Chapter Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Wherein vampires make a vicarious appearance, Draco does not daydream (thank you very much), Harry is royally pissed off, Auror training brings an unpleasant surprise, and it's dangerous to walk the woods at night.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Chapter 18 - Fear of Flying
On Monday morning in Defence Against the Dark Arts, Draco found himself staring at the back of Potter's head, barely hearing Moody's lecture. The topic was vampires, a subject Draco would normally have found fascinating, but today he was too busy trying to hypnotise Potter's disastrous hair.
Oh great, next thing you know, you'll be thinking of grooming tips to give him. Poof.
Draco shook the thought off and made himself look at Moody.
"...and this is why vampires are not classed as Dark creatures."
Two desks ahead, Susan Bones put up her hand.
Moody turned to her. "Go ahead."
"Is it true that Romania has a vampire colony? Where they're allowed to bite Muggles who wander into the colony border?"
Moody waved his wand, and a green-brown map covered the blackboard. He circled the tip of his wand in the air, and the map instantly bore a red mark. "Southern Wallachia," Moody said. He frowned. "The Eastern European Ministry of Magic insists that there is no vampire settlement there, but rumours of it are oddly persistent for something that doesn't exist." He poked the map with his wand, and the colours faded out, leaving only the red circle. Another flick of Moody's wand, and there was a question mark beside the circle. "Who can tell me what is wrong with the rumour Miss Bones just shared?"
Draco knew this one, and his hand shot up on instinct. After Moody's nod, he cleared his throat. "Vampires are magical, and they can only feed on other magical creatures, including wizards. Muggle blood is useless to them." When Draco had been a child, that had been all the proof he'd needed that Muggle blood and wizard blood were different.
"There is a lot of ridiculous hearsay about vampires," said Moody. "In this case, there is some suspicion that a cell of Dark vampires is operating out of Southern Wallachia, but it has nothing to do with dead Muggles. Part of your N.E.W.T. examination will concern separating rumour from fact." He looked around the room, his eyes alight with something feverish and insane.
"Please, Professor," called Lisa Turpin. "You said earlier that ninety-nine per cent of vampires will not take a witch's or wizard's blood without permission. But how do we defend ourselves against the other one per cent?"
"That," said Moody, unsmiling, "is part of the practical portion of this unit, which we are not starting for some time yet. For now, if you find yourself in danger of becoming dinner, my most prudent advice would be to run."
Someone to Draco's left sniggered.
"Nothing funny about it, Smith," snapped Moody. "The whole point of this lesson was to impress upon you that as some wizards choose to practise the forbidden Dark Arts, so do some vampires choose to ignore the Covenant of 1692." The bell went, and Moody raised his voice. "Homework! Chapter Nine of your textbook; there will be a quiz. Smith -- for you personally, two feet on the Covenant of 1692."
Smith stomped out, scowling, and Draco began to gather his things. He had hours to kill before his Arithmancy lesson, and he intended to use the time to catch up on the research for his Potions essay. If he could keep his mind from wandering, he might even finish the bloody thing by tonight.
"Any day now, Malfoy," called Zabini from the door. New system or not, Slytherins went about in groups, just as they always had. Never mind that Slytherin was just a name, now.
"You go on," Draco said as he snapped his bag shut. "I'll catch up."
Both Millicent and Pansy cast uncertain backwards glances at him as they departed, but Draco put on his best self-assured smirk. The miserable truth was that if Draco were surrounded by his friends, Potter would never approach him, and Draco very much wanted to be approached. He'd spent breakfast trying to pretend like Potter's indifference -- feigned, it had to be feigned -- didn't matter to him, but he'd done a rather poor job of it. Why, he'd snapped at several people for no good reason. Dear God, he was turning into Pansy.
The corridor outside the classroom was empty save for Peeves, who streaked past Draco, cackling with glee. Draco wondered what he'd done, and what hapless first-year would be blamed this time. The poltergeist had taken to making his mischief in ways that could not be traced to him lately, no doubt because McGonagall was not as forgiving of chaos as Dumbledore had been.
