HP fic: Admittance, ch. 9: Truths [Snape/Harry, adult]
Title: Admittance Chapter 9, "Truths" Authors: celandineb and cruisedirector Fandom: HP Pairing: Snape/Harry Rating: adult Warnings: infidelity, Legilimency during sex Summary: Harry tries to figure out what Snape wants, what Draco wants, and what he wants.
Harry was vaguely aware of Draco getting up and moving about at what seemed an absurdly early hour, but he didn't really wake until he heard Snape's front door open and then lock again. By the time Harry had jumped out of bed and raced to a window, Draco was already partway down the street and Harry would have had to shout to get his attention... and since he was naked, attracting stares from the public seemed unwise.
Snape was sitting up when Harry walked back toward the bed, trying not to worry. Draco had said that he planned to track down the girl from the night before as early as he could; he probably wanted to get home and get his clothes changed first. And maybe Draco had thought he was doing Snape and Harry a favor by not waking them up to say goodbye, leaving them alone together to enjoy the morning, as if to make up for his stupidity the night before.
"Give him some time to do what he needs to do." Harry sat down heavily on the bed, feeling Snape shift toward him, not quite touching.
"I can't really blame him for going out and screwing someone else, can I?" Harry was talking to himself more than to Snape. "We never promised to be exclusive. I just thought, after we moved in together, that we would be." He sneaked a sidelong look at the older man. "But that he was so careless, that bothers me. He said he hadn't done that before, but I'm not sure if I believe him."
"Do you have any cause to disbelieve him?" Snape interjected.
"Nothing specific. And I suppose given the way he came running to talk to you after last night, he wouldn't have been able to keep any other -- indiscretions -- a secret either." Harry wriggled his shoulders uncomfortably. "I guess I feel if he's done it once, he might have done it before, too. I hope he finds this girl, whoever she is, and that she had enough sense to have used a contraceptive spell. I wonder who it was? Someone from Hogwarts, and not a pureblood. Maybe he'll tell me later."
Snape was looking at him curiously. After a moment his hand came up to rub between Harry's shoulder blades. "You never discussed exclusivity?" he asked, his voice betraying his surprise.
"It isn't like we've been out shagging all over town," said Harry defensively. "Since Draco and I have been together I haven't ever wanted to be with anyone else, besides you, and I didn't think he had either. One time we got to talking and I said, we're very young and coming out of a war, and that's been known to make people act reckless. We agreed we didn't want to break up over just sex if one or the other of us did something selfish." He glanced at Snape. "From what you've said, it sounds like there's a lot of that going on among even married purebloods."
"Certainly there is. Though I suppose I had assumed that you considered this..." Snape gestured at his own bed. "...an extreme anomaly."
Harry had no idea how to interpret the expression on Snape's face; he couldn't tell whether he was relieved that it was unlikely to change the nature of Harry and Draco's relationship or whether he was disappointed. "Like I said, I've never done anything like this. I thought, when we started, it would be all of us just messing around and having fun. Maybe Draco's right and I can't do sex without being soppy about it."
"That's nothing to be ashamed of." Snape's nostrils flared slightly, and Harry wondered of what in his past Snape was thinking. Lucius Malfoy, very likely. His fingers trailed over Harry's neck, making Harry inhale sharply. "Perhaps I should be flattered."
"If you mean am I getting soppy over you... well, yes." Harry's face burned as he admitted aloud for the first time that there was more to how he felt about Snape than just sheer lust. "I don't know if that's flattering to you or not."
"It's not something that's happened to me very often," Snape said quietly. "Why shouldn't I find it flattering?"
"It's very confusing." Harry was flushed with embarrassment, but it was also a relief to be able to talk about this with someone. "For a long time, I thought I wanted to get married. To Ginny Weasley. It wasn't that I was wildly in love with her exactly -- I knew there was something missing even before I understood that I was attracted to men. I spent a whole year following Draco around, telling myself it was because he was up to something, and it took a long time for me to realize what that was all about. But breaking up with Ginny was really hard because I didn't know what would happen with her whole family. I loved thinking I was going to get all those brothers and her parents in the bargain. With Draco, we can't get married, his parents hate me, I don't even know if we're good for each other sometimes..."
Snape had turned Harry so that both his hands were on Harry's back, not massaging exactly but rubbing his neck and shoulders so that they had no choice but to relax. "I expected you both to have a difficult time of it after the war. You have experienced things that no one else ever has. And of course there are the expected sycophants and political interests, people offering and demanding a great deal... you were very wise to choose someone with no such agenda. As for Draco," he mused, "despite the expected difficulties with his parents, you have had a greater impact on him than you might imagine. You've altered long-held perspectives on what makes a wizard powerful and how to choose one's friends based not on expediency but common values."
Harry had to bite his lip and close his eyes. Relaxing was also making him feel things more strongly than he had let himself the night before, and for a minute he thought he might cry, which he didn't want to do in front of Snape even now. He had forgotten just how deeply Snape had seen into his mind. Even without eye contact, the older man seemed to know what he must be thinking, because Snape's arms were suddenly wrapped around him, holding him close, and Snape's voice was murmuring his name. "Harry... it'll be all right."
"I hope so," said Harry, although he didn't feel especially hopeful just at the moment. He leaned against Snape, the wiry hair of Snape's chest tickling a little, and breathed in the same spicy scent that he had smelled the first time he'd come to Snape's flat; it reminded him of that evening. His morning erection returned with a vengeance at the memory and he twisted in Snape's arms, tilting his head to kiss Snape's mouth.
"Draco has been good for you too," said Snape after he had returned the kiss thoroughly. Harry could feel Snape's cock pressing against his arse and sneaked a hand down to touch him. "Not because I seem to be a beneficiary... but because being with him has made you think about what it is that's most important to you, and why."
