by Draeconin

Beta: Phoenix
For story details and disclaimer, please see chapter one.

Chapter Twenty-Two

When Harry and Draco walked - no, almost promenaded - into the Great Hall which had been transformed, for this night, into a ballroom, movement slowly ground to a halt. Although the music continued to play, the sight of the young couple had everyone, male and female - gay, straight, and otherwise - transfixed with the sight. There was no gainsaying it; they were striking, if a bit... fey?

Harry faltered with all the attention, but Draco had expected it, and gently steered his consort to the middle of the dance floor. Once moving in the dance, Harry was fine. Action was his forte after all, and concentrating on the dance steps helped keep his mind off everything else, as other couples joined them on the floor. Well, almost everything else. He was all too aware of the attention his partner was getting.

Draco knew he was being watched. After all, he looked good, and knew it. He also knew Harry was getting at least as much ogling as he was. His husband might not realize just how hot he was, but Draco was now regretting dressing him so sexily. The whip in his black-leather-clad partner's hand seemed to be keeping the wolves at bay, though. Suddenly he was glad Harry had insisted on having it as part of his ensemble. It might get in the way of some of the more intricate dance moves, but the psychological factor was very comforting. With that in mind, he let himself relax and move, getting lost in the music, and his dance partner.


In Hogsmeade, Peter Pettigrew had got an early start on the holiday, and was already totally pissed. Drunk enough, in fact, to ignore the fact that he was baiting and insulting quite a large group of people without backup. When the hexes started flying he was caught unawares, and was hit with several of them before he recollected himself enough to change to his animagus form and run for cover.

Eventually he found himself in the tavern's sub-cellar; a dank, moldy, long-abandoned level that used to store beer and hams, but now housed nothing but empty, rotting wooden crates. Wormtail frantically lost himself in these, panting and gasping for breath as his panic slowly waned. The adrenalin rush had, for the most part, sobered him. He transformed back to human and started trying to heal the results of the hexes he'd been the recipient of, cursing the patrons who'd inflicted them on him. He was a favourite of Voldemort damnit, and they'd had the temerity to disrespect him this way? And simply for telling the truth, too! Years of fear, horror, and pain in service to a cruel master had left him more than a little insane: no matter that he had gone to the then-man (now, it was hard to tell) out of spiteful jealousy and ambition, and still functioned, to some degree.

After taking care of the worst of his injuries, those he was capable of influencing, he sat and listened, trying to determine if it might be safe to climb to the main floor and leave the establishment. He slowly became aware of brief traces of fresh air infrequently wafting past his nostrils. Down here? By chance he had chosen a rotting crate next to a crack in the wall, and the fresh air seemed to be coming through it. This close to Hogwarts, it might just be... He remembered the tunnel they, the Marauders, had used from Hogwarts to Honeyduke's basement.

Changing back into his rat form, he explored the opening. It was too tight to get through at floor level, so he slowly climbed it. At about eighteen inches up the wall the crack widened just a bit: just enough for him to squeeze through. Once through the wall he found himself in a narrow, low tunnel. As small as his human form was, he would still be ducking to keep from hitting his head. So he kept to his rat form, and pattered down the tunnel.

He hadn't gone far, less than a couple dozen metres, when he found why he didn't remember this tunnel. It was blocked. Collapsed, in fact. And it was an old cave-in. Exploring the mass he found, however, that there were still gaps between some of the stones just wide enough for a rat to get through. But he hadn't gone but another 20 metres before even that disappeared. Still, it was enough distance altogether to let him know that the tunnel did indeed run in the direction of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And insofar as he could sense - no wards. His master would be quite interested indeed, he thought.


After two dances Draco needed a rest, so they made their way to one of the small tables that had been set up along the walls, close to the stage.

"Maybe we should only dance the slow ones?" Harry suggested while leaning over his seated, pregnant husband, worried that Draco might be overdoing it. Before Draco could answer, Harry felt a hand on his bum - and it wasn't his husband's.

