In The Afterwards

Voldemort died quietly, alone, blood bubbling from his lips instead of sound, and that was just the way Harry thought it ought to be. Voldemort had lived to get attention, to amass power from that attention, and now he had none of either. Harry was covered in blood, warm and sticky and not nearly as bothersome as he'd imagined it would be. He'd just killed someone, and he was merely relieved.

He'd somehow thought it would be more than this. The shockwave was felt around the wizarding world, but alone in that room with a dead Voldemort, Harry felt nothing but empty.


"Harry!" said Hermione, nudging him hard against his ribs. "We're going to be late."

The more things change, thought Harry, and gathered his books and followed her out of the library, managing not to trip over his robes but only barely. A growth spurt, another one, had made him clumsy everywhere but up on his broom, and even then he suspected he was only graceful because his feet didn't have a chance to trip over one another.

Someone tittered from the other side of the library and Harry didn't even look, and everything was so normal. Voldemort had been dead for a month and everything had gone on, only without the imminent threat of death over their heads. It wasn't so different as Harry had imagined it would be. Everything in his life preparing him for that moment, and he hadn't really thought that the world would simply go on afterwards.

"What's the matter with you?" said Hermione, grabbing the front of his robe and tugging. This time he did stumble, ankles banging together as he knocked his shoulder against the corridor wall.

"Girlfriend beating you up again?" snickered Malfoy, who of course would be there because he always was, right in the moments when Harry wanted him there the least. "You've got to watch that one."

Hermione scowled at him and tugged Harry along even more forcefully. Harry was torn between being mortified she'd done it in front of Malfoy and being happy he'd managed to stay on his feet.

"You don't have to drag me, you know," he said when he pulled out of her grasp.

"If I didn't drag you around you'd forget to go to lessons," she argued, clutching her books to her chest now that both hands were free again. "One would think you don't care about your NEWTs"

"Well..." he began, only to be cut off by Hermione's horrified and indignant gasp.

"Not another word, Harry. Don't you know that you need to do well to get a good apprenticeship? To get any job worth having?"

"Well..." he said again, but she wasn't finished.

"If I didn't know you better--"

"Seems to me, Granger," came Malfoy's voice again, "that you don't know him better. Even I know that Potter doesn't care."

"I care," snapped Harry.

"About what?"

Now that, Harry figured, was the question. What, exactly, was left for him to accomplish? What did anyone expect of him anymore?

"He'll care about anything he wants," said Hermione, and grabbed his robe and off they went again.

And that was it, wasn't it. Anything he wanted. Anything at all.



Harry snapped around, looked Malfoy in the eye. He wasn't the only one who'd grown.

"What?" he blurted out, then in a burst of manic energy didn't wait for an answer, just grabbed Malfoy by the collar and jerked him into an empty classroom.

"Hey, hey," said Malfoy, raising his hands but not looking the least bit afraid. "You're offended by your name, now?"

"Why are you always here?" Potter growled out, pressing him up against the cool stone. "You're so infuriating."

Draco smirked, and Harry leaned forward and kissed him. Fist still gripping his collar, tugging at his tie, Harry kissed him until they were both breathless. Draco wasn't quiet, panting, whimpering, then hoarsely asking for more. Harry kissed him again, longer, thigh pressed up between Draco's legs, asking for and promising even more than Draco asked for.

His entire time at Hogwarts, Harry realised in that moment, hadn't been leading up to an encounter with Voldemort. It had been leading up to this. And in that room, alone with a flushed and wet-lipped Draco, Harry felt something snap into place.

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[ by CJ Marlowe ]   [ home ]   [ disclaimer ]

18aug04. Written to the terms of contre la montre 21apr03 challenge Time: 0:28 (0:36 with editing)