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His back slams against the bedroom door and Harry instinctively lifts his legs from the floor and wraps them around Draco's upper thighs, pulling him in closer. Draco's mouth, hot and as desperate as his own, moves down Harry's jaw to his neck. Harry lifts his head and bucks his hips. A bite to his neck is exactly the response Harry needs and he bucks his hips again. This time Draco growls into Harry's neck and pushes his entire body against Harry, holding him tighter against the door.

It's always like this, and Harry can never get enough.

The tension has been building between them all night, from the moment they sat down to dinner and Draco mocked Harry's choice of starter all the way through until Draco pinned Harry's left wrist against the door above their heads. Draco sucks hard at the spot he has just bitten; Harry can be nothing but pleased with how the whole night has gone so far.

Draco has been his usual shuttered self for most of the evening, at least with Harry. He came alive to smile at the waitress, but his face was almost blank when he turned back to Harry. Harry can't help but wonder if this is something Draco has always done, or if he does it simply to frustrate Harry. In the end though, he decides he doesn't care, because Draco is certainly alive now as he pulls at Harry's belt and leaves scratch marks across Harry's abdomen. All Harry can manage to do is breathlessly call out for more.

Draco's other hand pins Harry's right wrist alongside his left, but Harry is distracted by Draco's shirtsleeves—his right rolled up to the elbow, the left one not rolled up at all. Draco had done this in the restaurant, despite the heat of the room. It incenses Harry and as Draco moves his mouth across Harry's collarbone he yanks his arms free of Draco's distracted grip. In a flash he has ripped apart Draco's shirt, buttons be damned, and pulled it over his shoulders. A grunt of frustration is Draco's response, but Harry is satisfied when Draco quickly removes the remainder of his shirt. In payback Draco pulls Harry roughly towards him, crushing their mouths together, before slamming Harry back against the door. Harry catches sight of the mark on Draco's exposed forearm just before his head bounces off the door and he grins through the pain.

If there is anything that truly bothers Harry, it is Draco's unwillingness to open up, to Harry and to the rest of the world. Harry broached the subject again at dinner. It's masochistic; he knows Draco's stance on the matter, despite Draco's unwillingness to talk about it. He won't tell his parents he's shagging Harry, so he'll never agree to go public. But Harry hates the subject being pushed aside, he hates not knowing why. “It's only been three months” is not a reason, it's an excuse. Harry would love it if it was as simple as that, if time and reassurance was all Draco needed, but the fact that Harry has no idea what Draco wants to do with his life, let alone this relationship, is worrying.

All Harry's ponderings and fears are driven from his mind as Draco spins him around, pushes his face into the door and pulls down his trousers before driving his tongue into Harry's arsehole. Crying out in ecstasy and frustration, Harry's attention is split between the friction of the door's wood grain against his desperately wanting cock and the slide and push of Draco's mouth against his gradually-expanding hole. The pleasure is increased to almost unbearable levels when Draco cups Harry's balls at the same moment he slips a finger in beside his tongue.

By the time Draco stands, he has three fingers thrusting inside of Harry and his other fist full of Harry's hair. He pulls Harry's head back and whispers all Harry's most desperate desires into his ear and the only thing Harry can do is cry out in agreement.

When Draco's fingers suddenly disappear Harry gasps in shock at the loss. Before he can even take a breath to protest, Harry is swiftly filled again and Draco is pressed against the length of his body, pushing Harry into the door as he pushes himself into Harry over and over.

Harry's arms are once again held tight above his head and he lets himself be fucked, feeling the stretch and burn and fullness. His eyes close and his head falls back on Draco's shoulder, who quickly begins whispering into Harry's ear again, more breathless and urgent. The air against his ear is one sensation too many.

Draco thrusts roughly inside of him and Harry's cock, slick with pre-come, slides up against the door and his orgasm pulses from him. The slight friction of the door is eased as Harry is pushed into his own release as Draco continues to drive into him. Harry lets out a hiss a few seconds later as Draco bites down hard on his shoulder, his thrusts becoming shallower before he stops altogether, balls deep inside of Harry as he comes.

They remain there for a few minutes, catching their breath, and Harry savours the feeling of Draco's skin against his own, unsure how much longer he'll be able to enjoy it. But instead of having his clothes tossed at him, Harry has his hand held. Draco peels himself from Harry's back and moves to the bed, pulling Harry along.

As they stretch out on the bed side by side, Harry tries not to be too pleased. This could just mean Draco fancies a more comfortable round two, not that he wants Harry to stay. Harry wonders when the prospect of actually sleeping with Draco became more important to him than shagging Draco, but doesn't feel shame when he acknowledges it as the truth. Either way, though, Harry needs to know.

“So, should I...” Harry lets the question trail off, not quite Gryffindor enough in this moment to actually ask it.

The smirk Draco gives in response tells Harry that Draco has him pegged, but it is a tired half-smirk, and this only buoys the hope Harry is trying to keep anchored.

He has only stayed the night twice before, and although they have never spoken of why, Harry knows Draco doesn't sleep well. Waking to find Draco thrashing and screaming in the throes of his nightmares had been a familiar shock for Harry. For Draco it had been reason to dismiss Harry much more swiftly after sex for several weeks afterwards. However, it would never be enough to dampen Harry's desire to sleep and wake next to Draco. Still, in this moment the distinct lack of an answer from Draco is enough information for Harry. He holds in a sigh as he moves to leave.

Before he can manage it, Draco throws an arm over Harry's chest and drags him back. He holds Harry close and says nothing more than, “Stay.”

Harry does nothing in response, afraid he will break the moment and Draco will change his mind. So he lays quietly on his back, unmoving as he looks up at the ceiling. It's a ceiling Harry has stared up at many times over the last three months. From the bed over Draco's shoulder as they fuck, from the chair with his head thrown back while Draco is between his legs, even in the mirror from an awkward angle on the floor as his knees get carpet burn.

This ceiling and this room are all Harry gets to see when Draco Apparates them directly here after their dates, and Harry is then encouraged to Disapparate directly out again later. Harry knows he's not bothered about that—he's here for Draco, why would he want a tour of the Manor? And yet the last time he slept here he dreamt about wandering the Manor hallways, and now when he looks at the door he was so recently fucked against he can't help but wonder about going through it.

