One thing was certain, Potter had everything to do with it.
In an indirect way perhaps, but still. The day had dawned for Draco not dissimilar to many of his Eighth Year days: he was leaving the Arithmancy classroom when three sixth-year Ravenclaws cast a hex behind his back, causing boils to erupt on his face. The sudden, sharp pain made him trip on the stairs, and he fell, books and quills scattering around him. The girls laughed themselves silly, while another Ravenclaw from his year reached a hand to help him stand up.
Draco slapped the hand away.
‘Get out of my face,’ he hissed at the Ravenclaw. His memory provided the name: Terry Boot. Another one of Potter’s friends.
‘He’s only trying to help,’ a voice said behind him. ‘Finite Incantatem.’
The boils disappeared, leaving behind a Draco burning with shame. Potter was always there. He had a knack of witnessing every cutting indignity, every single embarrassment, every little humiliation that Draco suffered.
‘I didn’t ask for his help. Or yours, for that matter. Get lost.’ Draco got to his feet and started gathering his books.
Potter crossed his arms and showed no signs of getting lost. ‘I’m making an effort here, Draco. Why is it so hard for you to accept it?’
‘Why is it so hard for you to get the fuck out of my face and stay there?’
Potter pursed his lips tight. ‘I thought that after—’
‘After what?’ Draco narrowed his eyes at Potter, who was unwilling to continue. ‘After your testimony? After you saved me? Is that what you were going to say?’ His anger rose, hot as the flames that crowded his nightmares. ‘Were you expecting me to fall on my knees in gratitude?’
‘I was hoping for civility,’ Potter insisted, his temper sharpening the edges of his words.
‘All I want, Potter,’ Draco spat the name, ‘is for you to leave me alone. You’ll have my gratitude then.’
Draco thought he noticed a hint of disappointment on Potter’s features before they turned cold. ‘Ron’s right. You’re still a git.’
‘Fuck you, too.’
Afterwards, Draco always regretted it. He replayed every argument in his head, trying to figure out how he could have stopped his mouth from running. In his fantasies, Potter asking him to a game of Catch the Snitch ended in exceptionally pleasant ways. In reality, when Potter asked him the same thing, surrounded by a gaggle of friends and admirers, clearly taking pity on solitary Draco, his blood boiled and he snapped.
He was convinced his conflicting emotions would have driven him crazy if it wasn’t for the Mirror he’d discovered in a room on the fifth floor past the portrait of a dozy man with a mad hat. He’d lost count of how many evenings he spent staring at the Mirror’s images. Draco was aware that doing so only increased his heartache, but he couldn’t help it. Drawn like a moth to the flame, and as likely to be burned to a crisp, Draco spent his nights in front of the Mirror, drinking in the delicious happiness it showed, and carrying the unattainable images in his head for the rest of the day.
Draco had been staring at the Mirror for some time tonight, his chest aching at the sight of what he would never have, when he stretched his hand towards it and— a bright flash blinded him. His hair stood on end and he exhaled, wondering what the hell had just happened.
He felt as if someone had dunked him in water, but also the same lurch as braking on a speeding broom. Glancing around, he jumped to his feet in alarm. The dusty room he’d been in a moment ago had vanished. Instead, he found himself in a corridor near the Charms classroom, still facing the Mirror. He had no idea how he and the Mirror got there, but he couldn’t linger; it was well past curfew.
He headed to the dungeons, keeping to the shadows. Amends, Draco said when he reached the stone wall hiding the Slytherin entrance, and it swung open to let him in the empty common room. A dying fire greeted him along with a house-elf dusting the mantelpiece, who bowed and vanished with a pop. He padded down the stairs to his private bedroom —an Eighth Year perk— and whispered his password. The door creaked open.
Candles burned on his bedside table, casting a flickering, yellow light. Draco exhaled as he shut the door behind him. His private room had been his haven in the last three months, and if it wasn’t for the Mirror, he’d probably never leave it save for lessons. He put on his pyjamas with the Malfoy crest and drew the bed curtains aside.
And almost had a heart attack.
Harry Potter lay on his bed, sleeping, topless, his face buried in a book. At the sound of the curtains, or perhaps Draco’s very audible gasp, he blinked.
‘Draco? You’ve been ages,’ Potter said, straightening his glasses.
‘Gah…’ escaped Draco’s lips, which wasn’t exactly what he meant to say.
‘Why are you standing there? Come here.’ Potter placed the book on the bedside table and patted the duvet beside him.
Draco’s breath refused to come. He couldn’t stop his eyes from straying to Potter’s chest, his dark pink nipples, the trail of hair at his navel disappearing down his jeans. ‘How did you get in?’ he managed to utter.
Potter furrowed his brow. ‘What’s wrong, babe?’
Draco had finally gone insane. This was a hallucination of epic proportions, and he jerked away, only to stumble in the curtains and knock his head on the bed post. Darkness came upon him swiftly.
When he regained consciousness, he found himself lying in bed with Harry Potter propped over him, peering curiously into his eyes. ‘Are you alright?’
‘Gah…’ Draco said again. Potter was on him. On him.
‘Did something happen to you?’
‘Is this a joke?’ Draco whispered. ‘Is this your way of taking revenge?’
‘Revenge for what? For beating me at Quidditch today?’
‘We didn’t play— Did I beat you at Quidditch?!’
‘That’s not our issue here,’ Potter said, tight-lipped.
‘I did, didn’t I?’ Draco grinned. At least, in his hallucination, order had been restored in the universe.
‘I had the sun in my eyes, as you well know,’ Potter objected, but paused and worried his lip. ‘Can you not remember?’
A deep crease formed between Potter’s eyes. Draco wanted to smooth it with his finger. He didn’t have a clue what was happening. Perhaps he’d fallen asleep in front of the Mirror again. Well, the Mirror of Erised was an ancient and powerful magical artefact and, if it wanted to give him sex dreams, who was Draco to complain?
But the vividness of the experience was startling: he felt the warm weight of Potter’s body crushing him, he could smell his skin, and anyhow, his dreams featuring Potter typically involved full-on nudity and a lot less talking. He raised his hand and caressed Potter’s face, almost hoping he would dissolve into mist and life would go back to normal.
He didn’t. Potter leaned in the touch, smiling faintly, and Draco stroked his jaw and neck, his fingers resting on his fluttering pulse. Merlin, he felt so real.
But he couldn’t be. If Draco hadn’t been sure that the real Potter couldn’t enter his bedroom, he’d think Potter had been cursed or love-potioned.
‘Perhaps I’ve been cursed,’ Draco whispered. He was talking to himself, but Potter heard him.
‘Did someone Obliviate you?’ Potter sat up, taking his toplessness away from Draco. He sounded indignant. ‘We need to see Madam Pomfrey.’ He stood and pulled Draco’s left hand to get him up.
‘I guess we could—’ Draco froze, his eyes on his left wrist, bare now that the sleeve rode up. He stared at it for long moments, his brain unable to process the sight. Swallowing hard, he ran a finger over the pale skin. The Dark Mark was gone.
Potter held his wand aloft, lighting the way, and Draco followed, his heart numb and racing at the same time. He kept touching his forearm, and his heart swelled with longing; a longing that hurt like a stab wound, because it just couldn’t be true. Even in his dreams, he always had the Mark. He suspected it was part of its magic: ensuring the wearer never forgot their allegiance to the Dark Lord, even when asleep. It also meant that Draco could never find solace. He wasn’t allowed to forget—not even in his dreams—of his worst mistake.
Their footsteps echoed down dark corridors and past sleeping portraits until they reached the hospital wing. They didn’t speak, although Potter glanced several times at Draco.
‘See you.’ Draco dismissed Potter when they arrived and grabbed the door handle.
‘See you?’ Potter stared incredulously at Draco. ‘Babe, I’m coming with you.’
‘Stop calling me babe,’ Draco growled. ‘It’s not funny.’
Potter looked even more worried as he followed Draco in the dim room and called for the nurse. A few moments later, a young woman approached them, tying her dressing gown around her. ‘What seems to be the problem?’
‘Madam Pomfrey,’ Potter said, ‘there’s something wrong with Draco.’
Madam Pomfrey? Draco had seen the hairnet before, sure, but that’s where the similarities ended. This woman was easily in her twenties, with lustrous brown hair and flawless skin. Her voice did sound like Madam Pomfrey’s, though. And the brisk way she ran tests on Draco, casting spell after spell over him, reminded him of her. And the frown when she examined the results of the spells…
With a start, he realised he was standing in front of a very young Madam Pomfrey. Which should have been impossible. There were no spells to make someone regain their youth. Dozens of wizards and witches tried—and failed in various horrifying manners.
‘I see nothing wrong, Mr Potter,’ she said, putting her wand away. ‘If it was an Obliviate, it was either an exceptionally masterful one, or rather Mr Malfoy was grazed by a stray one intended for someone else. In any case, there’s no trace, which makes it impossible to cure.’ She noticed Potter’s concerned expression and gave him a consoling smile. ‘Perhaps it’s simply stress? The intensive N.E.W.T. course has been playing havoc with many students’ mental health. Still, I see no reason for him to remain in the hospital wing tonight.’
While Potter argued for the necessity of more tests, Draco mentally created a list of possibilities regarding what was happening. So far, his list comprised of: insanity, curse, dream. Now he added timeslip to it: one of those strange realities that wizards sometimes found themselves in, because of time malfunctioning. He’d read a novel like that once. He’d always assumed it was fiction, but now he was reconsidering.
He wondered if that meant that at some point in time he and Potter were or would be an item.
He breathed hard at the thought.
Draco returned to his bedroom with a vial of Calming Draught and Potter, who he seemed unable to shake off. Potter even climbed into bed next to him without asking. He resumed his toplessness, though, so Draco felt he shouldn’t complain. If indeed there was something wrong with him, surely Potter’s toplessness could only help.
‘What do you remember?’ Potter’s eyes searched Draco’s face, as he settled beside him under the covers.
Draco gazed at the green eyes, the concerned pout, the casual way Potter’s hand rested on his arm, and decided to play along. Whether this was a dream, a stress-induced hallucination or a timeslip, Draco saw no valid reason to kick Potter out of bed.
Besides, it’d be rude.
‘I remember you,’ he told him, his voice soft, courtesy of the sip of Calming Draught probably, since Draco tended to be a lot more strung-out near Potter. He itched with the desire to bury his hands in Potter’s hair. Apart from caressing his cheek before, he hadn’t dared to touch him again. ‘But fill me in the last few days, Potter.’
‘Potter? You only use my surname when you’re annoyed with me or…’ —here he leaned close and smiled slyly—‘when you’re deep in my arse.’
Draco choked on his own saliva. He shook with coughs, and Potter thumped him on the back. ‘You okay?’
Draco took a deep breath. ‘I’m fine. But please tell me, Pot—Harry. I’m sure it will all come back to me.’
Potter slid closer to Draco with an ease that betrayed familiarity. He pressed against his side and said, ‘Well, I’m Harry and you’re Draco.’
‘We’re in Hogwarts,’ Potter whispered, his lips brushing Draco’s ear. ‘We’re in our Eighth Year, preparing for N.E.W.T.s. It’s an accelerated course, since the start of the school year was delayed, so we’ve been studying like Hermione. It’s February and we have a Transfiguration exam coming up in a week.’
