- Story Summary:
- SLASH. London, 2003, and two old enemies have become partners in crime. But the wizarding world is out to disrupt Harry's none too peaceful existence ... sex, guns, rock n' roll, drugs and bad language abound in a fast paced romantic thriller.
- Chapter Summary:
- In London's seedy criminal underworld, two old enemies have become partners in crime, but the wizarding world is out to disrupt Harry's none too peaceful existence. Guns, car chases, wizards, sex, slash, Slut!Draco and drug busts abound in a fast paced romantic thriller!
CHAPTER TWO. RAIDERS OF THE LOST WIZARD.
THE IBME OFFICE, SOMEWHERE IN LONDON...
"I had a feeling they'd try and run," said Ron Weasley, turning away from the orb, which was hovering over the table, and casting an ethereal white glow on the faces of those present. It made them look like ghosts.
"Doesn't it make our lives rather more difficult?" asked Remus Lupin, lowering his copy of the Daily Prophet's evening edition. "Excuse me for spoiling the fun ... but aren't we meant to be hauling them both in?"
Ron nodded, and so did several of the other wizards sitting around the table, all staring into the orb with something approaching fascination. It was the very latest in Magical surveillance equipment, the lab boys downstairs had been working on it for some time. It showed the subject in 3D, and real time too, better than any Muggle computer.
"It makes our lives bloody impossible," said Ron. "Thankfully, Cardwell is a rather good driver."
"What are his credentials?" asked Avon Tyrell, looking up from the image floating in midair before them.
"He trained with the International Bureau of Magical Espionage, and was in the States for a while ... National Magical Surveillance Unit. He was working out of Quantico, near Washington," said Ron. "And he's a damn good driver too ..."
"Not a Muggle, then?"
"Certainly not," said Ron. "Top of his year at Hogwarts, valedictorian, class of 1989. The other one, Bones, he's a tricky customer. Not one of ours ... an Auror by trade ... technically he's on loan from the Barking mob, but we might try and find an excuse to hold onto him ..."
"It would appear, our two hand picked experts have just lost Mr Potter and friends," piped up Strickland Abbas, a short, nervous-looking wizard, who had just been promoted from the Regional IBME office in Paris, where he had been pushing documents around for ten years.
"So much for the facilities they gave the Barking lot," Avon said in an ominous tone of voice; he had a soft, Dublin accent. "I thought that Evasive Muggle Driving course was meant to be worth the fifty million start-up fee. Anyone else sense black monies heading down the drain here?"
"Show me Bones and Cardwell," snapped Ron, pointing his fingers at the orb. The image changed instantly, showing the black Mercedes, which was stuck in traffic on Goldhawk Road in Chiswick.
"Damn it!" swore Avon.
"Bloody waste of time," said Remus, folding his paper, so that the action unfolding before his eyes might have his undivided attention. "Why can't we just send out the Sweeney?"
"It's Cockney rhyming slang," said Remus. "Sweeney Todd ... Flying Squad."
"Their brooms are getting repaired," said Avon. "We're on a Winter training cycle here, Remus ... half our equipment is either in for servicing, or out of commission."
"What the hell is wrong with this place?" scowled Remus. "If it isn't misappropriation of funds, then it's pointless, efficiency-sapping bureaucracy. And has anybody noticed how the drinks dispenser in the canteen has started dispensing oxtail soup instead of cream of tomato?"
"Actually, that was a staff council decision," said Strickland. "We decided at the last meeting ... fifteen to one."
"I though the meeting was inquorate?"
"No, that was the last one ... this time they offered free butterbeer, so everyone turned up," said Avon. "Anyway, it's all to do with the European Union of Wizards, it's some new directive ..."
"Is that the one that has something to do with the tea?" asked Remus.
Avon waved his fingers. "Oh, no ... it's almost, but not entirely, quite unlike tea. Anyway, that was back in 1998. The directive you're thinking of is number four hundred and six G, page four, paragraph six, you can't miss it ..."
"Paragraph six?" said Strickland. "Surely that's, 'Any male NCO caught sniffing the saddle of the exercise bike in the women's gym will be court-martialled.'"
"No ... that's paragraph eight. You're thinking of paragraph seven c. Paragraph six reads, 'No officer with false teeth shall attempt ...'"
"When we've quite finished our discussion!" Ron cut in, standing up and looking furiously around the gathering. "There are slightly more important things on hand than the catering!"
