Slash Drama
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire
Published: 01/15/2002
Updated: 06/11/2004
Words: 116,388
Chapters: 15
Hits: 191,616

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...

Chapter 10



Love Under Will

Part One: Transeamus

Disclaimer: Not mine. This is also SLASH to an intense degree, so if the concept of true love between members of the same sex is incomprehensible to you, then please don't disgrace the intentions of this fic by reading it.

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 10: A Balance of Bliss

“You always bring me up - you always shoot me down –

You fill my cup with rage until I'm laughing as I drown.”

—Space Team Electra, “Dizzy”


Harry didn’t sleep until very late in the night. When he opened his eyes the sun had barely begun to crease the sky with light. He lay there for a while, basking in the silence, enjoying the early waking moments that let him relive everything he had done with Draco the night before. He wasn’t used to this—this feeling of calm glee, of quiet euphoria that had steadily crept over him since their first kiss the previous night, through everything that followed, even into his dreams.

It was so… strange. That something should feel this natural, especially anything concerning Draco Malfoy, was utterly unnatural. “Just go with it,” he had told Draco the night before. It had been easy to do that then, but in daylight the immensity of what they’d started was a little harder to ignore. Harry pushed his thoughts aside and tried not to analyze it just now. After all, even if there was something to analyze, he wasn’t ready to spoil things by dwelling on it.

The thought that at some point in future he might have to dwell on it dispelled his quietude and sent a surge of restless energy through him. He wanted to see Draco; he wanted a thousand different things at once; felt a thousand emotions churning within him. The urge to go flying possessed him, and propelled him out of bed as though he hadn’t just had an insanely brief amount of sleep. He grabbed his Firebolt before slipping out of the boys’ dormitory and heading outside, out into the morning. The bite of November frost hit him, stinging the sleep out of his eyes, and he shivered. Buttoning his robes around him, he took to the air, feeling the wind chapping his face on contact. He didn’t care. He felt warm from the inside out, and not even the cold of winter could dampen the fire in his veins. Not that morning.

He didn’t know how long he flew, only that he was quickly and utterly lost in thoughts of Draco. Draco, Draco, Draco

“Nice moves, Potter.”

Harry nearly fell off his broom.

Recovering, he spun around to find Draco jogging a little way behind him, a strange little smile on his face. His windswept hair was charmingly out of place, and even though Harry figured Draco would probably have a fit if he could see himself, the disheveled, slightly uncontrolled look left him momentarily breathless.

He landed as Draco pulled up beside him. For a moment he was frozen to the spot, heart racing, incapable of doing more than looking at Draco. Draco was regarding him without a word, the odd smile still on his lips. Harry suddenly felt ill: the night before had been a fluke; Draco was teasing him. Oh, god, no, he thought desperately. He wanted to spit out words but nothing seemed right, so he just stood there, letting the awkward silence grow, waiting for Draco to announce that he had changed his mind; or worse, that he had been leading Harry on all along, that it had all been a joke—maybe a bet or a locker-room dare.

The declaration never came. Instead Draco’s eyes searched Harry’s a bit hesitantly, and Harry’s heart somersaulted upward faster than it had fallen. Of course it hadn’t been a fluke. Draco was just as uncertain as he was. The thought flashed through Harry’s mind that neither of them were quite sure they had earned the right to be here like this yet: standing in wide open daylight doing something as normal as talking, wishing each other good morning. This was nothing like kisses exchanged beneath moonlight. This was taking everything one step further. Harry couldn’t help being amazed by the whole thing even as he plunged right ahead. “You like my moves, then?” he said. Feeble, but it would do.

Draco gave a barely perceptible nod. “They’re not bad. I think I could get used to them.”

“I… think I’d like that,” Harry said, smiling.

“Did anyone miss you last night?”

“Just Ron. But he thought I was just working off steam about the Quidditch game, so he didn’t ask too many questions.”

Draco smirked. “Bet you’re glad I beat you, then.”

“Well, yeah, in a way, I mean—” Harry trailed off at the triumph in Draco’s eyes. “Oh, bugger off.”

Draco chuckled. Harry couldn’t help the half-smile that quirked up the corners of his mouth.

“What about you?”

“Crabbe and Goyle pounced on me last night as soon as I got back.”

“Ugh. Bad images,” Harry grimaced. “What’d you tell them?”

“That I was off shagging Harry Potter.”

Harry’s jaw dropped. “You—you what?”

“I told them I was off shagging Harry Potter. Vince said I was a fucking comedian and Greg reminded me that humor wouldn’t save my arse if Filch caught me out of bed.” He cast Harry a very blank look in response to his expression. “Oh, really, Potter, you didn’t think they actually believed me.”

“Can I help it if you’re convincing?” Harry quirked a smile and eyed Draco, tongue flicking involuntarily over his lips. Draco eyed him right back and took a step towards him.

“Seems to me there’s a lot you can’t help where I’m concerned, Potter,” he said, in a tone that hinted at things Harry wasn’t prepared to think about quite that early in the morning.

Harry smiled. “As I recall, Malfoy, you had a bit of trouble controlling yourself as well.”

“That’s ridiculous, Potter. I’m always in control.”

“Of course you are,” Harry said with a grin, “you’re a Malfoy.”

Draco started to return the smile. His eyes were already glittering topaz-silver in the morning light, the very essence of November in his gaze—and then, abruptly, he frowned, his expression stiffening under a sudden frost.

“What is it?” Harry asked. Draco appeared to hesitate for a moment, and Harry shifted uncomfortably. Something about the way Draco was studying him gave him a hunch that any moment now would be an excellent time to start analyzing things. The Slytherin’s lips tightened as he held Harry’s gaze, and reaching into the pocket of his sweats he removed a letter. The parchment was very fine, and Harry realized after studying it a moment that it bore the Malfoy family seal. He started and looked at Draco in shock, sure for an instant that somehow Lucius Malfoy had found out about their late-night tryst and was pulling Draco from school, or exiling him to whatever Death-Eater Youth training program was in fashion these days. “Draco, what—”

But Draco had already begun to read expressionlessly: “ ‘Draco: Last evening I learned of your defeat of Potter in Quidditch. I must say how relieved I am that you have finally brought some little honor to the name of Malfoy, although I have to wonder whether your good luck in beating him to the Snitch was in fact due to the superior broomstick you were flying, rather than a particular superiority of talent. Learn a valuable lesson from this—namely, that there is no personal shortcoming, which pride, aggression, and a good investment cannot overcome. Congratulations—your father.’ ”

Draco closed the letter and looked penetratingly at Harry. “I am a Malfoy, Harry. This—this—” he held up the letter, his eyes flashing now with challenge—“is who I am. This is what I live by.” Harry frowned. “Do you still want it?” Malfoy drawled. “Could you live with yourself?”

Harry kept looking into Draco’s eyes and forced his voice steady. “That letter tells me who your father is, and I already knew that much. But it doesn’t tell me who you are, and if you think you can just expect me to back off because Lucius Malfoy happens to have a very warped sense of family values, then you need to learn a thing or two about me—number one being that I don’t scare away that easily.”

Draco’s face contorted in surprise, and for a second he was completely, totally unguarded, with an expression that made him seem even more uncontrolled than the wild behavior of his hair. He looked as if he didn’t know what to say, and so for a long moment he said nothing. Then, with a nod of understanding, he stepped towards Harry and placed a hand on his cheek.

Harry stopped thinking and went to autopilot, wrapping an arm around Draco’s waist and pulling him ungently forward. Their chests met softly, and Harry flushed, suddenly embarrassed by the fact that Draco could cause reactions from every bit of his body. It’s just Malfoy, he thought—but those blond lashes fluttering over beautiful silver eyes were nothing like what he associated with Malfoy. The gaze of calm assurance, wordless and searching, was something altogether new: it was… intimate. Malfoy was anything but intimate. Draco, however… Draco was…

Draco was leaning into him, kissing him, lips chapped from the cold, but still burning against his own, leaving him trembling from the touch, warm through and through. Harry cupped Draco’s cheek in his hand and felt the ice-pale skin pulsing with heat, with excitement. He slid his lips against it briefly, then pressed his own cheek against Draco’s for a moment. Feels so damn good….

Draco slid his hand slowly over Harry’s chest before pulling away, and Harry began to wish fervently that they were back in that armchair in the Astronomy Tower. “It’s not safe, you know,” Draco said, his voice subdued.

“You mean—”

“To do this out in the open. In public. Anybody could—”

“No one’s around.”

“It’s still—”



Harry studied him. “Do you care?”

“Well, I have done a fairly good job up till now of avoiding it. Danger, that is.”

“You won’t be able to stay out of it for long if you want to keep this up.” Harry spoke too quickly, an edge to his voice despite himself.

