Author: dacro Recipient: ddayspringTitle: The Infection
(Part 1 of 3)Pairing(s):
Draco/Harry, Draco/Blaise, Harry/OtherRating:
R Summary: Blaise Zabini believes he's won the last laugh after leaving Draco with a nasty reminder of just what happens when you spurn a Slytherin. What he doesn't anticipate is what is unleashed when you screw with a Gryffindor—especially one with Potter's courage and dumb luck.Warnings:
Mpreg, Language, sexual situations (characters over 18), implied drunkennessTotal word count:
23,220Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, a plethora of publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros. Inc. No money is being made (damn!) and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. So endeth the disclaimer.Author's notes:
Happy Mpreg to you, ddayspring
! I tried to make the slow-burn situational/emotional story you asked for—sexy but not too graphic, and no gender tinkering. I hope you like what came out of my head from your request. I really enjoyed working on this. Mpreg is very near and dear to my slashy little heart.
Thanks to SB, DJ and FW for the beta and the Brit-picky stuffs! *loves* And finally a big thanks to hd_inspired
for running an awesome exchange/fest!
Credits: to djin7
for the bunnies that basically turned an 'ok' idea into a kick-ass plot bunny! *glompage* Thank you so much! Without your brainstorming talents, I'd still be stuck on the summary!The Infection Part 1
Five minutes in the crowded nightclub, and Harry was ready for the door.
He'd already been burnt by a carelessly gesturing smoker, stepped on by a bloke in high-heeled silver boots, had his bum pinched by a flirty server, and was now wearing a half shot of something sweet and sugary. Except for the sticky shirt, the last incident wasn't so bad. The bloke had been really attractive, apologised more than was necessary, and had given Harry his number. He didn't look quite old enough to have got in the door, so Harry pushed the napkin with the scrawled numbers deep down into his pocket politely, not intending ever to look at it again. Still, it was nice for once to feel desirable, even if he was in disguise.
If someone knew him well, they'd pick him out in a heartbeat, but he shouldn't have worried. At the club, he was just one face out of hundreds in the dark room. Regardless, he'd made a few changes. He spelled his hair long so that it brushed his shoulders, hid his scar, and changed his eye colour to grey. When a rough imitation of Sirius stared back at him from his bathroom mirror, he tried to imitate the cocky smile he'd seen in old Pensieve memories. The result made him laugh. It was the shot he needed to try something he'd never done before, but had been fantasising about for months—years maybe, if he was being completely honest.
Looking out at the flashing lights and squirming bodies, he came to the conclusion that maybe fantasies should be left alone, but decided to give the place at least a half-hour before he gave up and went home alone again.
Suddenly, getting pissed sounded like a good idea.
He yelled over the music at the bartender for a pint of whatever. The man winked and passed him something ice-filled and neon green. Harry shrugged, took it and threw down some money. The bartender ignored the notes, as well as the other shouting customers pushing themselves closer to the bar, and continued to stare at him until he got the clue and took a polite sip. It was brilliant. He drained it, winked back at the bartender, ordered another, and handed over more money than was probably necessary.
A few hours rolled by and Harry marked each one with several more glasses of the green happyjuice, growing more sure of his environment, and allowing his mind and body to blur the lines concerning the rules of proper conduct in a public place. When he'd spent his last quid, he was surprised by a handful of blokes who insisted on paying for a few more rounds of the icy green liquid that tasted like sharp apple and caramel. He'd paid them back with a few dances out on the crowded floor, and a few light touches and polite kisses on the way back to the bar.
It wasn't until he saw the flash of white-blond hair on the dance floor and caught a glimpse of the Malfoy who wore it, that he finally felt he'd had enough liquid courage to reach out and take what he'd actually come to this surreal place to get.
He moved forward with new determination, feeling his insides swoop with an odd sensation every time Draco arched his back over the side of a large speaker and rolled his hips against one of his admirers to the sexual pulse of the droning music. When the fan club noticed Harry's approach, they unexpectedly parted and took hold of Malfoy's hands to pull him forward, leading him right to Harry.
The moment they were face to face, Draco wrapped his body around Harry's and began to sway. Harry returned the embrace and shuddered with pleasure when Draco's lips tasted the damp skin at the base of Harry's ear.
"I've been watching you for hours. What's your name?"
Draco gave a short, soft laugh. His breath reminded Harry of the green drinks he liked so much. He moved closer to taste, and Draco's mouth welcomed him eagerly. Part of his mind tried to warn him of the dangers of being so forward with a former enemy, but there was nothing higher on his body's wish list than keeping his mouth right where it was.
"You're a wizard, aren't you?" He asked suddenly. Harry tensed, but Draco smoothed his hands down his back, and Harry relaxed slightly. "No matter either way, it's just that if you were a Muggle, you would have been in my arms sooner."
Understanding hit Harry with an odd shred of clarity. "What did you cast?"
"Nothing sinister—a Notice Me
Charm—I wanted you to."
The music had jumped up a notch, and Harry thought he'd missed a bit of Draco's sentence. "Wanted me to what?"
He moved his mouth even closer to Harry's ear. "Notice me," Draco hissed seductively, and punctuated with gripping Harry's arse and pulling firmly forward.
"Oh, trust me, I have." But as soon as he said it, Draco rocked forward, pulling a gasp and a deep moan from Harry's lips. Waves of pleasure, impossible heat and the spinning sensation helped along by the alcohol, rushed around in concert and moved with sudden determination toward the spot where Draco was now rubbing in earnest.