"Sorry, sir," said Avon. Strickland and Remus didn't say anything.
"I like those new egg mayonnaise sandwiches ..."
"Sorry ... you have the floor, Ron."
Ron nodded. "Thank you very much," he said, casting his eyes around the table, as though he was daring any of the other men to say anything else. "Look. We can't allow Potter to suspect we're onto him. He has to have free reign to go where he wants, and to do what he wants. I reckon he's already suspicious ..." he was cut off in mid-flow by his mobile, which was vibrating violently.
"Excuse me a minute," he flipped open the phone, and turned it on. "Hello, Weasley."
The others looked on, Ron nodded, once, then twice, and finally said. "Okay ... I understand. Have him debriefed immediately. And make sure someone switches on the camcorder this time."
The voice on the other end of the line seemed to be getting angry.
"Well then find somebody who's Muggle born!" snapped Ron. "It's all elastic trickery anyhow!" he put the phone down. "That was Cassie, over in Medical. They've just brought in McLean."
"Is he okay?" asked Remus.
Ron nodded. "He'll be fine. He's just a little shaken up," he said. "They'll put some basic memory charms on him, and release him back into the community. Meakes is back too."
"What happened to him?"
"He took a bullet in the chest," said Ron. "Thankfully, that new adamantine stuff is working. The doctors say we can debrief him in the morning. Well, Gentlemen ... it doesn't look like there'll be much more work done tonight. Avon, head down to dispatch and get a squad sent to Harry's office. I'll sign the necessary papers if you just get them to owl me."
"Right away, sir," Avon stood up, gathered his cloak around him, and swept from the room.
It was gone ten o'clock when they pulled up outside Harry's flat, having first taken a circuitous route around central London to make sure they were not being followed. Harry and Draco stood on the pavement, their breath condensing before their faces as Sam drove off, taking the corner at the end of the road in an impressive skid which failed to bury him in a lamppost. Somewhere in the neighbourhood, a dog was barking.
"I left my car at the office," said Harry, fumbling in his pocket for his front door keys.
"You can pick it up tomorrow," said Draco. "Look ... unless you fancy buying me a cab, can I kip on your sofa?"
Harry nodded, and let them into the building. His flat was on the top floor of a gentrified Victorian mansion, deep amongst the New Labour voting, pesto eating Islington set. Unlike Draco's it was not all chrome and smoked glass, but like Draco's it had a view, albeit a view of the opposing buildings on the other side of the street.
He switched on the lights, and cleared the accumulated post with his foot; evidently he had not been spending much time at home just lately. Draco followed him in. The flat smelled of unwashed clothes, unaired rooms, and mouldy bread. It had 'straight' written all over it. Draco's heart sank.
"Sorry it's a bit of a mess," said Harry. He ducked under a deflated balloon, hanging forlornly from the ceiling, and led Draco into the sitting room. The walls were painted a vibrant shade of red, and there were what Draco really, really hoped were fake animal skins hanging on the walls. There was also a wooden carving of an elephant over by the window.
"Nice," said Draco, who had never actually seen Harry's flat before. "Very ... African," he added, haltingly.
"That was Victoria," said Harry, referring to his previous girlfriend, whom he had lived with for nearly three months, surely a record. "I hadn't gotten around to changing it yet."
"Not much time for interior designing?" asked Draco. "You know, I have some friends who could ... oh fuck ..."
"I left my friends at home."
"They're sensible, aren't they?" asked Harry, clearing a pile of CD cases off the sofa.
"They're naked and horny," said Draco. "They're anything but sensible."
"Well, give them a call if you're worried," said Harry. "If you really want, I can lend you the cab fare, mind, you won't be home for an hour or so."
"I'll phone them," said Draco, extracting his mobile once again from his trousers. "Just to make sure."
"Fancy a nightcap?"
Harry left the room whilst Draco phoned home. He interrupted Julian and Marcus in the middle of a naked bed top wrestling session, and after getting their assurances that they'd look after the place for him, collapsed on the sofa. He fumbled under the cushions for the remote, and turned the telly on. Harry had just had digital TV installed ... and had 'forgotten' to lock the Playboy Channel.
Draco looked away in disgust. "No imagination," he muttered to himself. From somewhere outside came the sound of police sirens, but this did not worry him in the slightest. Hmm ... the lady of the house seemed to want to get to know her gentleman caller very well.
