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Shades of Black

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Chapter warning: Graphic content. Non-con. Pain. Potential triggers.

-

He’s bound with countless coils of green. I like to see him in restraints, and I like them to be enchanted snakes. He’s a Slytherin after all; they suit him. Sometimes I use so many of them that just his mouth and ass are left exposed to my manipulations; to kisses and caresses and a hundred kinds of exquisite cruelties.

Tonight I just tied up his ankles and wrists, forcing him to stay on his elbows and knees, ass in the air, but leaving him room to writhe. I like seeing that, too, I love it when he’s trying to get away.
Not that I’d let him.

“Harry…,” he gasps into the mattress. I’ve just shot into him yet another time. I’ve used a whole array of erection rings on my cock over the course of the last hours, with each ring working a stronger size magic so the strain on his ass has built up with each round of fucking.

I get rid of the ring to give my cock a little respite.

“Harry…”

He’s pleading with me, but he can’t talk. Looks like I’ve fucked the capacity to build a coherent sentence right from his brain. Stripped of his usual cool and sass, and bound like he is, ass on offer, creased wings uselessly twitching, he’s nothing but a helpless angel made for me to fuck senseless.
An angel with his hole prised wide open. It’s pinker and puffier than ever, and gleaming with ass juice.

God, he’s beautiful.

“Harry, please…”

I loosen the snake around his right wrist and turn him around a bit, just so that I can get a look at his front for a moment.
An invisible clamp charm is pushing his nipples out, continually twisting them. His lovely face is sweaty and drawn from the pain of it, and from the endless row of climaxes I’ve put him through. The sight alone is enough to give me a new boner, no erection ring needed.

He’s just the perfect blend of whore and martyr. And I’m so not done with him.

“It’s okay, baby,” I say, gently stroking the sweat-soaked golden strands from his brow. Then, just as gently, I push him back down onto his elbows, refasten the snake cuff around his wrist, and move behind him to take care of his ass again.
I’m going to try out his new hook on him before the next round.

It’s an anal hook I bought at the Muggle sex shop. No magic there, simple metal. When I press the bulky steel ball against his rosy entrance, he readily opens and sucks it inside. His breath hitches as I steadily push the hook deeper into him. It’s impossible to tell whether the penetration is a grace for him, or torture.

I softly twist the hook, imagining his tight channel bulge and deform inside him. He moans, his face pressed into the mattress. His ass, leaking slick, strains sideways. He’s trying to somehow lose the hook, but he can’t, he only gets drilled into more deeply with each move he makes.

I order him to keep still for his own good, and he obeys, thighs trembling. I can fuck him with the hook at leisure now. I do it gently, because his choked whimpers tell me he’s got trouble dealing.

In the end, he asks to be, yeah, let off the hook. Not that he could come up with even such a simple pun at the moment. But I know him well enough to make sense of the stuttered bits of sound he utters.
And I really need to get back into him. So, enough of this.

I pull at the hook, my eyes fixed on his opening as it slowly yields the metal rod. There’s a moment of delicious resistance when the steel orb at the end becomes visible.
His rim stretches and lengthens around it, like his hole was trying to keep the thing inside. One hefty tug, a rich, wet plop from his rear end and a yelp from the other, and he has produced it.

“Well done, fairyboy,” I tell him, patting his ass cheek as I Vanish the hook. He heaves a shuddering sigh in premature relief.

hex the erection ring I kept for last to the base of my cock. Those rings don’t go around the balls or prevent orgasm; they are made for one thing only: maximal cock size, maximal friction.

Trying to rein in my throbbing anticipation, I let the head of my freakishly enlarged cock dab at his guileless entrance. In a reflex, it draws open, revealing its glistening inner walls. Nothing could look more lecherous, or more vulnerable. O Merlin, I so need to get in there.

He strains his neck to look over his shoulder, to find out what he’s in for next. I let him get a glimpse of my erection. Thanks to the ring, it’s more than double its normal size. As an added bonus, the ring is fitted with rubber spikes on the outside. They are curling around the base of my fat shaft like a black dragon’s tail. His wide fairy eyes flare with fear, and his hole flutters as he tries to shut himself.

“No, please, Harry…”

“Sh, baby.”

“Harry, please, I can’t…”

With a quick wave of my wand I work the clamp charm on his nipples, pinching them so he hunches forward, hoarsely crying out and forgetting to try and keep me out of his ass. Swiftly, I guide my cock in. He deliciously clenches around me, curling up on himself, but it doesn’t help him. Holding his cheeks apart with both my hands, I go deeper and deeper, slowly, steadily, savouring his tightness and agonized moaning.

But in the end it turns out he’s right, he can’t take it. He’s so taut he won’t swallow my cock’s base with the ring.
I don’t pull out though, because I know that all he needs is a bit of comfort. Just a little dose of sweet, and he’ll be able to do his thing.

I force myself to stop pushing. Panting disconnected words of reassurance, I caress his distended rim.

When I reach below his belly for his cock, I catch it helplessly poking about in thin air; all plumped up and ready to be made to explode. Just a few pinches and tugs, and it’s spurting precome all over my hand. I knew this would do the trick. His hole like hiccups, and suddenly something gives. Quickly, I wedge my index fingers inside him on either side of my cock. Crooking them and pulling, I say the three magical words.
"I love you."

And as if on cue, he cramps up and comes.

His fingers claw into the mattress, and then his cruelly stretched opening starts gushing its gallons of come, in synchronicity with his erupting cock. All I have to do is flex my hips forward.

He utters a little scream as his flesh is made to allow the spikes in, and his ass cream wells out of him like blood from a wound. He doesn’t tear, thanks to his wetness and the protective hex I put on him. It guarantees he can’t suffer any damage, but it does nothing to lessen the sensations.

Rooted into him and relishing the feel of him going through his spasms, I wait till he's done. Only then, I slip my fingers out and pull back, watching the spikes flex back out of him, followed by the rest of my cock. It’s looking like a red python, glistening with fairy juice. I pull it fully out so it can catch a breath of air, and so I can breach him again.

But his hole doesn’t shut itself; it’s gaping like the shock of what just happened to it made it forget how to constrict. I guide myself back between the slobbering lips and thrust, hard, pushing them back into his butt.

He lets out a hoarse cry that morphs into an endless whimper as I slide all the way in again, like he’s singing somewhere in the far distance. When the spikes are being forced through his entrance yet again, his voice gets stuck in his throat. But I don’t stop. I fuck him fast and full length now, making his hole swallow the springy spikes over and over. It looks beyond vicious, and it is. But he's already approaching his next climax.

When he's there, I pound him right through it, spikes and all, yanking him towards me by his wings with one hand and pressing a slippery ass cheek to the side with the other, using what breath I have left to tell him what a slimy little Slytherin he is.
The words seem to boost the discharge even more. His juices squirt everywhere; the mess he’s making is incredible. The mattress is so soaked with his come it gives a squishy sound each time my knees press down with another stroke.

I want to shoot into that slopping, convulsing ass, but I need to see how I’ve opened him up. Digging my fingers into his hips for leverage, I pull out, and there’s his hole, gaping and twitching with the impact of that final, cruel fuck.
I don’t have time to get back inside him. My orgasm coils through me, tight and hot like liquid fire. I grab hold of myself for a better aim and shoot at his consumed open core, hitting it with load after load of come.

Only when I run dry I hear it.
Sobs.

He’s crying. Draco is crying. Suddenly I see him again.

My Draco, my angel.
Soiled, broken. Crying, because of me.

God, he's looking like the victim of gang rape, his wings rumpled and standing away from his back at an odd angle, his hole turned inside out, glistening in all the shades of purple.

O my God, I hurt my angel. My sweet, sweet angel.

And he’s still splayed out in front of me, helplessly bound.

“Liberta,” I cry hoarsely.

The snakes fall away, leaving red marks on his pale skin. His head sinks down between his shoulders, but it seems he can’t close his legs.

I need him to close his legs.
I need him to go back to being himself.

I need him to look at me.

He feels like a wax figure when I turn him over, cold and immobile. His eyes are squeezed shut. His nipples stand out like nail heads, still slowly revolving.
It’s the clamp spell, I forgot the clamp spell.

“Dissoluto!”

His nipples turn a fierce red as they fill with blood, and he arches his back like in a seizure, screaming in pain.

“Draco! Draco!”

I put my hands to his twisting shoulders, close to panicking, and he curls up, straining away from my touch. He’s trying to shield himself from me, both hands reaching down between his legs, covering his butt crack.
He’s shaking all over now.

And all the time, the tears are gushing forth from between his closed lids, coating his beautiful face in gold.

O God, what did I do to him.

What did I do.

*

As I cautiously retreat, our bedroom rematerialises around me, a peaceful space of darkness. The faint, soothing rustle of leaves drifts through the open window, and the curtains gently billow in the night breeze.
I inhale the scent of nature, and slowly my heartbeat evens out.

I’m at home in Godric’s Hollow, and in my own head.
I’m Draco, and none of all that sex and suffering ever happened.

I still run my hand down my crack to make sure. I put a finger to my entrance, half expecting to find dripping intestines hanging out. But there’s just the perfectly regular feel of the circle of soft padding around my neatly closed hole.
Neatly closed, if lightly coated with precome, like the tip of my half-hard cock.

“Draco, please, oh my angel, oh no…”

Harry’s agonized voice.
He’s talking in his sleep.

Sitting up, I look at him in the twilight.
He’s heavily breathing, with his black strands clinging to his scarred brow. Clutching at his pillow, he’s shifting under the damp sheets, over and over gasping out my name.

I put a hand to his forehead to calm him. It works, for now. He sighs and goes still.

Taking care not to wake him, I gather my wand from the bedside table and clean him up with a silent Lavatio Amatoria. I change the bedding, too. He sighs again, sounding almost content this time. Stretching out under the fresh sheets, he pulls the fluffed up pillow up against his chest possessively.

If I’m lucky, he’s done for the night. But I know that it’s much more likely that in a couple of minutes, he’ll slip back into his nightmare and get on with freaking out.
I know because he's got these dreams almost every night.

And because this is not exactly the first time I’ve used Legisomnium on him.

He could have done the same to me last winter, back when I was having nightmares about Lupin’s boggart. But he’d never dare do this to me. He knows I can’t have anyone look into my mind, not even him. And he respects that. Because he’s noble and decent like that.

Unlike me.
I’ve just become too desperate to know what’s going on with him, what’s up with his fitful sleeping of late, and Legisomnium is the perfect means to find out. So I’m using it.
It’s a sneaky thing to do.

But then I guess I am a slimy little Slytherin.

The truth is, I might have grown wings on my twenty-first birthday, but else I haven’t changed as much as he likes to believe.

He has told me he loves me like a million times since we came together; especially after he found out about the boggart. And I believe him. Because I know that for some reason he sees me as this kind of saint.

I think it’s because of my wings. The whole angel lore associated with people who got those. Mine aren’t classical angel wings, obviously. No feathers or anything. They are plain old fairy wings.
But I can still tell that when Harry calls me angel, he means it literally.

The thing is, he thinks my fairy magic is like unicorn magic; that it’s rooted in a superhuman kind of essential innocence.
It is true that it allows me to ward off attackers, and that Fairy Force, the potion I can distill from my blood, grants a witch or wizard a few hours of invincibility. But there’s absolutely no scientific evidence for Harry’s theory that this is due to an inborn moral purity on my part.

But no matter how often I point that out to him, he sticks to his conviction that I’m like supernaturally nice.
He says it’s why everybody loves me.

They so don’t. There’s tons of people who hate my guts.
Like the guy whose ass I’ve been kicking at World of Witchcraft over the last couple of days. Black Boss. He got so mad when I laughed at his laughable vintage wizard’s hat and his even more laughable strategies that I did it twice as much.
Or Madam Malkin. She wouldn’t ever say anything, obviously, but when I last saw her to tell her I won’t have the blue silk smoking for my wedding after all because I realized a puffapod leather dress suit would be just so much smarter, it was pretty obvious she had to fight off an urge to put her fitting pins right in my butt.
I’m sure she thinks I’m exactly the same spoilt, annoying little git that stood on a chair in her shop next to Harry Potter twelve years ago.
And that’s fine by me, because basically, I am.

But Harry thinks I’m perfect.

It’s absurd. A little bit crazy, really.

I thrive on wiping the floor with clueless noobs in Y-pad games, I drive my dressmaker to hysterics.
I snoop on my fiancé.

And I used to try and do my father proud, even though he was the right hand of Voldemort, and when I found out about everything, and was expected to become a Death Eater myself, all I came up with by way of fighting back was kid’s con tricks, like corrupting my Mark.

I’m ever so far from perfect, I’m no angel at all.

And frankly, sometimes I’m not all that happy about being called that. Frankly, sometimes it kind of piques my pride.
The thing is, when you hear angel, you think cute and puffy-faced. And I’m neither. I’m a successful scientist and businessman, and I know how to duel, not just in gaming.
Maybe I got no beard and my eyes are too big, but I’m still tougher than most. –

Harry has started to mumble something.
I knew it.

He’s back to beating himself up. He’s pleading my forgiveness, and telling me he is too foul a man to be with me.
That means that next he’s going to start crying. I know it, and I can’t bear it. O Merlin, I can’t bear watching him cry.

I can’t let this go on. I need to do something about this. Tell him it’s okay or something, without admitting to the fact that I’ve been watching his dreams. Or the fact they leave me scared and confused, if kind of weirdly, disturbingly turned on.

Hell, I need a plan.

Harry utters a choked whimper. My throat constricts.

Leaning over him, I say his name and kiss him on the lips to wake him up.

-

 

Chapter End Notes

 

A few words of context:

"Shades of Black" explores a darker side of intimacy. Some might call it deviant. Some might expect me to denounce my Harry as sick, use his difficult childhood as the explanation, and have him learn to forsake his wicked ways.
But this is not another Shades of Grey.

The point is, there will be actual cruelty. And cruelty actually is deviant. But it’s also canon:
As Amycus spun around, Harry shouted, “Crucio!”
When I read this for the first time, I felt like the whole of the HP universe had turned upside down. Everything Harry stands for suddenly didn't seem to be valid anymore.
I read the rest of Deathly Hallows waiting not so much for Harry’s victory, but for his redemption. –
But then I guess it’s the same in fiction as in real life: You can’t expect to find something like deliverance of the soul outside of a love story. Which is basically why I wrote this fic :)

-

About Shades of Black:

Orion Black II is the last of the Blacks. Or he would be, but he’s an illegitimate son, and it’s Harry Potter who is considered the heir of the Black family fortune, together with his fiancé Draco Malfoy. And once they tie the knot and their offspring hatches, there will be a whole bunch of kids with a claim to the estate. Kids with pointed ears and fairy wings.
Well, Orion Black doesn’t intend to be cheated out of his inheritance by a family of freaks. –

Draco has laid those seven fairy eggs, but it’s Harry who needs to finally confront a birthing trauma of his own. Since that Voldemort baby thing came out of him when he got hit with Avada Kedavra five years ago, he has never really trusted himself again. And the dark desires he has developed concerning his mate must mean his soul is corrupted beyond salvation, or so he is convinced. –

Draco has found out about Harry's secret desires and woes and concocts a plan to help him be more relaxed about things. Its key element is this genius new potion; Obliquid. Draco has designed it himself, so he knows what he’s doing, right?

But then things go terribly awry.

Can Draco and Harry recover from a half hour of cruelty that neither of them will ever forget?
Will they stand together and save their family from the murderous machinations of Orion Black II?
And will that fairy tale wedding extraordinaire Draco had all planned out ever come to pass?

*

Chapter Text

Green is my favourite colour.
Most people think green is the colour of death and evil, because of the Dark Mark and Avada Kedavra.
But to me, it’s the opposite of all that.
For one thing, green is the colour of leaves, and that makes it all about life.
This might sound like I’m trying to be poetic, but it’s really simple science. Photosynthesis is the ultimate origin of life after all.
And I guess I’ve got personal reasons to feel this more than others, because my kids are being nurtured and sheltered by the oak trees in our garden in Godric’s Hollow, waiting to hatch.

The eggs are green, too, a wonderful, light minty green, five of them with a sprinkle of blue, two tinged with pink. It might be old-fashioned thinking, but I’m pretty sure we are going to have five boys and two girls.
They’ve been up in the trees for six weeks this day. It’s where they need to be, high up in the canopies of those ancient oaks, supported by sturdy branches, safe in the middle of a green alive with light and shadow.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, hidden in the lush foliage just like our eggs.
It’s a perfect summer morning. The air is still cool and carrying the scent of the meadow behind the house.
It’s one of the best features of the cottage, that sweeping, glossy expanse of grass and wild flowers, embraced by towering trees. I could forever just sit and watch it sway in the breeze. It would be madness to cut the grass, but it took some convincing to make Harry see that.
If he didn’t have me, I’m pretty sure he’d be spending hours in the garden every single weekend casting mowing and trimming spells, trying to keep nature in check.

Yet again, I let my gaze travel across the trees beyond the meadow, making sure all is quiet and as it should be.
The continuous monitoring is a habit born of instinct, an automatism that’s a result of my fairy genes. At least that’s what Hermione just declared, as usual missing out on nothing, and having an unsolicited scientific explanation at the ready, too.
Sometimes she is a little bit of a pain in the neck with her smart-ass ways. She never quite moved past the times when there was always the chance of being awarded house points for a clever remark in class.
But she’s probably right, as usual. Harry and I put all kinds of spells in place that keep off predators, or unwanted visitors, and the spring is taking care of the rest. There are no night frosts to be expected, no hail storms. Nothing can happen to our kids; the rational part of me knows that. And yet there’s always that subtle restlessness hovering at the back of my mind these days, nudging me to stay alert.
It’s why I’ve set the table for my weekly wedding-planning breakfast with Hermione out on the terrace.
Another reason being Teddy. We mustn’t risk waking him up. He’s still asleep, thankfully, because he’s sick. Not that I’m happy about the kid having the flu. Not exactly. But since his grandma broke her hip and Harry brought him here two weeks ago, we’ve hardly had a moment’s peace.
Or rather, I haven’t.

Harry is safely away at work for most of the day after all, teaching at Hogwarts. And when he’s home, for some reason the kid behaves. When Harry pats his head and asks him how he’s doing, he responds with a nice thanks I’m great, Uncle Harry, instead of trying to bite him in the leg. And when Harry tells him to go wash his hands, he actually does it. It makes me even less of a fan, because it’s proof that the kid knows how to follow orders if he wants to.
It’s quite a blow to the self when you realize you are not being respected by a frigging five-year- old.
If I tell him stuff, like to stop digging up my begonias, he sticks his tongue out and moves on to the tulips. And when I tell him to go clean up because he looks like a dugbog, he jumps at me, forcing me to wrestle with him until I look the same.
Why can’t he do stuff like play on the monkey bars Harry put up for him on the lawn, like a normal kid? He only tried it once and fell off. Then he bit into the bars for retaliation purposes and lost a front tooth in the process.
Harry says he’s a little different, and it’s because he’s been living with an old lady. But I suspect it’s the werewolf genes. A biter who can’t be trained and is shit at climbing? Yeah, at least the eggs are safe from his antics.
It is really quite nice that he’s sleeping in today. I might have added a few drops of Valerian extract to his milk last night to help him with that. Simply for medical purposes, obviously. Sick kids need their sleep.
And I need an hour of wedding talk with my friend.

Hermione is lounging on her deck chair, blinking into the sun and adjusting her straw hat, looking like a lazy lady tourist.
She cut back on hours at her job as Head of Maginetics at LUM. It’s scientifically proven that witches who work four days a week instead of five have a nine point six percent higher chance of getting pregnant, or so she’s told me. I don’t know about that, but it’s definitely nice to have her around for some shared wedding planning.
We’ve just been discussing our respective choices of wedding jewellery.

“You really going to wear your emeralds?” she says for about the third time. “They are green.”

O yes, they are; my emeralds are green, and they are the most beautiful stones on earth. My mom’s necklace, the ear clips Harry gave me for Christmas, and my engagement ring.
My emeralds are actually the one thing about my wedding I have conclusively decided on. Apart from Harry being the other bridegroom.
Hermione’s eyes have latched onto my ring. Now she’s leaning forward, squinting. “What on earth happened to that stone, Dray?”
The ring’s heart-shaped emerald has somewhat darkened over the last weeks; for some reason it has lost its grassy sparkle and turned a dull shade of mossy. Hermione shakes her head.

“You can’t wear that ring. It’s practically black. Black isn’t right for a bride. Sorry, bridegroom.” “It’s not black, and it’s my engagement ring.”
Shaking her head, she sits back and lifts the little jug with the lemon juice off the garden table with a wandless Wingardium Leviosa charm. The girl is a severe case of incurable show-off.
“Here, let me help you with that,” I say smoothly, taking over the jug, and her tea cup, with a little wandless Levitation magic of my own. Sipping from my glass of honey milk, I pour some lemon juice into her tea. It does take quite a bit of concentration. Thankfully I don’t spill anything.

“Thanks,” she says, plucking her cup from the air and directing a smirk at me. As if it was me who started this. I tell her she’s welcome, smirking right back at her, and let the jug settle down between the tea pot and the vase with the forget-me-nots. Hermione brought those, because I love wild flowers. The woman might be all kinds of impertinent, but she’s also really sweet.
She’s also really pig-headed.

“You can’t wear a black stone to your wedding,” she repeats, her gaze back on my ring. Her brow has furrowed, and I know she’s running all the possible explanations for the change in colour through her head.
An ancient betrothal curse that survived the Dark Ages, designed to latch onto an engagement ring and kill the bride, or bridegroom, on their wedding day.
A transformation spell that’s been wrought on a simple black pebble by a fraudulent dealer in gems and that’s starting to wear off.
A bad omen.
I ball my hand into a fist and hide it in my lap.

“It’s my engagement ring, and I’m going to wear it.”

“Harry should have chosen a white diamond for that ring. Diamonds are way more fitting than emeralds for a bride. Sorry, bridegroom.”
She flutters her left hand through the air so the diamond on her own engagement ring catches the sunlight and sends a shower of rainbow-coloured sparks across the breakfast table.

“Emeralds are the stones of successful love, have you never read about that?”
“Not black emeralds, surely,” she retorts. “It’s a weird thing about your ring, really it is. Your necklace and ear clips still okay?”
I nod. I checked only this morning, because it actually is weird what’s happening to my ring. “Draco. Don’t wear that ring when you marry Harry. Don’t you realize it screams bad omen?”

For a second, an echo of my own screams ghosts through my mind, along with images from Harry’s dream last night. The snakes, the sweat, the sea of come. The pain. I quickly push it away. I’m having tea and scones with Hermione, I can’t be running a full-blown BDSM scene through my head. Even if it never happened.
Hermione stirs a spoonful of sugar into her tea. She’s using a Levitating charm, again. This time I let her. It’s never a good idea to try Wingardium Leviosa when your hands are shaking, with or without a wand.

“Bad omen. Honestly,” I say, forcing a laugh. "I thought you were calling yourself a scientist."
“Weddings are actually the one area where there's evidence showing a correlation between the occurrence of specific known signs and bad outcomes. Like if one of the partners picks up smoking wizard weed before the wedding, that translates to higher divorce rates."
"Listen..."
"I'm telling you, there's a reason why black gemstones are against all wedding traditions!” “I don’t give a runespoor’s rear end about traditions!”
“Weddings are all about traditions,” she says emphatically. “And if you choose to make do without them, you’ve got to at least know what you are doing. You can only cast aside what you fully understand.”

Taking a sip of tea, she settles back into her garden chair. O no, she’s getting ready for a lecture.

“Okay, wedding jewellery,” she says. “The earliest known records date back to about three- thousand years before Christ, and...”

“Tell me what you’ll wear,” I say, because I know there’s no better way to divert her these days. I know exactly what she’ll wear on her wedding day, but now she’s going to tell me all over again. She’s going to tell me about the diamond necklace she’ll get from Ron, and her matching diamond-studded sling pumps, and the sleeveless cocktail dress in Tuscany egg shell, which is what they call beige at the designer store in Paris where she went for her wedding shopping with Fleur.
Yes, Ron and Hermione are all set for their wedding day. They’ll get married on September the first, and the reception will be held at the Crown Inn at Ottery St. Catchpole. Every little detail has been taken care of, down to the flower decorations (pink and red roses, which is okay) and the bridesmaids’ hairdo (A bun with ringlets over the ears. Absolutely hideous).
The whole thing is going to be super traditional, and it’s going to be great.
But the Potter Malfoy wedding is going to be in a whole different league.

Harry says it’s not a competition. What he doesn’t understand is that everything is a competition. And that I’m going to personally make sure that he will star in the most fan-super-tastic wedding in the history of wizardkind.
Planning a wedding is like preparing a military campaign, there’s so much to be decided on. First and foremost, location, location, location.
I have already checked out every possible and impossible venue. Even Hogwarts. Obviously it’s not available for private parties, but they would rent it out to Harry Potter.
I haven’t told Harry yet, but I paid a call on McGonagall the other day to test the waters, and she was super mellow about the whole thing. As mellow as she can get, being McGonagall.

I can totally see the wedding banquet in the Great Hall. The house tables replaced by dozens of round tables decked out with white linen and fresh flowers, and gleaming with candle light and Hogwarts’ best silverware. The DJ with his magical turntables on the podium, the dance floor below. And above, mingling with the school’s ghosts, a floating fleet of light-studded leaf garlands, rivalling the stars of the night sky ceiling.
But I think I’d like an open-air party on the lawn down by the lake even better.
We could hire a band of merpeople for those who like diving and underwater dancing. Or organize a Quidditch tournament for the guests on the Hogwarts pitch. Perhaps we could even get the centaurs to make an appearance, as a midnight special.
Ever since I saw those guys running off into the forest with our headmistress, Dolores Umbridge, to do some teaching of their own to her, I’ve kind of had a thing for centaurs. I know it’s wrong, but, you know. Then again, with them being of Greek descent, they might be into the wedding custom of kidnapping the bride. And I’m pretty sure they’d take me for the bride rather than Harry, much like Hermione does. Huh. I wouldn’t want to actually live through that specific fantasy.
Plus, centaurs are prone to deliver unbidden prophesies, what with all that stargazing and stuff. And I hate prophesies. So maybe no centaurs at our wedding after all.

Just Buckbeak, flying us in for the ceremony after a turn across the Forbidden Forest with its lovely resin scent and magical night-time noises.
Yes, a Hogwarts wedding could be all kinds of epic.
Harry didn’t warm so much to the idea when I brought it up. He didn’t like the idea of asking McGonagall, either. It’s why I went myself, although he sees her every day. He’s just shit at asking people a favour. I guess he feels it isn’t quite right or something. He’s just such a stickler for correctness.
But obviously I want him to be happy on his wedding day, so maybe we should simply stage the whole thing at Grimmauld Place. It’s his house, so no problem there.

Harry says it isn’t his house, it’s our house. His and mine and Teddy’s. He might have inherited it from Sirius Black, but Teddy and I are Blacks by blood, so by rights it should be ours just as much as his, or so he says.
I’ve told him that I for my part don’t need to be a rich landowner, since I’m going to marry one. But he only laughed at that and informed me that he already filed a motion with the land registry.
He has also engaged a contractor to renovate the place. Apparently the guy has already started to clear it out. I’ll have to talk to the man before he gets started with the real stuff, because Harry can’t be trusted with decisions about interior decoration. I’ve never seen the place. I guess I could kill three birds with one stone, go check out the house and meet up with the builder guy the next time I go to London for a wedding suit fitting at Madam Malkin’s.
We really need to decide on a location soon so that we can move on to order the invitation cards. I’ve already made a draft for those.
Obviously, we can’t have
Lily and James Potter and Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy request the honour of your company.
It’s sad, I would have loved the classic style. But given our respective shitty family histories, we have no choice but to do the modern thing and stand on our own feet.
Draco Lucius Malfoy and Harry James Potter request the honour etcetera.

The parchment with the draft has been lying on my desk for over a week. I might yet change a word or two. But basically, I’m ready to place my order with the best calligraphy shop in London (Luke Quillings and partners; I researched that already, too). Yes, all we need is the location.
And the date, obviously.
The date is the key part of a wedding invitation.
We don’t have a date though, because Harry never set one. He asked me to marry him, but he never talked about when.
I know he was nervous about the birth, more so than I was even. I didn’t really think about the wedding myself in those weeks before. But I guess I always expected him to set the date once the eggs were safely out of my body.
But he never did.

I dart a quick look at my left hand and my engagement ring. Hermione is right; the emerald is practically black.
What if she’s right about that omen thing, too?
What if it’s something to do with Fate or something that Harry has never talked dates with me, and not just him failing at organizing?
Hell, it’s nothing like Harry to fail at organizing. He’s the most organized wizard in the history of magic! So why is it that we don’t have a date for our wedding?
Out of nowhere, there’s the memory of Harry’s dream in my head again.
The guilt distorting his features when he cried my name at the end. The dull realization in his eyes when he woke up and met my gaze; the resigned desperation in his voice when he told me it was nothing.
He lied to me, and I didn’t know how to lie back to him to make it all good. So I kept silent, and we kissed. We kissed, but it didn’t make that weird distance between us go away.
Suddenly I’m flooded by a sense of impending doom. Suddenly it’s like I know for a fact that for all the planning and preparing my wedding is never going to come to pass.
That I will lose Harry before he really, officially becomes mine.
An icy fist grabs my heart and squeezes.
I push my left hand under my thigh so I don’t have to see the black stone.

Hermione has stopped talking. Shit, when did she stop talking about her diamonds and French dress and started to observe me like she does instead? Like I was a new maginetical problem she has lucked into and is one step away from solving? For how long has she...

“So, tell me, Draco. Have you two decided on a date at last?”

“Not yet,” I choke out.

I start clearing away the crumbs on the garden table with Manuvacuum, then get up to sprinkle some random water from my wand onto the spring roses in the terracotta pots lining the terrace.
But there’s no escaping Hermione’s piercing gaze. It’s burning holes into my backside.

“Why not?”
“Hell, I don’t know why not!” I cry, refusing to turn around to face her.
Hell, she’s about as sensitive as an Erumpent. And sharper than Streeler spikes. I can practically sense her mind at work behind me as she’s getting ready to ask her next question.

“So Harry hasn’t brought it up, has he,” she states. “Why haven’t you brought it up? I mean, it’s not like only the bridegroom can bring it up. Sorry, I meant...”

“I can’t do it, Hermione!” I cry, choosing to ignore the fact she as good as called me a girl for the third time this morning. “I can’t put him on the spot like that, can I! And if he’s got some personal reason to put this off, it wouldn’t do any good anyway! Would it!”
Hermione has gotten up from her chair and steps up to me to take my hand. She’s about as sensitive as an Erumpent, normally.
“I didn’t mean to ruin your morning, dear. I shouldn’t have said that thing about bad omens.” “Okay,” I croak.
“Harry said he’ll marry you, and he will. He knows he belongs with you.”
I nod and have to wipe my nose, shamefully.
“He does!” she cries, squeezing my arm. “If anyone had told me back at Hogwarts I’d be saying this one day, I’d have declared them crazier than Trelawney, but the fact is, you two are the One True Pairing! Apart from me and Ron, obviously. You are Drarry!”
“Alright, Grizzly.” She chuckles.
“Don’t call Ron that. He’d think you’re trying to really hurt him. He’s discovered a grey hair at his temple the other day, and now he’s afraid he’ll become the only Weasley without red hair!”
We laugh, and sit down again, and I pour her another cup of tea with Wingardium Leviosa, just to prove I’m okay. She levitates a scone and spreads some butter on it midair in response, and gives me that lecture on the history of bridal jewellery. Effortlessly spanning all of those five-thousand years.
The gist of it being, surprise surprise, that white diamonds are the gems of choice for any bride. Or bridegroom.
I got no problem with white diamonds. They are pretty. They do go well with Tuscany egg shell.
But they aren’t green, and they aren’t what Harry gave me. And I’m a scientist. I believe in facts and magic, not in omens.

One of these days, I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, will get married to Harry James Potter. And when I do, I’ll be wearing my emeralds.

Chapter Text

When I’ve taken Hermione to the garden gate to see her off, beyond the Anti-Apparition circle we’ve put up for the eggs’ sake, I check on Teddy.
His brow feels cool to the touch, and he’s still snoring, thankfully, so I return to the terrace to sit down and inspect my ring.
Once my magnifying spell is correctly adjusted, I can see it quite clearly. The emerald is like coated with a layer of black fog. I try out a number of cleaning spells and in the end even try to wipe the blackness off with the table cloth; all to no effect.
Sighing, I slip the ring back on.
It still looks good on my hand; it’s still the most wonderful thing I’ve ever owned. I’ll never forget the night Harry gave it to me.

It was on Valentine’s Day. He had been calling me his fiancé for a long while before that, but he hadn’t actually proposed or given me a ring until that night. As a matter of fact, I had come to think he had decided to skip the whole drill and would just proceed to marry me one day. Anyway, I didn’t catch on to what he was up to till the last moment.
There had been clues, though. He had prepared a candle light dinner. And he had put on his best clothes, the dark green three-piece suit I got tailor-made for him for his last birthday. But I didn't see anything more in that than a welcome opportunity to wear my brand new purple silk jeggings. I never developed a real baby bump, but I had gained a couple of inches around the middle by that time. Those jeggings had been advertised as enchanted maternity wear, and they did wonders for my waistline.
A bit of a pity they weren’t stain-resistant. Yeah, I’ll never forget those jeggings, either.

It was a wonderful Valentine’s dinner.
Dinner with Harry is always great, no matter the date, no matter even the food, because I love to just be with Harry and talk. I love his intelligence and seriousness and the way he laughs at my quips. He does this kind of suppressed chuckling that goes with an almost invisible shake of his head.
That’s because most of my jokes are jibes at the expense of other people. He finds them funny, but he thinks he shouldn’t.
He's simply too self-controlled to even think something ungracious about somebody else's peculiarities. Sometimes I think he only started to see what’s wrong with stuff like Susan Bones’ taste in office footwear since I moved in with him.
I mean, German trekking sandals? Yeah. –

He laughed a lot with me that night.
The food was delicious. Four courses, and all the dishes spiced with honey and herbs, just the way I like it.
Harry is really quite a shitty cook. It’s possible he got help from Molly; it’s also possible she sent everything over with OPS. But obviously it’s the thought that counts, and it was a great meal.
I still didn’t expect anything was up until after the pudding, when Harry suddenly kind of transformed.
He straightened up and steepled his hands before him and started to lengthily talk about the fact that we were going to be fathers. That kids needed their parents. That the word Forever had taken on a whole new ring for him since he got together with me. That I might want to do some exploring on my own, maybe travel, meet new people, and that he was totally on board with that.
It wasn’t all that coherent, really.
But then he coughed a few times, produced a little box from his waistcoat and said that I had once demanded of him to ask for permission the next time he decided to put jewellery on me.
Then came something about how he never used to believe in Happy Ever Afters, and how he had found he simply wanted to make ours happen.
I loved the way he had scripted these sentences and was kind of reciting them, like a school boy delivering a Christmas poem, the fear of fucking up written all over him.
Then he popped the question and opened the box with the ring. Simple gold, with a single emerald on it, cut in the shape of a heart. The stone was translucent then, it was the most beautiful of greens.

And then... Oh Merlin, it was so bad. So bad. I still cringe at the memory.
From the moment I had realized he was going to propose, I had felt my body reacting. I tried to quash that tingle in my spine, I really did, because who’d want to make a total fool of themselves at such a moment?

Hermione would have a field day with this if she knew about it. She’d tell me all about how evolution made my fairy ancestors crave the tie of matrimony so much that a marriage proposal would seem like the height of hotness to them, and how fascinating it was to see a person’s genetic heritage at work.
Yeah, she wasn’t there, and I guess that’s one thing to be grateful for.

When I didn’t say anything, because I was busy trying to constrict every single muscle in my body, Harry got up, walked around the table, grabbed my hand and pulled me to my feet. His fingers were so tight around my wrist he bruised me a bit, but he didn’t realize that. He asked me a second time, in a hot whisper by my ear.

"Come on, baby. Tell me. I want to put this ring on you. Will you let me?"

I wanted to say yes, but instead I bit my tongue, and came.
I struggled like mad to stop it or at least stay upright, and I honestly don’t know if it was the worst or the best moment of my life.

It took Harry a few moments to realize what was happening with me. He had taken a step back, staring at my face with his right eyelid twitching, all nervous. Apparently he was expecting to be told to fuck off or something.
I guess he caught on to some sound then, I don’t even want to know, but his gaze dropped to my middle.

Merlin, the look on his face when he saw my jeggings, soaked with come till down to my knees.
Surprise, dawning euphoria, and then pure, lewd arrogance.

“Can I take that as a yes?” he asked throatily, and I gave half a nod, my face in flames. He pushed the ring down my finger, and the next moment I found he had stripped me of everything else with Evanesco and was fucking me into the floorboards.

Touching the ring, I smirk to myself at the memory.
Merlin, the humiliation of that night, and the happiness. I guess it was both, the worst and the best.
Harry. Merlin, what he does to me.
I can only hope I’ll get through my wedding vows alright.

Chapter Text

I send the china to the kitchen sink with Deccio so Teddy won’t get the chance to break anything, then toe off my moccasins and walk across the meadow to check on the eggs.
I always do it from down on the ground. It wouldn’t do any good to climb the trees to look at the eggs from up close. They mustn’t be disturbed; nobody must touch them or even the branches they sit on until it’s time.