Whatever internal wall was holding back the last of Harry's decorum crumbled spectacularly, and he felt a surge of powerful need. He crushed his mouth to Draco's and closed out the clanging world around them. Draco melted into him, submitting to Harry's force, and allowing the hungry exploration.
"You're so beautiful," Harry growled.
Draco pulled back and stared at him. Harry thought he saw disappointment flicker for a moment behind his eyes, but then it was replaced by a mischievous smirk.
"Well, then. Would you like to see the rest?"
Harry knew he didn't have to say anything. He was positive his body's obvious reaction and the ravenous look in his eyes would be answer enough. In the next moment, Draco was pulling him toward one of the dark corners at the back of the club.
Harry knew he was way in over his head but he couldn't care less. All his mind had time to comprehend was the click of the metal lock as Draco sank to his knees in the cramped stall and licked his lips, and the fact that it was far too late to turn back now.
~*~"You have ten minutes to collect your things before the wards change. Whatever you leave behind, I'll burn."
Blaise approached, fingertips lifting slowly in Draco's direction.
"Think this over, Draco—we could still be…"
"No, we can't, you pathetic shit! Get the fuck out of my house!"
It hadn't been a particularly eloquent break up, but Draco felt he was owed a handful of crass words considering the situation.
Not that he considered what he'd been doing with Blaise anything close to what most would call a relationship
, but it stung nonetheless to discover him on a Firecall with his viper of a mother discussing Draco and the nature of their arrangement. He'd been recounting with enthusiasm how he was only fucking his way to the top
, using Draco—and his newly made connections—as a spring-board to better his standing in this new world where Potter had annoyingly changed everything. It was more than a slap in the face, it was betrayal. At the time, Draco felt Blaise was fortunate to escape with all his body parts still attached.
On the other hand, Draco was disappointed in himself, knowing that he should have foreseen Blaise's retaliation. But after weeks without any contact, random hexes or threats, he'd assumed that his former lover had either accepted Draco's decision to part ways, or else had found someone with enough prestige to slide into bed with, giving up the idea that the Malfoy name would bring him any benefit.
But Blaise had achieved his revenge, and Draco had walked into the snare ignoring the obvious signs when they surfaced all in one night. Potter appearing conveniently at the ground-floor pub in Draco's high-end office building, the hungry gleam in eyes that until now had been careful never to lock with Draco's own. Then the refilled drinks, wandering hands and whispered invitations that blended together until Draco had breathed out yes
and allowed Potter to take what he wanted—something Draco had never surrendered before.
But then again, lust is never the first to look up and take notice when logic stomps into the room and pulls out a soapbox.
It wasn't until after the sweat was beginning to cool, and their breathing slowed that Draco heard 'Concipio
', saw Harry's vivid green eyes muddy to a deep, menacing brown, and felt his insides painfully twisting up, that his mind finally realised that something was horribly wrong. Blaise's parting words rattled around in Draco's mind as the dark body slipped out from where Potter had been a moment before:
"I hope you enjoy my parting gift. Have fun in hell, Draco."
Draco curled up in pain, unable to follow, or even to throw a parting hex. He blamed everything on Blaise, except the small part of his brain that was cruel enough to scold him for not expecting revenge, and for underestimating a jilted lover and the seductive poison of power.
"So, Harry, tell me about Saturday," Ron said, handing Harry a beer and taking a seat beside him on the step.
Harry nodded thanks for the bottle, but answered, "Er…no," and stared out toward the sinking sun.
Ron stretched his long legs. "Oh, come on, Harry, I had to deal with hours of 'Why did he have to go alone, Ron? What if something happens? What if your mum finds out he's gone to a place like that, and asks us why we didn't stop him, Ronald?' - so the least you can do is give me the highlights, man."
Harry smiled. "Tell Hermione it was crowded, dark and filled with men—like every gay club, I guess."
"Kind of why you went, wasn't it?" he said with a crooked smile that reminded Harry of Fred. "Anything else?"
"Mehsomoh," Harry mumbled, pulling on the jumper he'd brought outside, but it had more to do with masking his embarrassment than the falling autumn temperatures.
Ron wasn't fooled. "What was that?"
"Met someone," Harry answered quietly, unable to stop his shy smile.
"Yeah, and…" Ron baited. "Harry, you're worse than Neville. Remember that time we tried to get him to admit to wanking in the…"
"Fine," he blurted. "It was good. Really good, but you won't thank me for details, so let's end here, shall we?"
"Fair 'nuff," Ron said, but he kept looking at Harry expectantly. "Why are you frowning if you had a good time?" he asked, taking another sip from his bottle.
Harry traced the label on his. "I want to see him again, and I know he—it's complicated."
"Oh," Ron started, but Harry could tell he wasn't sure what to ask next. "Er…he didn't give you his…um, his number?"
Harry looked up. "No, but—I really shouldn't contact him anyway."
"You've lost me, Harry." Ron shook his head, and then threw it back to drain what was left of his beer. "He wants you, you want him. What's the problem? Auction closed, go pay the Goblin."
Harry laughed, but at the memory of Draco's flushed face reflected in the flashing lights, his smile faded. "It's someone I know."
Ron summoned a jacket for himself, and another beer. "Oh? Thought it was a Muggle place."
"Was—is," Harry answered stupidly, setting down his drink on the stair below him, thanking whoever was up there that Ron hadn't asked who it was yet. "Well, he was there, and we…did stuff, but I shouldn't have because he didn't know who I was. I should have told him, but god, it all happened so fast."
Ron's freckled brow wrinkled up. "Who'd he think you were?"
"Someone named John who looked a bit like Sirius, and couldn't keep it in his trousers long enough to tell him who he really was."