It's not the Manor he really wants to see though.

Harry turns his head to look at Draco. His eyes are closed, his breathing even. Slow enough to barely dip the bed, Harry turns his whole body towards Draco. Draco doesn't stir as Harry moves a hand up to cup his face. He wonders what's going on behind those eyelids as his thumb strokes Draco's cheek.

“Let me in.” The words slip from Harry without conscious thought, and he's not even sure what he's asking to be let in to. Draco's thoughts, his desires, his house, his life. All of the above.

As Harry moves his hand from Draco's face to his hip, he thinks he feels the slightest squeeze of his shoulder, where Draco's hand lies. Finally, Harry closes his own eyes and lets himself relax.

»«

Harry turns over and reaches across the bed for Draco. Instead his arm finds a Draco-shaped space and the lukewarm sheets. Turning over, Harry squints across at the door to the en suite, but he sees no strip of light under the door. Frowning, he sits up and reaches for his glasses. Putting them on he can see the bathroom door is ajar and the room beyond it dark. A quick glance around the room shows no sign of Draco, only the alarming sight of the bedroom door standing wide open.

It is dark on the other side, but Draco must be out there somewhere. Not worried, but ravenously curious, brave and reckless, Harry gets out of bed and moves towards the door. He shouldn't go out there; he knows Draco doesn't want him wandering around the Manor. On the other hand, the door has been left open, almost in invitation...

He steps through it. He doesn't find himself in the hallway. Harry frowns as he glances around. At first he thinks he must be dreaming, but it all feels much too real. Just to be sure, Harry focuses, and waits for his surroundings to change. He learnt how to lucid dream as a way to control his nightmares after the war, but right now, nothing is changing. Harry's not dreaming. He's left with no idea how he now finds himself in Malfoy Manor's dimly-lit and silent entry way. Having never sleepwalked in his life (at least to his knowledge) he finds it hard to believe he has started now, especially given that he remembers waking up. The only assumption he can draw is that Draco has something to do with it, but Harry's not sure how. Has Draco made his bedroom door into a portal to the Manor entrance hall? And if he has, why?

However Harry has found himself here, he needs to find Draco, or at least find his way back to Draco's bedroom. It's as he moves to Apparate that he realises he doesn't have his wand. He hopes both his wand and Draco are back in the bedroom. Having never entered it through the door, he has no idea where Draco's bedroom is located, but he's going to have a good go at finding it.

It's when Harry turns and takes a step towards the stairs on his right that he hears a noise to his left. Instinctively he alters his course and makes his way towards the sound he can hear. It is a light, tinkling and irregular sound, but it's coming from close by. Harry approaches a door and places his ear against it. The noise is louder and accompanied by the unmistakeable sound of voices. There are only three people it can be, and he hopes Draco is one of them. He can't hear what is being said, but Harry already knows he will go inside.

Harry reaches for the door handle. He turns it, opens the door and steps inside.

He pauses on the other side, acutely aware that something is not right. Without thinking Harry glances down at the non-existent watch on his bare wrist. But regardless, he knows he and Draco were out until at least 10pm, and wouldn't have made it into bed before 11. He expected to find Lucius or Narcissa Malfoy, but Harry is somewhat surprised to find them both sitting at the dinner table eating supper. Why would the Malfoys be eating so late?

Distracted by his thoughts, Harry at first fails to notice the Malfoys failing to notice him. When he realises he has so far gone unnoticed, Harry considers simply slipping back out of the door. Draco isn't here, but at least he knows he's not going to bump into a pyjama-clad Lucius wandering the halls while he searches for Draco's bedroom. But the idea of roaming aimlessly around the Manor's many hallways, opening doors at random until he happens upon Draco does not appeal to Harry. The Manor is so large and the hallways so similar, he could be lost of hours.

Having convinced himself without fully thinking it through, Harry steps further into the room. Lucius and Narcissa have their heads bent over their plates, still engaged in conversation. Harry doesn't know or care for the etiquette, so he simply dives right in.

“Excuse me, I'm sorry to interrupt—”

Except Harry isn't sorry, because he hasn't interrupted. Lucius and Narcissa simply carry on talking as if Harry isn't there.

“I'm sorry—Hello?” Harry tries again and is again ignored. He can't help but say what he's thinking out loud. “Well that's just rude.” It makes no difference.

Harry takes a further step forward with the idea of perhaps tapping one of them on the shoulder when he actually starts registering what they are talking about.

“Of course once Draco is married he can focus on his career,” says Lucius before lifting his fork to his mouth.

“But what about children? He'll have at least three.” Narcissa points this out as if it's a foregone conclusion.

“He can work while his wife stays home and raises the children. It worked for us.” Lucius' words seem to appease Narcissa.

“The young Greengrass girl is very eligible, and her father has suggested that he is amenable to a union.” As she speaks Narcissa picks up her napkin and dabs at a non-existent morsel on her lower lip.

“Of course, the Greengrasses are a fine family and Astoria is a respectable young witch. But Draco's work and his contacts are of equal importance. He could start off in a respected and significant job at the Ministry and work his way to the top.”

“You mean schmooze his way to the top?”

“Don't make it sound so undignified, Narcissa. Knowing who to get close to and how to do it is hard work, even if not the type of work many people choose to undertake.”

As the discussion continues, Harry wants to shout out, to protest—Draco won't marry the young Greengrass girl, because he's with Harry. But Harry is stopped short by the sudden possibility of Draco doing both. Although Harry talks about his friends and his job, Draco rarely does. Really, Harry has only a vague idea of what Draco does when they aren't together. He could very well be courting the young Greengrass harpy in his spare time.

Harry refrains from verbalising his protest, but finds himself stepping closer to the table once again. Harry's thoughts linger on images of Draco sitting across from a fancy witch Harry has never seen in fancy wizarding restaurants he would never go to with Harry. These thoughts make Harry's eyes wander, unseeing, so focused on the fears in his mind.