Draco turned to face him. He felt a little stunned at their proximity. At the effortlessness of their conversation, the way they fit next to each other like pieces of a puzzle, legs tangled in each other’s and Harry’s hands at his waist. In all his fantasies, their interactions were fraught with aggressiveness; biting and shoving between kisses, lovemaking that resembled a brawl, but now he marvelled at how natural it felt to share his bed with Potter — Harry. This one wasn’t the Potter he knew, but a Harry who didn’t pity or hate him, and Draco’s heart swelled. He finally gave in and ran a hand through Harry’s hair, stroking his fringe back from his forehead. Harry’s eyes fluttered close at Draco’s touch. This was— shit, this was very similar to the image he’d seen in the Mirror of Erised.
‘About us,’ Draco rasped. ‘Tell me about us.’
Harry must have taken the request as foreplay. He paused between words to trail small kisses on Draco’s neck and jaw. ‘We’ve been seeing each other for over three months now. I mean, we flirted during the war, but we only got together here. First week. I just couldn’t keep my hands off you anymore. The coup had been overthrown, Voldemort was gone, we’d received our medals—’
‘Yes. You and me, Ron, Hermione, Neville. The,’ here he rolled his eyes, ‘—Five Heroes.’
‘The what now?’
‘How strong was that Obliviation spell?’ Harry asked.
‘I remember the medals,’ Draco lied, not wanting his Harry to fret; not when things were going so well. ‘But tell me about our—our first kiss.’
Harry shifted again, propping himself over Draco, his thigh pressing against Draco’s hips. Heat spread from the point of contact right to Draco’s toes and fingers. Madam Pomfrey would’ve Portkeyed him straight to St Mungo’s if she took his temperature now. He struggled to focus on Harry’s words.
‘Saturday night at Hogsmead,’ he was saying. ‘We were at the pub with the others, but I wanted to be alone with you. I asked if you wanted to go for a walk. It was snowing outside and bitterly cold, but you accepted. I held your hand outside the pub, and you stopped and looked in my eyes—’
An exploring hand slid under Draco’s pyjamas, light fingers running against his fevered skin. Draco’s breath came out with difficulty. ‘And then? You kissed me?’
He could picture the scene: holding hands in the middle of a quiet lane, snow falling soft around them, Potter’s cheeks pink with cold, their breaths fogging in front of them… He’d dreamed of this fantasy more times than he cared to admit.
Harry laughed, his fingers tracing circles on Draco’s belly. ‘We got accosted by fans. It was after the interview you gave to Rita Skeeter and everyone wanted a piece of you, the Silver Hero. We ran through the village, chased by shrieking fans, and found refuge in the Sanctuary. The Shrieking Shack.’
None of what Harry said made any sense whatsoever, but that didn’t matter when he rocked his hips, eyes intent on Draco’s.
Draco might have yelped. His cheeks burned with embarrassment, but, luckily, Harry found it charming and chuckled before he pulled Draco’s shirt up and wrapped his lips around his nipples, causing severe problems in Draco’s ability to think. His brain latched on the last thing he heard: ‘Shrieking Shack is a sanctuary?’
Harry stopped flicking his tongue over Draco’s nipple. Draco quickly amended, ‘Of course it’s a sanctuary. I’m only messing with you.’
This Harry worried too much but, thankfully, he resumed his attentions to Draco’s body again. ‘We ran inside the Shrieking Shack to hide and, as I closed the door behind us, you pushed me against it and kissed me. Like this.’
Harry hovered over him and brushed his lips against Draco’s.
Bollocks. Draco knew his first kiss with Harry would never be like that. He rose and said, ‘I think it was more like this.’ Pulling Harry to him, he looked at his face in wonder, his heart thumping in his chest, and kissed him.
Merlin, he kissed him! He was kissing Harry Potter. His tongue slipped through Harry’s half-open lips, and Draco savoured the taste of him. It felt so real. Draco kissed him with force and increasing desperation, months and years of wanting bursting through him, every bit of frustration and longing and regret he’d kept hidden inside finding sweet, thunderous release. Grabbing Harry tight, Draco pulled his body flush against him and tilted his face, driving his tongue in deeper. Harry responded eagerly. They kissed for a long time, and every time Harry would attempt to pull back, Draco would pull him back in, kissing him and kissing him until he had enough—and he could never have enough, so he kept kissing Harry, sloppily, wetly, furiously; and he kept pressing Harry against him, hands clutching at his bare shoulders, holding on for dear life.
Eventually, he let go and flopped back on his pillow, taking deep breaths.
‘I knew you’d remember.’ Harry looked as dazed as Draco felt. ‘Fuck,’ he shook his head. ‘It felt exactly like our first kiss.’
His face and chest flushed beautifully and Draco’s arousal tugged sharply at his consciousness, making him want more. Brimming with desire, he bucked his hips experimentally, gratified to hear Harry moan. He did it again and Harry pressed back, grinding his hips slowly and giving open-mouthed kisses to Draco, soft and luxurious. He tugged Draco’s pyjamas off, shifting to allow him to remove them. His jeans followed Draco’s clothing to the floor.
Draco had to swallow hard at the sight of Harry’s cock, long and beautiful and leaking. ‘Come here,’ he said hoarsely to Harry, who obliged. Back in Draco’s arms, Harry felt solid and warm and just right, and Draco kissed him again, his hands running over his back, his strong arms and the round curve of his arse.
‘I’ve prepared myself,’ Harry said, when Draco’s hands squeezed his buttocks. ‘You were gone ages and I was bored, so I had a shower—by the way, I used your blue towels again, sorry—’
‘That’s alright.’ Draco couldn’t care less about towels right now, not when his brain had short circuited with the mention of preparation, but Harry pulled back from the kissing, the crease back between his eyes.
‘Draco? Are you—?’
A different reaction was expected from him, Draco realised, so he raised his voice. ‘What? My blue towels, Potter? How dare you? You know—’ Draco wracked his brain to think why the fuck he should be upset. Ah yes, the blue towels that his mother brought from Paris. ‘—they’re my mother’s present! I told you time and again—’
It worked. Harry relaxed and sank back in his arms. ‘I promise I’ll remember next time.’
His apologetic pout was the most adorable thing Draco had ever seen and Harry could have all the fucking towels in the entire fucking Manor. Draco tried to steer the conversation back to the interesting part. ‘You said something about preparing yourself?’ He glanced around the room and saw on the bedside table, right beside the forgotten textbook, a tube of lube. Industrial size.
Harry was talking. ‘… I wanted to be ready for you. I felt like bottoming tonight.’
Draco held his breath. He whispered, ‘You want me to fuck you?’
Draco was a virgin. In real life. In his dreams and fantasies he was a sex machine. He hoped this was a dream. He wanted to make a good impression.
‘Unless you don’t want to?’ Harry asked, but Draco shushed him with a hard kiss. His heart was beating so fast he thought it might give out any minute.
‘I want to,’ he said. ‘Merlin, I want to.’
Draco rolled over Harry. For a moment he took in the sight of Harry lying on his bed, heavy-lidded and soft and stark naked, and he knew he’d remember this moment for the rest of his life. His hand reached behind Harry’s balls, finding his slicked entrance. A finger slipped easily in, then another. He drank Harry’s moans from his lips as he finger-fucked him, unable to tear his eyes from the writhing, sweaty body under him.
‘Come on, Draco, fuck me already,’ Harry groaned, spreading his legs wider.
‘I thought you’d never ask.’ Draco pulled his fingers out and slicked his cock. His hands shook. He knew the theory of what he was meant to do and prayed to Salazar that he wouldn’t mess it up. With a light shove, he pushed the head in Harry’s arse and gasped.
The intensity of the sensation almost made him come. Harry bucked his hips, wanting more of Draco, babbling encouragement, and Draco, his mouth dry, his body shuddering, pushed himself deeper and deeper inside the heat and the tightness of Harry’s arse, gritting his teeth against the overwhelming desire to come this very minute.
‘That’s it, Draco,’ Harry said, his eyelids fluttering. He bent his knees higher and wrapped them around Draco’s waist. Draco’s desire burned through him, stronger than an elixir. With a superhuman effort, he stopped himself from coming, and thrust once, then again, finding a pace that had Harry moaning loudly. Leaning over him on his elbows, he caught Harry’s mouth with his own, kissing messily, fucking him earnestly, while Harry dug his fingers in his hips, holding him tight inside him. Draco took a breath to control himself and rolled his hips once.
‘Merlin, I love it when you fuck me,’ Harry breathed.
‘I love fucking you, Potter.’ Sure, Draco hadn’t done it before, but five minutes in and he was a huge fan. He rolled his hips again, provoking another whimper from Harry before he resumed a fast, relentless pace.
Draco wished for a few more eyes so he could take in everything at once: his cock sliding in and out of Harry; Harry’s face, contorted in pleasure; his sweat covered body. Draco knew he wouldn’t last long. He tugged at Harry’s cock, sliding the foreskin back and forth. ‘I could fuck you forever, Potter. I want to bury myself inside you and never leave.’
He was babbling but he couldn’t help it. The pleasure of watching Harry coming undone, his swollen lips open in bliss; the slaps of skin against skin; the potent smell of sweat and sex; the taste of Harry’s lips were more than he could bear. He tightened his hand on Harry’s rock-hard cock, making him come in long spurts over his belly, and then with a final, deep thrust, Draco came inside him, his eyes rolling back in his head.
Sweaty and sated, Draco flopped on the covers. He’d never been happier.
The next morning, Draco kept his eyes shut, trying to hold on to what had been the best dream he’d ever had. He wasn’t ready for the disappointment of waking up to his real life.
A murmur beside him made him turn slowly to his left. He encountered an obstacle: a warm body pressed against his side, dark hair in his eyes and a leg tangled with his.
‘Morning,’ he said to Harry, who blinked lovingly towards him. Unable to resist himself, he tucked closer to Harry, burying his face in his neck. Harry smelled of sleep and sweat and sex, and Draco licked the soft spot under his ear. It wasn’t enough, not nearly enough, so he kissed his jaw and his lips. By then, Harry had turned towards him. He pressed his morning erection on him and kissed him back.
Draco wanted to gorge himself on Harry’s lips. As Harry ground himself against him, one part of Draco’s mind marvelled at the fact that if this was a timeslip, a. he wasn’t a virgin anymore, and b. it was Harry Potter himself who’d taken his virginity. The thought made him launch a fresh attack of kisses and caresses.
‘Draco, you’re on fire today. You’d think you hadn’t seen me in days.’
‘I missed you, ‘sall,’ Draco murmured, as he wrapped a hand around Harry’s cock, and stroked it slowly. He looked his fill as the cock responded to his strokes. It was by far the best thing Draco had ever touched. Something so spectacular surely belonged to a museum. Draco ran his thumb over the vein and the silky soft top, enjoying the warm throbbing weight in his palm. Harry moaned, a happy smile on his face, and Draco shuffled down and ran his tongue on the underside. He met Harry’s eyes, taking courage from his blissful expression, and took the head in his mouth, sucking lightly. His own erection pressed against the sheets, but Draco kept his eyes trained on Harry and continued his exploration. He licked his balls, putting them in his mouth gently and sucking softly before returning to the shaft and mapping it with his tongue, slowly, carefully, trying to imprint it in his mind. Harry made delightful noises that spurred Draco on. Hollowing his mouth, he sucked faster, harder, using one hand to stroke his own cock. Harry, eyes dark and glazed with lust, lifted his hips, fucking Draco’s mouth, looking so beautiful and so decadent that Draco came on his sheets a moment before Harry came in his mouth.