Ron coughed, seemingly for something to do while he digested the information and willed down the colour rising from his collar. "Um, well, your instincts are pretty good. You must have had a reason for not telling him before you two did…whatever, yeah?"
Harry waited a moment, unsure if he should reveal anymore, but the concerned look Ron was giving him, helped make his decision easier. "Well, I had a reason, but I'm not sure if it was a good one or not," Harry began as Ron opened his bottle and took a long pull. "I just wanted him—Draco."
Ron choked and sputtered as he yanked the bottle away. It ran over with foam that covered his hand and made a mess of his jacket and trousers.
"Bloody Malfoy?" Ron gasped, struggling to catch his breath.
"Uh, sorry," Harry said quietly, patting him on the back. "Need a towel?"
Draco nearly laughed aloud at the absurd sight of a cautious eyeball peering out from the crack of the door.
"Professor, a moment of your time?"
The door flew open revealing the rest of the rotund, little man who was now beaming up at him as if they'd always been fast friends. "Draco? My boy! What's it been?"
"Five years, sir," Draco answered, stepping in from the cold night, and immediately praising the stars that Horace liked his 'creature comforts'.
The smallish sitting room was overdone with trinkets, but it was invitingly warm, and there were no shortage of comfortable chairs. Draco frowned as his back twitched uncomfortably, and sat before he was offered a seat. It was taking him longer to recover after each time he Apparated, but he couldn't spare any thought for that now. He had research to do. He turned his grimace into a winning smile for his host.
"Well, then, I insist you call me Horace. No need for formality any longer."
Slughorn climbed into the chair opposite and rested his hands atop his great belly, which seemed to be even more substantial than the last time Draco had seen him.
"Thank you, sir." Draco said politely, as Horace's smile widened. "I need your advice on a potion to counter a spell," he said, hoping he wouldn't have to lay the flattery any thicker to get what he wanted.
"Certainly. Ask away."
Slughorn's smile fell, leaving a comical frown in its place. "Oh dear."
Draco lifted his shoulders in a small shrug. "Yes, well, the spell was cast on someone as a punishment," he paused as Slughorn responded with a dramatic intake of breath and an expression of shock. "And now it needs to be remedied by whatever means are available."
"And what has your research uncovered?" The old man asked, sinking back a little more into his seat cushions, observing Draco much more cautiously now.
Draco kept his tone pleasant, but took notice of the change. His hope faded slightly. "Some nonsense about being irreversible."
"I wish it were nonsense, but that is a true fact." A podgy hand wiped across Slughorn's lined forehead as he confirmed Draco's fears. "Very sad, but indeed true. Any action to terminate, and both the mother and child would die. It should be illegal, but in some rare cases, the spell has proven successful for producing offspring."
"Successful?" Draco squeaked. He inhaled a calming breath. It wouldn't do to waste a good emotional breakdown on Slughorn. "I can't imagine when something like that would…"
Slughorn poked the air with a fat finger. "I have heard of cases where the mother has had a history of miscarriages due to a conflicting blood-type with the child. The spell forces the body to accept the foetus and avoid natural termination."
Draco felt his last hope slipping away. "So I'm—so, the victim is stuck with…"
"Legal action can be taken, should
be taken against the scoundrel who cast it," Slughorn said with passion, pulling himself out of his chair with some difficulty. "The witch would have every right to demand a trial. It's a shame the lady had relations with a person who would do such a thing," he finished with a dramatic hand flourish and summoned a pot of tea.
"Yes, a shame," Draco said quietly, retreating into his thoughts until a cup appeared under his nose. He took hold of the saucer, but Horace was slow to release it. He held onto the china until Draco met his eyes.
"I'm assuming this is someone you know personally?" he fished, raising his bushy eyebrows up to his shiny forehead.
"Yes," Draco said honestly as the saucer was freed, but Slughorn remained annoying close.
"Then advise her to report to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement sooner than later, and if she hasn't already seen a Healer, I have several names I could recommend."
Draco took a sip, and felt it warm him from the inside. "No Healer yet—there's no rush. It's not as if the child will come overnight."
Slughorn's teacup rattled on its saucer. "As good as!" he shouted, startling Draco, who spilled some tea over the rim of his cup. "With Concipio
, the length of pregnancy and time of development is cut in two. I believe the term is shorted to twenty weeks, but it's been a while since I've read up, you understand."
Draco set down his cup and did some quick conversions in his head. "Four and a half months?"
"Yes! That's the other reason Concipio
is used with caution—very hard on the body." He shook his head at the floor gravely. "Poor dear."
"What happens if—are there any cases where it was used on a wizard?" Draco asked as worry iced over any comfort the tea had brought him.
"Can't say as to what would happen should it be cast on a male. I'm afraid that's beyond my field of knowledge, but I do know of a book that covers the—ins and outs of wizard pregnancy, as it were," he said the last bit on a chuckle.
Somewhere between Draco's question, and the time it took for him to waddle over to a low set of bookcases, Slughorn seemed to forget all about the 'poor dear' of seconds before, and appeared to be quite happy with the change of subject. After a moment of rummaging, he resurfaced with a surprisingly pristine-looking book with a vibrant red-leather cover. "This might be of some use for the curious. It was written by a former student, and treasured friend of mine, Duncan Forbish…"
Draco was already moving toward the door as he closed his fingers around the offered book. "Thank you, sir. I'll have it owled back to you shortly."
It was the Monday after a long week spent at his desk fighting with the newest version of the Auror training manual. The Ministry Officials had given him two weeks to make revisions—holding off circulation until Harry had added his stamp of approval. But the process was slow going and was complicated by memories of the one brief moment he'd spent with Malfoy. It was consuming his thoughts and dissolving his ability to concentrate on anything except berating himself for not being honest enough to confess his identity when he'd had the chance.