The thoughts vanish quickly when his eyes find and focus on something far, far worse. In the centre of the table, on a large silver platter surrounded by green leaves and vegetables is Draco. His eyes are closed and his face is almost peaceful-looking. The scene would perhaps be merely odd, were it not for the fact that Draco lacks a body and the top of his skull. A trickle of blood can be seen escaping from beneath the green leaves and Harry has to swallow back vomit.

Harry shakes his head no, but even as he does, Lucius and Narcissa do not stop eating—their knives and forks once again return to Draco, dipping inside his exposed head. They come away with a small amount of soft-looking pink matter on the end of their forks and this time Harry has to clamp a hand to his mouth to prevent his regurgitation. He looks again at Draco's face, continuing to shake his own head back and forth, taking his hand along with it.

When Draco's eyes snap open and stare at him hard, Harry can't hold back the gasp that escapes from his mouth, muffled by his hand. His hand drops as he utters a clear and desperate, “Draco.”

His hand wavers, as if wanting to reach out, but Harry is unsure what he would be reaching for. Before he can do anything, Draco's mouth drops open and Harry stumbles forward the short distance to the edge of the table, heedless of Draco's cannibalistic parents.

He says, “Draco,” again, in lieu of knowing what else to do. In response Draco's mouth begins to open and close, but no sound comes out. Draco's eyes bore into Harry, but Harry has no idea what he's demanding. Harry's instincts are telling him to reach for his wand—a wand he doesn't have. He wants to cast the strongest healing spells he knows, he wants to do something. But at the same time, he knows this is impossible. As much as magic can do, it can't keep Draco alive in this state.

And yet.

When Draco's mouth snaps shut and does not reopen, Harry feels his heart drop; he didn't know desperation could go this far. Slowly, Draco's eyes tear themselves away from Harry. They move steadily until they are looking to the right and Harry has no choice but to follow the gaze.

What Harry sees causes the blood in his veins to go cold. At the back of his mind Harry is conscious of the sound of knives and forks continuing to be used behind him, but all he can focus on is the wall, and that it is covered in small lumps of soft pink that he knows are parts of Draco's brain.

Scrawled across the pristine walls of the dining room in fresh blood is one word.

Harry

Standing, transfixed, Harry follows the curves and points of the writing. He's seen his name written in this hand before, though never in blood. His eyes follow the tail of Draco's Y, how it curls back under itself and goes on... and on. It draws Harry's attention across to the other side of the wall, to another door.

Harry is fearful of leaving, but he doesn't know what can be done. Draco's eyes stare hard to the right—towards the word, towards the door.

Harry's heart beats hard in his chest as he runs for the door.

»«

Banging the door closed behind him Harry leans against it. The distance he ran was short, but he is panting. He doesn't know what just happened or what kind of hell he has found himself in. Though perhaps not hell, but spell.

If Harry is not dreaming, but the things he's seeing are real, what's happening has to be because of magic—dark magic. But who would do something like this, and what even is it they've done? If it is magic, does that mean Draco really is in there, having his brains eaten? Harry whirls around and pulls at the door, ready to do something—anything—but the door won't open. He stops, takes a deep breath and thinks. As dark as magic can get, it can't do what Harry saw in there. It must be some kind of magic that causes horrific hallucinations.

In the face of Harry's inability to do anything, the silence of the hallway is oppressive. He rests his head on the door, helpless. Then the silence is broken by a whisper. It is quiet and gone quickly as though in a breeze, but Harry spins around to look for its source. He is faced only with an empty hallway, stretching out to his left and his right.

“Hello?”

There is no response, but Harry's catches movement out of the corner of his eye. He turns swiftly to the right but sees nothing—no one.

“Draco?” he tries again, desperate for a shred of hope.

Harry is rewarded with more movement—this time a distinct flash of blond—in the painting opposite him and to the right. It is a scenic painting, a peaceful view of a country lane. He doesn't know how Draco would be in a painting, but currently that prospect seems better than what he's seen in the last room.

“Draco, is that—” Harry cuts himself off as the flash of blond dashes out from behind a tree and disappears into the frame. Harry's eyes snap to the next picture along the wall, waiting to see the blond head appear. Seconds pass, perhaps a minute, but Harry sees nothing.

Pushing himself off and away from the door, Harry moves closer to the paintings across the hall. The one Draco—what Harry thinks was Draco—should have appeared in shows a group of portly men sitting at a table in a decadent-looking parlour drinking wine from large glasses. As Harry approaches they raise their glasses amiably at him before turning back to each other. If Draco didn't run into this painting, he must have run into another painting connected to the country lane, but hung elsewhere.

A quick glance up and down the hall proves pointless—it seems to stretch forever in both directions. The way portraits can move between paintings, Draco might not even be in a canvas at the Manor any more. Harry closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He shakes his head, as much at himself as at his thoughts—that kind of defeatist attitude is useless. Either he will find Draco and figure out what's happened to them or he won't. Either way he has to try.

Choosing to continue in the direction Draco ran, Harry takes a step forward. Then he takes another. And another. Being in motion helps; he's moving forward, even if he's not yet making progress.

Minutes pass. Harry tries not to get frustrated. At least, Harry thinks it's only minutes. He's passed dozens of paintings, with no flash of blond in sight. He keeps his eyes open so fiercely they hurt, but he needs to keep looking.

As his eyes get heavier, even Harry's determination can't keep them open. He pauses, leaning back between two paintings to close his eyes for just a minute. It's long enough, and he regrets it the second he hears the whisper. Again it is so soft and it would be easy to dismiss or decide there was no sound at all, but Harry is sure he hears it. His eyes fly open as he scans the paintings in front of him. Portraits sleep, cows graze and trees gently sway in a light wind, but there is no flash of blond.

Harry sighs. “Draco.” His voice is a whine, and he hates the weakness in it.

The sound of his whine is, however, louder than the whisper, and it disturbs one of the sleeping portraits.

“What's all the racket?” The portrait that speaks is an old man with a large, grey moustache that lays on an diagonal as his frowns.

Stepping close to the portrait, Harry reads the name plate at the bottom of the frame: Algernon Bexius Malfoy.

“It was me.” Harry directs his attention to the face in the portrait. “I'm looking for Draco, have you seen him?” He doesn't want to sound panicked, but Harry knows he does.

