Harry is walking.
He’s been walking… since Ron pulled him off that other trainee—god, he can’t even remember what the other man had said that had infuriated him so, made him want to kill him; he almost had, if he’s honest—and told him to go for a walk.
That was days ago. He’s been home to sleep, which isn’t quite the right word for it, and to shower and to eat a bit.
But mostly he’s been walking.
He’s walked through some of the least pleasant neighborhoods of London… hoping, maybe even looking for a fight. Fists would be better than wands, Harry thinks—the sharp crack of knuckles on a jaw… his or theirs… it doesn’t matter. A fight would make him feel… something.
Anything—even if it hurts, maybe especially if it hurts—would be better than the nothing … the fog of absolutely emotionless emptiness he’s been swimming through since the War ended.
Except for the occasional spark of rage that goes as quickly as it comes and usually leaves a tragedy behind it… he feels nothing.
He walks along street after narrow street, completely unhindered.
He’s hardly in the best neighborhood now—beggars shelter in doorways and the whores, male and female, gather on the corners. Even they don’t make eye contact with him. No one does anymore.
It’s the flash of blond that catches his attention.
Harry hasn’t seen Malfoy since his trial… since they let him go… even knowing he was a Death Eater, even knowing all the horrible things he’d done, they just let him go. He disappeared then. Into Muggle London, some say. No one’s heard from him since.
The boy is sitting, wrapped in a dirty blanket, sheltering against a dreary grey building. He might be a beggar. He might be a rent-boy. He might be both.
He might be Malfoy.
But, god, if it is Malfoy…
And suddenly Harry wants nothing more than to feel Malfoy… his too-fine skin, his fragile bones… beneath his hands.
If anyone… anyone… can make him feel something… anything… the anger… the rage… the heartbreak he has to be feeling—for Fred, Tonks, Remus, Lavender… the fact that Molly cannot stop crying… the fact that Ginny won’t even look at him anymore… the fact that he’s here rather than still at the Auror Academy training for the only thing he has ever thought about doing—it will be Malfoy.
It has to be Malfoy. It’s always Malfoy.
If it’s just a blond, Harry promises himself, he’ll drop a few coins into his cup and move on.
If it really is Malfoy…
Harry crosses the street.
Potter saw him first. Of course Potter saw him first.
Draco doesn’t know how long Potter’s been staring at him… but he knows that he’s crossing the street like he owns it, his collar turned up against the November chill, because of him.
There’s a mist in the air… not really enough to wet the passersby, not enough to wet Potter, but it’s seeping through Draco’s ragged sweatshirt and into his skin. Into his bones... into his scars.
Draco’s probably far too cold… far too hungry… for a proper Disillusionment charm, but given half a chance, he might have been able to fade a little into the background as Potter walked by.
But when has he ever had even half a chance with Potter?
No one else ever notices him… why should Potter? Except that he always does.
“How the mighty have fallen,” Potter says as he toes over Draco’s cup. A few coins tumble out onto the pavement.
Not even enough to buy a cup of coffee at the café across the street.
“Fuck you, Potter.”
“Oh, I’m thinking about it, Malfoy. Do you actually work for a living” —he nods at the girl down the street, freezing in her fishnets and high heels— “or do you just sit there and beg?”
“I work.” If there’s one thing Draco hasn’t lost, it’s his ability to sneer. At Potter, at any rate.
“How much for your arse, then?”
Draco can feel the sneer falling from his face. He hesitates a moment, and then whispers a price that will buy him, maybe, a couple of days’ worth of meals.
“You still think pretty highly of yourself, don’t you Malfoy? Well, come here. Let’s see if you’re worth it.”
Draco feels a strong Disillusionment charm wash over him, creating a bubble of absolute privacy. He shivers—if anything the air behind the charm is even colder… and it is certainly doing nothing to block the wind.
He rises to his knees before Potter, fumbling with his flies, and slowly takes him into his mouth.
Potter watches him a moment, his expression impassive, before stopping all movement with a firm grip on his jaw. Potter’s thumb presses on the fading bruise under his eye… compliments of a man who thought that the word, “no” didn’t apply to him.
That had been a week ago. Draco hadn’t been so hungry then. He expects the compulsion that would make the man wait until he receives verbal permission from all his potential partners will last quite a while—the compulsion to have a strong preference for sheep, probably not as long. The interim should be amusing though… or, maybe the man will just wait it out, sheep not being exactly plentiful in London.
Potter’s fingers tighten, his other hand twisting in his hair, holding his head still as he ruts forward, once… twice… Draco doesn’t quite choke, but he feels his eyes swim.
“Much as I love this view, Malfoy, I’m not paying for your mouth. I’m paying for your arse.”
Draco feels a thread of unease… not fear exactly; this is Harry after all.
Draco hesitates for a moment, then does, dropping his trousers.
He feels the sharp tingle of a cleansing spell and hears Potter murmur the lubrication and preparation charms. And then—
“Fuck, Malfoy, you’re as tight as a virgin. I didn’t even think a whore could be this tight.”
The pace Potter sets is brutal, and Draco can feel a trickle of dampness seeping from the corners of his eyes. He hears the noises that escape him… pained noises, noises that he cannot contain. Potter hears them too and, if anything, fucks him harder.