"Have a death wish, Finch-Fletchly?" Draco's cold voice spoke in Harry's ear. The blond's arm extending past him so he couldn't see, but he assumed his lover had his wand in hand at the end of it. Careful not to obstruct Draco's vision, he moved out of the way, then turned so he could see exactly what was going on.

It seemed Finch-Fletchley had been standing at the punch bowl too long. And as at every dance or function, someone always spiked it; sometimes with alcohol and sometimes with potions, but spiked nonetheless. No, strike that - he had to have been drinking long before the ball started. There hadn't been enough time for him to get this pissed since it started. His face was flushed, he was swaying slightly on his feet, he was wearing a stupid grin, and he obviously had no idea of the danger he was in.

"Boo'ful boizh. Boo'ful. Nishe arshe- arshes. Too boo'ful. Couldn' be- not real. But- Are!" Justin said, astonishment clear in his slurred voice.

"Sobrietus!" Draco incanted viciously.

As the curly-haired lad's eyes focused and his stance steadied, he took in the scene before him, and the memory of recent events stood out in stark relief in his mind. "Oh, bugger," he said faintly, eyes wide. "Tell me I didn't do what I remember doing - please?"

"Draco - nothing rash. He was drunk," Harry cautioned.

"I suggest you stay sober, Hufflepuff. Because even being drunk won't keep your hands attached to your arms if you ever touch my husband again," Draco promised coldly.

The boy started shaking in reaction to his close call; he nodded, his eyes wide, in agreement. "I - I'd never - ever - do something like that if I were sober!" he protested. "Never, ever again. I promise!"

As the Hufflepuff turned and started to walk away, Harry grabbed the whip he'd brought and snapped it on the boy's arse, causing him to yelp loudly and start running. "And the same goes for Draco, from me!" he called after him.

"Mis-ter Potter!" he heard a couple of seconds later, and sighed as he turned to face the source of that voice.

"Yes, Professor McGonagall?" he inquired.

"Five points, Mister Potter!" the woman replied. "And you will give me that implement forthwith!"

"We're not allowed to protest sexual harassment then?" Draco asked innocently.

Harry shot a suspicious look at his husband as he sat down.

"To what are you referring, Mister Potter?" Minerva inquired frostily.

"Finch-Fletchly had his hands all over Harry's bum," the blond replied, eyes wide in mock astonishment that the professor wasn't aware of this.

"That is no excuse for such uncivilised behaviour. You bring-"

"At one time, Professor," Draco interrupted coldly, "that would have had his hands off, or a public flogging in the stocks. You can thank Harry that I didn't do anything! He wouldn't have got off so lightly."

Looking more than a bit taken aback, the transfigurations professor replied, "These aren't those times, Mister Potter, and you would do well to remember that," before turning and walking away.

"Draco... You wouldn't have, would you?" Harry asked.

Cold gray eyes met emerald before thawing. "You're mine, Potter," the blond said quietly. "Don't ever forget it."

A small smile touched Harry's lips. "Wouldn't want to," he replied, leaning in for a quick kiss.

"And she forgot the whip," Draco said slyly.

Harry almost fell off his chair, laughing.


It had been a lovely evening. They hadn't stayed completely to the slow songs; Draco wouldn't have it. But they did take frequent breaks between dances, and all in all had wound up having a wonderful time. True, they'd both received more than their fair share of staring from lustful teenagers, but they had just ignored the attention as best they could. And the word had gone 'round about what had almost happened to Justin Finch-Fletchly, and the barely-disguised threats made about him to Professor McGonagall. So even the most sorely tempted minded their manners.

After the portrait closed behind them, Harry put up a couple of extra wards 'just in case', they took a quick shower to wash off the sweat, and went to bed, too pleasantly tired to do more than cuddle up and snog a bit before they drifted off to sleep.


"A tunnel, you say?"

"Yes, master," Wormtail said, groveling on the floor at his master's feet. "It wants clearing, but I couldn't find any wards on it. With a little effort from some of your other loyal-"

"Quiet, Pettigrew," Voldemort hissed. "You have done well."

