[personal profile] valentine_veela
Title: Hedgehogs
Author: [personal profile] tigersilver
Pairing: Draco/Harry
Prompt #: 147
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 5,107
Warning(s): (highlight to read)*AU; Hogwarts-era, between 5th & 6th Years; Veela!Draco, Mate!Harry, Charmed!Dursleys, Omniscient!Dumbledore*
Beta: [profile] lonerofthepack
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.



He had not believed it was possible to experience such a wondrous sense of welcome in his admittedly skewed and fucked-up universe. It was if his personal orrery, so long out of synch, had miraculously realigned itself. And although Potter’s eyes looked a little glazed when he stuck his hand out and drew a stumbling Draco through the nondescript Muggle door of the equally pathetic Muggle house, he’d ignored it, being adrift in the midst of all that marvelous warmth—the ‘rightness’.

In his saner moments during the hours immediately after he found himself collapsed against the front door of No. 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, Draco Malfoy was fairly certain it was Dark Magic at work: there was no conceivable scenario in which Potter smiled at him without malice. It was so very unlikely that he’d be freely touched without pain resulting, fed very strong tea and dry biscuits untainted by poison in a heat bedraggled back garden, or ultimately led to Potter’s Spartan quarters and narrow bed without protest. All those events and their rapid succession left him fully convinced it was indeed the Dark Lord, tormenting him. It was Potter who’d taken his father from him, true, but it was the Dark Lord who’d kept Lucius Malfoy imprisoned at Azkaban and left Draco unguarded in his weakened, needy state. And it was the Dark Lord who must’ve released Draco from his own self-made purgatory.

Even the ritual Marking seemed dreamlike, the slip-sliding of skin-sheathed muscle and sweaty armpits and thighs, the dampness that streaked them and stained the rough bed sheets—spit, saliva, blood from Potter’s shoulder dripping from Draco’s mouth. Oily lube from the Muggle tube Potter kept in his bureau drawer. Cum, at last, when Draco allowed it, having drawn all of Harry he could through the orifices presented.

Too many clues told him this wasn’t the sweet culmination he’d unwillingly dreamt of: Potter’s gaze wasn’t clear and cold and hard emerald at all. Potter’s hands were gentle at first when they found the wing ridges on Draco’s arching back and then white-knuckled with want, clutching hard at the thin mattress. His wild mane of hair spread itself willingly over the single flattened pillow, freely available for trembling fingers to fondle—even that minutiae was so very ‘wrong’ in the pheromone-sodden haze of Draco’s new-found ‘rightness’. In the sullen darkness of two a.m., called awake by the far distant ticking of the Muggle’s grandfather clock, with Potter at ease and breathing quietly beside him, Draco opened grey eyes and knew for certain he’d been terribly gypped of his rightful due.

There was no love lost between him and Potter; had never been, not from that crucial instant of handshake denied. And, although he knew Potter could resist Imperius handily, Draco was sure whatever was affecting Potter to render him so very pliant must be similar—and demonstrably worse—and Potter was the victim, once again, of Draco’s meddling, his jealousy, his spite.

Why else would the Lord let him escape the Manor so easily? Why else would Potter willingly allow him entry to his Muggle sanctuary? Draco was naught but a living, breathing trap.

**

With morning came the realization they were locked in from the outside. Harry’s room was disgustingly humid and dank without air conditioning or cooling charms. Draco growled, low and angry, and then moved on to screeching, sprouting tufts of milk-white feathers through his scalp and growing talons. Potter, alarmed, had wordlessly attempted to soothe him, wrapping the length of his thin body around his mate’s, twining ankles and elbows and shins, but Draco was having none of that. Naked, he paced and fumed and resolved to take action. He wanted out and he wanted breakfast and he wanted the disgusting Muggles to die miserable deaths.

Mostly, though, he needed to demonstrate to his mate his care for him; it was obvious that no one else in this Merlin-forsaken dump would bother. Thus, the battered door was ripped cleanly off its hinges, and the fat lout whimpering at the top of the short staircase was Summoned.

