Disclaimer: Don't own anything.
Draco doesn't even know what he was expecting, but what he sees is disappointment. Because that's who he is and that's what he does.
He is made of failure and nothing he ever attempts never ends in happiness. He can never make up for just being himself, because he is angry when he is scared and dismissive when worried and nobody who knows him, expects anything good out of him, no matter how hard he tries.
And the world is big and getting bigger, angry screeching beast and it's falling apart. And that's...
Soft familiar voice sounds too close and Draco startled badly, his already laboured breath hitching in his chest, his only response a terrible half chocked moan. There are suddenly hands, all over him. Gentle, firm, unerringly warm and helping. Good hands, wide palms, calloused and covered with few smooth scars, short nails, wide gold band glittering on the ring finger.
Such a fancy jewellery for one who cares so little about how people see him.
Such a beautiful man, if only Draco deserved him.
"Sweetheart, of course you do, come on love, come on, baby. Talk to me, please. What did you drink?"
So lovely, that voice.
He loves it so much. But it will leave, leave and silence will stay and ring loud. So, so loud, like a hundred trumpets, like the end of the world. He already can hear it, in the distance, the echoes and here, before his eyes - feathers, there are feathers so white. He tries to grasp them, but you can not touch an angel. Gabriel, Azrael, Michael, Izrafel, oh, how they dance. No! Don't leave!
"I am not going anywhere. Up, come on, Draco. Easy, drink this."
Draco opens his mouth obediently, knowing somewhere inside, that echoes deeply, that the angel will never hurt him, that it's safe and right to do everything that loved voice says. Something is pushed to his lips and he swallows and nearly chocks on thick heavy, slime-like substance, that travels down his throat. But it's warm. He feels warmer. The debilitating cold that seeped in his bones is melting and even the Voice in his head that chants failure, failure, failure, in ear-splitting soprano, becomes quieter. He opens his eyes again. The shadows are still dancing around, wisps of unrestfull smoke cling to the edges of his vision, eating his sight, split apart by blinding newborn stars, but nothing touches the very centre, the green, so radiant and clear, full with promises and safe. Draco focuses on this green and realizes that it split in two. He blinks in confusion.
Is two better then one?
It's better, he decides, when the green disappears for entire millennium, and appears anew. Better two then none.
There is warmth on his head, something moves there, a spider, but it's gentle and has no teeth to tear his head open and touch the soft beneath and cleave at his memories.
Then he feels it.
The monster, that wants to eat him from within, it moves, tiny claws and pincers and stingers, climbing up. It wails and it's furious to be woken and then it pries his mouth open and leaves, its acid burning and burning and it's fire that eats all, especially insignificant mortals, weak and fragile.
He is too warm now.
Something wet clings to his skin, it itches as it travels, horde of fire ants tries to bury under pale marble, but the stone doesn't yield and they try harder with their tiny venomous teeth. Somebody is knocking on his mouth. Small tap tap tap repeats itself. but Draco don't want to be home for another monster.
"Love, open. Shhh, it's okay, everything is going to be alright. Open your mouth. Please love."
Sweet taste slips through. Curious tongue escapes past teeth and touch. There is more. Fresh and lovely and smells divine. It slides and calms and heals the wounds. Then he falls into darkness to a quiet echoes of drums.
Draco opens up his eyes in the room he shares with Harry. It's empty and nearly dark, but for the soft blue fire closed in a jar and put right next to his head, casting cheerful shapes on the walls. He feels tired and sore and like something just crawled all over his Occlumency shields, leaving dirty fingerprints all over.
He can't decide whatever he has the strength to try and get up, but he is saved from decision by Harry silently slipping into the room.
"Draco?" Man in question turns his head a bit, not really liking the tentative note in his husband's voice.
"What happened?" He asks, or he means to, but what comes out is a painful croak, that changes into hacking cough. Harry is next to him in seconds, picking him up into a sitting position and holding a glass to his lips. He sips water mixed with salt and oil and resist the urge to pour it all on the man, who feeds him with such disgusting concoction. But his throat feels marginally better, so he might graciously forgive such rough handling.
He is completely unprepared when Harry suddenly picks him up and hauls him onto his lap, tucking Draco close to himself, with arms wounded tight around somewhat aching ribs and back.
