Fandom: Harry Potter/ Merlin (BBC)
Pairing: Harry/Draco, Merlin/Arthur
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. Also on characters and situations created and owned by the BBC. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: AU from end of HBP. There are some things that are just not supposed to happen, some wrongs which should not occur; these are the things Merlin knows he and Arthur were created to prevent. Then of course there are also some things that would make things better if they happened and folly or stupidity has stopped them from occurring; Merlin likes to put these back on track as well; Arthur calls that part meddling.
Author's Notes: see pt 1
Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4
My Fanfic Listings (LJ) | My Fanfic Listings (DreamW)
Chapter 4 Desperate Measures
Harry had had another busy day when Merlin had decided to test his limits and had him performing magic all morning and all afternoon, but he was looking forward too much to when he was let go to be really bothered. He was pleased with his first overtures of friendship to Draco; they hadn't been rejected out of hand and Harry was pretty sure Draco was interested in him, even if Draco wouldn't admit it. Arthur's little talk had actually been incredibly useful and he was almost feeling confident about the whole thing, although 'almost' was the operative word. He couldn't really figure out how to go from offering his friendship to indicating that he was interested in more. It wasn't as if he'd been any good at it with girls, since the only two he had been interested in had kind of fallen into his lap because of other circumstances and he had absolutely no clue what to do with a boy.
The last thing he was expecting as he went to find Draco to invite him to do some more flying was for said Slytherin to stumble round the corner and into his arms. Draco was grey as a ghost and was clearly having trouble breathing.
"Draco!" Harry said, catching the other wizard and lowering them both into a sitting position. "What's wrong?"
Draco looked up at him, eyes glassy, but held out his arm. In the place where the Dark Mark would have been was an ugly green blotch.
"He must ... have ... had a ... backup ... plan," Draco wheezed, barely able to get the words out.
As if it had taken all his strength, Draco then passed out into his arms and for a moment he panicked. Draco was dying, right there in his arms the object of his affections was passing away and there was nothing he could do. Without even really knowing why he was doing it, he put his head back and screamed; "Merlin!" at the top of his lungs.
He didn't actually expect Merlin to step out of thin air, but that was what happened. One second the corridor was empty except for him and Draco and the next Merlin and Arthur were there as well, entering as silently as they had done the night on the roof.
"Voldemort," Harry said, pushing Draco at Merlin in desperation, "he did something."
Merlin immediately took Draco from him, looking the Slytherin over with a practiced eye.
"Arthur, go and check on his parents," Merlin said quickly, "I'm taking Draco to the hospital wing. Harry, hold onto my arm and walk with me when we stand up."
Arthur did not argue, just disappeared down the corridor towards where Draco's parents were staying and Harry stood when Merlin did. For such a skinny man, Merlin was very strong and seemed to hold Draco without effort. Harry slipped his hand over Merlin's arm, lightly touching Draco as well and followed when Merlin led. It felt like he was covered by ice for a second and he couldn't breathe and then he was in the hospital wing and Merlin pulled away from him to lay Draco on one of the beds.
All Harry could do was stand there as Madam Pomfrey hurried over and began to assist Merlin. The pair were talking to each other rapidly in low tones and Harry couldn't really make out what they were saying, so he just stood there stupidly, feeling helpless.
Arthur arrived with Draco's parents and Snape (Harry assumed the head of Slytherin had been visiting the couple), but they all hung back and just watched as well. Merlin and Madam Pomfrey were intent on their work, both casting spells in desperate succession. Eventually Merlin just put his hands on Draco's chest and closed his eyes. Draco convulsed under the touch once and then was very, very still.
The way Madam Pomfrey and Merlin looked at each other when Merlin finally drew back made Harry's blood run cold. After one more low conversation Merlin turned to them all and walked over.
"It's a curse," Merlin said to those assembled in the hospital wing. "It seems to have been time based, probably triggered if Draco failed to contact Voldemort for a certain period of time. It's contaminated just about every part of his body; it's killing him."
Harry wanted to kill something, anything he could get his hands on and preferably Voldemort himself, but he just stood there.
"Can you reverse it?" Lucius asked in a clipped tone.
"With time, maybe," Merlin said, but the wizard's face was still dark, "but we don't have time. The magic I have cast on him will only hold for an hour at most and the curse will take only minutes to kill him."
Narcissa leant against her husband, clearly distraught.
"Is there nothing that can be done?" was Lucius' next question.
"Only one thing," it was Arthur who spoke.
"The curse only works on human flesh," Merlin said simply; "if Arthur turns Draco into a vampire the curse will break."
There was a sob from Narcissa at that and Arthur looked rather shocked at the suggestion, but did not object.
"Can he be woken to give him the choice?" Lucius asked after a moment of comforting his wife. "Draco may prefer death."
Vampires were children of darkness, some considered the curse worse than death. Harry could not bear the thought of Draco confined to shadows.
"Merlin," he said quietly, grasping at straws, "can I speak to you, please?"
"We are a little busy here, Boy," Snape said in an acid tone.
Harry didn't blame the man, he was not feeling particularly pleasant either.
"It's important," Harry said and stared the Potions' Master down.
Then he looked at Merlin and tried to convey what he was thinking with his eyes. Merlin nodded and walked towards him.
"A few minutes will make no difference," Merlin told the others and then Harry and he moved off a little way.
"How did you bond with Arthur?" Harry asked in little more than a whisper as soon as they were out of earshot of the others.
Merlin did not look at all surprised by the question.
"I did what my heart told me to," Merlin said simply.
It was not really an answer, but Harry hadn't actually expected much more.
"Could I do it?" he asked quietly, needing to understand.
"Harry, this is not a onetime spell," Merlin told him; "it does not go away. This would be forever. I know I've been encouraging you and Draco together, but in truth you barely know him."
"I do know him," Harry insisted, trying to explain. "During the ceremony I saw him; I don't know how or why, but I really saw him. We touched somehow, much more than was intended. I know what he will say when you give him the choice to become a vampire. He'll turn you down. He's going to die, Merlin and I need to help if he'll let me."
Merlin frowned a little then and placed his hand over Harry's heart.
"Show me," Merlin said and Harry felt his mind race back to the moment when he had been in the tank.
It was as if he lived the seconds again at Merlin's command and the power of the wizard in front of him awed him. He felt Merlin understand, felt the other man reach into him and see the truth and then he was back, standing in the hospital wing. Merlin was looking him directly in the eye.
"This is what I did," Merlin told him and he was once again enveloped in memory, only this time it was not his, it was Merlin's.
