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Maxine ([personal profile] maxine_chan) wrote2006-09-10 05:03 pm
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FIC: All the Answers - Chapter 15

Okay, it's here! Finally. Er...enjoy! *whistles innocently*


Title: All the Answers
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Word Count: 5200
Disclaimer: It's not mine. Really. J.K. Rowling's the brilliant mind behind HP.
Notes: Post-HBP, so yes, SPOILERS! Many, many thanks to my lovely betas, [livejournal.com profile] smutella and [livejournal.com profile] impish_nymph! Ladies, you're both fantastic!
Summary: Since when has conquering evil ever been easy?


--> All chapters can be found here. <--



previous chapter


~~Chapter 15~~


Harry didn’t stop running until his legs had turned to jelly beneath him and his lungs burned with the continued effort of sucking down gulps of air. He felt strangely numb, even as he finally stumbled forward and collapsed against the thick trunk of a tree that was at least three times the width of his own body. He didn’t bother straightening himself out, instead hunching over and balling up his fists against the rough bark.

He didn’t want to think about it. About what had happened, and what it might mean. What did it mean? Why had he kissed him? Or had Draco kissed Harry? Who’d moved first? Did it even matter?

It was just because of the Occlumency practice, he told himself. It was all the memories it kept bringing up. That’s where the fault lay. Just like when he’d had to excuse himself to deal with a certain problem that one day, just like he’d been continuing to deal with that problem almost every night. The blame obviously belonged somewhere else, because it wasn’t his fault his body had been betraying him recently.

“Potter!” a familiar voice gasped out, and it was only shock that had Harry spinning around, eyes wide. Otherwise, if he’d had the strength to do it, he would have taken off in the opposite direction again. “Bloody hell, you’re quick,” Draco panted, bent over at the waist and hands grasping at his knees. Harry watched his back heave up and down as the boy kept drawing in breaths.

“I’ve had a lot of practice,” Harry heard himself say. Quidditch didn’t lend much to the physical side of things, but Harry had spent his entire childhood running away from one thing or another. He’d never really lost that speed. “What do you want?” Harry asked after a moment of letting Draco catch his breath. He shoved his hands into his pockets for lack of anywhere else to put them, and tried not to look as awkward as he felt.

“Just…” Draco was still hunched over, and he waved his hand about aimlessly. He wasn’t breathing hard anymore, though, and Harry realized maybe he wasn’t the only one who didn’t think he was capable of looking his companion in the eyes at the moment.

“Let’s just forget about it,” Harry said after a moment, pushing away from the tree. He was headed in the direction of their camp, but Draco’s hand shot out at him as he passed, grabbing onto his elbow. “Malfoy?”

Draco straightened up, but continued looking straight ahead, rather than at Harry. “Potter…”

“Look, it’s no big deal, alright?” Harry said somewhat nervously as he tried to pull his arm away. “Accidents happen and we all make mistakes, so–”

“No,” Draco said quickly, with a brief shake of his head. He turned his head further away. “It wasn’t…an accident.”

Harry’s stomach dropped and an odd tingling feeling rushed down his spine. “Yes it was,” he said shakily, still trying to tug away. “Or are you saying I kissed you on purpose?” He tried to seem indignant at the thought, but mostly he just wanted to get as far away from Draco as possible.

“I kissed you,” Draco said, finally turning to face Harry. “And it wasn’t an accident.”

Harry swallowed. “Malfoy…” No way. There was no way he could be serious. Harry’s eyes narrowed slightly as he peered at him, and after a few more seconds of silence, Draco’s mouth twitched. “You little shit!” Harry shouted, yanking his arm out of Draco’s grasp.

Draco burst out laughing. “I couldn’t help it!” he exclaimed, holding up his arms to shield any blows Harry might deal. “You should have seen the look on your face!”

“It’s not funny!” Harry groused. He turned and began stomping back towards camp.

“Oh, but it is,” Draco corrected, rushing to keep up with him. “Merlin, Potter, you’re way too easy.”

