WARNING: Adult Content

Chapter 11

Getting into Slytherin was easier this time, though the mood in the dungeon had changed since Harry’s last visit. While before, the feeling had been of superiority and a hint of malice, the common room now felt... dirty was the only way he could describe it.

Shuddering, he eased through the open space and up the stairs, praying that Draco hadn’t changed his password since his visit here in the fall. A quick glance around showed the hallway to be empty, and he whispered ‘patronus’, slipping through the now unlocked door and into the room.

Draco stirred and woke as a whisper of breeze rushed over his naked body. Looking up and realizing that he couldn’t see a thing but that the door had been opened and then shut, he sighed and then whispered. "Accio wand." A few murmured incantations later he looked towards the door again. "Make sure you lock it before you come to bed, Harry," he said with absolute certainty before closing his eyes and snuggling into his pillow again.

Dropping his cloak, then his clothes on the floor, Harry silently climbed into bed beside Draco, taking the blond into his arms as if afraid of rebuff. "I’m sorry," he said finally, resting his forehead against Draco’s hair. "If it helps, Hermione, and even Ron read me the riot act."

"Nothing to apologize for," Draco replied as he rolled over and curled into Harry’s chest, breathing in the woodsy smell that was simply ‘Harry’ to him. "You had every right to be upset with me, should have kept my opinions to myself."

Tightening his arms around Draco’s body, Harry held on as if for dear life. "Never going to happen," he said, trying to tease, "you’re a Malfoy."

"Which means I have perfect manners to go along with everything else," Draco managed to get out with a small smile. "Haven’t you figured it out yet, Potter? Absolutely everything about me is perfect."

Moving in closer, clinging tighter, Draco felt the first salt trickle of tears he could no longer hold back. It just figured. When he finally found some sort of meaning in his life, someone to live for, and that someone was hell-bent on getting himself killed. "Ever the Malfoy, so that even when I mess up, I mess up perfectly," he whispered.

Harry closed his eyes, fighting the tightening of his throat. "Who says you’re messing anything up?" he whispered. "I’d say you’re doing things just right." He kissed the top of Draco’s head, and then tilted his face back to kiss his lips. "I’ve got you and Hermione figuring things out and Ron kicking my arse when I need it, what more do I need?"

"Nothing," Draco agreed with a watery smile. "You’ve got faith and courage enough for twenty Gryffindor’s so it will all work out in the end." Swallowing his tears and the pain in his heart, he brushed the messy black hair out of his lover’s eyes. "So did Ron make any girlie shrieks when you told him you were coming down here? Did he faint away at the thought of us ‘doing the deed’?"

"He mumbled something about not wanting any details," Harry answered, breathing a sigh of relief that Draco seemed to have forgiven him yet again. "And, as someone wise once told me, faith and courage are all well and good, but you need cunning and a good plan as well." He leaned into Draco’s touch, and then turned his head to kiss the blond’s palm.

"Personally I’d consider that fellow an idiot, but that’s just me," Draco replied with a wry tilt of his lips. "A bloody Gryffindor probably said it."

Tilting Harry’s head so that it was on level with his own, Draco pressed a light kiss on his lover’s lips. "Just so it’s understood, you never have to ask for forgiveness because I will always give it. If there comes a time I can’t, believe me, you’ll know about it," he murmured dryly. "I really am too good for you, you know. But hearts have a way of deciding things that have nothing to do with logic or common sense so I guess you’d better just thank your lucky stars that you’ve been given the gift of me."

"It was the amazing modesty that did me in," Harry replied wryly, rolling them both over so that he was looking down at Draco. "That and the amazing good looks." At that he kissed Malfoy again, slowly, tenderly as if trying to memorize every bit of his lips and mouth.

Draco wound his arms around Harry’s neck and kissed him back with every bit of passion and love in his being. He poured everything he was into the kiss, praying that Harry would understand. When they at last broke apart Draco was panting lightly and his eyes were slightly glazed.

Tracing his fingers over Harry’s lips, his own quirked slightly. "Sorry for making your cauldron blow up today and getting you detention. Oh, and for the squealing sausages this morning at breakfast. Crabbe and Goyle thought that one was a hoot; Pansy caught me mooning over you this afternoon so I had to cover up by pretending I was plotting a prank."

"Snape was happy because it gave him plenty of time to fill my ear with dire warnings as to what he was going to do to me if I hurt you," Harry admitted, kissing his way over ‘Draco’s jaw to his throat. "And I think my exploding egg hex was a nice rebuttal for the sausages."

"Yeah, and it was even better when it missed me and hit Zabini instead," Draco chuckled. "As for Uncle Sev, he’s just being protective, that’s all. He’s never married and has no children of his own so I guess I’m it, in a way. He really does mean well."

Examining Harry’s face carefully, Draco came to a decision. "Make love to me tonight, Harry." Harry swallowed hard, then licked his lips, his mouth suddenly dry. They’d had little enough time together as it was, and whenever they’d managed to slip away for some privacy, Draco had been the one to take him, but this... "Yes," he whispered, pushing up on one elbow to plunder Draco’s mouth again, shaking inside with what he’d just been offered and the incredible need and tenderness it inspired in him.

Draco finally chuckled when Potter moved back after long minutes of snogging. "I get the impression you like that idea," he teased. "You do remember how to do it, don’t you, or will I have to walk you through with step by step instructions?"

"Don’t make me use a silencing charm on you," Harry shot back, nipping at Draco’s lower lip even as he arched down into the strong body beneath his.

"Oooh baby, I love it when you get all take charge and dommy on me!" Draco declared, sniggering even as he writhed underneath the other boy. "And be honest, Harry, you wouldn’t have me any other way... not that you’ve had me at all yet. My goodness, you do take your time, don’t you!"

Only the memory of Draco’s brief description of the first time he’d been taken kept Harry from grabbing the blond’s wrists and pinning them over his head. "Hmm, and here I thought you looked down on Gryffindors for just rushing into things without any finesse," he chuckled, sliding lower and laving at a peaked nipple, wanting to hear Draco moan.

"Well there are times when those are good qualities to have," Draco gasped, arching up into the touch. "Damn that’s one very impressive tongue you have there, Potter. All that hissing in parseltongue seems to have paid off in spades. My but I’m a lucky boy!" Wrapping his legs around Harry’s hips, Draco thrust up into the hard seeker’s body above his, egging them both on.

Malfoy could still talk which meant he wasn’t anywhere needy enough, so Harry ignored the comment, moving across Draco’s chest to his other nipple, attending to it until it was as reddened and peaked as its twin. Satisfied with his progress so far, he began to work his way lower, tracing the ridges of Draco’s ribs with his tongue and fingers, then the tight planes of his abdomen, biting at the soft skin around the blond’s belly button.

Moaning and arching into the touch, Draco let his eyes fall closed while he reveled in the sensations crawling through him. His hands left Harry’s neck and reached up to hold onto the headboard in an attempt to anchor himself to the bed when he was positive he was floating away. "Damn, you a...are a quick study, aren’t you?" he whimpered quietly, his body arching off the bed at the nip to his navel.

Harry lifted his head and smiled evilly. "Had a good teacher, but then Ravenclaws are good at those things."

"Wha-at?" Draco’s eyes shot open and he tried to explode upwards only to find himself pinned beneath a rather smug looking Gryffindor. "Oh, you are so going to pay for that, Potter, and pay and pay and pay!" he snarled down at the innocent looking teen.

"I’ll look forward to it," Harry laughed, sinking back downward, avoiding Draco’s heavy erection to nibble at the inside of his thighs.

"Pot-ter!" Draco whined, trying to wriggle his hips and make Harry go back to the part he’d missed. "When the bloody hell did you turn into a Slytherin? That’s a downright evil thing to do to a fellow. I don’t recall every doing anything so sneaky to you!"

"Mmm, probably not, but then I’m trying to think outside the box, if you’ll pardon the muggle expression."

"What the devil are you talking about?" Draco sputtered. "I don’t have a box; I’m male in case it hasn’t escaped your attention!"

Harry tried to contain himself, but Draco’s indignant tone had him curling up in a ball and laughing so hard he finally rolled off the bed.

Growling, Draco reached for his wand and placed a cooling hex on his stone floor, making Harry yelp and scramble back onto the bed. "Bloody prat, who said you could come back into my bed after that, eh? I ought to hex you into next week or... or transfigure you into a woman! That’s what I’ll do! See if you can get a rise out of me then!"

"You try it and you won’t have anything left to get a rise with!" Harry exclaimed, flipping Draco over to his stomach and biting him on the arse.

"You and what army, Pot...oh!" Draco’s whole back bowed and his hips arched up as proverbial lightening shot through his body. "Bloody hell, do that again!"

Harry blinked in surprise, but did as Draco demanded; leaving a double half-moon imprint on the Slytherin’s other arse cheek.

Moaning, Draco bit down on the pillow, his cock leaping in response to the stimulus. "Oh bollocks, that’s bloody brilliant! He moaned, wriggling his hips enticingly. "Don’t stop, don’t bloody well stop! Do something else, please!"

Still shocked by Draco’s extreme reaction to the bit of pain, Harry looked around frantically, and finally muttered a frustrated ‘accio lubricatum’ when he couldn’t find what he was looking for.

Leaning in to nip a pathway up Draco’s spine, he broke the seal on the vial and poured a bit of the liquid over his hand, coating the finger he then traced around the tight entrance to Draco’s body.

Moaning continuously, Draco leaned backwards, letting Harry’s finger slide inside him. He had the feeling that Harry was trying to be gentle with him and dark gods above he loved him for it but that wasn’t what he wanted or needed right now. He needed not to think about what was happening, to only feel and experience. Next time, the next time Harry took him it could be slow and beautiful and romantic, a celebration of life and not this... no he wouldn’t, couldn’t think of it now.

"Need you in me, Merlyn and Morgana, please Harry!" he begged roughly.

"Draco," Harry started before the incredible feeling of the other boy flexing around his fingers blew all rational thought from his head. Determined that there wasn’t going to be any pain, he added a second finger, murmuring nonsense into Draco’s ear to keep him from going wild beneath him.

Finally, when they were both sobbing for breath, Harry stroked a layer of the slick liquid over his erection and set it against Draco’s body, holding the blond’s hips tightly as he pressed inward, ready to stop at the first sign of discomfort.

"Harry," Draco moaned, trying to press back into his lover but finding he couldn’t due to the strength of the Gryffindor’s grip on his hips. "Oh Merlyn, don’t stop, please, whatever you do don’t... Stop!" he whined, canting his hips and lowering his chest to the bed.

Draco’s hands scrabbled at the sheets for purchase and he finally found and grasped on to the bottom of the headboard, needing something to hold on to. His breath came out in little mewling pants and his skin flushed from pale ivory to light rose as arousal peaked, making his cock leak and slap against his stomach.

"Jesus, Draco," Harry panted, amazed by the changes that had overcome his normally in control lover. Taking Malfoy at his word, he began to move, thrusting forward into his incredibly tight heat and pulling back, repeating the cycle over and over until he was lost in it, only knowing how wonderful it felt.

Moaning constantly, Draco began to push back into the thrusts; helping Harry anyway he could to increase the sensations flowing through both of them. Letting go of the headboard with one hand, Draco snaked it between his belly and the bed and began to stroke his cock in time with Harry’s thrusts. And just to make things more interesting he began to bear down and squeeze Harry tightly with his body, eliciting gasps from both of them.

"Harry," he moaned quietly, "oh Hecate, Harry, I... I..." he couldn’t force the words past the constriction in his throat, afraid that if he were to utter them it would be like last time, that his love was a curse that would bring his lover down.

"I know," Harry whispered, lowering his head to rest between Draco’s shoulder blades as he continued moving, each clench of Draco’s body around him sweet torture. "I love you too."

