Warning: Slash, mpreg, HBP spoilers aplenty.
Word Count: 16,357
Summary: This year isn’t going to be like all the others. He just knows it. A Draco-centric reimagining of HBP.
Author Notes: My eternal gratitude goes to josephides for the fantastic Simon Cowell-esque beta on my first draft and to coffeejunkii for being so encouraging to the little random who turned up on her LJ squeeing about The Boys.
Dedicated to citizenkreacher who read the dreadful earliest version and still managed to say "Aww" like she meant it. <3
When it breaks, Harry Potter’s nose makes a wonderfully satisfying crunch under Draco’s heel.
Draco has been waiting so long for this that it’s no surprise it’s well worth it. This is payback for five years of defeat and humiliation, and it tastes as sweet as he’s always imagined.
“That’s from my father,” he says, smirking down at Potter’s frozen expression of surprise, at the uncomfortable position he’s stuck in and the blood gushing down his face into his mouth.
Then Draco has another idea, a better idea. He drags the Invisibility Cloak out from under Potter’s immobile body and throws it over him. If he imagines hard enough, it’s almost like the Boy Who Lived never existed.
“See you around … or not,” he taunts, and leaves him there, walking over something that has to be Potter’s hand.
When the insufferable bastard appears in time for dessert, it’s a bit of a shame, but not entirely unexpected. After all, Potter always seems to have a large group of people fussing around after him, as though he’s incapable of looking after himself.
So, Draco remains philosophical about Potter’s rapid return because this time he, Draco, came out on top.
He relives the satisfying crunch again and again in his mind, and smiles.
This year isn’t going to be like all the others. He just knows it.
After the first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson, Potter’s waiting for him outside the classroom. Draco walks past him, keeps walking until Potter calls his name. Then he stops, turns where he stands and glowers at him.
“What’s the matter? Want me to break your nose again?”
Potter takes a couple of steps towards him. “I don’t appreciate being made a fool of,” he says, his voice as dark and dangerous as the black lake. “You might think you’re some kind of big Death Eater or whatever, but to me you’ll always be you.” He spits the last word out, like it’s some kind of filthy bug that has just flown into his mouth.
Draco laughs humourlessly as Potter moves closer still. “Like I care what you think,” he sneers. “Your little Gryffindor pals might be desperate for the Chosen One’s approval, but I don’t give a shit. I’ve got other friends … bigger and better friends …”
“Well I don’t care that you don’t care!” yells Potter, and when Draco laughs scornfully at how absurd and childish he sounds, he gets even angrier. “Oh, go fuck yourself,” he snarls, his right hand twitching at his side as though he longs to take out his wand and hex Draco into a fine red mist.
“Certainly,” says Draco.
As he turns and strides off, Potter says something else, something he can’t quite hear. It sounds like, “How dare you walk away from me!”
Draco keeps walking, hoping Potter can tell from looking at his back that he’s grinning from ear to ear.
After the first week back at school, Draco decides it’s time to put the plan into action. He transfigures the Vanishing Cabinet into a matchbox and puts it in his pocket, then goes in search of somewhere to work on it. Somewhere he knows he won’t be disturbed.
Obviously, his dormitory is out, because Nott is too curious for his own good. Likewise the many disused classrooms scattered around the school, because there’s always a chance some snogging couple in search of a room will burst in on him.
It isn’t very long before he remembers that room Potter and his DA cronies used last year. He goes to the seventh floor and wanders along the corridor until he recalls it’s near that painting of ballet-dancing trolls.
I need somewhere to hide, he thinks urgently. Somewhere no-one can find out what I’m doing.
The Room is full of all kinds of random cast-offs, and disgustingly dusty, but it will have to do. He clears a space by one of the walls, a good distance from the door, and returns the Cabinet to its normal state.
Borgin’s instructions are long and detailed, but he can’t begin following them yet. They require books Draco is struggling to get his hands on, books from the Restricted Section. Not for the first time, he wishes he had an Invisibility Cloak, like Potter.
Annoyingly enough, the first person Draco sees upon leaving the Room is Potter This is not unusual, as he seems to have been tripping over him ever since he walked off and left him fuming the other day. The Gryffindor doesn’t spot him at first; it’s late, and the corridors are dark and shadowy.
“What are you doing here?” Potter demands when they are so near he can’t help but notice him.
“I could ask you the same thing,” Draco replies, “what with me being a Prefect, and you being out this late without permission.”
“I’ve got a permission slip. Anyway, I heard you weren’t doing your Prefect duties on the train. Why the sudden interest now?”
“Never mind my Prefect duties, Potter. Why the sudden interest in me? God, if you carry on following me around like this, people will start saying you’ve got a crush on me.”
Draco goes to walk past him but Potter grabs him by the sleeve, yanking him around.
“You’re nothing to me,” says Potter, and his face is flushed, and his chest is rising and falling quickly. “Nothing.”
It happens like this –
Potter is still holding onto his arm, right on top of the Mark, which is still tender several months on, and Draco is wondering if it’s deliberate, if Potter is suddenly going to roll up his sleeve and shout “Aha!”
Potter is glaring at him, and Draco is glaring back, tugging his arm fiercely, trying to break free, wondering out loud if he’s going to have to break all of Potter’s face this time.
Potter is snarling like some wild animal, pushing Draco against the wall so hard his head smacks against the stonework, his forearm pressing against Draco’s throat so he can barely breathe, his face so close Draco’s vision is blurring, and then closer still …
Potter is kissing him.