The lift clinked and rattled to a stop as the pleasant voice recited, 'Level four: Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures—Beast, Being and Spirit Divisions, Goblin Liaison Office, and the Pest Advisory Board.' Harry stared blankly at the colourful buttons and shuffled to the side to allow for the new occupant.
"Looks like you're contemplating a walk off the old Astronomy tower," a vaguely familiar voice whispered, pulling Harry from his downward thought process.
He gave Charlie Weasley a tired smile and offered his hand. "I might be forced to walk it if I don't get my draft done by Wednesday," he said grimly, indicating the messy collection of notes tucked under his left arm. "How've you been?"
Charlie looked the same as ever: bright-eyed, fit and more freckle-covered than the rest of his family. There was a slightly out of place look about him due to the fact that he was dressed sharply in what looked to be brand-new Magical Law Enforcement robes, but still had the rugged wind-blown and sun-kissed look that no other Ministry worker seemed to have.
"Tough luck, mate. I don't envy you that work," He answered, pumping Harry's hand. "I'm not bad—just got in. Had to stop at the old office and submit the armload of Division Change forms," he said, suddenly looking nearly as tired as Harry felt. "Guess Ron told you I'm back for a while?"
The doors sealed and the lift came to life with a little shudder. Harry braced a hand on the wall, and he noticed for the first time that he and Charlie were the same height, and wondered for a brief moment when that had happened.
Harry smiled. "Yeah. Said your mum's been preparing for weeks."
Charlie grimaced in response. "It was my idea to make the move back home for a while, but I made the mistake of telling her I'm only at the Burrow until I find my own place."
Harry chuckled. "I bet that went over well."
"Oh, yes. Got a Howler by Floo the next evening. It came when I was…" He lowered his head so only Harry could hear the next word. "…entertaining—if you get my meaning."
Harry gave him a level gaze. "You didn't see that one coming?" They laughed together, earning a frown from a short witch who was squeezed in between Charlie and the lift operator. "Listen, I have two extra rooms in my cottage," Harry added as the thought suddenly formed in his mind. "You can claim one if you like."
"Sounds great," he responded enthusiastically, giving Harry a wide, warm smile. "Tonight too soon?"
"No, that's fine. Address is Astrum Cottage. I'll have you added to the wards."
"Get ready for your Howler once mum finds out," Charlie teased.
As Harry laughed to himself, feeling suddenly better than he had in weeks, the lift voice declared 'Level Two: Department of Magical Law Enforcement' and began a long list of the divisions.
"Well, this is me," Charlie nodded at the opening doors. "Have to check in with the new bosses and all that. See you at home, then. Thanks again, Harry."
The short witch gave an impatient huff, and the doors began closing again, but Harry was grinning despite himself, and silently vowing to forget the mess with Malfoy for a while and get on with the rest of his life.
Two months had passed, but to Draco, it felt like a year at least, maybe two.
He clutched at his ever-growing stomach and tried to breathe through the pain as something else in a long line of bodily changes adjusted itself without his permission. The continued discomfort was causing a fine sweat to break out on his brow, forcing him to divert all his attention away from the daily planner on his desktop to the sharp pain in his lower back. At least he was sitting down this time. He still had bruises from his fall in the kitchen a few days ago when a different symptom had inconveniently surfaced before he'd had a chance to brace himself.
He swore at the top of his lungs when the wards rippled and an insistent knocking began. He felt no shame at the verbal outburst. After all, pain always allowed for a forgivable moment of swearing. He muttered a few words and a small, oval window appeared in the office door. The banging ceased.
Potter, the real one this time; Draco could tell by the look of confused annoyance.
"Care to explain this, Malfoy?" he asked in a door-muffled voice, pressing a letter to the glass and blocking his face momentarily from view.
Draco took a deep breath, let it out slowly and dropped the wards. It took more energy than it ever had before.
"Is this meant to scare me?" Potter asked, striding into the room, parchment waving.
"No, just a friendly reminder for you to keep your hairs, eyelashes, and any other disposable pieces to yourself for now on. I'd want to know if someone had been Polyjuicing into me."
Draco gave himself another mental kick for not identifying Blaise as the impostor straight away when he'd impersonated Potter. His Potter had moved with ease, confidence and just a touch of devilishness floating under the surface. This Potter looked like he was one earthquake short of an eruption—all choppy moves and flushed skin. Looking back on the night in question, Draco deduced that Blaise really hadn't done much more than alter his vocabulary slightly, and adopt Potter's nervous 'hand running through already messy hair' habits, but nicely wrapped in Potter's accidental attractiveness, Draco had fallen for it anyway.
A wave of queasiness hit him suddenly, pulling his thoughts back to the present. He tried not to close his eyes against the uncomfortable wash, but Potter had seen it, and his curiosity won out over his confusion about the letter.
"Are you all right?"
"Oh. Okay. Yeah, well—why haven't I heard anything about this?" He raised the parchment again. "Shouldn't an Auror or someone have shown up to ask me questions?" Potter asked, coming to a halt in front of the giant mahogany desk that separated them.
"I haven't reported anything—yet." Potter opened his mouth, but Draco spoke first. "Let's just say it's in both our best interests to keep this quiet. I haven't seen the impostor since he—showed up as you, so I'd rather find him first, since we have some unfinished business."
"All right, but I don't like knowing someone's out there..." Potter set down the letter and wandered over to the bookshelves, but he turned back before he reached them, dragging a hand through his hair. "You know who it is, don't you?"
