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“The potion, the spell, or the curse?”

Draco had to put the pain of being thrown across the hardwood floor to the back of his mind in order to make a decision. Waiting too long to answer would only bring painful repercussions.

The curse could only be an Unforgivable. He doubted very much they would trifle with the lesser two. The Killing Curse was a way out. He was sure very few people chose that option. They all thought they could find a way, escape, live.

As far as Draco knew, they'd all been wrong. They were all gone.

Still, he would not choose the curse.

The spell could be anything. There was no reason to think it was not dastardly or evil because it was a spell and not a curse. The majority of people probably chose the spell, which meant it was likely the most awful and excruciating thing the trio could have come up with.

That left the potion. Draco knew that potions could run the gamut from healing to horrifying and everything in between. The potion was a mindfuck. Consuming it meant you were taking an active role in your downfall. It was the difference between someone killing you and killing yourself. Even if there didn’t seem to be any way out, most people would rather be killed. It takes away responsibility and makes you feel as though you’d done everything you possibly could.

“Potion,” he said, his voice nearly unrecognisable to himself.

Weasley laughed, but Potter looked at him curiously, green eyes narrowed as if discerning Draco’s thought process. Granger only looked hard.

She handed Potter a sparkling black phial without taking her eyes off Draco.

“You think you’re so clever,” Weasley taunted, circling Draco. Draco longed to reach out and trip him—a final rebellion, and no mistake, it would be final—but his hands were tied behind his back, high up, the rope also looping around his neck. Draco hadn’t slept for two days; the bonds made it impossible. Whenever he began to fall asleep, his arms relaxed and he choked.

Not all torture was sophisticated.

“You actually thought you could get someone out without us noticing.” Weasley prodded Draco’s broken rib with a scuffed boot. Draco focused on a bloodstain on the floor and absorbed the pain.

“But no one gets out,” Weasley continued. He leaned down and tugged on the rope at Draco’s back, the sudden lack of oxygen making Draco fight uselessly to inhale. “Do they, Hermione?”

Granger had an old-fashioned wooden clipboard in her hands, and she was making notes while clinically looking at Draco’s body. “Hmm?” she said, seeming distracted. She looked at Weasley and smiled. “No, Ron. No one gets out.” She made another note, and then another when Weasley’s boot came down hard on Draco’s back.

“That’s enough,” Potter said, not moving from his fucking throne. Though it was only a dining room chair pulled away from the table to face Draco, it was every bit a throne as the one upon which the Dark Lord himself had sat only years before.

“But, Harry,” Weasley whinged, rolling Draco onto his back, making his arms pull the rope tight so Draco had to flail just to breathe. He wheezed as Potter shook his head at his friend, and Weasley huffed and left.

“Hermione, go check on Lucius Malfoy and find out if Draco here actually managed to see him.”

Granger gave a curt nod and exited through another door, leaving Draco alone with Potter, who hunkered down beside him and pushed the dirty hair from Draco’s face.

“The potion is actually the best choice,” Potter said conversationally, shifting Draco so he was no longer choking. Potter’s finger brushed Draco’s split lip; he then looked at his fingertip, seeming entranced by the sight of the blood. Draco didn’t cringe when Potter smeared his blood over his lips, but he did tremble a little when Potter smiled brightly at the sight of it.

Even when Potter’s wand had been slashing before Draco in a bathroom a hundred years before, Draco’d never been as afraid as he was now at the sight of that smile.

“See,” Potter said, standing and hauling Draco to feet. Draco stumbled but caught himself. “Most people choose the spell. Sounds innocent, doesn’t it? It’s anything but. It’s actually a spell that signals a series of charms, which torture and maim over a number of days. Hermione’s creation, of course. She always was the smart one, though she doesn’t much like it when people choose the spell. She leaves the room. I don’t mind, though.”

Potter started directing Draco to the door Weasley had left through, and Draco reluctantly followed, his movements stunted thanks to his bondage.

“When people choose the curse, it’s because they know they’re not getting out. They’ve heard rumours, or worse, someone from our side let it slip. When it’s clear that that’s the case, we switch it up and Imperio them. Ron once told a man not to relieve his bowels. It took a surprisingly long time for him to die, and Ron didn’t exactly appreciate cleaning up the mess, but a lesson learned, eh?”

They passed a number of doors before Potter opened the last one on the right and indicated for Draco to enter first.

“The potion is a little more complicated. You’ll die, but it won’t hurt, and at least we’ll get to use your body parts. Agreeing to take the potion is as good as signing a waiver. Isn’t that funny? Everything we do here is legal, completely sanctioned. Results, you see. But we can’t desecrate your body without your permission. So in return for that, we let you go painlessly.”

“Why not just feed everyone the potion, if we’re so fucking useful?”

“Because that’s not choosing it, Draco.”

His name from Potter’s lips made his stomach lurch. Potter pushed him until he fell onto a sofa. Looking around him, Draco saw they were in some sort of sitting room. The furniture was frayed and damaged, the walls bleak and covered in grime. There was a not-faint-enough smell of cleaning solution and beneath that, the coppery stench of blood.

Potter sat down beside Draco, much too close for comfort—too close for anything but discomfort, really.

“When Ron said it was you who’d broken through the wards, I wasn’t surprised. I knew you’d come eventually, and you’ve never let me down. Not that I ever expected much from you.”

Draco hated this new, confident Potter. He'd never found himself frightened by him before—that was changing, and fast.

“But your father? I mean, come on. How predictable. Of all the Death Eaters we have here, him? He’s probably the only one who's officially wanted by the Ministry—out of all our… visitors, he’ll be the first to go. We’re just waiting for the go-ahead.”

“So you need permission to kill me, then?” A fire of hope flared and Draco tried to warm himself with it.

Potter laughed, and it actually sounded warm, like they were mates reminiscing over a good time. “No, see, you fucked yourself there. You broke in to my home—and by the way, welcome to Grimmauld Place. In doing so, I’m legally entitled to dispose of you. Of course, in order for that defence to really work, I needed to have done so immediately… but it’s not as though the Ministry’s going to be investigating me, is it? Or your death, for that matter. Despite all this—" Potter waved his hand around, seeming to mean the house, but Draco knew he meant the torture and murder. “—My word is still gold.”

“All right, I fucking get it, Potter. I was stupid. First of all, I didn’t bloody well know you, the Weasel, and the Mudblood ran an assassin squad with free rein from the Ministry—if I had…” But Draco didn’t finish. He’d suspected. They all had, the former Slytherins, the Death Eaters and their children.

“If you had,” Potter continued softly, “you would still try to save your father. I can respect that. I applaud it, even. Your efforts were wasted but your heart was in the right place.” Potter reached into his robes and produced a phial. Draco noted it wasn’t the same as the glittering black one Granger had given him, but it was obviously the one that would bring his death.

The fact that it would be painless was no solace.

Draco crumbled. “Potter, please, I won’t say anything. I’ll just leave. I won’t come back. Obliviate the shit out of me, make me forget I’m a wizard, for Merlin’s sake, just don’t—"

“Hush, now,” Potter said. His fingers were hot when they touched Draco’s cheek. “You’re better than that. Now be a good boy and open your mouth.” His voice was calm, encouraging.

Resenting himself for the tears that tracked down his cheeks and hating Potter for his ugly false compassion, Draco pulled himself up and opened his mouth.

The potion tasted horrible and there was a chunk of something very solid it in, but Draco gulped it all down, his saliva gathering to rid his mouth of the taste.

“Such a good boy,” Potter crooned. His hand was caressing Draco’s face, his thumb brushing away the tears.

Draco didn’t bother hating himself when he leaned into Potter’s touch, the last he’d ever know. No one could judge him for taking that much for himself in his last moments. He just wasn’t the type to die fighting.

- * - * -

Dying fucking sucked. First of all, he had horrible cramps in his legs and back, he could barely move, and he couldn’t see a thing. It was true that he hadn’t been the best person in his life, but surely he didn’t deserve an eternity of awkward discomfort.

Opening his eyes, which felt gritty enough to be constituted a beach, Draco took in his surroundings. How quaint—his afterlife consisted of a bloody dungeon. At least he could appreciate the irony.

“You must have been very sleepy,” came a voice from behind him.

Draco struggled to move, but there was a thick, heavy collar around his neck that was linked by a very short chain to a ring in the ground beneath him. His hands were bound behind his back and his legs were tucked beneath him, tied somehow so that he couldn’t straighten out.

He was beginning to consider the fact that he wasn’t dead, after all. Fucking Potter.

“What’s going on?” he rasped, his throat raw. He slowly turned his head to the other side, his spine protesting every agonising inch. He could see heavy black boots and denims, but nothing above that.

“I just had a little change of heart, Draco. It’s not unheard of. But I will be getting an earful from Hermione later on. Nothing I can’t handle, so don’t worry.”

Despite himself, Draco snorted. Like he gave a shit if Potter got bitched out by his Mudblood.

“How’d I get so lucky?” Draco said, imbuing the words with a sarcasm that didn’t quite befit his position. “Untie me, you prick.”

“Well, you got so lucky because I quite liked the tears in your eyes as you begged to live. Begged, Draco. Not so proud now, are we?”

Cringing in disgust at Potter's smugness and with himself at how little he’d fought, both mentally and physically, Draco rested his forehead on the cold stone floor, squeezing his eyes closed. Was he even glad that he wasn’t dead?

“Now, don’t go thinking I saved you… I know how your type can get your gratitude all mixed up. I didn’t do it because of the compassion in my heart or even because your arse looks so fucking tight.”

Draco gasped as that black boot travelled across the bottom of his foot and over his buttocks, prodding at the crevice and making Draco aware of his nudity for the first time.

“Why, then?” he croaked, trying to shift away.

“Because seeing you cry once wasn’t enough. I need more. It’s like a fucking drug. I felt high when those big, fat tears spilled from your scared eyes. I’m sorry to say you’ll wish I’d given you the potion from Hermione instead of the one from my own personal stash. But even a snake like you must be grateful for the chance to live, even if it’s not much of a life, right?”

Weak, his mind said. His weakness had sentenced him to unknown tortures at Potter’s wand. “What happened to you… Harry?” Draco asked, using the familiarity to hopefully spark some semblance of the old Potter. He ought to have known better.

Laughing to himself, Potter sat down on a chair. Draco could only see the bottom of it in his foetal position, but every chair was a throne to Potter. His legs were spread and he was slouching. One hand tapped his wand against his thigh. "What happens to anyone?" he asked rhetorically. He made a sweeping gesture with the wand, and Draco winced. "I was appointed to a position of power. I was given carte blanche. I brought my friends with me. Now… now we run it all."

"The Minister," Draco rasped, remembering an election the year before. They had been almost annual since the end of the war. Draco didn’t vote. They were almost all Mudbloods, anyway.

"The Minister's nothing but a sock puppet with a taste for my hand up his arse. But that's not what we're here to discuss, is it, Draco?"

He was quiet for long enough that Draco began to suspect he actually wanted a response. "No…?"

"No," Potter confirmed. "We're here to talk about you."

"Could you let me up? If I'm to be the subject of conversation, I should at least be in a position to be a part of it." It was a risk, he knew, but his entire body was throbbing and freezing and he could barely string together that request let alone whatever Potter had in mind.

"I'd love to be able to release you, but there's not a lot of trust between us." Potter's voice was musing, as if offering for Draco to suggest a solution.

"Keep my hands tied. Hell, tie me up in a different position. Just let me move."

Potter didn’t respond. After a moment, in one agonising flash of movement, the bonds all released and reformed, tying his hands in front of him and then lifting his arms over his head, hauling him to his feet. His bound hands secured themselves to the ceiling, and Draco had to stand on tiptoes to keep from dangling.

"Better?" There was laughter in Potter's voice.

"Much," Draco snapped. He couldn’t make up his mind as to which position was worse, but at least he could see Potter now, not that that relaxed him. Potter was the picture of lazy insouciance. His utter lack of fear of or concern for Draco made him gnash his teeth. There'd been a time that Potter's eyes had flashed with rage and wariness around him. Now his gaze was indulgent as it swept up Draco's nude form.

"Draco Malfoy," Potter said, standing and walking in a loose circle around him. "You've been informally charged with breaking and entering, attempted kidnapping, interference in Ministry affairs, conspiracy to commit treason, sedition, and assault against a Ministry Executioner."

"Assault? Executioner?" Draco's neck craned to see Potter as he continued to pace around him.

"You did manage to land a few blows on Ron, didn’t you?" Potter's voice took on a self-important but still somehow sarcastic tone. "Ronald Weasley, Executioner. It started as a joke, a placeholder title while they made a new department just for us. Hermione Granger, Jury."