“Who the devil are you?” Algernon lifts a pipe to his mouth and lights it with an oil match.

“I'm Harry, but that's not important. Do you know where Draco is?”

“Who the devil is Draco?” With a puff on his pipe, Algernon sends curls of painted smoke up his canvas. He seems to not be grasping the urgency of the situation.

“Tall, blond, sarcastic bastard. About as obtuse as yourself.”

Algernon sniffs and lifts his head a little higher. “Never heard of him.”

With gritted teeth Harry makes a mental note to try not to insult the people he's asking for help.

“Draco Malfoy—he's your relative, great great grandson or second cousin once removed or something.”

“The Malfoy name stretches magnificently across Europe, I can't be expected to know all of them. Especially the new generations.”

“He lives here—you must have seen him. No doubt he struts around like he owns the place—” Harry takes a moment to picture it before shrugging “—which he does.”

Now Algernon is staring at Harry with a small frown. “No, sorry. Doesn't ring any bells.”

“How can you not know him?” Harry's stomach turns hard and heavy, and he knows this isn't right.

Without waiting for an answer, he turns and continues walking. When he catches sight of a flash of blond up ahead, he starts to run. “Draco! Draco!

Portraits rouse and voices speak up from either side of him, but Harry doesn't care. What he catches of their words only make him run faster and shout louder.

“Never even bloody heard of—”

“—don't know why he's—”

“—the hell is this Draco?”

Blocking out the voices, Harry focuses on the flashes of blond he sees dashing through paintings, always two or three ahead of him.

Harry doesn't stop, but neither does the hallway. As much as he runs, Harry never seems to make it any closer to the end. It stretches on and on, the lights on the walls between the painting seeming to grow dimmer and dimmer. Harry tries to ignore the fact that he hasn't seen a door since the last one he walked through, and keeps running.

Even above his heavy breathing Harry hears it. Another small whisper. Harry stops dead in his tracks, turning his head to hear more clearly down the corridor. He's rewarded with another whisper, this time behind him.

He takes a few steps backwards, treading quietly and breathing slowly. “Draco?” he whispers just as softly.

A loud creaking makes Harry jump and twist to his right in search of the source. He sees a dark, simple painting with a stark white rectangle where a door stands open. The details of the art are so fine it could have been drawn with a pen. Close horizontal lines make up the walls, while the door is a cross hatch of diagonals. Harry has no chance to assess the rest of the painting because the blankness of the door frame is filled and a scribbled shadow falls across the wood panelled floor of the room.

Draco stands in a long black coat, his hair a bold white against the darkness of the room as he steps inside.

“Draco...” Harry trails off, relieved but still worried.

Other than a quick, impassive glance towards Harry, Draco doesn't respond. He walks into the middle of the room, which Harry now sees is empty apart from a full-length mirror. Draco stops in front of the mirror and stares into it.

“Draco, what are you doing?” Harry's question hangs in the air unanswered as Draco continues to gaze into the mirror. He wants to make a joke about Draco's vanity, but the lost and haunted look in Draco's face prevents him. Instead he asks, “What's going on?” though he doesn't expect an answer.

Time passes in silence and Harry draws close to the painting, planting his hands to the wall either side. He can't take his eyes off of Draco. Slowly Draco's head drops and he lifts his hands, palms up, and stares at them. Harry doesn't know what's going on until Draco stretches out a hand towards the mirror. He touches the glass, but there is no hand to meet it on the other side.

Harry takes in the blank surface of the mirror—the space where Draco's reflection should be. Even as Draco steps right up against the mirror, the glass remains stubbornly unreflective. Harry instinctively does the same, reaching out a hand and stepping right up against the canvas.

Almost as though in response, Draco draws away from the mirror. He backs up until his back hits a wall. He leans his head back and closes his eyes. Harry wishes he could climb inside the painting, wishes he could be with Draco, wishes he could figure out what the hell is happening to them.

With his face so close to the painting, Harry sees clearly when a tear falls from Draco's eye and slips down his cheek. The shock Harry suddenly feels has nothing to do with seeing Draco cry, and everything to do with the bright streak of red against the depressing blackness of the painting—against Draco's face.

While Harry can do nothing but watch, more streaks of red appear. From Draco's eyes, the corners of his mouth, his ear, his fingernails. The red and black become a blur as Harry shakes his head, helpless. More red paint—more blood—trails out from under Draco's shirt, the hems of his trousers, the roots of his hair.

Soon Draco is covered in blood, and still he remains standing, leaning against the wall. He is a slash off bright red in the dark, empty room.

“Draco...” Harry whispers it, afraid he won't be heard.

Instantly, Draco's bloody eyelids snap open and his eyes fix on Harry. Draco's head tilts to the left as though in contemplation.

Keeping his voice to a whisper, Harry is desperate for some kind of acknowledgement. “Draco, please.”

Draco's lips part, but he remains silent. His mouth stands open, his eyes still boring into Harry's. Gradually, his lips close and his gaze turns back to the mirror.

“No, Draco, talk to me.” With nothing else he can do, Harry gasps the edge of the frame and shakes the whole painting once. “Talk to me!”

The motion causes Draco to stumble, and he rights himself as he moves back into the room. He walks steadily towards the mirror. When he reaches it, he raises his hands to the glass, leaving bloody smears across the surface.

There is still no reflection.

Without warning, Draco throws back an arm and brings his fist crashing down at the mirror. Instinctively Harry raises an arm to his face to shield himself from broken glass that would never be able to reach him.

Lowering his arm, he quickly looks back at the painting. There are broken shards of bloody glass scattered across the wood panelled floor. Draco is gone. What Harry can't take his eyes off, however, is the mirror. Despite the broken glass, the mirror is intact. Across the surface are three blood-red hand-painted lines. Together they make one letter.

I

As he stares at Draco's second message, Harry hears the click and a creak of a door. It is louder and closer than the door in the painting and Harry drags his eyes away to find it. Two portraits along on the same side of the hallway a door stands open.

The door was not there before. Harry moves steadily towards it and sees nothing but blackness on the other side. Without pausing he walks determinedly through to whatever awaits him on the other side.

