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Puppy Breath and Money

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Harry Potter had spent the last three years terrified for Draco Malfoy.

Everyone knew what it meant when Malfoy didn't return to Hogwarts for his fifth year. Harry had done a spectacular job at denying it at first, of course. Tried convincing himself that it was just because Voldemort was back. That the Malfoys probably just ran off with their Dark Lord, or, what he had hoped most, had run away from him. It wasn't until Hermione gave him that look that said that if he didn't pull his head out of his arse soon, he was going to be absolutely knocked, that he had to accept it.

Malfoy hadn't returned to school because Draco Malfoy had presented Omega.

Harry had been there when Malfoy’s body was beginning to change.

He remembered the smell.

Malfoy was furious, of course, adamantly denying it, declaring that the smell coming off him was not omega, that he was going to be an alpha, just like his father, and told everyone where they could shove it.

Yet, Hogwarts Express at the end of fourth year proved Malfoy wrong. Harry had barged into the loo, thinking it wasn’t occupied. Malfoy was there – shaking, scared, and in full-on heat. Harry remembered the look on his face when Harry came in and the quiet, “Fuck, I didn’t lock the door.”

Harry was paralyzed. Just standing there.

Eventually, the frightened omega asked, “Is he really back? The Dark Lord?”

That knocked Harry out of his daze, and he nodded, heart breaking a little for that arrogant, vile prat.

Malfoy had closed his eyes, obviously devastated, and whispered, “I’m so fucked.”

“Do you have somewhere else you could go, besides home?” Harry asked – barely catching up to the logical thoughts being pushed out of his mouth – because of the smell.

His smell.

Malfoy.

He was so thankful he wasn’t really reacting to the omega-in-heat smell and hoped that was a comfort to Malfoy, even if the arousal was so thick around Malfoy, Harry could practically taste it. He himself wasn’t presented yet, but he knew damn well what could happen if an alpha, or even beta, with questionable morals and old-fashioned beliefs got a whiff of Malfoy like that.

It made him pull the loo door almost shut – not enough to shut them in and seemingly trap Malfoy, but enough to block the brunt of smells inside from escaping.

Malfoy shook his head at Harry’s question, wrapping his arms around himself.

He looked so small. So vulnerable.

Harry swore under his breath. “What can I do?”

Malfoy blinked at him, then scoffed, seemed to have remembered himself, and roughly pushed Harry out of the loo, slamming the door in his face and locking it.

That was the last time Harry saw Malfoy.

He stood there, right outside, mind racing and wondering how he could help. He hated Malfoy, but no one deserved what could happen to him if he went home and Voldemort was there.

Purebloods traditionally treated omegas sacredly, yet not equally. They were thought of as property, of course. The majority of the wizardry world was way more progressive, but of course, not purebloods. To them, an omega’s alpha was in control of them, but they were generally supposed to treat their omegas with great care and respect. Something to be praised and worshipped. It was an odd dichotomy; one Harry knew for a fact that Voldemort didn’t share.

Omegas were almost worse than muggles to Voldemort.

Eventually, Malfoy yelled at Harry to go away, that he couldn’t stand Harry’s scent and what he was going through was hard enough without Harry stinking up the place, and Harry left, feeling unsettled and uneasy. He never told anyone about the encounter, but it stuck with him.

He also never admitted that he was pretty sure Malfoy’s heat triggered Harry to present earlier than he probably would have. Only magical people had secondary genders, the result of some werewolf/wizard crossing that happened centuries back. The Dursleys were absolutely petrified of the alpha suddenly in their house. Sirius and Lupin had to pick him up immediately to take him to Grimmauld Place, so he could ride out his first ever rut in peace.

Merlin, it was awful.

And if he thought about Malfoy and Malfoy’s scent a lot while going through his rut, he never would admit that either. After all, it was rut. His first one. Not like he had a lot of control where his mind went.

So, when Malfoy didn’t return to school, he knew. Didn’t want to accept it, but he knew. Pureblood omegas often stopped going to school once they presented. They were to stay home, out of the way, quiet and obedient until some alpha or beta agreed to take them on and mate with them. Malfoy wasn’t the first omega to not return, though occasionally Dumbledore could talk some pureblood families into letting their child return despite their secondary gender, promising to keep them safe and alone during heats and whatnot. Keep them ‘pure’.

Made sure they ‘behaved’.

It was so… Dark Age… Middle Age, whatever, kind of thinking, but there it was. In normal circumstances, that was what happened within pureblood families, no matter how appalling.

Malfoy wasn’t in the usual circumstances, however. Voldemort was back, and the chances of Malfoy being able to just strut around his own wing in Malfoy Manor waiting for his parents to find him an acceptable alpha or beta were very low.

That was the difference. That was the thing.

That was what stung.

Harry thought about Malfoy every day, actually.

Some thoughts he could acknowledge, others he couldn’t. The ones he couldn’t, though, were always there, just underneath the surface, simmering with his animal within.

With Alpha.

They were the thoughts that made Harry jump back when Cho tried to kiss him, everything in him yelling wrong – wrong smell – wrong mate.

They were the thoughts that caused his animal within to rage at any conscious thought of how attractive Ginny was, screaming betrayal! The thoughts that stopped him from even trying to see if there could be something with him and Ginny – because his inner alpha growled at the mere idea of betraying a more suitable mate.

The thoughts that made themselves known with pure pleasure and delight during his ruts.

Yes, he never acknowledged those thoughts.

Instead, he admitted to thoughts like, where Malfoy was, if he was okay, if his parents were protecting him, and the need to see for himself that Malfoy was alright. Safe. Happy, even. Just because that was what any kind and nice human being would want.

Three years without seeing Malfoy made Harry forget more and more of what a horrible person he used to be. He was just a child, after all, functioning on and believing whatever his parents told him. Harry remembered the fear in his eyes on the train that day. Malfoy went into heat, and Harry just knew that the old Malfoy he used to know - who would call him and his friends horrible names and treat them awfully - was gone.

A whole secondary part of him was born.

In the old Malfoy’s place was someone completely new, and Harry hated the idea of what that new person was being taught now.

Being done to him now.

He would have nightmares occasionally, of Malfoy being horribly beaten and raped, and he would wake up with an insane and intense need to protect Malfoy, fix it, save him, comfort him, hold him, scent mark him so no one else dared ever to touch him again.

When that happened, Harry would carry that need around with him for days, sometimes weeks after.

He talked about Malfoy every so often, always the same - whispering to one of his friends if they thought Malfoy was okay, and them always looking conflicted and pitying and answering an equally quiet, “I don’t know.”

‘Course, there was Ron who would say, “You haven’t seen him in forever, Harry, let it go. Who cares? He was git.”

He growled once at that. Completely out of nowhere, he couldn’t explain it, and he was thankful only Hermione heard him. Though she did look at him funny for a while after that.

Harry had the wild urge to ask Lucius Malfoy about him in the Department of Mysteries; if Malfoy was alright, where was he, who was with him, who was protecting him? Did he need protecting? That disturbed him more than the growl did, and Harry filed that under the thoughts he wouldn’t acknowledge.

Harry got up the nerve every now and again to ask a few of his teachers if they knew anything, but none of them had any information. Except Dumbledore, once, when he told Harry that Voldemort had moved into Malfoy Manor, and that he feared Voldemort would use Malfoy as a way to punish his father for the events at the Ministry.

The nightmares picked up after that.

Harry almost asked Snape once. Almost. During sixth year, as he eavesdropped on a conversation between Snape and Nott. Having spent the term being suspicious of Nott, he took the opportunity to follow him during Slughorn’s Christmas party and heard them mention Malfoy in passing.

In fact, Harry had to work hard to stay still and not go charging after them, demanding to know. His inner alpha was snarling the whole time.

He thought about what was said constantly, though. Snape snapping at Nott, “I have my hands full enough with Draco –“ and Nott interrupting, incredulous, “Why, he’s just a bitch?!” then shrinking under Snape’s absolutely seething glare and mumbling, “Sorry, sir.”

If Harry hexed Nott the next day, well… no one needed to know. It wasn’t like Nott knew it was him, and he only spent two days in the hospital wing – Madam Pomfrey was right there anyway. Besides, Harry didn’t even know what that spell did, and anyone who had the nerve to call an omega a bitch deserved to bleed some.

He could admit, after a slight argument with Ron, that Harry did get a bit obsessive after that, constantly debating out loud what Snape could have meant, and wondering if he should just go ahead and send Malfoy an owl, asking if he was okay.

Voldemort was living at the Manor by that time, though, and Harry didn’t want to risk Voldemort thinking Malfoy was in secret contact with Harry and get punished or something.

“Damnit, Harry!” Ron had yelled. “Don’t you think we have way more important things to worry about than Draco sodding Malfoy!”

He stopped talking about it after that, but he didn’t stop thinking about it. Especially while on the run, after Snape killed Dumbledore, because he had been under the impression from Snape's statement that Snape was keeping Malfoy safe – but Snape was just as bad as the rest of them.

He shuddered at the thought Snape could have done something to Malfoy. Sometimes, when left alone on watch in the forests outside their tent, Harry’s imagination would run away with him, creating scenarios that Snape meant, ‘hands full enough with Draco,’ as he had knocked Malfoy up or something. It was unusual for a beta to do to that to a male omega, but not unheard of.

He learned not to let himself think that way while wearing the horcrux before they destroyed it. After, well, it was free reign, wasn’t it?

So, when the Snatchers got them and dragged them to Malfoy Manor, Harry’s body was positively thrumming in anticipation. When Bellatrix requested Malfoy to join them to identify him as Harry Potter, Harry thought his heart was going to beat out of his chest. He actually held his breath while they waited for Malfoy, literally had to remind himself to breathe.

The door opened, and Harry could smell him before he could see him. That unmistakable scent of Draco Malfoy that he hadn’t smelled in three years. He surprised himself in realizing he had missed that smell – like a forest just after a spring rain, and linen warmed by the sun, and just a little bit of puppy’s breath and money.

Of course, the omega scent was there, too, this time. Less intense than when he was in heat that time on the train, but still an added element Harry couldn’t ignore. It heightened the rest immensely.

Malfoy came in and froze at the sight of him. Harry could see his nostrils flare, knew he was smelling Harry – knew that he could know Harry’s scent anywhere just like he would know Malfoy’s anywhere. They stared at each other; Malfoy frozen at the door, and Harry, on his knees, tied up, but paralyzed by the sight of him, not the ropes. He slowly took Malfoy in, searching his whole person with his eyes. His hair was shorter than he remembered, a bit wild but still an elegant mess on top of his head and still that white-blond. His face was thin, pale, sunken in a little, and he looked terrified.

He smelled terrified.

Harry inhaled again, and he was so relieved to smell just Malfoy from the man. He wasn’t mated. No one had scent marked him. He couldn’t help himself, he looked down at Malfoy’s stomach and wholly sighed in relief that he didn’t seem to be pregnant. Then sighed again at seeing no mating bite on his neck.

“Go on, Draco,” Bellatrix encouraged. “Step closer. Take a good look. Is it him? Harry Potter?”

Slowly, Malfoy came forward and kneeled in front of Harry. They were close. Very close. Harry could have probably seen other colors than silver and gray in Malfoy’s eyes if he had better lighting.

