Chapter Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Chapter Summary: Wherein Harry is sure no one's going to walk in, Neville just wants to make things grow, Moody is demanding even when he doesn't show up, Draco is beyond elated, Abraxas Malfoy (RIP) brandishes a poky stick, and Narcissa gets an early Christmas surprise.
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Chapter 20 - Dreamcatcher
Potter's answering smile was almost hesitant, and his hand tightened on the parchment. Recklessly, Draco leaned forward, lips parting, but he waited for Potter to kiss him. Potter did, letting the map drop into his trunk. A voice in the back of Draco's skull murmured a warning -- they were practically in the middle of the room, with no place to hide should someone decide to open the door at that instant. Potter seemed heedless of the danger as he grabbed a fistful of Draco's robes and pulled him closer still, his mouth hot and urgent. Draco tried to get free but found himself pressed up against Potter's trunk, the edge of it digging painfully into his back. He turned his head away sharply, panting, "stop", indicating the door with a desperate roll of his eyes.
Potter let him go instantly and turned to look at the door. He turned back to Draco with a puzzled frown. "There's no one there."
Draco got up from the floor and brushed dust from his knees. "There could be at any moment. Honestly, Potter, I don't understand what you're thinking of--"
"You started it," complained Potter, getting up as well. He bit his lip and gave Draco a look full of mischief, one that made Draco want to dash for the door and not stop until he reached the safety of the common room.
The thought came too late, for Potter was already pulling them both towards his bed. Draco stumbled over the edge of Potter's trunk and went sprawling onto the bed, taking Potter with him. Potter's hands slid underneath his robes, and Draco shivered as cool fingertips scored his sides. Potter was on top of him, his breath hot on the back of Draco's neck. "What are you doing?" Draco wheezed. "Someone could walk in--"
"Ginny's running a practice for the sixth-years," whispered Potter. "Dean's not going to miss that, and Seamus goes wherever Dean does." Draco's robes were hitched up to his waist, and Potter slid his thumb underneath the waistband on Draco's pants. "And Neville would move into the greenhouses if Sprout let him." He gave Draco's pants a sharp tug, and Draco thought he felt them rip. "I want to see you naked," Potter whispered, and the hangings round the bed pulled shut.
Draco snorted. "Good luck with that in the dark."
Draco half-twisted beneath Potter and saw that Potter's wand lay next to the pillow. Potter was undoing his belt, watching Draco with wandlight flickering in his eyes.
His hair is longer than I thought.
"You don't have to hold me down, you know," Draco said, his voice wavering traitorously.
Potter shifted to his knees above him, and Draco turned onto his back, then struggled to his elbows. "The hangings won't help," he said. "What if someone hears?"
"We'll be quiet," said Potter, and pulled his belt out of his jeans.
Their clothes were soon piled on the other side of Potter's pillow, which Draco was using to muffle the sounds Potter's mouth was ripping from him. Somewhere behind the pleasant haze in his mind, Draco wondered if that was where the term "pillow-biter" had come from. Then Potter put his tongue to a use far preferable to forming words, and Draco gasped and bucked upwards, his hand flying to grasp the back of Potter's head. Potter's fingers clenched against the inside of Draco's thigh, and he drew the head of Draco's cock into his mouth. Draco bit down on another gasp and shut his eyes as the throbbing heat in his cock mingled with the slick heat of Potter's mouth.
Another thought wandered through his blank mind: Potter was better at this than before. Another thought: whom did he practice on? And another: why did it matter? Potter's movements quickened, his mouth sliding up and down Draco's cock, wet, lips firm enough to hurt a little. Draco felt his release building with inexorable swiftness, wanted to come in Potter's mouth, watch him swallow every drop.
Abruptly, Potter let go, and Draco heard himself emit a low whine. He hoped the pillow had muffled it. Potter slid up and up until he was on his elbows above Draco, staring down at him with eyes full of dark need. Potter's cock was hard and firm against Draco's belly, and Draco felt an urge to thrust upwards, wrap his legs round Potter's waist, feel him deeper than skin, make him scream--
Outside, the door banged open, and someone asked, "Harry?" Longbottom.
Draco froze. The heat drained out of him rapidly, replaced by a sick, white fear. He supposed Longbottom wasn't too bad; he wasn't the type to spread rumours. Nonetheless, the very thought of Neville bloody Longbottom finding him in bed with Potter made him want to sick up his lunch.