In some absurd way, realized Harry, Draco had been right; Snape was the only person of Sirius' generation he could discuss these things with, and he supposed that did make him a father figure of a very perverse sort. He blushed hard at the thought. "Listen," he said urgently, before his cock and Snape's distracted him entirely. "I don't know what's going to happen... if Draco's going to ask for this to stop, between me and you. I don't want us to stop talking even if I can't keep coming over and doing this."
Snape's expression was very peculiar. "I am not going to dismiss you from my life if you no longer wish to share my bed." Harry thought he might choke up again; he squeezed his eyes shut and grabbed blindly for Snape, pulling him closer, kissing him so he wouldn't have to say anything. Warm hands were cupping Harry's face at first as they kissed; then one of Snape's arms slid down Harry's back, down to his arse, lifting and shifting him so that he was sitting on Snape's lap and could wrap his legs around Snape's waist.
Harry kept his eyes closed. There was something comforting about not being able to see, about being embraced in this way. He nestled even closer, his cock pressed against Snape's belly, feeling Snape's nudging against his bum. Usually their kisses had been hungry, greedy, but these were tender. Harry realized hazily that in confessing that he felt close to Snape, he had given the other man the freedom to admit the same, even if only in his touch. He didn't want to think about it any further just now. Draco might consider it a betrayal, though he had been the one to encourage Harry to do this to begin with.
And Harry loved Draco... so why did kissing Snape make him feel so much? Broad hands stroked down Harry's back, soothing. Harry was sure that if he stopped kissing, opened his eyes and looked at Snape, he wouldn't be able to block these thoughts from view, and he shivered at the idea of them being seen. This was much more than just a few sexual fantasies. This was serious. Ducking his head, he put his mouth on Snape's throat, kissing his way to the spot below Snape's ear where the long dark hair covered his own face. "I do wish to share your bed," he whispered.
"I have no intention of dismissing you from here, either." Snape's voice was hoarse. His hand worked between them, finding Harry's cock and stroking it against his own belly. Harry could feel the prickly hair on Snape's lower body rubbing against him and Snape's cock nudging persistently at his arse. He was a little afraid to let Snape fuck him now; it was overwhelming enough just to be held like this.
But after a few minutes of being stroked, he wanted more; he couldn't help it. If he and Draco were going to have a screaming argument later, if Draco was going to tell him that the girl wouldn't listen to reason or he'd decided he liked her after all, Harry wanted this to remember: Snape had said he wasn't going to kick him out no matter what. Lifting his head, he looked directly at Snape. In the garish light coming through the curtains, his skin looked blotchy and his hair as greasy as ever. Somehow it was absurdly seductive, and Harry moaned softly. "I want you in me."
"I want to be there." Snape's voice... how was he going to be able to give up the eroticism of that growling voice? It sent shivers down Harry's spine as Snape reached to pluck the pot of salve from the bedstand. "Lift up for a moment." Harry somewhat reluctantly unwound himself from around Snape, who lay back, half-propped against the pillows, and slicked his cock liberally with the ointment. "Do you want me to prepare you?"
Harry considered it. He was still a bit sore from the past night; while the idea of just sinking down slowly onto Snape's cock, letting gravity and his own weight open him to the penetration, held a certain appeal, he was afraid that it might be too painful this morning... and if this might be the last time, he didn't want that to be his memory of it. So he nodded, and turned so that Snape could reach his bum. "Yes, please, Severus."
Snape's fingers moved carefully, teasing the pucker, coaxing until it opened easily for his fingertip, then an entire finger. He was clearly in no hurry, and he twisted around so he could bend his head and brush his lips against Harry's balls. Harry didn't try to hold back his whimpers and groans; he loved the way Snape hesitated when he was afraid he might be hurting him, loved the way he moved his fingers in the same way every time Harry made a noise of pleasure.
Sitting back at last, Snape withdrew two fingers from within Harry and caught him by the hip. His eyes were on Harry's as Harry climbed back over him, rubbing his cock against Snape's chest before he sat back and let Snape put his erection where his fingers had just been. They moved together very slowly, with Snape stopping the slow roll of his hips every time Harry's breath caught. The stretch was a little uncomfortable, but his tension was more from the fear of discomfort than any real pain. He leaned forward and brushed his lips against Snape's, putting his arms around Snape's neck as he gradually rocked himself down until he was settled with his weight on his knees.
"All right?" Harry nodded in reply. He wanted to let Snape as deeply into his mind as he into his body, but he was fearful about that, too. Last night the thoughts they had shared were mostly their sexual fantasies, but this morning was different. He looked down, focusing on Snape's chest and fondling one nipple that peeped through the curls of dark hair. "Harry..." Snape's voice dragged his gaze back. "I promise I will not spy into your mind."
Shaking his head, Harry said, "Don't promise that. I want you to." Now Snape looked uneasy, almost frightened -- something Harry didn't think he had ever seen before, and it made him more determined. "You know I was never very good at Occlumency..." He bit his lip, and Snape shook his head slightly at him. Harry had been able to block Voldemort when he had needed to; it was Snape he had never been able to shut out. "I just don't know what you might see."
One moment he was gazing into Snape's impenetrable black eyes, clenching around his cock and wishing Snape would touch him again; the next, he was suddenly overwhelmed with images, some erotic but some not. He was asleep in this bed, a sheet barely covering one thigh and hip... he was standing before the Wizengamot insisting that Snape had been acting on Dumbledore's orders all along... he was glaring furiously at Snape as a memory of a corridor he should never have seen faded from both their minds. And there was Draco, too, sitting huddled in a room Harry had never seen before, sobbing as Harry had never heard him sob... Draco again, sitting in a chair in a dirty house that was also unfamiliar, wearing a look Harry knew only too well, debauched and inviting... himself and Draco together in their bathroom, both waiting for Snape to command them.
