Harry hated colours.
Everything was so bright in this place, bright and ugly with colours full of meaning where this meant that and this colour was good and that was bad.
Purple pills were to calm, and blue pills were to sleep, and purple and blue made dark blue, and dark blue was to wake up, so that made no sense. And Harry hated it when things made no sense.
Draco was lime green. Lime green was such a stupid colour, a hated colour, the worst colour of all. It reminded Harry of bad things, dark and evil things, spells and eyes (not his not his) and death.
Draco sighed as he made another note on his clipboard. He hated the pens they had to use. There was something so unsatisfying about a pen that held ink within. There was no mystery to it.
Most of the time he didn’t really mind the steady encroachment of all things Muggle into his precious wizarding world. Or rather, he minded very much, but he knew better than to say anything about or against it. In this new world, created and made possible by Harry Potter, Draco’s kind was obsolete. He’d had to make himself useful in order to stick around, and his penchant for problem solving and potions had made him into a competent Healer.
How ironic that Harry, all glory and beauty and shining, pure truth, was the only one not enjoying the fruits of his labour. And Draco, who didn’t deserve the life he lived—even he could admit that—was now an important member of the wizarding community.
Healing minds was a thankless job most days. If the damage couldn’t be healed by potion or spell, there was little hope that the patient would ever get better. Talking helped, sometimes… but mostly Draco’s patients were long-term. Long-terminal.
Draco opened the door to Harry’s room. It was the best room in the hospital, of course—nothing less for the Saviour, though Harry couldn’t really appreciate it.
“Harry?” he called, not seeing the man immediately upon entering. There were wards all over this room—Harry had a high risk of self-harm, though to Draco’s knowledge, he’d never actually hurt himself. Only tried to kill himself. There was a difference, Draco knew. Harry didn’t want pain; he just wanted it to end.
Harry came out of the bedroom, his black robes perfectly fitted. If he didn’t speak, one would never know there was anything wrong with him. He looked just as he had in their school days. The same age, too. Harry didn’t seem to age.
Sitting on the window seat, Harry looked outside wistfully. He wasn’t allowed outside his room. His wild magic was too dangerous and only seemed to become worse when introduced to the elements.
Crystal window decorations hung by Harry, casting rainbows over the room and a spectrum of light over Harry’s face. He squinted and looked away, idly twirling one of the glittering crystals until the string from which it dangled twirled and twisted.
When he freed it, it spun madly.
“How are you today, Harry?”
“Fine, Draco. How are you?”
Harry refused to call him by his title, but Draco was long past caring.
“I’m doing well, thank you. Care to talk about what the mediwizard told me when I came in today?”
“No, that’s all right,” Harry said calmly, digging his nails into the seat.
“That’s too bad. We have to talk. Mediwizard Bates said you attacked him last night.”
“That is not what happened. Bates is a fucking Death Eater. I saw it. I saw it! ” Harry’s voice ended in a strident cry, his eyes welling with frustrated tears.
Draco sighed. “May I sit with you, Harry?” he asked in his calmest voice. It almost always worked with Harry.
Harry immediately took a deep breath and sighed. He tapped the window three times with a blunted fingernail and then nodded his permission to Draco.
Talking a seat by the window next to Harry, Draco glanced outside. There were many patients on the lawns, enjoying the fresh air and exercise. Draco’d always thought it cruel for Harry to have a window facing this direction. Much better would be the other side of the room, which looked out over a seemingly endless forest. But Draco’s supervisor had thought that Harry would benefit from seeing the recovery of others.
Only Harry’s problem wasn’t really mental. Harry’s magic could no longer be controlled or contained. It manifested itself whenever he became agitated or upset, which was often. It was a vicious cycle—Harry desperately wanted to control his magic, and his inability to do so was slowly driving him mad. But the amount of wild magic, which was akin to Muggle electricity, in the air around Harry constantly, was shorting his own brain.
Or so it had been explained to Draco. He didn’t think Harry was beyond reach, not totally. He was just beyond recovery. He could still live a semi-normal life under these conditions. They just had to find a balance. Draco wasn’t really interested in healing Harry any longer; he just wanted to make the man’s life as normal and bearable as possible.
It was the least he could do, after all. Harry had saved the world.
“You know Bates isn’t really a Death Eater, Harry. There aren’t any of those left.”
Harry laughed without humour. “You’re still here.”
Draco nodded slowly. “True. Very true, Harry. But as I’ve told you before, I’m the only Marked employee of this faction of St. Mungo’s. And in any case, Bates is a half-blood.”
Sighing, Harry traced his finger around the glass. When Draco angled himself to see what Harry was encircling, it appeared that he was drawing circles around all the patients on the lawn. “I know that. I know he’s not bad.”
“So what happened?”
“I had a bad dream,” Harry whispered, closing his eyes though his fingers still moved.
“What did you dream about?” Draco asked in his patented Harry voice. His pen was poised and ready to transcribe, but Harry reached out and touched Draco’s hand softly.
“Don’t write it down, okay?” he asked softly, his green eyes searching Draco’s.
Draco frowned and thought a long moment before nodding. “All right. But I’ll have to put it in the file later.”
“Tell me about the dream.”
His dreams came in black and white. The only colour was green. Green was the worst colour. Of all the colours, only green was death. People thought black meant death, but they were silly and naïve and hadn’t seen their friends torn down, falling, falling, all because of green.
And then the green had chased him, and he’d run. Harry’d always been so fast, but no one could outrun the green, it was faster, there was so much of it.
You had to mean it, and so many people meant it.
In the dream, they were falling all around him, softly like leaves in a cool breeze, only there was nothing refreshing and renewing about this. Strike of green and death. Strike of death and green.
And when the green finally struck Harry—and it always, always did—it didn’t hurt anymore.
Draco pulled Harry into a loose embrace. He felt for Harry at times like this. He hated feeling so fucking impotent. There was nothing they could do for Harry’s dreams, of course. Dreamless Sleep meant that Harry couldn’t control his wild magic, and the few times they’d tried it, he’d awoken in a destroyed room, sometimes cursed by his own errant magic. Harry’s desire to end it all was deep-rooted, and his magic worked with him when he was asleep, and that meant Harry would eventually kill himself if given the opportunity.
Draco had even tried Muggle pharmaceuticals, but the reactions were just as strong and even less predictable. It took Harry days of recovery to get over the effects of Muggle drugs in his system, and during those days, his magic was a whirlwind.
There weren’t many other options for Harry.
“In your dream, who killed you?” Draco asked softly, pulling back and letting his interested but detached mask slip back down.
Harry only shrugged and looked back out the window.
“Was it you?” Draco pressed.
Turning sharply, Harry opened his mouth to speak, but then his eyes narrowed and his lips closed with an audible snap.
“You can’t kill yourself with the Killing Curse,” Harry said, so quietly Draco almost didn’t hear it.
“How do you know, Harry?” Draco asked, though he suspected he knew the answer.
But Harry only shrugged again. Draco felt that old irritation well up inside him at his former schoolmate. He knew Harry was sick, but did he have to be so… nonchalant? Draco was trying to help, and Harry only seemed to want to avoid it all!
“Have you tried to cast it on yourself?”
“It’s unforgivable,” Harry whispered, fingers running restlessly over the cuff of his robes.
“But you didn’t succeed, so there’s nothing to forgive.”
“That’s not how it works,” Harry said, suddenly insistent. “You don’t have to succeed, you just have to cast.”
“Do you think you need forgiveness?” Draco found it difficult to keep to one line of questioning when it came to Harry. With his other patients he was able to steer them back on track, leading them until they understood what he was getting at. But Harry led him so far off course that he sometimes feared he’d never get back.
“Why, do you forgive me?” Harry was laughing, his eyes bright and filled with mirth, but there was nothing behind them. Though he was lucid, Draco had to wonder how deep his questions were penetrating.
Harry made a slashing gesture with his hand, and Draco was shocked to feel a resultant twinge in his chest. The dampening spells on Harry and on the room should have meant that Harry couldn’t do any wandless magic…
And if he could make Draco feel slight pain under such conditions and with such a casual wave of his hand, what could he do outside the room, and with malicious intent?
Draco breathed deeply. “We were children, both of us. Playing grown-up games. We didn’t know what we were getting into. I hardly think you have more to be forgiven for than I do.”
“But I don’t care about you,” Harry said, not unkindly and looking genuinely puzzled. “I thought we were talking about me.” He almost sounded reproachful, as if Draco should try to stay on topic.
“We are,” Draco said easily, fingers unconsciously pressing against his old Sectumsempra scar. People claimed they couldn’t see it, but Draco swore it was there. “I forgive you, Harry. For hurting me and for anything else you think you did.”
“What do you think I think I did?” Harry asked, and then burst out laughing. The sound was foreign, though Harry’s bitter or even hysterical laughter was a sound often heard by all. This real laughter was sweet and high, with a soft gasp at the end as he watched Draco.
Draco laughed, too.
“Never mind,” Harry said, chuckling. “I don’t even know what I was asking.”
“I think you think you let a lot of people down,” Draco said seriously, a moment later. “I think you think you’re the cause of a lot of death, but I think you’re wrong. You never even killed anyone, not really. The Dark Lord died because of a reaction to a simple spell, not an Unforgivable. Not many people would have had that type of… honour.”
Draco had thought for many years that it was cowardice, but maybe he’d been wrong.
“I killed them.” Harry’s voice had a dreamlike quality. “But I wouldn’t do it again. Not even if Voldemort won and everyone else died. Does that make me a bad person?”
“I don’t think so. You have a lot of regret, too much. You did what you had to do, and now look. Everyone’s free.”
Harry sighed and began making circles on the glass again. “Everyone’s free,” he repeated softly.
Draco never really did get used to the way his wand was set to vibrate when he was needed at the hospital. The sound of it rattling on his bedside table made his fingertips go icy, and he’d stare at the thing a long moment before realising that he had to get up and tend to whatever needed his attention.
Not even bothering to dress properly, Draco draped his Healer robes over his pants and ran a weary hand through his tangled hair. It was time for a haircut.
He Floo’d directly into his office, and the wards immediately announced his presence to whoever was looking for him. He waited patiently, and sure enough, mediwizard Bates crashed into his doorjamb a minute later, looking pale and strained.
“It’s Potter,” he wheezed, looking at Draco with pleading blue eyes.
“What’s he done this time?” Draco demanded as he immediately began striding toward Harry’s room. Bates hurried behind him, two steps for every one of Draco’s.
“I think he’s having a nightmare.”
“A nightmare? Why did I need to be called in for that?”
Bates was panting a little now, and Draco unkindly thought that perhaps mediwizards should be better trained for endurance.
“No one could control him, sir,” Bates explained.
“Who’s the doctor on the floor tonight?”
Bates hesitated before saying, “Healer Kimm, sir, she—”
Draco swore. Kimm was famous for trying out new techniques, often brought in from the Muggle world. She didn’t know Harry like Draco did, and she’d caused him more harm than good in the past.
“What did she do?” Almost there. Draco thought he could hear wailing.
“Nothing. She went in, saying she was going to hypnertise him or something, but then he…” Bates trailed off and put his hand on Draco’s arm. Draco sneered at the presumption, but lifted an eyebrow as he waited for the nervous man to continue. “Potter… he said your name. He asked for you.”
“He’s awake then?” Draco asked, pausing outside Harry’s door. He could definitely hear strained noises coming from within. There was a small crowd of interns and apprentice Healers outside the door, all utterly useless, of course.
“No, in his sleep, sir,” Bates whispered.
Draco frowned, but he quickly came back to himself. “Back to work, all of you! Don’t you know any better?”
The crowd quickly dispersed with Draco glaring at their backs. He quietly opened Harry’s door and let himself in, careful to reinforce the wards behind him and around him. Harry’s wild magic was downright disastrous during nightmares, and Draco was as worried for himself as he was for Harry.
He opened the bedroom door and almost immediately the coppery taste of magic in the air dimmed, but it was still strong enough to choke him.
Harry was lying on his back, thrashing wildly. The sheets and pillows were tossed about the room, and despite wearing only pants, a thin sheen of sweat covered Harry’s form.