“You,” Draco commanded, staring the piggy-eyed person straight in the eye, “will procure a decent meal for us. I desire fresh fruit compote, croissants and preserves and tea—a large potful of Earl Grey, with cream and lemon. Bring it here, and be quick about it.”

“Y-You know, I’m a five-star chef, I am,” the slob offered, simpering and wringing chubby fingers. “I’ve won lots of ‘Masterchef’ programme awards and my mum says I’m the best cook she ever—“ but Draco only glowered. As if.

“Go, and don’t return without suitable sustenance. My mate is hungry.”

His mate was also amused, apparently, judging by the stifled giggles the bed’s one thin blanket emitted. Pleased, Draco returned to embrace him, allowing his greedy hands trail down the shifting planes of Potter’s back. He stopped Potter’s laughter with his mouth, swallowing it, and gave it back with a heartfelt smile that made the green eyes widen appreciably.

The execrable hallway bathroom was next on Draco’s agenda of tasks he must accomplish forthwith. His mate was sticky still with the remnants of Marking and obviously uncomfortable, shifting uneasily within his arms. Draco scowled furiously at the tiny room Potter led him to, so cramped one could barely turn from shower stall to toilet, and waved the wand he’d managed to retain the presence of mind to bring with. Immediately, the floor elongated and stretched, tiled in a pleasing blue-green Mediterranean fashion, and the brand-new tub and other accoutrements accordingly sized themselves to match. The fixtures gleamed golden, the heated Egyptian cotton towels unfurled themselves invitingly and the very air was scented with lemon verbena and wood moss.

With a flourish, he beckoned his mate into the greatly improved atmosphere and flicked his wand to start the warm water flowing into the claw-footed tub.

It had been a hideous struggle, this endless summer between Fifth and Sixth Years. His birthday had passed without the Requirement fulfilled, and Draco had been helpless to fight his inherited urges in the end, despite all his rigorous training and repeated vows of loyalty to the Malfoy creed. It was indescribably excruciating, being sixteen years of age and unmated. The endless double-eights of his infinity were horribly disrupted, and nothing could’ve prepared him properly for the suffering, but he’d still valiantly battled with every atom against his Change, downing the damping potions his godfather Owled him, whispering Incarcerous to bind himself nightly—shifting the very wards of his own home to keep himself prisoner. Alone, his mother having fled as Draco begged her to, he endured hour after tortuous hour without his mate, daily growing weaker against the Call, till in the end he believed they’d find his twisted, damaged body discarded on the foyer floor, palms bloodied from gouging at the warded wood, sightless eyes still wide, hoping for just one glimpse of Harry.

Useless, of course; he’d still tracked down Potter in Surrey; had still taken him in his own bed nearly by force. The end result had been the same, even if he’d not intended it to be; had done all that he humanly could to prevent it…had never wished to put his mate in such excruciating danger merely by existing.

It only remained to be true to his other destiny, then.

“Get in, Harry,” Draco urged his beloved, and handed him carefully into a tub of charmed water, following Potter’s lean body in and wrapping possessive arms about him.

“Colloportus.” This to the door, with a meaningful nod, to bar the wretched Dursleys from entering. It would not do to allow others to see his mate unclothed and vulnerable.

“Careful, Potter! It’s slippery.”

“Draco…”

Potter watched Draco’s long-fingered hands, busy with the Summoned loofah and expensive shower gel, and seemed to not know what more he could say to such bewildering events as opulent baths and ongoing shagging and Malfoy, grim-faced and fastidious and overflowing with insatiable sexual hunger.

“Ah…er. Mal—”

“Harry,” he pressed his mouth up to Potter’s ear—utterly perfect it was, just like the rest of him—“relax. I only want to clean you. You must be itchy after last night—it’s hot.”

“Yeah…well, um, thanks, I guess. Feels good.”

Wincing into Harry’s flyaway hair, Draco didn’t understand why Potter hadn’t the gumption to rail against him, casting hexes and beating him with his naked fists. It terrified Draco to be this potent, this overwhelming. Not even Saint Potter could stand against him—what hope did he have for protecting his mate against the Dark Lord now?

