[personal profile] valentine_veela
Title: I Dream in Monochrome
Author:[personal profile] leo_draconis
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Prompt #: 128
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 27,336
Author's Notes: [personal profile] tari_sue, I really hope you like this! I was moved to write this prompt the moment I saw it, and it's considerably darker (for me, anyway) than the themes I usually take on. Thanks for such an intriguing prompt that allowed me to explore my dark side a bit. =) The lines at the very end are from the song "Far Away" by Nickelback.
Summary: This is where Veela come to die. It reeks of sweat and sex, and that unforgettable sweet scent of Veela… Harry is investigating a mass disappearance of Veela in the area and a tip leads him to an underground brothel where wizards can pay their life-savings for one illicit night with a Veela. One man is all too familiar, and Harry must figure out how to help him while dealing with his own inner demons.
Warning(s): (highlight to read)*dark themes; mentions of rape, non-con, and incest (none too terribly graphic); involuntary substance abuse; angst; m/m slash sexual content*
Beta: My ever-reliable B
Disclaimer: This piece of art or fiction is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made, no copyright or trademark infringement, or offence is intended. All characters depicted in sexual situations are above the age of consent.





It's hardest when it's over.


When it's happening, and the air is thick and heavy with sensation, it's easy to slip inside my mind and cocoon myself in memories far more pleasant than my reality. I can close myself away from the flickering lights, from the mingling scents of sweat and sex and a cloying sweetness that the patrons find intoxicating while we all, after so long, find it nauseating.


I can block the sound of flesh slapping against flesh, the grunts and moans, and the verbal abuse or desperate whispered promises. The splash of someone else's perspiration against my skin can go unnoticed, and the feel of hands gripping me with bruising tightness, of cocks and fingers and sometimes entire hands entering my body… they can all be ignored.


As long as I remember to make all the right noises, which has become habit… I can set myself free, even if for just a little while.


It's the after, in the deafening silence and the throbbing memory, that makes me want to die.


That, and knowing that I chose this.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Potter, why the hell are you still here?"


Harry looked up, eyes sleep-weary and bloodshot, and grinned at his supervisor. "Someone's got to catch the bad guys, right?"


"Sure." Head Auror Jack Robbins leaned against the door frame. "But when it's seven at night and you've been here since six this morning, I have to wonder if you find our night shifters incompetent or if you simply don't want to go home."


One corner of Harry's mouth quirked upward. "What if I just want to wrap up my cases?"


"Your only open cases are the burglary on Knockturn, which we both know was an inside job, and the domestic from Monday that only needs paperwork filed now that both parties are resting up at St. Mungo's. Bloody beats me how you turn someone into a literal horse's arse, but such is marriage."


"Not that I'd know. What's your point?"


"My point is that, much as I admire an Auror with dedication, I'm worried about yours."


Harry closed the folder he'd been sifting through and set his jaw. "My dedication is in question, is it? Why, because I don't clock out at five like every other person? Seems to me you have it backwards."


"Harry, cut the crap, will you? At one time you felt you could confide in me. Don't you think I know? I've lost a partner, too."


"Was he also your brother? Did he die because you made a foolish mistake?" When Robbins didn't respond, Harry shoved away from the desk and rose to his feet. "No, I didn't think so."


"It's not your fault, Harry."


"Whatever. You want me gone, I'll go. Am I still allowed to come back in the morning, sir?" he spat.


"Have a good night, Harry." Robbins watched Harry as he brushed past and stormed into the dim corridor.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Harry hung his coat and looked around the deserted flat. It was quiet and dark, when at one time, just months ago, it had been filled with laughter and light. He and Ron had lived together easily after sharing a dorm for so long, and it was almost unbearable seeing the flat that they'd chosen together so lifeless.


Working in the cramped office they'd co-inhabited wasn't a lot better, honestly, but at least it was free from still unmade beds and ratty trainers near the door that Harry couldn't bring himself to move.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I can tell when it's time for the injections even though no clocks are hung in my cell. The clouds in my mind begin to drift, making my head ache and my stomach turn until he returns. Then, at last, the pinch of the needle puncturing my skin brings relief and the misty veil slips over my thoughts once more as the burn travels through my veins and spreads over my body.


Once upon a time, I questioned my foggy brain. Now… it's my only escape.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Coffee?" Harry offered up a steaming cup, and Robbins took it with a smile.


"Thanks, Harry."


"Look, I…"


"Forgotten. I'm glad to see you, actually – we have a rather large case forming and I want you to head up the investigation. Come in and have a seat." Robbins gestured to the seat in front of his desk.


Harry settled into the chair and propped his ankle on his knee. "A new case?"


"Yes. Veela." Robbins steepled his fingers and reclined in his seat. "What do you know about them?"


"Er… not a lot, I suppose. We learned a bit about them in school, mates and allure and all that. Of course there was the bill passed last year to register all magical creatures, so people are talking about them again. What's happened?"


"Disappearances. There have been several over the last few months and now there have been three more, which prompted more families to come out of the woodwork and report their own missing family members – all Veela."


"Why wouldn't they have been reported at the outset?"


"There are mixed feelings about magical creatures since the war – you know that. That was Minister Shacklebolt's primary reason for drafting the creature registry bill – people feel safer if they feel the perceived danger is being tracked. He believed that there would be a decrease in retaliation against creatures that way." Robbins sighed. "It did seem to help somewhat, but many creatures still believe they have no backing here at the Ministry."


"So how many Veela are missing?"


"Eleven."


Harry shook his head in disbelief. "How many are there? That seems like a lot."


"There are more than you'd think, Harry. Full Veela and part Veela both count as creatures. And eleven is a lot – it's a lot of people missing, period, but for them to all have Veelan blood… something isn't right."


"Any leads so far?"


"We have feelers out everywhere, but nothing so far. I've already requested that copies of the case files be sent to your office, so you'll likely have them within the hour. Read them over, take your own notes, and let me know what you think you'll need. This has to be solved before anyone else disappears."


"Right." Harry stood. "I'll be by to see you later on, then."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


After drafting his request to Robbins, Harry had begun personally interviewing the families of the missing Veela.


Harry shook his head and dropped the last of the files on his desk. Eleven Veela, four male and six female, were gone. The strange thing, though, was that all but three of the families gave the impression that their Veela relatives might have committed suicide or simply run away, but no bodies were ever found and none of them had been seen alive since. He flipped through the notes he'd taken.


Depressed… given up…seemed lost…


He didn't know where to start. He'd led missing person cases before, of course, but this… as Robbins had said, something wasn't right.


It had been a week, and he had no leads to follow.


"Potter!" Robbins burst into Harry's office and slammed the door shut.


Harry blinked. "Sir?"


"We have something, and it’s worse than anything we've imagined."


"For the Veela case?"


"Yes. Anthony Ferguson is down in holding."


"What?" Ferguson was one of the Aurors Harry who had trained with Harry. "With who?"


"No, I mean he is in holding. He's panicking and I was afraid he'd run."


"Wait." Harry held up a hand. "He has something to do with this? He's on my team for the investigation!"


"I know. He received this letter a week or so ago." Robbins passed Harry a sheet of parchment.


The best sex you'll ever have is awaiting you. Are you man enough to indulge?


The Forbidden Feather


Knockturn Alley's newest club


Come and play with us, if you dare!


Harry skimmed the letter twice, noting the address at the bottom. The club had to be somewhere close to Borgin and Burkes. "So… he went to a sex club? A brothel?"


"Not just any brothel, Potter. When he left, they cast a modified Obliviate on him. Now you know that part of Auror training involves locking your mind to memory charms, but he wasn't prepared, and he was high. Some Muggle drug – the tox screen isn't back yet, so I don't know what exactly. At any rate, he was able to push through the charm to some degree and it's finally coming back to him bit by bit."


"What is it?" Harry asked impatiently. Robbins did enjoy telling a tale, even at moments when Harry just wanted the ending.


"Veela, Harry. The brothel has imprisoned Veela, and it's charging patrons a veritable fortune to fuck them."


Harry made a face. "And people buy into this?"


"There is a population of men who will do a lot of things for a good lay, Harry. Veela are notoriously sexual creatures, but because of the race's forced mating very few get to experience what it's like to be with one. Every Veela has a mate, and they will not have sex with anyone else once they come of age. You know the story."


"So we've found the missing Veela." Harry pinched the bridge of his nose. "Fuck. We'll have to organize a bust, but…"


"I'm not sure what all is happening there, but it can't be good. I know this is your case, but I have to step in here, Potter. I need you to go in alone. We'll set you up with a disguise and potions to counteract the drugs as well as to help you block the memory charms. You'll need to be just another patron."


"You want me to… to…" Harry shook his head, horrified. "I won't rape anyone, Jack!"


Robbins held up his hands in surrender. "I'm not asking you to, Harry. We'll go and talk to Tony and see what he can tell us. He's in a great deal of trouble for participating in that business, and he knows it – he's going to talk."


Harry stood and motioned to the door. "Let's get to it, then."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"I don't know what it was!" Tony Ferguson was crying noisily as he sat hunched in his chair across from Harry.


"Did you swallow it, snort it, smoke it, or inject it?" Harry asked impatiently.


"I – I swallowed it, it was a little pill…" Tony wiped at his eyes. "Please, I didn't know what it was! I didn't know it was Veela when I went – they only said it was the greatest sex ever, and it's been so long for me, and… by the time I got in there I was so high I would have fucked anything!"


Harry ground his teeth. "I know, Tony. You've really messed up here, though, and I need you to tell me everything you can remember so that I can try to fix this. They'll have your badge for this, but I might be able to get them to reduce your sentence if you help us. Start from the top."


"I… they made me sign a contract when I went in, promising to tell no one what was about to occur. I thought it was just because it was a brothel, you know? The top floor, it's like a proper club with dancing and drinks and music and all, so if anyone goes inside that's all they see. There's girls dancing and stripping, and I thought it's all there was, but that letter – I gave it to Robbins!"


"I read it. Go on."


"Okay, so you saw how it said at the bottom in tiny script, below the address, to bring the letter and ask for Charles? I did. That's how you get to the real area. Otherwise, people can come and go at the club and never know what else is happening." Tony twisted his shaking hands together. "They took me down this winding staircase into a room that was ceiling to floor red velvet. That's where I had to sign the contract, and they told me I'd get to be with a Veela. Then they gave me the pill and said it would help me keep an erection longer, said they required men to take it so they would get the most out of their experience. Seeing as how most can only afford to visit once, if that."


"How much did it cost?"


"100,000 Galleons," Tony whispered, his face red with shame. "My whole inheritance. I was supposed to save it for my retirement."


"What?" Harry exploded. "You paid that much money to sleep with a stranger?"


"It was a Veela!" Tony cried. "Everyone wants the chance to fuck a Veela! When they told me how much it would be, the drug was already kicking in! I was getting hot at the thought of having sex, and the fact that I could have a Veela… the smell, oh, fuck, Harry! Have you ever smelled it before? The scent of Veela in heat – it's rich and sweet and so damned arousing. I couldn't resist, I… I'm weak, I know!"


"Calm down. So you signed the form, took the drug, and then they told you about the money."


"Yeah. Then… you get to pick one out. They're all in cages, chained to the wall and naked. You get to tell them whether you want a male or female. I picked female, and so I got to see that row, and… she was a blonde. They all are. They're all so beautiful, it was so hard to choose… I didn't hurt her, I swear! I tried to be gentle, and I told her how much I loved her… I felt like it, you know?"


"I imagine the drugs and the allure will do that to you. Hang on." Harry saw Robbins hovering at the window and motioned him inside. "I'll be right back."


"The tox reports. They gave him something called MDMA." Robbins crossed his arms.


Harry scanned the sheet. "Ecstasy," he murmured. "With a few libido-enhancing supplements thrown in. Wonderful."


"He talking?"


"Yeah. Whoever is running this place is a seriously sick fuck." Harry strode back to the table. "All right, Tony – so how long did you get with her?"


"I'm not sure… a few hours? I… we did it a few times." Tony's voice cracked. "It was incredible, Harry, and I hate myself for it. When it was all done they took her back to her cage and they did the charm on me – they didn't tell me what they were doing, and it happened so fast. I tried to fight it off but it was so hard with the drug making me feel all cloudy. I remembered going into the club and having sex with a girl up against the wall after we danced, but it just felt wrong. I kept pushing at it until it all came back. I'm lucky I was able to block any of it when it happened, because if I hadn't I'd never have known what I did…" Another sob hitched in his throat.


Harry studied his former colleague. His face was blotchy and miserable, and he now faced prison time because of one foolish decision. "But you turned yourself in. I'm going to bust them, Tony, and it's because of your bravery that I have the chance. You may have saved some lives here. We'll have to keep you for now, but try to hang in there, okay?"


"Yeah," Tony croaked.


Harry nodded to Robbins, who was leaning against the door and listening, and then motioned for the guards to lead Tony away.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I hate the sound of shoes crushing the ridiculous velvet carpet. Ominous, echoing footsteps across a stone dungeon floor would be more appropriate, but somehow this muted sound is equally terrifying.


Do you know how it feels to watch, to wait? I can hear the voices approaching as Charlie leads another man down to pick his pleasure. I feel badly for the women, because they are chosen more often, but I'll admit to having a sick sense of relief when the voices dim as they take the other path. When they become louder… that's when the greasy ball of fear begins to turn in my stomach.


Will he pick me? Will I strike his fancy? Will he see me hanging there, suspended on silver chains, and decide he wants to spend his fortune on me? Sometimes I'm lucky, and sometimes the rest are lucky.


The wait begins.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Right this way, Mr. Logan."


Harry nodded and followed the burly man down the staircase, which was just as he'd seen in Tony's Pensieve memories. The memories were unclear, as though the viewers were standing in fog, but they were able to pick out some details to assist them in creating Harry's disguise. Now, four days later, he was a rather nondescript man with sandy hair, blue eyes, freckles, and a chipped front tooth.


Just before entering the club he'd downed a potion to counteract the Ecstasy and one to boost his defense against the memory charm. Tony had warned him that he'd be searched for surveillance devices, so a clear head was his only weapon. Whatever memories he could procure would be enough to obtain warrants to infiltrate the club, hopefully the same night. Robbins and Harry's team were waiting with the necessary documents and Pensieve back at the Ministry.


Robbins had pulled Harry aside and reminded him gently that while some physical contact with the Veela would be necessary so as not to attract suspicion, his actions in the room would not be placed in for public viewing. Harry was grateful for that but terrified at the thought of what he might need to do.


"All right, there?" Charles cocked an eyebrow and looked down at Harry.


Harry plastered a grin on his face. "I'm bloody excited is all. Sorry."


Charles smirked at him. "Can't say as I blame you. I get to play with the merchandise a bit on the off hours – perk of the job and all – and you're in for quite the treat."


I'm arresting you first, Harry thought grimly. "I can't wait."


"Your contract, as discussed. Can't have word spreading too far, you catch me?"


"Of course. No one wants trouble, least of all me." Harry signed carefully. Will Logan.


"And if you'll take this – it will enhance your experience and allow you to fuck your pretty Veela for hours."


Harry nodded and swallowed the pill nervously. He knew the potion would work, but he wasn't fond of any sort of drug. "Excellent."


He listened as Charles explained the process and took his payment, trying to appear as though the drug was kicking in after awhile.


"Ready to choose your pleasure?"


"Yes." Harry followed Charles into a darkened corridor. "Which way?"


"That's up to you. Our ladies have the sweetest tits and prettiest pussies you'll ever see, and our boys have the tightest arseholes and the most delicious cocks you'll ever find. I've sampled some of each, and you can't go wrong."


"The men, then." Harry knew it would be difficult to even pretend if he wasn't aroused, and women hadn't done anything for him for some time.


"Good choice. This way, Mr. Logan."


Harry looked around as they walked. Pewter chandeliers hung from the ceiling every few feet, emitting a dim and almost eerie light. As they approached the cages, Harry drew in a breath.


Behind bars, seven Veelan males were suspended from the walls with silver chains. Their skin shimmered with glitter and their wings were unfurled and magnificent. Harry paused at each cell, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the men and inhaling the scent Tony had described. It alone was enough to make him seriously contemplate fucking his chosen partner for the evening, and to imagine how it must be for the other men under the effects of the drug…


"See anything you like?" Charles asked.


"They're all incredible," Harry murmured. He paused at the penultimate cage to study the man inside, and gasped.


