Rating: PG-13 (°o°!!!)
Series/Sequel: yes, sequel to "Lustful Beasts"
Warnings: Don't trust anything that thinks without knowing where it keeps its brain!
Disclaimer: alas, not mine... The characters belong to J.K. Rowling and I'm thoroughly convinced that my spine isn't nearly flexible enough to bow to her as deeply as she deserves. Oh... my sweet, sweet J.K.... *melting sigh* I earn nothing, I own nothing, nobody would pay me for this anyway. This is an act of love, please don't sue.
Feedback: Oh yes... pray do!
Summary: Draco muses over the consequences of Harry's accident and the twins decide that it's time to take some action.
Rush Blindly On
Part Four of the Petronius Series
Draco's fist smashed into the door of his locker and bent it. The damage to the locker was hardly noticeable though, considering the sorry state it was in already. Nobody had bothered to repair the mutilation inflicted on it after the last Quidditch match, probably foreseeing already that this outburst wouldn't be the only one.
When the hot pain flashed through his arm, Draco's mind unfogged a bit and he noticed, breathing heavily and teeth gritted, how all the other players were leaving the room, casting him dirty looks. He didn't even bother to comment on it. What did they know anyway?
Rubbing his arm, he walked over to one of the benches and slumped on it, staring at the opposite wall. The moments kept replaying in his head like some weird "best of"-montage on a corny television show: Crabbe and Goyle grunting something about 'Pansy Potter' and his moment of tension when he thought word had spread about him and Harry. Then the sudden realization that they were indeed clueless as ever. Then the even worse awareness that if it wasn't him the gossip was about, somebody else must have gotten lucky with Harry. Draco clenched his fist again as he remembered his helpless anger and fury at the thought.
It hadn't taken him long to find out who this other person was. Or better, persons. Harry and the twins. Imagine that.
He should have known that he'd resort to this sooner or later. He should have guessed that Harry'd turn to the red-haired twins to help him imagine it was Ron who was doing these things with him. Draco let out a short, derisive laugh, noticing in an instant that it didn't work. His usual sneer and disdain wouldn't work when there was nobody around receiving it. He dropped his head, sighing deeply in his chest.
The best of-scenes kept flashing: Harry and the twins in the hall, one of them touching his shoulder in a very personal way... Harry, not being able to meet his eyes... Harry, constantly avoiding him at the game, fighting him fiercely... Harry, falling from the height, off his broom, down towards the Quidditch field. His heart still faltered at the memory of this sight. For one crazy moment he had thought that he could actually catch Harry before he'd hit the ground. How stupid... And then he had been lying there, strangely contorted, not moving, and for one second he had thought that--- no, he couldn't even think it. It was just too much.
His ragged sob floated through the room, before he could hold it. 'No! Shut up! Don't let yourself go like that, you weak little wimp!' he castigated himself.
When he couldn't bear the silence of the changing room any longer, he jumped up, grabbed his bag and left for the main building. He had no particular plans for tonight. For a moment, he considered sneaking up to the hospital wing again, trying to catch a glimpse of Harry, but he dismissed the thought again. He wasn't sure, if he could bear the sight of him, pale and lifeless between the white sheets.
Suddenly, he was grabbed by the elbows and lifted off his feet. "Hey, wha---!" The Weasley twins were holding him in a tight grip, both looking very determined.
"What do you think you're doing?" he shouted. "Let go of me at once!"
Both twins ignored him completely and continued carrying him down the corridor. They brought him into an empty classroom, pushed him roughly inside and closed the door behind them. Fred -- he could see that it was him now, since he had blacked his eye two days ago and it still looked rather nasty -- approached him menacingly, while George leaned against the door, making sure that no one could get in. Or out.
Bracing himself so that he wouldn't shrink back, no matter what was awaiting him, Draco stared at the twins, carefully monitoring their expressions and gestures.
"You don't mind us having a word with you, do you, Malfoy?" Fred said in a deceivingly friendly manner.
Draco snorted angrily. "Do I have a choice?"
"Not really," George answered from the door.
"What is it then?" Draco asked impatiently. He knew exactly what this was all about, but there was no way in hell that he would make it easy for them. "I think we share a friend, Malfoy," Fred said.
Draco laughed dryly. "Is that so? A friend? Us? I don't think so!"
Fred continued, ignoring his exclamation completely. "I'm sure you're just as concerned about his well-being as we are, aren't you?"