A form that drew Draco’s eyes from top to bottom like the finest piece of art. But an anguished cry broke Draco’s scrutiny, and he quickly strode beside the bed and put a hand on Harry’s chest.
“Harry, shh, you’re safe. You’re at St. Mungo’s in your room. No one can hurt you here.” Perching on the edge of the bed, Draco continued to speak in a quiet, calming voice. The coppery taste subsided more, and the impression that the entire room was vibrating diminished.
“I’m here, okay? You’re fine, and I’m here, and everything’s going to be okay.” Draco knew he was pushing the boundaries with Harry; he shouldn’t be touching him, he should have another doctor in here to make sure nothing went wrong. But he couldn’t help but feel that only he could get Harry through this.
Harry’s body settled with a whimper, his tensed muscles relaxing into the bed. Even the frown on his forehead smoothed out a little, and Draco pressed his finger against it to help it along. In repose, Harry was…
“Draco?” came his sleep-rough voice.
“I’m here,” he said automatically, drawing his hand back quickly.
“Green,” Harry whispered. “Green.”
“No, Harry,” Draco soothed, letting Harry take his hand back and put it on his forehead. His fingers moved to push the messy hair from Harry’s face, and Harry leaned into the touch minutely. “No green, all right? Just you and me.”
“Just you,” Harry said sleepily, obviously unable to keep awake. “Stay?”
Draco shouldn’t. He really, really shouldn’t. He loved his job, he loved his life. Harry was messing all that up, and the man couldn’t even leave his room! When had Draco given him so much power?
“I’ll have to speak with the staff first,” Draco heard himself saying.
“I’ll wait,” Harry said, nodding decisively though he didn’t look capable of staying awake long enough to ensure Draco came back.
But after speaking with Bates and Kimm, telling them he’d be monitoring Harry from within the room, Draco did return.
Harry was sitting up against the headboard, his knees drawn against his chest. The bedclothes were still strewn about the room, and Draco could feel Harry’s eyes on him as he picked everything up and made the bed around Harry.
“Stay?” Harry asked again.
“Just this once,” Draco said sternly, taking a seat in the armchair that occupied the corner of Harry’s bedroom.
But Harry didn’t move to lie down, and Draco let out a frustrated huff. “Aren’t you tired?”
“Exhausted,” Harry admitted, his eyelids moving slowly to emphasise his words.
“Then sleep,” Draco said, curtailing his annoyance.
“Can you come sit with me?”
And all the warning bells in the world couldn’t make Draco stay in his seat when Harry looked at him with huge green eyes that were full of abandonment and need.
He perched stiffly on the edge of bed and pulled back the covers, indicating that he wanted to Harry to get under them. Harry did, but pushed them down around his waist, and the action drew Draco’s eyes. Harry had a thin trail of midnight hair beneath his navel leading into his pants, though it seemed to be the only body hair he had. His skin looked impossibly smooth and tan, despite the fact that Harry hadn’t been outside in ages.
“Do you want to talk about your dream?”
Harry’s head slowly turned to face Draco. “No, please.”
Draco sighed. “I’m trying to help you, but you’re not letting me. Don’t you want to go outside again, Harry? Don’t you want to see your friends and be free again, maybe go flying or even use a wand?”
“I can’t ever do those things again,” Harry said matter-of-factly, sounding only a little mournful, like he’d become accustomed to the idea.
“I don’t believe that’s true,” Draco countered. “I think you can get better. I don’t waste my time with hopeless cases, you know.” It wasn’t exactly true; he had to deal with all variety of cases, some who would never take a step, let alone take a step outside. But he needed Harry to see that recovery was possible.
“I’m glad you’re helping me,” Harry whispered. He reached out and lightly touched Draco’s hand, which was resting on the coverlet. Harry was hot; too hot. Or maybe Draco was cold.
“I don’t feel like I am,” Draco admitted in a rare moment of weakness. “I want you to get better.”
Draco took his hand away, absently caressing it with his fingers. “It doesn’t seem right that you’re here and everyone is… out there.”
Harry shrugged. “I can’t hurt anyone in here.”
Draco didn’t mention the orderlies and mediwizards that had been victims of Harry’s wild magic—he thought that might be counter-productive.
“Don’t you miss it outside?” Draco wanted to keep up the dialogue as long as possible—this was the most lucid Harry had been in some time—but his patient was obviously having trouble keeping his eyes open.
“What’s out there that I don’t have in here?” Harry asked sleepily, blinking up at Draco.
Everything, Draco wanted to say. There was nothing in the room that could compel Harry to want to stay, not really. He had all the comforts he needed, but those were things, and even Draco knew things had never impressed Harry.
“I don’t know,” Draco said instead. “Why don’t you tell me?”
But Harry’s eyes were closed and his breathing had become steady. Draco gave in to impulse and brushed the hair from Harry’s face, his fingertip grazing the mark that had brought Harry down to this.
Harry’s hand shot out and grabbed Draco’s, bringing it to his mouth, where he pressed a soft kiss against Draco’s wrist.
Draco meant to jerk his hand away, but it didn’t quite happen. But when Harry’s tongue slipped past his lips and tasted the translucent skin, Draco stood, taking his hand with him.
“Tastes red,” Harry murmured. He tucked his hand under his cheek, and Draco stared, shocked and confused, as Harry fell asleep.
Red. What did red taste like? Draco had gathered that green was bad, but red…
Without taking his eyes off Harry, Draco sat heavily in the armchair again. He brought the lights down enough that he could only see Harry by the slightly glowing quality of his golden skin.
He did fall asleep, but it seemed to take a very long time.
He dreamed in red.
Something smelled really good. Something was really warm. Something was touching him in all the right places.
Draco’s eyes opened with quickly, but all he could see was black. When his eyes focused, he realised it was hair. Black hair. And that really wasn’t right.
A low moan startled him, and he almost pushed the weight on his lap onto the floor, but stopped himself just in time—probably to his own detriment.
“Harry, stop,” Draco demanded, voice rough and body confused.
“S’okay, feels good, doesn’t it?”
That wasn’t exactly the point, but Draco wisely didn’t disagree. It was also too clear from his body’s response that it did, indeed, feel good.
He grabbed Harry’s hips, forcing the body that was straddling him to stop rocking against him. Harry still had pants on and Draco was fully dressed—he hadn’t been so close to coming just from frotting fully clothed in ages, not to mention the fact that he’d been asleep for most of it.
“Potter, what the fuck are you doing?” Draco asked, reverting to childhood addresses in his confusion.
“Felt like touching you,” Harry explained, pulling back so Draco could actually see. Harry’s face was flushed, his eyes sparkling, pupils blown. Draco didn’t need to look down to see that Harry was extremely aroused—he could feel it well enough.
“Why like this?” Draco asked, but the breathless way in which he asked took away from the professional demeanour he was trying to affect.
“Only way that touching feels good,” Harry explained. He reached down and began to stroke his own cock outside his pants, and Draco watched, entranced, for a moment before collecting himself and grabbing Harry’s wrist, stopping the enticing action.
“You know I can’t touch you like this, Harry. I could lose my job and it won’t help you heal.”
“But I feel better,” Harry said in a whining voice, hips jerking forward.
Draco couldn’t take it anymore and pushed Harry off of him. Harry landed gracefully, making Draco glare at him. Why wasn’t he all dishevelled and sweaty like Draco was? Why wasn’t he confused and uncertain and scared and…?
But he was those things if he thought that sexual touching was the only touch that could bring him comfort.
“I’m leaving now,” Draco said sternly. He didn’t want to encourage any sort of petulant or self-destructive behaviour—but more than that, he needed to get away. Harry nearly naked and squirming had done things to him… things he needed to take care of.
But Harry began to exhibit the type of behaviour that would keep him under lock and key forever if he didn’t learn to control it. His eyes went blank and eerily bright, his entire body stilled, and magic fairly crackled along the surface of his body.
The magic extended to and enveloped Draco, and it would have been sexual if it weren’t so frightening and out of control. The room seemed to blur and vibrate around Draco until all he could clearly see was Harry, who was staring at him—into him—with a fierceness that seemed to set them both on fire.
“Harry,” Draco gasped as shots of energy danced along his skin and inside him. “Harry, stop.”
“You’ll stay,” Harry said intently, magic thundering in Draco’s ears as Harry used it to emphasise his words.
The pleasure and pain was unbearable—it climbed to a peak that Draco’s mind couldn’t fathom, and he knew he was moments away from losing consciousness altogether. This sort of power wasn’t meant to be borne, not by someone like Draco. Only Harry could carry that burden, and he was damaged for it.
“I’ll stay,” Draco whispered; he was weak and he knew it, but the sacrifice of his professionalism was nothing compared to what might happen if he didn’t get Harry back to himself.
The words were a switch, and Draco fell to his knees, panting, as the energy sucked back into Harry as if the man was some sort of magical vacuum. And Draco had a serious case of magical blue balls. “Fuck,” he groaned, his body trembling with aftershocks.
“You said,” Harry reminded him. He extended a hand to Draco, looking pleased with himself.
Draco nodded and took the hand, allowing Harry to pull him up. “You’ll never get better like this.” Draco meant it as a warning, but he heard it come out as a lament, and he winced.
“You said,” Harry repeated.
Draco watched him crawl into bed and squirrel under the covers as though he’d merely made a trip to the loo instead of raping Draco’s faculties with his wild magic and then blackmailing him and likely costing him his job. Sighing, Draco turned back to his armchair, utterly exhausted.
“No, Draco,” Harry said. “I want you to stay with me. Here.” He patted the bed beside him.
Draco shook his head. “There is absolutely no way I can do that, Harry. Absolutely not.”
Biting his lip, Harry frowned. “I promise I won’t do anything like what I did to wake you up. And I promise I won’t use my magic like that on you again.”
Though dead on his feet, Draco tried to weigh in his mind the benefits to such an arrangement. If he slept in the bed this one night, Harry would never come on to him again and he’d never use his magic against Draco again. The knowledge that he was safe would make Draco’s job a lot easier, not to mention more comfortable.
“How do I know you’ll keep your promise?” Draco asked. “I can’t make you take a wizard’s oath or anything.”
Harry laughed, and it was that familiar Hogwarts laugh. Draco was transported for a moment, and Harry’s next words didn’t help.
“I’m Harry Potter. Would I lie?”
Draco didn’t know. But the bed looked really soft, and it was only a few hours until dawn, anyway. Without a word, he climbed onto the bed and settled as far on the edge as possible without falling off. He could feel Harry’s eyes on him and managed to stay awake until Harry’s breath evened out.
Just before sleep took him, Draco realised something. If Harry could control his magic like that, well, it wasn’t really wild after all…
True to his word, like the Gryffindor he was, Harry didn’t use his magic against Draco again. Weeks had passed since that night, during which Harry had kept his other promise—not to molest Draco—though Harry had curled against him sometime in the night. Draco couldn’t really hold that against him, however, as he’d woken up holding the dark-haired man tightly. He’d left while Harry still slept, and nothing like that had occurred again.
It was only a week after that evening that Harry reminded Draco he hadn’t promised to never touch Draco again, only that he wouldn’t do it that very night. Draco had glared at the equivocation and tried to force a retroactive promise, but Harry hadn’t budged, though he also hadn’t pushed his boundaries with Draco, making Draco think it had been a moment of weakness on Harry’s part.
Draco was still trying to get his patient to explain what he’d meant when he’d said that only a sexual touch felt good, but Harry denied saying it, though Draco could easily see the reticence in his eyes and the fear around his lips. Draco was a master of reading people, but Harry was just as good at avoiding questions.
Besides that setback, Harry seemed to be improving. Once he’d admitted that he actually could control his magic sometimes, Harry had been more willing to experiment in keeping it in check all the time. He still lost control when he had nightmares, and when his emotions ran high. But when he was calm and content, Draco had him use his magic to perform small, easy spells as Draco and Healer Kimm watched from behind a magical shield.
The sheer power and potential of Harry’s magic made Draco quiver. The man could easily rule the world if he had the notion—and the freedom. And he seemed to know it as well. He accepted his captivity with generally good grace, but Draco suspected that if Harry really wanted out, all the wards and protections in the world couldn’t keep him in place. He could shake the building to the ground as a matter of course. But he didn’t seem to want to, luckily for everyone within it.
