. “You’re not really unconscious, are you?”

Draco opened his eyes. “No.”

Potter moved to sit in the chair next to the couch, angling it so he and Draco could talk face-to-face without Draco having to move. “That was a dirty trick,” he said, although he didn’t seem upset.

Risking further damage to his jaw, Draco said, “The Dark Lord will like it.” It was actually becoming easier to talk now that he was growing familiar to the feeling of the dislocation, and the words came out much more comprehensibly than he’d been able to manage before.

Potter made a face. “How about a warning next time?”

“No,” Draco said. When Potter raised his eyebrows, Draco added, “I can’t tell you everything I’m going to do before I do it. I need your reactions to be as genuine as possible. And in case you don’t know this about yourself, you’re not the world’s best liar.”

Potter rolled his eyes, but he didn’t deny it.

Trying to sound uninterested, Draco asked, “What did Severus say to you?”

To Draco’s apprehension, Potter started blushing. “Nothing important,” he said, totally unconvincingly.

“If that’s any indication of the skill with which you’re going to handle this mission, we may as well offer ourselves up to the Dark Lord now.”

“Come on, Malfoy.” Potter sighed. “I’m going to have sex with his boyfriend. What do you think he said to me?”

Draco was horrified, and for more than one reason. “Boyfriend? I’m not...he isn’t...we don’t use that term.” He could only imagine how appalled Severus would be if he heard Potter referring to their relationship in such a way.

“Lover, then. Whatever. Does it really matter?” Potter shifted in his seat. “He’s just protective of you, that’s all. And he gave me your wand. I’ll give it to you tomorrow, if that’s all right. We don’t want Pomfrey wondering why I let you keep it.”

“Fine,” Draco said. He had the distinct impression that Potter wasn’t telling him everything, but the sound of footsteps kept him from pursuing it. The Floo in the basement kitchen was the only one that was equipped for travel as well as communication; Madam Pomfrey must have arrived.

Potter heard it, too, and they both fell silent. Draco closed his eyes and relaxed his muscles. This would be easier on everyone if he didn’t have to actually talk to Pomfrey.

She burst into the room a second later, exclaiming in honest dismay over Draco’s condition. While Pomfrey worked on the injuries, Potter explained to her what had happened.

“Poor child,” Pomfrey clucked as she mended Draco’s broken ribs. “You’re all far too young to be dealing with such things.”

It took much longer for Pomfrey to heal Draco than it had taken Yaxley and Macnair to beat him, and the tedium of the situation was only increased by the inane chatter between her and Potter. To distract himself, Draco thought about what Severus was doing now – probably showing the memory of Draco’s successful infiltration to the Dark Lord. Draco hoped the Dark Lord was pleased; Severus didn’t recover well from a bout of Cruciatus when Draco wasn’t there to care for him.

They had been separated for less than an hour, but Draco’s throat already ached with missing Severus. For the past two years, they had never been apart for more than a couple of days at a time. His absence created an emptiness in Draco that felt almost like hunger.

Pomfrey finally finished her work and left. She didn’t know it, but her parting admonition for Potter to “Take care of that boy” actually worked in their favour. Had the situation been real, Potter would have been more likely to care for Draco if a trusted friend advised him to. Draco made a mental note to have Severus show the Dark Lord that particular memory.

“How do you feel?” Potter asked once Pomfrey had safely Flooed back to Hogwarts.

Draco sat up gingerly, testing out his limbs. They all worked as they should. “Fine. Tired.”

“Should we leave the rest until tomorrow?”

“No,” said Draco. “We have to do it tonight. I’ll be fine.”

“It’s your call.” Potter stood up from his chair. “Come on. I’ll show you where you’re staying.”

***


The room Draco was staying in was conveniently located a few doors away from Potter’s own. He slid between the sheets of the comfortable bed, fighting exhaustion. They only needed one more memory, and then he could sleep.

Draco settled back against the pillows and closed his eyes, waiting until Potter had pulled a chair up next to the bed and sat in it before speaking. “Are you ready?”

“Yeah.”

Vulnerable but not weak. Draco focused on his goal, determined to get this right the first time.

He took a sharp breath and opened his eyes, gaze darting around the room before landing on Potter. “What...where...Potter?”

Potter straightened up. “It’s all right, Malfoy. You’re safe.”

Shaking his head in confusion, Draco said, “I don’t...Where am I?”

“The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Snape brought you here.”

Draco made his breaths come gradually faster, so that they sounded panicky. “Why would he do that?”

Potter leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his eyes intent on Draco’s face. “Do you remember what happened?” he asked.

“I...” Draco blinked and looked away, frowning as if trying to search his memory. His eyes widened and he let out a sound of distress. “My parents.”

“Snape said Vol – You-Know-Who killed them. I’m sorry.”

Draco inhaled shakily and covered his face with his hands.

“The Death Eaters almost killed you, too. You’re lucky Snape found you first and brought you here.”

Dropping his hands, Draco glared at Potter through just the slightest hint of tears. “Lucky? My parents are dead. And I...” He looked down at himself, touching his ribs gingerly. “I was hurt.”

“I had someone come and heal you,” said Potter.

“Why? Why not just let me die?”

Potter looked taken aback. “I would never do that.”

Hence our current dilemma. Draco pushed the thought away and said, “We’re on opposite sides of a war, Potter.”

“Yeah?” Potter raised his eyebrows. “So you’re still loyal to the man who killed your parents and had you nearly beaten to death?”

Draco clenched his jaw, his lower lip trembling a bit. He refused to meet Potter’s eyes.

“That’s what I thought.” Potter suddenly stood. “Look, Malfoy, I don’t really give a fuck what you do. But the hard truth is that if you leave this house, they will find you, and they will kill you. If you stay here, you’ll be safe.”

“Why do you care?”

“Because sending you out there without a wand would be the same thing as killing you myself, and I don’t fancy myself a murderer.” Potter’s expression hardened. “But I swear, Malfoy, if you put one toe out of line, if you so much as even vaguely threaten a single person in this household, I will put you out on the street so fast it’ll make your head spin. Got it?”

Draco scowled and sat silently for a few moments, pretending to weigh his options. Of course, they had designed the scenario so that he had no options. “Fine,” he spat out.

Potter snorted as he headed for the door. “No need to thank me or anything.” He stopped with his hand on the knob and turned his head to look back at Draco. “I’ll be keeping a close eye on you,” he said warningly.

Instead of answering, Draco just rolled over and pulled the covers up to his chin. Potter left, shutting the door behind him.

Ten seconds later, he opened it again and poked his head back in. “Was that okay?”

“It was fine,” Draco said, too tired to even move. He sensed that Potter wouldn’t go away until he’d gotten some measure of reassurance, though, so he added, “You’re not as completely useless at this as I’d feared.”

Potter struggled between indignation and amusement before finally chuckling. “Thanks, I guess. Er...good night, then.”

“Mmm-hmm.”

Potter left – for real, this time – and Draco was finally alone. He had only a minute to miss Severus’ presence beside him in the bed before he dropped like a stone into sleep.

***


He slept deeply and dreamlessly until an insistent knocking on the bedroom door woke him many hours later.

“Malfoy,” Potter said from the other side. “Malfoy.”

“What?” Draco mumbled groggily.

“It’s past ten. Are you awake?”

Draco sighed into his pillow. “I am now.”

“Can I come in, then?”

“Count to twenty first.” Forestalling the certain way Potter was going to misunderstand that instruction, Draco clarified, “To yourself. Not out loud.”

While Potter counted – or so Draco assumed from his silence – Draco shook himself awake, rolling over onto his back and assuming a more attractively vulnerable position before feigning sleep once more.

He heard Potter open the door and walk towards the bed, setting something down on the nightstand. “Malfoy. Wake up.” When Draco didn’t respond, Potter leaned down and touched his shoulder lightly. “Mal –”

Draco “woke” with a terrified shriek, jerking away from Potter and scrambling backwards across the bed. Potter swore and jumped back; the genuine alarm in his eyes gave Draco a sense of juvenile gratification.

“It’s okay,” Potter said quickly, raising his hands in a gesture of diplomacy. “It’s just me. I’m not going to hurt you.”

Backed against the headboard on the far side of the bed, Draco looked up at Potter and accessed one of his most useful skills – the ability to blush on demand, which was facilitated by his fair skin. “I thought...” He dropped his eyes to the bed in a mix of embarrassment and resentment. “Never mind.”

He could feel Potter’s eyes on him, studying him curiously. “I brought you some food,” said Potter, apparently deciding not to comment on Draco’s reaction. “I don’t know how long it’s been since you last ate.”

Draco’s gaze darted to the nightstand, where Potter had set a glass of water and a plate of eggs and sausages. His stomach suddenly started to ache with very real hunger – he hadn’t eaten since lunch yesterday – and his mouth was cottony with thirst.

Ignoring Potter completely, Draco slid towards the nightstand and downed half the glass in one go before setting into the food. Potter lowered his hands, but otherwise didn’t move.

Draco swallowed his mouthful and glared at him. “Are you just going to stand there and watch me eat?” he snapped.

“Why do I even bother?” Potter muttered to himself. He turned to leave.

“Potter, wait.” When Potter had turned back, Draco said, “Where’s the bathroom in this place? I’d like to have a shower at some point, you know.”

Potter frowned at him, obviously put off by his tone. Draco was secretly delighted. He hadn’t had a chance to be this rude to the git in ages.

“It’s across the hall.”

“And am I likely to run into anyone out there who might wish to do me harm?” Draco took another large bite. He’d already demolished almost the entire plate.

“No. Remus and I are the only ones here right now, and he’s downstairs.”

“Good.” Draco finished the last bit of food and pulled the covers back, standing up carefully as if testing his ability to hold his own weight.

“Does your leg still hurt?” Potter asked. “It was broken pretty badly yesterday.”

“It’s a bit sore,” Draco lied. His leg felt fine.

He took a few cautious steps towards the door. As he drew close to Potter, Draco shifted his weight onto his newly-healed right leg and gave a little gasp, his leg crumpling underneath him and making him stumble into Potter.

Potter caught him by the elbows and steadied him. Draco’s hands pressed flat against his chest – which, he was annoyed to note, was firm and well-muscled. They were of a height now, and when Potter looked into Draco’s eyes, Draco couldn’t help but look back. .

“All right?” Potter said quietly.

Draco blinked, then shoved him away with more force than was probably necessary. He didn’t have to completely fake his own discomfiture, which angered him. His cheeks heated up again of their own accord. “I’m fine,” he snarled. “I don’t need your help.”

Potter’s expression said that it was plainly obvious that Draco did need his help, but he just nodded. “Okay.”

Draco left the room with as much dignity as he could muster. He was irritated by the fact that his little stunt had clearly made him more uncomfortable than it had made Potter.

Fucking Potter. Draco could never win against him.

His irritation melted somewhat during his shower, which was deliciously hot and washed away every reminder of Yaxley’s sickening touch. Further soothing his bruised ego was the knowledge that what he was about to do to Potter would more than even the score.

Draco stepped out of the shower and stood in front of the mirror, drying himself off just enough so that he was still a bit wet but not totally drenched. He wrapped the towel low on his hips and tied it off. A careful examination of his reflection reassured Draco that he looked practically edible – flushed and damp, most of his skin on display, his wet hair framing his face becomingly. His physical attractiveness was the one thing Draco had never felt insecure about. If anything, he reveled in it.

Satisfied, Draco left the bathroom and crossed the hall to the room Potter had pointed out last night as his own. He knocked on the door.

“Come in.”

Draco pushed the door open and leaned against the jamb, waiting for Potter to acknowledge him.

Potter was crouched in front of a bookcase, trying to tug a large tome out from where it had been packed in too tightly with the other books. “Just a second,” he said. He finally managed to pry the book free and stood up, dusting the cover off as he turned around. “What –” he started to say, looking up at Draco.

Potter’s jaw and the book fell at the same time, the latter causing a resounding thud as it hit the floor.

Draco smirked.

“Malfoy, you – what are you –” Potter stammered.

“I don’t have any clothes,” said Draco.
"What?" Potter looked as stunned as if Draco had hit him over the head, his eyes running over Draco's wet, half-naked body.

"I don't have any clothes," Draco repeated, very slowly. "In case you hadn't noticed, mine are all torn and stained with blood."

Potter finally brought his eyes up to Draco's face. From the look in his eyes, Draco could tell that Potter wasn't sure if this was part of their ruse or not. He hoped that Potter erred on the side of caution, because this was too good to waste.
Draco was very pleased with Potter’s reaction, and not just because it appealed to his vanity. From the second the Dark Lord had announced his plan, Draco had doubted its potential efficacy, because he had never seen any indication that Potter was attracted to men. But the look Potter was giving Draco now was not the kind of look a man gave another man if he was only interested in women.

That would make things much easier.

“Er, okay,” Potter said. His eyes started wandering downward again. “You can...you can wear some of mine, I guess.”

He didn’t move. Draco bit his lip to keep from laughing and snapped his fingers in front of Potter’s face. Potter jerked, looking up at him guiltily.

“Now would be nice,” Draco said.

“Yeah. Just, er...just wait there.”

Potter got some clothes out of his bureau, although he kept stealing glances at Draco. He seemed to have picked up on the fact that this wasn’t for real, because he didn’t say anything else until he handed Draco a pile of clean clothing.

“I’m not lending you any pants,” he said challengingly, obviously intending to get a bit of his own back.

Draco wasn’t about to allow it. “That’s fine. I don’t wear any.”

That was a blatant lie, but it had the extremely satisfying effect of making Potter suck in a sharp breath and run his eyes back down Draco’s body.

“Thanks for the clothes,” Draco said insincerely. He turned and walked back to his room, feeling Potter’s eyes on his arse the whole way.

Once the door was safely shut behind him, Draco allowed himself a moment to bask in his triumph. He knew it was petty and potentially dangerous for him to turn this into a game of one-upmanship, but he couldn’t help it. Potter always brought out the immature thirteen-year-old in him.

He was still inwardly gloating as he dressed in Potter’s clothes – a pair of jeans, which Draco absolutely loathed, a simple button-front shirt, and socks. Although Potter had broader shoulders and more muscle mass than Draco, he was far from brawny, and they were the same height. As a result, his clothing hung a bit loosely on Draco’s frame, but not so much that it would look ridiculous. In fact, the loose fit might actually help enhance the impression of vulnerability he was trying to convey.

It wasn’t just necessity and convenience that had driven Draco to ask Potter for clothes. He knew from experience that for some men – those who tended towards possessiveness and territorialism – seeing another person dressed in their clothing could be intensely arousing. Draco was certain that Potter would prove to be that kind of man.

Draco had learned that particular lesson early in his relationship with Severus. He had stayed the night at Spinner’s End, and Severus had been called away early in the morning to attend the Dark Lord. Draco hadn’t yet started keeping any of his own clothing at Severus’ house, and his clothes from the day before had been rather ruined by their activities of the previous night. When he’d grown hungry, Draco had been forced to choose between going down to the kitchen naked or finding something of Severus’ to wear.

He’d put on one of Severus’ shirts, which were long enough on him to hit mid-thigh, and he’d been wearing it when Severus had returned. Draco could still remember the look in Severus’ eyes, how intense it had been – he’d thought Severus was angry with him for borrowing his clothes at first. He’d been quickly disabused of that notion when Severus had slammed him up against the wall and fucked him harder than he ever had before, with Draco wearing his shirt the whole time.

The memory of that encounter had a predictable effect on Draco, and he winced at the uncomfortable feeling of denim against his hardening cock. He’d never actually worn jeans before, but they were just as horrid as he’d imagined, especially considering that he didn’t have any pants between them and his skin.

At least the discomfort helped cool his libido.

Draco was interrupted in his musings when the bedroom door banged open and Potter stormed in.

“What the fuck, Malfoy?” he said angrily.

Draco turned around, lifting an eyebrow but remaining silent. Best to let Potter get it all out.

“You can’t just...just walk around popping in on blokes all wet and naked like that!” said Potter. “It’s not on.”

“Did it make you uncomfortable?”

“Of course it –” Potter abruptly stopped speaking, glaring at the smirk that Draco simply couldn’t restrain. “You –” he started, then stopped again with a sound of frustration. He ran a hand through his messy hair and looked Draco over. “Those clothes are too big on you.”

“Not much.” Draco smoothed the shirt down a bit self-consciously. “You were shouting about something?”

“Huh?” Potter said, seeming distracted by the way his denims rode low on Draco’s hips. “Right, yeah. You can’t keep pulling tricks like that. I didn’t even know if you were pretending at first.”

“You figured it out well enough.” Draco raised a hand to keep him from speaking. “Potter, did I not give you fair warning that I would be doing things like that?”

“I guess,” Potter said grudgingly.

“And did you not agree with me that it was necessary for your reactions to be as authentic as we can manage?”

“I never actually said –”

“Potter!”

“All right, fine, yeah,” Potter conceded. “I just didn’t expect it, is all.”

“That’s rather the point. If it’s any consolation, your reaction was exactly what I needed. The Dark Lord will be very pleased with it, and that’s what we want.”

Potter made a face. “If you say so.” He withdrew Draco’s wand from his back pocket and handed it over. “Might as well give this to you now. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you –”

“Not to let anyone see it, yes, Potter, I’m not an idiot,” Draco said as he slid the wand up his sleeve.

“Are you going to stay in here today?”

“I think that would be best. There are people coming here all the time who don’t know the truth, and I’d rather avoid them. Besides, I’m supposed to be convalescing from a terrible ordeal – not to mention grieving my parents.”

“Okay. I can bring you some books or something so you don’t go completely mad being cooped up in this room.” Potter hesitated, then said, “Actually, if you don’t mind, it would be a big help if you could look over some of the research we’re doing on Hufflepuff’s cup.”

Draco shrugged. “That would be fine.”

“Thanks.”

Potter gave him a small smile before leaving the room. Draco threw himself onto the bed with a sigh.

Merlin, this is going to be boring.

***


The only bright spot in the day was Severus’ short visit that evening to collect Draco’s memories, conducted under the guise of him wanting to check up on Draco after his recent trauma. Draco clung to him fiercely as they kissed in his room, protected by several anti-eavesdropping spells.

Even when they finally broke the kiss, both of them panting, Draco refused to release him, and Severus didn’t seem any more inclined to relinquish his hold on Draco’s hips.

“How have you progressed so far?” Severus asked, his calm voice belying the slight flush in his normally sallow cheeks. “I trust Potter has not yet managed to muck it up.”

“Everything’s been fine.” Draco pressed his lips against Severus’ pulse point, just because he knew it drove Severus mad. “Potter’s been surprisingly cooperative. This may not be as difficult as we anticipated.” He nipped at the sensitive spot, feeling Severus’ fingers tighten on his hips.

“Do not be overconfident,” Severus warned, a little breathlessly.

“Who, me?” Draco said. “Never.” He flicked his tongue against Severus’ throat.

Severus let go of his hips only to grab his shoulders and push him away, holding him at an arms’ length. “Stop that, you incubus. We haven’t time and you know it.”

“Fine,” Draco said with a sigh. “I’ll behave.”

“I very much doubt that.” Severus pointed to the chair by the desk. “Sit.”

Draco sat, watching as Severus drew two glass vials from his robes and placed them on the desk. They were connected by a thin, transparent tube made from some kind of flexible material.

“Did Potter give you the Pensieve?”

“It’s in the bookcase,” said Draco.

According to the Dark Lord’s plan, Severus was supposed to simply collect Draco’s memories of his ongoing seduction, replicate them, and take the copies back to the Dark Lord for review, allowing Draco to retain the originals. But because they weren’t truly loyal to the Dark Lord, it was necessary for Severus to look over the memories before he brought them back with him, so that he could catch any missteps that Draco might have overlooked. Potter had provided a Pensieve for exactly that purpose.

Severus carried it over carefully, setting it on the desk next to the vials. “How many memories do you have?”

“Four.”

“Go on, then.”

Draco placed the tip of his wand against his temple, concentrating on the memories he wanted to draw out. It was important that he pick exactly the right points at which to begin and end the memories in order to avoid giving their true intentions away.

It only took a couple of minutes for him to deposit the memories into the Pensieve – the two staged conversations with Potter from last night and that morning, their post-shower encounter, and a brief glimpse at Pomfrey’s words of advice to Potter. Then he put his wand down and shook his head, disliking as always the sensation of having pulled his own memories from his mind.

“That should be everything.”

Severus nodded and touched his own wand to the Pensieve. As the silvery memories began to glow and shift, he lowered his face to the surface.

It took much longer for Severus to watch the memories than it had for Draco to extract them, and Draco contented himself with watching Severus. He’d always found it fascinating that Severus could be so striking, so enjoyable to look at, without being conventionally handsome in the least. It was true that Severus’ nose was too prominent, his lips too thin, his skin too pallid – yet it was also true that Draco had never been more attracted to another human being in his entire life. Sometimes just being in the same room as Severus was enough to arouse him.

Severus didn’t understand it, and it had caused problems for them at times when Severus let his insecurities get the better of him and refused to believe that Draco could want him as much as he did. But Draco didn’t have any trouble understanding why he wanted this man – this powerful, intelligent man with his sinful voice and compelling eyes and fierce protectiveness. Severus made Draco feel safe and unbearably excited at the same time, and that was something to be treasured.

By the time Severus emerged from the Pensieve, Draco was aching with want. Severus turned to speak to him, the words dying on his lips as he took in Draco’s state.

“Draco,” he said softly. “There is no time.”

“I know.” Draco took a deep breath, trying to compose himself. “I just...I miss you.”

Severus reached out to stroke his cheek. “It has only been one day,” he said, but there was no censure in his tone. In fact, the look in his eyes said quite clearly that he felt the same.