He felt pain and desperation and need and overall, he felt love. It washed over him with such intensity that it took his breath away and he knew instantly why Dumbledore claimed it was the strongest force in the universe.
"Can you do that?" was Merlin's straightforward question when Harry finally came back to himself.
Before Harry had been thinking about tentative dates, maybe sneaking in a kiss or two, but there wasn't any time for that. Draco was dying; someone else he cared for was being taken away and his choices had been removed. He dipped into himself and found the fledgling flame of what he was feeling for Draco and he fed it, letting it burn higher and higher. There was no room for doubt, no time for wondering and finding his way; he just had to believe.
"I can do that," he said with all the certainty of a man obsessed.
Merlin smiled at him, but there was something almost sad in the immortal's eyes.
"Then we'll give him that choice as well," Merlin told him softly.
Then Merlin turned back to the rest of the room and walked towards Draco, Harry followed.
"We have to ask him now," Merlin said simply and went to Draco's bedside. "I can't wake him up completely or it will break the magic keeping him alive, but I can speak to his mind and he will be able to answer."
No one chose to object and as Harry watched, Merlin placed his hands on either side of Draco's head and closed his eyes.
"Draco," Merlin said in a low tone, as if hypnotised himself, "can you hear me?"
For a moment there was nothing and then Draco shifted slightly.
"Yes," was the whispered reply.
It sounded like such an effort for Draco to speak and Harry could almost feel Draco's pain.
"You are dying, Draco," Merlin said, but Harry was sure there was more information passing between the two; "do you understand?"
There was another pause.
"Yes," was the eventual reply.
"There is only one way to save you," were the words Merlin spoke aloud, but from the way Draco moved slightly, Harry could tell that Merlin was explaining far more without speech.
"No ..." Draco began to say, but Merlin did not break the connection.
"Listen," was all Merlin said so everyone could hear and Draco stilled again.
Harry knew that Merlin had to be showing Draco his offer and he waited.
"Too important," Draco more breathed than said, but Harry still heard it; "can't risk him."
That was the point where Harry gave up being rational and stepped up to the other side of the bed. Madam Pomfrey and Arthur tried to stop him, but he placed his hand over Merlin's and left himself wide open for Merlin's power. He was sucked in almost instantly and it felt as if he was floating in a fog, but as he moved forward two figures began to resolve. One was Merlin and here there was no denying what Merlin was as he looked at Harry with gold eyes, skin almost glowing with power, and the other was Draco.
"That was dangerous," Merlin said and he could feel the ancient wizard's power drawing him in.
"That was necessary," he replied, equally as firm in his view point.
"I won't let you sacrifice yourself for me," Draco said and sounded adamant.
It was clearly going to be one of those conversations.
"That's what I thought you were saying, which is why I came in here," he said, coming to a halt very close to the other two, "and let's get one thing straight, I am not more important than you."
Draco actually had the gall to laugh at him for that statement.
"Of course you are," Draco told him; "you are the only one who can kill Voldemort, that makes you the most important person on the planet at the moment."
"You're a Slytherin, you're supposed to be more interested in saving your own arse than the rest of the world, so just say yes," Harry countered in a very pointed tone.
For that comment Draco gave him a very cool stare, since they both knew Draco was not simply motivated by self-interest.
"If you fulfil the prophecy at least my family and friends will be safe," Draco said after a very heavy silence.
Harry looked over to Merlin for help, but the other wizard seemed to have gone all impassive ancient sage on him and he realised he was on his own.
"I am not some self-sacrificing Gryffindor idiot, okay," he said, feeling just a little desperate; "I'm not doing this out of some weird need to thank you for helping me. I'm in love with you," he ploughed on; "when you held me in reality I saw you, all of you, just for a moment. I saw behind the masks, behind the fear, the anger, the petty spite, the games. I saw you for who you really are and I fell in love with you."
It was the best he could do and it at least shocked Draco; Harry could tell that much. The Slytherin didn't seem to know what to say to that.
"I thought it was just me who saw you," Draco finally said very quietly and Harry realised it had been a two way street.
He knew he had Draco's full attention now.
"I know you probably think I can't possibly know that I love you," he tried to affirm his point, "but I do. If there is one thing Gryffindors are good at, it's knowing our hearts."
He stood there just waiting for something, for anything.
"That just makes you a bigger fool," Draco said, trying to sound snide if Harry was any judge and not managing it; "you are still too important."
Harry was not listening to that and he reached out, grabbed Draco and dragged him in for a kiss. It might have been their minds that were meeting, but it definitely felt physical and Harry had to make Draco understand. If the way Draco reacted on instinct and kissed him back was anything to go by, Harry was sure that he was not the only self-sacrificing idiot in the room.
"Don't you get it?" he asked as they finally parted. "This world of ours tries to take away everything I love: my parents; Sirius; and if all my life is just about Voldemort, he wins the final victory. I can't let you die anymore than I can let anyone else die and I can't just be about killing him. Please let me help you."
The silence seemed to stretch on forever as Draco just looked at him.
"You don't even know if it will work," Draco said eventually.
"Nothing in life is a sure thing, Draco," he said, refusing to give up, "not even for Slytherin masterminds, but some of us seem to come out winners when we gamble."
Draco frowned at him, clearly not sure.
"You must choose," Merlin said, finally entering the conversation, "time is running short."
Draco frowned some more.
"You really..?" Draco began to ask.
"Yes," Harry said, feeling exasperated; "I do, everything, whatever you could possibly be asking, yes!"
To begin with Draco looked startled by his outburst and then he smiled a little, amused.
"And there I thought maybe you had calmed down since your rebirth," Draco said and then looked over to Merlin. "You won't let me hurt him?"
Harry felt his heartbeat speeding up.
"As little as possible," Merlin replied with a nod.
It wasn't a positive answer, but Harry knew it was all Draco was going to get and he knew the answer when Draco looked back at him.
"Yes," Draco said simply and Harry couldn't help smiling.
"Say it aloud, Draco," Merlin said and then Harry found himself back in the hospital wing.
"Yes," Draco said in a tiny whisper, looking so fragile in the hospital bed.
Harry would have rejoiced, but it turned out that the mental connection took a lot of energy from those instigating it, even when Merlin was doing most of the work, and his knees collapsed under him, leaving him sitting on the floor. Not that he cared; he was too happy that Draco had not rejected him.