»«

Once through the door falls shut behind Harry with a long creak and he is left in darkness. With thoughts of nothing but Draco, he takes a further step forward.

Gradually, the darkness fades into light. Harry finds himself in a study, the walls lined with books and a large mahogany desk dominating the far side of the room. Lucius sits behind the desk and Harry doesn't even think before he is charging over to him.

“Where is Draco? What have you done?” As he says it, Harry realises it makes sense. Lucius must have found out about him and Draco somehow and now he is punishing Draco, holding him here in this hellish place. Harry doesn't have to peruse the shelves in this room to know they will be full of books about dark magic.

Instead of standing up, level with Harry, Lucius remains seated. Rather than denying the accusation or defending his actions, Lucius stays silent, eyes on the book open in front of him. Instead of acknowledging Harry in any way, Lucius ignores him completely.

“Lucius, you son of a—” Harry bites his lower lip to refrain from finishing his sentence; Draco always complains that the slur is more insulting to his grandmother than to his father. “What that fuck have you done?”

“Draco.”

“Yes, Draco.” His voice is hard but he is relieved to finally have a response. Harry calms down a fraction, sure he will now be able to fix whatever has happened. Or at least, make Lucius fix whatever he has done.

“Come in, take a seat.” Lucius motions with a hand to the chair opposite his desk.

Harry frowns, a feeling in his gut telling him this isn't right; he's already in Lucius' study. A noise makes his turn around and he sees a small figure standing in the doorway.

“Draco?” His voice is a whisper as Harry takes a step forward.

Draco moves forward, past Harry, and sits in one of the chairs opposite the desk. The seat dwarfs him—Draco must only be about six years old. Without even thinking, Harry in on his knees in front of Draco and he can't help but want to reach out and touch him. He refrains, while Draco's young and open eyes look straight through him.

“The Malfoys are an important family, Draco. Not only as part of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, but to the entire wizarding world. As the Malfoy son and heir this makes you important.”

As Lucius speaks, Harry sees Draco draw up and hold himself a little higher. It both saddens him and makes him smile. Draco's pride is such a part of him, but if his indoctrination started at so young an age, Harry can only hate Lucius all the more.

“Our importance brings with it certain privileges, but also responsibilities. We can work in certain ways, rub shoulders with certain people, but we can't be seen to be working outside the system. This might not mean much to you yet, but I will guide you, teach you, and raise you to be the kind of man the Malfoy family needs.

“We and the other members of the Sacred Twenty-Eight are the strongest and last to uphold pureblood wizarding traditions. It is our duty to continue, in all ways we can, our way of living, our values and our place in society. Do you understand, Draco?”

“Yes, Father.”

Draco's young voice, the way he so obviously idolises his father, is painful. Harry grips the arms of Draco's chair, staring hard at his boyish face and willing him to see: to see Harry, to see how wrong Lucius is, to see how much better he can be. Instead, it is Harry's eyes that widen at what he begins to see.

As Lucius continues to talk, about blood purity, about the place of mudbloods, about his hateful, twisted, selfish agenda, Draco begins to grow. At first into the young boy Harry met in Madam Malkin's and snubbed on his first day of Hogwarts. Then into the young man he grew into at Hogwarts, handsome, but sour and entitled. Then into the man Harry now knows, still handsome, but haunted and closed off. But Draco's changes don't stop there.

Instead of growing older, Draco's appearance begins to change in other, more drastic ways. His hair recedes until he is bald. Instead of his classic pale white, his skin turns greyish and translucent. Draco's hands stretch out, becoming long and skeletal. The final piece of the transformation occurs when Draco's nose disappears, leaving instead two thin lines in his face.

Behind Harry, Lucius says, “You will make me very proud, Draco.”

Harry backs away slowly, not capable of much more than shaking his head. That can't be Draco. When his legs hit the desk behind him, Harry finds his voice.

"This isn't you, Draco. This isn't what you became."

Draco seems to hear him, turning his head slightly before looking down. Harry follows his gaze to see that Draco's palms are covered in blood. His hands begin to tremble, causing droplets of fresh blood to form and fall to the floor. Draco wipes his hands on his chest, down his thighs. He turns his palms up and though his clothes are streaked, Draco still has blood on his hands.

Harry looks back in time to see Draco's head snap up sharply and fix his eyes on Harry. Although he looks like Voldemort, Harry can see Draco's grey eyes looking back at him from that face.

"Draco, you're nothing like him. You are nothing like what your father tried to make you."

Draco shakes his head and Harry wonders if it is in disagreement, denial, dismissal or dismay. Whichever it is, Harry can't stand the pain he sees in Draco's eyes. Draco looks back down at his hands and balls them into fists, blood oozing out from between his knuckles and running down his wrists. When Draco moves forward, past Harry and towards the desk—towards Lucius—Harry can't stand to watch any further. He closes his eyes against the anguish at his own helplessness, at seeing Draco trapped inside Voldemort's body.

Harry can feel a change in the room. There is a movement and an ominous low squeak before everything seems to stop. When he opens his eyes both Draco and Lucius are gone. Harry turns and sees finger marks across the mahogany desk. Glistening darkly against the wood in the lamplight is another bloody word.

need

Harry grips the edge of the desk, feeling his fingertips go numb and the urge to scream in his chest. He turns and runs at the door. He slams against it, shouting for it to open, about his need to find Draco, to find out what Draco needs.

Mid-shout the door suddenly disappears and Harry falls forward into whatever awaits him on the other side.

»«

Crashing down to a hard surface on his hands and knees, Harry cries out in anticipation of pain that doesn't materialise. The cold and heavy floor beneath Harry is tiled and he recognises it as the entrance hall. As Harry slowly gets up, he takes a sharp breath and holds it as he hears footsteps approach from behind him.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

Harry turns around quickly at that voice, at that tone. "Draco?"

“Yes, and you'll be bloody grateful it is, fuck knows what would have happened if my father had found you, what would you have said?”

“Hello.”

“Politeness will only get you so far with my father, Harry.”

“No, Draco—hello.” Harry takes a second to soak in the sight of Draco, just as he'd been when they were out to dinner, when they Apparated back to Draco's room, when they were fucking. It's instinct and relief when Harry takes two steps forward and throws his arms around Draco. “It's really you?”

