With the banging on his bedroom door, and the distress - no, the almost panicked desperation in the voice yelling his surname, Harry almost didn't recognise it. But he'd heard that voice too many times for it to go totally unrecognised under any circumstances. Usually, however, that voice was hurling insults or snide comments. Malfoy. Draco Malfoy. And that fact astonished him. Draco Malfoy? At 4 Privet Drive? And his Muggle relatives hadn't screamed out their anger at the intrusion of a strange wizard coming into their home? Maybe they'd decided cowering was better - if Malfoy hadn't just cursed them. Actually they would probably have deserved it, if he had.
All these thoughts raced through Harry's head even as he was striding towards the door. Turning the knob and throwing it violently open, he snarled "It wasn't frigging locked! What the hell are you doing here, Malfoy, and what do you bleeding want! And not that I care so much, but where are the damned Dursleys?" Harry snarled.
Draco, caught by surprise by that blast, stood shocked, with his mouth open, but recovered quickly. "Do you kiss your aunt with that mouth?" he asked snidely, almost sounding like his old self.
"I wouldn't kiss that waspish harridan for all the money in Gringotts!" Harry declared, disgusted. "What are you doing here?" he asked again.
At the Gryffindor's expression, the blond quickly said, "I... I need your help, Potter - Harry." The note of desperation was back now.
"Why would I do anything for you? And you still haven't answered my question!" Harry said, stalling while he absorbed the shock of hearing Malfoy, of all people, asking him for help.
"I'm trying to tell you, you..." Draco paused and took a deep breath, fighting for control of his temper. "Look, I... "
"The Dursley's?" Harry reminded him.
"They're fine! I put them to sleep when the big, fat one-"
"Young, or older?" Harry asked, interrupting yet again.
Draco frowned, his hard-won patience fraying rapidly. "Some old git. Anyway-"
"That was Uncle Vernon," Harry informed him. He was finding that annoying Malfoy could be mildly amusing.
"I don't bloody care!" Draco yelled, frustrated. "Will you stop interrupting me and let me get on with it? This is difficult enough as it is!"
"Sure. What did you use on them?" the brunet inquired, smirking as he leant up against the door frame.
Draco stared at him in disbelief. "You're just going to stand there? You're not going to offer me a seat?"
"You're not a guest, Malfoy. You forced your way in here, and most likely used magic against Muggles; although I suppose squibs would be more accurate for my aunt and cousin."
"I don't bloody care! I need to sit down now! I don't think I'm going to be able to stand much longer," the blond said, trying to push by the Gryffindor. He had hardly slept over the past several days, and his appetite had fallen off sharply as well, so he was feeling a bit weak. And as much as he hated admitting weakness, he really did need to sit down.
Harry automatically put his hand up against the Slytherin's chest, stopping him. Suspicious of the blond, he searched Draco's face and found not only the irritation and anger he'd expected, but the fear and desperation he'd heard in the Slytherin's voice earlier, as well. Deeper, hidden in those silver eyes, was exhaustion, and behind that... humiliation and - shame? Shoving away from the doorframe, Harry stood aside and waved the other boy in. "No chairs, but you can sit on the bed."
"What did you use on them?" he asked again, as the blond made his way to the bed.
"Aegresco Dormitare," Draco replied, sighing as he sat down.
Harry snorted, amused. "The nightmare curse? Good on you! Why?"
Draco eyed the young man, not quite sure how to react to this Harry. This wasn't how he knew him. This was more - Slytherin. "They were rude to me. Seems they don't care for wizard robes."
Harry grinned, relaxing slightly, but remaining alert.
"Gods, Potter; you actually live like this?" Draco sneered in disbelief, as he surveyed the room.
"Not by choice, I assure you," Harry replied, his grin fading rapidly from his face.
"I thought your family had money!"
"The Dursleys wouldn't buy me an aspirin if I had a broken leg," the Gryffindor said bitterly. "My parents did have money, and I do, but I'm not about to let the Dursleys know that. They'd find a way to steal it from me. Not that it's any concern of yours," the brunet added, after a brief hesitation.
"And here I was, thinking you were treated like a king!" Draco marveled.
"More like a servant - but that's irrelevant." Then he remembered. "What do you need from me?"
Draco sobered, then obliquely stated, "I assure you, your financial stature is of great concern to me - or it will be, if you decide to help me."
"You're skint?" Harry asked, incredulous.
Draco sighed. "No, Potter. But if you decide to help me, I soon will be."
