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Pure Imagination

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“The life of the enemy.
Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy
has an interest in the enemy’s staying alive.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

***

The sky was no longer blue, but replaced with a mass of swirling pink and green.

The ground was murky yellow and dusty, turning the air into a haze of dark orange as the dust was swept through the wind.

The man took a step forward and the scene shifted, but he carried on walking as he fell through a silver and navy vortex, until he landed in a dark alley. The buildings on either side of him rose up and up until the tops were no longer visible in the night sky.

A growl echoed off the walls, and the man turned around to examine the newcomer.

It was not quite human, but not quite an animal either. It stood on two legs, but its back was hunched, with bloodied bones sticking out of the skin. The creature’s eyes glowed a deep red, and its fingertips were split open, allowing silver claws free.

The creature growled again, and began to charge towards the man.

He drew the wand from his pocket, the wood morphing as his fingers closed around it.

The creature reached him just as the newly formed sword rammed through the thing’s chest, and it collapsed, growling in pain.

And then the buildings began to sink into the ground, falling rapidly and bringing the night sky with it, until the man was lost in the empty darkness.

***

Draco tried not to show his thrill as he read the file on the latest crime he had been assigned to investigate.

No, Draco could have never imagined actually enjoying his job as an Auror. He had joined the Auror team mainly as a way to atone for his past sins, having been lucky to get off of the Death Eater charges with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

He began his two year training the September following the end of the war, and had ended up Auror partners with Harry Potter at the end of it.

That had been eight years ago, and although at first they both objected to one another, it wasn’t so bad now. They were surprisingly a good team, and worked incredibly well together, and Draco actually started to enjoy his job for its own perks.

It didn’t hurt that Draco and Harry had started a casual, no-strings-attached relationship about three years ago. They had always had a somewhat passionate relationship, even when they were arguing or fighting. It was when they had accidently locked themselves in a wardrobe, which Draco still insisted was Harry’s fault, that they learnt there were better ways to release their intense feelings for one another. They had both agreed to keep it strictly about sex, and so far they hadn’t run into any problems.

Harry looked even more excited about their new assignment than Draco felt, but it wasn’t surprising. In the last year or so, and especially the recent months, criminal activity wasn’t as rampant as it used to be.

Every Death Eater and Dark Lord idoliser was either in Azkaban or in hiding abroad, and all the other criminals seemed to have given up with their unlawful ways. The current Auror department was stronger than it had ever been, and many suspected that most law breakers were too afraid of being caught to bother trying anymore.

Of course, there were still crimes, but most were petty, and the interesting ones were hard to get assigned to anymore.

This assignment was far better than the old woman who had been sabotaging her friend’s medical treatment to get her share of their will last month. A man had been viciously attacked, stabbed and slashed, but still alive. A similar attack had happened one day earlier, and now there were two victims, the Aurors were allowed to start a proper investigation.

“Told you Ron was saving us a good one,” Harry said, grinning at Draco brightly.

Draco still felt disgust whenever Harry talked of Weasley in that way. The previous Head Auror Robards had retired last year, and, naturally, Harry had been offered the position. Draco had no idea why, but that moron had turned it down, and suggested Weasley for the job instead, which meant he was now technically Draco’s boss. Draco couldn’t disrespect Weasley, but that didn’t mean he had to accept it.

“It won’t make up for those sisters last week,” Draco muttered scathingly. A pair of sisters had lived next door to each other in Hogsmede, and had been in a rivalry ever since the eldest was left most of their parent’s money. They were constantly vandalising each other’s property and attacking one another, and the other village residents made a formal complaint to the Auror department, leaving Draco and Harry to deal with whinging women who refused to stop unless the other did first. Eventually they had to convince the eldest to move to a nicer area with the money she had inherited.

After a brief discussion, Harry and Draco decided to interview the victim before investigating the crime scene. Normally they would visit a crime scene first, but when a victim was left alive, interviewing them would allow Aurors a greater insight.

The victim was a man in his late thirties named Terrence Winter, and though the Healers had fixed most of his injuries, he still looked incredibly fearful, glancing at the other patients every few seconds.

“Mr. Winter?” Harry called gently to get the man’s attention. “We’re with the Auror department. Do you mind if we ask you a few questions?”

Winter’s eyes widened fearfully, but he shook his head.

Draco cast a Silencing and Privacy Charm around them, and activated the Self-Writing Quill over a piece of parchment.

“I don’t remember much,” Winter mumbled, sitting up and hugging his knees to his chest. “It’s all a blur; I don’t think I’ll be much help.”

“That’s alright; anything you say could help us catch who did this to you,” Harry said with an encouraging smile.

Harry always was the best at getting victims and victim’s families to talk. Draco just didn’t have the patience or desire to be so gentle and sympathetic, but he was far better at tricking criminals into admitting their crimes than Harry was.

“I had been out at a Muggle bar on my own, fighting with the wife, you know. I didn’t drink that much, but I didn’t want to risk Apparating home. I reckon that would have been safer,” Winter told them, allowing himself a humourless laugh. “I don’t know, it’s just - it was dark, but that’s all I can remember of the attack. I think it was a man, but I just know they were insane. They stabbed me and then just started slashing my skin open, like an animal. I still can’t remember watching them do it; I just know that’s what they did. They didn’t say anything that I can recall, and I reckon I passed out not long into the attack. Sorry I can’t be of any more help.”

“It’s no problem, Mr. Winter,” Harry comforted. “Thank you for your help. We’ll let you know if we start to narrow down on suspects.”

