"You've been a naughty, naughty boy," Fenrir says, his voice a low growl just above menacing. "Do you know what I do with naughty boys, Malfoy?"
Draco says nothing. He stares out of the high windows, the moonlight bathing his ashen skin, the hollow of a sunken moon seeping between the clouds. If he distances himself, then things usually go better. Saying nothing is far better than saying the wrong things. In these instances, it is better to stand still than to run. It's like dealing with wild animals—don't put them on the hunt, don't become their prey, just stand still and breathe and breathe and breathe and hope to God that the animal loses interest and doesn't like its meals weak and frightened.
"Well, do you?"
Fenrir's breath is right there against his neck, right there, where Draco doesn't want it. It makes his skin crawl, like a thousand bugs are scuttling under the surface in different directions, pebbling his skin with gooseflesh in their wake. He wishes he'd taken his mother's sleeping draught now; at least his heart would be calm. There's only so many times Draco can think slow down, slow down, slow down before he realises his heart isn't listening. It's speeding so fast that he's actually getting more frightened at his body's responses than what Fenrir is threatening. What if there's something wrong with him? What if he dies, right here, with Fenrir breathing down over him? Nobody would know. Fenrir would make sure of that, for at least a few days.
"I bite them," Fenrir purrs.
Draco can't suppress the bile that rises in his throat. He wants to vomit. He wants to spill his breakfast all over the fine carpets and sob into his hands and cry for his mother like a baby. His heart hammers faster and faster—a constant thumpthumpthumpthump against all his pulse points, rattling his teeth when he clenches his jaw.
"I can taste your fear, Malfoy." Fenrir sniffs his skin, licks it with the flat of his drooling tongue. Saliva slithers down Draco's jaw and neck, spiraling beneath his shirt. "But I could taste it better if I pierced your skin with my teeth. When I bite, I can feel every pulse of fear, arousal, disgust, weakness—I bet you would deliver a full, decadent meal." Fenrir chuckles, his breath ghosting over the places where his slobber dries. "I won't even need dessert."
Fenrir places his hand on Draco's hip, slides it down between his legs and cups Draco's length, which is limp and impossibly heavy. It startles Draco into action. He whirls, does the first thing his body allows, which is to land an impromptu punch to Fenrir's nose. Draco hears the bone in Fenrir's nose crack before he hears the growl that tears from Fenrir's throat.
"Don't touch me, you mangy, revolting cur!" Draco shouts, heart in his throat and breath stilted.
Draco is fast, but not fast enough. He only makes it to the foot of his bed before Fenrir's body pins him. Together, they wrestle to the ground and when the dust settles, Draco is worse off than before with his face smashed into the fine Persian rug on the floor, his body flattened by Fenrir's hulking form. Draco wriggles and shifts and tries to scream, but his lungs are constricted from the position, and he can't make a sound. Once Fenrir notices this, he laughs and applies more direct pressure with the bone of his knee.
When he starts to see black crowding in around the edges of his vision, he settles and stills, stops kicking and trying to buck Fenrir off and just succumbs. He feels only the edge of pain against his ribs, a brief and sharp prick at his shoulder blade, and then everything is numb. He thinks, how nice it would be to sleep, to fall into dreamlessness and hope to Merlin he comes to in a world that doesn't reek of blood and degradation and fear and death. If he wakes on the other side of whatever's left out there, he is one of the lucky ones. He thinks of Professor Burbage, her corpse trapped inside Nagini's intestines, asleep, dreamless, and envies her.
Somewhere beyond, he hears a scream, a crash, and the wind comes back to him in one whoosh of pain. He can breathe again, and the darkness starts to fade, replaced by a dull ache in his spine and a hunger in his belly. Rolled over onto his back, he stares up at his mother, who cradles his face with trembling hands, and his father, who strokes his hair and looks like he's seen a ghost.
"Please don't let him bite me," Draco pleads, unable to care what he looks like or if his parents are repulsed by his weakness. He clings to them as long as he can, as long as the moment allows before Aunt Bellatrix rushes in and begins to laugh and prod and tease and poke at all the bare wounds left saltless. It sets Draco on edge to hear her, and the look on his father's face isn't helping.
"Pretty little Draco!" Bellatrix sings, her voice high-pitched in lunacy. "Look at all that blood! Oh, the Dark Lord is going to love this; such fitting punishment for such a prissy little coward."
As he stands, Draco catches sight of himself in the mirror and his insides churn. He does not look like himself. It is like the mirror image is moving when he isn't, grinning a sharp-toothed sneer with fang-like teeth and eyes that go all black in the middle. And all that blood, glistening at his shoulder, underneath which he can just make out the mark of Fenrir's bite.
It is like a nightmare, only worse, because it's real.
"We need your help, Mr Potter. My benefactors are willing to pay handsomely for your services, provided you are discreet."
Harry leans back against his dragon-hide chair, thinking. It had to be today, of all days, that an assignment of this caliber rears its ugly head. Not that Harry doesn't care—because he does, and they know he does, which is why they sought him out—but it's horrible timing, no matter how much he wants to help. He thinks of the ring in his pocket, heavy and firm against his thigh. He's been thinking about that ring all week, actually, but now it seems like a quiet, winter proposal will have to wait. Just like the warm summer proposal and the eager spring one and the lonely winter one before that.
Bad timing, he tells himself, because the truth is much harder to face. Cases clear his head.
This case is odd. It is the reason it was brought to Harry and not the other Aurors. He likes the weird cases, the unsolvable things he can puzzle through. It gives him purpose, reminds him what it's like to chase and be chased, the thrill and rush of the race and prize. This is the exact type of case he would beg Kingsley for, but for once, the case comes to him from an unknown source.
"Of course I'm available, and no, I don't want their money—this is my job—but there's one thing I don't get. Why me?" Harry asks, the question that's been on his tongue since William Barker stepped into his office. Barker is not the type of attorney to take just anybody's case, and this one doesn't exactly sit right with Harry, who shouldn't be handling these kinds of personal dilemmas anyway. He's an Auror, not a private detective to be bought and sold for the right amount of Galleons. "Who in their right mind thinks I have any experience with mental trauma?" Harry felt a little hot. He meant with other people's mental trauma. He had plenty experience with his own.
"A case of kidnapping is usually sent to someone high up in MLE."
"Kidnapping?" Harry asks, baited and hooked. Money and power, probably, that's what this case is about. "I don't have any experience with those types of cases."
"My benefactors have their reasons, Mr Potter."
Now there's a third question, because it seems Barker's dodging it at every turn, and that can't help but drive Harry a bit mad with curiosity. There's a piece of that puzzle staring him straight in the eye, and yet he can't even see it. "Who are your benefactors?"
Barker hesitates. Harry can tell he isn't prepared to lie to him, or he's a damn good liar and is working up the right excuse.
"I'll find out anyway if I take the case, won't I?" Harry asks. "What's the harm in spoiling the surprise?" He tries to grin but finds it difficult; his humour has become oddly dark these days and nobody seems to get it. Working as an Auror brings up more ghosts than he was prepared for when he took the job; humour can be a wonderful deterrent for feeling uncomfortable or grieving.
"I suppose that's true," Barkers says. He glances at the open office door.
