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Harry ran his tongue around the inside of his mouth and grimaced. Gross.

Then again, it wasn’t his fault that he had ended up unconscious in St. Mungo’s for a few days. He had entered the room in the home of the Dark wizards he was tracking and seen at once that the runic pattern on the floor was nearly complete. It would take a wizard of immense power to stop the explosion it was meant to unleash.

Harry had sealed the room with a ward, deliberately triggered the runic pattern, and trusted his magic to both contain the explosion and allow him to survive it.

And he had. Even though it had meant he had to spend time in St. Mungo’s while they regrew a bunch of his ribs and arm bones and healed his broken sternum, which for some reason Skele-Gro didn’t work on, along with dosing him with potions for the concussion and burns and magical exhaustion.

Harry sighed and wriggled deeper into the bed to get comfortable. It wouldn’t do anything to anyone, this little adventure of his. After all, he had been in St. Mungo’s only five days. It would take a week before missing a dose of the potion he took on the regular would have an effect on Draco Malfoy.

Narcissa Malfoy had come to him almost a year after the war, and explained to Harry, in quiet, terse words, that she fully expected her son to become a Veela when he hit his nineteenth birthday. Something about how furiously his magic was struggling to reject the Dark Mark. Harry hadn’t followed the theoretical portion of her explanation, and had been content not to do so.

The problem, Mrs. Malfoy had said, leaning a little forwards, was that her son would be bound to a certain future based on his Veela magic and who it chose for his mate.

“And that is you, Mr. Potter.”

Harry had stared at her. “Excuse me?”

“You are the only one who fits the profile of a Veela mate in his immediate circle,” Mrs. Malfoy had said, folding her hands. She was lit from behind by the sunshine through the windows of Grimmauld Place. Harry and Kreacher had done a thorough cleaning after the war. “Someone he has intense feelings for—”

“Negative ones!”

“Magically powerful, protective, talented in Defense, sharing similar skills with him,” Mrs. Malfoy had finished. “Quidditch,” she added, when Harry had looked at her blankly at the mention of similar skills.

Harry had still had some doubts, but he’d agreed that Malfoy would hate to be bound to Harry. Just because his inner Veela had chosen that fate didn’t mean his inner human would agree.

And so, Mrs. Malfoy sent regular doses of the Hidden Soul Potion to Harry, and he obediently drank it. It kept Malfoy’s magic from finding him even after his Veela side manifested—in the middle of a party at the Ministry, no less—and let Malfoy make his own choices about who he wanted to date and marry.

In the five years since, he hadn’t settled down with anyone, but was that Harry’s fault? It was not. And Malfoy had never once looked at him.

It only proved that he would have only made the choice because of destiny or something like that. And Harry was tired of giving in to destiny.

He curled one of his arms around his head, pulling the pillow closer, and then grumbled as it was abruptly pulled away. He turned towards the disturbance, ready to use his reputation as the poor injured Boy-Who-Lived to guilt the Healers into letting him sleep a little longer.

But he stopped when he met the eyes of the person who sat on the chair next to the bed.

“You’re not Healer Pearson,” Harry said, a little stupidly.

Draco Malfoy smiled. His teeth seemed longer than a normal human’s, which they might be, for all Harry knew. His hair was a glittering storm of silver and white radiance that looked fringed near his neck, as if it ended in feathers. He had long, delicate claws on his fingernails that resembled spears of light. His face was—well, stunningly beautiful, but Harry had got used to that from seeing it in pictures in the papers.

But no picture had ever shown him like this, as if he was on the verge of transforming.

“You’ve been hiding from me, Harry.”

Harry shivered a little as the voice rolled over him. It was deep and musical at the same time, the song of a great bird, and it made desire burn low in his stomach. But he tried to sit up and said, “I don’t know what you’ve been talking about.”

“Oh, don’t you. The Hidden Soul Potion?”

“Well, fuck,” Harry said. “But how did you find out? It’s not supposed to stop working unless I haven’t taken it for a week or more.”

Draco’s eyebrows rose. It was unbearably appealing. Harry tried to ignore that. “Were you unaware that you spent three days unconscious here, not one?”

Harry scowled. He hadn’t seen the papers yet and the Healers had only allowed a few visitors in at a time, all of them much more interested in scolding Harry for his “recklessness” then telling him little details like how long he’d spent unconscious.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” he asked.

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

Harry stood up to the burning gaze that focused on him. “Because you were branded once. Because you were almost denied your freedom after the war because of people who were anxious to make it all just go away. Because I know that you’ve enjoyed dating dozens of people since your Veela heritage appeared. Can you give that up just to be chained to someone you hated in school?”

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “You didn’t start taking the potion because you hated me.”

“No.”

“It was some misguided attempt to—save me.”

“Yeah.”

Malfoy placed one hand over his face, which made Harry a little anxious with how near Malfoy’s eyes those claws were coming. “I should have expected that, I suppose,” he muttered. “It’s how you ended up here, too.”

“Hey, it worked.”

“Only by putting your life at risk.” Malfoy lowered his head, and Harry sucked in his breath with a harsh gasp that made his new bones throb. There was so much passion and anger in that look—

Harry shivered.

Malfoy (or Draco, as it was fast becoming clear Harry would probably need to call him) placed one hand on the pillow by Harry’s head and bent almost close enough to kiss him.

“We will be having words about your hero complex. And why you started taking that potion. And what will happen if you ever recklessly put your life in danger again, or try to hide from me again.”

Harry opened his mouth to protest.

And then Draco did kiss him, and, well, Harry had much better things to think about than his job.