When Draco didn't reply, he carried on, "Now there was that accident this Saturday and George and I are starting to put the pieces together, since, needless to say, we're feeling a bit responsible for this very unfortunate turn of events."
Draco concentrated very hard on a spot on the opposite wall, trying not to look at them. "Get to the point already!" he growled.
Fred cast him a scrutinizing look. "I'm sure you heard about these rumors."
Jerking his head, Draco looked into Fred's cold eyes, suddenly captured by their intensity.
"No? Maybe we should refresh your memories." Fred smiled coolly. Over his shoulder he said, "George?"
His brother took the cue. "Harry Potter and the Weasley twins, in the corridor, snogging and fondling each other."
Smiling mysteriously at Draco's deepening frown, Fred said, "Well, you know how rumors are."
"Hardly ever the truth." George added. A mean glimmer shone from his eyes.
Draco found himself clenching his fists under the folds of his robes, staring at them as he continued to listen.
"Yeah. Truth is, as a matter of fact... and I'm sure you're pleased to hear, that we weren't making out with Harry in the corridor."
Draco let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, but George's next words stifled his relief.
"No, we didn't make out in the corridor. We made out before that in our room. And we weren't just kissing, mind you."
Draco tensed. 'Stop talking, stop talking, stop talking...' he repeated again and again in his head, trying to drown out what they were saying. He didn't want to hear it.
Fred grinned. "Oh yes... our little Harry, coming to us, begging to be taken, to make him forget whatever it was that was troubling him. He was hot and wanting, screaming for more as we took him from both sides..."
"Shut up!!!" Draco cried as he flung himself at Fred, fists raised, ready to strike him down. He was so furious right now, he just wanted to smack that grinning face to pieces.
But Fred seemed to have expected that since he immediately blocked Draco's flying fists, bending them down and thus making him immobile. "See?" he exclaimed triumphantly. "I told you it was like that!"
"Amazing!" gasped George as he sauntered away from the door, watching Draco's rage curiously. "I wouldn't have thought that!"
Draco stopped struggling against Fred's grip and yanked himself free, rubbing his wrists with an annoyed frown. "What are you talking about?"
The twins took no notice of him, but kept conferring as if he weren't even present. "As I said, there must have been a reason for his fury. And if you put the pieces together, it's all so obvious."
George nodded. "Yeah. From what Harry told us---"
"Hey!" Draco yelled, demanding attention.
"Exactly, George. Takes a licking and there you go. Splendid!"
"Still... that was rather daring, I'd say. But I never would have guessed that it would be that simple."
Close to losing his temper, Draco stepped between the twins and growled: "What the hell are you talking about?"
George now gave him a bored look and said: "That you were the other guy, of course."
"The other---?" Draco cringed inwardly. No, he would never admit it to these idiots! Not if they were his rivals. He laughed derisively. "You must be mad! This is ridiculous. Harry and me! Never!"
Fred sniggered. "Don't make us out to be more stupid than we are, Malfoy."
Gritting his teeth, Draco took a long moment to calm himself enough to be able to form a proper sentence. So they obviously knew everything. Fine! He had his share of gossip as well, didn't he? And he had gotten the confirmation first hand, too. Why bother pretending?
"So I am the 'other guy'. What is it to you? You had your fun with him, I had mine. We're all going home happy." He laughed, but it somehow completely lacked the usual scorn. It sounded even a bit bitter. "I couldn't care less. Harry's a slut. I should have guessed that, since he was so easy to get."
Before he knew it, George's arm had shot up and grabbed him by the collar, pulling him very close to his face. Their noses almost touched and he got a perfect impression of a very furious Weasley. "Don't you ever dare to talk about Harry that way again..." he hissed, tugging hard to give more emphasis to his words.
The neckline was painfully pressing on Draco's throat and he took a strangled gulp before freeing himself without losing too much of his dignity. Smoothing the creases on his robe, he replied: "Why did you freak out like that? You said it yourself!"
"Stupid prick," Fred snarled. "You don't understand a thing, do you? We only said this to bring you out of your shell."
"You obviously don't know Harry a bit," George added scornfully.
For a moment, Draco didn't know what to say. Somehow his mind refused to process the information.
Fred turned to his brother again and resumed with their private conference. "I can't believe that Harry could really be---" George shrugged in response. They gave Draco a measuring look that made him feel like a piece of meat on a plate. "Well... not too surprising actually."
