Love Under Will
- Story Summary:
- In their 5th year, Harry and Draco choose to be with one another; but the story--and the battle-- is just beginning...
- Author's Note:
- Info on points raised throughout the story will always be chapter-specific; look at the end of each chapter for notes as necessary.
Chapter 8: Aftershocks
as I am
Someone you could know
Even as we speak
You could change your mind
Take me while you can
Even if you shine a light into the mirror
You won't see me any clearer
--"Take Me As I Am," The October Project
The rest of that night was one joyous blur for the members of Slytherin house. No one had ever gotten the Snitch before Harry Potter until today, and Malfoy was the resident hero. He spent a great deal of time being hoisted onto shoulders. He kissed a few girls, even Millicent, who seemed to think the occasion one of the highlights of her life. He told and retold the last few moments of catching the Snitch, ending just before the best part. That part, and everything after, he kept reliving in his mind, trying to accept that what happened had happened, and that he'd really enjoyed it that much.
Of course I enjoyed it. I was humping Harry Potter as thousands
could think of nothing else. The
pleasure of winning the match against Harry Potter faded before the thrill he
got deep in his bones whenever he remembered how Harry had felt pressed against
him, how his eyes had burned as he looked at him. He didn't want to analyze the whole thing; he was enjoying it too
much. He just wanted to keep remembering
Harry's expression of desire and want and terror. He had inspired all that in Harry. Draco Malfoy.
made him crazy with excitement.
rest of the school seemed to be in shock. The Hufflepuffs were leading in the house tournament for the
first time Draco could remember. They
didn't know what to do with themselves.
The Gryffindors looked miserable, more for Harry than the loss of 100
points or Slytherin's win.
just don't understand--Harry's never lost!"
could he let Malfoy beat him?"
be good for him, Draco thought, but a part of him kept wishing that he could
catch a glimpse of those steely emerald eyes, to be reassured that Harry was
still remembering what came after, not just losing to Malfoy. "Do you want me...?" kept ringing in his ears.
didn't know what was going to happen the next time he saw Harry. But he couldn't wait to see him.
night Draco dreamed he was chasing Harry on his broomstick, laughing, swooping
and diving with him, Harry always just out of reach. he awoke in a
stupidly good mood, surrounded by the stupidly good moods of all the other
Slytherins (most of whom rarely had a mood that wasn't stupid in some
sort). He was unquestionably the house
hero. The team had thirsted for a
victory over Potter for as long as he'd been playing. Ever since losing the Cup to Harry in their third year Draco had
dreamt of the ways in which he would exult in his triumph when he finally beat
Gryffindor. Now the fact that he also
wanted to go up to Harry in the Great Hall and kiss him until he saw Firebolts
made the moment all the more appealing.
dressed with even greater care than usual and made his way to breakfast. A late arrival was part of the act: all the
other members of his house, and most of the other students, were seated. A glance at the Gryffindors showed pure
dejection from everyone there. Only one
figure seemed to be forcing itself straight, held rigid with pride. The sight warmed Draco.
sauntered into the hall, alone, with only the deliberate grace and confidence
of his walk to announce him... and announce him it did. He was wearing his emerald-green Quidditch robes, chosen just to
taunt the Gryffindors. Actually, chosen
just to present his silver-gold hair and pale complexion in the most
irresistible light to a certain Seeker, who was at that moment turning to look
at him, his mouth falling slightly open in a gaze of--was that disgust, mingled
with faint admiration? Draco hid a
satisfied smile. He knew he looked
gorgeous, but at that moment, with the eyes of every person in the hall upon
him, and Harry's gaze especially bearing down on his figure, he felt a
delicious sense of power in his own sex appeal.
Slytherins announced his entrance with a round of arrogant applause, greeted
with boos and catcalls from every side.
Harry, he noticed as he tossed his head and strolled to the head of his
table, did not join in. Instead he was
simply gazing, a hard, intent gaze that Draco could feel even though their eyes
had yet to meet. He knew instinctively
what Harry was doing. He'd always
known, he realized; he'd just never allowed himself to care. Since the whole of Hogwarts had turned to
stare, Draco felt that Harry was indulging in a moment of ogling. Draco obliged and gave him something to look
at, slinking catlike into a pose at the head of the table. His eyes narrowed. This one's for you, Potter. He didn't dare look over at the Gryffindors, simply because he
wanted to so badly, and he knew Harry would sense his eagerness the way he
already sensed Harry's eyes on his back.
