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Intangible 22

Chapter Twenty-One

Draco struggled to focus. It started around nightfall when he joined the village of shifters around the fire. The feast was amazing. Draco assumed a pack of dragons meant raw meat and not much on vegetables, but the Vesper ate like people. People who had taste buds who understood Draco’s taste buds in a way he hadn’t until that meal. The food was flavorful, varied, and he’d be telling his house elves if he ever went back to the manor.

Not that he was thinking of not going back. Fine, not that he would admit to thinking about not going back. He was confused about it all and thinking just didn’t help a thing.

“Do you not like the singing?” Haille asked from around Draco’s shoulder. With only one ear and long straight hair, he took to pressing his hand to Draco’s back and sitting behind him and Hermione so he could chat with her better.

“It’s, uh, it’s good,” Draco whispered. He tried to focus on the young silver-haired man singing divinely and not the heat rising up in him. The Vesper moved in two dimensions at every moment and Draco’s clothes were only in one. Every touch was sparking torture.

“I’m sorry, little halfling,” Matten said tightly, his jaw locked and eyes fierce as he kept his gaze straight ahead and not on Draco. “I should have anticipated this. As I said, lots of mistakes.”

Draco nodded, the motion causing him to sway. Matten was honoring his wishes but it was clear the kind of struggle it was for the shifter. Especially when Zyan kept leaning across to run fingers over Draco’s arm. Draco couldn’t be certain, but it seemed Matten’s lover pushed ever so subtly into the tense leader and smirk wickedly each time.

“I wasn’t expecting you to have so many leaders,” Hermione said conversationally to Haille behind her, oblivious to Draco’s torment. “I count about fifteen up here with us.”

Haille’s palm brushed fire over Draco’s shoulder. “Yes, you think it would get confusing but it works for us. It’s important everyone’s needs are represented.”

Draco really wished Haille would stop lingering on his neck when he breathed. It was far too reminiscent of Harry. Another thing he didn’t want to think about at the moment. Thinking about Harry while surrounded by a circle of horny Vesper didn’t help anything.

“It’s getting worse,” Draco muttered as he felt the energy grow in the air around them. In some ways it was good the leaders were up on the porch with him to protect Draco from the others as they shifted into their nocturnal phase. In other ways, it added to his frustration. The sex scents of Matten, Haille and Zyan were dizzying enough. Thankfully, most of the leaders remained feet away where they sprawled on pillows and sleek pelts on the porch. The rest of the village was spread out under the canopy where warm firelight and cool moonlight battled for dominance. It was difficult to see what the ones under the dark of the canopy were doing but Draco could guess as the scent of need became stronger and moans shivered in the dark.

“It will only get worse,” Matten said tersely as he glared at Zyan. Zyan smirked back and pressed his lips to the bridge of his scarred nose.

“It’s good to test one’s will once in a while. The halfling has made things challenging.” Zyan ran his hand under Matten’s jaw, then reached over to brush Draco’s shoulder. The touch was a small jolt to Draco’s senses and he bit back a moan.

“You’re tormenting me, my love,” Matten growled warningly.

Zyan wrapped his arms around Matten’s neck and rested his forehead on his. “I have never seen you so close to losing your self control. It is addictive, and I wish to see you crack.”

A hysterical laugh bubbled up in Draco he couldn’t contain. Worse, once it was loose, the shifters on the dais hummed to calm him. A hot wave of heat settled on Draco and pushed him down to the porch with what felt like a tangible weight. “Oh, hell. Stop. Please,” he moaned as he fought the ache growing within. It would be so easy to give in when they could make him feel calm with one simple sound.

Hermione glanced down at where Draco was gasping, her eyebrows raised. “Maybe you should, I don’t know, go inside?” She suggested as she watched Draco’s face flush. “Maybe you won’t hear them.”

“Smell,” Draco muttered as he glaring up at Haille, who was moments away from touching his face. Draco was practically in his lap and the beautiful shifter smirking down wasn’t at all disappointed with the situation. “They give off a scent. Like an aphrodisiac.”

“Pheromones?” Hermione looked up and stared at the many silver haired men in a different light. “You’re all designed for sex, aren’t you? How does that even work if your breeding stage is finished once you become shifters?”

“There are some who think we’re meant to couple with the humans,” Matten said carefully while a few of the shifters nearby looked upset by the notion. “Humans aren’t safe; they’re barbaric and hostile. Some think we are enchanters in this form with wicked intentions. There is also the fear any child born in such a union will be destroyed or poorly treated by their human relatives. Halflings have powerful magic and stronger appetites, and the humans have been known to hurt them. We have forbade the act of mating with humans because of this.”

“Your Kalistar, was that the one who thought you should mate with humans?” Hermione asked over the sound of Draco’s increased gasps for air. Haille was humming softly as his fingers gently drifted over his features.

“We don’t like to speak of the Kalistar. They were the ones who created the first race of halflings and insisted we collect them each generation back. As you can see with your friend, it has brought more difficulty than good.” Matten’s hand hovered inches from Draco’s shoulder but he held himself from reaching the last expanse to touch. “We try to avoid human contact. Running through your buildings and stealing your young doesn’t help in that regard.”

Hermione had to agree. “Why, then? Why create a being you must recover. One who calls so loud you can’t help but seek him out?”

“To get along,” Haille interrupted with a secretive smile. “They are all so angry, you see. Our people would lock themselves from the modern world if they could, and snarl and slash whenever change comes along. The world keeps infringing and the forest pushed back every day. The halflings are our link to that world. Not everyone agrees. Some would rather a halfling stay on a soft cushion in the center of the village, a pretty bauble to gaze upon and brighten the day.”

“He is a very pretty bauble, most assured,” Zyan teased. He stretched out on the ground behind Matten, his face next to Draco’s so he could pet his white-blond locks. “We thought perhaps, if we were to go through the bother of collecting him, maybe we should address the human situation which comes along with such an act. He is very human.” Zyan’s head tilted as he ran his fingers through Draco’s hair, and combed slowly.

Draco couldn’t help but stare into Zyan’s dark, gray eyes, his face inches from his own. He smelled good and looked more so. The burn scar on the shifter’s arm and the many thin slashes along his chest did little to dull the heat pulsing through Draco. “Oh, don’t do that,” Draco whispered as more purrs rose up and curled around him like a touch. It was the others on the dais behind him, their soft murmurs reaching his ears.

“They can’t help it, halfling. You are glowing very brightly.” Haille’s fingers also tangled in Draco’s hair and brushed over Zyan’s with each stroke. “We give thanks to the moon at this time and celebrate our many appetites. The desire is very difficult to deny, especially with such bright light from you.”

“But we will,” Matten said gruffly with a pointed look at the two cradling Draco’s head. “We are the strongest of our people, and we will respect his wishes.”

Hermione knew she probably should be very embarrassed by all the blatant sexual activity descending upon the porch and already happening in the large square. She was more curious than anything; it was like being invited into a real life nature documentary than anything offensive. That was until she caught sight of Kore, a heavily battle-scarred and devastatingly handsome leader as he, for lack of a better word, mounted the pretty Seles only a few feet away. It seemed to announce the right time to go inside.

Hermione stood, grabbed Draco’s arm and pulled him to his feet. Draco stumbled, his eyelids heavy and face flushed. She went to steady him but didn’t have to; Matten rose sleek and easily to his feet and kept Draco from falling.

“I’m having difficulty,” Draco admitted softly. His eyes strayed to the door past the writhing bodies bordering the path. His limbs were heavy, as if his entire body was demanding he simply fall back to the ground where the two shifters were waiting for him to return.

“Yes, well, I’m not really surprised,” Hermione said cheerfully, laughter bright in her brown eyes. Poor Matten, Zyan and Haille all seemed rather grouchy to have to leave while at the same time looked glad to be in reach of Draco. “Maybe they have board games? Books? There must be some way to pass the time besides, well, what they’re doing now.”

“We will find him something,” Matten muttered as he carefully guided Draco up the stairs. His hands hovered close but didn’t touch. Draco groaned at each step, his silver eyes heavy with fire and need. He landed hard on the door the moment he reached it, his breath coming out in loud pants. It took everything not to rub up against the surface the way his body was begging.

“It is okay, little one.” Haille gently pulled Draco off the door, his eyes kind as he heard him whimpered. “It is a strong urge. Powerful. You are powerful and you are feeding the fire hotter. Take comfort you are helping the village bond, even if you feel uncomfortable.”

Draco didn’t reply, not certain if it was much consolation at the moment. His body burned, ached for touch. The Vesper’s scent was all around him and thrums and moans rose up like a cloud in the dark. He wanted to give in and relieve the pressure building inside, except he couldn’t. For every part of him who thought spreading his body out among the moaning piles of shifters on the ground was a good idea, there was another part who reminded him he was human, proper, and completely bound by certain rules and expectations. Giving in was not an option no matter how much he ached.

It was a little better inside the building. The sounds of the Vesper were muffled and the scent as well. There was no glass on the windows to keep anything outside fully out, and Draco was hyper aware of what was going on just on the other side of the door. “I need to, um, be alone for a bit. Upstairs,” he added with a blush when Hermione gave him a knowing look.

“You go rest. I’m sure Matten can find something to entertain us all once you get back.” Hermione did her best to not snicker. She knew it was difficult on Malfoy but he was just so funny about it all. Probably because he was so embarrassed. There was an entire village outside who thought group sex was completely normal and in that context, Hermione had to agree with them. For the Vesper it was normal, and with Draco being half Vesper, it should be normal to him too. Draco clearly didn’t agree. He was flushed pink and jolted at every touch that came his way.

“Uh, the thing is I need help on the stairs.” Draco blushed brighter and Hermione sighed internally. He really just made things more difficult on himself by getting so worked up.

“Come, lovely halfling.” Haille reached his arm out and offered it to Draco. “I can lift you if need be.”

“I will take him,” Matten interrupted with a suspicious glare at Haille.

Haille only smirked and stepped between Draco and Matten. “You can not touch him anymore, Matten. You are far too overwhelmed to be a safe option right now, as you are well aware. I will not harm him.”

Matten relented after a long, silent moment and stared at the doorway after the two left.

“Why was he angry?” Draco asked Haille. His eyes were fixed on his feet as he worked his way slowly up the stairs.

“We don’t always get along,” Haille admitted. “We both try to keep an open mind with the humans, but we don’t always agree on how to deal with things.”

Draco stumbled and braced himself on the wall. Haille threaded an arm around his chest and tugged lightly. “Let me carry you. The stairs are steep and you’re weak with lust.”

Draco blushed to hear it put so bluntly. It really was like his body was trying to force him to give in. He didn’t resist when Haille turned him. Haille easily lifted him up, his strong arms braced beneath his thighs while Draco held onto his neck. He was particularly beautiful, and Draco quickly ducked his gaze when Haille’s violet eyes met his.

“So how do you differ with Matten, then?” Draco asked as he tried to distract from the feel of Haille’s powerful form moving against him as he climbed the flights of stairs with ease.

“Matten thinks it’s important to let you make your own decisions with as little interference as possible. He wishes you to observe us from afar, and keep you guarded and buffered from our many ways. He wishes for you to be like your friend; a human guest visiting.”

“And you disagree?” Draco shivered as Haille lowered him to the ground when they reached the door to his bedroom.

“You are not a human; you are a halfling.” Haille opened the door and stepped aside so Draco could walk in. He went to close it and leave but Draco stopped him with a look.

“That’s not really an answer, is it? Are you saying you think I shouldn’t be guarded?”

Haille pulled his fingers through his long hair, and a frown tugged the corner of his mouth. “There is nothing to guard you from. No one will harm you here. We do not have locks on our doors because we do not fear from each other. We have a wall on our village to keep the predators and humans away. You have nothing to fear from the Vesper, ever, and separating you is just confusing the fact.”

“Oh.” Draco stepped back into the room, his eyes downcast as he thought.

“What do you fear the most?” Haille followed him as he read Draco’s expression. “Our dragon forms? They are our fiercest warriors, as well as our most precious young. They make mistakes just like the rest of us. Sometimes on a grander scale as the young are apt to do. They learn, grow, and become better for it.”

Draco shook his head. He bit the side of his thumb and glanced up at him. “I’ve gotten used to them. They’re actually quite nice, even with their angry expressions.”

“But you’re still afraid,” Haille insisted with a hint of exasperated. “What can we do to put you at ease? Matten is ready to dig a moat around this building just to keep you calm.”

It was a funny visual but Draco didn’t feel like laughing. He shrugged uncomfortably, not really having an answer. “Did you go into the castle at all when you came to find me?”

“Briefly, yes. I pulled some of the weaker-willed hunters from the place.”

“It was different there, right? Different smells, different sounds, lots of people who don’t look the same as you’re used to. Maybe even frightening?”

Haille bowed his head in agreement. “The humans in the castle have dangerous magic. We avoid them because of it, and thankfully they have never sought to battle us.”

“Well, consider being back in the castle surrounded by all those different things.” Draco looked away and stared awkwardly at the floor as he tried to explain. “And you’re absolutely, unbearably aching for those strange, dangerous beings to touch you. More than touch you.”

Haille edged closer and slipped his hand into his. “I would be afraid.”

Draco bit his lip and tried to ignore the spark of energy he felt from the simple touch. “It doesn’t really matter if they seem nice because you just don’t know. They could be different than what they seem.”

“Dangerous, yes.” Haille tilted his head and studied Draco’s face intently. “Maybe exciting.”

Draco swallowed and his cheeks flushed. “A little.”

“There is a very easy solution, halfling.” Haille’s fingers traced over Draco’s knuckles and lighted on his wrist.

Draco’s breath caught in his throat. “I don’t think…”

“It is night and you are full of need. You are surrounded by your pack who needs as well. You could bond with us.” Haille’s fingers spread wide, and his palm touched down on Draco’s arm. “Each touch is a meeting, a reminder we are similar, even for all our many differences. Matten will touch me soon and I him to repair our disagreements. It is how we learn to know each other. This is how we accept and celebrate.”

Draco exhaled noisily. His body absolutely sang with want. “The touch is the frightening part.”

“Now I know I am confounded.” Haille pressed his hand to Draco’s shoulder, his fingers curled and braced lightly. “It feels good.”

“Yes.” Draco struggled to remember his train of thought. “That is the difficulty.”

“I fear you are a bit backwards, little one,” Matten teased. His free hand came up to rest on Draco’s waist.

“Oh, hell,” Draco whispered. Haille was so close he could feel his body heat radiating centimeters from his own. Draco didn’t know what would happen if his taller torso were to touch his but he suspected it would spiral into something else very quickly. “I… I don’t wish to lose myself.”

“Where exactly would you go? We all wake up together.”

“You’re mocking me,” Draco muttered, hyper-focused on the heat coming off of Haille’s body.

Haille nodded with a gentle smile. He ran his thumb ever so lightly over the hollow of Draco’s throat, who whimpered and swayed in response. “I rather you be afraid of the obvious, halfling. We have sharp teeth and terrible claws. We are covered in many wounds you must find disturbing. Instead you fear something inside you. It hurts you and I do not know how to alleviate it.”

“I’m not afraid of myself,” Draco said tightly. “Just the crazy, strong pull I keep feeling around all of you.”

Haille sighed quietly. He dipped his head and forced Draco to meet his eyes. “You are the one pulling us. Loudly. Brightly. You are very much a being in distress begging for connection. You call us and you are still afraid to connect.”