The wings were nearly iridescent as no others he'd seen had been. The man's arms were spread and raised, held in place by shackles and chains fastened to the marble wall, and his chest was heaving slightly.


His skin was pale and shining, with lithe muscles clearly defined beneath. His angles were prominent and somehow quite attractive, from his jutting collarbones to his sharp hipbones. His cock and balls hung proudly amidst a nest of blond curls so pale they were almost white.


He was the most beautiful creature Harry had ever seen in his life, and he knew long before the shadowed face finally rose and sad silver eyes fixed on him that he was Draco Malfoy.


"Him," Harry said hoarsely. "I want him."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Ring the bell when you're finished so that we may come and collect you. If your time expires before you ring, we'll come and collect you at that time. He's yours for the evening, and you'll find a variety of toys and lubricants laid out for you. Your wand will be kept at the desk until you leave. Please refrain from harming the merchandise beyond repair, but do enjoy him as roughly as you like to that point." Charles grinned. "Happy fucking, Mr. Logan."


Harry nodded and swallowed. When the door closed and locked behind him, he turned to look at Draco, who was spread out on the enormous bed. "Er…"


"I never figured you for the type, Potter." Draco's voice was scratchy from disuse.


"What? I'm… I'm Tim Logan. Will Logan," He corrected himself. Fuck!


"You're pants at lying. I'm amazed you made it this far. Did you think I wouldn't recognize you, even through your poor disguise? I've known you since we were eleven."


"I…" Harry ran an agitated hand through the hair that wasn't his. "Draco, what are you doing here? I didn't know you were a Veela."


"Hmm, I must have forgotten to tell you. Perhaps because I didn't bloody know. Why don't we cut the bullshit small talk and get to business? You paid good money to fuck me, so get to it." Draco wearily pulled his knees to his chest, exposing his tiny hole to Harry. "Like this, or would you prefer me from behind?"


"Draco, dammit, let me help you!"


Draco dropped his shaky legs back onto the bed. "You can't. This is my life."


"I'll get you out of here," Harry promised.


"Sure. Going to sneak me out under your shirt, then? They'd notice. Do you want me to suck your cock?"


"Yes!" Harry cried, then clapped a hand over his mouth. "I mean…"


Draco gave him a slow, seductive smile. "Come here, Harry."


"No, I want…" Harry swallowed hard, his throat suddenly dry. His feet began to move toward the bed before he knew what he was doing. "Stop it!"


"Stop what?" Draco crawled to the edge of the bed and reached for Harry. "You came here and paid your Galleons and you chose me. Let me do my job."


"Your job? They pay you?"


"Yes. They let me live." Draco looked up at Harry as he began to unfasten his trousers. "I'm not fond of the look, Potter, but I'll just picture the real you while I do this."


"Draco…" Harry moaned loudly when Draco's lips closed around his shaft. He tangled his fingers in soft, blond hair and sighed when Draco's wing brushed his arm.


Draco's tongue rubbed itself along the underside of Harry's cock as he sucked. He reached up to toy with Harry's nipples and then hissed when Harry gripped his elbow.


"What's wrong?" Harry asked in alarm.


"Nothing." He tried to pull his arm away, but Harry held on. "Let go."


"No, you're wearing…" Harry closed his eyes and concentrated on the magic flowing beneath his fingertips. "Merlin, how many Glamours are you wearing?"


"Stop!" Draco exclaimed. "Leave it alone."


"Finite," Harry muttered, and then stumbled back.


Draco's arms and thighs were tracked with needle marks and bruises. His face was gaunt and his eyes sunken, and his hair resembled straw rather than silk as it had before. His wings were grayed and filthy, and his ribs were visible. His cock was bruised and limp.


Harry sank to his knees beside the bed. "How? Why?" he whispered. "How did this happen to you?"


Draco wrapped thin, shaking arms around himself. "They'll beat me now," he moaned. "Without the spells…"


"I can do all of those and more, and wandlessly. I didn't even bring my real wand. I'll put them back on shortly, but first you have to tell me what's going on here."


"I can't."


"Talk to me, Draco. I'll take you away from here tonight, I promise."


Draco's eyes, flat and filled with pain, searched Harry's face. "Why? After everything I put you through? How can you have forgiven me?"


"You made a bad choice, Draco. We all do." Harry squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to see Ron's smiling face. "It doesn't matter now anyway – no one deserves this. Talk to me."


"No! You came here, you paid… you can't pretend that you're the hero now, Potter. You disguised yourself so that no one would find out that the great Harry Potter paid a fortune in gold to fuck a Veela. Don't act like it's anything else." Draco sneered and turned away.


"I…" Harry sighed. He was afraid to mention the investigation while it was so crucial it remain a secret, but he was desperate to save Draco. "I want to help, and I mean it. The rest doesn't matter."


"You're right, it doesn't matter. I have nowhere to go. They'll only find me and kill me."


"They won't. Please, Draco." Harry laid a hand on one of Draco's soft, ragged wings. "Please let me take you away."


"And the rest?"


"I… I'm going to try and help everyone. All of them."


"Right." Draco shook his head. "You can't help us."


"I can. Look, I'll ring the bell, and I'll –"


"No!" Draco turned and gripped Harry's wrist in panic. "It's too soon! They'll think I haven't done enough to satisfy you. No one leaves this early. I'll be punished."


"All right," Harry said soothingly. He reached to steady Draco's trembling form. "I'll stay until you tell me otherwise."


"Take off your clothes. In case they come back before we call."


Harry nodded and pulled off his shirt. "Why don't you get under the covers? You're cold."


"I'm always cold," Draco whispered. He complied and burrowed beneath the blankets as best as he could.


Harry left his clothing in a pile and grabbed a bottle of lube and a dildo. "I'll bring these over to make it look like we used them." He wondered how long they had. He wanted to go, to set the bust in motion, but he was afraid to leave Draco.


"You can use them, you know. Use me. You paid." Draco's voice was dull.


"No. I… what would you like to do? We'll do whatever you want." He pulled back the covers and lay beside Draco.


"I don't want anything from you."


"Draco." Harry stroked Draco's hair away from his face. "Let me make it better, even if just for a little while."


"Hold me, then." Draco turned his head, and Harry saw that his eyes were wet.


"Come here." Harry opened his arms and tried to maneuver Draco into them.


"Lift up. You can lie on my wing, it's all right. It won't hurt me."


Harry slid over and settled on the downy feathers, then put his arms around Draco, one beneath his neck and one draped over his middle. Draco sighed and cuddled close, allowing his other wing to drape over them. Harry pulled the covers back up around them.


"Will you tell me how you came to be here?" he asked softly.


Draco exhaled, blowing a puff of air across Harry's skin. "One of those bad choices we talked about."


"Who runs this place?"


"I'm not entirely sure."


"Draco, if you tell me what you know, I'll have more information to help –"


"No. Please – you asked what I wanted, and I just want this. I want someone to hold me and make me believe it will be all right. Just for tonight."


"It can be all right, Draco. But if this is what you want, then fine."


"I do." Draco rested his forehead against the curve of Harry's neck.


Harry listened to the sound of Draco's quiet breathing and stroked his back and wing alternately. He wondered if Draco had fallen asleep, and just when he was about to close his own eyes, Draco spoke.


"Kiss me."


"What?" Harry looked into Draco's tired eyes.


"Please?"


Harry ran gentle fingertips along Draco's jaw and tipped his chin up. He touched his lips lightly to Draco's and gasped at the spark that passed between them.


"More," Draco breathed, clutching at Harry's arm.


"Yes." Harry kissed him again, this time with more pressure, and caressed his cheek. Draco's lips were warm and pliant beneath his, and parted easily when Harry traced the seam between them with the tip of his tongue.


Draco's hips thrust forward and brought his erection into contact with Harry's thigh. Harry hissed and plunged his tongue into Draco's waiting mouth. He ran a hand down Draco's side to land on his hip and rubbed it with his palm.


Draco whimpered into Harry's mouth and pulled away. "Will you touch me? Make me come?"


Harry groaned and pushed Draco gently onto his back, then sat up. He allowed his eyes to roam down Draco's frail form and sighed. "Draco… I can't."


"You can put the Glamours back on first. I know I'm nothing to look at anymore, not like this," Draco said quietly.


"You're gorgeous," Harry told him. "But I can't – I can't use you like everyone else."


"If you were using me, you'd be fucking me whether I liked it or not instead of contemplating whether to get me off. It's been a long time since I truly wanted to have anything to do with anyone sexually, Harry. Please."


Harry wrapped a hand around Draco's cock. "I understand."


"If you want… you can fuck me, too. I wouldn't mind."


Harry shivered at the thought of sinking his cock into Draco's tight arse, but shook his head. "This is about you." He saw Draco open his mouth to protest, but only a weak cry escaped when he leaned over and caressed Draco's cock with his tongue.


He sucked at Draco's engorged prick carefully, afraid to hurt the man, but when Draco only made sounds of pleasure he sucked with more vigor and pushed one bruised thigh gently to the side so that he could more easily toy with Draco's balls and tease his pucker. He reached for the lube he'd brought to the bed and slicked a finger before sliding it carefully into Draco's opening. He located Draco's prostate quickly and rubbed at it while he swallowed Draco's cock with enthusiasm.


Draco moaned and called out Harry's name just before he began to thrash and spurt his release into Harry's eager mouth. When he was finished, Harry released his prick and moved to lie beside him again.


"Let me do something for you now," Draco said sleepily.


"No. Rest. All I truly want is to watch you sleep."


"That's creepy, Potter," Draco said with a yawn. He nuzzled Harry's neck and soon his breathing was even and shallow.


Harry held him, but didn't sleep. He waited, and he planned.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I used to dream that he'd come for me, my faceless mate. The whole first year, when I was locked in one room and in constant pain as they mutated me into what I am now, I would dream of a shadowed man who would come and fight for me and take me away. After that, I stopped dreaming.


When I came here, the dreams returned. I had no choice, you see – when one is faced with death as the only alternative, it's not much of a choice at all. Not when you're a coward.


The first time I was taken, I imagined him bursting in to rescue me. The second time, I imagined him also beating the hell out of the man who was fucking me. The third time, the man I was with brutalized me so badly that I barely survived, and I stopped hoping.


He's come at last, and he chose me, and he wants to save me. He finally has a face, and I can't believe who it is, but it somehow seems exactly right. I knew him from the moment he stepped before my cage – no disguise in the world can hide him, not from me, not even now. I was afraid, but I allowed myself to revel in his comfort, and I couldn’t help but to ask him to touch me. His hands are the only ones meant to explore my body, no matter how many others have instead.


It's the first time in months that I haven't wished I chose death, and I'm terrified.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"They're going to need medical attention. The Veela I was with had layers on top of layers of Glamour charms hiding bruises and track marks and general malnourishment. They'll likely suffer from withdrawal before long, though I don't know from which drugs." Harry paced nervously. "Who's good at Transfiguration? We can't race in with clothing weighing us down, but the Veela are kept naked in cages."


"I can do it, especially with cloth," one of the Aurors offered. "I could change handkerchiefs to robes easily enough."


"Great. Get some. Some of you will need to remain on the top level, the club part, and seal the exits. I could see one near the back but I didn't have much time to look. The rest of us will go downstairs. There were only a couple of employees when I was down there, but we'll need to check the rooms, too, to be sure we aren't missing anyone."


"St. Mungo's will be waiting." Robbins strode into the room. "They're opening the old wing we used during the war. Do we have volunteers to Apparate the Veela there?"


Several hands went up and Harry nodded at Robbins. "Good, you four will be in charge of that. Do you all understand what we need to do here? It's imperative that we work fast and work smart."


"Fantastic work, Potter." Robbins clapped Harry on the back. "Let's go."


Harry took a deep breath and glanced in the mirror, pleased his appearance was back to normal. He wanted to look like himself when he saw Draco again.


He accompanied the other Aurors back to Knockturn Alley and barely registered the shocked cries from the patrons when they exploded into the club. He led his team to the hidden staircase, ignoring the employees that were trying to stop them. Three of the Aurors stayed on the main level to begin arresting after sealing the exits, and the rest followed Harry down to find the Veela.


Things happened very quickly when they reached the lower floor.


Charles was bound and arrested by Robbins himself, and Harry took great delight in the sharp elbow the man received in the solar plexus for his struggles. Only one other man came to investigate and was quickly dealt with. Harry hoped that meant that most of the people upstairs had been collected.


Harry sent half of the men down the corridor leading to the female Veela and led the rest to the males. One by one they blasted the cages open and released the frightened Veela from their shackles, and after receiving newly transfigured robes they were Apparated to St. Mungo's. The robes had to be worn backwards because of the wings, but they could be wrapped in back so that all the vital bits were covered.


When they reached Draco's cage, Harry motioned for the rest of his men to move on to the last cell.


"What are you doing?" Draco's voice was high-pitched and he peered out at Harry with trepidation.


"Don't be scared." Harry coaxed. "Look, I said I'd be back. This is the only reason I was here in the first place."


Draco watched fearfully as Harry removed the lock and entered the cell. "Where are you taking me?"


"St. Mungo's." He released Draco's shackles.


"No!"


"You're ill, Draco, and whatever drugs they have you on are going to make things worse very soon." He reached out, but Draco scuttled into the corner and curled up on himself.


"No! I can't, Harry, I can't – he'll find me!"


"We’ve arrested Charles. And several others, I believe."


"This isn't all of them. If you take me there, he'll get in and he'll find me."


"Draco…"


"No! Just leave me. It will be worse when he tracks me down later…"


Harry crouched down beside him. "I have another idea, somewhere we can go. Do you trust me?"


Draco was silent.


"Draco, do you trust me?"


"I… yes."


"Then take my hand, and we'll go there."


"Not St. Mungo's?" Draco looked up at him with wide eyes.


"No, not St. Mungo's. I promise. I need you to tell me who you're afraid of, so that I can find him and make sure he can never hurt you again. Who is it that you need to hide from?"


Draco took Harry's hand and allowed himself to be pulled up. "My father."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Thank you so much for coming." Harry let Neville in and closed the door behind him.


"It's no problem. Luna's sorry she couldn't make it here yet, but she's expecting her mother shoehornet to deliver tonight. She'll be over first thing tomorrow. Or later on today, I suppose, since midnight has passed. I brought my bag." Neville gestured to the black medical bag he carried, which appeared small, but Harry knew from experience that it was a bottomless bag that held nearly every potion and portable device there was.


Neville had shown an amazing aptitude for medical magic during the war, and had entered a fast-track Healer program immediately afterward. He'd just finished his training and married Luna the month before.


"Great. I'm so sorry to wake you, but I didn't know who else to call. He's terrified to go to St. Mungo's."


"I doubt anyone will find him here. What is this place?"


"An old property Sirius purchased before he died. They didn't even know about it when they sent me the information on my inheritance from him – I found the deed and location in a journal he was keeping." Harry motioned for Neville to follow him. "I've got it warded down to the nails in the floorboards."


"I could tell. Even though you keyed me in, the magic surrounding the place is palpable. Harry, wait." Neville laid a hand on his arm. "I admire what you've done for the Veela you saved, and for wanting to help Malfoy, but… are you sure this is wise? With your history…"


"I'm going to do this, Neville. He's afraid, and I intend to protect him until we've caught his father and everyone else involved."


"His father?" Neville looked horrified. "He's responsible?"


"I haven't been able to find out everything yet, but it sounds like he has a hand in it, yes. He's who Draco's so afraid of."


"I know Lucius Malfoy is a bastard, but to prostitute his own son…" Neville shook his head in disbelief.


"That's not all. He's been beaten and abused and he's on drugs. I took off the Glamours they were using on him and he looks terrible. I had to put them back on until we came back to clear the place, but I've taken them off for good now. He has track marks everywhere. There's bound to be drug withdrawal, but I don't know what they used and I don't know a lot about the process."


"There are potions that will help, but it will be a long and painful process for him," Neville said grimly. "Can you come up with me? He's likely to be skittish, so your presence will probably be useful."


"Of course." He took Neville up to the room he'd given Draco and opened the door quietly. "Draco?" he said softly, allowing his eyes to adjust to the dark.


"Harry?" Draco's voice was fearful.


"Yes, it's only me. I have a Healer with me."


"I don't want to see anyone."


"You promised, Draco. I told you I'd keep you safe and hidden away from St. Mungo's, but in turn you have to see a Healer here."


