It was dark when Draco awoke. Harry’s breath touched his side, his body seen from the warm glow of magic. The pen slid over his skin. Draco raised the lights enough to watch the pen swirl across his flesh. The movements were jagged this time as Harry’s hand twitched from sparks and broken nerves.
Madame Pomfrey had assured them Severus was going to be okay hours ago. It was a surprise he wasn’t even angry at Draco, but instead proud. It was as if Draco’s show of power was a reflection on Snape’s teaching in the professor’s eyes. It was odd but Draco liked Severus and was glad he wasn’t upset. Jaz was there and asked if Draco would allow him to put some barriers up around his room. Draco wasn’t sure if they’d do much good, but agreed to try.
Jaz looked far more concerned about Harry’s condition than Severus’s. He went so far as to suggest they move the time of the spell up but it was impossible with Severus’s condition. They needed to wait for his bones to regrow, or close enough. He would be damaged when he administered the potion. Hopefully Harry would be too wounded, or just not crazy, when he smelled human flesh for the first time in his new form.
“Potter, you can just tell me this stuff now,” Draco whispered. He bit his lip as Harry finished writing on his thigh. Harry must have stripped him when he slept; blue ink nearly covered Draco’s pale skin from top to bottom.
“I need you to know,” Harry said softly. “I need you to know how much you’re mine.” He licked across Draco’s flat stomach and muffled a grunt of pain when his shoulders moved.
Draco shivered from the sensation of Harry’s hot tongue on his flesh. It took him a breathless moment to focus enough so the mess of lines turned into words. “Holy fuck. Harry, that’s… Damn.” He couldn’t continue. A dark laugh bubbled out quickly followed by a moan.
Harry growled huskily as he moved up Draco’s body. He held his palm and read aloud. “This hand belongs on my cock. All the time. Your arm should be wrapped tight around me, touching me and covered in my cum.”
“Harry, you’re fucking mad!” Draco laughed, his face flushed.
Harry grabbed his other arm and licked up the limb before continuing. “This hand should be on your cock. Except when I’m licking it or sucking your hard, long dick, then you can move it where ever the fuck you want as long as it’s touching me.”
“I’m going to have some very tired arms, hmm?” Draco opened his mouth to Harry’s tongue when he suddenly kissed him hard. “Oh, okay. Being quiet now.”
“That’s what I thought. Because your mouth should either be shouting my name, or filled with my cock and cum,” Harry growled in his ear. His fingers traced over the words he apparently wrote on his face.
“Oh god, that’s obscene.” Draco’s eyes were wide as fire tingled over his skin. “What else did you write?”
“Your neck exists to be breathed on, kissed, licked and bitten by me, and only me. You can touch it, because you look fucking hot when you touch yourself, but not more than that.” Harry touched his throat. His palm pressed hard until it nearly stole Draco’s air away. “Your mouth and throat are tight, and I’m the only one who’s going to know how tight.”
Draco nodded blearily with heavy eyelids. Harry moved his hand and pressed wet, hungry open-mouth kisses to his throat. “Yes.”
Harry fell silent as he licked down to Draco’s chest. His tongue ran wet trails while he grunted again when pain lanced through him. “Shit, you’re so fucking hot. Sexy and fucking hot.”
“Come on, read,” Draco insisted. He grabbed at Harry’s hair and pulled his head up. Harry chuckled as his palms clasped Draco’s sides.
“You’re the property of Harry James Potter, from your sweet little nipples you fucking love to have twisted red, to your strong, slim stomach full of all my cum you swallow, to your fucking hard, long cock which keeps coming every time I tell it to. You’re fucking mine, Draco Malfoy and you will always be mine, not matter what.”
“Oh, fuck. Fuck, Harry, you need to… You really need to fuck me,” Draco whimpered. His eyes squeezed shut and hips rocked up to rub against Harry’s body.
“I’m not done.” Harry licked down the words he just read. He gripped Draco’s hips hard, nuzzled his flat stomach and dipped his tongue into his bellybutton. He slipped down lower, his grunt of pain lost in Draco’s firm skin. He licked down his groin and rubbed his face into his blond pubic hair where it turned darker the closer it got to Draco’s straining cock. “Look at you so fucking hard for me.” Harry snagged the pen from the sheets and nipped at Draco’s hip when he tried to smack him away. “No, it definitely needs a fucking name.”
Draco blinked down a small smile quirked on his lips while Harry wrapped one hand around his dick and carefully stretched it out to write on. He gasped, a moan caught in his throat when the pen touched his sensitive length. His eyes rolled back and he clutched the sheets.
“That’s it. Fucking M.I.N.E,” Harry growled. He wrote the letters as large as he could fit then swirled the pen in a spiral over the head of his cock. Draco whimpered mindlessly and Harry dropped the pen to taste him instead. He ran his tongue over Draco’s flushed red length, refusing to suck it down until he thoroughly covered it with his saliva.
“Fuck, please.” Draco’s hands tangled in Harry’s hair and twisted his messy locks demandingly. Harry smiled against his hard cock and slowly let his wet lips stretch open, feeling how Draco’s swollen head pulsed in anticipation. He pressed the flat of his tongue up, catching every fresh drop of precum, while he slowly stretched his lips to let Draco sink into his hot mouth. He pulled Draco in until his tongue could not longer reach his head and Harry settled for rubbing along the underside of the aching flesh, Draco trying to thrust deeper with little rocks of his hips.
“Harry, I fucking need you,” Draco moaned. He turned his face to bite the pillow next to him.
Harry reluctantly pulled from Draco’s dick. His tongue caressed and lapped long after his lips left. “I know, you damn tease. I’m going to show you just how much you need me. And you are never going to think of anyone but me. Fucking ever.”
He grabbed Draco’s thighs and spread them wide. Harry carefully moved further down the bed to read. “This is the leg you wrap around my waist when you’re about to come while screaming my name for everyone to hear. And this is the one you crawl on, begging over the floor for me to fuck you so hard you can’t think anymore. Your feet will always bring you to me and your knees will break and you will fucking take everything I give you.”
“Holy fuck.” Draco exhaled heavily. “Harry, I’m not joking. Fuck me now. Right now.”
“You keep begging me, beautiful, while I still have your entire back to write on,” Harry drawled.
Draco made a noise between a moan and a sob, torn at having to wait but enjoying every damn moment of it. At Harry’s prodding, he turned, wiggled into the mattress, and propped his head on his folded arms. The sound of his panting filled his ears.
Harry clicked the pen open and began to write on Draco’s back. His voice slowed to match the speed of each word he wrote. “Your back was made to be covered in my cum.”
“Harry!” Draco shouted. Laughter and lust made him shake.
“Well, it was,” Harry murmured as he pressed a kiss to the back of Draco’s neck and nipped sharply. He returned to scrawling on his skin with Draco shuddering at each ticklish spot. “Just looking at the bend of your neck, your strong shoulders and tight waist gets me so fucking hard for you. And your ass. Fuck your ass. Literally, I want to fuck your tight, round, delicious ass every waking moment.”
“Oh, fuck, do me, Potter,” Draco demanded hoarsely. He tried to get up to his hands and knees, only to have Harry push him flat onto the mattress.
“Not done,” Harry rumbled lowly. He took his free hand and squeezed Draco’s ass hard and held him still when he cried out. He ran the pen over the soft swell of flesh and tight muscle of his ass cheek. Draco furrowed his brow as he felt the distinct motions of a heart being drawn on his left cheek.
“This ass is property of Harry James Potter to fuck and lick and fill whenever he pleases. And Draco Malfoy fucking loves every cum-soaked moment of it.”
“Oh, god. Yes. Now hurry the fuck up,” Draco groaned. He rubbed his dick against the mattress when Harry wouldn’t let him press back against him. “Need you.”
“Demanding.” Harry chuckled softly. He tossed the pen to the floor and pulled Draco’s hips up until he was on his knees. “I said whenever I please. I know, I wrote it right here.” Harry bit the words firmly, and Draco rocked back with a shout. “Right now I want to taste you until you’re begging. Well, you’re already begging, so I’ll have to figure out when to stop.”
“Harry,” Draco whined. We was still doing a lot of talking but very little touching. “Stop teasing.”
Harry licked down Draco’s crack with a groan. He flickered his tongue between the tight flesh and breathed hot air on his flushed sack. “Not teasing. Just need to, hell, to enjoy every fucking moment.” Harry nipped gentle, small, taunting bites to his inner thighs that made Draco cry out. He ran his hands down the outside of his thighs, squeezed tight and pulled Draco back onto his tongue. He thrust deep inside and felt Draco spasm moments before he shouted.
“Oh, fuck. Oh, god. I think…” Draco buried his head in the pillow while he gasped and whimpered.
Harry suppressed a growl and used his tongue for better things, such as bringing Draco closer to ecstasy. He slid a hand between his spread thighs and found Draco’s straining cock dripping even more delicious precum. Harry pulled away to lick at his fingers, before he moved up and sought out Draco’s face.
“Harry, you really need to… Oh. I really need you,” Draco whispered between pants. His eyes pleaded, lips flush and wide as he shook. “Take me. Please, take me.”
Harry sighed, licked his tongue out and met Draco’s. “I need you to bend over the bed. I can’t…” Draco didn’t let him finish the sentence. He growled and he pushed himself up and threw his legs over the side. He stood unsteadily as he waited for Harry to follow. His magic-covered form moved gingerly as he fought pain.
Draco closed his eyes when arms wrapped around him. He pressed back against Harry’s hard body and tried to ignore the way his boyfriend was shaking. Harry wanted him. He was hurt, was likely only going to get more hurt, and right now he needed to be inside him. Just as much as Draco needed him inside.
“Fuck me, Harry. Show me just how much I’m yours. Any way you want. Every way.”
Harry gasped against his throat. Draco couldn’t help but love every small noise. It was so much sexier to know Harry was responding, lost his breath, lost his control just over things Draco did. It made him want to do more things just to hear him. Draco spread his legs wider, bent forward and rested his hands on the mattress. He looked back at Harry with a teasing smirk, but he couldn’t stop his blush for thinking the words he was going to say. “You’ve got a lot of me to cover with your cum tonight. I don’t know if you’re going to have the time.”
Harry growled loudly, a deliciously animalistic sound that sent shivers down Draco’s spine. In a practiced move, he pulled Draco back and sheathed into him, already having spelled him slick and stretched.
“Oh, fuck.” Draco’s mouth gaped, eyes wide as he stared blindly at the covers. “Harry.”
“I know,” Harry rasped in his ear. He held Draco still while he trembled. Draco’s body kept jolting oddly like he was the one sparking. “You’re tight. Tighter than before.”
Draco moaned as his body jerked again and convulsed around Harry’s thick cock impaling him. He pushed his hips back to get Harry deeper. If he could just get a little deeper everything would be perfect. “Oh god, it’s different. Why. What?”
Harry let out a shaky groan and buried his face into Draco’s hair. “I didn’t tell you, but you have wings now. Damn, you’re fucking tight. So tight.”
“Wings?” Draco shook his head with a gasp. He moaned and pushed back harder. “Oh, oh please. Deeper. Get deeper.”
