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They apparated to the meeting point, Lucius's arm tight around Draco's chest. Draco had no idea where he was going. Even after his feet touched ground again, he still didn't know precisely where he was.
He stepped out of his father's embrace, wrinkling his nose at the dank air. They appeared to be in an underground chamber. The only sources of light were torches along the walls, which seemed carved from the rock itself. The light twisted into alcoves and disappeared into tunnels, giving the room the appearance of a cave.
“Since you are in possession of your wand, you could make yourself useful,” Lucius said. Draco turned to see him pulling off his black gloves and tucking them into a pocket of his traveling cloak. “Sweep the room for surveillance.”
Draco brandished his wand. “You don't trust your allies very much.”
“Nor should you.”
Draco frowned at him, but began casting surveillance spells. Five minutes later, he was convinced the area was clean. Lucius then instructed him to conjure chairs for the meeting, an arduous task that left Draco sweating and drained.
It was nearly ten o'clock when Lucius pulled Draco into a tunnel and led him to a small chamber. He pressed a silver flask into his hands. Draco sniffed at the contents and wrinkled his nose in revulsion.
“Absolutely not!” He shoved the flask back towards Lucius.
“Glamours and concealing spells will do you little good here,” Lucius replied. His lips curled into a mild smirk, as if Draco's resistance was more amusing than irritating. “Unless you wish to remain hidden in this room for the duration of the meeting–”
“All right, fine,” he said, rolling his eyes. It was a good point, as much as he hated conceding it. Polyjuice was virtually undetectable. He would be able to move freely about the room and participate, even seek out a way to contact Harry. He sniffed the flask again and considered asking Lucius whose form he would be assuming. Of course, it hardly mattered at this point. With one more caustic glance at his father, Draco steeled himself and swallowed the thick liquid.
It was, oddly, worse than he remembered. After several moments of near-agony, he realized his clothes had become loose in some places and tight in others. He opened his eyes to see Lucius smiling down at him.
Draco shook his head. “Oh, bugger me, no!” He crossed his arms over his chest, but there were breasts in the way. He didn't need a mirror to know who he had become. He glared at Lucius. “Do you make a habit of taking your Muggle whores to these meetings?”
“Of course not, and that is precisely why she was a perfect choice. No one here will know who Heather is, which will make it easier for you to investigate the newcomers in the crowd. I will point them out to you, and you will learn as much as you can about them. We must be wary of spies and hostile elements, after all.”
“I can't believe this.” Out of habit he reached up to comb fingers through his hair and they were promptly tangled in long blonde locks. Draco scowled at the smug expression on Lucius's face. “You're enjoying this, I'm sure.”
Lucius stepped back and pointed his wand at Draco. Draco tensed, but exhaled when he felt his clothing shifting to accommodate Heather's shape. The waist of his trousers hung low on her hips, and his shirt became clingy, revealing a slip of midriff. Heather had a nice body, he realized, running his hands up his torso. He cupped his – her – breasts in his hands, finding the weight of them strange. He quirked an eyebrow at his father.
Lucius's smug grin changed to one of mild discomfort. Draco grinned and stepped closer to him, looking up at him through what he was certain were long dark eyelashes. “Satisfied?”
“We should go,” Lucius said, looking away.
“Whatever you say, darling.” Draco wrapped his arms around Lucius's neck and planted a chaste kiss on his lips.
Lucius paled, something Draco had only seen a handful of times in his life. “Will you please behave yourself?” He pushed Draco away.
“Yes, Daddy,” he replied in as simpering a tone as he could manage. Lucius flinched, and Draco snorted, simultaneously gleeful and disgusted. “Oh, don't tell me she–”
“Malfoy,” a familiar voice said from the tunnel entrance. They looked over to see Avery standing there, a leer on his cragged face. “Sorry to interrupt, but they're ready for you.”
Lucius only nodded. Draco smiled and took his father's arm, leaning into him. Lucius's jaw tensed.
The large room was packed, much to Draco's surprise. Everyone must have apparated there within a few minutes of each other. Many of the faces were familiar from other meetings he had attended, but there were several strangers in the crowd.
There was a murmuring in the room when people began to realize Lucius had entered. Many looked at Draco with surprise, and he became acutely aware that there were no other women in the room.
Lucius pulled him close, under pretense of kissing his cheek. “In the back right corner there is a man with a blue-trimmed cloak,” he whispered. “Find out what you can about him.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” Draco asked.
“I should think that would be obvious,” Lucius retorted.
Draco suppressed a scowl as he stepped away and headed towards the back of the room. Heads turned as he passed, and he had difficulty ignoring them. When he worked undercover, he generally tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. This attention was disconcerting, to say the least.
His target was sitting in the crowd, listening to Avery introduce Lucius. Draco slipped into an alcove in the back from which he could see the man. He had less than an hour before the polyjuice wore off, and he had no idea how long the meeting would last. How was he supposed to get the man alone under these circumstances?
He glanced around the room, searching for a friendly face. He'd hoped he would see someone here who could relay a message to Harry for him, but it was looking less and less likely.
“God, you're a fish out of water,” a voice spoke in his ear.
Draco jumped – Heather's senses weren't nearly as sharp as his own. He turned to see who had spoken to him and barely contained his shock.
Standing next to him in the alcove was Colby Hannick.