Today was an important day for Harry’s recovery, which Draco still thought was entirely possible, if he could just find the key.
“Get dressed, Harry,” Draco said as he walked into the other man’s room. He’d taken to treating the place almost like his own flat, walking in and out without discretion, making himself tea and even using the loo instead of the staff one. He spent the majority of his workday with Harry, so it made sense, and Harry didn’t seem to mind. In fact, the less time they spent apart, the more comfortable Harry became, and that made him more likely to talk.
“What should I wear?” Harry asked.
That was a good sign. If Harry had morosely asked why, Draco wouldn’t be as comfortable suggesting what he was about to. “Something warm,” he said with a knowing smile.
Harry looked suspicious but disappeared into his room. Draco made tea and poured it into two thermoses while he waited.
After a few moments, Harry came out wearing blue jeans and about three sweaters. He also had a scarf, mittens, and a wool toque that mashed his hair down over his forehead.
“Okay…” Draco said, pulling on his cloak and making sure his wand was secured in the sleeve. He knew better than to ask why Harry wasn’t wearing wizarding garb. He suspected Harry didn’t feel like much of a wizard without a wand, though he had more natural magic than Draco had ever heard of, let alone met. Some days Harry seemed to prefer pretending to be a Muggle.
“Listen to me carefully. It’s important that you do.” Harry nodded. “You want to get better, right?”
This was a point of contention, because sometimes it seemed as though Harry really didn’t. But he nodded again, and Draco had to accept it.
“Good. I want you to get better as well. So today we’re going to go outside.” Draco smiled, waiting for his news to set in and excite Harry.
But Harry only nodded a third time and walked to the door, waiting for Draco to open it.
Draco almost pouted, but he caught himself. “Aren’t you happy?”
“You’re expecting something amazing,” Harry said quietly.
“No, not at all.” Expecting something, yes.
“Nothing will happen.”
Draco wasn’t sure if that was a promise or a lament. “Getting outside is something,” Draco reminded him gently.
But Harry only shrugged and looked pointedly at the door. Draco did pout this time, but he turned from Harry so it wouldn’t be seen.
He used a variety of spells and a Muggle key to unlock the door and then preceded Harry into the hall.
Healer Kimm was standing there, waiting. She didn’t look as though she approved, but Draco had finally been given veto power regarding Harry’s recovery. She could stand there and disapprove all she wanted, but she couldn’t do a damned thing about it.
Mediwizard Bates was standing farther back, nodding at Draco to let him know he had Bates’ support and protection. Draco really, really hoped he wouldn’t need it.
“Ready, Harry?” Draco said in his best cajoling voice.
“Sure,” Harry said gamely.
It only took a few minutes to get into the lift and end up on the ground floor before walking out the back way to the large yard. Harry paused as they approached the doorway to the fenced-in grassy area, but he stepped through a moment later as though it was the most natural thing in the world.
“Do you want to walk around?” Draco asked softly. Harry was taking this well, and he didn’t want to shock him.
“Can we sit?” Harry looked a little anxious. Many of the other patients and most of the mediwizards in the yard were staring at the two of them, and Draco knew Harry hated being gawked at.
“Sure. How about over here?” He gestured to a large oak tree by the perimeter of the fence.
Harry approved and followed as Draco led them around the back of the massive tree where they would be shielded from the gaze of most. Draco watched Bates settle just out of sight, his eyes trained on Harry.
“I’m impressed with how quickly you’ve been regaining control over your magic,” Draco said casually as he sat gingerly on the grass. Lucky for him his horrible lime green robes would camouflage any stains he picked up. He handed Harry one of the thermoses and opened his own, letting the soothing smell centre him. Harry set his to the side.
“It’s not regaining,” Harry said. “I’ve never had that sort of control. Or that sort of power, for that matter. Does that scare you?”
“It’s his power, Draco. It’s not mine. It even feels different, dirtier and thicker. My magic felt bright and clean, light. Manageable. When I use his power, when I regain control, as you put it, I know I’m using his magic. I hate it.”
Draco couldn’t be happier that Harry was casually discussing something that had taken them ages to get to—Voldemort. But he was surprised that Harry seemed to think his raw magic wasn’t his own.
“What makes you say that?” he asked. “How do you know it’s not yours?”
“Why would it be mine?” Harry countered. “I’ve never had magic like that before, then I kill Voldemort, and suddenly I’m going insane? There’s no other explanation.”
“Even so, that’s all the more reason to learn to contain it. Your magic, that is.”
“Snape once told me there was a potion that would make a wizard a Squib. Not an ounce of magic left.”
Draco laughed fondly. “He used to threaten the Slytherins with that one all the time. Prickly bastard.”
“So you don’t think it’s real?” Harry asked, his voice suddenly small.
Draco finally caught up to the conversation. “Are you saying you’d choose being a Squib over this, over learning to control your magic?”
“It’s not just that, Draco,” Harry said earnestly, turning to Draco and meeting his eyes. Draco had to force himself not to look away. “I can feel it… changing me. I don’t want to change. I rather liked being me, or at least I would have if I’d been able to be me after I killed Voldemort. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? I waited my entire wizarding life to be rid of him, and once I finally did as I was supposed to, I’m the only one who can’t enjoy it.”
“No, it isn’t fair,” Draco said. He’d had the same thought more times than he could count.
Harry leaned back against the tree, tipping his head to the side to stare at Draco. Draco tried not to squirm under the gaze, but it took all his rigid Malfoy training to remain still. Harry had always unnerved him, but never as bad as he did now.
“I dreamed about you last night,” Harry whispered, maintaining his eerie gaze.
Draco shuddered. “Do you want to talk about it?” He had to ask; it was his job. But that didn’t mean he didn’t very much want to know what Harry’s subconscious had to say about him.
“You’re not a very good Healer,” Harry remarked, smirking a little.
“Of course I am!” Draco couldn’t help being affronted. He’d worked very hard to be where he was, thank you very much—and what did Potter know about it, anyway?
“I mean, you follow all the rules to the letter. ‘How does it make you feel?’ ‘What do you think that means?’” Harry’s voice was an unflattering parody of Draco’s, and Draco glared at him. “But you don’t understand. And how could you? You think you had it so rough, Draco fucking Malfoy. You think growing up with one strict and one doting parent tore you apart inside. And you tried so hard to be what Daddy wanted and what Mummy wanted, but no one thought about what Drakey wanted, did they?” Harry laughed coldly. “Except Drakey, of course. All Drakey thought about was Drakey—”
“Stop calling me that!” Draco shouted, his face flushed with frustration. “Just stop it. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Whatever,” Harry said easily, his voice back to normal. His entire demeanour seemed to change as he relaxed back against the tree again. “All I’m saying is you’re a shite Healer because you don’t know how to put yourself in your patients’ shoes, and more than that, you wouldn’t want to even if you did know how. You’d save a lot more people if you tried to understand them before you tried to heal them.”
Being insulted made Draco want to strike out, but he reined in the temptation. “Well, if I were in your shoes, I’d want to hear about what was happening outside my walls,” Draco said, deciding now was a good time to use the information he’d learned and had been saving.
“That’s what I mean. You have no fucking idea.” Harry chuckled almost fondly, shaking his head at Draco as if he were an amusing toddler.
Draco narrowed his eyes but ignored the comment. “I’d want to hear about my godson,” he said in a low voice, almost hissing.
Harry had never once asked about Teddy Lupin. Draco thought it was interesting that they were connected through Teddy—he’d written to his Aunt Andromeda as soon as he’d realised there was a link between Harry and Teddy.
“Don’t,” Harry whispered urgently. “Please, Draco.”
“He’s fine,” Draco said loftily, part of him knowing he wasn’t doing the right thing for his patient, but most of him hurt and angry over Harry’s jibes. “Though without a proper father figure, who knows how he’ll turn out. My aunt says she has a photo of you by the child’s bed, right beside one of his parents. She says he sometimes wakes up with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. Isn’t that sweet? Little Lupin wants to be just like Harry. Funny how our world works, isn’t it? Black was your godfather and now you’re godfather to a Black—in blood, anyway. Looks like you’ll be about as good for Teddy as Sirius was for you. Maybe you’ll meet him when he’s thirteen years old. Two years is better than none, isn’t it? Or do you think he’ll be better off without knowing you at all? After all, the rumours are so much more entertaining than the truth—” Draco broke off, panting. Oh, gods. There were limits and then there were limits.
Harry’s head was resting on his knees and his entire body was trembling.
“Harry, I—” Draco began, fists clenched. He was no better than his father, finding and exploiting weak spots like he had some sort of detector spell for it. “I didn’t mean it. I just want you to want to get out of here.”
But Harry didn’t respond, didn’t lift his head or acknowledge Draco at all. A sharp wind blistered Draco’s burning cheeks, and a few leaves drifted prematurely from the tree above them.
“Harry, I think we should go back inside and talk. This environment…” But who was Draco kidding… he was the variable that wasn’t working. He wasn’t a good Healer. Look at the way he was baiting and berating his fragile patient. He was pathetic, not fit for this job.
Then the air all around them stilled, and Draco inhaled the stagnant oxygen, tasting copper in the back of his throat. The only warning was a sharp intake of Harry’s breath before a burst of heat flared all around them.
The entire oak tree was in flames.
They encompassed the tree from root to highest leaf, and Draco barely had time to scramble away before he, too, was enveloped.
“Harry!” he screamed at the man who was much too close to the flames, though he seemed to be ensconced in some sort of protective shield. “Get away from there!”
Harry looked up disinterestedly, tilting his head at Draco as though he didn’t understand. Another blast of heat seared Draco, sending him stumbling back a few steps.
Then Harry’s eyes rolled back in his head and he keeled to the side bonelessly. The heat brushed past Draco again as Harry’s body seemed to absorb it. A moment later, the flames were gone, the tree a blackened and naked monument to Harry’s power.
Harry’s clothing smoked softly, wisps trailing up to be wicked away by the lolling wind, so harmless now.
Healer Kimm took care—if it could be called that—of Harry for the next two weeks. Draco just couldn’t do it. Harry’s eyes were so forgiving when they should have been accusing, and Draco couldn’t handle it.
He wasn’t used to feeling guilty, and he really didn’t like it.
“He’s asking for you, you know,” Healer Kimm said, opening a file beside her brown-bagged lunch and looking so casual it was obviously a front.
Or a trap.
“Who?” Draco asked nonchalantly, eating his salad with forced precision.
“Harry Potter, of course.”
“How is he?” Draco wasn’t able to keep up the disinterested façade. He’d gotten as much from Bates as possible, but he needed more information.
“Actually, he told me to tell you you were right.”
“About what?” Draco asked sharply.
“He wouldn’t say. Just that he’d thought about it, and he was ready to hear about what was happening ‘outside his walls.’”
“Oh,” he said, wincing. He’d wanted to shock Harry into a reaction, but he’d taken it too far by half. The proof was in the charred remains of the old oak, not to mention the black mark on Draco’s file. It didn’t look good to have a patient lose control on one’s watch like that.
“Listen, Malfoy,” Healer Kimm said, leaning forward and narrowing her eyes at him. She’d never taken to Draco and didn’t believe that calling him by his hard-earned title was necessary. Draco understood hierarchy enough not to press. “You fucked up. We all do. There’s always that patient that gets away, so to speak. There’s always one who you’ll never forget, you’ll always regret, you can never save.”
“You’re talking like Harry’s dead,” Draco protested. “He’s far from it! He can recover, we just need to find the key to control his magic.”
In a startling show of compassion, Healer Kimm put her small hand on Draco’s pale one. “I don’t want to think we’ve lost him, either. He saved my arse just as much as he did everyone else’s in the wizarding world. But you can’t let him take you down with him. You need to practise distance and detachment. You’ve already dropped your caseload to a third of what it was a month ago. Other patients are suffering because you can’t just… let go.”
Draco breathed in heavily through his mouth in a way his mother would have greatly disapproved of. “I won’t let him go. He’s not gone yet.” Draco closed his eyes. “But I’ll take him back.”
Healer Kimm’s eyes were sharp but sorrowful. “Are you sure? He very nearly killed you.”
