Draco Malfoy
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban
Published: 02/03/2003
Updated: 02/03/2003
Words: 10,534
Chapters: 1
Hits: 2,415

Interlude by Olivia Lupin

Frances Potter

Story Summary:
This story takes place in the universe of Frances Potter's Resolution. In the summer after his sixth year, Draco Malfoy learns some new moves on the Quidditch pitch--and off. He also spends more time than might be good for him thinking about his rival. And owls.

Chapter Summary:
This story takes place in the universe of Frances Potter's

This story takes place in the universe of Resolution , a story about Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy and their final year at Hogwarts, written by the amazingly talented Frances Potter. She has graciously allowed me to come into her world and play.

* * * * *

Draco lay propped up in the huge bed, his left knee braced and resting on pillows. He stared moodily after the departing mediwizard, wishing the news had been better, but reluctantly resigned to what he'd been told. The ligament had torn, and although the mediwizard had magically mended and reattached the mangled pieces, the newly healed joint was still very weak, and would remain so for a number of weeks. The only real solution was to let it heal with time. It needed complete rest for a week, and then, if Draco was very careful, he'd been told, it was possible that he might do some limited flying. But nothing, Draco thought despondently, like the flying he had been doing for the past five weeks.

Part of Draco's birthday present the previous spring had been a small card from his father stating that he'd be receiving private Quidditch instruction that summer. Initially, Draco had been less than enthusiastic; Lucius's idea of private instruction in anything usually involved total saturation of the topic at hand--the devotion of every waking moment. As much as Draco loved both flying and Quidditch, he knew that his father's only motive in this case was his obsessive desire for Draco to best Harry Potter on the Quidditch pitch. While Draco longed for that as well, he wasn't looking forward to what he thought would be a summer of twelve-hour days on his broomstick.

As it turned out, he was most pleasantly surprised.

Immediately following breakfast on his second day home, Draco had been taken into the front parlor by Lucius and introduced to Alex Palmer, a professional Quidditch player for the Montrose Magpies. Alex was slim but muscular, an exceptionally handsome man in his mid twenties with dark hair and eyes, and a quick, easy smile.

He was also one of the best Seekers in the game; Draco had watched him play at every available opportunity and read everything he could get his hands on about the talented athlete. Alex's fabulous catches and amazing flying were often topics of conversation among Quidditch players at Hogwarts--in every house. Draco had been stunned to discover that Alex was to be his personal coach for the summer. He was even more surprised to discover that the grueling sessions he had imagined were nothing like the reality of working daily with Alex.

Alex was a natural teacher; he had a way of mixing necessary drills and strength training with the introduction of new skills that resulted in notable improvement in Draco's performance almost immediately. As the weeks passed, it seemed to Draco that Alex truly enjoyed spending time with him on his own merit, and not simply because he was the son of Lucius Malfoy. Draco soaked up the attention like a sponge, basking in the unconditional friendliness.

In fact, the combination of easy affection and genuine praise Alex offered was quickly becoming addictive. With Alex, life was simple. The only topic the two ever discussed with any seriousness was Quidditch, and since there was no competition between them, Draco never felt the need to be on the defensive. The mutual pleasure that he and Alex took in the game, and in the simple act of flying itself, manifested itself in a relationship that, while lacking the emotional intimacy of genuine friendship, was certainly warmer than that of simply a coach and player.

Then had come the injury. Draco had been working hard to master the Wronsky feint, and had finally succeeded in consistently performing the notoriously tricky move with a competence and flair that suited both his and his coach's demanding standards. Immediately following one such spectacular dive, Draco had taken a bad fall.

The accident itself had been a fluke; the wind had been blowing quite hard, and though he pulled with proper sharpness and speed out of the dive, he'd been caught by a strong gust and thrown off balance. It was, in fact, a credit to his natural ability as a flier that he'd not been more badly injured. Through sheer skill and strength he'd managed to check his balance and keep his seat long enough to nearly land. It had been bad luck that he'd fallen the last six feet, and as he landed with his leg flung out to one side, he'd felt the joint give way.

The mediwizard had been sympathetic, but firm. He had given his diagnosis, treated Draco's leg, and placed the subsequent restrictions on his activities. Though he was extremely disappointed at the prospect of having his summer sessions with Alex Palmer curtailed, Draco was justifiably proud of the things he'd learned so far.

This year, he thought with satisfaction, he'd have the singular pleasure of flaunting his new skills at Hogwarts--skills no one else could even perform, let alone with the style and ease that he'd mastered. He couldn't wait to see the look of stunned amazement on Potter's face. It would be nearly as gratifying, Draco thought grimly, as spending months rubbing the Weasel's face in the delicious, gritty reality of a Slytherin victory against Gryffindor. It was easily enough incentive to follow medical orders.

He wondered if Alex would come to say goodbye before he left, and was surprised to discover just how strongly he hoped so. He just wanted the opportunity to thank Alex for all his help, he told himself--that was all. If he beat Potter to the Snitch this year, and he was determined to do so, he would have Alex to thank. He thought with frustration about the other things he'd hoped to be able to thank Alex for, but that all seemed out of the question now...

His musings were interrupted by the sound of the door opening. Fully expecting to see his mother coming to check on him, Draco looked up, flushing with delight as Alex entered the room instead.

"Hey, Draco." His coach's voice was warm with affection and his handsome face broke into a wide smile as he spoke. "That was a beautiful feint, but the landing was definitely a killer." He moved gracefully across the room to stand close to the bed at Draco's left side, next to the braced knee.

Draco smiled ruefully. "Yeah, it figures, doesn't it? I finally nail the perfect move and wreck my knee practically as an afterthought. So much for the rest of our plans." He hesitated. "I guess this means you'll be leaving..." There was real regret in Draco's voice.

Alex watched him with sharp eyes. "Well, actually, I've come to speak to you about that," he began carefully. His right hand moved to rest gently on Draco's injured knee as he continued. "This certainly puts an end to our practical lessons, but I do know quite a lot about strategy. There are lots of different ways to ... play the game." His hand slid slowly upward, coming to rest halfway up the inside of Draco's muscled thigh.

His dark eyes met Draco's gray ones, and there was an infinitesimal pause before he continued. "There's still a lot I could teach you." His eyes never left Draco's, but his hand slid still further, until it was at the very top of Draco's leg, the thumb curled intimately on the inside of his thigh and the fingers splayed across the hollow just inside his hip. "If you're interested."