Draco nodded, noticing how the news seemed to be affecting Potter. He wondered if telling him at all had been wise, and yet something in Draco that still found attraction in goading The Chosen One, was curious to see how Potter would react to the rest. "Blaise Zabini. I invited him—you—here for the evening two months ago."
There was a few seconds of delay before comprehension bloomed behind Potter's eyes, but was quickly replaced with a look of accusation. "Two months?" he shot back, and then swore under his breath, making Draco grin despite himself. He forced it off his lips before Potter's eyes met his again. "What good is telling me now, Malfoy? Who knows what's he's been out there doing in my name? Why did you invite—how the hell did Blaise get his hands on my…"
Draco raised a hand, and Potter stopped abruptly as if he'd just been hexed. "Relax, Potter. Breathe." Potter set his expression to something neutral, but the knuckles of his fisted hands were starting to go white. Draco kept his voice low and calm. "I doubt he's planning to go out as you again. Sit," he added when Potter's rigidity became unsettling.
Draco summoned tea, but what materialised was hot cocoa with plump, pink marshmallows. Odd. "Cocoa?" he offered, when it became clear that tea was not going to make an appearance. Potter nodded, not meeting Draco's eyes, and reached stiffly for the mug. Draco tried another calming breath and a slow sip of cocoa before starting up the conversation. For unknown reasons, this quiet Potter made him feel that he perhaps owed him a bit of disclosure.
"He was my lover, until recently."
Surprised green eyes met his over a marshmallow, but Potter remained silent.
"To make a long story short, I ended it, and he was unsatisfied with that decision."
Potter ran his fingertips over the scroll pattern on the mug, studying it intently. "So, he decided to punish you…as me?" he asked, quietly.
At the honest answer, Potter raised his head. He'd gone pale.
"Are you—did he—are you all right?" Potter's concern would have been laughable, except for the look of genuine fear behind his eyes.
"For the most part, but he did leave me something to remember him by." Draco answered flatly, and made a decision he knew he'd come to regret. He rolled out his chair, pushed up on the arms and stood, giving Potter full view of his swollen middle. In for a knut…
For a moment, Potter did nothing but stare until his eyes grew wide. Suddenly he was on his feet as well, still white as a sheet.
"What is—you didn't look like…" Potter stopped himself as colour flooded back into his cheeks. He looked away as if he'd been burned.
Draco hadn't known what sort of reaction to expect, and Potter's show would have been amusing if it hadn't left him feeling exposed and slightly irritated.
Potter sputtered and attempted another sentence. "Do you remember exactly when it happened?"
"That's none of your business, Potter," he said, trying to maintain a tone that would guarantee him the upper hand.
If possible, Potter flushed an even deeper shade of red. His fingertips came up to his cheek, as if to cover the heat radiating off his skin.
"I think it might be my business. There was
one night a few months ago where someone was close enough to get something from me, something that could have been used in Polyjuice."
"What?" The confession peaked Draco's curiosity. He tried to hide his interest behind another sip of his drink.
"I was out on a Saturday night two months ago—at a nightclub, and I saw you dancing."
Draco let out a huff of annoyance. "Potter, that's…"
"Please, let me finish," he implored. "You were there and we—I mean, you, he and I—but I was in disguise. I'm sorry I didn't tell you then, but, god, Malfoy, you were…"
Draco set down his mug harder than he intended. Cocoa slopped over a few papers, and he hurried to mop them up.
"What?" Potter asked, looking unnerved by the display of sudden anger.
Draco fixed him with a steady glare. "I haven't been to any club in over a year. You were taken, Potter. He knew exactly who you were."
"Blaise? Do you think he…?"
"Of course I do. It's the perfect revenge, isn't it? He gets to sit back and laugh at the both of us."
Potter slouched back as if slowly deflating. "Why would he use…why me
The sound of his name on Potter's lips upended the cauldron of Blaise-bashing thoughts he'd been trying to stir together, and an entirely different mixture now presented itself. Even when Blaise has been impersonating Potter it had been Malfoy
that was whispered against his skin. It had felt right at the time, since that's what they'd always been to each other—it would have never occurred to Blaise that Potter would want to use his given name. But now that he'd heard it, saw it being formed by that mouth, and felt the intimacy deepen with a mere two syllables, he wanted to hear it again. Not that he was in a hurry to spill this discovery to Potter just yet, but he reasoned an exchange of information might keep the moment from fading away too quickly.
"I may have let slip during my time with him that I found you…somewhat attractive. He came to me—as you—because he knew it would work with his plan. It's as simple as that. And what would make my humiliation more complete than to seduce you—as me—so you, wanting more, would come here and find me in this…" He pointed at his stomach. "…condition.
"Granted, my letter brought you here, so Blaise must not make a very passable me," he paused to smirk. "Or you would have been begging on my doorstep until the wee hours of Sunday morning."
Potter's cheeks still burned with colour, and Draco suddenly felt just as flushed. For some reason his heart was racing, and he wanted Potter to look up and say something.
He got his wish in an instant, but then Potter looked away just as quickly.
"I would have come sooner, but I thought you would have killed me for not telling you who I was that night."
Draco couldn't help the smile that surfaced, and he shook his head at the absurdity of the situation. They wanted each other, but neither had quite managed to make their shared desire a reality—not without Blaise in the equation, anyway. It was strangely poetic in a perverse sort of way.
A rustle of fabric drew Draco's attention back to where Potter was now standing, wringing his hands awkwardly. Green eyes found his, flicked down to his great belly, and then back up again before he turned and strode over to the fireplace.