Surprisingly, even after they knew what he intended, no one tried to talk Harry out of it, not even Dumbledore. He wasn't sure if it was because Merlin made no objection or the fact that everyone had decided there was no point in arguing with someone who was clearly insane, but it made no difference.
If someone wanted it to be, the Room of Requirement could be the most secure place in Hogwarts and so that's where Merlin decided everything had to be done. While Merlin had been dealing with that, Arthur had taken Harry aside and explained a great many things, which was why Harry had gone to the prefect's bathroom and prepared himself for all possible outcomes. By the time he made it back to the Room of Requirement, it had been set up completely differently from when he had been in residence and everything seemed to have been prepared. He waited quietly off to one side as Arthur brought Draco in and placed him on the bed that was in the centre of the room.
The plan was really quite simple: Arthur would drink from Draco; Merlin could remove the magic keeping Draco in his current state; Arthur would feed Draco his blood, thus infecting Draco with vampirism; Merlin and Arthur would leave and Harry would wait for Draco to wake up. After that the strategy was a little vague, but then Draco probably would have said that was typical of all Gryffindor plans. Merlin would be keeping a mental eye on proceedings so those outside could stage an intervention if necessary, but Harry had no intention of letting that happen. If others had to come in then he had failed and he was not about to do that.
"Everyone ready?" Merlin asked, even though it was a redundant question; they were running out of time, they had to be ready.
Harry just nodded out of habit and so did Arthur. They had a little under a quarter of an hour before Merlin's magic keeping Draco alive would fail and they were not about to wait around.
"Harry, don't come near me while I'm doing this," Arthur said, pulling off his boots; "I need to bring the vampire out completely and I could be unpredictable."
The fact that he was going to be up close and personal with a vampire in the near future did not stop Harry's self-preservation instincts and he was not about to disagree.
"Okay," he said, moving to the far wall by the end of the bed.
The last thing he wanted to do was be a hindrance and staying out of the way was his best bet. His time would come later.
Merlin and Arthur spoke quietly in a tone Harry could not hear and then Arthur climbed onto the bed while Merlin stood by the side. Sitting Draco up, Arthur knelt behind him, pulling Draco against him so that Arthur was supporting Draco against his chest in a sitting position. Draco looked so small and pale next to Arthur, but, as Harry watched, Arthur's skin paled as well and the veil of humanity dropped away from the immortal king. It was like seeing Merlin when he was working magic, breathtaking, beautiful and a little bit frightening.
One of Arthur's arms was wound around Draco, holding the unconscious Slytherin firmly to him, the other was to the side, fingers holding Draco's arm in a steady grip. Arthur did not waste any time, opening his mouth to reveal very long sharp fangs, and sinking them into the vulnerable skin of Draco's neck.
It seemed to Harry like there should have been some reaction from Draco, some movement to acknowledge the act that was being committed on his body, but there was nothing. There was not even a hitch in Draco's slow breathing and Harry found that most disconcerting of all. It was as if the world was barely turning as virtual silence reigned in the room. He could hear Arthur drinking, but that was all.
The occasional dribble of blood escaped Arthur's mouth as he feasted, but there were no other signs that anything was happening at all. Only when Arthur finally drew back could Harry really see anything as the bloody wound on Draco's neck was revealed. Then, in the next second, Harry wished the quiet could have continued, because Merlin stepped forward and touched Draco, releasing the spell holding him in virtual stasis.
Draco's breathing went from slow and smooth to a raspy death rattle in the blink of an eye and Draco began to move. The movements weren't strong or even coordinated, but it was clear he was fighting and Harry was pretty sure Draco's only real opponent was death.
Arthur efficiently ripped into his own wrist with his teeth and then took Draco's chin in his other hand, tipping Draco's head back, forcing his mouth open and pushing the bloody wrist against it. Draco fought harder then as if he was trying to reject what was happening, but Arthur held him easily and eventually Harry saw Draco swallow. That was all it took, one drink of vampire blood from a vampire who had just fed from you; the circle was complete.
Harry felt the magic in the room shift and over a few seconds Draco became still again. It was done and the waiting was over. Finally there was something Harry could do other than watch and he picked up the bowl of warm water from the small table where Merlin had left it over a low flame and carried it to the bed. Draco was out cold now, but he was covered in blood and sweat and other things Harry did not think about and they were not about to leave Draco in that state to wake up. As Arthur held Draco, Merlin began efficiently stripping the Slytherin and Harry dunked a sponge into the lightly scented water.
Vampires were sensitive to magic, something Harry had not known, so they weren't using potions or spells directly on Draco while he was in such a fragile state. Hence the water had some gentle cleaning agents in it, but nothing inherently magical.
Harry refused to feel embarrassed about the fact that Draco's body fascinated him, after all he was not going to be leaving with Arthur and Merlin so he really needed to get used to the idea. Putting his own feelings aside, he set about using the sponge to gently clean Draco's face and neck while Merlin and Arthur finished stripping the unconscious Slytherin. Draco was still too thin, but he did seem to have been putting on some weight. Between Snape and Madam Pomfrey, Harry was sure Draco had been subjected to many Replenishing potions and he was beginning to look as if he at least ate.
Ignoring anything other than the functional duty he was performing, he carefully moved over Draco's body, washing away the signs of the struggle between life and death which had been going on in the Slytherin since he had collapsed. He had a job to do and that was all he focused on, making sure every inch of Draco was clean as Merlin and Arthur helped by moving Draco when necessary and using a soft towel to dry the pale skin when Harry was done.
It took them a good twenty minutes or so to finish and they worked in silence. Only when Draco was laid out serenely under a clean sheet and, looking for all the world as if he was sleeping peacefully, and the lights had been lowered did anyone speak.
"Time for us to go," Merlin said simply and took the cleaning equipment from Harry.
Harry also took his wand and gave it to Arthur to hold for him. Draco's wand was also in Arthur's keeping, because the last thing anyone wanted was a pissed off vampire to be armed.
"I will be watching," Merlin told him in a serious tone, "but if you need help call and I will act immediately. Do not sacrifice yourself for Draco if this does not work; he would not want it, understand?"
Harry nodded; he was all too aware of what was at risk, but he already knew it would work; it had to.
Merlin gave him a quick hug and then nodded towards the door.
"Good luck," was all Arthur said and then the two were going, leaving Harry by himself with the unconscious form of Draco.
It could take anything from an hour to six hours for the vampiric change to take place, so all Harry could do was wait. There was a chair placed at the end of the bed where he could see Draco clearly and he sat down on it, leant back and settled in to find out what would happen.
