Chapter One: Trouble at the Burrow

Harry Potter stared at the fireplace in the sitting room of number 4 Privet Drive. His Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia glared from the kitchen but otherwise said nothing. Harry knew they hated being up this early; he also knew they didn't trust him. His trunk and broom were at his side, a caged Hedwig atop the trunk. With shaky hands, he ripped open the envelope containing the precious Floo powder. A temporary connection would open at 5 am, arranged by Mr Weasley. That was three minutes away.

The shouting and arguing had happened five weeks earlier, and Harry had paid for this quiet moment with hard labour. Aunt Petunia's garden had never looked better, the house was freshly painted--inside and out -- every window sparkled, and every surface that could be wiped clean produced a near mirror image.

But the aches and pains of his summer labours were washed away as adrenaline swept through him. Harry would be sixteen in two days and for the first time he would be able to spend his birthday with friends.

While the final minutes ticked away, Harry acknowledged he was ambivalent about leaving. Certainly he hated his time at the Dursleys, but at least here he wasn't surrounded by spells, ghosts, or talking portraits -- in other words, anything magical. And for the few weeks of summer, Harry needed that temporary withdrawal. His own heavy memories of Sirius threatened to suffocate him. He didn't need the constant reminders life in the wizarding world would provide. He'd been grateful for his dull, but labour intensive existence. Dwelling on Sirius' death awakened a grief that only monotonous, mindless chores could dampen.

He missed his friends though, and he wanted to know about Voldemort; his scar had been surprisingly dormant since he returned to Privet Drive. Harry was able to relay messages by using a magical scroll book Dumbledore sent him. But he wasn't to send Hedwig out and no owls were allowed to come to him. Instead, he wrote in the charmed book and his words appeared in a complementary scroll the headmaster kept. The headmaster never wrote back, instead a glowing blue rune appeared on the cover each time he shut the scroll book -- a confirmation his message had been sent.

Now that everyone finally believed Voldemort was back, Dumbledore thought his plans would become desperate and the headmaster didn't want to risk Harry being discovered through a trail of owls in a concentrated Muggle area. Yesterday though, at long last, a single owl from Ron and Mr Weasley containing the Floo powder had arrived, along with permission from the headmaster to spend the rest of his summer at the Burrow. It was this that jerked him out of his melancholic haze; he was more than ready to rejoin the wizarding world, his friends, and his real life.

Aunt Petunia's hideous cherub-draped clock on the mantle chimed. Without a glance at his blood family, he stepped close to the fireplace, tossed in the power, shouted "The Burrow" and felt the familiar pull and whoosh. Seconds later he landed arse first covered in soot on the floor of the Weasley kitchen.

"Harry!" Ron's voice called.

Mrs Weasley rushed over. "Here Harry, let's clean you up," she said.

Harry's face was wiped clean of ash with a damp cloth. He was then bent forward and enveloped in a soft, warm bosom that nearly suffocated him. He was too embarrassed to tell her to let go.

"Mum," Ron complained. "Leave him alone."

"Now Ronald, Harry can do with a bit of a hug, can't you dear?" She said, looking at Harry closely.

"Um, yeah sure," Harry mumbled.

Ron dragged him away. "Come on up." The two boys left the kitchen and ran up the stairs to Ron's room.

The house was quiet. "Dad's asleep and Ginny's visiting Luna," Ron yawned as they entered the familiar mess that was Ron's bedroom. He flopped on the bed and waved a hand at the empty one.

"I’m knackered, mate. I need sleep." He yawned again. "I had to save you from mum though," he whispered, and gave Harry a sheepish grin.

"She's a bit, uh, hungry for kids. Only Ginny and me left in the house now." He yawned yet again. "Didn't want her mauling you."

Harry, filled with a mix of relief to be there and irritation at Ron for wanting to go back to sleep, simply nodded.

"Sure Ron, it's too early to talk anyway."

"Yeah," mumbled Ron sleepily, already getting comfortable under the covers.

Five minutes later, Harry drifted to sleep listening to Ron's rhythmic snoring, but not before he noticed Mrs Weasley poke her head in the room and out again.


"Harry," Ron called.

"Huh, what?" Harry woke up, grabbed his glasses and faced Ron.

A dizzy smile covered Ron's freckled face, and Harry matched it with one of his own. His earlier irritation vanished completely.

"Hermione will be here this afternoon," Ron said as they both scrambled out of bed, and neither boy bothered to change their rumpled clothing.

The savoury smells of breakfast, all the more aromatic because Harry had not been the one cooking, greeted them. Molly Weasley bustled around the kitchen with familiar ease, dodging various whirling cooking gadgets that continued to stir and chop, mix and measure.

Harry gave Mrs Weasley a wide smile as he sat down. Just being around the Weasleys comforted him more than he had ever expected. Sirius-pains, as he had begun calling them, were still present, but the pain was blunted as the love of family surrounded him in a nimbus of peace.

"All right there, Harry?" Ron asked.

"Fine Ron, just glad to be here," Harry said, as he stood and stretched. He ambled over to grab some toast.

"Hmm," Ron's mouth was stuffed with food.

"Goodness Harry, look how skinny you've become!" Mrs Weasley exclaimed. She grabbed his arm and tutted. She turned to snatch a stray floating tea bag. Ron and Harry heard her mutter angrily. "How anyone can not feed a growing boy is beyond me."

Harry knew the extra work he'd done, coupled with the usual lack of food had caused him to drop an alarming amount of weight. He turned to look at himself in the mirror he remembered being over the mantelpiece, but it was gone.

"Where's the mirror?" he asked.

Ron avoided his eyes, but Mrs Weasley answered, still cooking, "Oh, I'm afraid there was an accident a few weeks ago, and it broke," she said sadly.

"Oh, all right then." Harry shrugged. "I hope I can still play Seeker. Well, that is, if I can still play." He hoped that with Umbridge gone, he'd be able to play Quidditch again.

Ron slathered jam on his toast. "I'm sure. Besides, the team will want you back."

A loud crash startled them. They turned to Mrs Weasley, who was picking up a frying pan. "Sorry my dears, I don't know what's got into me." She laughed shakily.

"Need help there Mum?" Ron asked.

"No, you two go on. Eat up!"

Ron grabbed a few biscuits and the two boys strolled into the sitting room.

"Look, I know your mum's gonna be upset if I take Ginny's place on the team," Harry whispered. "And Ginny'll probably be mad too, but, well you know, right?"

Ron nodded. "Yeah, but Ginny's fine. She'd rather be Chaser anyway. She'll understand. Mum too, honestly."

Harry sat down, slightly relieved, and noticed the Daily Prophet on the floor. The word Malfoy caught his eye so he grabbed the paper. Draco Malfoy's pale pointed face graced the cover, and a huge mansion filled the space behind him. His arms were crossed and his usual sour expression of distaste was evident.

"What's this?" Harry asked.

"Huh? Let's see." Ron leaned over Harry's shoulder and read the headline aloud.

"Malfoy Heir Finally Found. Maybe they'll stop putting his stupid face on the cover now," Ron groused. "All summer long, it's been Malfoy this and Malfoy that. I'm sick of the tosser." He snorted. "Even Ginny's been following the stories."

Harry barely heard him; he was skimming the article.
Draco Malfoy, heir to the Malfoy riches and only son of confirmed Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy, was found hiding in one of the lofts of the famed estate, Malfoy Manor. After the disappearance of Narcissa Malfoy earlier this summer, an extensive search in efforts to find the boy proved useless.

"That place is a death-trap. There are whole sections of the house we can't even access," Merry Stickerboom, the Child Services representative assigned to the case, declared weeks ago. With the help of Hogwarts Professor Severus Snape, the boy was finally discovered last night. He has been made a ward of Nymphadora Tonks, one of his last remaining free relatives.
There was more but Harry stopped reading. He felt sorry for Tonks. He doubted Malfoy would ask her to make funny faces complete with strangely shaped noses.

"Poor Tonks." Ron laughed.

"What about Tonks?" Arthur Weasley walked in the room, hastily pulling a cloak around him. "Harry!"

Mr Weasley shook Harry's hand vigorously. "It's so good to see you again my boy! I trust your time wasn't too awful with your Aunt and Uncle?"

"The same," Harry said, shrugging.

Ron thrust the paper at his father. "They found Malfoy."

Mr Weasley read the article rapidly, and made humming noises while he finished. "Well, Tonks will do her best, though I imagine the boy's a handful."

"It will be difficult for Ms Tonks, that's certainly true," Mrs Weasley said, entering the room with a plate of food.

Ron pulled out the sports section and joined Harry on the couch.

Harry read the other headlines on the cover as Mr Weasley flipped through the rest of the Prophet. More Death Eaters Found!and Signs Your Neighbour Is a Death Eater, by Emory Bootblacker, former Auror, Order of Merlin, Third Class."

"What's all this, Mr Weasley?" Harry asked, pointing out the headlines.

Mr Weasley flipped the paper over and sighed. "This, Harry, is why I'm never at home anymore." He cast a swift, guilty look at his wife. Mrs Weasley merely snorted.

"You see, Harry," Mr Weasley began, sitting down with the two boys on the couch. "Now that the Ministry has acknowledged You-Know-Who's return, Fudge has gone in the opposite direction. Homes are being raided on the slightest suspicion. The holding cells at the Ministry are filled, and those of us who don't even work in that division are being pulled to help investigate."

"Investigate what?" Harry asked.

"Death Eater claims. Every day another dozen people are reported. Even Professor Snape was detained a week ago."

Harry felt a surge of satisfaction at that. "Did they find anything on him?" he asked.

Ron choked and biscuit crumbs sprayed all over the Quidditch article he was reading.

"Ronald," Mrs Weasley complained.

"Professor Snape is in the Order," Mr Weasley said, his eyes sad and disapproving as he stared at Harry. "He's back at Hogwarts now."

Harry turned away, embarrassed.

Mr Weasley cleared his throat and stood up. "I'm off to the Ministry."

"Have some food before you go at least," Mrs Weasley said coldly, pushing the plate his way.

Mr Weasley grunted, dropped the paper unceremoniously on the floor, and absently plucked a bit of toast from the plate. He didn't look at his wife, not even to kiss her goodbye. "Well then, I'm off. See you later." He Disapparated with a loud pop. Mrs Weasley sighed loudly and left the room.

Harry looked to Ron, who was studying the newspaper article a little too intently. "What's with your mum and dad?"

"Just leave it Harry," Ron grunted.

Harry didn't know what to say. It was clear something was going on with Ron's parents, but Harry wasn't about to press for more information.

"Want to fly?"

"Yeah, let's," Ron answered with a grateful smile.

After a few hours of strenuous flying and Snitch chasing, Ron and Harry collapsed in the garden and watched the gnomes sneaking about. The air was mildly muggy so Harry pulled his shirt out and fanned himself.

"Why was Malfoy hiding?"

"Dad says he must have realised when his mum went missing that he wouldn't be allowed to stay there. He must hate being with Tonks." Ron sounded happy.

Harry was glad to think of Malfoy unhappy. He ignored the tiny dart of guilt that poked at him for not feeling sorry for Malfoy. He knew exactly how it felt to be without a mother and, he realized with sudden clarity, it would be worse for Malfoy, because he’d had his mother, and then lost her. Well, she was missing, not dead. She was probably a Death Eater anyway, so good riddance, Harry concluded.

"Mum and dad have been fighting for a couple of weeks now," Ron said softly.

Harry watched a gnome pop up and gaze stupidly at them.

"I don't even know how it started. Percy's still the world's biggest prat, and Fred and George moved out three weeks ago. But they were fine then." Ron rolled over on to his stomach and began to pluck idly at the high grass. "They had a huge row the night dad said he arranged for you to come. That's how the mirror in the kitchen broke. Mum threw a pot at it."

Harry's stomach was alive with butterflies and he couldn't keep the catch out of his voice. "She didn't want me to come?"

"No, it wasn't anything like that. It wasn't you, I'm sure. That's just when I heard them yelling at each other the first time." He sighed and flopped onto his back. "I think that's why Ginny didn't wait for you to come around. It's weird around here. Dad's never home and mum is so clingy. Well, more than usual," he added.

"I was thinking Harry," Ron began. "I was wondering --"


"It's nothing." Ron mumbled.

"What is it Ron? Tell me," Harry said.

"You know that Grimmauld Place isn't the Order's headquarters anymore, right? I heard Dad telling mum about it, something about Kreacher and Mrs Malfoy, before she went missing, anyway. Only Professor Lupin lives there now."

"Yeah," Harry said thickly, his throat closing, and he looked at the gnomes again.

"When Hermione comes, maybe we could go there. I mean, it's more your place than Lupin's, isn't it?"


"No, it's not your place, or no we can't go?"

"No, Ron. I just can't yet, okay. Don't ask me again," Harry said firmly.

"But Harry, I just thought you might want to--"

Harry jumped up and went back into the house. He couldn't believe Ron had pushed him like that. Did he really think he was over Sirius already? It was eerily quiet in the Burrow. For the first time in his life, he wished he was washing dishes back at number 4 Privet Drive.


Harry knew he was taking a risk. Hermione would arrive any minute; Ron could walk in any second. He was under the covers in the twins' bedroom and his hands drifted lazily down. He eased down his trousers and pulled out his cock. Wanking, along with house work and heavy weeding, was the one other activity that took his mind away from depressing matters, albeit briefly. He bit his lip as he stroked quietly. He imagined Padma Patil, his most recent wank girl. He'd stopped thinking of Cho ages ago; whenever he saw her in his mind, all he saw was a tear streaked face.

He frowned in concentration; it seemed like this was getting more difficult each time. Padma's pretty face morphed into Lavender Brown's and her long legs, then into Hermione's burgeoning curvy figure.

He stroked faster, panting now. Unbidden, Malfoy's pale face surfaced, a perfect replica of the image in the Daily Prophet. Alarmed beyond belief, he shuddered and came. A memory of Malfoy, sweaty after a Quidditch match, complete with a snarl on his face, burned into Harry's brain as the last few spurts dribbled over his fingers.

Harry shook with dismay, shocked to the core. He tried to rationalize what had just happened. He'd just read an article about Malfoy; that had to be it. He wasn't queer, and even if he was, it wouldn't be over Draco bloody Malfoy. Not wanting to waste another thought on Malfoy, Harry cleaned up and went downstairs to wait with Ron for Hermione.

Mrs Weasley greeted him at the foot of the stairs. "Come for a bit of tea, Harry."

He followed her into the sitting room, where he found Ron on the couch. Their eyes met and Ron shrugged his shoulders in apology. Harry took a sip of tea and barely nodded. He wasn't going to fight with Ron.

A loud noise from the fireplace drew their attention.

"Hermione!" Ron shouted, and jumped up to run to the kitchen.

"I'm here," yelled Hermione. "And so are two owls. Oh my goodness! Ron, Harry! Come in here quick!" she squealed in excitement.

Harry and Mrs Weasley were quick on Ron's heels. Hermione, with her trunk, Crookshanks, and piles of books around her, grinned when she saw them.

Hermione and Ron both held identical official looking cream coloured scrolls.

"It's our marks from the O.W.L. examinations. It has to be," Hermione breathed, nearly reverently.

A beautiful white and grey owl, almost a twin to Hedwig, dropped a final scroll in Harry's waiting hand. Ron clutched his parchment and sat back on the couch, red faced and nervous looking. The second owl, one they recognised as a Hogwarts owl, dropped three school supply lists.

"Go on then, open it up Ron!" Mrs Weasley demanded excitedly, eyes shining in anticipation.

Hermione sat next to Ron slowly, breathing carefully. "I don't want to look. I'm too nervous."

"What are you worried about Hermione? You know you'll get an 'O' on everything." Ron said irritably.

Hermione shot him a dark look that quickly softened. "You think so?"

Ron rolled his eyes. "Of course."

Harry sat on the other side of Hermione, and carefully peeled back the wax on his own scroll.

Dear Mr. Potter,
    Below you will find the marks you earned on your Ordinary Wizarding Levels examinations.

Astronomy Acceptable
Care of Magical CreaturesOutstanding
Charms Exceeds Expectations
Defence Against the Dark ArtsOutstanding
Divination Poor
Herbology Acceptable
History of Magic Acceptable
Potions Exceeds Expectations
Transfigurations Exceeds Expectations

Department of Magical Examinations
Care of Hogwarts School of Wizardry

Before Harry could react, Hermione's shriek filled the air. "Oh! I have to tell my Mum! She'll be so pleased. I'll be right back." Within seconds she was gone through the fireplace again.

"Well," said Ron, "I think we know how many 'Outstandings' Hermione got."

"How'd you do in Defence?" Harry was sure Ron received an 'O', if in nothing else.

Ron's smile was huge, "An 'O', and that's not the only one. I got one in Care of Magical Creatures." He passed the scroll to Mrs Weasley, who snatched it eagerly.

"Oh, Ronnie this is wonderful! Just wait till I tell your father! I must --" her happy face wilted and Harry felt bad for them both as Ron frowned in embarrassment.

Mrs Weasley ignored his reaction and brightly declared, "Tonight we'll have a special treat." She gave Ron his scroll and left the boys alone.

Harry and Ron compared scrolls, and laughed together when they saw matching marks for each course listed.

"I can't believe it," Harry said, pointing at his Potions mark.

"Yeah," agreed Ron.

Harry was surprised, but he knew it still wasn't high enough to get into Advanced Potions. He briefly worried about this development, but put it out of his mind. He'd sulked enough this summer.

Hermione flooed back in, still clutching her scroll, her face flushed pink with pleasure. Harry felt a quick guilty flutter in his stomach, as less than ten minutes earlier he had pulled off imagining her. Again Malfoy's face rose in his mind. Harry scowled, and concentrated on what Ron and Hermione were saying.

"-- been found. I know, I read it this morning in the Prophet," Hermione said, and then thoughtfully, "I wonder how Malfoy did in Ancient Runes."

"Never mind him," Harry said hotly. "Let's plan our trip to Diagon Alley."

"We can do that later Harry; we need to plan your birthday party," Hermione said.

"You'd rather plan my party than buy school supplies?" Harry said incredulously.

"Well," Hermione said, surprising them both, "it's early yet in the summer and," she paused and said in a small voice, "I know you've never had a party before and I want it to be special."

Harry turned to Ron, who said, "Harry, where is Hermione?"

"I dunno. Maybe she's at the library and this is a Polyjuiced impostor."

"Honestly, you two! You'd think I've never relaxed before," she huffed.

"Hermione," Ron said in a serious voice, "you haven't."

Harry laughed at Hermione's scowl.

"Come on, Hermione," Ron said, pulling her to her feet. "Let's work on Harry's party."

For the next couple of hours, Hermione carefully penned invitations. Mrs Weasley supplied the three with tea and biscuits. She sat with them and created the party menu. Ron and Harry suggested different names and different dishes.

“If we invite Colin Creevey to the party he’ll take great pictures,” suggested Ron.

“I wouldn’t leave him out,” Hermione insisted when Harry groaned at Ron’s mention of ‘Creevey’ and ‘party’ in the same sentence.

Ron scanned the list of names Hermione had been adding to while she worked on the invitations. "Okay, that's it for students, anyone else?"

Harry thought out loud, "Hagrid, Dumbledore, Sirius--" He couldn't stop the word before it tumbled out.

Mrs Weasley looked up sharply. "Oh, Harry," she said.

Hermione's eyes sparkled with tears, and Ron cleared his throat nervously. "Uh, what about some of the Order members Harry?"

Harry nodded quickly, grateful for Ron's friendship. "Yeah, how about Remus and Tonks too?" Hermione bit her lip, bent her head and wrote the names down.

"Anyone else?" she asked.

Harry shook his head. Mrs Weasley looked at the list, and a bit of tension crossed her brow. "Quite a list here Harry; that's a lot of food."

"Oh, I'll pay for the party!" Harry insisted. She waved a hand at him distractedly. "That's fine dear." She wandered out of the room still holding the list.

"Mrs Weasley, I need the list please. I'm not done with the invitations." Hermione sounded embarrassed she had to ask. Ron frowned fiercely, slumping down in his seat.

Mrs Weasley gave it back saying, "Just leave the list and invitations on the table when you're done my dear." She left.

"Ron, what is wrong with--"


"Why are you yelling at--"

"Just leave it, Hermione!" Ron stomped out of the room.

Harry quickly told Hermione what he'd seen earlier and how Ron wanted to go to number 12 Grimmauld Place.

"They'd never let us go alone anyway, even if you wanted to go," Hermione said reasonably.

Harry began to wonder if staying at the Burrow was still a good idea.

That night he dreamed of Sirius.

Chapter Two: A Birthday to Remember

Harry woke up early on the morning of July 31st. He could hear Ron softly snoring and the unmistakable sound of Mrs Weasley tinkering in the kitchen. Hermione, Ginny and Luna were bunking in Ginny's room and his morning wood swelled as his imagination went into overdrive. With a quick glance at Ron's sleeping form, he ducked into the bathroom for some privacy.

Before settling down, he noticed a recent edition the Daily Prophet on the floor. Malfoy's face sneered at him from the cover. Harry swore, instantly angry and inexplicably rock-hard. He snatched the paper and turned it over. Scowling but still needy, he stroked himself quickly and forced himself to imagine girls. Any girl. It was ultimately a long and frustrating toss, but at least Malfoy's face didn't appear in his mind this time.

After his bath, while getting ready for the day back in Ron's room, Harry peered in the mirror to look for evidence of whiskers. He pressed close up to the glass. A flash of movement in the mirror caused his heart to beat triple-time. He whirled around, but no one was there. Ron had gone into the bathroom a few minutes earlier. His heart still pounding, he stood back and looked at the mirror again. Nothing.

Harry tried to ignore the rising feeling of unease, but it stayed with him even after he finished dressing. He darted a quick look at the mirror once more, and felt extremely foolish when he met his own startled reflection.

"Don't worry! No spots, but PLEASE, fix your hair!" the mirror screeched.

"Um, hello there," Harry said hesitantly, "anyone in there with you?"

"Brush your hair," it admonished.

Harry sighed, finger-combed his hair uselessly, and went down to the kitchen.

Mrs Weasley, in her usual place at the centre of the kitchen, greeted Harry cheerfully. He snatched some sausages and waited for Ron. Ginny and Luna strolled in lazily, giggling and murmuring. Harry eyed them warily. Since they'd arrived, the two had been inseparable, smirking and secretive. Ginny had barely spoken to Harry; instead she had snatched up editions of the Daily Prophet, seemingly entranced with the articles on Draco Malfoy.

The girls were both wearing bright blue elegantly tailored robes. Mrs Weasley had taken them to a new dress shop the day before to buy robes for Harry's party. Hermione had gone with them and she had returned with lilac robes. She blushed rather prettily when she told Ron and Harry sheepishly that even though the cut was archaic, it was exquisitely fashioned and coming back in style.

Ron's and Harry's eyes both had glazed over, but she had continued. The store was called Fantastic Frocks, and was packed with customers, she told them; girls were there from all the school houses. Madam Malkin's was still the only place to get student robes, but the new shop had such gorgeous every day and special occasion dress robes and was galleons cheaper than Madam Malkin's. It was rumoured that Madam Scurdonna was an old school rival of Madam Malkin's and was said to be undercutting her on purpose.

"Competition is good for the economy, and now everyone can wear fancy robes if they want to," Hermione added thoughtfully.

At that point, Ron said, "I know all about that store. Mum and Ginny discovered it weeks ago. We found that place when we helped the twins move into their joke shop; it's right next door. It's great because whenever Mum and Ginny want to shop there, I get to hang out with Fred and George and test the new tricks." He frowned at the end of that statement, as if only just realising what testing for his brothers entailed

Harry was brought back to the present by Luna's breathy "Good morning." She smiled dreamily at Harry, eyes bright and face flushed.

Ginny poked her in the side and whispered in her ear. Luna blushed and laughed hysterically. Mrs Weasley slammed a large wheel of cheese meant for Harry's party on the table, startling the three teens.

"Ginny dear, why don't you and Luna go outside? I'd like to talk to Harry alone," she said, falsely sweet.

"Sure thing, Mum!" Ginny said brightly. Before dragging Luna away, she turned to Harry. "Happy Birthday Harry!"

Harry swallowed nervously, and wished Ron and Hermione would come down. He had a feeling Mrs Weasley wanted to talk about his slip when he mentioned Sirius' name. But he couldn't just get up and walk out. Mrs Weasley was the closest thing to a mother he'd ever had.

"Harry, Happy Birthday my dear." She rested a hand on his arm, and squeezed it. Harry smiled weakly.

"Thank you," he said.

"Sirius Black was one of my oldest and best friends, and if you ever want to talk about him, I'll listen. I may even have a few amusing stories to share."

Harry blinked slowly, at a total loss. Sirius was one of Mrs Weasley's best friends? When had this happened? Before he could question that, she spoke again.

"And I thought perhaps, you could, if you wanted to, that is -- you could call me mum. I wouldn't mind at all," she finished earnestly.

Harry's mouth dropped open. "What?" he choked out, shocked and uncomfortable all at once.

"I know this last year has been horrible for you, and then you getting packed off to your horrid Aunt and Uncle. Well, they were hardly any help I'm sure, and I wanted you to know that I'm here and you can talk to me if ever you need it."

Harry didn't know what to say. He was still thunderstruck at the suggestion of him calling her mum, never mind her assertion that Sirius was one her best friends. The last time he'd seen them together, she'd called Sirius all sorts of names and had clearly questioned the motivation of his relationship with Harry. Harry is not James! she had yelled.

Ron's timely entrance saved him from answering. The red-haired boy mumbled a good morning. Harry was the only one to see Mrs Weasley's lips tighten. Her constant hovering was making him anxious and he again pondered the wisdom of staying at the Burrow. He had another alternative, but Grimmauld Place was too entwined with his sorrow to be a viable place.

"All right there, Harry?" Ron questioned.

"What? Oh, yeah. I'm fine," Harry said, unclenching the hands that were gripping his cup tightly.

Mrs Weasley left, murmuring something about party food as she walked out. He looked at Ron gratefully. At least he was still normal.

"Harry, everyone's gone mental here," Ron complained. "We need to go somewhere else."

"I agree," Hermione chimed in, as she walked into the kitchen and joined them at the table. She lowered her voice. "Ginny and Luna are acting very strangely." She leaned in, and Harry and Ron bent their heads to hers.

"I don't understand what's got into them. They don't want to talk about school, or the D.A. group, or even my O.W.L. marks. They want to talk about boys, which is perfectly normal, but Neville Longbottom? You should hear what they're saying, especially Luna -- it's unnerving." Hermione shuddered in obvious distaste.

"They talk about Neville?" Ron asked in disbelief.

Hermione nodded. "And Ginny doesn't even want to play Quidditch this year."

"What?" Harry and Ron exclaimed in unison.

"Yes, I do," Ginny said coolly, as she and Luna walked in. "What are you on about Hermione?"

Harry shared a quick look with Ron, who then glared at his sister. "Why would Hermione say you didn't want to play?"

"I don't know, Ron!" Ginny snapped.

"You said last night that Quidditch was a waste of time. Honestly, make up your mind," Hermione said casually, clearly trying to cover up her embarrassment at being caught gossiping.

Ginny leaned into Hermione's personal space. "I'm a girl, Hermione. I'm allowed to change my mind." She straightened back up, her arms across her chest.

Luna giggled again as she peeled a banana. She held the fruit in her mouth rather suggestively, Harry noticed, seemingly unaware of her lewdness.

Hermione raised her eyebrows at Harry, a clear 'see what I mean' expression on her face.

Ron choked on his tea, turned scarlet, mumbled "Silly girls" and quit the kitchen in a hurry.

Luna giggled at Ron's departure and smiled vaguely at the banana.

Ginny sat in Ron's vacated chair and declared airily, "I do hope you can play Quidditch this year, Harry. I'm sure Dra--Malfoy misses playing against you."

"What is with you bringing up Malfoy constantly?" Hermione asked, clearly exasperated.

Harry was curious too. Ginny's interest in Draco the past two days was thinly disguised; she had wormed his name into nearly every conversation.

"Ginny fancies him," Luna said, and giggled yet again.

"How dare you suggest such a thing?" Ginny yelled.

"Girls!" Mrs Weasley reprimanded, coming back in with an armload of pineapples. "Today is Harry's day. Could you please have your disagreement elsewhere?"

"Yes, Mum," Ginny murmured, shooting a dark glance at Luna.

"Oh, yes. I wouldn't dream of ruining Harry's birthday," Luna said seriously.

Hermione rolled her eyes at Harry, barely containing her annoyance.

"Now," Mrs Weasley said briskly, "we have party preparations to attend to! The guests will arrive a few hours after lunch. That gives us enough time to get the house, the food, and ourselves ready."

Harry blinked when Hermione threw her arms around him. “Oh! Happy Birthday Harry!”

After retrieving Ron, the five teenagers were set to work on various tasks. Before Harry went outside, he saw Luna helping Mrs Weasley cut up pineapples and prepare sausages, while Hermione and Ron played with and arranged charmed birthday decorations that sang, danced in the air, and flashed different colours. Ginny and Harry got to work moving tables and chairs together on the lawn.

Ginny was lost in her own thoughts, and was so distracted that Harry ended up doing most of the work himself. At one point, Ginny excused herself in a rush. He didn't mind that so much, as it gave him a chance to think about what Mrs Weasley had asked him.

He respected Mrs Weasley, but she wasn't his mother. Her family troubles were obvious to Harry; Percy was still gone, Mr Weasley was barely around, and now she had only two kids left in the house. And although Harry knew Mrs Weasley had begun to see him as one of her own, and as much as he wanted to placate her, he couldn't do it. He sighed heavily. He knew it was selfish, but he hated that Ron's parents were fighting. Ron's family was his anchor. He didn't want to lose it.

Ginny came back out holding a small, shiny, flat stick and promptly apologised.

"I'm so sorry Harry. I meant to help more," Ginny said, and proceeded to file her nails.

"It's fine," Harry said, blinking slowly. She was all dressed up. No, Harry conceded, she was polished looking. Not a hair was out of place, and her clothes fit her slender build elegantly.

"Harry, will you be running the DA group again this year?" She tilted her head to the side. A single red curl fell against a lightly freckled cheekbone.

"Um, I don't know. It depends on what kind of teacher we get this year," Harry said.

"Mmm," she murmured, still intent on her nails.

"Yeah." Harry couldn't help himself, and though it bothered him immensely, he asked anyway. "Ginny, what's going on with you and Draco Malfoy?"

Her eyes flashed nervously. "Nothing, Harry. Honestly. Is it so wrong to feel sorry for someone who has lost his mother? I would think you of all people would understand that."

To Harry's complete surprise, Ginny actually had tears in her eyes. The guilt he had so neatly buried about feeling sorry for Malfoy's missing mother surfaced again but he ignored it. He'd had enough of Ginny's odd preoccupation with Malfoy.

"All I know is that Malfoy deserves any unhappiness he gets," he spat, and walked into the house.

Mrs Weasley and Luna spoke in low voices in the kitchen, and Ron and Hermione laughed as brightly coloured birthday decorations zoomed around the Weasley house, careening off walls and furniture. Pig and Hedwig flew among the adornments, and Harry's frustration with Ginny evaporated as he delighted in the vibrant display.

"Happy Birthday Harry!" Ron yelled, dodging a fluorescent purple firecracker tumbling over in crazy cartwheels. "I forgot to tell you this morning!"

Harry smiled and joined him, fully ready to enjoy an afternoon with friends.

Mrs Weasley pulled out her wand and with a flick of the wrist, temporarily immobilised the decorations, before serving them a light lunch. Luna and Ginny sat at opposite ends of the table. Luna read the Quibbler while Ginny and Hermione spoke quietly. Harry couldn't hear what the two girls were saying, but Ginny kept shooting Harry glances, but he did his best to ignore her. It was easy to do as Ron brought Harry up to date on the latest Quidditch news. He knew Hermione would fill him in on anything Ginny had to say anyway.


"Do you think everyone will come?" Harry asked Ron later in the bedroom, as he tried to comb through his hair. The invitations had gone out rather late, after all.

"Yeah," Ron said, smoothing down his shirt as he looked in the mirror. Harry noticed Ron taking extra care in his appearance.

"Harry," Ron said slowly, "I've just had a scary thought." He faced Harry. "What if Tonks brings Malfoy along?" He sounded horrified.

Harry's stomach dropped and he sat on the bed, staring at Ron with wide eyes. "She wouldn't do that," he said weakly. "Would she?"

Ron shook his head. "I wouldn't think so, but if she's his guardian, she probably has to keep an eye on him." He frowned.

A knock sounded on the door and the boys heard Hermione. "Can I come in?"

Ron pulled her in and told her what he realised. She looked thoughtful before saying, "If she does, we'll just have to be civil and ignore him."

"Hermione, that git insulted my mum and threatened to kill Harry last year. You expect us to be nice?"

"It's true," Harry added, also remembering the fight on the Quidditch pitch and his subsequent expulsion from the game. His jaw tightened. "If Malfoy shows up at my party, I'll--"

"What Harry? You'll fight him?" Hermione demanded, looking cross.

"Well, I'm not going to share crisps and tea with him!" Harry said angrily.

"Yeah! Honestly, Hermione, whose side are you on?" Ron added.

Hermione took a deep breath. "There's no need to get excited, we don't even know if she'll bring him to the party. The article in the Prophet said Professor Snape helped find him. Maybe he's watching him. Who knows where he could be right now?"

"More importantly, who cares?" Harry said.

"Right," Ron said, nodding his head emphatically.

"Obviously you two care," Hermione said. "I'm sorry," she added quickly, when she saw the boys glaring. "But if Malfoy does show up, I'm not going to get involved, and you shouldn't either. Besides, he'll be outnumbered here; he won't do anything."

Harry knew she was right. "What has Ginny said about him?"

"Nothing really, she and Luna are still getting ready. You would think it's the Yule Ball the way they're primping," she said.

Ron eyed Hermione up and down boldly. "You're looking rather nice yourself Hermione." The tips of his ears blazed.

Harry sat back, impressed at Ron's courage.

"Thank you, Ronald," Hermione answered primly, as she smoothed down her skirt. Her cheeks pinked up a bit though, and Harry held back a grin, watching his two best friends.

"Come on, you two. I've got guests to greet," he opened the door and walked downstairs.


George and Fred Weasley were the first guests to arrive. They popped in at exactly the same moment; it was unfortunate they chose the kitchen. Luna was carrying a heavy platter covered with cheese and pineapple out to the garden. When the young men Apparated she shrieked and the food landed on the ground with a squishy plop.

"George! Fred! Clean that up now!" Mrs Weasley yelled.

Harry and Ron watched while Fred whipped out his wand and used a Scouring Charm to clear up the mess. Hermione sighed, "I wish I could do magic away from school."

"What, and break a rule? Never!" George said cheekily, giving Hermione a grin.

"Well, it seems silly to not use magic for cleaning up at least," she said.

"You idiot boys! Now I have to do this all over again!" Luna raged.

"Calm down," Ginny said, pulling on her arm. "They didn't do it on purpose." She shot the twins a dark look and the two girls went outside.

"Well," said Fred, "I see Loony Lovegood's loonier than ever."

Hermione nodded, staring at Ginny's retreating back, "She's not the only one," she said.

"Stay here," Harry whispered to Ron. He followed the girls out and watched them duck behind a bush. He crept close and listened.

"You have to control your temper," Ginny's voice was flat.