As usual, I pay my respects to the trees first, then ground myself and reach my mind out to the eggs, one at a time.
They are fine, all seven of them, as I knew they would be. This little grove is the perfect place for them.
I had checked the garden and the woods beyond for weeks to find it, examining every tree that looked any good. You can tell the quality of a tree by the colour of its leaves. A leaf isn’t simply green. Each one is different. Some are so light green they are almost transparent, others so dark they are more black than green.
Texture is also of importance. There’s velvety, glossy, spiky, sticky. And just one special feel that’s exactly right. That’s why I had to touch so many leaves to find the best trees for my eggs.
It’s funny, there was no one who could have told me anything about the basics of the hatching of part-fairy eggs, not even Hermione. But I just knew what I had to do.
While I went about those preparations, Harry kept his distance, wearing his you-are-a-mythical- creature-and-I’m-a-mere-mortal face.

Tree talking. That’s what he calls it.
It’s not all inadequate I guess, even if it’s got nothing to do with words, like speech or magic. I do get a feedback of sorts from plants, but it’s not that big a deal. It’s not like a superpower or anything; it’s not something I’d wield like Thor his hammer.
When that tree in the Burrow’s orchard split to set Harry free on New Year’s Eve, I kind of knew in advance, that’s true. But it wasn’t me who did it. It just happened in accordance with something connecting me to it, something bigger than me.
I know Harry chooses to believe differently; I know he sees me as his personal angel of salvation.
But I’m simply an ordinary part-fairy wizard. Or I guess I am; I couldn’t actually say, since I’ve never met another part-fairy wizard.
But there’s nothing mythical about me, and there was nothing mythical about selecting the trees for my eggs. It was about nutrients, weight-bearing capacity, protection from view, and the absence of predators. And the balance of shadow and sunlight, of course.

I guess it must be weird to see a guy sitting on a tree from dawn till dusk. But it’s simply the only way to learn how well the location works on any given hour of the day. And to get a sense of the tree, too; to find out if it’s ready to be part of the whole thing, and, for want of a better word, benevolent.

It was much easier to choose a place to deliver. We have a beech tree behind Bucky’s stable, old and stunted, but with very smooth bark, and with a second trunk branching off to one side about two feet above the ground. Ideal if you need to hold on to something while lying on your back and to curve your stomach inwards to build up pressure.

The birthing lasted for two days. Harry says it did; I myself don’t remember much. It’s all a haze in my memory. Crushed moss under my bare back, and raindrops or tears on my face, and overpowering pain. And Harry praising me for being brave, Harry holding my head, Harry trying to hide his tears.

I had asked him to stay away for the birth, because he is a candidate for birthing trauma by proxy. I was afraid he’d refuse to ever have sex with me again afterwards; that he wouldn’t be able to deal with seeing what those eggs did to my body.
But he didn’t stay away, and I didn’t have the faculties to remind him he wasn’t wanted. I didn’t have the faculties to even talk, let alone engage in a discussion. I was swept up in the exertion and agony of giving birth seven times over. And when all is said and done, I guess I couldn’t have done it if I had only had the beech tree to hold on to, and not his gaze, too.

I had decided against all pain magic, and I used my last shreds of energy to refuse when he tried to force it on me. I couldn’t risk any harm to my kids. I had spent months fretting about the Polyjuice I drank at New Year’s Eve, and there was no way I would add to those horrible visions of kids impaired. Those visions are worse than the worst of physical agonies. I can safely say that, since I now know what that is. It’s having a solid sphere the size of a Mini League Bludger move down your gut over the course of hours, triggering spasms of the force of a fatal colic, and eventually opening your butt from the inside, until that final, terrible explosion of pain, the cutting through. Seven times over.

When it was done, and I could move again, I scooped up my eggs and went to attach them to the branches of my selected trees.
I acted like on autopilot, clumsily, my body hurting and trembling with weakness as I went up into the canopies.
I remember Harry on the ground below me, his face turned upwards, drawn and pale. He pleaded with me to see reason and come down and rest, but he didn’t dare stop me. I was acting on a plan that was older than any reason, older than mankind, and he got that. I know he would have very much preferred to take charge. To just grab me and the eggs and put the eggs in the children’s room, each in its own bed, all neatly and tidily, and me in mine. It must have been hard for him to be forced to just watch, without any control over what was happening.
But he did it; he let me fulfill my destined task and deposit each egg at its assigned spot.
There was a silvery green, sticky stuff on the eggs, and once it connected with the tree bark and dried, it worked better than the strongest of adhesive hexes.
That stuff came out of me for two whole weeks. I don’t remember much else from that time, either. Once I had put the eggs in place and was back on the ground, my body sort of shut down. I remember lying in the grass, right where I had collapsed, and later in our bed, where Harry had carried me.
He had brought twigs and branches and hexed them to the bedroom walls, and he warmed mug after mug of honey milk for me. I loved him so much for doing that, but I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t talk, or do anything. I didn’t drink or eat. I just hurt like someone had ripped out my insides, and shed that silvery matter, in a steady flow, like blood.
Until it dried up and the pain stopped.

I’m fully recovered by now. I could get back to London to work at the Potions Department till the kids arrive. In fact, I had thought I’d be doing exactly that.

But there's this weird need to keep watch over the eggs. This constant, simmering worry about their safety. So all I do job-wise at the moment is taking care of my online business, Malfoy Potions Inc, and some fiddling about with one or two new projects on the kitchen stove.

I’m still fretting about the Polyjuice. About the possibility it harmed the kids in some way. Obviously it’s too late for any regrets now. Obviously, all I can do is wait for them to hatch. It’s a mindfuck in a class of its own.

Molly has warned me that the worry thing is there to stay. That it won’t stop again, ever. And that I should count it as a blessing that for now I at least know where my kids are, and that they can’t get themselves into trouble yet.

A shrill whine tears through the midday idyll.
Well, there’s one kid at the Malfoy Potter cottage already that knows everything about trouble. Hurriedly, I jog back up to the house, hoping there’s no bloodshed.

-

Teddy didn’t lose a molar trying to take a bite out of the bedpost or anything similarly gory this time. Turns out he just doesn’t like it when he calls for me on waking up and doesn’t get an immediate response.
He’s clearly much better.
When I appear in the doorway, he shouts “Good morning, good Day” at the top of his voice, his blond hair blinking with highlights of healthy-looking cobalt blue.
He addresses Harry as Uncle Harry, and when he moved in with us, Harry told him I was Uncle Draco. But he has ever only called me Day. I guess he heard Hermione call me Dray. Whatever is going on in his scrubby little head, he clearly doesn’t think I qualify for the uncle league.
I put my palm to his forehead and pull out my wand to read the temperature, and on finding everything is in order, tell him to go brush his teeth. As usual, he chooses to ignore me.

“Good morning, good Day,” he goes on chanting, jumping up and down on his mattress like a little-boy-shaped rubber ball. It is kind of funny. But I shouldn’t have cracked and laughed, because it makes him jump twice as high, holding on to the curtains of the four-poster for balance.

“Stop that shit,” I say sternly. “Tone it down, man.”

As if this was some kind of cue, he rips the curtains off, complete with the pole.
He has been awake for all but three minutes, and he has already destroyed the first piece of furniture.
Hermione told me she was sure it was all half as bad when I tried to share my woes about Teddy with her. She also said her auntie used to say everyone should have a five-year-old living in their household.
Well, it’s easy to entertain such rosy-tinted views when you aren’t even pregnant yet. Or when you are a Muggle lady who thinks werewolves only exist on funny fiction sites on the internet.
By now, I’ve put everything that’s of any value at all in Sirius’ cabinet. When Harry gave up his London flat, we moved the cabinet to our living room here in the cottage, and since it only opens to Harry and me, it’s Teddy-proof.
Yes, I haven’t used Reparo more often in my life than since Teddy moved in with us, but his destructive streak isn’t the worst about the kid.
That would be his sense of humour.

I don’t know if it’s a kid’s thing. I’ve never had anything to do with kids, since I grew out of being one myself that is. But this one laughs his head off every time he makes people jump. Every time he makes me jump.
He constantly sneaks up on me, then gives a high-pitched bark that makes me skip a heartbeat and draw my wand. I do startle easily these days, maybe because of a hormonally heightened level of alertness or something. Anyway, it’s beyond annoying.
I mean, wolves don’t even bark. I’ve told Teddy that; I’ve told him if he wants to pull this off, he needs to howl. But he keeps up the silly barking, and digging his milk-teeth into my sleeve, and crying stuff like, “I’m a wolf, I’ll kill you, human.”

Harry says it’s his way of dealing with the difficult burden of being part werewolf, and that he’s struggling to embrace his heritage. I don’t believe in that theory at all; I think the kid is embracing his heritage just fine.
And his teeth are in pretty great shape, too.

I decide to forget about tooth brushes for now and take him to the kitchen to prepare a jug of honey milk for us. Harry says it’s too much sugar for a kid, and Teddy should just have plain milk. Well, I don’t have the nerve for a discussion with Teddy about why he’s getting boring plain milk while I’m having honey milk. And I’ll be darned if I’m giving up on drinking honey milk for the sake of Teddy Tonks. Or Lupin or whatever. I've got no idea if his parents' marriage was anything official.
And it’s not like Harry is around to even notice what I put in his drinks.

-

“Time for school,” I announce once I've cleared away our milk mugs.
I’ve started teaching Teddy to write, mostly to keep him from getting into mischief. Not that that is working out. And it seems I’m not much of a teacher, either. I tried to show him how to write his and his parents’ names. Perhaps Nymphadora is a bit of a tough one for someone who’s new to the alphabet, but it’s not my fault the Blacks don’t name their girls Mary or Sue. Anyway, it seems he hasn’t memorized a single letter so far, and all he uses the quill for is to pluck the feather to bits.
I Summon a parchment, a quill and an ink pot, then my glasses. They aren’t exactly my favourite accessory, but it can’t be helped. Since I Changed, I need them to read and write. While I polish them, Teddy tries to Summon the quill, using his index finger as a wand. Of course the ink pot gets thrown over in the process, and I get covered in a spray of black. My shirt is ruined, that much I can see through the ink spatters on my glasses.
It’s grey silk, and it’s one of my favourites. It was.
Shit, I should have changed into something ugly before I got anywhere near him, something of Harry’s. Ink stains are stronger than any cleaning magic or potion. Much like cum stains.
I tell Teddy I’m fucking angry.
Obviously I mustn’t say fuck when he can hear it. But I fucking loved that shirt.
At least I didn’t get any ink on my wings. I always keep them covered up in Teddy’s presence. He doesn’t even know I have them, and that’s all for the best, with the way he’s got of pulling at stuff.

Teddy eyes me for about two seconds, then asks, “You still fucking angry?”

Hell, the guy doesn’t pay attention to a thing I tell him, and I say fuck one time and get it thrown right back at me.
Okay, maybe I’ve said it twice. –

I decide to leave Teddy’s education for the day and go to London instead to check out Grimmauld Place. Maybe it’s the ideal location for our wedding reception; then I can tell Harry that, and maybe that’ll prompt him to talk about that date at last.
The house was locked up till last month, when Harry decided to finally have it renovated and turn it into a modern London family home.
Apparently old Orion Black, who seems to have been quite a bit paranoid, had practically made the house a fortress in his day, putting all kinds of defence spells in place. It cost Harry a full three days to hunt down those still active before it was safe to let any workers in. The problem was, Orion Black had a predilection for magical traps that are activated the moment the owner leaves the house.
Dumbledore found ways to work beyond that to an extent during the times of the Order of the Phoenix, but Harry says Sirius Black had to permanently stay in during those months in ninety- five, and he only understood much later that that had primarily been due to Orion’s home security system. If Black had left, the house would have started doing stuff like send people through a trap door in the tiles and bury them alive in an impromptu dungeon underneath and such.
Harry has assured me it's completely safe to enter the house now, and I very much hope he’s right. Well, I know he’s right. He’s the most gifted wizard that ever breathed, not to mention the most obsessive-compulsive.
Teddy is beyond enthusiastic that he’ll be Apparating with me. It’s inconvenient I have to babysit him during this trip, obviously it is. But having him cling to me, eyes blinking with excitement, brings back the thrill of Apparition almost like it was my first time, too.
Reminding Teddy to hold on as tightly as he can, I focus my mind on the address, number twelve Grimmauld Place, which is all I know about our destination, then spin us into that vortex of blackness. –

We land on top of a set of worn front steps.
I'm just trying to take in the sheer dimensions of the magnificent façade before me when Teddy says Arghh or something along those lines, turns a vicious shade of green, and projectile-vomits right against the towering black front doors.
Before I can ask him if he’s okay, or start any attempt at cleaning him up, he beams up at me and says, “Wow, that was fucking brilliant!”
I can’t exactly join in with that sentiment, but I’m relieved his cheeks are already turning back to their regular ruddiness. And that my leather jacket hasn't been in the line of fire. It's really Harry's, but it doesn't fit him, not since I shrunk it to make it fit me, anyway.

“Wow,” Teddy says again, this time directed at the house before us. “That your grim old palace?”

“It’s yours, too, you know,” I observe as I conjure a fresh shirt for him, then a cloth for wiping down the silver serpent serving as a knocker.
Then, murmuring the key code Harry gave me, I lightly tap my wand against the door. It opens without a sound.
My first impression as I step inside, Teddy’s hand in mine, is one of surreal grandeur.
This could be the palace of a wizard prince. The spaces here seem to be even vaster than at Malfoy Manor, and my father's townhouse in London, Malfoy Palace, isn’t half this big. I remember boasting about it back at Hogwarts. And Harry has owned this place since sixth year, and nobody ever even saw it. Apart from the guys in the Order of the Phoenix, and a couple of grubby Death Eaters.
I feel kind of upset for Harry’s sake that people at Hogwarts didn’t know he was this big estate owner. I know he isn’t into bragging, but hey. All of my former fellow Slytherins would have been beyond impressed, and so wildly jealous. They would have killed for owning a house like this.

It isn’t exactly welcoming, to be sure.
The long entrance hall is all endless gloomy loftiness. Dead gas lamps adorned with stylized serpents on the walls, dust and cobwebs everywhere. I can make out windows in the twilight, but the shutters seem to be hexed shut.

“Lumos!” I say in a low voice. A faint, grey light comes billowing from the far end of the hallway, accompanied by a chilly draught.
No, I don’t care much for cold, huge and gloomy. Brings back too many childhood memories of home.
But I came to check out this place, so that’s what I’m going to do.
Pulling myself together, I tell Teddy to keep close, then make my way down the hall towards the wide room at the far end.
It’s housing the stairwell, and it’s lit by something dimly blinking from above, immeasurably high up. I can’t really make it out, but it must be a chandelier hanging from the top ceiling of the house. It’s what reacted to my Light spell. The thing was once installed to light the whole of the stairwell, all of the house’s soaring four floors, and it must be gigantic.
Suddenly there’s movement behind the banisters on the first landing.

It’s the house elf; Kreacher. He’s wearing today’s Daily Prophet tucked into the dirty towel around his waist, the look complemented by a battered bum bag with a rusty clasp.
From what I’ve heard, he spied on me back when I tried to repair that wretched cabinet in the Room of Requirement to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts.
But that was well before I Cut the Cord. He won’t know I’m the same Draco Malfoy.
But being a house elf, he still knows who I am; another new master.
And reading the papers, he knows I’m the worst kind of half-breed; a part-fairy with upstart pretensions, loose morals, and no family.
There's a noise like a wall is being torn down somewhere in the bowels of the house. So the builder is at work.
Kreacher eyes me, gauging me. Teddy has gone quiet. The overwhelming gloom seems to have drained him of his usual bubbliness.

“Good morning.”

The two words feel weird on my tongue. It’s been ages since I talked to a house elf. I haven’t since I got my wings.

“Take me to the builder,” I say, slipping into the Malfoy tone. I sound like my dad. But hell, I can’t take staring.
Harry told me Kreacher needed to be treated with kindness and respect. He claimed he gained Kreacher’s loyalty like that. Yeah, my fiancé is a confirmed sentimentalist.
Kreacher obeys Harry simply because Harry is the heir of Sirius Black.
Kreacher is old school, and I know full well what he thinks of a wizard with Muggle ancestry like Harry, or a part-fairy like me.
But he will follow a master’s orders, whatever his opinion of him.
So why doesn’t he move his sorry bony butt?

Maybe they didn’t yet enter me into the books back at the Ministry; maybe I don’t own anything around here.
This house elf knows better than I do if I do or don’t...

He gives me another once over.

“This way,” he croaks with the voice of someone who hasn’t talked in years, then turns on his heels and leads the way upstairs.
So yey, it’s true. Yey, Teddy. We own a palace.

I only wish it wasn’t this grim and this old. -

When we reach the first landing, a shower of bugs rains down on us. They seem to have been residing in some torn drapes suspended from the ceiling, and they are the leggy, bustling kind.

“Evanesco,” I try. To my immense relief, it works.
Kreacher hasn’t lifted a finger to help me get rid of the horror. It’s hard to tell with a face like his, but I’d swear that’s a flicker of happiness in those bleary eyes.
Perhaps it wasn’t the best of ideas to ask him to lead the way. He got Sirius Black killed after all, and using the worst kind of duplicity.
He has stopped in front of a door. Behind it, there's the sound of heavy furniture being moved about. Kreacher turns around, kind of widening his very modest stance.

“This is the master bedroom,” he whispers, sounding like a wizard monk talking about his cloister’s holiest shrine.

“Your point being...”

“There shouldn’t be any people in the house who don’t belong here,” he hisses. “People who touch things, destroy things... want to steal things...”

He kind of fades out when he sees my raised brows. I can still do that to people. It’s a Malfoy thing.
But it really is a bit rich that the guy is telling me that the decomposing dump the house has turned into in his custody shouldn’t be meddled with because it’s perfect as it is.
Adjusting my eye brows for the sake of the builder, I walk past Kreacher into the room.
The shutters have been opened, but that’s the only pleasant thing about it.
It looks like after an earth quake. Apparently half a wall just came down, covering every single object in the room in dust and bits mortar. And there is a lot of objects.
The clearing out is supposed to have been going on for about a week or two, and Harry gave the green light for everything in the house to be discarded. But this room looks about as far from cleared out as you can get.
There’s chairs, drapes, cushions, books, china, everything haphazardly piled up on the floor in slipping heaps.
It looks like a gang of looters broke in and after turning everything upside down, decided there was nothing worth taking.

The builder is covered in dust, too, and he’s a lady. The big-boned, square-jawed sort, complete with lady beard. I'm not judging. I wish I had that beard.
She could make a little bit of an effort to communicate with her client, though. Because that's what I am as co-owner of this place. Yes, she should at least try to explain to me what the hell she’s been doing here since she was hired.
All she does when I ask her is claim she had just been checking whether the wall with the hole in it was supporting. I tell her it seems like pretty good luck to me that apparently it wasn’t. I’m not an expert when it comes to this refurbishing stuff, but this doesn’t look anything like systematic work to me.

“Day! I want to go! I don't like the ugly lady!” Teddy tugs at my sleeve.

“You'll be quiet for a moment while I'll talk to the... lady,” I command.

And then I do.
Because someone has to, and it won't be Harry.
Harry is a national hero, but he is too nice. He doesn’t believe in hierarchies. But I do. Merlin, he is paying this chick, so she’s expected to move things forward, else she's going to go. Simple as that.
When I’ve made my point, and made her confirm she got the message, I tell Kreacher I’ll be inspecting the rest of the house by myself.
Drawing Teddy with me, I step through the hole in the wall into the next room.

It must have been the former drawing room, and as I look around, I can see for the first time what this house could be like.
Oh yes, there’s the potential for something wonderful here. With the high walls and the large windows, the room could be turned into pure, airy brightness. I can see it in my mind’s eye. This could be a symphony of cherry wood parquet flooring, lime green walls, and daylight.

"Look here, Day!" Teddy cries, pointing.
The famous tapestry. It’s so large it covers a whole wall.

At the top it says in fat golden letters, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. – Toujours pur.
Huh, I guess that’s supposed to rhyme. Bad French does hurt. But I step closer.
That's a single, sprawling tree. All the colours have faded, all but the gold of the embroidery. It glints brightly, reflecting the light coming through the hole in the wall behind me.
Suddenly there's Kreacher, slipping around me and planting himself in front of the tapestry.

“The tapestry needs to stay, mistress would never forgive Kreacher if it was thrown out, seven centuries it’s been in the family, Kreacher will save it, he will not let you destroy it...”

“Listen, man,” I say. “Mistress isn’t your mistress anymore, is she. And relax, I have no intention of destroying anything. And now would you please go back to your chores.”

It's a private attempt at humour on my part, but it's also a dismissal, and Kreacher wouldn't be a house elf if he didn't get that.

“This is a weird tree. It's got heads for apples,” Teddy says when the elf is gone.

“It's a family tree, which means everyone who’s related to the Blacks is on it,” I start explaining, and only then I realize the hideous problem here.
Teddy and his parents have been burnt away, same as his grandparents Andromeda and Ted Tonks.
Teddy is looking back and forth between me and the tapestry.
“So my mom is on here, too?” he asks.

“It’s very old, you see, it got a little damaged over time. Let’s put your mom back where she belongs, shall we,” I say cheerfully.
Intoning Reparo, I point my wand at Nymphadora's spot on the tapestry. The fabric heals like grazed skin under Sanarium, and the next moment, like diving upwards out of green depths, my cousin's face appears, followed by her name, her birth year, and her death year.
We look on in silence as the tapestry proceeds to adding the names, dates, and faces of Remus Lupin, then Edward Lupin.
Eyes huge, Teddy watches his own face appear between the leaves.
The last thing the tapestry does is put the wedding symbol between his parents; a double gold line. So the two of them did manage to get a legal marriage.
I’m rather satisfied with my handiwork.
The only thing I don’t quite like about my fixing spell is the dash the tapestry put after Teddy’s birth year. It looks like the death year was missing. It’s the same with my name, actually.
It’s there, too, complete with my face. The portrait doesn’t do me justice. Pictures seem to hate me, and this one is no exception. But it does show me with my fairy features.
A simple vertical line of gold embroidery connects me to my mom. There’s her beautiful face next to her name.
Where my father would be, there’s a brownish smudge.
It is a rather accurate representation of how I feel about him these days.
And, yeah, it is kind of nice. It’s nice to see that unlike everybody else, this tapestry considers my father a nonentity, not me. Because I Cut the Cord, but I’m still a Black, while he isn’t.

“Where’s your name? Why doesn’t it say Day here?”

This helps me forget about my father.

“How do you know it doesn’t? You don’t know the letters.”

With a smirk that’s rather wolfish-looking, milk teeth notwithstanding, Teddy points at his mother’s name. At the three letters d, a and y.
My teaching worked. Teddy Lupin can read. Teddy Lupin knows how to spell my name. Or he would, if it actually was Day.

“Fine, man, well done,” I say, feeling oddly uplifted. I’m proud because the little pest knows three letters. –

Determined to do a full tour of the house and not allow myself to be deterred by the risk of running into yet more vermin, I take Teddy up to the second and third floor, taking my time to inspect everything. The sheer amount of upended drawers and dislodged furniture is stupefying.
It's a relief when we reach the fourth and last of the floors. It houses just the two children’s rooms. They look like derelict memorial sites for Gryffindor and Slytherin, stuffed with old scarves and prefect badges and other odds and ends in faded red and gold, and green and silver respectively. Gryffindor against Slytherin, Slytherin against Gryffindor.
What a dingy, petty, senseless, childish conflict it seems; all its legacy tattered souvenirs and crumbling posters.
And newspaper clips of Voldemort. Yes, this guy, Regulus, actually collected newspaper clips of bloody Voldemort. I inspect those, too, because I'm not scared of a dead old man. Or of red eyes. Or that horrific snake. There's one picture of the both of them, with Voldemort hugging it. Or perhaps it's the snake that's hugging him.

“Harr!”

Something slings itself around my neck from behind, choking me, and sending a white hot jolt of panic through me.
But it isn’t a python, of course it isn’t. Not even a dual-purpose draught stopper that’s also serving as a magical murder weapon.
It’s Teddy, standing behind me on Regulus’ desk, hissing, apparently inspired by the crinkled python on the wall. And he won’t stop snapping at my ears.

“What the fuck, man, get off of me already,” I cry.

“You got funny ears, Day.”

“Whatever, behave, man!”

I really don’t need that right now.
I need to get out of here.
Outside in the hallway, on my way to the staircase, something catches my eye. An almost invisible vertical line in the wall next to the door to Sirius’ room. Not really knowing what I’m expecting, I prod my wand at the crack in passing, and am stopped in my tracks. The crack lights up, then widens, revealing a door to a third room. –
It’s a lady’s bedroom, and the tidiest bit of space in the whole house.
It’s mostly just empty floor, with the only pieces of furniture being a single bed with a lilac bedspread and a cabinet.
I know that cabinet. That’s our cabinet, the one we have at the cottage, the one Harry had in his flat in London.
But of course it isn’t ours. It’s its twin.
By Salazar, we’ve got twin cabinets!
Behind me, there’s Kreacher hovering in the doorway. Looking even grumpier than before. Didn’t I tell the guy to do some cleaning?
But he knows stuff. Better than anyone.

“These twin cabinets. They were used as a shortcut, weren’t they?”

“My late master and mistress acquired the cabinets for reasons of decorum,” he says stiffly, compelled to answer me. “The cabinets served the master as a portal to the mistress’s bedroom. No one but the master and mistress could open them.”

I touch the silver fittings around the empty keyhole on the big door at the center of the cabinet.

“So this cabinet has been locked since they died?”

“It will open to you, just like its twin,” he says, sounding like he hates that.
Tentatively, I pull at the silver knob on the cabinet's door. It opens, and it's just high enough to allow me to step inside.
In the darkness, I feel another wooden door in front of me, and push. And I'm looking right into our sun-drenched living room in Godric’s Hollow.
Hell, I’m at home, in Godric’s Hollow, in our cottage!
Brilliant. We won’t have to Reapparate back, we are literally one step away from home! Brilliant!

Stepping back into the gloom of Walburga’s bedroom, I motion to Kreacher.

“Tell the builder lady to not touch the cabinet. We’ll keep it for travelling. Teddy?”

Meaning to go home now, I look about for Teddy. But he isn’t there.

“Teddy?”

Hell, he's gone.
O Merlin, no. There are a hundred ways to split a lip or break a leg in this house. Or do something way worse.
Making a dash for the stairwell, I call out for him again.

“Teddy! Where are you!” –

“Day!”

That’s his voice, far below. He must be downstairs in the entry hall, but when I lean over the banisters, I can’t see him in the gloom. The chandelier under the ceiling casts its murky glow on me, but it doesn’t reach that far down.
Something makes my hair stand on end. A draught of dark magic. I look up and see that the chandelier has started to move, like in a breeze.
The same moment, I find myself bounding downstairs, wishing like never before I could use my wings to fly.
I've reached the first landing when the chandelier lights up above me, making everything look like a movie set. There’s a chilling creak from above, like magical screws coming loose. Without thinking, I dive over the banisters, landing with a numbing impact on the floor.
A whooshing sound mixing with the jangling of a thousand glass droplets falling from a height like the sky.
I yank Teddy towards me and tumble on top of him, covering him with my body. The next moment, there’s an earth-shattering crash as everything goes dark, and then we are hit by a hailstorm of flying shards. –
There’s bits of glass everywhere. In my hair, my ears, even my mouth.

“Removio Vestigia,” I croak, fumbling for my wand and trying not to swallow. The glass splinters
dissolve. The remains of the chandelier slither away like a scattered army of mice, vanishing in invisible crannies in the flagstones.

“Teddy?”

“The fuck was that!”

He sticks his head out from under my chest, blinking at my face.

“Thank Merlin, you’re okay.”

“What’s that.”

My wings. That's my wings, and Teddy is pulling at them, like I knew he would. They’ve burst from my shirt and jacket and cover him like a blanket, casting a flickering silver green light. Some instinct made me spread them to shield him.
It wouldn’t have helped much if the chandelier had landed just a little more to the left.
Phew.
It’s not the first time a chandelier came crashing down on me. Last time, it was Dobby the house elf who did that.
I peer upwards through the semi darkness. With the chandelier gone, I’m the only source of light. There he is, Kreacher, gawking at me through the banisters.
With shamefully shaking knees, I get to my feet. My hands are shaking, too, but I pull Teddy to his feet, then pluck his little claws off my wings and start to dust him off. He’s looking up at me as I card my fingers through his hair, silent for once. Small wonder the guy’s shell-shocked after what happened. Hell, I'm a little rattled myself. I comb his hair some more, until the trembling in my hands subsides.

“What’s the dirty fairy doing here!”

It's a portrait of an old woman on the wall. She switched on a lamp in her painting, and it highlights a heavily lined face and hair that is nothing less than catastrophic. It’s sparse and scraggly, and she has tinted it an aggressive lilac, in one go with her scalp.
This must be the infamous Mrs. Black, mother of Sirius Black.

“Filthy half-breed, the likes of you should be destroyed!" she screeches. "Stop flashing your obscene wings, disgusting fairy!”

You’d think that since my wings have been on national television, and the whole country has been told by Pansy Parkinson what a freak I am, I should be over the whole half-breed thing.
And this woman is just a frigging painting, she’s fucking dead.
But I suddenly hear my father’s voice in my head, taut with revulsion.

Disgusting fairy...

He was trying to sever my wings from my body with that incredibly painful curse, Sectumsempra, when he called me exactly that.
I don't want to, but I’ve started to shake again.
Teddy squints over at the portrait. His hair has turned a blackish brown, and his eyes have taken on a strange yellowish glow. There’s a sound like a growl coming from his throat. “Leave this house, fairy, and take that mutant boy with you, that filthy dog...” My stomach turns.
This mustn’t get to him.
Drawing my wand and levelling it at the portrait, I cry “Silencio!”
It’s pointless; Harry told me the portrait is immune to such spells. The woman leans forward, and it looks like she’s about to fall right out of her frame.

“Filth! Scum! By-products of dirt and vileness! Are the shades of Grimmauld Place to be thus polluted! Be gone from this place, you freaks, be gone from the face of the earth! How dare you befoul the house of my fathers....”

It’s the patriarch angle that makes me get a grip at last. The absurdity and sheer outdatedness of it. She’s a woman, for Salazar’s sake. No matter she’s super old, or dead, she should have at least some awareness and refrain from discriminating against her own sex. She should call it her house.
It isn’t, though. It’s mine.
And I won’t be addressed like this. I won’t.
The moment I realize that, my fairy magic surges forth from me like a flood from a broken dam. And it stops her mid-rant. Her mouth is still moving, but suddenly she’s mute. She goes all red in the face with exertion as she struggles to get her expletives out. The colour clashes viciously with her scalp and hair.
Kreacher has come down the stairs and stares at his mistress, open-mouthed.

“See to it that her ladyship is gone by the next time I come visit,” I tell him haughtily.

“But... you silenced her!”

“I still don’t like her hairstyle, okay? I happen to be rather judgemental when it comes to people’s looks myself. I’m sure you are perfectly able to do something about that sticking charm. We’ll be going now. Teddy?”

I look down at him. He’s illuminated by my wings’ glimmer, and he’s about to reach out a hand, again. Before he can do any more pulling, I fold my wings to my back, then mend my shirt and jacket with a flick of my wand.

“You ready to come, Teddy?”

“What’s a mutant.”

Oh no. I go down on one knee so we are at eye level.

“Listen, being a half-breed is cool. It’s just that some dickheads don’t get that.”

“Dickheads,” he repeats.

“I meant stupid people,” I say. He nods.

“And what’s a mutant?”

Shit, of course that word would stick, too.

“She meant me. It’s because of the wings. I’m part fairy, see? That’s not her thing.”

“Part fairy? Your mom was a fairy?”

“No, not my mom.”

“So it was your dad? Is he as pretty as you? With the pretty wings?”

This throws me off more than Auntie Black’s insults.

“I wish I already was a werewolf,” he continues. “I wish I could show people. Like you can, or your dad. You can show people your wings.”

He sighs wistfully, and I realize he isn’t affected by being called a filthy dog in the least. He can’t wait to grow up and show people he’s part werewolf. He thinks I like to parade my wings. He thinks my father would like to do the same. The mere idea.

“My dad didn’t have wings...”

“Didn’t?” he echoes. His arm comes up; he puts his hand on my arm. “Is he dead? Like my daddy? Dead?”

I look at his fingers. They are grubby, pudgy. He’s five. And he’s patting me. To give me comfort.

“No. Yes. Sort of. Listen. We can use a shortcut home, through a cabinet...”

“But I want to Appagate again!”

“It’s called Apparate, and the cabinet is really cool...”

“But I want to!”

“You are going to throw up again!”

“But I want to!”

He’s getting ready for a tantrum. Merlin, the little devil. Moment of sentimentality over.

“I want to!!”

“Alright!! Alright!”

He’s leaping up and down, beaming.

Losing to a five-year-old. Every. Single. Time. –

We are already on our way to the door when Kreacher switches on some magical lighting in the stairwell, something he could have done way sooner, obviously, and that’s when I finally see it.
There’s a row of shrunken heads mounted on the wall. That’s beheaded house elves. With empty eye sockets.
This is about the last thing I need after nearly getting squashed by a supersized chandelier, then being called names by Walburga Black.
Suddenly it’s me who’s on the brink of throwing up, not Teddy. “Look,” he says, cheerily pointing.

“Yeah,” I whisper.

It’s just terrible.
I want to Vanish them, but that’s not what you do with the dead. They need to be buried, like Harry buried Dobby.
They can’t be left to the builder lady; to be thrown out with the rubbish.
Not thinking twice, I conjure twenty little caskets, one for each head. Then I let the heads sail down from the wall, complete with plaques, and sort themselves into their caskets. Just then, Kreacher returns from shutting the curtains over Mrs. Black. On spotting the heads in the caskets, he freezes.
He hates stuff being moved in this house.
His large eyes have grown absurdly wide, and as he looks up at me, they are shiny with shock.
It's when I see the similarity, beyond the pointed ears and dried-up, wrinkly overall aspect. One of the dust-encrusted heads, the one in the casket second to the left, is definitely a relative of Kreacher’s. Probably his mother. It’s impossible to tell the gender, and I remember Hermione once said all house elves were really male, anyway – Not the point. Not the point. Merlin, I think Kreacher just tried to get Teddy and me killed, but – yeah. Nobody deserves to see their dead mother like this, a severed head on a plaque.

Picking up the casket, I step up to him and hand it over with a curt bow.

“I guess this would be yours.”

Turning away, I quickly seal the rest of the caskets and send a wand note to Owl Parcel Service, informing them that I want the caskets to be picked up and dispatched to Godric’s Hollow. I’ll bury them somewhere in the woods.
Okay.
Okay, I’ve dealt with this horror for now. I can go home now.
But I’m still thinking of heads.
Of mothers.
Of the golden line on faded green connecting me to mine.

“Kreacher?”

“Yes, Master?”

“Bring the tapestry down and prepare it for dispatch. I want OPS to take it along, together with the caskets.”

I expect him to protest again, tell me how his mistress would never forgive him if he allowed the tapestry to leave the house after seven centuries and so on. But all I hear is the soft sound of his bare feet. He's already scuffling upstairs.
Half a minute later, a black shadow unfolds in the air above us, filling the whole width of the stairwell.

“Careful, Master, please,” Kreacher says from somewhere in the off.
For a moment, the tapestry is hovering up there, then it comes sailing downwards, gently bulging and swaying. Kreacher is sitting on top of it, like a very small sultan on his flying carpet.
Satisfied, I take Teddy’s hand in mine and step past the caskets with the elf heads, out into the sunlight. For a short second I stand and try to absorb the warmth.
But the chill lingers.

It'll take me a while to get this visit out of my system.
When I spin us away, I almost hope for another motion sickness mishap.

Nothing like managing puke when it comes to getting your mind off plaques with stuffed elf heads, and plummeting chandeliers, and people telling you you should die.

Chapter Text

That night, when I’ve put Teddy to bed, I go to the kitchen to work on my new potion.
I yearn to forget all the turmoil and angst from Grimmauld Place, and when Harry isn’t home to be my happy magic, stirring a cauldron is the next best thing.
My latest innovation is a memory-modification potion that I named Obliquid. It’s just a kind of finger exercise for me. But I have made good progress with it, and maybe I’ll sell it to the Ministry one day.
They use Forgetting spells on convicts, like with the Carrow twins. The two of them were released on probation after they were treated with Obliviate so they’d forget everything about their work for the Heir of Voldemort, including the formula of Fairy Force.
But Forgetting spells can seriously affect people’s minds. Neville Longbottom is the prime example.
Or Luna Lovegood. Although in her case, I’m pretty sure the damage was done intentionally. That impervious, disoriented, kind of sad serenity of hers always gave me the creeps. And the way she used to talk about stuff that’s clearly fantasy like it was real? It didn’t make sense, not for a fucking Ravenclaw.
Someone broke her, someone made her be like this. And my guess would be her late father, the nice, eccentric Xenophilius Lovegood. I mean, the man made it his profession to mess with people’s minds. And what better way to keep his daughter from revealing a bitter secret to her friends than to cut her off from her own memories? What better way, indeed, to keep her in his clutches? –

It doesn’t bear thinking about, and personally I think that Obliviate should be made the fourth Unforgivable.
I know how it feels, too. someone used it on me in fifth year. I never found out who, or why. But one morning when I woke up, I couldn’t recall a thing about that week’s syllabus, or homework. The same seemed to have happened to Crabbe and Goyle, only with them it didn’t make that much of a difference.
At the time I suspected the Golden Trio; a nightly prank in the pursuit of fighting Slytherin corruption. But Harry, Ron and Hermione have sworn to me they didn’t do it. Anyway, I suffered from bouts of forgetfulness and a nasty vertigo for weeks after. Yeah, I really hate Obliviate.

