aoifene: (draco tortured)
[personal profile] aoifene
Title: A Hope in Hell (4/4)
Author/Artist: [livejournal.com profile] aoifene
Wordcount: 23,062
Rating: R for sex and violence
Warnings: Draco-centric
Summary: In the aftermath of war, where extreme justice has led the way to injustice and victory has turned into complacency, Draco Malfoy finds the strength to save himself and a few others along the way.
Author's/Artist's Note: Thank you to my wonderful beta team: [livejournal.com profile] jamie2109, [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton, [livejournal.com profile] oldenuf2nb, and [livejournal.com profile] kit84. This story was also inspired a lil bit by James Cameron’s Dark Angel.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three



Over the next few weeks, both Harry and Draco split their time between researching the curse and working towards getting the trial rescheduled to as soon as possible. They had great success in the second but were still at a loss with the first. Draco had raided both his father’s library as well as the Black’s for the most obscure Dark spells but to no avail. He’d eventually moved on to books about aura manipulation but even that had drawn a dead end. Harry had also joined the search despite his dread of research. He even managed to rope Weasley in to the cause much to Draco’s shock and bewilderment. Perhaps there was something to be said for Gryffindor loyalty.

Harry also worked diligently towards negating the damaging propaganda against Draco and Narcissa. Outraged by the attacks they had endured, he spoke against the people who had harassed them. He even went so far as to grant the Prophet an interview - the very first one he’d given since the end of the war. Slowly but surely the court of public opinion began to turn in their favour. It wasn’t so bad when the fame he’d always complained about was finally of some use.

It was still difficult, however. To have Harry both so close and yet so near was a torment he wouldn’t wish on anyone. He’d only felt it for one bright, shining moment but already he missed the taste of Harry’s lips and the wonderful feel of Harry’s body beneath his hands. He wasn’t about to give that up. Not for anything.

Thankfully, by the time Narcissa’s trial rolled around, Harry’s clever manoeuvring had worked. The Wizengamot dismissed all charges after only an hour of deliberation. Some of the judges had even stopped them on their way out to thank Narcissa for the role she played in the war and to apologise for the arraignment. There was another media frenzy when details of Harry’s testimony leaked and for days Narcissa’s heroic defiance of Voldemort made headlines. Now they were hounded for another reason and more often than not, Draco hid out at Grimmauld Place. With his mother’s trial over, he focused all his energy on two things: Harry and the counter spell.

He smiled as Harry poured him another cuppa, waiting patiently for him to set it down on the saucer so he could take it. They did this a lot when they were together. They took turns to make sure there was no physical contact between them in the act of doing something mundane like passing the salt or setting down a cup. Unconsciously, they did it with other things as well - conversations and even disagreements. It certainly helped with ending those arguments far more quickly although it took a disturbing turn when Granger had caught them at it and called it ‘sweet’. Needless to say, they were not amused.

“Oh, there you are.” Granger looked relieved when she caught sight of him. Well, speak of the devil. “I need to show you something. Come with me.”

“I’m fairly sure she’s talking to you, Harry,” Draco told him even though he was sure those brown eyes were trained on him.

“Er, I think this time she wants you, Draco.” Harry gave him an encouraging smile that turned into a frown. “Be nice.”

“I’m always nice.” He arched his eyebrow and then at Harry’s sceptical look, he amended his words. “If by nice you meant ravishingly handsome.”

Harry laughed. “Well, yes you are that but I meant the more traditional meaning.”

Draco shrugged. “All right but I make no promises if she starts on about the House-elves again.”

“Sometime today would be fantastic, Draco,” Granger told him as she made an impatient gesture.

“Is she always this bossy?” He asked Harry in a sotto voice.

“You know she is.” He smirked as Harry shooed him away. “You’d better go. She might start lecturing again and I don’t think we got rid of all her charts.”

Draco was still laughing when he finally followed her out of the room. By Merlin, he really did love that man.

---------------------------------


Once the kitchen doors were shut, Granger quickly cast a locking charm and a Silencing spell on them. And then she started pacing.

“Granger, what’s going on?” Draco asked, alarmed at the girl’s strange behaviour.