"How do I know I can trust him?"


"Because you trust me. I'm going to turn on the light, all right?"


Draco didn't respond, and Harry lit the lamp. Draco was huddled on the bed.


"We're coming in." Harry and Neville approached the bed, and Draco blinked owlishly up at them.


"Longbottom?" he croaked. "Seriously?"


"Neville is a brilliant Healer, and I ask that you treat him with respect. He's come here to help you, and he'll be very kind to you. Far kinder than many at St. Mungo's might have been, even."


Draco's eyes darted between Harry and Neville, and then he gave a short nod. "Fine. You'll… you'll stay?"


"Of course I will." Harry smiled at him in a manner he hoped was consoling.


"Draco, I'll need you to remove your robe. You can remain under the covers for now, though." Neville sat beside the bed.


Draco was still wearing his transfigured robe, and he slipped it off with trembling hands and lay back down. He was still while Neville performed some diagnostic spells, and then closed his eyes tightly when Neville began to examine him.


Neville caught Harry's eye and nodded slightly toward Draco, who was clutching the blanket. Harry reached for Draco's hand.


Draco gripped Harry's fingers gratefully and tried to even his breathing as Neville looked him over.


"Do you know what sort of drugs they were giving you?" Neville asked quietly.


"Not the names."


"Can you describe what they did?"


"I…" He looked at Harry.


"I'm right here. The more you tell us, the easier it will be to help you and to capture your father," Harry told him. Draco nodded.


"When I turned seventeen and came into my Veela inheritance, my father kept me locked in a room in our dungeon. I wasn't aware I was a Veela until he kidnapped me from… where I was staying." He glanced up at Harry, who wore an unreadable expression. "I lived in that room for a year. During the first year, a Veela must find his or her mate and bond with them. They don't need to have a formal ceremony until they are ready, but the initial contact must be made or the Veela will begin to die."


"How do you know your mate?" Harry asked, his stomach clenching at the thought of Draco pining away for some unknown person.


"We just know. It's a sort of realization through dreams, usually, and it's rarely a stranger. Whoever Fate has chosen for us will have been placed in our paths long before we come of age."


"So how did your father keep you alive, since you weren't allowed to seek out your mate?" Neville prompted, shooting Harry an exasperated look. Harry winced apologetically.


"Potions, at first, and then he began injecting me with something. I had dreams of my mate, as I should, but his face was shadowed. I knew it was a man but I couldn't see him. My father kept me locked up because he needed to be able to give me the drugs every day, but also because if I was free I'd still go looking for him and I'd still be able to sense him. He'll never be able to take that away from me."


"Then who –" Harry began, but paused when Neville gave him another look. "Sorry," he muttered.


"What else did the drugs do?"


"I'm not sure, exactly, but they dampened my need for my mate. I still have an ache for him all the time, and I couldn't see his face in my head, but I'm able to live without him. My wings came out and they never go back in because of the drugs. Usually we don't reveal our wings unless we are mating for the first time or in fight or flight. My back aches all the time. It suppressed my more bird-like Veela features except for the wings."


"I see." Neville examined Draco's arms. "You've been injected a lot."


"Every day for the last few months of my time in the dungeon and then every day at… that place."


"How did you come to be there?" Harry asked. He didn't want to interrupt again, but he was hoping he could obtain Draco's statement without the need for unfamiliar Aurors to question Draco.


"He took me there. He started it, you know. Said he'd found other Veela and given them the same drugs. He said I could choose to stay there, or he could kill me. I chose to stay but I wished every day since that I hadn't."


Harry squeezed Draco's hand. "How long were you there?"


"How old am I now?" Draco asked.


Neville turned sorrow-filled eyes on Harry before he answered. "We're twenty."


"Oh… then two years, I suppose. No men came at first – we just lived there. I think they were still building the club."


"But you still received injections every day?"


"Yes. The same drugs as before, but then some sexual stimulants, too. So that I could perform. Most men wanted to fuck me, but some wanted to ride me and a lot of them wanted to make me come in other ways. I couldn't do it without the drugs."


Harry closed his eyes as Draco told his tale in a monotone voice. He wasn't sure he'd ever hated anyone, perhaps even Voldemort, as much as he hated Lucius Malfoy in that moment. "How many men were you with?"


"Lost count. Every day Charles or one of the other men who worked there would renew my Glamours and protection spells just before the club opened. Some nights no one came at all, but some nights several did. I could only be with one a night, usually, and some nights I wasn't chosen at all. Those were the best nights. Until tonight." Draco looked up at Harry, almost shyly, and Harry smiled at him.


Neville lifted the blanket and put on a pair of exam gloves. "I'm going to need to touch your genitalia briefly, all right? I won't hurt you."


Draco nodded and squeezed his eyes shut again.


"They used your arms primarily, it looks like, and your thighs too. And…" Neville sighed. "You have some bruising to your penis."


"They used that, too, when they couldn't hit any other veins. Sometimes in between my toes." Draco's face was flushed with humiliation and he turned his face away.


"It isn't your fault, Draco." Harry knelt beside the bed and continued to hold his hand. Draco didn't respond, and Harry and Neville exchanged a glance.


"Can you roll over, please?" Neville asked.


Draco did so slowly, maneuvering his wings out of the way, and took his hand back from Harry before burying his face in his arms.


"I'm going to check for damage, Draco. It will be quick." Neville used a lubed finger to probe gently at Draco's inner walls and then removed his gloves. He covered Draco to the waist with the blankets. "It seems you have some old scarring. Did they use healing spells?"


"Usually," Draco mumbled. "But I didn't bleed every time."


"I see. All right, I'm going to need to take some blood, and after I take it home to begin the tests in my lab I'll be back."


"Why?" Draco burst out. "You haven't violated me enough? Played with my cock, stuck your finger in my arse… you're just like all of them!"


"Draco!" Harry exclaimed.


"No, it's all right. I understand." Neville pulled some vials from his bag and donned a fresh pair of gloves. He held the vials one by one to the crook of Draco's arm and murmured the spell to allow the blood to fill them. When he was finished he placed them in a compartment in his bag and stood. "I'm testing for drugs so we can tailor a detox plan more specifically to you. It's going to be unpleasant no matter what, but the more I know about what you're on, the more I can help with the symptoms. I'll also bring back a healing salve that I think will work well for your bruises. Try and eat something light while I'm gone, and get some rest – you're going to need it. I'll stay with you during the early stages of your detox." He nodded to Harry and headed for the door.


"Longbottom…" Draco raised his head and swallowed. "I… thanks. I didn't mean…"


Neville smiled gently. "I know you didn't. I'll be back soon, and my wife will be here in a few hours to help. She's a specialist on magical creatures, and she'll be able to give us a lot of insight on how best to treat you."


Draco nodded and laid his head back down.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Hello, Harry!" Luna wore one of her dreamy smiles as she hugged Harry tightly. "I haven't seen you in such a long time. I'm a grandmother!"


"Huh? Oh… the… shoehorn?" Harry tried to remember what Neville had told him.


"Shoehornet. She's just had a litter of pups."


"Hornets have pups?"


"No, silly, hornets have larvae."


"But…" Harry shook his head. "Never mind. Congratulations. Come on up to see Draco. I'll warn you… he's not in a good mood."


"When has he ever been?"


Harry grinned. "Right. Well, now he's beginning to go through withdrawal on top of that. It's early yet, so it's not too bad, but he's very irritable. I can't promise he won't insult you terribly, but he likely doesn't mean it."


"Of course he does." Luna tilted he head and smiled. "At least in this moment. I'll be fine, Harry. Perhaps you should ask Neville to leave the room, though – he does take it quite personally when someone insults me."


"I'd imagine." Harry knocked on the door. "Draco?"


"Fuck off!"


"And the fun begins," Harry muttered, pushing open the door. "Luna's here. Can you try to be –"


"Get that twit out of my room!" Draco yelled.


"Malfoy…" Neville said warningly from his place beside the bed.


"Draco, she's here to help. You knew she was coming. She only needs to look at your wings for now – she and Neville are working on a potion to reverse some of what's been done to you so that you'll be able to retract them."


Draco opened his mouth to yell but paused. "Really?" he said suspiciously.


"Really." Harry sat on the edge of the bed. "Roll over." He tensed in surprise when Draco did so and laid his head in Harry's lap.


"Thank you, Draco!" Luna said in her musical voice. She reached out and placed a hand on Draco's feathered wing, and Draco groaned in pain. "I'm sorry. I know that hurts."


"It's okay," Harry said softly, stroking Draco's hair. "I didn't know your wings were injured."


"They look fine, actually. Tired and tender from being extended for so very long, but otherwise intact. His pain is due to me not being his mate. Whatever drugs he was on would have dulled that pain before, but they're beginning to leave his system." Luna took Harry's hand and moved it from Draco's head to his wing and placed it lightly on the downy surface. "There, darling, all better."


"But –" Harry began.


"Does this hurt?" Luna traced the split in Draco's flesh where the wing originated.


"A little. It used to hurt all the time, but it's mostly just an ache now."


"Good. Like this, Harry." Luna snagged Harry's wrist and guided it down, making his palm slide across the feathers.


Harry furrowed his brow and continued to pet Draco's wing, listening to the contented noises the blond was making. "I don't understand why I can touch it and you can't."


Luna frowned in confusion. "I already told you, because I'm not his mate and you –"


"Luna!" Neville broke in. "Perhaps we should step outside for a moment."


"All right." Luna shrugged. "I've seen what I need to for now anyway. I'll get started on the potion as soon as Nev's results are back."


"Thanks," Draco muttered.


Harry watched his friends leave. "Draco, what's going on?"


"I'm sorry I didn’t tell you before. I didn't know until last night, and it was so startling to me..." Draco sat up slowly.


"Tell me what?" Harry's gut churned, and he suspected he already knew but he needed Draco to say it.


"That you're my mate."


"I…" Harry covered his eyes. "I'm your mate?"


"It's how I recognized you. I never felt it before, not like that, but I knew as soon as you were near me. The disguise didn't matter because I would still know you anywhere."


"But the drugs…"


"The drugs took away my ability to see you when I should have. They allow me to live without you and fuck anyone without wanting to die. Well, for that reason, anyway." Draco laughed humorlessly. "But they don't take away my ability to know you, to feel you. It's why I needed you to touch me when you found me there. Some part of me is still pleading to bond with you."


"So had I… had I had sex with you…"


"We'd have initiated our bond. I… I should have told you then, so that you'd know."


"You said I could fuck you." Harry stood quickly. "You would have let me, and you wouldn't have told me I'd just entered a bond. How could you? Oh, wait, I suppose dishonesty isn't exactly new to you."


"I've said I'm sorry. What more do you want?"


"What do I want? Oh, I don’t know, Draco! How about the last three years of my life back? How about… fuck!" Harry yanked the door open and slammed it behind him after storming out.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Harry?" Luna placed a hand on Harry's shoulder.


He was sitting on a large rock outside, head in his hands, and trying to make sense of everything that was happening. It wasn’t working. "He lied to me, Luna."


"Maybe just a little," Luna agreed, settling on the grass at his feet. "We all lie a bit, though. It's the wrackspurts – too many of them in your head whispering contradictory thoughts can make you forget what's true."


Harry exhaled sharply. "That's great, but he was going to make me bond with him."


"It's in his nature to offer, Harry, and it wouldn't have harmed you. Until you complete the bond with your wedding ceremony, the initial bonding is more of… an engagement, of sorts. You'd feel more in tune to his thoughts and emotions, but it wouldn't trap you or make you love him. That's up to you, and you could easily walk away at any time until the bond is complete."


"But…"


"I'll imagine that he requested your touch last night, did he not?"


Harry flushed, remembering the blow job he'd given Draco. "Yes."


"He'd seen you for the first time since he came into his Veela inheritance. For that matter, it was the first time since he even knew he was a Veela. His needs may have been muffled by the drug, but they still exist. He had you with him at last – he needed your touch, and he'd have wanted to bond with you. It sounds as though he didn't try very hard."


"Well, no… he just offered. More than once."


"And you said no."


"Yes. I didn't want to, not there… I felt dirty. He thought I had paid like all the others. I couldn't tell him about the bust yet."


"He knows now, though?"


"Yes."


"Harry, if you'd slept with him and then left him, it would have broken his heart. He'd be able to live, unlike how it would have been for him without the drugs, but he'd have been miserable and in pain. He took the chance and offered himself anyway because it's in his nature to please you, and his soul still cries out for you. Had you initiated the bond, he would be the only one with the true potential to be hurt by it."


Harry swallowed hard. "Fuck, Luna… do you know how it felt? Seeing him hanging there like that? I haven't seen him since… well, it's been so long, and…"


"I know. Nev said his father kidnapped him."


"Yeah."


"So he didn't leave like you thought."


"No, but what about the letter?"


"Perhaps he was forced. Or it was a forgery. Wrackspurts can cause a lot of problems, you know."


"So can arsehole fathers," Harry mumbled.


"He's likely not going to recover fully. I'm hoping we can make his wings retract and function properly, and Nev's confident we can get him through the upcoming days… but he's changed. His instincts are off and he'll never be able to fix that."


"So what are you saying?"


Luna shrugged. "I'm saying he's been through a lot, and I don't know precisely what he'll need from you. But you're still his mate, and he does need you."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I've hurt my mate.


I didn't mean to, truly. He's given me all I have now – a chance, hope, comfort… all the things I never thought I'd find again. I did offer myself to him, yes, but he doesn't understand that I was offering more than just a quick fuck.


For him, it would have been the best fuck of his life. I'd have seen to that, to provide incentive for him to return to me. I thought he was just another patron, after all. I had no idea that he was undercover, but I should have – Harry Potter just wouldn't behave like the others.


For me, though, it would have been everything. It would have made my heart swell and beat a tattoo to his name. It would have made my soul cry out and my very spirit cling to him for survival. It would have been what I was born for – to bond with my mate.


It would have been the beginning of a new existence of misery.


I see how he looks at me without the Glamours. I'm nothing but a fallen angel to him, imperfect in every way when once he'd begun to see me as infallible. Once, he'd believed in me and couldn't get enough of me. Once…


It was another lifetime, though, and last night… I was willing to make love to him even knowing it would begin my spiral into unending pain when he left me. Despite all that, I was willing.


I still am.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Harry checked on Draco before he left, and he felt terrible about the tear tracks he could see drying on his pale, sleeping face. He knew they needed to talk, and even more, he needed to think. First, though, he needed to attend to his job.


"Didn't think you'd be in today!" Robbins greeted him with a tired smile. "What a bloody terrible night."


"I need a leave of absence," Harry said bluntly.


Robbins frowned. "Close the door."


Harry did, and took a seat. "I'll still work on the case if you need me to, but from home. I need time."


"Time with Malfoy."


"Yes."


"I see." Robbins narrowed his eyes and leaned back in his chair. "You didn't even take time off when Ron died, Harry. Three days and you were back to work."


"This is different," Harry replied, clenching his jaw at the mention of his best friend. "I needed something to focus on without him. Now, I need to focus on Draco and his recovery. I expect the search for Lucius Malfoy is in full effect?"


"It is, and the other names your Malfoy gave us last night. As far as we know there are only two others we didn't get at the club."


"Let me know if I can help with that. And when he's found, I want to see him myself."


"I'll keep that in mind. If it makes you feel any better, I'm heading that investigation personally."


"It does. It's the only reason I feel comfortable leaving right now." Harry grinned.


"I was hoping you'd be able to follow up with the Veela we rescued and their families, at least initially."


"I still can. Today even, or tomorrow. But after that…"


"You've done enough, Harry. Owl me your reports when you have them, and keep in touch while you're gone, yeah?"


Harry swallowed around a lump he didn't know had appeared in his throat. "Thanks, Jack."


"You're welcome, son."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Good news, Harry." Neville met him at the door when he returned home.


"What's that? Where's Luna?"


"With Draco. He's still asleep, and she’ll let us know if he wakes before we return. I got the results of the drugs Malfoy used on Draco. Although he delivered them with Muggle methods, he used a variety of Wizarding drugs that seem to have been altered to suit his purposes."


"And this is good?"


"Yes, because while the immediate withdrawal will be painful, he won't have the same problems Muggle addicts face. The real issue is going to be the fight between his human and Veela instincts as he begins to stabilize, but the substances aren't the same as Muggle drugs. Basically, once he purges them from his system he'll be all right. There's the chance of some lingering mood swings and depression, but we can use a non-addictive mood stimulant for that. It's good news." Neville beamed.


