Title: Reformation 01/05 (Corruption Sequence Pt 4)
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 set post OOTP but went AU before HBP came out.
Summary: Harry is officially free, but that does not mean he is ready to return to his normal life and he is still very aware that he can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. He is also beginning to realise that his relationship with Draco is anything by simple.
Sequel to: Fourth in the Corruption Sequence after Pt1 Corruption | Pt2 Distortion | Pt 3 Alteration
Author's Notes: Thanks to Soph for the beta (don't know what I'd do without her :)).
My Fanfic Listings (LJ) | My Fanfic Listings (DreamW)
Links: Ch1 | Ch2 | Ch3 | Ch4 | Ch5
Chapter 1 The World Knows
Harry woke slowly, which, these days was unusual for him, and opened his eyes feeling rested and relaxed. That feeling lasted about three seconds until he realised that he was alone and he sat up with a frown. He remembered falling asleep wrapped in an embrace with Draco, but now his lover was gone, and that annoyed him on several levels. Ready to storm to the bathroom, he moved back the cover on the bed, at which point he found the note stuck to the pillow with a charm that released the moment he touched it.
I tried to wake you, but you must have really needed the rest, because all I got was a grunt for my trouble. Dobby brought the special edition of the Prophet in, which is what woke me. Seems that the whole paper is full of you, and I mean cover to cover, from pictures of you as a baby to the pictures their photographer snapped after the hearing. I had a quick look and left it on the desk for you; I think you may be pleasantly surprised and I suggest you read it. I'll see you later: send Dobby when you've finished with the werewolf.
The annoyance lessened, although it did not go away completely; he had been looking forward to waking up beside a warm body and part of him did not take disappointment well. Climbing out of bed, he stretched leisurely and walked across the room to his desk. The paper was folded in half with the headline and a very large picture of Harry fainting into Remus' arms upwards. To his surprise the words were not a condemnation of what he was and for a moment he stared at it.
"Down But Not Out" he read it over again just to make sure and then picked up the paper to find out what the article with the headline said.
Earlier today Harry Potter made his first public appearance since his heroic defeat of He Who Must Not Be Named. It could clearly be seen that The Boy Who Lived is still suffering after his encounter with The Dark Lord. In a later press release the Ministry revealed that after his kidnapping, Harry Potter was subjected to a version of the Crevitemero ceremony in which magic from several dark creatures was forced into his body. The hearing which The Boy Who Lived attended today concluded that he bore no responsibility in this situation and cannot be considered a danger to society. The corruption of Harry Potter failed.
Harry stopped reading and slowly sat down; this was not what he had expected at all. Spreading the paper out on the desk, he ignored the fact that he was completely naked and just began to read in earnest.
"Hello, Remus," Harry greeted as soon as his friend entered the room.
He had finished reading, had a quick bite to eat and then sent the message he was available for visitors while he dressed. Remus had come straight away and Harry had the craziest urge to wag a tail he did not at the moment possess, and he found himself smiling broadly. The werewolf in him acknowledged the werewolf in Remus and Harry felt completely at ease as Remus smiled back and bowed his head slightly in greeting.
"You're looking much better," Remus said in a warm tone.
That was enough for Harry and he crossed the room and wrapped his ex-professor in a hug. There were few people he felt as close to as Remus anymore; they shared something no one else he knew could understand. The only person he felt closer to was Draco and that was for entirely different reasons.
"Thank you for this morning," he said, so incredibly glad Remus had been there for him.
"You're welcome," Remus said in such a genuine tone that it made Harry's heart hurt. "How are you feeling now?"
"As close to sane as I get these days," Harry replied, leading his friend over to the arm chairs and sofa. "Draco is very good at putting me back together."
Remus sat down with a thoughtful little smile.
"Not a talent I would have ever guessed that young man possessed," was the werewolf's considered opinion. "He always seems so much better at taking things apart."
"He does that too," Harry replied and then remembered who he was talking to and felt himself blushing.
