Tissue of Silver, Scene 19
by Fearless Diva

 

Writer's Commentary

I think this is the strongest sequence of Tissue of Silver, and it ended up causing me no end of problems with what was supposed to be the climactic scene, the final scene. This scene ended up being much more intense than I had anticipated, creating problems with making the final scene intense enough to avoid an anti-climax. I'm not sure that I managed that, in the end. I mean, there are still questions to be answered at the end of this, the rest of the story isn't pointless, but ideally the true climax of the narrative should also be the most emotionally intense point, and I think this scene stole the thunder of the final scene to a large extent. I tried ratcheting up the last scene in response when I did the final rewrite, and I think it helped to a degree, but I've never been entirely satisfied with it. At any rate, here we go.

They ate dinner together that evening as usual and, though Draco seemed distracted, it was pleasant enough. He claimed exhaustion and retired to his bedroom early, leaving Harry to play cards with the other Aurors in the large North Wing dining room where they generally gathered.

Later, in Draco's letter to Sev, it's clear that Draco's experience of dinner was radically different from Harry's. He was absolutely tortured through the whole thing, but perpetually clueless Harry only notes that he's a bit distracted. This is one of the things that I love about using a semi-epistolary format - I can use another character's pov to go in and fill in scenes from that perspective without the redundancy of relating the whole scene over again. I was very careful to avoid redundancy in what I included in the letters, so that what Draco chooses to tell Sev makes definitive statements about his own character, his relationship to Sev, and how he sees things differently from Harry. Or, you know, at least that was the idea.

After everyone had gone to bed, Harry set a silent alarm on Malfoy's bedroom door, so he'd be alerted if it opened. He didn't want him having another dream and going downstairs to break up the rest of the furniture without his knowledge, much less someone - or something - coming into the room. Around 1 a.m. the alarm sounded in Harry's head. He'd been up reading Quidditch Weekly again, so it didn't take him long at all to grab his wand off the nightstand and get his robe and slippers on. In just a few seconds he was peeking around his bedroom door in time to see Malfoy slip down the stairs dressed in Muggle clothing and a black leather coat.

I managed to avoid the black leather pants cliche, with difficulty, but I couldn't avoid the coat. Come on, you know Draco would have a black leather coat if he had Muggle club clothing!

Harry waited a few seconds and then followed. Malfoy went down the stairs, down the hall, and into the parlour. Harry paused in the hallway, listening at the open parlour door but staying well out of the doorway, and heard the parlour's French doors open and shut. He went into the room and could just make out Draco's outline through the windows as he made his way through the garden toward the Eastern side of the estate. Harry Accioed his invisibility cloak from upstairs and transfigured his nightclothes into a pair of jeans, a warm sweater, and a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Then he put the cloak on and followed Malfoy out into the night.

Malfoy's stride was purposeful and it was obvious that he not only had a destination but that he knew exactly where it was. He crossed the estate to the Eastern boundary, about fifteen minute's walk from the Manor house, and when he came to the fence he reached up and turned one of the bars in the metal fencing. A section of the fence disappeared and he stepped through it, turned the bar back and the fence reappeared. He was through the wards now, and Harry reckoned he'd be Disapparating any minute. Thinking quickly, he cast a tracking spell and felt it connect just as Draco disappeared.

Harry repeated Malfoy's actions at the fence, and the fence let him through just as it had Draco. Once he was outside the wards he opened the connection to the tracking spell. He felt the ghost of a second heartbeat in his chest, Draco's heartbeat, and he had an instinctual knowledge of where Draco was. He centred himself to Disapparate and followed the feeling to Draco.

This is all a bit dodgy magic, really. But again, not so much with the plot over here. I'm just trying to get all the pieces to fit, and Rowling's not exactly working out the magic with laser-like precision either. So that's my excuse.