Harry had no real idea how much time had passed, but he thought it was a couple of hours by the time he finally saw Draco move. At first it was just the tiniest twitch, but given how completely still, almost deathly still, Draco had been for the whole time, Harry saw it. It was the fingers of Draco's right hand that moved first, just flexing the tiniest amount and stilling again for a few seconds before slowly curling up and then releasing. The movement almost looked like a test and then, in one fluid movement, Draco sat up, the sheet sliding down his body and pooling around his waist.
Draco's eyes glittered in the dim candlelight in the room as if they were full of little red sparks. The only way to describe the expression on Draco's face was hungry.
"Hello, Harry," Draco said, voice low and sexy.
There was no humanity in Draco's features, no caring, just lust and need, and Harry was in no doubt about the danger he was in. Doubt suddenly flared in his heart: if he failed in what he intended to do not only would Draco be condemned to remain a vampire, but he could very well be killed by Draco's first hunger. Even Merlin might not be able to save him. It took an effort of will to push the feeling away.
"Hello, Draco," Harry replied, staying right where he was at the end of the bed.
"I can smell your arousal," Draco said, crawling out from under the covers onto all fours like a big cat.
"Your lines are usually better than that," Harry said, although his breath caught in his throat at the sight of Draco, naked and slinking towards him.
If he had had any doubts that he liked the male of the species, they would have been dashed by the way his body was reacting. Draco smiled at him, a wide smile with long deadly fangs where his incisors should have been.
"It wasn't a line," Draco replied, stopping in front of him, just out of reach and kneeling up; "I can and I like it. Why don't you come closer?"
Harry felt pressure on his mind trying to compel him to move, but he stood his ground; it was not the easiest thing, but he had gone against worse.
"No," he said firmly, remaining out of reach, although he doubted he would be for long if Draco felt like pushing the point, "I want to negotiate first."
Draco's smile widened at that.
"Why should I?" the Slytherin asked, glancing around the room as if checking for other people. "You can't stop me taking what I want."
"Actually I could," he replied, sure of himself even in such circumstance, "but I don't want to."
Draco's expression had hardened at his first words, but the vampire was looking interested by the end.
"I know what you want to do, Harry," Draco said, voice as smooth as silk, "why should I even let you try?"
That was the crux of the matter; Draco as a human might have been willing, but from what Arthur had said, a vampire's outlook was very different. Harry knew that he had to interest the vampire before he could find the man underneath.
"Look at it this way," he said, letting his eyes roam the lines of Draco's body, unable to help himself, "if I succeed, you end up immune to most problems vampires have and you're still immortal, if I fail, you get to eat me anyway, which will give you strength to try and get out of here, and either way you get me willing and responsive. It's a win/win situation."
For a moment or two Draco appeared thoughtful and then smiled again.
"You make excellent points," Draco responded and looked him up and down, raising one aristocratic eyebrow, "but I can't see what I'm getting."
Vampires were interested in two things, blood and sex, and Harry had been under no illusions about what he had to do. He'd put a robe on after his bath, but that was all and, with a shrug, it fell to the floor.
"Will you come here now?" Draco asked with an almost innocent expression.
Harry stepped out of the pool of his robe and towards the bed. He had never thought he was much to look at, but the way Draco's eyes were roaming over his body hungrily he had to believe he wasn't too bad. Draco knelt up, all pale flesh and oozing power and Harry let himself be caught, just a little. The fact that Draco was hard and focussed entirely on him gave him a little thrill and when Draco reached out a hand, he took it and let himself be drawn onto the bed. He knelt in front of Draco, eyes closing as Draco lent in to him and drew in a deep breath.
"You've never done this before," Draco said in little more than a whisper.
That almost made Harry laugh.
"You know when I found out I liked boys," he said, using the moment to fight the hold Draco's vampire power was trying to put on him.
For once Draco did not seem interested in laughing at him and wrapped an arm around him, drawing him close in a very possessive gesture.
"I meant never," Draco said as Harry's mind tried to dance away as his cock bumped against Draco's in the close embrace, "not with a boy or a girl. You're pure."
That was not a term he would have used, but he really couldn't think of anything to say in light of the new sensations running through him as someone touched him where nothing but his own hand had been before trying to make his brain melt.
"Yes," he acknowledged, since he couldn't be bothered with arguing.
Draco smiled, revealing his fangs again, sending shivers of anticipation through Harry. He couldn't help remembering how Arthur had bitten Merlin and he really couldn't say he was afraid anymore.
"I never knew you were such a good boy, Harry," Draco purred in his ear, licking along the edge in a way that made him moan. "I'm going to have you, My Little Gryffindor."
"I'm not little," Harry managed to reply with just a little outrage, even as Draco nibbled lightly on his ear and made him forget why he wanted to be outraged in the first place.
Draco pushed his hips forward while holding Harry in place and the friction was unbelievably good, making Harry grab at Draco, half to stop from overbalancing and half because he wanted them to stay as close as possible. For someone whose most amazing physical encounter was kissing a girl when she didn't burst into tears, it was incredible and Harry wanted more. He tried to moved his own hips against Draco's to take a little control, but Draco pulled away slightly as soon as he tried and he found himself whining in loss.
"So eager," Draco said, clearing enjoying every second, "but I think I want to taste you first."
Taking hold of his glasses, Draco pulled them off Harry's face and just tossed them into a corner. If Harry had had the brain power, he would have protested, but he just wanted that closeness back. He was turned on like he had never been turned on before and he wanted more; he was greedy for more and it never even occurred to him to object when Draco pulled him close again. Draco's lips touched his neck and he felt a warm, wet tongue dart over his skin and he just let his head fall to one side to give Draco better access. In that moment he didn't care what was actually happening and for just a little while he forgot why he was there and let himself enjoy it.
He was not playing a role or fulfilling a duty, he wanted Draco, fully and for real and he gave himself over to the vampire completely. He felt Draco's fangs slide into his skin and it hurt; it hurt so much that he shuddered and moaned and his eyes pricked with tears, but there was something else as well. He couldn't define it, but it stopped him trying to pull away, even with the pain, and he finally understood what made a hunting vampire so dangerous. There was nothing tangible, no one thing that made him want to stay, but the act spoke to the very basest parts of him nature. His body was flooded with adrenaline and hormones and he was riding so high he could have been on a broom.
He knew he was losing it; his mind felt fuzzy and his head was spinning and his time was running out. This was not about sex and blood, it was about far more and he could not relinquish that. It was time and he knew it as clearly as he remembered his own name.