He finishes with even less warning than he began and the sudden loss of Potter’s grip, bruising as it was, causes Draco to fall… onto the pavement.
His frozen, starving muscles do nothing to save him, and he has to struggle—really struggle—to sit back up.
Harry tucks himself back in and watches Malfoy try to right his clothing, watches him move with aching slowness into a sitting position.
Something uncomfortable… something sharp with rough edges… is twisting through his heart. He tells himself that this is what he wanted. That he feels something. And that it’s a good thing.
It’s not. It might actually be worse.
“Not bad, Malfoy,” he says, dropping a few notes on the ground, “I might even come back for another go.”
He watches Malfoy snatch at them before they are caught by the breeze. He watches him wince. Badly. He watches as Malfoy’s hair falls back from his face, revealing two tracks of porcelain, one from each eye.
He’s hurt him.
He hadn’t meant to. Not really.
Except he had. He crossed the street with the express purpose of hurting Malfoy.
He finds himself squatting down, watching Malfoy right the cup, replacing the few coins with trembling fingers… watching him arranging himself on the filthy blanket, tucking the ends back over his legs, pain written across his face... watching another tear slither out of his eye, running the track of almost pure white all the way to his jaw.
Malfoy’s face doesn’t look dirty, but the contrast is striking.
“Whatever, Potter.” His words are tight. “As long as you bring money, you can fuck me whenever the fuck you like.”
Harry is quiet a moment, adjusting himself to the idea that a repeat performance of that is something that he most definitely does not want.
“Are you all right?”
“Do I look all right?” Malfoy’s sneer has returned, if only slightly.
“No,” Harry says frankly. “No, you don’t.”
“Why do you care?”
“I… hurt you.”
“So? You paid to fuck me. You fucked me, and you paid me. Your part in this equation is finished.”
“What about yours?”
Malfoy is silent.
Harry runs his own calculations… and comes up with something unpleasant. “You’re not a whore, are you?”
“I took your money and let you fuck me. I don’t see a lot of room for interpretation in that.”
It’s Harry’s turn to be silent.
The moment stretches… until finally Malfoy speaks, softly, almost unwillingly. “I don’t… I don’t let people fuck me. I’ll suck someone off if I have to. But I don’t… fuck.”
Harry can feel each heartbeat in his chest, each reluctant squeeze. Like an overworked muscle, one that is too tired to carry on. “Why’d you let me, then?”
“I thought you would be… gentle,” Malfoy says, his voice still disconcertingly soft, his eyes looking anywhere by Harry. “I thought I’d be safe with you.”
“No one is safe with me, didn’t you know?”
“I was hungry, all right? I just… I just wanted to be able to get something to eat. It’s been days… I had a coffee yesterday… but before that… I don’t know. I just thought…”
“Oh.” Harry knows hunger… the way it claws at you like a living thing.
Malfoys eyes snap up. “Fuck you, Potter. Don’t pretend like you have any idea what it’s like to be so hungry you can’t think straight… to feel your magic draining out of you until you can’t even do the simplest spells… to…”
To let someone, let your worst enemy, fuck you just so you can buy food.
The words hang unsaid between them.
Harry doesn’t know. Not quite.
He remembers all the days and nights in his cupboard, and then in his tiny bedroom at Privet Drive, weak and listless… he hadn’t known then that it was his magic, starved for nourishment, fading away. He knew it, felt it, with Ron and Hermione during those horrible months on the run, hunting Horcruxes. But, even then, Hermione always found them something to eat; his magic never abandoned him completely.
Draco watches a shadow pass across Potter’s face.
He does know. How the fuck could he know something like that?
Suddenly Draco finds his arm firmly in Potter’s grasp… there is a swirl and the nauseated feeling of Apperating unexpectedly, that can usually be combatted if one has some idea where he is going… and he lands with a thump on a floor that is at least as filthy as the pavement he just left.
Potter is beside him, landing no more gracefully, and their heads collide with a sickening smack.
He thinks Potter said it. It could have been him.
Draco is concentrating on not vomiting on the floor… something at which he is succeeding… only because he has literally nothing in his stomach.
He is aware of Potter standing up beside him, still clutching his head, and reaching down a hand towards Draco. Draco grabs it automatically and is pulled, unsteadily, to his feet.
Potter holds him while Draco tries to gain some sort balance. He glances around. Clearly they are a kitchen, a basement kitchen if the arched ceiling and high windows are any indication.
Crusty pans sit on the stove, and the sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and empty wine bottles. A bin in the corner is also overflowing with more wine bottles and boxes of something claiming to be Cheesy Mac—whatever the hell that is.
“Where are we?”
“Grimmauld Place. The kitchen.”
“And… why exactly did you bring me here?”
“You said you were hungry.” Potter frowns, looking slightly guilty.
“This is kidnapping, you know.” His hand is still on Potter’s arm, and he thinks he can walk, maybe, five steps without falling over. Climbing the stairs is out of the question.
Potter looks even more guilty. “Look, just have a seat, okay? I’ll make us some…” he glances sort of helplessly around the room “…eggs.”
Draco sits, wishes he hadn’t, and then stays put because standing isn’t really an option for him at the moment.