When the applause--standing ovation from the Slytherins--had ended and his housemates had reseated themselves, Draco pointedly removed his robes. Beneath the green he wore a form-hugging black t-shirt, tucked into his most elegant pair of black trousers. Across the front, emblazoned in emerald and silver, were the words,
I lost to Slytherin.
Making sure everyone in the hall was paying attention he turned casually to place his robes on the back of the chair, displaying the words on the back of the shirt:
...Couldn't handle my stick.
--Harry Potter, Gryffindor Seeker
gasps swept over his audience, followed by immediate peals of laughter. Malfoy
turned back around after a moment, a smirk creasing his features, moving from
deadpan to sardonic with one expression.
Only then, with roars of laughter and scattered applause echoing from
all sides of the room--even from the Gryffindor table--did Draco dare to turn and
regard his nemesis. Hermione sat with
her hands clasped over her mouth, looking properly horrified, while Weasley,
his face red, was gripping his fork, looking prepared to stab Draco with it at
any second. Harry, however--
was steel. He gazed calmly back at
Malfoy, his expression implacably hard and rage-filled and sexy as
hell. It was the same furious
intensity of the day before, only it was rife with challenge. It was beautiful. Addictive. Draco grinned
at him. Harry didn't flinch.
winked. Harry shut his eyes and turned
his back to the Slytherin table.
Potions came, Harry was already in his seat beside Draco's. Draco went straight to him, sat down, and
turned to give Harry his sauciest grin.
"I've been thinking, Potter.
Maybe you should let me show you a few tips on flying. Brush up those skills of yours."
turned to him and Draco felt lightheaded.
He looked as though he hadn't slept at all the previous night; he had a
wonderfully raw, glazed-over look--an added attraction. How long, Draco
wondered, had Harry been the sexiest person he knew? He wanted him. Right
there. Wanted the warmth of his skin,
the rumble in his voice, the dip of his throat over his Adam's apple. Wanted his scruffy hair, his lips, his eyes--
then Draco looked into Harry's eyes and felt something within him crumble. They were dark and full of loathing. He'd never dreamt such coldness could break
through someone so passionate. He was
the iceberg, not Harry; and yet Harry's eyes were cold fury: a thousand
explicit insults in one quelling glance.
Draco had only just had time to read and understand the meaning of that
gaze before Harry took even that away from him, facing the front again
quickly. Behind him Hermione asked
oddly if Harry was feeling all right.
He ignored her along with Draco.
sat back, stunned, not sure what he had expected, but certain that this wasn't
it. Ever since the game, he had been so
happy. So happy just admitting that he
wanted Harry. For the first time since
the detention, he'd felt as though life made sense again. Now he felt bleak reality burst sharply
through the giddy Harry-haze of his mind.
Harry didn't want him. Harry
didn't want him? Impossible. He'd seen the way he'd wanted him on
the field yesterday--he knew the boy was turned on. No way was he going to let Harry back away
now. He wanted Harry to want him. Harry would want him.
kind of passion suddenly latched onto Malfoy, indignation mixed with proud
desire. So this is how it's going to
be, Potter? You practically shove your
cock in my face and then think you can act like this? As though nothing
Think again, Golden Boy.
strode in. Draco felt rather than saw
Harry tense up beside him, and that same fierce protective urge he'd felt as
they collided on their broomsticks overtook him. Snape headed straight for their table and stood before the two of
them with his eyes glittering. Around
them Gryffindors were wincing, and Slytherins chuckled, awaiting the brutally
sarcastic remark about the match that was sure to follow.
fought off a sudden desire to give Harry's arm a reassuring pat. The silly sod looked ready to hex the first
person that mentioned Quidditch to him, and Harry was determinedly not
looking at Malfoy. He couldn't know how
utterly appealing Draco found him in this moment, trying valiantly to stave off
his embarrassment and maintain his pride. Always the Potter pride, Draco
thought as he looked at him, a tiny smile gracing his lips.
well, Mr. Potter," said Snape softly, his bony fingertips touching in front of him,
"You seemed to have gained some much-needed humility since last night. Mr. Malfoy, I congratulate you on an
excellently played game of Quidditch yesterday." Malfoy said nothing, noticing how white Harry's knuckles were as
he pressed them against the tabletop.