Draco went to look away but Haille’s fingers grasped his chin and pulled him back. “Even now your skin is flushed with sweat and chemical communication. You came up here to be alone. Your body needs us, little one, and you keep denying it. Starving it.” Fingertips brushed Draco’s lips. “What will you think of up here all alone? You will touch yourself and try to soothe the madness as if you have found a secret trick to stop needing others. You still need and you keep calling us.”

Draco closed his eyes as his mind whirled with so many thoughts. Was that all it was? Just communication? Connecting? Was that what his body was calling for and not the shameful, degenerate sex he saw it as?

“Leave him be,” Matten growled from the doorway. His eyes blazed as he glared at Haille. “You are making him worse, confusing him.”

Haille glanced his way and shrugged unconcernedly. “He is already confused. He ran away up here like he was slashed and clawed. He ignores his own call for comfort and want. How long will he be able to continue like this?”

“It is not your decision to make.” Matten held his hand outstretched and urged Haille away from Draco. “If that is how he wishes to be, that is his choice. We are foreign to him.”

Haille didn’t move even when Matten growled in warning. Draco watched the beautiful shifter silently, his eyes fixed on his scarred hand as Haille gently pressed to his jaw and cheek to caress. “Then let me rephrase my earlier question, Matten. How long will we be able to continue like this?”

“As long as it takes,” Matten snapped.

“His call is only getting worse, and now it is right in front of us. You are nearly overcome in the matter of a day. The other shifters have much fewer defenses against him. Some leaders have already begun to succumb.”

“We decided this as a group, Haille. Now he is here they will not change their mind, even if it is difficult.” Matten took a cautious step closer. Draco wondered for the first time if he was afraid of Haille or of him.

“They are no longer objective,” Haille said with a faint snort. “He has completely addled them. Even Zyan is swaying and he was completely against the idea of collecting a halfling. It might be better to send him back to his castle. That, or take his silly little ring and be done with this.”

“We will not!” Matten was definitely afraid of Draco. He snarled and grabbed Haille by the back of the neck and wrenched the violet eyed shifter away until they were on the opposite side of the room. “He is afraid, alone, confused. What will removing the ring do, except give him something truly to distrust, if not hate us for?”

“He has nothing to fear,” Haille growled back even though he didn’t fight Matten’s grip. “We, on the other hand, have far more to worry if something isn’t done soon.”

Matten stilled and hissed lowly. “You will not speak of it. Halfling, I’m sorry for his behavior. We will leave you to your rest.”

Draco wanted to stop them from leaving and find out just what the hell was so dangerous about him being in their village. Something in Matten’s eyes gave him pause. He looked frenzied with a madness sparking deep within his pale blue depths. Draco remained where he was and watched Matten pull Haille away and shut the door soundly as they left.

Draco was unbearably hard and felt more than a little crazy as he made his way to the connecting bathroom. It was much larger than his one at school and included a clawed tub that could likely fit three silvery haired beauties if squished just right. Four, if he chose a lap to sit on. Draco shook his head with a groan as fire heated through him. He was losing himself.

He felt strangely meek while in the village, lost, and on the verge of losing control. He didn’t know if it was the constant horniness or the humming… Or maybe he was giving up on his old life and giving in to this place.

There was a mirror that reached from the floor to ceiling in length. Draco stripped his shirt off and sought out the blue pen lines scrawled over his skin. Seeing them brought comfort in a way he didn’t expected. It was grounding when he barely knew what was up and down.

Shit, Harry wrote some nasty stuff on him. He had to be alive. He had to be.

Draco slowly traced the words written on his flesh and frowned when he saw some were already fading. His sweat had smeared away the ink in some places until it was barely legible. He needed Harry desperately. It felt just as bad as that first night Harry touched him in the bathroom. He kissed and rubbed and ground against him until he was impossibly hard, built his passions until he was nothing more than an aching, trembling puddle of need, and then left him to suffer alone.

Draco groaned at the memory and quickly kicked his pants and underwear off. He needed Harry. The ‘MINE’ was still clear on Draco’s erection but he had a feeling that was going to quickly change. Draco closed his eyes, wrapped his hand around his aching cock and tried to pretend Harry was standing in the room watching him.

If he concentrated just right, Draco could almost feel heat on his neck moving over him in slow, teasing, hungry breaths. Draco raised his hand and brushed lightly over his throat and his body vibrated with desire. It was a crazed need, one he knew wouldn’t be satisfied with just a quick wank. He bit his lip at the realization. Draco braced himself on the porcelain sink, spread his legs and thought of Harry’s touch.

Other thoughts were trying to break in to Draco’s fantasy. Dangerous thoughts that involved Matten, Haille and Zyan. Even some of the others. Fine, a lot of the others. They all looked similar, sleek, powerful men eager to please him. Draco tried to push the thoughts away but it was a struggle. He loved Harry; he wanted Harry. He didn’t need anyone else.

Draco gasped under his breath as he breached his hole with a finger slick with summoned lube. He wasn’t good at being quiet but he felt like he needed to be. Hell, he felt like he was hiding from the entire village just to masturbate. It was crazy. Extra crazy after what Haille said. Hell, that parting look in Matten’s eyes. If he called him back, what would he have done? Matten wanted him; they all did. They could all be his if he just asked. If he went downstairs and let them do whatever they wanted to him…

“Stop,” Draco hissed fiercely. He wasn’t some animal who just fucked whoever he pleased. He was just a ridiculously horny teenager fucking himself in the bathroom while a village of gorgeous men happy to help waited for him to come back down. Draco groaned at his stupidity and tried to think of something else.

It was difficult to remember what Harry looked like. He was missing for half a year and when Draco finally saw him again, he was wounded and odd with his skin black, form taller, and eyes wild. His hands were big, rough and strong on his flesh. His breath and skin impossibly hot. His mouth… Hell, his tongue. That obscene, rude tongue of his Harry used to lick all over his body, outside and in. He wanted Harry and his tongue right now. Potter was such a damn pervert, not like him at all.

“Fuck. Oh, god.” Draco pushed another finger inside his aching hole. He wished it was even remotely the same girth and reach of Harry’s perfect hands. He needed it so bad. Needed Harry so bad. He better still be alive, the damn ass, because he had no idea how he was going to live without him. Harry practically trained Draco’s body to respond to his every touch.

There was a soft knock on the door and Draco froze, his lower lip caught between his teeth as he stared down at the faucet blankly.

“Right. Sorry to interrupt, Malfoy, but I think you have to stop. Um, or be really quick with what your doing.” Hermione sounded more concerned than embarrassed. Draco wished he felt the same way and growled internally. He was so fucking hard!

“What, Granger? What the fuck could be that important…?”

“They’re fighting,” Hermione said quickly. “The humming isn’t working. Matten says your call is too strong when you’re like this and the young, the dragons, are fighting.”

Draco did growl this time, the noise full of frustration as it echoed off the walls. Fucking Vesper dragging him through the goddamn Forbidden Forest, getting him hard as fuck, and then refusing to let him have five fucking minutes to deal with it in peace. Fuck. Mother fucking whore!

“So, um, they also had a solution,” Hermione continued quieter, her embarrassment starting to win over her anxiety. “I told them you probably wouldn’t go for it but they insisted I ask.”

Draco very carefully extracted his cramped fingers from his clenching body and muttered a cleaning spell. He put his pants on, ignored his underwear for the time being, and threw the door open to glare at the annoying Gryffindor. “What?” he snarled.

Surprised by his abrupt entrance, Hermione took a step back and blinked at Draco. She covered her hand over her mouth but it didn’t stop her laughter from breaking free. Draco narrowed his eyes in warning; he was so close to slugging her, girl or not.

“Property of Harry James Potter,” Hermione read breathlessly. Her eyes widened as she continued reading down Draco’s bare torso silently.

“Fuck,” Draco snapped. He went to turn and then remembered there was much worse on his back. Harry was a total perv. Draco had no interest in sharing just what was written on his back with Hermione and was forced to glare her down. His expression promised pain if she didn’t get her shit together. “Why are you here?” he demanded angrily.

“Sorry,” Hermione apologized weakly, her eyes full of bright laughter. It took her a moment to pull herself together. “Just, um, Haille had an idea. Matten is very much against it… Shit, it just keeps going under your pants, doesn’t it? He wrote all over you.”

“For the love of… Focus, Granger!” There was a very tired part of Draco who wanted to sit down and cry about his very exhausting week.

Hermione bit her lip to keep from laughing and made herself look away. She came up there for a very important reason and was blindsided to find out Harry was just so, well, possessive seemed to fit, in this case. It was a bit much to mix with her memories of her friend. Except for right before the end of school last year; Harry had shown a lot of aggressiveness then that would fit the possessive words marking Draco’s flesh.

“Haille wants to ground you,” Hermione was finally able to get out. “Your power is all over the place. I guess it’s kind of like a spell without a target. You’re constantly looping and raising power up, and the poor Vesper can’t handle it.”

Draco frowned and clasped the back of his neck. “I assume ‘grounding’ isn’t as innocent as it sounds.”

Hermione grinned wryly. “Oh, I’m sure it’s not. They mentioned something about touch, but it’s all sex with these guys. Matten is dead set against it so it makes me worry even more. He’s been doing everything to protect you.”

It was true; Draco felt extra nervous if Matten didn’t agree. At some point he grew to trust the shifter, as foolish as that probably was. “Did they say what would happen if I didn’t?”

“Ah, yes. Something along the lines of shagging to death. Although, they may be exaggerating. They say you have a very strong mating call and just don’t know how to control… What? What’s wrong?” Hermione asked when Draco slumped forward with his hand covering his face.

“Mating call. It’s a fucking mating call! How did I not put that together?” Draco was doing to the Vesper what Harry did to him. It was the same as that insane night when Harry convinced him with one simple touch to give him a blowjob in the middle of the damn hallway. Draco thought he was going to die that night, he so overwhelmed with his need for sex. Especially when Harry ran off and left him to fend for himself. It was agony. Hours of agony and madness.

“Where are they? I need to fix this.” Draco couldn’t leave the Vesper like that. He remembered all too well how terrible it felt and that was just directed at him. There was an entire village of people suffering because he didn’t know how to control himself. It was inexcusable.

“They’re outside the door, but you’re not going to do it, Malfoy. For all you know, they’re going to tell you to take your ring off and trick you into staying. You’d have to be out of your mind to…”

“Get them and get the hell out of here, Granger,” Draco snapped, his chin raised defiantly. “Go lock yourself in one of the other rooms or something. Don’t come fucking knocking at the door, that’s for damn sure.”

“Malfoy, no way! I promised Harry I’d protect you.”

Draco snarled and stepped forward until Hermione stepped back. “Potter isn’t fucking here. I can make my own goddamn decisions. I will not let these people suffer just because I’m some fucking ignorant half human who doesn’t know shit about the Vesper.”

“Listen to yourself; you don’t owe them! They were going to kill Harry just to steal you away. They can call you family all they damn like, but family doesn’t do that.”

“You clearly haven’t met my father,” Draco said without a trace of humor. “I know what they’re struggling with now. If Matten told me earlier, I would’ve tried to fix it then. I didn’t come here to drive these people mad.”

Hermione didn’t look particularly impressed. “That’s their problem for dragging you out here in the first place. They went up against a castle full of wizards. They had to know there would be consequences.”

“Yes,” Draco agreed and shoved her gently by the shoulders toward the door. “They felt the fucking mating call all the way from their village and it was too powerful for them to resist. Do you get it, Granger? Not all magic can be fought. Even an intelligent, decidedly nomadic village of warriors can be lured into their enemy’s lair by one ignorant halfling. This was my fault from the very beginning and they’ve been too polite to tell me.”

Hermione clicked her mouth shut. She didn’t have a logical argument, but it didn’t mean she agreed with him. “You don’t owe them just because you were ignorant.”

“I owe them because I’m no longer ignorant,” Draco replied just as evenly. “Send them in and go away. I don’t need your help.”

Hermione hesitated for a long moment and eventually bowed her head. “Don’t forget why you’re here, Malfoy. You saved Harry; don’t forget him among your harem of injured pets.”

Intangible 21

Chapter Twenty

It was another three hours of walking before they finally arrived at the Vesper Village. Dawn was just on the horizon when they reached the huge clearing surrounded by a large stone wall. Hermione and Draco exchanged glances. There were huts and clay buildings everywhere. The area was large enough to house hundreds, but the buildings were all human dwellings. Draco wasn’t sure what he was expecting but this wasn’t it.

Be prepared, little halfling. And you, human. When we cross this border we will be within your realm again. You will see us. Hear us. Smell us. Feel us. We will be the same to you.

Draco grabbed Hermione’s hand and squeezed tight. At first she wondered if he was afraid for her. This would be the first test to see if her spell was potent enough to keep the Vesper from scenting her humanity. She then remembered what Harry warned. Malfoy had reacted intensely the one time he saw the Vesper. With just one look, he was completely overwhelmed and Harry barely got him under control.

“It’s going to be okay,” Hermione whispered. The two of them stood feet away from the open archway. “We’re just going to look around. We’ll see what they’re like when not out hunting for halflings.”

Draco wanted to laugh it off. He wanted to hold his head high with confidence and assurance once he walked into the village he would just as surely walk out. Instead he was full of fear and misgiving. “I’m in love with him.”

Hermione raised her eyebrows, and turned her head to face Draco. “Um, I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear.”

“I’m in love with him and he left before I could tell him.” Draco met her gaze. “When I walk through this door, I’m afraid I’m going to forget how much I love him.”

Hermione didn’t really have an answer for that. Draco responded to the creatures and they responded to him. “Do you think you love the Vesper?” She asked, honestly curious.

Draco jerked as if hit, He took a step away from Hermione although he still held her hand. “Do you even understand people?” He snapped while glaring at her. “You want to tell me what I feel for Harry is just the same messed up allure I have with the Vesper? Are you seriously going to stand there and tear apart my affection just because we have the same magical species DNA!” Draco could hear Matten trying to purr him calm and he whirled toward the noise with a snarl.

You are upset. I am helping the only way I know how.

“Well stop it. I’m allowed to be upset!”

Matten carefully placed his hand to Draco’s shoulder. Only the softest of hums fell from his lips. You will see how that cannot be, beautiful one. When you finally gaze upon us and you are angry, you will understand why it is important to be calm.

Draco continued to glare but turned it to the witch who suggested something so vile in his mind he wasn’t sure if he could stand to be around her in that moment. His feelings for Harry were real. They were all he had left to keep him from falling into the alien world waiting on the other side of the dividing wall.

Hermione bit her lip in thought and took a long time to answer. “I don’t know what you want me to say, Malfoy. I’m sorry if I upset you. I don’t think the question is invalid. Honestly, I don’t think you’d get this mad if a part of you wasn’t wondering it as well.”

“Shut up, Granger.” Draco grit his teeth harshly. “You’re the last person anyone would go to for relationship advice. You might as well be a golem for the amount of heart you show most of the time. Whatever I may feel for these creatures, it does not effect what I feel for Harry. Ever. That you could compare… Fuck, but you are dim sometimes!”

Hermione shrugged; she didn’t look upset in the least. “Well, I guess you answered your own question then. Are we going in?”

Draco growled. He tried to figure out if he was more upset with what Hermione suggested or the fact she chose to suggest it at such a nerve racking time. “Matten, hum for me. Please.”

