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That Which Divides Us

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DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy do not belong to me. (More's the pity.) They belong to the Scottish Lady and the Big Movie Studio. I just occasionally take them out to play.

A/N: This had been rendered completely AU by Deathly Hallows and yet I really wanted to finish it. Enjoy!

 

THAT WHICH DIVIDES US

 

ONE
“What divides us…”

 

“God damn it, Draco, come back here!”

“Fuck you!”

Uneasy glances were exchanged around the table as the loud voices erupted from the other room. A door slammed, and a slender young man strode briskly through the dining room, head lowered, a swinging swatch of chin length blonde bang obscuring his features. He was willowy and moved with a fascinating grace, even though his pale fists were clenched and he was clearly angry. He didn’t meet any of the four sets of eyes that were glued to him, and he was almost out the door on the other side of the room before the voice hailed him again.

“Draco, I swear to God…”

Harry Potter came into the doorway, scruffy square jaw tensed, green eyes blazing as he watched Draco Malfoy disregard him with infuriating disdain. Harry’s hands were clenched at his sides and his broad, square shoulders were rigid beneath a worn green jumper. When Draco ignored him and strode from the room, the slam of the door to the outside a sharp crack on the still evening air, Harry cursed explosively. “Fuck!”

“Guessing the wife’s having a bad day.”

Seamus Finnigan spoke up from his spot at the table, brown eyes dancing as he smirked at Dean Thomas. Harry’s eyes shot to him and the fury in them caused the little Irishman to sink back in his seat a bit. Without another word, a muscle in his jaw flexing dangerously, Harry stalked stiffly around the table and left, and the kitchen door slammed again.

“Christ, Finnigan, you’re an idiot.”

Ron Weasley shook his head, ginger hair falling forward into his eyes. He was working over a piece of worn parchment, a quill in his square nail bitten hand and he scowled deeply as he scratched out a list of co-ordinates.

“I didn’t mean nothin’,” Finnigan muttered.

“You’ve got to admit Weasley,” Dean Thomas said in mild defense. “All they do is fight.”

Ron’s eyes came up to Thomas’ handsome dark face and the bright blue was blazing. “It’s none of your bloody business, Thomas. It’s none of any of our business.”

“It’s our business if the nancy ponce has got him so tied in knots that he can’t concentrate,” Thomas retorted. “He looses sight of the objective he could get us all killed.”

Ron stood then, shoving the rickety chair he’d been sitting in back so hard that it fell over onto the scarred hardwood floor. “I’ll thank you to remember just who it is you’re talking about, Thomas,” Ron said, his fury evident in every tense line of his muscular body. “He’s kept us alive for the last three years hasn’t he? And I seem to recall him pulling your sorry arse out of a burning building just last month.” Thomas had the grace to look shamefaced at that, looking down, his mouth working. “Harry Potter never forgets the fucking ‘objective’, you ungrateful pricks,” he included both Finnigan and Thomas in his steely stare, “and you just can’t help yourselves, making snarky remarks about his personal life. It’s none of your goddamned business and if Malfoy makes him happy…”

“But that’s just it, isn’t it, Ron?”

The feminine voice spoke up, and he looked to the young woman seated at his side. Her face was thin and pale and her full curly brown hair was pulled up into a messy ponytail, and he still thought that she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Instantly the heat in his eyes faded slightly and his posture softened.

“What, love?”

Hermione Granger looked towards the door where the two young men had disappeared, her creamy brow furrowed.

“Harry isn’t happy,” she said softly. “Draco doesn’t make him happy. He makes him crazy. And right now that isn’t a good thing.”

“Hermione,” Ron said softly, “it’s who they are. They fight. We used to fight all of the time too, remember?” He smiled at her gently, and she nodded slightly, but her brown eyes were still troubled. “They fight and then they make up.” Ron shrugged with a slightly sheepish grin, and Finnigan made a soft gagging noise that they all ignored.

“It isn’t the same Ron, and you know it. We were never as bad as they are. I’m worried for Harry.” She bit her full lower lip. “Draco distracts him and that could be disastrous…”

“It’s none of our business,” Ron repeated doggedly, his eyes level. “It’s Harry’s and we need to stay out of it. Besides,” he sighed, then turned and picked up the chair he’d knocked over, “if you must know, that’s what they’re fighting about.” He settled himself again with a tired sigh, rubbing his eyes with the ink stained thumb and index fingers of his right hand. Hermione’s head cocked inquisitively. Ron sighed again when he finally caught her look. “He’s telling him that he can’t go tomorrow,” He answered softly.