And it’s not simply harmful, it's inferior magic, too.
It doesn’t allow for any measuring or fine-tuning; it’s impossible to target a specific point in time in someone’s memory with that spell.
Compared to my new potion, Obliviate is like an axe to a flower bed.
The Carrows for example didn’t only forget everything about the months when they were working for the Heir, but apparently went back to some point before their OWLs.
They had been accomplished potioneers, and it saddens me to think they lost all that knowledge and experience. Harry told me they are retaking all of Hogwarts' classes at a school for second- chance education. He also said I shouldn’t forget that they played a part in my own near-murder. Sure, they did, but to think someone has to sit through Divination a second time over? It’s just cruel. With my new potion, future convicts might be spared that kind of thing.

At the moment, its effects are still very short-lived though. I’ll have to find a way to control the speed of the potion’s metabolic breakdown better. There’s still a lot of work ahead.
I decide to try out something new and add ground hazel twigs and a few drops of highly diluted foxglove essence to the current recipe, and it doesn’t take long until the handling and directing of vials and ladles and measuring cups has completely absorbed me.
-

It’s almost nine. I’m preparing for the night. For Harry. Feeling uncommonly weary as I lather myself up under the hot shower.
I always look forward to him coming home, I’m shamefully eager for it, really.
But things haven’t been as they should be between the sheets and between us for a while now, that much is clear.
And I don’t mean to point fingers, but it’s Harry’s fault.
Again.

I did have my difficulties in the weeks after the birthing. I was moody and sweaty and generally feeling like shit, and it showed, too. Merlin, those zits. I’ve never had zits in my life. But my body’s back in balance now. I do look pretty much like I did before, and I’ve got my sex drive back, too.
And my hole is as tight as it ever was, maybe even a bit tighter. I have been very generous with that astringent potion.
I’ve designed it myself; did it long before I delivered. I had no information, no data about what was going to happen, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that an ass that’s being asked to push out seven eggs at six-and-a-half inches in diameter each is going to need some special treatment afterwards.
I outdid myself on this potion, I really did. I applied it every night, and by the end of the first week I had trouble getting the enema in.
This potion would sell better than the Malfoy Drops if there were more part-fairies out there like me, wanting kids and their sex life preserved at the same time.
But sadly, to my knowledge I’m the only one, so no business perspectives there.

I’m a bit unlucky with my potions that way. All I ever got going is the Malfoy Drops. My other potential bestsellers aren’t marketable, for a variety of reasons.
Like the hair potion I made for Hermione last Christmas? It’s a kick-ass product, it makes her look like a model in a shampoo ad, and I’m talking Hermione Granger here. But I can’t put the potion on the market, because I told Harry it’s just working on girls’ hair, and he believed it, too.
He’s just so witless when it comes to potions.
Which is good, because I don’t want him to have pretty hair. I want him to have Harry hair.

As to my masterstroke, Fairy Force, I can’t even write my thesis about it and submit it to Science of Potions for publication, because some dick might crawl out of the woodwork and decide to have a go at world control again. It’s not that bad, because I never got past the title with my thesis. Uses of Polymerase Chain Reaction in Modern Day Potions. I still like the sound of it.

But back to Harry who’s making trouble in bed, again.
Not the way he did, to be sure. He’s sleeping with me; we have sex almost every night.
To say he’s in extremely good shape would be to put it mildly. He gets a boner the size of my forearm as soon as I drop my clothes. It is all kinds of gratifying, and it makes me tingle with excitement in the best of ways every time. Yeah, his private parts are in perfect working order, and he lets me feel it, too.
He learnt his lesson when he saw that boggart rape me. He knows what I need.
Only... yeah, sex shouldn’t be about lessons learned, or duty, should it.
It shouldn’t be this polite, solicitous in out, in out, please go first dear, there you are, then three squirts up my hole, a thank you, and finally the enquiry how my ass is faring.
Okay, it’s better than that.
It’s still out-of-this-world amazing, for me. And always will be.
The simple fact is that I get swept away on a wave of bliss every time he fucks me.
But I don’t want him to do the considerate, textbook thing. Not all the time.

I want that other thing, too, when he forgets I’m delicate and vulnerable and what not and entertains himself with trying out how big my ass can take, or when he simply makes use of it to get rid of his load.
When his sex is selfish, mindless and a little hard on me.

Like during those sessions when he fisted me to widen me for the birth.
It hurt, o yes, but it also gave me the most intense of orgasms. Not least because it was kind of hard to miss that the whole thing totally did it for him.
BDSM. I looked up the term, and yeah, I’d say that's what Harry’s into.
I’m not sure I am, too. I never thought about it, not up until recently. But since I first sneaked into Harry’s dreams, I’ve been doing a bit of research on the Y-Pad. It was kind of scary, especially the Muggle sites, so I stopped.
For a while, I considered asking Hermione about it. She’d be up for it, she’s up for any topic. But in the end I decided against it, because listening to her giving me an overview of the subject would probably be even worse than browsing the Muggle net. She’d fire off a billion fascinating fun factoids about BDSM and all the related sexual proclivities if I as much as gave her the cue, and that’s exactly what I don’t need. I don’t want to hear about St. Andrew’s crosses and serpent fetters and riding crops.
Especially not serpent fetters and riding crops.
I hate snakes, and the mere concept of whipping makes my skin crawl. It’s because of my wings. They are tougher than they look, but I can’t have them slashed. And I don’t dream of getting a spanking, either.
The long and the short of it being, I’m not into pain, not for pain’s sake anyway.
But I do like my hole to be stretched beyond what’s comfortable, I like the burn and the sting of it, when it’s for Harry’s pleasure.
Hell, I came on his fist. I’m pretty sure I could come on a steel hook, too, if that worked for him like it does in his dreams.
It’s just so damn hot to see him lose it.
Hell, I need to stop thinking about it, else I’ll never be done rinsing my butt.
If I only got any idea how to get him to do a bit of experimenting with me.

When I asked him to fist me again the other night, he said he wouldn’t want to put that kind of strain on me, after all I had gone through with the birthing. And when I said I wanted to try it again, and that I had recovered and could deal, he started to wank me off so I forgot all about asking to have my ass abused.
He won’t go there now that he hasn’t got an excuse for it anymore. I know he’s dead afraid of it. Of getting off on it.
He thinks I don’t know how it turned him on to put his hand in me. He pretended it was all about medical stuff, about being sensible and far-sighted and so on.
I was sore most of the time during those last weeks of the pregnancy, because he just couldn’t get enough of “preparing” me, and afterwards putting his dick in me while he was at it.
Getting a fisting hurts, and I was scared every time he took me to bed for it, but I came to anticipate it. Because Merlin, yeah.
There’s nothing like seeing him fall apart.

And I can take stuff. I can.
There were those times when he had fisted me, when he kind of snapped during the fuck after and really used me, to the point of cruelty. I fainted from it, okay, but that’s what I do when things get intense, and the point is, I made it through. I could handle it.
The only thing I can’t handle is see Harry cry. I need to help him get rid of all this horrible guilt and fear.
Only I can’t even tell him I know about his dreams. Merlin, this is just so fucked up.

After I've toweled off, I put on a fresh shirt and jeans, leaving my hair to air-dry. Harry loves my hair without any styling. He once called it spun gold.
I wish.
My hair is soft alright, but it lacks body. It’s too flimsy, kind of airy; like the candyfloss you sometimes see on the heads of two-year-olds. I look much better with a gelled style, or extensions. He’ll have to accept that for the wedding. I want to look my best at the wedding.
But I want to please him in bed, so I’ll comply with his wishes tonight. And not just concerning my hair.
When I smooth down the sheets on our bed, I sprinkle some magical lavender scent on them. It contains a light anti-anxiety agent. For Harry’s sake, and mine, too.
Because I’ve made a decision.
I’m going to try to make him do stuff.
I don’t yet know what exactly, but, well, just something. That hurts a little.
Maybe, if I go about it in the right way once we are at it, maybe I can get him to let go tonight and take me up on my offer to have my boundaries pushed a bit.
Then he’ll see that I’m tough enough for this dominance/submission stuff. He’ll see there’s no reason to be scared.
At least I hope there isn’t.

Back in the kitchen, I get started with whipping together a cream of mushroom soup.
Harry likes cream of mushroom soup, and he likes it when I prepare dinner for him. And I like it when he’s happy. Also, he’s really quite a shitty cook, so me cooking for us has become sort of a routine.
I quite enjoy cooking. Preparing the ingredients, measuring them; the heat from the stove.
It’s like potioneering.
Relaxing.
Stirring a cauldron is the perfect strategy to take your mind off things.
Be it steel hooks or cursed engagement rings.
I took my ring off before I got started working on Obliquid tonight. I always do that before I fire up the stove, to keep the ring safe; only today I put it into my bedside table.

Don’t you realize it screams bad omen?

I don’t believe in omens, but since what happened at Grimmauld place, it has become just that little bit harder.
And of course there is such a thing as dark curses, and those are only too real.
Magic is mostly distilled from energies that are afloat in the human community, and these old curses against people about to be married made use of envy, the deadliest of nature’s driving forces. So yeah, it is very well possible the stone is trying to get me killed.
That chandelier – That wasn’t just old bricks and mortar giving out. There was dark magic at work. It might have been Kreacher, but it might just as well have been someone else. Or rather, something else. Like my ring.
If it is... I guess a drawer in a bedside table isn’t much of a defence strategy.
I guess I have to do as Hermione said and ask Harry to have the emerald replaced, or even the whole ring.
Of course it’s also possible the dark magic isn't connected to my ring at all, and doesn't date back to the Middle Ages, either. It might be that someone is jealous of my happiness, or just hates it that an artful, ambitious fairy of the murkiest stock managed to ensnare the Saviour. Quoting the tabloids here.
If that’s true, exchanging the ring won’t help me. Hell, I meant to not think about all that.
I sprinkle a teaspoon of ground green pepper into the cauldron with the mushroom soup and concentrate on stirring.


“Hi angel.”

Harry. Harry’s there.
My heart does a somersault in my chest at the mere sight of him in the doorway.
As usual, he’s in a simple shirt and jeans, a stranger to anything like fashion or style, but with his alpha male body and strong, chiselled face, it’s like he stepped right out of a raging romanticist’s dreams; every inch the ripped Saviour.

“Angel,” he says again, his voice gone all soft. Hell, I’m smiling at him like a lunatic, and he smiles back at me in just the same way.
That’s when I realize how I must look to him, busy in front of the stove, my hair tied back, cheeks all flushed. And drowning in my apron.
I like to keep my clothes safe, that’s why I need my aprons big. I made this one from one of Harry’s shirts. And I was in the mood for frills when I transformed it. Mistake.
I totally look the wifey. Not good.

It’s okay when Hermione calls me a girl; it’s just because she doesn’t have a girlfriend other than me.
There, I did it myself there. The thing is, I got no problem with muddy gender attribution when it comes to Hermione. She respects people regardless of their gender. If anything, she thinks women are stronger, magic- and mindwise alike.
She certainly doesn’t think anyone needs special care or is vulnerable or anything just because they aren’t twenty stone of muscle. She wouldn’t ever mistake anyone’s part-fairy physique for frailty.

But Harry hasn’t got the same kind of discernment.
He gets confused by looks and thinks I’m all fragile and breakable, just because I’m not as butch as he is.
It’s in the way he said angel just now, and in the way he looks at me. Hell, he thinks he’s with an especially delicate damsel.
I can’t allow this, not when I’m on a mission to make him do nasty stuff to me. I’ll so have him make himself a sandwich tomorrow.

“Hey,” I say, greeting him with my fist balled and my thumb pointing upwards, like I’ve seen Muggle men do it.

“Hey,” he says, sounding amused, then steps up to me and kisses me, way too affectionately. “How are the kids?”

Man, we are like a household in the fifties. All classical domestic roles and sweet harmony.
If we go on like this, he’s never going to treat me like a man who can take a steel tool up his ass.

“Guess they’re fine,” I say dismissively. I know they are fine, I’ve checked on the eggs at half- hour intervals all afternoon, as usual. And I read to Teddy till he fell asleep tonight, because the guy is simply stronger than me.
But Harry mustn’t know that. He mustn’t think I’m a caring sweet little stay-at-home-mommy that’ll faint at the mere mention of object insertion.

“Just so you know, mate, I’ve been cooking, you’ll do the washing up,” I say bossily.

“Sure,” he says. Of course he wouldn’t switch to seeing me as hard-boiled just for saying that. The thing is, he likes doing the washing up. Because he thinks that he’s the only one capable of piling up plates and bowls in exactly the right way.
I still feel bad for making him do it. With the OWL prep courses he’s doing every night at the moment, he’s working fifteen-hour shifts.
But if I mean to make any progress in the BDSM department tonight, I can’t afford that kind of sentiment. I need to be badass Draco.
Pushing the ladle into Harry’s face, I announce, “Listen, you need to take over, mate. I’m kinda fed up with all the bloody housework.”

I rip off the apron and the hair band and flop down on the nearest stool, legs apart, taking care to slouch like a guy. Hell, I am a guy.
Man, it looks really awkward how Harry’s holding that ladle. He can’t do much harm when all he’s got to do is stir, but I still watch his every move. He really is the shittiest of cooks, and I won’t have him ruin anything in a cauldron that I have started.

“You been working on your new potion?”

His gaze has strayed to the pot of Obliquid potion that I tucked away on the sideboard.

“Everything’s still in the making,” I say. I don’t like to discuss my projects until I’ve got any solid results.

“Is it safe?” Harry asks, his brow furrowed.

“Don’t worry. I promise you I’m not up to anything illegal.”

“I didn’t mean...”

I know what he means. Harry is wary of potions. Always expects explosions.

“Honey, I know what I’m doing, okay? I’m a professional.”

And I am. When I’m working, I wear protective gear at all times. After all I’m not like my boss, Professor Jenkins, who can rely on getting a new nose if he loses his old one. And it’s true that my fairy genes make me especially vulnerable to fire and scalding, so I am circumspect. I do care for my looks.
But I don’t intend to discuss safety in potions with Harry. I intend to discuss wedding stuff with Harry.
All casually, I shift the conversation to wedding dinners and the top caterer I found on Magicatering.wiznet. Quite pricey, but excellent magical tapas, judging from the reviews. I Summon the flyer from my desk.
Harry smiles at me, shaking his head.

“You really are set on launching the party of the year, aren't you.” Of the year?
Ha.

“Don’t tell me it’s not a competition, okay? Now check this out.”

Taking the ladle from him, I hand him the flyer.
As he flicks through the pages, it’s emitting wafts of crème brulee that don’t quite agree with the mushroom soup.

“What do you think. How does it look.”

“Like they want to see their clients go bankrupt,” he replies.
Before I can tell him to stop talking like he cares for money, which I happen to know he doesn’t, he has stepped up behind me.

“I got more Galleons at Gringott’s than I can spend in a lifetime,” I say, stirring the soup, struggling to keep calm. I can sense his body heat, and it makes my heart flutter like a snitch in its box before its release.

“I know you do, little one,” he whispers into my hair.
Little one? Okay, that’s new. Hell, that’s actually worse than angel. Fuck, I meant to remind him he’s going to marry a self-made millionaire, and he’s making me feel like a toddler who bragged about his toy chest full of chocolate coins.
I seriously have to work on his perception of me, I have to... Merlin.
He has proceeded to nuzzling my left ear tip, and now he runs both his hands under my shirt. A soft brush of of magic, leaving a slash in the back of my shirt, and he pulls my wings out.
Merlin, it’s just so hot when he does that. My wings are kind of private parts, and it feels deliciously wrong to have them touched and spread out just like that, in the middle of the kitchen.
He runs his palms down my wings, then up the underside. Merlin, I’m such a sucker for his caresses. Merlin, this is good.
The ladle has slipped from my hand. Moaning, I turn in his embrace and spread my wings to give him better access, burying my face against his chest. I hear his chuckle inside.

“Look at me, angel.”

I can’t not look at him when he tells me to.
He looks into my eyes like mesmerized; like there was something special to be seen there. And maybe there is.
Harry says that sometimes, when I look at him, I’ve got stars in my eyes. I’ve never seen those stars myself; there certainly aren’t any when I look in the mirror.
Maybe he’s just being poetic.
He is so sentimental, Harry.
And so incredibly hot and sexy and gorgeous with his rich, wayward hair, his strong, stubbly jaw, his sensuous mouth pressing down on mine, so blissfully demanding...
He’s caressing the tips of my wings now, softly twisting them between his fingers, and I’m a goner.
I want him. Merlin, I want him now...

There’s an evil hissing, followed by the cracking sound of exploding cream of mushroom soup.
With a cry of terror, Harry has yanked me out of harm’s way, then casts a Quenching spell over the soup-spouting cauldron.
Yes, cooking is like potioneering. It doesn’t mix with sex.
Nothing mixes with sex.
It won’t be easy to keep a clear head in bed tonight and direct Harry towards acting out his fantasies without him noticing.
I’ll have to do better than just now, that much is for sure.

Chapter Text

Harry gets a pack of frozen lasagne from the freezer and warms it up in the microwave. I’m kind of wary of this Muggle style cooking. Anything that’s supposed to be of any quality, food or potions, needs to be prepared on a stove. But we don’t have much choice now, and this pasta stuff isn’t wholly bad.

Once we are sitting in front of our plates, under the mobile of green stars that's my latest decorating idea, I tell him about my afternoon at Grimmauld Place.

“I've been meaning to go see it for a while, ever since you made me co-owner, you know. And then I thought it might be an option as a location for our wedding.”

I let the word resonate for a moment before I go on.

“I found something over there, something really cool, but else it wasn’t all that pleasant. Let’s say the place is a bit of a mess. And I don’t just mean the bug colonies.”

“Bugs? But we removed all vermin and cleaned the whole place up, me and the Weasleys! Back when we were living there with the Order!”

“Looks like you’ve radically improved your cleaning skills since then, darling. But then I guess seven years is quite long when it comes to house cleaning intervals.”

“Seven years,” he repeats after me, looking distracted. “God, such a long time... I guess I should have done something about the place much sooner. But, you know. When I'm there, I always think of Sirius.”

He looks at me, squinting a bit, with his right eyelid faintly twitching. I suspect it's the charm that cured his astigmatism that left him with this little weakness. He's looking so vulnerable my heart clenches in my chest.

“It always takes me back to that Christmas when I was last with him," he continues. "When he gave me that mirror.”

I reach across the table for his hand.

“It’s okay. It’s... He was just, you know. The father I almost had? Yeah.” He shakes his head, like to chase away the ghosts of the past. “You say you found something?”

“I found the twin to our cabinet,” I say.

“What cabinet?”

“Ours? It’s a twin cabinet. It’s got a partner, in a hidden bedroom up in the attic. Yeah, There’s a third room up there; Walburga’s.”

“You found a twin to our cabinet? In a hidden room at Grimmauld Place?”

I love the way he looks at me, all impressed. I might need reading glasses these days, but I still have the keen eye that made me Seeker of Slytherin House for three seasons through.

“Isn’t it great? We can use the cabinets for commuting from here to London, no need for Apparition. You can go over and check on the progress of the renovation anytime. You should, too; you need to keep an eye on that builder girl. And maybe you should talk to Kreacher, too, because... oh, never mind.”

It’s never a good idea to talk to Harry about near accidents I suffered, or any vague fears I might entertain. He leaps at such stuff and won’t let go again. It’s his Saviour genes.

“What is it. Draco, what happened?”

“Nothing, really...”

“Draco! Tell me!”

“Alright, the chandelier in the stairwell came down, and Teddy was standing right under it.”

“O God.”

“I jumped on top of him in time. He doesn’t have a scratch. Good thing I got my reflexes back.”

“You got hit? O my God, Draco, are you hurt?”

Unwittingly, I’ve run my hand across my shoulder. I used a healing spell on my cuts and grazes, of which there were quite a few, and the one on my right wing joint was the deepest. It still burns.

Harry hates it when I have as much as a blister, and he can’t deal like at all when I hurt my wings.
He’s out of his chair, looking like he’s about to order me to lie down right there on the tiles for a full medical examination.
I wave him off.

“Relax, man, I’m okay. You are aware I can take a little bit of bruising, right?”

“Draco, I insist you tell me when you are injured. It’s not a joke.”

“I’m fine,” I say, wriggling my wings under my shirt as proof. “Sit down man, I want to eat!” He doesn’t look convinced, but he sits.

“God, this is bad, God, I don’t understand how that even happened. It must be that the house doesn't understand that you and Teddy are owners. But I saw to all that paperwork weeks ago – I must have overlooked something. And the chandelier, too! I checked it, and never realized something was wrong with it! It’s all my fault, I wasn’t thorough enough...”

“Harry. Stop that.”

He stands, again, bumping his head against one of the mobile stars, sending it skidding across the room.

“I’ll go over now.”

“No! Go tomorrow! That chandelier is down and gone, and nothing more is going to happen tonight. Go tomorrow morning, okay? Then you can meet the builder lady, too. And I really think you should.”

“Right, okay,” he says, sitting down again, still sounding shaken. “And I’ll go to the Land Registry, too, those guys will have to answer to me for not doing their job...”

“They did, darling, calm down. The house knows I’m in the books. The cabinet opened to me. Kreacher obeyed me.”

“He obeyed you? But why would the chandelier...”

“I think it was Kreacher.”

It’s the only explanation, apart from the omen. Or that curse on my ring, or on me.
Hell, I want Harry’s house elf to be homicidal. At least then I’d know what I’m dealing with.
And obviously he isn’t really homicidal, even if the chandelier was him.
I didn’t see it earlier, but from the moment I started to tell Harry about what happened, I’ve come to realize that maybe I’m not doomed to die after all.
There’s something about being with Harry that makes it hard to stress out over things; that helps you understand you’ve let your fears blow out of proportion.
It’s partly his own tendency to fret, which infallibly helps me recover my coolness, by rousing my antagonistic nature I guess.
And then it’s simply the power he radiates. You can’t sit across from the Saviour at dinner and not feel safe.

The ring in my drawer – he’s going to take it back to the jeweller’s, make a complaint, and maybe even get a tie pin or a pair of cuff links as compensation for his trouble. End of story.

The chandelier must have been Kreacher, but what I failed to see before was that he obviously didn’t mean to kill me, or Teddy. Being an elf, he could easily have directed the chandelier so that it would have hit us. But he chose not to. He didn’t mean to do any more harm than when he let the bugs rain down on us earlier.

“Kreacher tried to scare me away," I say. "He wants to be alone in that house. I'd say he has come to see it as his private retreat.”

Harry shakes his head.

“Kreacher wouldn’t do something like that, he is loyal.”

“You sure? He got his former owner killed.”

He shakes his head again.

“He acted on Voldemort’s orders back then. Under duress.”

Merlin, his bias for the downtrodden.
But I won’t start a fight with Harry over frigging Kreacher. I can deal with the little bugger on my own.
I already did; I made him see I wasn’t impressed by his little stunt, and he cooperated in the end. That’s what counts.
And it’s not like I’m going to have to live with him. I’m here, he’s in London, so everything’s fine.
I’ve got something other to discuss with Harry than poorly trained staff. Time to steer the conversation back to the w-word...

“Besides, Sirius never treated him like he should have,” Harry says, sitting back with his wine glass, a certain faraway expression on his face that I know only too well.

“Dumbledore said...”

Dumbledore.
Fuck, no. Please.

Just hearing the name is enough to spoil dinner for me.

The old nutter is the one big authority in Harry’s mind. If there’s any proof for how much I’m not an angel, it’s the killer annoyance I feel when Harry starts a sentence with “Dumbledore said.”
Shit, I want to talk about my wedding date, not discuss Dumble wisdoms!
Shit, it seems the man had an opinion on just about anything, and I so don’t need to hear about his take on house elves.
Concentrating on my Muggle meal, which really isn’t that bad, I let Harry talk about the historical plight of the lower classes and the general importance of respect among the magical races. When he’s done, I swallow another forkful of lasagne and say, “Anyway. The builder lady. The house is pure chaos, and the chick doesn’t seem to have much inclination to do something about it. No disrespect. But I think you should fire her.”

“Fire her?”

“Kreacher thinks she’s crap, too, so it’s not just me. Where did you dig the girl up anyway? What’s the name of her business? She got any references?”

He looks at me, almost astonished, like he had never heard the term.

“It’s what you do when you hire a builder, isn’t it, ask for the names of other clients and so forth? You have reason to think someone is good at what they do, so you hire them. Why else would you do it?”

“Nigeria said she was going through a rough patch with her business,” he says sheepishly.

“Nigeria.”

“Nigeria Blackthorne. That’s her name."

And what a name it is. It strikes me as quite a bit colourful, considering the mousy-haired Caucasian I met at Grimmauld Place.

"She said she really needed the money...”

“Did she now. Kreacher said she's on a quest to steal stuff, and I’m starting to believe he’s smarter than he looks.”

“People can be down on their luck, that doesn't make them thieves...”

I hide my eye-roll.
I don’t want to get mad at Harry for being this terrible socio-romantic, I want to talk dates.

“Anyway," I say briskly, "I don’t think there’s any chance the house will be ready in time for our wedding.”

It’s like he didn’t even hear the key word. Nodding, he says, “I’ll have to check through everything again. Make sure it’s safe for the people working there. Just think if there’s yet more that I overlooked! There might be ceiling tiles about to come loose, just like the chandelier! I should have cleaned out the house myself, then this couldn’t have happened...”

Bugger, here he is, back to beating himself up. Why can’t the man be prompted to talk about his wedding for a change, for Merlin’s sake? Hell, he’s avoiding the subject like Bubotuber pus!

“You did nothing wrong, Harry, okay? And I’m happy you didn’t do the clearing out. I’m sure you’d have thrown out the tapestry.”

“The tapestry? The one with the Black family tree? What, you want to keep it?”

“I’m having it sent here. I’ll refurbish it. It’ll make for a great eye catcher on the white hallway wall up in the attic.”

I gesture upwards to indicate the place.

“You think so?” he asks doubtfully.

“You don’t have an eye for those things, Harry, but that’s okay. Just believe me when I tell you that tapestry is what they call a statement piece in interior design. And there’s so much family history there.”

“Ah.” He nods like he’s catching onto something. “Family history, eh? You got some new inspiration for baby names?”

Okay.
No nice wedding talk dinner tonight.
I put my fork down.

“In fact, I did,” I say, looking him straight in the eye. –

 

It’s incredible how you can fight about baby names. We got three.
Lily Narcissa, James Lucius, Scorpius Severus.
So far so good, but we need seven, seven double names, and we can’t seem to be able to agree on even one more.
The problem is, Harry favours horrors like Ben, or Ricky, or John.
I like Lysander, Hermion, and Demetrius, and I’ve decided on Peaseblossom Mustardseed for the second girl.
Harry hates Peaseblossom Mustardseed. When I first suggested it, he claimed it wasn’t even a name. When I said it was, he said okay, but it was bonkers, and I was crazy, like Luna. And then he suggested Luna Minerva.
Luna Minerva wasn’t total crap. I could have come up with Luna Minerva. Only I couldn’t say that, I can’t say his girl’s name is okay when he says mine is bonkers.

Only then he went back to his pet name, Jo Kathleen.
Seriously, I don’t get what his problem is. I mean, Muggles are all well and good, I’ll give them they know how to make lasagna, but no one can expect me to walk around calling my own kids Muggle names.
O yes, we have already spent quite a few hours fighting over this.

And now he’s looking at me with that half-smile that tells me we are going to do it again.

“Okay,” he says. “Tell me what you found on that tapestry.”

I straighten my back.

“Phineas. Sirius Phineas.”

“Not bad. How about Sirius Romeo.”

“Romeo,” I echo.

“Yeah?”

“Why not Brooklyn and Queens, too, then.” He stares at me.

“Come on, Harry, you can’t be serious, wanting to name our son like that! We aren’t Muggle tabloid celebrities, are we!”

“Romeo is a character from a Shakespeare play,” he says. “You like Shakespeare.” Shit, that’s true.

“Sirius Cygnus,” I say.

He smirks.

“What.”

“There’s just fancy names on that tapestry that have been running in the family since the days of William the Conqueror. I guess it’s natural you’d find that inspiring.”

“What the fuck do you mean by that?”

“Never mind.”

He shrugs, still smiling.
Merlin, I hate that smile. And I know exactly what he means, even though I’ve never heard of that William guy.
He means to say that deep down, I’m still trying to be a pureblood.
It’s incredible how annoying Harry can be. Okay, I can’t live without him and all, but seriously, sometimes I so wish I could.
The OCD thing he’s got going on is bad enough. “We don’t leave the airborne lounger in front of the fireplace, dear, remember it’s in the way when someone pays us a Firecall.” Or, “If we don’t remove spilt milk on the spot, that’s asking for a kitchen pixie infestation, darling.”
I mean, that kind of lecturing would push anyone’s buttons.

But this look on his face is a hundred times worse. All patience and knowing indulgence. Like I’m twisted, but not responsible for how twisted, because my parents basically programmed me to be an asshole.

I don’t give a fuck for traditions, I didn’t lie when I told Hermione that. Hell, I left all that behind me when I Cut the Cord! I’m part fairy, I’m perfectly aware I never was anything pureblood. Why would I try to get back to that?

“I just happen to like the sound of Cygnus. I like the star reference, that’s all,” I say stiffly.

“Of course,” he says, like I’m just pretending and he’s seeing right through me. And then he adds on an even softer note, “Still opposed to Albus?”

Fuck. Okay, the night is officially ruined.

“I told you, I don’t want my son to sound like a broom lock.”

“It’s Albus, not Abus.”

“It's bonkers, that's what it is, same as the man!”

Harry gulps, aghast.

Oh no.

Definitely shouldn't have said that.

Chapter Text

Chapter Warning: 1k words' worth of Dumbledore bashing

-

 

I’ve ever only told Hermione how much I don’t like Albus Holy Dumbledore. She was quite shocked, and reminded me he was an icon and a legend, and dead, too.
If I spoke my mind to Harry, he’d be appalled. He’d think I was like my father. So I'm keeping my thoughts about big D to myself.

They really got nothing to do with my father, with his jealousy of Dumbledore and his dislike for the man’s showmanship.
Okay, I never much cared either for the airs he used to put on. I get why my father was allergic to the way Dumbledore used to talk, forever acting the quirky yet oh so deep Fount of Wisdom.

But I have a reason all of my own to not join in with the general worshipping of the guy, and the reason is Harry himself.

I never fully understood what happened in seventh year. How exactly Harry brought Voldemort down in the end.
It had to do with wands changing their allegiance and Horcruxes being destroyed. Apparently one of those Horcruxes was Harry himself, and that’s why Dumbledore decided Harry needed to get hit by a killing curse. Dumbledore had it all mapped out. His own death was part of the big plan, too. Something like that. Yeah, Harry has told me about these things as if they made perfect sense. With his voice full of reverence for the man who had pulled the strings in all this like it was his private puppet show.

I’m not talking about the fact that I was one of his puppets myself, and a very unhappy one, too. I’m not making the point that he could have spared me half a year of anguish when I thought I’d have to kill him to save my parents’ lives, simply by giving me a hint that something like a giant mise-en-scene was going on and that my part in it was anything but material. I was just this expendable little background extra, and knowing that would have made all the difference to me.
But however much I cried in sixth year, it was nothing compared to the fate the man assigned to Harry.

Nothing compares to the fact that Dumbledore expected Harry to sacrifice himself, to get himself fucking killed.

It’s okay with me that Dumbledore chose a similar fate for himself, because it was his choice to make, and he was super old and going to die anyway. But he had no right to send Harry down that path. No bloody fucking right.

Just to think that he had been planning all that for years, ever since he saw Harry as a baby, hit with Voldemort’s death curse for the first time. To think that he consciously led Harry to a point where he’d accept to be struck with Avada Kedavra again. When he’d accept death as his fate and willingly go and face his execution for the greater good.
And Dumbledore never once bothered to give him a clue that he might survive his sacrifice in the end. He didn’t spare Harry one iota of the terror of facing death. Probably because that would have posed a risk to his ingenious plan.

They say it’s Slytherins who use and manipulate people. If that’s true, Albus Dumbledore should be declared honorary Chief of Slytherin post mortem.

All this mentoring, all this talk of love. Telling Harry how his mother’s sacrifice saved him, how he kept his life because she gave hers.

I've got no idea if there’s even a grain of truth in that theory.
Or if there is, where his father comes into the equation. From what I know of the story, the guy did some serious self-sacrificing, too, and yet I’ve never heard him being mentioned as relevant for Harry’s powers of self-defence against Voldemort.

What I’m saying is, Dumbledore’s theories about the power of love might be all shiny and romantic and edifying, but when it comes to coherence and logic, they are much less impressive.
But they did serve their purpose.
Dumbledore raised Harry to become a fucking martyr.
Telling him stuff like Death is just the next adventure. Harry quoted that back to me like it was the pinnacle of wizard wisdom.

Death, the next adventure? Maybe it is, if you’re an ancient guy with no family. With no one who you’d leave behind, no one who you need to stay with because they belong with you.

Dumbledore made Harry ready to move on to the beyond before Harry had had the chance to find that person in this world.
Basically, the man capitalized on Harry’s essential loneliness. He made Harry believe death wasn’t the horror it is so Harry would willingly risk his life. Hell, Harry might have died and never ever known he belongs with me.

Yeah, fuck Dumbledore.
I hate the guy.

Yeah, Harry didn’t die. He was spared, and he became the boy who lived yet another time. And I love the detail that that happened through my mom’s doing, too.
But it had been a gamble. And from what Harry told me, eyes shining with mournful devotion, about a waking dream at an ulterior King’s cross and a last father-son talk with Dumbledore, it seems that the man had been his punning, relaxed old self throughout.

Apparently he had had no problem with seeing Harry’s life on a knife-edge, and seeing him walk through that nightmare alone.

The way I see it, he had left Harry in the lurch whenever it counted. The fact is, for six years through, whenever Harry was in danger, for some reason our headmaster was never around to help.

Albus Dumbledore might have schemed to save the world, and succeeded, too. But he never gave a damn for Harry.
And Harry loves him like a father.

I’ll never forgive the guy for that, I don’t care if he’s ten times dead and an icon and a fucking legend.

And none of my kids will ever be called Albus.

Chapter Text

Yeah, bonkers doesn’t even begin to cover what I feel about Harry’s childhood hero, but it’s enough to seriously disgruntle him.

He sets about cleaning up the kitchen with rather a lot of clinking and clanging, wielding his wand like there was another Dark Lord to be taken down, insisting he didn’t need any help.

So I go to the makeshift study I set up in the chamber behind the kitchen, to fiddle with the text of our wedding invitations some more. Perhaps this might seem rather optimistic, considering, but I find the occupation unfailingly comforting.

Harry got it right, I intend to make this the perfect party, and when I put something on my agenda, I don’t give up on it half-way. I won't stop planning my wedding just because my fiancé doesn’t seem to want to marry me. And also he does, because we are Drarry. Hermione said so.

For a while I brood over the question whether “kindly ask you to grace them with the honour of your visit” is the better choice compared to “request the honour of your company.”

The longer I think about it, the less I seem to be able to decide.
Better to leave this be for now and go over the guest list once again instead.

The thing about our list is, it’s not family and friends, like it should be, it’s just friends.

I did some extended research on the Y-pad to change that; I even went to the National Magical Library and spent a day digging through dusty volumes of Wizarding Ancestry, all in the hope of finding one last Potter, Evans, or Black.

No such luck.
We don’t have any blood relatives we could invite.
There’s just Aunt Andromeda, who can’t move, and Harry’s Muggle relatives.
He’s exchanging Christmas cards with that cousin, Dudley. Harry sometimes talks like I had some kind of forgiving kink. Well, I’d be sending that Dudley character a howler each Christmas if I were Harry. I hate the bastard for what he did to Harry when they were kids. And I’m sure I don’t even know all the details.

Of course there is my dad. Who tried to have me murdered, and isn’t even aware he’s got a son. Let alone that it’s me, the fairy from the tabloids that got itself knocked up by Harry Potter and is rumoured to have tricked him into signing over all of his earthly riches and real estate.
I haven’t seen my father since he tried to cut my wings off of me. Apparently he has decided to turn his back on the English weather and his disreputable past. Malfoy Manor has been let to Romantic Country Spa Hotels, and I’ve heard it said that he himself has gone on an indefinite holiday to Southern France.

So no family we could invite.

If you don’t count Teddy. He is a Black, and my cousin once removed, but he isn’t technically a guest, he’s... Well, he’s just Teddy.

-

I can tell Harry is still a little bit mad at me when we go to bed an hour later. It’s that double vertical line on his brow that cuts his scar in two. That line is probably going to turn permanent when he grows older.

I like the idea of the scar fading into the background on his face over time.
And I simply like the idea of Ageing Harry. It might seem strange to some, but I find it exciting. Merlin, how I’m looking forward to still being in his life, and in his bed, when he’s sixty!

When he sees I didn’t screw the lid back onto the toothpaste, the lines deepen.

“Could you perhaps start thinking of doing that sometime?” he grumbles. He puts the lid on, then stomps across the hallway to the bedroom. I hear him close the curtains with that gratuitous little extra force that indicates someone’s got trouble controlling their temper.

Hm.
Hmmm.
Maybe this is just what I’ve been waiting for. Maybe I should simply try and annoy him a little bit more. Maybe, if he finds he needs to teach me some decency... Yeah, this might be the perfect strategy. Simply make him snap. Yeah, I’ll play him. Hell, I’m a Sytherin, I know how to be crafty, don’t I.