At that Remus actually laughed, which was a blessing.
"I think you are showing a lot more of your father these days," Remus said and rather surprised him; "if I let them he and Sirius would never shut up with the innuendos. Your mum despaired sometimes in polite company."
Harry wasn't sure if it was his dad he was channelling or it was just the fact that he had sex at the front of his mind most of the time, but he had to admit it was a little different from how he had been. He managed a small smile through his embarrassment.
"Did you see the paper?" he asked, deciding that changing the subject would be a good plan before he died of mortification.
"I read it from front to back," Remus replied with a nod; "I was quite astounded."
"Yeah," Harry admitted, glancing at the copy he had on the desk; "me too. I don't think Rita Skeeter has ever been that nice about me even when she liked me. She even sounded genuine in places."
Remus leant forward a little, catching his gaze directly.
"There were a lot of people in the courtroom today, Harry," Remus said simply; "I think she was being genuine."
That made him stop for a moment; he didn't really understand what Remus was trying to say.
"But they saw how dangerous I am," he pointed out.
It did not make sense that seeing what he had done in court would make people like him; all he'd done was prove how deadly he was.
"Oh Harry, you really don't see it do you?" Remus said, sounding just a little sad. "What have we done to you since you stepped into our world?"
Harry frowned; he still didn't understand.
"They saw you, Harry," Remus told him while looking straight in the eye; "they saw a scared teenager trying to deal with things no one should ever have to cope with. You are not a monster, Harry; I wish you could see that. With every day that passes you change, you adapt. You have come so far in such a short space of time."
"But I still can't control myself," he insisted; he really didn't know how people failed to see that. "I do things before I can stop. Look what I did to Ron."
That earned him a very fatherly look from Remus, clearly Remus knew all the details.
"Harry," the werewolf said simply; "you have not killed, drained or seriously injured another human being since destroying Voldemort and his inner circle. That is, quite simply, miraculous."
Harry didn't really know how to respond to that.
"I get the feeling only time is going to prove that to you," Remus said eventually with a sigh when he did not reply. "Shall we pick another topic?"
It was easier to nod than to find a comeback.
"So how are Snape's potions coming?" Remus asked as he gave the affirmative.
Harry just made a face.
"I may have to wave the ban on killing people," he replied grumpily, which made Remus laugh.
"That bad?" Remus asked and Harry made a throwing up motion; experiments were definitely not his favourite thing.
Harry was so nervous his hands were shaking. After the hearing the last thing he really needed was more stress, but considering everything that had happened he was hungry and they had had no choice but to move feeding his vampire up by a day. Draco had offered to fill in the gap, but after the strange light show from their encounter earlier Harry had decided that he'd rather face the nerves than endanger his lover, no matter how remote the possibility that there might be something wrong. Harry wanted to know more about what was happening between them before he fed his vampire as well as the incubus from Draco.
Hence Dumbledore had arranged for Ron, Hermione, Neville and Draco to all have dinner in Harry's room. With his vampire awake and needing to feed Harry could not face normal food, so he was going to have to feed before they sat down. It had him so on edge that when the door opened the first time he nearly jumped out of his skin.
"We could just nip into the bathroom and deal with this before your friends arrive," Draco said the moment he set eyes on Harry. "I'm sure they wouldn't mind a change in schedule."
"No," he replied rapidly, although the idea did sound very attractive and his voice was no where near as firm as he wanted it to be, "thank you," he added as an afterthought, "I'll be fine."
Draco did not argue any further and walked across the room to place a gentle hand on his arm. It was a welcome gesture of support and Harry gave his lover a small smile of gratitude even though he didn't feel much like smiling at all. What if Hermione hated the experience? What if it embarrassed her? Ron seemed to have found it appealing, but that didn't mean it would be the same for everyone. If he hurt Hermione he did not think he would ever be able to look at himself in the mirror again.
"Stop worrying," Draco said and, although his words were short and to the point, his tone was gentle.
