Title: A Good Man
Author: Rickey_A
Rating:  NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Genre:  Hurt/Comfort, Angst, Drama
Warnings:  a bit dark but it evolves, non-con/dub-con w/remorse, slavery and lemon bars
Word count: ~27,500
Summary:  Harry’s not sure what he wants to do with himself after the war.  Making Draco Malfoy into a good man sounds like a promising idea, but the truth is that it’s a journey for two.
Original posting: Dec. 9, 2007 on hd_holidays  Here
A/N:  Enormous I-Couldn't-Have-Done-It-Without-You-Thanks to Thevina for the awesome beta and support because my insecurity level on this fic was beyond my norm.  Also C. Dumbledore (from HexFiles) and MrsQuizzical (Aussie Brit Picker Extraordinaire) for the gamma read through, especially since this is not your type of story. 
Additional Story Notes Here on my Dreamwidth Journal


A Good Man


Harry knocked on the door and waited patiently, figuring that with the baby it might take a while to get to the door.

A minute later, Andromeda opened the door for him with a big smile.  “Harry, come in.  I wasn’t sure when you’d be back.”

“We got back three days ago.  I’ve been a bit sleepy from the time difference,” he said, following her to the kitchen.

“Come have a cuppa.  Teddy went down for a nap about twenty minutes ago.”

“How are you doing?”

“We’re good; well as can be expected anyway,” she said, pulling down two sets of cups and saucers from the cabinet.

Harry sat and gazed at his hands.  His own grief had been difficult, in fact, it still weighed heavily upon him, but he felt guilty when he looked at Andromeda.  She had lost so much: her husband, daughter and son-in-law, and she had been left to raise her grandchild alone. 

She poured the tea and sat across from Harry.  “And what about you, dear?   Get everything sorted out in Australia?”

“Yeah,” Harry smiled.  “Hermione restored her parents’ memories.  It was quite the reunion, very emotional.”

“I can imagine.”

“They took Ron right in as part of the family.  That was nice.”  Harry paused and thought about what he had just said.   “I’m sorry, I…”

“Don’t worry, dear.  I’m happy to hear it.  People deserve their happiness.”

Harry nodded. 

“The Prophet says that Hogwarts is almost ready.  Hundreds of people have been volunteering and working around the clock,” she said.

“That’s good, I guess.”  Harry took a sip of tea.

“Are you going to go back?”

“I don’t think so.”

“You should.”

“That’s what Hermione keeps telling me, Ron too.  But I just…I can’t.”

“If this is about Teddy, you can finish your NEWTs and still be there for him,” she said, adopting an extremely gentle tone.

Harry took another sip of tea.

“Harry?” she questioned.

“I know that.  I can’t explain it, but I’m not ready.  There are things I need to figure out and right now…”

“What?”

“It’s difficult to be around people.  Not you and Teddy, of course,” he quickly clarified.

Just then a loud wail was heard from upstairs.

Andromeda got up hurriedly and summoned a bottle of formula.  She cast a quick heating charm on it.

“Can I give it to him?” Harry asked tentatively.

“Of course.”

***---****---***----***

Harry moved his queen directly in front of Ron’s castle.

“What are you doin’ there, mate?” Ron asked in disbelief.

Harry looked at the board.  “Oh.”

“Your head isn’t in the game at all.”

“Sorry,” Harry mumbled.

“T’s okay, we don’t have to play,” Ron said, pushing the chessboard aside.

Hermione sat next to Harry and gently wrapped an arm about his shoulders.  “Harry, we’re worried about you.”

“I’m just tired, that’s all.”

“Maybe you just need to get out a bit,” Ron said, plastering a fake smile on his face.  “Come with us to Diagon Alley later.  George and Lee are reopening Wheezes.  Actually, a lot of stores are reopening this afternoon, even Fortescue’s.”

Harry smiled at Ron’s blatant attempt to entice him with ice cream.  “It’ll be crowded and I’m just not ready to face everyone.”

“It’s been a month, Harry,” Hermione said gently.

“I know.  I can’t explain.”

“I think you’re depressed,” she said.

“I’m just dealing with the letdown.  It was so crazy and hectic right after.  Now I’m just trying to settle in, find a rhythm.”

 “I think it’s more than that,” Hermione persisted.  “I think… maybe you should talk to someone, a Healer perhaps.”

“Hermione,” Harry whined.

“Really, Harry, people are getting on with their lives,” she replied, keeping her tone soft.

Harry looked to Hermione and then to Ron, who simply shrugged his shoulders.  “That’s just it.   Everyone’s lost someone or something.  Is the Weasleys’ pain over losing Fred less than mine, or Ollivander’s from being tortured, or anyone?  I can’t face them.  I can’t…”

“What?” Hermione begged him to finish.

Harry’s face went dark and his eyes watered.  “I feel so empty right now.  I just need time, that’s all.  It’s so much to process.  Just give me time.”

The three of them sat in silence for a time. “You need to come back to Hogwarts with us,” Ron stated boldly, breaking the quiet.

“Not this again,” Harry said, clearly irritated.

“Fine, Harry.  We’ll give you time,” Hermione said softly and then rested her head on his shoulder.


***---****---***----***

A week later, Harry left the confines of number twelve, Grimmauld Place to visit Andromeda and Teddy again.  He’d had several visits from Hermione and Ron but still wasn’t ready to face the rest of the world.  Harry held and cooed to the baby while Andromeda took a nap.  He stayed for dinner, which they ate in a comfortable silence.

After Andromeda had put Teddy in his cot for the night, she found Harry in the sitting room staring into the fire.

“You don’t look like you’re doing too well.”

“I’m all right.”

“Your friends are worried.  They say you sleep all the time.”  Harry stared at her, somewhat surprised. “This is your fourth visit here, but you haven’t gone anywhere else, have you?”

“Teddy’s my godchild.  I’m going to be there for him, the way Sirius couldn’t be there for me.  He’s not going to grow up like I did.”

“No he’s not,” Andromeda said gently.

“Oh, no, of course not.  I just meant...”

“I know, Harry.  You need to think about yourself as well.”

Harry nodded.

***---****---***----***

The Hogwarts owl arrived late one evening.  Headmistress McGonagall was requesting that Harry meet with her in her office tomorrow.  Harry’s terse reply requested that she come to Grimmauld Place.  She arrived ten o’clock the next morning with a large box in hand.  Harry quickly took it from her and led her to the kitchen.

“Thank you.  It’s not something that you can miniaturize,” she said, taking a seat at the table.

“Oh?” Harry asked curiously as he set the box on the floor.  “Tea?”

“I’d love some.  How are you, Harry?”

“As good as can be expected, I suppose.  And you?” 

“We’re all busy getting ready for September first.  I must say I was surprised to hear that you weren’t joining your friends.”

“I need some time off, I think,” Harry replied, hoping that she would drop the subject.

When the tea was poured and they were both settled in, the Headmistress pulled out a rolled piece of parchment from her robes.  “I found this in my office.  Well, I suppose it was Severus’ office at the time.”

Harry looked up from his tea at the mention of Snape.  “What is it?”

She opened the parchment. “It’s his will.”  She took a sip of tea.

“He left me something?”

“Two things, actually, and they’re in the box.” 

She gestured to the box so Harry went over and opened it.  Inside was the Half-Blood Prince’s potions book Harry had used during his sixth year and a Pensieve.

“Is that Professor Dumbledore’s Pensieve?” Harry immediately asked.

“Yes.  From what’s written in the will, Albus left it to Severus with the understanding that he should pass it on to you after the defeat of Voldemort.” 

“Pretty optimistic, wasn’t he?” Harry chuckled then asked, “Is there anything else in the will? About me or my mother?”

“I’m sorry, there’s not.  In fact, you’re the only named person.  Severus left the remainder of his estate in trust to Hogwarts.”

“Oh.”

After the tea was gone she gave Harry a firm hug and left him alone with his thoughts.

***---****---***----***

It was a Friday when Hermione came to break Harry’s self imposed isolation.  It was an intervention of sorts.  She told him that under no circumstances was she going to leave him in the Black house alone with Kreacher even if the elf’s disposition had improved.  She informed him that he would have company in one hour so he’d better shower and get dressed.

She didn’t lie.  An hour later Ron came with Ginny, Luna, Neville, Dean and Seamus in tow.  They were carrying what Harry could only describe as a mountain of Chinese take away.  It became a Friday tradition, although sometimes they would cook all afternoon instead of buying take away.  The company was pleasant and it felt good to see his friends talking and seemingly getting on with their lives.  They were all going to finish school and they gently prodded Harry to change his mind. 

Still, Harry felt that he was on the outside looking in through a frosty window.  His side was cold and his breath steamed in the air while his friends were inside by the warm fire basking in its glow.  Deep down he knew they were trying to reach him, but he just couldn’t seem to want to grab hold.  He couldn’t go inside. 

The worst was Ginny.  Perhaps Ron had been right to yell at him about it.  Maybe he had given her false hope.  Maybe he had led her on.  He kept her at arm’s length and he could tell that she knew.  She said nothing, but he could sense that she understood.  Harry wasn’t sure if that guilt hurt more or less than any of the other thousand emotions that he had been feeling.

***---****---***----***

“My sister came to see me today,” Andromeda said, her voice void of any emotion, before taking a quick sip of tea.

“Narcissa Malfoy?”

“Yes, first time in… well twenty-five years at least.”

“Why did she come?”  Harry had heard that Lucius and Draco had been sentenced to Azkaban along with any of the surviving Death Eaters.  She had never taken the Dark Mark and was free also based on Harry’s testimony that she had lied to Voldemort for him.  His testimony also helped to lessen her husband and son’s sentences.  They were each given only five years.  Most other Death Eaters had received life sentences.

“She’s been thinking about some things.”

“I can imagine,” Harry snorted.

Andromeda smiled, but her eyes were sad.  “She asked that I speak to you on her behalf.”

“About what?”

“She fears that Draco will not survive Azkaban.  He’s young and…” She hesitated.

“What?”

“Harry, I’m sure you can imagine what could happen to a young and pretty boy like Draco in prison.”

“Oh.”  Harry paused and seemed to struggle with the idea.  “What does that have to do with me?”

“Harry, realize that he’s my nephew and she’s my sister, no matter how estranged.  I’m going to pass along the information and what you do with it is solely up to you.”

“What?”

“The Ministry has been granting some of the colluders with the Death Eaters a probation of sorts.  If they live with and are chaperoned by wizards or witches acceptable to the Ministry.”

Harry vaguely remembered reading something about it in the Daily Prophet.  He nodded for her to proceed.

“Based on his crimes, Lucius would be ineligible, but Narcissa believes that Draco would be if the right person came forward on his behalf.”

“Me?” Harry asked in astonishment.

“Actually she asked me first, but I simply can’t, not with Teddy.”

“Of course you can’t.  Malfoy can’t live with you.”

“So now she’s asking you.  Actually, she told me to say that she’s begging you.”

“I… I…” Harry stammered.  “I need to think about it.  What do you think?”

“I won’t pressure you on this.  Why don’t you tell me how you feel about it?”

“She did help me, but I had already saved Malfoy’s life.  I hate the stupid git, but five years in Azkaban is a lot for being born a Malfoy.”

“And a Black,” she added for him.

“Still, I can’t imagine him as my flat mate.”

“He wouldn’t be your flat mate.”

“What would he be?”

“He would be yours.”

“My what?” Harry asked, still not understanding.

“Yours, Harry, your property.  In the case of family members, the probation is a matter of the family taking on the responsibility much like having a child.  However, since no family member can take him you will need to invoke an old wizarding law.  In this case, you would be making a Wizard’s Claim of Life.  You would be taking Draco as your…”

“What?  Servant?”

“Slave.”

Harry’s eyes went wide. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

“No, I’m afraid I’m not.  I’m also going to point out to you that Narcissa feels that belonging to you would be better than Azkaban.”

“For five years?”

“Forever.”

“What?”

“Well actually, as long as you wish.  He’ll be yours until you decide to set him free.”

Harry rapidly blinked several times and wondered when she was going to smile and tell him that it was all a joke.  Only she did no such thing and Harry was left to wonder about a world of life-debts, Unbreakable Vows, and Draco Malfoy as his slave.

***---****---***----***

The next day, Harry went to the Ministry for the first time since the end of the war.  He sought out Arthur Weasley and asked him every question he could think of regarding the situation.  Apparently the law Narcissa was referring to went back to a time when it was far more common for wizard factions to be at war.  Draco had been Voldemort’s servant and in Harry’s defeat of Voldemort he had the right to enslave any of Voldemort’s followers.  Arthur explained that if the ownership spell was valid, the owner had complete control over the magic of the slave.  He could limit it in any way, specifically to keep the slave from causing him harm.  In fact, there were many spells that could be used to affect a slave’s performance and behavior.  It was as frightening as it was intriguing.

“But why would you want to do this?” Arthur finally asked of him.

“I’m not sure.  It does sound barbaric, but Narcissa Malfoy seems to think it would be better for Draco than Azkaban.”

“Well, perhaps.  It is a very outdated practice, I can tell you that much.  Why would you do this for him?”

“I can’t explain it.  It simply feels like I should.  Perhaps I can give him a second chance.  Perhaps if I had been his friend…”

“What, Harry?”

Harry shook his head.

“All right.  But you must realize that with this comes great responsibility.  You would be responsible for his life, and that is not to be taken lightly.”

Harry nodded and in that moment made up his mind.  “Let’s talk to Kingsley.  Draco’s in danger every minute he’s left in Azkaban.”

The day after that Harry sat in Kingsley’s office with Arthur and a very gaunt looking Draco Malfoy.  Harry couldn’t help but think about just how fast things moved when the request came from Harry Potter and the Minister for Magic.

“Mr. Malfoy,” Kingsley said in a strong and formal voice, “you have now been apprised of Mr. Potter’s claim on your life.  Do you have any questions?”

Keeping his eyes on his lap, Malfoy shook his head.

To Harry this was the worst he had ever seen Malfoy and he’d seen him in some pretty horrific and frightening situations.  Perhaps Narcissa had been right about Azkaban.  “Malfoy,” Harry said softly.  “Look at me.”

Malfoy looked up at him with fragile eyes the same dull gray as his worn and dirty prison uniform.

“Your mother asked this of me, but I will not do it without your consent.  I’m giving you the choice.  You can come with me or go back to Azkaban.”

Malfoy didn’t even hesitate.  “I’ll go with you.”

“You understand what that means?” Harry asked, almost hoping Malfoy would change his mind.

Malfoy kept eye contact and nodded.

An hour later, they were sitting on the sofa in number twelve, Grimmauld Place, each drinking a glass of pumpkin juice.  Draco’s ankle was adorned with a thin metal cuff that appeared the moment Harry finished casting the claiming spell.  It was the link between them and how Harry would be able to control Draco’s magic.

“Thanks,” Draco said simply after he’d finished the juice.

Harry summoned Kreacher and introduced him to Draco.

“Mistress Narcissa’s son?” Kreacher asked in surprise.

Draco said nothing but eyed the house-elf with obvious curiosity.

“Yes,” Harry answered.

 Instinctively Kreacher inspected the magical cuff and even sniffed at it.

“Wizard slave,” Kreacher muttered.  “Filthy things.  Haven’t seen one in over a hundred years.”

Draco kept silent.

“But you’ve seen them?” Harry asked.

“To be sure,” Kreacher said enigmatically and then examined the fading Dark Mark still easily visible on Draco’s forearm. 

Harry suspected that they purposefully made the Death Eaters wear short-sleeved uniforms.

“Kreacher serves Harry Potter well, does he not?” Kreacher asked, confused by the situation.

“Yes, you do.  And you will continue to keep the house and serve me.  However, Draco will also serve me.  He was always good at Potions.  I think cooking may suit him fine.  I’m also going to be renovating some parts of the house.  I think it’s time.  He can help me with that as well.”

“As you wish, Master,” Kreacher responded, head bowed.

“You’ll keep an eye on him for me, won’t you?” Harry asked, hoping that this would satisfy the old house-elf.

“Yes, Kreacher will keep close watch for the Master as Kreacher has once before,” he said, raising his head with what Harry could only surmise was a faint smile.

Harry dismissed Kreacher, thankful that Draco being a descendent of the Blacks did not appear to be a problem.

“I suppose we should find you something to wear,” Harry said, standing.

“Anything you say, Potter.”

The response made Harry think that perhaps Draco thought this a game.  It of course was not, not in the least.

“You may call me Harry and I’ll call you Draco.  I’m sure it’s going to take some time to iron out the details, but make no mistake: I am taking this very seriously.  You are going to work and you are going to answer to me.”  Harry put a strong emphasis on the last word.

Draco looked panic stricken.  He froze and stared at Harry before answering.  “I’m sorry.  I don’t know…”

Harry took a deep breath and let it out.  “Just lose the attitude and be patient.  I’m trying to make sense of all this too, you know.”  With that he turned and headed up the stairs.  Draco followed.  Stopping at his own room first, Harry grabbed some of his clothes and then showed Draco to the empty bedroom across the hall.

“You can borrow these.  I’ll owl your mother and see about arranging for some of your things to be sent here.”

Draco looked up at Harry with sad eyes.  “Can I see her?”

“I’m sorry.  I really am, but part of the agreement with the Ministry granting your release specified that you were not to have any contact with your parents.”  Or maybe it was the spell itself, Harry wasn’t sure.  Everything was happening so fast.

To Harry, it looked as though Draco might cry.  Only he didn’t.  He steeled himself and grabbed the clothes from Harry’s hand. 

“You can shower if you like.  Bathroom’s to the left,” Harry said, gesturing out to the hall.

Draco nodded and quietly said, “Thank you.”