**

The Muggle boy brought a passable breakfast—eventually. Potter watched, wide-eyed, as a whey-faced and bowing Dudley whipped covers off serving platters of steaming hot porridge and eggs, the requested croissants and piles of toast, kippers and bacon and sausages galore. The teapot was marked with the crest of the local ‘nice’ hotel, as was the cutlery, linens and gold-rimmed porcelain. Harry had caught the screech of taxi tires earlier but he’d never expected Dudders to actually follow through on Malfoy’s orders…though perhaps he should have. Veela, according to all his frantic swotting over the past week, were a very, very persuasive race. Indeed, he could attest.

Aunt Petunia poked her nose through the gaping hole where the bedroom door had been at half eleven, prune-faced as usual. Dudley dithered behind her, obviously gagging for another glad-eye at Malfoy.

“Boy! How dare you send my Diddikins out to fetch you pricey takeaway—” she’d begun, but one hard stare from Malfoy shut her up, and Harry had the pleasure of watching his aunt fawn over Draco just as she doted over Dudley. It was absolutely sick-making, actually, and he found he’d trouble keeping his breakfast down due to the unwanted exposure. Entirely unimpressed, Malfoy took it as his right, all this bloody obsequiousness.

His aunt twittered profusely and offered to move them to the master bedroom, which Malfoy took her up on immediately, not liking the bars at Harry’s windows or the peeling paint or the rickety bed he’d enlarged late last night in a fury over Harry’s living conditions. Harry admitted to himself a sneaking sense of anticipatory glee for the ghastly moment Uncle Vernon arrived back at No. 4 Privet Drive from work, but there were hours and hours to get through till then and it wasn’t like he and Malfoy had ever been the best of conversationalists.

Not with each other, at least.

“A walk?” Malfoy cocked an eyebrow, his expression undecipherable. “But you can’t. It’s not safe, Potter.”

“Of course it’s safe, Malfoy. Look, we’re in a suburb, alright? Not much goes on here—erm, well, except dear old Dudders and it seems you’ve got him well in hand. Why not? We’ve nothing to do—“

Malfoy shoved the breakfast dishes over the side of the Dursley’s king-sized bed without a care in the world about shattering crockery. He was all over Harry in a winking, mouth open on Harry’s flinching neck, hands skating down Harry’s ribcage as if he owned it.

“I disagree,” he murmured throatily, and Harry rolled his hips convulsively at the timbre and sucked in a hard breath. “There’s lots we can do right here, Potter. Let me show you.”

And he did.

**

Draco didn’t sleep—he didn’t dare. He watched over Potter instead and tried to map out his next steps. They would need to stay with Harry’s horrid relatives until his birthday, which wasn’t for another week or so. After that, Draco would have the opportunity to do something constructive about improved living arrangements, as he and his new mate could not be parted. The Manor was definitely out, as were any of the many Malfoy properties scattered across the British Isles. He could take Harry to the Continent but the temptation would be too great to remain there indefinitely, and Harry would fret if he weren’t back at Hogwarts in time for the new term. Headmaster Dumbledore would also fret, and acrimoniously, if his pet knight-in-shining-armor was whisked away before whatever bleak showdown the Dark Lord had scheduled, but that was not Draco’s concern. His Father’s Master could go hang, as could all of bloody old England: his job was to keep Potter safe and happy.

Wherein lay the crux of the problem. Harry wasn’t safe and wouldn’t be until the Dark Lord was dead. And only Harry could kill him.

After two hours of reviewing different options—sadly, there weren’t many—Draco decided reluctantly to discard his original plan of going on the run with Potter. It wouldn’t serve to have the entire British Wizarding community after them, not to mention a maddened, half-dead but still very powerful Dark Lord. He’d need equally powerful allies to assist him, and without Dumbledore and his pack of heretic Muggle-loving wizards, there just weren’t many. The Death Eaters were, rather obviously, not even a consideration.