Breathless, Draco lay between Harry’s legs, his cheek on his sweaty belly. He didn’t want to get up. Ever. He was happy to remain there for the rest of his life, thank you very much.
Harry examined him with some curiosity, a hand playing with Draco’s hair. ‘This reminds me of our first weeks together. You had such a fascination with my cock.’
‘Had?’ Draco couldn’t imagine getting over that fascination any time soon.
‘Alright, you still do—but it’s mostly my arse you’re obsessed with now.’ Harry sighed dramatically, and added, ‘You’d think a person would have enough of rimming, but nope. Not you.’ He smiled at Draco again—all those smiles given so easily—without realising that Draco had stopped breathing. Rimming? He spent his nights rimming Harry Potter?
Draco had died. This was the only logical explanation: he’d died and gone to heaven, and if he didn’t know that he didn’t deserve heaven, then maybe he’d believe it.
‘Hey,’ he said later, while Harry was getting dressed. ‘Are you allowed to spend the night in my bedroom? Is this an Eighth Year thing? Because in real—’ He stopped before he fucked everything up by talking about trivial things, like reality.
‘You forget I have this.’ Harry showed him the Invisibility cloak and winked. Draco wondered why he ever complained about Potter’s rule-breaking tendencies. It was surely the best thing about him.
Harry kissed him lightly on the lips and drew the cloak around him. ‘See you at breakfast.’
After a long shower, Draco’s head cleared. Blood returned to his brain, though memories of the night before flashed in his mind sporadically, causing his prick to remain half-hard at all times. However, the unwelcome guest of rationality had visited him, impressing on him the urge to figure out where the hell he was.
Buttoning up his shirt and tucking it inside his trousers, he ran over his list.
He dismissed instantly the possibility of a curse. For one, he’d never heard of a similar spell, and secondly, what kind of curse gave so much pleasure to the victim? If it was a curse, Draco was ready to buy very expensive flowers and/or a house to the caster.
The possibility this was a dream remained a strong contender. Perhaps Draco had hit his head on the bed post harder than he’d thought and was unconscious. However, it didn’t explain why he’d seen Harry Potter in his bed before he hit his head or the missing Mark.
Given the Malfoy history of insanity, a hallucination wasn’t a farfetched idea. Perhaps he’d finally gone mad, breaking under the strain of a distressing year. Hallucinations felt real, people said. If that was the case, it was beyond Draco’s control to change it, so he might as well enjoy it. Still, the kind of insanity that ran in his family involved mostly megalomania and low-grade paranoia; not to mention, it’d been bred out a century and a half ago and was unlikely to re-emerge.
Draco picked up his tie and faced the mirror. The timeslip theory made sense with the young nurse and his non-existent Mark. He couldn’t stop looking at his unspoiled arm, his heart clenching every single time. However, in order for him to remember the old timeline, he’d have to be the one using a Time-Turner device, but he’d never even laid hands on one.
One final suggestion had been brewing at the back of his mind for a while now. The Mirror of Erised. That was the last time he remembered being in what he thought of now as reality. That odd sensation, the blinding light… He’d read up on the artifact, after his discovery, but nothing suggested that the Mirror might cause hallucinations or time jumps.
His stomach rumbled and Draco headed to the Great Hall, leaving his investigation for later. On the way, he was even more convinced something extraordinary had happened. The whispers behind his back and the looks he attracted were nothing new, but they were different: instead of glares, Draco received smiles; instead of scowls, students—even Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs—showed admiration.
Entering the Great Hall, he saw the same four House tables, and the smaller, Eighth Year one, in front of the High Table. Pansy was buttering her toast, and Draco headed straight to her, glad to see a familiar face.
‘Late as usual, darling,’ she air-kissed him. ‘Did Harry keep you up all night again?’
So their relationship wasn’t a secret. Draco couldn’t resist to gloat. ‘More like I kept him up, Pans.’ He served himself some tea and a healthy amount of eggs and bacon. He was famished. Possibly because of all the sex he had. He smiled to himself. He couldn’t stop smiling.
‘You look happy,’ Pansy commented. He turned to her with a grin, but a voice interrupted him. ‘Hey, Draco!’
Draco lifted his eyes and narrowed them immediately. Weasley approached them and raised his hand. Draco tensed, fearing an attack, but Weasley was going for a high-five. Numb, Draco high-fived him so lamely that Weasley guffawed.
‘You really should take it easy with each other, man. Harry could barely climb the stairs this morning.’ He laughed heartily and greeted Pansy with a kiss on her cheek.
Watching Pansy and Weasley greet each other so effusively stretched Draco’s suspension of disbelief to breaking point. Their camaraderie was hard to swallow for no other reason than he’d always assumed it was impossible. Too much bad blood separated the two factions.
Weasley, however, seemed unaware of any bad blood as he joked with Pansy about Saturday night. Two badges gleamed on his uniform: Head Boy and Captain of the Quidditch team.
‘See you later, guys, alright?’
When he left, Draco turned to Pansy. ‘Pans, how can one tell one is dreaming?’
She arched her lovely eyebrows at the question and frowned in thought. ‘I’m not sure. Never really considered it. Perhaps Hermione will know.’
Pansy peered in his eyes. ‘Draco, you need to stop having so much sex, I think it’s addling your brain. Hermione, of course.’
‘Yes, of course,’ Draco bleated.
‘Did I hear you take my name in vain?’ Granger stood in front of him and stole a rasher of bacon from his plate. She beamed at them.
Pansy leaned in. ‘Draco wants to know how to tell one is dreaming. Any ideas?’
Granger replied automatically. ‘Events jump from one to the other with no logical sequence; locations might change in an instant; you can’t see people’s faces even if you know who they’re supposed to be. The best reality check, some say, is to look at your hands and count your fingers. In dreams, hands aren’t right for some reason.’
Draco surreptitiously looked at his lap and counted his fingers. ‘And if they’re fine?’
‘Then you’re awake,’ she shrugged. ‘Are you okay? Harry mentioned something about a stray curse that hit you?’
‘Oh, Draco,’ Pansy said, ‘why didn’t you tell me? I thought you were just being odd.’
Draco shrugged. ‘I’m fine.’
Hermione gave him a peck on the cheek. ‘Take it easy, okay? I’m going to find where my boyfriend has gone to. See you later.’
Draco had frozen at this display of intimacy. He turned to Pansy again. ‘Sweetie, humour me and tell me: am I friends with Granger?’
She rolled her eyes. ‘You and Hermione? How can you not be? You worked together in the resistance for over a year and you’re seeing her best friend.’
‘So I call her Hermione?’
‘What is this, wasting-Pansy’s-time-with-inane-questions? Of course you call her Hermione, that’s her bloody name.’ She noticed his expression and clutched his hand. ‘Perhaps you should have some rest. Whatever the spell was, it’s affected you.’
‘I’ll be fine, thanks,’ Draco mumbled.
Owls whooshed overhead and a Daily Prophet landed in front of his cup. Draco grabbed it, hoping it’d shed some more light into the place he found himself in.
Things were similar to the world he’d left behind. Almost: apparently, Voldemort existed, the coup happened and Harry vanquished him. However, he didn’t do it alone. Draco was mentioned as a war hero. In this— timeslip? Hallucination? Mirror world?—Draco and the four Gryffindors saved Britain from Voldemort, a feat which earned them some pretty awful nicknames: the Golden Boy, the Silver Hero, the Diamond Lass, the Ruby Warrior, and the Steel Heart; nicknames which reeked of Skeeter’s touch, who was named as the Head Editor of All British Newspapers Including Muggle Ones.
‘Hey, Silver! Nice game yesterday!’ someone called to him, passing.
Draco raised his head and examined the Great Hall. At first glance, everything was the same: students in uniform having breakfast, chatting about schoolwork and Quidditch.
At a second glance, the differences—lots of little details—emerged. It was like those pictures in the children’s section of the Prophet, where an image hid another inside it and one had to adjust their focus to see it. Laughter, easy banter and smiles on most faces took the place of the grim expressions, the occasional sniffling and the almost tangible grief in the real world. At the Gryffindor table, the twin brothers of Weasley were showing a new invention to their friends. Draco was certain one of those twins had died in the battle; he’d read the list of the dead in the paper. His chest tight, he surveyed the Eighth Year table but saw no sign of Vincent. He wanted to ask Pansy about it, but she’d abandoned her toast in favour of Blaise’s lips. Draco smiled. Pansy had had a crush on Blaise for years. It seemed finally she got her wish.
Draco would have to do some more research in the library, but he now firmly believed he was in a world created by the Mirror of Erised, a world which manifested everyone’s deepest desires. He had Harry (and no Mark), Pansy had Blaise, Skeeter was in charge of all the press, Weasley was Head Boy, and — dear sweet Merlin, was that Zacharias Smith in a leather collar? Draco hadn’t expected it from a Hufflepuff of all people, but there Smith was, a sub leashed to a tall, blonde Dom, and in the kind of outfit that had no place in a school. Or anywhere outside a special kind of club, really. However, no one batted an eyelid and Professor Sprout even stopped to speak to him; Smith nodded his answers.
The dead were living here, because it was someone in the real world’s deepest desire. Vincent’s whole family had died in the final battle; there was no one to wish him alive. Draco clutched his fork, his eyes stinging with the memory of his former friend. He’d have liked to see him again, even after everything.
Harry sat heavily beside him, driving his despondency away. ‘I’m limping and it’s your fault.’
Draco’s heart fluttered. ‘You’ll be limping worse tomorrow,’ he breathed at Harry’s ear and was rewarded with a deep blush.
Draco wished he could spend all day in bed having sex with Harry, but the excuse ‘this isn’t the real world’ would probably fail to convince Harry to play truant. As far as everyone was concerned, this was the real world. So they went to lessons.
During the course of the day, tidbits of people’s deepest desires presented themselves to Draco, who felt oddly uncomfortable knowing what people hid in their heart. Some of it didn’t surprise him, like Filch casting a flawless Scourgify on a magical mess, or the sight of Completely Headless Nick, or Slughorn’s receiving of dozens of owls that asked for his advice or showered him with gifts. Some of it, though, truly stunned him. Blaise becoming the Muggle world’s latest superstar actor was a shock, considering real Blaise’s anti-Muggle scorn; Pansy rode a motorcycle and went parachuting in the weekends, for no reason he could fathom; and then there was the girl Draco thought he knew, but couldn’t remember from where. It was only when Harry mentioned her name, Teresa Boot, that Draco figured it out.
It was as if everyone had decided to trust him with their most precious secrets. His past self (Slytherin, Malfoy), trained from a young age to look for ways to use a situation to his profit, would have been delighted at all the opportunities for blackmail he’d have if he returned to the real world. His father certainly would be over the moon. However, every moment Draco spent in this world of laughter, a world where people’s main source of anxiety was the amount of coursework piled on them, resolved his decision to stay put. He wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, he much preferred this version of Potter.
After lunch, he met Granger in the library for a brutal study session. They both took Arithmancy. The way Granger responded to the numbers and figured out the connections between them was a kind of magic all of its own. Draco had never loved Arithmancy but, as one of the most prestigious subjects, Father had highlighted the need to achieve at least an E in the N.E.W.T.s.
