DISCLAIMER: Warning! I make no claim to any property of J.K. Rowling's, and am in no way profiting by this. I do offer her my sincerest thanks for allowing us this garden of the mind in which we play. Further Warning! This story...and likely any I ever write...are dominated by gay themes and characters. That's how it is, if this in any way makes you uncomfortable...do not read further.
Draco Meets The Internet......... by Samayel
"Haaaa-ryy!" Draco whined, in the petulant tone that so often got him precisely what he wanted.
Harry stepped into the den where Draco had been reading. "What is it, love? I just got in from the Ministry...I was going to shower before dinner. What's up?"
"You always come home late! I get soooo bored without you." Draco employed his best 'genuinely sad' face, pleased to see that Harry immediately responded with a look that oozed guilt and a deep desire to make it right. No mistake...Draco loved Harry madly, but the man was utterly predictable. Actually, as far as Draco was concerned, it was part of his charm.
It might seem wicked to shamelessly play on Harry's affections, but it was for a good cause! He wanted Harry home at night again. It had been weeks since they'd done anything but wolf down supper, snog or shag before bed, and then sleep until the next day sent Harry off to work for another twelve to fourteen hours.
"Dray, we talked about this before. I'm an Auror now, and they need me really bad right now. I hate being late and I miss you, too. It won't be much longer, love. I promise. We've only got one more coven of ex-Death Eaters to crack and it's back to office hours for me. I will so make it up to you when we have more time. I swear to Merlin I will."
Obviously a little more pressure was required. Draco let his lips pout and his eyes cast down in disappointment.
"I know. It's always one more Death Eater. The wars been done for almost a year and it's always one more Death Eater. We're filthy rich, and with you still working all I do is shop and gossip with friends over lunch. I want to do things with YOU. I come home and it's just so empty here...rattling around the flat like some forgotten old maid, pining away for a lover who never comes home." Then he let a faint sniffle out to drive the nail into the coffin of Harry's nonchalance.
Harry dropped to his knees in front of the chair and grabbed Draco's hands. He looked up into Draco's eyes with a sincerity that almost burned through Draco's ability to remain manipulative.
"Dray, you are not forgotten. I don't care about money, I just want us to be safe for the rest of our lives. When I'm done with this shite, we're taking off and going anywhere you want, as long as you want. I can't change my work or duck my responsibilities as an Auror, but I'll think of something to make the next few weeks a little easier for you. It's almost over. I still think you should find some interests of your own, or at least try some new entertainment...hey! Got an idea!"
"You'll tell the Auror Service to piss off and find another guy to overwork?"
"No, not yet, love. Just...wait a couple days until Saturday. I'll bring you home a present that might help. Trust me. It'll be hideously expensive...and I know you love that! It'll help this last few weeks fly by...really!"
Draco admitted his cause was lost. Again. Harry was too sweet, and too earnest, to be angry with for any discernable length of time. Draco wanted him home, but that damnable streak of devotion to duty ran too deep to counter. The cruel irony was that the very same streak of devotion was exactly what made him such a good man. Draco gave an enormous sigh and kissed his lover.
"Oo-kay. Presents will have to do. You better mean just a few weeks, and it better be a great present. I can't believe I gave myself to a man who loves his work that much. You'd think with a net worth to rival most of sub-Saharan Africa's GNP, I could afford a husband who'd be home a little more, but no...I got a hero who won't beat his sword into a plowshare until the last Dark Wizard is caught. I'm so pathetic!"
Harry kissed Draco soundly on the top of his head. "You're dramatic, not pathetic. And I adore you. Just wait, love. Things will get better, soon."
Saturday evening came, and Draco was lounging in the den as usual, when Harry Apparated in with a handful of small packages.
"Those are my presents? I thought you..." Draco was quickly interrupted by Harry.
"Ah-ah, I need the den to myself for a bit. I have to unpack it all and get it running before you can enjoy the present. I said trust me!" He placed the boxes in the corner and removed the Shrinking Charms, then savored a welcome home kiss for a few seconds.
"Now leave me to this for just a half hour... you'll love this when I've got it ready. Shoo, shoo!"
Draco was on fire with curiosity, but willing to play along. Unfortunately, Harry warded the room to a fare-thee-well against scrying or spying of any kind, and Draco had to wait the full half hour without so much as a clue.
The door to their den and study popped open, and Harry called Draco in, beaming with pride. "Alright, love. It's ready. Wait 'til you see this!"
Draco stepped into the den, hoping his lover would wisely meet the criteria for a good gift under these circumstances. Harry was sweet, but occasionally dense as a rock.
"Harry, what on earth is that...that...contraption? It's bloody enormous, although the desk you put it on is a nice match to the rest of our decor. Knowing me has improved your taste a bit, I think."
"It's a computer, Dray!" The way Harry said it, it was implied that it should mean something of importance. Draco, however, was drawing a complete blank.
"What does it do?"