"We have to get you to St Mungo's now. I can't believe you've left that for two months! It's some kind of infection, right?"
It was the word infection
that set Draco off. For the first time in a very long while, he laughed.
It felt good to let it out, and continuing the release became easier as Potter's concern melted into confusion, then into frustration, and finally he was cracking a smile as well, unable to resist the absurdity of the moment, even if he wasn't aware of being left in the dark just yet.
When Draco finally caught his breath, he stole a pink marshmallow from Potter's cup, popped it into his mouth, and gestured for Potter to sit once more.
"Infection is one way of looking at it," Draco said with a smile as Potter picked up his cup again and waited for the punch line. "He cast a rare conception spell—one that gives me very few options."
Potter's cocoa spilled out onto the floor. "You're pregnant?"
"Top of the class," Draco teased, taking pleasure in watching Potter's stunned expression. He cast a wandless Cleaning Charm, and the sticky drink vanished. When he tried refilling Potter's mug, however, it filled with something amber. Potter didn't seem to notice as he set it down and peered over the desk at Draco's middle.
"But, you said it's only been two months…I don't know much about babies, but aren't you a little…" He ran his hand though his hair again as Draco watched him search for the perfect alternate word for 'fat'. "Is it twins?"
Draco opened the top drawer and presented Potter with The Risks and Rewards of Using the Concipious Charm
. "Read this. Slughorn found it for me. The pictures are dated, but the information is accurate."
"So, Slughorn knows? Who else?" he asked, staring down at the cover illustration of a very pregnant witch wearing a hospital dressing gown with a large yellow bow in her hair, and a tall wizard in frilly dress robes who was smiling with pride.
Draco sat again and played his fingers absentmindedly through a jar of quills. "He doesn't know it's me. He thinks a witch friend of mine is in a predicament. The only one who knows the truth is you—and Blaise," he said, making sure Potter was paying attention. "And you'll be keeping your mouth shut until after the infection
arrives. Is that clear?"
"You don't have a Healer?" Potter asked, apparently not hearing Draco's last command.
"Potter, do you agree or not?"
"No. What if something happens—you pass out and can't call for help?"
Draco closed his eyes in frustration. "You think I haven't read every document and book on the subject? Besides, I have house-elves on standby. This really isn't your problem."
"You're going to let house-elves deliver your baby?" Potter asked, in a level that nearly rattled the windows. He planted his hands on the surface of the desk and leant forward.
Draco stood and mirrored the aggressive stance. "That's the way it's been done in my family for centuries."
Potter's face moved closer. "With witches, maybe, but you're going to need someone who knows what they're doing. There's more than one life at stake, Malfoy."
"You think I don't know that?" Draco threw his hands into the air and Potter backed off and sat once more. "Merlin's Rusty Pants, Potter, I'm not an idiot. But what do you think will happen the moment I get help? It'll all go public, and then my mother and I will go back to being whispered about and avoided by the people who used to do anything for the name of Malfoy before. Any headway I've made will be worthless." He took a breath, liking that he was now glaring down at Potter. "Once it's born, I'll either find someone out of country to raise it, or claim to have adopted it myself, giving the public an image of a philanthropist and caring family man."
"What about Blaise?" Harry asked quietly, all the thunderous protests suddenly gone. "What if he goes public first?"
Suddenly out of steam himself, Draco pulled his chair back under him. "He might, but then again, I think he probably ran out of the country to avoid my wrath. I also highly doubt he'd risk the public finding out what lengths he went to so that he could finally top."
The colour drained away from Potter's face, giving him the look of someone who might be ill at any moment. "So when it happened…" he started slowly. "…you didn't know it was Blaise."
"Potter, what have I just…"
"You thought it was—you thought you were with me," Potter whispered to the floor, almost as if he were only speaking to himself. After an uncomfortable pause, he looked up.
Draco felt his skin flush under the searching stare. He had prepared for shock, revulsion—possibly even a few creative swear words. What he saw instead was calculation, determination and—he hoped he was misreading it—compassion.
Potter never seemed to live up to his expectations.
"Would you see a Healer if I swore them to secrecy?" He asked quietly, still holding Draco with his intense gaze.
Draco sat numbly and tried to figure out why Potter hadn't gone running from the room. The silence dragged on until he heard his name coming from those lips once more.
The weight of the situation, and the exhausting drain of the pregnancy seemed to settle over him all at once. What had seemed important only a minute ago now felt overwhelming. He found himself nodding. If he were truly honest with himself, he'd admit that going it alone had already taken a lot out of him. There was also the business of the house-elf delivery. Regardless of what he'd just rattled off to Potter, he was worried.
Also, he might as well admit he hadn't written the letter to Potter to alert him to a hair thief—two months too late. In truth, he'd wanted to be face to face with the real Potter, to prove that any attraction he'd felt before had only been the result of a lot of alcohol, of Blaise's expert seduction tactics and…
Potter stood, reached across the desk and touched Draco's hand briefly. "I'm sorry about this—I'll find someone good. Don't worry."
Draco's hand burned where Potter's fingers had brushed it, and as his stomach gave a curl that had nothing to do with the 'infection', Draco felt frozen to the spot—helpless not to stare at the retreating black mess of hair. At that, Potter vanished in a rush of flames, leaving Draco to replay the words 'don't worry' over in his head, and wondering how he would find the energy to drag himself back to his work.
They were in the club again—wrapped around each other on the dance floor, Harry's hands buried deep in Draco's hair. Magnetic. He couldn't look away from where it shone silver-white in the rapid flashes of the strobe light. He pulled down gently and Draco's head tilted back, revealing a long, pale strip of skin that needed to be tasted.