“I really don’t know why I bother,’ Draco said, pushing the parchment aside. He’d been staring at the diagrams for half an hour and could make little sense out of them.
‘Let’s take a break.’
Draco could tell she did it for him; her capacity for hours of uninterrupted study amazed him. He gazed at her for a few moments. ‘Hermione,’ her name rolled with difficulty off his tongue, ‘don’t tell Harry I asked you this, but how did we become friends?’
She pursed her lips. ‘Harry has no idea you’ve forgotten this much?’ she asked quietly.
‘Don’t tell him,’ Draco pleaded. ‘It’s coming back to me, honest. I just need—a reminder.’
‘Alright then.’ Hermione turned to face him. ‘At the end of the fifth year, when your father was captured by the Order, he suggested you become a Death Eater in his place. You refused on grounds of being too young, but remained on Voldemort’s side. What Voldy didn’t know was that you turned spy for us the moment he threatened your parents’ lives.’
Her story painted the portrait of a young man, smart enough to recognise what he would be getting himself into, confident enough to not need the dubious glory of the Death Eaters to make a name for himself, and heroic enough to face torture and death in his attempt to aid Harry’s cause. Hermione mentioned secret Order meetings and how Draco had fought his aunt in order to save Hermione from her torture in the Manor, thereby revealing his cover and being tortured himself. ‘I owe you so much,’ she told him, holding his hand in hers, eyes welling up. Draco’s cheeks burned. His Mirror self had made the choices Draco didn’t. The memory of Hermione on the drawing room floor had filled him with revulsion, but he hadn’t found in himself the courage to intervene. Now shame overwhelmed him. These people liked a version of him, but not him. Not the way he really was.
The meeting with Hermione shook him. When they left the library for Charms, he stayed silent while she kept a stream of chatter about the Ministry duties she’d already assumed, spearheading a campaign about house-elf rights and attempting to bring a groundbreaking legislation to a vote in the Wizengamot. Draco couldn’t help admire the idealism and the sheer drive inside her. He wouldn’t be surprised if she became Minister for Magic one day.
Just before they turned the corner, he stopped her with a hand on her arm. ‘Come with me, please?’
‘Sure.’ She followed him to the corridor where he’d last seen the Mirror.
It was still there. A first-year student was smoothing his hair in front of it. He turned and flushed when he saw them. ‘Hi, Silver! Diamond!’ As he passed them, Draco noticed a badge of the Five Heroes on his school bag.
Hermione rolled her eyes. ‘I think I prefer Skeeter’s libelous articles to these horrid nicknames.’
Draco laughed. ‘I agree with you, they’re terrible.’ He didn’t dare admit he was becoming very fond of his.
‘So what was it you wanted to show me?’
Full of foreboding and fear that he’d be sucked back in, he guided her in front of the Mirror and stepped aside. The only way to activate the Mirror was to face it alone.
‘What do you see?’ he asked her.
‘I see that Diamond Lass needs a haircut,’ she joked, shaking her curls around her face.
She turned to him, surprised at the urgency in his voice. ‘Nothing. I see only me. Draco, what is it? You’re scaring me.’
He let a breath out and gave her a smile. ‘Nothing. Your hair is fine, by the way. It suits you long.’ He paused, looking at the person he’d looked down on for years and said, in perfect honesty, ‘I think you look great. And—and I’m glad we’re friends.’
There was one more thing he needed to do before the day was out. After Charms, where Harry sat next to him and rubbed his thigh, making Draco perform the worst he ever had in Charms (‘Mr Malfoy, you seem distracted today!’), Draco visited the Headmistress to allow him to Floo home. Their ability to leave castle during the week, provided they’d obtained permission, was another Eighth Year perk.
‘Madam Pomfrey told me about your night visit to the infirmary,’ McGonagall said. ‘I hope you’re feeling better now. You may visit your parents for dinner.’
Draco stepped out of the Manor’s drawing room fireplace, not knowing what to expect. He needn’t have worried. His parents were alive and well and, surprisingly, not dissimilar to the real world. His father bore the Dark Mark; but then again, he probably hadn’t regretted taking it as much as Draco did.
Draco had every intention of doing Mirror research the next evening after dinner, but he ignored it in favour of a Catch the Snitch game with—he could say it, it was real here—his boyfriend. The thought that he could call Harry that made him giddy. It was most embarrassing.
They found several others in the pitch and the game turned into an impromptu Eighth Year four-a-side match where players disregarded House loyalty, and different Houses played side by side. This was similar to the real life’s Eighth Year games, except that this time Draco was a part of them, teaming up with Dean Thomas, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Padma Patil. Draco failed to catch the Snitch this time, which was to be expected as he spent most of the game time ogling Harry on his broom (not unlike what he used to do in real life if he was honest with himself).
It was much easier to be honest with himself when he was very happy.
An hour and a half later, they trudged to the showers, singing Thomas is our King for Dean’s spectacular saves against Demelza Robins’s ferocious attacks. Everyone joined, including Demelza and Harry, who had his arm around Draco’s shoulders. Draco’s heart beat faster than when he chased the Snitch on his Nimbus. He cherished every second he spent by Harry’s side, every little glance and touch and smile. Draco had to have a talk with himself. If he kept this thinking up, he was in real danger of becoming sentimental.
In the locker room showers, he let the warm water run over his skin and half-listened to the conversations around him.
‘And then Patsy went “A crisp, darling. A crisp.”’
Laughter rang out in the locker room at Justin’s words.
‘Man, I love her,’ Dean said. ‘Eddie is fun, too, especially when she argues with her daughter, but Patsy…’
Draco had no idea who these people were. He wished he knew, since Harry seemed as enchanted with them as the others and his only consolation was that they didn’t seem to be rivals to Harry’s heart. The twinge of jealousy was unexpected, but not new; he didn’t know how he’d have coped if he’d seen Harry dating someone in the real world.
Draco glanced at Harry showering a couple of stalls away, his body covered in suds, and dismissed these thoughts as unwelcome remnants of his past life. He had nothing to fear in a world created to satisfy his desires; desires he meant to indulge in as soon as he found himself alone with Harry. With a smile, he closed his eyes and let his mind drift when the sound of his name brought him back to the locker room.
‘… but Draco refused! Whatever he was like at school, whatever we thought of him, he still had enough sense to say no.’ Dean’s voice heated up. ‘If you ask me, everyone who took the Dark Mark was an utter cunt. They wanted to kill people like me and they were proud of it!’
‘That’s true,’ Harry said, placatingly, while Justin and Ron made noises of agreement with Dean, ‘but… ’
Draco pushed his head under the spray and stopped listening. A lead weight wrapped around his heart, dragging it under the mire of his bottomless regret. He splayed his palm on the tiles, staring at his fingers, and tried to ignore the niggling feeling of being an impostor. A fraud. Tears ran down his cheeks, luckily invisible to everyone else. He wanted nothing more than to be who they thought he was, but he should have known better than to assume the absence of the Mark solved anything. What good was it to have a different past here when he remembered?
He stayed like that for a long time, listening to the rushing water, until hands circled his waist and a promising erection pressed against his back.
‘Hey,’ a soft voice said in his ear.
‘Hey.’ Draco pushed everything out of his mind and concentrated on the feeling of being held by Harry. He hadn’t even heard the others leave. He turned in Harry’s arms and kissed him.
‘This is a little public,’ he murmured against his lips, when Harry rubbed his cock against his, causing him to groan.
‘I’ve locked the door,’ Harry murmured back. ‘No one can come in.’
‘Is that so?’ Draco’s hand travelled down Harry’s arse, slipping inside the cleft of his cheeks.
Harry gasped and leaned his forehead on Draco’s. ‘That feels good.’
‘It does, doesn’t it?’ Draco whispered. His lips played on Harry’s, soft and tender, his skin tingling at Harry’s roaming hands. Draco wanted to give Harry everything. Their kiss deepened, and Draco burned with the desire to please him as much as humanly possible. With a courage he had never known, he spun Harry around. ‘Bend over,’ he ordered and Harry shivered, but did as he was told.
The sight of the Saviour bending in the shower for him, rivulets of water trickling down his arse and legs, was enough to make Draco hard. He kneeled behind Harry, stretched open his arse and blew lightly at the wet skin. Harry shuddered. Emboldened, and not really sure what he was doing, but letting his desire guide him, Draco licked at Harry’s hole with a tentative tongue.
‘I love it when you talk dirty,’ Draco teased. He licked again, lapping at the rim and holding Harry’s squirming hips tight. Water ran over the crevice, mixing with Draco’s saliva. Draco pressed his face closer, his tongue insisting and demanding, seeking access to Harry’s most intimate part. Now Draco knew why Harry had said he was obsessed with it; he couldn’t imagine a more profound joy than reaching inside Harry with his tongue, tasting his freshly-soaped skin, smelling his musky scent; a pleasure marred by the persistent question of how Harry would feel if he knew he was with Impostor Draco and not the man he loved, the Silver Hero. Harry bent for Coward Draco, and Death Eater Draco, and Bad-Decisions Draco, and Almost-Killed-Dumbledore-And-Ron-And-Katie Draco, and he wondered how Harry would feel if he knew whose tongue was actually in his arse.
He didn’t let it stop him, though. No, he was too selfish for that.
Harry’s moans echoed in the steamy room. His knees buckled and Draco followed him as he knelt on the floor, spreading his cheeks again and renewing his attack on his hole. Draco had never done anything similar before so he let Harry’s gasps and shudders guide him. He alternated his thrusts from short jabs to leisurely swirls to deep, slow laps, each creating a symphony of sounds from Harry’s mouth: moans and grunts and yesyeysyesohmygoddraco. He sucked the rim hard, provoking a whimper, and reached his hand to touch Harry’s cock. A couple of strokes were enough to send him over the edge, shuddering and calling Draco’s name.
Harry stayed on his knees, panting. ‘I’m not done with you yet,’ Draco rasped, but he, too, stayed still for some time, trying to catch his breath. He cast a Cushioning charm under Harry, nudged his knees wider and Accio’d the bottle of lube from his locker. Hands shaking, brain shot with lust, he grabbed Harry’s hips and eased his cock inside him.
‘I want you so much.’ He wrapped himself over Harry’s wet back and pumped his hips, deep and slow. ‘I want to deserve you. I want you to want me, to need me. ’
‘I need you,’ Harry panted. ‘I want you, only you.’ He clasped Draco’s palm tight in his and Draco thrust faster, unable to hold himself back. By the time he came, they were both incoherent.
‘This was spectacular,’ Harry whispered, a boneless heap in Draco’s arms. Drops of water from the turned-off shower head punctuated their breathing. Steam curled around the room, wrapping them in warm mist. It could have been a dream.
Draco clutched him tight, wishing he’d never have to let go. ‘Let’s go to bed.’
In the days that passed, Draco learned a lot about Harry. He learned about his love for treacle tart and pumpkin juice and how he couldn’t have enough of Yorkshire puddings and gravy. He learned that he’d never received proper birthday presents until he came to Hogwarts, which made Draco seek out Weasley and Hermione the next day and hug them fiercely (Hagrid received a box of sweets; Draco couldn’t bring himself to hug his old Professor). He learned where Harry was most ticklish (ribs) and about Harry’s cupboard (when Draco heard the whole story of his upbringing, he swore he’d turn his family into frogs. Harry refused to give up their address). He learned—and loved—the way Harry’s voice changed when he was alone with Draco.
