The Wand Chooses the Wizard (H/D, NC-17) 2011

Title: The Wand Chooses the Wizard
Author Ravenna C. Tan
Pairing: H/D
Summary: Four years after the war, Harry Potter has quit the Auror program to hunt down dark wizards on his own, a task for which Draco Malfoy’s former wand seems oddly well-suited. A visit to Ollivander’s newly re-opened shop only deepens the mystery Harry is determined to solve.
Prompt: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” — Sirius Black, HP and the Order of the Phoenix
Rating: NC-17
Word count: 11,261
Warnings: None other than mansex.
Author/Artist’s notes: Although this is a postwar fic, I couldn’t stop myself from packing it with canon references (this being a canonfest and all). Thanks so much to my betas and to the mods for listening to me angst over the fic and for running such a fabulous fest!

The Wand Chooses the Wizard
by Ravenna C. Tan

Harry slumped tiredly in his chair. Scattered across his desk were a number of objects–a broken quill, the stopper from a vial, a tiny glass figurine of a sleeping cat, among others–but only one held his attention. The wand.

The Malfoy wand. He still thought of it that way, even though he’d won it four years ago, and had been using it ever since he quit Auror training to go out on his own.

Rain rattled the window and Harry turned to shut it before too much water could get in. The swollen frame was stuck, though, and without thinking he used Malfoy’s wand to make it close. The tiny office was not luxurious by any stretch. On the third story above a second-hand Quidditch supply shop that had opened on Diagon Alley, the place had the advantage of being easily found by those who needed help or who had tips on where Harry might find his quarries. It was also only a short ways down from the joke shop, so lunch with Ron was a regular habit.

The wood was warm in Harry’s hand. Hawthorn, with a unicorn hair core. Harry supposed in that way it was much like its former owner, blond and thorny. Why was this wand so much better at ferreting out dark wizards than his own?

He’d discovered its usefulness on his first case after going solo. He was tracking down Petronius Philpott, who had fled from Ministry officials when they’d gone to his home to inquire if he knew anything about the recent substitutions of dangerous potions ingredients for harmless ones in shipments to English apothecaries.

Harry had thought it would be a relatively safe job to get his feet wet with. Philpott hadn’t been suspected during the war and didn’t have a criminal record. He’d worked as an accountant at Slug and Jiggers. It wasn’t as if Harry were tracking down Rowle or the Lestranges. He’d tracked Philpott to the ruins of a monastery in northern Wales, and expected to stun him and deliver him to the Aurors.

But what he’d found when he’d arrived wasn’t a mousy accountant in hiding, but a rough-looking group of half a dozen men, speaking some rough-sounding language. Russian? Romanian? He should have left then, sent a tip to Kingsley, and not gotten involved.

But then he wouldn’t be Harry Potter, would he? He’d chafed under the rules and regulations for Aurors in training. Harry was used to working on his own, outside the lines. That was practically what Dumbledore had trained him to do all those years. That and Harry hadn’t much liked the way the new recruits were treated. He himself hadn’t borne the brunt of it and he had no illusions about the fact that he was favored because of who he was. But Ron had quit after only three months in training and had never looked back. Harry had stuck it out two more years before giving in as well.

So he’d gotten himself into a wandfight, six on one, there in the wilds of Wales, but he’d had the presence of mind to bring both wands. So when he found his holly wand knocked from his hand by a well-placed spell, he used the other to shield while he Summoned it back. Then he found with two wands, one in each hand, he could fight almost as well as two wizards.

Well enough to escape with his skin intact from a situation that by rights should’ve killed him. Or so Hermione said when she’d helped heal him afterward. She’d also told him it was unusual for a wizard to be able to use two wands so well. One might stop working, she said. When Harry asked her why that would be, though, she explained that one of the wands might start to feel… slighted. She’d urged him to go to Ollivander to ask about it.

But he’d kept using both wands and had quickly learned the Malfoy wand almost seemed like a divining rod when it came to tracking and identifying dark wizards. Harry had since brought in two minor Death Eaters, two of Fenrir’s old cohort who had gone feral, and, eventually, Philpott. Not bad for a year’s work. And Ollivander had been busy, so busy, Harry hadn’t wanted to disturb him. He’d just re-opened his shop with the help of some rich investor, but it had taken time to rebuild the inventory, and the old man could not work as quickly as he used to.

But, the wand. Could Harry continue to rely on it? Or did he rely on it too much?

The rain outside began to hit the window more heavily and Harry blinked, realizing it was raining frogs. That couldn’t be good. But there was nothing for it. It was time to go see Ollivander.

* * * *

Harry’s umbrella was somewhat the worse for wear as he stepped into the shop and pulled the door shut behind him. He left the battered thing in the shiny, new umbrella stand and then looked around the shop.

He barely recognized the place. The walls were still lined with shelves, but most of them were empty, and everything was gleaming and clean. The wood of the counter was highly polished, and the entire place was brightly illuminated by cheerful-looking, floating glass globes filled with what looked like fireflies. Two young people stood ready at the counter, one male, one female, in matching dark blue robes trimmed with silver and white. Behind them stood a large display of individual wands, each with a block of explanatory text, like a museum.

“May we help y–” began the young woman, but she was cut off by a sharp voice from the back. Ollivander’s.

“Don’t be badgering me when I’m working!”

A quieter, yet firm, male voice answered. “You’ve been in your chair four hours without cease. Please, at least have a little lunch before you continue. I shall happily pick up the tab.”

“Lunch! I used to work ten hours at a stretch I’ll have you know! Or more! Through the night!”

“I know. And I know the blame for your reduced condition lies not with any fault of yours, Ollivander. If you truly wish to keep working, I shall respect your wish. But it is well past the lunch hour and you are even late for tea.”

“Fine, fine.” The voice began to recede as the old man must have moved toward the back of the shop. “I suppose I could have a spot of…”

Harry looked back at the woman, whose smile seemed a little frozen on her face. But then she laughed a little and covered her mouth. When she spoke, she had a slight accent, perhaps Italian. “My uncle can be very irascible at times.”

“Your uncle? Are you an Ollivander, too?” Harry asked in surprise. She had short dark hair and large round eyes.

“Yes, but through my mother’s side, so I don’t bear the name. Millie Fiore.” She held out her hand and Harry shook it somewhat awkwardly. “I’m apprenticing with uncle now.”

Another wizard came out from behind the display, then, his posture quite stiff, as if his robes were still on their hanger. He had hair very similar to Millie’s but otherwise didn’t resemble her. He frowned as he saw Harry, then came to Millie’s side.

Harry frowned back. He could feel the almost-vibration in the Malfoy wand that meant a dark wizard.

“Miss Fiore, when you are finished with this customer, it has come to my attention that you, too, have neglected to eat this afternoon.”

“Oh! Is it that late already? We were so busy this morning, and then there was the business with those upper shelves…”

“I know. You’ve been working very hard to get the shop ready on time. But it’s time you took care of yourself, too. You can let Carl work the counter by himself for a while, after you are finished, of course.”