“Your body keeps changing.” Harry gripped his hips tight and pulled Draco back while he pushed all his weight forward. Something shifted and the world tilted dizzily. Draco shouted in absolute, tormented pleasure. Harry couldn’t help but cry in agreement as Draco’s passage moved, clenched and pulled with every intent to make him cum deep inside his hot, tight hole. “Holy fuck.”
They froze, bent over the bed. Harry’s sweat dripped down Draco’s slick body, their eyes squeezed shut as the two of them moaned together. The world was definitely shifting, everything spinning wildly even though nothing was moving at all. Draco kept pushing back on Harry’s cock, trying to get him deeper. Small, choked sounds broke through his desperate wail and his hands scrambled on the bed to gain leverage.
“This,” Draco gasped. “This is what it means to be yours.” He sobbed and his body jolted again and again. Harry pressed his full weight down and pinned Draco’s upper body into the mattress while he writhed beneath him. “Claim me.”
Understanding dawned. Harry lifted his heavy head off of Draco’s shoulder and pressed it to his throat. “Mine,” he whispered as he licked sweat and blue ink. “Always mine.”
“Fucking do it!” Draco gasped out. His body felt so tight he was certain his legs were going to snap. Harry bit his neck, teeth sharp as they sank in and held tight. Draco cried out as everything spun and his sight flashed black and red. “Yes… fuck, yes.”
Beneath it all, the pain, the sweat and groans, Draco felt when Harry came inside him. His thick cock swelled large and hot cum splashed deep, right where it was supposed to hit. Draco clenched tight, held Harry in and kept him deep in his passage.
“Damn, Draco. You’re… Oh, hell,” Harry mumbled hoarsely into his neck as Draco clenched tight around him. Draco’s skin glowed before his eyes, blood dripped scarlet, and scent… His scent changed. Harry breathed in deep, unable to stop as he licked long swipes up his throat.
“Yours,” Draco moaned as he arched and stretched. Harry reached around, slid down his taut navel and wrapped his hand around Draco’s dick. He jerked him slowly while he held his breath to hear his gasps. Draco came with a sudden laugh. He released hot shots of cum over Harry’s fingers and the bed, his orgasm seeming to go on forever.
Harry wanted to tell Draco about the change, about the glow and the scent and very much he was his, fucking his and no one else’s. The words wouldn’t come, his head spinning and back screaming fire. Not the good fire but the painful fire. With a painful start, he realized he once had a tail, one now ripped off.
“Harry, what is it?” His eyes snapped open at Harry’s first loud hiss of pain. Draco dug his fingers into the mattress and pulled himself up the bed and out from under Harry’s weight. He turned on unsteadily legs and sat up to watch the glow on Harry’s skin fluctuate. “Should I put the glasses on?” He sought out Harry’s face and cupped it gently.
“No, I’ll be fine. Just a little pain,” Harry gasped out. He pressed his lips to Draco’s palm. “I’m going to go wait in the room for the spell while I can move.”
“Wait, I’ll go with.”
“Please, Draco, please. I don’t want you to see me like this.” Harry fought back another hiss. “Don’t remember me like this.”
Draco felt like he was going to overflow with emotion. He gave a slight nod and then pressed a swift kiss to Harry’s mouth. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Remember, I’m your boyfriend now and you have to do what I say. Right?”
“Right,” Harry groaned. He leaned his head against Draco as another tremor shook him.
“So, you’re coming home tomorrow and you’re going to get all better. Cuz I said so and you’re very good at listening when I ask nice enough.”
“Sure, Draco. Whatever you want.” Harry kissed him again. His mouth didn’t want to work properly, the kiss sloppy and harsh but Draco didn’t mind.
Draco helped him stand and led Harry to the door. “You’re still glowing,” Draco reminded as he wrapped a robe around himself. Harry let the magic fade from his skin and Draco’s expression grew more anxious without it. “You’re sure you don’t want help?”
“I’ll be fine. My legs are fine. Not tired, just pain,” he choked out. Harry opened the door before Draco could think of a good reason to come along. “Love you. Always going to love you.”
Harry shut the door and blocked out the tears he couldn’t handle to see. He made his way unsteadily through the castle, knowing Draco was crumpled in his room crying. He knew because every time he looked back in his direction, he could see him, his body changed with a permanent soft glow radiating from his skin. Harry also knew the glow was for him; Draco’s body told any Vesper who looked he was claimed.
Harry wasn’t sure how long it took to get through the dungeons; time slipped away as the world kept tilting around him. He eventually found the right room and stumbled to the floor while holding his groans of pain back. His gaze again moved through the fifth dimension and he turned himself on the floor until he was facing Draco’s glowing form. He rested his head on the wall, eyes half open as he watched Draco sleep fitfully.
Ky’s mind was blank as he took the stairs. He felt tight, sharp, ready for anything. What that anything was, he had no idea. He hadn’t actually killed someone before. He wasn’t even sure how to make the wand do something like that. He knew how to draw symbols and make wards that apparently anyone could walk through, and that was about the extent of anything magical. Well, that and the glowing eye thing that led to fucking shortly after.
Ky was hoping he wasn’t going to have to need that against a sorcerer.
Marcus and Livia were talking to someone when Ky got to the bottom of the stairs. Ky didn’t notice the man at first, his eyes fixed on the golden haired young man standing bored in his hallway. Liem Kane was in his fucking house.
“Did you break my wards?” Ky asked sharply.
“Ky, there you are.” Livia turned, only to pause when she caught sight of her son. “Hunny, maybe you should put a shirt on. Mr. Moore is here to speak with you.”
Ky didn’t notice her, his glare fixed on Liem. “Get out. Now.”
“Ky!” Livia yelped, appalled.
Liem glared back defiantly, only to look away after a moment when faced with Ky’s burning eyes. He shuffled sideways, his shoulder tucking behind the body of the man who was talking to Marcus.
Mr. Moore wore clothes even stranger than Liem, who was again dressed in a dress shirt and tailored slacks. He looked to be in his early seventies and was dressed in breeches, tall leather boots, and a dress shirt. On top of it all he wore a long dark coat that swept to the floor but did little to hide his over-sized gut. His hair was white tinged yellow with age which he kept in a sleek ponytail at his nape. He straightened and stared down his crow like nose from beneath bushy eyebrows the moment he caught sight of Ky. He stood like someone who was used to being listened to. Someone who expected to be respected because of his ability to do magic.
Ky immediately disliked him. Tobias had the same air to him like doing magic made it okay to be a monster.
Liem, of course, would be the type of person to give a fuck about respecting monsters. He stood next to his new master looking like some prissy little servant. After their terrible night where Liem took a crowbar to Tobias’s skull to save Brave’s life, he was in Ky’s house properly groomed without a hair out of place. Like it hadn’t happened. Like the last time Liem was in his house, he hadn’t tried to collar and steal Magnificent Night.
Ky scowled to himself. It hadn’t even taken Liem a day to go tattle his fucking ass off. And for what, exactly?
“Get out. Both of you,” Ky demanded as he addressed the stranger with Liem. He was obviously a sorcerer, or some weirdo who hadn’t seen a modern closet in a hundred years. Anyone associated with Liem Kane was dangerous in Ky’s eyes. More so because he was certain this old guy was the one who broke through his wards.
“Ky! Forgive me, Mr. Moore. Ky, that’s no way to talk to a guest. Go get dressed.”
Ky stepped around his mother when Livia tried to usher him back up the stairs. “I’m not leaving you alone with them.” He caught his father staring at his hand where Anselm’s wand was clutched tightly. Ky tightened his jaw. “They’re not safe.”
Marcus finally spoke, his eyes hard even though his expression was deceptively calm. “Ky, you have something that doesn’t belong to you. Mr. Moore is here to collect his property.”
“I’ve never seen this guy before in my life.” Ky looked from Moore to Liem, who was standing stiffly, his eyes cold. “I sure as fuck didn’t take anything from him. What are you doing here, Liem? What the hell do you want that you’d break my fucking wards? You could have picked up a phone like a goddamn decent human being. So help me if you’re here for Magnificent…”
“The wards were my doing. Mr. Scion, I’m Stewart Moore of the Aeternum.” He stepped forward and bow stiffly and sharply.
Ky eyed him, trying to read just what kind of man he was. “You broke into my house.”
“I did.” Stewart’s blue eyes pierced as he met Ky’s eyes and refused to back down. “I thought it important to understand the power you’re facing. May I say, quite bluntly, to show you just how little you have in the large scheme of things.”
Ky’s eyes narrowed as anger pulsed through him. It was a restraint he didn’t know he had to stay quiet, to not physically try to remove this arrogant asshole from his house. “Is that the line you feed the cops when you go breaking into people’s houses? You want to prove you can?”
Stewart smiled grimly. “I’ve heard it a few times fed to me by trying pupils. Young magic users can be hard to distinguish from unruly delinquents most days. Just what line would you give me for breaking into the Godwin’s house?”
“Ky, Mr. Moore is here for the wand,” Marcus interjected. His mask had cracked a bit, his face growing flush with anger the longer he stared at the wand in Ky’s hand.
Ky looked to Liem and back to Stewart, his mind whirring as he tried to figure out just what the fuck he was facing. Was he some sort of magical police? Some sort of regulator who punished those who crossed the line? If so, why the fuck was he there instead of having gone to kill Tobias himself?
“The wand is mine,” Ky finally said, his eyes fixed on Stewart as he tried to read his expression. “As to the Godwin house, I didn’t need to break in. I was allowed to enter.”
“I’m here to collect Tobias Godwin’s wand,” Stewart specified after a long pause. “With his demise, certain actions are required from the Aeternum. One is to go through the deceased summoner’s house and deal with all his strays before they can wreck havoc on the local population. I’m sure you can understand the gravity of allowing Tobias’s links to be discovered, seeing as those particular ones are spelled to be seen by the normal population.”
Ky blinked a few times. Strays? Links? “They’re Relics. They have names. They’re fucking people.”
Stewart nodded once, a jagged movement, his lips pursed tight. “Tobias’s security is far stronger than your flimsy wards, Mr. Scion. His wand is required to enter the building so we can complete the necessary work.”
He sounded like he was planning constructions instead of going in to capture and possibly murder who remained in Tobias’s house. Fear and anger warred within him. At least that meant they were safe. For now, as long as he had Tobias’s wand, the relics living there would be safe. It made things very clear for him in that moment as Ky stood taller and faced Stewart down.
“Tobias’s wand is mine now. It was given to me by those you’re trying to get to,” Ky said it as evenly as possibly. He remembered Blood’s words. The wand was more than a symbol; he literally did hold their lives in his hands.
“I can understand your confusion, Mr. Scion. Wands cannot be owned by the links. They are not compatible with the power within the instruments. The instruments are specifically designed that way to keep accidents from occurring. It was not their wand to give.” Stewart gave him an assessing look, his head tilted. “Also, I feel it important to point out that stealing a wand is the most heinous of crimes among out group. It’s the last legacy of a sorcerer or sorceress. We collect them after they pass and keep them displayed in the Aeternum to remind us of all who have come before. Neither of those wands belong to you.”