“Do you think you’re making headway?”
Healer Kimm sighed. “He’s no better than he was when you were seeing him. In fact, he’s worse. I’m not helping him.”
“He’s mine, then.”
It did take time, as Draco had prepared for and expected, for Harry to begin to talk to him again.
Draco cursed himself every day for falling into his old ways at such a critical juncture. Harry had been on the road to recovery, he just knew it. And he’d gone and fucked the whole thing up by trying to fit Harry into the mould Draco’d had for him at Hogwarts—push him and he pushes back.
But when Harry pushed back now, people could die. Harry could die. Draco could die. And none of those were risks he was willing to take, not anymore. He’d be sickly sweet if he had to be, the most patient and understanding Healer that St. Mungo’s had ever seen. He’d be all that and more if it meant bringing the old Harry back.
But a few weeks after Draco had been reinstated as Harry’s sole Healer, things were slowly getting back to normal. Harry had more outbursts than he had before, but they were of a different sort. They were the same sort of episodes of wandless magic that children had—they were no longer self-directed or dangerous. Things like doors opening and closing before Harry’s hand would reach out to them, or the shower water keeping itself warm when, by all rights, it should have ran cold. Harry’s magic was trying to make his life easier for him.
And it was this fact that made Draco decide that Harry was ready for another visit to the yard.
Healer Kimm had staunchly refused, but Draco eventually wore her down. The yard would be entirely empty but for Draco, Harry, and a number of mediwizards. A shield spell would be placed around them so that no magic could escape. Wards would be placed on Harry—both a dampening ward for his magic and an intent ward. Harry wouldn’t be able to cast anything that could hurt Draco.
Draco didn’t bother saying that if the dampening ward on Harry’s room couldn’t contain his wild magic, a piddling ward by junior mediwizards wasn’t going to make a difference—he didn’t want to hurt his case.
Draco was confident that this time, things would go well.
“You must be insane,” Harry said, amused. “Or maybe amnesic.”
“Listen, Harry, I know last time I said some horrible things. I never said I was perfect.” He pointedly ignored Harry’s snort. “Sometimes when I get around you, it’s hard not to revert to old ways.”
“I know,” Harry said quietly. He touched Draco’s arm lightly and then stared at the point of contact for a long moment. When he looked up, there was something unfathomable in his eyes, and he licked his lips slowly as if contemplating dessert.
Draco cleared his throat and the spell was broken.
“If you’re sure,” Harry said. “You’re the Healer.”
The walk to the yard didn’t seem as long as it had before, now that Draco knew what to expect. Even if Harry did lose control, the environment was such that no one could be hurt. Precautions made both the Healer and patient feel secure, and Draco hoped Harry felt more comfortable this time.
Harry looked with wide eyes at the oak tree that had been magically restored. Except that the leaves were gone and would not return until spring, it was perfectly normal looking.
Now that the yard was empty, there was a sort of unnatural quality to it. Draco led Harry to a bench where they sat in silence for long moments, both obviously contemplating the last time they’d been there. Draco, in particular, was considering what to do to make sure nothing like that happened again.
“I miss him, you know,” Harry said suddenly, plucking at his sleeve.
“Teddy. I got to hold him, take care of him. Before everything went wrong. It didn’t happen right away, you know.”
“What’s that?” Draco knew the story, but getting Harry to talk had always been a key issue.
“Voldemort’s curse. Whatever his magic did to me. It was slow, insidious. At first, things just seemed a little overwhelming, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I still wanted to see my friends, still wanted to take care of Teddy. But then everything changed, and so slowly that I barely noticed because it seemed so normal. Only everyone was telling me it wasn’t normal, but I still felt the same.”
“I bet you were brilliant with Teddy,” Draco said honestly, smiling a little when he thought of his little cousin morphing to look like Harry, all messy hair and bright, smiling eyes. The kid could do worse, really.
“Sometimes.” Harry laughed without a trace of bitterness. “Sometimes I had no idea what the hell to do, you know? Someone hands you a child, and for that moment, you’re every damn thing in the world to him. But then you give him back and you’re nothing. Not that I blamed him, of course—he couldn’t remember me. But it was sort of like a new beginning every time I saw him. It didn’t matter how fucked up I felt inside, to Teddy, I was perfect each and every time. Forgiven, every time. New. Pure.”
Draco did something he’d never done with another patient—he reached out and took Harry’s hand. For a saviour, he had pretty rough hands. What did he do to warrant such calluses? Even when Draco had been in training, he’d never acquired anything like that roughness. But it wouldn’t have suited him. It suited Harry. Resilient; marked, but resilient.
Harry squeezed his hand back, smiling a little. Then his eyes grew determined as Draco watched with some anxiety. “I want to see him, Draco.”
“Yes. I need to. I need to know he’s all right, need to tell him I’m sorry—” Harry’s breath hitched, and he looked away. “I’m sorry for abandoning him.”
“Oh, Harry.” Draco’s heart was clenching painfully at Harry’s guilt. “It isn’t your fault.”
Now when Harry laughed, it was hard and cutting. “Of course it is.” He stood and began to pace in front of the bench. Draco stayed seated to give Harry the illusion of power, though he surreptitiously put his hand on his wand. “Whose fault could it be but mine?” he demanded.
“It’s Voldemort’s fault,” Draco said quietly, keeping a level tone, no matter what it cost him to say the name. “Not yours. You did… so much more than should have been asked of you. And you did it without even… without complaint. Not many people could—”
“Not not many, Draco,” Harry snapped. “None. None could have done what I did—not even me! I killed him and look what happened! All his awful power sank into my very bones and now I’m twice the wizard and half the man!”
“What can I do?” Draco said, trying and failing to keep the desperation from his voice. He didn’t know what to do, but he had to do something.
“Let me see him, just for a minute. Please. ”
“I can’t allow that, Harry. Not until we’re sure—”
“I’m sure!” Harry shouted.
Draco saw the mediwizards move in, but he raised his hand to stave them off. The shield was strong enough, and Draco wasn’t worried about Harry’s wild magic. He’d lost his temper worse than this in the past weeks. Harry’s magic was readjusting to help him—they had nothing to fear.
“I know you feel that way, but think of Teddy. I know you wouldn’t knowingly submit him to any sort of danger. That’s not the sort of man you are. You have to be strong for him, be strong now so that you can get out of here before he grows up enough to miss you terribly.” It was a cheap shot, but not at cheap as the ones Draco’d used the last time they’d been in the yard.
“Teddy would love me no matter what!” Harry cried. And suddenly he lunged for Draco, and not expecting it, Draco didn’t move quickly enough. They hit the ground with a solid thud, but still he held up his hand to the mediwizards. I can help him, Draco thought desperately as Harry scrabbled for his wand.
But Draco got it first and threw it beyond the confines of the shield. No wand for either of them was better than Harry having it. Merlin only knew the damage he could inflict with a focus weapon.
Harry cried out as if his own wand had been broken instead of Draco’s thrown. Then he cut off the anguished sound, and Draco froze beneath him at the abrupt shift in his demeanour.
Draco watched with the sensation of the calm before a storm as Harry seemed to struggle to control himself. He was shaking all over, pinning Draco’s hands down and gleaming with sweat.
But then Harry closed his eyes in defeat, and Draco couldn’t even shout before the sharp tug of Apparition told him what a horrible mistake he’d made with Harry.
Draco felt the tingle of Harry’s wards as he approached the foyer closet. Even coming within a few metres of a door or window set the wards to reminding him that he was a prisoner.
He grabbed his jumper from the closet and returned to the living room, where Harry looked at him with interest.
“I can make a fire,” Harry offered, watching as Draco put on another layer.
Draco shook his head and picked his book up. He knew Harry really did want to make things easier for him, but he really didn’t like it when Harry used wandless magic. The sensation dripped along his spine like water torture, making him uncomfortable if not actually pained.
“Are you hungry?”
“A little,” Draco admitted. Harry cooked the Muggle way, so there really wasn’t anything to fear there.
Harry stood. “I’ll have dinner ready in about an hour. Do you want to get cleaned up first?”
Harry’s solicitous manner was strange to Draco, but he’d grown up having people either wait on him or fuss over him, and Harry seemed to enjoy doing both.
Was it wrong to make the best of the worst possible situation? Draco thought not.
He showered quickly and efficiently, knowing that if he took too long, Harry’s magic would turn the water off. It had happened three times before Draco had finally confronted Harry about it. But the dark-haired man hadn’t even realised what he was doing. He said he had wanted Draco with him—his magic had done the rest.
There were many instances of Harry’s magic working to make him happy, but the obvious was, of course, Harry’s spontaneous Apparition to Grimmauld Place with Draco.
Draco had thought that he’d be rescued in the first few days, but Harry’s wild magic seemed to have performed a variation of the Fidelius Charm, and he’d long given up on the idea that Aurors would storm in and free him, not that he put much stock in Aurors in the first place.
And Harry had no intention of letting him go. His magic had worked to make Harry happy, and that meant bringing Draco to a secluded place with no hope of escape.
But the positive thing was that Harry was improving. Draco insisted on playing the mind-Healer, and Harry let him. Draco asked for so little—besides freedom—and Harry really did seem intent on making him happy. Harry could control his magic beautifully, and if it didn’t feel so strange, it would have drawn Draco inexorably. But even that discomfort was diminishing every day. Harry’s thoughts seemed to be taking on a more linear structure—he didn’t jump from thought to thought as often, and he was able to keep his attention on one topic without losing control.
He still had nightmares. They were so bad they gave Draco nightmares. Screaming, wailing, crying, jerking, fighting… they were agonising. For the first few times, Draco had watched with an attempt at disaffection, but even he couldn’t watch his captor in such turmoil. He just didn’t have it in him.
Harry was so bloody good to him.
“I made chicken Caesar salad,” Harry said proudly when Draco entered the kitchen. Harry liked to eat in there instead of at the formal dining table, which made Draco question his upbringing, but then, he had reason to. He knew the story well enough.
“That’s my favourite,” Draco said softly, taking a seat and letting Harry serve him.
“I know,” Harry said simply. He dished them both out huge portions. Draco was always amazed at the sheer volume of food Harry could eat, and Harry seemed equally surprised at how little Draco could subsist on.
They ate in silence as they usually did, Harry’s unsilent eating the only noise. It was oddly endearing, and Draco hated that.
“Harry.” Draco dabbed at his mouth with the napkin and waited to be acknowledged. Harry nodded and swallowed, pushing his plate aside. Harry did all the cleaning up himself, never once asking for any help.
“I’d like for you to tell me about your dream.”
“What dream? Being an Auror?”
“No.” Though he filed that information away for later. He had never heard that. “The dream you had last night. You were shouting, saying things.”
“What was I saying?” Harry’s voice was light but there was obvious strain beneath it.
“The word green. And Teddy. ”
Harry drew in a shuddering breath and collected the dishes. For the first time, Draco helped him, setting them in the sink and waiting for Harry’s magic to take over. To his surprise, Harry ran the water and began to wash the dishes by hand. Draco watched, transfixed, at the strange and oddly satisfying chore. He almost wanted to stick his hands in the soap water and do it himself. He resisted the urge.
“I guess it was just the same old stuff. I worry about Teddy. I wish he was here with us.”
This wasn’t the first time Harry had made comments like that, both about Teddy and this us. Harry hadn’t left the house since they’d arrived three weeks ago, so Draco had no reason to believe Teddy was in any danger, but he really wanted to know if Harry thought Draco’s imprisonment wasn’t an imprisonment at all. Sometimes he made it sound as though Draco was here of his own accord, perfectly amenable to the situation.
Instead of reacting to the comment, however, Draco pressed on about the dream. “What exactly is the ‘same old stuff,’ Harry?”
Harry gave him a sidelong glance before sighing. “You’re not going to give up on this, are you?”
“No. Helping you is probably the only way I’ll ever get out of here.”
Harry frowned. “You think I’m crazy?”
Trying not to snort at the obviousness of the question, Draco smoothly avoided answering. “I think you could benefit from talking, and it looks like I’m the only one with the ability to listen.”
“Talking to you about it never made the dreams go away, you know.”
“You never gave me the complete story, did you?”