"I hate you,” Potter moans into his mouth on Tuesday as they make out behind the statue of the One Eyed Witch. “God, I hate you so much.”
Then there is no sound but the occasional click of their teeth, the soft wet sounds of their lips moving together, and their breathing, harsh and ragged. Draco hits Potter’s head off the statue (mostly by accident) and even that doesn’t interrupt them because the only important thing is that they don’t stop doing this.
“What the hell are we doing?” Draco asks when they eventually emerge, half an hour after curfew, both dishevelled and panting.
“Damned if I know,” says Potter. “Same time on Thursday?”
By Thursday, Draco has had time to think things through and has come to the conclusion that it’s very wrong and he’s not going to allow anything else to happen between them. His resolve lasts until just after dinner, when he and Potter happen to be leaving the Great Hall at the same time. It can’t hurt just to go with him once more. Just once.
Without saying a word to each other they head out of the front door and across the lawn, walking so fast they’re all but running.
“We’d better make this quick,” Potter says, when they go round the back of greenhouse three to hide from any prying eyes. “I’ve not finished my Potions essay yet.”
“You can have a lend of mine,” Draco suggests. It’s only when Potter gapes at him that he realises it was a fairly unlikely thing for him to say. “I’m not doing this out of the goodness of my heart. This is just so you can stay longer.”
“All right,” Potter agrees. “Cheers.”
“No more school talk now,” Draco says, putting his hands on Potter’s shoulders and pushing him up against the side of the greenhouse.
“Okay,” Potter mumbles, closing his eyes as Draco leans in to kiss him. Before long, Draco can feel Potter’s hard-on pressing against his thigh. He reaches down between them, unzips Potter’s trousers and curls his hand around his cock.
His breathing harsh and noisy, Potter grins and returns the gesture. His hand is cold and kind of clammy, but his grip is firm and sure. Draco wants to say something like I always knew you were a wanker, but when he opens his mouth what comes out is a strangled moan. He’s intensely aware of Potter gasping and shuddering and writhing against him, of Potter’s cool, slick hand surrounding him, of how good this feels, and how wrong.
“Dirty … Slytherin … bastard …” Potter hisses in his ear, and maybe he means it, but it’s hard to take him seriously when he’s thrusting hard into Draco’s hand and practically crying with how good it feels. “This ... oh Jesus ... this doesn’t mean I like ... YOU,” Potter whispers loudly, crying out and arching against him as he comes down the front of Draco’s robes. Only now does Draco let himself come, quietly smug that he’s managed to last longer, as if this is all some kind of competition.
They clean themselves up quickly, straightening their robes and picking up the schoolbags they discarded earlier.
“So. Um. There’s that essay,” Draco says, holding out the scroll of parchment. He feels shaky and awkward and uncertain. Miles out of his own comfort zone. He wonders if Potter feels the same.
“Thanks,” says Potter, taking the essay and putting it in his own bag. “See you tomorrow.”
The next morning, Goyle trips the Weasel as they’re queuing for Defence class. The great oaf falls flat on his face, and when he scrambles to his feet, his gaze goes straight for Draco, waiting for him to say something scathing.
Draco doesn’t say a word.
“What was that all about today?” Potter asks that night as he leads Draco into a disused classroom on the third floor. “You didn’t even laugh at Ron or anything.”
“Your point being?” Draco replies mildly.
“Next time just say something nasty, ok? I don’t want people getting suspicious.”
“Potter, just because I didn’t make fun of Weasley today doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to come to the conclusion that we’ve been, um ...”
Potter looks amused. “We’ve been what?”
“Why don’t you stop talking now?” Draco suggests.
Potter growls, pushing Draco up against the teacher’s desk and sinking to his knees in front of him. “No talking,” he agrees. Soon he can’t talk, because his mouth is full of Draco’s cock, but he’s definitely glaring at him while he sucks him off.
After all, nothing says I despise you like a blowjob between enemies.
“Thanks for the loan of the essay,” Potter says afterwards, breaking the silence during which he’s brushing dust and grime off his trousers, and Draco’s watching him “It was good.”
“You handed them both in, then?”
“I can’t see you over the weekend,” Draco tells him when it’s almost time for curfew. He’s trying to keep focused, but it’s difficult when Potter insists on standing so close to him and doing that thing to his neck. “I’ve – oh! – got things to do.”
“Sunday,” Potter insists, biting him so hard Draco just knows he’s going to have a love bite.
On Sunday, he doesn’t go to meet Potter because he realises it’s been a whole week and he hasn’t worked on the cabinet once. He goes to the Room of Requirement, examines his stolen textbooks and tries not to think about Potter and his delicious mouth. When that doesn’t work, he has a wank instead.
Next morning at breakfast, one of the school owls delivers a note. Inbred wanker, it says, in messy black ink. Meet me on Wednesday.
Wednesday can’t come soon enough. They snatch a few minutes immediately after lunch in a dark corner of the dungeons, but their time together is all too brief. Draco is left unsatisfied and has to sit through a Potions lesson with all kinds of images of what he’d like to do to Potter running through his mind.
Unsurprisingly, he screws up his potion royally, while Potter’s turns out perfectly.
Potter doesn’t turn up on Wednesday night. Draco waits a whole fifteen minutes for him, then gets fed up and goes to find Pansy. Not much of a substitute really, but she has a mouth too, and knows what to do with it.
On Thursday he goes to breakfast holding hands with her, his gaze flickering over to the Gryffindor table to gauge Potter’s reaction. Potter is carefully ignoring them, but Draco notes that he’s ignoring his housemates too.