“Of course! Thank you, sir.” She blushed a little.

The manager-wizard gave her a nod and then said, “Carl, if you could just help me with one thing in the back? And then I will send you out front again.”

“Yes, sir, straightaway,” Carl said, as he followed him behind the display again.

“Who was that?” Harry blurted, when they were out of sight.

“Oh, that… is our investor,” Millie said with a smile. “He’s been quite good to us, as you can see. Practically a mother hen as well as paying for everything. Now what can I do for you, Mister…?”

Oh, had she not recognized him? Or was she merely being polite as not to presume? “Potter,” Harry supplied for her. “Harry Potter.”

“Oh, goodness! I wondered if I would see you! I heard you have an office nearby?” She stuck out her hand again and Harry shook it just as awkwardly the second time. “So pleased to meet you! You look different in the photos in the newspaper.”

“Yes, well.” Harry shrugged. “I’m here with a wand question.”

“A question?”

“Well, I should probably talk to Ollivander himself about it, but it sounds like he’s not available at the moment.”

She looked behind her as if she could see what was going on in the far back of the shop. “I suppose not. I do know a lot about wands, though, if you care to ask.”

“Well, a friend of mine told me that the reason most wizards don’t have more than one wand is because if they get a second one, one of them will stop working so well. Is that true?”

She nodded. “Most wizards only need one wand, so the stories are all anecdotal,” she said. “As you know if you’ve ever borrowed a wand, it can work, it’s just not always as good a match. And sometimes it can fail altogether.”

“But why?”

“Well, I suppose when a wand chooses a wizard, it usually expects a kind of… monogamy out of the deal.” Her eyebrows arched.

“My friend said one of the wands would be jealous!” Harry said, still incredulous.

“Or something very like it. It could merely be that if the vibrational wavelength of a wizard’s power matches his wand, though, and then changes to accommodate a different wand, he could lose the matching fit with the first one.” She smirked. “Wizards are quick to blame a wand when perhaps it is their own fault.”

“Ah. I see. But supposing a wizard had two wands that both seemed to work–one that was good for some things, and one that was good for other things–is there any reason to worry they’ll stop working?”

She thought about it a moment. “That might depend on how he came to have the wands, and what he was doing with them. Some say there are men who can maintain two lovers, as well, for a while. It might be that both wands will be perfectly happy until one of them finds a wizard it likes better.”

“All right. Thank you. I’ll come back to visit Mr. Ollivander again.”

She gave a small bow and a smile. “It’ll be nice to see you again then, Mr. Potter.”

Harry went out onto the street feeling vaguely troubled. Fortunately the frogs had stopped. Maybe it was time to pay a visit to George.

* * * *

The flat above the joke shop was only slightly less chaotic than the shop floor itself. George was in the parlor, which was more a workshop than a proper sitting room, with goggles on, waving his wand wildly in the air. “Look out, Harry!”

Harry got his umbrella open just in time to keep from being showered with tiny iguanas. They disappeared the moment they hit the floor, though, fading from sight.

Harry peered around the edge of the umbrella. George was pushing the goggles up on his head, making his red hair stand up. “Um, is this a bad time?” Harry asked.

“No no, come on in, let me make you some room.” George waved his wand at a pile of boxes on the sofa and they flew into a closet, the door shutting behind them with a bang.

One last iguana the size of a mouse crept out from under the worktable and George vanished it with another flick. “What do you think? Any hack can make it rain frogs, apparently. I thought we could branch out. If I get it right they’ll be self-cleaning. Oooh, we could do a whole line of Biblical Plagues! Right? What were the other ones? Locusts? And we’ve already got the Peruvian Darkness Powder. I’m sure the Jewish Muggleborns would have a fabulous time with around Passover!”

“I’m not sure their parents would…” Harry said as he gingerly took a seat. He didn’t know anything about Passover, really, but he was fairly sure there were no iguanas in the Bible.

George laughed. “That’s when you know a product’s the most brilliant. Nice catch, by the way.”

“Catch?” Harry looked around to see if he had a Pygmy Puff in his hair or something.

“You joker, I meant the delivery made to the Ministry today.”

“Er, uh…” Harry had no idea what George was talking about.

“Now what can I do for you today, Harry?”

“Well, I’m here for gossip, actually.”

“Gossip! Oooooh.” George tossed the goggles aside and they flew directly to a peg above the worktable where they belonged. He plopped down on the sofa next to Harry. “Do tell.”

“Well, I’m here to ask, actually. Ollivander’s reopened, you know–”

“Just yesterday! Big news here on the Alley. Have you seen the place?” George whistled appreciatively.

“Yeah, just came from there.”

“Snazzy,” George said with a sober nod. “Tasteful, even. Cost a pretty knut to renovate that place.”

“What I want to know is, who’s their investor? I saw him.”

“You did? I heard Ollivander’s got his niece and nephew working there with him now, from Albania. I figured the investor was someone from their side of the family.”

Harry shook his head. “No, he’s English. I didn’t recognize him, but I think he may have been glamoured. And I think… I think he’s a dark wizard.”

George’s eyes widened and he cracked a grin. “Ooooh, this is getting interesting. Albania, wasn’t that where Karkaroff was from?”

“No idea,” Harry said, “but Albania’s had plenty of other associations with dark wizardry… Are you sure the investor’s from there, though? A glamour wouldn’t change his accent.”

“True. Well, want me to find out?”

“You know everything about everyone on the street, George, that’s why I’m here.”

“And because I’m so handsome, charming, and subtle,” George said, waving his arm in a flourish and knocking over a stack of Basic Blaze Boxes that were half-filled. Small fireworks began to crack and whistle, lighting up the room and flying about.

“Duck!” George shouted as one whizzed past Harry’s head.

Harry drew his wand and began helping George corral them all, and put out the small fires they had inadvertently ignited.

“But seriously, Harry,” George said, as they frantically worked, “you need to get out and meet someone.”

“Meet someone?”

“I can’t be the only fabulously single gay wizard in London, you know,” George said.

“Thanks, George, but… you know I don’t have time to look for a relationship.” He stamped on a small sparkler that had gone off just by his foot. “Besides, it wouldn’t be fair. Whoever it was, waiting up at night, never knowing if I was coming home…”

“I know, I know. But when you’re ready, I’ll introduce you around, eh? Look out!”

By the time Harry got downstairs, where Ron was locking up the shop for the evening, it was well past time for a pint.

It wasn’t until they got to the Leaky Cauldron that Harry found out what George was talking about earlier. There on the front page of that day’s Prophet was a photograph of Regis Avery, former Death Eater, trussed and bound by some kind of charm inside a phone box.

So, someone else out there was hunting dark wizards, too. Harry hoped whoever it was knew what they were doing and didn’t do anything foolish.

* * * *

Harry stopped by Ollivander’s again a week or so later, but Ollivander was taking a nap. He did subtly test for spells that would alter or hide a person’s appearance, and sure enough, the manager-wizard was bespelled. Harry only caught a glimpse of him from the back but it was enough. This time the Malfoy wand reacted even more strongly, the way it did when a wizard wasn’t just dark, but bore the Dark Mark.

