Beren (beren_writes) wrote,

Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 74 - Return (Harry/Draco, NC17)

Title: Defence, Pretence, Offence - Chapter 74 - Return
Author: Beren (aka Tasha)
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is canon compliant until the end of Order of the Phoenix and then goes AU. None of the HBP or Deathly Hallows plot will be used, or the Horcruxes for that matter since this story was planned before we knew the details about those things, and hence has it's own fanon. This includes birthdays and other information that have since been revealed on Pottermore and in further productions.
Summary: The threat of open war in on the horizon. The Order and the Ministry are of one accord and both know that where Harry Potter is, Voldemort will eventually be. Preparations are being made and this time the side of the light will not be caught unawares.
Summer classes, sabotage, revelations about Draco's father, teaching and the final showdown with Voldemort all await Harry and Draco in this exciting sequel to Gold Tinted Spectacles (LJ | AO3 | Wattpad).
Author's Notes: This is the second story in the Hecatemae universe. It starts up just after the end of the first instalment and I advice reading that one first so you understand the premise. Thanks go to my sister Sophie for the beta reading.
It has taken me 12 years to finally get around to finishing this, I very much hope everyone enjoys it.
Link to other parts: LJ | DW | AO3 | Wattpad

Sharing a smile with his soulmate, Harry went to step towards the light, but just for a moment he hesitated, and then he heard it: the sound of a bird singing. He looked at Draco questioningly and it was obvious his lover could hear it as well.

[What...?] was as far as he managed to form a question and then he was slamming back into his body.

White hot agony split every nerve and he felt himself arching off the table as his muscles spasmed in protest. Magic, the like of which he had never fully experienced before, surged through every part of his body. It was pure in the way the wild magic had been pure of any human contamination, but it also had structure. He recognised the echo of it in him from before. It blew his mind.

He came down with a thump, the room spinning, body aching. He was staring into the eyes of Fawkes. The phoenix was sitting on his chest even though he must have almost shaken the bird loose. That he was alive astounded him and, for a few moments, he couldn't work out what was going on. He was no longer surrounded by healers, so time had to have passed, but that was as far as his thoughts managed to sort themselves out.

The magic coursing through him was making it hard to think.

Fawkes hopped off him to the left. Harry followed the bird's progress and saw a shrouded figure on the table next to him. Casting his eyes onto the floor Harry caught sight of the sheet that must have been covering him as well. Fawkes had to have removed it. There was the faint taste of salt in his mouth and the reality of the situation hit him like a bludger to the head.

Fawkes had cried to bring him back.

But Draco was still dying.

All Harry could feel of his soulmate was a faint echo and he moved before he thought. Heedless of the healing power still working through his body, he sat up and swung his legs off the table. He all but fell to the floor as his balance failed and his limbs refused to work properly. It wasn't about to stop him though.

Fawkes watched him with serious eyes, as Harry stumbled the few feet to the other table. He ripped the sheet off his soulmate. He dragged himself close to Draco and placed his lips to his lover's, as instinct forced him on. It was not really a kiss, but the moment Harry's lips met Draco's, Fawkes launched himself into the air with a trill of song. The magic flared in Harry and he pushed it at Draco with everything he had. It flooded out of him in an explosion of power that whited out all his senses, including the magical ones.

He pulled back, clinging to the table, staring at where he knew Draco's face had to be until he could finally see it again. Draco's pale skin was ashen and lifeless like the echo in Harry's mind. If the magic hadn't had him, Harry might had despaired. But the lightest pink finally flowed into Draco's cheeks. Draco took one deep, shuddering breath and then another as the echo solidified into something real.

As grey eyes looked up at him in shocked recognition, Harry couldn't help it; he laughed. His ability to stand completely abandoned him and he slid to the floor, still laughing. He was naked except for what was left of his underwear, and covered in blood and gore, but he was alive and he could not help himself as the hysteria bubbled out of him.

Draco shifted down onto the floor beside him, clinging to his arm like it might be a lifeline. He at least was wearing clothes, although they had seen better days. Draco's thoughts were open to him and they were as chaotic as his own. Harry's laughter died away as they held each other and tried to come to terms with reality again.

"We were dead," Draco said slowly after a minute or so.

"Almost," Harry agreed, "and the healers must have thought we were. We were laid out."

"Fawkes cried for you again," Draco said rather breathlessly.

"He cried for us," Harry corrected quietly.