It was of course a much easier thing to say than to do and Harry began to fidget with the buttons on his shirt. After getting up, he'd chosen something more casual than the robes he'd worn to the Ministry and the buttons on the untucked shirt made good worry beads.
"If you keep playing with it, it's going to fall off," was Draco's observation and when Harry looked at his lover, Draco gave him a very suggestive eyebrow wiggle.
Harry's mind was not working at full speed thanks to his nerves, but he picked up the double entendre in that one without problem. Part of him thought it was very inappropriate to be making jokes, but he did not try and stop the bark of a laugh that escaped him. He knew he was being an idiot, since all of the arrangements had been discussed and decided on in great detail and at a logical level he was fully aware that Hermione was fine with the whole arrangement, but that didn't stop his anxiety. At Draco's chiding, he mentally slapped himself around the face and did his best to calm down.
"I can do this," he said, more to himself than Draco, and took a deep breath to steady his nerves.
He still started when the door opened again, which made him swear colourfully under his breath, at which Draco looked rather impressed.
"Didn't know you knew all those big words, Harry," his lover said so that everyone could hear.
"Hey," was Harry's response before he realised that Draco had successfully distracted him from the approach of his other friends.
It didn't take him more than a moment longer to realise that the tension in the room was palpable and for a change it had nothing to do with him. In his anxiety over the upcoming feeding it had totally escaped him that this would be the first time his Gryffindor friends and Draco had been in a social situation together. To the outside observer Draco's stance was casual, but to Harry his lover was radiating tension and he realised he had been being a self-centred git since this had to be difficult for his friends as well.
"Malfoy," Ron greeted in a polite tone.
Harry awarded his best friend points for making the opening move.
"Weasley," Draco replied in kind.
So far it was probably the most polite conversation the two had ever had. It was a bit like watching two cats circle around each other not quite sure whether to be friends or not. Hermione didn't seem to be suffering from the same issues, however, as she stepped forward.
"Hi, Harry," she said cheerfully, "you're looking recovered. Everything okay?"
Then she gave him a small peck on the cheek.
"Much better," Harry replied, beginning to relax already, but not willing to say everything was fine.
"Draco," Hermione continued in just as friendly a manner, "today must have been awful for you too, not being able to come to the Ministry and everything. How are you holding up?"
A momentary expression of shock flicked across Draco's face so fast that, had he not been paying close attention, Harry would have missed it, and was then replaced by a pleasant smile.
"I'm fine, thank you, Hermione," Draco replied, assuming a manner to match Hermione's, "now that I have Harry back in one piece that is."
"You should have seen him," Neville chimed in, "Harry really put Fudge in his place."
"So I heard," Draco said, giving Harry a sideways look and a small smirk.
"He's lucky I didn't rip his bloody head off," Harry responded in a most unrepentant manner.
The only thing Draco was likely to object about his approach was the direct manner in which he had done it; not sneaky enough for a Slytherin's liking.
"Not subtle," Draco observed with a raised eyebrow, "but effective, I suppose. The sooner that man is forced to retire, the better. Maybe you could turn him into a squib; then he wouldn't qualify as Minister anymore."
Harry would have loved nothing more, except he wasn't sure that if he did it once he'd ever be able to stop.
"I'm just glad that part of me is not hungry," he said, his thoughts turning a little dark.
"Speaking of which," Hermione said with a smile that almost hid her nervousness, "how did you want to do this?"
It was a really good effort, almost Slytherin in its execution, but Harry could still tell that his friend was anxious about what was going to happen. Harry decided that the least he could do was be as strong as she was being and put on a smile.
"The sofa would be the best place," he said, trying to sound nonchalant and managing cheerful, but a little jittery instead; "we probably want to be sitting down for this."
They were both completely aware of the false bravado, no matter what Draco said Gryffindors were not completely oblivious, but it helped a little.
