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The Weight of Eternity

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T
he overwhelming smell of release is heady in the air around him. Draco is less than pleased with himself, but he rationalises that it’s necessary for his own survival. A faint hum of magic and power buzzes through his veins as he drops his head back against the brick wall, blinking up at the stars. It’s the same as every other night, a nameless, faceless fuck in the alley behind a club just to keep him going for one more day. But it’s never really been a fuck, and lately, it isn’t enough.

He grabs the woman by her elbow, gently helping her to her feet. She leans in to kiss him, the smell of his come so potent on her lips that he has to turn his head before she makes contact. He is, as usual, disgusted with himself. A blowjob or a handjob is all he ever accepts, all he has ever needed before. He knows that if he actually has sex with any of these people they will be bound to him for life, but none are the one his heart and soul truly desires. None are the one he is destined to be with. If Draco gives in to carnal desires, he will end up bound to someone who isn’t meant to be his mate, which he knows will inevitably kill him.

~*~

Since the day he turned seventeen, his health has been fading. His father had explained to him in private something he had never even bothered to tell Draco’s mother. Lucius Malfoy had Veela blood running through his veins. It was his dirty secret, which he chose to keep to himself until he saw that Draco had inherited certain traits as well. Lucius had hoped that the last of the Veela gene would be too diluted to affect his child.

The amount in Draco is faint, not enough to bring out all of the physical characteristics, but just enough to cause problems. Lucius had been fortunate enough to find his mate at a young age, bonding with her and eliminating the threat on his life. It had worked to sustain him for four years now, beginning as a slow building need that only required gratification once every few months. Recently though, it had become more potent. Lucius had explained to him that this would happen, that if Draco didn’t find and bond with his actual mate soon, he would die.

What Draco refused to tell his father though, was that he had already found his mate. It was no small coincidence that during their time in school together, Draco and Harry could not seem to stay away from one another. The need to be near each other was great even then, though Draco really hadn’t been able to understand it. And now that they were older, Draco still felt a great pull toward Harry, even if all he could get was a polite but brief conversation at Flourish and Blotts when they happened upon each other there, or just a brush of shoulders as they passed one another on the streets. Even the smallest bit of contact was soothing to Draco, putting his mind and body at peace for a precious few moments. But how is one expected to bond with someone who once hated them, even if that was little more than childhood rivalry? Especially when that someone happens to be the Saviour of the Wizarding World and the most desired man in the country?

~*~

The room above the Graphorn’s Keep is cold, but Draco doesn’t notice. Not right now, anyway. He had been too weak to make it very far from his flat in Diagon Alley tonight, but he never takes people home with him. He does what he has to do, though.

The over-used mattress beneath him smells of blood and sex, neither of which are his. It’s a disgraceful existence, taking pleasure and power from countless strangers for sustenance. He balances on a fine wire between wanting to prolong his life, hoping that something will give him the courage to take what he really needs, and just ending it, letting himself fall into the dark abyss that awaits him in the end.

The power that other witches and wizards emit in the heat of passion is intense, incredible even. When Draco first learned that all he had to do was use a bit of Veela allure to attract them in order to feed off of their magic, he thought it would all be so simple.

Draco straddles the man's chest, his cock sliding easily into a warm, waiting mouth. The lack of energy and weakened magical power has caused him to grow increasingly desperate lately. A dull ache is growing inside him despite the fact that he now has two sets of strong and skilled hands on him, a pair of men he picked up at the club below on Knockturn Alley.

Draco uses what little magical power he has been able to cull from them so far to project more of his allure. It's a dangerous game he plays and he knows this, but he needs them to be as aroused as possible in order to fulfil his own need. Using any allure could be harmful in the presence of two men, especially when Draco is too feeble to fend them off should they decide they want more than what he is offering.

The second man kisses Draco's neck, inhaling the fragrance there before dragging his lips across Draco’s jaw. His breath is hot and reeks of cheap firewhiskey and raw desperation. Draco is here for one reason only. Mutual release is his desire—the sexual energy of climax that pushes power and magic right into his waiting hands. He isn't making love, so he sees no reason to allow anyone to touch him more intimately than necessary, and when the dark-haired man in front of him tries to kiss him, Draco distracts him. Pushing his fingers into the man's hair, Draco tugs his head back, dragging his tongue up the smooth column of his throat. The skin there is salty, bitter and vile and Draco has to forcibly close off the part of his mind that tells him this is wrong. Wrong numbers, wrong place, wrong person. When the man jerks his head out of Draco's grip, raking his cold gaze across him, Draco notes that his eyes, too, are wrong; hazel in colour with flecks of green and gold. He wonders if there is any way he can close his own eyes and pretend that this dark haired man is the one he longs to be with. The one he needs.

A calloused hand traces a rough path up Draco’s thigh. He shifts nervously, hoping to dissuade the man’s further advances. When he feels the pressure of a rough fingertip against the sensitive skin behind his balls, anger flairs within him. He had made his limits clear before bringing the men here tonight. With a hot hand, Draco grabs the man’s wrist, pulling him away from his most intimate area.

The man in front of him offers a sleazy grin. “You sure ‘ave a lot of rules, eh?” he asks, irritation and impatience clear in his tone.

Draco narrows his eyes at the man in warning, grateful that his glare still holds some sway, even if his strength is too weak to back it up. His hips shift rhythmically as he fucks one man's mouth while the other rises to his feet. The dark-haired man strokes himself until Draco takes his cock into his mouth, focusing all of his thoughts and energy on drawing on the power emitting from the men, drowning out the reality of his situation.

~*~

His vision swims in and out of focus as he makes his way down the cobble stone street. The sun is shining brightly in the sky above, warming the chill of death that he feels under his skin, but only just. He’s weak and fading fast despite his activities of last night. There is nothing more he can do but Apparate home to die in peace, but he thinks he might even be too feeble for that.

There is pain, so much pain, but Draco cannot pinpoint exactly where it is. It’s everywhere and somehow nowhere at all, under his skin and working its way out at the same time that it penetrates his very soul. His vision goes red as the sunlight shines upon his closed eyelids and suddenly he feels himself falling.

~*~

 “Look, mummy! That man has wings!”

Draco is able to open one eye just enough to see the red stain of blood pooling beneath his aching cheek on the sidewalk. In his last moment of lost strength and control, his wings must have come out and now all he can hear is the faint hum of magic and gasps from the people surrounding him.

He closes his eyes, welcoming Death as he wraps his chilling fingers around Draco’s biceps and pulls him into Hell.

~*~

Voices echo within the darkness of Draco’s mind and he is unable to tell if any of it is real or merely the resonating sounds of the afterlife. The pain is mostly gone, but weakness and confusion remain.

“Let him go,” he hears his father say. “We can’t keep him any longer. Just...let him go.” He sounds exhausted, defeated. Two things Draco rarely associates with his father.

Faint sobs fill his ears before his mother’s broken voice becomes clear. “Don’t you dare!” she says frantically. “Don’t you let my son die!”

He is unable to move, even to open his eyes. Draco feels a gentle brush against his inner wrist. It’s surprisingly comforting, seeming to settle his frayed nerves for a brief moment before the warmth is snatched away again.

“I don’t plan to,” says another familiar voice before the silent darkness takes Draco again.

~*~

“His vital signs seem to respond to touch,” a man’s voice says; that same familiar voice that Draco barely recalls from before.

His hand is on Draco’s wrist, sending warmth and security pulsing through his arm until he releases him again.

“I’ll do it then,” his mother says, this time closer and Draco feels another brush of skin against his other arm. This contact is neither comforting nor safe at all and sends a ripple of agony through Draco, the likes of which he has never felt.

A small noise escapes him and it takes all of his strength and will to flinch away.

“Narcissa, wait,” his father calls from somewhere farther away and his mother removes her hand quickly. “It isn’t just simple contact that he requires. There’s more to the Veela inheritance that I haven’t told you. More than just wings and allure.”

~*~

The pain is coming back, as is the light on the other side of Draco’s closed eyelids. He groans in agony as he forces his eyes to flutter open, but heavy lids seem too difficult to hold up and as soon as he takes in his surroundings, they fall shut again. He seems to be in a hospital room, bright fluorescent lights in rows across the ceiling and the sterile smell of chemicals and potions thick in the air.

“Draco? Draco, can you hear me?” His mother is so close that he can feel her warm breath against his cheek as she speaks. He wants to move away again lest she touch him, but he is still too weak. “He opened his eyes, Lucius...Mr Potter, please.”

Draco feels pressure against the side of his face, but it is not uncomfortable this time. It is soothing and sends a spark of pleasure and borrowed life through Draco. He turns his face to press his lips to the warm palm, breathing in the scent that the Veela part of him recognises to be that of his mate.

“Harry,” Draco rasps. He wants to ask for more, to plead with the man to keep his hand there forever, but his voice is scratchy from disuse and all that comes out is a choked sob. Draco reasons that it is probably better that way. He doesn’t want to ask for anything from anyone at all, least of all Harry Potter. Harry does not move his hand though. He simply begins to speak and Draco finds that even his voice is soothing.

“Draco, can you hear me?” he asks.

Draco nods, breathing in a ragged lungful of air against Harry’s palm.

“You collapsed in Diagon Alley and were brought to St Mungo’s. I’m your healer. Your parents are here as well and we’re trying to help you the best we can.”

“Only you,” Draco whispers incoherently, and even he cannot discern the meaning of his words as he drifts into a comfortable sleep this time.

~*~

Upon waking again, Draco has no problem opening his eyes. His head is pounding, but it is a welcome pain in comparison to that of before. The room is dark and silent but for the faint beeping and buzzing of magical monitors beside him and the audible drip of purple liquid in an IV bag that’s feeding into his right hand. Draco feels stronger now, and it only takes him a moment to realise that this is because Harry’s hand is still pressed against the side of his face.

Embarrassment washes through him as comprehension dawns. Harry must be aware of Draco’s need for him now, even though Draco himself has never told anyone. He turns his head slowly toward the warm pressure against his left arm. Harry is sitting in a chair beside the hospital bed, asleep with his head resting upon Draco’s forearm.

Draco squeezes his eyes shut, relishing in the soothing power that penetrates his skin where Harry is making contact. It isn’t enough to heal him entirely, but he feels that it could sustain him for a while longer. Draco isn’t sure what the point of that is though. Why prolong the inevitable?

He raises his hand to the one Harry has pressed to his cheek and brushes his fingers over the smooth skin, savouring the feel before slowly moving Harry’s hand away. Gently, he extracts his forearm from under Harry’s cheek, noting how soft his inky dark hair is as Draco’s fingers pass. The discomfort that he feels at the loss of contact is almost instant, cold and raw, but he knows it’s for the best. He cannot expect Harry bloody Potter to sacrifice his life and freedom of choice to save Draco. He can’t expect him to stay by his side constantly, always touching him just because Draco is too weak to stand on his own without him. He doesn’t want Harry’s pity, or anyone else’s for that matter.

Draco is careful not to jostle the bed too much as he slides his legs from under the blankets to get up. Carefully, he tugs the IV from the back of his hand, blood beading up and dripping down his wrist immediately. He sways slightly as his head swims with dizziness. He notices that he’s shirtless, wearing only a pair of loose pyjama bottoms, but it will have to do. He can’t waste any more of his sparse strength in search of clothing. With some small measure of luck, Draco hopes that he will be able to walk outside of the hospital’s wards and Apparate himself back to his flat. He needs this to be over. Too long has the pain and uncertainty gone on.

He allows for one more glance at Harry, so beautiful and peaceful as he sleeps leaning over the hospital bed. Draco wonders if there would ever be a possibility, perhaps in another life time, that Harry might actually give him the chance he’s always wanted. His fingers involuntarily twitch toward Harry, aching to caress his smooth skin. Draco resists the urge, and before his strength has run out again, turns to leave.

“Mal–Draco, wait.” Harry’s voice is smooth, completely lacking the sharp edges it used to carry when they were younger. A tingling sensation rushes down Draco’s spine at the very sound of it.

He turns slowly, not wanting to, but entirely unable to stop himself as the draw of his mate calls to him.

“I can help you if you’ll let me,” Harry says, his green eyes dancing in the dim light of the moon that shines through the window.