He watches Potter bustle around the kitchen: putting on the kettle… using soap and a cloth, rather than his wand, to scrub out a pan and wash a few plates and forks… fumbling through the icebox in the corner of the room. He sets the pan on the stove and places sausages in it. Draco finds himself almost leaning into the smell.
The kettle boils and Potter brings it over to fill the teapot. “I’m sorry, I don’t have any coffee, only tea.”
“I don’t like coffee.”
“But you said… Why…?”
“It’s cheap. And it’s hot. And I can sit inside… where it’s warm… while I drink it. And if I add enough cream and sugar it’s almost like eating, okay?”
Potter doesn’t say anything else, he just goes back to the stove. Draco sips his tea, feeling fractionally better with each sip, and watches Potter cook. His movements are practiced and efficient, and within minutes he is returning with small plates piled high with scrambled eggs, the sausages, and a few fried tomatoes.
The effect is nice; Draco couldn’t have eaten a whole plate of food, much as he might want to.
The eggs are perfect. Three bites in, Draco has to admit it. Out loud.
A speck of color tinges Potter’s cheeks. “Thanks. I did all the cooking when I lived with my aunt and uncle.”
He falls silent, and Draco finds he doesn’t have anything to add. The only sounds come from the scraping of knives and forks on plates, and a slow, steady drip of water into the sink.
“Is there… is there anything else you need?” Potter’s voice startles him.
My life back. A career path that doesn’t involve sucking someone’s dick. A roof over my head.
“I thought, maybe, you’d want to shower. Stay for dinner. Sleep in a real bed.”
“So you can fuck me out of the cold? I don’t think so, Potter. I said I’d take you if you came back… I doubt I’ll be in a position to say no. But you’re going to have do it on a dirty fucking street corner like everyone else.”
Potter looks as though he’s been slapped.
“I meant like a guest,” he says, quietly, eyes downcast. “I didn’t mean… and, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have… Just stay. As a guest.”
“I’m not a charity case, Potter.”
He can’t say no.
“I know. But… just stay. Please.”
Draco allows himself to be led up the basement steps and up two more flights of stairs, past dark and dusty rooms. By the time Potter stops, Draco is trying desperately to hide the fact that he is winded and in pain. There are black spots dancing before his eyes.
Four doors lead off the landing: two are shut tight, another is open, revealing an unmade bed and heaps of dirty laundry, and the final, also open, is a large, grubby bath.
Potter sees his glance.
“Sorry. I wasn’t really expecting company.”
Draco wonders what in hell Potter’s done with his house elf… “Where’s Kreacher?” he asks abruptly, still holding the wall for support.
Potter gives him a funny look. “He’s at Hogwarts.”
“Yes, because you can obviously manage this place by yourself,” Draco says.
“Yeah… I… Look, I’ll get you some clean towels. Don’t worry.”
“I wasn’t worried.”
Potter opens a cupboard, rummages around a moment and pulls out a couple of worn, but soft-looking towels. He snags a pair of red and gold flannel pants out of a plastic laundry bin and reaches in again for a battered burgundy sweatshirt with seven white, blocky letters on it. Draco cannot resolve the letters into anything sensible. “They’re clean,” he says.
Draco takes them without comment, trying to hide his wince.
Maybe Potter will think it’s because of the disgraceful towels… or the clashing colors… or… or…
“Fuck,” Potter says. “Let me… let me do something to heal you.”
Malfoy meets his eyes, stubborn for a moment, and then Harry watches his resolve crumble. “All right.”
Malfoy takes two unsteady steps into the bathroom, toes off his trainers and, turning a bit sideways, slips off his trousers.
They’re little more than rags.
His hipbones stick out, almost grotesquely, and are marred by fingertip bruises.
“I… turn around.” Harry says it as gently as he can, but the words are still an echo of his earlier words. He hears it clearly, and so does Malfoy.
He hesitates. And, like before, turns his back to Harry.
Harry freezes. He has forgotten how to breathe.
He’s done this. To Malfoy. On purpose.
He can tell himself that he hadn’t known… but he had, hadn’t he? Like he hadn’t known what the Sectumsempra curse would do… but he had known it would hurt Malfoy. He’d meant it to hurt Malfoy.
He passes his wand slowly over the bruised and torn flesh. A small sigh escapes Malfoy’s mouth.
“Is that better?” Harry asks, almost afraid of the answer.
Malfoy turns. “Yes.”
Those were the words he meant to say, shallow and pointless as they would be. Instead he says, “Show me your scars.”
Malfoy raises his chin a notch. “Show me yours.”
Harry nods slowly and holds out his hand where I must not tell lies still glints silver.
Malfoy watches. Silently.
Harry pulls up the leg of his jeans to reveal four marks, one almost star shaped, one a small line, the others just dots, on his calf. “My aunt’s… my uncle’s sister’s dog,” he finds himself saying. “Ripper… she thought it was fun to let him chase me. I… I didn’t always run fast enough.” He pulls the material higher, revealing a jagged scar and a badly skinned knee. Tiny stones, black shadows, linger beneath the poorly healed skin. “I fell off my bike. It was old… garbage, really; someone was throwing it away. I’d mended it, but it wobbled a lot. I actually don’t know if it just fell apart or if my cousin knocked me off it.”
Malfoy still doesn’t say anything and Harry begins to unbutton his shirt. He slips it off and it puddles, unheeded, on the tile.