"This is disgusting," he said, as Harry came back in with two glasses of whisky, neat, on the rocks, just as he knew Draco always had it.
"I like it," said Harry, handing Draco his glass, and sitting down next to him. The couple on screen were tearing each other's underwear off with quite alarming gusto.
"You don't have any Dutch channels?"
Harry shook his head.
Harry nodded. "Yes, actually."
"Can I take a look in your 'favourites' file?" asked Draco, nuzzling against Harry's shoulder.
"You seemed quite keen ..."
"That was seven years ago," said Harry. "It was a one-off. It doesn't mean I have any ..."
"That's what they all say," said Draco. "You can't deny it was fun."
"I was pissed out of my mind the first time," said Harry, downing his whisky in one gulp, the ice cubes banging against the rim of the glass as he did so. "I wouldn't remember it if you gave me some sort of draught."
"That could be arranged," said Draco.
"I didn't mean magic," said Harry, making a face at the alcohol.
"Remember the Veritaserum?" asked Draco. "It came in rather handy, as I remember."
"Draco, are you coming on to me?"
Draco nodded. "Was it that obvious?"
"So I fancy you ... so sue me."
Harry looked at Draco; his eyes seemed to be burning behind his spectacles. "It was a few times," he said. "Just a few times. I was sixteen ... you're living in a fucking time warp!"
"Well ... sorry," said Draco. "I was just ..."
"Not interested," said Harry. "You took advantage of me ... that's pretty low, don't you think? Look, I'm going to bed, there are blankets and pyjamas in the hall cupboard."
"Night," huffed Draco. Harry got up, and left the room, leaving his whisky glass on top of the telly. Draco heard his angry footsteps outside, followed by the hissing and gurgling of pipes in the bathroom, then a door slamming.
He turned his attention back to the telly, where the action had shifted to the back seat of a car. He picked up the remote again, and turned over.
The dream came again that night ...
"Believe me, Potter. I would if I could ..."
Harry stood in front of the desk, nervously twisting the hem of his robes around his hands. There was nothing he could say that would make the slightest bit of difference. But he was damned if he wasn't going to stand his corner.
"Can't I stay ... I'll help Hagrid or something?"
"Potter, it's ... I don't like it either," she was watching his face over the top of her spectacles. Harry was forced to blink rapidly in order to keep himself from crying. "But Mr Malfoy was most insistent. He doesn't want you going near his son. He believes you are a bad influence. And you do realise he is threatening to take Draco out of school?"
"It was just once! And, and you'd go on what that bastard thinks?" snapped Harry, taking a step nearer the desk. The carriage clock on the mantelpiece suddenly seemed to tick with an increasingly sonorous boom.
"I'll put that outburst down to nerves, Potter," said Professor McGonagall sharply. "You must understand that we simply cannot disobey the orders when they come. Especially from the school governors. We have to be seen to be doing the right thing. Professor Snape agrees with me."
Harry, figuring it hardly mattered anymore, called Snape a very rude word, which made Professor McGonagall stutter.
"If Dumbledore was here, he'd put a stop to this. He wouldn't be cowardly. He'd accept it. He wouldn't be like you're being," he leant in closer to the desk, suddenly completely unafraid of whatever she might do to him. "You have a yellow streak longer than a stampede of diarrhoeic camels."
"Harry Potter!" she spluttered again, her face going an interesting shade of purple, which Harry would have found amusing if the circumstances hadn't been quite so dire.
Harry stepped back from the desk. Professor McGonagall coughed loudly, and then said, in a low voice. "You will return forthwith to your dormitory and collect your things. You will be put on the seven o'clock sleeper service to King's Cross ... this gives you two hours to say goodbye to whoever you need to say goodbye to."
Harry turned on his heels. "And, one more thing."
He turned back again. Professor McGonagall was holding out her hand.
"We'll be wanting your wand back."
He could not help himself. Tears were running down Harry's face as he stepped over to the desk, reaching into his robes and withdrawing his wand, not managing to escape the knowledge that he was feeling the smooth wood against the palm of his hand for the last time. Slowly, he reached out, and handed it over.
"Eleven inches," he said, quietly. "Holly and phoenix feather ..."
Professor McGonagall took it from him, and without ceremony, took both ends, and snapped it. An eldritch howling sound rang out, and showers of purple sparks cascaded from the broken ends of Harry's wand.