“Malfoy,” Harry whispered without moving his lips, so quietly he wondered if Malfoy would even be able to hear. “Thank god you’re okay. I’ve been so worried.”

Malfoy’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. So, he could hear him. “What?” he breathed.

Harry gulped. He didn’t want to risk speaking again. Still, he inhaled deeply, taking in Malfoy’s scent, eyes slipping closed just for a moment in the sheer reassurance that Malfoy was there – right there, in front of him, and was okay. Not mated. Not scent marked. Not pregnant and didn’t smell as though he had had any other children or anything either. All those horrible things he dreamed were happening to Malfoy apparently didn’t happen.

That didn’t mean other things didn’t happen, but the worst of Harry’s fears didn’t.

When he looked at Malfoy again, Malfoy’s eyes were wide, and he looked flabbergasted. That was when Harry realized he had been blatantly scenting Malfoy. If it weren’t for his restrains, Harry probably would have had his nose pressed against Malfoy's neck. A quick look around the room showed no one else noticed, though, which was good.

Malfoy’s scent started to turn bitter. He was terrified and completely in distress. Harry could taste his conflicting emotions, and even though it could very well get them all killed, he had to comfort this omega. Had to soothe him.

“It’s okay,” Harry whispered so only Malfoy could hear, but he allowed his lips to move this time. “It’s okay. Do what you have to do. I just want you safe.”

Malfoy’s distress grew, and he whimpered.

“Well?” Lucius snapped. “Smell him or something! Is it him?”

Malfoy leaned in closer, sniffing, and Harry tried to push out calm, safe, comfort as much as he could.

Malfoy whimpered again, shot up, and backed away quickly.

“Well?” Bellatrix and Lucius said together.

Malfoy stood tall, eyes downcast, and with a flat voice, he lied, “No. That’s not Harry Potter.”

“Liar!” Bellatrix roared, and Malfoy flinched something awful, dropping right down onto his knees, hands behind his back, bowing his head.

A very old-fashioned omega pose to show complete and utter submission, docility, and obedience, that Harry had only ever seen in old text books from the times during the Middle Ages.

The growl that was ripped from Harry’s throat was not human. He had never heard himself sound like that before. It was a loud, threatening warning, and it made every candle in the room flicker. Bellatrix snapped her head toward Harry, completely shocked, then threw her head back and laughed.

“It is Potter! Ooh, how cute, going big, bad alpha over our little, cockslut bitch. This will be fun,” she laughed, pointing her wand at Malfoy.

What happened next was a bit of a blur for Harry because all he really could see was red. He somehow was able to rip free from his ropes, somehow got to Malfoy, somehow got a wand – Malfoy’s wand, and then suddenly the drawing room was alit with duels, Ron and Hermione somehow freeing themselves and getting wands too.

Harry and Malfoy were behind a turned over settee for cover when their situation became more desperate. Harry’s scar burned, and Harry knew – saw – Voldemort had been summoned. They had to get out of there. He pulled out the broken fragment of Sirius’ mirror and yelled for help at the blue eye he saw.

Almost at once, Dobby appeared.

Next thing Harry knew, Dobby was aiding in their escape. He got Ron and Hermione out of there first. Then Malfoy told Harry to go, asking if Dobby could take the prisoners to wherever Harry told him to take Ron and Hermione.

Harry nodded, threw some more spells over the settee, then asked Dobby to grab the prisoners first. Malfoy grumbled but didn’t say anything.

When Dobby returned, Harry said, “Malfoy, come with me.”

“What?” Malfoy breathed.

“Please. Don’t stay here. Come with me.”

Malfoy looked so conflicted for a moment, Harry wasn’t sure what to do. He just felt it in his bones – he couldn’t just leave Malfoy there. But then, Malfoy nodded, and Dobby transported both of them to Shell Cottage.

...

Potter was an alpha.

Of course, Potter was an alpha.

Draco had figured he would be, that day on the train. Potter’s hormones, the way they smelled and reacted to Draco’s heat, that look in Potter’s eye… Not an aroused look, no, it was the other kind, once Potter got over the shock of a newly presented omega in heat standing in front of him. It was the other kind that Draco had seen other alphas give their mates when they were in danger or peril. The protect-protect-protect look when Potter growled, “What can I do?”

Draco had wondered over the years if Potter even knew he growled that. That if he knew he was running off of pure animalistic instinct. That if Draco asked, Potter probably would done anything for him at that moment.

Which was why Draco had to get Potter away from him. Potter wasn’t even presented yet, for Merlin’s sake. He could have fucked up his own biology.

Yet, looking at Potter in the drawing room, Draco realized that, that moment on the Hogwarts Express was the last time he felt safe. Truly safe. Because during that moment, Potter would have done anything to make sure Draco was safe – and not just because he was an alpha-to-be. No, because he was Potter, the stubborn, determined beast of a man who would move heaven and earth if he set his mind to it.

His inner animal whimpered at seeing that look in Potter’s eyes again. The exact same protect-protect-protect only a million times stronger now that Potter was a full-blown alpha.

Draco was pretty sure he himself actually whimpered out loud.

Potter smelled safe. Draco had never smelled that before. On anyone. Not even his mother when she was alive.

It led to Draco disobeying for the first time in over a year.

When Potter growled, for a brief panicked second, Draco thought he was in trouble. His brain screamed bad omega, and it physically hurt to smell angry alpha – that it was replacing the safe smell was incredibly painful to even think about.

But… the safe smell only grew. It completely enclosed around him, and the next thing he knew, Potter was right there, shoving Draco behind him, practically claiming him – stealing him right in front Aunt Bella, who had so many plans for Draco.

Protecting him.

Draco didn’t know what else to do. He surrendered to the safe smell, surrendered to the protection, and did the only thing the omega in him knew to do. He shoved his wand into Potter’s hand, surrendering the one thing that protected him to his new protector. His omega even gave away some of the wand’s allegiance to Potter, so it was loyal to both of them, the way omegas did with their mates.

He didn’t even think that was possible without actually being mated.

Somewhere between that moment and his old house elf showing up, Draco pulled himself out of the omega mindset he fell into – the one he was supposed to stay in but never could.

The reality of the situation hit.

He had to get Potter out of there. That was the only solution, really. He had already chosen his fate, hadn’t he? His only hope was for Potter to escape and hopefully defeat the Dark Lord before Draco died. It was likely. The Dark Lord liked to drag out his punishment, and the betrayal Draco was doing? He shivered just thinking about what his punishment was going to be.

Not to mention the punishment his father was going to receive for not controlling his omega bitch of a son. His was going to be much worse.

Then Potter asked him to go with him.

“Please,” he had said. “Don’t stay here,” he requested. “Come with me."

Draco didn’t want to leave his father, but he knew if he left, his father would run. He was only staying there for Draco anyway. He would get the hell out of there, as fast as he could, and the chances of finding a Malfoy who didn’t want to be found? The Dark Lord wouldn’t even waste much effort into that impossibility.

It would mean he probably wouldn’t ever see his father again, though. That hurt, but Potter was offering safety.

Omega or not, Draco’s self-preservation would always win out. He had learned that the hard way. It didn’t make him a good omega, but maybe he could learn to be a better one for Potter.

So, he nodded, and they left.

He was surprised that they landed on a beach. They were both a little singed from the spells from Aunt Bella and the one Snatcher that stayed after Potter’s alpha-display, so the breeze felt nice.

His father, of course, didn’t join the fighting. He was waiting by the door, probably waiting to see what Draco would decide, Draco had to immediately tell himself to calm down some. His father was probably the only alpha walking the halls of that place to truly respect and cherish omegas. Of course, he would wait for Draco’s lead. He would have seen when Draco left, and he would have left right after. He was the master of the house, after all. His father was the only one who could Apparate within its wards.

Not that he, his father, or his mother when she was alive, ever let the Dark Lord know that little bit of information.

Draco would get a Patronus when his father was safe. Only then would Draco send one back to let him know he was safe too. Otherwise, it was too risky.

Safe.

What a beautiful word.

“Are you okay, former little master Draco?” Dobby asked, pulling Draco from his thoughts.

Draco smiled at the elf. Ha, he thought. Dobby was higher up in society than he was now, being a free elf and all. Draco found that he was happy for the damn creature. “Yes, Dobby. Thank you,” he bowed.

Dobby sucked in a breath of surprise, but Draco kept his head down and bowed until he got the okay to stop.

It took a moment, then Dobby squeaked and ran up to him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “That’s enough, former little master Draco! That’s enough!”

Draco straightened but kept his eyes down.

“Oh, former little master Draco,” Dobby cried, jumping on Draco and hugging around his middle. “My poor former little master Draco! Do not submit to Dobby! Former little master Draco is a free omega, like Dobby is a free elf!”

Draco flinched at his words, but patted Dobby’s back all the same.

“Er,” he heard from his left.

Draco jumped. Fuck. It had only been three sodding minutes, and he was already being a horrible omega. He backed away from Dobby, who thankfully let go, and Draco kneeled down on one knee in front of Potter, head bowed and hands behind his back. “Thank you, too, Alpha. Please, my sincerest apologies, I should have thanked you first. I know that – I do know that – “

Potter made a noise, interrupting him, and pulled Draco to his feet by his upper arms. “Don’t do that,” he barked. “You are a free omega, Malfoy. Snap out of it.”

Draco blinked then slowly looked up to meet Potter’s eyes. Most of the stinging hex had worn off, he saw. Very hesitantly, he gave Potter a small smile. Testing the waters. He had no idea what kind of alpha Potter was, and he needed to learn quickly so he could be the best omega for him. Otherwise, he might just drop Draco off back at the Manor and be done with him.

He didn’t expect to be Potter’s real omega, of course. Not a mate, but he could be enough of an omega to be getting on with. If he tried harder.

Merlin, he was truly a horrible omega.

Potter smiled back, bright and big, and Draco sighed in relief. Friendly alpha, then. He probably wanted a happily compliant omega instead of a fearful servant one like Greyback wanted. Of course he would, he chastised himself. It was Potter. Merlin, he should have had already known; it hadn’t been that long since they knew each other.

Had it?

“Right, then. Okay,” Harry breathed, looking around. “We’re at Shell Cottage. Ron’s older brother, Bill? He lives here with his wife, Fleur.”

“Fleur?” Draco asked before he could stop himself. His hand flew to his mouth, and he mumbled an apology behind it. Stupid. Happily compliant didn’t mean he could speak whenever he wanted. Happily compliant still meant he only spoke when spoken to. Nothing meant he could just speak, unless the alpha needed to punish something.

He knew that, solidly, for at least a year now. This whole night messed him up – seeing Potter again, seeing Granger and Weasley. Seeing Dobby. It threw him back in time. He knew better.

Potter frowned at him, clearly confused. He was confusing the alpha. Oh, this was already terrible. He needed to keep his eyes downward.

“Er, yeah,” his new alpha said. “Remember her? From the Triwizard Tournament?”

Draco was so thankful the alpha knew how to re-establish things. He could answer questions all day long. Answering, yes, he could do that.

Thank Merlin.

He nodded obediently, keeping his eyes down. “Yes, Alpha.”