Matten, who was ever hovering at Draco’s shoulder, thrummed a gentle pulse around him. Draco shuddered and sighed softly. His eyelids grew heavy and muscles unclenched as waves of sound moved over him, and shivered all the way down to his bones. Matten gently ran his palm over Draco’s back and soothed him in both ways until Draco swayed and nearly fell over.

Hermione quickly yanked him back her way before he could fall, and steadied his shoulders. “Better?” She asked, wary of what might happen if Draco went in there like a drunk man.

“Mmm, yes.” Draco anger was completely forgotten for the moment.

Come now, little one. The others are waking. They can feel your presence and they wish to meet you.

Draco nodded. He studied his shoes as he took a step forward, and Hermione moved with him. He took another step and the borders of the walls came into his side view.

Just one more. One more and he would be through.

Draco took a deep breath and stepped inside the village.

From the corner of his eye, Draco could see Matten’s hand. His fingers were curled lightly over his shoulder and the fabric of his shirt, his claws visible but didn’t tear. Hermione stiffened beside him, her hand tense in his, but Draco couldn’t bear to look up just yet. He was afraid of how he was going to respond. He was afraid he wouldn’t be himself.

“Come now, little one. We will not bite.” Draco never heard Matten speak but he knew it was him. His voice was low and a little rough sounding, as if he was unused to speaking, or might have a mouthful of fangs. “What is it? Why are you trembling so?”

Long legs clad in loose, soft fiber pants came into Draco’s view. Wrappings tied tight around Matten’s ankles and calves to keep his pants from rustling. He wore no shoes, his feet bare and dusty with clawed talons at the ends. It shocked Draco Matten wore clothes at all, even though he knew from what Harry told him the glasses showed everyone nude. Draco assumed the Vesper in normal form would be, well, the form seen through the glasses.

Matten’s hand looked ordinary enough; it was large, pale, and his palm a warm pink as it pressed gently to Draco’s cheek and guided his gaze upward. He wore no shirt, and his bare flesh was littered with a shimmery cross work of scars. A fresh slash was still pink across his chest. More strips of fabric covered Matten’s forearms. Draco hesitated, and stared at his throat and the white nick there. A part of him was certain any eye contact would be his undoing.

“Where has your courage gone, fiery dragon?” Matten’s voice was warm as he teased. He spoke more with compassion than anything else as he leaned closer and tried to catch Draco’s eye. “Don’t tell me you’re afraid of one such as me? You, with all your magic and your nasty temper.”

Draco glowered and snapped his eyes up to glare at the annoying shifter. He froze, his breath caught in his throat.

“Ah, I forgot,” Matten muttered. He turned his face away and his silvery-white hair cut shoulder length fanned out. “Let me find another. Seles does not venture with the pack, and still has a pleasant…”

“No,” Draco croaked. He grabbed the arm holding his cheek before Matten could pull away. “Don’t go. I was… I was just surprised. I didn’t realize you were injured.”

Matten turned back slowly, a faint wariness deep in his pale blue eyes. His face was scarred; a terrible slash cut over the bridge of his nose, and part of his right eyebrow was missing. The scar continued on the other side of his face after an inch of unmarred skin, the line thinner as it ran down his jaw toward his neck. “Our other forms don’t become injured as these do. Until you’re awakened, or I gather you wear the headpiece your friend has brought, you will not be able to see our true forms. We see each other mostly on the other plane and forget the wounds these bodies hold.”

“You don’t transform?” Hermione asked.

Matten glanced her way and shook his head curtly. His attention fixed on Draco, a furrow between his uneven eyebrows. “Did I frighten you? I did not intend to. Many of us are as I am, just in different ways.”

Draco felt terrible for his reaction and immediately wanted to assure him it wasn’t the scar he was frightened by. “It wasn’t you. I was afraid I’d react like I had when I saw the other forms. That’s all. You’re… Matten, you’re beautiful. I promise.” Draco meant it. The scar did little to hide Matten’s handsome features. If anything, it made him more unique by adding a wild, appealing fierceness to his face.

Matten smile revealed sharp fangs and straight white teeth. “Coming from one such as you, that is surely the greatest of compliments. Are you ready now?”

“Ready?” Draco echoed in confusion as he raised an eyebrow.

“To look behind me,” Matten reminded kindly. “To see our people. To meet your family.”

Draco blanched and felt Hermione’s hand tighten in support. “Of course. We’re here for a tour, after all.” His smooth tone in the face of fear earned Draco another glimpse of fangs from Matten, who stepped back and to the side so Draco could see the village before him.

A hiss escaped Draco and he wrenched his hand from Hermione’s to cover his mouth. There were at least a hundred people staring back at him, pressed against the edge of the square where the archway opened up. Others moved behind them as they peered out of cloth covered doorways. It was a sea of silvery hair and pale flesh, with small variations in features and coloration to separate one from the other. Draco couldn’t help but notice they all looked male, but he couldn’t be certain with them standing so far away. Many were slender and long haired. They were holding back as if afraid to frighten him, many a tentative smile on lovely, scarred faces.

The dragons were among them, scaled white but not glowing. There was one dragon for every five shifters. Some were missing ears, scales and covered in scars. Draco could not understand it, and he sought out Matten again.

“Why is everyone…? You’re all so injured. Don’t you know how to heal? Why? What is causing all these wounds?”

Matten scratched the back of his head awkwardly. He leaned on one leg as he glanced among the villagers. “It is difficult. I believe your kind is usually awake before stepping into a village.”

“What, so all of your villages are like this?” Anxiety and disbelief made Draco’s voice sound shrill. “You look as if you’ve been through a war!”

“Calm down,” Hermione said lowly. She stepped in and spoke under her breath so the others wouldn’t hear. “They’re reacting to you.”

Draco didn’t have time to notice the way the crowd was stirring. Matten thrummed, stepped up, and placed his hand to Draco’s shoulder. Heat rushed through him from the touch, and the sound vibrated and made him shiver.

“I’m sorry, little one. You are the first halfling in a very long time to come here. I fear we are making many mistakes.”

“Just tell me why everyone is so hurt, Matten,” Draco insisted as he fought the drowsy, heated calm rising through him. Individuals stepped forward, sleek warriors to hardy farmers. Draco was relieved to see no children there; surely they would be just as scarred and broken as the fully grown beautiful creatures. His people. These were Draco’s people and not a single one seemed free of wounds that spoke pain and suffering.

“I thought that was clear, Draco.” Matten gazed down into his eyes. “It is why we stayed away as long as we could.”

Hermione’s eyes narrowed as she took in more of the Vesper arriving, and she made a loud exhalation. “Humans? They did this to you?”

Matten nodded and reached his hand out to one of the dragons behind Draco. Draco turned when he realized he missed the party of Vesper who brought him there. As if permission was given, the other two shifters stepped forward and brushed fingers against Draco’s skin. The tall one had a burn on his shoulder that reached down his arm. The other, his face particularly beautiful, had only one ear and would tilt the intact ear forward in case Draco spoke again.

“They attack us when we’re still young. Our dragon forms frighten them.” Matten shrugged it away; he seemed more concerned about Draco’s distress than anything else. “By the age we grow to shift we all have wounds on these forms.”

Draco, who was certain he would never ever dare even walk toward one of the vicious looking dragons, suddenly crouched to his knees and reached his hands out to touch the closest one. Matten purred again, this time more for the dragon than Draco. The creature was unsure around the human scent still on him. Draco couldn’t seem to help himself. His fingers gently traced a large scar on the dragon’s neck where scales flaked off from the wound it endured.

“Are these your young, then?” Draco asked as he stared into the fierce looking face. The dragon’s teeth were long and vicious, housed in a sharp, long snout which led up to a delicate forehead where feathers sprouted richly. The eyes were pale violet jewels, just the lightest touch of color in their sparkling depths. Up close its iridescent scales were stunning, each one a miniature rainbow of color shimmering over the dragon’s flesh. When Draco touched the warm scales, the dragon gave a small shake, pressed into his touch and purred similar to the noise Matten made.

“We all start out in that form. Except the Kalistar; when they hatch they are gold, horned, and winged,” Matten explained. “We are dragons for many years until we breed. Then we reach our next stage and shift to live as we look now.”

Draco fingers lightly brushed down the dragon’s snout and he marveled at just how soft it felt. “Is it difficult? To be a dragon for so long and then turn into something that… Well, you become the form of a creature who harmed you.”

Matten folded his arms over his chest and paced for a moment. “We have wondered about it. Why we can’t just have one form. Why we shift into something we innately despise. We have no love of human flesh; the taste is detestable. The Kalistar used to say… No. It does not matter what that one said anymore. That was a long time ago and it sleeps now.” He reached his hand out, and Draco took it and stood. “Meet us. I promise, we are good people for all our many marks.”

Draco already knew as much. He could feel it in the air. There was a safety to the village. It was a little run down, maybe, a little too quiet as everyone stared at Draco with strange, desiring looks. Some eyes held loss, some lust, but most were filled with curiosity. It was a place he might have been before but had no memory of. The smell was alien and yet familiar. Even Hermione, cautious and alarmed by all the scars around her, didn’t seem frightened even when surround by so many Vesper. Her spell was working, and the dragons were soothed by the purr the many shifters made.

They led Draco to the center of the village, to a beautiful dwelling nestled within a large circled clearing. Wide cloth squares spread above to protect from weather and sun. It was a stunning chaos of color and pattern that swirled overhead and bounced off the pale flesh of those shaded beneath the encroaching dawn. There was a large fire pit surrounded by a stone wall in front of the elaborately decorated building. Unlike the other simple structures, this one had a domed roof. Metal the color of copper flashed in the sun where light hit. Beneath the colorful canopy, blankets and pillows were spread out on the packed dirt.

“This is where we gather as a community. Here we eat, rest, and tell stories.” Matten pointed to the stairs that led into the building in front of the fire pit. Satin pillows were sprawled across the limestone porch, the area divided every five feet by a tall pillar. “You would live here by the fire where everyone could find you and gaze upon you. You would never have to seek for food or drink. Companions would always be near for play and learning. And of course, to touch whenever you desire.”

Draco blushed, and Hermione snickered under her breath. He would be on display like some treasured doll on a mantel. Draco let Matten lead him around the fire pit, which was currently filled with ash and remnants of charred wood and bone. The stairs rose above, close enough for heat but designed in a way to keep smoke from flooding the area. Up close, he could see pelts of fur of all kinds, skinned and extremely soft to the touch, littering the stairs and wide porch along with the pillows. It was primitive but luxurious. He would be like a prince sprawled out and expected to be served food by beautiful servants who would then wish to touch him. Draco ducked his head as his cheeks flamed hotter.

“They definitely know how to set up an outdoor bed, huh?” Hermione murmured as she ran her hands across a soft fox pelt.

Draco snapped his head up, his mouth gaping open. “It’s not a…”

“It’s so a bed,” Hermione insisted with a wry smirk. “A bed that extends out around this entire area. Look at the pillows under the canopy. The entire center of the village is a communal bed. Good luck to you, Malfoy. You’re totally going to need it.”

Draco scowled, certain he was red from his head down to his toes at this point. Matten only confirmed it as he chuckled and purred softly under his breath. “You are shy, that was unexpected too.” He brushed Draco’s cheek, whose eyes widened from the touch. “Do not worry, lovely halfling. None of us will gobble you up.”

Matten stepped closer and his thrum grew louder. Draco felt weak in the knees. It was either fall or grab Matten’s wide shoulders, that latter of which he did unsteadily. “Don’t,” Draco whispered when Matten’s head tilted too close. His breath moved over his face and fingers rested on Draco’s chin as he raised his head up.

“We do not take what is not freely given,” Matten promised softly while his fingers dragged over Draco’s jaw in a caress. “Even though you call so loudly, halfling. Even though you don’t understand just how much you belong with us. We will not harm you in any way; I give you my word. Just having you here among us, breathing our air, sharing our laughter, is more than enough.”

Draco really wanted to believe him, but his body told a very different story. “Stop humming. please.”

“You are so beautiful,” Matten mused. His hum softened but didn’t completely cease as he gently brushed Draco’s hair back. Draco tried to feel only friendship in the touch. It wasn’t easy, and a part of him hated the strangeness inside of him that had no boundaries. “It must be a feature of your kind to keep you protected. If we can’t look away from you, young one, we will surely know you are safe.”

Matten reached his hand up, and Draco shivered when he felt his feathers touched, the tips of his ears, and the longer smooth plumes that framed his face. “It is very difficult to look away from you with your pretty feathers and shimmering scales. You glow so much brighter than the rest of us. We could throw you in the pit and I think you would be brighter than the fire.” Matten said it teasingly, but there was something in his eyes akin to pain as he stared down at Draco.

“Maybe you should let go now,” Hermione said when it seemed Matten was going to stand and stare at Draco all day. She carefully pulled Draco back and away from him, and kept her hands on his shoulders so he wouldn’t sway too much. “The building there, is that where he would stay? Inside?”

“Yes.” Matten shook himself and turned to where Hermione pointed. “It has been kept as a place of importance; our council gathers to discuss what must be discussed. It was always meant for a halfling. We didn’t want one, you see. They bring trouble with the humans.” He glanced again at Draco and looked torn. Draco wondered if Matten and the other Vesper struggled the way he did with these strange instincts that pulled for things that didn’t fit into the norm of their lives.

The building was cool with shaded clay walls that kept the summer heat away. The Vesper seemed to like color, and each room was painted in an inviting bold shade ranging from pomegranate, plum, emerald, gold and periwinkle. Complementary shaded curtains lined each large window with no glass installed to stop the air from flowing in. Incense scented the halls around them, sweet and heady. Draco honestly enjoyed the place. He tried not to think of it as a permanent home to stay, but there was a voice in the back of his mind who didn’t balk at the idea.

“As you can see, it’s designed for your kind. There are bathrooms; the upstairs one holds a large tub, and the plumbing works. It’s magical, of course. The same in the kitchen. The downstairs area was our state room. It’s up to you if you wish to continue its existence as that. There was a halfling recently, just some years before you at the castle. We upgraded the building but as a group decided not to pursue him. There was so much unrest then, with your Dark Lords and humans killing each other. It just didn’t seem wise.” Matten trailed off as his eyes meet Draco’s.

“So you pick halflings as a group?” Hermione asked. “What made you decide Draco was the way to go? You braved a castle full of humans, magical at that. You must have had a good reason.”

“He is very strong,” Matten said carefully. “We could feel him even this far away.”

“Feel me?” Draco asked as his skin prickled.

“Yes. The young ones with less control ran to you without our permission. Thankfully, they held back and didn’t approach the castle and put themselves in harm’s way. Still, they lost control and your call was so loud. We had to make a decision. The Kalistar halfling was an unexpected complication. The males are so aggressive. Even now, I still wonder if this was the right choice.”

Draco bit his lip and wrapped his arms around his torso. “It’s just a tour, Matten, an introduction. I have no interest in conflict and I can only hope the same of you.” He already felt too much for the Vesper with their numerous injuries scarred on very human faces. It might have been easier if they were ethereal and otherworldly like Hermione described seeing through the glasses. He’d be less likely to become attached to a fantasy compared to people who felt so real.

There was a bedroom on the top floor that connected to the bath Matten mentioned. The room took up the entire top floor and opened up onto an expansive balcony with the fire pit right below. Some of the villagers looked up at him but most were going about there day. It was a relief to know he wasn’t the damn center of everyone’s world. The air flowed in even nicer here and Draco stared out at the village with the morning light slanting across. It looked beautiful from up high; the peeling paint on the buildings and cruder styled huts were mysterious and full of character. Maybe he was just romanticizing, or maybe he was finally relaxing.