It was an hour later when Draco entered the sitting room, clean but still looking quite worn.  Harry’s pants were several inches too short on him.  Harry pointed his wand at them and they lengthened to fit.

“I have the letter to your mother written.  It was hard to figure out what to say.”  Harry tied the note to the brown owl’s leg.

“I thought your owl was white,” Draco said casually.

Harry paused for a moment then replied, “Hedwig was killed last year.  This is Calliope.”

“Sorry.”

It sounded sincere.

Just as Harry shut the window after letting out Calliope, the front door burst open as Hermione shouted, “Have you lost your mind?”

“Hello to you too,” Harry said dryly.

“Harry, please tell me it isn’t true!” Hermione yelled after him.

Both Hermione and Ron followed Harry into the sitting room where their eyes immediately met those of a frightened Draco Malfoy.

“Well at least we know my dad wasn’t having us on,” Ron said, trying to break the tension.

Hermione gaped.  Harry could tell her brain was running a mile a minute searching for the right words.

“Save it,” Harry said.  “Everything you’re about to say, I’ve already thought of.”

“No, I don’t think that’s true, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Hermione said with such ferocity that Ron backed away a step.

Harry shrugged his shoulders.

“Do you own Malfoy?” she asked.

“Draco,” Harry corrected.

“What?” she asked in confusion.

“Call him Draco and yes, he belongs to me.”

“You cannot own another human being, Harry!” She was livid.

Harry glanced over at Draco who was staring at his hands in his lap.

“It’s done, Hermione,” Harry said quietly.

“You have to set him free,” she urged.

“No.”

“No?  You can’t be serious about this!”

“I am.  Besides you said you were worried about me being alone after you went back to school.”

“Taking on a Death Eater slave is not what I had in mind!”

“Let’s just all calm down,” Ron said more for Hermione’s benefit than anyone else’s.

“I will not calm down!  Slavery is horrible and cruel.”

“I’m going to help him,” Harry said, his voice matter-of-fact.

“You can’t be serious.”

“I’ve already told you, I am.  He’s going to work for me and maybe… well maybe things will change; maybe he’ll change.”

Hermione scowled at him.  “He’s not your responsibility.”

“Oh, but he is.  It’s done, Hermione.  You can either help me—”

“Help you?”

“Actually, I was hoping you could help me find some books on the subject.  There are supposedly spells and other things that I can use.”

Ron chimed in, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard about that.  Fred and George were always trying to figure out how to use them on me.”

“Missing the point, Ron,” Hermione said through gritted teeth.

“Sorry,” Ron mumbled.

As if in some bizarre and absurd dream, Harry had leftover sandwiches for dinner with Ron, Hermione and his slave Draco. 

After dinner, Harry sent Draco to his room and had to listen to Hermione fume for several hours.  They discussed and discussed until they were all discussed out.  In the end, against her better judgment, she agreed to go to Flourish and Blotts with him in the morning.

Harry peeked in Draco’s room on his way to bed.  He could distinctly make out the sounds of crying.  It sounded much like when he found Draco in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.  He closed the door and went to bed.  Harry’s dreams were filled with images of Voldemort looming over Lucius Malfoy in the Shrieking Shack.

***---****---***----***

The next morning Harry showed Draco how to make eggs, sausages and toast.  An owl arrived from Narcissa Malfoy sending her love to Draco and regrets that she couldn’t see him.  She also mentioned that she would pack a trunk of Draco’s things.  Harry sent Kreacher to pick it up and let Draco have the rest of the day to unpack and settle in while Harry went to Diagon Alley with Ron and Hermione.

Harry had to listen to Hermione complain about his immoral and unethical behavior all day long, but she proved herself useful when she found two books on ancient family magic that included sections regarding wizard slaves.  He also found three cookbooks to take home for Draco.  Wizard cookbooks had great moving photographs of the dishes being prepared.  Harry really hated Kreacher’s cooking and hoped that this would be an improvement.  Ron helped by finding a home improvement book.  They stopped off at Ollivanders and then visited George and Lee before having a late lunch at the Leaky. 

Hermione tried to talk Harry into letting her and Ron come home with him for the evening, but he asked them to give him a few days to adjust. 

“Friday’s your birthday party,” Ron reminded him.  “Mum’s expecting you at the Burrow.”

“I don’t think I can—” Harry began to make an excuse.

“Oh, no!” Ron said firmly.  “You tell her to her face.”

“Fine, I’ll be there, but give me ‘til then to settle in.”

Hermione nodded reluctantly and Ron clapped him on the back before they Disapparated. Harry Apparated home with his parcels to find Draco in the kitchen eating a sandwich.

“Hi,” Harry greeted him nervously and set the parcels on the table.

“Hello, I hope this is all right.  I didn’t know when you’d be back.”

“I told you, Draco, you live here now.  Do your chores; make yourself at home.  Only my bedroom is off limits.”

Draco nodded.

Harry took out the cookbooks and placed them in front of Draco.  “I found these for you.”

Draco nodded and appeared to be holding back his words.

Harry continued, “Hermione also thought that—”

“I don’t care what that Mudblood thinks!” Draco snapped.

In the blink of an eye Harry had his wand out and cast a Stinging Hex on Draco so intense that it knocked him out of his chair.

From the floor Draco looked up, his eyes full of pain and fear.

“Never call her that!  Never use that word!”  Harry stood over Draco with his wand still outstretched.

Draco nodded.

Reaching down, Harry seized Draco by the collar and easily pulled him to his feet.

“I don’t think you quite get it,” Harry snarled in Draco’s face.  “You are mine.  This isn’t some rich boy retreat.  You will follow my rules and you will behave or so help me I will use every spell at my disposal.  Did you know there are spells I can use that can make you completely subservient?  You would voluntarily punish yourself every time you disobeyed or dishonored me.  If you even thought a bad thought about me or my friends, you’d be banging your head and ironing your ears like a house-elf.”

Draco gulped and took a deep breath through his nose.  Harry released him and roughly shoved him back onto the kitchen chair.

“Hermione,” Harry said more calmly, “suggested that I pick you up a wand.  I can ward it to only perform specific spells.  She thinks that it’s cruel for me to leave you without any magic.  I think she’s right.  Only you haven’t earned it yet.  So I’m going to wait a few more days.  You’re going to earn your privileges and magic is a privilege.  Are we clear?”

Draco nodded.

“Say it!” Harry yelled.

“Yes,” Draco responded, his voice quivering and his eyes welling with tears.

“Good!”  Harry grabbed the rest of the books and wand box then stomped off to his room.  He spent the rest of the evening skimming through his new books in a conscious decision to avoid Draco.  He was certain that if he saw the git, he’d punch his lights out.

When Harry came to the kitchen the next morning, coffee, toast and a pristine spinach omelet were ready for him.  Draco served him without saying a single word and then set about organizing the kitchen.

“This is pretty good,” Harry said with his mouth half full of eggs.

“That’s the fourth one I made.  The first two were inedible.  I ate the third.  It was messy but tasted fine.”

“Well, practice makes perfect.”

Draco shrugged then hesitantly approached Harry.  “Is there anything else besides the kitchen that I’m supposed to be doing?”

“Actually, yes.  Today I’m going to start emptying out that small bedroom next to mine.  I’m planning to make a bathroom like the Prefects’ bath.  Well maybe a little smaller.  I’m going to need some help.”

“All right.  That’s pretty ambitious of you, Potter.”

“Harry,” Harry corrected. “And the book has pretty detailed instructions.”

“Oh.”

“And you should look through those cookbooks and see what you’d like to try first.  Just give a list of whatever you need to Kreacher.  He orders the groceries for delivery.”

They spent the day together barely speaking but a few casual words.  They emptied the spare bedroom then spent most of the afternoon in the study reading.  For dinner, Draco made slightly overcooked spaghetti with marinara sauce from a jar. 

The following two days were fairly similar.  They each worked on their respective projects, ate together and talked as little as possible.  Harry could tell that Draco was hesitant to say anything.  Harry also gave Draco the project of reorganizing the library in the study.  Draco appeared to enjoy going through the books and putting them into groups by subject matter.

Draco’s coloring had improved a little since Azkaban and Harry began to wonder what had happened there that would make Draco choose a life of slavery as an alternative.  Harry watched Draco closely.  Mostly the young man was quiet and kept his feelings hidden, but sometimes his guard was down and Harry was almost certain that the expression on Draco’s face was the same one he saw in the mirror every morning. 

Harry knew Hermione was right.  He was depressed.  He had no idea what the future might hold and Harry couldn’t help but think that Draco was probably feeling the same.

After breakfast on Friday, Harry gave Draco the servant wand.  He had already spelled it with the ability to perform about fifty or so personal and household spells and charms. 

“Thank you,” said Draco as he gently reached for the wand.

“Remember, magic is a privilege.”

Draco nodded.

“Try it out.  Summon something,” Harry commanded.

Accio cup,” Draco called out and his empty teacup flew across the room and into his hand.

Harry looked on and saw a faint smile form on Draco’s lips.  It was the first one he had seen since…well, since a very long time ago. “Good?”

“Yes.”

“Any problems with the wand or if you need a specific spell added, let me know.”

“All right.”

“Oh, this afternoon I’m going over to the Weasleys’.  They’re having a birthday party for me,”  Harry added as an afterthought.

“It’s your birthday?”

“Umm, yeah.”

“Happy birthday,” Draco said softly then headed up to his room.

***---****---***----***

The party had been much bigger than Harry had anticipated.  He drank firewhisky after firewhisky in an effort to stand so many people.  It was after midnight when Ron and Hermione stepped into the Floo to go home.  He was singing Weasley is our King as they dragged him up the steps.  Draco popped his head out his door to see what the commotion was all about.

“Is he drunk?” Draco asked.

“Very,” stated Harry, then laughed hysterically.

“Actually, we’re all a little drunk,” Hermione admitted, her face flushed.  “Help us get him into bed?”

Awkwardly they maneuvered Harry to the bed.  Draco sat on the edge of the bed next to Harry and removed his shoes.  Ron staggered back to the doorway.  Hermione giggled.

Harry called to them and slurred, “You guyshare drunk.  You batter spentanight here.”

“We were planning to spend the night anyway,” Ron answered.  Hermione took his hand and they left the room smiling sappily at each other.

Draco started to stand when Harry grabbed his wrist tight.  Their eyes met and they held each other’s gaze for an intense minute then Harry whispered, “You haf sush pretty eyeshh.”  Harry watched Draco blush then let him go.  He closed his eyes and the last thing he heard was the sound of Draco’s footsteps fleeing the room.

In the morning, Draco cooked breakfast for the three extremely hungover partygoers.  “If you let me set up a Potions lab, I could brew Hangover Potion for you to have on hand, or whatever else you might need.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Harry replied.  “We can set something up in the basement later today.”

They spent the weekend pooling their school Potions equipment, setting up the lab and scouring the library for Potions books.  By Sunday night, Draco had brewed his first batch of Hangover Potion and a batch of Pepperup Potion.

On Monday, Harry returned to his bathroom project and Draco continued to experiment in the kitchen.  The week passed quickly and it wasn’t until Hermione dropped by Thursday evening to check on him, that Harry realized that he had his standing dinner with friends the next night.

Harry summoned Draco.  He had found the spell in one of the books that worked with the anklet, compelling Draco to come to him when the non-verbal spell was performed.

Draco looked uncomfortable when he entered the kitchen.  Absolutely mortified, Hermione held her teacup so tightly that Harry was certain it would shatter.

“Draco,” Harry said in a casual tone, “on Fridays my friends usually come over for dinner.  I’d like you to cook.  Whatever you’ve been working on is fine.”

“All right,” Draco answered slowly.  “How many are you?”

“Um, three, five, seven,” Harry counted out loud, “eight, including you.”

“All right.”

“Just give Kreacher a list of what to get in the morning.”

“Is there anything else?” Draco asked, obviously trying to keep his temper in check.

“That’s all, thank you.”

Hermione waited until Draco was out of earshot before yelling, “Harry James Potter, I don’t believe you!”

“What?”

“You know what.”

“Hermione, you’re going to have to face facts.  Draco is my slave and more specifically my cook.  Actually, I think he likes it.”

“Likes being your slave?” she asked in disbelief.

“No, cooking.  I think he likes cooking,” Harry said, looking smug.

For Friday dinner, Draco cooked chicken with lemon and capers, roasted red potatoes and a vegetable medley.   He declined to join the group but Harry knew that he was listening from the stairwell as Harry awkwardly explained to Luna, Ginny, Neville, Seamus and Dean how Draco had become his slave nearly two weeks ago.  It took five bottles of wine before everyone relaxed and settled into their old routines and conversations.

After everyone had left, Harry staggered up the stairs and was about to go into his own room but then abruptly turned to Draco’s.  He knocked quietly.

“I’m up,” Draco said sleepily.

Harry opened the door and took two steps inside.  For a moment he studied Draco in the moonlight streaking through the open window.  “I wanted to thank you for dinner and tell you that it turned out very well.  Everyone thought so.”

“That’s rich,” came Draco’s snide remark.

“What?”

“I’m your slave, Harry, which you’ve made perfectly clear.”

“So that means I can’t be nice?” Harry raised his voice a little and stepped toward the bed.

“Why bother?” Draco said, sitting up.

“Because, I can still be nice to you.  We can still be kind to each other.  Sure we have our roles, but that doesn’t mean—”

 “Of course it does.  Fuck you and fuck your Gryffindor fucked up ideals.” 

Harry drew his wand and pointed it at Draco who immediately began to choke and gasp for breath.  Harry walked over to the bed and knelt down so that they were face to face.

“You have no idea how fucked up I can be.” 

He released the spell on Draco and stormed from the room.


***---****---***----***

August passed in a blur.  Draco and Harry barely spoke and maintained a tense ceasefire.  Draco honed his cooking skills and Harry installed magical plumbing and bathroom fixtures.  Harry also paid several visits to Andromeda and Teddy but never left the house otherwise.  Hermione and Ron often dropped by and tried to coax Harry out to no avail.  They still had their Friday night dinners for which Draco cooked and then hid in his room. 

On the last Friday before September, Harry pulled Ginny aside and told her not to wait for him. 

“Don’t worry, I’m not,” she said.  “Take care of yourself, Harry.”

Despite Ron’s and Hermione’s urging, Harry couldn’t bear to go to King’s Cross to see them off so they said their goodbyes the night before.  He promised Hermione that he would write and he gave his Firebolt to Ron.  He refused to take it until Harry insisted it was only a loan and that Ron could return it after the school year.

Harry spent September first getting drunk on firewhisky in the study while reading through Snape’s Advanced Potion-Making margin notes.  He kept looking for some sort of insight into the man who had dedicated his life to protecting him, all the while making sure to inflict as much misery as possible.  The guilt that so many had died while Harry survived was never far from the front of his mind and Snape’s gruesome death had often been the subject of the nightmares that plagued him. 

Harry eventually emerged from the study to find Draco in the sitting room, reading one of his cookbooks. 

“Are you drunk?” Draco accused.

“What’s it to you?” Harry snarled.

“Well I’d rather be on the Hogwarts Express today too, but I didn’t have a choice.  What’s your excuse?  Please don’t tell me you’re here on my account.”

“Don’t flatter yourself.  I made my decision before you came into the picture.”

“So why aren’t you on that train?  You should be returning to your hero’s welcome and your Weasliette and your happy fucking ever after.”

“Shut up!”

“And instead you’re here, drunk in the middle of the afternoon and shouting at me.  Pathetic, Potter!”

“Shut up!”

“I bet Dumbledore’s rolling in his grave right now.”

“Shut up!” Harry seized Draco by the collar and punched him across the jaw, sending him into a heap on the floor.

“See what you made me do,” Harry said, slightly calmer and shaking out his hand.

“Right,” Draco drawled out in sarcasm.  His cheek was red and there was a cut along his lip that was slowly bleeding.

“Here,” Harry said, pulling out his wand, “let me heal that.” 

He reached for Draco’s face. 

Draco flinched. “Don’t touch me.”

“Now you’re just being stubborn.  Let me heal it.” Harry slowly extended his arm and took Draco’s chin gently in his hand.  Draco didn’t pull away and remained still while Harry cast the healing charm. 

Harry inspected his handiwork and slowly brushed his thumb along Draco’s fine smooth skin.  Since the days of obsessing over Draco’s activities sixth year, Harry had always felt it.  He’d felt it when he couldn’t let Draco die in the Room of Requirement.  He’d felt it when Draco clutched him tight as they flew to safety.  Harry had even felt it when he’d agreed to claim Draco’s life.  But now, touching Draco’s cheek he knew it, knew it and recognized it as something real and not just some absurd fleeting feeling that he could deny and bury deep in his subconscious.  The bile rose in Harry’s throat.  He quickly released Draco and fled to the upstairs bathroom where he vomited no fewer than five times.  Harry spent the rest of the day hiding in his room.

On Wednesday Draco made spinach quiche for lunch.  It was pretty good.  Harry had never had quiche before.  Neither mentioned the previous day’s incident.

Thursday the tile shipment arrived and Harry spent the day beginning the tiling portion of the project.  Draco made a treacle pudding that night and Harry let it slip that it was his favorite.

Friday Harry spent the day with Andromeda and Teddy and then the evening drinking at the Leaky with George and Lee.  They had been begging him to come out with them for a while.  Harry’s guilt over Fred had prohibited him before, but he finally gave in, seeing that even George was getting on with his life.  Harry stumbled home after midnight.  He was in the kitchen drinking a large glass of water when Draco appeared in the doorway.

“I’m sorry, I’ll come back,” Draco said hastily and turned to leave.

“What are you doing up?”