Biting his lip to keep from crying out as those words did such incredible things to him, Draco felt a part of himself begin to heal inside and thought, rather inanely, that perhaps the muggles were right, perhaps love could conquer all.

"Bloody Gryffindor" he sniffled, "always has to get in the last word." Turning his head to the side, Draco smiled up at Harry, showing he was only teasing but just as he did Harry stabbed against his prostate at just the perfect angle and Draco let out a wail that would do a banshee justice as his body clenched and spasmed around the almost perfect angle at which he was being fucked.

"Damn ri - oh fuck, you’re bloody beautiful," Harry rasped, catching Draco’s face with one hand and tilting his head back a bit more so that he could ravage the blond’s mouth the same way he was taking his body.

"Yours," Draco breathed, allowing himself to be pulled upwards so he was writhing, impaled upon Harry’s lap like a houri. Wrapping his arms behind Harry’s head and cushioning his own head on the Gryffindor’s shoulder, Draco made good use of Quidditch hardened muscles to ride his lover, his unattended cock slapping against his stomach and leaving wet trails of precum as he bounced and rode and ground against the other teen.

Harry muffled his own moans against Draco’s throat, raising another passion mark to the surface of his fair skin. It was almost a ritual between the two of them: whenever they managed some private time together, one or both came away marked.

Keeping Draco pulled tight against his chest with one arm, Harry slid the other hand lower, finding and circling Draco’s shaft, knowing only the he had to feel Draco come before he did, if just this once.

"Harry, Merlyn, Harry!" Draco moaned; his head rolling from side to side as he was marked and claimed and pleased and teased all at the same time. It was so good, too good, and he knew he wouldn’t last much longer.

A few more strokes of Harry’s hands had him mewling with need, his hips thrusting up faster, coming down harder. A few more after that and a sharp tug on his nipple from Harry’s other hand was all it took to have Draco wailing, body shaking and clenching around Harry’s as his cock sent rope after rope of semen shooting over his stomach and Harry’s hand.

Feeling Draco convulse around him was heaven, and Harry groaned, taken out of himself by the pure knowledge that he was the one who’d wrung these reactions from the Slytherin, that it was his desire that had made Draco come screaming his name.

That tiny incentive tipped Harry over as well, and he came, his cries of completion muffled against Draco’s neck as he arched upward, filling the other youth with his seed.

Sagging backwards, thankful that Harry was there to support and hold him, Draco slowly came down from his orgasmic high, his body still quivering and enervated. Finding his voice at last he managed to get out a dry throated tease. "Are you sure you’ve never done this before, Potter? Then again you’re rather good at mounting things, straddling and gripping them and riding them into exhaustion."

"More of that amazing Slytherin wit," Harry sighed before kissing the side of Draco’s neck. "Stop before you kill me with laughter."

"And here I was hoping to make you expire from being sexed out, damn; I’m going to have to work on that then. Can’t have it said that the Slytherin Sex God killed his lover with laugher, it would be bad for my reputation."

"Bloody fool," Harry muttered, tumbling them both back to the bed and muttering a curse when the move made him slip out of Draco’s body. "Slytherin Sex God, my arse. More like Slytherin Schmuck."

"A what?" Draco asked, rolling over to lie on top of Harry, a silvery eyebrow quirking. "Is that some sort of muggle pet?"

"Sort of," Harry laughed. "Ask Hermione next time you see her, she’ll explain."

"You’re obfuscating, Potter," Draco remarked, his eyes narrowing suspiciously. "That usually means what you said was not very complimentary and you’re afraid of what I might do to you so you put me off by having me wait and ask ‘mione while you run for cover with your Gryffindor tail between your legs."

Knowing he was caught out, Harry shrugged. "True, but I’m still not telling you - and last I saw, it was my ‘leg’ between your tail."

Snatching up a pillow, Draco thwapped Harry over the head as hard as he could. "That was bad, Potter! Very very bad!" he growled before letting the pillow fall to the floor and settling back down. "Say something like that and I’m going to throw a lock jaw hex at you, then we’ll see how much you can do with that," Draco sniped, "potty mouth of yours!"

Reaching up to rub his head and adjust his glasses, Harry grinned. "I have it on good authority you love what I do with this mouth of mine." To emphasize the point, he murmured a few phrases in parseltongue.

Draco shivered minutely as the sound washed over him. "Like I said, you have a potty mouth," Draco murmured, sliding up Harry’s body to seal his lips over the Gryffindor’s, shutting him up in a way that was both satisfying and effective.

When he at last lifted his head, Harry’s eyes were heavy and slumberous and his plump lips a perfect ruby red. "That’s better," he murmured, plucking Harry’s glasses off and setting them on his nightstand next to the bed. Setting the alarm for ‘obscenely early so Harry can sneak out’ he whispered "Nox," and plunged the room into darkness. "Go to sleep you sodding Gryffindor, we’ve got double potions first thing in the morning."

"All right, what’s this special project you’re working on? Spill it!" Hermione hissed after tracking Draco down in the far recesses of the library. She’d made certain to ward the small corner they were in before speaking, and anyone who looked down this way would only see an empty desk.

"It doesn’t matter now, ‘mione," Draco sighed tiredly. "I thought I would have more time but after his announcement yesterday..." the blond Slytherin shook his head. "I was, am, taking animagus lessons from McGonagall. I figured if I knew how to change, I could follow Harry when he decided to go and play St. Potter but I’ve got less than a month, there’s no way I can learn all I need to. I need to come up with another plan. You wouldn’t happen to have any brilliant ideas, would you?"

"Other then taking his wand away and tying him to the bed? I’m afraid not," she sighed. "What about that tracking potion? I know the original one isn’t effective any longer, but if we could get him to drink another, at least we’d know where he was."

"We’d need a way to make it stronger, make it tasteless and odorless and make him drink it. Guess this means we’d better get to work. And maybe ask Uncle Sev for help because I’m running out of ideas, Hermione, and I’m starting to get nervous," Draco admitted, actually he was terrified but that was something he couldn’t admit to, not yet, not until there was no other choice.

She nodded, absently tucking her curly hair behind one ear as it fell into her face. "I suppose knowing when this is supposed to happen is a good thing, but now all I can see is a huge clock ticking away over our heads."

"Rather like a doomsday clock, isn’t it?" Draco replied morosely. "I... it’s all coming apart at the seams, Hermione, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to stop it. It’s just so damned unfair. All my life my family’s position, their power and their money has moved mountains, made things happen and has made problems disappear. But now? I’ve never been in this situation before, where who I am and what I have or what I can do doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. I don’t know what to do."

"What I’ve found," she said, perching on the side of the table and squeezing Draco’s shoulder gently, "is that when you don’t know where to start, start small. Voldemort is raising an army and surely there are wizards than are in the Order who side against him. For example, I can’t believe everyone in Slytherin is clamoring to take the dark mark."

A sick expression crossed Draco’s features and Hermione frowned. "Surely not everyone?"

"Maybe a handful that aren’t and of that handful its split down the middle, those who support Voldemort but don’t want to side with him and those that are hedging their bets waiting to see who the victor will be. At least in the seventh years. Any younger and it doesn’t matter, they don’t have the power or the skills yet to be of any use. I honestly think I’m the only one who opposes Voldemort and even I don’t do it openly. To do so would be to sign my own death sentence, Hermione. Even if I weren’t doing what I am, I wouldn’t have declared myself a follower of Dumbledore until after graduation and then I would have had to seek sanctuary in Hogwarts, just as Uncle Sev did."

She nodded sadly. "I understand that, Draco. I’m - I suppose I’m glad that it won’t come to that, or to you having to profess loyalty to him to remain safe."

Sitting straighter and suddenly business-like in her manner, Hermione slid off the table. "All right then. We can go talk to Professor Snape and start on a list of those we think can be trusted to support the light - that’s something Ron can help with while we work on the potion. We need to tell Dumbledore about this, though. I really doubt Harry’s told him about that prophecy."

"No, and he won’t. The only reason he told any of us is because we forced him to. He’s trying to be a martyr, trying to keep the people he... he... loves safe," Draco managed to get out. "And we need to set up a network of our own spies to keep an eye on him, let us know what he’s up to. He’s going to try and slip out on us, ‘mione. I know it. We need to stay one step ahead of him or, I don’t want to think about what will happen."

"I wish I could say you were wrong, but you aren’t, stupid bugger that he is," she grumbled. "I’ll talk to Dobby, he can have the house elves keep an eye on Harry, and, oh we can key some charms to him and leave them around so we’ll know if he trips them..."

"We need to think like he does, and we need to know all the ways he has in and out of Hogwarts. Those are what we have to charm. We need to assume that he’s not going to just walk out the front door, which would be too obvious. We need to assume he’s going to use the bloody cloak of his. Now, what else can we do other than research?" Draco raked his hand through his hair.

"He’s making me mental, Hermione, he really is. The stupid prat seems determined to die, and I know he’s doing it to save the world, but dammit, the world had no right appointing a snot nosed Gryffindor teen its savior. This is stuff adults should be handling instead of cowering behind a boy who hasn’t even passed his ‘N.E.W.T’s.

"We’re going to need to alert the aurors and the ministry, but Fudge is an arse, and he’s so afraid of the dark lord that he wets his pants if you even say ‘Voldemort’ around him. Is there anyone in the Order of the Phoenix or in Dumbledore’s Army that you trust enough to tell all this too?"

"Dumbledore. McGonagall... Lupin. He might be best, he’s had experience dealing with people like Harry from what I’ve heard about their days here." Hearing the barely concealed anguish in Draco’s tone, Hermione pulled him to his feet, and then gave him a hug. "We’ll save him, Malfoy, if not for his own good, then for the rest of the world’s because I don’t want to think of what you’d do if you lost him."

"Trust me, its better that you don’t," Draco replied darkly. He already knew exactly what he’d do. If he couldn’t have Harry in the living world he’d find his way to him in the afterworld. It was as simple as that. "So, we’ve got a plan, we’d best get moving on it, then. I’ll leave Dobby, Lupin and McGonagall to you while I tackle Snape and Dumbledore. Fair enough?"

"Fair enough," she agreed. "I’ll set Ron to watching Harry for now. They’ve got the game with Ravenclaw coming up so that should keep them busy for the next fortnight."

"And there’s a Hogsmeade weekend coming up, as well as ‘N.E.W.T’s to review for and I’m pretty sure we can get Dumbledore to come up with something and Snape will be more than happy to hand out detentions... now all we have to do is find a solution and we’ll be set."

Chapter 12

Draco rubbed his eyes tiredly and then finished copying down the last verse from the book lay out before him. Done.

Closing the dark book, Draco sent it winging back to its place with a quiet show of wandless magic. Even though the bastard was dead his ghost still seemed to linger in this place of dark magic. Lucius’s private library, the one that the ministry of magic did not find when they raided Malfoy Manor after word got out that it’s owner was dead. Draco’s upper lip curled into a sneer resembling very much his father’s. Did those fools at the Ministry think that Lucius would leave books and objects of the darkest arts just lying around to be casually discovered? His father had been many things in his life but a fool was not one of them.

No, Lucius Malfoy’s library was buried deep within the bowels of the earth a good distance from Malfoy Manor. One had to first gain access to a heavily warded and hidden trap door in the Malfoy greenhouse, of all places. After that you had to take a winding staircase full of hidden traps and nasty surprises down to the secret dungeons and from there another heavily warded and hidden corridor full of even more traps and even nastier surprises and then after all of that, you needed to know the right combination of a muggle combination lock.

Not your average combination lock mind you, the kind they used to secure military bases with electronic numbers that had to be punched in on a keyboard which also analyzed your DNA. Ingenious, really, the man who hated muggles using muggle technology. No one would have been prepared for it. No one but another Malfoy, specifically the Malfoy heir.