The fact that Hermione had offered to be his first deliberate donor after Draco had both terrified and pleased him. Even though he tended to treat her just like any other friend, he was very aware she was a girl and that made this seem more troublesome somehow. He was sleeping with Draco, which made that situation entirely different and he could write off Ron's comments as mates horsing around, but Hermione was in another bracket in his head. Potential danger aside, he just hoped this wasn't too embarrassing for either of them.
Sitting next to each other on the sofa, Hermione carefully rolled up her sleeve and graciously offered him her wrist. For a few moments he just sat there as his higher brain attempted to rebel, but he just about managed to force his body to cooperate and reached out to gently hold the offered limb.
"It'll hurt at first," he said, even though he knew Hermione knew all this, "but only for a moment."
Hermione nodded; she probably knew more about vampire bites than he did by now. Undoubtedly she would have been in the library learning everything there was to learn.
It was funny, sitting there next to one of his two best friends he felt awkward and out of place, right up until the moment he let his vampire nature rise to the surface. As soon as he did that, all the human worries slipped to the back of his mind and his attention focused down on the blood vessels he could see pulsing gently under the pale skin of Hermione's wrist. He would not let those sensibilities go completely, allowing the vampire to take over totally, not like he had done that first time with Draco, but it was all so much simpler when one of his alternative natures had the majority of control.
Hermione made a little whimpering sound when he carefully slid his fangs into her flesh, but he let the vampire lead and felt his power wash into his willing victim. It was then she gasped quietly and Harry allowed pleasure to flood both of them as the rich blood hit the back of this throat and he swallowed. He remembered very distinctly how Draco tasted and how Ron tasted and there was something very different about Hermione's blood. It occurred to the part of his brain that was functioning above the feeding level that is was probably because Hermione was female.
It was quite difficult to make himself stop, but he knew when he had had enough and he forced himself to pull away. He had to drop Hermione's wrist quickly and look away, removing the temptation from his direct line of sight and he took in a very deep breath to make sure he had his vampire under control before he dared look back. There was still residual blood in his mouth, so his fangs would not retract, but he did his best to push the vampire back into a more dormant state. Hermione, for her part, was sitting there with a vaguely unreadable expression on her face. When she didn't move straight away he began to worry.
"Hermione," he asked carefully, "are you okay?"
His friend looked at him, appearing a little dazed.
"Uh-huh," she said with a small nod and that was the least eloquent he had ever heard her.
"Are you sure?" he checked, since Hermione rarely used words of one syllable, let alone barely sentient noises.
It was then that she smiled at him and he breathed a sigh of relief.
"Harry," she said, leaning towards him and patting him on the knee, "let's just say, Ron knew what he was talking about and leave it at that."
Harry felt himself blushing.
"Okay," he said, voice stuttering just a little.
In the back of his mind a little voice wondered aloud if this counted as friends with benefits, but he sat on it hard before it could embarrass him even further.
"Let's have dinner," Draco interrupted his little personal crisis and the tone of his lover's voice made him look round.
He thought he detected just an edge of jealousy in Draco's stance and it made him feel warm in the same way the blood had. It gave him the distinct impression that things would be interesting once everyone else had gone.
After his feeding from Hermione, Harry had found Draco quite insistent about sex, not that Harry was complaining of course. They had spent a good two hours on the sofa and the bed before actually going to sleep that night. When he thought about it, Harry decided that having sex on the sofa was Draco's way of reclaiming it and him after seeing him feed off someone else and Harry rather liked it; Draco had looked thoroughly debauched and delicious bent double on the couch. There had been no repeat of the light show either, which made Harry feel a little better about everything.
The next morning he had let Draco go very reluctantly, but part of Draco's terms for release in the school was that he attend lessons normally unless there were extenuating circumstances. Harry wanting to keep him in easy shagging distance was not an extenuating circumstance unfortunately. That left him alone with nothing to do, so he went back to his research on the creatures that were part of him.
It was mid morning when Jeremy alerted him to his presence by clearing his throat.