"Harry Potter. Judge," Draco whispered, realisation dawning. It was too much power. The Minister had to be absolutely mad to not see what was happening.

"Catchy, isn't it?" Potter's hand touched Draco's shoulder, and he jerked away only to find himself swinging as his feet sought purchase. Potter steadied him and his hand trailed down Draco's back, his knuckles brushing almost tenderly over Draco's arse.

"So what do you want from me? I don't know anything, I don't have any money…" Draco cringed at the confession, but he needed to know exactly what Potter was looking for to better manipulate it. His plan to find his father had failed; his contingency plan for getting caught hadn’t really covered being bound naked before Harry Potter.

"Do you really think you have anything to offer?" Potter asked, standing before Draco again and crossing his arms over his chest. "Do you think there's anything you have that I can't get better from someone else?"

Though survival was at the foremost of Draco's mind, something about Potter had always set him off. "Everything about me is something you are lacking."

To Draco's shock, Potter laughed. "Well, you've given me a lot to think about. I'll see if you have anything more interesting to say in a few hours. Cheers."

Potter walked past him, and Draco arched to see behind himself, just in time to see Potter slip through a door. "Fuck," he moaned. He should have known that his petty insults were like a pocketknife to Potter's Killing Curse. He couldn’t get close enough to make a mark, but Potter could destroy him from any angle.

After a few moments alone, the lamps in the room slowly dimmed until he was ensconced in darkness. Being unable to focus on anything made keeping his balance more difficult, and he reeled back and forth, toes skipping along the stone floor.

In a moment of startling clarity, Draco realised that if he wanted to stay alive—and he did—he would have to do as Potter said. It would take a lot of effort, a lot of acting, but Draco was good at that. He'd had a lifetime of learning, after all.

And the man who'd taught him everything he knew about the art of mistruths and omissions was somewhere in the same building as Draco. Draco had been so close to finding him, he was sure. He'd only wanted to tell his father that Narcissa had passed away. Lucius deserved to know that much. Draco wouldn’t ever be able to forgive Lucius for dragging his family to hell alongside him, but the man was still his father and he had the right to mourn his wife.

Unable to believe that Narcissa had overdosed on sleeping potions purposefully, Draco maintained that the dosage had been wrong, poorly made, incorrectly measured. She was beside herself with anguish at losing her husband, at losing her home and her money to reparations. She'd had Draco, but… Draco was used to not being enough.

It seemed like hours had passed, and if Potter's parting words were to be believed, they had. Finally, though, Draco could hear the door open behind him.

"Harry would like to know if you've something to say to him." Granger's voice was high and clear. The stream of light from behind him told him that she was standing in the open doorway.

"Nothing," Draco croaked, even the simple movement of his lips parting and throat vibrating sending renewed waves of pain throughout his body. He'd thought himself numb, but he wasn’t that lucky.

Granger sighed. "He'll be disappointed to hear that."

"No!" Draco tried to swing around to face her. "I meant… I have nothing. Nothing to offer. Tell him that."

Instead of an answer, Draco heard the heavy door shut. To his staggering relief, the torches lit up and he was finally able to steady himself. However, he was also able to see the thin rivulets of blood on his arms from the shackles. If he scarred…

Draco shook his head. That type of thinking was ridiculous. He was in no position to threaten Potter with anything. He was completely at his mercy. If he scarred, then he'd be scarred. End of story.

Resigned, Draco studied the wall in front of him, trying to hold back tears of pain and impotence.

The door opened again and Draco knew right away it was Potter. There was something about the heavy, deliberate steps that gave him away.

"I knew you were a quick learner," Potter said, standing in front of Draco once again. There was a new bloodstain on his jeans, near the ankle. Draco blanched.

"Please," Draco said. As he shook his head, he realised those tears hadn’t been held back after all. His cheeks were cool and wet with them.

Potter took a step forward. Though Draco was taller and on tiptoe, there was something menacing about Potter's proximity. He exuded an ugly kind of power, less sophisticated than the Dark Lord's but more intense than Draco's own father's. Immediate.

"Please what?"

"Release me," Draco whispered, choking on a sob. "You can even put me with my father. Just don't… don't kill me."

"I already decided I wouldn’t do that." Potter's thumb brushed Draco's cheek, swiping a tear and rubbing it over Draco's bottom lip. "I've decided to keep you."

"Here? Keep me here?"

"Not in this very room," Potter said, chuckling. "But, yes. With me. As… my pet, I suppose."

Draco laughed. He immediately regretted it, but there was no taking it back. Luckily for him, Potter seemed just as amused. "You can't keep me here."

"I can," Potter contradicted, seeming unconcerned.

"People will notice I'm gone."

"And they'll say good riddance, won't they? I can just as easily keep you as kill you. It's not your choice, though. My mind's made up. Don't cause me any trouble. I've already had to deal with Hermione's rather vocal commentary on the matter, and I don't want to give her more cause for complaint."

Draco's eyes widened, astonished that he was being told not to make Potter's life more difficult as, in the same breath, Potter told him he'd be ruining Draco's.

Potter watched him flounder for a moment, his head tilted to the side and his green eyes sparkling. "I still have your father, you know. He is alive." Beneath the conversational tone, there was an undercurrent of menace.

Heeding it, Draco nodded, swallowing hard. "Will you let him go? If I promise to stay… to be good?"

"That sort of trade implies your consent, you know. Are you sure you can live with that?"

No, Draco mentally responded, his pride already demanding he stop begging for his life. If he said that, though, it wasn’t like Potter would let him go. At least this way, he could save his father, who still had time to beget another heir and further the Malfoy line. That was the only sort of loyalty Draco was familiar with.


Potter closed the space between them. His confidence was almost frightening to Draco, who'd never seen him so in control. It used to be something Draco could count on—being able to rile Potter up. Now nothing he said ruffled Potter's feathers, and that feeling of insignificance, of powerlessness, made him tense and uncertain.

A warm hand cupped Draco's pectoral muscle, Potter's thumb skirting over his peaked nipple. Draco hadn’t realised how cold he'd become without the comparison of warmth to remind him. He tried to rear away from the touch, but his arms felt ready to rip right from his body, and he didn’t want to lose his precarious balance.

"Even knowing all the things… the nasty, dirty, wrong things that I can—and will—do to you… Still, you'd agree to that trade?" Potter smiled and pinched Draco's nipple cruelly.

Gasping, Draco struggled not to yank himself away. Submission—that was what he wanted to portray. "Yes."

Potter's fingers released his tortured nipple and slid down his front. Draco's chest heaved. What kinds of tortures did Potter have in mind? He'd never been one for pain. He yelped when Potter's fingers encircled his flaccid cock. Green eyes, brighter than they should have been, never left his as Potter manipulated Draco, very patiently, into a state of semi-erectness.

"I don't like making deals," Potter said, his hand still stroking, working back the foreskin and thumbing the head until Draco unintentionally arched into the touch. "I don't like being beholden to anyone or feeling obligated to do anything. So I'm not going to take your deal."

Goddamn Potter! Draco cringed at his traitorous body. He'd given away his weakness—Lucius—and now Potter knew exactly how to get him to do as he said. Potter demonstrated his knowledge of that with his next words.

"So, I'll be keeping you with me. You'll serve and obey me. If you don't, I will punish you. If the transgression is unforgivable, I will kill Lucius Malfoy. Or I'll make you kill him. Whatever I choose to do, it will be horrible and it will destroy you. Do you accept these terms?"

"What happens if I refuse?" Draco said, forcing his voice to remain neutral even as his cock filled and throbbed.

Potter squeezed him brutally. "Neither of you will live."

It wasn't a bargain. It wasn’t a trade. It was simply… the only option. Draco wanted to live, of course he did—he wanted his father to live, as well. Lucius Malfoy might be twisted and cruel, but he was still and would always be the only father Draco had. He had to salvage that; there was nothing left.

Potter's hand began to pick up speed, wrist twisting at the top of his strokes, palm smoothing over the sensitive head of Draco's prick. It had been so long since anyone had touched him so intimately. Potter seemed to know exactly what Draco liked, what would bring the response he desired.

His climax pushed the boundaries of pleasure into pain, for with it came defeat. "No," he whimpered as his seed coated Potter's hand. Had it not been for Potter's grip on him, he would have swung in his bonds; as it was, Potter steadied him, crooning little calming sounds and telling Draco how good he was.

Draco just wanted to cry. He'd done that in front of Potter before, though, and look what it had gotten him—Potter had said he'd wanted to see Draco cry again and again. Damned if he was going to please Potter in that way. With a shaking breath, Draco gathered his little remaining strength and glared at Potter. Naked and spent, sweating and straining, it held little power.

Potter chuckled and wiped his hand on Draco's stomach. He cast a cleansing spell on himself before standing back to admire his handiwork. Draco tried to maintain the glare, but after having handed his life over, there was hardly anything to fight with.

"I hope you don't lose that fight, Draco," Potter said, grinning. Draco's name in his mouth sounded like an abomination. How could someone touted as a hero end up so heartless?

"Count on it," Draco growled with a ferocity he didn’t feel.

Instead of answering, Potter circled him, a hand trailing over what he undoubtedly considered his new property. Draco shuddered. After a moment, Potter left him alone again, and only then did Draco allow the darkness to consume him. Only then did he cry.

- * - * -

It was Granger who came to let Draco down from the chains. By then, his body was nothing more than one large pain receptor. Even an inch of movement sent waves of pain so intense that blacking out became a regular thing.

"It wasn’t always like this," Granger said, casting a spell to carry Draco over to an icy steel bench.

The relief from being bound alleviated with the pain of being freed. "What?" he asked, his voice a rasping whisper. He forced himself not to flinch away as her wand came out; she simply eased his brutalised muscles.

"Harry. Me. Ron. After the war…" She trailed off, and Draco could see why. After the war. Words spoken by everyone in the months following the Dark Lord's defeat. The masses had expected a better way, a better leader. Someone to look up to. The new Dumbledore.

What they'd gotten was something quite different.

"You've all lost your minds." Draco glared as best he could, but he was so tired that his eyes fell closed. When Granger spoke again, he forced them open. Knowledge, as he well knew, was power.

"No, we haven’t. Not at all. I know you can't see it from where you're standing, but this is the only way. Four years, four Ministers. Four years, four deaths. Two assassinations, one suicide, and one highly suspect accidental death. Death Eater sympathisers and vigilantes encouraged unrest and almost created chaos. No one will even run for Minister anymore. We'd been without a Minister for months when we were appointed to our new roles. Harry is, even now that we have a Minister, the highest governing body. Only unanimity from the Wizengamot could stop him, and why would they want to? He's doing what the previous leaders were too weak or too corrupted to do."

"It's too much power for one person, especially a maniac like Potter." Draco hadn’t known about the Ministers. No one had, he was guessing. He'd simply assumed they hadn’t been able to handle the pressure and had resigned early. He saw now how naïve that was—just because the war was over didn’t mean the bad guys were all gone. He was still alive, after all. Just because he had no political ambitions didn’t mean others felt the same way.

Granger's face became hard. She got down on her haunches beside Draco's sprawled form over the bench, and he instinctively stiffened. She was almost as powerful as Harry, both in magic and in position.

"Harry's done more for the wizarding world in the year since his appointment than any Minister has in decades, and certainly more than his predecessors since the war ended." Her voice was cold and cutting, her eyes narrowed, merciless as they bore into Draco's.

Coughing weakly, Draco closed his eyes. "You'll forgive me if I disagree with that sentiment. Potter is imprisoning, torturing, and killing Death Eaters in his own home. I don't care how much power he has, how much sanction; it's not right."

Granger tilted her head to the side, studying Draco as if he were a curious Arithmancy problem. "It's right if he says it is."

Draco gaped. "You can't believe that!" How could Granger justify the killing of Death Eaters when the murder of Muggle-borns had been what started the war in the first place? Didn’t she see the hypocrisy?

"I believe in Harry." She straightened, her demeanour becoming professional and detached once more. "I didn't come here to talk politics with you, Malfoy. I wanted to tell you that if you try to escape or hurt Harry in any way, you will die. There is no maybe about it. Don't get any ideas. Harry has the loyalty of this very house. You'd be wise not to underestimate him."

Draco doubted that would happen. Potter had clearly gone off the deep end and Draco didn’t fancy getting dragged along on the undertow. "Thanks for the warning. What do you recommend, then?" It irked him to ask, but Granger could be an ally, and Draco needed as much help as he could get if he meant to survive—and he did.