“Now this is an indoor bed,” Hermione remarked as she sat on the large mattress. “They definitely have their priorities clear.”

It was a poster bed, twice the width of a king size and large enough to take up half the wall. Airy, white curtains spanned between the posts, decorated with ornamental twists of branches and dotted round red berries. “You would not believe how soft this is.” Hermione laid back with a sigh and her eyes closed. Draco couldn’t blame her. The walk was long with rest little, and their nerves were shot from the questions of if they’d ever leave the Vesper village. Never mind if they’d live. That one, at least, Draco felt was answered.

“Did you wish to rest?” Matten brushed Draco’s shoulder lightly with his hand. “I can have some food brought to you. Some of that tea you people seem to obsess over.”

Draco couldn’t help his smile. He glanced over at Hermione who looked to be fast asleep already. “She’s safe here, right? If I close my eyes, I won’t have to worry about anyone hurting her?”

“Your presence has been calming us, halfling. You smell far more human than your companion does, yet the young have lost their restlessness,” Matten said with a hint of surprise. “I’m sure she will be fine. I will lock the lower doors, just in case. Shifters will be here if you need anything.”

“Where will you…?” Draco stopped himself and winced at the question. He shouldn’t care where Matten would be. He should just be glad he wasn’t with him.

Matten inhaled sharply, his gaze intense as it raked over Draco. “Ask me to stay and I will.” The hand he rested on Draco’s shoulder wrapped around his waist. He held him close but still loose.

Fire raced through Draco, more concerning now since there was no purr to blame it on. “Ask me to lay with you, beautiful halfling, and I will,” Matten whispered in his ear. His lips brushed ever so lightly, and sparked dangerous tingles across his skin. “Demand me to my knees and I will gladly give you everything of me.”

“Oh, hell,” Draco groaned. His eyes fell shut as the world spun heatedly around him. “I can’t, Matten. I love someone.”

Matten growled softly. His lips brushed ever so softly to Draco’s arched neck and shot sparks with each light touch. “I love someone too, Draco. You have seen him but yet to truly meet him.”

Draco swallowed hard and tried to get control of himself. “The burned one who helped guide us here.”

“Yes, Zyan. He is strong and fierce. He does not glow as you do.”

“I’m sorry,” Draco whispered. He placed his hands to Matten’s broad shoulders and pushed back. “I’m so sorry I’m like this.”

Matten caught one of Draco’s wrists. He brought his hand to his lips and tracing the knuckles slowly. His eyes pierced into Draco, confusion and desire warring in the crystal depths. “It is the way of us Vesper. This is our nature, just in taller forms, little one. Your resistance is what is strange to us. Your shyness, your…”

“Humanity.” Draco smiled weakly and took another step away. Matten’s arm fell from his waist as he released him without opposition. “I’m tired.”

“Then you should rest.” Matten held his hand a moment longer. His warm fingers squeezed gently before he let go. “We will have a feast tonight to welcome you and your guest. You will see us in our element and at ease.”

Draco nodded dumbly. He clutched the window until Matten smiled wryly and bowed. Matten left and closed the door behind him. Draco slumped against the wall, his eyes focused out at the building roofs without seeing them.

“I don’t know how the hell you did that,” Hermione said from the bed, her eyes still closed.

Draco shook himself and turned to look at her. “What?”

“You had that man to his knees and then out the door. He’s a leader, you know, one of their strongest willed. That’s why they sent him to collect you. They needed someone who could fight your allure. Instead he’s more a puddle now, definitely in the slush range of things.”

Draco frowned at the observation. He kicked his shoes off and approached the mammoth sized bed. He closed his eyes when he sat lightly and softness enveloped him. It smelled of incense, dark spices and soothing sleep. “I’ve done nothing to break his will.”

Hermione shrugged. She opened an eye to peek at him from her halo of dark curls. “You pulse at him, at all of them. They can’t help but answer.”

“If I do, it’s not intentional. I’m disconnected from that other part of me. Harry told me I was changing, that I grew wings and was changing. I can’t control that side, not with the ring.” Draco looked down at the silver dragon ring. He clenched his hand into a fist and watched his knuckles turn white.

“It doesn’t make it any less true,” Hermione said bluntly. “Don’t get me wrong, these guys are totally pursuing you. I think Matten would have thrown you up against the wall right then and there if he didn’t think you’d leave over it. A part of you, even if you can’t control it or feel it, is calling for attention. Loud enough to reach this village from the castle.”

Draco didn’t know what to say. The Vesper heard him from an impossible distance when he didn’t even know he made a noise. Draco was always a quiet person, since the day he realized the consequences of noise when it came to the dangers his parents brought home.

“You were lonely a lot.”

Draco nodded and sank back on the bed. He was very lonely. Even when Harry returned, Draco carried so much fear he would die and leave him alone again. “I didn’t want to get married. I didn’t wanted to live the life my mother set out for me.”

“This place isn’t so bad,” Hermione offered after the silence stretched. “And that’s from the viewpoint of someone not anticipating a pile of silver haired beauties at my beck and call twenty-four, seven. They seem determined to make sure you have everything you could ever want.”

Draco pursed his lips, folded his hands under his head and stared at the silk and branches above him. “They’re all so wounded. I don’t think a single one of them lacks a terrible scar. These people have capable warriors. They can’t just be letting themselves be hurt. They could be instigating as much as they suffer.”

“I was thinking that,” Hermione agreed. “He kept glossing over the Kalistar, as well. Matten said it was sleeping, not dead. I bet it might be here, somewhere in the village or surrounding area. If they bothered to let it live, I bet they protect it as well. They seem very community driven.”

Draco thought back to what Matten said about the Kalistar. It was something about why the Vesper transformed into creatures they despised. There must be a reason. Maybe it wasn’t always this way.

“Do you think Harry’s alive?” Draco asked. The question sounded loud in the large room. Hermione was already asleep and Draco was left to wonder alone.

Intangible 13

Chapter Twelve

Draco awoke slowly as a strange tickle pulled him from his sleep. Something ran up his leg. Harry’s warm hand gripped him in place while he slid something cool and thin across his skin. Draco sat up slowly. The lights raised in his windowless room let him know it was morning.

Blearily he followed down his leg which was exposed to the cold castle air since he fell asleep in just boxers that night on his warm sheets. His flesh was peppered with light blue pen lines and Draco blinked, and watched as more appeared under the pen Jaz made for Harry.

Harry stopped what he was doing now Draco was awake. He finished with a final flourish and clicked the pen shut. Draco closed his eyes as Harry’s hands moved up his body. He traced words with his fingers and lingered over patches of flesh to breathe hot breath. Draco opened his eyes when Harry lifted his left palm and held it in front of his face so he could read.

“This is the hand you hold yourself back with,” Draco read aloud. He followed down to his wrist and tilted his head to read. “This is your less dominant arms but is strong for all the ways you control yourself. You’re subtle, steady and don’t need to prove anything. You’re just happy to be.”

Harry kissed his fingertips one by one. Draco’s eyes strayed to the sensation and then slipped to his right hand. “You create and destroy with this hand. Build, flow magic and make impossible things happen. This arm strives to be and do, defend and attack and change what can’t always be changed.” Draco bit his lip and his eyelashes lowered when Harry’s breath brushed over his cheek. He caught the sight of writing on his torso down the center of his chest.

“You’re beautiful, strong, full of fire and emotion. You’re able to handle any obstacle with brilliance and grace…” Draco trailed off and shook his head weakly. “I can’t, Harry. I’m not so fucking strong that I can just accept you dying.”

Harry kissed his cheek and pulled away to trace Draco’s hand down to his navel. Draco followed and read. “You’re convincing, alluring, terribly persuasive in such a selfless way. You’re a hypocrite by marrying away your life while demanding I fight for mine.” Draco stopped again and looked away.

Harry pulled his head back gently. He kissed Draco’s other cheek and moved his hand down to his thigh.

“This is the leg you used to run away. This leg took you from You-Know-Who and brought you to an empty world because you were too afraid to live. It took you out the door tonight because you were afraid to see me die.” Draco’s voice hushed to something close to a sigh. He finished with the last line Harry stopped at when he woke up. “This leg is not your dominant leg but it might be your strongest support—Potter, that is a fucking shit thing to say.”

Harry clicked the pen open. He moved to Draco’s bare right leg and slowly wrote over his thigh. Draco read it aloud as it appeared on his skin. “This is the leg that leads you into battle… It brought you from your parents’ house into a new world of magic. It brought you to me full of fire, flight and a whole lot of prat.” Draco snorted and shoved Harry lightly. Harry wasn’t done and moved down his leg and slowly covered Draco’s skin with words.

“This leg will lead you next because you always move forward. You’re compelled as who you are no matter your fear. You survive even if it’s in quiet compromise. When you’re loud, this is the leg you stomp down and demand to be heard and known… and answered.” Draco frowned as Harry stopped. He dug the pen lightly as if not sure whether to continue or not.”

“Finish it,” Draco implored quietly.

Hesitantly, Harry continued and the pen swirled sensation over his skin. I’ll fight to live if you fight to live.

Draco took a slow breath. His brows furrowed as the words sank in. “What are you saying. Do you want me to not marry?”

Yes.

Draco closed his eyes and sank back down on the bed and his pillow. It would be so easy to say yes while alone with Harry. The real world was so far away as they hid in his room together. He wouldn’t be able to keep such a promise. Not when the first one was made the way it was with his blood and on the brink of death.

“Potter, you make it back here in one piece and we’ll talk about it.”

Harry scribbled on the back of Draco’s left hand. He raised it to read.

Coward.

“Yeah, well, there you have it,” Draco said with a shrug. Harry grabbed his other hand and wrote slower over the back of it.

Warrior.

Draco blinked. “Hmm. I think you’re a little confused here.”

You are both. Impossible. Beautiful. And very GAY.

“Shut up,” Draco grumbled. He wasn’t sure if he was more annoyed by the pretty words or the gay remark.

Harry just added another ‘very’ on top of the first, then surround the whole thing in a heart. I love all of you.

Draco blushed and tried to look away but Harry kept lifting his hand up. “Fine. Quit it, you pain. You love me; I get it. Thank you—or whatever the hell you’re supposed to say to an idiot who doesn’t know how to be proper and just writes all over a person while they’re sleeping.”

You love me.

Draco scowled. His gaze slipped away again only to jolt back when Harry bit his hand. “Hey! Fine, I might… uh, I might kinda love you.” Harry nipped him again, this time on his arm. “Potter, this is not the way to get me to say things, you bloody git.” If Harry cared, he gave no sign and instead nipped Draco’s arm repeatedly. It was having a queer effect and Draco’s yelps quickly turned into heated moans as he gasped for air. “Stop that… oh, seriously. Git.”

Harry licked up his arm. The flat of his tongue did nothing to smear the ink in its proper realm but it did manage to tickle at Draco’s arm hair. Draco grasped weakly at Harry’s hair but lost his intent to stop him moments into the movement. He tangled fingers into Harry’s locks and puled him up for a very needed kiss.

“How are you being so behaved?” Draco asked distractedly when Harry’s hands ghosted up his sides. It took Harry a moment to answer for the pen was lost in the sheet and there was very little left of Draco to write on.

Need. Yours is different right now.

“Oh?” Draco felt flushed and vulnerable as Harry wrote a final word on his knee.

Love.

The pen was once again tossed aside. Harry cupped Draco’s face and his fingers gently traced his jaw and up to his ear. Draco breathed deeply in the hold as he felt a warmth slowly bloom over his skin that made him feel stronger than he had in days. He didn’t understand how Harry could do it but was starting to as he thought of the little his father once told him of the Kalistar.

It was before his first year of Hogwarts when his father went through a list of do’s and don’ts. One big don’t was the Forbidden Forest. If Draco ever came across a white dragon with scales and feathers, he was to run no matter what. But a gold one, the Kalistar, with long spraying horns and feathered wings was very much a protector. Draco was to trust and love such a being and it would turn black and keep him safe. But Draco never saw either. The beings which stalked him at the edge of the forest were always invisible to him, like his pet Karia.

Draco was convinced he would become the murderous beast if his ring was removed and he was allowed to transform, just as his father while in prison. It was the only logical thing given how Lucius feared the Vesper and was also one himself. His father never sensed Karia and called him frivolous for even suggesting she existed. Lucius must have even less senses in the other realm than he did.

“Harry, could you just…?” Draco trailed off when Harry sank down against him and pushed him into the mattress with arms wrapped tight. Except the long swipes with his tongue over Draco’s neck, Harry was a perfect gentleman.

Draco closed his eyes and tried not to think of the sad thoughts of his father becoming a murderous animal to protect him. Instead he drifted as he felt Harry’s weight and heat and slow thump of heart. Each random spark of Harry’s energy was a flash of reminder to pull Draco back from fantasy, back from allowing himself to be fully content.

The clock chimed softly and reminded Draco he only had ten minutes to get to breakfast before class. He moved his hands over Harry’s back and shoulders, not really in a rush to get up while enjoying the comforting weight and press of flesh. Although Harry looked torn, especially on his back, when wearing the glasses, his skin felt smooth and strong. Draco wondered if it was the way of things in that particular realm; Harry’s beast body was injured, but Harry himself wasn’t yet. He supposed as long as Harry continued to feel so comforting and caring, it really didn’t matter much.

Eating was important after not eating for so long; at least it’s what Draco’s stomach was insisting. Draco gently pushed at Harry’s shoulders until he obliged and got up.

“I’m going to have to wash it off, you know,” Draco said softly as he indicated all the pen on him. Harry took his hand and nodded his messy hair into Draco’s palm. With a sigh, Draco turned and walked wearily to the bathroom, still tired and weak from his difficult week.

He started, eyes wide as he caught his face in the mirror. Harry had wrote across his forehead. The words reflected backward and it took a moment for Draco to discern them. “Be my boyfriend? Potter, you fucking idiot. Where are you?” He stormed toward the bathroom door, only to knock into Harry as he was stepping through, the bloody perv.

“You’re invisible! How the hell can I date someone I can’t even see? I have to have some fucking standards!” Draco wasn’t quite sure why he was so angry about it all. He suspected as Harry wrapped arms around him and moved his hands over his back and raised fire in him, Harry’s argument might have some validity. Touching was certainly enjoyable. And hell, they argued much less since Harry couldn’t say as many stupid things. Or at least, Draco couldn’t hear them.

“Hands, you,” Draco snapped warningly when Harry once again grabbed his ass and squeezed firmly. “Have you conveniently forgotten I’m getting married?”

In rebuttal, Harry lifted Draco’s hand and traced the heart which pointed out Draco was very, very gay.

Draco sighed. “I have responsibilities. People are depending on me, and… and I made a promise, Harry. I can’t just go back on my word.”

Harry went further down his arm and traced over how Draco could try to change what couldn’t be changed. After, Harry began tapping words on his flesh while Draco softly repeated them aloud. “Love… changes… impossible…” He stared as Harry stopped and lingered at Harry’s final promise to fight to live if Draco did too.

Draco huffed but didn’t resist the arms that pulled him close as Harry nuzzled into his neck. “I can’t be so easily persuaded, Potter. But… but if you want a boyfriend who is going to be married in less that two weeks, I can agree to that.” It was hardly an ideal situation, and it made Draco’s heart twist even to think.