Draco felt his heart, which had begun to beat more rapidly as soon as Alex touched his knee, skip into double-time. For weeks now he'd been keenly aware that Alex often touched him--far more often than was strictly necessary. A hand would frequently come to rest on his arm or shoulder or linger at the small of his back while they talked, or, twice, an arm was slung casually around Draco's shoulders. And Draco had very recently begun touching boldly back in the same fashion.

A sensual creature by nature, Draco had always loved the feel of fine fabrics against his skin and the taste of dark, rich flavors on his tongue. He'd been introduced to sexual pleasure the previous summer by Stacey Cooper, his academic tutor. Hiring her had been another of Lucius's ideas, the goal that time being for Draco to finally best Hermione Granger at grades. As it turned out, Stacey had been something of a disappointment in Lucius's eyes. Less than halfway through the summer, he had discovered her teaching Draco Muggle literature. Furious, he had summarily fired her. Draco, who had honestly shared Stacey's passion for Hamlet, had known far better than to admit such a thing to Lucius, or to protest her dismissal.

He had, however, willingly risked his father's wrath by following Stacey to her rooms. He was eager for what appeared to be his last chance to experience some of the other things she had taught him a passion for: the ripe taste of her sultry mouth, the texture of her smooth, dark skin under his hands, and the sweet ecstasy that flooded him as he slid between her thighs.

As the door had swung shut behind them, she'd given him a knowing smile and walked directly to the bed, her hand beckoning and her eyes issuing a last smoldering invitation. That final tryst had been far more hurried than Draco would've liked, but he wasn't really interested in finding out what his father's reaction would be if he stopped by to make sure Stacey had gone and discovered his son there.

Not, Draco had mused cynically, that he would probably even care that she'd seduced him the first week she'd been there, or that sex had become a regular part of their "study schedule." But Draco knew his father would destroy the gorgeous, leather-bound edition of the Bard's complete works Stacey had given him if he ever saw it. It remained one of his most treasured possessions, partly because it was a gift from his first lover, but mostly because--despite Lucius's opinions--he did truly adore Shakespeare. He kept the book hidden carefully away, reading it only at school, or when Lucius was away on business.

Back at Hogwarts again after that summer, Draco had discretely continued his sexual education with a small number of carefully chosen girls. He'd discovered that he especially liked the sensual delight brought about by the simple act of touching--both giving and receiving caresses. Draco had never been interested in the emotional kind of bond a few of the girls had wanted, but physical pleasure for its own sake was a glorious way to pass time. And while he'd never touched another male that way, he'd been thinking about it with Alex for what seemed like ages by now.

And now it seemed as though Alex wanted that, too.

Excitement surged through Draco. He drew a deep breath and deliberately lowered his gaze to Alex's hand, still resting on his leg with a warm, inviting pressure. He carefully lifted his own hand and covered Alex's, holding it firmly in place, and looked up again. "I'm very interested." His voice sounded slightly husky and a bit lower than usual, and he felt both arousal and nervousness hum through his veins.

Alex's eyes flared with a kind of predatory desire, and he raised his left hand and cradled Draco's jaw. "Excellent." He squeezed Draco's leg briefly before withdrawing both hands and stepping away. "Your father just told me that if there was anything we could work on that didn't involve flying, I should still plan on staying the full summer. I'll go tell him that I think it could still be very beneficial for you if I stayed." He flashed a grin, the wicked glint flaring again in his sparkling eyes. "And I'm looking forward to it, Draco." His gaze lingered a moment longer on the attractive blond in the bed. "More than you know." He grinned again and left the room.

Draco watched him go, a familiar heat pooling in his groin, his heart hammering, his thigh still tingling from the remembered contact. Things were looking up.

* * * * *

The change in their routine, however, had results that Draco hadn't anticipated. Because they were now forced to focus on strategy and planning, it only made sense that they move their daily sessions inside the Manor. The large parlor on the first floor was given over to them--it was excellent in terms of its suitability for the task at hand. A huge, high table was moved in and it currently held an enormous pile of parchments; some were blank, while others were covered in Alex's fine hand, displaying complex and sophisticated diagrams of specific plays and new systems. Quills and a selection of colored inks were in ready supply, and there were large stacks of reference manuals and rulebooks scattered about. The room was large, airy, and, Draco soon realized, entirely too much in the main part of the Manor.

He stared at the parchment in front of him, not seeing it, and thought longingly of the seclusion of the private Quidditch pitch on the far side of the Manor grounds, and of the adjacent clubhouse, with its comfortably appointed lounge. And showers. He reluctantly dragged his mind back to the present, focusing on yet another strategy Alex was introducing.

Even more distressing than the lack of privacy, though, was the fact that Alex had erected a shield of careful professionalism between them. Draco spent the first several days of their new routine vacillating between hopeful anticipation and wondering with crushing disappointment if he'd misread Alex's signals in his room. He was trying to come up with a way of broaching the subject when Alex saved him the trouble.

On the fifth day of their enforced confinement to the house, Draco was standing up against the waist-high table studying an obscure regulation about seekers fouling other players in one of the many books that littered the room. Alex was next to him, sketching out yet another play, and he shifted, his weight pressing gently up against Draco's side.

Draco tensed as he felt his entire body react to the other man's proximity. His hand trembled visibly as he turned a page, and he cursed himself soundly. Focus, he hissed inwardly. While Seekers are the often the target of fouls, they themselves almost never foul other players because their sole purpose in the game removes them from any deliberate interaction with other players, he read. It is possible, however, for a Seeker--he froze, as the words dissolved suddenly in front of him and his mind went completely blank.

Alex had run his hand down the length of Draco's back and let it come to rest low on his spine, deliciously close to his arse. He felt his eyes flutter closed and he responded automatically, his hips moving back slightly to increase the pressure of the hand on his body. Immediately the hand slid still lower to cup and knead the smooth curve of flesh.

A wave of arousal slammed into Draco so strongly he felt light-headed, and when the questing fingers moved lower yet again, he parted his legs instinctively to allow them better access. Gripping the edge of the table with both hands, Draco was helpless to do anything but surrender to the waves of sensation washing over him.

The hand cupped and stroked the sensitive flesh, and he felt a moan rise straight from the center of his being. Dimly aware that they were not alone in the house, he bit it back, but his knees buckled and if Alex hadn't slid his other arm firmly around Draco in support, he'd have slid to the floor in a boneless heap.