“We’ll see, Potter.” Draco’s expression was casual, but his eyes were carefully focused on Harry’s own.

“Right. We’ll see.” Asking Draco if he really had any idea what he was getting into suddenly seemed rather inappropriate, especially as Harry didn’t feel like answering the question himself.

“Right. In the meantime I’d rather not go asking for trouble.” Draco quirked an eyebrow. “Not any more than usual, I mean.”

Harry nodded in agreement. “You know, two days ago, I wouldn’t have wished the trauma of getting involved with me on my worst enemy.”

Draco stepped close to him again, his eyes dancing. “Good thing I can handle it.”

“Good thing you’re not my worst enemy.”

“Second-worst, then.”


“No? Third?”

“Possibly. Wait, no—Snape’s got that slot. Sorry.”

Malfoy began to look petulant. “Fourth?”

“Well… all right. Fourth.” Harry cracked a smile. “Why, where was I on your list?”

Draco’s eyes flashed. “Number one, Potter. Right up there at number one.”

“Who was number two?”

Draco smiled. “I don’t think I had a number two.”

“You’re lucky.”

“Comparatively.” Draco eyes narrowed and he tilted his head, eying Harry, and then abruptly pulled him close and kissed him firmly. Harry, startled but uncomplaining, pressed even closer and joined in, trying not to break into a grin until after Draco had finally released him.

For a moment Draco almost looked self-conscious, but a second later he regained his normal arrogant smirk—damn sexy smirk, that—and chuckled. “Don’t wear that smile to Potions, Potter, or Snape will deduct points just from the irritation of having to see you look happy.” He put his hand on Harry’s shoulder and turned, walking back towards the castle,. Normally Harry would be indignant at the way he was expected to just come along, but today he couldn’t muster up enough indignation to even act displeased. Draco’s hand tightened on his shoulder and he shivered involuntarily.

“Wonder what he’d say if he knew why I was smiling.”

“Now that’s something I’d rather not think about.”

“Agreed.” Harry suddenly stopped in his tracks. “Draco…”

“Hmm?” Draco stopped and turned, his hand sliding territorially down Harry’s back to his waist.

“It’s Saturday. No one’s awake yet, really.”

“Your point, Potter?”

“No one will miss us if we don’t go back to the dorms just yet.”

Draco smiled, a devious curling of his lips into something predatory. Harry’s stomach lurched; it was a feeling he liked very much, almost as much as knowing it was Draco Malfoy who was responsible for causing it. “Who said I was planning on going back to the dorm?” Draco said, arching an eyebrow.

Harry refrained from attacking him on the spot. “You aren’t,” he said, stepping toward Draco, his voice low.

“I’m not?”

“No. You’re going to come with me back to the broom-shed, and then you’re going to come for me.”

Draco drew in his breath sharply. “Oh, am I?” he said, without any outward reaction.


“I see.” Draco’s eyes narrowed. “And what do I get if I do?”

Harry matched his predatory smile with one of his own.


The next two days were a blur for Harry. He was somewhat relieved his little rendezvous with Draco hadn’t happened earlier on; it was difficult enough to focus on where he was at any given moment without his mind wandering to Draco’s nocturnal kisses, to his strong embrace, to the light smoothness of his voice, and the soft, surprisingly gentle touch of his lips. Harry knew that if the Quidditch match were held now, he would be completely hopeless, unfocused and giddy, and Draco would beat him easily—provided, of course, that Draco wasn’t as worked up and unable to concentrate as he was.

They explored each other thoroughly in those next crucial days; in this way the weekend passed in hot, fresh oblivion, and on the following Monday Harry was still in something of a slap-happy daze as he went down to breakfast. He had been giddily, childishly waiting all morning for the moment when he saw Draco. It was the first day since they’d been together that Harry hadn’t been able to slip off somewhere and find Draco to share a kiss or a secret embrace. He was so distracted by that thought that he was hardly aware of where he was at breakfast… until Draco sauntered in. Harry’s head automatically jerked around, and he stared, for the moment not even caring that he was being obvious. Draco didn’t glance at him as he took his seat—though Harry knew he must have felt his eyes on him.

“Oh,” Hermione said in her most exasperated tone, “Malfoy’s awful. Don’t let him get to you, Harry, he’s not worth it.”

“Yeah, Harry, don’t keep staring at him or people will think you’re jealous.”

“What?—oh,” said Harry, turning around, trying not to feel deflated at missing a glance from the amber-gray eyes whose flecks of gold he had etched into his memory.

He perked up considerably on his way to Potions. Hermione and Ron thankfully didn’t seem to notice that they practically had to run to keep up with Harry as he trotted down the stairs. Ron was engrossed in one of his favorite pastimes—complaining. “At least we don’t have to sit through another week of Deathjoy Serums,” he muttered as they entered the classroom. “I mean, bloody hell! And we won’t have to partner with the Slytherins anymo—Harry, wait, where are you going?”

Without thinking, Harry had headed for the typically empty seat beside Draco Malfoy, the seat he had been occupying all the prior week. The entire class fell silent, taking the eagerness of Harry’s stride as aggressiveness. Several students leaned forward in hopes of a fight, and someone whispered loudly, “Beat him to a pulp, Harry!”

Draco had been engrossed in writing, his head down. He turned as Harry sat beside him, and for a moment, did nothing but look at him in vague surprise. Then, as if someone had flicked a switch, his features coiled into disgust. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” he demanded. “The partner thing ended last week. Get away from me.”

Harry hesitated. Of course he hadn’t expected Draco to give him a good morning kiss, but… Oh, honestly, Harry, get it together.

Malfoy had already used his silence as leverage to launch into him. “Thought you’d ask for the Snitch back, is that it, Potter?”

“Maybe he thought he’d kick your arse like he was doing till Hooch pulled him off of you,” Dean shot out.

“Let Potter speak for himself, Thomas,” Draco replied, his eyes fixed on Harry. For the tiniest of instances, his eyes seemed to penetrate into Harry, not just glare at him, and a hint of softness crept into their depths. No one but Harry could have understood or even witnessed it, but it was all the reassurance Harry needed.

“I just wanted to congratulate you on your good luck, Malfoy,” he replied quietly, his voice hard with what loathing he could muster. Draco almost looked relieved that he’d managed a comeback, but his eyes began to flash indignantly as Harry continued, “Of course, a little bit of luck is all you’re ever going to have against Gryffindor.”

“If you don’t—mind—” Snape was suddenly seething over him, “returning to your seat, Mr. Potter?” Draco smiled smugly up at Harry, and as he did, turned the parchment he’d been scribbling on towards him. Charms corridor, 2:15, it read. Harry’s eyes flickered briefly back over Draco’s to acknowledge his receipt of the message, and he walked back to his own desk, his heart glowing.


Harry had never felt anything like it—the heat in his brain that seemed to follow him around, or the pang of joy that attacked him whenever Draco walked by, or glanced at him. Sometimes his eyes would flash; other times he would give Harry a barely discernible wink; at others a disdainful leer that seemed to call out to him, ‘Come and get it, if you’re brave enough.’

‘Later,’ Harry’s own cool, tiny half-smile would answer. ‘Later—just wait.’ And when he found Draco later—in the dark confines of the Astronomy tower, in a brief, surreptitious embrace in the hallways when no one was watching, or a heady, lengthy half-hour after dinner—Harry would come and get it, making Draco pay him back for every snide remark, every passing sneer, every public insult. Draco seemed incapable of resisting, giving himself up to Harry’s embrace so completely that Harry was taken aback by it every time. Draco was so tenderly forthcoming, so passionate and warm in those moments that seeing him later as the cool, aloof Slytherin always came as a shock to Harry. It took Harry a bit of time to understand that Draco was doing this about-face consciously: that when he was with Harry he showed him a part of himself he evidently didn’t think the rest of the world worthy of knowing. Once Harry realized this, he relished being alone with Draco even more, taking every moment possible just to be with him, catch his smile, feel his breath in his ear, or hear Draco’s light laugh chiding him for trying to corner too much time with him.

“I’m going to get tired of you at this rate, Potter,” he’d say, smiling, and then pull Harry into a steady kiss that warmed Harry all over and seemed to indicate just the opposite.

Being alone with Draco was rapidly turning into euphoria.


It was when they weren’t alone that Harry had issues.


“Hey, Potter. Looks like you haven’t slept in a week. Still brooding over the Quidditch match?”

“Go screw yourself, Malfoy.”

Sotto voce: “While you watch?”




Their tiny exchange of smiles was interrupted as Ron accosted them. “Hey, Malfoy, think if you bother Harry enough, some of his talent will rub off on you?”