Potter reacted quickly, and not as gracelessly as he had when Millicent had found them in the woods. Lightning-quick, he flipped onto his back and stuck his head outside the bed hangings. "I was taking a nap," he said, his voice thick. His cock was still hard, and Draco had a half-crazed thought of grabbing it and seeing how calm Potter could stay then.
You always do dig your very own grave, don't you?
"Moody's looking for you," explained Longbottom. "He told me to find you."
"Where is he?"
"His office," said Longbottom. Draco lay very still, barely daring to breathe. If Longbottom stayed near the door, he shouldn't be able to smell anything: the bed hangings at Hogwarts were made of sturdy, thick material that kept light out very well. Draco could only hope it also kept smell in. Where he lay, he could smell his own sweat and Potter's, could smell... sex.
"I'll just get dressed, then," said Potter. "Thanks, Neville."
"I'm sorry I woke you," said Longbottom. "I'll be in greenhouse two if you need me. Millicent thinks she's found a Dawnwillow in the Forbidden Forest. We're trying to get it to grow."
"Good luck with that," said Potter, and ducked back inside. He reached over Draco and retrieved his pants, then his jeans and belt. Draco heard the door close and let go of a breath.
"Why would you need him?" he asked as Potter pulled on his rumpled clothes.
Potter paused and looked over at him. "What do you mean?"
"He said that if you needed him, he'd be in greenhouse two. Why would you need him?"
Potter shrugged. "He knows about the Eyelets, too."
Draco felt an absurd stab of jealousy. "How about you get on the table during dinner and announce it to the whole school?"
Potter wiggled the rest of the way into his jeans and shook out his t-shirt. "I've told everyone I care about," he said, his voice muffled by the shirt over his head. "Just in case."
Draco was, for once, at a loss for words. He must have looked ridiculous, naked, staring at Potter with a look of complete horror on his face. Potter didn't seem to realise what he'd said; he struggled into his jumper, emerged looking like a pack of crows had had a fight in their nest, and turned to Draco again. "We'll finish this later," he said, and Draco knew he didn't mean the conversation.
He picked up his wand and extinguished it, then disappeared with another bang of the dormitory door. Draco lay in darkness for a few long moments, and then he laughed, quite helplessly, until he began to hiccough and until tears ran down his face.
After a cool shower, Draco felt slightly more clear-headed. Potter had not returned, and Draco wasn't about to sit around waiting for him. He gathered his Charms notes and headed downstairs to the common room, where his attempts to study were thwarted by a spirited game of chess between the Bloody Baron and three Hufflepuffs. Hufflepuffs! Who were giving as good as they got, except their invectives were all based on food. Draco fled the common room, schoolbag in tow, as a shrill Hufflepuff called the Bloody Baron a pumpkin-head.
The library, filled with sounds of parchment rustling and hushed whispers, was a welcome respite from the clangour in the common room. Draco spread his Charms notes out on a table next to a group of fourth-years and studied the heading. Household charms. He would never need to use a household charm in his life -- that was what house-elves were for! -- and yet he was expected to know the basic charms if he hoped to pass his Charms N.E.W.T. Whoever had written the seventh-year curriculum really ought to have accounted for differences in social standing. Now he had to write an essay on the advantages of modern household charms over Merlin-era ones. With a sigh, Draco stared at the bookshelf next to him, not really seeing the titles until one jumped out at him. Dreamcatchers: A Primer. They'd studied Dreamcatchers in Divination eons ago, these devices that trapped nightmares, but little of Trelawney's mournful wailing had stuck in his mind.
Draco glanced at Pince, who was chastising a second-years for using a Droobles wrapper as a bookmark, and pulled the book from the shelf. At this point, he'd read anything other than his Charms notes, really.
Dreamcatchers are one of few magical items also known to Muggles, the prologue lectured, though the Muggle version of the device is crude. Muggle Dreamcatchers are what wizarding Dreamcatchers once were -- they catch the nightmares and hold them, but they do not destroy them. Like a Pensieve, they hold on to nightmares, ridding the mind of the details and the resulting emotions, but the dreamer still knows that the nightmare existed. Modern Dreamcatchers are ill-named, for they do not merely trap bad dreams. They destroy them utterly.