When he Apparated, he found himself in an alleyway in what looked like a Muggle area. He caught the swirl of Draco's black leather coat vanishing around the corner of the alley, and pursued. On the street, he saw they were in a neighbourhood dense with nightlife and dance clubs, on a cobbled pedestrian mall, mostly gay if he were to judge by the look of the patrons and the rainbow motifs here and there. A block down, Draco disappeared into one of the clubs. Harry felt a cold fury descend upon him. Malfoy was going clubbing. He was risking his life, sneaking out from under Harry's nose, not to mention the other Aurors who had volunteered to continue disrupting their lives just to keep him safe, all for the sake of a drink with an umbrella in the glass and the possibility of a shag. Evidently he hadn't changed as much as Harry had thought.

This is, of course, pure jealousy speaking.

Fuming, Harry followed Draco inside. Still invisible under his cloak, he carefully followed a patron through the doors, and then found his way to the toilet. He found an empty stall and locked himself in. Then he took off his cloak, Reduced it and put it in his pocket, then transfigured his clothing again, this time into something that wouldn't be too conspicuous in a nightclub. Black t-shirt and black jeans, with black motorcycle boots. It was a little monochromatic for Harry's usual taste, but it was sure to blend in. He cast a glamour to make him appear ordinary and just slightly unattractive- he didn't want anyone to remember him and he didn't want to have to fend off any unwanted offers, either. He conjured himself some Muggle money so he could buy a drink for camouflage before he slid his wand into his boot top. He'd have to be careful to stay out of Malfoy's line of sight, since the low-level glamour wouldn't hold up to scrutiny by someone who knew him, but the club was far too crowded to make wearing the cloak practical for long - someone would bump into him and he'd end up having to Memory Charm the whole place. Not exactly inconspicuous.

So he lurked in the shadows along the walls of the club, sipping a beer that was as much a comfort as it was a prop. Harry had only been inside a Muggle dance club twice, both times with Hermione and one of her Muggle-born colleagues at the Institute. This club seemed pretty typical of what he'd seen before, dark, with a cavernous dance floor, and neon signs advertising different beers. The only difference was that all the people writhing against each other on the dance floor were men, who seemed rather more affectionate with one another than Harry was used to. And perhaps the music was a slightly better grade of techno.

I think one of my betas (maybe AJ Hall?) suggested that I expand this bit and have someone at the club approach Harry, maybe an older man that was something like Remus, as a way of having Harry be forced to deal with his own sexuality a bit more. I liked the idea, but when I went back through the scene, I just couldn't seem to find a way to work it in. It seemed like too much of a distraction from the main point, so I ended up leaving it out.

Draco wasn't hard to spot - not only was his white-blond hair like a beacon in the whirling spotlights of the club, he was easily the most attractive man there. He'd lost the leather coat somewhere, maybe at coat check, and he was wearing a tight black sleeveless shirt in some stretchy material that glinted in the light and a pair of blue jeans that looked as though they'd been manufactured specifically to fit his form. Knowing Malfoy, they might have been. The scar on his left arm was gone, either covered over with make-up or glamoured away, leaving his perfect skin unmarred. As little as he ate, he really should have seemed thinner, but evidently the swimming really was doing the trick. While he was slight, he was also muscled enough to be masculine without taking the edge off his undeniable beauty.

And his beauty wasn't going unnoticed. The men around him had formed a worshipful circle as he stood at the bar pounding back three shots of what looked like vodka in short order. When he'd downed the last drink, he gave them what had to be the most flirtatious smile Harry had ever seen and made his way through the crowd to take the dance floor, leaving them to grin at each other and fan themselves in his wake.

It was to be expected that Malfoy was an excellent dancer. Harry couldn't envision him making a clumsy move - even dying of poison he'd been languorously graceful. On the dance floor of the club, though, Malfoy was more than lithe, he was pure sexuality. Every bit of the arch sarcasm and hyper-awareness that made Draco himself was gone, replaced with what could only be described as a pure outpouring of desire. His personality disappeared into the music, and every dip of his hips, every sweep of his nimble fingers through the air, each tilt of his head that swept his hair out of his eyes, seemed only to communicate how delicious it would be to touch and be touched by him, how much he wanted to touch and be touched.

It seemed a miracle that he wasn't mobbed immediately, but everyone looked almost awed by him. They danced around him, some watching and trying to be subtle about it, others openly staring, but no one approached. Draco danced alone, apparently lost in the music for all that his body seemed to be crying out for companionship.