"That's great news. He's still going to have a difficult few days, though, isn't he?"


"Yes, and there's no way around it. I do have some potions that will help manage the symptoms, and Luna told you she thinks we can help with the wings, right?"


"Yes, she did. Thanks, Nev."


"Are you going up?"


"Yeah, but first I need to think about some things, if that's all right."


Neville smiled sympathetically and patted him on the arm. "It's fine. Listen, Harry, I know Luna talked to you already, and I'm not so good with words, but you loved him then and I think you still do. He's here. Don't let him slip away."


"Right." Harry scuffed the toe of his shoe on the floor. "I'm concerned about Lucius. The sooner he's caught, the better off we'll be."


"You should ask your team to look into potion suppliers. I'll give you a list of ingredients used in the drugs he gave Draco – they aren't common at all, so it'd be a red flag of sorts. I spoke with the Healers who are working with the other Veela at St. Mungo's, and they all had the same results, so he had to be buying in mass quantities. I doubt he went anywhere reputable, but…"


"All the same. Thanks. It would be helpful if we had someone who could research the ingredients for us, maybe pinpoint where they grow…" I wish we had Hermione. Give the girl a book and she can tell you anything.


"You could call her, you know."


"What?"


"Hermione. You could call her. I know you were thinking of her."


"Thanks, Nev, but no."


"She misses you. I saw her recently and she was asking after you. Of course, I hadn't seen much of you either, until you needed me." He raised an eyebrow and Harry reddened.


"I'm sorry, Nev, and I appreciate you taking the time off to help me with Draco. I just… it's so new."


"I understand. It's not your fault."


"Everyone says that, but –"


"Because it's true. You couldn't have known the man had a Muggle weapon, Harry. It was Ron's nature to jump in front of anything for you. He died in a way he would have been proud to. I know it, his family knows it, and Hermione knows it."


"I made her a widow, Neville," Harry choked. "A widow without a name, because he died two weeks before their wedding. They hadn’t even moved in together yet. She has every right to hate me."


"Few people have any right to hate anyone." Luna said as she drifted into the room. "And she doesn't hate you. None of us do. Nev, he's still asleep, but I'd like to check on the shoehornet pups if you wouldn't mind keeping watch." She kissed Harry on the cheek. "Forgive yourself, won't you? It's the only way Ron's death can truly be the selfless sacrifice it was."


Harry watched her leave, mouth hanging open. "I…"


Neville smiled fondly after his wife. "She's an incredible woman. And she's right. Go on, do your thinking, and I'll see you in a bit."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Harry took the old wooden box that had belonged to Sirius from his pocket and reversed the Shrinking Charm before setting it down on his bed. He'd stopped to pick it up from his flat on the way back from the Ministry.


Inside, he sorted through old photos of Ron and Hermione and random bits of things he'd saved until he reached the bottom. He pulled out the letter and opened it, smoothing out the time-sharpened creases.


Harry,


I'm leaving. You were foolish to believe this would work, and I can't stand another day of pretending. You saved my life, and I've tried to pay you back ever since, but the affection you believe I feel for you is simply that – payback. You needed a warm body to curl up against at night, and I needed someone to ensure my safety. It's done, the Dark Lord is gone, and I want to return to my life as it should be – without you in it.


Please don't embarrass yourself by following me. The outcome will never change.


Draco



A tear slipped from Harry's cheek onto the worn parchment as he read it, his heart still as raw as it had been the first time. He remembered feeling shocked and furious and miserable all at once, and though it had lessened over time, he'd never really gotten over the first and only man he'd ever loved.


He clutched the letter and closed his eyes, allowing his mind to drift back to the day that had started it all.


"I can't…it won't work… and unless I do it soon… he says he'll kill me…"


Harry stared at Malfoy, who was hunched over the sink in the girls' loo while Moaning Myrtle crooned reassurances to him. He was crying – Draco Malfoy was crying.


He must have made a sound because Draco spun around with his wand raised. "Potter!" he spat.


"Malfoy, what have you done?" Harry asked. "You've nearly killed two people, and now… what are you up to?"


"Fuck you, Potter!" Malfoy cried, flinging a hex in Harry's direction.


Harry stumbled out of the way. "I can help you, Malfoy!" he shouted. "You're clearly in over your head." He didn't know what prompted him to offer, but he suspected it was the utter misery he saw on his rival's face and the fact that they now had something rather unfortunate in common.


"Help?" Draco choked out a laugh. "I don't need your help." He flung another hex and Harry cast a quick

Protego.


"Just listen to me. I have a place you can go. We can keep you safe."


"No one can help me!" Draco's wand hand trembled. "No one fucking cares."


"I care."


"Why?" Draco growled. "Why the fuck would you care about me?"



Why, indeed? Harry wondered. "I don't know. I just… no one should feel as though they have to follow someone that evil in order to survive."


"No? But if I join up with you and Dumbledore, you'll want me to be your puppet. It's no different."


"Isn't it?" Harry crept closer and Draco backed up against the wall. "He killed my parents, Draco. He killed your mother."


"Don't talk about her," Draco said hoarsely. "How do you know? I only just found out this morning."


"I know. It doesn't matter how. You'll never have to fear us, Draco – we can help you."


Draco slid down the wall to the floor. "I'm so tired."


"I know. Won't you let me help?" Harry held out a hand, and after a moment, Draco took it.



Harry blinked back tears as he remembered how helpless and lost Draco had looked as he cowered near the sinks. When Dumbledore had informed him that Narcissa Malfoy had been killed, Harry felt sympathy and a sort of kinship with his old enemy, and he found he no longer wanted to hate him with their old intensity.


He'd taken Draco to Dumbledore and together they'd moved Draco into Grimmauld Place, where he was meant to stay hidden while Harry returned to school. Plans changed when Death Eaters invaded Hogwarts only a day later – it seemed that the cabinet Draco had been repairing was functional enough to work, and the school was taken over before anyone could stop it from happening. Dumbledore was killed as he tried to evacuate as many students as possible, but thanks to the Order's quick response, no one else was.


Ron, Harry, Hermione, and several Order members moved into Grimmauld, leaving space tight and roommates mandatory. Harry headed off the squabbling by allowing Draco to move into his room. It was, surprisingly, the beginning of a tentative friendship, and then more.


"Potter?"


"Yeah?" The room was dark and they were meant to be asleep, but neither of them could.


"Does everyone still hate me?"


Harry sighed. Some of their housemates blamed Draco for Dumbledore's death, since his hand in repairing the cabinet had ultimately caused the loss of the man. Still, things were improving. "No, not everyone, and most of them are a lot calmer now that you've helped us find the Horcruxes so quickly. I'm going after Voldemort in a matter of days, and it could have taken far longer without you."


"Oh." Draco was quiet. "Do you still hate me?"


"Of course not."


"Are you dating Weasel's sister?"


"Huh?" Harry was baffled at the abrupt change in topic. "Not anymore, why?"


"Why not?"


"Er… well, I thought it was safer for her to stay behind. But now that she's here…I've sort of realized that I love her more as a sister than anything else."


"Oh," Draco said again. "I'm not dating anyone either."


"Oh," Harry echoed, unsure how to respond. Was Draco looking to date Ginny? Harry felt a stab of jealousy, but not at the thought of Ginny seeing someone else.


Draco shifted in his bed, and Harry could hear the rustling of sheets. "I don't really prefer to date girls, though."


"Oh, um, no?" Harry's mouth felt dry.


"No. It's warm in here." More rustling came from Draco's bed, and then the sound of cloth hitting the floor.


"Yeah," Harry mumbled. The air felt stifling around him and he wondered what article of clothing Draco had removed.


"What about you?" Draco asked casually. "Do you only date girls, or have you ever been with a boy before?"


"I've, um, only dated girls," Harry replied.


"Oh." Draco sounded disappointed.


Harry hurried to continue. "I've thought about dating boys, though… a lot."


"Really? And what do you think about?"


"Just, um… you know. How it would feel…"


"To kiss a bloke? To touch him?"


"Yeah, that. All of that." Harry's cock was standing at attention and he wished the room wasn't so bloody dark so that he could see Draco.


"So you haven't ever touched another guy's penis before? In the dorms or anything?"


"No!" Harry exclaimed, horrified. He tried to imagine touching Ron or Neville or Seamus, and shuddered. He just didn't think of them that way. Not the way he thought about Draco. "Have you?"


"Yeah, once or twice. Just a bit of mutual wanking and snogging."


Jealousy flared through Harry's chest again, this time with far more intensity. "Is it, um, nice?"


"I could tell you about it, or…" Draco shifted again. "Perhaps I could show you?"


"Y-yeah, okay," Harry stammered. He barely had time to slide over before Draco was lifting the covers and lying down beside him.


"Hi," Draco whispered, leaning close to Harry. His breath was minty and warm.


"Hi," Harry croaked, his heart pounding loudly.


"Well, come here." Draco cupped Harry's cheek with his hand and pulled him close, and when their lips met Harry felt a shock pass between them that he'd never felt while kissing Ginny or Cho. He and Draco gasped collectively, then grasped at each other and melded their mouths together hotly.


Draco was only wearing boxers, and his cock was hard and protruding from the slit in the shorts. It brushed against Harry's leg and Harry moaned into Draco's open mouth.


"Take off your pajamas," Draco breathed, breaking away for a moment. "Let me touch you."


Harry complied, and had to bite his lip hard to keep from crying out when Draco's long fingers wrapped around his erection. He reached for Draco's cock and the perfection of it made him shudder. He'd never felt so alive, so whole. He'd had exactly one hand job in his life, and it had made him wonder how sex would be with Ginny now that she'd touched his naked prick. This, with Draco… it made him wonder how anything could possibly be any better than simply having his hand on Draco's.


They came together, all over their pajama tops and hands, and then they slept curled up together. Harry left the next morning at Kingsley's command, and the battle was fought while Draco stayed behind at Harry's insistence. He didn’t tell anyone about his night with Draco, but when the battle was over and he returned home, he wrapped Draco in his arms and kissed him in full view of all his friends.



Surprisingly little had been said about their new relationship. Hell, Harry hadn't been sure they had one – exchanging hand jobs, admittedly mind-blowing ones, was a far cry from a romance. But when he returned to Grimmauld at last and saw Draco's pale, worried face, he knew he wanted no other. His friends remained respectfully supportive, having come to like or at least accept Draco's presence.


They did everything but have intercourse in the weeks they were together. Draco stayed with Harry even after everyone else moved out, and it was unspoken that he would remain in Harry's room in the larger bed they'd created out of the two smaller ones. They experimented with wanking and sucking and fingering and licking, but Harry was nervous to take the final step and Draco didn't press.


Harry intended to give himself to Draco on the night of his lover's birthday. He sighed as he remembered how he'd spent the day before shopping for gifts and new clothing to wear. He planned to cook dinner for Draco and then make love to him all night. He'd fallen hard for his once rival, and he couldn't wait to tell him. Then he'd returned home and found the letter, and his happiness had come crashing down around him.


Harry glanced at the letter again and slipped it into his pocket before heading for Draco's room. He was nearly there when the screaming began.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Pain… it's everywhere. It grips me with hot and cold fingers all at once, setting my skin aflame while my insides freeze like blocks of ice. My nerves are screaming and my throat is raw from doing the same.


I need him, and he's not here. He's not here because I pushed him away.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Harry ran into the room and saw Neville calmly watching Draco thrash on the bed. "What's going on?"


"It's started. Far more severely than I expected, but then I've never seen a Veela detox before. He woke up in pain. Try touching him, but be careful he doesn't hit you."


Harry nodded and moved toward Draco. He tried to avoid the flailing limbs and reached out to stroke a wing. Draco stilled slightly at the contact.


"Harry?" he croaked.


"I'm here. You're all right."


"Hurts, hurts so much," Draco groaned.


"Is there anything you can give him?" Harry asked desperately.


Neville nodded. "I have some pain potions that should help, but they won't take it away completely. You'll have to help him tough his way through this, Harry. Can you help him sit up so he can swallow?"


"Draco can you sit up for me? I know it hurts, but this will help." He helped Draco rise to a sitting position and swallow the potion. He settled against the headboard and cradled the shaking man against him.


This won't be too bad. I'll just stay with him and hold him until it gets better.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Fuck you, Potter, you bloody scar-faced bastard! Fuck you and your fucking Mudblood mother!" Draco screamed, beating at Harry with his fists.


Harry closed his eyes.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"I'm sorry, Harry," Draco sobbed. "Don't leave me here alone, please…"


"Neville's here, Draco. I'm just going to the loo, I'll be right back."


"You're leaving me! Everybody leaves me… why can't you just love me?" Draco was half hanging off the bed as he reached for Harry.


Harry sighed and went back to the bed, and allowed Draco to cling to him.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Harry watched Draco vomit for the fifth time into the pan at the side of the bed. Nothing but bile was coming up at that point, and Draco was hiccupping great heaving sobs in between bouts. He rubbed Draco's back, just beneath his wings, and tried to hold onto his own breakfast.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


After more than a week of rotating moods, explosive bodily functions of all varieties, and one particularly terrifying seizure, Draco began to calm and sleep more easily. Neville and Luna had prepared the potions to assist in retracting his wings, but Luna warned that it would be another painful process so they decided to wait until after the detox was over.


Harry rose from the bed and gazed down at the sleeping Veela. Draco didn't look much better than he had when he'd first arrived, but Neville assured him that things would improve significantly as he recovered from the addictions. Harry thanked Merlin that Lucius hadn't filled Draco with Muggle drugs that would have prolonged the process. Neville had told him that those addicts could take years to have any sort of full recovery, which made the success rate quite low.


Because of the time he needed to spend with Draco, Harry hadn't yet spoken with any of the other Veela. He suspected they were in similar states so it was probably just as well. He left a quietly resting Draco with Neville one afternoon and made the trip to St. Mungo's.


"They're all doing well, all things considered," Healer Williams told him. She had been placed in charge of the creatures. "Their families are glad to have them back… those that still have family, anyway. Several of them lost their loved ones in the war and have no one now – they are probably the ones who were never even reported missing. Some of them lost their mates, which prompted them to leave their families and go off alone to die. Someone found them and offered them the chance to ease the pain, and the rest is history."


Harry shook his head sadly. "It's so awful for all of them."


"It is indeed. Come on, you can talk to a few of them. They're not all up to it just yet."


"That's fine." Harry followed her into the ward and observed the rows of beds where the Veela were resting, some more peacefully than others.


"Hello, Mr. Potter." One of the female Veela closest to him sat up.


"Oh, hello." Harry was vaguely surprised. He walked over to her bedside.


"I am Allegra. You're wondering how I know you, of course. We all do. You're Harry Potter, after all, but now you've saved us, too. Again."


Harry sat on the chair at her bedside. "And how are you feeling?"


"Terrible," she replied with a smile. Her face was as gaunt as Draco's, but her eyes sparkled a bit. "But it's an improvement, I'll tell you. Thank you for what you did."


"You're welcome."


"Where's your Veela?"


"Pardon?"


"You're a mate. I can tell. Not mine, regrettably," she teased with a flirty smile. "But mine is out there, still. I feel him occasionally, so I think he must work here or at least visit someone often. I'm too tired to go to him, but soon… I only wish he'd been here to aid in my sickness – I think it would have helped. Your Veela – is he or she one of us? The captured?"


"Yes, he was. He's not here, though."


"No, I'd imagine not – otherwise I'd have one of them clawing my eyes out for talking to you." She gestured to the rest of the patients. "We don't really know each other, not yet. Your Veela is lucky to have you near him. Some of them…" Her eyes took on a sorrowful shine. "Their mates are gone, and because of the drugs they aren't able to die. I suspect they will kill themselves when they leave here."


"Surely they can find someone else?" Harry asked, horrified.


"It is not our way," Allegra said simply. "We mate for life, only once. We want for no other. When my beloved leaves the world, I am meant to follow – unless we have children. Then I am meant to remain with them and care for them until they are of age, at which time I will go to my beloved. The men who did this to us have taken away our right to live and die as we are meant to. I don't expect you to understand."


"I do, I think." Harry thought about the note in his pocket, which he'd taken to carrying with him everywhere. "I loved someone once, for a very short and fleeting time, but he's never left my mind or my heart. I don't think I could love anyone the same way."


Allegra looked at him in alarm. "And does your Veela know this?"


