rurounihime: (Default)
Ru gets whopped majorly for not posting this chapter in so long... *stands under the righteous punishment and bears it* My sincerest apologies. I honestly did not forget about you! O.o

Title: The Road (18/?)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] rurounihime
Rating: hard R when all is said and done…
Pairing: H/D eventually
Summary: In the midst of a disintegrating war, Harry awaits the arrival of the Order’s last hope.
Warning: violence, character death, spoilers for all books
Disclaimer: The HP characters and most of the spellwork do not belong to me.

A/N: Thank you to April for her fabulous and attentive beta-ing, and to Coffee for constantly letting me bounce ideas off of her. The other major pairing in this is Blaise/Seamus, but there are minor het pairings as well.



No artwork or music for this chapter.



Previous chapters

Chapter 18: The Wanderers


The library was cool, filled with the settled smell of musk and dampened paper. Draco stood in the doorway for some seconds, looking at the rows and rows of dusty tomes. Floor to ceiling, so many books. He stepped inside, and the carpet swallowed the sound of his footsteps. The rain had vanished during the previous night, and clear, watery daylight shadowed by fast-moving clouds lit the room through the windows along the far wall. Mullioned panes made the light waver on the floor like water.

There were comfortable-looking chairs, small tables. Books far too big for the shelves sat on raised daises directly under the windows. Even from across the room, Draco could see thick coats of dust over most of them, obscuring the words across pages that had been opened long ago. Perhaps years ago, by whomever had lived in this castle before the war. The sway of magic drifted gently, and Draco peered around, noting areas where the aura was strongest. These were spelled books… But there was no sense of danger, no prickle of uneasily bound magic.

No curses in this library.

Draco took a deep breath and listened to himself exhale. The library was devoid of other people, though there were signs that someone had been there recently. The peg-hollows pressed into the rich but faded carpet were obviously Moody’s. There were shoe depressions of varying sizes, and even the mark of bare feet. For an instant, Draco was tempted to remove his own shoes, to sink toes into the carpet and perhaps even sink himself there. To breathe the dusty scent of books and quiet for as long as he was able.

He shut his eyes, kneading them with his fingers. White spots danced before him from the pressure. Soothing. Something deep within him reached for it, distraught in a voiceless way. Draco shook his head, unwilling to let the sensation have its say. He’d already done so more times than he could count in the last few days, and it never left him anywhere different when it at last quietly spent itself and vanished again.

He turned slowly in the middle of the room, at a loss as to what he was doing there. The nearest dais held a stack of large books, easily as tall as his torso. Draco stared at them, feeling the hush of recognition crawl through him, and moved closer.

They were his. Or had been, before the war. Before there was no longer any family to say they owned them, any manor room in which to lovingly shelve them. Now there was just one man in a foreign room filled with faint sunlight. Draco reached out and touched the spine of the topmost book. It felt glossy under his fingertip. The thick leather binding gave gently as he pressed. A Potions text. Beneath it, a book of ancient charms. On the bottom, the older, darker weight of curses. They’d been cared for and stacked neatly for the next use.

He turned again, looked around. There were no others he recognised, save for an even larger green tome on the platform in the farthest corner. It lay open under the window, but Draco felt no beckoning. He remembered older magic between those pages, words in silenced languages.

Of all his family’s ancient library, were these four the only ones left for him to see?

The rest were out there, perhaps moulding over in Grimmauld’s deserted corridors, or scattered across the world in the hands of people who had fled England. Perhaps in Voldemort’s clutches, as his father had always intended. Draco wondered briefly if those intentions had changed at all in the dank cells of Azkaban, and then the stab in his chest was too great and he pushed the thoughts of his father away.

It hardly mattered. There weren’t any good thoughts left with which to distract himself. Just bad thoughts and worse thoughts.

Draco ran shaking hands through his hair. What was he doing anyway? Having sex with Harry Potter not once, but twice, because Potter felt like he owed him something. It was so far from what Draco had wanted out of any of this, and yet he’d not put up a fight when it happened, had he? He barely recognised himself anymore. There had been years of his life during which he knew beyond all doubt that he would never have let something like this happen. He would have gathered himself together even before he’d begun to fall apart and tossed the rest away out of sheer pride. Self-worth. Malfoys subjugated themselves to no one, least of all lovers.

What did he think was going to occur? Sleep with Potter and suddenly everything would fall together? In whose fucking world was that going to happen? He wasn’t sure, but it was certainly not the world where Draco Malfoy condemned his closest friends to death under false pretences, and even went so far as to use one as a replacement for the person he didn’t have the option of being with.

And all so that when he finally did have that desired person, it was to the sound of pity, and sex out of a sense of guilt.

He was the last Malfoy. And he was starting to think he was no Malfoy at all.

Draco spun away from the books, feeling more than hollow, feeling absolutely barren inside, and headed for the library door. It was still open from his entrance and he slipped through it and yanked it shut behind him. It closed with an empty knell.

Lovegood’s lute echoed distantly in the cavernous hallway. It was the soft, careless pluck of curious fingers. There was no recognizable tune that he could discern. Briefly, Draco wondered if she rested during the day, and how much strength it took from her body to weave those wards. There had been absolute silence during the nights and the smothering pressure of different spells. The nights he could recall noticing, anyway.