My blood tingling with nerves, I join him in the bedroom. All innocence, I pour myself some water from the decanter, taking care to leave the stopper lying on the sideboard. A minute, invisible nudge of magic, and it tumbles to the floor.
While Harry dives under a chair to pick it up, pointedly sighing, I plop down onto the bed and say, “Listen, Charlie Weasley wrote again.” Bunching up my fur throw blanket to prop my head up, I lie back and add, aiming at sounding dreamy, “I think I should write back.”

I really, really don’t. Because Charlie Weasley is interested. And I’m not talking furtive glances at my rear end and such. People do look there, because I got what they call a bubble butt, and know how to choose my trousers. But Charlie is more than just appreciative.
He’s seriously stuck on me. And that’s not me being full of myself. I have more proof than I’d care for.

That dragon egg he sent me? It wasn’t a belated Christmas present, like I told Harry. There was a charmed, red-headed baby dragon inside that looked a lot like Charlie. It even had dimples. It talked like Charlie, too. It said that he didn’t think Harry was right for me, and that I needed someone with less issues and angst, someone who wasn’t afraid of life and a big family. And that when I found I wanted to break up with Harry, all I needed to do was send the dragon to Romania. An owl wouldn’t make it through the Carpathians, but the dragon would, it assured me, and then Charlie would come and get me, kids and all, and marry me. And he’d give me more kids, too, as many as I wanted.

I never told Harry about any of that, and I don’t tell him now, because I don’t want him to kill a Weasley after all.

And also because I can tell that I’ve already made quite good progress.
Harry has turned away from me so all I can see is his backside, and it’s looking all tense.

“You must do what you feel is right,” he says stiffly, aligning his socks on the backrest of his clothes chair.

“I quite like him, you know,” I plough on. “He's cool, and his dimples are to die for, don’t you think? But I guess I shouldn’t discuss that kind of thing with my fiancé.”

And for good measure, I add a sexy, sparkling laugh.

“That's fine,” he croaks.
Merlin, how can anyone be such crap at faking indifference. The tension is rolling off of him like waves of thick, black heat.
I should probably be afraid of him.
He’s double my size, he’s the most powerful wizard alive. He dreams of tying me up and making me scream, and now I’ve deliberately made him mad.
I should be afraid. Or optimistic, depending on how you choose to look at it.

But the truth is, I’m neither.
Because I know him just too well.

Until a few weeks ago, my biggest fear was him hate-fucking me, it was Harry hurting and abusing me for being who I am, a crossbreed and a Slytherin and the guy who stole Neville Longbottom’s Remembrall.
Some might think that someone who nearly got themselves murdered, and twice over, should be stuck with a violent death as their pet scare. But I’m not. Granted, it’s not cool to find you are on the bucket list of psychopathic killers. And maybe I used to have nightmares of getting destroyed for being a fairy by a mob of Death Eaters when I was younger.

But ever since I got together with Harry, all that really matters to me has been him. And my biggest fear was that his feelings for me might somehow switch to the opposite, right in the middle of us making love.
I wouldn’t release Lupin’s boggart again to check if it still is, but I don’t think so.
In that crazy moment when Harry ripped the boggart off me, and I saw those two Harrys next to each other, I understood the absolute absurdity of my fear.

Because Harry’s main goal in life is to protect me. Even if I annoyed him out of his mind, he’d never dream of using his powers to punish or hurt me.
He’s a fighter, and he has injured and killed dozens of people in the line of duty. But he won’t ever mistreat anyone in anger. Least of all me.

He has plucked his socks off the chair’s backrest again and slaps them against it, like they needed to really, seriously be smoothened out.
It makes his biceps bulge, and it looks quite a bit thuggish. Maybe there is a little bit of a chance.

“Harry? Taking anything out on your socks there? Is it still because of silly old Albus? Or the toothpaste? Or is it that bad that I fancy Charlie Weasley?”

He grows perfectly still.
I claimed I fancy Charlie Weasley. If I know Harry at all, he must want to rip his socks to pieces now...
He carefully places them onto the chair. Running a hand through his hair, he turns to me, sheepishly smiling.

“Sorry, angel. Didn’t mean to do that. I’m being an ass. Sorry.”

Stepping up to me, he leans over and blows a kiss onto my brow, cupping my face in his hand, and there’s all the tenderness in the world in that gesture.
Hmph.
Looks like I’ll have to try a different angle.

-

“You are so beautiful, Draco, baby. You can’t hold it against me I want you to myself.”

Harry has sat down on the bed next to me and pulled me close, and now he’s running the flat of his hand up my back. This is him getting started to make out.
I try to pull back, because this seems like the moment for another go at wedding talk.
He just said he wanted me to himself.

Merlin, and he sure acts like he does. Merlin, when he kisses me like that, like totally pushing in on me, promising the needy fairy in me paradise...
Swiftly, before it's too late, I twist out of his embrace and stand.

“Harry, I meant to tell you... There’s something wrong with my ring.”

Touching my wand, I Summon the ring from the drawer in my bedside table and show him the blackened emerald.
In an instant, the vertical lines are back on his brow. Pushing his hair back, he sits up to inspect the ring.

“What is this. Hell, what happened to that stone?”

“I think it’s a gem faking charm.”

He bends over the ring, squinting, twisting it between his fingers.

“Hell, I think you’re right,” he nods, and looking up at me, he adds, “So sorry, Draco, I...”

“It’s hardly your fault, is it,” I say, relieved that he hasn’t latched onto the opportunity to freak out again.

“I’ll take it to the jeweller’s, I’ll get you a new ring, baby. Promise.”

“Get me exactly the same, will you? And speaking of which, honey, I’d love to have another one just like that as my wedding ring. Can’t wait to wear one of those beauties on each hand.”

Nudge, nudge.
Yes, Harry, this is your fiancé trying to remind you of buying him a wedding ring, and to ease the conversation in the direction of dates.

Brimming with shamefully ill-concealed expectation, I stand right in front of him, looking down at him, waiting for his response.
He slips the ring back into its little box and puts it on the bedside table. And then he changes the subject. In the one way that’s guaranteed to make me lose my thread.

He gropes me.

Circling an arm around my hips, caging me, he runs his hand under the waistband of my jeans, pulling them down over my ass and cupping one of my cheeks with his strong, warm palm. Yes, it’s as simple as that.
Instantly, all my thoughts scatter. A flutter travels through my core, and my wings. Their light starts shining through the fabric of my shirt, flickering behind me in the rhythm of my quickened pulse, giving away what’s going on with me.

His lips part in a lazy smile.
Vanishing my jeans and boxers and wrapping his hand around my dick, just like that, he asks, “Muffling spell in place?”

With my dick eagerly fattening in response to the unexpected attention, and my hole starting to twitch and drool and draw all the higher functions from my brain, I stutter an affirmative.

We installed that spell for Teddy’s sake, and for our own, too, I guess. It’s not cool to be busy in bed and worry about waking a minor.

Oh Merlin, what’s Harry doing.
His fingers run up and down my exposed, jutting length, kneading me, drawing my juices, and when I spill over, he starts flipping his thumb over my tip, delving into the slit and spreading the glimmering droplets.
He plays with my erection until my breathing is in shreds and my precome is running all over his fingers and down the insides of my thighs. It’s horrible to be so easy, so obvious, but I can’t tone it down.
My knees have started to shake.

“Hey gorgeous, come here.”

He grabs my wings through my shirt in an incredibly proprietary gesture and pulls me onto his lap. My bare butt leaves a trail of juice on his trousers.

“What is that?” he asks in mock indignation, wiping at the shimmering smudges.
When we first got together, I was convinced I would never have sex with him. At Hogwarts, I had spent countless nights frantically cleaning up my bed after waking up from a sex dream. I had hardly ever masturbated because I couldn’t deal with my backside wetness and orgasm.
And suddenly Harry was there, in my life, making passes at me. It was the fulfillment of my wildest fantasies.
But at the same time, the mere idea of having my butt juice squirt out of me with him right there had stressed me out beyond any measure.

It’s absurd that with seven kids up in the trees in our garden, I’m still shy about my body’s reactions.
I bury my face in the crook of his neck and try to stop the leaking.

“You are soiling my trousers, fairy,” he says. He’s just teasing me, I know he is, but I can't stop myself from giving a small sob of mortification.

“Hey, angel.”

He forces me to look at him. The moment I do, he puts his thumb in me. I gasp and feel my wetness wash over his hand. He doesn’t allow me to close my thighs.

“Show me what you want, come on,” he urges me, voice all raspy.
And I give in to the inevitable. Letting the pumping and squishing in my core take over, I open my legs as wide as I can for him, not caring anymore about stuff dripping down onto the floor.

“Yeah, that’s right, baby,” he says by my ear, quite a bit short of breath himself by now. He edges a second finger into me.

“Please, Harry,” I moan, pushing down on his hand.

“Soon, baby, soon,” he hushes me.
He enjoys making me wait. Watching me get all desperate for his cock.
Vanishing my shirt, he kneads my wings with his free hand.
He says my wings are satiny. They are really more like gummy, especially when I get aroused, and oh Merlin. They certainly are gummy now.
My slick has completely drenched the fabric of his trousers, and the fur blanket on the bed, too. All I can think about is Harry, his fingers in my ass, his deliciously strong grip on my wings, the trail of black hair leading down to his waistband.

His trapped erection pushes against my hip, and I put my hand on it. I feel brazen for touching him there without asking, which of course is ten kinds of absurd, considering what he’s doing to me. He sharply inhales and peels my hand away.

Roughly pushing me down onto the bed, he hovers over me, panting, running his thumb across my temple, my jaw, then my nipple.
As he watches it tighten, then starts tweaking it, making me writhe and squirt against him like the whore I am, I remember that I meant to remember something.
I was to find a way to make him use a pinching charm on my nipples, that was it. Only I can’t think how to do it. I can’t think straight when he’s amusing himself with my body. Can’t think.

Panting with desire, I arch into his touch, arousal coursing through me like dragon fire. He has freed his large, curved cock, and o Merlin, the sight of it makes me ache with an insane need to be filled.

“You had your birth control potion today?”

He’s very much concerned to not get me pregnant again. He thinks seven kids are enough. I guess he knows that in spite of everything, I’m ready for more. We haven’t talked about it though. And I wouldn’t trick him when it comes to family planning. I think.

“Angel. You on your potion?”

“Yes, Harry, yes, it’s okay, just please...”

He gives a breathless chuckle and kisses me, inhaling on my neck.

“I’m going to give you a good fuck now, baby,” he whispers into my ear. ”And also, I love you.”

A fat glob of ass juice bursts out of me at those words, lubing his cock. He pulls back and watches me, uttering another chuckle.
It’s the same sound he makes when he laughs at my jokes, only dirtier. There’s the small shake of his head, too, like he still can’t believe anyone would react like that to the L-word.
It’s too humiliating for words, but I don’t care. Or rather, in a way I don’t understand, it turns me on even more.

When he kisses me again, he invades my mouth, pushing his tongue in till down into my throat. One of his hand slides into my crack again. He feels up my entrance, making it eagerly twitch against his fingers. This time, he uses three at once to push in, and the sudden pressure is so intense it makes me gasp.

“That too much?” he murmurs, knowing full well it is.
When he scissors his fingers inside me, I know he imagines using a tool on me, stretching me so it’ll really hurt.
But I can’t find the words to make any suggestions, like transform the decanter into a spiked dildo or something.

I want him in me, I’m going out of my mind with wanting it, and his blown pupils and ragged breaths and his cock, heavily flexing against mine, tell me I’m going to get what I need.
It’s fairy anticipation hell and heaven.
When, finally, he puts my legs to his shoulders and pushes into me, I cry out with the burn and the bliss of it, helplessly squirting against his balls.

“Cheeky little hole,” he gasps and deals me a couple of forceful thrusts; deep and fast. Disciplining.
Curbing the hint of violence, he presses his forehead into the mattress by my head, breathing hard, fighting for control. I feel his fingers where I’m stretched around his shaft. He could work them in next to his cock, stretch me open even more, like in his dream.
I know this is what he’s thinking right now, what he’d do if he let go. Play out a sub dom scene. Punish my hole for pissing on him. Hurt me a little, and then some, and tell me it’s what I need.

I need to make him do it. Because he cries in his sleep, and because.

“Come on, give it to me,” I gasp out, drawing on the remains of my intellectual powers and my limited knowledge of Muggle porn. “Come on, split me open. Make me hurt.”

He sucks in a breath and yanks his hands away from my ass. For a second, everything stops. Then he short-circuits. Caging me in his arms and digging his nails into my wings, he shoots off his load, thrusting into me like he meant to run me right through.
It’s proof. If I needed any. Just the idea of giving me a hard time makes him come.

And having his cock pound into me full force and feeling it fill me up with his hot spunk is enough to make me go into orgasm myself.
Clinging to him, and fighting off unconsciousness, I squirt my front load up my chest and the other one past the pulsating rod still relentlessly pumping into me.

-

When my body has released him again, he fusses a bit over me, asking me if I'm okay a couple of times in a row before casting a cleaning spell that leaves me comfortably dry and my fur blanket all warm and fluffy, the way I like it. A few minutes later, right in the middle of murmuring sweet nothings, his arms still draped around me, he falls asleep.

-

I lie awake for a long time after, thinking.
It was a good fuck, as always. I came hard, like I always do, and he came, too.

But it was like watching him drive with the handbrake on.

For once, I don’t seem to be able to come up with a plan how to deal with this.
My brain doesn’t work during sex. I can’t do shrewd and devious when I’m stuffed with cock. Or when I know I will be in a second or two. So how am I supposed to work on this?
Propping myself up on my elbow and caressing his hair, tracing his scar through the tousled strands, I contemplate us in that special calm and clarity that only comes about in the wake of sexual satisfaction.

I love him beyond all magic.

He’s going to dream again tonight, and cry, too.

I need to help him, I have to make him admit to his desires and show him I can do what he wants, before this conflict eats him up from inside.

I don’t know how I’ll hold up if he goes full dom on me, but the simple fact is, I’m ready to do anything for him.
Anything.

I know Hermione would attribute it to my fairy genes. My monogamous makeup. My need to please Harry and fulfill his every desire so he’ll stay with me and help me raise our kids.
So that he’ll finally set that date.

It’s not the most romantic of ideas.

But whatever the logic in all this, and whatever the risks really, my mind’s made up.
I don't just want us to dabble at this for a bit, I don't just want some cautious, teenage-style attempts at copying some Muggle moves from the net.
I want him to genuinely hurt me and allow himself to enjoy it, like he does in his dreams. And I’m going to find a way to make that happen. I won’t let this rest.
Not when I know he’s suffering.

Not when we are about to get frigging married.

Yeah, there’s two things on my agenda this summer.

Pull off the most epic wedding the wizarding world has ever seen. And make him come apart to the nth degree in my bed.

And in either instance, expense is no object.

Chapter Text

I sit up in bed, wide awake. Harry is peacefully snoring next to me. So it wasn’t one of his dreams that woke me up this time...
Someone is in the hallway. I can see a moving, weirdly glowing shadow through the half open door.

“Harry!” I hiss, groping for my wand.
From one split-second to the next, Harry is standing in the middle of the room, wand drawn, covering me.

Teddy appears in the doorway.
Looking very small and very yellow in his new pyjamas. It’s really his old pyjamas, pimped with a moon-and-werewolves print, and I did go a little overboard with the luminescent colour magic there.

“The fuck was that?” he says, rubbing his eyes.
Harry shoots me a questioning glance. I shrug, hoping he’ll think Teddy got the language from his grandma. Getting up, I walk past Harry and pat Teddy’s hair.

“Don’t worry, hon, I’m sure you’ve been dreaming.”

“But there was this howling...”

Shit. The moonshine on his pyjamas made him dream of werewolves. Mental note: No more moon designs for Teddy sleepwear.

“Listen. This cottage is protected. Uncle Harry put all kinds of safety spells on it. No one can come in.”

It’s true, too. Harry never lifted the Nonfindable he cast on the cottage when the terrorists were at large last winter. With his stardom, and the meanness in the tabloids, and the eggs out in the garden... It does make sense.
We have to collect our mail at the owl office and lift the charm for visitors, but that’s a small price to pay.

“Come on, Teddy, go back to bed...”

“I want to sleep here.”

“You’ll sleep in your own bed,” Harry says sternly. Teddy tugs at my sleeve and wails, “But I want to....”

“Uaaaaahh...”

A howl that drowns out Teddy’s and makes my eardrums cramp up echoes through the house. It comes from downstairs.

“Shit,” Harry hisses through clenched teeth just before the horrific sound resumes. This time, a high-pitched screeching mixes into it.
I recognize it instantly.

“Vermin! Lice! How dare you disgrace the house of my fathers...”

“That’s Walburga Black,” I shout at Harry over the racket. “Something’s up over at Grimmauld Place. Something woke her portrait.”

Harry gives a curt nod. He’s already toeing on his sneakers.

“I’ll go through the cabinet and check.”

If Harry Potter hears scary screaming from out of a cabinet, he’s going to go check. It’s who he is. And I hate it.

I’m not scared of something that’s howling like a giant monster in an old empty house by night, I’m not, but it does bring back that sense of menace from before.
My eyes stray to the little jewellery box on the night stand.
Medieval curses suddenly seem like the reality they are again.
Others would call the DLE now. We could call the DLE.
Hell, I don’t want to lose my fiancé to an engagement curse, least of all when it looks like he’s not even planning to pull through with the wedding!

“Harry...”

“You stay here, angel.”

Okay, great.
Now I’ve got to go, too.

“You stay here, Teddy,” I tell Teddy, ignoring Harry’s huffing. “Uncle Harry and I are going downstairs to stop that noise. We’ll be back in a minute. Go back to bed...”

“But I don’t want to!”

“Okay, get in my bed then, pull the covers over your head and keep quiet. Nobody can find you like that, okay?”

Mercifully, he nods and does as he’s told, disappearing under my fur blanket. I cast a quick hex over it to mask his presence, just in case, then follow Harry downstairs.

Walburga Black is on the wall in her bedroom.
That’s why we heard her through the cabinet. Someone moved her portrait up here.
She seems to be in peak form, but her ranting is being rivalled by a booming male voice. It’s resonating through the whole house like for a travesty of a duet; like backing her up.
It’s hard to make out any single words in the howling, but its general drift seems to be the same as hers.

“Be gone from this place, scum...”

“Get out of my sight, dirty half-blood!” Walburga screeches at Harry, who stepped out of the cabinet before me.
The moment she sees me, she kind of chokes on her own tongue and shuts up. I don’t even have to channel my energies or anything.
Probably she doesn’t care to be switched off like a Muggle radio by a dirty crossbreed again. Her silence doesn’t make much of a difference though.
I’ve grabbed my ear defenders from the kitchen with Accio a second before I stepped into the cabinet, and I wouldn’t survive this without them. The defenders are designed to block out the noise of an explosion, but when Harry opens the door to the stairwell, the voice assaulting us is so piercingly loud it makes my brain throb.
Harry steps out onto the landing, his hands pressed to his ears, his face scrunched up. There’s a weird, smoky smell in the air.

“This is my house, not yours, Harry Potter! You are nothing but a common thief, just like the filthy fairy! You’ll both be purged away!”

Something appears in the dusky space in the centre of the giant stairwell; a bright-red piece of parchment.
It’s a howler.
Merlin, it’s just a howler.
It soars till under the ceiling, leaving a thin trail of white smoke behind, then takes a nose dive, roaring its spite into the echoing spaces of the nightly house.

“You’ll be destroyed, you’ll both die! And this is the son of the late Orion Black, Orion Black the second!”

The howler goes into an upward curve, aiming for us like a missile programmed to attack. Harry grabs my hand and pushes me down to the floor, and the howler goes up in flames mere inches above our heads.

Silence.
O Merlin, the grace of silence.
I strip off my ear defenders with my free hand and push at Harry with the other to make him let go.
He does, but when we’ve both scrambled to our feet, he grabs hold of me again. He peeks over the banister, scanning the stairwell, his fingers digging into my arm.

“Fuck, what was that?” he hisses. “Who the hell is Orion Black the second?”

“You know what I think?”

“What?”

He looks down at me.

“Teddy got the lingo from you.”

He lets out a snort. It's a mixture of exasperation and respect.

“That’s all you got to say? You certainly aren’t easily impressed, Draco.”

I grin. I like that kind of praise. And there’s no need to show him that really I am pretty shaken.
If there’s anything I hate more than noise, it’s having a piece of flying fire try to hit me in the head.
Harry casts Lumos, changing the darkness to a dim, cold grey, then sends an ultrasound spell through the house to check for the presence of humans or any remnants of magical activity.
Thankfully, there’s no echo signal.

When we walk down the stairs to go look for Kreacher, Harry still holds me so close to him we keep bumping our hips together as we go. It is quite annoying, and that’s exactly what I need to clear my head.

“Could we like walk normally please? – Thank you. So, Orion Black the second. Sounds catchy, but I’m positive there is no Black of that name. I've searched through all those genealogy books, and there wasn’t any mention of another son of Orion’s besides Regulus and Sirius anywhere.”

“But the thing claimed he was Orion’s son.”

“Well, he can’t be Walburga’s, else he’d be on the tapestry, wouldn’t he. And she did call him lice. Maybe he’s illegitimate.”

“What I’d like to know is, why would anyone send a howler to this address? People know we don’t live here.”

“Well, he couldn’t send it to the cottage, because of the Nonfindable, so...”

“Do you think that for some reason he knew about the cabinets? Did the guy realize that with the howler left unopened, the noise would eventually reach us through there?”

I shrug.

“Even if he knew, and even if he found a way to get in here, he couldn’t make any use of the cabinets. They only open to us, and they are safer than a high-security steel vault at Gringott’s.”

“But it would still be bad, right? I mean, the man threatened to kill you!”

He threatened to kill Harry, too, but it wouldn’t make much sense to point that out to him.
Each time it looks like someone wants to kill me, Harry very much focuses on that. And Merlin, it doesn’t do him good.
He’s trying to keep his distance from me, but I can still feel he’s one step away from unravelling.
Stopping in my track, I put a hand on his arm.

“Harry. How about we call Ron. How about we ask him to come over.”

“Right. Good idea. Let’s do that.”

No arguing that it would be the more proper path to call the DLE and talk to the officer on duty; no fretting about the late hour.
He just sends Ron a wand message, giving him a quick briefing on the situation.

I knew I sensed this correctly; he needs Ron.
There are these moments, and I have long since come to accept it. Ron is Harry’s best friend, and he has an effect on Harry like no one else. Like deep-relaxing.

Harry’s wand beeps; Ron has messaged him back. Harry listens, then puts his wand away.

“He’ll be here in ten,” he says, sounding almost cheerful.

Kreacher is in the cupboard off the kitchen, in his nest under the boiler. He has crawled into the heap of rags that seems to serve as his bed linen, and he’s covering his ears with both his hands, eyes squeezed shut.
When Harry taps him on the shoulder, he screeches and jumps, bumping his head against the boiler.

“Sorry,” Harry says. “You okay? Listen, I’ve got a few questions.”

Kreacher stares at us from saucer-sized eyes, still holding on to his ear tips.
I’m not a personal fan of the guy, but I can’t help feeling for him. It must have been agony for him, having to listen to that howler go haywire. But Harry is clearly not in a place where he’d waste time on being sympathetic.

“Did you see the owl that delivered the howler?” he demands. “Did you hear the thing say anything specific? Did it give any hints as to the sender’s identity apart from his name?”

“Kreacher is sorry, Kreacher couldn’t get the portrait off the wall,” Kreacher croaks. “The sticking charm is too strong. All Kreacher could do is move her into her bedroom...”

“Kreacher! Answer my questions!”

“He can’t hear you, Harry,” I butt in. “Must be the after-effects of the noise.”

“Kreacher,” Harry bellows at the top of his voice, bending down to the elf. “Was it you who made the chandelier come down this afternoon? Was it you who attacked Master Draco? Answer me!”

The elf’s eyes grow even bigger.

“It was the builder lady who made the chandelier come down,” he cries. “Kreacher is sure of it! Believe me, Master, it wasn’t Kreacher, Kreacher would never...”

“It’s okay, we believe you,” I say, because funnily enough, I at least do.

“Okay,” Harry says with a sidelong glance at me and stands. “Now, do you have any idea who is Orion Black the second?”

Kreacher looks at me like he expects me to translate. Harry already draws breath to shout again.

“Harry. This isn’t working. Let’s try and ask Walburga instead.”

-

“Did your husband have a son with another woman, Mrs. Black?”

Harry is standing in front of Walburga Black’s portrait, stance wide, face stern, looking every inch the seasoned interrogator he is.

Walburga isn’t your average interrogatee, though.
I should never have removed my ear defenders. The woman has kept quiet the whole time we’ve been in the house, but now she lets out a shriek that almost makes my head explode.

“Did he?” Harry asks, unfazed.

“How dare you! Dirty Vermin! Scum...”

“Mrs. Black! Are you your husband’s second wife? Was he married to someone else before he married you?”

“Insolent, disgusting bastard...”

It’s useless. There’s no way to get Walburga Black to share anything other than her opinion on vermin and bastards.

It turns out Ron is on duty tonight, and it does make me feel better about making Harry call him. He’s his usual sedate, slightly droopy-eyed self, and I can feel Harry calming down while we are still saying hello in the hallway.
I can feel myself calming down.
It’s funny, just looking at that red stubble and discreetly stained DLE cloak with the Weasley name tag on it makes you feel better.

There’s something about Ronald Weasley that doesn’t meet the eye.
It certainly didn’t meet mine back before I Changed; back when I was busy trying to be the coolest guy at Hogwarts, and believed sneering at Ron’s funny clothes was helping with that. His clothes actually were funny, and I could make him blow his lid every time I pointed that out. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was never me who was the cool guy, or even Harry. It doesn’t change the fact that really it was Ron.

He wasn’t a high achiever in class, he wasn’t an athlete, he was all kinds of gangly and gawky and ginger. But he always had the inherent ease of someone who has grown up in a house filled with warmth and laughter; the rock solid strength of those who have never cried alone.

But the best thing about Ronald Weasley is his habit of slapping me on the back as a salute and calling me mate.
I peek at Harry to check if he noticed. It must count for something that his best friend treats me like man; like the man I am.

“Listen, Ron, we’ve got to find the wizard who sent this howler. I’m worried for Draco’s safety.”

Yeah, I guess I can’t expect Harry to rethink his overprotective attitude towards me at this very moment.

“Nasty business,” Ron says, pulling his Deluminator from his pocket and starting to placidly put little yellowish lights into the empty torch holders on the walls. "It’s the bloody papers and social media. It’s been shared like everywhere that you gave this place to Draco to make him marry you.”

“But it wasn’t like that at all...,” Harry starts.

"Harry,” I say, stopping him short. “I’ve had this idea, what if this Orion Black guy is somehow connected to the builder lady, Nigeria Blackthorne? Kreacher says it was her who made the chandelier come down. I’d say she definitely didn’t like me much. We should probably change the key code.”

“She hasn’t got the key code anymore,” Harry says. “I fired her.”

“You fired her?”

“I sent her a message before I came to bed.”

So in between cleaning the kitchen and being upset about my lack of respect for Dumbledore, he did as I said.
Which means the lady with the fancy name does have a reason to be mad at us.

“I guess she knows about the cabinets, too,” I say, looking at Ron, waiting for his opinion.

“How did you come to hire the woman? How did you first come to contact her?” Ron asks. Harry shifts on his feet.

“She contacted me, actually.”

“Shit, Harry!” I exclaim.

“She said it was hard for her to survive in the business, with being a woman and all,” he says defensively, as if that was an excuse for his lack of instinct.
Shit, the man just can’t hold his sense of justice in check. How obsessed with fairness can a person be?

“And she made me a very attractive offer,” he adds. I roll my eyes at him. It’s a little late for faking a sense of business. Or any sense at all. He’s supposed to be an Ex-Auror, he’s supposed to be suspicious of people, not bloody helpful and gender-aware and a total goose!

“Don’t fight, boys,” Ron says before I can share my thoughts. “We’ll find the lady and ask her some questions. Neither she nor anyone else can get in here, so no worries on that score.”

“But what if they find a way,” Harry says in a constrained voice. "That man threatened Draco."

“Don’t freak out, mate,” Ron says, digging around in his pocket and pulling out a severely dented, plus-size cheese-and-bacon sandwich. “We’ve been dealing with this kind of shit on a daily basis for years now, haven’t we. Whatever the deal with this Blackthorne woman, or that new Black, I’m pretty sure that whoever sent the howler will turn out to be just another VIP stalker. Sadly, this isn’t really anything much out of the ordinary where you are concerned, is it, Harry.”

“Right, yeah. I guess you’re right,” Harry says, looking deflated and encouraged at the same time.

Ron nods and pats his back, all the while wolfing down his sandwich with the purposeful air of someone carb-loading for a marathon.
The man really is pure gold.

-

When Ron has left, I’m impatient to get back to Godric’s Hollow, to Teddy and the kids.

“We’ll be going now,” Harry says to Kreacher, who has been hovering in the background, rubbing at his ears.

“Sorry, master, didn’t get that, could you say it again, please?” Kreacher says, looking up at us, ears and eyes drooping.
No one ever looked more fucking piteous, I swear.

“Listen, man, how about you come along and let me give you some ear drops,” I scream at him. “They’ll help with the pain, and by morning, your ear drums will be as good as new.”

He looks skeptical. But he follows us upstairs, and when I open the cabinet and motion at him to go through, he hops past me with a surprising spring to his step.

Kreacher is standing in the middle of our kitchen, stiff as a stick. But when I approach him with the ear drops he tilts his head, all docility. Taking a breath for courage, I cautiously pick up a hairy ear tip. It’s leathery to the touch, but I know it’s bound to be just as tender as my own.
Once I’ve applied the drops on either side, I order him to shake his head. He does, ears flapping. When he’s done, his face lights up in a delighted smile.
It’s an outlandish sight, and quite a bit gratifying.

“You are good,” Harry says.

I nod, smirking. Because, I am. I’d say those ear drops are better than anything they have on offer at St. Mungo’s. Come to think of it, I should have long since incorporated them into Malfoy Inc.’s product portfolio.

“You are the best, angel,” Harry elaborates in a softening tone, but this time I can’t agree, because the way he’s looking at me basically says, dear-god-I’m-living-with-a-unicorn-and-he’s-just-so-damn-cute.

Hell, that was a simple instance of applying first aid, and I’ve already moved on to thinking about how to get more profit out of my business, and...

“Take a break, baby,” he says, trying to gently push me down onto the sofa. “You need to recover. I’ll go check the garden.”

“You recover, I’ll go check on the eggs,” I hiss. Slithering out of his grip, I walk up to the back door, doing my best to stomp.

Normally, I can trust on our garden to soothe me, no matter how mad or shaken or both I am. And all is quiet and in order. All is well.
It’s Harry who needed help calming down over at Grimmauld Place, not me.
And yet, out there alone in the dark, suddenly the howler’s evil voice is back in my head, and with a vengeance.
When I step back into the brightly lit kitchen, so cosy and cheerful with the stars of my mobile floating about overhead, I want to just let myself sink into the peace that’s Harry and my home and forget there is a world outside.

I can hear him talk to Kreacher in the hallway. He’s probably about to take him back through the cabinet.
But no...

“I said, don’t worry,” I hear Harry say. “You’ll stay here at the cottage, with us. Did you hear? You’ll stay!!”

He appears in the doorway, with Kreacher shuffling along behind him.

“But Master Harry,” Kreacher croaks. “Someone’s got to take care of Grimmauld Place...”

“You were right, Kreacher, there might be another howler, so nobody wants you to go back. And also, we need you here,” Harry says, winking at me.

“Right,” Kreacher replies sourly, then, as if the matter was settled, conjures an extra large feather duster, summarily lets the stars of my mobile sail onto a shelf, and starts dusting off the kitchen lamp.

Waaait a minute.

“Harry?? What’s...”

“It’s okay.”

“But he’s messing with my decorations!”

I step up to Harry so Kreacher won’t listen in with his freshly restored ears. “I’m not on board with this!”

“He’s going to put the stars back.”

“I meant you telling him he can stay!”

“You want to send him back?”

“But he’s not like going to stay stay, is he,” I plead. “Harry! Promise me this isn’t permanent!”

He just looks back at me.

“Harry...”

“Baby, it was you who suggested bringing him here.”

“I didn’t mean I want to live with him!”

“Haven’t you told me you were fed up with the housework?”

“How is taking in a tattering old geezer like Kreacher going to help with the housework, please!”

Kreacher has put the mobile back up, in total disarray, and has proceeded to dusting off the stars, who don’t seem to like that. Two of them are already broken in half.

“Harry! Look!”

“Kreacher, leave the cleaning till tomorrow. We’ll all go to bed now. You can sleep under the oven. That okay?” –

When we went through the cabinet an hour ago, I expected all kinds of horrible outcomes. But not Harry inviting a half-mummified new housemate to set up home in my kitchen.

When we finally come back into our bedroom, Teddy is fast asleep, taking up half of the bed.
He is still hidden under my fur throw blanket, with just a shock of bright blond hair peeking out. His hair often turns black when Harry comes home, and I realize I have been waiting for a change like this, a change that means me. It’s kind of pathetic, but, yeah. It makes me feel better.

As Harry magically magnifies the couch in the corner, leaving the bed to Teddy and me, he sighs accusingly and says,

“Promise me this isn’t permanent.”

I know he is thinking of the seven kids still up in the trees. He’s imagining being evicted from our bed and sleep on the couch for the next ten years.
I reply with a vague hmmm. Because I am tired.
And because he didn’t say yes when I said that same sentence earlier, about Kreacher.
And because I want my family as close to me as possible.

The fear is trying to creep up on me in the dark again. In a low voice, I ask Harry to move the couch closer to the bed. It is a bit embarrassing, but it can't be helped. He doesn't protest or sigh or anything. He just draws his wand and does what I asked of him. When he has maneuvered the couch through the room until it's right next to my side of the bed, I quickly snuggle up to him, shoving my hand into one of his big paws.

That night, I dream of Harry, Teddy and me having tea in our kitchen in perfect harmony. No Kreacher, and my stars still aligned as they should be.

Why can’t anything ever be easy?

Chapter Text

In the morning, after I have managed to hinder Kreacher from preparing breakfast (I’m still making my own honey milk, thank you very much), Harry orders him to sit down on the kitchen sofa.
He sits very straight, his thin brown feet dangling in the air.

“So, Kreacher, about last night. Can you tell us anything...”

“My late master had a third son,” Kreacher says in his croaking voice. “When he was twenty, he had a fling with a lady, a Muggle lady by the name of Amelia Picklethistle. She bore him a son. Everything was being kept a secret, of course, and Master’s parents paid the woman off. Then they died and Master got married to the Mistress, and the Muggle came back to blackmail him. She came to the house and threatened to tell the Mistress. Master made substantial annuity payments to her to buy her silence, but he never felt safe again. It’s why he barricaded the house like he did, put Muggle-repellent charms on it and all that. It became an obsession with him to make sure the woman could never come back to the house.”

Harry is looking at me, his face mirroring my own stupefaction at the sheer amount of information revealed, and without the least bit of an effort on our part, too.

“You need to understand, Masters, the woman could have made him lose face in front of the whole family, of the whole of the pureblood world. He could have used Obliviate on her, obviously, or else used magic to silence her, but it seems he lacked the toughness for that.”

Kreacher makes a face, a hint at how much this tested his forbearance.

“Perhaps it’s because they had been lovers,” Harry says.

“Perhaps,” Kreacher agrees, “And this weakness resulted in a lifetime of living under threat. It took its toll. It’s why my master died a premature death, I'm sure of it. When he was gone, Mistress discovered the payments that had been made and sought out the Muggle. The woman tried to blackmail her, too, and Mistress had her killed.”

“Killed,” I echo.

“Mistress dealt with situations.”

“So it would seem.”

“And the boy?” Harry whispers.

“Kreacher doesn’t know what became of him, but anyway, he was an adult by that time. He must be over fifty now. Kreacher doesn’t know his name, but it sure isn’t Orion Black the second.”

“But you still think it was him who sent the howler,” Harry says.

"Kreacher thinks it was him who sent the witch who pretended to be a builder, too. Kreacher is sure he sent her to steal this.”

The elf has lifted his loincloth-tea-towel, but he isn’t revealing anything shocking; there’s just the bum bag he’s wearing in place of underwear.
He digs around in it with his thin, long fingers. I catch a glimpse of an ancient-looking locket. It must be the one Harry gave him; the one that once belonged to Regulus Black.
But the object he’s pulling from the bag at last is a ring; a large golden seal ring.
He slides down from the sofa and shuffles over to me, reaching out his palm, presenting the ring. I pick it up to inspect it.
It’s a handsome piece of jewellery. The emblem is black and shows two rearing greyhounds, two silver stars and a sword.
It’s the Black crest.
I hand the ring over to Harry.
He holds it against the light

“I remember that ring. I remember Sirius throwing it out.”

“Kreacher saved it,” Kreacher says. “Kreacher had to.”

Harry draws his wand and directs it at the ring. A sizzling spark jumps from the ring into the wand’s tip.

“What does it do, Kreacher.”

“Yes, Harry Potter, this is not a simple seal ring,” Kreacher says. “Master strengthened our house’s defences to a point where it was nearly impossible for even him to get in. One day he got caught in a giant magical spiderweb in the hallway. It took hours to peel him out of that cocoon. After that, he crafted the ring. It was complex magic, but then he was an accomplished wizard. The ring overrules any and all of Grimmauld Place’s security magic. The house and anything in it will always recognise the ring bearer as its owner. You understand the ring must never fall into the wrong hands! Anyone who takes possession of it could assume the position of Master of Grimmauld Place!”

“Of you, too,” I say.

He gives a shudder and nods.