Draco still wasn’t sure what had prompted Dumbledore to give in to his request to spend the weekend at Malfoy Manor, but then again who knew what went on in that cagey old bird’s mind. He had asked because he was growing desperate. Two weeks until the eclipse and still he, Hermione and even Snape had come up empty handed. Draco was panicking. He couldn’t lose Harry, not now, not after just finding him. But a panicked Draco Malfoy was a dangerous one. And an inspired one. He had his father’s secret library to fall back on when all else failed and, taking a leap of faith, Draco had asked to return to Malfoy Manor, though he kept the purpose of his visit to himself. The young Slytherin doubted very much that Dumbledore would approve of Draco researching dark magic.

It was a Hogsmeade weekend, which meant that Harry would be preoccupied with Ron and Hermione, something Draco was grateful for. He wanted his lover to spend time with his friends in case, well in case they couldn’t save him. But Draco intended to, by hook or by crook, or in this case by dark magic.

He had found a spell at last, in one of the more ancient books and it was a form of the darkest magic. It employed not only a form of Imperius but it was blood magic, and darker still, soul magic. Of course the way Draco planned on using it, if it became necessary, was rather unique. Instead of the spell affecting another he would be the one to be bound to the magic, and through that magic he could bring Harry back... at a price, but it was a price he was willing to pay.

Now all he had to do was make a few more arrangements, namely with Hermione, Dumbledore and Snape. This was one time Harry wouldn’t know a thing until it was too late. Draco looked down at the unblemished skin of his inner forearms and grimaced. He had a feeling that one of them wouldn’t be quite so pure before long. But if that’s what it took to save St. Potter, so be it.

Drying the parchment, Draco rolled it carefully and placed it in his book bag. "Lumos" he spoke softly, blowing out the candles in the room. Using his now lit wand as a guide, Draco slipped through the room and out of it, locking it behind him again. He might be on the side of the light but, like his eyes, Draco Malfoy saw things in gray. No sense destroying something that could prove valuable, just as it had today. Now to get back home to Hogwarts.

Glad that the weather had turned at last, Harry lounged on the stands by the quidditch pitch, watching the sky turn dark overhead. He was at peace for once, both with himself and with the fates, and for that he was glad.

Yawning, he crossed his arms under his head, looking up at the darkening sky and wondering if, when Draco found what he’d left for him on his bed, he’d come looking for him.

Having Charlie Weasley track down the gift hadn’t been easy, and it had cost dearly, but it was worth every galleon, sickle, and knut, of that he was certain. He figured Draco could pass it off as a gift from his mother or something he bought himself, as it was definitely in the style the Slytherin prince lived.

Harry, on the other hand, had simply thought the occamy was the perfect familiar for his lover. Once it hatched, the winged, silver feathered serpent would be as beautiful as Draco.

"You got me a snake, how very Slytherin of you, Potter," Draco chuckled, sitting down next to the Gryffindor. "Thank you," he said simply, sliding his hand into Harry’s.

It was dinner time and the rest of Slytherin house was in the great hall, he’d gotten out of it by saying he had eaten at home when he actually hadn’t. He figured he could tickle the pear and raid the kitchens later on but right now he wanted to spend time with Harry. Every moment was becoming more precious than the last as time began to slip away from him.

"I thought she would go with your hair," Harry smirked, shifting to lay his head in Draco’s lap. "And the size will match your ego when she’s grown."

"How in the name of Grindelwald did you find an occamy, Potter?" Draco asked, bemused, running his fingers through his lover’s hair. "They’re as rare as they are expensive. I don’t deserve it."

Sighing, Harry relaxed and half-closed his eyes. "That’s my secret, Malfoy, and you won’t get it out of me, even if you torture me. Oh, and you do deserve it, if only because I love you. She should hatch in a week or so. Did you find the care instructions under the egg?"

"Yes I did, and thank you. It’s..." Draco choked, "it’s perfect." He only wished he’d be there to watch him or her hatch, but he already knew where he’d be a week from now. His mind was made up and he had already owled Hermione the instructions for the tracking potion he’d ingested as well as the letter meant for Harry.

"I, I love you, Harry James Potter," he whispered, wanting to say it one last time, just in case something went wrong. "You’re definitely one of a kind."

Harry slowly opened his eyes, looking vaguely troubled, but not giving voice to his concerns because hearing Draco say those words after so damn long was heaven.

"Must be why we’re together," he murmured, reaching up to pull Draco in for a kiss. "We both are."

"Now you’re beginning to sound like that crackpot Trelawney. Next you’ll be spouting on about how we’re fated to be together, that its destiny," Draco chuckled but didn’t resist the kiss. If anything he deepened it, wanting to taste his lover all over again. "Come to visit me tonight?" he whispered when they finally broke apart. "I missed you this weekend."

Rubbing his thumb over Draco’s cheek, Harry nodded. "I’ll let Ron know so he won’t come looking for me. Missed you too. Dennis Creevy got looped on butterbeer and went around begging Ginny for a kiss. It was hilarious."

He sobered, and ran his thumb over Draco’s lower lip. "I wish you could have seen it, I wish we could have seen it together."

"Next time, Harry, I promise. Next Hogsmeade weekend I don’t care if the entire school turns out to watch, I’m spending it with you. That’s a promise," Draco swore, leaning forward to press a soft kiss on Harry’s scar.

"I’ve finally decided what I want to do with my life, did I tell you?" Draco whispered hoarsely, leaning back to look up at the first stars as they twinkled to life in the sky before his gaze returned to his own personal star, to Harry. "I want to spend it with you."

Harry shuddered and turned his face to press it against Draco’s stomach, swallowing harshly to keep his emotions from exploding and overwhelming him. He’d promised not to bring up dying again and he wouldn’t, no matter what.

Looking up once again, he smiled. "What a coincidence, that’s what I want to do with mine too. Still need to see your knobby knees in those shorts you know."

"Not going to happen, Potter, so you’d best quit deluding yourself. Besides I’m still ahead, two forfeits to one. I’m still planning on us doing the nasty right on the Gryffindor common room couch."

Draco reached into the pocket of his school trousers and pulled out a small jeweler’s box then handed it to Harry. "It’s not dark magic, I promise, despite it being a Malfoy family heirloom. It, its part of the promise of what I want to do with my life. I want you to have it now, in case," Draco swallowed, the closest he’d ever come to admitting out loud that they might lose one another in a very short time.

Taking the box, Harry looked at it, then up at Draco before slowly sitting up. He wanted to say something - anything, but the words caught in his throat, and finally he gave up trying. Opening the lid, he stared down at the masculine ring nestled against black velvet: platinum with gold braiding on the edges, and emeralds, diamonds and rubies in the center.

Knowing that he was going to lose it soon, he gave a choked laugh. "Always have to outdo me on gifts, don’t you, Malfoy?" Tears made his eyes bright as he took the band from the box and slid it on the ring finger of his right hand where it would touch his wand when he used it.

"But of course, we Malfoys always give the perfect gift," Draco chuckled roughly, pulling Harry close. "And there’s no way I could out do you on gifts. You gave me something no one has ever given me in my entire life, Harry James Potter. You gave me love, complete, selfless love, without borders or boundaries. That is beyond irreplaceable. As is my occamy."

Bending Draco’s head lower so they could share a kiss, Harry thought he tasted salt tears as their lips met, but couldn’t tell if they were his own or the other youth’s. "We Potter’s do our best," he whispered, hugging Draco close. "Now get back to your room so I can come have my snake hiss in your ear."

"If your ‘snake’ goes anywhere near my ear, Potter, you’ve obviously forgotten all our lessons," Draco chuckled, as Harry stood up and offered him a hand. "If you’re here chances are you haven’t eaten either. Go get your cloak while I raid the kitchen. I’ve a new password on the door just to be safe; it’s, its lovers. Now go on with you, I’ll meet you there as soon as I’ve pinched us some food."

Surprisingly, Harry found that Draco hadn’t made it back to Slytherin even in the time it took him to let Ron know of his whereabouts and to navigate the corridors to the dungeon. The redhead’s eyes had widened at the sight of the ring on Harry’s finger, but he kept quiet, something Harry was profoundly thankful for.

Impatient, but unable to get into Draco’s room because Pansy and Millicent were conversing at the end of the hall, he growled to himself, causing the toy snake Dumbledore had given him for Christmas to unwind from around his wrist and cling his arm to hiss a question.

Draco sauntered into the Slytherin common room; a covered tray floating behind him and pointedly ignored Zabini’s attempts to engage him in conversation. When Crabbe and Goyle came up to him, he dismissed them with a wave of his hand. "I spent the weekend going through my father’s personal effects, I’m not really in the mood for company, go keep Zabini busy, will you?" he asked exasperatedly.

Climbing the stairs he was met with the sight of Bulstrode and Parkinson. "Oi, get a room will you?" he shouted at them. "And bugger off, I want to get some rest."

"And just what put you in a mood, Draco?" Pansy hissed, put out at having her attempt at spying on him foiled so easily.

"You try going through your dead father’s effects and see what sort of a mood it puts you in. And no I don’t mean the trinkets he left for the ministry to find either. Now sod off or I’ll be putting some of my newly found knowledge to work, got it?" Draco’s eyes narrowed to menacing slits of ice and his voice lowered to a venomous hiss.

"And don’t think I’m not on to you, bitch. Go ahead, spy on me, you’ll find nothing. I’m as loyal to my lord as my father was and before long, I’ll be in my father’s place. You mark my words, before long another Malfoy will stand next to Voldemort and then we’ll see just how uppity you are!"

Draco watched with grim satisfaction, as both girls looked at him with something akin to terror in their eyes and scuttled away like little mice. "Bloody cows, I really should hex them, if only to make me feel better," he murmured under his breath before removing the room-sealing spell and whispering the password to get in.

"I’m going to have to bloody well change my password every fucking day now," he growled in frustration. Taking out his wand he did a quick reminder spell in the air. ‘change password in the morning,’ and then, lowering the dinner tray, threw himself onto the bed and took out his occamy egg from it’s safely hidden nest under his bed.

"Hello, beauty, I can’t wait to meet you," he whispered reverently. "When I do I’ll tell you all about the boy who gave you to me and when he gets back he can introduce himself properly. He speaks parseltongue so I’m sure you’ll have a lot to chat about. Once you’re old enough, that is."

"I don’t know, aren’t you afraid that would corrupt her?" Harry asked, slipping out of his cloak and settling on the bed alongside Draco, smiling fondly, his heart clenching at what he’d heard.

"A Gryffindor corrupt something?" Draco gasped, placing a hand over his heart in exaggerated disbelief. "I’d imagine I’d see the sky fall on our heads before that came to pass!" Placing the egg back in its nest, Draco carefully levitated it over to a dark, out of the way corner of the room and added a warming spell around it before turning back to Harry.

Pulling the Gryffindor in his arms he double-checked the silencing spell and the wards before nuzzling his lover’s neck. "Did those nasty Slytherin cows keep you standing outside for very long?" he murmured.

"Mmm, don’t insult cows," Harry murmured. "They were wondering who you were seeing since you weren’t fucking Zabini any longer. The list they came up with was quite interesting and varied." He collapsed back onto the bed, pulling Draco over on top of him and running his hands up the blond’s back beneath his robes.

"I want you to take me tonight like this, Draco. I want to be able to see you this time."

"They’re just jealous because the only action they’re getting is from their wands," Draco smirked, leaning down to kiss Harry hungrily. "Damn good thing I had the house elves put a warming charm on our food, I have a feeling dinner is going to be rather late tonight," he purred as nimble fingers tugged at Harry’s house tie, pulling it off entirely and then setting to work on his shirt.