Draco swallowed hard and remembered to pitch his voice higher a split second before opening his mouth. “Hell, you gave me a fright!”
“That's not all I've given you,” Colby grinned.
Draco had no idea how to respond to that. He finally settled on a blank stare.
Colby sighed. “Pity you don't remember it. So Malfoy has put you to work? I wondered when he'd get tired of you.”
An indignant snort seemed the most appropriate response.
“Don't worry, sweetheart. He must see something special in you. The other girls haven't even been allowed out of bed.”
“Piss off,” Draco hissed, tossing his hair over his shoulder.
Colby sidled even closer, lips brushing Draco's ear. “Really, Heather – is that any way to treat me, after everything we've been through together?”
Draco frowned. He was nearly in over his head, but at least he knew Colby well enough to try to play along. “What are you doing here?”
“Same as you. Look for anyone suspicious, seduce the strangers into revealing themselves.”
“I'm sure you're good at it,” Draco quipped.
“Unfortunately.” He said nothing more, to Draco's surprise – Colby had always been rather chatty.
“We must hold to our values in these difficult times,” Lucius was saying across the room, voice magically amplified. “We must protect our families and our traditions from those who have no respect for magic, who threaten our way of life–”
Colby yawned just as Draco turned to look at him. Even though barely a month had passed, he looked different: older, tired, lost.
“Why do you do it?” Draco asked.
Colby shot him a strange look. “Like I have a choice? Fuck, you really are a blonde, aren't you? We had this discussion not a week ago.”
Draco decided to play the obliviation card. “We did?” He put a touch of desperation into his voice.
Colby's face softened. “Jesus, why don't you get out of there while you still can? You have no idea what he's doing to you, how he uses you. It's pathetic.”
Draco just stared at him. It hadn't occurred to him to feel sorry for Heather.
“Have you met Draco yet?” Colby asked, scanning the room again.
Colby made a sound of disgust. “That probably means ‘Yes, intimately'. Malfoy's son, Draco. I've heard he's there in the castle, laying low after the scandals in the papers. Cute, gay, complete smart-ass?”
“Doesn't ring a bell,” Draco replied, making a mental note of the description. “Why?”
“I want you to give him a message from me.” Colby leaned in close and whispered in Draco's ear. “Tell him I want to talk to him.”
“If I do see him, what should I tell him you want to talk about?”
“That's none of your concern. If I told you, Lucius would get it out of you, and that would only get me into deeper shit.” He clenched his jaw.
He was frightened, Draco realized. This might work to Draco's advantage. “Well, how is he supposed to get in touch with you if he does want to talk to you?”
“You can get a message to me,” Colby replied. “Just be careful about it.”
“Why should I take such a risk for you?”
Colby smiled at him. “Because you're secretly crazy about me. You must get tired of being under that old man every night.”
Draco's eyes narrowed. “I thought you were gay.”
Colby sighed, then leaned in and kissed Draco just under the ear. To his horror, he felt a weird tingle in his belly. “I go that way for you, baby. Too bad you don't remember our lovely night together.”
Draco closed his eyes as Colby's lips traced a path down his neck. His own neck wasn't nearly this sensitive. He was uncomfortable as hell, but it wasn't his body, he kept reminding himself. Heather would probably like the attention. “Why don't you remind me?” he whispered, then winced when he realized what he'd just asked for.
One of Colby's hands slid down his back and over his arse, fingers wriggling up between his thighs. Startled at the sensations that touch sparked, Draco turned away to dislodge him.
“Not here! I meant tell me.”
Colby laughed into his ear. “You sat on my face for half an hour. I looked like a glazed doughnut afterwards.”
Draco had to struggle not to make a face. Surely women didn't find comments like that romantic?
“We need your continued support,” Lucius was saying across the room. “The rumors that the Dark Lord is dead are false, I assure you. I am in contact with him, and he requests that we remain patient while he gains strength. He will soon be ready to return to us, and we must be prepared for his glorious ressurection. The rebels who claim to be working for him only want to bring chaos and destruction to our society. They do not share our values or–”
Colby stepped away, to Draco's relief. “Here,” he said, pushing something into Draco's hand. “Give this to Draco for me. He'll understand what it means.”
Draco felt a surge of excitement – a packet of Marlboros. He suppressed both his smile and his sudden desire to kiss Colby. He hadn't had a cigarette in days, and he'd been on the verge of pulling his hair out. He'd even tried to conjure some, but they hadn't been any relief. He managed to turn a puzzled face to Colby. “Cigarettes for favors? What are we, in a prison film?”
Colby didn't laugh. “Sometimes it feels like it. Look, just give those to him and tell him I want to talk to him, please? I promise I'll make it up to you. I'll owe you one.”
Draco nodded and slipped the cigarettes into a pocket. He checked his watch – less than 15 minutes left before the polyjuice wore off. He had to make an effort to investigate his target and get back to the small room before he changed back. But the situation was promising: Colby's desperation, as well as his friendship with Heather, could prove rather useful.
The room rang with applause, wrenching him out of his thoughts.
“The meeting's breaking up,” Colby said, running a hand through his hair. “I gotta go.”
Draco nodded as he disappeared. He looked for his own target, only to see the man walking in another direction.
“Fuck,” he hissed. He scrambled to follow without making it too obvious that he was following. He ignored the stares and outright leers of the men he passed, pausing once to glare at someone who grabbed his arse.
