Chapter: 27 of 35 - Attack
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 27 Attack
Harry held on to the remote doggedly as Draco from one side and Nathaniel from the other tried various plans of attack to relieve him of it, including bringing up the whole listening to Jason and Remus thing, which Jason had made sure to tell everyone about, in an attempt to embarrass him into surrendering. He had never had much opportunity to watch TV, and he had definitely never found himself in possession of the remote before, ever, and he was enjoying it. The fact that when the adverts came on he had found the joys of channel hopping was driving everyone else crazy, but he was having a great time and had no intention of stopping.
Staying with Anita was decidedly odd, especially when the pard seemed to have taken up residence as well. It wasn't as if Harry hadn't been the centre of attention for the bad guys before and he knew the signs of a group of people who had been told to keep an eye on him, but try and seem as if they weren't keeping an eye on him.
So far he and Draco had not been alone, apart from the one time that morning they had locked themselves in the bathroom for a few minutes. They had not even been alone to sleep since there were only so many places to lay one's head in the house and with so many people in residence Zane and Cherry were sleeping on the floor of Nathaniel's room.
Draco had point blank refused to give up the bed, pointing out that lycanthropes took much better to sleeping on the floor than humans, but Harry had felt so guilty that there had been a compromise reached. Nathaniel's bed was large, but by the end of the night it had been quite cosy with four people in it; just as the sofa was very cosy with five people somehow ensconced on it.
Harry had no idea what they were watching, it was an American cop show of some description, but it was entertaining. It really did give him a chance to turn his brain off and forget about everything that was going on for a while.
"Harry," Draco said as the screen went black for yet another ad break, "you touch that button and as much as I love you, I will let the others kill you."
There were mumbles of playful agreement from around the room where most of the pard were arrayed in various states of relaxation. Harry enjoyed flicking channels, and he'd never had a chance before so he pouted and looked at Draco with his most mournful expression. It took his boyfriend three seconds to break and then Draco put his head back and groaned.
"Not fair, Potter," the Slytherin said in a rather helpless tone, "but I will defend you to the death."
"Shit, if he doesn't have the big eye thing down better than Nathaniel," was Caleb's take on the matter, which drew a laugh from around the room.
"We'll have to have a contest when Anita gets back," Cherry said with a grin, "see which one of them can get her to do what they want the fastest."
Anita was out for the evening, first with Jean-Claude and then working, so it was unlikely she'd be back in time for any sort of game before the rest of them all piled into bed. That didn't stop Harry looking at Nathaniel though and they made doe eyes at each other.
"Lord help us, they're a tag team," Zane said dramatically.
"I think that should be, Lord help Anita," was Micah's dry comment from where their Nimir-Raj was sitting in the corner.
Harry lifted the remote to groans from his companions, but instead of flicking channels he hit the mute button. He wasn't overly fond of adverts, but he could live with them if he didn't have to listen to them. He was settling back against Draco when something made him frown. At first he wasn't sure what it was, but he felt strange and it made him very uncomfortable. It was when his chest twinged that he realised what was happening and he felt his awareness slipping away from normal.
As his mind shifted and the connection between himself and his blood opened, what he did not expect was to hear singing. It was a haunting and strangely beautiful sound without words and it filled him and flowed through him like water in a pipe. Each note captivated him and held him, keeping him in a dreamlike state, unaware of his body or anything but the music. The voice sang so high and so low that it seemed impossible that the same person was making all the sound and Harry became lost in it. Time had no meaning, only the haunting tune in and around him, pulling him and holding him like nothing he had ever felt before.
It was a desperate cry full of pain and fear and it was Draco's voice. Nothing else could have broken through the hold of the singing, but that one word did and it woke so many things in him. Suddenly there was pain and the song was not so beautiful anymore. It's enchantment broken he could feel the evil that was forcing its way into his body and hear the torturous sounds that he had not been able to recognise before. It was agony and he could not stop it.
His mind flashed with the image of robed figures in the woods outside Antia's house, a woman dressed in black with them, urging something evil on, and then Harry slammed back into his body fully. Pain filled him as the song all but vanished into horrendous sounds that clawed at his ears. The screams of the pard and the moans coming from Draco called him back to reality and he could feel the evil pouring through him into the room.
The spell on his chest burned and he knew he was the conduit. This power in him and around him wanted him dead and those with him were an added bonus. Putting his head back he screamed, unable to stand the agony in his body, only the sounds of distress from around him allowed him to hold on to sanity and consciousness. He knew evil and this was it, and he also knew he had to stop it.
