Authors: furiosity & incapricious
Fandom: Harry Potter & Bleach
Genre: Crossover | Drama
Pairing: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Disclaimer: JKR and Kubo own. We only play. You do not sue.
Length: 3900 words (this part)
Summary: In which Draco is an idiot, Lieutenant Hisagi takes a message, Captain Kuchiki has the best candy, Harry finds a shiny, Vagrant Darter is a voyeur, and there's tea, damn it.
Note: This chapter has a playlist. >.>
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
18 x If It's Possible, It's Yours
Return? Draco stared at Sasakibe. "But we were never in any other Soul Society. We died and came here."
Sasakibe bowed his head. "You weren't meant to come here, then, and that must be put to rights."
"But what about our zanpakutō?" Potter asked, his hand hovering over the hilt of his sword.
"Regrettably, I do not know," Sasakibe said, bowing once again. "The zanpakutō dwell in a realm that's neither outside Soul Society nor within it."
"Vagrant Darter belongs to me," Draco said. Vagrant Darter was the only thing he had ever earned through his own effort, without anyone to help him along or cushion his falls. He would disintegrate before letting anyone take that away. "He's mine."
Aw, shucks, Vagrant Darter squeaked. You like me -- you really like me!
Oh, shut it.
Potter looked troubled, and Sasakibe looked embarrassed. "I do not think something like this happened before." He was back to speaking English again, his hands furtive as they unlocked the guest enclosure gates. "Please, go ahead."
They passed through a small courtyard with a well-tended garden patch. Under a thatched overhanging roof were two doors, side-by-side, with shoe mats next to their entrances.
"I will arrange for dinner," Sasakibe said, indicating the doors. "In the meantime, please--"
"Um, Lieutenant Sasakibe, sir?" Potter interjected. "Are we... do we have to stay here until sunrise?"
"You don't have to," Sasakibe said with a bow. "Because you are guests of Seireitei, you may go anywhere within its bounds. Members of the Demon Arts Corps have already analysed your spiritual patterns, so you won't be able to go outside the city limits."
Draco gaped at him. That must have been done during their short interview with Yamamoto. The Gotei 13 sure didn't fuck around.
"So we can go out and see what we like?" Potter insisted.
Sasakibe sighed. "Very well. I shall place a Sevenfold Shield upon you both."
Had Draco known how to whistle, he would have done so appreciatively right about now. A Sevenfold Shield was a seriously advanced Demon Arts technique that would render him and Potter visible to each other -- and the caster -- but to no one else.
You don't know how to whistle? Vagrant Darter asked innocently.
Draco scowled, but his heart wasn't in it. He couldn't get angry at his zanpakutō, not now. His mind reeled with what he'd learned, with the very likely possibility that he would have to leave everything behind; that all his efforts had been in vain. He felt like he was sixteen again, facing Dumbledore at the top of the Astronomy Tower, his heart sinking and soaring at once as he realised he could never murder like this, in cold blood. Only this time, his heart could only sink.
Draco's head snapped up, and he saw Potter's concerned face inches from his. Sasakibe was gone.
"I-- where'd he go?"
"Back to the Commander-General's, I suppose," Potter replied. "Are you all right?"
"Fine," Draco said. "So do you want to split up and see if we can get out into Rukongai somehow?"
Potter shook his head. "If we don't stay together, the Sevenfold thingy won't work."
"Shield. It's a Shield, Potter; we just learned how to make a basic one the other--"
"Malfoy, are you really okay?" Potter asked, stepping closer. "You're shaking."
"I'm pissed off!" Draco spat. "This is all that damned bastard's fault. That fucking f-f-freak Kurotsuchi! If he hadn't started after us, we'd still be--"
Potter clamped a hand around Draco's raised forearm and forced it down. "Calm down, all right? Shouting about it won't help us."
Draco heaved a sigh, wrenching his arm out of Potter's grasp. "Don't patronise me." Us. He said it won't help us. "You don't want to leave, either?"
Potter shook his head. "No. I mean. I kind of do, because... because--" He looked down at his feet. "My parents," he said finally. "Sirius. Dumbledore. They all died. So..."