Harry laughed. "It is my Veela. Before he came into his inheritance, we were lovers. He didn't know what he was, because it was kept from him. We were going to… well, bond, though we didn't know it as such, on his seventeenth birthday, but he was taken from me by the man who did this to all of you. I never saw him again until all of this came about."


"Oh!" Tears welled in Allegra's eyes. "That's awful. Tell me, is your Veela with child yet?"


"What? No, he's male!"


"Silly man." Allegra chuckled. "But of course he will carry your children. You must wait until he's in better health, then, but he'll be thrilled. It will help to ease the pain he's endured. We just all want to get back to normal." She sighed wistfully. "I miss my friends and my home and I feel so empty without my mate. I want to know him. I want to go outside again – I miss the outside. I have a garden at home."


"I'll bet it's lovely." Harry couldn't stop thinking about what she'd said. Draco can have children.


"It is. Full of lilies and daffodils…" She smiled dreamily, reminding Harry forcefully of Luna.


"You'll need to wait outside, sir." A door slammed.


Harry and Allegra turned to see who had spoken. A mediwitch was hurrying after a tall man who had just stormed into the room.


"My son has been brought here, and I demand to see him!" The man's eyes trailed quickly over the beds before settling on Harry and widening slightly.


"You…" Harry breathed. The hair was different, but the features were the same. He stood and pulled his wand.


"Excuse me," Lucius Malfoy said haughtily. "I'll thank you to put your wand away." He began to back away nervously. "My son isn't here. I was mistaken."


"You're right, you bastard, he's not. Stupefy! Incarcerous!" he shouted. The first missed but the second hit, and Lucius fell to the ground in a bundle of struggling limbs. He ended the charm that partially masked the man's identity.


The Glamour faded, and Lucius returned to his natural form. "You'll be sorry, Potter," Lucius spat.


"Oh, I will indeed – for years I'll be sorry I didn't kill you here today." Harry sent off his Patronus with a message to Robbins. "But I'm not going to, because death is too good for you, you sick son of a bitch." He pressed the tip of his wand against the man's Adam's apple and straddled him. "You're going to rot in Azkaban like you should be doing already."


"Sad I took ickle Draco from you a few years back?" Lucius wheezed. "You should have seen how your precious little lover looked while under my Imperius. He wrote that letter to you so perfectly, and then he sucked my cock."


"Fuck you!" Harry shouted, tossing down his wand and punching Lucius square in the face.


Lucius grinned up at him madly, blood gushing from his broken nose. "It'll never be over. He'll never be safe. I'll be back for him, Potter, so enjoy that tight little arse as long as you can. So many other men have, after all."


Robbins burst into the room, pushing past the mediwitches who were cowering in the doorway, and it took the assistance of two other Aurors to pull Harry's hands away from their position around Lucius' throat.


"Take him away!" Robbins shouted to the others, holding a madly fighting Harry against the wall. "Potter! Calm the hell down. You're scaring them."


Breathing heavily, Harry looked over to see that several of the Veela were indeed upset. Allegra simply watched him with a small smile. "Sorry, sir."


"You got him, Harry," Robbins told him quietly. "You got him. We captured the other two yesterday – it's over."


"I know. I have to go, I…"


"Go. Be careful."


"He's a lucky man, Harry Potter," Allegra called after him. He turned and saluted her before Disapparating.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"You're back." Draco blinked up at Harry. "I woke up and you were gone."


"I got him, Draco," Harry said. "I got him."


"Who?"


"Your father."


Draco sat up. "He's gone? He's really gone?"


"I got him. He's going to prison."


"Oh…" Draco wrapped his arms around himself. "He…"


"I know." Harry gently pulled Draco's arms free. "You don't have to worry about him now." He ran a hand over Draco's hair. "You're mine."


Draco's eyes blazed with heat at Harry's words, and in a moment their mouths were crashing together for the first time since the night the he was rescued. Neither man noticed when Neville quietly left the room.


"Please make love to me, Harry," Draco begged. "I can't stand waiting anymore."


"I don't want to hurt you while you're still healing. And I don't want to get you pregnant." Harry touched Draco's lips with his finger. "I didn't even know it was possible until today."


"I don't mind, you know," Draco said softly. "I want your children."


"No, Draco. You're my responsibility. I'm obligated to -"


"I don't want to be your responsibility." Draco drew back and frowned. "I want to be your lover, your partner. I don't want to trap you – no one deserves to be held, and no one deserves to be kept only under some sense of obligation. No!" He yanked his hand away when Harry reached for it. "I'll just… I'll leave if that's the way you feel."


"You don't have anywhere to go!" Harry said, panicked.


"I'll find someplace."


"Draco, stop. Please. Just listen… I want you, I do. You're just not healthy right now, and…"


"Please leave. I need to think, and then I'll go. Just… leave."


"Draco, no!" Harry tried to reach for him again and received an elbow to the stomach. "Ouch! Look, I'm pants at explaining things. You need me. I –"


"I don't need you. My father's drugs saw to that. You can go on and find someone else, and it won't kill me. So you should… you should do that." Draco blinked back tears.


"But…" Harry remembered Allegra's words. "It's your nature. You need me, and you can't be with anyone else."


"I most certainly can. I have been, haven't I?"


"But you're not on the drugs anymore!"


"The damage is already done. And if it comes to it, I'll find more."


"Oh, no, you won't! Not after all we've been through."


"We? Oh, I'm sorry, were you the one in pain?"


"Seeing you go through that? Yeah, I was!" Harry retorted. "You're just as fucking selfish as you always were."


Draco's face crumbled, but his voice was even. "Get out. Now."


Harry shook his head and left the room, wondering how everything had gone so horribly wrong.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I didn't lie to my mate.


Because of the potions and spells my father used to change me, the need to be with my mate that was once as important to my survival as oxygen became diminished. Without him, I will not die as I would have before. It is both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you view it.


For those activists who say it is unnatural for any human or creature to need another to that degree, it is a blessing. I can choose other partners, I can live without him and even survive should he die before me… these are good things, are they not?


I've never been an altruistic person, but I do know how to love. Because of that love, I refuse to trap Harry, though I could, and force him to live his life with me. He called me selfish, and all my life that's been true. Perhaps it is a bit, even now, because I can't bear the thought of looking at Harry and knowing he's with me only because he feels he has to be.


No, I will not die without him, but I won't want to live, either. My heart will break even as it continues to beat without him, and every breath I take will be a cruel reminder that I'll never feel his upon me again.


I think I would hate my father if I had any emotional energy left unspent.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"His emotions are all over the place, Harry." Neville handed him a cup of tea. "He can't help that."


"I know, but…" He shook his head. "I just wanted to be with him. I want to tell him that I love him, that I loved him then, too… and I messed it up."


"He feels like you've rejected him." Luna patted Harry's hand. "I know it wasn't your intention, but try to imagine how he's feeling. He's been beaten and abused in so many ways, and he's feeling unattractive and pitiful, I'd guess. It has to be hard for anyone, but for someone as vain as Draco it must be torturous."


"He's not…" Harry began, then chuckled weakly. "Okay, yeah, he is. But I do want him! You never told me Draco could get pregnant, Luna," Harry accused.


"Oh, forgive me… I'm had so many things on my mind," Luna said glancing pointedly up the stairs.


"Sorry," Harry mumbled.


"Wait it out," Neville advised. "Let him deal with this for a bit before you go charging back in, and then try telling him how you feel."


"And leave out words like 'responsibility' and 'obligation.' No one wants to feel like a burden. You should know." Luna smiled, and Harry nodded. From anyone else it might have seemed an insult, but from Luna it was simply an insight.


"I didn't get the chance to tell you when you first came back, but you got a letter while you were gone." Neville handed Harry a roll of parchment.


Harry skimmed it and sighed. "I need to go to the Ministry and provide my statement for Lucius Malfoy's arrest, and then Kingsley wants to see me." He stood. "Keep an eye on him, will you? Hopefully he'll be ready to let me apologize when I get back."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Excellent work, Harry." Kingsley clapped him on the back and motioned for Harry to follow him into his office. "I'm sorry I didn't get to speak with you about this whole matter sooner, but it's been a bit chaotic. I wasn't even aware there was an investigation of this magnitude going on until the morning after your bust. You've really outdone yourself."


"Thank you, sir."


"Sir." Kingsley waved his hand. "I hardly think you need to address me so formally after all we've been through together, my boy."


Harry grinned. "Sorry."


"Not a problem. Anyway, Robbins told me you captured Lucius Malfoy today. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you myself since you were coming down already for your statement. You really should come over for dinner some evening, Harry. I don't get to see enough of the people I care about with all of this Minister business." He made a face, and Harry laughed.


"The business of rebuilding the wizarding world, you mean?" Harry teased. "Such trivialities."


"Indeed." Kingsley opened his date book. "This week, then. When can you come?"


"Well, I really can't…" Harry hesitated. "I have a friend staying at my house right now, and…"


"Oh, yes, Draco Malfoy. Jack mentioned that. Well, of course you can't get away, then – we'll have to make it another time." Kingsley looked disappointed.


"You could always come over to mine," Harry suggested. "It's a bit out of the way, but it'd be no problem."


"Sure, that would be lovely!" Kingsley beamed. "Leave your address for me. Tell me, will you be inviting Hermione to join us? I've been wondering how she's holding up. I see Arthur a fair bit, but you know he never says much. I know he's got his hands full helping Molly through her grief, not to mention his own."


Harry pushed the paper with his address scribbled on it toward Kingsley and set his jaw. "I haven't seen much of her since the… since Ron."


"Oh." Kinglsey smiled kindly at him. "I don't suppose it would do much good to tell you it wasn't your fault, because I know better than many how personally you take your losses. Just don't cut yourself off from those who matter most to you, all right? It's no good for anyone."


"I hear you." Harry looked at his hands. "I…"


"It's all right."


"Yeah." Harry swallowed. "It might be, soon. So, Thursday for dinner? Does that work for you?"


"That would be fine. Around six?"


"Sure. I'll see you then. If there's nothing else?" Harry stood.


"No, no. I just wanted to say hello and thank you for all you've done."


"It's just my job." And my love.


Harry walked out of the Ministry shortly after, lost in thought. Wizards and witches streamed past him as he approached the sidewalk, and with a glance upward he saw the sun beginning to dip slightly in the sky. The workday was over for many.


Don't cut yourself off from those who matter most to you. It's no good for anyone.


Kingsley's words rang in his ears. He'd been told the same by so many, and he'd never really listened. He knew better, didn't he? He knew Hermione and the Weasleys had to hate him, had to wish the bullet had pierced Harry's heart instead of Ron's. Except… if he believed that, perhaps he'd never really known them at all.


He felt he'd let them all down, but fault or not, he continued to let them down by staying away. They were the only family he'd ever really known besides his godfather.


Forgive yourself, won't you? It's the only way Ron's death can truly be the selfless sacrifice it was.


Luna really was quite intelligent. Harry sighed and changed his path. Words failed him as he tried to decide what to say, and in the end he decided to just fumble for the right thing to say when he arrived. She'd know if he was too rehearsed, anyway, since he'd always had trouble stringing together a coherent sentence when discussing anything more complex than Quidditch.


It was with a heavy heart and a nervous hand that he knocked on her door, and when the door swung open moments later he took a deep breath. "Hello, Hermione."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Something smells good." Harry closed the door and hung his jacket on its wooden peg.


"I took the liberty of preparing dinner for you and Draco. I think Nev and I will leave and give you two some space to work out your issues." Luna turned away from the stove holding a tray with two steaming bowls of stew and a plate of fresh bread. "I'd like to come back in the morning and begin Draco's treatment for his wings."


"Oh, okay. Poor Draco." Harry shook his head. The man had already been through so much pain.


"He'll be glad for it when the first couple of days pass. His wings aren't meant to stay out for so long."


"Yeah, I know. Is Neville upstairs, then?"


"Yes. Talking with Draco, if you'd believe it. He's not so bad, your man, is he?"


"No," Harry agreed softy. "He's not bad at all."


"Well, go on up and send him down. I need to check on the litter. I'll see you first thing in the morning. And I'm glad, Harry."


"Glad about what?"


"Whatever it is that's made your heart lighter. I can feel it – a heaviness has lifted, and you needed that."


Harry shook his head in amazement. "You're possibly the most perceptive person I've ever met, Luna."


"Oh, I'm not so much. I just pay closer attention than most. And people tend to be a bit more of themselves around me, thinking I'm too daft to know what's happening."


"I don't think you're daft!" Harry exclaimed.


"Of course not. You're also perceptive. At times. Occasionally."


"Right. Well, thanks for dinner. I'll see you tomorrow." Harry took the tray and headed up to see Draco.


"Harry!" Neville smiled at him when he entered the room.


Harry hovered uncertainly in the doorway, eyes on Draco. "Hey, Nev. Luna's waiting for you downstairs. I guess we'll see you guys in the morning."


"All right. Have a good night, both of you." Neville stood and waited for Harry to move from the doorway so that he could leave.


Harry stepped aside for Neville and continued to watch Draco, who was leaning against the headboard of the bed quietly. He wore a faded pair of cotton pajama bottoms and nothing else, and his color was a little better than it had been. "You're looking well."


"Thank you," Draco replied formally. "Is that our meal?"


"Huh? Oh." Harry glanced down at the tray. "Yeah, Luna made it."


"Smells good." Draco rose and settled himself in a wobbly wooden chair.


Harry set the tray on the table before him. "Sorry, the furniture here isn't the best, but…"


"I'm hardly in a position to complain, am I?"


"When has that ever stopped you?" Harry replied, and then squeezed his eyes shut with a mental groan. You're a moron.


When he opened them again, Draco was watching him with a small smile on his lips. "Point, Potter. I suppose I'll let that one slide, seeing as how you've saved my life and a few other small things like that. The usual Harry Potter savior-complex special."


"It really wasn't much," Harry replied. "I had some spare time, and there weren't any kittens stuck in trees just then, so what was I to do?"


"Naturally."


Harry grinned. "It's nice to finally be able to laugh at ourselves, isn't it?"


"Were we? I thought we were both laughing at you."


"Prat. Eat your dinner." Harry dug into his stew, and as they ate they stole frequent glances at each other. After a few silent minutes, he sighed. "I'm really sorry about earlier, Draco. I'm not very good with words, and you know, emotions and all."


"It's all right. Longbottom told me that you were upset when you left, so I agreed to let you explain. Besides, there might be the slightest chance that I overreacted. Maybe." The corners of Draco's mouth curved up.


"Maybe," Harry echoed. "I didn’t mean to give you the impression that I only think of you as an obligation. I don't. It's just… I feel that with everything you've been through that I need - we need - to concentrate on your recovery before adding anything else to the mix."


"Can I ask you something?" Draco's voice was soft. "Do you… I mean, I meant what I said about not wanting to be just your responsibility. Are you sure that you truly want a relationship with me? We haven't talked much about it, and… if it's just because of the Veela nonsense, I don't want to trap you. I won't. You have your life to lead, and I have my self-respect. Or what's left of it."


"Oh, Draco." Harry reached across the small table and took Draco's thin hand, grasped it. "Don't you remember how good we were together? We haven't really talked about that, either."


"How could I forget?" Draco smirked. "It was the best non-sex I ever had."


"Hey, we had sex!" Harry protested. "I mean, I'd consider the things we did to be sex. Of some sort."


"Yes, they were," Draco consoled.


"Well, anyway, I was wondering if you remember leaving." Harry bit his lip, unsure whether Draco would be willing to discuss it.


Draco's eyes dimmed a little. "Yes, I remember. Vaguely. It's funny, being under Imperius… I remember my father coming in and gloating about how he'd finally found me since the Fidelius Charm was broken. I remember him placing the spell on me, and then it was like I was seeing things through a fog. Of course, I had no idea then that I'd spend the next few years in a fog of a different sort."


"So you remember writing this?" Harry pulled the letter from his pocket and gave it to Draco. He watched as Draco's eyes moved over the words.


When he looked up again, his face was pinched with sorrow. "I don't remember exactly what I wrote, even after reading it. I do recall him making me write a letter to you and telling me what to say, and I hated it, but… fuck, I'm sorry, Harry. I didn't mean any of this. I lo – I really cared about you. I wouldn’t have left you like that."


"I know that now. It… it really destroyed me, Draco. I was so happy with you, and the war was finally over, and… I'd gone shopping for your birthday gifts, and when I came back you were gone. I never quite got over it."