Draco turned his head to kiss the palm of Severus’ hand and then stood, putting a bit of distance between them. The farther he was from Severus, the easier it would be not to touch him. “Are the memories acceptable?”

“Yes. That was quite a stunt you pulled with Potter.” The look in Severus’ eyes was a mix of amusement and something darker that Draco easily identified as jealousy.

“I wanted to be sure that he’s actually attracted to men.”

“And your conclusion?”

“You saw the memory.”

“Yes.” Severus’ eyes darkened further. “Though I will remind you that I had no doubts as to Potter’s willingness to sleep with a man.”

“Yes, you were right, as always,” Draco said with a roll of his eyes.

Severus transferred the memories from the Pensieve to one of the glass vials, then tapped the tube connected the two vials with his wand. “Duplicato,” he intoned, and the memories swirled in agitation before a silvery mist traveled through the tube, filling the second vial until it was equal to the first. Severus disconnected the copied vial from the tube and slipped it into his robe.

“Do not forget to replace the memories,” he said.

“I won’t.”

Severus stepped close to Draco and leaned down to kiss him once chastely on the lips, pulling away before Draco had a chance to try to intensify the embrace. “I will return in five days. Contact me only if you absolutely must.”

“All right.” Draco watched Severus remove the spells on the room, already feeling that emptiness creep back into him. “Severus,” he called out just as Severus was starting to open the door.

Severus turned.

“Tell me you’ll miss me,” Draco whispered.

Severus looked at him, the emotion in his gaze laid bare for the briefest of moments. “I shall think of nothing else,” he said, and then he was gone, the door closing with a quiet snick behind him.

***


Draco spent the next three days confined to his bedroom, pretending to be a grief-stricken convalescent. In reality, he was restless, bored, and lonely, not to mention desperately missing Severus. He would never admit it – not even to Severus – but he had taken to arranging his extra pillows in a rough human shape next to him at night so that the bed didn’t feel so empty.

True to his word, Potter did his best to keep Draco from dying of boredom by providing him with Horcrux research, intelligence reports on the Death Eaters’ movements, and even a few novels. He also brought Draco all of his meals, and they used those opportunities to create brief memories in which Potter pretended to be gradually softening towards Draco as a result of Draco’s carefully-crafted aura of distress and vulnerability.

Now, on the night of the third day since Severus’ visit, Draco lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling and wondering how the hell he was going to be able to do what he had to do next. It had seemed like a good idea when he’d thought of it, and Potter had agreed. It was still a good idea, objectively speaking. The problem was that Draco wasn’t sure he’d be able to do it.

It’s just acting, Draco reminded himself. It isn’t real.

Still, everything in him balked at the thought of letting Potter see him weak, even if they both knew it was fake. On the list of people Draco would rather die than break down in front of, Potter was rather near the top.

He had no choice, though. Potter was already waiting for his cue.

Just do it.

Draco scrubbed his face with his hands and exhaled heavily. He started thinking of every horrific nightmare and gut-wrenching fear he’d had over the past two years: His parents being killed because of his failures. The Dark Lord discovering his treachery and torturing Severus in front of him. Yaxley raping him. Severus sneeringly tell him that he’d never loved him, that it had always just been about sex.

Then Draco started screaming.

Once he’d started, it was surprisingly easy to continue – even liberating, in a way. Eyes clenched tightly shut, he screamed and thrashed in the bed as if caught in the grips of the worst nightmare he’d ever had, until Potter came running into the room.

“Malfoy!” Potter sat on the bed and grabbed Draco by the arms, trying to still him. “Malfoy, wake up, you’re dreaming.”

Draco opened his eyes, though he showed no sign of recognizing Potter. “No!” he gasped as he struggled to free himself from Potter’s grasp. “No, no, please –”

“It’s me. Potter. Nobody’s going to hurt you.”

Draco resisted for a few more seconds, his efforts weakening as he pretended to awaken and become more aware of his surroundings. He looked wildly around the room, then back at Potter. “What...what...”

“It’s okay. You were having a nightmare. You’re safe now.” Potter’s face was the perfect picture of worried apprehension, and he continued to hold Draco’s shoulders tightly.

Now came the truly difficult part. Draco had learned early in childhood how to convincingly fake tears – it was an effective tool against his parents when they wouldn’t give him something he wanted – but those had been a few simple tears, not all-out sobbing. And they had been his own parents, not Harry bloody Potter.

“I...I dreamt...” Draco took a shaky breath. “Oh, gods. It wasn’t a dream.”

“Malfoy –”

“They’re dead. They’re dead, and it’s my fault.”

“It’s not,” Potter said firmly. “You can’t think like that, you’ll drive yourself mad.”

Draco bit his tongue hard enough to make tears spring to his eyes and then let out a sharp, sudden sob. He ducked his head, trying to hide his face. “Go away, Potter.”

“I’m not leaving you alone like this.”

“What do you care? Just go away!” The tears fell freely now without Draco having to think about it, although he had to remember to breathe in gulping sobs instead of normally. He pushed at Potter’s chest. “Get out.”

Potter let go of his shoulders to grab his hands, the better to quell Draco’s struggles. “No. You shouldn’t be alone.”

“I hate you,” Draco said, although he hadn’t planned to say it and wasn’t sure where it had come from – it was as if his mouth was speaking without permission from his brain. He tried to yank his hands from Potter’s. “I hate you, I hate you –”

“I know,” said Potter, and he looked so sad, and even though it was ridiculous it also seemed right somehow, because only Harry Potter would actually be upset by the fact that his enemy hated him.

Draco fell against him and cried.

It started as pretence, Draco having to force the sobs out so that they sounded like they were being wrenched from him. But the longer it went on, the easier it became, until he was dismayed to realize that there was nothing false about his tears anymore.

He cried for his parents, shut up in their house with a madman, and for Severus, whose life had been so brutal and who could never let himself trust any happiness that came his way. But mostly Draco cried for himself, all of the terror and rage and pain of the past few years pouring out of him. It didn’t even matter that Potter was seeing it, because after all, Potter would never know that it had been real.

Potter held him gingerly at first, stiff and awkward. When it became apparent that Draco wasn’t going to push him away again, Potter gradually relaxed, holding Draco more securely against his chest and murmuring the kind of soothing nonsense that Gryffindors seemed to specialize in.

Eventually, Draco’s cries subsided. He sagged against Potter, drained and exhausted, as his breathing evened out. Fortunately, he managed to retain enough presence of mind to stick to the original plan, which called for him to pretend to fall asleep in Potter’s arms.

Potter held him for a few more minutes before maneuvering Draco back into place against his pillow and drawing the covers up over him. Draco felt the lightest, most glancing touch of Potter’s hand against his brow, then heard footsteps and the sound of the door opening and closing.

Potter never came back in to make sure that the scene had been adequate. Perhaps he believed that Draco had fallen asleep for real.

Less than a minute later, Draco really had.

***


Draco woke the next morning with a horrible headache and puffy eyes, the results of essentially crying himself to sleep. He hadn’t done that in years. It felt just as awful as he remembered.

He fumbled underneath the other pillow for his wand, casting the spells to relieve the stuffiness in his sinuses and reduce the swelling in his face. His stomach rolled as the full memory of what he’d done last night returned to him.

He’d cried in front of Potter. Sobbed, in point of fact. In Potter’s arms. For real.

Potter doesn’t know that.

No. And he never would. That was the one silver lining of an otherwise dismal cloud. With any luck, Potter would just think that Draco was a consummate actor. He’d never know that Draco had fallen apart in front of him in a way he’d never even done in front of Severus.

Draco glanced at his reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall, checking to be sure that he hadn’t been overly thorough in removing the traces of the previous nights’ tears. He wasn’t supposed to have his wand, and it wouldn’t make sense if his face were completely free of the telltale signs. Luckily, his eyes were still slightly bloodshot, his nose a bit red – not enough to be unattractive, but enough to make it obvious that he had been crying.

He flopped back down on the bed, hiding his wand under the pillow as he firmly resolved not to let himself ever lose control like that again. Of everyone who was involved in this charade, it was most imperative that Draco keep himself together. Their lives depended on him being able to maintain a cool and level head.

There was a quiet knock on the door. “Malfoy?” came Potter’s hesitant voice.

“What?” Draco snapped. Fuck it all, he’d forgotten that the scene from last night wasn’t over yet. At least he wouldn’t have to fake his resentment. Or his embarrassment.

Potter opened the door – a bit awkwardly, as he was holding a plate and a glass. It was beyond Draco why a wizard as powerful as Potter didn’t use magic in such circumstances, but he supposed it came from being raised by Muggles.

“I brought you some food.” Potter set the plate and glass down on the nightstand, as he’d been doing three times a day for the past four days.

“My hero,” Draco said with as much bitter sarcasm as he could muster – which turned out to be quite a lot.

Potter raised his eyebrows but didn’t take the bait, sitting in the chair by the desk.

Draco was desperately thirsty, so he took a large gulp from the glass of water before saying, “If you’re waiting for me to thank you –”

“So we’re just going to pretend that it didn’t happen, then?” Potter interrupted.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Draco said icily.

“Last night.”

“Don’t start, Potter.”

“Malfoy, please. I have to know you’re not on his side anymore.”

Draco had been avoiding eye contact with Potter since he’d entered the room, but at that, his eyes snapped up to meet Potter’s in rage and incredulity. “On his side? How can you even say that to me?”

“I have to know,” Potter repeated.

“He murdered my parents,” Draco said in a low voice. “Killed them like dogs. He let the Death Eaters try to torture me to death. And you’re asking me if I’m on his side?”

“Would you go back to him if you had the chance?”

Draco’s jaw dropped. “Are you serious? Do I look suicidal to you?”

“Malfoy,” Potter said, looking weary, “I’m not trying to insult you. I’m trying to figure out if I can trust you. And the only way I can do that is if you tell me what you really feel – no sarcasm, no bullshit, no putting on a brave face because you don’t want to look weak. Just tell me.”

Draco had to be careful here. What he was about to say was, in fact, the actual truth. But the Dark Lord didn’t know that – couldn’t know that, or they’d all be fucked. He had to speak his mind convincingly enough to persuade Potter without giving his true feelings away to the Dark Lord.

He took a deep breath, looking down at his hands as if weighing his options. Then he gave a sigh and looked back up, holding Potter’s eyes with his own. “I hate him,” he said, voice shaking with suppressed grief and rage. “What he’s done to my family, to me...I despise him more than any other person on earth, and you’ll be happy to know that includes you. I just want...” Draco trailed off.

Potter’s eyes were intense. “Want what?”

“Revenge,” Draco said. “I want him dead.”

Potter nodded, satisfied. “Well, that makes two of us.”

Maintaining eye contact with Potter was difficult for Draco, especially after what had happened last night, so he looked away – but not before he saw the acknowledgement in the other man’s eyes. Potter knew that Draco’s little speech hadn’t just been for show, and he appreciated it.

That didn’t annoy Draco as much as he thought it should have.

Potter stood up, his posture resolute, as if he had just made an important decision. “You don’t have to stay locked up in here, you know. You could come downstairs and eat in the kitchen like a normal person.”

“I think that would be a spectacularly bad idea.”

“Come on,” Potter coaxed. “It’s just Remus and Ron and Hermione here right now.”

“Now I think it’s an even worse idea.”

“They won’t hurt you. They know what happened. And anyway, I’ll be with you the whole time.”

“No.”

Potter shrugged. “Suit yourself. I guess I’ll just take these back to the kitchen, then.” He picked up the plate and glass from the nightstand.

“Don’t you dare, Potter –”

“If you won’t come down, then you don’t eat,” Potter said. “It isn’t good for you to stay in here all day, brooding. It isn’t healthy.”

“I do not brood,” said Draco, offended.

“Get dressed. I’ll wait for you in the hall. If you’re not out there in five minutes, I’ll assume you’ve decided to pass on breakfast.” Potter left the room, ignoring Draco’s indignant sputters.

Draco closed his eyes, mentally marking the moment as the place to end the memory later, when he was giving it to Severus. Then he got up and got dressed, joining Potter in the corridor in far less than five minutes.

“How was that?” Potter said, leaning against the wall.

“Good. You play the earnest saviour very well.”

Potter actually laughed. “I’ve had a lot of practice,” he said. Then he sobered a little. “Ron and Hermione are good to go, but you know Remus has no idea –”

“That it isn’t real,” Draco finished for him. “I know. That’s why we have to get it right the first time.”

“No pressure.”

Draco followed Potter down to the basement, feeling a sense of foreboding. He trusted Granger well enough, at least with something like this, but he wouldn’t have trusted Weasley with a Kneazle, let alone a mission of such import. Potter had assured him that Weasley was capable, but Draco had his doubts.

They entered the kitchen, Draco a step behind Potter, and were greeted with three expressions of surprise.

“What the hell is he doing here?” Weasley said dangerously, surprise morphing to anger in a way that Draco had to admit was fairly convincing.

Potter remained calm. “Eating breakfast.”

“Like hell he is.” Weasley jumped out of his seat, shaking off Granger’s hand. “Are you mad, Harry? It’s bad enough that he’s here at all – we can’t just let him wander about the place!”

“He isn’t wandering,” Potter said, putting the plate and glass down on the table. “He’s eating.”

Weasley’s face grew even redder. Granger looked between him and Draco before saying, “Ron, maybe you –”

“He’s a Death Eater,” Weasley said, ignoring her.

“Not anymore.” Potter lifted a hand to cut Weasley off. “This isn’t up for discussion, Ron.”

“I’m not eating in the same room as him.”

“Then I guess you’ll be eating somewhere else.”

The two men stared each other down for a moment – Weasley looking murderous, Potter unwavering. When it became clear that Potter wasn’t going to yield, Weasley snorted in disgust and spat, “Your funeral, mate,” before storming from the room.

Granger sighed. “I’ll talk to him.”

“Thanks.”

She gave Potter a small smile before heading after Weasley. Lupin, who had been watching the exchange silently from his seat at the table, cleared his throat. “Why don’t you two sit down, and I’ll warm the tea up.”

Potter shot him a grateful look and collapsed onto one of the chairs, gesturing for Draco to take a seat as well. Draco sat, keeping his movements careful and tentative. He was slightly taken aback by the equanimity with which Lupin was accepting the circumstances.

While Lupin was busy reheating the kettle, Draco frowned at Potter across the table. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“Yes, I did.”

The hell of it was, Draco was certain that Potter really would have defended him to Weasley, had the situation been real. That reckless nobility irked Draco; Potter was damn lucky that Draco was on his side, or he would have fallen for this whole ruse hook, line, and sinker.

“Thank you,” Draco said stiffly.

Potter smiled.

***


After a very odd breakfast in which Draco was forced to deal with Lupin’s sympathy and somewhat unexpected kindness, he and Potter slipped off to the library to meet Weasley and Granger.

Granger warded the room for privacy as Draco and Potter sat at one of the book-laden tables. Weasley, who was tipping his chair so far back that it was only balanced on two legs, gave Draco a smirk.

“How’d I do?” he asked.

“Quite well,” Draco said. “One could almost believe that you truly resent my presence here.”

Weasley grinned. “I had to dig deep.”

Draco rolled his eyes, childishly wishing that the idiot would topple off his chair.

The four of them spent the rest of the day in the library, researching. The final inanimate Horcrux – Hufflepuff’s cup – was being frustratingly elusive, the Death Eaters had been using a new, malevolent curse that the Order hadn’t yet figured out how to counteract, and the specifications for the wards on the Death Eater base in Dover, where several Muggleborns were being held captive, read like gibberish. There was more than enough work to go around.

Weasley and Granger begged off after dinner, for reasons which Draco firmly refused to imagine. If he started thinking about those two shagging, he’d never be able to have sex again. He was still fully absorbed in trying to puzzle out the glyphs used in the Dover wards when Potter interrupted the silence.

“Malfoy?”

“What?” said Draco, not lifting his eyes from the parchment.

“Can I ask you a question?”

Oh, for Merlin’s sake. “If you absolutely must,” Draco said with reluctance. He looked up and was surprised to see Potter blushing beet-red. Not a good sign.

Potter fidgeted, his eyes darting about the room uneasily but never seeming to land on Draco. “When we – you and I – when we do the, er...the sex thing...”

“The sex thing?” Draco echoed incredulously.

“Yeah. How do you want – I mean how are we, you know, going to – to do it?”

Draco shook his head, barely able to parse any meaning from Potter’s incoherent stammering. “Potter, I have no idea what you’re – oh.” It suddenly occurred to Draco what Potter – who as far as Draco knew had only ever had sex with a woman – was probably asking. “Oh.”

Potter was staring at his hands now. “What I’m asking is, who’s going to –”

“I get it,” Draco interrupted. He had been hoping to avoid this discussion for as long as possible, because talking out loud about what he and Potter would inevitably have to do made it more unpleasantly real. Leave it to Potter to destroy that one meagre comfort. “I prefer to be the receptive partner, so long as you have no objections.”

The relief on Potter’s face was so profound that Draco almost laughed, although he couldn’t help flushing slightly himself. He’d never been very good at talking about sex; even with Severus, he still found it uncomfortable.

“That’s fine,” Potter said, obviously trying to mask how worried he had been about the matter. “That’s fine with me.”

Now that they were talking about it, Draco might as well ask about the things he needed to know. “You’ve never had sex with a man, have you?” he asked.

“No.” Potter’s blush was receding rapidly, and he no longer seemed embarrassed. “I’ve only ever had sex with Ginny.”

Draco was curious about what had happened there, as he hadn’t seen the youngest Weasley around Grimmauld Place at all, and Potter never spoke about her. Were they still a couple?

“Did you ever have anal sex with her?”

Draco could tell that Potter wanted to be offended by the question but knew that it was a perfectly reasonable thing for Draco to ask. “No,” he said.

“So for all intents and purposes, you might as well be a virgin. I thought that might be the case.” Draco pushed his parchment and books away from him; it was clear he wasn’t going to get any more work done tonight. “It’s actually a good thing – the Dark Lord will love it.”

After a few moments of awkward silence, Potter said, “This is weird.”

“It’s only going to get weirder, Potter. If you start freaking out now –”

“I’m not freaking out! I’m just saying that this is a weird situation. We might as well acknowledge that.”

Draco grimaced. “If you say so.”

“Are you and Snape going to be okay?”

“That’s none of your business,” Draco snapped, affronted by Potter’s temerity. It didn’t help that he himself had been wondering that very same thing for days.

“I know, I’m sorry. I just...” Potter sighed. “Do you love him?”

Draco knew that he should tell Potter off, or throw a book at him, or just glare at him in icy silence. Part of him wanted to. But a bigger part of him realized that he’d never spoken to anyone about his relationship with Severus – he’d never been able to, for reasons of safety. And that part was grateful to finally have someone to talk to, even though Potter was a wildly inappropriate choice of confidante.

“Yes,” Draco said. Merlin, Severus would be furious if he ever found out about this.

Potter nodded. “I was pretty sure you did. And I know he loves you; it’s obvious from the way he looks at you.”

Draco blinked. Was it really?

“It’s strange to think of Snape in love,” Potter said with a chuckle. “Although I guess it makes sense that if it was going to be anybody, it would be you.”

“What do you mean?” Draco asked.

Potter shrugged. “Just that he always seemed to get on better with you than he did with anyone else.”

“We never slept together when I was his student,” Draco said, wanting to make sure there was no misunderstanding. “Severus would never have –”

“I never thought you did. I know Snape’s a good man.”

“He is,” Draco said softly.

“So, after the war, should I be expecting a wedding invitation?”

Draco almost choked. “What?”

Potter smiled, looking mischievous. “Come on. Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it.”

“I...” The truth was, Draco hadn’t thought about it – not because he didn’t want it, but because it had always seemed so unlikely that both he and Severus would survive the war that there was no point in thinking about what might come after. “I haven’t. And I think I’ve heard quite enough about my relationship from you, thank you very much.”

Potter didn’t seem insulted by the brush-off, returning to his book with his lips still quirked in a slight smile. Draco scowled at him a bit before dragging his parchment back towards himself.

He looked down at the notations he had made in his neat handwriting, but he didn’t really see them. His mind was swimming with the things Potter had said, the long-buried issues he had stirred up and brought to the surface. Draco actually felt a little lightheaded.

No, not lightheaded. Dizzy. And then, quite suddenly, he couldn’t breathe.

Oh, no. No. Not here. Not in front of Potter.

Draco gripped the edge of the table, heart pounding with formless terror. He felt like there was an iron band wrapped around his throat, squeezing the life out of him and preventing him from taking a deep breath. His stomach roiled with nausea.

“Potter,” he tried to say, although it came out as a whisper.

“Yeah?” Potter didn’t look up.

Draco tried to suck in a deeper breath, forcing it past the constriction in his throat. Gods, he was going to die, he was going to suffocate right here –

Potter,” he wheezed, much more loudly.

Potter took one look at him and jumped up, book falling to the floor. “Malfoy, what’s wrong?”

“P-panic,” Draco said, and that was all he could manage. He had to get out of here, had to get out, or he would die, he knew it. He tried to stand and ended up falling to the floor, fighting for every breath.

Potter knelt next to him. “What do I do?” he said frantically.

“S-spell.” Draco’s vision was starting to dim.

Spell? What...fuck.” Potter drew his wand and pointed it at the chair Draco had fallen out of. “Wingardium Leviosa.”

Draco gasped, the sudden rush of air into his lungs so unexpected that it hurt his head. His entire body felt like it was on fire – if being on fire happened to be an incredibly pleasant experience. And the panic was gone. Completely.

Seeing that Draco could breathe again, Potter cancelled the spell. The fiery feeling disappeared, leaving Draco cold and shaky.