“Whatever. Pack up your stuff when we get back; we’re leaving.”

“We’re – wait, what?” Draco grabbed at Harry’s elbow again. “What do you mean, we’re leaving?”

“What do you think I mean? There’s no reason for us to be out here anymore–”

“Occlumency,” Draco interrupted. “You still haven’t–”

“I’ve had quite enough Occlumency practice for now, thank you very much,” Harry said in a clipped tone.

“Oh, come on. You’re going to let one little kiss scare you off?”

One little – Malfoy, it was hardly a little kiss!” Harry exclaimed. He was thankful it was getting dark out, because he was pretty sure his face had just turned scarlet.

“I thought you were Pansy,” Draco said sheepishly, by way of explanation.

“And I thought you were Ginny.” Except that was a lie, because Harry distinctly remembered wishing Ginny was there, but being able to make the connection in his head that he was stuck with Draco instead. He sped up his pace as they walked, eager to get as far away from the forest as possible. It was doing serious damage to his brain or something.

“Potter, we’re not leaving tonight,” Draco said from a little ways behind him. “It’s getting late and it’s probably not a good idea to surprise Weasley and Granger like that. God knows what they could be doing right now.”

Harry cringed, but had to concede the point. “Tomorrow then,” he said. “First thing in the morning. I’ll send them a Patronus tonight.”

“Hey.” There was a hand at Harry’s elbow again, and before he really thought about what he was doing, Harry turned around and grabbed the other boy’s wrist so he would stop touching him already.

That was a mistake.

Draco gasped and stumbled back, holding his arm protectively against his chest. Harry did likewise, except he had the heel of his hand pressed against his forehead, trying to quell the sudden burning pain that sliced through his scar.

“Fuck,” he muttered, eyes wide as he spun around on the spot.

Draco was eyeing their surroundings nervously as well, as if he expected Voldemort to suddenly pop out from behind a bush somewhere. “Brilliant, Potter,” he snapped, lowering his arms slightly. “Let’s just send the Dark Lord an invitation and a map while we’re at it.”

“Shut it,” Harry hissed, hand falling to hover anxiously over the wand sticking out of his back pocket. Draco fell silent and they both stood absolutely still, listening to the wind rustle through the trees.

“Walls up?”

Harry nodded, digging into his Occlumency training. “Walls up.”

“…I think we’re alright,” Draco said after a minute or so, rubbing absently at his wrist. “I doubt the Dark Lord would have noticed that.”

Harry swallowed nervously. “He better not have.” It didn’t look like anyone was coming, though, so he allowed himself to breathe easier. “Come on.”

Stars were starting to appear in the night sky by the time they made it back to camp. They both decided to forgo dinner, and instead set about packing things up. There was a definite heaviness in the air now, an awkward silence that they hadn’t broken since they’d been trekking through the woods. Harry puttered around, taking his time in an attempt to stall the inevitable. He made a fire and sat staring at it for a long while, because even though he could feel sleep tugging at him, he had absolutely no desire to go to bed anytime soon. The tent, the tent he and Draco shared, loomed behind him like it was the guillotine, and going to bed in it was a one-way trip to DEATH.

Harry shuddered.

Maybe he would just stay awake the whole night…

“Potter?” Draco said sometime later, his voice slicing through the silence so suddenly that Harry nearly jumped out of his skin.

“What?” he snapped, though he hadn’t meant to, but he swallowed down the apology that tried to slip out of him.

Draco blinked. “Um. I’m going to bed. You coming?”

No. “…I’ll be there in a bit.”

Draco nodded, his brow slightly furrowed, and then disappeared behind the canvas flap.

Harry scooted closer to the fire, rubbing his hands and then holding them out in front of him. Maybe he should have grabbed his blanket before Draco went to sleep. The cold was starting to settle in now, and Harry wasn’t looking forward to sitting up in it all night with nothing but his t-shirt on.

Draco poked his head back outside again, looking irritated. “What the hell are you doing, Potter? If you’re trying to stay outside all night because you’re afraid I’m going to jump you in your sleep, you’re more screwed up in the head than I thought you were.”

