Chapter: Fallout 08/10
Author: Beren (aka Didi)
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 and therefore has SPOLIERS. If you don’t want to know anything that went on in book five do not read this story.
Summary: Harry defeated Voldemort: his act of heroism is famous throughout the wizarding world. He’s trying to finish his final year at Hogwarts in peace, but something peculiar is happening to him, something he never would have expected. It's all rather embarrassing and making his life very complicated.
Author's Notes: This fic has Veela!Draco and lots of other things that appear to have become fandom clichés, which was part of the point in writing it :). I've had great fun with this fic, trying to explore ideas in a slightly different way than I have seen before. It may have Veela!Draco, but it is all from Harry POV in case you were wondering. I will be posting in two blocks, the first five parts now (05Jan05) and the second five parts next week. Thanks go to Soph for the beta. Chapters 9 and 10 will be out tomorrow morning, but 6,7,8 are ready so here they are.
Chapter 8 Fallout
Harry had woken up on Sunday morning and found himself on a transfigured chaise in Remus' room. When he had fallen asleep was not clear, but he and Remus had spent long hours talking before he had drifted off. The old adage that things always look better in the morning was not true and as Harry made his way back to Gryffindor tower after a leisurely breakfast with his friend, he neither felt more cheerful nor any more relaxed about the whole situation. If anything he was more confused than ever.
His dreams had made it more than clear what his subconscious wanted from Malfoy. The images in his mind were graphic, strangely resolute and very difficult to ignore. The Seraphim in him was not ready to give up on Malfoy just because they were no longer controlled by the mating drive. Knowing what this really meant for the future was difficult and Harry could not shake the feeling that his life was much more complicated now.
He walked into the Gryffindor common room and found most of the seventh year gathered around the fire.
"Harry!" it was Neville who saw him first and alerted the others to his presence.
He tensed ready for accusations to fly, and was most surprised when he found himself gathered into an enthusiastic hug by Hermione.
"Oh, Harry," she said, pulling back and looking him up and down, "when Malfoy was at breakfast this morning and you weren't we were so worried. Are you okay? The arrogant prig didn't hurt you did he?"
For a moment he just stared, quite overwhelmed by the caring in the faces around him.
"I'm fine," he said quietly, knowing that his internal dilemma was not exactly 'fine', but needing to reassure his friends. "Professor Dumbledore took me to see Remus last night, I had breakfast with him."
"So no ... uhm ... nasty side effects then?" Hermione was obviously the lead in the group and from the look in her eyes she had been researching again.
Harry shook his head.
"Just a bit sore," he replied and managed to call up a small smile from somewhere.
That made the boys grin and most of the girls blush to the roots of their hair. Hermione slapped him on the arm playfully for his trouble.
"For once in my life I do not want details," she said, matching his opening gambit beautifully.
It was probably quite obvious to his two best friends that they would need to talk about this, but Hermione seemed content to let it rest in front of the others. Harry was grateful because there were just some things he could not talk about in front of most of his year even if they had all but adopted him as family.
As a group they dragged him back over to where they had been sitting and all but forced him into a chair. It seemed that the famous Potter brooding ability was being thwarted.
"So how was ... Malfoy at breakfast?" Harry asked hesitantly.
He was not sure if he really wanted to know, but at least his friends could give him an indication of what he was in for when he next set foot in the Great Hall.
"As arsey as usual," Seamus replied irreverently. "Actually, come to think of it, arsier than usual. Now that everyone knows he's part Veela the snotty bugger is flaunting it."
"Yeah," Ron agreed vehemently, "if I hear Pansy giggle at him one more time I'll put the dozy cow out of her misery and save us all the pain."
"Ron!" Hermione did not seem to like that particular line of conversation.
It was scary how well she could sound like Molly when she wanted to. Harry for his part was fighting down a wave of what he could only call completely irrational jealousy. He tried very hard not to let what he was feeling show, and Hermione missed it thanks to her focus being on Ron, but Neville was looking at him in a very speculative manner. Maybe this was something he could not hide.
