It was cold. The wind held a bite that found its way through the tiniest available fissure it could. He shivered before casting a warming charm, and even then he could still feel the cold seep in. Harry held his wand out, Lumos lighting the barren area he found himself.
"Ah, Auror Potter, wish I could say I was glad to see you here on a night like this, but... " The slightly plump man sighed as he looked back towards what had brought Harry. "This is the strangest thing we have ever encountered I'm afraid; a bit out of my jurisdiction."
"Not a problem, Auror Hendricks. It is my job after all. Who found the body?" Harry walked over and crouched down next to the body, letting his wand-light run the length of him.
"Th-that would be Mr. S-Sanders. That's his place just up y-yonder." Harry glanced at the beckoning lights up ahead. "One of their k-kids accidentally hit the d-dog with a hex and he had to chase the p-poor thing down when he came across i-it."
"Well, I'm sure you have your own family waiting for you as well, Hendricks. Why don't you get yourself out of this weather and head home? Nothing to be done here. Whoever it was Apparated right to this spot, so doing an extensive onsite investigation won't be any use." Harry stood up and put a hand on the shivering man, giving him a small smile. "Go on, I've got it. Have a Happy Christmas, yeah?"
"God bless ya, P-Potter, Happy Christmas to you."
The man Apparated and Harry was left alone with the unknown dead man. He sighed, his breath making a small cloud in the dark night. His let the smile slide off his face and turned back to the dead man. This time he frowned as he looked around the area. Nothing was touched, no footprints, nothing else disturbed, no magical signature lingered in the air; absolutely nothing.
Crouching down again he took his wand and ran it slowly over the body; if needed he would look at it later in a Pensieve. The man was clearly disfigured and, at this point, it would be difficult to tell just how old his injuries were. Many people suffered during the war. The man’s right arm was missing from mid-forearm, vivid scar marks lined his face and head; Harry wasn't positive, but it looked like his eyes were missing. The man was wearing a Muggle hospital gown, and as his wand swept down towards his feet he could see other scars and odd marks on his body. He wasn't even sure if the man was a Wizard, but there would have been no other way for him to get into this location without Apparition. It also occurred to Harry that the man might be a Muggle that a wizard had murdered and dropped there.
A shiver ran through him as the frigid air once again dispelled his warming charm. Harry reached out his hand and took hold of the stiff man and Apparated to St. Mungo's.
The warmth was immediate and he sighed with relief. Harry had used the back entrance, the place they brought those that were already gone, so as not to disturbed others. There were few people on duty this late at night, but seeing as how it was the Yule celebration and so near Christmas, staff seemed even more sparse than usual.
He placed the man on a gurney as a Mediwitch came around the corner. Her long, auburn hair was streaked with grey and pulled back into a braid that ran down her back, plaid with colorful ribbons for the holiday celebrations. Harry tried not to grimace at her festive look as she came towards him.
"Auror Potter." Her voice was neutral and he nodded to her as she approached.
"Hello, Margaret, sorry to disturb your evening again."
"Yes, we do seem to see you all too often at this entrance." She gave him a soft smile and she quickly looked back at the body.
He tried not to clench his teeth with the pity he saw there. Many of them had seen him way too often in this place, and none of them had been pleasant memories.
"Poor soul, what happened to him?" She asked as she quickly filled out a file.
"Not sure yet. I would like to get a report on him as soon as possible though, see if we can identify him. I'll have to head back to M.L.E. to see if I can find a missing person report. Could I get a picture before I go?"
"It's in the same place." Margaret didn't even look at him as she finished her report and quick assessment. Harry walked over to the desk and grabbed the camera. Oddly enough it was one of those Muggle ones that spit the picture out, a Polaroid, with some magical modifications so it would work here.
"So, who is the Healer on tonight? Any luck I can get him to look at this case ASAP?" Harry asked as he snapped the picture of the man's face. He took a few more shots, one of his missing arm, another of some of the more prominent scars. He wondered if he sustained them in the war that ended over fifteen years ago. He looked old, maybe late fifties, but Harry knew not to be fooled by that. The war had aged a lot of people quickly.
"Hmmm." Margaret walked back over to her desk and ran manicured nail down the list. "Looks like Healer Malfoy is on." She gave him a pitying look. "I'm afraid he is hard pressed to put cases like this over his other ones. He's a stickler for the rules that one."
"Malfoy? Draco Malfoy?" Harry looked over at her. He knew Malfoy had become a Healer, he had just never run into the man here before. Oh, Malfoy had signed off on some the reports and cases that Harry had worked on before, he had seen his name, but they had never had an occasion to actually speak or even meet the other personally.
"Yes, do you know him?"
Harry actually grinned at her. "You could say that, same year at Hogwarts. Think you could persuade him to take a quick look at this case for me?"
She sighed and shook her head slightly. "I'll see what I can do, but I don't guarantee he will though. He is quite busy. Always takes on too many projects. The man practically never leaves this place."
His grin faded and he nodded. "I'd appreciate it, Margaret. Goodnight."
Harry Apparated back to headquarters.
There was something poking him in his back. Harry groaned and shifted slightly, it was enough to send him tumbling to the floor where his eyes flew open immediately and he let out a small, “oomph.” He looked back up at the chair he had fallen asleep in, again.
Getting to his hands and knees, Harry picked himself off the floor. It wasn't the first time he had slept in his office, he doubted it would be his last. He picked up the offending book that had caused his fall and tossed it to one of the piles of clutter that littered the corners. Well, they weren't so much as clutters of rubble, but of Harry's half-arsed organization skills. Hermione would have had a fit if she saw it.
Harry frowned at that thought and pushed it out of his mind bringing his hands up to rub his eyes underneath his glasses. Leaning back, he took a closer look at his office. It was a mess, maybe a little cleaning wouldn't hurt. It sure as hell wasn't going to be busy this holiday season. At least he hoped not.
Flicking his wand, he began to put books away, shuffle papers into the right folders, straightening photos, and burning the crumpled balls of paper he had piled up in a corner, on his desk, and under the chairs. It was the bright, flashy, red envelope that grabbed his attention. He let the room to continue to clean as he pulled out the Christmas card and stared at the return address.
It was addressed to Harry Potter, but it was who the sender was that boggled his mind. He had already read it of course, but just didn't know what he should do about it. It wasn't everyday he got Muggle mail from Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. Alright so make that, he never got mail from that address, not since he had left. Who would have thought Dudley would send him a Christmas card, let alone want to get together for the holidays?
Harry carefully set the card back down on his desk as he contemplated it, seeing if he could compel the stiff paper to reveal its secrets. A smile perked the corners of his mouth, and he was...curious.
A knock at his door brought him out of his thoughts as the door opened.
Harry gave his friend a nod, feeling a bit of trepidation. "Ron, what's up?"
Ron walked into the room, eyeing the magical cleaning going on.
"Oh, here let me get that off there." Harry quickly stood up and went over to the other lone chair in the room and removed some more books and papers from it. He sat them carelessly on his desk. "How have you been? It's been a while, yeah?"
"Yeah," Ron said as his eyes roamed the room, and then turned to him. Harry wasn't going to flinch with that look. He already knew what Ron was thinking. His clothes looked rumpled and slept in, and he was sure his two day growth of beard didn't help either. "Tried you at your flat, but you haven't been home."
Harry ran a hand over his head that ended at the back of his neck. "Umm, yeah, I've had some cases that I've been working on. Lost track of time, you know how it is."
"No Harry I don't. I'm an Auror too, you know, and I have never slept in my office."
“You just haven’t caught me when I was there then.”
“When was the last time you were home? I’ve been by there several times and you’ve never been there.”
"I’ve been home. Some of us have more difficult cases to work on than others." Harry voice was starting to rise right along with Ron's.
"Fucking Merlin Harry, don't give me that shit! I don't give a witches tit that you take on these odd, ridiculous cases. When was the last time you went home and slept in your bed? Or even had a fucking decent meal?"
"Ridiculous? Is that what you think? That what I do is ridiculous, useless, pointless?”
Ron shook his head. “No, Harry that’s not what I meant and you know it. You spend all your time here; you need to get out for fucks sake.”
Harry clenched his mouth shut and looked away trying to get his anger under control, Ron seemed to be doing the same thing and an uncomfortable silence filled the air.
“Look, Hermione and I would love you to come over for Christmas dinner, if you can make it.”
An ice cold knot dropped into the pit of Harry’s stomach. He wasn’t sure he was up for a family dinner, even if it was Ron and Hermione and their kids. It was just another reminder of what he didn’t, or couldn’t have.
“I'll think about it alright?” Harry told him, voice quiet. Ron sighed, hearing the lie.
“I just want to see you out of this place mate. You’re working yourself an early grave. It’s not right.”
“Dudley invited me over for Christmas dinner. I was thinking about going.”
“Dudley?” Ron frowned a moment before he remembered where he had heard that name before. “Your cousin, Dudley?”
“The only one I have,” Harry told him.
“You’d pass up dinner with us, to go spend Christmas with that fat little bastard that bullied you and made your life a living hell?”
“He is my family Ron, and it has been a long time. He wants to reconcile things.”
Ron just stared at him mouth open and he blinked then quickly stood up and headed for the door.
“Ron, look I’m…” But Harry really didn’t want to finish that sentence because he knew he wasn’t really sorry.
“I should have known you would find some excuse to keep avoiding us.” Ron spun one more time, eyes blazing as he stared at Harry. “If it’s not work, it’s something else. You're pathetic you know that? Everyone has moved on with their life, what makes you so fucking special?"
“Fuck you, Ron.” Harry now stood glaring back at him. “I know where you stand with her.”
“She’s my bloody sister Harry, what was I supposed to do? She would have left even if I wasn’t there to help her. I was trying to support you both, but you just couldn’t let it go. You still can’t.”
White hot anger flared through Harry and he flicked his wand before thinking about it, although he regretted it as soon as it left his wand. Ron was quick and countered it. Harry could see the hurt and anger in Ron's eyes.
"Ron," Harry wanted to apologize suddenly, feeling guilty about his behavior.
"Save it Harry. I don't want to hear it unless you actually mean it." Ron turned and looked at the door frame a moment. "I'll let it pass this time Harry because I know you're still hurting and whatever bullshit you're telling yourself. I have always thought of you as a brother and I still do. Don't walk away from us." And with that Ron left, the door slamming behind him.
Harry slumped back into his chair and stared at his desk. He was still angry and hurt, but he wasn't entirely sure if it was at Ron or himself. The small rustling of wings got his attention as an owl fluttered into his office. It always amazed him that they could find their way through the maze of Auror offices and who knew what else. He took the letter and gave the owl a treat before it flew off.
Potter, I have some questions concerning this case of yours. Healer Draco Malfoy,
Harry almost snorted at the quip note. It wasn't lost on him that Malfoy had refused to address him as Auror Potter. He felt the corners of his mouth rising in spite of himself. It was just what he needed, a distraction. He ignored the small part of him that accused him of always using work as an escape. Glancing down at the card from Dudley, he picked it up. Might as well give him a call and let him know that Harry would be stopping by for Christmas dinner.
His office wasn't cluttered; not really. Every pile had its purpose and was exactly where it was supposed to be. Just because his office was filled with books, and scrolls and parchment, didn't mean it was necessarily cluttered.
Draco frowned at the report in front of him again. It just didn't make any sense, and something sent a nagging worry through him that he didn't like. It was cases like these that reminded him of the war and times best left forgotten. He shook his head slightly and blindly reached for his mug of tea. As much as he would have loved to use the finer tea sets, it wasn't practical at the office unless he was entertaining fellow Healers or the administration board.
The heat from the liquid quickly warmed its way down his throat and he sighed and flicked his wand, summoning a different book from off the shelf. His fringe hung down in front of his eyes and he knew he desperately needed a haircut, but it just seemed like he didn't have the time or a reason why he should. He set his mug down and picked up his quill and began taking notes about the aliments of a particular patient that had been bothering him. So far, none of the counter remedies had been working, and it was frustrating him to no end.
There was a slight knock at the door, but Draco didn't want to lose his momentum with the paragraph he was reading.
"I'll be right with you," he said without looking up as he continued to scribble down notes. A few of the symptoms his patient was showing were listed here, but he was concerned with the side effect the potions may cause. It had to have been several minutes later when a throat cleared that Draco remembered someone was there waiting for him.
When he glanced up he paused as his breath seemed to catch in his throat. He blinked, not sure if he was really seeing Harry Potter. The dark haired man sat there across from his desk, green eyes full of curiosity as they gazed back at him. Draco leaned back in his chair and set his quill down.
"Potter, I wasn't expecting you so soon."
Potter just shrugged a small smile played on his lips. "Nothing else better to do at the moment. Besides I am very curious about the victim I brought in. I haven't been able to identify him and was hoping you would be able to give me a few more clues. Not a pleasant way to find a loved one over the holidays."
"No, no it is not," Draco muttered and he pulled out the parchment he had on the John Doe. "I found this case very disturbing to be honest; such blatant cruelty."
"So you believe someone did that to him on purpose?"
Draco folded his hands together on the desk in front of him and sighed. His eyes looked into Potters before sliding away.
"Yes. The injuries themselves are not actual injuries. Someone amputated his arm. I can't say if there was something wrong with the young man, but I could find no evidence as to why it was done. Not only that, but it was removed by Muggle means and the man was obviously a Wizard."
"Are you sure Malfoy? This case just got a lot more difficult if that's true."
Draco reached over and duplicated a copy of his report and handed it to Potter.
"His magical signature still resonates within his bones. It's one of the few ways we can detect if a deceased person is a Wizard or not." He handed the report to the Auror. "I could find no long term illness, no dark magic, and no hexes permanent or otherwise. His eyes are missing, but had been surgically removed in a Muggle fashion. In fact every injury on him was caused by Muggle instrumentation."
"Fuck me," Potter whispered as he read the report.
Draco’s eyes widened a bit and he quickly glanced up at Potter whose eyes were fixed on the report in front of him. Why did those words have such an impact on Draco? He had to shake his head slightly to clear the thoughts of a naked Potter bent over his desk.
Get a hold of yourself Draco you're not that desperate to be wanting Potter. Yet glancing back at Potter, his body was telling him otherwise. And then Potters eyes flicked up to his and the whole world seemed to freeze. Even his breathing and his heartbeat seemed to stop. Potters eyes seemed to widen slightly, and whatever spell had been cast was broken. Draco cleared his throat, his mouth suddenly dry as he looked down at his own copy. He licked his lips.