The man in the cloak had disappeared into a corridor. Draco dashed in after him, but he seemed to have missed his chance: the corridor was empty and dark. He swore under his breath, already making up what he would tell his father. Just someone who works at the Ministry – a nobody, really. Someone I remember seeing in the corridors once or twice.
A hand covered his mouth and he was pushed up against the wall in the dim light. He was startled, but had the sense not to respond: Heather probably wouldn't have a clue what to do in such a situation. He blinked his eyes, trying to force them to adjust to the darkness.
It was the man he'd been following. Draco nearly breathed a sigh of relief. The face was oddly familiar, though Draco couldn't place it.
The man stared at him as if trying to see through him. “You came in with Malfoy,” he whispered. It sounded like an accusation.
Draco nodded under his hand, eyes wide.
“I have a message for his son, Draco. Do you know how to find him?”
Draco allowed himself to look surprised. He only had ten minutes before the polyjuice wore off, so he needed to do this as quickly as possible. He nodded, tentatively.
The man removed his hand from Draco's mouth. “Can you take me to him?”
“No,” Draco replied. “I don't know precisely where he is, but I will see him. Who is the message from?”
The man hesitated, then looked around the corridor before whispering, “Harry Potter.”
Draco felt a swooping sensation in his belly. Harry was trying to contact him? Of course, it could be a trap. Lucius had set him on this man, after all. “What's the message?”
The man frowned. “I would rather give it to him myself.”
“I can assure you he will get it.”
The man hesitated, staring at Draco. Draco took the opportunity to stare back and study him, while trying to look frightened. There was definitely a glamour charm here, but it was unlike any Draco had seen before. When he tried to look through it, it was as if there was nothing underneath.
The man released him and stepped away, a strange expression on his face. “Never mind. I'll find another way.”
Draco's heart pounded in his ears. “No, wait! I'll get it to him, I promise.” He stepped forward, lowering his voice to a whisper. “He… he has mentioned Harry Potter before. It's important, I'm sure.”
“You work for Lucius. Why should I trust you?”
Draco had no idea if desperation would help or not. “I don't know. But I'm the best chance you have to get that message to him.”
The man hesitated another moment, watching Draco. Draco swallowed, hoping the polyjuice wasn't starting to wear off already. He didn't have much more time.
At last, the man nodded. He reached into his pocket, and pressed something into Draco's hand, something warm and hard and smooth.
Draco's stomach felt as if it had dropped a foot – it was his mother's bracelet. The one he'd given to Harry a little more than a month ago, when he was afraid for Harry's life. It could only mean that Harry felt the same. That Harry still cared about him. That Harry–
He looked up at the retreating figure of the man, breath caught in his throat. The man's gait was familiar. Draco swallowed once, steeling himself. He had better be right about this.
“Harry?” he asked, in his own voice.
The man froze in his tracks. Draco clutched the bracelet in his fist, heart in his throat. The man turned around, staring at him. He walked back towards Draco, strides getting longer as he grew closer. Draco backed up against the wall, hand on his wand, just in case.
The man didn't stop until he was looming over Draco. He paused a moment more, and then kissed him.
Draco was stunned into immobility. He'd been braced for an attack, but he hadn't expected anything like this. Then the kiss deepened, tongue pressing into his mouth, lips moving across his, and he knew . He knew at that moment, with his knees buckling beneath him and a wave of relief flooding his body.
“Harry,” he managed between kisses.
He looked up and saw him then, saw through the glamour at last – it was indeed Harry's face, staring at him with a mixture of relief and fear, but undeniably happy to see him.
“I hoped it was you,” Harry whispered against his lips, and Draco melted, allowing himself to be pulled tightly against Harry. He felt an odd sensation deep in his abdomen, and his eyes flew open when he realized it was arousal – in someone else's body.
“Wait!” he hissed, pushing Harry away. “Stop – this isn't me you're kissing, it's my father's fucking girlfriend.”
Harry grinned and dove back in. “I don't care. I've missed you.”
Draco's next protest was cut off by a particularly steamy kiss, but he managed to pull away again. “Well, I care. Do you make a habit of kissing strange women?” Harry's mouth opened to protest, but his earlier words finally registered in Draco's mind. “You missed me?”
“Of course I missed you. Are you daft?”
“But–” Draco paused, unsure where to begin. “What about Ron?”
Harry stiffened, but didn't pull away. “Did you do it?”
“I don't remember. I don't remember any of it. But there's evidence–”
“We'll deal with that later. We need to decide where to go from here.”
Draco pushed his feelings aside as best he could. “I don't have much time. Lucius must see me before the polyjuice wears off.”
“We can use Hermione's cryptosystem to communicate with each other, exchange information.”
Draco nodded. “Right, but not by owl post. I don't have reliable access.” He paused, thinking. Colby could turn out to be useful after all. Draco wasn't sure he could trust him, but maybe that didn't matter in the short run. “I have another plan, though. I'll send you a message as soon as possible, explaining everything I've learned.”
They stared at each other for a moment, neither of them certain what to say.
“I'm sorry about all of this,” Draco whispered. “I never meant to deceive you.”
“The things you heard, that I said about you–”
“I know,” Harry repeated, more forcefully. He bit his lip, looking anxious. “Draco… I was there.”