Ky smiled angrily. The man was a condescending piece of shit who broke into his house to tell him he couldn’t own the things he owned? “I’ll keep that in mind. Now get the fuck out of my house.”
“Ky,” Marcus growled. “I don’t know what the hell…”
Stewart held his hand up and Marcus fell silent. Ky watched the move warily, a part of him wondering if he just spelled his father. “Mr. Scion, I’m not leaving here without that wand. Do you think what happened last night will go unpunished? Liem has explained how the links were at fault, how they turned on Tobias and the two of you were lucky to survive. That doesn’t mean you are without fault. Ignorance is no excuse. We have laws about stealing demons.”
“Stealing?” It came out barely a whisper. Ky’s rage felt like a hand tight around his throat. A red pulse replaced his sight for a moment, the edges of his vision darkening. “Stealing?” He bit out. “You kidnap and enslave them. You murder them. You want to call me a thief for freeing those people from the fucker who was murdering them?”
Ky turned away with a snarl, unable to continue looking at Stewart for fear of what he might do. His heart slammed in his chest, the blood rushing through his veins. He took a steadying breath, the effects lost when Marcus came into view. His father’s expression was full of disapproval. He was ready to believe he just broke into houses and robbed people. He wanted to believe it because it was easier than the truth of what the wand in Ky’s hand represented.
But it wasn’t just one anymore. Ky pulled Tobias’s wand from his back pocket and held it tight in his left hand. He pushed the anger and outrage down, half feeling like he was literally eating he pain as he whirled back to Stewart. His eyes blazed with the rage he was holding back. “No one is going near those relics again. No one. You’ll have to kill me to get this wand, and believe me when I say, I will not make it fucking easy for you.”
Livia made a noise of shock and Ky’s eyes flickered to his mother a moment. He stepped closer to Stewart, his head ducked so he could whisper furiously. “You think I’m some weak, powerless pushover. I’m not. The overseer who killed my grandfather is dead. Tobias is dead. His relics are free and I won’t let you enslave them again. I won’t let you murder them and hide the mess you fucked up people keep making because you won’t stop stealing humans from their world.”
A challenging smile twisted Stewart’s face a moment. “Do you think I can’t take it by force? Do you even know how to use those wands, child? I broke through your pathetic wards with ease and left them intact to show just how unprotected you are. You’re currently being drained by a horde of the creatures. It’s a wonder you’re even standing. I have a job to do, young man. Give me Godwin’s wand…” Stewart trailed off, his expression tense as he glanced behind Ky toward the shadows of the stairs.
Ky didn’t have to look to know Lovely and Feral had made their presence known. He resented just how fucking scared everyone was of them just because of what they were. Maybe that wasn’t true though—Not just because they were from another world. Stewart like Tobias had to know how angry the relics were at sorcerers. How righteous that anger was. Any sorcerer with half a brain would be afraid of the relics they raped and enslaved.
“They killed an overseer,” Ky said softly. He took in Stewart’s master collar, two blood red links shining from his throat. Red; he wasn’t any better than Liem. Maybe as bad as Tobias. Two for now, but how many did he collect, switch out, train? He might have a very good reason to fear relics.
“They survived when the others were killed and eaten. They will survive while sorcerers die. You only have two links,” Ky said flatly with a nod to Stewart’s collar. “You might have gotten through the wards but your demons are on the other side, disconnected from you. You’re weaker without their magic. That’s why you sorcerers do it, right? To steal their power. I could have the rest of the relics linked to me in an instant if I called. You could see first hand what it means to have an actual horde of demons feed of you.” Liem took a step back at the threat but Ky’s focus was solely on Stewart. “Just like Tobias.”
Stewart pursed his lips, his voice gravelly. “Mr. Scion, I’m trying to be civilized in these proceedings. There is no need…”
Ky scoffed. “Sure. Just how civilized is a man who kidnaps and enslaves men for power, Mr. Moore? Should I get them all napkins for when they slash the flesh from your bones?” Ky’s voice cracked, something hard catching in his throat a moment.
He took a step back, eyes never leaving Stewart. “Tobias’s demons are mine now. His wand is mine. If you or any other sorcerer dares to step foot in the Godwin house, the relics will inform me and I’ll make sure every single intruder is killed.”
“You’re making a mistake.”
Ky’s nostrils flared, his heart pounding in anticipation of what this sorcerer might do. Two red links. Were they in pain? Were they afraid? Damn Liem for bringing these people into his life, for showing him there were so many monsters in human skin.
“You’re the one who chose to break into my house. I don’t give a fuck about your procedures and your stupid ass wand museum. Is it worth your life? That’s what you’re risking. No one touches my demons.”
Stewart’s expression grew harder, his eyes fixed behind Ky where Lovely and Feral stepped up. With a cautious move, he pulled a business card from the pocket of his coat. “Mr. Scion, I will accept this answer for now. You’ve claimed ownership of Tobias Godwin’s stray demons and bonded with them. By our laws, you have a claim, even if the bond will likely kill you within days.” He squared his jaw, his voice growing more stern. “There will be a hearing shortly, during which you will be able to state the case of ownership to the coven. Your attendance is mandatory. To be clear, it doesn’t matter how many demons you have within your possession; the Aeternum is far stronger than you can hope to comprehend.”
Ky stared at the card, unwilling to take it. Stewart sighed and rolled his eyes. With a flick of his fingers, it sailed forward, bounced off of Ky’s bare chest and floated to the floor. “Place it in a flame to activate the portal. Tuesday, 10 am sharp. Please be punctual.”
Ky glared down at the card a moment then at Stewart. “And if I refuse?”
“We will collect you.” Stewart’s eyes sharpened. “It will be unpleasant, if not embarrassing for you. We are not doing this to persecute you, Mr. Scion. You clearly are unaware of the deadly situation you have found yourself in. We have a mentoring program at the Aeternum. People who could guide you from getting yourself killed or violating our laws. You would be readily accepted; you have at least proven your power even if you lack much in the way of brains.”
Ky grit his teeth. “Yeah, I’m fucking jumping at the chance to join a bunch of magical slave traders. The relics chose me to protect them; your laws mean nothing to me in the face of that.”
Stewart didn’t look remotely impressed as he took in Ky’s collar full of black links. “I can’t commend them on their choice. You don’t know enough of the basics to stay alive. That said, I am willing to offer you assistance either in remaining alive or helping to find suitable placement for your demons once you die.” His gaze lingered again on Ky’s collection of shadow links before meeting his eyes. “It will be soon, Mr. Scion.”
Ky growled under his breath. “Go fuck yourself.”
Stewart’s lips twitched like he was fighting a smirk. “I can see you’re impassioned as much as you are inexperienced. It would be a waste to have you die like many magic users your age because of your ignorance. The Aeternum can guide you. Let us help you before it’s too late.” He bowed and took a step back. “Not every demon summoner is Tobias Godwin.”
Ky inhaled sharply. His gaze flickered to Liem, a question on the tip of his tongue. Liem was alert as he stared at the two demons behind Ky. When Ky looked his was, he gave the slightest of nods.
“If your life is worth anything to you, you’ll show for the hearing. Those links are going to kill you.” Stewart turned on his heel and headed swiftly for the door without another word. Liem followed after, his eyes lingering on Lovely and Feral for a moment before he turned.
“Liem,” Ky called before he could leave. Liem stopped short but didn’t look his way. “If you ever treat another relic the way you treated Brave, I won’t hesitate. Stay the fuck away from them.”
Liem didn’t speak. The only sign he heard Ky at all was how he squared his shoulders before he again took off, following to the front door where Stewart was waiting.
Harry couldn’t find Draco. He wasn’t in Herbology class and hadn’t left for the loo. It was only once he remembered to switch to the fifth plane to find Draco he felt his call. It was loud frantic and beyond insistent. Draco moved through the castle, past the Great Hall and toward the main doors. Harry quickly jumped down the flight of stairs he was on and ran to catch up. He wasn’t certain why he was running. Draco’s call felt wrong and a part of him had to make sure his mate was okay.
Harry paused at the bizarre scene of Narcissa standing in the hallway. The normally refined woman was frenzied. Her wand was out and her hands shook as she cast a locating spell out. The light glowed and shot ahead as it searched for Draco. Harry lingered long enough to hear her mutter something about the dragon ring. When he searched, he saw it glinting in her hand instead of on Draco’s finger. Harry took off without another thought. He ran full speed through the castle following the trail of light.
Draco didn’t see Severus Snape, who was rounding the dungeon stairs as he passed. He didn’t hear him with the blood rushing in his ears. He could feel the Vesper’s call pushing at the boundaries of his mind. Within him was only anger and terror. Need and emptiness. Far beneath it all was a cry for help to the only one who could stop the madness from overtaking him. But Harry wasn’t here and Draco couldn’t stop his feet.
He would never fear again. He would go to them, be done with it, and never fear another thought or want for another life.
What had Lucius felt when he took off the ring? He knew he would be transformed into the creature his brother became. Had his greater fear been for his own son’s safety than his own? Or did he feel the desire? There was a hot fire rushing over Draco’s skin even now. Had it been this wild madness pulsing an unceasing call that finally drove his father to pass the ring to the next Malfoy heir?
“Mr. Malfoy, can you hear me?”
Draco’s mind struggled as his walk remained steady. He took the ring off. Threw it somewhere in the hall. He needed the ring… No. No, he didn’t.
He didn’t need anything. They were outside. He didn’t need anything as long as his pack was there.
A hand grasped his shoulder. Draco started and stared into Severus’s black eyes. “Draco, you’re unwell. Come with me.”
Draco felt him try to push at his mind and compel him to obey. Severus was no watch for the Vesper; he was one mind battling twenty.
Draco tilted his head and his lashes lowered like he was listening to something far away. He abruptly pulled away and a laugh caught in his throat. Another bubbled forth and broke free and he hunched forward. Something tickled in his stomach. Power licked inside him and Draco pulled at it. A white glow rose forth and pushed Severus back. The small tables that lined the hall went careening after him as portraits flew from the walls and crashed in an array of splintering wood.
Laughter bubbled from Draco’s lips as he resumed his walk to the Vesper.
Severus couldn’t remember the last time he used magic on a student. There was a very extensive code of ethics handbook on this particular subject. It was so extensive he usually felt the best way to not get sued was to avoid the situation all together. That wasn’t an option now. Severus pushed all thoughts of consequence aside and cast a barrage of restraining spells on his current favorite pupil.
If Draco felt any of the spells, he showed no sign. He innately blocked the majority of Severus’s curses. An odd glow flared each time a spell came near and the magic bounced off ineffectively. The few that did hit, Draco walked off uncaring. Rope coiled around him and then abruptly fell to the ground limp. Fetter clamped to his ankles and wrists only to clatter open and crash to the ground. Strongly woven nets tore like spider silk beneath Draco’s glowing hands.
More concerning was the laughter; Draco sounded insane. The main entrance to the castle was just ahead and Draco moved with clear determination toward it. Dread tightened in Severus’s gut as he realized what exactly must be waiting on the other side of the doors.