Draco's heart began to beat faster. This was what he'd thought about once, about turning his memories into dreams, so that he might forget them. His mind was its own Dreamcatcher, in that way. Feverishly, he flipped the pages, scanning the neat rows of sentences for... something, anything -- he did not even know what he was looking for, but he knew that he would find it here.
The penultimate chapter concluded with This is why Dreamcatcher manufacture, their sale, and use are tightly regulated today. Draco flipped the page and read the preceding paragraph.
The single biggest drawback of today's Dreamcatchers is that they cannot distinguish between memories of nightmares and real memories. Once a memory is fed to the device, it is marked for destruction, whether it is a recollection of a terrible dream or that of an actual event.
Draco wanted to hug the book. Instead, he found Using a Dreamcatcher in the index at the back and flipped to Chapter Eight.
The dreamer collects the nightmares as he would retrieve memories for Pensieve storage -- again, this is because a Dreamcatcher is actually a modified Pensieve -- and deposits them inside the Dreamcatcher. After every nightmare is inside the device, the dreamer must put them back inside his head. This is the most dangerous aspect of Dreamcatcher use, as this process forces the dreamer to relive every nightmare as though it were really happening, which is why it is universally recommended that another person be present to counter the effects of the nightmares with liberal Cheering Charms. Once finished, the dreamer must go to sleep.
During sleep, the nightmare -- which has been marked for destruction -- is attacked by the dreamer's mind and "shredded" (for lack of a better word). It works on the same principle as the body, which cannot abide foreign objects embedded in the skin. The Dreamcatchers' magic essentially turns the nightmares into "foreign objects" for the mind. The mind destroys them, and when the dreamer wakes, he no longer remembers the nightmares. He will also never have those same nightmares again, because dreams are a product of the subconscious mind. The subconscious will, of course, come up with new nightmares, but this is a slow process based on the dreamer's experiences.
South American experts recommend sleeping draughts immediately after Dreamcatcher use...
As he turned the page, Draco realised he was holding his breath. The text went on to talk about intricacies of dreams and dreaming, which held no interest. He'd found his answer, his perfect solution. A Dreamcatcher could get rid of memories as well as nightmares. He went back to the index and found Dreamcatchers Around the World. The chapter informed him once again that Dreamcatchers were tightly regulated, and the only one in England resided at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. The case was much the same throughout the rest of the world.
Just as Draco started to formulate a plan to get himself admitted to St. Mungo's with complaints of nightmares so horrible he could barely speak of them, a phrase floated to the front of his mind. A Dreamcatcher is actually a modified Pensieve. Draco gripped the book tightly in both hands.
So the real question is, how do I modify a Pensieve to make a Dreamcatcher?
The book held no answers. The process of converting a Pensieve into a Dreamcatcher is outside the scope of this text.
Exasperated, Draco wanted to rip the book in half. It had given him all the answers except for the most important one. But maybe...
He scanned the fourteen-page-long list of references cited after the index. A few likely titles -- From Pensieve to Dreamcatcher, Dreamcatchers Through the Ages, and Master Your Nightmares (And Other Dreams), A Hands-On Guide, among others -- stood out to him, and he copied them out onto a blank piece of parchment that was to have held the outline for his household charms essay. Then he turned to the shelf from which he'd pulled the first book.
From Pensieve to Dreamcatcher was a disappointment: it turned out to be a fictionalised life story of the witch who'd invented the process, with the prologue warning that these pages do not describe the process in any but superficial detail. Dreamcatchers Through the Ages was basically the content of Chapter Three of Dreamcatchers: A Primer, spread over nine hundred pages of plodding verbiage.
Master Your Nightmares (And Other Dreams), A Hands-On Guide stank of quackery from the title alone, but Draco leafed through it, anyway. His jaw dropped as he realised that this book actually held the answer he wanted. The table of contents provided a shorthand guide to the process -- get a Pensieve, brew a potion, steep the potion in the Pensieve, blissful ignorance is served.
Draco began to see the problem when he scanned the ingredient list for the potion, and then again when he skimmed the pages detailing the brewing process. Some of the ingredients would be all but impossible to obtain. It would take three months to brew it, then another three months to steep it in the Pensieve.