"The young man was only eighteen. The dressing gown he was found in is standard issue, so we can't even tell which hospital he may have come from."
"Eighteen!? What the hell could happen to an eighteen-year-old that would cause someone to take his eyes, his arm and..." Harry quickly looked at the report. "Merlin, parts of his liver and intestines."
"Where did you find him again?"
"Just outside of Didsbury."
"I would suggest you start your investigation in that area and see if you can find where he might have Apparated from. Check all the local hospitals and clinics, Wizarding and Muggle."
Potter sighed and rubbed his head with one hand as he looked over unseeingly at the wall.
"God, who would do something like that?"
Draco got a good look at Potter. His rumpled clothes, slight stubble on his jaw, and there were the beginning of dark circles under his eyes. And his hair, well, his hair hadn't seemed to change at all over the years.
"Hmm?" Potter looked over at him, those eyes refocused on him and he smiled as he brought his hand down. "Oh, yea occupational hazard when you fall asleep in your office I suppose." He shrugged.
"You slept in your office?" Draco raised an eyebrow at him.
"Yes, and then Ron came by and...Well you probably don't want to hear all this. Thanks for your help Healer Malfoy." Harry stood to leave, and Draco had the sudden urge to keep him from doing so.
"Wait, Potter," Draco stood up and walked around the desk. Potter looked at him, eyebrows raised. "Follow me."
Draco walked out of his office, not seeing if the Auror followed him or not, and headed down the hallway. Footsteps followed him and the man quickly caught up with him. They said nothing, but Draco could practically feel the question flowing from the Auror. He held his smile in, not thinking it strange that he could feel the magical aura. Being a Healer had made him more sensitive to such things. It helped when you needed to connect and establish a magical connection when healing patients. Something he found wasn't very common among his fellow Healers.
They stopped in front of a door and Draco turned and held up his hand a moment. "Do you mind?"
Potters brows furrowed again and his lips tightened a moment as he stared back at him. Then he shrugged and Draco reached his hand forward and placed it on Potter's forehead. The sensation was immediate and made Draco gasp, although he tried to hold it back. The powerful magic swept through Draco and sent shivers down his spine. It made him tremble slightly and he concentrated so as not to be swept away on that wonderful current. Never had Draco been so overwhelmed before. He pulled back and quickly turned around and entered the room. His heartbeat was beating like crazy, he felt like a giddy school boy all over again.
He reached for the headache potion, and quickly found the two others he needed. One was a nutritional booster and the other to help with dehydration. He carefully mixed them together, and handed the vial to Potter. He keep his eyes averted, he didn't want the man to see how un-nerved he was. For Salazar sake, he knew nothing about the man, except from school, and that seemed like a lifetime ago.
"This should help with your headache." Draco turned to leave, hoping to escape back into his office, but Potter's hand on his shoulder stopped him. Draco looked at the hand then back at Potter, his mask back in place as he raised his brow at him.
The hand quickly moved and Potter ran it through his hair a moment. "Thanks, Malfoy."
Draco watched as a faint blush spread across Potter's checks and curiosity got the best of him. He could still feel the faint traces of the man's magic overlaid with his; could practically feel a warmer sensation coming from him. He unconsciously took a step closer to him.
"Healer Malfoy! It's Amanda Featherstone..." The Patronus that had appeared before him said. It was the Mediwitch Clarie's, the cockatoo feathers seemed to spread out in distress as it repeated what it had been told.
He didn't listen to the rest of what she had to say, there could only be one reason she would have sought him out. Spinning around Draco ran towards his patient's room. Apparating would have been helpful, but the place was full of anti-Apparition fields. Just for the fact that some patients would leave or Apparate accidentally and cause more problems in the long run.
Draco ran towards the stairs, avoiding the lifts as they could be abysmally slow, and ran down the hallway. He could hear the commotion up ahead, feel the magical energy being thrown around. Throwing up a quick Protego he charged into the room, and the pressure still practically sucked the air from his lungs.
The young woman thrashed on the bed, her eyes were rolled up, drool ran down her chin as her head flipped from side to side. He had made the unsavory decision to restrain her to the bed earlier and now he was glad for it. Her whole body seemed to strain against the bonds, her hands clenching and unclenching. Her nails and fingers had already been healed from scratching herself and others.
Draco rushed to her and placed his hands on the side of her head and tried to project a calming charm. She wasn't screaming, but her mouth was opened like she was trying to. He almost let the small bit of fear take hold that he wouldn't be able find a cure and heal her. No, there was no room for that kind of thinking. He let the calming charm run through him as well as he concentrated on his task.
Nothing had worked so far. Amanda had shown an allergic reaction to almost every treatment and potion they had tried. It was a very rare thing to find a Witch or Wizard allergic to their own magic. It was one of the reasons he had taken her case. Ever since her magic had manifested itself, her body had been reacting badly to it, and her mind was slowly deteriorating.
The calming charm seemed to be working and Draco relaxed a moment. It was then that he felt just the tiniest bit of pull on his magic. He straightened and checked Amanda's eyes. They were pale blue and seemed to stare at something in the distance, and her pupils seemed to be dilated to where they should be. Her legs twitched slightly and her fingers, but other than that she seemed relaxed.
Of course, why didn't he realize this before? The answer had been staring them in the face the whole time. It was risky, but the excitement of curing her was strong. He glanced over at the Mediwitch on duty.
"Claire, go get Healer Thomas and bring back revitalizing nutrient and calming draught potions immediately!" He ordered her. She nodded and ran out of the room. Amanda's room was heavily warded and a Patronus would have been near impossible.
Draco looked back down at his patient. Why hadn't he thought it strange that Amanda reacted badly only to her own magic. Yes, she reacted to the potions as well, but what if both of those things were separate incidences? What if the correlation between her magic and the potions was entirely separate?
He let out his breath and dropped his shield; the effect was immediate. Amanda's magic whipped around him and dragged him in. It stung and was very painful, causing him to gasp. He closed his eyes, trying to gain control of it. He let his magic reach out and force itself into the boiling mass of her uncontrolled magic. If he could call it a colour, it would be a mass of snarling lava red, that felt like it burned and tore at him. He cried out and continued to push his magic into it, trying to find the core and hoped he wasn't making a mistake and Healer Thomas got here before he passed out.
It was difficult to describe, in words, what someone's magic core looked like, or even where it was located. There were theories that it was part of one's souls and imbedded in the entire body. Others claimed that is was the physical body itself that contained the magic and had nothing to do with the soul.
Draco still wasn't exactly sure what he believed on the matter he just knew that the violent red swirl of magic against his own could kill him if he wasn't careful. It was one of the benefits, or curses, of detecting and merging magic like this.
The first time Draco had found someone's magical core it had been totally by accident, and nearly cost him his own life. It was very tricky not to get caught up in someone else's core and lose one's self. But desperate times called for desperate measures. He pressed on, Amanda's red, fiery magic pressed around him, but he maintained his bubble of magic around him. Snake-like arms lead off in search of his goal. This was consuming his energy too quickly and he needed to hurry. He knew he had to do this now, while her magic was somewhat accepting. Who knew when another opportunity would arise?
And then he was there, and there were no words to describe it; Amanda's core. Draco could feel the pulsing turmoil as her mind, spirit and body fought against each other. He was assaulted with emotion: pain, despair, sadness, loneliness, a will to survive. It was that last one he attached himself to. Survival, something he knew about. He wrapped himself around it, that part belonged to her mind. He waited what felt like long moments and then felt it relax and he was able to press his magic into her, gently so that she would accept it.
It didn't take long as she greedily pulled him in. Draco then looked for the broken connections, the one to her spirit and body and let his magic snake towards them. It was like swimming upstream and he was losing fast. Fuck, he was going to have to pull out, but he found he couldn't. Panic overtook him; it was like he was stuck in quicksand, it kept pulling him in.
Another familiar magic filled him and he grasped it. It was like a breath of fresh air, cool water over heated skin, and filled with a sad and joyous song. It was a pale gold, like light from an early morning dawn casting a mystical glow. Draco intertwined this new magic with his and thrust it into Amanda's core. One there he broke off a piece and let it twirl there and encouraged it to grow bigger. It was like a white opal full of various colours that sparked and twisted. There was a brief struggle with the red lava core and the opal core, but the seed was planted and he could immediately feel the change.
With a flash of lightening the opal core seemed to expand, striking out in all directions. The light and power was so bright and intense that Draco felt himself get sucked in and surrounded by the brilliance before he fell into darkness.
When Draco began to become aware of things, the first thing was that his head felt like the final battle had been fought there. He shifted slightly and moaned with the movement, sending a sharp spike of pain through his skull.
"Here, drink this," a familiar voice said and Draco felt a hand at the back of his head and a small vial pressed to his lips. The light smell of citrus wafted to his nose and he knew it was a headache remedy, one that used feverfew in the ingredients; it at least made it taste a little better.
The effect was immediate and Draco sighed letting his eyes open slightly as the pain dulled. The room he was in was dim and he looked over at the man sitting next to him.
"Potter," he whispered. "How long was I out?" Draco sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed and a wave of dizziness swept over him. He gripped the edge of the bed, but it was Potters hands that shot out and grabbed him. Draco took a deep breath in and let it out slowly.
"A few hours, should you be getting up so soon?"
Draco looked up and could make out Potter’s face in the dim light, his brows were furrowed, a slight frown on his face.
"Duty calls, Potter." Potter's arms retracted much to his disappointment, but Draco noticed that he was tense and watching him intently. "I want to check on my patient."
"Well, she's doing great. It was amazing, really! What you did. It's the buzz of the ward actually."
Draco allowed a small smile to appear. "It worked then," he half whispered to himself.
"Yeah you crazy bastard, you almost killed yourself doing it." Potters voice was gruff, but with a hint of amusement as well.
He looked back up to Potter's face and knew immediately what had happened. The other magical energy signature, it was so clear since he had just had contact with him before. Potter had been there, must have touched him or something for his magic to reach for his.
"Yes, thank you, Potter. I'm not sure what would have happened if you hadn't been there."
Potter ran a hand through his hair as he looked away and shrugged. "It was you that was amazing. All that raw magic, it was incredible. What was it exactly?"
"It was Amanda's magical core. She is, or was, allergic to her own magic. When it calmed down and reached out towards mine I had to take a chance. It was always fighting against ours and would rarely settle down. I've entered a few other cores before, but nothing like hers. She's doing well then?"
"I think you should see her for yourself." Draco could practically hear the grin coming from Potter.
He stood up and took a step forward before his leg gave out. Potter grabbing and pulling him towards him.
"Damn it," Draco muttered.
"Healer Thomas said you might be feeling a little weak after that, but he also knew it wouldn't stop you."
Draco just grunted, not being able to respond. He had to admit that Potter's arms felt rather good holding him and his own hand had reached up and took hold of his bicep. It felt muscular and hard and the heat emanating was doing distracting things to his own body.
He pushed those thoughts aside and straightened up. Reluctantly he released his own hold on Potter and took a slower step towards the door. Potter kept his hand at his back for a few more steps, then that wonderful heat fell away. Draco almost sighed at the loss.
"Is there a reason you're still here, Auror Potter?"
"Call me Harry."
Draco couldn't stop his brow from rising as he glanced at Potter.
"Harry, my name is Harry."
Draco could stop himself from rolling his eyes, nor keep the smile off his face.
"Alright, Harry, is there a reason you're still here?"
There was a slight pink tinge to Potter's checks as the Auror glanced away a moment. "I was wondering if you would like to get some dinner?"
Draco raised an eyebrow, hiding how shocked he really felt.
"To discuss that case," Potter quickly interjected.
Draco smiled slightly. "I have rounds to make, and a few reports to fill out."
"Oh, well I'll just owl you if I have any other questions then."
"If you would just listen Potter, I could make time around eleven tonight, unless that's too late for you."
"No, eleven would be fine. I usually work the late shifts myself so that would be great actually."
"I will see you then, Harry."
Draco turned before Potter could see his smile. After checking up on his patient, he headed back to his office to write his report on Amanda Featherstone. The change was amazing, and Potter was right. The whole ward was buzzing about it. Her parents had been contacted and were on their way. His report would be on the chairman's desk by morning.
There still was the subject of her allergies to certain potion ingredients, but that was very mild and easy to control compared to her magic reaction.
He rifled through the files on his desk, completing his report and sorting through some of his other difficult cases. One of them caught his attention. Draco pulled it out from and opened the file. The pictures were gruesome at best. The old man was a squib and had been found inside his home. The cause of death was still a mystery. The toxicology test proved fruitless as he was already partially decomposed by the time anyone had found him. It was some of his scars that had caught his attention. Some of them were eerily similar to the young man Potter had brought in last night.
There were some electrical burns along his hands and feet. Something that wasn't all that uncommon with Wizards, not knowing how harmful electric currents could be, especially when being forced by magic. But this man was a squib, and would have known about the Muggle's electricity. He frowned as he read over the report. The Aurors on the investigation wrote down the cause as electrocution, but Draco hadn't found any evidence that lead to that conclusion. They tended to write deaths like this one off due to Muggle interference or other such nonsense when they weren't able to explain the reason.
He would see if Potter could pull up the case and provide some further explanation. Draco called for his assistant.
"Jonathan, I want you to look through the files here at St. Mungo's and see if you can find any cases similar to these two and bring me their files."
"Of course Healer Malfoy, umm, how soon would you be requiring them?"
Draco looked at the young man who shifted nervously on his feet. Was he so young once? He couldn't remember, not when so much of his past held dark memories.
"Is there a problem?"
"No, it's just that, well my family is having a small get together and I was hoping to nip out of here a little early."
Draco stared hard at the young man.
"I'll get right on that..., sir," he muttered and rushed out of the room.
He sighed. Maybe he shouldn't be so hard on the younger generation, but Draco had never cared much for the holidays. Not after the war ended.
Draco stood and went to make his evening rounds.
Harry absently swirled his cup of coffee as he sat at the small table waiting for Malfoy. It had almost been twenty minutes and was about to give up waiting for the git, when the bane of his irritation sat down across from him.
"Still here I see."
When Harry glanced up he couldn't help but smile at the disheveled Healer before him. He wondered if Malfoy was aware that his hair was unnaturally mussed and his tie slightly crooked. Almost as if he had just come from getting shagged. That made the heat rush to his face and he shrugged and took a sip of his coffee.
"Figured I would have a cuppa to wait. I can understand how work can be demanding."