It started to annoy Draco a lot that they seemed to be ignoring him completely, so he said loudly, "Would you please stop talking as if I wasn't there?"
Two pairs of brown eyes turned to him.
"Harry doesn't deserve this. Heaven knows he had his share of emotional mess-up already."
Draco stared at them blankly and blinked. What the hell were they talking about?
The twins exchanged a contemptuous glance. "Well, the equation is simple," Fred said softly.
Draco swallowed nervously.
"We want Harry happy. Harry isn't sure about what he wants, but whatever it is, it's something we don't necessarily approve of, but we'll do anything to make it up to him. You're following?" Not waiting for Draco's response, George went on, "You mess it up and you'll regret it. Okay?"
Shaking his head, full of confusion, Draco muttered: "What do you mean? I don't..." His mind was racing, trying to process all the information they fed him. Then it all snapped into place. Now he knew what they were heading for! "You mean, you want him for yourself and want me to stay off, right?" he exclaimed angrily.
Fred rolled his eyes and groaned, annoyed. He ran his fingers through his hair and turned away, but it was obviously just a feint, because the next second he pounced on Draco, grabbing him by his robe and lifting him off his feet again. The air escaped his lungs as he was slammed against the wall. For a moment he couldn't hear or see anything while the pain shot through his limbs, but as soon as it subsided, his jerked his head, staring at the twin, full of hatred, his teeth gritted and fists clenched. If he could only move his arms...
"Let go of me at once, you twat!" he snarled.
Fred returned his fiery glance with cold eyes. "No, you listen to me now. You stupid git! You obviously don't understand a thing! I never thought you'd be that daft! You make me want to beat the crap out of you."
Full of rage, Draco started kicking and wriggling. "Don't touch me, I warn you! My father will..."
"Your father will be thrilled to hear about his precious son's amorous escapades, I'm sure," George interrupted him sternly.
That took the wind out of Draco's sails and he ceased any further attempt at resistance.
Fred gave his face a scrutinizing look, as if trying to discover a trace of whatever he was hoping to find there. Draco tried to conceal his facial expressions as best he could. He started to sweat.
"You don't deserve him," Fred whispered, almost sadly. "He deserves the world and not someone like you."
Suddenly his voice and body would no longer obey him. Draco felt a strangled sob escape his throat and he stared into Fred's eyes, fascinated and horrified alike.
"If you cared to listen to Harry just once," Fred carried on, "if you weren't so occupied with your big head all the time, then you'd know and wouldn't stare at me like some moron. When will you start to see the person behind the good lay? Why did you choose him anyway? What did you think he'd give you? Think about that."
With that he let Draco go and he slid down the wall to the floor, without resistance, like a rag doll. He faintly registered the twins leaving the room.
The questions kept droning in his head: Why did you choose him? What did you think he'd give you?
He listened to his heartbeat as it was pounding in his ears, heavy and slow like tribal drums performing some strange ritual. It quickened and the blood was rushing through his veins. 'Why Harry? Why him? What could he give me? Why him...'
Because he's beautiful, a tempting voice chirped in his head. 'Stupid idiot, many are beautiful!'
Because his eyes are so deep that can get lost in them. 'Silly sentimentality!'
Because he turns you on like nobody else. 'Wasn't it good with Snape?'
Because he's the only one you can't have...
The sudden pain of his teeth breaking the skin of his hand when he bit down hard brought him back to reality. There was so much pain in his body. There was still the faint sting of Harry's bite on his lips, several bruises on his body bore witness to his row with the twins, and there was the burning flash of pain at the back of his hand now. But it was all nothing in comparison to the sheer agony raging in his heart.
No, he would not think about this. He would not let these idiots confuse him. This was all ridiculous. Anyone could be just as good as Harry.
Draco jumped to his feet and fled out of the room.
He didn't know where his feet would take him as he rushed down the darkened corridors, listening to the rhythm of the tribal drums in his head, but suddenly he heard the echoing bang of the door as it closed behind him and he found himself face to face with Snape, who rose from his desk in surprise.
"Draco! What's wrong?" he asked, startled.
Draco didn't say anything. He just stared at the Potions Master, full of confusion and out of breath.
In the meantime, Snape had walked around the desk and was now slowly walking towards him, almost gingerly, as if he didn't know what to make of it. He didn't know of the thoughts that were racing in Draco's head.
