Author's Note: The first scene of this chapter was guest-authored by Rube Malfoy
My Mother Told Me Life Was Like A Box Of Weevils
By Kissaki and Libertine
The door shut relatively silently.
Was Harry aware of his presence? It was hard to tell--what with Harry running that loud muggle device for his hair, bent over, ass almost flaunted in that towel, but still covered. Draco gulped.
Harry stood, shaking his recently magic-grown shower of hair over his shoulder. He was...otherwise wet, fresh out of the shower and through drying his hair. Harry, facing the mirror in the bathroom, noticed Draco in the reflection and raised an eyebrow. The top part of his scar was hidden under the fall of his hair.
"Yes, Draco?" The thin muscles (when the hell did he get muscles? Were they included in that clever little makeover?) shifted in his back when he bent over to grab the robe on the floor.
"Bed," he clipped, throwing the black trench over the marshmallowey chair by the dresser. He’d bought it up the same time he’d gotten the spring robes. From the catalogue. Taste was....gorgeous. Not to mention comfy.
A nod. Harry slipped the hair dryer thing back in the bin near the sink. He stalled a moment to check his reflection. It sighed. Several times. Satisfied and smirking, he adjusted himself through the towel and started to pad out towards the bed.
"Stop," Draco ordered, irritably. At Harry’s perplexed expression and outspread arms, he twisted back around and turned down the covers. "You’re dripping water on the carpet."
"We’ve fucked on the carpet."
Yeah. Draco wrestled a giddy chuckle. They’d went swimming the next day and Narcissa had asked about the rug burn.
"Water is thicker than come," he said reasonably.
"I thought that was blood?"
"There was that, too."
He slid between the covers. No one said anything for a while, Draco trying to snuggle off to sleep and Harry admiring his new self in the closet mirror. Draco flickered his eyes at both the images of a half-naked Harry exhibited to him, glaring at the little lump in the downy covers that was himself.
"I’m turning on some music." Gaah. Want to sleep.
"Fine." He rolled onto his back and hit the pillow behind his head.
Sounds of shuffling, plastic hitting plastic, and after a few mechanical clicks, senseless sounds with no focal point filled Draco’s not sleeping brain. His eyes snapped open.
"Turn it down."
Harry turned the volume down from 5 to four and and three-quarters.
The weight of the bed flexed a little when Harry perched carefully on his side. He reached for the covers tucked around Draco’s neck but a tiny growl made him stop.
"I want to go to bed too," he explained.
"Good for you." Hindered by all the blankets and taking a surprising amount of energy, Draco rolled onto his side away from Harry.
The weight lifted, and for a moment nothing happened. Draco felt the other end of the covers lift and a thick heat slide in beside him.
Concededly, Draco furled himself into the burrow of Harry’s body...and promptly discovered his bed partner had decided to sleep artistically.
Slowly, Harry drew Draco’s tapered hand up to his mouth and sucked on each finger. Draco shut his eyes.
"I’ll be gone all day tomorrow."
Want to sleep. Don’t want to do this now.
"I wanted to see you sometime today before I can’t."
Want to sleep...hey, wait a minute! Don’t I usually get to choose when we ‘see’ each other?
"Draco," Harry reproached, finally tiring of his little game, "I want to fuck."
With a wrenched groan, Draco threw back the covers.
"I don’t know," he said grimly, "if little Draco is accepting visitors. But you’re welcome to try."
"Then you can sleep," Harry said with a smile, and Draco resignedly slid down the bed to hip level with Harry.
"Mmhm." Harry obligingly moved his hips.
He smiled down at Draco, going from his new ‘trendy’ image to the Harry Draco was used to dealing with. He felt slightly more consoled, and moaned when Harry reached down to wind his hands in Draco’s hair.
Suck. Nibble. Muffled gasp.
Draco, amidst running his tongue over the sensitive spot under the head of Harry's cock, realised that he’d gone from uninterested to....quite interested.
The music changed, and suddenly he was listening to David Bowie. It was a good song.
Draco licked his pointer finger and lifted Harry’s hips a little, dragging his thighs apart, which unwittingly gave him a better view of Harry's strained face. And that got him even more interested.
Somehow the sheets had ended up grasped in Harry's hands, and he bunched up little inches of them at a time. Draco took him down his throat, Harry took more blankets.
Heehee. That was Draco’s finger, right there.
"Mmah." Gradually, but with some force, Harry guided Draco’s mouth with increased speed until he was sliding Harry’s cock in and out of his mouth at a marathon rate.
Draco came up shortly after, bringing the sheet with him. Smiling, Harry smoothed away several strands of blonde hair that had plastered to his forehead with sweat.
Harry rearranged himself against the wide
headboared of the bed. He made a face of discomfort when he forced the
sheets up and around him to
lay across his lap as per before their mussing of them. Finally, he’d made himself happy and lifted the sheets up.
"Suck," he ordered. Draco dived towards his lap again.
Draco, with some pride, noticed that Harry’s cock stood stiff and high, dripping precome, and gave a nip of praise at the tip. Closing his eyes, he curled his left hand around the base and slid the hand up, guiding more of Harry’s cock into his mouth as he went.
"Watch me," Harry insisted roughly.
Draco opened his eyes, and Harry watched a light blush color his cheeks. He smiled down, catching eye contact and spread his legs a little wider.
Perceptible sucking sounds rang through the room, interspersed with Harry’s jagged groans and demands. Draco happily suckled him down his throat, using his fingers to stimulate Harry’s balls. He wriggled a finger past the snug ring of muscle of Harry’s anus, which hadn't been loosened quite enough, and after Harry’s high moan, took the incentive to lightly probe his prostrate.
Harry responded by making quick and sharp keening noises, thrusting his ass down on Draco’s finger. He’d nearly forgotten the busy mouth siphoning his precome.
"Enough," he cried out. All of Draco’s earlier discomfitures at watching Harry while he sucked him off were long gone, and he slinked up easily into Harry’s arms.
"Okay," Draco gasped, feeling like he should giggle madly at the expression on Harry’s face. He looked completely stumped. "Get me ready. I want it *now.*"
Harry didn’t seem to weigh any more than usual, Draco thought, as he pulled him backwards on top of him. He suggestively wriggled his front against Harry’s and grinned up at him.
"Flip over," Harry said, smoothing blonde hair away from Draco’s sharp features to see him clearer.