“Kreacher kept it safe all this time. He hid it in Master Orion’s bedroom. Kreacher would never move anything from its proper place, but when the builder witch was allowed into the house, Kreacher was compelled to take the ring. The witch was searching for it, she wanted to steal it, else Kreacher wouldn’t have done it, Kreacher would never take anything...”

“Yeah, yeah, alright,” Harry cuts him short. “Draco.”

He wants to know what I think of all this. Heck, it’s a lot to take in.
Kreacher has been living alone with his paranoid thoughts for so long; he thinks everyone must have just one object in life, move in with him in that dreary oversized house.

But it seems Orion Black the second or what’s-his-name actually does, so I guess that means Kreacher stands justified. Even if he didn’t exactly adhere to the house elf code of ethics, if such a thing exists.

“Why haven’t you given the ring to Harry, Kreacher?”

Kreacher shifts his bony bottom.

“Harry Potter wouldn’t have understood.”

“He understood alright just now.”

“Harry Potter isn’t a Black.”

“I think he wants you to have the ring, Draco,” Harry says, reaching out to return the ring to me. "Why don't you try it on?"

“Let’s just put it somewhere safe,” I say, shaking my head. The ring is too wide for me, anyway, and then... Kreacher seems to have decided I’m ranking above Harry because of my Black blood, but I don’t. And I am no Black, and it's not like I'd want to be, and, yeah.
It wouldn’t feel right to wear that ring.

-

When I do my routine checks on the eggs that day, I find Kreacher lurking by the trees. Squinting up to the branches where the eggs are hidden in the foliage.

“What you up to,” I ask sharply.

He jumps and turns to me, eyes big and shiny, and performs a wooden, apologetic bow.

“Kreacher was just having a look.”

“You don’t want to disturb those eggs, man,” I say.

“Kreacher knows they mustn’t be touched, Master,” he says. His voice is trembling. “Kreacher will make sure they will be safe.”

“They are safe.”

“There’s always people who want to intrude, people who want to steal. But Kreacher will be on constant alert, Master. Kreacher will take care the future Blacks will hatch safely. Kreacher will protect them with his life.”

“That’s fine, but now give me some space, please.”

He retreats immediately, bowing again. I hear him mutter to himself behind me as he scuffles away.

“Seven. Seven children. The house of Black will live on. Seven children. Kreacher will protect them with his life.”

-

He is no killer. Okay. And even if it’s for questionable reasons, he wants to protect our kids with his life.
But that isn’t enough to make me want him to be the third man in our marriage. Or engagement or whatever it is that Harry and I are having.
The cottage isn’t that big, meaning that he’s constantly somewhere around. I’m not even safe in the gardens anymore. Heck, I don’t need Kreacher to help me monitor my brood!

And he’s constantly doing stuff. Moving things.
It’s so not true he wouldn’t ever remove anything from its proper place.
He won’t stop fiddling with the star mobile because he upholds he needs to clean the kitchen.
That pathetic duster!

He needs to go.

-

When I come back into the house, it has happened.
He broke the star mobile, and beyond repair. It’s just a heap of glitter on the kitchen floor. Hell, I really liked that mobile!

He tells me he just meant to explode a blowfly with that Blasting Curse, but I’m in no mood to listen to any excuses.
Even Teddy didn’t ever do anything like that.

Harry has stayed home to correct OWL papers in his study, so I can go complain to him straight away.
All he’s got to say is Kreacher didn’t do it on purpose, which I already know. Then he informs me that according to Feng Shui, it’s not the worst that can happen to have to throw stuff out.

“What’s Feng Shui?”

“Muggle magic.”

“Muggles can’t do magic.”

“They try to; some of them do. They try to work on energies. Of course it isn’t working, not really, but one Muggle trick to create happiness and harmony in a house is to tidy up. In essence, Feng Shui is about saying goodbye to bric-a-brac.”

My decorations aren’t bric-a-brac. And this isn’t about Muggle magic, this is really about Harry and his tidiness tick.
He wants all of our home to look as orderly as this study; he doesn’t like bumping his head against mobiles.

It’s quite obvious he is secretly rejoicing that Kreacher did away with my star ornament.
Harry has praised some of my decorating ideas in the past, like the tea angels, but he can’t fool me. I can read him like a book as they say, and I know that everything that doesn’t serve a purpose is clutter to Harry.

Hell, am I condemned to live between just plain walls in the future because now Harry has gotten himself an ally to do the dirty work for him and destroy my stuff?
When I have said all that, and a little bit more, standing in front of Harry, fuming, he enlarges his desk chair, takes my hands and makes me sit down next to him.

“Draco. He’s our house elf. Yours too. We have a responsibility towards him.”

Shit, that’s this shit Dumbledore said to him. How Sirius Black hadn’t risen to Dumbledore’s standards concerning the correct treatment of household slaves, and how Harry must do better.

What all this boils down to is, I’m not allowed to object to living with the old geezer because of Britain’s wizard world’s history of class distinction. I have to put up with another guy moving in with us because Sirius Black didn’t say thank you when he was served his tea.
Thanks, Dumbledore.
It so happens I don’t care to have someone pick up the crumbs I dropped on the floor. It’s oppressive, okay?
And it’s just plain depressing to live with a geriatric whose idea of home-wear fashion is a dirty tea towel.
I don’t want to!

Harry is still looking at me.

“I’d have thought that you of all people would understand his situation.”

Fuck. Fuck, what’s that supposed to mean? That in my fiancés book, I’m in the same league as his frigging house elf?
I don’t look down on house elves. I frigging know I’m related to them. It’s hard to ignore, even if, thankfully, I’m a bit more attractive than Kreacher.
But of course there’s the eyes, the ears, the lack of body hair.
I can Apparate without my wand if I need to, same as him, and I work my fairy magic just like he has his elven magic.

No, I don’t look down on him for being a house elf. All I’m saying is, if you employ a household slave, shouldn’t they be at least of some use?
Not just move around dust, and break your things, like Kreacher does?

“Draco?”

“Yeah. Okay,” I say, avoiding his eyes.

I’m going to do this my way.

That night, when Harry is outside feeding Bucky, I stop Kreacher in the hallway, hold out a sock to him and say, “This needs darning.”
He puts his broom to the wall and stretches out his hand, and it’s right below the sock when I let it drop and quickly add, “...err, no, guess you can have it.”

He’s my house elf, too, Harry said it. So I can set him free.

Or not.

Turns out the guy has the reflexes of a top tier Quidditch player. He has retracted his hand in spell speed, and the sock has flopped down to the floor.
It’s lying right there in the dust he so didn’t remove with all the fake sweeping he did, in front of his funny twig-like toes.

There’s a twig-like sound, too, a clicking. Like twigs snapping. O heck. O no.

He’s wiping a tear from his cheek with his tea towel. I hate that towel.

I hate this!

“Master is unhappy with Kreacher because Kreacher broke his arrangement, it won’t happen again, please forgive Kreacher, Master, Kreacher is old, he’s got trouble with his eyesight, but he will try to do better in the future...”

Quickly, I pick up the sock and tell him it’s okay, feeling like a monster. See, that’s what I don’t like about household personnel.
They make you feel bad when you watch them clear away your mess, and when you try to give them their freedom, they make you feel even worse.
Like an evil capitalist cutting down on staff and making people redundant, people he rightfully should consider family.

“You tried to give him a sock?” Harry says when we are in bed later. “Really?”

“Don’t be mad, it didn’t work,” I say sullenly.

“I’m not mad, angel,” Harry replies. “I understand. I understand you got trouble with the concept of owning someone...”

Shit, I hate that tone. That soft, understanding look on him. I’m not a milksop, I got no trouble owning people whatever.
Shit, he used to think of me as the most despicable bastard around! I’m starting to wish I could go back to that.

“Listen, Potter. I’m a Malfoy. I grew up in a house stuffed with servants...”

“I’m not trying to insult you. I just want to talk about Kreacher.”

I’m a Malfoy. I don’t fly off the handle.

“Right,” I grind out.

“Okay. He’s a house elf, and house elves need to serve their masters. It’s in their genes. You know it is. To them, being free is being lost.”

I don’t want it, but now he got to me.
It’s not like I’m Kreacher’s brother or anything, just because of a common ancestor who lived like a gazillion years ago who couldn’t control his crushing and followed his mate around for life.

But we got that common ancestor.

What Harry’s saying is that for Kreacher, being made to leave would be the same in terms of stress and general desolation as it would be for me to be sent packing by Harry.

And if that is true – argh.

Harry looks at me, smiling. After two years, he can read my thoughts, and I can’t even blame him for it, because it’s got nothing to do with Legilimency.

“It was my sock, wasn’t it,” he says gently. “I don’t think it would have worked either way. That never occurred to you?”

“Fuck it, whatever,” I say, reaching for my book.

When you lose, it’s best to do it graciously.

Chapter Text

I just brought Bucky his dinner, and as usual, it took me a while to disentangle myself from his good-night embrace.
Hagrid has never really recovered after his skiing accident last year, and it looks like the hippogriff is going to stay with us for good. I wish Hagrid all the best, but the truth is, I’d hate to lose Bucky. I’d miss the fun rides across the woods, and his displays of affection, too, even if they are of the truly smothering kind.

I wouldn’t miss bringing the bird his daily bucket of dead mice so much though. I hoped to unload at least this one chore on Kreacher, but the elf won’t get anywhere near Bucky. Apparently there’s some bad history between the two, so I won’t push it.

Kreacher and Teddy aren’t exactly a perfect match, either. I guess Kreacher can’t be expected to embrace Teddy’s wolf acts; he’s an old reactionary after all, and simply old, and then Teddy did knock him over a couple of times today already, apparently in the hopes of engaging someone his own size in the fun of role-playing.
The good thing about this being that Kreacher was as knackered as Teddy by seven o'clock tonight. They are both asleep, Bucky’s taken care of, too; time for one last check on the eggs. I leave the empty mice bucket on the terrace and pull off my sneakers to cross the lawn.

The wet coolness of the grass under my feet, the spring-scented dusk, the silence that carries the song of the trees.
And inside the beautiful shells up there in the canopies seven growing lives, my kids; already so distinct from one another, already each one of them so perfectly unique.

I’m just thinking there’s just one thing, one person missing for this moment to be perfection when there’s my favourite sound in the world; the mellow plop of Harry, Apparating.
I turn around, and there he is, on the terrace, his familiar tall frame a black silhouette against the lantern light from above the door.

He has been to the Ministry, to talk with Ron, and for his weekly night of combat training at the Auror Department.
He has kept up that routine to prevent himself from growing a professor’s paunch as he uses to say.

Forever the organized perfectionist, he has already sent me a wand message listing the main points of his meeting with Ron.
The DLE has confirmed there is no person by the name of Nigeria Blackthorne or Orion Black the second anywhere in the UK. They also searched their data bases for a wizard named Pickthistle, to no avail.
Harry’s People Positioning Compass hadn’t yielded any results either, so we had expected that. Amelia Pickthistle’s son must live under yet another adopted name.
The DLE is currently analysing the magical traces Ron secured at Grimmauld Place. Harry demanded that they take some basic preliminary action, like place a platoon of special forces officers outside our cottage, but apparently not even Ron, nor his friends at the Auror Department, could help him with that. According to the profilers’ assessment, the howler is to be classified as an incidence of ordinary stalking, and the threat at this point too vague to warrant any measures of personal protection.
Naturally, Harry doesn't agree. But I felt this was actually rather good news, and told him over the wand to try and chill and not create a scene and get himself thrown out on his ear.

As I’m walking up to him, the joy of seeing him bubbles up inside me, making my steps like weightless.
No howler will ever ruin what we have.
I pick up the mice bucket, along with a broken toy broom Teddy left in his wake, struggling to rein in my feelings. I'm not a puppy that's losing it because their owner came home or something. Merlin, I wish I could stop this insane smile from splitting my face in half. Harry comes to meet me, smiling back at me and bowing down to plant a kiss on my head. Then he takes the bucket from my hand and says, “Let me.”

I realize that is not exactly a reason to get mad, but somehow, I do.
If ever anyone had a mood swing, that person is me, now.
Apparently I’ve tried for a little too long to stop this wrapping me in cotton wool.

Last night he ignored me again when I tried to suggest bondage sex and told him to chain me up. He said if I wanted chains, I should do that to him.
He knows full well this isn’t how we roll. He’s just trying to not play ball. And he’s totally treating me like I was the weaker part of the two of us.

“I’m not pregnant anymore, remember?” I snap, trying to yank the bucket from his hand. “I can carry a frigging empty bucket!”

“Sure,” he says, “but you don’t have to.”

He flicks his wand and the bucket disappears in the outdoor pantry by the back door. It makes me feel pretty damn dumb, and that doesn’t help much with my mood.
No howler will ruin what we have, but maybe Harry will.

-

Inside, he sees my Y-pad lying on the kitchen table.

“You been gaming?”

“World of Witchcraft.”

“Be careful. There are dangers.”

“Sizzling Salazar, Harry, will you stop the governessing, please? I’m not a baby! I can deal with a frigging Y-Pad game!”

“I’m just saying. Don’t meet up with anyone in real life.”

I just humph.
Because that bloke, Black Boss, challenged me to a player-versus-player duel, and I agreed to it.
There’s no harm in duelling in a dungeon with fake curses.
It’s almost the same as regular gaming.

No, that isn't right.
The thing is, you get to fight for real, so it's obviously so much cooler. And it’s perfectly safe. People know they get banned if they break the rules, and those dungeons are being patrolled by game admins. It would ruin their business if they let anything happen to their subscribers.

And I can’t not go. I can make five-hundred achievement points just by winning that one duel. These are easy points; the man is a total noob.

Plus, a PVP duel means the chance to win an item of your opponent’s real life property, not just a virtual object from their online vault. It’s that gaming feature called Loot, a variant of Accio.

I don’t need any of the man’s Galleons, obviously, but I am a sucker for trophies. I'm aware it’s not really mature and all, so I don’t say any of that to Harry.

-

When I’ve checked that Teddy didn't kick his blanket to the floor, I come back to the kitchen. Harry is still in his training gear, standing in the middle of the room, leafing through the Daily Prophet. Thankfully, there isn’t yet another exclusive news article about the Saviour’s private life in it today.
I cast a heating control spell on the stew on the stove, then sit down at the table to repair Teddy’s toy broom.

“You are quite absorbed with taking care of the kids, aren't you,” Harry observes. He has put down the Prophet and is watching me, giving me an affectionate wink.

What kind of condescending bullshit is that?

“I’m not!”

“I like it,” he says, oblivious to my ungracious feelings. “The stay-at-home mode suits you, angel.”

He pulls off his gloves and chest protector, then slips out of his training shirt. Merlin, with just his dragonskin pants on and his wand holster criss-crossing his chest and stomach, he looks totally the hulk.

It makes me feel like a wizard-shaped meringue in comparison.

Hell, I’m at a point where I get annoyed by his definition.

“I’m no angel, I’m a man!” I cry. “Just as much as you are!”

“Of course you are,” he says, looking startled.

It doesn’t assuage my irritation. He has gotten too used to me being at home. Doing the mom thing.
How can I ever hope to make him get a different view of me? Hell, I want him to realize I can deal with getting a hook shoved up my butt, and also I want him to know I’m his equal, in all respects!
His better in most, in fact!

I’m better than him at everything involving a cauldron or a Quidditch broom, and I made him crash against the walls more than once back when he was giving me DADA and Krav Maga lessons.

“I could still take you apart in a duel, you know,” I announce. “Any day.”

“Sure you could, a-hmph.”

Shit, I could actually hear him swallow the angel there.
Shit, he makes me feel like I still was that boasting first-year he once knew.
Like he could blow me off my feet anytime if he chose to, and would, too, if he didn’t think I was too cute to be taken seriously.

“Listen. I meant to talk to you about the kids thing. The parenting thing. I will go back to my job with the Potions Department as soon as possible.”

He nods.

“Sure.”

What, that’s all he got?
I have rehearsed this little speech, how he can’t expect me to stay at home forever, how I’m not the sentimental supermom he seems to take me for. How my job is important to me, and how he won’t ever see me abandon my professional ambitions.

“Sure you will,” he repeats. “We’ll hire a nanny.”

A nanny?

He wants our kids to be raised by a nanny?

“And here I was assuming you might want to do your part!” I say scathingly. “I assumed you might want to take some time off...”

“I will, I’ve already talked to Minerva. I’ll stay home for four months, then go back on a sixty-percent basis. It’s a little less on the payroll, but as long as there’s seven babies and Teddy to be taken care of...”

He has already talked to McGonagall.

“I could cut back more, of course. I could take the whole year off if you want to go back to work full time,” he continues, misreading my silence. “They are my kids, too, I know that, Draco. And I’m perfectly aware that you are the one with the career. Heck, you make millions, while I’m just a teacher!”

He’s serious about this. He wants to do the full time daddy thing. And send me back to the potions lab to bring the money in.

“I thought we’d talk about how much exactly either of us wants to do on the job, or at home, when it’s time,” he adds, looking insecure, fiddling with the straps of his chest protector.

“That’s what we’ll do then,” I say briskly. “Discuss this when it’s time. For now, it’s me who’s in charge here.”

“I could take over watching the eggs, at least at the weekend...”

“No,” I cut him short. “No, you can’t. Sorry, you just don’t know how to do it.”

And he doesn’t.
He’s super wizard and the Saviour and everything, but I won’t leave my eggs to him. And the kids... Well, I guess they are his, too, but...

We’ll see about what he’s fit to do. When it’s time.

-

Later, when I’ve changed into my sleeping shirt to go to bed, I find a little box on my pillow. Inside, there’s my new engagement ring.
The emerald is a heart of green fire.

Harry is still downstairs in his study, busy grading OWL papers again.

When I step in the room, he doesn’t notice me at first.
Running an ink-stained hand through his hair, he sighs and shakes his head at the parchment before him, looking distraught.
He’s just always feeling responsible for shit, even when a student sucks and he’s the one who’s got to tell them.

“Just give them an A if it makes you feel better, honey,” I say softly. “Nobody expects a professor to actually spend time pondering over people’s grades.”

Harry looks up and shakes his head, giving a chortle.

“You not in bed?”

“I wanted to thank you?”

I lift my hand and the gemstone catches the candle light, making Harry’s hair glint like raven feathers.
He has turned around his chair, and he’s looking at me the way he does sometimes, like he’s trying to take in the sight of me to remember it till his dying day.

I don’t know why, but Harry loves me and he wants me, and what’s even more amazing, he respects me, more than anyone ever did.
I had lost sight of that. I had been getting frustrated with his protectiveness and worry for my well-being because we aren’t making any headway with our bedroom problem. He is being annoying that way.

But how could I ever doubt his respect for me?

Two years ago, when he had found me in the gutter and I had to start my life from scratch and had lost all faith, he helped me learn to believe in myself.
He spoke to me about my talents, my academic achievements, with a warmth of feeling no one had ever shown me.
My father’s pride in me had been self-serving and cold while it lasted, and when Severus Snape had praised me in class, and he’d been the only professor to ever do so, it had always been painfully obvious he couldn’t have cared less for me personally.

But Harry cared when he helped me start over, and he took more delight in my successes than in his own.

I know he still does.
And I’m wearing his ring.
And Merlin. How I love him.

Stepping up to him, I go to my knees in front of his chair.

“Mark it as passed and take a break,” I murmur.

“But it’s Troll. Dreadful, at best,” Harry says unhappily. “Ahhhaohh...”

I’m running my hands up the insides of his thighs, observing his expression to see if I got licence to proceed.

“Ah, angel...” he sighs.

And I let the endearment soak into my soul, along with his closeness, his scent, his intoxicating reaction to me.
I open his jeans and bend forward to pull his erect penis from his boxer briefs. He leans back, closing his eyes, and I suck him into my mouth.
His hand closes around my neck.

“Yes, angel, yes, please...”

He’s pushing, making me gag on him.

“Sorry angel, sorry...”

“It’s okay,” I mumble around his shaft, trying to keep going. But he pulls back, drawing laboured breaths.

“Please, Harry, let me serve you. Please.”

He shakes his head.

“God, baby, how do you even do it? A minute ago, all I was thinking about was if this student might have a point naming the Fiendfyre curse as one of the Unforgivables, and you walk in here, and the next moment I’m too turned on to even let you blow me.”

“But...”

“No, love, I wouldn’t want to... you know.”

I know what he’s talking about. Last winter, things got a little bit out of hand one time when I was trying to suck him off. It was the first time I got an inkling that my man might have hidden depths. He literally face-fucked me that night. And it did feel like it was for discipline.
It shook me up quite a bit.
But I’ve also masturbated to that memory like a thousand times since.

“I can take you, Harry, just...”

“No, baby, I couldn’t hold back. I need your ass.”

He gets up, pulling me to my feet, then shoves the parchments on his desk to one side and bends me over it.

“You really should be wearing pants when you walk about in the house,” he groans.

“Kreacher and Teddy sleep like the dead...” I reply, and the rest of what I meant to say is lost as he pushes up against me from behind and reaches into my shirt to pull out my wings.

I feel his cock in my butt crack, burrowing, seeking entry. He grabs himself and guides himself in, swiftly, unceremoniously, pushing until I fully sheath him.
This is one of the things I love about being in a longstanding relationship; this casual, direct way I get to being entered sometimes. When there’s no talking, no foreplay; when it’s just like bam, and I got Harry's fat cock up my ass. It’s just so hot and dirty.

For a delicious moment that is all tautness, Harry stays still, letting my body adjust.
Then he pulls halfway out again, getting ready to start fucking me in earnest. My anticipation makes my juices squirt out of me, first in irregular jets, then in the rhythm of his thrusting, their scent overriding the smell of parchment and of the stack of ancient, leather-bound tomes on the Dark Arts next to my head.

Our mingling gasps sound obscenely out of place in the confines of the orderly, bookshelf-lined study.

“Love you so much, angel,” Harry groans, and when I clench and come, coating his balls with ass come in response, he drives into me so hard I’m lifted off my feet.
Instantly, with me still helplessly spurting all over his desk, he adjusts my position and reaches around to my front to check I didn’t hurt myself. Once he’s satisfied that all is well, he waits till I’m through with my orgasm, all the while staying seated inside me and cupping my jerking cock in his hand. The moment my spasms abate, he starts stroking me to get me going again, without granting me even a second of respite.

Using my come as lube, he runs his fingers up my dick’s underside and squeezes and twists its tip, the way I like it best.
That’s another thing about our sex after almost two years; Harry just knows how I need to be handled.

In no time, I’m hard again.

“Love, love, love you,” he whispers. I’m still trying to catch my breath to say it back when he pulls my cheeks apart to resume the fuck where he left off.
Straining back against him, I give myself over to his lovemaking, my whole being vibrating with the sweet, carnal happiness of being his.

Tonight is not about any agenda. I’m allowed a break, too.

I’ll simply have sex with my mate tonight, the way I was born to do it.
With mindless abandon, and with all of my stupid fairy heart.

Chapter Text

“I want to play WoW, Day!”

Teddy has grabbed my Y-Pad with very buttery fingers.
Harry has already left for Hogwarts and I’ve slept in, so Kreacher used the opportunity to prepare breakfast. He made pancakes.
Teddy had five, and I had two. I had to; else Teddy would have eaten the whole plate.
I try to wipe his fingers clean while he’s holding on to my Y-pad, determined not to let go.

Teddy is a World of Witchcraft aficionado if ever there was one. If I let him, he'd forever be steering his wolf avatar through the colourful woods of Forestasia and jump Earth Goblins.

Yes, Teddy has got his own avatar. I set it up for him.

Harry says gaming is bad for five-year-olds, and I mustn’t let Teddy have the Y-Pad. But I can’t see the harm in it, not as long as the duel and battle modes are blocked and he’s just hiking about among holograms.
And as long as Harry is happily ignorant.

“I want to, please, I want to...”

“Okay. But just half an hour.”

“Yes, Day, good Day!”

It sounds like he’s praising his dog. And I guess it is me who obeys him instead of the other way round. I already know he’ll get me to let him play at least double that time.
With Teddy, I just can’t win.

-

There’s an upside to being a weak parenting figure with lax principles; it gives you time to to do your own shit, like updating your wedding guest list.
Harry told me Hagrid’s hip took a turn for the worse, and that the man isn’t able to leave his hut anymore. Which means I have to cross him off my list.
It’s just too bad.
Harry loves the man; he’s going to miss him at the wedding.

And odd as it may sound, I will, too. Sure, the idea of meeting Hagrid again has always felt pretty daunting.

I was at my worst during the years when he was our teacher. Completely off the rails, eating my heart out over Harry, and my only strategy to make him see me making him mad at me by insulting his friends.
But Harry says Hagrid isn’t the type to bear grudges, and anyway, he is important to Harry.

And then – I have run our ceremony through my head in a thousand different versions, and Rubeus Hagrid would simply have been the perfect person to walk my man down the aisle for me. Merlin, I would have loved that. Seeing Harry walk up to me on Hagrid’s arm, all glorious get-down-on-all-fours sexiness in his black wedding tux as I wait for him by the altar...

It would have been the one way to overwrite that horrific image that will forever be branded into my memory; the image of Hagrid carrying a lifeless, broken Harry up to the rubble of Hogwarts.

Well, I guess Harry would have objected to the aisle-walking anyway, and there’s nothing I can do about Hagrid’s health. There’s no potion against old age and long-term effects of skiing accidents. There are limits to what magic can do, even in my trade.

As I run my wand’s tip across Hagrid’s name to erase it from the guest list, I’m suddenly thinking of this lady Harry once mentioned; Lin. When I asked him one day whether he had any other godparent besides Sirius Black, he said no, but that he considered Lin G. Row his godmother.

I’ve never met the woman. Harry says she has known him since he was a baby, and that she’s working free-lance; as a kind of counselor to the ministry or something. She’s also running a charity that helps finding new families for abandoned kids. Naturally, Harry is very enthusiastic about that.
But there’s more to Lin. It’s all pretty mysterious. Apparently she played a behind-the-curtains key role in the Wizarding Wars, and is super high up. Harry says she even knows the Muggle Queen, but he couldn’t give me any real details.
No one I’ve asked about her could, not even Hermione. Which is really strange.

Perhaps Lin is with the Secret Service, and that’s why Harry, as the Chosen One, is the only one who ever got to meet her. At any rate, she seems to be someone special to him.

What if I invited her to our wedding?
As a surprise for Harry!
I get all excited about the idea. This would be something to make up for Hagrid’s absence!

All I need now is an address.

Harry’s desk isn’t simply cleaned up after our little office orgy last night. It’s cleaned up like, there’s absolutely nothing on it. Not even an ink pot or a day planner.
And no address book.
I open the drawer and start sifting through its neatly organized contents; piles of parchments, and bundles of old letters bound with magical string, and rows of boxes of pens and paperclips and stuff, all labelled.

There’s one box with a lock and a tag on the lid saying Remus Lupin.
I don’t open it. This is not what I’m looking for, and I do have some respect. And also, I’ve already sorted through it last December, when I was bored and alone and, yeah. It’s where I found the boggart.
No, won’t open that box.

There’s another magically locked box, more like a folder, that draws my attention because it’s got no tag or sticker on it. It’s the only thing unlabelled, and that is intriguing. But I don’t break the lock.

Apparently I actually do have some respect.

I continue blindly groping about in the back of the drawer, hoping to finally find what I’m looking for. There’s more parchments, something that feels like a bunch of quills, then something soft. When I pull it out, I see it’s a rectangular object, wrapped in a piece of cotton.
The label on top says Sirius.

Tentatively, I lift a corner of the cloth, and there it is. A framed shard of glass, no bigger than my palm.

I know what this is. The mirror of Sirius Black; a remaining piece of the one he once gave Harry as a means to contact him.
It’s funny; that was less than ten years ago, and modern communication magic like Videophono or even simple wand messages had never even been heard of.

I sit down on Harry’s desk chair, contemplating the little shard.
Harry has often told me how he forgot to use the mirror in fifth year, when Kreacher had tricked him into believing that Sirius Black was at the Ministry, being tortured by Voldemort.

Harry has a way of fretting about such things and never really stopping.

I mean, it was epic dumb of him not to use the mirror to check back with Sirius Black, obviously it was, but this is the kind of thing that happens when you are stressed out and somebody’s life is at stake. And also, it happened years ago.
But if there’s one thing Harry can’t do, it’s forgive himself. Really, my man has made feeling guilty into an art form.

It’s the same with what happened at New Year’s, when he came to the Burrow to save me from being killed by Pansy Parkinson and forgot to drink his vial of Fairy Force. It must be a million times that he has told me how he could have saved me from being tortured, and didn’t, and how he’ll never get over it.

It’s a little bit crazy, really. He freed the world of Voldemort, then his Heir, he saved my life like half a dozen times over, but if ever there was a wizard who’s convinced he’s chronically letting down those he loves, it’s Harry Potter.

It must have to do with his shitty family, the aunt and uncle who raised him and treated him like shit. Harry rarely talks about his childhood years, but I know the Muggles made him feel like he wasn’t fit to breathe the same air as them.

I bet he kept this piece of glass on the off chance that one day Sirius Black will pop up in there after all so Harry can apologize to him for fucking up and generally being a worthless piece of shit.
I know he tried to do just that after Sirius Black got killed.
The glass in my hand catches the candle light. The reflection is almost like a flare of magic.
Merlin, it kills me to think of Harry at age fifteen, staring at his mirror, mourning the man who would have given him a home, searching for him in this piece of blind glass.
But the mirror didn’t work with the man dead. Not that surprisingly.

There’s another flicker of something in the glass. Huh.
Maybe that’s Aberforth Dumbledore on the other side.
Apparently Sirius Black had left his own mirror behind at Grimmauld Place, and it somehow ended up with Dumbledore’s brother. Yet another childless loner and last of his family...

The shard lights up. For a split moment, I look into an eye. Somebody is looking back at me.
Only the eye isn’t Dumbledore blue, it’s grey, like my own.

I stare at the shard for another half a minute, but nothing more happens.
That must have been my own reflection; I must have seen myself. This is supposed to be a mirror after all, even if its magic is defunct.
I’m about to wrap the shard back up, as neatly as I found it, when it suddenly lights up like a Y- Pad screen.

Something is happening in the depths of that mirror. Something is coming to life in there.
My hand shakes. I throw the thing on the desk, standing with wobbly knees, staring down at the glimmering glass like I expected a genie to rise from it.

The shimmer turns to a bright scintillating, and then it assumes shape. But it’s not a genie in the mirror.

It’s a man, unkempt, unshaven, looking like he got yanked from a sleep of a thousand years. He’s rubbing his brow, then blinks up at me.
No, those are not the blue eyes of Aberforth Dumbledore.

Those are the grey eyes of a Black, and that smirk is the Black smirk.
And although I've never heard the man's voice, it's familiar, too; all bored arrogance.

“And who are you, Tinkerbell.”

-

I’m sitting on the floor.

That’s Sirius Black in that mirror.
I’m talking to a dead man.

Or rather, he’s talking to me. Distinctly. There's no whooshing, nothing that would indicate we are in different dimensions or something.

“Come on, boy, stop the staring, tell me who you are!”

He leans forward, like he’s trying to step out of the flatness of the shard. Suddenly his eyes seem to pop right out of his skull.

“Fuck it, that’s fucking Lucius Malfoy’s son! You are Draco fucking Malfoy!”

I want to say something, but all I'm able to do is gape.
Listening to the man talk would shock anyone out of their wits, even without all the swearing. And how can he know I’m my father’s son?

“Don’t look so surprised I’m seeing through your glamour charm!" he shouts. "I’m dead, not senile!”

I swallow. My throat has gone so dry it hurts.

“How did you get your hands on Harry’s mirror, Malfoy? Answer me! Where is Harry?”

The last words sound outright menacing.
He seems to be thinking that I robbed Harry and left him to die in the street or something.

“I’m... We...”

“Are you holding him prisoner? Is Voldemort holding him prisoner? Shit, if you’ve handed him over to the Dark Lord, I’ll come haunt you till the end of your days, boy!”

“But I haven’t... I...”

“You what!”

Better start with something simple.

“Voldemort is dead.”

That leaves him speechless.

“Didn’t you know?” I ask.

“He never arrived here,” he murmurs. “But then... I see... probably, with his soul being chopped up...”

His stuttering and flabbergasted expression make me bolder.

“Others must have arrived over there since you did. People who died after Voldemort. Has nobody ever told you?”

He gives a hollow laugh.

“Told me? We don’t talk much over here, boy.”

“But how come you’ve got your mirror?”

He leans forward, looking furious again, like ready to curse me right through the glass.

“How come you’ve got Harry’s, brat?”

“I’m his boyfriend. His fiancé. We are engaged to be married.”

And I flash him my engagement ring.
He looks so shocked I’d be afraid he’d drop dead. If he wasn’t dead already.
The scowl has given way to a totally goofy look of surprise. This is fun, actually.

“They changed the law a few years back so men can marry,” I say smoothly, then add, “Yeah, and we are going to have seven kids. They are going to hatch in a couple of weeks.”

“Hatch,” he whispers.

“As it happens, I’m part fairy, cousin,” I say. And then, because he’s dead and therefore kind of doesn’t count, I pull my shirt up to my neck and turn around so he gets a good view of my wings.
He swallows, but only once.

“So Lucius Malfoy was part elf,” he says in a low voice.

For a guy who’s dead he’s pretty quick on the uptake.

“How do you know he’s my father?” I ask. “I Cut the Cord.”

“You did, didn’t you,” he says, and now he’s chuckling. “I like that. Old Lucius is going to end up dying without any offspring, no different from me.”
The idea seems to thoroughly please him.

“But how do you know he’s my father? How....”

“I’m dead, okay? Cutting the Cord makes you fatherless in the eyes of the world. I’m not part of the world, am I.”

“And how come you’ve got your mirror?”

“I cut off a piece and took it with me when I went to the Ministry the night I died,” he says, sounding impatient. “Now tell me, how’s Harry.”

“Why have you never shown up and asked him yourself, when you can? Harry tried to contact you! He was devastated when you died!”

He runs his hand over his eyes.

“He was, was he. Oh man. But it wouldn’t have been right. It’s not good for the living to hold on to the dead. I couldn’t put Harry at risk like that. He has had more contact with death than is healthy for any man.”

He looks up again, his grey eyes boring into mine.

“Has he told you about how he saw his dead parents, talked to them, even? That kind of thing has the power to mess a person up, man. Some will forever try and get back what they lost, they’ll forever be bound to the past. You understand? Harry wouldn’t have focused on living his life like he has if I hadn’t made a clean cut.”

I nod, because hell. The man’s right.

“You shouldn’t tell him about this, Malfoy.”

I nod again.

“So, how is he?”

“Harry’s fine. He has made quite a career for himself. He has been Head of Auroring, and now he’s DADA professor at Hogwarts.”

“Head of Auroring. And professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, huh? I like that. I like that. And he’s in a relationship, he’s with you?”

He didn’t know this before. It’s quite a relief. Hell, when Harry fucked me on this desk last night, Sirius Black was inside it, literally inches away from the action. Yes, it is a relief the mirror doesn’t seem to transport any words or sounds unless people are actually looking into it.

“He is,” I affirm.

“I like that.” He utters a barking laugh. Apparently he doesn’t need anything more than Harry’s decision to be with me to take me into his good graces.
I like that.

“And he’s having kids with you and is planning to marry you.” He laugh-barks again and sits back, looking satisfied.” He’s busy living, I gather. Happy.”

“He is,” I repeat, and he is, if not to the extent he should be.
Though he isn't talking about it, I know he’s constantly worrying again, about this man, Orion Black the second, who seems to be Sirius’ older brother.
And he had another nightmare about hurting me last night. We had gone to bed together after our little tryst, and all was fine, but yet again I woke before dawn to the sound of Harry, crying.
I throw a surreptitious glance at my ring. Doesn’t it seem as if the stone is already dimming again, if ever so subtly? It still is green and shiny, but ... Doesn’t it look like it lost some of its lovely sparkle?

“What’s the problem,” Sirius Black asks, squinting up at me from the mirror on the floor. Shit, the guy is way too quick on the uptake.

A sound from downstairs; Teddy, happily yapping. Harry must be back for lunch.

“Sorry, got to go,” I say.
I wrap the mirror up and push it back into the drawer, fighting off a rather absurd feeling of being rude. Then, after a quick attempt at tidying up, I jam the drawer shut and Disapparate from the room.

Chapter Text

Chapter warnings: Dub-con, SM, glasses fetish.

Mature content!

-

Kreacher has prepared lunch; a chicken casserole that turns out to be quite amazingly delicious. He smashed another jug, but the guy can cook.

Harry doesn’t come home for lunch every day, but he claimed he couldn’t wait till the evening to see me again. After an intense encounter like last night, the kind that he knows will leave me a little bit sore, he tends to be in need of affection the next day.
This special way of his of locking his gaze to mine, telling me he worships me without so many words; this way of taking my hand and raising it to his lips, like he was a lord in a Regency novel courting his lady. At long last he'll proceed to kiss me for real, but all cautiously, like prepared to get Stunned for making a move.
It’s kind of droll, and a little daft, and it would make anyone melt into a puddle of goo.

I didn’t tell him about Sirius Black.
The man asked me not to do it, and he has a point.
For all his power and muscle, Harry has this certain frailty about him; a propensity to ponder everything and seek out what’s grievous instead of simply sticking to the hassles and charms of everyday life. He takes everything to heart.

What alpha top would feel the need for absolution after giving his lover a good fuck? Or cry so many angsty tears over some dom dreams?

Harry’s problem is a lack of shallowness. Which means he can’t be trusted to deal well with finding a door to the death world open. Yes. This kind of thing does have the power to mess a person up, and especially someone like Harry.