"Don't!" he choked out, and the flood of images diminished to a more manageable trickle. He tried to focus on the erotic ones, particularly those with Draco as well, and managed to narrow it down to one that he knew was a fantasy, not a memory, with himself and Draco each naked and tied to a bedpost while Snape stood before them. That was something he could hope might happen one day... he knew that it would be something that all three of them would enjoy. He moaned a little, imagining it, and felt Snape's hand close around his cock here and now.
How much Snape saw in his own mind, Harry had no idea. Evidently it did not trouble him, because he kept his eyes fixed on Harry's as he stroked Harry's cock, urging Harry to move on him. Harry rocked up and down, up and down, sparks of pleasure shooting through him as the prick up his arse brushed repeatedly over his prostate. "Severus," he whispered.
"Harry." Snape's head tilted, bringing his face closer to Harry's. The tone of his voice was so different from when he called him Potter. Suddenly Harry was in the midst of one of his own memories, in bed with Draco, and he knew Snape was seeing it too. Draco was asking whether Harry would like to serve a detention for old time's sake, imitating Snape's severest tone, and Harry was convulsing, untouched, from the distorted conjuring of that voice...
"Harry," Snape moaned again, thrusting up hard, hand tugging on Harry's cock, and the rush of orgasm shot through Harry in memory and in the present, making him cry out as he covered Snape's fist and belly with white streaks. Snape held him close when he was finished, still capturing Harry's gaze with his own, thrusting again and again and twice more, pulling Harry down onto himself as he shuddered and spent, sharing with Harry a memory from during the war, of Harry tired and filthy and discouraged and still desirable in Snape's eyes, Snape wanting him and knowing that he would be rejected. That he should be.
"I'm sorry..." Harry swallowed. He bent his head sideways to kiss Snape on the temple, then carefully eased up and over to sit next to him, leaning against his shoulder and taking his hand.
"Don't be. I had no expectations of you, ever, in this way," said Snape quietly. "When Draco asked me over for dessert that night, I anticipated that if you even bothered to be present, you would be polite at best. I had no idea that you found anything about me pleasing."
"I could say the same. I thought you always hated me and I couldn't figure out what I could have done, or even what my father could have done, to make you hate me so much." Hate was exhausting, Harry had realized during the war; the energy he expended loathing Snape had simply drained him.
"Don't you think the Headmaster would have known if I had truly despised you? I had to convince others that I hated you; a great deal depended on it. And I had to be certain that you would be strong enough to fight, no matter the personal cost or how cruel you found me. The Headmaster would have coddled you."
Harry understood something then that he had never quite grasped before. "He loved me. Not because of who I was, exactly; because love makes you stronger." He looked at Snape, who was staring far off in the distance. "He loved you, too. Before, when we... I saw something in your memories. Draco, crying. That was right after Dumbledore died, wasn't it? Draco won't talk about that night at all except to say you saved his life."
"I would prefer not to discuss it as well." Snape was refusing to look at him. "But you are correct: Dumbledore was determined not to make the mistake with you that he made with Tom Riddle. He thought you had an extraordinary capacity for love -- that should be nurtured."
"Then would he think this was wrong? What we're doing?"
"Would you make a dead man the keeper of your conscience, or mine?" Snape countered. "I do not know what he would think. I rarely did."
"I suppose I've spent a lot of my life trying to behave in ways that I thought he would approve of," confessed Harry. "I know he wasn't perfect, but he was good."
"'Good.'" Snape winced. "He wanted you to defeat Voldemort and you did." His breathing was quick and shallow, and Harry wondered how it must have felt to have had to kill someone you admired, respected, perhaps loved, for a cause that you both had decided was worth more than any one individual's life. Harry had been forced to make some terrible decisions himself; he had had to make choices that were certain to bring death to someone on his side, but he had never had to kill a friend.
He wanted to say more -- he was sure that Dumbledore must have loved Snape too, to have trusted him so completely, to the point of having known that he could ask Snape to take his life if necessary -- but he had never seen so much pain on Snape's face, at least not since the night Snape had fled Hogwarts, when Harry had called him a coward and Snape had been so furious. "Let's not talk about Dumbledore," he said, burrowing closer. "Can I ask you about Draco?"
"I'm certain you now know him better than I do."
"Maybe, but you knew him when things were awful. You warned me that I was stronger than him. I don't know what I'm supposed to do now. I don't know how much he meant when he said those things about how maybe he should just have a child and try to make peace with his parents. He knows they won't stop, maybe ever, trying to make him be who they think he should be. And I don't want to be the reason they cut him off or he cuts them off."
Snape sighed, his arm tightening around Harry. "You cannot be responsible for his decisions. He is the one who will have to choose what is right and best for him to do. If you try to persuade him one way or the other, it's very likely to rebound on you if later he decides he made a mistake."
"What if he asks me my opinion, though?" What Snape was saying made sense, but it still didn't help.
"Tell him the truth. If your love for him is unconditional," there was an almost unnoticeable hitch in Snape's voice as he said the words, "then tell him so. If your feelings would change if he decided to marry to have a child, however much it might be a marriage in name only, then tell him that. But don't tell him what to do; that is how Lucius operates."
Harry did not want to admit -- to Snape, or even to himself really -- that he no longer knew his own feelings. Yes, he loved Draco. No, he didn't want Draco to marry and have a child with some woman Harry couldn't even imagine... and he wasn't sure which would be worse, if Draco did it with a woman he did not love or if he found a woman he could. But Harry also did not want to have to stop seeing Snape, whether Draco agreed to be with him or not. Did that mean he didn't love Draco as much as he had thought?