“Well, thank Christ for that,” Finnigan snorted, returning to his own paper work. “I can do with a little bit less of the drama, thank you very much.”

Thomas didn’t say anything, but he clearly agreed.

Hermione’s mouth formed a silent o, and she looked back towards the door that led outside.

 

Harry watched Draco’s fair hair as it shone in the moonlight, as the slender man continued to walk away from the small boulder house sitting on the edge of fallow, deserted farm land. He wasn’t running after him as he stalked away in jerky, angry strides; he wouldn’t chase him. Besides, he thought with cross satisfaction; he could only go so far. The wards would stop him soon. Just as he thought it the soft sound of bells carried back to him, followed by a shouted “fuck it all!” and he saw Draco aim a kick at the invisible barrier. The corner of his lips twisted grimly as Harry approached him.

“That won’t help you,” Harry said, his voice a low growl. “And you’ll only hurt your foot.”

Draco whirled on him and his gray eyes were filled with impotent fury. “Go the fuck away,” he hissed out between clenched teeth, “and leave me alone.”

“No.”

“Goddamn you!” Draco shouted, his faintly pointed face tight, his fists clenched. “I hate you so much right now.”

“So what’s new?” Harry propped his hands on his hips. “You always seem to hate me for something. At least tonight you have a legitimate reason.”

“How can you do this?” Some of the fury left Draco’s face, and Harry saw hurt climb in his silvery eyes. “How can you do this to me?”

“For God’s sake Draco,” Harry spat, “this isn’t fucking about you, okay?”

“The hell it isn’t,” Draco snarled back. “Of course, it’s about me.”

Harry made an explosive, aggravated sound. “Not everything is about you!” He ground out. “This is about the mission, pure and simple. It’s about what I have to do…”

“Oh, right. Forgive me,” Draco said, his voice dripping venom. “This is about the great Potter…”

“So help me God, Malfoy,” Harry hissed, his teeth so tight his jaw hurt. “I’m going to strangle you.”

Draco’s teeth appeared in a sarcastic mockery of a smile. “Oh, I’m so scared,” he taunted, coming closer. “Why don’t you do it then?” He came close enough that he could reach out and shove Harry in the middle of his hard chest. “Come on, you know you want to.” He shoved again and Harry staggered back a step, his hands dropping to clench near his hips.

“Knock it off,” Harry ordered him in a low, dangerous voice. “I understand that you’re pissed but don’t push me.”

“Why?” Draco shoved him again, harder, and Harry started to take a step back towards him and stopped himself with visible effort. “You’re not going to do anything about it.” Draco’s elegant features took on an almost demonic twist. “I wonder if the wizarding world would sleep so peacefully in their beds at night if they knew that their fucking ‘savior’ was a complete pussy. Big talker, Potter. But you know what they’re all saying about you back at the house? That you can’t even keep your bloody fuck toy in line, because that’s all I am, right? The fuck toy, something to take the edge off so that our boy wonder can let off some steam when it’s necessary, something he can send to the rear like a bloody camp follower when things actually start to get interesting…”

When Draco reached out with both hands to shove him again, Harry caught hold of his wrists in a merciless grip and twisted, forcing a pained cry from the thinner, weaker man. “Is that what this is about?” he asked tightly, right into Draco’s pain ravaged face, not easing his grip a bit. “That’s what you want me to say? That you’re my whore? Well, if you are then I tell you what to do and when to do it, and you follow my orders. Do you understand me? Do you?” He shook Malfoy hard then, his wrists still caught at the painful angle.

“Harry, you’re hurting me,” Draco gasped, but he finally seemed to have pushed Harry too far. Kicking out with his foot, the brunette dropped Draco to the ground hard on his narrow back, and then straddled his hips, taking the hands he still held and leaning forward over him, pinning them to the ground near Draco’s ears.

“Why do you fucking do this?” Harry frowned into Draco’s widened gray eyes, the muscles in his arms and chest bulging as he tightened the grip around the fine bones until it was crushing. “Why do you push me so goddamned hard?”

