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Draco wakes, his last memory a crushing pain on his head, now a dull, pulsing headache.

Something wet trickles down his temple. Blood.

It's too cold. He gathers the sorry excuse of a blanket around his naked body.

He tries not to look at his faded Dark Mark while doing it.

He tries to fold his legs. They're too heavy.

He is chained.

He fumbles for his wand automatically, only to realise it's futile.

Ex-Death Eaters on probation had their wands confiscated.



The light-bulb, no doubt just replaced, is too bright. He squints.

A chill that has nothing to do with nudity runs down his spine.

Right across the bed, head bowed low enough to obscure the face, sits a man fiddling with a collar.

Draco's hand shoots to his neck in reflex. His collar is gone.

His last defence, gone.



The stink invades his nostrils.

Alpha stench, sharp and sour like sweat.

Like the acrid smell of a Quidditch locker room after a match.

There's a unique undertone, though.

Heady. Earthy. Cloying and clinging.

Sugar and burnt wood.

It's not unfamiliar.

It's only too familiar.

Hogwarts Express, when he stepped on the git's smug face.

Sixth-floor bathroom, when the git shouted while he was drifting away.

Room of Requirement, when the git pulled him out of the Fiendfyre's trail.

Wizengamot courtroom, when the git testified.



Only then he realises.

Every single fucking time, Potter was staring at his neck.

Madam Malkin's boutique--Potter leering at his neck through the muggle specs.

The Great Hall--Potter glaring across the table while Pansy and Blaise fussed over him.



It's Potter sitting there, toying with the omega collar enchanted to zap unwanted alphas.

Somehow he's disabled the collar.

He should have known.

It couldn't have been anything else than Potter's ridiculously overpowered stupefy that sent him crashing into the alleyway bricks.



He wriggles his leg again.

The chain clinks and rattles.

Potter looks up.

The bastard's looking at him like nothing's wrong.

The git sure has a lot of nerves.



"What's the meaning of this!" Draco yells, surprising even himself with the bravado.

Potter doesn't answer.

He puts the collar down on a nearby table, thumb brushing the buckle almost tenderly.

Something rustles.

Potter takes out a bottle of water.

He throws it carelessly. It hits the headboard.

Draco cringes, expecting the bottle to shatter.

It just bounces back.

Unbreakable glass, a newer kind, maybe.



"It's plastic," Potter says.

"What in Merlin's name is a blasting potion," Draco says. "I'm not drinking anything from you."

Potter just shrugs. "It's only water, Malfoy."

Draco can't stand the nonchalance. He throws the blasting water back at Potter, hoping it would blast him like reducto.

It hits Potter's shoulder and falls.

Potter doesn't even budge.

It's not fair, the alpha resilience.



"Release me this instant!" Draco commands. He puffs his chest, but it's not much.

Doesn't even compare to Potter's alpha chest.

He sees the muscles rippling through Potter's knit cardigan.

Potter turns around, and looks at him again.

No, he's looking at his neck.

Draco can feel his eyes tracing the contours of his adam's apple to the ears.

Potter's eyes then move up to meet him.

The green reminds Draco of avada kedavra.

Potter stares him down, his alpha torso rigid.

Draco knows what it means. The body language of an alpha demanding obedience.

But Potter isn't his alpha.



He starts to think.

An omega without wand.

An alpha who doesn't even need a wand.


A drop-out, OWL level death eater.

A fully trained NEWT level ex-auror.

Draco bites his lips.

He's many things, he knows, but he's not stupid.

He chooses to shut up, for now.



Potter doesn't answer his demand.

Scarhead reaches into the rustling bag.

He takes things out, mostly food, and sets them on the table.

They're mostly packed in transparent, glistening packs.

They're also mostly bread and buns.

Potter takes out more blasting potions and aligns them.



"Should've gotten a fridge," Potter says. "I'll bring one next time."

"Next time?" Draco asks. He doesn't know what a fridge is, but who the hell cares. "You can't keep me here!"

Potter crumples the rustling bag in his big hand.

Every motion screams alpha, telling Draco that he's no match physically.

"Potter," Draco says like he means business.

It makes Potter really look at him for the first time, waiting for the next words.

Draco draws a deep breath.



"Potter, you've got to let me go," he says as calmly he can.

Potter turns back, his impossibly strong shoulders tensing in finality.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?!" Draco yells, but Potter's walking away.

He can't let Potter go, not like this.

What scares him most is the lack of general reaction.

Potter speaks at him, but not to him.

The captor's indifference makes Draco afraid.

A belated panic looms at the back of his mind.

He begins to imagine every worst possible situation.



"Potter, wait," Draco calls, eyes beginning to prickle.

Potter stops. It's like Draco's mastered a wandless petrificus totalus. But he doesn't fall.

Potter's hand freezes on the doorknob.

"Tell me why you're doing this," Draco asks, voice hitching in fear.



Potter turns. His expression is unreadable. But his gaze is so intense.

"I had to bring you here," Potter says. "I had to, I had to."

"But why?" Draco repeats.

"He..." Potter begins to say something, and his voice wavers.

Draco waits, but nothing comes. He finally explodes.

"He what, Potter, who are you talking about? Are you under orders? I'm on probation! The trials are done! You're the one who volunteered to testify for me!"



Potter comes back to the bed.

Draco slides backwards, covering his body with the blanket. It's not enough.

Potter's eyes dart to the exposed upper body.

He pulls Draco into his arms, burying his head into the neck.

It makes Draco panic even more. An alpha so near his neck.

He pushes at Potter, scratching and punching, shouting expletives.

It does nothing. Potter's built like a bloody hippogriff.



Finally, Potter releases him from the embrace.

Draco gasps, adrenaline subsiding from his body.

Panic makes him cry.



"Let me go, Potter," Draco rasps, swallowing the sobs that almost escape his mouth.

Potter shakes his head, voice as monotonous as his singular, toad-green gaze.

"Not a chance, Draco. I'm taking you as my mate."

"But I don't want to be your mate," he tries again, and realises his mistake the moment he says it.

Potter's impassive face twists into something he's never seen on him.

But he knows that look.

First-year. Hogwarts. Unicorn. Blood.

The same look on Quirrell when he was biting into the creature.

When Potter approaches, Draco knows the bite does, too.