“I think I found the curse,” she blurted out suddenly, her eyes worried and bright as she turned to face him.

“That’s brilliant! Oh, Granger, I knew your annoying Know-It-All tendencies would come in handy one day.” Draco beamed at her, feeling so happy he could’ve kissed her. “Wait…” He paused as he took another look at her face. “Why aren’t you smiling? If it’s the loss of research opportunities, I’m sure-”

She shook her head. “It’s the curse. The reason why we couldn’t find it in any of the spell books is because it was kept as a family secret. I was finally able to find it in one of the books on Pureblood Genealogy.” She sighed. “It was created by Roger L’Estrange to punish family members that had entered into non-pureblood marriages.”

“What?” Draco gasped and suddenly everything began to click into place. The attack at the antique shop, the curse that was used. “It figures that it would be someone from that family. Rodolphus is probably as insane as his wife and has taken this as some sort of sick, twisted revenge for losing her.” He gritted his teeth as he clenched his fists. “Tell me there’s a cure.”

Granger nodded slowly. “I think so but you won’t like it.” She sighed deeply. “It’s the reason why I wanted to talk to you first before we told Harry.”

She took a step closer. “Draco, it involves binding all your magic, and it will-”

“Effectively turn me into a squib,” Draco finished for her, his expression turning grim.

“Yes,” she said faintly, her eyes sad.

“I guess it makes sense,” Draco said thoughtfully. “My magic can’t react negatively if it’s not there anymore.”

“Exactly. It should work. Of course, it’s not a counter spell or cure but it does remove the symptoms.” Granger sighed. “Look, I just wanted to tell you. No one expects you to do it but-”

“And why is that?” Draco bristled, angry at the insinuation. “Because I’m a Malfoy and I wouldn’t know a noble sacrifice if it bit me in the arse?”

Granger put her hands in front of her in a placating gesture. “No, I never said that. But it’s an enormous sacrifice, Draco. It’s too much, especially for a boy you’ve hated for far longer than you’ve liked him.” She grimaced a little under the intensity of the glare she received.

“Do you know the spell?” Draco asked, his eyes glinting with barely restrained fury.

“Yes, but-”

“Good. Do it.” He crossed his arms in front of him.

“What? Wait! Slow down. Maybe we should talk to Harry first and ask for his opinion,” she tried to reason with him.

“No, we don’t need to do that,” Draco growled as he took another step forward. “Just do it.”

She shook her head. “I think you should tell Harry.”

“It’s my life, my magic.” He scowled. “I’ll do with it what I wish.”

“He’ll blame himself for this,” she pointed out angrily, wanting for him to see reason.

“Which is why he’ll never find out.” He met her eyes. “And if you do tell him, then it will be on your head.”

“I can refuse to do it.”

“And I’ll find someone else to perform the spell.” He shrugged easily. “Either way, it’s going to happen.”

“Look, I’m sorry about what I said about you and Harry,” she insisted as she put a hand on his shoulder. “I know you care about him. You don’t have to prove it by doing this.”

“I’m not.”

“But-”

“Imagine going a day without touching someone you loved, Granger. Just one. And I’m not talking about sex.” He shook his head. “You can’t bump his shoulder when you’re joking with him. You can’t wipe a tear from his eye when he’s sad. You can’t hold him in your arms when the only thing you want to do is comfort him.” He took a step closer to her, his face open and imploring. “I can learn to live without magic but I don’t want to live without that.”

“You’re a Pureblood, Draco,” she reminded him gently. “You’ve never lived without magic before.”

“No, but I’ve never been in love before either.” He gave her a small smile. “And given a choice, I’d much rather go without magic.”

“Oh Draco.” She looked at him with a sappy smile on her face. “That’s so-”

“No, don’t say it!” Draco rolled his eyes. “Honestly! You’re almost as bad as a regular girl.”

“Sweet.”

---------------------------------


Draco took a deep breath before he opened the study’s double doors. He smiled at the picture that greeted him. The books that had been stacked neatly before he left were now scattered all over the desk. The familiar mop of black hair was the only thing visible as Harry was bent over an ancient tome, scribbling notes furiously onto the parchment beside him.

