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.”