Scanning the other man, Draco carefully registered every aspect of Snape's appearance: the tall, rake-thin body, the blackness cladding it, that was so much more than just a dress, but was a part of him, the shiny black hair, the long white fingers, the charcoal eyes that watched him suspiciously... he knew this man so well. Maybe too well.
Without a word or a moment of hesitation, he walked to meet Snape, making him release his breath as he bumped into him with the force of his assault. He sensed Snape's momentary surprise and the attempt to ask again what was wrong, but he reached up to pull down the other man's head, consuming his lips in a devouring kiss.
Snape tensed in shock, apparently confused for a second. Then he moaned and wrapped his arms around the slender boy, pulling him as close as possible.
The room started spinning as they kissed, oblivious to time and space. It spun round and round and so did his head. Draco gasped for breath against Snape's lips, then lost himself in the embrace again.
Who gave in first? Who lost their balance? He couldn't tell, but they stumbled back against the desk, and he dropped flat on his back, the other man over him. He was clinging onto Snape as if he was holding on for dear life. His whimper floated through the office as he detached his lips from Snape's mouth again, drawing a ragged breath. He pressed Snape's head against his chest, moaning, as the other man's lips caressed him, almost frantic, and shivering hands pulled away the fabric that was covering his body.
The tender brush of lips over his taut stomach drove him crazy and he thrashed his head from one side to the other. At last, the blissful ecstasy that could make him forget...
His hand flew up to his mouth. A faint sting traveled from his lips to his fogged brain and it took a few seconds to process the sensation. But then Draco's eyes flew open and he remembered suddenly and all too clearly: Harry.
He sat up with a strangled cry, covering his mouth the very instant the sound had escaped his throat. He was too shocked to care about Snape looking at him in dismay as he sat back on his heels, his eyes full of confusion and maybe even a bit hurt. Draco stared into the void, his eyes moving rapidly, his lungs craving air, but he refused them by keeping his hand still clasped tightly over his mouth. It was as if the lack of oxygen was the only thing that could stop the somersaults of his heart.
Draco swallowed thickly. The realization still trickled down his back like a bucket of icy water. His arousal was completely gone now. He just didn't know what to make of it. This situation was more than he could bear and he jumped to his feet, not looking at Snape as he stumbled past him, out of the office.
He felt like a wild beast, lurking in the shadows, watching Harry lying between the white sheets. His hands craved to touch him, but somehow he thought that he didn't have the right to do that. He had watched him in this way many times before. He had seen Harry's friends come and go, had seen them talk to him, sensed their sadness. He had felt sadness, too, but he couldn't share it with anyone. He had nobody.
Draco shivered from the cold that wasn't in the room. He pulled the robe tighter around his body as he continued to take in every detail of Harry. The sight caused him physical pain. He couldn't bear the absence of Harry's faint smile, the sparkle in his green eyes, the proud energy with which he met his daily tasks. This person lying here was just the faint image of the Harry he knew, the Harry he---
It was then that he realized that he was truly blessed to be able to see him like this. Harry could have died and it would have been all his fault. For an instant he allowed himself to think about what might have happened.
What would he have done? He would have gone on, of course. He would have lived, like an insect deprived of its feelers. It's possible. You could live like that. But how? Like a machine, a soulless shell, doing what you're supposed to do, every single day, knowing that there's no real reason to go on. No one to smile at and no one's smile to receive when the task is done. Draco gasped and closed his eyes. No, he couldn't think that.
The urge got too strong and Draco slid out of the darkness, checking the deserted corridors for any sign of unwanted company. He was irresistibly drawn towards Harry's side. For a moment he just stood there and stared. This wasn't Harry. Not his Harry. This wasn't right! Anger was building up inside him, anger at this motionless puppet that had the cheek to have Harry's form.
He raised his fist, ready to let it crash down on this still creature. His fist flew through the air, but moments before it hit its target it stopped, quivering in midair for a moment, then opening to a gentle brush over Harry's cheek. He remembered the feeling of his skin. All those times he had touched him like this came back to him and he could no longer deny that this was his Harry.
With a sob, Draco sank to his knees, burying his face in the folds of Harry's blanket. After a moment, he lifted his head and stared into his expressionless face. "Please... come back to me," he whispered. His trembling hand reached for Harry's fingers, closed around them, held them tight. Harry's hand was limp and lifeless, but it didn't even feel as cold as he had expected it to. But then, his own fingers felt like ice.