Draco grimaced, taking the hallway on quick steps. He’d avoided Potter rather skilfully for the past day, though he had a feeling that if the other man were really bent on finding him, he would have done so. There were few places Draco could go to… yes, the word he was looking for was ‘hide.’ Not with Lovegood in the central chamber, her fingers stretched to every corner of the castle. Every nook. Every cranny. The thought that she knew exactly what he and Potter had done in Potter’s bed shook him all over again, just as it had when it had first occurred to him the morning after his second hasty departure. She could well have heard it. Seen it. Felt his rapid, helpless breathing beating against her music, sensed the tightness of his grip on Harry’s fingers. Heard the broken moans, the panting of almost-kisses.

He hated the idea of being known during such a vulnerable, self-inflicted moment. Hated… that she knew what he sounded like just before he broke. It was all useless anyway.

If he’d been in even the slightest bit of control those days, perhaps it would have felt better.

Fucking, fucking Potter.

Not his fault, a snide voice whispered. There’s only one person to blame. But Draco wasn’t about to do it. Not for this, not for such a wretched, wretched turn of events. This mess was none of his doing, he’d already decided, and even if he didn’t quite believe it, his determination and selfishness were still louder than his conscience in this, at least.

Draco passed the large doors of other chambers, dark wood, solid. Perhaps locked. It hardly mattered. The ones he had been in were nearly empty: bedrooms, storerooms, stairwells and nondescript chambers with fireplaces large enough to walk into, stones three times as thick as his body girding the walls. They held windows of dusty stained glass, for the very lucky spirits of this castle. He’d seen no ghosts. But he knew as well as anyone that true haunting did not require visibility.

One of these rooms, however, did have things in it: folded blankets, chests and tattered furniture lying quiet under the weight of years, potions bottles and cauldrons that had seen much more recent use. He’d been in once the day before, and had let his mind take him back to Snape’s storeroom behind the Potions classroom in Hogwarts’ dungeons. It had the same cramped feel, almost homey with the scent of packaged herbs and dried ingredients. He wondered who brewed the potions for the inhabitants of this castle, the ones Pomfrey did not require for healing. If they even used potions for other reasons. In such a protected place, there might not be a need.

Draco found the correct door at last. It had a new wrought iron ring in place of the tarnished bronzed rings on the other doors. He gripped it and pulled, then stepped into the room, feeling a sense of relief. It was larger than he remembered and looked nothing like Snape’s closet, but… Draco shut his eyes and inhaled. Lavender and roses, dried in heaps in the far corner where the lopsided cherry wood cabinet had been the day before… silken strands of unicorn hair, delicately preserved with faintly twinkling spells beneath the high window, where their silver soaked up the sunlight… the uneasy tingle of pepperheart root from somewhere he couldn’t see. Jars of stranger, once-living ingredients lined the shelves along the west wall. The shelving along the east was empty. Bottles upon bottles made little false eyes in the dim corner cabinets.

It calmed him in ways he hadn’t experienced since his fifth year in school. It felt so naïve, to have once carelessly tossed ingredients into a pot, gaining satisfaction from a sinister curl of colour through bubbling liquid. So simplistic. Had he ever had so few cares?

Gods. He wanted his childhood back. So badly.

He wanted not to dream of his parents in past tense.

He wanted not to have the memory of someone inside him, driving him to an ecstatic, writhing peak, marking the path of his skin with knowing hands and parted lips. He wanted not to have the sense of fingers linked with his, and the sense of failure bleeding over it all.

He wanted not to have needed so heedlessly, without thought to the after-effects, as if he were still a child.

Draco pinched the bridge of his nose. What a stupid train of thought. “You can’t very well go back now, can you? Think of all you could have changed if you weren’t such an imbecile.”

They weren’t toy wands or kiddie spells. They hadn’t been for some time. Why did he still treat everything like such a game, as if he could turn around and fix it with a wave of his wand, laugh about it, smirk at the thought of the bodies he had known intimately? Perhaps because he was still deluding himself: it wasn’t his way to simply know the flesh during sex. No, Draco Lucius Malfoy always tried for the mind, in spite of himself, in spite of knowing better, in spite of whatever he pretended to do to save face. Just… lately it had been the wrong mind. Or…?

He couldn’t think. Couldn’t make sense of it. It was an endless knot, one he had tied himself, and one he kept tightening because the inner loops were just too raw. Theodore was in there, tangled hopelessly with Harry, buried underneath him, dead, bloody, shoved aside like a toy, and hurting so deeply.

Fucking Harry. Draco ground his teeth together. Fuck being fucked by Harry, and liking it, and wanting it so badly. So pitifully.

He trailed fingers over the endless empty bottles, over the jars and along the bare wall, blanking his mind, thinking of nothing, trying to find the state of emptiness he’d cultivated for the entire war. He wasn’t sure if he could still function in that state, but it was all he had left and he was tired of hurting, of hating and sacrificing and needing.

Until the door squealed open behind him.

Draco turned around, dazed, and found Harry Potter there, one hand still on the door. The tendons of his raised arm were tense and noticeable to the eye. Draco dragged his gaze up to Harry’s face and then couldn’t decide if that had been a good idea or not.

“Malfoy.” Surprise there, but a weary sort, as if Harry couldn’t be bothered to be surprised by anything anymore. Draco heard his own name as if he weren’t the one being addressed. It took several seconds to unfreeze his tongue, his limbs.

“Potter,” he returned with a curt nod. His own voice sounded weak, even in that single word. But it was a powerful word, wasn’t it? Had Harry come looking for him? Or… Draco shook himself inwardly and moved toward the nearest shelf, not caring what he reached for, just wanting something to hold, to grip onto to. To take with him.

Harry watched silently as Draco took down a slender jar of some withered leaf. Long and sick-looking. Fitting, Draco thought numbly. He squeezed his hand around the sturdy glass and turned back around, half wondering if Harry would step aside.