Seeming to realise he wasn’t being sarcastic, she said, "Do as he says. Don't make him angry. Don't make demands." Granger stood and brushed invisible lint from the front of her Muggle-cut business suit. "Come on, then," she snapped.

Struggling to his feet, Draco tried to ignore the ache in his shoulders, back, thighs, calves, arms… everywhere. Aware of but unable to do anything about his nudity, he followed her as she strode from the room, leading him down the hall and then up a flight of stairs. Draco very vaguely recognised the house from the few times he'd visited in his youth. Back then, it had been dark, dreary, and oppressing. The same atmosphere remained, but the décor had been altered significantly in places. It varied between too bright, a forced sort of cheerful, and the warped darkness he remembered. The ceiling, though, was a glaring white; Draco had to look down.

Granger opened a door, using a wordless spell and complicated wand movements. She stood by, obviously intending for Draco to enter the room. A flare of hatred burned his insides as he thought that if things had gone the way he'd expected, she'd have been the one deferring to him.

Walking into the room, he paused and spat at her, a white glob hitting the pristine fold of her single-breasted suit jacket.

"That was a mistake," she said lightly, spelling the mess away. "Guess who's in charge of feeding the prisoners?"

She must not have expected a response because she slammed the door shut in his snarling face. The wards were tangible as she locked him in. The clicking of her heels denoted her distance and it wasn’t until there was silence that he relaxed and looked around, not bringing himself to think about her threat and the foolishness of his lame rebellion.

The room was like any other room, totally unremarkable. It looked like a guest room, or better still, a mid-range hotel room—not that he had any experience with anything less than perfectly posh. The bed had an unimpressive wooden headboard, the dresser's knobs were crass—brass—the window was obviously spelled and gave the room the false kind of light that would give him a headache in minutes.

He thought he should probably spend some time exploring the room, checking for exits, flaws, ways out. There had to be something he could exploit. He was so tired, however, that he found himself sitting back on the bed. It wouldn't hurt, he figured, to pull back the covers. After all, he was here to stay, if Potter could be believed.

Why was Potter keeping him? Just to humiliate him, to grind him into the dirt? How could he get to see his father? Would anyone come looking for him?

Draco scoffed at the last question. Of course not. Who would? Who would even try, against the triumvirate of unlimited power? As far as the wizarding world knew, Potter, Granger, and Weasley were only doing good. And he, a Malfoy and a former Death Eater, was the enemy. In their eyes, any punishment bestowed was deserved.

Was he a villain just because Potter said so? Who was he if no one even knew he existed except for Potter?

Exhausted, Draco closed his eyes against his, as predicted, burgeoning headache. He hoped Granger hadn’t been serious about her threat to not feed him. He was hungry already.

- * - * -

That night, Potter came.

Draco noticed the shift in his room's atmosphere right away, though the spelled window was dark and he couldn’t see a thing. Potter was like a physical force pressing against him rather than a form standing in the doorway.

"What now?" he asked, clearing his throat. The thoughts of what Potter had meant when he'd said Draco was to 'serve and obey' him had played through his sleeping mind. Images of himself in a French maid uniform dusting the bookshelves mingled with more horrific thoughts of him bound and gagged and at Potter's mercy.

"Now we see what you're worth to me," Potter said. A shine of white in the dark marked his grin. Draco shuddered.

Abrupt coolness reminded him that he had absolutely no clothing to his name. The sheets would have maintained his modesty if he'd had a mind to grip them. Now they were on the floor and he was bared more completely than ever. There was something so much more vulnerable about being naked on a bed than being naked and bound.

"Lie back." Potter climbed onto the bed. Draco could only see his outline, but he waved his wand and the lamps burnt softly, illuminating Potter. "Lovely," Potter said, his eyes raking Draco's flushing form.

"Fuck off," he snapped, drawing his knees up to hide himself.

"Now, now," Potter tutted, laying a warm hand on Draco's twitching calf. "Be good or Daddy gets it." Chuckling, Potter pressed at Draco's knees until he lowered them, legs stretched before him.

The threat had been expected, but it still made Draco's blood turn to steel. Granger could defend Potter all she liked, but there was no way she could justify his current actions.

"What do you want?" Draco asked, hearing and hating the resignation in his voice. He put his hands in his lap to cover his groin, but he still felt bared to Potter's penetrating stare.

"What are you willing to give?" Potter's fingers drew circles on Draco's kneecap, causing him to twitch, but he fought the urge to yank himself away entirely.

"Nothing," he spat. Unwisely, he knew, but fuck if there wasn’t still something about Potter than drove him absolutely mad in the worst way.

"Too bad," Potter said in a singsong voice. Cruel fingers pinched the skin of Draco's inner thigh, holding the grip even as Draco twisted and gasped. "So sensitive. Just from a pinch, too. I don't think you fully comprehend your situation. I will maim you if you don't obey me. Do you think I give a shit whether you can walk or see or have the use of your hands?"

As Draco settled, the intensity of the pinch lessened. "Please," he whispered, frightened. "Just tell me what to do."

"That's better," Potter soothed. His fingers now caressed the vivid purple bruise on Draco's tender skin. "Go ahead and lie back for me."

With a stomach tense enough to set him to vomiting at the slightest incentive, Draco reclined until he was on his back, staring up at the ceiling. Too, too white.

When Potter's hand encouraged his legs open, Draco whimpered. He'd known from early on that Potter's intentions with him were… of that sort. He wasn’t entirely unfamiliar with this sort of torture or punishment from what he'd been exposed to while under the Dark Lord's abbreviated reign, but he'd never imagined himself of the receiving end of it.

"Shhh, s'okay." Potter's handed were soothing, and Draco hated them. Hated his hands, his face, his eyes… himself.

Potter shifted to kneel between Draco's parted legs, and he automatically tried to shut them, but they just closed against Potter's solid thighs, so he jerked them open again to avoid the contact. His hands clenched the sheets in ineffective frustration.

If ever he'd been told this fate would await him, he'd have scoffed and sneered. A Malfoy would always fight, a Malfoy would always come out on top. Yet, here he was, allowing Potter to violate him in this intimate way. He'd never realised how precise and effective threats could be. Threats against his father and against his own person. What was pride in the face of blindness? What was dignity if his father died for it?

"Damn you," he whispered as Potter's abnormally warm hand began to manipulate his flaccid cock. He clenched his eyes against the casual cruelty. He'd always been extremely sensitive, easy to arouse and even easier to bring off. It'd been brilliant as an adolescent because a wank had been a two-minute effort. As he'd become sexually active, he'd had to actively learn to contain himself, and he'd taken great strides to that end, but this… this was unplanned for. His body was his greatest betrayer.

"Well, this is interesting…" Potter smirked at him, his fingers teasing the already-dripping head of Draco's swollen cock. He eased the foreskin down to reveal a shining crown, which he tapped, making Draco jerk and groan.

Turning his head to the side, facing the pretend window, Draco imagined that maybe the window was real and he was fake, this room, Potter, everything was just spelled. The window was real.

Potter's flirtations with his prick ended and he began his seduction in earnest. One hand stroked his precome-slicked shaft while the other coaxed one of Draco's legs up to rest on Potter's shoulder. The urge to bring his leg back and kick Potter right in his sneering face was almost overwhelming but he tamped it down. Even if Draco managed to somehow kill Potter, the Jury and the Executioner would see to his demise, not to mention that of his father.

"Just give up already," Potter encouraged. For a moment, he sounded almost human, almost normal. His fingers teased Draco's hole, and Draco could feel his cock throb in time to those horrible caresses.

After spitting on his fingers, Potter pressed them inside Draco. Unused to such treatment, Draco arched up off the bed. That drove his cock right into Potter's tight fist and before he could stop himself, he was repeating the motion, thrusting into Potter's grip and pressing back down against his fingers.

After only a few moments of this, however, he forced himself to stop, shame lighting him ablaze. With a cry of desperate frustration, he covered his face with his hands and sobbed, a dry wrenching sound, tearless but painful in its power.

"Yes, yes," Potter chanted, hands rising and squeezing and pummelling and twisting, hitting that spot inside, the place that made Draco weak as if his body hadn’t already humiliated him enough.

With silent defeat, Draco came. It flew like concertino wire through his veins. His only consolation was that he'd gotten some on Potter's stupid Muggle jeans, but even that was stolen from him when, with a wave of his wand, the mess was gone. From Potter, that was; Draco's chest was still shining with his own release.

Draco's heart raced and he was panting as Potter almost tenderly lowered his leg back onto the bed. He patted Draco's hip before sliding off the bed. Draco almost—almost—asked whether Potter wasn’t going to actually do something for his own pleasure; this was twice he'd made Draco come, both times sporting an erection of his own and doing nothing about it.

"See you tomorrow, Draco," Potter said with a smile. Draco watched through fogged eyes as he slipped from the room. He felt the wards fall. A moment later, the lamps dimmed and darkened.

Wiping his chest off with a corner of the sheet, Draco thought about what he could do to get away. He came up with nothing. It was his own fault, he realised, for charging in like a Gryffindor. He should have waited longer, planned harder, or better yet, given up on his father. He'd done neither of them any good by getting himself captured.

Draco had felt hopeless before. He'd vowed to himself, after he'd made it through alive, that he'd never put himself in that position again. It should have been Potter under his control. He certainly wouldn’t have been doling out hand jobs, that was certain.

What was Potter's game?

And how could Draco win it?

- * - * -

It took Potter a whole three days to become bored of visiting Draco's room. He had told Draco as much, and Draco was sure he hadn’t been able to keep the glee from his face. He was wrung out—and not just from the orgasms Potter insisted on stealing from him sometimes up to three times a day. No, his emotions were a fathomless jumble that he dared not examine, and he longed for nothing more than some real privacy.

Unfortunately, he'd misread Potter's intentions. Later that day, Granger had come and led him to a new, larger bedroom, much more to his taste in décor and expense, despite the predominate red. He'd made his way to the bed, but Granger had cleared her throat in that impossibly annoying way of hers and when he'd turned to look, she was pointing to a pallet on the floor. There was one thin pillow and a sheet atop it. It wasn’t fit for a Krup, let alone a Malfoy.

"What the fuck is that," he said in a low voice, feeling dangerous for the first time since he'd been captured.

"That's your bed." There was no delight in her voice, no triumph. She looked tired, really, and very much like she didn’t want to be there.

"I prefer my old one, thanks." To that, he'd prefer sleeping in the streets, if only for what the pallet implied. Animal. Pet. And to heighten that impression, there was a steel ring in the floor next to the makeshift bed, and Draco just knew his collar—his fucking collar—would be attached to it.

Granger shrugged. "Not your choice."

Desperate, Draco tried a new tack. "You must know that Potter's gone completely off the deep end. You and I… we can bring him back. Get him some bloody therapy or something. He's a danger to society, Granger!"

"He's done more good for society than you could ever claim for yourself or anyone you know." Despite her words, she looked uncertain, like she was convincing herself as much as him.

Draco decided to push it. "Maybe so, but whatever good he's done is being cancelled out by this. "

Immediately, her features began to close down, and Draco recognised his mistake. She wasn’t disturbed by his plight, personally, but more of what Potter could become and the problems that would cause for the world at large. Shifting gears again, Draco said, "Today it's me, but what happens in the future when someone does something he doesn’t like? What happens when the wizarding world, or even the Ministry, rises up against him? You know it's only a matter of time before people realise his rule is hardly different from the one he supposedly saved them from!"

In an instant, Granger was in front of him, the business end of her wand making acquaintance with his nose, which twitched in response even if he didn’t allow himself to back down.

"If you think you have a friend in me, Draco Malfoy, you're dead wrong. I don't forget that easily. You'd have killed me if given licence to; don't think I won't return the favour if you force my hand. No matter what you think you know, Harry is still the best chance the world has." Granger's features twisted like she was trying to hold back but she was too upset to censor herself. "Just because you always… I don't know, warp his mind somehow, doesn’t mean it extends to everyone else. Don't you see? You're the problem!"

Draco laughed mirthlessly. He gestured at the pallet—she couldn’t blame him for that. "You know what they say the triumph of evil is, don't you?" Draco certainly did, firsthand.

When good men do nothing.

By the expression on her face, Granger understood the reference. Still, she was implacable. "Sit on the pallet. I'm supposed to bind you to it."

Defeated but not letting it show, Draco sat. Links of chain shot from the tip of her wand and connected him to the ring. The spell, he knew, was unbreakable by non-magical means. He'd seen it pin Muggles to the walls of his family dungeons. Never once had he imagined himself in their position.