Buttons were quickly undone and the shirt tugged out of Harry’s pants and then tugged off, baring golden skin to Draco’s covetous eyes. "Morgana you are gorgeous," he whispered before lowering his head to take one of Harry’s nipples into his mouth.

"Only thing that matters is that you think so," Harry moaned, arching his back off the bed as he pulled at Draco’s clothing wanting the other youth as bare as he needed to be. There was so little time left, he wanted to find a way to climb into Draco’s soul and have his lover in his own so that they could draw strength from each other when they needed it most.

"Harry," Draco moaned, pressing tender kisses on every inch of flesh he could. His hands scrabbled to finish undressing the both of them and they trembled with need. No time, no time his brain kept chanting over and over, his heart screaming at it to shut up, that tonight was going to last forever. Never before had Draco prayed for a miracle, but right now he was with every fiber of his being.

"Where’s a fucking time turner when you need one, eh?" he laughed, "that way we’d have the night last for eternity."

"We might run out of food." Harry’s laugh was perilously close to a sob, and he pushed all thought of everything except the present from his mind. It was so unfair, all of it, to finally find what he always wanted only to... No, not tonight.

They managed to get out of their clothes without losing contact, and Harry wrapped his arms and legs around Draco, pulling him close and kissing him again.

"But what a way to go, sated and sweaty and reeking of sex," Draco smirked. "Think of it this way, you’d be known as Harry Potter, the boy who shagged a Death Eater to death," the blond teased as he sucked a patch of Harry’s neck into his mouth, desperate to leave him marked again, to leave proof that he, Draco, had existed and had meant something, at least to someone.

"And you are gorgeous, Harry James Potter, don’t you dare think otherwise or I might have to beat you!" he growled, nipping at Harry’s Adam’s apple even as his hand wrapped around the Gryffindor’s cock, stroking it with firm, even strokes.

"Just like I’ll beat you to death if you call yourself a Death Eater again, Harry growled, his hips arching helplessly off the bed to press into Draco’s hand. Squirming, he managed to get a thigh between the blond’s thighs and rubbed against his lover’s shaft, loving the answering groan Draco gave.

"Yes, sir, Mr. Potter sir!" Draco moaned, not wanting to argue about it, especially knowing that very soon it would be true, he would be a Death Eater, in name if not in intent. Uncle Severus was right; love really did addle the Slytherin brain.

"Merlyn, you’re driving me crazy," he ground out, humping Harry’s leg desperately as his cock engorged, the both of them rubbing and writhing together on the bed, their arousal growing. "Enough," Draco barked at last, throwing himself up and off of Harry. "Much more of that and I’m gonna come before I get anywhere near that gorgeous Gryffindor arse of yours!"

Harry fisted a hand in Draco’s hair to kiss him until they both were panting. "Then get in me or I’ll just have to work on making you hard again," he rasped.

"Damn pushy bastard, aren’t you, Potter?" Draco laughed breathlessly, reaching into the nightstand and pulling out a vial of lubrication. "Horny bugger too, how’d I get so lucky to get you?"

Pouring some of the slick substance onto Harry’s stomach, Draco watched the raven haired boy suck in a quick breath as the cold liquid splashed into his navel. Sweeping his fingers through the oil, Draco smeared it on his prick and then, oiling his fingers up for a second time, grasped Harry’s legs and drew them up to his shoulders.

Sliding a finger into his lover, he began to slowly finger fuck Harry, watching raptly at the emotions that flitted across the Gryffindor’s face as he did so.

"Dra - Ah yes, there - So good," Harry whimpered, reaching for his own erection and stroking it with sensual abandon. "Need more, Draco. Need you."

"You’ve got me, Harry, I’m yours," he whispered, knocking Harry’s hand away and replacing it with his own even as he moved into position and slid into the hot depths of his lover’s body, his eyes boring into startlingly green ones.

The pleasure coursing through Harry’s body had his eyes sliding shut, but he opened them almost immediately, not wanting to miss a flicker of expression on Draco’s face.

In the half-light he looked wild, almost feral; a distinct contrast to the cool, cynical nature he showed the rest of Hogwarts. Harry slid his hands up Draco’s arms, to his shoulders, then up to his face, memorizing the aristocratic planes and the perfect jut of his nose, wanting to remember everything about this night.

"Apparently I’ve found my perfect match, Potter," Draco chuckled heatedly as he began to draw back out, his hand stroking Harry’s cock slowly. "Because you’re the most perfect lover I’ve ever had," he continued, carrying on the old teasing theme of Malfoy perfection even as his hips began to gradually pick up speed.

"I love you, Harry Potter, I’d brand it over my heart if I could, that Draco Malfoy loves Harry Potter forever." And he would. There would never be another; he’d found his mate and whether it was in this world or the next they’d be together forever.

Finding his voice, Harry caught Draco’s free hand and pressed it to his heart before moving his to the blond’s chest. "No need to brand it over my heart, it’s already etched in it," he whispered.

"Gryffindor’s were always overly romantic," Draco teased before demonstrating some supreme flexibility and bending to take the tip of Harry’s cock in his mouth while his hips thrust in and out of the raven-haired boy’s body.

"Sod off, Mal-foy..." Harry’s voice rose at least two octaves on the last syllable, and he stared in wide-eyed wonder at the blond. "You... while you’re... fuccckkk..."

Draco smirked around Harry’s cock and flicked his tongue back and forth across the tip a few more times before straightening again. "Never let it be said that Slytherins aren’t flexible," he smirked down at the Gryffindor. "And that’s just one of my many hidden talents."

Harry arched upward and clenched his arse around Draco’s shaft. "I - I think I’m going to have to get some instructional videos if I ever what to surprise you," he moaned.

"Don’t you know, Harry, innocence is the most erotic quality you have," Draco replied, bending to kiss the Gryffindor’s lips as he continued to thrust in and out of his body. "Merlyn and Morgana, you feel so good, I could di... it’s unbelievably arousing."

Deciding he’d had enough of talking, Harry captured Draco’s mouth again, grinding up against him with wild abandon as their tongues dueled and the wet slap of their bodies filled the air around them.

Wanting this to be a memory to keep him warm in the terrifying days ahead, Draco set about making it a night neither would forget. He used every trick he knew to bring them both pleasure, plied them both with sensation after sensation until both were whining from the need to find release, which he brutally denied in order send them higher and higher.

Slowing suddenly, Draco brought Harry’s legs down to his waist and carefully rolled them over so that Harry was now riding him. Gasping he looked up into the face of his lover, one hand reaching for Harry’s cock again and the other grasping the dark haired man’s neck, pulling him down to seal their lips together once more.

Having been on the edge for too long, Harry whimpered against Draco’s mouth as their change in positions rubbed the Slytherin’s cock against his prostate. Shuddering, he came, his cry of completion lost in Draco’s mouth as he sent streams of come over Draco’s chest.

Tearing his mouth away from the Gryffindor’s, Draco watched Harry come, branding the expression on the other youth’s face in his mind forever. "Harry, oh Merlyn, Harry," he groaned, his hips snapping harder and faster as he felt his own release building. Wiping his hand over his chest, Draco brought the now sticky fingers up to his lips and licked them, wanting to taste his lover as well as see him.

Harry’s whimper when he watched Draco lick his fingers was just enough to send the Slytherin over and with an almost silent gasp his back arched off the bed and he came, sending spurt after spurt of semen into his lover’s body until, exhausted, he collapsed back on the bed, bringing Harry down with him.

Rearranging his legs so they weren’t folded almost double under him, Harry sighed, nuzzling lazily at Draco’s neck as their racing hearts finally slowed and their breathing changed from harsh pants to something approaching normal.

"I’m going to have to get you gifts more often if this is the thanks I get," he murmured, lifting his head enough to nip at Draco’s ear.

"Just bring me you, that’s all I really want," Draco replied quietly, his hands running up and down Harry’s back, needing to be able to touch, to feel and memorize.

Forestalling anything Harry might say or pretend to promise, Draco sealed his lips over Harry’s once more, in an almost delicate kiss. Not tonight, don’t think about things tonight. It’s just us tonight, no complications, no Voldemort, no Death Eaters, no Slytherin versus Gryffindor. Tonight it’s just Draco and Harry, he ordered himself sternly.

When Harry’s stomach rumbled it gave Draco the perfect out. Chuckling softly he grinned up at the raven-haired youth. "Keep this up, Potter and you’ll be too chubby to be on the Gryffindor team in any position!" he teased even as he levitated the tray over to the bed.

I don’t know," Harry chuckled, pushing aside his own concerns to roll off Draco and let the tray settle between them, "if I got large enough I could play keeper. Wouldn’t even need to move, I could just block all three goals at once.

"And have to have at least twenty broomsticks to do it. Besides if you got that large how would you be able to find me, hrm?" Draco asked with a decidedly arched eyebrow.

Reaching over, Draco plucked the lid off the tray and let it clatter carelessly to the floor. "Mm, cold roast beef and chicken sandwiches. Oooh and crisps!" Draco pounced. "It’s a good thing I have perfect Malfoy skin," he sniggered, "otherwise I might just get spots from all the crisps I eat."

Draco looked up, his mouth full, to see Harry laughing silently. "Whot?"

"Did I say anything?" Harry asked, still trying manfully not to snicker at Draco’s continuing rendition of Malfoy perfection. He reached for a sandwich and took a bite, washing it down with some of the chilled cider that accompanied the meal.

"I know that look, Potter. I spent six years hating that look, the one that says, ‘I’m on to you, Malfoy, and you’re not going to get away with whatever you think you’re going to get away with, I guarantee it!’ I’ve seen it all too often, and usually right before you end up spoiling whatever nasty bit of fun I had planned. It was most disconcerting!" Draco claimed, downing another sandwich section as he rummaged around to see what else was on the tray.

"Horrid, aren’t I?" Harry laughed, giving Draco a sloppy kiss before snitching a crisp before the other boy ate them all. "How do you ever put up with me?"

"Because I’m a masochist and enjoy the pain and agony you give me. And because I happen to love you," Draco replied in a casual, off-handed manner before crowing "Ice cream! Mmmm, and raspberry chocolate ice with whipping cream and nuts, delicious!"

"Must be the Slytherin in you," Harry chuckled, slapping Draco’s hands away as he tried to grab all the sweets. "Careful there, Malfoy, you’ll be spilling it all over, then I’ll have to lick you clean."

Draco’s eyebrow quirked. "Would you really?" He looked from Harry to the sundae to himself and back to Harry. "Maybe next time, right now I’m too hungry to waste any of it," he laughed, picking up two spoons and handing one to Harry.

"And just so you know, Potter, when it comes to ice cream it’s every man for himself. I don’t share well!"

"Shocking bit of news, that is," Harry laughed, digging into the concoction and, in a moment of supreme sacrifice, offering it to Draco.

"Now I know its true love, you’re sharing your ice cream with me," Draco laughed, scooping up some of the mess and returning the favor while slurping his treat off of Harry’s spoon.

"Knew you’d come around eventually," Harry mumbled around his mouthful of whipped cream and syrup.

"Hey, what can I say, when it comes to gorgeous Gryffindor boys offering me ice cream, I’m easy," Draco grinned sarcastically.

Harry snickered and caught Draco’s hand, diverting his spoon to his own mouth again. "Only then?" he asked.

"Well no, but there’s a few pre-requisites. One, he must have brilliant green eyes, two, he must have messy black hair and three he must have a lightening bolt scar on his forehead. If those pre-requisites are met then yes, I’m easy."

"Damn," Harry murmured, grinning around another spoonful, "guess I hit the jackpot then. Suppose it’s a good thing Charles Bender doesn’t have green eyes; that scar he’s got looks lightningish."

"Well there is one final prerequisite," Draco murmured, leaning forward to share an ice cream kiss with Harry. "His name has to be Harry Potter."