“You can’t. I don’t have some magical malady that can be cured with potions and spells. Even by you.”

“I know. “ Harry rises to his feet, reaching a hand out for Draco. “Your father explained to me what this is, and I can help you.”

Draco laughs mirthlessly. “You don’t know what you’re offering.” Harry, always trying to save the world and never considering what he might need or want for himself. Draco used to pretend not to notice this when he was a boy. Easily influenced by outside sources such as his father and Severus, Draco had allowed himself to believe that Harry was the opposite, always in need of attention and praise, underachieved and over appreciated. But in the time following the Death Eater trials, the time in which Harry had testified on Draco’s behalf and pleaded with the Wizengamot to spare his father’s life and sentence him to time in Azkaban instead, Draco had seen a side of Harry that he never thought existed. It was the side of him he heard only rumour about but never believed to be true. Harry really was—and still is, it seems—a compassionate, do-gooder, bloody Gryffindor.

“Then tell me,” Harry whispers, moving closer now, slowly, as if he’s afraid of scaring Draco.

Draco feels his body weakening again as he wars with himself internally before stretching his hand out to take Harry’s. The invisible pull is too great, and as soon as their skin touches, Draco feels a rush of energy, albeit not a lot.

“Your father says you need me, but he told me it isn’t his place to say any more.” Harry guides Draco back over to the bed and urges him to sit down. “What is it you need from me, Draco?”

“I don’t know,” Draco replies weakly. It’s a far cry from the truth, but much easier than telling someone who doesn’t even consider him a friend that he needs everything, all of him, that he needs Harry to be in him, surrounding him, consuming him, that Draco’s very survival depends on it.

“Well, this seems to help,” Harry says, taking both Draco’s wrists in his hands and moving to stand directly in front of him. “I’m just going to check your vital signs, all right?” The fingers of one hand move smoothly to Draco’s pulse point while the other flicks his wand, casting Tempus Secundum. “How are you feeling?”

Draco laughs dryly, shaking his head as he looks down at Harry’s fingers around his wrist. He isn’t sure how to answer that question without making Harry feel uncomfortable. “I feel...like I’m still alive,” he says finally. It’s a vague variation of a truthful answer.

Harry looks up, meeting his eyes for a moment as if he’s searching for more. With the wave of his hand, he turns the overhead lights on dimly. The expression on his face is stern, though not unkind, as he gently pushes Draco back into a lying position on the bed. Harry waves his wand over Draco, casting several spells that are meant to monitor heart rate and body temperature.

“I’m not sick,” Draco says peevishly.

Harry doesn’t seem to hear him, or rather, chooses not to listen as he continues to cast diagnostic spells, all the while maintaining his gentle grip on Draco’s wrist.

“Your father says you have a small amount of Veela blood in your line. Of course, he didn’t need to tell me that since you actually had wings when you were brought in. I like to think I could have come to that conclusion on my own.”

Draco says nothing as he stares up at the ceiling, focusing instead on the relief that slowly pulses through him from Harry’s delicate contact.

“Do you have any idea why you respond to my touch, but when your own mother puts her hands on you, your vital signs drop dangerously low?”

“I’m not the healer,” Draco answers.

Harry laughs and shakes his head. “Well, this is the Department of Spell Damage, and clearly that isn’t your issue.”

“Clearly.”

“Turn over onto your stomach,” Harry commands.

Draco does, silently enjoying the solace of Harry’s touch as his hand slides to Draco’s back, never breaking contact. He deftly removes bandages, smoothing his hands over Draco’s back soothingly. 

“You may have some scarring here. I couldn’t use Dittany because I wasn’t sure how that would work on skin that is meant to break open that way, and we couldn’t get a specialist in for a few more days. Apparently a male Veela isn’t common at all. You stumped quite a few healers that I’ve consulted with here.”

Draco remains silent, simply enjoying the feel of Harry’s hands on his skin. He hears a soft laugh escape Harry and wonders briefly what he could possibly find so amusing.

“I used to wish I had wings when I was younger,” he says. “Plenty of times I wanted to fly away.”

Draco hadn’t really expected Harry to be anything but clinical when speaking to him—he certainly didn’t expect him to be friendly. “Mine aren’t good for anything but decoration. If I had more Veela in me I’d be able to fly but, as it is, they aren’t really strong enough. I prefer a broom anyway.”

Harry laughs softly. “Me too. I did get a kite one year when I was seven. It was the closest to flying I ever thought I’d get; the wind whipping through my hair as I stared up at it from the ground below. Of course, it was my cousin’s before it was mine, which meant it was patched together with tape and gum. Didn’t take long for the breeze to rip through it again and send it crashing down.”

Draco felt a pang of sorrow for Harry. He had heard rumour before of a horrible, loveless childhood. He’d even read a book that was released shortly after the war that supposedly took an inside look into Harry’s youth. But to hear a bit of it from Harry himself, to know that such a small thing brought the young boy a great measure of happiness for a few short moments, Draco’s heart ached for him.

“How often do your wings come out?” Harry asks, his voice laced with genuine curiosity.

“They don’t,” Draco answers simply.

Harry sighs, his hands ceasing their movement but remaining on Draco’s back. “Obviously they do,” he says with a small bit of forced patience.

Draco doesn’t want to be rude to him any more than he already has been. He wishes he had a simpler explanation for all of this. But even more so, he finds himself wishing for the simplicity of death that he would have found had he not been brought to St Mungo’s in the first place.

“I’m usually able to control myself, keep them restrained. I was too weak, though.”

“And this weakness doesn’t occur often, I take it?”

Draco would really rather not explain to Harry that he is weak because he is dying from not being mated yet. “How long have I been here?” he asks, avoiding Harry’s question entirely.

“Two days.”

“Where are my parents?”

“They left for the night. I’m sure your mother will be back early in the morning, though.”

“Why are you still here, Potter?” Draco asks, finally feeling a bit more himself. He has a vague memory of waking up several times to the sound of Harry’s voice, and he knows just by the fact that Draco himself is still alive that Harry hasn’t left yet.

“I’m here, Draco, because of this.” Harry lifts his hands from Draco’s back and instantly his skin goes cold, a dark emptiness creeping through him. Harry replaces his hands before the pain takes root and Draco almost moans with the relief that comes with his touch.

With one hand still on Draco’s back, Harry pulls the blanket up over him and extinguishes the lights. “Get some rest. We’ll sort this out.”

Considering Harry’s previous mention of a specialist, Draco feels a sharp spike of panic shoot through him amid the calm hum of Harry’s touch. He can’t see a Healer who specialises in Veela care. A specialist will certainly recognise Draco’s need to bond with his mate and there would be no hiding the fact that that is Harry. In fact, anyone who knows a single thing about Veela would be able to recognise this for exactly what it is.

Draco feels Harry settling into the chair beside the bed again. “Potter,” he says meekly. “How many healers have been in here?”

There’s a long pause before Harry finally responds. “Just my trainer, Healer Fairtree. She only stayed long enough for me to get you settled in and for you to come to and retract your wings, though.”

Draco nods against his pillow. It is as he suspected. No one has seemed to be able to overlook the Dark Mark on his forearm since the war. Most people claim to be afraid, but Draco knows from personal experience that sometimes it is just primal hate that causes them to treat him as they do. He is more than a little surprised that they’d even allowed him into the hospital in the first place. Things are so different since the war. So much has changed, and yet many things are still the same. One isolated prejudice was replaced with another more widely spread one.

“Why didn’t you just let me die? All of the others would have. How did I end up in the care of the one person who doesn’t know how to accept defeat?” Draco turns to look at Harry.

“You obviously don’t know me very well. I don’t always win, Draco. But I refuse to give up without trying.” Draco is captivated by Harry’s gaze, green eyes shining like emeralds so brightly that Draco has to close his own eyes against their brilliance. It’s as if Harry can see through him, look into his soul and know all of his secrets.

There was a time when all Draco had known of life was self preservation, no matter how cunning or underhanded. Part of being a Malfoy meant that no one was more important than one’s self. Much to his father’s dismay, Draco has long since abandoned these selfish beliefs. Now that he is so very aware of what it feels like to be cast aside by the greater society, he has found some semblance of humanity buried deep within him.

There was even a point in time where Draco had fully intended to follow through with his bonding to Harry. He had met him in a café in Diagon Alley and, by Harry’s invitation, sat for coffee. It was easy talking to him, being with him. The only thing that prevented Draco from asking Harry out on an actual date was the fact that, an hour into their lukewarm conversation, Ginny Weasley had walked in and stolen Harry’s attention away.

At the time, Draco knew very little about Harry save for what he had read in the Prophet, but one thing he was certain of was that Harry had always intended to have a family of his own. It pained Draco to know that he could never provide that for Harry, and that all he would ever be able to do was hinder Harry’s chance at happiness, normalcy. So Draco had walked away with scarcely even a word of goodbye.

He still sees Harry frequently; they live so near one another. And the small smiles and stolen glances they share from a distance offer Draco a variable amount of comfort. He hasn’t seen Harry with the Weasley girl in years and wonders if that could possibly mean anything. Perhaps Harry has given up on his ideas of marrying her and having children. Or perhaps she’s given up on him.

“Harry,” Draco opens his eyes again only to find that Harry is still watching him intently. Whatever Draco had planned on saying is entirely lost the moment he sees Harry’s sleepy gaze and feels his fingertips gently brushing back and forth against Draco’s back in what seems to be an unconscious gesture of comfort. “Thank you,” he whispers, knowing the full truth of how grateful he is for even just a few stolen hours with Harry may never be known to anyone but himself.

~*~

“His temperature has finally regulated. I may be able to allow him to be discharged today.” Draco’s mother is standing in the corner of the room, far from Draco as Harry checks, for what seems to be the hundredth time, vital signs and temperature. He has only left Draco’s side for a few moments at a time to use the toilet or get a drink of water. Draco hasn’t even seen him eat, which only causes more guilt and discomfort.

“Where is Father?” Draco asks his mother, his eyes fixed on Harry’s hands as he watches him work to reinsert the IV. He notes, with a small measure of interest, that Harry does not wear a band on his finger, nor does his skin bear marks of one at all.

“Lucius isn’t comfortable being here. He thinks you may have a better chance at efficient care if he does not come back for the time being.”

Draco knows his father is less concerned with his well being and more concerned with the fact that his son has turned out to be such a disgrace to the Malfoy name. He knows that Lucius has deduced that Harry is meant to be Draco’s mate, and standing by idly watching his only son sacrifice his life to keep his secret is probably more than he cares to witness.

“Draco,” she says, drawing his focus to her finally. Her face is more pallid than usual, dark circles under pale blue eyes, and he wonders when last she slept. “I know what it is that you need. Your father told me everything, and if you don’t tell Mr Potter, I shall.”

“Mother–“

“Draco,” she cuts in sternly. “I will not watch you die out of sheer stubbornness.”

Draco can feel Harry’s gaze on him, practically burning through his skin. He holds his breath as he casts his mother a warning glare. She excuses herself, letting Draco know that she will return in the afternoon.

“What’s going on?” Harry asks as soon as the door closes. “What is it you aren’t telling me?”

Draco is unable to meet Harry’s eyes as he searches his mind for the right words. “I need you,” he whispers almost inaudibly.

“Excuse me?”

“You,” Draco says, looking up to meet Harry’s gaze finally. “Just you, and I will quite literally die without you. How’s that for a fucking predicament?”

Harry shakes his head. “I don’t know what you mean. I’m here. I told you I’d do everything I can.”

Draco laughs, but the sound is quite foreign to him. “I don’t need you to be my healer, Harry,” Draco interrupts. “What I need from you is far more than I’d ever dare to ask. More than you’d be able to give me.” He doesn’t know where these words are coming from, or why. His mind is foggy, drunk with need, and before he can say more, something inside him decides that perhaps showing is easier than explaining.