The hideous song was killing his friends and he had to block it. With everything he had, Harry tried to throw up a barrier within himself, tried to build a wall to keep out the evil that was flooding him. For a moment he felt the power slow as his own magic reached up to stop it, but the clash of energy was worse than he could possibly have imagined. It hurt and it caused a backlash that sent waves of white hot agony all over his body. He could do nothing but scream again as every nerve felt like it exploded.
This was too much; it was killing him and he couldn't take anymore. He needed to be away from here, away from the danger, safe with his friends. This place was no longer a refuge, it was a battle ground and there the enemy was winning. To stay meant to die and in desperate need Harry reached into the reserve of power he had only ever tapped once; the reserve that had allowed him to kill Voldemort and live. The pard needed to be safe; Draco needed to be safe; he needed to be safe, and he knew with whom safety could be found. Anita was the point of safety for them all and he knew exactly where she was. On fire with pain, but consumed with purpose, he let his power loose and thought of one place; the Circus of the Damned.
Anita was on her way out of the door; sure that something terrible was happening, when there was an almighty crack behind her. She turned in time to see virtually the whole pard appear out of thin air in Jean-Claude's living room. Several of her cats were bleeding from their ears and Micah was supporting Nathaniel as if without the assistance her pomme de sang would fall over. This was bad, this was very bad, and she couldn't explain any of it. What was she supposed to do?
"Harry," Draco's voice sounded completely desperate and Anita made her decision.
Most of her leopards were moving even if they looked dazed, and moving meant they'd recover, but at some point, whether either of them had consciously agreed to it, Harry had become one of hers as well. Anita recognised the tone in Draco's voice and she knew that what she was about to find would not be pretty.
Confused eyes followed her as she moved quickly towards what she could see of the two wizards. Zane and Merle were both in front of the pair, and all she could make out was that Draco was on the floor. When she moved between the wereleopards she found out why. Draco was cradling Harry in his lap as if he'd caught his lover as he fell, and Harry was bleeding. The kid was bleeding from his eyes and his nose and his ears and his mouth. There were red streaks under his t-shirt and on his arms as if blood vessels had burst and Harry was barely breathing.
"Draco," there was no response when she tried to gain the blond wizard's attention.
He was almost as pale as Harry and he had the same dazed look in his eyes as all the others. Anita knew she needed answers and she needed them now, so she chose to use her Nimir-Ra authority to good effect.
"Zane," she snapped, knowing that being gentle was not going to work at the moment, "tell me what happened."
The order worked instantly as the pard hierarchy sliced through the haze in Zane's eyes.
"There was this noise," he said, not as together as he usually was, but Anita could tell he was doing his best, "almost like singing. It wasn't bad at first, but then it started to hurt. Harry began to glow and it seemed to be hurting him the most, but by the time we realised something was happening it was like we were stuck. It was like pressure in my head. Then we were here."
It gave her half of the picture, but not all and Anita had the nasty suspicion that the only person who had it all was unconscious in the arms of his lover. That left Draco, who might have a better understanding of any magic involved.
"Draco," she tried to gain his attention again, and this time reached out to him, "I need you to tell me what you know."
Glazed grey eyes looked at her and for a moment she didn't think her words had made it through, but then Draco blinked and there was more life in his gaze.
"The noise," Draco said slowly, "it was trying to kill him. I felt the dark magic, they want Harry dead and anyone they can take with him. He ... impossible..."
She was losing him again, Anita could tell, and she didn't think it was just shock from the incident. Draco was Harry's human servant even if they shared only two marks, and if Harry was dying it was bound to have an effect on the other wizard.
"Draco, what's impossible?" Anita asked firmly. "How did you bring everyone here?"
"Wasn't me," Draco replied, his face becoming a desperate mask, "was Harry. He Apparated us all, but that's impossible. Felt... trying to block his magic..."
It seemed to be difficult for the young man to explain.
"Harry fought it," the young wizard said as if becoming lost in the memory. "Damaged his magic, needs more to heal it."
This did not sound good at all.
"Draco," his name seemed to be the only way to keep his attention so Anita used it again, "did it damage you as well?"
"Some," the rapidly failing young man replied, "but not too much."
There wasn't much time, that much was obvious, and Anita was out of her depth, but she was not about to give up. She knew something about physical healing, but this was not physical, not exactly and she knew the munin would not help. What Harry needed was magic and the best way to transfer that was blood and physical contact.
"Take him to the bedroom," Jean-Claude said as she looked up at him.