“He hardly helped at all,” Draco scowled once they were out of earshot. “Why do you think he can’t remember much? Too much alcohol, or something the attacker did?”

“Could be either,” Harry answered with a shrug. “We’ll have to visit the first victim and see what they say.”

“Wonderful,” Draco muttered darkly. “I was rather hoping I wouldn’t have to deal with so many people when I took this job.”

“Well start murdering people yourself if you want dead victims,” Harry laughed. “Bet you victim number one doesn’t remember anything either.”

***

Draco took a sip of the beer that Harry slid over to him, grimacing at the first taste. He always found Muggle beer too bitter, but he and Harry preferred the Muggle pub scene for the sake of privacy.

“Just like the old days, isn’t it?” Harry grinned at Draco. “This is going to be one of those cases that has us pulling our hair out trying to solve.”

“You could do with losing some,” Draco commented, casting an unimpressed gaze at the tufts of ebony hair that stuck out at the back of Harry’s head. “It might straighten your hair out a bit.”

Harry had been right when he guessed the first victim wouldn’t remember anything but darkness either, but it actually allowed an insight into the attacker’s style.

There was clearly some form of memory modification going on, but it was strange that the victims were unable to see the attacker or the attack, but they were still aware of what happened. Perhaps it was a form of psychological torture, or just that the attacker didn’t care about anything apart from not getting caught.

The crime scene hadn’t revealed too much, other than the blood stains proving that the attack had been frenzied in nature. They had tested the blood for DNA, but the only match was for the victim, and the public setting made it impossible to test anything else for matches.

If there was another attack, they would have to hope the attacker made a mistake and left some form of evidence behind, but if not, they would have to try and work with reforming the victim’s memories, or come up with another way of catching the attacker.

It had definitely been one of the first stressful days in a while, and Harry had been quick to agree when Draco suggested they had a bit of fun that night. Draco would have been happier going straight to one of their apartments, but Harry insisted on spending a bit of time together first.

“Aren’t you going to take your coat or scarf off?” Harry asked, catching Draco’s attention.

“It’s cold in here,” he stated blandly, shivering as if to prove his point. Was it really so hard for Muggles to get a proper form of heating in place? Every time the door opened a fresh wave of icy air would wash over them.

“We’ll be plenty warm later,” Harry said with his attempt at a seductive smirk. It was lucky Harry had his good looks and fame, because his inability to flirt and allure was appalling.

Harry reached his hand across the table to lie across Draco’s, but Draco quickly pulled his own back.

“You know Ministry rules,” Draco murmured softly, trying not to look at the hurt expression on Harry’s face. Still, better to hurt Harry’s feelings than to be caught and fired from their jobs. There was a strict no-relationship rule in the Auror team, because apparently it was a liability, and even though he and Harry didn’t have a conventional relationship, it wouldn’t be seen that way.

“I’m getting another drink,” Harry announced, downing the rest of his current one. Harry had already had two pints tonight, and normally he was done after one and a bit. Last time they were out Harry had drank more than usual, too.

As he watched Harry walking back towards him, fresh glass in his hand, Draco debated whether to ask how Harry was doing, but soon decided against it. Why was it any of his business if Harry was drinking more than normal? It wasn’t like he was Harry’s boyfriend, and for all he knew, Harry might just be having a personal crisis that he hadn’t disclosed.

“You alright?” Harry asked, and Draco blinked.

“I’m fine,” he answered dismissively, frowning as he watched Harry play with the flimsy coaster. “Do you know how many drunken men have drooled over that?”

“You’re only saying that ‘cause you think they’re uncultured Muggles,” Harry retorted. Draco looked around, alarmed, but thankfully nobody had overheard.

“I think we need to leave,” Draco declared, knocking the table with his knees in his haste to stand up. The alcohol in Harry’s glass sloshed and dripped onto the table, making the dark-haired Auror scowl.

Harry wasn’t drunk, but it was obvious the larger amount of drink was having an effect on him already. The last thing they needed was for Harry to blurt his head off about the magical world in a pub full of Muggles.

Harry got to his feet unsteadily, and stared Draco dead in the eyes.

Draco reflexively flinched, expecting a punch, but instead Harry kissed him.

Draco’s eyes widened, but he would have found himself lost in the kiss had the Muggles around not gasped so loudly, and it was when he heard a glass smash that Draco truly remembered where they were.

He pulled back from Harry, glaring at the open-mouthed Muggles staring at them, and grasped Harry’s wrist and roughly dragged him out of the pub. He bumped angrily into an old man who was covering his wife’s eyes, and as soon as they were in a dark alley he Apparated them both to Harry’s apartment.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Draco growled furiously. “I already told you to be careful because we’re in public, so what do you do?”

“I’m sorry,” Harry mumbled, but he didn’t look sorry at all. If anything, he looked quite confused, and the poor sod probably was, but that didn’t lessen Draco’s anger.

Still, it would not be good shouting at Harry when he wouldn’t be attentive enough to listen to everything Draco had to say.

“Go to bed, Harry,” he said instead. “And don’t be so stupid in future.”

“Can’t you stay a bit?” Harry asked softly, and Draco was very nearly tempted.

“No,” he answered, more firm than he intended. “I’ve had enough of you tonight.”

With that said, Draco Apparated to his own apartment, but he didn’t sleep that night. It was impossible to, with Harry’s distraught face engraved in his mind.