Potter made that noise again and said, “Don’t call me that. I’m not like that, Malfoy. None of us are. You can be yourself – it’s okay.”

Draco frowned this time, keeping his eyes down and shaking a little, so confused. He didn’t know what Potter meant.

He was Omega.

That was who he was.

He didn’t understand. He didn’t know what the alpha wanted – he hadn’t experienced this. He didn’t know what to do.

Potter was going to take him back to the Manor for sure.

...

Dobby pointedly cleared his throat. “Harry Potter, Dobby thinks we must get former little master Draco inside.”

“Right,” Harry jumped a little. He forgot Dobby was there. He was too busy trying to figure Malfoy out. A little bit of the Malfoy he remembered shone through when he grumbled about Harry wanting the prisoners to leave the Manor before Harry, but that it so far. The Malfoy before him was…

Oh, it made Harry sick. The Malfoy before him was desperately trying to find a way to please the alpha in front of him. Harry was confusing him. Harry could tell he had already tried approaching several different ways, not knowing what Harry – no , the alpha – wanted. He could just kill Lucius for letting Malfoy become this.

He shifted some on his feet, not knowing where to go from here.

Dobby cleared his throat again. “Harry Potter should instruct former little master Draco what to do.”

Right. Fuck. He could smell Malfoy’s distress spike at Dobby words, and before Harry could stop him, Malfoy was on his knees again. “I’m so sorry, Alph-… I… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t need your instruction. I – “

Harry cut him off by dropping to his own knees and pulling him into a hug, wrapping his arms tight around his waist and baring his own neck. Malfoy was close to panicking now, and Harry’s inner alpha was howling. “Breathe, please, Malfoy. Breathe. Just breathe.”

Giving into his alpha instinct worked.

Malfoy nose was right against a pulse point on Harry neck, and he took long, deep breaths, his hands coming up to rest very softly and tentatively against Harry’s elbows as Harry held him. His smell changed almost immediately. He was calming. Harry knew his own calm, safe, comfort smell was surrounding them, and he tried to push out some good omega, proud of you, omega type smells. He never had to before (omega was the rarest of any gender anyway), but he remembered what he learned in one of the very few History of Magic lessons he could stay awake in – because he was absolutely horrified by the treatment of omegas. But, the bottom line, an omega that had been conditioned as it seemed Malfoy had – like they had been back long ago in literally the Middle Ages – needed to know they were…

Merlin, it made him sick.

That they were succeeding in their duties as omegas.

He hated himself a bit by not thinking of this possibility the last three years. Of all the countless days, the mornings, afternoons, and nights that he just literally sat and worried about Malfoy, he never thought…

Malfoy was always just so strong, and bull-headed and stubborn and arrogant and too much of prat to succumb… or so he thought. He always thought that if those pureblooded, horrible, bigoted Death Eaters did anything, it would be against Malfoy’s will. Malfoy protesting the whole time. Insulting all of them. Of him being pushed down after fighting tooth-and-nail, bitten, and forcibly controlled.

Not conditioned to submit.

Just the thought made Harry’s arms tighten around Malfoy.

Not anymore. Not anymore.

As Harry had to actively and with more will power than he ever had to use before to keep his thoughts from leaking into his scent, posture, or anything else, he made a silent vow to get revenge.

Starting with Voldemort but going from there, one… by… one… Ending with Lucius.

The alpha in him hummed approvingly at the idea.

Harry kept holding Malfoy, enveloping him with every good feeling Harry could think of and push out, which was admittedly not very much. At one point, Ron’s head poked out of Shell Cottage’s back door, and Dobby, who had just been hovering by their side, volunteered to update the others.

He volunteered quietly, as to not disturb the omega, and then silently walked over and whispered in Harry’s ear that he was going to stick around for a while, to help ‘former little master Draco’ adjust.

Harry nodded, knowing that was for the best. Dobby clearly seemed to know more than he did about, well, this.

The sound and breeze from the sea grounded him. Mostly, though, it was Malfoy’s smell that grounded him – told him what to do.

Sodding Malfoy’s smell.

That puppy’s breath and money.

Like… like it always did – when Malfoy was supporting him.

Oh, holy hell.

It was what abruptly surrounded him at his weakest moments from first year through fourth. Always, without fail.

Kind of there first year, but fully there during ‘Duel Club’ when Harry was facing off that snake and suddenly the entire school turned against him. Yes – that was the first time it completely surrounded him. As Finch-Fletchley backed away from him, puppy’s breath and money tried to comfort him.

Fuck. It was literally there every Quidditch match. Every fight. Every standoff. Every class. Almost every time Malfoy and he were together. Almost every time he was around Malfoy unless Malfoy was really, truly furious with him.

That smell.

Chapter Text

Harry was too unbalanced by the realization that Malfoy actually hadn’t hated Harry all those years to really be affected by who the prisoners of Malfoy Manor were. Frankly, he was surprised by how long it took his brain to make right connections and talk to them, and he was more than happy to let Ron and Hermione do most of the planning for their next steps in the bloody war.

He had held Malfoy for a good while out there, humming and letting Malfoy soak up his alpha scent which apparently was doing him a lot of good, then he led Malfoy inside. He stayed practically glued to Harry’s side, head down, and only spoke when spoken to, and terribly polite when he did.

It was unnerving.

Ron disagreed with Harry’s decision to bring Malfoy along, said that Malfoy would tell the Death Eaters where they were, and though he defended the omega, he was grateful and relieved because Ron’s accusations caused Malfoy to scowl and physically chew on words he wasn’t letting himself say.

Malfoy was still in there. Somewhere. And Harry was going to find him.

Ron, Bill, and Fleur, who were all betas, didn’t seem to understand Harry’s need to look after the omega – to look after Malfoy, of all people. Hermione, however, who was also an alpha, did, and in the days they spent at Shell Cottage, Harry was more than happy to let her fight his battles for him.

After all, the omega needed his attention and energy more than arguing with Ron did.

It was difficult, he wouldn’t lie. Harry couldn’t just tell Malfoy to stop, snap out of it, just be himself or anything like that, because Malfoy would frown, and though nothing about his person showed it, he would panic, his scent becoming bitter and smoky.

Harry discussed it with Hermione and Dobby at length, but the only thing Harry seemed to be able to do was… well… instruct him. Command Malfoy and give him orders.

The first few nights, Malfoy would try to sleep on the floor at the foot of Harry’s bed, and Harry had to command him to sleep in the other cot they had pulled into the room for him, and then had to repeat the order every night to prevent Malfoy from trying to sleep on the floor again.

(Originally, they weren’t going to sleep in the same room at all because Harry was worried Malfoy might have gotten the wrong idea or something, but the omega was so desolate at being separated from him and left opened and 'unprotected' with the others that Harry didn’t really have a choice.)

During meals, Malfoy would try kneeling on the floor beside Harry, not letting himself even look at the food, and Harry had to order him to sit at the table and eat with the rest of them. Like a normal person.

When he wasn’t following Harry around, actively waiting for an order, he was doing chores, practically cooking Fleur out of the kitchen, or would just sit.

Just sit.

Legs together, back straight, hands in his lap, and just sit. For hours, that one time. He sat and waited for an order.

It was horrible.

Dobby was a big help. He was the reason Draco started doing chores in the first place, asking Harry if the omega could assist him. Because, of course, they needed Harry’s permission, but Malfoy did need to do something. Especially while Harry, Ron, and Hermione planned out the Gringotts robbery. He didn’t think Malfoy would sell them out or anything, but he didn’t want to worry the omega with it.

Malfoy did make some progress, though, bit by bit.

Harry waited a few days before he started in with the questions, finally asking everything he had wanted answers to for years now. He started simply, like, had Malfoy been at the Manor this whole time?

Yes, apparently, he had been, except for the three months he had spent in France, which was a planned vacation, so Malfoy could go through a heat in peace with no one the wiser.

Malfoy’s parents, Harry was thankful to learn, had been sneaking Malfoy suppressants. Omegas generally had three to four heats per year – just like alphas had three to four ruts per year. Suppressants could prevent them or even make them easier. However, it was unhealthy to skip so many heats, so Malfoy’s planned one was just because his body needed it.

It was good that Malfoy was so open to answering Harry, it really was, but Harry still had to ask hard questions.

He led up to them though.

He asked Malfoy what he had been doing this whole time, and he had to stop himself from wincing when Malfoy answered, ‘omega training’. He asked who had been teaching him, and Malfoy said his mother, originally, but then ‘Aunt Bella’ took over once she died.

He asked how Narcissa Malfoy died, and Malfoy just said, “From helping me.”

Then Harry asked how he had been treated, and Malfoy got very uncomfortable. From there on out, his scent was laced with slight panic, regret, and fear. Something else, too, that Harry couldn’t name. So, Harry sat close, tried to surround Malfoy in his smells, but it only helped a little.

Malfoy had a hard time answering the rest of Harry’s questions. He clearly didn’t want to speak badly of his, and this turned Harry’s stomach, ‘previous possessors’, but he also was trying his damnest to let Harry know he didn’t miss them and was happy there, with Harry – whom, at one point, he had called ‘his new alpha’.

The worst part was that Harry could gather what exactly had been happening to Malfoy by the way Malfoy kept trying to assure Harry that he would be a good omega for him. Any kind of omega he wanted. Harry had to leave the room so as to not scare the omega with his anger when Malfoy suggested ‘other’ ways he could make ‘his new alpha’ happy.

He knew what that meant, of course. He tried to tell himself that at least his parents saved Malfoy from the dangers his heat could have put him in, but it didn’t help.

When he went back inside, he had to let Malfoy scent him again to assure the omega that Harry really, truly wasn’t angry with him, and he rubbed Malfoy’s back and told him he was safe there, that it was okay now, and that he liked rebellious, opinionated omegas anyway.

Harry could smell Malfoy's disbelief, but Harry also thought he could smell a little bit of hope.

Eventually, when Ron realized Malfoy really was damaged and wasn’t going to turn against them – if nothing else because he didn’t want to be away from Harry – he started helping out. He’d ask Malfoy if he wanted to play chess or go flying, asked him directly and waited patiently for Malfoy to answer. Even though Malfoy looked toward Harry to see if it was okay, he did answer Ron himself (which was always a yes to the chess and a no to the flying).

Malfoy didn’t seem to like to be near Hermione, however, and definitely didn’t like being left in a room alone with her. At first, Harry was worried it was old prejudices, but it was made clear very quickly that it was because she was an alpha. Malfoy loved conversing with her, though. Malfoy was sharp and so smart, and Harry could tell Malfoy was the most at ease when he was kicking Ron’s arse in chess and discussing things like Ancient Runes with Hermione from across the room.

As long as Harry was in the room, too, that was.

...

After they had been at Shell Cottage a while, Lupin and Tonks came over with a brand-new baby Teddy.

It was so good to see them. Even better to make up with Lupin, to apologize for what he had said, and to meet his new godson. He was so incredibly honored to be asked to be his godfather. It was a wonderful feeling.

Lupin and Harry were in the kitchen, refilling their drinks, when Harry peeked into the next room, smiling at the joy and positive emotions floating around them. His eyes fell to Malfoy, who was sitting on the floor and holding Teddy. He was singing to him.

“I always wondered about you two,” came Lupin’s soft voice.