"You have to stop talking about your precious Draco," Luna replied sourly.

"Stop saying it like that," Ginny snapped. "I'm worried about him."

"That's the problem," Luna said, sounding bored, "You shouldn't be worried about him."

"I can't help it," she said crossly. "If only that fool --"

"Harry! Oi! Seamus and Dean just flooed in. Neville too!" George yelled.

Harry froze, and silently cursed George Weasley. The girls were silent, and Harry moved away a few feet then yelled back, "I'm coming!"

All the boys in his dorm spilled out into the garden laughing at Fred Weasley, who was sporting the twins' latest invention. A flower pinned to his shirt spouted obscenities any time someone leaned in to smell the bloom. The boys took turns sniffing the flower, and laughed harder as each new insult, voiced in a high girly tone, filled the air.

Harry laughed shakily, and spared a quick glance at the bush. The girls were out now, and while Ginny stared at Harry thoughtfully, Luna watched Neville with an almost predatory gleam in her eyes.

Hagrid emerged from the kitchen. He lifted Harry up into a bear hug. "Happy Birthday Harry!"

He dropped him and said, "Got summat fer yeh." He dug into his jacket and pulled out a large piece of hardened fudge with the words, "Happy Birthday" written across it in green icing. Harry instantly recalled the birthday cake Hagrid had given him the night they met. Warmth suffused his heart, and he awkwardly hugged Hagrid back.

"Thanks," he mumbled against his chest. "I'm glad you’re here."

"Ah Harry," Hagrid rumbled. "Yeh din't think I'd miss yer birthday now, did yeh?"

"No Hagrid, I knew you'd come." Harry smiled widely at the half-giant.

More commotion was heard from the kitchen as Hermione came out, followed by Lavender Brown and the Patil twins.

"I think Gryffindor house has the prettiest girls," Seamus said quietly.

"Yeah, we do," Ron said. Harry saw he only had eyes for Hermione.

"Why, Seamus," George said loudly, "which lovely lady has caught your eye?"

The girls tittered, except for Hermione, who blushed when she met Ron's gaze. Harry clapped Seamus on the back, eager to draw attention away from Ron and Hermione.

"Yeah Seamus, which one?"

Dean saved his best friend from answering. "Where's the food? I'm famished."

"Harry, didn't you eat this summer?" Lavender's pretty nose wrinkled. "You're so thin."

Harry scowled and decided he'd never pull off to her again. It was a surprisingly easy decision to make.

"He's a growing boy," Fred declared. He leered at Lavender. "Come here and smell my pretty flower."

"Harry, the headmaster sends his regrets, but he couldn't come," Hagrid announced.

"Fuck off, tosser!" a girly voice shrieked from the flower.

"Oh, gross!" Lavender yelled as she backed away from Fred. The boys laughed hysterically; Lavender huffed and went back to Padma and Parvati.

"That wasn't very nice, Fred," Neville said softly.

Harry wasn't surprised Dumbledore couldn't come, but he was a little disappointed.

Mrs Weasley rounded up the guests and soon all were enjoying a Weasley feast.


When an hour had passed, Harry suspected Lupin and Tonks weren't coming. He wasn't too concerned with Tonks; if she was busy with Malfoy, he didn't want to see her. As for Remus, it hurt that he hadn't come. He was the last of the Marauders, the last real link to his parents and Sirius. Of all of his friends, Remus was the only one he could truly feel comfortable with talking about his godfather. Harry hadn't realised how much he'd been looking forward to seeing him until it became apparent he wouldn't be seeing him.

The more he thought about Remus, the more he wanted to talk to him. Harry's mind bubbled over with possibilities. The thought of Sirius' old house had frightened Harry; he had thought until this moment, that going there would be painful. But Remus lived there, and Harry abruptly knew that he did want to talk about Sirius, and Remus was the perfect confidant. He could also get away from Mrs Weasley's smothering, Ginny's weirdness, and he would definitely take Ron with him. Living with Remus until school started was, Harry thought, the best idea he'd had in ages.

His heart was now lighter than it had been in months and he promised himself he would owl his former teacher immediately after the party. Remus would certainly take Harry in for the rest of the summer, he was sure. Feeling as though it was already settled, Harry relaxed.

The girls were clustered around one end of the now cleared buffet table; the boys were at the other end.

Lavender, Hermione and the Patil twins were playing with a compact mirror. It was charmed to show different shades of lipstick and eye shadow. The user simply had to touch the mirror and speak precisely.

"Lips, fuchsia; eyes, charcoal," Padma said. "Oh, yuck," she complained, and passed the compact to Hermione.

"This is a fascinating charm!" Hermione exclaimed. "Lips, ruby; eyes, mauve," she said. Harry watched Ron swivel his head to look at her. Harry grinned.

When the compact was passed to Luna, she threw it on the table. "I don't need makeup," she said gravely.

"Honestly, Luna," Padma said. "It doesn't put the colours on you for real; it only shows you what you would look like in the mirror."

"I don't care," she said loftily. "It's just not very important, now is it? Give it to Neville," Luna added. "He could use some colour." She laughed.

Ginny frowned and Neville blushed. He ignored her and moved a little closer to Harry, who watched the other boys playing with one of his presents.

Dean had taken it upon himself to open his gift to Harry early. It was a Warhammer set, and he and Seamus had laid out the opposing armies. He explained the rules in excruciating detail. Only Ron seemed interested, but he kept complaining that he had to move the pieces himself, whenever it was his turn.

Mr Weasley flipped through the rulebook, and every now and then, he exclaimed over the spells the makers had come up with. "Fascinating imaginations these Muggles have," he said excitedly. "I would be wonderful if some of these actually worked!"

Fred and George showed Harry and Neville a catalogue they'd recently put together with Colin's help. It was full of their products, and Harry was impressed with the new line. Colin pointed out the pictures he'd added to Harry.

"I'm to be the official photographer," he said proudly.

Harry, with his belly full of food, and friends surrounding him, felt good. He was glad the party was outside. Light breezes ruffled his hair and the sun shone brightly but not harshly. Perfect flying weather. He stood and stretched his arms.

"Quidditch?" he asked. A few frantic moments later, Harry, Ron, Fred, George, Dean and Seamus -- who flooed back to grab a broom -- were airborne. Ginny stayed on the ground; she had lent her broom to Dean. Neville went into the house to firecall his grandmother. Colin snapped pictures of the flying boys and took a few posed shots of the lounging girls.

After the exhilarating impromptu game, the boys collapsed -- laughing and winded. Hagrid called out, "Time for presents, eh Harry?"

Everyone gathered around Harry on the lawn; a mound of presents was heaped in front of him. Neville had just rejoined the party, when a loud pop caught everyone's attention. Harry smiled when he saw Remus appear a few feet away.

"Remus!" Harry called and ran over to his former teacher.

A chorus of "Hello Professor!" rang out from a range of voices. He'd been popular the year he taught.

Remus smiled. "Hello, Harry. Happy Birthday!" Harry's heart swelled and he was suddenly fighting back tears. He was ready to gather his belongings and move in with him that instant.

"Steady on, Harry," Remus said quietly, taking his arm. Harry took a deep breath.

Remus looked through the crowd of faces, "Arthur, Tonks will be flooing in, in a moment. I'll need to help her with --"

"Why would Tonks be using teh Floo?" Hagrid asked.

Harry's heart sank. He looked at Ron, and the red-haired boy returned his gaze, denial sparking in his eyes. He mouthed at Harry, "No way," while shaking his head. Harry looked to Hermione.

Hermione, still busy with Lavender's magical compact, didn't see Harry's beseeching look.

"Come on, Harry," said Seamus, "Let's open your presents."

"Yeah Harry, come on," Dean added. "I want to see the army Seamus got for you."

"Shut it Dean," Seamus said. "You'll ruin the surprise."

"Oh, I got him an army too," Neville said.

"Neville!" Dean and Seamus both shouted.

Remus, Hagrid, and Mr Weasley quickly entered the house. Harry ignored his dorm mates, and he and Ron followed the adults inside.

"What's going on?" Harry heard one of the twins ask.

Mrs Weasley was already by the fireplace, wringing her hands, and she glanced up at Remus in undisguised anger. Mr Weasley went over to stand by his wife. Harry could feel Hagrid standing behind him and Ron. He was grateful for his solid presence, grateful actually, for all the adults in this room.

But that good feeling vanished and dread took its place as Tonks flew out of the fireplace, landing at Mr Weasley's feet. The flash of fire died. Harry and Ron exchanged a quick glance of hope, and Harry held his breath. The Floo activated again.

With his blond hair covered in ash, and paler than ever, Draco Malfoy tumbled out of the fireplace. He stood up, brushed off his robes, shook out his hair, and looked Harry dead in the eye.

"Happy fucking Birthday Potter."

Chapter Three: A Question of Guardianship

Harry's stomach churned when he saw Malfoy. His body shook with a mix of hatred and confusion. To make matters worse, his cock twitched unexpectedly, and this made him even angrier. He turned his back on Malfoy and yelled at Remus.

"What the fuck is he doing here?"

"Harry! Language!" Mrs Weasley said sharply, sounding shocked.

"Bloody hell!"

"Ronald! Language!"

The twins burst into the room. "Holy shite! Malfoy's here!"

"Fred! Language!"

"I'm George, Mum."

"Good one, Fred," George said, punching his twin on the arm.

"GEORGE THEN! Arthur!" Mrs Weasley yelled, her eyes over-bright and face flushed.

"Mum," said George, "it's actually Fred. You were right the first time."

"Boys, not now please," Mr Weasley said tiredly.

"Draco! What is he doing here?" Ginny said, scrambling over to Malfoy.

"Ginny, leave him be!" Ron yelled, yanking her away.

Harry ignored all the Weasleys and stared at Remus, waiting for an answer.

Remus' face was haggard, and his hair was more grey than brown. He was clearly confused over the angry responses. Harry didn't care. He wanted answers.

"Remus?" Harry asked, voice rising. "Why the hell is Draco bloody Malfoy here?"

Tonks stood up, shaking ash out of her lemon-yellow spiky hair. "Blame me Harry, not Remus. He offered to stay with the brat, but I knew he wanted to see you on your birthday," she said.

"Harry, I'm sorry," Remus said. "I didn't even know you were having a party until ten minutes ago, otherwise I would have made other arrangements for him."

"Could you all not talk about me like I'm not here?" Malfoy said petulantly. "And get away from me," he said to Ginny, who was still hovering.

"Shut up, ferret," Ron said viciously.

"Ronald! Go back to the kitchen!" Mrs Weasley demanded.

"Yes Ronald, listen to mummy like a good boy," Malfoy taunted.

"At least I have one!" Ron spat.

Harry's stomach turned to ice and he stared at his best friend in shock.

"RONALD WEASLEY! GET OUT OF THIS ROOM NOW!" Mrs Weasley yelled, jerking her head at Harry.

The colour drained from Ron's face as he turned to Harry. "Harry, oh mate, I'm, uh . . . God, I didn't mean . . ." He scrubbed a hand across his face, obviously at a loss.

Hermione pulled on Ron's arm and dragged him from the room, giving Harry a sympathetic look on her way out.

Hagrid put a hand on Harry's shoulder and said gruffly. "Yeh know he din mean nuthin' by that, right Harry?"

Harry nodded, but he was still stunned. He glanced involuntarily at Malfoy. The other boy stared back with the strangest expression on his face. Their eyes locked for a few seconds, but Harry broke the connection when his idiotic cock perked up again.

Mr Weasley cleared his throat. "Harry, I think it's time to say goodbye to your guests." Harry turned around, and behind Hagrid's bulk, he saw that the party had moved inside, and all his friends were staring at him and Malfoy.


After the guests, minus the twins, flooed away, the teens were herded into the kitchen. Harry and Malfoy were seated at either end of the table. Harry knew Malfoy was there; he saw him sitting there in his tailored robes, but his mind kept screaming in protest. The idea that Draco Malfoy would ever be in the Weasleys' home was inconceivable. A grimace curled Malfoy's lips and his eyes narrowed in disdain as he glanced about.

Ron paced back and forth, glowering at Malfoy as if daring the other boy to talk. Harry thought it was the presence of the adults in the house that kept Malfoy's mouth shut, rather than Ron's continual glares.

Harry shifted uncomfortably. Thankfully, his arousal was under control. The fact that he had reacted at all bothered him greatly. He took in Malfoy's blond hair, which fell to the top of his shoulders now, his slender form, and reasoned that if Malfoy didn't look so much like a girl, his body wouldn't have stirred.

Mr and Mrs Weasley, along with Tonks, Lupin and Hagrid, were talking in the sitting room, but snatches of their conversation drifted into the kitchen.

"-- believe you brought him here! Today, of all days. I thought you were Harry's friend!" Mrs Weasley exclaimed.

Remus' reply was too soft to be heard.

"That's no EXCUSE! I can't control lost invitations!"

"Molly, calm down," Mr Weasley said.

Harry watched Fred stick a hand deep in his jacket pocket, while the other hand tugged at his ear as he stared at his twin. George nodded enthusiastically. Harry saw the familiar fleshy Extendable Ears.

"Just a minute --" Fred declared.

"-- and we'll have it," George finished.

"We've improved the design," Fred said.

"It broadcasts now, so we can all hear it," George said.

"Just a few more tweaks," Fred continued, while he unravelled the coil of flesh-coloured string.

Hermione was biting her nails. She kept darting looks between Harry, Ron and Malfoy. She had tried to calm Ron down, but he had rebuffed her attentions.

Harry's mood worsened with every passing second. He felt betrayed by Remus, betrayed by Ginny, and betrayed by his own body. The day had gone pear shaped all over one stupid, girly looking boy. He scowled in irritation.

"What's your problem, Potter?"

"Shut up, ferret," Harry said automatically.

"Shut yourself up, stickboy," Malfoy said with a sneer. "Didn't you eat this summer? Or did poor wittle Potter get locked up with no food?"

Harry's eyes blazed and he barked out, "At least I didn't hide out like a coward in my own house."

Malfoy's face turned red and he sputtered, nearly incoherent. "What did you call me?"

"I said --"

"I know what you said," Malfoy said quickly.

"Harry, please don’t start a fight now," Hermione interjected.

"Quiet, Mudblood, no one's talking to you," Malfoy said, still staring at Harry.

"Shut up! Don't you talk to Hermione like that!" Ron grabbed Malfoy's robes and hauled him to his feet. Ron towered over the smaller boy, but Malfoy showed no fear, only disgust.

"Ron! Stop!" Ginny cried, and pulled him away.

"Get your hands off of me!" Malfoy snarled.

"Shhh!" Fred cautioned. "Listen!" He held up the improved Extendable Ears. The long, skinny, flesh-coloured implement was bell-shaped at one end, and it acted like a Muggle speaker, as they could all hear the conversation being held in the other room perfectly.

"Molly, I'm sorry, but I had to bring him here." Tonks' voice was saying.

"Why? I can't take the boy," Mrs Weasley replied.

"I should hope not," Malfoy huffed.

"Quiet!" Fred hissed.

They gathered closer to the bell-end of the ears, but Harry saw that Malfoy simply sat back down, looking bored.

Remus' soft voice said, "Molly, his mother has been missing for weeks now and Lucius Malfoy is in Azkaban."

Malfoy showed no reaction to the mention of his parents. Hermione shared a quick look with Harry, and raised an eyebrow.

"We know that, Remus," Mrs Weasley said in irritation.

"My mother won't have him in the house," Tonks said. "She said he reminds her too much of Narcissa. Draco's only been there a day and he won't shut up about wizarding superiority and how Muggles are scum. That's why Remus took him."

"Yer Dad's a Muggle? Is that right?" Hagrid asked.

"Yes, he is," Tonks answered.

"I can see how that didn't go over very well," Mr Weasley said. "But why bring him here, Remus? Surely the boy's friends can take him in."

"That's the trouble, isn't it?" replied Remus. "His father is a convicted Death Eater. The Ministry is finally cracking down, as you well know, and most people are afraid to be associated with anyone connected to the Death Eaters, even one teenaged boy. No one wants to go to Azkaban. I thought maybe I could keep him until school starts, but with my condition, that's not a good idea. I'm not sure what to do with him."

A heavy silence descended on both rooms. Harry glanced at Malfoy. His lips were compressed in a thin line, and he stared hard at the table in front of him. A strange feeling overcame Harry, and it took him a second to recognise it as pity. Harry had been orphaned longer, true, but he had the Weasley's, Hagrid, and Remus. Even the Headmaster of Hogwarts took special notice of him. Harry accepted that. Malfoy had absolutely no one. Well, Harry thought in distaste, except for Professor Snape.

Ron was staring at Malfoy too. "No fucking way. You are NOT going to live here."

"Ron, language!" Hermione scolded.

"As if I'd want to," Malfoy replied.

"Shhh!" George said.

"Molly, I'll leave it up to you," Mr Weasley said.

“He could stay here for the night of the full moon if you take him for the rest of the time,” she said firmly. Harry thought it a bit odd for Mrs Weasley to mention the full moon so casually.

"Splendid, back to the creepy house," Malfoy said bitterly, and then added thoughtfully, "At least it's a proper wizarding house."

It occurred to Harry that Draco was talking about number 12 Grimmauld Place.

"I don't believe this," Harry yelled. "Grimmauld Place?"

Draco nodded curtly, scowling again.

"Quiet, Harry!" Fred demanded.

Harry barely heard him. Could his summer get any worse? He'd spent the first part of it acting as a house-elf, Mrs Weasley was smothering him, Remus wanted Malfoy to live with Weasleys, and if he didn't live at the Burrow, Malfoy would be living in Sirius' house. He smacked a fist in his palm and turned around to pin Malfoy with a baleful stare.

"I really hate you," he said conversationally.

Malfoy blinked. "That's supposed to be new? What, are you jealous of a house? You've gone mental."

"Malfoy, you're such a shit. Why the hell did Professor Snape have to find you?"

Harry noticed the others had stopped listening with the Extendable Ears, and were now solely focused on him and Malfoy. He didn't care.

"Potter, you're such an arse. Did you think I wanted to be found?" Malfoy stood and his hands were clenched in fists at his sides. He advanced on Harry, eyes unnaturally bright and he hissed at him.

"This is your fault, Potter! Everything that goes wrong is your fault! I hate you and I hate your friends, and I hate this house." A glimmering tear broke free and Harry watched in detached amazement as it slid down Malfoy's pale face.

Malfoy was shaking, and he gulped noisily. It was obvious to Harry the other boy was holding himself tightly in check. "You don't know anything about me or what's going on, so shut the fuck up." He turned on his heel and stalked out toward the yard.

"You're so beastly, Harry. Do you only ever think of yourself?" Ginny demanded, and she ran outside.

Ron leaned against the counter wearily. "What is wrong with my sister?" he groaned.

"I don't know," said Hermione. "But that could have gone a lot better."

"What are you saying?" Harry asked hotly, ignoring the tell-tale twinge of guilt that told him he should have kept his mouth shut.

"I'm saying that maybe we should be a little kinder to Malfoy," she said.

Ron stared at her. “After what he called you?”

Hermione stood firm, unabashed.

Ron covered his face with his hands and mumbled tiredly, "Hermione, I think you should go home."

The twins exchanged an incredulous glance and Fred announced, "Well, we're off as well. Let us know how it all works out, eh Harry?" George pocketed the ear, and the two young men Apparated.

Harry nodded absently and watched Hermione stare at Ron. Her lips trembled and her face had gone white.

"You want me to leave?" she said shakily.

"Yeah, Hermione," he said firmly, lowering his hands. "I do."

"Fine then," she snapped, "I'll just go and --" her voice cracked, and she took a deep breath. "I'll go and get my things."

Ron sat at the table with Harry, tension visible in his tapping foot and darting eyes.

"Ron," Harry began.

"I don't want to hear it, Harry," Ron said.

"Stop it!" Ginny screamed.

Ron bolted for the garden and Harry was fast behind him.

"What's wrong with Ginny?" Hermione called, and Harry heard her coming up behind as they ran outside.

"Get the fuck away from me." Malfoy's voice was shaky as he pointed his wand at Ginny. His eyes were red as he stared at Ginny in horror.

Ginny's legs were dancing wildly about and Harry realised Malfoy had used the Tarantallegra spell on her. Harry pulled out his wand, ready to cast Finite Incantatem.

"No, Harry! Don't," Hermione yelled. "Let an adult do it. They're coming out now."

Ron was watching Malfoy and his wand warily. He pulled out his own wand.

"Ron, please!" Hermione pleaded.

"Finite Incantatem," Remus said firmly. Ginny's legs returned to normal.

"Expellliarmus!" Tonks yelled, and Malfoy's wand flew into her waiting hand.

Malfoy crumpled in a heap, head down. Harry saw his shoulders shaking, and he was sure he heard him sobbing softly.

Ron made as if to launch himself at Malfoy, but stopped when he noticed his defenceless posture. Harry was shaken, and he watched in irritation as Ginny crept over to Malfoy. She tentatively placed her hand on his shoulder.

Malfoy flinched at her touch and scooted further away and he snapped, "Stop touching me!"

"For Merlin's sake Ginny, leave the boy alone!" Mrs Weasley said.

Ginny stood up, took in the staring faces and ran back into the house.

An owl hooted softly, circling the yard. A scroll dropped out of its claws and landed near Malfoy's huddled form.

"That'll be a warning for performing underage magic," Hermione said quietly.

She stood by Ron and Harry, and the red-haired boy turned to her, "Hermione, I'm sorry, please don't go." She simply nodded, but didn't take her eyes off of Malfoy.

Remus knelt next to Malfoy and began talking too softly for Harry to hear. The pale boy seemed to listen and he didn't scuttle away.

"Come on you lot. Let's give them a bit of privacy," Mr Weasley said. "Back inside."

Ron and Hermione followed Mr and Mrs Weasley, along with Hagrid, but Harry and Tonks remained.

"He's still a brat," she said. "Look Harry, I'm sorry I brought him here. I had no idea this would happen. You did have a nice time before we turned up, I hope?"

Harry gave a mumbled, "Yeah, sure," but he continued to watch Remus and Malfoy. He had stopped sniffling and was calm. Remus put an arm around Malfoy's shoulders and helped him to his feet. Harry dismissed the flash of jealousy that sparked and died deep in his gut.

"Harry, we need to talk," Remus said. He held Malfoy's elbow loosely his grip, and the other boy's breathing was audible. Harry had never been this close to Malfoy without their fists or insults flying, or speeding in the air on brooms. It was strangely terrifying because once again, his cock gave an interested twitch. Harry sighed; he was tired of trying to justify his reactions. He knew Malfoy was a boy.

Malfoy looked past Harry's shoulder, face stoic. Harry turned and saw his forgotten pile of presents, along with the brooms. He felt Malfoy looking at him then, and again their eyes locked. The other boy remained emotionless, but his eyes were red.

"Harry," Remus said, drawing away his attention. "Ready to talk?"

"Yeah, I'm ready," Harry said, and blinked. The connection broke.

Malfoy eased out of Lupin's grasp and said coldly to Tonks, "Well, cousin, where to now?"

She gave Malfoy the scroll the owl had dropped then turned to Harry and Remus. "I'll see you inside, later?"

Remus nodded and she and Malfoy returned to the house.

"I don't know where to start," Harry said. He lay down on the soft grass. The sky was slowly turning a pale violet and shimmering firebugs began to appear.

Remus murmured, "He's completely alone, Harry."

"I know."

"But you don't want to talk about Draco."

"Not really."

"You're angry with me."

"No." Harry turned on his side and faced away from him. "Yes." His voice was small.

"Then I suppose we must talk about Draco Malfoy."

"Why are you helping him?" He rolled back over and stared at the sky.

"I'm helping Tonks, Harry. He is her ward, but her parents won't let him live with them. His anti-Muggle views notwithstanding, I believe it's more that he reminds Andromeda of her sister too much."

"Narcissa Malfoy," Harry said dully.

"Yes. But, there is an opportunity here. Draco is completely friendless and he isn't his father, or his mother and --"

"I don't care about Malfoy, Remus. I want to talk about Sirius. I want to live at Grimmauld Place with you until school starts."

"Harry, whenever you want to talk about Sirius, I'm here. But you should know that Draco will be living with me until September first. I was hoping he could stay here with the Weasleys, and be around kids his own age. I confess I wasn't really aware of the depth of animosity that existed amongst you all."

"Just think of Snape and Sirius and you'll have it about right," Harry said.

"Are you saying you tried to kill Draco?" He sounded amused.

Harry's anger flared and he sat up. "Just because we're fifteen doesn't make us any less enemies."

"Sixteen now, and I have something for you." His tone was gentle, and Harry found it hard to stay angry with him.

"Sirius and I actually picked this out before he passed," his voice shook slightly, and Harry's throat closed up. "It was in a catalogue, because, as you know, he couldn't leave the house."

Harry hated that Sirius had been trapped for last year of his life. He shook his head, knowing it was foolish to dwell on the past.

Remus handed Harry a flat white box, about the size of a book. Harry opened it carefully and looked inside. It was a thick picture frame. Sirius and Remus waved at Harry excitedly. It looked as if it had been taken at number 12 Grimmauld Place sometime during the last year.

"Thank you. I don't have any recent --" Harry said. His heart was in his throat; it stopped any other words. He simply stared at Remus, eyes shining in gratitude.

"Keep watching," Remus said, "and you'll want to tap the upper right corner of the frame and say Loquorus."

Harry turned back to the picture and saw that Sirius had begun talking, and when he tapped the frame and activated the charm, Sirius' voice rose from the picture itself.

"Hello, Harry! Let's have a tour of the beloved place, shall we?" Sirius said. As Harry watched in dumbfounded appreciation, Sirius and Remus began walking and the picture behaved much like a Muggle telly, the background changing as the two men moved into the hallway where the portrait of Mrs Black hung.

"He toured the entire house and captured it here for you. He also used this as a way to explain different wizarding customs to you. The frame will store many memories just like this one, ones you can add yourself. It's very easy to use, Ron or one of your other friends need only to -- Harry, do you like it?"

Harry was overwhelmed; he stared at Sirius' face as he made jokes about his relatives' portraits in a long hallway leading up to a stairwell. The wall was neatly lined with portraits; there looked to be dozens.

"This is ugly old Matilda Black, ugh would you look at that nose!?" Sirius leaned back dramatically against the opposite wall, which was free of any pictures, and seemed to look straight at Harry. "I swear to you, Harry, despite my great, great Aunt Matilda's unfortunate nose, Severus Snape is NOT related to me." He laughed at his own joke. "At least the mirrors are broken now, and I don't have to see her ugly mug twice when I come down this corridor."

"Disrespectful Cur! You shut your mouth!" Great Aunt Matilda Black screamed.

"Shut it, you old bat. I'm trying to teach young Harry about the wizarding world." He winked at Harry and continued, "You see Harry," he looked thoughtful and leaned deliberately against Matilda's nose, "all the very best wizarding families had a Hall of Mirrors. Well, best, as in dark, snobby, wealthy and --" Muffled grunts came from Matilda's portrait and Sirius elbowed her rudely in the face. "As I was saying . . ."

A horrible thought occurred to Harry. "Did he know he would die? Is that why he did this for me?" he asked anxiously.

"Sirius knew he would leave the house to you, so he thought it would be a good idea to go over the entire place in detail. That's all, Harry," Remus said sadly. "He did not know he would die." He reached over and tapped the frame. "Finite Incatatem."

"Thank you, Remus. It's great, really wonderful." He smiled at his former teacher, grateful for his gentle presence.

Harry reactivated the charm and the two sat in silence, but for Sirius' voice, startlingly alive and fresh, and it washed over Harry, easing his grief considerably.

When the picture looped back to the original frame, Harry felt cleansed of the deep sorrow that had permeated the first weeks of summer. He was still sad, but the pain seemed easier to bear now. Beside him, Remus stood and stretched. The sky was significantly darker.

"Do you want to stay at the Burrow or do you still want to live with me now that you know Draco will be there?"

"I need to think about it," Harry said.

Remus nodded and started to walk away, but stopped when he saw Harry still sitting on the ground. "It's too dark now to see it properly," he said.

"I just need a few minutes, okay?"

Remus nodded and left him alone. Harry wanted to live with Remus; he already felt somewhat healed after spending a short time with the gentle man. But if he joined him at Grimmauld Place, Malfoy would be there. A guilty thrill of erotic excitement burned in Harry's gut when he thought of Malfoy. He wasn't sure what was going on, but his body had reacted too many times today for Harry to deny it. Closing his eyes tightly, Harry clutched the frame to his chest, and lay back down on the soft grass. His mind twisted in confusion as the faces of Sirius and Draco Malfoy battled for dominance.

Chapter Four: The Longest Night

Harry fell asleep in the garden. When he woke up, the picture frame was still on his chest, and the only light came from the open kitchen door, where he saw the silhouettes of people talking within. He was still tired and a bit hungry too, but when he came close to the kitchen, he stopped to listen before going in.

"I want Luna to stay with me," Ginny was saying. "She's going mental at the Lovegood house."

"Going mental?"

"You know what I mean," Ginny said.

"She needs to be with her father," Mrs Weasley said firmly. "Now, I want to know what you said to young Malfoy out there tonight."

Harry wanted to know too. Malfoy had stared at Ginny earlier as if she'd terrified him. But what could she have possibly said? Unfortunately, Ginny didn't answer her mother, and he could hear Mrs Weasley banging dishes around angrily.

"Fine, don't tell me. But from now on, you will leave young Malfoy alone. Is that clear?"

"Who are you to speak to me that way?"

"I'm your mother, young lady, and you'd best not forget it!"

Harry's mouth dropped open and he inched closer to get a peek inside. Ginny and Mrs Weasley were alone, as he suspected.

"I have to talk to him; I can tell him. He'll understand," Ginny pleaded.

"He will understand nothing," Mrs Weasley shot back. "I can't believe Remus actually expects me to keep Draco Malfoy here."

"You're the one with seven children, not me!" Ginny snapped.

Harry walked inside, unable to listen in secret anymore.

"Harry!" Mrs Weasley cried, rushing forward. "Remus said you needed some time alone. How are you feeling now? Do you want some cheesecake? Would you like some tea? Oh, you must be so chilled. You've been out there for hours! It's after midnight, you know."

"Harry, I apologise about this afternoon," Ginny interrupted. "I don't know what got into me. I just feel sorry for him."

"I know. It's fine, Ginny, really," Harry said, but he didn't look her in the eye.

"Ginny, please go to bed, it's late," Mrs Weasley said.

"Good night, Harry. We can talk in the morning, okay?"

Nodding his head, he watched her walk out of the kitchen. He turned to Mrs Weasley, who was watching him closely.

Harry shook his head and sat down, laying the picture frame on the table. He didn't understand how Mrs Weasley could let Ginny speak that way to her. Ron could never get away with that kind of cheek. He dropped his head in his hands, exhausted physically and mentally. He had other problems to sort out, not the least of which was where to live.

"Harry, you don't understand about mothers and daughters," Mrs Weasley said, seeming to read his mind. "The mother-daughter relationship is delicate at best." She gave him a cup of tea.

"Where is Remus?" he asked, no longer interested in Ginny or Mrs Weasley or their relationship. "Is he still here?"

"He's upstairs with Ron and Arthur. I expect they're waiting for you."

"Um and where's Malfoy?"

"He's upstairs as well." Pursing her lips thoughtfully, she moved to Harry's side. "I have no intention of letting Draco Malfoy live here. You have nothing to worry about." She patted his arm gently.

Harry didn't know what to think. He still hated Malfoy. But he did feel sorry for him now, even empathised. And although he didn't want to consider his sudden unwanted physical reaction to him, he couldn't help himself. That, along with the other events of the day, left him utterly drained.

Mrs Weasley broke into his musings when she moved even closer, and said softly, "Have you given any thought to what I asked you before? You really need a mother more now than ever, don’t you think?" she asked earnestly and gave his arm a squeeze.

Feeling extremely uncomfortable, he jumped to his feet. Evading her question and yawning widely, he stumbled out of the kitchen with a mumbled, "See you er, in the morning, I'm knackered."

It certainly wasn't a lie. He shot a guilty look at her over his shoulder and nearly fell over when he saw a momentary flash of anger in her eyes. It was gone in less than a second, so he told himself he'd imagined it. He was so terribly tired and still hungry, but he wasn't about to go back in the kitchen. It frustrated him that she pushed the 'mum' issue.

Feeling a bit light-headed, he passed through the sitting room and went upstairs. When he reached the door of Ron's bedroom, he heard the familiar tones of Remus and Ron talking inside. He put his hand on the doorknob, ready to go in, when a soft moan in the hallway stopped him. Frozen in place, Harry held his breath, just in case he was mistaken.

The next moan was louder. Harry turned around and listened intently. There. It was coming from the twins' old bedroom. Tiptoeing so as not to alert anyone to his presence, Harry crept across the hall to the other door. He pressed his head to the wood, heart pounding madly. Part of him knew that what he was doing was completely wrong, but it was just another weird happening in a long day full of weird events, so he went with it.

The moans were faster now and abruptly Harry recognised the sounds of a boy tossing off. The sounds grew louder and his cock hardened. He knew where Ron was and he knew that Remus and Mr Weasley were with him. Draco Malfoy was on the other side of the door and he was hard, but -- Harry thought jealously -- he was doing something about it. Crazy thoughts ran through Harry's muzzy brain. He wondered how Malfoy held himself. Did he stroke quickly right away or did he take his time? Did he think of Pansy? Did he think of boys? Harry's jeans were unbelievably tight at the crotch; he dropped a hand to his cock and rubbed roughly.

Leaning against the door, he turned his body slightly inward, but left enough space for his hand. His jeans were so tight and his cock was getting harder by the second. He rubbed faster. He closed his eyes and whispery moans slipped from his mouth perfectly in time with Malfoy's. A thrill shot through him when he realised anyone could walk by at any moment. He wasn't prepared for that to actually happen, however.


Ginny's voice startled him so badly he yelped in surprise. She was behind him and couldn't see anything, but Harry's cheeks burned anyway. Unwilling to face her, or her questions, he chose the only way out. He opened the twin's bedroom door, rushed in, and slammed it behind him.

Malfoy sat on the bed, eyes and mouth opened wide. His grey trousers were around his ankles and his hard, wet prick was held loosely in his fist. Before Harry could say anything, Malfoy exploded into action. He rolled over on the bed and dragged the bedcovers with him. He faced the headboard; his shoulders were heaving and his deep, jagged breaths were loud. All Harry could see of Malfoy was the back of his head and his oddly twisted legs hanging off the side of the bed.

"I'm sorry!" Harry blurted. He gulped audibly. "Ginny's out there and I was . . . oh God." He leaned back on the door, too weary for words.

"Get out, Potter!" Malfoy hissed, still facing away.

"Harry?" Ginny pounded on the door.

"Go away," Harry said.

"Is Draco in there?"

Malfoy's head swivelled around and he mouthed a desperate 'no' at Harry.

"No," Harry said, talking through the door. "I’m tired, Ginny, please let me sleep," he added.

"Okay," she said uncertainly. Holding his breath yet again, he listened for her fading footfalls before turning back to Malfoy.

Malfoy seemed to have calmed down a bit. His breathing was even and he continued to face Harry. The blankets still covered his naked waist and groin and Harry couldn't help but wonder if the other boy was still hard. Harry certainly was. His jeans did nothing to conceal that fact and he was painfully aware that it was too late to hide it, if the other boy had bothered to look. He slid down the door to sit on the floor, hoping Malfoy's angle from the bed would hide him.