Harry left the shop in a hurry. What former Death Eaters were unaccounted for? Rowle was still at large, and the Lestrange brothers… He worked down the list in his head, a dozen or so names, though a few were presumed dead.

But why would someone like Lestrange play the part of shopkeeper? Even if he gave the money for the rebuilding… was the new shop actually just a front for some less savory business? George had come up with nothing so far, which only made it all the more suspicious. No one even knew the wizard’s name. That was confusing, too. Why not at least have an alias?

Harry decided to duck into the Leaky Cauldron to think it over. He sat down at the bar and Tom served him a pint. After they chatted a bit, Harry took up an abandoned copy of the Daily Prophet from a nearby seat and leafed through it starting at the back with the Quidditch scores.

Eventually he reached the front page. There, in a photograph taken at a ribbon-cutting ceremony that morning, were Narcissa and Draco Malfoy. “Opulence Overflowing at Opening of Orphanage!” read the headline. Apparently the Malfoys had built a new orphanage to replace the grotty old one that had been filled to bursting after the war. Narcissa beamed as she cut the ribbon with her wand, while Draco stood stoic, off to one side.

Suddenly Harry had a thought. Where was Lucius? He’d heard a rumor that the elder Malfoy was beset with some kind of chronic but intermittent illness. Dragon pox of course was mentioned–the family line was susceptible to it, it was said. It was also said to turn skin green and pock-marked, if one lived.

But what if the illness story was just a coverup for why Lucius was absent from functions like these…?

Harry put a few coins down on the bar and called goodbye to Tom. He had an idea.

It was a matter of a moment to set up a surveillance charm on the front door of Ollivanders. But what if he just Apparates in and out of the back? Harry wondered. No, a shop wouldn’t allow direct Apparition. That’d make robbery far too easy.

He was disappointed that evening though, as the only people who left through the door were Millie and Carl. Ollivander himself had moved into the flat above the shop. There was no sign of the mystery wizard. Perhaps he had left earlier in the day.

It took another week of monitoring the charm for Harry to discern the rhythm of the place. The investor only dropped by every other day or so, for a few hours in the afternoon. Ollivander himself rarely left, though the two of them walked together to Gringotts at the end of the week, the old man leaning heavily on the investor’s arm as they made their way down the Alley to deposit the week’s profits.

Harry found it suspicious. How much of the profit was going to the investor? If he was using the shop as a front for something, then maybe all that gold wasn’t from wand sales anyway. The goblins didn’t care; gold was gold as far as they were concerned and what their customers kept in their vaults was no one’s business. Harry had learned that beyond any doubt.

The Malfoys were giving an awful lot of money to charity lately. The orphanage wasn’t the first war-related charity, nor the last, that their support was associated with, either. Was this why they could afford to? Because Lucius had cooked up some side business?

And meanwhile he got to assuage his guilty conscience about keeping Ollivander prisoner all that time? But then why not associate his name with the rebuilding of the shop? It had to be because there was a nefarious reason.

Harry just had to figure out what.

* * * *

Later that night, a different kind of frustration gripped him. He returned to his flat in Islington, a Muggle neighborhood of London, sweaty, with his balls aching, but alone. He stripped out of his clothes in the entryway, trying to decide if he wanted a shower now.

He’d gone to a club in the city a few times. Not often enough to be recognized, just often enough to know that the general chance of hooking up for anonymous sex with someone hot was good. He’d done it a few times before. The first time had been brilliant and had laid to rest his questions about whether he was truly attracted to men or not. He supposed he liked men and women, but men were much easier when it came to anonymous hookups.

Except tonight. He’d been making eye contact with this one guy all evening, and they had ended up in an alley behind the club, just making out. The guy was a gym type, sculpted all over with muscles and wearing nothing but a tank top and flimsy athletic shorts. His cock had felt steel hard against Harry’s thigh as they’d tongue-wrestled, Harry’s head against the brick.

But in the back of Harry’s mind, somehow he was still thinking about Ollivander hanging on the arm of Lucius Malfoy. And when the guy shoved his own hand into Harry’s jeans, wrapping thick fingers around Harry’s stiff cock, Harry felt the wand in his sleeve vibrate.

He’d pushed the guy away, only to find himself under an even more amorous attack, his neck being sucked, and his own hand being rubbed against the sizable length in the guy’s shorts.

“Er, no, really, um, that’s my phone. Um, I have to go,” Harry had stuttered.

The guy had stepped back with a sort of “pfeh” sound, as if he were spitting out a tuft of Harry’s hair. Maybe he was. “Suit yourself,” is all he’d said, and went back inside without a word.

That left Harry shaking–and shaking his head–there in the alley. He’d Apparated straight home.

He went into the bedroom and tossed the Malfoy wand onto the bed. “What do you want, you crazy thing? There’s no way that Gym Bunny was a dark wizard.”

But now the wand lay silent. Harry put it on the sidetable, then lay the holly beside it, and got into bed. He needed a good wank before he could sleep. He’d learned a few charms that made it brilliant, some of them from a Witch Weekly article on sex spells Hermione had accidentally–or strategically–left lying open at her and Ron’s flat.

One was for conjuring a lubricant that never felt cold and never went dry. Harry set his glasses next to the wands and then picked one of them up and cast the spell, slicking his cock. He was already so hard he didn’t want anything fancy, just his fist sliding up and down.

When he came his cock spasmed so strongly he barely felt the wand twitching in his other hand at the same time.

* * * *

The following week he set a tracer spell on his suspect as he and Ollivander took their walk to Gringotts. He had to wait, then, while they transacted their business. The two men emerged perhaps a half hour later, and said goodbye on the street there. Ollivander began making his slow way back to the shop. The other wizard Disapparated on the spot.

Harry pulled out the map that accompanied the charm. A red line appeared, beginning at London and arcing southwest…

And landing in Wiltshire. The only wizarding destination of note there was Mafoy Manor. Harry swore under his breath, then ran to catch up with Ollivander.

“Mr. Ollivander, please, wait a moment.”

The old man turned and looked to see who had called his name. “Why Harry Potter, how do you do? Won’t you come in for a cup of tea?”

“Er, yeah, don’t mind if I do,” Harry said, catching his breath. “I mean, if it’s not an imposition.”

“Oh no, my boy. I and the Wizarding world owe you a much greater debt than a cup of tea. Come come.” He led them slowly back to the shop where the lights were out and the shop locked up. Ollivander unlocked the door with a brass key on a long string around his neck, then charmed it shut once they were inside.

Harry followed him behind the fancy display, into the workshop, and then through to a set of stairs at the very rear. They climbed to the second floor where Harry found a very nicely appointed flat. Everything here had a newly polished look about it, as well.