THURSDAY JANUARY 9TH, 2003.
Harry found him the next morning, asleep in front of CNN. He was covered in a tartan blanket, and his trousers and T-shirt were lying in a crumpled heap on the floor. He looked about ten years younger, as most people do when they are asleep. Harry smiled as he remembered what Draco had been like at thirteen. Mind you, he wasn't much better these days, if a bit mellower, and less snide, something Harry put down to his legendary daily cannabis intake.
Harry sat back down on the floor, and switched to ITV ...
" ... homicide in Clapham, south London. Vincent McLean, an exotic foods wholesaler, originally from Glasgow but living in the area since 1993, shot dead an intruder at his terraced home. McLean, who has no criminal record, is at present in custody. The murdered man has been identified as Arthur Meakes, a small-time gangster from Camden Town, who is alleged to have links to London club baron, Harry Potter. The involvement of Potter in the incident has yet to be ruled out. Fears that this killing may precipitate a turf war between London's increasingly violent gangland elements are completely without substance, according to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Jack Burgess, who claims the murder was an isolated incident. Sports news now, and as Manchester United struggle to stay out of the relegation zone, Charlton Athletic have announced the signing of four new strikers ..."
Harry smiled. Well, had he honestly expected the whole thing to go unnoticed?
Draco stirred, opened one eye lazily, spotted Harry sitting on the floor next to him, wearing grey pyjama bottoms, and draped one arm around his shoulders. There was a tattoo on Harry's upper arm he had not noticed before. It was some unidentifiable Chinese character.
"What does it mean?" Draco asked.
"Peace," said Harry, and left it at that.
"There's one on my right thigh," said Draco. "It's a smiley face," to which Harry said absolutely nothing.
" ... will go to the top of the Premiership, if they draw with Leicester City on Saturday, although with Owen still out injured, their chances do not look good. Over to Jenny now, who has the weather for us ..."
"It's going to snow!" exclaimed Draco in glee. "We should build a snowman."
"I've got business to take care of," said Harry.
"Ooh ... can I come?"
"I was hoping you would," said Harry, without apparent enthusiasm. "No, really. I'll need you to be there."
Harry laughed. "Not exactly," he said. "There are some chaps I want you to meet."
"I like meeting chaps," grinned Draco.
"Can I have any kind of conversation with you without it degenerating to a level of smut worthy of a Bernard Manning gig?" said Harry, gently removing Draco's arm from his shoulders.
"If you want," said Draco. "Do you want me to make you some breakfast?"
Ron parked his car outside the house, and, blinking heavily, his head almost, but not entirely enveloped by a thick blanket of sleep, walked up to the front door, fumbling with the keys.
Ginny was in the hall, wrapping up Cameron in thick scarves and gloves, making the child look like a small, mobile wool shop.
"All-nighter?" she asked, as Ron stumbled through the front door. He nodded.
"Yeah, sorry," he said.
"Don't worry ... if Hermione was at all worried about me, she'd have phoned."
Ginny shook her head. "Of course, she might have been up at the Institute all night. You know how she gets if something new comes up."
Ron gave his four year old son a hug. He was holding a blue lunchbox. "Were you good for Auntie Gin?"
The bundle nodded ... Cameron's hat slipped forwards over his bright blue eyes. Ron set the boy down again. "You'll be wanting to get home then," he said. "Shall I drop him off at playgroup?"
"If you drive another hundred yards like that, you're going to have a crash," said Ginny. "We'll go by Portkey ... it'll be okay," Ginny had stubbornly refused to learn to drive, preferring more traditional modes of transport. The fact that her work kept her out of the Muggle world most of the time made this quite a sensible decision. Ron, on the other hand, regularly had dealings with Muggles, and his elderly Saab was as indispensable as his wand.
Ginny nodded. "You need to get some sleep. Look, I'll collect him as well if you like."
Ron smiled. "Would you ... it's just that I have to be back at HQ before very much longer."
BACK AT HARRY’S ...
The red light was blinking on the answer machine as Draco busied himself in Harry's poky kitchen, collecting coffee, bread, cereal and orange juice. Harry's cupboards were virtually empty. Clearly he was more inclined to bung something in the microwave for five minutes, and feast upon the resultant tasteless goo, rather than actually cook himself a decent meal. Draco suddenly felt rather sorry for him. It must be hard for the poor bugger; being straight.