***

It was red – everything was red.

The sky above and the ground below merged together, impossible to tell where one ended and the other began.

The man felt like he was walking across water, holding his hands out as drops of rain splattered onto his skin, marking him with red splotches.

He fell as his foot sank into the ground, and then he was under water, and the red was gone.

He was floating in a mass of blue, and he stretched his arm above him and felt his body fly upwards.

The man crashed onto a floating silver platform surrounded by darkness, and he was not alone.

A humanoid creature stared at him, curious, but not yet attacking. The being’s skin was deep green, and yellow fangs snarled at him as a warning.

It ran, and the man ran too, knocking the creature into the floor, roaring when the man revealed his blade. Then everything was red once more.

***

“I can’t believe anyone could survive this attack,” Harry muttered, snapping a photo of a blood splatter on the wall.

There had been yet another attack, once again with the victim surviving but unable to remember anything but darkness.

Draco agreed with Harry, but he didn’t respond. He was still angry about Harry’s actions last night, and was more than prepared to give Harry the silent treatment until his anger lessened.

The alleyway looked like a bloodbath, with splatters streaking the walls and ground. It was obvious to see where the victim had been attacked, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine the brutality of it all.

But amongst the blur of red and grey, a glimmer of dull blue caught Draco’s eye.

It was a spillage of something, and though they were in an alley where all sorts most likely went on, its presence at a crime scene meant it couldn’t be ignored.

Using his wand, Draco managed to scoop the liquid into a vial, and the way it thickened at the bottom of the tube made Draco sure it was a potion. He couldn’t say for definite without testing, of course, but Draco knew what a potion looked like.

“What’s that?”

Apparently some people did not.

“Evidence,” Draco answered bluntly.

“Draco, listen-” Harry started, but Draco cut him off with a wave of his hand.

“We’re working, Potter,” he stated; Harry’s last name surprisingly felt foreign on his tongue, but he shrugged the feeling away and turned his focus onto the crime scene once more. They had covered it all now, but he didn’t want to face Harry just yet.

Draco jerked when Harry’s hand touched his arm, but he didn’t turn around.

“I’m sorry about last night, Draco,” Harry murmured, and Draco really had to fight to stop from looking. “I drank too much and didn’t know what I was doing – I mean, I know it’s not an excuse and-”

“I need to go and test this,” Draco interrupted, finally turning around. He immediately wished he hadn’t.

Harry just looked so lost.

But they had fought plenty of times in the past; there had been many times when they had gone without speaking for a few days because they had pissed each other off, and Draco didn’t understand why he felt so bothered by it now, or why Harry looked so upset.

“I need to go,” Draco repeated, and his voice broke. “I need to go.”

***

So the potion was a hallucinogenic – Draco may have been right in knowing it was a potion, but the type of potion was definitely unexpected.

Were the victims potion addicts who imagined the attack? But no, their injuries were definitely real. Perhaps someone had taken advantage of them while they were drugged, but no, that still didn’t add up. What were the odds of three potion abusers being attacked by the same person?

Of course, the attacker could have used the potion, but that didn’t explain the lack of memories in the victims.

Or maybe they were all potion abusers, attacking one another in hallucinations.

Draco made a memo to ask the Healers to test blood samples from the victims, but for now, there was nothing more he could do until more evidence came up.

As if sensing that Draco’s work had finished for the evening, Harry Apparated into his apartment.

“I’m sorry if you misunderstood the signals that clearly said I’m not talking to you right now,” Draco said bluntly as way of greeting.

“I came to apologise, Draco,” Harry said gently. “I drank too much and acted like an idiot, and I’m sorry for including you in that.”

“You’ve already said that,” Draco commented, referencing to Harry’s earlier apology.

“I know, but I really mean it,” Harry retorted. “I really am sorry; I don’t like us fighting like this. Just, let me make it up to you?”

“Come with me,” Draco said, leading Harry to the kitchen. “Sit on the floor.”

Harry looked at Draco curiously, but complied, and Draco knelt beside him, Accio-ing his scarf from the hallway. Draco pulled Harry’s wrists together behind his back, and wrapped the scarf tightly around them, binding them together. The fact Harry just let Draco do it showed how sorry he was, and Draco thought it was rather pitiful.

Draco leant in and kissed Harry hard, using one hand to toy with Harry’s cock through his trousers. Harry started to harden almost instantly, and he bucked up into Draco’s hand.

“I’m going to ride your cock,” Draco stated, unzipping Harry’s trousers to free his erection. “And you’re going to shut up and stop grovelling because it’s pissing me off.”

Harry nodded, eyes wide, and watched quietly as Draco pulled his own trousers down and summoned the lubricant from his bedroom. He made a show of preparing himself, shushing Harry whenever he started to speak, and when he was ready he lowered himself over Harry’s cock.

Draco allowed Harry the first moan as his cock filled Draco, mostly because he was more concerned with his own pleasure. Harry’s cock was wonderful; Draco never bottomed with anyone else, but with Harry he just couldn’t resist. It fit inside him perfectly, and he rocked his hips, rubbing the head of Harry’s erection against his prostate.

Draco fucked himself wildly on Harry’s cock, and Harry was biting down on his lip, thrusting his hips up and tugging at his bindings. Draco kissed him once more, sucking on Harry’s already bruised lower lip.

Draco fisted his own cock as he bounced on Harry’s, and it didn’t take long for him to spill his release over his hand. His inner muscles clamped around Harry’s cock, and Draco swallowed Harry’s moan in a kiss as Harry released inside him, bucking up desperately.

