Chapter: 15 of 35 - Actions and Reactions
Pairings: Asher/Anita/Jean-Claude, Anita/Nathaniel, Harry/Nathaniel/Draco, Harry/Draco, Anita/Micah
Rating: R/15 or NC17/18
Summary: Harry Potter could find trouble in paradise and when Draco sends him to St Louis for a holiday it's not paradise and there's lots of trouble. With dark magic, vampires, lycanthropes and more, who else could sort it out but Anita Blake?
Chapter listing: click here for other parts, publishing schedule and A/N
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and Laurell K. Hamilton, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, Orbit books, Time Warner Book group, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is set post Harry Potter and the OotP and post Incubus Dreams and therefore has SPOILERS for all previous books. If you don’t want to know anything that went on in or before HP book five or AB book twelve do not read this story.
Chapter 15 Actions and Reactions
Harry looked up at the knock on his door and was quite surprised to find Draco standing there in pyjamas and an over robe, looking hesitant. Micah had dropped them off back at Draco's house about half an hour earlier and Harry was about to climb into bed.
"Can I come in?" the Slytherin asked as soon as he had Harry's attention.
"Of course," was Harry's immediate response.
Draco appeared somewhat uncomfortable, but that did not stop the blond from walking up to the bed and sitting down, facing Harry from no more than a couple of feet away. There was a very serious expression on his friend's face that made Harry think that this was going to be important.
"I need to talk to you," Draco said eventually and then paused.
Not sure what to say, Harry nodded in what he hoped was an encouraging manner and waited for his friend to go on.
"Actually, I've been needing to talk to you for the past year," the Slytherin continued and Harry thought that maybe Draco was afraid to come to the point, "only before the final battle we were rather busy, and since, we've been trying to catch up to take our N.E.W.T.s."
"It has been rather hectic," he agreed, wondering what on earth Draco could have wanted to say for him for so long.
The Slytherin was not often hesitant in anything he did, and the anxiety on his companion's face was not what Harry expected of his friend at all. If this had been about the whole lycanthrope thing Harry might have had a clue, but since it seemed to go back before that he was struggling.
"Well, with all that's happened," Draco forged ahead and still did not seem to be close to revealing what he was really trying to say, "I have to do something or it might be too late. What with the changes you're going through and all the new people, and what happened tonight, I need to make sure you know everything."
Harry reached out and put his hand on his friend's arm before the Slytherin could find another hundred or so ways to put off actually saying what he came to say. Draco was so into the flow that he started and Harry gave his friend a supportive smile in an attempt to help. He had been in similar positions himself and he wanted to make it as easy as possible for Draco.
"Just tell me," he said quietly, "it will be easier."
The Slytherin looked him in the eye, took a deep breath and then opened his mouth.
"I'm in love with you," it came out in rather a rush, but Harry heard every word.
For a moment he sat there and blinked as his mind tried to catch up with what Draco had said. It was rather a startling revelation, but as he thought about it a warm feeling began to spread through his chest. It was a very nice sensation and he could not help the rather silly smile he felt break onto his face.
"Really?" he asked, not sure he was dealing with this in an appropriate manner, but utterly unable to change anything he was doing.
Draco appeared rather stunned by his reaction.
"You're not angry?" the Slytherin asked hesitantly.
"No," Harry replied, incapable of forming a coherent explanation as he let the feeling around his heart swell a bit more.
"Or disgusted?" Draco tried again.
"No," he responded.
"Shocked? Repelled? Confused? Anything at all that I expected?" his companion sounded as if this was not going how he had thought at all.
"Nothing like that," Harry told him honestly.
If asked in the past how he would have reacted to Draco Malfoy declaring his undying love, Harry might had thought it would be different as well, but as it was the goofy smile he could feel on his face would not go away. In hindsight little things jumped to his attention that should have told him what was going on, and now that it was out in the open they were stunningly obvious.
"I've been completely blind, haven't I," he said as he thought about it.