“Because it’s the only way to get you to look at me!” Draco cried out, then looked horrified when tears filled his eyes.

Harry stared down at him, some of his anger leeching away, being replaced by revulsion at what he was doing. “Draco,” he gasped, sounding as dismayed as he looked. He began to withdraw his hands, but with shocking dexterity Draco turned his and caught Harry’s, digging his nails in. He saw the change on Harry’s gaunt hard face, saw the regret, and thrust up hard with his hips, causing Harry to have to catch himself on stiffened arms before he fell on the slender chest beneath him.

“No you bastard,” Draco said, his fury returning even as tears slid down his temples and into his hair. “Don’t you dare pull away from me now, not now that you’re actually here, actually looking at me. Don’t you dare.”

“Draco,” Harry tried again, his voice ravaged, but the other man just snarled at him and spit in his face.

“Son of a bitch!” Harry roared, yanking the slender arms above the blond head and pinning them with one hard hand. He wiped the spittle from his cheek with his sleeve and then used the other hand to forcefully grab the beautifully turned jaw. “Stop it.”

“Make me,” Draco challenged, eyes hard and filled with both anger and despair. “Make me, you faggot.”

Harry laughed but there was no humor in the sound. “Look who’s talking.” He snarled back.

“Queer,” Draco went on bitterly. “Ponce. Fucking poof.”

“Shut up,” Harry hissed, nostrils flaring. “Just shut the fuck up.” He moved his hand over Draco’s mouth, then gasped and jerked back when teeth sank into his palm hard. “You bit me!” he cried.

“Give the man a medal,” Draco snarled, and began to buck his hips. “Get off of me. Get…the fuck…off…of me!”

Harry renewed his efforts to hold him down, and when Draco began trying to kick him awkwardly in the back, Harry straightened out on top of him and curled his feet around Draco’s ankles, pinning his legs to the ground with his own easily. He was so much bulkier, so much stronger. Breathing heavily from the exertion of holding the other man down, he stared down into wide, almost panicky gray eyes and felt Draco’s hard hip bones digging into his, felt his stomach moving under Harry’s as he fought for breath. And felt his erection, hard and straining, pressed right alongside the one currently making Harry’s jeans too tight through the crotch.

They both went completely still, the soft sounds of the night broken only by their tortured breathing.

“Get off,” Draco finally repeated raggedly, his eyes wide, his pupils huge, his face unearthly pale. There was a pause.

“I don’t think so,” Harry finally answered, his voice rough. He stared into Draco’s eyes and flexed his hips forward once crudely. He saw him flinch.

“Stop it.”

“No.” Another rolling thrust, rough and coarse.

“Goddamn it!” Draco spat. “I don’t want this.” But he had pressed up against that last downward movement, and Harry had felt it.

“Liar,” Harry sneered, rolling his hips forward again, rubbing Draco’s erection skillfully with his own through the thick denim of his jeans. “You always want it. That’s why you piss me off. Because you know it gets me hot.” He shifted his weight more completely on top of Draco, pushed the slender legs apart with his knees and settled heavily between. “Twisted fuck.” All efforts to kick seemed to have been forgotten in the hot press of Harry’s weight on top of his cock.

“I hate you,” Draco said and pressed the tear filled eyes closed, turning his pale drawn face to the side away from Harry’s gaze. Harry watched the salty wetness squeezed from between pale lashes. He looked so lost, so desolate that Harry hesitated. But his hips rolled up as Harry pressed down, straining cocks grinding together and he felt more than heard the little stuttering breath that told him how aroused Draco was.

“You wish you hated me,” Harry said tightly, dropping his head and attacking the side of Draco’s pale throat with his mouth. He lipped just along his jugular, right over the frantic fluttering of his pulse, then bit down, sucking hard. Draco gasped and arched beneath him, and Harry knew he was leaving a mark and he didn’t care. He began to move his hips harder, faster, rubbing their arousals together with merciless efficiency.

“Harry!” Draco cried brokenly, struggling to pull his hands from Harry’s vicious grip. Harry no longer feared that he wanted to attack him, but he wouldn’t release him. Instead he withdrew from his body, pushed himself up onto the hand that held Draco’s pinned to the ground and the knees still pressing hard into the muscular thighs beneath him, and stared down into the ashen face, breathing hard. Feeling the weight removed, Draco opened his eyes and looked up into the haggard face hanging over his, his own breath harsh in the quiet, cool night. They stared at one another for a long moment.