This isn't very realistic, of course. A man like Draco moving in a club like that would be immediately surrounded. But it was thematic and I loved the image of Draco dancing alone in a club full of admirers so much.

As he danced, Harry could feel Draco's ghostly heartbeat in his own chest, picking up speed with the exertion, trying to drag Harry's own heart into synch with it. The tracking spell wasn't usually so insistent; the connection between himself and the person he was tracking had never been this strong before. But Harry had never had occasion to cast it on anyone he was very close to - perhaps his feelings for Draco, whatever they were, had intensified the spell.

The spell could be seen as a symbolic representation of the unexpected intimacy that has already sprung up between the two of them.

Watching Draco dancing stirred a cauldron of emotions in Harry: fury at his irresponsibility, sadness that he seemed so alone, and a million different varieties of desire. Harry never knew there were so many different ways to want, but standing there watching Draco he felt he moved through them all. He depleted his beer faster than he'd meant to and had to go and replace it, but through the spell he could sense that Draco remained on the dance floor in the same spot, dancing with astounding stamina as if he'd been possessed. Harry vowed to take the next beer slower, and wondered if he'd be able to survive a whole night of watching Draco dance.

It wouldn't surprise me if Draco had already taken some pharmaceutical bolsters to his physical stamina, but if he did Harry didn't see it.

After close to an hour, Draco moved off the dance floor and back to the bar where he ordered another three shots of vodka and slammed them back like they were water. Harry's throat was burning by the third, and he took a generous drink of beer to ease it. At that point he realized that, despite his having used it dozens of times with no unusual effects, the tracking spell was acting in a very peculiar manner. But if he dissolved it and Draco went somewhere else he'd never find him. And Harry was determined to protect Draco whether Draco wanted to be protected or not, in spite of his reckless behaviour. So he left the spell in place and prayed that Draco's intoxication wouldn't start affecting him too. If he started feeling too drunk, the spell would become more of a liability than an asset and he'd just have to take his chances following Draco the old-fashioned way.

After his third shot, Draco ordered a bottled water and stood there sipping it and breathing hard. He looked beautifully overheated, and Harry was feeling rather flushed himself. His hormones had been in overdrive ever since Draco started dancing, and seeing him standing there looking like he'd just been fucked hard and was ready for another go wasn't doing much to reintroduce sanity to Harry's vocabulary.

Evidently Harry wasn't the only one so affected, because one of Draco's admirers finally mustered his courage and approached. He was a thin young man, in his mid-twenties at most, with black, thick, messy hair and light-coloured eyes, and black leather trousers that looked to have been painted on. More than handsome, almost approaching Draco's radiance. Whatever he said in Draco's ear must have been clever because Draco smiled at him. By now Harry thought he knew most of the Malfoy smiles, but this was a complex one he'd never seen before, part pleasure, part flirtation, part predatory hunger that was almost scary. But it went all the way to his eyes, and Harry knew that it was genuine. He felt a sudden, irrational stab of jealousy that this boy was granted a smile which Harry himself had never seen before. And the feeling didn't go away, as Draco took a last, long drink from his water, exposing his long, flawless neck as he tipped back his head, and then took the boy by the hand and led him out to the dance floor.

Dear Eliot. I thought he would be a throw-away character, but there was something about him that I really liked. He's an architect, by the way, in Manchester. I don't think I had an opportunity to add that into any of the stories where he appears (he's also in "Seeing the Light" and "Free").

They danced together for a while, a matched set of light and dark pin-ups, the space between them slowly shrinking until the dark boy had his arms around Draco's neck and they were dancing perilously close. Harry could feel Draco's heart speeding up a little when the boy's fingers touched his skin, and he thought he felt a skittering of pleasure along his own neck, so faint it could have been his imagination. Draco was leaning into the boy's caress, and the boy was growing more daring. He ran his hands down Draco's shoulders, down his chest, along his waist, and back up again, and Draco's heart raced. Draco pulled the boy into him and kissed him thoroughly. They continued to move to the music as they kissed, their hips grinding into each other sensually as they explored each other's mouths. Harry watched them and wished he could force himself to look away.