“Malfoy, you’ve left me no other recourse,” Severus announced as he raised his wand. “If I can’t restrain you, then I must attack.” It was an action absolutely prohibited in the dusty tome of ethics. The sleeves of his black cloak billowed with his movements as Severus sent a hailstorm of bludgers down on Draco. If he was lucky, he’d break enough of his bones to keep him from getting out the front door.
Harry rounded the corner the same moment a blinding light encased Draco. He ducked as bludgers exploded out and smashed into the stone walls along with Severus. The shrapnel went through Harry and left him unharmed but the great power Draco was giving off felt like a tidal wave as it tried to push him back. It was breathtaking. Intense and wild. He found Draco within the bright light looking like some sort of angelic demon.
Harry opened his arms to Draco’s power. He pulled the magic to him, stole it from the air and away from the walls where Severus was crumpled and bleeding. Pain lanced through Harry’s shoulder blade, and then the other. It was a screaming, soul wrenching fire, like maybe he once had extra arms and they’d been torn from his flesh and bone. Harry kept pulling and absorbing the power even as the pain increased to near crippling.
He pulled until Draco finally stopped his steps. Draco wavered where he was stood. He was staring at the floor laughing hysterically while tears streamed down his face.
Harry’s arms didn’t want to move as pain continued to flare through his back. He kept them stretched wide as he stumbled to Draco. He pulled every bit of power Draco dared to release against him until he didn’t dare any longer.
Draco stiffened and his laughter faded. Harry didn’t step any closer. Narcissa had the ring and he didn’t want to transform Draco by accident. “Draco, go put the ring back on.”
Draco grimaced. “You can’t fucking make me, Potter.”
Harry growled and pulsed his power out. It filled the hallway and pushed at Draco like crashing waves, again and again until Draco shook with the exertion to stand. “Put on the fucking ring!”
“No!” Draco held his hands out, raised his head and laughed one loud exultation. “All of them. Every fucking Malfoy heir became a monster. I will too. So why the fuck not now?”
“You’re not a monster. Damn it, Draco, you’re not!”
Draco scoffed, his eyes flashing. “I am! I feel it inside. They’re calling me. And… and I want to go. I can’t stop it. I fucking want to go!”
Harry shook his head fiercely as he fought his instinct to grab Draco and hold him until he was himself again. “It doesn’t matter. It’s just a call, not who you are! Stay with me, Draco. Want me more. I know you do. You know you do. They don’t matter as long as you have me. You’ll always have me, Draco.”
It was too much. Draco fell to his knees with his head clutched in his hands. “You lie. Even now covered in blood. You’re covered in blood and dead.”
He wanted so badly to reach out to Draco, to hold him and rock him until his tears dried. Even if Draco was wearing the ring, Harry’s arms refused to move. “I’m here. I’m still here and you’re here. It’s going to be okay. For right now. This moment, right now, we’re both here. We’re together. And you… you’re so fucking beautiful. It hurts to look at you, you’re so beautiful.” It wasn’t a lie; Harry’s eyes watered the longer he stared at Draco’s hunched form.
“Draco, you just keep crying and I’ll be right here. No one is going to hurt you because I’m not going anywhere,” Harry promised softly.
Not once had anyone ever told Draco crying was okay. He let out a loud gasp as another laugh fought with his tears. It was funny. He suddenly had so much power brimming inside yet he’d never felt this powerless in his entire life.
God, he was so fucked. They were outside waiting for him. Angry. They were vicious and angry as they demanded Draco come to them. Why did they hate him so yet insist he answer? Draco curled in on himself and tried to block the sharp feeling of teeth, claws and hot breath. They were as fucked up as he was as they called for the things in life which repulsed and sickened.
“Harry?” he whispered hoarsely.
“I’m right here.”
Draco nodded and rested his head on the cold floor. Dust and tears filled his senses. Harry sounded far away, a soft echo in his ears. It was real, though. Harry was real, at least for now. “Call me. Please,” he begged. “I can’t move from the door.”
“I, uh, I don’t know if I can right now.”
Draco groaned as he turned his head but he couldn’t see Harry. He sensed him fine enough. Harry felt strong and his power pushed down, an invisible barrier pinning him in place. Draco raised his gaze. Narcissa stalked down the other end of the hall, her eyes nearly as wild as her crazy sister’s. Dumbledore followed swiftly behind her. Draco watched his mother and struggled not to laugh at her fearful expression. He failed and his body shook with each expulsion.
Narcissa didn’t say anything as she crouched beside Draco, grabbed his hand, and placed the ring on his finger. Draco closed his eyes as the world lurched around him and his stomach twisted in nausea. Narcissa again placed her hands on him. She rubbed his back in slow circles until sobs tore from Draco at the knowledge of how foreign it was to have her touch him.
Dumbledore saw to Severus and spelled the splintered furniture and thrown rugs into some sort of semblance while Draco fell apart. Everyone else seemed capable of pulling things back together while Draco was at the point where it all just unraveled. He didn’t know if he was ever going to get back to the other side when the world was so upside down. His mother was trying to comfort him. It only made him hurt as he remembered every time she denied a simple connection.
Dark blue robes swirled in his vision. Dumbledore crouched beside him and his aged hand touched Draco’s head carefully like maybe he was wounded. Draco flinched and realized with a start he was injured.
“What stopped you? What stopped the call?” Dumbledore gingerly probed at his wound before taking out his wand and casting a spell to stop the bleeding.
Draco hesitated. They didn’t need to know the call was still there, he just wasn’t listening to it. “Harry fixed it.”
Narcissa jolted as if struck. Her head reared up as she looked around the hallway. “Potter? That damnable boy is here?”
Dumbledore got to his feet. “Mrs. Malfoy, Harry is hardly…”
“Yes, mother. Harry is here,” Draco spat out. He glared at his mother as he sat up. “My boyfriend is here and he’s able to keep me from the Vesper with simple willpower.”
Narcissa pulled away. She sat on the floor and stared at Draco like he was something she’d never seen before. She swallowed and reached out to touch his shoulder. “We’ll take you home. Your father installed wards against the Vesper in the manor. You’ll be…”
“No!” Draco found his anger again. It frothed up the same way the laughter did. “I can’t be with him if I’m home. He’s all I fucking care about!”
“Draco, please, it’s nonsense.”
Draco braced his hands on the floor. “I love him.”
Narcissa hissed and her eyes narrowed on his rebellious expression. “Love,” she spat. “You’d choose your father’s oldest enemy over your family?”
Draco smiled viciously. “Every fucking chance I get, mother. On my knees, on my back; any fucking way he wants. I’m his and he’s mine.”
“Don’t be vulgar with me. He’s an abomination to pureblood kind with his soiled bloodline and welcoming in those worthless, mudblooded beasts into our circles. His kind would water us down until no one has a speck of power left. He would…”
“Shit. Shut the fuck up, you crazy bitch! My pureblood ancestor fucked dragons to gain your so called ‘pure’ power. My uncle is likely on his knees spreading to an entire pack as we speak, if they didn’t kill him years ago. You. You bore a fucking half human, half Vesper into this world and you’d condemn muggles for being soiled? Do you even hear yourself, mother?”
Narcissa didn’t; her pale skin turned pink with anger. She stood with her hands fisted at her sides. “We’ll speak of this no more. I’ll leave the paperwork with your headmaster. You’ll sign it and be ready for the ceremony a week from today at eight o’clock sharp.”
Draco stared at his mother in disbelief, mouth gaped open. He pushed himself to his feet and swayed. The ring made his dizzy and his anger more so. He took a steadying breath. “Fuck you.”
“It would be the only thing you haven’t fucked, I would think,” Narcissa said with a disdainful sniff.
Laughter hit Draco hard and he doubled over. When he caught his breath he looked up at Narcissa through his hair. “Fuck you and the Malfoy name and your fucking blood hate. I’m not marrying her.”
“Oh, you are. If you want any sort of life, you’ll marry Serene and stop talking nonsense of Potter and mudbloods. As if they’re anything compared to us.”
Draco wasn’t sure if he was angry or just so exasperated with his mother and how blind she was to the world. “I don’t know if you’ve fucking noticed, but I don’t want any sort of life! I’ve been a goddamn zombie for the last year. I was just about to walk out the fucking door and live with creatures almost as fucking hateful as you—Almost! Fuck you and your fucking manipulative money and power.”
Narcissa’s hand twitched toward he wand as rage filled her eyes. “Do you think I can’t make you? Do you think power is just some silly idea and not the ultimate in controlling every element in this world including insubordinate, foolish children? We’ve endured for centuries and believe me, we will continue because we have the power to control the weak willed.”
Dumbledore abruptly placed a hand to Narcissa’s shoulder. Her eyes went wide and her body crumpled forward as if a great force were pushing her down. “You will not. Not in my school. Not to my student. It’s time to go, Mrs. Malfoy.”
Draco wasn’t done and he peered down to meet Narcissa’s surprised gaze. “I’m not weak willed, mother. I’m not weak at all. Cross me and I’ll show you just how powerful I am.”
Narcissa didn’t say anything. Her glare promised she’d have her way still. Dumbledore forced her back to his office to collect Draco’s ex-fiancé with Severus’s unconscious body floating behind them. Draco continued to sway as the corridor emptied. He closed his eyes with a sigh.
“Potter, are you still there?”
“Of course I am. I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to hear me.” Harry stepped closer to Draco but still didn’t touch him.
“Just me. Kust my ears today.” Draco sighed and moved toward Harry’s heat. He slid his hands around his waist. “Help me, Harry. I can’t push away from the door.”
Harry was silent for a long moment. Slowly, almost jaggedly, his arms fell to Draco’s shoulders and rested there heavily. “You were amazing. Absolutely breathtaking.”
“I was angry and out of my mind,” Draco muttered and pressed his face to Harry’s shoulder. “I’m still out of my fucking mind. What is it? Why are you hesitating?” Harry still wouldn’t pull him close. He wouldn’t hold him tight and pull his body away from the door like only he could.
“It’s nothing.” Harry slowly rubbed his arms down Draco’s back. When he pulled him closer, his hands shook in a way Draco never felt before and it filled him with fear. “You’re just amazing and I want to stand here with you for a while.”
Draco could tell Harry was lying but he didn’t know why he was lying. Draco swallowed hard and closed his eyes. With Harry wrapped around him, he pushed his foot forward and Harry took a step back in response. There was a howl from outside, an angry demanding call for him to stop what he was doing.
“Draco, I can do it,” Harry insisted even as his body shook.
“It’s okay. I’m going to have to figure it out on my own anyways, right?” Draco pushed his other foot forward. Harry steadied him when he swayed, his balance addled by the ring. Harry fell silent and let Draco slowly push the two of them backward down the hall. Neither spoke of the angry howls from outside.
“Where are the glasses?” Draco asked when he made it to the opening outside the Great Hall. When Harry remained stubbornly silent, Draco cast an accio. The lenses snapped in his hands after they flew down from the hallway above.
“Don’t do it, Malfoy. It’s not fucking worth it,” Harry rasped as he tried to grab the glasses from Draco’s hand.