Harry eyed the Slytherin suspiciously. "What help could I give you that would leave you destitute, and why would you wish to be?"
Draco sat on Harry's bed and stared at the floor, gathering his courage. "I need you to bind me to you," he almost whispered.
"WHAT? Why would I want to be bound to you?" Harry asked angrily.
The blond shook his head, still refusing to look at the Gryffindor. "No, Potter. Not you bound to me - me bound to you."
"It's a two-way street, isn't it?" the brunet asked, still angry, but now also confused.
"Well, in a way, yes, but-" Draco didn't get to finish that sentence, as he was interrupted yet again.
"I bloody well knew it! Is this some plan of your father's to deliver me up to Voldemort?" Harry demanded.
Draco was fed up with being interrupted, and replied almost angrily. "No! It's a plan to keep me from being delivered to him!" he revealed with some asperity.
Harry stared at the red-faced blond. "What are you blathering on about?" he demanded. "I thought you wanted to become a Death Eater!"
"I never wanted to be a Death Eater, Potter," Draco growled. "I bow to no one. But my father... Let me rephrase that. The man who sired me upon my mother was going to force me into it, anyway. I didn't like it, but I could live with that." He paused, then continued, the red of his face now from shame, rather than anger. "What I can't live with, and what I found out just a week ago, is that he is planning to bind me to the scaly bastard, to be his play-toy."
Harry was in shock. "His..." His voice trailed off, unable to complete the sentence.
Draco mistook this for a lack of understanding. "His whore, Potter," he whispered, his shamed humiliation evident in his face, and obviously fighting the tears brimming his eyes.
"Nobody deserves something like that: I don't care how much of a git he is," the Gryffindor replied quietly.
"There's only one way to stop it, Potter; if I'm already bound to someone else," Draco said, finally looking at the other boy.
"Dumbledore would protect-"
"Already thought of it," Draco interrupted. "I'd have to be in his sight all the time, or I could be kidnapped. And you know he couldn't do that, even if he wished to."
"So you picked me? Why?"
"Because as much as you might hate me, you'd never take advantage of it. I couldn't think of anyone else, even friends, I could say that about."
Harry shook his head. "I'm not as goody-goody as you think I am, Malfoy. But something like that shouldn't happen to anyone - even you." He fought with himself for a few moments, then came to the only decision he could live with. "What does this binding entail?"
With the beginnings of real hope in his eyes, Draco replied. "There are many kinds of binding, Potter. Lucius and Voldemort would have used a blood binding; Dark magic, of course, that would involve cutting me up fairly badly."
Harry looked revolted. "I won't-"
"I won't, either," Draco said, interrupting, "so you have nothing to worry about on that score. I did a lot of research on magical bindings, once I decided that I had no other choice. The one I finally picked involves the least amount of pain and the most protection - both for you, and for me. Once it's done, I won't be able to do anything to harm, or bring harm to you, and I'm protected against ever being bound to anyone else."
'Not that I ever really wanted to harm you anyway,' Draco thought, 'despite what I've had to do.'
"What does it entail?" Harry asked again.
Draco launched into an explanation of the details; the purifications that would have to be done, the designs that would have to be painted on his body, the spells that would need to be said, and-
"What? Malfoy, I am not having sex with you!" Harry declared, although a stirring in his loins declared his interest. Harry determinedly ignored it. This was Malfoy.
"It's not sex, Potter, it's domination! And it's an integral part of the ritual," Draco argued. "What? Do you think I want you to fuck me? Do you need to see it in writing?"
"Sounds like a bloody good idea to me, Malfoy! Do you have it with you?"
"I thought you might get squeamish over that part, so yes; I did bring it with me," Draco said, pulling a few neatly-cut-out pages from his robe pocket.
"Mutilating books, now?"
"The book would have been missed, Potter. It will be a while before the pages are," Draco explained. "Not that I owe you an explanation."
"True," Harry replied, his eyes fixed on the parchment.
Draco looked at him, surprised with the agreement.
"Let's see those pages," the Gryffindor requested, holding out a hand. After perusing the papers thoroughly, Harry looked at the Slytherin. "Just as you said," he affirmed quietly, "right down to the sex."
"It's the best I could find, Potter. Others weren't strong enough, or entailed more pain than I wish to endure." Draco was looking very uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry," Harry murmured, as he realised, "this can't be easy for you."