Then Draco saw Potter crouching next to a wall, examining a fraying edge of tapestry, and all thoughts of McGonagall fled from his mind. He looked down at the floor with deliberate care, hoisted his schoolbag higher on his shoulder, and muttered, "fucking homework" loud enough for Potter to hear, but not so loud as to appear that he'd spoken deliberately. The oldest trick in the book, in other words. He really was turning into Pansy.
Draco sneaked a glance in Potter's direction, but Potter was still studying the tapestry. Had he not heard? Or was he ignoring Draco on purpose? Did he think that Draco would assume it was normal for students to examine the school's wall decorations with rapt interest? Oh, for fuck's sake. Draco stopped behind Potter and glared at his back.
"Why are you ignoring me?"
Potter turned his head, and a wall torch flashed briefly in his glasses. "I'm not ignoring you," he said.
"You have been ever since I came back from the hospital wing." And even whilst I was in the hospital wing, even. "Why is that?"
Potter rose to his feet, slowly, and faced Draco. "Because you're a fucking idiot," he said, a dangerous fire kindling in his eyes. "You live through the war and you nearly get yourself killed by a Bludger?"
Draco gaped at him. "I nearly got myself killed? It was that bastard Kinney--" The absurdity of what he was saying -- defending himself! -- dawned on him, and he blinked. "What in the three hells is wrong with you, Potter?"
"What's wrong with me? I wasn't the one up there, too busy showing off to pay attention to what was going on around me!"
"Oh, I see what this is about," spat Draco. "You're jealous that I'm Seeker. Well, you could have had your chance--"
"Fuck being Seeker!" Potter shouted. "You--" He broke off, and blinked.
Draco realised he'd taken a step back. He'd nearly forgotten that Potter had gone mad since the war. "You're a lunatic," he said. "If you think I'd risk my hide just to show off, you're crazier than everyone thinks."
"Everyone thinks so, do they?" Potter's voice had a rough edge to it, and he sagged against the tapestry, letting his head fall back. "Sometimes I wish I'd never come here. That Hagrid hadn't found us that night. The owls would've stopped eventually."
At least he was no longer shouting. Draco drew himself up and forced his face into an impassive mask. "I don't know what you're babbling about now," he said with dignity, "but I would suggest a visit to the hospital wing. I am told Madam Pomfrey has some special potions for those who can't bear the strain of N.E.W.T. year."
He walked off, leaving Potter alone with his insanity. Nearly got himself killed, indeed. Who did Potter think he was, chastising Draco for not having seen that bloody Bludger? As if Draco were a piece of property Potter had a right to! Unbelievable! What owls?
Draco had a sudden vision of a half dozen owls snatching Potter out of his Muggle hovel and carrying him to the Hogwarts Express. For all he knew, that was exactly how it had happened. He knew little beyond rumour about Potter's past, and that was just as well. Draco didn't want to know about Potter's sordid Muggle past. It wasn't as though they were in a relationship.
And yet he had to fight not to look back at Potter as he walked away. Yet he kept wanting to look at Potter during lunch, and during supper, and in the common room, and in the dormitory. Even though Thomas and Finnigan and Longbottom were right there, too. Draco didn't look -- not once -- but despite that, he could not help wondering if that was the end of it, if Potter would let him be.
Much to Draco's dismay, he didn't want that to happen. A sick, queasy sinking in the pit of his belly told him that he was afraid that Potter had lost interest. Afraid. The world hadn't changed, after all. Draco had quite simply gone mad, quietly and without warning. That was the only explanation. The twist in his gut at the thought of it -- Potter had found someone else, Potter was no longer interested -- marked him as mad as surely as wanting to find a dark corner with Potter. They made a fair pair, barking as they were.