"I'm sorry," Draco whispered. "I wish I'd been stronger. I wish I'd resisted him."


"I'm sorry that I didn't put the Fidelius Charm back up." Harry shook his head sadly. "I thought it was finally safe, and…"


"It's not your fault. He'd have found me another time if not then, while I was out or something. It was too important to him."


"I suppose. He, um, when I took him earlier, he mentioned that after you wrote the letter, he made you…" Harry shifted uncomfortably.


"Yes." Draco closed his eyes. "I remember that, too. Does that disgust you?"


"Yes," Harry replied simply. "But on his part, for making his son do that. Never anything you've done."


Draco looked away, his eyes moist. "Are you certain? I've done quite a bit. It's a lot to expect you to climb in bed with. If you're interested, anyway."


"I am, I've told you I am. Your past is your past. Not that you can't talk about it," he added. "Perhaps you should talk about it with someone. Me, if you like, but also someone who…" he trailed off.


"Someone who can help me make sense of it and get over it?" he finished, but his tone was mocking. "I've had quite enough of people knowing the humiliations I've suffered, but thanks all the same."


"It's not… all right, well, I'm still here if you do want to talk. Perhaps one of the other Veela, or Neville or Luna… just in case you want to," he said hastily, seeing Draco's mutinous expression.


"How about I say I'll keep it in mind and we move on?"


Harry nodded. "Fine. So long as you really mean that."


"I can't… talking about my problems has never been my strong suit. Although you've been the only person who can seem to get under my skin enough to make me do it, so I promise that if the urge strikes, I'll tell you. Fair enough?" Draco arched a brow.


"All right."


"So why do you still have that letter? I know I hurt you, Harry. Unintentionally, but still. Why would you keep that?"


"I guess…" Harry paused. "Well, it's not like we wrote each other love letters or anything. It was all I had that had your handwriting on it." He flushed and looked away. "And I guess I hoped you'd come back to me one day and tell me it was all a big mistake, and then we'd burn the damn thing together. I… I loved you, Draco. I was going to tell you on your birthday, and ask you to make love with me."


"Oh, Harry." Draco took Harry's hand in his again and squeezed it. "I loved you, too. I've never stopped."


"Not even when you found out you had a mate, but didn't know it was me?"


"Not even then. I dreamed of you, Harry. I imagined you'd rescue me from the dungeon. Then I started dreaming my mate would rescue me, too, but I couldn't see his face. I didn't know you were one and the same. I should have – it seems so obvious now. And if my mate was someone else, my feelings for you should have dimmed… I just assumed it was because the potions were mutating my instincts."


"I didn't know you needed to be rescued, or I'd have come to you. I swear it."


"I know. I'm not fond of needing to be saved, but you do it so damn well." Draco extended a hand. "Might I borrow your wand? Father broke mine."


"We'll get you another one soon," Harry promised, handing his to Draco.


"I can't wait." He closed his eyes briefly as he felt the magic thrum through him. "Your wand is quite friendly to me, though, and you certainly don't need it with all the wandless magic you can do."


"You can use it whenever you like, but you should still have your own."


"Good. Give me that." He gestured to the letter. He took it from Harry and tossed it into the small rubbish bin near the door. "I'm back, Harry, and it was all a monumental mistake. I'm not going anywhere again, if you're sure you genuinely want me here."


"I do. I swear it."


"Incendio." They watched, hands entwined, as the parchment that had absorbed countless tears curled beneath the flames and turned to ash.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Why don't your friends come to visit?"


They had moved to the bed after dinner, and Harry was lying curled up beside Draco. He'd taken his shirt off so that he could enjoy the sensation of his Veela's downy wing beneath him, and Draco was absently tracing patterns on Harry's abdomen with his fingertips.


Harry shifted slightly. "They do. You've seen them every day."


"Not the Lovebottoms." Draco had taken to using his own combination of their names to refer to Neville and Luna together, and tended to snicker like a ten-year-old whenever he said the made-up name. "Granger and Weasley. Or is it Weasley and Weasley by now?"


"No. I… Ron's dead."


"What?"


"We were partners. A man we were chasing had a gun – a Muggle weapon – and he fired at me, but Ron pushed me out of the way, and…" Harry swallowed. "Anyway, I don't see much of Hermione anymore."


"Ah, the Harry Potter misplaced guilt. Your other specialty. How does she feel about being abandoned by you?"


"That's an arsehole thing to say," Harry told him, hurt. "How do you know she's not avoiding me?"


"Because Granger is an intelligent woman, unfortunate lineage or not, who knew her Weasel well enough to understand that he'd jump in front of the Hogwarts Express for you. Everyone knows that, Harry. He made his choice, and he was able to die a hero. Most of us can't say the same in the end."


"Everyone keeps telling me that," Harry mumbled.


"Perhaps you should start listening, then."


"I have," Harry said defensively. "I went to see her today, just before I came home. She'll forgive me for staying away, I think, but she looks so bloody awful."


"She loved him."


"Yes." He paused. "No pithy comments about not understanding why?"


"No. He wasn't my type, personally, but he did have a few redeeming qualities. I can admit that because he saved your life, and I suppose I'll have to be eternally grateful to him for that."


Harry smiled at him. "Thanks."


Draco stroked his cheek. "Kiss me?"


"Of course." Harry lifted his face so his mouth could join with Draco's, and they both moaned at the contact. He rolled them so that they were on their sides and tangled his fingers in Draco's hair.


"Want you," Draco mumbled against Harry's lips. "Are you planning to bond with me anytime this century?"


"I want you too." Harry nipped at Draco's jaw and ran a hand over the thin cloth covering Draco's arse. "So much. And yes, when you're more healed. We're going to start working on those wings tomorrow."


"Yeah, yeah, I know," Draco groaned. "More pain. And more waiting to be with you fully."


"Soon," Harry promised. "Look at you, you're all but falling asleep and we haven't done anything yet. You've accomplished so much, but you still have a long road ahead."


Draco yawned. "Fine. I'm too tired to argue with you. Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?"


"Yes."


"Love you," Draco sighed, his eyelids fluttering shut.


"I love you, too." Harry kissed Draco's cheek and watched him drift away. He meant to retreat to his own bed when Draco was asleep, but he found the sensations of Draco's warm flesh and soft feathers against his skin far too comforting to leave, and soon fell asleep as well.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


The dreams I used to have were lovely and lonely, haunting and comforting. They showed me that my mate existed, that he wasn't too far away and that I might be able to find him one day. At the same time, his face was blurred and his identity hidden, so I didn't know who I was waiting for. On top of that, I was a prisoner and had very little hope of escaping.


They're back now, the dreams, and now it's Harry's face I see. Harry's eyes smiling as he looks at me, the skin at their corners crinkling so pleasantly as he tells me he loves me… Sometimes I still dream of the things I've endured, but Harry follows me into my dreams now and helps me slay the demons I once faced alone. My body and soul cry out for him now just as they did before, when our love was young and new and uninfluenced by my creature blood. Harry loves me fully and honestly, and he always did.


I'm beginning to think I truly can survive this.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Harry patiently kissed away the tears streaming down Draco's cheeks and whispered soothing words in his ear. Neville and Luna stood off to the side together, Luna as serene as always while Neville's face was creased with concern. It had been hours, and Harry couldn't stand seeing Draco in so much pain again.


Luna had explained the process and assured them that she and Neville would remain nearby, but that Harry would need to take over the primary role in his care.


"He needs his mate, Harry," she'd told him. "If things aren't going as planned, Nev and I can help. Otherwise he'll be far more comfortable with your touch only. Even foreign magic will be painful to him."


"And my magic?"


"Better. But I'd recommend simply doing anything you need to do by hand. There will be pain, there will be blood, and he'll need you near him. He'll only be able to tolerate your hands on him while his wings attempt to retract."


"And he'll be able to use them again?"


"Oh, yes," Luna had assured him. "In fact, he should. The first time he pulls them out again will likely be uncomfortable, but nowhere near what he'll feel today. After that it will feel normal to him."


Normal. Harry hoped with all he had that Draco would be able to feel normal again one day.


"Harry…" Draco moaned. "Make it stop, please!"


"I can't, love," Harry told him, his own eyes burning as he looked at Draco's anguished face. "It will be over soon. I'll be right here."


"It's fucking ripping me open!" Draco howled, arching his back.


"His back, Harry," Neville spoke up.


Harry craned his neck to peer over Draco's shoulder and winced at the sight of blood soaking the white feathered wings. "Draco, I'm going to go –"


"Don't you bloody dare leave me!" Draco cried, gripping Harry's arm.


"I'm not," Harry assured him. "I just need you to lie down so that I can tend to your back."


"No!"


Harry sighed. "Luna or Neville, then?"


"No, you!" Draco sounded panicked. "Don't let them near me!"


"Lie down. I'm just going to clean off your back and your wings." Harry trailed a reassuring hand over Draco's hair and moved aside so Draco could stretch out on his belly. He moved with an aching slowness, and once he was prone, Harry covered him with a sheet to the waist and studied his back.


The healed spots where wing met skin were split open, the flesh gaping around the bases of the wings. Harry took a soft towel and dipped it in the bowl of cool water Luna had provided, then gently began to clean Draco's back. "Does this hurt too much?"


"No." Draco's voice was muffled by the pillow.


"Good." Harry trailed the cloth across Draco's skin and cleaned it of the sweat and blood that mingled there. Tentatively he moved to the wing. "This?"


"It's not bad," Draco sighed.


Harry soaked a new towel and rubbed it over the saturated feathers, pleased when the red stain faded. Draco's wings were finally looking healthier than they had when he'd arrived, and Harry hated to see the soft plumes streaked with blood.


Harry noticed that Draco's breathing was evening as his wings were cleaned, and he glanced up to see Draco's face turned to the side and his eyes closed. "Poor baby," he murmured.


"Don't call me that," Draco mumbled, and Harry grinned. When Draco's wings were as clean as he could get them, Harry dropped the cloth and stroked the damp feathers with his hand.


"He's past the worst of it," Luna said softly. "His wings will begin to shrink and fold in soon. I'll leave the salve for you to apply to his back when they're inside and bandages to cover the open areas. Let him rest for now."


"Thanks," Harry replied. "Are you leaving, then?"


"I think you'll be fine now."


"We're only a Floo call away," Neville added.


"Thank you for everything, both of you."


"We'll be back."


"I know, but now that he's getting better, I won't see as much of you. You'll come for dinner with Kingsley Thursday? Hermione will be here."


"We wouldn't miss it. Good luck." Neville smiled at Harry, and Luna waved as they left the room.


Harry smiled fondly down at Draco and then lay down beside him, still stroking the silky wings as he closed his eyes.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


The pain is excruciating, but it's short-lived compared to everything else I've been through.


Being held under the Imperius Curse is something akin to being mentally bound – I recall fear at seeing my father enter the room, and dread even as the word fell from his lips and light flooded sluggishly from the tip of his wand and crashed into me with a roaring thunderclap. In reality, it was silent but for his incantation and it was done in a fraction of a second, but as it happened it felt as though I was watching a blurry slow-motion replay of the event.


Imperio.


My mind screamed against his orders even as it allowed my body to carry them out. My hand penned that traitorous letter to Harry, though it blessedly fogged my memory so that I couldn't exactly recall what I'd written. Had I been able to, I know I would have spent the next months, years, of my life reciting the words in my head as I slowly succumbed to madness.


My throat closed and opened and fought to not gag and retch after my father ordered me to my knees and forced his cock into my mouth. He'd never touched me that way before and he never has again, but in that moment I believe the power he had over me was too great to ignore, especially after I'd so blatantly rebelled against him by turning against his precious Lord, and compounding that sin by sharing my heart and body with Harry Potter, of all people.


I swallowed reflexively as he emptied his balls into my mouth, tears running down my face and dripping onto the shirt of Harry's that I had taken to wearing at times. He could make me suck his cock, but he could never make me want to.


Since then, I've been forced to do countless unspeakable things. Harry says he loves me and doesn't find me disgusting despite those things, but I wonder if he'll change his mind when he finally decides to bond with me. Why would he want something so spoiled, so debauched? He could have anyone he pleased, for his name alone if for no other reason.


Still, he's here now and his touch on my aching wings and back is giving me the strength to move through this final phase of agony. The Lovebottoms swear it will be easier for me after this, and I hope they're right – if not, I'll have to hex them both.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


By the end of the following day, Draco's back was beginning to heal. Harry found that he missed the softness of Draco's wings against his skin, but he was excited at the prospect of holding Draco in his arms without the huge feathered appendages in his way when Draco's back wasn't so tender.


Harry was quite looking forward to Thursday's dinner. It had been some time since he'd been able to chat with Kingsley, and he'd grown to respect the man greatly during their time in the Order. He was also excited, and more than a little nervous, about seeing Hermione again. He was glad Neville and Luna would be there as well, to help with any tension. Most of all, he was excited to share a meal with Draco and his friends simultaneously. He wanted to show the world that he was in love.


"I need to change your bandages, and then I'm going to pick up a few things I need for dinner. Would you like to come?" Harry picked up the salve and settled behind Draco.


"I'd love to come," Draco purred, glancing over his shoulder at Harry.


Harry flushed. "I meant… quiet, you prat."


Draco laughed. "I know what you meant. I'll stay here, if you don't mind, and maybe take a short nap before your friends arrive."


"That's fine." Harry carefully peeled the gauze away from Draco's back. "Does that hurt? Neville said these aren't meant to stick to your wounds."


"Feels okay… it's still a bit raw, though." Draco winced slightly.


"I'm sorry. They're looking better." Harry inspected the wounds. They were knitting together nicely, thanks to Neville's healing salve, and the surrounding skin was cool and pink instead of the angry red it had been at first. "I'm going to put the salve on now."


Draco nodded and bent his head forward so that his hair fell around his face. He sighed when Harry's hand began to spread the substance over his healing back, enjoying the Cooling Charm infused in the salve. "Feels good."


"I'm glad." Harry shifted slightly and felt more than a little disgusted with himself for the erection that had sprung to life with Draco's sigh. You're helping him heal, you pervert, not molesting him.


"Mmm…" Draco moaned when Harry lifted his other hand to apply the salve to both sides of his back. "Your hands on me feel so bloody good."


Harry shivered and closed his eyes briefly, working the salve into Draco's tender flesh. "It feels nice to me, too."


"Please…" Draco reached back and stroked Harry's knee. "Please touch me, Harry."


"Just let me…" Harry swallowed hard and replaced the bandages with shaking hands. "Lie down on your side."


Draco complied, and Harry tugged Draco's pajama pants off. "Lift up a bit… there." He tossed the pants on the floor and groaned at the sight of Draco's hard cock, its tip glistening with precome.


Draco hissed when Harry's hand wrapped around his cock. He still had a bit of the salve on his fingers, and the Cooling Charm warring with the heat all but radiating from Draco's blood-filled cock was an incredibly erotic contradiction.


"I want you to come for me," Harry murmured, stroking Draco's engorged prick and leaning in to kiss him. "All over me."


"I will.... kiss me again," Draco panted. The warmth in his groin was building into a scorching fire that threatened to consume him. His mate's hand on his cock, squeezing and tugging, was exquisite torture. He remembered what it had felt like the first time Harry had touched him there, after Draco had crawled into his bed and kissed him. It was fumbling and inexperienced, but Draco had wanted Harry so very much and so it was beautiful. This… this was almost otherworldly.


He knew it couldn't always be like this, wouldn't always be so incredible. It was his body's way of reminding him that he needed to bond with his mate, and fuck all if it wasn't working. Draco's nerve endings were alight with sensation. He was reminded of the first time Harry had touched him since Draco had come into his inheritance, and the blow job he'd received. It had also been wonderful, but with his freedom and returning health and Harry's true appearance before him, this was better.


Harry kissed him again and again, deep, urgent kisses that sent sparks shooting into Draco's brain. He held Draco as close to him as he could while still having room to maneuver his fist around Draco's leaking cock, and couldn't resist thrusting his own cloth-covered erection against the firm thigh that was nestled between his legs. He felt Draco tense beside him, and with a strangled cry, Draco crested and began to spurt over Harry's hand. Harry moaned and rutted frantically against Draco's leg until he came as well moments later.