Harry shoved off of Draco to allow him room to move and Draco readily moved into his stomach, spreading his legs so that his toes nearly reached each end of the king-sized bed. The sheets and blankets tangled up in his legs as he did so, but he took no demur.
Harry was gone for an instant, reaching over to the bedside table and grabbing the lubricant. Opening the lid, he scooped some up on his fingertips and slicked them expertly.
Then they were stretching him, two fingers first, ruthless but so good, filling him and fucking him. Draco groaned and flipped his head back, shifting his legs in the sheets and tangling them further. Harry breathed heavily above him, inserting another finger and twisting it to allow Draco to accommodate. He had little trouble; they’d done this countless times, and he needn’t have used three fingers at all. Draco opened for him smoothly, hot and slick.
"Now. Fuck me now, please," he pleaded, concealing his flushed face by burying it into the mattress.
Harry forcibly yanked his legs further apart, making Draco’s legs ache and burn, but he loved it. He heard the slapping sounds of Harry coating himself, and twisted his head back to see him. He tried to move out from the jumbled and constraining sheets, but Harry stopped him.
"I can’t move like this," he said, demonstrating his restraints by moving in what little space he had, which was barely a couple of inches.
"You‘re not supposed to move," Harry said, coming off of his knees to lean slightly on top of Draco. "You’re supposed to be fucked."
His cock twitched.
Draco almost protested, but even craning when he could barely see Harry’s face; long dark hair spilling forward part of his face and brushing his shoulders, he knew better than to object. He burrowed himself down into the covers and tried to relax himself.
The music pounded loudly, reverberating through Draco’s veins as it played at a swift and continuous rhythm. Something about being screwed to music thrilled him, and he hungrily hoped Harry would get on with it.
While David Bowie sang of pretty things and hell, Harry plunged himself remarkably deep into Draco, hitting his prostrate gland on the thrust. Hurriedly, with a touch of frantic madness, he rode him out, enjoying Draco’s screams of pleasure and occasional pain a hell of a lot more than he should.
"... I am a drug, I am a dragon. I am your best jazz you've ever seen. I am the dragon, I am the sky. I am the blood at the corner of your eye..." David Bowie created, in their own little cocooned world of mad sex, a musical element of erotica. The words were harshly analogous to their crazed fucking.
Everything was rather quick. Harry’s cock drove Draco relentlessly towards the point of coming with brutal and fast thrusts, then slowed until he was purring with want and the craving to achieve orgasm.
"Please, Harry," he screamed, all hold of his normally arrogant and detached character vanished, "pound me..." He made a laughing-choking sound when Harry made rapid work of a few consecutive thrusts. "Please..."
"Say it," Harry commanded, all but hammering Draco into the mattress. It would be a wonder if he could sit down when they were through.
"Fuck me," Draco yelled, trying to arch back up Harry’s pumping body.
"Are you going to come?" Harry was surprisingly coherent, which was astonishing, considering the pace and measure they were fucking.
"Oh fuck, I’m going to come...."
Draco came, thrashing around on the mattress and screaming.
Shouting Draco‘s name, Harry worked his hips at an implausibly fast and hard tempo. He climaxed into Draco, long jets of come spurting in various directions; on Draco’s ass, his back, his legs, and splashing up on Harry’s torso.
With a final scream, Harry crumpled on top of Draco.
"...Don't hold your breath, but the pretty things are going to hell..."
The song ended.
He did not like to fall asleep next to Draco. When the sex occured - when the sex was unavoidable - Ron tried to make sure it was a morning affair, a lunch time affair.. so that Draco was safely out of his sight by the time the sun began to lower itself, gravid and red-struck, from the pinacle of the sky. He could not stand to have Draco lie beside him in his bed, the man's blonde hair - cobweb-fine - tickling at his throat, at his chest, catching in his lashes.
There was something about sleeping with someone - not the act of sex, but the post-coital slumber itself - that implied a greater intimacy than Ron ever wished to have with Draco. When Ron dreamt of Draco, as he often did, it was unsettling to rise and find the source of his night time travaile sprawled amidst the tumult of the blankets, pale skinned and plush, the still-slender fingers pressing (but never daring to hold) against Ron's body.
Was it guilt? Ron wasn't sure. The dreams these days were different, too. No longer was Ron caught in some torrid tete-a-tete on the surface of a volcano; instead, he would close his eyes to find himself saying goodbye. The situations changed: sometimes it was a train station, at others a bus stop, at others he waved his farewells to Draco from the back of the Bluewing. But every time it was goodbye - and every morning Ron woke from this semblance of finality to the immediacy of Draco's presence.
It was a disjointed existence, where the conclusions were never really the end, when there was always one more day with Draco.. one more day of absurd scheduling, half-hearted copulation, and the binding of promises never made.
Ronny.. you awake?
"Are you Narcissa's younger twin sister, dipped in caramel and whipped cream?" Ron mumbled.
No. I'm a fifty foot blue dragon.
"Ah. Then I must be awake." Ron rubbed his eyes, and straightened. Sally was peering through the window of his hut, one huge blue eye filling the frame. Ron grinned at her, in a sheepish fashion, and slung his feet out of the bed. "See you in a couple of minutes?" he asked.
Hardly gentlemanly of you. Making a girl wait.
He performed his abulitions in the bathroom, pulled on a pair of crumpled blue jeans, and a white vest that, as Draco had pointed out one embarrassing evening, showed off exactly what a little shit-sweeping labour could do for the biceps. Lighting his first cigarette for the day, he headed outside, where Sally was waiting for him.
So what are we doing today? The usual? Hide and hope Draco doesn't show up? Play chess and hope Draco doesn't show up? Or my all time favourite - clean the pool and jump in every time Draco appears on the porch.
"I slipped and fell. It was an honest mis-step."
You didn't climb out for an hour, until I gave the all clear.
"Eh. Whatever." Ron blew out a stream of perfect smoke rings, and the dragon - not to be outdone - exhaled two streams of rings, one from each nostril. "Quit bein' picky, Sal."
Yeah. I know. 'Draco happens', right?
"Eh - Sal.." said Ron, not willing to prolong a debate he knew he'd lose. "Remember who's paying for my accomodation. Draco isn't the soft touch you think he is. You know what they say: just because it minces, doesn't mean it's not still beef."
Beef my ass, the dragon replied, with a snort of steam. Boy wouldn't know beef if he was hit by a cow.
"Planning to slap him one, then?"
Touche, Mister Weasley.