Draco stood next to Millicent, feeling ridiculous. Moody had gone on at length about Aurors needing versatility in movement, or some such rubbish, and finally he'd sent them to bring their broomsticks and led them to the Quidditch pitch. They were supposed to race in pairs, and then the winners would race against each other until only two remained. Draco had been flying since he was a child; did Moody really think he needed the practice?
Grudgingly, Draco thought that perhaps Potter didn't need the practice, either. Flying was one of Potter's few talents, unfortunately. Draco could predict the outcome of tonight's farce with his eyes closed: in the end, it would be down to him and Potter. May the best man win. He smirked to himself as Moody blew on a whistle. Draco suspected he'd filched it from Hooch's desk.
He held his hand out and waited for his Nimbus to settle into his palm, but nothing happened. Draco stared down at the broom. "Up, you useless--"
He glanced up. Millicent was frowning down at him from a few feet above the ground. Everyone else was already up in the air.
"My broom, it--"
"What's the problem?" asked Moody as he walked up to Draco.
"My broomstick is malfunctioning," said Draco, bristling. "Sir," he added after a pause.
Moody held his hand out, and the Nimbus flew up instantly. He handed the broomstick to Draco, but as soon as Draco gripped the handle, the Nimbus seemed to grow heavier. "There's something wrong with the charms," insisted Draco. "It's not afloat any more."
Moody squinted at him. "Are you afraid of flying, boy?"
Draco couldn't help himself. He laughed. "Afraid? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." He swung a leg over the broomstick. Panic lashed his mind, bitter and sharp. He couldn't breathe. He couldn't think, especially not of being up in the air. That way lay pain, and death. He felt a hollow echo of the Bludger's impact on the side of his neck. With a gasp, he let go of the broomstick, letting it fall to the ground. His mouth was dry, and the air tasted bitter.
"It's happened in the past," said Moody somewhere far away. "A serious injury on the field, and--"
Draco didn't bother listening. He walked away, aimlessly, forgetting about his once-prized broomstick. It was no use to him now. He knew as sure as death that he would not fly again, not with that searing clutch of fear around his throat. He thought about flying as he walked, thought about feeling the wind on his skin, in his hair. He felt... regret, and longing -- no fear. But he knew that if he tried to get on a broomstick again, he'd be afraid again, and Draco didn't like to be afraid.
He know where he was going, and he didn't realise how far he'd walked until he found himself staring at a centaur. Its bow was drawn; the arrow aimed between Draco's eyes. "None may enter the Forest without permission from the Council," it said in a booming voice.
"Council?" Draco couldn't help asking. "You're beasts. By choice. What are you doing having councils?"
The centaur regarded him calmly, and did not lower its bow. "The world has changed," it said simply.
"That it has," muttered Draco. He had no desire to argue with a talking animal, and he had no wish to enter their precious Forest, anyway. He could have, though, if he'd wanted to. A Severing charm would make short work of that stupid Muggle weapon. Filthy beasts. He turned on his heel and walked back through a moonlit clearing.
A path leading to the school grounds was visible just up ahead, but he didn't want to go back yet. He found a thick tree that hid the castle from view and rested his forehead against the cool bark. It was deathly quiet here, except for the occasional owl's hoot. A late breeze rustled in the leaves above him. The air had a hint of crispness to it; winter was coming. Draco realised he felt chilled to his bones.
"Moody says you can recover from it if you 'apply yourself,'" said Potter's voice, and Draco very nearly leapt out of his skin.
"You scared me," he snapped with an accusing stare. Potter stood well out of the moonlight, so Draco ended up glaring at a shadow.
"Shouldn't walk in the woods by yourself," said Potter. "Who knows what might happen?"
Draco opened his mouth for a retort, but didn't get a chance to speak. Potter materialised in front of him, his breath hot across Draco's lips. Draco's cock went from listless to can-we-fuck-now in about two seconds. Wretched appendage. There was no hiding it, no edging away. Potter's hips ground into Draco's, and he lifted Draco's arms above his head, pinning him to the tree.