He points to two streaks of silver, one longer than the other, on his arm, just below his shoulder. “Here’s the marks from the Horntail’s tail… the Triwizard Tournament, you know?” And to the rough patch above it, spreading to the back of his shoulder. “A frying pan. It was hot.”
When his aunt swung it at him, it knocked his shoulder out of joint, too. But Malfoy only asked about scars.
His fingers graze his other arm. “Nagini bit me here… and…” He touches the center of his chest with both hands, half framing, half concealing the shiny oval at the center of his chest. “The Horcrux… Slytherin’s locket… it… Hermione had to cut it off me.”
“The Horcruxes were real then?” Malfoy’s voice waivers slightly.
“Yeah.” Harry holds out his other arm, and Malfoy draws his finger down the mark, long and twisting, where Wormtail cut him that night in the graveyard; Malfoy’s expression is very shuttered. Harry thinks he knows why… it’s where a Dark Mark would be… if he had one. It even has the same curl at the bottom.
Malfoy’s eyes raise to meet Harry’s.
“I got that the night Voldemort was… reborn.”
“And this?” Malfoy touches a thin line on his ribs. Harry turns a little, letting Malfoy run his finger along the length of the scar.
“A spatula. My aunt… she would have hit me with the flat part, I think. But I was struggling and…” Harry shrugs a bit, “well… she caught me with the edge. It bled a lot.”
Harry turns back, trying very hard to read Malfoy’s face.
Even as Malfoy reaches up and brushes his forehead with gentle fingers. “And this. When you were just a baby… when he… when V-Voldemort… murdered your parents. And… tried… to kill you…”
“Is that all of them?”
Harry exhales, sort of a cross between a sigh and a humorless laugh. “I doubt it. I think those are all the big ones, though.”
For a moment Malfoy just looks at him, really looks.
Malfoy’s eyes are grey, more fog than storm, and flecked with hints of blue and green and even lavender. When he speaks his voice is ragged. “I… I think I’ll have that shower now.”
Draco is feeling clean and warm and not hungry and actually safe for the first time in… he doesn’t know how long. Not since he’s been on the Muggle streets… not since he was chased from the Wizarding World, ducking curses, both uttered slurs and very real, very dangerous spells… not since he was in Azkaban, awaiting trial… Not since the Dark Lord invaded his home.
He is also wearing Gryffindor flannel pants and a horribly clashing sweatshirt that appears to say “West Ham”… though, while he is pleased to have formed the letters into two identifiable words, they still don’t make any sense. And he’s standing beside what he is fairly certain is Potter’s bed. At least, now, it is made.
The piles of dirty laundry have disappeared.
“Dinner won’t be ready for a couple of hours,” Potter is saying. “I didn’t know if you’d want to sleep… or read, maybe?”
There’s a couple of copies of Transfiguration Today… that look more like Transfiguration from Sometime in the Seventies… an old Potions textbook, and several paperback novels, which look Muggle and have bindings too worn to read, on the nightstand. The top book says Heaven in joined-up purple letters and shows a picture of a frightened-looking girl staring out of a cut-out in the cover.
Potter notes him staring. “My aunt used to read them… there’s a whole series… when she thought no one was looking,” he says. “I… I read them one summer. That girl, Heaven, she grew up in a family where nobody wanted her either. I saw them on a used book rack a couple of months ago.” He looks uncomfortable. “I shouldn’t have bought them… I don’t know why I did.”
Draco picks up the book… the girl’s face has captivated him. But he’s also almost afraid to open it. The girl, with her dark hair and green eyes, looks terrified.
“There’s a lot of other stuff in the library… it’s on the first floor… but everything’s kind of… dusty.” He looks quite guilty. “Sorry.”
“I… I think I’ll just read a bit about… Heaven… here.”
“Okay…” Potter is backing slowly from the room. “I’ll… just let you… read, then… until dinnertime.”
The door closes with a faint click.
Draco sits down on the bed that smells like Potter. He opens the book… and falls asleep.
It’s dark and someone is touching his arm.
Potter is touching his arm.
The light from the hallway is enough for him to make out the familiar profile.
“I let you sleep as long as I could. But… well… dinner’s ready.”
It’s an uncomplicated dinner—just chicken, roast potatoes, mushy peas… and an apple crumble with real whipped cream.
“Potter, this is delicious.”
He blushes. “Thank you,” he says, looking down.
Draco helps with the washing up. He takes up the cloth and plunges his hands into hot soapy water—like a Muggle. He washes because this isn’t his kitchen and he doesn’t know where anything goes… and with the cloth because, though he can feel his magic returning to him, he doesn’t want to risk straining it on dishes.
Potter regards him curiously, but takes the rinsed dishes, dries them, and puts them away without comment.
Harry watches Malfoy drain the sink, wipe it down, and rinse and ring out the cloth. He drapes it over the faucet and turns to face Harry.
For a moment they stare at each other.
“I… thank you for dinner. And a place to sleep tonight. I’ll leave in the morning.”
“You don’t have to. You can stay longer.”
Malfoy shrugs. “If you say so.”
Harry says it again the next night.
And again the next. This time Malfoy objects.
“I can’t stay here forever, Potter. I’m leaving in the morning.”