Draco, who hadn't even let himself think about what might await him on the other side, felt his heart begin to sink again. You're the only one who really knows me. "So much for that, huh? Now that we no longer get to become Shinigami, you don't give a shit if we stick together or not, right?"
"Shut up!" Potter snarled. "It changes nothing-- I-- You're so--" With every failed utterance, he was taking another step towards Draco, his face an ever more alarming shade of crimson.
He's going to hit me, Draco thought, and an eerie sort of calm stole over him. Of course. Everything up to now must have been a vision -- a long dream before dying. He was about to awaken in the right Soul Society, newly dead after that hole in the floor at Hogwarts. And he and Potter would be enemies again. He's going to hit me.
Potter kissed him.
A part of him must have expected it, because Draco kissed him back. All his longing from the past months flowed into the kiss, and it was disgraceful, that something like this could make Draco weak-kneed. He didn't care; he held on to Potter's shoulders, his heartbeat frenzied, his throat tight and breathing wheezy. They were hidden from view by the Sevenfold Shield, but Draco wouldn't have cared if they'd been in the middle of the Academy dining hall. Even if they were carted back to Hogwarts or British Soul Society or wherever, it all would have been worth it just for this. It was so sentimental, so pathetic, that Draco couldn't take it. He staggered back, away from Potter, and hid his face in his hands.
"Um, sorry," Potter muttered. Draco peered out through his fingers; Potter's face was still red, and he looked even more flustered than Draco felt.
"It's okay," he managed, his voice hoarse. "Got me to stop shouting, didn't it?"
Potter looked down at the ground. "So, um... let's do some sight-seeing?"
They avoided the First Division in unspoken agreement. They might run into Sasakibe -- who knew if he'd have second thoughts about the Sevenfold Shield?
A fat man sat outside the doors to the Second Division, picking his nose and glancing around, clearly bored. The whole place seemed deathly quiet, as expected from the headquarters of the Secret Mobile Corps. Except for the fat man, but he was probably some meaningless lackey, anyway.
By the Third Division's barracks, they passed Lieutenant Kira, arms folded, scolding another Shinigami.
"--just because Captain Ichimaru isn't here," he was saying, and Draco wondered if Captain Ichimaru was off with Captain Aizen somewhere. His heart gave another pang -- there would be no more calligraphy lessons with Captain Aizen, would there? He hurried away, not even bothering to check if Potter was still following. Something in him wanted to get as far away from Potter as he could, after that scene in the guest enclosure. What had come over Potter? What had come over Draco?
The Fourth Division bustled with activity despite the late hour. A short, dark-eyed Shinigami -- so plain-looking he was instantly forgettable -- stood outside the main entrance, rubbing the back of his head as he looked up at a tall, bespectacled blond man.
"I've got to take breakfast to Rukia-san in the morning, so--"
"You think the Eleventh Division's Third Seat will care about that, Yamada?" the other Shinigami drawled. "If they say their toilets need to be cleaned, then they need to be cleaned, understand?"
The Fourth Division's members really were a bunch of Hufflepuffs, Draco thought as they proceeded towards the Fifth Division. Draco had hoped for a glimpse of Captain Aizen, but inside the office was only a pretty young girl, her hair in a neat bun, leafing through reports and smiling to herself. Lieutenant Hinamori. Draco wondered what Captain Aizen saw in her.
No sooner had they arrived at the Sixth Division than an upstairs door burst open, and Lieutenant Abarai stalked out, then flash-stepped down to the main street, landing inches from Draco.
"Teach her to make fun of my eyebrows," he muttered, setting off westward. "Stupid girl doesn't know how much trouble she's in. What's so special about that damned brat, anyway? Wonder if Kira-kun is free yet. "
They flash-stepped to the Seventh Division, ending up right in the middle of some kind of group exercise. The enormously tall Captain Komamura stood at the head of one of the columns of Shinigami, arms folded. A bucket-like helmet obscured his whole head, and he shouted commands in a booming, carrying voice. Lieutenant Iba headed up the other column. Draco wondered if he had vision problems or was just an idiot; wearing sunglasses after sunset wasn't a very bright idea, was it?