They sat silently, leaning against each other as they dealt with the fact that they were alive. It took him a long time for Harry to make his thoughts do anything sensible.

Slowly the ramifications of the situation began to dawn on his beleaguered mind. They had to have been, for all intents and purposes, dead, or the healers would never have left them. Fawkes had to have stepped in after the point when human medicine had declared them gone. Harry also realised he had no idea how long after they had been declared dead the phoenix had taken action, which meant everyone else must think they has passed away.

In a rush he was overcome by mental images of their friends hearing the news and it filled him with dread.

"We have to tell them we're alive," he said.

He swung his gaze round to look at Draco and it was harder than he wanted to admit. Draco just nodded. Harry wondered if he looked as dazed. A mental image of exactly what he did look like came back at him as he managed to broadcast his musings at his soulmate. He honestly appeared worse.

Wanting to do something and being able to were two different things, but they couldn't let the others suffer. Draco shook his head, blinking and his features hardened with determination.

"Can you stand and can you build your barriers?" Draco asked.

Harry closed his eyes and gathered his will. When he opened them again he stared into his soulmate's grey eyes.

"Watch me," was all he had to say.

He was determined and he grabbed onto the side of the table to drag himself to his feet. He almost made it as well, but even Phoenix tears took time to work. His body had taken quite a battering and he began to slip back to the floor even as he stubbornly tried to lock his knees.

Draco manoeuvred under his left arm without a word and, with an effort of will on both their parts, they came to a standing position. Harry could feel the strain from Draco as well as his own aching limbs, but he was not about to give up.

Harry's mental barriers were next. They were non-existent at the moment. The room must have been warded because he was not being bombarded by anything other than the room itself, which helped. As Draco made sure his mental presence was as strong as possible, Harry brought his mind to heel and shut out the world.

It was hard. He had to start from the foundations and work up. Draco's sure and steady presence also wasn't quite as sure and steady as usual, so it took longer. Once he had the basis, however, the rest was much easier. It was just stopping the initial build from crumbling over and over again that was difficult. He lost it several times before his peculiar brain finally came into line.

When the world was finally shut out, Draco handed him the sheet from his table. It didn't make the most elegant garment, but wrapped around him it did shut out some of the cold inherent in the stone building.

"Ready," Harry asked.

"That's my line," Draco replied and Harry managed to raise a small smile.

* * *

Now they were ready and with purpose they headed for the door.

The room was not in the main area of the hospital wing and Harry staggered out into an empty corridor as Draco tried to keep him upright. They were both weak as kittens and they clung to each other in an effort not to fall in a heap.

[Well now you get your wish,] Draco commented dryly as they limped their way in what Harry hoped was the right direction; [we get to make complete idiots of ourselves by staggering down corridors.]

Harry would have replied, but it was taking most of his concentration not to collapse in a heap. He did not recognise this corridor and he assumed that thanks to the battle parts of the hospital wing that were not normally used had been opened up. There were bound to have been other casualties. Lowering his barriers again and ascertaining the highest concentration of magic would have been one way to navigate, but Harry was not sure he had the fine control required to do that just at the moment.

The sheet was not particularly warm and the stone was cold on his feet, but he used the sensation to keep him alert rather than let it get to him. He remembered the desolation of knowing Sirius was dead and he did not want any of his friends going through anything remotely similar.

[I hope we find someone soon,] he said, looking up at the big double doors ahead, which could only have been fifteen feet away but seemed miles distant.

[It couldn't have been that long,] Draco said with much more confidence than Harry was feeling, [they'll be just beyond those doors.]

Fawkes flew out of the open room behind them and swept past them to land beside their goal. The magical bird regarded them with his intelligent eyes and trilled a few notes of encouragement. It occurred to Harry that he had no idea how Fawkes could have made it to them in the first place, but he was in no state to think that one through at the moment. For all he knew the bird could Apparate.

More by luck than judgement Harry and Draco finally made it to the door, at which point they paused for a breather. Harry let his eyes wander over his soulmate as they leant against the final obstacle and he couldn't help smiling. The mental image of Draco that he remembered from what he could only describe as their near death experience had been immaculate, totally untouched by real world dirt or grime. His lover's physical form was covered in dirt smudges and there was blood in his hair, but Harry didn't think he had seen anything so wonderful.

[Don't even put it into words,] Draco said before Harry could properly express this view, [the first thing I want is a bath.]