“Huh?” Harry asked. It took longer than it probably should have to pull his gaze away from Malfoy. When he managed it, he saw Lupin was smiling at Harry with a knowing twinkle in his eye. “What?”

“You and Malfoy.”

Harry raised an eyebrow, still not catching on.

Lupin laughed. “It’s not exactly healthy or normal for a child to have an arch nemesis. I always wondered what would become of you two when you got older.”

Harry snorted, looking back at Malfoy. True, he guessed. Harry always wondered that too. They weren’t really anything at the moment, except, to Malfoy, they had an old-fashioned alpha-omega relationship.

After a moment of them just watching Malfoy sing softly to the baby, Harry said quietly, “They broke him.”

Lupin hummed. “I worried about him after I heard he presented Omega,” he replied seriously.

“Me too,” Harry admitted. “Do you…” he turned back to Lupin, needing to see the answer as well as hear it. “Do you think he’ll be okay? Do you think he can recover and go back to being Malfoy?”

Lupin considered him, then said, “I don’t think he’ll ever go back to being the Malfoy you used to know and loathe.” He smiled. “But of course, he can recover. He’s young. He can come back from this.”

Harry nodded, sighing, feeling tremendously better by the reassurance. Still, though, “He’s broken, Remus. How can he come back from that?”

Lupin’s smile turned into a slight smirk. “That’s the thing about being broken – you get to choose the pieces you keep.”

They were ready – as ready as they were ever going to be. It was fortunate that the wand Hermione snatched at the Manor was Bellatrix’s, as well as having a goblin to help them out. They just needed their luck to continue, because, at that point, that was how they were going to pull off their plan.

Harry, for the first time, was truly worried about being careful and making sure he himself stayed okay. It was an odd feeling, but if something happened to him, he wasn’t going to be the only one significantly affected.

Harry watched Malfoy and Luna as they strolled down the beach. He was leaning against one of the rock walls surrounding the cottage, not exactly hiding, but not exactly declaring his presence either.

Harry felt so proud of Malfoy when Luna and the other prisoners told him how much he had helped them. He made sure they ate every day, made sure they got medical care when needed, and would sneak things like pillows and blankets down to them to make them more comfortable. The omega scent, when the omega was calm and felt safe, was a very comforting scent, so sometimes Malfoy would just sit outside their cells, letting his scent comfort them.

It would seem him and Luna had become friends, which was something Harry would never have predicted regardless of circumstance.

“You worried about telling him, aren’t you?” Hermione asked as she came to stand beside him. She had been on him about talking to Malfoy all day.

“Yeah,” Harry confirmed, then decided to speak his thoughts. “There’s always a chance we might not come back, and I don’t know what will happen to him if we don’t.”

“If you don’t,” Hermione corrected, “and you’ll come back. Having a mate makes for an excellent incentive to survive.”

Harry choked on his own spit. “Excuse me? Mate?!

Hermione rolled her eyes and gave Harry an impatient look. “Don’t pretend you don’t feel it.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh, come on, Harry! Your inner alpha chose Mal – Draco a long time ago.”

“What?!”

Hermione rolled her eyes again. “Harry, you’ve never been interested in anyone else. I mean, for Merlin’s sake, you once growled because Ron called Draco a name! And you hadn’t even seen Draco in years.”

Harry felt the back of his neck burn slightly. “That… that’s different – I was just worried – “

“For your mate,” Hermione interrupted firmly. “Oh, Harry... I'm sorry I brought it up, but please do stop your freak out. Draco’s going to smell you, and you don’t want him worrying himself the night before we leave, do you?”

No, Harry didn’t. He let out a long breath and closed his eyes.

Hermione left him to brood, which was for the best. He decided not to think about the mate thing. He had so much else he needed to focus on. Yet, it was still there, bouncing around in the back of his mind, making his inner alpha purr mate, mate, mate. It was fitting. It seemed… right. Which was a problem because there was a difference between mate and being an alpha for someone. Being an alpha for someone, back in the old days, was to offer protection, to keep that person safe, to guide them and help them in a time of need. Mates did that, sure, but mate was so much more. That was opening up his primal instincts to include that other person completely and wholly –

And Harry wasn’t going to think about it. Right.

Right.

He’d get right on that.

Harry decided to wait until after dinner to talk to Malfoy – because he thought that would be for the best, not because he was having trouble controlling that part of him that was screaming mate mate mate.

It was clearly a mistake because Malfoy could tell there was something he wasn’t saying, something the others knew that he didn’t. Harry absolutely hated feeling Malfoy’s uneasiness.

He invited Malfoy to walk down to shore with him, and almost as soon as they were out of earshot of the others, Malfoy burst, “You’re sending me away, aren’t you? Is it permanent? Or are you sharing me? Is there something I did wrong – “

“Whoa, whoa, Malfoy,” Harry stopped him, “calm down. No. No, I’m not sending you away or… sharing you.” He spat that word; it tasted awful in his mouth, and not just the idea of sharing Malfoy but that Malfoy apparently even considered that a possibility.

Malfoy visibly relaxed, and he apparently liked Harry’s reaction. He cleared didn’t want to be shared as much as Harry didn’t want to share him.

What did sharing him even mean? Merlin, he wasn’t going to think about that.

“It’s not any of that, Malfoy. You did nothing wrong, I promise. I just wanted to tell you about our plans for tomorrow.”

“Oh,” Malfoy blinked. “Okay. Okay, then”

They sat on the beach, and Harry began explaining around-about what he, Ron, and Hermione had been doing all year. Malfoy, who was smarter than his own good (or perhaps for Harry’s own good), caught on very quickly and could understand what Harry wasn’t saying. At that moment, Harry hated Voldemort more than he ever had before because it was his bloody fault that Harry had to go in the first place, and now Malfoy was giving off the same thick distress and panic as he had the night they arrived at the cottage.

So, Harry did the same thing he did on that night and pulled Malfoy close. Malfoy pressed his face against Harry’s neck, curling into him, and Harry could only rub his back and arms until Malfoy settled.

Then Malfoy said, “What makes you think whatever it is that you’re looking for would be in Aunt Bella’s vault?”

“Something Griphook said,” Harry answered, “and because of how you and he said Bellatrix generally is about her vault. It makes sense. You-Know-Who would trust her.”

“She is rather sensitive about it.”

 They fell silent for a bit but stayed embraced, despite Malfoy being calm now. Well, he wasn’t calm, but he was less panicky. That was still a win.

“Why does it have to be you?” Malfoy whispered eventually.

“Oh, well,” he cleared his throat. “There’s a prophecy, actually – “

“I know about that,” Malfoy interrupted, and Harry could have jumped for joy. Malfoy interrupted him! That was so good! Malfoy made a noise, no doubt smelling Harry’s happiness and pride in the omega for something as simple as interrupting him. He huffed, sounding slightly amused, and said, “The Dark Lord was furious with father for not being able to get it for him.”

Harry hummed, nodding. Then, remembering Dumbledore’s fears, asked, “You weren’t punished for that, were you?”

Malfoy shrugged. “He promised me to Greyback. I don’t think he remembers though.”

A low and soft growl rumbled in Harry’s chest, and he rubbed his cheek on top of Malfoy’s head, leaving a bit of his scent there. He knew he probably shouldn’t scent mark Malfoy, but he couldn’t help it.

It turned out to be worth it, just to be able to smell Malfoy’s contentment and, this time he knew for sure, hopefulness.

That night, Harry didn’t hesitate to invite Malfoy into his bed. He knew Malfoy was nervous about the next day – hell, they all were, but Malfoy’s nerves were something he could help. He wrapped the blond in his arms, scent marked him a little more, and he didn’t think he had ever felt more satisfied than to have Draco Malfoy fall asleep on him, safe and at peace.

Yeah, okay. He was being more than just an alpha for him.

Harry wasn’t entirely surprised to wake up to an empty bed, but he was surprised to find out why it was empty. Malfoy was in full form. He cooked a big breakfast for Harry, Ron, and Hermione, fussed over them, gave Hermione Bellatrix tips and had Ron recite their plan to him again and again because, Malfoy said when asked, he didn’t entirely have faith that Ron would remember.

Harry didn’t know which was better, the look on Ron’s face, or the fact that Malfoy insulted the man.

Before they left, Malfoy pulled Harry aside, gave him his wand with assurances that it would work perfectly for Harry, and then handed him a pillowcase. At Harry’s questioning look, Malfoy said, “It’s the one we slept on last night. Take it. I know omega scents can come in handy.”

Harry saw right through that.

He was giving Harry something that smelled like both of them, instead of something that just smelled like Malfoy, and Harry knew he was probably hoping Harry wouldn’t forget about him. Wanted Harry to have something to remind him.

As if Harry could ever forget him.

To show his appreciation, Harry brought the piece of linen to his nose, inhaled deeply, and let an approving growl roll out of his throat.

Malfoy smiled a small, shy thing. It was a little silly, really, but if it made Malfoy feel more secure in his absence, Harry would take the damn pillowcase.

“I’ll be back,” he assured.

Malfoy nodded, looking worried, but his scent was steady, full of confidence and peace that Harry knew he didn’t feel. He was just pushing those things out for Harry’s benefit. “I’ll be here.”

Harry reached out and squeezed Malfoy’s hand before he had to make himself back away, then leave.

Something was wrong, and Draco felt close to getting sick. He had been feeling the tension all day.

First, it was Bill who left. He and Fleur had a hushed, quick discussion, and Draco heard Fleur say, “If it’s not a false alarm, send me a Patronus. I’ll come,” as Bill was heading out the door.

Not long after, the Patronus came, opened its mouth, and Bill’s voice said, “Come to Hogwarts.”

Dean Thomas had already moved on, so did Ollivander, but Luna stayed at the cottage. She left with Fleur though. Draco doubted she knew what was going on, but that was Luna. She was going to drift to wherever she pleased.

Finally, Dobby left. He and Draco had been cleaning all day, so they were just resting when Dobby suddenly shot up, announced, “Hogwarts needs me!” and disappeared with a crack. Draco was frankly surprised it took him that long since the elf was clearly worried about something but didn’t seem to want to leave Draco.

That was how the omega found himself completely alone in the cottage.

Draco couldn’t remember the last time he was completely alone. Usually, omegas could be trusted to be left to their own devices, but Draco was never one for being still and quiet. Or, didn’t use to be.

One time, just to get a rise out of Aunt Bella, Draco chased the Manor’s peacocks in nothing but his underwear, singing, “don’t need you to ruffle the feathers of my peacock suit!” He didn’t remember the rest of the song, so that was it. Just that line, over and over again until she caught him.

Draco smiled at the memory. Oh, the look on her face when he went running out there. It had been worth it.

Another time, Draco stole his father’s Death Eater robes, used magic to adhere his feet to the ceiling of a hallway, and pretended to be a bat, scaring anyone and everyone who walked through.

That one hadn’t been worth it.

His last bout of rebellious, loud, unomega type of behavior was when he tied together every bedsheet in the Manor, strung them along, and attempted to rope-walk. Well, sheet-walk. It didn’t go very well when he reached the stairs, and that was punishment in and of itself.

He couldn’t help it. He was bored.