When he really considered it, he should have noticed that Draco's attention to him was not simply friendly. Just lately he had taken to spending as much time, if not more, with the Slytherin as with Ron and Hermione. It was also becoming clear as the memories began stacking up in his brain, that he had not been interacting with Draco quite like an average friend either.
"You've been busy," Draco said quietly, seemly unsure about where to go from here.
Harry decided that he knew how to break the awkwardness.
"I love you too," he said with perfect clarity.
Now it was Draco's turn to look shocked. For a moment the Slytherin looked at him in complete silence.
"You're not just saying that?" his friend asked carefully.
"Oh no," Harry replied, still buoyed by the warm feeling in his chest, "I just thought about it and I've been in love with you for ages, I just didn't get it. I think you'll find that Hermione has us both figured out because she sat me down and had this whole talk about how gender didn't matter when it came to love, and that being with whomever I wanted was the best way to go, just after the exams. At the time I thought she was on one of her campaigns again, but now I actually see what she was getting at."
"Granger knows?" Draco did not seem to believe that.
"Hermione tends to know everything," Harry said, since it was completely true, "even when you don't think she does."
"And Weasley?" Draco sounded slightly afraid.
"He's more oblivious than I am," Harry replied with a delighted laugh, at which point the Slytherin looked relieved; "it took him five and a half years to figure out he was in love with Hermione, and even I had that worked out."
"Good," was the immediate response, "because I can imagine that the moment he finds out, I'm going to be surrounded by red haired thugs, threatening my manhood if I so much as deflower a hair on your head."
That made Harry smile even more.
"You want to deflower me?" he asked, his heart beating just a little faster at the thought.
He had never really considered himself as anything to look at, and his ideas of love were a little vague, so that Draco desired him as well rather put the icing on the cake.
"Harry," Draco said seriously, "you have the most expressive eyes I have ever seen, hair that begs to be touched, an arse that cries out to be fondled, and you inherited the best of your mother's and your father's looks. If you didn't have the whole innocent virgin thing going on I would have jumped you months ago."
Now Harry decided to blush. Over sixth and seventh year Draco had grown out of his adolescent angles stage and turned into one of the most sought after boys at Hogwarts. That the Slytherin desired him had Harry breathing rather hard. That his body was suggesting things to him that he had no idea how to follow through did not help his equilibrium and he looked away from Draco, embarrassed by his complete lack of experience.
"Harry," Draco said eventually, voice soft and hesitant, "may I kiss you?"
This finally made him look up again, and there was such nervousness in his companion's face that he would have agreed to just about anything. He nodded and refused to dwell on any thoughts of his only other kiss with Cho.
Draco moved in slowly, almost as if he was afraid that Harry would bolt, and Harry watched him, right up until the last moment. As his friend's lips touched his, Harry let his eyes drift shut and the light touch made his whole mouth tingle. The first kiss lasted only a moment, not much more than a brush of lips, and yet Harry felt his heart jump in a way it never had with Cho.
Opening his eyes he looked at Draco, only a few centimetres away from him and he wanted more. This time he was the one to move forward and the touch of lips was not so light. Arms reached for him and pulled him closer and Harry went to Draco's embrace without hesitation. He knew about kissing, he had heard his friends talk about it, but none of their descriptions had done it justice when it was done right.
When a tongue ghosted across his lips he parted them without thinking and Draco pushed into his mouth as if set to devour him. It lit a flame in him that he had never really felt before and he wound his arms around Draco, wanting to be closer.
It was as Draco kissed his way across his face and then down his neck and he tried to reciprocate that he discovered one problem. His glasses were not meant for intimate situations and he would have gouged a hole in Draco's face if he hadn't caught himself. Snaking one hand over the back of Draco's shoulder he ripped the glasses off and threw them somewhere, unheeding of whether he would need a reparo charm later or not. All he cared about was that the kissing continued and he barely noticed that he was pushing Draco back down on the bed.