Chapter 13

Potter,

It was the only way I could think of so that I could be sure that I was at least present for the, well for whatever happens. Try not to worry about me, and please remember, what I said to you that day on the bleachers, I meant with every fiber of my being. I’ve never said it to another and I never plan on saying it to anyone else. You’re it.

See you soon,

Malfoy

Harry read through the brief letter again, and then a third time, trying to force the words into some other order, one that would make more sense than the thought that Draco had...

The parchment fluttered to the floor as Harry’s hands started to shake and he forced himself to pick it up and read it again, this time cursing under his breath.

The fool, the bloody fucking fool! How could he have done this?

"Damn you to hell, Malfoy!" he shouted, stumbling to the nearest wall and hitting it until his fists bled. "You’re supposed to be safe..."

"Oi! Harry, mate, what’s gotten into you?" Ron hauled the smaller teen away from the wall bodily, grateful for once for his growth spurts over the past few years. Behind him he heard the other Gryffindor boys begin to pour in as the common room migrated up here to see what was wrong with their friend.

"Ron, what’s wrong with Harry?" Seamus began but Ron cut him off.

"Nothing, it’s nothing," he ground out, accio’ing the note. "Neville, be a mate and go fetch Hermione, will you? Tell her to come up to my room," and with that Ron pulled Harry from the room and into the male prefect’s room across the hall and slammed the door shut in the faces of those foolish enough not to get the message and bugger off.

Once inside, Harry tore himself out of Ron’s hold, snarling and cursing Draco, the fates and Voldemort. "What the fuck was he thinking, Ron?"

After reading the note, Ron sat down hard. His first instinct was to think the worst but he’d seen Draco and Harry together when neither knew he was watching. He’d snuck around in Harry’s invisibility cloak telling himself he was just protecting his friend, but what he got was a very rude awakening.

"If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say he was thinking of being there for you when you have to go up against you-know-who," Ron replied slowly. "For a guy who didn’t want to get involved he’s sure as hell gotten himself in deep. Care to guess what changed his mind?" the redhead continued, looking pointedly at Harry. Ignoring the question, Harry sank down onto Ron’s bed, his head in his hands. "I only wanted all of you to be safe. Nobody else should die."

"That’s more than a little selfish of you, don’t you think, Harry?" Hermione asked quietly as she shut the door behind her. "We’re entitled to make our own choices and we all have a stake in this war. Did you ever think that we might want to stand beside our friend to the bitter end? It’s the way we began, the three of us. And Draco, he loves you so much, and you’re asking him to sit back and wait to hear that his lover is dead, how fair is that to him, Harry?"

"It isn’t, but then none of this is fair. It hasn’t been from the beginning," Harry whispered hoarsely, still not looking up at his friends.

Taking a deep breath and trying to control the stark terror racing through him at the thought of Draco near Voldemort, he marshaled his courage and looked up. "It would seem Potter’s Army is staging a coup. So, what orders do you have for me, generals?"

"Let us help you, mate, that’s all that we’ve ever wanted to do," Ron replied earnestly.

"I hate to tell you, Harry, but Draco staged the coup weeks ago. He’s been planning something and this morning, well I wasn’t in arithmancy because I was learning about his plans first hand. He had me called to Professor Dumbledore’s office where he laid out ‘Draco Malfoy’s plan to annihilate Voldiewarts’ as he put it," Hermione admitted quietly.

Harry’s hands curled into fists, but he kept a rein on his temper. "So, am I to stand on the sidelines and sell bon-bons or should I just stay here at Hogwarts and let the lot of you go about your business?"

"Harry!" Hermione gasped, her voice wounded, "That isn’t... I can’t believe you said that!"

"Oi, best mate or not, you snap at her again for wanting to help you and we’re going to have words, understand me?" Ron said very quietly.

"Now it seems to me Malfoy’s been doing what Malfoy does best, and that’s being a sneaky, underhanded Slytherin. Admittedly this time he was doing it for our side, but nevertheless I doubt Hermione knew anything until this morning, so ease up on her and let her tell us what she knows now, all right?"

"Fine," Harry snapped, his jaw clenched. In a second, however, he slumped and shook his head. "I’m sorry, ‘mione. I just, I’m scared witless is all."

"It’s all right, Harry, I understand," Hermione murmured just as Ron added his own opinion.

"Sounds like how we’ve been since you told us about that little prophecy of yours, Har, to be honest. And I have to admit; I’ve got new respect for Malfoy if he’s really doing this to be where you are. That takes some balls, mate, putting on the kind of show he’s gonna have to for you-know-who. But if anyone can pull it off, Malfoy can. You’ve got to have some faith."

"Draco and Snape have been working together to improve the tracking potion," Hermione interrupted again. "Draco took it this morning just before he left. You can find Voldemort through him, Harry, and we can find you both now too. Snape’s taught me the spell as well. And he’s raised an army; well Dumbledore has at Draco’s prodding and my letters. We’ve got aurors, ministry officials, members of the order, all of Dumbledore’s army, everyone readying to move on Voldemort’s camp so that you and he can, well you don’t have to worry about being hexed in the back while you and he, you know," Hermione finished sadly.

"Ron and I will be there to watch your back, just like we always have."

"And so will Bill and Charlie and Fred and George, and even Percy," Ron piped in. "You’re a Weasley in everything but name anyway, so it’s only right we’re there to watch out for our little brother."

"Watch it with the little brother shite," Harry answered feebly as he tried to process the sudden upending of his world.

"And Draco took the potion... Where is he?"

"He’s," Hermione looked decidedly uncomfortable, "he’s with Voldemort, Harry. He’s in the Death Eater camp preparing to get his dark mark."

"I know he’s with Voldemort," Harry said heatedly, before faltering. "Dark mark? No, he can’t." He shuddered, remembering the other marks he’d seen and the way they all bound their bearers to Voldemort. "Where’s the damn camp?"

"He’s doing that? For Harry?" Ron breathed. "Bloody hell, I’m gonna have to apologize to the wanker for all the times I called him a junior Death Eater and such, aren’t I?"

"It’s not time yet, Harry, you know that," Hermione replied despairingly. She was almost as upset as Harry was at what Draco was doing. She’d actually grown quite fond of the spoiled little snot and was worried that he was taking foolish risks. But at the same time she couldn’t blame him, if it were her and Ron she’d be doing the same without question.

"It, he said it was the only way to get close to Voldemort now. Only his generals and followers are allowed in the encampment. As Lucius Malfoy’s son his position is assured. Voldemort, he said Voldemort was even letting him design his own mark, as a reward for defying his mother and Dumbledore and following his father proudly," Hermione choked out.

Feeling sick to his stomach, Harry pushed to his feet and started for the door. When Ron reached out to stop him, he halted, but continued to look away from his friends. "I’m not going to do anything stupid, I swear. It’s not time, we’re not ready. I just need some time alone, all right?"

"Harry," Hermione whispered, "just remember, you show up now and Voldemort might well put two and two together. And it won’t be you he goes after first. Doing nothing might actually keep Draco safe for now."

He looked back over his shoulder at the other two, his expression bleak. "I said I wasn’t going, and I won’t. I don’t even know where the damn camp is, remember?" That said he walked out of Ron’s room, unable to speak to answer the questions that arose when those in the common room saw his bloodied hands and bleak expression.

Death would have been easy at this point; it was living that was hell.

Draco looked down at the sketch of his dark mark. As dark marks go it wasn’t all that bad but he still thought it was the ugliest thing in the world. There was the prerequisite skull and snake but he had added a gray rose with verdant green leaves to the design. As green as Harry’s eyes, he thought as he looked about the Death Eater camp, trying to remember as much as he could in case he would have to testify, providing he was still alive.

Please don’t hate me, Harry, I have to be here. I couldn’t let you die alone if that’s what’s going to happen. But it won’t, if I have to I’ll use the necromancer spell. I’m not going to lose you Harry James Potter.

"Umm, Draco, you-know. I mean Lord Voldemort wants to see you," Goyle said softly, peeking his head through the door of a house that once belonged to a happy muggle family who were now a dead muggle family.

"Well of course he does, Goyle," Draco sighed, pushing the parchment aside. He still had a few days to perfect the mark. "And where is our lord?"

Forcing himself to focus, Harry sat through hour after hour of meetings with the Order at 12 Grimmauld Place, which technically, he now owned. Sirius’ mother’s portrait had started her usual ruckus when the group’s members apparated in, but a deadly glare from Harry had actually shut her up for once. In his state of mind and the level of magical power his anger was generating, burning the harridan to ashes in her frame would have been a pleasure and really quite simple despite the fact that she’d claimed her portrait was indestructible, inflammable and unmovable.

Strategies were thought out and discarded as more news of which witches and wizards had gone to Voldemort’s side filtered in. Some of the names were expected and some shocking, but Harry didn’t react to any. His emotions were locked deep inside him, he’d managed that much the first day after Draco had left. Letting anything show now would be his undoing, and possibly the world’s.

"Much more of this and he’s gonna crack, ‘mione. We need word that Draco’s alive at least, something to give him hope.

"He is, if he were... dead," Hermione gulped, "the potion would have stopped working. It hasn’t."

"Well, there’s a blessing, but he needs more, hellfires I need more and I don’t even like the git!"

"Did you see, it, Draco? Did you see it? My first Avada Kedavra!" Crabbe crowed proudly, strutting around the body of the wizard they’d caught trying to spy on the camp. "Took him out in one shot!"

"Oh yeah, you’re a real man," Draco sneered. "That was absolutely brilliant you pompous little arse. We’re supposed to be lying low and not drawing attention to ourselves. Do you want to let the Aurors know where we are?"

"Dracoo," came the raspy voice of their master, "don’t be too hard on the boy. Unlike you he hasssn’t the military mind to grasssp the idea of ssstealth. You did well young Crabbe, but alasss, Draco isss correct, you could have risssked ussss before we are ready. Cruccccio."

Draco watched his friend for six years fall under the weight of a Crucio and fought to keep his face bland and expressionless. He thanked whatever dark gods watched over foolish children like Crabbe and Goyle that Voldemort seemed to realize that Vincent wasn’t strong enough to take a prolonged dose of the unforgivable.

"Come, Draaacooo, I wisssh to ssspeak with you about what you have learned at Hogwartsss, essspecially about Dumbledore and Potter."

Draco followed Voldemort at a subservient five paces and cast a glance at Goyle. Help Crabbe you idiot, he mouthed to the other boy before disappearing into the gloom that was Voldemort’s bastion.

"Remus, I don’t know how much longer I can take this." Harry paced back and forth the upper floor bedroom, sparing a glance at his father and godfather’s best friend.

"Two more days, Harry," Lupin counseled gently. "Two more days. I know waiting is hell, believe me I know, but if you’re placing as much trust in Sybil’s prophecy as you seem to be, you have to wait. We all have to wait." Under his shaggy brows, Lupin’s amber eyes were solemn and saddened.

"I just hate it," Harry sighed, finally dropping into a chair and kicking at the floor. "Anything could be happening to him and people are dying, even the muggle news has noticed it."

"Harry we have news!" Hermione came flying in to the room, panting and out of breath, with Ron hot on her heels.

"He’s alive and seems to be doing okay. Voldemort’s taken him under his wing, kind of like a protégé. Apparently Draco’s been making some pretty good calls on the idiocy of some of Voldie’s followers."

"What Hermione didn’t say is that Tonks managed to get close enough to see. She morphed into a Death Eater supporter who we’d captured and petrified. It was a one-shot deal coz when Tonks finally got out of the camp; we made the arrest of the supporter a very public event. It was Goyle’s sister we nabbed," Ron added.

"Thank you," Harry whispered, feeling as if he was able to draw a full breath for the first time in almost two weeks. Having Hermione tell him Draco was alive based on the potion was one thing, but someone actually seeing him... it was pure relief.