“Er.” Harry floundered. Damn. “I wasn’t,” he said lamely. “I was…enjoying the fire.” Draco gave him a flat look, and Harry winced. Then he sighed. “Alright, alright, I’m coming.”

It was, quite possibly, the most uncomfortable hour-and-a-half of Harry’s life. He was curled up in a ball on his side of the tent, knees pulled up almost to his chest and his back hunched. Unfortunately his problem was back again and, as always, it refused to leave. His cock was heavy between his legs, and every time he shifted he could feel the fabric of his pants rubbing over it. His face was flushed, his palms were sweaty, his hair was sticking to his forehead, his breaths were coming in deeper and deeper pants...

This was ridiculous, he thought angrily as he glared at the wall of the tent. He was half tempted to shove his hand down into his pants to rectify the problem, but he knew without needing to look that Draco was still awake as well. And, from the sound of it, suffering through his own problems. Every so often there’d be a sharp intake of breath from his side, and Harry could hear him shifting uncomfortably under his blankets.

It was part of the reason Harry himself was so worked up.

Draco didn’t snore, but usually Harry could hear him breathing deeply while he was sleeping. The silence that surrounded them now was the type that so quiet, it felt like it was roaring in his ears.

Harry shifted again, trying to stretch his legs out, and was almost unable to squelch the groan that tried to leave his throat.

Maybe he should just excuse himself and say he had to go to the bathroom.

Except it was freezing outside, and Harry didn’t feel like having to pull on another sweatshirt and an extra pair of socks. The inside of their tent was usually comfortably warm, despite the fact that it felt almost stifling now.

“…You awake?”

The words came so softly that Harry debated on not answering and pretending he was still asleep.

“Potter?”

Harry could hear Draco shifting and rolling over. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to even out his breathing.

“I know you’re not asleep, you ponce,” Draco said, and he sounded almost amused.

Harry gave in and flopped onto his back, peering through the darkness up at Draco. The other boy was propped on his elbow, staring back down at him.

“What?” Harry asked testily, trying to look like he wasn’t suffering through the worst hard-on he’d ever had.

Draco pursed his lips. “I’m still worked up from this afternoon,” he admitted, and it took all of Harry’s willpower not to fling another Sectumsempra at him right there. It wasn’t like Harry hadn’t known it already, but there was no need to thrust it out into the open like that!

“So?” Harry said after a moment, bringing his knees up and keeping his feet flat on the ground so that his blanket wasn’t lying flat across his groin. Because, well, because it wasn’t lying flat across his groin, and that was the problem.

Draco frowned. “It was just a kiss.”

Harry twitched. “What’s your point?” he grumbled.

“It didn’t mean anything.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Obviously.”

Draco hesitated. “Do you think we can…” He trailed off, arching his eyebrows and looking pointedly down towards Harry’s crotch.

It took less than two seconds for him to catch on. “No!” he exclaimed, trying to sit up and scoot as far away as possible.

Trying, because Draco had apparently seen that coming and had a hand on Harry’s chest, holding the other boy in place with more strength than Harry’d thought he had.

“Potter, come on!”

“Forget it, Malfoy!”

“Potter–”

“No!” Harry struggled beneath Draco, who now had his entire forearm leaning against Harry to hold him down.

“Would you just–”

“That’s sick and disgusting and–”

“–calm down already–”

“–PERVERTED, and I refuse to–”

“POTTER!”

Harry ceased his struggling, staring wide-eyed up at Draco as he panted. He didn’t have his glasses on, but Draco’s face was close enough that he could see him clearly, and the fact that he was that close had Harry trying to sink as far as he could into his pillow.

“It’d be mutually beneficial,” Draco said after Harry had managed to stay quiet for an entire minute.

“Are you even listening to yourself?” Harry said in exasperation.

“Not really; I’m afraid I’d have to AK myself if I were.”

Harry’s eyes narrowed. “This isn’t another order from Voldemort, is it?”