He reached up to touch Harry's cheek once more. He needed to feel it again. He wanted to pretend that Harry could feel him and knew what he was feeling. Knowing that he would never be able to say these words out loud with Harry consciously listening, he whispered, "I'm sorry..."
He got up and leaned over Harry, blowing a gentle kiss on his lips. Suddenly he knew that this would be the last one, so he made it linger.
Then he looked at Harry's empty face, longing to see the green eyes directed on him, even if they were full of scorn and tears. "So sorry..." he repeated softly. "Please come back."
Gently, he brushed the strands of black hair out of Harry's face, looking at the hateful scar, the scar he used to despise for many years. He traced it with his fingers. For a moment he felt as if a strange kind of heat was coming from it. He retreated, stunned for a moment, and then touched his lips with the finger as if he could make believe that way that he had kissed the scar. He had wanted to do this for such a long time...
An idea came to his mind. Only the faint trace of a notion that nibbled at his thoughts and forced them into a certain direction, yet powerful and persistent. He could not quite grasp it. Sucking in his lower lip and chewing on it, he frowned as he slowly put the pieces together. It was something... something important... something he should have known...
I love him...
Draco sucked in his breath, shocked. At this realization something inside him painfully contracted, as if a hot iron fist was crushing his bowels. He loved Harry! As plain and simple as the answer was, it was terrible nonetheless.
How could he love him? It was not logical. It wasn't even possible. But yet he did. It was so clear now, as if someone had switched on the light in his head. That was all he had ever wanted from him: his love. And yet this had been this one thing that Harry had kept away from him completely.
The excitement over this realization soon was gone and clarity entered his mind. With this certainty something else had come, too. He would let Harry go. This was the only thing he could do in order to right all this wrong. He looked at Harry one last time, thoroughly memorizing every aspect of his face. His fingers were itching to touch him once again, but he felt like he no longer had the right to do so. Not if he was meant to be free.
He let his hand hover over Harry's cheek, forming its shape, yet not touching it. If he could, just for one last time... Nobody would know. One last touch, one last kiss.
Approaching footfalls made him shrink back. He had to leave -- nobody was to find him here. With one last look at Harry's still form, he vanished back into the shadows of the adjoining room from which he could leave the hospital wing without being seen.
Some days later, Draco was sitting in one of the large armchairs in the Slytherin common room, staring blankly into the fire. He was brooding, the way he seemed to be spending most of his days lately. While staring into the void, he kept peeling the leather from the chair's armrest and tossed the shreds into the flames where they vanished with a bright glow.
He was in a very foul mood, frowning deeply in his musings. Soon people would start wondering what was up with him, he thought bitterly. It was so very much unlike him to avoid all those events he usually enjoyed. He was silent in classes and refrained from making fun of the Hufflepuffs or Gryffindors.
Sometimes he caught Ron Weasley looking at him thoughtfully or with unrestrained hatred, but he didn't care. In a way it even amused him, because he knew that Weasley was dying to know more details about Harry and him, since he had fed him only very scanty information. But Ron was too proud to ask and he'd be damned if he did anything to make this wimp feel any better.
And Snape... Snape knew what was going on. Draco could tell that he disliked the way it changed their relationship, but he couldn't help it. Things would never be the same again. Not after his realization and especially not after the recent turn of events. Now it was time to keep his promise...
Soon he heard the familiar grunts of Crabbe and Goyle as they walked into the common room. When they spotted him, they immediately went over to his place and sat down next to him.
"Have you heard?" Crabbe started.
"What?" Draco asked, mildly disinterested. He wanted to be left alone.
"Potter's woken up!"
Oh that... Draco feigned some mock surprise and said: "Oh, so the superstar decided to join his fans again?" He gave a derisive snort for Crabbe and Goyle and sincerely hoped they'd leave him alone now.
As if he hadn't known already... He had been weak. Even though he had told himself again and again that it was not right, he had kept on returning to Harry's bed, staring at him from the distance. That was the only thing he could pride himself on: he had never touched him again. Only admired from the distance and that wasn't really breaking his promise, was it?
But being there, seeing him and not being able to touch him... that had been terrible for him. And then he had promised, silently, to himself, that if Harry ever was to wake up again then he would do his best to make it all up to him. To make him feel better. And the only way to make him better was to stay away from him. Now it was time to pay his debt.
After a while, Crabbe and Goyle got bored at Draco's persistent silence and left again. That was good. He had to get used to this anyway. Loneliness would be his constant companion soon. He'd better get used to it.
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