Rating: Light R
Pairing[s]: Harry/Draco and others.
Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 3000 words
Summary: Those who restrain their desires do so because theirs are weak enough to be restrained. [William Blake]
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
Interregnum - Chapter 14
Harry decided he would use his Invisibility Cloak. He had neither time nor desire to try and blend in at a gay club; he didn't know what sort of attire was expected and he wasn't about to do any research into the matter. He put on his cloak and Apparated right next to Die Hitze, which advertised its existence very little: a hissing old neon sign and a bright yellow door opening onto a set of stairs leading down into a dull roar. A small knot of men queued next to the bouncer, who looked about as gay as Ron Weasley, which was to say, not at all: he was a thick-set, well-muscled bloke who looked more like a prize-fighter than a shirt-lifter.
As Harry slipped unseen through the doors and down the stairs, he still nursed a small hope that Malfoy would have gone home early, but he spotted his mark almost instantly. Malfoy stood leaning against the bar opposite the doors, drink in hand, a decidedly predatory gaze sweeping the bodies -- most of them barely clothed -- writhing on the dance floor. Harry did his best to avoid looking at said bodies; it would have been indecent even if they'd been women. As he began to chart the shortest route towards Malfoy, Harry saw that there were women here, too, and for some reason that unsettled him the most.
The club was small and the crowd's press heavy; he would be better off cutting across the dance floor instead of trying to approach the bar from the side. The advantage was that he could simply pull off his cloak when he was close enough to keep Malfoy from leaving, and no one would be the wiser. It was the sort of place where people could materialise out of thin air to no surprise at all -- the music's pulse was so insistent that even Harry felt his other senses dulling as he picked his way through the dancers. The beat seemed to come from inside him, not from the giant overhead speakers, and its low urgency was infectious, throbbing through him. It felt like seeing a beautiful naked woman beckon from behind a sheer curtain.
Harry did his best to keep his eyes on Malfoy as he wended across the dance floor. He bumped into people a few times, but none of them seemed to notice that they'd collided with solid air. The scents of sweat and different brands of men's cologne mixed to create a volatile aroma that stung the back of Harry's throat: foul but oddly entrancing, like the photographs in that magazine Harry had bought to try and erase the Malfoy and Zabini show from his brain. If he had to think about men fucking, he was determined it would not be those two.
In the meantime, he had reached Malfoy, who had not moved from his spot by the bar and was now looking right through Harry, his eyes flickering with colour from the rotating lights overhead. He was nothing special, Harry observed with a savage satisfaction: his errant fantasies had given Malfoy qualities he didn't possess -- a gentler, softer face, for one, but in reality it was pointed and bland at best, its only allure being pale, smooth skin. Malfoy raised his drink to his lips, and Harry shuddered at the colour of it -- milky white; just what sort of drinks did they serve at gay clubs, anyway? Pushing the thought aside, he stepped closer to Malfoy and pulled off his Invisibility Cloak.
"We need to talk."
Malfoy's eyes widened; he looked like he was trying to back up a step. He couldn't, of course, not with the bar stand behind him, and whilst Harry didn't want to touch Malfoy unless it were necessary to restrain him, he tensed. What Malfoy did next had not entered his thoughts at all: he smiled. It was the lazy, indulgent, catlike smirk of someone who knew a secret he didn't want to share. Malfoy set his glass down on the bar without taking his eyes off Harry, and then he pulled Harry to himself with unnerving speed.
Hard. It was all Harry could think of -- not Malfoy's cock, thank God, but all of him. Hard and sharp and not at all like a woman's embrace, but before Harry knew it, before he could pull free, Malfoy's hands were on his arse in a possessive, claw-like grip.
"Malfoy, what are you-- let go of me!" spluttered Harry, seizing Malfoy's forearms and trying to pry himself loose.
"Why?" murmured Malfoy. At least, that's what Harry thought he'd said; the music had reached a perfect synthetic crescendo.
"Let go!" he shouted, thinking that perhaps he ought to have thought this one through a little more: Malfoy was clearly off his head.
"Why should I? This is what you want, isn't it? The great Harry Potter, upstanding in more ways than one," Malfoy shouted back, that strange grin still in place. "If you keep attacking on my turf, you'll play by my rules."
"No," Harry half-gasped as he continued to struggle, but Malfoy was strong, stronger than Harry thought he would be. "I need to talk to you. It's about your mother."
He sensed movement behind him, saw two large dark hands clasp the bar on either side of him, and then he was pressed even further against Malfoy, another flat, hard chest flush against his back. Zabini's head poked out over his shoulder.
"Looks like he enjoyed your show a little too much," Zabini shouted to Malfoy. "Shall I leave you two alone?"
Two thoughts appeared instantaneously in Harry's head:
I hope no one is taking photographs.