Being nosy, he clicked on the machine and played the message.
" ... Harry, this is Winston. It's about twenty past seven. Look, pick up, you bastard!" there was a very pregnant pause. "Oferfucksake! Pick up! Look, Harry. I'm down the office, I just got here. There's been someone here, overnight ... they've turned the fucking place over! Just get down here, I'll ring again in twenty. I've called nobody else ... actually, I called Draco, but there's nobody in."
"We'd better head down there then," said Harry, who was standing in the doorway, leaning casually against the frame. Draco spun round.
"You're not at all bothered?"
Harry shook his head. "The office is the legitimate face of my business," he said. "All the really bad shit is in the warehouse. If anybody was really looking to pin something on me, they'd do some research, and leave the office alone."
"But somebody was looking for you!"
Harry shrugged. "I rather thought they might be. Whoever they are, they don't have a clue about me."
"Probably not," said Harry. "I had some visitors yesterday ... one Mr Bones, and his mate Cardwell. Never seen them before in my life, of course. They're looking for start-up capital for a club in Soho. Biggest load of bollocks I ever heard in my life, of course ..."
"You mean they're not?" asked Draco, whose eyes were fixed on Harry's stomach. He knew that his boss used the gyms to work out, but he had no idea he did it that often.
"Nah, load of crap," said Harry. "God alone knows what they really wanted. I agreed to go down and take a look. This evening."
"Is that altogether wise?"
"You're coming with me, you sad git," said Harry. "Make coffee, I'm going to get dressed."
Draco spooned instant out of a jar, while he listened for the sounds of Harry going about his ablutions, wishing he had been invited along to watch. Sighing, and shivering slightly, for the central heating seemed to have gone off, he filled the kettle, and waited for it to boil.
He was just pouring water into the mugs when Harry came back into the kitchen, freshly laundered, smelling vaguely of a cologne Draco could have identified given a few minutes, and wearing white jeans and a navy blue turtleneck sweater.
"Thanks," he said, taking one of the mugs. It had 'A Bonk A Day Keeps The Doctor Away,' written on it. Draco would drink to that.
"When shall we go?" asked Draco, sipping his vile coffee. At home, he drank only freshly ground Blue Mountain, and on a week by week basis, spent the GNP of Zaire in Starbucks. Nescafe was a bit of a let down after that.
"When you put some clothes on," said Harry. "Strutting round my house in your boxers."
"I was hoping you'd appreciate the show," said Draco.
"Rampant fantasies of rolling on my living room carpet shagging the living daylights out of each other aside ..." began Harry.
"How did you know?"
"Lucky guess ... get dressed, you slightly alarming naked person, you."
Having left his normal car at the office, Harry was forced to drag his vintage Ferrari Daytona out of the garage, much to Draco's delight, as one of his fantasies involved Ferraris.
They purred into London, braving the morning traffic, and drawing appreciative glances from the crowds of commuters, scurrying along the grimy city pavements like rats deserting a sinking ship.
It was when they got behind an old, blue Ford Anglia heading south along Charing Cross Road, that Harry got one of his frequent pangs of regret. The dream had come again the previous night. It had been troubling him with greater regularity of late, and it was something of a concern. If he was just a regular Muggle, he could have gone to see a shrink, or something. However, he had the feeling that even the most open-minded of doctors would refer him to a padded cell if he told them he was a repressed wizard.
He turned and looked the other way as they drove past the Leaky Cauldron. To the left of the half-timbered façade was a modern office block, and to the right, a tall, Victorian building, housing one of Charing Cross' many bookshops, and Muggles were rushing past, oblivious to the magic in their midst. Harry shuddered. I can see it. I'm that close to it. But I can never go into it. As for Draco, he did not even seem to have noticed.
Sometimes he wondered if perhaps the time at Hogwarts, one of few times that he had felt truly alive, had been a dream too, and that he had always been like this. Would anybody recognise him if he walked right back into the Leaky Cauldron now?
Probably not. Copious amounts of gel, and frequent visits to the barber's shop had tamed the once wild and unruly hair. Gone were the round, NHS glasses, held together by gaffer tape, to be replaced by either contacts, or fashionable designer spectacles, depending on what mood he was in. Gone too was the childish set to his face, that he had kept longer than most. And gone were the horrid, baggy hand-me-downs.