Draco turned back to face Harry.  “Couldn’t sleep.  I came down for some warm milk.”

“Go ahead.  Don’t let me stop you.”

“No, I’m all right.  I’ll just go back to bed.”

“What is it?” Harry asked, somewhat agitated.

“Nothing.”

“What?” Harry asked more forcefully taking a step toward Draco.

“You’re drunk,” Draco said softly and took a step back.

“So?”

“Nothing.  I’m going to bed.”  Draco turned but Harry grabbed his wrist and spun him around.  “Let go of me.”

“Are you afraid of me?” Harry asked it sincerely, but through the alcohol it sounded menacing.

“No,” Draco whispered as he tried to wriggle his arm free.

Harry pushed Draco against the kitchen wall and pressed his body against him.  “Maybe you should be,” he whispered back and pinned Draco’s free wrist with his other hand.

“I spent a month in Azkaban.  Do you honestly think you’re worse than them?”

“Who?”

Draco turned his head to the side and clenched his teeth.

“Who?” Harry whispered in Draco’s ear.

Draco turned his head back to Harry and stared him down.  “Do your worst, Potter.”

“You know what it means to be a wizard slave, don’t you?” Harry kept the eye contact.  “You’re mine to do with whatever I want.  No one is coming to check on you.  There are no rules or laws that limit what I can do to you.  You’re here to serve me.”  Harry pressed his bulging crotch against Draco for emphasis.

Draco took a deep breath and did not respond.

A moment later Harry released him and walked away saying, “I hate you.”

***---****---***----***

The next few days were filled with quiet tension.  On Sunday evening, Harry found Draco brewing in the lab.

“What are you making?

“Calming Draught,” Draco said, not looking up from his chopping.

Harry walked over to the table and looked at the Potion book that was open.  He immediately noticed the notes in the margins.  “You took this from the study,” he said softly.

Draco looked up, his face nervous and guarded.  “Sorry, it was on the desk.  I don’t have my copy anymore.  I didn’t think you’d mind.”

“That’s okay, don’t worry about it,” Harry answered, sensing the fear in Draco’s voice.  “It was Snape’s,”  Harry added.

“All these notes are his?”

“Yeah.”

“Well that makes sense.”

Harry sat down and watched Draco work.  His long thin fingers moved with precise and delicate care as he peeled, chopped and crushed the ingredients.  He was the picture of concentration and Harry enjoyed the show.

“Why do you need Calming Draught?” Harry asked as Draco began to add his ingredients one by one into the hot cauldron.

Draco hesitated for a moment then replied, “It’s for you.”

“Me?”

“You’ve been… on edge.  I thought it might help.”

Harry said nothing but stayed to watch Draco brew.  It was late in the evening before Draco pronounced it done.

“Would you like to try it tonight?” Draco asked, filling a large phial.

“I think you should try it first,” Harry answered, strong and confident.  He could tell that Draco was about to say no, so he took out his wand and gave it a quick flick in the direction of Draco’s ankle.

The look on Draco’s face as he lifted the phial to his lips was one of sheer horror.  Harry thought the slave spells particularly cruel.  They were worse than the Imperius, where the person wasn’t even aware they were being controlled.  Draco was fully aware of what he was doing but could do nothing to stop it.  His body was compelled to obey his master completely.  Harry cast another spell on the anklet that would prohibit Draco from lying to him.

After Draco had finished the last drop, Harry walked over to him and said with thinly controlled anger, “Do you think I’m stupid?  Did you think I hadn’t read Snape’s notes?”

Draco stood still and his eyelids drooped slightly as the potion began to take effect.  Harry walked around his back and whispered in his ear, “That was my book almost the entire sixth year.  Did you think I wouldn’t notice that you stirred it an extra hour?  I noticed, Draco.  I notice everything about you.”

Draco began to lose his balance and fell back into Harry’s arms.  Harry asked him, “Why would you want to do this to me?  Why would you want me so relaxed that I could barely move?”

“I…I…” Draco stuttered.

“Tell me,” Harry commanded.

“You get violent when you drink.”

“I wasn’t drinking tonight.”

“I wanted to test it.  I thought I could use it to stop you.”

“Stop me?”

“You’ve been thinking about it.  I saw it in your eyes the other night.”

“Saw what?”

Draco closed his eyes as he whispered, “You want to rape me.”

“But how can I rape you?  You belong to me, Draco.  Rape implies taking someone against their will, but you have no free will.  My will is your will.” 

Harry held Draco tight and Apparated them to Draco’s bedroom.  He levitated Draco onto his back on the bed.  He could tell that Draco didn’t even have the strength to lift his head, so he walked around to the side of the bed.

“Look at me,” Harry commanded.

Draco turned his head.  He was obviously frightened and Harry found it oddly erotic.  Harry flicked his wand and banished Draco’s clothes.  Harry eyed his body with a predatory stare.

“You’re beautiful.  I bet none of those evil wretches in Azkaban ever told you that.  They had no idea what they had.  They didn’t appreciate it.”  Harry watched intently as Draco shivered and desperately tried to fight the effects of the potion.

Harry stretched out on the bed alongside Draco and brushed a stray lock of hair out of Draco’s eyes.  “So beautiful.  Even when I hated you I always thought you were beautiful.”

“Don’t do this,” Draco begged.

“Shhhhh,” Harry murmured before climbing atop Draco’s body and nuzzling at his neck.  “What did they do to you in Azkaban?”  Harry asked as he kissed across Draco’s neck and down to his chest.

“They hurt me,” Draco whispered and squeezed his eyes shut.

“I’m not going to hurt you.”  Harry tongued Draco’s left nipple and it began to harden.  “So responsive, even under the potion.  Leave it to Snape.”  Harry gave a little chuckle and then moved on to the right nipple.  “Were you a virgin?”

Harry looked up and saw Draco shake his head.  His eyes were still squeezed tight. 

“A virgin with men?” Harry asked more specifically.

Draco shook his head again.

“Look at me,” Harry commanded as he sat up, straddling Draco’s thighs.

In spelled compliance, Draco opened his eyes.

“I am,” Harry stated.  “It’s amazing what you can find out from books.”

Draco let out a little whimper of surprise.

“Isn’t it funny how my first time is going to be with you, or more likely that I will always be with you.  You see, Draco, I’m pretty fucked up.  I don’t think I’m fit for anyone out there and that leaves you.  But don’t think that it’s just because you’re my slave.  I think I’ve always wanted you.  I was just too stupid to understand it.”

“Don’t do this,” Draco choked out with great effort.

Harry leaned forward and kissed Draco’s mouth.  Draco didn’t respond at first but soon relented and began to move his lips in time with Harry’s.  Harry let his tongue explore as he claimed Draco’s mouth just as he had claimed his very life months ago. 

Harry began to kiss down Draco’s body once again.  “I bet they never kissed you in Azkaban.  Did they kiss you, Draco?”

“No,” Draco whispered.  “Please don’t,” he said when Harry had kissed down to his stomach and hovered above his erection.

“Seems your nipples and your mouth aren’t the only parts of your body left responsive,” Harry chuckled.

“Harry, this isn’t you.  Don’t do this,” Draco pleaded.

“What do you know about me?” Harry snapped.

“Please don’t,” Draco said in utter desperation.

Harry still had his wand in hand.  He waved it and spelled away his own clothes.  He then covered Draco’s body with his own.  “You feel so good,” he whispered into Draco’s neck as he experimentally ground his erection against Draco’s.   “I’ve never been with anyone like this.  I’ve never wanted anyone like this.”

Once more Harry kissed down the length of Draco’s body and knelt between his legs.  Harry then cast a lubrication charm on Draco’s arse and pulled up his legs, pushing his knees to his chest.

“I want you so much,” Harry whispered and placed the wand down on the bed before gently sliding a finger into Draco’s arse.  Draco let out a soft moan.

Harry looked up to see tears streaming from the corners of Draco’s eyes.  A strangled, “Don’t,” came from his throat.

“Shhhhh, so beautiful,” Harry cooed and stroked the finger in and out several times.

Harry slid in a second finger and started to move them in and out, easily sliding them through the lubrication.  Harry guessed that because of the potion Draco was fairly loose already, so he pulled out his fingers and positioned his dick. 

Harry kept his eyes locked with Draco’s as he slowly pushed his way inside.  Draco bit his lip and kept shaking his head from side to side.

When Harry was fully sheathed he moaned, “You feel so good.  So tight.  So fucking perfect.  I’ve never…”

Tears began to flow more freely from Draco’s eyes as Harry started to fuck him.  It was slow at first, but Harry quickly lost control and began to fuck Draco hard and fast.  They were both moaning and grunting as their orgasms quickly approached.  Harry stopped moving and reached for Draco’s erection.  He stroked Draco with a firm grip and quickly brought him over the edge.

“So beautiful,” Harry whispered as Draco came with a loud cry.

Harry then began to piston his hips again and soon came deep inside of Draco.  Keeping the eye contact, Harry froze for a minute before rolling off and collapsing on the bed.  They were both asleep in minutes. 

Sometime in the middle of the night, Harry woke up.  He stared at Draco sleeping peacefully and his heart ached.  He wondered how after everything he’d been through, fought for, died for, this was what his life was to become.  He covered Draco with a blanket, went to his own room and fell back to sleep.

The next morning there was coffee and toast waiting for Harry in the kitchen, but Draco was nowhere to be seen.  Harry ventured down to the Potions lab just in time to see Draco banishing the remainder of last night’s brew.

Draco looked up at Harry and froze like a deer caught in headlights.

Harry asked him, “Did you have something to say?”

Draco shook his head.

“Brew it correctly next time,” Harry added before heading back upstairs.


***---****---***----***

Harry kept his distance for several days.  They ate separately and both continued to immerse themselves in their household projects.  Kreacher kept complaining about the ‘young wizard slave’ and it was starting to grate on Harry’s nerves.  By Friday he desperately needed to get out of the house so he spent the day with Andromeda and Teddy.   She never asked about Draco and he was ever thankful to her for that. 

It was late when Harry came home and he was about to go straight to bed when he heard crying coming from Draco’s room. 

Pushing the door open, Harry called out, “Draco?”

“Go away.” Draco sniffled and curled even tighter into a ball on the bed.

Cautiously, Harry approached and sat down on the bed.  Draco stiffened when Harry gently placed a hand on his shoulder.

“You’re mine, Draco,” Harry said softly.  “And it goes both ways.  As much as you serve me, I am responsible for you.”

“Please,” Draco begged, squeezing his eyes shut.  “Please go.”

“Let me hold you,” Harry offered kindly.

“Please go.”

“I’m not going to hurt you.”

“Maybe not now, but you have and you will,” Draco said and began to sob.

Harry pulled him up and into his arms.  Draco clung to him and cried on his shoulder.

“I can’t take much more of this,” Draco began to explain in between heavy sobs.  “It’s from one nightmare to the next.”

Harry rubbed his palm in circles over Draco’s back. “Tell me.”

“I thought that when the Dark Lord was dead that it was all over.”  Draco stopped and pulled back slightly to look Harry in the eyes.  “I’m glad you killed the bastard.  I know you think I deserve Azkaban, but I never believed in that sick twisted fuck.  He was going to kill me, my family.  He…” Draco wrapped his arms around Harry and broke down.  He cried and sobbed and wailed.

When it seemed to have subsided, Harry asked, “What happened to you in Azkaban?”

Resting his head on Harry’s shoulder, Draco answered, “They raped me, and not like you did.  They beat me and took me dry.  Everyday, one of them, a gang of them, the inmates, the guards, didn’t matter, they would beat me and fuck me into unconsciousness.  I was just some Death Eater fuck-toy to them.”

“Where was your father?”

“Another area, I suppose.  I never saw him or any other Death Eater for that matter.  They must have separated us all on purpose.  It didn’t matter that I never wanted to take the Dark Mark.  It didn’t matter that I tried to help you.  I know you don’t believe me, but I did.  I wanted him to die and you killed him.  You did it.  You killed him, using my wand, of all the ludicrous twists of fate.”

“Is that why you agreed to let me claim you?” Harry asked calmly, still rubbing circles on Draco’s back.

“No.” Draco hiccupped.  “I just figured anything was better than Azkaban, even being your slave.  Only I didn’t think…actually I didn’t think about it at all.”

Harry nudged Draco off of his shoulder and looked him in the eyes.  “Draco, you’re my slave and that’s not going to change.  I can’t even promise that I won’t hurt you, but I’ll try not to.  I’ll try to be fair, but I’ve made a decision.  I want you.  I want you to sleep with me.”

“When?”

“Whenever I want you to.  I’ll never be able to have a real relationship.  I’ll always be the boy who beat Voldemort.”

Draco shuddered at the name.

Harry continued, “I can’t ever hope to find a man to love.  I can’t even imagine the reaction the wizarding world might have to Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived-To-Be-Gay.”  Draco chuckled at the last remark.

“Draco, you belong to me and from everything I’ve read, that includes servicing my umm… sexual needs.  I promise that I’ll never do what those men in Azkaban did to you, but you are mine and you must submit to me.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Draco nodded. 

Harry pulled him back into his arms and held him close.  “And I promise to take care of you, always.”

After several minutes, they repositioned themselves so that they were lying under the covers with Draco’s back spooned against Harry’s chest.  They fell asleep and for the first night since the death of Voldemort, Harry didn’t dream.

When Harry awoke the next morning, Draco was already gone from the bed.  Harry stumbled to the shower wondering what the day would bring.

There was a pot of tea and a plate of blueberry scones on the table.  Draco was putting away the set of mixing bowls. 

“Good morning,” Harry said, taking his seat at the table.

“Good morning,” Draco responded and continued to tidy the kitchen.

“Are you feeling better?”

“I got up early and made some scones.  Try them and see if they’re any good.”

“I’m sure they are, but that’s not what I asked,” Harry said, pouring a cup of tea.

Draco turned to him.  “I can’t.  If I… well, I’ll cry and to be perfectly honest, I’m tired of crying.”

“Okay.”

Draco was about to leave the kitchen, when Harry asked, “Help me do some tile today?  It has to be done by hand and I don’t seem to be getting very far.”

Draco nodded.  “All right.  Come find me after breakfast.  I was going to read in the garden.  It’s a lovely morning.”

Harry let Draco have a few hours to himself before asking him to join him in the bathroom.

“Wow,” said Draco, looking about the large room with an enormous sunken tub in the middle.  The tiling on the tub was halfway complete.  “It’s taking shape.”

“Thanks.  What it’s taking is forever.”

They got right to work.  After working in silence for about an hour, Draco questioned, “Where were you yesterday?”

It was the first time that Harry could remember Draco asking him anything personal.  “I was visiting Andromeda Tonks,” Harry answered in full realization that it would spawn more questions.

“My aunt?” Draco asked, surprised.

“Yeah, she’s raising Teddy Lupin.”

“Who?”

“Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin had a son.  I’m his godfather.”

“Oh.  I didn’t know they had a child before they—” Draco stopped abruptly.

“Died,” Harry finished. 

Several quiet minutes passed.

“He’s your cousin,” Harry said as if he had just figured it out.  “Second cousin?”

Draco thought a moment.  “First cousin once removed.  Not that I’ve ever met them.”

Harry debated telling about Narcissa going to Andromeda regarding Draco, but then thought better of it.

“So why are you the godfather?” Draco asked with genuine curiosity.

They kept placing tiles and grouting them with their wands while Harry filled Draco in about the Marauders and his parents.  He explained about Sirius and how he’d come to inherit the House of Black.  Draco listened intently and every so often would ask a polite question.

After lunch, Harry took Draco to the tapestry room.

“My mom had a quilt that was similar to this,” Draco said as he traced his hand over the fabric.  “What’s this?” he asked as his hand found one of the scorch marks.

“That was Sirius.”

“Here’s me,” Draco said with his fingers drifting across his name.  “I suppose I’d be removed as well.”

“Why?”

“Wizard slaves aren’t technically part of the family anymore.  I don’t imagine I’m a Malfoy either,” Draco replied wistfully.   Then, as if it just occurred to him, he said, “I don’t have a family name anymore.  That’s why you started calling me Draco, isn’t it?”

Harry nodded and felt a tinge of pain for the sadness in Draco’s eyes.

Draco changed the subject.  “I’m going to review my cookbook.  I asked Kreacher to pick up some fresh salmon and I need to figure out what I’m going to do with it.”

“I think you’re doing really well, with the cooking that is.”

Draco shrugged.  “I suppose you were right.  It is kind of like Potions.”

Harry smiled and tried hard to remember the last time he had.  He couldn’t.

That night Harry summoned Draco to his room.   The room was dark except for four small candles set about the room.  Harry poured two shots of firewhisky and handed one to Draco who was clearly nervous.

“Just one… to relax,” he explained.

Harry watched the movement of Draco’s throat as he swallowed.  He also noted the shine of Draco’s hair had returned to what he remembered from school.  He really liked how it fell loose on Draco’s shoulders.  Harry took the glass from Draco and placed it along with his on the desk. 

Harry sat down on the edge of the bed.  “Come here.”

Draco took a steadying breath and then sat next to Harry, who immediately wrapped an arm around his back.

“Kiss me,” Harry whispered as he leaned his forehead against Draco’s.

The kiss was soft and closed mouthed, but it held promises, one from Harry that he would be gentle and one from Draco that he would obey.  Harry ended the kiss and edged himself backward.  He placed his wand next to him and sat up against the headboard.

“Take off your clothes.”  It was spoken gently, but was a command nonetheless.

Draco stood then paused for a moment before unbuttoning his shirt.

“Slowly,” Harry clarified.

Draco paused again and then slowly began working the rest of the buttons.  He let the fine linen fall off his shoulders and drop to the floor.  He kept his gaze on Harry as he unbuttoned his trousers and slid them down his hips and then he waited.