“I know what you’re trying to do,” Potter mutters, pausing by his desk as they go into Transfiguration that afternoon. “You’re trying to mess with my head.”
“Is it working?” Draco asks, twirling his quill between the fingers of his left hand.
Potter rolls his eyes, and goes to sit down between Granger and Weasley.
On Friday, Draco sits with his back to the Gryffindor table at mealtimes, and doesn’t let himself look over to where Potter is sitting in any of their classes.
That evening, Potter corners him in the History of Magic section of the library and presses against him so that Draco is sandwiched between Potter and Y to Z.
“So you’ve remembered what I look like, then,” says Draco, grinning at Potter, who still looks rather annoyed.
“Oh, fuck off.”
They grope each other, fully clothed and suppressing their groans, until they both come. Draco can hear the voices of other students nearby, and wonders what would happen if someone decides they need a History of Magic book at this precise moment.
“Now that’s what I call an effective study session,” Potter whispers, leaning in so that his mouth is right beside Draco’s ear, his breath tickling the side of his face.
“When can I see you again?” Draco asks, and it’s needy and desperate and so unlike him but he can’t help it.
Potter shrugs, smiles, and vanishes among the stacks.
On Monday night, they only manage to make it as far as Filch’s cleaning cupboard. Checking that nobody’s watching, they slip inside. Draco locks the door behind them, while Potter casts a silencing charm around the tiny space.
“Lumos,” Potter mutters, and instead of lunging at Draco like he usually does, he just stands there, staring at him in the flickering wand light.
“Something the matter?” Draco asks, though that much is obvious from the troubled expression on Potter’s face.
“This can’t go on,” Potter says abruptly. “It’s getting weird and ... I think we should call it a day.”
Draco wonders idly if Granger and the Weasel have started commenting about Potter’s long absences, or if he’s just started thinking too much. All he knows for sure is that Potter is right. It can’t go on.
He squashes a pang of something that might have turned into disappointment, reminding himself of how much he hates Potter. He hates him. He –
“We should stop it right now,” Potter says, “before ... well, before it becomes a problem.”
“No more meeting like this,” he says, taking a couple of tiny steps closer to Draco, apparently unaware that he’s doing so.
“All right,” Draco agrees.
Potter moves closer to him again. “Everything will just go back to normal and it’ll all be fine.”
“Sure,” says Draco, and he feels the toe of Potter’s shoe scuff against his own. “Potter?” he breathes.
Potter’s eyes look black in the wavering light. Even though his voice is quite calm, he looks anything but composed. “Yeah?”
Draco moves his other foot so that it bumps against Potter’s, and watches as he jumps at the unexpected contact. “Why aren’t you leaving?”
“I don’t know,” says Potter, and his wand slips from between his fingers. Neither of them bothers to search for it because they’re already wrapped around each other, both suddenly brave in the darkness.
Draco scrabbles at Potter’s shirt, cursing the small, fiddly buttons and his own sudden clumsiness. Potter unbuckles Draco’s belt with deft fingers, unzips his trousers and pushes them to the ground where Draco steps out of them, stumbling a little and shivering like mad.
“You’re hopeless,” Potter says, a bit of a smile in his voice as he brushes Draco’s hands aside and pulls his shirt over his head without bothering with the buttons. Draco quickly takes off his own shirt and tie, Potter bumping against him slightly as he kicks off his trousers.
“Are you sure about this?” Draco whispers shakily. Potter’s still at arms length, though he can feel the heat radiating off him.
“I need to get this out of my system,” says Potter, drawing him close.
Draco knows exactly what he means.
They sink to the floor on top of the pile of discarded clothing, knees and feet bumping against pails and mops and brooms, hands and mouths sliding over hot, damp skin.
Draco is nervous, and he thinks Potter is too, but he’s damned if he’s going to admit it. He certainly doesn’t want them to stop doing what they’re doing when it feels so fucking fantastic.
Potter’s between his legs, their hard-ons rubbing together through underwear neither of them was bold enough to remove. It feels good, but Draco thinks it could be so much better. He slides his hand beneath the waistband of Potter’s boxers, pushes them down as far as he can, and runs his hand over Potter’s bare arse.
“That feels good,” Potter sighs, wriggling the rest of the way out of them. Even though his face is close, Draco can hardly make out his features, and he’s glad. He can’t imagine what it would be like doing this in the light. “Take yours off too.”
“You’re going to have to move,” Draco says impatiently. Potter shifts to the side a little and Draco raises his hips to allow him to slide his pants down his legs and off.
Draco can’t help but let out a moan as Potter settles back down on top of him. The friction alone makes him want to come right there and then, but he distracts himself by curling his hand round the back of Potter’s neck and kissing him so hard he makes himself feel dizzy. “I want you in me,” he whispers, barely recognising his own voice.
Potter’s voice is low and husky with lust. “Good,” he says. “Because that’s what I want too.”
When it happens, it isn’t like Draco imagined. It’s uncomfortable, kind of painful even, but at the same time it’s brilliant because it’s Potter and they’re having sex. He clutches at Potter’s shoulders, his ribs, his arse, gripping hard enough to leave marks. The feeling of Potter inside him isn’t that thrilling, exactly, but there’s enough room between them for Draco to touch himself, and all of it together is enough to overload his senses.
“Ohbloodyhell,” Potter groans, and he’s coming already, but so is Draco, and it doesn’t really matter anyway because they’ve done it, they’ve got it out of their systems, and now things can go back to normal. He collapses on top of him, sweaty and breathing hard, and Draco can feel Potter’s heart pounding, or maybe it’s his own.