Fraught with desire so powerful it nearly steals his breath away, Draco cannot stop his hands from acting of their own accord. Tentatively, he brings them up to Harry’s unshaven jaw. He does all that he can to reign in any amount of allure he may be inadvertently projecting, but his mind is laden with desire—the desire to finally bond with his mate, the desire to taste the sweetness of his lips, the desire to simply survive—so he cannot be certain whether it is Harry’s own will or pull of the allure that coaxes him into meeting Draco’s lips with his own in a delicate, soft kiss that sends currents of pleasure and magic pulsing through Draco’s veins. His whole body hums with relief as his tongue slides between Harry’s parted lips. The feel of Harry’s mouth on his is indescribable, like nothing he’s ever experienced before. None of the gratifying sexual encounters of his past could ever compare to a single kiss from his mate.

As his stolen power increases, he becomes more aware of himself and his allure and reluctantly pulls away. He can’t help what he’s done, and he wants to apologise, but all his mind and body can agree on is his incredible need.

They stare at each other in stunned silence for a moment, Draco’s hands sliding down into his lap as he tries desperately to regain control before acting further upon his urges. A different kind of ache settles into his chest this time as he sees Harry’s eyes dart briefly to his lips before meeting Draco’s own gaze again. 

Harry’s lips move soundlessly as though he’s searching for words that elude him.

“I’m sorry,” says Draco, finally finding his own voice.

Harry shakes his head, his expression laden with guilt. “That wasn’t very professional of me. I’m the one who should be apologising.”

“I have to leave, Harry. I can’t be here any longer.” Draco’s words are barely registering in his own mind. He is torn between wanting to use his new found strength and power to pull Harry down atop him and take what he needs, and to run far away, never looking back. He’s quite aware that he isn’t himself at the moment, and he fears that his instincts will win out over reason if he doesn’t put some amount of distance between himself and Harry.

“Will you be all right if I let you go home today?” Harry asks. He is still standing so close that Draco can feel his body heat emanating from him.

Draco nods, swallowing hard against the lump in his throat.

“Will you be staying with your parents in Wiltshire? Will you have someone to take care of you? And will you come back in for me to check you in a few days time?”

Draco smiles in spite of himself. He doesn’t want pity, but Harry’s concern is heartening. “I’ll be staying at my own flat. In case you hadn’t noticed, my father and I aren’t exactly on friendly terms anymore.” The surge of power from the continuous contact with Harry over the last couple of days ensures Draco that he is strong enough to get through the next week or so without needing anything else. Perhaps in that time, he can find the words needed to properly explain to Harry what it is that must be done. Outside of the hospital, they are no longer Healer and patient. He hopes that Harry will be able to listen to him without the full weight of responsibility upon his shoulders, though Draco is fairly certain Harry doesn’t even know how to do that.

“Please, Harry,” he pleads with him. “You can come to my flat and check on me. I promise I won’t do anything stupid. I just need time to think before I can talk to you about this.”

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

Draco had been fully prepared to use any monetary persuasion to gain his freedom from St Mungo’s, but in the end, Harry’s compassion shone through once again. With the promise of a house visit in two day’s time, Harry allowed Draco to leave with what pride he had left.

A dull hum in his bones reminds him of the fact that Harry is no longer in comforting proximity, but the pain is gone for now, and for that Draco is exceedingly grateful. For the first time in months, he is able to think of something other than his own impending demise.

He tidies his flat and fire calls his parents to let them know he’s home. His mother was at the hospital when he was being discharged, but he had adamantly insisted she leave before she had the chance to say something that would upset him. He feels surprisingly good thanks to Harry. Draco knows that he’ll have to divulge his secret eventually, but he hopes to have some time first, to spend getting to know Harry, or just preparing himself for the inevitable conversation that determines his fate.

It is nearly seven hours since he’s left St Mungo’s when Draco’s Hospes Scope begins to glow and chime on the table beside him, alerting him to the presence of a visitor at his door. He sets his book down and goes to answer it. It isn’t entirely unlikely that he should have a visitor at this hour, especially if Pansy heard he had been in the hospital. He’s lost touch with most of his old classmates since the end of the war, but Pansy is still a good friend. When Draco opens the door, he is surprised to see a different guest waiting on the other side, though.

“Harry,” Draco says, stepping aside to allow the healer entry.

“I was on my way home and thought I’d come check on you. Are you drinking a lot of water? Have you eaten yet?”

It has been days since Draco’s had a proper meal, having been nourished mostly by tubes of potion in the hospital and not having much of an appetite in the days preceding that. His stomach rumbles at the very mention of food and he can’t help but wonder how it is that he allows such bare necessities of life to slip by without notice.

His silence is enough to answer Harry’s question.

“You promised you would take care of yourself if I sent you home today. You’re going to have to do better than that,” he admonishes.

“It just hadn’t occurred to me yet. I’ll make something. I’m fine, Harry. Really.”

“I’m sorry,” he replies. “I don’t mean to nag you, but it’s sort of my job to take care of people. I can go out and get you something if you’d like.”

“That’s a bit above and beyond, isn’t it?” Draco asks jokingly. He appreciates Harry’s concern, and to be honest, he’s a bit embarrassed at the fact that he’s been so negligent with his own nutritional needs.

“Well, it isn’t every day I allow one of my patients to sneak out of the hospital without a proper diagnosis. I’d rather you didn’t kill yourself the second you got home.”

“First of all, Harry, I was hardly sneaky about leaving. And secondly, as a healer, you should know that it takes quite a bit more time than a half day for one to starve to death.”

“That isn’t funny,” Harry says sternly. “I’m going to get you something. Would you like to come with me, or should I bring it back.”

Draco sighs in defeat while smiling internally at the thought of spending any amount of time at all with Harry outside of the hospital. “Let me get my coat,” he responds, hoping to sound at least a little bit annoyed.

~*~

They opt for an almost-traditional Italian bistro over takeaway after Harry tells Draco that he’d rather not eat dinner within the confines of his flat.

Draco nervously picks at his pasta. By all logic, he should be famished, but somehow the events of this afternoon have driven his appetite away. He knows he needs to speak with Harry about the things his mother said, and probably about the kiss as well, but nerves have his stomach twisting in knots.

Draco watches as Harry stabs a forkful of his pumpkin ravioli, eyeing him warily from under his dark fringe.

“I told you, you’re going to have to try harder. You need to eat to keep your strength and immunity up unless you’d like to end up back at St Mungo’s.”

Draco can’t help the laugh that escapes him this time. If only Harry knew what was really required to keep his strength up.

 “How much do you know about Veela, Harry?” he asks, not daring to look up from his plate.

“Not enough, apparently. Bill Weasley’s wife is one quarter and I’ve spent some time around her. Don’t remember learning much about them in school. I suppose I was a bit occupied at the time.”

“You didn’t miss much, I don’t think. Veela aren’t exactly a large part of the curriculum at Hogwarts.”

Harry nods. “There is a story that Fleur told us...well, told Hermione, really. I think it’s mostly some Veela folklore or something, though, passed down through her family.”

Draco has never heard any Veela folklore. Only necessary facts passed on to him from his father. Feeling a bit more relaxed with the casual flow of conversation, he finally digs into his own food as he waits for Harry to continue.

“Supposedly, there was a once a woodland spirit, umm...a nymph?” Harry’s brows furrow as he tries to find the correct word. “Yes, a nymph. She had magical powers over the Earth’s elements. She was the only one of her kind...lonely and sad and her heart ached with the desire to have someone.”

Draco is positively captivated with the wistful tone in which Harry conveys the story. He has to remind himself to keep eating his food rather than watching the other man’s lips move as he speaks.

“One day, the nymph saw a young man—a wizard—walking through the woods. He was alone and wandless, wandering aimlessly as though he was lost. She was drawn to him by some powerful force of magic, unable to stay away from him. The nymph followed the man for a while, observing his growing desperation as the sun began to fall behind the horizon.

“Not wanting to frighten the man, the nymph took the form of a young woman before approaching him. She didn’t know much about humans other than what the sprites had told her, she hadn’t realised that she wasn’t really supposed to have wings.” Harry’s eyes meet Draco’s. “Female sprites have wings,” he explains.

“Yes,” Draco confirms, though he knows it really wasn’t meant to be a question.

“The man thought she was an angel who had come to take him to his death. She assured him she would never hurt him, and was simply there to help. The nymph escorted the man through the forest to his home, and along the journey, she fell desperately in love with him...”

Harry’s voice trails off, drawing Draco from his trance and back into present reality. “Surely that isn’t how it ends,” he says.

“No, of course not. I just feel a bit foolish telling you some fairy princess love story over dinner. I’m not sure that I’ve had enough alcohol for this.” Harry takes a sip of his mead as he toys with the hem of his napkin.

“It’s fascinating, really. Please don’t stop,” Draco says, anxious to hear the rest of the tale, almost desperate for the serene tone of Harry’s voice.

Harry smiles before continuing. “The nymph never wanted to go back to her inherent appearance so, to lock her spirit into the form of a young woman, she plucked a single hair from her head, causing her magic to freeze her appearance. She made a wand for herself of a twisted twig of birch, sealing the hair inside. When she saw that the other women didn’t have wings as she had thought, she cast a glamour spell to hide her own before following her love into the village.

“Soon after she’d arrived, every man in the hamlet was fawning over her, begging her hand in marriage, but there was only one she truly desired. The man seemed to be the only one who didn’t fall all over himself in her presence, always respectful of her, grateful that she had saved his life, but never more than a distant friend. One day, the girl was bathing herself by a waterfall in the river. She was crying...so emotionally distraught, she didn’t realise that her glamour had faded. Some witches from the village happened upon her and saw her wings. They accused her of bewitching all of the men with dark magic.

“She tried to reason with them, but they didn’t want to listen. They intended to kill her, and when they tried to grab her, her temper flared and fire came from her hands. The girl didn’t want to hurt anyone, though. The witches were frightened and so she was able to barter with them after that. They agreed to allow her to stay, but she was to choose one man to marry within a fortnight. They cast a spell on her so that when she was claimed, all the man had to do was pluck a feather from her wings to completely bind her to him. But one of the witches was scornful and within just a few nights, she had spread word of the girl’s enchantment. Before the girl even had a chance to find the wizard she was in love with, another man discreetly approached her, plucking a feather from her wing and therefore binding her to him and claiming her as his own.

“She didn’t last long after that. Heartbroken without her love, she was unable—or unwilling—to survive without him and passed away just after the birth of her daughter.”

Draco soaked in every bit of the story with great attention, knowing all too well just how it felt to be without the person one is meant to bond with. He had never heard such a heartbreaking tale.

“Why didn’t the man want her? The one she was meant to be with, I mean,” Draco asks, pushing his empty plate away and taking up his own glass of wine.

“Well, according to the legend, he did. He just never saw himself worthy of her.”

“And she never had the nerve to approach him for that same reason,” Draco says rather than asks.

Harry nods. “Foolish self-doubt on both their parts.”

The silence stretches out between them for a long while until the waitress returns to offer them a drink refill. Draco waves his hand over top the glass, indicating that he is through with the wine. The small amount of tension is broken and they both laugh at how odd and surreal the entire evening is.

Another hour passes in a strange blur of light conversation and careful reminiscing. The two of them barely scratch the surface of their vast store of conversation topics, neither willing to weigh down the mood with talk of war or school-age rivalry.

“So, how is it someone like you lives in such a modest flat instead of a manor,” Harry asks as they approach Draco’s door.

Draco tries to hide the fact that he’s a bit stung by Harry’s insinuation of him being a pretentious snob but, unfortunately, it does not escape Harry’s notice.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean...that was really just my smooth way of asking what it is you do these days.”

With the wave of his wand, Draco disengages the wards on his door. Even without turning to look, he can feel Harry enter behind him. Something warm and unrecognisable prickles through him when he realises that even the small amount of familiarity shared between them is enough to make Harry feel comfortable walking into Draco’s home without verbal invitation.

“What do I do these days,” Draco muses, removing his coat and taking a seat on the couch. “Well, before I...before all ofthis happened, I was working as an investment banker at Gringott’s.”

Harry sits in an armchair by the window, his eyebrows drawn up in surprise. “Really?” he asks. “I’d always figured you’d be doing something with potions.”

Draco smiles, enjoying the admission that Harry had thought about him and his future at all. “I was good at potions, but Iloved money. It was the logical choice.” He shrugs. “Actually, it started as a hobby. When I turned seventeen, I inherited my portion of the Black family fortune. I spent a lot of time learning how and where to invest my galleons. Sometimes it paid off, other times, well...let’s just say I learned fast.”