He hoped Harry wouldn’t be satisfied with such a small part of him. Draco didn’t want to lose his heart to him—a heart if he were in a proper state of mind he could admit was already very much lost and given to Harry—and then have to walk into a loveless, sexless marriage for the rest of his life. Wizards didn’t divorce, not if they were pureblood. One had to look infallible in everything, including matters of the heart when you held so much power.

Harry tapped him once again and Draco glanced down at the text. Impossible.

“I know, but it’s all I can give you. It’s all I have to give right now.” Draco sighed heavily.

Harry seemed to disagree but the words written weren’t enough. Gently he took Draco’s hands and led him to the shower. He reached Draco’s long fingers to turn the spray on. Draco pulled away and charmed the temperature to something agreeable. He kept his eyes downcast and bottom lip worried between his teeth as he slowly pulled his boxers down and stepped out of them. He didn’t look fully in Harry’s direction. His silver eyes slid toward the area Harry’s powerful aura flickered and then returned to the loofah he was soaping up.

Harry wanted to be his boyfriend. Harry loved him. It was a strange feeling. A nearly impossible feeling; Harry had been gone for so long and Draco once dreamed of having a boyfriend just like him. He’d been waiting for someone who got very annoyed with the mean things he said until he had to be a nicer person. Someone who demanded with flashing green eyes until Draco would do the things his body really, really wanted to do and finally shut his stupid, logical mind up that always did as his parents said.

His skin tingled under Harry’s gaze as Draco began to wash the ink from his skin. He watched intently as the words faded along with Harry’s thoughts. “Harry, just… oh. Just behave, please,” he asked huskily as Harry’s hand wrapped around his smaller one and the loofah sopped white bubbles as he tightened his grip. Harry obliged somewhat by just using his hand to help Draco in an unneeded task of washing every spot he could reach. With Harry leaning against him and Draco wet and soapy with much hot breath moving down his throat, it was difficult not to want.

The crazed mating urge was not there but it didn’t mean there was no lust. Even before Harry transformed and even before Draco fully understood what just a whiff of his sex scent could do to him, Draco wanted. He wanted to feel Harry’s hands on him, his strong body pressed close while his mouth rained kisses down. He wanted to be worshiped with demanding eyes until he couldn’t say no. In a lot of ways, it was a more dangerous ache than the mating drive. This one was soft and warm, insidious in its quiet but unyielding power.

Very compelling, Draco thought dizzily when Harry’s free hand moved down his outer thigh. His fingers rubbed into his muscles and dragged up his hip and side.

Draco inhaled through his nose sharply, his eyes wide, body tense as Harry found his nipple and twisted it gently. He rolled it back and forth between fingers and turned the nub red, while he blew soft streams of air over his neck. Draco gasped as he was pulled back tighter against his body and water sprayed down over him. “This is dangerous,” he whispered breathlessly.

Harry’s tongue flicked out, touched his flesh, and was followed swiftly by nipping teeth over his long neck. Harry didn’t seem to care how dangerous things were. He was still the reckless Gryffindor who didn’t give a fuck about consequences; exactly how Draco needed him to be. Harry pulled him even closer, unbalancing him until Draco was forced to rest all his weight on his sturdy form.

Draco closed his eyes and leaned back into Harry’s touch, his wet hair resting on a dry shoulder. Harry ghosted fingers up his torso, over his ribcage, down his stomach to dip fingertips into his belly button. Harry’s touch grew firmer, bolder. He avoided Draco’s straining erection to move down the front of his pale thighs. It was loving and maddening all at once. Draco whimpered when the shower spray touched his twitching cock and for a moment he thought it was Harry.

Draco wasn’t going to wait for Harry to lose his shit and run away again. He reached down his body, grabbed his leaking dick and gave it a few well needed tugs. Breath tickled Draco’s ear in a sudden burst and he imagined Harry must have liked the sight. Harry’s hand covered his to readily assist. “Oh fuck… Oh.”

No, this was far more dangerous. He wasn’t quite sure when it happened but Harry managed to get his hand with the loofah to Draco’s back and was soaping his ass and thighs with slow circles. Bubbles tingled over his balls and crack and dripped between his cheeks in a slippery heat he couldn’t deny moaning over.

“Please, god, please. Don’t leave this time, Harry. Don’t leave me alone with this again,” Draco begged softly when Harry released both his hands and the loofah fell to the ground. Draco stilled all movement and waited to see if he was going to pull away. Harry was just as still, barely breathing as his chest moved against Draco’s back.

Slowly, so slow Draco wondered if he were imagining it, Harry traced his fingers back to his entrance. Draco licked his lips and unconsciously spread his legs a little wider and bent forward. Harry was tentative as he probed the tight pucker of Draco’s hole, almost like he was afraid he was going to run if pushed too fast. His fingers were too dry and unaffected by the soap until Harry coated them in his mouth and tried again. Draco didn’t resist, his eyes squeezed shut and mouth gasping loud pants as Harry carefully stretched him.

Harry’s other arm wrapped securely around his waist to keep him from falling as Draco swayed and whimpered. Draco couldn’t understand how strong Harry could be. He was both holding him upright with invisible arms and body, and yet could touch him so achingly soft. Each push of fingers, tight and hot inside him, burned Draco’s fire brighter and his entire body shook from the touch. In that moment Draco was certain he would do anything, give anything, be anything, just to have Harry be his.

He glared at the ring on his hand. He hated it, hated what he knew would be a far more terrible existence than he could have ever guessed if he chose to be a beast with Harry. He might be the type of creature who would be a murderous, wild thing all year round, and could possibly craved human flesh. That it didn’t totally repulse him was even more terrifying because he knew it was the answer to all his fucking problems. As a beast he couldn’t marry, couldn’t be expected to be anything but mindless and wild. He could be with Harry always and never be afraid again.

Fuck, he could feel alive again. For the rest of his life Harry would touch him, taste him, fill him. Just as long as he lived, Harry would be his. They could be feral together. Wild, mindless creatures out in the woods who hunted and rutted and never gave another thought to what the world wanted. They had both given enough to earn that. Hadn’t they?

Draco closed his eyes to the view of the silver ring and let Harry push him up against the wall and bury his thick fingers deeper inside his clenching flesh. “Hell. Harry, I need you.”

Harry’s mouth moved to his neck and nipped harder until he drew blood. He lapped his tongue over the red fluid in long swipes, breath hot and strained. He grabbed Draco’s hand, the one with the ring, and carefully twirled the silver band on his finger. Draco opened his eyes to watch, his breath caught in his throat.

So much of him wanted to. Almost all of him wanted to give in. Life as it was just wasn’t fucking living.

It would be so easy.

Draco closed his hand into a fist and trapped the ring in place. “I need to make sure you’re brought back,” he said unsteadily. There was a different, dangerous rush of fire running through him at the realization he was moments from taking the ring off and giving in. “I can’t trust them to do it, to not kill you. So I need to be whole until that moment. Until then, okay?”

Harry breathed hot fire over him. His tongue licked over his skin and hard body pushed Draco’s slender form up against the cool tile of the shower wall and trapped him in place. Draco wasn’t certain, but he might have just promised—Harry and himself—if Harry lived, he would live too. He would continue not as he was, but as a beast so they could remain together.

Laughter, hot and bright, bubbled up in Draco at the very thought. God, he wanted to be with Harry. No matter what. He wanted Harry to live and stay and be with him forever. “Ah, fuck, Harry. Be my boyfriend. I wanna be—oh, hell.” Draco moaned and inched his feet wider on the floor to push back onto Harry’s fingers.

Harry’s movements were relentless. Three fingers filled Draco’s passage, stretched him wide, and Harry’s hips thrust against his persistent hand in eagerness. Draco released small, soft chokes of breath. The shower spray spluttered water into his mouth as he shuddered around the feel of Harry’s forceful, eager thrusts of fingers. “Come on… come on,” Draco groaned. He tried to push back but Harry’s body wouldn’t budge. “God, I need you, Harry. Needed you for so long. Stop drawing it out and fuck me—oh, hell!”

Draco’s growl was cut off with a gasp. Harry removed his fingers swiftly, grabbed Draco by the hips and pressed his large cock against his ass. Draco forgot just how big Harry was, and he wasn’t sure if spit was really going to be enough to ease onto such a thick cock without being injured. He closed his eyes and held back a hysterical laugh when he realized he really didn’t give a fuck. He would rather it hurt than not finally have Harry inside him.

He was apparently very, very fucking gay.

Draco let the tension leave his body and turned his head. He found Harry’s face and kissed what turned out to be his jaw. Harry dipped his head down further and kissed Draco deeply while he slowly pushed weight forward into his hips and against the ring of muscles of Draco’s entrance. He was going to be late for class, Draco realized dimly in the back of his mind, the thought disappearing as quickly as it came.

“Harry… oh… oh, god. Fuck.” One of Harry’s hands came out to rub his back and side, and his breath puffed over Draco’s cheek. Draco barely noticed, all his focus on the mix of agony, pain, and pleasure as Harry pushed the head of his cock slowly past the tight ring of muscles guarding Draco’s hole. He felt Harry hesitate when fire shot through his body. Draco tried to fight the urge to push back, push out the huge intrusion filling him so completely and then some. Both of Harry’s hands rubbed Draco’s arms and back soothingly. Harry kissed his neck and nipped, as if he could somehow distract from the unbearable fullness Draco’s body was consumed with.

Somehow, it was working, and Draco’s broken cries receded after long, despairing moments of red fire. The overwhelming became a whelming, and then eventually an ache. Draco shuddered and pushed his hips back, needing movement. Only to stop and gasp, the nerve endings within him waking up as if Harry just sank into him again and skin dragged across skin in almost dry friction. Harry noticed, and licked-wet fingers probed around his stretched entrance again while Draco jerked and moaned against the wall.

In moments everything else slipped away. Harry sank in deeper, the saliva still not quite enough but they were both sweating so much things were getting slicker. Draco couldn’t really care, his mind and body spinning. With eyes squeezed shut, Draco pushed back and welcomed Harry in as deep as he could go. He met each small thrust with gasped cries and quivering knees. Harry mumbled something in his ear and Draco didn’t care that Potter still couldn’t figure out he couldn’t hear him. Harry rubbed his sides, massaged Draco’s ass and thighs while he rested buried deep inside and around him. It was an unbearable throbbing fire that filled Draco, and made him feel so vulnerable and connected all at once.

What a fucking terrible, intimate feeling to have Harry so deep inside and surrounding around him and still he couldn’t fucking see him!

Would it have been better without the ring or with the wild mating ache to steal the pain away? Draco didn’t know. With some slippery soap that actually affected Harry’s realm? Very fucking likely. But it wasn’t bad, not bad, just so much. Not just in his body, but in the emptiness he only recently named. It was empty since he nearly killed himself, and now, somehow, that void too was unbearably full.

Harry again murmured into his shoulder and throat and Draco smiled through the tears streaking down his face at what a fucking idiot he was. The two of them; him for being fucked by an invisible and near dead savior, and Harry for still fucking talking like he could hear him. “Do it, Harry. You’re my boyfriend and you have to do as I say.”

Harry bit him hard on the neck and Draco’s body tensed and tightened somehow around the impossible thickness splitting him in two. He glanced down at where Harry was licking his new wound, knowing what he wanted by it. To claim him. Harry would have him like a beast, like some fucking animal who could be overpowered and brought to knees by teeth and cock. Once the ring was off, Harry would claim him and he would be his. Draco loved the idea of it.

Harry moved and pulled partially out of his tightness. Draco cried out, his hand clamped over his mouth to stop the loud noise from echoing off the bathroom walls. But he couldn’t stop the sounds, not when Harry thrust back in and Draco’s arms went weak and he was unable to lift them any longer. Draco’s legs were next, but Harry was so damn strong it didn’t matter. Draco was held up, pinned to the wall as Harry fucked him as slowly and thoroughly as his cock would allow.

Draco could feel him everywhere, could almost hear Harry’s grunts with each thrust, and soft murmurs between as he licked up his throat and ear and cheek. It was so bizarre and fucking sexy. Draco was wrapped in his scent, warm and near suffocating, along with his flesh and sweat and teeth that kept nipping little sharp jolts of pleasure and pain. Even the annoying sparks over Harry’s skin were suddenly damn good and welcome. They were electric bursts while Harry built a slow rhythm and Draco felt everything.

“Harry… fuck. Harder, come on,” he begged. Sweat mixed with the shower to drip into his eyes and sting and changed the flavor as it flowed into his mouth and he tasted. Harry only moved slower, with long drawn out thrusts that made Draco cry out each time. He gripped blindly at the wall as Harry found a place inside him that burst color and pleasure with each hit. After only a dozen of these amazing, shocking thrusts, Harry pushed into Draco unrelenting and pinned him. One hand came up to wrap firmly, yet gently around Draco’s throat and the other to slowly push fingers into his moaning mouth. Draco’s tongue met the long, hot digits. He pressed to the flat of them, lured them deeper and sucked them down almost desperate as his skin danced with unrestrained energy.

He didn’t know why it felt so damn good to have Harry fill his mouth so saliva dripped down his jaw like some frothing animal. Never mind the thrilling, yet comforting sensation of his throat being gripped the way it was, as if Harry could break him or nuzzle him on a whim. It felt so good, the same way it felt so wild to know Harry was just so much stronger than him, able to take whatever he wanted so easily, yet willing to stop if only asked. God, and he was taking him, so thick inside, so intent to be slow and make sure he felt every inch as his body stretched and opened to his Harry.

Draco struggled to breathe around the fingers dipping down his tongue and felt when Harry changed. His thickness somehow swelled inside even more and Harry’s hot breath broke into small, desperate puffs as his hips jolted forward with shallow, quick pumps, as if he could bury just a little deeper and they would be joined and one. Draco spread his legs as wide as he could and pushed back into the jolting thrusts. His eyes closed as his body tensed and tightened and clenched so fucking good. Harry murmured something into his neck before he suddenly bit down and drew more blood. Draco shouted and jerked from the pain and pleasure. Harry dug nails into his throat and Draco bit down on the fingers in his mouth as he came. Their hips bucked and slammed in rhythm and then in discord, Draco so tight and breathless and lost.

They started to shake as their orgasms faded, almost as if what was left of their fire and strength was drained with their seed. Harry held him tight, still buried deep within, holding him up and breathing him in deep. Draco had no complaints as he caught his breath and moaned unintelligibly against the wall. Harry’s fingers slowly withdrew from between his lips, the digits smooth trailing wet down his lips. Harry panted with him as his chest heaved. His hands slowly moved over his form and pulled tired, hungry sounds from Draco as they rested.

Harry finally pulled away. He carefully extracted from Draco’s sore passage and turned him around to face him. Draco couldn’t see him, which made things once again awkward when Harry just wanted to stare at him and be seen as well. Harry settled for kneeling and licking up Draco’s cum from his tight stomach. His tongue greedily ate up every drop while Draco whimpered and watched the white fluid disappear from view.

Harry moved lower and nuzzled into Draco’s spent cock, not wanting to irritate the likely sensitive flesh. Draco gave no sign of protest, so he lapped at the softening flesh and cleaned more thoroughly than the shower alone. He moved to his balls and pushed Draco back against the wall to rest and lift his thigh over Harry’s shoulder so he could reach his sack and entrance with greater ease. He tasted his new mate and the way Draco’s natural scent and his now pervasive one mixed in his tightness and slowly dribbled out.