Getting to know Harry was to love him: hearing him laugh at Weasley’s jokes, watching him sleep, witnessing his passionate devotion to what was right and the ardor with which he supported his friends. He had butterflies in his stomach just at the sight of him; a sentiment he attempted to hide under a mask of cool detachment, because if anyone found out, Draco would be kicked out of Slytherin for incurable soppiness.
Draco also experienced the unfamiliar but rather delightful sensation of being loved, not just by Harry, but by the whole school. Sure, he’d been popular in Slytherin, but the levels of adoration he enjoyed now reached soaring heights. Deep down, he knew he didn’t deserve any praise; but as the days passed, the real world became distant.
Soon, Draco was calling Weasley and Longbottom by their first name, doing his Arithmancy homework with Hermione, practising Quidditch with Hufflepuffs, and having long conversations with Luna Lovegood, who turned out to have the shrewdest mind he’d encountered. Breakfasts were reserved for chatting with Pansy and Blaise, and he relished seeing his friends unencumbered by the melancholy that plagued them in real life. Muggleborns and purebloods studied together, played together and laughed together, and if Draco didn’t get all the Muggle references they threw around, well—he had the rest of his life to learn them.
On a crisp Saturday afternoon after lunch at Hogsmeade, Draco had expressed a desire to visit the Sanctuary. Weaving through the crowded High Street, hooded as not to attract attention, they left the village for the hills. Cold air blowing from the mountain stung Draco’s cheeks and the sky was laden with heavy clouds, threatening sleet. Draco wished warm, sunny days had been a local’s deepest desire, but judging from the number of couples he noticed, most wished for love. Silly saps.
He almost didn’t recognise the Shrieking Shack until Harry stopped outside the sturdy fence that encompassed well-tended gardens, glittering with frost. The transformation was impressive: the windows gleamed, the roof had been repaired and the walls sported a fresh coat of paint. A cheerful sign over the gate read: Shrieking Shack. A Sanctuary For Anyone Needing Help. Harry pushed the kissing gate open.
‘Are we allowed in?’ Draco asked.
‘Sure. It’s a very welcoming house.’
‘It didn’t use to be,’ Draco muttered, as they climbed the front steps.
‘Really? I always found it rather pleasant,’ Harry said.
The polished front door opened to a bright hallway. Chirping and fluttering came from the room on his right. Draco peeked in and let out a stunned gasp.
Part of what would be the sitting room in a normal house had been transformed into a bird habitat: owls and sparrows and thrushes flew over their heads or nestled under a wing on one of the numerous perches. A duck strolled in, quaking and leaving wet prints on the dark wood floor. On a windowsill lay a blue tit, shivering from the cold. Draco traced a finger over its … well, its tit. The bird’s tiny heart fluttered under his touch and Draco was glad to feel warmth spreading over the little bird.
‘Who created the Sanctuary? Who keeps the place clean and warm?’
Harry shrugged. ‘Dunno. Maybe it’s the magic of the house.’
They moved into the other ground floor rooms, each one with a few animals sheltering from the cold. Rooms designed for feral kneazles (with a large fireplace and a catnip-scented carpet), and jittery rabbits (with grass instead of flooring and inaccessible to the kneazles) and, in a dark room with a stone floor, a thestral mother with a baby, its skin grey and translucent over glowing bones. Water and feed was available freely and the smell wasn’t as bad as Draco would have thought.
Harry paused on the upstairs landing, touching the stripy green wallpaper. ‘Voldemort had taken over the house, briefly. I’m glad it survived the war.’ He padded down the corridor. The Shack’s first floor was designed for humans rather than animals, with the thick carpet and the landscapes of Scottish lochs on the walls. Several doors led off the corridor and Draco opened one to peer inside. ‘This is for wizards,’ he said, seeing the well-appointed bedroom. He tried not to make it a question. He didn’t want Harry to worry about his missing memories.
‘All the Wandless families that stayed here have gone now.’ Harry waited for him with a handle on the door of a room at the end of the corridor. He seemed anxious in a way he wasn’t normally. Draco followed him inside.
A fire roared in the fireplace under an ornate mantelpiece with carved vines. Dormer windows looked over the mountains, but the four-poster bed caught Draco’s attention. He looked at Harry, who unclasped his cloak and left it on an armchair.
‘This is where we first slept together.’ Draco made his voice flirty; suggestive rather than enquiring.
Harry nodded, confirming his guess. ‘Journalists and fans were clamouring outside the door for an autograph or a quote, and you and me— well, you remember.’ He approached Draco and cupped his face, giving him a sweet, lingering kiss. ‘Happy four month anniversary.’
Draco hid his surprise. ‘Happy anniversary, Harry,’ he replied, returning the kiss. A sudden worry made his insides freeze: he hadn’t brought a present. He hoped they weren’t a presenty couple, but who was Draco kidding? He’d already given Harry four gifts in the space of two weeks. ‘I— I haven’t got you something. Yet,’ he amended.
Harry pulled Draco’s cloak off and threw it on the armchair, too. ‘I thought this was your present. Coming back here—’
‘You got me,’ Draco lied smoothly. ‘That’s precisely why I wanted to come here today.’ He buried his hand in Harry’s hair and kissed him again, heat pooling in his stomach in anticipation. ‘I love your mouth so much,’ he whispered.
Harry pulled back and met his eyes. ‘I love you,’ he said.
For a second, everything stilled: the crackling fire, the wind rattling the windows, Draco’s heart. And then sensation flooded in, heating every part of Draco, and everything became too bright, too loud, too vivid. His heart thrummed as he stared at Harry’s green eyes. ‘I love you, too.’
Harry exhaled, almost as if he thought Draco wouldn’t say it back. What an idiot, Draco thought fondly, as he kissed him fervently, unbuttoning Harry’s robes. He felt as if he floated on a cloud, his veins filled with sunlight. Draco had folded the part of himself that felt like a fraud into a tiny square, which he’d shoved deep under his feelings for Harry. He refused to let it spoil the moment.
‘That day was the best day of my life,’ Harry murmured. ‘I’d wanted it for so long.’
Draco dearly wished he had the memory of that day. However, there was nothing to stop him repeating the experience—minus the fans. He walked Harry backwards towards the bed, a sly grin on his face, and shoved him on the embroidered cover. ‘Let’s pretend I don’t remember. Show me.’
Harry laughed and pulled him down and he proceeded to show Draco, with his fingers, his mouth and his cock, exactly what their first time was like. They stayed long after night fell, lounging in bed or wrapped in a throw in front of the fire, until starvation made them return to the castle and seek the kitchens.
Draco had never enjoyed such bliss before—so, naturally, Potter (the real Potter, not his Harry) had to ruin everything.
Draco kept track of the time he spent in the Mirror world, ticking each day off in his diary. He’d been there just over two weeks. Fifteen days filled with a staggering amount of sex, a lot of Quidditch practice, considerable progress in Arithmancy under Hermione’s tutelage, and very little sleep. He’d just left the library when he saw her, climbing the stairs.
‘Hey, Hermione,’ he said.
She gasped when she saw him and then approached him fast. ‘Malfoy? Is it you?’
Draco took her hand in his. ‘Who else, Hermione? Are they working you a little too hard in the Ministry? I think you should’ve taken a holiday after passing the S.P.E.W. legislation. You Gryffindors never know when to stop.’
Hermione looked at their clasped hands and dropped his hand as if it burned. In a strained voice, she talked to her shoulder, or rather to the round, black earring she had on one ear: ‘Harry, I found him. Meet you at the entrance.’ She jogged down the steps, gesturing to him to follow him.
Her behaviour should’ve alerted Draco that something was wrong, but seeing Harry running towards him across the Entrance Hall with a look of desperation and relief chased everything from his mind.
Harry stopped in front of them, and Draco automatically leaned in for a kiss. He brushed his mouth on Harry’s unresponsive lips and smirked at the sight of the same earring on his ear as Hermione. ‘Is this a new trend, love?’ He brushed Harry’s ear with his fingers, his other hand around Harry’s waist. For good measure, he nuzzled Harry’s neck, kissing the spot Harry liked and which always made his breath hitch—like now.
Flushed and wide-eyed, Harry stared. Draco frowned. Hermione coughed.
‘We should be getting along,’ she said, and Harry started as if from sleep and grabbed Draco’s forearm. He didn’t speak as they climbed the stairs again.
‘What’s going on?’ Draco said. Harry didn’t reply. He stared right ahead, still red in the face and breathing hard. Draco suddenly felt fearful, and tried to pull his arm from Harry’s clutch, but Harry didn’t let go.
His fears came true: they rounded the corner that led to the Mirror of Erised.
‘I’m going to tell them the good news,’ Hermione said, running ahead. She looked at the Mirror, concentrated and touched it. A bright flash blinded them, and then Hermione ran a hand through her tight curls and turned to leave.
‘See you at the library, Draco,’ she said and strode away.
‘She’s Mirror Hermione now,’ Draco explained to Harry when he saw how unnerved he looked. ‘When we cross over, we replace the Mirror people. Our mind—or consciousness, whatever—takes over their body.’ Having realised that this wasn’t his Harry, he pulled his arm free. ‘I’m not going back.’
He made to leave, but Harry caught him again. ‘Your parents are waiting on the other side. Don’t you want to see them?’
‘I have parents here,’ Draco said. ‘I’ve met them. They’re the same—’
‘They’re not your real parents,’ Harry said. Not Harry: Potter. This was bloody Potter and Draco hated him, because he came to ruin the one good thing he had in his life. ‘Your mother is distraught,’ Potter said again, not letting go of Draco, even as he squirmed. ‘You’ve been in a coma for days. Weeks actually.’
‘So? They can come through and see me. Here is better anyway. People are happy and—’ he tried to fight Potter off, who had a surprisingly strong grip, ‘people are alive here. All of them.’
Potter’s face struggled with a flurry of emotions and he closed his eyes for a brief moment, still not letting Draco go. In the end, he took a deep breath, stared right in his eyes, and said: ‘You’re dying, Draco.’
Draco inhaled as if he’d been punched. Potter continued. ‘You’re in a magical coma and you’re getting worse. The Mirror is sucking the life out of you. Being here— you’re slowly killing yourself.’
‘So fucking what?’ Draco would still live in the Mirror. Surely his parents would wish him alive.
‘Do you want your parents to bury you?’ Potter insisted. ‘After you survived the war and the fire and—everything?’
Draco swallowed hard, his thoughts briefly flicking to his mother. ‘I’ll stay alive here,’ he whispered. He’d continue living in the Mirror world; another one of the formerly dead, who breathed and laughed and fell in love and had a perfectly wonderful life.
Meanwhile, his parents, in the real world, would witness the death of their only child.
Potter’s hands were now loose on his arm. His voice softened. ‘Think of your mother. Maybe you have a mother here, sure. But you also have a mother there, and she’s been crying for days now. How do you think she’ll feel when you stop breathing?’
Draco closed his stinging eyes. His chest tightened at the thought of his parents. Of course they’d wish he were alive; but Draco of all people knew how painful those wishes were. He remembered how much it hurt him to want something he couldn’t change.