Harry reached for a tea towel and dried off his hands. He held it out to Draco, but when he reached for it, Harry folded his hand into the cloth and rubbed it, drying it off. Draco was too stunned to do anything, and when Harry reached for the other dripping hand, Draco let him dry it, too.
“I’m tired, Draco,” Harry said, obviously trying to get out of the discussion.
“That’s fine. At St. Mungo’s some of the best talks we had were when you were in bed and I sat beside you. I think you feel more comfortable in that sort of situation.”
“Oh. So you want to come to bed with me, then?”
“Well, I’ll attend your bedside while we talk,” Draco equivocated.
“There’re no chairs in my room,” Harry said quickly, and Draco jumped about a foot in the air when he heard a loud crash above them.
It sounded a little like furniture exploding.
“Not anymore,” Draco muttered. Harry gave him an almost apologetic smile. Draco knew that Harry didn’t actually control things like that. Just like he hadn’t really controlled their Disapparition. Still, Draco had to wonder why his magic had acted up at that point—surely there had been other times when Harry had wanted to return home. Why then?
“You can stay in my bed, then. I have an armchair I could use.”
Draco almost laughed when Harry pouted, but he just led the way up the stairs. He held the door open for Harry and followed him in.
“This was Remus’ room,” Harry said quietly, touching the bureau with barely the tip of his fingers. “I sleep in Sirius’.”
Wishing he had his trusty clipboard—Muggle pen and all—for that rather morbid morsel, Draco dragged the chair over beside the bed and sat heavily in it. Harry walked around for another moment, touching things or just staring at them.
Eventually he came up to the bed, and Draco shouted in surprise when he began unbuttoning his jeans.
“What in Merlin’s name are you doing?” he demanded, eyes wide.
Harry’s hands rested on the waist of his pants. “I can’t sleep with jeans on,” he explained as if Draco was the mental patient in the room.
“You’re not sleeping in my bed! You’re just going to rest there while we talk.”
“But now that I know I’ll have to get back up and go to my own room, I won’t be able to relax. It’ll be the same as talking on the sofa.”
Draco rolled his eyes in annoyance at the sense Harry made. “Fine, get undressed. I’ll sleep in your room.”
“No,” Harry said quietly, and the bedroom door slammed shut. Harry didn’t look apologetic in the least as he stared challengingly at Draco.
“All right then, the chair it is,” Draco said resignedly. But before the words even left his mouth, the chair beneath him exploded into shards, and he had to leap away to keep from getting impaled on the chair-cum-kindling.
“Potter,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “That was very rude.”
Crawling under the covers, Harry pulled back the other side for Draco. “You know, I meant to do the door thing, but the chair just happened.”
“I’m sure,” Draco said, glaring. “I’m not even tired! Am I just supposed to pace back and forth all night while you restfully dream of green?”
“I could make you sleepy,” Harry offered helpfully.
If Draco hadn’t known for a fact that Harry’s magic would protect him, he would have launched himself at the fiend.
Draco stomped over to his dressed to retrieve his pyjamas, but the drawers wouldn’t budge. “You’re kidding me!” he cried, spinning to face Harry, who was biting his lip and trying to look innocent. “First you kidnap me! Kidnap me! I might never see my family, do my job, go outside again! But that’s not enough. I have to endure your cooking, suffer through your company, and now I’m not allowed my own room, a door that lets me out of said shared room, a fucking chair, or pyjamas! If you’re trying to torture me to death with inconveniences and petty annoyances, you’re halfway there!”
Harry’s eyes were wide. “I thought you wanted to help me,” he said in a small voice, as if he hadn’t just acted surprised to find out that Draco thought him a few Chasers short of a Quidditch game.
And like that, all his anger was gone. He closed his eyes, scrubbing at his face. “I do. I want to help you because it’ll help me, and I really want to help me. But mostly I just want you to get better, Harry. You don’t deserve this, not by half. And you can’t live like this. But neither can I.” Draco climbed onto the bed and pulled the covers up to his chin. He pulled off his trousers under the sheet so Harry couldn’t watch. Tossing them over the side, he then got started on his shirtsleeves, which he also threw onto the floor.
“I’ll let you help,” Harry said earnestly. He put a hand on Draco’s shoulder and met his eyes. Draco couldn’t look away. “I want to get better, really. I’ll let you do your Healer thing and then we can see Teddy, right?”
Well, that had almost been promising. “Tell me about your dream, Harry,” Draco urged, getting comfortable. They were lying face-to-face, Harry’s hand tucked under his cheek in a horrifyingly sweet way. How could this gentle and relaxed man have the most dangerous wild magic in the entire world at his disposal?
Harry closed his eyes. When he opened them again, they were determined. “I kill people in my dreams. I don’t even use a curse or anything. I kill them just with my thoughts. Sometimes people kill me. They all band together—they have to because I’m so strong—and they cast the Killing Curse all together, but it takes me a lot time to die. While I’m dying, they tell me… tell me all the things I did wrong. I cry and beg and tell them that I’ll be better, but they don’t really care or maybe they don’t believe me. They just let me die.”
Draco forced himself to think about his response. His immediate reaction was to comfort Harry, tell him the things that had happened were not his fault. People had died as a result of a war, not because of anything Harry did or didn’t do. And even if he had killed them, he had saved the world. Surely that should count for something.
“What do they say you did wrong?” he asked, knowing, of course, that whatever Harry responded with was what he thought he did wrong, not some imaginary dream people. Harry’s subconscious was feeding him guilt, and Draco had to know why.
But Harry shook his head.
“You said you wanted my help,” Draco gently reminded him.
“I’m really tired,” he tried again.
“I killed them. They said I killed them. Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, Fred, Remus, Tonks, Snape, Colin… I killed them all. Even Voldemort was there, accusing me. I never wanted it to happen, Draco. I never wanted to be a killer. I was so happy when I found out I was a wizard. It seemed like such a perfect escape from a horrible life. I thought I had won the lottery or something. You can’t know… but then I kept having to fight him, and people wanted so much from me, so much I didn’t know how to give. I didn’t want to kill anyone. I just wanted to be a normal wizard like everyone else, like you. I never even once thought of running away, you know that? I didn’t. I always knew it would be me, and then it was. It was my job. But it’s done, Draco! It’s fucking done now, so why isn’t it over? Why? ”
“I don’t know,” Draco whispered. He closed his eyes. He was completely helpless and wholly unqualified to deal with damage of this magnitude. It had been pride that had made him think he could heal the great Harry Potter. After all, if he healed him, he was better than him in a way, wasn’t he? But he’d never questioned his ability, not like he was now. Harry needed and deserved help, and Draco was so far from providing it that he knew neither of them would be able to escape. Harry from his mind, and Draco from this house. “I really don’t know.”
Harry closed his eyes and Draco watched as he began to fall asleep. Every now and then his eyes would flicker back open and he’d stare at Draco for a moment, but then they’d fall closed again, and his breathing shallowed. Draco watched him for a long time before closing his own eyes.
He was almost asleep when Harry whispered, “I wouldn’t do it again. I know what that means, but I wouldn’t do it again.”
Draco didn’t answer, only brushed the backs of his fingers against Harry’s cheek and closed his own eyes.
The dreams didn’t come. Harry didn’t understand. The dreams always came. That meant that Draco was doing something, something good. The magic had been right to bring them here. Draco hadn’t been helping him at the hospital, but now he was helping him, and things were going to get so much better.
Draco. Even without his Healer robes—which Harry had thrown out, or so Draco said, but Harry didn’t remember—Draco was still lime green. Draco tasted sweet. Harry sometimes tasted him in his sleep. Draco didn’t try to stop him, but he didn’t say anything, either. Harry didn’t mind. Draco tasted so good.
Harry liked Draco’s eyes because when he looked into them, the pale grey ate up the green in the reflection. That was nice of them. Harry really didn’t like to see green. It was much better to see grey.
Harry woke up.
Draco was surprised to see the walls of Hogwarts surrounding him. He was alone in the Great Hall, and the castle was completely silent.
“Is this okay?” Harry said. Oh, Harry was there. That was good.
“Yes,” Draco said.
Then Harry was on his knees, and Draco realised he was naked. And hard. And Harry’s mouth was very, very good. Draco tried to run his fingers through that silly hair, but he couldn’t.
Draco woke up.
“Fuck,” he hissed when Harry sucked particularly hard. “Harry, stop it! What the fuck are you doing?”
“You were hard,” Harry said before taking Draco into his mouth again. Draco went to push him away, but his hands were bound above his head. He quickly looked up to see if he could squirm out of the bonds, but there were none. Harry’s trusty magic, yet again.
“That doesn’t mean you should… oh, fuck… Harry, this is really… bad. You need to stop.”
Harry didn’t stop. He rolled and softly kneaded Draco’s balls with one hand and stroked the base of his cock with the other. He was placing teasing kisses on the crown of Draco’s prick, making him want to pull away and thrust forward at once.
Draco wished he was confused. He wished he was experiencing conflicting emotions that he could later look back on and say everything happened so fast… But there was none of that. There was only Harry’s mouth on his cock and the fact that he wanted to come so bad he would surely die from it.
“Say no,” Harry said simply, teasing Draco’s foreskin with his tongue before poking the wriggling muscle into the slit.
“What?” Draco gasped, his hips thrusting until an invisible bond across his waist kept his arse firmly on the bed.
“Say no, and I’ll stop. Just one word.” Harry licked from base to tip. “One little word.” A hand pushed Draco’s leg until his knee met his chest. “Simple, really.” A prodding finger traced his entrance. “And I’ll stop.”
What Draco really wanted was for Harry to stop talking, but he was a Healer, for fuck’s sake! Taking advantage of a disturbed patient—
—Wait a fucking second. Draco was the victim here! Draco was the captive. Harry was in control. The power balance had shifted. He didn’t have to… be strong…
And it was a good thing he came to that conclusion, because Harry swallowed his cock almost to the root just as his finger dryly breached Draco’s hole. Draco shouted as he came, feeling his orgasm in the tips of his fingers, his pulse pounding as every part of his body clenched.
He couldn’t look. He couldn’t.
He had to.
Harry was looking at him with wide eyes. His mouth was plumped and red, and there was a smear of come on his bottom lip. His cheeks had high points of colour, and he was panting.
He was the most beautiful jailer Draco had ever seen.
“You really shouldn’t have done that,” Draco breathlessly scolded, but the words didn’t have the power behind them that he’d intended.
“But you liked it,” said Harry.
Draco’s eyes clenched shut. “How can you ever expect to get better if you keep doing things like this? I want you to rejoin society, but how can that be possible when all you do is make your own rules?” Draco was proud of how level and wise that sounded. Until Harry laughed, that was.
“The good thing about being Harry Potter,” Harry said in a voice full of bitter self-deprecation, “is that I make the rules. I can do pretty much whatever I want because of what I did. I never took advantage, because, well…” Harry made a swirling motion beside his ear with one finger. “But now I think I have something to break the rules for.”
“Even the great Harry Potter can’t kidnap a Healer, hold him hostage, rape him, and not expect to face consequences.”
Harry jerked back as if struck. “Rape? You didn’t say no! I told you you could, and you didn’t.”
“The fact that I’m a prisoner makes everything you do suspect. How do I know you’ll stop? How do I know you won’t punish me for saying no? There’s no free will here.”
“You’re wrong,” Harry said, shaking his head quickly, hair flying in his eyes. He pushed the strands away impatiently. “I would stop and I wouldn’t hold it against you.”
Somehow, Draco actually believed him.
“Plus, it was the best blowjob of your life. You should be thanking me.”
Draco narrowed his eyes. “Unbind me,” he demanded, having had enough of his vulnerable position, not wanting to admit that there was a dark place inside of him that was grateful for the bonds.
“Oh!” Surprised, Harry looked up at his hands. To the observer, they were resting casually against the headboard, but to Draco, they were in an implacable hold.
Harry seemed to concentrate, but nothing happened. “Er, Draco?”
“Don’t you fucking say it, Potter,” Draco snapped, seeing the hesitation in Harry’s eyes.
Biting his lip, Harry closed his eyes and appeared to focus. A moment later, the ‘strap’ across Draco’s belly dissolved away, but his hands remained secured.