"I can't tell him what to do because I don't know," he told Snape miserably. "What Lucius is doing is wrong. Draco already knows I think that. But what you told me, about how Lucius ended up choosing the pureblood marriage and the mansion and... I don't see how I can ask Draco to give those things up for me."
Snape's fingers on his chin turned Harry's head to look at him. "You cannot ask him to give those things up. You cannot tell him not to, either. He has to choose. There are no guarantees that your relationship with him will last forever. You know that."
Yes, he did. Even his mother's love -- it had protected him for many years, but not forever. Harry exhaled deeply and pressed his forehead against Snape's neck, saying in a muffled voice, "I want there to be an easy solution, or at least a possible one. But I guess there isn't."
Snape stroked his back. "The situation is... complex... for all of us. Lucius has been my good friend since school; Draco is his son, but also was one of my charges as Head of Slytherin. And you..." he trailed off.
Harry waited, but Snape seemed disinclined to finish the sentence. "I what?" he asked.
Something shifted in Snape's demeanor. Though he did not physically push Harry away, it was as if a curtain had slipped between them. "You need to decide what you want," the onetime professor said in his teaching voice. "Will you accept ultimatums from Draco? I know that family is very important to both of you -- will what you can build together be enough?"
Would it? Or would Harry end up like Snape -- clinging to friendship with a Malfoy who was attempting to create the same scenario a generation later? It was all too easy to imagine Draco becoming more like his father as he got older, even given how much their world had changed since the fall of Voldemort. Suddenly Harry could see himself just as isolated as Snape... the war hero who was an object of curiosity and patronage but set apart.
He laughed weakly. "I don't know. I love Draco, but maybe I should have married Ginny after all. Even if things didn't work out in the long run, if we had had kids together then I would have some family. I guess that's why people want to have children, to make sure they won't be alone, but it seems awfully selfish if that's the only reason."
"Having a child is a tie to the future, and to the community," said Snape. "Lucius has often told me of his joy in his son, though it can also be a burden. I doubt that for many people there are simple reasons why they might want a child... or not. And whether they want one or no, sometimes they leave themselves little choice in the matter of raising one."
Which reminded Harry of the current problem once again -- had Draco made that girl pregnant? He could feel Snape's heartbeat against his own chest and wondered if perhaps Snape had once wanted children, or even still did. He wasn't sure if he did, himself; he and Draco had discussed adoption once or twice, in a theoretical sort of way as neither of them had felt ready to make such a commitment. What if Harry couldn't love it as much as his own mother had loved him?
"I should go," he said. "I need to find out whatever he found out. And what he wants to do now." Nodding, Snape withdrew his hands, pulling the bed sheet circumspectly up to his neck. Now that Harry was nervous again -- and sated -- he found that he did not respond as strongly to Snape sexually, but there was still a powerful draw, an urge to maintain contact. "I'll owl you," he said. "I'd say just to come over later, but I don't know what's going to happen."
"You and Draco need to work this out yourselves," Snape replied rather formally before his eyes shifted away. "You are welcome to return here if you wish. As is he."
Harry reminded himself to find out from Draco exactly what had happened between him and Snape after they both fled Hogwarts. Even though Draco hated talking about it, Harry knew that that time must have been critical to the person Draco had become, and Snape as well. "Thank you," he said. "For everything really. We'll talk soon?"
"If you wish," Snape repeated as Harry found his trousers at the foot of the bed and began to put them on, muttering a quick cleaning spell first. Snape sounded distant, tired, and had turned his head to gaze out the window. When Harry had dressed, he went over to him.
"I mean it. Thank you." He kissed Snape, softly, without urgency.
"Go." Snape's voice was curt, but Harry was certain that it was to conceal emotions that he did not want to share.
Harry hesitated, then nodded, wrapped up the book on poisons and hurried out before he could change his mind and stay longer. He did want to talk to Draco, who by now should have had time to contact the girl from last night.
For the second time in as many days, Harry heard voices through the door from outside a flat, but this time he did not wait to listen; he could hear Draco and what he was certain was a female voice, and he was not about to stand outside his own home eavesdropping on what might be the most important conversation of both their lives. But when he burst through the door, racing into the parlor, he found Draco not with some unknown girl but with his mother.
"Harry," Narcissa Malfoy said curtly, glancing away. He thought she was showing him her usual disdain until he noticed the makeup streaked on her face and realized that she had been crying. "Draco and I are having a private conversation. Would you mind..."
"Mother. He has a right to hear this too." Draco came over to Harry, speaking rapidly and in a low voice. "I found my, ah, date. She said she's safe. Told me I'm an arse and she wouldn't marry me for an alchemy stone." Draco's grin was halfhearted but Harry could see how relieved he was. In a louder voice, he added, "Mother stopped by, as you can see. It seems that Father has been telling her stories about you and Snape, can you imagine?"
"I can imagine," said Harry, cold rage sweeping through him at the thought of Lucius Malfoy discussing him and Snape with Narcissa. "Just what has he been saying?"
Narcissa kept her face averted and refused to answer. "Apparently, you've been cheating on me with Snape," said Draco calmly. "Isn't that right, Mother?"
She gave a quick nod. "Lucius saw you there last night. And where were you this morning?" Now she turned on Harry, her usual bland, if somewhat disdainful expression dissolved into outrage. "Can you deny that you spent the night there?"
"I was at Snape's last night, yes." Harry looked at Draco and raised his eyebrows, telegraphing, Do you want to tell her?
"And as I was just trying to explain, I was too," said Draco just as evenly. "I told her that the two of us have been having perverted, disgusting sex with Snape regularly, but she refuses to believe me."