Afterwards, Potter looks anywhere but at Draco while they get dressed. “Nobody finds out about this,” he says. “Nobody.”
Draco’s hands are shaking, his fingers fumbling as he tries to fasten his shirt, but he’s damned if he’s letting Potter know. “And there was me desperate to go and brag about it to Professor Snape,” he sneers, retrieving his tie from a dusty corner.
“Good,” says Potter firmly, almost brutally, and Draco takes a savage sort of pleasure in watching him struggle to find the armhole of his robes. “Because as far as I’m concerned, this never happened.”
“Fine by me,” Draco snaps, though his aching arse will be a reminder that it did happen. He grabs Potter as he’s about to leave, pushes him roughly against the shelves and kisses him hard. The kiss is violent, painful, all teeth and grabbing hands and Potter’s thigh between his legs.
“I fucking hate you, Malfoy.”
“Likewise,” Draco replies, glaring at him. He looks at Potter, all flushed and sweaty and sated. “You should take a moment before you go back to your common room,” he says coldly. “Unless you want people asking who you’ve been shagging.”
Then he goes straight to the Room of Requirement to begin another night’s work, even though his mind is on anything but the plan.
I let Potter fuck me over, he thinks, with a growing sense of unease.
I let Potter fuck me.
It’s almost as though nothing ever happened.
They glare at each other when they pass in the corridor, but other than that Draco gives off every impression that he’s ignoring Potter. He wishes he could, but it’s just not possible to completely disregard him. Potter, who watches him when he thinks nobody’s looking, and who Draco finds himself seeking out more often than he’d like.
The plan is going badly. He’s following Borgin’s instructions to the word, but doesn’t seem to be making any progress. This leads him to the conclusion that the shop owner is playing him for an idiot, so Draco sends a note to the werewolf.
The next morning, a different set of instructions arrives by owl post, and Draco sets to work immediately. He’s still not completely convinced of how secure the Room is – could it be possible for someone else to get in while he’s using it? Since no solution to this problem immediately presents itself, he carries on, his attention always half-focused on the door.
The stress of all this, and the ridiculous amount of homework he has, and his mother’s increasingly hysterical letters, does not help his general well-being. Draco is no stranger to ill health – Pureblood children are generally more susceptible to illness than others – but he’s never felt so bad in his life. He feels exhausted no matter how much he sleeps, sick with worry and just generally strange in a way he can’t identify.
The Quidditch season is fast approaching, and the first game of the year is Gryffindor versus Slytherin. Last year their match ended in a brawl between Potter and Draco. This year, Draco thinks it’s more likely it’ll end with him falling asleep on his broom.
For no apparent reason, his flying is shot to hell. Yet another addition to the list of things that are making him so angry right now. He has no idea what the problem is – maybe it’s just that his head is too full of other stuff to concentrate.
To make matters worse, the Snitch keeps slipping through his fingers during practice. When the Captain yells at him for not paying attention, his performance gets even poorer.
On the day of the match, he goes off sick without very much regret at all. It’s easy enough to persuade the rest of the team he’s ill, because he has actually been throwing up since the early hours of the morning. Just like every other day this week.
While everyone else heads off to the Quidditch pitch, Draco slopes off to the Room of Requirement and lies down on an old sofa with yet another mouldy Dark Arts tome. He wakes up six hours later feeling hungry and horrendously guilty for having wasted the day.
When he goes back to the common room, everyone’s sitting around looking grumpy and mutinous.
“What’s the matter with you lot?” he asks, sitting down in his usual spot between Pansy and Blaise.
“We lost,” Pansy says grumpily. Draco must look nonplussed because she adds, “You know, Quidditch.”
“Oh,” says Draco. “Yeah.”
“Why weren’t you playing, anyway?” Blaise is looking at him with suspicion. He can sometimes be a bit too sharp for Draco’s liking. “There’s nothing wrong with you, is there?” he adds contemptuously.
“Yes there is,” Pansy says, putting her arm around Draco’s shoulder, and for once he finds he is almost grateful for her ridiculous mothering. “Look how thin he’s getting.”
Blaise snorts, and turns his back on them both to speak to Nott.
“You should go to Madam Pomfrey,” Pansy clucks, still eyeing Draco as though she thinks he might fade away at any moment. “I’m sure she’ll be able to make you better in a minute.”
Unfortunately, Madam Pomfrey has a bad habit of asking uncomfortable questions. And if she asks him to roll up his left sleeve ... well ...
The sickness and tiredness doesn’t stop. If anything, it gets worse. Eventually, Draco goes to the library and finds himself a stack of medical textbooks.
His two main symptoms - nausea and exhaustion – keep leading to the same conclusion in every book he tries. Pregnancy.
“Yeah, right,” he says scornfully, discarding the books one by one until he gets to the last one. It’s a bit newer than the others, in that it was written within the last two hundred years.
Pregnancy, it says, just like all the others. He’s about to slam the book closed and give up his search when he notices some smaller words underneath.
Also see: Male Pregnancy, page 498.
“Oh, what is this rubbish?” But he’s curious enough to riffle through the pages to four hundred and ninety eight, and squints at the tiny, fading print.
Though a rarity, male pregnancies can and do occur in the wizarding world. They are thought to be particularly prevalent among Pureblood wizards. Research indicates that male pregnancies occur in three situations:
-A deliberate transference of a pregnancy to a wizard by a witch if she has been placed under undue physical or emotional stress – for example anger, grief or a near-death situation.