Malfoy rubbed a hand along his forehead then began to straighten his hair. Harry almost wished he wouldn't.
"So, what is it you wanted to know?" Malfoy asked him.
"What made you decide to become a Healer?"
"I was curious about what made you become a Healer."
Harry would have laughed at the look on Malfoy's face if he wasn't so serious.
"I, you...I thought you wanted to ask about the case?"
Harry shrugged. "Yes, but I was also interested in what you do. How you ended up here? Sorry to deceive you like that, but I thought you might turn down a friendly chat."
Malfoy's checks turned a lovely shade of pink as he looked down at the table.
"I don't mean to be so forward, if you feel uncomfortable talking with me."
"No, no it's not that." Malfoy whispered. "It's just that it's been a long time since anyone has wanted to speak with me not concerning my work."
"Seriously? I would have thought the girls would have been throwing themselves at you. Unless you're married." Harry could feel his checks flushing again. "Sorry, I don't mean any disrespect. It's just that I've been out of the public eye for a while and haven't made any effort to keep track of anything."
"The Daily Prophet is hardly news worthy. Bit of gossipers if you ask me," Malfoy replied. "And no, I'm not married or seeing anyone at the moment."
"Really? Why not, you're quiet attractive..., for a bloke..." Oh for the love of Merlin he was making a total arse of himself. "I'm not married either." He stammered out.
"Yes, I did read about that." There was a hint of amusement in Malfoy's voice. "As for my current situation, I found that my occupation takes too much of my time to worry about family."
Harry glanced up at Malfoy and could see loneliness there before it was quickly replaced by the cool grey mask. A familiar pang tried to show itself, but Harry squashed it down.
"Yea, I know what you mean."
"I only have a few minutes, but I was wondering if I could ask a favour from you."
"What is it?" Harry asked a little surprised.
Malfoy pulled out a folder, enlarged it, and slid it across the table towards him.
"This case came across my desk several months ago. I really didn't pay it that much attention, until today when I noted some similarities between this and the case you brought in last night. I was wondering if you would be able to get me the Auror investigation reports. There are some inconsistencies I would like to clear up. And it could possibly help with your current case."
Harry looked over the case. It wasn't familiar, and since it seemed to be a pretty cut and dried case they hadn't called him in on it.
"Yea, I'll see what I can do."
"I would appreciate it. I really must be getting back; I usually don't even take this long of a break, owl me with your results."
"How about I bring it by personally?" Harry smiled at him.
"You know where my office is." Malfoy stood. "Thank you, Harry."
Harry grinned as Malfoy turned and left. He shook his head as he sipped his coffee.
There was a dull throbbing pain in his head. Harry reached his hand back and touched the spot and winced when that caused more pain.
"Mr. Potter, how are you feeling?" A woman's voice asked him. Harry opened his eyes and blinked. Where was he? He tried to sit up but a hand pushed him back down.
"Please, just lie still for a moment."
The room slowly came into focus. He was lying on a couch, in a very familiar room. Yet he could see the slight changes since he had last been here. The newer TV, photos, knickknacks.
"Harry, are you alright?" His cousin's voice made him turn his head to see a worried Dudley looking at him. "I-I didn't know what to do, so I called Dr. Crowley. She came right over."
"Dudley?" Harry asked. "What happened? How did I get here?"
"Here, this will help with the pain," the woman said as she helped him sit up and gave him a pill and a glass of water. Harry drank it down, almost drinking the entire glass of water. "What was the last thing you remember Mr. Potter?"
Harry frowned and tried to remember what it was that he was doing. "I was in my office working on a case." The images came to him. He was poring over files for Draco. After he had retrieved the Auror report Draco had been looking for he had given Harry a list of names for more reports.
"Can you remember anything else?"
He was looking over the files, writing down anything that might help when he noticed the time. He was supposed to go meet Dudley for dinner.
"I remember thinking it was getting late and had to leave to meet Dudley for dinner."
Dudley nodded at him, still worried. Harry shook his head.
"I don't recall anything after that."
"That's not surprising. You had quite a nasty bump on your head." She told him.
"You came over and we were having dinner, but then I spilled something on the floor and you slipped and hit your head against the counter top. I didn't know what to do, you were lying there, and there was this deep gash on your head, and blood was everywhere. Harry, I am so sorry," Dudley told him, his blue eyes really did look sincere, and worried.
"That's when Mr. Dursley contacted me. My name is Doctor Adrienne Crowley. Dudley knows me from the company he works at. It's a good thing too. I brought my medical kit along and was able to stitch you up. I would like to get you into my office to run a few diagnostic tests, just a precautionary measure I assure you."
"T-that won't be necessary. I can just see the Hea- ah, Doctor at my work."
"Please Mr. Potter. I insist, and not to worry, I won't charge you." She gave him a winning smile. She had a dimple in her right check. He noticed her dark brown hair was lightly streaked with silver and her dark eyes were friendly and sparkled as she spoke.
He hesitated and then nodded. It wouldn't hurt to placate her, and really wouldn't be too much of a bother for him.
"Excellent, your cousin will provide you with my address. I expect to see you after the holidays, okay?"
"Your accent? Where are you from?"
She smiled down at him as she stood. "I'm from the States. But I have been here for several years now." She nodded towards Dudley. "Dudley." And then she was gone.
"Harry, I'm really sorry."
"It's alright Dudley. Did we even have dinner?"
Dudley gave him a weak smile and shook his head.
"I'll go heat it up for us, yeah?"
Harry suppressed an urge to laugh at the absurdity of the situation.
"When was the last time you saw her?" Harry asked the red eyed woman before him.
"J-Just before supper, s-she wanted to go out and play with her new sled she had gotten for Christmas. It's one of those new ones that pulls itself up the hill..." She started to cry again and Harry reached and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. He led her over to the couch to sit down.
There was a toddler that was playing quietly in its crib, watching a magical mobile of dancing animals that would tease the child who laughed in delight. Another boy, about eight sat watching him with wide, scared eyes.
"Ellen?" A man's voice said as he rushed into the room. The woman got up and ran to him, her cries getting muffled by his chest as he engulfed her in a hug. The man nodded at him.
"Auror Potter." Harry introduced himself. "We are doing everything we can to locate your daughter."
More commotion came from outside the door; several more people came into the room. Harry stiffened when he saw Ron. Their eyes locked for a moment.
"Mr. Stanton, we have our finest Aurors on this case. Rest assured we will find your daughter," Auror Proctor, Ron's partner said what he had already told them. "Oh, Potter. I didn't know you were here."
Harry gritted his teeth and gave a tight smile.
"First one on the scene."
"Well, we have it all under control now. We'll contact you if we have any questions."
Harry raised his eyebrow and turned back towards the Stanton's. "We'll find her,” he assured them, and then turned to leave.
He had just barely made it out the door when Ron came after him.
Harry stopped but didn't turn around.
"We missed you at dinner, for Christmas."
Harry wanted to turn back to him and pretend everything was how it used to be, but he couldn't. It was still too painful.
"Maybe another time?"
"I'll try." Harry said before he Disapparated.
It felt like it had been weeks since he had been to his flat. A fine layer of dust lay over everything, and his ice box held moldy boxes of take away. He took a hot shower, being careful with the spot on his head. It throbbed, and his head was starting to pound.
He didn't want to think about the Stanton's and their missing five-year-old daughter; missing just the day after Christmas. There were some sick fucks out in the world. He thought Voldemort would have been the end to Dark Wizards, and Dark Arts. What he hadn't realized was there were worse things that went on behind closed doors that no one ever knew about. Not until Aurors arrived and had to assess the situations.
He'd seen things that made the cruciatus curse look mild in comparison, and the Avada Kedavra seem merciful; even living at the Dursley's seemed like luxury compared to others.
Harry turned off the water and stepped out, using a drying charm he slipped his pyjama bottoms on. He turned on his flat screen TV he had, using it mainly for background noise. Then went and fetched a bottle of Firewhisky and sat down on his couch. After his first glass, he was feeling mildly buzzed.
He never thought his life would end up this way, alone. Everyone had wanted a piece of him after the war, and there was Ginny, steadfast by his side. She was gone now too. Now he was just another name in the history books.
Pouring himself another glass when a small tapping at the window got his attention. Too tired to get off the couch he used his wand to open the window and let the owl in. It swooped in and perched on the edge of his sofa. Harry pulled the note from his leg and had to read through it twice. A smile broke across his face, as Healer Draco Malfoy asked to have Harry over for dinner the next evening. He quickly replied saying he would be free and would love to join him.
Harry watched the owl leave and smiled, a warm feeling settling in his stomach that had nothing to do with the alcohol. Malfoy was very handsome, to put it mildly. Harry was surprised that Malfoy wasn't married. Harry had recently discovered that he was very curious about other men.
It had never surprised him to find another bloke attractive since he was married to Ginny; he had just never pursued that course of interest. However, just over this last year, Harry let his curiosity get the better of him. Not that he had acted on it. He just didn't know where to begin, or with who. He was a little leery of starting any kind of relationship again, let alone one with another man.
He sighed and sipped at his drink. As tempting as Malfoy was in looks, he probably wasn't interested. Not after their past history. And yet they seemed to get along well enough at hospital, a tiny voice inside said. Shaking off those hopes Harry drained the rest of his glass and went to bed.
Harry squinted in the sunlight; his head was killing him. He had agreed to meet Dudley at his work to meet with Dr. Crowley. He really didn't want to but figured it would avoid leading questions for Dudley and himself. Harry hadn't told anyone about the little accident. That was all he needed; to have someone heal the gash, that is currently held together by several Muggle stitches and try and explain that to a Muggle doctor.
He made his way into the opulent glass building, the foyer spacious and very sterile looking. Potted plants and trees were strategically placed along with a few benches and even a fountain that ran down a wall. Men and women walked quickly to their destinations, many of them wearing white lab coats. Looking up he could see walkways that crisscrossed back and forth, rising up several stories.
Looking at the main front desk where the words GENETISYS INNOVATIVE MEDICAL in bold, dark gold lettering; Dudley sat at the front desk wearing his security guard uniform.
"You made it."
Harry gave him a small grin.
"Wow Dudley. This place is really fascinating. How long have you been working here?"
"Not quite a year. Really lucky I found it. Great pay, and the benefits are brilliant. Follow me, I'll show you to Dr. Crowley's office. She has been expecting you. How's your head doing?"
Harry followed Dudley who had to swipe his badge against a door before it opened. The hallway beyond was simple, with few pictures along the walls. Windows opened up along one side bathing the place in light.
"It's a little sore."
"I guess you could have...you know, fixed it already. You didn't, did you?" Dudley asked.
"No, I didn't use magic."
"Oh, well that's good; wouldn't know what to say to Dr. Crowley if you had. She can be a hardnosed bitch, but you didn't hear that from me."
"Oh, Mr. Potter, Dudley; I'm glad to see you." Dr. Crowley walked towards them, her white lab coat swirling around her. Her heels clacked against the floor, and her hair was drawn up into a loose bun at the back of her neck. "How is your head doing?"
"Little tender and sore,"
"Headaches? Any nausea, vomiting, double vision?"
"No, well the headaches yes, but that's all."
"Would you mind if I took a quick scan? Just a precautionary measure and to appease my worry over your well-being. All at no cost I assure you."
What could Harry say to that? After he left here he could just get it healed and never have to see Dr. Crowley again. He had something called a cat-scan and giving him a prescription for some pain killers he found himself having lunch with Dudley.
It was actually a very enjoyable afternoon, despite the cold. Dudley was still a prick at times, but overall was an pleasant experience. Harry was glad that Vernon and Petunia were away for an extended holiday. Dudley had apologized not only for the failed dinner attempt, but also from his past actions. Harry was feeling like his past was starting to heal, something he didn't know he needed. Feeling in an exceptionally good mood, Harry headed into his office early. He was going to call it an early night so he could have dinner with Malfoy.
Draco was making his rounds for the end of his shift. Normally he would be here until the early morning hours, but had made a spur of the moment decision and had invited Potter over for dinner. What was he thinking? Ever since the Auror had left the first night, he kept cropping up in his thoughts. Even when he brought over the report he had been quite charming.
Stop thinking like that Draco he told himself. He was moving into dangerous waters. The man was straight for fuck sake, had been married to a woman for over ten years. Nothing was going to come from this.
It was nice to talk to someone outside of work for a change, even if it was Harry Potter. They had both definitely changed over the years. Draco wondered if this was what they would have been like without the war; more sociable, less judgmental. He couldn't let himself play the what-if game. His list could have gone on forever.
He was just making his way back to his office and changing his robes when the owl came. Draco knew immediately who the owl belonged to and dread, along with resignation spread through him. He was going to have to cancel his dinner with Potter.
It wasn't until early hours of the morning when Draco finally got home. He was exhausted, mentally and physically. He wearily opened his door and froze. His wards were off, even as tired as he was, he noticed the slight difference. Wand out he made his way inside to find his lights dimly lit. A familiar figure was sleeping on his couch.
Potter was leaning against the side, glasses skewed slightly from his position. There was some take away sitting on the coffee table, a stasis charm placed over it. Draco wanted to wake the insufferable Auror and ask him to leave, but he was too tempted to just sit and watch him.
He took off his robe and put it away and reclined back into the plush chair that sat next to the couch. Draco reached over and checked the takeaway. It was Chinese, and the smell made Draco's stomach rumble in protest. Taking the container he began to eat, keeping his eyes on Potter while he did. The man must have been tired. He hadn't moved a muscle.
Finishing his meal Draco reached over and gently took off Potter's glasses and set them on the table. Finding a blanket he wrapped it over the trespassing Auror and went to bed.
It had only been a few hours but Draco wasn't able to sleep. His dreams were dark and frantic and when he woke from them, he let them fade back to where they belonged. His mind kept going back over the previous night, most likely the cause for his nightmares. Visiting Azkaban tended to do that.
He slipped out of bed and headed into the kitchen to make some tea. A small squeak had him spinning around to spot Potter sitting up on his couch, eyes wide behind his glasses, hair looking like he was just shagged. Damn, how could he have forgotten the man was there? Then he became aware of his own state of dress, mainly just his black silk boxers.
"M-Malfoy; sorry I didn't mean to fall asleep on your couch."
"Is it a habit of yours to break into other peoples flats?" Draco tried getting his heart rate back under control, while acting nonchalant about his state of near nudity. "Did you not get my owl about having to cancel dinner?"