"Heh." Ron patted her flank, lightly. Tilting his head toward the horizon, he scanned the line of trees - one of the many orchards of the Malfoy property. "We could go cherry picking," he suggested.
Hurrah. Anything that involves a cherry can't involve Draco. Sally swished her tail, nearly uprooting a nearby bush.
"Just promise me one thing," Ron grunted, as he swung himself onto the dragon's back, one-handed. Sally arced her neck to stare over her own shoulder at him, and Ron shrugged, settling down on the creature's scaley back. "No more talk about Draco. Okay?"
Nothing, my dear, could make me happier, Sally replied, and spread her wings.
Dealing with the Malfoy accounts was a difficult matter. Half of the records of transactions made to the company were stored in the basement, a quarter were stocked in a disused tower which was guarded by a mountain troll, and the remaining records were scattered about Lucius' extensive library - he used cheques as bookmarks. And it certainly didn't help that when Remus asked Lucius politely what he estimated the month's profits to be, Lucius had replied: 'pick a number between a million and a billion.'
Rubbing at the large bump on his head (the mountain troll had been particulary beligerent this morning), Remus headed through the corridors of the manor towards the study the Malfoys had provided for him - a small, yet well decorated room in the East wing. He was on the verge of entering when he heard footsteps behind him, and looked up. He'd expected to find Draco approaching - Draco had a habit of loitering about the East wing, mainly because there was a staircase down the hall which led directly into the bowels of the kitchen. But instead, it was Severus he spotted, tugging a large suitcase behind him.
Remus winced. It was too late to sneak into the study now - Severus had seen him, and if Remus were to run for it now, Severus would only seek him out later, with more merciless taunts up his sleeve to fuel the feud between them. Bracing himself for the worst, Remus stood his ground, sheets of cash transcripts held fast to his chest like a shield.
"Hellooo-ooo-ooo," said Severus, in an understated howl, pausing a few feet from the unlucky werewolf.
"Just.. don't," Remus mumbled. He could feel his cheeks burning already with embarrassment and shame. "I'm not in the mood.. please."
"Well, I've just the thing to cheer you up," Severus smirked. "Here's a joke for you. What happened to the werewolf who swallowed a clock?" He paused, and when Remus didn't reply, said: "He got ticks."
"How do you know you work with a werewolf?" Severus was on a roll. "He says, 'Great job on the Parkinson account'.. and then humps your leg. In leiu of a bonus, he just prefers a good scratching behind the ears. He gets a five o'clock shadow around eight a.m. He suddenly grows a beard after some drunk moons him at the annual christmas party.."
"..He always calls in sick with 'mange'. And of course, he's the only guy you know who circles several days a month in red on his business calender.."
Remus said nothing.
"By the way - I have to ask. What happens when a werewolf gets crabbes?" Severus pulled on his suitcase, and leant against the wall opposite. "Inquiring minds want to know, Lupin. Or can I call you Rover?"
"If you.. if you don't stop this.. I'm going to have to speak to Lucius about.. your behaviour," said Remus, in a small, broken voice.
Severus shrugged. "Go ahead. He was the one who told me the 'leg humping' joke."
It would be too easy to get angry. It would be too easy to start screaming. It would be too easy to run. Remus recalled his lessons in Anger Management.
How did it go again?
Count to ten, backwards.
Then state your problem clearly to your aggressor.
Let them know exactly how much they are hurting you in a calm, rational voice.
"Severus," said Remus, taking a very deep breath. "What you say to me hurts me. I don't like being teased. It makes me feel unhappy and upset.."
"Please listen to me, because I need you to hear this," said Remus, remembering his lines. "I know that I'm a werewolf, but I can't help that. I think we should move on from this issue, or deal with it constructively. I want to be your friend, but you keep pushing me away. I care about what you think, and I need you to care what I feel. Please be more careful with your words in future. I say this because I respect you, and not because I want to hurt you in any fashion. You see, everytime you treat me badly, it makes me feel less like a person. This makes me sad."
"Oh my," said Severus. His lower lip had pursed outwards as Remus spoke, and he looked - repenitant? "I didn't realise what I said hurt you so much," he continued, in a soft, considerate voice. "I realise now that you have feelings too, and I was wrong. What can I ever do to make things up to you..?"
A feeling of happiness swelled in Remus' breast. So those Anger Management lessons hadn't been a waste of time, after all! Finally, he'd made progress with Severus.. and he was certain now that this would be the start of a wonderful new friendship. It seemed that all he'd needed to do was explain things, and Severus - who certainly wasn't an irrational man - would understand. "Oh, you don't need to do anything," he flustered, beaming. "I mean.."
"Oh, come on," said Severus. "Surely I can entice you with a big, juicey bone.."
All sensations of well being and tolerance left Remus.
"RaaaaaaAAARRRggghH," said the werewolf, and leapt.
The orchard was a good hiding place. Sirius had been able to elude the gardeners without much difficulty, and now stood in the shade of a row of cherry bushes. Holding the vial he'd pinched from Narcissa's laboratory up to the light, he examined it's colour - a deep, potent red. It smelt vaguely of perfume - a distinctly feminine aroma. The aroma was almost - Sirius licked his suddenly dry lips - arousing..
He pushed that thought aside, and was about to make for a more secluded area of the orchard, when he heard a sudden noise from the bushes ahead of him. Staring, he lookedly wildly from side to side - but aside from burying himself in the prickly bushes behind him, there was no where for him to run. It seemed he'd have to face whoever it was who was approaching.. with his other hand, he pulled out his wand, his lips readied to speak the words of an enchantment..
But instead of the Malfoys, it was Viktor Krumm who emerged from the trees - the famous Bulgarian Quidditch player was immediately recognisable, with his melancoly eyes and unshaven, handsome features. Sirius lowered the tip of his wand, frowning - more surprised than fearful. It was amazing, the variety of characters who were appearing in the Malfoy manor grounds.
"Mr. Krumm.. Viktor?" Sirius said.
Viktor didn't reply, but he nodded rapidly, and waved his arm in an exciteable gesture. Sirius frowned.
"Eh? What's wrong.. Can I help?"
The Quidditch player only waved harder, and screwed up his face.
"What's that?" Sirius concentrated. "Draco's fallen down a well?"
Viktor, exasperated, shook his head.
"No, I didn't think so," said Sirius, smirking. "The kid would probably get stuck on the way down." As Viktor, who didn't seem at all amused by Sirius' attempt at levity, began to point at his mouth, Sirius cottoned on. "Can't talk, right?" he said. "Well, you'd better mime it to me. You know charades, right?"