‘I have to say goodbye.’ His voice cracked. ‘To—to him.’ But there was no him now that Potter had stepped through the mirror. ‘To everyone.’ He’d promised Luna he’d take her to see the baby thestral, and he was meeting Pansy and Blaise for dinner, and he’d agreed to play Quidditch with Theo and Justin later today and—
‘We have no time.’ Potter pulled him gently in front of the Mirror. ‘I can’t do this without you. You have to want to go through.’
‘But I don’t,’ Draco said in an empty voice.
‘Think of your parents. Think of how you want them to be happy.’ Potter stepped aside and let Draco stand alone.
Draco stared at his reflection and thought of everyone he was leaving behind and his heart broke into a thousand, piercing shards. The idea he’d leave behind the life he’d had here caused him acute physical pain, and his stomach rolled, nausea filling him and cold sweat running down his back.
Taking a deep breath, he forced himself to think of his mother and touched the mirror.
The first thing that came back to him were sounds: his mother sniffling, a gasp, his father’s voice. Hermione’s voice explaining something, Madam Pomfrey issuing commands.
Then touch: cool fingers gripping his own, and a brisk hand touching his forehead for vitals. Smells: jasmine perfume (his mother) and the slightly antiseptic smell of the infirmary. Finally, he opened his eyes.
‘Draco, darling,’ his mother caressed his hair. ‘You’re back.’
His father’s eyes glistened and he stiffly got up and even more stiffly thanked Potter for ‘his services’. Draco’s bed faced the Mirror, which Ron Weasley was now levitating out of the room under the instructions of Slughorn. Hermione was talking to McGonagall, gesturing towards him. Harry—
Potter stood furthest from everyone and stared unblinkingly at Draco. Then, he turned on his heel and stormed out. Well, that was that then.
It took Draco three days to be able to sit up. Pansy visited him that day and filled him in what had happened. ‘You were gone for almost twenty hours before we found you. Dozens of students looked for you,’ she said. ‘Loony Lovegood found you in the end.’
‘Don’t call her that,’ Draco rasped, his voice still scratchy.
He’d startled her, but she made no comment. ‘Whatever you say, darling. Anyway, they brought you here and they ran all sorts of tests, but there was no way to wake you up. Your parents were considering transferring you to St Mungo’s when Dumbledore suggested your coma might have something to do with the Mirror.’
‘The portrait,’ she explained. She leaned close. ‘What did you see there, Draco? The Gryffindors said it was exactly like here.’
‘They didn’t stay long,’ he replied. ‘It was similar— but not exactly the same.’
‘Did you see me?’
‘And? What was I like?’
Draco had thought long and hard about the Mirror Pansy. ‘You were fearless.’
A smile of wonder spread on her face.
‘You asked Blaise out.’
‘Did I?’ she breathed.
‘You—’ never said that thing on the night of the Battle. Draco didn’t have to say it; Pansy’s eyes shone with understanding. She looked at her hands, and Draco changed the subject. ‘Blaise was an actor in the Muggle world. Can you imagine?’
‘Of course. Isn’t he the vainest?’ she replied fondly. ‘And— when I asked him out— did he—?’
‘Yes,’ Draco finished for her. ‘He said yes.’
She gave him a small smile. ‘Well, it was a dream world, wasn’t it? Blaise with the Muggles, I ask you! He can't stand them.’
‘No,’ Draco objected. ‘He pretends. Some people have trouble … accepting their desire. Especially when they think it’s unattainable.’
When Draco thought about what he’d left behind, he couldn’t breathe. It was of no use knowing Mirror Harry was probably shagging Mirror Draco right now, whispering I love you in his ear. This privilege had been Draco’s and now he’d lost it. Draco felt envy of his other self.
Pansy—dear, wonderful Pansy—must’ve noticed the look of dejection on his face. She said, loudly and cheerfully, ‘I bet it’s all those holidays Blaise took when he was little in Cannes. His eyes glaze when he mentions the damn place.’
Changing the subject helped distract him. ‘When in doubt, blame the French,’ Draco quipped and Pansy laughed. They spent a pleasant half an hour, discussing Blaise and any acting talent he might have concealed from them. Pansy took care to avoid mentioning any names that might upset Draco. Until the end.
‘By the way,’ she added, getting up to leave, ‘did you know that Potter came to visit you?’
Draco’s heart thudded.
‘Yes,’ she nodded, gathering her velvet cloak around her arm. ‘When you were asleep. I have it from Millie, who’s interning with Madam Pomfrey. I thought you might like to know.’
Six days later Madam Pomfrey pronounced him fit as a fiddle. His parents returned to the Manor and Draco took himself to the lake. Staying in the castle was unbearable. Back at the Eighth Year table, Teresa went by Terry, Pansy cast furtive, longing looks at Blaise, Smith wasn’t anyone’s pet or half-naked in leather (which was a relief), Ron wasn’t Head Boy or Quidditch Captain, and Potter definitely wasn’t in Draco’s bed. Or anywhere near him.
Draco hated the fact that now Potter knew how Draco felt about him.
He hated more how much he missed him.
So, he took walks, wandering the countryside as February gave way to a wet March. Often he’d visit the Shrieking Shack and stare at the boarded windows and the broken roof. He felt an affinity for the dilapidated building, the perfect image of how he felt inside. Everything was fucked here. Everything was grey and ugly and painful. Students cried over dead relatives. The Prophet continued its tirade against all former Death Eaters, mentioning his father almost daily. The Dark Mark haunted his dreams without respite. Draco longed for nothing more than to go back to the Mirror world, but he knew that to wish for it meant wanting death.
Sometimes he thought two good weeks were preferable to a life of this.
He snapped his eyes from the Shack and turned to see Potter standing in the drizzle behind him. ‘Can I help you?’
‘The Headmistress wants to see you.’
‘How did you know I was here?’ Draco had snuck out again and he thought no one had noticed.
‘I—happened to be around.’ Potter pointed at the strange earring he still wore. ‘Hermione created these, based on a Muggle invention. We can communicate from a distance. She said McGonagall was looking for you…’ He trailed off, looking awkward. ‘I thought I’d check. You come here a lot.’
‘Well, you found me.’ Draco didn’t ask how Potter knew he visited the Shrieking Shack. He pushed past him and headed back to the school.
‘Um, can I walk with you?’ Potter said.
‘Don’t be a prat.’
Draco didn’t stop, but Potter caught up with him. They trudged in the muddy path that wound around the misty hills.
‘I saw the Mirror of Erised when I was eleven,’ Potter broke the silence. ‘I stood in front of it and saw my whole family around me. I left my room every night and stared at the Mirror until Dumbledore found me and removed it. I’m glad I didn’t realise I could enter it. I don’t think I’d have left, then.’
‘Would you leave now? Knowing you could see your godfather? Who, by the way, is dating Lupin, who’s also married to my cousin. They have an arrangement.’ Draco stopped and turned to Potter. ‘You could see them again. Talk to them, laugh with them, hug them. So many people were alive; the Weasley twins were even back in school for some reason.’
Potter had gone ghostly pale. He blinked at the ground and didn’t speak for long moments. ‘I would be very tempted,’ he admitted eventually. ‘But Dumbledore told me it was dangerous to live in dreams and he was right. Seeing you almost die because of it—no, I don’t think I’d like to visit that place despite—’ He turned to Draco. ‘Do me a favour, though, and don’t tell Ron his brother’s alive in there. Not until the Mirror is safe in the Ministry.’
‘You’re getting rid of it?’
‘It’s better off at the Department of Mysteries.’
They walked in silence for a while. Draco wrapped his scarf tight against the chilly day. He glanced furtively at Potter several times, unable to stop himself. Sometimes he caught Potter glancing back.
The gates of the castle appeared in the distance.
‘So,’ Harry cleared his throat. ‘In the Mirror…’
Here it came. Potter wanted to talk about them.
‘Who is Patsy?’ Draco interrupted. He wasn’t ready for that conversation yet.
‘Um, excuse me?’
‘Patsy. From the teevee. The Muggles watch teevee, don’t they?’ He racked his brain to remember more. ‘She has a friend, Eddie. But Eddie’s not a bloke.’
‘Ah,’ Harry smiled. ‘You mean Patsy and Eddie from Ab Fab? It’s a TV series. How do you even know about this?’
‘The Muggleborns in the Mirror world told me. They kept making jokes about it.’ Draco kicked a pebble. ‘We—we were all friends in the Mirror world.’
Draco didn't manage to hide the sadness in his voice. Harry hesitated. ‘It’s hard here, you know? It'll take some time before people forget.’
Draco tensed. ‘I know. I don’t expect forgiveness. In the Mirror world, I wasn’t—’
An attempted murderer. A Death Eater. Stupid enough and spoiled enough to swallow everything that came out of my father’s mouth.
They were in the grounds now, climbing the hill to the castle.
‘Hermione can’t stand Patsy,’ Potter said. ‘I find her hilarious. Dean loves her, too; all the Muggleborns do.’ He glanced at Draco again and a blush spread on his cheeks. ‘Ron also wonders what all the fuss is about so, um, we were thinking we could go to a Muggleborn’s house one weekend and watch it. Dean’s mother tapes the show. Or we could go to Justin’s. He has a big house. And you—you could come, if you want. To see Patsy. And Eddie. Well, both of them, really…’
Potter was still babbling by the time they reached the front steps, and Draco had to stifle a smile, especially as Potter deepened to a beetroot shade. It was endearing to see the Saviour so flustered, and it made Draco’s stomach lurch to know he had this effect on him.
‘Okay,’ he interrupted Potter, who’d launched into the history of British teevee. ‘I’d like that.’
He carried Potter’s bright smile with him as he left for McGonagall’s office.
‘Mr Malfoy, thank you for coming,’ the Headmistress said. ‘Sit down please.’
Draco sat. Every portrait stared at him, which made him squirm. He particularly wished to avoid Dumbledore’s eyes. So, he looked instead at the whirring golden devices on the spindly tables, the puffs of coloured smoke emitted by a silver funnel, and the astronomy models hanging from the ceiling, and waited for the Headmistress to tell him the reason she called him in.
‘You suffered a terrible ordeal,’ she started, pouring him a cup of tea.
Draco accepted it, his mind flashing back to Harry fucking him against the wall in the Quidditch broom shed. ‘Terrible,’ he nodded. He lowered his head and sipped some tea, hoping his blush didn’t betray him.
‘You have questions, I’m sure. We have questions. There is no record anywhere that the Mirror functions as some sort of portal to another—well, reality I think is the word. As you can understand, the Unspeakables are very intrigued. They will wish to interview you.’
‘Anything I can do to help.’
‘Well, there is one other interested party keen to speak with you. I daresay you have questions for them, too. It was he who realised the cause of your coma.’
Draco had to put his cup down to hide the trembling in his hands.
‘I will leave you alone for a few minutes.’ McGonagall swept out of the room, leaving Draco staring in the eyes of the man he’d attempted to kill.
A minute of silence stretched between them, a border Draco wasn’t ready to cross.
Dumbledore crossed it. ‘Draco. I trust you are well?’
‘Yes.’ He coughed to clear his voice. ‘I’m fine, thank you.’
Did the portrait know Draco had tried to kill its subject? He didn’t want to ask. He wished to ask for forgiveness, but from the man, not the portrait. Draco took a deep, shuddering breath. ‘Thank you for saving my life,’ he said instead. Even from beyond death, Dumbledore had come through for him. It made the tight feeling in Draco’s chest even heavier. ‘How did you figure it out?’