"Only if I don't get there first," he said bluntly and most people looked rather shocked.
That had not been the response any of his friends were expecting.
"What?" he asked innocently. "I'm still pumped up on hormones," he tried to make it sound as if this was perfectly normal and was something that would go away, "I'm likely to hex anyone who so much as looks at him sideways."
"Note to self," Neville said seemingly taking Harry's words at face value; "don't look at Malfoy."
This caused a laugh to move around the group and Harry felt a little better with his friends around him. Then there was some shuffling and a small stack of papers were placed on his lap.
"We thought you'd want to know what they were saying about you, Mate," Ron said with an apologetic shrug. "We saved the Prophet for you and some of the mags. The Quibbler's on top because Luna's dad printed the truth, so we thought you'd like to see that first."
Harry gave his friends a smile and tried to push the dread aside. The Prophet tended to try and be nice about him since his defeat of Voldemort, but it was still sensationalist, and he could just imagine what they would have made of him. He had no doubt that his change in status would have been leaked on that first day, but Malfoy had accosted him before the first edition arrived so he had seen nothing of what the press was reporting. Poppy had not let him have the Prophet while he was under her care.
"I think I'll read those later," was all he could come up with as he looked at the pile.
There were bound to be taunts from the Slytherins and funny looks from the rest of the school, along with speculation in the press, but Harry really did not feel like dealing with it all quite yet. He needed some normality after the last few days, and he fell back on a childhood favourite.
"Anyone for exploding snap?" he asked hopefully.
It was not until Monday morning that Harry was forced into any kind of contact with Malfoy, or rather Draco as his mind had taken to referring to the Slytherin no matter how he tried not to. Monday morning meant Transfigurations, and Malfoy was one of the seventh years taking the subject. Having specialised for N.E.W.T.s all classes were a mixture of houses and so Harry did not even have the luxury of avoiding Slytherins for school work, but at least under Professor McGonagall's sharp eyes there was unlikely to be open trouble.
Harry took his seat next to Ron and tried to be inconspicuous. It was rather like trying to hide a fire sprite in an igloo; it worked for all of about thirty seconds. There was sniggering and pointing from most of the Slytherins almost immediately.
"Just ignore them, Mate," was Ron's sage advice, and Harry did his best to take it.
There was only one Slytherin who was not poking fun to his classmates and that was Draco. However, it was worse; Draco was acting as if he did not exist. Contrary to what he had told his friends, Harry did not feel the insane jealousy he had in the common room when Pansy giggled at Draco, what he felt was dejection. His mate was ignoring him and playing up the affections of another and it had a rather detrimental effect on his psyche.
"We will be continuing with the transfiguration of mice into horses," Professor McGonagall drew the class to order as she stood at the front of the room. "Remember that your horses should only be a foot tall at this stage. Do not attempt to show off; it will result in deducted marks."
Harry's head of House scanned the room looking at one Ravenclaw and a couple of Slytherins to make her point.
"You may begin," she said and sat back down again once more.
Since he had missed a week of school, Harry had not been part of the preliminaries for this lesson, but he had covered the beginnings of the theory when in the hospital wing room. Because of this he was paired with Ron for the beginning of the lesson to see how far the class had progressed so far. Malfoy was paired with Pansy.
Hence it wasn't until about halfway through the lesson, when they had both been given their own mouse, that either of them had to use magic. Now Harry had felt some peculiar shifts in his magic over the previous day, but he had assumed it was just him being touchy. That all changed when Malfoy cast his first spell. Harry was caught by such surprise as his own magic moved inside of him in response that he dropped his wand.
The Slytherins laughed at him, and Draco glared since the interruption had ruined the blond's concentration, but for a moment Harry could not move.
"Is everything alright, Mr Potter?" Professor McGonagall asked from where she was assisting Dean with his wand action.
"Fine, Professor," Harry said, breaking himself out of his shock and bending to pick up his wand, "sorry, Professor."
The next time Draco cast his spell Harry was ready, but it still made him shudder slightly. It seemed that every time Draco used his magic, Harry reacted, and it was rather a nice feeling. It almost made him smile as he guessed that maybe Draco would experience the same thing. It would be difficult to ignore him if he continually reminded the Slytherin that he was there.