The only thing that still stood in testament to Harry's old life, an obscene reminder every time he looked in the mirror in the mornings, was the scar. Thin, jagged round the edges, and shaped vaguely like a lightning bolt. It was not as prominent as it had once been; after all, all scars faded with time, but you would still have needed to be blind not to notice it.
Despite the mess the raiders had created, Stella, the secretary, had opened up as usual, and there were already several young ladies working out on the rowing machines, supervised by Jonathan, the one with the ponytail. Harry knew about the exercise bike incident, mainly because Draco had not known about the security cameras.
This was his first thought upon reaching his office; to check the videotapes of last night. While Draco hung back by the door, watching Jonathan's buttocks and practically drooling, he took out the relevant videos, and stuck them in the machine.
Whoever had raided him had not known to disable the cameras, as any policeman would have done. The first tape showed the foyer downstairs. There were three men, picking the lock, though the image was too blurry for Harry to make out how they did it.
The second camera was hidden behind his large Salvador Dali print. It showed the men rummaging through his drawers and filing cabinets. They seemed monumentally unconcerned with what they were doing. They were also wearing what looked like black cloaks.
Draco peered over Harry's shoulder, and let out a long, low whistle. One of the men was holding what was unmistakably a wand.
"I think you've got wizards."
Harry scowled at Draco. "Well, don't make too much noise, they might be hiding under the desk," he said, sarcastically.
"I didn't know you had TV cameras," Draco added, reproachfully.
"In the foyer, the gym, and in here," said Harry.
"Do you think I might see the ... um?"
Harry nodded. "It's number G6," he said. "Bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. The image is a bit fuzzy, but you can just about make it out."
"Was I good?" asked Draco.
"Well ... I didn't know it was possible to do that," said Harry. "Especially that thing with the legs."
"That was out the Kama Sutra," said Draco. "Thanks for vindicating my magnificent sexual prowess," he leaned forwards, and pecked Harry on the cheek.
"Harryyyy!" moaned Draco. "Please let me have sex with you?"
"Go and get your video," said Harry, absent-mindedly. "There's a good boy."
"Then can I have you on the table?"
"On the sofa," said Harry.
"What do you think?"
"Probably not. Ooh ... you're too cruel, Harry Potter. I think I might have to have a little cry," Draco crossed the room, and opened the filing cabinet with the videos in.
"Why would wizards be interested in me?" Harry pondered.
"Ask a silly question!" came Draco's voice. "You know, I think they might have nicked the tape."
"Well, they didn't come to offer you a career in the gay porn industry," said Harry.
"Pity. Perhaps they wanted to join the gym. The amount some of those buggers at Hogwarts used to eat," he added. "Dumbledore could do with shedding a few pounds. And I want to be a porn star. We could call it 'Fun With Draco, Volume I.'"
"Shut up, Malfoy."
"To be followed with 'Fun With Draco, Volumes II, III and IV.' They come as a box set. And there's the festive special ... 'We Wish You A Merry Draco.' Or 'Draco Wears Leather.'"
"What's so special about you wearing leather?" asked Harry. "You do it all the time."
"Only when I'm clubbing," said Draco. "You could be in my video, if you want ... the innocent young newspaper delivery boy, shanghaied into sordid shenanigans with sexually stimulating sorcerers ... that'd be me, obviously."
"They want something," said Harry, ignoring him.
"Probably a good seeing to," said Draco.
"Can you get sex off your mind for one minute?"
"Nope. Tried it ... didn't work."
"Let's concentrate on the matter in hand," said Harry, glaring at Draco, as if daring him to make innuendo out of it. Draco said nothing. "We've been raided by a bunch of blokes in cloaks, carrying wands. Probably wizards, possibly a student rag week stunt, and there's an outside chance we've been infiltrated by the Russians. They've taken nothing, but they've left the place in a bit of a mess. So let's say they were looking for something, but didn't find it ..."
"No ... let's say I'm the randy traffic cop, and you're the speeding dishwasher repair man ..."
"You can be the cop?"
Harry rounded on him. "Just shut the fuck up! For one damn second, keep your mouth shut unless you have something constructive to add to my train of thought!"
Draco recoiled at the force of the words. Harry went on. "It's just one long joke for you, isn't it? If you're not thinking about sex, you're thinking about sex. You're like a rabbit on heat, you are. Just ... just fucking concentrate, yeah?"