Outside, Ron is stringing Christmas lights with Neville and Hermione. A few of the new recruits are standing by watching or hanging tinsel from the walls and branches of the small tree Hermione brought. With only a few days to Christmas, everyone seems to be in the holiday mindset already, merry and happy and somewhere beyond a place that Harry feels he can be at the moment.
To assuage Barker's worries, Harry waves his wand at the door to shut the noise and excitement out. Now they are left alone in the bitter moment together, and Barker turns his dark eyes to Harry's again.
"You understand that discretion is of the utmost—"
"I don't share my cases with anybody except my partners," Harry says. "I'm sure you and your benefactors know that, or you wouldn't have asked me."
Barker is quiet for a moment. It irks Harry, who wants to nudge the words out of him. It shouldn't be this difficult.
"Mr Lucius and Mrs Narcissa Malfoy," Barkers says.
The words catch Harry in the pit of his stomach. Of all the people he was expecting to have anything to do with this case, the Malfoys are not in his top hundred. And asking him for help? Does he even want to help them, after what he's been through at their hands? He is reminded of Lucius' trial, the Wizengamot's strange decision to let him out of Azkaban so quickly, despite Harry's detailed and adamant testimony against him. The whole thing twists his gut uncomfortably.
"Will you take the case?" Barker holds his hand out, waits.
Harry knows he wants the case even if he doesn't know why exactly, and so there's no hesitation as he stands to his feet, reaches across his desk, and shakes on it.
"Great," Barker says, retracting his hand quickly. "You're to meet Mr and Mrs Malfoy at the Manor tomorrow evening, where they will explain more to you in detail."
Harry nods and watches Barker go. He stands behind his desk for a long time, able to see the Christmas lights and tinsel from there, able to hear the laughter but he feels a bit separated from it, like something is holding him back from participating. He mentions the strangeness of the case to Ron and Hermione, but they brush it off. For some reason, Harry finds it difficult to explain it has anything to do with the Malfoys.
When it is late that night and he is sitting up in bed because he can't sleep, he holds the engagement ring up to the light and twirls it between his index and middle finger, rubs his thumb against the glittering diamonds. It's very subtle, how his heart changed one evening a long time ago and he's not sure why, but it hurts somewhere deep inside to feel the shift, like the bits that defined him until now are sorting themselves and he's lost to their methods.
Harry wonders not for the first time if he knows what he wants from life.
"He's taken our son," Narcissa says. Her tone is pleading, her voice cracking quietly as she reaches for Harry's hands and squeezes them tightly.
Harry was shown in by house-elves, sat in the strange tearoom, and though the Malfoys are kind to him, Lucius will not look him in the eye and Narcissa won't stop looking at him. Harry tried to drink his tea, but this is when Narcissa stops him with her cold, trembling fingers and pleads.
"Please, Mr Potter," she says. "He's my only son, and that monster—that monster!" Narcissa sobs, wrenches her hands back to cover her face.
"Narcissa," Lucius reprimands. It twists Harry up inside, to see Lucius again, and to hear his cold nasal tone towards a woman who saved not only his life but Harry's and Draco's in turn so many years ago.
"Who took him?" Harry asks, nudging aside his teacup to retrieve a quill and parchment from his robes. He taps the quill with his wand and watches it go to work recording their conversation.
"Fenrir," Lucius says, evenly.
"Fenrir Greyback?" Harry splutters. "I put him away two years ago, Mr Malfoy. I tied him up in Azkaban, ensured he couldn't weasel his way out. I—"
"Are you calling me a liar, Potter? Perhaps your power does not hold as much sway as you pompously assume."
Narcissa reaches out, gripping Lucius' wrist. "Lucius." The single hiss sends Lucius to his feet, scoffing. But Narcissa turns to Harry again, her eyes wide and sad. "Will you help us?"
Harry sighs. "Assuming Fenrir is out—" Harry doesn't need to look at Lucius to know he's itching to take offence, "—and he has come after Draco… That makes this a Ministry case, something that would have landed on my desk sooner or later anyway." Dark wizards and creatures doing bad things seemed to be his specialty, especially if there were mysteries tangled within the case's history.
"So you'll take it?" Narcissa presses, reaching for him again.
"Yes," Harry says, nodding one single time. "Now. Tell me everything you know. I need Draco's last known whereabouts, any strange behaviour the weeks prior to his disappearance, any friends he might have trusted to confide in, any reasons why you think it's Fenrir who's done this, and of course I'll need to see the room where Draco was taken."
"You don't believe us," Lucius spits, looking at Harry now and angry. "Do you, Potter?"
"I believe you're scared that your son is missing," Harry says, flatly, because it's the truth. "Beyond that, I'll see what the evidence tells me."
"Just because you aren't keen on my freedom from Azkaban—"
"Lucius!" Narcissa stands up sharply. The two stand looking at one another for a time, before Lucius grunts his disapproval and lumbers out of the room. Harry is both pleased and strangely affected by the limp in his gait. "I'm so sorry," Narcissa whispers, waving Harry forward. He stands, taps his quill and parchment to follow them, as she leads them out of the room and towards the stairs. "My husband is…but of course, he doesn't want to admit that he appreciates your help. We both do."
At the stairs, Harry looks at Narcissa, waiting for her to move, but for a time, neither of them do. They stand looking, and Harry thinks he sees the slight flicker of a smile at the corner of Narcissa's mouth, a few lines and wrinkles wearing it down. Up close, he can tell she has been crying longer than her makeup is fit to cover—beneath her glamours, she is still puffy-eyed and tear-tracked.
"With all due respect," Harry says, offering as much as a smile in return as he dares. "I'm not here for your husband, Mrs Malfoy."
As quick as her subtle smile was there, it vanishes. Coldly, she turns her profile to him and ascends. "Come, Mr Potter. Draco was abducted from his bedroom. You'll want to see for yourself."
The room he wakes in is cold and draughty, and the shadows jump out at him like animals. When Draco realises that he is tied up, it is too late.
The whistle that rouses his senses also prickles his fear as it carries its tune from brick to brick and between and straight to Draco's heart. Draco shivers when he hears it, Pavlovian, conditioned to be afraid of that noise, which he has heard so often just outside his bedroom window the past three months, which he heard years ago echoing through the hallways and coming closer, closer, closer until it's there and there are no shadows to save him.
"There, there, my pretty pet," Fenrir whispers, an edge to his affection. "Oh, don't be frightened. You and I are going to have a lovely time, just the two of us. No Mummy and Daddy to the rescue this time, no insanity hoarded over my head, no rules, no consequences." He grins, the flash of his teeth obscene in the pitch black dark. "Just you and me, sweet, precious boy."
Fenrir's gnarled fingers comb through his hair, smearing it over his scalp to clear any fringe from his face. Draco knows Fenrir wants to see his expressions, and that too terrifies him. He tries to block the sensation, but he's shaking fit to convulse, reminded of all the times Narcissa was a second too slow and Fenrir got his claws dug in good, of that first bite when it took both his parents to haul Fenrir's frothing form off his lean body.
"There, there, pet," Fenrir goes on, singing. "Nobody to bother us. All the time in the world to get this right."
Fenrir grabs Draco's face, his jagged, bitten nails digging into Draco’s skin and scalp to haul him close. Draco cries out, and Fenrir groans in ecstasy, sniffs Draco until his nose is pressed hard into Draco's neck. He drags his nose up Draco's jaw, his cheek, to his ear, then back down, slopping saliva on him like a feral dog that smells its dinner.