Half wondering if he cared, or even wanted it.

Harry had moved closer, just inside the door. The room which had once looked slightly over-large now felt much closer. Draco held his ground, determined not to back up, more an instinctual decision than a conscious one. His mind just wasn’t behaving as it usually did, but he could feel it roiling, stirring itself into motion. Harry’s eyes were riveted on him. Draco could make out the slight clench of his jaw.

“I’ve come for Pomfrey,” Harry said quietly, gesturing toward one of the shelves. Draco didn’t even nod. He was afraid of moving and he wasn’t sure why. But to get out, he had to move. It felt so daunting.

“Well, I haven’t,” he answered, the words clipping sharply across his tongue. He clenched the jar in his hand, then suddenly set it back on the shelf with a thunk and made for the door, no longer caring what it might look like. He should have stayed in his room. Should have—

“Draco, wait.”

It wasn’t his name that stopped him but the tone of Harry’s voice. He couldn’t define it. Words like ‘edgy’ and ‘cracked’ were not enough to capture the quality of it. It was many things folded into one. He stared at the other man and realised with a sense of deflation that he’d have trouble looking away.

“You’re alright?” Harry asked, looking uncertain.

Draco frowned. “Of course I’m alright. What could have possibly happened to me here in this prison of a castle?”

Harry’s brow pinched slightly. His lips thinned. “I haven’t seen you.”

For hours? Days? Anywhere? Many endings to that sentence. Draco swallowed. Looked away and back again, unable to hold the distance. There was nowhere else to look anyway. “Haven’t seen you, either,” was all he could think to say.

Harry moved closer and for some reason Draco let him come, watching almost curiously as the space between them narrowed, until it was startling how close the other man was. Draco blinked, stepped back, and Harry stopped.

“Shouldn’t have left you alone,” came from his lips. Lowly spoken. “It…” Harry shrugged listlessly with one shoulder.

Draco could feel the wall hovering at his back. There couldn’t have been more than three feet between them and the space rippled as if full of air currents. He felt hot around the throat, suddenly sweating, glad he’d put the jar down before it slipped from his damp palms. Harry’s eyes pierced right through green into something else, a colour so deep Draco didn’t have a name for it, but all hells, it was enthralling.

A world of unfinished sentences skittered through him. He pursed his lips against them, but one got free. “I’m grateful you did leave me alone.”

And what was he really grateful for? Draco knew. His body thrummed heavily and abruptly with it, with Harry and nearness and that fucking, aching, irrepressible need.

“Malfoy—” oh, his last name again, “I need to know something.” Harry’s body seemed to shiver. Draco’s teeth began to hurt from the clenching. Potter was such a klutz in this, in this something, and Draco’s irritation unfurled in fits and starts. Harry stepped closer. Closed the gap and was right in front of him, breathing the same air.

“I don’t care,” Draco grated out. He moved, but Potter didn’t and they were touching, and Draco’s mind just… stopped.

“I don’t want you to leave this time,” Harry muttered. “Just let me say what it is that—”

He faltered and some dark fire lit his gaze, frustration as potent as Draco’s. It entangled him for long enough to slow his answer. He made to push by, but Harry caught him at his waist with both hands. The mere touch fired a million nerves. Draco sucked back a hiss and felt those hands tighten, that body press closer. The wall was a solid weight against his back.

“Get off of me, Potter,” Draco growled, and the other man froze.

Harry’s hands were a firm presence on his hips, his body a long, hard press all along Draco’s front as if it belonged there. And Harry’s scent… Gods. Draco glared up at the him, trying desperately not to inhale, to breathe at all, because he knew one single movement would give him away to himself. His nerves felt like they were tottering just at the edge of arousal. Harry was right against him, for Salazar’s sake, it was a wonder he hadn’t let go already and fallen.

Harry’s green, green eyes fixed on his, and for a split second, Draco thought he was going to speak.

Then Harry did move, hands tightening. Draco’s body fell over the edge; arousal thudded hard into his groin, and his mouth fell open. That same massive need arced through him and he very nearly moaned.

But Harry’s movement was only to push away. His fingers slid from Draco’s waist; the warm weight was gone, leaving only sharp vacancy, and Draco’s hand shot forward on its own.

He grabbed Harry’s collar and yanked him forward. Saw those expressive eyes sharpen, and had no idea what he himself wanted. Anger spiked through his chest, whirling with the painful desire, grasping at him further down.

“I’m not here for you,” Draco spat. “Do you hear me? I’m not—” He shut his mouth on the wave of helplessness that rose with the words. All hells, what was he here for, if not… not…

He couldn’t stand the thought of Harry leaving.

Harry’s body touched his again and Draco couldn’t stop his own shuddering, the tiny, aching gasp. The night in Harry’s bed rocked back to him along with all the lonely fantasies of the nights before, and the name just slipped out. “Harry—”

In one fluid arch, Harry pushed him back into the wall. Draco felt the unrelenting pressure against his groin, felt Harry’s equal hardness there. Harry rolled his hips upward deliberately and Draco gasped, knocking his head on the stones. He reached and grasped at Harry’s shirt, pulling him in by the waist of his trousers, but Harry’s hands were darting, fumbling with his fly. Draco shoved himself bodily off the wall, trying to… to what? But Harry was stronger, better balanced, and Draco only succeeded in pressing them closer, chest to chest. Harry’s hand slid down inside his pants and closed around him. Draco let out a breathless moan. His legs felt wobbly and weak. Harry pushed a knee between his thighs and held him up, and Draco could only clutch onto firm shoulders and inhale sharply as Harry stroked him. Hard strokes, fast and unrelenting. Draco writhed, thrusting into it, clenching his hand in Harry’s hair and pulling. Harry’s throat smelled of sweat and cedar. Draco turned his head and kissed, bit down at the soft skin there, felt Harry’s entire body ripple uncontrollably.