"Hey, don't break on me, Potter." To say he is confused would be understatement. What he remembers are disjointed pictures, piercing sounds and the strange feeling of floating. Dissociated and barely aware, swimming in the near dark, curled up onto himself like a flower not ready to bloom. The last clear memory is that of sitting in a small coffee shop near Ministry, spending his lunch break with Harry, laughing at his love's face when Draco stole his last crumpet. Harry leaving, going to the restroom, then buying new coffee to take and sip for the next few hours. There was so much work to do. And then it was…loud?
"You were poisoned. Switching spell on your coffee, they already caught the culprit. I took you briefly to St. Mungo, but they assured me that you will be alright in few days of bed rest."
'If I was to be alright, then why are you clinging to me like baby panda?' Wondered Draco, lacing their fingers together and setting their joined hands on his lap.
"How bad was it?"
"Bad," Draco waited, knowing better then to rush his husband when he was so deep in his own head. "It looked like anxiety attack, but very quickly it turned to full blown hallucinations and hysteria. You teared off your hair, scratched your arms raw. Nearly bit off your tongue. They recognized the potion. It's rare enough that it doesn't have a commonly used name, but it's called Die Hasse. Hate. It's still in you, so if you feel worse or nauseous or anything tell me. Draco. Promise me that you will tell me every time something feels off.
"Promise", his voice little more then a whisper. "Stay?"
"I will, I'm just going to bring you some food and potions, what do you say about a bath?"
It actually sounded wonderful, as his skin felt tight and filthy, and he hated the way his hair was clinging to the back of his neck. He nodded into Harry's chest and then slid off his lap to lean against headboard. A glass was pushed into his hand and he wordlessly drank from it, frowning at the taste.
Harry turns just before exiting the room, face open and wet shine to his eyes.
"I've became rather fond of you, dammit."
"I should hope so, since I married you." Draco smiles up at Harry and it's gratifying to see him finally answer without that pained frown etched on his forehead.
"See to it that you stay healthy and whole, till I come back, will you?"
"Cross my heart."
Draco sighed deeply, stretching and wiggling his toes in the warm water, making his company snort in his hair. He was currently lying sprawled over Harry's chest and stomach, held by one arm, enjoying the warmth seeping in his bones. His fingers trailed lightly over the dark skinned forearm, following the pattern of the dark mark.
Or a version of it.
He knew very well, that his husband came from the war with plethora of scars that were hard to hide, harder to heal and impossible to forget. One of them was a curse scar, puckered and long, made by a traitor to resurrect an enemy. What started as a simple knife wound, by the end of that fateful day turned into dark mark. Hidden, mostly, but it still could be felt, the pattern an exact copy of Draco's own. But it looked quite differently.
In Harry's own words, he was marked but he was not a thing to be owned. After the war was over, he asked Dean Thomas for a specific painting and now it rested on his body, changing a deed done in malice and spite into something made out of love.
It was a deer skull, masterfully done, adorned in the crown of pink and purple lilies. Fool moon with few sparking dots, that represented Canis Major was hanging between impressive rack, in its corner, nearly too small to see, was a lipstick mark done in cheerful bubble-gum pink.
Draco loved it to bits.
His own couldn't be covered, its corrupting magic was not on his skin but staining his soul, and no amount of bleaching it or cutting into his own skin could hide the atrocity done to him. But it could be worked around and it was opportunity not to be wasted.
Around the skull flowers bloomed wildly, and each meant a lot to him, with a message loud and clear.
White Narcissus (for respect, as his mother deserved his for all the she went through, always remaining strong and unbowed) resting against bright green, nearly yellow Dracaena (for inner power, so he could rise above what he once was ) and Calla lilies, their black bell- like flowers edged in silver (to represent beauty that he aspires to reach, no longer only on the surface) and Snowdrops, tiny and bowed and deceptively delicate (for hope, for he had none and now he is brimming with it, like it was a small secret sun that rested just under his breastbone, warming him up from the inside) Hyssop climbing high with its small purple flowers (for sacrifice. For all that he lost because of following wishes of madmen) and juniper, its needles done so painstakingly well (for humility, because that's what he needed to finally see) and raspberry (remorse, for he regretted deeply all the hurt he so unjustly caused )wounding all around.