"So clean," Fenrir grunts. "So clean. Going to dirty you up, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty…"
When Fenrir gropes his arse and begins to roll Draco onto his stomach, Draco truly panics and bucks like a wild thing caught in a snare.
"Don't touch me!" Draco shouts, struggling and screaming. "Oh God, please!"
When Fenrir bites him, this time he doesn't let go. Draco's scream rips the sanity from his bones.
Lucius was right—when Harry visited Azkaban, someone else sat in Fenrir's cell, covered in mange and spelled on fur, bloody bite marks all over his body and a plea for help on his tongue. How Fenrir managed it, Harry still isn't sure, but he knows without evidence that he's had help from the inside. Someone in Azkaban helped him, and when Harry finds out who, he will be the first to drag the accomplice into the prison himself.
Seeing Draco's bedroom yields little assistance. There is blood everywhere, and most of it is Draco's, though a few spatters against the white walls belong to Fenrir. Harry grins, thinking Draco must have at least gone with a good fight. Harry can't imagine it lasted long, given the amount of blood Fenrir drained from his victim.
Beyond blood, the only evidence Harry finds are cigarette butts and peacock feathers, proof of just how long Fenrir had been watching in wait.
Harry feels partially responsible for reasons he can't properly address. He should have known about Fenrir's breakout, certainly, but beyond that, it seems unreasonable to find fault weighing him down, but it's there nonetheless as he stares at the scene of the abduction, the drag-marks on the carpet, the blood on the windowsill, the bits of Draco's hair stuck in the wet mud of the earth below.
If Draco is alive, Harry thinks it will be a miracle. He doesn't tell the Malfoys this, only because he wouldn't give up for lesser men than Draco Malfoy.
"So you don't have any leads?" Hermione asks, twisting the stem of her wine glass as she always does when something isn't sitting right with her. "It simply doesn't make sense, Harry."
They dine at Harry's flat, on Indian takeaway, curry and Elderflower. With Ron out on assignment, Hermione often finds herself with Harry, and they talk, take long walks, or just sit in relaxed silence, comfortable and content. Hermione really is his closest friend, the one who understands more about him than anybody else. He has never taken her for granted, and never will.
"He can't have simply disappeared," Hermione continues, now tapping the rim of her goblet. Harry refills it without asking. "Have you located Parkinson yet?"
"Yeah," Harry groans, refilling his own glass too, maybe a little too quickly. "Lot of help she was. Hasn't spoke with Draco in months. The only bit of good she did me was saying she heard whistling when she visited him at the Manor, and he made her swear she wasn't doing it."
"Draco's mum said Fenrir used to do that when he was bored," Harry says, tipping his glass back. "It lends credence to my theory that Fenrir had been stalking Draco for at least two months, probably since Parkinson last visited. I found enough cigarette butts and dead animal bits out there to have lasted Fenrir quite a while."
"And nobody saw him?" Hermione asks, cringing. "Strange."
"Yeah, a big hulking werewolf, freshly escaped from Azkaban—you'd think he'd have made himself more visible, made some friends."
Hermione smacks his arm. "Harry."
"Sorry," he apologises, rolling his shoulders in a stretch as he looks away. "Just…tired of this case. It feels hopeless, like Draco's already gone."
"Mmm." Hermione hums in the way that says she understands what he's not telling her. She can read between the lines better than anybody. "Been to see Ginny lately?"
"Can we not talk about that?" Harry grumbles, setting his glass down.
"You need to talk to her."
"I need to finish this case. Then, I'll talk to her."
The room is quiet for a while, as Hermione considers the best way to coerce Harry into seeing Ginny and Harry thinks up all his favourite excuses for not going. The guilt eats at his heart, so he busies himself with bringing the dishes to the sink and corking the wine.
In the kitchen, Harry hears Hermione rustling behind him. When he turns, her expression is sincere, though troubled.
"Ginny mentioned something."
Harry braces himself. If Hermione really wants to discuss this, there isn't much he can do to stop her. It's both better and worse than discussing Draco's abduction by Fenrir: both cases are hopeless, but Ginny at least has a chance of mending.
"What?" Harry presses, expectant and anxious.
"We were talking. We'd had a bit to drink. She said…" Hermione studies her shoes. "She said she didn't want to be your second choice."
Harry almost feels relieved, but it's hard to be happy with so much guilt and clutter in his gut. "I don't really fancy that either."
Hermione steps forward and takes his hands, warmly. "Harry, just talk to her. Whatever you're going through, whatever's changed, she'll understand."
Harry can't help the laugh that slides off his tongue, hollowed and full of self-doubt. The last thing he thinks Ginny will do is understand, especially if Harry doesn't really. "Can we please discuss the case now?"
For a moment, Harry's not sure if Hermione will relent, but she sighs and hops up on the kitchen counter, long legs swinging absently. "That whistling is very interesting."
Relieved to be on any subject other than his relationship with Ginny, Harry talks her through it. "I think it's about conditioning. Fenrir whistles to scare Draco."
"But nobody heard this whistling? And how did Fenrir get past the wards at Malfoy Manor, anyway?"
"I checked that, too," Harry says, frowning. "It looks like he must have been testing it for weak spots—there was a break in the wards near the gardens."
Hermione's eyes widen, and her legs stop swinging. "There's only one way to break through wards like that. He has a wand. Did he steal it from the wizard he left in his cell at Azkaban?"
"No. I checked it out—that wizard's wand was found snapped in half in the cell."
"So…either Fenrir didn't want that wand, or he didn't need it." Hermione hops off the counter and stretches as she walks out of the kitchen. "And if he didn't need it, he either already had a wand or he knew where to get one."
"No wandmaker would ever give him one," Harry says.
"Not willingly," Hermione agrees. "Did you—"
"Yeah, no wands missing from the shops, I checked."
Hermione nods. "Then he has an accomplice. There's no way he's doing all this alone. What about former Death Eaters?"
"Checking into that. So far, none of them are missing wands, and most of them are still in Azkaban." Harry hesitates on the next words, chewing them over before he blurts, "Except Lucius."
Turning to face him, Hermione quirks a delicate eyebrow. "You don't think… Harry, why would he bother? He's out of Azkaban—a stunt like this would only land him back in again."
"And just how did he get out of Azkaban?" Harry folds his arms stubbornly, shaking his head. "My gut tells me Lucius has got something to do with this."
Hermione gives him a look that speaks volumes of her disagreement. "Harry, it's his son who's missing. Why would he go through the trouble? Lucius Malfoy is a lot of things, but someone interested in killing the only heir to his name? I don't think so."
Harry sighs, runs both hands through his hair and collapses onto his couch. "Yeah, I know."
"Don't waste time chasing ghosts—get to the bottom of the important stuff. If Lucius Malfoy had anything to do with this, he'll slip up and you'll catch him."
"Trust me, I will."
As Hermione leaves, Harry mulls the facts over and over in his head, and when he's alone and sleep won't come, he sits by the window and watches the snow flake from the skies in sheets. If Malfoy is still alive, Harry does not envy his position, knowing what Fenrir will want to do with him after all these years. Harry wonders if he's made out for this case, or if his prejudice against Lucius is blinding him to obvious clues.