-If certain fertility and transfiguring potions are consumed, a wizard can temporarily develop the required physical female characteristics in order to become pregnant and to bring that pregnancy to term.
-On some occasions a male pregnancy may occur without any apparent reason. It has been theorised that the significant alignment of certain stars and planets may be a contributing factor in these cases. Or perhaps it’s just bad luck.
The male physique is not designed for childbirth, which in most cases is achieved via surgical means. Though male-born babies are generally smaller than their female-birthed counterparts, pregnancy nevertheless takes a very high toll on the wizard involved. Embarrassing as it may be to admit to being in such a condition, failing to seek medical attention is not advisable, as -
Draco can’t read on. The words have turned into a blur in front of his eyes. His brain doesn’t seem to want to take any more information in.
“What a load of crap!” He slams the book shut with a big enough bang to make Madam Pince shush loudly from the issue desk, and stomps out of the library, shaking his head at the ridiculousness of it.
Next day, he comes back and reads it again.
And the next day.
He stares at his reflection really hard in the bathroom mirror, but he doesn’t think he looks any different. Just a bit thinner, a bit more tired. It’s just stress, right? He’s let himself get run down because he’s working too hard. Right?
(pregnancy generally takes a very hard toll on the wizard involved)
“I’m not pregnant,” he tells the mirror defiantly. “I can’t be.”
The mirror coughs in a way that suggests polite disbelief when he hunches over the toilet and heaves until there’s nothing left to come out.
Draco discovers it’s quite easy to pretend there’s nothing wrong if you keep yourself very busy. He goes to class, he goes to the Room of Requirement, he practices Quidditch three times a week with the rest of the team. In the evenings he sits in the common room and forces himself to interact with the others. It’s all a distraction, a diversion from a problem he really doesn’t want to have to face.
He knows there are tests that witches can do to find out if they are expecting. But his mother has always said you just know, and now he thinks he understands what she means. Apart from the obvious physical symptoms, he feels completely certain, no matter how much he might want to deny it.
So the question is this: should he tell Potter?
He doesn’t want to, obviously, because it’s incredibly embarrassing, and because he’s fairly sure that Potter isn’t going to have anything useful to say on the subject. But he has this vague notion that Potter ought to know. It’s the right thing to do in these situations, isn’t it?
One evening he runs into Potter. Quite literally, as it happens, because Draco isn’t looking where he’s going. After they partake in the requisite amount of shoving and name-calling, he decides he might as well have a go because it’s as good a time as any.
“I need to speak to you,” he says.
“I’m on my way somewhere. Can’t it wait?”
“Well, it’s pretty important. Urgent, even.”
“Oh what could you have to say to me that’s important?” And with that charming retort, Potter walks off.
“Fine! Fuck you!” Draco shouts after him.
It’s nothing more or less than he’d expected, yet he finds he feels some obscure sense of disappointment. This lasts until he’s overcome by an unexpected bout of nausea and has to duck into the nearest bathroom. He barely makes it into a cubicle before he vomits.
When he straightens up, scraping the back of his hand across his mouth, he realises he’s shaking and it’s not just from being sick.
He hates Potter, and he hates himself, and he hates this ... this thing that’s poisoning him.
He flushes the toilet, turns to go, and finds there’s a girl standing in the doorway. It takes him a couple of seconds to notice she’s actually a ghost.
“Are you ill?” She’s the most miserable being he’s ever seen – even her voice is a glum sort of whine.
“In a manner of speaking.” He can tell his bitter smile confuses her.
He exits the cubicle feeling like he’s been hit with the jelly legs jinx and walks straight through the ghostly girl, who lets out an indignant squeal. Leaning against the sink, he turns on the cold tap and splashes his face with handfuls of cold water. At length, he feels almost human again, and dries himself.
“Yes, but are you dying?” The girl sounds almost hopeful. “Because if you are, you’re very welcome to come and share my toilet.”
“I’ll bear that in mind,” he tells her as he leaves the bathroom.
Outside, he leans against the wall, still shaking.
Oh god, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s going to do.
Maybe he doesn’t need to do anything. Maybe it will all just go away, if only he can try to forget about it.
December comes, and with it a sense of impending doom. Draco is going home for the holidays and there is no way the Dark Lord will miss the opportunity to summon him and enquire as to his lack of progress.
He applies himself to his Occlumency practice more frequently, clearing his mind and collecting his thoughts whenever he gets some time to himself. After all, he’s never had so many secrets to hide.
Just before Christmas, Slughorn has another one of his parties. The school is full of students milling around without permission slips, and Draco decides it would be the perfect opportunity to have one last go at the Cabinet.
Unfortunately, Filch catches him and drags him downstairs to the party, calling for every punishment under the sun. “It’ll be the thumbscrews for you, m’boy,” he mutters as he manhandles him over to where Slughorn is standing with Snape and Potter, probably the two people in the world he least wants to see.
Potter stares at him at him with something like shock, and Draco thinks for one horrifying second that maybe he suspects something. Then he realises that Potter hasn’t seen him up close for weeks now, and he certainly isn’t at his best. He’s pale, thinner than ever, and his skin has taken on a definite greyish tinge.
Snape drags Draco off to an empty classroom and tries to interrogate him, but he brushes off the former Potions Master’s attempts at Legilimency with ease. Indeed, he slams the shutters of his mind down so tightly that Snape can see nothing at all.
“Let me help you,” Snape says, and he’s practically begging. He’s his favourite teacher, and Draco wants so badly to let him in, but he doesn’t know if he can trust him. Doesn’t know if he can trust anyone these days, even himself.