Which lead to the next difficulty: life at Hogwarts. They’d need to be together, he and Potter, so separate Houses were effectively a thing of the past. So was Quidditch—Draco couldn’t bear the thought of competing against his mate in anything and the possibility that Potter might be injured accidently was even more unbearable. Then there was the other two of the Golden Trio, Mudblood and Weasel. He’d need to be at his charming Veela best to overcome the differences between them, but Potter would no doubt want it that way and what Potter wanted, Draco would provide.

That brought his attention to his own friends in Slytherin. Of them all, only four came to mind as possibilities: Pans, Blaise, Goyle and Crabbe. The Parkinson’s were definite Death-Eater material, but their daughter showed little interest in actively supporting the mad wizard they revered. Blaise was ambivalent; his mother and he were interested primarily in wealth, not world domination, and neither seemed good candidates for throwing their lot in with a group of people who’d obviously long ago lost sight of the finer things in life. Crabbe and Goyle, though quiet, sturdy and exceptionally poor students, were not entirely brainless. Their parents were, however, and had nominated the two of them to be foot soldiers in the Dark Lord’s unsacred war—cannon fodder, more likely, and he knew neither featured that career in their futures. Draco was sure he could rely on his Veela senses to tell him if these four were truly trustworthy, and thus potential defectors to the side of the Light—Potter’s side, of course—but that would only be possible after the new school year started, thus they were all four out of the picture in the interim.

He and Potter needed a safe house, then, one that wasn’t tied to the Malfoy name or Draco’s Slytherins. Draco had access to all his Galleons, but an actual domicile—no. He’d have to Owl Dumbledore, as there was no other way around it, and ask if they could return to Hogwarts early, as Harry likely had no properties of his own at this point. He’d have rather contacted his Head of House and godfather, Professor Snape, if he’d his druthers, but Severus couldn’t offer them secure accommodation and only the Headmaster was sufficiently powerful to aid Draco in his quest to shelter Harry.

It galled Draco greatly, to be forced to request aid, but he’d get over it fast, as need’s must. Potter’s wellbeing was far more important than his own pride and until the situation with the Dark Lord was resolved, Draco could only unhappily envision concession after concession on his part. Still, though he might be put out he’d still do it, and willingly enough, as his battered pride was the very least of his problems.

Which brought Draco to the last and most inevitable conclusion. Potter would battle the Dark Lord—perhaps not this year or the next, but at some point—and Draco would need to be there, his powers as both Wizard and Veela at their very highest, in order to effectively protect his mate.

Unsurprisingly, there were only two possible outcomes to such a momentous battle: life or death. And Draco was rather horribly afraid it would be death. After all, he was already here in Muggle Hades, having effectively invaded Potter’s safehold, and he was both Veela and Death Eater spawn, and he’d be damned as a Blue-Eyed Skrewt if all those eventualities didn’t play straight into the Dark Lord’s next insane plan to off Potter.

**

“Um,” Harry said, trying rather desperately to think of some topic of conversation other than Quidditch and the weather. Both subjects were relatively innocuous, true, but they’d been discussed ad nauseum.

“Er…Malfoy? So…how much longer do you think you’ll be, er, visiting?”

Malfoy had Transfigured Aunt Petunia’s dressing table into a writing table and procured parchment and quill from Harry’s trunk, now ensconced in its new place at the foot of the Dursley’s prized antique four-poster. Having dispatched an Owl to persons unknown, he sprawled in elegant relaxation in one of the two armchairs (one had been the dirty-clothes hamper, the other Petunia’s chintz-covered woven-wire stool) placed by the table, an Italian leather-shod foot swinging idly to the faint hum of the AC.

His narrow brows arched in surprise at Harry’s question and immediately slid into a forbidding and familiar frown.

“Visiting, Potter? Hardly. It’s more ‘whither thou goest’ and all that rot. I’m not leaving here without you, if that’s your question.”

“…Oh.” Harry considered this, in light of what he’d learned recently. “But you are going, right? Some time? Soon?”

Grey eyes flashed some emotion, quickly hidden.