Draco buried his face in Harry's neck and rode out the peak of his orgasm. Harry's hand moved quickly over his sensitive prick, slick with salve and come, until Draco groaned and pulled away. "M' leg's wet," he mumbled. "Suspiciously, it's in the spot where you were frotting against me like a dog in heat."


Harry chuckled breathlessly. "I suppose I'll need to change my trousers before I go to the grocer's."


"No, no. Come-soaked trousers really make a statement about a man. They say, 'I just came in my pants like a thirteen-year-old boy who's seen his first set of naked tits.' Or the first naked cock that's not his own, as the case may be. Either way, I say run with it." Draco curled up sleepily beside Harry. "I'm really ready for that nap now."


"Me too," Harry replied with a yawn. "But I still have to go and get food."


"I'll have you fucking me before the week's out." Draco smiled, eyes closed. "Be prepared."


"I think this was plenty strenuous enough," Harry replied as he rose. He grinned at Draco's pout and pulled the covers up around Draco's naked body. He leaned over and licked the shell of Draco's ear slowly, pleased with the slight shiver he received in return. "But I'll be thinking about it, and I'll be thinking about your cock inside me as well. I can't wait to do both with you."


"Bastard," Draco grumbled. "Go on, leave me here with a hard-on I'm too tired to do anything about."


"I will," Harry replied cheerfully. "I love you, Draco."


"Yeah, yeah. Git."


Harry kissed Draco's cheek and stole a final glance at his peaceful Veela before slipping out of the room to change his clothes.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


He's here.


I'm alone, Harry's gone, and he's here. I felt it the moment he broke the wards, though I didn't know what it was that disturbed my slumber. Not until he entered the house. Then I knew.


I try to move, but before I so much as stumble out of the bed he's throwing open the door to my room and grinning at me with more madness than he's ever possessed before.


"My son," he drawls.


"Lucius," I spit. I have no idea where to go or how to get away from him – he has me boxed into the corner of my room and I don't have a wand. The whole scene has a sickening sense of déjà vu to it.


"That's not how you address your father." His eyes roam over my naked form and I shudder. "After all the work Potter put into freeing you, he couldn't even clothe you?" He chuckles. "It makes sense, I suppose. After all, he's finally gotten his little fuck toy back. He's probably kept you quite busy since you've been here in this… shack." Lucius wrinkles his nose in distaste and looks around.


"Fuck you," I choke out.


"You'd like that, wouldn't you? Such a pretty boy you are, even without your wings. Did he heal you, pretty boy? How many times did you have to suck his cock in payment? You're quite good at it, as I recall." Lucius palms his groin through his trousers, and I feel the bile rising in my throat. "I should have been fucking you from the start, but I was more interested in the money my beautiful club was making me. It's gone now, though, thanks to you."


I back away as Lucius begins to advance on me, but the backs of my knees hit the bed before I know I've reached it and I end up sprawled on my back. Lucius springs, quick as any jungle cat, and he's straddling me on the bed in moments.


"You worthless fool," he growls, slapping me across the face. "He brought us down because of you, didn't he?"


"I didn't –"


"Shut up!" he shouts. "You cost me millions of Galleons! Now I'm wanted by the Ministry again, and they've taken everything!" He grabs my cock and twists, hard. "All because of this. No longer, my son. You'll be coming with me, and I promise you he won't find you this time. You'll think anything that happened to you before was a fucking privilege, and you'll beg me to take you back there."


I can't think, can't move. His hand is still on my limp prick, stroking idly, and I want to vomit. I can't push him away and he slaps me hard again for trying. I taste the copper sting of blood in my mouth and my vision grays. "Please…" I croak.


"Good boy," he whispers, running a hand across my cheek. "Begging already. We're leaving, Draco. I'll fuck you later if you behave on the trip. If not… I'll fuck you anyway, just before I kill you. I think, for ease of travel…"


I open my mouth to scream, and terror washes over me all over again as he points his wand and utters the word that has haunted me for the past three years.


"Imperio."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Draco?" Harry called, dropping his bags on the counter. "I'm home!"


He set pots to boil on the stove, tossed vegetables onto the cutting board and chose a knife from the block.


"Draco?" he tried again. "Must still be asleep," he mumbled.


"Hello, Harry."


Harry turned to see Draco behind him. "Merlin, Draco, you scared me. I didn't see you. Have a nice nap?"


Draco's eyes were trained on the knife in Harry's hand. "May I have that?"


"Huh? The knife? Don't tell me you want to help cook dinner," Harry laughed.


"Oh, but I do."


"All right. Be careful. Though you were always better than me in potions, so I imagine you can handle a bit of chopping, right?" Harry presented the handle of the knife to Draco. "Hey, wait. No kiss?"


"Of course." Draco leaned close and laid his lips against Harry's.


"Draco…" Harry pulled back with a frown and studied his lover. Draco's eyes were flat and emotionless, but there was moisture collected in the corners. He felt cold suddenly. "What's wrong?"


"So sorry…" Draco mumbled, and a tear escaped and made its way down Draco's cheek as he twisted around Harry and pressed the blade of the knife to his neck.


"Draco?" Harry wheezed. "What the fuck?"


"Excellent job, my son." Lucius appeared in the doorway and smirked at Harry, his wand trained on them. "And greetings to you, Mr. Potter. I did hope we'd have the chance to take our leave before you arrived home, but here you are."


"How did you get free, you bastard?" Harry croaked. Draco's arm was crushing his windpipe, the knife cold against the side of his neck.


"Funny story, that. One for another occasion. For now, I think we'll need to be going. You won't be seeing Draco again… or anyone, really. I'll have to make sure you don't remember this little meeting, after all." Lucius tapped his cheek with one long, tapered finger. "Now the question is, just how much of your memory shall I eradicate?"


"Draco, let go of me," Harry begged. "I need you. Let me go."


"He won't respond to you," Lucius replied in a bored tone. "He's quite susceptible to the Imperius Curse."


"Draco, listen to me. To me, not him. You're safe with me. I won't let him hurt you, but you need to let me go." Harry felt Draco trembling against him and continued to talk to him. "I'm your mate, Draco. We belong together. No one can come between us."


"You're his mate?" Lucius exclaimed, then burst out laughing. "Oh, but this is rich! I thought you were simply trying to rekindle your pathetic romance. Cut him, Draco. Just enough to remind him that mate or not you're going to listen to Daddy."


Harry snarled and then yelped as the sharp blade broke the skin on his neck. He felt the warm trickle of blood as it made a slow path down to his collar. "Draco, no!"


"Oh, yes," Lucius sneered. "He's mine, Potter, and you can't do a thing about it."


"Draco – Kingsley!" Harry screamed suddenly. Relief flooded through him as he glimpsed his friend standing outside the kitchen door, hand poised to knock.


Lucius spun around just in time to see Kingsley push the door open, wand raised. "Shacklebolt!"


"Malfoy, what the fuck are you doing here? What's going on?" Kingsley's eyes darted between Lucius and Harry.


"He's got Draco under the Imperius!" Harry cried. "He's escaped from his Ministry holding cell, and he's going to take Draco."


"All right, let's just calm down." Kingsley moved toward Harry. "You're careless, Malfoy. Draco, step away from Harry. Come here."


Draco's breath hitched in Harry's ear but he didn't loosen his hold.


"Go, Draco," Lucius commanded. Harry looked at him in surprise.


Draco let go of Harry and shuffled toward Kingsley. "No," he mumbled as he walked. "Not again…"


"I don't believe I told you to speak," Lucius said warningly.


"Kingsley –" Harry began, but he was cut off when Kingsley shook his head sadly and raised his wand.


"Incarcerous," he whispered and watched Harry's bound form hit the floor. "Harry, I didn't want anything to happen to you. You were never meant to lead that investigation. No one was supposed to know about the missing Veela." Kingsley took the knife from Draco's hand and laid it aside.


"What?" Harry yelped, fighting against his invisible bonds. "What the fuck?"


"Lucius, you really should be gone by now. Have you gotten any of the others?"


"They're still in hospital. I wanted to retrieve Draco while we had the opportunity. The others will be free soon enough."


Kingsley nodded and fisted a hand in Draco's hair. "I've missed you."


Draco whimpered but didn't speak.


"Why don't you fuck him now, right in front of Potter?" Lucius tossed Harry a smirk. "We'll both have a go at him, one cock in his arse and one in his mouth."


"Lucius, really. I don't want to harm Harry, emotionally or otherwise. He was never meant to be a part of this. I thought I'd been careful," Kingsley explained to Harry. "I drafted the bill so that creatures had to register, thereby providing me with the locations of all the Veela in the area. So many of them were depressed after losing their mates and family in the war, you see, so I didn't suspect their families would report them missing – especially with their distrust of the Ministry. By the time I discovered you were investigating them, it was too late."


"Why would you be a part of this? Lucius is a sick fuck, but you, Kingsley?" Harry continued to struggle.


"Have you ever fucked a Veela, Harry?" Kingsley glanced at Draco. "Well, of course you have. I've fucked him too, so many times. Altered his memory each time, of course," Kingsley added. "I know you were wondering why he didn't mention me. I couldn't have him telling people the Minister himself was involved, could I?"


"All the better for me," Lucius commented. "It was quite convenient to have my holding cell mysteriously left unlocked, and my wand slipped through the bars."


"I loved a Veela once," Kingsley continued. "A gorgeous thing named Malyna. She was a goddess, Harry. But I wasn't her mate." He spat the word distastefully. "And so I couldn't have her. I tried to find another – I couldn't get enough of her smell or her taste, after kissing her once – but it was always the same. Lucius and I had a chance encounter during the war and it all came together."


"I found it quite intriguing that you were trying to molest my wife." Lucius glared at him.


"She was lovely, and she was part Veela." Kingsley shrugged. "She turned me down."


"Of course she did. She was mine." Lucius smiled proudly, and a shadow of sadness crossed his face briefly.


"It worked out well, anyway. We developed the idea for the club, I kept you out of prison, you set up the building, I fucked as many of them as I wanted to, and you kept all the money. It was such a beautiful thing until the Aurors ruined it all." Kingsley shook his head. "You should have stayed away, Harry." He ran a hand down Draco's chest. "Let's go, Lucius. I want to fuck him."


"We have to Obliviate Potter." Lucius raised his wand again.


"We can't simply Obliviate him. I want to, Harry, but you have a tendency to react oddly to spells. It might not take. I'm sorry, but we'll have to kill you. I promise to make it fast." Kingsley's tone was soothing.


"So we kill him and we leave," Lucius said impatiently. "Come on, Shacklebolt!"


"I'm so sorry, Harry. I do care for you." Kingsley looked down at Harry sadly. "I didn't want it to be this way, but surely you see that I can't just let you go with what you know."


"My friends will still find me here!" Harry cried, panicked. "They'll know…"


"I'll take care of them, too."


"But…" Harry glanced at Draco, who stood looking blank and frightened all at once. "Let me kiss him good-bye," Harry said desperately. "Please. I love him. Surely you understand."


Kingsley nodded at Lucius, who huffed. "Fuck all. Draco, go and kiss Potter. Hurry."


Draco trudged to Harry's side and dropped to his knees. He leaned in to place his lips on Harry's.


"I know you're in there," Harry whispered. "I know you don't want any of this. Fight it, Draco. The curse can be resisted. I'm your mate, Draco. Don't let them kill me. I love you."


Draco kissed Harry chastely and stood, waiting for his next command.


"Come over here, Draco. We're leaving." Lucius beckoned and Draco moved to his side.


Harry slumped in defeat. This was it, then. He was going to die and Draco was going to be returned to his life of torture. He'd failed them both. He looked again at Draco, realizing it would be for the last time, and his breath caught when he saw Draco staring back at him. His eyes were cold and hard, but held a depth they'd been lacking moments before.


"Do it, Shacklebolt." Lucius tapped his foot impatiently.


All at once, Kingsley raised his wand and Draco grabbed his father's wand as he delivered a sharp elbow to his gut. "Stupefy! Incarcerous!" he shouted. A shocked Kingsley dropped like a stone.


"Foolish boy," Lucius hissed, straightening up. "I don't know how you freed yourself from my spell, but you'll pay for that."


Draco backed away and pointed the wand at Lucius. "Stay away from me!"


"You don't frighten me, boy," Lucius growled. "You're going to be very sorry for this."


"Shut up, you twisted fuck!" Draco cried. "You deserve to die!"


"And are you going to do it?" Lucius said mockingly, inching toward Draco. "You never could stomach violence, you pathetic fool."


"No?" Trembling, Draco fumbled on the counter until his hand closed around the handle of the knife he'd held at Harry's throat before. "Come closer and we'll see just what I can stomach, you fucking pervert."


"Draco, free me. I'll take care of him," Harry said quietly.


"No." Draco straightened his posture. "I'm tired of being too weak to stand up to him."


"You're weak, all right," Lucius sneered. He crept closer. "You're weak and useless to me, except for the money you can make me."


"Money's all you ever cared about. Money and power. Never me." Draco shook with fear and anger. "You're pathetic."


"And you're dead." Lucius leaped forward, grabbing for his wand as he knocked Draco to the tiled floor. He gave a howl of pain and rolled to his back.


Harry's eyes widened when he saw the large knife protruding from Lucius' chest and the blood pooling around him at an alarming rate, staining the grout on the floor. In moments, his eyes were unseeing and his body was still.


"I…" Draco scrambled away, eyes wild. "I killed him."


"Take the wand and free me, Draco," Harry told him calmly.


Draco buried his face in his hands. "I killed him…"


"Finite."


Harry got to his feet quickly, looking up to see who had released his spell. "Hermione!"


She nodded to him and looked at Draco. Luna and Neville were huddled behind her. "Is Kingsley all right?"


Harry glanced at Kingsley, who was still bound and unconscious. "He's all right. And he's going to Azkaban. He was behind it all, Neville – he and Lucius."


Neville shook his head in disbelief. "Merlin. Draco? Can you stand up? Are you hurt?"


Harry crouched down beside Draco, who was still huddled near his father's body. "Come here. It's over."


Draco allowed Harry to embrace him. "He's dead."


"He is, yes."


"I'm going to go to Azkaban!" He trembled in Harry's arms.


"No, you aren't. You were only defending yourself."


"But…"


"We all saw it, Draco." Neville knelt beside them. "You have a lot of witnesses here."


Draco looked over Harry's shoulder at Luna and Hermione, who nodded their agreement. "I can't…"


"Draco, I need to call the Aurors and take Kingsley to the Ministry. Neville, Luna, and Hermione will stay with you while I'm gone." Harry stroked Draco's hair. "Will you be all right?"


"I just killed a man. I think I can handle it." Draco's mouth quirked, but he was still shaking.


"Yes, you did. You saved my life, Draco, not to mention your own. I'm so proud of you."


"Yes, well, I think I've realized I much prefer you playing the hero role." Draco laid his forehead on Harry's shoulder. "Is this really over?"


"Yes, it really is. I'm going to get Kingsley away from here, and your father… he's gone." Harry cast a Patronus and sent it off to Robbins with a brief message.


"Let's get you upstairs and into bed." Harry helped Draco to his feet.


"Harry?"


"Yes?" Harry began to lead Draco toward the stairs.


"I think… I'm ready to talk to someone."


"All right." Harry glanced back and met Neville's eyes. Neville nodded in understanding.


"I'm so tired."


"I know. It's going to be all right now."


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I can still smell the metallic scent of his blood on me when I close my eyes. I can see the terror on Harry's face and remember that I put it there.


My father can't control me any longer, but when he did… I almost killed my mate.


I remember hearing Harry come home and my father cursing. We wouldn't be able to leave the house without Harry seeing us, and the anti-Apparition spells on the property were still very much in place. I wasn't sure how my father had even located the house then, though I realize now that Shacklebolt gave him the address, but I knew that it must have taken even a man of his expertise some time to dismantle the wards.


He instructed me to go quietly down the stairs with him, and after seeing Harry pick up the knife in the kitchen he told me to go in and take it from him, to threaten him with it. Then Father would alter his memory and we'd leave.


It felt so wrong. It was different than the last time he held me under his control – I did what I was bid to do, but I felt distinctly uncomfortable threatening Harry. When Shacklebolt came in and I was told to go to him I felt sick, though I didn't understand why until he told me he'd fucked me and then modified my memories of the events. Some part of me must have still recognized him.


In the end, Harry's words got through and assisted me in my struggle against my father's spell. He is my mate, and I could not bear to see him die. Especially since I wouldn't be allowed to follow.