"You have a gift for understatement," the blond replied, matching Harry's tone. "I get the exalted 'privelege' of being a sex toy for the Dark Lord, or bound to you, my rival, for the rest of my life. At least with you I have a chance of living a longer life. Voldemort isn't easy on his playthings."
"People around me have a habit of dying, if you haven't noticed," Harry said softly.
"But not because you torture or kill them," Draco retorted.
Harry stared at the Slytherin. "Did you just - defend me?" he asked, amazed.
"Don't get used to it, Harry. And I think you're stalling. Will you help me, or not?"
Harry blushed, caught in the act - or in not acting, whichever was more accurate. "It has to be me?"
"I can't trust anyone else, Potter; not with this kind of power over me."
Harry sighed, defeated. He just couldn't let Voldemort happen to anyone, if he could help it. "When?"
"You'll do it, then?"
"Yes," Harry replied. Then asked again, "When?"
"The sooner, the better. Tonight's a full moon, so that will help. I... I brought everything we'll need."
"Pretty sure of yourself, weren't you?" Harry inquired, raising an eyebrow in askance.
"I'd like to take credit for doing exactly that... but the truth is that I just hoped. If you agreed, the ritual would have to be started almost immediately. If you didn't..." He took his dagger out of the bag he'd been carrying, and showed it to the Gryffindor, making a slashing gesture across his own throat, then put it away again. "Thank you for my life."
He paused, then said, "It's going to take some time to do the ritual. We should get started."
Despite his shock at what Draco had been prepared to do, he had other concerns as well. "The Dursley's?" Harry asked, worried about Draco's spell wearing off.
"The sleeping spell will last until someone ends it," Draco reassured the Gryffindor, "but we need to make sure that there won't be any other interruptions, either. Can you take care of that?"
Harry just nodded, and said, "Yes." Despite his lacklustre performance in classes, he knew the material forwards and backwards. He did poorly in some because he was bored, having already learned most of the material beforehand, and he didn't like writing exams. In Potions, his problem was the professor. Since the man had gone out of his way, from the first time Harry had set foot in his classroom, to try to make him feel unwelcome at best, and like rubbish the rest of the time, the Gryffindor had, subconsciously, done everything he could to anger the man, even if it hurt his own marks.
Fortunately, Harry had accidentally stumbled upon the location where the Weasley twins had set up the small lab where they invented quite a lot of their pranks, and had talked them into letting him use it when they weren't, so he could work on the practicals on his own. He had no intention of failing his N.E.W.T.s because of the greasy professor.
Harry had got in the habit, during the last free days at Hogwarts each year, of cozening Dumbledore or one or more of his adult friends into taking him to Diagon Alley to buy extra books on the practice of magic to read during the summer before going away to molder at his relatives'. There was little else he was allowed to do at the Dursley's than study, other than the chores he was forced to do. Some of the books he acquired were on quite extensive and advanced magics. So he went about setting up extra wards - a ward that prevented the detection of magic being used first, then others to prevent intruders of any kind. When he was finished, he turned around to find Draco staring at him.
"When did you learn to do advanced magic of that sort, Potter?" the blond asked, impressed despite himself.
"Reading, and practicing on the sly at school," Harry replied.
"Right," the blond said, and dropped the subject. There were more important things to attend to right now, and there'd be time later, he hoped, to completely satisfy his curiosity. "Where's your bath?" They both had to bathe before starting the ritual. They'd need to do so again afterwards.
"Down the hall, and on the left," was the reply.
"Right, then. I'll go first, so I can set up while you're cleaning up. Every square inch of skin, Potter - I don't want this to go wrong."
"No worries... Draco."
Draco startled. "Why did you use my given name?" he asked.
"We're going to be quite... intimate, Draco, and we're going to be together the rest of our lives, in some relationship or other, so I think it best we get used to each other, don't you? And you've been calling me by mine ever since you got here."
Draco blushed, and hated himself for it. "Don't get any romantic notions, Potter," he said, trying to sneer. He'd been fighting an attraction for the Gryffindor Seeker for quite some time now, but he wasn't going to give his rival any power over him by letting him know that.
"I'm not, Malfoy; I'm doing as you practically begged me to do!" Harry nearly shouted. He immediately regretted it. In a more normal tone of voice, he said, "I'm sorry. I'm just nervous. All right, and a little scared, too. Aren't you scared, Malfoy?"
Keeping his back turned to the dark-haired boy, Draco quietly admitted, "Terrified." He then quickly swept out of the room with the few things he'd need to bathe with, leaving Harry staring after him, dumbfounded that the blond would admit it.