Viktor nodded, once. He raised both hands, extending five fingers.
"Five words, right?"
Another nod. Viktor seemed slightly shocked that Sirius could count - Sirius wasn't sure whether he should be affronted by this or not. Raising a single finger, to indicate the first word, Viktor began to tap at his wrist.
Viktor looked at the sky, and then pretending to examine an imaginary..
Clapping his hands, Viktor swiftly moved onto the next word. Now he was holding one hand in a cup shape, and diving the other hand repeatedly into the centre. The gesticulation seemed vaguely sexual; Sirius squinted. Viktor began agitatedly waving his fingers in the air, and then, making a 'sounds like' ear-tug, cupped both hands to his face, and opened his mouth as if to..
"Shout!" Sirius coughed. "Um, shout, bout, lout, out.."
At this last attempt Viktor started jumping up and down.
"Okay, okay, mate. Watch out.."
Viktor waved four fingers.
"Four.. For.. Watch out for.. hey, I'm pretty good at this, don't you think?"
Viktor pinched his index and thumb together to indicate a very very small word.
"It.. a.. the.."
"Watch out for the.."
The young man's expression changed to a fearsome aspect; he snarled silently, and began to claw at the air, raising a leg as if to swish an imaginary tail.
"Watch out for the.. dragon?" Sirius asked. "Hey.. hey.. oh.. shiiiite.."
Viktor covered his face with his hands.
"Hermione's right, darling. We can't continue to operate like this. The laundry may be occupying them for the moment, but I dread to think what would happen if one bright spark suggested a revolution. You remember what happened in France with the Borgias, don't you, dear?"
Hermione, who'd seated herself crosslegged on the floor by Narcissa's feet, gaped - stunned by the woman's speech. After Narcissa had quelled her Death-Eater related fears in the basement, Hermione had thought no more about the situation. If Narcissa wasn't worried, then Hermione certainly saw no reason to be. But now it seemed Narcissa had doubts about her own ability to handle affairs.
Lofting her eyes to regard Lucius' pale face, Hermione awaited the outcome of the discussion. It wasn't her place to interfere in the discourse of the Malfoys. She was quite capable of beating the Minster into a weeping puddle of nerves, but the Malfoys commanded complete respect from her. After seven months of working under their guidance, Hermione knew they deserved nothing less.
"How many of them are there again?" Lucius asked, quietly.
"Ah. Rather too many for us to handle if they were to - ah -"
"Go off the rails. Yes, dear."
"And you - ah - think they will..?" Lucius seemed unwilling to broach the subject directly, and provide a definate yes or no answer. He steepled his fingers before his sternum, the indexes tapping lightly against each other - flesh tip against metal. "What makes you.."
"I had something stolen," said Narcissa, simply. "A rather - important potion."
"Not one of Severus'?"
"No. One of my home made elixirs."
Beside her, Hermione stiffened. Bloody plot and bloody Breakfast of Champions, she thought crossly, but didn't say it aloud. She doubted anyone would listen even if she did.
"A transformative potion. One of the stronger ones. I was intending to modify it somewhat and pass it on to Severus for him to -" she glanced at Hermione breifly, and then continued, in a voice that was rather too chirpy, "- to pour down the sink."
"What?" said Hermione, unable to help herself.
Lucius sighed. "Narcissa, my dear," he murmured. "That wasn't very subtle."
"It was a very important potion," Narcissa replied, undaunted by the response to her implausible subterfuge. "Furthermore, I certainly don't like having my bits played with."
The Malfoy patriarch raised a thin, blond brow.
"Without being wined and dined, first," Narcissa ammended.
"I would settle for a phoenix-feather hat, though. Or possibly a griffin-fur stole."
"I will bear these things in mind."
"It's my birthday in July," said Narcissa, helpfully.
"I wouldn't be so absent-minded as to forget. I'm not quite senile yet, my love."
"Of course, nothing says 'I own you' like edible lingerie."
Narcissa whetted her lips with a sliver of pink tongue, and gazed up at him saucily through her thick lashes. "I believe we were discussing the Death Eaters, before you got side-tracked by my birthday presents," she purred.
"..I - " Lucius blinked, and Hermione hid her smile behind her hand. It wasn't often that Lucius was upstaged, and the expression on his face when it happened was invariably priceless. "Yes, my love," he concluded finally, looking vaguely confused. Rising from his seat with a languid stretch, he began to pace the lounge - with his fingers still clasped piously before his chest - his legs being long enough to step neatly over the multitude of coffee table obstacles in the way without missing a beat.
Narcissa and Hermione waited, patiently.
"It's not exactly that easy, my dear.." Lucius began. "The Death Eaters, I mean. I very much doubt they would be willing to - ah - piss off without a good reason. They came to me because they anticipated a battle. Glory. Like the old days. I can't simply go out there and tell them to go home."
"Then what do you propose?" Narcissa asked, smoothly. "Start a war?"
"The thought has occured to me," Lucius admitted. "What else can I offer them but battle? I'm certainly not about to offer them shares in our business. And I think less half of them have the mental capacity necessary to take demographic statistics. Perhaps we should start a small revolution of our own, hm..?"
"You have to be bloody joking," snapped Hermione, before Narcissa could answer. "You want to turn the Death Eaters lose on the wizarding community again? Don't you remember what happened last time?"
The Malfoys looked at one another, and Narcissa shrugged.
"I became very powerful," she said.
"And even richer," Lucius added.
"We were worshiped by thousands," Narcissa said.
"And got free coffees at Starbucks," Lucius said. "Death Eater discount."
"No. No!" Hermione pressed her hands against her head. The idea of the Death Eaters rampaging through Britain was too much for her to bear. "You promised me," she appealed to Narcissa. "You promised me you wouldn't start a war."
"I told you that, for the moment, you could be assured we wouldn't be using the Death Eaters for sinister purposes," Narcissa replied. "I believe many moments have passed since then."
"You lied! How could you? You know they'll come after me, if you let them go. I'm a 'mud-blood', remember? They'll enslave me."
"How different would that be from now?" Narcissa asked.
Hermione stuttered into an angry silence. Words failed her. She felt utterly betrayed; there was a pressing ache inside of her, a dull throb, a heart-beat's agony. She couldn't speak; she couldn't move. After all they'd said. After all they'd done. After Hermione had been convinced they were both decent people. After Hermione had almost fallen in.. she blinked back furious tears.