“I don’t know how to stop it,” Harry admitted at length.
“It’s because you don’t actually want to,” Draco said through gritted teeth. “Surely you’ve realised that your magic is a slave to you, and it acts on your impulses—conscious and unconscious.”
“You’re saying I don’t really want to free you?”
“Clearly!” Draco shouted, starting to feel a little panicky. He didn’t much like not being able to move.
“Okay, calm down.” Harry took a deep breath as if to show Draco how to do it. Draco snarled.
Harry climbed onto Draco’s lap, straddling him. “Let me just try…” He leaned forward and stretched until his hands were resting on Draco’s wrists.
Draco tried not to notice the tendon in Harry’s neck that was enticingly close to his mouth. He was thinking of biting, not… other things.
All too aware of his naked and Harry’s near-naked state, Draco tried not to move. But Harry was obviously affected by the blowjob he’d given Draco, and his hips were making little rocking movements that Draco eventually decided were not entirely intentional.
“Can you move yet?” Harry asked softly, his face directly above Draco’s and entirely too close.
Testing, Draco shook his head. Still bound.
Chewing on his lower lip, Harry looked around the room, apparently trying to find something to help free him.
“I have an idea,” Draco said suddenly. “Go downstairs.”
“Go sit in the kitchen or something. Really. Just do it.”
Harry looked reluctant to leave Draco’s lap. He leaned down and kissed Draco on the lips before practically launching himself out of the bed. Draco definitely didn’t lick his lips. Not until after Harry left the room.
Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later, the bonds slipped away and Draco could move. Stretching, he quickly got dressed and went downstairs.
“How did you know that would work?” Harry asked immediately. He was sitting at the kitchen table, a cup of tea in his hands and a worried look on his features.
“You wanted me here with you more than you wanted me tied up there,” Draco said simply, pouring himself a cup of tea and contemplating the extent to which his life was so very fucked up.
“Draco… Draco, wake up.”
“Hmm?” Draco mumbled, jolting up and blinking rapidly. He’d been having the most amazing dream… he was a Healer, and everyone respected him. He was making the world a better place. He was actually helping people.
But it was just a dream.
“I had a bad dream.”
“You did?” Draco usually woke up when Harry was dreaming. The vibration of magic throughout the house usually made it too uncomfortable to sleep. That was even more true once Harry had started sleeping in Draco’s bed regularly.
Harry nodded. His eyes were the only things Draco could really see, a beam of moonlight streaking across them, making him ethereal and strange. But then he shifted, and the beam fell against the wall instead.
“Tell me about it,” Draco said. As much as he might have wished that more sleep was on the offing, it was important for Harry to talk about his dreams as much as possible, and when they were still fresh in his mind. If anything in there could be described as fresh.
“It was about you.” Harry smiled in a shy way that Draco knew would have been contrived on any other person, but on Harry was wholly genuine.
Draco nodded for him to go on, shifting onto his side so they were facing one another.
“We were married. And I don’t care that blokes can’t get married, we were. And you were telling me it was amazing for my face to be the last thing you saw before you went to bed, and the first thing when you woke up, because it meant that you always had dreams about me. And I told you that I always dreamt about you, even when we were apart, and that was true. You weren’t really you because I know you don’t dream about me, but I was really me and it was a really good dream. I didn’t want to wake up.”
“Let me go,” Draco said suddenly. “Please, Harry, you have to let me go. This is so unhealthy. You think we’re together but we’re not. We can’t be. Not like this.”
Harry leaned forward and kissed Draco. “I can’t let you go. You know that.”
Draco gave an empty sob and tried to turn his face to hide it in the pillow. He felt Harry move closer until he was able to pull Draco into his arms. Holding him securely, Harry rocked them both like children.
“I want to go home,” Draco whispered. The circle of Harry’s arms was comforting, for all that he was Draco’s captor. Harry’s hand smoothed over his back, and he was placing gentle kisses on Draco’s hair.
“This is your home now,” Harry said firmly. He tilted Draco’s head up so their eyes met. “You belong with me.”
You belong to me. He might as well have said that.
Then Harry kissed him again, and it was soft and sweet. Draco, desperate for any kind of reassurance, even from Harry, kissed back for the first time. There had been many instances of such kisses from Harry, mostly to interrupt Draco from a rant or to avoid talking about things he didn’t understand or couldn’t explain. But this was the first time Draco had ever done more than passively wait for the kiss to end.
He parted his lips and Harry groaned, shifting even closer, pressing the lengths of their bodies together. Harry’s tongue explored Draco’s mouth, making him shiver. When the kiss ended, Harry pulled away, but Draco followed him. A kiss was good. Feeling good was better than feeling bad. If Harry was never going to let him go, well… what else could he really do?
“Yes,” Harry said sibilantly, pushing Draco onto his back and climbing atop him, threading fingers into his hair and holding him still while he ravaged his lips. “Knew you wanted me.”
Confused and lost, Draco didn’t answer, letting the feelings sweep over him. It was good to be held. Even before he’d been taken away from his life, he hadn’t done all that much touching. People tended to avoid him, and he didn’t really date.
Harry’s hands were everywhere, pressing hard against his skin, making Draco arch up into the near-painful touches.
“Turn over,” Harry directed, moving to give Draco enough space. He wanted to protest—Malfoys didn’t bottom. But he didn’t make a noise except to gasp as Harry yanked on his shoulder and forced Draco to move.
“So beautiful,” Harry whispered, sitting on Draco’s arse and running reverent fingers down his back. His hands rested at the swell of Draco’s behind, thumbs pressing into the dimples Draco knew were there.
A strange, cold sensation tickled his entire body, magic tingling his skin. He realised his clothing—and Harry’s—was melting off. It slid to the floor and rearranged itself into recognizable pieces of cloth. Draco’s eyes widened at the sheer power such a display warranted, but then Harry was spreading Draco’s legs and moving between them.
“I’ve thought about it for so long,” Harry said in a low voice. His hands kneaded Draco’s arse, and Draco squirmed, his cock pressing into the sheets and increasing his need.
He groaned as Harry spread his cheeks and cool air stroked over his hole. He tried not to be needy and push up, but his body wasn’t his own. There was magic all over him, swirling over his flesh like a whirlwind, raising goosebumps.
The first touch of Harry’s tongue on his entrance was met with a cry. Losing control was something Draco hated, something he strived to avoid in every facet of his life, but with his hands tightly clenched on the sheets and his mouth parted in a permanent ‘o’, control was so far from his thoughts that it was a mere memory.
Luckily he didn’t have to think about it much longer, because Harry was moving up his body, pressing kisses along his spine and gentle nips on his neck and shoulder. Draco shuddered at the first press of the blunt head of Harry’s cock. When he realised there was no lubrication, he tried to scramble up, but Harry’s magic had him pinned.
“Harry, stop!” he cried as Harry started to increase the pressure. “Don’t you have any fucking lube?”
Harry immediately moved away, and Draco could hear his heavy breathing. “Fuck,” he whispered, and Draco wished he could move enough to glare accusingly at the thoughtless maniac.
“I’m really sorry,” he said. Fingers passed over Draco’s hole, and he grunted in surprised when they became slick. Harry pressed two inside, spreading the cool slickness, stretching Draco with carefully precise movements.
“Enough,” Draco moaned, closing his eyes and he tried to move back into the soft thrusts. “Fuck me. And let me move, you prick.”
“Yeah, I want you to move,” Harry agreed, and Draco was immediately released.
He pulled his knees beneath himself but kept his head pressed to the mattress. When Harry’s cock caressed his hole, this time there was only the perfect stretch of a thick cock, and the amazing fullness that came with it.
“Fuck.” Harry thrust the last inch inside, and Draco shouted as the cock inside him dragged across his prostate. Trust a Quidditch player to have such good aim.
Harry was an amazing fuck. Much better than he had any right to be, having had no opportunities for experiment since he was committed. And thoughts like that were not wanted because they reminded him of how very wrongwrongwrong this was, his patient’s cock so far up his arse he could taste it.
Draco met every thrust, pushing back until his cheeks were bruised from Harry’s hipbones. When a tight fist wrapped around his cock, he stopped moving altogether. Let Harry use him, please him. He didn’t need to do anything but experience it.
And that’s what he did. The hand worked him expertly, twisting and pressing just the right way until Draco wondered how Harry could possibly concentrate to that extent while simultaneously giving him the arsefucking of his life.
“Can’t hold on,” Harry rasped, adding a blinding, emphasizing squeeze to Draco’s cock. “Come, Draco.”
Harry’s hand moved almost wildly, pulling in a manner almost violent. Draco let the sensation course through him until he couldn’t hold back any longer. He came, and came hard, his back arching like a bow.
When the overwhelming feelings passed, he wanted nothing more than to slump down and make a date with the afterglow, but Harry held him by the hips, or maybe his magic did. Draco couldn’t feel anything but the cock spearing him, claiming him.
Finally, Harry gave a primal cry and stiffened, fingertips digging into Draco’s hips punishingly.
He was kind enough to fall to the side instead on top of Draco’s prone body, but he immediately pulled Draco against him, arms holding Draco captive as much as the man himself.
“That was epically stupid,” Draco opined, making the most of his post-coital angst.
“Don’t you ever say anything like that again,” Harry said snappishly, tightening his hold. He grabbed a handful of Draco’s hair and pulled it until Draco’s face was angled up toward his. “I don’t want to hear you talk like that.”
Eyes wide, Draco remembered a little too late that Harry was unstable and therefore not the best person to voice regret to. “Or what?” he said foolishly. In for a Sickle, in for a Knut.
Harry’s smile was eerie, but he didn’t say anything, just watched Draco carefully. A long moment passed in which Draco grew more confused, but when he went to voice his question, he realised what Harry had done.
Draco couldn’t speak.
‘Very fucking mature,’ he mouthed angrily. He pulled away from Harry’s arms and sidestepped when Harry went to pull him back onto the bed. Dressing quickly, Draco tossed a glare to Harry before walking to the door.
Which wouldn’t open. Of course. When he turned, Harry was sliding pants up his legs, adjusting himself.
“Listen, Draco. I didn’t want to say anything, but I think I have to. Will you come back to bed?”
Draco tried not to let his increasing fear show on his face. He shook his head, trying to look peevish.
“Okay, that’s all right.” Harry crossed the floor and took one of Draco’s hands. He lifted it and pressed a soft kiss to the inside of his wrist. He put his other hand on Draco’s waist and drew him closer. Draco went, but only because of what the repercussions of refusing might be.
“I really care about you, okay? I have for a long time. I mean, yeah, I hated you in school, but I still thought about you. And now I want to help you. But you have to let me.”
Remembering his training—keep the patient talking—Draco nodded slowly.
“I think you’re confused about the situation here. First of all, I’m just as trapped as you are.”
Draco momentarily forgot his metaphorical muzzle and tried to loudly protest. But Harry just smiled a little sadly and squeezed Draco’s wrist gently.
“I know you don’t think so, but it’s true. Like when I had you tied to the bed. I know I wanted it, but I also couldn’t stop it unless it became directly oppositional to something I wanted more. But there’s nothing I want more than you here with me. So that means that you have to be here with me. I won’t insult you and say I’m sorry. I’m happy, Draco, happier than I have been in a long time. I’m not thrilled about the way this whole thing came about, but I don’t want to lose you, and I’m glad I won’t.”
Draco dropped his head. He was almost glad that he couldn’t speak, because there was absolutely nothing left to say. His feelings, his hopes, his dreams, none of that mattered. Harry’s magic made the decision for both of them.
And the decision was for them to stay in this house forever.
The wandless Silencing Spell wasn’t removed for nearly a day. Harry used that day to tell Draco anything and everything. Draco knew all about his childhood, about his godfather, he knew more about Weasley and Granger than he’d care to admit, and he even told Draco about the search for the Horcruxes.
When Harry finally cancelled the spell, Draco told him he was very sorry for the way his life had been, but that Harry wasn’t acting any better than his Muggle relatives, locking Draco in the house like they’d locked Harry in the cupboard.
It hadn’t gone over well.
Harry didn’t seem to mean to hurt him, but his magic lashed out at Draco like a tangible force, making small actions increasingly uncomfortable until the buzzing in his blood and the flood of pain in his mind was excruciating and increasingly unbearable.