“Shut the fuck up and let me decide what’s worth my attention.” Draco turned his head and pushed the round lenses on his nose. He stepped back so he could see all of Harry.
Tears stung the corners of his eyes but Draco refused to look away. He slowly walked around Harry and bit his lip as the devastation of blood and torn flesh came into view on his back. Draco slipped his hand forward and touched the damage lightly. Harry was oblivious to the sensation with so much pain already raw there.
“Is this because we fought? It got so bad…”
“No. You have nothing to do with this.” Harry turned as quickly as he could and grimacing from the pain. “Jaz said the damage is just catching up, uh, exponentially. That’s all.” Harry raised arms which didn’t want to raise and caressed Draco’s face softly.
Draco stared into his blazing green eyes and took in how Harry’s dark skin was littered with cuts and spatters of blood. He was lying again but Draco was unwilling to reveal he knew. If it allowed Harry to feel better by lying to him, he wouldn’t break the delusion.
Draco stood on tiptoes and kissed Harry’s frowning mouth.
“Can you walk or would you like to rest on me?” Draco’s palms smoothed over the blood soaked lines of Harry’s shoulders.
“I can walk fine,”Harry muttered. “The pain is minimal, just distracting. My arms are just resistant to normal motion.” He scowled down at his hands where his fingers twitched oddly.
“Harry?” Draco leaned closer and tried to pull his gaze. He missed seeing Harry’s eyes even if today they were surrounded by too much red.
“What do you need, Draco?” Harry asked, his eyes fixed on Draco’s face.
“I like your voice. I like hearing it again. It’s good to hear you again.” Draco watched as Harry slowly smiled at him.
“Yeah, well, it’s good to be heard, even though I’m sure I’ll say something to get myself in trouble.” He brushed his lips to Draco’s and his jaw tightened in pain from the simple movement. “Come on, let’s get you to Pomfrey. You can check on Snape and, well, it would be good if you had other people around to help.”
Draco licked his lips and nodded. He wasn’t going to argue with Harry about it. Not while he, well, looked nearly dead. Draco slipped the glasses off and folded them into his shirt pocket. With his arms around Harry’s back, they walked slowly to the hospital wing.
It was different outside, bright and snow drenched. The Academy grounds looked immaculate. Vincent stared out the window at the dazzling winter morning from his perch on the sill. The sun warmed his skin in a way he could barely remember. He turned his face toward it, eyes closed as he breathed deep. There was no dark fear here. No gritty alley splattered with blood or terror-eyed shifters. It was like yesterday didn’t exist at all.
He sighed again and pushed his hair back from his face. The rage of last night was gone. Most feeling was gone.
He was good at that. He could take a moment, even a day, and remove it from his life. It was a magic he didn’t understand, something his brain did all by itself. Something Dr. Rob liked to call disassociation. Sometimes being fucked in the head wasn’t bad. Sometimes it just made life bearable when the world refused to work properly.
He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do for the next couple of days. He had a feeling Dr. Rob would want to observe him for a while to make sure he didn’t do anything crazy. Vincent touched the null-collar around his throat gingerly. He made a mess of things by getting upset like that. He couldn’t remember the last time he was so angry.
Even when… Even that day, he hadn’t gotten angry. No, he’d been scared. When he first felt that elemental magic draw into him, all his years of fear disappeared and he felt invincible. It was the same yesterday. Vincent didn’t need feelings when he had magic. It made it fine when every moment after, he felt nothing.
Now, he wasn’t so sure. It was kind of odd he never got angry or sad or, well, anything. And when he did, it felt so impossible to feel those things without freaking out. It was never small with him. It was either nothing or a crazy storm of too much. It was like there was a dam inside and instead of being able to let a little emotion out at a time, it just poured out in crashing waves.
It wasn’t very practical. Vincent snorted softly and ran his palm down his face. Damn, he was a crazy person. He was seriously crazy. They locked him in a room. Even Metzger never locked him in a room. He could have. He had enough fucking cages for it.
Vincent turned his head when the door suddenly clicked open. All the wards and spells to keep his yells from being heard made it impossible to let noise get through from the other side. Vincent’s eyes narrowed in confusion when he saw it was Dr. Rob and he wasn’t alone.
“Vincent, you have a visitor. A very brief one,” Dr. Rob added with a warning look to Fox.
Fox shuffled in, his eyes bright when he caught sight of Vincent awake and sitting by the window. Dr. Rob kept him steady as he slowly led Fox to the empty chair by the bed and helped him sit. Dr. Rob continued to stand, his hands on his hips as he stared down at Fox expectantly.
“Get lost,” Fox said with a huff. “I can talk to you whenever. Vince not so much.”
“I never said I was about to leave you alone in this condition. You need rest,” Dr. Rob said stubbornly.
Fox growled in clear disagreement. Vincent looked between the two of them with his brow furrowed. He hadn’t expected anyone would actually want to see him. He wasn’t sure if he was surprised or somewhat annoyed visiting seemed to lead to noise. Then again, anything to do with Fox promised to be noisy with too many feelings.
It wasn’t always a bad thing, he reminded himself. Sometimes it felt like the best moments.
“Doc, for real, I don’t need you babysitting me.”
“It’s fine. I can call you if he needs anything,” Vincent addressed Dr. Rob. He didn’t want Fox getting so worked up he’d have to leave.
Dr. Rob looked extremely reluctant to go. At first Vincent thought he was just afraid they might start fighting, but the healer looked more concerned with Fox’s condition than his attitude. Dr. Rob checked Fox’s temperature and summoned up a bottle of water, which he placed on the bedside table. “Stay hydrated. I’m serious, Fox. Do not exert yourself right now. I’ll be back shortly. And I do mean shortly.”
Fox waved him away with a roll of his eyes but did take a sip of water to make the healer happy. Vincent watched Dr. Rob leave and stood from his perch on the window sill. He looked at Fox’s flushed face and frowned. “You’re sick.”
Fox shrugged. His smile was crooked as he met Vincent’s gaze. “I’m fine. Promise.” His eyes sparkled the longer he stared at him, nearly burned as he looked him up and down like he was trying to memorize everything about him.
Vincent stared back warily as he slowly approached. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
Fox’s smile only grew. “You, uh, look nice.” He nodded at the window and had a larger swallow of water. “The sun behind you makes it like you’re glowing. Angelic.”
Vincent looked behind him, not really seeing the bright window. He felt flushed all of a sudden and self conscious to know Fox was still staring at him. He wasn’t sure how to handle it.
“I wanted to tell you something,” Fox spoke up when Vincent seemed to space out.
“Yeah?” Vincent turned back, relieved to find Fox staring at his hand instead of his face. “What?”
“You have nail polish on.”
Vincent followed his gaze to where his nails looked like black glass from the glamor Dorian showed him. “Oh. Right.” He made his way to the bed and sat at the edge. He wasn’t sure why this was so difficult. Usually Fox chattered away and things would be far easier than the weight of this silence. Vincent glanced sideways at Fox, who was still staring at his nails. There was a light sheen of sweat on his skin and his thin gown was damp and discolored. His eyes were a little glassy and didn’t want to focus.
“I think you need to sleep.”
“Don’t worry about me.” Fox’s gaze lifted, his eyes still full of that strange fire. “How are you?”
“I’m fine,” Vincent said automatically. He ran a hand through his hair and used it as an excuse to look away. “It’s dumb they’re even keeping me here. They could have locked me in my room. I’m not hurt at all.”
Fox suddenly reached for his hand and Vincent gasped when he touched his fingers. “I like your nails. They’re wicked.”
Damn, what the fuck was wrong with him? Why did such a simple touch make him feel half crazy? Vincent stared down at where Fox was tracing one of his fingers and swallowed hard. “I can do yours.”
“Yeah?” Fox looked surprised as he glanced up at him.
“Sure.” Vincent pulled Fox’s hand into his own. “I can do any color. Just pick.”
Fox didn’t seem to have an answer. He clasped his hand with Vincent’s and fell silent for a long moment. Vincent almost asked him if he had a favorite color. Knowing Fox, it was a rainbow. A neon rainbow of wild color.
“Vince, what you did yesterday…”
Vincent sighed. “I’m sorry. I know I probably scared you all.”
Fox scoffed. “I’m proud of you. I am so fucking proud of you it hurts.”
Vincent blinked and bit his lip. “Oh. Okay.” When he dared to look up, he found Fox staring at him with a damn near hero worshiping expression on his face. No, it wasn’t quite even that. Vincent felt his heart race the longer Fox stared at him. He was looking at him like he mattered. Like if something bad happened to him, Fox would care.
Vincent had no idea how to handle such a foreign concept. He barely cared about himself; why would anyone care about him?
“Fox…” He licked suddenly dry lips and pulled his hand away. “It would probably be easier for you if you just stopped feeling the way you do about me. I’m too fucked up. Really, I’m not good to be around. Dangerous, even.”
Something flashed in Fox’s eyes and his shoulders slumped. “Fuck, Vince. Why do you say that shit about yourself?”
Vincent shrugged. He regretted having let Fox’s hand go, his eyes drawn down to the warm flesh. “It’s true, isn’t it?” He indicated the room with a wave. “They don’t lock you away when you’re safe. I worry a lot. Well, lately. I worry I’m going to hurt someone,” he admitted quietly.
“Have you?” Fox reconsidered his question for a moment. “Have you hurt someone you didn’t mean to?”
“No.” Vincent had to meet his eyes. He didn’t want Rafael hurt, didn’t want him oblivious to just how dangerous he was. “I could, though. I’ve killed before. On purpose. I have flasbacks where I don’t even know where I am. I could hurt someone.”
Fox nodded slowly, his head ducked down as he thought. “The thing is, nothing has been easy about the way I feel about you, Vince. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop feeling it. It doesn’t mean I want to stop.” Fox’s hand again brushed against his. “Sometimes you meet someone who deserves your heart and it doesn’t matter if it’s easy or not. You gotta feel it.”
Vincent had no idea what to say to that. He pushed the hair from the back of his neck. He felt overheated and flushed. “I don’t deserve your heart. I don’t deserve anything.”
Fox’s gaze trailed over his face as he deliberately twined their fingers together. “Well, you have it.”
“You’re ill,” Vincent whispered. A part of him wished he could escape from the simple hold on his hand but he was unwilling to pull away.
“So, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Vincent stared at him a long moment, his silver eyes stormy with turmoil. “Why? Why do you like me? You have to know there’s something wrong with me. You’re not stupid. I’m never going to be like other people. I’m never going to be a fucking person. Can’t you see that?”
Fox’s hand tightened around his. He looked so serious and different than how he normally acted. His orange eyes were like fire. “I see you, Vince. All of you.”
Vincent swallowed as Fox edged closer and their knees pressed together. He couldn’t seem to look away from Fox’s burning gaze. He wondered fleetingly if he was going to kiss him. He might really want Fox to kiss him.
“I’m a shifter. I’m only ever going to be half a person.” Fox leaned closer and his hands clasped Vincent’s forearms. “The other half of me belongs in a completely different world. One full of instinct, emotion, hunt and battle. Even if you don’t think you belong here, everything about you belongs in that world. I know. My fox knows. You’re like us.”