Potter just kept staring at him, which only made Draco more uncomfortable. The man licked his lips, that tongue lingering longer then necessary on the lower part. Draco could feel his body reacting to the sight and decided he better go get something to cover himself up. Potter's voice followed him as we went back into his bedroom and pulled on a dressing gown.
"Yes, but I really had nothing better to do, and I thought I would bring some takeaway by and surprise you. I know how it can be when working late hours and returning home alone."
Covered and feeling much more under control, Draco walked back out. Potter had folded up the blanket and had set it to the side.
"So you decided to break in. Isn't that against some sort of Auror regulation?" Potter's checks turned a light shade of pink and he at least had the decency to look embarrassed.
"I'm sorry. I guess I'll be leaving then."
Draco huffed. "Oh come on, you're already here and if I was that upset about it, I would have kicked you when I came in this morning. Hungry?"
Potter followed him into the kitchen as he started some water for tea. He used his wand and began to retrieve breakfast from the icebox. He had no House-elf, but the few that were still at the Manor would prepare meals in advance for him. Draco kept them preserved until he needed them and heated them up.
"So, what was your emergency last night?"
Draco magically heated the meals and set one before Harry. The water was hot and he prepared them some tea, sliding a cup towards the Auror as he sat across from him.
"There are a few cases I tend to at Azkaban. One of my patients had a nasty setback. It's not the most ideal place to have to treat someone, let alone have them recover. The Dementors might be gone, but that place still sucks the life and happiness from you. Trying to perform any kind of magic is near impossible."
"Oh, I wasn't aware you worked with the prisoners."
"No one else is willing too. Most Wizards and Witches believe that they should just rot in their cells; that's what they deserve." Draco felt his hands tightening around his cup.
The place was filthy and cold. The living conditions were laughable at best. To toss fellow Wizards into that place and throw away the key was deplorable. There was a small pressure on his arm; blinking Draco looked over at Potter whose hand was there.
"I don't." He said softly.
Draco let out a shaky breath and Potter withdrew his hand and returned it to his cup.
"It's one of the reasons I became a Healer." Draco told him. "When I saw what that place was doing to my father. Even bags full of gold galleons couldn't get him decent Healer care in that place."
Potter grimaced and clutched at his head, a small hiss of pain escaping him.
"Sorry, just have a headache."
"What is that? What happened to your head?" Draco got up and went over to Potter and pushed his head to the side. He gently pushed the dark hair away to reveal the small wound with the three stitches in it. It was red and inflamed. "What the hell?"
"It's nothing. I fell over at my cousin's and hit my head. He panicked and called a Muggle doctor and she stitched it up."
"Hold still you git." Draco pulled out his wand and removed the stitches and healed it. There was still a slight scar, but his hair would easily cover it up. "You should have said something earlier. Is that where your head is hurting?"
Harry nodded and Draco sat down across from him, reached up and placed his hands along the side of his face. Closing his eyes Draco let the familiar magic tingle through his. Sensing the troubled area, Draco gently used his magic to heal the small throbbing area. A small electric jolt sizzled through him and then was gone.
Draco pulled back, a slight frown on his face. "Better?" he asked.
"Yeah," Potter whispered.
When Draco looked into Potter's green eyes he was caught. It was as if time had decided to stop. And then the distance between them grew shorter and Potters lips were brushing softly against his. He pulled back and their breath mingled together, warm, with a hint of mint.
Draco was stunned and stiffened slightly. Potter looked back and his eyes seemed to convey his own shock. The Auror abruptly stood up his face turning a deep shade of red.
“Thanks for breakfast. I think I better be going.” His voice was a strained whisper.
And before Draco could manage to make anything coherent come out, Potter was gone. Draco could still feel his heart pounding and slowly got to his feet.
Harry bloody Potter had kissed him. First he breaks into his flat, sleeps on his couch, and then, he…
Work; he needed to get dressed and go to work. Never mind that he would be half a day early, Draco needed a distraction. It wasn’t until he was sitting behind his desk pouring over the day’s patient roster, and updating his own patients history and potion intakes, that the absurdity of the situation caught up to him and he started to contemplate the possibilities, and what that kiss could mean.
The weather was still cold, and his head still fucking hurt. He had even picked up a few headache potions but none of them seemed to be able to touch it. Harry sighed and shoved his hands into the Muggle coat he wore. He thought about going to see Malfoy, alright he more than thought about it. Truth was he was a coward. He'd embarrassed himself as it was, but actually kissing the man. Something he thought about over and over again. Harry was worried that if he went to see him, all he would be able to do was think about that gentle kiss, stare at his lips and embarrass himself further.
He reached a hand up and rubbed at his newest scar on his head. At least this one was hidden underneath his hair. Although it was healed and he could barley feel the thin line, there was a slight dull ache underneath it. Harry sighed and dropped his hand.
Maybe it was just the latest case that was causing his head to hurt. Ollivander’s had been broken into the previous night. The place had been quickly ransacked and the thief's were gone before the Aurors had even gotten there. Garrick Ollivander had been found unconscious in his rooms above the shop. He had no recollection of what had happened. There was a light tingle of magic, but no signature they could identify or trace. It looked like wands had been randomly taken. They were still trying to figure out how they had gotten past the wards.
The street was dark as Harry made a quick scan next to the shop. He lifted his wand and cast Lumos. Nothing happened. Harry frowned and cast it again. This time it came, lighting the area. Harry shook his head. He must be tired. Casting a quick Tempus, he knew he was short on time. He had agreed to meet up with Dudley again. After dinner, he was going to take some dreamless sleep and see if he could get these headaches under control.
Someone was pounding on his front door. Draco climbed out of his bed and cast a Tempus charm as he threw on dressing gown. It was bloody five o'clock in the morning. He had only been in bed for a few hours.
He pulled out his wand, ready to hex however it was at the door and ask questions later. Draco wasn't prepared when Potter practically fell into him when he opened the door. Draco let out a small ummf as his arms automatically reached around the fallen man to stop them from falling backwards.
"I'm going to be sick." Potter groaned before pushing away from Draco and falling to his knees proceeded to empty his stomach contents onto his floor. Draco grimaced as he turned the lights up.
"And to what do I owe this charming visit?" Draco asked, but then he quickly went over to Potter when he saw how pale his face was, blood trickling out of his nose. "Merlin, what happened to you?"
Draco quickly vanished the contents on his floor, helped Potter up and on the couch. Potter was beyond pale, his skin looked ashen white. Dark circles formed under his eyes his eyes and Draco summoned a small cloth to wipe the blood that was running down Potters face from his nose.
"Were you in a fight?" Draco asked as he took some quick vitals. His temperature was unusually high, and his blood pressure looked way too low.
"No fight," Potter told him. "Just haven't been feeling well."
"You need to get to St. Mungo's."
Even though Potter looked extremely sick, his grip on Draco's hand was tight.
"No, no Hospital. Please. I'll be fine, just need a little rest."
"Think you can handle some water?"
Draco quickly fetched a glass and brought a few pills back to help with Potter’s stomach.
"Here, take these, it should help."
Potter looked down at the pills in his hands and quirked a dark eyebrow at him. He popped them into his mouth and swallowed them down with the water. The effect was almost instantaneous and the color slowly returned to his face.
"I didn't know you kept Muggle pain pills on you." Harry teased.
Draco snorted. "Don't be absurd. I developed those myself. They're potion pills, condensed down into pill form. Makes taking the bad tasting potions much easier."
"I didn't know that. Wow, that’s amazing."
"Yes, it's still in the developmental stage, and then all the legalities and paperwork that drag on and on. You'd be surprised how many Potion Masters are against such a thing. So, if you weren't attacked and you refuse to go to the hospital, why did you come here?"
Potter looked down at his hands and gave a shrug with one of his shoulders. "I don't know, really. My headaches have been getting worse and my magic has been acting kind of funny. Then I had this dizzy spell and felt nauseous and when I Apparated I ended up outside your door instead of my place.
"You're still having headaches?"
"Have they gotten better at all?"
Potter shook his head. "They have actually been getting worse."
Draco reached over, but pulled back slightly. "Do you mind?"
"No, please do." Potter whispered.
"And you say your magic has been acting funny? Tell me how," Draco said as he placed his hands once again to the sides of Potters head.
"At first it was little things like summoning things, and Lumos. Yesterday it took me two tries to Apparate home. I thought it may be due to my headaches and tiredness. I have been working a lot of extra time lately."
Draco let his magic flow and mingle with Potter's. It felt slightly off; the feel of it was still the same and the beauty of it. It was his magical strength that caused him to frown. He wondered if he could get Potter into his office to run a few more tests. He was positive it was a lot stronger before.
“How are you feeling now?” Draco asked him.
"I always feel much better when you put your hands on me."
Draco felt the blush on his checks as he pulled away. How was it that Potter could make him feel like a school boy all over again? Potter reached over and grabbed at his hand again before he could get away.
“That’s another reason I wanted to see you again. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you, about kissing you. I would really like to, kiss you again, that is.” The flustered Auror finally stopped his babbling and Draco could only stare at him, incredulous. The man bit the top of his lip, looking hopeful yet nervous.
“Potter, I –“ the words were stolen from him as Potter kissed him. Not just the gently brushing of lips like before. Oh no, this one was demanding, firm, and bone meltingly wonderful. Draco pulled back, “Look Pot –“ Another kiss stopped him.
Draco couldn’t help but lean into the kiss, reciprocating. His hand lowered to the front of Potters robes and as he could feel the man’s heart hammering, his own sped up in response. This time they both broke the kiss, breathing ragged.
“You still have a fever,” Draco finally said, breaking the silence that had fallen. “And you’re quite delusional.”
Potter grinned. “I’ve heard worse about me. Have dinner with me tomorrow?”
Those green eyes looked at him, hopeful. Draco hesitated. Friendship with Potter he could understand. Trying to start something more was a little daunting.
“I have rounds tomorrow. I won’t be off again until Friday.”
Potter’s grin faded only slightly. “Well, that wasn’t a no; can I meet you at your office and take you to coffee or something?”
“I’d like that,” Draco quietly told him. “But only if you come in a little early. I want to take a few readings on your magical core.”
“I can do that,” Potter said as he kissed him.
“Potter,” Draco gasped as the man pulled him back against him. Those lips did wicked things to his libido as it sucked and kissed his neck.
"I thought I told you to call me Harry." Potter practically growled as he nipped a little harder causing Draco to moan.
The file Draco had been trying to read through slipped through his fingers and he turned around and pressed his lips back against Potter.
"Harry," Draco breathed into the kiss.
Harry moaned at that and Draco was able to push him back up against the wall, sending a few wall hangings to clatter to the floor. Draco pressed into him, putting one hand on Harry's hip, the other behind his neck. Harry wrapped his own arms around Draco's back.
"Harry, I have to get back to work," Draco panted, but his kisses didn't slow down, nor did the lower part of his body as he pressed it against Potter’s hip. He could feel Harry's own hard erection again his thigh.
"Me too," Harry muttered his hands wandered lower and squeezed Draco's arse.
Draco shuddered and with a force of will he didn't know he possessed, pulled back from Potter. His lips were puffy and red, and those green eyes looked almost black.
"Dinner. My flat. Tomorrow. Make sure your weekend is free."
Harry licked his lips and reached up and readjusted his glasses. He nodded then gave Draco another quick kiss.
"Whatever you say, Healer Malfoy."
Harry trudged across the parking lot near the lone building. It didn't feel as cold today, but he definitely had other things on his mind besides smuggled magical artifacts. He was going to be meeting Draco for dinner tonight. Harry could feel himself getting excited with just that thought.
He still couldn't believe how bold he was, when he had kissed Draco like that. Harry just chalked it up to his Gryffindor courage. For the first time in years, Harry was starting to feel alive again. Not that all his years with Ginny were bad, they just weren't all that great.
This last week with Draco had been mind blowing. Who would have thought that he and Draco Malfoy wouldn't be able to keep their hands off each other? Harry smiled slightly as the warmth flooded through him. It felt like his heart was beginning to mend. He hoped they would move this relationship forwards, starting tonight.
Relationship? Well, Harry hoped so anyway.
A sharp pain lanced out through his head and Harry grimaced. Draco had brewed a special potion for his headaches. It seemed to be helping. He still got nose bleeds, and his headaches weren't as bad, but were still always there. And his magic...It was still acting weird. Draco was concerned, but Harry promised that he just needed some decent sleep and meals and it would all right itself.
Harry pulled out of his thoughts as he met Auror Womack at the entrance. The raid that was conducted the previous night had led them to this address. It had been obscure information at the least. Most of the artifacts had been recovered, but there were a few live animals on the list that just seemed a little odd. He caught sight of some of the other Auror's patrolling the edges of the parking lot. Harry had noticed that there were cameras set up around the perimeter.
"Womack," Harry greeted the man. He nodded back at Harry as he made his way inside. A foul smell reached him and he tried casting a refreshing charm. After a couple attempts, he let it go. He was not going to tell Draco that his magic was failing more and more lately. So much so that it was beginning to worry him.
The source of the smell was immediate. The inside reminded him of a cross between a pet store and a laboratory. Various creatures were sequestered in cages of various sizes. He could make out flobberworms, pixies, kneazles, crups and some Gnomes. There was even a Jarvey, that watched them warily, not an insult to be heard. Along another wall were tanks of water with other various creatures. Large stainless steel tables sat through the middle of the room. Some of them still covered in blood and fluids, heinous instruments lying out like dinner plates that had not been put away.
"What the hell?" he whispered as he walked over toward the Jarvey. The creature’s nose twitched at him as it hunkered down at the back of the cage. He could see places along its neck and the back of its spine where the fur had been shaved and dark red scars rose.
"You need to come see this Potter," Saunders said as he walked over towards him.
Harry followed the lead Auror to a back room. The doors were massive, but they entered through a smaller door at the side. Bright florescent lights focused their attention toward the center of the room. It took him a moment, but Harry finally realized what he was looking at.
A dragon or at least it used to be. Its silvery-blue scales looked pale in the bright artifical lights shining on them. It lay on its back, a red gaping hole where its insides had been hollowed out. Patches of scales were missing, and one of the wings had been removed. Harry walked past what remained of the tail and closer to the head, only to find that it too was missing. He had to look away.
"Not pretty, is it?" Saunders said as he stared down at the thing. "Swedish short-snout, not even full grown."
"Who did this?" Harry asked as he took a look around the room. It was plain, simple white along the walls and floor. The florescent lights hid no shadows, but still made his skin crawl.