When Potter returned later that night, his eyes fell on Draco and his grin grew wide enough that it hurt Draco's own cheeks in sympathy.

"Look at you," he cooed, crossing his arms over his chest and jutting one hip out. "Suits you."

Wanting nothing more than to spit expletives, Draco only glared.

"Aw, does my pet not want to purr tonight?" As if approaching a wounded animal instead of a man with wounded pride, Potter hunkered down beside the pallet and caressed Draco's thigh. Potter had taken to dressing him in thin, formfitting linen clothing—Draco was never warm nor entirely comfortable and he knew Potter was aware of it. The heat of his hand almost burned and yet Draco couldn’t help but enjoy it; the warmth was rare but relished. That it had to come from Potter was unfortunate but he had no choice.

His problem with Granger had been that he'd said too much. He would see how the opposite worked with Potter. Maybe he could work him into such a rage that he beat him. Draco didn’t like the thought of pain, but anything—and he truly believed that—was better than the pleasure Potter forced on him in lieu of true punishment. Was it all some sort of greater plan? Did he know he was slowly breaking Draco down by turning him into nothing more than the response to his ministrations? Could Potter possibly be that clever?

Potter's fingertips brushed over his cock. His response to the stimulation was immediate—he'd been trained, and in such a short time, to react to Potter's touches. He told himself that it wasn’t really his fault, and he almost believed himself, too. It would have been easier to swallow if Potter's knowing smirk wasn't imprinted on the backs of his eyelids.

"Take off your clothes," Potter said, voice low and demanding. He spoke like no one had disagreed with him in years, and for all Draco knew, that was true.

Draco fought with himself as he always did. He suspected that Potter was thrilled at his turmoil, writ across his face for all to see as it was. What would happen if he refused? His father would be in danger. Would Lucius rather let himself be tortured than his only son and heir become the pet of the man who'd defeated his Lord? If he went along with it, what would that make him, besides a whore? How long could he keep Potter's interest and what would become of him when he inevitably lost it?

What did Potter want from him? Submission? A fight? His complete and unparalleled brokenness?

Maybe only moments passed, but it seemed a decade had gone by when Draco finally obeyed the instructions. He peeled the thin linen shirt from his chest, feeling no colder in lacking it. Potter's eyes were greedy and heavy on his thin frame. Draco shuddered. Removing the trousers, he bared himself.

He couldn’t give of himself without expecting something in return. It was against his nature, against the very core of him, what made him a Malfoy. He'd let Potter take his pleasure in stealing Draco's own, but this time he'd ask for something in return. If there was anything of the old, Gryffindor, fair-play Potter in there, he'd feel obliged.

"I want you to touch yourself." Potter's eyes glinted like flint trying to catch a spark. His glasses, instead of hiding his gaze, intensified it—so strong it had to be kept behind glass.

"How?" he whispered, mindful of what he'd demand from Potter in return. If he pleased Potter, if he did exactly as he said…

He'd lose himself. Draco knew that. Risks had to be taken, though, and there was no one there to do it but him.

"Like how you'd do it if you were at home. Or maybe in the Slytherin dorm room, hidden behind the curtains, a weak Silencing Spell up to maintain what little modesty you could claim."

Draco's lip twitched at the accurate rendition of his school days. There had been times he hadn't Silenced the act at all—he liked the way Blaise would stare at him afterward, full of hot promise; the way Theo would blush and look anywhere but at his eyes. There had been, he realised now, a touch of exhibitionism in his bold actions. That was all but demolished now; having it forced upon him changed it into something ugly and wrong.

His hand worked his slowly filling cock. He let his eyes fall shut to bring to mind the countless mental images he'd relied on for quick release. Instead, all he could see was himself in chains, his cock in Potter's hand.

"Lift your leg up," Potter instructed, his voice almost soft enough to not intrude on Draco's imaginings at all. His hand guided Draco's knee up and then slid over the expanse of skin, tickling the light blond hairs that disappeared as his thigh joined his body.

Concentrating on himself, Draco flicked his thumb over the head of his cock, scooping the precome and spreading it down the underside of his shaft, over the pulsating vein, his fingers picking up speed as they reacted to his increasing need.

Potter explored him for a few moments, and Draco focused on his own touch, ignoring that foreign hand and its presumption. He couldn’t ignore, however, when Potter's finger pressed rudely over the slit of his cockhead, fingernail dipping in. Draco's eyes clenched even tighter when Potter chuckled at the stream of precome that slithered out after his action. Gathering Draco's unwilling offering, his fingers searched out Draco's hidden hole.

"Open up wider." Potter pressed at his thigh, encouraging him to spread his legs.

Draco did, biting off a whimper when Potter's finger found him. At first he only teased the rim, pressing into the wrinkled flesh and seeming to soothe it as Draco's hand began to fairly fly over his cock.

"Easy," Potter whispered, and his finger slid inside.

Draco wasn’t inexperienced, but it had been a while and he certainly wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of things. He tried to block out both the ignoble noises he was making and the encouraging sounds from Potter. He had to wonder if Potter actually believed what he was doing was anything other than rape, but he certainly wasn’t in the position—physically or otherwise—to bring it up.

After a steady and unrelenting massaging of Draco's prostate, Potter made it harder to hold off. Draco just wanted to be finished, anyway, but his position was tenuous and he wanted to make sure he got what he wanted in return, so he tried to wait until Potter actually told him to come. He'd never been one for self-restraint, however, and soon cried out as his climax roared through him, his body clamping down around Potter's demanding fingers, come spilling onto his own chest.

Potter's hand withdrew and he cast cleansing spells on himself and on Draco. With tender movements, Potter helped Draco back into his trousers, caressing every inch of available skin as he did so.

"Does my father know I'm here?" Draco asked. He tried not to look too interested, but Potter always had that uncanny ability to see right through him.

"Why do you want to know?"

Draco sighed. "I just want to know if he knows what's become of me."

Potter was silent for a long moment as he studied Draco's face. Where had this confidence come from, Draco had to wonder yet again. He'd always seen Potter as rather foolish and bumbling, but there was almost none of that in the new Potter. Was there anything left of the schoolboy at all?

"He wasn’t told. There would be no reason for it. Do you want him to know?"

Shaking his head, Draco said in a very small voice, "No."

"Well, make sure to keep me happy and he'll stay ignorant." Potter ran his palm up Draco’s chest and behind his neck, looking pleased with Draco's collar.

Potter rose after checking that the length of chain binding Draco was intact. He settled into the massive bed that Draco wished was his own. After a moment, the lights dimmed, and soon thereafter, Potter was snoring the snores of one without the burden of guilt.

Draco's plan had failed. Yes, he'd found out that his father hadn’t been subjected to the knowledge of what Draco had become, but in the meantime, he'd given Potter still more ammunition against him. How was he ever going to make it through this? Was there even any hope in trying?

- * - * -

In hindsight, Draco mused as he turned restlessly, unable to sleep on his back due to the lashes or his front because of the bruises, pissing off Potter had not been the best idea.

He'd woken up that morning with… not a plan, but an idea, a concept, a picture of a rebellion that would free him. From the moment he'd been unclipped from the ring in the floor to use the loo to only about twenty minutes ago, Draco had tried to get away.

The first time, he'd made it as far as the foyer. Potter had been too stunned to stop him as he'd shot past him, through the half-open door of the bedroom and down the hall. He was familiar enough with the house, both from his childhood and from his weeks inside it, and he made it to the front door falling only once. With his hands bound in front of him, he'd taken a corner too quickly and he'd gone down hard. He'd rallied, though, and made up for lost time by taking massive strides.

He hadn’t really, in retrospect, expected the front door to open, though Potter said, later, that it would have. It hadn’t been spelled, he'd said. Draco wasn’t sure if he believed him, but he certainly didn’t believe Potter above just that sort of mindfuck. Now, Potter had assured, the door would always be both spelled closed and physically locked.

That didn’t stop Draco. There were other ways out of the house. He'd broken a window in the bathroom when Potter left him alone for a few minutes—but he hadn’t been able to haul himself up high enough and the broken glass had lacerated his palms.

He'd also made a break for the dungeon. Not necessarily to see his father, just to try to find another way. Malfoy Manor was full of secret pathways, underground escapes, trap doors—Grimmauld Place would be the same. Or so he'd hoped.

Not only had he tried to escape, he'd disobeyed in more ways than he could count, though Potter claimed he had counted, for Draco now had a gash on his back from every single one. If the pain was any indication, he must have broken at least a hundred rules. Potter had made him count them out, however, and he knew there were twenty-three. And a half—because Draco had almost spat in Potter's face, but he'd redirected it at the last second after seeing the flare of fury in those eyes.

Draco groaned. There'd be no sleep for him for days. The bruises were his own fault; he'd struggled against the whip so much that the cross holding him had battered his naked body. Every time the whip bit into his delicate and unmarred flesh, he'd been unable to stop himself from slamming forward to escape the agony. It hadn’t worked once. Potter was merciless and he should have known that.

Granger had looked on with distaste as she lectured Potter not to draw blood. Potter hadn’t listened, but Draco was sure the blows had softened after her critique. Weasley had jeered and taunted him but eventually left the room, bored once he realised Potter wasn’t going to escalate to more extreme measures.

Worse than the punishment, if that were somehow possible, was what had happened after. Granger had made a note on her clipboard and told Potter that he'd need a potion to keep the wounds from becoming infected. After she'd left, Draco felt like his last vestige of hope had been torn from him. If he'd ever been told that he'd count on Granger for anything at all, he'd have scoffed and scorned.

Potter had turned him so his marked back was against the cross. He'd sucked Draco's limp dick into his mouth and sucked for nearly half an hour until Draco was too weak and too flooded with endorphins to fight back. His orgasm was almost as painful as another lash from the whip, and Potter had smiled, uncaring that he had come on his lower lip.

Potter had licked it off as Draco watched, stomach churning. Potter had Draco's come inside him. Potter had just grinned.

Never once had Draco seen Potter climax. It was always, always Draco.

Now that it was over and Draco was in exhausted agony, he knew his lesson had been learnt. It was embarrassing. He should have welcomed the pain, embraced it and turned it into rage, into power—something to recall when he needed that passion to fight back. Despite knowing that, Draco had been broken. He wouldn’t try to get away again. It wasn’t worth it. The chance that he'd be able to get out before getting caught just wasn’t high enough. Draco wouldn’t play those odds, not when the stakes were so high.

Moaning, Draco shifted again. He was ready to cry from frustration. It had to be nearly morning—he'd lain awake all night, the pain too sharp to sleep through.

"Malfoy, cut it out," groaned a sleepy voice.

Draco opened his mouth to spit vitriol, but he just as quickly shut it. He had no power. He wouldn’t be able to goad Potter into doing what he wanted. He had to play the only hand he had: that, for some indiscernible reason, Potter wanted him.

"I'm sorry," he said, sneering but not letting that taint his words.

There was silence, thick enough to suffocate him; Draco wished it would. Maybe then he'd get some sleep.

"What's wrong?" Potter's voice was suspicious. Draco told himself not to lay it on too thick.

"What do you think?" he said, but instead of snapping, he let his tiredness show. "It hurts too much to sleep."

"Nothing more than you deserve," came Potter's sardonic reply. He sounded wholly unconcerned.

Draco didn’t say anything. It would be too much to agree; Potter wouldn't fall for a turn-around that rapid. It would be too like his old self to argue. He wanted Potter to think he'd learnt his lesson. He wanted Potter to trust him.

"I'll try to sleep," he said instead, quiet enough that Potter would have to strain to hear.

The room was silent for long enough that Draco was certain Potter'd fallen back asleep, the prick. Here he was, aching and throbbing, his body feeling twice its normal size from swelling, and Potter was dreaming away—probably about him and his next humiliation.

When he heard movement, he instinctively curled inward—the dark and not being able to know where Potter was unnerved him. It occurred to him, for possibly the thousandth time, that he was absolutely helpless. Bound to the floor, nearly naked, vulnerable… at the mercy of someone without any.

The bathroom light went on and Draco arched to see what was happening, but the movement caused fissures of pain, and he stiffened, breathing through his mouth to combat the near-overwhelming sensation.

Potter knelt beside the pallet, a potion phial in his hand. "Onto your front," he said brusquely, his spectacles-free face oddly revealing.

With some trepidation, though half of the mind that Potter couldn’t really do any worse and if he decided to, there was nothing Draco could do anyway, he turned as directed, slow enough that he was sure Potter would bark at him to hurry up.