"God, but you're gorgeous," Alex's voice, low and warm, was murmuring in his ear, and the wicked fingers continued to tease and stroke. "I wonder what you look when you come."

If you keep doing that, you're going to find out very soon. The thought skittered crazily across Draco's mind and he tried to say it aloud, but the part of his brain responsible for speech didn't seem to be functioning.

He drew in a deep, shuddering breath as the caress slowly reversed itself, and Alex's hand was once more at the center of his back. Draco could feel the weight of it, rising and falling in time with his ragged breathing. "How's your knee?" The voice was now an amused whisper in his ear, and the puff of warm breath on his neck made him shiver again.

Draco pulled himself together with a supreme effort. "Mmmmmm ... fine," he finally managed to respond, and he felt rather than saw Alex smile in amusement.

"Hmm. That's good. Your father and I spoke with the mediwizard this morning after breakfast. As long as you promise to wear your knee brace, and I keep you at a very slow speed, we can start flying again in three days." The words were accompanied by the same slow smile he'd given Draco in his bedroom on the day of his injury. "Of course, we can always stay here and concentrate on strategy ... it's entirely up to you. We can do whatever you want."

Flying ... brace ... slow speed ... Draco felt as though his brain was encased in a deep fog. It began to lift slowly as the full meaning of Alex's words penetrated. They could fly. They could go back to the Quidditch pitch, and the privacy of the clubhouse. He turned to face Alex, his erection throbbing, his eyes still cloudy with desire. "Whatever I want," he heard himself repeat, and his voice sounded distant and unsteady even to his own ears. His breathing was still ragged, but he met Alex's gaze directly.

"I want you."

* * * * *

The next three days were the longest Draco could remember. They continued their work inside the Manor, and Draco tried his best to concentrate, but every glance at Alex's hands brought those delicious caresses screaming to the front of his brain.

Other parts of his body remembered quite well, too, he thought wryly. Alex didn't touch him again; the barrier was firmly back in place, and the doubts crept back into Draco's mind. He pushed them away firmly, holding fast to the memory of those stolen moments.

Indeed, it often took only the proximity of the older man to make Draco hard; he couldn't imagine what the reality of being with Alex would be like, but he knew for certain he didn't want to wait much longer to find out. He had been existing in a state of almost constant arousal for so long that he was ready to scream in frustration.

On the first day that they could return to flying, Draco went down to breakfast in a state that far exceeded simple anticipation. His mood turned sharply downward when he entered the dining room; only Lucius and Narcissa were seated at the table. This was the first day since Alex had arrived that he hadn't been there, too, and Draco wondered with a sense of foreboding if Alex had been called away.

He was reassured almost immediately on that score. Lucius looked up from his newspaper and glanced over at Draco. "Mr. Palmer headed out early. Since it's been a few days since you've used the pitch, he wanted to make sure everything was in order. He said something about needing an additional broom for flying systems. He also seemed to think it would be more efficient for you to spend the whole day out there, so your mother has arranged for you to have luncheon out at the clubhouse."

Elation surged through Draco; not only was Alex still there, he'd arranged for them to spend the entire day by themselves.

By the time he arrived at the pitch thirty minutes later, Draco was rock hard. He was surprised to see Alex circling lazily in the air on his Firebolt; he had hoped that they would be inside the clubhouse. Alex grinned when he spotted Draco, and flew over to hover gracefully next to him.

"Sleep well?" the coach inquired, one eyebrow cocked. Draco felt a flush wash over his face. Alex studied him for a moment and then laughed softly. "Get changed, and come on out. We'll work on running some of the more simple systems first. We'll both play Chaser, and I'll enchant another broom to be the third, so you can see how things look in the air, instead of on parchment." He rose slightly and turned sharply on the broom, heading for the far side of the pitch.

Draco stared after him, his heart sinking in disappointment and confusion marking his face; they were really going to fly? Had he misinterpreted things? Did Alex want him, or not? His mind a jumble of doubt and frustration, he turned and headed in to the clubhouse.

He had stripped to the waist and just reaching for his practice jersey when he heard a faint pop, and Alex apparated directly behind him. "Would you like some help with that?" The voice was low and sensual, and Alex's strong arms slid around his waist. Draco felt relief flood through him, the seesaw of arousal and confusion he'd been riding for days now finally crashing down to rest on a fresh wave of desire. He tried to turn, eager to feel the other man against him at last, but Alex held him firmly, the unspoken command clear. Draco stilled obediently, desperate for Alex to continue, unwilling to do anything that might cause him to stop.

He closed his eyes, sighing softly as Alex's hands began a light, feathery journey over his naked torso. A cloud of pleasure wrapped itself around Draco, seeping strength from his limbs and disconnecting his brain. The teasing caresses left nerve endings screaming in their wake--the pressure was just barely there, titillating, sending Draco spiraling higher and higher on a crest of rising pleasure.

When one hand rose to toy with a nipple and the other trailed slowly downward to unfasten his trousers, Draco gave up all semblance of control as he felt himself be completely overtaken by what was happening to him.

The hand at his waist deftly eased his clothing away, and the tip of one finger began to circle him, moving in time with the other hand, still busy at his nipple. Both hands moved with the same light, slow, maddening touch, and Draco found his entire universe reduced to the almost painful sensitivity of those two points of contact. It went on for what seemed like forever. Draco could feel his breath coming in gasps, now, his mind empty of everything save the sharp rise of pleasure that was rapidly approaching its peak, his nerve endings stretched to the absolute edge.

Without warning, the touch changed: the whisper light strokes on his chest became tugs and twists with a sharply satisfying pressure and his cock was grasped in a firm fist, the rhythm fast and sure.

Draco came on the first stroke. He felt the tension in his body explode, his mind shattered into a million pieces as the orgasm that had been building up for days tore through his body. He arched back against Alex, his mouth opened in a wordless cry and his face twisted in pleasure. His release pulsed out for a glorious eternity.

Leaning back against the warm strength of his coach, still trembling with the aftermath of the intensity of his orgasm, Draco heard Alex's deep voice purring in his ear, rich with satisfaction, "Oh, yes. Just like I knew it would be. So pretty."

* * * * *

They did fly, after all. When Draco had recovered enough to stand on his own and face Alex, he'd been met with a warm smile, but as he reached out to touch the other man, his hands had been gently but firmly captured. "Don't you want..." Draco let his voice trail off with uncharacteristic uncertainty, not sure exactly how to phrase what he was trying to say.