Snake rested on a splash of vivid lively green of thyme (courage and strength, because that is Harry, through and through) peppered with tiny chamomile flowers (because he was never anything but patient for Draco) and surrounded by red and blooming marigolds with their centres and petals edges shining gold (because Harry's love was everything).
He has done his tattoo thinking about everything he wasn't anymore and all that he wanted to be, what he aspired to be. To be proud of the person that looks at him everyday in the mirror. Not so long ago he was proud for all the wrong reasons, for accomplishments not his own and in things that now he was ashamed off.
It was hard.
To try and be better then the sum of what he was taught. To pick up the cracked picture and fill in the blanks. But it worked, it worked and now he had a life that he loved with people that he loved even more.
He was happy.
So why now somebody wanted to rob him of it?
Harry was quiet behind him, and with how hard he was against Draco's back, he might as well be a chiselled statue, if not for the raise and fall of his chest and warm breath tickling an exposed ear.
"You were scared." Whispered Draco, moving slightly to kiss the rise of his husband's arm. He wasn't sure if he wanted an answer. Anything that scared Harry Potter would undoubtedly make all the other people run in blind panic. He tensed, when he felt the shuddering breath come out of Harry, like he was keeping it contained for far too long.
"I was terrified," Draco felt the arm around him pulling him even tighter, closer, lips pressed hard against the skin behind his ear. "You weren't responding, talking nonsense, you tried to…tried to tear off your tongue. We had to restrain you. You…were baiting. Screeching. Chanted kill me, kill me, kill me…"
Harry laughed but it sounded like a sob, his body shaking, tears running freely and touching pale skin on the other's man shoulder. Both hands squeezed the air, like he wanted to wrap his hands around the throat of the culprit of their misery. Draco run a gentle hand over his love's whitening fingers, carefully praying them open and letting him tangle their fingers together. He knew exactly what those hands could do. He saw them killing and breaking bones and splinting wood. Even now, they were thrumming with power, barely hidden under that thin veneer of golden brown skin. Draco barely felt the pressure. He knew too well that to help him calm down, you needed to make him focus on something else, that's why, even when everything in Boy-Who-Lived body screamed of deadly intentions, his right hand was soft, nearly lax and as gentle as ever.
"Why are you so calm?"
In truth, he wasn't all that calm. Twisting fear was trying to wrap around him and eat him slowly, because…what if it happens again? But the largest part of him just said:
"Because you are here".
He felt Harry wilt behind him, tension leaving in one hard breath, like it was all he needed to hear. 'Love you,' was whispered into his collarbone, like it was secret not a forgone conclusion. He let those words wash over him, helping chase the fear away and then he turned, half bracing himself, but mostly just letting those arms keep him steady and then kissed that bristly jaw.
"Love you too. Now pick me up before I look like a dried fig."
Harry chuckled weakly, dragging Draco up, hands traveling over the long expanse of his back till they reached the swell of buttocks, claiming them and trailing the sensitive skin with his thumbs and then kissing him reverently, slowly, till they both turned pliant and relaxed.
Draco wasn't the only one who came out of bathtub looking like humiliated grape. (And he was no longer the only person in this household who refused to say raisin, like a normal person would.)
They lay on the sides of their bed, letting the light of streetlamps awash them with gentle orange glow. The sheets were full of crumbs, tiny pieces of spongecake rested on a plate in company of two forks, put aside on bedside table along with half finished cups of chamomile tea and potions vials.
Draco smiled suddenly, catching Harry by his shoulders and rolling onto his back. Long black mane now hovered over his head, hiding them both from the world like a curtain. He stretched up, stealing a kiss from that too serious mouth, letting his hand settle at the nape of his neck. Green eyes looked down at him, already dark but still asking, seeking permission. Long fingered hand urged him forward and down, to inviting expanse of pale smooth neck.
Harry moved back, till he was kneeling between Draco's legs, face outside of the ray of light, hidden in the darkness. When he spoke, his voice sounded like grovel.
"I am going to do naughty things to you." Man sprawled on the bed felt his mouth going dry. They never needed much to get the rise from each other, but this was ridiculous.
"Oh?" He gurgled wetly, not at all impressed with himself.