"That's what we are trying to figure out. Come over here," Saunders said as he brushed past Harry .He followed him into a back room that looked to be a control room.
"You’re familiar with these, right?"
Harry nodded. It was standard for field Auror's, ones that worked with Muggles, to know about computers. They even had a Muggle specialization expert in the Auror corps for those who needed to learn about Muggle technology.
"Good. I want you to go over some of the data here with Auror Metkin. See if you can find out anything useful. Most of it looks like it’s just the outside surveillance footage; nothing from inside here. They must have run a separate program for that, the bastards. They covered their tracks well."
“But sir, there could be hundreds of hours on there.”
“Exactly, that’s why I want you and Metkin to view it. I’ll send over a few more Auror’s when I get the chance. There have been far too many break-ins over the last few weeks, and I have most of my men looking into those.”
“Others beside Ollivander’s?”
“There was a potion shop in Hogsmeade, an apothecary shop outside of Dover, a book store in Norwich, and even a fucking Quidditch supply shop in Northampton. I didn’t think they were related instances at first, but bloody Merlin there are just too many similarities. We can’t even identify the magical signatures or what they used. They knew what they were doing; in and out before anyone realized they had been robbed. “
Harry nodded to Metkin who was already reviewing some of the surveillance footage.
“Finish up here, give me a report and then I want you looking over those other cases. If anyone can discover what the fucking hell is going on, it’s you.”
Saunders turned and left, his footsteps hard and heavy, has he marched out the door. Harry sighed as he sat down next to Metkin and proceeded to be bored out of his mind for the next five hours.
The video feeds were practically useless; no wonder they didn’t bother keeping them. It was nothing but hours of cars pulling in and out of the parking lot, and unidentifiable persons coming in and out of the building. The quality was so bad that they weren’t even able to get fixed pictures on the license plates, and very few mug shots. They captured what they could, and would send it off and see if someone could enhance them.
Stretching, Harry tried to stifle a yawn and cast a quick tempus charm. It was getting late and he would need to get going soon. His fellow Aurors had cleaned up the place, finding shelter and homes for the creatures left here. Harry was just about to ask Metkin how much time they had left when something caught his eye.
“Wait, go back.” Harry told him.
Metkin reversed the footage and played it again. There was a woman that seemed very familiar to him. He couldn’t be positive, since her face was never in full view of the camera.
“Do you know her?” Metkin asked.
Harry eyebrow furrowed as he stared at the screen. Letting out a frustrated sigh, he shook his head. “I can’t tell. Think we can send this over and see what they can do with it?”
Metkin shrugged. “It’s worth a try, you never know.”
Harry nodded and cast another Tempus charm. Metkin chuckled quietly.
“You can go,” he said. “We’re almost done here and I can finish up.”
“Are you sure? “
“Get out of here Potter. You’re driving me bonkers casting that damn tempus charm every five minutes.”
Harry sheepishly grinned. “Guess I’ll owe you one?”
“You better believe it, Potter.” Metkin's tone seemed harsh, but his smile belied him.
When Harry walked into the door at Draco's the smell of food made his stomach growl. He realized he really hadn't had anything to eat most of the day.
"Harry?" Draco's voice called out from the kitchen.
Harry made his way into the kitchen, peeling off his Auror robes as he did and stood by the doorway, the sight of Draco making other parts of him hunger.
The blond was in a plain white button up shirt, the sleeves rolled to his elbows, dark grey slacks hugging his pert behind. He was standing near the stove, his wand in hand, as he supervised the stirring of a pot. Draco glanced over at Harry and gave a small smile that made Harry's heart flutter, and a trembling began in his hands.
It had been a long time since he had felt something like this and it both frightened and exhilarated him. He never thought he would experience something like this again, to be able to give himself to someone.
Something must have shown on his face when Draco's smile faded and his gaze looked concerned.
"Harry?" He asked again. "What's wrong?"
Harry wanted to step back up and flee home, his heart was hammering in his chest. Fear and indecision gripped him. What if Draco rejected him and left him along again? And yet he wanted to go to Draco so badly and feel those arms around him.
"I..." was all he was able to get out and he winced at the tremor in his voice with just that single vowel. He swallowed and shoved all his fears aside and let his instincts take over. He took a step, then another towards Draco. Harry's heart was pounding so hard when he reached the Slytherin he was sure Draco could hear it. His hand was trembling slightly when he reached for him.
Draco only hesitated a second before he stepped towards Harry. Their mouths met, open and wet as their tongue entwined. Draco's hands came around pulling him closer. Harry’s hands went around and held on tight. His fears started to slowly melt away.
It wasn't the first time they had kissed or pressed against each other, but this feeling that Harry thought he never would feel again made it all seem new. They pulled apart to breath, and Draco's lips continued down his neck. Harry moaned slightly as he tilted his head for better access.
Oh Merlin, this felt so good, so right. It was so much better than it had been with Ginny. He quickly moved that thought out of his head. Harry wanted to concentrate on this man before him; wondering if he would be able to convey his feelings after such a short time.
And yet that wasn't necessarily true, he had known Draco all those years ago when they were boys. But this Draco was different, grown, brilliant, a Healer that Harry wanted to get to know better.
"Draco." He groaned when the man pulled him up against him; their echoing hardness making pleasure course through him. "What about dinner?"
Harry trembling in Draco's arms. He felt warm breath on his face as Draco bent his head to touch his. Yes, he wanted this, wanted to see where it would go.
"It will wait," he said as he lips went back to his. "I want you now." And with that he pressed Harry back towards the kitchen table.
Draco pushed at him until he was sitting on the edge, his hands under Harry's t-shirt, lips pressing against each other. Fingers found his nipple giving it a small pinch. Harry moaned, and Draco smirked as he pressed another hand against his hard cock. He couldn't help but buck up into the feel of that.
His own hands went around Draco. Harry wanted to run his hands over him, feel his skin beneath his hands, kiss it, show Draco how much he meant to him. Their breathing was labored and their hands quickly reached for the other; as if the world itself would implode if they didn't do this now.
Harry shuddered when Draco freed his cock, his mind going temporarily blank when those smooth hands began to stroke him.
"Fuck," Harry whispered.
"Mmmm, later," Draco murmured as his lips ran along Harry's jaw.
Harry hands reached out and fumbled with Draco's pants opening. He was doing such a poor job of it, Draco had to stop what he was doing to free himself. Draco didn't seem to mind when he pressed their hard cocks together.
Draco hissed as his lips caught Harry's again. Harry was moaning, letting Draco lead him. They pulled back panting. Harry looked down to watch as Draco's perfect cock slide against his. God, the pale hand that held them together; reaching down Harry added his own hand, squeezing and making Draco's breathing hitch in his throat.
"Oh god, Harry," Draco's moaned. "Harry, Harry, Harry."
Harry cried out and shuddered from just the sound of his name, his release coating their hands and his shirt. He was still shivering from the pleasure when Draco joined him. The blond leaned forward with a growl and claimed Harry's lips, his hand and hips slowly stopping after milking them dry.
When the kiss broke they rested their foreheads together, the sound of their ragged breathing filling the room. Harry stomach decided to give a loud rumble.
Draco's mouth quirked up and he gave a small chuckle. Harry grinned sheepishly.
"Sorry," Harry said when Draco pulled back. He picked up his wand near the stove, used a cleaning spell on them and redid up his pants.
Draco reached over and cupped his check, a slight look of wonder in his bright grey eyes. "Don't be, you were brilliant."
Harry felt his heart catch again, the feeling both wonderful and painful at the same time.
"Should we have some dinner? It's just about ready. Good thing I placed a stasis charm on the sauce or it would have burned by now."
Draco turned and went back over to the stove. Harry stood and followed suit, feeling a strange sort of giddiness.
"Want me to set the table?" Harry asked him.
Draco pointed toward his cupboards and Harry began helping out. He talked about the case he was called on and what Saunders was expecting him to do. Draco asked questions here and there about the dissected dragon, but listened attentively. When Harry asked him how his day was, Draco told him about some of the harder cases he was working on. Harry had never had a more pleasant evening, as they ate and chatted. To his surprise, Draco was a very good cook.
After the dishes were washed and put away, Harry bit his bottom lip not sure what to do now. Draco quirked and eyebrow at him and held a hand out towards him. Blushing, Harry curled his fingers around Draco's and let him lead him out of the kitchen.
The night was unusually quiet, which always made Draco a little anxious; not only this one, but the last one as well. It was some unsaid universal law that a quiet night in a hospital signaled a mass influx of patients soon.
It also gave him time to contemplate Harry. Harry, no longer Potter. Those school days felt like yesterday, and a thousand years ago. And here they were again, grown, changed, and finding they had more in common than they had thought. The first on the list was how attracted they were to each other. Harry had spent every night possible with him since the weekend, and it still amazed Draco. Amazed him that he had allowed himself to try this relationship after he thought that path for him was never possible.
Leave it to Harry Bloody Potter to prove him wrong again. He let a small smile curve on his lips at that thought. Draco must have been lonelier than he thought to give in to Harry, but he had to admit, the companionship was actually quite nice. This feeling was all so new to him, someone looking out for him, caring for him. To be able to discus mundane everyday issues and work problems seemed to ease some tension from his shoulders he hadn't realized he carried.
Draco shook his head to focus back on the report in front of him. A small plastic bag was attached to the report, a tiny piece of metal placed within it. Picking up the bag and took a closer look at it. It was no bigger than the nail on his pinky finger. It was blackened as if it had been burned. Draco slid it from the bag and let it fall into the palm of his hand. Casting Engorgio he watched it enlarge to a size where he could get a closer look at it.
On one side there was a series of number and letters along the blackened surface. He flipped it over to read: S.P.E.L.
Spel? Well, that seemed odd. Draco knew it had to be a manufactures name. One thing was certain, his suspicions were being proven right. He slipped the piece of metal back into the bag, leaving it at its larger size, and began to gather up all his notes. Maybe it was time to leave his office for lunch and go visit Harry.
Draco ignored the stares he received as he made his way through M.L.E headquarters. The Witch at the front desk seemed curious as to why he was looking for Auror Potter. He had told her it was in relation to a case he was working on, which wasn't entirely untrue.
At least it was late with fewer Aurors about. An Auror's life seemed similar to that of a Healer's. They were needed and expected to work strange hours and to be readily available at a short notice.
Turning down another hallway, Draco came across Harry's door. He hesitated and wondered if he should knock or just walk in? He decided on the latter and quietly opened the door and stepped in. Harry was bent over his desk, one hand rubbing at his head as the other was writing on parchment.
"Are you headaches still bothering you?" Draco asked.
Harry started as his eyes flew to Draco. Then a grin spread across his face and he stood and walked toward him. The door hadn't even closed all the way when Harry's mouth covered his and strong arms pulled him close.
"It's not so bad now," Harry said his voice lower than normal which sent shivers through Draco and made his cock twitch in response.
Draco snorted even though his lips twitched with the enthusiastic greeting. "I'm afraid this isn't entirely a personal visit."
"Well then Healer Malfoy, please come in and have a seat." Harry said his grin infectious.
Draco went and sat down across from where Harry had been sitting and pulled out the files from within his robes, resizing them to their original form.
"Did you ever find out any more information regarding that John Doe you brought in before Christmas?" Draco asked.
"No, unfortunately," Harry sighed. "I checked the surrounding hospitals. None of them had any patients missing, and I still haven't been able to locate a missing person case. I just can't imagine what that family is going through."
"Yes, indeed. But I have also come across some other disturbing evidence." Draco opened the folder on the desk before them. "Here is the final report I completed."
Harry took the parchment, his eyebrows furrowing as he read through it.
"Are you sure about this?"
"Very. Not only that case, but I researched some of the more mysterious ones as well. That's why I asked for some of those Auror reports. I needed to be absolutely positive in my findings."
Harry glanced down at the other reports. His smile had long since faded, and his eyes met Draco’s.
"You know what they might accuse you of," he whispered.
Draco pursed his lips and nodded. "This is not why I am telling you this. I don't hold the beliefs like that mad man did."
"I know. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of what some people will say."
"Yes, I am aware. I just can't ignore the evidence, though." Draco reached for the metal piece he had placed in a pocket. "I found this embedded at the base of that young man's skull. I did some research and I believe they call it a microchip?"
Harry took it and glanced at it, his eyes wide.
"I enlarged it of course so I could get a better look at it."
"For the record, I don't know who is doing this. They could be Muggle or Wizard. But whoever it is, they are experimenting and cutting up Wizards on purpose. By that little piece of metal I would guess Muggle."
He was cold, and everything looked blurry. A loud beeping noise sounded above him. He could hear voices fading in and out around him.
"...sure you...outs pronto."
"....pressure is rising."
"Get two more...blood..."
He tried moving his arm. It rose slightly before falling back down. His eyes were beginning to focus, to a white room, beeping machines all around. At least five fuzzy figures stood around him. There was a quick sharp pain in his arm.The beeping sound intensified.
"Shit! Up the drip to 20."
"These levels are amazing."
Panic filled him, he had to get out of there. His consciousness felt like it was swimming against a current as everything started going black. That voice sounded so familiar, if only he could call out for help.
"Not much time...need another subject..."
Harry bolted up in bed, sweaty, heart pounding, breathing ragged and his head was killing him. Looking around he discovered he was in his bed. He flopped back and ran a hand over his face. What a bizarre dream. He wondered if it had anything to do with those disturbing reports that he read of Draco's. That someone was actually cutting up Wizards for some obscure reason was more than a little frightening.
He tried casting a tempus charm. Nothing happened. Harry let out a sigh of frustration. It was getting more difficult to cast even the simplest things. Sitting up he looked down at his hand and found blood there. Fuck, his nose was bleeding again.
The water was refreshingly cool as he washed his face off. He gazed at his face, which looked extremely pale, even to him. Someone knocking at his door drew his attention. He threw on a t-shirt and went to the door.
"Draco?" Harry said, a little surprised to see him there.
"Where were you last night?" Draco said as he stormed past him into the room.
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Last night, we had dinner reservations at La Caille. You weren't here, you weren't at work. Where were you?" Angry grey eyes turned on him.
"Last night? But, isn't that tonight?"
"Today is Saturday Potter, our reservations were for Friday."
"Yes, Friday. Today is Friday."
Draco frowned as his eyes raked over him.
"Did you have another nose bleed?"