When Malfoy smirked, Harry knew he need not have bothered.

"What were you doing in the hallway, Potter? Listening to me wank?" He grinned broadly, clearly enjoying having the upper hand for the first time today.

"I don't know," Harry said, frustrated in the extreme.

An eyebrow rose and Malfoy said incredulously, "You don't know?"

"Shut it, Malfoy." Harry closed his eyes.

"No," he retorted. Harry could hear clothes rustling and figured the other boy was putting his clothes back in order. He didn't bother to look.

"Tell me, Potter. It's the middle of the night. What were you doing?" Malfoy's voice was suddenly close and when Harry's eyes snapped open, he saw the other boy kneeling right next to him. He was naked from the waist down, his still-hard prick glistening.

"Noth . . . nothing," Harry stuttered, eyes widened in surprise. His cock pulsed madly.

Malfoy moved even closer. His face was flushed pink and sweat beaded his upper lip. Harry felt the tip of his prick nudge his leg. He looked down and saw a wet spot where it had touched him. The other boy smelled just like he did when he and Harry flew against each other during Quidditch.

"Then what is this?" Malfoy said, and he reached between Harry's legs and rubbed the obvious, bulging erection. His prick pressed into Harry's thigh.

"Oh fuck . . ." Harry gasped. He breathed rapidly as Malfoy's eyes locked on his. A cold glint shone in his grey eyes and a bloom of fear flowered in Harry's gut.

Malfoy leaned in, still rubbing Harry's cock slowly, yet firmly through the coarse fabric. His mouth was so close, the words dripped wetly in Harry's ear. "Does this feel good, Potter? Do you want me to stop?"

Harry was frozen in place. No one had ever touched him like this before and it felt so amazingly good, so wildly pleasurable. The fact that it was Draco Malfoy doing this didn't enter his shattered mind. He was too lost for rational thought. All he had left was feeling; firm, confident rubs on his cock and wet, hot breaths in his ear and the need to keep those sensations going.

"No, don't stop," Harry whispered.

The hand on his cock instantly stilled, but cupped him firmly. Malfoy breathed in his ear, "Could it be that Harry Potter is a poof?"

Harry swung his head around and stared at Malfoy in horror.

"Tell me you're a poof and I'll keep this up," he said. He gave a gentle, tiny squeeze and stared at Harry, a clear challenge in his cold eyes.

Harry scrambled away, angry and ashamed and still so unbelievably hard he could barely stand. Tears of frustration and intense fatigue started and he blinked them away, wishing he could be anywhere but in this room.

"What's wrong, Potty? Having a sexual crisis?"

"You bastard," Harry choked out.

Malfoy got up and pulled his trousers back on. Harry couldn't keep his eyes off of the other boy's prick. He was just as hard as Harry. "Well," he drawled, "I have things to take care of. I'm off to the bathroom." He looked down at Harry's huddled form and added, "Try not to interrupt me this time."

The door slammed behind him. Harry lurched to his feet and kicked the door. "Fuck," he said to no one. Not caring anymore, he unzipped and pulled out his cock. This time he didn't bother to lie to himself. He imagined fucking Malfoy into the ground, against a wall, on a table, and came in twenty seconds. Harry was shocked at the amount of come that now covered his fist in dripping, wet gobs. He collapsed onto the floor and wearily looked around for something to clean up with. Feeling a bit guilty, he grabbed a forgotten sock under the bed. Ministry rules concerning under age magic were a nuisance. He stuffed the now slimy sock back under, telling himself he'd get it later.

"Harry, dear? Is everything all right? I heard the door slam. Harry?" Mrs Weasley's voice floated through the air.

Groaning and feeling the overwhelming urge to kill Ron's mother, Harry took a few deep breaths.

"Is he in there?" Harry heard Remus ask.

Harry yanked open the door. "I'm here."

"Goodness, my dear. It's terribly late; you need to sleep," Mrs. Weasley chided.

Harry clenched his teeth. "I know."

Remus gave Harry a sympathetic glance and said, "I've told Molly you're thinking of moving in with me. I'll come back tomorrow and we can talk then, okay?"

Harry noticed Mrs Weasley's lips tighten but she said nothing. Harry was tired of Mrs Weasley and her moods.

Harry nodded and tried to ignore the picture he was envisioning of Malfoy wanking in the bathroom not twenty feet away. Now that he'd seen the other boy's prick, it was a difficult image to avoid. Would he come as fast Harry did? Would he be thinking of Harry when he grasped that wet prick of his? Harry groaned out loud; he was so fucking tired and he couldn't stop the wild questions from circling and the pictures of Malfoy's pink prick and fast fist out of his head.

Remus gave Harry an odd look before he said, "I'll just collect Mr Malfoy and be on my way, Molly."

"Nonsense Remus," Mr Weasley said, coming up behind them, "You can sleep in Bill's old room and young Malfoy can sleep in the twins' room. You and Harry have a lot to talk about in the morning."

Ron came out of his bedroom and blinked when he saw Harry. "Where have you been?" He yawned. "Hermione and Ginny have already gone to bed. Did you gather up your gifts?"

"No, I forgot," Harry snapped, losing his last hold on civility.

"Blimey Harry, I was just asking," Ron said.

"I've already taken care of that for you," Mrs Weasley threw in.

A door opened and Malfoy joined the group standing outside the twins' room. The bastard's hair was perfectly in place and he smiled smugly. Harry knew his own hair was messier than usual and his face had to be flushed and God, he could feel sticky traces of come deep between his fingers.

"All better, Potter?"

Harry blushed uncontrollably, but tried to play it off as anger. "Fuck off, Malfoy."

"Harry!" Mrs Weasley said.

"I'm just tired. I'd really like to sleep now." He knew he was whining, and he hated it, but this day had to end.

"Let's go to bed," Ron said, and he turned back to his room.

Malfoy raised his eyebrows and gave Harry a knowing look. "Sweet dreams, Potter."

Harry ignored him and instead mumbled a goodnight to Remus and the Weasleys.

Later, under the cover of darkness, Harry finally gave in and bitter, silent tears slid down his cheeks.


Harry woke up an hour later. He was too restless to really sleep well, and his hunger pangs didn't help either. He didn't have a stash of food in Ron's room like he did at Privet Drive.

He didn't really understand why he'd cried. The last time he had cried was over Sirius, and that was a good reason. Now, he was just confused. He had enjoyed it when Malfoy had touched him; he acknowledged it, was ashamed of it. But as much as he hated the bastard, he couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if Malfoy hadn't stopped.

Harry wiped his face, grabbed his glasses and looked over at Ron. He was breathing deeply. Harry's stomach growled. Slipping out of bed, he pulled on the matching shirt to his pyjama bottoms. He was ready for some of the cheesecake he'd missed out on earlier. Opening the door, he remembered with a flash of panic that he'd left the picture frame of Sirius in the kitchen. He didn't want everyone looking at it.

Harry blanched when he stepped in the hallway and saw the twins' bedroom door. He fought back the impulse to press his head on the door and listen. Scowling at himself for even having the itch to check the door, he rushed down the steps.

When he reached the sitting room, he heard voices in the kitchen. They were low and muted, but he thought it was Mr and Mrs Weasley. He crept closer.

"Molly, we have to talk about this."

"I left the bedroom for a reason, Arthur. Idon't want to talk about this." Her voice was colder than Harry had ever heard it.

"We've been through so much together, my love, why can't we work through this?" Mr Weasley was pleading, and Harry had never been so ashamed to eavesdrop before in his life.

"Just because I don't want to sleep with you doesn't mean we can't have a happy marriage," Mrs Weasley said.

Oh, God. Harry turned and bolted back up the stairs, where he ran straight into Draco Malfoy at the top of the landing.

"Watch it, Potter," Malfoy said huffily.

"Don't go downstairs," Harry said quickly.

"Why not? I'm hungry. I didn't get to enjoy your lovely birthday feast or eat supper."

"Just don't go down there, right now. Ron's parents are . . ."

"They're what, Potter?"

Harry dragged a hand through his hair, and said, "Just wait."

He didn't want to go back to bed; he didn't trust that Malfoy would stay away from the kitchen. Harry sat on the steps. To his surprise, Malfoy sat down as well, though a step lower. He was wearing the same clothes he'd worn when Harry saw him last; grey trousers, now a bit rumpled, and a stiff white shirt with a high collar and silver buttons. He'd probably refused to wear any Weasley clothes, Harry thought.

"I can't believe I'm here," Malfoy said gloomily.

Harry didn't respond. His brain was still trying to reconcile the reality of him and Malfoy sitting together on Ron's stairs in the dead of night.

"Lupin says you might come to the creepy house."

"Don't call it that. And stop talking to me. We're not friends," Harry said.

"We were pretty friendly earlier, as I recall."

Harry was grateful they were bathed in darkness, though the way his cheeks flamed he was sure Malfoy could see them glowing.

"Shut up about that too," he growled.

"I can't talk at all?"


"You know, Potter, maybe your fan club listens to your every word, but I don't. I'll talk as much as I like. And right now, I want to talk about your cock."

Harry's mouth dropped open, just as his cock hardened. "Wha . . . what?" he sputtered.

"Potter the poof, who would have thought?" Malfoy said thoughtfully.

"I'm not a poof," Harry said quickly.

Before Harry knew what was happening, Malfoy's hand reached between his legs and wrapped around him.

"Then why are you hard again, Potter? Is this a physical problem?"

Harry jerked up a step and glared down at Malfoy. "You fuck! Are you a poof?"

"Yes," he said, and he moved up a step.

Harry's mouth dropped open again. He didn't know what to say. Malfoy was queer. Normally, this would be great fodder for he and Ron to make jokes about, but when he felt Malfoy's hand creep up to grasp his hard cock yet again, and it felt so fucking good, like nothing he'd ever felt before, he knew he would never tell Ron this secret.

"I know you like this, Potter," Malfoy said smugly, continuing to rub Harry confidently.

He did. The sensations this time were a hundred times better because his thin cotton pyjamas offered very little resistance to Malfoy's groping. Harry could actually feel Malfoy's fingers through the material and there was no comparison to his own hand, none at all.

His legs fell apart of their own volition and his head dropped back; he couldn't stop the breathy whines that escaped his lips. The edge of the step dug into his back, as he lay sprawled against the stairs, completely overwhelmed by the firm pressure of Malfoy's hand on his cock.

"Close your eyes," Malfoy demanded.

Harry felt an instinctive urge to not listen, because it was Malfoy, but he was doing such amazing things to his body, so he complied.

He felt Malfoy move closer, and the hand that stroked him so carefully was taken away. Warm hands grasped Harry's thighs, pushed them further apart and a hot, wet mouth covered his cock through the thin material of his pyjamas. Harry bucked immediately and opened his eyes in shock.

Malfoy sat up and put his hand back on Harry's cock. "Not ready for that?" he said breathily.

Harry shook his head dumbly. "I'm not gay," he whispered.

Malfoy nodded but continued to squeeze and rub Harry's cock. Harry didn't stop him. He closed his eyes again and moaned. It felt too good. When Malfoy slipped a hand into the waistband of his pyjama bottoms, Harry kept his eyes closed and waited in anticipation for skin on skin contact.

Malfoy's fingers were warm as they moved delicately over Harry's abdomen; he used one hand to pull back the pants, while the other moved down, down until Harry felt those fingers brush into his pubic hair. That first touch electrified him and he groaned again.

"Feels good, doesn't it Potter?" Malfoy said.

"Stop talking," Harry complained.

Malfoy's touch disappeared abruptly, and the waistband of Harry's bottoms snapped against his stomach. He opened his eyes and stared at Malfoy in frustration. "What the fuck? I'm a poof, okay!"

"Shut up, Potter, someone's coming." Malfoy scrambled up the landing, just as Harry heard the voices of Arthur and Molly Weasley floating up the stairs.

"Molly, I don't know what to tell you, but this is not the way to solve anything. I certainly can't make Harry stay if he wants to move in with Remus for the rest of the summer."

"He belongs with us," Mrs Weasley insisted.

"Potter!" Malfoy hissed. "Get up!"

Scrambling up the rest of the stairs, Harry quickly followed Malfoy into the twins' room. He stayed by the door to listen for the Weasleys. They were murmuring now, as they passed the bedrooms. When their voices faded completely, Harry turned around.

Malfoy was sitting on the bed, looking at Harry speculatively.

Harry blushed, feeling weirder than ever. He wanted Malfoy to finish him off. He didn't want to think about it. He just wanted it.

"So, you're a poof now?" Malfoy asked, raising an eyebrow.

Harry nodded, his gut twisting in a mix of desire and fear.

"Come here," Malfoy said.

Harry hardened painfully and he couldn't believe his response to Malfoy's soft command. All he knew is that he wanted Malfoy to touch him again. He walked awkwardly over to the bed.

Malfoy gave Harry a shrewd look, then gripped the waistband of Harry's bottoms and pulled them down. The fabric slid across his stomach and arse and was pulled taut over his cock and gently scraped his thighs. His cock bounced against his belly and left a wet, sticky spot on his stomach. Harry sucked in a breath. He wasn't sure how he ended up like this, about to receive his first blowjob, and some part of his brain shrieked that it was Draco Malfoy ready to administer it. He was going to put his mouth on Harry's cock, his tongue too, and Harry couldn't wait; his cock bobbed nervously, oozing precome.

Malfoy placed his hands on Harry's arse, and pulled him close. He slid one hand forward to grasp a hip, and used the other to hold the base of Harry's cock.

Harry shuddered and nearly came at the first touch of Malfoy's wet tongue. He looked down and saw that tongue dart out and lick the head of his cock. He felt dizzy, and grabbed Malfoy's head for balance.

The hair clutched between Harry's fingers was soft and fine. Malfoy's tongue wriggled and swirled confidently up and down Harry's cock. His nose nudged into Harry's dark curls and Harry nearly fell over when the other boy inhaled deeply. Then that red mouth sucked him down and it was so hot and so wet and so good.

"Oh, fuck," Harry breathed.

Malfoy's fingernails dug into Harry's hip as he held him steady. He slid his mouth up and down Harry's cock and when the air hit the wet flesh, Harry trembled.

Malfoy moved his hand from Harry's hip and began lightly fondling his balls. The feather light touch on his sac along with Malfoy's firm suckling undid Harry completely.

"Oh God, oh fuck," Harry cried. He began to thrust into Malfoy's mouth, unable to stop himself. Malfoy sucked even harder, his lips tight against the ring of his fist encircling Harry's cock.

"I'm gonna --" Harry words were swallowed just as Malfoy swallowed the come that shot forth in a flood. Harry's knees buckled and Malfoy grabbed his softening cock, still spurting, before he fell to the floor.

"I'd say you're a poof," Malfoy said smugly; he licked his fingers slowly. Harry looked up at him with glazed eyes. He was drained, so drained, and hearing that familiar arrogant tone, Harry felt something ugly twist inside of him. He jerked away and pulled up his pyjama bottoms in a hurry.

"I'm not!" he snapped stupidly, watching as Malfoy continued to lick his come off of his fingers.

"Okay," Malfoy said, in the most agreeable tone he's ever heard the boy use. "I don't suppose you'd care to help me with this?" He gestured to his own, obvious arousal.

Harry gulped and shook his head. "I may have liked what you did, but any girl could have done the same," he insisted.

"You're such an idiot." Malfoy started to undo his trousers.

"What are you doing?" Harry asked, totally mesmerised by Malfoy's movements.

"Potter, I just sucked you off. I have a hard-on. I'm going to take care of it," he sneered.

"Wait till I leave the room then."

Malfoy waited. Harry didn't move.

"Get out, Potter," he snapped, his eyes flashing angrily.

Harry scowled, not quite sure who he was angry with, and left the room.

Once he was back in his own bed with his eyes closed, he kept seeing Malfoy's bobbing blond head and felt Malfoy's tongue and fingers on his cock. It was a long time before he went to sleep.

Chapter Five: House and Home

Harry woke to the voices of Ron and Hermione. He kept his eyes closed.


"Let him sleep, Ron. He must really need it," Hermione said.

"Yeah, but it's ten past one already," Ron complained.

Harry's eyes shot open at that and he rolled over, still deeply buried in blankets and fumbled for his glasses on the bed side table, before mumbling groggily, "In the afternoon?"

"Harry, did we wake you up?" Hermione said apologetically.

"It's okay," Harry said, sitting up.

Ron and Hermione sat on the opposite bed, both looking concerned.

"Yeah, Harry, it's after one in the afternoon. But mate, you needed it." He threw an apple at him. "You must be hungry though."

Harry caught the fruit easily and gratefully bit into the tart green apple.

"Did you mean to leave this downstairs?" Hermione held out the picture frame of Sirius and Remus.

"No, I didn't. Did anyone else look at it?" he asked quickly and took the frame from her outstretched hand.

"Only mum did," Ron answered. "Hermione took it after she was done and brought it up here."

Hermione looked displeased as Ron spoke and she said earnestly, "Harry, I don't think she meant to pry."

Ron looked crossly at Hermione. "I would appreciate it if you would stop talking about my mum and Ginny."

Harry watched his two friends, wondering what exactly he had missed during his lie-in.

"I can't believe you haven't noticed anything," she muttered. "I'm sorry, you're right," she added quickly when Ron's glared deepened. "I'll stop talking about them to you."

She flicked a glance at Harry and he couldn't help but give a tiny nod back, hoping Ron wouldn't see.

Ron stood abruptly. "I'll see you in a bit. I promised Mum I wouldn't leave Malfoy alone with Ginny." He sounded annoyed.

Harry felt his face heat up and his stupid cock hardened at the mention of Malfoy, just as he blurted out, "That git is still here?"

"Remus waited around for you to wake up, but he had to go. I heard him tell mum that he'd be back around supper time for him."

"Ron!" They all heard Mrs Weasley yell.

Ron groaned and left.

Hermione was practically shaking in anticipation. The second the door shut behind Ron, she pounced on the foot of Harry's bed.

"Harry, we have to watch Ginny."

"I know," he said. He'd never had a chance to tell Hermione and Ron what he'd overheard during his party. He quickly relayed the conversation Luna and Ginny had behind the bush.

Hermione pursed her lips and Harry knew she was processing the new information.

"Interesting," she said after a few seconds of silence. "And did you see how Malfoy reacted to her out there after the party? I know he's a coward, but what did she do that would make him cast Tarantallegra on her? I mean, honestly, if he casts any more spells, he's going to get expelled."

"I don't care about Malfoy," Harry said forcefully.

"I know, Harry," Hermione said dryly. "I'm concerned about Ginny, not him. I just want to know why she's so interested in him and why he's acting scared of her. It makes no sense." She shook her head.

"Ginny did get him with a Bat Bogey Hex in Dumbledore's office last year. I heard it was bad," he said weakly.

"No, it's more than that, I'm sure of it. And now this conversation with Luna." She sighed, looking across the room at nothing in particular. "It's hard to tell with Luna though. She's always odd. But, why would Ginny miss Malfoy? Are you sure that's what you heard?" She gave Harry a pointed look.

"I think so," he said. Harry yawned and stretched; he felt his shirt rise.

Hermione blushed and rose, unfolding her legs quickly. "Sorry, Harry. You get dressed. I'll see you downstairs." She was gone in seconds.

Harry lay back and stared blankly at the ceiling. Remus was gone; he was stuck at the Burrow with Malfoy. He pulled the blankets over his head and wished he could go back to sleep. But hunger and a full bladder compelled him to leave the warmth and solitude of his bed.

Ten minutes later, after a guilty wank fuelled by images of last night's activity, Harry stood in front of the mirror in the bedroom and tried to fix his hair. Scowling at his reflection, he wondered for the millionth time why he even bothered. He threw the comb on the dresser and was about to walk out when a flash of movement in the mirror shot into view. His adrenaline raced and he whirled around to see if Hedwig or Pig was in the room. Looking back at the mirror, Harry saw nothing.

Two incidents was something Harry couldn't dismiss as coincidence. But what could he do about it? He wasn't about to bring this to Dumbledore's attention. It was just silly, he told himself. His scar hadn't bothered him in weeks. Flashes in a mirror were insignificant when compared with Voldemort. Still, it worried him.

He cocked his head to side and watched the mirror with his peripheral vision, hoping to catch another flash. Though fuzzy, he thought he saw slight movement in the upper left corner this time. He stayed completely still and tried to make out the image. All he could see was a glimmer of red-gold, and then a glimmer of white-gold. He turned to face the mirror, but the little blurs disappeared. He cocked his head again, and tried to recapture the image.

"Comb your hair, scruffy!" the mirror screeched.

Harry yelped in surprise and gave the mirror a dirty look, which resulted in giving himself a dirty look. Feeling just as foolish as he did yesterday, he left.

Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were seated at the table, eating a lunch of chicken salad with some crusty bread. Harry was relieved when he noticed that neither Malfoy nor Mrs Weasley was there. Hermione and Ron were chatting and Ginny picked at her food.

"Good morning," Harry said and sat down, ready to tuck in. He really was famished.

"Good afternoon," Ginny corrected, but she smiled.

Harry smiled back, glad to see a little of the Ginny he knew surfacing. It amazed him how such a little thing cheered him.

"Professor Lupin firecalled a minute ago, Harry," Hermione informed him.

"Yeah," Ron added. "He said he'll be here this evening for supper."

Ron gave Harry a questioning look. "Are you really thinking of moving to Grimmauld Place?"

He looked up and saw that all three watched him closely. "Um, yeah, I was thinking about it."

"What's to think about? I mean, Malfoy's going to be living there." Ron shrugged, as if his statement made Harry's decision obvious.

Ginny pushed away from the table and walked out without a word. Hermione just shook her head slightly and threw Ron a worried glance.

Ron was oblivious and continued to eat blithely. "Besides," he said in a low voice, "I thought you didn't want to go there anyway."

"I changed my mind," Harry said.

"But --"

"Ron, if I go, I'm going to ask your Dad if you can come too."

Ron brightened at that then frowned almost immediately. "I don't know that Mum would let me," he said.

Harry choked on his juice when Mrs Weasley ran through the kitchen, shouting "No, no, no!" as she flew past them out the door.

The three friends hastily jumped to follow.

It seemed to Harry that yesterday's events were destined to repeat themselves: the flash in the mirror, and now Ginny and Malfoy in the yard with wands drawn. There was one major difference; the red-haired girl's wand was out and Malfoy had obviously been hexed this time. He was stretched out next to her, stiff as a board. With her wand held loosely in her hand, Ginny crouched over Malfoy and spoke quickly but Harry was too far to hear.

"Ginny! What are you doing?!" Mrs Weasley yelled, brandishing her own wand.

"She cast Petrificus Totalus," Hermione breathed. "She’s underage; she’ll be in so much trouble."

Ginny jumped to her feet, looked wildly at Malfoy and back at the small group. "He was stealing! I caught him going through Harry's presents. Look!" she said triumphantly, pointing at what looked like, to Harry's eye, Lavender's magical compact lying on the ground next to Malfoy.

"Finite Incantatem," Mrs Weasley said.

Malfoy sat up. He was as wild-eyed as Ginny. His pale face was whiter than usual, and he trembled visibly. He stared at Ginny in shock and Harry was shocked himself to see a shimmer of moisture in the other boy's eyes. Malfoy blinked it away rapidly and he swiped at his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt.

Hermione elbowed Harry and murmured, "What is going on?"

Harry shook his head, just as confused.

Ron moved forward and snatched up the compact. "This isn't one of Harry's presents."

Mrs Weasley turned to Ginny and said with barely controlled rage, "Go up to your room, now. I will deal with you later."

Malfoy watched Ginny leave, with something close to longing in his gaze. When she was out of sight, he recovered his sneer.

"As if I'd steal anything in this dump!" he snapped, stood up, and straightened his shirt and trousers, the same ones he'd worn yesterday. "I don't know what that silly witch is talking about," he added, losing a bit of vehemence in his tone.

"I'll thank you NOT to disparage my home, Mr Malfoy! While you are a guest here, you will treat my house and everyone in it with respect. Is that clear?" Mrs Weasley said firmly as she stared the boy down.

Malfoy blanched and nodded, but said nothing more.

"And for Merlin's sake, are you going to wear those clothes from now on? I've given you perfectly good replacements," Mrs Weasley said, exasperated.

An owl circled, hooted and dropped a scroll. Hermione plucked the scroll and said quietly, "I'll just bring this to Ginny."

"I'm comfortable in these," Malfoy said disdainfully.

Mrs Weasley huffed and followed Hermione.

Ron snickered and Harry could barely suppress one of his own. He knew, as well as Ron did, that Malfoy would die before donning any clothing worn by a Weasley.

"What are you laughing at, Weasel?" Malfoy said, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ron answered and Harry didn't participate as the familiar insults flew between the two boys. As he watched the exchange between Malfoy and Ron, he was struck by the intensity of his interest in what Malfoy said, how he said it, how he stood, how the sun glinted off the hair that Harry had grasped the night before, how those hands had gripped his hip, how those lips had. . .

"Harry!" Ron practically shouted.


"What's wrong, Potter? Can't you concentrate?" Malfoy said, his gaze lingering deliberately at Harry's crotch before meeting his guilty stare.

Harry's cock hardened and he wished he could Apparate. "Shut up, ferret. I'm just not that interested in what you have to say," he lied.

Malfoy's eyes narrowed and he drawled, "Is that right?"

Harry summoned up the coldest look he could muster and sneered back, "That's right, Malfoy. I could care less about you."

He turned his back on the other boy and said to Ron, "Come on mate, let's open the rest of my presents."

"Good idea," Ron said and shot Malfoy a dirty look.

Harry was sure he could feel two holes burning in his back as they walked away. He chanced a glance behind him. Malfoy didn't look angry at all; he wasn’t even looking at Harry. Instead, he appeared shaken as he stared up at the second story of the Burrow, right at the window of Ginny Weasley's bedroom.


Harry didn't see Malfoy for the rest of the afternoon. Ron and Hermione helped him open his presents. His dorm mates had all given him Warhammer paraphernalia, and the Gryffindor girls had given him some clothes. The perfumed pink card that came with them read, Happy Birthday Harry! Here are some clothes for you. Your fashion sense is severely lacking, and we thought you could use some help. Hermione will know which shirts go with which trousers. Love, Lavender, Padma, and Parvati.

To his surprise, all the clothes fit perfectly, and Hermione encouraged an impromptu fashion show. While Hermione commented on his four shirts (red, white, green, and blue respectively) and two trousers (khaki and black), Ron flipped through Hermione's gift, an anthology of short stories called Quidditch Brooms Out the Floo. The assorted younger Weasleys gave him a selection of sample tricks, chocolate frogs, and other sweets from Honeydukes.

Afterward, Hermione pulled out the compact that Malfoy had taken. She told Harry about the micro fine print on the back that became legible with a magnifying spell, which Mrs Weasley had performed for her earlier, though Hermione admitted she had to coax her to do it.

"According to what I read this morning, you can change your eye colour and hair colour too." She stared at the glass. "Eye colour, blue; hair, red." She giggled. "Look at me!"

Ron looked over her shoulder into the mirror and laughed. "I like you better with brown hair, Hermione."

She pinked up, gave Ron a smile and passed it to Harry. "Try it."

"Hey cutie! Fancy a new look?" the mirror shrieked.

Feeling extremely self-conscious, Harry said haltingly, "Um, uh, eye colour, red; hair, purple."

Ron scrambled over to his side and they both laughed hysterically at Harry's reflection.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Why don't you pick natural colours?"

"Tonks' hair is purple sometimes and it's completely natural," Ron said cheekily.

They spent the rest of the afternoon outside, enjoying Harry's gifts and picking at left-over birthday cake. Later he and Ron went flying while Hermione read over some of her summer school work. They both knew her work was already done, but she always edited and rechecked her scrolls. She was happy to do it and Harry and Ron knew better than to bother her.

Harry congratulated himself several times that afternoon for not thinking of Malfoy, not even once.

They flew until it was too dark to see and the boys were hot, thirsty and sweaty when they walked into the kitchen. Mrs Weasley was in the middle of a firecall; Malfoy stood stiffly beside her, watching over her shoulder.

"I understand perfectly, Mr Parkinson," she was saying.

"You're a fool to keep that boy," he said firmly. "He should be in the Ministry holding cells with the rest of them. Don't let him send any more owls to my girl." Harry moved closer to get a better look and noted that Pansy's pug-like facial features came from her father.

"I'm sorry he bothered you," Mrs Weasley said.

Harry and Ron exchanged a quick glance before they both looked at Malfoy. His face was flushed in embarrassment and his arms were rigid against his sides.

"Ask him if Pansy wants to talk to me," he said urgently.

She waved a hand in Malfoy's direction, obviously trying to shush him.

"Tell young Mr Malfoy that if he goes anywhere near my daughter or tries to communicate with her in any way at all, I will do everything in my power to get him expelled from Hogwarts! I'll not have my daughter consorting with a future Death Eater!" Mr Parkinson was yelling by the end of his little speech and he added, "Do you hear me, boy! I know you're listening!"

Malfoy turned away abruptly. He stalked past Harry and Ron without really seeing them, and he bumped Ron on his way out.

"Watch out!"

Malfoy didn't answer as he ran up the stairs. Harry didn't know what to think. Ron was muttering how Malfoy was a slimy git, Mrs Weasley was trying to placate Mr Parkinson, and then Hermione wandered in and asked what was going on. Ron filled Hermione in and Harry made a decision.

"I'll be right back," he said, and sprinted up the stairs.

When he reached the top of the landing, he saw Malfoy about to knock on Ginny's bedroom door.

"What are you doing?" Harry demanded, striding forward. "Leave her alone."

"Fuck off, Potter." Scowling, Malfoy stepped away from Ginny's door.

The two boys glared at each other in front of the bathroom.

"Why do you want to talk to Ginny?"

"Why did you follow me?"

"Why do you want to talk to Pansy?"

Malfoy's eyes narrowed as he took a step toward Harry. "Pansy is my friend.

"Well, obviously her father doesn't want you talking to her," Harry said.

Malfoy face darkened in frustration; he slid to the floor and sat against the wall. He rested his head in the cradle of his drawn-up knees, facing away from Harry.

"Go away," he said sourly.

Harry didn't move. He didn't know what to make of Draco Malfoy. He'd never seen him like this. As he stared down at the white blond hair he'd seen for the last six years, Harry realised he knew very little about him, beyond him being a prejudiced prat, a bully, and a really, really good giver of blowjobs.

Remus had told him that Malfoy was completely friendless, but Harry hadn't really thought about it. But if families in the wizarding world were afraid of associating with Death Eaters, even their children, then Malfoy truly was alone. Mr Parkinson had made it clear that Malfoy would never be welcome around Pansy. Crabbe and Goyle had to be facing the same ostracism, and were probably shuttled among relatives or were wards of the Ministry.

It began to dawn on Harry just how alone and isolated Malfoy had been and would continue to be unless his mother was found, or until his father was released from Azkaban. The latter was unlikely, and rightfully so, but he felt his anger abate slightly. Malfoy was effectively cut off from everyone he loved. Harry knew all too well how that felt. His second year had been one of the worst in his school career.

"Why do you want to talk to Pansy?" he asked quietly.

"Potter, go away. Your very presence is giving me a headache."

"I'm just trying to --"

"Just trying to what? Trying to help?" Malfoy raised his head and stared at Harry hatefully. "You mean like you tried to help by putting my father in Azkaban? That kind of help?"

"He belongs in Azkaban," Harry said flatly, looking down at Malfoy.

"Yeah, well," Malfoy said bitterly. "So everyone keeps telling me." He gave Harry a nasty glare. "At least he's alive."

Harry sucked in a deep breath, counted to ten, and tried his best not to kick Malfoy.

"What's wrong Potter, did I strike a nerve?" Malice glittered in his eyes.

"You're an unbelievable arsehole, you know that? I was actually starting to feel sorry for you," Harry said.

Malfoy jumped to his feet. "Oh, please. Save it, Potter. You're only up here for one thing."

"And what would that be?" Harry asked, his heart hammering in his chest all of a sudden.

"This." Malfoy's hand flew to Harry's crotch.

"Stop it," Harry hissed and he backed away, hitting the wall behind him.

"No," Malfoy said, smirking. "You've been thinking about this all fucking day."

He aligned his body against Harry's and rubbed his crotch again, and to Harry's dismay, he hardened in seconds.

"I know you have. You can't get it out of your head," he said, now stroking the hard outline of Harry's cock straining against his jeans. "You like this," Malfoy whispered and Harry felt a small, wet swipe on his ear, and realised it was Malfoy's tongue. "You like it when another boy touches you."

"Why are you doing this?" Harry asked, bewildered and more turned on than he'd ever been in his life.

"I like boys," Malfoy said, licking Harry's neck slowly as his fingers nimbly unsnapped Harry's jeans. "Even boys as cowardly as you are," he added. He nibbled on Harry's ear. "I know you like boys too, Potter." His hand slipped past Harry's pants and delved into his pubic hair. "You might not have known it before, but you do now." Malfoy's fingers touched the head of Harry's cock.

"I'm not a coward," Harry gasped. He placed his hand on Malfoy's arm, locking it in place, in case Malfoy even thought of stopping. "I -- I like boys too," Harry whispered, unable to deny it. He stared straight ahead, afraid to see Malfoy's sneer.

"You want to do more." Malfoy's warm breath drifted across Harry's skin and he licked the curve of his neck right below his ear. His fingers curled around Harry's cock and squeezed.

Harry arched his neck to give the other boy greater access; and he spread his legs a bit wider as well. His grip on Draco's arm tightened.

Harry felt an open mouth suck on his neck. "You want this on your cock again, just like last night, don't you?" Malfoy whispered wetly.

"Yesss," Harry hissed, and clenched his teeth, loving and hating his body at the same time.

With his right hand, Malfoy pulled on Harry's cock with rough fingers, causing Harry to gasp sharply. Still licking Harry's neck, Draco's left hand moved to clasp the back of his head to hold him in place. He tongued his way back up into Harry's ear.

"Find a way for me to get a message to Pansy and a meeting time in Diagon Alley," he said.

Harry pulled out of Malfoy's grasp and stared at the other boy, his brows drawn together in frustration. "What?"

Malfoy jerked his hand out of Harry's jeans; he looked both angry and miserable as he glared at Harry.

"Forget it, Potter. Just fuck off."

Harry felt light-headed; his stomach felt as if a dozen Cornish Pixies had taken up residence. Was Malfoy using sex to get Harry's help? Humiliation spread hotly throughout his limbs. He had to be sure this wasn't one sided; he'd never live it down if Malfoy was using him this way. Moving swiftly, before his mind could catch up with his body, he pushed Malfoy against the opposite wall, reached between his legs and palmed the other boy's prick. To his fevered relief, Malfoy was just as hard as he was. He'd never felt another boy's cock and the sensation of that hardness pulsing in his hand was incredibly arousing.

"Don't tease me, Potter," Malfoy said through gritted teeth when Harry squeezed experimentally.

"I'm not," Harry said.

"You don't know what you're doing."

"Then show me," Harry whispered and he squeezed again.

Malfoy's eyes widened and his lips parted. A tongue darted out and Harry felt an insane urge to kiss him. His own mouth opened, but Malfoy cut him off.

"You want to do this out here?" Malfoy asked.