"Okay, sorry," said Draco, grumpily.
"Now open that cupboard," said Harry. "There should be a large safe in the back."
Draco opened the cupboard, and poked his head inside. "There's a combination lock," he said. "Four numbers."
"That's easy," said Harry. "One nine eight one."
"Unoriginal Gryffindor to the end, aren't we?" said Draco. "Um, what are we looking for, exactly?"
"There's something in there they might want back," said Harry.
"Where the fuck is it then?" asked Draco.
Draco was down on his hands and knees, his head stuck halfway inside the safe. "I'm telling you," he repeated. "There's absolutely sod all in here."
Harry was beside himself with rage. "Then the fuckers have taken it with them. Bastards!"
Draco emerged from inside the cupboard, and coughed. "Is it that much of a disaster?" he asked.
Harry nodded. "It is if they see what I think they're looking for."
"What might that be?"
Harry scowled at Draco. "What makes you think I'd tell you?" he snapped. "That trunk was very private, very private indeed."
"Irreplaceable private?" asked Draco. "Or was it just a secret stash of porn I didn't know about? Sorry," he added, upon catching the expression on Harry's face.
"... including the confiscation of several highly dangerous magical objects," said the officer, concluding his report. "Sir," he added, as an afterthought.
"Thank you," said Ron. "It's Harry's case all right. I recognise the battered bit."
Remus gave him a sideways look.
"He once dropped it on the train," said Ron, by way of explanation. He turned to the officer who had brought the trunk in. "Thanks, Stibbons ... you may go."
"Thank you, sir!" the officer saluted Ron smartly, turned on his heels, and left the debriefing room. The trunk was sitting on the table, dead centre.
"We should probably open it," said Avon.
Ron leaned over it, and with a little tap of his wand, opened the locks. He lifted the lid, cautiously, not knowing what he might find.
The first thing that struck him was the lingering scent in the trunk. It smelled of Quidditch in there, of leather balls, cut grass and linseed oil, and the peculiar milky scent that, all these years on, he could still recognise as Harry.
"Gentlemen," said Remus. "This is quite a private moment. Perhaps we should step outside."
Ron lifted out some of the objects inside. There was a notebook, leather bound, with gold embossed writing on the cover. He had never seen that before, he thought, with a pang of bitterness, though of course, Harry had been perfectly entitled to have some secrets. He set the book down on the table. Underneath that was the dog eared copy of 'Flying with the Cannons' that he still remembered giving Harry, and a very battered edition of 'Quidditch Through the Ages,' that still bore a stamp inside the front cover. 'Property of Hogwarts' it read, 'Not to be removed (or we will take out your eyeballs with hooks ... yes, this means you, Potter).' Ron smirked.
He removed the old textbooks, spare rolls of parchment, unwritten on, still as crisp and clean as they day they were bought. A bottle of India ink, black, British standard was next to emerge. Then came a bottle of linseed oil, which had leaked a bit, explaining the smell, and a large wooden box, with the words 'Broomstick Servicing Kit' still legible, though much worn.
It was literally like stepping back in time, and Ron found himself poring over the most mundane objects, treating them almost as religious relics, even though they were only a handful of years old. There was a packet of owl treats, now mouldy with age. Ron wondered vaguely what had happened to Hedwig in the end.
He lifted out Harry's pointed black hat, with the silver Prefect's buckle round the brim, and a Gryffindor scarf. The scarf smelled very strongly of Harry indeed, and he draped it round his neck. He could sense Remus and the others watching through the little glass window set in the door, but did not really care about them.
He lifted out the photo album, not daring to look at what was within the pages. A broken wristwatch ... Ron wondered why on earth Harry had bothered to keep it, and a pair of nasty socks, concealing what Ron knew to be the Pocket Sneakoscope.
There it was, lying at the bottom, shimmering in the light of the room, fold upon fold of silvery, ethereal material. The invisibility cloak. Ron smiled, and set it to one side.
Somehow, his curiosity was very much aroused by the little leather bound book. Tentatively, he reached out, picked it up, and opened it.