"Captain!" cried a woman's indignant voice somewhere out of sight inside the Eighth Division's building. "If you don't sign these by tonight, we'll miss our budget window! Aren't you the one who wanted a rose garden?"
"But, Nanao-chan!" whined a vaguely familiar voice, and Draco remembered the easy-going, pink-kimono-clad captain who'd been one of their examiners. And Lieutenant Ise, who had taken them to the world of the living that one time...
"This is depressing," Draco remarked as they approached the Ninth Division on foot.
Potter looked at him. "Yeah," he said. "Everything we'll never have. Want to go back?"
Lieutenant Hisagi stalked out onto the street, followed by six or seven Shinigami carrying stacks of paper. "Get a move on," he barked at them. "I have an important meeting with Lieutenants Kira and Abarai in an hour, so we'd better have these delivered by then."
"MATSUMOTO!" came a roar from behind them, and Potter had to step aside quickly to avoid getting mowed down by tiny Captain Hitsugaya, who looked like he was about to pop several veins on his forehead.
Hisagi bowed; his companions dropped their bundles and did the same. "Captain Hitsugaya, sir, Lieutenant Matsumoto isn't here!" Hisagi rattled off, still bowing.
"No? I am really going to kill her this time," Hitsugaya muttered, then vanished.
Hisagi straightened; the unexpectedly wistful expression looked foreign on his stern face. "Right," he said to his men. "If any of you see Lieutenant Matsumoto, tell her I have a message from her captain. Now let's go." They, too, disappeared.
Draco and Potter followed suit. With both captain and lieutenant gone, the Tenth Division's barracks sounded like a party, but the headquarters were guarded by a pair of hard-faced sentries who would have noticed the doors opening by themselves.
As they walked around the Eleventh Division's main building, Draco wondered if he might catch a glimpse of Ayasegawa.
"Let's go to Byakushi's house!" cried a child's voice to Draco's left, and he stepped aside, pulling Potter with him.
An impossibly tall, powerfully built man stepped into the lantern's pool of light. He wore a tattered captain's haori over his Shinigami uniform. Small silver bells were woven into the ends of his spiked hair, their delicate tinkling in stark contrast with the man's physique. He wore an eye-patch; his face bore hideous scars and a violently happy grin. His spirit power coiled around him, snakelike, monstrous.
"No go," said the man in a low, raspy voice. "I think I pissed him off earlier, when I offered to kill his sister for him." He appeared to be talking to himself.
"Aw, why'd you do that?" the child spoke again, and a head of bright pink hair appeared on his shoulder. It belonged to a smiling girl of about seven. "Byakushi always has the best candy, so you'd better stay on his good side, Ken-chan."
Potter tugged on Draco's sleeve. "He's--"
"I know," Draco said, still staring at the man. Zaraki Kenpachi, the fearsome captain of the Eleventh Division. The girl on his shoulder had to be his lieutenant, Kusajishi Yachiru.
"Heh," Zaraki said. "Now you tell me."
"Okay, so let's go find some strong guys to fight!" Yachiru exclaimed. "I think there are some that way," she added, pointing right at Draco, who shrank back. Impossible. She's not supposed to be able to see me--!
"Right, if you say they're that way, they must be the other way," Zaraki said amiably, and turned in the opposite direction. Before Draco had a chance to breathe a sigh of relief, they were off down the street, Yachiru whooping in delight as Zaraki's speed picked up.
"Wow," Potter said after they were gone. "He's really something, isn't he?"
Draco shrugged. "I'm just glad he couldn't see us."
Potter stood frozen, staring northward at a large rocky mesa with a semicircular outcropping upon which a gigantic stone arch faced a giant halberd. Sōkyoku Hill -- the place where Soul Society executed the worst of its criminals. They had only recently learned about the Sōkyoku, that halberd whose true form held the power of one million zanpakutō. One strike could obliterate a soul, vaporising it from existence.
They flash-stepped to the edge of the outcropping and stood, heads tilted skyward, gazing at the weapon in quiet awe.
"I feel like a tourist," Draco said after a moment.
Potter grinned weakly. "Isn't that what we are?"