Snape raised an eyebrow at him.
"Perhaps, Mr. Potter, you will appreciate the value of tactical
brilliance and superior flying now that your lucky streak has run out."
was too much. Parvati Patil burst out,
"Let's see if Malfoy's lucky streak can last 13 games, then, as Harry's has!"
and the Gryffindors chorused in agreement.
the murmurs and hisses, Draco said calmly, glancing at Harry's silent, stoic
form, "We both played an excellent match, sir. Potter and I."
was sure Harry flinched. Snape nearly
glowered at him in astonishment, and Ron Weasley seethed, "Oh, right, now
you can afford to be gracious, ferret-face!"
didn't say the best man didn't win, Weasel," Malfoy shot back. "Then again, Potter proved his inferiority
the day he chose you for a friend."
knew it was a stupid, stupid move to insult Ron when Harry was only a wand's
length away from him, but he was trying to get the morose lug to react: to do
something, anything, really, that involved communicating with him; and
insulting his friends was always the quickest way to achieve that. Malfoy had done it for so long, he'd figured
Harry would have caught on by now, would have understood that it was Harry he
was trying to get to, not Granger and the Weasel. But if Harry had ever figured it out he never showed it. The swiftness of his reaction as he whirled
on Draco, whipped out his wand with one hand, and gripped him by the collar
with the other, left Draco a little breathless.
Say. Another. Word."
how Harry's eyes could blaze.
Serenely, Malfoy gazed back at Harry, trying to get a grip on all the emotions stirring behind those perfectly dorky glasses. God, glasses...
are you really doing this? Are you really mooning over Harry Potter's
may have gotten the Snitch," Harry continued in a low, angry voice. "But you'll never get the best of me."
Yes. I'm mooning. I am definitely mooning.
Malfoy placed his hand over Harry's wand, his
fingertips just brushing Harry's hand.
Without breaking eye contact he calmly turned Harry's wand the right way
around, so that the correct end was pointing at Malfoy. He kept his hand on the wand and said
smoothly, "You were saying?"
Snape's quizzical looks at Draco were growing more
frequent. Amid the laughter he took
points from Harry for disrupting his class.
In the last week alone Malfoy and Potter had lost
almost two hundred points for their houses just by being together.
Draco had to admit it was worth the loss.
The lectures on the detested Deathjoy Serum ended and
Draco had the pleasure of watching Harry prepare the potion in its final form,
correctly this time. Since everyone had
been so unprepared for the quiz, Snape had them do it over, this time adding a
few drops of blood from an unspecified creature to complete the brew.
Harry, undoubtedly determined to show Snape, or Draco,
or both of them that he knew what he was doing, did the whole potion by himself
this time. Draco sat silently, while
Harry did all the work, noting the slenderness of his hands, the softness of
his eyelashes, the way he kept stopping to push his glasses back up on his
nose. God...when the kid wasn't being a
complete prat, Draco thought, hiding another smile, Potter was downright charming. Not a suave or particularly skillful kind of
charm, like the kind Malfoy knew he possessed, but a sweet, natural goodness
that made you... made you kind of, well, adore him. He knew Harry could feel his stare, and he also knew how hard the
sap was trying to ignore it. He didn't
care; he kept right on staring, slowly wearing him down to the breaking point.
Harry glanced over at him, finally, as he reached for a
vial. Draco casually tucked a strand of
his whiter-than-white hair behind his ear and stretched, making sure that Harry
got a glimpse of his forearms. Draco
knew a thing or two about body parts, and he knew which ones he should show
off. Fortunately for him, he had plenty
to choose from at any given moment. So
did Harry, but the blasted git didn't realize his frank, natural sexuality any
more than he realized how futile it was to act as though their little romp the
night before hadn't happened.