“All of them,” Harry said with a wide smile.

Slim fingers slid inside the elastic waist of his blue silk boxers before he pushed down.  Draco wriggled his hip a bit to get them to fall the rest of the way and then he stepped toward the bed, leaving his clothes behind.

Harry appraised, eying Draco up and down.  “So beautiful.”

Quite noticeably, Draco shivered.

“Come here, I’ll warm you up.”

Draco knelt at the bottom of the bed and then crawled across in cat-like fashion.  When he reached the other end, he swung one leg over Harry and straddled his thighs.  Harry wove his hand through Draco’s hair and cradled the back of his head, pulling him into a firm and eager kiss.  Their lips parted and their tongues entwined over and over.  Harry brought his other hand up to rest on the small of Draco’s back as the kiss grew in intensity. 

Harry finally ended it and pulled back to whisper, “I want you.”

Draco nodded but Harry could still see the apprehension in his expression.  Harry kissed him again and then rolled over to reverse their positions.  Harry relinquished his hold on Draco’s mouth and knelt up to remove his t-shirt.  He studied Draco’s face but could not read it.  Harry unbuttoned his jeans and slid them down, taking his boxers down with them in the process.  He maneuvered awkwardly but finally got them off.  Draco gave up a small laugh.

“It’s not like I have any experience,” Harry whined.

“I didn’t ask for your resume.”

Harry glanced down at Draco’s leaking erection.  “It doesn’t look like it’s going to be an issue.”

“Oh, we have plenty of issues, but that’s not one of them,” Draco said without any malice.

Lowering his body over Draco’s, Harry picked up where they left off with another demanding kiss.  The feel of Draco’s skin against his own made him dizzy with want.  He picked his wand up from the bed and cast a series of preparation spells.  Draco was far more tense than the week before so it took several tries and a bit of fumbling before he finally pushed the head of his cock inside.

“Take it slow,” Draco instructed in between heavy pants.

Harry nodded and gave Draco’s body time to adjust as he eased his way in deeper and deeper.  When he was completely sheathed Harry leaned forward and kissed Draco again, harsh and interspersed with heavy breathing.

“Put my legs over your shoulders,” Draco said, his voice low and full of desire.

Harry complied and stared deeply into hypnotic gray eyes.

“Fuck me already,” Draco demanded.

A sly smile crept across Harry’s lips.  He kissed Draco once more before pulling his hips back and thrusting forward.  He fucked Draco slowly and lasted much longer than he had the previous time.  Draco moaned louder and louder.  He grabbed his own cock and fisted himself desperately.

“You close?” Harry grunted out.

Draco responded by crying out and coming in thick spurts over his chest.  Harry came almost immediately after. 

After they were clean and their breathing back to normal, Harry said, “You can go now.”

Harry closed his eyes after Draco left the room and tried not to think about how much he wished that he could have asked him to stay.

***---****---***----***

It continued like that, Harry having sex with Draco two or three times a week.  Certainly Harry enjoyed the act and the release but he also liked the feel of Draco’s skin and the warmth of his body.  Harry tried to tell himself that it was only sex and payment in trade, yet there were times when they were simply touching or kissing when Draco would have a look in his eyes that made Harry believe there might be more.  ‘Sheer folly to contemplate’ was his mantra, but just the same, the idea was born.

With the exception of a weekly visit to Andromeda and Teddy, Harry stayed at home to work on the house.  They continued to remodel the bathroom and took some time to plant a small herb garden.  Draco insisted that fresh herbs would be better than the ‘rubbish’ Kreacher found at the market.  Draco experimented in the kitchen and in the Potions lab.  Harry insisted that Draco’s chocolate biscuits were the best he’d ever had.

They were sitting in the kitchen eating left over roast turkey sandwiches when a small gray owl pecked at the window.  Harry let the bird in, removed the small scroll, and fed it a treat before sending it on its way.  He took one look at the handwriting on the parchment, and tossed it into a small wicker basket in the corner.  The letter from Hermione joined the other unopened letters: three others from Hermione, two from Ron, and one each from Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Luna and Neville.  There were even two from the Ministry of Magic.

“Why don’t you answer them?” Draco asked.

“Not ready yet.”

“Who’d have thought the savior or the wizarding world would be hiding out.”

Harry shrugged and took a large bite of his sandwich.

“You should at least tell Weasley you’re alive so he doesn’t think that I’ve killed you,” Draco said casually.

“You couldn’t kill me.”

“Sure, the wand doesn’t work, but I could strangle you in your sleep,” Draco responded with a sly smile.

“No,” Harry said with a matching smile.

“Oh, you think you know me so well.”

“I didn’t say you wouldn’t kill me.  I said you couldn’t.  It’s part of the slave spells.  You can’t hurt me, not at all.”

Draco wrinkled his brow.

“Here.” Harry stood up and moved away from the table.  “Try and punch me.  Go on.  Draco, punch me.”

“Don’t think I won’t do it.”

“Go on, punch me.”

“Fine,” Draco said, standing. “Where?”

“Doesn’t matter, anywhere.”

Draco smiled then swung his fist at Harry’s jaw.  Just before he was about to make contact his fist diverted against his will and it threw him off balance.  He stumbled awkwardly to the floor.

“See?” Harry said, satisfied.

“But you’ve punched me,” Draco whined.

“You seem to keep forgetting the nature of the master-slave dynamic,” Harry said good-naturedly as he held out his hand to help Draco up.

Draco took it but muttered, “Git,” once he was back on his feet.

***---****---***----***

They were reading in front of the fire on a prematurely cold night when Harry looked over at Draco and out of the blue asked, “When was your first time?”

“My first time what?” Draco questioned without looking up from Snape’s copy of Advanced Potion Making.

“Errr...sex.”

Draco looked up and smiled.  “Actually I knew what you meant.  I just find it oddly amusing that you can bugger me three times a week and still be embarrassed to talk about sex.”

Harry blushed.  “Prat.  Well?”

Setting the book carefully aside first, Draco replied, “It was the Christmas holidays of our fifth year.”

Harry interrupted him.  “You were only fifteen?”

“Yes, and please hold all comments and questions until the end or else I’m never going to get through this.”

“Sorry.”

“Where was I?  Oh yes, Dom.  Dominic Paveaux is the son of a close family friend.  Sebastian Paveaux had been the French Ministry Ambassador for many years and their family came to stay with us that Christmas.  Dom was eighteen and very fit.  I had figured out the previous year that I liked boys as much as girls, well maybe more so.  Viktor Krum.” Draco let out a soft sigh.  “Need I say more?”

Harry nodded in agreement, taking delight in Draco’s animated storytelling.

“We stayed up talking late one evening and he kissed me.  I was absolutely interested so I invited him to my room and one thing led to another.  It was actually really nice.  We slept together three more times before he went back to France and I went back to school.” Draco’s expression changed from fond remembrance to deep sadness.  “That’s the last time I remember being with my parents as a family.  Well, being happy, anyway.  It pretty much all went to pot shortly after that.”

Without knowing why, Harry reached out and touched the back of Draco’s hand.

Confused, Draco looked up and said, “I blamed you for that.  Wrongly, I suppose.”  In an instant he hid his sadness with a fake smile.  “Now I have something I can really blame you for.”

Harry rolled his eyes and pulled away his hand.  “If you’d remember correctly, I gave you a choice.”

“Some choice.  No matter.  What’s done is done and now I get to ask you.”

“Ask me what?”

“About your first time.”

Harry could feel his face heating up.  “I told you that I…”

“Yes, yes, but nothing else? With girls?” Draco asked with curiosity.

“My first kiss was Cho Chang.  It was a disaster.  I think I should have known then.”

“And the Weasliette?”

“Don’t call her that,” Harry said gently.  “She was the second girl I kissed and that’s pretty much it.”

“Wow, I would have thought the entire Gryffindor dorm would have been tripping over themselves to be with you.”

“Hardly.  Besides I was a little preoccupied,” said Harry, pointing to his scar.

“Well I was a complete wreck sixth year and I still managed to fool around with Pansy and have the occasional one-off with Nott.”

“Nott?” Harry asked in disbelief.

“Yes, but we never fucked, we just traded blow jobs once in a while.”

“And what about seventh year?”

“Ah, that would be Kalac Prantz.  He was definitely a good fuck buddy.”

“Name sounds familiar.”

“Slytherin, one year behind us, and he was behind me quite a bit,” Draco said with pride.  “He also gave the most fantastic blow jobs.”

Harry could tell that he was blushing again.  He could also tell that Draco was taking the utmost pleasure in embarrassing him.  Not willing to let Draco get the upper hand, Harry asked, “And how are you at blow jobs?”

“I’m extraordinary.  Frankly, I’m surprised you hadn’t asked me yet.”

“I’m asking now.”

“Meaning?” Draco asked with an arched eyebrow.

“I’d like to find out.”

“Is that generally speaking or…”

“Right now,” Harry said, full of self-assurance.

“Lie back,” Draco said seductively, his eyes predatory.

Grabbing the throw pillow he had been resting against and placing it behind his neck, Harry made himself comfortable.  Draco took on the role of aggressor and climbed on top of Harry’s body.  He deftly unbuttoned Harry’s jeans and had them and his boxers pulled down around his knees in mere seconds. 

The instant Draco’s lips grazed across his hipbone, Harry gasped and propped himself up on his elbows.  He watched in awe as Draco licked and sucked across his stomach.  Every last drop of blood in Harry’s body seemed to be pouring into his crotch.  His cock grew larger and redder. 

Draco smiled in triumph.  He tongued at the slit and Harry’s cock jumped of its own accord.

“Oh fuck,” Harry moaned as Draco took the head in his mouth.  It was like bathing in liquid fire.  The vision of that blond head bobbing up and down between his legs was the most erotic thing Harry had seen in his life.  Draco sucked and his tongue swirled and his hand played with Harry’s bollocks.  The sight of those pink lips wrapped around his cock forced Harry to buck his hips up into Draco’s hot mouth.  Harry was even mesmerized by the soft controlled breathing that Draco was doing through his nose.

“Fuck.  Oh Fuck.  I’ve never—” Harry couldn’t speak any more.  He was panting and gasping for breath.  He wanted to watch, but he no longer had the strength.  He let his head fall back on the pillow and closed his eyes as Draco continued to suck and stroke and lick him to a mind-altering orgasm.  Throwing his head back, Harry came hard and didn’t see but heard Draco swallow.

As he caught his breath, Harry thought of how he’d be returning the favor in just a moment.  He closed his eyes and decided that if this is what life had in store for him then he would be quite content. 

The illusion was shattered when Draco stood over him and announced, “If you require nothing else, I’d like to retire for the evening.”

Harry gaped like a fish and struggled to form words that would not come.  By the time he had realized what happened, Draco had left the room.

***---****---***----***

September gave way to October, cooler winds and Molly Weasley knocking fiercely on the front door one Friday morning.  She greeted Harry with a warm hug and a stern warning for not answering her owls. 

Harry invited her into the kitchen for tea.  Draco was there tidying up the breakfast dishes.

“Oh,” said Harry.  “I don’t know if you’ve ever been properly introduced.  Molly Weasley, this is Draco.”

Draco awkwardly held out his hand for her to shake.  “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

Eying him suspiciously, she shook his hand.  “Yes, nice to meet you.”

“Can I get you some tea?” Draco asked pleasantly.

“No thank you, dear.  I can get it myself.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time in this kitchen.”

Harry winced but noticed that Draco did not seem to care.  He politely nodded and said, “Very well, I’ll leave you to your guest, Harry.”

When they were settled at the table with tea, Molly said, “I’m here to invite you to Sunday dinner.”

“I…” Harry began only to be instantly cut off.

“Unh, unh, unh, you’re coming and that’s that.”

Shifting uncomfortably in his chair, Harry took a sip of his tea.

“Ron and Hermione have written that you haven’t responded to their owls either,” Molly said, beginning to lecture.  “Now as much as I find some amusement in the irony that Lucius Malfoy’s son is your slave, you can’t be serious about keeping him.  You need to go back to Hogwarts.  You need to get on with your life.”

“I don’t want to go back to Hogwarts and I’m serious about keeping Draco.”

“But Harry—”

“Really.  Listen to me.  For almost my entire life, I’ve followed everyone else’s plans and prophesies.  I need to work it out for myself.  I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want and I don’t want to go back to school.  I’m not ready.”

“We care about you.”

“I know.  I’ll come Sunday, just no talk of what everyone thinks I should be doing.”

“All right, luv.  Whatever you need.”

Molly Weasley stayed another hour and they talked about Teddy Lupin and what was new at Diagon Alley.  She kept to neutral subjects, which Harry greatly appreciated. 

Harry spent the rest of the morning working on the bathroom then had pasta salad for lunch with Draco.  Well, to say he picked at the pasta salad was more accurate.

“You don’t like it?” Draco asked.

“No, it’s good.  I’m just not very hungry.”

“Are you all right?” Draco asked, sounding genuinely concerned.  “Was it Mrs. Weasley’s visit?”

“No.  Yes.  Maybe.”

“Quite definitive.  Are you always so precise?” Draco teased.

Harry rolled his eyes. 

Draco stood up, took his hand, and said, “Come with me.”

“What?  Where are we going?”

“Upstairs.  Just come on.”

When they reached the hallway outside their rooms, Draco let go of Harry’s hand and said, “Go in your room, take off your clothes and go lie down.”

“Huh?” Harry mumbled in complete confusion.

“I’m going to give you a massage, but first I need to get a few things from my room.  Go on,” Draco prodded him gently.

The idea had merit, so Harry complied by stripping off his clothes and lying face down on his bed.

Draco entered a few minutes later wearing only a pair of black silk boxers.  He closed the curtains then lit several candles and some incense.  Next he placed a small jar of oil on the nightstand and sat down next to Harry.  Draco began by lightly touching Harry’s back with his fingertips, causing Harry to squirm.

“That tickles,” Harry said, turning his head to face Draco.

“I want you to let go, Harry.  I want you to relax.  I want you simply to listen to the sound of my voice and enjoy my touch.  Okay?”

“Easier said than done.”

Draco smiled at him then reached for the oil.  When he opened it, a strong spicy smell filled the air.  It was nothing that Harry could recognize, but it was wonderful.

“Mmmmm, what is that?”

“It’s something I’ve brewed.  I used to make at when I was at Hogwarts too,” Draco said while pouring a good amount into his palm.

“What for?”

“It’s great for wanking,” Draco replied, rubbing the oil into Harry’s shoulder blades.

Harry giggled.

Draco continued to rub the oil into Harry’s back and shoulders.  “As much as the two to three times a week you can manage to suppress your guilty conscience to have sex with me is good, I am eighteen.  I need a good wank daily.”

“I wank in the shower,” Harry mumbled, somewhat embarrassed, but it was hard to care when Draco’s knuckles were so wonderfully kneading his muscles.

“Yes, that can be quick, clean and effective, but it simply won’t do if you want a good slow wank, one that gets your whole body tingling.  You need a steady stroke going with lots of oil and when you feel yourself beginning to lose it, you slide two fingers inside yourself and—”

“Holy fuck!” Harry moaned and thrust his hips against the coverlet.

“Sorry, I’m supposed to be helping you relax.  We’ll get to that part later.”

Harry could hear the smile.

“Promise?”

“I promise,” Draco stated then proceeded to work the knots out of Harry’s taut muscles.  “Let your body relax.  Clear your mind of all thoughts.  Picture yourself floating on top of calm waters.”  After several moans from Harry, Draco instructed, “Tell me if you’d like it harder or softer.  It’s your massage.”

“What you’re doing is perfect.” 

“Good.  Close your eyes and rest.  Picture yourself somewhere tropical, warm, light island breezes, the slow roll of the waves against the sand.”

Harry had never been touched so much and with such intimacy in his whole life.  It felt amazing and he surrendered to it completely.

When Draco had finished Harry’s back and arms, he went to the end of the bed and began to work the instep of Harry’s left foot.

“I like that,” Harry purred.

“Good,” Draco mused.  He massaged the right foot next before moving on to Harry’s calves.  Draco had been massaging for almost an hour when he finished up with Harry’s thighs and arse.  He leaned down and playfully took a small bite when he was finished.

“Hey!” Harry snapped, half laughing.

“Turn over,” Draco said, resting a hand gently on Harry’s hip.   When Harry hesitated, Draco laughed and said, “Nothing I haven’t seen before.”

Harry rolled onto his back to reveal his stiff cock leaking pre-come onto his stomach.

“Shall I massage that too?” Draco asked with a devilish grin.  “Would you like me to do you like I do myself?”

“I want to watch you first.”  Harry’s eyes locked with Draco’s.

In one swift motion Draco removed his boxers.  He was rock hard as well.  It made Harry smile.  Draco took the bottle of oil and then lay on his back next to Harry, who had turned onto his side, eager to watch.

Draco bent his knees up and rested his feet flat on the bed.  He poured a generous amount of oil onto his right hand before reaching for his prick. 

Harry licked his lips in anticipation.  The moment Draco touched his own skin, Harry let out a soft sigh. 

Slowly, Draco worked the oil over his erection and began to stroke from tip to base and back again.  He used his left hand to gently fondle his bollocks.  Draco closed his eyes and moaned as if in absolute ecstasy and spread his legs wider and wider.

Harry shifted restlessly as Draco worked himself over with a luxurious and indulgent rhythm.  He wanted to touch himself, but more than that he wanted to wait for Draco to touch him, to touch him like that, to make him feel that good.

“Fuck you’re gorgeous,” Harry whispered.

Draco’s steel gray eyes opened briefly and looked over at Harry before closing again.