Draco tossed his head and replied smoothly, “You ought to know it doesn’t work that way, Weasel—seeing as you’ve no talents of your own to speak of.” Ron’s cheeks turned pale and his ears turned red. “But then again,” Malfoy continued icily, his eyes gorgeous, narrow slits against Ron’s angry glare, “I can’t blame you for wanting some of Potter’s good fortune. You’ll take any fortune you can get, won’t you?”

“You filthy son of a—!!”

Ron’s fist was an inch away from Malfoy’s face when it was unceremoniously yanked away by Harry, who stepped in between them. “Hey!” Ron snapped. “Harry, what are you—?”

Harry’s eyes were boring into Malfoy’s. “I think you’d better leave.” His voice was cold and hard.

Draco met his iron glare with intensity every bit as lethal as Harry’s own. “I wasn’t addressing you, Potter,” he said quietly, his voice more forceful for its deliberate calmness.

“Yeah, Harry,” Ron seethed, trying to force his way back in Malfoy’s face. “This is between me and Malfoy. Just let me at the sorry—”

“He’s right, Potter,” Malfoy drawled. “This isn’t your concern.”

“Maybe not. Maybe I just don’t want to see Ron wasting his energy on you, Malfoy.”

“Maybe you’re not his father,” Malfoy snapped, his eyes flashing dangerously.

“Maybe it’s none of your business.”

“Maybe you’re a bloody hypocrite!” Draco’s eyes flashed for a second before his discomposure vanished behind a veneer of disdain.

“I’ll show you bloody, Malfoy, if you don’t get your snobby little carcass out of here—” Harry clenched his fist and spat out the last phrase—“rightnow.” Draco saw the movement of Harry’s hand. His breath caught in his throat and his eyes narrowed. Harry looked back at him and said softly, under his breath, “I mean it.”

Draco looked back at him silently for a long moment. Finally he replied, “All right, Potter. I don’t feel like dirtying my robes with scum today, anyway.” He turned, and, with one last vitriolic look at Ron, walked away, as proudly composed and gracefully haughty as ever.

Harry, watching him go, was dimly aware of someone in the crowd that had gathered around them purring, “Now that was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.” His head snapped up and he recognized Blaise Zabini, who archly looked him up and down and then glanced at Ron, who was rigid in anger, looking after Malfoy. Hermione, who had been standing back in the crowd watching, now stepped forward and took Ron’s arm reassuringly. Harry noticed Blaise smirk at this. She licked her lips before turning away to follow Draco, who tossed his head and staunchly ignored her. A dart of something unnamable shot through Harry’s heart.

“Harry! Why did you stop me?!” Ron was furious.

“Look, you provoked him,” Harry snapped back, “not the other way around. If you’d hit him you’d only be sinking to his level.”

Ron blinked. “But Harry—this is Malfoy we’re talking about! Since when does it matter who provoked who?”

“Since you nearly made an idiot out of yourself,” Harry retorted curtly.

Ron’s eyes flashed and he glared at Harry. “What the hell are you—”

Hermione cut him off. “Ron, let it go,” she said, eyeing Harry with worry. “It’s fine, it’s over—just drop it.” The two of them continued to stare, perplexed, at Harry. He could feel their stares, but kept his eyes stubbornly on the retreating figure of Malfoy.

Cruel, callous, conceited bastard. And I stuck up for him like some pathetic—God. I wanted to fuck his brains out even as he stood there insulting my best friend. Fuck. I should have let Ron have him. I should have stood by and watched while they fought. Maybe he needs to know I won’t protect him. Hell, I’m not even sure I want to protect him.

But you did.

But I did.

He’d’ve kicked Ron’s arse. You know how strong those arms are. And you’d’ve hated yourself for letting him.

Would I?


It’s still a game to him. And I keep playing it. I can’t get enough of it. Even when he’s an arse.

Give him time. He’ll come through on his own.

And if he doesn’t? What am I supposed to do then? How can I look Hermione and Ron in the face and tell them I… that I’m in… this thing with Malfoy?

Yes, Ron, he’s a complete prick, but he gives great head.

Yes, Hermione, he calls you a Mudblood with the same mouth that takes me every night. Yes, I love it. Yes, I beg for more. Yes, he makes me want to beg.

No, he wouldn’t mourn you if you died. No, he didn’t mourn for Cedric.

But with him I forget about Cedric.

No, I don’t have any intention of walking.

Maybe that means I’m just as dirty as he is.

When he met Draco that night, he swept by the other boy’s embrace. Draco assessed his anger at a glance, and laughed quietly.

Harry didn’t know why the laugh hurt, but it did. His fingers found their way into a tight fist, and he sent Draco a dark look.

Draco raised an eyebrow and said smoothly, “So you’re still upset.”

“You bet your Pureblood arse I’m upset.” Harry leaned against a wall, facing Draco, who swept his hair out of his eyes and looked dispassionately back at him. “I ought to let you have the punch Ron wanted to give you.” His voice was hard and cold, but he didn’t care.

Draco straightened and walked over to him. “If you want,” he said, his gaze never wavering.

Harry looked at Draco, his breath coming in ragged gasps. Draco's throat was flushed, a faint rose that didn't quite make it to his pale cheeks. He stood gazing back at Harry calmly—too fucking calmly.

With a snarl, Harry lunged forward and grabbed him, wrenching his fists in Draco's hair and seizing his mouth in a kiss. Draco went rigid in surprise but didn't hold back, melting against Harry. "No," muttered Harry fiercely, trying to pull away as Draco tried to wrap his arms around Harry's waist. "You bastard."

Draco chuckled deep in his throat. Harry bit down, hard, on his lower lip and the chuckle turned into a gasp. "Go to hell," Harry murmured, shifting against Draco's thigh and pressing into him. Draco moaned in response. Somewhere in the back of Harry’s brain a voice was telling him that moaning wasn’t the response he wanted to provoke, however much his body was telling him otherwise. He shifted again, grinding hard against Draco’s pelvis until his own erection screamed and he heard Draco hiss in pain.

He smiled.

“Bastard,” Draco gasped unevenly.

“Your point?” Harry murmured, nipping at Draco’s throat.

“I’m here because I want to be with you,” Draco muttered, arching his neck towards Harry’s teeth, only to groan in frustration when Harry removed his mouth. “Not your friends. You know how it works.”

Harry pushed him against the wall and roughly tore away his robes, suddenly needy, wanting to pound the glimmer of lust out of Draco’s eyes—or maybe just pound him into the floor. “You don’t care, do you?” he growled. “It doesn’t matter to you that when you hurt him, you hurt me.”

Draco pressed against him but Harry gripped his shoulders and pushed back. “Fuck you,” Draco spat.

“Fuck you—you think you can insult my best friend just because you’re screwing me?”

“I’ve never done that, Harry—or have you forgotten.”

“You think you’re so clever.”

“You don’t complain,” Harry gasped as he ground against Draco, forcing him in place and unbuttoning Draco’s shirt, fingers trembling. Draco reached up to help only to be swatted away with a snarl.

“You don’t even know them.”

“I don’t see you going out of your way to get to know Crabbe and Goyle,” Draco retorted, pushing off Harry’s robes. Harry wriggled closer, biting and scratching Draco’s chest in vicious satisfaction.

“And you think that makes a difference? Nobody goes out of their way to get to know Crabbe and Goyle. I just don’t insult them—” he gasped as Draco’s hand worked its way between his waistband and his abdomen, and jerked away angrily, long enough for Draco to pull out of his grasp and drag him to the floor.

Instantly, Draco’s mouth was on his flesh, and his hands were everywhere, pinning Harry beneath him. Harry cursed and arched into his body.

“That’s a good boy, Harry,” crooned Draco, slipping Harry’s shirt up and running warm hands down his torso.

“I hate you,” Harry murmured, closing his eyes and moaning.

“Hate you right back, Potter”—as Draco pulled him closer and slid his lips over Harry’s, where they fit so perfectly Harry thought he might die from the rightness of it.

“Fuck you…”

“I want to, yes…”


“You taste …”

“You… oh… I want you inside me…”

In a moment all activity ceased. “What did you just say?” Draco said sharply.

Harry’s eyes flew open. He squirmed in vain to free himself from Draco’s grip, but Draco was holding him tightly, pressing him against the floor. “I said I want you to fuck me,” he spat, pleased to see Draco’s eyes widen. “Problem?”

The Slytherin shoved his knee against Harry’s thigh and leaned down to run his tongue along his collarbone. “Hmm,” he said, as Harry tried and failed to stifle a moan. “Say please.” His voice was light, seductive.

“Screw you.”

Draco placed his fingers beneath Harry’s chin and ran them carefully down his throat: “Mmm… you know you want it, Harry...”