All the want was piling up inside him but he didn't know what to do about it. He was so horribly confused, but there could no longer be any question in his mind that he wanted Draco. It wasn't a fluke of moonlight or timing. For whatever reason, however it had happened and whether he was gay or not, he yearned desperately to take the place of that dark-haired boy. He longed to press into Draco on a dance floor and run his hands over him possessively, to rub up against him as if there were no one else there and bury his nose in the sweaty, heady scent of his throat. But instead he was condemned to stand there watching them, pathetically hard, trying to remember to keep an eye out for danger, trying to recall that he was only there to make sure Draco was safe.

After what seemed like torturous years, the boy broke away to whisper again in Draco's ear. Draco nodded as if he were pleased, and they left the dance floor hand in hand to head toward the men's room. They were in there for a just a few minutes, and then Draco's heart rate spiked twice before settling down into a rapid but steady beat. Just when Harry was starting to wonder if he should go investigate, they emerged, both sniffing and rubbing at their noses. Harry cursed to himself silently. He couldn't believe Draco was being so careless, cavorting with strange men, doing drugs with them - it surpassed reckless and went directly to stupid. Stupid was something Harry never anticipated seeing from Draco which only proved once again that a few weeks spent in his company didn't mean that Harry knew him at all.

One of my least favorite things about Harry in canon (and all the Gryffs, really) is his self-righteous smugness. It seems to me that a person with that much power (and though we've only seem glimpses of it at this point, I think Harry's experiences with casting Patronus and the fact that he's going to have to kill Voldemort indicate that he is quite powerful) who is that self-righteous and sure of himself is very dangerous. His experimentations with Dark Magic in this story end up humbling him a little bit, and I think in the long run that's a very good thing.

Of course, Draco doesn't really have much to lose at this point. He's quite certain he's going to die. If some Muggle he's shagging knifes him or poisons him, he figures at least no one else (which is to say, primarily Sev or Harry but also whoever might be standing around) is going to get themselves killed. There's not a lot of incentive here not to do drugs and sleep with whoever he fancies. Some readers seem to have been very shocked by the drug use in this scene, but, you know, people do drugs. Counter-culture people in clubs especially tend to do drugs. If you've done Dark Magic and killed people ostensibly for fun, snorting a little coke's pretty low on your list of reprehensible acts.

But Harry's pissed off here because a) he's jealous, and b) he isn't capable of looking at the situation from Draco's point of view. He's not that great at imagining other people's points of view to begin with, and he can't even admit the possibility of Draco dying into his mind. So he doesn't realize that Draco's taking these risks on some subconscious level as a way of protecting the people around him as well as a means of distraction.

Draco and his toy went back out to the dance floor and proceeded to alternate between dancing and snogging in a dance-like manner for another hour or so. Harry nursed his beer and alternated between wondering which of his various sins this situation might be punishment for, and speculating on exactly how hard a man could get before he was done some kind of permanent damage.

Finally, Draco said something in the boy's ear, and the boy's face lit up. He nodded and then captured Draco's mouth for another kiss. After a minute they broke off, and the boy led Draco off the dance floor. They made another stop at the restroom and came out sniffing, then collected their coats and left. Harry followed at a discreet distance and by the time he got out the front door, they were already down the street and getting into a cab. Harry ran a hand through his hair and considered.

If he got a cab himself and gave directions to the cabby based on the feedback from the spell, it was going to seem very strange. He could wait until they arrived to the boy's house, as that was obviously where they were going, and then follow there via Apparation in his invisibility cloak, but that would likely mean Apparating into the bedroom and Harry was pretty sure that his heart couldn't take that, not to mention other equally vital organs. Or he could follow them slowly on foot, hoping that the boy lived close by and nothing happened to Draco while Harry wasn't there to prevent it. He supposed he could always Apparate if Draco's vital signs indicated he was frightened or in a panic. That seemed the most practical solution, though Harry disliked Draco being out of his sight for that long. So he walked down the street until he found a deserted alley, then expanded his invisibility cloak and put it on, and began walking toward Draco.