“It’s really a remarkable place. It suits you, I think,” Harry says, casting his gaze about Draco’s flat. “Not exactly what I would have expected from the Draco Malfoy I went to school with.”

And there it is. One casual mention of the person Draco used to be and his heart jolts, beating an erratic rhythm against his rib cage like the drum of a soldier marching to his death.

"Yes, well, I've had time to examine the more important aspects of life and have come to realise that material things aren't as crucial as I once thought."

"Oh?" Harry asks with interest. "What is then?"

Draco shrugs. "Friendship, life...love. All of that Hufflepuff rubbish."

Harry smiles at this, warming Draco from the inside out. “I suppose time changes a lot of things.”

~*~

“There should be some way to sort of freeze the effects of the progression of your condition,” Harry says, his nose buried in a book as he sits at Draco’s kitchen table. Styrofoam cups of sweet coffee sit on the surface in front of each of them, a stack of books to the right of Harry and a stack of toast to the left of Draco.

“See, the thing is, that with such a small amount of the Veela’s genetic material in your line, the effects are slightly different than that of an actual Veela, or even a half.”

“I know this, Harry,” Draco says before sniffing his coffee and taking another drink. He isn’t sure where Harry got the stuff from before coming over this morning, but he’s certain he can get used to this front door coffee service. Especially if the one who delivers it every morning is Harry.

“Also, being male doesn’t exactly make things easy as all of them on record so far have been female. It says here that a mature Veela will crave physical contact from a mate, and that, if such requirements aren’t met, she’ll begin to take on a more bird-like form until she is unable to change at all and, eventually, she’ll die. You aren’t exactly taking on any bird-like characteristics—I mean, besides the wings—and other than occasionally being angry enough to throw fire, you don’t possess any of the other traits. We’re basically starting from scratch.”

“I know. I’m sorry,” Draco says, not entirely sure what he’s apologising for this time. Perhaps for not being completely honest with Harry about how much he knows, perhaps for his father’s lack of assistance on the matters he is aware of.

 “If you came back to the hospital–”

“If I go back to the hospital,” Draco interrupts, “they will treat me as a human experiment. Come on, Potter, you said yourself they don’t have enough information on Veelas at all, let alone the males. I won’t be put in some observation tank and prodded by the healer trainees of St Mungo’s. No offence.”

“None taken,” Harry says, not taking his eyes off the book. “So, assuming you’ve only taken on some of these other inherent traits as well, and knowing that the physical contact does sometimes help, perhaps there’s a potion we can use to sustain you.”

Draco groans, dropping his head down onto the tabletop. He appreciates Harry’s efforts to help him, but it isn’t nearly as simple as he seems to be convincing himself it is.

“I know it would be a pain in the arse to have to take a potion every day for the rest of your life, but I’m sure once we’ve had more time to observe the effects, we can come up with a more permanent solution.” Draco listens as more pages turn in the endless pile of books Harry has brought with him this morning. He lifts his head again to watch him. Harry is focused entirely on whatever it is he’s looking at, the tip of his tongue peeks out to moisten his lips as his eyes scan the page.

“You’re really taking this very seriously, aren’t you?”

Harry looks up and cocks his head to the side, examining Draco with narrowed eyes and genuine curiosity. “It’s your life, Draco. Did you think I wouldn’t take it seriously? Do you expect...” Harry’s eyes widen as if he’s been hit with some form of realisation. “Do you expect me to just let this go because of our...our past?”

Draco’s heart sinks. He knew this conversation was inevitable, but he still isn’t sure he’s prepared to revisit the part of his life he’s diligently buried over the years.

“I’m a healer, Draco. And even if I wasn’t, I thought we...” he trails off, closing the book in front of him and scrubbing his hands up and down his face. “Look, I know we didn’t exactly have the same beliefs in school, or support the same side during the war–”

“That’s all?” Draco scoffs. “We just didn’t support the same side? I thought we had tried to kill each other.”

Harry’s eyes narrow, a dangerous gleam in their depths. “You and I discussed this during your trial, Draco. You didn’t try to kill anyone. Not even when your own life was on the line. Both of us did what we had to do, and if it weren’t for you, I would have died at the manor that day.”

Draco bristles at the very thought that Harry’s life could have ended. He knows it’s true, though. His connection with Harry had already begun to take root at that time, and even if he’d wanted to turn him over to the Dark Lord, he couldn’t have. Truth be told, Draco had seen the awful things Voldemort was capable of with just a fraction of his potential power—Draco himself had been victim of some of his cruel practices—and he didn’t want the entire Wizarding world to fall into his hands. Harry was their only hope and, hard as it had been to add to the weight of the world that had been placed on one young man’s shoulders, Draco had counted on him to set them free.

“I wish there was more I could have done,” Draco says quietly to the table surface. “I should have gone with you. I could have helped.”

“You did help,” says Harry firmly. “You did what you had to do to keep your family safe, and still managed to help me in the process. You have no idea how much I appreciate what you and your mother did for me.” Harry stands, tossing his empty cup in the rubbish bin.

At a loss for words, and ashamed for bringing up the topic in the first place and setting back the progress they’d made the night before, Draco still doesn’t look up. He pretends to study the grain of the table, dragging his thumbnail along the dark edges of one natural curve in the wood.

“I’d better get to the hospital. My shift starts in less than an hour and I’d like to see about that potion idea.” Draco listens as Harry’s voice and footfalls grow farther away. He pauses by the door. “Can I come and check on you again?” he asks.

“Of course,” Draco calls loud enough for Harry to hear as he walks out the door. “Please,” he adds, only for his own ears.

~*~

Draco sips his morning tea, eyes red-rimmed and staring out the window overlooking Diagon Alley.

Three consecutive nights of deep, restful sleep was too much to ask for, so he tries his best to be thankful for the two he had. Spending the evening with Harry the first night home definitely played part in Draco's comfortable rest after he had left. Harry's presence still lingered in the room, even when he no longer did.

Draco sets his tea down on the table beside him. He leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees and scrubbing his hands over his face in frustration. He hates to admit, even to himself, that he had been hopeful after that first night up late talking with Harry. He thought some modicum of the ignorant courage that he used to have would come to the surface and allow him to admit what it was he needed—and wanted. But the next morning with Harry had been no different. What Draco hadn't taken into account was the fact that his ridiculous pride has always outweighed his courage, even when he knows it shouldn't.

Reluctantly, he allows his thoughts to travel back to sixth year at Hogwarts, cursing himself for not accepting the help that was offered him by Dumbledore. Cursing himself for the part he played in the Professor's death. If only he'd swallowed his pride, so many lives could have been spared.

Draco can't help but wonder if ever there was even a single time in history where pride helped someone rather than hurting them. What an odd thing it is. Something ingrained in him from his father. Something needless, just like the hate and anger he had long ago harboured.

Draco glances down at the book in his lap: Madam Quimbleton’s Tales of Yore. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Harry’s story of the first Veela girl, and has searched every book of legend and fable he has been able to get his hands on. He reasons that, if it is in fact true, it may very well be a tale passed down throughout the generations and never actually written, much like the line of male Veelas in Draco’s own family. He finds himself thinking of the story often, relating his own situation to both the Veela girl and her love. Draco feels himself unworthy of Harry, but knows that if he doesn’t make a move soon, he will die. And, oddly enough, it isn’t death that Draco fears most, but the knowledge that he could pass from this world having been so close to being with his own love and never taken the chance because of sheer foolishness.

Draco lies on his couch with a heavy blanket over him in hopes of keeping the chill out. When the coldness comes from within, though, there is little one can do to rid themselves of it. His strength is fading again, so even a simple warming charm is out of the question lest it drain him completely. There would be no passersby to find him now should he lose consciousness. All that he can do is hope that Harry keeps to his word and comes to check on him. It was foolish to think that one kiss would sustain him for a week, even if that kiss was from his mate. Draco knows by now the urgency of his situation. In the beginning, it was perfectly acceptable to go long periods of time without requiring a power transfer, but as the years wore on, so did his need to bond.

He wishes he had talked to Harry that night, confessed to him the reason for kissing him, for telling him that he needed him without granting him any other explanation. Harry had kissed him back, though, which should be a sign that he does have some desire for Draco. Or had that simply been due to the Veela allure? If only he had more time. Draco would very much like to go back to that day in the café before the Weasley girl interrupted them. He doesn't want Harry's sympathy; he doesn't want Harry's affection if it is out of guilt. What he wants is time for Harry to get to know him, to learn that he isn't the person he once was and that, perhaps, they really could have something together. Unfortunately, time is not something Draco has a great deal of, and based on the way he is currently feeling, he surmises that he's got even less than he imagined.

~*~

His skin itches, and pain has already begun to seep deeper into his bones.

He fears that desperation will get the better of him and, despite his best judgment, he will not be able to keep himself off of Harry when he does arrive. He needs to touch, to feel.

Some time later, Draco remembers learning a Muggle technique for starting a fire. But after several failed attempts, he points his wand into the grate and sends out a spell to start the flames.

The magic is weak, and Draco is thankful that it even worked to begin with. His arm aches from the feeble effort and, in a fit of frustration, he casts his wand across the room, sending it bouncing off the wall and clattering to the floor. It doesn't matter that Harry had given him his own hawthorn wand back years ago, it is no good to him if he has no magical energy to use it.

Draco sits on the rug in front of his fireplace, his knees drawn up, forearms resting upon them as he glares into the flames. With the pain comes anger: anger at himself for being so weak, physically and mentally, anger at his father for having kept this secret so long, anger at this situation that seems so far out of his control.

The fire does little to warm his cooling flesh, but Draco finds that his own ire seems to help, be it only a little. It's something to do with a great emotion that he can draw focus from. He imagines he'd do better to focus on love, or even lust, but he fears that will only add false hope to his situation. Even if Draco does find the words needed to tell Harry what is truly going on, that does not mean he is suddenly guaranteed some happily ever after. He doesn’t even know if Harry is attracted to men. Though, if the kiss in the hospital was any indication, Draco would be inclined to think he is.

"Draco," his mother's voice carries through the flames, startling him out of his reverie. She sighs, her brows furrowing as if she is the one in pain. "You don't look well. You said in your letter that you were fine. Why have you not told Mr Potter of your situation yet?" she demands, her gaze searching the room and settling on the portion of his wings that she can see over his shoulder.

Draco shifts uncomfortably. It’s only his mother, but she looks at him as though she’s never seen him before. And in all actuality, she really hasn’t. At least, not this part of him. He feels guilt and shame for having kept the Veela secret from his own mother, the one person he has always felt he can trust.

"It's more complicated than that, Mother."

"It's only complicated because you're making it so, dear," she insists. "Not everything needs be done with moral integrity."

Draco laughs dryly. His mother has always been supportive of his new found values, but when it comes to her son's life, all thought of right and wrong are suddenly dismissed.

“There’s a reason Veela have the power of allure, Draco. Use it to your advantage.”

Draco considers throwing water into the fire, extinguishing the flames and effectively ending this one-sided conversation. He hasn’t the strength to deal with his mother’s niggling right now. It isn’t as if he’s not trying to come up with a reasonable explanation to offer Harry, a way to tell him without seeming too needy or demanding. Certainly he can’t simply seduce Harry by way of allure and expect anything lasting to come of it, though.

On the table behind him, Draco’s Hospes Scope begins to chime softly.

“Visitor, Mother. I should get that.”

“Please take care of yourself, sweetheart.”

Draco stands waiting to be sure his mother is gone before turning to answer the door. Even without the added hum of Veela magic signalling Harry’s presence on the other side, he would have known it was him.

“I brought you coffee,” Harry says as he steps through Draco’s door, holding a steaming cup out in offering. "It's decaf, so it shouldn't keep you awake. A warm drink just sounded nice on a cold evening."

Draco swallows thickly, fighting back the commanding urge to pull Harry into his arms. He accepts the drink instead, thanking Harry before taking a sip of the warm, sweet liquid and closing the door behind him.

A look of concern quickly replaces Harry’s smile as Draco turns back towards him. “I thought you never let your wings out,” he says.