If he was honest with himself, he missed that side of him. The creative, loud, talkative boy, who was a bit of a git and really rude, but it came with the package, really. His mind used to always be so active, bouncing idea after idea around, and Draco just didn’t have the patience to deal with other people when the thoughts inside his head were more compelling.

Just the idea that Potter could want or require an omega like that filled him with the smallest of hope.

Potter certainly seemed to. He was so damn happy when Draco interrupted him, it was really rather entertaining. Draco was beginning to trust that if he slipped up, Potter wouldn’t punish him. He let himself interrupt the alpha because he was beginning to trust that if Potter didn’t want him doing that, he would just say so.

It had been really hard, adjusting to being at the cottage with them. He was surprised how well he got on with Granger and Weasley. Even if he didn’t, he would have pretended just to keep his alpha happy, but still. Granger wasn’t so much of a know-it-all when she let other people join the conversation, and Weasley actually gave Draco a challenge at chess. It was refreshing.

Now, though, Potter had finally scent marked him, and he felt like he could relax more. It took Draco such a long time to prove himself worthy, he was beginning to think he wouldn't ever get Potter's approval. Who knew such a silly thing like interrupting the alpha was enough to get Potter to want to mark him. Of course, it didn’t hurt mentioning Greyback. The alpha’s possessiveness was apparently very strong.

He needed to remember that. It was something to cautious of.

It was a relief to finally be marked. It felt nice too. Before, he was always in his family’s home, so he didn’t have to worry about it – he smelled like those in charge of him. Here, though, Draco had been wearing Potter’s shirts under his, which were just hand-overs from Bill Weasley, so he had Potter’s smell on him, reminding everyone who he answered to. That he was under Potter’s protection.

He didn’t think Potter knew he did that, but he wasn’t sure how to ask permission. Besides, one of Draco’s old policies was that it was better to ask forgiveness than permission, and Potter had said he wanted the old Draco.

It didn’t matter now anyway. He was marked.

Marked, and waiting. He absolutely was waiting up for them to return – for his alpha to return. He didn’t care how it looked. Something was wrong. Something was going on at Hogwarts. He had no idea how to help, and he was, quite frankly, terrified to leave the cottage. He was torn between rushing to stand by the alpha or self-preservation.

He didn’t need to guess to know which one was going to win out. So, he made himself comfortable on the sofa to await the return of the others.

It was hard to get comfortable though. He was worried. At the very least, he knew his father was safe, but he was still very worried about the others.

So worried he didn’t really pick up on what his itchy, overheated skin meant.

Harry was sore, so sore. He was exhausted. He wanted nothing more than to climb into his old bed in Gryffindor tower and have Kreacher bring him a sandwich.

He snorted. Kreacher and Dobby charging side-by-side to lead an army of house elves was definitely going to be an image he would cherish.

It was done. Merlin, it was over.

Voldemort was dead. Harry had his old wand back, too, and speaking of, he couldn’t believe he didn’t figure out the wand thing from the beginning. Malfoy had apparently shared his wand’s allegiance with Harry, and putting aside the significance of that, Harry didn’t think he would have won if he hadn’t as Voldemort's wand wasn't loyal to Voldemort. He hadn't won it properly by just stealing it from Dumbledore's tomb. It wasn't loyal to Harry either, but Harry figured if no one knew it was the Elder Wand, the better. He would destroy it as soon as he could.

The whole day and night had been just a series of sheer dumb luck, really.

He would be dead or worse if it weren’t for the dragon at Gringotts, or for Abeforth, or for a new secret tunnel into the castle, or for remembering where he had stashed away that damn potions book when he cursed Nott sixth year and what else was in that room, or for Ron being able to copy his Parseltongue sounds, or for getting to Snape before he died, or for that idiot Death Eater who didn’t know how to take a pulse.

There were some deaths. Lupin was the hardest to swallow, and they had almost lost Fred too; it was just, again, sheer dumb luck that Harry hadn’t been as distracted as Fred and was able to push Fred out of the way.

Harry himself died. Kind of... In a way... He still wasn’t entirely sure what that was.

Merlin help him, though, if he now didn’t understand what Hermione meant about mates. Walking into that forest felt like the biggest betrayal to end all betrayals, and the alpha in him was howling in grief. He had told Neville to kill the snake, and, yeah, he knew it sounded strange, but be sure to help Malfoy. Asked the beta to help Malfoy find an alpha or beta or omega or muggle or anyone who understood him. Someone who would take good care of him and give him independence. If Neville thought it was strange, he certainly didn’t show it.

“Of course, Harry,” he had said. “We’ll look after him.”

Then he was in the great King’s Cross in the sky, and Dumbledore told him he could go back. He didn’t even hesitate. He barely said goodbye to the old coon. Because he had to get back to Malfoy.

Because he had to get back to Draco.

He still did. He was sore and exhausted, and grief-stricken, but none of that mattered, because he had an omega he needed to get to.

The others understood. Bill and Fleur said they wanted to stay with their family, which Harry couldn’t blame them, and so he shoved his wand, Draco’s wand, and the Elder Wand into his pocket and bid them goodbye.

The wards of the school had been shot to hell, so Harry didn’t bother leaving the grounds. He Apparated straight to Shell Cottage.

“Draco!” Harry called as he charged through the door.

He froze. Oh, that smell. He inhaled deeply, eyes fluttering shut. Forest, just after a spring rain. Linen, hot from being out in the sun. He inhaled deeper still. It was difficult to place under the more powerful scents, but it was still there. That damn puppy’s breath and money.

It was all different though. Familiar. He had smelled it before, but it didn’t do what it was doing to him now. It smelled hot and spicy, and oh so good.

“Alpha,” Draco purred, and Harry opened his eyes just in time to see and catch the omega flying into his arms.

Draco was purring, really purring, and licking Harry’s neck?

He was in heat, Harry realized like a hex to the face.

What remained of Draco was already pushed way down and in this state? He wasn’t Draco Malfoy right then.

He was Omega.

Chapter Text

Harry looked up towards the heavens and wondered what he must have done in his past life. Because it had to have been something truly awful, like slaughter kittens or something, for him to deserve this.

“Alpha, you’re injured,” Draco growled, nudging a bruise on Harry’s jaw with his nose while all out dry humping him.

Slaughtering kittens. That had to be it.

Draco was back to licking and nipping Harry’s neck while Harry desperately tried to decide what to do. He had discussed with Draco about getting him more suppressants, but Draco wouldn’t make the decision one way or another. He left it for Harry to decide, and since it had been quite some time since Draco had a heat, he thought maybe it was best if Draco got it out of the way. Let his body reset.

Clearly, he was wrong. So, so very wrong.

Responding to Draco in kind was out of the question. The consensual issues with heats and ruts were questionable at best. Add to that Draco’s conditioning, his mental health, possible dubious sexual history, and the obvious fact that he very much was not in his right mind at the moment… Yeah, no. Reciprocating was not an option.

He knew that and stood by that firmly, but he still couldn’t help the pathetic, disappointed whimper that came out of his throat. Oh, what he wouldn’t give to find out which one of the wonderful smells surrounding Draco was his slick.

Once Draco’s heat was over, Harry was going to have to seriously think about this mate stuff.

Harry didn’t think he had ever been this hard in his life, at least outside his ruts, and Draco grinding against his cock was delicious.

Focus, he reminded himself.

He grabbed a hold of Draco’s shoulders tightly and pushed him away at arm’s length.

Draco blinked at him in surprise. His pupils were huge, his eyes wide, mouth parted with red lips from where he had worked them on Harry’s skin.

Oh, holy hell, mother on high, fucking Merlin and all the Celtic gods.

Then a bitterness sparked through the scents, one that warned Harry Draco was beginning to become afraid.

“I’ve displeased you?” Draco asked.

Harry tried breathing steadily. “No, Draco, I’m – er,” he cleared his throat, “I’m very pleased. It’s not you. Just… hold on. Wait.”

His hands were still holding Draco back, and he closed his eyes to focus. He knew Draco would ‘obey’ him and wait if he took his hands away. That unpleasant thought sobered him a little. Draco had been ‘trained’, Harry had to keep that in mind.

The omega needed him right then. Harry wasn’t going to take advantage of him, nor was he going to abandon him.

“Alright,” Harry nodded. “Alright. It’s alright. Er…” he looked around briefly, then began to lead Draco to the sofa. “Can you sit for me? Just sit, right there? Are you okay with that?”

Draco nodded his head enthusiastically. He sat and spread his legs.

“Right,” Harry mumbled, then louder. “I’ll be right back to get you, okay? Can you wait for me?”

Draco nodded again, closing his legs, but stayed on the edge of his seat.

Better.

Harry took the stairs two at a time. He knew Bill and Fleur wouldn’t mind if they used the master suite’s bath and shower. Which reminded him… He should probably inform them that Harry and Draco were kidnapping their cottage for a few days.

Harry didn’t want to send a Patronus what with the chance of it announcing to everyone still at Hogwarts that Draco Malfoy was in heat. He also couldn’t take the chance of them just walking in either. He recognized the part of himself that wanted to rage out at the mere thought of someone else seeing Draco like that, but he knew it for the inner alpha it was. Draco, on the other hand… His inner omega was out and swinging, and Harry didn’t know how it would respond to someone else being there.

So, as the bath filled with water, Harry sent a Patronus telling Bill and Fleur not to come home and that their owl was on its way with an explanation. Then Harry wrote a quick note informing them of the situation and sent it off with their owl Francis.

That taken care of, Harry made sure the water was nice and cool, that there were plenty of soap and other things, preferably scented to help Harry’s cause at least, and then took a very quick shower himself, making sure he was fucking bleeding anywhere or anything.

Just to think… an hour ago he was facing off Voldemort.

It was unfair to think, even jokingly, but Harry still spared a second to ask himself which situation he’d rather be in. It was just to lighten his mood though. There wasn’t even a competition. Harry might leave Draco’s heat with the world’s worst case of blue balls ever in history, but it would be worth it.

He put on some soft clothes, grabbed some for Draco, made sure the softest towels were ready and waiting, before finally fetching the omega.

“How are you feeling?” Harry asked as he slowly approached him.

“Need you, Alpha,” Draco whined.

“That’s unfortunate,” Harry muttered to himself. He cleared his throat and held out his hand. “Can you come with me? Is that alright?”

Draco nodded again, the gesture wild and excited, and held onto his hand like a life-line, stepping up far too into Harry’s personal space.

This was going to be a long couple of days.

Harry helped Draco strip and get into the claw foot tub. The amount of slick Draco was producing was impressive, to say the least, and Harry considered it one of his greatest accomplishments to keep his mind sober and away from that slippery slope.

Draco wanted Harry to join him in the tub, was very confused as to why he wasn’t, but still complied to Harry. Harry told Draco to do whatever he needed to do to himself, that Harry was right there, that it was okay. It was a fine line Harry was walking indeed because if the omega thought he was being rejected by ‘his new alpha’ Harry still remembered Draco had called him, that could leave Draco worse off than when he started.

So, Harry stayed behind Draco, outside the tub, and massaged his shoulders, rubbed his neck, petted his hair, and praised him. He ignored whatever Draco was doing in the tub, because, well, he knew what Draco was doing in the tub, and focused his entire energy on reassuring and validating the omega.