"I suppose," Draco said with a sigh. "Though somehow I doubt they take their foreign visitors on tours of this place." They would never see an execution, he realised with a pang. They would never learn any more new things about Seireitei, either. The thoughts filled him with a slow panic -- he really didn't want everything to be over, not so suddenly.
"We haven't got much time left," Potter said. "Let's walk back to the guest enclosure."
It took over an hour to make their way through the forest towards the stair hewn into the hill. Seireitei slept at their feet; only the occasional greetings of night-watchmen disrupted the dark stillness. Draco didn't want to leave this behind. He had made a home here, a place to belong. It was unfair that he should go.
Potter asked, "Before, you called your zanpakutō Vagrant Darter. Wasn't that just part of the second release command?"
Draco looked away. "That's, well. Uh."
Told you it was going to come back and bite you, didn't I? Vagrant Darter said smugly.
Draco took a deep breath. He might as well explain it; after all, they were no longer in the Academy, and Potter wouldn't be able to tell anyone. So he recounted learning Vagrant Darter's name for the first time, and then meeting Ayasegawa in the abandoned training field.
Potter leaned against a thick tree trunk as Draco talked, his expression shifting from disbelief to mild amusement. Draco wondered when he'd become such an expert on Potter's facial expressions. It was another little reminder of having lived in the Japanese Soul Society. Reading facial expressions had become second nature; it wasn't just Potter's face he knew well -- Ozu, too, and Hajime, and Sugita, and even Kihara.
"So I was never first," Potter said after Draco was done. "You were."
"Why the tone of surprise?"
Potter frowned a little. "Why didn't you like Vagrant Darter's ability?"
Draco sighed. "It's a Demon Arts-type, and it's... I dunno. Having the power to run away..."
"That doesn't sound like the Draco Malfoy I know," Potter said. "The one I know would've been thrilled with such a power..."
"So maybe I've changed a little," Draco said, colouring. "Does that mean you don't want to be my friend anymore?" His tone was light, but deep down, he wondered.
Potter looked at him -- frank, direct, green eyes -- and Draco's face began to burn. "Are we still friends?"
Talk about lousy timing, Vagrant Darter put in.
"Something like that," Draco replied, not even sure if he was talking to Potter or to his zanpakutō. "Provided we end up in the same place."
"We'll go together or we'll stay here together," Potter said. "That's that."
"Idiot," said Draco, his face growing even hotter. "We don't actually have a choice."
"What if we ask to stay until we graduate?" Potter suggested. "We've been here for four years already, what's another two?"
Draco shrugged. "What's the point of becoming Shinigami if we can't be Shinigami?"
Potter's shoulders slumped. "Aren't we already Shinigami, though? We've learned the names of our zanpakutō, after all. If that's so, we'll just get to be Shinigami... for a little while."
Draco glanced at him. "I thought you wanted to destroy Hollows."
"I like it here," Potter said, his eyes downcast. "Being a normal person. I wouldn't even mind getting scolded by Ozu every day if it meant I could stay..." He looked up into the sky. His eyes gleamed dully in the starlight, and Draco wanted to kiss him again.
"You'll see your parents," he offered after a moment.
"That's true," Potter agreed, brightening a bit. "I know they're together in our Soul Society -- Sirius and Lupin, too. I saw them in the Forbidden Forest."
Draco had no idea what Potter was babbling about, and he decided he didn't want to know. "So it can't be all bad, can it?" What did Draco have to look forward to? Meeting his grandfather? He didn't think Abraxas Malfoy would approve of the Shinigami Academy uniform. "They found each other, so you'll find them too."
Potter looked at him. "I found you here."
Ooh, smooth talker, isn't he? Vagrant Darter crowed in delight while Draco did his best not to splutter. His heart had been pounding nonstop for what felt like hours now.
"That's--" He couldn't even see Potter now; clouds had covered the moon and stars above the forest. Draco only saw a vague outline, a jutting elbow and a billowing uniform sleeve. "Why did you kiss me?"
Potter drew in a long breath. "I suppose I can't say my zanpakutō made me do it, can I?"
Vagrant Darter sniggered. I knew Forest Prince was a pervert. Strong, silent-type pervert.
"What are you talking about?" Draco asked.