There were no instructions on what he had to do next, no plan or carefully laid out ritual. What Merlin had done had been instinctive, he had felt it when Merlin had shown him and he had to go the same way. Fighting through the haze trying to descend on his mind, he found the flame of emotion he had been feeding constantly since he had realised what he had to do. When he wanted to be, he was single minded and completely focused and it was burning brightly. There was only one thing left to do and he fed it with his magic. Like setting a match to gas, he felt a kind of metaphorical explosion within himself and his magic flared.
He felt Draco stiffen against him, fangs still buried in his flesh, and then the physical disappeared. His mind was capable of throwing off the Imperius cure from Voldemort and when totally committed it was an amazing and dangerous thing. Backed up by the powerful emotions he had let build and build, it forced his magic in one direction and one direction only; straight into Draco. It was like a wave crashing into a rock as he hit Draco's own considerable power, but his magic wound round the rock like a blanket and there were cracks in the armour that his own power could seep through.
He did not care about himself, about maintaining his own being, all he cared about was Draco and he was completely committed. With everything he had, he pushed at the alien force keeping him out; he let it reach back and contaminate him as he threw away all his defences in his need to reach Draco. They merged, bit by bit, Draco fighting him all the way, until finally he touched something beyond the outer shield. Something exploded just as he had. It felt like he was being shattered along with the protection around Draco's magic and for a while everything went away in the super nova of power.
Harry hummed quietly in the back of his throat and squirmed a little; something felt really good. It took him a few more seconds to work out what it was and then he realised that there was a tongue and lips on his neck, gently doing things that were sending wonderful sensations down his nerves. He blinked open his eyes to find Draco leaning over him and he couldn't contain the moan the forced its way out of him as Draco lightly nibbled on his neck. That was when he felt the lips against his neck twisting into a smile.
"I wasn't sure you were ready to wake up," Draco said, voice little more than a whisper and then Draco pulled back.
Harry felt rested so he assumed he had been asleep some time and the first thing he noticed was that Draco appeared human; the pale skin and glittering eyes were no longer prominent. Draco was still pale, but then some of the ghosts had better colour than Draco on a good day. Harry couldn't help himself, he reached out to touch and his fingers gently grazed the side of Draco's face.
"You did it," Draco said as if needing to assert the truth; "don't ask me how, but you did it."
"How do you feel?" Harry asked, lifting himself up on one elbow.
"Strange," Draco replied with a small smile, "but a lot more human than I did. How about you?"
For once there was no hint of derision in Draco's question, only concern.
Harry thought about that, since he had only just woken up, and he couldn't say he felt much different. There was the sense of something else in the back of his mind, which he knew instinctively was Draco, but, other than that, not a lot seemed to have changed. It was, however, as he glanced at one of the candles dancing merrily in its holder on the wall that something rather obvious occurred to him. He sat up rather rapidly and stared around the room.
"What?" Draco asked, sounding just a little worried.
"My eyes," Harry said and then laughed as he gazed around, climbing to his knees so he could see everything.
"Potter, stop talking in riddles," Draco said, clearly a little annoyed at not understanding.
At that Harry turned to his lover and grinned.
"What am I not wearing?" he asked simply.
"Anything at all," Draco said and Harry felt himself blushing at the heat of Draco's gaze as his lover looked him up and down.
"My glasses, you idiot," Harry said, smiling brightly, "and I can see you perfectly."
That made Draco smile as well.
"Good, because I like seeing your eyes," was Draco's swift response, "and now that you are no longer myopic you can find your way over here, because I believe we were in the middle of something that you interrupted."
Harry felt all his body heat pool in his belly and his loins at that and he walked on his knees back to Draco as his lover knelt up to meet him.
"I did, didn't I," he said, allowing Draco to gently draw him in until they were skin to skin.
There was no longer a need to do this, nothing forcing either of them into it, but Harry found he wanted to just as much as before.
"May I taste you?" Draco asked, sounding almost reverent.
"Yes," Harry replied without hesitation; "you can do anything you like."
That probably wasn't a wise thing to say to a Slytherin, but Harry meant it, so he said it anyway. Draco gave him a little smile for that and lent forward so that they were forehead to forehead.
"I'm going to take you up on that," Draco said, all but breathing it rather than saying it.
Harry's breath caught in his throat at the tone, but he was a little surprised when Draco gently kissed him on the lips. Draco had not attempted anything like that before and it made everything that much more intimate somehow. He kissed back, not really sure what he was doing, but following his instincts and opening his mouth when Draco's tongue touched his lips. In the back of his mind he wondered if that is what Draco had meant about tasting him and he allowed Draco access to his mouth as he did his best to give as good as he got. He was breathless by the time Draco broke away and began to kiss along his jaw line and then down his neck.
The skin was still tender where Draco had bitten him before; vampire bites healing much faster than normal wounds, but not having had time to return to normal. He heard himself whimper quietly as Draco's lips touched the sensitive spot in the same way as that which had woken him up. This time when Draco opened his mouth and bit him, the pain was there, but the pleasure blossomed in him instantly almost as if he was feeling Draco's pleasure at drinking from him. He gasped and clung to Draco as his nerves sung and all he could hear was the blood pumping through his veins. The arousal pounding through him was almost blinding and he wasn't sure if he wanted the bite to go on and on or if he needed it to stop.
When Draco finally pulled back, Harry sagged as the intense sensation was suddenly cut off and he leant against Draco as he let his system slowly settle down. Given the way Draco was leaning against him as well, he thought it might have been as intense for Draco.
"Lie down," Draco urged him and he let Draco help lower him to the bed.
Harry did not have a submissive personality, but he was new at this, clearly Draco wasn't, and there was something very dominant and protective about the way Draco was handling the whole thing. It kind of made his belly flicker with excitement and he decided to just go with the flow.
"You are delicious," Draco told him with a predatory smile and Harry felt himself flushing, because the way Draco was looking at him meant his lover was not just talking about how he tasted.
"You know what you're doing, right?" he felt silly for asking, but needed to anyway.
"Since I was fifteen," Draco replied, running a finger down his chest; "one of the older Slytherins was happy to show me the ropes, for a price of course. He was a very good teacher."
The idea of that kind of arrangement boggled Harry's mind, but then there were some parts of the Slytherin mind he knew he would never understand. Since Draco seemed quite happy about it, Harry just accepted it.
"And now," Draco said, flicking a fingertip over one nipple and making him gasp, "I will teach you and I expect you to be a very good student, because we're going to be doing this a lot."