It worked. Soon enough, Draco was crying out, thanking Harry, and finally relaxing. Harry didn’t know how long until another round of unbearable need would hit Draco, but he sincerely hoped it was enough time for a nap.

He drained the tub, washed Draco down, then refilled it, this time with warm water. He had Draco sit up then massaged his lower back, up and down his spine, then his arms and hands. Draco was nearly asleep by the time Harry finished.

Harry had to help him out of the tub, dry him off, and get into the soft clothes he had for him. A mumbling, stumbling, half asleep Draco followed him into their room, and Harry gave in and allowed himself to at least step back and admire the precious thing.

It was cute.

He asked Draco to lie down, went and found some lotion, rolled up the soft trousers to Draco’s mid-thigh, and proceeded with massaging most of Draco’s legs and his feet. By the time he was finished, Draco was dead to the world. So, Harry tucked him in, walked the house gathering their discarded clothes and used towels, then threw them in the muggle wash that Fleur hated by Bill insisted was more convenient.

In this case, it really was.

Harry made a large stack of sandwiches which he preserved with a stasis charm, charmed a couple of glasses to refill themselves with water once drained, and arranged the items along with their wands on their bedside table with a note telling Draco he was welcomed to eat and drink as much as he wanted.

Finally, he crawled in next to the omega, smiling a little at how Draco immediately latched onto him and sighed.

Robbed a bank, check.

Broke into an impenetrable castle, check.

Died, check.

Saved the wizardry world, check.

Helped what very well may become his future omega through his first bout of heat in a way that hopefully wasn’t harmful in any way to the broken, octopus of a creature next to him… check.

Harry thought that was enough for one day.

….

By the time Draco’s heat was over, both men were exhausted, and though it felt a little odd to Harry that he could officially say he had seen Draco Malfoy naked and could probably pick his prick and ass out of a line-up, Harry was satisfied.

Hell, the alpha inside him was damn well proud.

They had gotten into a good routine with it, actually. Between insane bursts of need, Draco was mostly back to normal. At first, he seemed humiliated that he had gone into heat in front of Harry and then offered himself to him. Harry wasn’t surprised and had been prepared for it, but still hurt to see how easily Draco had done it.

It also hurt to hear Draco’s reasoning, all of which came down to ‘you’re the alpha, you should take what you want’. It was a frustrating conversation because Harry had to keep leading Draco away from the ‘oh, you mean you don’t want me’ rejection pool he kept trying to dive head first into, but Harry still held his ground.

And then the most amazing thing happened.

Draco huffed, scowled, and said, “For fuck’s sake, Potter, what kind of idiotic alpha turns down a willing omega in heat.”

They were both shocked he had said this, then Harry hugged him, and Draco chuckled. It was a wonderful sound.

So, instead of sating Draco’s need in a more traditional way, Draco basically took care of himself, all the while Harry was there to praise him, engulfing him in that alpha scent Draco begged for and took care of him afterward. It was a lot of laundry, and a lot of marshmallows because that was what Draco loved to eat during his heats apparently, and a whole lot of masturbation.

On both ends. Harry normally waited until Draco was dead asleep, then he would sneak off for a shower and take off the edge, because oh holy hell Draco in heat was the hottest thing he had ever seen.

Seriously. There had been several points in his life when Harry wondered if he was damaged or broken or something because he just didn’t get off like other people did. He hardly ever popped a knot, like other alphas seemed to do left and right. He didn’t particularly have a preference in first or secondary genders, but he was pretty sure at his age, at least something should have been able to get him hard, popped, and begging for more.

Well. He found that something.

He was also happy he could do it guilt free because that was one of the things Harry made sure to discuss with Draco when Draco was the most himself between needs. It was Harry’s main example of how Harry did, in fact, want Draco, but he refused to give in if Harry wanking made Draco uncomfortable, even if he didn't do it around Draco, and he refused to do it without the omega’s knowledge.

Because that was the thing: Draco’s heat was about Draco. Not whether or not Harry could rub one off behind his back. Harry offered to leave, to stay, to not touch him, to rub his back, anything. Whatever the omega needed – within reason. He left it all up to Draco, and though it was hard for Draco to make decisions when he was afraid Harry might desire something else from him, Draco still did it. What kind of person would Harry have been if he disrespected the effort that took Draco by taking the chance of ruining Draco’s tentative safe-haven by getting caught wanking it, making Draco think he had neglected Harry in that way.

Which Harry knew Draco would think, and which Draco proved he would have by spending five minutes trying to convince Harry that if Draco’s heat turned him on, it was Draco’s duty to take care of him.

As Draco rested from – what was so mild had to be the last one – another round of need, Harry opened all the doors and windows to air out of the cottage and began cleaning up from their three-day adventure of what was officially the only thing that occupied Harry’s spank bank.

It took a few hours to get the cottage into a suitable state, during which time Harry thought of his future.

He thought he might still like to have been an Auror. He knew he definitely didn’t want to go back and get his NEWTs. He had a house, technically, and he could redo a bunch of wards and things on it to keep it hidden again. Probably was going to ask Ron to be the Secret Keeper. He could fix it up and repair it. Turn it into a home Sirius would have liked. The one he deserved.

A vacation, he thought, seemed earned.

The only thing he knew for sure, though, was he thought he might have liked to stay at the Burrow for a while, and he really wanted a certain omega with him.

Draco was awake and sitting at the end of the bed when Harry returned. There was an uneasiness and uncertainty about him, so Harry immediately came to sit behind him and began massaging his back.

“What it is?” Harry asked.

Draco took a moment to answer, then asked, “Is it really over? The war? Is he really dead?”

“Yes, Draco,” Harry soothed. “He’s really dead. It’s really over.”

Draco hummed, nodded, and fell silent again. He didn’t seem at all comforted.

“You can say it, Draco. You can speak your mind. If you want to tell me what’s bothering you, you can.”

Draco took a deep breath. “I don’t want to go back to the Manor.”

“Okay,” Harry accepted. “You don’t have to.”

A few beats of silence passed over them once more, and then Draco said, so quietly Harry almost missed it, “I want to stay with you.”

Harry's face broke out into a grin, and he leaned forward to place a soft, quick kiss on his shoulder. “Okay,” Harry agreed. “I’d like that.”

Dobby was thrilled to be asked to work alongside Kreacher to get Grimmauld Place inhabitable again, and Molly was just as thrilled to have two more mouths to feed at the dinner table.

Draco’s recovery was slow.

The first few days at the Burrow, Draco’s nerves were absolutely wrecked with the addition of two more alphas in his space, Molly and George. Harry thought that maybe perhaps they couldn’t stay there. Then, though, Fred and George played some kind of prank that involved pretending to be bats, and Draco began to warm toward the Weasleys.

He slept with Harry every night, in his arms, and rarely did Harry wake up without him. Their closeness was a great source of comfort for both of them. Decompressing after the war proved harder than Harry had initially thought it would be, and despite everything Draco had been through, he was a strong, safe warmth when Harry woke up from nightmares. They stayed close during the days, too, and when Harry learned that being scent marked made Draco feel immensely more secure, it was rare for either of their scents to be without the other.

Everywhere he went, he smelled sodding puppy’s breath and money if he breathed in deep enough.

He loved it.

Through programs at the Ministry, Draco was able to return to his own education, picking up where he left off. He also joined a therapy group for omegas who suffered trauma during the war.

Harry was keeping his vow to seek out Draco’s revenge. Draco didn’t talk much about the goings-on at the Manor, but Harry figured that anyone with the Dark Mark had some part to play in Draco’s trauma. Because of that, Harry got very involved in the Death Eater Trials that followed throughout the year after the war. He used each case to assess how close the person on trial got to Draco and if they encouraged his treatment or not. It had a large effect on the decision of his vote during sentencing.

In one particular case, Harry learned exactly what Draco had meant about being ‘shared’, and though the rest of the Wizengamot thought life in Azkaban was particularly harsh for overall lesser war crimes, all things considered, he was Harry Potter. They didn’t argue with him.

He knew Draco knew what he was doing, and though he tried to hide it, Harry could tell Draco approved.

He liked being avenged.

Lucius Malfoy seemed impossible to find, though, despite him sending Draco a letter at least once a month. Harry promised to find him, but Draco only smirked and wished him luck.

Harry spent his ruts alone, refusing to put Draco in a position where Draco might do something he didn’t truly want to do simply because he felt obligated. Draco let Harry stay with him during his heats, though, them booking a room at a wizardry resort for specifically that reason. It gave Draco the chance to get out in nature and get some exercise between bouts of need and gave Harry the chance to get some fucking fresh air.

Draco surprised him by being the first to kiss him.

Harry always lingered, but ultimately let Draco decided when and how he would touch. Somedays it seemed Draco needed to scent him constantly, other days, he didn’t like Harry to be closer than just a few meters from him. Harry went with it – he didn’t have any problem with it. There were some days himself when he would prefer not to be touched at all, and he didn’t have the constant war in his head over it like Draco did.

Besides, Harry knew Draco was it for him. Hermione was right, the alpha inside him picked Draco long, long ago, and there was no point fighting it. No point in denying any longer that during those three years apart, Harry’s heart ached for Draco.

The kiss was random. Harry had no idea what brought it on. He was just in the kitchen at Grimmauld Place when the house was close to being done, cooking Draco and him some lunch, and talking to Draco about the Quidditch match he was going to go to with Ron and Seamus. He was bit animated, but it was Quidditch!

Draco shut him up, though, with a pair of soft lips pressed firmly against his. They moved their lips together for a solid minute before Draco pulled away, smiled, and said, “As you were saying…”

Ah, yes, and that was one thing about Draco getting better.

He was becoming a giant git again.

There was a rough patch there that lasted a couple of months where Draco would royally get under Harry’s skin – in a bad way – and Harry had to work really hard to keep his temper in check. Because Draco wasn’t at a place yet where he could handle being yelled at. If Harry said the wrong thing, Draco would shrink right back into that docile omega shell, and it took quite a lot to get him out of it.

Draco had confessed to Harry that he felt safest with him than he ever had before, but that was what made it more sensitive because Draco was absolutely terrified of that changing.

Which, as he continued to get better, translated into being a tosser and pushing Harry away, not liking Harry was seeing him vulnerable.

One day, Draco was going out of his way to put Harry on edge, as though he was trying to prove that he could, in fact, make Harry angry enough that Harry would turn into that alpha he so feared.

Harry got drunk instead of fighting back and ended up in the Burrow’s attic with the ghoul, crying on Draco’s shoulder about the spider Crouch Jr/Mad-Eye Moody had killed in class fourth year.

Draco said it was hard for him to be intimidated by Harry after that.

It wasn’t until about a year and a half after the Battle of Hogwarts that Harry finally released that last breath of concern for Draco that he had been holding since all those years ago on the Hogwarts Express.

He and Draco were over at Ron and Hermione’s new place, going over details of the Granger-Weasley wedding. They were over the moon, of course, and Draco and Harry were happy for them. They were helping out in any way they could, Draco mainly helping with party planning and decorating, and Harry mainly helping by saying, “Yeah, I agree,” every time Ron would answer a, “Yeah, I like it,” though he clearly had no idea what Draco and Hermione were talking about.