“So what did Hermione want?” Harry asked, not looking up from his work. “I hope it wasn’t the house-elves again. She’s given me enough grief about Kreacher as it is.”

Draco couldn’t answer, the words caught in his throat. He merely stood there and stared at the boy before him. Indecision and fear had frozen him in his tracks. What if Harry didn’t want him after all? What if now that the curse had been lifted, Harry went back to only wanting to be friends? And if by some miracle, he did want to be with him &ndash what if he disappointed him? Harry had never been with a man. In fact, he’d never been with anyone. It was a lot of pressure to put on a newly found relationship especially one that until recently was rife with hatred and distrust.

But then Harry lifted his head and what Draco saw took away his breath, as well as his doubts. Harry looked like he hadn’t slept in days, so consumed was he by their desperate search. His hair was sprinkled with dust and his cheek smeared with a splotch of ink. Harry’s eyes were also red-rimmed from all the dusty books and his face was lined with exhaustion. Yet at the sight of Draco, his face lit up like a thousand suns and his lips lifted into a soft smile filled with concern.

“What’s wrong?”

Draco shook his head and smiled in reassurance. His steps were now strong and sure as he came to sit across from him. He laughed when he saw the smear on Harry’s check. Shaking his head, he told him fondly. “You’re such a child, Harry. You have ink all over your face.”

But before the other boy could do anything about it, Draco reached out lightning fast and cupped Harry’s cheek. Smiling softly when he felt Harry stiffen, he wiped off the smear with a gentle thumb. Still holding onto Harry’s face, he brought his own closer and whispered teasingly, “What would you do without me?”

Harry merely continued to blink at him dazedly, his green eyes wide with shock and disbelief. Draco sighed and rolled his eyes. “You know, this is the part where you’re supposed to be ridiculously happy.”

“Bloody hell, Draco!” Harry let out a whoop as he scooped Draco in his arms. “Are you serious? You’re cured?”
Draco couldn’t speak. He was too busy laughing so hard in delight so instead he nodded happily. Too chuffed to be even properly angry that Harry was swinging him about the room in some sort of deranged dance.

“I can’t believe this!” Harry beamed at him. “How did you figure it out?”

“We have the lovely Hermione to thank.” Draco shrugged when Harry’s smile widened even further. “She found the curse; the least I can do is call her by her first name. Besides I’d call her Queen if she wanted me to, for what she’s done.”

“I think Hermione is fine,” Hermione told him as she stood framed against the doorway. “Adding queen to it might just prove to be a mouthful.”

“Hermione it is.” He smiled at her.

“Oh, I knew you’d find a way. I knew it! You’re always the brilliant one.” Harry grinned at her from ear to ear as he pulled her into a big hug. “What can I ever to do to repay you? You have no idea what you’ve given me. You made this whole fiasco end without a tragedy,” he whispered softly.

Hermione’s face dimmed a little at that and she raised solemn eyes to meet Draco’s from across the room. Turning to Harry, she struggled to recover her smile. “Just be happy, Harry.” She hugged him fiercely, her arms holding on a bit tighter than necessary. Then she added into his ear. “And take care of him. He needs you more than you know.”

Harry nodded and he looked so happy that Hermione breathed a little easier. “I will.”

---------------------------------


“Now where were we?” Harry turned to him once they were alone again and Draco barely had time to formulate a reply before Harry was on him.

“I think you were in the middle of a rather fantastic display of awkward dancing,” Draco reminded him as he felt himself being pulled into a tender embrace. “You can hold on more tightly, you know,” he whispered as he rested his forehead against Harry’s. “I promise this time I won’t break.”

He felt the arms that were holding him tremble a little at that and Draco watched as a lone tear trickled down the side of Harry’s face. “Last time I did this, you almost died. You can understand why I’m a little careful here. I don’t like seeing you in pain.”

“And I don’t like feeling it either but I swear to you, it’s all right,” Draco told him gently as he wiped his cheek. “So will you stop being dramatic and kiss me already?”

“Bossy little wanker.” Harry laughed but before Draco could shoot him a clever comeback, he did as he was told.

And he didn’t stop.