“Er, I take it… that… you had the whole place rebuilt?” Harry said, as he took the chair Ollivander indicated for him by the hearth. Ollivander settled into the matching chair on the other side, then waved his wand toward the kitchen where Harry could hear the sounds of water running and china clinking.

“Yes, the entire building refurbished. I don’t miss the way the floorboards used to creak, I tell you.”

Harry took a deep breath. “Yes, well, I actually wanted to ask you about your… your investor. I think, that is, please don’t take this the wrong way, but… I suspect he’s up to no good. And I realize it’s possible you know all about it but are compelled not to speak of it, or maybe it’s possible you don’t even know, which is why I’m saying this.”

Ollivander laughed. “And what, precisely, makes you think my angel is–” He broke off suddenly, though, and fixed Harry with a serious expression.

Here it comes, Harry though.

But what Ollivander said next was nothing like what Harry expected. “You, Harry Potter, are carrying two wands.”

“Er, yeah. I… I always do.”

“And didn’t my niece tell me you were inquiring about what happens when a wizard carries two wands and uses them both?” Ollivander scratched his chin as if trying to remember.

“Yeah, I did. I had hoped to talk to you, but you were busy at the time.” Harry shook his hands palm up, and the handle of each wand slid into his hands from where they were hidden in his sleeves.

He got on the edge of his seat and leaned forward extending his arms toward the old man. “Holly and phoenix f–”

“I know which wands they are,” Ollivander said gravely. He put his hands palm down atop Harry’s, the handles of the wands between them. “Yours, and Draco’s. Draco Malfoy’s.”

“That’s right. You told me I’d won Malfoy’s from him, though. At… at the time mine was… broken.” He felt like a naughty schoolboy admitting that he’d broken his wand to its maker. Well, it had been Hermione’s fault, but still… “But I fixed it using… the Elder Wand.”

“Ahhh.” Ollivander closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and sat back. A teatray floated in and he plucked a cup from it. The tray then floated toward Harry but he waved it away, not wanting to be distracted by tea. “Yes, I see. And how do you use the two wands?”

“Well, that’s the funny thing. Mine works well for defense, the other for offense, so together they make me nearly unbeatable in a duel. And the other, well, it tells me when I’ve met a dark wizard, and it helps me to find them when I don’t know where they are.”

Ollivader’s bushy eyebrows went up. “Indeed? As if the wand were… looking for dark wizards?”

“Yeah. Seems like it.”

Ollivander nodded. “And that’s why you think my angel must be up to no good. Because that wand reacts to him.”

Harry nodded in return.

Ollivander sipped his tea. “Well, Mr. Potter, I am sorry to disappoint you. I know you do pride yourself on protecting us from the dark forces that linger. But I must insist that my angel is not one of them. There are other reasons why a wand might react in such a way. Sometimes a wand expresses the unconscious desires of a wizard. Sometimes one has sympathetic vibrations with another’s magic. Many reasons–far too many to speculate on here. But I assure you, my angel has no evil intentions.”

Harry slumped. “Are you sure? He’s wearing some kind of disguising charm, even.”

“I know. Only when he is in public view. I assure you I have seen his true face and he means me no harm.”

Harry sighed and took a cup of tea after all. “I’m sorry to have bothered you, then. I mean, are you su–? Never mind. I won’t insult you by saying it again. If it turns out you’re under Imperius right now though, I’m going to feel quite the fool later.”

Ollivander laughed. “Perhaps you and my angel should meet.”

Harry looked up, surprised. “Meet?”

“I can arrange it. And then perhaps he can assuage your doubts.” Ollivander lapsed into thought and Harry held his breath for a moment. “But, Mr. Potter, before I am remiss, I should warn you that it’s highly unusual for two wands to stay loyal to a single wizard.”

“So I heard.”

“You must be prepared for someday one of the two to leave you. It would be quite unfortunate if that put you in a most vulnerable position at an inopportune time.”

“Like in the middle of a fight with a former Death Eater,” Harry said.

“Just so. I did not wish for you to be unprepared for this possibility.”

“Thank you, sir. I will bear it in mind.”

Ollivander nodded with a pleased smile on his face. “I will owl you when my angel is able to meet you. Now, you must tell me of your adventures as a self-employed hero.”

* * * *

A week went by without word from Ollivander, but Harry found himself too busy anyway. He followed up an anonymous tip about an abandoned Death Eater safehouse and went to investigate it. The ground floor of the building, a warehouse in Shoreditch, had been turned into a wizarding restaurant. Harry suspected the restaurateur himself might have been the one to drop him the tip, as he was not keen on having MLE turn up with warrants scaring his customers.

It took a few days to work out how to get to the magically sealed upper floors, but eventually Harry managed it without setting off any booby traps or spells.

On the third floor he came to what looked to be an abandoned flat, didn’t find much of interest there. On the next floor up it was much the same. All the way on the top floor, though, the floor was much less dusty, and he could see places where someone’s robes had left tracks where the dust was thickest along the corridor walls.

He was even more surprised to find there was fresh bread, beer, and cheese under a Keep Fresh charm in the kitchen. He dared not touch it, and wondered if the food had been there under the charm for years, or if it were recent. He leaned close to examine the date on the bottle of beer.

Recent. Harry whirled around. Was someone here? Asleep, perhaps? Or had they gone out for the evening?

Sitting on the kitchen table, though, next to an empty plate with a few crumbs on it and a copy of that day’s Prophet, was a sheaf of official-looking papers. One was a visa for entry into wizarding Albania. One was a ticket for passage upon a ship known as the Ionia, for “London to Tirana, transport.”

The name on the visa was Thorfinn Rowle.

* * * *

Harry went immediately back to the office to record what he’d seen in the diary that only he, Ron, and Hermione could open. The Ionia didn’t sail for three more days.

The next day he told Hermione about it over dinner. They were eating Indian takeaway on his desk while they waited for Ron to finish restocking with George.

“So I know he’ll be there. The question is whether I just tip the Ministry about it or whether I go myself.” Harry tore off a bit of bread and dipped it in his curry.

Hermione chewed her lip. “The Ionia isn’t a regular ship, Harry. It’s more like that one that came from Durmstrang.”

“Yeah, I read about it today in some brochures they had down at the wizarding travel agency. It’s going to come up right in the middle of a lake in Manningford.”

“That’s the thing, though.” Hermione blew on a bite of curry before putting it in her mouth. “The ship itself is considered sovereign to Albania so the Ministry would only be able to catch him on the shore.”

“I’m willing to bet Rowle isn’t going to stand around on the shore waiting to be served a warrant or nabbed by Aurors, either,” Harry said, taking a sip of pumpkin juice.

“You’re talking about kidnapping him off the sovereign territory of another nation?”

“I’m a bounty hunter, Hermione. That’s what I do.”

“Except that you don’t keep the money.” She sighed. “It sounds dangerous.”

“I know. Look, I promise I won’t just leap in there, wands blazing. If I see an opportunity, though, I’m going to take it. If he gets away, at least I know where he’s gone.”

She looked at him sceptically, but at that moment Ron came up the stairs with ale and dessert.