“I guess you’re forgiven,” Draco smirked against Harry’s lips.

***

The following morning, Draco strode proudly into Weasley’s office with his new information.

Although he and Harry were a team, Draco couldn’t deny that he enjoyed being seen as the better of the two, even if they were never celebrated singularly.

His smug expression was instantly wiped off his face when he saw Weasley.

The Head Auror was sat solemnly at his desk, and his eyes darkened with something that was not quite anger when he saw Draco.

“I was just about to call for you; sit down,” Weasley offered, but Draco stayed standing.

“I discovered a hallucinogenic potion at the latest crime scene,” Draco told the other man, sliding a copy of his notes across the desk. “I’m going-”

“You’re off the case,” Weasley interrupted, and Draco felt his insides twist. “You have desk duty for the next month.”

Why could he possibly have been kicked off the case? He and Harry may not have been on the best terms, but they had had far worse fights at the beginning of their career and still succeeded.

“You and Harry were seen together at a Muggle pub,” Weasley continued. Draco’s stomach flipped, and his limbs turned to lead.

“He was drunk,” he said quickly in defence. “I helped him get home; ask him yourself.”

“I have,” Weasley said with a nod, “which is why you’re only being separated for a month. If you prove yourselves over the next few weeks, your partnership will be reinstated.”

“This is ridiculous!” Draco hissed, curling his fingers into fists. “And you! You’re siding with Harry, allowing him to stay on the mission while I get the punishment. He kissed me, not the other way around! Who told you?”

“That is classified information,” Weasley stated blankly. “Yes, Harry is staying on the case, but I’m not being biased; he is better working with survivors than you are.”

“I figured out the potion,” Draco declared, clenching his fists. “I’m the one who stopped your best friend spilling the wizarding world’s secrets to a room full of Muggles.”

“Malfoy, my word is final,” Weasley stated, his voice raising just enough for Draco to know to shut up or else risk his job. “Just let Harry have this, alright.”

***

The man passed over the gold coins, and was handed a vial in return. The blue liquid sparkled within, oh so temptingly.

He couldn’t wait to get home and forget.

He needed to forget.

He couldn’t leave reality for ever, and this was as good as it got.

He could lose himself in a faraway dream world, and become who he wanted to be.

There were no worries or regrets. Just the life he wanted.

The man measured out a cup of the potion and downed it.

Everything blurred over, and then he was lost in a swirl of colours.

***

Draco was still raging when he returned home. He had rather perfectly avoided both Harry and Weasley for the rest of the work day, and spent most of his time complaining about Weasley to anyone who would listen, rather than doing work.

It just wasn’t right that he had to be punished when Harry had been the one to kiss him in public. Then again, Harry had explained himself to Weasley and taken full blame, so Draco couldn’t logically find a reason to stay angry at Harry, even if his mind wasn’t following the memo just yet.

His main problem was with Weasley and the asshole that had told on them. Draco had scanned every face in that pub when he entered, just out of Auror habit, but he hadn’t recognised anyone, so that must have meant another Auror was spying on them. Why was it any of their business what Draco and Harry did in their time off?

And more importantly, why was Weasley abusing his position as Head Auror and getting away with it? It was obvious Draco got the harsh sentence because Harry and Weasley were best friends, even if Weasley swore he wouldn’t be biased.

That considered, maybe Weasley wanted to keep Harry busy. The dark-haired man had been acting differently lately, that much was clear. On top of his change in drinking habits, Harry had been somewhat clingier around Draco, and sometimes they even hung out without fucking. Harry had also been a bit distant at times, but Draco had put it all down to some personal issues in Harry’s life, and Weasley would probably know more about that than Draco did.

But why hadn’t Harry told him? Sure, they weren’t in a proper relationship, but sleeping together certainly gave them a closeness that Harry wouldn’t have experienced with Weasley. And they’d been Auror partners for eight years; they were meant to have full trust in one another.

Draco sighed and dropped his head in his hands, when a sudden thought hit him.

Draco had never got chance to tell Harry about the potion, and Weasley had ignored Draco’s information. That meant Harry and his replacement partner would be missing a vital clue.

The right thing to do would be to pass the information over to Harry, but why should he? Harry had got him kicked off the first interesting assignment in months, and stuck him on desk duty. If Draco could work off the potion information he had, he could very well track down the attacker.

Then he would go straight to the Minister herself with the news, explain how unfairly he had been treated by Weasley, and then Draco would be the hero and Weasley stood a good chance of being demoted. It was the perfect plan.

So the next day, Draco owled in sick, and headed down to Knockturn Alley to meet Blaise Zabini.

At Hogwarts, Blaise had always been a loner who preferred his own company, but nowadays, he and Draco had a special arrangement. Blaise would feed Draco information about criminal activity that happened in Knockturn Alley, and in return, Draco would remove any incriminating evidence about Blaise that made its way into the Auror department.

Blaise ran quite the business in Knockturn Alley. Potions, prostitutes, and gambling were his main operations, and he also knew every crook that worked alongside him. Draco knew that if Blaise hadn’t sold the hallucinogenic potion himself, he would know who did.

“I heard you’re on desk duty,” Blaise commented lightly as Draco approached. A scantily clad girl was sat in his lap, her eyes glazed over from the effect of whatever potion she was on.

“Who told you that?” Draco questioned, raising a brow.