“I usually don’t, but since the hospital, I have more often. It takes up more of my energy to contain them.”

Harry reaches a hand out slowly as if he means to touch Draco’s wing. Draco’s breath hitches as he waits in anticipation, but before Harry makes contact, he draws his hand back.

“They’re very...”

“If you say pretty, I’ll punch you in the bloody jaw. Coffee and house visits notwithstanding.”

Harry laughs and shakes his head. “No. I think ‘pretty’ isn’t exactly the word I was looking for,” Harry says, but the look on his face suggests it wasn’t far from the word he was looking for. “You aren’t well then?” His gaze moves quickly from Draco’s wings to his eyes. “I knew I should have come last night. My shift ended late though, and I didn't want to bother you."

Draco nods in understanding. He wants to tell Harry that he could have come anyway, that he is always welcome, but he simply cannot find his voice. The relief he feels just from Harry's mere presence is enough to steal his breath away.

Harry guides Draco to the couch and coaxes him to sit. He kneels in front of him, a warm hand sliding over his forehead, testing Draco's temperature. The look of disappointment behind green eyes is almost painful and Draco has to cast his own gaze down to the floor to avoid Harry's.

"Am I making you uncomfortable?" Harry asks, startling Draco into looking up once again.

"No, of course not. Why would you think that?"

Harry sighs, sitting back on his heels and looking up at Draco. “The other day, in the hospital...the kiss.”

Draco squeezes his eyes shut, silently begging whatever deity that may hear him for Harry to please not apologise. Draco can’t bear the idea that Harry truly is sorry for it, though he knows it wasn’t exactly within his power to stop it in the first place. Veela allure is a strange and powerful thing, even in its weakest measure.

“Always trying to be the martyr,” Draco replies, shaking his head. “If you’ll recall, it was actually I who kissed you, and though I’ve already apologised, I must say, I’m really not very sorry at all.” Draco’s words surprise even himself. He isn’t sure that this is how he wanted this conversation to begin, but it’s a bit late to worry now. “I mean, you aren’t surprised, are you? You’ve known for some time now how I feel about you.”

“Mm, I suppose you’re right. I have noticed you looking at me a time or two. Can’t say that I mind,” Harry says with a sly smile.

“You don’t?” Draco asks, trying to keep the utter shock from his voice.

“Of course not. Haven’t you noticed how often I try to get you alone? Even as far back as your trial with the Wizzingamot, I’ve been trying to get you to go out with me.” Harry’s typically confident voice has taken on a surprisingly timid tone.

“You didn’t think to ask me?”

“I did...once,” Harry replies. “At the Misty Swamp Café when I saw you there. I asked you to join me—which really doesn’t count—but then, after we’d talked for a while, I also asked you if you’d like to have dinner with me some time.”

“You mentioned a restaurant, and then Ginerva Weasley walked in,” Draco adds. “I thought you two were an item at the time, so I didn’t bother hanging about.”

“Ginny and I haven’t been together since school.”

“I honestly don’t recall you asking me to dinner, but I suppose the other night counts then.” Draco is pleased with the turn this evening has taken. He already feels a bit better physically, and now, knowing Harry really is attracted to him, the small spark of hope has brightened to a glowing ember within him.

“So, when you’re weak and unwell and I force you into sharing a meal with me, you count that as a date?”

Draco thinks on this for a moment, resisting the urge to smile. “If I say yes, does that make me terribly desperate?”

At this, Harry does smile. His fingertips brush gently over Draco's thigh causing his eyes to flutter closed briefly. They snap open again when Harry abruptly stands, his hand outstretched for Draco's. Draco accepts without knowing Harry's intentions and allows himself to be pulled to his feet.

"You’re cold. You need to go back to the hospital," Harry says, his voice firm but pleading.

Draco pulls his hand from Harry's quickly as if he's been burned. "What? No.” Draco shakes his head. “There's no point," he snaps. "I don't need a healer, Harry."

"Then why don't you stop being so damn evasive about it and tell me what you do need?" Harry says, mirroring Draco's frustration. “I’m doing my best to help you, but you don’t seem to want me to. You won’t tell me what you know or what your mother was talking about at the hospital. It’s like you want to die!”

Without allowing for a single thought beyond now, Draco pulls Harry against his body, lips crashing together in an urgent, desperate kiss. Harry is hesitant at first, but only for a moment before he relaxes into the embrace, his hands trailing delicately down Draco's ribs and around his waist.

The heat of Harry’s mouth is exhilarating and Draco twists his fingers tightly into his hair to hold him firmly in place. In this moment, he feels every bit of the desperation that has been threatening to consume him. It's as if Harry is the oxygen that Draco breathes and he cannot—will not—let him go.

With all of the strength he can muster, Draco turns them and pushes Harry down onto the couch. Wasting no time at all, Draco straddles Harry's thighs, his loose, thin pyjama bottoms doing nothing at all to hide his arousal. He can feel Harry's as well, and knows that he is at least as hard as Draco himself.

Draco pulls away for the briefest moment, allowing a waft of consciousness to seep between them. The light in Harry's eyes fairly dances as he leans breathless against the back of the couch, his lips moist and already swollen from the force of their kiss. Some small part of Draco's conscience is aware that he is, as his mother suggested, using some minimal amount of his allure yet again. With great effort, Draco focuses on restraining it, and like the sting of an elastic band snapping against his skin, he feels it pull back into the confines of his own being.

"Do you regret the kiss in the hospital?" he asks once he is certain the haze of Veela allure has lifted from Harry's sensibility.

Harry shakes his head, his hands on Draco's hips holding tight as if to anchor them both.

"Not really, no.”

Their mouths meet again and Harry groans as Draco shifts his hips and slides against him. Harry's hands grip Draco's hips, urging him on, and the feelings of relief and utter contentment are all encompassing. Not only is he kissing Harry and frotting against him shamelessly, but Harry is complying, filling Draco with a hope that has been absent for so long.

Draco’s hands snake up Harry's shirt, and he worries for a moment that he is being too persistent, but as Harry's own fingertips dip beneath the waistband of Draco's pyjama bottoms, he is settled by the thought that they are on equal footing.

Almost equal, at any rate. Draco sucks Harry’s lip between his teeth as he grinds against him. He wants to have Harry’s cock buried so deeply inside him that he forgets all about life and death and is unable to focus on anything at all other than physical pleasure. But this, he reasons, will suffice for now. Harry’s hands on Draco’s bare skin, his hot, wet mouth sliding up Draco’s neck, things he wouldn’t dare hope for just days before, and yet he still wants more.

Harry’s movements are limited with Draco on top of him, but Draco is perfectly capable of taking care of them both in this position. He shifts again, arching his back slightly to slowly drag his hardness against Harry’s.

Unable to keep his composure, Draco moans as multiple sensations assault him: longing, relief, lust, and even love. His whole body prickles with the magic and power that surrounds them as they each near their climax.

Draco continues to shift his hips rhythmically, sliding his tongue between Harry’s parted lips to taste the sweetness of his breath. Harry’s fingers dig into Draco’s hips, urging the movements along, pushing and pulling at all the right beats.

Harry kisses Draco forcefully before his mouth locks onto Draco's neck as he comes with a grunt; the lust and desire that accompany his release fill Draco with ecstasy and power beyond anything he's ever felt. Those sensations, along with Harry’s tight embrace and continued movements, send Draco over the edge as well. His mouth finds Harry’s in another deep, messy kiss as Draco’s own release pulses through him.

There is no guilt this time, no feelings of trickery or deceit, no Veela allure to blame for Harry’s compliance. Only them. Two people who are genuinely attracted to one another.

Draco rests his head on Harry’s shoulder inhaling his comforting scent as their breathing evens out. He’s unable to stop himself from pressing small kisses to Harry’s neck with every third beat of his pulse there.

Harry laughs softly, flinching away from Draco’s kisses. “That tickles.”

“I’m sorry,” Draco replies, his lips still pressed to Harry’s neck.

“Stop apologising for everything,” says Harry as his fingertips trace along the edge of Draco’s wing. “It’s unsettling. Makes me feel like I’m taking advantage of you.”

“You?” Draco asks incredulously, lifting his head to look at Harry. “I’m the one who’s left wondering if I’ve inadvertently drugged you with Veela allure.”

Harry snorts with laughter. “Allure doesn’t really work on me. I assure you, it’s all me, clear headed and fully aware.”

“What do you mean it doesn’t work on you?” Draco asks, moving off Harry’s lap to sit beside him instead.

“I don’t know exactly why, but since my first encounter with Veela, I’ve always been somewhat resistant to their allure. Could be I’ve built up some sort of guarded awareness since that summer spent at the Weasley’s with Fleur there.”

A curious revelation, indeed, Draco thinks. The kiss in the hospital, all the times Harry has come back to check on him and spent hours talking, had nothing to do with the pull of magic? Harry casts a cleaning spell over them both, pulling Draco out of his thoughts. With little effort, thanks to his recently replenished power, Draco releases the bindings he’s placed on his allure and watches Harry suspiciously.

Harry stares back through bright green eyes, dark hair falling in front of them as his tongue peeks out again, dragging slowly across his bottom lip. He isn’t making a single move to touch Draco like anyone else would when caught in the allure of a Veela. Draco, on the other hand, is exercising the utmost restraint in his desire to reach out to Harry. It’s almost as if the allure is backfiring, turning against Draco instead, only he knows that his desire for Harry runs much deeper than that, and has for many years.

“Nothing?” Draco manages to ask, breaking free of the trance Harry’s eyes had been holding him in.

“I still want you just as much now as I did three minutes ago...and three years ago,” Harry responds.

~*~

It’s been over a week since Draco’s last real setback. A steady flow of magic and power surround him most of the time, thanks to Harry’s continuous frequent visits. They touch, they kiss, Draco has even managed to get Harry’s shirt off a couple of times, but he still fears taking the next step. He knows Harry does care about him, but Draco isn’t sure that will be enough for Harry to want to be bound to him forever.

He’s told Harry as much as he can manage, about the allure, the physical needs, about his power being replenished through sexual energy. The only thing he has kept to himself is the fact that Draco needs to actually bond with his mate, and that Harry is that person. The two most crucial points and Draco knows the longer he waits to tell him, the more dire the consequences, both physical for Draco, and emotional for Harry.

Will he feel deceived? Trapped? All Draco had hoped for was more time to spend with Harry before he has to tell him, and here they are spending every single day together and still Draco hasn’t said anything.

“I brought you something,” Harry says, sliding into the seat across from Draco at the Misty Swamp Café. They decided to meet here and have a do-over of the date-that-was-never-really-a-date that had been interrupted years ago. “I only borrowed it, so we’ll have to give it back eventually.” Harry’s eyes are bright with excitement like a child on Christmas morning as he hands Draco a small, tattered book.


Myths of Mythology: The Truth behind the Folklore, by Faleena Roakin.

Draco examines the book pensively. “What is this?” he asks.

“It belongs to Fleur. It’s been in her family as far back as they can remember. Fleur is a direct descendant of Faleena.”

Draco looks at the dusty, ragged book in his hands before glancing back up at Harry. “I don’t understand. What’s in this, and how on earth did you get it? It looks as if it’s going to disintegrate if I look at it wrong.”

Harry shakes his head, reaching across the table and taking the book from Draco’s hands. “No. Effective preservation charms were only invented a couple hundred years ago, so it’s perfectly safe now. All of its aging was done before they protected it.” Harry opens the book, flipping to a page midway through and turning it toward Draco. Across the top, bold lettering reads: The Love of Seraphina.  “It’s the story I told you in the restaurant...the story of the first Veela girl. Her name was Seraphina.”

Draco smiles at Harry, who is looking delightfully proud of himself, as he has every right to. “Did you know that I’ve been searching for this?” Draco asks as he takes the book back from Harry.

“Not really. I mean, I’ve seen you reading books of folklore and fables, so I hoped you would enjoy it. But really I just wanted to find this for you because you seemed genuinely interested the night I told you the story.”

“I was,” Draco says, unable to take his eyes off the tiny script on the page. “Part of the reason it was so enthralling was because it was your voice telling it.”