Taking a deep breath he concentrated on the Transfiguration and calmly cast his spell. His eyes flicked over to Draco to gauge the Slytherin's reaction and Harry felt his spirits fall through the floor. There was nothing, not even a twitch to indicate that Draco had felt anything. This was all just him; he was the infatuated idiot, and the Slytherin was completely immune. It was almost as if he could feel the life draining out of himself. Draco didn't care because Draco didn't feel anything.
"Today," Snape's voice rang across the classroom with the usual sneer evident in the tone and Harry tried to disappear using simple will alone, "we will be brewing an aphrodisiac potion for use with dragons. The potion is called Secus Draconium. Each year the seventh year class brews this potion for the Dragon reserves in Romania, so I expect every cauldron to be excellent."
Harry tried even harder to vanish when Snape's black eyes fell on him.
"Mr Potter, due to your peculiarities of species," the Potion's master said rather viscously, "your brewing capabilities would be even lower were you to come into contact with Dragon's Breath Angel Trumpets, and hence you will be brewing a different potion. You're instructions are on this desk."
The desk in front of Snape's was usually reserved for demonstrations, but it was set up as a normal work station today. Reluctantly, Harry walked towards his Potions professor and moved into place. The look of disdain he earned for his trouble was not settling.
"Mr Malfoy," Snape continued in a much more pleasant tone, "due to your recent exposure to Mr Potter's peculiarities," Harry tried very hard not to react, "you are also excused from making the Secus Draconium. However, since your average mark is so much higher than Mr Potter's you may take a study period."
Draco smirked at his fellow Slytherins and then gathered his things.
"Thank you, Professor," Draco said politely and left without so much as a look back.
The Slytherin did not even glance in Harry's direction and it hurt more than he liked to admit. How Draco was acting as if he did not even exist was beyond him, and it was tearing his heart out.
"Begin," Snape said coldly, and Harry looked down at the parchment next to his cauldron.
For a long time he just stared at the writing without even seeing it properly. The feelings that welled up in him every time Draco rejected him were almost overwhelming, and nothing seemed to matter anymore. It was as if his whole world view had shifted and life revolved around the blond haired Slytherin.
"Mr Potter," Snape's voice snapped him back to the present, "has your meagre brain finally switched off entirely?"
Harry simply swung his gaze up to look his Potions professor directly in the eyes. He had little idea what Snape would see in his face since he had barely looked at himself in a mirror since Draco and he had become lovers, but whatever it was, Snape closed his mouth and turned away. Maybe there was a line which the head of Slytherin would not cross, but Harry could not find the will to care. Looking back at the sheet he finally read it and turned towards the store room to pick up his ingredients.
"Not those, Harry," Hermione's voice cut through the nothingness in Harry's brain as he slowly collected what he needed for the lesson. "Those are the Angel Trumpet stamens; you'd be high as a kite if you picked up those."
He looked at the orange filaments over which his hand was hovering and reached instead to the petals beyond.
"Thanks," he said quietly and ignored the worried look his friend gave him.
It was towards the end of the lesson when he had to return to the cupboard for a cold stored ingredient that he looked at the stamens again. For a while he just stood there, and then, acting on impulse he picked up a nearby test tube, scooped two of the fine filaments into it with a spatula and corked it, before sliding it into his robes. He had no idea what he was going to do with the flower parts, but he took them anyway.
For two days Harry carried the stamens around in his pocket, and for two days he wondered why he had taken them. Then a group of Slytherins chose to corner him as he tried to enter the Great Hall for dinner. Their words were childish and vicious, and Harry could not even really remember what they had said, but when Draco had walked past them and laughed it was more than Harry could take. That was why he was sitting at the top of the Astronomy tower, snow falling all around the charms that protected the viewing spot from the weather, looking at the vial he had stolen.