* * * *

The invitation to meet Ollivander’s “angel” came the next day… for the following day. Harry sighed as he read the scroll and then gave Ollivander’s owl a treat. Well, at least there would be a few hours between then and when the Ionia sailed. Harry didn’t feel he could turn the invitation down after all Ollivander had done. He penned a return note quickly and sent the owl on its way.

They were to meet in a public place, in full view of Muggles. Harry wondered which of them that was intended to reassure. The designated spot was a bench facing the Thames outside the walls of the Tower of London. At this point in the summer there would be plenty of people about in the middle of the day.

When the time came, Harry wore a long-sleeved shirt, the cuffs buttoned, with a wand in each sleeve. It was too warm for a proper jacket. He was in jeans and trainers and hoped that wasn’t too informal for Ollivander’s “angel.”

Harry rode the Underground to the Tower stop and walked the rest of the way.

He was supposed to go to a designated bench. He counted as he walked from the entrance and came to the one intended. Behind the bench, a thick iron railing kept people back from the moat. An arched gateway directly behind the bench held some sort of portcullis.

“Traitor’s Gate” read the sign hanging above it.

Harry turned to take a seat on the bench and then nearly drew his wand in surprise. Draco Malfoy was sitting there, his legs crossed and one arm along the back of the bench as if he were trying to look casual, but his expression was far too serious for that.

Harry forced himself to swallow. So. Malfoy was working for whoever it was. If it was Lucius that made even more sense. Harry suddenly wondered if the timing of the meeting was no coincidence. What if they intended to take Harry out before the Ionia sailed? Lucius had been…

“Oh, honestly, Potter,” Malfoy said, sounding more annoyed than sinister. “I thought you were the one who wanted this meeting.”

Harry came around to the front of the bench, trying not to clench his hands into fists. It had been a long time since he’d seen Malfoy. Even longer since they’d spoken.

And the wand in Harry’s left sleeve was practically trying to jump out. Well, that made sense, too. Malfoy was a former Death Eater. Just not one on the Most Wanted list. He’d been cleared long since, but the wand probably didn’t care about such technicalities. The Dark Mark was the Dark Mark.

Harry forced himself to move stiffly toward the bench and then to sit next to Malfoy. Malfoy put his arm down and leaned on his knees. He was wearing a light grey Muggle business suit, stylishly cut, the jacket unbuttoned and the top few buttons on his shirt undone as well.

“So when’s the investor coming?” Harry demanded.

Malfoy clucked his tongue and shook his head sadly. “Grow up, Potter. I am the investor.”

Harry’s mouth hung open while several things all crowded in, trying to be the first to be said. In the end he said none of them and stared like an imbecile. Malfoy turned his head to look at him.

“Well, don’t thank me all at once,” Malfoy said with a quizzical look.

“Thank you! I feel like I ought to hex you across the river,” Harry said tightly.

“Oh? And why is that? Because I’m a right prat and deserve it? Brilliant way of thinking, Potter.” Malfoy leaned back against the bench. “Clearly you weren’t expecting me.”

Harry forced himself to take a deep breath. Malfoy was right about one thing; he wasn’t thinking clearly. “I’m sorry. Something about seeing you again just turns me into a rage-filled teenager again.”

“Likewise,” Malfoy said, though he looked cool as a cucumber as his eyes scanned over passersby instead of looking at Harry. “For a long time I felt we had unfinished business. But I was fairly sure if I approached you at one of those fundraisers or something, you’d hex me.”

“What makes you say that?” Harry asked.

“Well, for one, what you just said seems to indicate I was right. Two, every previous time I was on the verge of asking you for help, I nearly ended up dead.”

Harry had to pause and blink twice. “Wait, what? You mean… what do you mean every previous time? I don’t remember you ever asking me for help.”

Malfoy shook his head again. “Never mind. It’s water under the proverbial bridge now. No one cares about what happened then anymore.”

“I do,” Harry said. “I care. And yeah, we do have unfinished business. I don’t know if I should thank you or be asking you what the hell you were thinking that time at the Manor, when you refused to identify me after the Snatchers brought us in.”

Malfoy looked at him from the corners of his eyes. “Oh, remember that, do you? I wasn’t sure you would.”

Harry nearly got to his feet. “What do you mean, you weren’t sure I would? Of course I did. I do. I mean, I’d nearly killed you the previous year. You could have gotten back at me right then.”

Malfoy looked like he was holding in a smirk. “Oh, I see you remember that previous time then, too.”

Harry’s mouth hung open for a moment. “What do you mean? You… you were about to ask me for help?”

Malfoy nodded. “Moaning Myrtle was trying to talk me into it. I was desperate. The only thing keeping me from contemplating suicide was that would hurt my parents even worse than the Dark Lord killing me himself. She’d nearly got there, anyway, when you burst in. For half a second I wondered if she’d somehow told you to come find me there. But the look on your face… wasn’t benevolent, Harry.”

Harry scrubbed his face as if he could remove whatever look had led to him nearly killing Malfoy that day. “I… I can’t even remember now which of us threw the first hex.”

“I think it was me,” Malfoy said in a quiet voice, staring at the cobblestones in front of them. “But I can’t be sure without pulling it out and putting it in a Pensieve. The whole thing’s a blur of water and blood.” He seemed to pale.

“Well, for what it’s worth,” Harry said. “I’m sorry. I… I didn’t even know what that hex did. I wasn’t actually trying to kill you. Which is no excuse, I know. But, well, I didn’t actually want you to die.”

Malfoy chuckled wryly. “That’s the worst apology I’ve ever heard, but seeing as you saved my life later, I suppose I can forgive you. Thank you for that, by the way. My mother told me later she saved yours to even the scales.”

“Wait, had you come to ask for help that time at the Room of Requirement?”

Malfoy sighed. “I’d hoped you’d gotten the hint at the Manor when I didn’t turn you in that I was just waiting for you to follow through on Dumbledore’s promises to hide me and my mother and keep us safe. But I guess those were just the desperate words of a man who was about to die trying to buy himself more time.”

Harry’s blood ran cold. Dumbledore had promised Draco that the Order would keep him and his mother safe, and his father, too, once he was out of Azkaban. Harry had never given the words Dumbledore had spoken on the Tower a second thought. Until now. “The… The Order d-didn’t know he made any such promise,” he stammered, trying to tell the truth without telling everything. His own anger at the way Dumbledore had manipulated so many people’s lives, including Harry’s own, surged anew, though. “Dumbledore had a lot of plans he never told anyone else about,” he snarled with conviction. Then he deflated. “I… I had no idea you were… crying out for help at the Manor.”

But you knew what he was going through, Harry reminded himself. You’d seen the horror through Voldemort’s eyes. You’d seen him being forced to cast Cruciatus on other Death Eaters.

The wand in his sleeve nearly twitched.

Malfoy shrugged. “I couldn’t really speak to you directly. My crazy aunt was everywhere. I hoped when you snatched my wand you were going to take me with you as a hostage, demand that my parents surrender and seal the Manor, taking away their base of operations.”