Merlin. That had been...Draco had never felt magic like that before, so wild and powerful and strong. It had made his blood positively sing, burning away the fear instantaneously. Draco could only sit immobile in shock.

But that was ridiculous. He’d experienced Potter’s magic before, plenty of times. It had never felt like this.

When was the last time he’d been near Potter while the man had cast a spell? Draco tried to think back, but he couldn’t remember. Potter wasn’t the type of wizard who used magic for everyday things; he usually only used it when absolutely necessary. In fact, now that Draco thought about it, he couldn’t remember being near Potter’s magic at all in the past two years.

It had certainly changed.

Draco could always feel magic that was active near him, but he usually didn’t notice it unless it was a powerful spell or came from an unusually powerful wizard. When he could feel it, it always had some real-world analogue, like leather or grass or feathers against his skin. Severus’ magic had always felt like water to him – a strong, steady flow that could be refreshing or destructive. The Dark Lord’s magic was cold and slimy. Granger’s was dry, like parchment.

Potter’s magic...felt like lightning.

Draco hadn’t been able to place the sensation at first, because of course he’d never been struck by lightning before. And he wasn’t sure it was a totally accurate comparison, because surely being hit by lightning was quite painful, and Potter’s magic hadn’t hurt him at all. But it was the only way he could think of to describe it. It was incredible. And that had only been a simple levitation spell! Draco couldn’t imagine what it would feel like were Potter to cast truly powerful magic.

Reeling as he was from the combined effects of the panic attack and Potter’s magic, it took Draco a while to realize that Potter was speaking to him.

“Malfoy!” Potter was saying anxiously, peering into Draco’s eyes. “Malfoy, are you okay?”

“Yes,” he replied, trying to focus. “I’m fine.”

Potter sat back on his heels, exhaling heavily. “What the hell happened?”

“I had a panic attack.” Now that he was coming back to himself, Draco felt the hot sting of humiliation. Why could he never keep himself under control? “I’m fine now.”

“A panic attack? Does that happen a lot?”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

“But it happens,” Potter said, a cloud forming on his brow. “And you knew it might happen again.”

“I –”

Christ, Malfoy!” Potter burst out. “Why didn’t you tell me you have panic attacks? Didn’t you think that was something I might need to know?”

“No, frankly, I didn’t,” Draco said, starting to get angry himself. Angry was much better than embarrassed.

“I had no idea what was happening or how to help you. Fuck, I thought you were dying.”

Just like that, Draco deflated. Potter was right; Draco should have warned him of the possibility. “It feels like dying,” he admitted.

Seeing how shaken Draco was, Potter relented. “But you’re okay now, right?” he said in a gentler voice.

“Yes.”

“Okay. Why’d you ask me to cast a spell?”

“I...” Draco paused. There was no way he was going to tell Potter about his tactile sensitivity to magic; that was something Potter did not need to know. “It distracts me,” he lied. “Gives me something to focus on besides the panic.”

Potter accepted that without question, standing up and helping Draco to his feet. “I’m guessing you’re not up to any more research tonight.”

“No.” Draco swayed a little on his feet, feeling dazed – and not from the attack. “I...I think I should lie down.”

“I’ll help you upstairs.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

“No arguments,” Potter insisted. “Leaving aside the fact that you look like you’ll probably fall down the stairs, we can’t risk anyone seeing you walking around the house by yourself.”

Damn.

“Fine,” Draco said with poor grace. “But keep your hands to yourself. I’m not a child who needs to be led by the arm.”

“Does that mean you don’t want me to carry you?” Potter said teasingly.

Draco’s glare was met only with laughter.

***


Draco couldn’t fall asleep that night, and for once it wasn’t because of loneliness. Instead, for the first time since he’d been living in Grimmauld Place – barring Severus’ short visit – he was horribly, distractingly aroused.

Usually, Draco wouldn’t have thought twice about bringing himself off so that he could sleep, but tonight he found himself reluctant to do so. He had tried to convince himself that this was normal, simple arousal, but he knew that it wasn’t. The only reason he was so turned on was because of the way Potter’s magic had felt.

Draco had never been aroused by anyone’s magic but Severus’ before, and even with Severus it wasn’t this intense. Wanking because Potter’s magic had gotten him worked up felt like a kind of infidelity.

But as he shifted around in bed, trying to find a comfortable position that provided a minimum of friction, Draco realized that he wasn’t going to be able to avoid it. His cock was rock-hard and aching, and none of the usual tricks he used to quell an unwanted erection were having any effect. It was starting to become painful.

“Fuck,” Draco muttered, twitching back the covers and pulling off his pajama bottoms. If he made this fast, and only thought about Severus, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

He used his wand to conjure a palmful of lubricant – it was a spell all witches and wizards learned when they were old enough. Severus had taught him a variant that produced something warmer, slicker, and less sticky than the standard spell, more like an oil than a gel. They didn’t use conjured lube all that often, both of them preferring Severus’ home-brewed variety, but it was invaluable in a pinch.

Draco gave his rebellious cock a long, slow stroke from base to tip, sighing with the pleasure of it. It had been too long since his last orgasm – almost a week. He hadn’t gone that long without sex since he’d started having sex in the first place.

Hoping to finish this quickly, Draco set a quick, rough pace. He kept thoughts of Severus firmly fixed in his mind, pushing away the ones of Potter’s magic when they tried to intrude. His memories of sex with Severus soon had him panting for breath, but try as he might, he couldn’t completely shut out the memory of what it had felt like when Potter’s magic had burned through him.

Draco groaned in frustration. This was ridiculous. He didn’t even know why he felt guilty at all – it wasn’t Potter turning him on, just the experience of his magic. Draco would have reacted the same way even if it had been Mrs. Weasley whose magic felt like that.

There was only one sure way to bring this to a rapid finish. Draco conjured some more lube, slicking the fingers of his right hand, then let that hand travel past his cock and over his balls to find his hole. He bent his knees, putting his feet flat on the bed so that he could reach more comfortably, and slid a single finger inside himself.

“Mmm,” Draco moaned, pushing his hips up. He pulled at his cock absentmindedly with his left hand, but all of his focus was centred on the pleasure of being penetrated.

He’d told Potter that he preferred being the receptive partner, and that was the unvarnished truth. He had tried topping once, with Severus, but he’d disliked it so much that they’d switched back halfway through and finished with Draco on the bottom. Draco just didn’t find sex truly satisfying unless there was something inside him. Fortunately, Severus had no objections – in fact, Draco thought he might have been secretly relieved to discover that Draco had no interest in topping.

Draco added a second finger and searched for his prostate, letting out a quiet cry when he found it. He wished he had something bigger to fuck himself with, like the toy he and Severus kept in the nightstand drawer at Spinner’s End. His fingers weren’t really thick enough to give him the stretch he craved.

That thought made him remember the last time he and Severus had used the dildo, just a few months ago. Draco had sucked Severus off on his hands and knees, the charmed toy pounding into him from behind. Severus had come on his face – an act which Draco had found unexpectedly erotic – and then wanked Draco to completion while the dildo continued to work his arse. To Draco, it had felt like he was being taken by two men at once, one of his most secret fantasies. His orgasm had been incredible.

That memory, combined with the fingers pressing insistently against his prostate and the hand sliding over his cock, was enough to push Draco over the edge. He bit his lip to keep from making too much noise, mindful of the fact that there was no Silencing Spell on the room. His toes dug into the mattress as come pulsed over his hand and stomach.

As Draco cleaned himself off and settled down to sleep, he realized with smug satisfaction that he’d been able to come without thinking of Potter’s magic at all.

***


There was an Order meeting the next afternoon, during which Potter locked Draco in his room – literally. Draco understood the need for it, but knowing that Severus was in the same house yet being unable to see him drove Draco mad. Ever since last night, Draco hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him; even now, his cock was pressing uncomfortably against the placket of Potter’s denims. He knew Severus would come upstairs eventually, to “check up on him”, but every minute he had to wait felt like an eternity.

Draco was sitting on his bed, tense and edgy, when he felt Severus removing the spells on the door. He leapt to his feet, but he didn’t trust himself to move any closer. Jumping on Severus in an open doorway would not be a good idea.

Severus entered and quickly shut the door behind him, setting the standard privacy wards. Draco waited, trembling with repressed anticipation, until Severus had holstered his wand and looked across the room at him. From his posture, Draco could tell that Severus was just as on edge as he was himself.

“Draco,” he said in a low voice.

Draco fairly threw himself across the room and into Severus’ arms, pulling Severus’ head down for a fierce kiss. He gripped Severus’ hair as he bit at his lip, Severus’ tongue thrusting into his mouth and twining with his own. The taste of Severus, so long denied him, only served to make Draco more frantic in his need. He pressed his hips against Severus’ and moaned into his mouth.

Severus used his hold on Draco’s hips to turn them around, pushing Draco up against the door none too gently, tearing his mouth away from Draco’s only to bite his neck. Draco let go of Severus’ hair and jerked at the buttons of his robe.

“Need you,” he said.

Severus muttered the spell that undid the many buttons – they would have been there all day, otherwise – and cast the robe aside. He returned his mouth to Draco’s throat, licking and sucking, while he yanked open Draco’s trousers. He groaned when he found that Draco wasn’t wearing pants.

Draco wasn’t wearing shoes or socks, either, so it was the work of seconds to push the too-large denims down his legs and kick them away. Severus’ hand closed around his cock and started stroking it roughly.

“Yes,” Draco hissed, back arching, but he immediately followed that with, “No,” pushing Severus’ hand aside so he could concentrate on opening Severus’ trousers. “Fuck me. Now.”

Severus drew his wand from his shirtsleeve. “Shall I –”

“Just use the spell. I don’t care.”

Draco wasn’t referring to the spell that conjured lube, but to a different spell that they very rarely used. Its purpose was to instantly prepare the body for penetration, foregoing the need for foreplay. A useful spell, in theory, but in practice it was extremely uncomfortable. Both Draco and Severus preferred the non-magical method of preparation, but Draco couldn’t wait. He needed Severus inside him now.

Severus tapped the tip of his wand against Draco’s hip and cast the spell. Draco winced at the discomfort of his arse being stretched too quickly and slicked with cold lubricant, but the feel of Severus’ magic running through him took the edge off somewhat. Severus dropped his wand on the floor and lifted Draco off his feet, his cock sliding inside with one smooth thrust.

Draco’s head fell back against the door with a painful thud, but he barely felt it next to the pleasure of finally being filled with Severus’ cock. He wrapped his legs around Severus’ waist and gripped his shoulders as Severus fucked him in short, shallow strokes. Severus’ hands were strong and secure on his arse, holding him up effortlessly, and Draco had no fear of being dropped.

“Severus, oh, yes –”

Severus pressed his face against Draco’s neck, his breath harsh and heavy against Draco’s skin. His hips snapped faster and faster, turning Draco’s words into incoherent moans.

“I can’t get deep enough,” Severus said. “Hold on to me.”

Draco clung tightly with his arms and legs as Severus stepped back from the wall, lowering them both to the ground until Draco was lying flat on his back with Severus on top of him and still buried in his arse. Severus resumed thrusting, much deeper now, and Draco gasped. His hands fell from Severus’ shoulders, one clutching at the carpet and the other fisting his cock.

Severus leaned forward a bit, his angle just right, and Draco climaxed powerfully, writhing beneath Severus and coming all over both their shirts. He lifted his head and bit down on Severus’ throat, right where Severus liked it best. Severus let out a deep-throated groan, his hips jerking uncontrollably as he spilled himself deep inside Draco.

As always, Severus’ orgasm was accompanied by a rush of pure magic – sex had a power of its own. Draco welcomed it, letting it flow through his body, warm and strong and protective.

Severus collapsed on top of him, panting. “God,” he muttered.

Draco hummed in agreement, letting his legs drop from Severus’ waist. His thighs ached horribly, but it had been well worth it. Severus kissed his shoulder, then pulled out and rolled off to the side. He put his hand on Draco’s stomach and stroked softly as they recovered.

Severus was the first to break the comfortable silence. “Loathe as I am to say this, we should review your memories.”

Draco nodded with a sigh, sitting up and reaching for his trousers.

Once they were both dressed – which hardly took any time at all, considering that they hadn’t really undressed in the first place – Draco extracted the appropriate memories and placed them in the Pensieve.

He sat on the bed while Severus reviewed them. It took longer than it had last time, and Draco quickly grew restless and bored. He wondered if he could talk Severus into having another go when he was done.

Draco stripped off his clothes and slid beneath the covers, stroking himself to hardness again. It gave him a strange thrill to do it while Severus stood nearby but unaware – as if he were doing something illicit.

Severus finally lifted his head from the Pensieve and began transferring the memories to the vial. “The nightmare was well done,” he said without turning around. “Though I must say that your little speech about hating the Dark Lord skirts dangerously close to the truth.”

“Do you think he’ll see through it?”

“No. He is far too arrogant. Duplicato.” Severus waited until the second vial had been filled before disconnecting the tube. He finally turned around, raising his eyebrows when he saw Draco in the bed.

“How long before you have to go back?” Draco asked.

“I could spare another hour, perhaps.” Severus stepped closer to the bed. “Did you have something in mind?”

Draco pulled the covers back to show that he was naked and hard beneath them. “I thought I might suck your cock until you’re ready to fuck me again,” he said, proud when he managed to get the entire sentence out without stammering or even blushing.

Severus’ eyes darkened as he moved to join Draco on the bed, and there were no more words.

***


Over the following week, Draco and Potter acted out a series of carefully planned encounters intended to demonstrate their developing “relationship”, their conversations gradually becoming friendlier and more personal as the days went by. Draco added to that by accidentally-on-purpose touching and brushing up against Potter whenever possible. He took particular pride in being able to catch the git off-guard, as if that made up for his own unsettling reaction to Potter’s magic. He even went so far as to pull the old and clichéd trick of dropping something and bending over in front of Potter to show off his arse.

Potter took it all in stride, although he did sometimes get satisfyingly flustered. For the Dark Lord’s benefit, he had to act as if he was starting to find Draco attractive, but Draco could tell that it wasn’t all acting.

He wasn’t sure if he was pleased about that or not.

They had decided to cap off the week with another one of Draco’s nightmares, since that seemed like a good way to show how well things had progressed between them. Draco was settling into bed in preparation when a sudden impulse prompted him to remove his pajama top and stash it under the bed. They’d see how well Potter dealt with that.

Just like last time, Potter rushed into the room at the sound of Draco’s screams, sitting on the bed beside him and talking him down. Potter faltered for a moment when he touched the bare skin of Draco’s shoulders, but he quickly regained his composure and ignored Draco’s shirtless state in favour of attempting to calm him.

Instead of pushing Potter away or breaking down like he had before, Draco sat up and took a few deep breaths as if trying to shake off the dream. Potter let go of him but continued to watch him closely.

“Maybe you should start putting a Silencing Spell on my room,” Draco said ruefully.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

After a moment of silence, Draco asked, “Do they ever stop?”

“I’m probably not the best person to answer that. I have nightmares all the time.”

“I’ve never heard you.”

Potter gave him a lopsided half-smile. “That’s because there is a Silencing Spell on my room.”

Draco wondered if that were true. It probably was. He felt a sudden stab of sympathy for Potter.

To distract himself from the unwelcome emotion, Draco let the covers, which he had been clutching to his chest, fall casually to his waist. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Er, that’s okay,” said Potter, his eyes travelling over Draco’s bared skin. “Don’t worry about it.”

Draco looked down as if he’d just remembered his shirtless state. “Oh. I – the pajama top you gave me is so big that it’s uncomfortable to sleep in.”

“You’re not cold?” Potter reached out and ran his hand up Draco’s arm to his shoulder.

Draco hadn’t been expecting Potter to touch him, and he took a sharp breath at the feeling of warm, calloused skin against his own.

Potter snatched his hand back as if he’d been burned. “Sorry. I didn’t meant to...I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” said Draco.

“I should let you get back to sleep.” Potter practically jumped off the bed, seeming quite disconcerted. His cheeks were tinged a bit red. “You’ll be okay now, right?”

“I suppose.”

“Good. That’s good,” Potter said as he backed away towards the door. “Er, see you tomorrow, yeah?” He was gone before Draco could respond.

Draco waited for Potter to come back in, but after a good ten minutes he realized that wasn’t going to happen. It probably wasn’t important, because nothing had gone wrong that would prevent Draco from showing the Dark Lord this memory, but it was still odd. This time Potter didn’t even have the potential excuse of thinking Draco had fallen asleep.

Draco shook his head and decided to put it out of his mind. Potter was a strange bloke, and that was all there was to it.

***


Severus came the next day to collect Draco’s memories. They managed to keep their hands to themselves until they’d finished, and the sex was nothing short of delicious.

Afterwards, though, as they lay panting in Draco’s ruined bed, an uncomfortable silence descended. Draco knew that Severus was thinking the same thing that he was himself, but he also knew that Severus wouldn’t talk about it unless Draco forced him to.

Draco rolled over to face Severus and waited until he had the man’s full attention. He couldn’t think of any delicate way to put the reality of the situation, so he decided to just state it baldly. “The next time I see you, I’ll have had sex with Potter,” he said.

Severus’ nostrils flared with displeasure. Draco could actually see him struggling not to let his anger and jealousy show on his face.

“I know that,” was his clipped reply.

“You know I don’t want to.”

Severus scowled and sat up. “Are you blaming me for our situation?”

“What? No, of course not.” Merlin, Severus could be so touchy sometimes. Draco sat up as well, so that he wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. “I just want to make sure you know that if I had a choice, I would stay faithful to you.”

“And I am forcing you to prostitute yourself to Potter.”

“Severus, stop it,” Draco snapped. He knew what Severus was doing – becoming defensive and insulting in an attempt to conceal his emotions. It was a strategy Draco had employed himself countless times, but he wasn’t going to stand for it now. “Nobody’s forcing me to do anything, least of all you. If sleeping with Potter a few times is the key to ending the war – well, even I’m not selfish enough to refuse that. But I don’t want to. I don’t want him. I only want you.”

“Potter is a far better match for you than I am,” Severus said, his voice tense.

“Don’t be an idiot.” Draco returned Severus’ ensuing glare with equal fierceness. “There is no better match for me than you.”

Severus just scoffed and looked away. Time for more drastic measures.

“Do you know what bothers me the most about sleeping with him?” Draco asked. Severus didn’t answer, but Draco hadn’t expected him to. “It’s that he’s taking something that belongs to you – something that’s only ever belonged to you.” Draco put his hand on Severus’ face and gently turned him so they were eye to eye. “There was a time I thought that you would be the only man I ever had inside me. That’s what I wanted. It’s what I still want. Potter’s going to take that away, and there’s a part of me that hates him for it.”

“Draco,” Severus said, his eyes softening considerably. He ran his thumb over Draco’s lips. “You are a very foolish boy.”

“Perhaps. But I’m yours. Whatever happens with Potter won’t change that.”

As Severus leaned in to kiss Draco, he whispered, “I believe you.”

***


The next few days passed without incident as Draco and Potter continued to build their fake relationship, but there was a mounting tension between them that was impossible to ignore. The closer they got to the planned date of their tryst, the more difficult it became to pretend that it wasn’t going to happen. Draco had never felt more awkward in his life.

He had been concerned that they might be rushing things, moving too fast, because it was imperative that the Order find and destroy Hufflepuff’s cup before the Dark Lord planned his ambush. But they had gotten a strong lead on the Horcrux’s whereabouts – Potter was convinced it was somewhere in Gringotts. Draco felt a strange mix of relief and disappointment at the news. It would have been nice to have an excuse to delay things.

The Day arrived far too soon, and Draco found himself in the Grimmauld Place library with Potter, trying to talk Weasley into helping them.

“I’m not going to lie, Harry, I mostly agreed to this because Hermione did,” Weasley was saying. “I never thought it was a great idea, to be honest.”

“It’s working so far,” said Potter. “Snape says that Vol...You-Know-Who is happier than he’s ever seen him. He’s falling for it.”

Weasley remained skeptical. “I don’t know...”

“Look, Weasley,” Draco interrupted. “What skin is it off your nose if this doesn’t work? If the Dark Lord figures it out, the only person he’ll be able to reach to punish is Severus. But if he doesn’t figure it out, if it does work, then you’ll benefit from it as much as everyone else. It’s pretty much a win-win situation for you.”

“You two are completely nutters.” Weasley shook his head in incredulity. “I can’t believe you’re actually willing to sleep with each other on the off chance that You-Know-Who isn’t a complete idiot and won’t be able to tell that the whole thing’s a sham.”

“Hey, I think we’re pretty good actors,” Potter said. “Or Malfoy is, at least. And even I can’t be that bad.”

He actually looked to Draco for agreement on that one, like a puppy waiting to be petted. Draco rolled his eyes. “You’re perfectly adequate, Potter.”

“I don’t care if you’re the best actors the world has ever seen,” said Weasley. “There are some things that just can’t be faked, and this is one of them.”

Draco smirked. “Perhaps we should ask Granger if she’s of the same opinion.” Weasley glared at him, opening his mouth to retort, but Draco cut him off. “I already told you that it doesn’t matter if you agree with what we’re doing. Now, there’s no love lost between you and me, but you’re supposed to be Potter’s best friend. Are you going to help us or not?”

“I don’t see why Hermione can’t do it,” Weasley grumbled.

“Because Granger is a mature adult with a relatively even temperament. We need someone who’s the opposite of that.”

Malfoy,” Potter said, sounding exasperated. “Not helping.”

“Fine,” Draco sighed. To Weasley, he said, “You get to hit me in the face.”

Weasley brightened. “For real?”

“Yes. But not the nose.”

“I’m in,” said Weasley.

***


After briefly coaching Weasley on what he needed to say and do, Draco sent him out of the library with instructions to come back in five minutes. He and Potter set themselves up on one of the couches, sitting close but not touching, and they pretended to read in companionable silence.