After a good five minutes, Draco stopped and coated both his hands with more oil.  Harry bit his lip as he watched Draco resume stroking his cock while stroking his lubed fingers along his arse crack.  Harry gasped and Draco moaned as he slid his middle finger inside himself.  Absentmindedly, Harry started to stroke himself, but stopped a few moments later when he realized what he was doing.  He was going to wait even if it killed him.

Draco moaned louder as he worked in his index finger and began to fuck himself with two fingers.  His knees were now spread wide and his hips lifted up from the bed.  Faster and faster he stroked and fucked himself.  His breathing grew heavier and more erratic interspersed with loud moans and sighs.

“Come, Draco,” Harry urged.  “Let me see you come.”

A minute later Draco came in thick hot spurts across his stomach.  Harry couldn’t resist the urge to stroke Draco’s damp hair back off of his face.  Draco looked up at Harry and smiled. 

After his breathing had evened out, Draco asked, “Is that what you’d like?”

Harry nodded.

Draco coated both his hands in oil and knelt between Harry’s legs.  He touched Harry with the same slow methodical rhythm that he had used on himself.  Harry closed his eyes and basked in the feeling of Draco stroking his cock and fondling his bollocks.  He tensed a bit when Draco began to lightly press a fingertip against his virgin hole.

“Just relax,” Draco said, his voice soft and soothing.

Harry let out the breath he had been holding and willed himself to go with it, simply to feel.

Expertly, Draco worked in a finger and then two.  Harry was soon moaning and thrusting wildly into Draco’s hand.  He came quickly and hard, possibly harder than he could ever remember.

In some sort of post-orgasmic haze, Harry could vaguely sense Draco spelling the mess clean and guiding him under the covers.  He wanted Draco to stay but wasn’t sure if he had the energy to make a command.  He reached out and touched Draco’s wrist and was relieved when he felt Draco lift the covers and join him.  It was naptime.


***---****---***----***

On Sunday, Harry had dinner at the Burrow.  Percy, George, Bill and Fleur were there as well.  They kept the conversation light but would often interject that they were worried about him.  Harry had two glasses of wine with dinner and a shot of firewhisky with Bill and George afterwards.  He refrained from drinking any more as he had to be able to Apparate home.  The last thing he wanted was to have to spend the night.  The idea that it might be because he wanted to go home to Draco more than because he didn’t feel comfortable around the Weasleys was a tad terrifying.

The hugs and promises not to stay away were finished by ten and Harry could finally Apparate home.  He was pleased to find Draco waiting up for him in the kitchen drinking tea.

“How’d it go?” Draco asked as he took his empty teacup to the sink.

“Okay, I suppose.  It’s hard…being around them.”  Harry walked behind Draco and pressed his body against his back.  “But it’s you that I get hard around.”

Draco stilled as Harry gently pulled back his hair and kissed his neck.  A moment later, Harry spun Draco around and pressed their mouths together in a searing kiss.  He began to walk, steering them over to the kitchen table.  He turned him around once more and quickly tore down Draco’s pyjama pants.

“Bend over,” Harry said forcefully.

By the time Draco’s hands hit the table, Harry had his zipper down and his dick out.  He cast a quick lubrication spell and positioned the head of his cock.  He was desperate to be inside Draco.  He was desperate to feel anything besides the way he had been feeling.  He gripped the hips in front of him and fucked that sweet pale arse hard and fast.  Harry could feel the fire welling in the pit of his stomach as it twisted and burned.  The dishes rattled inside the shaking kitchen cabinets.  Draco let out a savage moan, spurring Harry to slam into him even harder. 

Suddenly over in the corner, the wicker basket of unopened mail burst into flames.  There was no way Harry could stop.  It was so good and he was so close.  He reached around with his hand, slick with sweat, and tugged at Draco’s erection.  A few strokes and Draco came over Harry’s fist.  His arse clenched down on Harry’s cock, and the tight heat sucked his climax right out of him.  Harry’s cry was hoarse and ragged as he came, giving one last brutal thrust.

Harry fumbled for his wand and put out the fire before collapsing to the floor.  Draco followed suit and they sat there panting for several minutes.

“That ever happened before?” Draco asked.  “Magic gone crazy?”

Harry shook his head.

“Should’ve read those letters when you had the chance.”

“Prat,” Harry said and leaned forward to capture Draco’s soft lips in a gentle kiss.

***---****---***----***

Harry could hear the banging of pots and pans and Draco’s cries of obscenities all the way in the bathroom upstairs.  Going downstairs to investigate, he found Draco rummaging through the large cupboard of cookware.

Draco looked up at him.  He was the picture of utter frustration.

“Having a bad morning?” asked Harry, glancing at the plethora of pots and pans strewn about the kitchen floor.

“Everything in this kitchen is from the dark ages,” Draco snapped.  “How can you expect me to work like this?  There isn’t even a soufflé pan.”

“Go get your cloak,” Harry said with a soft smile.  His green eyes filled with joy for the first time in months.

“What?” Draco mumbled, getting to his feet.

“Cloak.  We’re going out.”

Draco hesitated and stared at Harry curiously.

“Go,” urged Harry with a playful smile, and then summoned his own cloak from the hook by the front door.

Saying nothing, Draco headed upstairs and returned several minutes later.  Harry felt him tremble as he wrapped an arm around his waist to Apparate them to Diagon Alley. 

When Draco realized where they were he whispered, “I don’t think I can do this.”

“If I can, you can.  Besides, haven’t I told you that I’m rich?  Help me spend my money.”

They walked the block to Helga’s Housewares.  As they entered, Harry said, “Go to town.  Buy everything.  Let’s redo the entire kitchen.”

“Harry, you do realize the experience I have spending vast amounts of money is unparalleled.”

“I don’t doubt it for a second.”

Draco chose only the finest quality of every last pot, pan and kitchen gadget available to wizardkind.  He was most excited about the cappuccino machine.  Harry arranged for everything to be delivered in the afternoon.

They went for a short walk and had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron.  Tom gave them a small table in the corner.  It was mostly secluded, yet Draco kept nervously looking around.  The place was quiet and no one seemed to pay them any mind. 

“Why so nervous?” Harry asked.

“This is the first time I’ve been out of the house.  I wonder what people might think, what they might do if they see me with you.”

“I’ve thought about that too.”

“And?” asked Draco with an arched eyebrow.

“I’ve decided I don’t care.  I can’t care, not if I’m going to get on with my life.”

That night Draco made Harry a chocolate soufflé.  Harry swore it was the most delicious thing he had ever tasted in his life.

***---****---***----***

The next morning after breakfast, Harry packed a large bag, grabbed both their cloaks, and took Draco’s hand.  “Come on, we’re going out today.”

“Where?”

“It’s a surprise.”

Harry Apparated them to a stretch of shore not far from Shell Cottage.  In fact they could see the cliff from their vantage and Harry pointed it out to Draco.  They took their shoes off and went for a walk along the surf, enjoying the feel of sand in their toes and the cold numbing water on their feet.

Taking a blanket from the bag, Harry set up a place for them to rest and just listen to the sound of the waves crashing against the nearby rocks.

“Thank you for this,” Draco said, keeping his gaze fixed out on the water. 

“You’re welcome.  I think I needed this too.”

“I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed going outside.”

“I noticed that yesterday.  It dawned on me that with the exception of the herb garden and the yard, you don’t go outside and certainly haven’t left the house.  I’m sorry about that.  It was a mistake on my part.”

Harry wanted to kiss Draco, to hold him and run his fingers through his long blond hair.  He wanted to lie down with their bodies entwined and let the tide wash over them.  Only he did none of those things.  Instead, they sat next to each other not touching and shared the moment without words, without anything except silent companionship.

“Did you go to the beach when you were growing up?” Draco asked some time later.

“I never went anywhere.”

Draco looked over at Harry quizzically.

“I had a pretty miserable childhood,” Harry added.

“You, the Boy-Who-Lived?” asked Draco, in disbelief.  “I figured they threw a parade in your honor every weekend.”

“Hardly.”

Draco stared at him, questions burning in his eyes.

“Do you really want to know?”

“Yes.”

Harry explained about Dumbledore’s reason for leaving him with his Aunt Petunia.  He talked about her resentment of her sister only he didn’t understand that was what it was at the time.  He described Vernon and Dudley Dursley, the cupboard under the stairs, a life thinking that he was unwanted, unwelcome and a freak.

Draco was dumbstruck.  “You’re having me on,” he said when Harry stopped talking.

Harry stood and gathered their things.  “Come on, I’ll show you.”  He pulled Draco into his arms and took a moment to inhale the scent of the ocean on Draco’s hair before Apparating them straight to his bedroom.

Harry took the Pensieve from the bottom of his armoire and carefully set it on top of his writing desk.

“Is that a Pensieve?” asked Draco, approaching the desk.

“Yes.   Ever used one?”

“No.  I’ve never even seen one other than a photograph.  They’re quite rare.”

“This was Dumbledore’s.  He used it to show me memories from the past, to help me understand.”  Harry took a deep breath and lifted his wand to his temple.  Slowly he extracted a wisp of silvery liquid and deposited it into the Pensieve.  He repeated the process three more times.  “I think that should be enough.” 

When Harry took Draco’s hand, he looked up in confusion.

“It’s all right,” said Harry.  “Trust me.” 

Draco nodded and then Harry pulled him along into the Pensieve.

The image around them swirled and shifted until they were in the Dursleys’ living room.  Harry and Dudley looked to be four or five.

“That’s my cousin,” adult Harry said to Draco.

Dudley broke his toy truck then threw it at Harry’s head.  It obviously hurt and Harry began to cry.  Tears streamed down the young boy’s face.  Dudley laughed.  Adult Harry could feel the tears welling in his own eyes and was amazed that something he had accepted so long ago could still hurt him. 

Petunia came running into the room a minute later.  Dudley began to feign crying immediately and his mother gathered him in her arms and spared a moment to scowl at Harry with the broken truck next to him.  “Oh my poor Diddikins, did Harry break your toy?  We’ll go out tonight and buy you a new truck.”  Dudley wailed even louder. 

“Three new trucks,” Petunia cooed.  Dudley nodded and stopped crying.  Petunia then stood, yanked the still crying Harry by the arm off to the cupboard under the stairs and roughly tossed him in.

Adult Harry could feel Draco shudder next to him.  The scene changed to the same room, but now it was filled with a large Christmas tree and a mountain of presents.  Dudley, who must have been seven or eight, was opening them one by one and tossing them into a large pile.  Looking quite miserable, Harry sat in the corner alone.  Petunia came up to him and told him that they were leaving for Aunt Marge’s for the day and seeing as how she hated him, he would have to stay home alone.  Just before the scene began to shift again she could be heard telling him to go clean the kitchen.

A ten-year-old Harry was cooking eggs and bacon in the kitchen.  His uncle Vernon was yelling at him not to burn it this time, but then again his parents had been miserable failures so he didn’t expect him to be any good at anything.

The scene quickly shifted to the summer between Harry’s first and second year.  He was in his room petting Hedwig and Uncle Vernon was yelling obscenities at him as he installed bars across his bedroom window.  Adult Harry found it odd that it hurt him more to see his beloved pet than it did to see his twelve-year-old self being incarcerated.

The scene faded and Harry and Draco returned to Harry’s Grimmauld Place bedroom.

Draco was trembling and muttered, “I didn’t know.”

Damn it, Harry could see it in Draco’s eyes.  It was pity.  That’s not what he had meant to do.  He had been after understanding.  At least that’s what he had said to himself. 

***---****---***----***

Later that evening Harry was sitting on the sofa watching the fire when Draco came in with two mugs of hot chocolate.  He sat next to Harry and handed him one of the mugs.

“Thanks,” Harry said, accepting the proffered drink.

“You look like you could use some chocolate.”

Harry gave a faint smile and took a small sip.

“Was it difficult for you earlier?” asked Draco, staring into his mug.

“Difficult how?”

“To see your past like that?”

Harry gave one of his patented shoulder shrugs. “Maybe.”

“It would have disturbed the hell out of me.”

“It wasn’t pleasant, that’s for sure.  But I suppose I’ve come to accept it,” Harry said softly and put his mug on the coffee table.

“Have you?” Draco asked, capturing Harry’s gaze for the first time since the conversation began.

“Come here,” Harry said with obvious affection.

Draco set his mug down then allowed himself to be pulled into Harry’s warm embrace. 

“So beautiful,” Harry whispered.  They kissed and hugged and watched the fire while sipping hot chocolate for the rest of the evening.  At the end of the night Harry said nothing but gently tugged at Draco’s hand to lead him to his bedroom. 

They quietly undressed down to their boxers and climbed under the blankets.  When they were settled with Draco resting his head against Harry’s chest, Harry asked, “Is it wrong that I’m glad that you’re here?”

Draco sat up to look at Harry and answered, “Probably.”  Then he kissed Harry.  It was warm, open mouthed and honest.

After the kiss had run its course, Draco settled back down on Harry’s chest.  Harry closed his eyes and heard Draco whisper, “I think you’re beautiful, too.”

Resisting the urge to cry, Harry focused on the secure and warm feel of Draco’s skin against his own and the rhythmic sound of Draco’s breathing.

***---****---***----***

After their day at the beach, Harry began to get out of the house a few times a week with Draco.  Sometimes they went out shopping, or to dinner and once even to a Muggle movie.  Then one day, Harry took Draco along to Andromeda’s with him.

“It’s time you met your aunt,” he said simply and didn’t allow Draco to argue.

Andromeda opened the door and stared at the two of them in astonishment for a full minute before remembering herself and inviting them inside.

Harry awkwardly introduced them.

At first Harry worried that Andromeda looked upset but then she motioned to Draco and said, “Come here, child,” and pulled him into a fierce hug.

They had lunch and played with Teddy, who was beginning to crawl.

When the afternoon faded to dark, Andromeda made them both promise to come again the next week.  Just before they left Draco asked her to send his love to his mother.  She nodded with tears in her eyes.

***---****---***----***

Harry contentedly watched from the back steps as Draco tended his herb garden. When Draco turned around and clapped out his dirty hands, Harry said, “I think I’ve got the perfect way to get you clean.”

“Oh really?” asked Draco, walking over.

Harry nodded, smiling widely.

Catching on, Draco smiled back and asked, “It’s really finished?”

“Yep.”

“I didn’t think I’d live to see it done,” Draco teased with none of his old snark.

“Let’s take a bath,” Harry said, taking Draco’s hand and leading the way.

The water was warm and the bubbles plentiful.  It was as peaceful and relaxing as Harry had hoped it would be sitting there and thinking of nothing in particular.

“You truly outdid yourself, Harry,” Draco complimented from across the large Roman style tub.

“I’m pretty proud, if I say so myself,” Harry said then closed his eyes and let out a long sigh.

The water swished around him and when Harry reopened his eyes Draco was standing in front of him with a feral grin.

“Hello there,” Harry said with a smile.

Draco climbed onto Harry’s lap and put his hands on the edge on either side of Harry’s head.  “Hello yourself,” he said and experimentally rocked his hips up and down rubbing their pricks to hardness.

“I didn’t—”

“I know you didn’t.  I want you, Harry.”  Draco leaned forward and roughly kissed him.  Then he whispered in Harry’s ear, “You’ve been doing the spell wandlessly, haven’t you?”

Harry nodded.

“Do it now, Harry.  I want you now,” Draco said, the desire dripping from his voice like honey.

Harry whispered the lubrication spell.  Draco braced one hand on the top of the wall and took Harry’s cock in the other.  He lifted himself up and then slowly came down on Harry’s shaft.  Draco continued to work himself downward and when he reached the base, he buried his face in Harry’s neck and they both let out a soft moan.  It could have been minutes or hours that Draco languidly rose up and down on Harry’s cock.  Neither would have been able to say, but they came together and cried out each other’s names.

It was that night when Draco began sleeping every night with Harry.

***---****---***----***

On October 30th Harry and Draco were spending a quiet afternoon reading in the sitting room.   At least until Draco decided to climb onto Harry’s lap and start kissing him.

“You’re insatiable,” Harry declared in between kisses.

“You just need to try harder.”

“Believe me when I say I don’t think I could get any harder.”

Draco smiled and began to undo Harry’s jeans.  Fairly quickly, they both had their pants pushed down around their thighs and Draco had both their cocks in his talented hand.   Harry’s hand joined in and they were wanking together while snogging the living daylights out of each other.

Green flames burst forth from the fireplace and out stepped Hermione, followed in an instant by Ron.   They stared wide-eyed, mouths agape at Harry and Draco.  No one spoke.  No one moved.

When time seemingly started up again, Draco said, “Well, this is interesting.”

Harry slid out from under Draco and awkwardly pulled his pants back up.

“Harry!” Hermione exclaimed when she regained control of her power of speech.

“You could turn around for a minute,” Harry sneered at them.

“Sorry,” Hermione muttered, turning around.  She gave a light kick to Ron’s calf.  He was still in shock but managed to turn around.

Harry buttoned his jeans and looked over at Draco who was lounging with his cock still out and a huge smile on his face.

“Draco, please?” beseeched Harry.

“Oh, all right,” he said, standing and putting himself back together.

“Draco, could you give us some privacy?” Harry asked.

“And miss this?  Not on your life.”

“Draco,” Harry said more forcefully.

“Oh fine, I’ll go put on some tea.”

After Draco had left for the kitchen, Harry finally said, “It’s okay.  You can turn around now.”

Hermione whipped around and barked, “It is not okay.  What about this do you think is okay?”

Ron turned around more slowly and met Harry’s gaze.  He gave Harry a sheepish smile and said, “How’s your Obliviate, mate, because you need to get that image out of my head.”

Harry snorted and then Ron laughed and soon they were both laughing.