“Pansy,” Blaise smirked. Trust that bitch to run to Blaise with every one of Draco’s secrets. “So need something to make writing reports a bit more exciting?”

“I need information,” Draco stated blandly. “Who here sells hallucinogenic potions?”

“I do, for one,” Blaise answered, throwing his head back as the prostitute pushed her hand down his trousers. “It was the first of its kind down here, and became a big seller. Of course, there are supposed copies, but the only one that actually works, other than mine, is sold by Tiberius Crow.”

“What colours are they?” Draco asked hurriedly.

“Mine’s blue, and Crow’s is-”

“What does it do? I know the properties in it cause hallucinations, but how does it work? Is there any form of memory loss involved?” Draco cut in, already knowing he had the potion seller in front of him.

“Memory loss? Not at all,” Blaise answered with a shake of his head. “The potion makes the user’s world become different, shall we say? It’s impossible to know what one person will see, and every time can be different. The more the potion is used, the stronger the hallucinations get, and users soon find themselves believing they are in a different world. It doesn’t have many physical effects, but it fucks with the mind, big style; I’d never dream of taking it.”

“I want you to send me a list of every person who has bought it from you,” Draco said firmly. “And in return I’ll take Tiberius Crow out of your territory.”

“Deal,” Blaise replied with a wicked grin. “You know, Draco, if you wanted to know what potions your Auror partner was taking, you could have just asked him.”

“What?” Draco hissed, feeling as though the air had been sucked out of his lungs. “Harry is not taking potions.”

“Oh, Draco,” Blaise sighed mockingly. “If only you knew what your little fuck buddy got up to. Potter’s been a customer of mine for years. Started off boring, like most do, just wanting my version of a Calming Drought, but eventually that wasn’t good enough and he needed more. I can’t imagine you must be very good in bed, because Potter loves losing himself in different worlds. The hallucinogenic potion you’re so interested in is one of Potter’s favourites.”

“You’re lying,” Draco breathed, clutching his hands over his stomach as his insides twisted. Surely Harry couldn’t be a potions addict?

“It’s a pretty good copy if it’s not him.” Blaise shrugged, slipping his hand up the woman’s skirt. “Now if you don’t mind, I have someone I need to take care of.”

***

All Draco’s anger towards Harry had left him after the conversation with Blaise.

He couldn’t fathom how Harry would be an addict without Draco noticing. But then again, Blaise had said Harry had only been into the stronger potions recently. And it had been the last few weeks when Draco had noticed changes in Harry.

Draco had told himself over and over in the past, that what Harry did outside of the Aurors, and outside of bed, was none of his business, but the thought of Harry hurting himself like that made Draco sick to his stomach.

He decided after hours of conflicting feelings, to just go and ask Harry outright.

The problem was, when Draco Apparated to Harry’s apartment, the man in question wasn’t there.

Draco checked every room, finding nothing out of the ordinary, until he reached Harry’s bedroom.

A cupboard door had been left open, with a number of potion vials lined up along the shelves. Even in the dark light it was obvious that the potion was the shimmering blue that Draco had dreaded seeing.

Even worse to see was the smashed vial on the floor, with a faint stain of blue already tainting the carpet.

Draco’s stomach flipped, and then his veins turned to ice as he heard a scream below the window.

He Apparated to the alley beside the apartment building in a flash, prepared to Obliviate any Muggles he might stumble across, but Muggles soon became the least of his worries.

A man was slumped on the floor, bleeding profusely, and a figure was standing above him with their wand pointing towards the victim.

“Harry?” Draco uttered softly, fearing the worst; he only knew one person who had hair as messy as the mysterious figure had.

The man turned around, and Draco was surprised he managed to stay standing upright, his legs were shaking so badly.

Harry stared at him, the emerald of his eyes having spread to cover all of the white, while his pupils had narrowed to slits. Strangely enough, Harry looked as fearful as Draco felt.

Draco spotted the movement of Harry’s wrist as his wand raised, but Draco was quicker, knocking Harry out with a Stunning Spell.

He immediately ran to Harry’s side, checking for any other sign of injuries. The man Harry had attacked was breathing, and because all the other victims had been found in time, Draco decided to leave him; Harry needed Draco’s help more.

Gathering Harry in his arms, he Apparated them back up to Harry’s apartment, and laid Harry gently on the bed.

Now that Draco was back inside and away from the attack scene, the adrenaline that had been driving him on seemed to fade away. Now all Draco could hear was the heavy pounding of his heart.

He watched as Harry twisted and twitched on the bed, and finally decided to lie beside Harry so he could hold him down, unable to watch Harry suffering anymore.

Draco just didn’t know what to think anymore. Never in a million years had he ever considered the possibility that Harry could have been the attacker, but now that he knew the truth, Draco didn’t think he could solve the case and bring Harry to the attention of the Minister or the Aurors.

Harry had clearly not been himself; his eyes had proved as much, and although Harry may have chosen to take the potions, Draco didn’t think it had been done with the intention to cause harm. Harry had been afraid when he looked at Draco, as if he didn’t recognise him at all, and Draco had never seen Harry look scared before. Harry had always been strong and sturdy, but Draco wondered now just how much of that had been a show.

***

Draco stayed by Harry’s side all night, occasionally drifting to sleep until the slightest movement or sound woke him up. As the morning light seeped in through the window, Harry started to stir, and suddenly Draco was alert once more.

He let out a sigh of relief when he saw that Harry’s eyes were back to normal, but knew from Harry’s confused look that he would have a lot of explaining to do.