Harry blushed when he imagined the picture they would present to anyone walking by. He had Malfoy pinned to the wall, his hand boldly squeezing his cock, and their flushed faces were centimetres apart, only a breath separating them.

"No," Harry said, and quickly moved away.

"Harry!" Ron yelled up the stairs. "Remus is here. Come down."

He looked down the hallway, licked his lips, and glanced back at Malfoy. The other boy was just as clearly frustrated.

"Tonight?" Harry asked quickly; he couldn't believe his own audacity. A tiny voice screamed in his head. What the fuck are you doing? He ignored it; his body was in control.

Malfoy nodded and an expression Harry had never seen before on his face surfaced. Harry recognised the excited anticipation that had to be matching his own, and unbelievably, his cock hardened even more. He groaned in disappointment and stared hungrily at Malfoy's mouth.

Malfoy smirked and said, "Sometimes, it's good to have no friends around. No one expects me to come down right away. I'll just make use of this lovely little room." He tapped on the bathroom door. He gave Harry's cock a quick squeeze before turning away.

Harry reached out and his fingers slipped through Malfoy's fine blond hair and lightly scratched the back of his neck. Malfoy stopped dead in his tracks and Harry could see him shiver. Stepping behind him, he wound his arms low around Malfoy's hips and lightly caressed the obvious arousal. His heart pounded fiercely and a part of him couldn't believe he was touching Draco Malfoy like this, but he whispered anyway, "Save some for me?"

Malfoy abruptly twisted in the circle of Harry's arms. Their noses touched, and Malfoy's tongue was suddenly in Harry's mouth.

He tasted like birthday cake and tea. Malfoy's tongue was slick against his own, and when he shoved his hand down the front of Harry's pants to get at his cock again, Harry groaned into his hot, wet mouth.

Draco broke free of the kiss and growled in his ear, "You're such a slut, Potter."

Harry couldn't believe his response to being called a slut. He thrust his tongue back in Malfoy's mouth enthusiastically, and when Malfoy's fingers curled around his cock, he groaned yet again.

"Harry?" Ron yelled again.

Both boys froze for a second; then Malfoy bit his ear and whispered, "Tonight," and gave his cock one last squeeze, before sliding his hand slowly across Harry's groin and stomach, carefully pulling free of his jeans.

Harry watched the other boy walk into the bathroom with glazed eyes, and when Ron called a third time, Harry yelled back.

"Hold on!" He dashed into the bedroom, zipped up his jeans, grabbed some robes and threw them on. They would cover his raging hard-on.

He hoped.

Cursing Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley equally, he went downstairs.


Supper was a strained affair. Remus was there and that was wonderful for Harry; he'd wanted to see him since he woke up. Unfortunately, Professor Snape was there as well. The two former colleagues barely spoke and Mrs Weasley, for some reason she kept to herself, gave Snape barely disguised dirty looks, and very small helpings. Strangely, Remus also received a share of angry looks from the Weasley matriarch.

Mr Weasley tried valiantly to keep a conversation going between the adults, but as Remus seemed to enjoy talking with his former students, it was a wasted effort. Harry squirmed uncomfortably throughout the meal. His erection had gone down, being around so many people; that wasn't the problem. It was the reality of Malfoy eating with his friends that troubled him. Oh, he wanted to fool around with Malfoy; he didn't deny that. But he didn't want to upset the balance of his world either. His recreational activities with Malfoy were best kept separate and secret.

Malfoy spoke mostly to Professor Snape, who sat at his side, and responded to Remus’ gentle enquiries reluctantly.

After dessert, Remus cleared his throat to get everyone's attention.

"There's an article coming out tomorrow in the Prophet and I'd like to talk to you about it." His gaze encompassed the students, before falling on Snape, whose mouth was a hard line.

"I'll speak with Malfoy alone," Snape said firmly. "You can tell the Gryffindor rabble here."

"Come now, Professor Snape, that's not called for," Mr Weasley said.

"Once a bastard, always a bastard, right Sn -- Snape?" Mrs Weasley muttered as she wiped the table. She slowly raised her head and immediately clapped her hands, still clutching the cloth, over her mouth when she noticed the sudden silence her words produced. Dropping the rag quickly, she looked at her husband then at Snape and said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't know what came over me. Excuse me."

Snape stared sourly after her retreating form, then Mr Weasley coughed and Remus efficiently herded his former students, minus Malfoy, into the sitting room.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione crowded together on the little couch and Ginny sat in a large armchair like a queen, legs primly crossed as she surveyed Remus coolly.

"I went to see the Headmaster this afternoon," he began. He stood very much like he had in the classroom. The familiar stance and tone of their old teacher's voice caused them all to sit up straight and give their full attention.

"As you are all aware, the Ministry is doing its best to ferret out Death Eater activity where it is suspected."

Ron and Harry snickered loudly and Hermione elbowed Ron in the ribs, none too gently.

Remus looked confused. "Did I miss something?"

"It's nothing, Professor," said Ginny, giving Ron and Harry a dark look, "please continue."

"Their efforts are somewhat zealous and day by day all that goes on is faithfully reported in the Daily Prophet. Last week in particular, a statistical analysis of Death Eaters came out."

"Which analysis are you talking about?" Hermione asked. Harry knew Hermione read the Prophet faithfully, even if she disagreed with most of what was printed.

"Houses of Hogwarts and their ratio to Death Eaters," he said sadly. "I'm sure you've guessed that Slytherin is number one as the House where most Death Eaters originate."

Ron nodded enthusiastically, as if this news confirmed life long suspicions. Ginny and Hermione both appeared very interested.

"What does this have to do with us? I mean, we're in Gryffindor." Harry asked, feeling a bit uncomfortable. After all, he'd almost been sorted into Slytherin.

"Yeah," Ron added. "What do we care about Slytherin House?"

Hermione shushed them and sat up even straighter; her face was screwed up in concentration.

"It's not that you care, though you should, it's that parents care. Since that report came out, scores of parents have demanded that their children be resorted. No parent wants his child to be a target of the Ministry's, uh, efficiency. And now, certain greater demands and appeals have been made to the Headmaster."

Harry sat back, still not getting Remus' point.

"The Headmaster can't do that!" Hermione yelled, jumping to her feet.

"Can't do what?" Ron asked.

Ginny was shaking her head and frowning.

Hermione looked from boy to boy and seeing their confusion, said hurriedly, "They want him to dissolve Slytherin House."

"Good! They're all Death Eaters in training anyway," said Ron viciously.

"Ron, that is not true," Remus reprimanded.

"Ronald Weasley! Slytherin House must exist. Don't you remember the Sorting Hat's song at the beginning of last year?"

"No," Ron said, and he crossed his arms across his chest and sat back.

"Hermione, what does that matter?" Harry asked, getting annoyed with her. "Let Remus finish."

"No, Harry, it's relevant. Professor Snape told me about it." He gave Hermione an encouraging nod.

Hermione closed her eyes briefly, and recited.

"Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
the warning history shows,
for our Hogwarts is in danger
from external, deadly foes
and we must unite inside her
or we'll crumble from within"

"Don't you see? Hogwarts must remain united. If Slytherin house is dismantled, it's the beginning of the destruction of Hogwarts. All of the houses have different students, because every student has different talents. And we need every bit of diverse talent there is, no matter how much we dislike someone personally."

Ron frowned but he seemed to be letting Hermione's words sink in. Remus nodded and Harry threw a look at Ginny. She merely appeared thoughtful, twirling a red curl in her finger.

"But why are you telling us this? I'm pleased to know, but why did we need to know now?" Hermione asked, sounding perplexed for the first time.

Harry wasn't confused; he knew exactly what Remus was going to say.

The words Remus spoke to him the night of his birthday party came crashing back into his head, in all their hideous intent. But, there is an opportunity here. Draco is completely friendless and he isn't his father.

Harry didn't know why it was so hard to think of befriending Malfoy, while it was incredibly easy to think of fondling his prick. Shaking his head defiantly at his own twisted hypocrisy, he stood and glared at Remus.

"You want to leave him here."

Remus nodded.

"Who?" Ron asked, standing up.

"And you're not going to let me live at Grimmauld Place."

Remus nodded again, though he looked regretful. "About Grimmauld --"

"Who is being left here?" Ron interrupted, and then, as realisation hit: "Bloody hell."

"You expect us to be friends with Draco Malfoy?" Harry asked angrily, easily falling into his familiar safe hatred of the boy.

"No way," Ron said firmly.

"Professor Lupin, I don't think you understand . . ." Hermione was obviously flustered; even she didn't know what to say.

"Harry, about Grimmauld Place, there is more to that. But first let me explain what is at stake concerning Draco Malfoy, and all the other students in his house."

Harry, Ron, and Hermione were all standing now, and they sat down again at his calming tone. Ginny watched them all evenly, seemingly undisturbed by the revelations.

"Professor Dumbledore has no intention of dismantling Slytherin. For the very reasons Hermione listed, plus many others, Slytherin will remain. However, if there are no students left to be in the house, that won't matter."

"Can students even be resorted?" Hermione asked.

"It's been done, but the headmaster will not do that. He knows the importance of all the houses, even Slytherin."

"Yeah, but why do you want us to be friends with Malfoy?" Ron asked.

"It's not so much that it's Draco, as that he's a Slytherin. If any student of Slytherin were here, I'd ask the same of you. The fact that Draco has had a more difficult time than most this summer should make it easier for you to do this."

"What is it, exactly, that you are asking us to do?" Hermione asked.

Ron and Harry nodded energetically at this question and both boys stared at Remus expectantly.

"I'm not asking you to become best friends. I'm simply asking that you do your best to tolerate each other. Talk to each other. Go over your schoolwork together. Play Quidditch --"

"We already do that," Harry said flatly.

"I mean friendly games of Quidditch." Remus' gentle tone finally snapped. "For Merlin's sake, this boy has absolutely no one. Don't you all see that? When he goes to school, if he's allowed back at school, it will be even worse, as the students will have been ordered by their parents to alienate him."

"Professor," Hermione began in a small voice, "not every parent out there will believe the rubbish the Prophet is publishing."

Remus finally sat down and said tiredly, "I know this Hermione, but there are so many who want to believe it. People who are scared, people who have been following Fudge, people who have been beaten down by Lucius Malfoy, and now his son will take the brunt of it."

"What do you mean, if he's allowed back at school?" Ginny asked, surprising them all. Harry had forgotten she was there; she'd been so quiet.

"I didn't want to mention this, but a few students from Slytherin House, ready to enter seventh year, have been detained by the Ministry. Just being held in suspicion for any kind of charge is enough to warrant suspension from Hogwarts-- even expulsion. Professor Dumbledore has sworn not to expel them, but if even one of them truly is a Death Eater, he must, and this will only fuel the movement to disband Slytherin completely."

Hermione sat back and said thoughtfully, "Pansy Parkinson's father has forbidden Malfoy from talking to her. He said he'd get him expelled if he tried to contact her."

"Do you see what I mean now?" Remus asked.

"I'll do it. I'll be friends with him," Ginny said firmly.

Ron rolled his eyes. "Of course you will. You fancy him." He snorted.

"I don't," she denied vehemently and she stood in front of her chair stiffly. "I feel sorry for him! His mother is missing! He has no one, not even that stupid girl Pansy. How can you be so awful?"

"If people see Gryffindor and Slytherin together, out and about in Diagon Alley, it would be a very good thing," Remus said slowly.

"You mean if people see a Slytherin with Harry Potter, it will be a good thing," Harry said bitterly, angrier at Remus than he'd ever been.

"No, Harry, that's not what I mean," he stopped and looked at Harry sadly. "It's important that Slytherin House endure, and if you can help that by being friendly with Draco Malfoy, or with any Slytherin at all, is that such a terrible thing?"

"Yeah, Potter. Is it so hard to be friendly with me?" Malfoy drawled from the edge of the room. Professor Snape was standing behind him.

Harry's gut tightened, and he felt dizzy. He had a flash of Malfoy's bobbing head over his cock. He knew what Remus was trying to do; he saw the wisdom in it. Hogwarts needed to be as strong as it could possibly be, and if Slytherin remained the outcast house, or worse, was gone completely, the school would lose something fundamental.

But Malfoy was Malfoy -- he'd always been in Harry's life; he was his childhood nemesis, a prejudiced bully who went out of his way to bother him, and an arrogant coward. And even with these truths, all Harry wanted in the world was for Malfoy to lick his neck again, and rub his cock, and suck on his tongue. God, it was fucked up. He let his head fall back on the couch, and mumbled tiredly, "Fine. I'll play nice with Draco bloody Malfoy."

"I will too," Ginny announced.

"I'll try, but you can't call me names or copy my homework," Hermione said steadily while looking at Malfoy with a guarded expression.

Professor Snape pushed Malfoy into the room. "As much as I find inter-house fraternisation displeasing, this will ultimately be a wise decision," he said. "Speak up, Draco," Snape added impatiently.

"I promise not to hex you all."

Remus, Hermione, Ginny, and Professor Snape looked at Ron. Harry's eyes locked onto Malfoy's and the other boy stared back just as intently.

"Fine, I won't hex him either," Ron said bitterly, glaring at both Hermione and Harry.

"Thank you," Remus said quietly.

"I'll be leaving now. I had hoped not to see any students before the start of the school year, but as Mr Malfoy will be staying here, I'll be checking in from time to time," Snape pronounced, clearly annoyed. He gave Harry a particularly nasty look before leaving the room in a sweep of billowing robes.

Ron stormed out without a second look at his friends. Ginny stood quickly, gave Malfoy a bright smile and said, "He's not so bad, once you get to know him."

Malfoy looked up abruptly at Ginny and nodded, then returned his attention to Harry.

Hermione leaned over to Harry and asked, "Will you be okay? I need to talk to Ron."

"I'll be fine," he said, his eyes still on Malfoy.

Hermione beckoned to Ginny and the two hurried upstairs after Ron.

Remus cleared his throat. The boys looked over at him, as if just remembering his presence. "I thought you might want to come to Grimmauld Place and get your things, Draco. You're welcome to come too, Harry and visit a while. Maybe Ron just needs a bit of time to adjust. Tomorrow is Saturday, so we can spend the day together. I already asked Molly earlier and she said," he paused and cleared his throat, "she said it was fine. Is that all right with you?"

Harry knew that Mrs Weasley had probably fought tooth and nail to keep him at the Burrow and it explained the harsh looks she gave Remus at dinner. But as she wasn't Harry's guardian, there was nothing she could do.

Malfoy's sharp gaze drew Harry's attention back.

Tonight. The earlier whispered promise was deafening in his head and his cock was a rock in seconds. Grateful for the robe that bunched up around his lap when he sat down, he looked back at Remus.

"Sure, I'll come to Grimmauld Place with you and Malfoy."

Chapter Six: A Fragile Truce

Remus, Harry, and Malfoy tumbled out of the fireplace of number 12 Grimmauld Place. The old fashioned gas lamps flared to life and the familiar threadbare carpet and peeling wall paper greeted Harry's eyes.

An eerie feeling crept across his shoulders as he brushed off the ashes that clung to his robes. Something was missing.

"She doesn't talk anymore," Remus said, gesturing toward the portrait of Mrs Black. The curtain that usually covered her picture was gone and her back was turned, shoulders hunched over.

"Why?" Harry asked; his throat was tight. "Is it because . . . um, do you think she misses him?"

Malfoy looked between Remus and Harry, clearly confused.

"What are you talking about?"

Remus and Harry ignored him. "No, I don't think she misses him at all. She turned her back and stopped talking just a few days ago, long after she discovered Sirius had passed."

Harry moved toward the picture and traced her back with his fingers. "You don't miss your own son?" he asked sadly, finding it hard to muster anger at the clearly dejected form.

The image shuddered violently and muffled, eager grunts sounded from the portrait. He turned to Remus, completely startled, and backed away. "What's going on?"

"That's what I'd like to know," Malfoy said impatiently. "And are you talking about Sirius Black?"

"Yes," Harry said only, not wanting to tell him more than that.

Remus moved close to the portrait and pressed his ear to the picture. A moment later, he pulled back and said, "I can't make out what she's saying."

"It doesn't matter," Harry said, and when his gaze swung around the room and fell upon Malfoy's face, stamped with curiosity, he was annoyed. How could Malfoy be here, so close to his private grief? The whole situation was maddening, never mind that he still wanted the other boy to suck his neck.

Malfoy didn't ask any more questions. He scowled instead, obviously annoyed at being left out.

Remus led the boys up the stairs, and as they walked through the house, strong memories of Sirius both from the picture frame gift and real life assaulted Harry. It nearly overwhelmed him, and when they entered the room where Malfoy's belongings were laid out, and Kreacher appeared, Harry wrenched his wand out in disbelief.

"What is he still doing here!?" Harry yelled, pointing his wand at the wretched house-elf.

"God Potter, it's just a house-elf. A creepy one at that," Malfoy said as he started gathering up his clothes and books, not bothering to look at Harry.

"Oh, Master Draco, I is getting your clothes for you. You is a good master with good blood."

Kreacher fawned all over Malfoy; he scrambled in his haste to take care of Malfoy's possessions, before giving Harry and Remus a dirty look.

Malfoy stood back and let Kreacher do the work. When he looked back and saw Harry's livid expression he blurted, "What the bloody hell is wrong with you?"

"That thing told your mother --" Harry was shaking so hard, he could barely get the words out.

Remus interrupted. "Draco, perhaps you should go downstairs for a minute --"

"No! What about my mother?" He stared hard at Harry. "Tell me."

Harry was suddenly ashamed as the memories of what he'd done with Malfoy surfaced. Draco Malfoy was the enemy. Malfoy's mother -- along with Kreacher -- had helped engineer his godfather's death and that blasted house-elf stood there, obscenely subservient.

"Your MOTHER helped kill my godfather. That's what about your mother!" Harry yelled and he pointed his wand at Malfoy.

Kreacher popped out immediately.

"Who is your godfather?" Malfoy asked stupidly, eyes locked on Harry's wand.

"My godfather was Sirius Black, and that idiotic house-elf told your mother, he told her -- he told her how much -- how much Sirius loved --" Harry's wand hand dropped as a fresh wave of grief knocked him to his knees.

"Draco, go downstairs," Remus said softly and he carefully eased Harry's wand out of his hand.

Harry heard Malfoy move past him out of the room. "I'm so sorry, Sirius," Harry whispered brokenly.

Remus knelt on the floor with him. "Harry, please don't say that. You have nothing to be sorry for, nothing at all," he said urgently, and he forced Harry to look at him. "Don't cry, Harry. It's okay. Shhh." He hugged him tightly.

Harry let himself be held but he couldn't ignore the guilt that rose in a flood in his belly, quickly turning to bitter bile. Pulling back, he said, "I can't do it."

"You can't stay here?" Remus asked, sounding confused.

"No, I can't be friends with Malfoy," he said quickly. "I can't do anything with him."

"That's great, Potter. Thanks a fucking lot," Malfoy snarled angrily from the hallway, just outside the door. He turned and ran; they heard his footsteps pounding down the stairs.

Remus looked at the doorway where Malfoy had been and back at Harry's unrepentant stare. "Why do I get the feeling something more is going on?"

Harry swallowed nervously as bile bubbled in his mouth and looked at the floor. "Nothing is going on."

"He's alone, Harry."

"I don't CARE!" Harry yelled. "FUCK DRACO MALFOY! OKAY? FUCK HIM!" He felt hot tears slide down his cheeks and he abruptly retched. His grief for Sirius, his anger at himself and Remus, and the lust for Malfoy that stubbornly lingered, spilled over in a wet, sloppy heap at his feet.

Smelly spittle hung from his lips and he was mortified. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." He pulled his robes off and started to clean up the vomit, still sobbing raggedly.

Remus pulled his robes away and pushed Harry aside.

"Stop, Harry," he said firmly. Harry fell backwards, landing on his bum and watched in a daze as Remus magically cleaned up the mess. His wet hiccoughs were loud; he worked to control his emotions.

Remus rubbed a hand over his face, before gazing at Harry sadly. "I'm sorry Harry. I pushed you too much. Please forgive me."

Harry nodded and tried to stay silent, though he felt he would burst. His face grew warm, and before he could stop himself, the words tumbled out.

"I think I'm queer," he whispered. He stared at Remus' face intently and said, "Don't hate me."

Remus blinked slowly and said, "Harry, I think you need to sleep."

Harry shook with frustrated shame and ducked his head. "I'm sorry."

He felt Remus' fingers in his hair, and was surprised to hear the crack in his voice. "Harry, don't be sorry. I don't hate you. I'm here if you need to talk about anything, anything at all." His voice regained its familiar gentle strength. "And if you are, it doesn’t matter, okay? I want to make sure you know that." He grasped Harry's chin in his thumb and forefinger and tilted his head up.

Only Draco Malfoy had ever been this physically close to him, and Harry's cock twitched at the thought of Malfoy, and he wanted so much to touch him, and be touched by him. He was so confused; he wanted Sirius back, he wanted his familiar hatred of Malfoy to return. But he couldn't deny his compulsion for the other boy; and more importantly, he didn't want to deny it. His chin trembled in Remus' light grip as he came to a decision.

"I need to talk to Malfoy," he finally said.

Understanding dawned in Remus' eyes and Harry couldn't bear to see it. He lowered his eyes to avoid the recrimination he knew would follow.

To his surprise, none did. Instead, Remus said softly, "Are you quite sure you want to talk to him now? The both of you are upset and angry."

"Yeah, I want to talk to him now." He blushed and looked up. "Alone, please?"

"Go ahead, Harry," Remus said. "I trust you not to do anything foolish, but I'll just hold on to your wand."

Harry didn't like it, but he didn't want to argue with Remus. Besides, he knew that Tonks still had Malfoy's wand. They would be even. He walked to the door.

Remus coughed. Harry turned back.

"You might want to um, rinse your mouth a bit, Harry," he said dryly, as he took over the task of collecting Malfoy's clothing and books.

Harry stared at Remus in shock, and decided he didn't know as much about his old teacher as he'd like to. "Yeah, right -- good idea. I must have horrible breath, for um -- talking, you know."

When Harry saw Remus' wistful little smile, he bolted.


After a quick mouthwash, Harry looked for Draco. Draco. Malfoy's first name rolled around in his head, and he marvelled at how difficult it was for him to say it out loud. Harry was upset that he'd lost it so terribly upstairs. He knew that Malfoy wasn't his mother, just as he wasn't his father. But it was incredibly difficult to separate Malfoy from his parents and their actions. Of course, all the idiotic things Malfoy had done over the years didn't help. He was intolerant as ever, even though he had conceded to try to be friends with them all, including Hermione. The name Malfoy was just as bad as the name Potter in terms of expectation, Harry decided.

He found Malfoy in the basement kitchen, seated at one end of the long meeting table once used by the Order. Harry briefly imagined Malfoy stretched across it, pale and naked with his prick jutting up, quivering and wet with need. He sucked in a breath as his over active cock perked up and he sighed. That particular part of his anatomy seemed attuned to the other boy.

Malfoy didn't hear him come in. Harry locked the door quietly behind him and took the opportunity to watch him unobserved. The gas lights in the dark room cast weirdly angled shadows across Malfoy's face. His fingers were interlaced tightly and he breathed heavily as he stared down at his own hands; he appeared to be pulling himself together. Harry realised that Malfoy had been crying too, though what he had to cry about, Harry had no idea.

"Mal -- Draco," Harry called softly.

Malfoy looked up, wariness etched on his face. "What do you want?" he sneered.

"I know you're not your mother," Harry said tiredly as he sat down across from him.

"Brilliant, Potter. Who would have guessed we're separate entities?"

"Stop it," Harry snapped.

"Why should I? You said you can't do anything with me. Go away." He turned away, and Harry could see his profile, complete with a stubbornly set jaw.

"At least your mother is just missing. She's not dead," Harry said bitterly.

Malfoy's jaw clenched even tighter, and Harry could actually hear him grinding his teeth. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?" He stalked over to Harry's side of the table.

"Oh, poor fucking Potter, with his poor fucking dead godfather," he spit out and he grabbed Harry's arms and hauled him to his feet. Harry started to yell back, but Malfoy's pain-fuelled rage drowned him out.

"My father is in Azkaban. My mother's body is probably buried in a ditch somewhere. My friends are all going to Durmstrang or have been ordered to stay away from me." His fingernails dug into Harry's arms.

"My house and my family's assets have been frozen. My wand is being held by an Auror! The only clothes I have are the ones in this creepy old house, or the ones the Weasel's stupid mother gave me. Professor Snape said Slytherin House might not be there when we go back to school, and I might have to be resorted, and the Weasel's sister," he paused then, breathing hard, "Ginny Weasley is freaking me out." He dropped Harry's arms and spun away, lost his balance, then fell hard onto the ground.

"Granger accused me of wanting to copy her homework," he laughed bitterly. "The only person who is being nice to me is a fucking werewolf," he whispered this last bit as his voice broke.

Harry stood there stunned, and tried to process all that Malfoy had said. He knew it all already, most of it, but to hear it said so baldly, so plainly, was discomfiting. He fidgeted nervously.

"I didn't know anything about that creepy house-elf," Malfoy added sullenly. "I don't know anything about what my mum did concerning your godfather." He craned his neck around and looked up at Harry. "I swear."

Harry didn't know what to say. It was obvious Malfoy wanted something -- some comfort, or understanding. He sat down next to him, cross-legged. "I wouldn't want to be resorted either," he offered lamely, scratching his knee.

Malfoy snorted. "I would hope I'd end up in Ravenclaw if that happened."

"I might end up in Slytherin this time, if I put the Sorting Hat on again. It tried to put me there before," Harry said, surprising himself by telling Malfoy this secret.

Malfoy sighed heavily. "That wouldn't happen, Potter."

"Why not?"

"There won't be a Slytherin House for you to join, if I have to be resorted. That's the problem."

"Oh, right."

A silence blanketed the two boys for long minutes as Harry struggled for something to say. He stared at the floor, his hands, the walls, anywhere but at the boy next to him.

Gradually, Malfoy's breathing evened out again, and they stayed side by side, knees barely not-touching in unnatural stillness.

Harry kept thinking about what tonight was supposed to be, before he saw Kreacher and before his shame overwhelmed him. He still hated the house-elf, but he wasn't ashamed of wanting to touch another boy. The fact that it was Draco Malfoy was another matter, but he didn't dwell on that. He just wanted to be touched again. When Malfoy squeezed his cock or kissed him, it was the only sensation that mattered. He guiltily wondered if Malfoy would ever want to suck his neck again. Harry sighed. In the state he was in, he probably wouldn't want to do anything anyway.

Malfoy's low voice broke into his musings.


"What?" Harry looked at him with barely disguised hope.

"It's tonight," Malfoy whispered. His grey eyes held a mixture of fear and anticipation.

Harry's cock jumped to life. "Yeah, it is," he whispered back, feeling a thrill of excitement curl in his stomach.

"Do you still want to?"

"Yeah," he said thickly. "I do."

"Good," Malfoy said.

He hastily worked the snap on Harry's jeans and began to mouth his neck wetly, and although Malfoy's tongue felt just as good as before, Harry wanted to do more than just to sit there.

"Wait," he said and pulled back, forcing the other boy to stop.

Malfoy looked at Harry in irritation. "What's wrong?"

"I want to feel you too," Harry said. He shifted his body so that they faced each other. Rising to his knees, he gestured at Malfoy to do the same. He slowly unzipped; Malfoy eagerly undid his own trousers.

Harry eased his jeans and pants down his thighs, until they hit the ground, gathered around his knees. His cock sprung free, hard and needy. He watched as Malfoy slowly revealed his own prick. Harry was fascinated; he'd never seen it up close like this. Hard and high, it was the palest pink and thick, but red at the head, which was wet and shiny. The idea that Harry did this to him was overpowering, and he began to understand what possessed Malfoy that first night. The light rustle of Malfoy's trousers as they hit the floor snapped Harry's attention back to the other boy's face.

His face was as pink as his prick. He grabbed for Harry's shirt and tugged the hem upward. Harry pulled it off and laid his glasses aside. He gasped when Malfoy used a single finger to trace his bared nipples. Swallowing nervously, he slowly unbuttoned the silver buttons that adorned Malfoy's shirt. And all the while, Malfoy continued to pluck and pinch Harry's nipples, alternating between gentle and rough touches.

Harry leaned closer when he reached the last button. He placed his hands on the centre of Malfoy's chest and slowly slid across to push the white shirt off. When his hands curved around his pale shoulders, their cocks brushed and both boys froze and groaned, revelling in the contact. Malfoy eased out of the garment, breathing heavily.

Harry pulled Malfoy's hand urgently and placed it on his cock. Then he grasped Malfoy's prick carefully. It felt slightly thicker than his and when the heel of his hand brushed the damp gold curls clustered around Malfoy's prick, Harry fought to keep control. It was so real. They were both naked from the knees up and he had another boy's pulsing cock in his hand. He fingered the slit and when he spread the slippery precome over the head, Malfoy groaned deliciously. That sound, along with the noise of their rapid breathing was so loud and when Malfoy teased his nipples again, Harry couldn't stop his own noisy moan.

The combined sensation of feeling and being felt was amazing. Malfoy stroked him slowly and Harry copied his movements, moving just as slow. For a few moments, the two boys simply squeezed and fondled each other, their chests barely touching.

Malfoy leaned in and licked Harry's lips. Harry opened his mouth and they kissed hungrily, messily. It was wet and sloppy, and soon their mouths and chins were glistening with saliva. Harry kept a firm hold on Malfoy's prick and grasped the back of Malfoy's neck desperately, as if he never wanted to let him go. He felt Malfoy's hand sneak behind his own neck and they stayed like that, mirroring each other's movements completely: one hand on the other's neck, one hand on the other's cock. They stroked and moaned, licked and sucked, fondled and clutched.

Harry was lost in sensation. The taste of Malfoy's tea-flavoured mouth, the shockingly loud sounds of their moans, the wet-sticky slide of Malfoy's prick in his hand, the firm pull on his own cock, and the hot tongue that lapped and sucked devastated him. He knew he wouldn't last much longer. He keened into Malfoy's mouth and jerked against him when his cock began to sputter. Moving back slightly, he watched his thick, white come spill over Malfoy's knuckles. He collapsed against Malfoy's pale shoulder and buried his face in the other boy's neck.

Malfoy shuddered violently and Harry felt the warmth of Malfoy's seed cover his own fingers. "Oh my God," he breathed into Harry's neck weakly. He disentangled from Harry's arms and lay back limply, and watched him from under heavy lidded eyes.

Harry was shocked to see that Malfoy's lips were red and swollen. He touched his own lips and felt the unusual fullness. He remembered too late that Malfoy's come still dripped from his fingers.

Malfoy smirked up at him. "Taste good?"

Harry sucked his come-covered finger thoughtfully and said, "It's all right."

Malfoy propped himself up on his elbows and smiled lazily. Harry could see his prick start to swell again.

Harry pulled his pants and jeans back up and took in Malfoy's flushed chest, hard little nipples and nearly concave stomach. He remained sprawled back comfortably; his trousers in a tangle around his knees, his rapidly hardening prick out for all the world to see. It was a very nice prick, Harry thought, before he could stifle the notion. He smiled ruefully and grasped it lightly. He was amazed he could do this so thoughtlessly.

Malfoy's head fell back and he groaned; his hips pumped up, causing his prick to bounce wildly in Harry's grasp.

"Why aren't you getting dressed?" Harry asked as he felt his own cock begin to stir. Again.

"Why are you touching me?"

"It's there."

"It's there? That's a reason?"

Harry blushed and released him.

"I didn't say to stop," Malfoy whined.

"Harry? Draco?" Remus called through the door, and the doorknob rattled.

Malfoy scrambled into his clothes and Harry laughed as he put his shirt back on. "We're in here," he called, and he ran over to the sink to wash his hands.

"Potter, you fuck," Malfoy hissed angrily as he struggled to zip up his trousers.

"Are you going to open the door?" Remus' voice called through the door.

"Yeah, just a minute," Malfoy said, and he joined Harry at the sink.

"Is everything all right?" Remus asked.

"Yeah," Harry yelled back. "One second."

He turned to Malfoy. "Ready?"

Malfoy frantically buttoned up his shirt, and ran fingers through his pale hair. Harry opened the door to let Remus in.

Harry saw Remus' nose twitch and Harry blushed miserably. The room reeked of sex.

Remus cleared his throat. "I take it you've worked things out?"

"Yes, but please don't say anything," Harry whispered urgently. He wasn't ready to reveal this thing with Malfoy to anyone else. Draco, he told himself.

"What are you whispering about, Potter?" Malfoy said as he crossed the room to join them.

"Nothing," Harry said and he looked at Remus, a desperate plea in his eyes.

Remus looked from boy to boy and appeared uneasy. "Perhaps you should both go back to the Burrow tonight."

"It's late," Harry said. "I don't want to wake everyone up. And I thought we were going to spend the day together tomorrow?" He gave Malfoy a sideways glance, eager to be alone with him again.

"It is rather late," Malfoy added helpfully.

"We'll stay here tonight, but I think it best if we go back to the Burrow tomorrow," Remus said firmly.

As they walked past the portraits of Sirius' ancestors, Harry wondered at the events of the night. He was still confused, but at least he wasn't angry anymore. He knew he had a long way to go with Malfoy, and he still had unanswered questions. But for this moment, he was more at peace than he'd been in a long time.

Remus led them to two different rooms and he stood in the hallway, clearly waiting for the boys to go bed. Separately. Malfoy raised an eyebrow and Harry couldn't help but shrug his shoulders, a regretful smirk on his face.

Remus followed Harry into the bedroom and steered him to two plush, but gritty looking armchairs.

Harry gulped nervously, fully expecting Remus to launch into a full scale lecture on sex. Instead he told him about Kreacher.

"Please understand Harry, I had no idea he would be here. He hadn't been here all summer, until Draco arrived the day before your birthday," he said carefully. "And even then, his appearances have been sporadic.

I told Professor Dumbledore, and he believes that Kreacher was with Draco all along at Malfoy Manor, although Draco says he never saw the house-elf before. It could very well be that because Draco is the last of the bloodline of Blacks that Kreacher would serve, the house-elf returned."

"Malfoy said he never saw Kreacher before?"

"Yes," Remus said.

"Do you believe him?"

"I see no reason for him to lie about it. I've noticed he's rather put off by Kreacher's overly fawning nature."

Harry nodded absently then bit his lip and cocked his head. "You said I could talk to you about anything?"

Remus nodded firmly. "Yes."

Harry swallowed nervously and leaned forward in the armchair, arms laced across his knees and he mumbled to the ground.

"I don't know what I'm doing with Malfoy."

"What do you mean?"

Harry blushed furiously. "I mean, I don't understand how I can let him . . . uh. Wow, this is harder than I thought." He dragged a hand through his hair. "I mean, I hate him. Why am I doing this?"

"Harry, when you're sixteen years old, your body can be a powerful, pervasive force. And since you've only recently discovered that you are more inclined to those of your own sex, the urge is even stronger to experiment," Remus said in professorial tones.

"So you're saying I'm making up for lost time?"

Remus laughed. "That's one way to put it, yes."

"But what about Ron?"

"What about Ron?"

"Why don't I want to, you know." Harry asked, almost desperately.

"Harry, it's just like with girls. You're not attracted to every one you see," Remus said patiently.

"I don't want to be a slave to my body," Harry said quickly.