Draco gave a low whine when he realized what Harry was doing. He grabbed blindly at his messy, sweaty hair and clutched while Harry continue his deranged, long tongued assault on his sore hole. Harry seemed determined to recollect his seed and suddenly turned Draco and pushed him face first into the wall so he could have better admittance to his entrance and passage.

Harry licked at him with zest; Draco wasn’t certain what it did for Harry, but he imagined it might be just as maddening as when Draco sucked him off and gotten all of Harry’s sex scent on him. Maybe the smell of Draco made Harry fucking mad for him too. Hell, maybe it was the smell of them together, hole and cum joined and feeling so right.

Draco went to reach behind him so he could see for himself. Harry caught his straying hand and bit firmly and licked. He stood and invisible fingers pushed into Draco’s mouth without warning. They were warm, bitter and musky tasting. Draco groaned and his eyes rolled back from the flavor of exactly what Harry was seeking, but now mixed with his saliva. It filled Draco’s senses and made him impossibly dizzy. Still, it wasn’t as overwhelming as when Harry caught him in the hallway. Without Harry to amplify the mating call it didn’t ache the same unbearable way even if it did ache.

Harry turned him again and picked Draco up. He lifted him with ease while Draco wrapped long, shaking legs around his waist. Harry nearly tried to take them through the bathroom door until Draco convinced him to wait a damn moment so he could work the handle. Once in the bedroom Harry threw Draco down on the bed. His shower wet skin prickled cold now out of the steam of the bathroom but he was quickly warmed when Harry climbed up his form. His kisses were desperate as they pressed their bodies together.

With a groan, Draco suddenly pushed him off. Bleary eyed, he stared around his room in confusion. Another loud knock, repeated and worried, sounded from the door leading out to the hallway. Draco glanced at the clock, swore and then smacked at Harry’s returning hands that were trying to keep him bed-bound and beneath him.

Sure, Harry had quieted the fucking mating urge a lot more. Either that, or Harry just wasn’t as dependent on it now he knew Draco would give in without it. It didn’t mean the git wasn’t still determined.

“Quit it. Harry!” Draco snapped. Only to laugh when Harry lifted him off the bed and dropped him down again with a bounce. “Oh fuck, you are so god damn powerful,” he murmured appreciatively as he stared up in Harry’s general direction, his eyes heavy lidded and full of wonder.

The door again pounded, making Draco nearly jump at the sound. “Crap.” He scrambled up and eluded hands he couldn’t see coming but could sense well enough to avoid. He grabbed a bathrobe from behind the bathroom door, slipped it on and cinched the belt securely. He carefully unlocked his door and peered out into the hall.

It was Blaise, his hand raised as if to knock again and eyes wild in fear. “Draco? Are you? Did you?” He pushed the door open without finishing his thought and walked into Draco’s room and looking him over like he didn’t believe he was real.

Draco flushed when he realized he was covered in bites all over his neck. Potter had a damn problem keeping him blemish free. And well, he certainly didn’t mind how the marks were created at the time. “What?”

“You’re late,” Blaise said finally. He seemed to deflate as Draco showed no signs of serious damage. “I was knocking for ages and you didn’t answer. I thought… I don’t know what I thought.” Blaise ran a shaky hand through his hair and his fingers tangled in his magically straightened black locks he let flow free that day.

Draco shrugged. He was starting to understand what Blaise must have thought and he didn’t know how to handle it. He shut the door to his room; he didn’t need passersby to gawk while he got ready for class and tried to explain to Blaise he wasn’t going to kill himself. No matter how upset he might seem. He wasn’t that person anymore and there would never be another Voldemort to run from quite so aggressively. Which was all well and good, but Harry didn’t seem to be done with him just yet. Draco groaned as he was pulled from his bureau and clothes and up against Harry’s chest.

“Harry, you’ve had your turn. Now I have to deal with the rest of the world,” Draco grumbled. He wasn’t angry at Harry but more at the daily mundane life which insisted on interrupting them. “We’ll finish this later…” Harry’s mouth trailed over his jaw, hot and compelling. “Damn it, you pain.”

“Shit, Potter, keep it in your pants for five seconds,” Blaise muttered as he turned his head to give his poor pink friend some privacy. “I was worried about Draco. Before Pansy and I left last night, he agreed to have breakfast with us.”

A dark laugh burst out of Draco as Harry’s hands caressed through his robe, between his thighs, over his tightening balls and pressed against his entrance. Draco grabbed Harry’s hair and twisted harshly. His smile was wicked as Harry continued to press fingers right against his hole and wiggled ever so gently to remind him what they could so easily do, audience or not.

“You know what, Blaise? Get the fuck out. We’re in the middle of something and your shit concerns can wait until I’m fucking satisfied for a change.”

“Satisfied? What, are you two shagging now?” Blaise asked darkly. He glared over his shoulder and then quickly looked away. Draco’s expression was a cross between ferocious and lusty. It wasn’t a look Blaise had ever seen on his well-controlled friend and not necessarily a bad look on him either.

“Yes, as a matter of fact we are.” Another odd laugh bubbling out of Draco, followed by a slow exhalation as Harry’s fingers pressed more insistent against his hole.

Blaise whirled, hand covering his eyes with just enough to peek through and find Draco’s flushed face. Once he realized there really was nothing to see, Blaise dropped his hand completely. “I thought you weren’t going to? He’s a Kalistar and dangerous! What has he done? Has he used his allure to snare you, Draco? Do I need to get Snape or Dumbledore down here?”

Harry’s power raised up. With one hand hot between Draco’s ass cheeks, he used the other to push raw magic toward the annoying interruption. Draco snorted and tightened his grip on Harry’s hair. “Stop, Potter. He’s my domain, not yours.”

Blaise watched with brow furrowed as Draco reached his tongue out and seemed to licking Harry from chin to forehead. The sudden pressure and whirl of power in the air stopped and papers settled back again as Harry relented. “What the fuck is wrong with you two?”

“Nothing,” Draco drawled. He pulled his attention from Harry to glare at Blaise’s judgmental expression. “As long as no one fucking interferes, we are perfectly fucking fine. Go on to class and I’ll catch up later.”

Blaise shook his head, his eyes narrowed at Draco’s surprisingly harsh tone. “Draco, if he’s really a Kalistar, you shouldn’t be alone with him. Definitely not doing what you two are doing. He could be manipulating you.”

Draco laughed again, the sound less hysterical and more angry. “Funny how everyone seems to know how dangerous the Kalistar are but no one has bothered to say what the fucking Vesper do. I’ve got the fucking ring on, Blaise. And Potter here does whatever I ask, as long as I ask just the right way. Now get the fuck out and mind your own business.”

“So what, I’m supposed to believe you’re manipulating him now? Don’t you see how fucking messed up that is, Draco?” Blaise insisted.

Draco growled when he realized Blaise wasn’t going to let the fucking thing go anytime soon. Shit, he just wanted more sex; it wasn’t some fucking crime. Sure, he was skipping class for it but who the fuck cared? Draco scowled when he felt Harry move away. He thought the sexy beast was giving up, only to realize Harry was seeking out his pen so he could communicate properly with Blaise.

Blaise watched warily as Harry clicked the pen open and floated it toward the nearest piece of scattered blank paper on the floor.

Zabini, I’m trying to have sex with my boyfriend. You’re not invited, so go fuck off.

Blaise glowered and put his hands on his hips. “Fuck you, Potter. Until I know he’s not killing himself and you’re not raping him, I’m not fucking leaving.”

“For fuck sake, Blaise!” Draco yelled and threw his hands up in the air. “You’re out of your fucking mind.”

“I’m out of my mind? For the last goddamn week Pans and I’ve been trying to pry out what the fuck has gotten you all quiet and dead inside like the last time. All you told us was Potter transformed and has been aggressive with the damn mating call. What exactly do you want from me? All we could assume was that he forced you. Especially since you told us what he was last night, and then kicked us out so we had to research on our own. The Kalistar are dangerous—Like, top level, don’t fuck around with, run away as fast as you can if ever seen! If you don’t fucking communicate, how are we going to be able to help you?”

Draco was about to snarl an angry retort about how he didn’t need anyone’s nosy fucking help, when Harry started writing, the pen drawing Blaise’s eye.

You’re right, Zabini. I should have come to you after Malfoy raped me. It was wrong and I was just so ashamed and hurt. It felt so damn good and

“You’re a fucking sod, you dickweed,” Blaise hissed. He stamped on the parchment but avoided the pen in case he damaged it. “This isn’t some fucking joke. We’ve been worried. Hermione said you were obsessed over Draco before you left school last year. That the beast was just starting to show and it was messed up in the head. You’ve both been avoiding talking to us about it. The whole situation is fucked up and you’re spending too much time alone together.”

Draco heard enough. He was the one miserable the fucking week because Harry hadn’t been spending time with him but hiding outside the door. “You know what’s fucking messed up? I find some fucking happiness and you’re suddenly worried over me. If you’re so worried, then realize just how much better I am today for having Harry, and leave it at that.”

Blaise paused and gave his friend of the last six years a thoughtful look. “Honestly? If it weren’t for the ring, I wouldn’t even be sure you were human anymore.”

Draco stared at Blaise’s very serious brown eyes, and couldn’t help the laughter that bubbled out of him again. Fine, he sounded fucking crazy. And he felt… god he felt so fucking good and crazy and he really, really, really wanted to finish what he was doing with Harry before his friend decided to take it upon himself to dictate his goddamn life.

Zabini, you say it like it’s a bad thing. Fucking look at him. He’s gorgeous and wild and not putting up with anyone’s shit, including mine. Do you really want him back to before, all gray, quiet and sad?

Blaise’s nostril’s flared as he glared at Harry’s scrawl and bent down slightly to read it all. “Yeah, and what happens when you bite it, Potter? You just going to leave him here, some crazy, out of control version of himself because you couldn’t keep your hands off him?”

Draco snapped his hand up. The lights flickered ominously and everything went very still. His face was stone, just like when he nearly hexed Nott in the Great Hall.

You really might want to rephrase that, Harry wrote. Draco is who he is and I haven’t changed him. I just happened to be around to enjoy as he woke up.

Blaise was only angrier; Draco seemed even more irrational when Potter was blamed. “He shouldn’t be waking if he’s wearing the ring. Why is he getting more like, like some wild beast?”

Blaise was staring at the paper as he waited for Harry to answer but it was Draco who spoke. “Because that is who I’ve always been, before my parents trained it out of me with so much fear and sense of duty that there was nothing left. I am a fucking beast who cries, bleeds, fights and fucks. I feel! And I have been denying it a long fucking time because I was too afraid.”

That’s my dragon, Harry wrote, the words larger and flowing in beautiful script instead of his normal scrawl.

The laughter was bubbling up again, nearly impossible to contain but it wasn’t dark. As Draco let it go he could see, truly, just how joyful it was, this feeling inside. “My control has just been another prison. I’m done playing the fucking good son, good heir, good child, so I wouldn’t be another victim to Voldemort. He’s dead and I’m done. If I need your help, I’ll ask for it. Otherwise, worry about your own damn problems and leave me be.”

A war seemed to wage in Blaise as anger and confusion swirled in his dark eyes while he stared at his old friend.

“You’re not weak, Draco, I never thought that. If it was weakness, I don’t think I ever would have feared you would go through with it. You’re too strong. You go against the natural order of things to do horrible things to yourself, like what you did last summer.” Blaise looked away and took a deep breath. “Maybe it’s that beast inside you who is the source of it, who can let you do so much wrong out of pure determination.”

Draco’s lips curled into a snarl. “Still, you judge what I do as right or wrong instead of just accepting it was my fucking choice to make. What is right and wrong when you live in a world run by a monstrous dictator who could have killed us all with ease? Your opinion never mattered. No one’s did but mine. What is anyone to say of the value of my life, when it’s my life? I didn’t go against the natural order; I went with my natural order. I’m sorry you still think you have some say in that, but you don’t. I’ll accept you as a friend but not the ruler of my life.”

Draco’s words only made Blaise angry. He couldn’t handle his concern being turned, in Draco’s mind, into manipulation instead of just being the love he had for his friend. So what if he was trying to control Draco by keeping him alive? At least he would be alive! “You’re fucked, Draco. Fine, fight to die. What the hell do I care? You just gave it all away to your mother anyways. Go play beasts with Potter and pretend you’re not getting married and tied in a couple of weeks. I was concerned. We all were.”

“Your concern does not give you the right to run my fucking life,” Draco said steadily. His anger drained with the more conviction he felt. “I’ll deal with my mother when the time comes. In my way because it’s my right to do that as well. I’ll interact with Harry as I see fit and I don’t need your fucking opinions on the matter. And if you insist on continuing with your bloody prying shit, no matter what your intentions are, I’m going to cut you out of my life. Another choice I get to make where you get no say. Do you fucking understand yet?”

Blaise nodded curtly. Anger blazed even brighter in his eyes. “Well I get some fucking choices in this as well, Draco. One of them being whether I want to be around someone who doesn’t give a fuck about my opinions. At the moment, it’s definitely a no.” With a final glare, Blaise left and snapped the door shut behind him.

Draco stared at the door a moment but didn’t feel regretful at all. His fucking friends wasted their goddamn year thinking he was going to kill himself. They had tried to get him to be something alive when they really had no say in the fucking thing. Draco loved them but not enough to bow to them and their wants over his own. He needed to mourn and numb and be as miserable as he did. He was fucking sad; and there was nothing wrong with it. Draco glanced over when the pen clicked and began to write.

You are fucking sexy when you stand up for yourself.

Draco smirked, and ran his hand through his half dried hair. “I’m sure it’s nothing like the way you used to be, fucking burning from the eyes every time I pissed on one of your mudblood friends just to rile you up.”

So that was on purpose?

“Oh yeah, you have very demanding eyes.” Draco wanted to ask then, why Harry hadn’t tried to interfere when he went home to kill himself last year. But he imagined it was the same reason the infuriating Gryffindor pushed back when Draco was fighting Dumbledore and Jaz for Harry to be allowed to come back. Harry understood his own reasons for doing the things he did. Even if he didn’t understand Draco’s, he at least respected them. Draco would have to do the same.

Draco walked over to the papers on the floor and crouched down next to Harry’s body heat. “Here’s my dilemma. If I give up on the whole marriage thing and you die, I’ve got nothing to fall back on. I don’t think she’d do it, mother needs me too much. But being disowned, homeless and with my name run through the mud is really not some fairytale way to live. She’s promised that as the only option to Vellamorn. I need time to figure out how to get around it.”

Harry took a long moment to reply. His left hand moving out to flow over Draco’s bent leg while he tapped the pen on the floor. And what about if I really am fucked around humans? Is that how you want to live, outcast by your mother, tied to a pariah and forced to live in absolute seclusion? Yeah, I’ve got money and shit but is that enough to put up with never being around people again?

Draco shrugged and bit his lower lip. “As long as you’re alive, I really don’t give a fuck. Just, um, maybe we should also consider the possibility that I may be the fucking crazy one around the scent of human flesh,” he added nervously.

I have. I wanted to talk to you about keeping the ring on.

Draco rolled his eyes. “If you live, it’s coming off. I’ll break up with the bitch first thing, maybe get a place in order where we’ll be safe, but then the bloody thing is off and you are all mine.”