-

As usual when Harry’s in for lunch, he reads a story from Beedle the Bart to Teddy after dessert, and Teddy falls asleep on the kitchen bench.
When Harry has left for Hogwarts again, and Teddy is tucked in on the bench with a blanket and a fall-prevention spell that Kreacher came up with, I return to Harry's study to get back to Sirius Black.
But no matter how often I tap my wand against the mirror shard and call the man’s name, he doesn’t show up again.

When I go out to check on the kids in the garden instead, I find Kreacher on the terrace, in a deck chair, reading the Prophet with his face all scrunched up and the paper an inch away from his nose.
On seeing me, he hastily folds the paper, gets up and starts wiping at the arm rest with it.

“Kreacher came out to clean, Master, and also to have an eye on the eggs.”

“Well, it’s not like they are going to hatch at any moment or anything,” I say.
I haven’t yet picked up on even the smallest signal that the kids are getting ready to hatch. Which is a bit strange, considering the weeks that have gone by since the birthing.

The truth is, I’m starting to get a little worried.

Kreacher has let out a scoff, the you don’t say kind.

“What.”

“Obviously they aren’t, Master.”

I don’t need the man’s advice or anything, but I am starting to get a little bit worried.

“You know anything about these things? About when they can be expected to come out?”

He shrugs.

“They’ll hatch when they are ready, and when their parents are ready, Master.”

“We are ready,” I say firmly.

Kreacher scoffs again.
What’s all the scoffing? But I’m too intrigued to get pissed at the old geezer. He somehow seems to be in the know about all kinds of things.

“Tell me what you know about the hatching. Is there anything that can be done to help the kids get through it?”

“They’ll do everything by themselves, Master. All they need is to be left undisturbed, and kept warm after.”

“So you’ve seen it happen before? You’ve seen fairy kids hatch?”

“Only house elf babies, Master. Kreacher helped with the hatching and nursing while he was at Hogwarts.”

How come I never thought about house elf babies? House elves are having babies at Hogwarts, they were while I lived there. They collected their newborns from down in the woods on dewy nights. And I never knew, nor cared.
The things that happen unseen, with no one watching in wonder. –

“You need Kreacher to do something for you, Master?” Kreacher is squinting up at me...
Harry’s old glasses. No idea where I put them, but it’s enough to know something exists to Summon it with Accio. Obviously you’ve got to also have a right to the object in question, but that’s not a problem. When I donated a couple of spectacles that had gone out of style to that glasses charity the other day, Harry gave me his old pair and told me to give them away along with the others. For some reason I didn’t do it, and now it turns out that was a good thing, too.

On seeing me pluck Harry's old glasses from the air and holding them out to him, Kreacher jumps backwards.

“Yeah, I know, Muggle plastic," I say. "Horrifying. Let’s do something about that.” I change the glasses to horn-rimmed.
Kreacher stares at them, vigorously shaking his head. Only then I get it.

“Oh right. But this isn’t a garment, is it, it’s just reading glasses.”

His ears twitch apprehensively as he takes another step backwards, holding up his hands defensively.

“Kreacher doesn’t need those, Master, Kreacher’s got so much to do, he hardly ever reads...” He’s shoving the Prophet down his towel as if to hide it.

“Listen, Kreacher, I need you to see properly so you don’t break any more of my stuff,” I say. And nodding at the glasses in my hand, I add, “I can only lend you these, obviously; I’m going to need them back.”

Eventually he accepts the glasses and puts them on. I hex them until he can read the caption under today’s Prophet’s front picture without squinting.
The picture is a photo set of Grimmauld Place and Harry, both looking worn, and the caption says, “The house of the Black family still in deplorable state of destitution - Is Harry Potter having second thoughts about setting up home with his half-breed fiancé?”

Not a great line.
But the glasses look good on Kreacher. They lend him a fancy scholarly touch.

The towel though.

“Kreacher. I can’t give you anything decent to wear, can I, but I honestly hate to look at that stained old thing all day. Couldn’t you like, transform it?”

For three seconds, he processes this, then he snips his fingers, and the towel straightens out, freshly washed and ironed.

“Thanks, that’s great, that looks awesome,” I tell him, because, baby steps.
His furrowed face distorts. By now I know him well enough to get that this is the man throwing me a shy smile. Encouraged, I say, “Hey, why not go wild and add some colour?”

A few words of magic, and I’ve worked a flower pattern charm onto the towel. He stares down his front.

“It’s always fun to smarten up your basics, isn’t it,” I say, hoping I haven’t put myself in mortal peril.
The silence stretches.

“Okay, you don’t like them daisies, gone they are,” I say and wield my wand to make the pattern disappear.
He steps back.

“It’s fine, Master Draco,” he says, bowing.
I still can’t shake the feeling he isn’t into daisies.

“You change that pattern into a design of your own choice. That is an order,” I say. And thinking of the main motif at his beloved Grimmauld Place, I add, “Just no serpents, please.”

-

It’s all good to take care of your house elf’s fashion needs, but obviously what I really need to do is concentrate on my own.
I’ve made my final decision.
I’m going to wear a white suede three piece to my wedding. Classical, with just the leather as a special touch.

Of course it means I have to go see Madam Malkin again and tell her that the Puffapod leather dress suit she has just made the final adjustments to needs to go to the trash. Can’t be helped. I realized that the pinkish hue was too much after all. Made me look too girly. Not good for Harry.

In the afternoon, I Apparate to Madam Malkin's shop in Diagon Alley. While I’m waiting in the shop for her to fetch a folder with suede samples, I hear her talking to her assistant in the backroom. I’m not eavesdropping, because I’m better than people think, and also I generally want an incentive for snooping that makes the effort seem worthwhile. But I have fairy hearing. And also she probably wants me to hear this.

“That man is beyond high maintenance if you ask me... selfish, frivolous, without any consideration for other people... You can only wonder how Harry Potter wants to marry that.”

And before I’ve recovered from this, she adds, “Well, he’s a Slytherin, so that’s how, I guess. Devious and two-faced is what he is, what they all are...”

Phew.
It’s one thing to be aware people don’t like you, but it’s a different story altogether to actually listen to them spelling it out.
Okay. Some perspective here. She must have gotten wind of it that I’ve been to Ollivander’s, Fine Wizards' Wear since 2001, to find out what kind of wedding outfit Ollivander junior would suggest. That’s probably all there is to this.
The visit at Ollivander’s was a bummer; the whole shop is full of garish stuff that fluoresces, and when I said I didn’t want the poncho and matching plateau sneakers in pumpkin orange, the man got nasty and pretty much threw me out on my ear.
And now Madam Malkin is pissed at me, too; that’s why she’s saying all that about me being devious and two-faced.
Also, she probably reads the Daily Prophet.
Is it her who’s hexing my ring? Is it her who’s somehow planning on sabotaging my happiness? Because there seems to be something wrong with my new emerald, too.
It definitely looks duller than it was.

But surely it can’t be Madam Malkin who’s doing this. She’s just harbouring a perfectly regular antipathy, not a wish to harm a customer with a wedding curse.

At least it isn’t very likely. There’s certainly no need to tell Harry about a suspicion as far-fetched as this.
The truth is, I’m not even sure I want to show him the ring is getting dark again, and I definitely don’t want to repeat those words to him.

Devious and two-faced.
I guess I am.
At least it’s very much how I feel when a few minutes later I leave Madam Malkin’s shop, smiling and wishing her a good day.

-

That photo set of Harry and Grimmauld Place. It’s staring me right in the face, because Harry is sitting at the dinner table reading the Prophet while I’m lying on the couch opposite him, going through some potions books to take notes on the bio-availability of memory-effective magical plant compounds.

Or trying to.

Harry has told me he wants to put the renovation of Grimmauld Place on hold till the DLE track down Orion Black so there won’t be any disturbances. It does make sense, I guess, but it obviously means the house won’t be ready to serve as a wedding location any time soon.

So what if we just forgot about disturbances and simply pushed through with the renovating?
No harm in mentioning the possibility to him.

I adjust my glasses, clear my throat, and do it.
Harry puts his paper down and looks at me. Instead of replying, he just continues to look at me for a few seconds, or rather, to stare. Pulling my feet off the arm rest, I sit up.

“Harry?”

He coughs.

“Well, erm... You’ve always said you wanted the perfect location for the wedding, haven’t you. Well, I’ve been thinking. Grimmauld Place might never be that location. With the state it’s in, there might be dust goblins coming through the tapestry for years to come.”

“Guess that’s true, but...”

“I’ve been thinking that maybe we should just rent a flat as a London base. Something less troublesome than Grimmauld Place; less high maintenance. Something that doesn't have all this bad history. Maybe we should put Grimmauld Place on the market.”

“No!”

He observes me, eyebrows raised.

“Is this because of Orion Black, Draco darling? Like, you don’t want to sell the house because someone tried to make us give it up, and now you don’t want to cave?”

“Do you want to sell it because I suggested we host our wedding there?”

Harry shoots me a quick glance, then covers his eyes with his hand, bowing his head with a suppressed sigh.
Shit. Didn’t mean to say that. Shit, it’s the worst thing in the world to sound needy. No, it’s the worst thing in the world to be needy.

It’s that frigging line on that frigging front page about second thoughts.
O Shit, he’s having second thoughts...

 

“Angel.”
He has gotten up, he has folded the paper and is putting it in the fireplace. He watches as his photo-self blinks and coughs, then crumples up in the flaring flames. Only then he turns to look at me again.

“Have you ever considered renting Malfoy Manor for the wedding? I hear Romantic Country Spa Hotels has quite the reputation.”

My head spins.
Hell, didn’t see that one coming.
For the first time, he has offered up an opinion about where to hold our wedding. He has actually made a suggestion.

And this suggestion.

“It would mean you’d be wed from your home,” he adds.

“Malfoy Manor isn't my home,” I say, still a bit numb.

“You grew up there.”

“You were imprisoned in that house. You can’t want to go back there, let alone get married there.”

“What I remember of the place is you, saving my life. That’s the only memory of importance to me.”

Hearing him say this makes me blink with fluttering confusion, but he holds my gaze.

“The house still means something to you, doesn’t it. You once told me you were planning on buying it back one day, didn’t you.”

And I did, only...
It had been at a time when I had just Cut the Cord, and was still struggling with it.
I haven’t been back to the Manor since the day my father tried to rip out my wings, then to kill me with Sectumsempra. I never got to make up my mind about leaving home, like normal twenty- year-olds. I never got to make a free decision about it.

“We don’t have to decide anything right now, do we. I just think you should consider it,” Harry says.

“They are bound to be booked out for the year,” I reply, still struggling with the fact we are even having this discussion. “All the big places are.”

“Well, call them and you’ll find out. We can always go on looking. Just take your time thinking about this, okay?”

I nod.

“All I want is seeing you happy, angel.”

He walks over to me and pats my head, smiling down at me, lovingly and little patronizingly, and I shouldn’t be getting hard from that, I so shouldn’t.
He picks up on it, he always does, and his smile transforms. His green gaze takes on that special glitter. His fingers get entangled in my hair, and I expect him to, I don't know, take my glasses off of me and get on top of me, yes, he's going to bury me under his broad frame any second now and...

Rather abruptly, he turns away, plucks a heavy encyclopaedia about Defence Spells from the bookshelf and sits down at the table to start reading again.

Or is he just moving his eyes back and forth?

Somehow it feels like this isn’t what it seems; Harry joining in with the wedding planning, Harry, moving things forward.
No.
It feels like this is Harry, scheming.

What he said about Malfoy Manor seemed sincere.
But yet again, he navigated his way around the question of when.

What if he’s hoping to put off marrying me by encouraging me to forever go on making enquiries and checking out locations and exploring my feelings about my fucked up origins?

Hell, that might be exactly what he’s doing.
He isn’t supposed to act all sly like that.
He’s a bloody Gryffindor, he’s supposed to meet challenges, like getting married, head on. All upright and upfront and courageous. He isn’t supposed to be clever.

And there aren’t supposed to be those shadows drifting across my engagement emerald, like swarming creatures of darkness.

-

The fire is crackling in the fireplace. We are in the living room, both of us reading. He’s wearing his glasses, lounging on the couch, his feet propped up against the armrest. He has a cat-like way of stretching his body in the warmth, like he was imbibing the fire’s warmth with every single one of his supple fibres.
Now he starts wriggling his ass in an attempt to bring the cushion into the right position under his wing joints.
His whole posture says, fuck me.
I aim my wand at him, and his thighs snap apart. The cushion drops to the floor as his upper body slips half off the couch.
Before he can get back to anything like upright, I strike him with a body bind curse. Only then I get up and walk over, my erection trapped in my pant leg and so huge I got actual trouble walking.
Better to vanish all the clothes in the room.
Oh yes, he’s fully hard, too. I knew he’d be, my sweet little pervert.
Gently, I take the potions book from his frozen hands and straighten out his half-spread wings. He tried to keep his balance when the curse hit, but he wasn't prepared for it, and now it's too late for him, now he can't do anything anymore about any of this.
He looks up at me from his awkwardly skewed position, his eyes behind his glasses wide with apprehension. Oh man, I love this. I love how this is a scene, yet his reactions are real.
“Yeah, you got it right, baby, you’re going to do for me what you do best. But I won’t have you soil the couch.”
I Summon a cock ring, and his plug.
His swollen dick jerks across his stomach. Without any caress or tease, I grab that fat fairy stiffy and snap the ring around its base. The ring has got spikes. Nothing too sharp, just so he feels it. Then I show him the plug. I’ve newly transformed it; it’s steel in the shape and size of a pear, fitted with scales. His pupils actually dilate at the sight of the thing, and he wets his ass. I scold him and warn him to be good, then line the plug up with his entrance, blunt end first. A gush of hot fairy cream washes over my hand.
“Be decent,” I growl and drive the plug in.
He utters a choked whine as he’s swiftly, cruelly opened up. The tool disappears inside him.
With a flick of my wand, I start its fuck magic, closely watching his entrance. It retracts in on itself, and after two seconds protrudes, then retracts again, going into a rhythm. When it thinks it’s getting fucked, it always gets active like that, intent on pleasing the cock inside it. But it won’t get this plug to squirt into it after a couple of minutes, then leave it in peace. Oh no.
No, this is going to take a while.
Exactly as long as I want it to take.
Time to get back to my reading. With a chaste kiss to his sweaty forehead, I leave him in his uncomfortable position, head by the side of the couch, legs spread wide, cock wickedly caged, and his seizing hole on full display.
I have to put the paper between me and the sight of him so I won’t come in my pants.
For a while, I simply enjoy the sound of his moans and the gentle slurping noises of his ass. Until I feel his mind reaching out to mine in a jerking tremble.
“Harry... please...”
I walk back over and carefully pull him up so he gets to sit, right on his stuffed ass. His eyes are on me; his mouth is stretched open in a silent moan.
His dick is obscenely swollen above the ring, and when I bend down to kiss it, it twitches wildly, poking at my lips, struggling to spill its juice.
His mind's voice in my head again. “Harry, I can’t ...”
“What, love?” I ask him out loud. “I can’t... sit...”
“Oh, right.”
Chuckling, I push him back down onto the couch to give him the relief he asked for. I dive between his thighs to watch his confused, noisy hole, and to do a bit of mischievous fingering.
He seems to try to move into my touch, seeking the caress, clenching around my fingers, gasping with animal lust. But at each contraction, the plug in his ass is moved forward an inch, stretching his opening from inside, twisting every groan of pleasure into one of pain.
I go on nuzzling and pinching the silky swollen rim, and each time the plug appears, I push it back in, fast, unceremoniously.
In between, I get over him and kiss his mouth, which is still stretched open, mirroring what he’s feeling deep in his hole.
In his mind, he begs me not to make him come.
In response I tell him I love him, running my fingers up his dick’s underside and twisting the swollen tip, making him scream into my kiss. Oh yes, he is going to go through this, because he is mine.
I pull back to have a good look at him.
He has contracted so hard the plug is sticking halfway out of him now, and it seems he can't help going on pushing. The plug stretches and stretches him, making his entrance form an ever bigger O around the unyielding metal. The glint of steel makes the widening look even crueler.
The plug has a diameter of three and a half inches in the middle, which is why it’s still stuck in him, straining against his anus muscle, and it will stay where it is, trapped, until I’ll make him come.
And then it’ll cut through, like disciplining him for climaxing.
He knows that as well as I do, and his muscles strain against the body bind hex so he's trembling, and his expression is just exquisite.
I don’t know what this intense beauty is, seeing my graceful, witty mate stripped of his dignity and cool, stripped of his ability to smirk or even say a single word. All he can do is produce dirty noises, his body submitted to my manipulations, to the laws of physics and its own biology, and he's still wearing his glasses, and it brings out his vulnerability in a way that is almost unbearable. It makes my insides clench, and oh God, I don't know why I need this so much.
Ten more seconds, that’s how long I let him wait, then I do it. Three firm draws down his turgid length and his balls jump up. He utters an indescribable choked grunt. I snap the cock ring open, and his come squirts up his chest and into his face in a wide arc of silver.
And a split second later, the plug bursts forth from his hole, cutting through the swollen opening like an oversized rifle projectile. The plug is sent flying over the armrest of the couch and lands on the floor, skidding into a corner as his abused ass pumps out its load in rich jets of shimmering slush.
I don’t grant him time to experience his orgasm in peace, I don’t respect his worn body’s need to go through this without further violation. I get over him so he squirts a shower of ass spunk over my cock. I scold him for what he’s doing, the insolence and filthiness of it. Then I shove my cock into him with a punishing thrust, right into his next convulsion.
I love fucking his aching, climaxing hole, the squelching and the clenching and the sharp awareness he couldn't even tolerate this if he weren't caught up in a delirium of fairy lust. -
When he has made it through his orgasm, I know he’s feeling the full sting of his soreness. His jerky gasps echoing my thrusts betray it. But his hole can’t help going on massaging me, sucking at my cock, nursing it so it gets ever bigger inside him.
I love him. I love his lovely, delicately chiselled face, twitching with what I'm doing to him; the shimmering golden tears in the lashes of his closed eyes.
He’s still having his glasses on.
Suddenly I need him to look at me, to be sure he’s okay.
“Draco.”
He won't look at me. I need him to look at me.
O God, o Merlin. What am I doing. Why am I doing this? God, why can’t I stop doing these things to him.

 

The next morning, the emerald on my ring isn't green anymore. It's a full, unequivocal midnight black.

Chapter Text

The next morning, the emerald on my ring is a full midnight black.

It’s the first thing I see on waking up. I don’t want to face it, and it’s like, as long as Harry doesn’t know, it’s not quite real.
Harry will be off to work in just about half an hour; all I need to do is keep the ring out of his sight till then, then I’ll think about what I’ll do...
But instead of getting out of bed and ready for Hogwarts, Harry silences his wand alarm, then turns to embrace me, stroking my hair and looking me in the eyes and telling me he loves me on repeat, like he had nothing more pressing going on in his life.

Like he had ravaged me for real.

Should I talk to him about his dream?

One thing is clear, if I tell him that I know about his troubles, there will be even less of a chance of him agreeing to trying out stuff with me.
No doubt he would feel I’d be sacrificing myself. And he would never agree to be a part of that.
Maybe I should tell him that I think he needs help. That we need help. Even if I got no idea who we should turn to with this problem.
But still, maybe I should...

Oh no, o shit.
He has taken my hand to kiss it.

“Draco! What ... oh my God, your ring! ...”

I try to make light of it, suggesting the new emerald might be from the same batch as the old one; just another enchanted fake.

But this time he doesn’t buy in to the gem scam theory.
With his brow split in half by his worry lines, he declares he’ll take the ring to the Ministry to have it inspected by the Department for Defence against the Dark Arts.
I tell him that I’m ninety-nine percent sure there’s no dark curse hidden in the stone.

My father taught me how to disclose black magic in an object, and I have finally decided to apply my warped private education. It’s physically distressing for me to do this stuff, maybe something to do with my fairy genes, and having my knuckles split open by my father’s serpent cane during lessons is a limbic memory inseparably associated with these illegal procedures, but I still performed them all when I came back from Madam Malkin’s yesterday afternoon, including putting the ring in a Reveal Potion made from Muggle corpse essence. Got a flask of that incredibly putrid stuff from Borgin and Burke’s before I went home.

I can’t give Harry that kind of details, no point in grossing him out; I only tell him that I did some tests and found nothing.

But he pockets the ring, insisting he needs to make sure.
He also makes me promise to not go to London or into the village or out into the woods until further notice.
I don’t feel like going out or facing the world today anyway.

When Harry has left for London, I boot up my Y-Pad and log in to World of Witchcraft for a healthy dose of escapist relief.

When I first discovered modern media entertainment, I used to spend a lot of time watching talent shows. I loved the competition. But these days I’m much more into gaming. Because it’s the best to be competing yourself.
I started out back during the pregnancy. I was bored and alone, so I subscribed to World of Witchcraft. It’s still my favourite game. You can do all kinds of cool stuff in WoW, crazy gaming magic that would never work in real life.
All you need to do is set up an avatar and you are fit to go.

Basically there’s two classes of people in WoW; Outlaws and Knights. The Knights are the ruling class of Forestasia, defending the law and doing noble deeds like saving damsels and stuff. The Outlaws are scoundrels who steal and plunder and engage in all sorts of crookery to get their hands on riches and land.

My avatar, Superslayer, would be an Outlaw.

Back when I moved in with Harry, he used to do quite a bit of gaming, too. He mostly did quests on WoW, and he was a Knight. He would be. There’s nothing wrong with being a Knight, obviously, but an Outlaw is way more fun to play.

Superslayer has a face like a bulldog and troll tattoos all over his bald head, and he’s all big and broad and bulging. It’ll never get old to be stomping about in Forestasia as this beefcake and be bad.

It must look quite a bit ridiculous, me jumping about in the bedroom and casting gaming curses, steering Superslayer's hologram, but no one ever gets to see it, especially not Harry, so that’s okay.

Yeah, I love this game.

Some people won’t stop bitching about the bugs, but there are really just a few of those. Like with the Loot feature that entitles you to Summon something belonging to a defeated opponent; sometimes you’ve got to log out and then in again before the object actually appears in your own vault.
But those are minor flaws. The game is still endlessly entertaining.

The best part is the magical score keeping. I love watching Superslayer rise in the ranks. The truth is, I’m kind of addicted to checking the rank page. And yes, I am in the top ten.

During the pregnancy, I couldn’t bag as much as a troll apron, I was so slow. I slept like fifteen hours a day and the rest of the time I was in this Zen state.
Now it’s like my mind is making up for that by keeping me on constant alert. Hermione says it’s because my ancestors needed their wits about them to guard their eggs in the old times.
Those biological mechanisms might be outdated, because we have state-of-the-art magical home alarm systems and don’t live in the woods anymore. But even if the brain understands that on a higher level, it can’t change its own inner workings.

Meaning that no matter how often someone, or Hermione, explains these things to me, I’ll go into full attack mode each time Teddy jumps me. It’ll cost me years of my life I’m sure, but it comes in handy in gaming. Very handy. I’m on a winning streak; I have sent two dozen enemies to the graveyard in four weeks’ worth of gaming. Some of them multiple times. Like Black Boss.

I especially enjoy defeating him since he defeated me three times in a row during the pregnancy. Then he asked me for a real life duel. I passed up the offer, biding my time.
By now, he has lost so many virtual items to me my WoW vault is crammed with them. I have like twenty of his fur-trimmed wizard hats and bulky pocket watches stacked away on my virtual shelves.

Now the time is ripe for a piece of real life booty. Like a nice fat gold Galleon. The rules are, opponents present objects they own as potential prizes a few days before the actual duel, because Loot is simply a variant of Accio; you can only Summon things you know exist and can envision. But Black Boss and I agreed on skipping that step, which leaves simple money as the prize. Apparently he doesn’t trust the man behind Superslayer to own anything he might care to possess, just like I know I don’t want any of his stuff. What’s the point of a steeple hat or fat golden watch that went out of style in fourteen hundred?

Yeah, I’m looking forward to winning a simple, real gold coin. But what I’m really here for is those five hundred achievement points. Busting Black Boss in this duel is going to send me straight to the top of the ranks.

-

Black Boss said he was ready to meet up for a duel at any time, and it turns out the man is true to his word. In spite of the early hour, it takes him just seconds to respond to my message, and we agree to meet up in the next free duel dungeon.

It’s a special moment when I put on the Glamour Charm for my avatar and watch myself in the mirror as the change kicks in. For the first time, Superslayer is not just a hologram; for the first time, I am actually him.

Hell, I look good. I am this beefy badass giant. Maybe, if I added a full beard–
Yeah, even better.

For a moment, I think of Harry’s warning.

But this isn’t dangerous.
They have wand-control; players can’t enter a duel dungeon with a real wand. So what’s the worst that can happen? That Black Boss will win.
Only he won’t.

My Y-Pad beeps. A castle icon has appeared on the screen; the signal that there’s a free dungeon. I tap my gaming wand on the icon to claim the dungeon, chant the Launching incantation and step into Forestasia.

-

I am in a spacious, empty room that seems to be part of a medieval castle. Thick stone walls, rusty torch holders, paneless windows. I put my Y-Pad on a moldy-looking window ledge.
Outside, I can see the virtual foliage of the Forestasia woods, thick and of an intense, popping green. The sky’s blue is extra shiny, too. Even the flagstones under my feet are kind of crisper than real-life rock.

There’s no breeze coming through the windows; the air is perfectly still and a little stale. Soft, magical music is filling my ears; the WoW signature tune.

I wait, every one of my senses on high alert.

Black Boss appears with a dull plop.
He looks the same as his avatar; a dark-haired youth in a terrible outfit. Pointed hats and cloaks with fur trimmings are just so last season.
He doesn’t give me time to contemplate his style choices.

“Petrificus totalus!” he cries, skipping even the succinct gamer greetings I guess I’ve been expecting.
I dodge the curse, and he immediately casts the next one. This time, I'm ready and block it mid-air.

Hell, I’m going to need every single one of my reflexes for this one. That guy is real quick with his gaming wand.
Funny, he didn’t used to be anywhere near this good...

“Expelliarmus!”

Again, I escape the spell’s ray of red light by a hair’s breadth. Shit, the man is agile.
I shoot a cascade of Stunning spells at him in return, taking care to keep mobile.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The fake curses bounce off the walls of the dungeon as we fight in silence, both of us struggling to gain the upper hand, neither of us scoring a hit.

“Give up!” he shouts.

What? After like a minute of duelling, and for no reason at all?

“In your dreams, Boss!”

He casts another spell. I dodge it and laugh.
But when it hits the wall behind me, there isn’t the usual sound of a fake curse that missed its target. There’s an ear-deafening blast, and I’m swallowed in a cloud of smoke.
The wall behind me is gone.

It’s gone!

That guy just cast a Curse at me, for real.

“Give up, disgusting insect, or I’ll make you regret it!” he cries, wielding his wand.
That’s his real wand.
I’m too dumbfounded to feel fear.

“Mate! What do you think you are doing?”

Another explosion, a cloud of fiery greenish fog. I recognize the colour of the Unforgivables a split second before I hear him cry the word.

“Crucio!”

A zigzagging arrow of scorching, concentrated cruelty zings past me, crashing into a stone pillar, pulverizing it.

“Give up, crossbreed, or next time I swear I’ll wipe you out!”

I’m fucked, I don’t have my wand, and my defence forces are obstructed by the Glamour Charm. The sheer mass of Superslayer’s muscle is blocking my fairy energy, preventing me from building a shield.

Yet again, Black Boss is lifting his wand. Yet again, its tip takes on a green glow as it gathers the energy of an Unforgivable curse.

Not Cruciatus. I can’t take Cruciatus.

Spurred by sheer panic, I dive for my Y-Pad and press Exit Game.

-

I'm on the floor of my bedroom, clutching my Y-Pad to my chest, trying to breathe through my panic.

That guy just cast the Cruciatus Curse at me.

Terror grips me, hard, as I’m flooded with memories of when Pansy Parkinson’s Death Eaters pinned me to the Burrow’s front door.
There's nothing worse than having to endure torture. The memory of the pain is like a haze, but what’s never going to leave me is this elementary knowledge of evil. The evil that was all around me, like a living thing; the evil invading me, determined to tear me to shreds, mind and soul, to erase me...

Breathe. Breathe.

Bit by bit, I manage to regain some control over my emotions. Bit by bit, my brain reboots. I have to try and analyse what just happened.
I got attacked, I went into a trap in WoW, because someone knew I would do just that.
I had meant to abide by Harry’s wishes, he had told me to stay home and I did. But obviously he had asked me not to do any duelling, too. Fuck, I never expected anything like this, I never expected to run into this kind of bad. Oh man.

Okay. But.
I didn’t get hit. And that was no coincidence, either; Black Boss seemed to intentionally aim past me with his curses.
Apparently he didn’t mean to actually strike me, or kill me. Apparently he only wanted to win.

Must be one of those sick losers you read about. A Y-Pad addict with no life in the real wizarding world. Someone so pathetic he’d smuggle his wand into a gaming dungeon to cheat his way to victory.

But there was more to it, there’s no getting around that.
This was personal, this was personal hate.

”Disgusting insect.”

He knew who I was.

But how?
He has ever only known me as Superslayer. I still am Superslayer, I’ve still got the muscle and the beard and the size; I look nothing fairy.
So how could he know who I am?
It’s not like I put my real name into my gamer profile or something.

But I did put soon to be married in there, the night Harry had proposed.
Complete with a picture of Harry and me arm in arm.
From behind; I know the drill, anonymity and all.
I thought it was a way to not give away my identity while getting to show off my fiancés magnificent shoulders.
Putting both hands to the Y-Pad to keep it steady, I let my profile pop up on the screen.

The picture is there, in the top right corner.
And Harry is turning to the camera, squinting, his worry lines cutting through his scar, like he was trying to make out who’s watching. He has probably been doing that from the moment I uploaded that picture.

Screw his paranoia.
Screw magical photography.
Screw my stupidity, screw it, screw it, screw it.

Two times my wand tumbles from my hand when I attempt to get rid of the Glamour Charm. I’m still shaking.

I want Harry. I want to crawl into his big frame and have him pat my back and tell me everything is going to be alright.

Shit. I can’t ever tell him this.

What would Harry do? I try to think like him; like an Auror.
Aurors are always busy gathering intel. The first thing Harry would probably do is try and obtain information on Black Boss via his YP address.

I could borrow Harry’s wand to contact the Ministry and put in a request with YD. Those guys always fall over backwards to be of service to Harry Potter. Not that I’m judging anyone.

Certainly, the idea is a little shady, but I only feel mildly bad about it, seeing as Harry would certainly contact YD himself, if he knew what happened.

What else have I learnt from living with a law enforcement pro.

Profiling. That’s what they do when they got nothing substantial to go on. Trying to get a picture of who they are dealing with.

Okay, the man found a way to get to me. He tried to challenge me to a duel already weeks back. After he had defeated me online, while never really revealing his true skills.

He had this understanding of how he had to play me. He studied me. This looks like someone with a long term goal and strong motivation.

And that name he chose for himself. Black Boss. It suggests a sense for drama, and quite a bit of hubris.
Much like sending a howler like the one that came to Grimmauld Place.

What if it’s the same person who did that? What if Black Boss and Orion Black II are one and the same man?
But Orion Black claimed he wanted me dead, and Black Boss didn’t kill me, or even harm me. Although he had that exceptional aim, plus the perfect opportunity.

Shit, I’m not really making sense of this.

-

I’m in Harry’s study, trying to get Sirius Black on the mirror. I need to ask him about Orion Black II. If Kreacher’s story is correct, the man is his half brother, so maybe he can tell me something. But yet again, he doesn’t show up when I tap my wand to the mirror shard.
Maybe he can’t be arsed to talk to a Malfoy twice...

But no. No, there he is, emerging from the moving shadows in the mirror like from black smoke.

“Mr. Black! I thought you wouldn’t turn up again...”

“Took me some time to recover from our last meeting. Talking to an actual human tires me out these days I'm afraid. It’s because I should be resting. Should have been for the last seven years.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Black, I didn’t know...”

“Don’t say Mr. Black, and fucking don’t say sorry, man! Talking to you through this mirror is all I got left. It’s what I’m living for these days, if that’s the word I want.”

He gives his barking laugh.
There’s a few seconds of silence between us.

“What’s the occasion?” he asks gruffly, pointing at my emeralds. I put them on. When things get difficult, it gives me comfort to wear them; the ear rings I got from Harry and my mom’s necklace.

“Mr. Black? Sirius? – About the mirror. Is it possible for somebody else on your side to use it? Like... my mom? I mean, can you... could you get her? To talk to me?”

He shakes his shaggy head.

“There’s just me who can use the mirror. You see, it’s not like we got this big community or something over here, mate. Dead souls are just these fleeting shadows. I wouldn’t even be able to find her.”

“Oh.”

A gleaming droplet has fallen onto the mirror. Quickly, I wipe it away.
But he has seen it.

“It’s better that way, son,” he says, his voice sounding even gruffer than before.
I nod, struggling to get a grip.

“The thing is, this mirror is dangerous, it messes with your mind, son. I told you.”

I blow my nose and say thickly, “But you and I, we are using it.”

“It’s okay for cousins once removed who never used to like each other,” he says with a smirk.

“We never actually met, did we,” I reply.

“Well, you know. You’re a Slytherin and all that.”

That Black smirk is really quite nasty.
It helps with the crying. I roughly wipe the remaining wetness from my lashes.

“Listen, son. Look at the bright side. Dumbledore can’t use it either. He sure would have tried to contact Harry from here if he had had the option. Loved talking to Harry, the old gonzo.”

Dumbledore, talking to Harry each night. Giving him advice on living.
Explaining Harry’s feelings to him.
Our relationship would have been over before it even got started.
And if any dead person had the power to draw Harry into the shadow world, it would be Dumbledore.
If he could, he would engage Harry in endless sessions of sharing his timeless wisdoms.
I can so see Harry philosophising about ethics and eternity and stuff with his childhood hero instead of having fun with me.

Sirius gives me a wink.

“See what I mean?”

“You not a fan of the late headmaster?” I ask. He shrugs.

“The man practically held me prisoner in my own house until I felt I was back in Azkaban. You could say he ruined the final months of my life. So what do you expect? But I’d say the feeling was mutual. To old Dumbledee, I’ve always been a spoilt upper-class brat and more or less got what I deserved for my arrogant ways. I was a disappointment to my parents, so I guess I would have liked to feel valued by the great Hogwarts headmaster, but well. No such luck.”

I know what he’s talking about. Shit, I know that feeling.

“Okay, Malfoy, tell me. What’s new?”

He coolly snips a speck of dust that can’t actually exist in the beyond from his shadowy sleeve, and I realize he’s starved for new stories from our universe. I jump right in.

“Harry and I got a howler the other day, sent to Grimmauld Place from one Orion Black II. He basically told us to sign over the estate, and threatened us, too. And I don’t know if it was the same guy, but this morning someone calling himself Black Boss tried to hit me with Cruciatus in a WoW duel.”

“W - o what?”

“Forget it. Let’s just say he cast an Unforgivable at me. Do you know anyone called Orion Black junior? Kreacher says he must be your father’s illegitimate son.”

As it turns out, Sirius never heard of his father having had a fling. It amuses him. He looks almost happy.

“The old bastard,” he keeps repeating, shaking his head, and from what I can see, slapping his thigh. “Make sure to tell my mom.”

“We already did. She had a fit over it. Her face almost caught up with her scalp on the purple colour scale.”

He makes like to high five me, and can’t. He smirks. And it finally hits home with me why that smirk is so familiar.
Yes, for a moment there it’s like I’m looking into an actual mirror.

“We had hoped to get some information from her, but it was impossible to talk to her,” I say. “All she got is her rage rants. Maybe she can’t really communicate because she’s just a portrait.”

Sirius shakes his head.
“She was the exact same in the flesh, trust me. Listen, man. Don’t let anyone bully you out of that house. I gave it to Harry, he shared it with you, and he was right to do that. You are his family, and you are a Black.”

“You didn’t used to care much for the house in your day, or for being a Black, or did you?”

“Yeah, well, you know. Dying sort of changes your perspective on things. I've come to see that the Blacks are not just my daft parents, or deluded grandparents. The family really is ancient, and it’s just so much bigger than them. I had to listen to too much bullshit about forefathers and breeding and so on as a kid, that’s why I decided to have none of that. For my mother’s sake. I gave her that power, even when she was dead. And now I’m dead myself, and it’s too late for me.”

The mirror goes blank, then crackles, bringing Sirius’ image back once more. He leans forward, like he means to reach for me.

“I’ll have to go in a sec or two. Listen, Draco, don’t let this Orion guy get to you. He sounds like a guileful bastard, so watch out.”

“I will. But when it comes to guile, I’d say the best can still learn from me.”

Shaking his scruffy head, he gives a chuckle that sounds like a very old dog’s growl. Then the connection breaks.

-

In the evening, I tell Harry about Black Boss. Not all of it, obviously. I tell him that Black Boss found out my identity, and threatened me during gaming.
No need for Harry to know that I actually went to meet the man in a dungeon.

He instantly calls YD, like I thought he would.

But those overzealous nerds don't just try and find the YP address of a guy who has an avatar named Black Boss in WoW, they search through all of today’s WoW gaming records.
They send everything related to my gaming account to Harry's Y-Pad, which means he gets to see Superslayer, full beard and all. But he’s too distressed to be laughing at me.