Within a few days the work had started to shore and clear the tunnel. It had to be done manually to avoid notice from such wizards as Dumbledore, so it would be slow going, but finally the Dark Lord had found a way into Hogwarts.


The day after the ball, Professor Dumbledore had shown up with Professor Snape, knocking up the young couple from their sleep.

"I know this is your school, Professor," Harry complained peevishly, "but would it hurt to make an appointment with us so we'd know when to expect you?"

"Sorry, my boy," Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling, and not looking in the least sorry. If Harry didn't know better, he'd think the headmaster wanted to catch them in flagrante delicto.

"And if you don't mind, Potter," the potions master grated out, "a sheet is not exactly considered 'attired'."

"So sorry, Professor," the Gryffindor said in sarcasm-laced humility. "I'll try to remember that you'd prefer to be kept waiting while I attire myself. I thought your yelling 'Open this door now, Potter', meant you truly wished me to be as quick as possible. How stupid of me."

"Watch your cheek, Potter, I-"

"He has a point, Severus," a clearly amused headmaster said, interrupting. "You truly can't have it both ways."

Snape glared at the raven-haired youth, but... was that a spark of humour in his eyes?

"Harryyyyy..." Draco whinged from the bedroom. "Who was it? Did you get rid of them? Come back to bed! I'm cold, and I want you!"

Harry blushed. "If you'll excuse me, I'll go put something on?" He then turned and practically ran back into the bedroom.

When he emerged about ten minutes later, a very pink and reluctant blond in tow, Harry found both men casting spells at the walls. They would cast the spell, study the stone wall for a few seconds, step sidewise a few feet, then cast them again. "Um... May I ask what you're doing, professors?" he asked.

"Ascertaining the best place to put your training room, my boy!" Albus replied between spells.

"Ah! Right. You won't mind, then, if we go to have some breakfast?" the Gryffindor asked.

"You may even attend classes," Snape interjected snidely.

"I'm sure Severus and I can handle things here, boys," the headmaster said. "We should be finished before noon."

"Haven't a word for your head of house, Mister ... Potter?" Snape said, addressing Draco.

Draco had been trying to hide behind Harry while not seeming to. Upon being called on his rudeness in not greeting him, the blond straightened and put on his 'aristocrat' expression, to talk to the potions master. The effect was somewhat compromised by his red face. "Um... Hello, Professor."

Snape's eyebrow arched. "'Hello'?"

Draco attempted to stand a little taller. "I regret not greeting you earlier, I was... "

"Propositioning your husband whilst you had guests?" the potions master filled in, interrupting.

Draco's face was blazing, now. The fact that his husband had started to snicker at him wasn't helping, either. It didn't matter that Harry was trying to smother it; he was still enjoying his predicament far too much. "Harry!" he hissed. "Stop laughing at me, and help me!"

"Stop teasing the boy, Severus," a smiling Dumbledore interjected.

Harry gathered his totally embarrassed husband into his arms.

Draco pretended to struggle a bit, then hid his red face against Harry's neck.

When the Gryffindor looked over at the men, he surprised Snape in a small smile, which promptly disappeared behind a supercilious sneer.

"Don't you two ever stop pawing at each other?" he inquired demeaningly.

Harry wasn't fooled. Not any longer. He grinned unrepentantly at the man.

"Go to your breakfast!" the greasy-haired professor snarled. "And don't be late for my class this afternoon!"

"Yes, Professor," Harry said, smirking. Draco looked confused, but also made compliant noises.

"Snape's not so bad," Harry remarked. "But he probably needs a partner. Do you know if he prefers males, or females?"

"What? Why would I know something like that?" Draco asked.

Harry shrugged. "Being your head of house, I thought maybe you'd have seen or heard something that might have given you a clue. I'm sure Slytherins see more of him than the rest of us."

"I really wasn't interested in his private life, Harry. I don't know - for sure."