Vincent breathed out unsteadily, lost in the intensity of Fox’s eyes. “You know I’m not a shifter.”
“I know. You’re more like that demon. You’re glamored to look like you’re human but the spell can’t quite hide what you really are.”
Vincent was feeling strange again, like maybe Fox’s eyes really were going to burn him up. “A cat?”
Fox smirked “Definitely a cat, but also a warrior. You’re a fighter. A protector. When you see your pack is in danger, you do everything you can to keep them safe.” He sat back with a hiss and grabbed his side. “I know it doesn’t make sense to you but it does to me. You’re one of us, Vince, you just never got to find your other form.” His expression was sad as he fixed on him again. “You’re never going to feel right as a person because you know this isn’t who you are. You have an animal inside who needs to find its home. Until it does, nothing is going to feel real.”
Tears welled in Vincent’s eyes and blurred his vision. “I…” He wiped at his face, unable to identify the swirl of emotion twisting at his heart. “I don’t know why I’m…” Maybe because it felt right. Maybe because after living so long with shifters and not belonging anywhere, it just made sense.
Fox pulled Vincent’s hand close. His lashes swept his cheeks as he kissed his knuckles. “I see you. I’m always going to see you no matter how lost you feel. And as long as you’re looking at me, you’re going to know you’re home.”
Fuck. God fucking damn it. Vincent jumped up as his tears spilled free. He turned, his face pointed toward the ceiling and breathing strained as he did everything to keep himself together. He wanted to say something. He knew he had to say something; he felt like he was breaking inside and wasn’t sure if it was the most horrible thing ever or something he’d been looking too long for.
“You okay?” Fox asked softly.
Vincent nodded brusquely and rubbed his wrist over his eyes. “Will you… Will you stay a little longer?”
“I’ll stay as long as you want me here.”
“Good.” Vincent took a few more steadying breaths until he didn’t feel like he was going to start bawling like a small child. Still, it took him longer to turn back. He suddenly wanted to sleep. He wanted to hide away in the darkness behind his eyes until he didn’t feel so overwhelmed. He sat cross-legged on the bed. He could feel Fox’s gaze even if he had a hard time meeting it. They sat in silence for a while until Vincent got up the nerve to grab Fox’s hand.
“What’s your favorite color?”
Fox took the question seriously. “Depends on my mood. Today I think it’s the color of that morning light.”
Vincent glanced at the glowing window and his eyes caught on a prism of color. “Do you like rainbows?”
Fox smirked. “Totally.”
Vincent nodded to himself. He focused on Fox’s thumb as he called to the elements in the air. It was difficult in the collar, harder to get the magic outside of him to answer when his internal magic was cut off. Vincent ignored the twinges of pain as the power sparked back in defiance so he could swirl a rainbow of bright colors on Fox’s fingernail.
When he looked up, he found Fox staring patiently at his face as his eyes drank down everything he did. “You’re really amazing.”
Vincent knew he was nothing remotely amazing even if it was nice to have Fox say otherwise. “You look really tired. Have you slept at all?”
Fox shrugged and hunched forward in his chair. Vincent couldn’t help but stare at the bandage wrapped around his ears and the stain of blood on one side. He didn’t want to think what might have happened if he got there any later.
“I’m kind of afraid to sleep,” Fox admitted gruffly. “I turned my back for a moment in the city and everything went to shit. Raider disappeared. Those freaks showed up. Justin and Leo got hurt. I think closing my eyes just, well, brings it all back.”
Vincent knew the feeling all too well. “Sometimes that happens to me. It’s this place right before sleep and my brain can slip right into it, like a nightmare living in the dark. But…” he tugged Fox’s hand. “It’s easier when you’re not alone.”
“Yeah?” Fox glanced up when Vincent released his grip. He watched him pull the blankets aside. “You sure?”
“I’ll make sure the nightmares don’t get you.” If his heart raced a little faster when Fox crawled into bed beside him, he figured it was just one of those difficult trade-offs to having his body stretched out so close to his. Vincent stared down at him while Fox settled, eyes drawn first to the bandages and then the bruised, tattooed flesh beneath.
He slowly sank down beside him and his eyes closed as the scent and heat of Fox surrounded him. Fox’s tail, silver and fluffy was curled between them. Vincent reached for it hesitantly and gently ran fingers through the soft fur. He sighed and let the side of his head relax on the pillow.
“Is it in your way?” Fox went to twist so he wasn’t tickling Vincent, but stopped when his tail was grabbed.
“I like it. It’s soft,” Vincent whispered. “If that’s okay?” he added as he realized it was probably rude to just start touching someone, fur or not. He reluctantly released Fox’s fluffy tail.
“It’s fine.” Fox glanced his way, his eyes full of sleep and something that made Vincent’s mouth go dry. “You can pet me whenever.”
His lower lip caught between his teeth, Vincent combed fingers through Fox’s fur again. His head was a mess again, mostly now on thoughts of Fox and why every little thing about him seemed to make him feel crazy. Fox’s eyes slowly drifted shut and he sighed and settled further in the sheets. Vincent let his chin rest on his shoulder, unable to keep from staring at his peaceful features.
“Hmm?” Fox’s eyes slit open. It took a while before his dazed orbs focused on him.
“Will you kiss me?”
Fox stared up at him like maybe there was another window glowing brilliant light right behind him. Vincent resisted the urge to look behind him just in case. Fox’s tangled fingers into his hair and tugged him close. Their lips slid together and Vincent’s eyes fell shut, consumed with the touch, the breath, heat and sighs.
“You’re beautiful,” Fox murmured as his head fell back on the pillow. “Crazy beautiful.”
His lips tingled. Vincent rested his head on Fox’s shoulder again and wrapped an arm around his waist. “Go to sleep, idiot.”
As Fox’s breath evened out, Vincent rested against him deep in thought. Maybe he wasn’t so bad off. If something this simple could fill him with peace, maybe he wasn’t so messed up in the head after all.
Hell, maybe he was just crazier for it. Vincent closed his eyes and breathed deep. He continued to pet the soft fur of Fox’s tail even as he drifted to sleep.
Harry found Jaz at the window where he left him. He was sitting on the ground with head in his hands and notebook discarded on the floor. Jaz looked up at his approach and his blue eyes narrowed behind the magical glasses to focus on Harry and the pen and notebook he carried.
“You need to know something, Mr. Potter.” Jaz stopped and looked up and around to make sure they were alone in the hallway. Harry nodded but kept walking so he could look out the window to see the dragons. He frowned when he found them lying on the ground instead of sitting. They were in small groups outside the border of the forest, moved but at least not closer to the castle. He counted them to make sure none slipped his notice of the twenty-three who were there, then he turned to Jaz.
When the specialist didn’t bother to stand, Harry sat next to him so he could read his writing with ease. What do I need to know?
Jaz took a while to answer, his expression hesitant but determined. “You’re changing him. Just now, in the classroom. Draco’s beast form has changed again.”
Harry frowned as he remembered everything on the fifth plane was just colorful swirls of magic from magic which did nothing to hide the solid forms of Draco, the vesper and Harry. The glasses would have made it easy for Jaz to see them whether he intended to see or not. There was no way he’d mention it to Draco; the prat would never let him touch him again.
Harry shifted his vision to the other plane and looked toward where he could feel Draco calling even now. The call was greater than before. Not as bad as when Draco saw the Vesper but still noticeably stronger. “Oh, for fuck sake! How the hell are those going to help anything?” he asked no one in particular. He couldn’t help but scowl as he saw Draco’s new wings, small and fluffy and absolutely going to get him in trouble.
What’s happening to him? Do the shifters have wings? Do any of them have wings?
“The Kalistar have wings but much larger and of course, the antlers,” Jaz said with a shake to his head. He refused to look in Draco’s direction. “His tail and hair feathers have also grown again. To put it bluntly, every orgasm he has with you is changing his magic. I can’t say if it’s the same without you—I have not been so compelled to look—but I saw the change now. Bloody serves me right too. The damn light nearly burned my retinas,” Jaz muttered, not looking pleased.
Harry tapped his pen to the notebook idly. So, what? Is this a problem? A good thing? Running for the hills thing? What the hell does it mean?
“I have no idea. I’ve never known any beast to respond to sex in such a way. He’s growing stronger, more powerful magically and his aura is calling louder. For all we know this is common with the Vesper or it could be an anomaly. I just thought it needed to be brought to your attention, seeing as you’re half of the cause.”
Harry sighed long and low and echoed Jaz’s slumped position of earlier. It was something else to worry about. Now something to worry about every time he wanted to have sex. Fuck.
It got Harry wondering about the other thing he worried about every time he was alone with Draco.
Jaz, I need your help with something. I need a spell to make sure no one can remove the ring off of Draco. Not me and not those creatures outside.
“Is that a concern?” Jaz glanced behind him through the castle wall at the dragons lying on the ground outside.
A huge concern. I fight my beast every time to keep from taking it from him. And those things out there…
Harry paused and looked through the wall as well as the creatures started to slowly move and sit up unsteadily. What happened to them? Were they fighting?
Jaz raised a brow, then rubbed the bridge of his nose as if to ward off a headache. “They were rutting, Potter. The two of you raised so much sex energy the creatures damn near blacked out. Some of them literally did when Malfoy started glowing. Thankfully, it seems to be contained to just your realm because I dread to think of the effects of such energy on a castle full of hormonal teenagers. The things out there were brutal enough.”
“Fuck, they do want him. Fuck!” Harry stood with a scowl and paced agitatedly in the wide hall. Just as quickly he crouched again to write furiously.
I need him protected! Barriers, wards, armies! I don’t care what but he needs to be safe if I’m dead!
“The Vesper taught me how to traverse the dimensional planes. I don’t know if I have knowledge they can’t overcome.” Jaz’s voice was even but his face revealed how concerned he was, his dark lips set in a deep frown.
How long do I have if I don’t go through with the spell? How many weeks would I have to protect him?
“It would not be weeks, you fool. Have you not even looked at yourself?” Jaz snapped. “You’ll be lucky if you last the week.”
Harry looked down at himself for the first time in a long time while looking through the fifth plane. He was bleeding. A lot. Every large splotch of black was now covered in red. It looked wet but didn’t move under his hand. “Shit.”
“That is the end result of sex with him on your body, Potter. You change when he changes. It’s not pretty.” Jaz gave a heavy sigh as he ran fingers through his white waves of hair. “He’s speeding your progression and pulling you toward reality but still without a way to ground you into it. Voldemort’s damage is catching up and fast. If you want to hold on, I would recommend not touching him again.”
Harry growled. He knew it was damn near impossible. Not just because it was Draco and he was sexy and gorgeous and all he wanted to do was make up for every moment they hadn’t touched. If those fucking things outside called for Draco too loud, he needed to make sure he was louder. There was no way to make such a demand and not follow through. Not anymore.
A spell for the ring. Please, Sir. And some sort of barrier, just to try. He’s going to need help and he won’t ask for it. Please.