“Tell me you want it,” Harry said finally, his voice raw. Draco stared, his lashes still wet around wide eyes, the moisture darkening them.

“No.”

Harry’s fingers tightened on his wrists and Draco winced. “Tell me you want it goddamn it. You don’t get to lay there like some tragic rape victim and then hold it over my head tomorrow. Tell me you want it!” Harry’s heavy arched brows had lowered over the very green eyes and his teeth were revealed in a snarl.

“Fuck you!” Draco spat. Harry shook his head and began to lift away, and in a quick move, a long leg wrenched free and encircled his hips and held him there. “No!” Draco stared, eyes frantic, mouth slightly open in panic. Harry froze.

“Tell me,” he ground out emphatically, “that you want this.”

They seemed at an impasse for a long, straining moment and then new tears brimmed along the lower lid of Draco’s expressive eyes. “I want it,” He rasped finally, his lips trembling. “You’re right, damn you. I always want it.”

Harry made a harsh sound and with his free hand reached down and wrenched the jeans open at Draco’s slender waist, tearing at the button front and then pushing both denim and cotton down to free Draco’s long, hard, slender cock. He then made short work of his own fly, shoving bulky fabric down his hips, taking his own thicker arousal in a hard hand. Lowering his hips until flat stomachs and hard abs were pressed together, he curled his fingers around the velvety length of Draco’s hardness and enclosed it in the tight fist with his own. Draco whimpered piteously when he felt Harry’s cock against him, a whimper that died in Harry’s mouth when he slanted it over Draco’s and thrust hard with both hips and tongue.

The only sounds after that were inarticulate moans and cries and the soft, rhythmic sound of flesh on flesh. It wasn’t tender or loving, but hard and fast and almost brutal. Even their kisses were a sort of battle, a fight for dominance between teeth and lips and tongues. Sweat from Harry’s palm and commingled precome began to ease the slide of turgid flesh through steely hand. Harry shifted Draco’s legs apart with his knees and settled heavily between them. Draco’s legs lifted and locked around Harry’s thighs, and they writhed together with only one sharp, mindless goal.

“Come on,” Harry ordered harshly, his mouth back on Draco’s throat, teeth bared against pale flesh. “Come on!”

“I’m…I just…” Draco gasped out, hips moving frantically.

“Draco, Christ, I need you to…”

“Harry. Harry, please!” And then there was a jagged cry and Draco’s body was convulsing beneath him, and Harry could feel the slick, hot proof of his arrival in his hand, and he sank his teeth into the spot just above Draco’s collar bone and squeezed hard and let himself go, let himself erupt in graceless ecstasy as he ground boney hips into the man beneath him. His body jerked hard, then hard again, then stiffened, his mouth open on a silent cry as every last thing within him was wrung free, and he collapsed bonelessly upon the heaving, slender form beneath him, his face pressed against a frantic, fluttering pulse.

It had been this way between them almost from the moment that Draco had shown up at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, nearly a year after disappearing into the night with Snape after Dumbledore’s ‘murder’. By then, the order knew that Snape had had no choice, that Dumbledore had sacrificed himself because he was already dying and it would help both Snape and Draco to live. Upon seeing each other again the old animosity had reared between Harry and Draco, but something else had been there as well. Draco had known he was gay for a long time; Harry didn’t figure it out until after they’d had an explosive argument that had turned physical. Harry had thrown the smaller, thinner man into a wall and pinned him there with his body, only to discover to his horror that they were both hard.

Even after that, he’d lived in denial for the longest time until Draco, fed up with the undercurrents, had slipped into Harry’s bed one night as he lay sleeping and seduced him into wakefulness. He’d jerked to consciousness just as he came explosively into the hot wet suction of a skilled mouth. Draco had then scooted to the edge of the bed, curling in on himself, waiting for the inevitable explosion. It hadn’t come. Harry had stared at him wide eyed in the filtered moonlight, then had reached out with his hand and stroked the length of Draco’s slender back. He had rolled over and curled into Harry and they’d held one another fiercely for the rest of the night.