When it all gets too much, he walks out on Snape. He goes straight past the party and up to the Owlery where it’s quiet and he can be by himself.
He stares out into the dark, savouring the feeling of the cold night air against his face while owls glide soundlessly in and out of the windows. After a while, the feeling of being irretrievably trapped begins to subside a little.
A voice from behind makes him jump.
It’s Potter, of course.
“What do you want?”
Draco doesn’t bother to turn and look at him because he really doesn’t need this right now. In fact, if Potter pisses him off, he thinks he might just rip his head off with his bare hands. And enjoy it.
“You’re up to something,” Potter says. “Tell me what it is.”
Draco’s horrified when he realises that he’s actually putting a facial expression to the tone of voice Potter is using – determined, stern, and maybe even a little righteous.
“You’ll have to do better than that.”
Potter speaks again. “Malfoy,” he mumbles, and this time his voice is different. He’s nearer, too. “I-.”
“Just go back to the party, ok?”
There’s a long silence, but Draco knows Potter hasn’t left because he can sense him staring at the back of his head. He feels Potter move closer, and then a hand on his shoulder.
Surprised, he half-turns. Potter’s hand curls behind Draco’s head as their lips brush, barely a kiss. Draco doesn’t react, his arms hanging uselessly by his side, his knees feeling suddenly very weak.
“Merry Christmas,” says Potter quietly, then he turns and leaves.
Draco stands there for a long while, tingling all over. Savouring the taste of Potter on his mouth.
Next morning the bottle of poison he ordered from the Apothecary in Knockturn Alley arrives, disguised as toad tonic. He holds it in his hand for a long time, just looking at it.
He’s going to send it to his assistant in Hogsmeade, but in an abstract sort of way he thinks that this would solve all his problems. Wouldn’t it?
He can almost hear his father’s voice in his head: “Malfoys don’t commit suicide.”
There are a lot of other things Malfoys don’t do either.
Like kissing Harry Potter. And liking it.
The official summons arrives two days after Christmas, delivered by his aunt Bellatrix. Draco puts on his Death Eater robes and mask and tries in vain to stop himself from trembling before he floos to the meeting place.
“My Lord, I am honoured to receive an audience with you.” He crouches down low, kisses the Dark Lord’s hem just as he has been taught.
“Indeed." The Dark Lord sounds as cruelly amused as ever. “The plan, Draco, how is it progressing?”
“Slower than anticipated, my Lord,” Draco confesses, staring at a speck of mud on the Dark Lord’s shoe. Surely Dark Lords are supposed to have clean shoes? “There have been delays – certain people at Hogwarts are suspicious, and Borgin was less than helpful at first. These problems have now been dealt with, and I hope to have made significant progress by Easter. My Lord,” he says again, for good measure.
The Dark Lord looks much less amused now. He steeples his long fingers in front of him and even that simple gesture is terrifying. “You may recall what we spoke about over the summer, Draco? The futures of your father and mother lie in your hands, child, and you try to mollify me with excuses?”
“My Lord, I am doing my best.” His voice comes out higher than he would have liked. “I am working night and day to fulfil my duties.”
But the Dark Lord is already pointing his wand at him, and doesn’t even bother to speak the word. Without any time to steel himself for what is coming, Draco finds himself face down on the stone floor, twitching and jerking with pain. But he keeps his mouth closed, bites down on his bottom lip when he wants to scream, because he will not make a sound.
He’s escorted out – no, half-dragged, half-carried out - by two large Death Eaters, one of whom returns to the room immediately. The other takes off both their masks, and drags Draco to his feet.
“Brave boy,” mocks the werewolf, his voice low and rasping. “No screaming. But I prefer it when they scream. I’ll make you scream, when you fail and he gives you to me.”
He licks his lips.
Draco’s posture is defiant even though he must reek of fear to the werewolf’s sensitive nostrils. “I won’t fail.”
Greyback leans in, squashing him against the wall, and the stench is so awful that Draco actually retches. “You smell different,” he snarls, confused. “Someone’s had you, but that’s not it. What have you done to yourself?”
With a great deal of effort, Draco shoves him away. “Keep your foul hands off me.”
The werewolf laughs, and it’s hacking and wheezing and disgusting. “No matter. You’ll taste just the same as all the others when I rip out your throat.”
Next morning, Draco’s entire body is aching from the Unforgivable. When he has to stagger to the toilet to be sick, he’s surprised. Disappointed.
He didn’t even know he was hoping.
Still there then, he thinks miserably.
The new term starts on a spectacularly awful note when some Ravenclaw boy comes into the Room when Draco’s working. Draco ends up hiding behind a pile of furniture for half an hour while the boy searches for the perfect place to hide something that looks suspiciously like a tiny Hairy MacBoon in a cage
After the boy is gone, Draco crawls out from his hiding place and brushes a thick layer of dust from his robes. “ARGH!” he yells, and kicks the Cabinet several times, achieving nothing but a pain in his big toe and a tiny amount of relief for his frustration.
He takes Crabbe and Goyle aside that afternoon and explains he’s going to need their help soon.
They’re as willing as always.
“No problem. Just tell us when.”
Now he just needs to figure out what he wants them to do.
Generally speaking, Crabbe and Goyle aren’t very much use. They will never be the world’s greatest thinkers, for example. But they are extremely good at following simple orders unquestioningly, and this is exactly what he needs. He needs them to be able to stand on guard, somehow. But if it’s Crabbe and Goyle, everyone will suspect he’s nearby.
Once again, he wishes he had an Invisibility Cloak.