“You don’t need to ask. We all owe you enough.”
Harry blinked and nodded after a moment. Right, Voldemort. That thing he survived—Or hadn’t. Where he changed the world around him, while his went so still. Draco’s too. When he disappeared, Draco’s world seemed to stop just as much.
This is all I ask of everyone, Jaz. For what I have done and sacrificed, I want only one thing in return. Protect Draco.
Jaz stared at the paper a long moment. He stood and stretched out his cramped legs. “You’ll have it, Harry. I give you my word.”
Harry spent Wednesday morning with Ron and Hermione during their study period. Jaz lent the magical glasses to Draco, who refused to wear them outside the bedroom for fear of seeing the Vesper. Draco then proceeded not to wear them while in the bedroom either. Harry suspected his appearance was just a bit too bloodied, even if he didn’t feel much pain still. Ron seemed to think so and refused to wear the glasses after a quick look at him. Hermione wore them perched on her nose, fearless as always even in the face of this.
With pen in hand, notebook underneath and Hermione’s steady gaze on him, Harry almost felt like a person.
“Yes, well Blaise is excitable,” Hermione said slowly as her fingers fiddled with the notebook pages. “But honestly Harry, after hearing everything, I can’t blame him. You were a bit mad last year, if you can remember. And the situation is, well, odd. You have to admit that, at least.”
Harry didn’t and was not really interested in doing so, even for his best friends. I was not mad last year.
Ron snorted and placed both hands on the table as if he were going to get up and leave. He stayed, his gaze fixed on the swirl of light over Harry’s form. It showed where he was but not the extent of his wounds, which seemed easier on Ron. They were in the Gryffindor common room with no other students there to bother them while they talked. They pulled soft chairs around the coffee table and Harry direct enough magic into his to make it solid to his weight. He couldn’t smell the air and sound was muffled, but it was still familiar, comforting territory.
“Har, you would do a one-eighty every time he walked in a room. A month before school was out, you were like a damn yo-yo. You’d be fine, yourself and then wham! Draco Malfoy. You couldn’t look at anything else. You couldn’t talk about anything else. Pretty sure you weren’t thinking of anything else either. You once took a header down the moving staircase when he walked by. And I swear, I think it was on purpose because you wanted the git to see if you were okay.” Ron was shaking his head in a mix between disbelief and disgust.
Harry scratched the tip of his nose and tried to think back. Once he found himself in the echo of life, real life sort of fuzzed away out of his mind. He knew things, innately, like he always took for granted when being solid and among the rest of the world. But he hadn’t really thought of living, not for months now. It was difficult, sad even, to think back to how things used to be.
He did take a header down the moving staircase, but it wasn’t on purpose. He was blindsided when he glanced up from his perusal of the floor to find Malfoy at the bottom of the stairs, his silver eyes trained on him before he quickly glanced away. Harry happened to land right at the prat’s feet in an embarrassing, if not serendipitous, coincidence. Now he looked back, he could see the signs he hadn’t known to look for then. The way Draco’s nostrils flared when he helped haul him up to his feet or the flush on his cheeks Harry brusquely told himself was just exertion on his part. Not to mention the ever skittering gaze where Draco seemed determined to look anywhere but directly at him.
Malfoy called him a klutz and said he should watch his back because tripping over the Dark Lord wasn’t going to save his life. When their gazes locked, silver bored into him, warning, pleading. Harry never found out what he Draco was pleading for. During those moments all he ever wanted to do was kiss him. Such need would rise up in him when he stared in those expectant eyes. Draco was beautiful; brilliant, determined to die to be free, and beyond gorgeous.
“It wasn’t just Malfoy, Harry. You were different during that last month. You were aggressive. I thought maybe it was some weird latent puberty thing, like you just got hit with a ton of testosterone,” Hermione broke in. “You were kind of a prick.”
Ron nodded. “You were a total prick. Moody, explosive… Not the way the Slytherins were, but yeah. When someone crossed you, you stomped them in their place. And if it was Malfoy? Well, you were just fucking weird every time it had to do with Malfoy. You were always staring. I think I caught you smelling his hair once.” Ron made a face. “Things got more concerning when we thought back to last year. You two were alone all of a sudden, and you could actually touch him. I mean, he’s kind of delicate.” Ron trailed off and frowned at his perception of Draco. “Not delicate. Shit, yes, kind of delicate.”
“He’s sensitive,” Hermione supplied. “I really thought he was going to have a break down this year. I never noticed; I always just wanted to hex the prat for the crap he used to do. But after you told us what you heard…”
“And started acting like a royal, lovestruck idiot,” Ron added with a sizable smirk Hermione mirrored.
“Yes, that. Well, we couldn’t help but notice him. Malfoy’s an interesting bloke. And we like Blaise and Pansy; although Blaise is trying at times. But he means well and that’s the important part. Anyways, our point is, we didn’t want to see Draco hurt. Even by you. Especially by you because, well, let’s face it Harry, you could do the most damage. Not because of your power or invisibility or anything, but because he obviously cares about you.”
Harry nodded distractedly while he drummed his fingers on the notebook. He didn’t know how to tell his friends Draco was his. Even last year, even the summer he thought Draco was dead and wondered if he was going to end up similar. The moment Draco admitted to not wanting to be a Death Eater was the moment he became his. Part of why Harry couldn’t explain it was because he didn’t fully understand it himself. He grew stronger after that moment, taller, meaner when he needed to be. He changed because Draco was going to be his and he needed to be strong enough to protect him.
Have you learned anything useful about the Kalistar and Vesper? Something about how they interact with each other, maybe? I think whatever Draco is makes me the way I am.
“I did some preliminary stuff. There really isn’t a lot out there. I guess they’re private creatures and anyone who goes near their village ends up dead.” Hermione shot him a concerned look. “Harry, if you survive this, you’re going to be one of them. Full instinct, full animal. You might not be yourself. You might not even remember yourself. Beast awakenings can be intense and you’re clearly head over heals for Malfoy on human and beast level. We’re worried.”
You think I’m going to hurt him. I would never.
“We’re worried,” Ron sternly repeated Hermione’s words. “No one knows what you’re going to do. Neither do you, so don’t fucking pretend with us. I know you’re freaking out thinking these vesper are going to drag him away, but hell, Har, it might just be you dragging him off into the forest at the end of all this.”
Harry scowled. He was more angry there was truth to what they were saying than anything else. He can stop me if he wants. He knows how to make me behave.
“Yes, well, as interesting a visual image as that is, I don’t think it’s necessarily foolproof,” Hermione said with a faint blush. “Maybe you decide you don’t want him to control you? You could knock him out, spell him asleep, tie him up; you’re a powerful wizard, Harry. Even more so since you defeated Voldemort.”
As he stared at his oldest, sweetest friend, Harry had to wonder when Hermione started thinking of him capable of tying Draco up and having his way with him. Although, hardly a terrible thought. especially with the way Draco fucking moaned about everything…
“He’s doing it again, isn’t he?” Ron muttered to Hermione as he saw Harry’s magic shift. Hermione nodded and a half frown quirked her lips. “See, Har? You’re fucking sitting there thinking about him again. You’re spacing out and he’s not even in the room. What the hell is it going to be like once the beast is in control and not just whispering in your ear?”
Shit, will you stop worrying over everything? Whatever is going to happen is going to happen and there isn’t a damn thing worrying is going to do except piss me off. Him too, for that matter. He hates no one listens to him and thinks they all know best. I need you to stop butting in on the unimportant stuff and just make sure he’s protected!
Harry finished with a large exclamation point and narrowed his gaze on Hermione. She glared back an cracked her knuckles in a way which suggested she was moments from one of her nagging rants.
We’ll worry about it if I live, okay? The bigger thing is to make sure we have a defense against the vesper.
Hermione relented and her glare lightened. Ron tussled his hair; he was irritated but wasn’t about to yell about it. “You need to stop throwing it in our face, Har. Having to bite our tongues because you may be dead is just shit.”
“Fuck.” Harry sighed and turned to a fresh page. Sorry. I’m worried too and this is the only way I know to deal with it. There are so many things I have no say in. I won’t compromise on Draco’s safety, even though I have little power to do anything about it.
Ron rolled his eyes and Hermione snorted softly. “Seriously, that’s bullshit,” Ron exclaimed. “You have the most powerful witch in Hogwarts on the case, and well. Hey, no one says no to me when I get my family to help. We’ll get it sorted out and you damn well know it.”
I do. That’s why I came to you.
“I want to start researching now before your spell. I want as much time as possible before you’re either out of commission to heal or because you’re dead,” Hermione said bluntly. She stood and reached for her book-bag. “You should be by Malfoy’s side, and make sure none of those dragons are stalking him. Make sure to say goodbye before the spell, Harry. Don’t forget.” She was nearly out the door before Harry stopped her and gently removed the glasses from her face.
Hermione smiled ruefully and carefully touched Harry’s magic-soaked cheek. “Thanks, Harry, for giving us something to do. It’s been a difficult year; summer was horrible. I feel like I can at least do this for you. I hope.” She frowned as her hand slipped and passed through his head. “Sorry.”
Harry smiled sadly. Ron came up behind Hermione with his things and the two walked out the portrait door to get to the library. They were trying really hard not to get their hopes up, Harry could see it. Bad enough they thought he died the first time; putting them through it all again felt cruel. It was the biggest reason he avoided talking to them. Guilt was a damn heavy burden and he imagined if he allowed himself to indulge he’d never be able to lift himself up again.
Still, Draco needed his help for as long as he was here. Harry might be the type to battle dark wizards alone, but he didn’t hesitate to get as much help as he could when it came to solving problems. He collected his notebook and pen, and let the glow fade from his skin so he was once again invisible. He’d peek out at the dragons and make sure they hadn’t moved, and then find Draco to see how he was dealing.
Draco still wasn’t certain how it had happened. His Wednesday morning ended with him locked in Dumbledore’s office with his mother and Serene Vellamorn, his fiancé to be. He was called from class to the headmaster’s office for vague reasons he assumed had to do with Harry’s spell coming up. Instead he found his mother and fiancé there with twin delicate smiles on their pale, pinched faces. It smelled of an ambush and he was immediately alert for foul play.
There was something wrong with Draco, something he was only starting to comprehend. The last couple days he kept laughing quite crazily. Odd, random bursts of joy and noise would jolt through him. He could have been sparking like the way Harry did, but instead of energy flashing, it was feeling which rushed up to the surface. Narcissa looked perfectly elegant in her lace, and Serene was a damn near double except she was younger and shorter, a waif of large blue eyes and long blond hair. As Draco stared at him he couldn’t help but laugh at their expectant faces.
“Draco, are you well?” Narcissa stepped forward but didn’t reach out to touch him. Draco noticed it. He couldn’t remember his mother holding him even once and it only made him laugh harder.
Serene took a different approach. She smiled bemusedly and gently touched Draco’s arm. “He’s excited. It must be such a surprise to find us both here. I’m glad I insisted on coming to finalize the arrangements. Draco, you’re near glowing.”