“You don’t have to… you could… stay here. Forever, I mean.” Harry likes having Malfoy here. He feels something… more grounded… more sane… with the other man’s company.
Even if Malfoy mostly stays in his room. Well, his room, actually. But Harry doesn’t mind sleeping—and he has been sleeping—in Sirius’s old room.
“You can’t go back to… that…” The dirty blanket. The cold. The sunken eyes and cheeks. The hunger that would eventually force him to sell himself again. “You can’t!”
Malfoy gives him a long look. “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
He turns and walks out of the kitchen before Harry can reply.
Harry waits until he can’t hear Malfoy’s tread on the stairs… before slamming his hand down on the kitchen table.
There isn’t anything to break. With Malfoy’s calm, quiet help they have tidied the kitchen… doing the dishes and putting away the leftovers. And now all Harry wants is to hear the smashing of china. He hits the table again… the ancient wood absorbing the sound.
His hand hurts. But not enough.
In two strides, Harry is across the kitchen. He yanks open a cupboard door and pulls out a glass and a bottle of wine. He pours wine into the glass, gulps a bit, and then throws the glass as hard as he can against the wall.
The glass tinkles, an inappropriately cheerful sound, as it hits the floor. The wine pools on the uneven stone. Harry wants it to look like blood… but it doesn’t… it just looks like wine. He drinks more, right out of the bottle.
Alcohol numbs… it doesn’t make him feel.
Harry knows that by now.
He takes another swallow of wine before flinging the bottle after the glass.
The next thing he knows he’s burst through Malfoy’s door. It bounces against the wall… and Malfoy, who had been curled up on the bed reading, looks up, startled and wary.
“Potter? Are you okay?”
“I want you to fuck me. I want you to fuck me the way I fucked you. I want you to do it hard… too hard… too fast… before I’m even ready. I want you to make it hurt… maybe even bleed. I want you to leave bruises.”
He is gasping, his breath coming short, as though he has taken the stairs at a dead run. Maybe he had.
“I want you to hurt me… I want you to hurt me the way I hurt you.”
Draco regards him carefully. Potter has never looked more dangerous… or more fragile. He places the marker in the book and sets it on the table. He stands slowly.
“Potter…” Draco isn’t sure what to say. “Why would you want that?”
“Don’t you want… I don’t know… revenge? To get even?”
“No. I don’t want to get even.”
Potter stares at him, disbelief and uncertainty scrawled across his face. “I still want you to hurt me,” he says.
“I want to hurt! I need to hurt.”
He gestures wildly, and Draco wonders how a movement so violent could also look so heartbreakingly helpless.
“So many people died… and it was all because of me. Fred… Remus… Sirius… my parents… But I can’t feel… It doesn’t hurt! It should hurt… so much that I can’t even breathe… but I don’t feel… I don’t feel anything!
He feels, that much is obvious. There is anguish written across his face in the broad brushstrokes of unhealthy pallor, shadowed eyes, and tight lips. Anyone can see it.
Draco swallows, still not sure how to respond.
“Please, Malfoy. I want you to make it hurt. I need you to make me feel… something… anything… You’re the only one who can make me feel.”
Potter’s eyes are green lakes about to burst their banks. He blinks and two tears trickle down his cheeks.
Almost unwillingly, Draco reaches for Potter’s hand… running his thumb across the raised lines that he knows spells out “I must not tell lies”… in silver now.
Once it was blood. Umbridge made him scratch the words out, writing them over and over in his own blood… until they would never fade.
“Potter…” It’s a caress… the tone one would use on a skittish animal. He pulls a little and Potter steps forward. His body is rigid, and shaking slightly.
With his other hand, Draco reaches out to cup Potter’s head gently, smearing the tears with his thumb, carefully entangling his fingers in the messy hair.
Potter looks up at him, fear and an aching trust clash in his eyes. Draco lowers his mouth.
He tastes of wine… of unhappiness… and he makes a small noise, opening his mouth for Draco to deepen the kiss.
“All right,” he says at last. “I will… make you feel.”
He slips Potter’s shirt off over his head… he brushes his hands, then his lips down Potter’s chest.
Potter lets him, his body tense, almost too tense for Draco to notice the little shivers that run through it when he touches an especially sensitive spot. He is waiting for the pain he asked for… begged for. He is wondering why Draco is taking so long to hurt him.
Hurting Harry Potter is not an option, but making him feel… Draco can do that.
He runs his fingers over the scar from the spatula, and turns him, pressing kisses over his shoulder… over the burn from the frying pan.
He’d never thought… he’d never seen… Harry Potter would come back from the summer holidays so thin, with wary, shadowed eyes… but Draco had never really seen…
He’s thin now. Draco’s not much thinner, and he’s been living on the streets, begging for food. And usually not getting it.
The flesh under Draco’s hands is beginning to tremble. “I want… I need…”
“Shhhh… I know what you need.”
It will cost him his soul… to soothe Harry’s…And when he leaves in the morning he will leave his own heart, shattered on the floor of Grimmauld Place.
He can do this. He can do this one thing for Harry.
“I know what you need…”
It’s a ridiculously, heroically, stupidly Gryffindorish thing to do… to go messing about in the dark places of Harry’s soul… trying to mend it.
They’re standing at the edge of a cliff. Draco doesn’t know what’s at the bottom; Harry doesn’t care.