I’m even more distressed myself; I expect Harry to any moment open a magical recording of me duelling Black Boss.
But before I can start confessing or anything, I realize that, funnily enough, there’s no data of that encounter, no videos, nothing. Not even a reference about a ruined dungeon. There's absolutely nothing on those records that would be related to Black Boss. They can’t even track down his WoW account.
The guy must have erased any and all magical traces of his gaming activities. Just like he managed to override the wand control when he entered the dungeon.
Even his Y-Pad seems to never even have been registered. Meaning there’s no chance to find out the guy's home address.

Harry makes some more calls, then tells me we are going to the Ministry for a private meeting with the Head of Auroring.

I get what he's doing; he wants me to listen to someone official so I’ll understand I have to be more careful.
I don’t need that intervention. I’ve learnt my lesson, and I've put it behind me. I didn't get hurt, I'll never set foot in a WoW dungeon again, and that is that.

But I can't refuse to join him on this trip, and anyway, this is a chance to call on Jenkins, my old boss. I haven’t seen him in a while, and I meant to ask him for some golden rain extract, the final ingredient I need for my Forgetting Potion.

-

After I have been down in the Potion’s Department to see Jenkins, who gave me a big vial of golden rain, along with a lot of shit about the dangers of memory magic, I join Harry in a conference room at the Auror Department.

Turns out Ron is there, too. That makes four of them, four really big guys; three sitting opposite me, and one by my side, all watching me and looking serious and concerned and a little reproachful. Like they were a board of school commissioners and I a frolicsome fifth-year who got herself in trouble.

It’s quite the set-up, and obviously I’m not really happy about Harry making such a fuss, but well, you just gotta love his Auror friends.

Weston and Cook have this thing going on where they squabble all the time, because Weston, who succeeded Harry as Head of Auroring, is the prudent and thoughtful type, while Cook, a man of action, is constantly trying to steer the ship in his place.
Yeah, they so could be a couple. They so could be Wook.

Weston returns my engagement ring to me. In its plastic sachet, it looks like a tiny, frozen black corpse.
They found no trace of dark magic in it.

“No dark magic, that’s good news. Isn’t it, Harry,” I say in an upbeat tone.

“The chandelier was dark magic, though,” Harry says, refusing to be this easily comforted.

They have analyzed the traces Ron secured at Grimmauld Place and found that the magical DNA in the howler matches the traces Nigeria Blackthorne left behind, as well as the black magic that made the chandelier fall.

It's the DNA of a wizard.

So that’s why the woman had that beard. A sloppily done Glamour Charm.

The DLE already spread wanted posters based on our description of Nigeria Blackthorne, Ron informs us, and they are continuing the search for a fifty-something half-blood named Picklethistle.

“Draco was expressly abused as a part-fairy wizard, both in the howler and by that gamer," Harry says, wringing his hands in his lap. "What if there's one of Parkinson’s Death Eaters behind this? Someone who decided to make a comeback?"

"Not probable," I say, refusing to think of the strikingly precise aim of Black Boss.

“Profiling is still sticking with the assumption it's a stalker," Ron says. "And I believe they are right. Must be some moron who read the Prophet a couple of times too often.”

Weston nods.

“The media have a part in this. They are feeding prejudice. It’s to be expected that sooner or later some fool acts on that. But seriously, Harry. All this doesn't look like what a killer would do.”

Harry doesn’t look convinced. He bows his head to hide his fear, biting his lip.

“The point is, he didn’t kill me when he could have, darling,” I say. “I mean when I was at Grimmauld Place. He’s got to be a simple hater.”

“You know that Kreacher says the man is planning to take possession of the estate.”

“If that were true, if he really planned to replace us as the owners of the Black estate, he’d have to do away with all of our family," I point out. "But he ever only went for me, kind of singled me out if you will, so I’d say Kreacher’s theory is lacking in logic.”

“He singled you out,” he repeats after me, sounding strangled.

“Listen, Harry, I got four dozen vials of Fairy Force at home. If worst comes to worst, we’ll always be able to defend ourselves.”

“Draco is right, Harry," Weston backs me up. "You should still only go places with Harry, mate, at least for the time being.”

He shuts the file on his desk, giving me his best Auror look.

I nod. It isn’t cool to need a babysitter, but well. If this threat is real after all... I definitely want to stay alive, I just placed an order for the ultimate wedding suit. I can’t have all my wedding planning go to shit.

Harry reaches over to pull me closer, like he expected an attack right here, in the Auror Headquarters.

“What kind of lovely little snack is that?” I ask Ron, who has just pulled a huge sandwich from his lunch box.

“The best,” he replies, taking a bite. Vigorously munching, he details, “Bacon, sausage, white bread. Nothing better.”

Normally, a scene like that would inspire Harry to poke some fun at his best friend. Normally, he would tease Ron about the diet he’s supposed to be on and ask him whether Hermione knows he is transforming the vegan almond porridge she puts in his lunch box.

But he looks like he’s never going to crack a single joke again.

“We'll go on looking into it, Harry,” Weston says. “We will think about further measures...”

“Like seal Grimmauld Place so no one can break in without the Department getting an alert,” Cook cuts in. Weston eyes his subordinate, then curtly says, “That kind of thing.”

He directs the file labelled Malfoy/Potter onto a shelf across the room. It lands with an irritated- sounding thud. Cook asks, “Everything okay? Boss?”

Weston audibly grinds his teeth.

They so could be Wook.

-

I tell Harry about Wook when we are on our way out of the Ministry.

I also tell him about my theory that the secret of True Pairings isn’t sympathy, not even looks.
And least of all it’s about being alike.
It’s about being a mismatch.

“Grizzly is such a winner because Ron doesn’t give a shit for footnotes in fat books and is at his most inspiring when he raves about carby food,” I explain.

Harry clearly doesn’t want to hear about Grizzly or Wook. He wants to be left in peace so he can concentrate on thinking about our troubles and be worried.
We have reached the Atrium, and I see Susan Bones emerge from a fireplace.
She greets us in her nice-by-nature Hufflepuffy manner, sandals faintly squeaking.
Those sandals make me want to cast an Imperius curse right here in the Ministry lobby, so she’ll kick them off, right back into the fireplace.

“Would you please stop talking like that,” Harry hisses when I tell him.

“Why are you so passionate about Susan’s sandals?”

“I mean stop talking about using the Imperius Curse when people can hear you!” he says, his voice all strained. “We’ve got enough troubles as it is, how can you kid around like that when things look this serious...”

“But Harry, I wasn’t joking! Listen, this would be the one instance where the use of an Unforgivable would be justified! No, hear me out, Professor, this is relevant for your teaching! Let me present my case, alright? – Okay, Susan will never discard her sandals on her own accord, but she will never score with anyone if she doesn’t! Which makes all this a matter of agency by necessity!” And on a sudden inspiration I add, “What if I helped her find herself a date, too? - I could make her Floo to Ollivander’s Fine Wizards' Wear and let the Law of Opposites take care of the rest! I can totally picture nice Susan with nasty Ollivander junior, and hey, they could call themselves Boner!”

“Will you stop talking about Imperius and sandals and silly couple names for just a second please?” Harry says, shaking his head as he guides me towards the exit, sounding annoyed and clearly much less tense than he was.

Yeah, he needs me. He would never know the balance of mind that bitching about other people can bring on if it wasn’t for me.

It’s what makes us Drarry.

But I don’t want to push it, so I keep that to myself.

Chapter Text

That night Harry has another one of his R-rated dreams.
He is so caught up in his desolation afterwards that I can’t wake him. I can’t pull him from that abyss.
It’s beyond scary.

Help. We need help.

-

In the morning, I call Sirius.
When he finally turns up in the mirror he looks more knackered than ever. He can’t die, but he can’t live either, and it must be worse than hell. Especially for a man like Sirius, who nearly went mad with boredom when he was confined to Grimmauld Place.
A man who craved life so much he survived Azkaban.
If there was a Marauder who was up to no good, it was Sirius Black. And now he’s up to nothing, and it’s killing him.
Or it would.

Swimming in the shadows, he asks me what’s new.
This is not exactly new, but -

I never imagined I’d ever be having a discussion with anyone that involves me and Harry and spiked cock rings.

But Sirius is dead, so it’s not like I’d be talking to an actual person.

He doesn’t lift an eyebrow when I explain our problem.
I guess it’s hard to get scandalized over cocks or butt holes or any other human body part when you are dead. Or even over a hardcore kink.

Once I’ve started talking, I completely stop thinking about the weirdness of it. All I feel is the distress I seem to have been bottling up.

“...it worries me sick, Sirius, really it does. Sometimes I feel that everything I have with Harry is going to be over, and soon, if I don't manage to sort this out!”

“Okay, son. Nothing’s over until you are dead,” he cuts me short.

I snuffle and rub at my eyes.

“Listen,” he says. “I used to live as a dog for months on end. I wasn’t strong at rational thought in my animagus form, I couldn't fully access my human intellect. But I got by. What I mean to say is, thinking about stuff is overrated. Talking, too. What I mean to say is, just do stuff.”

“Okay?” I reply, not quite sure I’m getting his drift.

“What you want to do is make him see the whole thing is not the highway to hell he thinks it is. If you want my advice, it's this; simply get him to do this with you! Somehow get him to use a tool on you or something, get him to roughen you up a bit. Find a way to make it happen.”

I’m getting the impression the man has done quite a bit of kinky stuff himself while he still could. There’s something like really seasoned glittering in his eyes.
And his animagus is a giant dog. Dogs bite during sex, they keep their mates from getting away by digging their fangs into their neck and stuffing their hole with a penis knot.

I nod, feeling ridiculously vanilla, and quite a bit stressed out.

“Don’t freak out, man," he says. "You’ll see it's all just a matter of practice, like most things in life. Like Quidditch. Or changing into your animagus form. Hell, I even learnt how to keep going without a single one of my friends around!”

He leans forward like he does, like he’s trying to crawl out of the mirror. His eyes are burning.

“Live while you can, Draco. Do it all. And do it soon. Don’t let fear hold you back. If you want to find out if this stuff is for you, do it soon. Who knows, it might turn out to be the best sex of your life!”

His voice has gone hoarse with wistfulness.

Only now I fully realize what it means that he can still think and talk but not do anything anymore. He won’t touch or kiss or fuck another man or woman ever again.

A shiver runs down my spine. I nod again.

And this time, I mean it.

-

Teddy is throwing a tantrum because I won’t let him do any gaming. And we can’t go out either, because I’ve made promises to Harry, and this time I’m going to keep them.

I make Teddy climb the monkey bars for a while, but he keeps falling off and calling the bars obscene names.

Looks like he has been spending a little too much time around me.

I decide to do some Teddy-proofing to his room to keep us both occupied. I’ve long since meant to exchange the curtains for a blind spell and to fortify the bed so it won’t break in half when it’s being used as a trampoline.

Teddy is assigned the task to sort his building blocks into the toy drawer. It hurts like a bitch when you step on one of those fuckers barefoot. There’s no pain more vicious in the world I swear.
Teddy doesn’t seem to be very impressed with my orders though. He is sitting on the floor in his moon pyjamas, watching me drive magical screws into the bed frame, quietly gnawing away at a building block. The pyjamas are his favourite item of clothing these days, and he has taken to wearing them during the day, too.

“You should put on some real clothes, Teddy. Your Grandma would want you to look nice I’m sure.”

“Yeah, that's what she's always saying," he replies, making no move to do as I said. "She always hexes my hair back to brown when it changes colour."

That makes me choke on the screw-driving hex and look at him.

"I don’t want to go back to Grandma’s," Teddy says. "It’s no fun. There aren’t any other children at Grandma’s.”

Did he just call me a child? I hope he’s talking about Kreacher.

“And each time I bark because I’m a wolf she says children should be seen but not heard,” he goes on.

“Well, I get where she’s coming from,” I say, trying to hide how that the hair-hexing thing rattled me.

“And then I can't talk anymore,” Teddy says.

Okay, what? –

Before I can ask him about this, he has jumped on the bed I just made and grabs for my necklace.

“These stones got the same colour as your wings, Day. You are beautiful with your necklace on.”

Kids’ compliments are so disconcerting because they are so totally lacking in ulterior motives.

“Got it from my mom,” I say, prising his little paws off my neck.

“Uh-hu. I haven't got any stuff from my parents,” he says.

He got nothing from his parents.

That feels just really wrong.

I mean, I won’t ever inherit Malfoy Manor, or anything my father owns, but I do have my mother’s emeralds.
And I have memories of my mother, while Teddy hasn't got even that. All he got is his fucking grandma with her fucking repressive child-raising magic. Hell, he should at least have something.

That little box in Harry’s desk, the one with the Lupin label.

“There is something I could get you, I guess...”

I've said it without really thinking, and instantly Teddy starts bouncing up and down on his bed, urging me to show him.

There’s no danger. I understand objects of the Dark Arts. I remember the items in Lupin’s box, and two of them definitely aren’t black magic.

The piece of dragon hide, and that funny tennis ball.

It’s practical that Accio works independently of locks and magical safeguarding. Teddy’s the owner, he wants me to get these objects for him, so I can do it, in spite of the lock on the box.
I Summon both the piece of hide and the ball.

Teddy stuffs the dragon hide down his pyjama pocket like it was a piece of twenty-carat starlight silk, then starts to reverently roll the little ball about on the floor.

I know what the dragon hide is for; it’s the main ingredient of a Strengthening Potion. Add a few drops of that tonic to your bath and you won’t bruise or get any scratches for the next couple of hours. Just what a werewolf would need to keep a human sex partner safe.

The hide looks rather washed-out. Yeah, I’m pretty certain Lupin kept this for his wife; to make sure she couldn't get hurt when things got a little more than passionate.

It takes me a while to figure out the tennis ball.
I try a few activating hexes, with no result. The ball only lamely bounces up and down a few times.

Teddy still seems to really like it, and after a while we start to simply play catch with it.
Until at some point I toss it a bit too hard so it’s sent up higher than before, right up under the ceiling, and it doesn’t come back down again. It stays in the air above our heads, fixed to the spot, like an indoor celestial body. It’s gently glowing. Like the moon.

I’m still staring when I hear a screech behind me, then a howl. Whipping around, I see Teddy, bursting from his pyjamas and transforming into a small but very real brown werewolf.

After a moment of stunned silence, the little wolf gives himself a shake, then goes straight into assault mode. He jumps at me, drumming his paws against my chest, his fur blinking in all the colours of the rainbow. His eyes do the same.

This is just Teddy, happy Teddy, he only wants to play, but he is much stronger than human Teddy. Oh shit, he’s crazy strong, and he’s snapping at me.

Obviously a bite won’t change me or anything, because this is not his real full moon form, and he isn’t a grown werewolf, but I definitely don’t want those fangs anywhere near my skin. Or my new taffeta shirt.

Struggling to keep the psyched mini-werewolf at a distance, I flick my wand at the glowing ball overhead and cry, “Retrogrado!”

Nothing. Hell, how do you switch this thing off.

“Mutatio Confutato!” –

“Intermissio Subito!”-

“Cade a Terra!” –

A bang; the ball dims and drops down onto the bed. Teddy is squatting on the floor, changed back in an instant, panting and holding his head.

“You okay? Teddy?” I quickly kneel down by his side and put an arm around him. “Teddy? Mate?”

He looks up at me, his eyes still a bright swirl of colours.

“That was wicked, Day!”

“You’ve been spending too much time around Uncle Ron, too, it would seem,” I say, laughing and utterly relieved.
He’s tugging at my shirt.

“Please, can we do it again?”

I rub my wrist. It’s sprained.

“We shall see.”

“But I want to!”

“I said, we shall see.”

He grins, looking satisfied, like I had said yes.
Shoot.
We are going to play wolf like this all the frigging time from now on. Shoot, I should have stuck with forcing him to climb the fucking monkey bars.

-

The moon magic has lingering effects. It’s the early evening, it’s been hours since the transformation, and Teddy is still all wired.
He breaks half a dozen glasses while I am trying to prepare cocktails in the kitchen. Harry has got to go back to Hogwarts tonight for a teachers’ conference, and I asked Hermione and Ron over for drinks.

Harry sends Teddy to his room, then cleans up. He says he doesn’t need any help, and I know it's because he thinks I’m shit at cleaning. I don't call him out on that though, because it's not a good idea to start a fight with someone when you've got to tell them a somewhat tricky story. -

When Harry walks over to our bedroom to change into his Hogwarts robes, I follow him and fill him in about the moon ball.

“It’s a moon surrogate that enables transformation, independent of the moon cycle. Teddy will have to learn to better deal with the after-effects, but, you know, he had so much fun, and he had been so sad before because he didn’t have anything from his parents...”

I trail off because Harry has turned to face me, and he looks totally weird, all wound up.

I knew he wouldn’t be enthusiastic about the transforming, but his reaction is way beyond what I expected.

He has stopped buttoning his shirt, and when he fixes his green gaze on me now it feels like a shower of glacier water.

“Are you telling me you went through my things?”

“I just Summoned the ball and the dragon hide from the Lupin box; I knew they weren’t objects of the Dark Arts...”

“So you didn’t go through my desk drawer.”

I can keep things from him, I can concoct strategies to manipulate him, but I can’t lie to him, not straight out, not when he’s looking me in the eye.

“I... I...”

He folds his arms, his eyes narrowed to slits, and it’s like he’s moving in on me although he keeps standing frozen to the spot.

“You searched through my desk drawer. Did you open anything? Did you take anything out?”

Shit. Now I have to tell him about the mirror. But Sirius expressly told me to shield Harry from this.

I have to try.

“No...”

“Draco!”

He doesn’t touch me, he doesn’t use magic. But he’s this frigging Ex-Auror who has made dozens of super villains tell all, and he’s Harry, and, oh shit. I can’t hold up.

“Alright, the shard. Sirius’ mirror. I found it in your desk when I was looking for your address book.”

The rigidity drops off him like exploding armour. In two steps he’s right in front of me.

“You had no right to break into my desk, Draco!”

“I didn’t! I just... I...”

“What!”

“I talked to Sirius.”

His eyes bulge. He swallows convulsively for seconds and seconds.

“You talked to Sirius?" he finally blurts out. "You got Sirius to appear in the mirror, and didn’t tell me about it?”

“He said I shouldn’t. He said the thing is dangerous for you, like Erised, that’s why he has never shown up for you....”

Without even listening to me, he has Summoned the shard. He thrusts his hand out. The mirror in it is trembling.

“Call him. Call Sirius.”

“But...”

“Draco. I’m telling you. Call him. Now!”

“No,” I say, my voice wavering with the strain of standing up to him. I have provoked him and gainsaid him countless times, but never like this, never in a real, dead earnest confrontation. It’s not safe for him to look into Sirius’ world of shadows, these days less than ever, he’s too keyed up, with everything that’s going on...

Harry has grabbed my arm.

“Draco. Do as I say.”

“For Godric’s sake, stop being a bloody bully, Harry!”

With a blinding flash, the mirror has lit up, and there is Sirius, looking dishevelled, as usual, and quite a bit pissed.

“Sirius...!”
Harry’s hands shake so hard the image in the mirror gets blurry.

“Chill, man, I’m still dead.”

Harry is steadying himself against a wall with one hand, clutching the mirror with the other.

“Sirius...”

“Uahh!”

It’s Teddy; he jumps out from under the fur throw on the bed and hurls himself between Harry and me. The shard flies from Harry’s hands and smashes on the floor.

Sirius’ rasping voice is echoing from everywhere in the room.

“Harry! Don’t look into the darkness! Look at what you got!” The voice grows feeble. “Look at your man, your family. Cherish them, Harry... they’re a gift... handle it with care...”

A final, thousandfold smirk, no more than a glimmer in the smithereens on the floor.
Then they go blind, and there’s silence.

Harry has fallen to his knees.

Teddy sobs. I swiftly gather him up and carry him outside.

“I didn’t do anything, I didn't, did I? Day?”

“It’s okay, mate. But what were you thinking, jumping Uncle Harry like that!”

“You were fighting because of the stupid piece of glass,” Teddy sniffles, clinging to my neck. “I hate that glass.”

“It’s okay,” I tell him. “Now how about I make you a nice warm honey milk.”

Someone should be with Harry now, too, but I guess this is how it’s going to be in the future, too. No chance to take care of everyone at the same time.

When we enter the kitchen, Kreacher is shuffling about by the oven, sweeping.

“Kreacher! Good that I find you here. Something broke in the master bedroom; a mirror. Would you please go see to it? Clear away the shards?”

And be your busy, background house-elf self so Harry can collect himself and still not be alone at this moment. -

“The mirror broke?" Kreacher asks. "Master Sirius finally gone for good?”

Kreacher looks positively thrilled.

He can’t know everything that’s going on in this cottage.

I can’t be mourning a cousin once removed who’s been dead for almost a decade, and who I never even met in person. I roughly rub at my nose.

“You shouldn’t talk like that, Kreacher.”

“Kreacher apologizes, Master. But Master Sirius wasn’t a good man.”

“Don’t you feel like any remorse for what you did to him?” I blurt out.

“Kreacher was threatened by Lord Voldemort, that’s why he did what he did. It was hard on Kreacher, going behind his Master’s back, and Kreacher never meant for him to die. Kreacher was Sirius Black's house elf! But Sirius Black wasn’t a good man.”

“Yes, he was,” I whisper.

I don't think Kreacher heard me. He has already left the kitchen to execute my orders.

There’s a funny sound in the hallway, like someone started to play an especially raspy pan flute. It’s Kreacher, whistling.

-

While Teddy has his milk, I explain to him that Harry had a reason to snap like he did. And of course he had. Losing Sirius was the major tragedy of his youth.
The worst thing about that loss being that he never got any closure.

And now, with the mirror gone, he never will.

No one can stop a loved one from dying on their death day. But it makes a difference if you get to sit by their bedside and say goodbye, however hollow and helpless you might feel at that moment. I got time to face my mother’s death before it happened. I didn’t realize it at the time, but for all my despondency and sadness during those days, it meant that on some basic level I could accept it, and in the end, move on.

But Harry... He still is the kid who lost his footing that day Sirius died; lost his faith in life.
And it feels like it’s my fault now.

-

Harry has calmed down. He apologized five times to me and to Teddy each for losing his temper, then left for Hogwarts.
Hermione and Ron have come over. I had considered cancelling our date, but now I'm glad I didn't. Ron brought a food basket from his mother, and we sit around the kitchen table having Molly pies and Magic Mojitos, and I find it's exactly what I needed.

Teddy is with Kreacher. Since I had a heart-to-heart with Teddy explaining to him he can’t shove Kreacher about like another kid, or me, the two of them get along quite tolerably.
I told Kreacher to bring Teddy to bed. That doesn’t seem to be happening; we can hear the two of them play in Teddy’s room.
Since I won't let Teddy play on the Y-Pad anymore, I transformed two of his building blocks into little werewolf figurines that can be steered about with gestures and be made to talk in the player's voice.
Apparently Kreacher is controlling the second wolf, and though it’s hard to tell with his raspy organ, he seems to be seriously applying himself to acting his part. –

Ron and Hermione are quite impressed with the new dream team, and I laugh along with them. It almost feels like nothing bad happened today.

It’s Ron who asks what’s up.
And I tell them all about what happened.

“I feel so bad about this. I wish Harry had had the chance to talk to Sirius. He was devastated when the mirror broke. And I know he’s still beating himself up over startling Teddy, I know he thinks he’s going to be a bad father because he didn’t keep his cool...”

“You did the right thing, keeping the news about Sirius to yourself,” Hermione resolutely interrupts. “When Sirius died, that was brutal for Harry. But we all have to meet the challenges Fate deals us. He had to accept this loss, and I'd say that in the end it made him grow.”

I’ve never heard Hermione Granger say something stupid in my life. Not until just now.

“So all that is supposed to be a good thing or what?” I snap. “Is this some bullshit from your Muggle upbringing, like religion?”

“Don’t go Malfoy on me, Dray,” she says warningly.

“You don’t get it,” I cry. “Harry is just sad about Sirius, still, he isn’t growing or anything!”

“He will, in time,” she says firmly.

“And here I was thinking you’d have something useful to say, like tell me about a spell or hex that might bring the mirror back!”

“I wouldn’t help bring it back if I could, because that mirror was dangerous. No mortal, Muggle or wizard, should ever try to meddle with the decisions of Fate, or the divide between life and death! If it’s true the mirror pierced the walls between our world and the shadow world, then that’s pretty close to dark magic! You should be grateful it’s gone!”

I know she has a point, so I keep silent.

“It’s best for Sirius, too," she continues. "I’m pretty sure he could only use the mirror because he can’t find rest. That’s his ghost in the mirror. I wonder why he’s a ghost; there’s always a reason for that. Maybe it’s because he never had a grave.”

How can the woman be interested in the science of ghosts when we are talking about a human being! Because that’s what Sirius is, no matter if he’s dead, alive, or something in between.

“How can it be good for him? It’s the mirror that is gone, not him! I believe the mirror was his only means of showing up! And now he can’t! A ghost who can’t haunt the mortals, what’s he supposed to do?”

“I’m afraid we are digressing,” Hermione says. It’s her default phrase when she doesn’t have an answer. “There’s another aspect to this. A broken mirror is a sign of bad luck, yes I know what you want to say Dray, but there's your wedding coming up, and I told you about the statistics. What’s this about your engagement ring? I hear the new one has gone black, too?"

The ring is back in my nightstand, still in its Ministry sachet, sharing a drawer with the Black seal ring. One day I'd love to own a ring I got no problem actually wearing. But neither Harry nor I have said anything about buying a new one.

"Are we sure the DADA Department conducted the tests correctly?" Hermione asks. "Those guys have made mistakes in the past, just saying. Are we quite sure that ring isn't housing a dark curse after all?”

“Mione,” Ron says. He has finished off his mother's apple pie. It's impressive how quickly he did that, and recovered from the news that Sirius Black has been back, too. He really is quite hard to faze.
Picking up some last crumbs with the tip of his index finger, he says, “Mom’s been asking, Draco, Harry still got his Christmas jumper?”

“I guess,” I say, still preoccupied with trying to not think about my engagement ring. “Why?”

“He should wear it. Mom put a lot of effort into making it, you know.”

“Please, what’s the frigging jumper got do with anything! And it’s the middle of June; he’d die of a stroke in that thing!”

“He should wear it,” Ron repeats, slurping pie crumbs off his finger.

That’s all I get out of divulging my troubles to my friends. Gratuitous wisdoms about fate and bad luck, and being asked to remind my boyfriend to honour his Molly jumper.

I wish Sirius was still there, waiting in Harry’s desk for me to come talk to him.

I wish he was still there.

-

I’m having a big glass of honey milk.
It’s so good, Merlin, there’s nothing better. Almost nothing.

Because obviously there is make-up sex.

When Harry came back from his conference, he apologized again for shouting at me. I apologized for not telling him about Sirius earlier.
He kissed me, and – yeah.

I close my eyes as I gulp down the tasty liquid, then put the glass down on the sideboard, sighing with pleasure.

Harry’s still lying on the bed. He watches me with a sultry smile playing about his lips.

“What is it.”

“Just, I like to watch you drink your milk and enjoy it like you do. And I like to think why you need to stock up on fluids.”

I flush scarlet, like I hadn’t just shot a fairy-style golden shower all over his face.

“Come here, angel,” he says, his smile turning soft. –

To be lying in his arm, resting my cheek on his chest; to listen to him calling me the Light of his Life and other poetic names in drowsy post-orgasm peace.

To be basking in his wonderful warmth.

I need warmth. I’ve often said to Harry it’s because of my insect genes, and I meant it as a joke. But the truth is, I’m pretty sure it really is a fairy thing. Harry doesn’t need a fur blanket or even a fireplace half as much as I do. He’s more like an oven himself; the perfect place to snuggle up to on a cold night like this one.

If I’m his light, then he’s my heater.

“You fine, baby?” he asks. His smile is in his voice, and all his love is, too. O yes, I am fine.
But for one thing.

Yet again, I didn’t manage to tell him that I am ready for the tough stuff. Sirius told me to do it, and soon. And I want to. Life is short and all that.

Why for Salazar’s sake is it that I can’t think and act according to plan when Harry fucks me? Out of the blue, there is the thought that maybe I should have a go at this without any trickery. It would be weird.
But it might be worth a try.

What if I tried to just talk to him, soberly, openly, upfront.
Well not all upfront, obviously, because that would be plain dumb.

It wouldn’t make sense to bring up that I've been watching his dreams.

But I could suggest we experiment a bit, as if it was all my idea. And not allow him to just tell me no again.
I could try that. At a time when I can think.

Like now.

I take a deep breath. Then another one. His fingers are playing with a strand of my hair, twirling it.

“Hey, what is it, babe?”

Okay.

“Ever thought of doing something kinky?”

His fingers stop moving, his whole body tenses up under mine.

“No, why, why should I, I wouldn’t want that,” he lies like only Harry can, so unconvincing it’s painful.

“I didn’t even say what kind of kinky,” I observe.

“Right. yeah. What... what kind of kinky.”

“Like BDSM.”

“What do you know about... that?” he asks stiffly.

“Not much,” I admit. “But I thought maybe you did.” I’ve sat up.

“I don’t,” he says.
He has blushed. His eyes flicker.

“You sure?”

“Aren’t you happy with what we do?”

“Sure I am.”

I bend down to him to kiss him, and he relaxes somewhat.

“Only, if there’s something you'd like to try out, you know,” I whisper by his ear. “I’d be up for that. I’m curious. And I trust you, Harry. I want you to know that I trust you, and that I’m open to experimenting.”

When he doesn’t say anything, I add, trying to keep the nerves from my voice, “Like with tools?”

He shrinks away form me like I shot a curse at him.

“No!” he blurts out. He’s avoiding my gaze, shadows flitting across his face. I won’t let him blow me off, not like that, not again.

“Harry...”

“I’m not interested in doing that kind of thing!”

“But it might be fun,” I push on. “I’m not made of glass, you know.”

“Sirius told me to handle you with care. You heard him. That's his legacy. And that's what I will do, always.”

“But that’s not what he meant by that!”

Merlin, that is so not Sirius Black's legacy! His legacy is no risk, no fun! Harry has sat up now, too. He’s facing me, meeting my gaze at last.

“I wouldn’t ever want to hurt you, angel,” he says. “Ever.”

And I know this is it.

He might be dreaming of pushing me across that blurry line between lust and pain, and he might come from that in his sleep.
But he doesn’t want to see me hurt when he’s awake.

This is it.
He has told me how he feels, and there is nothing I can say or do to change it. I’m back to square one.

I should have known.
Being open and talking about shit doesn’t get you anywhere. Or perhaps it’s just that I suck at it. –

Perhaps I should sweep this under the rug. It’s true that I’m happy with him, as happy as can be. And he’s happy, too. I know he is. If it weren’t for these dreams.

But maybe they are just that, dreams. And don’t they say dreams are lies?
Yes. They say dreams are but shadows.

-

Sunday morning. I'm coming back in from the day's first tour of the garden, my hair wet with the kiss of dewy leaves, the fresh spring air pinching my cheeks.
The house is quiet; everybody is still asleep.
But no, there's Kreacher. He's hovering by the oven, looking like he's been waiting for me.

"Morning, Kreach," I say, shrugging off my fur blanket and throwing it over a chair.

Instead of answering me, he walks up to me with stiff steps and hands me something.

It’s a folded brochure with no title or text on it. I recognize it; it's the one I saw in Harry's desk.

Only it's exuding a reddish gleam now. It looks eerie, vicious somehow, and very out of place in the pristine grey morning light.

"What is this; how did you get this?"

“Kreacher thought Master should be aware of this. Kreacher found this under Harry Potter's desk.”

As I’m looking down at the leaflet in my hand, medieval-looking letters appear on it, running across the parchment like written by an invisible hand.

Come Visit The Slave Club.

From inside the brochure comes a cracking sound, like a whip, followed by a rich smack and a muffled scream.
My hands have gone clammy.

“What is this?” I whisper.
But I already know.

Chapter Text

The Slave Club. The club for the demanding customer. Our top tier, extensively trained slaves will do anything for you if you ask the right way.

An image has appeared on the parchment; a naked man, chained up and bent over a table, with the ends of a multi-tailed whip lashing down onto his heavily marked buttocks. This is the source of the sounds that keep echoing from the leaflet.

It opened by itself; the locking magic seems to have been deactivated. It’s probably Kreacher who did that, but I don’t care, not anymore.
Black writing is moving across the page before me now, informing me that this brochure serves as a voucher for twenty-five minutes in a private dungeon with a slave of my choice. Floggers, chains, and welcome drink included.

Again, there’s the sound of the whip and the slave's screams.

Behind me, Kreacher mumbles something, he’s repeating his story how he found this flyer while he was cleaning, by pure accident.

I don’t believe him for a second.
Harry wouldn’t let something like this lie around, not in a billion years.
It would seem it's not old magic that’s behind Kreacher’s encompassing knowledge about his Masters’ affairs after all; it’s simple, classic household staff nosiness.
But I got no time to think about Kreacher’s transgressions.

Merlin.
Harry has been keeping the flyer of a wizard BDSM club in his desk, right between his archived DADA exam records and that stack of course book receipts for his taxes.

The lines on the piece of parchment in my trembling hand are still rolling.
I'm being assured that I need not look any further, since all my sadistic desires will be satisfied at The Slave Club, 26 Pimmerby Street, London.

Another picture pops up next to my thumb. It shows two guys and a bowl of Blast-ended Skrewts, and it’s so crass it makes me drop the leaflet.

Harry wants to go to a sex club. He wants to fuck a sex slave in a sex club. Or stuff their ass with slimy creatures sporting stingers and suckers.
And without me ever knowing.

This is why he flew off the handle when he found out I opened his desk drawer.
I could have unlocked this leaflet and seen what’s inside, and the mere idea made him freak out.

“You have now opened this brochure twenty-eight times in total. What are you waiting for? Come and redeem your voucher today! You know you want to,” the flyer whispers in a husky voice.

Looking up, I meet Kreacher’s gaze, and I see my reflection in the lantern-like eyes behind Harry’s old glasses, like a ghost in a mirror, like someone who is somehow still there although they really just died.

-

“I never went there!”

“Maybe you didn’t, but you were fucking planning to! You opened this thing twenty-seven times! Twenty fucking seven! Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking about redeeming your voucher!”

I’ve stuffed the thing into Harry's hand, right upon storming into our bedroom and telling him to wake the fuck up and explain this to me. Well, I meant to simply tell him, but maybe I screamed.

Harry sits in the bed, very upright, his hair standing away from his head the way I normally adore. His face is as white as the sheets.

"Please calm down, Draco..."

"I fucking won't calm down, you hear me? I've got a problem with this! And you should, too; there's not even a no-magical-creatures-were-harmed-for-this credit on this thing!"

"Those aren't real Skrewts, those are bound to be transformed rubber ducks..."

I scoff.

"So you got all the inside knowledge. Of course you do."

“I never went to this club, and I wasn’t thinking of going,” he whispers. “Not really.”

“What were you keeping that flyer for, then!”

“I am sorry.”

“Don’t fucking apologize! Tell me why you kept it! I asked you to try out this stuff with me! And you refused, you told me you weren’t interested! You lied to me!”

He doesn’t answer.

“You think I can’t do it?” I hiss. “You think some guy in a club can do it better than I?”

“It’s not a competition, Draco,” he says with a twisted laugh.

“It fucking is, if you are thinking of cheating on me with other men!”

He gets up and stands by the bed now, facing me, but he doesn’t seem to dare walk up to me. He’s wringing his hands.

“I’m not... I never... God, please, angel!”

“Don’t angel me! Listen, man. I could do this shit any day. I’m tougher than you think, I...” Shit, my voice trembles. Shit.
Harry is lifting his hand as if he meant to touch me, from a distance of three yards.

“I am tougher than you think,” I repeat, concentrating on every word.

“Draco, I'd never want you to... This is just... God, I'd never want to hurt you!” he cries. “I love you. How could I want to hurt you?”

“You do though,” I cry. “You...”

I break off. I won’t tell him I snooped on him and read his dreams. I won’t tell him, because he lied to me, too.

He has turned away. He is breathing hard, like he ran twenty miles.
From the leaflet on the bed comes the slurping noise of another Skrewt being stuffed where it doesn't belong.
Harry grabs the leaflet and crumples it up, then throws it in the bin by the sideboard.

“I wanted to get this out of my system,” he says, not looking at me. “I thought that maybe, if I did this to someone who isn't you, it might go away.”

I just understood something.

“This is why you don’t want to marry me!”

“I do want to marry you...”

“Do you really? You want to marry me and share the marriage bed with me and go to the capital once a week to stuff another guy’s ass with Skrewts, or steel hooks, or spiked cock rings?”

He exhales sharply, flashing me a glance.

“Just examples.”

“Draco, I swear to you, I’m not going to go to that club, or any sex club, ever.”

“No, you won’t. Because I’ll kill you trying,” I spit. I mean it, too.

He nods like he's perfectly okay with that.

“I’m going to get over this, Draco, I promise you.”

“Okay. What if you don’t?”

“I won’t hold you to anything, I know that our engagement... that now...” He balls his fists. “You are free to go.”

“Free?” It comes out as almost a scream, but I don’t care, I don’t care that I’m suddenly sobbing. “I’m a fucking fairy, man! Being free is being lost for the likes of us! You yourself fucking told me that!”

He looks at the floor, biting his lip, fists still balled.
There’s still noises coming from the bin as it slowly gobbles up its content; intermittent bits of muffled smacks and grunts.
I take a series of deep breaths.

“Look. I want to try this with you,” I say, as calmly as I can. “My magic would protect me.”

“Your magic doesn’t work with me! You know it doesn’t.”

I open my mouth to contradict him, then close it. He’s right. I’m fairy, he’s my mate. He could do anything to me.

“I’ve read about this, people use safewords...”

“Don’t try to talk me into this, Draco. The thing is, we both know you would do this just for my sake. This is you being selfless, thinking only of me. It would be beyond wrong for me to take you up on that offer...”