‘It was a lucky guess, that’s all,’ Dumbledore said. ‘Miss Lovegood found you in front of the Mirror. I simply put two and two together.’
Which no one of the living had managed to do. He shouldn’t be surprised that Dumbledore’s portrait turned out to be smarter than everyone in the castle.
‘I have some questions.’ Draco hadn’t realised until this very moment how much he needed to talk about it with someone. Someone who looked at him with patience and warmth rather than a stern Unspeakable.
‘I’m sure you do. I’m listening.’
Draco tried to put his thoughts in order. ‘At first I wondered why some people were different and some not. My parents, for instance, were exactly the same.’
‘You sound like you figured this out on your own.’
‘I think so. I assume the people that were similar to real life were those who are happy here. Which means my parents’ deepest desire…’
‘Is that you are alive and healthy,’ the portrait finished for him.
Draco swallowed. He cast a glance at the portraits, which stared in rapt attention. ‘I was afraid they’d—’
‘That they’d wish for Voldemort to come to power? Your parents took risks in trying to ensure your safety in the Battle, disregarding Voldemort’s orders and desires. Now, if Bellatrix were alive—’
‘There’d be a Voldemort in the Mirror world…’ Draco felt goosebumps. ‘And Harry would be dead.’
The portrait disagreed. ‘Not necessarily. I suspect that the universe inside the Mirror is capable of accommodating conflicting desires, creating worlds that make little sense to us. However, you were lucky his most fervent supporters are no longer in life or you’d have come face to face with him again. I imagine that, despite your previous affiliation, it wouldn’t be a pleasant encounter for you.’
No, it wouldn’t. Draco had nightmares about seeing the Dark Lord again. He shook his head to get rid of the unwelcome images and tried to recall the most puzzling aspects of the Mirror world.
‘The Shrieking Shack was a sanctuary,’ he informed the former Headmaster. ‘Who would have such a desire about a derelict building? The owner?’
Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. ‘A sanctuary? Fascinating!’ he said. He clasped his long fingers in deep thought, while the portraits around him moved in agitation.
‘Well, Albus? Why is it fascinating?’ a sour man on the top left wall called.
‘Patience, Phineas!’ a silver-haired witch scolded him.
Dumbledore laughed. ‘But of course. The Shack is a magical house. Draco,’ he turned to him, ‘Have you heard of wizards and witches saying that a house “has character”? It’s an expression that has passed in the Muggle society, although for them it means something entirely different. Victorian moulding or an antique fireplace, for instance. Magical houses, though, have actual character—and, it seems, desires, as well.’
Draco thought about it. He’d assumed that the Manor’s air of constipated elegance came from his grandmother, who’d made the major decorating decisions before he was born.
‘So the Shack wants to be a haven?’ he asked.
‘I suppose so. It was built as a refuge, of sorts, with strong magic to keep the danger inside it contained, but it sustained extensive damage in the process. Perhaps it longs for peace and quiet.’
‘So Hogwarts looked identical, because it’s happy?’ Draco asked.
‘That would seem to be the case,’ Dumbledore smiled. ‘I strongly suspect the timing is important. If you crossed over after the Battle, when Hogwarts was a ruin, you’d find it restored there. Now, the castle’s deepest desire has been fulfilled: the castle has been rebuilt and the students are back. ’
‘And the Mirror moved from a little-visited room to a busy corridor,’ Draco followed his train of thought. ‘It wanted to be seen; to be used by many.' He paused. 'But now the Mirror is going to the Department of Mysteries.’ Draco looked at Dumbledore. ‘It will never be happy.’
Dumbledore smiled sadly. ‘Indeed it won’t. It’s too dangerous an artefact to be allowed to remain in contact with the public.’ He surveyed Draco with kindness. ‘Unfortunately, we don’t always get what we want in life.’
Draco might not be able to get what he wanted, not ever. That didn’t mean he couldn’t have the little things. He could try at least to achieve a semblance of his life in the Mirror world, and to do that, he needed to be the one to make the first step. The Slytherin password showed him the way: amends. He began his mission by apologising to whoever he’d hurt in the past.
Terry Boot had frozen when he saw Draco waiting for him outside Transfiguration. ‘What do you want?’
Draco pushed his hair back. ‘I’d like to apologise. For that day, when you tried to help me get up. I felt ashamed by what had happened, and I lashed at you, and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have.’
Boot looked at Draco with narrowed eyes, as if Draco had an ulterior motive for being nice, but he accepted his apology. Draco turned to leave, but Boot stopped him. ‘Hey, Malfoy, um… did you see me in there? People are saying all sort of things.’
He wasn’t the first to wonder. Students of all years came up to Draco to ask him about the Mirror world. That Gryffindor boy—Creepey or Creevey or something—had burst into tears at Draco’s assurance that his brother still annoyed people with his camera in the Mirror world.
Boot waited, his body tight in apprehension. He probably wondered if Draco knew and if he’d tell. Draco lowered his voice and said, ‘I saw you. You were happy. You were different—and it suited you. If you ever wish to— um, make that change, then I’ll be on your side.’
Boot’s eyes glittered as Draco left.
Luna Lovegood was easy to befriend once approached. One mention of the baby thestral and she was happy to follow him to the Forbidden Forest to look for it. Draco also started flying again to train his atrophied muscles. Just with Blaise at first, at the edge of the pitch, but one day Dean and Seamus challenged them to a game, and before long, he and Blaise wiped the floor with them.
‘Rematch!’ Dean demanded. ‘Same time tomorrow.’ When they agreed, he fist-bumped them both. ‘Good game.’
Before the week was out, Draco was invited to his first four-a-side game—by Dean this time. Potter seemed pleasantly surprised to see him on the pitch, and even more startled when Draco asked him for a Catch the Snitch game the next day. Draco wasn’t sure what the hell he was doing. Perhaps the sojourn in the Mirror changed him in fundamental ways. He wondered if he should be worried, and spent a long time staring at his face in the mirror, trying to find what might be different. In any case, the only way to avoid feelings of pity was to strike first.
Potter said yes to his invitation. Draco found it hard to sleep that night.
It’d be hard to find more civil interactions than the ones between him and Potter those days. They spoke to each other carefully, with restraint, sliding side glances when the other wasn’t looking, and avoiding the erumpent in the room: their Mirror relationship. For Draco, being around Potter proved harder than he’d imagined. Memories flooded him every time he saw the curve of Potter’s lips and the unruly hair falling on his forehead and around the ears. He couldn’t stop looking at his arse, while the sight of Potter’s arms alone was enough to send him into a trance.
In the meantime, Potter received an owl every day with a present: a shirt, new quills, Honeydukes chocolate. Today he tore open an envelope, which contained tickets to a Chudley Cannons match. Beside him Weasley hollered. He grabbed the tickets and waved them in the air, while Potter glanced around the Hall as if the mystery buyer was there.
A deep sigh from Draco’s right side interrupted his Potter-watching. He turned to see Pansy picking at her salad. ‘Enough,’ he told her. ‘Spare me this misery and ask Blaise out!’
‘Draco!’ She lowered her voice. ‘You know I can’t. We’re friends. What if it ruins our friendship and we break up and I lose him forever? Or what if he says no? How will I face him again?’
‘If you don’t, I’ll ask him out for you,’ Draco threatened, meaning every word. ‘I’ll tell him how long you’ve been wanting to do it and might even mention those dreams you said you were having…?’
Pansy swatted his arm furiously. ‘I’ll never confide anything in you again. Ever!’ She sat back in her chair and glanced at Blaise a few seats away, eating with Theo. She bit her lip. ‘Alright, I’ll do it. Soon.’
‘Tonight,’ Draco insisted. ‘Or else.’
‘Tonight then. And I hate you.’ She turned to her salad and attacked the leaves as if they were the ones that forced her to ask Blaise on a date. Draco glanced at the end of the table, where Potter was staring at the tickets in his hands.
‘Here again?’ Potter asked Draco on a bright Sunday afternoon. He gestured towards the Shrieking Shack.
‘How come you always find me? It’s annoying,’ Draco said.
‘You weren't at the castle and I thought—’
‘How could you know that? Did you search the entire castle?’
Potter blushed and ignored the question. He pointed at the construction equipment by the side of the road. ‘I see someone else is as obsessed with this house as you. Even more, because they actually paid money for it.’ He shook his head. ‘Don’t know who would be crazy enough to want to fix this piece of crap.’
Draco coughed lightly. ‘That would be me.’
Potter’s eyes widened almost comically. ‘Seriously?’ He stared at the Shack, presumably trying to figure out what Draco saw in it. ‘Did your father lend you the money?’
‘I came into the Lestrange inheritance,’ Draco said quietly. ‘Besides, it was cheap as dirt to buy it. Fixing it is another matter, though.’ It’d seemed appropriate to Draco to spend his aunt’s money on creating a magical sanctuary. A haven for the lost and the broken. Reading up on the magic required for such an endeavour provided a welcome distraction to his heartache, which had failed to be diminished these last couple of weeks.
Potter scuffed the toe of his shoe on the ground. ‘Has it changed much inside?’
‘I can show you.’ Draco's heart beat just a little faster.
Inside, dust motes danced in the slanting light from the boarded up windows. The flooring was new, protected by Impervious, and the stairs had been rebuilt. Draco had ordered a similar wallpaper to the one in the Mirror world. He touched the wall with a finger. ‘It’ll look nice when it’s done, Potter.’
He turned to look at Potter and the intensity in his eyes warmed Draco to the bone. He felt his cheeks heating up.
Potter said, ‘In the mirror, you called me Harry.’
‘I called him Harry,’ Draco amended.
‘That was me.’
No, it wasn’t, Draco wanted to say, but knew it’d come out as petulant. Potter walked across the floor to stand in front of him.
‘Hasn’t it occurred to you why that Harry was with you?’
It had, but Draco wasn’t about to say it. It’d kept him up endless nights. He told Potter what he told himself: ‘My Harry,’ —shit, he didn’t meant to say that— ‘that Harry was just a reflection of my—’ He swallowed. Was Potter going to make him say it? He hated the feeling of being exposed, of Potter knowing that he was what Draco desired the most.
‘Why do you think I was able to come find you?’ Potter asked.
‘Because that’s what you do. You’re the Saviour.’ Instead of taunting, his voice came out in a whisper.
‘The saving thing wouldn’t work in the Mirror. I tried several times to enter it, but it didn’t work. It only allows entry to the most desperate. I managed to step through only when bringing you home became my most desperate desire. When you were about to die.’
Draco felt pinned to the floor under Potter’s gaze. ‘So Granger also…’
Potter chuckled, his eyes never leaving Draco’s. ‘Sorry to disappoint, but Hermione burned with intellectual curiosity to visit the world you were in. Draco…’
‘Yes?’ Time had stilled around Draco, the golden dust motes floating suspended in mid-air and his heart refusing to beat until Potter finished his sentence.
A flush crept on Potter’s cheeks. ‘Tell me—tell me about us.’
Draco couldn't restrain himself any longer. In a gesture similar to his first night with Harry, he raised a hand and touched his face. He stroked his cheek and brushed a lock of hair behind his ear. Potter’s eyes fluttered and he leaned closer, his breath mixing with Draco’s.