In his only piece of good luck that evening, the boy's flat wasn't too far, less than half an hour's walk. Harry found a surveillance position across the street and settled in to wait for Draco to come out.

Standing there with nothing to do but stare, Harry began to notice certain things. Draco's heartbeat had been slowly but steadily gaining speed, and it was very hard to ignore it. It kept trying to drag his own heart's rhythm along now that he had nothing to distract him from it. Harry began breathing a bit hard. His imagination kept returning to the sight of them on the dance floor, crawling all over each other, and the look on Draco's face, lips slack with desire, his eyes free of the weight they always seemed to carry. He looked almost happy, or the closest to happy that Harry had seen him, and Harry felt simultaneously guilty for wanting to deny him any joy and furious that he'd gone to find that happiness with someone else. He was trying desperately not to picture what they were doing up there, but images of elegant naked limbs tangled together, and clever fingers winding through dark, messy hair kept assaulting him. Ghostly sensations ran along his skin, perhaps just the products of over-stimulation and sheer boredom, or perhaps the result of a particularly ironic and intimate betrayal by a spell he used many times before as a matter of routine.

I think this part is rather sexy, Harry by himself in the alley trying to cope with having sex by proxy.

He rested his head against the wall behind him and squeezed his eyes closed, trying to will all the feelings away, the arousal, the jealousy, the confusion, the phantom smatterings of pleasure along his nerve endings, all of it. He wanted to go back to his boring, normal, mouldering bachelor flat and watch a bad movie on telly. He wanted to catch up on his paperwork. He wanted to run away and never see Draco Malfoy's too-beautiful face again.

But he was stuck there, for even if he hadn't felt a duty to ensure Draco's safety, he had such a hard-on he wasn't sure he would ever be walking again. The caresses which had started out ghostly and insubstantial seemed to be growing less ephemeral, leaving him panting against the limestone wall behind him, stifling a groan. He couldn't decide if it would be better if they went away or if they became material enough to allow him some release. Not that his wishes in the matter had much bearing on things. His only recourse was to dissolve the spell, which would leave Draco alone and completely defenceless in the flat of some supposed Muggle, who could be a plant or God only knew what else.

He felt warm breath on his neck, and the distinct outline of fingers trailing up his inner thigh. He banged his head against the stone, hard enough to jolt his awareness away from what wasn't happening to his body but certainly felt like it was. His head cleared for a moment before the sensations were back. He caught himself moaning aloud and bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. The pain didn't help that time, though; the feelings had gained too firm a hold on him. All he could think to do was lean against the wall and ride it out. They whipped him to a fever pitch and then eased. Harry's heartbeat, synched entirely to Draco's by now, began slowing, but his erection was still straining painfully against his fly. This struck Harry as monstrously unfair, but he'd be damned before he'd have a wank on a public street, invisibility cloak or no. He still had the shreds of his dignity and he intended to keep them.

It was easier to wait when he wasn't being assaulted by phantom fingers in unexpected places. He felt calmer, no doubt because Draco had dozed off. The hard-on from hell began to dissipate, and Harry began to feel better about the situation, though he was still absolutely livid with Draco. He'd make sure Draco got home safely and then they'd be having a serious talk. He passed the time by constructing his tirades in his mind. He'd shock Draco into contrition with his rage, and Draco would be caught without a smart remark for once. He'd lower his stormy grey eyes in remorse, and apologise. He'd ask Harry to forgive him in his sweetest voice, and ask if there was anything he could do to make it up to him. That train of thought led to some very bad places and Harry felt arousal stirring again. That was when he realized that Draco had woken up and was evidently all about having another go.

Yeah, okay, Harry. That would NEVER happen. But it's a good indication of Harry's dom tendencies as well as his whole incipient Dark Lord Conqueror of the Universe thing. Of which at this point in his life he's pretty much blissful unaware.

Harry suffered through another forty-five minutes of torment, trying all manner of minor personal injuries to distract himself to no avail, and was left at the end of it as he had been before, hard and frustrated.