He didn’t, though. When Draco settled, he heard Potter open the phial. There was no warning before an icy stream hit the largest gash. Draco cried out, jerking, but Potter's hand pressed on his lower back until the urge to move away faded. It wasn’t painful, but it had surprised him. The coolness turned to warmth and then heat, flaring before dying. The pain that had emanated from that one wound faded.

Potter repeated the action on the worst of the abrasions until the pain was mostly in his muscles and just on the surface of his skin.

Genuinely grateful even though he knew that Potter had inflicted the pain in the first place, Draco said, "Thank you." The relief was impossible to overlook.

Potter sighed and gave a gruff, "You're welcome."

Draco expected him to return to his bed so they could both get to sleep, but he remained on his knees, lit by the scant bathroom light. The tips of his black hair glowed softly, and one eye was bright in the darkness.

Every time Potter had looked at him like that—hell, almost every time the two were in the same room together—Potter expected sex. Or rather, Potter demanded that Draco be available for sex. Stiffly, Draco sat up and turned over so he was sitting. With careful hands, he shucked the linen trousers and sat back, his arms braced behind him. His cock knew what to expect and was already filling in anticipation, the traitorous thing.

After a moment, Potter's hand touched down on his side, so light that Draco twitched and had to fight not to squirm away. Potter met his eyes, seeming amused. It was the first time Draco hadn’t felt like that knowing smirk wanted to hurt him. It was almost like… they were sharing something. Draco let his legs fall open.

Potter's touch grew firmer as it skimmed over his belly, avoiding his groin and continuing down his leg, over his toes, and up the other leg. A groan escaped Draco and it seemed to startle them both.

Over Draco's hip, Potter's hand clamped down before releasing and drawing back. To Draco's inordinate and foolishly disappointed surprise, Potter rose, turned off the light in the bathroom, and returned to his own bed.

Despite the respite from pain, Draco remained awake for a long time. Potter's snoring didn’t start up again for almost an hour.

- * - * -

Only once in the ensuing month did Potter take him to see his father.

He made Draco remain under his Invisibility Cloak, and for that, Draco would always be thankful, though he'd never voice it. He didn’t want his father to see what he'd become, what Potter'd made him into with almost no effort.

He wore a collar and not a leash.

Free rein in Grimmauld Place was given to him as long as one of the trio was with him. It was almost always Potter. Strangely enough, Potter did a lot of paperwork. He saw a lot of other people, too—when he did, Weasley or Granger would watch Draco, or Potter would return him to their bedroom and hook the chain to his collar. Draco would use the time to read one of the many books Potter had taken to bringing him—from Granger, he'd said, but when he'd mentioned to her that he'd already read all of Jigger's work, Granger had given him a blank stare and a sarcastic congratulation.

Beneath the cloak, Draco was the warmest he'd been outside of his pallet. The light linen clothing he was forced to wear kept him in a perpetual state of not-warm-enough; they were flimsy enough to make him feel naked all the time. In contrast, the cloak lent him a feeling of modesty that he loved.

Potter had him by the wrist the entire time, but the grip wasn’t hard enough to hurt or even contain, only to guide. For a moment, Draco considering running off and hiding… but he had to see his father. If Potter was concerned about what Draco's father would think of the fact that Potter appeared to have no left hand, he didn’t appear to care.

"Malfoy!" Potter snapped once they'd descended into the depths of the rather impressive dungeon.

Draco started and almost answered, but the amused look Potter shot him made him realise the shout wasn’t for him.

Stomach roiling, Draco watched as his father came to the front of one of the dreary, damp cells. With Potter's hand tight on his wrist, Draco brought them both closer until Potter's squeeze indicated it was far enough.

The wards around the cell tingled and flicked at his skin as if irritated by his presence. Draco stared in horror as the formerly proud, aristocratic Lord of Malfoy Manor stood on thin, weak legs. His glare was the only thing about him not diminished.

"How are you liking the accommodations?" Potter asked, affecting geniality.

"I've had better." Lucius' stare didn’t waver, but neither did Potter's. For a long moment, the men's eyes met and clashed—Potter was calm and collected, the corner of his mouth lifted in a smirk. Lucius, filthy and starved as he obviously was, couldn’t maintain the battle of wills. With a sigh that Draco himself would have been scolded for in his youth, Lucius Malfoy sat heavily on a pallet not unlike Draco's own, his eyes on the ground before him.

"What do you want?" he asked finally when Potter didn’t speak.

"What, I can't visit my favourite prisoner?"

Lucius snarled and Draco almost took a step back at its ferocity. "Once the rest of the wizarding world finds out about what you're doing here—"

"Didn’t you hear, Lucius?" Potter interrupted easily, shocking Draco with the use of his father's first name. "The wizarding world loves the new order. Death Eaters off the streets? Criminals given zero tolerance? I'm more of a hero now than I've ever been."

Only because Draco had spent so much time around Potter lately did he notice the underlying bitterness in that last comment. Interesting.

"No society can maintain itself under that type of martial law."

"You must not know your history," Potter challenged. "Especially wizarding history. We're doing just fine. No one cares about you. No one even remembers. No one's asked about the poor ickle Death Eaters and their nonexistent rights. People are thrilled to be rid of you, to not have to look at you or think about you. Who did you think would care?"

Lucius was obviously struggling with himself. Draco recognised the rage in his features, not as well hidden as it would have been under different circumstances—circumstances in which he'd be in control.

"My son," Lucius said at length.

"Yes," Potter agreed, nodding. "Draco Malfoy. Unfortunately, he's not in a position to do anything about it."

Draco's blood turned to ice. Potter was about to give him away—he'd promised! Or he'd at least said he wouldn’t tell Lucius about him as long as he was good. Hadn't he been good?

"What is that supposed to mean?" Lucius bit out. His eyes were narrowed but it was easy to see the fear in them.

"Just that Draco's lucky we haven’t caught him yet, and even though he's technically free, he's not exactly going to go around petitioning for reform, now, is he?"

Draco let out a whoosh of breath that he hoped got caught up in the cloak and didn’t reach Lucius' ears. He looked at Potter—his lips were quirked in a half-smile and Draco knew it wasn’t for Lucius. Potter had kept his secret.

The look of relief on his father's face was almost enough to bring Draco to his knees. The silence stretched for so long that Draco wondered if they were finished, but it seemed Potter was actually waiting for Lucius to compose himself.

"Tell me," Potter said when Lucius' mask was firmly back in place. They both pretended it hadn’t slipped at all. "What can we do to make our little Death Eater hotel more comfortable for our best guest?"

"Fuck you, Potter," Lucius snapped. Draco's eyebrows rose. He had very rarely heard his father swear—he seemed incapable of retaining his poise in front of Potter. Draco couldn’t blame him, of course—he had the same problem.

Potter's tone turned serious. "I'm not messing with you. Tell me something you want and I'll see what I can do. Call it a gesture of goodwill."

Draco's wrist felt sweaty under Potter's palm. How would Potter turn this supposed kindness against his father?

Lucius was obviously having the same thoughts. "What's the catch?"

"No catch." Potter sighed after a moment and then said, "You're not supposed to trust me—I don't expect you to and I don't want you to. But what's the harm in telling me something? See if I follow through? If not, you've lost nothing. If you do, you might gain something. Make your miserable existence a little more bearable."

Lucius contemplated the offer for a long time. Draco could guess his exact thought process. He would ask for something small, almost trivial, something Potter couldn’t hold against him. He wanted, Draco was certain, to ask to be able to write an owl—to him, no doubt—but he wouldn’t give away that weakness because he doubted Potter enough to assume he would read it.

"My wand."

Potter rolled his eyes. "No."

"Proof that my son is alive."

Draco's heart clenched. He could—so easily—call out and let his father know, make him worry no further. He didn’t, though. Not only would that give away the fact that he was little more than a sex slave, it would destroy all the good will he'd painstakingly built with Potter over the weeks. He couldn’t risk it.

"You have my word on that. Something else."

Looking like he wanted to argue, Lucius closed his eyes. "A box of chocolates. Belgian, not that crumbly rubbish I'm sure you eat. Real chocolate."

Chuckling, Potter just nodded and turned to leave. Draco almost didn’t realise what was happening, and Potter had to tug on his arm to get him to move.

"Potter!" called Lucius just as they'd reached the cellar door.

Potter half-turned, his eyes going right through Draco.

"You know where Draco is, don't you?"

"I have my suspicions."

Lucius nodded; he seemed to understand that this meant Potter could capture him at any time. "Why haven’t you brought him in?"

Facing Lucius, Potter said, "Don't think me generous or forgiving. I simply don't see your son as a threat. If that changes, you'll see his face once again—every morning for the rest of your short lives. As long as Draco remains the coward I know him to be, I won't go after him."

Lucius nodded. Draco wanted to scream at him for his easy acceptance of the fact that Potter thought him a coward. He realised he wasn’t certain which hurt more—that Lucius didn’t deny it, or that Potter thought it in the first place. That was a dangerous thing.

"Will you… look out for him?"

Potter's laugh was cruel. "Why should I?"

Instead of answering, Lucius just stared at the ground before him, looking like he regretted asking at all.

"I will… make sure that no one has the ability to hurt him but me," Potter said finally.

Seeming to take that as a victory, Lucius nodded. Potter turned and dragged Draco behind him.

Draco looked back to see Lucius studying Potter's retreating form, calculation in his eyes. Draco almost wanted to tell him not to bother—Potter held the entire deck and the rest of them could only hope not to get discarded.

Once back at the top of the stairs that led to the kitchen, Potter pulled the cloak from Draco, who set to fixing his mussed hair. The warmth from the cloak, which had become muggy with his breath, was immediately missed, and he shivered in response to the exposing air.

"I opened the wards to admit you this once, but if you try to get back down there, you won't live through it." With a wave of his wand, Potter spelled the door invisible. He studied Draco, seeming to make sure he understood. When Draco nodded, Potter sighed. "Are you cold?"

"Of course I'm cold!" he shouted before he could stop himself. His eyes widened. He was emotional from having seen his father for the first time in half a year. Not to mention what Potter had told Lucius—that he'd, in his own way, look out for Draco. The comfort that had given Lucius was practically tangible. He was all wound up in gratitude and anger and relief and he didn’t know how to stop himself.

"Come with me," Potter said, leading him to their shared room.

Once there, Draco sat on the pallet, waiting to be secured. He preferred that to having to spend the time with Granger or Weasley, even though he did get lonely for real companionship.

"No, sit here." Potter indicated his bed and with shock a driving force, Draco stood and set himself where Potter wanted him.

Potter put some clothes on the bed beside him, but stopped Draco when he reached for them. Instead, Potter himself undressed Draco, careful and calloused fingers brushing over his sides as his shirt was tugged off, warm breath on his thigh as Potter knelt to divest him of his trousers as well.

"I meant what I said to Lucius," Potter said, his hands on Draco's thigh. He pushed Draco's legs open and like a match had been lit, Draco began to get hard.

"What?" He hated the breathless tone of his voice, hated the way his legs parted further to allow Potter to climb between them, hated how fucking grateful he felt for Potter not revealing his secret. "That you'll bring him chocolate?"

Potter laughed and looked up at Draco through dark lashes and the protective barrier of his glasses. "That, too. But also about not letting anyone hurt you. I know this is… uncomfortable for you—"

Draco tried not to outright scoff at the understatement.

"—But I'm glad you seem to be adapting. As long as you're here, as long as you're mine, no one else will ever touch you. Not to hurt you, and not…" Potter's hand cupped his cock and began stroking it. "Not to please you, either."

At that moment, Draco didn’t want anyone but Potter to please him. Potter knew exactly what he liked, what he needed. Potter played him like he was a familiar instrument, tenderly and with the experience of one who just knows.

Though he was naked, he wasn’t cold any longer. Potter's mouth lowered onto his cock, wet and warm and tight where his lips sealed around him. Groaning, Draco dropped his head back, unable to watch. It was the middle of the day and there was too much light. He felt too exposed, too raw. He wanted to be strong for his father, to prove himself worthy to his noble name and lineage, but no man was strong enough to resist this, he was sure. Potter didn’t deepthroat him, didn’t play with his balls or do anything that Draco usually liked. His hand stroked the base of his shaft and his mouth moved over the head, but for all its simplicity, it was the best blowjob he'd ever received.

When Draco came, he felt weak and vulnerable, laid open for Potter to see, to torment, to judge. Potter did only the first, taking in the sight of him as if it were something important, something to treasure. Potter swallowed hard, and Draco could practically feel himself sliding down Potter's throat, disappearing inside him.