He’s taking a bath in the Prefects’ bathroom a few nights later when that ghost girl – her name’s Moaning Myrtle, according to Pansy – appears out of one of the taps. She sits on the side of the bath and tries to peer through the gaps in the foam. It’s quite funny, in a disturbing sort of way.
“You didn’t die,” she complains, sounding disappointed. “I waited and waited, and you never turned up.”
“I’m sorry. I’ve been really busy.” And he marvels at how absurd it is to be apologising that he’s not dead.
“That’s what he says.” Myrtle sighs, looking misty-eyed. “Harry Potter. He used to come and visit me in my bathroom all the time, the year the Slytherin monster came back.”
“Oh?” He’s not particularly interested in hearing about perfect Potter right now, thank you very much.
“They were making something in here, him and his friends. Some potion that they were going to use because they wanted to find out who Slytherin’s Heir was.” Myrtle’s voice lowers, her tone that of one long-practiced in the noble art of gossip. “He and the red-haired boy put hairs into theirs and turned into big boys; Slytherins, like you, I think. And their other friend, that girl, turned into a cat!”
She lets out a loud peal of laughter and floats off up into the air for a moment before settling back down on the edge of the bathtub.
“What?” Draco whispers.
“I said she turned into a cat.”
“No, before that. They turned into Slytherins, you say? When was this? Which Slytherins?”
“I don’t pay much attention to the time of year,” she says, sniffing. “It’s not so important when you’re dead. But it might have been Christmas, I suppose. And the boys’ names … I think one of them might have been called Gargoyle ...”
Draco’s up and out of the bath immediately, not even bothered by Myrtle’s delighted squeal at getting an eyeful.
Of course. How can he have been so stupid? Slughorn still has that supply of it bubbling away in his office. This is perfect. With a ready supply of hairs from his housemates, nobody will ever know it’s Crabbe and Goyle with him.
“Thank you,” he says, pulling on his robes without even drying himself. “You’ve been extremely helpful.”
“Any time.” Myrtle giggles, and he gets the feeling she’ll be reliving this for a long while.
Draco runs down to the common room, feeling more energetic than he has in months. Crabbe and Goyle are sitting at a table near the fire, staring at their DADA homework as if it’s written in Mermish.
“I’ve got a plan, boys,” he announces cheerfully, and they’re looking at him like he’s gone mental, probably because he can’t seem to stop grinning.
“What do you want us to do, Malfoy?”
His smile broadens. “You’re not adverse to a little cross-dressing, are you?”
One morning, he discovers he can’t fasten his trousers any more. His stomach has been getting plumper for some time now, curving outwards where before it was completely flat, but this is the first time he has really noticed it. Swearing loudly and at length, he uses an expanding charm and wonders how many more times he’ll have to do this.
Around this time, he starts leaving his shirt hanging outside of his waistband, just to be safe. If people think he looks scruffier than normal, they don’t say anything.
Now that his attention has been drawn to it, he becomes incredibly self-conscious about his growing belly. He feels it pressing against the desk when he sits in class; is extremely aware of it slowing him down when he flies. People’s hands seem to be everywhere, and he has to be extra careful not to let anybody touch him there because if they do, if they find out ...
He tries not to touch it, tries not to think about it, and when he’s in the shower he does all he can to avoid looking at it because it unnerves him to see his body like this, so familiar yet so different. Despite this, he finds quite often when he wakes in the morning that his hands have made their way to rest on top of the growing bump, as if drawn by some irresistible force.
He seeks out Myrtle’s company more and more often now. Her toilet is always deserted, and it’s good to get away from other people for a while, away from the paranoid feeling that everybody is staring at him even though he knows they can’t possibly know.
The afternoon it happens is no different from any other. He’s pacing up and down in front of the sinks, talking about nothing in particular, and suddenly he feels it. It’s completely distinct from the backache and the indigestion and all the other odd aches and pains he experiences on a daily basis. He feels something moving.
It flutters inside him like the beating wings of a Snitch. Tiny hands and feet dancing within.
He doesn’t know why it should come as such a bolt from the blue when he has known what’s happening to him for so long, but it really hits him hard. With a shocked gasp, he stumbles backwards until his back hits the wall, then slides down against it until he’s sitting on the floor.
“Are you all right, Draco?” asks Myrtle, but he barely hears her because all his attention has been drawn abruptly inwards.
It’s all building inside him, all the tension and worry and panic he’s been suppressing all year, magnified by a few tiny, sluggish movements in his belly. He covers his face with his hands, fingers digging in sharply at his temples, and lets out a whimper that’s so pathetic he’s revolted.
When the tears begin to fall, he makes no effort to stop them.
“What’s the matter? Please, Draco, tell me what’s wrong,” says Myrtle. She’s practically the only person he speaks to nowadays, and she looks so concerned, like she really cares. He needs to tell somebody, to relieve some of this pressure, or he’ll go mad. Why not unburden himself?
So he tells her. He tells her everything … and nothing. He tells her how he’s feeling, but not why, and it feels so good to be talking. Even if it is just to a ghost. Even if he is still hiding so much.
Myrtle comforts him as best she can, but it’s hard to console somebody when you can’t touch them. She tells him everything’s going to be all right, keeps saying it as though it’s going to make a difference.
But she’s wrong. Nothing is going to be right ever again.
It’s real. It’s happening. He’s been so stupid, but there can be no more pretending now that he can feel it moving, stretching, yawning. Living.
But there is a way to make it stop.
He hates himself, but he should have done this sooner.