“Draco?” Harry croaked, his voice hoarse from sleep. “Why are you here?”

“We need to talk, Harry,” Draco answered simply, and Harry snapped awake in an instant.

“Why? What’s wrong?” Harry questioned, and then his eyes widened as his gaze fell on the open cupboard and smashed potion vial on the floor. “I can explain that.”

“Do you have any idea what potions do to you, Harry? Blaise told me what you buy from him, and even he said he’d never touch it.”

“I know, it’s just-” Harry started, trailing off and pushing his hands across his forehead, threading his fingers in his hair. “I know it’s been ten years, and I should be over it by now, but I’ve struggled to deal with things ever since the end of the war. Nightmares and flashbacks are expected, I know, but I found myself with these feelings of worthlessness as well. After Voldemort died, I just felt like my purpose in life was complete, but I had the rest of my life to go. I threw myself into Auror work, taking down all of the remaining Death Eaters and criminals, but now society has gone back to normal, and I don’t feel like-I feel like I don’t have a purpose anymore. I know it’s stupid but-”

“It’s not stupid, Harry,” Draco said softly. “Why didn’t you say anything? We could have helped you.”

“I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak,” Harry answered so quietly that Draco could hardly hear him. Harry smiled at him, but it was strained and forced, and soon faded into a frown. “Being with you helped me feel alive again, but it isn’t enough, not when I want more and you don’t. The-the potions bring me to a world where I can forget everything and forget who I am. They bring me to a world where there are monsters and horrific things, and I have to destroy them to keep that world safe. I have a purpose there.”

“Harry, that world doesn’t exist,” Draco stated, trying to ignore the way his heart throbbed when Harry had said he wanted more from him. The next part was going to be hard to say though, so Draco decided he’d have to just come out and say it straight. “The monsters you were seeing; they were-they were real people. You’ve been the one attacking those victims.”

Harry froze, and then shook his head violently. “No, no. I couldn’t have-the potions knocked me out.”

“I saw you last night,” Draco told Harry, grabbing Harry’s hands and pulling them away from his face. “Your eyes weren’t you. You were under the influence of those potions; you didn’t even recognise me.”

“No, no,” Harry repeated, fingers tightening around Draco’s. “I have to turn myself in. I have to-”

“No!” Draco shouted, causing Harry to jump, and he quickly lowered his voice again. “Harry you’ve been struggling with things and the only person you turned to was Blaise Zabini, and trust me when I say he enjoyed leading you astray. You may have attacked those people, but the potion made you do it. People have been let off murder charges claiming to have been Imperiused, so what’s the point of forcing you through court when you’d get off anyway? Besides, you slashed and stabbed, but never once did you kill anybody. The Healers said one man was stabbed inches above his heart; it was like you knew not to kill them.”

“So what do we do instead? Investigate a solved case forever? What if someone remembers me attacking them?” Harry cried, and Draco shushed him, sensing Harry was going into a panicked state.

“Nobody can remember for some strange reason, but we can get around it if someone does recall you attacking them. Polyjuice, perhaps? Nobody would believe you would do that anyway. We can close the case too; get a body, inject the potion, forge a suicide note, and the assignment is over,” Draco suggested; he had thought about it a lot overnight. “But first, I want to take the potion. I want to experience what it’s like. We’ll know we’re only hallucinating, and we’ll stay inside.”

“But-” Harry began, shutting up when Draco looked at him pointedly. Instead he moved to the cupboard and poured out two measurements of the potion. “I’m taking it with you; if you’re sure you want to do this.”

Draco nodded; he wanted to know what it was that Harry had found himself lost in so willingly. Once he understood what Harry craved, Draco could strive to give him better.

He downed the cup in one go, and immediately lost sense of the world.

***

The room was no longer there, and he and Harry were standing on a floating red platform, with the air around them streaked with blue, green, and yellow.

Everything else was gone, but the colours felt enclosing somehow, dominant against their fragile humanity.

Harry’s eyes were the same as before; entirely green with slit like pupils, and Draco presumed from Harry’s gasp that his own eyes had been taken over by grey.

Draco watched as Harry’s skin started to take on a blue tint, and he quickly grabbed hold of Harry’s hand, not wanting to lose Harry in the blur.

As their hands connected, they fell, but it didn’t feel like he was falling. Instead it felt like he was walking through the air and mist of colours, until his feet connected with a circular platform. It was impossible to tell whether they were falling down or if the black walls that closed them in were pulling up. Flashes of colours and images flew past; gone too quickly to make out what was shown.

“So all this is real?” Harry breathed, looking around uneasily.

“No,” Draco answered, recalling that Blaise had told him that the more the potion was used, the more realistic the hallucinations became. “This is your imagination. None of this is real, but we are.”

“But your eyes-”

“It’s the potion, Harry,” Draco said firmly. “We are real.”

And that was hard to believe, even for Draco. The platform they were on vanished yet they stayed standing, and Draco had to move in and kiss Harry, just to prove that they were real, and everything around them was a trick of the potion.

Harry moaned into the kiss, wrapping his arms around Draco and placing his hands on his back.

The world seemed to flip upside down and then back again, but Harry and Draco stayed still, entwined with one another.

Harry started to sink to the invisible floor, bringing Draco on top of him, but not once did their kiss stop.

Oh, lying down was strange. It almost felt like they were flying, going so fast that everything else was a blur.

Harry’s hands tugged at the buttons of Draco’s shirt, and the hands were cold on his chest.