Well, they could find themselves a new dominatrix. She sniffed, and struggled to rise - her limbs felt incredibly heavy, as if she were attempting to manouver her body through water. "Fine," she mumbled. "Have it your way. You always bloody do."
"Hermione?" Lucius said, quietly.
"What? What? I'm done, here," Hermione spat, with her back to them, her shoulders shuddering as she tried to control herself. It was a losing battle. Her cheeks were already damp with tears. "I'm.. done. It's.. it's over.."
"Sit down and shut up," said Narcissa, sharply.
Hermione collapsed to her knees.
"You are a disgrace," said Narcissa, in a cool, clipped voice. Lucius had ceased to pace, and now stood slightly behind his wife, his bionic arm resting upon her slender waist. He remained silent as Narcissa continued: "You should know better than to disrespect me, Hermione. And you should know better than to imagine I am anything but infalliable. Do you understand?"
"..Narcissa.." Hermione whispered hopelessly, into her hands.
"Do you honestly believe we would attempt to fight a battle that so many before us have lost? If history teaches us anything it is that it is ever-repeating, mobiotic. We are not power-hungry, nor do we wish to take up where Voldemort left off. I would never lower myself to walk in the footsteps of a man who drooled when he ate soup."
"One of the nasty disadvantages of having a forked tongue," Lucius explained, sotto voce.
"Now you, Hermione Granger, will sit up straight, and you will listen to me," said Narcissa, ignoring her husband's interuption. "You will serve me before any other cause, and may the gods help you if you ever, ever shout at me again, or challenge me in the presence of others. Are we clear?"
"..yes," Hermione replied, choking on the words. "Yes, Narcissa. I understand.."
Turning on her heel within the circle of Lucius' arm, Narcissa raised her beautiful face to his. "My love..?"
"Given the nature of our current situation, I would like to take over the control of the Death Eaters completely."
"It is my birthday," Narcissa cooed.
"In four weeks," Lucius demured.
"Early birthday present, then, darling."
"..If you must," Lucius replied, after some consideration.
"Thank you, my love. You won't regret it."
On the floor at their feet, Hermione hugged herself, and shivered.
They crashed down onto the floor together, Remus with his hands filled with clumps of Severus' oily dark hair, and Severus with his nails digging into Remus' chest, biting at any extremity that presented itself to him. Ignoring the jabbing pain, Remus rolled himself ontop of the man, pushing the only advantage he had - surprise. As Severus cursed him, Remus planted his feet squarely in the plush hallway carpet and slammed his shoulder into Severus' chest.
Severus gasped for air, his ribs aching, as Remus threw himself clear. Diving his fingers into the pocket of his ragged jacket, Remus withdrew his wand, which had fortunately not been broken in the fray. Trembling, then, his back against the opposite wall, he pointed the wand's tip directly at Severus' reddened face.
"Right," he snarled, baring his teeth. "I've had it up to bloody here with you, Snape. I.. I bloody have. Because, frankly, my peer, I don't give a.. a damn any more. You can go and rot in.."
He trailed off. Out of the corner of his eye, he'd spotted Severus' suitcase. At some point in the tummult, the seams had split on the trunk, and the entire lid had come apart, revealing an array of small jars, all of them containing brightly coloured liquids. A couple of them rolled out, now, and Remus bent to scoop one off the floor.
Keeping his wand trained on Severus, he regarded the label.
'Mr. Aspen's Sexual Revitaliser. Puts the spring back in your ding-a-ling.'
Remus returned his gaze, steadily, to the panting wizard on the ground. Severus, still breathing heavily, stared back at him with a defiant sneer.
"Excuse my Bulgarian," said Remus, "but.. what the fuck?"
Oops. Sorry. Silly old me. Hope I didn't hurt him any,
"I don't think there's any bones broken. At least - there's none protruding obviously."
I guess that's a good sign.
Ron sighed, and patted Viktor on the back. "Hey, don't fret, man," he said. "You couldn't do anything. I'm sure he's not in any grave danger. Just unconscious." He stared at the half-naked stranger in the apron, who lay sprawled at the foot of a cherry bush. "From the look of him, he probably escaped from the dungeon."
Viktor shook his head, miserably.
"C'mon, it wasn't your fault, Viktor," said Ron. "Look, why don't you run off and go find help, eh?"
The melancoly dark eyes stared blankly into Ron's face.
"Yeah, yeah. Viktor go help. Off you go." Ron patted Viktor again, and then - when this failed to cause the man to react - he pushed him a little. Finally taking the hint, Viktor made his silent way off through the trees.
"Good laddie," Ron muttered, watching the man go, before returning his attention to the disconsolate dragon.
I really hope I haven't hurt him..
"He'll be fine, Sal. Wizards bounce back from this sort of thing all the time. It's not as if you stepped on him very hard, anyway."
Are you sure..?
"I'm sure." Ron nudged her flank with his elbow, attempting to be jovial. "Chill out, girl. He's breathing, his pulse is strong. He's just out for the count. It'll be cool, I promise. Hey, when have I ever lied to you." He rubbed her scales in a comforting fashion, and offered her a broad smile.
I broke that funny little vial he was carrying, too, said Sally. It's all over my leg.. awful red stuff that it is. You don't think.. I should probably go wash it off.. you never know what wizards are carrying..
Ron had never seen Sally seem so distressed before. He'd always figured that, as a man-eater by nature, in the most literal sense of the words, she would take stepping on a mortal in her stride - so to speak. But the dragon was stuttering, mentally - scared not only for the man she'd knocked unconscious, but also, it seemed, for herself. "Yeah - wash it off. It's probably the best thing to do," Ron told her. "I'll wait for you here until Viktor comes back, okay?"
The dragon ducked her head. You don't - hate me for this, do you? I didn't mean it..
Ron was taken aback. "Of course I don't bloody hate you," he said. "Eesh, woman. Get away with you."
Slightly reassured by this, the Bluewing backed away, trampling a wide path through the cherry bushes. Alone now with the unconscious man, Ron crouched beside the comatose form, and shook the man by his shoulders. He couldn't cast aside the nagging thought that the man's face seemed somehow familiar - like a ghost of the past, someone he'd known well, only couldn't put a name to.
"Hey. Man. Wake the fuck up, okay?"