“Of course it is, what the hell are you on about?” Draco's arms are inserted between them and pushing Harry away, but Harry barely notices.

“We need to get out of here,” Harry says without preamble.

“You do, that's for sure. Apparate from here, quickly, and I'll meet you later.”

“No, you need to come too. And I can't; I don't have my wand.”

“Merlin, you're a fucking idiot, do you know that?” Draco's voice is laced with barely controlled contempt.

“Wh—what?” Harry rocks back on his heels in shock. As brash as Draco can be, he hasn't spoken to Harry this way since school, since the war, and certainly not since they've been together. “Are you okay? Did I—?”

“I'm fine,” Draco cuts Harry off, but gives him his patented indulgent smile, “just stop pissing about, Harry.”

“I'm not, something's going on, I think—” Harry thinks 'your father', but doesn't want to say it “—someone's cast some kind of spell, trapped me—trapped us. Crazy things are happening and it's not safe.”

“Then find your wand and leave, we're in agreement that you being here isn't safe.”

“Draco, please, come with me; you're not safe here either.” Harry knows he's starting to sound desperate, but he doesn't care. He is desperate.

“No, you're the only one who's very much not safe, if my father decides to take a stroll down here.” Draco's voice is clipped and verging on angry.

“But—”

“Can't you take a hint?” snaps Draco. “You always have been pig headed, but turns out you're pig ignorant, too.” Draco moves away from Harry, putting exasperated hands on his hips. “Being Harry Potter won't help you around here. Quite the opposite.” Draco affects a casual air as he speaks, but Harry can hear the annoyance in Draco's words.

“Draco, why are you being like this?”

“Like what?” Draco steps forward, moving close to Harry and reaching out to slide his hands down Harry's arms. “Look, Harry, I'm just worried about you.”

“And I'm worried about you.”

“Well don't be, for fuck's sake.” In a second the anger is back and Draco turns away. “Stop making yourself the hero. This is my house and my family, I don't need rescuing from it.”

“It's more than that,” Harry tries to explain as a shiver of nervousness passes down his spine. “There's dark magic going on here.”

Draco turns narrowed eyes on Harry. “No, there isn't. This isn't the war any more, Malfoys aren't evil any more.”

“That's not what I mean.” And it's not exactly what Harry means, because he only thinks Lucius is evil. “I don't know what exactly is going on or who is responsible, but we're both in danger. Please, Draco, just come with me.”

Draco's head is already shaking by the time he replies. “You don't get to tell me what to do, Potter.” He looks exaggeratedly around the entrance hall. “I see no danger—” Draco's eyes fall back on Harry as he says, “—only a raving self-important tosser.”

“Draco...” Harry can't hide the shock and hurt in his voice, and he's not sure he wants to.

“What do you expect from me? I spent my youth hating you, Potter. That doesn't go away.”

“I don't hate you,” Harry says, somewhat redundantly—he's not been the one throwing insults and getting pissed off here.

A laugh escapes Draco. “We'll get to that later. This is about my feelings for you.”

“You still hate me?” Harry frowns, hating that he needs to ask the question, not sure if he wants to hear the answer right this second.

“Of course I don't.” Draco's voice is low, soothing, as though he hadn't believed Harry could doubt him. Then he's scowling. “Except of course I do,” he adds, with a hard, bitter tone.

“Draco...” The shiver passes down Harry's spine again, and this time it leaves him cold. “What's going on?” He looks around, expecting Lucius to step out from the shadows or doors to start banging closed. He can't help but assume there will be blood. Instead, everything still looks normal.

“We are going on. The person I thought I hated most in the world is now the person I love fucking most in the world. That's a little weird, isn't it?” Draco's voice has taken on a hateful, condescending lilt and Harry can't stand it. “Can those emotions co-exist? Do I hate you or do I love fucking you?”

The words hurt, and make Harry acutely aware of his own feelings. But that voice riles Harry just enough to snap back, “Maybe you hate the fact that you love me.”

Anger flashes in Draco's eyes, but it's more than that, it's fire and longing. “Don't you fucking dare, you—”

Draco cuts himself off by crashing his lips against Harry's. The kiss is heated, starting deep and slow. Within seconds it becomes a battle, with as much teeth as tongue. It's long and perfect and...

Harry's eyes snap open as his lips fall limp against Draco's. Draco remains standing close, breathing heavily against Harry's mouth. When Draco takes a step back Harry can see his hand, covered in blood and holding a knife. Harry looks down to see his own hands pressed instinctively against his stomach. He's aware there should be pain, but it's not yet registering with his brain. He pulls his hands away to find his hands and stomach dripping with blood. Slowly, Harry looks up at Draco, who is gradually backing away.

“Draco...”

Draco looks up instantly, conflict and anguish clear on his face. He opens his mouth to speak, but now has nothing to say. His fingers become slack and the knife falls from his hand. As it clatters to the floor, Draco turns and runs away.

Without even considering it, Harry takes a step forward to follow. His legs wobble, suddenly unable to bear his weight, and he falls to his knees. He lands in front of Draco's dropped knife, and sees that a finger has been run through his own blood to create three letters.

you

As Harry reads the word Draco has left him, the empty numbness in his abdomen suddenly disappears. Looking down, his t-shirt and hands are stained with dry blood, but when Harry lifts the material, his stomach is smooth and whole. It's as though the stab wound had never been there.

More determined than ever to figure out what the hell is going on, Harry gets up, and runs in the direction Draco escaped in... straight into another door.

»«

As strained and bruised as his fists are becoming from banging on closed doors to demand entrance, Harry doesn't stop for a second. It's when he hears music and laugher emanating from the other side that he hesitates. Instinctively he takes a step back in surprise. Harry reaches out and grasps the handle. The door swings open freely. Harry manages to stop himself taking a second step backwards at the shock of what he sees.

On the other side of the door is a large room full of people dancing, drinking and talking. The music is light and jaunty, keeping the mood of the room high and pleasant. Harry can't help but notice there are people on platforms dotted around the room—a clown juggling, a man pulling a white rabbit from a top hat, a contortionist with their head and arms looking out from between their legs. A closer inspection reveals everyone to be wearing masks. It's a masquerade party and not at all what Harry has come to expect from the torment he hasn't been able to get away from.