"You're not, Harry. This relationship you're developing with Draco is --"

"There's no relationship," Harry said, dropping his gaze to the floor again. "We're only experimenting. Like you said." Harry nodded slowly. "That's all."

Remus looked at Harry shrewdly. "I just want you to be careful."

"I will. I just don't want Ron or Hermione to know."

"Do you think they'll judge you if they find out you're gay, Harry?" Remus sounded doubtful.

"No, they'll judge me because it's Malfoy." He gave Remus a hard look. "And they should."

Remus sighed. "Well, I still have hopes that you and Ron and Hermione will try to befriend him all the same. He is not a Death Eater in training."

"I know," Harry said. "But that's only because his father is in Azkaban."

"Harry, we don't know that."

"I'm tired," Harry said abruptly.

Remus nodded reluctantly. It was obvious he wanted to talk more. "That's fine, Harry. Get some sleep. We can discuss this tomorrow, when we go back to Ron's house." He cleared his throat and said, "I think you and Draco need a bit more supervision than I can provide."

Harry couldn't stop his blush and gave a mumbled good night. He fell into bed and when he heard the door shut behind Remus he pushed his face into the soft pillows and groaned.


The next morning, Harry woke up alone and on his own. That is to say, he was in a bedroom by himself, and no Mrs Weasley or well-meaning friends had roused him. It was a lovely experience. He stretched and sat up, quickly scanning the room.

Like many of the rooms in the Grimmauld Place, it contained old fashioned implements. Gas lamps were attached to the walls and dusty, but intricately carved furniture graced the space. The bed Harry slept in was huge and across the room, a mirror was set in a large wooden oval, balanced on delicately worked wooden legs. He stepped up to it, curious to see if he could spot the same glimmers he saw in the Burrow's magical mirror.

He ran his fingers through his hair while staring intently at the glass, hoping that would wake the mirror up, if it was magical.

"Disgraceful boy! Cut your hair!" it screeched, just as outraged as Ron's bedroom mirror.

As before, Harry cocked his head to the side and watched the mirror with his peripheral vision. He waited one minute, but saw nothing. He sighed and dressed for the day. In truth, he was glad. The glimmers he'd seen yesterday had bothered him greatly, even though he'd tried to dismiss the incident.

Remus was going to take Malfoy and Harry back to the Burrow after breakfast. Harry didn't want to live in the same house as Kreacher.

Now that he and Malfoy had reached this weird sort of peace, he was ready to at least try to do as Remus had suggested. The first decision he made regarding this new relationship was to call Malfoy by his first name and he told him so when they met with Remus in the basement kitchen for a quick meal.

"I'm going to call you Draco from now on. You will call me Harry, and you will call Ron and Hermione by their names," Harry said.

"That's a splendid idea," Remus said, as he spread raspberry jam on his toast.

"I already call them by their names," Malfoy said, after sipping some tea.

"No, you don't," Harry said flatly.

Malfoy shrugged. "Fine."

"Look, Draco, if you don't even try, why should I bother?"

"I said FINE, okay?" Malfoy threw his toast on the table and stalked out.

"What did I say?" Harry asked Remus.

"Just keep trying, Harry. Draco is --"

"Yeah, I know all about Malfoy's problems. Hermione's homework and Ron's clothes, yeah I know," Harry interrupted, completely distracted by Malfoy's leaving.

Remus gave Harry the oddest look, but didn't say anything after that. Harry's curiosity got the better of him and he wandered out after Malfoy.

The second he turned the corner into the hallway, he was pulled into a bathroom and pinned against the wall, with one hand held up over his head.

"Finally, Harry. You're so fucking slow."

Malfoy pushed one leg between Harry's thighs and started kissing his neck urgently. Oh, good, Harry thought, time to experiment.

Harry's cock pulsed and strained against his jeans and he let his head fall to the side. He really did love it when Malfoy sucked his neck.

Malfoy nibbled on his earlobe and Harry groaned. With his free hand, he groped Malfoy's prick through the now familiar grey trousers.

"Get inside them, I want you touch me," Malfoy pleaded, and his grip on Harry's wrist above his head tightened almost painfully.

Harry's fingers wriggled into his trousers and he soon had Malfoy's hard prick encased in his hand as Malfoy sucked harder. He squeezed and stroked. Malfoy's mouth soon covered Harry's and the kisses from last night resurfaced and Harry hardened even more on the memories alone.

Harry broke off the kiss and gave Malfoy his neck again. The other boy sucked greedily, and he abandoned Harry's wrist to clutch his shoulders instead.

Harry said hoarsely, "Now, who's the slut?" as he dropped his freed hand to hold Malfoy's head in place.

Malfoy simply groaned and his thigh pressed harder against Harry's cock. "I want you to fuck me, Potter," he whispered.

Harry thought his cock would explode. He gasped and pushed Malfoy away, eyes wide and mouth open as he took in the other boy's earnest expression.

Malfoy's face was flushed and he said hurriedly, "I do want you to, but I know you're not ready, just --" he quickly pulled his shirt over his head, breathing hard, "just, I want you to --"

Harry grabbed his arms and spun him, switching their positions effortlessly. Malfoy offered no resistance; he seemed more than eager for him to take charge. Harry pushed him against the wall. Malfoy's hands rested loosely on Harry's shoulders. His eyes gleamed in excitement as Harry yanked Malfoy's trousers and pants down, shoved his legs apart, and grabbed his pulsing prick. An exhilarating high consumed Harry as he stroked him roughly.

Malfoy's eyes rolled back and his head hit the wall behind him. His hands remained clutching Harry's shoulders, and his thighs trembled violently. His prick jumped and slid sticky and wet in Harry's grasp.

Harry leaned forward to tongue Malfoy's hard little nipples. A high keening noise came from the other boy's throat and his fingernails dug into Harry's skin.

Arching his back and groaning softly, Malfoy's come spurted over the circle of Harry's fist. His head flopped forward and knocked into Harry's dark head. Mouths met in a sloppy kiss; hot breaths mingled, and Harry could taste the raspberry jam from breakfast. His cock demanded attention; he wanted Malfoy to suck him like he did that first night.

Still riding waves of power, he pushed the other boy to his knees urgently.

Malfoy quickly unzipped his jeans and Harry's cock was engulfed in Malfoy's wet mouth in seconds. Harry braced his hands against the wall and looked down at the bobbing blond head.

"Harry? Draco?" Remus called.

"Oh my fucking God, go away," Harry cried.

Malfoy sucked harder and rolled Harry's balls tenderly between his fingers.

"Stop," Harry said, and he half-heartedly tried to pull away, afraid to be caught.

Malfoy's hands curved around Harry's arse and he held him firmly in place, mouth locked on his cock, hands tightly gripping his hips. He encouraged Harry to thrust and Harry did so, almost helplessly as his approaching orgasm seized him.

"Harry?" Remus' voice was farther away now.

Feeling his impending release, Harry took his hands of the wall, clutched Malfoy's head and fucked his mouth. He plunged deeply, rapidly -- eager to be finished before Remus found them. For all of Harry's rough treatment, Malfoy didn't seem to mind at all.

Harry could hear the other boy moan loudly as he slurped and sucked. His grip on Harry's hips loosened and his fingernails lightly scored Harry's thighs as they trailed down; he let Harry control the movement of his bobbing head completely. At the sight of Malfoy's arms hanging uselessly at his sides, with his lips stretched around Harry's cock and he sucked even harder, still moaning, Harry came so hard he saw nothing but black for a few seconds. He threw his hands up against the wall again, looked down, and saw vestiges of come dripping from Malfoy's lips and chin.

"Fuck, Potter," Malfoy groaned and he rose in the space between Harry's braced hands on the wall. When he leaned forward to kiss Harry, spunk still lingering all over his mouth, Harry didn't hesitate. He tasted himself on the other boy's tongue; it was salty and strange and wonderful.

"Draco?" Remus' voice called yet again, closer now.

Harry was shattered; he sat back weakly on the toilet and watched him dress. Malfoy fumbled with his trousers and shakily put his shirt back on.

"Come on, Potter. He's coming," Malfoy said hoarsely. His lips were red and swollen. Harry's cock actually twitched at the sight, and he laughed. How had he survived without sex before this?

Harry got up and took his turn washing up at the sink. The mirror squeaked, "Hey sexy, give us kiss!"

"Oh, sick!" Malfoy said. "Who has a magic mirror in the bathroom? Ugh." He shuddered.

"What's wrong with that?" Harry asked. Then he remembered that the bathroom mirror in Ron's house wasn't magical.

"Come on, Potter, would you really want a mirror commenting on what you do in a bathroom? I mean, look at what we just did," he said, smirking.

"No, I guess not," Harry said, hating the gaping holes in his knowledge of the wizarding world.

"Harry!" Remus called; his voice was a tad frantic and Harry felt horribly guilty.

"Let's go." Malfoy opened the door and walked out.

Harry took one last look in the mirror and his heart nearly burst out of his chest. There, in the top right corner, for one eternal second, he was sure he saw a tiny screaming face.

"Malfoy! Come back!"

Malfoy appeared in the doorway. "What? The werewolf wants us."

"Don't call him that," Harry said, briefly irritated, but too excited to care. "Look at this." He hauled him back in and told him to watch the mirror.

After a minute, Malfoy said, "What the fuck are you talking about?" He sounded annoyed.

Harry started to explain the previous incidents, then stopped when he saw Malfoy's scowl and disinterested stare. Ron and Hermione would have paid full attention, asked more questions, and would have come up with possible answers in record time. His friends were in perfect sync with him. Malfoy was not. Harry took a deep breath. Draco was not.

"Forget it," Harry said. "Let's go."

"Finally," Malfoy huffed.

When the two boys found Remus, he took one look at their dishevelled state and brought out his wand, a frown on his face. He pointed his wand at Harry.

"What are you doing?" Harry said and backed away.

"Stay still," Remus said in irritation and lowered his wand.

Harry stopped. "Why? What are you doing?"

Remus sighed. "I'm assuming you're not ready for your friends to know about your newfound friendship with Mr Malfoy?"

Remus glanced at Malfoy, who was smirking at Harry.

"Um, no, not yet," Harry admitted, still wondering why Remus had his wand out.

"Then let me take care of that," Remus said, gesturing at Harry's neck with his wand.

Malfoy laughed.

Harry fingered his neck and tried vainly to look at the mark Remus was pointing at.

"Okay," he mumbled, dropping his hand, face growing redder by the second. "Thanks."

Remus' nose wrinkled a bit and he looked at Malfoy and quickly performed the same charm on his lips.

After a rather lengthy and embarrassing lecture on safe sex from Remus, Harry and Malfoy watched their old professor step through the fireplace.

"Well, I guess one person knows about us," Malfoy said.

"Yeah, and let's keep it that way for now."

"Fine, Harry."

Harry ignored the disappointment he heard in Malfoy's voice, and scooped up a bit of Floo powder.



Malfoy cocked his head to the side, "Tonight?"

"Tonight," Harry answered firmly, and he threw the powder into the fireplace. He felt Malfoy's fingers slide through his hair as he stepped in.

Chapter Seven: Learning Curve


Mrs Weasley called his name before Harry even brushed the ash out of his hair. His face was immediately cleaned up with a damp cloth and pressed into a soft bosom. Ron, Hermione, and Remus all gave him sympathetic looks. Ginny stared at the fireplace.

"Mum, please," Ron said, sounding annoyed.

"Harry!" Hermione said, sounding eager.

Mrs Weasley let him go and stood back, looking him over from head to toe critically. "Are you all right, Harry?"

"Fine," he said warily.

The Floo activated and Malfoy tumbled out. Harry was instantly embarrassed, sure that everyone in the room knew what he'd done with him. Again.

"Draco!" Ginny said. She sounded just as eager as Hermione.

"Mum, does he really have to stay here?" Ron complained, giving Malfoy a dirty look.

"Yes. Your father and Lupin here think it best." She sniffed and it was obvious Mrs Weasley didn't agree with her husband or Remus. Harry was surprised at the undercurrent of hostility directed at his old teacher.

He glanced over at Remus, but Hermione latched onto Harry's arm and dragged him away. "We have to talk now," she whispered urgently.

Harry looked behind him and saw that Ginny was talking to Malfoy, pulling him up the stairs, while Ron stood and argued with his mother and Remus.

When they reached the garden, Hermione dragged him to the farthest spot from the house, and she still whispered.

"Okay, I don't even know where to start." She took a deep breath.

"What's happened? Why aren't we waiting for Ron? And I have something to tell you too," Harry said quickly.

Hermione looked miserable at the mention of Ron. "Oh, Harry, we had the biggest row. He won't listen to me when it comes to Ginny or his mum, but something is going on, something is horribly wrong. I know it." Tears were swimming in her eyes and Harry could see just how tightly she was holding herself together.

"Hermione, it's okay. Calm down. What happened?"

"First of all, Ginny and Ron screamed at each other for ten minutes after you left with Malfoy. She accused him of being selfish and that he didn't care about Hogwarts and that it didn't matter what Malfoy had done in the past. She claimed it was our duty as good little Gryffindors to befriend him. It was ridiculous. I mean, I know I agreed to try, but Ginny just would not shut up. And then, when Ron gave up and tried to go into his bedroom, she followed." Hermione took a deep breath and continued her narration rapidly.

"I didn’t see what how it happened, but she broke his mirror! I was still in the hallway. All I heard was this loud crash and she ran back out past me. And then, Mrs Weasley made Ron clean it all up and said it was his own fault for fighting with his sister." She took another deep breath and looked at Harry worriedly.

Harry's stomach turned to ice at the mention of the mirror. He'd seen the blurs in that mirror, blurs he was sure now were really tiny faces.

"Hermione --"

"They didn't even seem to know I was there anymore," Hermione said sadly, head bent now.

"I tried to help Ron clean up, but he told me to get out," she continued. "After he was done, I tried to talk to him again, but he didn't want to hear me going on about his sister or mum again. Ginny and Mrs Weasley stayed in Ginny's room for hours. I heard them yelling at each other at first, but Mrs Weasley must have cast a silencing spell, because I couldn't hear any of what they said."

"Hermione, I --"

"I went to talk to Mr Weasley, but a Ministry official firecalled. Mr Weasley and the official were whispering and then he told me to tell Mrs Weasley not to wait up. Then he left too. I went to find her, but she and Ginny were still holed up but they couldn't hear me."

"Harry! Hermione!" Ron yelled.

Hermione sniffed quickly and wiped her eyes clear. "Over here," she called back and stood.

Harry stood as well and they watched Ron stride over, anger radiating off his body in nearly tangible waves.

"I don't bloody believe this," he groused, coming near. "Draco Malfoy is really going to live here until school starts. Why does my Dad have to be so fucking nice?"

Harry shrugged, totally at a loss.

"Ron, now that Harry is here, we're going to talk," she said firmly, staring at him resolutely.

Ron's anger deflated a little and he sat down on the grass. "I know you're right," he said dully.

"You believe me?" Hermione asked, sounding more than a little surprised.

Ron nodded. "I always did." He looked ruefully at her. "They're my mother and sister. Don't you think I'd notice if something wasn't right?"

"But you -- you wouldn't talk about it," she said in exasperation.

"I didn't want anything to be wrong," Ron said, dropping his gaze. "I thought if I ignored it enough, well, you know." He shrugged and gave Hermione a wistful look. "I'm sorry I've been snapping at you about it."

"I'm sorry I pushed you, Ron," Hermione said, and she knelt by him, giving his knee a squeeze.

Harry knelt too and said quietly, "Malfoy said last night that Ginny is freaking him out."

"Could we not talk about Malfoy?" Ron asked in a pained voice.

Harry winced, feeling like an idiot for bringing his name up.

Hermione sat back on the grass and said, "They are acting awfully odd around each other. First with the mutual hexing and now she seems more than willing to be his friend."

"Didn't you hear what I said?" Ron said.

"I did Ron, but he's connected somehow. It's a good thing Professor Lupin wants us to be friends with Malfoy. We can watch him easily and figure this out," she said.

"Did Malfoy say or do anything last night that might help us?" Hermione asked, and she and Ron both stared at Harry.

Harry's face heated up as last night's activity replayed in his head. He certainly wasn't going to tell them about Malfoy's gorgeous prick or how fantastic he was with his tongue.

"Um, no, not really." Thinking for a second, he added, "Well, he's upset because Tonks has his wand, and he thinks he'll have to be resorted when we go back to Hogwarts. I guess Snape isn't as optimistic as Remus. And his family's estate and assets are frozen."

Ron and Hermione were staring at him as if he'd grown two heads.

"Did he say anything else?" Ron asked sarcastically.

"Oh, and he thinks his mother is dead. And that all his friends might be going to Durmstrang," Harry said.

"I see you got started on making friends," Ron said tightly.

"Why did he tell you all that?" Hermione asked.

Harry closed his eyes, wishing he'd kept his stupid mouth shut. "It was just . . . well, he saw me crying in the bedroom all over Remus, and I reckon he thought he needed to share his secrets or something," he mumbled.

"Why were you crying?" Hermione asked softly. Ron simply watched him.

Harry told them about Kreacher and how the house-elf had acted around Malfoy. He glossed over the depth of his reaction to Kreacher, but they were sympathetic and seemed to understand that seeing the house-elf would make Harry upset.

"So, Malfoy saw you cry and he decided to spill his guts?" Ron asked sceptically.

"Yeah, I guess," Harry said, feeling uncomfortable. "I don't want to talk about Malfoy anymore," he added quickly.

"Fine by me," Ron said.

"Harry, we'll need to get close to Malfoy. He knows something about Ginny that we don't."

Harry nodded, his mind suddenly filled with images of getting close to Malfoy.

"What are you talking about?" Ron asked.

"I've been watching them, Ron. The day she hexed him, he didn't go after her. He just took it."

"He didn't have his wand. How could he?"

"He didn't even yell at her and he doesn't stay away from her either. Where do you think he is right now?"

Ron nodded and said, "She was actually interested in all those articles about Malfoy all summer."

"When did you first notice Ginny acting strangely?"

"I dunno. Right after Fred and George moved out, I guess."

"You guess?"

"I don't know, Hermione! I've been trying to ignore it, remember?"

Harry began to tell them about the conversation he overheard the night he and Malfoy sat on the stairs together, but he decided it was better if he told only Hermione that bit of information.

"Okay. We'll just watch them then. Is that okay, Ron? And we'll need to try to be friends with Malfoy. He might let us know something."

"Why don't we just make him tell us what he knows?"

"Because he may not really know anything, and if that is true, we'll be telling him something he doesn't need to know, okay?"

"Right," Ron agreed. "I don't want to give Malfoy more ammunition about my family anyway," he added morosely, looking back at the Burrow.

"I told him to call you by your names from now on and that we would call him Draco, as a start," Harry said.

"That's a good idea," Hermione said. "What did he say?"

"He said he would."

"Oh, lovely," Ron said sourly.

As they walked back to the house, Harry became increasingly nervous. He didn't know how to act around Malfoy; he was sure anything he said or did would give away what they had done together.

Remus was alone at the table reading the Daily Prophet. He beamed when he saw Harry.

"Sorry, Remus. I keep wandering off on you," Harry said as he sat down to join him. "Is this the article?" He tapped at the front page, which read, Slytherin House Must Go!

"Yes. It's quite biased. I'm hoping most parents and the board of Governors will see it for what it is -- ridiculous propaganda."

Hermione read the article quickly while Harry ate some toast.

"Ron, have you decided to have a go at Draco?" Remus asked, before sipping some tea.

Harry choked on his toast and bits of bread sprayed from his mouth.

"Harry, my goodness!" Hermione pounded his back.

Remus ignored the spectacle Harry was making and asked Ron again, "Will you try to befriend Draco?"

"We've all decided," Hermione answered earnestly, after Harry stopped wheezing. "In fact, Harry said he started last night," she added proudly.

"He did?" Remus asked, his face an innocent mask.

Harry was glad he just choked on his toast; it would explain his red face.

"I'm so pleased," Remus said, finally giving Harry a glance.

"Hello," Ginny announced brightly, entering the room, with a glowering Malfoy behind her.

When Harry saw Malfoy, his cock perked up and he wanted to disappear. He shot a dirty look at Remus, who was serenely sipping his tea.

"Hello, Draco," Hermione said carefully.

Malfoy looked warily about; Harry saw Ginny nod at him encouragingly. "Um, hello Granger," he mumbled, not meeting her eyes.

Remus coughed lightly and Harry felt a small nudge on his leg under the table. He ignored him, still annoyed with his teasing, but spoke anyway.

"Hi Mal - Draco," Harry said, and when he met the other boy's steady gaze, he couldn't help but remember shoving him against the wall and how his prick had pulsed in his hand.

"Hello yourself, Harry," Malfoy drawled back.

Hermione elbowed Ron.

"Morning," Ron grunted.

Malfoy grunted back, his words unintelligible.

Hermione smiled at both Ron and Harry, obviously pleased with their efforts. Ginny poured some tea for herself and Malfoy. After a few minutes of extremely awkward small talk, the two of them drifted away from the main group and into the garden. Harry watched them go then shared a look with Hermione, who glanced at Ron. The red-haired boy grimaced, but nodded. It was time to watch.


For the rest of the morning, and well into the afternoon, the three friends observed Ginny and Malfoy. They were frequently off by themselves, talking quietly, sometimes even laughing.

Whenever Harry saw their heads bent intimately together, his gut tightened and he felt sick. It shocked him when he realised he didn't know whether to be angry with Malfoy or angry with Ginny. They seemed completely oblivious of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. And beyond the inane chatter from the morning, the two groups made no effort to speak at all, not even at lunch time because they ate at separate times.

Mrs Weasley spent most of her time on correspondence and working around the house. She hovered around Ginny and Malfoy for a little while, but soon left them alone, seemingly content with their harmless interaction. Whether it bothered her that her youngest daughter had latched onto Draco Malfoy, Harry couldn't tell.

Ron muttered darkly most of the day, angry that he'd agreed to simply observe, and not interfere. It wasn't until they went back up to Ron's bedroom that Harry remembered the mirror from Grimmauld Place and the tiny screaming face.

The wallpaper was brighter where the mirror had once covered it over the dresser. Harry hurriedly told them about the blurs and the face he'd seen.

"Are you sure?" Hermione asked.

Ron sat back on the bed with his mouth open. "That's freaky."

"Was it a girl or a boy?" Hermione pressed.

"I couldn't tell. It was so fast," Harry said. "But it was definitely a face."

Hermione bit her lip and said, "I wonder if this has anything to do with Ginny breaking the mirror in here?"

Ron covered his face with his hands suddenly and groaned.

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked.

"Mum broke the other magic mirror in the kitchen," he whispered, raising his head to look at his friends, not bothering to hide the worry in his eyes. "Remember, Harry when I told you about the day my mum and dad were fighting?"

Harry nodded, and suddenly all the strange things Mrs Weasley had done since he'd arrived poked at his conscience.

"She asked me to call her mum," he said. "Twice now."

"What?" Ron's voice was strangled; he looked even more worried.

"And she said that Sirius was one of her best friends," Harry added.

"What is going on?" Ron said; starting to look more than a little afraid.

"I don't know, Ron. But we're going to find out," Hermione said firmly. "We need Malfoy on our side."

"Hermione, I don't think --"

"Ron, I mean we need his information. I don't mean on our side," she said quickly.

"That reminds me," Ron said, looking at Harry distrustfully. "Since you were getting so friendly with Malfoy last night," he began.

"I didn't!" Harry protested.

"I hope you didn't tell him about your invisibility cloak," Ron said.

"I wouldn't tell him anything important like that," Harry answered, then remembered he'd told Malfoy about his almost having been sorted into Slytherin, something he'd never told Ron or Hermione. He winced and sat back.

"What's wrong now?" Hermione asked.

"Nothing. Stop asking me about Malfoy," Harry grumbled. Seeing their surprised faces was too much. "I'll be right back. Bathroom," he muttered, and fled the room.

Once in the hallway, Harry took a deep breath. He was light-headed; he stumbled forward and leaned his forehead on the twins' bedroom door. His palms were sweaty and he trembled. He knew he wouldn't be able to keep anything from Ron or Hermione for long, but how could he tell them about Malfoy? The answer was simple; he couldn't. But he didn't want to lie to his friends, especially now -- not when Ginny and Ron's mum might be in trouble.

"Draco, you need to at least try." Ginny's voice floated up the stairs.

"I will. Potter likes me, at least."

"And you like him, don't you?" she said, sounding annoyed. Their footsteps grew louder and Harry knew they would see him in a second or two. He dashed into the twins' room, and shut the door quietly, his heart pounding.

"I'm going for a nap," Malfoy said, his petulant voice right outside.

"Fine, dear," Ginny replied airily, and Harry could hear her walk away as the door opened.

Malfoy's eyes widened briefly when he saw Harry standing at the foot of the bed. "Well, well, Potter. Did you miss me?" He locked the door behind him.

When Harry heard the click of the lock, his cock hardened. "No," he lied.

"No?" Malfoy said, closing the distance between them instantly. His hand curved around Harry's neck and he leisurely licked the space under his ear.

Harry grabbed Malfoy's wrists -- the other boy didn't resist -- and held them in one hand. They stood there for nearly a minute just staring at each other.

Malfoy licked his lips and simply waited, oddly subdued. He was play-acting, Harry suddenly realised. A rush of power flooded Harry and he knew what Malfoy wanted.

"What's going on with you and Ginny?" Harry whispered, and tightened his hold on Malfoy's wrists.

"Nothing," Malfoy answered. He lowered his eyes in mock submission.

Malfoy's words from that morning played in his head. I want you to fuck me, Potter.

A potent surge of lust swept through Harry as he pushed Malfoy onto the bed. He promptly climbed on top of the other boy, stretching his arms above his head.

"Don't move your hands," Harry commanded, and he sat up, straddling Malfoy's waist, their groins touching.

Malfoy lay there, compliant but clearly excited. His body trembled beneath Harry and his eyes were bright, face pink-flushed.

Harry quickly unbuttoned Malfoy's shirt to expose his chest. The thought that his friends were just across the hall waiting for him almost broke through his haze of desire. But when Malfoy arched his back just so, and his hard prick pressed against Harry's jean-clad cock, he deliberately ignored that reality and focused on the boy before him.

He swivelled his hips slowly, rubbing downward against Malfoy's prick while he tugged on the other boy's nipples, pulling them into hard points. Letting go with a sharp tweak to each, he leaned down, licked Malfoy's neck, and whispered, "Tell me about Ginny."

"Nothing -- nothing to tell," Malfoy gasped, and he turned his head to kiss Harry.

Their tongues darted and licked outside of their mouths and it was sloppy and wet and Harry gave up questioning Malfoy for the moment.

He groped for Malfoy's prick but his hand was trapped between the press of their bodies; he sat up and eagerly began to undo Malfoy's trousers. For some odd reason, Harry wanted to taste him.

"I want you to fuck me -- I want," Malfoy said breathlessly; he lifted his hips and tried to wriggle out of his trousers, still flat on his back.

"We don't have time, and I want to --"

"No, I -- just put your fingers in," Malfoy said, and then his pants were down; he brought his naked legs up on to the bed, heels sitting on the edge, and stroked his prick. He stared up at Harry with naked need in his eyes. I want you to fuck me, Potter.

Harry watched Malfoy lift up his balls with one hand while he sucked the fingers of his other hand.

"Tell me about Ginny, and I will," Harry said, his heart beating triple time. He fumbled with the snap on his jeans, ready to free his own throbbing cock.

"I can't," Malfoy panted. He pulled Harry's hand to his mouth and sucked on two fingers. "Watch me," he mumbled. He slid his heels farther apart and brought both of his hands down between his legs, still suckling Harry's fingers in his saliva-thick mouth.

Harry was seated next to Malfoy; he watched, fascinated, as other boy obscenely displayed himself -- knees up, thighs spread wide, prick bobbing over his stomach, fingers holding his balls up, while the other finger slowly circled his arsehole -- and Harry couldn't imagine a more enticing vision.

Malfoy pushed his finger in and Harry saw it disappear into the puckered flesh. He thought he would come right at that moment as he imagined his cock fitting into that same space.

"Do it," Malfoy said thickly, drool sliding out of his mouth, and for one second Harry thought he meant to fuck him right then. Malfoy used his tongue to push Harry's fingers out of his mouth. "Put them in me. Before they dry up," he added.

Harry brought his dripping fingers between Malfoy's thighs. Malfoy popped his own finger out and pulled Harry's fingers close. "Press two fingers together and put them in," he gasped, now stroking his prick with his free hand. "Now," he panted.

Harry pushed two fingers in slowly and was amazed at the hot grip. He groaned. God, he wanted his cock there.

"Harry! Are you in there?" Hermione's voice was loud. She pounded on the door.

Harry tore his fingers away.

Draco gasped.

"Fuck, I'm sorry," Harry swore bitterly, voice low.

"Fucking Mudblood," Malfoy growled, scooting up on the bed, snapping his legs together.

"Don't call her that, you shit!" Harry hissed.

Malfoy rolled off the bed, his eyes wide in disbelief. "What the bloody hell is your problem? You're this close to finger-fucking me and you're mad at me for calling Granger a Mudblood? It's a fucking habit, Potter. She caught me by surprise. I'm trying!"

Harry snapped his jeans and snarled, "Like this morning, when you were all over Ginny Weasley? Is that what you mean by trying?"

"Oh, please. You are so far off, you don't even know," Malfoy said, hurriedly buttoning his shirt, his hard prick bouncing all the while.

"Harry?" Hermione called.

"Yeah? Then why don't you tell me?" Harry asked, now zipped up, but still hard as a rock.

Malfoy averted his eyes, as he finished the last button, and said, "I told you. I can't."

"Tell me now."

"I'll tell you soon, I swear," he said, and he pulled on his pants and trousers.

"Is Ginny in trouble?" Harry pressed. His mind was flying in two different directions. He wanted to rip Malfoy's pants back off and get at that needy puckered hole of his but he wanted information.

"No, she's not," Malfoy said.

"Oy, Harry!" Ron called. "Do you need any help?"

"Just a minute!" Harry yelled back. He hated Ron for about ten seconds, as he tried to control his pulsing cock. He ran his hands through his hair and sat on the bed and looked at Malfoy.

"Okay, I'm going to trust you about Ginny, but you will tell me what you know, and soon. All right? And do not call Hermione a Mudblood again. She is one of my best friends and I won't have anyone treating her that way."

"I said I would and I'll try," Malfoy said. "Like I said, it's a habit. Contrary to what you might think, I actually don't want Granger to die anymore."

Harry nodded, but he was far from satisfied, in more ways than one. His cock ached painfully. He flopped back on the bed and rubbed his erection through his jeans.

"What are you doing?" Harry could hear the smirk in Malfoy's voice.

Harry groaned, "God, this sucks. I can't go out there like this."

Malfoy moved to the door and said, "Potter has diarrhoea and he's too embarrassed to come out. Give him a minute."

"What the fuck?" Harry hissed.

"Just wait," Malfoy said, his ear pressed to the door.

"Gross," Ron said through the door.

"Um, sorry Harry, why don't you go to the bath --"

"Hermione, leave him alone!"

Malfoy turned around, a wide smile on his face. "They're gone," he said triumphantly.

Harry's anger quickly dissipated. Lying certainly had its benefits at times. He moved to sit at the edge of the bed, pushed his jeans down to his ankles and pulled his neglected cock out of his pants. Stroking himself languidly, he gazed at Malfoy, who was sliding out of his trousers again. It amazed him at how easy it was to be naked in front of Malfoy. Draco, he reminded himself.

Malfoy ambled back to the bed and sat next to Harry. His eyes sparkled mischievously, his cheeks were pink, and his lips were curved in a genuine smile. Harry had never seen such a look on Malfoy's face. Draco's face. Without his usual smirk and narrowed eyes, he glowed.

Malfoy moved Harry's hand away to take over the job. His fingers were delicate and easy as they skimmed over his cock, tracing the veins and slit over and over in some pattern of his own design. Malfoy was so good at this. Draco was so good.

"Draco," Harry gasped.

"Yes, Harry?" His eyes snapped back to Harry's face.

"Suck me?"

Draco said nothing; instead he slowly sank to his knees between Harry's legs.

He mouthed the head of Harry's cock carefully with shallow sucks while his hand continued to move up and down the shaft. With his other hand, he grasped his own prick and stroked himself in time with Harry.

Harry watched Draco and saw that his eyes were closed.


"Mmmm?" His eyes lazily opened.

The vibrations caused by that little hum around the head of his cock struck Harry momentarily speechless, but he had to ask. Just put your fingers in.

"How much time do you think we have?"

Harry's cock popped out of Malfoy's mouth wetly as the other boy sat back. "Enough time, I think, but we don't have enough lubrication. Well, we could, but I don't think you're ready to lick my arsehole. Are you?"

"No." He blushed, and looked away, briefly imagining putting his tongue where his fingers had been. The fact that he even thought of it told him that he would be ready someday. He looked back at Draco. Someday soon. A part of him couldn't believe he was actually discussing the chances of how and when he might be able to fuck Draco Malfoy. "You know a lot about this -- this stuff."

"Yes, I do," he said simply.

"Do you have a boyfriend somewhere?"

"I don't know, Harry, do I?"

Harry looked down at Draco Malfoy, his lips wet with precome fresh from Harry's cock. "It couldn't be me. We're not even friends. We're experimenting."

Malfoy snorted. "True," he said, tilting his head to the side. "And we don't need to be friends to do this. Do we, Potter?"

Harry blinked and the air was startlingly heavy with silence. Draco took his cock up again, and he sucked vigorously. When Harry glanced down to watch those lips slide up and down, he met Draco's unblinking gaze.

"Stop," Harry said.

Draco stopped and looked confused. "What's wrong with -- "

"I want to suck you," Harry interrupted. "Stand up." He pulled Draco to his feet and swiftly changed positions. In a second, he was kneeling before a standing Draco and was face to prick with Draco's groin.

"Watch your teeth," Draco said breathily. Harry could smell Draco's excitement. "Experiment away," he added.

Harry reached out and grasped the base and his fingers twined briefly in the dark gold springy curls clustered there. A flash of himself, kneeling before Draco Malfoy, about to put his mouth on Malfoy's prick willingly almost made him stop, but when Draco panted and shifted, and his prick brushed Harry's lips, he was more than ready.

He mouthed the head tentatively; it was salty and slippery. He gave a few experimental swipes; precome spilled across his tongue. Draco moaned and his fingers descended and twined in Harry's hair. A new sense of control overcame Harry and he understood exactly why Draco enjoyed doing this so much. Draco's shirt tails fluttered over Harry's head and for some reason that added an even greater sense of secrecy to what he was doing.

Harry sucked more of the prick into his mouth but he couldn't take in very much. Draco didn't seem to mind. He moaned and slowly began to thrust into Harry's mouth. His teeth scraped the sides of Draco's prick and Harry froze for a second, but Draco simply thrust faster.

He was drooling now and he breathed as well as he was able. A mixture of sweat, precome, and a musky odour he realised came from the fingers that had so recently been in Draco's arse assailed him.

Draco's cries of pleasure, the fingers pulling on his hair, his mouth filled with prick, precome and saliva caused Harry's cock to sputter and drip. He dropped a hand to it and began to stroke in time to Draco's increasingly faster thrusts.

"Fuck, Potter," Draco cried.

Draco tightened his hold on Harry's head and pushed deeply into Harry's mouth. It was a struggle for Harry to breathe and when the tip of Draco's prick hit the back of throat, he almost gagged.