Draco blinked at him. “You were where?”
“At that meeting, under the warehouse in London . I'm sorry that I didn't tell you before, but I had a few leads and I wanted to check them out myself. And I've been doing other things too, things no one knows about, not even Hermione. I thought maybe you knew, because once you looked at me while I was disguised, but I–”
“Wait, hang on,” Draco said. “All this time, you've been doing your own investigating, going to Death Eater meetings in disguise among other things, and you've kept it a secret from the rest of us?”
“God, I love you,” Draco said, launching himself at Harry and kissing him, forgetting his earlier admonition.
“Do you really?”
“You have no idea how much,” Draco replied, pressing his forehead into Harry's neck. Harry sighed and wrapped his arms around Draco, pulling him tight. But the height difference only reminded Draco he wasn't in his own body – and as much as he wanted to be with Harry at the moment, it was putting them both in danger. He kissed Harry again and stepped away. “I have to go. I'll be in touch soon.”
With that, he turned and dashed down the corridor, away from Harry, his heart lighter than it had been in years. He slipped the bracelet into his pocket, intending to put it on in private, after he was back in his own body.
He made it back to the small chamber just as the polyjuice began to wear off. The transformation was less painful this time, though he only remembered to remove the charm from his clothes after a seam in his shirt split. He collapsed to the floor, panting, mind racing.
“You're cutting it a bit close,” Lucius said. Draco looked up to see him standing in the center of the room. “What did you learn?”
Draco cleared his mind as best he could. “He was disguised, but he's someone I've seen at a meeting before. I didn't get any useful information, though – he seemed cautious. I don't know if he'll be back.”
Lucius regarded him for a moment, and then nodded. “Very well. We should leave.”
Draco stood and dusted himself off, then let Lucius apparate him back to the castle.
:: :: :: :: ::
The first thing Draco did when he walked through the door was to sweep his room for security devices. Sure enough, there was one in a corner near the ceiling. Draco considered deactivating or shielding it – but whoever had placed it there knew he was here by now, didn't they? Maybe it would be better if they didn't know he was aware of being watched.
He strolled as casually as he could to that side of the room, stopping under the device, just out of its range. It was an older type, so it didn't transmit information; it only stored it until someone retrieved it. He had learned to cast retrieval spells for these sorts of devices while working for the FBI – fortunately, the magic they employed was quite simple, since they were used in sensitive areas where complicated spells could easily be detected.
There was one particular scene he didn't want anyone else to see. It took twenty minutes of careful work, but he managed to locate and remove the images that had been recorded the night before when Heather had visited his room. The distilled images spun into a glowing ball in the air above his head until he found an empty glass bottle to direct them into.
Once inside, the ball spread to fill the space, causing the scene to play across its surface over and over in a continuous loop. Draco forced himself to watch it for a moment, not allowing even a flinch at the sight of Heather straddling him on his own bed.
He ought to destroy it, of course. Then it would be gone, and he wouldn't have to think about it. It was bad enough that he'd had to inhabit the very body that had done this to him. It might prove to be useful, though, so he put the bottle inside the wardrobe, out of sight.
He stretched out on the bed and pulled his mother's bracelet from his pocket. He stared at it for a moment, tracing its curves with the tips of his fingers, letting the events of the evening wash over him. It had been one of the most bizarre days of his entire life.
Harry was at the forefront of his thoughts, of course. He was relieved that Harry didn't hate him, but also worried that he seemed to be in denial about the possibility that Draco had murdered Ron. For the first time, he wondered if finding out what had really happened during those weeks was a good idea. If he was indeed responsible for Ron's death, could he live with that knowledge? Could Harry?
It was too much to consider. He pulled the pack of Marlboros from his pocket and lit one, inhaling deeply. Nicotine, how I've missed you.
He slipped the bracelet over his hand, sighing at the sense of contentment that filled him as it molded itself to his wrist. He'd forgotten how it felt to wear it.
It had been passed from person to person for centuries, the protective spells mingling and building on each other. He could feel the remnants of his mother's concern and love for him, blending now with Harry's. He'd grown used to that constant presence, always reminding him that he was loved. The month without it had been far more difficult than he could have imagined.
But now, its weight on his wrist reminded him of Harry, of the fact that Harry must have been desperately worried for him when it came off. He wondered when it had happened. Had Harry been trying to find him for days? Why hadn't he come to the Ministry when Draco was being held there? Manny had implied Harry was upset with him – had Harry deceived Manny to keep him from getting suspicious of Harry's activity?
He smiled a little at the thought that Harry had been sneaking around too, working on his own. He wondered what Harry had discovered, whether he'd ever suspected Draco was really working for the other side. If Draco had just taken his offer to move in that night, how would things have been different?
He pushed the thought away. He wouldn't be wearing the bracelet now if Harry didn't love him completely. Draco took several long drags on the cigarette at that thought lest he get overly emotional.
:: :: :: :: ::
Wednesday, 10 March, 2004
The house-elf who poured Draco a cup of coffee seemed more exuberant than usual. He'd never had much patience for the creatures, but this one – a pointy-nosed female named Ebby – was growing on him.
“Master Draco wants any eggs?” she squeaked.
“Just toast, please.”
The elf nearly bounced with excitement. “Ebby knows Master Draco likes toast. Ebby has already made it.” A plate appeared before him, piled with enough toast for six people.