Honestly, Draco and Hermione just put the correct answer in the way they asked the questions, like, “This color is beautiful, isn’t it?” and “This wouldn’t work right with that, don’t you think?” Harry had a suspicion that was Draco’s doing too.

They eventually got around to Ron’s favorite topic: the bachelor party. Draco had been helping Harry plan that as well, and Harry had complete faith that it was going to be amazing.

“I figured me and Nev could pick you both up before heading over to the first pub,” Ron had suggested.

“Hm?” Draco asked, glancing at Ron. “Oh. No. I’m not going.”

“What?” Harry and Ron asked together.

Not looking up from where he was working on the seating chart, he confirmed, “It’s this Friday, yes?”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“Yeah, then I’m not going. Pansy’s mum wrapped me in some charity thing, so I’m going to this compulsive spending seminar, and I’m hoping to unload the rest of these raffle tickets.”

There was a ringing silence after this admission that didn’t seem to bother Draco at all. Then Hermione said, “But Draco… the people going there are addicted to spending money…”

“Exactly,” Draco agreed. “I should be rid of the tickets by seven o’clock. If so, then I might join,” he added to Ron.

Harry didn’t think any of them knew what to say to that. Came Friday, and Draco did indeed end up joining them, void of raffle tickets and with nice little profit for himself.

And if there were any lingering breaths of concern at all after that, they disappeared a few weeks later when, at Ron and Hermione’s wedding, Roger Davis and Draco showed up wearing the exact same dress robes. Draco threw a spectacular fit, and when Ron told him to calm down, it didn’t matter, he coldly told Ron that Copernicus owled him and said that Ron was, in fact, not the center of the universe, then promptly blamed Ron for the disaster because if Ron had put him in the wedding party, it wouldn’t have ever happened as he’d be wearing the designated robes. Which he then continued to insult.

“You know I love you, mate,” Ron had told Harry after Draco left the room to find a place to sit in the church, “but I swear to god… I’m going to hex him one day, mate. It’s going to happen.”

Then later that night, one of the guests neither Harry nor Draco knew very well come sloshing up to them and bored them for a good twenty minutes over something Harry couldn’t even remember, and when the stranger asked what they thought about whatever it was, Draco answered:

“Y’know… I hear that the Cornell University in the States has this incredible piece of muggle scientific equipment called the Tunneling Electron Microscope. This microscope is so powerful that, by firing only electrons, you can actually see images of the atom – the infinitesimally minute building block of our universe. I have to say, if I were using that microscope right now, I still wouldn’t be able to locate my interest in your problem.”

So, yeah, there was some Malfoy to Harry’s Draco, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Draco was proud to say he had the most understanding partner and mate in the world. How Harry had continued to be patient with him in the two years that followed the war, Draco would never know.

Of course, Harry would always be Potter, and Draco sometimes had to find some patience of his own.

Tonight wouldn’t be one of those nights, however.

Their physical relationship had moved at a snail pace. Slower than snail pace. He might as well have been a virgin for all he was awkward, and Harry really was a virgin. They didn’t really have much going for them.

He was mostly to blame – no, he firmly corrected himself. He wasn’t mostly to blame, but his experiences and the people who caused them were mostly to blame.

Draco hadn’t even realized Harry was considering being his mate, thought of Draco as his mate, or that mating with Potter was even a possibility until during their third month at the Burrow (and may he mention the Burrow? The only nice thing he had to say about it was that it was clearly a testament to Mrs. and Mr. Weasley’s magic because that was the only possible way that hovel remained standing).

Harry had been jittery all week, and Draco was pretty sure he knew what was coming. It was going to be a ‘you have to leave’ or an ‘I found a better omega’ or something else that would end the reprieve Draco had gotten by being safe with Potter.

Potter asked him how he felt about mates and love, and Draco tried not to break down in front of the alpha. Harry quickly became distressed by Draco’s distress, so Draco tried to soothe him, tell him it was okay, that Draco was happy Potter found his mate, and that he should be able to be with them. That it was alright, Draco would just go back to the Manor.

The last thing Draco expected was for Potter to look so shocked, then appalled, then rushed to say, “No – no – no – no – Draco, no, I meant you. I want you to be my mate. I think are my mate!”

There were very few times Draco had genuinely been rendered speechless, and that was one of them. Also, quite possibly, been the best moment of his life. When it finally got through to Draco’s traumatized brain that Potter was asking if he could be Draco’s mate, Draco clung to Potter so tightly, his muscles were sore after.

“Please,” he whispered into Harry’s neck. “Goddamn you, Harry,” he added, calling Harry by his given name for the first time. “Goddamn you, yes, please. I’d do anything to have you as a mate.”

It was an emotional time for him then. He felt he was entitled to have been a little sappy.

He also decided to start some kind of mind healing/therapy the next day.

From that moment on, Harry and Draco were mates in everything save the biting mark and ceremony. And the, well, doing the do.

Draco had kissed Harry first. It was knee-jerk react to Harry looking so excited, so fresh and raw as if the war hadn’t had any effect on him at all.

Draco had also kissed Harry second, and third, and forth, and so on, until that wonderful Christmas Eve at the Burrow when Harry initiated a kiss first.

When they kissed their first night in Grimmauld Place, it got a bit heated. Draco felt arousal pulse through him, like a new life thrumming through his nerves. He was encased by the smell of Harry, of Potter, of his alpha, of his mate. It was so good. That wind-chill kind of smell, the Applewood, and seawater. He didn’t know if that was really the best description, but Harry had once said Draco had a hint of a ‘money’ smell, which to Draco meant the smell of expensive robes and cigars which Harry adamantly disagreed on, so he knew he was at least closer to pinpointing the delectable smells than Potter.

He felt his member thicken, which was incredible from where it was pressed against Harry’s thigh, and when he adjusted himself because his prick was getting uncomfortable the heavier it got, he noticed he had slick wetting him.

The smell of his slick must have hit Harry, because Harry let out a possessive little growl, and Draco had to stop.

The second time things got heated between them was a few weeks later. They were snogging in the kitchen, and Draco noticed that Harry seemed to like pushing him up against things. They were about the same height, so it wasn’t really all that awkward for Draco to jump up and sit on the counter.

Draco had learned that day, however, that for all Harry’s love to push Draco up against things, Draco needed control. He didn’t much feel like he had that with his legs wrapped around his mate’s waist and not having many other options of positions where they were.

The third time they progressed in their physical relationship, Draco learned that his alpha was surprisingly compliant in bed. He had no problem with Draco pushing him back, shoving him into a chair, straddling him and seizing control.

“Fuck, as long as you keep smelling like that, I don’t care,” had been Harry’s answer as to why.

Again, snail speed, but Draco eventually got to the point where he didn’t mind Potter getting between his knees and taking him into his mouth. Which was so good, and he was proud of himself, because his issues in the bedroom had less to do with past experiences and more to do with just how omega he was the more aroused he got. He never really came to terms with being an omega, and when his every instinct was begging him to let go, turn over and present, to be knotted, it freaked him out. So, it was a great thing when he didn’t mind the physical aspects of their relationship so much.

Pfft, didn’t mind? Who was he kidding, he loved it. His favorite was when Harry ate him out. That was the only time he felt comfortable enough to ‘present’ as it were. Harry loved it just as much – he always mumbled and groaned and moaned on about how Draco tasted. It was a treat, he had said. Draco liked to surprise him with it, like casually ask if Harry wanted dessert or a snack, then take his hand and lead him to their bedroom, tell Harry that if he could get him good and wet, he might consider letting Harry have some.

Of course, he always would, but he found he loved teasing too.

Draco was beginning to have a love-hate relationship with his heats as well. He had never had so many heats before, but he had to admit how much better his body functioned and felt by letting them happen.

The heats were both incredible and miserable.

It wasn’t enough. It wouldn’t be enough – nothing he did was enough. His fingers were less than adequate, it was truly pathetic. Harry had gotten him some toys and other things that were better, but it still wasn’t ever enough. He would climax by riding the almost line so hard and for so long that it was like his body would just say, ‘Fine. Have your orgasm, you fucking cockslut.’

Yet, it was wonderful because his alpha was there. During the spikes of his heat, he was nothing but pure, unprohibited omega that would just purr from one whiff of Harry, and his whole body would just shake and cry out for him.

Which made the thoughts like, ‘Have your orgasm, you fucking cockslut,’ sting a lot more.

He had told Harry this once, during one of his heats, and though the memory was made a bit hazy by his condition, Potter had made it clear that no one was allowed to call his mate such a horrible name, including his mate.

Draco had to admit, Harry seemed to have his omega side down. He thought maybe his favorite parts of his heats were the praises Harry would give him. Like he knew what Draco was thinking. It was always, “That’s right, Draco, you’re doing so good. That’s exactly what I want. You’re doing exactly what I’ve asked. You’re so good. You’re my good omega.”

It was humiliating, really, that that was what Draco needed to get through the first few heats together. Because his inner omega knew Harry was right there, that his alpha was right there, but wasn’t touching him. Therefore, he was obviously doing something very wrong. Or worse, was unwanted and undesirable.

He was surprised how much therapy helped in that department.

Probably one of his favorite moments in his recovery was during one of his heats. He was laid out on the resort’s bed, back arched awkwardly because he was desperately trying to fuck down onto a dildo while his other hand was flying wildly, tightly, and fast over his cock. He was panting, barely able to catch his breath, and he was so close, he was almost there.

Harry was there. He was kneeling beside him, up toward Draco’s head, and was petting back his hair and cooing praises like he normally did. He said, “You’re perfect, Draco. That’s perfect. You’re pleasing me so much right now.”

And Draco, pulled tight by his ever-alluding orgasm, snapped, between his panting, “Fuck… you! Your balls… are prob… probably just as tight… as mine. Talk… fucking dirty to me… or… get the fuck out.”

Harry threw his head back and laughed. He kissed Draco messily, then groaned in his ear, “Cum for me, omega. Show me how much you love that fake knot.”

Merlin, it was one of the best orgasms in his life.

They talked about it. Sex. They talked about it a lot, actually, which sometimes made Draco want to hex something. No, screw wands, made him want to punch something. Harry, however, was still that same determined, stubborn beast of a man he always was and would always be.

Harry had told him, “We have to talk about it, Draco. Do you have any idea what it would do to me if I accidentally did something that scared you? Threatened you? Merlin’s tits, Draco, that would kill me.”

Of course, Potter would say that, because how in holy hell was Draco supposed to tell him no after that.

Not that Harry pushed him. No, he never, ever pushed him, but he never would let things sodding go either.

When it came down to it, Draco was ashamed. He was ashamed of being an omega, he was ashamed to have heats, he was ashamed to have physical needs like that. Harry always made him feel better. Reminded him that it was natural, just another humanly bodily function, and he shouldn’t be ashamed that it felt good because hell, sometimes dumping a load in the toilet felt good!

One night, Harry was just musing over sex, as he did, while he cooked them dinner, and said, “It’s just weird, isn’t it? How wagging your tongue inside someone else’s mouth can make you feel like the messiah’s coming home or something.”

Draco laughed.