Harry shook his head. “Honestly? We weren’t that smart. We were just trying to get the hell out. And we were hunting for the Horcruxes. That was more important than… than other tactics.”

“Ah. Which was why you went to the Room of Requirement to look for the diadem.” Draco nodded as if he were finally putting some pieces together. “I’d hoped to turn myself over then, as well, but Crabbe and Goyle stuck to me like leeches. And then Crabbe…” He let out a heavy sigh.

“Yeah,” Harry agreed.

They sat in silence a few moments. Then Malfoy spoke again, his voice slow with forced casualness. “So… Ollivander tells me you have my wand, still.”

“And he told me that the wand had changed allegiance to me, back then,” Harry said, more defensive than he’d meant to be.

“That wand… did a lot of terrible things. You’re not afraid of being tainted by it?” Malfoy asked. When Harry didn’t answer he went on softly. “I think, if you really wanted to do the right thing, you’d give it back.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Harry said. “Ollivander himself told me the wand chooses the wizard. Your wand chose me.”

Malfoy gritted his teeth. “It’s a wand, Potter, not an ex-girlfriend.”

“Nonetheless, the wand chose me. It works for me.”

“Even though you have another, now?”

“Yes.”

“Just because you’re special,” Malfoy hissed. “The Chosen One.”

“Yes! Apparently! So sod off, Malfoy!” Harry got to his feet.

Malfoy did as well. “And you could not care less that I’ve yet to find a wand that I like as well as that one. That I make do with a wand that sometimes responds sluggishly or at half power…”

“Oh, so sometimes it takes you two minutes instead of one to make your toast in the morning? Oh I forgot, you’ve got house elves to do that for you, Malfoy. And you’ve got a wandmaker in your pocket!” Harry snarled. “You’re not getting this one back!”

Malfoy shook his head. “Sod it. I knew I shouldn’t have come here. Well, this little reunion has been truly heartwarming, Potter. So nice to know I still light a fire under you. So nice to know that the universe still treats you like the Chosen One and me like kneazle shit.”

And with that he spun on his heel and Disapparated on the spot.

“Argh!” Harry screamed, since it would be bad form to hex the empty spot with flaming fireballs in front of all these Muggles, but he had to let his anger out somehow.

* * * *

He was still angry as he was preparing to Apparate to Manningford. Which wasn’t good. It was one thing to be impulsive, but it was still best to be calm and clear-headed before jumping into a hot situation. That much he’d learned while an Auror-in-training.

Shortly before he had to leave, he couldn’t stand it any longer, he called Hermione. He had to leave Diagon Alley to get mobile phone signal. He walked up Charing Cross Road toward Trafalgar Square. Thankfully he caught her while she was out of a wizarding area, too.

“You’ll never guess who Ollivander’s ‘angel’ is,” he said, hurrying across the road to avoid a pair of taxis.

“You sound angry, Harry.”

“I am.”

“Then I guess it’s Draco Malfoy.”

Harry swore. “How do you do that? Or are you pulling my leg and you found out somehow?”

“Really, Harry, you’re so predictable. We’d already worked out it wasn’t someone who could show their face easily in Diagon Alley, and who might have felt guilty about what happened to Ollivander. We knew it was someone with money, too. Now of all the people who fit that description, which one would make you so angry you had to call me to tell me when you’re supposed to be off bounty hunting? If it was Ludo Bagman you wouldn’t bother.”

“Point,” Harry said, and sat on a bench outside the entrance to the Underground. “Well, and yeah, he was really infuriating. Can you believe he asked for his wand back?”

Hermione was silent.

“Well?”

“Harry, even you just called it ‘his’ wand.”

“You know what I mean. It’s my wand but it was his so I can still call it that.” He frowned. “Here’s the other bombshell. He was trying to get us to take him with us when we fled the Manor that time.”

“What? He was? What made him think we would do that?”

“He’s a Slytherin, remember? If we thought like him, it would have occurred to us to take him hostage, demand his parents surrender and kick the Death Eaters out of Malfoy Manor. At least, that’s what he thinks we should have thought, especially after Dumbeldore promised to protect him and his family.”

“What!?” Her voice rose. “When did he promise that!”

“Er, well, I’m not sure he really meant it… um…”

“Dumbledore had a lot of faults, Harry, but lying to desperate boys was not one of them. Why would he promise Malfoy that and then… then leave him there with those people?”

Harry was just as appalled at Dumbledore now as ever, maybe moreso, but he still couldn’t stand that Hermione was taking a sympathetic tack on Malfoy.

“So you think I should’ve just given him back the wand, then. I’m a selfish jerk for keeping it.”

“Oh Harry, I didn’t say that.”

“But were you thinking it?”

“Well, maybe not in those words. And it’s kind of up to the wand, isn’t it? Why don’t you let the wand choose? Have you become that dependent on the two wands? Or is it that other people have become secondary to your crusade against Dark Wizardry?”

“I can hear the sarcasm, Hermione. I don’t appreciate it. I am actually helping by tracking down these wizards, you know.”

“And you know what else? You don’t always have to be the hero, Harry. Anonymous tips help, too. And you saw the story in the paper. There’s some copycat out there, now, too! Who brought in Avery of all people, who you hadn’t even the slightest clue about! What’s next? A new Dumbledore’s Army of kids getting themselves killed?”

Harry was silent a moment. “How long have you been waiting to say that?” he finally asked.

“Oh, Harry. All year. But I knew you weren’t ready to hear it. I… maybe you still weren’t.”

Harry looked up at the sky. The sun was starting to set. He needed to go. “No,” he said. “No, I needed to hear that. I’ll… I’ll ask Ollivander about the wand thing. I mean, he did say the wand chooses the wizard. If the wand doesn’t chose Malfoy, then is it settled?”

“I imagine it would be,” Hermione said. “Oh Harry…”

“It’s all right, Hermione. You were right. I’m being selfish and I am putting my hero thing ahead of other people. And that’s not right.” He sighed. “I’m glad I have a friend like you who can tell me when I’m full of shit.”

She laughed at his crudeness. ‘”I love you, too, Harry. Good luck tonight.”

* * * *

Harry waited a moment for the feeling of Apparition to wear off then looked around the field he’d landed in. He could just see the water of the lake in the distance. From his pocket he took out his broom and unshrunk it, then cast a Disillusionment Charm over himself, the chilly seeping of the spell spreading from his head down to his toes. Then he mounted up and took off.

From above he could make out a small utility building on the shore, not very different from a fishing shack. And there was a wooden dock extending out into the water quite a ways, with a wider platform at each end. Various people were arriving now, it seemed, and he switched to his night-charmed omnioculars.

There were three witches standing on the dock now, chattering amongst themselves. Harry hadn’t seen how they arrived. A short, stooped wizard came out of the building and greeted them. Then a young couple appeared, clinging to what looked like a rusted pie plate: a portkey.