But "impossible" was a word for those who had no money, and there was no hurry, was there? Draco had all the time in the world, now that he knew what he needed to do. He snapped the book shut, shovelled his Charms things back into his bag, rose, and headed towards Pince's desk. He'd found all the bedtime reading he would ever need. That the potion was nearly impossible to brew without a dedicated laboratory did not daunt Draco. He had studied Potions under Severus Snape, and that counted for something. It had to.
He was only half-surprised to see Potter waiting for him outside the library. That promise hadn't been idle, after all. At least he'd had the sense not to go inside the library whilst Draco was busy with his books. His wonderful, life-saving books.
I'm going to dream it all away, Draco wanted to tell him. He wanted to throw it in his face. Potter thought he had Draco, did he? Thought he'd tamed him, made him accept things? Let him think it. Let him revel in his ignorance. Draco smiled.
Potter, ever the fool, took it for a friendly gesture, and grinned back. "Don't tell me you're actually happy to see me."
"Of course not," said Draco. "I was just remembering a joke." He would play the part, of course he would. If Potter brought down the Ministry, Draco couldn't miss an opportunity to get his father out of prison without the need to become a bloody Auror. If Potter was sufficiently infatuated with Draco, he might even give him his father without objections. And if not, the Dreamcatcher would be waiting.
"Care to share the joke?" asked Potter, falling into step with him.
"Harry Potter walks into a bar--" began Draco, and Potter elbowed him in the ribs. "Very funny."
"So what did Moody want?" asked Draco, changing the subject. He really didn't think he could manufacture a Harry Potter joke just then.
"He knows I've found the Eyelets."
Draco looked over at him, eyebrows raised. "Does he know who's behind them?"
Potter shook his head mutely.
"How does he know about them, then?"
"His magical eye can see through walls, remember?" said Potter. He kicked at he base of a suit of armour. "He told me not to meddle with them."
Draco drew himself up, indignant. "He knows there are observation devices planted in the school and he's doing nothing about it? Some Auror."
"Eyelets aren't Dark magic," Potter pointed out. "Moody thinks it's better to leave them in place and wait for whoever planted them to trip up. Left here."
Draco obeyed without thinking, and realised they'd passed through a tapestry into a musty-smelling stairwell. "What do you think?" he asked, descending.
Potter stopped, turned, and pushed Draco through a wall that turned out to be false, into a tiny, low-ceilinged room with no windows. "I think I want to finish what we started."
Draco's pulse quickened, but this time he felt no dread, no sense of inevitable shame that would consume him after they were done. He could do whatever he wanted with Potter now, he realised. It wouldn't matter, in the end. He would have the best of both worlds, just as he was meant to. "I think you've left your thinking glasses in the dormitory," he murmured, and reached for Potter's belt.
Not two moments later, he was thrown against one of the walls, his underpants were dragged off him, and then Potter's mouth engulfed his cock. Draco gave himself over, let himself gasp and moan and shiver as Potter sucked him, furious and quick. He came within minutes, and watched Potter swallow every drop just like Draco knew he would. He reached a hesitant hand to brush Potter's hair away from his face, and Potter looked up at him with startled eyes. Draco pulled him up and kissed him, with the taste of his come still fresh in Potter's mouth, bitter and strange. Potter pulled back and gave Draco a long, searching look, his eyes slightly narrowed. "What's with you?" he asked.
Draco made no reply, instead choosing to reach down for Potter's cock, half out of his jeans already. Potter's eyes fell shut as Draco's hand curled around him.
A detached thought floated into Draco's mind, still hazy from his orgasm. I want to taste it, like that night in June.
You can, another lonely thought answered it. Now, you can. It will not matter.
When Draco forced Potter's back to the wall and moved to kneel in front of him, Potter gripped his arms tightly. "You don't have to," he said. "I--"
"I want to," said Draco.
He did not make Potter scream, but he did get him to agree, after, that they would never again do this in the castle. With the Eyelets and the rest of the students, Draco said he didn't feel very safe. Potter suggested the Three Broomsticks, which had beds upstairs, and Draco agreed it was a good alternative to nothing at all.
He almost felt guilty for the unspoken joy in Potter's eyes, the way his smile seemed even brighter than usual. He told himself not to be stupid -- what guilt? Draco was doing him a favour. Of course Potter ought to be happy.