Draco couldn't help but grin. “Thank you. That will do.”
“Ebby is glad Master Draco is coming back,” she said, pointy nose twitching.
Draco buttered a piece of toast. “Well, we're not exactly at the Manor, are we?”
“Ebby misses Malfoy Manor,” the elf said, eyes glistening. “But Ebby is glad Master Draco is back at the castle.”
Draco paused mid-chew. “Sorry?”
“Last time Master Draco is coming here, Ebby is helping him.” She stopped and clamped a hand over her mouth, eyes wide.
“You helped me? How?”
Ebby hung her head. “Master Draco was asking Ebby never to speak of it. Ebby is being a bad house-elf!” Tears welled in her bulging eyes.
Draco dropped his toast and clasped the elf's arm – possibly the first time he'd ever touched one of the creatures willingly. “Ebby, you know of what happened three years ago, when I was here before?”
Ebby nodded, hesitantly. A few tears spilled down her pudgy cheeks.
“Forget what I said then, all right? I want you to tell me what you remember.”
Ebby choked down a sob. “But Master Draco was saying–”
Ebby stared at her hands for a moment, torn between the two different orders she'd been given. “Ebby is helping Master Draco, yes? Ebby is not disobeying?”
“You're helping, I promise.”
Ebby blew her nose on the filthy tea towel she wore and heaved a sigh. “Ebby is bringing Master Draco things. Ebby is not telling Master Lucius about them.”
Draco gaped at her. “What sorts of things did you bring me?”
“Ebby is bringing bundimum, nettles, jobberknoll feathers...”
“Interesting,” Draco said, his mind racing. “Was I making a potion?”
Ebby nodded. “Yes, but Master Draco is telling Ebby it is a secret!”
“Do you know what kind of potion?”
She shook her head. “Master Draco is only asking Ebby to bring things. Ebby is not asking questions.”
“And you've told no one this?”
Ebby stepped back as if stung. “No! Ebby is a good house-elf!” Her lip began to quiver.
“Of course you are,” Draco said, sitting back in his chair. He took a sip of coffee, and an idea struck him. “One more thing – do you know where Master Lucius keeps his store of polyjuice potion?”
She nodded. “Ebby is knowing where. Ebby is helping to make it.”
“Could you bring me some?”
“Oh, yes!” the elf cried, apparently thrilled to be of use.
“This is a secret, though. Do not tell Master Lucius.”
Ebby nodded, lips clamped together. Draco picked up his toast again and rewarded her with a warm smile.
:: :: :: :: ::
Heather was sitting in a large chair in the castle's library when he found her. She was reading a dusty book, legs tucked underneath her, hair loosely tied back from her face. She froze when she saw him, eyes wide.
“Hi,” Draco said. “Remember me?”
“Come to apologize?” She was gripping the book very tightly, he noticed.
“Do you know who I am?”
“You're Lucius's son, who attacked me for no–”
“That's not why I'm here.” Being in the same room with her was turning out to be harder than he'd expected. He stepped closer, fixing her with his gaze and shifting his arm so that his wand was accessible. “What did you do last night?”
It was easy to penetrate Muggles' thoughts when they were caught off-guard. An image sprang into her mind even as her eyes narrowed – a bath, a glass of wine, her hands slipping beneath the water. Draco let his wand drop into his hand and thought Obliviate before the rest of the memory played out.
She blinked at him. “Sorry?”
“I asked what you did last night.” Draco tilted his head at her as if concerned.
Her mouth opened and closed. “I… I don't… why do you care?”
“You don't remember, do you?” Draco crossed to the chair and leaned against the arm.
She didn't flinch away. “I… That's odd. What was I doing?”
“Do you remember what you did the night before that?”
Heather looked up at him with a stunned expression. She could only shake her head.
“And what about the night before that?” he pressed.
Her expression changed to one of mild panic. “I don't… shit, why can't I remember?”
“You understand that my father is a wizard, don't you?” Draco asked. She nodded, forehead furrowed. “He's been erasing your memory.”
She gaped at him. “That's ludicrous! Why would he do such a thing?”
“Because he's making you do things he doesn't want you to remember. Things you may not even be doing willingly.”
She shook her head, still staring at him with wide brown eyes. “This is… What sorts of things?”
Draco had been holding the bottle containing the scene from the surveillance device behind his back. He handed it to her, expression grim. The images played across the surface silently, showing her pushing him down to the bed, trapping arms that were trying to push her away, undressing him, sitting astride him – then leaving him naked and unconscious.
“We…?” she began, nearly sputtering. “When was this?”
“Night before last.”
She shook her head, shooting him an accusatory glare. “This is a trick. You've forged this somehow.”
“That's impossible,” Draco retorted, though it wasn't. “You haven't a clue about magic, have you?”
She stared at the bottle again. “What was wrong with you that night?”
“I was drugged. And resistant.”
He could identify the moment when she understood – the expression on her face went from skepticism to horror.
“You're saying I forced you?” When he nodded, she shook her head. “But that's impossible.”
“He had me drugged first. And then he erased your memory afterwards.”
She closed her eyes and shook her head. “This is ridiculous! Why would he do such a thing to me, to you?”
“Let's just say he doesn't approve of my lifestyle.”