Their relationship was never easy, or relaxed, or untroubled. Even as their feelings for one another grew until hiding them from others was unthinkable, they fought for dominance. By now everyone knew that Harry was certainly more physically dominant, but Draco evened the score by being emotionally manipulative. Theirs was an impulsive, often aggressive liaison and the people in Harry’s orbit worried about it’s affects on the Chosen One.

They lay there in the rocky field afterwards for a long time, Harry heavy on top of the smaller man, as breathing and heart rates slowed, as the silence of the night returned to press upon them almost heavily, as the awareness of sticky places between them became something less than pleasant. Finally Harry stirred and began to lift away but with a distraught sound, Draco wrapped both legs and arms around his muscular body and would not let him.

“Dray,” he said, gentle now.

“No,” Draco replied, his voice muffled against Harry’s cheek. “Please. Not yet.”

Harry subsided with a sigh, one hand coming up to caress the blond’s pale cheek with as much tenderness as there had been anger before. There was another long silence.

“Why?” Harry finally breathed, his voice an agonized whisper in the darkness.

The pause before the answer was long, but Draco didn’t pretend that he didn’t know what Harry was asking. “I’m scared,” He answered, a wisp of sound. Harry’s arms tightened around his thin body.

“Draco…” He said in an aching voice.

“No, let me say this.” Draco pushed his hands between them to press on hard shoulders, and Harry lifted slightly, held himself up on his elbows, stared down into anguished gray eyes. “I’m afraid every second when you leave me behind, that something bad is going to happen to you and I’m not going to be there.”

Harry’s eyes closed, long black lashes sliding over bright green eyes. “If you’re there,” he said slowly, voice deeper than it had been just months before, darker; older, in so many ways. He paused and forced himself to breathe, to steady his voice. “If you’re there, I do nothing but worry about you. I can’t concentrate on what I need to get done.”

“I understand that.” A pale hand lifted, fingers sifted gently through black fringe and then cupped a hard cheek. “Look at me.”

Harry’s eyes opened and he stared down into Draco’s soft gray gaze. “I understand that and I don’t want to distract you.” Draco spoke quietly, his eyes level. “But can you understand what it’s like for me, left back, waiting, worrying? Its hell Harry, it really is.”

Harry stared at him for a long moment, lowered his face and kissed the swollen pink lips gently, then pressed his forehead to the one beneath him. “I know, and I’m sorry,” He responded softly. “But it can’t be helped, love. I can’t risk you. I’ve risked everything else, lost everyone else.” He paused, sounding suffocated. Draco heard him swallow, felt him breathe deeply. “Don’t ask me to risk you, please. I can’t. I can’t do it.” He lowered his face into Draco’s throat, his hands tight on his upper arms, and Draco closed his own eyes on a misery filled sigh. Slowly he encircled the solid body on top of him with his arms and held him. Tight.

“It’s okay,” he murmured, one pale languid hand reaching up, fingers carding through thick black hair, sliding to gently caress a damp scalp. “It’s okay.”

They stayed that way for a long time.

 

“Where is Mr. Potter?”

Rufus Scrimgeour stood in the antiquated Muggle kitchen, purple robes resplendent, an impatient expression on his face, arms crossed over a formidable chest. He made the kitchen seem very small all of a sudden. At his side, unassuming as usual, stood Percy Weasley his own expression carefully blank.

Ron crossed his arms over his own impressive chest, his stance wide, his jaw firm. “No idea.”

“You just let him go off on his own, do you?” Scrimgour’s eyes narrowed on Ron’s supremely disinterested face.

“You think I could stop him?” Ron’s laugh was just this side of rude. “Think I’m the man’s keeper?”

“Someone should be,” Finnigan said from behind him and Ron’s jerked head and narrowed expression silenced him.

“The man is right, you know,” Scrimgeour said softly, leaning back against the counter with every appearance of settling in for a bit. “Everyone at the ministry knows just exactly what is going on out here, and it isn’t helping his reputation any.”

Ron’s eyes were so narrowed that they were almost invisible. “You’ve got a fucking nerve, you know that?” He hissed. Hermione gasped a little and put her hand on his hard arm.

“Ronald,” she cautioned but he wouldn’t listen.

“That man has sacrificed his entire life for this bloody ‘cause’ and you want to come out here to chat him up about his reputation?” He shook his head incredulously. “You people are incredible, you are.”

“We’re just thinking about his future, Ronald,” Percy said softly, his face carefully neutral.