Lupin smiled at the three teens though his eyes were cloudy and there were dark circles under them.

"Did she say... has he had to get his mark yet?"

"Not yet," Hermione muttered. "Harry he... Voldemort knows you’re coming. Draco had to tell him about the prophecy, well not all of it just that Trelawney had made one and that you’d gone to Dumbledore and confessed all. He said that he overheard the two of you talking while he was skulking around Dumbledore’s office. Pansy had let that one loose so he needed something to cover himself.

"Anyway, as a reward for that bit of information, Voldemort’s holding a special initiation for Draco the day of the eclipse. He’ll get his mark and then get to watch you die as a double reward, at least that’s the scuttlebutt in the Death Eater camp," Hermione finished sadly. "Oh Harry, I’m sorry."

Swallowing against the fear and anger that threatened to erupt, Harry managed to shrug. "Well, I suppose I’ll have to do what I can to spoil their little party. You know how Draco feels about those marks - ‘horribly tacky’ he called them once. He’d kill me if I was late and he had to get one." His voice broke on the last, and he turned away quickly, coming close to breaking down when he felt Remus’ hand on his back.

"Harry," Hermione whispered, waving Ron off. "Draco wanted me to pass on a message if it was needed. He wanted you to know that this is his choice, and that he’s a big boy and he went over knowing full well the price he’d have to pay. He doesn’t want you to try and be St. Potter the Martyr for him. Do what you have to when you have to and not a moment sooner. Too much is at stake to risk it all for a silly little blemish on his, and he made sure I’d say this exactly, for a silly little blemish on his perfect skin. He could stand to have one or two little imperfections."

"I didn’t mean I was going there before it was time, you’ve all made it abundantly clear all it would lead to would be even more people dying. I just want... I just want it all to be over, one way or the other. I’m tired." Harry raised his eyes and looked around at his friends and the closest thing he had to a father figure. "I’m just tired."

Remus pulled Harry into a hard hug. "Your father and mother and Sirius would be so proud of you, Harry. I am proud of you," he whispered hoarsely.

There was a quick knock on the door and then Tonks stuck her head around into the room. "Hiya Harry," she grinned. "The Order whisked me away so fast that I didn’t have time to give Hermione everything. Hermione had to tell me a bit about Draco when I went in so I’d be prepared but I gotta tell you, that guy is damn sharp.

"He came up to me and asked me to deliver a package to his ‘mother’ thanking her for his occamy and he was inquiring how it was doing. If Hermione didn’t tell me you’d given him that I wouldn’t have had a clue but anyway, this is for you, then," she finished, thrusting a message spell towards Harry with a tiny golden dragon attached to it. "Little guy tried to singe my eyebrows off more than once."

"We... we’ll be right outside, okay, Harry?" Hermione replied quietly, tugging Ron’s arm as they followed Tonks out of the room, Remus on their heels.

Dear Mum,, Draco’s voice filled the room.

"I know how hard it must be for you to get to sleep right now, worrying about me and all. I just wanted you to know I’m fine. I’ve never been better. Lord Voldemort trusts me, Mum, just like he did Father, and I’m being a valuable lieutenant, learning all I can of what his plans are so I can aid in the coming battle.

I miss you, Mum, and love you very much. Try not to worry too much, have faith that this will be over soon and our side will champion and I’ll come home to you.

My eternal love,

Your Draconis.

P.S. I’ve enclosed a lullaby ball with the song you used to sing to me as a child. It always helped me fall asleep when I was scared and feeling alone. I hope it will do the same for you.

Harry tapped the ball and listened as the gentle melody swirled around him, the lyrics whispering of faith and love and hope, He barely noticed it when the tiny dragon climbed onto his arm, settling next to the silver snake that was an almost permanent fixture around his wrist.

Laying his head down across his arms, not noticing as the toys moved out of the way, Harry closed his eyes, tears falling to puddle on his glasses and eventually pool on the table beneath his head. Tears for all those who were gone, tears for those who would die in the upcoming battle, and tears for all the innocence that had been lost, including his own.

Chapter 14

The mark was finished, and Voldemort had been intrigued and approving of the design Draco had chosen. "Like your father, my Dragon, a rosse among the thornsss. You will do great thingsss with your life. Tonight we ssshall cccelebrate the death of Harrry Potter and tonight you ssshall be mine forever," the Dark Lord chuckled maniacally as he petted Nagini and looked down on his loyal and beautiful servant.

Those who gathered on the side of the light were amassed not far from the Death Eater camp. Plans were already in motion to subdue the guards, but everyone there knew that there were wards, which would invariably be tripped, warning the Dark Lord of their approach.

Harry glanced upward, but the clouds obscured the sun from view. Still, in his bones, he could feel the hour of the eclipse drawing nearer. It all came down to this, all the preparation, the tactics, and the studying. The members of Dumbledore’s Army were going to try to hold off the Dementors while the older wizards would take on the Death Eaters. Harry had just one task. Find Voldemort.

And kill him.

Draco watched the sky darken with a leaden heart. He could feel the seconds slipping away. Soon Harry would be here and then... what? "Be careful, oh Goddess of all, please be careful," he whispered silently. If he only knew when the attack would come, but he had no idea.

"Mrow."

Draco looked down to find a shorthaired tabby rubbing against his legs. A tabby that looked very familiar. "Minerva?" he whispered.

"Mrow!" the cat replied in assent and then scratched at her collar. A note.

The note was short and to the point. Watch for lightning in the east.

"What’s that, Malfoy?" Zabini asked, walking over and trying to read the note over Draco’s shoulder. "Love letters?"

Draco cast a spell that set the note on fire. "What’s the matter, Zabini, jealous that I’m still getting some while you’re getting nothing?" Draco smirked as he petted the cat casually.

"But if you must know it was a scrap of paper from the smelly bone book those stinking muggles used. Apparently the cat decided to play with it. Rather plain and boring, and far from sinister," Draco continued, his voice a bored drawl. Picking up the cat, Draco turned and looked at Zabini down his nose.

"Well this has been a truly inspiring conversation. So inspiring, in fact, that I believe I shall go have a nap. After all I’ve got a busy night ahead of me," he purred maliciously before sauntering towards his temporary home.

"Draco Malfoy takes it up the arse at long last," Zabini murmured, his smile cruel. "That’ll be one to laugh about."

Dumbledore looked toward the sky, his sharp eyes seeming to drive the clouds away, because at that moment they thinned, revealing the bright orb of the sun - an orb that was now beginning to appear misshapen.

"It is time," he said solemnly. "Let it begin."

At the signal, the front ranks started their work, wizards and witches who could work quickly and cleanly to take out the outer guards of the Death Eater’s camp. Harry watched Cho Chang and Dennis Creevy slip into the forest and vanish and realized he was holding his breath just as it seemed the whole world was.

Draco was dressed the plain black garb of an acolyte. Voldemort stood before him, wand extended. "Today isss a momentousss ocasssion," he intoned, looking at the gathering crowd. "Today I welcome into my army Draco Malfoy who will ssserve me in hisss father’sss ssstead. At my right hand, learning my waysss, he ssshall be my heir!" Green lightning shot out of Voldemort’s wand and engulfed Draco’s wrist.

He gasped under the excruciating pain and his knees buckled but other than that he showed no sign of the agony he was in. Others might scream when receiving the dark mark but he was a Malfoy, and Malfoy’s didn’t scream. Funny, he thought, trying not to stare in horror as his own personal mark burned itself into his flesh. The spell is the exact shade of green that Harry’s eyes are.

Above him, Voldemort watched on, approvingly. So like his father, a steel core surrounded by beauty and a brain as sharp as a scythe, cutting through whatever stood in his path. Others would have passed out from the pain by now, only a handful managed to stay conscious, Voldemort’s eyes slid to Severus Snape as he remembered the potion master’s induction.

Severus tried not to recoil at the horror of watching Draco bend to Voldemort’s will. Foolish, foolish boy, he thought with horrified pride. Is Potter really worth this to you?

At last the burning faded and the spell dissipated. "Arissse my dragon, and take your placcce among my chosssen," Voldemort crowed. "Sssoon we ssshall have the world trembling beneath usss. Sssoon not even Harry Potter will ssstand in our way!"

Lightening flashed across the sky and Draco’s eyes met Snape’s while all others turned heavenward to watch. It had begun.

The beginning of the battle was eerily quiet. As the light vanished from the sky, a hush fell. Animals either took to their burrows or fled the area. Birds fell silent and even the wind died down.

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed across the sky, then all hell broke loose.

Having no other orders except find Voldemort, Harry was relegated into the back ranks and he chafed at the idea of letting other people mow a path through the dark forces for him. Finally, unable to stand the screams and cries from in front of him any longer, he broke away from Hagrid who had been given baby-sitting duties and dove into the thick of things, his wand at the ready, Voldemort’s maniacal laughter ringing in his ears.

The first Death Eater Draco took out was Zabini, the second, Parkinson. People he had called friend, whom he had shared a life with for six years before fate made Draco an enemy they didn’t even know about. He was very precise in his killing curses, coming a breath away from those who were on the side of the light to take down those on the side of the dark.

Severus stood by his side doing the same. They watched Voldemort cut a swathe through the Aurors while all around them the Death Eaters rallied to their lord. "Was he worth it?" Severus finally asked; sweat pouring down his face and, Merlyn help them both, blood.

"Every blessed second of agony, he’s worth everything," Draco replied with conviction. The mark burned, reminding him of the choice he’d made. He could feel Voldemort drawing energy from it. "He’s using us to fuel his magic. It won’t be long before he begins to drain the weaker of us dry."

"I know," Severus replied tiredly. "Foolish child, why do you think I was against you getting the mark? I knew this would happen."

Draco said nothing, just continued firing curses. He watched with great sadness as Cho Chang fell, and then Justin Fitch-Fletchley. Children, they were killing children and didn’t even care.

"Dra-draco, Pro-professor," Neville Longbottom stumbled towards them, wounded, but still fighting. The quietly courageous boy was very much proving his mettle today. He was a Gryffindor through and through.

"Foolish child," Severus growled and took precious moments from hexing to thrust a potion into Neville’s hands. "Drink this quickly, it should help." And then he turned back to the fray.

"Potter!" Harry ducked the hex a robed and masked Death Eater flung at him, turning instinctively at the sound of his name. Peter Pettigrew stood there, his eyes wild, all traces of sanity gone from his expression.

"Now you die, Potter. Then he’ll value me again. No more hiding in the shadows for Wormtail!"

The former Marauder raised his wand, only to be tackled to the ground.

"Go, Harry," Remus yelled, getting to his feet and staring down at his former friend. "I’ll take care of this." As Pettigrew struggled to his feet, Lupin uttered the killing curse as tears ran down his face for the loss of the boy Peter had been.

Deeper into the battle Harry waded, not noticing the burns and cuts he received from spells flung in his direction. He stepped over bodies of people he knew well, and others he knew not at all without registering the fact, drawn as if to a lodestone to the center of the camp where he knew Voldemort waited. His scar ached, threatening to split his head open, and he spared a tiny prayer that Draco, Ron and Hermione were all right before the circle of Death Eaters before him opened, revealing the Dark Lord.

"Oh sweet Morgana," Draco breathed. Messy black hair, verdant green eyes, endearing glasses. "Harry’s here."

"Go to him, Draco," Severus ordered softly.

"But you’re hurt, I can’t leave you alone," Draco groaned, as if in agony. The once overly neat Slytherin prince was now a mess of torn clothing, soot stains, burns, gashes and blood. He was not at all his usual peacock self, it was as if all the trappings were slowly being torn away to reveal the essential core that was Draco, the steely backbone of strength, his essential self, the warrior willing to live and die for his cause, for his love.