“It’s not funny!” Hermione shouted.

Ron was still laughing.  “Oh come on, Hermione.  It is.”

“Look,” Harry said calmly, “this isn’t how I wanted you to find out, but I’m glad you know.  I just didn’t know how to tell you.”

“Tell us what, Harry?” Hermione asked, calm and concerned.

“I can’t explain it; really I don’t even understand it myself.”

“What?” Hermione urged him.

“Draco and I are... involved.”

Hermione studied Harry carefully and seemed to be considering something.

“Is that what they call it?” Ron teased.

Hermione shot Ron a stern look then approached Harry. “It is good to see you.”  She flung her arms around him and he returned her big hug.  “I missed you,” she said.

“I missed you, too,” Harry said then looked over at Ron and added, “both of you.” 

As Hermione released him, Harry pondered why she had dropped the issue so quickly.

They took their conversation to the kitchen, where Draco was pouring tea and had set a plate of biscuits.  They settled down at the table and Harry gestured for Draco to join them.

“So what are you doing here?  Can you just leave school like this?” Harry asked first.

Hermione grinned and explained, “Oh Harry, we’re eighteen now.  We don’t need permission to leave.  We just had to let the headmistress know.”

“Besides,” added Ron, “we don’t have any Friday afternoon lessons.”

“So why are you here?” Harry asked again.

Hermione pointedly looked at Harry.  “We were worried about you.  You haven’t answered our letters and I know what a tough day tomorrow is for you.”

“I’m doing better, really I am.”

“I find that difficult to believe,” she stated and then glanced at Draco.

Harry didn’t reply.  They sipped their tea and Ron ate three biscuits before declaring, “These are really good.”

Harry said, “Draco baked them.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Not at all.  Draco makes the best biscuits,” Harry said with pride.

“So what have you been doing, Harry?” Hermione asked.

“Mostly working on the house and the garden.  I finished the bathroom.  Do you want to see?”

“Sure,” Hermione answered and they all stood.

“Harry,” Draco said evenly, “I’m going to start on the roast.  Are your guests staying for dinner?  There’s plenty.  Apparently Kreacher thinks he should buy enough food to feed a dozen people.”

“Would you like to stay?” Harry asked Hermione and Ron.

They both smiled and replied affirmatively.  Harry then led the two of them on a tour through the house.  First he showed them the new bathroom.  Ron and Hermione were most impressed.  Next he showed them the various rooms about the house that he and Draco had cleaned out and organized.  Finally, they went outside to the backyard and Harry proudly showed them Draco’s herb garden.  It had a partial greenhouse type overhang and Harry explained how they had spelled the rest of the perimeter to protect against inclement weather.

The three sat together on a bench outside.  The air was cool but the sky was clear and the late afternoon sun shone bright on their faces.

“Harry, about Draco…” Hermione began.

“Just don’t, okay?” Harry asked of her.

“How did it happen?”

“Honestly, I don’t know.  I don’t think I can even explain it to myself.”

“Okay,” she answered softly.  “You know we love you no matter what.  It doesn’t matter if you like men.”

Harry studied her face.  “You don’t seem shocked.”

“About Draco, yes, but about you liking men, no.”

“Really?”

Hermione explained, “Well, I’ve wondered and Ginny and I have talked about it.”

“Ginny?” Harry asked, surprised.

“Well, yeah.  Women have a sense of these things,” she said.

 “Me, I had no clue,” Ron chimed in.  “They’ve been talking about it since the term began.”

“Really?” Harry said, having trouble grasping that his friends might have known.

“Harry,” Hermione said solemnly, “you deserve to find someone to love who will love you back.”

“Let it go,” Harry said, his tone resolute.  He changed the subject.  “Catch me up on what’s going on at Hogwarts.”

Hermione and Ron chatted away about all their friends, classes and Quidditch.  The start of the term was tough for everyone with all the noticeably missing people.  Times were sad but they steadily improved.  Harry listened and knew with unflinching certainty that he would not have been able to bear it.

“They would all love to see you,” she said.  “We have a Hogsmeade trip in three weeks.  Why don’t you meet us at the Hog’s Head?  Just our close friends, no one else.”

“I’ll think about it.”

“Come on, mate,” Ron said.  “Bring Draco along if you have to, just come.”

Harry couldn’t help but be moved by the fact that Ron would rather he bring Draco than not come.  “I doubt that’s how Draco would like to spend a Saturday, but all right, I’ll go,” he said.

Draco called them to dinner.  Ron ate two helpings of roast beef with carrots and potatoes.  Even Hermione complimented Draco’s cooking.  Harry could feel her constantly watching him as he helped Draco set the table, as they ate, as he helped Draco clean up.  She seemed to be studying how he and Draco talked to each other, how they worked together, how they touched each other in passing.

Harry hugged them both goodbye and they took the Floo network back to Hogwarts.  As soon as they were gone, Harry collapsed on the sofa and let out a huge sigh.

“Well that went better than I thought it would,” Draco said, taking a seat next to Harry.

Harry glared at him.

“Really, Harry, what did you expect?  That I was going to be your dirty little secret forever?”

“Leave it alone!” Harry snapped then abruptly got up to leave.

“That’s it.  Walk away,” Draco called after him.

“Fuck you!” Harry yelled, turning back to face him.

“Go right ahead.  That’s what I’m here for.”

Something twisted in the pit of Harry’s stomach.  He didn’t dare name it, but it felt like heartbreak.  He silently stared at Draco, not trusting himself to speak, not trusting himself to move, but when the feeling subsided he turned away and headed upstairs.

Harry had stripped down to his boxers when Draco appeared in his doorway, his angry stare penetrating into Harry’s bones.

“What?” Harry asked, exasperated.

“Nothing,” Draco sneered before turning to walk across the hall.

“No, you don’t get off that easy.” Harry stormed after him and caught up to him in the hall.  “You think you have it all figured out, don’t you?  Well let me clue you in.  You don’t know shite about me!  You have no idea what I’ve gone though…or them.  You have no idea the hell I put them through over and over.  They were there for me through everything so excuse me for not wanting to tell them that I like fucking your whiny little arse.”

Draco said nothing but seemed to be staring at Harry in defiance, the challenge in his eyes enough to throw Harry into action.  He slammed Draco against the wall and pressed his body down against Draco’s.  Their eyes locked for a moment in a test of wills.  Harry grabbed Draco’s wrists and held them against the wall on either side of Draco’s face.  Then he covered Draco’s mouth with his own and they kissed fast and furious.

Harry pulled back for a moment and asked, “Is this what you wanted?”

“Is it what you wanted?” Draco boldly returned the question.

Harry crashed his mouth back over Draco’s.  They kissed possessively: mouths and faces and necks.   Soon Harry was desperately humping against Draco’s thigh.  It simply wasn’t enough.  He wanted more; he needed more.

“Oh fuck,” Harry moaned.  “Draco, please.”

Draco plundered Harry’s mouth with another harsh kiss and bucked his crotch against Harry’s.  Harry pressed him more forcefully against the wall.

“Please,” Harry begged into Draco’s mouth.

“What do you want?” Draco asked, his voice sultry and low.

“Suck me…please,” Harry said, almost crying, and released Draco’s wrists. 

Draco spun Harry around and pushed him against the wall.  He dropped to his knees, taking Harry’s boxers down with him.  Draco gripped Harry’s cock and guided it into his mouth.  Harry cried out as Draco sucked him down to the root.  It was impossible to resist the urge to thrust.  Threading his fingers into Draco’s hair, Harry gripped his head and fucked Draco’s mouth without restraint.  He screamed as he came hard down his throat.  Knees giving out, he collapsed on the floor. 

A moment later, Draco had his own pants pushed down and was on his knees furiously wanking.  Harry caught his breath, and kneeling up, faced Draco and kissed his neck while he ran his fingertips up and down Draco’s back.  Draco came a minute later with a primal grunt and Harry held him tightly to his chest.

They woke up together in Harry’s bed.  Harry hugged Draco close and mumbled, “Good morning.”

Draco fried eggs on toast for breakfast.  Harry made two cappuccinos, one with extra foam for Draco.  After eating, Harry read the headlines from the Daily Prophet aloud and Draco made up fictitious sordid stories to go with them.  It was their little game.

While they were cleaning up the dishes, Draco asked Harry, “How come Granger said something about today being a tough day for you?  I mean, most wizards love Halloween.  It’s the anniversary of…” Draco trailed off.  “Oh.”

Harry looked up and gave a sad smile. “Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m sorry,” Draco said in simple honesty.

“It’s not like I remember it.  No, that’s not actually true.  I have some memory of it.  I saw it sometimes when Dementors were close by.”

“See what?”

“That night.  The night I got my scar.”  Harry noted that Draco momentarily eyed his scar then moved back down to his eyes.

“But you were a baby.  What do you see?” Draco sounded genuinely curious.

Harry reached for Draco’s hand. “I’ll show you.”

They walked silently to Harry’s room.  Harry set up the Pensieve then closed his eyes and touched his wand to his temple.  He had never really talked about this with anyone, never mind shown someone.  Not wanting to watch, he sent Draco into the Pensieve alone. 

Several minutes later Draco emerged, pale and shaken. 

“That’s what you saw third year when the Dementors were at Hogwarts looking for Sirius Black?” Draco asked, looking frightened and ashamed.

Harry nodded.

“When you fell from your broom during Quidditch?”

Harry nodded and then said, “After that, I learned to cast a Patronus.”

“When you were thirteen?” Draco asked in astonishment.

Harry gathered the memory from the Pensieve and returned it to his mind and then withdrew a different long strand.

“At the end of third year I learned that Peter Pettigrew had betrayed my parents, not Sirius,” Harry explained.

“You told me a little about that,” interjected Draco.

“Well, Pettigrew got away and the Dementors came for Sirius.”  Harry took Draco’s hand and they dove into the Pensieve together.  Harry showed Draco where he stood with Hermione and cast the Patronus that ran off hundreds of Dementors.  It warmed Harry’s heart to see his stag in action.

“That’s amazing!” Draco said in awe then noticed something across the lake and asked,  “Hey, but isn’t that you with Sirius over there?”

“Yes.  We had a Time-Turner.  That’s how we helped Sirius escape with Buckbeak.”

“The Hippogriff that nearly ate my arm off?” Draco was indignant.

“Shut up, you deserved it.  Hagrid told you not to insult him.”

“I bet you enjoyed that,” Draco said.

“Oh, maybe a little,” Harry replied with a cheeky grin.

The scene faded away and they returned to Harry’s bedroom.

***---****---***----***

November brought frosty nights that necessitated cozying up by the fire.  Harry finally gave the blowjob to Draco that he had been wanting to for quite some time.  Draco talked him through it.  Afterwards, Harry took Draco on all fours and the fire nearly burst across the hearth when Harry climaxed.

An owl came from Molly Weasley inviting them both to dinner.  Harry surmised that Ron and/or Hermione must have said something to her.  Harry looked over at Draco chopping vegetables and debated whether or not to say anything.

Harry gave in and brought up the subject.  “Mrs. Weasley has asked us both to dinner next week.”

“Both?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I have no interest in going.”

“I could order you to,” Harry said gently, testing the waters.

“Then do it,” snapped Draco.

“I don’t want to do it.  I…I just want you to go with me.”  Harry bit his lip and tried not to get angry.

“Look, just go, come back angry and then fuck me over the kitchen table like you always do when you see your friends.”

Harry gaped at Draco for a moment before storming out, knocking over a kitchen chair in his wake.  As he tromped up the stairs, he heard Draco say, “Fuck.”

Five minutes later, Harry was pacing the floor in his bedroom.

Draco walked in and said, “I’m sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry.  I can’t have it both ways, can I?”

“Both ways?”

“I can’t have you be my slave and do everything I say and expect you to be happy about it.”

Draco walked over to Harry and stood directly in front of him.  “Harry, look at me.  I don’t have sex with you because you command me to.”

“Well I don’t have sex with you because you’re my slave.”

They smiled at each other for a briefest moment.

Draco let out a long sigh and said, “I’ll come with you if you promise to be yourself.  If you’re going to put up some wall and pretend that nothing’s changed and nothing’s wrong, well then I’d prefer to miss that performance.”

“That’s why I’m asking you to come with me.”

“All right, I suppose I can put up with them for your sake.”

“Will you bake a cake?”

“Which one?“

“The lemon chiffon?” Harry asked hopefully.

***---****---***----***

They were in a paint shop picking out the perfect shade of blue to paint Harry’s bedroom, when a large wizard came in with a pet boa constrictor around his neck.  The snake hissed at Harry and without thinking Harry hissed ‘hello’ back.   The man looked up at Harry curiously then left the shop.

“I forgot you were a Parselmouth,” Draco said.  “You scared that guy off.”

“I don’t even know I’m doing it.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, it just happens when I see a snake, even a fake one or a picture.  That’s how I got into the Chamber of Secrets.”

“Come on, that was a rumor.”

“It happened, Draco.  Deal with it.”

Draco scowled.  “This one,” Draco said pointing to a rich royal blue. 

“Done.”

It was a compromise.  Draco had wanted a rich Slytherin green while Harry wanted a deep maroon. 

When they arrived back home they went up to Harry’s bedroom and moved the furniture away from the walls.  Harry transfigured some towels into large drop cloths and then they were ready.

“Tell me again why we’re painting instead of using magic?” Draco asked.

“The book says that if you want it to last you have to use real paint.  You can spell it on the walls, but you need the paint.”  Harry pointed his wand at Draco’s ankle and recited the incantation that would allow Draco to do the painting spells.

For a moment Draco looked as if he might be upset, but then he took out his wand and began to help Harry paint the walls and spell them dry.

They sat on the bed and admired the new color.

“I like it,” Harry said.

“Show me the Chamber of Secrets,” Draco said.

“Huh?” Harry said, utterly confused by the abrupt change in subject.

“You said it was real.  I’m curious.”

“Oh, you mean in the Pensieve.”

“Yeah, what did you think I meant? Go to Hogwarts?” Draco said playfully.

“Brat.”

“Git.”

Harry showed Draco his meeting with Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets and his battle with the basilisk.  Draco clutched Harry’s hand as he watched young Harry stab the basilisk with the sword of Gryffindor and Harry swore he saw tears in Draco’s eyes when Fawkes shed his tears on Harry’s mortal wound.

They didn’t talk about it, but afterwards Draco kissed Harry and steered him on to the bed.  Never stopping the kiss, they peeled off each other’s clothes and touched and explored each other’s bodies with a newfound reverence.  Then they fucked face to face in their new blue room.  Harry decided that he most definitely liked the new color.

***---****---***----***

Dinner at the Weasleys’ was odd to say the least, but Harry was eternally grateful to Molly that she had invited Andromeda Tonks but none of the Weasley children.  It also helped that Draco was able to keep himself out of conversation by playing with Teddy. 

At times Harry found it surreal.  Draco complimented Mrs. Weasley’s turkey and Mrs. Weasley gushed about Draco’s dessert.

By the end of the evening he was anxious to get home and simply crawl under the covers with Draco.  They were about to Apparate home when Mr. Weasley asked to see Harry alone for a minute. 

“Harry,” Mr. Weasley began most seriously, “you know how much we care for you.  You’re like a son to us.”

Harry nodded.

“I must admit I was concerned when you decided to claim Draco.  I was worried that you might be seduced by the idea of revenge.  So I’m glad to see that’s not what it was.”

Harry thought Mr. Weasley might continue, but when he didn’t Harry asked, “That’s it?”

“Yes.  Just that and that Molly and I expect you both for Christmas.  I know it’s early, but she didn’t want you to have any excuses.”

“All right.”  Harry pondered just what on earth made Mr. Weasley say what he did.

***---****---***----***

With the strange success of the Weasley visit, Harry talked Draco into coming to Hogsmeade with him the following week.  Harry decided that if Draco was a part of his life, somehow he was going to have to figure out how to fit him into all of it.

They met Ron and Hermione at the Hog’s Head.  Neville, Dean, Seamus, Ginny and Luna joined them as well.  Draco sat quietly yet seemed to be listening to their conversation.  Oddly no one seemed to pay him any mind.  Harry suspected that Hermione had prepped everyone beforehand.  It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon.  Harry enjoyed himself and it dawned on him just how much he missed his friends.  It was also good to see Aberforth again and to properly thank him.

Hermione made Harry promise to answer an owl occasionally and to meet them in Hogsmeade on the next trip in January.  He told them that he’d see them all over the holidays and he meant it. 

Just as they were about to leave, Luna approached them and said, “You’re really looking much better, Harry.  I thought perhaps Voldemort had destroyed more of your soul than you let on.  But now I see you two together and I know that you’re going to be just fine, both of you.”

The moment they had Apparated home, Draco succinctly stated, “Fucking nutter.”

Harry could only laugh.  He really liked Luna.

***---****---***----***

A few evenings later they were lying in bed when Draco brought up a very different subject.

“What happened to my money?” Draco asked casually while running his fingers through Harry’s hair.

“Oh, ummm, the Ministry gave me the key to your vault.” Harry gulped nervously.  “Apparently when I claimed you, your vault went to me as well, but I haven’t touched it,” he added quickly.  “I have my own money.  That’s not why I claimed you.”

“I know that.  I’m just curious.”

“If there’s anything you want or need, you just tell me okay.  It’s yours.”

“Harry, that’s not why I asked.  It’s just that Christmas is coming and I thought I might get a few things for a few people: my mother, Andromeda, Teddy.”

“Oh, I can give you money for that.”

“It’s not the same.  Besides, I might even buy something for you.”

“Oh, okay, we can go to Gringotts this week.  You take out whatever you like.”