It began to spit rain. The cloak was weatherproof and warm, but standing in the rain with a steely erection wasn't Harry's idea of a good time. If Draco stayed all day to shag, Harry just might leave him to his fate. Let his little boy toy stab him in the throes of passion, Harry was beginning not to care.

The sun was rising behind the clouds, casting weak light into the street no brighter than twilight. Harry felt Draco dozing off again, and his own weariness began seeping into his bones. He stood there half-asleep for a few minutes, trying to decide if he would wait or just give up, when he suddenly felt Draco's heart racing in terror. But before Harry could dash across the street, he began to calm. A nightmare, Harry realized, or maybe even a prophecy. A few more moments of quiet, and then Draco's heart rate spiked twice, just as it had in the club. Harry began adding sections to his rant about the evils of drugs. A few minutes later, Draco was moving toward him. He exited the building and crossed the street toward a nearby alley, presumably from which to Disapparate. Harry followed, wand in hand.

This nightmare while at Eliot's was something that I added (at Hall's suggestion, I believe) to try to turn up the tension in the later parts, as well as providing a better motivation for the second dose of coke, which in turn provides a motivation for Draco acting as nasty as I wanted him to later on.

When Draco had reached the end of the alley, he turned around and scanned the alley, looking right at Harry. Harry stopped dead in his tracks, and ceased to even breathe.

"Whoever you are, you could have attacked me long before now, so you must be friendly. Not that I'm entirely toothless you understand." Draco's wand appeared in his hand. "But it does make me wonder who you might be. Let's see, whom do I know with access to an invisibility cloak?"

Harry grimaced under the protection of his cloak.

"Someone who might follow me around and spy on me? Someone who might cast spells on me without my knowledge or permission? Hmmm, no, I can't imagine anyone friendly who might do something like that. Certainly not my good friend Harry Potter."

He pocketed his wand and leaned down to lift up the cuff of his left jeans leg. His silver knife protruded from a sheath in the top of his Doc Marten boots and he pulled it out and brandished it.

Once again, our friend the dragon-handled knife makes its appearance.

"You know, Potter, it's not very Gryffindor of you to be hiding like this. I'm disappointed." He played idly with the knife as if considering what to do with it. "Dear, dear Harry. Gorgeous, green-eyed Harry. I'm afraid I'm not feeling quite myself right now. Or perhaps I should say I'm feeling woefully myself, more myself than usual. It may have escaped your attention, but I'm not a very nice person. And I dislike talking to thin air." His voice was as menacing as Harry had ever heard it, and his eyes wild.

There was originally a line in here about how Catherine had looked so ridiculous talking to thin air as they were walking, but it seemed to pull things off course just a little so I took it out.

"You're so brave, my dear Harry, such a martyr. I could threaten you all day long and it wouldn't move you at all. As stubborn as you are beautiful, that's you, Harry." He pushed his coat sleeve up past his elbow with the hilt of the dagger. "But you're not exactly sanguine about someone else's blood being shed, are you? It bothers you quite a lot, in fact. Who would have thought the Hero of the Wars would be so squeamish?" He set the edge of the knife against his bare wrist. "I, on the other hand, am completely unmoved by the sight of blood, be it my own or anyone else's. All that exposure, you know, one builds up a tolerance. So here's the arrangement: you're going to show yourself, or I'm going to start slicing. I can get at least one good pass in before you can Accio the knife away from me and in my current mood there's no telling how deep I might cut. My skin's so thin, dear Harry. I have such a perfect view of all those blue veins. If you don't want me cutting through them, now would be a good time to remove that cloak."

Harry undid the clasp of the cloak and let it fall to the ground around his feet.

"Ah," Draco said, "there you are. I feel so much better." He slipped the dagger back into his boot sheath and pulled his coat sleeve down. Then he began stalking toward Harry, and Harry found that he was rather scared. He was evidently having a rendezvous with Draco's inner Death Eater, and that wasn't someone that he'd ever cared to meet. His knuckles whitened around his wand.

"Or I would feel better," Draco continued, "if I didn't have this strange feeling that someone's cast a spell on me. Some kind of surveillance spell, perhaps? Maybe a tracking spell? It really has been a most disconcerting distraction this evening." He covered the ground between them like a cat on the hunt and began invading Harry's personal space. Harry backed up, nearly tripping over the cloak, but Draco kept advancing.