Harry even apologised after, saying he wanted to control it, he really did. But that didn’t matter when Draco was so ill that his nose was bleeding and his vision was blurry from the force of Harry’s reactive rage.
The only good that came from Harry’s improving understanding of his power was that he gave Draco more freedom. Not enough to actually leave Grimmauld Place, of course. But enough to go from room to room without Harry following him or tracking him down after a few minutes. Draco also suspected that Harry somehow—magically—knew everything Draco did.
But that didn’t stop him from doing what he did. Or what he tried to do, anyway.
When Harry told Draco it was fine if he used the potions lab in the basement, Draco was thrilled but reserved. He knew better than to let Harry know how much he missed potions; if Harry knew, it was one more thing he could take away.
There weren't many potions that could take a person from one place to another. In fact, there was only one. And it required very specific ingredients—all of which could be found in the extensive and highly questionable Black potions laboratory—but it needed one more element to work.
Grimmauld Place had scores of these, of course. But none of that would matter if Harry had closed down the Floo. A fireplace could be turned into a Floo, but it took the owner of the house to do it. But if Harry had simply closed down the connection—or better yet, left the connection, assuming the lack of Floo powder was enough—than Draco might have a fighting chance.
It took three days to brew Floo powder from scratch. There was no way to check the fireplace’s status until the powder was tossed in. It was possible that nothing would happen. But he had to take the chance. He’d never forgive himself otherwise, even knowing what Harry—or Harry’s magic, which Draco was beginning to think of as a separate entity—would do if he were discovered.
The problem, of course, was that Harry was always home. Always. He hadn’t left the house once—Draco had no idea where the food and supplies came from. He’d never seen a house-elf, but then they were very good at being discreet. Draco found he really wouldn’t be all that shocked if Harry’s magic conjured food for them.
But Harry did sleep. A lot, actually. Restlessly and sporadically, but enough—Draco hoped—to give him enough time to at least try to make it out.
That evening, Harry fell asleep pressed against Draco’s back, an arm slung possessively over his side. Every now and then he would snuffle and his fingers would tickle against Draco’s belly, but mostly he just snored lightly.
When Draco tried to sneak away from the arm, Harry moved onto his back, pulled Draco with him. No matter—it’d be easier to get out this way. He moved in increments so small he was sure he didn’t appear to be moving at all, but finally he was free of the bed. He made his way to the door in utter silence, pulling it open and slipping through the narrowest crack he could manage.
Once past the worst of it, Draco hurried down the two flights of stairs into the potions lab. The potion was complete; he just had to sift the sparkling silver powder from the base of the potion and into a separate container. Doing so, Draco then weighed the Floo powder in his hand. It seemed to be the right consistency, and it looked as Floo powder should. The only question now was whether Harry’s Floo was open or not.
Merlin help him if it wasn’t.
Draco held the container under a potions apron. If he came across Harry, he might be able to get away in time to flush it down the toilet. The stairs creaked warningly as he made his way up, but Draco heard no sounds other than his own stilted breathing.
The fireplace was huge and very forbidding.
Even if it didn’t work, it was possible that Harry would never find out.
Kneeling before the hearth, Draco dug his fingers into the powder and let a little slip through. He threw the powder into the fireplace, bracing himself for heatless green flames.
There was a roar and a vacuum of air as the fireplace lit up in viridian. Draco forgot to breathe in his excitement. “Malfoy Ma—”
Draco was thrown back as the fireplace seemed to implode. Brick came crashing down, filling the cavern through which had been freedom. Ash and brick dust flooded his lungs, and he shifted to his hands and knees, coughing violently.
He didn’t need to look up. He knew what was awaiting him. But he looked anyway.
“Oh, Draco,” said Harry, disappointment weighty in his voice. He sat heavily on one of the sofas, staring at Draco, who looked back in wide-eyed fear.
The silence stretched between them, Harry never looking away, Draco too afraid to. Finally, Draco said, “I just wanted to go home.”
Harry nodded, looking for all the world as if he understood. He closed his eyes and parted his lips, taking in deep breaths as Draco waited for the magic to punish him.
But nothing happened.
For long moments, Draco just watched as Harry seemed to get smaller and smaller. He pulled his feet onto the cushion and wrapped his arms around his legs, dropping his head onto his knees.
“I’m sorry,” Draco said unaccountably. He really hadn’t meant to hurt Harry. He’d never really thought about the other man’s feelings at all. It hadn’t been important. It still shouldn’t be important, damn it!
Harry sniffled and Draco was sitting beside him on the couch in seconds. “Harry, I know that there isn’t really a place for you to call home, but for me, my entire life is there. Everything I am, everything I’m meant to be is somewhere else. It isn’t right for me to be here.”
“I want to be where you belong,” Harry said into his knees, his voice thick. “I want to be your home. I don’t understand why you want to leave. Everything was going so well! I thought… I thought that you loved me.”
You’re delusional! Draco wanted to shout. Mad!
“I care about you,” he said instead, and it was the truth. He didn’t want Harry permanently damaged, as he would be if he continued down this path. He just wanted Harry to get help—he wanted to help him. “But I can’t love you, not like this. Not without free will.”
“Can’t you even try?”
And then Harry threw himself at Draco, wrapping his arms around him and gripping him tightly with unforgiving fingers. He pressed his wet face against Draco’s neck, his shoulders shaking. “Please love me. I know you can. I just know it. I love you so much…”
Draco thought he’d been very patient, very understanding, this was getting to be too much. Harry loved him now? Harry was confused and not entirely all there!
But instead of rejecting the claims, Draco slid his arms around Harry—he felt surprisingly fragile like this—and pulled him against his chest. He made soft and comforting noises and carded his fingers through Harry’s hair.
“Don’t leave again,” Harry said imploringly. Draco could barely hear him, the way he was talking into Draco’s neck. “The Floo… I almost didn’t hit it.”
“What do you mean?” Draco asked softly, not wanting to disturb the strange peace.
“I mean I was so angry. The anger just came out all at once, and you were right there… at the last second I shifted it into the fireplace… but I almost didn’t.”
And there went the peace.
“You almost killed me?” Draco asked in astonishment. He should have expected such a thing, truly, but it still came as a shock.
“I didn’t want to! I just wanted to stop you!”
Harry began pressing kisses all over Draco’s neck and jaw, hot, desperate little kisses that had touches of tongue and pleading. “I’m sorry,” he said, sounding just as confused by the words as Draco had been when he’d said them. “I don’t want to hurt you. I just want to be with you. You make the green okay. You make it all okay.”
“Really?” he asked softly, pulling Harry away to look at his eyes. They were sincere.
“You’re green and it’s okay,” Harry said. He kissed Draco hard on the mouth. “It’s okay.”
It was a breakthrough of sorts. Harry hated green. There had been no green allowed in his suites at the hospital. His mirror had been charmed to reflect in monochrome. He’d assaulted another Healer once just for the colour of his robes. But Draco wore those robes, and Harry had never minded. Did that mean Harry could get better? Was there hope for him?
“How do you feel when you think of me and green?” he prompted. He let Harry’s mouth explore his for a moment until he asked again.
“Oh, Harry,” Draco whispered, letting his eyes fall closed. Harry felt safe with him. That was a huge step.
He could be saved.
Draco was so glad at that revelation that he allowed and even encouraged Harry’s movements, gripping the slim hips that ground against him.
“Is that good?” Harry asked, but he had a sly look in his eye that suggested he knew exactly how good it was.
“Very good.” Draco gasped as Harry’s hand slid between them to stroke the strong line of Draco’s cock through his trousers.
“I like being good for you,” Harry whispered against Draco’s lips before kissing him ferociously, biting and sucking and taking.
Draco had barely a finger on the button of Harry’s jeans before, with a flash of wild magic, Harry was completely naked.
“Fuck,” Draco hissed, greedily taking in the sharp angles and tanned flesh squirming on his lap. Forgetting himself and his previously passive role, he pulled Harry close and bit his nipple, eliciting an undignified grunt and a rather impressive arching of Harry’s back.
“Want you to fuck me,” said Harry as he opened Draco’s trousers and pulled his straining cock out.
Draco’s lips stopped moving over Harry’s chest as he took in the words.
“I haven’t…” Draco had, just not with Harry. Everything with Harry felt like a first time. He managed to make every kiss, every caress erase the myriad of others Draco had experienced over his life. Harry made him new again. “Are you sure?”
Harry nodded quickly. “Very sure. Just stay like that, okay? Actually, slouch down a bit.”
Draco let Harry angle him until his position was satisfactory, then watched with wide, wanting eyes as Harry reached behind himself. By the looked of half-pained concentration, Draco knew he was stretching himself.
Part of him wanted to do it for him, to touch Harry where Harry’d touched him so many times, but another part was grateful that he wasn’t made an accomplice. Easier to sit back and take it than become an active partner.
But the time to make up his mind passed, because Draco’s cock, slicked by the ever-helpful magic, was being angled at Harry’s hole.
“Oh, gods,” Draco moaned. It had been a long time since he’d done this. Harry laughed breathlessly in agreement as he sank down.
Harry leaned back and braced his hands against Draco’s knees for leverage, lifting himself up and sliding back down in excruciating slowness. Draco could do nothing but watch as Harry fucked himself on his cock.
“Touch me,” Harry demanded softly, and Draco wished he could blame the magic for how quickly his hand shot out to do Harry’s bidding. From those toned thighs, over his jutting hipbones, over his heaving chest, and even touching his mouth, Draco’s hands explored and learned Harry’s body. He’d never really touched Harry before, nothing more than grabbing and holding on in desperation or need.
Harry’s hips rolled and then slammed, his body moving expertly in a way Draco’d never seen anyone else manage, not even himself. Harry’s body was an instrument of pleasure, and he was just letting Draco play—for the moment.
Finally gripping Harry’s thickening cock—and now he was definitely a participant—Draco stroked in time with Harry’s movements.
“Is it good?” Harry rasped, a sheen of sweat making him glint like sunlight. “Tell me it’s good, Draco.”
“It’s good,” he said quickly. “So fucking good.”
Harry’s lips contorted into a smile before he came, slamming down once more time and crying Draco’s name as his body tightened all over.
It was too much, of course. Draco grabbed Harry’s hips and ground up into him, shouting when he felt Harry clamp over him. Draco was silent as he came, but Harry watched him very carefully, though Draco couldn’t bring himself to care at the moment.
“So good,” he groaned, his head falling back against the cushions.
Harry leaned forward and lay against him, mingling their sweat together. He kissed Draco’s neck softly and made a humming noise.
“Don’t run away again,” Harry said, half plea, half warning.
Draco didn’t answer.
It seemed like Draco had been at Grimmauld Place for years. In reality, it had been a few months.
It seemed unbelievable that Draco had gotten used to his situation, but maybe it had been inevitable. Two more escape attempts (no, Draco could not ‘hi-jack’ Harry’s magic to Disapparate, and no, the wards would not fall just because a fire was set—and pursuant to that, a hole could not be burnt right through one of the walls) had briefly pushed Harry and Draco farther apart, but by that point, there was no one else.
There was just Harry, and Draco didn’t want to be alone anymore.
“You have everything you need in the lab?” Harry asked softly, coming up behind Draco and wrapping his arms around his waist. Draco hesitantly placed a hand over Harry’s. He didn’t like giving so much of himself, but Harry gave everything, even though he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Draco didn’t want to be there.
“Yes, thank you,” Draco said politely, taking out another cup for Harry’s tea.
“Just let me know if you need anything, anything at all,” Harry said, kissing the side of Draco’s neck. Draco shivered.
Harry was so equally generous and clueless with potions ingredients that Draco could easily ask for the makings of a fatal draught, and Harry’d be none the wiser. He didn’t know why he refused.
He didn’t want Harry dead, but he wanted his own freedom more.
“I will,” promised Draco. He pulled away from the soft embrace, but Harry didn’t scold him. He knew better than to crowd Draco, something for which Draco was grateful. Having his own space and the ability to turn Harry away—within reason—made his life easier to bear.