“His future?” Ron laughed harshly. “We know he’s going to have one, do we?”

“Ron!” Hermione gasped aloud this time, her face stricken. He turned and looked at her.

“I’m sorry for being so blunt, love, but there it is. If Harry does what he has to do, there is no bloody guarantee that he is going to survive it to even have a future. And I’ll be goddamned,” he turned livid blue eyes back to Scrimgeour, “if anyone is going to tell him how to behave himself while he’s out here with a target on the back of his head, so that some of you can sleep in your cushy beds at night.” This was aimed directly at his brother and Percy had the grace to blush. “The man has a right to whatever brings him any comfort at this point.”

“We can’t all be on the front lines Mr. Weasley,” Scrimgeour said grimly. “Some of us need to keep our world running as close to normally as we can.”

Ron snorted. “And some of you are just chicken shite,” he spat and then leveled his eyes on the Minister for Magic. “If you’ve come out here to have a ‘conversation’ with Harry about Malfoy, I suggest you save it. He won’t listen, and he shouldn’t have to.”

“Mr. Weasley,” Scrimgeour said, clearly making a Herculean effort to keep his voice composed, “surely you must see how…utterly inappropriate this whole thing is.”

“Utterly inappropriate?” Ron parroted. “Fuck me, you are an idiot.”

“I beg your pardon,” the man replied, drawing himself up to his full height.

“Well, you can’t have it.” Ron shot back. “I’m telling you, Malfoy is non-negotiable, ‘appropriate’ or not. He’s with Harry. End of story.”

“Mr. Weasley,” Scrimgeour began again after a calming breath, “Mr. Potter has become a…symbol of something bigger than he is and he needs to be mindful…”

“He’s not a symbol; he’s a man,” Ron shot back.

“He’s a bloody pouf,” Seamus snarled and Ron whirled on him.

“I swear before God, Finnigan, you say one more goddamned snarky thing and you won’t be the first man killed by ‘friendly fire’.” Finnigan paled under the wrath in Ron’s eyes, then pushed back his chair and stalked from the room.

“Ron,” Hermione said gently, coming up and curling a cool hand around his taut forearm. “I know that you love Harry. I love him, too. But you can’t threaten everyone who’s thinking that. And it’s not just the fact that Harry’s gay. It’s…Malfoy.”

Ron closed his eyes and sighed. “Hermione,” he said softly, “it’s no one’s business who Harry chooses to be with. No one’s.”

“Sweetheart,” she went on quietly, rubbing his arm soothingly. He looked into her brown eyes. “That’s what should be true. You’re right. You are. Harry should be entitled to love whoever he wants. But you saw what they were like earlier. You and I both know that Malfoy isn’t good for him.”

“Hermione, even if that were true, and I’m not saying it is, we have no right to say it to him.”

“Mr. Weasley,” Scrimgeour began again, quietly, carefully, “you must know that you and your wife are the only ones that Mr. Potter might listen to. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be helping him by pointing out the obvious pitfalls of this relationship?”

Ron turned toward him, his eyes flashing again, but Hermione held on to his arm. “Ron?” She said softly. He stared daggers at the Minister for a full ten seconds before looking back down at her. “I don’t care any more about ‘appearances’ and pitfalls than you do. But aren’t you ever afraid that the distraction is truly going… to get him killed?” Her voice wavered a bit on the last word and her eyes filled.

Ron recoiled from the words as if she’d struck him. “No,” He answered hoarsely. “No, I don’t allow myself to believe that. And neither should you.”

“Mr. Weasley,” Scrimgeour took a slight step toward him, “look at it this way. By telling him the truth you very well might be helping to save your best friends life.”

Ron went completely rigid beneath Hermione’s palm and with a vicious twist he shook her off. “Like you give a shite if he lives or dies,” he snarled and Scrimgeour retreated in the face of his fury. “Do not for one moment speak to me as if I were stupid. As long as he gets the job done, it doesn’t matter a damn to you if he comes out of it or not. It would be much easier to market a dead martyr, wouldn’t it? You just don’t want your savior to be a live queer. Well take heart, Minister,” he spat it as if it was a dirty word, “Maybe Voldemort will kill him yet, and then you won’t have to ‘spin’ his sexual orientation. And I’ve had enough of this.”

He turned then and stormed from the room and moments later somewhere within the bowels of the house they heard a door slam. The silence that followed was viscous.