The whole experience was augmented, and yet so much better than the first time.
He shook the sweat from his own hair and observed the subtle differences. Everything was brighter, warmer, more electric, and yet muted at the same time, soft around the edges like a memory—like intoxication. However, this time, he wasn't under the influence of any type of beverage and Draco was in no hurry to drag him off to the loo. They had each other, and the dance would only end when they wanted it to.
The world slowed down.
As other dancers closed in around them, Harry let his hands wander at a snail's pace, absorbed in watching Draco's eyelids flutter closed, and loving the fact that he was the cause of such a reaction. Draco relaxed and moved where Harry directed, making encouraging sounds that somehow reached Harry's ears over the gradual swell of the music. He spun Draco around and they swayed chest to back, moulding to each other. Harry's hands slid forward over Draco's perfectly flat abdomen.
In the next moment, something pushed back—something that twisted and kicked until an angry swollen bump appeared. The music, dancers and lights resumed their frantic pace of before, and still Draco's belly pounded against his hand. Harry stared down over Draco's shoulder and watched in disbelief as the lump swelled, but there was no response from Draco other than the continuation of the contented sounds, and the gentle roll of his hips in contrast to the flurry of activity within and around him.
Harry pushed out in shock, shoving him away. When the stunned gaze locked on his, the hurt and confusion melted quickly, and Blaise stared back, an ugly sneer of victory distorting his features. He made to speak as Harry searched for Draco in a thousand faces identical to Blaise's. Their mouths were all opening as they advanced."I win, Potter."
Harry opened his eyes and took instant relief in the darkness of his bedroom. He was awake, soaked in sweat and panting like a worn-out Hippogriff, but there was some small comfort in the fact that this nightmare—unlike all the others—didn't feature anyone dead. Still, he rubbed his forehead out of habit, stripped off his wet pyjamas, and swore at himself for allowing Blaise to fool him so spectacularly in real life.
Draco got the worst of the situation, but it stung that he'd let himself be fooled so completely, and it infuriated him to know that Blaise was out there, somewhere, having a good laugh over Harry's humiliation, and Draco's pain.
A thought suddenly struck him. He checked the time briefly before kneeling in front of the fireplace. It was very late, but he didn't want to wait until the morning. He threw the powder, called out "Malfoy Manor", grabbed his wand and pulled on a pair of discarded shorts seconds before a tiny house-elf head appeared in the flames.
It scowled at him. "Young sir, Madame Malfoy has retired for the evening. Call back at a more appropriate
"I need to talk to Dra…Master Malfoy. It's important!"
The elf head seemed to be moving closer, and Harry got the feeling he was being judged. "Master Malfoy has been residing at his place of business in London since young Master Zabini moved on unexpectedly. I suggest you call there. Good evening." With a dramatic sizzling noise, the elf vanished.
Harry found himself staring at the back wall of the fireplace. "Thanks for your help," he muttered darkly, reaching for another handful of Floo Powder.
"Malfoy Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers."
As the familiar office came into view, it was clear that the room had been in complete darkness before his arrival. The blankets moved on a large bed that filled the area where a sofa usually stood. As his eyes adjusted to the contrast, he found himself looking down a wand that led to a shirtless Draco bathed in firelight. Harry's heart hammered for all the wrong reasons.
"It's just me. I'm sorry for…"
Draco's wand arm fell, and he looked simultaneously relieved and exhausted. "Fuck, Potter, what time is it?" He asked, falling back down to the bed and rubbing a hand over his rounded belly.
"Late. Early. Sorry, I had to talk to you."
Harry stepped into the room as the fire flared and then vanished, plunging the room back into near-darkness. A hazy glow from a street lamp lit up the area around Draco's desk and cast enough light to make out the rough shapes of everything else.
Draco curled onto his side and grumbled something inaudible into his pillow.
Harry took a few steps closer. "I have to ask you…has anyone seen Blaise since you saw him as me?"
"Potter this can wait. I'm sleeping, and you're practically naked. Go away."
Harry gave himself a mental kick for the lack of thought he'd given to his appearance before Flooing through into the room of someone he fancied. He was thankful for the darkness at least.
The reason for his haste quickly pushed his embarrassment aside. "I think I know how we can get him back."
Draco hummed sleepily and cracked open a cautious eye. "I'm surprised you'd jump right to revenge, Potter. I'm telling Granger."
The bed creaked with Harry's added weight as he sat by Draco's feet and noticed the comforting heat rising from the spot. Draco turned away from him, and pulled the blankets higher still.
"It's justice. He committed a crime. I don't care what he did to me, but using a Conception Spell on someone who…I've been reading and doing my own research, and I know all the risks." Harry said, lowering his voice and wishing he'd left this until the morning. It was too intimate a setting to have this conversation, and rather pointless when the other person was already falling back to sleep, but he took a deep breath and said what was on his mind anyway. "I just can't understand why someone who claimed to love you would…"
"I never said he loved me, only that we'd been lovers." Draco whispered from the darkness. "Regardless, I haven't seen or heard from him, but that's hardly surprising. Someone from his Department kept calling my mother, but they stopped last month after I assured them he was no longer living at the Manor."
Harry ran his fingers absentmindedly through his hair and stared at the window. The gauzy curtains blurred the world outside, but he could still make out a few lit windows against the rough shapes of neighbouring buildings and hear the distant city sounds of car horns and pub patrons.
He spared a moment to silently curse Blaise again, and then spoke to Draco's back once more.
"He's gone missing from work, then?"