That made Harry smile; Draco was nothing if not direct when it came to sex it seemed.
"You'd be amazed how good a student I am when I enjoy the curriculum," he replied and gasped again as Draco applied attention to his other nipple.
"Let's see how attentive you are," Draco replied and smiled that very dangerous smile again.
It should have warned Harry that Draco was about to take him apart; it was the same smile Draco used when cocksure about beating him to the snitch, but he still wasn't prepared.
"Bloody hell," was about all he could say when Draco started to touch him and one hand snaked down his body and onto his cock while Draco used his mouth on one of the nipples he had just made hypersensitive.
It took Draco less than a minute to have him incoherent and within five he was splayed on the bed, boneless and almost so hard it hurt. Not that Harry had anything to compare it to, but Draco appeared to be very, very good at sex. He had no choice but to let Draco lead, because he had very little motor control to attempt anything himself.
"I still haven't tasted you everywhere," Draco whispered in his ear and Harry was confused for about five seconds, which was the time it took Draco to shimmy down his body and wrap sinful lips around his cock.
He couldn't help it; it took one suck and he was coming with absolutely nothing he could do about it. That just seemed to urge Draco to swallow him whole and milk him for every last drop. He felt as if his brain had been liquefied by the time Draco shimmied back up him looking inordinately pleased with himself and licking his lips. Harry wasn't sure if he should be mortified or not, so he blushed for good measure.
"Staying power comes with practice," Draco said, smirking, but seeming to understand his dilemma, "but not to worry; you'll be ready again by the time we get to the main event."
The smirk dropped off Draco's face then and Harry found himself looking in to thoughtful, serious eyes.
"That's if you want me," Draco said and for the first time Harry saw just a touch of doubt.
It seemed that even Slytherins has moments when they were not supremely confident. Doing his very best to put together thought and motor control at the same time; not an easy feat given what they had just done, Harry pushed himself up on one arm.
"I love you," he said simply, reaching out and touching Draco, "and I want you. That is the only reason we are here."
The plain honest truth seemed to be the best way to go since it explained everything. They might have been forced into this by circumstance, but Harry always went in to everything with his whole heart and he had given that to Draco.
"That feeling in the back of your mind," he said with a small smile and poked Draco's chest; "that's me and you're stuck with me."
That seemed to snap Draco out of his self-doubt and Draco smiled again.
"Then," Draco said, confidence blooming again, "I assume you came prepared."
"Table drawer," Harry said, heartbeat speeding up again where it had just started to slow down.
There was a small table next to the bed where Harry had placed anything they might need and Draco moved away towards it and came back with a small pot in his hand. Lube was not something Harry had much experience with, but Arthur had assured him the small pot would work well.
"Roll onto your front and lift up just a bit," Draco told him, "and I'll show you what all the fuss is about."
Harry couldn't help being a little nervous as he did as he was asked, going partially to his knees as Draco moved round behind him.
"Just relax," Draco told him, brushing a hand over his buttocks, "and I'll do the rest."
That of course was easy to say, but not so much to do and Harry tried his best to concentrate on how nice it felt to have Draco playing with his arse rather than how nervous the vulnerable position made him feel. When Draco dragged one lubricated finger over his exposed hole, he couldn't help shifting on the bed; it felt so weird.
"Get comfortable, Harry," Draco said, voice calm, but serious, "we're going to be here for a while."
Taking a long, slow deep breath, Harry made himself settle down and he relaxed into a more comfortable position that still gave Draco access and Draco went back to stroking his arse. It lulled him into a sense of security which meant when Draco slowly pushed one lubricated finger into him it slid in easily. The sensation was pleasant and caused his cock to throb with arousal at the intimacy of the gesture. He was a little surprised at how quickly he was getting hard again, but as Draco worked he found his arousal building in leaps and bounds.
"I think you may be a natural," Draco told him as he moaned when two fingers were pushed into him and he just opened up for them.
"So good," was all Harry found to say.
He had tried to imagine what this would be like, but he had failed on just about every level. Hermione had tried to give him a little talk on being gay and how not everyone liked everything, bless her heart for trying, but it had been unnecessary, because he definitely liked it. Draco worked him looser and looser and it felt amazing and the little comments of praise Draco dropped in every now and then made his feel cared for and wanted. In the end, after Draco had worked up to three fingers and had him moaning wantonly, he was rather disappointed when the fingers were removed.
"Onto you back now," Draco told him in a tone that begged no argument; "I want to be able to see your face when I slide inside."
His nervousness spiked at that, but he turned over and couldn't help it as his gaze ran over Draco and centred on the long, erect cock hanging between his lover's legs. Somehow that cock looked a lot bigger than fingers.
"Lift your legs," Draco said, and then helped him into position as he moved to obey.
The smile Draco gave him was almost as hungry as the one he had seen on his lover when he had been fully vampire and Harry swallowed down the desire to squirm. Draco's gaze was hot and appreciative and Harry could almost feel it like a physical thing. He felt very strange and exposed with his legs in the air. Draco was being so firm, but so gentle as well. There was no doubt in his mind that Draco was going to have him as he had promised before and it made him tremble just to think about it; not from fear but from anticipation. As Draco moved over him, he looked up into Draco's eyes and the silver grey eyes staring back at him glowed just slightly, making Harry heartbeat speed up even more.
He could not take his eyes off Draco as his lover reached for the pot of lube and slicked himself from root to tip.
"Are you ready for me, Harry?" Draco asked, leaning back over him as if he owned him.
"Yes," Harry said, feeling every second of anticipation as if it was an hour.
When Draco's cock touched his arse, just lightly, he almost tensed up, but Draco waited, seeming to sense the momentary anxiety and then he nodded. With his permission, Draco carefully eased forward, pushing against him and then in to him. For a moment he thought his body would object and refuse Draco entry as his muscles complained, but Draco kept pushing and Harry felt himself open up as Draco filled him.
He wasn't really sure what noise came out of his mouth as Draco slid into him, something between pleasure and discomfort and he let his head fall back onto the bed as he breathed through the disconcerting sensations. There was a little pain, but nothing the made him want Draco to stop and it definitely didn't stop his cock from throbbing mercilessly.
Draco did not push all the way home, but after waiting a few seconds Draco pulled out again someway before sliding back in. This time Draco moaned as well and Harry gave up trying to be even remotely coherent. He felt vulnerable and possessed and loved in a way he could not explain. The physical sensations were astounding and the emotional ones just compounded the experience.