“Thanks.”  Draco snuggled closer and cast a Nox on the light.

***---****---***----***

The holidays fast approached.  They put up fairy lights and decorated a tree.  Harry took Draco to Diagon Alley and they parted company to shop on their own for several hours.  It was the first time he had ever left Draco alone in public, but somehow Harry wasn’t worried.  They met at the Leaky for lunch and Tom gave them their usual table in the back.  Harry stared at Draco across the table and for the first time it sunk in just how much the other man had come to mean to him.  Harry was looking forward to seeing his friends but even more he was looking forward to spending his first Christmas with Draco.

They spent Christmas Eve shagging all over the house.  First they sixty-nined in front of the fire, then Harry fucked Draco from behind over the side of the bath and then finally they shagged face-to-face in Harry’s bed.  After that they both fell into a long deep sleep.  It was indeed a happy Christmas.

Despite the knowledge that there were presents to open, they were far too tired to get out of bed until fairly late Christmas morning.

Harry gave Kreacher a box of chocolate frogs and was certain that the old house-elf was crying as he meandered off.

“You would give a gift to a house-elf,” Draco said, rolling his eyes.

“Keep that up and I’m going to give him your present too,” Harry teased.

“Oh give me my present, please give my present, please, please, please!”  Draco bounced up and down like a five year old.

Harry reached around the back of the tree and Draco immediately stopped bouncing when he saw the long thin shape of the package in Harry’s hand.

“What did you do, Harry Potter?” Draco asked softly.

“Open it.”

Draco slowly opened the wrapping paper.  It was the newly released Nimbus 3000. 

“I thought we could go flying together,” Harry suggested.

Draco bit his lip and Harry could tell he was trying not to cry.

“I’d like that.  I miss flying.”  Draco leaned over and gently kissed Harry on the lips.  “Thank you.”

Next they opened their Weasley jumpers.  Draco stared at the Slytherin green sweater with a giant gold ‘D’ on the front.

“It’s tradition,” Harry stated as he held up his brown jumper with a bright orange ‘H’.

“Is she color blind?” Draco asked.

“No, she just has a lot of people to knit for.  You should feel honored and don’t you dare forget to thank her for it.”

“I have impeccable manners, Harry, unlike some people I know.”

Harry ignored Draco’s taunt and pulled out a large box with his name on it.  Inside was a fine tailored shirt, trousers and matching robe.  The robe was a rich chocolate brown and had platinum Gryffindor crest fastenings.  It was the most elegant thing Harry had ever seen.

“Wow,” was all Harry could manage to say as he held the robe up.   He looked over at Draco and said, “This is too much.”

“Your clothes are crap; I can’t bear to be seen in public with you,” Draco said with pompous flare.

Harry laughed.

“Try it on.”

Harry pulled the robe on.  It fit perfectly like it was custom tailored.  He looked at Draco inquisitively.

“I measured you in your sleep.”

Pulling Draco into his arms, Harry kissed him deeply.

After several minutes, Draco pulled away and said, “Now you must let me go or else I’ll never finish the Buche De Noel in time and Mrs. Weasley will have your head, not mine, for being late.”

***---****---***----***

The holidays were filled with visiting friends and friendly visits.  Everyone kept telling Harry how great he looked and how happy he seemed.  By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, Harry was convinced that he was in love with Draco, though he wouldn’t dare say it.

Harry’s friends went back to school and Draco and Harry went on with their life together.  The house was taking shape one room at a time.   Draco was always experimenting with some new dish or Potions recipe.  They visited Andromeda often and were amazed by how quickly Teddy was growing.  Occasionally, they had dinner with the Weasleys or met Harry’s friends in Hogsmeade.  Sometimes they shopped in Diagon Alley or went to a Muggle museum.  Every Thursday Harry took Draco out to dinner at an expensive Muggle restaurant and thus it was named ‘cook’s night out.’  Draco saw it as an excuse to buy them both expensive Muggle clothes.

In February, Harry made space for Draco to move his things into his room and the room became theirs.  This prompted them to paint Draco’s old room and fix it up as another guest room.  They had sex three to five times a week, not that they were counting.  Kreacher had walked in on them having sex no fewer than four times that winter and Harry was beginning to suspect the little bugger was a bit of a voyeur.

As promised, Harry read and sometimes even answered Hermione and Ron’s letters.  Ginny wrote him once to say that she was dating Neville to which Harry responded that he sincerely hoped they were happy.

Harry thought that perhaps he and Draco were happy.  Although to do that he would have to ignore the absolute absurdity of their relationship.  When he was being honest with himself, Harry recognized that he felt comfort in the fact that Draco could never leave him.  He often wondered if Draco felt the same.



***---****---***----***

Towards the end of March an owl arrived from Hermione inviting them to come to Hogsmeade the Saturday before Ron’s birthday.  They were going to throw a little surprise party for him.   It was to be sort of a last hurrah before they had to get ready for their NEWTs.

While it wasn’t that large a crowd, it was the biggest group that Harry had been with since the war.  The rest of the surviving members of the DA attended along with the Gryffindor Quidditch team and even George, Percy, Bill and Fleur.  Ron was undoubtedly surprised and blushed beet red when Hermione led him into the Hog’s Head.

Harry couldn’t help notice that Draco now talked to his friends.  Well, not all of them and not very much, but still he did seem friendly in an only mildly-annoyed-Draco sort of way.  He certainly caught him rolling his eyes at Luna an awful lot.  In an odd twist of reality, Draco seemed to get on with Neville the most, which in itself was freakishly amazing.

The next morning, he and Draco were at the table having an extra cup of tea with breakfast while Harry flipped through the pages of the Daily Prophet.

“Okay, I’m ready.  Give me the headlines,” Draco said.

“Hmm, let’s see.” Harry turned back to the front page.  “Gringotts New Acquisition.”

Using his best formal news voice, Draco mused, “Gringotts bank looking to broaden its portfolio and diversify its holdings, announced today that it had acquired a half dozen brothels, thus combining the two powerful enterprises of money and sex.  Small banking branches will be opened up at each of the brothel locations so that wizards may withdraw gold and then immediately spend it on whores.  A special Spousal Disillusioning Charm has been created to make it look like the money has been invested in educational bonds.”

Harry chuckled.  “You’re ridiculous, you know that.  Besides, I think you’ve done the sex money thing before.  You’re getting repetitive.  Out of fresh material?”

“Well what did they acquire?”

“A French bank.”

“Well I can do better.  Give me another.”

Harry flipped to the second page.  His face fell and he froze.

 “What is it?” asked Draco, immediately concerned.

“Nothing,” Harry muttered and tried to fold the paper away.

“Let me see.”  Draco reached for the paper.

Reluctantly, Harry let Draco see the paper.

Hero Potter seen with Former Death Eater

Draco read aloud, “Harry Potter, hero and vanquisher of You-Know-Who, was seen at a private party in Hogsmeade in the company of Former Death Eater, Draco Malfoy.  It was also confirmed that the two had been seen together no fewer than a half dozen times over the past few months in Diagon Alley.  Officials at the Ministry for Magic were unable to confirm the timing or circumstances of the release of the younger Malfoy from Azkaban, but it is confirmed that the elder Malfoy is still incarcerated.  Inside sources have observed that the two are close and one can only speculate that Potter has used his fame in trade for personal favors from the Ministry.”  Draco stopped. “Well, this is utter rubbish.”

“What else does it say?”

Draco glanced over the article.  “Actually nothing, really.  No mention of us... well your secret is safe if that’s what you want to know.  You haven’t been outed.”

Still Harry felt uneasy.

“There’s also no mention of my being your slave,” Draco added.

“That’s because there aren’t any records.”

Draco raised an eyebrow.

“Would you have left records?” Harry asked him.

“Point taken.”

An owl pecked on the window and Draco let it in.  Draco regarded the name on the small envelope with a mix of apprehension and surprise.  “It’s for me.”

He cautiously opened it and read the short missive.

“What is it?” asked Harry, quite concerned.

“It’s from Pansy.  She says she saw the article and that I’m lucky that she didn’t send a Howler for not telling her that I was released.  She wants to know what’s going on.”

“Oh.”

“What should I do?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure.  First time this has come up.  What do you want to tell her?”

“Certainly not that I’m your slave,” Draco snapped.

“Tell her the article’s true.  Tell her that you helped me during the final battle and that I got you released from Azkaban, but you have to live here with me.”

“She’ll want to see me.”

“Put her off for while, okay?  Just ‘til we work things out.”

“All right,” Draco said with some reluctance.  “Harry, you do realize that at some point people are going to figure it out.  I mean we do go out in public.”

“I know.  I’m just not ready.”

Another owl pecked at the window.  “What now?” Harry asked as he got up to let the bird in.

“Who’s it from?”

“Hermione.  She says that she doesn’t think anyone from the party intentionally leaked the story.  She and Ron are going to try and come by this afternoon.”

“I wonder how many owls we’ll get today?”

It turned out not to be that bad.  They only received four more owls, all from Harry’s friends offering their support.  Draco penned a terse reply to Pansy and sent Calliope off to Hogwarts.  After lunch Draco decided to do some baking while Harry retired to the study to wade through a sea of mixed emotions.  Pansy’s owl had Harry wondering about the life that Draco had been forced to leave behind and the impracticality of thinking that it wouldn’t come to find him. 

Harry was reading one of the ancient spells books that contained spells for wizard slaves, when Hermione interrupted.  “Hi, may I come in?”

“Of course,” he said with a smile.  “When did you get here?”

“Just now.  Draco sent me to collect you for tea,” she said walking over to Harry.

“Is Ron here?”

“Yeah, he followed Draco to the kitchen to investigate the lemon bars.  When we came in, Draco greeted us covered in confectionary sugar.  I’d never seen Ron so happy to see Draco.”

Harry laughed.

Hermione looked over his shoulder at what he was reading.  “You’re looking for how to set him free, aren’t you?”

Harry nodded, but then confessed, “Only I don’t think I can do it.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want to him to leave.”

“Oh, Harry, you’ve fallen in love with him, haven’t you?”  Hermione gently rested both her hands on Harry’s shoulders.

“I don’t think I know what love is.”

“Love is setting him free.”

 “I can’t,” replied Harry, closing his eyes.

Hermione knelt next to Harry and took his hands in hers.  He opened his eyes and met her caring gaze.  “I know you will,” she said.  “I’ve known it since the day I found out that you claimed him that it would be inevitable.  You wouldn’t be able to keep him.  I’m surprised it’s lasted this long.”

“Why would you think that?”

“Because you’re a good man, Harry.”

“Not so good, really.”

“Of course you are.  You’ve just been through so much. You were in pretty rough shape last summer.  I was really worried about you, we all were.”

“I was in such a fog.  I hardly remember any of it.”

Just then Ron popped in.  “Tea’s ready.”   He took a good look at Harry. “You okay?”

“I don’t know,” said Harry, getting to his feet.

“Come on,” Ron said kindly, “the lemon bars look good.  I even helped put the powdered sugar on them.”

***---****---***----***

Tea with Hermione and Ron helped to alleviate some of Harry’s fears regarding the Prophet.  It also warmed his heart to see Draco make an effort to get along with them.  After a few days of strange speculations printed in the Prophet, things quieted.  Harry and Draco fell back into their happy routines of working on the house, visiting Andromeda and Teddy and even flying at the Burrow after a Sunday dinner with the Weasleys.  But a few weeks later Harry began dropping back into some sort of depression.  He spent a lot of time thinking about his relationship with Draco and dealing with the guilt over keeping Draco as his slave.  His nightmares were also becoming more frequent and more intense than they had been in months. 

Draco came into their room late one afternoon and found Harry simply lying on his back and staring at the ceiling.  He sat next to him and took Harry’s hand in his own.  “I was hoping you’d be asleep.”

“Oh?”

“You hardly slept last night.  You were tossing and turning all night.”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to keep you up.”

 “It’s all right.  You seem really down lately.  Do you want to talk about it?”

“Spring is hard,” Harry stated matter-of-fact.

“Thinking about last year?”

“No, oddly enough.  I’ve been dreaming about years earlier, mostly about Cedric and Sirius.  I made a lot of mistakes.”

“I know about mistakes, Harry.  I don’t think I really understood what the Dark Lord was really like until it was too late.”

“He threatened your family?” asked Harry, although it really wasn’t a question.

Draco nodded.  He seemed to contemplate something for a moment then said, “Let me show you?”

Harry took out the Pensieve with a mixture of apprehension and anticipation.  Draco had never shared one of his memories before, but Harry knew that this one would be difficult to watch.  Harry gave Draco’s wand the ability to extract memories and showed Draco how.

Several minutes later they were in the Pensieve, watching Draco and Narcissa kneeling before Voldemort.  Draco looked incredibly young.  A lot had happened over the past three years.  As Voldemort began to speak, Harry wasn’t surprised when his Draco reached for his hand. 

“Your father has failed me.  The only reason I am giving you a chance to redeem your family is that I would hate to see the end of such a noble pureblood line.”

It was difficult to watch Voldemort threaten Draco and assign him the task of killing Dumbledore.  Draco pleaded with him that he couldn’t possible overpower his Headmaster.  To this Voldemort suggested that he find a way to get his Death Eaters past the Hogwarts wards so that they could assist him.  The expression on Draco’s face in the memory was one of sheer horror and defeat.  The scene faded away and they were back in their room.

Harry couldn’t resist the urge to pull Draco into a hug.

“I never understood until it was too late,” Draco said into the crook of Harry’s neck.

“You wouldn’t have killed him.”

“How do you know?”

“I was there.”

Draco pulled back to look Harry in the eye.

“I was under my invisibility cloak. Instead of defending himself, Dumbledore used his wand to immobilize me so I wouldn’t interfere.  That’s how you were able to disarm him.  But I saw and heard everything.  You wouldn’t have killed him.”

“Maybe not, but I as good as cast the curse.”

“No, you didn’t.  Dumbledore was dying.  He arranged it with Snape to protect you, to protect your soul.  He knew you weren’t a killer.”

Draco stared at him in disbelief.

“If anything, it’s my fault.  In Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, I should have offered you a way out.  I wanted to, but…”

“You don’t owe me an explanation.  I was just as quick to draw my wand.”

“I do owe you an apology, for that curse.  If Snape hadn’t shown up…I didn’t want to kill you.  I was just so angry and it happened so fast.”

Draco nodded.  His eyes were wet when he leaned forward to embrace Harry.  “I wanted to help you in the Room of Requirement,” Draco whispered.

“Part of me knew that.”

“I also never thanked you for saving me.  You had every right to leave us.  But I want you to know, Harry, I wanted you to kill him.  I wanted you to win.  Crabbe and Goyle still didn’t understand.  They practically wet themselves the first time the Carrows let them practice the Cruciatus on Longbottom.”

“And you?”

“I couldn’t do it.  I…whatever you may think of me, Harry, I didn’t take pleasure in torture.  I may have hated the idea of Muggleborns as wizards, but I didn’t want them killed or tortured.”

“I believe you,” Harry stated, and then kissed the side of Draco’s head.

“You do?”

Harry hugged Draco tight.  “I couldn’t feel this way about you if I didn’t.”

“Show me what you’ve been seeing.  The nightmare.  I want to know.”

“All right.  Maybe it’s time I showed someone.”

Harry shared the memory of the final task of the Triwizard Tournament from his agreeing with Cedric to take the Cup together to his return from the graveyard.  It wasn’t easy to watch, but Harry truly wanted to share it with Draco.  Perhaps only for selfish reasons, he wanted someone to see, to understand.  Harry studied Draco’s reaction to Cedric’s murder and Voldemort’s resurrection, but even more carefully he watched Draco’s reaction to seeing his father trying to gain favor from Voldemort. 

It was exhausting to relive it.  When it was over they skipped dinner in favor of going to bed early.  Draco held Harry close and said, “You’re more brave than I ever gave you credit for.”

“Hardly,” Harry scoffed.

“No, really.”

Harry didn’t want to argue.  Instead he let himself fall comfortably asleep in Draco’s arms.

***---****---***----***

They spent the next day at Andromeda’s.  Teddy was beginning to walk.  It was exciting and quite a reaffirmation of life.

Both in a playful mood, they retired to bed early after dinner.  Wasting no time, they stripped off each other’s clothes in between urgent kisses and soft caresses. 

Harry was practically panting when he summoned Draco’s favorite oil from the nightstand.  “I want you,” he said, pressing the bottle into Draco’s palm.

Straddling Harry’s thighs, Draco was about to pour some oil on Harry’s hand when Harry gently said, “No, I want you in me.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, please.”  Harry surprised himself with how desperate he sounded.

Draco leaned over and kissed Harry full on the mouth.  Then he poured the oil onto his own hand and slid down the length of Harry’s body.

There had been many times when Draco’s head had been between Harry’s legs sucking him and fingering him, but never before had it led to having Draco truly inside him.  The anticipation was killing him.  There had been so many times that he’d wanted to ask Draco to fuck him, to make love to him, but he’d never found the courage.  It took every ounce of self control for Harry not to come as Draco slid in a third finger and stroked it in and out while fervently sucking on Harry’s cock.

“Please, now,” Harry begged.

Draco got up on his knees.  “It’ll be easier on your stomach.”

“I want to see you.” 

After one last deep kiss Draco positioned himself and pushed up under Harry’s knees.  With extreme care he guided his cock into Harry’s tight opening. 

Harry gasped but held Draco’s gaze steady and sure.  It hurt, but not like he’d thought it would and the more Draco moved, the better it felt.  The sight of another man’s cock inside him aroused him beyond expectations.  The fact that it was Draco pushed the limits of his excitement.  Draco moving with obvious concern and deliberation made Harry believe he had never truly known the depth of character of the other man at all.  As Draco continued to thrust over and over with such attentiveness, Harry dared himself to feel.  He dared himself to believe.  He dared himself to name it.  Love.  He closed his eyes and surrendered completely his body and soul.