Heather's defiance crumbled visibly. She sank into the chair and pressed a hand against her forehead. “Please go away. Leave me alone.”
“I can help you,” Draco said, injecting as much calm into his voice as he could. “He's using you, and you can't even remember it afterwards.”
“He loves me. He wouldn't–”
“You're a Muggle,” Draco said, barely restraining himself from snapping at her. “You're little more than a toy to him; worse, a tool to use and dispose of. He doesn't love you and he never will.”
“How do you know that? You don't know anything! You don't know what he says to me when no one else is around.”
“I imagine it's exactly what you want to hear.”
Heather's face fell even more. She was silent for a long moment. “You're not the first person to tell me that.”
Draco studied her face, watching the way she wore her emotions. “Did Colby Hannick warn you as well?”
She looked up at him, eyes wide. “You know Colby?”
Draco nodded. “You don't remember where you were last night, do you?” She shook her head, and he recounted the tale of the meeting the night before as if it had been her there instead of him, including Colby's message to him. “You insisted on telling me all of this as soon as you got back, so I assumed it was important.”
Heather looked shell-shocked. “Oh my god. How long has this been happening?”
“How long have you been here?”
“Three weeks. I was in a pub in Edinburgh with some friends, and I met Colby. He was there with some horrid old man who was very possessive. We struck up a conversation when his boyfriend went to the loo, and he said he had a friend he wanted to introduce me to. And…” She paused, looking confused. “Well, he introduced me to Lucius at some point, and the next thing I knew I was skiving off work and staying here.”
Draco nodded. “And he's warned you about Lucius recently?”
Heather made a flippant gesture. “He said I tried to escape and Lucius brought me back. I didn't believe him, but… There are so many things I don't remember.” She paled and let the book slip out of her lap. It hit the floor with a resounding thud. “What am I going to do?”
“I'm trapped here as well. We could help each other. You said you knew how to get a message to Colby?”
“I did?” she asked. At his nod, she sighed. “Well, yes. I usually call him on his mobile.”
Draco nearly choked. “You have a mobile phone here?” The thought hadn't occurred to him.
“Of course,” she replied, giving him an odd look.
He struggled to contain his elation. “Could I… borrow it for a bit?”
:: :: :: :: ::
Thursday, 11 March, 2004
Heather was scowling when she opened the door to the room. “I don't want to do this, you know. The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable.”
“Will you please shut up?” Draco hissed pushed her inside and closed the door behind them. “Trust me. I've got this under control.”
“What if he finds out?”
“He won't. Now, what are we wearing?” She pointed at a low-cut sundress laid out on a chair, and he wrinkled his nose. “I hate yellow.”
“And I'm a size eight, don't forget. I hope you have reasonably good taste.”
Draco gave her a long look. “I could dress you better than you dress yourself.”
“Very funny. Pander to the stereotype a bit more, won't you?”
“What stereotype?” He'd have to obliviate her again if she didn't calm down. “Oh, and I need…” He plucked a long blonde hair from her shirt and removed the bottle of polyjuice potion from his pocket. Ebby had been trembling when she'd brought it to his room that morning, fearful of being caught by Lucius. Draco had patted her on the head and asked her to make him something special for lunch. That always seemed to cheer her up.
Heather squinted at him. “This is madness, you know. It took me ages to convince him to go.”
“And I do thank you for that. Have you heard from Colby?”
“Yes. He said he would ‘be in touch', whatever that's supposed to mean.”
Draco frowned. “Did he say what he wants to talk to me about?” Not that he expected Colby to have told her anything, but one never knew.
She shook her head, staring at the vial of potion in his hand. “Are you certain this is a good idea? Because I could–”
“I know what I'm doing,” Draco said, poking the hair into the potion. “Erm… you might find this part a bit disturbing.” He gave her a pointed look, but she only crossed her arms over her chest and stared back, defiant.
Two minutes later, he was levitating her to the bed from where she had fainted on the floor. He shed his own clothes, slipped into her dress, and cast a sleeping charm on her before leaving the room.
He paused at the top of the stairs and peeked over the railing. Lucius was waiting below, an expression of mild annoyance on his face. Draco wrapped his arms around himself and took a deep breath – he could do this. He was good at undercover work. He had blended in with Muggle gangsters and American Death Eaters on more occasions than he could count. He had studied Heather's expressions and practiced her northern English accent for the last 24 hours. He could fool his own father, certainly.
One hand trailed down his arm and caught on his mother's bracelet. His eyes flew open, realizing he'd forgotten about it. If Lucius saw it, it would all be over. He transfigured it into a watch, heart pounding. Oh, that's a good sign, he thought, taking one deep breath more. He managed a smile as he descended the stairs.
“I was about to come fetch you,” Lucius said, frowning.
“Sorry!” Draco replied, trying not to stare. He had never before seen his father dressed as a Muggle: his hair was pulled back into a sleek ponytail, and his clothing was well-tailored, smart, and completely black. He looked like a celebrity, Draco thought.
“You were the one who insisted I buy you a dress. I dislike spending time in that Muggle village, as you well know.”
“I know,” Draco replied, trying his best to look demure. Lucius's eyes drifted over the curves of Heather's body, and Draco resisted the urge to squirm.
“The car is waiting,” Lucius said, gesturing towards the door.
“You keep reminding me how much you hate magical forms of travel.”