And Draco, holding tightly to Harry, pushes them both off.
Draco drags his fingers over Harry’s too-pale skin, concentrating on every tiny shiver, every moan Harry gifts him with.
Draco has decided that he loves the back of Harry’s neck brushes the hair back some more to nibble just below his ear.
“Like this?” Draco asks, trailing kisses that are just short of bites down Harry’s neck, “or maybe like this?”
“Or this?” Draco reaches around to thumb Harry’s nipple, making him arch further back into Draco’s arms.
Harry turns a little, towards Draco, and Draco is kissing him again. He traces Harry’s tongue with his own, savoring each touch, each taste.
“I’ve wanted this…,” Draco whispers the words into Harry’s mouth, softer than Harry can possibly hear them. “For so long. Longer, I think, than I ever even knew what this was…”
Draco’s fingers abandon Harry’s nipple and trace lower, unbuttoning Harry’s jeans, slipping his hand inside.
Harry’s cock is hard and already weeping and fits into Draco’s hand like it was made for him. He runs his thumb around the head and Harry groans.
Something in Draco’s heart catches.
He helps Harry slide his jeans off, then slips out of his own pajama pants.
He lines his cock up along Harry’s and works them both.
“Oh my god…”
He thinks he said it. It could have been Harry.
“I need… I need you to fuck me. Please!”
A lubrication charm… then a finger… carefully.
“I should turn over.”
“No,” Draco whispers. “I want to see you.” Draco touches his cheek, tracing gently with his thumb, brushing his fingers along Harry’s jaw. There’s a bit of stubble there.
Harry is trembling under him. His hair, black against the white of the pillow case, his eyes wide and green.
“Is this what you want?” he asks.
Harry nods, looking scared.
“Are you sure?”
“All right,” he whispers.
Draco presses in gently, stopping when he sees Harry’s eyes widen, hears his breath hitch.
They’re both trembling now.
“Am I hurting you?”
“I want you to hurt me.” Harry’s voice is soft, its edges uneven, like clumsily torn paper.
Moisture gathers at the corners of Harry’s eyes. Draco’s heart aches.
“I can’t,” he admits. “I could never. You’ve been hurt too much… by too many people… People who were supposed to love you… protect you… Harry, I can’t be one of them.”
A tear forms in the corner of Harry’s eye, falling before Draco can stop it. He traces the path with gentle flicks of his tongue, nibbles Harry’s earlobe, and then follows the tear to the spot just below his jaw. He traces the underside of his jaw and Harry arches up slightly.
“Draco, I need to feel…”
“I’ll make you feel, Harry. I promised I would.”
I’ll make you feel loved… cherished. Safe.
He uses his thumb to trace Harry’s eyebrow, along his cheek, along his jaw… he can feel Harry relax, fractionally, underneath him.
Draco is trembling with the effort of staying still, of not pressing further into Harry before he is ready, of only moving his hand, tracing the contours of Harry’s face. His thumb passes over Harry’s lips, and he thinks Harry kisses it.
Draco can feel his own heart cracking.
He moves his thumb and replaces it with his lips. He teases Harry’s mouth open, letting his tongue do what his body can’t and Harry moans, arching up again.
“It hurts,” Harry whispers.
“It’s not supposed to hurt, Harry.” Softly. Gently. “It’s supposed to feel good… Maybe we should just…”
“No!” Harry’s hands are on his hips, pulling him closer.
Harry tries to hide his wince, his sigh of pain. He fails.
Draco can feel his own eyes filling… Offer Harry what he needs, don’t let him take more than you can give.
He’s already giving everything, really.
“All right. But, Harry, I need you to relax… and breathe… and let it feel good.”
“Breathe. Relax, Harry, please. For me.”
He can feel it… the moment Harry does.
Harry’s body becomes welcoming. His mouth finds Draco’s, hot and tender and giving, and Draco finds himself sobbing slightly with the effort of keeping still.
“More, Draco,” Harry says, not breaking the kiss. “I want more.”
Draco can’t help himself.
He is fully seated in Harry, trying to stop himself from coming right then from the heat and the tightness and the look of awe on Harry’s face.
“Okay?” He forces the word out.
Draco moves slowly. Carefully. Harry’s eyes are emeralds, dark and uncut, light glinting off the raw edges.
“Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?” Draco’s voice comes out as nothing more than a rough whisper.
“I’m not beautiful. I have scars and…”
“Oh my god… you are. So beautiful.”
Harry’s eyes overflow then, and a moment later he is coming thickly over both their stomachs.
Harry awakes in stages… a strange sensation is moving through him… he feels light… though there is something heavy across his chest. It doesn’t bother him. It feels right.
He is sticky, and the room smells musky. There is another smell, too, one that is familiar and perfect and one that he never wants to stop breathing in.
His shoulder aches a little, his arm is at a funny angle… his hand is holding something. Another hand. He moves his thumb, a soft, sweeping motion against the hand, and several long blinks later, it squeezes back, reassuring.
He closes his eyes. When he opens them again, the room is neither dark, nor light.
He opens his eyes to the orange glow of a fading illumination charm… and the peacefully sleeping face of Draco Malfoy.
He’s never noticed before, they are so pale, but Draco’s eyelashes are long enough brush his cheeks, and he has a little freckle, high on one cheekbone.