Potter stood, a soft smile on his lips. Before Draco even knew what he was doing, before he could talk himself out of it, before he could mentally chastise himself to unconsciousness, he dropped to his knees in front of Potter.

They both froze and a small noise escaped from Potter. Draco shivered and said nothing, staring ahead at Potter's substantial bulge. He knew he shouldn’t want to do this. He knew that whatever hold Potter had on him was due to the circumstances of his capture. Yet… Potter didn’t have to keep him instead of killing him. He didn’t have to constantly bring Draco off without reciprocation. He didn’t have to bring Lucius chocolate or tell him Draco was safe. And he certainly didn’t have to protect Draco as he claimed he would.

With careful hands, Draco unbuckled Potter's belt. He could hear panting from above him and saw Potter's hands clench at his sides. Breathing through his mouth to stave off that panic that threatened to overtake him, Draco slowly unzipped Potter's Muggle denims, flicking open the button at the top and sliding them down slightly, just enough to hang off his hips.

"Draco…" Potter breathed, the composure Draco had begun to associate with him faltering.

Draco shook his head. He didn’t want to talk, didn’t want to see Potter's unbelieving or maybe even smug face. He just wanted to do this. Black pants strained to contain Potter's full cock, and Draco lowered them with care, freeing his arousal as well as his heavy balls. Inching closer on his knees, Draco took Potter in hand. His cock was thick and throbbing, closer to coming than he rightfully should be from just sucking Draco.

Feeling foolish for moving so tentatively, Draco began to stroke with more pressure, his fingers slipping through the beading precome and using it to ease the way.

He could finish Potter like this, he knew. He could easily bring Potter to his end with no more than a few forceful tugs. Draco wanted more, though. He wanted to taste, to feel the heaviness of Potter on his tongue. Gulping and tossing his head a little in feigned nonchalance, Draco took Potter's cockhead into his mouth.

Potter groaned loud and long, and his hands left his sides to card through Draco's hair, slightly damp from the exertions of his own orgasm moments before. Draco let him guide him, working the tip with his tongue and lips and stroking what he couldn’t fit. Potter's hands in his hair weren’t overpowering, just encouraging, and he made little gasps and groans that had Draco's own cock twitching in response.

He didn’t last long. Draco had only really fallen into a rhythm when Potter grunted and said his name as a warning. Draco pulled away and moved to the side, stroking Potter to completion and letting his come spurt onto the floor.

As soon as the last pearly drop fell, Draco felt remorse flood him. Shame licked along his veins to his very fingertips, and he ducked his head to hide his burning face. What would his father think of him now? Lucius might be better off thinking Draco was dead.

Potter was suddenly on his knees in front of Draco, his hands cupping Draco's flushed cheeks. He forced Draco's face up, but Draco couldn’t meet his eyes and just regarded the wall behind him.

Then Potter's mouth slammed against him, brutal and unforgiving, nothing of the gentle instruction he'd showed moments before, nothing of the masterful ownership that he'd portrayed when sucking Draco's cock. The kiss was teeth—sharp, biting, not teasing—and tongue—thrusting, plunging, not exploring. After a moment of this, Draco tore his head away, panting almost to the point of hyperventilation.

"It's not really your fault," Potter whispered. Draco braved a look to his eyes. They were kind and searching but always, always calculating. "I'm very good at what I do."

With a cry, Draco yanked himself from Potter's embrace and stood, tugging on his trousers and wishing for all the world that he hadn’t succumbed to his stupid, naïve desire to please Potter.

"Why are you doing this to me?" he demanded, recognising the wildness in his tone. He didn’t know how to stop it.

Potter rose and tucked himself back into his jeans. He left his belt unbuckled. "Remember when I said I wanted to see you cry?"

Draco grimaced and turned his face away. "That's what this is all about?" Why did that surprise him? Why did it make him feel so… dead?

"No," Potter said, approaching Draco and wrapping his fingers around his upper arm. Draco tried to jerk away, but Potter held fast. "I think I was wrong about that. It isn’t about tears, not anymore. It's about… giving in. When you do… it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. When you let go of who you think you have to be—around me, around the rest of the world… I can see you naked right down to your very soul. It's bare and ugly and raw and I want it."

"There's nothing left," Draco said, defeated. He buried his face in his hands. He didn’t even move when Potter embraced him, firm arms wrapping around him, holding him against his strong chest. Potter's cheek rubbed against Draco's temple, somehow soothing.

"That's not true." Potter's hand rubbed circles against his bare back. "There's always more."

Potter said it like he meant, There's always more for me to take. It made Draco feel even colder.

"How long can you keep doing this to me?" Draco whispered. Despair was threatening to swallow him whole, and he didn’t think he even minded being devoured at this point.

"For as long as I want," Potter said confidently. His hold shifted from reassuring to possessive. "You're only hurting yourself by fighting it. You can make me happy, Draco. You do. Just… give yourself to me." He petted Draco's hair. "Give up to me."

Weakened, distraught, Draco started to sink to the floor, but Potter hiked him up and brought him to the bed, laying him down gently and sitting beside him, hands gentle as they brushed the hair from Draco's sweaty and tear-stained face.

Draco wondered just what giving up felt like and how much of himself would be left if he did.

- * - * -

Draco shifted, trying to be discreet. His knees were aching but Potter wouldn’t let him settle into a more comfortable position. He'd been kneeling beside Potter's armchair for what felt like hours.

He entertained himself by glaring at Weasley, who shot him alternating looks of disgust and wariness. Draco grinned at him just to make him uncomfortable. It seemed to work. Weasley looked away, scowling.

Every so often, just to keep himself occupied, he'd rest his head against Potter's thigh. Potter, almost absently, would caress him, threading thick fingers through his hair. Draco couldn’t help but turn into the touches. Potter was freer now with his affection and sometimes Draco felt it was the only thing keeping him from going absolutely bloody barmy.

Granger was making noise about some insurgency group, vigilante Death Eater supporters who were threatening to destroy the trio's seat of power. They claimed to have the Minister himself—whoever it was this week—on their side, though the Minister had denied it—weakly… Potter didn’t seem concerned, so Draco let himself drift away from the conversation.

"Harry, I'm telling you, this could become a big problem!"

Draco sighed. She could be so shrill. He looked over at her and saw she was truly concerned. Her brow was drawn, her mouth a tight, thin line. In her hands was her ever-present clipboard, covered in sticky yellow notes and multicoloured scribblings that surely only she could read.

"Just tell me what you think we should do," Potter said, capitulating. He'd tried to calm Granger down, but he seemed to understand that she wouldn’t be contained.

Draco shifted again. This was going to take a while and Potter's hand on the back of his neck was making him hard.

"I think we need to quash it before it gets out of control. Get the Minister vocally on our side. Remind the public of all the good that you've done. We should also make a few donations to restore any public opinion that's been lost. Whatever this little neo-Death Eater group is, they certainly won't be working for the public like we are. We need to remind everyone that we have the wizarding world's best interest at heart."

Snorting, Draco rolled his eyes. When Potter's hand stilled, he realised what he'd done and looked up with alarmed eyes. "Sorry," he mouthed, not wanting to incur a punishment. Potter let him come to these meetings rather than sit alone in their room, and Draco was grateful for the distraction. Time alone was time to think.

"What do you think, Draco?" Potter asked, half challenge and half genuine interest.

"Harry!" Weasley cried, throwing his hands up. Even Granger looked uncertain.

"Well, who would have a better idea of how that sort of scum works? He might have an angle we haven’t thought of."

Draco wasn’t sure what he thought. He didn’t want to be trapped in this house forever; did he want the vigilante group to win? It might mean his freedom. Still, he'd started to see that Potter and his pals really did do good for their world: there was certainly less crime and more wizarding patriotism and unity, if the Daily Prophet articles he'd stolen glimpses at could be believed. It didn’t excuse the more horrific things they did, like flat out murder and torture, but the public didn’t know any of that. On the other hand, if Draco was somehow freed, if the vigilantes destroyed Potter, Draco's freedom would be his disgrace. If they stormed Grimmauld Place, they would either out his position as Potter's whore, or assume he was on Potter's side and kill him, too.

"I think…" he began slowly, gathering his thoughts. "I think you should blow them off."

"What?" This time Granger threw her hands up. "Harry!"

"What do you mean?" Potter asked, his voice low.

Draco swallowed. "If you go into a full campaign against the new group, if you give them that much recognition and power, people will start to be concerned that they are really a threat—or a hope. Either way, you lose. Brush it off, laugh about it. Talk about how some people never learn their lesson. Act like you feel sorry for them. Extend the olive branch, even; tell the press you'd like to speak with them to clear up any misconceptions. Make the public feel safe that you are still the foremost power. Make those considering going against you think twice."

Weasley glared and shook his head, but Granger looked thoughtful. Potter's hand returned to Draco's nape and that was all he really cared about. He gave a soft groan and rested his cheek on Potter's hard thigh. It wasn’t exactly comfortable, but he liked the way Potter seemed to approve.

"Well, Hermione?" Potter's voice didn’t betray his opinion either way, but Draco could tell he was pleased.

"As a first, pre-emptive strike, it might work. We need to make sure people don't panic at this new threat, and if they see us deal with it with calm indifference, it might inspire more confidence."

"I can't believe we're even considering listening to that ferret!" Weasley cried, his face red. "He's probably telling us the exact opposite of what we need to do so he can help his little friends bring us down!"

Potter removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. "Hermione?"

She pursed her lips. "Ron might have a point," she conceded.

Draco sneered. Idiots. Still, he hadn’t given his opinion because they'd wanted it. He'd done it for Potter. If they didn’t want to take his advice, it was no skin off his back—or it had better not be, or else he'd be really pissed off.

"We need to find out who's running the group," Potter said, seeming to weigh his words. "If we do what Draco suggests, and they do accept our offer to meet, we'll be able to take care of it right then and there."

"The people will wonder what happened," Granger warned. "The rest of the group might strike out even more viciously, or they could tell the public what we did."

"How big of a threat is this group, Hermione?"

She looked uneasy. "Moderate."

"And if we get rid of this threat? Are there any others?"

"No. This is the first uprising we've faced. There's barely been a murmur of dissent before this."

Potter nodded, looking thoughtful. He replaced his glasses and his face took a businesslike expression. "I have an idea."

- * - * -

Personally, Draco didn’t think the idea was the brightest Potter had ever had, but then again, he couldn’t quite remember a single time Potter had had a good idea, with the possible exception of, somewhere along the line, deciding to kill the Dark Lord. He said possible exception because, thanks to that outcome, Draco had ended up as Potter's sex slave—what he might have been in the Dark Lord's reign was uncertain, but it had to have been better than his current status.

After their little pow-wow, Potter had sent out an owl to the leader of the vigilante group, one Jenning Starkson, suggesting they meet—in public. At first, Draco had protested this idea. How would they ever manage to kill the berk if Potter had a hundred witnesses?

But Potter was cleverer than he seemed at first (and second) glance. He was more ruthless, too—Slytherin, even.

The week after the trio's meeting, Granger tried to convince Potter not to go through with his barmy plan. For his part, Draco had also tried talking Potter out of it. He didn’t want to know what would happen to him if Potter died. Weasley would most likely want to kill him, and the best-case scenario would have him locked up with his father. So Potter had to live.

The meeting was the next day. Potter had followed his advice and taken a light tone with the media regarding the vigilante group. He'd said that he welcomes dissension because it would beget discussion. He didn’t evoke fear in any way and if Granger's reports were accurate, Potter's regime was more popular than ever, and even fleeting support in the vigilante group had diminished significantly.

The plan was for Potter to meet the bloke, wandlessly cast Imperius on him, and tell him to cast the Killing Curse on Potter.

There was so much that could go wrong with such a plan.

First of all, Potter's wandless magic wasn’t infallible. In fact, it was rather touch and go. Potter didn’t even trust it enough to cast a lubrication spell. Secondly, Starkson might be quick enough to actually succeed in killing Potter before Potter could pull out his own wand, safely sheathed for appearance's sake, and defend himself. Starkson might be able to resist the Imperius curse. His family had ties to Death Eaters, and many Death Eater children had been trained in Occlumency, which was key in protecting oneself against mind control curses.

Draco wasn’t impressed with the lack of detail planning. Potter hadn’t wanted to hear about everything that could go wrong, so Draco had spoken to Granger about it—it'd been the first time he'd voluntarily sought her out. She'd made a few notes on her clipboard before thanking him brusquely and searching out Potter, to tell him, Draco hoped, of the concerns.