What's happening no longer feels like dark magic—it feels like a puzzle. Draco has always been an enigma to Harry, but this is an enigma Harry is determined to solve. The room is bright and the lively mood is infectious. Harry feels the twitch of a smile at the corner of his mouth, but it is curtailed when he catches sight of a flash of blond across the other side of the room.

Regardless of the upbeat feel of the room, he knows Draco needs him, and Harry dashes inside. He dives into the crowd, searching for Draco. He elbows his ways carelessly through the mass of people, but none of them stop to berate him or pick a fight. The bodies surrounding him carry on dancing, laughing and having a ball. Masked faces flash by him, elaborate and colourful with all sorts of moulded expressions. Relentless, Harry pushes past them, focused only on finding Draco. As determined as Harry is, his strength and persistence can only take him so far. The crowd is so large and seems to move as one being, trapping Harry, bustling him along and forcing him to move with its motion. Before Harry realises what is happening, he is all turned around, not knowing which direction he came from nor which direction he saw Draco in.

Disorientated, Harry moves his head back and forth, constantly searching as he continues to be jostled and manipulated, trapped in the crowd. When he finally catches sight of a blond head in the distance Harry fights desperately to break free. Draco has told him in his own blood stained words that he needs Harry, and now Harry needs to get to him.

Though he fights fruitlessly against the mass of bodies surrounding him, Harry manages to re-orientate himself and keeps sight of Draco across the room. Draco is with a group of people, chatting and laughing like everyone else in the room. Harry twists and turns to get glimpses of Draco, and though Harry is sure it is him—the blond hair, the clothes, the straight-backed stance—Draco seems to be wearing a different mask each time Harry's eyes pin him over the crowd. He wears a mask showing a bright, laughing, happy face, then Harry is caught up and spun around by a dancer, and when he spots Draco again his mask is dark red and shows ugly, angry features. After tripping on someone's ankle, Harry looks up to see Draco wearing a multicoloured and elaborately decorated mask with a grossly exaggerated smile. One shove in another direction and when Harry looks back a plain white and utterly emotionless mask adorns Draco's face.

A newly familiar fear coils in Harry's chest as Draco's masks begin to change more rapidly, and Harry moves wildly amongst the crowd, becoming more frantic. He shoves and punches his way through until he begins making progress towards Draco. Finally, Harry pulls himself from the mass of bodies to find Draco standing alone, as though he'd been waiting for him. Now Draco's mask is eerily similar to Draco's own face. The only striking differences are the obvious fake plastic moulding of the features and the addition of horns curling upwards from the forehead.

“Draco?” Harry speaks tentatively, no longer convinced this is Draco any more. He wonders if this is actually someone wearing a Draco mask, while Draco has slipped away with the crowd, lost to Harry again.

But Draco turns at his name, fixing Harry with confused grey eyes from beneath his mask. As Harry watches, Draco's hands reach up and grip the mask, one curling around the jaw, the other grasping a horn. As he pulls the mask begins to move, but beneath it Draco begins to scream. Harry takes two swift steps forward before freezing at what is happening. Beneath the mask, skin and muscles and blood stretch as they too come away from Draco's face. As much as Draco screams, his hands don't even pause as they continue to pull the mask away, along with Draco's real face beneath it.

The echo of Draco's scream reverberates around the large room and when it fades away Harry belatedly realises the music has stopped and they are standing in silence. Across from Harry a mass of bloody pulp in the vaguely discernible shape of a face looks at him with Draco's wild grey eyes staring out from it. Harry feels instinctual repulsion, but on some logical level he knows this isn't real; that this isn't really happening. Harry doesn't need to snatch Draco's wand and hastily start casting healing spells, but he isn't sure what he does need to do. Without thinking, he takes a step closer.

“Draco...”

He stands in front of Draco, who looks back at him, lost and waiting. Instinctively Harry reaches a hand up, to those eyes—to the bloody face looking back at him. Without consent, his hand pauses in mid air and his fingers twitch. The hesitation last for a fraction of a second, but Draco is roughly pushing him away with two hands to the chest before Harry can recover his error.

Draco's hands don't hesitate as they reach up to cover his face in shame. Harry can see blood ooze out between Draco's fingers before he turns and runs. As Draco reaches out to push open a nearby door and disappears through it, the masquerade ball joins the lost music and fades instantly away.

Harry doesn't stop to wonder about the large, empty room he now stands in. Instead, he is focused on the door Draco used to leave it. On the wood is another blood-smeared word.

to

Shaking his head to dismiss the image of a faceless Draco from his mind, he grits his teeth. With no other option, he strides forward towards the door.

»«

This time Harry only bangs his fists on the door a few times, in an almost perfunctory way, before he tries the door handle and is relieved when it turns easily. He pushes the door open, almost sensing Draco on the other side. The room beyond the door is dark, but a dim light appears, and the room itself seems to materialise the moment Harry steps inside.

Harry recognises it immediately. It's a bedroom—Draco's bedroom. It looks almost exactly the same as when he left it, what feels like hours ago. The comfy wrap around chair by the fireplace, the full-length mirror in the corner, and even the dressing gown thrown over the chest at the end of the bed.

The door to the en suite across the room is open and from it Harry can hear sounds of someone moving around and water pouring. The light in the room is low, but it is enough to make out the shape of a figure on the bed. Unsure but more than curious, Harry takes a couple more steps inside.

“Draco?”

The noises in the bathroom stop at the name and after a few seconds Draco steps out into the bedroom. Instead of looking over at Harry, Draco's gaze falls to the figure on the bed.

“Did you want something, Harry?”

Harry ignores the shape on the bed. He's been wandering from one horrendous scene to the next long enough now to know he doesn't want to see whatever it is. Instead he concentrates on finding a way out. “Draco, I thought you wanted something—needed something?”

“I do.” Draco's voice is low and hard. He tips his head forward, focusing more intently on whatever is on the bed.

“Tell me what it is and I'll do it.” Harry hopes he can finish this, hopes Draco will tell him so they can get out of here. “Draco, I'll do whatever you need me to.”