The memory of his lessons in simple wizard first aid were hazy. Ron didn't want to try anything, just in case he accidentally made the man's bones disappear, or something equally terrible. After shaking the man a few more times, he gave up, and settled himself down underneath a tree opposite.
He was still there ten minutes later, when Sally's mental voice entered his thoughts.
What? said Ron, without looking up.
I have - er. A small problem. Nothing major. Just.. er.
Well, if it's nothing major.. Ron shifted slightly, scanning around for the dragon's location, but couldn't spot her amidst the greenery. Where are you?
I don't know if I want you to see. Er. This is rather - um. Difficult.
Eh? There was a note of worry in the dragon's voice - a slight tremor underlining her telepathic communication. Getting to his feet, and brushing off his jeans, Ron squinted through the trees, searching for the familiar sight of shimmering blue scales. C'mon, Sal. Don't fuck around with me, okay? Look, if it's that bad, we can deal with it in steps..
Then, all of a sudden, his brain died.
Ron stood, rooted to the spot and gaping like a simpleton at the lithe figure he'd spied emerging from behind a solid oak.
She was beautiful. She was the most beautiful woman Ron had ever seen - not beautiful in the cool, distant way Narcissa Malfoy was, but in a down-to-earth sort of way. Certainly, she wasn't classically pretty: her features were slightly too broad, her mouth slightly too wide, but her eyes - deep, brown, easy to get lost in - were without peer.
Hers was a girl-next-door kind of charm, the sort of woman Ron had always dreamt of. Not in his sexual fantasies (these were populated by Narcissa and her twin sisters), but in homely surrounds - if he were to ever settle down, Ron felt sure it would be with a girl like this. Someone he could talk to. Someone he could hang out with. Someone who..
She was naked.
..Someone who had really, really nice tits.
"Erk," said Ron.
As she approached, he could barely breathe. Who was she, this incredible creature? A passing nymph? A friend of the Malfoys? A figment of his imagination? He gulped thickly, and concentrated on keeping his cool. He didn't want to scare her off. He didn't want to say something stupid. He sent out a desperate telepathic message to his errant dragon friend.
Help me, Sally. Sally.. where the fuck are you?
The woman stood before him, and folded her arms. Up close, she was even more breathtaking than Ron had thought possible.
Sally.. I think I'm dying.. he whimpered into the dragon's brain.
"Oh, you think you have it bad?" said the strange woman, in a voice that - to Ron - sounded utterly perfect, even if it carried a mocking edge. "Just bloody look at me, Ronny. I now have four less nipples. How exactly do you propose I rectify the situation?"
Harry was overly tired after his night with Draco. He sighed, taking guilty pleasure in Draco's warmth pressed against him. He could only be completely affectionate when the blond was asleep. Harry took the time to look upon that face, now so angelic. Harry smiled, knowing very well the practically wicked things Draco was capable of. Running his fingers through Draco's hair, Harry stretched languidly, breathing in the scent that was uniquely Draco. It never failed to remind him of happier times. Harry sighed and placed a kiss on the other man's forehead before getting out of bed.
He went about his morning routing rather sluggishly. After casting a silencing spell so as not to wake Draco, he went about getting ready for his meeting. Remembering that he'd have to travel through London, he decided to wear a muggle suit. Finally satisfied at his appearance, Harry took once last glance at Draco before leaving the room and quietly shutting the door.
He arrived in the dining room just as breakfast was being served. Seamus was already there helping himself to a generous amount of sausages.
"Hey there, you." Seamus said amiably. "Ready for the big meeting?"
"Is it a big meeting?" Harry smiled as he snatched a muffin.
"Eh...probably not. I just get a kick out of saying things like 'big meeting' or 'urgent matter that needs immediate attention'. Makes me feel important, you know." Seamus said between mouthfuls.
Harry snorted as he signaled to the nearest house-elf. "I need you to make sure that Draco has his hot chocolate when he wakes up. It would probably be best if you also have breakfast ready for him. He's probably knackered," Harry paused at hearing Seamus snicker, "and walking down a flight of stairs will be the last thing he'll want to do."
Seamus said, "It'll probably be best for him if he does some walking around, you know."
Harry gave Seamus a reproachful look, "None of that." Then turning back to the house-elf he continued, "He'll want bacon along with his poached eggs," Seamus screwed up his face in distaste as Harry continued "and be sure to give him the latest Witches Weekly."
With a gesture, he dismissed the house-elf, who scurried away.
Seamus grimaced, "Poached eggs?"
Harry shook his head, "Yes. Don't ask. Draco also likes cream with steak, so there's no accounting for taste in fine cuisine."
Seamus, having stuffed himself full, took out his Palm Pilot. "Well, your schedule for today is just the time management thing...and it turns out that I have to go to that too," Seamus said, scowling, "and then after that there's the one meeting. Er...this must be a joke." Seamus frowned at the little screen.
"What's a joke?" Harry asked taking a sip of orange juice.
"Well it says here that you're to buy out the Blue Oyster club."
"Yes, that's right." Harry nodded.
Seamus stared. Then started laughing. "Oh this should be interesting. Have you ever been there?"
Harry shook his head, "No, but that shouldn't matter. I'm just there to buy the place, not to hang out."
Seamus was silently laughing, his hand on his forehead. "Oh Harry. Have you got a lot to learn."
Harry stood up from the table, having finished eating. "Well, there's no better time than the present."
Eight hours later, they were both exhausted from a day of lecturing and flipcharts.
"Honestly," Harry complained, "you'd think
they could fit the whole thing in one hour. Is it really necessary to spend
all day learning to write in a
Seamus agreed, "I think it's just a ploy so that managers can skip work. Although I fail to see why spending all day doing that would be...beneficial."
"Well, there's nothing for it. So...shall we go on? We'll be a bit early but frankly there's nothing else to do."
Seamus smiled, "At least this will be a bit more entertaining."
They both apparated into Knockturn Alley. Harry hadn't been here since that floo-powder mix up when he was a child. Somehow the place wasn't as intimidating as it used to be. Everything was creepy when he was twelve. No, this place was more seedy than sinister.
Seamus, who didn't seem the least bit discomfited, performed a mapping charm that led them through the narrow streets and alleyways. Soon they were standing outside the Blue Oyster bar.
Harry cast a sideways look at Seamus, "Well, here goes nothing. Deep breath."
They encountered a very surly doorman upon entering the bar. Seamus slipped into professional mode, handing the doorman a business card. "We're here to see the owner. We have an appointment. Malfoy Enterprises."