When he lays down to rest, he thinks of Draco, of the last time they saw one another, in the Room of Requirement with flames dashing at their robes. He thinks of Draco's arms tight around his waist and feels a cold lump form in his throat that he can't quite explain away.
Sleep lumbers away, escaping Harry until the owl pecking at his window rouses him from a light dozing.
Narcissa's owl said it was urgent, and Harry was hoping for a break in the case, but as he arrives, he doesn't see anything out of the ordinary. In fact, the only odd thing is that Lucius is not present when Narcissa takes him inside the Manor to talk. Harry can't help but wonder what Lucius is up to, if he's toying with Harry, if it's all some plot to keep him from seeing the real issues.
Is Draco even missing? Would Lucius waste his time with a pathetic attempt at revenge? Would he free Fenrir, pretend he kidnapped Draco, and guide Harry into a trap? Harry knows Hermione is right—it's not in Lucius' best interest to do any of that, but Harry's imagination runs wild.
"I received this today," Narcissa says immediately, stuffing a dirty piece of half-ripped parchment into Harry's hand.
Scrawled on the yellowed paper, in broken and childish lettering, is:
Draco is mine. Come get him or he's dead.
"That's it?" he asks, frowning. "And you've no idea where it came from? Where's the owl that delivered this?"
Narcissa hurries, gripping Harry's wrist to drag him through the hallways and into a small study, where a large, hawk-like owl is tied to the desk, gnawing its way through a magic cord around its taloned feet. She gestures Harry in.
"I had to restrain it," she says, wringing her pale hands as she steps aside. "He tried to bite me when I grabbed him—it took five house-elves to hold him, but I knew you'd want to look."
Harry takes out his wand. "Petrificus Totalus," he says, calmly, and watches the large bird go very still. Its wings are spread wide as it topples to one side, its eyes wide and glossy as Harry approaches to examine it.
The bird is twice the size of a normal owl, with talons that look like they could rip through his skin. He glances to Narcissa, thinking she's lucky not to be dead for trying to restrain the thing, and then back to the bird to inspect its feathers. Harry isn't any kind of expert, but he recognises the colouring from during Auror training in the Black Forest in Germany years ago. Harry's memory is good enough that he remembers seeing a few birds this big there, with the same dark feathers and yellow spots.
Is that where Fenrir's got Draco? If so, Hermione's right and he has an accomplice, because there's no way Fenrir just walked from the Black Forest to Malfoy Manor. Apparition is the easiest way to travel if Fenrir's got a wand, but if he has a wand, what is he doing baiting the Malfoys like it's all a game? If he wants them to come get Draco, why not just tell them when and where or just do away with them instead of the riddles?
Something isn't sitting well in Harry's stomach, but he doesn't say as much as he runs a series of spells over the bird to determine exactly where it's been. A tracking spell is the most efficient and first; it tells Harry is that the bird has flown through Germany and France. Then, a spell to find out the exact distances traveled, which pinpoints the owl's origins to Germany. Two spells and one common clue is enough for Harry, who grins at Narcissa.
"I think I know where he's got Draco, but we'll need this owl to help us get to the exact spot."
"Anything you need," Narcissa says. Harry finds it odd that she isn't smiling given the first break they've had in the case yet, but she continues to wring her hands together, so he lets it slide for anxiety.
Harry stands over the owl, points his wand, and says, "Imperio."
But Fenrir looks even more dangerous than usual, and Draco can't stop his body from trembling. He wonders if his parents will find him, if they are even trying, if anybody misses him at all. Since Voldemort's fall, Draco hasn't felt at all particularly useful, has kept to himself and tried not to stir up trouble, but now he wishes he'd taken the job at the Ministry that he wanted, that he had asked someone out on a date, that he had at the very least fucked before this ordeal. He knows without a doubt that he is going to die, lying beneath Fenrir's body, bitten and ripped to shreds, and nobody will find him for weeks.
The small sob Draco lets out alerts Fenrir to his presence as the sun begins to sink behind the black-dark treetops. Fenrir stops his pacing immediately and bears his stark white fangs, which look gruesome as they glitter in the shadows of his face. It is like looking at a wild animal, and Draco is still just as frightened as the first time.
"Guess what happens tonight, my pet," Fenrir says, the growl of his voice deeper, like a rumble of thunder sounding from his throat.
Draco scrambles back. He is naked and filthy, bruised and bloody-mouthed from the previous few days. It is only then that he realises he isn't tied up. He's not bound to the area, not even held down, so he stumbles to his feet and runs for it. Behind him, he can hear Fenrir clamouring after him like a feral beast, panting and snarling and whistling until the noises are no longer human and Draco suddenly knows why he isn't tied anymore and almost wishes he was.
It is the hunt, the game, the chase, and Draco is the bait and the prize. As the full moon hangs in the sky and the snow begins to fall, Draco runs for his life, with nothing to guide him but adrenaline and an instinct that begs whatever higher powers exist for a second chance. Draco's heart hammers I will be good, I will be better in a fast-paced litany of desperation.
Twigs crack underfoot, giving him away, and he slips on wet leaves and caked mud, stubs his toe against rocks and winds through the strange forest to find a place to hide.
As he ducks under a low-hanging branch, he lets it whip back behind him and hears the thwap of the thick bark hitting something, followed by a yelp of pain and the scuttle of leaves rustling. Draco doesn't stop to look, just prays he's hit Fenrir hard enough to do serious damage and give him the head start he needs to stay alive.
When he comes, jelly-legged, to a bit of stone that hangs over the edge of a bank, Draco dives beneath it and contorts his body into a pose with just enough space to fit. He trembles there, holding his breath until he feels lightheaded. He is tired, so tired, and can't remember the last time he ate, the moon only makes him hungrier, because part of him has been that way since the first time Fenrir bit him when he was just seventeen and so very frightened.
It is a long time before Draco hears Fenrir coming, and when he does, he goes very, very still, like someone put him under a spell. He trembles, can't breathe even if he wanted to, and wishes and wishes and wishes for his wand.
The growl of Fenrir's voice is no longer human at all. The noises he makes as he sniffs and snorts through the dirt and crisp, winter air are grotesque and unsettling. Fenrir draws closer and closer and closer, until he is standing just above where Draco hides, and it is only then that Draco knows he will not win this battle. Fenrir is like a dog set on the hunting tracks of his favourite game, and Draco is nothing, has no power to stop him.
When Fenrir crawls over the rock and down through the snow and mud, Draco is not prepared for the sight of him, fanged and mangy and matted down and panting and laughing somewhere between all those teeth and his lolled tongue.
Draco screams, but it's too late. Fenrir is on him in an instant, all claws and teeth and a stench that reeks of blood and piss. He is inside Draco before Draco can try to move, and when Fenrir's teeth sink into his shoulder, Draco can't even scream anymore.
The wind knocks out of him, his heart pounds in furious tempo, and Fenrir goes very, very still except for his hips, which rock and jolt and jab his prick into Draco. Darkness starts to creep in around the edges of his vision. Somewhere in the distance, Draco is aware of his name being called, of a scream, of Fenrir's teeth slopping out from his skin and tearing holes in him in his wake.
The pressure releases, and Draco slides into happy unconsciousness, his heart pulsing to the same beat as Fenrir's, slow and steady and no longer human.