Harry tossed the pen aside, wrapped his arms around Draco and kissed him deeply. Draco tried not to think about how moot it all was; Harry was likely dead, and if not, Dumbledore might just finish him off just to be on the safe side. Right now it all felt fucking fantastic and he didn’t want to ruin it with reality.

Intangible 11

Chapter Ten

Harry needed to leave. There was no other option besides staying and taking what he wanted from Draco. Once Harry threw Draco in his room, he started walking and kept going. He jumped out the nearest window, stepped out into the night and walked away from the castle.

While he walked, he yelled. He roared first into the hallways and then to the night sky. “I was fine—fucking fine! I sat hours in that hallway, fucking fine! My god, what the fuck is wrong with me! How does he fuck me up like this!”

One look was all it took. Draco had stepped out Snape’s door, his eyes fixed on the floor, fingers gripped lightly to the door handle as he pulled it shut. Harry watched, unable to look away, even with Draco’s glow dim and his beast confined by the ring. Moments later Draco looked up, straight ahead, his silver eyes fixed right where Harry was resting across the door. Draco’s expression was open and completely unguarded for one short, frozen moment.

It was the look of prey. Just feet away and completely blind to the peril before him, Draco slipped out the door like he didn’t know he was waiting for him. Something hot shuddered through Harry, dangerous. It flared when Draco stumbled and struggled to walk, and had to lean against the wall just to move. Weak prey so easy to chase. So oblivious…

Harry found himself stalking forward. He followed and watched while Draco wavered down corridors. He pressed into Draco’s space just so he could know he was there, sense him, fear like he was supposed to. But Draco wasn’t afraid. He tried to be reassuring like it was concern to bring Harry behind him inching closer, breathe deep of his scent and wait for him to slip.

With just one hand to pin him, Draco finally—finally—understood what strength was before him. His felt Draco’s heart race, the way sweat dripped down his chin, his crystal eyes so wide. Harry drank it in and was nearly lost. His pretty, pale Draco was so eager, so wanton and easy. All Harry had to do was take him, have him and nothing would ever come between them again. Not Narcissa and fiancées, not meddling professors and specialists. Not even jewelry or barrier magic or fucking doors or clothes. Nothing would keep Draco from him after that.

Except, when he bit Draco in his initial quest to taste the blood of his very soon to be mate the flavor was wrong. Draco’s blood was bland, nearly unappetizing, and hardly tasted like him. It was the ring. He remembered Draco’s blood tasted perfectly delicious just the other day when he tasted off his arm.

Harry’s confusion by the lack of connection was enough to pull him from his haze, and let him hide Draco away.

“Fuck, will it matter? I could just go back. Take the fucking ring off of him. It’s not like he’d fight me… Stop. Stop thinking like that! Bad. That’s fucking bad, shit thoughts!”

Harry crouched and touched the soft ground with nothing to slam his fists into. “Not a toy. He is not a toy. He’s a fucking full human being with god damn thoughts and emotions and the right to choose things. I need to stop this fucking thing inside of me who doesn’t care.”

His power bubbled up and roared around him as it frothed in wrathful waves. Harry looked up and watched the bright, dark energy lick the air, jolting with his anger and need. That was the problem, wasn’t it? All those god damn perfectly good reasons for not touching Draco Malfoy did not take into consideration the one intense, undeniable, aching need he had to touch him.

He needed Draco.

Harry took a deep breath and then another, and slowly his body began to relax. Somehow naming it calmed the rage inside. Not the need—that still burned like an inferno—but he didn’t have to rage against himself and the world over it. As long as he could identify and accept he needed Draco and not act on it, perhaps he could continue on. He was already existing without so many things he once thought he needed; air, food, water, sleep, conversation, affection. Hell, some things he’d gone without for much longer than people were meant to, such as love from a family and parents, security from deranged murderous wizards, companionship with someone who truly understood him.

Touch. How long truly had he gone without touching another human being? There were the rare quick embrace from Hermione or a Weasley spaced far between. Before Hogwarts was just his parents. No Dursley had a touch for him besides a punishing one. He survived without these things.

Touching Draco was the only life spark he ever felt and his body kept seeking it out. Even when his mind fought to keep some sort of propriety. He knew he could still survive even without fulfilling this new need.

As if his body was in disagreement, power sparked painfully through Harry’s chest. It was so intense, it was like being stabbed. He clutched his chest and gasped in pain. His eyes fell on movement in the trees up ahead at the edge of the forest.

It was glowing and white, like Draco. But it wasn’t him, not human at all. Sleek and sinewy, it looked like some sort of cross between a deer and a dragon. Its scaled body was dotted with feathers, legs elegant but not as long as an actual deer. The ends were tipped with claws instead of hooves. It was almost dog-like but not quite that either, its body longer. It had a serpentine tail and feathered head. When it noticed Harry staring back, it revealed sharp, deadly teeth and growled menacingly.

Something in him bristled up and Harry growled back. The sound was low, angry and spoke of how much fucking bigger and meaner he was. At the noise, the creature backed away and disappeared into the forest.

It had to be what Malfoy spoke of. Creatures who lived in the Forbidden Forest only he could sense but couldn’t see. Dangerous creatures who could hurt Harry while in his condition and could hurt Draco anytime they pleased. Draco would be blind to them until they were right upon him.

He stared out into the dark for the next hour and waited to see if the thing would return. It didn’t. Harry couldn’t leave, not with creatures like that around as a possible threat to Draco. He would have to find a way to control himself. If not, he’d avoid Draco completely. Maybe… maybe the barrier was the right thing after all.

Harry turned back to the castle and walked slowly and with intent. Was he so weak he couldn’t protect Draco from himself? He was staying to protect him from potential threats when Harry was certainly the most dangerous thing with access to Draco. He would have to figure out something, a resistance to the need. Things couldn’t continue like this.

Draco was nearly asleep as he waited for Harry. He sat sideways in the open doorway of his room, his quill and parchment spilled out on the ground in the hallway. Sleep called but was elusive. His body was still a goddamn mess of want and his brain was quickly spiraling toward mad.

Harry remained sitting across the hall from Draco. He hadn’t moved since Draco stood in his doorway hours too early for breakfast in rumpled school clothes and with hair in disarray. He found if he stared at his bare feet peeking out from the bottom of his jeans, and tapped them on the stone floor to remind him to pay attention, he wasn’t overwhelmed by the urge to run across the hall and molest Malfoy. It was more a need to take a leisurely walk before fucking him senseless. It seemed some sort of improvement after all these hours.

“Damn it, Potter. Fucking talk to me,” Draco growled wearily. He’d been sitting there a good twenty minutes now. As much as Harry pretended not to be there, Draco could tell how his invisible aura was much stronger than before. Harry’s power flickered and disturbed the magic in the area.

“What, exactly, am I supposed to say to you, Malfoy?” Harry growled right back even though Draco couldn’t hear him. “I’m sorry? I don’t even fucking know if I’m sorry. And if I am sorry, I’m not sure for which part. Is it what I couldn’t seem to stop, or what I didn’t get to fucking finish.”

“I need your goddamn help. Please, just fucking try. Please.” Draco sighed dejectedly, his head lowered to meet his hands. “Just talk to me.”

“I can’t, you stupid prat!” Harry yelled in frustration. “I can’t fucking touch you. Didn’t you used to be smart? I’m pretty sure Hermione said you were competing with her for top scores last year. How are you so fucking dumb?”

Somehow, Harry’s one sided argument was only pissing Draco off more. “I know you’re there, you pain in the ass. I can feel your fucking power. Potter, get over here. I’m not afraid of you, so get the fuck over here!”

Harry moved from his sitting position into a crouch. He kept his eyes on the ground, determined to look anywhere but at Draco. “You ever think I might be afraid, you idiot? There is something fucked in my head right not. You fuck me up, Malfoy. Shit… it’s really good. Really fucking good.” He carefully raised his gaze when Draco huffed loudly.

“I can wait just as long as you can. Where the fuck are you going to go, Potter? Who the fuck are you going to talk to? Just… Just come over here, okay? Take my hand and stop being a child about all this.” Draco held his hand out in Harry’s direction. His gray eyes peeked out at the seemingly empty corridor. “Come on,” he called softly and wiggled his fingers in invitation.

It was the damn stupidest thing ever for the situation, but Harry couldn’t help and slowly sidle over to Draco. He reached his hand out and carefully brushed his fingers to the pale, outstretched ones before him. Draco felt the soft touch. He suddenly wrapped his hand around Harry’s and pulled sharply. Harry’s eyes went wide and he swore loudly when he lost his balance and crashed into Draco’s prone form. “Fuck! Malfoy!”

“Caught you, you stupid ass.” Draco used his free hand to figure out the tangle of invisible limbs before him. He found a messy pile of hair, released Harry’s hand and pulled him up by his head. “Do I strike you as the forgiving type, Potter?” He asked silkily while wrenching Harry’s thick locks hard.

“You’re out of your fucking mind. Shit!” Harry gasped when Draco pulled his harder. If he was trying to hurt him, he was fucking failing. Harry was pretty sure he never experienced anything quite so amazing as Draco hissing in his ear while he twisted fistfuls of his hair.

“Do you even understand how you left me? I went through hours of torment just because you ran away.” Draco found Harry’s mouth, his warm breath puffing over his face. “It was fucking rude of you. Do you understand, Potter. I do the teasing in this relationship, not you.” Draco closed his eyes and moved to the source of Harry’s gasping breaths and kissed him soundly.

Certain Draco had lost his mind, Harry kissed him back. He groaned when Draco insisted on wrenching his hair whenever he put too much force into the kiss.

“I needed you, you ass. Fucking needed you,” Draco whispered between hot kisses. He held Harry in place the best he could when Harry grabbed him by the waist and pulled him closer. “The ache… Harry, it’s going to kill me. Even now…”

“Sorry. Really sorry, Draco.” Harry was full of need for him but he hadn’t expected Draco to need him back just as much. The idea made him hot, fire roaring inside of him. Hell, maybe Draco even more than needed him. He was shaking so much just from his touch. “Fuck… fuck, tell me you feel it too,” Harry demanded against his lips. He pulled from the kiss so he could lick and bite down Draco’s neck. “Need you to fucking need me…”

Draco moaned as Harry’s mouth moved over his skin. He twisted Harry’s hair again and pulled his face back up. “Keep your hands above my waist and that fucking tongue off of me, you perv,” Draco insisted heatedly. He kissed Harry again, deep and hungrily. Draco was either very compelling, or Harry really liked it when the annoying prat told him to do things. Harry obeyed and moved his hands up from where he was squeezing Draco’s firm ass, and refrained from licking him in all the lubricious ways he really wanted to.

When Draco was satisfied he was behaving enough, he released Harry’s hair. He leaned back on the ground and grabbed quill and paper. With his feet, he pushed into his bedroom, hampered slightly when Harry crawled up his body and continued to kiss him. “Slowly. Gotta talk to you.”

“Later,” Harry grumbled. He bit at Draco’s bottom lip; his teeth clamped and then released while Draco whimpered.

Draco refused to be deterred. He grabbed Harry by the hair and pulled hard until he stilled his movements. “I fire called Jaz. He said you’re confused. Out of control, like me.” Draco kicked at the door to his room and managed to shut it once Harry moved his legs out of the way. “Said… said I could fix it.”

Harry closed his eyes and thought of all the many ways Draco could fix the ache burning through him. It made him burn hotter, the need pulse ever stronger. Harry slid a hand down Draco’s thigh. He massaged the tense muscle and dragged fingers up.

Draco growled and grabbed the straying hand and placed it back at his waist. “Focus, Potter. I need to tell you what I want. And then you… you need to give it to me.” Draco smiled wickedly. His head fell back on the floor and he peered up through heavy lidded eyes and loose strands of hair.

He licked his lips, his gaze focused on where he could feel Harry’s breath puff against his shoulder. “As long as I don’t ask for, god, for that fucking delicious thing you were doing to me in the hallway—which is why your tongue really needs to stay in your mouth,” Draco said shakily. “As long as we keep tame, but with you still fulfilling my needs, Jaz thinks it will satisfy the mating drive.”

Harry grasped Draco’s hand and pulled it to the discarded quill. Once Draco picked it up, Harry scrawled out just how flawed the plan was.

I already know what you want. What you need.

Draco raised himself up onto his arm to read. “Fuck, I’m pretty sure you’re an arrogant sod who doesn’t know shit. So you better start listening to what I say,” he said sternly. “Right now I want you to kiss me and keep your hands at a fucking respectable level. Got it?”

Harry stared at Draco’s flashing silver eyes and swollen pink lips. He slipped his vision into the fifth dimension so he could see the pretty feather and shiny scales on Draco’s bare flesh. He loved the variations of hues on his bright skin, glowing and otherworldly. He really wanted to kiss him. If he could prove just how good a kiss could be, he might convince Draco to stay with him. Hell, he might convince him he wanted so much more.

Yeah, he could do that. He’d kiss Draco until he begged for more.

Draco felt the shit almost immediately when the ache in his body changed to reflect Harry’s intent. Jaz called Harry a master when it came to the mating call. He was able to manipulate his chosen into just about anything by amplifying the ache associate with mating. During courting, the aggressor would look for challenges and respond to what he perceived his mate’s needs were to make sure he fed them properly. Since Harry had caught him in the shower, he must have become fixated on just how much Draco would enjoy anal sex. To remain intact, Draco needed to get Harry to focus on something else.

At the moment Draco no longer felt the unbearable ache to be filled by Harry. Instead now he just felt an impossible need to be kissed by him. It was still overwhelming but at least it could be remedied much easier and didn’t involve him bending and begging for Harry to fuck him.

“Come on, Potter. Fucking kiss me… fuck, please. Get over here.” Draco closed his eyes a moment. Well, he wasn’t bending at least; begging seemed just a little beyond his control at the moment. He pulled Harry’s hair and growled when Harry insisted on hovering. His hot breath was lined with Draco’s mouth but he refused to descend and cross the distance. “Oh, you just love to draw this out, don’t you?” Draco murmured and tilted his head invitingly. “What happens when you give me what I want?”

“Then I fucking own you.” Harry ran fingers through his hair and gently twisted the silky strands. He flicked his tongue out and lapped over Draco’s lips. Draco moaned and tried to get closer, but Harry held him still. “I already do, Malfoy. You’re mine. You just need to figure it out still.”

“Come on,” Draco whispered. His breath caught when Harry slowly pressed his lips to his. He opened readily, his lips parting to Harry’s questing tongue which me met with his own. A shudder took Draco’s entire body and he fell back flat on the floor. Harry kissed him deeply, slowly, his lips sliding hot over his. Draco’s head felt too heavy to lift. “Stop,” he moaned. He arched, his body grinding against Harry’s. His hard flesh felt too hot to touch everywhere they met.

Harry kissed his cheek and let Draco breathe and pant, and make all the desperate noises he liked. “I can make you come like this, beautiful. I can make you scream like this, beg like this. All I have to do is ask and you’ll give me that stupid fucking ring and be mine.” His mouth plundered Draco’s again, swallowing down his gasps. Draco whimpered hungrily. His fingers grasped at the back of Harry’s neck and pulled him closer.