Draco reached for Harry’s cock and with a mere touch he climaxed.  Spasms overtook his body and he felt himself reaching out with emotions in a way he never knew possible.  In the aftermath of his orgasm, Harry felt Draco come deep inside of him.  He held Draco tight as he moaned and finished with a few more involuntary thrusts. 

Draco lowered Harry’s legs and rested on top of him while nuzzling his neck.

“You okay?” Draco asked while catching his breath.

“More than okay.”

Draco gently withdrew and then collapsed on his side and nestled next to Harry.  “I’m glad.  You know I’ve never…” Draco let the last part drop and ran his fingers over Harry’s belly.

“Really?”

“Yes, you’re my first,” said Draco playfully. “Don’t let it go to your head.”

“I love you.”  It slipped out and Harry instantly stiffened with fear.

“Don’t freak out over it.  The feeling’s mutual.”

They regarded each other for a moment before Harry initiated a long and smoldering kiss.  They soon fell asleep with Draco spooned in Harry’s arms.

***---****---***----***

For most people a declaration of love would have been uplifting, but Harry was not most people.  It slowly began to tear him apart.  Harry wanted nothing more than to love Draco and have Draco love him back, but it was all a lie.  Harry knew the moment that he set Draco free he would be left alone.  With each passing day that he wrestled with his conscience, Harry pulled farther and farther away from Draco and sank farther and farther into despair. 

After three days of it, Draco confronted Harry.  “What is with you lately?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing? You hide in the study.  You don’t say a word to me all day. You don’t look at me.  You don’t touch me.  You wait until I’m asleep before you come to bed.  What’s going on?”

Harry tried to walk away but Draco grabbed Harry by the wrist. 

“Is this about the other night?”

“No!”

“Then what is it?”

“Nothing.  Just leave me alone,” Harry demanded, trying to wrench free.

“Why don’t you order me to?” Draco snapped after Harry had pulled away.

“That’s not fair.”

“Life’s not fair, Harry.  I think you of all people would’ve learned that by now.”

“Stop it,” Harry said, his voice low and warning.

“Is it fair that I’m your slave?”

“Am I treating you like a slave?”

“Yes.  As long as I am then you can dismiss me whenever you want.  You dismiss me.   You’ve been distant this whole week and you won’t tell me why.”

“I don’t treat you like a slave,” Harry said in his defense. 

“You keep telling yourself that,” Draco spat.  “As long as I’m your slave we’ll never be equal.  You will always be able to do what ever you want, whether it’s to ignore me or… or… rape me.”

“What?  Rape you?” Harry sputtered, completely thrown by the accusation.

“Forget it, Harry,” Draco said, sounding more disappointed than angry.

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t remember?” Draco asked sarcastically.

“What?”

Draco paused for a moment.  He took a deep steadying breath then asked, “Do you remember when you claimed me?”

“Vaguely,” Harry said.  “My head was still pretty clouded from everything that had happened with Voldemort.”

“Do you remember when we first started sleeping together?”

Harry thought for a moment.  He couldn’t remember.  “Not really.  I remember telling you that I wouldn’t hurt you like they did in Azkaban, but that I wanted to sleep with you.”

“You really don’t remember, do you?” Draco asked, incredulously.

“What?” Harry asked in complete exasperation.

Draco grabbed Harry’s hand and led him upstairs to their bedroom.

“Take out the Pensieve,” Draco barked.

Harry stared at him, confused by the order and Draco’s anger.

“Do it!”

Draco was more enraged than Harry had ever remembered seeing him.  He took out the Pensieve and set it on the desk.

His wand on his temple, Draco looked like he might be sick as he pulled out the memory and tossed it into the Pensieve.

“Go on,” Draco urged, slightly calmer.

“You’re not coming?” Harry asked, still confused.

“No.”

With misgivings, Harry dove into the Pensieve.  The setting shifted and he was in the basement.  He saw himself sitting and watching Draco brew a potion.  Oddly, it didn’t look familiar at all.  Both he and Draco looked fairly thin and quite tired.  “When was this?” Harry thought.

Draco spoke.  “It’s done.  Would you like to try it tonight?”

Harry watched curiously as his Pensieve self told Draco to drink it instead and then became alarmed when he watched him cast a spell that forced Draco to drink the potion.

He could see the fear in Draco’s eyes as he was induced to comply.  Harry’s stomach began to churn.  “Why don’t I remember this?” he thought.

Harry became even more alarmed at the anger and tone of his voice as his past self walked behind Draco and said, “Do you think I’m stupid?  Did you think I hadn’t read Snape’s notes?  That was my book almost the entire sixth year.  Did you think I wouldn’t notice that you stirred it an extra hour?  I noticed Draco.  I notice everything about you.”

Harry watched in horror.  He could never have imagined himself so forceful, so menacing.  Yet there he was pushing Draco, tormenting him.

When Draco whispered, “You want to rape me.” Harry felt the acid rise in his throat.

“This can’t be real,” he thought and nearly did vomit when his heard his Pensieve self reply: “But how can I rape you?  You belong to me, Draco.  Rape implies taking someone against their will, but you have no free will.  My will is your will.”  

The scene shifted and Harry was in Draco’s old bedroom.  He continued to watch despite his high anxiety and the feeling that this was a false memory, much like the one of Sirius being tortured in the Department of Mysteries.  Only it couldn’t be.  It was Draco’s memory, not his own.  His stomach lurched at the sight of his lips touching Draco’s skin.

Harry watched as Draco tried in vain to fight the effects of the potion.  He watched as a person who looked just like himself continued to torment the man that he loved.  He did love Draco.  He couldn’t have done this.

“Were you a virgin?” He heard himself ask.  Harry desperately tried to remember losing his virginity.  He tried to remember the first time he had sex with Draco.  He couldn’t.  He came up blank.  He remembered Draco climbing on top of him in the new bathtub, but they had already been sleeping together then. 

“Isn’t it funny how my first time is going to be with you, or more likely that I will always be with you.  You see, Draco, I’m pretty fucked up.  I don’t think I’m fit for anyone out there and that leaves you.  But don’t think that it’s just because you’re my slave.  I think I’ve always wanted you.  I was just too stupid to understand it.”

“Don’t do this.” 

Harry watched himself lean forward and kiss Draco against his will and then it finally clicked.  He didn’t remember it, but he felt it.  He felt it deep down inside that this was true.  He was about to rape Draco.  With every fiber of his being, he wanted to leave the Pensieve immediately.  He did not want to see it, but he owed it to Draco to at least bear witness to it, if not remember.

His Draco was terrified and he had no choice but to watch.
 
“Harry, this isn’t you.  Don’t do this.”

“What do you know of me?”

“Please don’t.” 

They were both naked and Harry listened to what he could only think of as his out-of-his-mind-self talk absolute insanity while Draco begged him to stop.  He watched himself touch and prepare Draco.  Again Draco begged him to stop, but he didn’t stop.  Harry could see it coming.  He could see it in his past-self’s eyes.  Despite his gentleness, he was mad.  He was going through with it.

As the first tears began to stream from Draco’s eyes, Harry felt his own eyes water up and tears leak down his cheeks.  “I’m so sorry,” he kept thinking over and over in his head.  “I’m so sorry.  I’m so sorry, Draco.  I’m so sorry.”

Harry kept his focus on Draco and watched him shaking his head from side to side while his out-of-his-mind-self positioned himself to fuck him.  Draco cried the entire time while he was being raped, but under the effects of the potion, could do nothing more than moan and shake his head.  As Harry watched, he trembled and continued his litany of “I’m sorry” in his head.  

His out-of-his-mind-self stopped thrusting and stroked Draco to an involuntary orgasm.

Harry nearly fell to his knees at the sound of his voice whispering, “So beautiful.”

How many times had he said that to Draco thinking that he was being loving?  A frightening thought occurred to Harry that perhaps it only reminded Draco of the rape.

His past self continued to fuck to completion and then collapsed on the bed.  A minute later the scene went dark.  Several seconds after that Harry was back in his room facing Draco.

Harry mouthed, “I’m sorry.”  He could only stomach a quick look at the sadness in Draco’s eyes and then hastily Disapparated.

Harry’s first Apparition didn’t take him far, just the front steps of Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.  He wiped his nose and eyes then took several deep breaths to collect himself before Apparating to the Leaky Cauldron.  He asked Tom for a room, and was ever so grateful that the dependable old Tom never asked questions.  Harry did make it to his room before releasing the contents of his stomach, but couldn’t stop the horrible images of Draco being raped from playing over and over in his head. 

He wanted to die, so he called upon the two people in the world he knew could handle him in that emotional state.  He sent an owl to Hermione and Ron and they were by his side before the end of the evening.  Of course, they tried to tell him not to feel guilty about taking them away from their NEWT studying.  Certainly, NEWTs seemed fairly unimportant in the face of what he had done to Draco.  He confessed everything and they listened in shock, but then held him close and promised to help him make it right, or at least do the right thing going forward.  Seeing their faces, Harry couldn’t help but contemplate the nature of friendship and of love.  He wondered if he really loved Draco and if Draco could have ever really loved him.

They all huddled together on the bed as Hermione and Ron attempted to comfort Harry, but it wasn’t comforting at all.  He missed Draco and couldn’t reconcile himself with the psycho he had seen in the Pensieve.  He barely slept but for a few scattered minutes.

In the morning, they accompanied him to the Ministry.  It took two days before everything was sorted.  Reluctantly, Hermione and Ron returned to Hogwarts at Harry’s insistence while Harry went home late that evening to face Draco.

For some odd reason, Harry thought that Draco might be in his old bedroom and checked there first.  Finding the room empty, Harry quietly opened the door to his bedroom.  Draco was sitting up in bed reading and immediately got to his feet when Harry entered.

“You’re home,” Draco said softly as he rushed over to hug Harry.  “I’ve been so worried.  I almost sent an owl to Granger.”

Awkwardly, Harry stepped out of the hug.

“Are you okay?” Draco asked with a voice filled with concern and his eyes searching Harry’s for something.  Harry was unsure what it was.

“Yeah.  Well, no, not really.”  As Harry stared at Draco he could feel his heart breaking as if it were some tangible thing that fell to the floor and shattered.  He had missed Draco terribly the past few days, but he knew that was only the beginning.  He silently wished things could be different then said, “I have something for you.  Why don’t you sit?”  Harry motioned to the end of the bed.

“All right,” Draco said nervously, carefully studying Harry.

Harry removed a scroll of parchment and set it on the bed beside Draco.

“What’s this?” Draco asked, cautiously touching his fingertips to the parchment.

Harry withdrew his wand and pointed it at Draco’s ankle.  “Libertas diutinus ipse.”

The cuff around Draco’s ankle clicked open and fell to the floor with a harsh clatter.  Draco stared at the anklet then looked up at Harry in astonishment.  Draco opened his mouth as if he was about to say something, but no sound emerged.

Harry pulled a wand from his back pocket and held it out to Draco, who took it with a bewildered look on his face.  “This is my wand, my old wand, the one you killed the Dark Lord with.”

“Actually, it was his own curse that rebounded from the wand he was using, Dumbledore’s wand.”

“You know what I mean,” Draco said pointedly.  “I can’t keep this.”

“Yes, you can.”

“I…I can’t.”

“Take it.  I’m giving it to you.  You’ve earned it.”

Draco looked up at Harry in sheer confusion.

“Draco, you’re free.  Your name is restored.  Those papers show that everything is now back in your name: your Gringotts account, your rights as the Malfoy heir, everything.”

In disbelief, Draco turned the wand over in his hands taking in the weight of it.

Harry sat on the edge of the bed and Draco’s eyes met his.  “I’ve also arranged for your father to be released, time served.  He should be out by tomorrow night.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything.”  Harry continued to speak through choked back tears, “You can go now.  I’ll have Kreacher take your things back to the Manor.”

“You’re throwing me out?” Draco was outraged.

“Just go, please.  I’m so sorry.  Just please go,” Harry begged as tears began to track down his face.

Draco stared at him, incredulous.  “I’m not leaving, not unless you give me one good reason.”

“I raped you.  How’s that for a reason?”

Draco’s reply was calm and steady as if his life depended on it.  “Harry, I forgave you a long time ago.”

“How can you possibly forgive me?  I’ll never forgive myself.”

“I didn’t show you that memory so you’d free me.  I showed it to you because you didn’t remember.  I remember and I got past it.  I thought if we were to ever have a chance, you’d have to remember and get past it too.”

“You didn’t want me to free you?” asked Harry incredulously.

“Of course I wanted you to free me, you twit.  You think I want to live my life as a slave?  I wanted you to free me so I could be in control of my own life, but Harry, I want that life to include you.  How could we possibly have a real relationship otherwise?” Draco said, his patience obviously wearing thin.

“I don’t think I’m capable of a real relationship.  You were spelled to obey me.  You were spelled to be compliant.  You were spelled not to lie to me.  You were spelled to—”

 “I wasn’t spelled to love you,” Draco blurted, out looking positively ill.

“For that I am truly sorry.”

Harry’s last remark raised Draco’s ire.  “Sorry?  You are such a stupid fuck sometimes.  You know that, don’t you?”

“What?”

“I’m pouring my heart out to you and you’re determined to throw it away.”

“I don’t deserve it.”

“You’re just feeling sorry for yourself.”

“I’ve shown you everything.  You know my life.  You don’t think I have reason to feel sorry for myself?”

“Sure you do, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do it.”

“Just go, please.”

“Fine, but answer one question.”

“If I can.”

“Oh, you can and you will.  You owe it to me.”

Harry nodded.

“Why didn’t you free me before?  Last fall?  Last Christmas?  After the Prophet article?”

Harry looked like a deer caught in the headlights.  It was not the question he had been expecting.

“Why, Harry?  Answer me.”

“I can’t.”

“Coward.”

“Fuck you!  The last thing I am is a coward.”

“Then answer the fucking question.”

“I didn’t want you to leave!” yelled Harry and buried his face in his hands.  His body convulsed with heavy sobs.

Draco edged closer to Harry until their knees were almost touching.  Gently, he took Harry’s hands and pulled them away from his face.  Harry looked up at him, his eyes bloodshot, his nose running.  Draco spoke calm with assurance.  “Then why are you telling me to leave now?”

Harry had no words.  He just shook his head several times.  Draco was still holding his hands.  How Draco was still there at all had Harry baffled and then Draco leaned forward and his shoulder was so close, right there for him to rest his head on.  Draco’s arms were wrapping around him, holding him.  Draco’s palms were rubbing his back and Harry had a sense of déjà vu.  Only their positions were reversed because the last time Draco had cried and he had comforted.  When was that?  His memory of the past year was so full of black spots. 

The sheer warmth of Draco wrapped around him unleashed another flood of tears.  Harry could not stop crying.  He wondered if he had ever cried this much.  Had he been holding it in all this time?  When it seemed that the worst was over, Draco let go of Harry just enough to reach for his wand.  Immediately, Harry felt the loss of that one arm.  Draco extended his hawthorn wand and summoned a handkerchief from the nightstand.  He pulled back just for a moment to hand it to Harry and then wrapped his arms around him once more.

Draco softly said, “I want to kiss you, but you have to clean yourself up first.”

Harry started to laugh, just a little.  He wiped his eyes and blew his nose and managed to sit up straight.  Then they simply looked at each other for a little while like they hadn’t seen each other in a long time and needed just to get a good look.

Then suddenly Draco was straddling his lap and kissing him.  It took a moment for Harry to respond.  He kissed Draco back and threaded one hand in his hair and snaked the other around his back.  It was a good kiss, full of promise.  Draco promised to stay while Harry promised to forgive himself, someday. 

And when the deal was sealed, they gently pulled their mouths apart and appraised the situation.

“How is this possibly going to work?” Harry asked, somewhat overwhelmed.

“Same as it has been working.  We’ll curl up together in this bed.  You’ll do that funny thing with your leg as you fall asleep.”

“What funny thing?”

“Oh, you know, it shakes.  You’re like a puppy dreaming of chasing a rabbit.  Anyway.  We’ll fall asleep and in the morning I’ll cook up some eggs and you’ll make cappuccinos and put extra foam on mine the way I like it.  You’ll read me the headlines and I’ll tell you all the sordid stories of the pathetic lives of witches and wizards who are most definitely not us.”

Harry smiled.

“And we’ll take it from there,” Draco added.

“But how?  I don’t think I can go spend the day with your folks at the Manor.”

“Harry,” Draco said most solemnly, “the Manor isn’t exactly where I want to be either.  Please believe that these past few years have tainted the rose colored glasses of my childhood.”

“Still, they’re your parents.”

“Yes.  Maybe they can come to tea at Andromeda’s or some other neutral territory.  I think we can keep your pack of Gryffindors separated for the time being.”

“And then what?”

“I don’t know.  Perhaps we watch the grapes grow at my vineyard in France, or paint the sitting room, or open up a shop in Diagon Alley and bring my lemon bars to the masses.  That last one was Weasley’s idea,” Draco added with a sardonic smile.  “Harry, it’s not going to be perfect, but I don’t want to give up what we have.  Of course it started out as something else, but what happened between us…it was real.  Wasn’t it?  Tell me it was real.”

“It was real,” Harry said softly before kissing Draco again.  The kiss was tender and lingered for some time.

As they pulled apart, Draco brought the backs of his fingertips to Harry’s face and brushed them down his cheek. 

“Okay?” asked Draco.

“Okay, Malfoy,” Harry replied and delighted in the smile that formed on Draco’s lovely face.


The End









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