They walked outside and down the front steps, where a large black car waited for them. The Muggle driver rushed to open the door for Draco, beaming at him. Must have been hired, Draco thought. He'd had no idea Lucius could get around the Muggle world this well.
Lucius directed the driver to the High Street of the nearby village of Maybole , then settled back and smiled at Draco. Draco smiled back.
“You look lovely,” Lucius said, moving closer.
“Thank you,” Draco replied. He forced his anxiety down.
“Good enough to eat,” Lucius continued, just before leaning down and kissing him.
Draco stiffened against him, horrified.
“Still cross with me?” Lucius whispered against his lips. “I did promise to make it up to you.”
Relax, Draco told himself. “Y-yes. I am, and–”
He started at the feeling of a hand on his bare thigh. Lucius took advantage of his surprise to kiss him again, this time with an extraordinary amount of tongue. Draco whimpered in horror – really, he had never wanted to know that his father was such a good kisser – and Lucius took the sound as a sign of encouragement. The hand was creeping up inside the dress, its destination completely clear.
The driver cleared his throat, giving Draco the opportunity to pull away. “Pardon, sir – which shop?”
Draco felt nearly undone, while Lucius was the epitome of cool. “I don't know. Darling?”
Draco blinked. “Erm… It's a boutique called Emily's.”
“Yes, Miss,” the driver said.
Draco didn't dare look at his father, for fear the man would maul him again.
Lucius laughed and took his hand. “I won't embarrass you again, darling. No need to worry.”
Draco smiled, even though he wasn't quite sure what Lucius was talking about. Did Heather take issue with this sort of display on a regular basis?
Lucius's fingers grazed the bracelet-cum-watch, and Draco felt his heart skip a beat. He glanced at Lucius – he was looking out the window, though, and didn't appear concerned at all.
The shop even looked exclusive from the outside. Lucius told the driver to wait there, insisting even though the man protested that there was no place to park. Draco allowed himself a small smirk – perhaps Lucius didn't know quite so much about the Muggle world after all.
Draco turned to face him as soon as they were inside, smiling up at him. “Make yourself comfortable. This may take some time.”
The look Lucius gave him was one of carefully controlled lust, and Draco felt himself blush in response. He ducked his head and smiled at him as he walked away. He might end up permanently scarred from this experience, but at least he knew Lucius wasn't suspicious. Not yet, anyway.
He examined the dresses along the wall, occasionally handing something interesting to the salesgirl who seemed determined to kiss his arse as much as possible. She seemed to understand they would be spending a lot of money. He'd picked a dozen dresses before he felt a tug on his hair.
He waved at the salesgirl and she led him to a dressing room where all of his choices were waiting. She fawned over his figure and several of the dresses he'd picked, and then told him to give a shout if he needed anything more.
Once the door was closed, he cast a silencing spell around the small room. “Well?”
There was a blur of movement and then Harry was standing before him. “Hi.”
Draco frowned at him. “Hi? Is that all you have to say?”
Harry sighed. “I had trouble finding the shop. It was a bad connection yesterday, and you kept breaking up. I only had a vague idea of what I was looking for.” He paused a moment more, then leaned forward to kiss Draco.
Draco returned the kiss with some enthusiasm until he felt a hand on his arse – his body was confused enough as it was. He pushed Harry away. “I don't have much time. I have to pick one of these and get back to the castle in thirty minutes.” He pulled the sundress over his head and reached for the first dress on the rack. “Oh, here.” He pulled out the folded piece of parchment he'd spelled to the inside of the dress. It was double encrypted and contained all of the information he'd learned so far. He held it out, only to see Harry staring at him. “What?”
Harry closed his eyes once, then shook his head as if to clear it. “I'm sorry – this is just a little distracting.”
Draco looked down at Heather's naked body. He'd thrown the dress on with nothing underneath, having forgotten to ask her where she kept her knickers. He looked up at Harry to see his gaze focused on his chest.
“What is it with men and tits?” he grumbled, pulling the first dress off its hanger.
Draco scowled at him as he struggled into a red dress. “You're not helping.”
“Oh, right,” Harry said. He pulled an envelope from his pocket. “Here's mine. The most important thing is that I've made a lot of progress with Ron's research log.”
“You have?” Draco examined his reflection and wrinkled his nose at the dress. He started to take it off again, a more difficult task than he'd anticipated. “You said on the phone that Hermione was working on that.”
“I convinced her to let me have a go. I was there, after all, so I thought something might ring a bell. Which it didn't. Do you want some help with that, or…?”
“No,” Draco replied, a bit more sharply than he'd intended. He managed to get the red dress off, then fumbled through the others on the rack, already tired of trying things on. He pulled out one that seemed to be made up of artfully placed leather strips. “Does she know that you… that you're here?”
Harry nodded. “I had to tell her. She wasn't pleased about everything we've been doing, but she agreed to help.”
“We?” Draco raised an eyebrow.
Harry's expression turned sheepish. “I told them – Hermione and Manny both – that we'd been working together all this time and keeping it a secret from them.”
Draco frowned – he wasn't sure that continuing to lie was a good thing. “What does she think about… you know?”
“She hasn't passed judgment yet. None of us have.”
“Manny has,” Draco mumbled. The strappy dress was proving a challenge to sort out.