He ran a finger under the collar he'd been wearing since the first day. He'd grown so used to it that he didn’t even mind the way the cool ring chilled him or how it had to be carefully dried after a shower. He did mind, however, the fact that he still got clipped to the length of chain connected to the floor by his pallet. He couldn’t, of course, open the clip himself. It wasn’t that he expected Potter to trust him—he wouldn’t trust himself. He just hated that he wasn’t even given that small bit of freedom.

When the en suite door opened and Potter entered the room, a small white towel wrapped around his slender hips, Draco licked his lips reactively. He couldn’t help the way his body reacted to Potter. It was sort of like a woman getting aroused at the sight of the handy vibrator that had helped her get off countless times over the years. He naturally connected Potter to the idea of pleasure.

"Big day tomorrow," Potter said, grinning. He sat on the edge of the bed and eyed Draco, who felt naked in his flimsy linen trousers.

"For you," Draco returned, trying to sound dismissive. Really, he didn’t care for Potter's well-being, just his own. If Potter managed to get his stupid arse killed, that was his decision—Draco wouldn’t mourn him. He would mourn, however, the fact that Potter's death might bring about his own. He planned on killing Potter in the afterlife if that happened.

Potter just shrugged and took off the towel, unembarrassed as he ran it over his body. Draco looked away and Potter tied it back around his hips.

"So what happens if, somehow, against all possible odds—" Sarcasm tainted his voice. "—You manage to get yourself killed."

Again, Potter shrugged and Draco leapt to his feet in fury, ready to throw himself at the arrogant and thoughtless prat and pummel him into the ground. The short lead snapped taut and Draco cried out as he fell hard on the pallet, coughing around the collar that had choked him.

With a wave of his wand Potter spelled the chain off. Draco thanked him, his face red in embarrassment. He didn’t bother standing again—beating Potter hadn’t been the brightest idea, anyway. Not if he didn’t know he could win.

"What do you want me to say?" Potter held out a hand for Draco. After glaring at it for a few moments, Draco took it and let Potter haul him to his feet. "My promise to protect you only counts as long as I'm alive."

Draco knew that he had no right or reason to except more. Still, it infuriated him that Potter could be so nonchalant about taking his own life in his hands when another life depended on him. "You'd condemn me to death with your carelessness."

Potter grabbed Draco by the nape of his neck, yanking him forward against his body hard enough that it knocked the wind from him a moment. Potter was, of course, unaffected by the impact. Against Draco's cheek, Potter's lips moved as he spoke. "I can promise to be careful, but I can't promise to come out unscathed."

Knowing it was more than he'd even thought Potter capable of committing to in the first place, Draco nodded. "If you can manage not to get us both killed with this asinine scheme, I'd appreciate it."

Potter's face was serious as he nodded, but a twitch of his lips betrayed his amusement. "Come to bed with me."

Since Potter didn’t make requests, only demands, Draco crawled onto the bed, relishing the softness of the mattress beneath his knees. He let Potter manipulate him onto his back and followed the instruction to undress.

He always felt more naked than usual when Potter was looking at him. Like it wasn’t just a lack of clothes that made him vulnerable, but an utter lack of recourse, of agency, of free will. He was naked from his body to his soul, and Potter wanted it all.

Potter removed the towel again, slowly this time, as if he wanted to tease Draco—which was ridiculous because Draco only went along with these interactions because Potter's wrath was fearsome otherwise. Or so he told himself as Potter stalked up from the foot of the bed like an animal appreciating the scent of fear mixed with arousal in its prey.

It was only conditioning that had Draco's legs falling open to admit Potter between them. Looming over him, Potter seemed larger than he really was. Draco knew he, himself, was taller and not that much slimmer than Potter, but there was a menacing air about him—maybe the power of his magic, or the power of his position, or maybe the power he had over Draco, but whatever it was, it made Draco feel small. Defenceless—and he truly was, against Potter. He had no defences, nothing to keep him safe from Potter's touches, from his demands, from the pleasure he wrought from Draco's body somehow against his will.

"I like how you react to me," Potter whispered as he lifted Draco's ankle and set it on his shoulder, turning his head to press a chaste kiss against Draco's bony foot.

Draco wanted to deny it, to rail against it, but there was no hiding his swelling cock or the flush on his chest or the quickening of his breath. Potter usually didn’t say anything about his responsiveness, but having it brought into the foreground between them made Draco equally ashamed and shameless.

"I like it better when you don't talk," Draco said acerbically. He resented the way Potter could make him react. He couldn’t trust anything, not even his own body.

Potter chuckled and ran his hands up Draco's legs, the pale blond hairs giving way beneath his fingers. Draco turned his head to the side when Potter's thumbs brushed over his cock before continuing up his body, pressing against his nipples before finally framing his face, hands warm against his cheeks.

"Draco," Potter murmured, pressing his lips against Draco's, resting there.

Draco knew what he was waiting for: a reaction. He struggled against giving it, not wanting to abandon that last rebellion. Once he gave in to the kiss, the rest of him seemed to think it was okay to just go along—and enjoy—whatever Potter did to him.

Potter's lips were coaxing and patient. They moved slowly, pressing down and coming back, soft smacking sounds following. Potter's tongue would tickle against the tight seam of Draco's lips, smooth over the fullness of the lower one, prod at the upper one until, with a whimper, Draco gave in, opening his mouth and letting Potter delve victoriously within.

The sounds Potter made were sinful. The enjoyment he took from Draco's body was obvious, and it was hard not to feel pride in the way Potter worshipped him.

"I want you," Potter said, uncaring of Draco's request that he not speak. "I want to taste you, to touch you everywhere. I want to be inside you. I want to live inside you, to open you up and crawl in, to have you welcome and need me. To have you not live without me, to have you die from need of me."

Only half-listening to Potter's babbling, Draco arched as Potter's fist closed over his aching cock. So easily, Potter could make him come from this, just unpractised jerks as if Draco'd never even come before and could be brought off by the most insignificant and untutored touches.

"Yes," Potter hissed, the sibilance streaking over Draco like the word was water. His fingers were wet with lubricant as they teased Draco's hole. One pushed inside, bearing into him without mercy as Draco exhaled and tried to accommodate the rapid insertion.

Potter ground his cock against Draco's hip as more fingers found their way inside Draco, his knuckles pressing and rubbing against the forgiving ring of Draco's anus. Potter stroked his prostate, watching Draco's face for reaction, which Draco gave without concealment.

"You want me," Potter told him, not like he was surprised or even pleased, but like he was telling Draco, like he could make it true, make it right, just by saying it.

Draco said nothing in response. The truth of the statement was in his lack of denial, in his submission.

Still, Potter wouldn't let it go. For the first time, he lined his cock up to Draco's hole—they'd never done this, but something had changed the day Draco had offered, of his accord, little though there was, to suck Potter's cock. There could be no real consent in capture, but Potter had taken it as permission, and now things were about to progress and Draco couldn’t say he didn’t want it.

He couldn’t say it aloud.

"Tell me," Potter said, driving in through Draco's tight, unsuspecting ring of muscle.

Draco cried out at the cruel penetration, grabbing Potter's biceps and snarling, letting his fingernails dig in to showcase his displeasure. Potter could at least make it good for him, the prick.

With shallow thrusts, Potter used him, evidently uncaring that he was, without fail, bypassing Draco's prostate. Draco's erection sagged at the brutal treatment without even an iota of pleasure to balance it out.

"Draco… just say it." Potter slowed his movements, just hinting at the pleasure he could be giving Draco if he would just…

Give in.

Draco knew his eyes were wild, knew this definitive surrender, this last forced consent, paradoxical though it was, was the final tether holding him to his former life. Giving in didn’t have to mean giving up, but it did mean permission or at least tolerance. If he did this, freedom as he knew it was over. He wouldn’t be able to fight anymore.

It wasn’t for the pleasure Potter promised that he said it. It wasn’t for the hope, minute as it was at the moment, that Potter would free his father or even free him. It was because Potter would take him one of two ways: against his will or with it.

Draco was tired of being forced, of being cajoled, pressured, pushed. He wanted to do something, anything that would stop the constant tearing at his psyche, back and forth until there was nothing left but rabid discontent and fury and fear.

"I want it," Draco gasped, closing his eyes and forcing the tears to finally fall. Potter patiently brushed them away, so tender it made Draco feel ill. "I want you." The taste of the words wasn’t as bitter as he'd expected. It even felt… overdue.

"So good," Potter said, picking up the pace of his thrusts and this time angling, successfully, for Draco's prostate. "So good for me."

After that, Draco had to close his eyes. Pleasure, made all the sweeter by surrender, took him under. Potter owned him, and fucked him like he knew it. Every touch, every thrust, every whisper, every demand was inundated with power and self-satisfaction. When Draco came, it was the first time he didn’t try to hold it back, the first time he didn’t berate himself for being weak. He let it go, slicking Potter's fingers and the space between their bellies. Potter continued to fuck him, holding Draco's face to force him to look at him, even telling him to open his eyes, to watch, to see.

Draco's come on Potter's stomach made the rub against Draco's oversensitive cock excruciating. He whimpered, mouth falling open as he lost himself in the intent green of Potter's merciless gaze. Seeming to understand his plight, Potter lifted slightly so there was no friction on his spent member.

When Potter finally came, Draco was half-hard again from the sensations. He couldn’t seem to catch his breath—Potter's come inside him made him feel wanton… and wanted.

Potter slipped down Draco's inert body, pressing his legs up so his knees met his chest, and settled on his stomach on the bed. Draco whined, the sound resulting from suffocating a shout as Potter's tongue met his arse, laving and sucking and soothing his battered hole. Potter's tongue wriggled inside—Draco knew he must be tasting his own come, and he was both horrified and in awe of the sensation.

Draco's cock made his attempts to get away hypocritical, and he felt Potter's infernal chuckle against the sensitive skin of his most intimate place.

Then Potter rose up and swallowed his cock down in one practised movement. Draco did shout this time, surprised and overwhelmed, and his second orgasm seemed wrenched from him—it was weak, having not had enough time to boil over, but he'd never felt so drained in his entire life. He sagged into the silky sheets, enjoying the comfort while it lasted because the pallet was a bed of nails in comparison.

When Potter rose to use the loo, Draco moved toward his pallet, but to his surprise, Potter pushed him back onto the bed. "Sleep here," he said softly.

The act of trust was undermined by the steel ring Potter Transfigured onto the headboard and the length of chain that connected Draco's collar to it. Draco sighed and settled in. It was still capture, it was still a cage—maybe the bed made it gilded, but he'd never forget. Not really.

He was asleep before Potter came back from the loo and still sleeping when Potter left first thing in the morning.

- * - * -

Draco stirred to the sound of footsteps pounding up the stairs. He turned away from the noise. Potter better not try to wake him up.

"Ron, we have to get him! Harry'll be furious if we don't!"

"I don't even care! This is Harry's bloody fault in the first place!"

The door to Potter's bedroom burst open, and Draco sat up, glaring at it. Granger and Weasley strode inside. Granger approached the bed and spelled his chain off. Then she reached forward, looking like she was about to grab him. He recoiled, but her hands didn't reach him.

She and Weasley both fell to the floor at the force of the Stunning Spells cast at their backs. Draco's heart threatened to stop and he scrambled back against the headboard.

"In here!" cried the voice of one of the men who'd felled Granger and Weasley. The man, a little older than Draco, looked shockingly like Evan Rosier. He must have been related.

Before Draco had time to ponder that, his world swirled around his feet and his heart jump in to join it.

"Draco," breathed Lucius Malfoy, entering the room and looking both relieved and furious. He was weak and heavily favouring his left leg, but his face was all imperious aristocracy. He took in his surroundings with a sneer on his elegant upper lip. "Put some clothes on."

Draco slid from the bed. His father was free—why did that frighten him more than anything? He yanked his linen pants on, burning under his father's relentless gaze. Lucius' scowl grew.

"Where's Potter?" Draco asked in a low voice. The young version of Rosier and another man who was similarly familiar spelled Granger and Weasley's bodies into the air and took them from the room.

Lucius walked up to Draco, and it took all his substantial training not to cower. Even Potter didn’t make him feel as intimidated—anymore. Lucius' cool hand shot out and grabbed Draco's chin, hard fingers tilting his head up.

When Draco realised he was inspecting the collar, or maybe even the marks Potter had left all over him, he flushed and jerked away, hanging his head.

"Anything to survive, hmm?" Lucius taunted. He released Draco with a push, and Draco stumbled to keep his balance. "How is life as Potter's whore?"