Gods. It was just this side of pain, the friction nearly too much, the movement of Harry’s hand nearly too fast. Draco heard the small, steady whimpers he was making through a fog. He felt the pleasure-pain compacting deep in his belly, in the backs of his thighs, tighter and tighter. Harry growled something right in his ear and the ball inside him exploded outward. Draco jerked helplessly against the wall over and over. Harry’s hand did not stop moving until he’d collapsed, pressed between the wall and Harry’s body.

Draco’s hips shuddered, still thrusting weakly into the firm, solid body against his. The scent, the rasping breaths in his ear, the presence of unruly hair between his fingers— it all tangled together and enveloped his senses. Draco had never felt so right. So satisfied by such a simple act. Except for the night Harry had taken him into his bed—

Draco stopped breathing. Harry was a limp drape against him, muscles quivering. He had no idea if the other man had come at all, or if he still… Draco’s gut twisted. He squirmed feebly and Harry’s knee was a too-solid presence at his groin, and he was still too tender there. Too hot. As if he’d gone completely sore, and every touch ached.

For one imperfect breath, Draco wanted nothing more than to slip, to slide into it. Harry’s shirt was damp with sweat under his palms, his smell so familiar already, radiating sex, and his mouth… was open and panting just inches away from Draco’s ear. He thought he heard his own name among the whisper of breaths. Harry’s hips moved against his and Draco couldn’t stop the moan, the tremble of his limbs. It hurt, it was a throbbing ache dancing over too-stimulated nerves, and it felt good, the way Harry had felt inside him. Draco was too tired to squirm away from the halting roll of Harry’s hips, but he could feel now that Harry hadn’t come, that he was shaking just on the edge of it. Draco rocked into it and bit his lip at the burst of old, swollen heat that flooded his belly. He let out a pained groan, and then Harry’s hands squeezed at the hollow of his hip and pressed bare to the top of his thigh within his open trousers, and Draco felt him come, quick and quiet.

He wanted… Draco clamped down on the desire before it spilled from him. He gripped Harry’s wrist, and that hand slid from his trousers at last and came up to rest against his belly. It shook him to the core, shook a single word from his lips.

“Potter—”

But Harry turned his head and caught his mouth. The kiss was longing and deep, as desperate as what they’d just done. Full of Harry’s taste and the tinge of sex.

“Don’t,” Harry whispered brokenly against his lips. “Don’t say what you— Please, don’t. Just—” Harry pulled him tight to his body and devoured his mouth. His hands slid over Draco as if trying to pull him in. Draco’s mind tumbled, his head going light and dizzy. He could do nothing except cling to Harry, cling and realise that his body hadn’t in fact had enough and was again spiralling toward arousal.

Salazar. He was helpless in the face of Harry Potter. It had built and built for so damn long that he— couldn’t even—

Draco tore his mouth away and pushed hard, finally gaining space between them. His stomach felt uncomfortably hollow, much too ready to fill with dread again. Was there a point somewhere back in the past when he hadn’t felt dread? He couldn’t remember.

“No,” he said, more harshly than he’d planned. He wiped his mouth. Winced at the taste of Harry on his lips, at the towering plea inside him to have more of it.

Oh, Merlin. Why was he creating even more reason to dislike himself? Why was he constantly

“I’m not…” But he couldn’t speak it aloud. I’m not your toy. It was so shameful, mostly because he knew damn well that all the man in front of him had to do was ask and he would fall right into his bed again, just so he could feel that skin against his. Smell him.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen, was all he could think.

Why, why couldn’t he have just loved Theodore in return? Then at least it would be done, and it would have been pure, and he wouldn’t still see his friend’s face in his dreams and know that he’d tainted him.

“Not a fucking charity case,” Draco muttered, shoving Harry back fully. The loss of contact was prevalent in every breath. He felt dirty, still needing— wanting— the wrong person instead of accepting what he’d been given, wanting it so much that he was willing to throw aside his own dignity just to get one more touch, one more kiss, fuck, thought, moment.

And now you’ve become what you made Theodore into, Draco thought, and then felt very sick. He’d never, ever thought Theodore pathetic. But he knew he himself was.

For the first time, he wondered what Theodore had thought of himself.

“Malfoy.” Harry’s voice was weak. His face flushed up from the neck, and Draco saw embarrassment, desire in his eyes at the same moment, and felt both emotions as his own. He swallowed hard.

“I’m not here so you can feel better about yourself!” His own voice cracked through the room. He pushed past Harry, heading for the door, and a hand caught his arm tightly.

“It’s not about that,” Harry hissed. “Gods, you— Do you know what I—”
The castle wards undulated, sending the air shivering. Draco nearly bit through his tongue, and in that instant of confusion, Lovegood’s singing voice curled into his head like a sleepy serpent, more vibrant in some indefinable way. He blinked, stepped back and looked upward, heart thudding.

Harry’s face spasmed and his head jerked up as if he were listening. All the colour rushed out of his cheeks. He stared at Draco and the indecision in his eyes was startling.

“It’s Hermione,” Harry whispered. “She’s… alone.”