“Of course, Potter. We can’t stay here indefinitely; the conditions are abominable.” His thin pink lips made a moue of distaste, though Harry was of the opinion the Dursley’s house, on the whole, had rather greatly improved in the wake of Draco’s arrival. Much nicer bathrooms, at the least.

Harry blinked at Malfoy, green eyes wide and apparently disingenuous. Malfoy glared right back, and brought his swinging foot to a standstill.

“Why do you ask this now?” he demanded, instantly suspicious of any innocent looks on Potter’s part.

“And?”

“And what?” snapped Malfoy, apparently unwilling to cooperate in any way, shape or form.

“And what did you decide, Malfoy? While you were awake for two hours staring holes into me and I was passed out from constant shagging?”

It was nearly four in the afternoon and Uncle Vernon would be home soon. The longer Harry considered his uncle-by-marriage’s likely reaction to Draco’s aggressive takeover of his aunt and uncle’s bedroom, not to mention the actual persons of Vernon’s beloved son and harridan of a fishwife, both of whom were currently off mindlessly procuring them a fine French cuisine supper from the ‘best’ restaurant in town, the more Harry wished to put the whole debacle off for the foreseeable future. His life was already rather stressful, given the Malfoy/Veela complication, and he was still fairly whipped from shagging flat-out at least seven times in less than eighteen hours, so…

“Never mind,” he said quickly, slicing off Malfoy’s imminent return volley at the nub. “Whatever happens is going to happen anyway—let’s go for a walk.”

Draco closed his mouth, opened it and then closed it again, shutting his eyes very tightly and shaking his head, as if he’d had a sudden attack of the migraine.

“No, Potter,” he said softly, but in a tone that brooked no argument. “It’s not safe.”

“Fuck that,” Harry came back like a shot and promptly clambered to feet, first tipping himself out of the depths of the huge feather-topped mattress Malfoy’s apparently believed necessary for a proper rest.

“I’m going if you’re not.”

No.”

Grey eyes snapped open again and Malfoy clenched his fingers very tightly on the armrests of his Transfigured Hepplewhite. He was, Harry could tell, grinding his perfectly straight teeth in frustration.

“You’re not going anywhere, Potter. You must stay inside the bounds, where the wards will protect you.”

“What, Malfoy?” Harry sneered, snagging his cloak from his open trunk and folding it over one arm. “You can’t keep me safe all by yourself, you big bad Veela? Not much of one, are you?”

Draco gasped and turned paler than the parchment on the table beside him. His gaze went watery for a second before he started blinking hard at Harry. One arm of the chair splintered with a resounding crack but Malfoy didn’t jump up and start immediately hexing as he was previously wont to do, nor raise a single finger against Harry.

He smiled instead, cool and sultry, his pointed features taking on an unearthly beauty, and looked up at Harry with grey eyes that could easily conquer a thousand hearts.

“Harry, stay,” he whispered, uncaring of the blood that dripped from his fingers or the talons that tipped them, crunching stray splinters of oak. “Please stay with me; you know you want to.”

There were feathers; tiny puffs of down raining gently ‘round them. Harry dropped his cloak and took a step forward, dragging his feet as if through treacle or mud.

“Ah…I—“ he stammered, “want to—you see, it’s like this. Malfoy.”

“Harry,” murmured his arch-nemesis, and his voice was a siren’s call. No man—no Wizard—could resist it. “Let me hold you, Harry.”

Another step toward Malfoy on Harry’s part, reluctant and wary. He was treading on his father’s cloak, not noticing.

“Malfoy! Stop this! You need to…just…stop.” Harry’s reply was rusty as old nails and scratchy like barbed wire.

“Come here, Harry. Come to me—I want you.”

“Oh, god, Malfoy—Draco! That’s not what I want—I don’t want—you—listen!”