It is Harry's signature spell, but this time, it isn't enough. Somewhere between rushing at Fenrir and screaming Draco's name, Harry lost sight of what he is dealing with. Fenrir is not a normal wizard, waving a wand around to show his power—he is a creature, a thing without consciousness or sympathies, and simple spells aren't going to be his undoing.
Fenrir charges at him, and Harry throws himself to the side, rolls through the mud and snow, and scrambles to his feet, wand readjusted and another spell at the tip of his tongue. This time, it's not for Fenrir.
"Protego Incantato!" he shouts, wand aimed at Draco's huddled, bloody mass beneath the rock. He just hopes the barrier will hold, should something happen to him before he can get Draco out of here. No time for a second spell to protect himself, he is barely able to dodge Fenrir's next pounce.
Now Harry is warmed up, begins firing spells as quick as he can think them; nonverbals have never been his forte, but under pressure, they come surprisingly fast. First a stunning spell, which misses, then Locomotor Mortis, which only slows Fenrir down, and finally manages to land the right one, square to Fenrir's hulking shoulders.
Ropes fly out of the ends of Harry's wand in thick leads, tying themselves around Fenrir's legs, body, and neck. Only when Fenrir is frothing at the mouth and twitching in a pile of tangled limbs on the ground does Harry pause to survey the scene. Fenrir doesn't go still, continues to fight, so Harry breathlessly casts a Full Body Bind twice, just to ensure it takes. Finally, Fenrir stops moving, his inhuman shape matted and gnarled beneath the ropes, mud, and mess. Harry sees the blood on his teeth and remembers Draco.
Rushing to the small alcove where he'd tried to keep Malfoy safe, Harry is surprised when there's no one there.
"Oh bloody hell," he whispers, panting. "Draco! Malfoy, where are you?"
Panic settles in. What if he'd only imagined seeing Draco there? What if Fenrir had already killed him? What if Fenrir's accomplice was there waiting and took Draco while Harry was fighting Fenrir off? Again, Harry couldn't help thinking Lucius was behind the mess, just waiting for Harry to show up so he could hex his heart out.
Before Harry had the chance to begin a proper search, a hard, warm weight knocks into his back and steals his breath. Harry's wand clatters out of his hand and rolls out of his reach as he falls face-first into the earth and snow. Breathless, hands and nails tore at his clothes as he struggled, and when he was finally able to look up to see how Fenrir had gotten free, he realises it's not Fenrir—it's Draco, only, fuck, it couldn't be.
Draco looks like a monster—tall and lean, bones stretched taut beneath hunks of white-blond fur and mats of sopping tangles, his teeth sharp and bared behind a wolf's lips and nose, snout frothing and bloody and tongue lolled out to one side as he hunches, panting atop Harry's body.
To Harry's disbelief and horror, he felt something hard and insistent grind into his stomach. White with fear, Harry shudders as Draco rubs against him and whines, clawing down his chest and over his shoulders.
"Draco," Harry pleads, quietly. "Draco, look at me. Look at me!"
Draco pauses, clawing paws at Harry's abdomen and holding there as his wide-pupiled eyes snap up and slowly focus. Harry knows Draco sees him, really sees, beyond the animalistic desire in his body, and Harry whispers his name again. At that, Draco snarls, slobber drizzling from his teeth and down onto Harry's throat.
Harry braces himself for the bite, for what he knows will be his last night staring up at the moonlight and thinking it beautiful, waits for the wolf to stake its claim, but suddenly, Draco is being hauled off him and stunned and thrown aside.
"Harry!" Ron calls, rushing to his side.
"Blimey, Harry, are you all right?' Neville asks, kneeling down as well.
Beyond them, Harry can see the rest of the Aurors filling up the forest, wands drawn and casting charms to find if they are alone and to secure the area. He is glad now that he owled them before he left the Manor, that he didn't go it alone as Narcissa suggested in her hasted to have her son returned. Without the Aurors, he would have surely been mauled to deal, if not by Fenrir then by Draco.
"Is he all right?" Harry asks, nudging Ron aside to rush to Draco's aid. Constricted with magical rope and stunned, Draco looks almost like a rather large and ugly dog. Harry feels incredibly sorry to see him in that state.
"Erm, didn't I just ask you that question?" Ron murmurs, following Harry.
"I'm fine, I'm fine," Harry snaps, then sighs. "Sorry. I just…I was too late. Draco's been…"
"Yeah," Neville says, placing a hand on Harry's shoulder. "But he's still alive."
Harry holds back all the cold retorts that eat away at his heart. What kind of life will he live now, tortured by these memories and straining against the full moon every month like a beast? Harry thinks of Remus, of the torture of the transformation Draco will undergo, and feels an empty pain in the pit of his stomach that sings of the regret. If only he'd been quicker, if only he'd have figured things out…
"It's my fault," he says, frowning. "I could have saved him."
Ron and Neville exchange looks, but Harry ignores them and stares down at Draco's whimpering, twitching form. He's curled in on himself and looks smaller tied down and subdued, his expression pained as he pants and whines. A cold lump gathers in Harry's throat looking at him. Draco will never forgive him, and for the first time in his life, it really matters to Harry what Draco thinks of him. He's not sure when that changed, but it has and there's no stopping the churn in his heart.
"How did you know he'd be here?" Ron asks, steering Harry's attention away from Draco.
"Fenrir's owl," Harry says, gesturing. Some distance away, the large bird is tethered to a tree under a protective spell. "Fenrir sent him to taunt Mrs Malfoy. She owled me, I put the owl under an Imperius and he led me right to them."
Ron glances away and then back, looking worried. "You mean that bird there?"
When Harry nods, Neville looks too and shakes his head. "Harry, that's not Fenrir's."
Harry blinks, tearing his gaze away from Draco for the first time to look between his friends. "What do you mean? It led me here when I asked it to take me to Fenrir. How else would it…Hang on."
But the clues are starting to slot into place, and Harry's mind is already beginning to fit them. The bird. He'd seen it in Germany during Auror training, when his instructors had explained how rare and expensive the bird was, dangerous but prized to tame by wealthy witches and wizards to show off as a sign of status. Was it no coincidence that it was at the Manor? And why did Narcissa set her house-elves to restrain the bird and not use her wand, like anyone else would have done? Where was Lucius, earlier today, when Harry and Narcissa had looked over the parchment Fenrir sent? Had Fenrir even sent it, or was it all a trap?
"Where's his wand? Where's Fenrir's wand? He's got to have one here," Harry growled, beginning to search the ground and then realising he had a wand to do the searching for him. After picking up his own wand, he points it and says, "Accio wand."
Out of a pile of leaves, a wand snaps up from the ground and flies into Harry's outstretched hand. Turning it over in his palm, Harry recognises it.
"Lucius' wand?" Ron asks, stunned.
"No," Harry says, frowning. "Narcissa's."
The three of them turn to look down at Draco's prone, bloody, matted form. It is only Harry who cannot look away.
Despite their best attempts, Draco can still smell the moon and taste its phases, turning and turning and guiding the tides.
For a time, he claws at the walls, lost to the insanity of the beast within, and then sinks his teeth into his own arm to relieve the stress and anxiety of being trapped. He rips apart his bedding, thrusts his dick to the sheets, and pisses over everything they have given him. It smells sterile and nothing at all like reality, so he marks it and makes it his own and begins to feel agitated at every little tick-tock of some nearby clock and every footfall of passersby.