[How did you know what I was thinking?] Harry asked with a smile; he knew he hadn't been broadcasting.

[You have that look in your eye,] his soulmate replied, but favoured him with a smile of his own. [And you have very bizarre taste.]

That turned Harry's expression into a fully fledged grin; he must be becoming predictable in his old age.

"Ready?" Draco asked as Harry experimented with putting his full weight back on his legs.

Harry nodded and placed his hand on the door handle. When Draco nodded as well to signal his readiness Harry turned the large iron handle and let the door swing away from them. The obstruction moved just in time to allow him to hear Dumbledore speaking.

"Perhaps you should rest, Poppy," the headmaster was saying. "Most of the other injuries were minor and the healers from St. Mungo's have everything under control."

"Thank you, Headmaster," Madam Pomfrey replied with a catch in her voice, "but I would prefer to remain busy. I know my way around my hospital wing far better than they do and they may need me."

"As you wi..." was as far as Dumbledore completed his reply before Harry found himself being scrutinised by the astounded headmaster.

The question as to why Harry did not recognise the corridor from which he was emerging became blatantly obvious as he did recognise the part of the hospital wing onto which the door opened, and Harry knew for a fact that there wasn't usually a door there. It appeared that Hogwarts had rearranged itself in the crisis and he and Draco had found themselves in a part that was not normally in use.

They were towards the entrance and the corridor appeared to be full of people. Harry just about had time to pick out Hermione in Ron's arms; Sirius standing very close to Remus; Professor McGonagall dabbing her eyes with a hankie; and Professor Snape glaring at anyone who so much as looked at him, before Fawkes flew over his shoulder, singing all the while and landed on Professor Dumbledore's shoulder.

The phoenix gained everyone's attention no matter what they were doing and from there it was only a glance to the dishevelled soulmates. Harry was suddenly acutely aware that he was half naked as the universe appeared to come to a grinding halt with everyone staring at him and Draco. If he had had the energy he was sure he would have been mortified, as it was he blinked at the world and wished for his glasses.

The tableau held for what seemed like an eternity.

[Watch out, here comes your godfather,] Draco said.

After that about all Harry could concentrate on was breathing since he found himself being crushed by an overwrought Sirius who had somehow managed to get him and Draco in the same embrace and was squashing them together. While Draco had known Sirius would go for Harry, it appeared he was somewhat surprised to be included himself if the shock Harry could feel coursing through his lover was anything to go by.

Too many people were speaking at the same time and Harry didn't think he would have been able to make sense of it even if he had had his wits about him. There was no time to figure it all out, what with his mental barriers humming as everyone seemed to forget that he was sensitive to touch in their desperate attempts to verify that, yes, he was really alive.

It was all rather a blur of events with the only constant being that he was very firmly clinging to Draco and they were not letting go of each other. Harry wasn't sure how much more he could cope with, but before he reached that point rescue revealed itself.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," Madam Pomfrey's voice rang out loud and clear, bringing everything to a grinding halt, "if you would not mind."

Suddenly there was space around them and Harry blinked in a dazed fashion and found the healer standing in front of him.

"Mr Potter," the woman said slowly, "Harry," she corrected herself, "I do believe that you used to be dead, as did you Draco."

Harry's brain really wasn't up to speed and he had no idea what to reply.

"I thought so too," was all he could come up with, at which point Fawkes started singing at the top of his lungs again.

After that Madam Pomfrey went into healer mode and took over completely. Harry was so glad he didn't have to think. Although he was very glad of the well wishes of his friends and surrogate family he really didn't have the strength to cope with it and he was pretty sure shock was settling in for both him and Draco. Dazed did not really cover the feeling he was receiving from his soulmate and he didn't even want to try and classify the state of his own brain. He surrendered completely to Madam Pomfrey's guidance and soon found himself soaking in the most wonderful bath.

If Madam Pomfrey would ever get her isolation room back for use with other patients was debatable, but right then Harry didn't care. Inside the warded room he let his barriers down and just enjoyed lying in Draco's arms. Madam Pomfrey had placed spells on the bath before she would let them use it to make sure they couldn't drown themselves, but she had let Draco have his way when he politely demanded to be clean.
Tags: category: slash, ch_story: defence, fandom: harry potter, fictype: 30kwds up, fictype: chaptered, genre: fantasy, genre: romance, offence, pairing: hp - harry/draco, pretence, rating: r to nc17, type: fiction

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