And it ceased, the Veela allure chopped off abruptly, as if Draco had flipped a Muggle light switch inside himself and then all Harry could see before him was his old enemy heedlessly dripping blood all over Aunt Petunia’s faded carpet and flinching as if he’d been soundly slapped and he needed to deal with that right now and get them out the door asap

**

Draco shuddered where he sat, teeth chattering. His chest was so very tight, and it pained him. Every cell of his body ached, jittering madly from the force of his mate’s rejection. But he couldn’t stop looking, watching Potter, hoping for the return of that welcome feeling he’d been keeping close to his heart. The ‘rightness’ he needed more than magic or oxygen or food or safety. Harry.

Harry.

“Oh, shite!” Potter exclaimed and dashed forward, his wand already in hand. “Gotta stop the bleeding; gotta stop—Episky!”

Draco hadn’t even felt the searing pain in his hand, or noticed the laceration across one wrist. If Potter wanted him, it’d be as nothing—not even a scratch. Nothing could harm a mated Veela.

Nothing but his mate.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it—Draco! Why isn’t this working?” Potter shouted, his wand-free fingers finding the slice across the vein and pinching it shut. “Episky! Episky!”

But without his mate, Draco might as well be dead. Safer that way, really, for Potter. Better off—things were blurry—Harry would be thankful, not to have to deal with him on top of everything else—

“Fuck, Draco, don’t you dare die on me! You can’t do this, you arsehole—I won’t let you! Episky!!”

One last touch, then, to speed him on his way. Harry’s skin was so—Draco was glad he’d had the chance to touch it, with love. With love—

Couldn’t see well—oh, there was Harry—so green, those eyes. He loved—

“You sodding bastard—stop fucking bleeding, Draco! Episky! Reparo!”

Potter’s face was very close; Draco could feel the heat of his body faintly through the cold wall that surrounded him—there, that was Harry’s neck, his shoulder—his Mark. Under his fingertips. Just there.

His mate. Once.

“I know you can—I know it—you’re a fucking Veela, Malfoy—Veela’s don’t just curl up and die!“ Potter was talking, talking. Draco loved Harry’s voice, even when it was angry—frantic—

“Don’t fucking do this to me—I just found you; I don’t wanna lose you, Draco—please! Stay with me—stay!”

Oh.

That was different, then. If Harry wanted—if Potter wanted.

Harry’s mouth was on his, lips sliding across them, tongue forging in. Warmth again. Welcome.

Yes.

**

The Mark glowed like a beacon, bright and silver, and the blood stopped seeping through Harry’s fingers, pooling heavily on the floral roses beneath them.

“Stupid—sodding—idiot—Veela!” Harry gasped out, in between kisses. The blood Vanished entirely and Draco was moving in his chair, undamaged hand clawing upward, seeking Harry’s hair.

“Harry—“

“Don’t—ever—fucking—do that—to me—again!” Potter was biting more than kissing; little tormenting nips that drove Draco mad with desire. Want—need.

“Love you, love you—“ Draco managed to get a word or two past Harry’s devouring lips and began the happy process of divesting his mate of his clothing, talons cutting through cotton as if it were butter.

“Git!” Potter was straddling Draco’s lap, waving his wand insanely. “Prat! Fuckwit!”

Clothes were vanished—good thing, that. Draco thought he’d drill right through his lightweight wool trousers, otherwise.

“Put it in me, arsehole!” Harry demanded, wriggling into position, and Draco obliged.

“Now, fu—!“ and Draco took Harry’s mouth back and plundered it in return, searching out all the unspoken words, promises, sweet things all.

And the Mark glowed and glowed, undimmed even as they shouted and sighed, Draco keeping Potter from falling on his clumsy arse at the very last moment of release.

“Stay...with…me. Git—just stay.”

**

They ended up sneaking out for Potter’s walk after dinner—passable fare, in Draco’s learned opinion, but not up to the Manor’s house elves’ standards, and the accompanying wine purely uninspired—huddled closely together under Harry’s marvelous cloak.

Draco was still annoyed about leaving the safety of the Muggle excuse for housing, but he went anyway. Potter wanted it. So…

“‘Whither thou goest’” he might’ve muttered, scowling.

“It’s perfectly safe, you pansy. Nothing to be scared of, Malfoy.”

“Really? Then the Dementor rumour was just that—a rumour? You made it up to get attention, Potter?”