They remained impassive as the doorman examined the card then raised his head to study the both of them. After a tense moment, the man nodded and showed them to a private booth off to the side.
Harry took in the atmosphere of the place. The bar itself was not small nor was it large. A small dance floor toward the back with some tables scattered around. The side opposite the private booths was taken up by a large platform with several poles. There were a few male dancers making the rounds.
Seamus leaned in to whisper to Harry, "Looks like we're going to catch the dinner crowd." He tilted his head to indicate several customers streaming in.
"I don't fucking believe it!" said an unfamiliar voice.
Seamus and Harry jumped at the unexpected intrusion. They looked at the source with identical puzzled expressions.
A tall man with short brown hair was looking at them in astonishment. "When they said that Lucius Malfoy was sending in his 'people' I didn't think it would be you two!"
Recognition dawned on Seamus. "Holy shit! What the hell are YOU doing here!" He jumped out of his seat to give the man a crushing embrace.
"I've owned this place for about four years now." He said, laughing as he returned the hug. He turned to Harry, "So aren't you going to properly greet me too?"
"Er..." Harry said, blinking.
Seamus rolled his eyes, "You have to excuse Harry. He didn't even recognize me and I shared a dorm with the man for seven years!"
"Er..." Harry began.
"Oh, Harry...sometimes you're so thick!" Seamus said. "You remember Justin!"
Justin Finch-Fletchley grinned, "I'm hurt Harry. After all, I do have the dubious honor of being attacked by your *snake*." Justin and Seamus dissolved into a laughing fit.
Harry gaped but recovered, "I don't know how many times I told you...I was telling that snake to back off. I've never been able to live it down you know. I swear, you Hufflepuffs hold such a grudge."
Justin shook his head. "Well, I know that...now. But at the time, you have to admit that it was pretty creepy. Oh come on Seamus, like you didn't get freaked out by it."
Seamus shifted under Harry's gaze, "Well...anyway, what are we doing talking about that. Let bygones be bygones, I always say."
Harry looked at Justin, "So do you see any of the old crowd around much?"
Justin smiled, "You'd be surprised. So let's get down to business. I looked over the contracts that Lucius Malfoy sent over and they seem fair. I only have one stipulation."
Harry switched to bargaining mode, "And that is?"
"I want to stay on as manager. I've become rather attached to the place...and it gives me something to do."
Harry nodded, "I'll see what I can do. What's your price?"
Justin took out a small piece of parchment and a quill and scribbled a figure on it. He then slid the parchment across the table to Harry. "No more, no less."
Harry looked at the number. It was fair, more than fair. He decided that there was no need to haggle on the price. It was well within the range that Lucius had set.
Justin hesitated, "I do have to warn you about one thing..." He was interrupted as a group of loud men came crashing into the bar throwing curses left and right.
"Down!" Seamus shouted as the three of them dove under the table narrowly missing a jelly-legs curse.
"Damn!" Justin swore, "This always happens!" He then rolled out from under the table and ran toward the middle of the room casting counter curses.
Seamus grinned and turned to Harry, "Shall we?" Harry nodded and the two of them shot out from under the table and began tossing their own curses.
After being knocked off his feet by an Expelliarmus curse, Harry found himself in the vulnerable position of being wandless. With a growl, he launched himself at the nearest man. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Seamus taking a swing at his own opponent, all the while laughing hysterically.
"Ooof," Harry grunted as a fist connected to the side of his head. Without slowing down, Harry grabbed the nearest chair and broke it upon his foe's head. Needless to say, the man went down. Fast.
Standing up straight, barely taking notice of the pain swelling up, Harry looked around at the chaos that ensued. Seamus, by now taking on two men, was still laughing like a damn berserker. Justin, on the other side of the bar was being held from behind by one man but was still kicking out at another man in front. Harry ran over to help Justin. Skidding to a stop, he kicked the man holding Justin behind the knees, who let Justin go before taking a tumble to the floor.
Being freed left Justin to pounce upon the man in front of him, and those two went down in a mess of cursing and fists. Seeing an abandoned wand, Harry cast a freezing charm on the man on the floor.
Soon the fight tapered off, with the attacking group limping out of the club. Harry turned incredulously to Justin, who had conjured an ice pack and was holding it up to his left eye. "What the hell was that?"
They staggered to their booth and sat down heavily. "That, my friend, was the Flamers." He conjured up an identical icepack and gave it to Harry, who put it up to his own face.
Seamus came bouncing from wherever the hell he was at and threw himself into the booth opposite Harry. "Wow, Harry. You sure do know how to have a good time." He gave a bloody smile as he spit out a tooth.
Harry winced, "This wasn't my fault."
Justin chuckled wearily, "No, but trouble does seem to follow you around, doesn't it?" Seeing Harry's expression, "I'm just kidding. This has been happening for the last several months. It turns out that these Flamers are the strong arm for the rival gay club owner. He's trying to get me to sell to him, but I'd rather sell to Malfoy. Perhaps, in a way, I'm hoping that Lucius could teach that man the real meaning of humiliation."
Harry stared, "Justin...that's so...Slytherin."
Seamus was giddy, "Nothing like getting into a proper fight. Now we just need to get drunk and make fools of ourselves in a nudie bar. So we've got two of the three covered, so now for the third...I think this definitely calls for a drink." He then bounced off.
"Justin Finch-Fletchley! How many times do I have to tell you to stop fighting those hoods! I'm telling you they're only doing it because they like to fight!" came an unfamiliar scolding voice.
Harry looked up to the new man and promptly stopped breathing.
Justin was shaking his head at the other man, who was busy tutting over the swelling of Justin's eye. "It's nothing...I've had much worse you know. Harry got the worst of it, really."
Harry's heart beat loudly, he was sure everyone in the bar could hear it, as the stranger turned his blue-eyed gaze on him. Gods, he was perfect. Harry felt a twinge of arousal. Who *was* this man?
The stranger's eyebrows disappeared under his blond hair. "Harry Potter?"
Justin chuckled knowingly, "Yeah, that's what I said. It seems that Harry has finally come into his own. He was much prettier before he got that shiner. You showed up thirty minutes too late."
Harry stared at the Greek God in front of him. His throat was dry as he finally found his voice, "D-do I know you too?"