My father is dead, Shacklebolt is in Azkaban and babbling incoherently – apparently he cracked during interrogation and never regained his proper mind – and I'm finally on my way to being truly free, I think.


My father is dead.


I killed him.


I would happily do it again.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


"Draco?" Harry called. "Where are you? Draco?" He strode into the living room to find Draco lounging on the sofa with a book. "Draco! Didn't you hear me? I was calling your name."


"I heard. I assumed you were doing it for the sheer pleasure of hearing it. I'm not your pet, after all." Draco smiled sweetly at him.


Harry rolled his eyes. "You prat. I just wasn't sure if you were home. How did it go today?"


"Well."


In the month since Lucius was killed, Draco had been talking with Neville on a regular basis. Neville had attempted to refer him to a Mind Healer at first, but Draco was adamant that he didn't want to speak to someone who didn't already know the horrors he'd endured, and all but admitted he was most comfortable with Neville. Harry, too, he'd added, but he didn’t want to burden his mate with his troubles. Harry knew better than to argue that he'd happily help shoulder the burden, and instead allowed himself to be pleased that Draco was seeking help at all. He did talk to Harry some, usually choosing to drop random bits of information about his past at odd times, and Harry learned to accept them and not to pry for more details.


Neville and Luna began a support group for the rest of the Veela. Allegra was there frequently, as were several of the others, but as she'd predicted there were a few suicides after St. Mungo's released the Veela. It saddened Harry to think of it, but he tried to understand and made sure each was granted a proper burial. Draco attended the group a few times, telling Harry he was only going so that he could boast that Harry Potter belonged to him. Harry simply smiled and allowed Draco his privacy.


Despite everything, Draco continued to heal. He never requested that they look for a new residence, but when Harry saw him falter in the doorway of the kitchen the next day with a haunted look in his eyes he wasted no time in moving them out of the house and into his flat. They chose a new house together the following week, a place with open rooms and a lot of light, and Draco seemed content.


"I'm brought some take-out. Do you want to eat?"


"Sure." Draco laid his book aside and stood, stretching like a cat.


Harry couldn't help but admire him – the late afternoon sun was streaming through the wide picture windows and seemed to pool at Draco's feet, and Draco looked healthy and strong, if still thin.


"See something you like?" Draco raised an eyebrow at him.


"Oh, yes," Harry replied. "I certainly do."


"Care to do something about it?" Draco asked, a small smirk on his face. Harry had steadfastly refused to move forward with him physically, and Draco had accused him more than once of holding off due to his own conscience rather than concern for Draco's needs. Harry privately thought Draco might be right.


"Actually, yes." Harry looked at Draco and decided in that moment that he'd denied them long enough. If Draco was truly willing, Harry was ready to move forward.


"You - really?" Draco's eyes widened comically.


"You're sure you're ready?"


"Yes, Harry, fuck yes!" Draco exclaimed. "I need to bond with you, and I need to feel normal again. I need to feel like all that's happened hasn't soiled me forever, like you might still want me despite… everything." He looked away.


"I want you quite a lot, Draco. I have for… fuck, it feels like forever. If anything, all that's happened makes me want you more."


Draco snorted. "You like used goods, then?"


"I love you, and I admire you for making your way through everything those monsters did to you intact. We're going to spend the rest of our lives together, and I just… I want to start it on a good note." Harry lifted a shoulder. "I'm not very good at explaining my feelings, but I… everything I'm doing, I'm doing for you. For us."


"I know." Draco's face softened and he moved forward to slide his arms around Harry's waist. "And I guess I'm glad you waited. The Veela in me is urging me to bond with you, and always has been, but the rest of me… you were right, I suppose. I needed to begin truly healing. I feel like I'm ready now."


"Do you want to eat first? The take-out is –"


"Fuck the take-out." Draco slid his fingers into Harry's hair and pulled him close for a heated kiss.


"Right… we'll eat later." Harry blinked, slightly dazed, and grabbed Draco's hand before propelling them down the hall to their bedroom.


Harry stripped himself unceremoniously, tripping over his trousers as he tried to tug them off while hopping from foot to foot. He looked up at Draco, who was watching him with a quiet smile, and felt foolish standing in his boxers and socks.


"I loved you three years ago," Draco said softly. "You saved my life that day at school, and I finally let myself see you the way others did. Such an ordinary boy you were, so easy for people to overlook. And then you always stepped in right when you were needed and became extraordinary. I always hated that about you, until it was finally my turn to benefit."


"Er… thank you?" Harry crossed his arms self-consciously.


"Thank you. For saving me again and again. I never wanted to be your damsel in distress, though I certainly haven't been lacking in the distress department since we've known each other. I wanted you, though, ever since the day we met. I wanted you to be my friend, and I wanted you to notice me, and then I wanted you to be my lover." Draco's eyes raked over his body. "I want you, Harry. And I love you."


Harry swallowed around the lump in his throat. "I wish it hadn't cost you so much to get here, but I'm so glad you are. I love you, too."


"Care to undress me?" Draco leaned against the wall provocatively and Harry groaned.


"I don't know if I can manage it." Harry pulled Draco's shirt up and over his head. "Fuck, you look good."


"Better, anyway. Still too thin and pale."


"You were always thin and pale." Harry reached for the button on Draco's trousers.


"Aren't you just the flatterer." Draco glared at Harry.


Harry grinned at him. "You're gorgeous, Draco. You always were, and you always will be to me."


"Well." Draco looked mollified. "Get on with it, then."


Harry pushed Draco's trousers and pants down his hips and all but salivated when the elastic of the boxers caught on Draco's erection and caused it to bob free. "Fuck."


"Are you going to stare at it or do something with it?"


Harry narrowed his eyes at Draco's smirk and pushed him gently over to the bed, helping him to avoid stumbling on the fabric bunched around his ankles. "Oh, I'm going to do something with it, all right. The question is, should I suck it, stroke it, or ride it?"


Draco groaned. "Fuck, any of it."


Harry pulled his trousers and pants off, then quickly removed the last bits of his own clothing. "That's the question, isn't it? Would you like to fuck me tonight, or shall I fuck you?"


Draco lifted his hips from the bed. "Me. Fuck me. I've been dreaming of you inside me."


"Let me do the spell Luna taught me, then." Harry took up his wand and performed a quick Contraceptive Charm. "Are you comfortable?"


"What? Yes, I suppose, why?"


"Because I've been waiting to get my hands and mouth on this beautiful body and I want to take my time with it." He crawled onto the bed and straddled Draco's legs. "I think I'll start here."


Harry leaned over and captured Draco's lips in a slow, sweet kiss. He slipped his tongue into Draco's mouth and caressed every ridge and bump he found there. It was a comfortable familiarity and new excitement all at once.


Draco sighed into his mouth and threaded his fingers through Harry's thick hair and caressed his scalp. "Mmm," he murmured against Harry's lips. "Love the way you taste."


"Mmm," Harry hummed in agreement. He trailed feather-soft kisses across Draco's jaw until he reached an earlobe. He sucked it into his mouth and chewed gently, enjoying the way Draco mewled in pleasure at the action.


Harry took his time exploring Draco's body from top to bottom. He sucked at the flesh of Draco's neck, paying special attention to the sensitive areas that made Draco moan. He licked his way down Draco's chest and nibbled on each of his nipples, drawing them into pebbled nubs and then sucking on them until Draco moaned.


Kissing his way downward, Harry licked the outlines of Draco's still too-prominent ribs and nuzzled his slightly concave belly. Draco was filling out slowly, but was still thinner than he ought to be. His face had rounded slightly and lost some of its gauntness, but his body remained fragile. Harry thought he was breathtaking.


Harry dipped his tongue into Draco's navel, making Draco groan and clutch with long fingers at the silky green sheets he'd insisted they buy for their new bed. His hips rose and fell in minute motions, his erection trapped against Harry's chest. Harry grinned at the impatient little noises Draco was making and continued his exploration.


When he reached the base of Draco's cock, Harry pulled away. His chin brushed against Draco's shaft and made Draco tremble. He rubbed his palms over Draco's thighs and urged him to lift his legs.


"Touch my cock," Draco begged. "Fuck, Harry, please!"


"I'm going to, love," Harry assured him. "I'm going to suck you until you come down my throat." Before Draco could answer, Harry settled between his legs, long legs draped over his shoulders and feet resting on his back, and took Draco's engorged cock into his mouth.


Draco arched his back and made a noise somewhere in between a cry and a gurgle. He grabbed fistfuls of Harry's hair and panted as Harry sucked him relentlessly. He struggled to keep from thrusting up into Harry's mouth, and when Harry's thumb pressed against his pucker he failed.


Harry gagged slightly but readjusted his position and continued to work Draco's cock with his tongue while he massaged Draco's hole gently. He rolled his index finger in the saliva dripping down Draco's shaft and worked it carefully into the tight entrance.


"Harry," Draco moaned. "Oh, fuck, I… going to…" His fingers tightened in Harry's hair and thrashed his head from side to side.


Harry acknowledged the choked warning by sucking harder and crooking his finger up inside Draco's passage to press against his prostate, and Draco began to come.


Draco tensed tight as a bow and cried out hoarsely, one hand fisting dark hair and the other reaching above himself to grip the headboard. The wood creased his palm and his throat felt raw, but still he held on and moaned Harry's name again and again. When the crest had passed, he relaxed and lay still, chest heaving.


"Don't pass out on me yet," Harry teased. "I do believe you requested that I fuck you."


"Yes," Draco rasped. "I still want you to… fuck, you may have killed me."


"I hope not. I don't do necrophilia."


"You're sick."


"No, I said I don't do it," Harry corrected him with a grin. "Fuck, but you were hot just now, writhing underneath me."


"I do not writhe."


"You most certainly do. And in a few minutes you'll be doing it again, but you'll be on my cock when it happens." Harry leaned in to lap the drops of come he'd missed from Draco's softening prick.


Draco moaned weakly. "Gods, your tongue is sinful."


"It's not, really. It just can't get enough of this gorgeous cock." Harry continued to bathe the flaccid penis carefully, and then moved down to mouth Draco's balls one by one.


"Oh, yes…" Draco sighed. "That's nice."


Harry sucked and nibbled lightly on Draco's soft sac while he rubbed the underside of Draco's left thigh. He moved his hand down and palmed Draco's buttock, allowing his thumb to dip into the crack and search out the hidden hole.


"Will you…" Draco began haltingly, then paused.


"What?" Harry looked up. "I’ll do anything for you. You've only to ask."


"You wouldn't want to. Never mind." Draco turned his head to the side and looked at the wall.


"Draco…" Harry bit his lip and looked down, almost positive that he knew what Draco wanted, and felt saddened that Draco thought he wouldn't be willing to give it to him. Without hesitation, he pushed Draco's legs up toward his chest and licked Draco's hole firmly.


Draco gasped. "Harry!"


"Is this what you wanted, love?" Harry repeated the motion.


"Yes, but… how could you, when I've…"


"You're mine," Harry told him fiercely. "Just as much as I'm yours. I don't give a fuck what's happened before, I want you in every way. I've told you that before and I meant it."


"I know, I guess I just…" Draco swallowed hard. "Sorry."


"No, Draco. No apologies. I love you, and I love every inch of this body. I want to spend my life touching and tasting every last bit of you." Harry teased the opening with the tip of his tongue and then pushed it slowly inside, feeling Draco's muscular rings give way.


Draco's cock filled again quickly as Harry tongue-fucked him with abandon. He squirmed and rocked and pushed his arse against Harry's face until Harry couldn't stand it and sat up. He grabbed his wand and performed a lubrication spell.


"Going to fuck me now?" Draco propped himself up on his elbows and gazed intently at Harry, eyes dark with lust.


"Oh, yes," Harry promised, coating his cock quickly. "Are you ready?"


"I was made for this, Harry, for you." He laid back and grabbed the backs of his knees. His loosened hole was open for Harry to see and dripping with saliva.


Harry's eyes combed over Draco hungrily and he positioned himself at Draco's entrance, pressing the spongy head of his cock inside slowly. He and Draco hissed simultaneously as the hole stretched to accommodate the intrusion. Harry's cock moved inside inch by inch until he was finally fully sheathed in Draco's slick warmth.


Harry leaned forward, hands on either side of Draco's head, and pressed his lips to Draco's. "Love you," he whispered.


"Me, too," Draco replied hoarsely. "Move, please…"


"Yes." Harry withdrew slowly and pressed back inside, groaning when Draco's muscles squeezed his cock pleasantly. He thrust again and again, gradually picking up speed and dropping kisses on Draco's cheeks as he moved. "So good, so good," he chanted. He'd never imagined making love to Draco would be quite so… perfect.


Draco gripped Harry's waist and rocked up to meet Harry's thrusts. His face was flushed and perspiring, his nostrils were flared as he breathed noisily, and hair was a mussed blond cloud around his head. It was the most incredible sight Harry had ever seen.


It wasn't long before the friction and pressure on his cock was too much to contain, and Harry reached between their slippery bellies to grasp Draco's erection and stroke it quickly and desperately.


"Wait," Draco gasped. "I need to be on top."


Harry groaned. "That sounds wonderful, but –"


"No, please," Draco said. "My wings."


"Oh." Harry paused and tried to catch his breath. He'd forgotten that Draco's wings would reappear when he climaxed while first bonding with his mate. He pulled out of Draco and they rolled, Harry landing on his back and Draco straddling his hips. As Draco reached back for Harry's wet cock and began to lower himself onto it, Harry forgot he'd ever protested the switch.


Draco's arsehole accepted Harry's cock as smoothly as a custom-made glove, and soon Harry was steadying Draco's hips as he watched his Veela ride him. Draco's hard cock bobbed up and down, slapping against his own belly and leaving sticky strands of precome behind.


Harry's orgasm approached again, the feeling having subsided a bit during the interruption, and he grabbed Draco's cock and stroked it quickly in time to their motions. It took every ounce of control he had to hold back until Draco began to come in his hand, and as soon as his prick was spurting and his muscles were clenching around Harry's cock, Harry trembled and came with a loud cry. He looked up at Draco, whose head was thrown back in pleasure and wings were extended proudly, white and full.


Draco stayed where he was for a few moments. His wings began to fold back in as his orgasm faded and he finally climbed off of Harry and collapsed beside him.


"That was unbelievable," Harry told him breathlessly.


"Yes." Draco looked at him, eyes bright. "Thank you. You have no idea how that felt for me. I… thank you."


"It was amazing for me, too. Not in the same way, I imagine, but all the same."


"Mmm, yes." Draco sighed and stretched his arms out. Harry took the opportunity to curl up beside him and lay his head on Draco's chest.


"So when do we have the ceremony?" Harry asked, eyelids beginning to droop.


"What?"


"The bonding ceremony. Luna said this was like an engagement, but that we're to have a ceremony. Like a wedding, right? So you'll be my husband?"


Draco smiled slightly. "Yes, like a wedding. I'll be your husband, and you'll be mine. You… you really want to?"


"Of course. Why wouldn't I?"


"I don't know, it… I didn't want to press. This is enough for now."


"It isn't. Not for me." Harry raised his head and smiled at Draco. "I've got you back now, and I'm not going to lose you again. How about next month? We can have it in the garden if you like, or wherever you think is appropriate."


"The garden would be lovely." Draco kissed Harry's forehead. "I love you, Harry."


"Love you," Harry mumbled as he began to drift into sleep.


Draco closed his eyes.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


I chose this.


My options were death or torture, and I chose torture. I thought it made me a coward, but I can see now that I was wrong. I was strong enough to survive everything that happened, and if I'd chosen death I would never have known the happiness I have now. Harry is my past, present, and future. He's everything.


Once upon a time, a young boy refused my hand on a train. I devoted the next years of my life to making him sorry he turned me down – if he couldn't be my friend, then he was damn well going to remember he made the wrong choice. In retrospect, he probably made the right one, though I'll never admit it to him.


Now, he takes my hand every chance he gets, and he smiles at me and tells me I matter to him. That's all I ever wanted, really. When nightmares and memories plague me, he holds me until the shaking ends and reminds me that it's over. He's my mate, and my love, and he's done what only he has ever been able to do for me. He's freed me.


I survived. I can begin to live, to really live, at last.


I am free.


~*~*~


I love you


I have loved you all along


And I miss you


Been far away for far too long


I keep dreaming you'll be with me


and you'll never go


I'll stop breathing if


I don't see you anymore








~fin~




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