Draco blinked. “What?”

“You weren’t ordered to seduce me or something, were you? This isn’t some great ploy to eventually make me fall in love with you so you can drag me back to Voldemort’s lair?

Lair?” Draco arched an eyebrow. “Good God, Potter, what sort of trashy romance novels have you been reading?”

“I haven’t!” Harry said defensively, because the time he’d accidentally glanced at one of Aunt Petunia’s summer reading books didn’t count. “Bloody hell, Malfoy, get off me already!”

Draco only made his body heavier. “No.”

“Malfoy!”

“Potter, come on, we could make it quick!”

No! Is your hand broken or something? Go outside and take care of it yourself!”

“I’m not leaving the tent, it’s freezing out there!” Draco growled.

“Not my problem!”

“Fine,” Draco snapped, rolling off Harry and onto his back in one fluid motion. “I’ll just do it in here then.” He spat into his palm, scowled at Harry, and then shoved his hand down his pants.

Harry’s eyes went wide. “Malfoy!”

Draco didn’t reply. He just squeezed his own eyes shut, tilting his head back and spreading his knees to give himself more room. Harry gaped for a moment, watching as Draco’s teeth clenched and his hand jerked up and down beneath his trousers.

“Enjoying the show?” Draco asked after a minute, cracking one eye open to peer at Harry. Harry promptly turned onto this side and pulled his blanket over his head. That didn’t help matters, because now on top of the already stifling tent, he’d made himself even hotter beneath the covers. And Draco was making those sounds, the ones that Harry had heard over and over in Draco’s memories, so no matter how hard he tried to keep his mind blank, he could still see with picture-perfect clarity the way Draco should look at that exact moment. His own cock throbbed between his legs, and Harry gave up trying to ignore it and instead pressed a hand against it in a half-arsed attempt to make it go away.

On the other side of the tent, Draco was still struggling with himself. Harry decided to risk it and lowered the blanket a bit, peeking at him over his shoulder.

“Having problems?” he asked snidely, unable to help himself.

Draco practically growled at him. “I – I can’t do it with someone else near me,” he said, frustration evident in his voice.

Harry snorted. “No wonder you were always so bitchy at Hogwarts,” he said, rolling onto his back again.

“That’s different!” Draco snapped, giving up altogether and glaring at his hand. “I had my own bed there, at least.”

“Right,” Harry said doubtfully.

“Damn it!” He sat up, turning his glare to Harry. “Can’t you just pretend it’s your own hand or something?”

“Nope.”

Draco’s eyes narrowed, and then before Harry could figure out what was going on, Draco had his hands on his shoulders to hold him in place while he straddled his hips.

“Malfoy!”

“Shut up,” Draco said, and then he was kissing him.

Harry’s eyes widened and his entire body froze. There was a strange sort of heat building in his belly, though, and the longer he stayed frozen, the more it flowed to the rest of his body. His cheeks felt like they were burning, his arms felt useless even though they were resting freely at his sides.

Draco pulled back, staring him straight in the eyes, and Harry shivered even though he couldn’t possibly have been any hotter at the moment. He could feel the sweat dripping down his forehead and into his eyes.

“Okay?” Draco asked warily.

Harry spluttered. “Not okay!” he exclaimed, but Draco just rolled his eyes and kissed him again, and Harry found that he could finally move his arms enough to bring them up to Draco’s chest. They didn’t exactly do what he wanted them to, though, and instead of shoving the other boy away, they pulled him closer. His hands twisted into the material of Draco’s thin shirt and held on tight as his mouth opened almost desperately into the kiss.

Then Draco was sliding one leg in between his and pressing down, and Harry gasped as his hips jerked up against his will. He found himself wrapping one leg around the back of Draco’s knee to pull him closer, and he could feel Draco’s erection pressing against his own thigh.

It was the hand coming to a rest gently against his pelvic bone that had him pulling back, though.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Harry said, gasping as he tore his mouth away. “Stop.”