Three days later he visits Myrtle yet again, and in his pocket is another bottle freshly delivered from the Apothecary in Knockturn Alley. He doesn’t know exactly what the substance inside it is called, but he knows what it can do, having learned of it via a late night’s eavesdropping several years previously. Without really meaning to, he’d listened in on a conversation between two Slytherin seventh-year girls whose friend had evidently got herself into trouble.
“It’s just so horrible,” one of them had whispered fiercely. “I know I said I’d stay with her, but I just can’t stand to watch!”
“Well what did you expect?” rejoined the other, who was Head Girl at the time. “Hugs and puppies?” Then she’d lowered her voice even more, and he’d had to move closer to hear what she said next. “It’s an abortion potion, Pru. It’s dissolving the thing inside of her. No wonder it twinges a bit.”
Myrtle is floating around aimlessly by the sinks when he enters the bathroom, and she notices him immediately. “What’s that you’ve got?” she asks nosily as he takes the bottle out of his pocket.
Just the desperate solution to a desperate problem.
He unscrews the lid, raises the bottle to his lips and downs the contents before he can talk himself out of it.
It’s like ice water in his throat, so cold it makes his head ache. He can feel it trickling down his gullet every inch of the way to his stomach, where it fills him with a glowing warmth that rapidly becomes uncomfortable.
“I’m so glad you come and visit me,” Myrtle confides, hovering in midair with her legs crossed lotus-style. “It gets awfully lonely in here, you see.”
Oh, cheer up, he thinks, and he’s about to say it out loud but what comes out of his mouth instead is a loud gasp as he realises the potion is already beginning to work. This feels worse - a million times worse – than when he broke his arm as a child and the bones came out through his skin. He can’t even compare it with the Cruciatus curse because it’s more contained, focused in a much smaller area of his body. This is like knives and acid in his guts, ripping him up, melting him down.
He sinks to the ground, lies down, tries to crawl over to a cubicle in case he needs to be sick, but it seems impossibly far away. Curled in on himself and clutching at his stomach, he closes his eyes. Sweat begins to pour down his face as he concentrates on not making a sound.
“What’s the matter?” asks Myrtle, and he can tell by the slight chill in the air that she’s right by him, leaning over him. “Do you want me to get help?”
He knows that if he tries to speak he will scream, so he shakes his head a tiny bit, every muscle in his body now twitching with pain. Please work, he thinks, as the throbbing in his abdomen reaches such a pitch he’s sure he will split right down the middle. Pleasepleaseplease–
Then he blacks out.
When he regains consciousness, it’s morning and he’s in bed. Racking his brains, he vaguely remembers it being very dark, and the clock in the big tower striking one as he staggered back to the dungeons.
He stretches, sits up. Deep within him, like a tiny echo, he feels someone else beginning to wake up.
You’re still there then, he thinks resignedly.
But when he reaches down to touch his belly, he does it gently, almost affectionately.
Apparition lessons begin and he signs up, even though it means losing an hour or so each week of time he could be using for Cabinet-related activities. It feels good to be out of the dry, musty atmosphere of the Room, even just for an hour. Even if Potter insists on standing right behind him and eavesdropping on private conversations.
Slytherin’s final Quidditch match comes a few weeks after the lessons start. Draco is absolutely appalling, and he misses the Snitch by a mile. He loathes the look of triumph on the Hufflepuff Seeker’s face, the glares of his Slytherin team-mates, the cheers of the other three Houses.
While the rest of the team head off to shower and change, Draco takes his beloved broom back to the shed. He leans it at an angle against the wall, stamps on the handle, and leaves the broken pieces lying in the mud. Then he heads to the stands and sits in the back row for a long time, staring out across the Quidditch pitch, aware only of the dull throbbing pain in his lower back.
The sky is beginning to grow dark when Potter saunters across the pitch, climbs up into the stands and sits beside him.
“Come to gloat, have you?”
Draco gets the first hit in just because he can. They haven’t argued, have hardly even looked at each other, since before Christmas.
“No,” says Potter quietly, staring at the far end goals. “I guess I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’ve always liked watching you fly. But that? It was like watching someone else. It was depressing. When did you stop wanting to win, Malfoy?”
“So I’m shit at Quidditch. Who cares?” snaps Draco, but Potter’s words have struck him like a slap in the face.
Potter shrugs. “I know you’re still up to something,” he says. “What are you doing in the Room of Requirement?”
It’s that fucking Invisibility Cloak again. Must be.
“Just give up, Potter.” Draco just wants to be alone, but Potter doesn’t seem to want to take the hint, and he’s damned if he’s going to be the one to move.
“I’m going to find out what you’re up to, you know.”
“Maybe. Maybe not.”
Potter makes a frustrated noise in his throat, turns in his seat to look at Draco. “You don’t have to do this, you know.”
And he certainly doesn’t have to be doing this either, Draco reflects, as their faces move closer together.
He doesn’t have to, but Draco’s the one who closes the tiny gap between them, covering Potter’s mouth with his own, thrusting his tongue in as Potter’s lips split in a little surprised ‘o’ when Draco’s hand settles between his legs and begins to rub him.
Neither of them say anything while Draco unzips Potter’s trousers, slides his fingers around his cock and wanks him off quickly and efficiently. Even as he’s doing it, he can’t quite understand why.
“Draco ...” says Potter afterwards, a glazed look in his eyes.
“Yes?” Draco’s lips feel bruised from the kissing, and his hand is still sticky with come.
Potter shakes his head suddenly as if coming to after a daydream. “Don’t come near me again.”
And he storms off.