Weasley came barrelling into the library exactly as he’d been told, breathless and agitated. “Harry, I need to –” He stopped short as his eyes fell on Draco. “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Something wrong, Ron?” Potter asked.

“You could say that. What are you thinking, letting him in here? He could see things –”

“Like what?”

“Like things he shouldn’t be seeing!” Weasley hissed. Continuing to speak as if Draco weren’t in the room, he added, “You don’t know he’s not a spy.”

“Yes, I do,” said Potter, setting his book aside and standing up. “And even if he was, how would he be able to tell anyone anything? He can’t leave, he doesn’t have a wand or an owl –”

“You two do realize that I’m sitting right here.”

At Draco’s words, Weasley and Potter turned from each other to look at him, the former’s frown intensifying while the latter’s softened. Draco was pleased to see that it provided a lovely and quite telling contrast.

“Shut up, Malfoy,” Weasley said. “You may have brainwashed Harry somehow – and don’t think I won’t figure it out – but you’re still Death Eater scum to me. I’m just sorry You-Know-Who didn’t get you when he got your parents.”

Ron!” Potter shouted, sounding horrified and angry at once, but Draco jumped out of his seat and pushed Potter out of the way to confront Weasley himself.

“How dare you,” he snarled. “My parents were worth ten of yours. At least they never had to crawl about Diagon Alley begging for handouts –”

Draco knew he wasn’t supposed to brace himself for the punch, that it would hurt more if he was stiff and resistant, but he couldn’t help it. As Weasley’s fist connected painfully with his cheek, making him stagger backwards, Draco could only hope he hadn’t made it obvious that he’d been expecting it.

His hand flew instinctively to his face. Although he felt slightly dizzy from the blow, Draco focused on Potter, who had jumped between him and Weasley and drawn his wand.

“Get. Out.” Potter’s voice was tight and thrumming with rage.

Weasley’s jaw fell. “You’re not really going to defend him?”

“Hurt him again, and you’ll find out.”

“Merlin, what’s happened to you, Harry?” Weasley said with disgust. “I don’t even know you anymore.”

“Then there’s nothing keeping you here, is there? Get out.”

There was a tense, drawn-out moment in which it seemed like Weasley might try to press his case, but then he turned and stalked out, slamming the door behind him. Potter relaxed, lowering his wand, and turned back to Draco.

“Are you okay?”

“Why did you do that?” Draco asked, ignoring Potter’s question and letting disbelief seep into his voice.

“Do what?” Potter tugged Draco’s hand away from his face. “Let me see.”

“Stop him. You didn’t have to – ow, Potter, don’t!” Draco didn’t have to fake his flinch or his annoyance when Potter pressed a thumb against the bruise on his cheekbone.

“Sorry. He got you pretty good. And I did have to stop him. He was way out of line.” Potter gave him a stern look. “Although you shouldn’t have said that thing about his parents.”

“I wasn’t thinking,” Draco muttered.

“I know. Do you want me to heal that for you?”

It was on the tip of Draco’s tongue to say yes, as they had planned, when something occurred to him that he should have considered much earlier. Potter needed to heal him, both so that he could feel like a hero and so that Draco didn’t have to deal with a bruised face. But, as Draco was now realizing, that meant that Potter was going to cast a spell on him, not just near him. And healing spells were much more powerful than levitation spells.

Considering the effects even that minor spell had had on Draco, there was no telling how he would react to this.

It was too late to back out, though. Potter was waiting. “All right,” Draco said. He closed his eyes.

Potter gently placed the tip of his wand against Draco’s face and murmured the spell. Draco gasped, eyes flying open as the magic shot through him, warming him from the inside out – like drinking hot chocolate on a cold day. Every cell in his body seemed to expand with warmth as all of the tension melted from his muscles. It was exceedingly pleasant.

“Better?” Potter asked as he sheathed his wand.

Draco nodded wordlessly. He hadn’t felt so relaxed in years.

Potter took hold of Draco’s chin and tilted his head up to examine his handiwork. “Good as new,” he pronounced, running his thumb over Draco’s now pain-free cheekbone.

Draco met Potter’s eyes with his own, feeling a curious lack of anxiety. He knew Potter was going to kiss him, but he wasn’t worried about it. In fact, his breath picked up a little at the thought. He just felt so good.

Potter looked back at him, still stroking his face lightly. His gaze dropped to Draco’s mouth. He leaned in ever so slowly, hand moving around to the back of Draco’s head, and then his lips brushed against Draco’s.

Leaning into the soft, tentative kiss, Draco let instinct guide him as he kissed Potter back. The warmth in his veins and the floatiness in his head urged him to move slowly, even delicately, his hands coming to rest on Potter’s hips as Potter’s hands cradled his face. He flicked his tongue against Potter’s lower lip.

Potter groaned, and the tempo of the kiss changed suddenly as he slipped his tongue into Draco's mouth, stepping closer to press his body against Draco's. The kiss became deeper and more urgent, warm and wet and lovely, and Draco moaned into it.

He had prepared himself for the worst, expecting Potter to be a horrid kisser with an overeager tongue, but nothing could be further from the truth. Potter's kisses were enthusiastic, yes, but they had an edge of hesitancy that was strangely thrilling. Draco had never experienced anything like it, and though it felt odd to be kissing someone the same height as him and to feel glasses against his face, it was also undeniably pleasurable.

Draco had no idea how long they had been kissing before Potter shifted, his erection pressing insistently against Draco’s thigh. With a start, Draco realized that he was just as hard himself. And there was no way Potter couldn’t feel it.

Just like that, the fuzzy, pleasant warmth that had been suffusing his body dissipated, leaving Draco ice-cold. He remembered who he was, who Potter was, and precisely why he shouldn’t be enjoying this kiss nearly as much as he was.

Draco jerked away from him in horror, breaking the kiss. Potter made a noise of protest and tried to follow him until Draco shoved his chest, forcing him to back up a bit. Potter opened his eyes, frowning in displeasure, and then suddenly froze.

They stared at each other, and Draco knew his own eyes had to be at least as wide as Potter’s. For a few long moments, they both just stood motionless in shock. Draco finally remembered what he was supposed to do next, and fortunately, it was exactly what his instincts were screaming at him to do.

He fled.

***


Draco shut his bedroom door and leaned against it, heart racing and head whirling. Of the seemingly millions of thoughts racing through this mind – including Merlin where did Potter learn to kiss like that and How could I let myself get so carried away – one in particular repeated itself over and over:

I don’t want Severus to see that.

Though he had worried about what might happen once Severus saw the memories of him having sex with Potter, Draco had reassured himself with the thought that at least Severus would be able to tell when his participation was enthusiastic and when it was simply perfunctory. And of course, Draco had never imagined that for him, sex with Potter would be anything but perfunctory. The thought that had once comforted him now did exactly the opposite – because Draco had honestly enjoyed that kiss, and Severus would know. After all, he had kissed Draco enough times to know what it looked like when Draco was enjoying himself.

Draco slid down to sit on the floor, his back still against the door. It’s not your fault, he told himself firmly. You never would have reacted like that if it weren’t for Potter’s magic. Severus will understand.

Yes, Severus would understand. But that didn’t mean he would be understanding. Severus was one of the most logical men Draco knew, yet at the same time he was capable of acting completely irrationally – especially where Draco was concerned. Severus was possessive and jealous, and worse, he was insecure about Draco’s commitment to him. Seeing Draco rubbing himself all over Potter like a cat in heat would do nothing to assuage his doubts – and that had just been a kiss.

Draco forced himself to take a few deep breaths. He was getting far too worked up, and he couldn’t afford to have a panic attack now. Potter would be up in half an hour to see the rest of the scene through; Draco had to be in complete control of himself by then.

He would just have to make absolutely sure that Potter didn’t cast any more spells. The magic of the sex itself might affect Draco a little, but it wouldn’t be until near the end, when it wouldn’t matter as much. If he didn’t have to deal with Potter’s magic, Draco could remain appropriately detached. That would make up for the ridiculous kiss.

He hoped.

***


By the time Potter knocked on the door, Draco had calmed himself considerably. He had decided that he had probably overreacted; the kiss hadn’t been that intense. He just wasn’t thinking clearly because he was nervous. Everything was going to be fine.

“Malfoy?” Potter said uncertainly.

“Go away.”

“We should talk.”

“No.”

“Please, we need to...Can I come in?”

No.”

There was the sound of a heavy sigh. “I’m coming in anyway.”

Draco scrambled off the bed. “Don’t you dare –” He stopped short as Potter stepped inside, closing the door behind him.

“Hey,” he said.

“Are you deaf?” Draco snapped. “I said no.”

“Sorry, I just...I think we need to talk about what happened.”

“Nothing happened.”

Potter frowned. “We kissed.”

We did nothing. You kissed me.”

“You kissed me back!”

“I did nothing of the sort,” Draco said stiffly. Inwardly, he was pleased with how things were progressing. He was still calm and in control, Potter was doing a good job of looking both indignant and confused, and everything was going according to plan. So far, so good.

“Yes, you did,” said Potter, a bit of irritation colouring his tone. “I’ll admit that I may have started it, but you sure as hell didn’t push me away.”

“You caught me off guard.”

Potter clenched his jaw. “You’re such a coward.”

What?”

“What I can’t figure out is if you’re just lying to me, or if you really believe your own bullshit.” Potter shook his head. “You’re not the only one who’s afraid of what this might mean, you know. But you are the only one running away from it.”

“I’m not running from anything, Potter, because it meant nothing,” Draco spat.

The anger that crossed Potter’s face made Draco draw back a little, even though he knew it wasn’t real. Potter was so earnest and even innocent at times that it was easy to forget that he was not only a powerful wizard, but a toughened soldier. This wasn’t one of those times.

“I don’t believe you,” he said.

“Believe what you want, Potter. It doesn’t change anything. Now get out.”

Potter gave him a hard look. Then, rather than turning towards the door, he began walking swiftly towards Draco, who immediately started backing up.

“Potter, what are you –”

Draco’s back hit the wall, and less than a second later, Potter’s mouth was on his, urgent and demanding. Draco lifted his hands to Potter’s shoulders as if to push him away, but instead his hands fisted in the fabric of Potter’s shirt and pulled him closer.

This kiss was nothing like the first. Potter was no longer hesitant; he seemed intent on proving something. He pressed Draco against the wall, hands tight on Draco’s hips, and kissed him hard. Draco gave back as good as he got, refusing to let Potter take control of the kiss. He was relieved to note that without the influence of Potter’s magic, he wasn’t tempted to lose himself in the man’s embrace.

Although Potter was still an excellent kisser, damn him.

Potter broke the kiss without moving away. “Still want to tell me you’re not kissing me back?”

Draco pushed at his shoulders. Potter looked taken aback for a second before he realized that Draco wasn’t pushing him towards the door, but towards the bed. Then he grinned.

Draco kept backing Potter up until his legs hit the mattress and he sat down hard, never taking his eyes from Draco, who straddled his lap and leaned in to kiss him again. The battle for dominance resumed, surprisingly invigorating.

With Severus, there was never a question of dominance. Severus was in charge in the bedroom, and they both wanted it that way. Even when Draco got aggressive – which was rare – Severus was still in control. Draco liked it; it made him feel safe, and it turned him on like nothing else.

But Draco would marry a Hufflepuff before he let Potter dominate him. Just because he had to let the man inside his body didn’t mean he had to submit to him. Draco had learned that from his mother.

So he did his best to take charge of the kiss, and it was...fun. It wasn’t as arousing as submitting to Severus, but that was probably a good thing. Fighting with Potter, challenging him and being challenged himself, just felt right.

Potter didn’t object. He placed a line of biting kisses down Draco’s neck, which distracted Draco just long enough for Potter to grab him round the waist and roll him over so that they were lying flat on the bed with Draco on the bottom. Potter moved his mouth back to Draco’s, swallowing his protests.

Draco slipped his hands under Potter’s shirt and dragged them up his back, digging his nails into the skin. Potter hissed. Draco grabbed the hem of his T-shirt and pulled it upwards as if to take it off, but he stopped once Potter’s head was free, trapping his arms in the material. He took advantage of Potter’s limited mobility by pressing his weight against Potter’s hip and throwing himself over so their positions were reversed.

Potter’s arms were stretched over his head, bound by the shirt. Draco grabbed his wrists and held them against the bed so he couldn’t take it off.

“You tricky bastard,” Potter said with a laugh.

Draco felt a smile tugging at his mouth, but he tamped it down. He’d never had the urge to laugh during sex before.

He released Potter’s wrists and settled himself more comfortably on Potter’s hips; an unmistakable erection pressed against his arse through their denims. Draco’s own cock was more than half-hard and swelling rapidly. He had the niggling feeling that he shouldn’t be getting so hard so quickly, but there wasn’t much he could do about it.

Potter kept his arms in place as he watched Draco strip off his jumper, eyes watching Draco’s every move in a hungry way that Draco found flattering even though he knew it was just for show. Draco leaned forward for another rough kiss, raking his nails down Potter’s chest this time.

Groaning, Potter finally rid himself of his shirt, tossing it carelessly aside without breaking the kiss. He sucked Draco’s lower lip into his mouth and bit, his hands running over Draco’s arms and back.

For a moment, Draco was thrown by the unfamiliar touch. Potter’s hands were larger than Severus’, and they were calloused where Severus’ weren’t. They felt odd against his bare skin – not bad, exactly, just different.

Perhaps sensing Draco’s sudden uncertainty, Potter flipped them again. He kissed the hollow of Draco’s throat as one of his hands traced the skin just above Draco’s waistband. “Is this okay?” he asked breathlessly.

Draco nodded, then moaned when Potter’s hand cupped him through his trousers – cautiously at first, then more firmly. It was obvious that Potter had never touched another man’s cock before. Draco had thought he would find that annoying, but it was actually exciting. He’d never been with a virgin of any kind. His only lover had had decades of sexual experience by the time Draco had slept with him.

Potter popped the button and eased the zip down before sliding his hand inside. “God,” he said when he encountered Draco’s bare cock, “you really don’t wear pants.”

It took Draco a moment to figure out what Potter meant. Then he remembered his first day here, when he had gone to Potter’s room dressed only in a towel and demanded clothes. Either Potter really had believed Draco when he’d said he didn’t wear pants, or he was a better actor than Draco gave him credit for, because his voice held a mix of surprise and arousal.

Potter freed Draco’s cock from his trousers, and Draco was suddenly, absurdly embarrassed. Potter was looking at his cock. Potter was going to see him naked. It was ridiculous – Potter was going to be seeing and doing a lot more than he was right now – but for some reason, it was the simple act of Potter looking at his cock for the first time that brought home to Draco just how awkward the whole situation was, flustering him and making him blush.

He could feel the control of the situation slipping away from him. To even the scales, Draco reached for Potter’s trousers. But the tricky angle, combined with the experimental movements of Potter’s hand on his cock, made it impossible for Draco to do more than unzip them. “Off,” he said impatiently, tugging at the material.

Potter obediently rolled off of him and shucked the rest of his clothing while Draco did the same. Once Potter had set his glasses on the nightstand, they turned back to each other. Draco’s eyes were immediately drawn to Potter’s cock. Though he had been determined not to spend the entire time comparing Potter to Severus, the evaluation was automatic: Potter’s cock was shorter but also thicker, curved upwards very slightly, and was altogether quite pleasant to look at. Draco couldn’t decide if he was relieved or disappointed.

To Draco’s annoyance, Potter didn’t seem embarrassed in the least. He eagerly resumed their kiss, moving as if to lay atop Draco again. Draco nipped that thought in the bud, swinging his leg over Potter’s hip to keep them both on their sides. Because they were the same height – also a new experience for Draco – the position made it possible for them to kiss and rub their cocks together at the same time, without either of them being dominant.

It also gave Draco a chance to collect himself. Just because kissing and rubbing against Potter felt good didn’t mean he could forget why they were doing it in the first place. He couldn’t afford to lose himself like he had earlier, particularly since it seemed that Potter – unsurprisingly – was unable to think straight when he was turned on.

Potter was sucking at the juncture of Draco’s neck and shoulder and frotting enthusiastically against him. Draco didn’t know what kind of stamina Potter had, but odds were it wasn’t much. It was crucial that Potter fuck him – the Dark Lord wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less. If Potter came like this, they’d have to start again from the beginning.

Draco urged Potter’s mouth back to his own, gentling the kiss in an attempt to slow things down. He stroked a hand down Potter’s side and rested it on his arse. Hopefully that wasn’t too subtle a reminder.

Fortunately, Potter took the hint. He let his hand slide up Draco’s thigh and cupped an arsecheek, squeezing it lightly. Draco did his best to ignore the flare of lust deep in his belly.

“Malfoy,” Potter whispered against his neck. “I want to...” He paused and licked his lips nervously. “Can I – can I fuck you?”

Draco drew back a bit to look at him. “Have you ever done this before?”

“Not with a man. Have you?”

“Yes. If you’re sure...” Draco let the last word trail off with a bit of hesitation.

“I’m sure.”

“All right. We just need – ” Draco practically bit his tongue to keep back the fatal words that had almost spilled out. He had been about to tell Potter to cast the lubrication spell, as he wasn’t used to being the one to do it. But of course he couldn’t let Potter cast it. There was absolutely no way he was going to let Potter do magic with them naked in bed together. “Hang on.”

Draco rolled to the side to retrieve his wand and an empty water glass from the nightstand. He used the glass to catch the conjured lubricant, pleased when it came out nicely slippery instead of sticky. He turned onto his back and handed the glass to Potter.

“Use your fingers first,” he said.

Potter nodded, lying on his side next to Draco and gathering up some lube with his fingers. Draco spread his legs to allow Potter access, fighting the blush that was working its way over his body. Potter’s hand ran teasingly over his balls and perineum before the pad of his index finger pressed gently at Draco’s hole.

Draco relaxed his muscles, letting Potter’s finger slide inside him. Potter moved it cautiously and very slowly – frustratingly slowly. At this rate, it was going to take them hours to finish.

Draco arched his back as if he were enjoying it and rubbed Potter’s shoulder, forcing a smile onto his face. “That’s good. I can take another. And you don’t have to be so careful. You won’t hurt me, I promise.”

Ugh. Draco was revising his opinion on sex with a virgin not being annoying. He wondered if Severus had been this frustrated during their first time – although there were several mitigating factors that made Draco sure he hadn’t been.

He grunted at the addition of a second finger – they were thicker than he was used to. Potter immediately stilled. Draco closed his eyes so Potter couldn’t see him rolling them. “I’m fine,” he said; it took serious effort to keep his voice soft and reassuring. “You’re not hurting me. Keep going.”

Potter started moving his fingers again. Even at his slow, careful pace, the stretch felt good, and Draco hummed in pleasure. He pushed his arse against Potter’s fingers to try to encourage him to move a little faster.

Thinking about how thick Potter’s cock was, Draco said, “One more.” Better to be safe than sorry.

Potter pushed in a third finger. Draco sighed at the pleasant feeling of fullness. He was about to open his mouth to tell Potter he was ready, when Potter’s fingers accidentally brushed against his prostate. Draco couldn’t stop the low moan that escaped him, nor could he keep his body from seizing up with pleasure.

He opened his eyes to find Potter looking back at him with much of the same surprise he felt himself.

“Er...prostate?” Potter asked, as if he wasn’t certain that was the right word.

Draco could only nod. Potter rubbed his fingers against the spot more deliberately, making Draco gasp. His fingers tightened on Potter’s shoulder as he gripped at the sheets with his other hand, unconsciously spreading his legs wider and grinding down on Potter’s hand.

“Fuck,” Potter breathed.

That brought Draco rudely back to himself. He tried to slow his panting breaths as he reached between his legs, pushing Potter’s hand away. “Stop,” he said, then, mindful of Potter’s insecurity, he added, “I’ll come if you keep doing that.”

Potter looked a little too pleased with himself for Draco’s taste. “Are you ready?”

“Yes. Put some more lube on your cock first.”

While Potter followed his instructions, Draco took a few deep breaths and wished – for the first time in his life – that he weren’t so intensely responsive to prostate stimulation. He purposely hadn’t shown Potter how to find his prostate because he’d known how he would react. It had never occurred to him that Potter might find it himself.

Potter moved to kneel in front of Draco. “Like this?”

Draco nodded, draping his legs on either side of Potter’s hips and using one hand to help guide Potter’s cock to his hole. He closed his eyes and turned his face to the side as Potter pressed slowly inside him, fighting the suddenly powerful urge to shove the man away. He didn’t want this.

Potter doesn’t want it either, Draco reminded himself. This is just one more thing to hate the Dark Lord for.

Potter stopped when he was only halfway in. “God,” he said, muscles trembling with the strain of holding himself back. “Oh, fuck. It’s so tight.”

If Potter came now, Draco would kill him. He ran his fingers through Potter’s hair in a manner he hoped came across as soothing rather than threatening. “Take a minute.”

He was startled when Potter leaned down and kissed him. It seemed appropriate, though, so he allowed it. Soon Potter was moving again, pushing forward until he was fully seated in Draco’s arse and then thrusting in slow, rocking movements.

It felt good – not as deep as Draco was used to, but the greater width of Potter’s cock made up the difference. He ran his hands mindlessly over Potter’s back and shoulders while Potter kissed his neck. Keeping his eyes closed made everything easier, though Draco quickly realized that it was going to be impossible for him to imagine he was with Severus. Potter and Severus were simply too different, both in the way they felt and the way they fucked.

Potter started thrusting faster and with more force, biting down on Draco’s shoulder surprisingly hard. Draco cried out in a mix of indignation and unwelcome arousal, prompting Potter to lick the bite apologetically.