Draco felt cold. Couldn’t make sense of what that meant, except that… Salazar, he didn’t want to be there. He wanted to be far away, locked in his room or even somewhere outside of the castle where the complications weren’t growing by the minute.

Harry was staring at him still, body vibrating. Torn, by whatever Lovegood had just… said? Draco hadn’t heard a thing, but obviously Harry had. Draco rubbed his forehead with both hands and the sick feeling grew. He couldn’t look at Harry.

The wards fluctuated again and Harry let out a disconcerted sound. “Draco—”

He shook his head. “Go away, Potter. I’ve a headache.”

He wasn’t sure when Harry finally departed, but when he chanced a glance upward, he was alone in the room. He reached with shaking hands and did up his fly again. The castle seemed to be stirring around him.

* * *

Hermione stumbled toward the sound of Luna’s voice, legs weary to the point of collapse. The wind pushed at her and she looked up to find nothing but barren fields and clouds. Picturesque at any other moment, but Hermione could only moan in despair at the vast emptiness.

“No, no, it’s here. It is.” She muttered it over and over and over, and her hoarse words frightened her. What if she went past it? Merlin, how would she even know if she—

She tripped, nearly fell, and cut the palm of her hand on a sharp stone when she caught herself. Tears sprang to her eyes. Luna was right there in her head and still Hermione couldn’t quell the tattered feeling in her chest. What if Luna wasn’t really there, and she herself was slowly going crazy? She’d never felt so alone, so… vulnerable. Her senses promised her there was no castle out there, there’s never been a castle out here, you stupid girl, you’ve gotten lost! You’ve lost yourself, and you’ve lost Hannah, and who knows where Ginny is, you’ve even lost Seamus, for fuck’s sake…

She hadn’t been able to keep him there.

Seamus had found her a day ago, wet and unravelled and hunted, Apparating in just an instant after she’d arrived herself in some desolate, broken little village, grabbing her while her eyes were still filled with grey and setting her to screaming mindlessly. He’d clamped a hand over her mouth and spirited them both into the void again before she could even decide if there had been another crack of Apparition.

She’d thought Macnair had her. There’s been no stopping the tears when her clearing vision revealed freckles and sandy, windblown hair instead.

They waited, curled together behind boulders for over an hour. But Macnair seemed to have finally lost track of her.

Seamus was there to get her, he said, to bring her to the castle. She’d never been so glad to see anyone in her life. It was easier to move on when someone was there moving on with her. Hannah’s death was easier to face. She gave the information over in breaking, rasping words, and Seamus… Seamus squeezed her hand. Rubbed her arms. Gathered her close when she collapsed under the weight of it. Afterward, walking, cautious Apparition— with no sign of pursuit— and simple, simple conversation calmed Hermione so profoundly that the last few days went surreal, dreamlike in her mind.

And then something had happened.

Seamus’ dream woke him screaming, clutching at himself desperately. Too loud; Hermione remembered the utter horror the sound of his cries had stabbed into her. She’d calmed him as best she could, terrified at not finding a wound or any reason at all for his sudden explosion of fear. And it did not fade as a nightmare should have. For one nerve-wracking hour, Seamus grew more and more agitated under the rising sun, until finally he turned devastated eyes on her and said he had to leave.

“Hermione, please. Please trust me. It’s Blaise, and… I have to go.”

Nothing more. Nothing that made sense. She clutched his shoulders and spoke in a rush. “You had a nightmare, Seamus, that’s all! Blaise isn’t here. He’s fine, I’m sure he’s fine. You… you don’t even know where he is.”

“I know,” he said raggedly. “Hermione, please let me go. I have to g— I can’t— I—”

It was ridiculous and fearfully dangerous. Beyond foolish. But she couldn’t ignore the frenzy, the pure, stark knowledge in his eyes. It sliced deep inside where her memories of Ron dwelt, and the feeling of the last night she’d seen his face alive. The moment when she just… just knew. Impossible. There was no way that Seamus could know anything. But she could see it in his eyes.

She let him go, and was alone once more.

Hermione tripped again and caught herself with both hands. Staggered upright. The field was sopping wet and still empty, Luna’s song was becoming a dirge in her head. “Why did you let him go?” she whispered to herself, and the tears rose thickly into her throat. A series of bad judgments. What was the matter with her?

“He’s fine, Zabini’s fine, they can both take care of themselves!” Merlin, she’d been so stupid. So tired and shocked and confused that she couldn’t even remember all the obvious reasons why they should stick together, remember that everyone had nightmares. At least she remembered where she was going. But now there was no castle, and no Seamus, and no safety, and—

Suddenly it was there, an immense mirage right in front of her, scaring her out of what wits she had left. She froze, dead-still in the middle of the field. Luna’s voice swelled and the castle shimmered. Hermione let out a moan and flung herself into motion again, ran full out toward the front steps, half-certain that she would get there and run right through them.

But the steps were solid stone beneath her shoes, solid enough to clip her toe hard. Her foot blossomed with pain, beautifully fierce and real. She scrambled up the steps, bent over and grabbing at the stones with her fingers. An irrational part of her mind expected spells to erupt behind her just when she reached her sanctuary. She hit the door with both palms and felt thick, rain-hardened wood.

Hermione pushed with all her might and lurched inside when the door gave way. The entrance hall was massive and dark, and for a moment, she blinked, not knowing where she was.

There was a shout, a flash of long, red hair on an upper floor. Harry was running down the staircase, leaping the last banister. Hermione stumbled toward the stairs, and then she was in his arms.

...