Abruptly, Harry's mouth was flooded with come. It was thick and sweetly bitter. He swallowed reflexively, but most of it dribbled out on to his chin. He let go of Draco's prick and pressed his forehead to Draco's hip, and weakly tried to finish himself off.

Draco dropped to his knees instantly and sucked Harry down.

Harry came in seconds. He was utterly drained, and when he felt Draco's fingers card through his hair, he slumped to the ground and lay flat on his back, breathing raggedly. He fingered his jaw slowly, surprised at how it ached.

Minutes later, they dressed in silence. Draco kept glancing at Harry, an odd little smile playing about his lips. Harry couldn't help it, he finally smiled back. Whatever was going on with him and Draco, it felt way too fucking good to stop.

When they stepped into the hallway, ready to go in separate directions, Draco suddenly grabbed his neck, laid a long lick from collarbone to ear and whispered, "Tonight."

Then he turned away and walked down the stairs.


By the time Harry had washed up, changed his clothes, and rejoined his friends downstairs, he had forgotten the reason they left him and Draco alone.

"Feeling better, mate?" Ron asked.

"Um, yeah," Harry said.

"Be careful of what you eat, Harry," Hermione cautioned in her best no-nonsense voice, which barely hid her own embarrassment.

"Oh, right. I'll be careful," Harry said, face burning. "Where's Draco?"


"Well, we decided to try, right?" Harry said.

"He's in the garden with Ginny. And Harry's right, Ron. If we keep calling him Malfoy amongst ourselves, we'll never say his first name."

"I'm perfectly okay with calling him Malfoy," Ron said stubbornly.

"Fine," Hermione said, clearly not wanting to push the issue. "I've thought of a way to get friendly." She pulled out a chart.

Harry and Ron groaned together when they saw the brightly coloured labels and activities listed.

"Are you going to show this to Malfoy too?" Ron asked.

"Quiet, Ronald. Just read it."

Harry could feel her eyes on them as he and Ron perused the chart.

"Homework Revision in the morning, Flying Exercise in the afternoon, Professors' Notes in the evening? What is this?" Ron asked.

"It's a way to get to know him, of course. All of these activities are things we have in common. Plus, they'll help us anyway for the new school year," she added.

"Chess for Champions? Hermione, I'm not going to play chess with Malfoy," Ron scoffed. "You're only doing this to find out what he got on his O.W.L.S. aren't you?"

Harry ignored their bickering as the other commonality he shared with Draco blazed into his brain. Ideas for new daily activities, labelled neatly in Hermione's fine penmanship, flew through his head: Queer Quidditch, Blowjobs for Boys, Tossing Off with Two . . . He clapped a hand over his mouth to stop the giggles.

Luckily, neither Hermione nor Ron paid him any mind.

"Ronald Weasley! Would you please stop looking for ulterior motives in every little thing I do?" She snatched up the chart and glared at both of them, even though Harry had said nothing.

"I'll expect you to both have your homework with you at breakfast tomorrow. This new schedule begins then," she said firmly. She left the room in a huff.

Ron looked at Harry and scratched his jaw. "I haven't started on summer homework yet, have you?"


Mr Weasley was absent from dinner that evening and Mrs Weasley was strangely quiet. Hermione took charge of the conversation. She told Ginny and Draco all about her new schedule. Ginny seemed interested, and to Harry's complete surprise, so did Draco. He even asked for the chart. Hermione practically leapt out of her chair to get it.

Harry watched Draco suspiciously as he scanned Hermione's meticulous chart. This afternoon something had changed between them for the better, but he still didn't trust him.

"Hmm," Draco said, passing it back. "I don't see Ancient Runes here, though."

"Oh, well Ron and Harry don't take that course. You and I can go over that work if you want," she offered.

It seemed to Harry that everyone held their breath except for Mrs Weasley, who was totally out of it.

Draco, obviously sensing the sudden tension, looked at Harry before saying, "Fine." He didn't look at Hermione. But he didn't call her names either. It was a start, Harry decided.

"Fine," Ron mimicked.

Harry kicked him under the table, and when Ron turned to Hermione and yelled, "Hey!" he realised that Hermione had kicked him too.

After that, dinner went smoothly. It was strange to be eating dinner in a companionable atmosphere with Draco Malfoy in the Weasley house. At one point, Draco even helped Mrs Weasley dish out ice cream for dessert. She glared at him suspiciously, but she left him to it, as she swiftly set the spells about that would clean up the dinner dishes. Harry watched the others hesitantly talk and when the meal ended not a single harsh word had been spoken.

They all retired to the sitting room, where Ron and Draco made a half-hearted attempt to play wizards chess. This was prompted by Hermione, who was obnoxiously cheerful to Ron, and by Harry and Ginny, who both gave encouraging nods to Draco. Mrs Weasley was firecalling in the kitchen, and they could all hear the low tones of Mr Weasley from time to time.

Harry didn't know what to make of Ginny. She sat by Draco's side and watched him play, and Harry had to admit that it was Ginny he was mad at, not Draco. It made him uncomfortable to see her so cosy around Draco. Draco was his. Harry suddenly went rigid, wondering where the fuck that thought had come from. No one noticed his abrupt movement, so he slouched and went back to the Quidditch magazine he was reading.

Bothersome flyers flew out of it and they zoomed all over the room, to the annoyance of both Draco and Ron, as one of them landed right in the centre of the chess board.

Fantastic Frocks was on that one, and Ginny squealed when she saw it. She plucked the advertisement off the board and showed it to Hermione. "Oh, look at this one."

The two girls oohed and ahhed over the newest fashions, but Harry ignored them, and continued to 'read' his magazine while peeking over it to watch Draco.

The rest of the evening passed lazily and the others drifted to bed one by one, all earlier than usual. Harry felt Draco's grey gaze. Ron had been the last to leave, fighting yawns all the way.



"I'm trying."

"I noticed," Harry said.

"But I did something at dinner," Draco said, his eyes mischievous.

"What?" Harry narrowed his eyes.

"Professor Snape gave me some sleeping potions when he found me, and I put it on everyone's ice cream, but ours. They'll sleep for twelve hours and not a sound will wake them." Draco said. "I did it for tonight," he added. He took off his socks and shoes.

Harry didn't know when that particular word began to have an automatic, visceral effect on his body. But it did. His cock was hard in seconds. The image of Draco, fingering his own arsehole and panting softly, flashed in his mind. Harry let his head fall back and groaned. Still, enough coherence remained for him to be irritated.

He raised his head and glared. "You drugged my friends?"

"Yes, I did," Draco said, sounding proud, and he pulled off his jumper, revealing tight little nipples, a hard stomach and flushed chest; his blond hair was caught in a web of static electricity, but Harry had never seen anyone so wildly erotic, and his dark expression switched to an open mouth and glazed eyes.

Draco began to undo his belt as he moved closer, his voice strong and determined. "We can scream like banshees." His belt dropped, his fingers moved nimbly over the clasp of his trousers, easily pulling the zipper down in seconds. "I can suck your cock in that chair." He hooked his thumbs in his pants and slid them down his thighs, dragging his trousers down too. He stepped out of the last of his clothing, completely nude, his prick fully hard and straining toward Harry, as if it knew only he could satisfy it. He took the final few steps toward Harry, who was pinching his own leg viciously in an attempt to not come right then and there. "We can fuck in the hallway in front of the Weasel's door and he wouldn't hear a thing," Draco said, chest heaving with each breath.

"You drugged my friends so I could fuck you?" Harry said, and he thought he would come even as the word fuck tumbled out of his mouth.

"No, Potter," Draco said, voice husky, and he moved to straddle Harry's lap; his chest was against Harry's nose, his chin just above Harry's head. He could feel the tip of Draco's prick pressing hard and wet against his abdomen through his thin cotton shirt. Draco spoke into the wild nest of Harry's dark hair. "I drugged your friends so you could fuck me right here, right now, on Mrs Weasley's favourite chair."

Harry groaned and his hands crept behind Draco to curve around and cup his arse. Draco whined at the contact and his thighs trembled as he pushed his arse back to settle into the cradle of Harry's hands. He squeezed Draco's cheeks and his fingers strained toward the cleft, to gently stroke the downy skin there.

Draco gripped Harry's biceps tightly as his spine arched back, mashing their pricks together. Harry's cock pulsed so quickly it was painful. He continued to knead Draco's soft flesh, and bent his head to suck and bite on Draco's nipple.

Draco gasped and ground down even harder on Harry's cock, even as Harry continued to massage Draco's arse. "Fuck, Potter."

Harry's longest finger found Draco's hole, but he stopped when he realised his finger was dry. It would hurt Draco this way. Instead, Harry smoothed his hands over Draco's back to bring them around to grasp his biceps. Leaning back in the chair and holding Draco away from him, he stared into his eyes and said firmly, "I want you to lie down, spread your legs, and show me yourself."

"Bloody hell," Draco breathed, and he scrambled off Harry's lap.

Harry was dizzy as he settled back in the cushy arm chair. He pulled his zipper down to free his straining cock. Skimming over it lightly with his fingers, he watched a completely naked Draco Malfoy, his hard prick bouncing wildly, scurry around the sitting room of the Burrow to shove aside the small table where Ron and he had played chess earlier. Draco was remarkably efficient at clearing an area on the threadbare carpet. He kicked old editions of the Prophet away, pushed the piles of Hermione's books over, and grabbed two small pillows from the couch and threw them down in the rectangle of space in less than thirty seconds. He knocked over Hermione's activity chart in his haste to dig back into his trousers. His back was to Harry now, and as Draco bent over to root around in his clothing, the sight of his pale, rounded cheeks wrenched a deep groan from Harry's throat.

Draco slowed suddenly; he shot a look at Harry over his shoulder and deliberately bent lower, actually dropping his knees to the floor, and lifted his arse up and out, so Harry could see the barest hint of his arsehole. "Like what you see, Potter?"

Harry nodded, his fingers flying now over the slippery head of his cock. "God, you really are a slut," he said breathlessly.

Draco simply leered, then returned to his task, braced on his forearms now and Harry could see his fingers moving through his discarded trousers. Harry sat up and pulled his shirt off, still fixated on Draco's arse and all he could think of was that he was going to fuck another boy, and that boy was Draco Malfoy.

"Finally," Draco muttered. A small jar was in his hand now, and he pulled up from his hands-and-knees position. Harry couldn't stop the sigh of disappointment that escaped his lips.

Draco smirked. "Don't worry, Potter. I'm not going anywhere."

"Lie down," Harry growled, as he removed his socks, trainers, and jeans in rapid succession.

Draco's eyes lit up and he lay back on the carpet, shoving a pillow behind his head with one hand, and dropping the squat little jar on the floor next to his hip with the other. "I found this in the bathroom." Julian's Jelly was written in bright blue letters against a yellow sticker. Draco pulled his knees up, his heels far apart, much like he did that afternoon.

Harry dropped to the floor and knelt between Draco's legs.

"There's not much left, but it'll do for us," Draco breathed, as Harry grasped the skin of Draco's inner thighs and spread him wide, exposing his arsehole.

Harry paused then, just to watch it twitch and tremble. Draco whined and he brought one hand down to fist his own prick, the other held his ball sac up. Harry's mouth watered and he wordlessly snatched the jar of gel. I'm going to fuck Draco Malfoy.

After dipping his fingers in, he brought one finger to slowly circle the dark pink entrance. At the first touch, Draco moaned, still stroking his prick slowly; Harry looked up the line of Draco's torso. His prick was shining with precome, his chest moved rapidly, his face was blush with colour and his eyes were shut. The realisation that Harry was doing this -- making Draco feel so fucking good that he had to close his eyes -- caused his cock to swell even more and leak helplessly. Harry pushed one finger in and watched, fascinated, as Draco's hole sucked in his digit.

Harry's breath caught, and again, he imagined how his cock would feel in that hot, tight space. "Fuck," he gasped, when Draco clenched around his finger.

"More, Harry," Draco whined, pulling on his prick. "Granger's not going to stop us this time," he panted, eyes fluttering open to watch Harry.

Harry was startled momentarily at the mention of Hermione. He looked guiltily around the room; half of him expected her to walk in. The other half wondered what Hermione would think if she saw him like this -- naked and kneeling between Draco's lewdly spread legs, about to finger-fuck his arsehole. A thrill shot through him as that mental picture burned into his brain.

He moved a second finger in and was amazed at how its introduction made Draco moan even louder. He moved his two fingers in and out, pushing deeper with each inward jab. Harry didn't know how long his fingers moved in and out of that tight space. His cock was a throbbing rock; he didn't think it had ever become this hard without extended stroking.

"Fuck, Potter," Draco panted. Harry looked up at Draco's flushed face. His eyes were heavy lidded and he bit his lip. "I'm ready," he said. Harry added a third finger and twisted around inside. It was harder to wriggle but the grip was tantalizing; Harry groaned, desperate now for his cock to be where his fingers were.

Draco let go of his balls and yanked the pillow out from under his head to let it bang to the carpet. His eyes rolled back and his hips punched up in jagged, uneven thrusts as he loosely fisted his prick. "I'm ready. Take them out," he managed to gasp out.

Harry reluctantly pulled his fingers free, and sat back on his haunches. His cock jutted hard and high, purple with need. He watched as Draco rose to his hands and knees. He shoved his arse up and out toward Harry. I'm going to fuck Draco Malfoy.

Draco looked over his shoulder. "Put the rest of the lube on your cock, Potter. All of it," he demanded. Harry nodded, suddenly nervous. Draco's hole peeked open and Harry involuntarily stared down at his cock. He glanced back at the wrinkled tiny hole; how the fuck was his cock going to fit? He didn't want to hurt Draco. A wave of shock rolled over Harry. In the midst of this extreme lust, it was startling for him to know that he didn't want to hurt Draco -- in any way -- not just physically. He placed a trembling hand on Draco's flank, and watched his fingers gently skate along the sweat soaked skin.

He glanced back up toward Draco's shoulder to see Draco still looking at him. Their eyes locked. "You won't hurt me, Harry," he said, suddenly solemn. Harry didn't know if Draco knew what had gone through his mind, but he knew that Draco Malfoy had moved out of the enemy camp at last.

Harry bit his lip and grabbed the jar; he rose to his knees behind Draco. He used two fingers to scoop out what little of the jelly remained. He touched his cock for the first time since getting out of the chair and the shock of his own touch pulled out an involuntary groan.

"Save it for me," Draco said, pushing back a bit, his arse inching closer to Harry's cock. Harry dropped the jar and lightly slapped an arse cheek. Draco gasped, and he pushed back even more insistently. "Fuck me," he whined.

"I'm coming, Malfoy," Harry said.

Draco laughed suddenly. "You better not."

Harry laughed too, and his fears of hurting Draco vanished. He smeared the rest of the lube onto his cock, and, grasping Draco's hip and his cock at the same time, he moved forward until the snub nose of his prick was against Draco's arsehole. He watched the pucker wink in anticipation and he slowly pushed in, biting his lips the whole time.

Draco moaned and pushed back. Harry surged forward.

"Wait, wait," Draco panted, rocking forward, and Harry's cock fell out. "Go slow," he said.

Harry nodded then realised Draco couldn't see him, and said, "Right. Go slow."

He pushed in again, even more tentatively; his fingers dug into Draco's hip. The head of his cock was encased now, and Draco clenched him tightly. "Oh my God," Harry breathed. All that Draco had done before -- tossing Harry off with his hands, sucking Harry's cock -- nothing compared to the feel of his cock inside Draco's body. He slowly pushed forward again.

Draco gasped, and his arsehole rippled around Harry's cock. "Fuck," he bit out.

"Does it hurt?" Harry asked, and he started to pull out.

"A little, but don't move. Just wait. It's been a while," he panted.

Harry's stomach abruptly iced over. There was still so much he didn't know about Draco. He wanted to demand that Draco tell him who had fucked him before. It was irrational, but he didn't care. He gripped Draco's hips with both hands now, and surged forward again, gasping as his balls slapped against Draco's arse; his cock now fully sheathed. "I'll fuck you best, Malfoy," he said, surprising himself with his vehemence.

"Yesss," Draco hissed, pushing back against Harry.

Harry pulled out, still angry, but was stunned into silence as he watched his cock emerge only to disappear into the heat of Draco's body as he pushed right back in; he was tight -- so fucking tight -- and all Harry wanted to do was fuck Draco so hard that he'd only think of Harry fucking him, and no one else. He pulled out again, almost all the way then slammed back in, forcing a gasp from Draco. I'm fucking Draco Malfoy.

"Fuck," Draco said, shoving his arse back.

"You like this slut?" Harry said, unable to stop thinking of the other boys who had touched Draco before him.

"Bloody hell, Potter," Draco growled, still pushing back just as hard. "Are you jealous?"

Harry thrust faster. "Yes." The word tumbled out before he could stop it. His emotions were whirling faster and faster. The flesh around his cock held and released him as moved in and out; he imagined nameless, faceless boys kissing Draco, fucking Draco. Harry's fingernails dug into Draco's hips, but the skin was so sweaty and slippery now, he could barely hold on.

Draco rocked back frantically the moment Harry said yes, his cries of pleasure becoming louder and louder in the small space. Harry's balls continually slapped Draco's arse, the sounds were sharp and swift; he grunted with effort, and the squishy sound of his wet cock slipping in and out echoed all around him.

And then Harry was coming and coming and coming. He collapsed onto Draco's back, his cock sputtering still deep inside the other boy. He shuddered and he finally relinquished his death hold on Draco's hips. His cock slipped out wetly as he rolled off Draco, his head falling limply to the pillow beside him.

Draco immediately flipped onto his side, facing Harry. His hard prick pressed against Harry's thigh as he grabbed Harry's face and began to kiss him sloppily, practically lapping at his lips. Draco was mumbling at the same time too, but Harry could barely make out the words. He kept perfectly still and concentrated, still feeling the aftershocks of his orgasm.

"Only you," Draco breathed, between kisses and licks and frantic touches along Harry's arms and chest. Harry eyes widened and he kissed him back just as eagerly, overwhelmed by Draco's words.

Harry reached down to stroke Draco's prick, but after only a few light pulls, Draco's come was spurting warm and wet over Harry's fingers, spilling onto the floor between them.

Draco was gasping and shaking. He had stopped talking, and rolled away slightly so that their bodies no longer touched. He threw his arm up over his eyes, still breathing raggedly. His legs were sprawled open, his prick now placid and spent.

Harry sat up and moved the pillow on top the spunk now staining the carpet. He watched Draco carefully, not sure of what to say. He could tell that Draco was embarrassed. They had both let their guard down tonight, but Harry knew it had to be for the better.

"Draco," he whispered.

"Yeah," he mumbled back.

"That was brilliant."

Draco moved his arm above his head to join the other and stretched out languidly. Harry swallowed as he watched that body strain and unfold under his gaze -- perfectly fuckable. I fucked Draco Malfoy.

"Well, of course it was brilliant," Draco said. But instead of a smirk, he smiled and glowed.

Harry smiled back, glad for the first time that Professor Snape favoured Draco enough to give him sleeping potions.

"Do you let all your enemies fuck you?" Harry asked lightly, but he held his breath.

"Only you," Draco said. Incredibly, he pinked up, as if just realising these were the same words he'd spoken only a moment earlier.

Harry exhaled slowly and laid a finger on Draco's face and traced his lips slowly, watching Draco gaze back at him. Harry moved his finger across his cheekbones, down along his jaw, and back up to his face again. Draco raised his hand and did the same to Harry, and they sat there for long minutes, Draco lying on his back and Harry bent over him, both nude and quiet, gravely running their fingers over each other's faces, as if memorising every curve and angle.

"Are we still enemies?" Harry whispered, as his fingers lingered along the pout of Draco's lips.

Draco dropped his hand, closed his eyes and opened his mouth; his tongue swirled around Harry's finger. He didn't answer.

"We should get dressed," Harry said, pulling his finger away. He looked around for his clothes, absurdly feeling more naked.

Draco nodded, and sat up. His eyes glinted playfully. "You're right. Mr Weasley could floo home any minute."

Chapter Eight: Friends and Lovers

The next two weeks of Harry's life rushed by with the speed of a Snitch. It seemed to Harry that time was on fast forward as the hours flew by -- his days were so packed with activity -- and he often found himself falling asleep each night wondering where the hell the day had gone.

The first week the four sixth years studied every morning. Hermione was unfailingly strict about keeping to her timetable and she forced the others to follow it just as faithfully. Ron and Harry grumbled every morning when they came down to the kitchen, but Draco was usually already there and engrossed in his own studies. In this one area, Hermione and Draco were perfectly in sync, Harry discovered. And while Draco was civil to Hermione, he only called her Granger, and didn't initiate any conversations with her.

Their afternoons were spent flying. Ginny lent Draco her broom, as the majority of Draco's possessions were still at Malfoy Manor. At first, Draco was openly dismissive of Ron's skills but he quickly stopped when Harry refused to touch him that night. While the boys practiced new moves they found in Ron's endless of pile of Quidditch magazines, Hermione used her time to observe Ginny and Mrs Weasley.

Harry's evenings consisted of watching Draco and Ron play wizard chess, which usually ending in a shouting match. Draco insulted Ron constantly during their games then claimed innocently that chess was a psychological war as well as strategic one. To Ron's dismay, his family chess set seemed to adore Draco, no matter how blatantly he cheated. Hermione kept her mouth shut during these 'bonding' sessions, as she called them, but oftentimes Harry would later see Ron and Hermione alone in the garden, long after the sun had gone down.

The other part of his evenings was spent sharing notes with Ron and Hermione on Ginny and Mrs Weasley. She and Ginny argued a lot, but it was always behind closed doors, and they always had a silencing spell up. When Ron's mum was around to actually be heard, she was quiet and morose. Her usual cheerfulness all but disappeared, only surfacing when Mr Weasley showed up. He was never at home during the day anymore, but he did pop in for dinner most evenings. The only other times she seemed back to herself was when they all made their sojourns into Diagon Alley.

They shopped for food, made quick visits to the more popular stores and photographers usually snapped Harry's picture -- Hermione often pushed him into the frame -- along with Draco Malfoy. She insisted each time that she was only helping Dumbledore keep the peace whenever Harry grumbled. A visit to the twins was always in order, but Draco never hung around, as George and Fred usually saved their best tricks for him.

On one such trip, after Draco was slimed the instant he stepped past the threshold of Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes, he huffed off in disgust. Ron had laughed hysterically, but Harry decided to follow Draco. Hermione tagged along. They had a hard time finding him again, but after ten minutes, Hermione spotted him alone in Flourish & Botts.

"What are you doing?" Harry asked.

Draco sighed and said, "Maybe I just needed a break from Gryffindor."

Harry remembered Draco's earlier request. "Are you hoping to find Pansy?"

Hermione snorted beside him.

"You know Granger, Pansy is just as smart as you are," Draco said, folding his arms across his chest.

"Really?" Hermione arched her eyebrow and smiled complacently.

Draco scowled, as if just realising he had inadvertently paid Hermione a compliment to her face.

"We'll find her," Harry said. "We can split up. If we find her first, we'll tell her to meet you back here, all right?"

"What?" Draco looked surprised.

"I know you miss your friends, Malfoy." Harry shrugged. "We'll find her."

"You're helping me?"

"Yes, Draco," Hermione said patiently. "We are."

Harry and Hermione left without a backward glance. A half an hour later, Harry gave up, but as he was crossing the street to return to Flourish & Botts, he saw Hermione dragging an obviously unenthusiastic Pansy Parkinson with her. Harry entered the store just in time to see Pansy fling her arms around Draco. He ignored the strange flutter in his stomach and moved closer to listen as they began to whisper excitedly. Hermione pulled him back.

"Let them be, Harry," she warned. Then she drifted toward the bookshelves.

Harry nodded but he kept perfectly still, wishing he had some Extendable Ears handy. He heard Durmstrang and Crabbe mentioned, along with Snape and Slytherin. Pansy said 'my dad' an awful lot too. When Harry heard Draco say his name, he hastily retreated.

That Draco was happy to see her was obvious. He wasn't so happy to hear her news, and Harry was surprised to realise he felt bad for him.

"Heard enough, Potter?" Draco drawled, now walking up to Harry with Pansy at his side.

Pansy looked at Harry shrewdly. "I didn't hear -- much," Harry said.

Draco rolled his eyes and said to Pansy, "I'll see you at school."

She nodded and gave Draco a quick hug. Pansy shot Harry one last calculating glance before leaving the store.

"Thanks Potter," Draco said, his hands deep in his pockets.

"You're welcome," Harry said. "And you didn't even have to suck me for it," he added playfully.

"I'll suck you anyway," Draco said; his voice was low and filled with promise.

Harry's cock hardened. "Don't say that when we're in public," Harry complained.

Draco raised his eyebrows. "What Potter? Like this?" He dragged Harry back behind some bookshelves, and palmed his cock. "I want you tie me up," he breathed in Harry's ear, and licked his neck. "I want to be helpless and naked and open --"

Harry moaned, unable to stop.

"Harry?" Hermione called.

Draco stepped back, smirking broadly at Harry's glazed eyes and open mouth.


Ginny was another matter entirely. She was ever present and effervescent -- except for when she fought with Mrs Weasley -- and talkative. When she wasn't fluttering around Mr Weasley on the rare occasion he was home, she was on firecalls with Luna, or talking with Draco. She watched the others studying at times, but when Hermione asked Ginny if she wanted to join them, she told her she didn't need to do any extra work.

Ron grew increasingly frustrated as the days went by. It was clear to him that something was so completely wrong with Ginny and his mum, and he became desperate for his father's attention. The moments spent with his father were never satisfying for Ron, as Mr Weasley's time was severely divided between work and Mrs Weasley's needy moods.

Ron and Hermione fought over whether to tell Mr Weasley about their suspicions, but Hermione reasoned that if they were wrong, it certainly wouldn't help the families' troubles. Ron grudgingly agreed, saying that even if he did tell his father, he couldn't do it under the watchful eyes of Ginny and his mum. Hermione seemed more worried that Mr Weasley didn't appear to notice -- this made Ron even more upset and he started watching his father closely too. Hermione and Harry both reassured him that they didn't believe anything was wrong with Mr Weasley. They stayed up late most nights trying to keep Ron's spirits up.

During one of these late night sessions Harry finally started talking about Sirius to his friends. It felt good to talk about him. Ron and Hermione listened and when he let them watch his birthday present from Remus, they all laughed at Sirius' jokes as he toured Grimmauld Place.

Every other bit of time Harry had to himself, he spent on Draco. They were ravenous for each other and took every available alone moment they could find. It didn't matter if it was ten minutes or a lucky unexpected hour. Draco sucked Harry's cock in the bathroom, in Ron's room, in the changing room of Madam Malkin's when they went in to order new student robes, and once in the garden behind Mrs Weasley's rose bush at six in the morning.

When they were alone, and not stroking, fingering, sucking, or fucking, they talked about school work or Quidditch. They never talked about Sirius or Lucius Malfoy.

One afternoon, Draco told him about his early summer isolation. He wasn't specific about the events leading up to his mother's disappearance, but Harry knew that Draco was lonely and scared for a long time, until the Aurors, with Professor Snape's help, found him. Harry briefly described his life at Privet Drive; he spared Draco the particulars of his existence there, but he made it clear that growing up under care of the Dursleys was near torture. Draco shook his head in disgust when he learned that Harry's relatives hated him and all things magical.

"Harry, they're all a waste of human skin, no better than shells," he declared, stretched out naked and pink next to him. He yawned as he spoke, wrinkling his eyebrows in irritation.

"Those 'shells' as you call them, give birth to witches like Hermione," Harry said angrily, shocked at Draco's complacent dismissal. "And even if they don't, it doesn't make them any less human."

They dressed in silence, and Harry could barely keep his temper in check. When they were ready and Harry began to unlock the door, Draco stepped behind him, wrapped his arms around Harry's waist, and leaned his chin on Harry's shoulder.

"Granger is a good witch," he said softly.

Harry turned in the embrace, and pushed Draco back to hold him at arm's length. Draco's face was solemn. It was a start. "She is," Harry said. "And her Muggle parents raised her."

Draco snorted in exasperation. "I can't change what I think overnight, but I'm listening now. Granger's all right, but don't ask for more this very second."

Harry nodded, curiously pleased. It was true; the Draco Malfoy of ten days ago would have never said anything nice about Hermione, let alone label her a good witch. Harry turned to leave when he heard Ron call his name.

Draco caught Harry up in his arms again, and whispered into his neck, "Tonight?"

Harry dropped a hand to Draco's prick, rubbed him to hardness, watched his eyes flutter closed, listened to him moan, and Harry stepped away, taking his hand with him. At Draco's look of frustration, he smirked and said, "Tonight."


They groped in broad daylight -- quickly palming each other's cocks -- hovering on their brooms when Ron flew away from them to perform a risky manoeuvre and were too far to be seen. They sucked each other's necks in the hallway for mere seconds before the heavy tread of Ron's footfalls or Hermione's laughter floated up the stairway, announcing their impending presence. It was exciting for Harry to almost be caught, and whenever Draco brought Harry to full hardness with his hand underneath the table at mealtimes, right under the eyes of his two best friends, he knew Draco felt the same way.

An incident on the fourth day, however, forced Harry to admit that he wasn't ready for anyone else to know about his real relationship with Draco.

Harry was hard at work on a Potions essay. He was scribbling, completely lost in his efforts, when he felt Draco snatch up his hand.

"What's this?" Draco fingered the phrase that Umbridge had forced Harry to inflict upon himself.

Harry was so used to Draco touching him that he didn't pull away. His hand rested loosely in Draco's palm and the other boy delicately traced the words with his finger, his brow furrowed in concentration. His finger was cool against Harry's skin as it moved from letter to letter. It felt good.

"Harry?" Ron choked out.

Harry yanked his hand way, and he cursed himself for forgetting. He glanced up and saw that Draco's face had gone pale and Hermione was watching them speculatively.

"Umbridge did this to me," he mumbled, not looking at Ron.

"How?" Draco asked.

"Detention," Harry said.

"What do you mean?"

"I wrote this out on a parchment and the words were in my blood and carved into my hand."

"Oh." His voice was weak, and he paled even further.

"That was the leader of your lovely Inquisitorial Squad, Malfoy," Ron snapped.

"Ron," Hermione said.

Draco said nothing, and returned to his essay; the others resumed working as well. Later that day, in the twins' room, when Ron was taking a nap and Hermione was on a firecall with her mother, Draco traced the scar on Harry's hand with his tongue, and brought Harry off effortlessly with his hand.

Each time they came together, Harry grew bolder and on the last day of the first week, when everyone else was out shopping in Diagon Alley, he asked Draco to put his fingers in Harry's arse. They were in Draco's adopted bedroom completely naked and pulling each other off languidly.

"Are you sure?" Draco raised an eyebrow, still fisting Harry's cock slowly.

"Yeah, I want to see how it feels," Harry panted.

"We're out of lubrication though."

On a trip to Diagon Alley earlier in the week, Draco had slipped away to buy some for them to use. They used Gilderoy's Glimmering GlideRight up in two days. Harry had fucked Draco in the bathroom. Draco had clutched the sink, forehead pressed against it, hair hanging down, while Harry held his hips up and thrust quickly and deeply. Later, Draco had impaled himself on Harry's cock in the garden at dawn.

"Oh, yeah," Harry said, remembering, sounding disappointed.

"There are other ways, Harry," Draco said.

Ten minutes later Harry was on his hands and knees and Draco was holding his cheeks apart and licking Harry's arsehole enthusiastically. When Harry felt Draco's tongue wriggle inside him, twisting and jabbing, he nearly came. And then, when Draco reached around and pulled on Harry's cock, still tongue fucking him, he did come. As Harry collapsed, his cock sputtering helplessly, he couldn't help but wonder who it was that had taught Draco all his tricks. He never asked him; Harry wasn't sure what he would do if he knew the names of Draco's lovers.

Harry desperately wanted another long night. At one point, he thought about asking Remus if he could visit Grimmauld Place again, but he squashed that idea when he realised that Ron would want to come too.


On the first night of the second week, Remus, Tonks, and Professor Snape came over for dinner. Tonks returned Draco's wand; Professor Snape was clearly angry with the Auror for having taken it from Draco in the first place. Remus was pleased when Hermione told him how she, Ron, Harry and Draco had begun a daily regimen of studying, flying, and socialising. Mrs Weasley was surprisingly nervous around Remus and Tonks, but she glared at Snape continually.

An article appeared in the Daily Prophet complete with pictures of Draco, Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione at Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. The article was the first in a series of inter-house student profiles. Hermione said that Dumbledore was a genius; further articles featured Pansy Parkinson and Terry Boot shopping together at Slug & Jiggers for school supplies, and other stories showcased Slytherin students out and about with students from different houses.

The flurry of suspected Death Eater reports in the Prophet didn't abate, but demands for dismantling Slytherin house did.

All during the second week of their morning study session, Hermione was just as ruthless, but she checked over their work carefully and told both Ron and Harry she was proud of their progress. When she offered to look over Draco's work, he let her. Draco smirked at Harry when he handed Hermione his assignments, as if to say, See, I can be nice.

Flying with Ron and Draco had become the second best part of Harry's days. The three boys had developed an intricate three man defence and a complementary offence. It was exhilarating, and when Ron finally mastered an extremely difficult trick, even Draco cheered, although he denied it later.

Chess games changed very little. Draco still baited Ron, but Ron was used to it now and gave as good he got, and Harry knew that Ron was using the games as a chance to let out his frustration on an opponent who didn't really care.

Mrs Weasley and Ginny observations came to a standstill because no new information was forthcoming. Harry had finally told Ron and Hermione about the night he heard Mr and Mrs Weasley arguing about their sex life. Ron had turned redder than Harry had ever seen him, but Hermione simply pursed her lips and said nothing. She was keeping her theories to herself, Harry realised, but he knew she would tell them her suspicions when she worked them out to her satisfaction.

She did ask Harry about the face he'd seen in the mirror at Grimmauld place and repeatedly asked him to describe the blurs he first saw in Ron's bedroom mirror. She was annoyed the compact was misplaced; the last time they'd seen it was the day Harry opened his presents. So much had happened since that day, and Hermione said it was likely Ginny or Mrs Weasley got rid of it. It was then that Hermione reminded Harry about Luna's behaviour at the birthday party. She had thrown the compact away from her when Padma offered it to Luna to play with. It was this, more than anything else that convinced Hermione that Luna was involved in the same way Ginny and Mrs Weasley were. Both Harry and Hermione wanted the compact back; it was obviously magic and would help their research tremendously.

On their trips to Diagon Alley, Hermione had dragged him to every shop that had a magic mirror, but he never saw another face, no matter how hard he looked. When he stood in the dressing room of Madam Malkin's shop to order his student robes, the floor to ceiling mirrors reflected too many other students in the room for him to get a really good look. He asked Hermione about Fantastic Frocks, but she told him that store was even more crowded.

Hermione and Ron's relationship had reached new levels during this time. She was his only source of comfort now, and Harry found himself alone at times, when his two friends talked quietly in the sitting room, obviously wanting to be alone, and while Draco and Ginny sat behind the rose bushes in the garden, their favourite spot for chatting.

The only thing that bothered Harry was his feelings about Ginny. He'd known Ginny for years, was nearly a brother to her, but when he heard her laughing with Draco or when he saw her touch his arm, it took all of his willpower to not rip them apart. He never asked Draco about Ginny anymore. He trusted that Draco would tell him what he knew when the time was right.