Draco could have told his father he'd done it for him, for his own skin like a good Slytherin would have. And Lucius hadn’t exactly been unbroken when Draco'd seen him in the dungeon cell. Feeling ill, he repeated, "Where is Potter?"

Lucius' smile was cruel and all too familiar. "Taken care of."

"No," Draco said. He shook his head. Potter couldn’t be defeated—he was the Boy Who Lived. It was ridiculous to even consider. "No."

"I don't need you to believe me. Come with me." Lucius turned on his heel and stalked to the doorway. When he saw Draco didn’t follow, he rolled his eyes as if dealing with a recalcitrant toddler and said, "Imperio."

- * - * -

At first, Draco was placed in the dungeons—the dungeons of his own home—with Granger and Weasley. He learnt enough to know that Potter's moronic plan had actually worked—which was exactly what the vigilante group had counted on.

Potter had met with Starkson, had cast the Imperius curse, and had told him to cast the Killing Curse at him in front of a crowd of people in Diagon Alley. Starkson had; Potter had dodged it and returned the curse, killing Starkson and making a hero of himself—again.

Then Potter had been attacked by a number of Death Eater sympathisers, too many to fight off by himself. He'd shouted for Granger and Weasley to get back to Grimmauld Place, which was supposed to be a safe-hold. They hadn’t seen what had become of Potter, but the vigilantes claimed to have torn him down effortlessly.

Starkson had been a pawn, a stand-in. He had no real power; he was a lackey. The real leader was Rosier; Evan Rosier was his uncle, one of Potter's first examples; he'd been killed only days after Potter had been given his title as Judge. Now the group had taken residence in Malfoy Manor, and Draco's own father was obviously angling to be second-in-command yet again. He'd probably have preferred to be the leader, if only there wasn’t so much chance of getting his hands dirty.

Draco didn’t thank Granger or Weasley for trying to get him out before the vigilantes got him. They'd only been following Potter's orders. Still, he knew that they'd been captured because of him, so when his father finally decided he'd learnt his lesson and brought him up from the bowels of the manor, he just asked that they were treated humanely. His father had laughed, and Draco had turned cold.

He wanted Potter.

Lucius, to his immense and vocal fury, hadn’t been able to remove Draco's collar. He forced Draco to wear high-necked robes so he wouldn’t have the constant visual evidence of his son's disgusting betrayal. Draco didn’t care. He didn’t even mind the collar. It made him feel grounded, safe. Even though he'd never be that again, if he ever had been.

At the Malfoy dinner table sat all variety of rabble. People Lucius Malfoy never would have consorted with before his imprisonment in Grimmauld Place now chipped the delicate china and wiped messy chins on their shirts, forgoing the linen napkins. It reminded Draco of Greyback; bile rose in his throat.

"To an unparalleled success," Lucius toasted, as if he'd been involved in the plan from the start, which he couldn’t have been. There was no way he would have been able to be in contact with anyone from his cell.

His toast was echoed all around. Draco's lips formed the words while his body ached for Potter's command. Whatever anguish he'd suffered over his surrender had diminished with the death of the man who'd ruled his body.

That night, Lucius led Draco to his bedroom as if Draco might have forgotten the way. Draco paused at his doorway, expecting Lucius to leave, but he pressed on, passing Draco and standing in the middle of the room. Draco sighed and closed the door. He got his silk pyjamas from the bureau and waited. Lucius just stared at him. Draco tried not to flush as Lucius watched him undress and don his nightclothes, his steady eyes penetrative.

"You should have died rather than prostrate yourself before him."

Draco rolled his eyes. His father was so dramatic. "It didn’t seem like much of a choice at the time."

"Do you regret it? Bending over for him like a Mudblood whore?"

Deciding to be honest, Draco said, "No. I'm alive, aren’t I?"

"Soiled," Lucius hissed, stepping closer. "Ruined."

"Why did you take me, then?" he demanded. "Why not just kill me or leave me in the dungeons with Granger and Weasley?"

"Don't think I'm not considering it." Lucius' hands were clenched into fists at his side, and his eyes, eyes that Draco had once taken comfort in, so like his own that it meant he would never be alone, were blazing with repulsion. "You've brought nothing but disgrace to the Malfoy name since you were sixteen years old."

At one time in his life—not even that long ago—Lucius' words would have sent him into a spiral of self-loathing. He'd have taken them to his heart and done everything in his power to prove his father wrong, to make him proud. Now he realised that was unachievable and it always had been. Lucius wasn’t just impossible to please, he was impossible to emulate. He set a standard that Draco couldn’t hope to approach, and for the first time in his entire life, Draco just… didn’t care.

"Are you finished?" Weariness lined his voice and he scrubbed his face with his hands. Being a failure was so exhausting. The idea of this for the rest of his life made him want to jump out his window—and he might have if the promise of the ignoble splat didn’t change his mind. "I've had a long day and I find I'm quite tired."

In an instant, Lucius was at his throat. He slipped his fingers beneath Draco's collar, knuckles digging into his Adam's apple as he gasped.

"Listen to me, you stupid whelp," Lucius spat in his face. "You'll rectify the dishonour you've heaped at my feet. The time has come for a new regime and if you wish to hold a position of any note, you'll beg—beg, Draco—for my forgiveness and leniency."

Draco laughed, and then laughed harder at the way his father's eyes bulged. "I don't want to play in your new sandbox, Father. Find someone else to cling to your coattails."

The back of Lucius' hand, Malfoy signet ring and all, met Draco's cheek with a viciousness that Draco should have expected. Pain bloomed in his face, his eyes watered, and humiliation burned in the back of his throat. He kept his face down, all the while thinking that Potter might have whipped him, but he'd never slapped his face.

Without another word, Lucius left the room. Draco slipped into bed. He lay awake for an hour before he Transfigured a white gold necklace into a heavy steel chain and clipped it to his collar. The other end he wrapped around one of the posters of his bed. It wasn’t the same, but it was enough. He slept.

- * - * -

The next day, Granger and Weasley had mysteriously escaped the dungeons. Not a trace was left. Lucius was enraged. Draco didn’t care.

- * - * -

"I don't want to talk about it," Draco said for the eleventh time. He felt the eyes of all the members of the vigilante group on him. Lucius' pressure was becoming more difficult to evade. Everyone wanted to know the details of Potter's regime, how he was so successful while still being so completely ruthless. It was something they were clearly seeking to imitate, but Draco wouldn’t help them.

"Son," Lucius said, affecting paternalism for the masses. "We just want to know about his power. It has to have limits—all power does."

Draco just shrugged. He'd never seen Potter try anything he couldn’t do. His wandless magic was impressive but not flawless, but what did it matter, anyway? Potter was dead.

Draco shivered.

"Listen to your father, boy," rasped Mulciber's elderly cousin. The majority of the men currently residing in the manor, plotting the overthrow of the Ministry, were relatives or friends of the Death Eaters Potter had killed or captured. The Death Eaters who had been freed along with Lucius were in the bedrooms recovering from the various traumas they'd suffered; none of them were as able as Lucius—Potter had been good to him; too good, and all for Draco's sake—but with the help of magic, they were getting there. Draco feared the day they were all unified and prepared.

In lieu of an answer, Draco rose, unable to bear another moment of pretending to have an appetite.

"Sit down," Lucius demanded, rising as well. He was as menacing as he'd ever been—more so, with his rather haggard appearance and the uncompromising coldness in his eyes. Still, Draco wasn’t afraid. Lucius had lost that power. He'd seen true power… he'd been a victim of it, a supplicant to it. Lucius' games were parlour tricks in comparison.

He turned to leave, a sneer on his lips to rival Lucius' own, when a deafening roar—an explosion—had him flat on his back. The noise seemed endless, and Draco shouted without hearing his own voice as rubble rained down on him. He covered his head with his hands, afraid to look up. When the noise turned to silence, he opened his eyes.

The entire front half of the manor had been demolished, like it had been torn away by an impatient hand. There was only one person who wielded power like that.

Draco breathed for what felt like the first time since he'd awoken to Granger and Weasley's footsteps on the stairs.

From the front lawn, which was now clearly visible past the debris of what used to be the sitting room, stood Potter. A breezeless wind whipped his hair around his head. There was no wand in his hand.

Draco could feel, could taste his power.

To his left was Weasley, a glower on his freckled features. To his right, Granger, looking vindictive and ready to write names on her trusty, though absent at the moment, clipboard.

As one, they walked forward, the constant pulse of Potter's power stealing Draco's breath as he stood on shaky legs. Behind him, he heard forty men rise to their feet, heard forty wands drawn, sensed forty bodies willing to sacrifice him for their cause.

He stood, frozen, between two battlefronts.

Without waiting for pretty speeches like the Dark Lord had been so wont to do, Potter began casting curses, spells, and hexes. His first sent Draco flying ten metres to one side, landing safely out of harm's way. He watched with detached horror as every single one of his father's cohorts fell. Men who hadn’t been killed in either war, men who had survived Potter's incarceration, toppled like so much fine crystal.

Granger took a hex to the leg, her blood spilling onto the parquet. She continued, unconcerned, to kill and curse whoever was foolish enough to raise his wand to any of them. Weasley was brought down by the torture curse, but Potter killed the caster with an almost absent wave of his hand, and Weasley gave him a rueful smile as he clambered to his feet and continued.

Draco, wandless, sideless, stood by and watched the bodies pile up, carnage offending his eyes and the smell of too-warm blood assaulting his nostrils. He didn’t understand that what he felt was relief until he saw Rosier go down, headless. The insurgence was over.

Potter had won.

Only Lucius Malfoy remained.

Draco turned to him, sneering at the impotent rage in his father's patrician features. "Remember, Father, your own advice. You should rather die."

Lucius dropped his wand. He didn’t look at his son.

- * - * -

Draco sat, once again, at Potter's feet. His linen pants were a scant barrier between his tender knees and the unforgiving floor, but his mind was elsewhere.

The parlour of Grimmauld Place had been transformed into an impromptu courtroom. Potter sat in a sturdy wooden chair at the front of the room, looking in. He was leaning an elbow on the armrest, his hand cupping his chin. He looked bored. His other hand was carding through Draco's hair, slipping over his scalp and down his neck to lightly trace there before starting back at Draco's forehead and beginning again.

Draco arched into the touches, revelling in the attention and affection. He couldn’t help the state of his erect cock. Potter's hands just did that to him.

To Potter's left, just as he'd been when they'd stormed Malfoy Manor the week before, sat Weasley. His arms were crossed over his chest, his wand in one hand. He no longer glowered at Draco, but pretended he didn’t exist at all.

On Potter's right, beside Draco, sat Granger, clipboard in hand. She was speaking under her breath and taking notes. Once, she looked down at Draco and gave him a half-smile. He half-smiled back. Potter leant in and kissed him; he was proud.

Resting his head on Potter's knee, nuzzling in, Draco heard Potter tell Weasley to bring in the prisoner. They'd captured the weakened Death Eaters who'd been convalescing in the manor's upstairs bedrooms. Each and every one had been killed after a parody of a trial.

When Weasley left, Draco tilted his head up, angling for a deeper kiss. Potter obliged, bending at the waist and holding the nape of Draco's neck as he ravaged his mouth, taking and taking. Draco was panting by the time he pulled away.

Weasley re-entered the room with Draco's father in tow. Lucius looked worse than Draco had ever seen him, even more pale and damaged than he'd been after Azkaban. He stood before them, somehow still proud. Of what, Draco had no idea. He'd been begging to die, Draco had heard. That was real weakness.

"The potion, the spell, or the curse?" Weasley intoned. Granger shifted in her seat. Potter was perfectly stiff except for his hand tracing circles on Draco's neck.

Draco saw the options running through his father's mind as once they had through his. Draco had been spared; Draco had been saved. Lucius would not be. Potter had seen the bruise on Draco's face from Lucius' backhand. There would be no mercy.

Lucius refused to answer, but Draco knew that was no way to stave off the inevitable end.

"The curse, then," Potter said, voice clear and disdainful.

Draco made a small noise in his throat, against his will. He bit his lip but Potter didn’t scold him, didn’t push him away. Instead, Potter bent to hush him softly, kindly.

Weasley cast the Killing Curse. Granger made a note. Draco buried his face in Potter's thigh, and Potter smiled down at Draco.

Draco nudged Potter's knee with his nose before licking it, tasting fibres and foreignness on his tongue. He looked up and saw Potter with a pleased expression on his normally hard features.

Potter rose and helped Draco to his feet, the length of the chain attached to Draco's collar in his hand. They stepped over Lucius' still, fallen form as Potter led Draco to bed.



The End.