"Hmm…I assume so, but I haven't actually had the energy to go on a manhunt, Potter. I can barely transfigure this bed anymore, but since it's still here, I'm going to make use of it. When I'm properly awake, I might let you come back, but until then, go home."
The short speech was enough to make Harry rise guiltily to his feet, but the cry of pain from the bed halted his attempt to leave.
Without thinking, he lit his wand and climbed across the bed to where Draco had thrown the blankets aside and was trying to curl into a ball while frantically rubbing his hands over as much of his back and sides as he could reach.
"What…" Harry tried. "What is it?"
"Pains…" Draco growled out through clenched teeth. "They—fuck—they hit like four bludgers at once."
Harry dropped his wand and moved closer. Draco's face was scrunched up in agony, his frantic movements causing him to rock back and forth.
"What can I do?"
"Lower back", he choked out, rolling to his side, exposing his naked back to Harry.
There was no hesitating. When his fingers pressed into over-tense muscle, Harry couldn't believe the heat that was radiating from Draco's slick skin. He kneaded in small circles, gradually working outward until Draco groaned, breaking up the sound of rustling fabric and choppy breathing.
"Mmm…yes. Much better," Draco said, sounding relieved, and yet more exhausted than when Harry had first stumbled through the Floo. "It never lasts for long, but when they come, it's like every pain sensor activates. It's odd, I can feel everything: hair, joints, muscles, fingernails, teeth, and they all hurt like mad until it fades."
"Your muscles still feel the same," Harry observed, pressing a little deeper with his thumb, making Draco twitch. He snapped his hands away, hating himself for causing more pain. "Sorry. Too much."
"No." Draco reached behind him, fishing for Harry's hand and returning it to the same spot. "Feels great, actually. Could you keep going? It's not a place I can reach easily, and that where the pain seems to originate from."
Harry continued the slow massage as Draco hummed his encouragement, but he couldn't bring himself to use the same pressure as before. Draco stretched out and Harry watched every inch of him unfurl. Even with the tight, rounded bump in the middle, he was stunning. Pregnant was a good look for Draco, Harry just wished the circumstances had been different.
He let his mind wander with his fingers, creating an elaborate fantasy where he and Draco belonged to each other, their past was behind them, and the baby turning under Draco's stretched skin was theirs as well. Harry's skin heated with invented memories of how they would have moved together, furiously in love, rocking each other with passion and purpose until they cast the charm that would conceive their child—create their family.
Harry's fingers slipped over a hip and brushed the side of the bump tenderly. Draco rolled forward, pulling slightly away, and Harry understood.
The fantasy vanished, but the heat that filled him remained, and he vowed to be open to whatever Draco was willing to offer. Harry swallowed and walked his fingers higher until he heard the contented moan he'd been waiting for—hoping for. It gave him courage to lay down behind Malfoy and study his pale skin in the dim light. Draco's breath sped up as Harry's touches became bolder, wandering away from lower back and slowly up to brush the goose-fleshed dip between his shoulder blades.
He knew this was a line he had no right to cross, but he couldn't stop his hand from exploring any more than he could keep his tongue from darting out once his lips had brushed the moonlight-touched shoulder.
"Potter..." It was breathed more than voiced, but not in warning. There was need. Permission.
Harry let out the breath he'd been holding and pulled Draco tight against his chest. The sensation of his skin pressed against Draco's gave him a jolt of arousal and power. He hissed against the curve of Draco's neck and tasted the skin there while Draco shifted closer and wrapped Harry's arm around his upper chest.
Blood rushed through Harry's ears as his heart pounded with excitement. His body remembered the night in the club: the lines of Draco's form, the light, salty smell of his sweat-dampened hair and the keening noises coming from his mouth, but his mind cruelly decided to remind him of who had been under Draco's image when they'd created those first memories.
His hand squeezed around Draco's. "I hate that Blaise got to you first," he said honestly, surprising himself with the sudden, harsh delivery.
"He was a waste of time," Draco confessed, dragging Harry's fingers to his lips. "Forget him. He's never been in this bed, and I plan to keep it that way."
Harry vibrated with need and threw his head back as Draco sucked on his fingers and did wicked things that involved tongue and teeth. He willed his hand to leave the warm mouth and wrapped it around Draco's hip, pulling until they fit perfectly against each other. The pressure and confinement were glorious torture, but Harry still found he had more to say.
"But that night…I should have known it was him and not you. He cheated us, and I want him to hurt for what he did to you," Harry said firmly, startling himself again by how the revealing statement seemed to pour out of its own volition.
"Yes, yes, vengeance noted," Draco said breathily, reaching around for Harry's hand again. Once it was captured, Draco pushed it around the bump and downward. "Now shut up and touch me. I've been hard for you all month."
Harry quickly freed up his other arm, slid it under Draco's neck and pushed himself up on his elbow to take in the sight. His other hand was wrapped with Draco's and moving with a steady tempo up and down under the thin sheet that was slowly sliding out of the way. Draco's skin glowed in the colourless light and Harry lowered his head to press kisses to the damp forehead and the squeezed-shut eyelids. He shifted slightly, draped his leg over Draco's and rocked against the hardness of his hip, unable to resist his body's own need.
Suddenly a hand was carding through his hair. The fingers closed into a fist and pulled as Draco came with a breathy moan—back arched beautifully—and Harry thrilled at the pleasure/pain it caused. A few more thrusts against Draco's slick skin and Harry followed him over the edge, panting into the hair covering Draco's ear.
He tried to remember every detail, catalogue every smell, sound and sensation, but his eyelids were already falling as his body found its own way back to the pillows, Draco's head still resting in the crook of his arm.
It was hard to convince himself it wasn't a dream.