He launches himself at the walls, at the door, at the bed, at the floor and ceiling, until there's nothing left to do but gnaw his arms and legs and tail and wait for the mania to pass.
It is two days later when he comes to, and Potter is there at his bedside, looking terse. Draco thinks it must be a dream, because Potter has such a bloody busy schedule, and what would he be doing mingling with the beasts at St. Mungo's? The scars on Potter's throat and chin pull Draco's consciousness right out of him, and he remembers what it was to be on top of Potter's lean body, panting in his face, rutting against his thigh.
"What do you want?" he spits, voice barely there and hoarse and weak.
Draco waits and waits but falls back into unconsciousness before Potter answers him.
He sits with Ginny, in uncomfortable hospital chairs, outside Draco's bedroom at St. Mungo's. It is three in the morning, and the only reason Ginny is with him and not at the Burrow passed out is because they have been talking for hours, and she offered, and Harry needs her.
"That doesn't explain why you're sticking around," Ginny muses, nudging him with her elbow. "You can go home, you know. You're not here for observation."
Harry grins. He didn't realise how badly he needed to just talk to someone. About the case, about Draco, about anything. To have someone who understands as much of him as Ginny does is important. "Yeah. I want to talk to him when he wakes up, though, explain what happened."
Ginny slumps, rests her head to Harry's shoulder and squeezes his arm. "You're going to tell him his mother tried to kill him? And you, mind, though I'm sure he won't have as much trouble digesting that bit."
"She was put under the Imperius Curse by Fenrir after he nearly raped her and stole her wand, just to get to me and punish them," Harry sighs. He doesn't want to have to explain it anymore, but it's important to remember it's not Narcissa's fault, it's not anybody's fault really, how things turned out. "I'd rather he hear it from me than some stranger from MLE. Or Merlin, you should hear the way Lucius wanted to explain it—how he valiantly tried to save Draco and I sat on my arse and did nothing. Bloody git."
"At least Lucius didn't have anything to do with it. Bright side, right?"
Harry chuckles, shrugs. If there's a bright side, he isn't sure not sending Lucius back to Azkaban is one. It almost would have been better if Lucius had done it, just so Harry could have him locked up again. The itch to have Lucius behind bars is undeniable and insatiable, like there's nothing else in his head when he thinks about it. The obsession needs to stop. Lucius had nothing to do with any of it.
"I dunno. I just need to talk to him."
They sit in silence, and Ginny takes quiet sips from a cup of tea the Mediwizards made earlier. It's got to be cold by now, but Ginny doesn't seem to notice. It is a long time before either of them shift; Harry just enjoys the company and tries not to think of the engagement ring collecting dust in his sock drawer or the fact that he's glued to Draco Malfoy's bedside like a simpering pup. When Ginny finally moves, it's only to look at Harry and catch his gaze.
"We're not going to last, are we, Harry?" she asks, as if reading his mind.
Harry has a hard time formulating an answer that isn't stupid or annoying. He could lie, tell her he's just having a tough week, but it's been a tough month and a tough year, and somehow the war still lingers in the back of his mind and things just aren't what they were when he pulled her into his arms in the Burrow or pressed her into the mattress in his flat. Something's shifted, something unchangeable, and there's no answer but the truth at this point.
"I don't think so," he says, frowning.
Ginny sighs, lays her head on his shoulder again. "I really do love you, Harry. Even though I'll probably hate you for a while after this, I'll always love you. But there's only so much I'll wait for, and if it's not there, I'm not going to fool myself."
Harry opens his mouth to explain what he's feeling, to apologise, to do something other than just let Ginny slip through his fingers, but the words are dry on his tongue. He hears noises from Draco's bedroom and sees the Mediwitches rushing in. He stands without thinking, looks down at Ginny, and flounders for some excuse as to why Draco Malfoy is suddenly more important than her and whatever is happening and crushing between them.
"Go," she says, rolling her eyes. She even gives him a little shove.
By the time he is in the room and sees Draco, Ginny is gone. Harry doesn't notice.
Five days in St. Mungo's is like ten years being grounded for spilling eggnog on the carpets. He remembers the day his mother grounded him, told him he was irresponsible, that she was disappointed in him, and sent him to his room without dessert. St. Mungo's is worse than feeling as though his mother hates him, worse than being at home with nothing to do, worse even than being trapped in his head, because here, Potter awaits.
Every evening like clockwork, Potter is there. It's funny, really—Draco no longer needs to hear the bells chime to know when it's seven o'clock, because Potter's snow-sopped, squeaking trainers are as good an alarm as any to tell him the time.
The first day, Potter didn't say much, and Draco was glad, because he didn't want to have to apologise for…well, for trying to mate with and eat him. Draco still didn't know which urge had been worse or more degrading—to want to devour a human body for sport or to want to fuck Potter. While he interpreted the urges as wolfish, inhuman, he can't stop thinking what it was like, and looking at Potter that first day, the lump in Draco's throat was rock solid and clogged with all the things in his head.
The second time, Potter said too much. He apologised, though Draco still didn't see how it was even his business let alone his fault. Then, he apologised again. And again. Until Draco had to growl at him to get out. Even that didn't stop him, because the next evening, there he was, with two bowls of soup and a trail full of worries on his tongue. Draco ate the soup, tried not to pay attention to the rest.
The Mediwizards tell him he needs to stay longer, that he has wounds that need cleaning, that he needs to learn about his new body and attend counseling. Draco doesn't ask if the counseling is for the rape, the abduction, or the sickness under his skin that he doesn't want to face. All Draco knows is that if Potter shows up one more sodding time, he will lose his mind and claw his eyes out. The urges are so strong lately that he's really afraid he'll do it, too. And Saint Potter, damn him, would allow it, sacrificing himself for whatever greater good could come of it.
At seven o'clock, Draco hears the squeak of Potter's shoes and pretends to be asleep. When he peeks one eye open, he sees Potter settling in with a blanket and a look of determination. Draco doesn't know which is worse, knowing Potter will sleep beside him or feeling comforted that he'll be there when he wakes.
Potter catches his eye, smiles, and Merlin help him, Draco feels. Something in his chest clenches tight, holds on.
"Happy Christmas, Draco," Potter says.
Draco thinks he'd rather be dead than reply. He grunts, turns his back to Harry, and buries his face into his pillow, which smells like plastic and potions and nothing like his bed at home smells on Christmas Day.
Happy Christmas, indeed.
"Is that why you and Weasley broke it off?" Draco asks, unable to stand the silence any longer. It's been three weeks. Potter could leave, but he doesn't. Draco doesn't know what else to do, and if he didn't feel so sick and weak all the time, he'd show Potter the door himself.
"Hm?" Potter asks, blinking at him.
"You smothered her," Draco says. "That's why she broke it off, your…dating, or…whatever it is you two were doing. None of my business, of course."
Potter stares at him so long in silence that Draco begins to question whether or not he's turned purple.
Finally, Potter asks, "How'd you know we broke up?"
Draco snorts. "Well, she hasn't come round, has she? Anyway, why would you be here if you had a girl—even a Weasley—waiting for you at home? Bloody stupid."
Potter looks torn between scolding him about insulting his friends or confirming the truth. He seems to settle on an expression of exasperation. "I didn't smother her. Quite the opposite, in fact."