“Dra… Draco…”

Harry’s breath sped up, and Draco smirked, bestowing a kiss on Harry’s temple. He placed his hand on the inside of Harry’s thigh and began to lightly run his fingers over the sensitive skin.

Throatily: “Now, Harry. Say it…”

A gasp: “Please!

“Mmmm. Something tells me I’m going to enjoy this very much…”

Weakly: “You bastard.”

Innocently: “What did I do?”

“Goddamn you,” muttered Harry, pulling his head down and kissing him violently, hitching his leg over Draco’s calf and rolling the Slytherin over beneath him. Draco went willingly, chuckling, and Harry, incensed, devoured his mouth, his fingers digging into flesh, pulling him impossibly closer.

“You’re the one getting turned on, Potter…”

“Just shut up.” Draco smiled and ran his hands through strands of Harry’s hair as Harry bent down and nuzzled Draco’s neck. Draco sighed and shivered in arousal. “I’m only a first-generation Pureblood myself, you know,” murmured Harry, nipping at Draco’s Adam’s apple.


“My mother was Muggle-born. Technically, as far as the Malfoy ranking system goes, you fuck me, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.”

“That’s ridiculous, Potter,” snapped Draco, irritably shifting his weight beneath Harry and lunging upward to capture Harry’s ear in a death-grip with his teeth. Harry yelped and moaned. “Don’t be moronic. Your mother was a great wizard. Everyone knows that.”

“Like Hermione will be someday,” Harry pressed on flatly, trying not to let Draco know how effective his touch was as his tongue flicked over Harry’s earlobe.

Draco did not respond at first. Instead he tightened his grip and pulled Harry firmly against him. “What point exactly are you trying to make?”

“I—” Harry gasped at the way Draco’s erection was screaming for attention between his thighs, lining right up against his own. He muttered a curse, and Draco nipped his lips, smiling a wickedly triumphant smile. “I just want to know, would you…”

“Yes?” Draco leaned in and flicked his tongue over the underside of Harry’s jaw line, making sure to touch it as lightly as possible in the way that always drove Harry into oblivion.

Harry arched nearly off of Draco entirely, and gasped, “What if I were a Muggle?”

Draco let go of him and pulled away, his eyes widening with alarm. Harry’s gaze was steady, but it faltered as Malfoy’s expression changed from hostile and lust-filled to bewildered and concerned.

“What?” he echoed, with a faint note of alarm.

Harry forced his voice to stay hard and low. “Would you still want me if I were a Muggle?”

For a long moment Draco locked eyes with Harry, comprehending the question. Harry felt his heart rate quicken. Anger, and something else, flashed inside Draco’s silver-gold eyes, and Harry’s jaw clenched.

Draco pushed Harry off of him completely and stood, glaring at him. “Dammit, Harry, if you want out, just say so.”

“I never said that,” retorted Harry, rising and dusting himself off.

“Well then, what are you asking for?”

“Will you just answer the question?”

After a shocked silence, Draco blinked and responded, “Of course not!”

Harry froze, not sure what he’d been expecting to hear. He waited for the new rush of anger to materialize, but he looked at Draco’s expression—torn between derision and defense—and it never came. Instead he felt… he felt wrong. Wrong for being angry about things he couldn’t control, wrong for causing the worry to fly into Draco’s eyes, and wrong for wanting to do whatever he could to make things right between them despite the fact that Draco evidently had no intention of compromising on this or any issue.

Unclenching his fists, he sighed and stepped towards Draco. “Of course,” Draco continued smoothly, though his voice was still faint, “if you were a Muggle, I would never have known you, and Voldemort would have flattened all of us when you were still in nappies because there was no Harry Potter there to save the world…” Draco trailed off as Harry, chewing his lip, brushed the disheveled hair out of Draco’s eyes and tentatively touched the bruise that was forming on his shoulder where Harry had gripped him. “And then…” Draco’s breath caught, and a strange light came into his eyes, which were fastened on Harry’s. “Then it wouldn’t much matter if you were a Muggle, a Mudblood, or a two-headed French-Canadian squib.”

Harry didn’t smile, but his voice softened considerably. “I hate it when you’re right.” He didn’t think about what he was doing as he wound his arms around Draco’s waist and placed his lips against the soft underside of his jaw.

Draco sighed, his breath still a bit ragged from emotion, and he slid his hand up Harry’s spine, pulling him closer. “You really don’t care, do you?” he said hoarsely.

“I didn’t say that, either.”

“Say what you mean, Harry.”

Harry felt himself flush, inexplicably self-conscious. He looked right at Draco, who regarded him a bit uncertainly, but composedly. “I asked, and you told me the truth,” he said cautiously.

“Yes. Now you know.” Harry had the feeling Draco wanted to sound colder than he actually did.

“So… now I know,” he replied with a shrug.

Draco stared at him, eyes narrowing in confusion.

“I told you, I don’t want to change you.”

“Good,” snapped Draco. “Because you won’t.”

Harry’s throat was suddenly tight. “I know.”

Draco blinked at him a moment longer and then pulled Harry abruptly into the hungriest kiss of his life.

Harry shoved his anger somewhere far away. Draco’s mouth was on his, and that was really all that mattered; that and the way their bodies were pressing together, fitting against each other perfectly, too perfectly; and the way Draco cradled Harry’s face in his hands as they kissed, delicately, but so urgently, as if he were afraid to let Harry go. Harry murmured his name quietly, and the sound seemed to convey so much, much more than he could understand or accept. Draco closed his eyes, and Harry felt his heart lodge in his throat.

He kissed him back, hard, and moved his hand down Draco’s spine. “I meant what I said earlier,” he murmured.

Draco flinched. “About… about—”

“Yes. If—if it’s what you want.” Everything started to make sense again, and he dropped his lips to Draco’s neck, sucking possessively on his skin, relishing the taste of him, wanting more, impossibly more….

“Harry…” Draco’s lips parted in a moan. “I don’t—I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You won’t,” murmured Harry. “You won’t hurt me.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Potter.” Draco’s laugh was nervous and jittery. “It’s bound to hurt.”

Harry studied him. “So… you… you don’t…”

“I do,” Draco said quickly. “I do, just… god, Harry…” he shivered and drew Harry closer, tracing his features with delicate fingers. “Of course it’s what I want.”

Harry closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against Draco’s own.

“Then don’t analyze it,” he muttered, trapping Draco against the wall and plundering his mouth.

Between his moans, Harry thought he heard Draco murmur something that sounded very much like an agreement.


They became ravenous for one another. Even the most ludicrous moments found them exchanging hurried kisses, gropes, and more: between classes, before and after dinner, during the detentions they were getting together more frequently than ever. Draco still woke up early, ostensibly for his morning jog, and Harry seized the time following the loss to Slytherin to get in an hour of flying before breakfast—but the actual workouts they got during the period consisted of an entirely different form of exercise. Quickly, Harry found himself spending, to his oblivious delight, more time with Draco in secret than with Ron and Hermione, or any of his fellow Gryffindors.

Since Draco was already aloof, rather solitary, and possessed of two of the dullest thugs in wizardom for friends, it was easy for his conduct to escape notice. Harry, however, had to be more careful. Even he couldn’t hide his flushed face and shortness of breath after one particularly invigorating encounter before Potions class, in which Draco had yanked him by the collar into a side dungeon and proceeded to literally devour him. Harry could barely get his limbs to function afterwards, and it didn’t help that Draco, though composed, was very obviously cloaking himself in his robes, and had a notable tinge in his countenance. Harry had lied that he’d forgotten something and had to run all the way back from Gryffindor Tower, but Hermione had pursed her lips in suspicion, and Ron had given him an odd look. He’d changed the subject as quickly as possible.

Other things were easier to explain. By all appearances, it looked as though Harry Potter’s hatred of Draco Malfoy had risen to unequalled heights after the Quidditch match. Harry thought at first that Ron attributed the circles under Harry’s eyes and his tendency to be out of bed at all hours of the night to obsession with revenging himself on Malfoy. Ron would gaze at him thoughtfully and upon occasion ask, apropos of nothing, “Anything you want to tell me, Harry?”—but other than that, he remained silent and watchful.

Harry lived in blissful oblivion until one evening just before leaving Gryffindor Tower to meet Draco. He usually slipped on the Invisibility Cloak in between the dorm room and the common room, in case anyone pestered him about where he might be sneaking off to so late at night. On this particular occasion the irritated voices of his two best friends greeted him well before he got to the lounge, and he entered it carefully, knowing he should feel guilty about eavesdropping, but not caring too greatly considering the subject of conversation.

“I’m telling you, Hermione, you’ve got it all wrong.”

“How can you say that? You’ve seen the way he’s been acting since Malfoy—since that Quidditch game.”

“He just wants to get back at him. That’s different.”