Harry lifted his hand back to his nose, but he couldn't see anything on his hand. Draco stepped closer to him and placed a hand to his forehead.
"You have a slight fever. Have your headaches been getting better at all?"
Harry bit his lip and slowly shook his head. Draco's wand flashed over him as vitals and things that made no sense to Harry appeared.
"What was the last thing you remember?"
"Heading into work last night."
"What day was that?"
"Thursday," Harry told him, feeling slightly confused.
"And what's today?"
"Friday. Draco what's with all the questions?"
Draco led him over to the couch and sat him down.
"Harry today is Saturday."
"What? No, that can't be right. I remember going to work on Thursday. I just got up, we have dinner plans..." A sharp pain laced through his head and he suddenly felt nauseas. He leaned forward and clutched at his head, a soft moan escaped him.
Cool hands brushed against his head, and he felt the familiar tingle of Draco's magic flare against him. It felt cool and soothing and then an electrifying jolt had Draco crying out and pulling back. It was enough to make Harry sick all over the floor. There wasn't much there and his body was shaking with the after-effects. He leaned back against the couch, feeling more exhausted than he should, eyes closed.
He was vaguely aware, once again, of Draco cleaning up after him, and then felt a wet, coolness against his forehead. He took a deep, shaky breath and opened his eyes. Draco gazed down at him, the worry evident in his eyes. Harry gave him a small reassuring smile.
"This is getting serious Harry. I want to take you to St. Mungo's."
Harry groaned. "I'm fine, Draco, really."
"No, you're not. Harry, this is not normal. I want to run some tests on you."
Harry was about to protest, when Draco's next words stopped him.
"Please. I'm worried about you."
"Can we wait a few days? See how it goes? I swear if it doesn't get any better I will let you run whatever test you want to. Just give me a few more days, yeah?" Draco pursed his lips, his worried eyes searching his. "You can even stay with me the whole time if that makes you feel better."
The corners of his mouth twitched. "I've seen the state of your flat Potter. If anything you will be staying with me."
"Alright," Harry said with a smile.
Sighing, Draco shook his head. "I still don't like this one bit. Somehow you've lost your memory of over a day. And your magic core...Harry, I couldn't even feel it. All I felt was some sort of shock that practically kicked me out."
Reaching over Harry entwined his hand with Draco's. "I'll do whatever you want me to, just give me a few days." He pulled Draco's hand towards him and kissed the back of it.
"Fine, don't make me regret this Harry. Do you remember meeting your cousin for lunch?"
"Dudley?" Harry frowned as he inwardly searched his mind. He could absolutely recall nothing. He shook his head. "I was going to meet Dudley for lunch?"
"Never mind, Let me take you home."
For some reason those words filled Harry with unexpected joy, and he couldn't constrain his grin.
Vital signs were evening out and the boy's breathing stabilized as Draco sealed the incision. It had taken over five hours, and it was touch and go, but it looked like he would pull through. It was a horrible magical accident that had caused the boy's insides to get switched around. It was a difficult process to get everything back into the correct spot.
"Keep him on a light dose of dreamless sleep, and keep me informed if he shows any signs of rejection."
"Yes, Healer Malfoy," the Mediwitch replied.
Draco cast a quick cleaning charm over himself, the exhaustion starting to filter in. He went out to the waiting room to inform the parents that their son had pulled through and they would be able to see him as soon as they moved him to the recovering room. The mother cried and embraced him in a fierce hug, her husband clapping him on the back.
Straightening his lime green robes, he made his way back to his office; his mind drifting to Harry. That man was infuriatingly stubborn. His condition hadn't seemed to improve one bit over the weekend. Nothing seemed to touch his headaches, and his nose bleeds had increased. Harry could hardly keep anything down. Draco had allowed him to go into work today, but only to give notice for a leave of absence and gather up a few things.
Draco was checking him into the hospital as soon as possible. He needed blood samples, and more complicated scans than he could do at home. Everything seemed to be normal, except for his Magical signature and core. He had tried again to search Harry's core and was again jolted out by an electric shock. It made no sense.
A silvery cockatoo few in, Claries Patronus.
"Healer Malfoy, incoming Auror casualty in the A&E, you've been requested." The bird dissipated after delivering its message.
Draco almost groaned, as he turned around and headed toward the entrance. He hadn't even made it to his office. Night's like this weren't all unusual. Staff was shorter in the later hours, so often times he was left running from one emergency to another. He frowned at that thought and cast a quick tempus charm. Where was Harry? He should have been here hours ago.
He rushed into the A&E just as the Aurors arrived, a tall ginger and a shorter brown haired man. Draco hadn't meet the shorter Auror and he recognized Weasley but his eyes were immediately drawn to the still form of Harry lying on the cot. He ran the rest of the way. Draco's wand was immediately in his hand, his exhaustion forgotten as he began to run diagnostic spells.
There were long thin burn marks across most of his skin. He was so pale his eyelashes stood out in stark contrast.
"What happened?" he snapped as he continued his triage. "His blood pressure is dropping and he's dehydrated."
Claire quickly grabbed what was needed, infusing Harry's body with the needed fluids as they moved to a room and could work on him properly. Draco recognized the type of robe burns on him. At least there were no open, bleeding wounds, but that didn't mean his insides weren't a mess.
Weasley, his face pale, told him what he knew was used on Harry as the rushed him into a more private room. Draco stayed calm and let his Healer instincts take over. He could not afford to think of the personal implications.
Whoever had done this had used Cruciatus on his Harry, along with Ignivinculum, he had recognized the type of burns immediately. His Mediwitch worked non-plused by his side. They had worked together for so long that Claire was like an extra pair of hands, handing him what he needed with nothing being said.
As Harry condition stabilized, Draco reached over and attempted to find Harry's magic core. He was prepared for the shock he usually received, but nothing happened. He frowned as he tried again, letting his magic flow against where Harry's should be.
There was nothing, just a darkness that held not even a single seed of magic.
"No." He whispered as he pulled back. His eyes searched Harry's face, disbelief filling him. How could something like this happen? It was as if Harry had never had any magical abilities.
"What is it?" Weasley asked. "Is Harry going to be alight?"
Draco glanced over at Weasley. He had forgotten he was there.
"His magic is gone," he whispered.
Hours later, Draco sat next to Harry. He was exhausted, but knew he wouldn't be able to sleep. Too many questions were running through his mind. After a shouting match with Weasley, Draco had him removed from the room until he could control himself. He had found out that Harry had been asked to go on a simple assignment, one where they hadn't expected any trouble, just an investigation. Only it hadn't turned out so simple. The supposedly abandoned building was an active illegal potion shop and there had been a small skirmish. Harry hadn't stood a chance with his magic gone. Draco didn't want to contemplate the worse alternatives.
As it was, Harry's body was struggling to recover from the Cruciatus and other hexes thrown at him. Without his magic to help buffer and replenish his recovery time, his body was taking longer to heal.
"Why did I listen to you, you stubborn fool," Draco whispered.
"He's good at that," came an unexpected response.
Draco glanced up to see Weasley standing at the door way.
"Can I come in?"
Draco nodded and Weasley came in and slumped down in the chair next to him. There was a peaceful silence between them.
"I can't figure it out. I had no idea it had gotten so bad." Draco rubbed a hand over his eyes. "Why didn't he tell me?"
"He probably thought it wasn't important."
He huffed and knew Weasley was probably right. To even think they were sitting next to each other and having conversation, proved just how tired Draco was.
"Will he get it back?"
"I'm not sure. I've never come across someone just losing their magic like this. A curse, yes. Dark Arts, definitely. But to just have it disappear one day with seemingly no cause?" Draco shook his head. "I don't know."
"You said you didn't know it had gotten so bad. Was he showing signs before this?"
"He was having headaches, nose bleeds and some nausea. His magic was starting to fail..."
Draco sat up straighter his mind whirling along with possibilities.
"What? What is it Malfoy?"
"His headaches started around Christmas, but his magical core was strong then." Draco almost shivered with just remembering the feel of it. He reached over and took Harry's still hand in his and let his magic travel along his prone form. It was a strange feeling, having nothing for his magic to attach itself too. Draco felt like he was walking inside a dark cave, not knowing which direction to move. He pushed it along lightly, trying to skim, searching for anything that might give him a clue as to what had happened.
He almost missed it. It was the slightest jolt of, well, something. Draco paused and returned slowly to the anomaly, centering all his magic around it. When he opened his eyes and could see where his magic was pooled. He shouldn't have been surprised to find it located in Harry's head. Draco pulled out his wand and cast a diagnostic spell, one that pulled up a mirror image of the inside of Harry's head.
Most of his vitals seemed normal, a few areas were low, and some completely gone based on his magic levels. He noticed the small dark spot, and enhanced the area. His breathing caught as it came into focus. Was it a tumor they had missed? No, it was too uniform. Draco enlarged the image as much as he could staring at the square, black intrusion. There were four letters that caught his attention.
"What the fuck is that?" Weasley asked.
Draco dropped the image and pushed back Harry's hair, where a small thin scar remained. It was right where that thing was located. He wracked his brain, remembering when Harry said he had fallen over at his cousins and they had placed those barbaric stitches there.
"His cousin, Doodly?"
"Yes, I need you to get me his address."
"I need to track every possibility as to why there is a microchip inside Harry's head. This is important Weasley, can you do this?"
"Bloody hell," Ron muttered and he pulled out some parchment out of his pocket. "Do you have a quill? I know the address already."
As soon as he had the address of Harry's cousin, Draco Disapparated.
The sun shone brightly for the early afternoon, even though Draco's breath still puffed out with each breath. The neat row of houses spread out in front of him, with their uniformed yards. None of it impressed Draco in the least as he strode to Number 4.
He knocked on the door. He had at least transformed his robes into a suitable Muggle coat, his hand in the pocket clutched at his wand. Impatient, Draco pounded on the door again. He was about to use his wand when the door opened.
A large, muscular blond man nearly filled the doorway.
"Are you Dudley Dursley?" Draco asked, not finding a shred of similarity between him and Harry.
"Ya, what do you want?"
"I've come to talk to you about Harry Potter."
The large man blinked, then his watery blue eyes narrowed and quickly looked both ways up and down the street. A large meaty fist took hold of his coat and yanked him inside. Draco had his wand out in a flash and pointed at him.
"So, you are one of them?"
"I'm a friend of Harry's. I'm his Healer."
"Like a Muggle Doctor."
"Can I get you some tea?" the oaf asked and then turned towards the kitchen without even waiting for Draco to reply.
"Look, wait a minute. I need to know if anything unusual happened to Harry when he was here before Christmas."
Dudley was putting water on the stove as Draco followed him into the kitchen.
"Why are you here? Where's Harry?" Dudley turned around and leaned back against the counter, his arms crossed in front of him.
"Harry is in the hospital unconscious with something inside his head that is hurting him."
"Is, is he going to be alright?" There was a slight note of unease in his voice.
"I don't know." Draco confessed. "I'm trying to figure out what happened to him." Dudley seemed to look to the side a moment. "He said he fell and cut his head and a Doctor stitched him up. Do you know how I can contact him; see if he can shed some light on the situation?"
The kettle started to whistle and Dudley turned to take it off the stove. Draco closed his eyes a moment, steeling himself for his next words.
"Please. I need your help. Harry needs your help."
Dudley spun and took a hold of his arm and turned him towards the kitchen door.
"You need to leave," he said voice gruff.
"Listen, it's important -"
"Hello Dudley." A woman's voice came from behind making them stop and turn around. Draco felt Dudley go still.
"Ah, and who is this?"
"This is, ah... a friend of Harry's."
The woman's dark brown eyes seemed to lighten up at that.
"Doctor Adrienne Crowley," she said as she put her hand out.
"Healer Draco Malfoy." If the Muggle woman wanted to throw around titles, he could do the same.
"Oh, a fellow doctor, of sorts."
Draco just raised an eyebrow at that.
"Of course you specialize in one group of people and I in another. So, you are a friend of Harry's then? Is he well?"
Something in the mocking tone of her voice made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. She smiled, like she already knew the answer to that question.
"No, he is not. But you already know that don't you?"
"Yes, pity that. He was such a fine specimen." She tipped her head to the side as her eyes raked over him, making him feel like he was on the auction block. "You are a Wizard, aren't you?"
Draco sniffed and gripped his wand tightly, which was back in his pocket. His heart was pounding as he sensed something not right was going on.
"I'm sorry, but I really must go." He turned around to head to the front door, but was blocked by two large men. One of them had a Muggle weapon pointed in his face. "What is the meaning of this?" he asked.
"I really must insist you come with me Healer Malfoy."
"I don't think so," he told her with a smirk of his own. Gripping his wand he Apparated. At least he tried to apparate. Nothing happened. His smirk slowly faded. And the women gave him a wide smile. Draco pulled his wand out and pointed it at her and she only raised an eyebrow. "Incarcerous." He cried out, and still nothing happened. "Stupify." Still nothing. It was as if something was blocking his magic.
"Are you finished?" she asked. She then nodded to one of the men behind him. "George."
The man reached over and gripping Draco's wrist in his hand and forced his wand away. He handed it to the Muggle doctor who looked at it curiously and slipped it into her own pocket. When she pulled her hand back out it contained another weapon. She turned towards Dudley.
"Mr. Potter has become a liability and he is no longer any use to us. Kill him and you will receive your reward Dudley." She placed the metal thing in his meaty hand. "You do know how to use this, don't you?"
Dudley nodded. "Yes," he said quietly.
"What have you done to Harry?" Draco asked, anger mixing with his fear of the situation. Fear of what they wanted to do to Harry, and fear for what they wanted to do to him.
"I think you would be more concerned of what's going to happen to you." Her laugh was light and airy.
Draco turned back towards Dudley. "Don't do this. He trusted you, how could you do this to him?"
The doctor just laughed again. "You obviously don't know the whole history behind this family. Your pleading isn't going to do any good."
Draco looked at his exits but they were both blocked. He had to at least try, but one of her henchmen grabbed him from behind as the doctor pulled out a syringe. He struggled, but the other man was too large and strong for him. Images of disfigured Wizards flashed through his head.
"Don't do this. Don't do this to him."
Draco's eyes bore into Dudley's. He felt the slight prick of a needle and then everything went black.
Harry was aware of the stiffness, and soreness in his arms and legs. For once he woke without a headache. He shifted slightly, causing him to groan softly.
The voice sounded familiar and it was a struggle for Harry to open his eyes. The room was blurry and then someone placed his glasses onto his face. He blinked as everything came into focus.