"You ignored her?" Draco can't help but chuckle. "Oh, Potter. Not so perfect at everything are you?"
"No. Glad you finally noticed."
The silence ticks by uncomfortably. Draco slips out of the hospital bed, weighs his chances of taking a run and escaping this madness. But he's dangerous now, labelled and classified. Someone would catch him, and Merlin's beard, it would likely be Potter, and then where would they be? Back here, like seven o'clock always. Only now, Draco realises, it's only three. His stomach grumbles anyway, conditioned to expect dinner when Potter arrives.
"They said you can go home tomorrow, right?" Potter asks, suddenly standing oddly close to him. Draco's been noticing that he does that a lot. It's beginning to do things to Draco.
"Yes," Draco says, warily. "Why, you want to escort me, Potter? Sweet."
"Oh, Merlin, you did want to escort me?" Draco feels queasy and braces himself against the bed, holding up a hand when Potter steps even closer. "Stop it. God, just stop it, Potter. What are you doing here?"
Their eyes meet, and Draco holds his gaze, dangerous as it may be. He wants Potter gone, and yet he feels somehow connected to him and desiring of his bloody awful company. They haven't spoke since Hogwarts, not two words to one another, and yet Draco knows there are things left unsaid between them from the last time. Draco never thanked Potter, not properly, and Potter never thanked Draco, not properly either. They helped one another out. But are they even? Or does Potter feel he owes Draco now?
"Don't you have friends, Potter?" Draco asks, sighing as exhaustion overwhelms him. "Friends who want to have you around all the time, hawking them? Go back to Weasley or find Granger or, Merlin, don't you have some important Ministry job thingy? Go…save people, or whatever you'd be doing if you hadn't stepped into my nightmare, and please, for the love of God, leave me alone."
To Draco's amazement, Potter nods, stands to his feet. He folds the blanket he's been using, tucks it into the chair, looks at Draco with an emotion Draco doesn't fully comprehend, and leaves with a soft-mumbled, "Yeah, sorry, see you," under his breath.
When the room is quiet again, Draco feels a clench in his chest, dismisses it, and tries to work up enough energy to be angry that Potter actually left him.
He doesn't know why, but he knows somehow it's got everything to do with the scars Draco left on his chest, neck, and chin. He finds himself touching them sometimes, tracing the deep gashes that cannot be healed away.
Bill came over a few days ago, to talk to him about the lasting effects those scars might have on his life, but beyond having a newfound love for rare steaks and going a bit mental once every month, Bill didn't mention anything about wanting to see the werewolf that caused the injuries. Bill has never once mentioned Fenrir in a warm, desiring light, but all Harry wants is to see Draco again.
It knocks the wind out of him, what he thinks he wants, and while it should shock him to think about Draco like that, it doesn't. It is not natural, that much he knows, but it's there in him somewhere, having been unleashed that night with Draco on top of him and snarling, in the moment when Harry called his name and Draco regained a conscious bit of himself in the moonlight.
Harry thinks of Draco so often it is almost a ritual. Prick swelling in his fist, he doesn't even try to resist the pull, the sizzle of attraction, and grunts his sins to an empty flat and a cold January evening in London.
It is another cold January evening in London when Harry seeks Draco out. It has been a week since he was released from St. Mungo's. Harry tells himself that all he wants to do is check on Draco, to make sure he's okay. Harry remembers what Remus looked like before the full moon, after the moon, always scared and pale and sickly, and he wants to help, to let Draco know he doesn't have to be alone if he doesn't want to be. But another part of him is so selfish and wants to just see Draco, without good intentions or nobility.
Draco is not at Malfoy Manor anymore; Narcissa said she bought him a small cottage in the countryside, where he can lock himself away with a bit of Wolfsbane when it's time and try not to be made insane by the disease And it is there Harry winds up, in the early morning of a chilly winter day before the sun rises, with a light sheen of snow falling and ice at Draco's doorstep when he draws close to knock.
Draco doesn't answer the door. Not after the first knock or the fifth. Harry peers into the foggy windows, which are iced as well, and sees darkness and empty furniture when he squints. He starts to get worried. What if Draco has tried to hurt himself, or worse?
"Draco?" Harry calls. He waits, then calls again. "Draco! Are you home? Just tell me you're in there. I'll go if you want. I just want to be sure you're all right."
"I know it's early, but I…Well, I couldn't sleep, so… Yeah…"
Still silence, a quiet that slides under Harry's fingernails and eats at his gut.
Harry pulls out his wand. "Alohamora," he whispers, listening for the locks that click from their bolts. He nudges the door with the toe of his trainer, wand outstretched to light his way and protect him, and steps inside.
The wood floors creak underfoot as Harry walks through the living area—there isn't much furniture, just a couch and fireplace in one room, a small kitchen in another, a bedroom in the far back. Harry walks through the entire layout of the house before he realises there is no one there. Lowering his wand, he thinks maybe he should go. Already he's stepped beyond the boundaries, broken the law by entering Draco's home without warrant, but he can't seem to let the feeling go that something is wrong.
Draco should be here.
Then, there's a scuttling from somewhere nearby. Harry turns, wand raised, and waits. He hears it again a moment later, a rustling and a scratching, like nails on a chalkboard. Then, a howl.
Harry's skin prickles with gooseflesh when he sees the door. Through the kitchen, at the far end.
A basement below. A cellar. A place to hide himself away, and Harry rushes at it like a madman, knowing what he'll find and yet hoping he's wrong and not knowing what's come over him to go looking for this kind of trouble.
No sooner does he have the door open than the matted, white-blond werewolf rushes him and snarls in his face. Up on its hind legs, Draco pins Harry to the wall and slobbers in his face as he growls and screams and makes noises that are caught between human and animal.
"Draco!" Harry shouts, but his wand is knocked out of his hand before he has time to think of the spells he needs.
There is no flash of recognition, no flicker of consciousness, in Draco's eyes. They are slitted and bestial, hungry.
Draco knocks Harry down to the floor and though Harry struggles and scrambles, Draco crawls on top of him and sinks his claws in. It is Harry's turn to howl, to scream, as his clothes are ripped and scattered aside, as Draco ruts against his stomach and pants against his ear, licks his face and leans down for the bite.
And then, suddenly, nothing. Draco goes very, very still, and then begins to writhe and moan and whimper. Harry can see his bones shrinking, the fur clumping and sinking beneath his pale skin, his muzzle shortening and sharpening, his teeth dulling down, his pupils blackening wide. Beyond him, Harry can see a few beams of sunlight stretching across the horizon. The moon has set.
It takes time for Draco to become human. Harry can't bring himself to move, even though he knows that he should. He is covered in blood, both his and Draco's—because Draco is bleeding from head to toe from self-inflicted wounds—and sweating and only half-clothed because of how much Draco tore off in his animalistic frenzy. But he can't move, just watches the transformation with wide, greedy eyes, breathless and not knowing why until all that's left is Draco, naked, on top of him and panting, swollen, and hard.
Draco's prick presses into Harry's stomach and Draco's thighs clench tight around Harry's waist and hips. If Harry was naked too, his own cock would be arched right in between Draco's arse cheeks. This thought does nothing to help Harry's heart calm its frantic pace.