Draco shivered in pleasure at the feeling, and pushed his own hands under Harry’s shirt, rubbing his fingers in small circles.

The ground beneath them split, like lightning across the floor, and they were really falling then, but still together, and the world flashed from colour to colour, bright and vibrant, until it settled on reflective silver, capturing reflection after reflection of them.

“It’s not real,” Draco murmured against Harry’s lips. “None of this is, but us.”

Draco moved his hands to tug Harry’s trousers down his legs. They kicked off their shoes and socks awkwardly, keeping one hand entwined with each other’s, until they completely devoid of clothing, their bodies neither hot nor cold.

If this was a hallucination and nothing more, then the real world was still there, just invisible to them. So Draco summoned lube, and to his surprise, something flew into his hand. The liquid inside the clear bottle was changing colours rapidly, but Draco squeezed some onto his fingers, and pushed one after the other inside Harry until there were three spreading his arse open.

Harry writhed against the fingers, his eyes squeezed shut.

“Open your eyes,” Draco told Harry, and Harry complied, revealing that vivid green to Draco.

Pulling his fingers out of Harry and smearing the remaining liquid onto his erection, Draco tried not to shiver as the skin of his cock took on dull shades of several colours, and pushed inside of Harry.

They both moaned loudly, and if there was one thing that Draco loved more than Harry’s cock, it was Harry’s arse. Harry was tight, and hot, and perfect, and Draco focused on fucking him, trying to ignore the reflections that weren’t truly reflections after all. There were snarling couples, and bright green couples, and couples that were almost animal in nature, but they weren’t real.

“Look at me, Harry,” Draco said, and Harry snapped his eyes away from the mirror and onto Draco.

The walls flashed over grey and green, mirroring their eyes, and Harry moaned loudly when Draco slammed into his prostate.

Harry’s legs had hooked around Draco’s waist, and Draco fucked him deep and fast, driving into him desperately until they came together, falling into blue mist as the world shifted once more.

But they were still together. They were all that was real, and the changing world danced around them.

***

Draco didn’t like to admit it, but sometimes Harry’s fame really could come in handy.

They were able to walk freely through St Mungo’s by simply flashing their Auror badges at Healers, and when they got to the morgue, the sole employee happened to be a massive Harry Potter fan.

They had planned on a bit of charm work to get inside the morgue, but when the man saw Harry he almost screamed with excitement and allowed Harry and Draco access with a very brief explanation of ‘Auror business.’

Draco was still going to Obliviate him later, for security reasons, but first they had to find an unidentified body.

The morgue had two units against two walls, with small doors that opened to a drawer used to store bodies.

They split up and took a unit each, reading the names on the tags. When they came across anonymous identities, they would open the file book at the front of the room for information on how they died. It had to be a death from something natural, but not a long-term illness either; the death had to have been unexpected and sudden.

“Got one,” Harry stated, drawing Draco’s attention. “Unidentified male, aged fifty, died of a heart malfunction.”

“Perfect,” Draco grinned. “Go and Obliviate the employee and remove the identity from the records; I’ll transfigure the body.”

Harry nodded and left, and Draco made his way over to where Harry had been standing.

He pulled the handle of the door, sliding the drawer out. All the bodies had been charmed with a Preservation spell, so the man looked as though he had only just died. There had been a time when corpses were something to fear, but after a year in Auror duty, dead bodies were something you got used to.

He transfigured the corpse into a key and slid it into the pocket of his Auror robes. Draco quickly destroyed the tag and file sheet of the man, and strolled out of the room to meet Harry.

Harry inclined his head at Draco who copied the gesture; understanding that they had each completed their tasks, they left the hospital together.

Nobody gave them a second glance as they left; Aurors were a common sight in St Mungo’s.

Draco and Harry Apparated to an empty building they had come across in a previous mission, and untransfigured the corpse.

“Are you still sure you want to do this?” Harry asked as Draco pulled a bronze syringe from his robes.

“Completely,” Draco answered with a nod. “No more people are going to be attacked, and this man allows us to close the case and move on.”

Harry sighed, but passed Draco the potion vial. After Draco filled the syringe, he pressed the needle into the arm of the body and pushed down, sending the liquid into the man’s veins.

Harry sent a quick healing charm at the mark left when Draco pulled the needle away, and pinned the forged suicide note they had written earlier to the body’s chest.

“Now to inform Weasley,” Draco mused, removing the Preservation charm from the body as their final step.

“Do you think he’ll believe it?” Harry asked.

Draco nodded. “People believe what they want to believe. He trusts you and your word; he has no reason to doubt you.”

“You’re coming with me to tell Ron,” Harry stated firmly. “I’m sorry I got you kicked off active duty for the month, so I’ll make sure Ron knows how much you helped, and make sure you get your job back by tomorrow.”

In all the emotions surrounding Harry, Draco had forgotten his anger at Weasley. Yet it didn’t seem to returning as heavily as before, either, which was strange, because Draco loved to be angry at Weasley.

Weasley looked surprised when he saw Draco standing behind Harry, but he said nothing and gestured for them to sit down.

“Neither of you turned up to work today,” Weasley said as way of greeting, frowning. “There was another attack last night.”

“Draco managed to find a lead on the attacker, and we had to follow it straight away. There was no time to report in, sorry, Ron,” Harry lied, looking at Weasley with a determined gaze.

Weasley’s lips tightened.