"Oh, I want," Alex assured him, an enigmatic smile on his face. His eyes roamed over Draco's lightly muscled torso. "Actually, there's quite a long list of things I want. But I also have no intention of lying to your father, especially about something so trivial as today's Quidditch lesson. When he asks me what systems we flew, and how well you know them, I want to be able to answer honestly. If we fly for a bit now, we can come in here afterwards and ... strategize."

They fell back into their usual pattern with ease. Alex had brought some of the parchments from the Manor, and they studied them briefly before running the patterns repeatedly. Draco was drilled on the role of each chaser in each of the systems, and knew every detail by heart. Alex praised him lavishly--for both his quickness at learning what he'd been taught and his ability to come up with ways to counter the very systems they'd been practicing. That would come in handy, he told Draco, should one of the other house teams begin to copy their strategies.

They came in from the morning flying session to find lunch waiting for them, and promptly devoured it, continuing their discussion of the game. It wasn't until the house-elves had been in to clear everything away that Alex leaned back in his chair and eyed Draco speculatively.

"So, what would you like to practice next? Plays that you do on the pitch, or off?" He made the enquiry so casually that it took Draco a second to realize what he meant. When he'd finally untied his tongue enough to tell Alex what he wanted, he realized he didn't know how to say it.

"I want..." Draco hesitated. "I don't want to practice Quidditch," he said finally.

Alex gazed at him, a small smile playing around the corners of his mouth. "Then come here," he commanded softly, standing.

Draco complied, the nerves in his stomach jumping as he moved to stand in front of his coach. Once there, he hesitated; he wanted to touch Alex, but didn't quite dare, and instead stood quietly, waiting. He and Alex were very similar in height, but Alex was more heavily muscled and Draco was acutely aware of the power emanating from the man in front of him.

Alex's eyes roved slowly over Draco, from the crown of his head to the floor and back up before he spoke softly. "You really are beautiful, Draco--you know that, don't you?" Draco stared mutely back, not sure how to answer, and Alex tipped his head to one side. "You have done this before, haven't you, Draco?" There was no condemnation in his voice, just mild amusement mixed with gentle curiosity.

Draco drew in a deep breath. "Well, I'm ... I'm not a virgin, but I've never..." his voice trailed off again, and Alex looked shrewdly at him.

"Never been with another man," he finished, and Draco nodded with relief, his eyes on the floor. Anticipation and desire flared hotly in the older man's eyes as his gaze lingered thoughtfully on Draco's bent head. "Ah. I see."

There was a brief silence. When Alex spoke again, his voice was low and sensuous, and Draco felt himself begin to harden again. "Well, Draco, you must know that I find you very attractive." He reached out and ran one hand smoothly down Draco's chest and abdomen to hover just over his growing arousal. "But I don't want to push you into anything you don't want." His hand ghosted softly over the bulge beneath it, and Draco bit his lip, his eyes falling shut. "You should be really sure about something like this." The caressing continued, the pressure increasing ever so slightly, and Draco leaned into it, his erection surging to life. "If you've never done this, we probably shouldn't--" he pulled his hand back and took a slight step away.

Draco's eyes snapped open and looked up, reaching out to grasp at Alex's arm urgently. "No! I mean, yes, I'm sure, and no, you're not pushing me into anything." He drew a deep breath, still nervous but achingly aroused and very determined. "I know what I want. I want you."

Alex looked at him in silence for long moments, his hands on his hips and one eyebrow cocked thoughtfully. Then a small, satisfied smile appeared. "Well," he said softly, reaching again for Draco, "lucky me."

* * * * *

Draco tumbled into bed that night more exhausted and more satisfied than he could ever remember being. He let his mind drift back over the day, remembering it all with a pleased flush. He'd successfully flown four brand-new systems well enough to teach them to the Slytherin team in the Autumn, and Alex had promised him that by the time he returned to school, he'd know another half dozen. He just couldn't wait to see the look on Potter's face--finally, finally, Draco thought, he'd be one up on Harry Bloody Potter.

Draco's face darkened, and his mood dimmed a bit. Potter. Somehow, Draco thought bitterly, he always came out the worse when he went up against Potter. Everyone seemed predisposed to favor The Boy Who Could Do No Wrong. He broke school rules left, right and center and practically never got in trouble for it. Teachers let him get away with murder. Even students in other houses admired Potter's escapades. And all the girls were wild for him--his reputation was practically legend.

He thought back to the previous winter, when he and Pansy Parkinson had been heading back to the dungeons after an afternoon at the library. They'd passed one of the small, private study rooms and he had chanced to spy Potter at the far end, seemingly alone, his back to them. He'd been all set to let fly with a loud, caustic remark about what Potter might be doing in a dark corner by himself when a small, pale hand had suddenly appeared, curling itself around the back of his rival's neck.

Draco had stopped instantly, checking Pansy's progress and pointing into the room, signaling silence. They watched with voyeuristic fascination as the scene had unfolded before them.

Harry pulled away just far enough to reveal the petite figure of Lisa Turpin, a Ravenclaw in their year. Lisa was an extremely pretty girl with a long cloud of wavy black hair that tumbled almost to her waist. She had dark eyes and beautiful, creamy skin, nearly as pale as Draco's own. She was one of the tiniest girls in school--Harry was nearly a full head taller than she was, Draco noted, and Harry wasn't very tall--but her body was delightfully curvy. Draco had had more than a passing thought about her, himself, but hadn't done anything about it yet.

He turned instantly to Pansy and raised his eyebrows. Pansy and Lisa were partnered in Arithmancy, and they maintained an amiable if casual friendship. Pansy gave a little moue and shrugged; the fact that Lisa and Potter were together was news to her. They turned back and watched the duo.

Lisa's hands had moved to Harry's chest, and he stood quite still, but relaxed. He was not touching her, but rather leaning over her almost protectively, one hand braced on the wall over her head and the other resting casually on his own hip.

She was saying something to Harry, her face lifted appealingly toward his, and she was speaking so softly that he bent his head to hear. Whatever it was made him smile. He replied, his face still bent to hers, and they were standing so close together that their mouths were nearly touching as they talked.

Draco watched, captivated, as Lisa moved forward, closing the slight distance to kiss Harry, winding her arms around his waist and pressing that lush little body up against him. Harry finally moved then, but only slightly. The hand on his hip rose to cradle the side of her face, and when they finally broke apart, he turned his hand over and gently caressed her cheek with his knuckles. With his hand still stroking gently, he leaned close and whispered in her ear, and she gave a sexy little laugh and nodded in response.