"I can't believe you know every designer label by heart, but you don't recognize a computer on sight. It's a Muggle tool. It can do millions of things. Games, news, music, research, shopping...it's all here...through this. It works a little like the Floo network, in that Muggles can connect to each other through it. Not to travel, but to talk or enjoy themselves. I've set it up and all you need to do is learn a few basics and you'll be able to see all kinds of things...anytime you want."
"Hmmmph. I trust you, but I don't trust Muggle things. Well, maybe Prada...and Gucci...Versace, too...oh bugger it! Okay, I'll try it. Show me what to do, love."
It took the better part of an hour, but Harry finally hammered home the basics of using a keyboard and mouse. Draco was a quick study, but he was still wrestling with the concept of the Internet. Still, Harry got the essentials of across, and made sure that he covered the most important functions of browsers, search engines and links.
The most significant victory was Draco's delight at finding a site that offered free games like Mah-Jong (a long time favorite of Draco's, since he often won hands down against their friends.) An hour later, Harry was able to slip away to the kitchen and start making their dinner, secure in the knowledge that Draco was safely entertained.
The peace and quiet of cooking was interrupted by a shriek of outrage and horror from the den. Harry grabbed his wand and dashed in, half afraid that Death Eaters had somehow breached the wards of their home!
"What!? What's wrong? Are you alright, love?"
"HARRY! It's awful! This...this is terrible! I mean...MY REPUTATION! It's been viciously slandered! Harry! They have to suffer my wrath! I'll have to hex them all! ALL OF THEM! I knew Muggles were evil! They just hid it here all along! Thought I'd never catch them at it! Thank Merlin you bought this compu-thingy! I'd have never found out..."
Draco was still ranting incoherently, wide-eyed with horror, when Harry interrupted him. "Easy, love. Just take a deep breath and tell me what happened. One step at a time, and don't leave anything out. I still don't know what got you so worked up, remember?" Harry's Auror training had included extracting information from panic stricken innocents, and Draco currently had the shell shocked look of a crime victim.
"I...I got bored with the place that had all the nice games, so I used the searchy thing. I didn't really know what to search for so...so...OH GOD...I typed in...my name! Harry...you need to see this. It's madness, I tell you! It's everywhere...and these Muggle people...they're all saying terrible things about me! Unspeakable things, Harry! It's a madhouse...a madhouse! They must pay! I'll have to find them one by one, then hex their bits right off for this!"
"Alright, it's okay. Calm down, love. We'll figure this out, just let me have a look."
Draco sniffled and sat up to let Harry take his place. A few clicks and keystrokes later, Harry sat back with a sigh.
"It's just fanfiction, Dray. Nothing to worry about. No one's insulting you personally."
"Are you daft!? Not a personal insult? Look...look at this one. It says I'm a gay, tranvestite, Veela rentboy with an incurable magical disease from being raped by Voldemort and bearing his child! This person should be slain! Painfully! I'm not ruling out the use of Unforgivables in the process!"
"Well, they got one thing right out of seven, that's better than the Daily Prophet usually does. It's fanfiction! When people idolize you, sometimes they write the stories that they would have LIKED to read. Things that would matter to them in ways the real story couldn't. It happens all the time. No one is saying that's the real you."
"What about this one, huh? This one says I'm secretly in love with Professor Snape, addicted to Muggle drugs and fond of exposing myself to strangers! It's appalling! I mean really! SNAPE! He was a great Head Of House...but any man who can't grasp the concept of applying a little product now and again is hopelessly beneath me. Even you manage to get your hair under control once in a while."
"All these things are just people's way of saying they love you. They identify with you as a person. They see a little of themselves in you, and they share that by writing it down and putting it here. There's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't reflect on you personally, love. Trust me."
Draco was not to be dissuaded. His hackles were up, and he was out for blood. "Look at this one," he pointed. "Look what they have me doing there!"
"Actually, love...to be fair...you did do that."
"I NEVER! WHEN?"
"Last month. Ministry party. At the bar after we left the office party. Am I ringing any bells here?"
"That didn't count. I was drunk. Besides, I did that with you, NOT Voldemort and his entire senior staff! It's not the same at all."
"It's still beside the point, Dray. The point is that you're an icon. No matter what people write, they're writing about you because, in a way, they hold you up as an ideal of what it means to be alive, young, beautiful, and proudly gay. You can't tell me that you think that's a bad thing. You know you love being the center of attention."
"Oh really? Well, take a look down here, Mr. Icon! Apparently, these Muggle scum have some charming things to say about you as well!"
"Down here, Harry. Yes, that one." Draco placed his hands on his hips with a triumphant sneer on his face.
"FUCK ALL! I'M GETTING FISTED BY HAGRID?! WHILE I GIVE FILCH A RIM JOB?!" Harry sat bolt upright and stomped, red-faced, out of the room.
"Harry? Where are you going?"
"TO GET MY CLOAK! Grab your wand, love! I only have tonight and tomorrow off, and we have a lot of people to fucking Obliviate before the weekend is over!"
"YAY! I love travel! Throw in hexing Muggles and it's like Christmas in July!"