“You got a lead?” he repeated, not bothering to hide the shock on his face. “Malfoy, I told you, you were off this case.”

“I know, but a contact of mine came to me with information which I then passed to Harry,” Draco explained, while Harry nodded in agreement.

“Yes, and I wanted him to work with me. You never gave me a replacement partner, and I didn’t want to risk going alone,” Harry expanded, and Draco threw a questioning look at Weasley. Why hadn’t he given Harry a new partner?

“So what did you discover?” Weasley asked, looking between the two of them.

“It was a middle-aged man,” Draco answered after a quick glance at Harry. “My contact told me he had been buying a hallucinogenic potion off him, and told us where we could find him. When we arrived, we found him dead with an empty potion vial by his side, and with a suicide note attached to him. It appears as though he had been attacking these people due to the influence of the potion, and eventually couldn’t stand his own life anymore. We alerted the Healers to remove his body.”

“Oh,” Weasley said. “Well, I’m sure you would have had time to come to the Ministry before working together when you were told not to, but seeing as you completed the assignment, there isn’t much more I can say. I am reinstating your partnership, and you are off desk duty, Malfoy. Though, could I have a word with you privately?”

Draco and Weasley both watched as Harry left, and once the door shut, Weasley leaned forwards to rest his arms on his desk.

“I know the truth, Malfoy,” Weasley stated, and Draco blinked.

“What truth?” he asked suspiciously, fingers twitching above his wand.

“I’m on your side,” Weasley answered hastily, noticing Draco’s movement. “But I know the truth about everything. I know about Harry’s relationship with you, I know Harry has a problem with potion addiction, and I know it was him that attacked those people.”

Draco’s eyes widened. “How?” was all he could think to say.

“Harry told me about his feelings for you a couple of years ago. I reckon he could do a lot better, but I don’t judge him for it, and I didn’t split you up because for some reason you make Harry happier than anything else,” Weasley explained. “As for the potions, Hermione had her suspicions, and when we questioned Harry he admitted he had an issue but said it was under control. He refused to speak about it again though, even when we told him we knew that he had lied, but we understood. With the attacks, I questioned the very first victim myself, who told me he had seen Harry attacking him. I got Hermione to clear the victim’s memory of who the attacker was, as she has done with every victim since. I had planned to stage an intervention with Harry, but he’d blocked me from his apartment and refused to speak to me at work. I was in the stages of forcing Harry into a Muggle rehabilitation centre, but it was taking too much time to stop him attacking the other victims.”

“So why did you split us up then?” Draco queried, wanting to understand everything before he processed it.

“I didn’t want to risk you linking Harry to the crime, but then you discovered the potion residue, and I knew it would only be a matter of time,” Weasley told him with a wave of his hand. “Harry told me he was upset for getting drunk and kissing you when you hadn’t wanted it, so I used that information against you. Nobody ever saw you that night.”

“So you abused your position as Head Auror?” Draco said lowly, and Weasley hung his head. “You allowed a personal agenda to influence your actions, you Obliviated innocent victims to protect a friend, and you lied and manipulated anyone and everything you could to protect the truth. I didn’t know you had it in you, Weasley; I’m impressed.”

“What?” Weasley snapped, raising his head back up. “I risked everything for Harry, as did Hermione; that was wrong. Not for Harry, I mean, but for our jobs and -”

“So what?” Draco shrugged. “I was pissed off at you, but knowing you skilfully twisted everything for your own agenda has actually given me a small amount of respect for you. Besides, you’re not the only one who’s done bad things for Harry.”

“You didn’t actually, you know, kill that guy you framed, did you?” Weasley asked, eyeing Draco warily.

“No,” Draco smirked. “He was already dead, but our methods weren’t particularly legal. Still, I’ll keep your secrets if you keep ours.”

“Agreed,” Weasley murmured with a nod. “Listen though; you and Harry seem pretty close, and you obviously know about his addiction problem. Maybe you could talk to him and-”

“I’m planning on it, Weasley,” Draco cut in.

***

Draco didn’t go home after the meeting, but instead Apparated to Harry’s apartment. Harry was sat at the dining room table, scrawling something across a piece of parchment.

“Did everything go okay?” Harry asked, looking at Draco curiously.

“Yes, he just wanted to apologise,” Draco lied. “What are you doing?” he asked, pointing to the small pile of screwed up parchment pieces.

“Writing my letter of resignation,” Harry answered quietly, screwing another piece of parchment on the floor. “I just don’t want it to sound too corny.”

“Why are you resigning?” Draco questioned, pulling up a chair beside Harry’s.

Draco didn’t especially find himself shocked, but at the same time he couldn’t imagine Harry wanting to leave the Aurors.

“Draco, I hurt those people, and made you risk your job trying to help me,” Harry stated, placing his quill down so he could grab hold of Draco’s hand. “I can’t continue like everything’s fine when it won’t be. I need to take a break and get help, figure out what I actually want in life. I’m only sure of one thing.”

“And what is that?” Draco asked softly.

“You,” Harry answered, offering Draco a nervous smile. “I know we agreed to keep things casual, but I fell in love with you long ago-”

The rest of Harry’s words were swallowed when Draco kissed him passionately.

Harry shifted until he was sat on Draco’s lap, wrapping his arms around Draco’s neck. Draco hugged Harry’s hips, his tongue sliding against Harry’s.

“I love you,” Draco whispered as they pulled away for air. “And I want you to get better. I know it won’t be easy, but I promise I’ll stay with you every step of the way.”