What if Rowle were Polyjuiced? Harry wondered. But then he wouldn’t match the name on the visa. How much did the Albanian Ministry care about such things? Harry had no idea.

Then there was a great sound of rushing water and up out of the lake rose a sailing ship, masts and all. Unlike the Durmstrang ship, it did not look quite as ghostly as Harry remembered, though all the sails were of some dark material. He supposed since the ship traveled by magic and not by wind that they were just for show anyway.

Suddenly the wand in his left sleeve began to resonate. He looked. The three women were already on their way up the gangway, helped by a few sailors. The young couple were halfway down the long section of the dock between the shore and the ship. And just at the shore, being greeted by the stooped man, was a group of what looked to be four wizards.

The big one in the middle had to be Thorfinn Rowle. Though they all had their hoods drawn over their heads, their faces in shadow, Harry recognised him with the omnioculars.

Harry put on a burst of speed, diving toward the group, intending to stun Rowle and hopefully get off one or two other spells to slow down his friends as well. One well placed Incarcerous would do to entangle two at least temporarily…

He held tight to the broom with his right hand and cast the Stunner with the Malfoy wand at the bottom of his dive. Just as the jet of red light burst from his wand, though, he saw another flash, and the spell bounced off of a Shield Charm.

Harry looped back upside down and tried again, and saw the group had split apart. One of them was face down on the dock, Rowle and another were ducking behind the building, and the fourth was advancing on them, wand drawn.

Suddenly Harry recognized who that fourth man was. It was Draco Malfoy, wearing the glamour he wore at Ollivander’s.

Harry shot a hex over the roof of the building and down went Rowle’s associate, but Rowle had sent something at Malfoy that sent him flying, landing hard on his back, his wand flying away. Sailors were shouting and running down the dock and Rowle was charging toward Malfoy, to finish him off.

Harry had no time to think, no time to plan a better strategy. He leapt from the broom onto Rowle’s back, tackling him to the ground. Rowle went down but roared in pain, his wand still in his hand. He tried to hex Harry off his back just as Malfoy sat up, disoriented.

There was no time. Harry threw the wand at Malfoy, who caught it just in time to put up a Shield Charm so powerful it knocked Rowle’s hex right back at him. Rowle’s nose exploded in blood and Harry put him out of his misery quickly with a Stunning Spell.

One of the sailors had just reached Malfoy and was shouting at him.

“Meet me at the bench!” Harry called out, the moment before they both Disapparated.

* * * *

Harry’s first stop had to be the Ministry, of course. But he didn’t actually go in himself. No, that wouldn’t do. He still had four of the special portkeys only Aurors were supposed to have. They were supposed to be for emergencies, to get one out of sticky situations when one was wandless and possibly even losing consciousness. They landed one right in a secure room in the Ministry, in case some criminal were hanging on to you, as well.

Harry Side-Along Apparated Rowle to an empty field in Godric’s Hollow first, where he used Incarcerous to secure him and then Episkey to fix his nose. He cleaned him up a little, too. Wouldn’t want to make it seem as if he were too hard on him. And then he affixed the portkey, which was a metal button that read “I (Heart) Magic” on it. Someone’s idea of a joke, no doubt. Harry pressed his wand tip to the heart symbol and poof, away Rowle went.

Harry looked at the wand in his hand. It was… Malfoy’s.

He Disapparated as quickly as he could.

* * * *

Malfoy was on the bench, leaning over, gasping heavily. Harry hurried to him.

“What did they get you with?” Harry demanded as he rushed up and put a hand on Malfoy’s back. He snatched it away though when he felt how wet Malfoy’s jumper was, warm and wet. “You’re bleeding!”

“How you…” Malfoy got no further in his sarcastic remark, however, slumping from the bench.

Harry caught him, even as he was reciting every healing charm he knew. He didn’t care if the passersby thought they were drunk, or lovers, or wizards. Actually there weren’t that many people around at that hour but Harry barely spared that a thought.

When it seemed like Malfoy was breathing steadily, and no new blood was gushing too obviously out of him anywhere, Harry risked a Side-Along to his flat. With the water running warm in the tub, he carefully charmed Malfoy’s clothes away, landing them wet and bloody in the sink. There was still blood everywhere, on his own clothes, too, so he stripped out of them and pulled a charm-lightened Malfoy into the bath.

At last enough of the blood was gone that Harry could see what needed to actually be healed. The gash on the back of his head that had been gushing was mended now. Harry made a mental note to give him a little Skele-Gro later in case he’d cracked his skull, too. The slashes across his ribs were still seeping a little bit, but they closed up at another charm. Another cut was deep under one arm, and he healed that as well.

Harry was shocked, though, by the scars on Malfoy’s back. It looked like a long burn mark between his shoulders had healed roughly. He ran his fingers over the pocked and mottled skin but found no new injury there.

There was a scar on his front, too. A thin white line that ran from one hip to the opposite shoulder, old, but still starkly visible. Harry was nearly ill when he saw it. I did that, he thought. With this… no, with the other wand.

He turned and looked at the holly wand, lying on the edge of the sink.

When he moved Malfoy to the bed, he brought both wands, racking his brains trying to remember what his field training had said about concussions. There was a charm for fixing them, he knew, what was it? Madam Pomfrey had used it on him that time when McLaggen had cracked Harry’s own skull with a beater’s bat, but Harry could be forgiven for not remembering much after that, couldn’t he? What had she said? Or had she cast it nonverbally?

He couldn’t remember. But Malfoy hadn’t woken up and that was bad. Harry finally pushed Malfoy over onto his front, straddled his back, and pressed both wands against the back of his skull. “Okay wands, listen. I want him to live. At least one of you wants him to live, too, I bet. They say magic is intention, right? Well I intend to heal Draco Malfoy. So here goes. Heal.

Harry felt the usual flow and ebb of magic as with most spells, but down both arms.

For a moment, he worried it hadn’t worked.

Then Malfoy groaned.

“Are you all right?” Harry asked.

He groaned again. “I feel like I’ve been run over by the Hogwarts Express.”

“I’ll get you some Skele-Gro…”

“No.” Malfoy reached back until his hand touched Harry’s thigh. “Don’t leave me alone.”

“Okay.” Now that the imminent danger seemed to be past, Harry did begin to wonder if Malfoy would be angry or upset that they were naked in Harry’s bed in a fairly compromising position. But Malfoy’s hand on his thigh seemed to be implying he didn’t want them to move.

After a short while, though, Harry had to say something. “My foot’s falling asleep.”

“All right.” Malfoy shuddered a little under him as he raised his head, then lay it back down again. “You move. I can’t. Stay close, please?”

Harry shifted to lying next to him and was somewhat startled when Malfoy put an arm over his ribs, shifting just enough onto his side that he could look into Harry’s face.

“What do you remember?” Harry asked.

Malfoy shook his head very slowly. “I remember… the ship. And putting up the Shield Charm so that Rowle couldn’t step from the shore to the dock… not much else.”

“Ah, so that’s what blocked my Stunner,” Harry said. “I was flying in, on broom, invisible.”