It takes even longer for Draco to come back to himself. Harry can see the exact moment when his brain shifts from animal to human, or at least to knowing where he is, because Draco's eyes widen and then narrow, the pale imitation of a sneer on his thin lips.
"Potter," he pants, arms shaking where they hold all his weight up.
"Harry," Harry insists. He doesn't know why he's insisting on that, of all things, but it churns something inside him to think Draco might say it.
"Harry," Draco murmurs, still panting, his gaze focused on Harry like he's trying to decide what to do.
And then, it just happens. Draco leans down and Harry leans up and their lips crash. It is a clumsy, aggressive kiss they share, with nothing to stop them from sucking each other's tongues out of their mouths except sheer will power. Harry grabs a handful of Draco's hair; Draco's hips grind down, thrusting his dick to Harry's stomach.
"Don't," Draco whispers, and that makes Harry stop, until Draco finishes his sentence. "Don't stop."
Harry groans, pulls Draco's mouth to his, and loses himself to the insane moment, lets the passion grit through his teeth and clench in his stomach and harden his prick, which feels like a piece of led weight between his legs. He wants to free it and wants to grind it against Draco's body or shove it between his legs or in his mouth. He's never felt so needy in his life, so desperate to connect and be inside someone that he feels like he might burst if it doesn't happen now.
Somehow, Harry manages to shimmy off the bits of his trousers that remain, to wrestle out of his cloak, and then there's just Draco, naked, in his lap and writhing.
"Merlin, need this," Draco pants. "Let me."
Harry nods. Fuck. Anything, he thinks. He'll let Draco do anything, as long as it doesn't stop.
That doesn't prepare Harry at all for being flipped over, Draco suddenly surprisingly strong above him and pressing flush full against his back. Draco's teeth sink into his shoulder blade and Harry cries out.
"What are you doing?" he growls. Is that the sound of his own voice, feral and unsure?
"Need your body," Draco says, and Harry stiffens as he feels Draco's thumbs at his arse cheeks, prying and prying and God but Harry is so wide he feels obscene. "Need you, Harry, please."
Suddenly, thinking he'd give Draco anything seems so overwhelming, now that he knows what Draco wants. Before he can respond and complain about their positions, Draco has shimmied down his body and something that isn't Draco's thumbs finds its way into his body.
Harry shouts, buries his embarrassed face against the cold wood floors and feels his prick throb between the floor and his body, hard and twitching for more. Draco's tongue jabs into him, unfamiliar and slippery and so, so good and wet and warm. The noises Draco makes behind him lack any humiliation, and in his confidence, Harry is more turned on by Draco's actions than ever. On impulse, he reaches back, pries his cheeks apart for Draco, gives him plenty of room to go on.
Draco grunts. "Oh," he growls. "Oh. Yes."
Draco dives back in, slurping and sucking and slopping his saliva all over Harry's hole. It's not long before Harry's hands slip on his own arse as he tries to keep his cheeks spread wide for Draco. He doesn't want this to end, he doesn't want Draco to move away or stop tonguing inside him, doesn't want the tenuous moment to break. He needs this, needs Draco, needs something that makes him feel this alive and present and impassioned.
Then, suddenly, Draco pulls away. Harry wants to whine but holds it back.
"Want it," Draco growls, biting him up his spine and all the way over his skin to his ear. "Now. Want you. Want to be inside. Need it, Harry, Merlin, now."
"Yes." It's all Harry can say. It's all that needs to be said.
Draco thrusts in, bracing himself, and Harry tries not to scream. It hurts. Of course it hurts, Draco is not small and Harry has never done this before.
Draco shoves something in Harry's face. "Your wand," he growls. "Incantation."
Harry only knows what Draco means because he's used it for himself, for masturbation, so he grips his wand and grinds out the lubrication spell. Instantly his arse feels even slicker and wetter than before, and he makes a whole new set of noises as Draco sinks in to the hilt, where Harry can feel Draco's balls resting heavy against his arse.
Draco doesn't still or give Harry any time at all. He just begins thrusting, hard and deep, then shallow and quick, then slow and languid, until Harry is rocking with the rhythm but unable to keep pace. Draco grips his hips after a time, hauls him to his knees, and begins to fuck him in feral desperation, grunts and curses flying from his lips.
When Draco bends, it is not to kiss Harry's skin but to bite it, his teeth gnawing at the skin until it breaks. When it does, Draco holds tight, grunts, and Harry feels his come splash and warm inside him. There are no words for what it feels to be claimed and fucked, to have Draco's come slick inside his body.
Draco doesn't pull out, doesn't even move, for as long as it takes the pain of the position to work its way into Harry's spine, his shoulder, his arse, his knees. Then, Draco shoves him aside, onto his back, and slides down his body, lapping at his prick.
Harry looks down, watches the progress of Draco's tongue and sees double as he loses himself to it. It seems to go on forever, Draco's mouth on his prick, on his balls, beneath to the most personal places that drive Harry wild.
"You need more," Draco decides, and then crawls back on top of him and does the very last thing Harry thought possible—he slides Harry's sopping wet prick up his arse.
Harry screams again. "Oh, God!" It is the best feeling he has ever felt in his life, reckless and wonderful and so bloody hot. He bucks and bucks and bucks and spills himself as Draco slowly rides his prick and then goes still after Harry's done.
They both remain very still until Draco pulls away. He rolls onto his back as well, and the two of them lay side-by-side with their elbows touching, staring at the ceiling, saying nothing.
When Harry arrives home to his flat, his stomach is grumbling and he is more exhausted than he has been in ages. His bones feel heavy and weak, his heart thuds dully in his chest, and he breathes in and out shakily. The first thing he does is go to the bathroom, seek out the medicine cabinet, rifle through his potions for muscle aches, sleeping draughts, pain relief, something to heal the cuts and bruises.
But before he can get to the cabinet, Harry spies his reflection in the mirror. For a moment, he barely recognises himself—his hair is matted to his forehead with sweat and blood, his lips are dry and cracked, and he can see the criss-crosses of deep gashes glistening white and red underneath his torn clothes.
Carefully, Harry peels his clothes off until he stands naked. He can't help but stare at himself. He wants…but that seems insane. It's disgusting.
Unable to help himself, Harry raises his wrist to his mouth, watches his own eyes go dull in the reflection, and begins to lick his wounds.
Days later, he will realise just how much of the animal is inside him. Unlike Bill, Harry will embrace the wolf's presence, use it to cope and to unwind and to understand the need that claws through his chest for control.
Harry wants Draco. It's not the beast talking—that's just Harry. And while he isn't sure why or if the wolf's presence that brought it all about, he loves a good mystery, so he's damn sure going to find out.
It's the wolf…but it's so much more. Draco feels overwhelmed every minute, needs Harry like he needs the moon, and aches and aches and aches and doesn't know when it happened, but it's there like breathing and eating.
And then, like clockwork, there's Harry at his door, grinning, with two red-raw, bloody steaks, a phial of Wolfsbane, a twinkle in his eyes that Draco is just beginning to understand and isn't sure he knows how.
Maybe it won't be so bad, having Harry stay from time to time. The wolf wants it, after all.
It takes time for Draco to understand what he wants and how to separate it from the wolf inside. But he knows they share the feeling, whatever the tenuous stretch of affection is between them, the known and the unknown, the deepest recesses and cavities of the heart, where desire is tangled and taut in unmistakable turmoil.