The day before the Hogwarts Express carried everyone home for Christmas, Millicent held Seeker tryouts. To everyone's endless surprise, Kevin Entwhistle -- the chap who'd tried out for every position except Seeker, originally -- managed to out-fly both Zabini and Finch-Fletchley. Draco seethed, but there was nothing for it. He could not fly, and the team had to keep playing. When his Dreamcatcher was ready, Draco would erase the memory of his fall, too. That ought to take care of the flying problem, he reckoned.
Draco avoided Potter on the train back to London; he would have been too ashamed to face his mother with a memory of deviant behaviour so fresh in his mind. He half-listened to Millicent and Pansy argue over the best way to raise a Puffskein, watching the scenery rush away in front of him. How different this was from his trip to Hogwarts in September. He had been so confused then, so fearful. Every time he'd closed his eyes then, he would see Potter. Now, he saw a list of ingredients that would carry him to safety.
He had read the guidebook from cover to cover, three times, and committed the important parts to memory. His memory had plagued him incessantly since last June, and now it was going to save him. They had learned in Charms that Occlumency training did improve memory: it was the reason a proficient Occlumens could withstand Memory Charms. Draco's training with dear old Aunt Bella had made him vulnerable -- how the woman must be laughing in her grave -- but he was going to put a stop to it all.
Draco stood over his father's Pensieve, studying its contents. His own memories were still inside his own mind, for the moment. His mother was taking a bath, and then they would have supper, with elf-made wine to celebrate Draco's return. He had time to unload the bothersome memories, yet. Something flickered across the smooth surface of the Pensieve, startling him. Draco prodded the liquid with his wand and leant down, then fell into a different age.
His father stood beneath a tree covered in soft pink blossoms, watching an empty road. Draco's grandfather stood next to him, leaning on a cane. He never needed it for walking, Draco remembered, he just liked thumping people with it. Abraxas Malfoy was dead, but here in Lucius Malfoy's memory, he was hale, his skin unmarred by the horrible dragon pox. "I told him seven," groused Abraxas, lifting his cane and giving it a light shake. "In my days, people were never late."
"Yes, Father," said Lucius -- younger than Draco knew him, his hair still short. There were notes of impatience in his voice. There was a crack of Apparition, and a carriage materialised in the middle of the road, sending a cloud of dust up into the air. The carriage door opened, and six house-elves in tea towels wearing the Black crest scurried out, bending their backs to form an extra step to the carriage. A slippered foot emerged, then another. The elves bore the weight stoically, never flinching.
"Miss Black," Lucius murmured, so low that Draco was the only one to hear it. Narcissa Black stepped onto the road, and it seemed like the setting sun dimmed before her. Draco stared at her, puzzled. She looked far lovelier than she was in reality. Not that she wasn't, of course -- his mother was the most beautiful woman on earth -- but in this memory she was haloed in light and life. Is that how my father sees her? Draco wondered.
Then she smiled, and Draco felt a twinge of unease as he looked up at his father. Lucius Malfoy's cold grey eyes weren't cold at all in this memory. They shone with something like tears. Narcissa's smile had done that, only a smile. Just like Potter's smile always sent Draco's heart cantering southward. Did he look as foolishly open as his father did in this memory? Guilt tugged at him, for thinking of his father that way, and he made a hasty departure back into his father's study. It was not his place to judge his parents. Still, it made him feel a little better, seeing that his father had been young once and lost his self-control sometimes. There was hope for Draco yet.
All the hope in the world, he decided, fishing for memories of Potter and dumping them unceremoniously into the Pensieve. He had no fear that they would mingle with his father's memory -- only the owner of a memory could retrieve one from a Pensieve, and there had once been Pensieves big enough to hold an entire city's memories, when the Dark Arts had first arisen and wizardkind had feared for its continued survival.
When he was done, Draco sat down into a velvet armchair next to the Pensieve, and waited for the elves to summon him to supper. Without the weight of emotion weighing down his mind, he could think about his time with Potter with detachment, like a Potions master giving his ingredients a cursory glance. It felt good not to have his heartbeat imitate a racehorse every time he thought of Potter. Draco closed his eyes and pictures the list of ingredients again.
When he opened his eyes, it was already dark outside, and Draco frowned, startled. Why hadn't the elves come for him? He sat up, and saw his mother standing very still next to his father's Pensieve, her face paler than winter. He didn't need to ask.
"You saw," he said, heart plummeting.