"Dragon," Severus growled.

"Don’t worry about the professor, Malfoy," came the voice of Neville Longbottom once more. There was another who had been peeled down to his essential self and that self was magnificently Gryffindor.

"I stuck close by figuring sooner or later you’d need to, Harry told us, his friends, about what you were doing and why. I’ll stay with Professor Snape; you go be with who you’re supposed to be with."

A fleeting hug to Severus and a handshake to Neville and Draco was off. Now all he had to do was take care of all the Death Eaters surrounding Voldemort and Harry and he’d be home free. Gods above, he was going to die. But at least he’d be with Harry.

"You’re looking a bit peaked, Riddle," Harry rasped, his voice rough from the smoke and sulfur blowing around the Death Eater encampment. "Being a dark lord a bit taxing?"

"Havinggg to put up with you wearsss my patienccce," Voldemort hissed and, deciding to forgo with the pre-battle trading of insults, began to throw hex after hex at Harry, positive he would triumph.

Harry managed to deflect most of the curses, though several got through his defenses, making him groan with pain. It felt as if there was acid in his veins, working its way to his heart, but he didn’t give in.

Summoning his strength, he cast a single spell at Voldemort, a child’s cantrip really, one that kept things honest when playing a game. It was a spell Ron had mentioned in passing once, and Harry was sure it had never been used for anything like this.

"As to me, to you," he whispered, pointing his wand in the Dark Lord’s direction, the faint glow of his charm almost invisible against the virulent colors of Voldemort’s curses.

"Harry," Draco whispered, watching in despair. "No, please, don’t!" but it was too late, every hex and curse Voldemort threw at Harry echoed back doubly on him. Soon it was a wicked loop of pain and poison that had both Harry and Riddle staggering under the weight.

It was then that the weakest of the Death Eaters began to fall, their hearts suddenly stopping from an overload of using their magic while having it drained from them. Draco cursed silently as he watched Goyle fall not to far from him, the boy’s behemoth size only hastening his death. "Got to be a way, got to be..."

A flash off to the side caught Harry’s attention and he glanced toward the pale light, giving a pained grimace that might have been a smile when he saw Draco there. He’s going to kill me for this, he mused, coughing up blood as one of the spells twisted his guts into knots inside him. He could feel heat flaring against his chest as the gems in the pendant Draco had made him flared and died, their energies used up in a futile battle against Voldemort’s might.

Grimacing, Harry looked back at Voldemort, trying to goad him into a final attack. "What’s the matter, Riddle? Afraid you can’t take me? I killed you once when I was a baby, so what’s to stop me from doing it now?"

"You ssssshall never defeat me, whelp!" Voldemort cried, madness taking him as he began to rain unforgivables down on Harry’s head, drawing more and more power from his Death Eaters. They were expendable, he was not, and he would triumph!

Draco looked desperately around; needing something to break Voldemort’s grasp, but the only way to do that would be for Harry to kill both Riddle and himself. One by one more and more Death Eaters began to fall. If he didn’t act soon, so would Severus and himself, despite the weakness of their tie to Voldemort, his still in it’s infancy, Sev’s due to the years of separation from many of the Death Eater ceremonies and murder sprees.

Gnashing his teeth in desperation, Draco quite suddenly was hit by inspiration. Was he a wizard or a muggle? Smacking his head at his own stupidity, he cast around for anything that could be used and came up with the wand of a fallen Auror. It was perfectly fitting. Muttering quickly under his breath, Draco transfigured the wand into an athema and, moving up behind Voldemort, plunged the ceremonial blade deep into his back and through his heart, whispering, "Forgive me, love."

From where he was crouched on the ground in front of Voldemort, Harry managed to lift his head and stare when Riddle’s triumphant cry changed into a shriek. At the same moment, a searing pain cut through his chest, and he groaned, dropping his wand as he pitched forward onto his hands, each breath an agony.

Voldemort collapsed to the ground, and Harry looked up a final time to see Draco standing behind him, a bloody knife in his hand. "Knew... knew we’d teach you to think like a muggle," he gasped, managing a smile before collapsing to the blood-soaked ground.

Death was sweet as one of Dumbledore’s candies, as stern as McGonagall’s look when she caught you out. It was as sharp as Hermione’s intellect and as boisterous as the Weasley’s laughter. It was huge but gentle, like Hagrid, and quiet but strong like Neville. It was silver and gray, it was beautiful, and in the end, it just was.

"NO!" Draco was kneeling beside Harry before his heart had the chance to beat. "No, I’m not going to lose you, not now, not... AVERT!" he bellowed sending friend and foe back behind an impenetrable barrier made up of equal parts terror, rage, desperation and grief so thick it could be seen.

He was vaguely aware of their friends gathering, of Dumbledore with his wand raised, of Hermione and Ron pounding against the spell, desperate to get in, of Madame Pomfrey pleading with him to let her try and save Harry. But Draco already knew that she was too late, they were all too late. All except him and the darkest of blood magics... a necromancer’s spell.

Wiping the blade he still carried clean, he ripped open Harry’s shirt and without hesitation sliced a gash first above his lover’s heart and then across the palm of his hand and began to chant.

« Unus vita, unus cor cordis, unus anima, unus corpus Ego coniugo nos in aetrunum Duo intra unus Sanguis intra Sanguis Donec mors mortis adserto denuo »

Draco could feel the energies swirl and scream and as the spell took more and more out of him, pouring his life’s energy into Harry, reanimating him, the barrier that had kept the others out fell and they tried to rush forward only to stopped by Dumbledore.

"You cannot break the spell, to do so would kill them both now. We must let it finish."

The world grayed around the edges, fire and then ice raced through his veins and just before he lost touch with the world completely, he felt the chest beneath his palm heave and saw the most beautiful green eyes flicker open. And then he saw nothing.

Chapter 15

It was dark when Harry woke and he blinked, trying to look around in confusion but finding himself unable to move. Images of the last battle surged through his mind, and he began to fight in earnest, suddenly sure that Voldemort had won and he was locked in some dungeon under his stronghold in preparation for torture.

"Shh, don’t try to move or to talk Harry. Madame Pomfrey is still trying to undo all the hexes and curses that hit you," Hermione whispered as she moved into her friend’s line of sight. "I thought we’d lose you for sure, we did lose you, but Draco..." Her laugh was more of a sob, and she glanced past Harry to the still form that lay on the bed next to his. "Well we should have known that any Slytherin worth his salt would have a back up plan, and our Slytherin Prince had a doozy of a one."

"Don’t know which one of you is the stupider git," Ron agreed, moving to stand next to Hermione, his arm going around her shoulders while the other was tucked uselessly into a sling. "But I think we did discover a great scientific breakthrough though. We’ve answered the age-old question of how to turn a Slytherin into a Gryffindor. Let him fall in love."

"Draco..." Harry began to fight even harder, trying to sit up and see the blond Slytherin, relief coursing through him at the sight of his friends alive, but tempered by dread. "Is he? He killed Voldemort, right? I remember that." Everything else was a muddle, but he clearly remembered seeing Draco standing over the Dark Lord’s body. "He was all right, what happened?"

Just then Madam Pomfrey bustled up and clucked her tongue disapprovingly. "I thought I told you he wasn’t to get agitated. This is for your own good, Mr. Potter. Soporis."

Ron watched Pomfrey walk off, her pace brisker than usual as she had a ward full of battle victims to treat. "He’s not going to be too happy with her when he wakes up; he was bloody determined to see Malfoy."

"Hopefully Draco will be awake the next time he wakes up, otherwise I might just have to cast that one on him myself. He’s still so weak, Ron, we came so close to losing both of them," Hermione sighed, brushing a hand through her ratty hair. "Ugh, I’m a mess, we both are. Do you think we’ll have time to clean up before he wakes up?"

"I’ll sit with him," Neville offered, getting up from where he lay in a bed across the hall.

"Neville, no, you’re hurt!"

"Not badly, Hermione, I’m actually feeling loads better now, and there are people who need the bed worse than I do. I’ll just sit between Harry and Draco and wait until you come back then, all right?"

She paused, plainly uncertain, then finally nodded. "You’ll send for us if they wake up?"

"Of course," Neville said, his tone stronger then usual, even though he was weak from his injuries.

"We’ll see you soon then." Hermione leaned against Ron’s side as they walked out of the infirmary, both drawing comfort from each other.

"Sweet gods of chaos and misrule," Draco groaned, his eyes flickering open slowly. "Did anyone catch the name of that mad whatever it was that hit me?"

"Easy, Draco," Neville cautioned, shifting his splinted arm so he could place a hand on the Slytherin’s shoulder. "Madame Pomfrey said you have a bad case of spell shock on top of what you did with your spell." He glanced over at the bed on the other side of him plainly still awed by what he had seen done earlier.

"But it worked? He’s... he’s alive?" Draco asked, appalled by the trembling in his voice but unable to help it.

"He’s very much alive you stupid little boy," Snape growled, coming to stand next to Draco’s bed. Nodding civilly to Neville, he glared down at his godson. "What were you thinking? Using a necromancy spell. And where did you find such an abomination?"

Draco’s lips curled in a half sneer. "Maybe I was proving that I am my father’s son after all," he snarked before shaking his head and dropping the attitude. "I was doing what I had to, to make sure he came back to me Uncle Sev. I spent days, weeks, looking for a solution from the light side but found nothing. When the light failed me, I turned to the dark. I wasn’t going to lose him, not now, not when... I just couldn’t," Draco finished helplessly.

"Idiot child." But Snape’s voice was without heat and his hand gently stroked Draco’s silvery blond hair out of his face. "You realize what you’ve done, don’t you? You’ve made your life dependent upon his. No matter what happens between the two of you your life will always be bound to his and when he dies the next time he’ll take you with him."

"So be it," Draco replied firmly. "It’s worth the price."

"Malfoy, what did you do?" On the other side of Neville’s chair, Harry pushed himself up onto his elbows, panting harshly at the effort. "What the fuck did you do!" He had to have been hallucinating, for Draco to have done that... for him. No.

"Mr. Potter! Lie down this instance," Madam Pomfrey shrilled, marching towards the two beds.

Shaking his head at the futility of her actions, Snape motioned to Neville. "If you would be so kind as to get out of the way, Longbottom?" he requested mildly and then when the Gryffindor had moved and taken the chair with him, Snape simply spelled the two beds together so that they were one large one.

"You’re not going to keep either of them un-agitated until they have this out and having them strain themselves to see over Longbottom or trying to get closer to the other would just make them worse. I suggest we let them talk," Snape suggested to Poppy and then continued glaring at both Harry and Draco.

"With the understanding that should either of them raise their voice above a whisper or show signs of agitation that is beyond what can be considered healthy, both will be put into an immediate healing coma and not be awakened until both are healed. Is that understood?"

Harry nodded almost mutinously, trying to appear calm so that the others would leave. He wanted to get this over and done with, first he had to find out why he was alive, then he could mourn the dead, and he knew in the pit of his stomach there were a lot of them.

Draco echoed Harry’s nod, looking at his lover apprehensively. One would think he’d be happy to be here with me but he’s acting as if I’ve... bollocks, have I ruined it for us? Draco moaned silently.

"So, you, umm, had a question?" he asked after long, silent minutes.

"What happened?" Harry asked quietly, finally turning his head to look at Draco, the dark circles under the other boy’s eyes and the gaunt look of his features telling Harry something of the price Draco had paid for his time with Voldemort.

He remembered something then, and reached out, biting back a groan as he took Draco’s right arm and turned it over, and pushing back his pajama top to look at the skull and snake that marked his flesh. "I thought, how, Draco?"