"One of the funny things about Seers, my darling Harry, is that magic done upon their persons is enhanced. Another funny thing about them is that they are very aware of the magic around them. It's very difficult to cast a spell upon a Seer that they don't know about. And I always know when you're around, Harry, you have so much magic wound up in that sweet little body of yours. Whatever you cast on me tonight outside the Manor gates, I felt it, and I could feel you with me all night. And if you don't remove the spell now, Harry, I'm going to be extremely cross." Draco had backed Harry all the way to the wall of the alley and Harry was left with no where else to run. He did as Draco asked and ended the spell.

Draco sidled up to him and laid a hand on the wall next to Harry's shoulder, effectively trapping him with his wand hand at his side against the wall. Draco rubbed his cheek against Harry's and whispered in his ear. "Did you feel me enjoying Eliot this morning through your spell, Harry? Did it make you hard as you waited in the cold? Did you come when I came, Harry? Do tell, it doesn't seem fair for the secrets to be flowing only one way."

The whole length of Draco's body was pressed up against Harry, and although he was panic-stricken, Harry's body responded. He felt completely out of control, violated, like Draco was pulling responses from him that he didn't want to give. But Draco's body felt so good against him, like water on parched earth, like a thing he'd been craving forever but didn't know how to get, or think he could ever have.

I worried at first about the quasi-non-consensual nature of this scene, that it might be a bit too much for people. And indeed, some people have written to say that they found it very bothersome and disturbing. But it's not enough to keep saying through the story that Draco has a dark side; at some point you've got to see it, just as you're seeing a bit of Harry's dark side here with his jealousy and self-righteousness, though that's a little more subtle (though I find Harry considerably more frightening, myself). Part of what Harry finds through his relationship with Draco is a more honest relationship with himself and his own darkness. One thing you can say about Draco, he has a very thorough understanding of his own darkness, and a very honest relationship with it. He lets it out of its cage a bit much here, but even with all that, Harry could break away from him quite easily if he wanted to, as Harry himself says later. I don't think this is an example of a particularly healthy relationship, but I don't find it to be truly non-consensual. I find what happens in "Benedictions of Possession" to be far more troubling.

Draco slid his free hand along the nape of Harry's neck and continued down, over his nipple, which hardened under the black t-shirt, then all the way down between their bodies to cup him through his jeans. Harry bit back a groan.

"Oh, you're such a little cock tease, aren't you, my precious Gryffindor hero? Terrified, but you're hard as a rock." Draco rubbed his hand up and down and Harry did groan this time, and bucked into Draco's palm against his will. "You want me but you're too embarrassed to admit it. What would your adoring fans think if they knew you were a poofter, hmm? What would all your friends think if they knew you had a hard-on for Draco Malfoy? Death Eater, evil bastard, outcast. Not the proper sort of consort for the Prince of the Wizarding World, now am I?"

As he spoke, Draco kept touching him slowly, expertly, every stroke winding Harry tighter. "Please stop," Harry whispered, even as his traitorous hips lifted to meet his hand.

"Just barely good enough to rescue, aren't I, Harry? Good enough to follow, and spy upon, and want secretly, but not good enough to treat with a modicum of respect."

All of Draco's issues about the war are coming out here, as he says later in his letter to Sev.

His hand moved more insistently, and Harry's body responded. Harry closed his eyes and tilted his head back against the wall, utterly at Draco's mercy.

"It was because of you, Harry, that I left tonight. But you knew that, didn't you? You knew I was drowning in the scent of you, in the green light of your eyes just the colour of the killing curse. So beautiful. I could barely sit through dinner without putting my hands on you, exactly like this. But I respected you. I respected our friendship."