Slowly, Draco shakes his head. When he speaks, it is with a barely controlled anger. “No.”

Despite Draco's hostility, Harry wants to walk over to him, to reach out and touch him, reassure him. But Draco won't even look at him. They're talking, but it feels like Harry might as well not be here. “Draco, please...”

“What if this is what I need?” Draco thrusts out his arms, palms up, encompassing the bed, the room, the situation. Still, though, Harry doesn't feel included.

“And what exactly is this?” Harry asks. “This nightmare? These mind games?”

“This is real, Harry.” Draco spits out his words. “I'm not playing games.”

You did this?”

“Who else?” Draco's ire is tinged with shock and he scowls down at the figure on the bed, still not even glancing at Harry.

“But why?”

“Because I want you.” Draco advances until he's standing at the very foot of the bed. “Because this is the only way I can have you.” Draco's words are laced with darkness and the figure on the bed moves, sliding back on the mattress away from Draco.

Unnerved by whatever is happening, Harry wants to get Draco away from the thing on the bed. He steps closer as he says, “I want you too, Draco, but not like this. Let's get out of here. Come with me and—”

“Don't move,” snaps Draco, and both Harry and the shape on the bed become still. Draco shakes his head. “You hate me, Harry. You would never want me.” Draco's voice is low and fierce. “I am going to have to take you.”

Draco puts a knee on the bed and leans towards the figure.

“Draco...” Harry knows, now, that he has overlooked something huge. That's he's been reading the entire situation wrong. It isn't what's on the bed that Harry should have been worried about. As calmly as he can Harry asks, “Who is that?”

Harry takes two steps towards the bed and the shape laying there becomes discernible in the dim light. The arms are stretched up towards the headboard while the legs are held wide apart. The figure is familiar and Harry's suddenly mounting suspicions are confirmed. The clothes, the shape of the torso, and even the messy black hair... It is Harry, bound to the bed.

Tearing his eyes away, Harry looks up at Draco, whose temper slips as he looks down at the Harry on the bed, suddenly wary.

“What do you mean, who?” He asks the Harry beneath him.

Draco's eyes travel down the other Harry's face in uncertainty before something in them changes. They become softer, more aware. His eyes flit off to the side and Harry gets the impression that Draco is finally present, here, with him.

The confusion slips from Draco's face and he looks carefully blank. Slowly, he turns his head, looking up at Harry for the first time since he entered the room. Draco's breath instantly picks up its pace. He now seems oblivious to the Harry on the bed that he previously couldn't take his eyes off of. His attention is fixed solely on Harry as his head moves from side to side. He stands up and backs away, putting the bed between them. His eyes dart around, as though looking for something.

“This isn't happening, this can't happen.” Draco is mumbling, but he sounds more like his usual self and Harry feels a thread of relief weave through his fear. “You're real and you shouldn't be here.” Although Draco seems to be talking to himself, it is clear he is talking about Harry. He continues to back away, until he is standing just inside the en suite. “But if you're really here, that means I—”

“What?” Harry moves cautiously around the bed, following Draco but not wanting to scare him. “Draco, what? Tell me.”

Draco's eyes snap up to Harry's. “Harry, I need you to—”

Before he can finish, the bathroom door slams shut, cutting Draco off.

Instantly Harry rushes forward. He wastes no time with his fists and goes straight for the handle, he doesn't even question it; he knows it will open. It does. He violently pushes open the door only a second or two after it has slammed shut, but instead of finding Draco, he finds the room covered in blood. The bath is full, blood brimming over the edge. The toilet, floor and sink are soaked in it. The shower curtain has been pulled half off its rail, dangling into the bloody bath.

But what Harry's eyes are drawn to is the shock of white tile that can be seen beneath the clear, purposeful strokes through the blood. Those shapes of white tile spell out Draco's final words.

wake up

»«

Harry gasps awake, lifting his head and shoulders from the bed as his eyes snap open. He is looking up at the familiar ceiling, feels the smooth sheets and firm mattress beneath him. Though his heart is racing, he already knows something is different. As his mind catches up with him, he realises what it is. The atmosphere, inside himself as well at the world around him and the air itself—it's real. He really has been trapped inside a nightmare.

Beside him Draco is thrashing and screaming, tangled in the covers and coated in sweat. Without stopping to think, Harry turns over, reaching out to hold Draco. Harry pulls Draco close against him, a palm spread out protectively over his chest. He ignores the kicks and shoves he receives and doesn't let himself worry about the warm clamminess of Draco's skin. All Harry feels is relief, that Draco is here, safe and whole in his arms—this is real. His mouth finds Draco's ear and Harry whispers to him. He's not even sure what he's saying, he simply tries to be calm and reassuring. He wants Draco to know that Harry is there; that he's not alone.

So slowly that Harry feels like hours might have passed, Draco calms down. His limbs stop thrashing, instead giving an occasional twitch, before they become completely still. Draco's breathing evens out and his heart slows down under Harry's palm.

They lie like that for a while, Harry refusing to let Draco go. Then a hand is placed on top of his and Draco is pulling Harry's hand away. He is once again helpless as Draco rolls away. He faces Harry from only an arm's length away, but it feels further.

“You saw it all,” whispers Draco.

“All what?” Harry's voice is quiet and he reaches out a hand, but Draco doesn't take it.

“My nightmares, my fears—me.”

Harry doesn't know what to say, knows there is nothing for him to say. A silent few minutes pass before Draco speaks again.

“I haven't done that since I was small child, pulling my mum in to my nightmares to protect me from monsters.” Draco sounds disdainful and he turns, falling on to his back and gazing up at the ceiling.

“You wanted me there.” The words are out before Harry decides to say them.

“No.” Draco turns back to Harry, his face hard. “No, I did not—”

“You did. Draco, you let me in. Please don't push me away again now.”

Draco looks at Harry, and slowly his stony face soften a little, turning to a frown.

“You didn't run from the worst of me—” Draco's voice is guarded as he speaks into the darkness of the room “—you chased me.”

Risking a small smile, Harry says, “And I'll keep chasing you.”

Although he doesn't smile, Draco replies, “Okay.”