"I refuse to listen to you mock me so you can defend this... this!" Narcissa exclaimed, pointing at Harry. "I know that Severus would never harm you, Draco. When I learned what the Dark Lord had planned for you, I went to him and..."
"Yes, Mother, we've all heard this story," Draco said irritably. "You can't have it both ways. If Snape would never harm me, he wouldn't shag my boyfriend, would he? Unless, of course, Father had asked him to do so for my own good, so that you could then come to me with evidence that Harry is cheating and insist that I break up with him and marry a pureblood girl before it's too late."
Narcissa looked as if she would dissolve into tears again. "Your father did see Harry there," she insisted. "What was he doing there?"
"Borrowing a book." Harry unwrapped it, holding back his anger at being referred to as if he weren't present. "As I told Lucius." Draco waggled an eyebrow at Harry. "A book on poison inks -- some research for the Ministry. But do you know, I'm sorry I didn't talk to your husband a bit about that subject before he left. I understand that Lucius may know something about poison inks."
Draco's expression had turned puzzled, his nose wrinkling slightly. But Narcissa's glare was sharp and fierce. She knows, Harry realized. He doubted that she had had anything to do with Abraxas Malfoy's death -- not given Snape's statement that Lucius had only married her afterward because he had no choice under the terms of the inheritance -- but somehow, either Lucius had told her or she had found out. He met her gaze coolly, and it was Narcissa who first looked away.
"A minor hobby your father once had," she said to Draco.
"I didn't know that." Draco sounded nonplused.
Harry was tired of standing. He threw himself onto the sofa and Draco sat down next to him. "It was before you were born, Snape told me. Before your parents were married, and before your grandfather died." Harry wanted to make it absolutely clear to Narcissa that Harry was aware that there was a secret, and that he would not balk at telling Draco so if necessary.
"Right." Draco shook his head. "Whatever. At any rate, Harry had a perfectly legitimate reason to go visit -- and as I've said, I was there as well, so it's not as if he was cheating on me. Everything that has happened between Harry and Snape in bed has been with my knowledge and consent, and usually my participation."
"I can see that I need to go have a talk with Severus. Whom your father has always trusted so much." It was hard to tell from Narcissa's voice whether she was devastated or livid.
"He didn't say anything terrible to me about Lucius, if that's what you think." Too late Harry realized that Narcissa and Lucius both might think Snape had told Harry something specific about Abraxas Malfoy's death. He didn't want to put Snape in any danger. "I heard rumors and I asked him. He kept changing the subject." This was mostly true, though Harry didn't quite meet Narcissa's eyes this time, which appeared to be fine with her since she didn't like to look at him anyway.
"You mean about him trying to use potions to make me behave?" demanded Draco. Of course that wasn't what Harry had meant at all, and Narcissa knew it, but when she caught his eye, Harry decided that there was no point right now in telling Draco his suspicions either about how Abraxas had died or about his embittered relationship with his son. "I can't believe you'd let him do that to me, Mother. After everything that happened during the war!"
Harry had been wondering how much Narcissa knew about the estrangement between Lucius and Abraxas. She must have learned at some point that Lucius and Severus were more than good friends... when she had gone to Severus to beg for his help protecting Draco, she must have counted on that relationship to help sway him. And he was a halfblood like Harry. Almost certainly she resented him.
Filing that thought away for use later, he listened as Narcissa said, "He feels that you have left him no alternatives, Draco. If you will not sire a child..."
"What if I told you," Draco said evenly, "that I'd got a girl pregnant who wasn't a pureblood?"
Narcissa gasped. "You haven't!"
"I'm asking hypothetically, Mother." Draco leaned back, crossing his legs casually, but Harry could see the tension in him.
She eyed him fiercely, but her voice was uncertain. "Not a pureblood? How many generations of wizarding blood are in her family? Surely you wouldn't have touched a Mudblood?"
"What if I did? Is Father's concern simply that I sire a child, or does his obsession with the family bloodline mean that only a child from another 'ancient and noble house' would satisfy him?"
"I -- don't know." Narcissa's mouth twisted. "There is something to do with the estate, with your grandfather's will, that might... I don't know."
"And how would you feel about it?" Draco asked then. "Would you rather recognize a half-blood grandchild than have none at all?"
Harry had been watching Draco, an uneasy feeling growing. Draco had assured him that the girl from last night would not be a problem, but was there some other incident, further in the past, that he had neglected to mention to Harry -- or was he contemplating future possibilities? Perhaps he was simply trying to pin his mother down so that he knew where his parents stood; Lucius' manipulations might then be easier to resist.
"I have a sister to whom I have not spoken in many years because she married filth." Narcissa's voice was low and intense. "She has a child to whom I have never been introduced. How do you think I feel when I see her? Besides you, Draco, she is the last of the Blacks! But her blood is mixed with that of dirty Muggles..."
"You know that Nymphadora Tonks is an Auror," interrupted Harry angrily. "She's probably as powerful a witch as you -- the only person I ever saw take her down was your other sister." He did not mention Bellatrix by name; they all knew precisely where her madness had led her. "There's nothing wrong with Tonks' blood."
"I do not want a half-blood grandchild." Narcissa's nostrils flared as she spoke, ignoring Harry's comment. "You're a grown man -- you understand the consequences of your actions. Your father will have his heir, and you can't be certain that he won't push both of us aside if necessary."
"If he can." Draco crossed his arms. "I know you don't want a scandal, Mother, so you've been keeping all this quiet. But if he tried something like that, I'd fight him and so would you if you wanted to save yourself. Maybe Harry and Severus, too. And we might win. In trying to preserve the family line, he'd be destroying it. This whole pureblood obsession has to end."