“It’s not like that! I’m serious, I want to try it out, I...”

“Draco, I told you, I will get over it. I can control this." He lets out a mirthless snicker. "I’ve controlled it for almost a quarter of a century.”

“A quarter of a century,” I repeat after him, taken aback. “There wasn’t much to control when you were a kid, surely.”

He turns away again, his shoulders twisting.
And I understand that there’s something more to this than just a leaflet that’s NSFW and emitting annoying sounds. –

Harry is standing facing the wall, and I can feel something crack in him. A facade I haven't known was there. I'm about to learn something, something defining about him that he kept from me, all this time.
When I charged in here ten minutes back, I wanted to rip him to pieces, literally.
Now my rage is dissipating even as I'm trying to hold on to it, and all I want is to finally understand.

"Tell me what this is really about, Harry. You know you owe it to me that you at least tell me."

He nods, and then he starts talking, haltingly, reluctantly.

“You remember I once told you what happened when Voldemort hit me with Avada Kedavra at the Battle of Hogwarts? When I had this kind of waking dream about meeting Dumbledore at King's Cross?”

I nod, feeling at sea. Of course I remember. But...

“I didn’t tell you everything. It wasn’t just me and Dumbledore there. You see, that piece of Voldemort’s soul that had been in me, it wasn’t something invisible that was just annihilated by the Death curse. There was this baby thing.”

“Baby thing?”

“It was an actual thing. Very similar to that monstrosity Voldemort had become after he gave me my scar; the thing Pettigrew nursed and helped change into the new Voldemort. A horrible kind of creature, half baby, half corpse.” - “That thing was inside my brain, Draco. It’s the most disgusting thing that ever happened to anyone! This creature had actually been living inside me, like a mind parasite! When I saw it, that changed how I feel about myself forever. I will never, ever be able to trust myself!”

“But Harry, you never did anything bad...”

He grabs both his upper arms with his hands, like trying to prevent himself from disintegrating. “I Crucioed Carrow.”
And he did. I know he even talks about it with his students, to teach them the importance of self- control.
But he has never once talked about it to me.
When he continues, his voice is robotic.

“I Crucioed a man, I saw him thrash and howl in pain, and all I felt was satisfaction. There was no pity in my heart, no empathy, no regret.”

The words echo around us like we weren’t in our bedroom in Godric’s Hollow but stranded at the outskirts of a cosmic desert.

“Carrow was a terrible man,” I say, mustering every last ounce of Malfoy poise to control my voice. “He Crucioed students. He deserved it.”

“But that isn’t the point, is it, Draco. I hated him, and I had every reason to, but I still should have found the idea of torturing him abhorrent. Only I didn’t. I was okay with it. I wanted it.”

His voice gives out.
I can’t have him break like this.

“I remember the bastard was really pig-faced, so at least we can rule out that you did it for sexual gratification. Isn’t it funny how almost all the evil guys in our world aren’t at all attractive?”

“Draco.”

“I’m just trying to say... So maybe you like bondage and discipline, but that’s got absolutely nothing to do with what you did to Carrow. And it’s not who you really are, either. You don’t hurt people in anger, Harry.”

“But I did!”

“You were under a lot of pressure.”

It sounds weak. He heard it, too.

“We both know the real reason,” he says tonelessly. “It’s the fact that Voldemort lived in my head. It’s kind of like with Ginny in second year, when Voldemort took control of her through the diary Horcrux. He made her try to kill people. Only it’s much worse in my case, because I actually was a Horcrux myself. Part of the Dark Lord lived in me, and it changed me. It made me a monster.”

This is at the heart of all his troubles. That baby thing.

“It didn’t change you. Not permanently, not for good.”

He looks at me from hollow eyes.

“How would you know?”

“I... Okay. What if that piece of Voldemort has never been inside you to begin with? That half hour at King’s Cross, what if it was all a dream?" -

I grab for his hand and pull at him, forcing him to sit down with me on the bed.

"Let me tell you as a scientist, it's quite common for people to have visions when they’re close to death. It’s neurons, firing under stress.”

He is biting his lip again, looking away from me, but he’s listening.

“Let's just consider this for a minute, okay, Harry? What if your brain reactivated memories of key moments of your life, and got things mixed up? King’s Cross as the place from where you moved on to a different life. Your talks with Dumbledore. That night when you saw Voldemort in the graveyard, in that infant-like state. You know what I think? The moment you got hit by the Death curse, your mind fabricated the story of you meeting Dumbledore at King’s Cross from these memories, which means it never actually happened!”

“You really think so?”

“You cannot deny that we don’t actually know whether you ever were a Horcrux,” I say, clutching to this straw of hope. "It has always been just assumptions and guesses, Dumbledore’s guesses, hasn’t it? I know you admire him, but he was just a man. He might have been wrong; has that ever occurred to you? Maybe you just survived the Dark Lord’s killing curse two times over because you are the most powerful wizard who ever lived!”

He shakes his head.

“I was Voldemort’s Horcrux. He could make me see Sirius being tortured when it never happened.”

“That doesn’t prove he was living inside you! For the advanced Legilimentist, there are many ways to invade another wizard’s mind."

“But I felt his rage, I felt his emotions! In the end I sometimes couldn’t tell my own feelings from his! I saw red when I was angry, literally! You remember those red eyes of his, don’t you.”

O Merlin, I do. Nobody who ever found themselves on the receiving end of Voldemort’s red death stare could ever forget it. Fighting off a crippling chill, I clear my throat and say, as coolly as I can, “Could have been simple side effects of his Legilimency abuse.”

Again, Harry shakes his head.

“I could speak Parsel because he did!”

I wreck my brain to come up with a reason for that. But Harry has already started to spiral into guilt land.

“He lived in my head, and it left me a pervert. I get off on the idea of ... a lover’s pain. I’m not fit to be with you. I’m a monster. I’m tainted. I’m worse than Dolores Umbridge!”

“Umbridge?”

What does the old bitch have got to do with anything?
Merlin, he just admitted to being into BDSM, he as good as said that he’d like to inflict pain on me, this is a crossroads in our relationship; why would we talk about Dolores Umbridge at this moment?

“There’s no person on earth I detest more than her,” he says. “I don’t know if you ever realized she was a fully-fledged sadist? Do you know what a Black Quill is? When I was in detention, she let me write with it. “I must not tell lies”...”

“She did?” I sit up. “She made you write that with the Black Quill?”

“You know about the Black Quill?”

I shrug.

“She did the same to me. When she found out I had just faked working for that inquisition squad of hers.”

“God, no...,” he whispers.

“Don’t look so shocked, Harry, it wasn’t worse than what you went through, was it. And you had never even told any lies...”

“Don’t make it sound like you deserved it!” he cries. I fall silent.
He reaches for my hand, running his thumb over the back of my hand where the quill made me bleed. The scars have long since faded, like his.

“She told you you deserved it, didn’t she?”

I give a nod, and I can’t suppress the shiver that comes with it. Odd that I should still be affected by that, when I haven’t thought about it in years.
He pulls me in, roughly, and runs his palm across my back, his touch feathery-soft. Caressing the spot where my father tried to rip my wings from my body, and Marcus Flint actually did; Running two fingers across the scars left by Percy Weasley’s magical nails.

“God, angel. You went through so much. God knows you deserve to be happy, nothing else. No one must hurt you, ever again. I promise you, I will never touch you like that.”

“But you and me, Harry, that’s a totally different story! That’s about as far from Umbridge and all the rest as can be! When people are lovers and agree they want to play out a scene, when it’s consensual...”

Harry doesn’t listen, he’s looking at my nightstand.

“Your engagement rings. That ring is linked to our relationship, and the emeralds went dark because I’m dark.”

“Harry...”

“Don’t suggest any experimenting, please, angel. If we ever...” He breaks off, then whispers: “With what happened to me, if I give in to that darkness, who knows what I might end up doing to you.”

-

Now I know.
Harry is into BDSM, and he thinks it’s because he was Voldemort’s Horcrux and it left him corrupted.
He’s afraid of himself, of what he might do if he let go.
That’s why he doesn’t want to experiment with me in bed.
Hell, he doesn’t even dare marry me because of that; he thinks my ring turned black because he is a monster.

It makes me all mad at Dumbledore again.
It was Dumbledore who started this, who drivelled something about Harry being a Horcrux. Who claimed that Voldemort put a part of his soul into Harry’s without even meaning to do that.
No doubt Dumbledore was quite proud that he could think up something like that, something no one else had ever thought of, not even Voldemort himself.
In my humble opinion, it’s not all that original an idea. In the Middle Ages such notions were rampant; people imagined souls to be possessed by the devil all over the place.

The fact is, the idea that Voldemort inadvertently created a seventh Horcrux contradicts the basic science behind the magic of soul-splitting. Creating Horcruxes demands the most complex of dark magic imaginable. It simply couldn’t be done accidentally.
If that had been possible, Voldemort of all people would have known. I’m not a fan of old Voldemort, but I do give him credit for average brains, and for generally knowing his shit. And he studied Horcruxes since he was a school kid.

But Dumbledore was so happy with thinking of himself as an unparalleled intelligence that he fell in love with his own theory.
All he was interested in was that believing he was the seventh Horcrux would make Harry go confront Voldemort in the end, ready to pay the ultimate price.

Perhaps it was the only way to finish off the Dark Lord. But did Dumbledore like care at all how Harry must have felt when he learnt he was supposed to have been the host to a part of the Dark Lord’s soul all his life?

No, he didn’t, and he couldn't be arsed to offer Harry any kind of reassurance, either.
The man just planted that sick idea in Harry’s mind, then walked off into wizarding paradise. And now I have to deal with the results.

It’s up to me to make Harry see his wishes are nobody’s but his own; that they haven’t got anything to do with any old Dark Lord.

I have to make him see that he can do whatever he wants with me and that it won't make him turn into Voldemort resurrected. That he can let go of all of his obsessive self-control.

And I will.

I have a plan.

"I love you. How could I want to hurt you?..."

Another day’s work, and Obliquid will be ready to use.

I’ll show Harry that I can serve him better than any frigging slave, however extensively trained. And I’ll show him that all this is just about us, and that everything Voldemort is history.

Chapter Text

Harry’s old Mini is buzzing down the roads of the sun-drenched Wiltshire countryside, the trunk crammed with suitcases and backpacks and shoe boxes and broom bags.
Harry just brought one backpack and his broom, the rest of the baggage is mine. He grumbled a bit about the shoe boxes; he said he didn’t get why anyone would take along laced-up Derby shoes, black patent leather shoes, sneakers, hiking boots, flying loafers, and flip flops on a two- day trip.

I told him that when I go to a Country Spa Hotel, I want to be prepared for everything.
And I am prepared for everything, including stuff that can be done barefoot. Especially stuff that can be done barefoot.

It’s wrong to lose time and let fear get in the way. Sirius said it. He told me to take action. And finally I did.

When I learnt about Harry’s problem I almost immediately knew what I had to do.
I knew, too, that I didn’t want to do it at the cottage, with Teddy in the room next door and Kreacher under the oven in the kitchen.

So the night after Harry’s confession, when we were hanging out in the living room, reading and talking like we do, only with everything being super weird, I told him I wanted to go on a mini break.

“Mini break?” he asked, like he had never heard the word before.

“Don’t say it like it’s Gobbledegook. You are the one who got raised by Muggles. It’s what they call a weekend away, two nights spent at some nice country resort.”

“Okay, right, I’ll make some inquiries, if it’s what you want...”

“I already booked a room. This weekend. At Malfoy Manor Romantic Country Spa Hotel.”

“Malfoy Manor Romantic...”

“The other day you mentioned it might be the right place for our wedding, and that you wanted me to think about it. Well, I did, and I think we should both see it to make a decision.”

“But... With everything that’s been going on... Orion Black...”

“We are going to be together the whole time, aren’t we? And Romantic Country Spa Hotels is seriously high-end. Their guests are super rich or famous or both and require absolute protection of their privacy. The Manor is safer than back when it was the Dark Lord's HQ. They got Unplottability installed, Anti-Apparition Jinxes, the whole deal.”

“But...”

“I really want to go, Harry. You need a break from everything. And to be quite honest, I do, too. And like I said, I want us to check out our options.”

It wasn’t even a lie. I do want to check out our options. And I had been curious about seeing the Manor again ever since Harry had started talking about it. –

We’ve been on the road for almost two hours now.
With all the security magic on it, Malfoy Manor can’t be reached by any method of magical transportation; all the guests have got to travel there the Muggle way, with the only magical help a magnav hex you get sent to your wand once the hotel has run a background check on you, and received the required advance payment.
On the hotel’s Y-Pad site they say that the real-time journey on the roads of Wiltshire is part of the holistic experience that is relaxing at a Romantic Country Spa Hotel.
And that the scenery is breath-taking.

Maybe it is, but most of all, it’s disconcertingly familiar, at least to me.
I used to travel through these woods and sweeping hills so often I never got to start to think of them as scenery.
But I guess they really are beautiful.

The hotel guys were right about the journey thing, too. With each mile we put behind us, Harry has grown more relaxed. He has rolled down the window and steers the car with just one hand on the wheel; the other one is resting on my thigh.
He’s singing along with me to the radio tunes, and again and again, he casts glances of badly disguised dirty anticipation at me.
Being the object of these glances has me tingle with giddiness, as always. Only today there’s a good deal of nerves mixing into it. I feel like someone gave me an adrenaline infusion; like the magical powers bottled up in the vial hidden in the depths of the travel bag between my feet were seeping into my body and starting to give me a fever.
We are finally going to do it.
We are going to check out our options.

-

Teddy is at Hermione’s. Ron is away at a DLE training camp for the weekend, and Hermione was all eager to babysit Teddy.
Teddy himself had been happily excited when Harry and I Apparated over with him.
But once he realized he was supposed to stay at Auntie Heronie without us, he completely deflated. It was awful.

Before, the idea of providing Hermione with a reality check on having a five-year-old in the house had filled me with quite a bit of glee, but when I stood there in her hallway with Teddy clinging to my leg, howling, I almost cancelled the whole trip.
Shit, I should have cancelled this trip.
Hermione might be holding two doctorates and a professorship, but neither of those in Teddy care. Who knows what she’s doing to the kid right now?
And obviously we are much too far away from the eggs, too.

Harry installed a spell in the cottage and garden that is working like a Muggle video surveillance system, and both our wands are set to give the alarm the moment something doesn’t look right. Still, I’m checking my wand every other minute or so.

“You’ve got to stop the compulsive monitoring, baby, else this is not going to make much sense,” Harry says, coercing the Mini up a steep street leading into a forest.
Fuck, he’s right. I’m acting like I was him, and there’s just room for one control freak in the family.

“We can Apparate over any second if need be,” Harry continues, patting my knee. “And Kreacher is there, too.”

I humph and shrug as if I didn’t care much either way, but the outlandish truth is, knowing Kreacher is at the cottage, probably having set up camp right under the nursing trees, is the only reason why I can do this.

I check my wand another two times, and then a couple more, then slip it into my pocket and look out the window. We should reach the Manor any minute now...
But we are already there. Right in front of us, at a distance of less than a hundred yards, the gates of Malfoy Manor have appeared, rising above wafts of thick fog.
The gates to the house I called my home in what seems like a different universe.

-

There’s always been mist around the fence and gates. It’s emerging from the thick woodland enclosing the estate; it’s just condensed water. It’s not like we were really entering a different dimension as the wings of the gate swing open for us, wide, as if trying to lure us in.

They aren’t doing that. This is modern magtech, the gates are responding to the key code the hotel folks sent to our wands.
The black wrought-iron gleams in the rays of sunlight spearing through the fog. They highlight the ornate ironwork, making the snakes in it like slither, like setting them alive.
Everything is exactly like it used to be when I drove through here in my father’s carriage, and the memory hits me with a force I didn’t anticipate.

At the end of each school year, my father would come pick me up at King’s Cross and make the two-hour trip to Wiltshire with me.
He could have brought me home by Apparition, but magical traveling was sneezed at in the Malfoy household. There’s little my father hated more than seeing his robes and hair in disarray. And mine, too.
It might have been a nice thing that he came to get me, a father collecting his son in person instead of sending a servant, despite his many important obligations. But he just did it because he knew I couldn’t be trusted to travel home without attempting a detour; to steal a half-hour of freedom for myself.
He knew I might have tried to take a walk through some secluded stretch of forest on my way, maybe lie down for a bit in the moss, and he wouldn’t have me indulge in my freakish ways like that.

“You sad?”

Harry. I feel a little dizzy, like he woke me up from a dream. Harry has stopped the car. We are standing in the driveway; he has turned off the engine. And he’s asking me if I’m sad.
I attempt a smirk.

“Why would you think that.”

“Well. You might miss your father,” he replies softly.
I pierce him with my gaze, but he didn’t read my mind. Of course he didn’t. He doesn’t do that, and I don’t miss my dad. My father.

“Why would you think that,” I repeat dully.

“Just something Teddy said. He said we all lost our daddies, and it’s the worst for you, because yours isn’t really dead. He’s right. It wouldn’t be unnatural for you to miss your father.”

“Well, I don’t. You know my daddy. And you know me. I don’t do sentimental.” For a second he holds my gaze.

“You lost a lot, Draco.”

In a flash, I realize that he’s right, and that that is why I am here.
Malfoy Manor isn’t just another option as a wedding location, or a convenient setting for a weekend of exploring kink.
Sentimental or not, it seems like I’m seeking some kind of connection to the past, now that I’m at a point in my life that leads straight into the future, now that I’m about to become part of a family all of my own.
Perhaps I do want Malfoy Manor to be a bridge for me.
I lost both my mother and father; I’ll never receive my parents’ blessing for my wedding, or my life.
But I can marry from my childhood home. I can. Fate made an American hotel chain offer my father a deal he couldn’t refuse, and now Malfoy Manor is available to the public. And to me. -

But things aren’t as simple as that. Of course they aren’t. –

When we have set up home in our suite, which happens to be my very own former child's room, Harry suggests a drink in the cocktail lounge.
I decline, feigning a headache. Harry then tells me he’d like to lie down for a bit before dinner, and suggests to me to go catch some fresh air outside. With an apologetic smirk, he points his wand at mine and activates the quick alert alarm spell he installed on my wand after the Black Boss incident. Being Harry, he won’t rely on anyone but himself when it comes to my personal safety.
But he knows when to give me space. –

Malfoy Manor Romantic Country Spa Hotel is beautiful. The Manor has always been a handsome house, and these hotel people clearly know their shit. American or not, they have done an amazing job here. I guess it’s what they call careful modernization.
The gloom that used to pervade the grand rooms and hallways has been chased away; everywhere there’s the friendly glow of modern magical lighting now. But that’s about the biggest change they made. There’s lifts and little golden numbers on the doors, they made the western parlour the dining room, and the dining room the cocktail lounge, but everything else was left as it used to be. The family portraits on the walls, the Old English furniture, my father’s amazing library.

When you stand on the front steps before the house, it’s like nothing changed at all. There’s just a small gilded door plate to one side of the polished oak doors sporting five blinking stars and the logo Romantic Country Spa Hotel. Else everything is the same.

The sloping lawns, the lush rhododendrons and chestnut trees, the gazebo down by the lake.
The fog has lifted, and the last rays of sunlight light up the air. Inhaling the scent of the late afternoon, I step out into the grounds. –
It’s the gardens in summer that made Malfoy Manor my home.

I remember those lovely warm mornings when I wandered about under the rich, shadowy green shelter of the giant trees, just existing, like they do, enjoying their whispering, soothing company. Inevitably at some point Dobby would show up to summon me for my lessons. During the
holidays my father used to train me in his study each day, to make me a wizard to rival the best, and to send his walking stick across my knuckles each time I messed up.
When Dobby came outside calling my name, I would climb into the canopies and hide among the leaves, imagining that they were chuckling along with me in conspiracy.
Playing in these ancient trees is perhaps my fondest childhood memory, apart from the afternoons with my mom, when my father was away on some business and she would set up tea for us in the gazebo and let me try transforming spells on some old dresses of hers so we could have milk and scones dressed up as forest sprites.
I stopped enjoying such games, and climbing trees, in early puberty, when I realized there was something wrong with it. With me.

The leaves I’ve picked up have become squashed pulp in my palm. There’s a sudden chill in my bones that makes me turn to walk back to the house.
It’s got nothing to do with the approach of dusk, or of some dark hater wizard who’d have managed to get in here to crash my mini break.
It’s nothing. Just memories.

At the top of the front steps I pause to stand and look back into the gardens, not really seeing them anymore.
I see myself, at age five or six, standing next to my father, spruced up for the annual Malfoy summer garden party in ivory-coloured robes he had ordered at Madam Malkin’s to match his own.

While I was little, my father liked to parade me around and to buy me things and to tell me I was a better wizard than any other boy at preschool. And I loved him.
But later, during my early Hogwarts years, when it became clear to him, if not me, that I was part fairy, things changed. Today I know that he was secretly, continually cursing me to stop me from changing.
He knew it wouldn’t work, and he hated me for that.
I didn’t understand any of that; I didn’t understand where his hatred came from. Why he would suddenly tell me he wished I wasn’t his son, and find pleasure in punishing me for the smallest transgressions.
Stuff like showing Dobby a book about elves in the library, or giving a Galleon to a Muggle beggar by the gates. Or simply touching a tree in the park.
I didn’t understand he saw me as a fairy then, as dirty blood; I didn’t understand why I was giving offence. I only knew that I was. In the end it became second nature to me to try to not be found out, whatever it was that I was doing.
I think it was in those years that I perfected my skills in double play and subterfuge.
It didn’t help me much.
My father still made me suffer.
He never hit me or anything. He did let his cane smack me during lessons, but else his ways were much more sophisticated.

Those nights when he’d order me to leave the house, coolly telling me I was worse than a Muggleborn and had no right to call myself a Malfoy, then shut the door on me.
Those hours I stood before the oak doors in the dark, shivering in the night chill. Making me spend the night outside without even shoes or a cloak on was a simple but effective way to make me suffer for my wrongs. My father knew that my fairy genes made me especially vulnerable to the cold. And to being cast out.
My mother ever only dared to let me back in in the early morning hours, when he was safely asleep.

The chill creeps up my spine like a living thing as I stand there on that same door step now, like it was the middle of the night and I that terrified kid again.
Pulling my jacket close around me for warmth, I push at the door, almost expecting it to be locked. It isn’t; of course it isn’t.
And instead of my mother, pale and ghostly in her grey night gown, there’s a ruddy-faced maid in a fake nineteenth century household uniform.

“Good evening, Sir.”

I nod at her, feeling the friendly welcome absurdly keenly.

Hell, this is pathetic.
The girl is a trained employee, and I’m a paying guest in this house, a regular citizen of this country, a wizard like any other in the world.
I have a lover; I’m going to get married.

Nobody wants to make me stand in the cold.

But childhood emotions have this way of sticking with you, even if you have long since come to understand your father was a dysfunctional bastard and messed with your head and all that. Parents shape your sense of self before you got a chance to get what’s happening, and you can never totally shake it.
And this place breathes these past emotions and memories, it’s like a big ancient brain retaining them in every nook and cranny and ridge and fold.

But it’s not just my childhood days that seem to have been preserved at this place. It also stores the one memory that ended them.
The old dining room.

It’s right there, at the end of the hallway. I’d just have to follow the little gold-plated direction sign saying Cocktail Lounge.
I imagine the bar. Cheerful indirect lighting, lounge music, a sleek-looking barman wiping down his stylish counter. A few couples cozily curled up on plush couches, sipping on brightly coloured drinks.
Yeah, I will never ever go in there. –

Murky darkness everywhere. The only bright spot Voldemort’s corpse-like white face at the top end of the dining table. The air heavy with his evilness and smug dominance over my father, who had been the master of Malfoy Manor, and no longer was.
I had suffered at my father’s hands, but it was so much worse to see him humiliated and reduced to that fearful servility. And all over some ridiculous crystal ball with a prophesy inside that had said basically nothing.
Today I know that it was the petty anger about that broken bauble and the equally petty wish to spite my posh parents that made Voldemort commit murder and feed the corpse to his snake in the middle of their dining room.

Watching that murder, watching a human being get killed right before my eyes, put an end to my childhood and any remnants of innocence I might have been managing to preserve up to that point.
I hadn’t known the woman, but I knew she was a Hogwarts teacher, and Voldemort killed her in our dining room, while another one of my teachers, Severus Snape, did nothing; while my parents did nothing.
While I did nothing.

Never again, after that, have I been able to look at a snake and not shudder. Something the Dark Lord said to me that night pops into my head.

Draco, will you babysit the cubs?

He was talking about Tonks and Lupin and the children they’d have. About Teddy.
Quite possibly, he was already hatching a new murder scheme as he spoke, maybe right at that moment taking a fancy to the idea to send me off to kill Teddy once I had executed my initiation job and done away with Dumbledore.

O Merlin, it was a mistake to come back here.
With the maid staring after me, no doubt thinking I’m another crazy rich guest with probably a history of party potions abuse, I flee into the lift, shivering all over. There’s goose bumps on my arms and wings. I hate that feeling.
I hate being weak.

And I am not.
I’m a grown-up, and those old horrors are over and done with. I see Voldemort for what he was now, in essence an elderly, frustrated fashion refusenik with rather unfortunate facial features.

He is dead, and my kids won’t have any memories of him. Soon nobody will have memories of him, and then he will be really gone.

Hell, he is really gone, he is gone now.
I won’t let this house take me back to being the frightened boy I once was. I won't give in to this feeling that the Dark Lord is somehow still here, lurking somewhere in these too familiar rooms, about to rematerialize and swoop down on me and ruin the world and my life...
I rub my wings together under my shirt to smooth away the goose bumps, watching myself in the mirrored walls of the lift. I look as pale as death.
Hell.
I need to snap out of this.

I’m on a BDSM mini break with my fiancé; I transferred a heap of Galleons to an American hotel chain that finances my father’s golden autumn in Europe, and I will pull through with this.
I won’t let an ugly overbearing old man who’s been dead for a solid five years get in the way. Hell, I won’t chicken out and tell Harry I want to go home. I’m tougher than this.
Pulling back my shoulders, I head for our suite.

Perhaps a night of kink with Harry in my old rooms is just the thing to blow those dark shadows right out the windows.

-

Harry has left me a note telling me he has gone down to the dining room to secure us a good table. It makes me smile. That’s my man, never leaving anything to chance.
This is the perfect opportunity for me to prepare everything for later. –

I take a quick bath to freshen up. Briefly, I consider adding a few drops of the dragon hide potion I brought along. But in the end I leave it in my bag unopened.
I need to experience this for real, because this is about trust above all other things.
Harry has to know I trust him, so he can trust himself. –

Memories are a funny thing. For good or for worse, they make us who we are. It’s a pretty big deal to tamper with them.
There’s no danger for Harry’s health, obviously.
All that will happen is, after a latent period of five to six hours his mind will go back to a time when he didn’t yet love me and had never heard about Voldemort residing in his soul, and after another hour or so, the potion's effect will wear off and leave him with just a slight hangover.
It's still kind of scary to be doing this. To be erasing Harry’s memories of our love; to take him back to when I was just Malfoy to him, the obnoxious git who kept trying to get on the wrong side of him.

The potion is lazily bubbling inside its vial.

Obliquid.

It’s beautiful. A rich cobalt blue suffused with billowing liquid light.
It’s a shame I have to change the colour to wine red. But I can’t very well offer Harry a glass of bright blue Chianti.

Dependent on the dosage, Obliquid resets a person’s mind to a specific point in time, give or take a few weeks, and the amount in the vial has been calculated to take him back to the middle of seventh year, to somewhere in early ninety-eight.
He needs to be mature for this; not a child.

And he told me once that he had been suffering from an agonizing yearning for me during those weeks when he was on the run in the wilderness. He told me he was so hung up on me he believed I had Veela blood.
I love that bit of our couple history.
And I would love to really be Veela. Veela are strong and don’t know any fear. And they really are super beautiful, defined and voluptuous and with glossy manes, not skinny and angular with hair like cotton wool.
But no matter why, apparently Harry was eating his heart out over me back then, even though he didn't even like me; imagining us kissing and doing all kinds of naughty stuff.
Just like I was at the time, actually.

Well, it’s finally going to happen for us.
We are going to have our first time together. Yet again.

Merlin, the way Harry nearly burst out of his skin with desire and yet took the trouble of asking me what I wanted when we first went to bed together two years back.
He’s just so staunchly considerate, even when he’s about to stick his cock in a guy.

Well, this time, when he’ll ask me, I’ll be prepared. I’ll have stuff at the ready.

Toys they call it. It’s way too harmless a term in my opinion.
I brought a cock ring and handcuffs. It’s not much really, but just looking at this stuff makes my mouth go dry and my stomach squirm, like they were objects of the Dark Arts.

The cock ring has neither any size magic nor spikes. All I’ve ever done is what they call vanilla, more or less, and the idea of those spikes makes my hole draw up into my body like all the way up to my throat. And I don't need any size magic for Harry’s cock, either, thank you very much. He barely fits me as it is. I rather intend for him to put the ring on me. It's charmed to allow for complete climax suppression, and I have a feeling Harry might enjoy controlling me like that; to make me beg for my release.

Things might get pretty extreme for me. If he doesn't remove the ring at some point, it's probably going to make me swell up like six months pregnant.
But yeah. Can’t be helped.

I won’t let this whole thing pull him apart. I won’t let it pull us apart.

And I know I can trust him. Because he’s Harry.

-

“Did you see the 360 degree virtual tour of the Spa? I’d say we should check it out first thing tomorrow.”
Harry is sitting opposite me at the dinner table. It's the best one in the restaurant, located in the former parlour's little reading oriel, with a view of the moonlit grounds and removed from the hubbub of voices in the rest of the room.
The candles are glowing, dinner was delicious, and I just don’t want to think about the basement of this house.

“What do you say?” Harry says, swirling his wine. “I’ve decided to try it all out, like that magical underwater massage chair...”

“Have you?”

“Of course I have; haven’t you, too? What’s the matter with you? You were planning on hitting the Spa, weren’t you!”

“Well...”

“Don’t try to deny it, you packed your flip flops, so there’s your evidence! Are you telling me you lost courage?”

“I don’t know, Harry. It’s in the basement. That’s where you were held captive by my family...” He lifts his glass to his lips to take a swig of wine.

“Well, there are no Anti-Disapparition jinxes on the house anymore, and there aren't going to be any locking spells on the sauna doors. Those cellars are going to be nothing like back then.”

“Still. Let’s not reawaken those memories.”

I look into my wine glass, then at his.
He emptied it.
I put the potion in when he went to the bathroom before dessert. And now he drank it up.

Fine. The first part of my plan worked out just fine.
I shouldn’t feel all strung up, but yeah. I kind of do. Somehow setting the wheels in motion didn’t help with the unease I’ve been feeling ever since we came here.

“Draco,” Harry says. “You saved my life back then.”

He’s still talking about the time he was brought here by Greyback and my father asked me to identify him.

“What you did changed everything for me, Draco. I had had this terrible crush on you before, but I only began to realize who you were underneath all the attitude at that moment when you didn’t give me away although your father asked you to. Although you knew it was me under that hex.”

“Of course I did. There’s no hex in all witchcraft and wizardry that could make me not know you.”

“But Voldemort could have killed you for that, he could have looked into your mind anytime, and then he would have seen what you had done...”

“He could have seen I was sickly in love with you anytime anyway, so I was kind of in a shit situation anyhow,” I cut him short, smirking.
He reaches across the table to take my hand.

“It took real courage to protect me. You know what? I’ve often been wondering why the Sorting Hat put you in Slytherin without even a second thought. The hat took some time to decide about me; it wanted to put me in Slytherin...”

“It did?”

I didn't know that. I like it.

“Yeah, but when you were sorted, it didn’t even touch your head before it screamed Slytherin...”

“Exactly. I put a hex on my head that made it skip the checking and just sort me into Slytherin.”

“You aren’t serious.”

“I was desperate not to disappoint my father. All I wanted was to do him proud. You know?”

“I meant it’s a veritable masterstroke for an eleven-year-old to perform that kind of magic! – God. Draco. To think we could maybe have been in Gryffindor together, in the same house...”

I don’t want him to look so disconsolate.

“I could have ended up in any one of the houses.”

“Well... yes of course! You would have been a Hufflepuff,” he says, sitting back and nodding, his eyes shining, like someone who had a revelation.

“Most definitely not, and I do resent that you don't even seem to think of the possibility of me being a Ravenclaw. I’m not dumb, you know.”

He isn’t ready to joke about this yet.

“God, Draco, if you hadn’t been in Slytherin at Hogwarts, things would have been completely different between us...”

“On the contrary; it wouldn’t have changed a thing. I would have been just as nasty, and you’d have hated me for that, same you did as it was.”

“I didn’t hate you,” he says, starting to fiddle with a stray rose in the flower bouquet between us, clearly uncomfortable.

“Let’s not talk about the past, Harry. Please.”

He looks up, studying me for a few seconds.

“You seem kind of... I don't know, kind of out of sorts. Did something happen, love?”

“No, why, not at all,” I say, pulling myself together. “I love that we are here, spending some time away from it all. No lemonade jug exploding on the kitchen floor, no werewolf antics at the dinner table...”

“Oh, I’ve been meaning to tell you,” he says, reaching for the soda carafe and pouring me some more water. “Andromeda is better.”

“What?”

“She’s better. She’ll be home by the end of next week.”

I gulp down my water, then say, “She mustn’t be burdened with the kid, not this soon. She’s too old. He’s going to startle her and she’s going to take a tumble and break another hip.”

He observes me.

“That’s very considerate of you, Draco, thinking of Andromeda’s well-being like that.”

I shrug, not meeting his eye.

“Or is there another reason why you don’t seem like really happy that your auntie is better?”

I shrug again.

“I put a lot of work into Teddy-proofing his room. I hate it when I feel I’ve wasted my energy.”

“You certainly haven’t wasted your energy when it comes to Teddy, love. He has been happy at our house from the start, and that’s mostly thanks to you.”

“It’s not like I’ve been doing much."

“Come on, you even taught him to read! I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while, Draco, you’ve been great with him,” he says.
I squirm under his tender gaze.

Me, great with Teddy?
I slipped him Valerian drops and let him play World of Witchcraft and used inappropriate language in his presence. And I yell at him all the fucking time because he’s wreaking havoc on my nerves.

And now fucking Andromeda is back on her fucking feet, ready to take him back.

“Draco. Do you want Teddy to stay?”

My gaze jumps to his.

“Why? Have you talked to her? Have you asked her if... Hell, you have! What did she say? Hell, Harry, tell me! Would she be okay with that?”

“You do want him to stay.”

He leans back in his chair, his smile so soft and full of patronizing affection I want to hit him.

“I don’t want him to go back to a place where he’s being told to be seen and not heard, and the remark being enforced by magic, okay? He needs to be with people who aren’t like a hundred, okay?”

“She’s his only relative,” Harry observes.

“That wouldn’t be quite correct. She and I are his only relatives. And you are his godfather.”

“He is her legal ward. She might be a bit old-fashioned when it comes to raising kids, but...”

“Old-fashioned? She’s a total bitch! Yeah, I know she married a Muggle-born and is supposed to be the coolest of the Black sisters for that, but she hexed Teddy so he couldn’t fucking bark!”

Harry reaches out a hand to gently cover my balled fist.

“Baby. Relax. I’ve talked to Andromeda. If you are on board with it, we can file for adoption, and Teddy will be our eighth kid.”

I feel my shoulders loosen up and a grin spread across my face.

“Oh, okay. Fine. I’m on board.”

“That’s great, angel.”

I just know he thinks I’m a natural born Hufflepuff right now.

“It’ll be hell when he’ll reach puberty, of course. Maybe we’ll kick him out then.”

Harry shakes his head and gives his suppressed chuckle.

“I love you, angel.”

Now I feel the tingle of a blush crawl into my ears, and an all too familiar spasm in my ass.
I mustn’t encourage this kind of talk. When he says he loves me, it makes me all mushy-brained, and that won’t do. I’ve got an agenda. I have to be on top of my game tonight.
So I don’t say it back, or even look him in the eye, because that will just make him say it again.

I love you.

He has told me again, mind to mind. It’s one of the most intimate things we do. And Merlin.
It never fails to rock my world.
Squeezing my thighs together, I snip a crumb off the table cloth.

“That’s fine.”

He cocks his head, raising a questioning eye brow.

“A toast to this weekend?” I quickly say, picking up the wine bottle.

“I’ll switch to water now, too. I got some plans for tonight, you know.”

When we clink our glasses together, he winks at me, his eyes glittering with the promise of sex.
My stomach does some funny things. It’s stage fright.
Or maybe just simple fright.

When we’ll go upstairs, he's going to take me to bed, and we are going to have sex. Regular, everyday, wonderful sex.
Then he’s going to sleep for a couple of hours.

And when he’ll wake up, he’ll have forgotten I’m his fairy fiancé. The man he loves; his angel whom he mustn’t defile.
I’ll just be Draco Malfoy to him. The insufferable Slytherin who stops at nothing to win his house the Quidditch Cup, or to wrong Harry’s friends, or to help the Dark Lord rise to power.

O man.
What if he just hits me over the head and tells me he hates me? O man. I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew –

No.
We’ll be fine.
Everything is going to go just fine.
He had that crush on me.
I have never once failed at seducing him.
He’ll do what I want at last, have kinky toy sex with me, and that’ll be it.
The potion will wear off, and he’ll see he didn’t do any harm, and he’ll finally understand there isn’t a problem with his special likings.

I’ll be fine, and he’ll be fine.

We’ll both be fine.