“Yes, but it’s not like Harry to be so obsessed,” Hermione persisted. “If he hasn’t stooped to that level with You-Know-Who, then it’s not likely he’d let a slimy little nothing like Malfoy get to him, is it?”

Harry slunk back against the wall near the portrait hole, in order to avoid being stepped on by students tromping to bed, and clung to their conversation. They were across the room, sitting in the two armchairs nearest the fire, Hermione with a book in her lap, Ron munching a peppermint humbug and doodling on his parchment. Hermione continued, “Even Professor Snape’s grown sick of their fighting in Potions—I think he suspects something too.”

“You’re off your rocker, Hermione. Harry’s got other things on his mind.”

“Yes, I know, but there are things that don’t add up,” she said. Ron started to interject, but Hermione cut him off. “Last Thursday at the Quidditch game, Harry said he was going to look for a better seat so that he could watch the players from closer to the field. That in itself was odd—but he never showed up. When I realized he was gone, I looked in the stands for him, and I didn’t see him anywhere. He just left.”

Ron let out a very disgruntled sigh, and rolled his eyes.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me, Ron Weasley,” snapped Hermione. “Think about it. If Harry were so bent on winning, wouldn’t he have wanted to see how the other teams were doing? And that’s not all—when I was looking for him I noticed something: Malfoy wasn’t there either.”

Harry cursed silently beneath the cloak. Ron just blinked at her indulgently, while Hermione insisted, “Don’t you think it odd that both of the Seekers on the two best house teams were gone on the day their rivals played one another? I mean—Malfoy’s the captain! It just doesn’t make sense!”

Harry’s brain was screaming under his silence. He and Draco had watched the game, actually—they’d done so together, from beneath the stands, the cloak concealing them while they studied the other teams’ playing techniques, took notes, and occasionally got wrapped up in the warmth of each others’ bodies. At first Draco had been against the idea of watching the game together because he didn’t want to jeopardize his team’s strategy. Harry had retorted that he had no interest in stealing Draco’s game tactics, since the only successful one he employed was beating Harry to the Snitch, and Harry was quite capable of getting around that himself. That and a kiss had settled the matter, and other than the way Draco kept trying to nuzzle past Harry’s shoulder to sneak a peek at his notes, they had had a surprisingly, wonderfully enjoyable time together. It just went to show what a prize Draco could be—

—when he wasn’t being an absolute prick, of course.

In the middle of his thoughts on Draco, he heard Ron sigh, “Oh, give it a rest, Hermione,” and was recalled to earth again. “Whatever Harry was up to, it damn well didn’t involve Malfoy.”

“What was it, then?” Hermione pursed her lips and crossed her arms.

“Think about it. He’s out of the dorms at all hours of the night. He’s never around, and when he is he’s only half-here. He skips Quidditch matches to go do who knows what. He’s not obsessed with Malfoy. He’s seeing someone.”

Hermione gasped, and for a moment Harry was positive she had gone pale; but she recovered quickly, and her wide eyes narrowed into skepticism. “You don’t know that at all,” she said vehemently.

“It makes a hell of a lot more sense than what you’re saying about Malfoy!”

“Only because you won’t see the evidence!”

“And you won’t see what’s right in front of you!” Harry winced at the thinly veiled hurt lacing Ron’s tone. That’s not the only thing she won’t see, he thought sympathetically.

Hermione leaned in closer and lowered her voice intently. “Here’s what I think.” Ron gritted his teeth and threw his quill down on the coffee table between them in exasperation. As he did she reached across the table and clapped his arm in a fierce grip. “Listen, Ron, this is serious.”


“I think…” she paused dramatically, and Harry found himself edging closer. “…I think Malfoy’s becoming involved in the Dark Arts. Look at the way he’s been egging Harry on lately. Voldemort could be using him to set some kind of trap. You know Malfoy would like nothing better.” She took a deep breath and launched ahead. Ron just stared at her. “I think Harry’s spying on him. That’s why he’s always on edge whenever Malfoy’s around. That’s also why he kept you from hitting him the other day, outside. Harry doesn’t know what Malfoy’s capable of and he’s worried. I’m telling you, something’s up with the two of them.”

“And I’m telling you it’s nothing like that. He’s got a girlfriend, and he’ll tell us who it is when he’s ready.”

Hermione tossed her head, looking deeply perturbed, then exhorted, “I know I’m right even if you don’t see it!”

“And I know I’m right even if you’re determined to be blind as a bloody bat.” Ron sighed, rolled his shoulders wearily, and then ended, “So, are we done with that argument?”

Hermione grinned and shook her head. “Honestly, Ron, you’ll never be a detective.” At Ron’s petulant expression she first raised her eyebrows, then broke into a laugh that made his pout dissolve into a smile.

Harry couldn’t help but grin at the two of them as he snuck carefully out of the common room, even though he was inwardly flooded with relief. Leave it to the both of them to be so close to the truth and yet so far from it. For the thousandth time he considered telling them the truth, and for the thousandth time he recoiled at the thought, picturing Ron’s face scrunching up in disgust and Hermione’s jaw dropping in voiceless astonishment. No, that wasn’t something he wanted to deal with right now, and besides, they were so far off base that it didn’t appear necessary anyway.

He slipped into the corridor unnoticed and hastened down the hallway. Within moments, Hermione and Ron had vanished from his mind as he moved nearer to the Charms Corridor, where Draco would be waiting.

Only the very dimmest of torchlights lit the hall as he crept farther into the belly of the castle. He had to squint to see very far in front of him, and he was duly relieved when he caught sight of a flickering of light around the corner. Ah, yes—that would be Draco. He was in the process of removing the cape as he rounded the walkway, when he realized that someone else was coming up the corridor towards them. He stiffened and quickly pulled the cloak tighter around him, slinking closer to the wall as he approached.

It was Dumbledore, approaching from the other end of the hallway. He saw Draco, and stopped, his expression registering mild interest for a moment. “Ah. Mr. Malfoy.”

Where the hell did he come from? Harry thought in surprise. For a second the look on Draco’s face registered the exact same sentiment, but it was gone in an instant as he swept a hand through his hair and replied suavely, “Headmaster.” His tone was reserved. Harry, for some inexplicable reason, felt a chill creep up his spine.

Dumbledore smiled warmly at him. “What a surprise to find you so far away from the dungeons.”

Draco didn’t flinch. “I have my reasons, sir,” he replied calmly. Harry fancied that Dumbledore’s smile grew, and he wondered how much the Headmaster knew. Draco’s expression, however, remained a mask.

“I trust you do, indeed,” said the headmaster. “However, since I happened to run into you, I wonder if I might have a word…”

Draco’s eyes narrowed. “Yes, of course.”

“You will be spending Christmas holidays at Malfoy Manor, will you not?”

Draco stiffened. After a moment, he replied, blinking lazily, “I’m not sure what my plans will be, sir. I’ve asked to stay at Hogwarts but I have yet to hear the response.”

Harry’s heart cart wheeled. Draco hadn’t said a word to him about wanting to stay. He tried to shove down the crazy voice in his head that shouted, ‘He wants to be with me!’ but it was an awfully loud voice, and persistent.

Dumbledore’s eyes flickered in what may have been surprise, and Harry edged closer towards the faint glow of the torchlight to get a better look at their faces. “Ah,” said Dumbledore benignly. Draco looked faintly irritated. “I know you enjoy the chance to get away as much as possible, but I must confess I would be relieved if you were allowed to stay.”

“You’re worried about me?” Draco didn’t even try to hide the skepticism in his voice.

Dumbledore ignored it. “I would not wish to insult your intelligence, Draco, by suggesting that you aren’t old enough to take care of yourself.” Draco looked slightly mollified, but still defensive. “However,” Dumbledore continued, “the Order has reason to believe that your father’s association with Voldemort has left you vulnerable to a backlash attack from an underground unit of spies organized by the Ministry. I must ask you to take extra precautions if you decide to return, both on your journey home and at Malfoy Manor.”

“The Ministry? That’s ridiculous! The Ministry has always had my father’s support. Why would—”

“These are not easy times, Draco. Your father’s influence with the Ministry could prove to be his undoing. They do not take kindly to betrayal.”

“My father has never betrayed anyone,” Draco replied, the coolness in his voice matched only by the tinge of anger lurking beneath. Underneath his cape Harry blanched. Dumbledore had just assumed Draco knew about the Order, and Draco hadn’t registered a moment’s confusion. Just how much did Draco know? And how much could he be trusted to reveal?

“At this time the Ministry considers everyone not strictly on their side to have betrayed them. The Order of the Phoenix is therefore as much their enemy as is Voldemort, and, by association, your father.”

Draco looked as if he were longing to say something, but instead he held his tongue.