Harry slid his hands down Draco’s sides. He reached down his long legs and pulled them up so he was settled between his raised knees where scales were even larger on Draco’s bright skin. “You want me. You want to be mine, Draco. Even before when I didn’t have enough sense to tell, you were begging for me. You lured me in with your fucked up, erratic behavior and then cut me to pieces with that cruel tongue of yours.” He licked up Draco’s chin, then plunged into his moaning mouth to taste him thoroughly.

“Harry… I think. Oh, fuck. I’m gonna…” Draco shuddered and his hips bucked up against Harry’s body. Harry continued to lick and suck his swollen lips while Draco rocked against him and rode out his orgasm.

Draco moaned weakly with his eyes squeezed shut as he realized what happened. Just a kiss. A kiss had got him off. “Oh, fuck.”

“Fucking told you, you bloody tease,” Harry rasped out. He bit Draco’s lower lip and held it between his teeth. Draco jerked and groaned as teeth broke his skin blood filled their senses.

“Yes… fuck, I could have you right now and you wouldn’t fight me.” To prove his point, Harry grabbed Draco by the thighs and spread his legs wider so he could press his throbbing erection against his entrance. Draco cried out, his fingers digging into Harry’s shoulders. “You lured me over here just to do it to you, Malfoy. You held your hand out so I’d come back and fuck you. All you have to do is admit it, beautiful.”

“Oh god… oh fuck… Get your hands above my waist, you fucking opportunistic pervert,” Draco growled out. His protests were lost with the way he rocked his hips down and rubbed against the searing flesh pressed against his hole.

Harry chuckled. With one hand he grasped Draco’s narrow waist, and with the other, twisted his nipple. He rocked his hips forward with a groan. His lips sealed to Draco’s and muffled the rude swears being cursed at him.

“Potter, you sick fuck… stop,” Draco growled. His eyes closed when Harry rubbed his cock against him, this time with enough force his entrance yielded ever so slightly to the pressure. “Oh fuck, that’s good. So fucking good… I’m going to fucking kill you,” he mumbled heatedly.

“You want it, you gorgeous prat.” He bit Draco’s ear, then licked to the soft flesh right below. His thumb rubbed over Draco’s other nipple he was twisting a fetching shade of red. “Beg me, and I might stop. Fuck, beg me and I’ll fuck you so hard, Draco. I’ll give you everything your body needs.” He bit Draco’s bottom lip again and licked the blood beading there.

Draco’s entire body was trembling with want. He reached up and grabbed two fistfuls of Harry’s hair. With a twist, he pulled himself up and pushed Harry down so he wasn’t moments from being fucked senseless. “You will fucking kiss me and that’s it. If you don’t fucking listen to me, you don’t get to fucking kiss me!”

Draco lost his train of thought with a moan when Harry’s mouth pressed to his tender nipple. His hot tongue flicked out, tickling and tormenting all at once. “Damn it.” Draco shook himself and tightened his hold on Harry’s hair. He twisted until Harry’s mouth stopped its torture. “Listen and fucking do as I say!”

Harry moaned shakily. Something about Draco being so forceful and commanding made him dizzy. “Alright, you fucking pain in the ass. Fine. Kiss, fine.”

Draco sighed in relief when Harry kissed him once again and soothed the fiery ache that built whenever he wasn’t being kissed. Between the long, delicious wrestling of tongues and nibbling of lips, Draco tugged and Harry’s hair and demanded softly until Harry found some sort of control in his mating call. Eventually, he was able to extinguish the madness burning between them.

“Oh, thank god,” Draco panted as the intense ache finally left him. He grabbed Harry more forcefully and pushed his larger form off of him. He grabbed the quill, which was now bent and leaking black ink on the ground, and the crumpled piece of parchment. “How do you feel? Better? Saner?” Draco pulled at Harry’s hand until he responded.

Yes. I still want to fuck you, but just in a normal way. Not a deranged, dying if I don’t way.

Draco nodded and pushed his blond hair from his face. “Alright… okay. We can make this work, Harry. All I have to do…”

Harry interrupted him by gripping Draco’s hand tight as he wrote. No, we can’t. The beast is too powerful and I can’t depend on you to stop it. And I can’t seem to stop myself.

“Fuck you,” Draco snapped. “Get some fucking self control and stop making shit difficult.”

I’m trying but it’s too hard. I need to stay away from you.

“What, and take away the one fucking amazing thing in my life right now? Fuck you, Harry. No! It’s just fucking sex and there’s no reason to go running for the hills every time you want me.”

It is not just sex, you gorgeous idiot. It is me making you mine. Stealing that stupid ring, fucking you, biting you and keeping you. Harry stopped and glared at Draco while he read. Fuck. And stop moaning like that. This is not going to work. I can’t keep holding back.

Draco’s eyes were hazy and his lips parted to pant. He didn’t answer right away. “But I miss you. All day today. Yesterday when you practically ignored me. And now, now you’re not even in the same room but hiding outside the door.”

Harry pressed his palm to the side of Draco’s glowing face. Draco leaned in and let his eyes close. He kissed him softly, then pulled back to write. It will only feel worse when I die.

Draco scowled, his eyebrows furrowed in sorrow. “You fucking ass, you’re not going to die. We’re going to figure this out.”

It’s getting worse. My heart stopped earlier. I can’t have you just to leave you. I won’t do that to you. The best I can do is avoid spending

“No!” Draco hissed. He smacked his free hand over the quill and ink sprayed everywhere. He pulled his hand from Harry’s grasp and with clear intent, pulled the silver dragon ring off his finger. “I don’t fucking care if you’ve given up. I haven’t. I fucking refuse. It was months of you being lost and suddenly you find me when you need the most help. I’m not fucking playing, Harry. I’m going to right you and get you back, no matter what.”

Harry licked his lips and watched Draco’s eyes flash in a familiar, enticing way. “You’re being irrational, you stupid prat. Fucking crazy and throwing your life away for someone already dead.”

“I know how this works now.” Draco eyes were downcast as he stared at the ring. “All I have to do is tell you what I want. Pull your hair or pinch your side. It just takes a little pain mixed with a command. You won’t be able to stop yourself.”

“You’re fucking out of your mind.” Harry groaned and got to his knees to escape the crazy idiot. “I’m dying. You can’t fucking compel me to live. All mating will do is fucking hurt you when I die.”

“Get over here, Potter.” Draco held his hand out. “It’ll be quick. Fuck, it’ll be good, too.”

Harry glowered. It was a threat, even if Draco didn’t understand. He wouldn’t do something that would hurt him in the long run. Harry’s power rose up. “I won’t do it, Malfoy. You can’t make me; I’m not that weak yet.” His magical aura flooded the room, whipped papers around and Draco’s hair into his face. Harry surged forward and grabbed the magic imbued ring and placed it on Draco’s finger. He kissed him once, and lingered, staring into the sadness Draco did nothing to hide.

It would hurt more if he stayed. He knew it. They both knew it.

Harry whirled. He used his power to open the door and refused to look back when he shut it behind him. This was the only way.

Draco stared at the closed door. A numbness settled over him without Harry’s hot presence to keep him feeling alive. “Fuck.”

It was clearly the wrong move given Potter was once again running. “Damn it.” Draco sighed heavily and buried his head into his hands. He just kept fucking it up.

Without the damn insufferable mating ache, he found something underneath, something empty and yawning inside of Draco beyond anything he ever felt. It was a hidden pain no longer hidden, now exposed and raw and fucking terrible as he bled inside.

Was it hope? Was it what was left of those flashes of potential growing inside when he heard Voldemort died trying to kill Harry? Was it that fucking retarded, childish dream of when he came back to school Harry would be there with nothing left to separate them, now torn to shreds after months of him being dead? God, he was such an idiot.

Draco groaned and curled up on the floor. He stared blindly at the pattern of stone blocks as he waited for the hour to tick by when it would be time to go to breakfast and class. He didn’t want to be alone anymore. He didn’t want to marry Serene, raise a family of monsters and once again be surrounded by people and still be so fucking alone. He wanted Harry. He wanted to fight and kiss, and maybe one day fuck as long as he felt so amazingly alive with the one he missed.

This feeling now, without Harry, was certainly more dead than the morning Draco woke many months ago. He was determined that day, full of anger and pride for a life still his. But Lucius caught him. Draco was nude, blade in hand, blood already flowing scarlet across his skin and to the floor.

There was understanding in his father’s eyes with his anger and Draco wondered now if he knew because of the beast chained inside. Lucius didn’t try to convince him to take the dark mark. He offered a solution to keep him alive. Draco still didn’t fully know why he took it, except… except he failed. So many months of planning and he failed in his one chance to own his life. And maybe being reborn as some family puppet wouldn’t be so terrible, as long as he wasn’t Voldemort’s puppet.

“What can you do if you’re dead?” Lucius asked when he twisted the blade out of Draco’s hand. He grabbed his arm and pulled him up to stand. Draco bled out around the healing spells struggling to keep up with his spraying wounds.

In that moment, Draco was certain the answer was ‘live.’ Now it was clear all he could have done once dead. He just wasn’t alive anymore. It was backwards and crazy, but Draco knew being dead would be more alive than how he spent the last of his life since after that moment when he sliced his arteries with determined precision.

Draco got up shakily and stared at the ring once again on his finger. If Harry was so afraid of him becoming a beast, then he would have to leave it on. Harry might never touch him again otherwise.

He went to the bathroom to clean himself off. He tried not to look like he stayed up all night unbearably horny wondering if he was going to die without relief. For those moments he felt alive, when he feared he was going to die. Draco got his school things together, then cleaned up the mess of ink and threw out the parchment on the floor.

He stopped at the door, leaned his head against the wood and breathed deeply. He made a fist, stepped back and punched the door as hard as he could. Draco grimaced from the pain, his knuckles bleeding and sore. He took another deep breath. When he punched the door again, a laugh exploded out with his gasp of pain.

Better. It was better.

Obsession: Stalked S3

SCENE THREE

Waking up was a struggle through heavy water with limbs weighed down by soaked clothes. Kyle fought for consciousness. A few times his eyes opened but the brightness of the room made him close them again immediately after. His arm felt weak as he lifted it, his hand heavy as it landed on his face and blocked the light from his eyes only to slip down by the weight of gravity.

It took longer for his thoughts to make sense. He could feel them, a buzz beneath the dryness of his mouth, grit of his eyes, the throb of his head and backside. As he clawed his way to awareness, Kyle found fear. His heart began to race, adrenaline flooded him and his pupils expanded. His chest heaved in a gasp of breath. Kyle grabbed at his throat, struggling to breathe as he was flooded by the echo of memory that knocked him out.

“Fuck… Fuck.” He broke down into a fit of coughs, heaved sideways and fought valiantly not to vomit. His head pounded, his body jittery. The light bouncing off the white tile of the bathroom was an assault on his senses.

Kyle fumbled to his knees. He stopped and grabbed the wall as the room spun and the urge to throw up again hit him. His hand was moving before he could fully discern his thoughts. He searched his pockets blindly and hissed in agitation when they didn’t reveal his phone. Eyes squinted, he looked around him on the floor, his dread growing.

“Joshy.” He grasped the wall and forced his trembling legs to stand. His shoulder hit the wall hard and Kyle rolled and gasped as he leaned against the cool tile. Fuck, what the fuck did Nick dose him with? Darkness edged his sight like he was moments from passing out.

He wasn’t sure how long he stood there, using the wall as a support as he tried to get his confused thoughts to focus. Eventually he noticed the counter and the way things were lined up along the edge. A wallet, watch, pocketknife, two pens, car keys and a cell phone. Kyle reached a hand behind him and patted his back pocket. No, that was definitely his wallet on the counter top.

He reached for his watch, his brow furrowed when he found the glass front cracked. Nick stayed long enough to strip him of his possessions and lay them out, like he wanted him to know just how fucking helpless he’d been. Kyle started carrying a knife with him but hadn’t even thought to use it when actually in danger. It felt like a slap on top of everything else as he pocketed it. He opened his wallet and frowned grimly when he saw nothing missing but all his cards and cash removed from their respective spots and thrown in the middle. On top was a picture of Joshua, the one he kept in the wallet behind his license.

Anger pulsed through Kyle and spurred him into action. He stuffed his wallet into his back pocket and grabbed his cell phone. He snarled when he saw he had no reception in the bathroom. He never got a signal in the fucking building and today was no different. He grabbed the rest of his things and pushed from the wall only to clutch the counter desperately when the room rocked dizzily. Fuck. He didn’t have time for this bullshit.

His steps were unsteady and body hunched forward for balance as he made his way to the doorway. The handle didn’t budge when he grabbed it. Fear tightened in his gut until he saw the simple turn lock at eye level. He fumbled and spun the metal latch until the door clicked open. When he wrenched it open, he found a set of keys still in the lock hanging from the door.

Kyle stared at the janitor keys as his thoughts tripped in his head. Why would Nick leave his keys? Did he not need them anymore? Had he stolen them to begin with or just realized he’d be hunting the fucker down through every personal record he could get his hands on until he found him?

No closer to an answer, Kyle pulled the keys free and pocketed them. It was then he noticed his shirt was torn and cum stained his t-shirt beneath. His belt buckle was undone and hanging loose. He tried to tidy himself as best as his tilting perspective would allow. Not that it mattered. The windows looking outside were growing dark as the sun set. Kyle had lost an entire day.

The moment Kyle started moving again, his knees threatened to give out. He considered his options as he stumbled to the elevators. Nick was hours ahead of him. Joshua’s college was over three hours away by car. Nick would have made it by now, if he left the moment he knocked him out. But that didn’t mean he had Joshua, not yet. Joshua was smart, he was resourceful, and he would know enough to keep a look out for the psycho who broke into their house.

Fuck, he hoped so.

Kyle mashed the elevator button and growled under his breath as he waited. His eyes didn’t want to focus no matter how much he blinked. He wanted to call the police. He wanted to call them and have them get ahead and find the fucker but he couldn’t trust Nick to not hurt Joshua if he did. Nick wanted his loyalty. From the very beginning, it was clear the man wanted him as an accomplice, someone to seek approval from. For whatever reason, the man picked him and he needed to use the position the best he could. There was no way he could protect Joshy by gaining Nick’s trust if he went to the cops.

There was no one at the security desk when Kyle left. He wasn’t sure if it was a good omen—surely George would make him go to the hospital if he saw the bruises on his neck—or something more worrying. It was late; he was probably just grabbing a quick dinner before the night shift. He’d worry about it later. Once he had Joshy safe and sound, then he’d give a fuck about everything else.

The parking lot felt massive, every shadow full of danger as Kyle stumbled his way to his Jaguar. His fingers shook as he got his car keys out and clicked the door open. Once he was in his car, he looked at his phone again and this time checked his messages to make sure Joshua hadn’t called. The text blurred before his eyes. Kyle held the phone closer to his face, but it did no good. He could see the symbols but they just weren’t getting through to his rational mind.

Gasping for air like he ran a mile, Kyle slumped back in his seat. He reached up on the door and clicked the door locks in place as he remembered Nick’s threat to jump him in his car. How long was he watching him? How long was he planning this? Drugged but left him… Nothing made sense.

Kyle blinked, his eyes focusing on the glowing blue clock of his car dashboard. He thought he turned the car on, but it wasn’t running. His arms felt heavy as he scooted forward and tried to get the key into the ignition. After two attempts, the keys fell to the floor. Kyle groaned, a part of him worried at just how hard it was to even think about bending forward and finding them among his feet.

It was at some point bent over, his head jammed against the steering wheel, hand seeking his keys on the floor mat, that Kyle passed out again.