It was a scene that Draco found disturbingly erotic, and he told himself it was because he fancied Lisa. In truth, he reluctantly felt more than a little bit of admiration for Harry. Most boys would have taken full advantage of the subtle but clear invitation Lisa had issued, right then and there, despite the chance of being discovered. The fact that Harry hadn't done so showed a taste for discretion that Draco could appreciate, as well as an admirable amount of self-restraint. Draco was grudgingly impressed.

And clearly, Lisa was anything but put out by his actions; she moved her hands to grasp lightly at Harry's belt, balancing herself as she rose on her tiptoes to kiss him softly again before releasing him. Whatever plans they'd apparently made for later seemed to suit her just fine, Draco thought dryly. With a last lingering caress, Harry turned and reached for his books--Draco and Pansy had just enough time to duck out of sight behind a suit of armor before Harry strode out of the room and down the corridor. He didn't look back.

Pansy instantly nudged Draco in the ribs, pointing at Lisa and raising her eyebrows. Draco nodded, and Pansy stepped out from behind the armor and strolled into the room, making no effort to hide her approach. "Oh, hello, Lisa. I didn't realize you were in here." She looked in the direction of Harry's rapidly departing figure. "Been having a study session with Potter?" Her voice was casual, the question one of almost idle curiosity.

"Harry and I aren't in any of the same classes." The reply was amused, the implication arch.

Pansy obediently picked up the cue, allowing surprised interest to creep into her tone. "A tryst? With The Boy Who Lived? Do tell." There was just the right mix of mischievous demand and conspiratorial persuasion in Pansy's voice; if Lisa wanted to gossip, it was clear she wasn't going find a better audience.

Still crouched behind the armor, Draco grinned. Pansy was excellent at fishing for information. She was deliciously nosy, and much more subtle than people gave her credit for. He listened avidly for Lisa's reply.

"Pansy, really, I don't kiss and tell." Lisa's voice was light, rife with mock admonition.

Pansy snorted inelegantly. "Since when? Come on, Lisa, dish. You know you're dying to, anyway. So, tell me, what's it like to be snogged by the great Harry Potter, defender of all that is good and true, undefeated Quidditch god of Hogwarts, and all-around hero?" Cautiously, Draco moved around the armor again, bringing the girls into his line of vision.

"Hmmm. Let's just say his moves on the Quidditch pitch pale in comparison to his repertoire of skills in ... a one-on-one match." She grinned at Pansy, and advised, "Date a Seeker, Pansy. There are certain benefits."

Draco saw Pansy's eyebrows rise. "So, he's good with his hands?"

"Oh, I'm rather fond of his hands," Lisa was agreeable. "In fact, the whole package is quite attractive." The amusement was back in her voice.

"Hmmm." Pansy was speculative. "I confess, I've never really looked at Potter like that ... but I am partial to a boy who knows how to use his hands nicely. Is that Potter's specialty, then?"

Lisa smirked. "Well, catching a Snitch is delicate work." Her eyes sparkled mischievously and she was obviously enjoying her own double entendre. She paused for effect. "But I'd say it's his mouth, really, that deserves special mention. If I were going to be unladylike enough to mention something."

There was a distinct pause, and Pansy's eyes narrowed. "You're trying to tell me that Potter is good at sweet-talk?" Her disbelief was patent.

Lisa laughed outright, the sound light and silvery. "Oh, no. No, Harry's not much on conversation. But," a self-satisfied little smile curved her pretty mouth, "there are a number of other activities that one's tongue is useful in performing, besides making sweet-talk."

"Really?" The prurient curiosity in Pansy's voice was genuine, and Lisa wasn't slow to pick up on it.

"Yes, really." Lisa looked both amused and very smug. "And if I didn't know you and your complete disdain for all things Gryffindor, Pansy, I'd say you were a tad jealous. Of course, you could open your mind a bit on that score. Some of those Gryffindor qualities are really lovely."

"Hmmm." Pansy was noncommittal. "And just how long have you been enjoying those lovely Gryffindor attributes?"

"Oh, a while now. I can be discreet, you know. When it suits me." Lisa tilted her head to one side and studied Pansy thoughtfully. "Tell the truth, Pansy, aren't you the least little bit intrigued by Harry? He is the Boy Who Lived, after all."

"I'm Slytherin; he'd never go for me." Pansy's face was carefully blank, but Draco could hear the tinge of regret in her voice.

Lisa continued to watch Pansy carefully. "Hmmmm. Probably not. And don't even try to tell me that you're not more than a little bit disappointed by that fact, Pansy."

* * * * *

Pansy held her peace on the walk back to the dungeons. She knew Draco well enough to know that he'd want to think over the exchange she'd had with Lisa, and that he'd talk about it when he was ready. They were almost back to the Slytherin common room before he spoke. "So, you fancy Potter."

Pansy rolled her eyes and cursed inwardly. She'd just known that one would come back to haunt her. "No, I do not fancy him," she said shortly.

"But you wouldn't refuse him, either," Draco observed shrewdly.

"Oh, for God's sake, Draco. It's not like he's not good looking to begin with." Pansy tossed her heavy blonde hair back and met his gaze with her own exasperated one. "And you heard what she said about him. I'd have to be either stupid or dead not to be interested after that little bit of information, and I'm neither. It doesn't mean I'm going to go all moon-eyed over the git."

Draco stared moodily at her from hooded eyes. Pansy was just wondering if she should recant her admission when he grinned at her suddenly. "Oh, I don't know, Pans--that might be just the way to get his attention. He'd never expect it from you, of all people." Draco batted his eyelashes in an absurd fashion and spoke in a high, breathless voice. "Oh, please, Harry, may I please help you polish your broomstick?" His impression was dead on, a wicked imitation of Pansy when she was playing up to her father for something.

"Draco." It was a warning.

"Or you could Polyjuice yourself into some sweet little Hufflepuff, and have your wicked way with him. He'd never be the wiser." Draco was now wide-eyed, all earnest, eager helpfulness, and Pansy stared at him through narrowed eyes, a reluctant smile tugging at one corner of her mouth.

"Or you could just go the total Slytherin route, you know," Pansy continued to glare, but few things were funnier than Draco on a tear, and amusement was warring strongly with irritation, "and get Vince and Greg to conk him over the head and deliver him, all neatly tied up, right to the girls' dormitory. Or you could--"

The amusement won, and Pansy's laughter bubbled out. "Oh, shut up, Draco. Just shut up."