"Ron?" he croaked out.
"Merlin, Harry, I was worried about you. You've been out for days."
"Where am I? What happened?" Harry tried to sit up. He grimaced slightly, but Ron reached over and helped him.
"St. Mungo's, do you remember what happened?"
Harry thought back and frowned. "I was going to inspect an abandoned, illegal potion lab, that turned out not to be so abandoned. Fuck, Harry remembered all that quite clearly. The surprised looks on everyone faces, including Harry's. And then his magic was gone, and he was screaming as pain laced through him. It had felt like it would never end, and he was going to die there.
Then there had been the sounds of Apparition and the pain had stopped. His fellow Aurors had arrived, and that had been the last thing he could remember.
"Why didn't you say something?"
"What do you mean?" Harry replied.
"About your magic. Merlin, Harry, this is serious, you should have said something."
"I didn't think it was important. You're starting to sounding like Draco."
"And what's with Malfoy? I know we haven't talked much, but I show up here and it's like you and Malfoy are best mates or something."
Harry felt his checks flush slightly and he looked away. "He's more than my friend, Ron. We've sorta been seeing each other."
Ron's face took on a confused look. "Is he your Healer? That would explain why he's been so worried about you."
He looked at Ron. "No, Ron, he isn't my Healer. He's my boyfriend."
Harry almost laughed at the shocked look on Ron's face. He really didn't care what Ron thought. Things had been estranged between them for so long that he no longer sought the approval of his friends.
"Where is he?"
"Oh, um, well...let me go get someone." Ron's face had flushed and he quickly went to the door.
Harry slowly flexed his arms and his legs getting the kinks out of them. He noticed the faint scars the criss-crossed his skin; nasty hex that had been.
When Ron came back into the room Harry noticed he wouldn't quite look at him. He sighed and waited for Draco.
"Mr. Potter, I'm glad to see you are awake. How are you feeling?" the Healer asked as he began to cast diagnostic spells. "Are you feeling any pain?"
"No, where is Draco?"
"What about that thing in his head?" Ron asked.
"What thing?" Harry asked, wide eyed at Ron.
"There's something in your head, Malfoy discovered it."
"Oh yes, Healer Malfoy. I'm afraid he didn't leave anything sort of notations behind on that matter. Only what you have tried to tell us Auror Weasley."
"Where is he?" Harry asked again. "Where is Draco?"
"Please calm down Mr. Potter. You suffered under the Cruciatus, and your nerves still need more time to heal." He held a potion vial in his hand. "Just take this dose, sleep some more and you should be back to feeling normal."
Harry grabbed the vial and threw it across the room, where it made a very dissatisfying thud and fell to the floor. Fucking unbreakable charms! He swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. Harry swayed slightly but caught himself on the edge of the bed.
"Harry!" Ron cried out.
"Mr. Potter I insist you return to bed."
"Not until I have talked to Draco."
The Healer huffed. "Healer Malfoy has not been heard from for the last two days. No one has been able to contact him."
"Since when?" Ron asked his brow furrowing.
"Not since Tuesday morning," the Healer told him.
"I think I might know where he went," Ron said his gaze finally meeting Harry's. "He asked for your cousin's address."
"Dudley? Why would he want to go there?"
"He thinks it has to do with whatever is in your head."
Harry reached back and let his fingers find the scar hidden beneath his hair.
"I've got to go there. I need to see if Dudley has seen him." Harry found his clothes and struggled to put them on.
"You are in no condition to go anywhere Mr. Potter. Your magic core is gone, you can't perform even the most basic spells."
"I don't care. I can still walk, or I'll take a cab if I have to. Now get out of my way."
"Mr. Potter - "
"Have you forgotten that I am an Auror? That's Auror Potter to you, and you will move out of my way if you don't want the Ministry coming down on you." Harry was bluffing, but the man didn't know that. Harry would never use his name to pulling strings, but if this Healer kept him from finding Draco, he wasn't sure what he would do.
The Healers face paled slightly, but stepped out of the way. Harry was a little unsteady on his feet, but he pushed on.
"Harry, wait!" Ron called after him. Harry paused and looked at him. "Let me help you."
"Are you sure?"
"Of course, you're still my mate, aren't you?"
Harry smiled and nodded. He let Ron take a hold of him and when they were able to they Apparated out of St. Mungo's.
They appeared on the front lawn of Number 4.
"Ron, go around back and see if you can find anything unusual. There is a door in the back. I'll meet up with you inside, yeah?"
Ron nodded and headed around. Harry went to the door and putting his hand to it, slowly opened it. The house seemed quiet. No sound of the telly blaring, no game being played on the computer.
"Dudley?" Harry called out. There was a hunched over figure on the couch, his head in his hands. "Dudley," Harry said again.
"I was hoping you wouldn't come." Dudley said as he looked up. His eyes looked blood shot, and his clothes looked rumpled as if he had slept in them.
"Did Draco come by?"
"He's a friend of yours."
It wasn't a question, but Harry answered it, "Yes, very much so."
"You deserved to have some friends." Dudley looked down at the couch beside him and picked something up in his hands. "I'm sorry Harry."
He stood and faced Harry, in his hand was a gun, pointed right at him. Harry took a step back.
"What are you doing?"
"I have to, I'm...I'm sorry."
The gun shook slightly in Dudley's hand.
"You don't have to do this." Harry said. "Whoever is making you do this, I can help you." Harry was trying to think fast.
Dudley shook his head. "You don't know who they are. You don't know the, the things I have seen them do." Dudley's voice shook slightly. "They scare me more than you do."
"Are you still scared of me? I really enjoyed spending time with you Dudley. We can stop them. I know some powerful people."
"I...I did Harry. But you don't understand. I'm sorry."
"Expelliarmus!" Ron's voice cried out.
The gun flew from Dudley's hand, and his cousin turned to stare with wide eyes at Ron.
"Bloody hell, what the fuck is going on?"
"I don't know." Harry turned his angry glare on Dudley. "But Dudley's going to tell us, even if we have to give him Veritaserum."
It really didn't take much to get Dudley talking. He seemed more than willing once Ron started to threaten him. Some kind of organization that was using Genetisys Innovative Medical as a cover front, doing experiments on Wizards. Harry was still reeling from what Dudley had told them.
"And they used you to get to me." Harry said flatly.
Dudley at least had the decency to look ashamed, his eyes not meeting Harry's.
"I...I was so excited to be part of something so big. They listened to me, and made me feel important. But when I started finding out the things they did...I just couldn't do it anymore. But Harry, you don't know what they're like. Once you're in, there is no way out. I knew someone briefly who wanted out. He was killed the next day in a car accident." Dudley looked back at Harry. "I know for a fact that wasn't what killed him. They murdered him." Dudley licked his lips and looked around. "They might even know you're here right now. They leave nothing to chance."
"What was it they put in me?" Harry asked his jaw tightened.
"They said it was just a recording device. They needed to gather more data or something on a living specimen, doing normal things you people do."
Ron snorted, outrage in his eyes as he kept his wand steady on Dudley.
"They told me it wouldn't hurt you."
Harry laughed bitterly and ran a hand through his hair. It definitely explained a lot.
"What is spell?" Ron asked.
Dudley seemed to pale even further. "How do you know that?"
"When Malfoy was looking at the image of that thing in Harry's head, it had the word spell on it. But it was spelled wrong. S-P-E-L."
"That's the name of their organization. I only came across it by accident. I'm sure they would get rid of me if I knew. " Dudley sighed and closed his eyes briefly before turning back to Harry. "I guess it doesn't matter now if I tell you. I'm a dead man, either way. S.P.E.L. It stands for Supernatural Paranormal Experimentation League. All I know is that they have been conducting tests and experiments over the last few years on Wizards, trying to discover how magic works."
Harry closed his eyes, a trembling beginning inside him. Taking a few steadying breaths, Harry looked back to Dudley.
"And where is Draco."
"Dr. Crowley came and they...they took him."
"No." Harry shook his head. This wasn't happening. "Oh god, no." He stood and paced. "I have to go get him."
Ron clasped him on his shoulder. "Mate, we'll get him out. I swear it."
Harry nodded feeling just slightly better, but fear and panic was coursing through him. His magic was gone, how was he going to be any help?
"How are we going to get in? I don't even know where to go."
Ron pointed his wand at Dudley. "Dudley will show us, won't you?"
Dudley looked between them and nodded slightly.
Draco's body convulsed with aftershocks as his magic settled down. He gasped for breath, sweat covering his body. He was strapped down to a table, various wires and cables attached to him. The only thing he was wearing was a pair of scrub bottoms.
"See, that wasn't so bad." That voice was really starting to grate on his nerves. Draco would love to reverse their situation and forcefully cause her magic to work and see how she liked it. That could never happen since she was a Muggle. "Very interesting; your levels are just astounding. Wish I had gotten a hold of you sooner."
He closed his eyes and refused to respond. Draco had had so many types of 'tests' done to him, he had lost count. There had been a few times when he wondered what was worse? Voldemort living in his home living in a constant state of fear, or this woman and never knowing what to expect; both were terrifying in their own way, and both caused extreme pain. At least with the Dark Lord he knew what to expect. With Doctor Adrienne Crowley, it was always something new.
"Harry wasn't enough for you?" he panted out. "Or all those others you killed?"
Crowley tsked as she walked towards him. "Still going on about him?" She slowly began to take the leads off of him. "And the others were necessary. I'm surprised you even knew about them. How is that by the way?"
Draco just glared at her as she continued to move around him. "A young man was discovered about a month ago, disfigured. I found one of your chips in him."
She paused, her lips pressing tightly together for a moment before she shrugged and continued.
"That would have been Duncan. He was the only one that had managed to escape. Somehow he was able to bypass the damper field and Apparated out."
"We aren't animals. We are humans, just like you are."
Crowley only chuckled and ran a finger along the dark mark on his forearm. "Hmmmm, I know that some of you believe differently. That you think you are better than us...Muggles." She smiled knowing at him.
If Draco could he would have snatched his arm away from her.
"You see, I plan to make this magic of yours available to everyone. Not just a specific group of people." She undid his bindings and Draco slowly sat up rubbing at his wrists. There wasn't much he could do. They had some sort of dampening field running when he was conscious and wasn't able to perform even wandless magic. Besides, all these doors required some sort of card access, which Draco was still unsure of how they worked.
"As for Harry Potter, he was a convenient test subject. Practically fell right into our lap; got such excellent readings and information from him and all without his knowledge."
"You've totally drained his magical core I have no idea of the consequences of that!" Draco replied angrily.
"Pity, but it's all in the name of science and progress. The public never really understood the sacrifices that were made behind medicine. Did you know that at one time, scientists and doctors had to dig up cadavers so they could study the human body? At the time, it probably seemed barbaric and inhumane. But now they are grateful for the breakthroughs from the results of those... practices. Mr. Potter is just another step into a new future, as you will be Mr. Malfoy."
She moved to the door and flashed the card at the side of the door, it swung open silently and she gestured for him to walk out. He waited for her to exist, never missing their assigned guard following them.
"I want to show you something. Perhaps it will make you a little more appreciative of our work here."
Draco followed closely behind, acutely aware of his state of undress, and really wishing he had at least a shirt on, the floor felt cool against his bare feet. But here he was treated like little more than a prisoner, or a caged animal. Crowley opened a door to another smaller room, that looked like another testing room. Computers and machines lined the walls and a smaller stage area towards the back. There were tables full of tools and piles of paper.
"Please have a seat over there." Crowley gestured towards a chair that was within the staged area.
Draco did as instructed, feeling a slight curiosity and apprehension flow through him. Crowley walked over towards a locked cabinet. There was a keypad on the front and she entered a code. Reaching inside she withdrew a case that looked to be about the length of his forearm, and a hand-width high. She cradled it gently in her hands and placed in on the table. Crowley gently took the lid off and set it down and reached into the box's depth.
"This is what we have been working on. All these years and we finally have a working prototype."
Draco frowned as he stared at the object in her hands. It was a sleek and shiny metal and had rivulets of black obsidian along its length. The thicker end was encased in a black grip. He gasped when he realized what it was.
"Beautiful isn't it?" Crowley practically purred as she gripped the end and swished it a few times. On her third flick red sparks flew out in a graceful arch. Crowley laughed delightedly.
Draco felt his mouth go dry.
"How is that possible? You're a Muggle, you have no magic."
"That is where you are wrong Mr. Malfoy. I have been studying the theory of magic ever since I found out about it. Why were some born with this ability and others not? Was it an inherited ability and only accessed by those lucky enough to be born with it? Or was it something that inhibits all life forms and those able to do magic just have the ability to sense it and control it. But then you have dragons and unicorns and all manner of magical creatures that seem able to access this magic as well; so many questions and so few answers." She walked back and forth in front of him as he eyed her wand.
"It was with small break-throughs and very slow progress that I was able to gather such data. Do you want to know what I have discovered?" She stopped in front of him, still too far away for Draco to reach her.
Draco licked his lips, not knowing if he wanted to know. She only smiled back at him, triumph in her eyes.
"Magic is in all of us. There is a gene within your DNA that allows you to feel and access this power. All I had to do was figure out how to activate this dormant gene in the rest of us. Simply explained, but that is the basics of my findings. It is why you get your so-called Muggle-borns. Their gene is somehow activated." Her fingers trailed over her metal wand. "With the help of these metal wands, and computer programs, we are able to access the magic through the wielder; sort of like a surrogate for the dormant magic gene, allowing the magic to work. Soon we will have these mass produced and available to anyone able to pay. Magic will belong to everyone."
"That's, that's insane." Draco's mind was reeling. He could already picture the panic in the Wizarding world if Muggles suddenly had magical abilities. None of it would bode well.
"It's called progress. People called great inventors and geniuses insane at the time, and now they are respected for their work. There is, however, one more aspect I would like to test out. You see I have tested a verity of spells already, but there is a matter of these Unforgivables I have yet to try."
Draco's felt his heart begin to beat faster as she leveled her wand at him.
"Of course, you may not survive this, which I am sorry for. You have given me so much valuable information."
Draco stood and wanted to run, but he knew there was no where he could go, he backed up a step.
"Wait..." But his words where cut off as she shouted.
It felt like it always had before. Unimaginable pain flared through him, he screamed but even that felt torturous. Each of his nerve endings felt like they were on fire and his body jerked finding no relief.
When it ended, Draco was on his back, breathing ragged as the pain slowly subsided, but not completely.