“God, Malfoy – Draco,” Potter muttered against Draco’s neck. “Feels so good...wanted you for so long...”

Draco raised his eyebrows at Potter’s ad-libbing. He didn’t object to it – the Dark Lord would eat it up – but he was a little surprised. Potter had always been uncomfortable with improvisation before, wanting Draco to tell him exactly what to say and do and then following his directions to the letter.

“Potter –”

Potter lifted his head to look at Draco, his pupils dilated and eyes intense without his glasses. “Harry.”

“What?”

“Call me Harry. Please.”

“Er...all right,” Draco said, confused. They hadn’t talked about this, although in retrospect, he really should have thought of it himself. If Potter was being successfully seduced, of course he would want Draco to call him by his first name. Experimentally, Draco said, “Harry.” The name felt strange in his mouth.

Potter groaned, his head dropping back down to Draco’s neck as his hips snapped even faster. Draco gripped his shoulders and tightened his legs around Potter’s waist, enjoying the more forceful fucking despite himself.

Panting, Potter said, “I want to make you feel good. Tell me what to do.”

Draco hesitated. He needed to come to make this look realistic, but he didn’t really need Potter to do anything more than he was doing right now – with a little assistance from his own hand, he would be able to make it over the edge, even if it wasn’t exactly satisfying. But it would look strange to the Dark Lord if he denied Potter’s request.

It would be easier if he knew how to fake powerful sexual pleasure, but he’d never had reason to learn to do that, and he wasn’t confident enough in his abilities to risk it. That decided him, though he’d certainly be having words with Potter later.

“Lean back a little,” he told Potter, considering the easiest way to get his prostate from this position. “On your knees.” Draco drew his own knees up to his chest, settling his feet on Potter’s shoulders. “Good. Now angle...up.” He couldn’t think of any other way to describe it.

It took Potter a few tries, but on his fourth or fifth thrust, he managed to bring the full weight of his cock against Draco’s prostate. Draco moaned, digging his fingers into Potter’s thighs as he pushed his hips up in search of more. Potter gave it to him, much more confident now that he knew the right angle, his hands holding Draco’s legs so tightly that they were probably going to bruise.

Draco didn’t care; all of his attention was on the thick cock sliding in and out of him, battering his prostate in a way that made him breathless. He had to put one hand above his head and brace it against the headboard to keep Potter’s enthusiastic thrusts from driving him into it. The pleasure spiralling outwards from deep in his arse made his toes curl and his back twist. Why had he thought this was a bad idea?

“Yes,” he sighed. “Oh, P – Harry, that’s so...don’t stop.”

“Feel good?”

“Mmm.”

Draco let go of Potter’s thigh to grasp his own cock and wank it roughly. He pushed aside the thoughts of Severus that tried to intrude – there was enough time for guilt later. He’d never be able to come if he started thinking about it now.

“Harder,” Draco said, needing the physical pleasure he was feeling to overwhelm his emotional ambivalence.

Potter obliged. The cock pounding his arse and the hand tugging on his own cock finally managed to bring Draco to orgasm, and he bit his lip to keep from making too much noise as he stroked himself through his climax.

It seemed that Potter hadn’t been expecting the powerful contractions of Draco’s arse around his cock, because he shouted in surprise and lust before falling forward over Draco’s body and slamming his cock in once, twice more and coming hard himself.

Draco shrieked when Potter’s magic rushed into him, racing through his body and setting every nerve on fire. He writhed beneath Potter as his body shook with aftershocks, his spent cock twitching. It was so good that it was actually painful, and even though it only lasted a few seconds, it left Draco limp and drained. He felt like Potter had fucked him for hours instead of minutes.

Potter didn’t notice anything amiss, slumped on top of Draco and breathing hard. The urge to sleep, even though Potter was still inside of him, was almost irresistible. It was a struggle for Draco just to keep his eyes open.

He summoned what strength he had left. “Potter.”

A grunt was his only reply.

Potter.” Draco lifted his hand – it felt like all the bones in his arm had turned to lead – and pushed feebly at Potter’s shoulder. “We’re done. Get off.”

“Right, yeah,” said Potter, a little dazedly. He pulled out slowly, making them both hiss at the sensation, and then sat up. “I’ll go back to my room, just give me a second – ”

“You have to stay.”

“Why?”

“The Dark Lord has to see us waking up together. That’s a memory I can’t fake. So you have to stay here.” Draco closed his eyes, exhausted even from that short speech.

“Oh. Okay.” Potter lay back down, pulling the covers over them both. “Do you want me to...er, clean up?”

Draco’s eyes flew open. “No!” There was no telling what would happen to his body if he had to endure more of Potter’s magic. “Don’t bother. I’ll get it in the morning.”

“All right,” Potter said slowly. “Good night, then.”

Draco barely mumbled in response. He rolled onto his side, facing away from Potter, and immediately fell asleep.

***


When Draco woke the next morning, it was in the exact position he had fallen asleep in, and his neck was killing him. Actually, his entire body was sore, although most of it was the satisfying kind of soreness that came from being well-fucked.

The thought made Draco’s stomach clench unpleasantly as he remembered what had happened last night. Potter had fucked him. He had enjoyed it. Those were two thoughts should never accompany each other.

A loud snore interrupted his brooding. Draco scowled and turned onto his other side to look at Potter, who was sprawled on his back with his mouth open. The sooner Draco woke him up and acted out the last memory they needed, the sooner he could kick the git out of his room.

He nudged Potter’s shoulder, remembering at the very last second to use his first name. “Harry.”

Potter didn’t stir. Draco rolled his eyes and gave him a shake.

Harry. Wake up.”

“No,” Potter muttered, his eyes still closed.

Draco’s irritation increased. He had neither the patience nor the willingness to let Potter have a lie-in when he himself was itching to get this over with. Accordingly, he leaned over Potter and pressed their lips together.

Potter tensed in surprise and confusion, tentatively returning the chaste kiss that had woken him. Draco drew back.

“Good morning,” he said with a small smile.

Potter just blinked at him. Draco started worrying that Potter had forgotten what he was doing here. If the idiot fucked this up by breaking character –

Potter’s bewildered expression cleared, replaced by a smile that was much less restrained than Draco’s. “Hey.”

Thank Merlin. Draco lay back on his side and said, “You should probably get back to your room before anyone realizes you didn’t sleep there.”

“I don’t care who knows.” Potter reached out to push a strand of Draco’s hair behind his ear. “Do you?”

“Only in the sense that I’d rather not have Weasley beat me to death.”

“That’s not going to happen,” said Potter. “I won’t let him touch you again.” Diffidently, he added, “Er...last night...”

Draco lifted an eyebrow expectantly.

“Was it good?” Potter’s cheeks flushed a little. “I mean, for you. I know it was good for me.”

This hadn’t been in the script, either. Draco wondered what had happened to make Potter so much more confident with improvisation. “It was very good,” he said. “In fact, if you bring me breakfast in bed, I might be convinced to let you do it again.”

Potter laughed and kissed the tip of Draco’s nose – much to Draco’s consternation – before grabbing his glasses from the nightstand, rolling out of bed, and searching for his clothes. He seemed completely unselfconscious about his nudity. “Eggs and bacon okay?”

“Perfect.” Draco made himself stop watching Potter get dressed. Yes, Potter was attractive, objectively speaking, but Draco had no business ogling him. The very fact that he wanted to watch Potter walk around naked was a sign that there was something seriously wrong with the universe.

Potter zipped up his denims and pulled on his T-shirt, not bothering with socks or shoes. He came around to Draco’s side of the bed and leaned down to kiss him again – on the mouth, this time. “I’ll be back soon.”

“I’ll be waiting.”

Potter left the room, only to open the door again less than ten seconds later. He hovered in the doorway. “So,” he said, his uncertainty a sharp contrast to his cheerful demeanor of a few seconds earlier. “Did everything go okay?”

“Fine,” Draco said, glad that he no longer had to pretend to be happy. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

And there wasn’t – not for Potter, at least. Everything had gone quite smoothly. If Draco hadn’t had Severus’ reaction to consider, he would have felt quite relieved himself.

“Good. Do...er, do you really want me to bring you breakfast?”

Draco was about to say no, when he considered the fact that going down to the kitchen to eat would require spending more time with Potter. “If you don’t mind.”

“I don’t.”
“Thank you.”

Potter bit his lip, then blurted out, “Are you okay?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I just – I know this must be hard for you –”

Draco suddenly realized that he was still naked, and worse, he still had Potter’s come inside him and his own come on his stomach. He pulled the covers up higher, trying to ignore the itch and desperate to make Potter leave so that he could clean himself up. “It isn’t hard for you?”

Potter looked taken aback. “Well, yeah, I guess. But you have Snape, and I don’t...have someone like that.”

“Severus and I will be fine.” Draco hardened his tone to disinvite further discussion.

“Okay,” Potter said, lifting his hands. “I’ll be back with breakfast.”

He left, for real this time. Draco grabbed his wand and cast a few cleaning spells, his own words echoing through his head.

Severus and I will be fine.

But would they?

***


For the rest of that day and into the next, Draco only saw Potter when he brought food to Draco’s room. Draco made it clear that he had no interest in talking about what had happened, so Potter’s visits were mercifully brief. On the plus side, the time alone allowed Draco to recover from too much time spent around Gryffindors – but on the negative, it also allowed him to obsess over how Severus was going to react when he saw the memories.

By the time Severus visited the next afternoon, Draco’s stomach was tied up in knots, and the trays of breakfast and lunch that Potter had delivered had gone uneaten. To save time, he’d already put all of the relevant memories into the Pensieve. He sat in the chair while he waited for Severus to come upstairs, tapping his fingernails nervously against the desk.

Severus knocked twice on the door to let Draco know he was there, then removed the locking spells and stepped inside. “Did everything go according to plan?” he asked as he warded the room.

“Yes.” Draco scrutinized Severus’ expression, but he saw nothing. Severus’ face was impassive – not cold or unfriendly, just unemotional. Draco couldn’t tell what he was feeling at all, which didn’t make him feel any better. “The Pensieve is ready.”

“Good.” Severus bent to brush a kiss against Draco’s cheek before drawing his wand and leaning over the Pensieve.

It was that brusque, almost dismissive kiss that finally gave Draco some insight into Severus’ emotional state. He was just as anxious as Draco was, if not more so – and Severus hated feeling anxious. He usually dealt with it by becoming either furiously angry or completely detached. In this case, he had apparently decided to go with the second option.

Strange as it sounded, Draco would rather have the anger. At least then he could be sure that Severus was feeling something.

It was going to take Severus some time to watch the memories – a couple of hours, at a minimum. Draco had prepared for that by having a book on hand, but he soon realized that he was far too nervous and distracted to read. Instead, he roamed restlessly around the room, never sitting for more than a few minutes at a time, dreading the moment Severus raised his head from the Pensieve but at the same time desperate for it to come.

When it did come, Draco didn’t even notice right away, absorbed as he was in pacing the length of the carpet. He stopped short when he saw that Severus was standing straight, back still turned to Draco. The tension in his body was palpable, and underneath it lay an unmistakable current of anger.

Don’t let him make you feel guilty. You had to do it. He knows that.

Draco cleared his throat. “Severus –”

Severus turned, and the rest of the words died on Draco’s lips. Severus’ face was no longer expressionless; his eyes were burning, his jaw tightly clenched, and his body was shaking as if he were barely restraining himself from violence.

Draco took a step back. He had never been afraid of Severus in his life, and he wasn’t now – he knew Severus would never hurt him. However, the same could not be said of the furniture, and Draco knew from experience to get the hell out of the way when Severus was about to fly into one of his destructive rages.

But Severus didn’t even draw his wand. Without saying a word, he strode towards Draco, grabbed him by the elbows, and kissed him.

Draco’s gasp of surprise was muffled by Severus’ mouth. The kiss was rough and possessive, more about staking a claim than about pleasure, and Severus’ grip on his arms was too tight. Draco didn’t fight it; there had been a part of him that had feared Severus would never touch him again after he saw the memories of Potter, and he was too relieved to find the kiss unwelcome. Besides, he was no stranger to rough sex.

Severus released Draco’s arms to yank at the buttons of his shirt, ripping them in his haste. Draco turned his head to the side to break the kiss.

“Severus,” he said, “what are you –”

“I can’t bear to see you in his clothes.” Severus’ voice was so low it was almost guttural.

“That doesn’t mean you have to ruin them – Severus!”

Severus had torn the shirt from his body without bothering to finish unbuttoning it; the remaining buttons popped off and fell to the floor on top of the damaged garment. Draco’s heart raced at the show of strength, and not from fear.

“Take them off,” said Severus. “Now.”

Despite his words, he didn’t even give Draco a chance to move before jerking open his trousers with the same force. He dragged Draco to the bed and pushed him down on it, pulling the denims off his legs and tossing them aside.

“Severus,” Draco said breathlessly, overcome. He’d never seen his lover so...animalistic. Even though he had his misgivings – he wasn’t sure this was the healthiest way for them to deal with what had happened – Draco’s cock was hard and standing at attention, his body aching with need.

Severus shrugged off his robes and then climbed over Draco on the bed, still otherwise fully clothed, and kissed him again. Draco tried to return the kiss, but he couldn’t keep up, and he started to understand that Severus didn’t want him to return it. Severus wanted to take him, to reclaim him from Potter, and he wanted Draco to let himself be taken.

Draco could do that. If that was what Severus needed to reassure himself that Draco was still his, then Draco would give it to him.

Severus bit his neck. “Turn over,” he rasped. “On your hands and knees.”

Draco obeyed, then flinched when the preparation spell hit him unexpectedly. The discomfort wasn’t even soothed by Severus’ magic, this time, because Severus was upset and his magic reflected that.

Before Draco could recover from the double hit, Severus drove inside him with one forceful thrust. Draco cried out, grabbing the headboard with both hands so that he would have something to hold on to.

Severus fucked him brutally, much harder than he ever had before, and it hurt. The pleasure was there, yes – Draco couldn’t imagine being fucked by Severus and not feeling pleasure – but the pain was sharp and immediate and almost equal to it. Even Draco’s first time hadn’t hurt this much, and Severus had been drunk for that.

He clung to the headboard and kept his legs spread submissively, concentrating on what felt good instead of what didn’t. And he derived no small amount of emotional satisfaction from Severus’ frenzied possessiveness, which was worlds away from his earlier emotional detachment and much more gratifying.

“Mine,” Severus growled, his hands painfully tight on Draco’s hips. “You are mine.”

It was difficult to speak while being fucked so vigorously, but Draco needed Severus to know that he agreed. “Always,” he gasped out. “Always yours, Severus.”

Severus made a kind of snarling animal noise and then he was coming, cock slamming into Draco relentlessly as he filled him with hot pulses of semen and magic. Instead of the warm rush of swiftly flowing water that Draco usually experienced when Severus came, he felt like he was being pummeled by angry, crashing waves. It knocked the wind out of him, and he choked for a few seconds before he remembered that there wasn’t actually any water.

Draco was still coughing and trying to catch his breath when Severus pulled out – far too quickly – and reached around, making a dissatisfied noise when he realized that Draco hadn’t come. He flipped Draco onto his back and slid down his body, swallowing his cock to the root.

Though he tried to moan, Draco didn’t have enough air in his lungs to do even that. Everything was happening too fast, and he could still feel the aftereffects of Severus’ magic, making him dizzy. He sucked in a desperate breath, drawing his legs up so his knees were bent and his toes were digging into the mattress.

Severus’ mouth was hot and eager and fucking incredible. Draco pushed his hips up, trying to get his cock as far down Severus’ throat as he could. One of his hands wandered blindly down to rest on Severus’ head.

“Put your fingers in me,” he begged. “Severus, please, I need –”

He hadn’t even finished his sentence before two of Severus’ long, slender fingers had been thrust inside him. It hurt a little, because his arse was sore from the aggressive fucking, but the pain was so eclipsed by the ecstasy that Draco barely noticed it. Rather than rubbing Draco’s prostate, Severus pulsed his fingertips against it rapidly, which was a sensation that Draco much preferred and found infinitely more pleasurable.

His climax came fast and powerfully, and Draco gave a low scream as Severus swallowed everything he gave, sucking him through his orgasm until Draco could no longer stand it. Severus pulled back, and Draco sagged into the bed. He let his eyes drift shut, pleasantly sated and ready to bask in the afterglow.

When a few seconds had passed without Severus lying next to him, Draco opened his eyes. He frowned when he saw that Severus was sitting at the foot of the bed, staring down at his own hand. Then Draco got a better look at Severus’ face – and the expression of horror on it.

Draco sat up quickly. “Severus, what’s wrong?” he asked, but his question was answered when his eyes fell to Severus’ hand. Two of Severus’ fingers – the ones that had been inside Draco – were stained with blood.

“You are bleeding,” Severus said blankly, as if he couldn’t quite believe his own words. “I made you bleed.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’m fine.”

Severus looked at him then, and there was such pain in his eyes that Draco’s stomach clenched. “Why didn’t you tell me I was hurting you?”

“You weren’t!”

Severus gave him a look that clearly said Don’t insult my intelligence, and Draco sighed.

“It felt good more than it hurt. I really am okay, Severus. It’s just a little blood.”

Any blood is too much, Draco, for God’s sake!” Severus was growing more agitated by the minute. “I was too rough, I lost control....”

“I liked it –”

“You should have stopped me – ”

“No. Severus, hush.” Draco took both of Severus’ hands in his own, covering the bloodstain so that Severus couldn’t keep glancing at it and working himself up. “I didn’t want you to stop. If it had gotten too much, if you had gone too far, I would have stopped you, but you didn’t. Do I look at all upset to you?”

Severus ignored the question. “I am not certain I would have stopped even if you had asked,” he said, his voice low and haunted.

“Yes, you would have,” Draco said firmly. He had absolutely no doubts about that. “You would have.”

“Watching Potter touch you...” Severus hesitated for a second, then quietly said, “I wanted to kill him, Draco. There was nothing I wanted more in that moment than to track him down and tear him apart piece by piece.”

“But you didn’t.”

“No. I turned my rage on you instead.” He laughed bitterly. “A prince among men, indeed.”

Draco didn’t know what to say. Severus’ past was dark – probably darker than Draco even knew – and he struggled with so many demons on a daily basis that it was impossible to keep track of them all. It was no secret to Draco that Severus had killed people, both willingly and under coercion, although the only one he’d seen himself was Dumbledore. Had Severus also raped people? Was that what this was about? Or was he simply troubled by what he perceived as his attack on Draco, a person whom he loved and had sworn to protect?

Draco picked up his wand from the nightstand, unable to suppress a hiss of pain as he leaned over; his arse ached horribly. He spelled Severus’ hand clean, keenly aware of Severus’ eyes tracking him. Only when every trace of blood had been removed from Severus’ skin did Draco set his wand aside.

“You are hurt,” said Severus.

“Just a little sore.”

“Lie on your stomach. I will heal you.”

Draco lay down and rolled over, moving very carefully. He could hear Severus undressing and was stupidly grateful for it – it meant that Severus wasn’t intending to leave any time soon.

Severus’ weight shifted on the bed. There was a tense pause, followed by a murmured cleaning spell. Though Draco felt the magic – which was fortunately much calmer now – it didn’t touch him, and he frowned.

“What are you doing?”

“There was blood on the sheets,” Severus said in a clipped tone.

Oh. Draco was about to start worrying again, but Severus rubbed his back reassuringly before spreading his arse with one hand and casting another cleaning spell to get rid of the blood and come.

Severus’ touch to that part of his body, combined with the benign magic, aroused Draco instinctively. He kept still, though, not wanting Severus to know. Severus wouldn’t want to have sex again so soon after what had happened.

“Christ,” Severus muttered as he gently prodded Draco with his fingers, assessing the damage.

That wasn’t good. Severus only invoked his father’s Muggle deity when he was truly distressed. It must be worse than Draco had thought – although now that he didn’t have sex to distract him, he was hurting a lot more than he had been before.

Severus took his time healing Draco, casting every spell with painstaking precision. Now that he had calmed down a bit, his magic was more like Draco was used to. The healing spells washing over his body felt like gentle waves lapping at him as he lay at the shoreline, warm and soothing, taking away his pain and replacing it with comfort.

Draco’s initial arousal faded quickly as he was lulled by Severus’ magic. When Severus finally finished, he was almost asleep.

Severus lay down next to him and stroked his hair. “I cannot stay. The Dark Lord is expecting the memories.”

Draco made a sleepy noise of protest. It had been far too long since he and Severus had slept in the same bed.

With a huff of amusement, Severus said, “I will stay until you fall asleep. Brat.”

The fondness in his voice made Draco smile. For a few minutes, they just lay there, Severus’ fingers carding through Draco’s hair as Draco dozed. Just as true sleep was about to claim him, Draco heard Severus speak again.

“Forgive me,” he said softly, probably unaware that Draco could hear him.

“Nothing to forgive,” Draco mumbled drowsily, and then he was out.

***


Draco avoided Potter as much as possible for the next week. They had made plans for another sex scene the day before the next Order meeting, and Draco thought that was enough. The Dark Lord would only care that Draco had managed to seduce Potter to his bed; he wouldn’t need or want to see anything else now. And on a personal note, Draco just found it too confusing to be around Potter. He wanted to hate him, but at the same time, he couldn’t help feeling a strange sense of solidarity with the git. After all, they had both been more or less forced into this awkward situation. Knowing that Potter was suffering almost as much as he was himself made Draco feel less like a whore.

Still, it was best for everyone involved if Draco kept his distance, and he had communicated as much to Potter – which was why he was surprised when Potter came barging into his room one day near the end of the week.

“Knock much?” Draco said in irritation, setting down the book he’d been reading.