With his fears allayed, Harry took possession of Draco's mouth. No longer tentative or timid, his lips claimed Draco's over and over again as if he couldn’t have enough. As if Draco’s lips were made of sugar and he’d never tasted anything quite so sweet. His hands were also no longer idle. Once shaking and unsure, he mapped Draco’s body boldly, seemingly insistent on memorising every inch of him through touch alone.

“Wait,” he gasped when he felt Harry’s hand on his belt. “I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think we need to slow down a little.”

Harry groaned as he pressed his face into the crook of Draco’s neck. “I take it back. You’re not only a bossy little wanker, you’re a cruel one too.”

“There are a lot of people out there who would agree with you.” Draco laughed. “But think about it - we’ve never even gone out on a proper first date.”

“You know when I pictured this moment, I always thought I’d be pounding you into the mattress within five minutes of discovering the cure,” Harry said wryly. “I never thought you’d be so girly about it.”

“Girly?” Draco sneered as he ground his groin against Harry’s, causing him to throw his head back and moan.

“There’s nothing girly about me, Harry. “

“Oh, god.” He shuddered against Draco’s neck. “Whatever you say, just don’t stop doing that.”

Draco stilled his movements.

“Bastard!” Harry nipped the skin beneath his mouth.

“Yes.” Draco swallowed thickly. “But the sooner you Apparate us to a restaurant the sooner you can get on with that pounding.”

“Fuck,” Harry murmured faintly amidst Draco’s quiet laughter. “Leaky, all right?”

“No, a pub is not all right.” Draco raised an eyebrow. “Just Apparate us near Flourish and Blott’s. We can walk to Ludwig Alley from there.”

“Sounds expensive.” Harry shifted his hold on Draco.

“Extremely.”

“You sure you don’t want to just Apparate us right there?” Harry asked him curiously. “I don’t know where it is and it’d be easier.”

“Quite sure.” Draco nodded as he looked away, ignoring the stab of loss in his gut. “I could use a walk and so could you.”

“Are you calling me fat?” Harry chuckled as he grasped his wand.

“Now who’s being girly?” Draco retorted with a smile.

Harry’s enraged shout was swallowed by the sound of Apparition.

---------------------------------


They Apparated right in front of Flourish and Blott’s but before Draco could steer them in the right direction, he felt himself being yanked into an alleyway beside the shop.

“If you're taking me to a restaurant in this area, I'm taking back everything nice I've said about you,” Draco grumbled, trying to pull his arm away from Harry.

Draco found himself pushed hard against the wall and with Harry barely inches away, full weight of his body holding him there. “When have you ever said anything nice about me?”

“I vividly recall saying-” his words were cut off by Harry's lips claiming his mouth and for a moment or two the fact that they were standing in some back alley was struck from his mind. Harry's hips rolled against him, pushing him harder into the wall and realisation dawned with the scrape of brick.

He squirmed, working both arms between them to push Harry away. “Harry, I thought we decided that this could wait? I don’t want your first time to be in a dirty public street.”

The stubborn heat in Harry's eyes startled him, made him helpless as his arms were pinned against the wall, He insisted, “I refuse to-”

“Draco, shut up,” Harry growled, definitely not moving away. Moving closer if at all possible.

“So you can molest me in some side alley?” He was satisfied to hear the righteous indignation coming across clear in his voice. Not that Harry seemed to pay any attention to that, or his words.

Butterfly kisses were pressed along his jaw, towards his ear and he shivered as Harry's breath skittered across skin. “Wanted to do this for ages. Screw your damn rules and sensibilities for once, Draco. Can’t you see? I don’t care where this happens so as long as it’s with you. The rest is just minor details.”

“But I like my damn rules and sensibilities,” he mumbled a bit incoherently, but who could blame him when Harry's hands were exploring where his mouth couldn't reach. “Although I suppose I can rescind certain restrictions.”

Not that he was given much choice as Harry pushed his arms up against the wall, mouth covering Draco's again, demanding a response out of him. He closed his eyes and melted into the kiss, not quite able to give Harry complete control as their tongues slid together.

Kissing Harry - even pressed up against a wall was something he thought he'd never be able to do and he couldn't get enough of the taste of Harry's mouth. Which was good, because Harry didn't seem to be in any hurry to stop.