Harry's ears pricked up. "Suspicions will do, for a start," he said delightedly.

Draco looked at his husband with suspicion. "You're not just doing this out of the goodness of your heart, are you?" It wasn't a question.

"You know me so well, snookums," the Gryffindor smirked.

Draco stopped dead in his tracks, mouth agape. "You didn't!" he said accusingly.

"I didn't what?" Harry replied innocently.

"You didn't just call me 'snookums'," the blond said dangerously.

"Now would I do that?" Harry asked facetiously, grinning widely.

Draco growled and lunged, but his grinning husband was already running towards the Great Hall. The blond raced after him, intent on revenge, but he wasn't as fast as he would otherwise have been. Even at just a shade over two months along his energy and stamina wasn't what it had been, so Harry outdistanced him, and he lost sight of the dark head as the Gryffindor rounded a corner. When he rounded the same corner, he was grabbed and wrapped in powerful arms, making him panic momentarily, until he recognised his husband's feel. But he wasn't going to be distracted that easily. He started pinching the Griffindor, grinning and emphasising his words as he repeated, over and over, "Snookums, huh? Snookums?"

The pinches hurt, but they weren't vicious, and Harry kept laughing as he tried to fend off his offended lover. Finally, he grabbed Draco's hands and held them behind the blond's back. In response, the Slytherin started nipping at him, until Harry finally captured his vengeful mate's lips with his own. It didn't take long until the kiss was being fervently returned, so he released his lover's arms, which came around him, pressing them close together. "Mmm... Damn Snape and Dumbledore," he said.

Puzzled, Draco pulled his head back so he could see Harry's face. "Why?"

"They're in our rooms. We can't go back to bed!"

Draco blushed. "We need to eat!" he said, slapping Harry's arm. He started back down the corridor towards the Great Hall, Harry walking beside him. But Draco's mischievous side wouldn't let the 'snookums' nickname go. He reached out and pinched the Gryffindor again. "Snookums..." he said again, derisively.

Harry sidled quickly away. "Draque," he drawled warningly, with a grin, "you don't want to start that again."

The blond smirked. "Or what? You'll spank me?" he asked facetiously.

"It could happen," Harry warned, thinking of the times he'd wanted to bring a flush to those perfect globes.

"You wouldn't dare," Draco said with a superior grin, and pinched his husband again.

"I mean it, love," Harry said, green eyes flashing with annoyance.

The blond advanced, a superior smirk on his face, fingers darting in to pinch - first here, then there; high, then low. He was beyond surprised when he found his wrist in an unbreakable grip and being dragged towards a door.

"You asked for it," the green-eyed youth informed him, dragging him into an empty conference room.

"Harry! You wouldn't!" Draco said, alarmed. "I'm pregnant. It'll hurt the baby!"

"Your bum isn't anywhere near where I could hurt the baby, love. That's not going to save you," Harry said, seating himself in a large, leather-bound chair, and hauling his husband over his knee.

"I was just playing!" a panicked Draco protested, squirming, and trying to get free.

Harry raised a hand, took careful aim, and let fly. smack!

Draco's eyes went wide as the stinging, open-handed blow fell. "Harryyyy...." he protested.

The Gryffindor soothingly rubbed the spot he'd slapped, then repeated the process a couple more times before asking "Have you learned your lesson, love?"

"What lesson? That you can be a brute?" was the indignant reply as Draco struggled to get away.

smack! Another blow, and soothing strokes. "I can keep this up all day, you know," the green-eyed boy told his husband.

"What - you've done this before?"

smack! And more rubbing. "Be polite, love of my life."

"Some love, if you're going to beat me!" the blond replied defiantly.

smack! "You know better, love. We've fought in the past, and you know what it's like when I beat you," was the response, as the blond's cloth-covered bum was petted.

"Harry, stop!" Draco begged. "This isn't funny!"

smack! "It isn't meant to be funny. But I can feel that you're enjoying it," Harry said, petting the warming flesh.