Potter didn’t even notice his tone; his eyes were wide with excitement and he was almost out of breath. “We found it.”

“Found what?”

“The Horcrux. Hufflepuff’s cup.”

The news brought Draco to his feet. “In Gringotts?”

“Yeah. It’s in the Lestrange vault.”

Something about the way Potter said that made Draco narrow his eyes in suspicion. “Please tell me you aren’t planning on trying to break into Gringotts to steal it.”

“How else are we going to get it? Ask your auntie really nicely?”

“Potter! Nobody’s ever successfully stolen anything from Gringotts before.”

“That’s not true –”

“The Dark Lord doesn’t count.”

“Why not?” Potter said, sounding honestly offended. “You think he’s more powerful than I am?”

“Perhaps not, but he is smarter – usually – and he had the advantage of decades of experience.”

“Then it’s a good thing I’m taking a bunch of people who are both smarter and more experienced than me.”

Draco blew out an exasperated breath. “Gringotts’ security –”

“Is challenging, but not impossible. Not for the Order.” Potter’s face softened. “I know you’re worried –”

“I certainly am not!”

“– but we’ll be okay. I just came to tell you that we’re leaving.”

“So soon?” Fine, so maybe Draco was a little worried.

“We have to go now. We think the Lestranges may know we were tipped off.”

Before Draco could process that completely non-reassuring information, Potter was heading for the door. “Potter!” Draco called after him.

He stopped and turned. “Yeah?”

Draco wasn’t sure why he had spoken. What could he possibly say? Be careful? That was a useless sentiment when it came to Potter.

“Don’t die,” he said instead.

Potter grinned. “I’ll do my best.”

***


It seemed that the majority of the Order had gone with Potter to Gringotts; Draco was the only living soul in Grimmauld Place. Even the house elf was absent. Potter had been too preoccupied to remember to lock Draco’s door to keep up appearances, so Draco had free run of the house. After a brief check of the downstairs rooms, however, Draco grew unnerved by the silence and returned to his room, where he spent the rest of the day in a state of agitation that was becoming all too familiar.

He knew the moment Potter returned – not because he heard him, but because he felt him. Potter’s Apparition reverberated through the house, startling Draco so badly he almost fell out of his chair. He stared at the walls, watching with equal parts fascination and fear as they literally pulsed with Potter’s magic, red-hot and angry.

The raid must have gone badly.

Draco didn’t know where in the house Potter was, but the only thing that mattered was that Potter wasn’t in his bedroom. He had never felt another wizard’s magic without being in their immediate presence. Even the Dark Lord, who had the strongest magic Draco had ever felt, wasn’t so powerful that Draco could feel him from a different room.

Draco broke out in gooseflesh, but not from cold. In fact, his bedroom was growing warmer by the second, as if someone had cast a warming charm. The walls and floor shimmered with heat.

The stupidest thing he could possibly do in that moment was seek Potter out. So, of course, that was exactly what he did.

It was as if he wasn’t in complete control of his own actions, like a moth being drawn to flame. Something deep inside him reacted to Potter’s magic with hunger, yearning to be closer to it, and it was a craving that was too powerful for Draco to deny.

He moved through the house slowly, letting the magic guide him down the stairs and into the drawing room. The closer Draco got to Potter, the hotter the air became, until he crossed the threshold to the drawing room and halted in wonder.

Raw magic sparked and crackled through the air, racing over the furniture, the rug, the curtains. Every few seconds, something burst into flame, then extinguished itself just as quickly, leaving the object unharmed. Fire licked at the walls without burning them. And in the middle of it all, Potter paced the room like an angry lion.

Draco didn’t understand what was happening. There were other wizards like him who experienced magic with one of their senses – people who could see magic, or smell it, or feel it the way he did. But it was always one sense that was affected. If Draco could see Potter’s magic, then it wasn’t his ability allowing him to do so.

“Potter,” he whispered, his mouth dry.

Potter whirled around, and Draco staggered backwards as the magic hit him like a blast of heat from an oven. Potter wasn’t just angry, he was furious, and his power swirled around him in a wild, fiery maelstrom that Draco could tell he was losing his grip on.

What would happen if Potter lost control of his magic when it was like this? Draco had a horrible vision of the entire house going up in flames and burning them both to ash. He had to calm Potter down.

“What happened?” he asked.

“They were waiting for us,” Potter said, and even his voice was laced with magic, deeper and more resonant than usual. “It was an ambush.”

“The cup?”

“We got it. But we lost –” Potter’s jaw clenched, and one of the sofas caught fire.

“Who?” said Draco, dreading the answer. If it had been Granger or any of the Weasleys, he didn’t think he’d be able to talk Potter down.

“Billings and Wheeler. You never met them.” Potter started pacing again, which took some of the focus of his magic off Draco and made it easier for him to breathe. “It was my fault.”

“I’m sure that’s not true.”

“It is. I wanted the cup so badly that I didn’t stop to think. I rushed us. And I killed them.”

Draco chanced a couple of steps towards Potter. “You didn’t. It’s a war, Potter. People die. And you said you got the cup, so at least they didn’t die in vain.”

Potter turned on him again, magic lashing out at Draco like a burning whip. Draco swayed and grabbed the back of a nearby chair to keep from falling over. The heat of Potter’s power should have hurt – and it did have a painful edge – but it was quickly becoming intoxicating.

“Do you have any compassion at all?” Potter demanded. “It’s like you’re made of ice.”

Draco shook his head, trying to stay focused. “I’m just looking at the big picture. You should be, too –”

Potter seized his wrist, probably to stop him talking, and it was as if Draco had become a human lightning rod. Wild magic shot through him, travelling from Potter's hand through Draco's body and into the floor. Draco gasped and his legs gave out under the onslaught, bringing him to his knees.

The initial rush of power faded quickly, but a steady flow of energy remained, thrumming through Draco and heating his blood. He could feel it in every pore, every cell, every atom of his being, and he had the sense that he was no longer a wizard of flesh and blood, but that he was made entirely of magic instead.  

It was mind-blowing.

Potter stared down at Draco, still holding his arm. Now that Draco had grounded his magic, he seemed a little more in control of himself, though the fierce light in his eyes hadn’t diminished.

Draco tried to say his name, but all that came out was a weak puh sound. His mouth simply refused to coordinate with his brain. Drunk. He felt drunk, only a hundred times better and without any of the negatives.

Potter fell to his knees in front of Draco. Almost without meaning to, Draco grabbed the back of Potter’s head with his free hand and pulled him into a kiss. Potter stiffened and made a startled noise, but then he kissed Draco back hungrily.

Gods, yes, this was what Draco wanted, what he needed, more of that magic sliding over his skin and setting his nerves ablaze. He rubbed his throbbing cock against Potter’s hip and whimpered.

His clothes suddenly vanished, and so did Potter’s. Draco hadn’t heard him cast a spell, and he certainly wasn’t holding his wand, but there was no doubt that the clothes were gone because Potter wanted them gone. The pure power inherent in that act only increased Draco’s need. He pushed Potter backwards so he was sitting on his heels and straddled his lap, frantic to have Potter inside him – to have that magic inside him.

“Easy, easy,” said Potter, “wait a second –”

Draco wasn’t sure what happened or how Potter did it, but in an instant he was wet and open and ready. It hadn’t been the preparation spell – Draco hadn’t even felt the changes happening. One second his body wasn’t prepared for sex, and the next it just...was.

Without further thought, Draco impaled himself on Potter’s cock. It was like having molten pleasure poured directly into his core, and Draco came immediately, writhing against Potter while he clawed at his back and bit his shoulder hard enough to draw blood.

When the last orgasmic shudder had subsided, Draco was still just as hard as he’d been before he’d come, and just as anxious to be fucked. Though his orgasm had been pleasurable, somehow it hadn’t given him any relief. Draco moaned in dismay and frustration, grinding down on Potter’s cock.

Potter was thrusting up into Draco as best he could, but it wasn’t enough for either of them. He lowered Draco onto his back. Draco drew his legs up in anticipation of being fucked, then cried out in pain when Potter pulled out unexpectedly – it was like being stabbed in reverse. He grabbed Potter’s arm to keep him from moving away.

“Hang on, I’m just turning you over,” Potter said. “It’ll be better.”

Draco allowed himself to be rolled onto his stomach; the thick rug was soft against his skin. Potter dragged his hips up so Draco was balanced on his knees, then sank into his arse once more. The return of Potter’s warmth and magic, after the moments of aching emptiness, was the best thing Draco had ever felt.

He tried to rise from his elbows to his hands so that he could move more freely, but Potter put a hand on the small of his back and kept his chest pressed firmly against the floor. “Stay down,” he ordered in a voice that rumbled with thunder. “Just take it.”

Draco was too lost in magic-induced bliss to even want to argue. He wound his fingers into the rug, and when Potter started fucking him, raw and deep and hard, he let out an uninhibited scream of pleasure. Once he’d started, he couldn’t stop, and he screamed again and again as Potter fucked him within an inch of his life.

The screams precluded speech, but even if Draco had been able to speak, he wouldn’t have been able to manage anything more coherent than fuck me fuck me YES oh gods harder fuck me. He couldn’t tell where Potter ended and he began. He couldn’t even really feel Potter’s cock – only that magic, that power, driving into him over and over.

Bolts of lightning travelled up his spine, causing his back to twist and arch, and into his arms and legs, making them tremble uncontrollably. He shoved himself back onto Potter’s cock with no care for the rug burn he was getting on his elbows and knees.

“Fuck, Draco, I can’t...I’m gonna...”

Potter shouted loudly when he came, hips jerking wildly as he spilled deep inside Draco. Draco’s final scream caught in his throat as the force of Potter’s orgasm ripped his own from him as well. His body shook with violent spasms as it was wracked by surge after surge of pure, intense magic. The assault finally proved to be too much for Draco’s system, and he passed out.

When he came to, eyes blinking open blearily, he was lying on his back with Potter kneeling over him, looking worried.

“Malfoy,” he said when he saw Draco was awake. “Are you okay?”

At first, Draco had no idea where he was or what had happened. His head was pounding, his throat was raw, and he felt like he was going to throw up any second. “What...” he started, then stopped when his voice came out hoarse and cracked, as if he’d been screaming.

Screaming...Oh, fuck.

“No,” Draco moaned, his memory returning. “No.”

“Are you okay?” Potter asked again.

He reached out like he was going to touch Draco’s shoulder, and Draco jerked away, scrambling sideways on the floor. The sudden movement made his stomach lurch, and he barely stopped himself from vomiting all over the rug. “Don’t touch me, don’t...” He looked down at himself, then around the room. “Where are my clothes?”

“Er...”

“Potter, where the fuck are my clothes?”

“I don’t know,” Potter said helplessly. “I didn’t use a spell to take them off. They just... disappeared. I don’t know where they went. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t know where mine are, either.”

“How on earth would that make me feel better?” said Draco with a touch of hysteria. He was desperately confused; he could remember what had happened, though it was a little blurry. What he couldn’t remember was how it had started, or why he had allowed it to continue. On top of all that, he felt horribly sick – achy and nauseous and enervated, like he’d gone a few rounds with the Cruciatus Curse.

“I can transfigure you something –”

“You do any more magic and I will fucking kill you.” Draco was almost as surprised by his own vehemence as Potter was.

He ignored Potter’s wide eyes and shakily got to his feet, grabbing an afghan from the back of a chair and wrapping it around himself. Potter rose as well, though he did nothing to cover up.

“Malfoy, I –”

“Stay away from me,” said Draco, backing towards the door. “Just stay the fuck away from me, Potter. I mean it.”

He was in no fit state to run from the room, but he did his best.

***


Draco spent the next couple of days curled up in bed, suffering the worst hangover known to man. Nothing would ease his pounding headache, his mouth remained dry and cottony no matter how much water he drank, and even thinking about food made him throw up. He rejected all of Potter’s entreaties and requests to talk, refusing to even allow him into the room.

He was caught in a paroxysm of guilt and self-loathing, obsessing over what had happened, reviewing every minute detail of the encounter to see where he had gone wrong. Severus would never forgive him this. Never.

Draco lost track of time, huddled in bed as he was, so Severus’ eventual arrival caught him off-guard. He felt the instinctive urge to jump out of bed and try to make himself presentable, but quickly quashed it. What did it matter what he looked like?

“Draco,” Severus said as he set the memory-copying device on the desk and then sat on the edge of the bed. “Are you ill?”

He had considered not telling Severus about what he’d done, but that wasn’t really an option. Severus was expecting a memory to take back to the Dark Lord, and Draco only had one to give him. There was no point in trying to fool Severus into thinking it had all been planned, either; the man wasn’t an idiot, and anyway, he deserved the truth.

“I had sex with Potter,” Draco said listlessly. He couldn’t look Severus in the eye, so he just stared at the opposite wall.

“That might be enough to put anyone to bed, but don’t you think you are being a little melodramatic?”

“No, I...I had sex with Potter. Unplanned. For real.”

Severus went completely still. He was silent for so long that Draco started to think he hadn’t heard him.

“Severus –”

“When?” Severus’ voice was tight, controlled.

“A couple of days ago.”

Severus stood abruptly and walked over to the desk, his back to Draco. He held himself stiffly, and when he spoke again, his voice was no longer controlled, but raw with hurt. “Why?”

Draco swallowed. “I don’t know. It’s all...it’s a bit of a blur.”

“Show me the memory,” Severus said, turning around.

Draco sat up, frowning. He’d known that Severus would have to watch the memory, to review it as he’d done with all the others, but he hadn’t expected him to ask to see it. That was taking emotional masochism to new lengths.

“Are you sure you want to –”

“It is not a question of want,” Severus said coldly. “It is a question of necessity. Show me the memory, Draco.”

His icy tone made Draco cringe, but he didn’t begrudge Severus his anger. If their positions had been reversed, Draco would be doing a lot worse.

He picked up his wand and crossed to the desk. He tried to recall the conversation he and Potter had been having before things had gotten out of control – Draco was pretty sure he remembered mentioning the Horcrux at one point, and that was something the Dark Lord could not see. He finally decided just to start the memory from the moment Potter had grabbed his wrist.

When the memory had been fully withdrawn – right up to the point where he had passed out – Draco backed away from the desk to let Severus take his place in front of the Pensieve. He returned to the bed, though he was too uneasy to lie down again.

To Draco’s confusion, Severus emerged from the Pensieve only a few minutes later. He couldn’t possibly have watched the whole memory.

Severus spun to face him, and Draco recoiled at the pure fury in his expression. For the first time in his life, he doubted his certainty that Severus would never hurt him.

“Why are you trying to protect him?” Severus barked.

Draco blinked. “What? I...what?”

“You told me you had sex with Potter. You neglected to mention that he raped you.”

Raped?” Draco repeated, his jaw dropping. “He didn’t rape me! Did you even watch –”

“You were clearly intoxicated. He was not. He took advantage of you.”

“That’s ridiculous! I wasn’t intoxicated.”

Severus snorted. “Draco, I have seen men up to their waists in whiskey more sober than you were.”

“Fine,” said Draco. “So I wasn’t exactly in my right mind. It doesn’t matter. Potter couldn’t have taken advantage of me, because he couldn’t have known I was in any state to be taken advantage of. He doesn’t know how magic affects me.”

“Yes, he does.”

“How could he possibly –”

“I told him.”

Draco’s eyes widened. Severus’ anger had faded somewhat, to be replaced with discomfort and a sort of defiant guilt.

“You told him,” Draco said slowly. “You told Harry Potter that I can feel magic.”

“Yes.”

“For Merlin’s sake, Severus, why?”

“I had to warn him not to perform magic around you,” Severus said. “You did not know how powerful he had become, but I did. I told him you would be distracted by it, that it would make it difficult for you to concentrate on your mission.”

Draco remembered the first day he had arrived here, when Severus had brought Potter into the foyer to speak with him privately. At least now he knew what it had been about.

“You had no right to tell him that without my permission.”

“Perhaps not. But have no doubt that he knew you were drunk on his magic when he fucked you.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Draco, growing more exasperated by the minute. “Potter was forced into this just as much as I was. Why would he...” Draco trailed off as Severus began to look even guiltier. “What now?”

“The dreams the Dark Lord saw – Potter’s dreams – they were more specific than he led you to believe.”

Feeling a sense of foreboding, Draco said, “What do you mean?”

“Potter doesn’t dream about vague blond men.” Severus sighed. “He dreams about you.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. People have sex dreams all the time about people they don’t actually want to sleep with. Don’t you remember that time you dreamt about McGonagall and –”

“Draco,” Severus interrupted quietly. “Potter wants you. He has wanted you since you began spying for the Order. I have always known it.”

Shaking his head in denial, Draco said, “No. Maybe he finds me attractive, but that doesn’t mean...he’s never said...”

Wanted you for so long...

Call me Harry. Please.


Was it possible that what Draco had thought was playacting hadn’t been acting at all? Was the reason Potter had been so unexpectedly good at putting on this charade because he had meant everything he’d said?

Draco’s nausea, which had begun to wane that morning, returned full-force. “Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked.

“I thought it would make you uncomfortable.”

“You’re lying,” Draco snapped as he stood up. He could see the real reason written all over Severus’ face. Merlin, he was so sick of being lied to. “You were just afraid that if I knew Potter wanted me, I would leave you for him.”

Severus didn’t contradict him. “It would not have been the first time someone I loved chose a Potter over myself.”

“Don’t you dare compare me to her.”

“Draco –”

“How can you have so little faith in me? So little respect for me? How can you claim you love me when you don’t even trust me?”

“And should I have trusted you?” said Severus, growing angry once more. “You slept with Potter willingly even without knowing the truth.”

“Not five minutes ago you were insisting that he raped me!”

Severus’ expression shuttered. “Yes. He and I will have words about that.”

“You can’t have it both ways, Severus,” Draco said impatiently. “Either Potter raped me and I’m not at fault, or I chose to be unfaithful to you by having sex with him, in which case I don’ t think you can say he’s at fault. You can’t feel wounded by us both. Make up your fucking mind.”

Severus glared at him for a second before striding to the door. Draco stood still, immobilized by shock. Was Severus really going to choose to feel betrayed by him instead of Potter? Granted, Draco himself hadn’t considered it rape at all, but that had been before he’d found out that Potter had known exactly what was happening. If he’d known, then he could have stopped it. Should have stopped it.

Severus slammed the bedroom door as he left. Draco closed his eyes and tried to process the fact that Severus had, in essence, chosen Potter over him.

Then he heard the shouting.

Severus’ angry voice was unmistakable, even coming from down the hall. Draco couldn’t make out the words, but the message was clear, and when Potter’s equally angry voice answered a moment later, his knees went weak with relief.

The relief was short-lived when Draco realized that if he could hear them, so could everyone else in the house. He spared a moment to regret that he had never changed out of his pajamas before running out of his room and down the hall.

Severus and Potter were standing just inside the door to Potter’s room, facing off like enraged cats. Draco darted into the room and shut the door behind him.

“Are you mad?” he hissed. “They can probably hear you at the Ministry!”

Both men turned to look at him, and Draco drew back a little. Having two men fight over you was not as fun as Pansy’s novels made it sound.

“Sorry,” said Potter. He waved his hand absently at the door, and just like that, the wards sprang up – without a spell or even a wand.

Draco stumbled sideways. Severus reached out to steady him and glowered at Potter. “For God’s sake, Potter –”

“I’m sorry,” Potter said again, though he sounded like he actually meant it this time. “I didn’t do that on purpose, I swear.”

Draco righted himself, stepping out of Severus’ reach. “So you did know,” he said to Potter.

“I...yeah.”

“Then why did you let me – if you knew I couldn’t control myself, why didn’t you stop me?”

Potter looked away, his face flushed with shame. “I didn’t want to,” he said, so softly that Draco almost didn’t hear him.

Draco wished he hadn’t heard him. His chest ached with betrayal. “So that’s true as well, then.”

“Yes.”

“You bastard,” Draco spat. “All this time you’ve let me believe that this has been as difficult for you as it’s been for me, but really it’s been a dream come true. Literally.”

Potter looked at him again, eyes blazing. “What was I supposed to say? I’m glad Voldemort decided to whore you out because I’ve wanted you for months? I loved fucking you even though I knew you didn’t really want it?” His voice cracked with self-disgust. “How could that have made anything better?”

Whore you out. Yes. That was what had happened, wasn’t it? When it had been the two of them being forced into it together, it had been different – two people making a sacrifice to help end a war. But it hadn’t been a sacrifice for Potter at all. He’d used Draco just as much as the Dark Lord had.

And Severus – he had watched the memory of Potter fucking Draco, and what had he done? Thrown him on his hands and knees and fucked him until he’d bled. He’d used Draco like an animal. Like a toy.

Like a whore.

Draco swallowed back the threatening tears, choosing to focus on his rage instead of his hurt. The only way he could escape from this situation with any of his dignity intact was to get angry.

“I’ve had enough,” he said, his voice shaking. “The way you’ve behaved towards me – both of you – I won’t stand for it anymore. You’ve lied to me, used me, treated me with nothing but disrespect.”

“Draco –” Severus started, looking taken aback.

“Shut up,” said Draco. “I love you, Severus, but you do not own me. I won’t let you treat me like a possession or a child. And you.” He rounded on Potter. “I’m not here for your pleasure, and if you ever cast a spell near me in a non-emergency situation again, I will castrate you.”

The stunned expressions on both their faces gave Draco a sense of vicious satisfaction.

“Let me know when you’ve destroyed the Horcrux, and I’ll see this through. But until then, you can both fuck yourselves.” Draco turned on his heel and walked out of the room with his spine straight and his head held high. Potter’s wards didn’t stop him, though they did make him shiver as he passed through them.