The Slytherin did not object, bringing his mouth back to Harry's and Harry felt the power under his skin shifting in response. If felt good, and right, and wonderful, and he did not want it to stop as he used his own tongue to taste the man beneath him.
Harry covered Draco's body with his own, feeling the power moving through him now much more clearly. Every touch of Draco's hand and taste of Draco's mouth was drawing something out of him that he did not fully comprehend. He allowed Draco's tongue to plunder his mouth and he wanted to reach back with more than physical flesh. He could feel the magic swirling through his companion and hear the blood pumping through the Slytherin's veins and he wanted to be connected to all that life and power.
Willing the power he could sense within himself out of his body he pushed it into Draco. As he kissed the Slytherin he slowly wrapped the tendrils of life through the complicated pattern that was Draco, enveloping his companion's essence in his own. It was the most incredible feeling as he connected to the Slytherin at a fundamental level.
When he opened his eyes he already knew that the world would be in focus despite his lack of glasses, and he drew back slowly, taking in everything about Draco that he could see with his preternatural eyes.
"What did you do?" Draco asked quietly, bringing a pale hand up to touch Harry's face.
"I don't know," he admitted in little more than a whisper. "I touched you," he tried to explain, "the real you underneath. I'm still touching you."
His life-force was withdrawing back into his body now he had broken the direct physical connection between them, but he could still feel the underlying connection that now existed between himself and Draco. It was wonderful and frightening at the same time. He did not understand what he had done, and yet he did not want to consider undoing it, in fact he wanted more, but he was not sure what it was that he wanted.
Slowly Harry felt his vampire fading, and yet the new aspect to his monstrous side kept it closer to the surface than he had felt it before.
"I'm sorry," he said, pulling back, knowing he had done something he could not undo. "I should have asked."
Draco caught him before he could pull away completely.
"I think you did," the Slytherin said with a slight smile. "come back, Harry, I haven't finished kissing you yet."
For a moment he hesitated, but grey eyes met his own and implored him in a way he could not resist. Leaning back down again he allowed himself to be pulled into an embrace and then gentle lips touched his for a second time. His body moulded back to Draco's and higher thoughts were lost in a sea of sensation.
Anita opened her door to find Harry and Draco standing outside, which surprised her somewhat, because they had expressed a wish to have a day to themselves.
"Sorry," Harry apologised before she could ask them why there were there, "weird stuff is happening, and I think it's my fault. Can we come in?"
There was not really a way to say no to a request like that so she nodded and allowed them both to walk past her into the hall. Even before they were fully over the threshold she felt something from them, a tingle of magic that had not been there before and she knew this was going to be interesting.
"Go into the kitchen," she said as they hovered, "Nathaniel is making lunch and I'm sure he'd be delighted to add you to the numbers."
When she walked into the kitchen Nathaniel had already walked up to Harry, picked up his hand and rubbed his face against the palm. The recognition of a dominant was a fundamental principle of lycanthrope society that always came out in private and Harry accepted the greeting, but looking at his face, Anita knew the wizard still found it very odd.
The fact that Nathaniel looked as if he was only wearing the apron she had bought him, because he was in just shorts under it and you couldn't tell he had anything on from her angle, made her smile, but then she looked over at Draco and remembered that this appeared to be serious.
"Okay, boys," Anita decided to find out what was up, "spill it."
"My magic's changed," Draco said pointedly and sat down.
Harry appeared very guilty and Anita knew it must have something to do with their green eyed anomaly, but she wanted more information before she came to any conclusions.
"Changed how?" she asked in her most upfront manner.
Draco took out his wand, pointed it at the stuffed penguin that Nathaniel had felt the need to bring with him from the bedroom, and muttered a spell. The toy flew into the air, hit the ceiling with a squeak and then stayed there as if stuck.
"I take it that was not the desired result," Anita said as she watched the penguin twitch on the ceiling as if it was trying to get away.
"It should have floated," Harry said quietly.