"I will do this." Harry folded himself over his body, one elbow planted firmly somewhere close to his head, right hand cradled soft pale cheek and then mouth was pressed to his forehead, making him swallow tightly. "And I will touch you, right there." Harry's hand moved down and then rough thumb caressed his wrist. Their fingers tangling together. Dragged up. Pinned down. "And I will say such a filthy, filthy things."
Warm breath tickled his ear, when he moved so impossibly closer to whisper 'I love you.'
He felt like he should protest, maybe, but his head was spinning, tired as he was, he was not and never will be, too tired for this. Harry's eyes sought permission every time those reddened lips touched, hovered over his flushed skin, burning him, branding. Every single stuttering breath that hanged in the air while green eyes searched his own felt like ray of the sun, searing him from within. Air was sloshing in his chest, like he had an ocean trapped in his lungs and not enough oxygen to speak above whisper.
Every time felt like that, like he was swept away into infinity, born anew like universe climbing out of eternal darkness, branded by the heat of twin stats dancing around each other before they collide. His body was heavy like a neutron star, teared apart by horizon event and then put together by the grace of ever loving lips cajoling 'wake up, love, wake up'.
This time there was fear in him, a tear, a wrinkle that pushed away some important barriers.
Harry dived right in.
And he had to put his long gentle fingers in the half healed wounds, still raw and painful, as if he wanted to check if they are real, like it wasn't enough, that the cracks were already visible.
And Draco will let him.
Because choosing between being hurt so sweetly or hurting the person he loves the most in the world, it's not even a choice at all.
He gave off too much, there is scarcely any left of his bruised heart, and yet there is still enough to be broken by that. And yet...Harry healed what he touched. Fixed what was broken. Filled the cracks with golden light.
There were 'imperfections' that run within him like rivers of his blood, innate and permanent, written in his DNA makeup. They push and pull at him and mingle with the outside view, squash the rationality and logic and clarity, clouding everything, until he cannot trust his judgment. Overflow him with sentiment and need for something, that he can't name and can't touch and that leaves him bare and frustrated in the face of this failure.
But Harry always makes sense of that. And adores all those scars and slashes and crooked things within him and doesn't try to take them away like Lucius did, but understand and accepts and cherish all the more.
He remembers the howling in his ears, as real as the pain of the speeding heart shattering against his too tight chest, when the times were dark. And bless the ribs and that fragile skin, because without them, he would have bleed out on the floor broken in pieces, like priceless porcelain. He had so little then, so little to hold onto, so few reasons to live, but he survived.
Sometimes he thinks, that what would end his life is kindness. A kiss, that could stop his heart. Gentle touch, that can cut him at the knees. Brush of fingers in his hair, that may slay his mind in the bright burst of love, leaving him blind and helpless.
To say 'I love you' it is to say 'you are killing me with your every breath.'
And it feels like dying, always, all over again, and again, because he cannot stop, cannot say no, who ever can say no to love?
And Harry's love is like that, ever burning, ever bright and safe. Always safe. And Draco dies a little every time under those reverent lips, fingers that find their mark, like they knew all important secrets, words that echoes in his head and sang hymns, that would make angels cover in shame.
How can anybody ever love like that? With all that they are?
And how they had not lost their selves within each other?
For Harry was still Harry and Draco was still Draco and they can be apart even when they were together.
"Draco, Draco, my love, breathe." Draco does, his lungs filling, even as his heart stutters in his chest and relief, that comes was long overdue. He clings to Harry's skin, to the smell that lingers in the juncture of his neck, otherwise, he would melt, like a piece of fine chocolate put on the tip of hungry tongue, surrounded by warm cage of beloved body.
Oh Merlin, Merlin, that poor sod. That poor sod who raised a hand against Draco does not know what might come.
Harry fights like he loves and loves like he fights, with everything he is and everything he has, and all the gods forbid, that he would ever know their name, before they are put into chains and catered off to Azkaban. Because Harry cares for law, but he cares for justice more, and as Draco hides his head under his husband chin, their bodies spent and tangled, he thinks only that Harry would burn the world to cinders for any of his friends.
What's to call that one person who tried to take Draco away?
If Draco doesn't talk his overprotective lump of a man out of doing something rash, then probably 'Blood Stain.