It wasn’t until he had reached his bedroom and safely shut the door behind him that the hurt broke through the barriers he had put up around it. He collapsed into the desk chair and put his head in his hands, refusing to cry even though his chest felt like it was caving in. He wouldn’t be weak this time.

There was a light tapping on the door. “Draco,” came Severus’ voice, uncharacteristically hesitant.

Draco didn’t lift his head. “What part of ‘fuck yourself’ do you not understand?”

The resultant silence was long enough to make Draco think Severus had left, but then he spoke again. “I need the memory. I cannot return to the Dark Lord without it.”

Draco clenched his jaw and dug his fingernails into his palms. The sheer, unmitigated gall...

He took a deep breath. Severus was right. If he went back to the Dark Lord empty-handed, not only would he be punished severely, but the whole mission would be compromised.

The memory was still in the Pensieve. Draco had seen Severus perform the memory-copying procedure several times, and he wasn’t an idiot – no matter what certain parties might think – so there was no need to let Severus into the room. He transferred the memory from the Pensieve to the first vial, then cast the duplication spell.

When the second vial was full, Draco grabbed it, wrenched the door open, shoved it into Severus’ hands, and then slammed the door in Severus’ startled face.

***


Potter did indeed destroy the Horcrux, although Draco didn’t know where or how. In fact, the only reason he knew that Potter had done it at all was because Granger came to tell him.

“So Potter’s sending you to do his dirty work now, is he?” Draco drawled, regarding Granger where she sat awkwardly in his chair. “I thought he was supposed to be fearless.”

“He didn’t send me. I offered.” Her lips quirked. “Although I did hear him muttering something about castration.”

“At least he’s taking me seriously.”

“Yes.” Granger’s slight smile faded as she said, “He told me what happened.”

“Of course he did.”

“He feels terrible about it.”

“Of course he does.”

“The past few years have been really difficult for him –”

“Whereas they’ve been a walk in the park for me,” said Draco.

She huffed in exasperation. “Would you stop being snarky and just listen to me for a minute? Harry gained too much power far too quickly. That kind of thing plays havoc with a person’s mind. If he hadn’t had his friends around him to keep him grounded...”

“He could have become the next Dark Lord,” Draco finished for her. “I know. I’ve felt his power in a way you haven’t. He’s stronger than the Dark Lord.”

Granger nodded. “I’m not trying to excuse what he did or the way he treated you. I just think it’s important that you know he didn’t do any of it maliciously. He never intended to hurt you. He never would.”

“Then he can tell me that himself.”

“Fair enough. Now that all of the Horcruxes are gone, we’re ready to move whenever You-Know-Who is. Harry told me that there’s one more thing you and he have to do?”

Draco grimaced. “Yes.”

“I’ll tell him it’s safe to talk to you.” She stood up but didn’t move towards the door. “Malfoy... I’m not sure if anyone’s ever told you this, but we really appreciate what you’re doing. Not just the past few weeks, but all of it. It can’t have been easy.”

Draco raised his eyebrows, surprised and – to his great chagrin – a little touched. Granger was right. None of the people aware of his double life had ever thanked him for it.

He couldn’t let her know he cared, though. “I’m not doing it for you.”

“Doesn’t matter,” she said with a shrug. “You’re doing it, and that’s enough for me. So thank you.”

She still didn’t move; she seemed to be waiting for something.

“You’re welcome,” Draco said experimentally.

Granger smiled, and for once, Draco didn’t find it annoying.

***


That night, Draco and Potter stood facing each other in Draco’s bedroom, a good amount of space between them. Potter was more uncomfortable than Draco had ever seen him, and he couldn’t bring himself to look Draco directly in the eye.

“You know what you’re supposed to say?” Draco asked.

“Yeah.”

“If we make any mistakes, we’ll have to start over.”

“I know. I’ve got it.”

“Fine. And to be absolutely clear, Potter, this is the last time you will ever touch me.”

Now Potter met his eyes. “I’ve got that, too, thanks.”

Draco stepped closer to him. “No magic.”

“I promise.”

Draco wound his arms around Potter’s neck and kissed him. He didn’t want to – it infuriated him that he had to have sex with Potter one last time, after what he’d learned – but he comforted himself with the knowledge that he’d never have to do it again. Very soon, either the Dark Lord would be dead, or Draco would be.

His brain objected to letting Potter touch him, but his body remembered the pleasure that touch had brought him before, and it wasn’t long before Potter’s sure embrace and deep kisses got him hard. Draco broke the kiss and led Potter to the bed, doing his best to keep his mind blank and distant as they shed their clothes and moved back into each other’s arms.

The sex had to be different this time. The Dark Lord had to believe that Potter had feelings for Draco – true, deep feelings that would make him stupid and rash. So Potter moved more slowly, more gently, tenderness in every kiss and caress.

Draco was glad to discover that he didn’t find that kind of sex arousing if it wasn’t with Severus. He allowed Potter to take the lead, letting out soft moans and sighs at the appropriate times, keeping his eyes closed and touching himself just enough to make sure he didn’t lose his erection. By the time Potter slid inside him, Draco was thoroughly bored.

Potter’s head was buried in the crook of his neck, so Draco thought it was safe to open his eyes. He stared up at the ceiling as he ran his hands over Potter’s back and through his hair, canting his hips slightly to meet Potter’s. The slow, steady thrusts felt good, good enough that Draco didn’t have to touch his cock anymore, but they were more along the lines of mildly pleasant than unbearably arousing. Potter did his best to avoid Draco’s prostate, as he’d been firmly instructed to.

“Mmm, Harry,” Draco moaned, trying to sound overwhelmed instead of disinterested.

Potter took a sharp breath and started moving faster, sending a rush of pleasure through Draco’s body. He dug his nails into Potter’s shoulder to tell him to slow down. Apparently he’d underestimated the effect of calling Potter by his first name.

Draco turned his head so his cheek was pressed against Potter’s and kissed his neck, signaling that it was time to say the fateful words that would clinch both their and the Dark Lord’s plans. Potter lifted his head from Draco’s neck and laid a brief kiss on his lips, eyes searching Draco’s face.

“Everything okay?” he asked, his hips never stilling.

Draco nodded, fighting to keep eye contact. It was more difficult than he’d thought it would be to look Potter in the eye while the man was fucking him, especially since Potter’s eyes were much more intense without the shield of his glasses. “Yes. I just...I...”

“What is it? You can tell me.”

Very quietly, Draco said, “I’m scared.”

Potter stopped thrusting, though he remained buried in Draco’s body, and frowned. “Of me?”

“Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.” Draco reached up to cup Potter’s cheek in his hand. Potter kissed his palm.

“What, then?”

Draco let his hand fall back to the bed as fear crept into his voice. “If He finds me...”

“He won’t.”

“Professor Snape says that the Death Eaters are looking for me everywhere, that the Dark Lord is furious they haven’t found me yet.”

Potter’s eyes hardened. “They won’t ever find you. Ever.”

“You can’t know that.”

“Yes, I can.” Potter kissed his cheek, his lips. “I won’t let anything happen to you. No matter what.”

Draco bit his lip and looked away, as if he didn’t quite believe him. Potter gently turned his face back.

“Hey. Look at me. I can protect you. Nobody’s ever going to hurt you again, okay?”

“Do you promise?”

Potter smiled. “I promise,” he said, and sealed his pledge with a fierce, possessive kiss.

His hips resumed their thrusting, faster now than before, and Potter covered Draco’s face and neck with kisses as he whispered words of devotion. Draco did his best to tune them out; he was eager for this all to be over with. He had told Potter not to wait for him to come first – when Potter orgasmed, the rush of magic would compel Draco to climax whether he wanted to or not, so there was no reason to prolong this any more than absolutely necessary.

Potter’s breath became heavier and his movements erratic as he neared the edge, and the increase in friction made Draco moan and wriggle with pleasure even though he’d sworn to himself that he wouldn’t. He didn’t understand why his distaste for and anger with Potter didn’t prevent him from enjoying the sex. What did it say about him that he found pleasure in being fucked essentially against his will by someone he didn’t particularly care for?

“Beautiful,” Potter gasped. “So fucking beautiful – oh god, Draco –”

Potter came while Draco was still trying to deal with his shock at Potter’s words. The power ripped through him, bright and sharp, coursing up his spine before spreading into his limbs and even his head. Draco cried out and came as well, without so much as a hand on his cock, as if Potter’s magic was forcing his orgasm from him.

Just like the first time, once the pleasure had passed, Draco was left weak and nearly insensible. Potter was still inside him, kissing his neck lazily. Draco moved his head as far away as he could – which wasn’t far – and made a noise of objection.

With a great reluctance, Potter withdrew and rolled to the side. He showed no sign of planning to move any further.

“Go away,” Draco said. His words were slightly slurred with exhaustion.

“I thought I had to stay?”

“That was the first time. It doesn’t matter now. So get out.”

“Okay, okay,” said Potter. He sighed. “I’m going.”

Draco pulled the covers up to his chin and closed his eyes so he didn’t have to watch Potter getting dressed. The sticky feel of come on his stomach and in his arse disgusted him, but he couldn’t muster the energy for a spell.

“I’m leaving now,” Potter said. His voice sounded like it was coming from the foot of the bed, but Draco didn’t open his eyes to check.

“Good.”

“Malfoy –”

“Don’t.”

Potter left the room without another word.

***


Severus came to retrieve the memory the next afternoon. Draco had it ready and waiting in the Pensieve before he even arrived, and he stayed on the opposite side of the room during Severus’ entire visit, making it clear that he didn’t want to be touched. They barely spoke two words to each other before Severus entered the memory.

Draco didn’t think he’d ever been this angry with Severus. He just felt so betrayed. Severus had hidden things from him, gone behind his back, and manipulated the situation to his own benefit. Not only did that shake Draco’s trust in him, but it also reawakened his old fear that Severus had little use or care for him beyond sex.

But even though he was furious, Draco still loved Severus – loved him so much that his heart ached with it. It hurt to be in the same room without touching him, and his conflicting desires to pull Severus close and push him away just confused Draco and made everything harder.

Severus didn’t say anything when he emerged from the memory, and he remained silent as he passed it through the duplication device. That was fine by Draco. He didn’t think there was anything Severus could say right now that wouldn’t make things worse.

When the duplicated memory was stashed safely in Severus’ robes, he finally turned to face Draco. “The Dark Lord will likely require several days to prepare his ambush,” he said.

“All right.”

“I will warn you of the kidnapping before it occurs. Tell Potter to have his forces ready to move at any time.”

“Tell him yourself,” Draco said, perhaps a bit too harshly. “I’m not your messenger.”

Severus stiffened, and there was a brief flash of surprise and hurt in his eyes before his face smoothed out as if he hadn’t been affected by Draco’s words at all. “Of course.”

Draco felt the urge to apologize, to reach out to Severus, to tell him it would be all right, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He was the one who had been wronged, not Severus. Once the initial hysteria after his indiscretion with Potter had passed, Draco had realized it was ridiculous to hold himself responsible for what had happened – it was no different than if Potter had slipped him a love potion and then taken advantage of his altered state, except for the fact that Potter hadn’t gotten Draco high on purpose. Draco would never in a million years have been unfaithful to Severus under any other circumstances. He hadn’t fucked up, Severus had, and Draco was too proud to apologize when he hadn’t done anything wrong.

So he said nothing.

The panic attack that hit him that night was the worst he could ever remember having. It happened when he was in bed, pretending to be trying to sleep but really just staring glumly at the wall. One moment he was breathing freely, and the next his throat had closed off under the pressure of abrupt, unexpected terror.

Draco tried to cry out, but no sound could pass through the constriction in his throat. And who would he call, anyway? Severus wasn’t here, and Potter wasn’t an option. He was alone.

Merlin, he was going to die alone! His heart was beating so fast that it would surely explode any second. Draco thrashed on the bed, legs kicking wildly as his hands scrabbled at the mattress in search of something, anything to hold on to. His pulse pounded in his ears, loud, too loud, the ceiling was going to fall, cave in, bury him in the bed, oh no no no Severus

Just as Draco’s vision began to grey at the edges from lack of oxygen, the panic waned and his throat opened up, allowing him to breathe again. He took in great shuddering gasps of air as he reminded himself that he wasn’t in any danger, that he wasn’t going to die. His sweat-soaked body trembled violently from cold and the aftereffects of gut-wrenching fear.

In his panicked convulsions, Draco had thrown the covers completely off the bed. When he got up to retrieve them, he was hardly able to stand on his wobbly legs. He cast a spell to clean himself up and then lay back down, burrowing under the covers in search of warmth. The panic was gone, but his pulse was still racing and his breaths were unsteady. Draco was shaken to his core.

He felt the sudden and almost uncontrollable urge to burst into tears, but he managed to stop himself after only one irrepressible sob. He bit the inside of his cheek hard. No way was he going to cry like a frightened child because of a panic attack.

When was the last time he’d suffered an attack all the way to its natural conclusion? Draco couldn’t remember. Years ago, at least. For a long time, Severus had always been there to cut them short, aside from the one time that Potter had done it. Draco had forgotten how truly awful they could be.

In a few days, the war would be over, one way or another. And Draco was starting to realize that he didn’t even care how it ended.

He just wanted it done.

***


Severus’ Patronus came three days later, galloping straight through the walls of Draco’s bedroom and startling him badly.

Five minutes,” the doe said in Severus’ voice. “Be ready.”

The Patronus dissolved into mist, leaving Draco gaping at the spot in which it had stood. He’d thought he’d been prepared for this, but the way he stood frozen for a good twenty seconds suggested otherwise.

When he finally broke out of his trance – this is really happening, oh gods – Draco grabbed his wand from the bed and slid it into his sleeve before hurrying to search for Potter.

It was mid-afternoon, early enough so that most of the house’s residents were out and not late enough that they had starting coming home for dinner yet. Draco didn’t run into anyone in the halls or on the stairs as he made his way to the ground floor after failing to find Potter in his bedroom.

Potter must have heard his running footsteps, because he came out of the library with a puzzled look on his face just as Draco was sprinting towards it.

“He’s coming now,” Draco gasped.

Swiftly, but without any obvious panic, Potter withdrew a Galleon from his pocket and tapped it with his wand. Draco raised his eyebrows.

“Signal for the others,” said Potter, tucking the Galleon away but keeping his wand out. “Let’s go.”

They turned and headed for the kitchen together. This last part, Draco’s kidnapping and Potter’s attempted rescue, had to be played according to the Dark Lord’s plans just in case he decided to use Legilimency to see how it had gone. Accordingly, Draco entered the kitchen alone while Potter stood just outside the door, waiting for Severus.

Severus stepped out of the Floo three minutes later – the longest three minutes of Draco’s life. He saw Draco sitting at the table and held out his hand.

“Potter is home, I trust?” he asked.

“Yes.” Draco stood and moved towards Severus, letting his lover grip his elbow. It was the first time they had touched since the day Draco had told him off.

“And you are certain he will come to your aid?”

“Positive.”

“Then what are you waiting for? I believe that victims of abduction tend to struggle.”

Draco glared at him. Sometimes Severus played the loyal Death Eater a little too well.

Harry!” he yelled, trying to wrench his arm from Severus’ grasp as he fought to get away. He didn’t have to pretend; Severus was strong enough to keep his hold on Draco without Draco having to pull any punches. “Harry, help me! Help!”

He gave a scream of fright and kicked a chair over. It fell to the floor with a horrible crashing noise, and a second later, Potter rushed into the room with his wand drawn.

His jaw dropped when he saw Draco and Severus struggling. “What the –”

Severus Disapparated, taking Draco with him. Potter had just enough time to latch onto their Apparition like an enormous idiot. He really was lucky that Draco and Severus were on his side.

They landed in a dimly lit, cavernous room that was dank and musty. The floor was hard, and Draco would have lost his footing if Severus hadn’t caught him. Potter landed a few feet away from them, and he was not so lucky; he stumbled and fell to his knees.

Expelliarmus.”

The Dark Lord’s spell took Potter by surprise, sending his wand clattering across the floor. Before Potter had time to react, two more spells bound and gagged him in quick succession, keeping him on his knees.

Draco suppressed his instinctual gag at the feel of the Dark Lord’s slimy magic rushing past him. As his eyes adjusted to the low light, he saw that he, Severus, and Potter were in the middle of a large circle of Death Eaters, all in robes and masks. The Dark Lord was standing directly behind them, Nagini curled near his feet.

Group situations like this, in which there was a chance or even a certainty that multiple wizards would be casting spells at the same time, were always dangerous for Draco. The vast majority of wizards weren’t powerful enough to affect him all that much, especially if the spells were simply cast near him instead of on him, but the combination of dozens of different sensory experiences all occurring simultaneously could confuse and disorient him. It had happened before at other Death Eater meetings, and even a couple of times at Hogwarts. Draco’s plan for the actual battle was to find his parents and get as far away from the fighting as possible.

Right now, however, it seemed that the Dark Lord would be the only one using magic. Draco could handle that.

“Excellent work, Severus,” the Dark Lord said. “Come join me.”

Severus was still holding Draco’s elbow, though much more loosely now. He didn’t let go as he turned, taking Draco with him as he assumed his position in the empty space that had been left at the Dark Lord’s right hand.

Draco looked around, but he had no idea where they were. It was some kind of building, probably Muggle from the looks of the machines that were scattered about the place, but the layers of dust and grime made it clear it had been abandoned for a long time. There were no doors that he could see, and the only windows were tiny and set high on the walls, several storeys above.

How was the Order going to get in here? Draco wasn’t worried about not being found; Potter was wearing a powerful talisman that would allow him to be tracked no matter where he was. But it wouldn’t matter if the Order knew their location if they couldn’t get in.

Draco realized the Dark Lord was looking at him and blanked his mind, his mental shields falling into place. The Dark Lord didn’t seem interested in reading Draco’s thoughts, though. He looked inordinately pleased.

“Draco,” he said. “Lovely Draco. You’ve done so well. I regret having doubted you.”

“Thank you, my Lord.” Draco smiled shyly, hoping he looked chuffed rather than disgusted.

Potter made a confused, angry noise from behind his gag. The Dark Lord looked at him.

“Ah, Harry. I think you’ll find Draco less receptive to your...attentions, now that he’s back where he belongs. But even you must admit he did a fine job. I had no idea that he would be able to take you in so completely in so short a time.”

Potter’s eyes widened. He looked at Draco almost pleadingly.

Draco smirked. Severus was standing directly behind him now, and Draco leaned back against him so that his head rested against Severus’ shoulder and Severus’ arms encircled his waist. He tilted his head to the side, inviting Severus to kiss his neck.

Holding Potter’s eyes the whole time, Draco said, “On the whole, I think I prefer men to boys.”

The faceless Death Eaters broke into appreciative chuckles, but Draco barely noticed. The look of betrayal on Potter’s face was so profound and absolute that it twisted in Draco’s stomach like a knife even though he knew it wasn’t real.

“Once again, your weak heart has led you astray,” the Dark Lord said with contempt. “And this time you will not escape. Crucio!”

Potter toppled over, spasming in pain and yelling behind his gag. Draco grabbed at Severus’ hand, still resting on his stomach. The impulse to run to Potter, to try to help him, was overwhelming. Draco couldn’t just stand by and watch this –

Severus jerked Draco around and kissed him roughly. Caught by surprise and not a little horrified that Severus would try to kiss him at a time like this, Draco tried to push him away. Severus held him fast, not letting him move, not letting him turn aside, and Draco realized that Severus was only trying to give him an excuse to not watch Potter being tortured.

Any sign that Potter’s pain bothered him, any indication that Draco didn’t enjoy watching Potter twitch and groan in agony, would be interpreted as weakness or even treachery by the other Death Eaters. Snogging Severus would make it look like he was getting off on the torture instead of trying to ignore it.

Draco kissed Severus back, making it look as passionate as he could despite the fact that he had never been less aroused in his life. He was pressed closely enough against Severus’ body to know that Severus wasn’t enjoying it any more than he was.

A loud banging suddenly echoed throughout the room. Draco and Severus broke their kiss, turning to look for the source of the sound just as the rest of the Death Eaters did. The Dark Lord frowned and ended the spell on Potter. “What –”

There was a deafening boom as half of the far wall exploded inward in a blast of dust and stone. Severus squeezed Draco’s hand. Draco withdrew his wand with his free hand and pointed it at Potter even as Severus pointed his own at Nagini.

Finite Incantatem.”

Avada Kedavra.”

The snake died, taking with her the last of the Dark Lord’s Horcruxes, in the same moment that Potter was freed from his bonds. He jumped to his feet, and wizards began pouring through the hole in the wall, firing off spells left and right. The Death Eaters frenzied as the Dark Lord screamed in outrage.

Draco grimaced under the barrage of magic, his head swimming.

Go,” Severus said, pushing him in the opposite direction of the fight.

Draco ran for the shadows that cloaked the unexploded wall. Once he’d gone a few metres, he could no longer feel the spells, and he turned around to survey the scene.

It was absolute chaos. Draco could barely make out faces in all the commotion, and the din of shouts and screams was ear-splitting. How was he going to find his parents in this pandemonium?

He remembered a spell his father had taught him years ago and looked around for a rough surface, a sharp edge, anything he could draw blood with. There was a piece of broken glass on the floor. Draco snatched it up and dragged it across his palm, hissing at the pain of the shallow cut. He dropped the glass and smeared the blood from his wound on the tip of his wand.

“Blood to blood,” he said. “Point Me.”

His wand pointed not in the direction of the battle, as he’d expected, but towards the corner of the room. There were two Death Eaters standing there, and though robes and masks concealed their identity, the spell was never wrong. Draco raced towards them.

“Mother!” he said as he skidded to a stop in front of them. “Father. Hurry, we haven’t got much time.”