"I am not!" the blond denied, but his erection was making a liar of him. "Is that why you're doing it?" he accused. But his defiance was waning.

smack! "I'm doing it because you were acting like a superior prat again," his husband replied.

"I'm sorry!" Draco cried.

Suddenly, he was no longer trapped on his husband's lap, but in his arms, his lips being crushed by the Gryffindor's - a much better arrangement. Their passion was aroused, but, "Harry, we can't!" Draco warned, as his husband's clever fingers unfastened his trousers. "It's not warded, here!" When that didn't slow his husband down, and those long, tanned fingers wrapped around his hardness, he hoarsely whispered, "The other pupils, love. If we set them off again... "

"That only happened when we shagged," Harry growled low in his ear.

Draco had no more fight in him, and reached blindly for his husband's length as his mouth was again being ravished.

A few minutes, and a few cleansing and grooming spells later, they were again on their way to breakfast.

It was now an almost everyday occurance for them to sit at the Gryffindor tables, most of the rest of the time at their own small table. But every once in a while they'd sit at one end of the Slytherin table with Blaise, Pansy, Hermione, and a few of the friendlier, or less antagonistic Slytherins. They'd arranged that this morning they would eat with the Slytherins. One look from their table-mates, and everyone assumed they'd been shagging. When Draco squirmed uncomfortably a few times, they were sure of it.

"Passionate morning, eh, Draco?" Blaise said, smirking.

Draco blushed, and glared at him. "What do you mean?" he asked distantly.

"Swollen lips, can't sit still?" his friend implied.

Harry smirked but remained quiet, and kept eating.

"That's not why-" Draco started to protest, then stopped. "I don't have to explain anything to you," he muttered.

Pansy looked at him, amused. "Your husband quite the stud, Draco?" she asked, smirking.

"If you must know," the blond said haughtily, sitting straighter, "Harry beat me," and enjoyed the shocked looks on their faces for all of two seconds.

"I spanked him," Harry corrected quietly, not pausing in buttering his toast.

Draco blushed spectacularly.

"He's-" Hermione started to say, in an indignant tone. "Why would you do that?" she said, trying to cover the fact that she'd almost slipped and mentioned the blond's pregnancy.

"Attitude adjustment," the green-eyed young man replied calmly.

"Harry!" Draco was mortified.

Everyone in hearing - mostly the 'friendlies', although they sent small smirks Draco's way - relaxed. They'd all been on the wrong end of Draco's attitude at one time or another, and were amused and gratified to know that he was no longer getting away with it.

"You were a bad boy then, Draco?" Blaise inquired teasingly.

"Excuse me," Draco said, standing. "I think I prefer my own company."

Harry reached out and grabbed his husband's wrist, pulled him down into his lap, and wrapped his arms around him. "You accused me of beating you, love," he whispered softly in the blond's ear. "You lied," his tone now dangerously low. "Don't blame me for that."

Draco shivered, then melted into Harry's embrace. "I'm sorry," he whispered back. Yes, he had his pride, but he rather liked this side of his husband - as long as it didn't get out of hand.

"So am I," Harry said, nuzzling the his husband's ear. "But I won't lie by telling you I didn't enjoy it. You have a lovely arse."

Although still thoroughly embarrassed, this time Draco's blush was a pleased one, and his body was reacting. It hadn't been that long since their mutual release, but...

"I'd tell you to get a room, but you already have one," Blaise cut in, smirking.

Harry stuck his tongue out at the boy.

"Stop that!" Draco said, lightly smacking his husband upside the head. "Haven't you embarrassed me enough?" The Gryffindor's chuckles were as music to his ears.

Hermione, observing all this, could no longer resist. She grabbed her boyfriend's head and pulled him into a fierce kiss.

When she let him go, Blaise looked at her, a bit dazed, then to Harry and Draco. "If that's how she's going to react, then please - carry on!" he remarked, to Hermione's chagrin, and the great amusement of those within hearing.