"It was worth it," Draco replied, not looking at the ugly mark on his forearm. "It was worth it because it let me be there, let me... I killed you," Draco’s voice broke and tears began to stream. "When I killed him I killed you too, oh Merlyn help me, I killed..." he couldn’t get it out, all he could do was shake with repressed grief, not sure if he would ever be under control again.

Shoving the strange emotion he felt at being alive - it was almost resentment somehow - to the back of his mind, Harry managed to move closer to Draco and take the Slytherin into his arms. "Well, you seem to have done a right poor job of it," he murmured, resting his head against Draco’s and for the moment allowing himself to luxuriate in the feeling of holding the other boy again.

"Couldn’t let you die for good, you prat," Draco finally sniffled, fisting his eyes and then wiping his nose on the back of his sleeve. " I wanted that lifetime with you and if you had stayed dead I would have had to off myself just on principal alone, so I... brought you back."

"How?" Harry asked, pulling back enough to look into Draco’s eyes, his thumb rubbing over the dark mark on the blond’s arm. "I heard Snape say something about necromancy and being tied together..."

"My father’s real library, the one the Ministry of Magic could never find," Draco admitted with a sigh. "That weekend I went home, the Hogsmeade one? I wasn’t really going through my father’s effects; I was going through his library looking for something, anything, which could help.

"What I found was a book of Necromancy, a dark arts guide to raising the dead so to speak. And in that book I found a spell, the spell I used."

Draco took a deep breath and repeated the spell he’d used, saying it in English instead of Latin.

One life, one heart, one soul, one body I bind us forever

Two into one blood into blood until death claims us anew

"That’s what I did, Potter," he finished miserably, positive Harry would be disgusted with him now.

"Oh," was all Harry could think of to say. He swallowed and licked his dry lips, trying to find the words to explain what he was feeling. "You saved my life, Malfoy, or gave it back to me at any rate. I’m, I should be pissed at you for taking a chance with your own that way, I really should, and probably if I wasn’t so damned happy to see you I would be, but right now... Right now I’m just going to concentrate on the fact that we both survived."

Draco looked up from beneath the fringe of blond bangs, shocked, amazed and grateful. "You mean you’re not... disgusted with me?" he finally got out. "And you don’t mind that I bound myself to you until you die? Well, until we die, because the way spell works is if you do we both do," Draco finished with an infinitesimal shrug to his shoulders.

Harry took a moment to process that information, then looked at Draco again. "It seems my lot in life to be tied to Slytherins, all I can say is you’re much more to my liking then Volde - Fuck! If I’m, then he’s... Is Voldemort dead?"

"I don’t know," Draco admitted slowly. "He died when you... you died but I was more concerned about getting to you than anything else and when I did, I was a little preoccupied and then I was unconscious."

"Oh, he is very much dead, my dear boys, no need to worry about that," came Dumbledore’s tired but happy voice. "However, I must caution you, Harry, to be careful with your language while in the infirmary. There are some very young ears here," he continued with a chuckle and then sobered.

"But alas, while Voldemort is dead, the war still rages on. It was only due to the backlash amongst the Death Eaters upon Voldemort’s death that we were able to retreat so easily. Both camps are now regrouping and burying their dead while tending to their wounded. I fear that this is far from over."

Though he felt profound relief at the knowledge Voldemort was dead, Harry felt his stomach knot. "Who... Who did we lose?"

The Headmaster looked toward the floor, suddenly seeming to be a tired, old man rather then one of the most powerful wizards alive. "The list is long, and you both need to rest. The memorial service will be in two days, but for now..."

He raised his head and studied both teens. "Now you should sleep. We’re all going to need our strength." When both Draco and Harry started to protest, Dumbledore shook his head and raised his wand, murmuring ‘Soporis’ and sending both of them back into a deep healing sleep.

Draco shifted uncomfortably as he looked around at the other members of the Order of the Phoenix. Who would have ever imagined that Lucius Malfoy’s little boy would end up being a do-gooder? Not a lot of the ministry types by the glares he was getting, he smirked to himself. A few of the Aurors seemed right twitchy and their hands kept shifting closer and closer to their wands as they looked at him.

Of course it probably didn’t help that he refused to hide his dark mark and it was visible on the underside of his forearm as he was wearing a shirt with its sleeves rolled up in concession to the warm spring day. Draco refused to be ashamed of what he had done to keep Harry alive and if those bloody ministry types had a problem with it, they could stick their precious wands where the sun didn’t shine and light them!

Snape shifted slightly in the chair next to him, drawing Draco’s attention back to Dumbledore.

"Harry, Hermione and Weasley will be along shortly, sir," he informed the headmaster. "Ron was having his cursed arm looked at. Madam Pomfrey feels it’s almost cured and wanted to make sure before she removed the immobulus on it."

"Thank the makers," Arthur Weasley sighed in relief as Draco watched on. In the two weeks since the first battle the older man had been run ragged at the ministry and spent many a night worrying about his offspring and the injuries they’d sustained. He knew he couldn’t protect them forever but they were so young...

Shaking his head, the Minister gave a fatalistic shrug. In times such as these the youth often grew up faster than their parents would have liked. Children like Draco Malfoy, to whom he turned to speak.

"And how are you doing, my boy? You’re looking much better than you were when I popped into the infirmary to check on Ron, Harry and the rest of my lot. Oh, tell Harry that he’s to bring you to the Burrow the next time he comes for a visit," he informed the blonde before leaving.

"It feels so empty," Harry murmured as he, Hermione, and Ron made their way to the Great Hall.

"A lot of students were called home when the fighting started," Hermione explained. "I doubt they’ll be back until it’s over."

"Most of Slytherin won’t be back at all, either because they were recruited into the Death Eater ranks or they lost parents or loved ones who were. And of those that didn’t choose sides a lot pulled their children home out of fear of reprisals and for safety reasons," Ron put in, flexing his right arm and wincing as underused muscles pulled. "Malfoy’s the only one left from his year."

Harry nodded, stopping and leaning against the wall to catch his breath. He was recovering from the curses he’d endured, but too slowly for his liking. Madame Pomfrey allowed him out of the infirmary for short periods of time under orders that if he didn’t return; it would be back to bed rest.

"Voldemort didn’t tell them how the mark bound them to him," he said once he’d caught his breath. "And they were too blind to realize what it would do, most of them anyway."

"Harry, don’t," Hermione sighed putting her arm around her friend and hugging him hard. "There’s no sense beating yourself up about it, most of them went in with eyes wide open thinking they were choosing the winning side. There was nothing you could have done; there was nothing any of us could have done."

"’Mione’s right, mate, besides, how can you be responsible for you-know... for Voldemort lying to ‘em. They’re bloody Slytherins, who should know better that there was a chance he was lying than people from his own house?

"Anyhow, we’re gonna be late, the Order’s having a meeting and we’re all to be there. Something about marshalling forces and dividing mop up duties and so on and so forth."

"All right, well, let’s see what an invalid can do to help the cause of goodness and light." Both Hermione and Ron glared at him and Harry held up a hand before they went off on him. "Joking, I’m just joking, okay?"

"Just be thankful Draco didn’t hear you say that," Hermione muttered. "He’d have beaten you over the head with his father’s cane!"

Ron shook his head. "I think you’re both crackers to be quite honest, but hey, they say that’s a sign of true love. Imagine, each trying to die in order to make sure the other one lives."

Hermione elbowed the youngest Weasley male in the stomach. "Some of us find it very touching, Ronald Weasley, so you’d best hold your tongue unless you’re expecting to..." Hermione blushed a bright shade of pink as she realized what she was about to say. "Um never mind, but you know what I’m talking about!"

Harry shared a glance with Ron that told him exactly what Hermione had been about to say, but he pantomimed zipping his lips, not wanting her to go after him next.

They started walking toward the Great Hall again, their steps slower then normal to accommodate Harry’s dragging pace. By the time they reached the hall, he was grateful, and sank into the first open chair, trying to concentrate on what Dumbledore was saying, but for the moment, only able to hear the blood pounding in his ears.

Once Harry recovered, he looked around the room, finally spying Draco at the other end of the long table, his occamy wrapped around his neck like a living necklace. That brought a small smile to Harry’s face, but it vanished as he listened to the debate going on around them.

Draco fought the urge to bang his head against the table. This was worse than Divination and the History of Magic combined. He glanced at his godfather who looked just as agitated as he felt and then glanced at Harry who looked like he should be in bed. And that decided things for him. Clearing his throat loudly, Draco turned to Dumbledore. "With all due respect, Headmaster, it seems to me that there are far too many people obfuscating and far too few decisions being made."

"And what would you know about it you treacherous little Death Eater?" one of the more obviously fanatical Death Eater haters growled.

"Well let’s see," Draco replied calmly. "I know that Walden McNair is a Death Eater and a ministry official, I know that Cornelius Fudge was in my father’s, and therefore Voldemort’s pocket, I know that the Dementors let the LeStranges and my father escape from Azkaban, oh and that they’re only in it for the power, hrmmm, what else do I know? Oh yes, that there’s a Voldemort spy in the auror’s midst, never did hear his or her name but I know he exists... Is that enough to start with?" Draco smirked.

"Lies, they’re all lies you good for nothing piece of Slytherin tras..."

"SILENCE!" Dumbledore bellowed, using the Sonorus spell to make his voice even more impressive. When the room had quieted he looked at Draco. "Can you prove these accusations?" he asked quietly.

"My father kept detailed accounts of the monies paid to Fudge through a Gringott’s account as well as those made to an anonymous vault used by the traitor in the aurors. That vault is in the Gringott’s Swiss bank and like its muggle counterpart, doesn’t divulge its clientele. I also have proof of McNair’s Death Eater activities. Is there anything else you’d like?"

"How dare you call me a Death Eater when you’re the one sitting there with the dark mark on your arm!" McNair stood; his rotund face flushed dark red. "You should be locked up with the rest of the scum..."

He would have said more, but a silencing charm chopped off his words and another immobilized him.

"Now then, where were we?" Dumbledore asked as several burly wizards carried the frozen man out of the hall. "Ah yes, your father’s bank accounts. I believe we’ve a portkey to that bank, so perhaps after dinner you can get us that information, Draco?"

Harry relaxed back into his chair, letting his wand slide back into his sleeve and clenching his hands together under the table to stop them from shaking.

"But of course, Headmaster," Draco replied with a graceful inclination of his head. Picking at the invisible lint on his sleeve Draco was every inch the cool Slytherin Prince he was purported to be. Refusing to rise to the taunts and accusations he merely eyed those loudmouths with an icy stare and a regal tilt of an eyebrow.

However, inside he was seething. How dare they sit there with their respective wands up their arses while trying to convince people, themselves included, that this wasn’t a war it was merely a fluke of nature, as if people like Harry, Ron, Hermione and Severus, not to mention all the others at the battle of Ickleswold who survived and died for the cause were making things up. But these blowhards were actually trying to tell Albus Dumbledore what to do and how to do it when they had for years followed the lead of a Voldemort collaborator! It galled Draco to no end.

Around his neck, Draco’s occamy shifted and hissed unhappily, upset by her master’s roiling emotions. Draco petted her head absently and then looked over to his own touch stone, Harry, and tried to find that calm center that seemed so impossible to reach, only to find Harry watching him with those brilliant green eyes of his, boring into Draco’s soul.

Harry held Draco’s gaze for what felt like an eternity before Professor McGonagall asked another question of the blond and he looked away. This wasn’t a meeting, it was more of an interrogation, and, while Harry understood the Ministry’s need for information, the fact that they still hadn’t weeded out all of Voldemort’s supporters sickened as well as terrified him. How easy would it be for one of them to sneak up behind Draco and kill him for betraying their cause?

Harry couldn’t care less that that he would die if Malfoy did, it was the fact that right now he was too weak to do anything to help that galled him. Draco was the one who’d killed Voldemort and right now he was simply a liability.

  since 02-04-07

 

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