Potter,” Draco groaned, head falling forward to rest on Harry’s shoulder.

“No,” Harry said. “I’m not saying stop stop. Just.” He swallowed, trying to get his breathing under control. His hands clenched where they were still holding Draco’s shirt, and he could feel the other boy’s chest heaving against his. “Just,” Harry repeated, still drawing a blank at what he was trying to say. Having another body on top of his was distracting. He wasn’t used to this weight pinning him down. Usually Ginny was underneath him.

Ginny…

Harry swallowed thickly. “Look,” he said, pushing Draco away slightly. “No kissing.”

Draco’s entire body seemed to relax at the words. “Is that all?” he asked. “Merlin, Potter.”

“I’m serious,” Harry said. “And this is a one-time thing.”

“We’ll be back in our own rooms after this,” Draco pointed out, and Harry was surprised at the feeling that swept through him at the words. He’d forgotten that he and Draco didn’t share a room anymore back at Grimmauld Place.

“No kissing,” Harry said again, pushing the weird thoughts out of his mind.

“No kissing,” Draco agreed. His brow furrowed. “Why, if I may ask?”

Harry paused, chewing lightly on his lower lip. “Because the rest of this I can pass off as a simple physical need,” he said eventually. “Kissing makes it personal.”

Draco considered this, before nodding. “I’ll take what I can get,” he said, before bending down and latching his mouth onto Harry’s collar and sliding both of his hands beneath Harry’s shirt. Harry sucked his stomach in and clenched his teeth, but Draco’s tongue was doing all sorts of wonderful things to his neck, and even though he wasn’t sure if that counted as Not Kissing, it felt too good for him to put a stop to it.

“Bet you’re glad,” Draco panted against his skin, “that Snape didn’t teach you the same way I did.”

Harry grimaced. “Are you trying to kill the mood?”

“Is there a mood?” Draco asked, shifting so that both of his legs fell into the V of Harry’s thighs. “Thought we were just rutting like animals.” He pushed Harry’s shirt further up his chest, exposing his stomach.

“Shut up,” Harry growled, and he pushed up with all of his strength, reversing their positions so that Draco was the one on his back. Draco fought back, though, apparently intent on being on top, and that was something Harry had really never experienced before: this resistance. They grappled for a bit, legs twisting around one another and pulling their groins together, before finally they ended up on their sides, sweating and panting, shirts half off.

Draco wasted no time in shoving his hand down between them. He found the waistband of Harry’s pants easily enough, and soon his fingers were curling around Harry’s cock and pulling it free from its confines. Harry moved to do the same, hesitating only for a moment when he belatedly remembered that Draco was a boy.

And that he had no idea what the hell he was doing.

But it couldn’t be that complicated. Same thing he normally did, right? Just…a little backwards.

Draco was making frustrated little sounds against his neck and thrusting his hips forward, and Harry decided to just go for it.

It felt almost the same, the heavy weight of Draco’s cock against the palm of his hand. He could already feel wetness at the tip, and if Draco was as pent-up as he was, then he knew this wasn’t going to take long.

It felt the same, but it wasn’t. Harry could sense Draco near him. He could feel the heat wafting off of Draco’s body, could feel Draco’s hair sticking to his cheeks, could feel the different twists and pulls that Draco’s hand made. He could smell the heady scent of sex in the air and he could hear the needy whimpers Draco continued to make.

It was completely overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. It was rough, it was quick, it was so completely boyish that it made Harry’s head spin and his cock throb and as soon as he felt Draco shudder against him, felt that telltale wetness seeping through his fingers, he let himself go and came with a harsh grunt, which somehow got swallowed up by Draco’s mouth.

Harry didn’t fight it. He was too caught up in the moment to push Draco away, though that moment was fading fast as the squelching dampness in his pants made itself known.

Draco pulled back, but stayed close enough that Harry could feel every one of his panting breaths across his lips.

“I said no kissing,” Harry muttered.

Draco did a weird half-snort, half-laugh sort of thing. “So sorry.”