The heartthrob sat down beside him, and withdrew a wand from within his robes. He said, using a firm but soft grip on Harry's chin, "Harry, I should take the piss out of you. I can't believe you don't remember me." After that rebuke, he proceeded to heal Harry's wound with a surprisingly gentle touch.
Justin rolled his eyes, "Seamus said that Harry had a problem remembering people. Although in your case it's not surprising."
By now Harry s face had stopped throbbing, but he was still mesmerized by the warmth radiating from the man beside him. Harry felt the man withdraw his hand from his chin leaving him feeling bereft. Harry felt the world fall out beneath him. One look into those eyes...he couldn't stop staring. His lips formed a shy smile and felt an encompassing warmth as this gorgeous man returned the smile.
Harry s musing was interrupted as Seamus returned with a bottle of tequila and a tray full of shot glasses. "Ah, I see that you've found Neville," said the Irishman.
Harry turned back to the man beside him, his eyes wide. Neville Longbottom smiled.
Draco sighed. He was currently seated at his window seat, looking out over the horizon. Draco was feeling sorry for himself. His own body was betraying him. Ron was giving him attitude. His mother was still angry about her rose garden. His father was too busy to talk to him. And on top of it all, Harry had been out of pocket all week.
Well, at least he had breakfast waiting for him.
Draco was beginning to feel a bit insecure when it came to Harry's fidelity. With Harry looking the way he did, and now very well aware of it, it wouldn't be so surprising if he *wasn't* completely faithful. Harry probably had lots of offers; but knowing Harry as he did, Harry would probably feel guilty if he even considered taking up any those offers. It was the singular comfort that Draco held on to.
Draco's shoulders sagged under the weight of his own conscience. He knew he hadn't been easy on Harry these past several months. If he were to be completely honest with himself, he really hadn't been treating Harry well for the past few years. He had become too accustomed to the man; to the point where Harry was almost an extension of himself. It was easy to forget that in the face of something new and different.
Draco hated these bouts of introspection. Lately, they were becoming disturbingly commonplace. Deep down inside, he *did* love Harry no, he stopped and gave himself a mental shake. He was avoiding the issue. It was not deep down inside, this love for Harry. It was very real and he was very well aware of it. Obsessed about it, really. It just wasn't in Draco's nature to be overly sentimental.
It wasn't the picture perfect love that people went on and on about. No, this was agonizing. It was beautiful, painful, sad. It had been almost idyllic once. He did feel that giddy feeling of love long ago. They were both so young, so certain of the happy future ahead for both of them. Was it a mistake to pin everything on each other? Was it fate that he should stumble on the one true thing when he was too young to understand what he had? Fortune must surely be laughing at the two of them.
Then everything started to collapse. Every act became a demand. Every whisper between them was a combination of fear and desperation. They constantly had to prove to each other that yes, they were together and yes, they'd surely never go elsewhere and yes, they'd always be only ones. And then there was the damn Snitch. Harry didn't grasp the meaning behind that gift; of course up to that moment that Harry threw that snitch away, he had been ruled mostly by his own hormones rather than *love*.
Perhaps in a peculiar way, the very act of throwing that gift away made Harry even more his than before. It had been the turning point. Harry had been broken in that instant and forced to love Draco by the fear of losing Draco altogether. Surely nobody else could ever bring The Boy Who Lived to his knees.
On the one hand there was Harry, who never was a creature of subtlety; he was never one to understand inferences and insinuations. In fact, for Harry to get the point, you'd have to do all but draw a picture across the man's forehead. On the other end of the spectrum was Draco, who by nature was more sophisticated, more prone to artifice. It was inevitable that they would clash.
In the past, Harry could never hide his feelings; Harry wore them out in the open, almost proudly. Draco *knew* the moment when his words stung those green eyes would darken and Harry would stop breathing. It was always the same. And Draco hated it hated knowing that he was the source of that pain. He hated it but couldn't bring himself to stop. It was knowing he still *could* that was of some twisted consolation.
Harry would probably take solace in knowing that he wasn't the only one who lived with these miserable thoughts. Draco lips twisted in a sardonic grin.
I fell. And if you don't follow, I will drag you by your fucking hair.
He depended on Harry, needed him really, to the exclusion of almost everything else. He felt that he was slowly losing Harry through his own actions, but he couldn't stop. That Malfoy pride kept his dignity. He'd lost himself once, not so long ago in Ron Weasley's kitchen no less. He couldn't let himself do that again. Not now that he found it a bit harder to read Harry as of late.
The only way to lessen the ache was to push Harry away. Make him angry. Make it easier to bear that growing distance between the both of them. Better anger than this...despair.
Draco shook his head, lips turned up in an ironic smile. He knew, that there'd really never be anyone else for him. Anyone else would be a poor substitute, a shadow, really. Was it really all those years ago that the two were rivals in everything? It didn't take long for Draco to realize, even in his schoolboy days, that Harry Potter was Trouble. You didn't need Voldemort around to see that Harry was exquisite.
There was an intangible *something* about Harry. Even when Harry had been a lonely eleven-year-old child, it had been there. It was so heartbreaking to see, as if Harry wore melancholy like a second skin. It made him beautiful. Ethereal. Was it loneliness that made him irresistible? Was it because that sadness mirrored his own?
Draco remembered the boy that Harry was. Harry would walk around with this bewildered statement that was even more pronounced when in the company of his friends. It was almost as if Harry couldn't believe that people actually liked him. How could anyone *not* be entranced by him? It was all Draco could do not to obsess about him. Not when Harry's lips begged to be bruised under a crushing kiss.
Draco wondered how Harry turned out to be the way that he was. How had Harry managed to stay innocent? How did he bring himself to be so damned *noble*? How did he get out of bed knowing that he was very much alone? How did he, as a child, get out of bed knowing that he was constantly being hunted by the Dark Lord? Draco was struck with yet another epiphany. Draco closed his eyes; he wasn't one to cry, but his pain would manifest as a dull ache in the palm of his hand. It hurt now.
Harry must have been in love. Why else would he take the chance of being ceremoniously *killed*? Harry *did* see Lucius at Cedric Diggory's demise. Yet, Harry took the chance knowing what the Malfoys stood for. It could've all been a clever act to bring Harry to Voldemort. But Harry took the chance.
Draco sighed heavily, resting his forehead upon the windowpane, his breath causing the glass to fog. He was lost. He remembered his one thought after his very first encounter with The Boy Who Lived in Diagon Alley, articulate even in his young eleven-year-old mind:
Was it possible to feel that you've met the rest of your life?
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