Then Potter's mouth covered his, and Draco forgot to think. For a while, there was nothing but the smooth slide of Potter's tongue against his, nothing but Potter thrusting erratically against him, Potter's grip on his wrists growing now weaker, now stronger. Draco pulled away, panting and half-mad with lust. "I-- you--" He swallowed, and stared at Potter's face, ghostly pale in the moonlight. "Touch me."
Potter grinned -- not the savage grin of a madman that Draco often imagined, but an easy, delighted smile. His glasses had fogged up, but his eyes were clear. "You first."
"I can't," Draco pointed out, and tugged his wrists down experimentally. Potter let go, and Draco scraped the back of his left hand against the bark. Oh well. He'd survived a Bludger to the neck. He was not a porcelain princess. His hands fell to Potter's shoulders, where he rested them, suddenly feeling awkward as he regained some of his wits. "You're a prat," he told Potter.
"That makes us even," said Potter, and began hitching up Draco's robes. The wind nipped at Draco's exposed legs. He would not complain, he told himself.
"No, it doesn't," he countered, and moved his hands down to pull at Potter's robes. They twisted in his grip. He was fumbling! Malfoys did not fumble!
"Yes, it does," breathed Potter, and hooked his thumbs under the sides of Draco's pants.
"Does not," said Draco, tugging Potter's robes up and out of the way.
"Does too." A yank, and Draco's pants slid down, exposing his cock.
Potter stared down at it, and Draco gave his pants a vicious tug. His thumb brushed against Potter's balls, and once again he was struck by how wrong it was to do this. "Does not."
"Does not," said Potter, and stepped closer, so close that their cocks were almost touching.
"Does too," insisted Draco, then blinked. That wasn't what he'd been saying before, was it? Why was he so fucking brain-addled around Potter?
"I'm glad you agree," whispered Potter, and guided Draco's hand to his cock. Draco forgot what they'd been arguing about; his mouth went dry. He wrapped his hand around Potter's cock and adjusted his grip. Like wanking, only... the other way. He opened his palm again and hooked his thumb around his own cock, pressing the two together. They didn't both fit in his hand, but he felt a shudder building at the feel of Potter's cock against his. He squeezed tighter, and Potter's cautious silence broke with a soft sigh. Potter's hand circled their cocks on the other side, and Draco's shudder materialised. Soft skin over hard flesh, Potter's cock felt glorious against his, warm and firm.
Then Potter moved his hand, guiding Draco's hand down, and Draco's head fell back against the tree trunk. The wind didn't seem as cold any more. He let Potter lead, building a rhythm that started out slow and steady, then quickened, both their grips growing stronger, their movements more urgent. Draco may have made involuntary noises, but he didn't think Potter noticed, for his breaths were shallow and loud, ending in little grunts that echoed in Draco's cock. An earthy scent filled the crisp air between them, intensifying as they moved their hands in unison, as Draco began to buck forwards, filled with an irrational desire to be closer to Potter.
Tension, anger, and frustration drained out of him, replaced by need -- a sweet ache in his lower belly, then hotter, deeper, more urgent, until his mind was wiped blank and his eyes fell shut, and he shuddered as he spilled out over Potter's hand, and his own, and likely all over the ground. Potter made a low sound between a growl and a moan, louder than Draco's own, and Draco felt an urgent... rush under his fingertips, and more warm, slippery fluid slid down his knuckles. Potter's collapsing weight pressed him more firmly against the tree, but Draco found he didn't mind.
He didn't understand why Potter had followed him here, didn't understand why he seemed to have forgotten about yesterday's altercation, didn't understand anything any more. He just knew that he wanted to be nowhere else, just like every time they did this. He decided to dwell on that tomorrow, though; the skin on Potter's belly felt so soft beneath his fingertips. He stroked at it absently. "I suppose I'll have to be careful about walking in the woods," he whispered, and closed his eyes.
"There you are," called a female voice. "I was wondering-- oh, shit."