The first page held a rough, sketch drawing. Ron recognised the people in the picture as himself and Hermione ... and the date at the bottom, next to Harry's scrawled, lazy signature, was November 6th 1996. That had been a week before they'd chucked him out. Harry had always had a thing for drawing. It wasn't something many other people knew much about; that he always adorned his essays with little snitches and stars, and that stuck to the walls round and about his four poster in the dormitory were portraits of his friends, scenes of jubilant crowds at Quidditch matches, and ferocious, fire-breathing dragons.
He turned the page. A small piece of notepaper fell out onto the floor, but he took no notice of it. The second and third pages were covered in Harry's doodles and ramblings. Little pictures of wizards on broomsticks were weaving in and out of the margins. Harry had charmed them so that their robes appeared to be flapping in the wind.
He turned the page again.
'I think I might be in love with someone. I don't think there can be any other way to describe it. We met each other again last night. It was brilliant, indescribable.'
Ron shut the book. He'd heard the rumours, of course, mainly from Dean and Seamus, after Harry had been escorted off the premises by Snape, his head downcast, his footsteps faltering, never having looked so miserable in all his life.
He remembered how Draco had been sitting on the steps in front of the school, looking very glum about something. He had not even got up to go back in when it had started raining, he just sat there, getting steadily soaked.
Then, the story went, Draco had cracked one day. One of the other Slytherins had said something, and he had attacked him, violently. His Father, Lucius Malfoy had insisted upon his removal shortly afterwards. And then had come the newspaper reports. From what Ron had been able to piece together of the story, Draco had run away. His Father had been driven to suicide not long after, believing his son was dead. Everyone had believed Draco dead, until he had turned up working for Harry, a couple of years ago.
Ron couldn't go on what was hearsay anymore, he resolved. He picked up the book again, determined to find out if what he had feared had really transpired, all those years ago.
The next page was covered in more drawings. But these weren't like the others Harry did, sketches of Hogwarts ... the Astronomy Tower, seen through the dorm window, him and Hermione, a Quidditch scene. These were pictures of Draco. He was sitting cross legged on a bed, a sheet draped across his lap.
He closed the book again, and picked up the piece of notepaper. Carefully, he unfolded it. It was in a hand he could not recognise. It was certainly not Harry's.
Tonight? Astronomy Tower, 2 a.m.
Oh, Harry! Ron turned over the page. He had always believed it couldn't be true. Not of his best friend. But the evidence was incontrovertible. It was all there.
They had been sleeping together.
END OF CHAPTER TWO.
TO BE CONTINUED.
Author notes: Original Author's Note from Spring, 2001 (which Heidi made Alex leave in for archival purposes although he thinks they are twee...)
In the next part of Snitch! ... Harry and Draco have to get out of London quickly, and the best laid plans of Ron Weasley gang aft agley ... coming soon, to a theatre near you!
The general tone of the reviews was 'damn, this is different', and I didn't get a single flame, which is great ... actually, I was really chuffed by such a positive response. Thank you all! As it's slash, I wasn't sure whether or not to put in a thanks column here, but decided to anyway, as it's what I usually do, so virtual hugs go out to the following ...
Melpomene (glad you liked Slut!Draco), Rhysenn (lovely beta reading macros there), Sinead, RatheraMutemwiya, Amanita Lestrange (you're going to need to tell me who Damon Runyon is m'dear), Simon (a review I didn't expect, owing to content, but thanks anyway), Karina, Inspiring Author (when is WDIHTFTW going to be finished?), Saitaina, Hydra/Serpentese (sorry to lose you), Cassie Claire (apparently is rapidly resolving to lead me down the 'illustrious path of Harry/Draco'), giggling princess (you're right, DDO12 was just a set up for Time of Trial, I was sick of Dracaena by then), pantalaimon (ha, die Man. U, die! *from a Gunner*), Nora, darkangel (Teenage Witches are bad for your health, but a good deal of fun too), LongLongHair, Sylph (well, technically, in Europe everything the evil git does affects us, so we do have to live under him), Sanna (I've just finished Part 4, and Time of Trial is on Part 5), minx (I must plug Friends of Dorothy ... comic slash, go read!), Viola (that was Fight Club, wasn't it?), Flourish (Flourish reviewed? That's meant to be some kind of honour, right?), Moriel (Pulp Fiction, I'm thinking more Brit-gangster movies, like Snatch *hence the title* ... but the analogy works), dani, Blue Butterfly, the Sorcery Sisters, Kei (I've resolved not to write PWP), Catriona Snape, Mystical Me and CinH. Phew. See ya next time!