“I can read it to you if you’d like,” Harry offers, and later that evening, he does.

They sit curled together on Draco’s couch, the fire crackling and lighting the room with a warm, orange glow. Harry’s voice is still just as soothing to Draco now as it was to him while he was in the hospital. He’s pleasantly surprised to note that Harry had recited the story that first night fairly accurately, missing only minor details, like names and certain spells. It isn’t a history book, and Draco knows that. It could easily be one woman’s count of the events as seen from afar or heard throughout generations, but the story still speaks to Draco on a personal level, captivating his heart, entrancing his mind, and sending his imagination reeling.

Harry’s fingers comb through Draco’s hair as his voice tells a tale of love and loss that Draco can almost feel prickling against his soul.

“Harry,” he whispers when the story has finally come to its end. The words he longs to speak are right on the tip of his tongue. Draco can taste the truth of them, but he finds himself unable to speak them aloud. Instead, he reaches up and takes hold of Harry’s wrist, bringing his hand to press against Draco’s lips. “Perfect,” Draco says before kissing his palm again. It isn’t even close to the words he intended to say, but the meaning is similar and Draco drifts off to sleep feeling them both heady in the air around them.

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

“It’s easy once you get the hang of it,” Harry says, turning away from the stovetop full of bubbling pots and sizzling pans and taking the colourful cube from Draco again. “It’s all about skill and patience,” he says as he twists and turns the sections of the cube.

“It’s impossible to do without magic.”

Harry chuckles. “No, it isn’t. Watch. First you have to pick a starting point to focus on. We’ll go with blue this time.” He turns the cube until he locates a small blue square in the centre of one side. “The middle colour never changes. It’s only the rest of it that you shift around.”

Draco folds his arms petulantly, never taking his eyes off Harry’s hands. “Rubbish box.”

“Rubik’s Cube,” Harry corrects as he slides a row of blue squares into place above the centre one.

“It’s dark magic.”

“It’s a Muggle toy.” A few more twists and skilful turns and Harry sets the cube down on the table next to Draco, each side displaying a solid nine squares of matching colour.

Harry turns back to the food he’s cooking and Draco scowls at the back of his head. Harry flicks his wand over one shoulder, levitating the cube up into the air and causing it to turn itself into a jumbled mess once again.

“Give it another try. You want to get a solid T of colour on each side and then you can begin to work on the remaining corners.”

“I’ll give you a solid T,” Draco mumbles as he snatches the cube out of the air and leans back in his chair again.

“I’m not even sure what you mean by that, but I imagine it would probably ruin dinner, so maybe later, yeah?”

Draco fights with the evil box for the remainder of the evening until finally pulling his own wand out and casting a charm to rearrange the stickers and put them back in their correct order. Harry calls him a cheater, but Draco argues that it’s merely logical thinking.

Later in the night, Draco falls into bed, tugging Harry down with him.

“Stay with me?” he asks, though he meant for it to be a firm command.

Harry nods. “Of course.” Sitting on the edge of the bed, he strips down to his shorts, casting his clothing to the floor before lying down and pulling Draco against his body.


Perfect, 

Draco thinks again as he inhales the fragrance of Harry’s skin. His need to bond has grown much stronger over the last few weeks with Harry, leaving Draco weak and wanting far more often than he is accustomed to. He isn’t sure what he would have done if Harry had said no and gone home tonight.

Harry’s fingers trace patterns in the bare skin of Draco’s back, words and pictures that Draco’s mind can’t quite focus enough to decipher. All he can concentrate on is the way Harry’s bare chest feels against his, the rise and fall of it with each steady breath.

Draco’s fingertips dig into Harry’s back as he works to hold him closer. He isn’t sure where the sudden feeling of insecurity is coming from, but it feels as if Harry will disappear if Draco closes his eyes. It’s all so surreal, he can’t remember ever even being capable of even wishing for this and now he has it—has Harry—but for how long?

Draco feels an uncharacteristic anxiety washing over him, his body trembles with desire a he presses a kiss to Harry’s neck.

“Hey, are you all right?” Harry asks, holding Draco closer.

Draco nods. “I just...I need...” he trails off, voice trembling, unable to finish. Draco finds Harry’s lips in the dim light of the room and kisses him fervently. It’s messy and desperate and Draco tries to contain his urges, but still manages to rub his thigh against Harry’s growing erection despite his best efforts to keep himself together. It’s quite clear to Draco that the Veela in him is demanding control, fighting with him to gain what is needed for survival.

He pushes Harry onto his back, never breaking their kiss as he shifts his leg again to slide his thigh against Harry’s cock. Harry groans, his hands gripping Draco’s arse and holding him firmly against his body.

“What do you need?” he asks when they finally break apart for air.

“I need to fuck you.” Draco’s voice is low and rough, full of deep-rooted need he isn’t even aware that he is capable of.

There’s a short pause before Harry responds. “Then do it,” he whispers hotly against Draco’s cheek. “Fuck me.”

Draco exhales slowly, trying to calm himself and regain control. “I can’t,” he says. He shifts his weight so that he’s lying beside Harry again, pressed close, pushing his fist against a closed eye.

Harry nips at Draco’s jaw as his hand slips skilfully down the front of his pyjama bottoms. He brushes his fingers down the length of Draco’s hard cock, eliciting a moan from him before whisper into his ear. “I respectfully disagree,” he says as his fingers wrap around Draco’s length. “I think you could fuck me quite nicely if you tried.” His voice is low and rough and sounds like sex itself. Draco is certain that Harry could probably bring him off with nothing but words alone if he truly wanted to.

Draco shakes his head, trying desperately to hang onto his remaining composure. “Just let me touch you,” he says, reaching down and taking Harry’s thick, heavy cock in his hand.

He squeezes gently before finding a steady rhythm, stroking Harry’s length while thrusting into the hand that’s wrapped around his own cock. It would be so easy to just let go, to allow his instincts to take over, to fuck Harry senseless right now, but that isn’t the way Draco wants it to be. He wants Harry to have a choice, not to be bound to him unwittingly.

Draco’s tongue slides against Harry’s, his thumb circling the tip of Harry’s cock, collecting the moisture there and spreading it around. Harry moans and thrusts his hips, sucking Draco’s lip between his and biting gently.

It takes all of Draco’s strength and will to keep from abandoning his morals and climbing back onto Harry. He wants him—needs him so badly that he can hardly breathe.

He lets Harry set their pace, their movements slow and easy, but certainly efficient, and soon they are both groaning with the pleasure of release as power surges into Draco.

The following morning, Draco wakes to the feel of hot breath on the back of his neck and a strong arm draped over him. If he concentrates enough, holding his breath and pressing his back tightly to Harry’s chest, he can actually feel the dull thrum of his heart.

“Good morning,” Harry says, his voice scratchy from sleep. His lips brush against the hollow behind Draco’s ear.

Smiling, Draco turns in his arms, placing a soft kiss on Harry’s lips. He can’t even be arsed to get up and brush his teeth first for fear of losing his place in Harry’s warm embrace.

“I’m normally not a morning person, you know,” Draco says, brushing Harry’s fringe away from his sleepy green eyes. “But I think I could get used to this.”

Harry presses a kiss to Draco’s forehead, his lips lingering there just long enough for Draco to comprehend that he’s actually checking for fever.

“How are you feeling?” he asks before Draco has a chance to say anything.

“I’m fine, Harry.” Better than fine with you here, he adds silently. “You worry too much.” Draco kisses the corner of Harry’s mouth. “Give the healer in you a day off.”

“I can’t help it,” he replies. “It’s what I do.”

“How did that happen, anyway? Everyone was so sure you’d go on to be an Auror or an Unspeakable. How did you end up at St Mungo’s?”

Harry squeezes his eyes shut briefly, shakes his head, and opens them again meeting Draco’s. “There was just so much fighting throughout my life. So much abuse and violence and war. As far back as I can remember. It was all I knew, but I was sure there was more. I wanted to help people, rather than tracking criminals, and becoming a healer sounded perfect for that.”

“Well, you’re really good at what you do. I think you made a wise decision.”

“Don’t say that,” Harry says softly. “I haven’t been able to fix you yet.”

“But I’m not sick, Harry,” Draco replies, and then presses his lips to Harry’s before he has a chance to argue further.

~*~

“Unfortunately, I can’t be touching you all the time so, here.” Harry hands Draco a small phial of yellow liquid. “We’re going to give this potion a try.”

Draco sits upright, accepting the small bottle from Harry. They’re sitting on the living room rug. It’s quite undignified, but Draco doesn’t care. With Harry, everything feels free and natural, comfortable and right.

Draco pulls the stopper from the phial and is immediately hit with a foul odour. He scrunches his nose. “What is it?” he asks as he quickly recaps the phial. “Smells horrid.”

“Yes, well,” Harry takes the bottle from Draco, “you aren’t supposed to smell it. Just drink it. It’s Contineo Tangere Potion. Yarrow flower roots, boiled dragonfly eggs, diced tongue of newt–”

“If you expect me to drink it, stop telling me what’s in the bloody concoction.” Draco snatches the bottle back, shaking it gently and turning it upside down to examine it. “What exactly does it do? I haven’t heard of Contineo Tangere before.”

“No, I imagine you wouldn’t have. It isn’t exactly medicinal. It’ll give your body the sensation of being touched constantly. Normally, you would just put it in one particular spot.”

Draco focuses on Harry through the moving bubbles and yellow liquid. He’s curious to know where Harry found such a thing, but he decides not to ask. “But this is a drinkable version?”

“You can drink it if you’d rather not smell like that—which I assumed you wouldn’t—or you can just apply a bit of it topically. Your arms, for example, or your shoulders. Really anywhere that you might need a comforting touch.”

Draco raises a questioning eyebrow.

“Yes, even there if it suits you.”                                                 

They both laugh like immature schoolboys.

“What about adverse affects?” Draco asks, dropping the playful tone. “I can hardly stand when my mother touches me. What if it’s like that?”

“It shouldn’t be. If you drink it, it will work its way from the inside out with your own body chemistry. Should provide a perfect balance. If it’s used on your skin, it will mimic the touch that applies it. My professional opinion is that it would work more effectively that way.”

“Topical it is, then.” Draco smiles devilishly.

“Here, I’ll help you,” says Harry, taking the phial again and gently pushing Draco back down onto the floor. “Take this off.” Harry tugs at the hem of Draco’s shirt. “And these, if you don’t mind.” He taps the button of Draco’s trousers, a look of desire clouding his normally crystal clear eyes.

Draco smiles and does what he is asked. It isn’t the first time he has been completely naked with Harry, but typically, Harry is mostly undressed as well.

“I’m feeling a bit exposed here,” Draco says as he stares up at Harry. “Are you going to join me?”

Harry shakes his head, gently running his hand from Draco’s sternum to his hip and back again. “I have to go in to work soon. And besides, this is just for use when I’m not here to assist you with my own hands,” Harry drags his fingertips across Draco’s chest, “and my mouth.” He leans down, flicking his tongue over one hardened nipple to emphasise his point.

Draco nearly groans as pleasure pulses through him with every delicate touch that Harry offers. He wonders how he was ever able to survive with those other people touching him. Nothing could compare to the feeling of Harry’s hands on his body.

Harry drops kisses across Draco’s ribs, each one warm and penetrating in a way no normal magic could provide. Draco’s fingers ache to touch Harry, and it takes a moment for his mind to function properly and let him know that such a thing isallowed. He reaches a hand out, trailing his fingertips up Harry’s forearm as Harry continues to kiss and touch him everywhere but where Draco needs him most. His breath is hot against Draco’s skin, his tongue moist and warm. Draco longs to kiss him, but he is too distracted by how close Harry is to his hard cock right now, and he doesn’t want to change his direction. He scrapes dull fingernails across the back of Harry’s neck and up into his soft hair. Harry makes a noise of pleasure that brings a smile to Draco’s face. The phial of yellow potion lies beside them, all but forgotten.

Harry, still fully clothed, moves to kneel between Draco’s knees. His hands slowly move from Draco’s thighs to his hips and then up his flat stomach. As Harry stretches out above Draco, a sly smile spreads across his face. His hands grip Draco’s shoulders as he leans over him, their mouths just inches apart now. Draco wonders if Harry’s goal is to drive him mad with desire before splashing some disgusting smelling potion on him and leaving for a ten hour shift at the hospital. He deduces that, if that’s the case, he probably could kill Harry without feeling too horrible for it.