Hermione had spent a good ten minutes telling him about the Dragon's Breath Angel Trumpet after the Potions lesson. It had seemed as if she felt the need to warn him about it, since he had not appeared particularly bothered by his near miss. It turned out that the plant had a drug like effect on magical creatures of a certain genus; the genus to which Seraphim belonged. Their lesser cousins had been observed stoned out of their minds on the pollen of the flower, and although no one knew the exact effect it would have on Seraphim, it was likely to be similar.
Well just about then Harry needed to escape reality; it was almost too much for him. He had thought himself settled back into normal life, even with his new heritage making itself known, but no one could have guessed what his liaison with Draco would do to him. The balance he had managed to find since his defeat of Voldemort was gone and the depression that had almost claimed him once was again taking him. He had not slept in two days, since every time he closed his eyes all he saw was the disdain Draco showed him, and he had barely eaten anything for longer.
He had pretended to eat when he went to the Great Hall, but he was not a wizard for nothing and a variation on a banishing charm meant that his friends were none the wiser. At other times he used the excuse he did not want to face the Slytherins and had cried off going to meals, instead, sneaking down to the kitchens and taking food back to his room as if to eat it. If Ron ever looked under his bed he was going to be in trouble.
Slowly he uncorked the test tube and very gently tapped one of the stamens out onto a piece of parchment. According to Hermione this was very powerful stuff for his type of magical creature, or at least for those similar to Seraphim. House elves were related to Seraphim distantly and Hermione had said something about Angel Trumpet pollen being about a thousand times worse than butterbeer. Butterbeer had no affect on Seraphim; Harry had tried, but Hermione had said that wasn't the point.
Placing the parchment on the roof in front of where he was sitting cross-legged, Harry re-corked the test tube and placed the vial back in his robes. If this was good he might have need of the other stamen. Not quite sure what he was doing he reached out and picked up the pollen covered filament between his fingers. There was a tingle almost immediately and he looked at his yellow stained finger tips to see if anything would happen.
For a few seconds he did not feel any different at all and he was ready to throw the thing away as being a stupid idea, until that was it suddenly went blue. Or rather as he looked up and around at where he was sitting, his vision flicked to the most peculiar level where the warm light around him was now cold greys and blues rather than torch yellows and oranges.
Acting with complete abandon he did something that had his rational brain been working properly would have struck even a foolish Gryffindor as very stupid. He popped the stamen onto his tongue and the world exploded in colour.
Harry lost all track of time as his world vanished into unreality and he had no idea how long he watched rainbows or mentally chased bubbles, but when his mind gave him at least a glimpse of his real surrounding he was standing outside the protective charms on the tower, on the balustrade, looking out over the white Hogwarts grounds. Everything he had been feeling came back with such intensity that it made him want to scream, and it was as if his soul was tearing apart.
He was barely holding on as he swayed on his precarious perch, and he reached into the wind as if it could take away his pain. The drug in his system had taken away his hurt and anger for a few minutes, maybe more, but now it brought it into sharp focus. He could not bare it and he desperately needed release. Wobbling like a new born he tore at his clothes, throwing his jumper, tie and shirt out into space. They were caught by a gust and tumbled into the darkness to disappear from his view as he stared after them.
He wanted to disappear too. Let his trouble go in the darkness and in his drug reality he did the only thing left to him. Jumping in to space he cried his rage to the world and began to plummet downwards. Falling he felt momentarily free and the feeling was wonderful.
Halfway down self-preservation kicked in, because no matter how he wanted the pain to go away, there was a part of Harry that did not want to die. His wings flared and his descent slowed rapidly, but he was too out of control for a good landing. The ground was frozen and only covered in a light dusting of snow so when he hit it, it was very hard. One ankle folded under the strain causing him to cry out in pain and he fell awkwardly, unable to control his movements properly with the drug affecting his system. The arm that landed under him gave a rather unpleasant snap and for a moment the world flipped out.
Harry came back to himself, or at least the best he could do at the moment, lying in the snow, crying. The mental and physical pain was too much even for the almost indomitable Gryffindor spirit and he did not even try and get up. His will to live might have saved him from the fall, but as yet it could not force him off the ground, or even bring him to retract his wings.