He was in the middle of a gay club, sandwiched between Draco Malfoy and Blaise Zabini, two people he had hoped never to encounter in the same room again, let alone this close to him, and he had a raging hard-on nonetheless.
"Why don't we let him decide?" Malfoy was shouting to Zabini. "Maybe it's you he's after."
"Would you two get off me?" yelled Harry, rage curling up in his chest like a living creature. "Malfoy--"
But Zabini leaned further in, and Harry couldn't see what he was doing, but Malfoy leaned forward at the same time and he could sense it more than see or hear it -- they were kissing, Malfoy's fingers digging deeper into Harry's arse, the pressure of Zabini's chest against him suddenly harder. He felt something else hardening, nestled against his lower back -- Zabini's cock, and then Malfoy's, right next to his own, which began to throb with impatience.
"I think he likes it," Malfoy said to Zabini, pulling away, and pressed up closer to Harry. "Yeah, he does." Harry felt the top of Malfoy's thigh rub against his cock. There was a tiny, feeble voice in the back of his mind telling him to just go along with it. That was enough for Harry's building rage to overflow.
"WOULD... YOU... STOP?" he bellowed at the top of his lungs, shoving Zabini backwards as he released Malfoy's arms and pressed his hands against Malfoy's chest to pry himself loose. "I'm not fucking interested in that. Something's happened to your mother and we need to talk." He was looking into Malfoy's eyes, still glinting with feral amusement, but finally -- thank heaven -- a cloud of concern crossed Malfoy's pale features.
"What's happened to my mother?" he asked.
"Not here," said Harry. "We can't talk here. Your place." He had puzzled out from his Nott-watching that Malfoy must've placed Anti-Apparition jinxes on his flat after Harry's search, and it was the only place he could be sure Malfoy didn't simply Disapparate upon hearing the news.
Malfoy grinned again, that vacant, glazed look returning to his eyes. "Oh, it's a game," he shouted to Zabini. "Potter wants to pretend like he has some grave news about my mother, but he can't tell me until I take him home. I think he's spent the intervening days watching bad porn."
Harry wasn't sure why Malfoy was speaking so openly, and then it hit him -- they were speaking German, not realising that Harry could understand them.
"Shall we indulge him?" Zabini shouted in reply.
"Have you got anything better to do?"
Harry would let them think whatever they wanted as long as Malfoy agreed to talk to him where he could get the information he needed, so he tried to look as hopeful as he was indignant, though he wasn't sure if it worked. Shame was welling up in him, bitter and twisted, and his cock was still hard.
"All right," said Malfoy to Harry with a mock-serious look on his face. "Let's go to my place so you can tell me all about my mother."
Zabini roared with laughter. Harry endured it as he endured being chivvied through the crowd further to the back of the club, where a small door opened into a dank, musty stairwell leading out onto the neighbouring street. Malfoy took his hand, and they Apparated to the edge of a playground not far from Malfoy's building. Harry fought the impulse to tear his hand out of Malfoy's grasp as they began to walk towards the street, instead letting Malfoy drop it casually. Let him think whatever he wanted.
In a way, Harry felt sorry for Malfoy -- all puffed-up with pride at having enticed Harry Potter of all people, not realising that Harry was the bearer of very bad news. He thought about Narcissa Malfoy, still and white in a St Mungo's bed right at this moment, aware of nothing, and his heart went out to her. Did what happened to her have anything to do with this silver lion?
They reached Malfoy's landing, and Malfoy pulled out a set of keys, unlocking the door somewhat clumsily.
"After you," Malfoy said to Zabini, sketching a little bow. He didn't look at Harry, who started to follow Zabini anyway.
Zabini walked inside, grinning. He stopped and turned around, clearly about to say something, and Harry shrank back in horror. Insubstantial, smoky green claws slid out of the air on either side of Zabini, clenching onto his arms, and then a lash of green smoke whipped round his throat.
Zabini was still smiling as he fell, the light fleeing his eyes until his face wore a horrible grimace. Malfoy jerked forwards, but Harry sensed it and held one arm out, blocking his way, producing his wand out of his pocket at the same time. "It's not safe," he said, low and urgent. "The Garrotting Gas will kill you too--"
"Kill? No. He's not dead," said Malfoy, in a small, horrible voice. "He can't be dead."
He lurched forward, but Harry sealed the door with an Imperturbable Charm and turned around to grab Malfoy. He struggled in Harry's grip, struggled as Harry had struggled weeks ago, a captive in this flat with its many captivating views. A dreadful part of Harry's mind wanted to release Malfoy, to push him into the anteroom to die as Zabini had. But he held Malfoy fast until he finally subsided. His face seemed carved from white stone, his eyes vacant.