“Shut up! Merlin, Draco. You’re a right pain in the arse. Come on.”

They hurried down Privet Drive to get out of sight of the Dursley’s and their perpetually prying neighbors and then Harry whipped the cloak from their heads and shrunk it.

“I don’t believe you’re supposed to doing magic outside of school, Potter,” Draco admonished, in his best Prefect’s voice. “You’re not seventeen yet, now are you?”

“And neither are you, twat—certainly didn’t prevent you from remodeling my aunt and uncle’s house, did it? Besides—I’m your mate. They can’t stop me.”

The cloak was shoved into Harry’s jeans pocket and the wand tucked behind one ear. He linked arms with Malfoy and proceeded, clearly feeling rather jaunty.

They strolled, admiring the first blush of sunset across the sky. The heat of the day rose up from the tarmac to greet them, but Draco found it not so oppressive after the coolness of their recently acquired bedroom.

Turning, Harry led the way to the playground, the scene of so many unhappy meetings with his cousin. It was still a good place to think…and to talk, now that he had someone of his very own to talk with. Well, more bicker, but whatever. It kept him sharp.

“Oh, look!”

Harry pointed, gesturing toward a tiny furtive movement under one of the close-trimmed yews.

“Hedgehog. Make sure you don’t eat it, ferret.”

“I’m eating you, Potter, in case you haven’t noticed.” With a quiet push, Draco sent his Veela magic questing farther out from the bubble boundary he generally kept wrapped discreetly around Potter, testing the shifting air currents, the snuffling creature turning up insects. No harm there, and not for leagues. Not yet. Hopefully, not for a long while to come.

“Hum.” Harry smiled, enjoying the gnawing at his neck. He grinned and tugged at Draco’s perfect hair.

“Prickly little beasts—cute, though. That’s what Crouch Jr. should’ve turned you into—a hedgehog.”

“Bite your tongue, Potter, or I’ll bite it for you.”

“You did that already, Draco. Oh—yeah. There. There’s good.”

A moment passed, hushed, and the dusk fell a little harder.

“Taste so good, Harry. Love you—“

“Yeah. Um. Me, too. Love you, I mean.”

Their foreheads rested together, grey eyes glimmering into green, white-gold tangled into soot black. A few feet away the young hedgehog still rummaged for supper, and it was peaceful in Little Whinging.

“How—why, Harry?” It was easier in the half-light to ask that, or so Draco thought. He knew it was the Veela Potter was responding to—didn’t expect otherwise, of course. Potter wasn’t like him, yearning stupidly after…things for years and then really needing them, simply to survive. So ironic, his life.

“Dumbledore Owled me, just last week. With books on Veela. Pamphlets. Lots of stuff, really. About you—what you were going through. I, um.”

Draco lifted his head away sharply, breaking contact, straightening his spine in the accepted Malfoy manner. This was worse than he’d thought. He’d thought, believed, arriving out of the blue like that and Potter accepting without question, there’d be a reasonable chance…maybe. To develop attraction into something more. In the future. Not that he was leaving or anything. They were mates, and pride was by the wayside in any case.

“He knew I—um. Would want it. You.”

“Potter?”

Harry closed his eyes for just one second and then opened them to meet his mate’s seacrhing grey ones with a very steady gaze.

“Wanted you—want you. For a long time, Draco. I’ve been Marked for a very long time.”

“Harry.”

And Draco’s voice, soft and incredulous, joyful, was a siren’s call, and the light in his silvery eyes could mend a thousand hearts, and in this hedgehog-patrolled reality there was no Death Eater spawn or Veela, nor even the smoggy smudge of an as yet unrevealed role for a junior Malfoy in Voldemort’s latest, greatest convoluted scheme to off Harry Potter hovering on the far, clear horizon.

There was just Draco, and there was his Harry, together, fingertips entwined, shoulders bumping as the chains on the swing-set rattled. A warm summer night, resting easy on a neatly kept suburban playground. And a lone hedgehog, all uncurled beneath the privet and happily consuming wasps.

Fin


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