I wish he'd look at me. I want him to look at me.
Potter was looking at him again, this time casually
glancing at those forearms and trying to make it seem like he wasn't.
He's so innocent, really. Right now he doesn't know what I'm doing to him. He's scared. Is he afraid of me? Is he afraid I'm toying with him?
Are you sure you're not?
Are you sure you're not getting in over your head?
You're a Malfoy.
He's a Potter. Like the bad seed
and the good earth. They don't mix.
I'm Draco; he's Harry.
I want him. That's all I need to
This is crazy. You're going to get somebody killed.
Draco refused to think about it any further.
potion had transformed into a beautifully, dazzlingly clear liquid, so smooth
and thin you could barely tell it was there.
It would dissolve into anything and leave no trace of its presence. It would kill instantly. It would also provide temporary immunity
from any affliction, any spell, any curse, dark magic included. Frightening in its beauty, Draco
thought. Perfect for Snape to teach; it
suited his vindictive sense of aesthetics.
Harry tilted his head to measure a bit of it into a mixture of
Poisonberry wine, using his left hand to pour while the right held the
vial. Draco stood beside him and leaned
into him, tilting his head right up against Harry's shoulder on the pretense of
measuring the amount in the container.
Harry's vial-hand began to tremble, ever so slightly. So of course Draco did the courteous thing and placed his hand on top of Harry's to keep it steady while he poured. Harry went white. His hand felt cold and hot at once underneath Draco's. Harry's pulse beat at lightning-quick speed, and Draco oh so subtly moved his thumb over it. God, he was enjoying this, Harry's closeness, the heat rising slowly in Harry's cheeks and fingers...
going to have people staring, you idiot.
took an unnoticeable breath and slid his hand away. He managed to disentangle himself from Draco, hand him the
Diabolution solution, and step away, running his fingers nonchalantly through
his thick black hair--all without ever acknowledging what Draco had just done,
or even that Draco was there.
felt like growling. Who did he think he
He set the potion down on the table a little loudly,
and then, out of the corner of his eye, caught Harry watching him. It was just a quick, brief glance, but the
message it sent was as clear as it had been before: stay away from me.
Draco suddenly remembered the stinging shame he had
felt when Harry had first refused his friendship. He felt a similar kind of pang now, only this time it had edges,
and came uncomfortably close to his heart.
Just forget about it, Malfoy. You've had your fun.
So you have a crush on Harry Potter. It's just one more thing he'll always have
But he--he feels something. I know it. He's just hiding.
You were more than willing to hide yesterday.
That was before...before I beat him. He wondered if he would even be at this
level of awareness had he not stolen the Snitch away from Harry--if maybe the
fact that he had finally beaten Harry made him able to admit how he
How, he knew now, he had always felt.
His frown fell into place and he said nothing for the
rest of the class. This was apparently
fine by Harry; he didn't look at him until they were dismissed, when he cast
him a quick, hesitant glance Draco ignored.
Coldness swept over Malfoy, and he picked up his books and left the room
with Crabbe and Goyle without chancing a look at Harry.
Behind him, he heard Granger pounce: "Harry, what is going on with you and
"Hermione, are you nuts? Harry doesn't want to hear any more about Malfoy right now! Sorry, Harry--don't listen to her."
don't have anything to say anyway.
There's nothing going on. He's just rubbing it in that he beat me."
I'll give you
something to rub in.
Without exactly knowing what he was doing, Draco
whirled around and faced the trio. "We
need to talk, Potter," he said calmly.
Ron, Hermione, Crabbe, and Goyle all stopped dead in
their tracks and gaped at him. They'd
never actually heard Malfoy address Harry with a sentence that didn't call for
an insult in response--and none of them seemed to know what to do about it. Harry, however, paused with a cold look at
Malfoy, and walked around him. "I don't
think we have anything to discuss."
Malfoy, anticipating this much, leaned into him as he
walked past and whispered, "Don't think I won't tell anyone what we were really
doing last night."
His eyes spoke volumes: you wouldn't.
Malfoy's own responded mercilessly: oh, yes, I
Glancing back at Hermione and Ron, Harry straightened,
gave Malfoy a contemptuous look, and nodded.