Narcissa's face was white. "You would destroy the family just as effectively if you brought in Muggle blood."
"How?" Draco argued. "The purebloods are breeding themselves out of existence. Maybe once I would have agreed with you, but not any more." He looked at Harry. "Harry's not a pureblood. Severus isn't one. Half the Ministry, even more, aren't. The two of you don't even approve of all the pureblood families, anyway -- think of the Weasleys and the Longbottoms. Mother... if this was such a concern, why didn't you and Father have more children years ago? Tell me if I'm wrong to think that you couldn't. Doesn't that suggest that the only hope is to marry outside of the old families?"
Biting her lip, Narcissa sat silent. "I think you might take that as a 'yes,' Draco," said Harry wryly, when it became clear that she would not acknowledge the question.
"You be still," blazed Narcissa. "I hold you responsible for Draco's perversion, his refusal to carry out his duties to his family."
"My perversion?" asked Draco incredulously. "That I like to fuck men? I did that for years before I had any interest in fucking Harry, so you can't really blame him." Harry held his breath; he expected Narcissa to explode at that, but she only sat very still, face pinched and eyes narrowed. "Are you going to look me in the eye, Mother, and tell me that I am the only pureblood wizard you know with this perversion?"
"Where you want to stick your prick is your own business," Narcissa hissed. Harry wasn't sure who was more shocked by her language, himself or Draco. "If you enjoy lying with filth, that is your choice. Your perversion lies in your refusal to accept your responsibilities, marry and father a child!"
While Harry was wondering whether Narcissa had talked to Draco like this when he was younger -- and if perhaps that was why he got so turned on being told he was naughty in bed -- Draco threw back his head and laughed. "I see. It's less perverted to marry for convenience, continue to fuck men and ignore my wife except when I need her on my arm at a social gathering. What should I do if I have trouble having children -- should I ask Harry to fuck my wife for me? No, wait -- he's not a pureblood, and I couldn't ask my wife to lie down with filth." Pausing, Draco looked at Harry. "D'you suppose Krum would impregnate my wife for me? Women swoon over him, don't they? The next time he's in England, we should have him come by for drinks."
Harry couldn't help it; he laughed. But Narcissa rose to her feet. "You go too far, Draco." Her voice trembled slightly, although Harry could not tell if it was with anguish or outrage. It steadied as she went on, "You have benefited from the Malfoy name and fortune for your entire life -- you have had advantages that you may not even have been aware of. You owe a debt to your family, and it is more than time that you settled it." She picked up her handbag. "Goodbye."
"Moth-" Draco's half-hearted protestation at her departure ended with the bang of the door. He turned to Harry and shrugged. "That didn't go so well, did it?"
"Not really, no." Harry was still chuckling at the idea of Viktor Krum being the father of Lucius Malfoy's putative grandchild. "I don't think she'd go so far as to try to put a love potion in your tea to get you to do what she wants, but she's definitely not happy with you." He turned his head to look squarely at Draco. "Were you really asking hypothetically about having a child?"
"Hypothetically?" Draco looked confused. "I'm not going to... oh! The girl from yesterday." Harry frowned. It was typical of Draco to assume that, with that particular problem solved, the underlying issues would be dismissed as well. "I'm pretty sure she was telling the truth -- seems she thinks I'm passably attractive but hardly marriage material. She hadn't only used a contraceptive spell, she took a potion against possible diseases." He grinned halfheartedly. "Besides, she knows about me and you. I think everyone who was ever at Hogwarts with us has heard about me and you, and the only reason The Daily Prophet hasn't done an exposé on our love nest is that my father would destroy every writer involved and bankrupt the paper. I hadn't thought about this before, but if I married any witch in England, at least I wouldn't have to lie to her about us."
"Then you are still thinking about getting married."
"That's not what I meant! Just that, you know, when I was growing up, I thought my parents had a very proper marriage. Then I started to realize at some point they did not. They didn't often have shouting matches, but they were almost formal with each other. Only went out to public social occasions together; otherwise they had separate lives. I never really saw them laughing together, or acting as if they were friends."
"They did sometimes have shouting matches?" Harry couldn't imagine Lucius holding his temper at home when he did such a poor job of restraining it at times in public.
"It was more my father snapping and my mother crying. They argued about things like whether I should go to Durmstrang or Hogwarts. He did most of his yelling at the house elves, and she was more the sort to shut her door and disappear." Draco smiled faintly. "Once they were quarreling about something to do with the Ministry, and he raised his cane the way he does, to make a point, like he was going to prod her with it, and suddenly the chandelier exploded over his head -- shattered crystal everywhere. They were pretty well matched that way."
Harry tried not to let his horrified reaction show on his face. He had heard Mrs. Weasley screaming at Mr. Weasley, but he did not think either of them doubted for a moment that the other was completely devoted. Draco's parents reminded him more of... well, the Dursleys. Wouldn't they hate to know that!
"Anyway, I don't want a marriage like theirs. I feel like telling my mother, if I am perverted, maybe it's because I'd rather live like this than the way she and Father do. But I also know they love me. They told me all the time how special I was. She's right... maybe I am ungrateful."
"Hardly. If it weren't for you, your father would still be in Azkaban and your mother might be dead. They know that as well as you do -- they're trying to make you feel guilty so that you'll do what they want," said Harry firmly. "I know they love you, but I don't think that gives them the right to dictate your life. I love you, but you wouldn't want me to tell you what you should do. And I wouldn't tell your mother that as an explanation for what she so charmingly terms your 'perversion' -- after all, you wouldn't have to have a marriage like theirs, even if you were with a girl, so it's not much of an excuse."