Chapter 19

Date: 2007-07-17 05:01 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] selcier.livejournal.com
AHHHH! This story makes me so frustrated sometimes...Its so easy:

Harry Potter likes Draco Malfoy
Draco Malfoy likes Harry Potter

But they just can't work it out.

Where is Ginny though? Not that I really like her, but she is the key to winning the war. Unfortunatly.

Wonderful story as always though!!!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:16 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Heh, I am giving nothing away. *grins* But you are so right: the boys are being stoopid. ^___^ I'll see what I can do about that.

Thank you so much for reading! ♥

Date: 2007-07-17 05:26 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_irrlicht_/
Ooh I was so afraid we'd not get another part before the last book came out. But luckily I checked again! This was totally worth now having to hurry to university like crazy :D

Date: 2007-07-21 06:19 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Oh yay! Yeah, I am sorry for the wait. I wanted to get this one up before the arrival of The Book. ^_~ But no worries, I plan to finish this story out, Deathly Hallows or no Deathly Hallows. *grin*

Thank you so much for reading!

Date: 2007-07-17 06:16 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] frances-veritas.livejournal.com
Oh my God. You...just...I...genius...

I firmly believe that you are J.K. Rowling in disguise. Don't lie. I know you are. You are the J.K. Rowling that secretly loves slash and that's why you are writing this story and that's why this story is completely amazing. I have run out of words to describe the sheer brilliance that is your writing.

I just finally caught up with these last two chapters. And the chapter with Blaise just blew my mind. Completely. My God. I am so worried for him and Seamus.

Blaise and Seamus breaks my heart by the way. Just the fact that they can feel each other's pain through the bond...wow.

And Harry and Draco frustrate me too because I wish Harry would just spit out what he's been trying to say to Draco. :-P So maybe Draco can stop feeling at least some of the anguish he's been feeling.

It was so shameful, mostly because he knew damn well that all the man in front of him had to do was ask and he would fall right into his bed again, just so he could feel that skin against his. Smell him.

That line killed me because it sums up Draco's sheer need for Harry.

I'm glad Hermione finally made it back to the castle.

I can't wait for the next chapter which I'm assuming won't be for awhile because of DH coming out? :-D

But did I mention I still love this story more than it's probably appropriate?

Date: 2007-07-21 06:25 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I firmly believe that you are J.K. Rowling in disguise. Don't lie. I know you are.

I'M NOT! O.o *flops about*

You are the J.K. Rowling that secretly loves slash

See, I think once the book has been out for a little bit, we here at H/D Incorporated should put together a letter and send it to her. I would LOVE to hear what she thinks of her fandom, especially the slashy corners of it. ^_^ I think we could turn her into a slash fan...

More Blaise and Seamus to come. Thank you SO MUCH for digging that pairing! It's rare, and I love it. I'm trying to take over the world with it.

it sums up Draco's sheer need for Harry.

*hugs* Exactly. He's totally sold: in Draco's mind, even if Harry never returns his feelings, it won't matter... He'll be the love of his life anyway.

And I have every intention of posting another chapter this coming week. ^_^ I've got my beta working on it. But the nice thing is, DH's arrival will give me time to plug a few more draft chapters onto my hard copy for later. So that's a much needed opportunity.

I adore you. ♥

Date: 2007-07-17 06:48 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] daisy-chan.livejournal.com
ALL I CAN DO IS WIBBLE AND WAIT WITH THIS FIC! I SWEAR YOU'RE GIVING ME HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, WOMAN :x

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] daisy-chan.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-07-23 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2007-07-17 07:32 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] thrnbrooke.livejournal.com
Please please please let Hermione put things right. Let her make Draco realize that he isn't Harry's toy. That Harry loves him. Even if Harry is made to bond with Ginny let Draco have that little bit. Let him know that he owns Harry's heart and soul.

Date: 2007-07-21 06:28 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Ah, but what if Hermione has her own issues to deal with? *is annoyingly annoying* I know, I know. Not helping, right?

*GLOMPS* Thank you for reading and for putting up with me!

Date: 2007-07-17 07:40 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] bluelittlepig.livejournal.com
Great chapter and can't wait to read what comes next.

Unfortunately,I can't punish you *wibbles* because I want more and I get to get my fix um.. fics, yeah *shifts eyes* However, I will come bearing cookies to encourage more writing :P! *hands you cookies*

I think you need to write more Blaise/Seamus fics *nods*

*loves*

Date: 2007-07-21 06:31 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I want more and I get to get my fix um.. fics

I have this friend who has termed me her H/D dealer. *guffaws* I provide her with fics every so often when she needs a fix.

ANDILOVECOOKIESjahdkjbvl;ekawnv

Thank you, Grape! *loves lotsly*

I have about... three other S/B fics, I believe, and some of my H/D contains Blaise/Seamus as a pairing because I luv dem so. They are in my memories under "My fics: Blase/Seamus" or something to that effect. ^__^ And yeah, I think I may have to add to that list...

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] bluelittlepig.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-07-23 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2007-07-17 09:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] aldebaran1977.livejournal.com
I`m glad to see that you continue writing this story and hope you`ll do so even after reading DH. Just yesterday I was thinking that there will be hopefully an update soon. With all the tohuwabohu about DH I so missed the good H/D stories out there!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:33 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I will DEFINITELY finish out this story. I'm afraid I have become waaaaay too embroiled in the plot to stop now. ^_^ I'm just glad I got to post as much of it as I have before The Book arrived. *loves*

I think fandom will have an explosion after this book. Not that I've read it yet. I only picked up my copy this morning and am eyeing it with nefarious intent. I just think that our slashy community loves a good fic explosion. *cracks up*

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] aldebaran1977.livejournal.com - Date: 2007-07-28 05:07 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2007-07-17 11:15 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] pershin.livejournal.com
I don't know what it it about the Road that sets my skin tingling, in a wonderful way.