* * * * *

Draco left Pansy in the common room and headed up to the dorm, his easy smile and joking manner fading as soon as he left her behind. He thanked every god he could think of that his natural reticence about personal matters had prevented him from telling Pansy that he found Lisa attractive. Pansy would think it extremely odd if he didn't pursue her, himself, especially after all her innuendo about Seekers. And what could be better than stealing Harry Potter's girlfriend? But Draco knew he'd never make a play for her after hearing that conversation. What if he did, and she refused him? Or worse, what if she didn't refuse him, but then didn't think he was as ... talented as Potter?

Draco frowned. He'd never really been able to best Potter in anything--well, grades, of course, but no one really seemed to care that much about Potter's grades. Even the continued humiliation of losing to him at Quidditch would pale in comparison, he thought, if Lisa Turpin compared his sexual prowess to Harry Potter's and found him lacking.

* * * * *

Draco shrugged away the memory. The afternoon with Alex had given him an enormous surge of confidence in that particular area. He recalled the hours after lunch with a flush of gratification and pride. Alex had been flatteringly attentive and patient, and had taught him a great deal about how different areas of the body could be made to give pleasure. With Stacey, he'd been so caught up in the newness of having sex that he hadn't thought about much except the end result. The time with Alex had been much more focused on the process of getting there--though the end result had been pretty spectacular, too, Draco recalled with a grin. Every time.

When Alex had finally reached for him after those long, agonizing moments of silence, Draco had wanted to cry with relief.

He had been pulled firmly against the other man's body his mouth taken in a hot, slow kiss. Draco had responded with everything he had, his hands reaching up to hold Alex's shoulders, his mouth opening willingly to the seeking tongue.

Skilled lips had carefully, thoroughly tasted every part of his mouth, languorously ravished his neck, and traveled back up to reclaim his mouth in another devastating kiss. Draco's erection throbbed, and when Alex's hands dropped to his hips and pulled him even closer, the sensation of the other man's arousal pressing firmly into his was almost enough to send him over the edge.

The hands at his waist tugged gently but firmly at the jersey he wore, loosening it from the waist of his shorts. When it was free, the busy fingers of one hand traveled up to pluck at a nipple, while the other slid down inside his shorts to stroke him slowly. The leisurely, drugging kisses continued throughout; Draco was awash in sensation.

Pressure was building again, and he knew he wasn't going to last much longer. When the lips moved again with honeyed slowness to the lobe of his left ear, he tried to speak, "Alex, I can't--I'm going to--"

The lips moved unhurriedly back to his mouth, halting the words with another kiss, and then returned to his ear to whisper slowly, "Mmmm. Yes, I know. Go right ahead."

The hand stroking him moved faster, harder, and Draco thrust helplessly into it, his orgasm overtaking him with blinding intensity. The relief of his climax was mixed with slight embarrassment at coming so quickly. He looked up almost bashfully into Alex's face and was met with a warm, easy grin. "I remember being seventeen, you know."

He slid an arm around Draco's waist and led him easily to the large daybed at the far side of the room. "Come here. I want to enjoy you properly." He stripped off his own clothes, then Draco's, pulled them both onto the bed and proceeded to explore every inch of the boy next to him.

Soft touches, firm strokes, licks, kisses, gentle pinches and bites were peppered over every inch of Draco's body. Occasionally light fingers would feather over his penis, but for the most part, the attention was focused elsewhere. The tasting and teasing went on and on, unhurried, deliberate. The fever was building in Draco yet again, and just when he thought he might die from the sensations, he felt a sudden hot, wet caress run up his length and then he was engulfed in wet heat.

His eyes flew open at the new sensation and he watched, the erotic spectacle stealing the breath from his lungs, as Alex used his mouth to bring him to yet another delirious orgasm. Completely spent, he lay boneless on the daybed, covered in a thin sheen of sweat, Alex stroking his thighs softly. When he finally opened his eyes, he was met with Alex's familiar grin.

"You liked?"

Draco laughed shakily. "That's an understatement. It was brilliant." He struggled up to a sitting position, eager to show Alex some of the pleasure he'd been given, his shyness finally completely gone. "Can I touch you?"

Alex smiled. "I thought you'd never ask."

He mimicked Alex's behavior from earlier, exploring the man's entire body, but avoiding his enormous erection. Alex continued to stroke Draco's shoulders and back, murmuring soft words of encouragement, letting him know what he liked, what felt good.

When Draco's hand finally closed around Alex, the other man covered it with his own, and guided it in a slow, steady rhythm. Draco found it surprisingly sexy, and when Alex stopped the movement, he looked up questioningly.

"Let's see how brilliant you can be," Alex said softly, and Draco, after only the slightest hesitation, lowered his head to their joined hands.

It wasn't bad, he decided, taking Alex into his mouth--it had a certain sensual appeal. It wasn't until he felt Alex's imminent climax that Draco felt a brief flare of panic; he wasn't sure what to expect, and he started to pull away.

The panic flared more sharply when Alex reached up and slid his hands through Draco's hair, holding him firmly. Draco knew he could pull away, but the expectation was clear, and he reluctantly stayed where he was.

When Alex finally released him, he was deeply unsettled; being held in place didn't sit well with him. But Alex's soft, "Oh, yes, brilliant, indeed," brought a flush of pride to his face and he pushed the deep distress to the back of his mind.

He had pleased Alex, he thought, and that was all that mattered right now.

He'd slept after that, much to his embarrassment. When he'd opened his eyes, slightly disoriented, Alex was seated at the table, wearing only shorts, sketching plays on parchment and roughing out a schedule for the coming week. Draco remained quiet for long moments, trying to wrap his mind around the enormity of the fact that he'd just had sex with Alex Palmer. The echo of his previous discomfort returned, but eased somewhat as Draco let his mind recall the spectacular sex that had preceded it.

As he watched, Alex put his quill down and looked over the parchment one last time before setting it aside. He looked relaxed, Draco thought. At ease. Alex looked up suddenly, catching Draco's eye. "Hey, there." The voice matched his manner, quiet and open. "I was just about to wake you. It's almost time to head back."

Draco nodded, a bit of his earlier shyness returning. "I'll just get dressed, then," he said, reaching for his clothes.