“We have reason to believe that the Ministry is using a covert group of spies to capture anyone who might have information about Voldemort. They are rumored to be working not only with magic, but also Muggle technology, and weapons.”

Draco eyed him. “Mudbloods as spies?”

“Many of them have Muggle ancestry, yes. As such, they are particularly keen on vengeance. The more Voldemort attacks civilians, the more dangerous your particular situation becomes.” Dumbledore put his hand on Draco’s shoulder, and Harry saw that Draco flinched and looked away. “I would not wish any harm to fall to you.”

“Why are you letting me know this?” Draco’s voice was defiant. “It’s a bit late to start trying to convert me, don’t you think?”

Dumbledore did look surprised at this, then softened his expression. “You are your father’s son, Draco.”

“Thank you.” The words were full of pride.

Dumbledore spoke guardedly in return. Harry had never seen him treading so carefully with a student before—but then Harry had never seen him in private conference with a Slytherin, much less Draco. “I have no wish to convert you to anything against your will. I trust by this point you have learned how to distinguish your own ideas from those of your father.”

Draco’s fists clenched. “I don’t know, sir,” he snapped. “Sometimes the line can be a bit blurry, like the one you draw between Purebloods and Muggles.”

Harry was quite certain that he gasped, but no sound left him as his jaw fell open. What was Draco doing?

Dumbledore’s lips met in a hard, thin line and he said nothing. After a tense moment, Draco said, more softly, “That was disrespectful. It was beneath me, and I apologize.”

Harry felt the squeezing pressure around his heart loosen its grip a bit.

Dumbledore was regarding Draco seriously. His eyes still held the warmth Harry had come to expect in him, but his countenance was grave. “You are close, Draco. Very, very close. You must understand that if you are to remain in your present position, choices must be made. You must not only remain loyal to your father, but to all that he stands for.” Draco began to speak, but Dumbledore held up a hand and continued smoothly, “To nobility and rank, yes, to fortune and ancient lineage, yes—to all these things—but also to a lifestyle of persecution.”

Draco’s expression hardened. “Sir?” His voice was cold. “What exactly are you implying?”

“I’m implying nothing but an awareness of that which you must be prepared to face if you are to follow in your father’s footsteps.”

“I’ll just have to deal with that when it comes, won’t I.”

Dumbledore sighed. “Yes. I trust that you will make the right decision.”

Draco did not answer, but lifted his chin in a gesture that said, unmistakably, ‘of course I will, I’m a Malfoy.’

Silence fell between them, and Harry was wondering if the conversation was over, when the headmaster said something that made him jump. “Your animosity with Harry Potter has grown decidedly more noticeable in recent weeks.”

The defiant stance spread throughout Draco’s whole body. “Yes, Professor?” he drawled disdainfully.

“I take it my little experiment in your detention was a failed one, then. Alas.”

Draco looked at him carefully. “Potter and I have an understanding, if that’s what you mean.”

Dumbledore raised his eyebrows thoughtfully. “I can only assume you and Mr. Potter have your reasons for fighting. You’ve done it so often by now it’s practically a refined art.”

Draco’s eyes flashed. “Is that what you wanted, then, when you put us together for an hour with nothing to do but talk? Did you think we’d become friends? That he’d offer me the olive branch and you’d have another convert to the Order?”

Dumbledore pursed his lips and smiled. “I could hardly disapprove of such an outcome, Mr. Malfoy.”

Draco curled his lips, but his smile was sardonic. “No, of course you wouldn’t. Tell me, sir—do you do that with all the students who fight together, or just the ones who have the potential to engage in the Dark Arts later on?”

Now Harry really did gasp beneath his cloak. Dumbledore responded easily, almost as if he were expecting the criticism. “I try to give every student what I feel they need, Draco. That goes for Harry, as well as yourself.”

Draco’s gaze penetrated Dumbledore’s own, and Harry thought he had never seen anything so commanding as those clear silver eyes fixed on the greatest wizard in the world. “You were a professor at Hogwarts when Tom Riddle was a student, were you not?”

Dumbledore frowned. “You do know Voldemort’s origins. That is appropriate. Yes, I was.”

Harry wondered what Dumbledore meant by ‘appropriate.’ Draco, if he noted the remark, paid it no heed, and continued, “And do you think you gave him what he needed?”

Harry gaped. He’d never heard anyone question the headmaster with that kind of tone—it wasn’t insolent, like the voice Draco’s father would have used, but it was probing and unflinching. For the first time, Harry saw traces in Draco’s demeanor of that elusive quality that made the Malfoys such a powerful, respected, and feared family. It scared him.

It also turned him on.

Dumbledore was silent for a long moment. “I was not a professor during the time Riddle began his studies here. By the time I knew him, his path was set. But you are right, Draco. Had someone befriended him when he was younger he might never have grown up to be the wizard he is today. The thought has haunted me—that perhaps, had I done more, done it sooner, I could have kept him from turning. But you must remember that in this life, no matter how much we wish to, in the end, we cannot truly change the world; nor can we truly change other people. We can change only ourselves.” He was regarding Draco carefully, and the Slytherin’s cautious, dark expression never wavered.

Harry found himself inching forward, mesmerized by everything he was hearing. He wanted to know more—and yet he didn’t. It was obvious to him that he was catching both of them in a moment that they could not control, a moment he didn’t know if he wanted to remember later on; yet just then the headmaster’s gaze flickered over to where Harry lurked in the darkness, the way it had done that night at Hagrid’s Cottage back in their second year. Such a long time ago. Then Harry had been relieved. Now he almost resented Dumbledore for the ability to sense his presence when Draco could not. He felt it to be an unfair advantage, and it was almost enough to make him remove the cloak and cut their conversation short. But Draco was starting to speak again, and Harry, watching him, knew that whatever came next he had to hear—for both their sakes.

“So you thought that if you got to Harry Potter early enough you might be able to shield him, keep him on the straight and narrow, to make up for your inability to protect Tom Riddle from himself? Is that how you see it?” Draco tilted his head. He looked almost coy as he regarded Dumbledore. Harry fancied he could see flashes of understanding in Dumbledore’s eyes, but otherwise the headmaster said nothing. I don’t need to be protected from myself, Harry thought fiercely, even as something deep within him echoed that he did, with an authority that made him shiver and wrap the cloak around him, this time for the sake of warmth.

“I don’t know what you plan to do with Potter,” Draco continued, “or how you plan to use him. But rest assured that even if he can’t see through you, I can. I won’t be anyone’s pawn. I won’t join your Order just so you can atone for your past mistakes and congratulate yourself on having pulled me onto the right path. I won’t have anyone make choices for me but myself.”

“I expected nothing less from you, Draco,” said Dumbledore. “What matters is that you decide—and soon. The time is fast approaching when the choices you have may be severely limited.”

“What do you mean?” Draco asked sharply.

“These are dark times, Mr. Malfoy. Anyone under the shadow of the Dark Lord is in danger of being put into positions over which they have no control. You no less than anyone else, and perhaps more because of your particular connection to Voldemort.”

“I have no particular connection to Voldemort,” came the dry, icy reply.

For just an instant, an unmistakable expression of worry flickered on Dumbledore’s face. Then the emotion was gone, replaced with the placid expression, smooth as an untroubled sea, that Harry had come to rely on. Only now, for the first time, Harry doubted the surety of that gaze. His mind was whirling. What if Dumbledore really had used him, even unintentionally? Was that really what Draco thought? He wondered why Dumbledore wanted him to hear this exchange—obviously he knew Harry was there, and he hadn’t stopped Draco from speaking. Did he want to show Harry that Draco couldn’t be trusted? But I can’t trust Draco. He practically told me so himself. But Harry had also just seen him stand up to the greatest wizard in the world without breaking a sweat, and Harry admired him for it.

“Have it as you wish,” Dumbledore said simply. He squeezed Draco’s shoulder a second time, and Draco, though standing rigid, held his gaze this time. “But I do not consider either you or Mr. Potter to be pawns, either mine or Voldemort’s, or anyone else’s. It is true that you are both very important to this school. Both of you have a great deal of potential, and I believe I can safely say that the decisions each of you make in future will have widespread repercussions, not only for yourselves, but for whichever side you choose to fight on.”

“Ah,” scoffed Draco, “But I haven’t chosen a side. Yet.”

Harry’s admiration for Draco seesawed once again with doubt.

“My primary concern is for your safety, Draco. Not for the ways the Order could use you in the fight against Lord Voldemort.”

A hint of bemusement laced Draco’s drawl. “I hope so, sir, because I’d really hate to think what it means for the Order if throwing me in a detention with Harry Potter was the best you could do to convince me.”

The headmaster almost smiled.