The third time Draco thrust into him carefully, he felt his body give even more, as if it was loosening up in stages and this time Draco slid all the way home and Harry shuddered from head to foot at the sensation. He wanted this, he wanted it so much, but part of him really couldn't believe he was doing it; it made him whimper with need.
"Ssh," Draco said gently, albeit somewhat breathlessly and reach down to gently touch his face, "I've got you."
Draco moved so precisely, so perfectly that Harry had no fear as all, he just needed. With a couple more thrusts Draco was moving freely in and out of him, making his arse ache in delightful submission and he wanted as much as Draco had to give. It was part pain, part pleasure and all passion.
"Love me," he all but begged.
He wasn't really sure what he meant; he just needed and Draco leaned down, kissing him as they remained intimately joined.
"Always," was the surprisingly open response.
Then, before he could reply Draco upped the pace and Harry couldn't remotely talk. When Draco changed the angle as well, brushing past a place inside him that seemed to light up every nerve in his body with bruising force he choked out a cry. He couldn't hold both of his legs anymore as one of his hands slipped off and he flung it over his head, grabbing onto the pillow and squeezing his eyes shut. It was almost too much sensation and he honestly didn't know how long he could take it.
"Stay with me, Harry," Draco told him, voice tight and sounding just as needy as he felt.
He could feel his nerves going into overload as his body tried to process so many new sensations, but he clung on, holding himself ready for Draco's firm thrusts. Time just disappeared and Harry's world narrowed down to the contact between himself and Draco. When fingers wrapped around his rock hard cock, that was it; he lost it and the world disappeared in white heat and bright flashes behind his eyes.
"Oh shit," he just about heard Draco say and then Draco was ramming home and shuddering inside him and he felt his whole body flood with the most incredible pleasure.
Coming down was quite a slow process and the overwhelming pleasure was gradually replaced by the most remarkable feeling of contentment. It occurred to him that Draco was still in him and above him and he finally opened his eyes, blinking back the left over sparkles from the incredibly intense experience. Draco's eyes were still closed and it looked like Draco was still in place more by luck than judgement. When grey eyes finally did open and look down at him, Draco seemed just as dazed and happy as he was.
The contentment dropped just a little when Draco slowly pulled out, because that smarted more than Harry wanted to admit, but it began to feel better once he could put his legs down and Draco collapsed beside him.
"Merlin's beard, that was good," Draco said, half laying on his side and seemingly having no intention of moving.
Given that his brain was moving very slowly, Harry didn't reply immediately and his thoughts fixed on, probably, the least useful part of the sentence.
"Merlin doesn't have a beard," he said and then felt incredibly silly as Draco laughed at him.
Clearly his mind after sex was not the most illuminated of places.
Harry thought he was being very patient having just sat through Madam Pomfrey throwing diagnostic charms at him from every angle and now having Merlin giving him the once over as well. He appreciated the concern, but other than being just a little sore he was fine.
"For the blood loss," Merlin said and handed him a vial which he knocked back without arguing, "and for the soreness," Merlin added and grinned at him while handing over a little pot of salve.
He really tried not to blush, but he couldn't help it.
"And if he's anything like Arthur was at the beginning," Merlin confided in a whisper, "you're going to need it if you want to be able to sit down in the near future."
Harry blushed even redder, but took the little pot gratefully.
"Thanks," he said and pocketed it.
"You're welcome," Merlin said in a very warm tone, "just make sure he lets you have a go at topping at some point; that's fun too."
That settled it; he was now sure Merlin was trying to make him become a tomato without transfiguring him directly.
"He seems a bit dominant for that at the moment," he replied quietly, wanting Merlin's advice.
Merlin nodded and patted him on the knee.
"That's the vampire coming out," Merlin assured him, "and he'll get the hang of it after a little while. Until he has, just make sure he understands the concept of 'no', because he's going to be pushy. If necessary a locally applied Stinging Hex works very well as a training mechanism."
That made Harry wince just at the thought; he didn't think it would come to that.
"So noted," he replied and then smiled at the idea of Draco's reaction to being trained.
Draco's pride definitely wouldn't like that notion.
"Why did you push me and Draco together?" he asked as one thought led to another and it occurred to him.
Merlin smiled at that and sat down next to him on the bed.
"It's a little hard to explain," Merlin told him thoughtfully, "but I suppose you could say I see connections."
"Connections?" Harry asked, not sure what Merlin meant.
"Between people and things," Merlin explained, clearly trying to put something in to words. "Morgana has visions of the future and sometimes the past, but I've never been like that, but I do see things other people don't. Some connections are very strong even if they haven't been fulfilled. I think I might see what the world intended even if things got in the way. I sensed the connection between you and Draco before I ever met you or I really knew who you were and when we came through onto the roof; wow it was unmistakable."
That was news to Harry, although he and Draco had rather gravitated around each other while at school.
"I believe that if Voldemort and everything hadn't ended up in the way you two would have been very close," Merlin continued to explain, "and, as Arthur is very fond of pointing out, I cannot resist meddling. I never envisioned this, but I do like to put the universe back on track when I can."
Harry tried to imagine what it must be like to see such things and failed, so he just accepted what Merlin said.
"Thank you," he said and nudged Merlin with his arm; "I like your meddling."
That earned him a big smile from Merlin and he hopped off the bed ready to track down his other half. He winced a little as his arse complained and decided he was taking a trip to the boy's loos first to use some of the salve. There were some sacrifices he was willing to make, but he was all for solutions as well.
The whole school knew Harry and Draco were an item after Draco had decided the alcove outside one of the classrooms would be a good place to molest Harry just as lessons let out for lunch on one memorable Tuesday morning. Luckily Draco had only made it as far as shoving a hand up his shirt and kissing him senseless, so Harry hadn't been too mortified. Draco seemed inordinately pleased that the secret was out, Harry was just glad no one had snapped a picture to send to the Prophet.
It was almost the end of term and things in the school were winding down, but things behind the scenes were just winding up. The Room of Requirement had been put to a lot of use just lately and now it had a new one as well: war room. Merlin and Dumbledore had been conspiring and Harry really wanted to see what they had come up with. Everyone was finally invited to see it the day before the last day of term.
"You have to be kidding," were the words out of Arthur's mouth when they were let in.
There, in the centre of the room was one very large round table and Harry found himself grinning at Arthur's reaction. Since Dumbledore was looking inordinately pleased with himself, Harry guessed who had decided on that part of the décor. There was also a large map of the UK on one wall with what looked like magnetic pieces on it representing Death Eaters and Ministry forces. Given that it was magical, Harry doubted it was magnets doing the work, but it all came out as the same usefulness.