"Potter, bloody hell, what are you doing?" the familiar voice was so unexpected that for a moment Harry thought he was hallucinating again, but then a hand touched his shoulder and he looked up to see a very worried looking Draco.
"I can't do it," was all Harry could say, tears still streaming down his face.
His voice sounded slurred and strange even to his own ears, and the expression on Draco's face seemed to indicate that the Slytherin had heard this too.
"Ye gods, Potter," Draco said pointedly, but without his usual sneer, "you're wasted. Where the hell is your shirt?"
"Blew away," Harry replied, since it was the truth.
His companion looked around at the gently falling snow flakes.
"There's no wind, Potter," Draco said exasperatedly.
This was true on the ground, but of course up higher it was not so sheltered. Trying to point this out Harry went to move and cried out in pain as his arm complained.
"Harry, you're hurt, why didn't you tell me?"
The agony in his arm almost seemed to vanish as he looked up into a face that cared. Deep inside Harry something that had almost extinguished completely burst into life again as hope burned in his soul. Draco had called him Harry; albeit in a moment of shock, but the Slytherin had used his first name.
"How did you find me?" Harry asked, needing to know more than anything in the world.
"I was on rounds," the answer came too quickly and Harry knew a lie when he saw one.
"Liar," he said vehemently, forgetting his injuries and everything else as he stared into Draco's grey eyes.
For a moment the Slytherin looked as if he was going to pull away, and then for a second the mask broke.
"I felt your magic," Draco said quietly, and Harry might have laughed, but he moved again first and unceremoniously fainted.
Harry woke slowly with the worst headache he could remember since killing the Dark Lord. No hangover, not even his seventeenth birthday celebrations courtesy of the Twins smuggling in firewhiskey, could compare to the pounding in his head, or the needles in his eyes as morning light stabbed at him mercilessly.
"Drink this," a very stern voice said and he knew he was in trouble.
When Poppy used that tone she was very upset, but he had no brain power to dwell on it as gentle hands lifted his head and helped him drink some foul smelling concoction. It might have smelt and tasted terrible, but the moment it hit his stomach Harry felt some relief.
"Dragon's Breath Angel Trumpets, Mr Potter!" Poppy scolded as he finally took a look around. "What were you thinking?"
She was holding the test tube with the other stamen. Harry felt suddenly very ashamed, but he clawed onto all his courage to meet his healer's eyes. Something had shifted in him last night, and he felt the new spirit burning within him, but first he had to face up to what he had done.
"I wasn't thinking," he admitted quietly, knowing that he had been an idiot, "I just wanted the pain to go away."
Poppy looked shocked and then very worried. She sat down on the edge of his bed, something she never did except in the most unusual circumstances.
"Harry," she said quietly, placing a hand over his, "were you trying to kill yourself?"
"Oh no," he promised quickly, seeing the anguish in her eyes, "I jumped off the Astronomy tower, but I didn't want to die."
"The Astronomy tower?" Poppy sounded shocked. "Oh good god, we thought you had just been flying under the influence."
She looked so upset that Harry pulled himself into a sitting position and reach out a hand onto her shoulder. His head pounded some more for his trouble, but Poppy was far more important than his comfort.
"I didn't mean to," he told her earnestly, "it just sort of happened. Flying is the only thing that makes me forget; I didn't mean to hurt myself."
"Oh Harry," Poppy said and dragged him into a hug, "why?"
The lump that appeared in Harry's throat from seemingly nowhere was mightily hard to talk around and he found himself swallowing several times before he could reply.
"I thought he didn't care at all," he said quietly, "that he didn't feel anything, but he does, Poppy, he does. He came for me. All I have to do is make him see."
For a while Poppy did not reply, but then her hug tightened slightly.
"Oh, my dear child," she said as she held him close, "I hope you are right."