On the last night of the second week, Harry went to bed utterly sated. He lay there and replayed the last few minutes he shared with Draco. It was wildly different from anything they'd done before. Their clothes had stayed on.

Over the past two weeks, Draco had touched every part of Harry's body with his fingers and tongue, and Harry had nearly done the same to Draco. But tonight they had simply kissed -- slowly, deeply, and wetly -- for over ten minutes. And when they finally stopped and stared into each other's eyes, Harry knew he wanted Draco in the open, all the time. He didn't say a word, but he knew Draco felt the same way. It was in his grasping embrace, in his heavy gaze that followed Harry's every move, and in his daily promise of tonight, always whispered, even when they'd already come three times during the day.


On the fifteenth day, after tea, Harry was alone in the sitting room reading the new Quidditch magazine he'd bought in Diagon Alley a few hours earlier. He flipped through the pages and had to get down on the floor when several flyers flew out. It was one of the most annoying things about wizarding magazines, he hated pinning them down, but Mrs Weasley didn't like them scattered about. One in particular darted under the couch, and when he reached under to pull it out, his fingers brushed against a hard, circular object.

It was Lavender's compact. Lavender's magical compact. He looked up sharply for Ginny and Mrs Weasley. He didn't want them to know there was another magical mirror two inches from his hand. Ron's mother was cleaning up, and Harry saw Draco by the door watching him. Harry knew that Draco was anxious for tonight; he'd been able to get another tube of lubricant and they were both ready for a good long fuck later. He was drinking out of a mug that read Dragon Watch! 1997. The others had drifted into the garden; it was still bright enough outside to enjoy some more sun.

"What is it?" Draco asked.

"Nothing," he said, and sat back down, using his foot to slide the compact back under.

Draco shrugged and went outside. Harry quickly pocketed the compact and went upstairs. He wanted Hermione to help him, but he was afraid to attract the others' attention.

Once he was alone in Ron's room, he flipped open the compact. He watched and waited. Nothing. He turned his head to the side and looked using his peripheral vision. He waited more than two minutes before giving up. Maybe it was too small? No, that didn't seem like a good reason.

He trotted back downstairs and was soon standing at the doorway of the kitchen. Ginny was whispering furiously by the fireplace; Harry could see Luna's irritated scowl illuminated by the flames. They didn't appear to notice him. He stepped outside and scanned the garden. Draco and Ron were flying, circling each other, but not talking. Harry needed to be there before they would speak to each other. Mrs Weasley was pruning roses in a far corner of the garden. Hermione was reading Advanced Potions on the lawn just a few feet away.

"Hermione!" Harry hissed.

She was at Harry's side in seconds.

"Look what I found."

"Did you see anything?"

"No, I was hoping you could help me figure it out."

"Come on, let's go inside." They tiptoed through the kitchen to the sitting room, and Harry flipped open the compact and rather impatiently told Hermione yet again how he'd seen the blurs. Her eyes were shut and she bit her lip in concentration.

"Stop, Harry," she said, eyes fluttering open. "Tell me how you didn't see them."


"I want to know what you did when you didn't see them."

"Well, I tried to look for them in the mirror in my bedroom at Grimmauld Place. But I couldn't find them, until I saw the face in the bathroom mirror the next morning. I wasn't even looking for it then; it just appeared."

Hermione pursed her lips and asked, "And in Ron's bedroom, you didn't see anything until the second day?"

"Yeah," Harry said.

"Look again," Hermione said.

"I told you, I didn't see anything."

"Look again, Harry," Hermione insisted.

Harry looked, and in two seconds, a tiny face, even smaller than the one he'd seen in the bathroom hovered in the upper right curve of the little circular mirror. It was too small for him to make out any distinguishing features, but it was a face, and it was staying.

"Oh, God. It's there," Harry said shakily. He felt Hermione peer over his shoulder.

"I don't see anything," Hermione said, sounding disappointed.

"How can you not see it?" Harry said. An icy wave of terror began to creep across Harry's shoulders as the tiny mouth on the tiny face opened wide. It was screaming something. He squinted and forced himself to bring the compact closer to his eye. It was saying a word over and over. He watched the way the mouth opened and closed and formed the word. Harry.

It was screaming his name.

He dropped the compact. It clattered to the ground and Hermione asked, "What's wrong, Harry?"

"It's screaming for me," he breathed. "It's saying my name."

"What? Are you sure?" Hermione snatched up the compact, looking intently into it.

"What's going on?" Ron asked.

Harry looked up and saw Ron and Draco. They were both staring at Hermione's rigid posture as she concentrated on the mirror.

Harry was chilled to the bone. He tried to get Draco's attention; he wanted him. Draco seemed to understand. In seconds he was seated beside Harry.

"What happened?" Draco didn't touch him, but Harry was grateful for his presence anyway. Before he could answer, he heard Ginny.

"What are you all doing?" she asked. "Oh! Is that Lavender's compact?" She looked straight at Draco and smiled sadly.

Harry's two best friends were still staring down into Hermione's hand, when Ginny snatched the compact and looked into the mirror.

Draco gasped.

Harry's view was perfect. As soon as Harry saw the top of Ginny's head, her body shook violently, and she gasped; her eyes rolled back, and she fell backward onto the ground, deathly still.

Hermione screamed. Ron yelled for his mother and father. Draco whispered hoarsely, "No."

Harry scrambled over to Ginny. She was still breathing. Mrs Weasley ran in, followed quickly by Mr Weasley, who had run down the stairs.

"She's breathing," Harry said. "But she passed out."

Ron was pacing nervously and Hermione cried, "Is she all right?" when she saw Mr Weasley pass his wand over Ginny's body several times, while he quickly chanted some spells Harry thought he'd heard Madam Pomfrey use in the past.

Harry looked back at Draco's pale face, but he was mesmerized by the activity surrounding Ginny. Turning his attention back to Mr Weasley, Harry saw that he had put his wand away and he was talking to Mrs Weasley.

"Call St Mungo's. We must bring her in immediately," he told her.

Mrs Weasley was wringing her hands. "Are you sure we can't care for her here?"

"MOLLY! CALL ST MUNGO'S NOW! I’m taking my daughter in!"

She ran to the kitchen. Mr Weasley picked up Ginny gently and said, "What happened?"

"I don't know," Hermione whispered miserably.

Mr Weasley looked at Ron. "Son?"

"I don't know, Dad. She was just standing there looking at Lavender's compact and she just passed out."

"What compact?" Mr Weasley said.

"This one," Hermione said.

"Please put it in my pocket, Hermione."

"That has a magic mirror?" Draco whispered as Mr Weasley left carrying Ginny his arms. Ron and Hermione followed them into the kitchen.

Only Harry heard him, and he turned to Draco, eyes wide. He stared at him, his gut churning as the depth of Draco's betrayal sank in. They heard the Floo activate, and Ron and Hermione came back in, both with solemn faces.

"You knew about this. You knew what a magic mirror would do to her? Didn't you?" Harry was shaking and his hands curled into tight fists. "You better hope that Ginny Weasley comes out of this. If this is what you've been keeping from me --"

"What, Harry? You'll hurt me?" Draco snarled and rose from the couch, his earlier shock turning to rage.

"You've already thrown my dad in prison, and now my mum is gone too! What else can you possibly do?" he yelled furiously, tears shining in his eyes. He turned and ran up the stairs.

Harry watched him leave, too stunned to follow or speak.

Chapter Nine: A Son's Love

The three friends watched in astonished silence as Draco ran up the stairs. Ron was the first to speak.

"His mum? What the hell is he talking about?!" Ron demanded, turning on Harry.

"I don't know, Ron!" Harry yelled back, but when he saw Ron's shaking body, red face, and scared eyes, his anger at Draco was overshadowed by his concern for Ron.

Hermione just sank into the couch. Her mouth opened and closed and she exhaled loudly. "Oh."

"What did that bastard do to my sister?!" Ron shouted.

"Ron --"

"I'll kill him!" Ron bolted up the stairs, and his stomping footfalls seemed to shake the house.

Harry and Hermione shared one panicked look and followed. Before they reached the landing, they heard loud, sharp thuds.


Harry and Hermione saw Ron kicking the twins' bedroom door; his face was a mask of hate and frustration.


"Ron! Calm down! Please, Ron. Stop!" Hermione cried; she ran to his side and grasped his arm.

"GO AWAY!" Draco yelled back.

Ron pushed Hermione away and yanked his wand out. "Alohomora! "

"Harry, help me!" Hermione said frantically, and she tugged on Ron's arm again desperately.

The lock clicked and the door swung open. Harry jumped in front of Ron and blocked the doorway. He glanced into the room behind him and saw Draco standing in the corner, his wand in hand. His face looked as if all the blood had drained out of it; his eyes darted about, clearly unable to focus on anything. Harry turned back to Ron.

"Ron, wait!" Harry held up his hand at Ron in supplication.

"NO! I want to know what he did! And I want to know now!"

"We all do!" Harry said. "And we'll ask him, but you have to calm down."

"Ron, he's right. You don't want to do anything you'll regret." She hung on to his arm resolutely, even though he'd shaken her off twice already. "Please, Ron. He's not going anywhere. He'll tell us."

Ron's breathing slowed as he looked from Harry to Hermione, obviously struggling to control his emotions. Twenty seconds passed in complete silence but for their heavy breaths. An owl suddenly flew into the room, startling them all. It hooted and dropped a scroll at Ron's feet.

"Fuck," Ron said.

"Get him out of here, Harry," Draco snarled from behind them.

"Shut up!" Harry hissed and whirled around. "You better start talking now. You told me Ginny was not in trouble."

"You knew?" Ron whispered, shock lacing the two simple words.

"Harry?" Hermione asked. Her voice was unusually high and she too sounded surprised.

Harry closed his eyes and sighed.

"He didn't know anything," Draco said quietly, surprisingly subdued.

Harry's eyes snapped open and he watched Draco slide to the floor, his back wedged against the corner wall. His wand clattered to the floor; his grip was so loose.

"I told him Ginny wasn't in trouble, because she told me she wasn't in trouble," Draco said as he drew his legs to his chest, arms locked around them. He stared blearily ahead, not looking at anyone.

Hermione crept into the room, pulling a now quiet Ron with her and they sat on the bed together. "Who is she?"

Harry's stomach tightened and although he was angry with Draco, it actually hurt to see the other boy so miserable. The urge to go to Draco and touch him -- even to kiss him -- was overwhelming, but he settled for simply sitting on the floor near him.

"My mum," Draco mumbled.

"You said your mother was dead," Harry said.

"I said I think her body is in a ditch somewhere," Draco said, and he bent his head.

"What does this have to do with Ginny?" Ron asked, still angry.

"Narcissa Malfoy was in Ginny's body," Hermione said slowly. "She's been in her body all these weeks, even before Harry arrived, right?"

Draco raised his head; his face was splotchy and his eyes red-rimmed. "I don't know how long she's been there. I only knew for sure when she cast a body bind on me," he said.

"Narcissa Malfoy was Ginny?" Ron's voice was incredulous.

Harry remembered Ginny bending over Draco's stiff body and whispering in his ear. "She told you who she was then?"

"Yeah," Draco said dully. "It was the only way she could get me to listen."

"Why did you hex her on Harry's birthday?" Hermione asked.

"She kept trying to talk to me and wouldn't leave me alone. I didn't know who she was then. She started calling me little dragon and told me how much she missed me. That's when I hexed her. Only my mum," his voice cracked, and he cleared his throat before continuing, "only my mum calls me that."

Harry remembered Draco's horror-stricken face the day they all ran to find Ginny and Draco in the garden the first time.

"I don't care about your stupid mother. Where is Ginny?" Ron said angrily.

"Ron!" Harry admonished without thinking.

"What, Harry? Don't you want to know where Ginny is?" He stood up and glared down at both Draco and Harry.

"I do, but give Draco a break," Harry said.

Ron's eyes widened and he said, "I don't believe this. Is that you in there, Harry?"

"Ron, Harry's right. Draco didn't do anything to Ginny," Hermione interjected.

"But he knew something! He didn't tell us," Ron said.

"Why would I tell you?" Draco said bitterly as he looked at Ron full in the face. "So you could take her away? What would you have done if I told you my mum was trapped in your sister's body? The same thing that happened tonight would have happened anyway, only sooner." He gazed steadily at Ron. Draco's face was choked with despair; there was no room for deception.

Ron blinked, threw his hands up in frustration and left the room. Hermione rose from the bed. "I'll talk to him, Harry. But there is more we all need to discuss," she said firmly before leaving, pulling the door closed behind her.

Draco watched her leave then looked at Harry. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you before," he whispered. His grey eyes bored into Harry's and he looked so forlorn, as if he expected Harry would never forgive him.

Harry's throat tightened and the depth of feeling for this boy -- this arrogant, lonely, glowing boy -- filled him to the brim and he had to let it free. He cradled Draco's head, thumbs gently stroking over his ears, and kissed him. He kissed the tears on his face, tasted their salty wetness; he kissed the eyelids that fluttered in shock, and kissed the mouth that was now open and hungry for Harry's. Draco broke the kiss after only a few seconds and grasped Harry's arms desperately. Harry pulled him close and wrapped his arms around him.

Draco sighed and shuddered in the embrace, his head on Harry's shoulder, and for long minutes neither boy spoke.


Harry fell away from Draco, his heart beating triple time. It was Hermione's voice that called and it came from inside the room. He looked up, and saw her standing in the doorway looking at them guiltily.

"I know, Harry," she said softly.

"Wha -- What?" Harry stuttered.

"I know about you and Draco."

"Hermione, I --"

"Harry, don't. It's fine. There are other things we need to worry about right now. Ron doesn't know and we'll keep it that way for now, okay?"

Harry looked back at Draco, who was staring at Hermione with something close to respect. Harry blinked. It was respect.

"I don't know what to say," Harry confessed.

"Let's have some tea." She focused on Draco. "Are you willing to tell us everything you know? Are you well enough to talk?"

He nodded, wiped his face, and stood. He held a hand out to Harry and pulled him up.

"We need to talk about Luna and Mrs Weasley too," Hermione said.

"What about them?" Draco asked, sounding confused.

Harry realised that Draco had never had any real contact with Mrs Weasley or Luna before this summer, so he wouldn't have noticed anything amiss in their behaviour.

"I believe their bodies have been possessed too. And I think I know where they are, including Ginny," Hermione said. She looked at Draco pointedly. "And that's where your mother's spirit might be too, if I'm right."


The four of them gathered in Ron's bedroom. Ron and Draco sat on opposite beds, and while they were no longer actively hostile, they didn't look at each other either. When Harry saw each of them sit down, and Hermione poised near the dresser, obviously ready to deliver her theories, he wasn't sure where to sit.

Both Draco and Ron were still upset and Harry didn't know if he should comfort his friend or his lover. The fact that Hermione knew about his real relationship with Draco didn't help him decide.

"Harry, sit down," Hermione said and she promptly sat next to Ron, her hand reaching to clasp his hand, and she laid her head on his shoulder.

Ron sighed and breathed a little easier. Harry blinked. It was clear then, that he and Draco hadn't been the only couple to make use of Mrs Weasley's and Ginny's frequent shopping trips over the past two weeks.

Harry sat next to Draco. He didn't hold his hand, but their legs lightly touched, and he didn't move away.

Hermione gave Ron's hand a squeeze and stood. "Okay, I'm going to ask you some questions, Draco. And then we'll tell you what we know."

Draco simply nodded, but Harry could feel the tension in his body.

"Did your mother tell you she had to stay away from magical mirrors?"



"She said that any magic mirror would pull her back in, because she didn't belong in Ginny's body. But she told me Ginny was safe and they would switch again when school started."

"That's why Ginny broke the mirror in here, Ron," Hermione said.

"And why your mum broke the mirror in the kitchen," Harry added. "But that was weeks ago, before I even came."

"She must have just been switched then," Hermione said. "But who switched them, and why?" Hermione mused aloud.

Ron just looked miserable. He watched Harry and Hermione dully.

Hermione looked back at Draco shrewdly. "Why did you hide in your house?"

"The day before my mum disappeared she told me to hide. She said I would be safe if I stayed in the lofts. There are only a few people who can access that part of the house. She made me promise not to leave," Draco said. "But I didn't know what my mum was going to do back then," he added.

"Did she tell you how she would get back into her own body? Do you know where her body is?" Hermione pressed.

"No," he said miserably. "But she told me not to worry about it. She said Ginny's body was fine for now."

"Ginny's body," Ron repeated in a hollow voice.

"Do you know who is in Ron's mum?"

"No! I didn't even know there was anything wrong with her."

"Did your mum say why she was in Ginny's body?"

At this question, Draco dropped his head and whispered, "She was spying on Harry for the Dark Lord."

"What?!" Ron exploded off the bed.

Harry felt his heart shrivel. He shrank away from Draco, his stomach a ball of hot lead. It didn't matter that nothing had been said or done worth reporting; it was the idea that Draco had let his mother remain to spy on Harry even after all they had done together. Harry had fucked him, sucked his prick, and kissed his mouth over and over. It overwhelmed him and he fell off the bed, landing on his back, and stared up at Draco in shock.

"Harry," Draco said hoarsely. "I couldn't lose my mum too, not after my dad was taken away. And it's not like you were doing anything anyway. There was nothing to tell."

Harry looked at the floor, where his fists were clenched, tightly thrumming at his sides. He couldn't look at Draco. If he looked at him he would punch him or cry or kiss him or fuck him right there to make him tell the truth. Draco never lied when they fucked. He couldn't.

"Harry?" Draco said again, sounding desperate.

Harry felt a hand touch his shoulder and he jumped up and looked at Draco. "Don't you ever fucking touch me again," he hissed and ran out of the room. He ignored Hermione's call and kept running.


Hermione found him twenty minutes later in the garden. He had flown about the roof of the Burrow recklessly. He wanted to hit someone, break something, and do anything to erase what he heard. The late afternoon sun had bled into red and purple and now it was too dark to see.

She spoke as she approached him, which was good, because Harry's wand was out and trained on her when the first word came out. "Harry, it's me," she said tiredly.

"How's Ron?" he said, putting his wand down.

"He's still upset. He wants to know how Ginny's doing, but his dad hasn't firecalled yet and he's frustrated. He's trying to figure out who could be in his mum's body."

"And where's Malfoy?" Harry hated himself for asking, but he couldn't stop the question.

"He keeps asking me if I know how to get his mother back," she said, sitting down next to him in the grass. "I really don't know how and Narcissa Malfoy complicates matters because there's no body for her to go into, even if we are able to get all of the spirits back. He freaked out when I told him that. He's terrified he's lost her for real this time."

Harry's urge to go and comfort Draco was strong, but not strong enough to overcome his bitter feelings of self-hate and hurt over Draco's betrayal.

Hermione gave Harry a sideways look. "I don't think he even realises what he did by not telling you, Harry. Honestly, it's just not in him to be --"

"To be what? Trustworthy? Honest? Faithful?" Harry said bitterly. "Hermione, I've been such a fucking moron. I thought --" He grabbed fistfuls of grass and dirt and threw them down in disgust. "I don't know what I thought. Never mind him." He stood up, pulling his broom up with him. "I'm sorry I ran off. Let's figure this out."

"Harry, I hate what he did too, but I can see why he did it," Hermione said slowly.

"I don't want to talk about him. I want to help Ron," Harry said firmly.

Hermione followed Harry back inside, where they found Ron in the kitchen drinking tea.

Ron nodded at Harry. It was obvious Ron was tired, but it was also clear he wasn't going to sleep anytime soon.

Hermione poured some tea for her and Harry; they were just sitting down to join Ron when Draco came in.

"Potter, we need to talk," he said.


"I want to talk," Draco repeated, and he stood there stubbornly. His arms were across his chest and the familiar scowl was back.

"Do you have something to say about Ron's Mum? Or Ginny?" Harry pushed his chair back and in a flurry of quick movement he was right up in Draco's face. "Is it about Luna? Or is it about the Dark Lord? Do you have anything to say about that, Malfoy?"

Draco's eyes widened and he stepped back. "No," he said. "I don't know anything about him. I told you everything I know."

"Then there's nothing you have to tell me." Harry turned around and was back in his chair in seconds. He curled his hands around his cup and stared into the contents as if he could read the future.

"Listen to me," Draco said. "My mother --"

"I don't give a fuck about your mother. Or you. Don't you get it?" His voice shook with rage. He took a deep breath, collected his wits, and continued coldly. "We only agreed to try to be friends with you for Remus and so you would tell us what you knew about Ginny," he said, twisting the truth to hurt the other boy as much as could. "You've told us what you know, so fuck off, Malfoy." He was proud of his calm voice.

"Harry," Hermione said sadly, shaking her head.

Ron just sat there; he didn’t say a word, and he didn't look at either boy.

"Fine, Potter poof," Draco said angrily. "I'll just go back to your precious godfather's house and live with that clever little house-elf." Draco sauntered out of the room.

"Stupid fuck," Harry muttered.

"Shut up, Harry," Ron said.


"I said shut up. I'm not blind. I know something's been going on with you two."

Harry ignored Hermione's gasp and said, "Ron, I don't know what you --"

"Harry, I don't care, I just want to know how to get my sister and mum back. Can we forget about your love life, and figure this out," he pleaded. "Hermione wants to talk about the compact." He looked over at Hermione and nodded. "Tell him."

"I hate him, Ron," Harry said, voice hard. But he wouldn't look at his best friend.

"HARRY!" Ron slammed his fists onto the table, causing the tea cups to rattle in their saucers. "I want to find Ginny and my Mum! Fucking listen to Hermione and stop thinking about Draco!"

"I'm not," Harry muttered. In the back of his mind, he realised that Ron had called him Draco and not Malfoy, and a few hours ago he would have been glad to hear it. But now, his feelings for Draco made him sick and as ashamed as he'd been after the first time he'd let Malfoy touch him.

Hermione took a deep breath looked at her two best friends warily then said quickly, "I think the face you saw in the compact was Ginny, or Luna, or Ron's Mum. They're trapped in the mirror."

"The compact?" Harry asked.

"No, not there specifically. I think they're able to move from mirror to mirror at will. They must have seen you when you looked and tried to contact you," she said.

"If Voldemort put Mrs Malfoy in Ginny's body then that means his other followers must be in Ron's mum and Luna. They can see you and you them, because of your connection to Voldemort," she continued.

"Who can see me?" Harry asked. He couldn't concentrate. Draco wouldn't get out of his head.

"My mum and Ginny and Luna, Harry!" Ron snapped. "From the mirrors."

Hermione gave Ron an anxious look and continued.

"But there must be a source mirror somewhere, the mirror that originally trapped them. And that's how we'll get them back. We just have to find it --"

"Is my mum trapped there too?" Draco's voice floated into the room. "At the source?"

"Probably," Hermione said, not sounding at all surprised he was still there. "But it sounds like dark magic. I don't have access to the books that would describe the kinds of spells I'm sure were used," she continued. She glanced at Harry and said, "I have more to ask him, can we do that please?"

"Go ahead. I don't care," Harry lied.

Draco strolled back in and focused on Hermione. Harry drummed his fingers on the table and looked at the fireplace.

"What else can I tell you?" Draco said anxiously.

"Do you know how your mum reported to Voldemort? Maybe she went to the source mirror to contact him."

"No!" he yelled in frustration. "I don't know anything about that fucker! I just wanted my mum."

Harry felt Draco's hand grasp his wrist and he turned to face him, ready to fight.

Draco's grip tightened and he pulled Harry up. Heat rolled off of Draco in waves and in spite of everything, Harry's body reacted. His cock twitched and he wanted to vomit.

"She was forced, Harry! She told me the dark -- You-Know-Who -- would have killed her and me if she didn't do it. My father," his voice was choked, "my father and Aunt Bellatrix failed him. She had to do it. And like I said, there was nothing to tell," he said.

It took every bit of Harry's willpower to not scream at him. Draco just didn't understand.

Ron stood up so fast, his chair fell backward. He grabbed Draco's shoulder and spun him around. "Leave Harry alone and shut up. You knew all this time that my sister was gone and you didn't say a word. I only want to hear you talk if you have something useful to say. Understand?" Ron let him go and righted his chair.

Draco rubbed his arm gingerly. His face was a mask of misery as he sat down.

Harry couldn't stay still. His body and mind were at war and adrenaline kept him moving. He moved about the kitchen restlessly, shooting Draco, Ron and Hermione frustrated looks every few seconds.

"If we knew who was in Mrs Weasley, that might help," Draco said.

"No shit." Ron's voice was hard.

Hermione said, "Let's look at what we know. Even though we knew something was wrong with her, she still knew how to behave. She knows where everything is in this house and all about your family. Narcissa Malfoy wouldn't have known anything like that. So whoever is in your mum had to teach Mrs Malfoy about this house and the people in it.

We know that she asked Harry to call her mum. She claimed to be one of Sirius' best friends and," Hermione paused, and her face pinked up a bit, "we know that she and Mr Weasley weren't having relations."

Draco snorted and Harry looked his way. Their eyes met. Draco's face softened and his red rimmed eyes and shaky hands affected Harry so much he was tempted to forgive him.

"Is that what you heard that night on the stairs when you didn't want me to go to the kitchen?" Draco asked, lips slightly parted, head cocked just so, exposing the long line of his pale throat.

Harry closed his eyes, remembering their very first night, when Draco had curled his fingers around Harry's cock on the stairs. I know you like this, Potter. His stomach churned. Draco was playing him right now. Again. He opened his eyes and turned to Hermione.

"And she didn't want me to live at Grimmauld Place. She wanted to keep me here."

"Well, of course. She couldn't watch you if you were somewhere else," Draco said.

"Fuck off, Malfoy," Harry said. "We can figure this out without your help."

"I know who it is," Hermione said quickly. "Peter Pettigrew. It has to be." She stood up and began to pace excitedly.

"What?!" Ron exclaimed.

"Who's that?" Draco asked.

The three friends ignored him. As Hermione began to talk, Harry nodded his head as she explained, temporarily forgetting Draco as the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

"He knows your family and this house, Ron. How could he not? He lived here for twelve years. It would be easy for him to impersonate your mum. And he wouldn't, you know, with your Dad. And she told Harry she was Sirius' best friend. Remember the day we made the invitations for your party? Remus almost didn't make it because his invitation was lost. It wasn't lost; I bet she never even sent it. If Peter Pettigrew was your mum, there's no way he would want to be around Remus."

"Hermione's right," Mr Weasley said, walking into the kitchen from the garden.

The kids all jumped to their feet. No one had heard him Apparate outside.

"Dad, you know what's going on?" Ron said anxiously.

Ron's father sighed and sat down wearily. "I've known for a while your mum wasn't right, Ron. I didn't want to scare you. I wasn't sure about Ginny until tonight."

Harry sat back, mouth open. He automatically looked at Draco, but remembered at the last second he hated him now, so he gave his attention to Mr Weasley instead.

"I'm surprised at how much you've figured out, but there is more I need to tell you," he said. Draco got up, and started to leave the room, but Mr Weasley stopped him. "You'll want to hear this as well, Mr Malfoy."

Draco was startled; Harry could see it in his tense body and slightly widened eyes.

Mr Weasley took Ron's hands in his own and held them tightly. "Ron, Ginny and your mum are both at St Mungo's and being cared for."

"Molly," Mr Weasley cleared his throat, "Peter didn't want to go to St Mungo's."

Harry remembered Mrs Weasley's weird reaction when Ginny first passed out. Mrs Weasley was wringing her hands. "Are you sure we can't care for her here?"

"He must have realised that going to a building dedicated to curing magical maladies would reveal his presence. We were there less than five minutes when she passed out, in the same manner Ginny did. And now Peter Pettigrew's spirit is lost right along with the rest of them."

Hermione nodded. "St Mungo's would have magical mirrors everywhere to help the patients care for themselves during recuperation. "But how did you know about the mirrors?" Hermione asked. "Only Harry could see the faces."

Mr Weasely raised his eyebrows at this and sighed. "Several wizards and witches have been reporting to the Ministry that certain family members have been acting strange all summer. And last night, a young woman was brought into St Mungo's suffering the same symptoms as Ginny and your mum," Mr Weasley answered, his gaze coming to rest on Ron. "Her family said it happened when she looked into a forgotten magic mirror while she and her mother were cleaning up their loft."

"How did you know it was Peter Pettigrew, Mr Weasley?" Hermione pressed.

"Because Aurors found the bodies of twenty suspected and confirmed Death Eaters, including Peter Pettigrew, Bellatrix Lestrange and Narcissa Malfoy twenty minutes ago in the Hall of Mirrors at Malfoy Manor."

"Bodies?" Draco whispered. He shook his head violently as if to make Mr Weasley's words disappear.

For thirty seconds, they all listened as Draco tried to control his emotions. Mr Weasley sighed wearily and said to Draco, "Most of them are dead, including Peter Pettigrew. Ms Lestrange and your mother are the only ones still alive. We suspect Kreacher kept them preserved."

For an instant, Harry hated Mr Weasley for letting Draco think his mother was dead.

"They're both in stasis at St Mungo's, along with Ginny and Molly," Mr Weasley added.

"Stasis? Like a coma?" Hermione asked.

"No, Hermione, like they've been given the Dementor's kiss," he said sadly.

Ron and Draco both made strangled noises.

"What's going to happen to them?" Hermione asked, shooting looks at Ron and Draco, her face full of sympathy. "Can they be revived?"

"There are vestiges of the souls that once resided in them, and that is what gives us hope that we'll be able to restore them," Mr Weasley answered. The lines on his face were deeper than Harry had ever seen.

Mr Weasley rubbed his eyes before continuing. "The mediwizard who performed the diagnosis said it wasn't a Kiss that did this, but a complex twisting of spells normally used for a Hall of Mirrors. Only the oldest wizarding families used to perform this transference; it was done in conjunction with the creation of ancestor portraits. Family portraits were hung on one wall and opposite them were mirrors. The portraits, along with the source mirror, helped retain a truer essence of the soul of the dead. But the practice was outlawed ages ago, because the dead were not truly at peace. The mirror held on too tightly."

Harry's throat tightened as he thought of Mrs Weasley, Ginny, Luna, and now Mrs Malfoy trapped in the mirror. Had the face that screamed at him been Ginny? Or Luna? He shivered as he watched Hermione give Mr Weasley some tea.

After taking a sip, he continued, "Once we knew what the spells were, we started searching for an intact Hall." He sighed heavily and looked at Ron.

Ron stared back at his father; their mutual grief and worry raw and obvious.

"Oh," Harry and Hermione said at the same time. Harry knew that Hermione remembered Sirius' tour of Grimmauld Place.

"You see Harry," Sirius looked thoughtful and leaned deliberately against Matilda's nose, "all the very best wizarding families had a Hall of Mirrors. Well, best, as in dark, snobby, wealthy and --"

Harry glared at Draco. "Of course your house would have a Hall of Mirrors."

Draco ignored Harry and looked at Mr Weasley anxiously, "Is she there? Can we put her spirit back in her body?"

"That's the source!" Hermione said. "We can go to Malfoy Manor and get their souls back! There must be spells that can reverse the process -- right?" Hermione was excited just as Draco's face was filled with hope.

Mr Weasley said sadly, "There are spells, but the Hall of Mirrors at Malfoy Manor is not the source. We don't know where the source is. And the longer Molly, Ginny and Mrs Malfoy remain empty -- the greater chance exists that their souls will never be restored."

Harry never thought he would see it, but Draco Malfoy and Ron Weasley simultaneously broke down. Hermione and Mr Weasley quickly moved to Ron's side, but Harry simply watched as Draco sobbed quietly, his face pressed into his hands.

Hermione reached over and tentatively laid a hand on Draco's shoulder and he didn't shake her off when he saw who it was. Draco stared at Harry, his face tear streaked and pale. Harry left the kitchen without a word.

Chapter Ten: A Mother's Love

Harry wandered outside, wanting to escape the sight of Hermione comforting Draco. It was fucked up. Draco didn't deserve comfort. He deserved to be punched and screamed at. Harry prowled the garden, spotted the rose bush where Draco and Ginny used to talk, and sat behind it. He hid there, lay back, and stared at the sky. The fragrant smell of roses surrounded him, the lush foliage sheltered him, and the dark night hid his face.

Harry tried to ignore the memory of kissing Draco the night before. He felt sick and stupid. And more than anything, he wanted to go to Draco and reassure him that Harry would do everything in his power to find his mother's spirit. But the truth of what Draco had kept hidden left Harry bitter and confused.


Harry sat up, wiped the tears away he hadn’t realised were there with his shirt sleeve, and scooted further behind the bushes, legs drawn up to his chest.

"Go away," Harry said, his voice oddly choked.

"No," Draco said and he walked behind the rose bush to join Harry. "I need to talk to you." He knelt in front of Harry, his body the space of a breath away, but he didn't touch him. His face was streaked with sorrow and his grey eyes penetrated Harry's.

"I want --"

"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry scrambled to his knees, mirroring Draco's stance, and grabbed his arm. Harry couldn't ignore the sudden memory of what they'd done in the basement kitchen of Grimmauld Place; his cock hardened.

"My mum wouldn't have told him anything even if there had been something to tell," Draco said steadily, even as Harry's fingernails dug into his arm.

"You don’t know that," Harry insisted.

"I do. She promised me," he said.

"Why should I believe you?" Harry asked harshly. "I know what a slut you are. You're only out here for one thing." He rubbed Draco's prick firmly.

He didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he felt the other boy harden instantly under his hand.

Draco's eyes narrowed. "I'm not the only one, Potter." And he thrust his hand against Harry's rock-hard cock.

Harry groaned but he shoved Draco's hand away and frantically tore at the top of Draco's trousers, and bit his ear brutally. "Don't touch me." Then he mouthed the other boy's neck, moving wetly across his skin, while he pulled Draco's pulsing prick free. He stroked him roughly.

Draco moaned and fumbled with the snap on Harry's jeans; he tried to kiss him.

Harry turned his face away, reached under Draco's prick and gave his balls a cruel pinch. Draco clutched Harry's arms, his head falling back as he gasped.

Harry shook him off impatiently and sat back on his haunches. "Take off your clothes, Malfoy," he commanded.

Draco worked the clasp of his trousers clumsily. He bit his lip as he took in Harry's cold face. Trousers, pants, shoes and socks were in a messy heap on the ground in seconds. The new tube of lubricant fell out of Draco's pocket and he pushed it toward Harry. His prick peeked through the fall of his buttoned down shirt, already shiny with precome. "Harry, I want --"

"I don't care what you want. Take off your shirt," Harry said harshly, and struggled to control the urge to crouch down and suck on Draco’s prick. Fully dressed and up on his knees, Harry folded his arms across his chest.

Draco's lips twisted and the tension between them increased ten-fold; Harry saw Draco's eyes narrow shrewdly, but he removed his shirt anyway. He rose to his knees to face Harry equally, and reached for him, completely nude and shivering in the cold air.

"Don't touch me," Harry barked, just before Draco's hand touched the top of Harry's jeans.

Draco flinched, yanked his hand back as if burned, and his Malfoy mask slammed into place. "Fuck you, Potter." He started to back away.

Harry's hands shot out to twist Draco's nipples mercilessly; he pulled and pinched. "I told you to not ever fucking touch me again," he hissed. "Didn't you hear me?"