“My apologies for my brother, sir,” Hermione heard Percy murmur.

“It doesn’t matter,” Scrimgeour said softly. “Mrs. Weasley?”

Hermione turned, her face very pale and her eyes wide. He gentled his expression. “It really isn’t about…”

“I know,” She said quickly, her voice trembling. “Ron just…”

“I understand. He’s his friend. And an uncommonly loyal one.” His smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “But,” he went on gently, “should Mr. Potter fulfill his destiny and survive, do you believe that Draco Malfoy is the right person to be at his side?”

Hermione didn’t say anything for a long moment, but finally she bit her lower lip and shook her head slowly. Scrimgeour, heartened, took a small step closer to her.

“We would not ask you to do anything to hurt him,” he said very softly. “Should this go the way that we want it to Harry will, by rights, be entitled to our undying gratitude. But Mr. Malfoy, whatever his current alleged conversion may be, remains a reformed Death Eater. Can he, in fact, even be trusted?” He watched Hermione’s pale face carefully. At length she shrugged slightly.

“I don’t know,” she finally whispered. “He…it’s complicated.”

“I’m sure.” Scrimgeour nodded sagely. “Volatile.”

Hermione sighed and nodded more emphatically. “Sometimes,” she breathed, “I’m afraid they’re really going to hurt one another.”

Scrimgeour crossed his arms affecting an expression of concern. “It’s that violent?”

“You have no idea,” She whispered. “I’m…scared for him.”

Scrimgeour continued to look thoughtful. “Mrs. Weasley,” he said after a pause, “if there was a way without harm to either of them to perhaps…redirect the course of this…relationship could we count on your assistance?

“What are you talking about?” She frowned.

“Mr. Potter has a great and profound destiny, Hermione,” the man said gently. “He needs all of the help he can get to fulfill it. All of it. Can we count on you?”

She studied his golden eyes, all at once wary. “I would do anything for Harry.” She said softly. “Anything.”

“That’s all I needed to know.”

At that moment the door to the outside burst open, and Harry and Draco entered on a gust of cool air. Harry was holding the other man’s hand and pulled him in behind him before closing the door. He never looked up, never saw the people in the kitchen, just pinned Draco to the inside of the door with his muscular body and began to angle his head to kiss him. Malfoy however, with a clear view over Harry’s shoulder, put his fingers in front of the descending lips with a slight smirk.

“You have company, darling,” He said softly, but loudly enough for the occupants of the kitchen to hear. Harry paused, then turned and looked over his shoulder. His body instantly stiffened and he turned around.

“Scrimgeour,” he said flatly. His eyes took in Percy standing near the counter and ignored him with a negligent blink.

“Mr. Potter,” the Minister said, all ingratiating pleasantness. The way he could change his expressions and tone was startling to Hermione. He smiled obsequiously. “I was wondering if I might have a word.”

“Not tonight.” He reached back and grabbed Draco’s arm, and started from the room. As he pulled him forward Draco’s jumper slid down his shoulder a bit, and Hermione and the other two men could see the several purplish red bite marks on his throat. He tossed his longish blonde hair and met Hermione’s startled stare unflinchingly, his chin lifted and turned as though to display them. Hermione quickly looked away.

“But, Harry,” Scrimgeour made to step in front of him, but Harry’s green eyes leveled a dark look at him.

“Get out of my way,” he said flatly.

“You can’t spare us a moment?” he asked jovially.

“No,” Harry answered, his eyes hard. “I’m taking my lover to bed, where I plan to be occupied for the next few hours. Then I have a raid on a Death Eater hideout to head, so no. I don’t have a moment.” He pulled Draco around the man and headed toward the door that led to the hall without looking back. Draco, however, couldn’t seem to resist glancing back over his shoulder with a smirk, gray eyes gleaming, and wiggling his fingers in a mocking salute. Moments later they were gone and another door slammed down the hall.

There was silence in the kitchen for a few moments, and then Scrimgeour cleared his throat awkwardly. Hermione turned to him, her face flaming in embarrassment.

“Mrs. Weasley,” the man said, recovering his composure. “I need to know if we can count on you should the need arise.”

Hermione looked at him, then at the doorway where Harry and Malfoy had disappeared. With a soft sigh she nodded faintly.

TBC