He wants to kiss it. But he’s trapped under Draco’s arm… and doesn’t want to wake him.
He watches him a long time, maybe falls asleep again, and then sees eyes, the swirling grey of the fog at sea, blinking slowly at him.
“How do you feel?” Draco asks, his voice heavy with sleep.
“I… happy, I think?”
Draco smiles. “I’m glad.”
Draco pulls Harry closer into his arms and presses a long kiss on Harry’s forehead… on Harry’s scar.
Harry falls asleep. Feeling safe.
“No, it’s not,” Draco says. If Harry didn’t know better, he would say that Draco was smiling fondly at him. “I was thirsty. I thought you would be, too.”
Draco hands him a tall glass full of cool water.
He is thirsty, he realizes, drinking half the glass in just a few long gulps.
For a moment they say nothing. Harry takes another sip of water before carefully setting it down.
“Draco? Will you come back to bed?”
Harry is afraid he will say no.
He doesn’t. He just gives Harry a long look before climbing in beside him. Harry reaches out a hand, catching Draco’s, interlacing their fingers.
Draco is watching him carefully.
“Did you mean it?” Harry asks. “What you said earlier?”
“I meant everything I said.”
“The part where you said you’d wanted this… to kiss me, to… what?... to make love to me… for so long… Did you… mean that, too?”
“I… didn’t think you’d hear me.”
“I heard everything you said.”
Draco shuts his eyes. “Yes, Harry, I meant it.” He opens his eyes. “I meant everything I said.”
Harry leans forward, cupping Draco’s chin with his free hand. “I’m glad,” he whispers before lowering his mouth to Draco’s. The kiss is long and slow and Draco lets out a little whimper when Harry deepens it.
“This means something, doesn’t it?” Harry asks, not entirely sure he wants an answer… not entirely sure he knows what he wants the answer to be. “I feel… naked.”
“You are naked.”
He feels naked, though. Draco can’t remember a time when he’s felt more exposed.
Stay alive. To do what you have to do to stay alive… that’s one thing. To do what you have to do to live. That’s something else.
“Yes. This means something.” It might mean everything.
Harry kisses him again. Softer this time, almost tentative.
Harry is looking down at their joined hands. With his other hand, he traces Draco’s fingers… Draco shivers a bit… and up his arm. Harry’s fingers stop when they reach three silver lines running across the back of Draco’s forearm.
“Is this from Buckbeak?” he asks.
“He really hurt you.”
“He really hurt me. I deserved it… but still.”
Harry runs his thumbs across the scars. He looks up, holding Draco’s gaze. “Will you… will you take off your shirt?” he asks.
For a moment, Draco says nothing. “I… Harry, are you sure?”
Harry’s fingers are on the hem of his… of Harry’s… tee-shirt.
“I’m sure. Please, Draco. Show me your scars.”
Draco nods. And feels the shirt lift off, over his head. He’s blinking his hair out of his eyes… then looking up at the look of horror on Harry’s face.
There are three separate slashes carved into him… by Harry. The top one, a little above his heart, is the shortest. The middle one is the deepest, a wide –pink-and-silver scar, raised and hard, crossing below his heart. The bottom one is the longest—it sliced through the unprotected flesh from just below his ribs to the opposite hip. That was one that came closest to killing him, opening his stomach, nearly spilling his intestines onto the bathroom floor.
“Harry… are you okay?”
“Am I okay?” The words come out higher than they ought.
“Shhh… Harry, don’t. Please don’t.”
But it’s too late. Tears are streaming from Harry’s eyes.
“How can I not?” Harry whispers. “How can I not when I did this to you?”
“I was going to Crucio you.”
“Were you really?” Harry asks, wiping his eyes, roughly, with the back of his hand. “Would the spell have even worked?”
“No,” Draco says. Softly. With honesty that tears at his heart. “I don’t think it would have.”
“Do they… still hurt?”
“Not really. They ache a bit with the cold sometimes.”
Harry makes a wounded noise. It’s November. It’s almost the end of November. They have been aching almost constantly for a month now. Except… for these past three days.
“Can I touch them?” Harry asks through nearly choked back tears.
Harry’s fingers, gentle and hesitant, slide across the top scar. They reach for the second, moving slower, memorizing each bump, the jagged edges of poorly healed flesh.
Harry’s eyes are closed.
Draco feels a sigh escaping his lips—Harry’s fingers feel good on the sensitive scar tissue.
Harry’s eyes pop open.
“Don’t stop,” Draco whispers.
Harry’s fingers continue tracing, then they yield to his mouth, warm and wet and tender. As his tongue traces the underside of the scar, Draco gasps, a high tiny sound accompanying the sensation of every nerve he has dancing just a little.
Harry’s fingers find the third scar, deceptively thin, deceptively straight… Harry sees it for what it is. “I could have killed you.”
“You almost did.”
“I’m so sorry.” Harry’s next breath comes out hard and fast… but his words are soft: “I could say it every minute of every day for the rest of my life and I will die never having said it enough.”
“It was a war, Harry. And we weren’t on the same side.”
Draco turns his left arm over, the movement sharp, almost violent. The Dark Mark stands out black against white skin.