“Well, yes, but he… She's talked some sense into him.” Harry's eyes were sympathetic. “Did you really work as a double agent in New York ?”
“Yes,” Draco said, turning to look at him. “I did for years, until it came back to haunt me. I'm sorry I didn't tell you that before, but I… well, it doesn't matter now.” Harry's face clouded, and Draco looked away. He started to wriggle into the dress, grateful that it allowed him a reason to avoid Harry's gaze for a moment. “I went to San Francisco because I wanted out. And Lucius wanted me to work for him, something I–” He paused, trying to figure out where to arrange the straps on his body.
“So that part was the truth? You really were running away from Lucius?”
Draco looked up at him and nodded. “I didn't realize what he wanted at the time.” And he told Harry about the conversation in the dungeon, about how he and Harry apparently were present when Voldemort disappeared.
Harry ran a hand through his hair, nodding. “I suspected as much. When I've been undercover, I've heard your name associated with mine and Ron's several times, as if we were working together.”
“Lucius said you requested me, and that he went all the way to New York to fetch me for you.”
Harry smiled for the first time since he'd appeared. “Can you blame me?”
Draco managed to tug the last strap into place. He grinned at himself in the mirror. “Oh, I think this is the one.”
“You look like a dominatrix,” Harry quipped.
“Does it come with a whip, I wonder?”
“You do realize your father is going to fuck her in that dress?”
“He'll fuck me in it if I'm not careful. Think these are real?” He cupped Heather's breasts.
Harry blinked at him. “No. What did you–”
“How do you know?”
“It's obvious. Did Lucius do something to you?”
Draco wrinkled his nose. “I really don't want to talk about it.”
Harry leaned against the wall. “Is it odd that I'm jealous when it isn't even your body?”
Is it odd that I'm completely freaked out when it isn't even my body? Draco thought. But he smiled at Harry and embraced him. “No, it's quite sweet.” He kissed Harry, feeling bolder than he had before. Harry sighed and kissed him back, arms winding around him. Draco felt guilty for spending their precious time this way, when they should be talking strategy, but he couldn't help himself.
“This is hot, you know,” Harry whispered. “I don't suppose you'd like to… try it this way sometime?”
Draco felt an odd twinge in his abdomen at the very idea. He grinned and pushed Harry away. “Why don't we save the kinky stuff for when we need to spice up our sex life in ten years?”
Harry's smile was one of the most genuine Draco had ever seen.
Draco checked his watch and gritted his teeth. “I've got to go. Anything else?”
Harry nodded. “The last thing Ron wrote in his research log were the words triple perfidio. Does that mean anything to you?”
Draco shook his head. “Nothing. But one of the house-elves told me I made a potion of some sort when I was there three years ago. She helped me get ingredients behind Lucius's back. Maybe there's a connection?”
“It could be a potion. Hermione's done a lot of research, though, and we've not been able to turn up anything.”
“If it is a potion, there's one person who would probably know.”
Harry raised an eyebrow. “He still hasn't forgiven me, you know.”
“Then I'll ask him. I think Lucius would be willing to let me meet with him.”
Harry snorted. “I'll bet.”
“Now, now,” Draco said, pulling the strappy dress off again. “None of that.”
“Yes, dear,” Harry replied, grinning.
After one more lingering kiss, he left Harry in the dressing room and handed the strappy dress to the sales girl. Her eyes widened at his choice, and then she cast a quick glance towards Lucius and winked at Draco.
Lucius was sitting on a chaise lounge, studying his fingernails. He smiled when he caught sight of Draco. “I trust you found something suitable?”
Draco leaned over him and planted a quick kiss on his lips. “Oh, yes. It's quite expensive.”
“Then I shall enjoy tearing it off of you later,” Lucius replied, capturing his lips again before he could move away.
Draco felt a sharp tug on his hair from behind. He stumbled back, pretending he'd nearly lost his balance, and giggled. Lucius stood and went to pay for the dress.
“That's disgusting,” he heard Harry whisper in his ear.
Draco turned and pretended to be looking at another dress. “You have no idea,” he whispered back.
“Just… be careful.”
Draco nodded. His hand was squeezed once and released. He resisted the urge to stare at the spot where Harry might be.
In their broken conversation on the phone the night before, Harry had offered him protection, saying he could stay at the flat in London . After some serious thought, Draco had refused – as uncomfortable as his current situation was, he was in a position to do quite a lot of investigating. He had more freedom under his father's eye than he did with the authorities searching for him, certainly. And considering that the incident with Voldemort had happened at the castle, it would be foolish to leave now.
Lucius kissed Draco on the cheek and handed him a package. “Ready?”
Draco followed him to the car.
Fifteen minutes later, Draco was back in his own body, standing over the real Heather as she slept in her bedroom. He considered waking her, but finally left the dress on the bed next to her and headed back to his own room, clutching Harry's coded message.
Once the door was closed behind him, he sank to the floor and leaned back against it, closing his eyes. He could still feel Lucius's hands and lips on him, no matter how much he tried to push the feelings away. The car ride back had been harrowing, and the sense of violation he felt competed even with his memory of the night with Heather. He took a deep breath and tried to clear his mind, but the feeling of fingers penetrating him was still there.
He exhaled, pressing a hand to his forehead, and then opened Harry's envelope.
:: :: :: :: ::
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