"A little nostalgia never hurt anyone," Merlin said, clearly enjoying Arthur's reaction as much as Dumbledore.
"Very functional," was what Lucius said, walking into the room to look around.
Ever since Draco had fallen ill, Harry knew that Lucius had completely abandoned all pretence of being a helpless refugee and had been in conference with Dumbledore and Snape a lot of the time. It seemed that trying to kill his son and heir meant a lot more to the man than trying to kill him or his wife. Draco had tried to explain that it was to do with the family line, but Harry really couldn't see the distinction and had decided that it must be a pureblood thing he would never understand.
Harry did not know what the adults had decided, because he'd been far too busy with Draco and their settling bond to be able to concentrate on anything else, but Lucius had given an exclusive interview to the Prophet telling the whole world exactly what he thought of Voldemort. It had been front page news and had made the man a number one target, but also had some other Voldemort supporters making careful enquiries. The more foot soldiers Voldemort lost the better, so Harry could understand the tactic.
Given that Draco seemed as curious as his father, Harry followed his lover around the room looking into the various corners. It was a very well equipped room with everything from Dumbledore's pensieve down to a continually renewing teapot.
"Did you have to make it a perfect replica?" he heard Arthur ask Merlin very quietly as everyone looked around.
"It wouldn't have been any fun if it hadn't been," Merlin replied in an equally low tone that sounded amused to Harry.
There was clearly something about the table that had Arthur wound up which Merlin thought was funny.
"You're asking for it, you know that, don't you?" Arthur said after a moment and Harry looked at Draco to find that his lover was listening as well.
Draco could probably hear what was going on much better than he could.
"It's not my fault you have a fetish for that particular table," Merlin said in what sounded like a mock innocent tone. "How many times did you have me on it again? I forget and that was before you were a vampire."
Arthur actually growled at that and Harry grinned at Draco; he knew only too well how little control vampires often had over their libidos and Merlin was setting himself up to be nailed in the very near future. He would bet that the war room was going to be christened some time before the day was out.
"We will be having our first Order meeting this evening," Dumbledore said and brought everyone to attention, "but there are a few matters I would like to discus first with the few of us who are here."
Everyone walked over to the table and automatically ringed it and Harry felt a sudden sense of destiny in the air. Dumbledore was stood directly in front of the war board like he had found the head of the table even though there wasn't one; Merlin and Arthur were stood side by side just to his right; Snape was on the left with Morgana; Harry had gravitated to the opposite side to the headmaster with Draco at his side and Lucius and Narcissa were to Draco's right while Ron and Hermione were to Harry's left. It was as if they all clicked into place.
"Many things have changed over the past days," Dumbledore said as they all came to order and Harry found himself looking at Draco and reaching out for his lover's hand.
Surprisingly, Draco did not brush him off as being sentimental, but wrapped fingers around his own and then looked towards his parents.
"And we are faced with an escalating war," the headmaster continued, "but I have no doubt we shall prevail."
Once Harry might have thought it was just a speech, but he had no doubt anymore either. Before he had known what needed to be done and he had believed they had a chance, but now he believed they truly would win. The Slytherins didn't appear quite so sure, but then they were Slytherins and plan B was part of their natures.
"The Ministry are..." Dumbledore started to say.
"Being as incompetent as ever," Lucius said before the headmaster could make it any flowerier.
Surprisingly that made Dumbledore smile more than anything else.
"Cutting," was his comment, "but true. I had hoped that we might combine our forces, but it is clear that, once again, the Order of the Phoenix will have to stand alone in the shadows. There are also certain details of which even they may not be made aware."
Now Dumbledore looked over to Merlin and Arthur.
"The Horcruxes," Arthur said simply; "to allow knowledge of them out at this time would be detrimental to finding them."
That went without saying; the last thing they needed was for Voldemort to go and hide them all again.
"Hence we are going to have a dedicated team set to retrieving them," Arthur continued, "headed by me. Ron, Hermione, we would appreciate it if you would lend you skills to searching out the Horcruxes."
Ron nodded, seemingly rather dumbfounded to be included so readily.
"Of course," Hermione replied.
"And then when we find each one," Arthur said, nodding at both of Harry's friends, "Draco and I will retrieve it for disposal."
That made Harry turn and look at his lover; Draco did not seem remotely surprised and Harry had the feeling he had missed some discussion between Arthur and Draco at some point. Of course that did lead to one obvious question for Harry and he opened his mouth to ask; "What about me?", but was cut off by Merlin.
"While this is going on," Merlin said smoothly, looking him in the eye and letting him know his question was being pre-empted, "I will be training Harry. We all know where this is going to end and Harry's magic has changed twice recently, once drastically and once in reaction to his and Draco's bond. By the time the Horcruxes are all destroyed Harry will be prepared for the final battle."
Harry swallowed hard at that and Draco squeezed his hand in support; it sounded like some grand quest rather than his life, but he nodded his assent. The amount of things Merlin could teach him kind of boggled his mind, but they all had jobs to do and this was his, so he would learn.
"Professor Snape and I," Morgana said, taking over smoothly, "are working on certain potions. One of these is the Wolfsbane potion for which we have some improvements. We will be offering this to the disgruntled werewolf population in return for their support. This will be our first aim, after which we will be turning our sights to the vampire population. Our aim is to undermine Voldemort's support among those traditionally associated with the dark arts."
"Which leaves myself and Narcissa," Lucius joined the conversation. "In the past day alone we have received five tentative enquiries after our health, which for the Gryffindors among us, means there are those among the Dark Lord's ranks who wish to reassess their options. We will be pursuing these individuals to ascertain if they are serious or not and gathering forces to aid us from within this group."
Harry smiled a little at the Gryffindor comment, but it was such a huge moment that he had little humour to spare. They were going to war, for real; this was not about covert little jobs anymore or him and Dumbledore going off together to find things. By arriving as they did Merlin and Arthur had changed everything and for once the Light was ahead of the game. He was under no illusions that it would go all their own way, or that it would not be hard, but for the first time in a long time he felt as if they were winning.
Since the attempted invasion of Hogwarts so much about him had altered: he had found out that legends were real; part of Voldemort's soul had been removed from his body, changing him in ways he could not have imagined; his magic had radically changed in the way he could access it; and he had bonded with Draco, joining them together forever. It was quite stunning and yet uplifting as well. They were at a new beginning and hope had been reborn.