Draco’s eyes widened at the implication and his laughter faded as suddenly as it started. Narcissa glared at him and her gaze ran down Draco’s arm to see his father’s ring was still indeed in place. The anger in his mother’s expression did something to Draco. It was like looking into a challenging predator. Today he was feeling very much a predator.
“Yes, Serene, I glow now. I also laugh. I hope you aren’t too disappointed.”
Serene’s laugh was like a crystal bell as it lilted through the air. “Oh, Draco, you jest. How could I ever be disappointed in a husband such as you?”
Draco hadn’t seen Serene in three years but she was being ridiculously familiar with him like they grew up in the same house. Well, a house not Malfoy Manor, anyways. More like a Weasley house where family members talked to each other instead of plotted against. It was extremely confusing and Draco tore his challenging gaze from his mother to assess the young woman who would be his fiancé.
“You’re drunk.” Draco stepped away from her clinging hands.
Serene blinked lovely blue eyes at him, and her small mouth pursed slightly. “Draco, you’re teasing me.”
Draco shook his head although he smelled no alcohol. “Inebriated, then. Something is off.” He glared and rounded on Narcissa. “Are you out of your mind? Whose benefit is this for? Hers, to keep her from upsetting me, or mine? You spelled her without her knowledge. It’s beyond inappropriate.”
Narcissa stiffened and clasped her hands tightly together. “What choice did you give me? If she were to truly see you now…”
“What? Am I wearing a huge fucking rainbow or something? What the hell would make you think she would know a damn thing?” Draco stopped and a terrible laugh tore free when he remembered how he woke up.
It was to Harry’s hands on his body. His hot, invisible mouth slowly sucked Draco’s waking erection, teasing, tasting, and swallowing his seed down until the world faded away to nothing. Before Draco was able to ask for more and feel Harry inside him—all he ever seemed to want now was to be full and tight with his cock buried inside him—Harry streamed his hot cum all over his thighs and stomach. It was so surprising, so arousing, Draco thought he was going to come again. What was hotter when Harry rubbed the fluid into him, coating as much of his flesh as he could. He left Draco covered in his drying seed all day to hopefully keep the vesper at bay.
It wasn’t a rainbow but he was definitely covered in a ton of gay.
“This isn’t about your proclivities, my son,” Narcissa said tersely as her eyes moved to Serene and then back to him. “Serene, dear, please give me a moment to speak with Draco. He’s clearly distraught over Lucius’s condition.”
“Oh, leave her. She won’t be the first pureblood to marry a gay man,” Draco sneered. “I’m sure her closet is full of something just as shocking, otherwise she wouldn’t have agreed to begin with.”
Serene, who looked dazed and more than a little baffled, took a seat when Narcissa offered it. “I can assure you, Serene’s heritage is impeccable. The only thing she faces is some black magic tarnishing.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “As long as it’s not beast tarnished, right mother?”
“Hold your tongue!” Narcissa’s masks were down and Draco was surprised to find fear in her eyes. Yes, her voice was full of anger, but his mother was terrified. “Tell me, and don’t mince words. Have you lain with one of them? Is that why you’re glowing? Have you taken the ring off and soiled yourself in such a way?”
Draco was taken aback. He snapped his mouth shut with an audible click. Something dark and hot twisted in his stomach and he remembered briefly the feeling right after he saw the white dragons for the first time. “Why would you…? You mean the vesper, right?”
Narcissa looked torn and her small hands pulled at the front of her immaculate dress. She abruptly slipped out her wand and spelled Serene asleep in her chair. Her eyes were wild when she turned to Draco and tucked her wand away. “Please, I must know. We’ll find a way around it, but if they’ve claimed you…”
Draco actually felt sorry for her. Narcissa’s fear was so strong, it could have flavored the air around them. “Mother, I can assure you I haven’t lain, as you so put it, with any dragons.”
Narcissa touched her forehead and breathed a sigh of relief. “Your father warned me about this school. He told me a pack lives in the forest. But they’ve never gone near the castle and you showed no signs of the blood. You mustn’t go near the forest, Draco. As you are, they will surely steal you away.”
It was that feeling again. It clawed up his throat, breathed heat and made his skin prickle goosebumps. “Why, mother? What the hell do they want with me?”
Narcissa closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She was paler than normal with sweat glistening at her hairline. “I’m not certain. Conner never returned to tell us.”
“Conner?” Draco frowned; his mother wasn’t one for being so familiar.
Narcissa couldn’t meet his eye. “Your uncle, Lucius’s brother. There was only ever one ring.”
Draco hissed and stared down at his hand where the ring glittered. “Father had a brother with the beast blood?” No one told him. It must have been damning to erase his own sibling. Lucius was cold hearted but his own brother? It had to have been terrible.
“He was younger than your father. The Malfoys only ever have one male child a generation since the females are free of the curse. Your grandfather ignored tradition. He was free of the cursed blood and…” Narcissa stopped and her eyes strayed again to Serene to ensure she was still asleep. “He sired two sons who inherited the curse. Lucius wore the ring and stayed the same. Conner changed. He looked… he looked like you now, Draco, before he left with them.”
Draco’s skin crawled but it was not as unpleasant as he wished. Lust in equal proportion to fear shivered through his flesh and whispered in his ear. He spent his entire life thinking there was no place for him to be but in his home with his parents, doing as he was told. Today he woke to his father in prison as a monster, an uncle whol lived with a pack of wild animals and a boyfriend who touched and covering him with cum just like one. It was thrilling and awful; the entire world opened up to him but such a dark path yawned for him to follow.
“What happened to him? Did he…? Was he willing?” He asked softly, afraid of any answer. Narcissa took a long time to answer and Draco saw she didn’t want to, her lips tight in fear. “Mother, please. How can I protect myself if I don’t know everything?”
“I don’t think you want protection,” Narcissa whispered. “I think… I fear they’ve snared you even now.”
Again fire rushed up his spine and Draco’s skin flushed. “Mother, you must help me.”
“Yes. Your father can’t, so I must.” Narcissa nodded and closed her eyes as if she could not bear to see Draco and speak at the same time. “Conner was fifteen when he visited friends by the Red Forest for summer. Lucius and I were married already, two years. Conner was an excellent marksman for his age and I was told they spent weeks out there among the trees.”
Draco clutched his arms to keep them from shaking. “That’s where…”
“Yes, the Vesper had a pack. Conner spoke of hearing something while in the woods. It frightened him beyond anything he ever feared before. He seemed so normal before then, even ordinary, unlike Lucius with his white hair and skin. No one suspected he was tainted.” Narcissa suddenly stepped toward him, her hands outstretched and eyes beseeching. It was so unlike his mother Draco flinched away.
“Draco, no one knew. You have to understand.” She let her hands fall to her side, then quickly clenched them together. “He was so normal. Such a sweet boy and not a mean bone in him. The pack found him in the night while he camped. Conner could feel them, their presence, and he heard their howls. While he slept, the pack killed his three companions. They never woke to even know there was danger. Conner awoke to the sounds growls. He said it was like a spell descended upon him. A fire overcame him and he couldn’t control his body.”
“Shit… shit!” Draco wrapped his arms around his chest and tried to fight the way his body was reacting to the words. Narcissa paused to stare at him, worry deep in her eyes. Had his mother ever looked to care for him before? Even when faced with Voldemort, even after he tried to take his own life? Was this so terrible his mother could finally see he was a human worthy of affection?
“Somehow Conner managed to escape in the morning when the fire was quenched and the beasts slept. He said something dark was there; a creature with antlers helped lead him from the enchanted forest and back to familiar territory. He apparated to Lucius once he got his bearings. He wanted the ring.” She took a step forward, her eyes wide. “When Lucius saw how Conner was changed, he readily gave him the ring. He was wild, Draco. His eyes were full of fire and his skin glowed like an otherworldly creature.” She reached up as if to touch his face but held back before connecting. “He kept laughing.”
Draco’s mind raced. Too many thoughts slipped in and then out for him to keep track. “But father gave him the ring!”
“Yes.” Narcissa didn’t say anything else. Her expression closed off and she stepped away to stare blankly at the wall.
“Mother, he gave him the ring! Why didn’t it stop? What happened to him?”
“He stayed with us a whole two days,” Narcissa said tightly. “In the night, Conner woke us. He said the pack had returned for him. They were there, waiting for him. Your father was oblivious, absolutely blind to them. Conner feared for Lucius and without thought for himself, he placed the ring on your father’s finger and he stepped away… He kept stepping.”
Draco swallowed hard. His throat was dry and tongue felt too large for his mouth.
“He laughed when he opened the front door. He began to glow, then moaned. He slipped away before our eyes. It was like he apparated but without sound. He was gone and he never returned.” Narcissa breathed deep to steady her shaky voice. She turned to Draco and took in his ragged appearance. “Lucius didn’t notice the creatures but he was changed for a moment. I saw a soft glow on him fade when Conner disappeared. It was enough to know his blood was just as tainted. He never took the ring off again.”
Draco could not, no matter how terrible he knew it was, stop the laughter from escaping him. “Oh, god… Haha, fucking hell. He took it off for me!” He broke down laughing as he knelt on the floor.
There was a pack of wild vesper sitting outside the castle door and his father gave up his humanity to save what couldn’t be saved. What a fucked up, bad joke he was living. Lucius prevented him from killing himself. Harry killed Voldemort and managed to come back. After everything, so many impossible odds, he was going to be savored and devoured by vesper. And he was going to laugh through the whole fucking thing!
Narcissa knelt beside him. Her hands hovered inches from his shoulders. “We’ll take you from here, Draco. We’ll find you a safe place to…”
“No,” Draco whispered. His laughter faded away and left him gray and hollow inside.
Narcissa’s voice turned pleading. “Draco, please, it’s not too late. Lucius left his father’s and grandfather’s journals. Surely some knowledge can be found.” She did touch him then, her hands feather light as she grasped Draco’s shoulders. “I’ll protect you, my son.”
“No!” Draco pushed her away and stood to tower in anger. “Protect me? You handed me over to Voldemort on a fucking silver platter! You made me pledge myself to a woman when I’m gay! You’ve pushed me every day down the path where I will only create another tainted, victimized son for the vesper to hunt! How, exactly, are you going to protect me, mother? Open the castle doors to them? Maybe tie me up and throw a ribbon on me for good measure while you kick me out the door? I can do without your help!”
“Draco, please! You’re angry but don’t…” Draco didn’t hear what his mother had to say. He ran out Dumbledore’s office door, down the spiral staircase and tripped out into the hallway.
God, he had a fucking uncle. How many of Lucius’s line came to this end? All eventually. There was only one ring and the fuckwits insisted on having children! Every father must have given in to the curse to protect their son. Even a father as terrible as Lucius.
Draco didn’t have to be such a father. He didn’t have to be a father at all. Fuck, he didn’t even have to wait to see when the fucking creatures would come for him.
He felt completely mad as fear and fire shook through him. He didn’t have to wait to be another victim. If anything, he could be the last. Draco looked down at his hand and with one swift move, pulled the ring from his finger. It fell with a clatter to the stone floor he didn’t hear as he turned and stalked toward the large entryway of the castle.