"That is a very interesting spell. I've heard that it can cause Wizards to lose their mind if left long enough under it."
Draco took a few deep breaths and tried to sit up.
He heard the words and could do nothing as the relaxing feeling spread through him. Like all his troubles were gone if he just listened to that voice. It was a much better feeling than what he previously had experienced.
When Draco was released he blinked and released that he was once again sitting in the chair. It was a very disorienting feeling.
"Yes, I can see such possibilities. You have no idea how satisfying it is to have years and years of work finally pay off."
Draco swayed slightly on the chair.
Crowley sighed as she pointed her wand back at him. "I really would have liked to study you some more."
Draco closed his eyes, knowing what was going to come next. He felt the slight stinging sensation behind his eyelids as he thought of Harry.
The lights flicked off and the emergency lights flicked on, casting the room in red and white light. A loud obnoxious noise hurting his ears. Dr. Crowley pulled out her phone from the pocket of her lab coat.
"Nathan, what the fuck is going on!?" she shouted.
"There looks like a security breach on the south side." A disembodied voiced said. "I've sent Emery to check it out, it's probably just a bit of problem with the system."
"Oh for the love of...Tell Emery I will be right down." She slid her phone back into her pocket and went to the door. "Jessica, please escort Mr. Malfoy back to his room."
A young woman, Draco had seen a few times appeared at the door. Her straight black hair was in an intricate fishtail braid, a dark blue cap sat on her head which boar the S.P.E.L insignia. She wore the uniform like all the other guards in this prison.
"Yes ma'am," she replied and walked over towards Draco, the still flashing red and white lights disorienting.
Dr. Crowley left the room and at least the ear splitting sound stop. The lights were still out, except for the emergency ones.
Jessica went to him and slipped and arm under him, helping him stand.
"Are you okay?" she asked him.
What was he supposed to say to that? He was a word away from being murdered, let alone just tortured.
"Just fine," he said sarcastically.
He almost missed her smile.
"Good because we need to hurry if we are going to get you out of here."
He looked at her sharply but she had paused at the door and peered up and down the hallway.
"Let's go." And she began to propelling him down the hallway. They turned down to a place Draco had never been before and into another room. She pulled out a gym bag from behind a desk and pulled out a shirt, pants and handed them to Draco. "Quick, put these on."
Draco eyed them, but quickly put them on. Even in the near darkness he could tell they were part of the guards uniform. Jessica put a cap on his head and tossed some shoes to him. As he finished and straightened up she took his hand and placed something into. He knew the feel of it immediately, and a shiver went through him. It was his wand.
"Why? Who are you?"
"We need to get to the others I'll explain on the way." He followed behind her. It was easier to blend in now that he looked like one of them. "I'm with the MI9, British Intelligence. We're a new division designed to work with the Wizarding world and Muggle affairs. It's taken us years to infiltrate this organization."
Jessica slowed down as they came to another junction and checked the way as they neared the end.
"I'm just sorry we weren't able to stop all this before, but they are very powerful, and have a substantial financial backing. We just couldn't let them keep experimenting on you. An opportune window opened up tonight so we're taking the chance."
They entered another room where there at least a half dozen more people. Among them was a young pregnant woman, a little girl who looked to be about five and an old man.
"As to why I am doing this? I have brother who is a Wizard, and I can't imagine him being put through this, ever." Jessica went quickly over to her companion and he nodded at her.
"Alright," he said. "We have less than ten minutes to reach our exit before the lights come back on and the security systems is up and running. Stay close to each other as you follow me out. Jessica will follow behind. Let's move."
Harry and Ron followed closely behind Dudley as he led them through Genetisys Innovative Medical. Dudley never slowed down as they entered the back offices and still continued until they came across a lift. It was a good thing it was after hours and the place practically empty.
As they entered, Dudley flashed his badge at the side panel and punched in a code with the buttons. The lift began to go down, into levels that weren't supposed to be there. Harry leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes and trying to even out his breathing. There was a slight trembling in his hands. It was exhaustion, and trying to push his body to far, too fast.
When the lift stoped they step out. Ron was slightly ahead with his wand out, scanning the way ahead. Dudley went next, followed by Harry. He took a few steps and then stumbled slightly, catching himself on the nearby wall. Hands reached around his waist and pulled him upright.
"Come on," Dudley's voice said as he assisted Harry. "It's not too much further and you can rest."
The lights went out and an alarm sounded, red and white lights flashing.
"Bloody hell, what is that?" Ron hollered over the sound.
"Emergency; there's been an inside breach. We better hurry before someone comes along. This way." Dudley took the lead and quickly headed down another direction. It wasn't much later that the noise stopped.
"Dursley," a voice called out to them, making them pause. Dudley looked toward the other guard.
"Freeman," Dudley replied.
"What are you doing here? Who are they?" Freeman took a step closer to them and pulled out a small device. "I don't think they are authorized to be here. Tanner, I have a breach in sect..." Freeman wasn't able to finish what he was saying. Dudley and punched him hard in the face and the man had crumpled to the floor.
Harry and Ron just stared in disbelief. Dudley went back to Harry and helped him along.
"We don't have much time now," Dudley said as they turned another corner. "I have a good idea where they might be keeping him."
Shouting came from up ahead and Dudley altered their course slightly. More uniformed guards showed up and they were quickly backed up into a corner. There was one door at Harry's back which was locked and a dead end at the other side. Ron could easily open the door with his wand, but then they would be trapped.
Three armed men appeared before them, weapons trained on them.
"Don't move!" one of them said. The lights were still flashing and distorting the images. Ron aimed his wand.
"Careful Ron," Harry warned him.
"I'm not a greenback Harry." Ron huffed.
"Expelliarmus!" a woman's voice called out.
Ron's wand was torn from his hand to land at the feet Dr. Adrienne Crowley.
"Welcome Mr. Potter, I'm a little surprised to see you."
They reached the exit quickly the man had opened the door just as the lights came back on.
"Come on, let's move!" The man motioned them forward.
Jessica came up behind Draco as the others pushed ahead. Her radio crackled and a voice came over it.
"Breach secured. Apprehended are three suspects; Dudley Dursley, and two unknown suspects; request holding team to prepare observation rooms."
"Shit," Jessica said. "We were the ones that set that alarm off. Who else would try to breach this place?"
What would Dudley be doing trying to break into this place when he worked here? Draco had a strange feeling settle in his stomach. He tried to take a step forward, but just couldn’t do it. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath. He knew what he had to do. If they were wanting observation rooms, it could only mean the suspects were magical. Draco couldn’t let Crowley experiment on them.
“I have to go help them,” Draco whispered. He looked back up at her. “If they are Wizards, we can’t leave them here.”
“We don’t have time for this!” Jessica yelled.
“No, I can’t explain it, but I just can’t leave anyone else here. I'll do it alone if I have to.”
“You’d never make it out of here.”
Draco started to walk past her and she grabbed his arm.
“Hold on Malfoy," she told him.
"Jess, come on we have to go NOW!" the man shouted.
Jessica pressed her lips together and turned to her partner. "Get the others out, Hunter. I'm going to help Malfoy. If you don't hear from us in one hour..."
Hunter glared at her a moment and then nodded. "Be careful Jess." The man shut the door, the locking mechanism giving a small click.
"Come on," she said and they ran back the way they had just come. It didn't take them long to locate the other guards surrounding the suspects. No one glanced twice at them, since they were dressed exactly the same.
Draco gripped his wand in his hand, white hot anger surging through him. Harry! They had his Harry. He aimed a stunner at Crowley. She cried out in pain as her wand clattered to the ground. Everything seemed to burst into motion. Jessica shoved men aside and Draco stunned them left and right.
Another burst of light started to join his and he saw that Weasley had recovered his wand. Draco reached Harry and pulled him into a fierce hug.
"Harry! What are you doing here?"
"Draco?" Arms wrapped around him as he turned to the locked door and used his wand to open it. There was a shot fired and soon more followed, causing them to dash into the room and duck down.
"Weasley, call the Aurors here!" Draco yelled at him as he cast up a shield charm. He had to keep Harry safe.
Weasley sent off a patronus and it wasn't long before a dozen Aurors Apparated in. There was shouting and fumbling as the Aurors found themselves in a hostile situation, fighting against Muggle weapons. Harry leaned over and picked up something from the floor. He cried out, his body convulsed a moment, and then stilled.
"Harry?" Draco laid him down on his back and ran a quick diagnostic over him. "Enervate."
Harry jolted awake and blinked his eyes. He looked at his hand as he brought it towards his face. He was holding Dr. Crowley's metal wand.
"What is this?" Harry asked. "It's like I can feel it humming with magic."
"You can feel it?" Draco asked.
"Harry, look out," Dudley shouted just as he tried to shove both Draco and Harry to the side. A shot rang out and Dudley stilled.
"Dudley?" Harry asked. He reached over towards his cousin and turned him over. There was a red spot growing larger by the second. "Oh god, Dudley." Harry pressed his hand to the wound. "Draco can you help him?" Harry looked at him pleadingly.
Draco pursed his lips but he lifted his wand to assess the damage. It wasn't too bad, and Draco was able to heal the wound. He wouldn't be able to do anything about the blood loss, he would need some blood revitalizing potions. The door they had come through shut automatically. Draco spun towards it and tried to open it.
"Turn around, nice and slow, Mr. Malfoy. I wouldn't move a muscle if I were you Mr. Potter, if you don't want to see your friend's brains plastered all over the wall."
Draco slowly turned around to see Dr. Crowley pointing one of those Muggle guns at him. She glanced down at the still form of Dudley.
"The little traitor. No matter. I doubt he'll get out of here alive. Nice work on healing him. That reminds me I need to gather more data on the process of healing. Now I am glad I didn't kill you off Mr. Malfoy. I'm sure Mr. Potter here can be a good test subject for that."
Draco took a step towards her. "You fucking - "
"Uh-uh-uh, Mr. Malfoy," Crowley taunted as her gun lowered towards Harry. "We wouldn't want any accidents now would we? I don't think you could cast faster than I can pull this trigger. I want you to set your wand down nice and slowly and step away from it."
Draco's eyes flicked to Harry's who seemed to gesture slightly with his hand, the one with Dr. Crowley's wand. His eyes furrowed slightly. Was it worth the risk? Would that wand work for Harry? On the other hand, he couldn't let Crowley get her hands on Harry again. And she hadn't noticed that Harry had her wand. He nodded just a bit and went to lower his wand to the floor. Draco backed away and Crowley took a step towards it.
"I am pleased that you are being so sensible. Perhaps I shall guarantee you a prized spot within S.P.E.L."
"So I can be your prized pet to experiment on?" Draco asked. "I'm going to have to decline the offer."
"Expelliarmus!" Harry yelled and the weapon in her hand flew out. Draco used a wandless spell to Accio his wand back to his hand. He pointed it towards Dr. Crowley with a smirk on his face. Her eyes flew to Harry and the wand in his hand.
Harry rose to his feet and kept it pointed at her. Her dark brown eyes glittered with greed, longing and furious anger as her jaw tightened.
"It's over." Harry told her. "Your whole organization will be exposed, and all your experimentation will stop."
Crowley tipped her head to the side as she studied Harry. "I may have underestimated you Mr. Potter, and I am not the first, hmmm." She looked back at Draco. "And you have been most interesting Mr. Malfoy. I may have to relinquish you for now, but not for long."
She pulled out her cellular device and pressed a button on it. There was a huge explosion that sent them all tumbling to the floor, the furniture and other loose objects jumbled about. The door flew open and Ron was there.
"Harry! Malfoy; we need to get out of here." Black smoke began to billow into the room.
Draco looked towards where Crowley was but she was gone. Another, smaller explosion had
them moving a little faster. Draco took hold of Harry, while Ron grabbed Dudley and they Apparated out of S.P.E.L.
Harry smiled at Draco lying next to him in bed. He reached over and gently brushed the hair off his forehead. Draco stirred and his eyes opened. Those grey eyes locked onto his and brightened.
"Hey." Harry said.
"Hi,." Draco said with a smile. "How are you feeling?"
"Better." It was true. His color had returned and his headaches were practically nonexistent along with the nose bleeds. He still had the metal chip in his head, but Draco was a little worried removing it. Without Dr. Crowley's notes, he didn't want to risk the chance of causing more damage.
That was another mystery. They had received an owl from Ron earlier that morning, telling them they had searched the S.P.E.L. laboratory and Genetisys Innovative Medical and had found no trace of Dr. Crowley or her work. It was as if she had just disappeared.
Jessica and Hunter had been instrumental in helping get the abducted Witches and Wizards out. One of them had been the young girl that had gone missing just after Christmas. There were now talks concerning MI9. It was a newly formed division, a secret one; one that worked using Muggles and Wizards together.
Draco reached over and let his hand caress Harry's cheek. He closed his eyes and shuddered slightly.
"It was so strange to feel you without any magic in you. It's still different, but there."
"Do you think that will go away when you remove the chip?"
"I don't know." Draco admitted. "I think it has something to do with that new wand. It still seems to be working fine for you?"
Harry smiled and nodded, another new wand for now. The ministry wanted to get their hands on it, but Harry and Draco refused. It was the only thing allowing Harry access to magic at the moment. And until they reversed what was wrong, Harry was not going to give it up.
"Yes it is," Harry said as he leaned over and kissed Draco.
Draco's arms curled around him and pulled him closer, a sigh escaped him as their tongues met. They hadn't seemed able to stop touching after they left, afraid to let the other out of their sight. Harry had been put on an indefinite leave of absence, and Draco had asked for a long Holiday. There was an assigned Auror to watch over them twenty-four hours, until they could determine that Crowley wouldn't be coming after them. Her threat still lingered in the back of his mind, and he had new nightmares now to go along with the old ones. One's that involved Draco and a green flash.
They pulled back, panting slightly and Harry buried his face in the crook of Draco's neck, placing small licks and kisses there. Draco's hand wandered up to his hair and gently ran through the locks, and a leg slid in between his.
Dudley was recovering nicely, and Harry planned to talk to him soon. After he had let his anger cool a little more. Draco's hands started to pull on his shirt and lifted it over his head, those hands sliding back down over his chest, tweaking a nipple, his mouth back on his.
Once again there were too many people clamoring after him, and Draco as well. And he would have to speak with them soon, the Ministry, Dudley, Ron, the MI9, St. Mungo's.
But not now, Harry had all that he wanted to think about, or feel at the moment in his arms.