"I won't be long." Malfoy
turned, nodded at Crabbe and Goyle to dismiss them, and strode quickly into a
side-dungeon, chilly with frost and dingy from disuse. Behind him he could feel the stares of
Slytherins and Gryffindors alike. A
quiet heat was rising inside of him as he entered the darkened room. What was he going to say? What could he say? How could he even articulate what was going on in his mind as he
watched Harry, when he thought of Harry, when he touched Harry?
Draco suddenly realized he didn't have to articulate
Harry rounded the corner and poked his head in the
dungeon after Draco, shutting the door after them and facing Draco with a look
of cold disdain. "Well, what is it?"
"I just wanted to remind you of something," Draco said
intently, stepping towards Harry, who looked wary but didn't back away.
took Harry's face in his hands.
Harry gasped and reached his own hand up to pry
Malfoy's away from him but when their fingers touched he froze. Draco opened his mouth to speak but he
couldn't: Harry's presence, the way it felt to hold him again, was
overpowering. He wanted desperately to
feel Harry's lips against his; yet he stood rigid from fear that if he moved
Harry would back away, would scorn him, refuse him, and reject him all over again. He could feel his body, and Harry's beside
him, reacting from their closeness, the heat of skin against skin. Slowly he ran his fingers over Harry's
cheek, locking his gaze into those beautiful jade eyes. Harry's breathing, already a little ragged,
quickened, and as his body tensed under the touch his mouth fell open, and...oh...
Just looking at Harry was heaven.
With a burst of courage, Draco reached for Harry and
kissed him so deeply it gave him chills in parts he never knew he had till that
moment. Harry's entire body screamed
into Draco's with the reaction, and he gripped Draco's arms, fighting with
every ounce of control he possessed not to kiss back. Draco leaned into him and dared him to resist, his tongue
sweeping into Harry's warm, deliciously salty-sweet mouth with an authority
that left both of them breathless.
Harry didn't respond, but he certainly didn't pull away, and with a
burst of resolve that kept him from giving in to the urge to wrap himself
around the Gryffindor and give him the ravishment of his life, Draco finally
released him, placing a last kiss gently on Harry's mouth.
Harry gaped at him, reeling. His arms were clinging a bit stupidly to his sides, and he looked
as though he'd never recover from the fact that Draco had actually kissed him again.
Cold fear swept over Draco. What now?? He'd just
pulled out all the stops, and if Harry refused him now...
For half a moment Harry seemed to be on the verge of
stepping forward and claiming Draco's mouth for his own. He looked back at Draco, beautiful, honest
bewilderment gleaming in his eyes. But
suddenly, as though he were reigning in all of his emotions at once, his
features darkened, and he bit his lip as he removed Draco's hand from his
face. "This is nice," he said with
considerable difficulty, keeping his voice low and hard, "but it's hardly worth
heart promptly relocated somewhere in the area of his naval.
you," he retorted with all the bitterness in his soul.
Harry stared him down for a moment and then
nodded. "Right. So that's twice you've told me to fuck off.
Nice chatting with you too." But as he turned
around Draco gripped his shoulder and forced him to face him.
"Listen, I don't know what you're thinking about what's
been going on this week--"
"Oh, and what's that?" Harry snapped. "All I've seen is
a bunch of fighting, a couple of kisses, and more fighting. Yeah. That's really
a lot to think about, Malfoy."
"Look, is this because I won the Quidditch match?"
eyes blazed. "It's about not letting
you play this game with me."
Draco flinched. "What?"
Harry gripped the arms that held his shoulder. "This!" he gestured angrily to the
air between them, then gave a fierce tug on the front of Malfoy's Quidditch
t-shirt, jerking it out of his pants. "This thing that says we won't be happy
till we've beaten, ridiculed, humiliated, or pounded the living hell out of one
another. The game we've been playing
ever since the day we met. You can't just
go changing the rules like that!"
"So you'd rather live in a cookie-cutter world than
face the possibility that this might be serious!"
Harry's eyes widened.