"In a bit." Alex crossed the room, dropping gracefully down next to Draco. "I think you've earned a long, lovely shower, first, after all that flying, don't you?"

He leaned forward and his lips touched Draco's. The kiss was soft, completely without demand, offering only gentle affection. Draco relaxed instantly into it, opening himself up to it, responding in kind. When it ended, Draco instinctively leaned forward again, initiating a second one, using his tongue to tease and seduce. He felt an undeniable thrill at the quickening of Alex's breath, and deepened the kiss even further.

They drew apart second time, both breathing heavily. "Shower." They spoke the word together, and laughed.

* * * * *

Stretched out on his own bed that evening, Draco remembered that shower with a satisfied smile. It had been pure bliss. Hot, steamy water, lots of cleansing gel, slick skin, and Alex's skilled hands all over him. And his all over Alex. He'd been encouraged to touch, explore, and tease all he wanted; the heady knowledge that he could make Alex hot and hard was enormously gratifying.

They'd shared one last spectacular climax before heading back to the Manor for the evening meal.

* * * * *

The following day, they once again spent the morning running systems on the pitch. Lunch had followed, and Draco was eagerly awaiting the departure of the house-elves, but immediately after they finished eating, Alex rose and said, "If we head back out now, we can really nail those last two down cold. Then I'll teach you a new play."

Draco, more confident now in the knowledge that Alex wanted him, had stayed seated, and looked pointedly at the daybed across the room. "Wouldn't you rather..." he let his voice trail off suggestively, and Alex followed his gaze to the bed.

"I would. But your father has some pretty high expectations, and I'd be a fool to shirk my responsibilities." He surveyed Draco's disappointed face for a moment and then grinned. "Don't worry. I've no intention of allowing our extracurricular schedule to lapse, either. The new play I have in mind has nothing to do with Quidditch; and I think you'd rather not do much flying afterwards, so we'd better do that now." He watched Draco closely, waiting for comprehension to appear. When it did, he continued speaking, casually, carefully. "Of course, if you'd rather not learn that particular play, we can just run Quidditch systems."

Draco thought quickly; what he really wanted was a repeat of the previous afternoon, but that didn't seem to be one of the choices Alex was offering, and he was definitely eager for their sexual relationship to continue. He made the decision easily, a confident smile on his face. "I like to learn new things."

Alex had smiled at him then. "And you're quite good at it, too." He watched as a faint flush of pleasure washed over Draco's pale face.

* * * * *

The remaining days of the summer holidays passed with Draco on a glorious high; his knee was nearly at full strength, he'd learned an impressive array of difficult new Quidditch skills that should wow even Potter, and his house team was going to have plays no other house would know.

On top of all that, he was floating along on a wave constant sexual bliss. His relationship with Alex amazed him. Alex was, Draco thought appreciatively, a generous lover, bringing Draco off much more frequently than Draco did for Alex. When he tried to reciprocate every time, Alex just grinned and said, "Seventeen is a beautiful thing, Draco, but it doesn't last forever. Enjoy it."

If there were parts of the relationship that he was a bit uncomfortable with, well--Draco's face darkened, and he frowned, thinking again of the way Alex's strong hands always cupped his head, holding him firmly in place whenever he was giving him a blowjob. He'd thought he'd get used to that, but the sense of distress he experienced that first time persisted. But he was confident that he was pleasing his lover--Alex showed no signs of being bored or of wanting to end the sexual component of their days.

Indeed, the breadth of sexual knowledge that Alex had taught him far exceeded the breadth of Quidditch knowledge, and that, thought Draco with a grin, was saying something. There were times that Draco honestly marveled at his situation. He was being frequently and ardently sought out by one of the most talented and admired--not to mention attractive--professional athletes of the time. It was heady stuff.

He'd thought more than once of the coming start of term. Last year, he'd taken his experience with Stacey and mirrored it with a few girls at school; some of those experiences had been more successful than others. The possibility of doing the same this year, with boys, was enormously appealing, and while Draco wasn't sure he'd have the nerve to follow through, it didn't stop him from considering different possibilities.

The fact that Harry Potter was the only boy who appeared recognizably in his thoughts was not particularly surprising to him. He'd been fantasizing about Harry, in one way or another, for months now, ever since that incident in the Great Hall with that bloody t-shirt--God, did that still rankle. He'd had his revenge a thousand times in his imagination, in a thousand different ways that ranged from public humiliation to physical violence to sexual domination. The sexual scenarios had emerged over time as predominate over all the others, but since his affair with Alex, they'd gained a clarity and richness of detail that was sometimes almost disturbing.

The sure knowledge of just how it felt to be held against a strong, muscular, male body--with its hard planes and bunching muscles--made thinking about Harry like that a more than pleasurable way to pass time. And surely, in this particular regard, he was now much more experienced than Harry could possibly be. That thought was very comforting, something real and solid that he could bring to mind when confronted once again with The Boy Who Seemed To Do Everything Better Than Draco.

* * * * *

Draco was awoken one morning by the delivery of his Hogwarts letter for the upcoming year. The owl that delivered it was a snowy white, and she settled gently on the bedpost while Draco read through the list of necessary supplies for his final year of school.

Sixth and seventh year students didn't need a parent signature on the acceptance form reserving their place at Hogwarts; they were expected to sign for themselves, and the owl was clearly waiting patiently for Draco to complete the necessary information so she could bring it back on her return trip. Draco summoned a quill and ink and began sorting through forms and lists.

He was halfway through his course selection when the owl settled herself more comfortably and tucked her head down for a brief nap. The movement caught his eye, and he looked at her again. She looked a lot like Potter's owl, but smaller, he thought idly. Hedwig, he had named her. She was remarkably affectionate for a snowy owl, Draco recalled. Most snowys didn't like a lot of human contact, but Hedwig almost always stayed with Harry for a little while after bringing his mail, nuzzling her head into the hollow right behind his ear, or nibbling gently on the lobe. Occasionally, Harry would feed her a bit of bacon or sausage from his breakfast plate.

Unbidden, a picture rose in his mind, of Harry sitting in the Great Hall, with Hedwig perched on his shoulder, his tanned, graceful hand lifting to feed the owl and then stroke her feathered warmth. He could see it with startling clarity. There was always an unusual air of peace about Harry in those moments; he'd noticed it more than once before, and now Draco focused intently on the image he saw, trying to pin down exactly what it was that made Harry seem so different during those brief times.