I am crying, mixed with the feeling of end that the HP7 book is bringing, I really, really hope that you won't lose interest in this wonderful fic. You are love!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:35 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I love you for your tingling skin! *glomps* Thank you!

And no worries: INTEREST WILL NOT BE LOST. I am too invested in this fic. I have the ending all sorted out already, and I'm anxious to get the rest of it written and posted. ^___^

Thank you so much for reading! ♥

Date: 2007-07-17 02:22 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] justabi.livejournal.com
I love that Harry thinks that Draco's thinking about Theodore and that he *is* thinking about Theodore and either way they don't think much of Harry in this particular relationship. I mean, they're wrong, but that never stopped them before.

Also, I am happy Hermione is not dead.

Date: 2007-07-21 06:36 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I feel really bad for Draco because of Theodore, but I feel even worse for Theodore himself. Poor boy... In love without a real return. Must have been really hard for him. :(

Thanks for reading!

Date: 2007-07-17 03:56 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] owens-mom.livejournal.com
gods how I needed this distraction today.

For one imperfect breath... -- I adore how you get into Draco's head, and the poetry that comes out.

wanting it so much that he was willing to throw aside his own dignity just to get one more touch, one more kiss, fuck, thought, moment. -- fantastic.

Their unravel is beautiful, and now I get to worry about Blaise and Seamus. ~sigh~

Date: 2007-07-21 06:39 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
gods how I needed this distraction today.

Always glad to provide distraction. ^_~

I love your description of Harry and Draco's activities in this chapter as an "unravel." It's so very appropriate. Thank you for that!

Date: 2007-07-17 03:59 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] misscake
misscake: (HarryDraco)
Oh god.

First, library!porn. And then closet sex!! And then Hermione finally makes it to the castle!

I was so excited to see this because reading fic this week is helping to calm my anxieties but now there is more because Draco is being stubborn and Harry is being stupid and omg, one of these characters may very well not make it through Deathly Hallows and...*sobs*

But we'll have your fabulous fic to console ourselves with. *nods*

Date: 2007-07-21 06:41 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Tee hee! Gotta have the closet sex. It's doubly fun because neither of them are truly IN any closet, so to speak. They're just being idiots. *laughs*

I just bought my DH. And I am a little reluctant to start it, because that means I have to finish it, and THAT means I have to face things!

Um, whatever those things are. ^__^

I have mucho hope, though, and some confidence. *grins*

And YES, FIC WILL KEEP US ALIIIIIIIIVE!!!!!

Date: 2007-07-17 05:11 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] ura-hd.livejournal.com
Wow, I could almost feel Hermione's fears and frustrations and deep deep tiredness. I am sure I would feel the same in her situation. You got brilliantly at her emotions.

I am so happy that Hermione made it back. I hope that Blaise and Seamus will be fine as well.

I love reading about all the emotional torture between Harry and Draco, but I am ready now for some closure. The boys should stop being stupid.

Great great chapter. One emotional rollercoaster. You are a master of those!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:44 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I am sure I would feel the same in her situation.

It's been very intriguing to write these characters in this setting. Their real selves start to come out for me, sometimes in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'm so glad you are enjoying the story!

I love reading about all the emotional torture between Harry and Draco, but I am ready now for some closure.

Some closure coming up. Can't solve it all in one go, I'm sure you understand. But I too am getting wary of all their flopping about. *laughs*

Thank you again!

Date: 2007-07-18 03:04 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] fresica.livejournal.com
Wow, that interaction between Harry and Draco was painful to read. It made me want to cry. It's good to see Hermione, though. I was starting to worry about her. And I'm really hoping that Blaise is alright, after last chapter. But if Seamus is going for him, that means he will be, right? You wouldn't kill them now, would you? I'm on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

Date: 2007-07-21 06:46 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I wanted Hermione back. *giggles* I love Hermione. She's one of my favorite characters to write about.

And I'm saying NOTHING about Blaise and Seamus. *ducks flying obects*

Thank you for this lovely comment!

Date: 2007-07-18 04:02 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] lietothedevil.livejournal.com
this chapter just... wow. took my breath away. it was wonderful. but this one hit hard "He wanted not to have the sense of fingers linked with his, and the sense of failure bleeding over it all."

Date: 2007-07-21 06:47 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you quoted that line. I think I'm too mean to Draco... I just wrote another fic where I was REALLY mean to him. O.o I think I owe him some MAJOR fluff. *weeps*

Thank you so much for reading my story! ♥

Date: 2007-07-18 04:05 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] pocketroxy.livejournal.com
Harry and Draco just make me hurt. *cries for her boys* And Hermione made it! So happy for that. And Seamus off after Blaise. Hm. That ought to be interesting. Thanks for another great chapter!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:48 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Thank YOU for reading! I really appreciate all your comments. ♥

Date: 2007-07-18 04:54 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] twig-tea.livejournal.com
Harry and Draco's inability to tell eachother the dang truth kills me. They are both so wrapped up in their "I am a martyr" view of themselves, and too stubborn to admit the truth to eachother, that they're missing out on being openly in love with eachother. TAKE A RISK DAMMIT!!

I love your description of hermione being so tired, and so alone, that she just can't handle the mirage-y castle.