Draco feels horribly betrayed here, of course, though later his guilt kicks in and he forgets about that. I suppose that's part of what I find very disturbing about Harry's behavior in this scene, that he didn't seem to think enough of Draco to address the problems in a direct fashion, didn't trust him enough to talk with him about the situation before things got out of hand and find out what he was thinking. Also, you see some of Draco's Death Eater (and coke-induced) paranoia coming out here; Harry obviously had no clue about Draco's feelings, but in a way that's almost worse, that he was so self-absorbed he only thought Draco was a bit distracted at dinner.

He chuckled bitterly and ground his hips into Harry's as he continued to stroke him. "I wanted your friendship from the moment I saw you, when we were children. It wasn't until later that I realized everything else I wanted from you as well, everything that I would never have. To see your face like this, needing me, needing my touch, no matter how much you loathe it."

His hand moved faster, and Harry's body spasmed and he came and came, making a sticky mess inside his clothes.

Draco kissed his open mouth, plundered it with his tongue, and Harry kissed him back. It was an angry, desperate kiss lasting only a few moments before Draco pulled away.

"For everything I've done, I deserve to die a thousand deaths," he said softly into Harry's ear. "But I've sacrificed my life for you lot, and for that you owe me some consideration and a modicum of kindness."

As far as Draco's concerned, the sacrifice is already made. He's as good as dead already in his own mind.

And with that he turned and walked away, Disapparating when he hit the end of the alley.

Harry slid down the wall to the wet ground, buried his face in his hands and tried hard not to weep.

He sat there for a minute or two, then realized that Draco was heading back to the Manor unguarded. He hastily stood up, gathered his cloak, Reduced and pocketed it, then Disapparated to the Eastern fence line from where they had left. Through the fence Harry could see Draco walking back toward the house, casually, with every appearance of a man out for a casual dawn stroll around his grounds.

Too many casuals in that sentence.

Harry activated the spell that gave him voice contact with the Aurors on duty and let Hydrangea know that Malfoy was wandering the grounds by himself. He told her to keep a discreet eye on him, but otherwise not to approach him and to give him his space for the rest of the day. She knew better than to ask questions, just acknowledged the order and signed off.

There was no way that Harry could face Draco again that morning, possibly never again in his life. If he'd felt confused before, now he was past confusion into some whole other, more intense state for which no one had yet invented a name. They could name it after him, he thought. Potterism: the extreme state of confusion, embarrassment and terror one reaches just before one's head explodes. If he went into the Manor now, he would certainly spontaneously combust. He needed help. He needed someone to talk to about this. Someone sympathetic, who would understand what he was going through. His godfather would be perfect, if it weren't for the fact that Sirius hated Malfoy almost as much as he hated Snape. Maybe he could catch Remus alone, or something. Even listening to Sirius shout would be better than trying to muddle alone through the mess he'd made of his life.

Satisfied that Malfoy was safe for the time being, Harry Disapparated to the Black-Lupin cottage near Hogsmeade, hoping that at the very least he could get some coffee and a fresh change of underwear.

That next little scene, between Harry, Remus and Sirius, turned out much better than I thought it would, and produced one of my favorite lines from the story, about home being where they have to give you coffee and a fresh pair of underwear when you ask for it. That seems about as good a definition of home as any, to me.

I hope that there's something both creepy and arousing about the club/alley sequence. Both Harry and Draco are at personal lows for moral behavior, as far as I'm concerned, but they want each other so damn much, and need each other even more. I tried to make them both sympathetic while being total bastards to each other, which isn't all that easy to pull off. While this story has a sweet coating of quips and romance over it, at its heart it's really somewhat dark. It's about darkness and how one stays walking the path of light when tempted to abuse one's power. It's about the necessity of being honest with yourself, about your flaws and your desires, regardless of the pressure to conform to everyone else's ideas about who you should be. While the wizarding world sees Harry's relationship with Draco as some sort of flirtation with the dark or at least a minor rebellion, it forces him to be honest with himself, and that's what will keep him from becoming so self-deluded and intoxicated with his own power that he becomes another Tom Riddle. Even though this scene takes both characters into places where they're not behaving very nicely, not behaving as the heroes that we might want them to be, I think it's an honest scene and an important one to understanding the depths of their personalities, and so I chose not to leave it as it was when I first wrote it, a bit dark and raw and hopefully a bit disturbing.