"And that's not the best bit," Draco said and put his wand on the table.
The blond wizard held out his hand, said something else in Latin and the penguin shot to the waiting fingers.
"I should not be able to do that," was Draco's succinct opinion.
At least he was being brutally honest, it was actually quite refreshing for Anita after dealing with vampires for so long.
"So your magic is stronger now?" she asked, wanting to make sure she was understanding the problem.
"Yes," Harry replied, "like mine."
Harry was obviously one of those people who did guilt very well, because it was coming off him in waves. It was probably another reason why Anita empathised with the wizard so much.
"And when did this happen?" she asked.
The two young men looked at each other and Harry appeared to be doing his best to disappear through the floor.
"We found out this morning," Draco said, no blame in his tone, but he seemed to realise that would make no difference to Harry, "but I'm willing to stake money that it happened last night."
Now this was becoming interesting.
"And what happened last night?" Anita prompted, even though she suspected the answer.
"Your advice," Draco said and crossed his arms across his chest, "I took it."
"So you two..." Anita started to ask and left it hanging.
Harry was blushing so hard he was probably giving off heat.
"No," the young man said, obviously mortified to be talking about this, "it was just kissing."
Nathaniel was watching the proceedings avidly and seemed to find the whole thing fascinating. Anita hoped her pomme de sang did not put his foot in it by asking an awkward question, because even though Nathaniel was much better than he had been when he first moved in, the wereleopard still had some interesting ideas about sex.
"But something happened when we were kissing," Draco explained, far less embarrassed than Harry seemed to be. "I can't really describe it, but it was like he reached out and touched me in a really strange metaphysical way. Then I think something happened later as well, when we were asleep. I remember dreaming of green fire, but it's all a bit vague, and Harry doesn't really remember much at all."
"You slept in the same bed then?" Anita asked, more to cover the shock at what she was realising more than anything else.
"Harry fell asleep on me," Draco said with a fond look at what Anita assumed was now his boyfriend, "and I did not feel like leaving him. Do you know what happened?"
For a moment she considered lying until she had had a chance to talk to Jean-Claude, but she put that aside. She did not want to give them a reason to distrust her.
"I think," she said, choosing her words carefully, "that you, Harry, have made Draco your human servant."
Harry looked horrified.
"But, I would never," he spluttered, and Anita recognised the reaction from when she had not really understood the position either.
"It's not bad, Harry," she assured him quickly before he could stress out and lose control of either of his preternatural aspects, "I am Jean-Claude's human servant. It means you have given Draco a piece of yourself and marked him. There are four possible marks and I think you gave Draco two last night. The third mark would require you to drink from Draco, and the fourth for him to drink from you. If you did that then you would be joined for as long as you live, as it is Draco will be immune to most other vampires and he'll heal much faster than normal."
Harry still did not look at all happy with the idea.
"But Draco is no one's servant," he said pointedly.
"Draco," Anita said, turning to the blond wizard and looking him straight in the eye, "do you feel any compunction to obey Harry?"
To his credit Draco thought about it and did not simply dismiss the idea.
"No," he replied.
"I didn't think so," Anita concluded, and was rather happy about the fact, "I think your magic prevents that part of the bond. Because I'm a Necromancer I'm free of that part as well. Human servants usually have to obey their Master, hence the term, but some of us can get away without that part."
"And that would affect my magic as well?" Draco asked, clearly not sure if he was comfortable with the idea.
"Yes," she told him, although she was pretty sure something else was going on as well because the change was so radical, "there's power flowing between you. The only thing that messes up the whole plan is that vampires really aren't supposed to be able to do anything like that until they've at least had a centenary."
What was bothering Anita really was that she and Jean-Claude had not had a power boost quite so significant until they had formed the triumvirate with Richard. A triumvirate was required because you had three mutually exclusive life forms with their various magic joining together, and she could not help but notice that this pairing had all three as well, even though two existed in one person. This was just going to make Jean-Claude's day when he woke up.