Harry made sex funny. He made it fun. He made it into something that made Draco giggle like a little girl and moan like he was being paid for it in the span of two seconds. He made sex important – like Draco was important, like what he wanted, liked, or needed was important – but also made it like it was the most unimportant thing in the world.

Sometimes, and there just wasn’t any other way he could put, Harry made him feel like he was absolutely worshipping Draco’s body, as though he had fasted and prayed for years for the opportunity to be with him.

Then Harry would talk about the three years they spent away from each other, how he would think about Draco, worry about him, hoped he was okay, and Draco thought… maybe Harry had spent years praying for him.

Soon, one of Harry’s ruts was going to coincide with one of Draco’s heats.

Draco wanted them to spend it together.

He had already started taking birth control, so it could build up in his system and keep them protected. He had the alpha kind for Harry, too, so they could be double protected. He knew damn well that neither of them would come out of it without a mating bite, so he was already secretly planning with Hermione a celebratory party. Harry and Draco had discussed weddings and a mating ceremony, and they agreed that they wanted to do them both, together at the same time, but wanted to wait until they were finished fixing and selling the Manor and for Harry to finish Auror training.

But they couldn’t let the occasion go without a little party.

The only thing left to do was to have sex with Harry sodding Potter because Draco didn’t want their first time together to be lost in hazy, fragmented memories. Not for either of them. He didn’t want their biology to steal their first time.

It was a Sunday, and Harry had spent the morning playing Quidditch with some other Gryffindor oafs, then spent the afternoon at the Burrow. Draco had spent the day showering like a million times, cleaning the house, and making Dobby help him cook a surprise dinner.

Harry was indeed surprised to come home and find a beautiful roast. He took one look at it, sniffed, then smirked and said, “Tell Dobby I said thanks.”

Draco rolled his eyes and told him to shut up and eat.

He waited until after they had cleaned their plates, and timed it just right to speak as Harry was gulping down some wine, “I want you to knot me tonight.”

Harry, predictably, choked. It was satisfying.

“What?!” Harry whizzed, banging his chest with a closed fist. “I don’t think I heard you right.”

“I said, I want you to knot me tonight.”

“Like… with my dick?”

“No, with your muggle fishing wire,” Draco deadpanned.

Harry ignored the quip. “Are you sure? Are you ready?”

“I wouldn’t have requested it if I wasn’t sure or ready, Potter, for fuck’s sake,” he rolled his eyes. “We both said we wanted to spend your rut and my heat together. I hardly think that would be an appropriate time to go for it.”

Harry blushed a little – Draco loved being able to make him blush – and after Draco watched the slow excitement spread across his features, led his alpha to the bedroom.

They started with slow kisses that turned much more urgent more quickly than Draco had expected. Harry left bruises on Draco’s pulse points, his mating glands, around his nipples. Draco seriously didn’t think he had ever seen Harry, or anyone, strip their clothes that quickly, and it made Draco laugh. A laugh that Harry turned into a filthy moan when he swallowed down Draco’s cock and shoved clumsy fingers inside him.

Harry brought him to the edge and back at least three times before he put a pillow underneath Draco and lined himself up.

They both watched in an almost a hushed silence as the head of the alpha’s prick disappeared inside him. Then Harry was kissing him again, claiming his mouth, as he slowly pushed all the way in.

They rocked together, moaned together, mixing their fluids and sweat until Draco was a withering mess, clutching to his mate, begging and pleading for more, more, more. The moment he felt Harry’s knot begin to swell, his toes curled, and he began to cry out, unabashed, “Yes! Yes, Alpha, yes, please! Knot me! Harry – Harry – oh, Harry, knot me, yes, please, love!”

Harry growled, sucked hard on Draco’s mating gland on his neck right where the mating bite would be – was going to be, and he drilled into Draco so hard and so fast, their headboard was knocking against the wall. He wouldn’t slow, so it took Harry a couple of awkward little pushes to get himself up enough to grab Draco’s cock, and if Draco had any cognitive ability, he might have helped.

Draco came, his orgasm practically blinding him, as soon as Harry’ knot caught. Barely a moment or two later, Harry was howling, crying out Draco’s name.

Harry had told him that his knot usually lasted about half an hour, but he also admitted that with Draco, it might take longer to go down. There, lying underneath his mate, Draco couldn’t care less. Let it take the whole night.

It took them both a while to slow their hearts and catch their breaths, and when they did, Harry carefully and gently turned them over so Harry was on his back and Draco was cuddled to his chest. He pulled their blankets over them, then began stroking Draco’s back and hair, the same way he always did.

If this was what being knotted to Harry sodding Potter was like, then Draco couldn’t thank the gods enough for creating him as an omega.

He drifted off, happy, content, safe, and comfortable, but before sleep took him completely, he could have sworn he heard Harry mumble, “Fucking puppy’s breath and money…”

Chapter Text

When Harry and Draco announced they were expecting their first baby, there was immediate cheering, followed by a brief, hesitate pause where Harry could see it occurring to everyone at once they were going to have to deal with a pregnant Draco Malfoy, then more cheering.

Draco really wasn’t that bad, to Harry anyway.

He was one percent caffeine and ninety percent dramatics. Harry had learned over time it was because Draco’s head was just so full. He was completely bent around the twist, wickedly creative, and got bored easily enough that Molly had marked him as ‘one to watch’ right next to the twins.

They had thought for a small amount of time that Draco working at the joke shop could give Draco something to channel all that spitfire energy and ideas, but Draco’s insanity seemed to be an entirely different brand from Fred and George’s.

He drove Harry mad sometimes, yeah, but Harry had a much better understanding of the boy he grew up with. Looking back, things like those ‘Potter Stinks’ badges seemed less like a concentrated affront designed to humiliate and cause as much emotional damage as possible, but more like Draco had some spare time at the end of Charms and couldn’t think of anything better to do.

That was how adult Draco was anyhow. For example, Harry came home one evening to find all their furniture had been enchanted to insult him. Creative and intelligent insults that took Harry a second to get, such as, “Nice face! I bet you’ll look good on radio.” Turned out the only reason Harry came home to talking furniture was because Pansy Parkinson and Blaise Zabini were late picking Draco up for dinner.

It was hilarious, and Harry wrote down his favorite insults and left the list out for Draco to read.

Mad or not, Harry happily put up with it, even if he was pretty sure the purple stuff Draco flooded the house with at one point wasn’t actually dyed water as Draco had tried to play off as. He put up with it because he had met the Draco that had been wrung into submission, and Harry never wanted to meet that Draco again.

It turned out having a child channeled Draco’s madness much better than anything else, because after the birth, Draco announced, “In the name of every single being and creature that has ever been worshipped since the beginning of time, I am never doing that again,” and sure enough, Draco spent quite a lot of time and resources into looking for alternative means of pregnancy and childbirth.

He didn’t find any good ones by time their second pregnancy rolled around, but he gave it his honest to goodness all.

“Potter, I’ve change my mind,” Draco was telling him. “I do want a cheeseburger.”

Draco was fiddling around in their room, changing from his day clothes and already getting comfortable for the night. Harry couldn’t blame him, this pregnancy was sodding twins, and they were past due.

Harry was sitting on their bed, holding a baby-babbling James Abraxas. They had fought as to what to name their son, Harry not wanting to honor Lucius Malfoy one iota. He eventually caved to Abraxas on the condition of receiving a written promise from Lucius that he would never be left alone with his grandson, or any other children they have, if he ever did met them, and that he most definitely was to never return to England. Draco told him it a futile thing, because of course, Lucius was never returning to England, not with the bounty Harry put on his head, but Harry felt better making it clear. If Lucius Malfoy ever set foot on English soil ever again, Harry was going to lock him up and throw away the key.

See how he liked submitting against his will.

“What do you think?” Harry quietly asked James. “Feel like cheeseburgers?”

“You will not be feeding my son cheeseburgers, Potter,” Draco griped from the washroom. Harry swore being pregnant gave him superhuman hearing.

“Why not?” Harry asked. “You’re feeding our other two sons cheeseburgers.”

“That’s different,” Draco said.

Harry grinned. He loved these little faux arguments with his mate. If Draco didn’t start right away listing all the ways Harry was wrong, then Harry already knew he was right, and the more Harry pressed, the even more ridiculous Draco’s arguments became.

“It’s not different,” Harry began. “Al and Scorp will essentially be having cheeseburgers with you.”

“Albus and Scorpius will be having all the good nutritious values of a cheeseburger – I will have the rest.”

“You can’t parse nutrition like that.”

“Watch me.”

“I can’t watch you – there’s no way to watch that.”

“Then I suppose you shall just have to take my word for it and shut your breath hole.”

Harry sniggered, but before he could reply, he heard a loud gasp from the washroom and the sound of something dropping. “Draco?”

There was a beat of silence, then, “I swear to fucking god, Potter, if you don’t get me to St. Mungo’s before it’s too late for the bloody birthing potions, you will be having a side of your own bollocks with every sodding meal you have for the rest of your life – “

Harry sighed, standing, and adjusting James in his arms, walked over to the closet and began shouldering a couple of their birthing bags.

“ – and so bloody help me, you entire unreasonably fertile man, if I do not get a private room this time, I will out scream whoever else is in there, and the Prophet people will come, and I’ll put on a spectacular showing so that tomorrow’s headline reads: HARRY POTTER’S CHILDREN MAY OR MAY NOT ACTUALLY BE DEMON SPAWNS THAT KILL THEIR HUMAN HOSTS – “

Harry Accio and levitated James’ things, shrunk them down for easier transport, and sent a Patronus to Molly and Arthur who already agreed to watch James during the birth, and then one to Ron and Hermione, letting them know it was all systems go.

“ – and I will receive hundreds of gift baskets from sympathizers from the grand Harry Potter Hero Fanclub, and will not share a single item with you. No, I will not. And for the love all things holy, do not let me sign their birth certificates while I’m still on pain potions. James was almost Jimmy Aberforth, Potter! Aberforth!”

Harry heard the crack of an Apparation outside and someone enter their house. That would be Molly.

Harry smiled down at James and whispered, “One day, you’ll just look at your daddy and ask me, ‘why?’ And I’m telling you now, son, my only answer is, ‘Trust me, you’d miss him if he was gone.’”

James merely smacked his lips. Kissing the top of his head, Harry met an out-of-breath, excited but frantic Molly out in the hallway to pass over James and his things.

“Got a spare key for here, right?” Harry whispered.

Molly nodded, smiling at James, and quietly made her way downstairs where she would take the floo to take James back to the Burrow. She knew better than to attempt to poke her head in whatever room Draco was in labor.

“ – will begin throwing things – do not test me on this, because that Healer’s hands were cold, I will not be bringing life into this world again while some pinch-faced, cold handed moron helps spread my legs wide open for all to see! Not again, Potter. I will have the omega Healer, or you shall take her place.”

Harry made a quick glance around, making sure they had everything, then walked into the washroom where Draco was leaning heavily against the counter, face pained, and mouth still just a-going away.

“And I won’t have you breathing in my face this time, do you understand me? None of that hee-hee-hoo shite – it doesn’t work, I want the bloody, fucking potions.”

“Yes, love,” Harry agreed, bringing his omega into his arms and taking on the brunt of his weight, to help carry the burden. “Whatever you say.”

“Oh, bite me, Potter.”