“Have it as you wish, Mr. Malfoy.” He nodded and turned away. “Good night.” Draco didn’t blink. A fierce scowl descended upon his countenance as Dumbledore strode away—oddly enough, returning the way he came.

Harry hesitated, the cloak still fastened around him. He bid his time, watching Draco, adjusting to the look of haughty disdain on Draco’s face—a look of particular vehemence and determination he had not seen the Slytherin wear in a very, very long time. The dim light of the corridor made the taut lines of his cheekbones and high sweep of his forehead stand out in sharp, severe contrast to the darkness around him. It gave him an appearance that was almost malevolent.

And sexy.

Just as Harry was about to step forward Draco whipped out his wand and muttered fiercely, “Lumos.”

Instantly the wand shot forth a beam of light so bright Harry reeled, shielding his eyes. He saw it slam against the opposite wall and bounce back directly at Draco, hitting him in a split second of brightness and movement. Harry forced his eyes open to see that the beam had actually knocked Draco to the ground, where he lay astonished, flattened on the stone floor, the wind completely knocked out of him.

The doubt and the fear and anything else Harry felt vanished. He called Draco’s name and hurried to kneel by his side.

“What? Harry? Where are you?”

“Right beside you,” Harry murmured, unfastening the cloak and laying it on the stone beside Draco. He cradled Draco’s head in his arms. The Slytherin winced and looked up at him uncertainly.

“How long have you been here?”

“I… I just got here.”


“Are you all right?”

“I… I think so,” said Draco, rubbing the back of his head. “Yeah. Hand me my wand.” He sat up a bit groggily, and Harry went to get the wand, which had rolled a little way away when it hit the floor.

As his fingers closed around the ebony he gasped and shivered—it was surprisingly, brutally cold to the touch. Instantly his veins froze over, as if he’d just stepped into a shower of ice, and he drew back in surprise. The wand clattered to the stone floor.

He quickly picked it up again, ignoring the cold, and ignoring Draco’s probing gaze. Thoughtfully he studied the wand. It looked normal—just another wand—and it only seemed to act up when Draco was feeling particularly emotional; though why he should have gotten that emotional over the conversation with Dumbledore wasn’t something Harry wanted to dwell on. He knew Draco’s wand still gave him problems but this—this was serious. A magical something that tended to backfire on its owner could do more damage than an Unforgivable. And yet Draco himself had told him that the wand had been chosen for him. It didn’t make any sense.

But then, nothing tonight made sense. He was sleeping with the one person in the school he should be going out of his way to avoid. His two best friends were suspicious, and Hermione suspected Draco of involvement with the Dark Arts. Now he was holding a wand that stung his fingers to the point he could barely stand the cold, and preparing to give it back to the only person he knew who could betray him in a second: the person who had all but told Harry from the beginning not to trust him, who had just defied the most powerful wizard in the world, and who more than likely had instruments of torture still in use in the family dungeon—not to mention a father who would probably love to use them on Harry.

He turned back to Draco. The other boy was gazing at him with an expression that could have been alarm—or worry. He didn’t often appear shaken, but now Draco looked as though he’d had more than the wind knocked out of him. It stirred protectiveness in Harry, maybe even more than protectiveness.

This is ridiculous. I’ve come too far to stop trusting him now just because of a little wand problem. Besides, he didn’t exactly say he was planning on joining the Dark Lord any time soon. He told me himself his loyalty was to his family.

It’s a loyalty that could get him killed.

So is mine to Dumbledore.

Which gets us essentially nowhere.

He handed the wand back to Draco.

“Thanks,” said Draco, who took it, looking at Harry, not the wand. If the wand was cold to him he did not show it. Instead, his eyes pierced Harry’s, probing, seeking—searching for something, almost as if Harry held the answer to a question Draco didn’t know how to articulate.

Looking back into Draco’s vaguely worried expression, Harry found to his surprise that, for once, he didn’t mind being the solution.

He smiled, keeping his voice light, as if it were an everyday occurrence for wands to knock down their owners. “Need a hand up?”

All traces of concern vanished from Draco’s countenance, and he stood up on his own, running his hand through his hair. With a single movement he was as suave as ever. “Not at all, thanks,” he responded, slipping the wand inside of his robes. “Just a bit sore.”

Before Harry could reply Draco wrapped his arms around him and pulled him very close. Harry shivered from the warmth and murmured, “I’m glad you’re okay,” before letting his eyes fall closed and sinking his lips over Draco’s.

The kiss that followed, deep and steady and slow, was the most reassuring thing he’d experienced all night.

He pulled Draco flush up against his body and Draco responded, pressing against him, tangling his fingers in Harry’s hair and dragging a sigh from Harry as he began dropping kisses across Harry’s throat. Harry tilted his head back, and sighed again. Even though he was very reluctant to ruin the moment, he had to ask: “What was all that about?”

“The wand? Oh… I imagine it’s my mistake—there’s a lot of power there. I’m probably just not used to it yet.”

Harry nodded, wishing rather than believing that to be the case. “And—Dumbledore?”

Draco released him and stepped back with a frown. The answer was curt. “You were listening. It was probably rather obvious.”

“He wants you to choose sides,” Harry replied, thinking vaguely that he should have let it go—and also that he shouldn’t have let Draco’s lips go so soon. He wanted them back.

“He can just keep his hopes up,” Draco said quietly, starting down the corridor towards the Charms classroom, which Professor Flitwick was notorious for leaving unlocked at nights. Harry began to reply—it was on the tip of his lips—but Draco, as always, drew a curtain around his emotions, and Harry didn’t approach the issue. Instead he followed Draco into the deserted classroom, sat down on the nearest bench, and pulled the Slytherin into his arms, making sure Draco conveniently straddled his hips.

Draco pushed Harry’s hair back from his forehead and looked into his eyes again with that same searching look. He began to speak, but Harry cut him off, abruptly deciding he really wanted to change the subject. “Hermione’s starting to suspect something.”

“She would,” Draco growled, rolling his eyes, “That nosy little brat.”

“She’s not a brat,” Harry protested, but not harshly; he was mostly relieved to have a distraction from the thought of Draco choosing sides. “She is kinda nosy—but that’s not always a bad thing.”

Malfoy regarded him quizzically. “Harry, you’ve never thought of telling anyone, have you?” he asked suddenly.

“Me? No! I mean—well, maybe Hermione, but after today I don’t think it would go over so well. She thinks you’re in league with Voldemort and I’m spying on you to find out what all you know.”

Draco shook his head, half-grimaced, and half-laughed, choosing not to comment on this evaluation of his character; instead, he commented, “Yeah, well—you can’t blame her for being concerned.”

Harry eyed him. “Are you sticking up for her?”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m just saying that Voldemort could put you six feet underground in a heartbeat.”

“He hasn’t yet.”

“ ‘Yet’ being the operative word, Potter.”

Something about his tone made Harry shiver. He paused in his absent-minded but wholly pleasant occupation of running his hand over Draco’s forearm, and asked too casually, “Why—have you thought of telling anyone?”

Draco swallowed, averted his eyes quickly, and said, “Well, no, I just—”

“Liar. Who?”

Draco exhaled and admitted through gritted teeth something so low Harry couldn’t make it out.

Who?” he echoed, peering closer in confusion.

Professor Snape!” Draco seethed, embarrassed. Harry sat back, absolutely stunned. Draco self-consciously ran his hands through Harry’s dark hair and continued, “It’s just I think sometimes he’s… got an idea. He knows something’s changed but I don’t think he can figure out what.” He laughed sardonically. “He and your Mud—” he checked himself and said a bit more gently, “He and Granger should get together.”

“Yeah, well—considering he hates anyone and everyone who associates with me, there’s not a chance in hell of that ever happening,” Harry said crossly. “And I must say I’m surprised at your willingness to throw away your teacher’s pet status for my sake.”

“I like him,” Draco said defensively. “He’s easily the best teacher in this sorry excuse for a school.”

“You only say that because he’s so damned nasty to anyone who isn’t from Slytherin, just like you!”

“Oh, come now,” replied Draco silkily. “I don’t make exceptions for Slytherins. I’m nasty to everyone.”

“You certainly are,” Harry said, affection creeping into his voice despite his irritable attempts to hide it.

“And you like it,” Draco purred, leaning closer to place a seductively alluring kiss at the edge of his mouth. Harry marveled for the thousandth time how smoothly confident Draco was at everything he did, and allowed himself a shiver of pleasure as he took Draco’s chin in his hands, focused on keeping that mouth from getting too far away from his own.

“Do you think we ought to tell someone?” he murmured, flicking his tongue lightly over the edge of Draco’s lips. “Just as a precaution—in case…” Harry trailed off, leaving Draco to finish the thought however it suited him. Talking about consequences wasn’t something he was very good at—especially not where Draco was concerned.