"Is there any way to remove the marks?" Harry asked and brought her out of her thoughts.
"Death," was the simple answer so Anita gave it, "although another master giving the marks did cancel it out for me once, but that involved dying as well, so let's not go there."
Alejandro's attempt to make her his human servant and the consequences were not things she really wished to recall right at that moment. The fact that it had negated Jean-Claude's first three marks had been a plus within a whole lot of minuses which included her heart stopping, so it had really not been her idea of a good time. If Edward had not administered CPR she would be dead right now. Harry did not seem to like her answer, but he did finally sit down from where he had been hovering.
"How the hell do I always do things like this?" the kid sounded exasperated with himself.
Draco reached out and took Harry's hand straight away and Anita felt the power flair between them even though they appeared to fail to notice it.
"Harry," the blond wizard said with a very firm tone of voice, "stop blaming yourself. This is odd, admittedly, but stranger things have happened. For now we can't do anything about it, and I'm not sure I want to anyway."
That startled Harry somewhat if the look of shock on his face was anything to go by.
"What?" Draco asked in a way that made Anita feel warm inside. "You think now that I've got you I'm going to let you go that easily?"
It was rather touching really, and the romantic part of Anita sat up and purred in delight.
"But it's too like ..." Harry trailed off, but his fingers were tracing the inside of Draco's left arm.
Both young men were so intent on each other that Anita did not think they were really aware of their audience. When Draco didn't say anything Harry tried to pull away, but the blond wizard was not having any of it. He caught Harry's hand with his left and almost violently pushed his sleeve up with his right. Anita saw the black tattoo as soon as it was revealed and realised that she had never seen Draco in short sleeves, even though it was mid summer.
"It's nothing like this, Harry," Draco said, displaying the mark. "This was done to me while my father held me down and I screamed. Every time He called it burned. He tried to make me a slave, Harry; this isn't even remotely the same."
In other cases Anita would have disagreed; the marks could be slavery for the human servant, but not between these two. She had seen the interaction between Master and servant and this was not it; this was more the joining of equals.
It was Nathaniel who broke the tableau by reaching out and touching the tattoo on Draco's arm. There was the most peculiar expression on her pomme de sang's face as he touched the snake part of the mark with his finger. Anita was surprised when Draco allowed Nathaniel's touch.
"I've seen that before," were the quiet words that made both Harry and Draco look up sharply.
Nathaniel almost flinched away at Harry's stare, but Anita knew the young wizard didn't mean anything by it.
"Recently?" Draco asked with a frown.
The blond wizard sounded worried and Anita did not like it when people looked that worried in her kitchen. It usually meant that people were about to start dying.
"No," Nathaniel said, snatching back his hand and looking at Anita, "from before."
She was not sure which before he was referring to, before her or before Gabriel, but Anita knew that look in Nathaniel's eyes; the person with the mark had most likely been a client. Something about the encounter had scared Nathaniel, and when it came to sex that probably meant it was very nasty. Nathaniel's ability to say no had been round about zero for a long time, although he was much better at it now.
"Before when?" Harry asked, although he seemed apologetic as if he realised he was prying. "It's just there are people with these marks still at large and they're dangerous. If they've been here anytime in the last six months there are people who need to know."
"Before I was..." Nathaniel was very uncomfortable about this and Anita did not like where he seemed to be heading, "when..."
He appealed to her with his eyes and she reached out, pulling him close without a second thought.
"It was years ago," she said firmly, knowing that 'before' in this instance meant before Nathaniel had become a wereleopard.
For a moment she thought Draco would push the subject, but she saw Harry squeeze his arm and nothing was said. She knew that she was going to have to talk to Nathaniel about this since it was unlikely to just go away now, but that would be when they had some privacy.
"Sorry," Draco surprised her by apologising, "we've been through a war and any one with this has been trying to kill us."
Anita didn't want to know about a war that tried to kill children, but she accepted what they said as fact.
End of Chapter 15
On to next chapter