He didn't recall moving his hips, but he must have at some stage because he was far too aware of the way they were rocking against Harry's. An impatient huff of breath and he was slammed right back against the wall, teeth scraping his lip with the force of it.

Harry pushed Draco’s legs open with his thigh and bent to kiss his neck as his fingers fumbled with Draco's belt. There was a moment when he still wanted to insist that they shouldn’t do this here, but as soon as warm fingers curled around his cock, any thought of protesting was wiped from his mind.

The first scrape of teeth against his skin stung more than it should, a familiar prickle of pain that if he hadn’t been quite so distracted, he could perhaps have followed far enough to distinguish. He couldn't though, Harry's hand was sliding along the length of his cock and it had taken them so long to get to this point, he'd dreamt of this moment, wanted it for so long and now it was happening. That they were in a dingy alley didn't even matter.

Harry's hips rocked against his thigh, the heat and solidness of his cock obvious to Draco even through their cloaks. Even if he could think clearly enough to get a hand between them, Harry was pressed so close that it was near impossible.

Another twinge of not-quite-pain - almost ghostly because no, it couldn't be - shot through him, lungs starting to tighten for barely a second before relaxing. Harry's thumb circled the head of his cock, pleasure obliterating even the memory of pain and he could well have imagined it. Probably did in fact, at least that's what he told himself. Sensory memory or something, curse scars twinged sometimes and maybe subdued curses did the same. If that fleeting pain was the price to pay for this, for Harry's hands on him, his hands on Harry, then Draco would willingly pay it threefold.

It didn't take long; Harry rocking against him in search of friction and the slip-slide-twist of his hand on Draco's cock made sure of it. The force of his release took him by surprise and sapped the strength from his legs. It was only Harry's body, still leaning into him and holding him upright, still pressing heated, half-biting kisses against his neck.

He opened his eyes to Harry, grinning as he gently tucked Draco back into his pants before seeing to himself. “Pleased with yourself?”

“Not bad for a first try, yeah?” he whispered softly into the warmth of Draco’s throat.

“No, your technique was sterling even though your wooing methods were laughable.” Draco reached up to tuck a curl of hair behind Harry’s ear. “But don’t worry, Harry. I’m sure with lots of practice you can improve.”
Harry’s laughter echoed through the empty alley and Draco smiled, loving the sound of it. He’d never heard anyone laugh quite like Harry did. The simple joy in it wasn’t something Draco had ever encountered before. As if it was coming from a mere boy who still had all the childhood innocence in his heart which allowed him to take delight in everything he saw. He couldn’t get enough it.

“See, that’s what I love about you.” Harry chuckled as he nuzzled Draco’s neck once more. “Always pestering me to better myself.”

“What did you just say?” Draco gasped, ignoring the brief stab of pain that shot through his side. He willed himself to remain calm and to keep focusing on Harry’s words. It couldn’t be the curse. It just couldn’t be.

“It seems that someone is going deaf. All right, I’ll come closer.” Harry rolled his eyes, oblivious to Draco’s discomfort as he whispered in his ear. “I love you, you annoying brat.”

Draco’s eyes widened as he stared at Harry in surprise. He’d known it, of course. Well, all right - greatly suspected it, at least, but he never thought he’d hear the words or be expected to say them back. His lips were quirking into a silly grin when a sudden rush of intense pain stole the words from his mouth and replaced them once more with screams.

Harry quickly jerked his hands away and Draco immediately missed his warmth. His chest hurt even more at the naked disappointment in Harry’s eyes and he couldn’t help the rush of anger that went through him. “Fucking hell! When I get my hands on Rodolphus, I will make sure there’s nothing of him left.”

“Lestrange did this to you?” Harry snarled, anger quickly replacing his regret. “That bastard! I’ll kill him!”
Draco nodded sharply as he tightened his fists. “And a fat lot of help Granger’s stupid cure did! Couldn’t even last for a couple of hours.” He growled. “And to think I went through all that magic binding nonsense just to have this happen again.”

“You did what?” Harry exploded, his hand snaking out to snatch Draco’s arm before he could stop himself. He immediately let go at Draco’s hiss of pain. “What do you mean ‘magic binding nonsense’?