Draco’s breathing goes from uneven and ragged to nonexistent as Harry slowly drags his lips across Draco’s. Draco’s tongue peeks out, but Harry pulls away slightly, denying him entry. His eyes are piercing and far less composed than he seems to be and Draco wonders if now would be a good time to ask Harry to fuck him. He would almost be willing to beg, if necessary. His whole body aches with need.

With his nose, Harry nudges Draco’s jaw, coaxing him to tilt his head back. Harry scrapes his teeth along the skin of Draco’s throat, tugging gently, kissing occasionally, but mostly just driving Draco insane with want. He can feel the heat radiating off of Harry’s body above him, the magic, the power. Draco craves it, needs more. He wants to rip Harry’s clothes off of him and lick every inch of his skin.

Before he has even a chance to try and remove Harry’s shirt, Harry is sliding back down Draco’s body again, lips pressing to sensitive skin and sending shockwaves pulsing through Draco. Draco’s hard length is pressed between his belly and Harry’s chest and he already feels his balls tightening from the smallest amount of pressure. The lightest touch from Harry is, apparently, enough to set him on edge.

Harry sits up straight, his hands massaging Draco’s thighs as he gazes down at him. Draco grips the fibres of the rug beside him, trying not to thrust upward, trying not to show his desperation. Harry reaches beside them, taking up the small phial and removing the stopper. Draco holds his breath, not willing to allow the horrid aroma to spoil his mood. He watches as Harry drizzles some of the potion across Draco’s hips, massaging it in gently before dripping more onto his fingers. Harry tilts his head, all the while maintaining eye contact as he slowly moves lower. Draco can feel warm breath against his cock and he shudders with pleasure.

“Please,” he whispers, still watching as Harry stares up at him. He isn’t sure what he’s begging for—fingers in him, mouth on him, both—he just knows he needs more, feels he will die without it. He rests his head back against the floor, squeezing his eyes shut.

There's moist pressure against his perineum, massaging slow circles. He doesn’t dare open his eyes to see whether it’s Harry’s tongue or fingers. It doesn’t matter. The sight of either will likely send him over the edge and he wishes to prolong these feelings for as long as possible.

The unmistakable feel of a wet tongue licking a stripe up the underside of Draco’s cock elicits an uninhibited groan as his fingers twist into Harry’s hair. But when he gets to the tip, Harry does not take Draco into his mouth as expected. Instead, he drags his tongue back down to the base, placing an open-mouthed kiss there before moving lower still. Unable to resist any longer, Draco lifts his head to watch. Harry’s fingers are between Draco’s legs, rubbing small circles into the skin behind his balls while Harry kisses and licks Draco’s sac. His lips tug gently at the sensitive skin before he sucks it into his mouth, moaning and sending vibrations throughout Draco’s lower half.

“Oh, fuck.” Draco hisses in a sharp breath.

Harry kisses the base of Draco’s cock again, but still does not take it into his mouth. With his free hand, he urges Draco’s legs farther apart. Draco has never in his life been more exposed and vulnerable, but with Harry, there is no reason to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. He hooks one leg around Harry’s back spreading himself shamelessly. Harry dips his head down, pressing his tongue flat against Draco’s entrance. His fingers dig into the pale flesh of Draco’s thigh holding him open, his tongue stroking and thrusting. Draco has never allowed anyone to touch him there before, but he’s certain it wouldn’t have been like this if he had. A desperate groan escapes him as he reaches down, taking his cock into his own hand and squeezing.

Harry grabs Draco’s wrist, pulling his hand away and pinning it to the ground beside them. “Mine,” he growls before pushing his tongue into Draco again. He licks and kisses Draco’s most intimate area while Draco moans, biting down on his bottom lip until he tastes the tang of blood on his own tongue. He’s never experienced anything like this before, the bit of possessiveness Harry showed when Draco tried touching himself, the delicate force he uses to pin Draco’s arm to the ground, the careful ministrations of his tongue, all the while sending power and magic dancing upon the air currents. It’s almost too much.

When Harry’s lips slide up the side of Draco’s cock again, he is certain the entire world will end if he doesn’t come soon. Harry’s moist finger pushes slowly into Draco’s entrance as he finally wraps his lips around Draco’s cock. The sensations are so overpowering that Draco has to forcefully lift his head again to keep from blacking out. Harry’s finger, gentle but firm, thrusts into Draco as his mouth mimics the pace he’s set, moving up and down Draco’s length. He takes him deep, tongue massaging as his finger hooks inside him, and that’s all Draco can handle. He’s surprised he was able to hold off this long. Heat pools in his belly for only an instant before Draco is coming hard as Harry swallows around his cock. He shudders again, soaking in the power of the atmosphere around him as Harry pulls away and slides back up Draco’s body.

“You taste so fucking good,” he breathes against Draco’s lips before dragging his tongue across them, begging entrance. Draco parts his lips, sucking Harry’s tongue before tilting his head to deepen the kiss. He has never allowed another to kiss him with the taste of his own come on their tongue before, but with Harry, nothing feels wrong or dirty or shameful. It’s all right and good and–

“Perfect,” Harry whispers as he finally pulls away. Draco’s heart warms and he wonders if Harry has any idea what he meant when he used that same word to describe him weeks ago.

~*~

It’s as if he’s slept a full night for the first time in years, waking with a new outlook on the world. Draco feels invigorated, replenished in a way he didn’t know was possible. Everything is brighter, clearer, beautiful.

He laughs at the ridiculous thought, shaking his head to rid his mind of it. For nearly two hours after Harry left, Draco could still feel his hands on him, his finger in him. The effects of the potion weren’t nearly as long-lasting as Harry had hoped, but Draco found that it worked fine...if “fine” meant that he couldn’t go out in public for fear of passing out with the force of some otherworldly orgasm.

Now that it has worn off, along with its appalling aroma, he has no problem leaving to do a bit of shopping. He wants to get Harry something special, but he isn’t sure what. Something to tell him thank you for being there, for caring. A gift that will mean something to Harry, just as everything Harry has done for Draco means something to him.

When he passes the window to Miriam’s Magical Kite Shop, there is no question in his mind that this is the perfect thing for Harry. He selects the most brightly coloured nylon box kite with a ten foot tail of multi coloured ribbons. He can’t give Harry back the childhood he missed out on, but he can certainly try to offer him small pieces that seem to be important to him.

He stops by the grocers on his way home, selecting some disgustingly aromatic imported coffee that he is certain Harry will like, along with a few other things. After being at home for so long recently, Draco doesn’t want to leave the warmth of the sunshine outdoors, but as the day progresses he feels his power and energy draining. By the time he arrives back at his flat, he is absolutely exhausted. He’s scarcely able to disengage the wards from his door before dropping his bags on the floor and collapsing onto the couch, silently reprimanding himself for Apparating to his building. He should have known this would happen. The longer he puts off mating and bonding, the weaker he becomes after each encounter with Harry.

The ache in his bones radiates outward, singeing his nerves from within. The pain is bearable in comparison to what he has experienced, but still too much. Draco tries to hang on to the feelings of this morning, Harry’s hands on his body, his mouth, his tongue, all of the things that make Draco feel alive and well. The things that make him feel loved.

Harry enters the flat hours later. Draco sits in the corner of the sofa, knees drawn up as he hugs them tightly, his wings wrapped around him. He’s so cold, and his vision has begun to fade this time, blurring and casting a hazy shadow over everything in sight.

“I’m guessing the potion didn’t work all that well,” Harry says.

Draco shakes his head, blinking back tears that he refuses to shed.

Harry sighs. “Look...I know what’s going on. You need to find your mate, Draco. You can’t put it off any longer.”

Draco’s head snaps up, his eyes struggling to focus on Harry who is leaning against a wall across the room. “What?” he asks weakly. “You mean–“

“I have endless resources at my disposal,” Harry cuts in, his voice sharper than Draco has heard it recently. “Libraries of books, friends all over the world, people who are willing to tell me anything I want to know. I never take advantage of any of that, but I couldn’t just let you die. Did you think I wouldn’t try to gather as much information as I could?”

“So, this whole time, you’ve known I needed to find my specific mate, and you were okay with that? Touching me, kissing me, being with me just for now until I find the one I’m supposed to belong to?”

 Harry’s gaze falls to the ground between them. He buries his hands deep in his pockets and shrugs before looking up again. “I’m willing to be a temporary thing for you if it means I get to be with you sometimes. And when you do find your mate, you won’t need me anymore, but I’ll still have the memories of what it was like to have you for a little while.”

Draco’s heart aches at Harry’s words.

“So, you don’t know then,” Draco says, more to himself than to Harry.

“I know that you need to find your mate soon or you’ll die. I know that, as much as it will hurt me to hand you off to someone else, I’d rather you were happy and alive.

Draco swallows the lump in his throat. “It’s you, Harry,” he says softly. “You’re meant to be my mate. It’s always been you.” Draco’s voice catches on his last words. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you before. I tried...in the hospital.”

Harry’s eyes grow wide, his chest rising and falling heavily all of a sudden. “That’s what you meant when you said you would quite literally die without me?” Harry asks. Draco nods. “I just...I thought it was just a sexual thing. That you just needed something, not me specifically.”

“Only you,” Draco replies. “And, to put even more pressure on you, you should also know that I’m completely, stupidly, madly in love with you. I can’t live without you. I can hardly even breathe when you aren’t here. And even if it weren’t for this Veela rubbish, I’d still feel the same.”

Harry crosses the room quickly, dropping to his knees beside Draco and pulling him into a slow, tender kiss that clears Draco’s vision.

“You know I love you, too, right?” he murmurs against Draco’s lips before kissing him again. “Oh god,” Harry groans, fisting his hands into Draco’s hair. “You have no idea how fucking relieved I am. I thought I was going to lose you.”

Draco can see by the look in Harry’s eyes the intensity and truth of his words. He truly does love Draco. Harry’s hands tremble slightly as he cups Draco’s face, kissing him over and over.

The pain eases with every press of his lips, but not enough. Draco is still weak, his nerves raw and tender.

“No one else,” Draco says softly. “Touch me, Harry. I need you,” he whispers before pressing his lips to Harry’s again. “Please.”

Harry brings his hands down the sides of Draco’s face to his neck, his shoulders, his chest. “Where?” he asks as his thumbs trace along the edges of Draco’s collar bone. Harry’s touch is soothing, like cream on a burn. His breath tickles as it fans out over Draco’s neck.

“Everywhere.”

With little effort, Harry coaxes Draco’s feet to the ground, parting his legs and moving him closer to the edge of the sofa. It’s a more comfortable position for both of them, neither of them stretching or twisting awkwardly now. Draco lies back against his wings as Harry makes a path of hot, open-mouthed kisses across his abdomen while his hands continue to caress every inch of exposed skin he can reach. Draco’s fingers comb lazily through the soft strands of Harry’s hair as he watches him, beautiful and his, and so fucking perfect.

Harry’s arms wrap around Draco’s waist as he presses his face to his stomach. “Are you in pain?” he asks, looking up at Draco through thick, dark lashes.

Draco starts to shake his head, but catches his lie and quickly corrects himself. “Yes.” His skin aches everywhere that Harry is not touching him. It isn’t as painful as it was, but it does still hurt. He doesn’t want to lie to Harry anymore, doesn’t want to hide things. "Your touch is soothing though. I need more."

“Can you stand?” He doesn’t wait for an answer, and Draco isn’t sure he would have been able to give him one anyway. Harry rises, pulling his shirt up over his head and helping Draco to his feet. Wrapping his arms around him, Harry holds him in a warm embrace, pressed together tightly, skin to skin, from hip to shoulder. “Bedroom,” he says simply, as he turns them toward the hall.

“If you try to carry me, I’ll hex you,” Draco says tiredly as he rests his forehead on Harry’s shoulder. Harry is supporting most of his weight anyway, and still manages to manoeuvre them both quite gracefully toward the room.

“You really aren’t in any condition to be threatening me with hexes,” Harry admonishes.