"Um, Forest Prince, he, well. He's always fancied you, see."
Draco blinked slowly into the darkness, wondering if Potter was having him on. Forest Prince fancied him? That was the most ridiculous--
"I guess I picked it up from him. By osmosis, or whatever. One soul and all that. Y'know." Potter's voice was dull, unsteady, like he was trying to muffle his speech with his sleeve.
In his fantasies, Draco had always been the calm one, approaching Potter as a hunter would its prey, but all that fell apart as he stumbled forward in the dark, fingers closing over the bit of sleeve he could see, nose bumping against tree bark, throat seizing in a sharp breath as Potter kissed his neck. He tugged on Potter's uniform shirt, pulling it out of the hakama and clutching one end tightly when Potter's lips found his again.
It was a cold night, but Draco felt none of the chill even after his uniform was gone, piled in an untidy heap at the base of the tree. Potter's hand was awkward and hot against Draco's cock, and Draco was lost in these fevered, clumsy touches, the unsteady rhythm of his heart. Time slipped away, and the dark folded over him as Draco cried out against Potter's shoulder, his release as unexpected as their first kiss. He was glad of the dark then; embarrassed didn't begin to cover how he felt. His brain still foggy and distant, he pushed Potter to the ground and slid down to lick the insides of Potter's thighs until he heard a whispered please and Potter's fingers tightened in his hair.
Draco forced his breathing to steady and his fingers to obey him as he re-fastened his hakama, sitting on the forest floor.
Whew, Vagrant Darter said.
Draco's head exploded. Or felt like it did, anyway. You... you were watching that--?
Not like I had a choice. Besides, you seem to like it when someone's watching.
I don't want to hear that from a perverted dragonfly!
Potter pulled him in, arms circling Draco's waist. Draco leaned backwards until the back of his head rested on Potter's shoulder. He'd thought of this so many times, how it might happen, and where -- but he'd never really believed it could happen. His heart was full, and his body felt light a ghost.
Technically, you are a ghost, Vagrant Darter observed.
Draco frowned. Stop intruding on people's thoughts. It's creepy and weird.
For the first time in years, he felt content. It made him want to shout incoherently, to run around the clearing at full speed, to tell Potter something true. "I... I don't want to leave. Not yet."
Potter nodded, tightening his hold. "As long as we leave eventually, there's no reason not to let us stay for now, right?"
"I'm not sure Yamamoto will agree," Draco said. "But... don't you want to see your parents?"
"Of course I do," Potter said. "But they aren't going anywhere, are they? Whether now or in two years, they'll still be there. Death is forever. That's a long time."
Draco settled back against Potter again and closed his eyes. "You piss me off," he murmured. "I'm supposed to be the rational one here."
Vagrant Darter chortled. You're so full of it, Blondie-kun.
I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.
You just did. Blondie-kun. This time, Draco really did ignore him. Eyes closed, he stayed as still as he could, feeling Potter's heartbeat against his back and revelling in this unexpected moment of peace. How long--?
"I think we'd better get going," Potter said, as though on cue.
Draco opened his eyes and glanced towards the east. There it was, dawn's first glimmer. The hours since they'd been rescued from Kurotsuchi's laboratory seemed like mere minutes, and yet everything had changed. Even if they were allowed to stay for a little while longer, he and Potter had...
If you walk into Yamamoto's office with a boner, he might misunderstand, Vagrant Darter cautioned.
Draco clenched his jaw and pictured Ozu dancing naked with McGonagall.
As the two of them walked together towards the centre of Seireitei, Draco felt like a condemned criminal on his way to execution. He almost wished Potter would hold his hand. Almost.
Sasakibe was playing statue outside the enormous double door to Yamamoto's office.
Is he even allowed to sleep? Draco wondered as they approached.
"They are expecting you," Sasakibe said, bowing. "I have taken off the Sevenfold Shield just a moment ago, so please go ahead."
The door's halves swung inwards with a powerful whoosh, and, entering, Draco took a deep, cleansing breath. It lodged in his windpipe as soon as the doors slammed shut behind them.
On a cushion next to Yamamoto, dainty teacup in hand, sat Albus Dumbledore.
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