“Of course you were,” Malfoy said. He closed his eyes, then opened them again. “If I recall my healing arts class, this is the part where you don’t let me fall asleep for at least an hour.”

“I take it that was you who brought in Avery, then,” Harry said.

Malfoy just nodded. “You’d be amazed how many of them still think of me as a scared little boy. Someone they can push around. It’s their weakness. My father receives occasional messages from them. He doesn’t dare pass them to the Ministry or he’ll end up back in Azkaban himself.”

“He wouldn’t!” Harry said. “He’d be lauded.”

Malfoy gave a short, bitter laugh. “You don’t really believe that. One of the terms of his parole is that he have no further contact with his former associates. But, you know, every time we appear in the Prophet having given a huge pile of Galleons to some charity… some greedy, pathetic Death Eater living in hiding will try to pull in a favor.”

Harry had never sat this close to Malfoy for this long before. He’d never seen Malfoy’s face without its usual mask, either. Not like this.

“Why do you do it?” he asked.

Malfoy’s eyes were grey. “Why do you?”

Harry slid one of his hands under his cheek where it rested against his pillow. “I’ve been asking myself that question. I quit the Auror program because I got tired of all the rules and the fact that they treated the junior Aurors like dirt. Sometimes I asked myself if they were any better than the thugs we brought in sometimes. I’m happier on my own.”

“That still doesn’t answer the question of why you chase bad guys.”

“Maybe it’s all I know how to do,” Harry said. “You still haven’t answered.”

“Maybe I wanted a change of pace,” Malfoy said, and they both smiled at the gentle joke. “Seriously though? I think I do it because I can. And no one else can get close to them the way I do.” He looked into Harry’s eyes. “I know I have a lot to make up for.”

Harry shook his head. “No, you don’t. You played your part. Voldemort wouldn’t have been defeated without you. Without all the business about the wands and your not turning us in, and your mother helping me to protect you…” Harry reached up and combed Malfoy’s hair back from his forehead. “Seriously. Our side wouldn’t have won without you.”

Malfoy trapped Harry’s hand against his cheek. “Well, then. What are we going to do about your wands?”

“I think the wands are going to decide that,” Harry said.

“Giving it back to me in battle doesn’t count?”

Harry chuckled. “That was my wand, not yours, that you used.”

Malfoy’s mouth went a little slack with surprise. “Oh.”

“Yeah. You see why I think it’s going to be up to them.” Harry propped himself up on one elbow. “You know, it was because of you I learned wandless Summoning.”

“Me? Everyone should learn that, though,” Malfoy said.

“Yeah, but after that time you left me on the train, and I couldn’t get my wand to return to my hand, I was determined to learn it. Apparently it only works for powerful wizards with powerful wands, though.”

“Like so much of the world,” Malfoy said wryly.

Harry reached out his hand and said, “Accio.”

There was a clatter and then both wands leapt from the nightstand into his hand.

Malfoy’s face fell. “Well, that answers that.”

“I’m not sure it does,” Harry said, putting the wands back. “You try it.”

Malfoy sighed, but reached out a hand. His eyes were locked on Harry’s, though, as he said, “Accio,”

They widened in surprise when both wands did the same, clicking against each other as he closed his fist around them.

“I have no idea what this means,” Malfoy said, handing them to Harry to replace on the nightstand.

“We can check with Ollivander in the morning,” Harry said. “But if I had to guess, I’d say the wands are trying to tell us they want to stay together.”

Malfoy rested a hand on Harry’s hip. “Maybe they’re telling us what we can’t say to each other,” he said.

“Well, it would make sense for us to team up,” Harry said. “Working together would have made tonight a piece of cake, if only we’d known.”

“Agreed,” Malfoy said. “But that’s not what I mean, entirely.”

“What do you mean?”

“Kiss me and find out.”

Somehow, Harry had known that was what Malfoy was going to say. Well, not those exact words, but he knew it would be something like that. But there was no rushing to it, he had to just let it happen, and so when the moment was there, like the Snitch, he just had to reach out and grab it.

He pressed his mouth to Malfoy’s and it was nothing like the strange, wet sensation of kissing Cho, nothing like the chaste, sisterly kisses he’d shared with Ginny down by the lake, and also nothing like the sloppy anonymous encounters he’d had at the Muggle gay club he’d visited. This was a man he knew, and knew intimately. Just not physically. Yet.

When they finally broke apart, Harry discovered he was on top of Malfoy, who was flat on his back with his legs spread. Their two cocks were side by side and Harry could feel his twitch as his balls tightened in anticipation.

“Done this before?” Malfoy asked.

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“Good,” was all Malfoy answered as he stroked their cocks together in one hand. Harry used a wand, he didn’t even note which one, to conjure the non-drying lube, and Malfoy hissed with pleasure.

“I forgive you for almost killing me,” Malfoy said with a grin, as he swiped his thumb over the slick head of Harry’s cock.

“Ungghh. I forgive myself, too, because that’s brilliant,” he said.

Malfoy laughed. “You aren’t even making sense, now.”

“Good.” Harry thrust his hips, rubbing their cocks together, and thinking that if that was all they did, it would still be brilliant.

Malfoy had other ideas. He expressed them by lubing his own fingers and lifting one leg so he could slick up his arse. And then he shifted so that Harry’s cock was nudging at his arsehole.

Harry rocked his hips gently, though, pressing bit by bit, softening the tight flesh and moulding it into the shape of his cock’s spongy head. He lost track of time. Eventually he pushed in just the right way, just the right angle, and Malfoy opened for him. His cock slid halfway in and Malfoy went rigid, then languid again with a long breath.

Harry fucked him carefully after that. Was there any warning about sex with a concussion? He couldn’t remember one, but maybe that was the sort of thing one was supposed to know by common sense. But there was nothing common about Malfoy and never had been.

“First or second?” Harry asked.

“Hm?” Malfoy looked up at him and fitted his palms over the curves of Harry’s buttocks.

“Do you want to come first or second?”

Malfoy laughed. “How about this. I’ll race you.” He took hold of his own cock and began to pull. Harry, never one to back down from a challenge, began fucking him as hard as he could.

Malfoy won the race, sending white spurts all over his stomach and shuddering uncontrollably, but Harry finished very soon after; between Malfoy’s spasms and the expression on his face, he couldn’t have held back if he’d tried.

Malfoy had both wands in one hand when he cast a Cleaning Charm so strong Harry felt his balls tingle, and then another charm that somehow put them under the covers instead of on top.

“Brilliant,” Harry said, just as Malfoy pulled him down into a kiss.

When he let Harry up again, Malfoy said: “So, it’s partners, it is?”

“Yeah,” said Harry.

Malfoy nodded, put both wands side-by-side on the nightstand, and then lay himself against Harry, just as closely.

Draco was a lot like his wand, Harry thought, as they drifted to sleep. Hawthorn could be vicious when it had something to protect, but there was a surprising innocence at the core.

~fin~

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