“Fine,” says Draco as he allows himself to be lead backwards down the hall. “Then I’ll bite you.”

Harry dips his head, kissing Draco’s neck and sucking at his skin. “Not necessary,” he says, gently lowering Draco down onto the bed. “Already here. No carrying required. Though, I won’t argue if you want to bite me anyway.”

Draco smiles, slipping a hand behind Harry’s neck and pulling him down for a kiss. Harry’s mouth is warm and welcoming and only then does Draco realise that the air in the room is still so cold, or maybe it’s just him. In any case, Harry’s own heat and radiating power help to warm his skin and Draco struggles to pull him down closer, craving the comforting press of his body. Harry sits on the bed beside Draco, leaning down over him and takes his hand, bringing it up to his mouth to kiss his wrist. His teeth scrape deliciously against the tendons there and Draco shudders, momentarily distracted from his original task. Shifting positions, Harry places a light kiss on Draco’s stomach before setting his hand down gently. Harry tugs at the button of Draco’s trousers, skilfully unfastening it with one smooth motion. He pulls Draco’s trousers and pants down over his hips, leaning down to place a kiss on each hipbone before lowering them farther.

When Draco’s clothing is completely discarded, Harry proceeds to remove his own. Draco watches, mouth watering, as the tendons and muscles in Harry’s arms shift sensuously. Harry stares down at him from his place near the end of the bed, his eyes raking over Draco’s naked body.

Slowly, Harry crawls up the bed, straddling Draco’s thighs and causing him to groan and toss his head back into the pillow as Harry’s smooth cock slides against his own. Careful to avoid Draco’s wings, Harry presses his fists into the pillow on either side of his head. The sweet smell of arousal twists its way through Draco’s senses, taking hold of his mind. Power and magic permeate every molecule of air around them.

Harry leans down, inches away from Draco’s lips, and hovers there for a long moment. Draco tilts his chin, craving the taste of Harry’s sweet mouth, but Harry moves away. His lips press to Draco’s ear, tongue peeking out to trace the outer edge before biting gently at his earlobe. Draco thrusts his hips, earning a low groan from Harry as his hot breath escapes in a shudder.

The room is finally beginning to feel warmer as more power surges between them, granting Draco a bit more energy than he had just seconds ago. He lifts his hands, pressing them to the solid muscles of Harry’s chest before brushing his thumbs over hardened nipples. Harry groans again, his lips still pressed to Draco’s ear.

“Fuck, I want you so much,” he says, his voice lacking its usual quiet control. “Want to be in you, feel you around me.”

All Draco can manage is a nod as he drags his dull nails down Harry’s chest and stomach. He brushes his fingers against soft hairs on Harry’s lower belly and exhales a shaky breath before kissing his neck. Harry slides his mouth along Draco’s jaw, stopping at the corner of his lips and hovering there, barely touching as they breathe each other in. Draco’s impatience is getting the better of him. He wants to twist his fingers into Harry’s hair, demanding more, hard, fast, now,but Harry distracts him, sweetening the bitter taste of desperation with the warm slide of his tongue on Draco’s parted lips.

He wants this to last all night, Harry’s slow, sensuous caresses and soft, tender kisses, but Draco is still weak, unable to draw as much power from Harry as he had before. He knows his needs cannot wait much longer.

He looks up at Harry through pleading eyes, still unable to voice his needs. Harry seems to understand perfectly, though. He sits up, dragging his hands down the planes of Draco’s chest and stomach, shifting his hips again to slide their cocks against one another. Draco’s hands rest on Harry’s hips, thumbs tracing small circles as he tries to focus on every sensation at once. Harry rises up, nudging Draco’s legs apart and settling himself between his thighs.

He sucks a finger into his mouth, coating it with saliva before pressing it to Draco’s entrance. Draco’s cock twitches and becomes somehow even harder as he shifts impatiently. Harry’s lips are slightly parted, his eyes locked on Draco’s as his finger makes tight circles before finally pushing into him. It’s agonisingly slow, but Draco knows that Harry is concerned about hurting him. He doesn’t know Draco’s level of desperation as he has done fairly well to hide it thus far.

Harry’s finger strokes in and out, twisting and turning before he adds another. With his free hand—and no wand at all—he summons the phial of oil that he knows Draco keeps in his bedside table. He pulls his fingers out, drizzling a bit of the oil on them before sliding them up and down the crevice of Draco’s arse. The look of concentration on his face would, under normal circumstances, be almost funny to Draco as he knows how determined Harry can be when he focuses. But there is nothing to laugh about now. Harry licks his lips, sliding his slick fingers over Draco’s entrance again, teasing and taunting slowly with promises of what is to come. When he finally pushes into him again, they both groan with pleasure. Harry works his fingers diligently, stretching and opening Draco in preparation. The heat is finally consuming him. Draco’s blood boils as he reaches up, pulling Harry down for another hungry, needful kiss.

“Please, Harry,” he whispers against his lips, hating the desperation in his tone but unable to stay himself as his body trembles with desire. “I’m ready. Now.”

Harry kisses his lips gently as he extracts his fingers. Draco feels the warm press of Harry’s cock against his opening and suddenly, sobering realisation rushes over him.

“Wait,” Draco says, pushing gently on Harry’s chest. He knows it’s the most inopportune time to stop, but his mind has been so clouded with need and desire that he has nearly forgotten one crucial fact.

Harry sits up, looking down at Draco with a concerned expression. “I don’t know if any of your worldly friends or hundreds of resources told you this part,” he says nervously, “but once we do this, we’ll be bound together forever.”

Harry’s eyes grow wide and Draco feels his heart sink. He turns a hundred words over in his head in the span of a split second, searching for something to say to make things right. He knew it was a lot to ask of Harry, which is why he hadn’t up until right now.

“Forever?” Harry asks, leaning over Draco again with a staid expression.

“It’s probably...just me.” Draco shrugs, casting his gaze about the room, looking anywhere but into Harry’s eyes. “I mean, you aren’t Veela. You don’t have any strange, innate bonding magic. So, really you might not actually be...bound to me.” Draco realises he’s babbling nervously, but there isn’t much he can do to stop himself. He wants to make sure everything is clear, no more secrets. “You'd probably still be able to...I mean, if you ever wanted to find someone else...”

“Draco,” Harry says, gazing down at him. With a warm hand on Draco’s chin, he tilts his face upward, green eyes searching Draco’s as if he is trying to read his soul. He smoothes his free hand down the feathers of Draco’s wing. “I don’t want anyone else,” he says, holding his hand up between them. In it, he holds a single white feather. “Only you. Always.”

A myriad of emotions swirl within Draco as he looks at the feather, understanding it as a symbol of Harry’s desire to keep him forever. Harry lowers his hand, slowly dragging the soft quill back and forth across Draco’s neck and chest, tracing a path down the centre of his stomach all the way to his straining erection. He leans down, kissing Draco’s stomach before rising up once more. He grabs his cock, pressing the soft head against Draco again. Their eyes meet, a hundred thousand emotions shared between them in the span of a single heartbeat.

And then Harry is pushing into him, slowly stretching and filling him and colourful lights explode behind Draco’s eyes. The pleasure is edged by a faint burning pain that Draco is certain would be much greater were it not accompanied by the hum of power that emanates from his mate. His fingertips dig into Harry’s shoulders as he pulls him down again, hardly able to focus on what he’s doing through the incredible sensation of finally having Harry inside him. A slow crescendo of moans and gasps fill the empty spaces around them.

It starts soft, a steady thrum of power and magic pulsing from Harry’s body and scraping over every nerve ending in Draco’s, electrifying his senses. Draco’s lips part in a soundless gasp before finding Harry’s throat, licking and sucking and nipping at the smooth skin there. Draco presses his hands flat against Harry’s back, enjoying the feel of muscles rippling as he moves. His tenuous hold on reality is eclipsed by the power he is culling from Harry in the heat of passion, and suddenly he is entirely unaware of anything around them. All he knows is Harry, the way he smells, feels, tastes.

Each upward thrust is met with equal, delicious enthusiasm as Harry’s cock strokes sensitive nerves. Harry whispers hot, sweet words against Draco’s lips, but he is unable to hear them all over the thundering beat of his own heart. The multitude of sensations is dizzying and Draco wraps his legs around Harry, taking him deeper still.

“Oh god.” He tosses his head back against the pillow as his fingers twist into Harry’s hair. “More,” he whispers, his voice rough with a strange combination of desire and satisfaction.

Harry kisses Draco again, his tongue searching and memorising the shape of his lips, the feel of his teeth, before sitting up once more. Draco watches as Harry looks down to where they are connected, breathing in sharply before biting down on his lower lip. He takes Draco’s leg, bringing it up over his shoulder and kissing his knee before resuming his tender, easy rhythm for a few more strokes. Harry pulls out slowly and Draco whimpers at the sudden feeling of emptiness and dread that grips him. Harry’s hands hold Draco’s hips and he looks into his eyes as if he’s waiting for permission. Draco licks his bottom lip, mouths the word “please,” and Harry slams back into him, hard and fast. Disorienting waves of power accompany lust, crashing over Draco like an angry tide. Harry’s hand presses against Draco’s stomach and quickly, Draco grabs his wrist. He needs something to hold onto to keep himself grounded, and what better than Harry, his very life force.

Wet sounds of skin slapping together fill his ears as Harry thrusts furiously. Draco feels an incredible warmth coiling inside him as his orgasm builds. A web of magic spreads across him and Draco can feel the invisible bonds tying them together. Harry pounds into him, changing angles with each thrust until it’s just too much for Draco to take. He drops his leg from Harry’s shoulder and tugs him down again. Draco presses a soft, wet kiss to his shoulder as he works his inner muscles, squeezing Harry’s cock.

“I’m gonna come,” he says breathlessly against Harry’s skin before parting his lips and biting down on his shoulder as he reaches his blissful climax. Hot come shoots out over both their stomachs. He moans loudly, dragging his fingernails down Harry’s back and squeezing his arse.

Harry gasps, stills for a brief moment, and then slams into Draco once more before he, too, is coming, pulsing within Draco and filling him.

They stay like this for a long while, Harry resting atop Draco, his cock softening within him as Draco runs his fingers up and down the length of his back. He can actually feel the binds between them now, powerful and unyielding.

~*~

Draco stands with his hands in his pockets, his face ducked down into his scarf as he watches Harry from across the park. It’s early spring and, as Harry says, perfect kite weather. To most, this means sunny and beautiful with a slight breeze. To Draco, it means chilly and far too early to be out and about playing with toys when he should be tangled in his warm blankets with Harry.

Harry had loved the gift, just as Draco hoped he would. He did, however, insist upon removing all enchantments and flying the blasted thing the Muggle way. Which is precisely why it sat untouched in a cupboard for three long months. Draco had been slightly upset by that, but seeing the look on Harry’s face today has erased all previous disappointment.

Harry smiles over at him as he tugs at the string and shifts the spool, determined to do things the hard way. To Draco’s delight, Harry’s grey t-shirt hugs his body tightly, showing every delectable curve of muscle, his own coat discarded haphazardly on the grass somewhere between the two of them.

Harry moves closer, tugging at the string of his kite, his gaze locked on the twirling ribbons of the tail. A great smile adorns his face, his eyes sparkling, and Draco thinks it may just be the most ridiculously perfect thing he’s ever seen.

A gust of wind catches the kite at just the right angle to send it spiralling toward the ground. Draco discreetly aims his wand at it, casting a spell to carry it back up into the air again.

“See that?” Harry calls as he nears Draco. “It’s all about skill.”

“Yes, you’re very skilful,” he replies, feigning boredom.

Harry holds his hand out to Draco. “Please?”

As usual, Draco is unable to resist. He closes the distance between them, pressing his chest to Harry’s back and wrapping his arms tightly around his waist.

“You’re ridiculous, you know,” Harry says. “The scarf is entirely unnecessary. It isn’t that cold at all.”

“That’s a matter of opinion.”

Harry leans back, resting his head against Draco’s shoulder and looking up at the kite flying above them.

“See? Worth waiting for,” Harry says with a smile.

“It certainly was,” Draco replies, not at all referring to the silly kite.

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