If anyone in Gryffindor noticed the sudden change in Harry they did not comment, but he doubted they had missed it. He had taken Ron and Hermione aside and explained everything that he was able to about what had happened, and told them that he wanted to try and at least be friends with Draco. He could not tell them exactly why and he had no idea how he was going to do this since the Slytherin had gone back to ignoring him, but Harry knew now that Draco was hiding what he was really feeling. The true complexities of what he felt for Draco were confusing and he could not explain them to himself, let alone anyone else, but he told his friends a little of it. They were still unaware how deep his feelings were and where he saw them going, but Ron and Hermione now understood some of it.
Since he had admitted to taking what was for Seraphim a controlled substance and jumping off the Astronomy Tower, Hermione and Ron had barely let him out of their sight. He was sure Hermione had a charmed watch on him at meal times since he had also confessed his not eating, and at one time he might have resented it, but now he figured he deserved it. He only eventually complained when Ron formed a habit of following him to the loo.
The last Wednesday of term was Gryffindor's second match of the Quidditch season, and as luck would have it they were facing Slytherin. For once Harry did not dread going up against Draco; he relished it.
The day dawned bright and clear and from the moment he climbed out of bed, Harry was almost buzzing with excited anticipation. Over the few days since his brush with a drugged out haze Harry's display instincts had come back. They were no where near as strong as before, but his mate was not playing the game properly and he felt as if he needed to prove himself to Draco somehow. His marks, which had sunk the previous week, were back to top form, and he had been flying like his life depended on it in the last couple of practices. He was determined to impress Draco, no matter what it took.
The game started as usual and Harry hovered over the pitch, keeping himself in Draco's eye-line. The Slytherin Seeker was obviously still trying to ignore him, but unless Draco wanted to lose the game because of not paying attention he had no choice but to look. Harry took to weaving across the sky, doing little test dives and simply showing off his turning skills. His eyes were darting all over the pitch for the Snitch, but he knew where Draco was at all times as well.
When the Snitch finally showed itself it was up by the Slytherin goal and Harry set off as if he was being chased by a dragon. Draco was after him in a second and Harry had to hold back his shout of delight at the thrill of the chase. Flying he was free, and his wing nubs twitched, wanting to be part of this, but he held the Seraphim in check. He would display for Draco, but he would not use his alternate nature directly.
He let Draco catch up until they were broom to broom and then Harry surged into a roll to bring himself up and under the goal. He barely missed a bludger as it powered towards him from one of the Slytherin beaters, but an inch was as good as a mile when it came to Quidditch. Then he was almost on it; the snitch was in front of him, but so was Draco, coming from the side. They almost collided, pulling up at the last moment, losing the Snitch but both moving fast back into the sky.
Harry could not help himself as he grinned at Draco, the excitement of the game and the excitement of pursuing his mate mixing in his blood to make him feel completely alive. Draco appeared perturbed for a moment and then as they levelled out once more, inclined his head. It seemed they understood each other, at least partially.
The Snitch kept itself hidden for another half an hour, over which time both teams scored several times, and Goyle was almost sent off for fouling Harry. If Harry had not been so fast the bat would have hit him, but he rather enjoyed the vaguely impressed look that passed over Draco's face just after the incident so he was not too fazed.
The small golden ball was fluttering near to the ground in the middle of the pitch when Harry saw it again and he did not hesitate. Without thinking he dropped towards it like a giant bird on its prey. He was strong, he was worthy, he had to win to prove his worth to his mate, and his world narrowed to the Snitch. There was a collective gasp from the crowd as he plummeted towards his prize and it never even occurred to him that if he did this wrong he could end up seriously hurt.
For the first time in the game he lost track of Draco, but he knew all eyes would be on him. It was almost as if he had startled the Snitch, like a hawk coming out of the sun and the little ball had frozen in fright. It never even moved as he reached out and grabbed it before swooping along the ground with millimetres to spare.
The Gryffindor stands went crazy and Harry looked up, holding the Snitch aloft, to find that Draco was only a few feet away from him. There was a vaguely confused look of shock on the Slytherin's face, and an almost completely hidden admiration in Draco's eyes. Harry knew he had done what he set out to do and he was pretty sure Draco had received the message. He did not try and stop the wide smile he showed the crowd.
End of Chapter 8
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