He drew in his breath and took an uncertain step backwards. "There's nothing serious about any of this,
Malfoy," he said coolly, his gaze burning into Draco's. "It's just one more way for us to dick
Draco froze. He
felt his voice leave him. Harry was
looking at him as if he wanted to rip Malfoy's soul out for exposure, and yet
was horrified with himself for even getting close enough to the Slytherin to
try such a thing. His gaze was
suffocating in its intensity, but Draco couldn't look away from it. And still, deep inside him, something
desperately wanted to be real with Harry, help Harry understand him, and
understand the enigmatic mind of the Boy Who Lived.
Harry stood his ground, his eyes flashing in grim
determination. "You can't think this is real," he said when Draco stayed
silent, "so whatever you're trying to prove by feeling me up every chance you
"You're the one who had the hard-on yesterday, Golden Boy! You're the one who practically jumped me in the astronomy tower and tried to hold my bloody hand in--"
"You're full of shit, Malfoy! You can't pretend what happened didn't happen one day and then
try to kiss me the next!"
"Oh, so we're just going to pretend like it didn't
happen now because that's what you want, is that it?" Draco snarled.
"What the hell do you want from me, Malfoy?" Harry looked ready to punch him.
"Just make up your goddamn mind, Potter!"
Silence, and then:
"I have made up my mind," Harry said
shakily. "I don't want any part of
Harry looked as if he didn't believe his own
voice. But it was enough for Draco.
"Don't come near me again, Potter," he snarled,
fighting back something that felt suspiciously like agony. He couldn't bring himself to say any more,
and he wanted desperately to look away; but his pride held his gaze riveted in
place against Harry's. He might be
humiliated, but Draco Malfoy would never let it show in front of Harry Potter.
Harry nodded in acknowledgment, and then stood there
awkwardly for a moment, trying to control his rapid breathing, and like Draco
trying to think of something to say.
When nothing came to mind and the silence grew overpowering, he
swallowed and turned away. He left the
room with his dignity thoroughly intact, and just watching him leave made Draco
want to shove his fist through the wall.
Instead he slumped against it, his mind whirling, heart sinking into a
sort of numb oblivion.
On the first day they'd met he'd watched with jealousy
and envy as Harry walked away from him the same way. He'd give anything to feel jealous of Harry again. He'd give anything to feel something other
than what he felt now: this longing, this steadfast desire for Harry that had
arisen from god knew where.
It was stronger than anything he'd ever known. And now he had no idea how to get past it.
He sighed. God,
Harry--even with those glasses, you're blind...
the fifth night in a row, Malfoy couldn't sleep.
he sat in the gauzy armchair, looking up at the glass-domed astronomy
ceiling. He couldn't stop thinking
about Harry. He'd avoided all contact
with the Gryffindors for the rest of the day, because even with all his
practice at hiding emotion, he didn't have the energy to look into Harry's face
without betraying what he was feeling.
would have been different if Harry had been in denial. It would have been different if he'd been
confused and uncertain. But blatant
rejection, coming a second time from the only person who had ever refused him,
the same person who now made him feel light-headed--that was something Draco
could barely comprehend.
gone over and over everything in his mind, for the first time since that damned
flower incident. The sleepless nights,
the dreams of Harry...the way they'd kissed...it was overwhelming. One week. One
week was all it had taken.
And now it looked like it was all over.
sighed up at the night sky and muttered, "Goddamn you, Harry Potter."
the sound faded away a noise on the other side of the room caught his
attention. It came from nowhere. Draco ducked down in his seat, listening. He knew he wasn't alone, but he wasn't sure
what he was with. Cautiously he
poked an eye around the corner of the armchair. Whatever it was, it was watching him. Draco felt chills climbing his back and staunchly ignored them.
Whatever it was, he wasn't going to let it see him frightened.
waited an eternity. Maybe there was
nothing there after all. Gradually, he
began to relax--and then--out of the corner of his eye something moved, as though
the very room itself were shivering. He
whirled with a soft gasp at the weird shape-shifting in front of him--
gasped again, this time from a thousand emotions at once.
of the devil," said Harry.
Author notes: Author’s Notes:
The song quote is by the October Project.