‘I could touch you whenever I wanted,’ Draco replied. ‘And I did. All the time.’
The look in Potter’s eyes could have blasted him away. He cupped Draco’s face and kissed him with such force that Draco was slammed to the wall behind him, a cloud of dust erupting around them.
Draco didn’t care, not when Potter—Harry?—pressed his body flush against Draco’s and continued kissing him with such intensity that threatened to melt his bones. Harry tasted the same. He kissed the same, plunging his tongue inside Draco’s mouth, pouring everything he had into the kiss, making Draco’s knees buckle. The tightly-wound knot in his chest loosened and unraveled, leaving him dizzy. And still Harry kissed him, his hands everywhere: digging under Draco’s shirt, cupping his arse, running over his back. They ran the danger of suffocating but that didn’t stop them until Draco brushed his growing erection against Harry’s. His moan was as sweet as it had ever been. Draco kissed him on the neck, smelling his skin and his hair, all the while grinding slowly against him, every inch of his body heating up with arousal.
Relief, sweet relief coursed through his veins.
‘Fuck,’ Harry panted. ‘That feels good.’
Draco knew what Harry liked. He licked his ear and cupped his cock and trailed fingers on his thigh the way Mirror Harry liked, and was pleased to discover that real Harry responded as beautifully as his other self to Draco’s ministrations. Before long, they were both panting, trousers unbuttoned and hands everywhere.
‘Come with me,’ Draco said. He held Harry's hand and led him upstairs to the bedroom at the back of the building.
Draco had made a rather big fuss about this room, insisting the builders finish it first. The grey curtains were a slightly different texture and the armchairs blue velvet rather than leather, but the bed was the same. He’d made certain.
‘Is this where we had sex?’ Harry said, his eyes wide and hopeful.
‘Here, too.’ Draco dragged Harry to him by the jumper and kissed him. ‘Get this off,’ he muttered and pulled at his clothes.
Real life Harry turned a much deeper red when he undressed. On the other side, he was much more unrestrained than his Mirror self as he positively manhandled Draco into bed and climbed over him, kissing him as if he’d been parched and Draco was a spring. Their cocks rubbed against each other, shooting sparks of pleasure down Draco's spine, his mouth glued to Harry's, unable to tear away.
‘Did you fuck me?’ Harry asked in a hoarse voice when they pulled up for air. Draco, impressed though he was by his stamina, feared he’d pass out from lack of oxygen.
‘Both.’ Draco gasped as Harry stroked his cock with a firm hand. ‘Mostly you fucked me.’
Harry’s breath hitched. ‘I want to,’ he said. ‘I want to be inside you. Is it too—?’
‘No, not too soon. Merlin, I've missed it so much.’ Draco gave a bruising kiss on Harry's lips, his pulse speeding even faster, and spread his legs. Harry’s face filled with wonder as he traced fingers over Draco’s balls and the cleft of his arse. Still, he hesitated.
Draco searched his face. ‘Have you had sex before?’
‘Um, no. I mean, I know what to do, it’s just that—’
Draco smiled fondly. ‘I’ll show you.’ He picked his wand up from from where it'd fallen by the bed and Accio’ed the lube he carried in his robes out of habit rather than hope.
Harry’s eyes darkened at the sight of Draco pushing one finger inside himself. Lust was written all over his face and Draco bathed in it, as he opened himself up with one, then two fingers. ‘Want to try?’ he asked him.
Harry nodded and picked the lube up with trembling hands. With infinite care, he breached Draco with two fingers and gasped.
‘Yes, it is.’ Harry looked mesmerised at the sight of his fingers fucking Draco, making Draco gasp and writhe, lost in the sensation, until fingers weren't enough. ‘Take them out, slowly… that’s it,’ Draco instructed. He rolled him over and straddled him. ‘Ready, Harry?’
A smile. ‘You called me Harry.’
Draco took it as a yes. He lowered himself on Harry’s slicked cock. Below him Harry shuddered when the head entered Draco's arse. ‘Oh fuck, fuck…’
Draco paused, his nails digging in Harry’s chest, not so much because of the burn, but because of the emotion that overwhelmed him. Having Harry inside him was when he felt the most intimate, and the idea that he could have again what he thought he’d lost—
Draco sat lower, taking Harry’s cock inside him inch by inch. ‘This is how we’ll do it when I fuck you,’ Draco said. ‘It’s the best position for the first time. You taught me that.’
‘It’s so strange to hear you say that,’ Harry gasped. ‘Oh, this is— I had no idea it’d feel so—’
‘It does,’ Draco panted. ‘It feels so good when you fuck me.’ He kept a stream of encouragement as he moved his hips. ‘That’s perfect, Harry. Look at me, look at how well you fit inside me.’
‘You’re all I ever see, Draco,’ Harry said.
Draco's whole body ached. He pulled Harry in a sitting position and adjusted his seat against his bent knees. The new angle had him seeing stars. He held Harry tight, a hand buried in his hair, and rode him as hard he could. He wanted to make Harry's first time (and technically his) spectacular, but they were both too far gone to last very long. They came loudly, messily, fingers bruising sweaty skin, lips on swollen lips.
Afterwards, they lay in bed in each other’s arms. Draco played with Harry’s chest hair, tugging it lightly with his fingers, while Harry traced his back up and down, a never-ending trail. A heavy silence fell like a blanket.
It wasn’t unexpected. In the Mirror world, Draco had found himself in an existing relationship with Harry, but here he had no idea how to proceed. He didn’t know if it was a one-off for Harry, or if he’d want to see Draco again. Uncertainty stopped every word in his throat.
‘What’s with the presents?’ Harry asked suddenly.
‘How did you— um. Why do you think it was me?’
Harry chuckled. ‘Fourteen presents, Draco. Fourteen. What were you thinking?’
Draco bit his lip, but replied honestly. ‘There are four more. Eighteen altogether.’ He glanced up at Harry, who hadn’t stopped tracing the skin on his back. ‘Eighteen presents for every birthday that your family ignored.’
Harry's face rippled with emotion. ‘Thank you. They were all lovely. Ron particularly appreciated the Quidditch tickets. The blue towels were … unusual.’
Draco flicked his nipple. ‘That’s because you kept using mine and it annoyed me.’ He hadn’t thought he’d mind, but after the third time he found his mother’s present on the floor, he’d exploded.
It was so strange to have memories of a relationship with someone he hadn’t dated yet.
‘Am I like him?’ Harry asked quietly, probably thinking the same thing.
‘I think so,’ Draco whispered. ‘But I’m not.’ His voice betrayed the fear that stopped Draco from hoping this could be more: he didn't deserve Harry. He was no Silver Hero, risking life and limb to stop girls from getting tortured and bloodthirsty dark wizards from taking over the world.
‘What was it like in the Mirror world for you? Besides,’ Harry gestured to the sheets, ‘us.’
Draco swallowed. ‘I had never become a Death Eater. I was a … hero.’
The admission—one Draco never believed he’d say out loud—hovered briefly between them. Uttering his biggest regret left Draco trembling. He half-expected Harry to remember who he was with, thank him for the shag, and take his leave.
But that wasn’t what happened. Harry rose on an elbow and, with a finger, turned Draco’s face towards him. ‘The fact that you regret it so much that it’s your deepest desire, well, that tells me everything I need to know, Draco. Yes, you made some very grave mistakes, but I think you’re moving past that.’ His fingers travelled down Draco’s arm and traced his Mark, a thumb circling the scarred skin.
‘You know what’s really brave?’ Harry continued. ‘Coming back to school. Changing your beliefs. Making friends with Luna and Dean and the others. And, to be honest, I didn’t crush on some Mirror ideal. I like you, exactly the way you are. Even if you can be a git sometimes.’
‘You were crushing on me?’
‘Yeah,’ Harry blushed. ‘A bit. Well, a lot. Twice I spilled bubotuber pus on me in Potions, because I was looking at your hands. I sort of—er, showed up where I thought you might be. And once I wrote your name in my textbook and Ron saw it and—’
Draco laughed, a laughter of pure joy and relief and hope, and interrupted Harry's babbling with a long kiss.
This world was fucked up. It had pain and grief and sick people and dead people and stupid decisions and bad hair days and fear and regret—although it didn’t have Smith in leather gear, which was something. It also had Harry Potter, who buried his face in the crook of Draco’s neck, and who liked this Draco, the Death Eater Draco, and that made everything worth it.
It was hard to imagine that, after everything, Harry would be jealous.
Draco and Harry had been seeing each other for two weeks now in the real world. It was simultaneously far better and much harder than the Mirror-relationship, which had unfolded so smoothly and trouble-free that Draco hadn’t recognised it as unrealistic until he’d returned here.
But he had no time to ponder this topic because Harry was jealous. Of himself.
They were at the broom shed after a game of Quidditch, and Draco stared incredulously at Harry, who was trying to hide his irritated expression. ‘What bothered you about me saying you fucked me against that wall?’
Harry was shoving the Quaffle in its box with unnecessary force. ‘Nothing bothered me.’
Draco crossed his arms and waited.
‘Nothing at all. Why should it bother me to hear of your amazing sex life with—’
‘—with you,’ Draco explained patiently. He really was a saint to put up with this.
Harry didn’t reply immediately. ‘It does my head in, sometimes,’ he murmured, staring at the trunk with the balls. ‘The other Harry sounded very… confident and—I don’t know. Cool. Together. Carefree. I’m none of these things.’
OK, so Draco might have spoken with the most glowing terms about Mirror-Harry, but what real Harry hadn’t realised was that Draco was describing him. Everything he said that he’d loved—his smile, the way Harry clung to him at night, the taste of his lips, the timbre of his voice—soft and low—when he spoke to Draco, the fact he was willing to laugh at Weasley’s inane jokes—this was all Harry. This Harry. Real Harry.
‘Yes, but—’ Draco paused. ‘Are you really going to make me say it?’
‘Say what?’ He turned to meet Draco’s eyes now.
‘I didn’t—’ Merlin, he had to say it. Damn Potter. ‘I didn’t fall for that Harry. I—’ Draco paused and steeled himself. ‘I fell for you. In love, I mean. With you. You, standing right there, being thoroughly obnoxious,’ he added, because his heart beat frantically, and Harry’s expression had softened and deepened at the same time.
Harry approached Draco saying nothing, his face betraying wonder and happiness and maybe a little trepidation.
‘Besides,’ Draco continued as Harry slowly walked him backwards against the wall, ‘my mirror-self was so much cooler than me. A hero, not a villain. Do you think I don’t know what it’s like to have mirror-envy?’
Harry stroked Draco’s cheek. ‘I don't think you should. Mirror-Draco sounds too virtuous for me,’ he said. ‘I’m in love with you. You, standing right here, being thoroughly adorable.’
The words knocked Draco’s breath out. Mirror Harry had already told him he loved him, but he was a different Draco there, heroic and noble and brave, and he deserved Harry’s love. Draco hadn’t expected to hear these words in real life, not so soon or maybe not ever.
Breathless and feeling dangerously weak at the knees, Draco wrapped his arms around Harry. ‘There’s only one solution really to this odious jealousy you’re displaying.’
‘To fuck me against the wall yourself.’
Harry smiled. ‘I’ve already locked the door. Pull your trousers down, Malfoy.’
‘Pull them down yourself,’ Draco said and kissed him.