"I did, though. Not a marriage," Draco corrected quickly when Harry's jaw dropped. "But at Hogwarts, with Pansy -- I could see myself starting to act like my father, and her like my mother. I didn't really care about her all that much, but she's from a good pureblood family and it just seemed like the right thing to get together, but there wasn't... I'm not sure how to put it. There wasn't a connection between us. And I didn't like that at all. I didn't want to be bored and lonely all my life, married to her. I don't think it's like that with us... it's not for me, anyhow. Is it for you?" His expression was vulnerable as he looked at Harry.
"No," Harry reassured him. "You drive me crazy, sometimes, but I certainly don't feel lonely or bored. I'd rather fight with you, knowing that we love each other, than have a placid existence with someone I was indifferent to." He took a breath. "But this with your parents' demands... it's getting hard to cope with, I have to admit. Especially because I don't feel like I can really do anything to improve the situation, I can only make it worse, since in their minds I'm the problem, not you."
"They're only blaming you because they don't want to accept that this is who I am. I think my father sees it as a flaw in his parenting skills. It's funny, because my father hated his father -- I have never heard him say a kind word about him. But somehow his father managed to convince him that he should live exactly the same way. I don't understand it."
Harry wondered how to bring up what he had learned from Snape, if indeed it was worth the risk of mentioning it at all. "Your mother said something about the terms of the inheritance," he reminded Draco. "I asked Snape about that, too. He thinks that your grandfather might have changed his will to make your father do what he wanted."
He expected Draco to consider the implications regarding his parents' marriage and his own birth, but Draco said, "Wait. If that's so, then my father might be able to change it back. Go before the court and object that the..."
"But why would he want to?" Harry's interruption drew a blank look. "Draco... do you remember when you asked Slughorn whether he knew your grandfather, that day when he had the contest for the Felix Felicis? He said something I thought was strange. Considering how much he always sucked up to students who had the money to buy him gifts, I expected him to be especially nice to you, but he just said that it was strange for a man your grandfather's age to have died of dragon pox."
Draco's face had darkened. "Of course I remember. Slughorn was my father's Head of House when he was a student -- I guess Sluggy didn't feel that the Malfoys had done enough to curry favor with him after leaving Hogwarts. Though it was an odd thing to say. You'd think he thought it was a character flaw in my grandfather, having died of dragon pox."
"That wasn't what I thought he meant," Harry said slowly. "I thought maybe he was implying that your grandfather didn't die of dragon pox."
Draco wrinkled his nose in a familiar, endearing fashion and Harry felt terrible about what he was suggesting. "You think Slughorn thought someone bumped him off? And maybe that had something to do with his will? That would have been daft. My father was his only son and heir, and stood to inherit everything, unless..." His expression suddenly flattened out. "Unless my grandfather was trying to do to my father what my father's trying to do to me." Harry nodded, wincing inwardly. "But if that was the case..." Harry could see horror settling like a mask on Draco's face. "You think my father killed his father? I know you hate him, and I can't say I'm very happy with him myself just now, but that's going awfully far."
"Believe me, Draco, I wouldn't say it if I didn't consider it worth worrying about," Harry said, his voice low and intense. "I don't have any proof, obviously, but let's look at the facts." He ticked them off on his fingers. "Abraxas Malfoy died, supposedly of dragon pox, but he was awfully old to catch that, as even people like Slughorn noticed. Your parents married within a year of your grandfather's death, but they don't exactly have a close and warm relationship, which argues that maybe one or both of them married out of obligation. Your father and Snape have had something ongoing since Snape was still in school -- I know you probably don't want to think about it, but it's true -- you know you've joked about it, and when I overheard them talking last night it pretty much confirmed things. Then there's the question of the terms of your grandfather's will that your mum hinted about. If we could check on that, I'd bet you Galleons to Knuts that we'll find that there's a provision that your father would only inherit the full estate if he married and had an heir."
He closed his fist. "Put it all together. Say your dad was like you. Liked men better than women, he was involved with Snape and didn't want to get married. Your grandfather pressured him until he couldn't see any other way out -- and somehow, Lucius arranged Abraxas' death, made it look like dragon pox. But he didn't know that the will had already been changed, so it didn't do him any good, and he ended up having to marry your mother anyway. It makes sense, Draco. Maybe there's another possible explanation, but this certainly adds up."
Draco was shaking his head. "No. I can't believe that. He wouldn't."
"You love your father, Draco, but did he love his father? Abraxas sounds like one of the biggest bastards in the wizarding world, to be honest. I've heard Lucius mention him maybe twice, and not fondly. And you said the same, not fifteen minutes ago."
"Exactly. If my father had killed someone close to him, wouldn't you think he'd make a show of missing him? It's just too farfetched, even if I thought he would do such a thing. Why don't we ask Severus? I'll bet the..."
Harry avoided Draco's eyes, but Draco moved over and grabbed his wrist. His expression was unreadable. "Severus told you that my father killed his father?" he asked in a strange, flat voice.
"No. Severus told me that there are poisons that can mimic the effects of dragon pox, and that he personally had nothing to do with Abraxas Malfoy's death."
Very slowly, Draco loosened his fingers, releasing Harry's arm. He rose and walked over to the nearest window, staring out. "In the past day, you and Severus have told me that my father is trying to use a potion to force me to do what he wants. You've told me that you think my father killed the man from whom he inherited everything. From a perfectly objective standpoint, it seems to me like the two of you are doing everything in your power to turn me against my family."
"We're trying to protect you!" Harry felt a spike of anger rise in his gorge and pushed it down. "Do you think this is some kind of conspiracy? For what?"
"I don't know!" Draco laughed mirthlessly. "So you can run off with Severus?"