Harry doesn’t say anything. He just picks up Draco’s arm, his thumbs sliding over the Mark… almost as if he is brushing it away, erasing it.
Draco tries to pull it away when Harry lowers his mouth to it. Harry doesn’t let him.
The idea of touching the Dark Mark twists uncomfortably in Harry’s stomach; the idea of kissing it, nauseates him.
Beneath the Mark, Draco’s skin is so fine and pale that it is almost translucent. Concentrating on Draco … on the way his bones are beautifully fragile beneath his fingers, on the way his arm is trembling in his hands… on the way his eyes are wide and afraid and hopeful… Harry leans forward and presses his lips through the Dark Mark and onto the skin below.
He expected the Mark to be raised, to feel it rough against his lips—but all he feels is the softness of Draco’s inner arm.
The noise Draco makes is soft… disbelief and awe, horror and pleasure tangled into one tiny sound.
He kisses the tender skin, nuzzling gently, moving softly, tenderly, down Draco’s arm… trailing kisses… to his wrist. He places one final kiss on the palm of his hand.
“I hurt you, and I’m sorry for it.”
“It was a long time ago.”
“It was three days ago.”
Draco’s hand is on his cheek. “It was a lifetime ago.”
Harry reaches up, threading his fingers through the hand on his cheek. “I hurt you… and still you made me feel cherished… loved.”
“You are loved.”
“Yes.” Draco is kissing him. “You are.”
“Are you really going to leave in the morning?”
“No. How could I?”
“Thank god. I was so afraid…”
Harry feels his heart swelling… Love… Draco…
He feels it burst. He feels it tearing through him like shards of broken glass. He hears the sound he makes… half roar, half scream… like a wounded animal.
Draco’s arms… his body… his lips pressed against his forehead… against is scar… It is only Draco that is keeping him from flying apart completely.
Remus… Tonks… Lavender.
“Draco, it hurts.”
“I know… shhhh… I know. I’ve got you. I won’t let go.”
A year… a lifetime… of emotion crashes down on Harry. Wave after wave… he can’t catch his breath… he’s drowning…
Draco’s hands are moving on his back. “Breathe, Harry. I just need you to keep breathing.”
“I’ve got you.”
The Floo burns green and Ron Weasley steps into the kitchen of Grimmauld Place.
“Harry? Harry! Come on! It’s been over a week—”
He feels his words being pulled from his throat and silenced.
His shout of surprise as he nearly trips over Kreacher makes no sound.
“Ronald Weasley may not be disturbing this household.”
Kreacher is giving him a hard look.
Ron tries again, not shouting. “Look, Kreacher, I don’t know what Harry told you, but he needs—”
“Master Harry is having what he needs.”
“What he needs is to get his head out of his arse and come back to the Academy! Or at least not sit around drinking all day…”
Ron trails off… this time of his own volition. He looks around. There’s not a wine bottle—or for that matter boxes of that crap Muggle Cheesy Mac which Harry eats in place of actual food—in sight.
“Master Harry is having what he needs.”
Ron frowns. “What are you even doing here, Kreacher? I thought Harry told you to stay at Hogwarts?”
“Kreacher lives to serve Harry Potter and the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black.” The elf is scowling at him. “Master Harry cannot order Kreacher to stop serving Harry Potter and the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black.”
The kitchen is immaculate. But more than that, the kitchen is in the process of making a very elaborate breakfast. A plate, piled high with cinnamon rolls, sits in the middle of the kitchen table beside a huge bowl of fruit. Sausages are frying themselves by the stove. Even as Ron watches, eggs are marching out of their carton, cracking themselves, and falling gracefully into a bowl.
There are two teacups on the tea tray.
“Harry Potter and the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black? Kreacher, who else is here?”
“Perhaps sir would like some cinnamon buns to take with him when he goes?”
For the longest moment Ron says nothing.
“It’s Malfoy isn’t it? Harry’s upstairs with Draco Malfoy.”
“Kreacher is wanting Master Harry to be happy.”
“And you think having Draco Malfoy as a… roommate… is going to make Harry happy?”
“No wine bottles were being in the sink when Kreacher got here.”
Ron sighs. “It would have to be Malfoy, wouldn’t it? It was always Malfoy… Fuck.”
“No,” the elf says, and evil grin lighting his face. “No, they is sleeping now.”
Ron makes a strangled noise. “What…? Ugh! I did not need to know that.”
“Kreacher is not sorry. Kreacher lives to serve Harry Potter and the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. Master Harry and Master Draco is needing each other.”
The elf shoves a packet of cinnamon buns into Ron’s hands.
“Sir should be taking these to Miss Hermione. Miss is studying too hard… Miss is not eating enough.”
Ron feels himself being pushed in the direction of the Floo.
“Harry’s going to be okay, right?”
“Master Draco and Master Harry is taking care of each other. Kreacher is making breakfast.”
Ron is disturbingly and unaccountably comforted by this thought.
“It was always going to be Malfoy.”
Kreacher says nothing.
“He’s still a git, though,” Ron says, ignoring Kreacher’s frown. “Look, when Harry… when they come downstairs will you tell them I stopped by?”
“Kreacher lives to serve Harry Potter and the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black.”
“I’ve heard. Thank you, Kreacher.”
Ron disappears in a swirl of green, not seeing the elf bow.