"You have a visitor," Jeremy said when he looked up; "Professor Snape."
"Thanks," Harry replied and put his book aside.
The Potions professor appeared as dour as ever as he walked in and Harry had to fight the desire to throw him right out again when he saw what Snape was carrying. The small tray covered with a cloth meant only one thing; Snape had a new potion to test on him.
"Am I going to throw up again?" he asked, doing his very best not to whine since Snape did not react well to whining.
"I believe I may have isolated the cause of the nausea," Snape replied simply, placing the potion on the table; "I have replaced it with an alternative ingredient."
That brightened Harry's outlook considerably; he did not fancy spending the afternoon with his head down the loo.
"It's going to taste horrid though, isn't it," Harry said, approaching warily as Snape removed the cloth.
Snape simply raised an eyebrow at him and did not answer; not that Harry had really expected one.
"If you would please drink the potion, Mr Potter," Snape said and sat down in one of the arm chairs, "I would be most grateful if you would then catalogue how you feel."
It wasn't on his list of favourite things to do, but he mentally reminded himself that Snape was trying to help him and sat down, reaching for the goblet. The contents smoked gently at him as he picked it up and he didn't even give himself the chance to smell it. Tipping his head back, he opened his mouth and drank the whole thing down as fast as physically possible and hoped that as little of it as possible came into contact with his taste buds.
"Urgh," he couldn't help his reaction as he put the goblet back down; the taste alone was enough to make someone want to vomit.
At least after a second or so he did not feel the irresistible urge to bring up his breakfast.
"No nausea?" Snape asked shortly.
"Doesn't seem to be," Harry replied, since he didn't think the churning of his stomach because of the flavour counted in Snape's enquiries.
Sitting very still Harry tried to decide if he was feeling any different and he realised he was definitely feeling happier. He was actually beginning to feel really relaxed and cheerful and he found himself smiling. This was a lot better than the other two tries; it might even have been working.
"How do you feel, Mr Potter?" Snape asked and he turned to look at the Potions Master, grinning at him.
"I feel great," he said, watching a small pink butterfly emerge from the top of Snape's head.
"Oh dear," was Snape's comment on his response.
He giggled, because the idea of Snape and butterflies was just so ridiculous and then he caught sight of another one from the corner of his eyes and turned to look.
"So pretty," he breathed, watching all the lovely colours.
He had to blink when another vial was thrust in front of his face.
"Please drink this, Mr Potter," Snape said simply.
Harry frowned at the man for that; he didn't want to take anymore nasty potions.
"I'm watching the butterflies," he said and pouted.
Snape just continued looking at him.
"There are no butterflies, Mr Potter," Snape said with a long suffering sigh. "Your pupils are dilated and you are acting like an eleven year old, therefore you are high."
Harry looked around the room; there were lots of butterflies now.
"No butterflies?" he asked, feeling perplexed.
"No, Mr Potter," Snape told him, "no butterflies."
It didn't seem fair that something so pretty wasn't really there.
"Are you sure they're not just invisible to you because they don't like black?" Harry asked in a very serious tone.
Snape closed his eyes and looked pained.
"The vial, Mr Potter," Snape said firmly and opened his eyes again to look directly at him; "drink it."
Harry pouted some more, but at some level he was trained to obey the teachers at Hogwarts and so he took the vial. Knocking it back he made a face; it tasted almost as bad as the other one. The pretty butterflies became decidedly less colourful almost instantly and slowly began to fade and then Harry experienced what it was like to come down off a high; he didn't like it one bit. He actually growled at Snape as his body began to ache and his happy mood completely evaporated. Snape did not look impressed in the slightest.
"I will return when your mood is more conducive to conversing intelligently," Snape said shortly and picked up his things and walked towards the door.
It was a close thing; Harry only just managed to stop himself saying something he would regret. If nothing else, Snape's visits were helping his control even if it wasn't because of the potions.
End of Ch 1
On to Ch 2