His parents removed their masks, and he could see that they were white-faced and shocked.

“Draco,” Narcissa said shakily, “you and Severus – and Potter –”

“Please, I’ll explain everything later.” Draco unclasped the simple chain he was wearing around his neck and handed it to his mother. “You and Father have to go. Now.”

“Go where?” said Lucius.

“That’s a Portkey. It will take you to an Order safehouse. Potter can guarantee you immunity, but only if you leave now and don’t fight.”

Lucius stared at him. “How long have you been –”

“Of course, darling,” said Narcissa, cutting her husband off. “But you must come with us.”

“I can’t.”

“Draco –”

“I love him.”

Narcissa and Lucius looked at each other, then back at Draco. They both seemed as if they wanted to argue.

“Please,” Draco said desperately. “Please, I’ve tried so hard to protect you, I can’t –”

His mother pulled him into a fierce hug, startling him. “My boy,” she whispered. “My beautiful, brave boy.”

When she released him, there were tears running down her face. Lucius squeezed Draco’s shoulder.

“Be careful,” was all he said, but his eyes said much more.

“I will. The activation word is sanctuary.”

Narcissa held the necklace out to Lucius, who grasped the other half. “Sanctuary,” she said, and they were gone.

Draco nearly fell to his knees in relief. No matter what happened now, his parents would be safe. Even if the Order lost, the Dark Lord would never be able to find them. Draco hadn’t failed them. Not this time.

An arm seized him around the waist from behind at the same time a large hand clamped over his mouth, muffling his alarmed shriek. Draco twisted in his captor’s grasp, clawing at the arms that held him as he was dragged farther into the corner, deep in the shadows.

The man turned Draco around and shoved him up against the wall, pinning his arms at his sides. Draco’s pulse stuttered when he saw who held him.

Yaxley.

“You treacherous little bitch,” Yaxley snarled. His breath was hot and foul against Draco’s face.

Draco couldn’t use his wand with the tight grip Yaxley had on his arm, and the man was too close for Draco to kick him with any force. There was only one thing he could do: he smashed his forehead into Yaxley’s nose as hard as he possibly could.

Yaxley lurched backwards in pain and surprise, automatically raising his hands to protect his bleeding – and probably broken – nose. His arms now free, Draco raised his wand and pointed it at Yaxley.

Stupefy!”

Yaxley dodged just in time, shooting an Expelliarmus at Draco. Draco blocked it and fired off a stinging curse that caught Yaxley across the shoulder. The oily feel of Yaxley’s magic distracted him, though, and he wasn’t prepared when Yaxley charged at him, grabbing his wrist in one hand and his throat in the other.

Draco was propelled back against the wall again, his head hitting it hard enough to make him see stars. The hand on his wrist squeezed excruciatingly, threateningly, and Draco dropped his wand with a cry of pain.

Yaxley spun him around and slammed him face-first against the cold, slick wall. He pulled both of Draco’s arms behind his back, holding his wrists. “You’re going to pay for that,” he said, his bloody nose making his voice thick.

“Let go!” Draco struggled, but Yaxley was orders of magnitude stronger than him. With magic, Draco would have had a good chance of getting away, but without his wand, he had no hope of overpowering Yaxley.

Yaxley moved Draco’s arms so they were stretched above his head and pressed against the wall, still holding his wrists in one hand. He pressed the full length of his body against Draco’s. The feeling of Yaxley’s erection against his arse spurred Draco’s frenzied struggles considerably, but it didn’t make any difference.

“When the Dark Lord wins – and he will,” Yaxley whispered into Draco’s ear, “he’ll kill your lovers. I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to give you to me. A reward for a truly faithful servant.”

“I’d die first.” Draco tried to kick backwards at Yaxley’s knee, but Yaxley simply sidestepped him and laughed.

“You’ll come to enjoy it. Although I do hope you never stop resisting.” Yaxley’s hand slid underneath Draco’s shirt, over his stomach, making Draco gag. “That takes all the fun out of it.”

“Take your hands off me, you sick bastard!”

Yaxley’s hands yanked at Draco’s trousers, undoing his belt and unzipping the fly. “Merlin, the things I’ve dreamt of doing to you,” he said.

A tiny voice in Draco’s head whispered at him to stop struggling, that fighting back would only make it hurt more, that he would make things much easier on himself if he gave in and let Yaxley do what he wanted.

That voice was an idiot. Draco fought for all he was worth.

Still, his resistance was mostly futile. Yaxley fumbled with his own trousers, muttering the nastiest, most obscene things Draco had ever heard. Then, out of the blue, Draco felt the crash of an angry wave sweep past him. Yaxley was knocked off his feet by the spell, landing several metres away.

“Severus,” Draco said before he’d even turned around. Nobody else’s magic felt like that.

Severus didn’t even glance at him, all of his enraged attention focused solely on Yaxley, who was trying to get to his feet. “Crucio!”

Yaxley rolled out of the way and drew his own wand, leaping upright. He and Severus began trading furious curses, both out for blood but neither gaining any ground.

Draco frantically searched the floor for his wand. It couldn’t have gone far from where Yaxley’d had him against the wall –

There it was. Draco grabbed it and turned, running to Severus’ side. The two of them together could bring Yaxley down easily.

Something exploded in the center of the room, in the middle of the main battle. And in a crucial moment, Severus turned his head to look...but Yaxley didn’t.

Draco saw Yaxley raising his wand, saw the words of the slicing curse forming on his lips, and knew that Severus wouldn’t be able to react in time.

The thought of a world without Severus in it filled Draco with stark terror. That was where his thinking ended.

He shoved Severus aside and took the curse himself.

The pain was so immediate, so intense, that Draco went numb in the next second. He fell to the ground, blood pouring from his chest and stomach, with an irresistible feeling of déjà vu.

His vision darkened and sounds became odd and echoey, but Draco saw the green light that flew from Severus' wand to hit Yaxley squarely in the chest. Saw Severus fall to his knees at Draco's side, his hands soaked with Draco's blood as he tried to stem the bleeding. Saw the fear in Severus' face, the anguish.

The love.

Draco turned his head to the side and saw one last thing, something so strange it made him think he might be hallucinating. Potter and the Dark Lord were standing in the middle of the room, wands pointed straight at each other. As the Dark Lord spoke the words of the Killing Curse, Potter began to cast an Expelliarmus.

Draco’s last thought before losing consciousness was What a moron.

***


He didn’t wake slowly, rising gradually from the murky depths of unconsciousness brought on by blood loss and pain potions. Instead, Draco woke suddenly, completely, with a gasp of pain and fright.

He looked around wildly, not sure where he was or why his chest ached so horribly. White walls. White tile floor. Narrow hospital bed.

St. Mungo’s.

The curse. The battle. What –

Severus was sitting in an armchair by the side of Draco’s bed, fast asleep. Draco relaxed. If the Dark Lord had won, he certainly wouldn’t be lying in a bed in St. Mungo’s with Severus at his side.

“Severus,” he said, clearing his throat when his voice came out scratchy. “Severus.”

Severus startled awake. His eyes immediately fell on the bed, then widened with surprise and relief. He leaned forward so rapidly that it had to have hurt his neck, taking one of Draco’s hands in both his own.

“Draco,” he breathed. “My God, you’re awake.”

“Yes.” Draco was shocked by the amount of stubble on Severus’ face, days’ worth of it. Severus was always clean-shaven. “How long has it been?”

“Eight days.” Severus’ eyes roamed over Draco’s face as if to reassure himself that Draco really was awake and speaking. “The Healers thought you might never wake again. The blood...you nearly –”

His voice cut off and he squeezed Draco’s hand hard, too hard. Draco didn’t pull away.

“The Dark Lord?”

“Dead,” said Severus. “For good, this time.”

Draco closed his eyes. A leaden weight he hadn’t even known existed was lifted from him, making him lightheaded and giddy. He’d lived for so long with the threat of the Dark Lord hanging over his head that he couldn’t even remember what it had been like to live without it.

“My parents?” he asked, opening his eyes.

“Safe. Concerned for you, of course, but safe.”

“Good. Are you going to kiss me or not?”

Severus made a desperate noise that was wholly unlike him and moved to bend over the bed, kissing Draco fervently and repeatedly. He was careful to keep his weight off of Draco’s body.

“Fool,” he said in between kisses. “What you did – so stupid –”

Draco returned the kisses with equal passion. “He was going to kill you.”

“Better me than you.”

“I didn’t want to live without you.”

Severus rested his forehead against Draco’s. “And you thought that I would wish to live without you?”

“I have to admit that I never considered how you would feel,” said Draco.

Severus settled back into his chair with a snort. “Only you could make the act of saving someone’s life a selfish one,” he said affectionately.

Draco smiled. “Now that the Dark Lord is gone, is...is everything over?”

“More or less. Most of the Death Eaters have been captured – those that survived. Shacklebolt has been appointed interim Minister until the mess has been sorted through.”

“And Potter?”

Severus went rigid. “What about him?”

“Is he all right? The last thing I saw –”

“He survived,” Severus said shortly.

“Oh,” Draco said, taken aback by Severus’ abrupt shift in demeanor. “That’s good, I suppose.”

“Wonderful.” Severus stood, his body tense. “Your parents will be wanting to know that you’ve woken.”

“Can’t you just send them a Patronus?”

“I am sure they would rather hear it in person.”

Draco frowned. What was going on? It was as if Severus had suddenly shut down emotionally for no reason at all. “All right,” he said slowly. “Will you come back after you’ve told them?”

“Certainly.”

***


Severus didn’t come back. When Draco’s parents visited less than an hour after he’d left, they didn’t know where he had gone, nor did they seem very interested. They spent the rest of the day with Draco, not leaving until after dinner. By the time they took their leave, Severus still hadn’t returned.

Draco was confused and hurt. Was Severus angry with him for what he’d done, after all? He’d seemed so happy when Draco had first woken up. Draco couldn’t imagine what had happened during the course of their conversation to cause such a dramatic change in his behaviour.

A knock on the door raised his hopes for a second, but it wasn’t Severus – it was Kingsley Shacklebolt.

“Shacklebolt,” Draco said in surprise. “Or should I be calling you ‘Minister’ now?”

“Why don’t you just call me Kingsley?” he said affably. He pointed to the chair. “May I sit?”

“Of course.” Draco was glad that his parents had managed to get him propped upright. It would have been mortifying to receive the Minister – interim or otherwise – lying flat on his back. “What’s this all about?”

“Well, for one thing, I wanted to reassure you that the MLE will not be bringing any charges against your parents.”

“Yes, they told me.”

“As for yourself, the documentation of your espionage during the war has been made public record. I’m pleased to inform you that you’ve been awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class.”

“I what?”

“The awards themselves are still being crafted – we’re conferring quite a number of them, as you may imagine – but you should receive it within a week or so. There’s going to be a ceremony, if you feel up to it by then.”

“Okay,” Draco said weakly. He’d never thought...but then again, he’d never really thought he’d survive the war in the first place, had he?

“Now, the real reason for my visit.” Shacklebolt looked at Draco intently. “I’d like to offer you a job.”

Draco almost laughed. “No offense, Minister, but I don’t think I’m the right fit for the Auror force. I’ve done about as much risking my life as I intend to do for...well, the rest of my life.”

“I don’t want you to be an Auror. I want you to consider taking a position as a criminal profiler for the MLE.” When Draco gave him a blank look, he said, “You’d be helping the Aurors identify the perpetrators of crimes by analyzing the way in which the crimes were committed.”

“What makes you think I’d be good at that?”

“I was very impressed by the way you handled the seduction operation,” said Shacklebolt. “The way you read Potter so perceptively, posited his likely ehavior – that’s exactly the kind of skill we need, although what you’d be doing would technically be the reverse of that. But even before recent events, I’d seen you demonstrate remarkable insight, a knack for pattern recognition –”

“I’ll do it,” Draco said without thinking.

“You will?”

“Yes.” Draco had no idea why he had agreed, but it was so exhilarating to have somebody recognize his competency for once, his aptitude for something that had nothing to do with sex or his looks, that he didn’t even care.

“Excellent.” Shacklebolt grinned and stood up. “There’s some extensive training you’ll have to undertake first, but I don’t see you having any problems. I’ll be in contact – once you’ve mended, of course.”

He extended his hand. Draco shook it, his giddiness of the morning returning, and he almost forgot Severus’ broken promise.

***


Draco was released the next morning with strict admonitions not to overexert himself. There wasn’t much chance of that; though the wounds from the curse had healed with only minimal scarring, his chest and stomach still ached with every breath and flared with sharp, stabbing pain if he moved too suddenly.

He hesitated in the lobby of St. Mungo’s, not sure where to go. He really should go see his parents at the Manor, but that place was poisoned for him now. Draco wasn’t sure he would ever return again.

Severus was probably at Spinner’s End. Draco could Floo his parents from there to tell them he’d been released. That was, assuming that Severus even let him in. Draco still had no explanation for his lover’s bizarre behaviour of the day before.

Well, he would go to Spinner’s End and demand an explanation, if that was what it took. There was just one stop he needed to make first.

When Draco Flooed into Grimmauld Place, he had been expecting it to be empty. With the war over, there was no longer any need to use the house as headquarters, and the only people who really had any reason to live there were Potter and maybe Lupin. To Draco’s dismay, however, he stepped out of the fireplace right into a raucous party.

Draco stopped short. The war had ended over a week ago, and people were still partying? It was only ten o’clock in the morning, for Merlin’s sake! He wondered if he could turn around and leave before anyone noticed he was there.

No such luck.

Weasley was the first to see him. “Malfoy!” he cried, a bit drunkenly.

Draco tensed as everyone turned to look at him, a sudden silence falling over the previously noisy room, and prepared himself for the torrent of verbal and magical abuse that was sure to follow.

Instead, somebody let out a loud cheer, which was immediately taken up by everyone else. Draco was swarmed with people, most of whom he didn’t even know but all of whom seemed to want to hug him or slap him on the back. They chattered happily, all talking over each other so that Draco couldn’t understand what they were saying, though he got the gist of it. Someone pushed a drink into his hand.

“Let the poor boy breathe, now.” Molly Weasley’s voice cut through the cacophony with unique shrillness. “Come here, Draco. Oh, you poor thing, you’re thin as a rail, haven’t you been eating?”

She kept on jabbering at him in a similar vein. Draco’s head started spinning. He felt horribly crowded and overwhelmed.

“Is Potter here?” he managed to get out.

“He’s in his bedroom,” said Granger. She was looking at him with a mix of sympathy and amusement.

“Right, I’ll just –” Draco put down the bottle he’d been handed and started pushing through the crowd, trying to make his way to the door, fending off offers of food and alcohol with every step.

Once he’d cleared the stairs, he found the foyer to be blessedly empty. He took a moment to breathe deeply. Gods, his head was aching. And the aggressive affection of the partiers had considerably aggravated the throbbing in his torso.

When he’d recovered somewhat, Draco headed for Potter’s bedroom. He found the door open, Potter lying on the bed fully dressed with his eyes closed. The room was much warmer than the rest of the house. Latent magic made the air hum, though it didn’t seem out of control. That Draco could feel Potter’s magic when he was neither using it nor feeling any strong emotions could only mean that Potter had become even more powerful since the battle.

“Not in a partying mood?” Draco asked, leaning against the doorjamb.

Potter bolted upright. He stared at Draco in astonishment. “Malfoy,” he said. “You’re – you’re here.”

“Looks that way.”

“I just...” Potter scrambled off the bed, though he didn’t move any closer. “Kingsley said you’d woken up, but I never thought you’d come here. To be honest, I was half-sure I’d never see you again.”

Draco shrugged. “You’ve gotten stronger,” he said, taking a step towards Potter.

“Yeah.” Potter didn’t look happy about it.

“You don’t have to let it take you over, you know.”

“I know. McGonagall’s going to help me learn to control it.” Potter swallowed hard. “I saw you after you took that spell. We all thought you were going to die.”

“I didn’t.”

“I’m glad,” said Potter. He gestured at Draco’s chest. “It looks like it still hurts, though. You’re moving kind of slowly.”

“There’s only so much the Healers can do for the pain. They said it may last for a few more weeks. And there’ll always be some scarring.”

Potter frowned. “You didn’t have scars from when I cast that Sectumsempra on you.”

“Yaxley’s curse was more powerful,” Draco said, repressing a shudder at the memory. “It went deeper. Plus, it took longer to get me to a Healer.”

“I can fix it.”

“How? The best Healers at St. Mungo’s couldn’t do any more for me, and you don’t have any training –”

“I don’t need any.” Potter hesitated, then quietly said, “I don’t need to use spells anymore to cast magic. I don’t even need to use a wand. I still do, because I don’t want to scare people, but I don’t have to. All I have to do is want something, and it just...happens.”

Draco stared at him. The last wizard on record who had been that powerful had been Merlin himself. “Potter,” he whispered.

“It scares me, too. But I think I can help you. Please let me.”

Draco bit his lip. It would be very risky to let Potter use magic on him, especially now that he was exponentially more powerful than before. But Potter was looking at him with such pleading eyes, and the pain really was quite awful...

“All right,” he said.

Potter moved closer to him. “I have to touch it.”

“Touch...oh. Of course.” Draco’s mouth was dry. He unbuttoned his shirt to reveal the faint scars that crisscrossed his chest and stomach.

Potter’s jaw clenched when he saw them, but he didn’t say anything. He just reached out and pressed the palm of his hand against Draco’s sternum. His brow creased with concentration.

A warmth very much like sunlight began to radiate from his palm, seeping into Draco’s skin and making him sigh. It spread throughout his body, slow and gentle, and it wasn’t frightening or even arousing. It was just...comforting.

Potter took his hand away, but the warmth remained. Draco twisted his body experimentally from side to side. Every trace of the pain had disappeared. And when he looked down, the scars had vanished as well.

“Thank you,” Draco said, awed not just by the strength of Potter’s magic but by the beauty of it, the gentleness.

“It was the least I could do.”

“Well, that’s true.”

Potter chuckled.

Draco rebuttoned his shirt. The spell – if it could even properly be called that – had relaxed him, melting the apprehension he’d felt when he’d first gotten here. He was no longer nervous about asking what he’d come to ask.

“Potter,” he said, “I came here because I have to know...your feelings for me, were they just physical, or was it something...more?”

For a second, Potter look confused, but then he got it. “Well, I wanted you, and I do like you, even though you’re the most exasperating person I’ve ever met. But if you’re asking if I was ever in love with you, then the answer is no.”

Draco’s relief must have shown on his face, because Potter laughed.

“I can’t even really explain it,” he said. “I just wanted you, wanted to touch you so badly, not just because you’re beautiful, but because you were so...”

“Unavailable?” Draco suggested.

“Yeah. Forbidden fruit and all that, I guess.”

Potter looked sheepish, but everything he was saying was exactly what Draco had hoped to hear.

Feeling generous, he said, “You deserve to be in love. To find a person who feels that way about you, who can give you marriage and children and all those things that everyone knows you want.” He took Potter’s hand, looked into his eyes. “And you will.”

“Thank you,” Potter said softly.

Draco kissed him chastely, just lips, an acknowledgement of everything they had been through together. Then he stepped back.

“So, will I be seeing you around, then?” said Potter as Draco headed for the door.

Draco smirked over his shoulder. “Count on it.”

***


He Apparated directly into the tiny library at Spinner’s End, but it was empty. Draco walked through the small house, finally finding Severus in the sitting room.

Severus still hadn’t shaved, and he was slumped in a chair with a small glass in his hand. Draco could smell the scotch from the doorway.

“Are you drinking?” Draco said, striding towards Severus and taking the glass from him. “It’s barely eleven!”

“What do you care?” Severus muttered.

Draco glared at him. “Is this what you’ve been doing instead of coming to see me in hospital like you promised? Getting drunk?”

Severus gave a one-shouldered shrug. Annoyed, Draco drew his wand and cast a sobering spell on him.

Fuck!” Severus gasped, shuddering as the spell did its work. “Christ, Draco, you cannot cast that spell without warning –”

“If you’re going to try to lecture me about rudeness, we’re going to have a problem.” Draco stood directly in front of Severus’ chair and folded his arms. “Now, you had better have a good explanation for the way you’ve been acting.”

Severus ignored him, studying Draco’s body with a knit brow. “You are not in pain.”

“Not anymore. Potter healed me. Can we please –”

“I see,” Severus said acidly. “Potter healed you. Is that why you’ve come, then? To tell me face-to-face?”

“Are you still drunk?” Draco knew his sobering spells weren’t the best, but they weren’t that bad.

“Unfortunately not. So just tell me that you are leaving me for Potter and let me drink in peace.”

Draco gaped. “What? You – I –” He was so flabbergasted by Severus’ words that he was speechless for a moment. “You really think that I would...gods, I could just strangle you, you – you idiot! Where would you even get such an idea?”

“You asked after him in the hospital.”

“Because the last thing I saw before I passed out was him about to take a Killing Curse!” Draco exclaimed. “Is that what’s been making you behave like this?”

Severus’ lips tightened and he looked away. Draco sat on his lap and turned his head back, forcing Severus to look him in the eye.

“Severus, I was willing to die for you. I don’t know what more I can do to prove to you that I love you.”

"I want to believe you," Severus said. He wrapped an arm around Draco's waist and held him tightly, running the thumb of his other hand over Draco's cheekbone. "But I cannot bear the thought of believing you and then losing you. Of you walking away."

"I won't walk away." Draco's heart swelled with fierce love and a strange protectiveness. "Not ever. And if I have to spend the rest of our lives convincing you of that, that's exactly what I'll do."

"What are you saying?"

"Marry me, Severus." Draco felt lighter and happier than he ever had before. "Will you marry me?"

FIN

 


Leave a Review

MASTERLIST