The story of the t-shirt wars: Frances had decided not to allow Draco a proper retaliation in her story for Harry’s little, erm, prank in chapter 2 or Resolution. I think all readers will agree with me that this was in no way fair. Draco needs his vengeance!
Since I had already written my Quidditch match, where Drake actually gets to win for once (about bloody time), I asked her, once the T-shirt Slogans became a kind of phenomenon, if I could have Drake get a little of his own back in Chapter 8. She said yes, and the beginning scene was added to the chapter. Frances is amazing and wonderful and I worship her for letting me borrow the moment and make it my own. THANK YOU. If you haven’t read “Resolution” you must. It’s wonderful. The T-shirt scene alone is one for the annals. Chapter 2 is dedicated to me, hee! It’s like the best guilty pleasure ever.
Disclaimer on the end of LUW 7: I planned it in my mind long before I read Stacey’s Tower With A View, and when I read the first scene of that story my thought was, my god, that’s my Quidditch fight! So any similarities are fully un-intentional.
The ‘thank you’ section from hell:
Franzi, Franzi, Franzi, what would I do without you? I loved what you did with the beta edition of this chapter. I’ve got half a mind to post it as a separate MST of the unedited version. *cackles* Erica, for introducing me to the October Project and being my internet wife; Nancy, for helping me out with a prominent line and doing an impromptu beta session. (Lol: “I Was A T-shirt Beta.”) Nance? “This one’s for you.” *hug* Hurtling glomps to Fran, for allowing me to use her t-shirt slogan idea and run it into the ground; for another impromptu beta session which helped me out immensely; for being just the greatest, sweetest friend and fellow author; and for thinking nice things about me. :) Continuing heartfelt thanks to Ginny, Plu, Constantine, Geralynn, Twilights, and everyone at the Guns and Handcuffs for their boundless enthusiasm and love and ficlets! Thanks to Kickflaw and Durendal for letting me worship them. HUGE thanks to Ali, the genius behind Diagon Alley, for fulfilling a long-standing wish and agreeing to host LUW there in future. Huge thanks to AdiDragon for her energy, art, and friendship. She drew an LUW-inspired pic, among many gorgeous offerings which you can find here.
Special thanks go to Demeter and Mandraco, who have reviewed literally everything I’ve ever written for this fandom, making me feel incredibly loved in the process. To Penguin, Slytherlynx, Audrey Thurston Hirch, and Antenora, all wonderful, amazing writers, among my favorites, who happen to like LUW, and who also let me worship them; to another wonderful author, Ayla, who always reviews even though I have yet to return her the favor and I feel so guilty about it—one day soon, chick, I promise. To the following people who always review and always make my day: Jacey, Anna, AVK, Daughter Hecate, Quidditch Mom, Venus4280, Sarah, Kearie, Tankgirl, Fyre, ClarKeRaVen, bondagechic, Warui Warui Neko, Valacirca, Bosch, and Whitebear (*hugs*). To Slightlights and Plu for the kinds of reviews that make me a better writer—and to Cliff Stamp for the kinds of reviews that make me want to be a writer. Much love to you all. I left out so many people, but please believe I appreciate every kind word.
Thanks to Lady Shalott, whose take on H/D has helped inspire the writing of this fic to no end. Huge thanks to Cassie for the ever-inspiring trilogy, and most especially for Reccing LUW to the Cassie/Rhysenn list along with the other two writers who have served as a huge source of inspiration: Al and Stacey.
To The RQ, for not letting me crawl into a hole during the last month. Josh was a big help in the “to kiss or not to kiss?” aspect of this chapter. I hope you like the result! *hugs the love monkey* Shandy helped me on a part of this chapter even though it got cut (no pun intended)—it’s the thought that counts, right? Dave the World’s Most Awesome Neighbor had to put up with me writing this thing for hours on end and rudely ignoring him (it’s almost done! I swear!! No, really this time!) *hugs Dave* thanks, pal, even though I know how much it will squick you to be in the thank you section of a slash fic. And finally, Weasley the RQ Kitten sat on my shoulder for the last half of it and made the trip seem worthwhile. *smiles*
Finally, hugs and thanks to ChinaWolf for putting LUW in the number one spot. Hope it was worth it.