Draco gasped, but his arms obediently lay at his sides. His prick bounced about as Harry continued to yank on his nipples, rocking Draco's torso back and forth. Harry didn't look at Draco's chest; he stared at his face instead. His eyes were wide open, darkened with lust and his breathy whines filled Harry's ears.

Harry's eyes narrowed and he growled, "I'll touch you and I'll suck you, and I'll fuck you last. But don't you dare think you can touch me." He gave one last vicious twist, before dropping his gaze to Draco's chest. He was shocked to see cherry-red hard little points standing starkly against the white of his skin.

"Bloody hell," Draco breathed, reaching up with both hands to softly pet his tortured nipples. Harry snatched Draco's wrists and held them out and away. Their arms were pressed together and were splayed cross-like in the air as Harry bent his head to Draco's chest. He whispered, his breath falling on one red point, unable to stop, "Did I hurt you?"

Draco breathed raggedly, "No, you never hurt me like this."

Harry pressed his tongue flat against Draco's hard, red, little nipple and lapped at it like a cat, slowly and firmly. He let go of Draco's hands, and cupped his arse instead, still licking steadily.

Draco babbled. "Fuck, Harry, I’m sorry. Fuck. I'm sorry. God, fuck." He arched his back, and his hard prick pressed against Harry's thigh. His fingers twined in Harry's hair again, and Harry instantly stopped and pulled back.

"Don't FUCKING touch me!" He was shaking so hard and his heart pounded so fiercely he felt dizzy.

Draco dropped to his arse and nodded mutely. He bit his lip again, and watched Harry warily, as if worried for his sanity.

Harry pulled off his shirt and finally freed his aching cock when he slipped out of his jeans. "Get on your back."

Draco lay down without hesitation. He was excited, despite Harry's frame of mind; but he was nervous too, and Harry didn't understand why it was so important for him to be pitiless. Seeing Draco sprawled on his back, thighs trembling and parted, prick bobbing, chest heaving, just waiting there -- so docile, so ready, so vulnerable -- forced Harry to acknowledge the inexplicable urge to claim and protect him.

He moved between his legs and dragged Draco's hips up to settle his buttocks on Harry's thighs. The grass was cold, but soft under his folded legs, and the fresh green smell of vegetation was sharp, as Harry absorbed the sight of their naked flesh against the earth. Looking down the long line of Draco's torso, from his wet prick to his hard nipples and flushed face, Harry caught his breath. Their cocks were centimetres apart and Harry brought them together, causing them both to groan.

"I'm fucking sorry," Draco breathed.

"You think I should forgive you?" Harry asked shakily. He released their cocks and leaned down to stick two fingers in Draco's mouth. "Suck."

Draco closed his eyes and sucked. He knew what Harry wanted, and his mouth filled with saliva. Harry pulled his fingers out and lifted Draco's sac to get at his arsehole. He jabbed in a few times and watched Draco's face.

"I want you to believe me," Draco panted and he reached for Harry's cock.

"Don't touch me, Malfoy" Harry said sharply. "Pull up your legs."

Harry sat back, shaking and hard, and watched as Draco arranged himself.

Draco was ready in seconds. He lay on the ground, grass and brown earth under him, with moonlight tinted roses above him. His hands were splayed against the backs of his thighs -- his arsehole exposed and twitching.

"I hate you, you bastard," Harry said hoarsely, and he dropped to the ground, grabbed Draco's arse cheeks and put his tongue against Draco's hole, lapping fiercely.

Draco moaned so loud, Harry was sure the others could hear. He didn't care. He moved his thumbs down near his mouth and pried at the edges of Draco's entrance and wriggled his tongue around inside, stabbing deeply to open him up. He'd never done this for Draco yet, and the urge to do it now was so pervasive, he didn't question it.

He licked and jabbed with his tongue, and when his lips formed a perfect circle around Draco's puckered entrance, he sucked vigorously. His nostrils flared as he struggled for air and the thick smell of musk along with the cloying scent of grass and earth and roses overwhelmed him so completely he could taste it.

Draco's moans were earsplitting, and Harry felt his thighs press insistently against his head. "Oh, fuck," he keened.

Draco's fingers scrabbled for purchase in his hair; Harry jerked back, despising the familiar feel of Draco's slender hands on his head. Sitting back, he looked down at his cock. It was purple and hard and dribbling like a leaky cauldron. He seized the tube of lubricant and slathered his cock, stroked himself, and finally let himself look at Draco again.

Draco was fucking perfect. His prick and nipples and arse and eyes and lips and trembling limbs were so intimately familiar. It struck Harry how much Draco could hurt him just by being naked.

Harry gripped Draco's arse cheeks and pushed his cock against Draco's now glistening hole. He grunted as he pushed in all the way with a single thrust.

Draco gasped, and Harry stayed buried for a few seconds, feeling Draco's tight heat clench around him. He reached for Draco's prick.

"Let me touch you," Draco pleaded.

Harry looked at Draco's face and was shocked to see him crying. His own throat tightened and he closed his eyes, letting go of Draco's prick. His fingernails dug into Draco's thighs and he pulled his cock out then plunged back into that tight hole just as deeply.

The rhythmic slapping of skin against skin, Harry's grunts, the rustle of the slight wind that blew through the bushes, and Draco's moans of pleasure and pleas for forgiveness overwhelmed Harry.

"I'm sorry," Draco breathed, over and over, even as Harry slammed into him with brutal thrusts.

Harry's orgasm came fast and thick. As he poured himself into Draco, his anger drained away as well, leaving him empty and anguished. He slipped out wetly and collapsed onto Draco's chest, burying his face in his neck. Draco. He breathed in the other boy's scent. Draco. He placed little kisses on his neck, tasting the familiar skin. Oh God, Draco.

Draco's prick pulsed against Harry's stomach and his spunk smeared warmly and wetly between the press of their bodies as Harry kissed him.

Harry felt Draco's hands in his hair and Harry let him, basking in the wave of emotion that washed over him, as those fingers carded through his messy locks. He raised his head to look at the other boy. Draco held onto Harry's face firmly, his thumbs gently traced the wetness now on Harry's cheeks. Despair was thick in his voice as he whispered, "Believe me."

Harry kissed him, hungry and brutal. Draco kissed back just as hard, and he clutched Harry's head, fingers grasping and sliding through Harry's dark hair. Their lips parted, both boys breathless, and Harry stared into Draco's eyes as if he could find the truth in their grey depths. Draco stared back, unblinking and solemn. A tiny bloom of hope flowered in Harry's heart, but the delicate trust they'd created was broken. He rolled off with Draco's release clinging to his stomach.

They cleaned themselves up as best they could and dressed quietly.

Harry's mind turned back to the missing souls of Ginny, Luna and two very different mothers.

Draco said haltingly, "Harry, I want to know if you --"

"What's that?" Harry said. He pointed at a folded sheet of blue paper tucked into the rose bush behind Draco's head.

Irritation flashed across Draco's face, but he turned to pluck the parchment out of the bushes. Harry didn't want to discuss their weird relationship, but he was glad the bitter anger that had consumed him was gone.

Draco unfolded the paper. It was a flyer from Fantastic Frocks. A small block of elegant handwriting was on the other side of the paper. Draco's eyes widened as he read the words.

"What is it?" Harry asked.

"It's from my mother," he breathed. He read the note rapidly before giving the flyer to Harry.

My dearest son,

Please forgive me. Not everything is as it seems. A mirror for the soul is close to your hand, and closer to your heart. I love you.


"What does she mean?" Harry asked.

"I don’t know," Draco said, and he bit his lip.

"We have to show the others," Harry said -- his voice left no room for argument.

"I know," Draco snapped. "I'm trying, Harry. I didn't betray you. Fucking believe me already."

Harry took the paper from Draco. "I'm going inside."

Draco followed without a word.


Mr Weasley was gone when Draco and Harry returned to the house. Hermione and Ron were in the sitting room. Ron's head was Hermione's lap and she was stroking his hair; he was asleep.

Hermione shook his shoulder gently. He opened his eyes, blinking slowly. When he saw Harry and Draco standing together he scowled.

Before Harry could show her the flyer, Hermione and Ron told them what Mr Weasley had said after Harry left the kitchen.

A team of mediwizards and scholars were researching the methods of soul restoration. Unlike a soul lost to a Dementor, the souls of these unfortunates had anchors. The mediwizards only had to find the source mirror, or anchor, to restore them.

Ron said that his dad was now aware of Luna's possession and he had left to contact the Ministry about it. It was Hermione's belief that Bellatrix Lestrange was in Luna. Harry agreed. He remembered her odd treatment of Neville at his party.

"They're a simple match," Hermione said. "Luna is sweetly absurd and Bellatrix Lestrange is insanely evil and both are quite intelligent. No wonder we couldn't tell right away she was possessed. You would think her father would have known though," she said worriedly.

Draco gave her the flyer and Hermione read the note over and over.

"I don't understand what she means, but it does remind of something that was bothering me," Hermione said.

"What?" Harry asked.

"Well," she said carefully, looking at Draco, "Ginny -- I mean Mrs Malfoy -- we all know she knew not to look in a magic mirror. But don't you remember what happened? She did it on purpose."

Harry remembered the sad little smile Ginny gave Draco right before she looked into the compact. "Why would she do that?" he asked.

"Don't you see?" Draco said. "It's like I said, she only did what she did because she was forced. This was her way of telling us--"

"Stop it," Harry said.

"Harry's right, Malfoy. Stop," Ron said. "If you think your mum is trying to help, you're stupider than I thought."

Draco's face turned white and he advanced on Ron. "My mum is gone too."

"You fucking arsehole! You knew where the hell she was all this time! Now she's lost. Now you don't know. Don't even act like we have the same --"

"What! Like we don't have the same feelings? Don't you think I want my mum too?" Draco yelled.

Ron gave a shout of frustration. "Bloody hell, Malfoy. You just don't get it, do you?"

"Ron, he loves his mother as much as you love yours," Harry said quietly.

"I see you two made up," Ron said bitterly.

Hermione watched the boys, but kept glancing back at the note, her brow wrinkled.

"Yes, we --" Draco said.

"No," Harry said.

Draco stared at Harry; he didn't bother to hide the shock on his face. He recovered quickly though, and dropping into a chair, he glared at Ron.

Ron snorted and folded his arms across his chest. Harry slid into the chair next to Hermione, staring straight ahead at nothing.

"I think Draco's right," said Hermione abruptly. "Mrs Malfoy did this to tell us what was happening to Ginny, Luna, and Mrs Weasley."

"What? That makes no sense," Ron argued. "If that were true, why didn't she just tell us the truth?"

"Yeah," Harry said.

Hermione bit her lip. "I don't know."

Draco got up and his eyes gleamed with excitement. "My mother is smart, that's why. I get it. I know why she did it." He jumped from his seat and prowled around the room.

Ron watched Draco distrustfully. Hermione was more open. In fact, she seemed rather eager to hear what he had to say.

"The Dark Lord threatened to kill her and me, so she had to do it. But she told me she didn't want to spy on you anymore." Draco glanced at Harry, who was now watching him. "She wants her own body back. She's scared of the Dark --" he noticed Harry's scowl and repeated, "She's scared of You-Know-Who and wants out. But if she betrays him, he'll find out. So instead --"

"So instead," Hermione jumped up, interrupting him, "she's telling us his plans by letting herself get sucked back in and it looks like we tricked her into looking into a magic mirror. This way she's a failure to him, instead of a betrayer." Hermione looked impressed and said, "Your mum was a Slytherin too?"

"Of course," Draco said sharply. "But she's not a failure."

"Hermione, you don't really believe this, do you?" Ron asked angrily.

Harry watched their quick exchange, totally lost.

"To him, she is a failure," Hermione answered Draco. She sat down and picked up the flyer and read the note again. She glanced at Ron. "It is a good theory, but it has a fundamental flaw,” she looked back at Draco shrewdly, “the problem is she didn’t tell us where the source mirror is. If she had maybe I could believe what you are saying.”

"She did, Granger!" Draco said angrily, pointing at the note in her hand. "You're so fucking smart. Read the note and figure it out. Why would she let herself get sucked into the mirror if she didn't think we could get her out again?"

"Leave her alone," Ron snapped.

"Draco, I'm sorry, but this note doesn't prove anything about your mum. The fact that she looked in the mirror on purpose could mean she just wanted her own body back," Hermione said, but she stared at the note all the same, following the words with her finger carefully.

"See Malfoy? When my dad finds the Hall of Mirrors and their souls are restored, including your mum's, she'll go to Azkaban to join your father," Ron said brutally, spitting his words out.

"Ron!" Hermione said, sounding shocked.

Harry looked at Draco -- the other boy had gone completely rigid with rage -- Harry wanted to go to him, but he kept thinking of Peter Pettigrew, in the guise of Mrs Weasley, telling Voldemort all about him.

Draco grabbed the flyer out of Hermione's hand. He was shaking as he coldly said, "I'll figure it out myself." They heard him stomp up the stairs.

Ron gave Harry a wary glance. "You know I'm right."

"Yeah," Harry said, not looking his best friend. It took all of Harry's willpower to not follow Draco up the stairs.

The loud pop of Apparation drew their attention to the kitchen door. Mr Weasley walked in and slumped into a chair.

"Did they find it?" Hermione asked quickly.

He shook his head tiredly. "Teams of Aurors are out searching every known family home that had a Hall of Mirrors." He rubbed a hand over his head, clutched the sparse hair that was there, and said firmly. "We'll find it, and them. We will."

"We will," Ron echoed his father.

"What about Luna?" Hermione asked. "Was I right?"

"We don't know. She's missing," he answered.

"What?!" Harry and Hermione exclaimed together.

"Bloody hell," Ron breathed.

Mr Weasley stood up. "Children, go to sleep. There's nothing more we can do tonight."

"But, Mr Weasley --"

"Hermione, I know you mean well. But it's time for bed. I'll let you know in the morning if anything's changed."

"But, dad --"

"And I'll wake you in the night if we find them. Now sleep," he said firmly.

Harry didn't look for Draco before collapsing into bed, exhausted and torn.


The next morning, Harry found Draco alone at the kitchen table, a full teapot at his elbow. Harry assumed everyone else was still asleep. The flyer was crumpled in front of Draco on the table, and a single finger traced the words over and over. He was still wearing yesterday’s clothes and purple shadows shrouded his eyes. Harry sat down across from him and watched him warily.

"Didn't you sleep?" Harry asked.

"A mirror for the soul is close to your hand, and closer to your heart. A mirror for the soul is close to your hand, and closer to your heart," Draco mumbled.

Harry snatched the paper away. "Stop it, Draco."

"I know my mum is helping us. She has to be." His bloodshot eyes unnerved Harry.

"Draco," he said gently. "We'll find her -- we'll find them all."

Draco nodded absently and reached for the paper. Harry held it back. "Go to sleep."

"I can't," he whispered.


"If I can't prove that she's helping us," he choked out, losing the last of his control, as tears fell, "It's like Ron said, no one will believe her. And -- and, she'll go to Azkaban too." He clutched Harry's hands.

Harry blinked rapidly. Draco's desperation was affecting him in ways he never thought possible. He was shocked to realise he was about to cry too. "It's okay," he said thickly, "We'll figure it out."

Harry smoothed the paper out in front of him. Draco had underlined the phrase A mirror for the soul is close to your hand, and closer to your heart. He looked around for a quill.

Draco stared at him as if he was the saviour of the wizarding world. Harry carefully crossed out the words and closer to your heart.

"A mirror for the soul is close to your hand," he said aloud. Draco and Harry automatically looked at Harry's hand. The words carved into his skin were a faint silvery pink. Draco sighed, picked up the tea pot, and moved to the sink.

Harry stared at the paper dully, and flipped it over. The Fantastic Frocks advertisement was illustrated with beautifully robed girls flitting across the page, admiring themselves in floor to ceiling mirrors.

Harry's heart pounded and he almost tore the paper in half flipping it back over to read the words again. A mirror for the soul is close to your hand. He looked at his hand -- the hand that was holding the flyer for Fantastic Frocks.

"Draco, I found the source," he whispered.

Draco drifted over and watched as Harry pointed to the mirrors in the advertisement.

"A mirror to the soul is close to your hand," Draco said softly. He turned to Harry and his smile was heartbreaking. "And closer to your heart," he said. Draco grabbed Harry's face and kissed him hard, right there in the kitchen, in the bright light of day.


Hermione was ecstatic. Whether it was because Harry found the source, or because they were about to be reunited with the real Mrs Weasley and Ginny, Harry couldn't tell.

She had found Harry and Draco kissing passionately in the kitchen, and was about to warn them that Ron and Mr Weasley were behind her. It wouldn't have mattered. In the light of Draco's happiness, Harry didn't want their kiss to end.

It was Mr Weasley's strangled, "Harry?" and Ron's loud, embarrassed cough that broke them up. Harry blushed, and he couldn't look at Ron or Mr Weasley. Draco shoved the flyer in Hermione's face, explaining quickly to them all what Harry had figured out.

Mrs Malfoy's note, along with Hermione's observation -- Madam Scurdonna, the owner of Fantastic Frocks, roughly translated from Italian, meant Dark Lady -- spurred Mr Weasley into action. He was off to the Ministry without eating breakfast, but he saved enough time to throw Harry and Draco a worried glance.

A team of Aurors, along with the mediwizards who had been researching soul restoration were dispatched to the dress shop to investigate. Harry, Draco, and Ron wanted to go, but Mr Weasley, Remus, and Tonks had flatly refused.

In the end, it didn't matter if one or one hundred Aurors had gone. Fantastic Frocks was empty and no sign of Voldemort or any of his followers was evident. What the team of medipersonnel did find, were the souls of twenty different people locked inside the source mirror.

It was late afternoon now, and the Weasley family, minus Bill and Charlie, surrounded the beds of Ginny and Mrs Weasley. A black haired mediwitch stood by, holding two glass boxes. One held a bluish-green gaseous substance, the other glowed pink. Harry and Hermione huddled by the wall, watching soberly. Draco and Mrs Malfoy were in another room, accompanied by Aurors, who were waiting to interrogate Draco's mother once she was revived.

The mediwitch chanted softly, and touched her wand to Mrs Weasley's head. The glass case melted into nothingness, and Mrs Weasley opened her eyes. Ginny was restored a minute later. Mother and daughter looked for each other; Ginny stumbled out of bed before anyone could stop her, and she fell into her mother's embrace, sobbing loudly.

Ron leapt onto the bed and threw his arms around both his mother and sister, crying unashamedly. Fred and George, the eternal pranksters, were both fighting tears of their own. George sat on the bed and touched his mother's arm, and Fred moved near Ginny, crouched over her, biting his lips. Percy held onto his father's arm, blinking rapidly.

"Oh, Molly," Mr Weasley said softly, looking over the heads of his children.

The mediwitch quietly left the room, and Harry and Hermione followed her out.


Wizards and witches of various ages with varying ailments moved about the waiting area. A few stopped to give Harry's forehead a peek then moved along. Hermione was anxious; she kept tiptoeing back to the door to peek through the little square window.

The receptionist glared at Hermione each time Harry pulled her back.

"He'll come and get you soon, Hermione. Don't worry," he said.

She bit her lip and nodded. "Ron was just so sad, and I want to make sure he's okay. That's all." She blushed prettily and said, "Are you worried about Draco?"

Before Harry could answer, Mrs Malfoy, being led by a middle-aged, brown haired Auror, stopped in front of them. Her blue eyes shone brightly and Harry could see Draco in her elegant stance, the quirk of her lips, and her glowing countenance. She smiled at Harry, and said, "Thank you."

Harry swallowed nervously. "Um, you're welcome."

Draco and Tonks came into view behind her.

Narcissa Malfoy tilted her head down slowly, her eyes speculative. "You surprised me completely, Harry Potter."

"Time to go Mrs Malfoy," the Auror said firmly, looking at Harry's scar.

She smiled at Harry again, then flicked an uneasy glance at Hermione and left with the Auror.

Draco looked frightened and confused.

"They're going to question her, and Nymphadora is taking me to watch," he said quickly.

Tonks snorted.

"Only family can go," Draco added, looking at Harry sadly.

Harry nodded his head, his throat suddenly thick. "She'll be fine."

"She was coerced," Hermione added. "And you were right -- her clue led us to them. That will come out," she said.

Draco's eyes were hopeful again and he smiled at Hermione gratefully. Hermione blinked. Harry realised that Draco had probably never smiled at her before.

Tonks said gently, "We have to go, Draco."

Harry watched as they walked away. Hermione said, "I can't believe it. I'm worried about what's going to happen to what's left of the Malfoy family."

"Yeah," Harry was barely listening. He still hadn't sorted out his feelings for Draco, but he knew he needed to see him again.

Hermione tucked her arm into his. "What are you thinking? Have you forgiven him?"

"I don't trust him," Harry said honestly.

"But you love him," Hermione said hesitantly.

Harry didn't answer.

      You-Know-Who's Plans for Mass Espionage Foiled!

You-Know-Who aka the Dark Lord aka Voldemort has been thwarted again. According to Mr Arthur Weasley, You-Know-Who masterminded the conversion of Fantastic Frocks -- the successful summer dress shop in Diagon Alley -- into a corrupted Hall of Mirrors. Scores of victims were locked in the mirrors since June, unable to communicate with anyone. Madam Scurdonna, the owner of Fantastic Frocks, was found three days ago. Mediwizard Bruce Birchwater confirmed that she had been dead only twelve hours when first discovered. Further details concerning the scheme have been classified by the Ministry.

The families of the locked souls were immediately contacted and the soul swappers were easily trapped, as any magic mirror, beyond the source mirror, pulled the souls out. The names of the soul stealers have been classified by the Ministry. Mediwitch Lilora Larkspur headed the team of medipersonnel who freed the victims of the soul stealing plot. (For a brief explanation of a corrupted Hall of Mirrors, and for a full disclosure of said victims turn to page 17.)

The Ministry has issued a warning for all to be on the lookout for one victim in particular, Luna Lovegood, a student about to enter her fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Her soul was unable to be restored, as her body is missing. It is believed that Bellatrix Lestrange -- an escaped Death Eater -- now occupies the body of this unfortunate girl. Auror Nymphadora Tonks believes that Ms Lovegood/Ms Lestrange was able to warn You-Know-Who before Aurors could detain him. Miss Lovegood disappeared from her home a day before the dress shop was raided. Luna Lovegood's soul now resides at St Mungo's. (A picture of Ms Lovegood can be found on page 17.)

Harry Potter aka The-Boy-Who-Lived, along with Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Draco Malfoy -- all students about to enter their sixth year at Hogwarts -- discovered the plot and led Ministry officials to the dress shop, after a search for the correct Hall of Mirrors proved fruitless.

The Markingtops were just one of the many disgruntled families whose homes had been searched. "We destroyed our Hall years ago," Elory Markingtop Sr complained.

Fantastic Frocks, as a business venture, was wildly successful. The fashionable robes were tastefully designed and less expensive than the competition.

Madam Malkin, of Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions claimed,
"I knew there was something funny about the robes at Fantastic Frocks. There simply is no non-evil way the robes could have been that cheap."

In related news, the guardianship of Draco Malfoy has been restored to Narcissa Malfoy, who had been missing for two months. She was also a victim of the soul stealing scheme.
Harry set the Daily Prophet aside, marvelling at how much information Mrs Malfoy had managed to keep out of the paper, and for so long. Her soul had been restored to her own body a week ago, but the article only appeared today. He tried to imagine her as a victim. Her husband was devoted to a madman and according to Draco -- she was forced to abandon her body and spy on Harry. If it was true that Voldemort threatened her life and the life of Draco -- Harry flinched when he imagined Draco dead -- Harry could understand her motivations.

Harry was happy for Draco. He had his mother back, but Harry couldn't help remembering the day he found the compact under the couch. He had seen Ginny/Mrs Malfoy firecalling Luna/Bellatrix. He believed she had warned her sister to tell Voldemort that the scheme had been discovered. But it was difficult to ignore the fact that even though Narcissa Malfoy remained in Ginny's body for weeks, she did start the chain of the events that led to the soul restoration of Ginny, Mrs Weasley and all the other victims. Well, except for Luna.

Stretching out on his back in the garden of the Burrow, he laid the paper aside and watched the play of clouds in the bright blue of the summer afternoon. Three weeks of summer remained, and though Harry didn't want to imagine the coming school year, wild speculations engulfed him anyway. How would Draco Malfoy fit in? Could he? Did he even want to?

Harry had not seen nor heard from Draco since that day at St Mungo's. Of course, Harry hadn't tried to contact him either. For the past seven days, he went to sleep early and half-heartedly socialised with his friends, merely drifting from day to day, not focusing on anything. He thought about Draco constantly, and wondered about their last time together. They'd had sex, but Harry knew he'd left Draco with doubts. He felt like a shit now for doing that to Draco while he was so desperate for him mother's survival.

Harry didn't talk about Draco with his friends, not even when Hermione pressed him. Ron never brought up Draco, but Harry often caught his best friend watching him shrewdly.

As for Ginny and Mrs Weasley, they had remained at St Mungo's just a few more hours for observation before being released, with a few follow-up appointments scheduled with the mediwitch. They were back to themselves, but they both reported odd flashes of memories that weren't their own. When Ginny told Hermione she was sure she remembered what Draco Malfoy looked like as a two year old, Hermione speculated that traces of Narcissa's essence remained -- the very same traces that kept Ginny alive while the search for the Hall was underway. The mediwitch who later examined her agreed. Harry resisted the urge to ask Ginny if she had other memories of Draco.

Ron and Mr Weasley, along with Fred and George, who had moved back in, waited on Mrs Weasley hand and foot. It was strange for Harry. He thought of all the times when Peter Pettigrew had asked Harry to call Mrs Weasley mum and how uncomfortable it made him. It was ironic, because now that Ron's mum was back, the urge to call her just that was extremely tempting. But the real Molly Weasley would never ask Harry such a thing. Having seen both Ron and Draco so upset over their mothers had opened up wounds he'd thought were healed.

Harry knew his friends missed him. He declined offers to go to Diagon Alley or visits with other schoolmates. Even when Remus offered a chance for him to stay at Grimmauld Place for a couple of days, Harry refused.

It was an incident the previous evening that jerked Harry out of his melancholy daze. When Harry had come down to the kitchen to get a late night snack, he was astonished to see Ginny and Mrs Weasley on a firecall with Narcissa Malfoy. He had waited in the doorway and listened.

"--and you look quite beautiful, my dear," Mrs Malfoy was saying.

"Thank you," Ginny said, sounding pleased.

"It won't be a problem," Mrs Weasley said. "We'll get him to Diagon Alley for his school supplies."

"That would be lovely, but please, allow me to purchase Ginny's necessities as well."

"You don't have to Mrs Malfoy," Ginny said.

"No, I insist. And I told you, call me Narcissa," she said.

Harry, completely freaked by this, went back upstairs.

The next morning he told Hermione what he saw. Hermione said, "Harry, they've been talking for days. Mrs Malfoy practically wants to adopt Ginny. Where have you been?"

"How can Ginny forgive her?" Harry asked.

She gave him a thoughtful look and said patiently, "They have a very unusual connection now. It's likely that Mrs Malfoy has traces of Ginny's essence as well. I think it's impossible for Ginny to not like her. And Ginny doesn't feel there's a pressing need to forgive her. She really was as much a victim as the others. Narcissa and Peter argued for weeks about their spying. Remember? When we tried to listen, they always had silencing spells up? And then there was the threat to kill Draco --" Hermione sighed. "Harry, we talked about this already, days ago. Why don't you get some rest?"

Harry knew Hermione was right. He'd seen even more evidence of Mrs Malfoy's reluctance to continue. He remembered the times he heard her argue with Luna/Bellatrix and Mrs Weasley/Pettigrew. But Harry's focus was lost again, as Draco's face filled his mind.

Harry had gone back to bed and woke up hours later to find the kitchen empty. He had snatched the Daily Prophet and gone outside. Now, relaxing under the summer sun, it struck him how easy it seemed for Ginny, who really had been a victim, to forgive Mrs Malfoy, but how difficult it was for Harry to sort out his feelings for Draco.

But he did know that he missed him.

"All right there, Harry?"

Harry opened his eyes to see Ron. "Fine, Ron," Harry said, forcing cheer into his voice.

"You miss that tosser," he said, standing over Harry, blocking the sun.

"Mmm," he grunted.

Ron sat next to him and sighed. "Hermione's taking a nap. Dad took mum out for a special lunch; Ginny is visiting Mrs Malfoy. And Fred and George are at the joke shop."

"Why are you telling me all this?" Harry asked.

"I sent Malfoy an owl," he said quietly.

"What?" Harry sat up, his heart suddenly beating twice as fast.

"I sent him an owl. He'll be here any minute. And mum and dad said --"

"Why the fuck would you do that?" Harry yelled and he jumped to his feet. He was inexplicably terrified.

Ron's eyes widened and his face turned beet red. "You've been moping for days, Harry," he mumbled, and then, forcefully: "Don't you want to talk to him?"

"Yeah, Potter, don't you want to talk to me?" Draco's drawl floated across the lawn.

Harry and Ron turned to the voice. Ron whispered, "Should I send him away?"

"No," Harry whispered back, his eyes locked on Draco.

Draco sauntered over, and as he grew closer, Harry thought his heart would burst out of his chest.

"Weasley." Draco nodded.

"Malfoy," Ron said. He looked from Draco to Harry. "I'll just leave you two alone," he muttered, shaking his head, and walked away.

Draco turned to watch him leave and as soon as Ron was out of sight, he latched onto Harry's neck with his tongue.

"Finally," he murmured, kissing up and down Harry's neck. For a few seconds, Harry didn't move; instead he revelled in the other boy's scent. Then he pushed him away.

"Why are you here?" he asked.

"I was bored." Draco shrugged. "It's no fun flying alone, or studying alone, or," his voice lowered, "experimenting alone." He reached for Harry.

Harry stepped back, eyeing the other boy in disbelief. Harry had been stupidly pining for days, and Draco was only here because he was bored?

"Besides," Draco continued, "my mother and Mrs Weasley arranged for me to visit for a week. Mum likes the study group I've got with Granger. Plus it gives her a chance to see Ginny." He cocked his head, studying Harry carefully. "They didn't tell you?"


Draco crossed his arms and pouted. "What's wrong with you? Am I not allowed to touch you again?" He looked over to the rose bush pointedly. "That was intense though," he said, smirking.

"What's wrong with you?" Harry yelled.

"Nothing," Draco said, looking irritated. "You're the one yelling and not touching." His face was guarded now, his body tense. "Look, Potter, I know you hate my mother for what she did, but I didn't think you hated me too."

"I don't hate you," Harry said. "Or your mother."

"Then what is your problem?" Draco said, sounding genuinely perplexed.

Harry took a deep breath. "Why didn't you tell me what was really going on with Ginny? Were you ever going to tell me?"

Draco sighed. "I was scared for her, Harry. She's my mother. I didn't know how you would react. We barely know each other."

Harry felt like Draco had punched him in the stomach. Then he felt worse when he realised Draco was right. Sure, they knew each other's bodies. Harry knew that Draco liked his nipples pinched just as Draco knew exactly how to lick the sensitive spot under Harry's ear. But they didn't know much beyond that.

"Experimenting," Harry said in a hollow voice.

"What?" Draco asked.

"We were experimenting," Harry said with more conviction. "You're right. We barely know each other. And you're here because you're bored." Harry sat down on the grass, suddenly very tired.

"What is wrong with you, Potter?" Draco said, clearly annoyed. He dropped to his knees, and lightly skimmed Harry's outstretched thighs. "You don't want to play anymore?"

Harry scowled and pulled his legs up to his chest.

Draco sat back. "You're still mad, aren't you?"

Harry didn't answer.

Draco lunged forward and gripped Harry's knees. "If my mother had even tried to report anything to You-Know-Who, I would have told you first, and I would have shoved a magic mirror in her face second."

Harry closed his eyes. "That doesn't matter," he said.

"That doesn't matter? How can you say that?" Draco sounded shocked as he let go of Harry, falling back again. "I put Harry fucking Potter first, and that doesn't matter?"

"It doesn't matter that I wasn't making plans. What matters is that you let it go on," Harry said dully.

"Bloody hell, Potter! If she wasn't doing anything to hurt you and I believed that Ginny was safe, why would I let her go? And look at Ginny and my mum. They're FINE."

"Yeah, and where's Luna? Is she fine?" Harry said angrily.

"I'M NOT THE ONE WHO TRAPPED THEM!" Draco yelled. His face was contorted in anguish, and Harry felt ten kinds of a fool.

Draco searched Harry's face. His eyes flickered, the anger bled out, and his shoulders drooped in resignation. "Potter, I don't know what the fuck you want," he said.

When Harry didn't answer, Draco stood up, and his haughty mask reappeared. "Fine," he sneered. "There are plenty of boys who would love my company." He turned and walked away.

Fear overwhelmed Harry with unexpected intensity, and he knew with a certainty far beyond anything he'd ever felt before that he could not let Draco go. He jumped to his feet.

"Malfoy. Stop."

He kept walking.


Draco stopped, but he didn't turn around, and he didn't answer.

"I know I fucked up too," Harry said haltingly. "I'd like to believe that if I knew the truth, I would have helped Ginny and your mother. But, I really don't know what I would have done," he confessed.

Harry grabbed Draco's shoulder and spun him around. Draco's face was hard; his eyes were chips of stone, lips twisted in disappointment.

"But what I want to know --" Harry took a deep breath and summoned every ounce of courage he had. "What I need to know," he gulped nervously, "is that we're not just experimenting."

Draco nodded slowly, and his eyes were as wide as a child's. "We're not, Harry," he whispered.

Harry leaned forward and cradled Draco's face in his hands and pressed their lips together gently. "Don't go." Harry kissed him once more, just as softly, and repeated, "Don't go." And then he kissed him. Again. "Don't go."

Draco's tiny cry of shock vibrated in Harry's mouth as their tongues met slowly, carefully, deeply. Harry felt Draco's hands reach up to rest on his chest, where he clutched Harry's jumper.

They kissed until they couldn't breathe and kissed some more. When Harry tasted Draco's familiar tea-and-biscuit flavoured mouth, he moaned softly; his heart swelled at Draco's answering keen of pleasure. After what felt like the hundredth kiss Harry rested his forehead against Draco's.

Harry knew he and Draco had a long way to go. School would be hell, Quidditch a disaster, not to mention his house mates' reactions, his teachers . . . everyone, really. But he knew he had Hermione's support, and maybe even Ron's. And he knew that Draco would help him find Luna. He didn't doubt that for a second. He raised his head and looked into Draco's eyes. He was worth it.

"You'll be here a week?"

"Yeah," Draco breathed, his hands still bunched up in Harry's jumper, as if afraid to let go.

"Tonight?" Harry asked.

Draco laughed, his hold loosened, and his smirk returned. "Oh yes, Harry. Tonight."

The End.

 Author:............... [info]ella_bane

 Rating:............... NC-17
 Pairings:......... Harry/Draco, implied Ron/Hermione
 Warnings:............ Very graphic sex, along with mild D/s themes
 Author's notes:.......... I could not have completed this monster without the help of three remarkable women: aspen (cursescar), djin7, and slytherinboyz. Their constant encouragement, critical feedback, and incredible patience kept me going. Thank you, thank you, thank you; I'm more grateful than you'll ever know.


In the summer before Harry Potter's sixth year, he confronts a frightfully suspicious wizarding world, where friends are strangers, mirrors hide secrets, and enemies become lovers.

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