It was, Draco thought, almost as though Harry felt he was entirely alone, even in the crowded Great Hall. But he discarded that thought almost as soon as it arose ... no, Harry often continued to laugh and talk with the Know-It-All Mudblood, or the ever-annoying Weasel during some of those times. That aura of contentment around Harry, then, had nothing to do with feeling alone... And with a sudden flash of insight Draco realized that it was exactly the opposite.

It was that Harry didn't feel alone when Hedwig was with him.

Draco turned the thought over in his mind and examined it carefully. The more he considered it, the more convinced he was that he was right. For all that Harry the Great was constantly surrounded by his little fan club, he seemed oddly isolated. He was The Boy Who Lived; he was Harry Potter, and people were always extremely careful not to encroach on his personal space. Even the constant casual contact between bodies--one of the unavoidable parts of life at a boarding school that annoyed Draco no end--was something that Harry was totally unaware of.

No, Draco corrected himself, as various images of Harry at school flashed across his mind. Harry was very aware of the contact between others, but was somehow excluded from it.

Even his best friends kept a careful distance. The shoulder claps and playful punches that Finnegan and Thomas and Weasley constantly exchanged bypassed Harry; the crush of bodies in the hallway was somehow eased when he walked by; even the exasperation that Granger regularly expressed with both Harry and Weasley was demonstrated with a smack on Weasley's head, or an elbow to his ribs, but never Harry's.

And though it all, Draco thought, Harry just watched, not at all unlike a small child on the outside of a sweet shop window. It was just one more way he was different.


Not like everyone else.

Draco had taunted Harry for years about his fame, and about being special; after all, it was nothing more than the truth. But Draco was suddenly sure that Harry hated it all. Hated being excluded from the easy affection and the constant invasion of personal space that came from being just like everyone else.

Harry, Draco realized thoughtfully, was alone even amidst his closest friends.

Draco thought about the little he'd heard about Harry's family. Not much was ever said, really, and he couldn't act particularly interested without arousing suspicion, but he had always made it his business to know everything he could about Harry. They were Muggles, and everyone knew that Harry spent every single holiday at Hogwarts. So, clearly there wasn't a lot of affection there, but surely....

Then Draco remembered a conversation Greg Goyle had related to him back in their fourth year. Greg had been walking behind Weasley and Neville Longbottom on the way into lunch and had overheard them talking. They'd been trying to figure a way to convince Dumbledore to let Harry spend the summer somewhere else instead of with his aunt and uncle. "Weasley told Longbottom that once they put bars on his bedroom window, and that if they get really ticked, then they lock him in a cupboard! Sometimes for days on end!" Greg's voice had been gleeful. "Maybe at the end of this summer, they won't let him out." Draco hadn't given it much thought at the time, but now a slight frown appeared on his face.

So, the people at home were unwilling to give Harry affection, and those at school were too in awe to dare--or too oblivious to even realize that, for all they adored him, they didn't really love him the way he needed. Craved.

For himself.

And Harry was caught in the middle of it all, unable to get anyone to look beyond the labels of "unwanted nephew" or "savior of the wizarding world" to see the person beneath. Any attempt to do so would succeed only in calling still more attention to himself--an anathema.

It was only Hedwig--a bloody owl, for fuck's sake--that saw just a boy, and her affection, alone, was solely based on the fact that he was just Harry.

You've never thought of him as special, a voice in Draco's head reminded him.

Draco frowned again. He hadn't, and he'd made sure that Potter knew it. He'd never felt a need to defer to The Boy Who Lived, or to make sure he had a clear path anywhere. Personal space had never been a barrier between them. If Harry was in his way, he never had a problem simply pushing him aside. And whatever raw emotion Harry felt at the moment was always clear on his face when it was pushed up against Draco's: anger, hate, frustration, or vicious triumph. But it wasn't ever that behind-the-shop-glass look, Draco realized suddenly.

It's not the peaceful look, either, though, the voice reminded him.

What would it be like to be the one to bring that look of peace to Harry's face?

Without warning, a picture rose in his mind, the scene playing itself out in exquisite detail. Harry, sprawled on a sumptuous bed, sheets tangled at his waist, eyes closed but not asleep, a look of sensual delight on his fine features. Draco, himself, in the bed next to Harry, running his hands slowly, luxuriously, all over that smooth, tanned skin, feeling the sleek muscles bunch and quiver under his touch. His movements were deliberate, sensuous, with a gentleness that had never been part of any of his previous fantasies.

Draco let himself get totally taken in by the scene, captivated by the images. His own mouth trailing damp, hot kisses down the broad, flat planes of Harry's chest and stomach, and then back up to tease a small nipple, his hand, reaching down to close on Harry's erection, hot and heavy and hard, and Harry's hands lifting to tangle in his hair, pulling him up for an achingly sweet kiss, hips arching, breath coming faster...

The owl rustled her feathers suddenly, startling Draco. She shifted her weight and peered expectantly at him with bright, knowing eyes. The vision remained sharp, and he shook his head slightly, blinking until it had completely faded. The feeling of unaccustomed tenderness was harder to banish. He found himself staring at the snowy owl; she winked once and then stared back.

Draco shoved the memory of both the vision and its unsettling tenderness ruthlessly away, focusing his mind firmly on the school forms in front of him. This was going to be his year, and no one was going to get in his way. He was going to prove, once and for all, that he was better in every way than The Boy Who Was Just Lucky.

Potter and his little Gryffindor friends might not have the sense to appreciate the power of the Malfoy name, but the rest of the wizarding world wasn't so slow. The wealth and privilege of his background had given him a polish and sophistication that none of his classmates possessed, and that many girls found very appealing. He was, Draco knew without conceit, extremely good looking. Pansy had told him more than once that he could have almost any girl at Hogwarts that he chose. He was intelligent, he was witty, he was good in bed, and he was a damn good wizard.

His chin lifted slightly. He was a Malfoy. He was going to earn the top grades in the school this year. And he was going to win every Quidditch match he played. Every single one. Harry Potter had just better watch his step, Draco thought grimly.

He reached again for his course selection sheet and the quill. Advanced Potions, Advanced Arithmancy, Advanced Transfiguration...

Special thanks to Frances, for all her patience, humor, support, feedback and excellent wibble-soothing. And for answering innumerable questions. And also for being so brilliant as to create her beautiful story to begin with. I am eternally grateful for her generosity in opening up the Resolution universe to my scribbles, and I couldn't be more pleased with the way everything has turned out.