The thought that they should probably clean themselves up drifted through Harry’s mind, but he was too close to sleep for it to make any sense, and by the time Draco had curled one hand tentatively behind his lower back, Harry was already gone.

* * *

Harry was startled out of his sleep the following morning with a solid kick to his knee. He winced, blinking his eyes open and peering blearily around the tent. Draco was still asleep, one of his hands twisted around Harry’s shirt and one of his legs thrown over Harry’s thigh. He guessed that was the leg that had hit him. Their blankets were a mess surrounding them, all mismatched and crumpled. It looked almost as if a small tornado had swept through their tent.

But it wasn’t a tornado, as Harry was quickly remembering, and it took all of his willpower to get himself untangled from Draco and out of the tent before he finally collapsed on the ground and tried not to heave all of his stomach’s contents into the bushes. He was breathing harshly and clutching at his shirt, which smelled so much like Draco and spunk that he was sorely tempted to rip it off right there and burn it.

What the hell had he been thinking?

“Oi, Potter,” Draco said as he stumbled out of the tent. He yawned, stretching his arms above his head, and Harry determinedly looked away from the strip of pale stomach that showed with the movement. “You sick?” he asked, narrowing his eyes.

“Something like that,” Harry muttered, groaning a little as he noticed the dried come on his own stomach. The worst part was that he wasn’t actually sure if it was his or not.

“Oh,” Draco said suddenly, sounding a lot more awake with just that one syllable. Harry glanced at him over his shoulder. Draco’s eyes were wide and he was staring at Harry with a sort of abrupt comprehension and, if Harry wasn’t mistaken, not a little disgust. “Well, shit.”

Harry scowled. “Yes; well, shit,” he repeated, running a hand through his hair. “Job well done, Malfoy, I see your memory’s in top shape.”

Draco frowned. “Did we really…” he started to say, but then stopped when Harry leveled a glare on him.

“Don’t ask stupid questions,” Harry snapped.

“What the hell’s your problem?” Draco asked, his eyes narrowing.

Harry laughed, though there was no humor in it. “God, I wonder!”

“Look, it’s not my fault–”

“It bloody well is your fault!” Harry yelled, pushing himself to his feet. “I was trying to get you to stop!”

“You caved eventually; I wouldn’t have forced you into it!”

“You just as good as,” Harry ground out. “Put me under a spell or something, I bet.”

“Oh, that’s a complete load of bollocks! Don’t even try to play that card!”

“I wouldn’t put it past you!”

“You’d have to be a pretty crap wizard not to notice! What, forgot how to break the Imperius curse?” Draco said snidely.

“Ugh, just shut up!” Harry finally said. “I don’t want to hear it. I’m fucking tired of being in this stupid place. Obviously it’s starting to mess with my head.”

“And mine!” Draco added, crossing his arms and glaring at nothing in particular.

Harry frowned, jerking his own glare around to the tent. Unfortunately it was the only thing they hadn’t packed, though Harry wasn’t exactly keen on going anywhere near it anytime soon.

“Not a word to anyone about it, understand?” Harry said as he swallowed his disgust and quickly crawled back in to retrieve his wand from the mess of blankets.

“Why on Earth would I want to spread that around?” Draco spat, accepting his own wand when Harry handed it to him.

“I just want to forget this bloody trip ever happened,” Harry said, practically snarling as he swiped his wand viciously through the air. The tent collapsed and neatly began folding itself up. “Absolutely nothing good came from it, and if you say Occlumency one more time I promise I won’t hesitate in cursing you again!” he added quickly when Draco opened his mouth.

Draco sneered at him. “I was just going to say that it might be a good idea if we changed clothes before we left,” he said. “Weasley’s dumb, but he’s not a complete idiot. And I know Granger will cotton on to something within ten seconds if she sees us like this.”

Harry glanced down at his rumpled shirt and stained pants before silently agreeing.

He wasn’t risking anyone finding out about this.

* * *

Harry and Draco were still bickering when they popped into existence at their designated meeting place. Ron and Hermione could only share exasperated looks and sighs when they saw them.