"Come," said Harry. "I'll take you somewhere safe." The rest of the night was forgotten as his training had taken over: the first priority was always to protect the innocent. He would have to take Malfoy to the safe house and then come back to secure the crime scene.
"Not without Blaise," whispered Malfoy, his eyes never leaving the still form sprawled beyond the threshold. He didn't seem to notice the fist of green smoke punching Harry's Imperturbable Charm, trying to get at its next victims.
"You can't stay here," said Harry. "Whoever set that spell was after you, not him. Don't you understand?"
"I killed him?" asked Malfoy, his voice shaking, his face twisting as though he might cry. "I killed--"
"You did not kill anyone," said Harry firmly. "But we have to get out of here." He didn't know if Malfoy's Muggle neighbour across the hall would be looking out of the peep-hole to see what all the noise was, but he didn't think Malfoy would make it down the stairs. He was stiff with shock, and Harry doubted he'd move for anything in the world, not with Zabini's body in his line of sight. He would have to chance Disapparating from here.
First, he threw the Invisibility Cloak over them both. Hermione had mentioned that the safe house was being watched, and whilst no one could get in or out unless they were an Auror or accompanied by an Auror, he didn't want anyone watching to know that Malfoy had survived the trap. For Harry was sure it had been a trap. Someone was after the Malfoys, it seemed, and though Harry couldn't prove it, he was sure it had something to do with this King of Kings business. The Cloak was not nearly large enough to conceal them both, but Harry hoped that the darkness would hide two pairs of disembodied feet approaching the safe house -- one walking normally, the other sort of dragging, for he had to force Malfoy into every step.
Once they were inside, Harry led Malfoy to a bed furthest from the one he was using and forced him to sit down.
"Malfoy," he said, kneeling in front of him. Malfoy gave him a blank stare, but Harry could see a suppressed glimmer of awareness in his eyes. "I need you to tell me how to get inside your mother's hiding place. In her bedroom. It's very important."
Oh, God, Narcissa. How was Harry going to tell Malfoy that his mother was in St Mungo's now? He shook the thought off and re-focussed his attention on Malfoy's vacant gaze.
"Please, Malfoy. She's hidden something in there, and I need it. I need it to catch who did this." Harry even believed what he said, to a point. If the Death Eaters were willing to cripple and murder pure-bloods to get this silver lion thing...
Malfoy gave a helpless little shrug. "The roses still miss you and so do I," he said. "That's the latest pass-phrase."
"But where is this hiding place?"
Malfoy shrugged again. "Just say the phrase when you walk in. It'll open." He spoke in a dead monotone, and Harry felt a bit guilty. He was certain Malfoy wouldn't have given this information up as easily if he hadn't been in this state. Still, he wasn't going to mull over ethics, not when he had a dead body waiting for him back at Malfoy's flat.
He left Malfoy sitting motionlessly on the bed after having told him where to find food and drink if he needed them, and pointed out the bathroom. Malfoy didn't acknowledge anything Harry had said and done since giving up the pass phrase; Harry supposed he ought to have been grateful for that much. Still, Malfoy was safer than anyone could be -- he couldn't leave without Harry and no one could get at him there. He couldn't stay there, of course, but that was a concern for after.
Shrouded fully by his Cloak, Harry Apparated right to Malfoy's landing. Zabini still lay crumpled, but the green smoke was gone. No shouts, no Muggle police -- the neighbours must've been asleep, and there were only two flats on this landing. Harry removed the Imperturbable Charm and quickly cast a spell to siphon any remaining Garrotting Gas out of the flat. It usually dissolved on its own after a kill, but he wasn't about to be careless.
He walked into the anteroom and stopped beside Zabini's body, trying to avoid looking at the dark eyes, once so quick and fierce, but now frozen and glazed. He examined the body mechanically -- there was no need, though. Garrotting Gas did not fail. Harry closed the door, cast a slew of spells to make sure no other nasty surprises lurked inside, put up several standard protective enchantments, and turned on all the lights as he walked towards Narcissa's bedroom -- the same bedroom in which Harry had sat bound, watching Malfoy and Zabini...
God, Zabini lay dead in the anteroom. Harry clenched his jaw and kept going, intent on reaching the bedroom. There would be paperwork and red tape. He couldn't think of a single case where a British wizard was found murdered in Germany and what was involved in the investigation. How much would they have to tell the locals? Would it be enough if they told them that British wizards did it? He flipped the light switch in Narcissa's bedroom.
"The roses still miss you and so do I," he said, loudly and clearly.
Nothing happened, and Harry realised that the cabinet over which Malfoy had once caught him was raised upon a thick cylinder. It was hollow inside, hollow and empty. Whatever had rested in it was gone. Harry was too late.
Next to the bed lay Lucius Malfoy, gazing at the ceiling with an expression of infinite surprise.