It was as if he knew exactly what she was thinking, which was quite possible given her panicked mental state. Merle moved to obey the instruction, but when he tried to pick up the unconscious wizard Draco refused to left go. For a man in shock Draco turned out to be very strong and after a few moments Merle simply picked both of them up. It looked awkward but Merle had long arms and lycanthrope strength. No one spoke, but everyone moved as Anita followed Merle and Jean-Claude into the bedroom.
"Strip them," Anita said without the slightest trace of the embarrassment that she would once have felt.
Draco still wouldn't let go, even though most of him appeared to have no strength, and Anita remembered the desperation when bringing Damian back from revenant state. Stripping the two wizards down consisted of holding them up and ripping their clothes to pieces; Anita remembered that as well, only she'd been suffering from heat exhaustion at the time not magical damage.
Jean-Claude knew exactly where she was going with this and dropped his robe without further pretence. Climbing onto the bed he then allowed Merle and Micah to place Harry in his lap and Draco by his side.
"Micah, how do you feel about donating blood?" Anita asked as she began to remove the clothes she had just so recently dragged herself back into.
"Which vein should I open?" was the immediate response, and without having to be asked her Nimir-Raj began to strip as well.
"Cherry, look after Nathaniel," Anita decided quickly.
Nathaniel looked pretty rough, but she'd seen him bounce back from worse very quickly, so she was more worried about Harry and Draco.
Caleb would not have been her first choice for bed partner, even though he did not take so many liberties any more, but he seemed to be in the best shape of the leopards, and Anita did not want to put strain on those healing anything major. She did not think this was going to be quick so they would all have their turn, but for now she needed the strong ones.
When she climbed onto the bed, Jean-Claude moved to allow her access to him and Harry and by the time she had found a vaguely comfortable spot the other two members of the pard had taken places on the bed as well. Jean-Claude opened the marks without question and Anita connected to her people, then she focused the whole shebang on Harry. As the magic hit him she felt the faintest answer from the fading wizard's own power and she closed her eyes to concentrate on what she was doing. The smell of blood made it to her nose and she knew Micah was feeding Harry in a different way.
Anita had no idea if this would work or if it would be enough even if the principle was correct, but all they could do was try.
Everything was very confused and distant as Harry tried to make sense of what was happening around him and to him. His body was rather vague in his awareness and it did not seem anywhere near as important at the magic he could feel around him. It blanketed him in a protective covering that moved through him and over him and he reached out to it, wrapping it closer in a comforting mantle. Some of the magic was cold, some warm and one part glowed so brightly that he wanted to be as close to it as possible.
He allowed himself to drift, basking in the feel of the brightest magic and although he was aware of the other magic changing, this was constant and he knew he was connected to it. Occasionally he felt his body and he recognised that he was surrounded by warm skin, but it was not important to him as he accepted the strength from the magic blanketing him.
Eventually he began to realise that the magic surrounding him was not the same as the magic at his core and it was feeding parts of him that was not his central being. The outer parts of his magic were in turn feeding his core, but only the bright magic fed his core directly. The stronger he became the more he could feel the connection he had to the bright source and the more he came to realise that he wanted to be one with it.
As he needed the power being fed to him less and less, the want to join with the brightest source became an ache in his soul. The connections seemed to pull on him more and more and it was as if he could almost touch the entity to which the magic belonged. He had no idea how long he had basked in the light or if it had been minutes or days that he had been floating and recharging, but one moment he was disconnected from the world and the next he realised that the light was Draco and he came back to his body with a start.
Opening his eyes he looked straight into intelligent grey irises filled with knowledge and need. In that instant Harry knew what he was feeling and what he wanted to do, and he also knew that Draco was experiencing it as well. He moved without considering anything else and the shift of bodies around him meant nothing as he reached out and pulled Draco close. His fangs sank into his lover's neck with barely any effort and the noise that came out of Draco's mouth was half groan of pain and half relieved sigh.
Part of the power that hovered around his core, attached to it, but not the same, reached out as he drew blood into his mouth and fed. He remembered reaching out to Draco before and leaving part of himself behind, but this time he welcomed his lover in rather than simply pushing his own power out. It was as if he was melding them together rather than insinuating himself into Draco. The weaker Draco's life force became the closer they moved until there were not two burning entities of power, but one with two cores.
The physical meant little except for the blood and he barely felt the pain of teeth against his skin when he finally stopped drinking. All he knew was that Draco was his and he was Draco's, and as lips attached to his neck his power constricted around them both so that for the first time the cores touched. The resulting explosion was raw power and it ripped through him taking away any sense that he had left. Spiralling into darkness he felt more complete than he had ever done in his entire life.
End of Chapter 27
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