“–the fucking hell, Potter!” Draco was in the middle of shouting. “Were you trying to leave me or something?”

“Of course not,” Harry said innocently, though the roll of his eyes said something else entirely. “I merely forgot you existed for a second.” He paused, shaking Draco off his arm, and sighed. “It was a nice second.”

“Ha ha, very funny,” Draco snapped, brushing himself off. “You’re an absolute riot, Potter. Really. I’m dying of laughter. Here’s me keeling over.”

“If only you spoke the truth,” Harry spat back at him.

“I think they’re worse than before they left,” Ron said to Hermione in a mock whisper. She sighed, adjusting her bag over her shoulders.

“Well, what did we expect, leaving them alone for so long? That they’d be all buddy-buddy?”

Harry and Draco froze, glancing over at their two new companions.

“Hi!” Hermione said cheerfully, grinning widely. Ron waved a hand lazily in greeting.

“I have nothing to say to either of you and this forest is pissing me off,” Harry groused. “Hand over the potion, Hermione, I want to get the fuck out of here.”

“Harry!” Hermione scolded, her eyes wide.

“What’s wrong with him?” Ron directed at Draco.

Draco shrugged. “He found out that none of us believed the whole Horcrux bullshit cover story.”

Harry scowled.

“Oh,” Hermione said, at least having the decency to look a little sheepish. “Well… Aside from that small mishap, did you manage to get anything else accomplished?”

“We had loads of Occlumency practice,” Draco said, smirking suddenly. “Didn’t we, Pott–” He was cut off when Harry punched him solidly in the shoulder.

“Yes,” he said tightly. “Loads of Occlumency. I’m practically a pro now.”

“Well, I’d hardly say that, but–” Harry punched him again. Draco frowned, rubbing his shoulder, and instead turned to the other two. “And what about you? Heard anything from the twin Weasley dolts?”

Ron’s grin dropped suddenly and Hermione looked vaguely nervous. “Actually, I’m glad you sent that Patronus when you did,” she said, “because I was going to send you one today if we hadn’t heard anything from them.”

Harry looked at her, all traces of anger gone. “Hermione?”

“We haven’t heard from them in three days,” Ron said. “We were exchanging owls every other day up until Wednesday.”

“Do you think something happened?” Harry asked.

Hermione shrugged helplessly. “We have no idea.”

Harry cursed under his breath. “Then we need to get back. Fred and George aren’t the type to leave you hanging.”

They quickly passed around the potion vial, Ron downing the last of it. “To the Burrow, you think?” he asked.

Harry nodded quickly. “Malfoy?” he said, holding out his arm. Draco hooked his own around it without a second thought, and there were four simultaneous cracks as they disappeared from Belgium.

* * *

Nothing seemed immediately out of the ordinary when they reappeared on the hilltop by Ron’s house. It was still quiet due to the early hours of the morning, and the sun was just beginning to creep higher into the sky.

Actually…

Harry shivered, glancing around nervously as an uncomfortable feeling settled in his stomach.

It was almost too quiet.

But that didn’t make any sense. Quiet was quiet; there weren’t exactly levels to measure it by.

“Does it feel…weird to you?” Draco whispered, and Harry belatedly realized that the other boy was still holding onto his arm, and his grip had tightened significantly.

“Weird?” Harry repeated. “How do you mean?”

“I don’t know…”

“Do you smell that?” Ron asked suddenly, wrinkling his nose. “It…it smells almost like something’s…” His eyes widened and he spun around widely, his face going deathly pale.

Hermione gasped.

“Ron!” she shouted, grabbing onto his sleeve with one hand and pointing with the other. “Look!”

Harry and Draco turned around, and the uncomfortable feeling in Harry’s stomach hardened and turned to lead.

In the distance, exactly where the Burrow should have been, two twin columns of thick, black smoke were swirling lazily in the air.



Heh.

*runs*

~Maxine


next chapter




You can also read it at my website, or at Skyehawke.

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