The only other thing that kept Draco from brewing one of those fatal positions for himself was the fact that Harry was showing a marked improvement. He sometimes made it weeks without an episode of violence or confusion. His wild magic seemed to be integrating with his body; they were no longer fighting for supremacy. Draco wasn’t exactly sure what it entailed, but it meant that Harry had a chance of getting better, even of recovering completely. And if Draco had to wait that out, well, he probably could. And Harry showed more and more remorse over Draco’s situation, though he never offered to change it in any way.
By that point, Draco was used to seeing the regret in Harry’s eyes. He’d asked him about it, but Harry just said something like, ‘Isn’t it funny how things turn out?’ And Draco had demanded to know what things, but Harry only smiled sadly and went into his bedroom. Alone.
“I have a present for you,” Harry murmured against Draco’s skin, each word a tangible brush of lips and breath.
“Really?” The scepticism in his voice made him cringe—he didn’t want Harry upset. “What is it?”
“It’s a surprise, of course.”
“I hate surprises,” Draco retorted. He brought the tea into the living room, unsurprised when Harry fixed both just the way they liked it: Draco’s with a bit of honey, Harry’s with enough sugar to down a troll.
“I know that.” Draco didn’t wonder how. “But I think you’ll like this one. I know you’ve been lonely…”
Draco froze, unwilling to hope… had Harry arranged for a visitor? Or maybe they would be going outside?
“What? Please, Harry, tell me.” Draco hated pleading, but he wasn’t above it. He knew who held all the cards.
But Harry only chuckled in that maddening way and made cryptic comments for the rest of the evening until Draco finally shut him up with an angry kiss. Harry didn’t seem to mind.
Waking up was a trial the next morning. Harry had been in such a good mood he’d kept Draco up all night, torturing him.
Of course, Draco hadn’t seen it as torture at time—Harry was very talented—but now his body ached inside and out, and all he wanted to do was stay in bed.
But Harry had said not to sleep in too late, and Draco was too excited about the possibility of going outside to risk remaining in bed.
Dressing carefully, Draco eventually made his way down the stairs. Tea. Tea was needed, and no later than now.
When that need was met, Draco was finally sound enough of mind to wonder where Harry was. He gave the lower level a precursory search, but figured Harry must be in the basement, possibly in the lab. That could be disastrous, Draco knew, but he couldn’t hear swearing or explosions, so Harry must have it under control for now.
He puttered around for a bit, tidying up and opening books without reading them. It was almost an hour later when he realised that Harry’s magic hadn’t made a single demand on him all morning. In fact, he couldn’t even feel Harry’s magic. It was usually an intangible force that made its presence known through unnerving and slightly sinister pressure. But it was gone.
“Harry?” he called, pitching his voice so he could clearly be heard on all floors. Nothing.
Running down the stairs, Draco immediately knew that he wouldn’t find Harry down there. And he was right. Faster than he’d thought himself capable, Draco ran up the two flights to the floor their bedroom was on. He checked every room. No Harry.
Staving off panic—what would happen if Harry died? How would he ever get out?—Draco sat quietly in the living room and stared at the demolished fireplace. For some reason, Harry had never seen fit to fix it, and Draco took it as an unsubtle warning not to try anything like that again.
Then Draco heard a sound he hadn’t heard in all his time in the house—the front door opening. He leapt up and ran toward it. Were they Aurors? Had someone finally found him?
But what he saw destroyed any hope he might have been cultivating.
Harry had returned. But he wasn’t alone.
He was holding two-year-old Teddy Lupin.
“What have you done?” Draco gasped, mind racing to take in the sight of his captor holding a small child, a child who was squirming but didn’t look altogether displeased with the situation.
“It’s Teddy,” Harry said unnecessarily, as the child was sporting black hair and a wicked looking scar on his forehead.
“Does my aunt know you have him?” Draco demanded.
“No, but I’m sure she won’t mind. She always wanted me to spend more time with him.”
“Won’t mind?” Draco repeated, aghast. Teddy went still and looked at Draco with wide eyes. Lowering his voice, Draco continued. “Of course she’ll mind! You’ve kidnapped her grandchild!”
“We’re a family!” Harry protested, shifting Teddy to his other hip. “She’d want us all to be together, Draco. And Teddy does, too, don’t you?”
Teddy watched Harry for a moment before nodding slowly, but Draco didn’t think the child understood the question at all.
“Give him to me,” Draco demanded. He held his arms out and waited. Teddy was his blood kin, after all.
Harry smiled beatifically and handed the child over. Teddy set to squirming, but Draco pressed a soft kiss on his temple and shushed him gently. He slowly calmed down, but he was eyeing Draco very carefully. They stared at one another for a long time. Teddy’s eyes were the Black grey, despite his Harry-costume. After a few moments, Teddy’s hair went white from root to tip, and his little nose went from button to pointed.
Harry came up and touched the corn silk hair. “He’s beautiful, isn’t he? And he’s ours.”
Draco’s arms tightened protectively around the form in his arms. He didn’t look at Harry. “He is.”
“Come on, Teddy, Draco. Dinner’s ready!”
Both blonds looked up at the sound of Harry’s voice. “Race?” Draco suggested.
“Okay!” Teddy shouted, bolting across the yard. He didn’t fall once despite the somewhat uneven terrain. The backyard was spelled just like the rest of the house. Harry’s magic didn’t let them go any further than the predetermined perimeter. No one could see them. They couldn’t see anyone. Draco didn’t even know if it was a real lawn or Harry’s creation. He supposed it didn’t really matter as long as Teddy got to go outside.
Teddy, of course, beat Draco to the back door, but only by a foot. “Careful stepping up,” Draco warned, hands out to brace Teddy if he needed it, which he didn’t.
“By myself!” Teddy crowed, running into the kitchen and launching himself at Harry’s legs. “By myself, Daddy!”
“Oh, Teddy, that’s great! You’re growing up so fast, aren’t you?”
Teddy nodded eagerly. “Awmost fwee!” he cried.
Draco’s heart almost stopped. It had sounded like Teddy had said free, and Harry hated it when Draco talked about that now. After Teddy, everything had changed. Harry no longer took Draco’s pleas for freedom with a grain of salt. The topic was expressly verboten.
But Harry only laughed and cast a questioning glance to Draco, who had stopped mid-step.
“Were you outside in just this?” Harry asked, finger Teddy’s sleeve. Teddy nodded. “And you were warm enough?”
“He was running around like crazy,” Draco explained.
“You were?” Harry asked Teddy in that baby voice Draco hated but Teddy adored.
“Like this!” he cried, and then squirmed until Harry let him down so he could run in meandering circles around the kitchen.
Harry watched, laughing. “Oh, you’ll be sleeping well tonight,” he predicted. He pulled Draco in, and Draco let him. “And then maybe Daddy and Daddy can have some time alone.”
“Harry, don’t… don’t call me that,” Draco whispered. The first time Teddy had called Harry Daddy, Draco had gone upstairs and cried. The first time he’d called Draco that, he’d felt a burst of pride so intense he’d felt like his heart was breaking. And then he’d gone to his room to cry. It wasn’t right. It wasn’t fair.
“Draco, stop it,” Harry said, softly but firmly. “You’re his daddy and he loves you.”
“Look! Daddy, look!”
Both Harry and Draco turned to see Teddy concentrate until he had two long antennae. “Bug!”
“It’s actually kind of cute,” Harry mused, his arm tight around Draco’s waist.
Draco leaned his head on Harry’s shoulder and buried his face in his neck.
“Daddy!” Teddy called, and then again, and finally Draco had to look. It wasn’t Teddy’s fault Harry had him all confused. “Up!”
Draco barely had his arms out before Teddy was scrambling up his body and wrapping chubby arms around his neck. He reached out and grabbed Harry’s hair, pulling him closer.
Teddy sighed contentedly, planting a wet kiss on both his daddies’ cheeks. Harry followed with his own wet kiss for Teddy’s cheek, and a soft one for Draco’s lips. Draco took the comfort.
“Come on, dinner’ll be cold at this rate,” Harry said a few moments later, his voice thick.
They took turns helping Teddy eat, though Draco’s turn was mostly spent cleaning up the mess from Harry’s turn.
After dinner, they usually sat in the living room and read to Teddy. Draco read him schoolbooks, and Harry read him the few children’s book that they’d found in the library.
“Don’t want Potions!” Teddy grouched when Draco took out the Transfiguration text. “Want Hawwy Pottah!”
Draco frowned. “What do you mean?”
Harry chuckled sheepishly. “I’ve been telling him about my exploits at school. You know, Quidditch, the basilisk, Sirius, the Triwizard Tournament.”
“You’ve been telling a two-year-old those things? Merlin, Potter, what sort of father—” Draco slammed his mouth shut and went completely still.
Teddy chimed in with an irritable, “Awmost fwee!”
“No, Teddy,” Draco snapped coolly, looking at Harry. “Never free.”
Draco kept waiting for a fall-out that never came.
In fact, things seemed to almost get better, if such a thing could be possible. Harry was attentive and kind, doing little things for Draco to make his life easier. He stopped telling Teddy about Hawwy Pottah. He made love to Draco so intimately that Draco could feel the emotion every time, and he wasn’t able to hold himself distant from the act. He let himself make love to Harry, and it wasn’t really like giving up.
“Daddy!” Teddy cried, looking up from his toys in the middle of the hall. Draco had no idea where Harry got these things, but Teddy never wanted for anything.
“Teddy,” he said in his best stern voice. “Where are you supposed to play blocks?”
Teddy frowned and looked at his blocks for the answer. They didn’t provide one. “In the living room?”
“That’s right. And where are you now?”
Teddy squinted up at Draco. “Not living room?”
“Right again. So why are you playing here and not in the living room?”
Teddy gave a happy shrug and went back to playing. Looking around for Harry, Draco didn’t see him. He gathered up the blocks in their bag took them into the living room, knowing Teddy would follow. He did.
Draco watched as Teddy put together a small tower and gleefully destroyed it. He gets that from you, Harry, Draco thought, not unkindly.
“Hungy,” Teddy said a few minutes later.
Draco stood and held out his hand, which Teddy took. In the hallway, Draco felt a breeze and picked Teddy up, not wanting the child to get a chill. Then he stopped.
Turning slowly to face the front door, Draco’s blood turned to metal at the sight of it. Wide open. He could see the street. A person walked by at a leisurely pace. There was a streetlamp.
Consciously loosening his clenched hands on Teddy’s back, Draco walked toward the door. Had Harry left? When would he be coming back? Did he realise the door was open? Was this some sort of test?
At the doorway, Draco paused. Teddy was utterly silent as he looked out for the first time. He held tightly onto Draco’s neck, his cold cheek making Draco gather him closer.
He was through the door. It was cold out. November, or thereabouts. A young couple passed but did not spare a glance toward the house.
The wards were down. The heavy threat of Harry’s magic was conspicuously absent. There was nothing—nothing—stopping him from walking away with his son, freeing them both, leaving Harry to—
Draco took a backward step.
The house seemed warmer now.
He turned and saw Harry a few metres away, a grave expression on his face. Draco put Teddy down with instructions to go play.
Draco closed the door.
“Draco,” Harry said, drawing out the word. He didn’t move.
Draco closed the space between them and put his hands on Harry’s cheeks, pulling him in for a hard kiss. “Did you leave the door open?”
“What would have happened if we’d left?”
Harry shook his head. “Nothing.”
Draco kissed him again, a slow kiss this time, for it was a first.
“What do you feel when you think of me?” Harry whispered, and the words touched on the tip of Draco’s memory.
Sometimes Teddy had green eyes. Harry didn’t mind anymore. He did ask Teddy to change his hair to white because he knew Draco liked it, even if he wouldn’t say so. Draco always looked at Teddy with adoring eyes. His loved his son so much.
And sometimes Draco looked at Harry with those same eyes. Sometimes he looked at Harry with fear or anger, but not hate anymore. When Harry would hold Teddy, or sing to him, or let Teddy sleep on his chest, Draco would watch him carefully, calculatingly. Like a Slytherin. But then Draco’s lips would curve and twist, as if against his will, and before he could stop it, he’d be smiling. Harry so loved to see Draco smile.
He would do anything to make Draco smile.
Well. Almost anything.