Date: 2007-07-21 06:51 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
They are both so wrapped up in their "I am a martyr" view of themselves, and too stubborn to admit the truth to eachother, that they're missing out on being openly in love with eachother.

Hole in one. I have found that one of the major driving forces of the H/D relationship is the lack of communication. They are both so much alike in a lot of ways... And it really takes a great deal for each to trust anyone else. Makes for some twerpy, stubborn boys. *laughs*

TAKE A RISK DAMMIT!!

Funny you should say that... *whistles*

Thank you for reading!

Date: 2007-07-18 06:15 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] bayb43.livejournal.com
Oh, what a great chapter. I adore the descriptions of the library and the potions cabinet...I felt like I could smell it and see it the way Draco saw it. It's so frustrating, the fact that they keep missing each other and every time you think they understand they get interrupted or something goes wrong. Their relationship goes by in flashes of color and you can really feel the intensity of their encounters, confused as they may be. I'm thrilled Hermione is back and safe. Maybe she can make some sense of it all for them. One never knows, with this story, whether the addition of a character will make it better or worse:) Anyhow, excellent new chapter!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I adore the descriptions of the library and the potions cabinet...I felt like I could smell it and see it the way Draco saw it.

Thank you! *hugs*

Their relationship goes by in flashes of color

THAT is one of the coolest things I've read about my story. *LOVES*

One never knows, with this story, whether the addition of a character will make it better or worse

And that is another of the coolest things! Thank you so much for this wonderful review!

Date: 2007-07-19 07:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] prettyhairs.livejournal.com
Gah! Great!
If I'd point out everything about this chapter I'd be here tomorrow!^-^
Yay Hermione made it!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for reading and for leaving me this lovely feedback! *glomps*

Date: 2007-07-20 04:44 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] rumpelgeist.livejournal.com


I love their Interruptions. The way there is no Way they can convey to each other what they feel because they are Convinced it could never be reciprocal. The frustration here is Relentless and poignant; it is telling that they can be so Sexually intimate while even a glance of acceptance is too much of a step to take.

As for me, Yr witting is as always Masterful.

Date: 2007-07-20 04:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] rumpelgeist.livejournal.com
Writing not witting although Yes it seems as if you write with a great deal of deliberation. Not a misstep, unlike Moi. :^}

Date: 2007-07-20 10:25 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] freakbythebay.livejournal.com
I think I might hate you a little for making me cry. It's just so unfair, and if one of them would just SAY it it would be so much easier. WAH.

Or I would hate you if I didn't love you for how beautiful and complex this story is. Especially Luna, who never gets enough credit. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2007-07-21 06:55 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
O.o I'm sorry for your tears! *cuddles closely*

I'm so excited that you like Luna. More of her to come very soon. I love Luna, too. ^_^

♥ Thank you so much for reading.
the angst is slowly killing me, but this story is so absolutely fabulous that i can't stop eagerly awaiting the next installment.
i just loved all the little details that set the scene, like the potions ingredients jars...
you really take us into the mind of draco here, all his feelings are so searingly real its painful. i was holding my breath through the whole (beautifully written) scene. how can they be so blind?
hopefully now that hermione's back she'll see through the whole mess and sort them out soon enough.
Hahaha, thank you so very much for this great comment. *loves* I'm sorry for the stubborn boys. They can be especially dense when their future is up in the air. ^__~

Thanks for reading, love. ♥

Date: 2007-07-23 11:05 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] tatiana708.livejournal.com
This is probably my favorite chapter so far.

And now you’ve become what you made Theodore into, Draco thought, and then felt very sick. He’d never, ever thought Theodore pathetic. But he knew he himself was.

See, I was really hoping we'd see more from this perspective. We knew Theodore loved Draco. We had an idea of how Draco felt about Theo. But it's nice to get into Draco's head and try to understand why he was in a relationship with a guy who obviously loved him in a way he couldn't return. Specifically how Draco felt about himself for being in such a relationship. Doesn't look like he felt/feels so hot.

And poor Blaise. Go save him Seamus! But YAY for Hermione making it to the castle. I was so worried.

Date: 2007-08-04 06:53 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond! *facepalms*

This is probably my favorite chapter so far.

Thank you! Wow, that's so neat to read. I am finding people's choices in this matter very intriguing so far. Everyone likes different things!

But it's nice to get into Draco's head and try to understand why he was in a relationship with a guy who obviously loved him in a way he couldn't return. Specifically how Draco felt about himself for being in such a relationship. Doesn't look like he felt/feels so hot.

He's definitely not happy with himself. He's made a lot of bad choices in the recent past, and he's forgetting to also see the good choices he's made, like going over to Harry's side in the first place. I think Draco can be a doom-and-gloom sort of guy when he's left alone too often. Determined, but pessimistic.

Thank you so much for such a thoughtful review. I really appreciate it. ♥

Date: 2008-01-12 10:17 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] rhianon-lewelyn.livejournal.com
JESUS CHRIST MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Face plastered to the screen, eyes watering & nose dripping as the story races into brain.)

HARRY AND DRACO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BLOODY HELL!!!!!! The want is SO strong you can fucking feel it in the dark!!!!!!!!!!!!

GAH!!!!!!!!!!!

Date: 2008-04-01 05:34 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] rurounihime.livejournal.com
Wow, again, your comment is just so dramatic! I feel like I'm reading the story with you.

I'm sorry for the longish hiatus. I am anxious to be working on this story again. :) Thanks for sticking with it!

8)~

From: [identity profile] rhianon-lewelyn.livejournal.com - Date: 2008-04-02 05:19 am (UTC) - Expand

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