"If I wanted to run off with Severus -- or, for that matter, if Severus wanted to run off with me -- we'd be encouraging you to marry whatever girl your parents picked out for you, move into the big house and lie low for awhile, not to stay with me and fight for what matters to you."
"I think maybe he hates my father." Draco's voice was low and discouraged. "I knew there had been something between them, but I thought it was over a long time ago. When he took care of me after we left Hogwarts..." Another mirthless snort. "I guess I should tell you all of it. After that time with Snape at Hogwarts, when I caught him watching me, I pursued him. I wanted him to teach me things. And he resisted for awhile, but eventually he stopped. I don't care what kind of vow he made to my mother or what he promised Dumbledore. When we were alone, he didn't just protect me, he let me share his bed. I really thought he did most of what he did for me."
Harry felt a momentary stab of jealousy, but it also made things simpler. If Snape wanted both of them, and they both wanted Snape, then really no one was being left out or deceived. "Draco..." Harry went to stand behind him, putting his arms around Draco's waist and leaning his head against Draco's shoulder. "I think he did do all that for you. I don't know what he feels about your father now, but I'm sure it's not as simple and straightforward as hatred. And he cares about you a lot."
"Except he thinks I'm an idiot."
"Look, there are things we can do to find out if there's any truth to our suspicions, right? We could check into Abraxas' will, for one. If there's nothing in it that would have forced your father to marry, maybe I'm just paranoid and Snape was imagining things and Slughorn is a nasty old gossip. And you could ask Snape for yourself what he thinks." Harry mulled it over. "He just might be willing to give you some Veritaserum to slip into your father's wine and ask him if he did in Abraxas."
"And what do you expect me to do if he did? Pay him back in kind? That would make things simpler for you, wouldn't it?"
Harry's patience was fraying; he took a deep breath to calm himself. "Draco, honestly, I don't want you to be estranged from your parents. I'd give anything to have mine still alive. How could I want you not to be close to yours, whether I like them or they like me or not?"
"I know." Draco sighed and finally relaxed a little against Harry. "I know that, really, but it does seem just a little fortuitous that you and Snape would come up with these suspicions about my father when the two of you are shagging without me."
"What I've done with Severus has nothing to do with how I feel about you. For that matter, what Severus has done with me has nothing to do with how he feels about you. We both... neither of us can resist you." Harry whispered the words into Draco's ear, and Draco shivered.
"You're not going to get all sentimental on me, are you?"
"You know me: can't think about sex without getting soppy."
Snorting softly, Draco turned in Harry's arms until they were facing each other, and Draco leaned his forehead down against Harry's. "What're you doing thinking about sex at a time like this?"
"You brought it up. You said you pursued Snape. I saw something, in his mind, with Legilimency -- I think you were at his house. You were sitting in a big old dirty chair, naked. With that look."
"This one?" Draco parted his lips a bit and licked the corner, staring hungrily, pressing closer against Harry, who moaned softly. "I'm tired of thinking about all this stuff. Let's go to bed."
"Depraved. It isn't even lunchtime." Harry put two fingers through one of the belt loops on Draco's trousers and tugged. "Come on."
In their bedroom, as they were undressing, Draco said, "You were using Legilimency with Severus again? During sex?"
Harry's face went hot, remembering. "Yeah. It's... pretty amazing, really. Did you never do it with him?"
"I don't really like the idea of someone rummaging through my thoughts... and he never tried, not that I noticed." Draco looked at Harry curiously. "Is it that good? I'd think it would be distracting." He crawled up on the bed and lay there on his elbow, watching Harry finish taking off his clothes, stroking himself idly.
"There was something -- you know how you said you never felt connected with Pansy? You always seem to know pretty much what I'll like and want, but we've been together for awhile; Legilimency was like a shortcut to that. Seeing all kinds of fantasies and memories in his mind. Most of them were of me or you or both of us, you know, and some of them were..."
"Creative?" Draco supplied as Harry faltered. "That's promising. We should invite him over later."
"You want to?" Harry hoped his relief was not too obvious. "Fine with me."
Not fooled in the least, Draco smirked at him. "Did you think I was going to demand that you never see him again or something?"
"Maybe not demand, exactly... just that you might not want me to. And if that was the case, I wouldn't, I think." Draco stopped touching himself and sat up to move toward Harry, reaching out and catching his hand. "I know how much you might have to give up, and I know it isn't all for me, exactly, but if you think it's unfair, me being with him, I could understand it."
Draco pulled Harry down on the edge of the bed. "It's not that I think it's unfair," he said slowly. "I knew you wanted me, and I knew he used to want me, and I thought you sort of wanted each other, and I thought if we all got together, it'd be the way it is with you and the way it was with him and it would be great. And it was great. But the two of you have some whole separate thing. It's not like I'm jealous exactly -- you've been more creative too since it all started and it's not like either of you is neglecting me. It's just different."
"Snape said he was surprised -- he thought we were exclusive."
"We are exclusive!" Draco looked startled, then burst out laughing at what Harry knew must have been his own doubtful expression. "All right, last night was a lapse. But we both knew it was a lapse. I haven't slept with anyone else since we've been living together. I thought Severus wouldn't count -- it's not like he hasn't had me before. All this stuff with my parents just has me crazy." He ran a hand through his hair. "I do not want anybody else," he said firmly. "Well, except sometimes him, so if you want him, and he wants you, and he has never said no to me even when he expected my father to hex his balls off... then fuck whatever my parents would say."
"I'd rather fuck you." Harry could feel the grin tugging at his mouth. He was going to get to have both of them -- Draco and Severus. It was going to work out all right. "I don't care what your parents say. And I am not giving you up because of them."
"Good. Am I forgiven for being stupid, then?" Harry nodded. "Then get over here," Draco grinned back, "and let me make it up to you."