Draco frowned. “I don’t think so. It’d cause problems for them as well as us, and I don’t know of anyone who could handle it without going ballistic.”

“If what we’re seeing is any evidence, Snape and Hermione already have a clue.”

“Yes, but if those suspicions were confirmed they’d probably kill one or the other of us for corrupting their pride and joy.”

“You’ve got an awful lot of faith in Snape’s opinion of you, haven’t you?”

“Absolutely,” Draco responded seriously. “He worships me.”

Harry’s eyes narrowed. “Do you worship him?”

Draco looked down at him with an air of disdain. “No, Potter, I reserve the godlike status just for you,” he scoffed. Then, with a wink: “Want me to kneel at your feet?”

“Shut up,” laughed Harry. “But doesn’t it bother you that he hates me for absolutely no reason?

Draco grinned. “It’s never bothered me before.” Dodging Harry’s thwap he added, “But there’s got to be a reason you don’t know about. There always is. I don’t think Snape hates you, myself. I think he resents you, definitely—but from what I can see he does a good job of trying to protect you in his own way.”

“Oh. You’ve noticed that too, have you,” Harry answered dully.

“I’ve always noticed everything about you, Harry Potter,” Draco said softly, drawing his mouth into a deep kiss, his fingertips brushing Harry’s skin with tenderness. Harry closed his eyes and let Draco pull him snugly into his arms with a sigh, as if his embrace was the only conceivable place Harry belonged. “Harry, I hate to say it, but we’re going to have to be more careful. I know we’ve been lucky as it is, but maybe we should take a few more precautions to keep from being caught.”

Harry thought about this, a tiny frown playing about his features. “What if I want to get caught?” he said softly after a moment. Draco’s eyes fastened to Harry’s in surprised puzzlement. Harry slowly shook his head and finally allowed himself to admit what had been preying on his mind for some time. “I don’t think I like hiding this.” Draco blinked his astonishment, and Harry continued in a rush. “It’s just—I want to be able to talk to you like a human being and not my worst enemy. In front of people. I want to be able to walk up to you in the Great Hall and kiss you. I want the stupid Harry Potter Fan Club of twelve-year-old girls to sod off because I’m with someone. And I—I want my friends to know how wrong they are about you. I want everyone to know.”

Draco had blanched and was gaping unabashedly at Harry now. “Harry, I—”

“I know,” Harry continued irritably, looking away out of embarrassment. “I know it’s out of the question at this point—and probably at any point. But I still wish—”

“Shhh…” Draco moved to cradle Harry’s face in his hands, placing a light kiss against his mouth to quell his irritation. It worked; Harry felt instantly soothed, and somehow more certain of himself and what they were doing, just from the sensation of Draco touching him, holding him close. “I’m sorry,” Draco said softly. “I understand how you feel. Of course I do. It would be nice to not have to worry. To be able to…” he stopped, and a strange, curious light entered his eyes. “To wake up with you.”

“What do you mean?” Harry stammered, thrown off completely.

“Just what I said,” Draco smiled enigmatically.

Harry’s heart did a giant caper and threw itself at Draco’s feet. His mouth closed over Draco’s, absorbing every worry, every trace of anxiety, in the sweetness of his lips. It was almost too much: too much assurance, too much bliss—heaven on a tightrope.

Draco broke away with the tiniest of whispered moans. “Harry, I want to promise you something,” he said, his eyes searching Harry’s face.

For a moment Harry was quite certain his heart had stopped. “What?” he said, so hoarsely the word almost didn’t make it out of his throat. He tried again. “What is it?”

Draco held his gaze. “If anyone somehow finds out that we’re together, I won’t deny it. I won’t deny this. Not even to my father.”

Harry blinked. When he began to speak he croaked rather than spoke, “You don’t have to do that. You don’t owe me anything.”

“I don’t consider it an obligation.”

Harry studied Draco’s face and slowly nodded. “Thank you,” he said softly, but the words didn’t go far enough.

Draco placed a hand over Harry’s jaw and rested it there, the blood surging into Harry’s cheek and passing warmth to Draco’s fingertips in a silent covenant of understanding and acceptance.

“I mean it,” he said. “I promise.”


Author notes: Notes on Chapter 10:

*Chapter quote by Space Team Electra.

*I’m told the “Death Eater Youth Training Camp” thing sounds like Durendal. *grin* since she’s one of my favorite writers, I’ll just say she’s an influence and leave it at that.

*Harry’s top 3 enemies are, in order, Voldemort, Pettigrew, and Snape. Whether Draco is really #4 on the list after that is debatable, but I think Draco’s ego has enough to come to terms with as it is simply by being out of the top 3. Poor kid.

*I stole the phrase “pound you into the floor” from “Weather of the Heart” by Shalott, with much, much love and adoration. :)

*The Pureblood/Mudblood issue, or, why I have Harry refer to himself as a “first generation Pureblood”: In canon, while Draco has no qualms calling Hermione a Mudblood because her parents are Muggles, he never dares to address Harry that way. Either this is very hypocritical, or else it is the actual wizarding ability of one’s parents, rather than their descent, that determines the social hierarchy as far as the Malfoys are concerned. This would explain why Draco is so cruel to Neville Longbottom for his near-squib abilities, while he continues to ridicule Hermione because her parents weren’t wizards. Though Harry’s mother, like Hermione, is Muggle-born, Harry is the son of a witch and a wizard; presumably if Malfoy does not call Harry a Mudblood it is because Harry’s parents were notable wizards of great skill. Neither is Harry literally a half-blood like Tom Riddle, or, to use a current generational parallel, Seamus Finnigan, because both of his parents were wizards. That leaves the concept of being a ‘first-generation’ pureblood: one who has inherited pure magic from both sides of the family tree.

*Tom Riddle became a student at Hogwarts in 1938. I am assuming for the purposes of this chapter that Dumbledore was not then a Hogwarts professor, and that he did not begin teaching at the school until 1940. As a Transfiguration teacher he would have had limited contact with Tom at that time, and very shortly afterwards he would have been involved in working to defeat Grindelwald; hence his assessment of his influence, or lack thereof, on Riddle during his school years.

*The armchair, the bloody armchair (with a wave to Zed): Much has been made of the armchair in Chapter 9, more than I could have possibly expected. I have talked a little about, er, armchair dynamics here (message #1070 at Draco_101), as well as what the armchair actually looks like in my head. I have always had a fondness for that chair, since I wrote about it in the Prologue; so I’m pleased that everyone else shares my appreciation. *grin*


Deepest thanks to the following people for light to heavy unofficial beta-reading:

AlexMalfoy, Altricial, Cassandra Claire, Dancing Rain, Durendal, Frances, JediGinny, Kissaki, Miss Breed, Morrigan, Nancy, and Penguin;

Much love to my more official betas, Slightlights, Verdant, and, as ever, the erstwhile Franzi (God, I love getting your commentary!);

The lovely Adi Das, who has done an amazing sketch of the t-shirt Draco wears in LUW 8 at here; thank you so much, Adi—be sure to check out the rest of her fanart.

The marvelously talented Plumeria has also done a wonderful drawing of LUW Draco here, which Slightlights has CG'd beautifully.

And finally the beautiful pic by Sidhe of the climax (erm) of LUW 7, has been CG'd by Firenze here. I love this picture. Thank you so much, ladies! I'm so pleased to have such wonderful artists drawing for me I don't have words to express my gratitude.

Also, thank you to whichever wonderful person at Schnoogle codes this. Muah.

The members of Draco_101 for a wonderful experience and constantly delightful discussion over the last four months. Most especially Frances for first offering to share the list with me, and for being the most wonderful co-mod anyone could ask for. It’s been a real joy. I highly recommend Frances’ two fics Coming of Age and Resolution, which you can find at Schnoogle, or at Frances’ discussion list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HP_Worlds_Colliding.

The new discussion list for Love Under Will and fiction by other wonderful authors is now Armchair_Slash at Yahoo. Please see this message (message #1113 at Draco_101) for details on the change, and go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Armchair_Slash/ if you’d like to check it out or are interested in joining up. Our first featured author will be the wonderful and talented Penguin, and we are pleased to welcome back to the fandom Shalott for a future discussion of her marvelous H/D fiction, including the landmark “Weather” series.

Finally, after much thought, I would like to dedicate this chapter of LUW to two of my online friends who have had to endure more recently than they will ever deserve, and who have borne it all with grace and courage. Thank you for your friendship. Since I cannot show my support for you in person or express how proud I am of both of you for your bravery right now, I’ll instead offer this dedication to Alex Malfoy and Frances Potter as a token of my deepest respect, love, and well-wishes for the future.