Draco bit his tongue when he realised the extent of what he had let slip. Honestly, was he just determined to be stupid today? “Look, Harry, it’s not a big deal.” He put his hands up in a conciliatory gesture.

“If it wasn’t a big deal I would be hearing about it before now,” he shot back. “Tell me all of it.” His anger gave way to painful anguish. “And this time, don’t lie to me.”

“I didn’t lie-”

“No, but you made damn sure I didn’t hear about it, so obviously it’s important.” Harry’s eyes flashed with indignation. “Now, what did you do?”

“Nothing that you wouldn’t have done yourself, you self-righteous prat.” Draco glared at him. “Do you think you have the market cornered on self sacrifice? Of course, I would do anything to be with you. So when Hermione told me that if she bound my magic, we could touch, I did it.” He raised his chin up defiantly. “I’d do it again if it meant I could touch you.”

“No! You can’t!” Harry bellowed and he raised his hands looking for all the world as if he’d like nothing better than to shake some sense into Draco. “I won’t let you.”

“I don’t see how there’s anything you can do about it,” Draco pointed out flatly. “It’s my life and-”

“I can’t- I won’t let you do this,” Harry whispered brokenly. His voice was shaking but his tone was resolute. The defeat that lined his face was a sight Draco had never seen before. It made Harry look as though he’d aged ten years. “It’s over, Draco.”

And then he was gone, leaving Draco in a moment of stunned silence. He narrowed his eyes as he marched out of the alley, determined to find a working Floo.

“Like hell, it is.”

---------------------------------


The moment Draco clapped eyes on dazed green, he threw himself at the boy. While jumping out of the fireplace to sequester his fleeing target might not have been the sanest thing he could have done (it did make him bang his head on the mantle and stub his toe on brick), it was still effective in paralyzing his prey. Draco’s arms shook with an effort to hold down the struggling boy and the pain lancing through his chest only made it worse. “Stop moving, you stupid brat!”

“Gerroff!” Harry yelled in alarm. “You’re hurting yourself. Get off me!”

“No.” Draco snarled, squeezing Harry’s arms painfully. “Not until you’ve seen some damn sense.”
Harry tried to wedge his knee in between them but Draco flattened his movements by putting more weight on his hold. “Listen to me, Harry,” he growled. “There was once a time when I thought that leaving was the better option. Do you remember?” He shook him a little. “Do you remember what you said to me then?”

“Yes. But that was before you did stupid things like turning yourself into a Squib for me.” Harry pushed at him, his struggles getting weaker.

“As if you wouldn’t have done the same.” Draco bit his tongue, tamping down on the urge to scream at the pain lancing through his body.

“I can’t, Draco.” He sobbed even as he wiped away the line of blood trickling down the side of Draco’s mouth.
‘It hurts too much to see you like this.”

“The alternative isn’t any better.” He shook his head. “And you’re affected by this curse too. It’s already draining your magic.”

“But, Draco-”

“I can fight this but only if you’re with me,” Draco told him quietly. “It’s like you said. This is the way it’s always been with us. Where you go, I’ll follow. Whatever burdens you have, I’ll take on as well. And vice-versa. This is how this works. It’s why it will always work.”

“You always were such a stubborn arse.” Harry smiled at him shakily and Draco sighed in relief even as he collapsed beside him in exhaustion.

He weakly waved away Harry’s alarmed shout. “I’ll be fine. Just don’t scare me like that again.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry said softly as he turned on his side, cushioning his head with his left arm. His gaze hardening as he took in Draco’s exhausted form. “And we’ll find Lestrange. I swear it. I’ll join the Auror ranks if I have to but we’ll find him and the counter spell.”

“We’ll be all right.” Draco nodded tiredly. And Harry looked so determined and strong, so very much like the headstrong boy he fell in love with that Draco couldn’t help himself. He pressed his lips to capture his once more. The kiss was ruthless and brutal in its claiming, robbing them both of breath and speech. He ignored the violent pain in his chest for as long as he could bear before he forced himself to pull back.

“Just don’t let go.”



fanart by [livejournal.com profile] oldenuf2nb

The end.

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